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No GravatarThe following is an opinion piece and only reflects the author’s views and not neccesarily that of the rest the Real Otaku Gamer staff.

 

2016 was a big year for gaming. Some new franchises came into being, and some series received amazing sequels. Join me as I list my top ten games of 2016. Just a note, I will only include games that I have actually played, so no Overwatch or Uncharted 4. This list will also include indie games.

10) AVGN II ASSimilation

Angry Video Game Nerd adventures was a brilliant indie game and spoof of bad retro games. AVGN 2 picks up where the first game left off and builds on it to make a game that is bigger and better in everyway. A full worldmap, a lot more levels, new powerups and ecouraging of replays, and tons of crass humor that just makes you laugh. The game referenced more games, the AVGN movie and even Board James, and is a treat for fans of James Rolfe. I cannot say enough good about this game, it is a brilliant parody of bad games while being awesome in its own right.

 

9) Tokyo Mirage Sessions #FE

The sole Nintendo game on the list, TMS #FE was a great RPG for a sytem starving for more of that genre. What was thought to be a fusion of Shint Megami Tensei and Fire Emblem’s play styles and elements, it actually turned out to play much more like Persona for the Wii U with the Fire Emblem as the personas and enemies. While some were put off by what the product was, it ended up being one of the best Nintendo games of the last decade. This was a brilliant game with a fun combat system and detailed plot that a player could lose themselves in for hours. This in many ways is a new IP with guest appearances from the FE characters, and hopefully this gets a sequel. Nintendo got themselves a brilliant RPG and this is one to be remembered.

8) King of Fighters XIV

While Street Fighter V got all the attention this year, it was actually SNK’s fighter that was the superior game. A complete experience and not barebones at launch, KOF XIV had something for everyone. It had good signle players modes as well as multiplayer modes, and there as inceintive to play the arcade mode with different teams to unlock secrets. The new characters were mostly fun and engaging and even some of the ones receivess less warmly turned out to be well thought out. SNK has been quick to fix any issues with the game, including fixing the online, and an upcoming patch to upgrade the visuals. As well, they have been evaluating fan interest in DLC characters for the game, so expect to see this title be supported for a while at least. This is perhaps the second best fighting game of 2016.

7)  Shantae: Half-Genie Hero

A late entry into this list, Shantae: Half-Genie Hero was a major surprise to me in terms of how much of an upgrade it was over the previous entries. The visuals were bright and beautiful and the game was nothing like I expected. I don’t know why, but I believed this would just be a game on the scale of Shantae and the Pirate’s Curse, just with better visuals. It turned out to be a dramatic leap for the series and showed that Shantae can be a heavy hitter in gaming. Excellent power-ups, tons of replay value ( with even more coming) and a fun, engaging narrative, made this one of the best indie games of the year.

 

6) Guilty Gear Xrd Revelator

The greatest fighting game released in 2016, Guilty Gear Xrd Revelator did something so few fighting games do these days, and did as much as it could to make itself accessible. The tutorial was unlike anything else and truly taught you how to play the game. The fighting was top notch and perfected from previous iterations, and the online was much better than ever. In fact the lobby system in the game was extremely innovative and helped make the experience much more worthwhile. While the story mode lacked the English dub of the previous title, it still was a welcome experience and did its job in answering details about the Guilty Gear story. This was just the most refined fighting experience in a long time and needs to be played by all.

5) Dragon Ball Xenoverse 2

This game can be best summed up as bigger and better. Bandai Namco took all the positives of the first game while taking a look at what didn’t work, then went about fixing those issues.  The fighting feels more epic, the visuals are far better, and the story mode feels a lot more engaging this time.  With a large amount of characters, including some from Dragon Ball Super, Xenoverse 2 has something for everyone. Even the online is overhauled and this time it feels far more worthwhile to do co-op. It does reuse much of the original game but that isn’t a bad thing. This just feels like a better version of the first game.

