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By Jonathan Balofsky On 8 Aug, 2017 At 11:30 PM | Categorized As Featured, News, NINTENDO, Nintendo Switch, Reviews, Reviews, ROG News | With 0 Comments

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Retro City Rampage is a beloved indie gem and has now come to the Nintendo Switch. But does this version hold up well? Or is the game overrated? Well, if you saw the title, you might have a hint as to what I felt.

Retro City Rampage is many things in one. It is a demake of the GTA series as well as a loving homage to the 90’s and early 90’s. Pop culture references abound from movies, tv and of course gaming, but then there is the modern ideas that are celebrated as well. These include jabs, lighthearted and otherwise, at modern gaming, as well as references to other indie games. In fact, with some like bit.trip, this goes so far as including crossover content along with some internet personalities. It seems like an odd combination but it blends really well.

Gameplay is similar to the original GTA games but also with more throwbacks to the NES era to shake things up.  Platforming segments, swimming segments reminiscent of TMNT and more abound. But in addition to including parody, the game actually does have a decent narrative. It is completely bonkers but that is part of the charm and it just fits well. Plus running around in a rampage is oddly satisfying….and yes I realize how disturbing that sounds. But the best part of the game being a throwback are the cheats. Cheats aren’t done much today so this was a welcome addition. They will disable your ability to save, so it is more for having fun than completing the game. Enter some well known cheats from older games and you may be surprised.

The last thing I want to mention is how the game has a great 8 bit soundtrack and the developer went above and beyond to create and awesome audio variety for the game.it takes a great game and makes it even better, yes there are issues like the driving segments being awkward, but you get used to it. I fully recommend getting this on Switch!

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I am a massive Elder Scrolls fan, I think my past articles have made that clear, yet I hadn’t checked out Elder Scrolls Legends in any great detail before, besides a few minute here and there. I wanted to rectify that and really give the game some serious play time, and what I found was a game that I wish I had gotten into earlier. Still, now with the Heroes of Skyrim, it is a good time to get in.

Elder Scrolls Legends is a collectible card game, CCG, similar to Hearthstone, but with a unique Elder Scrolls charm to it. There is a strategy involved of course, but it also incorporates systems from the games and uses them in creative ways. The magika use has to be carefully considered, along with which cards to be used at which time.  There are of course different types of cards, such as support, action and creatures, which must be deployed in lanes. Mastering the different lanes is essential for doing well in this game, but also the Runes which will affect your card usage in different ways.

Elder Scrolls Legends has quite the interesting story, and while its writing does create some confusion about the overall plot of the series, it is still an interesting story and does provide some more insight of the backstory of games like Skyrim. Furthermore, the various unique events that occur in the game also provide more insight to some of the Daedra and other factions. If anything, TES: Legends provides a lot of insight into the lesser discussed aspects of the series lore and bring them to the forefront.

Now, for the Skyrim expansion, Heroes Of Skyrim,  I wasn’t quite sure what to anticipate, but found it to be an interesting take on the elements introduced in Skyrim and also making great use of the series lore from said game. It adds a lot to the overall game experience with the addition of new cards, and ways to use them. I know it doesn’t seem like I’m saying much about it, but to be honest it just feels like a great addition to an already fun experience.

Like I said at the start, I wish I had gotten into this game much sooner because I found it so amazing. I have a feeling this is a game I will be fond of for a very long time.

 

You can check out the game here

By Jonathan Balofsky On 2 Aug, 2017 At 08:55 PM | Categorized As Featured, PC Games, Reviews, ROG News | With 0 Comments

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Brawler games go way back as a genre, and they have always been a key part of gaming.  But the genre must be kept fresh through changes and shakeups and this has brought many new genres, such as hack n slash and beat em ups. As the years went by, more changes have been made, but some have strayed far from their brawler roots. As such, when a game comes along the way Redeemer has, it merits attention due to its very nature.

Redeemer is a brawler with elements of the dungeon crawler genre. It can be thought of as a brutal brawler with some influence from games like Diablo as well as influence from top down shooters. This is not a bad thing by any means, as it creates an experience that is wholly unique. The story is not anything to write home about, but the gameplay offers some great variety. The combat ranges from simple to complex based on what you want to do. I’ve seen comparisons to the Arkham series, but to be honest, I feel those comparisons are thrown around far too often these days, and in situations that do not actually warrant them.

Redeemer has a lot going for it. A satisfying gameplay style, good reasons given to replay the game, and the right amount of accessibility. As stated, the story is nothing special, but that is for the best. The story is not the draw in these types of games, and the developers seem to have realized that as well. What we are left with is game that is over the top gory, and revels in it to the point of intentional self parody. Given its self aware themes, I have to say that Redeemer works on multiple levels. Both as a brawler and an examination of the brawler genre.

In the end, if you like brawler games, or just want some old school action with some kick, then Redeemer is right for you. It knows what it wants to be, and want it wants to be is the game that gets brawlers back to their roots again. I think we can all enjoy that.

 

 

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Disclaimer: A review key was provided for this review.

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Bandai Namco has brought their first game to the Switch, and what better way to start than with a collection of their classics. Namco Museum brings classics like Pac-Man, The Tower of Druaga, Splatterhouse, Rolling Thunder and more, along with Pac-Man VS as well. This is not just another collection however, as numerous additions have been made to enhance the experience.

The games included in this collection are:

  • Pac-Man (1980)
  • Galaga (1981)
  • Dig Dug (1982)
  • The Tower of Druaga (1984)
  • Sky Kid (1985)
  • Rolling Thunder (1986)
  • Galaga ’88 (1987)
  • Splatterhouse (1988)
  • Rolling Thunder 2 (1990)
  • Tank Force (1991)
  • Pac-Man Vs. (2003)

 

Among the changes made to the games in this collection, include a challenge mode for the games that help provide additional replay value and help give more fun to the experience. In addition, Namco Museum on Switch takes full advantage of the system’s HD rumble. This is excellent with games like Splatterhouse, with the HD Rumble giving more of a sense of immersion to the game. This is not always for the best though, as some games like The Tower of Druaga do not really need HD rumble and it ends up taking away from the experience.

But aside from these additions, is the game worth getting? Well that depends on how much you like retro games. If you do not like the older era which could be more simplistic, then you will not like this collection all that much. That said, these are excellent games, and the addition of Pac-Man VS. is a great one, even with the need for multiple systems to use the multiplayer to its full effect.  With the games included, it comes out to a reasonably priced package and could be a great introduction to the retro scene. HD Rumble and challenge mode may not appeal much to some, but if you are curious about the older games but need just a little more to push you into buying them, you could do a lot worse.

For retro fans, I would definitely recommend this collection. For fans of modern gaming, I would say take a look before you buy. These aren’t the 90’s era bombastic arcade games but a more simplistic style. That said, I think I for my money’s worth with games like Splatterhouse, Sky Kid, The Tower of Druaga, and Rolling Thunder. It is worth checking out, but be aware it may not be to your liking.

 

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Batman and Superman are two of the most well known superheroes ever created. In fact, I would say they are the most famous ones. It is common to see fans of the characters express their thoughts, but one thing always annoys me. The claim that Batman is better than Superman.

For many reasons, this is foolish. Not just because if there was a fight within actual canon, there is no way Batman could win, but rather looking at the characters and seeing what they represent.

Batman, is a symbol of fear. That’s been a part of the mythos since the origin was given. He chose the bat to strike fear into the hearts of criminals. That isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but lets continue. Batman has devoted himself to his life of crimfighting to the point that it takes priority over all else. In many ways,  Bruce Wayne is just a mask for Batman, who is the true personality. And what kind of personality does he have? That of a traumatized child unable to cope with a tragedy.  He fights the villains in Gotham, but more than one character has suggested that his presence actually attracts the villains to Gotham, making things worse.  In fact, the Joker calls Batman out on his mental state several times, notably in The Killing Joke, where he suggests Batman had “one bad day”. Obviously someone who recruits children into his war on crime, and is willing to build a satellite to spy on everyone, isn’t the most stable of individuals.