4) Digimon Story: Cyber Sleuth

This one caught me by surprise. A game that combined the world of Digimon, with the design and feel of the Persona series, Digimon Story: Cyber Sleuth is a bold departure for the series. This game is one that I would recommend not only for Digimon fans, but also non-fans, as it is extremely accessible to all. The game feels like nothing else Bandai Namco has done with the Digimon series yet and I want more of this.  A detailed story, deep combat system and likeable characters, Cyber Sleuth has a lot to offer players of the RPG genre, especially those who are still waiting for Persona 5. This game was a hidden gem this year and I recommend it for all.

3) Shadow Warrior 2

This one is good. The previous Shadow Warrior was a game that helped get first person shooters out of the rut they were stuck in. It successfully revived the series while not compromising on what the original was, and made it a great experience. Shadow Warrior 2 makes the first game seem like a tech demo in comparison. Everything is on a grander scale, with vastly improved graphics and combat. The game uses a procedural generated level system to ensure no two replays are the same and it is better for it. This time around, there is a co-op mode that allows you to team up with 3 others and coordinate your playthrough differently. The best part about that is that the gameplay is scaled for co-op so it is never too easy or too hard. Also important is that the game does not act condescendingly towards people who play on easier settings. That is something that is sadly not common anymore.

2) Dishonored 2

Dishonored was an amazing game but this one takes it to the next level. Dishonored 2 is an epic experience that offers so much more than the previous entry. You can play as Emily or Corvo, with both having unique playstyles. This allows for a lot more replay value, especially when you are given multiple ways to play with those characters. The visuals are far better and the overall presentation is excellent. Even the music is great and helps bring you deeper into the gameplay. This is the best stealth game released in a very long time, if not ever and the action elements are so expertly woven in, that it just feels completely natural to shift to attacking. The various abilities you get in the game just make you feel like a badass and that is a welcome feeling. The game brings so much to the table that I cannot say enough good things about this

1) DOOM

The absolute best game of the year bar none ( that I’ve played), DOOM shows you how to revive a classic IP. We were all worried about this game based off the beta, which only showed the multiplayer, as well as the fact that the game wasn’t given to critics in advance. The fears were for naught luckily as DOOM is amazing. Fast paced shooting, with gory action, yet a well developed character who doesn’t need to say anything. The game perfectly marries story telling and gameplay into one in a better way than Half Life ever did, and the result is amazing.  This just feels like a proper return to form, not only for the Doom series but for the FPS genre in general. Many have been too dragged down in storytelling or rote gameplay, but DOOM shows the right way to do it. An amazing soundtrack that really gets your heart pumping for battle, and an amazing arsenal that keeps things fresh. The game’s SnapMap function also brings a form of modding to consoles, as well as giving you an endless amount of content to play through. Bethesda and Id software have been consistently updating the game with both free updates and DLC and all of it is welcome. This is an absolute must play for everyone.

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Shantae: Half-Genie Hero was in development for a number of years. Funded via kickstarter and paypal donations, the game was incredibly ambitious in scope, but kept getting delayed. Many were worried that the game would end up being another kickstarter disaster, but after just five minutes of playing, I realized that the game was more than worth the wait.

Shantae HGH is a beautiful game, that must be stated. Forget how the series has looked in the past, this game is gorgeous beyond belief. The videos and screenshots do not do this game justice, the game has to be seen to be believed. The animation is so water-like and with a buttery smooth framerate, it looks unbelievable.  The music is also far above the previous games, with fully voiced tracks right from the very beginning ( and what a start it was), and throughout the game the music stays amazing. Some of the best video game music of 2016 is in this game right here and that is saying something.

Gameplay is similar but also a little different to previous Shantae games. The game is less metroidvania ,and more linear and stage based., but replaying levels multiple times is greatly encouraged, especially since you can only access certain areas of the levels once you have the appropriate power-ups to go where you need. Shantae still attacks with her hair, which can be upgraded repeatedly, and she can use power-ups as well as magic to make things easier for herself. In fact, it is not smart to go into some of the boss battles without some attack magic. Speaking of bosses, they are amazing in this game and range from quirky to epic encounters, all of which are memorable ones.