Batman has contingency plans to take down other heroes if they go rouge, but figures one isn’t needed for him, the man with billions, who can take down the Justice League.  If anything, Batman is one step away from being a supervillain himself. I wondered why that hadn’t been explored more, but then I realized it had been, just with another name you may have heard of: Lex Luthor. But while Lex is more motivated by jealousy and greed, the scary thing is that he still comes off as more stable at times than Batman, given how he is able to outsmart both Batman and Superman. Batman symbolism is less one of comfort and more one of fear and tyranny. While Lex needs to maintain his image, what would stop Batman from just deciding he can fix everything? Batman is a dangerously unstable character if you really think about it.

Now let us look at Superman. Superman is the opposite of Batman in ways people don’t think about. Not just because he has amazing powers, but rather what he represents. He is a symbol of hope, and a source of inspiration. Whereas Batman creates fear, Superman inspires hope in people. This can be traced to his origin as well. Yes he was sent from krypton as a baby to escape its destruction, but he was also raised by a kindly couple in Ma and Pa Kent. They raised him with good values and to be a good person. Superman is said to stand for Truth, Justice and The American Way, but what does that mean. Truth and Justice are easy to understand, but The American Way? The American Way is actually simple and isn’t what most people think it is. Its the one idea that has driven America from its beginnings and still does. If you feel something is wrong, you fight to change it. From the revolution, to the civil war, to the civil rights movements, this has been the driving philosophy in America, you fight for what is right.

Superman  isn’t just an all powerful alien. Whereas I feel Bruce Wayne is a mask for Batman, I feel that the consensus is wrong, Superman is a mask Clark Kent wears. The idea of an evil Superman can make for a good villain, but Superman as a character doesn’t make sense to be evil. Whereas Batman noted he wont kill, but he does hurt people, Superman is more likely to try and resolve a situation without harm if possible. He will only release his power against someone who can take it. If anything, it is Superman who feels more human than Batman. And as noted above, his enemy is Lex Luthor, who is someone Batman could easily become. Superman may have powers far beyond what humans have, but he acts and feels human, whereas Batman is essentially hanging on by a thread to his sanity. The excellent comic story “What’s so funny about Truth, Justice, And The American Way?” proves why Superman is an amazing character in contrast to darker and edgier characters. When contrasted against the Elite, he proves their reasoning flawed and shows that not only does his way work, but they are little more than psychopaths.

It all comes down to symbols in the end. Batman represents fear and control, and Superman represents hope and justice. I know which one I feel is better.

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The above was the opinion of the author and does not necessarily reflect the views of ROG or its staff.

By Jonathan Balofsky On 28 Jul, 2017 At 04:48 PM | Categorized As Featured, PC Games, Reviews, ROG News | With 0 Comments

No GravatarKnights of Pen and Paper was one of the most ridiculous and awesome games I have ever played. It was a brilliant spin on RPG games and I honestly could not get enough of it. The game has now received a sci-fi themed successor called Galaxy of Pen and Paper and I can honestly say that it more than lives up to its predecessor.

Galaxy of Pen and Paper is, like Knights, a parody of RPGs and Tabletop RPGS in particular while still showing off why they are awesome. There is an increased character variety in this game and more options become available gradually. As well, the game has much more interaction when it comes to the story. These boil down to choices and while they don’t do much for the outcome ( besides jokes here and there), they do make a difference for your character. Choosing a character is much more detailed in this game and that is a great touch. The narrative in general just feels more developed and the world itself more vivid. And this is all done with minimalist graphics to boot!.