With an amazing level design, and creative bosses and enemy A.I., Shantae : Half-Genie Hero has a lot going for it, but that is not all. The game still has that quirky sense of humor that the previous games had, but the story just makes it shine so much brighter. No spoilers here, but this entry in the series has the best writing yet by far. WayForward Technologies set out to create the ultimate Shantae game and they did. I honestly cannot find faults with it at this moment. If I did not recommend this, I would be an idiot.  Buy it now!

 

By Jonathan Balofsky On 19 Dec, 2016 At 07:13 PM | Categorized As Featured, News, NINTENDO, Reviews, Reviews, ROG News, Uncategorized | With 0 Comments

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There is always some controversy when one game takes too much inspiration from another. With indie games modelled after well known series, this can be a serious issue unless there are mitigating circumstances.  In the case of Citidale: Gate of Souls, there are many mitigating factors, since while it is no doubt a Castlevania clone, it does have enough differences. As well, the fact that Konami has taken certain actions as of late that have proven controversial, has led some to feel this game is a justified creation.

Let’s not make any mistakes, this is clearly based on Castlevania and in fact, evolved out of a fan game version of Castlevania Legends. However, I feel the game does stand on its own merits and made enough changes.  The pixel art style is absolutely great, and the music is amazing. The music really reminds me of some of the best of the NES era and that is always a plus. It has a haunting nature to it, that just fits well with the setting of the game.

The gameplay is well designed and the game has an innovative hook. The game can be played entirely on the gamepad, with the TV showing an extended map that shows more areas and even hidden ones. Or if you want, you can switch the setup so the map is on the gamepad and a single screen is shown on the TV. The enemy design is good and the power-ups all work fine, but there is one issue. The game feels very slow moving at times, and I do not mean the pace. I mean the game itself feels like it is moving slowly. This can throw you off or be annoying, but it is not a major issue and you can easily adjust to it. It is just something to keep in mind.

Overall, I feel this is a game that follows the path fangames should. It changed itself just enough to stand as its own thing with its own identity. It feels different enough that I feel this is a legitimate game and should not provoke controversy. As for the game itself? Aside from the slow feeling, I liked it. It has great music, good action and enemy design, and was fun. I must recommend it.

By Jonathan Balofsky On 14 Dec, 2016 At 12:09 AM | Categorized As Featured, News, NINTENDO, Reviews, Reviews, ROG News | With 0 Comments

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I love 2D Shoot em Ups, especially those in the classic arcade style. So when one comes along that is trying something new, that will get my interest. But will the end result be any good?

Teslapunk is a shoot em up full of ideas. It wants to have a narrative like some others as well as be a fun and intense shooter. The problem is that the way it goes about this doesn’t mix well. The shooter aspects are well explained and straightforward. It is a bit repetitive at times, but is still fun in its own way and can definitely be challenging.

The issue is where the game puts messages and stuff like that, at the side of the screen. This immediately draws your attention away from the action and can lead to you dying repeatedly. It is the developers attempt to tell a story and have an engaging villain but it just distract you most of the time, and ends up detracting from the experience. That is a shame, because as mentioned above, the shoot em up elements are actually kind of fun. The game has amazing visuals, and the soundtrack is amazing. The soundtrack is the one part of the narrative focus of the game that does not detract from the gameplay and works to enhance it, but it does not make up for the game’s faults.

Teslapunk can be commended for trying to innovate in a genre where doing so is incredibly difficult. But the way they did so just made things worse. I cannot recommend this at the current time.

 

 

Disclaimer : A review code was provided for this game.

By Jonathan Balofsky On 1 Dec, 2016 At 11:16 PM | Categorized As Featured, News, NINTENDO, Reviews, Reviews, ROG News | With 0 Comments

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Indie games are getting more and more creative these days and many show signs of great potential. Even the ones that do not live up to their full potential still have something very good to give. But sometimes the game has good ideas but they just are not mixed through well.

Exile’s End is an ambitious game with an interesting setup. It takes on the metroidvania genre and tries to provide something new, but doesn’t really succeed. I would tell you the plot, but the truth is that the plot matters very little in this game and a lot of the time it feels like its stuck in the background for the whole game.  The gameplay feels like an attempt at being a new metroidvania but comes off as mediocre and not fully done.