The combat in the game has more variety and there are a lot more options for what you can imagine doing. Even going to different areas feels more improved, and restoring health is handled much better. As for the story itself? Galaxy of Pen and Paper continues its predecessor’s charm and has the same witty dialogue and writing. The story is funny and yet isn’t meant to be anything spectacular, instead just paying tribute through parody to the gaming conventions that we love.

Galaxy of Pen and Paper  is an incredible game, with great music and a fun atmosphere. If you want a game that will just be a fun time and not give you issues, then this is the game for you. I must highly recommend it.

 

 

 

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Disclaimer

A code was provided for this review

By Jonathan Balofsky On 28 Jul, 2017 At 04:53 PM | Categorized As Featured, PC Games, Reviews, ROG News | With 0 Comments

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Twin Stick Shooters are a staple of the indie gaming scene. This is good for me, as I love the genre, but the fact is that many of the games fall into the same tropes and conventions as all the others. Some differentiate themselves by becoming more character based, some by having a story to them, while others try something a little different. Solstice Chronicles: MIA is a Twin Stick Shooter that makes heavy use of tactical strategy.  It has been done before, but somehow, the developers found a way to make it stand out. Whether its the unique environments or atmosphere, or the deeper gameplay, Solstice Chronicles: MIA manages to shine. brightly.

Story plays a much bigger role in this game than I expected, and the narrative did manage to keep me hooked for a while, but what sold me on it was the fact that you cannot rush in guns blazing. In fact, in many instances you must decide whether to attack or retreat. This is not something I’ve seen done all that much in the genre and it helped keep things fresh for me. Add into that, the skill tree and leveling elements, and you have one of the most unique twin stick shooters ever.

It is not perfect, and does get repetitive at times, and there are moments that throw you off due to a difficulty spike, but these are not big issues. Solstice Chronicles: MIA  is one of the most developed and well designed twin stick shooters ever made. It manages to have a unique identity and has it without going down a path that will lead only to infamy. When I heard the premise of the game, I did not expect I would enjoy it that much, which made it a very pleasant surprise that I did.

Solstice Chronicles: MIA  is a game I would recommend to all twin stick shooter fans, but also fans of action and strategy action games. You cannot go wrong with this one.

 

 

 

 

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Disclaimer: A review code was provided

By John Kinsella On 28 Jul, 2017 At 02:58 PM | Categorized As Featured, News, NINTENDO, Nintendo Switch, PC Games, Reviews, Reviews, ROG News | With 0 Comments

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I and Me, is a short and sweet game, about a small cat. Now this is no ordinary cat, as this cat has a clone of sorts. They both do whatever the other does and it is up to the you to guide them. Throughout the story and its 90 level delving through the four seasons you will learn about this main character. The main character originally is interested in this clone, but as the game progresses it is clear this excitement begins to wane. It would be like that really, you’d be excited for a new experience but as it wore on it would of course get tedious. Finding notes throughout the platformer you will learn about this cat, a smart and witty creature who is just trying to get through life.

This is a peaceful game led by beautiful music where you guide two kittens through trials. Dodge porcupines and spikes, and take a picture when you are done., this game is unbelievably charming. It is one of the cutest games I’ve played in a long time, and after losing my old cat in June this game affected me in a way I didn’t think possible. I imagined my cat living in an idyllic world like in this game, just trying to get through this. The world is a beautiful one and playing as a cat of course my mind would wander. I really think that this was a good thing as I realized that she was probably doing well, and even though I cried, she wouldn’t be happy about it.

I and Me is a game worth playing for anyone who likes platformers and anyone who wonders what it would be like to have a clone follow you around.The writing is witty and the game is pretty easy. Now, for me it wasn’t so easy because I’m not much of a platformer but it doesn’t take itself so seriously so playing levels again and again felt good.

I and Me is available on Nintendo Switch and Steam. If you have a hankering to play as two cute kittens, then download it. It really isn’t all that expensive especially with 90 levels to travel through!

By Zoe Howard On 27 Jul, 2017 At 07:43 PM | Categorized As Featured, NINTENDO, Reviews, Reviews, ROG News | With 0 Comments

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You would think with the backlash from games like Titanfall 1 and Star Wars Battlefront developers would have learned that releasing games that are only a glorified versus modes is a bad idea, especially when your game visually mirrors (almost to a point of infringement) the already popular hit Minecraft. Yet Cube Pixel Action Hero offers enough of a novel concept of the classic FPS game that it was worth the look.

Let’s start with the basics. Typically that would be to explain the story, but this game doesn’t have one. Even though it says it has a single player mode, it is simply practicing against A.I. enemies. Why this actually exists when the game only allows you up to two players seems kind of odd.

The main mode is called creative which allows you to build your own levels to fight in. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Being allowed to build and save your own levels to fight in is actually a fun idea for a first person shooter. If you have played Minecraft then you already know how this mode works. Remove the blocks you don’t want and place the blocks you do. You won’t be lost trying to use the game interface and items either. The in-game menus work and look a lot like those in Minecraft. This will allow for the quick building of levels since there isn’t that much you actually have to learn.

The biggest downfall of the games create mode is the size limitation. The space you are given to build in is extremely small. Blood Gulch from Halo Is like a whole continent compared to the space you have to work with here. Once you see the maps already available in the game you will realize this is how they all are. The whole game is close quarters combat, which makes sense when you realize this game, based on FPS multiplayer, is local play only. There won’t be any massive online skirmishes here. In fact, there is only two players maximum in the game so getting friends together to play is barely an option unless you like playing one-on-one tournaments.

In practice mode, you fight A.I. opponents who have guns. You get five maps to chose from and five lives to survive. This is where the game’s core idea comes into play. With the game being a first person shooter that utilizes Minecraft mechanics, you can break through walls and the ground and create your own traps and paths to the enemies. This means the world is yours to work with and use to try to gain an advantage. This mechanic actually works really well. I was in the game quickly breaking walls to escape enemies as soon as it began. The only problem is the poor programming of the computer opponents. There is no diversity in what the A.I. opponents do. They just move towards you from across the map and make no attempt (outside of Halo jumping) to avoid the bullets. Knowing exactly where you are at all times, they can move on you quickly. This takes a lot of the creative elements out of the game and makes it strictly a kill them all as they approach scenario.

Zombie mode is just your average wave challenge in an incredibly small area (about the size of a basketball court). You get five maps that are slightly smaller than those in practice mode. There is no variety in how this is done. The item drops are frequent and keep you well stocked. The zombies either just run at you or Halo jump to avoid the bullets. Run backward in a circle and time your shots and you will generally plow through them. It took me no real effort to get to wave 18. The biggest challenge this mode offers are the runners who move as fast as you do. The first wave boss at level 10 never got close to me.

There are pre-made characters that are all caricatures of action heroes. Much in the style of BroForce, the characters are pretty obvious. Sylvester Stallone, Bruce Lee and many other likenesses are represented here. Sadly there is only one pre built female character out of the 18 prebuilt templates and if she is supposed to be someone famous then I don’t know her. Seriously, how hard would it be to make an Ellen Ripley from Aliens or Sarah Connor from Terminator 2? The character likenesses are as far as the references go. They all share the same bland male voice that really does nothing. This includes the lone female character.

The game does have a character designer mode that lets you customize a character to use in the game. This is a pretty good feature considering you can use the stylus on the Game Pad’s screen to do some creative work. This would be a pretty nice feature if they actually included a few other options. As with the pre-made characters, they all share the same voice. Considering that is the main source of reaction from the character (pre-made or custom) it makes the experience bland and makes the characters forgettable.

There are two big gripes with this game. The first is the first thing you will experience in the game. The title screen and the options all require the touch pad to use. There is no ability to use the arrow keys and buttons to move through the menus. I don’t know if this is maybe because it was planned as a mobile game or what, but it makes the game really annoying every time I had to go back to the menus.  What makes this even funnier is that the touch screen isn’t used at all in the actual game. While this is a good thing, it just makes me ask why they have touch screen function at all, especially considering how hard they are to use. You have to be precise with how you touch the buttons or it won’t register.