A major issue I have is that the game gives very little direction or instruction, and has too much backtracking involved. Even Metroid had instructions albeit in the form of subtle gameplay clues. Exile’s End is just confusing and hard to understand what to do. You will find items and weapons but have no clue what to do with them and it makes for a frustrating experience. Combat feels awkward and clumsy and, to tie it in with the above, when you have no clue where to go in the game, that leads you to die a lot.

This game has a lot of potential, but it is all wasted and leaves you with an experience that is lacking. it isn’t a terrible game but it is not something I would recommend checking out. It has the right ideas but just does not use them in the right places. While hand holding is a bad thing, a little guidance isn’t. And awkward controls and a confusing layout will just lead to a lot of headaches. This game could have been so much more, but it just is not. I would pass on this.

By Jonathan Balofsky On 10 Nov, 2016 At 10:17 PM | Categorized As Featured, News, News, NINTENDO, Reviews, ROG News | With 0 Comments

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Many indie games were put forth on kickstarter with Wii U goals in mind. Twisted Fusion is a game made with Wii U in mind, and funded via kickstarter, but is it any good?

I wanted to like this game, I really did. I was looking forward to it but there are some serious issues. First, the game takes a long time to load when you first start up. This is to get everything loaded out as soon as possible but it is extremely annoying. That said, the game does load quickly after that initial loading screen. My main issue with he game is that it doesn’t feel quite complete. The world feels empty, the combat feels half-done and the controls just don’t click at all.

The combat is a major issue as the enemies just take way too much damage to kill. It interrupts the entire gameplay and brings everything to a halt. The stronger the enemy is, the worse it gets. Expect some fights where you need to hit an enemy over 120 times to beat them ( this is on the more extreme end), and that isn’t a good fit for a metroidvania game.

Speaking of metroidvania games, for a game genre based around exploration, the world of Twisted Fusion feels empty and lacking. If this was a side scrolling platformer game, then it would not be as noticeable, but a metroidvania game needs a well developed world.

I wanted to like this game, but I don’t . I just cannot recommend this,

By Jonathan Balofsky On 28 Oct, 2016 At 03:06 PM | Categorized As Featured, News, News, NINTENDO, Reviews, Reviews, ROG News | With 0 Comments

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SteamWorld Dig was one of the most innovative indie games on the Wii U and 3DS, both in terms of game design and interaction with the environment. A successor in the SteamWorld series was all but guaranteed and it comes in the form of SteamWorld Heist, a 2D turn based strategy game with skill based shooting. Is the game any good? Or does it fall flat in its attempts?

I found SteamWorld Heist to be one of the most enjoyable strategy games I have played in a long time. You go on missions, build a crew and level up abilities and receive rankings based on how well you did. There are multiple difficulty settings, which comes in handy for players new to this genre, as well as DLC for new missions and additions for your crew. The DLC is some of the best add on content for any game and really makes the game a lot more fun.

The Wii U version boasts some amazing visuals and graphics. The art really stands out and the character designs shine brightly. The framerate is a smooth 60 fps at all times, with no hiccups which makes everything seem even better. In addition, the music is excellent and gives the game both a low-key and an epic adventure feel at the same time. So as such, I must commend Image & Form for the audio and visual designs in this game. The game even looks great when playing on the gamepad, which stands out to me since many games seem somewhat washed out on the gamepad.

If there is any fault I can find with this game, it is that the game has a difficulty curve and can take quite a while for some players to get into. I do think that if this can be overcome, then players should try it. They just need to be aware that this can be quite the tricky game. It is a great experience though, and I highly recommend it.

 

 

By Jonathan Balofsky On 21 Oct, 2016 At 02:50 PM | Categorized As Featured, News, News, NINTENDO, Reviews, Reviews, ROG News | With 0 Comments

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How to describe Ninja Pizza Girl. It isn’t like most other games available today and the best way to describe it is as a cross between Mirror’s Edge, Paperboy and Spider-Man. If that sounds strange, well it is. The game involves playing as a pizza delivery girl for her father’s shop. You must deliver the pizzas within a time limit while dealing with enemy pizza delivery agents from the megacorporation that is trying to muscle in on her father’s territory.

Gameplay is fast paced and needs to be done a short time or you fail the mission. You are delivering pizza after all, cant be too late or it loses its warmth and tastiness. You must dodge the enemies or attack at the right time in order to progress. A few mistakes can be made, but too many will make you need to restart because you will have lost far too much time. The music in the game is quite good and helps keep you focused on fast paced gameplay. It has the right touch to get you pumped up. The art is also well done and gives the game a unique feeling to it.

The gameplay is the high point of the game, but the story on the other hand? Its not all that good and has some rather cringe writing. It goes for a message about bullying and harassing but it just doesn’t come off right and feels awkward and stilted instead.

Honestly this is a hard one to talk about. The gameplay is quite decent but its story drags it down unintentionally. I would give it a play just for its gameplay though, but that is just me.

 

By Jonathan Balofsky On 12 Oct, 2016 At 11:53 PM | Categorized As Featured, News, News, NINTENDO, Reviews, Reviews, ROG News | With 0 Comments

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Rougelikes are an amazing genre of games and one that I truly enjoy. As such, I was extremely happy to hear that Quest of Dungeons was coming to Wii U. The Wii U doesn’t have a vast selection of rougelikes but it is getting some good ones.

Quest of Dungeons is a game with a simple premise. Enter the dungeons to defeat the evil dark lord. You choose from one of four classes of characters (warrior, wizard, assassin or shaman), who all play similar to each other but with some key differences when it comes to attacking and progressing. Pick the one that is right for you, and you will have a good time playing.

Quest of Dungeons is a no nonsense game, as a single mistake can kill you and force you to start over at the beginning and start your quest anew. As well, there is a unique mirroring mechanic in the game, where your movements are tied to the movements of your enemies. In this way it is very similar to traditional RPG games, which I feel gives this a unique hook.

This is a game you can get lost in, both figuratively and literally. The levels and layout are massive, so you will need the Wii U gamepad to keep track of where you are, thanks to the map on the gamepad screen. However, every time you play, everything will be different. There will be enemies in different locations, treasures and weapons elsewhere and so on.

Overall, I loved the game. I think its a great rougelike, and the visuals are extremely appealing, with the 16 bit pixel art look. Like I said above, the Wii U does not have a vast selection of rougelikes but it is getting some good ones. This game definitely counts as one of the good ones. I highly recommend it.

By Jonathan Balofsky On 10 Oct, 2016 At 09:19 PM | Categorized As Featured, News, News, NINTENDO, Reviews, ROG News | With 0 Comments

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I was a big fan of Master Reboot, a previous game by Wales Interactive on the Wii U ( among other systems). It was a good game, if a little flawed. Soul Axiom is a spiritual sequel of sorts to that game.

Soul Axiom is one of the more…unique games available. I can’t quite compare it to anything else on the eshop, and that isn’t a bad thing. The game has its high points and its low points and the two are neck in neck. Soul Axiom is a first person exploration game of sorts but I am not sure what to compare it to besides Master Reboot, and even that is slightly different.

Soul Axiom has quite a few technical issues on Wii U. The framerate stutters a rather large amount of time and the graphics seem to be vastly downgraded comparted to the PC version of the game. The textures are a mess in quite a few areas and worst of all, there are some serious control interface issues with the game. While Master Reboot had some issues with slowdown and bugs at occasions, Soul Axiom has a lot more of them and a lot more frequently. I hope a patch can come soon for the game to fix it because as it is, this is not a pleasant gaming experience.

Everything else about the game just feels very bland. The music is bland, the story is bland. Even the working gameplay mechanics just feel bland and like it takes too l0ng to get moving. I cannot recommend Soul Axiom as is, but I am willing to take a look again if a patch comes out in the future. For now, stick to Master Reboot and let this one go.