The second issue in the game is the gun mechanics. The target reticule is pretty big for most of the guns. The zombies will run fast and Halo Jump (seriously, why is this an acceptable mechanic?) when you target them. You have to be precise with your shots. This is made more difficult with the wide bullet spread of many of the guns. While this isn’t impossible to get used to, it does point out that the targeting could be tightened a bit.

In the end, this game was just not that fun. The little bit of creativity they added to the FPS genre doesn’t hold the game above its shortcomings. This honestly feels like it should be called My First Multiplayer Shooter. It really gives the impression that it was made for kids. Yet there is some creativity and challenge that they tried to put in place for the adults.

The game is six dollars and some change. If you want a game that is like Minecraft with guns, you could have some fun with this. I think my nephew might enjoy it, but this is a really hard game to recommend. I want to end with a positive thought. Their seed of inspiration. The idea of using the Minecraft mechanics in a FPS is still a solid idea. While it missed the mark in this one it could be nurtured into something far more creative and a lot more fun. I hope the company doesn’t give up on the idea and finds a way to make it more compelling.

Side note to the entire industry (both big and small developers). Single player story modes are fun and get people used to your mechanics and world before going into the multiplayer. Games without them tend to do badly. It makes the characters bland and lifeless.

By John Kinsella On 20 Jul, 2017 At 01:31 PM | Categorized As Featured, NINTENDO, Nintendo Switch, Reviews, Reviews, ROG News | With 0 Comments

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In the 90’s a new game style arose, a scary and brutal game style with games like Resident Evil coming out,showing a scary new world. Vaccine which came out on the Nintendo Switch on July 6th is trying to bring this back. In a world where graphics and beauty have become amazing, this game wants to bring back what was lost. It is really like a game from the past and while the idea is novel, it is also not really a good thing, as this style of game has aged horrendously. The characters look melty and it is hard to distinguish things. This of course is also because that is how the games in that era were, but still.

Though that isn’t to say that the game is actually bad. Vaccine tells the story of two people and one of them is always infected with a terrible virus, with you being given a half hour to save the victim before they die. The story isn’t all that important as it stays the same no matter which protagonist you choose. The whole mansion is always different after the first room where you will always find a knife. You might find a gun or other items but usually you just find the undead. You can’t just go and learn the mansion which makes the game all the more tense and strategic. One playthrough, you might even be lucky enough to instantly find the antidote.

This game is unlike other games like this though, because of an RPG like experience system. Your characters gain experience which will carry through if you win. This game also has one more twist up its sleeve. When you win, you can play again of course. But this time you will have less time and this continues to decrease with each victory. Not only does this game pose the challenge of changing up the mansion with each playthrough, but each win subtracts precious time.

Personally, I cannot for the life of me, see myself playing through this game enough times to see how many minutes get taken off, but it is an interesting idea. Certainly there will be people who play it until the clock will not drain anymore and I salute them for that drive.

While this game might have a lot going for it, it really shows how far we have come. To see a company decide to make a game in part for nostalgia shows that this is important in a way. But, honestly this style really has aged poorly. The game looks terrible blown up on a TV, but it does look good on the Switch in handheld mode. The music drives the tenseness as well, and makes it worth playing in handheld mode. CRT mode is also usable though, which brings on even more nostalgia. So turn on CRT mode and plug in some headphones and try not get to scared.

All in all, Vaccine is a game that is worth playing. If you want a cheap horror game and were a fan of 90’s horror games than this is for you. Younger gamers may not enjoy this game simply because of how it looks but it really is worth it. Really though this game could be the start of a younger gamer’s new fascination with older games and that really would be cool.

So, take your Switch, turn off the light and save your ally from the terrible virus. With only a will to succeed and a knife you will be in for a long fight.

Vaccine is out right now on the Nintendo Switch!