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Square Enix has announced that Dragon Quest Builders will be coming to the west this October for PlayStation 4 and PlayStation Vita. The game is a block building RPG where the goal is to rebuild the world, Alefguard, which was destroyed by the Dragonlord.  See below for more details

 

Overview

Generations ago, the realm of Alefgard was plunged into darkness when the hero fated to slay the terrible and treacherous Dragonlord, the ruler of all monsters, was instead tricked into joining him. Through this vile villain’s magical machinations, mankind was scattered to the winds and robbed of the power to build. With even the idea of creativity relegated to mere legend, the people of Alefgard wander the ruins of their former home, scrounging and scavenging in the dust to survive.

But now, a legendary figure arises – a hero chosen by the Goddess herself – who sets out to return the power of creation to the people of Alefgard. Only when the wonder of imagination has been returned to the land will mankind be able to overthrow the evil Dragonlord once and for all!

Features

  • Build a variety of unique tools from materials you gather, and rebuild towns and cities to restore life to the shattered world of Alefgard.
  • An intuitive control system will have you building the towers and castles of your dreams in no time.
  • Play your own way—an immersive Dragon Quest story and world to explore, combined with the freedom of sandbox gameplay, provides a new and exciting, family-friendly experience.
  • Battle with famous monsters from the Dragon Quest series and interact with gorgeously designed 3D characters.

 

Will you be buying the game when it comes out? Are you excited? Let us know and have a look at the trailer below.

 

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I recently had the chance to speak with Austin Harper of ScrewAttack Games and Sam Beddoes of FreakZone Games. We discussed how some of their projects came to be, what the future holds and more. Please take a read below.

JB: ScrewAttack is best known as a gaming website. What led to you guys deciding to make your own games?

AH: We are all gamers at heart and we’re really passionate about video games; we decided to take that passion for games and apply that to design. I think all of us at some point in time have daydreamed about being able to make a video game. It’s kind of a childhood dream, you know? We were just very fortunate in having a platform and a great community to support us in trying to fulfill that dream.

JB:  ScrewAttack came out with a rather interesting mobile game a few years ago called Texting of the Bread. What was the inspiration behind that?

AH: Haha, it was very much inspired by the Dreamcast game Typing of the Dead. Essentially we were sitting around talking about how cool Typing of the Dead was, and wondering why nothing like that had been done in the mobile market. We really liked the punny name we came up with, so we decided to take the theme and run with it — hence the main character with a cow strapped to her back and the hordes of gingerbread men.

JB:  What lead to the Nerd being a character in the game? Was it a test run to see how he would be in his own game?

AH: Honestly, we were just really happy that we got to make a game, a real game, with our name on it and wanted to share it with our friends.?

JB:  How was the reception to Texting of The Bread? I understand that one mobile version of the game itself was cancelled?.

AH: The reception was actually pretty good, and we wanted to bring the game to Android, but at the time the ShiVa Engine we built the game in just didn’t have Android support. Our developer made a few test builds anyway, all of them had really ridiculous bugs, like not being able to close the application without removing your battery… Long story short, we parted ways with the developers before we ever got the build completed. Though, you may hear something about our mobile titles in the near future.

JB:  Angry Video Game Nerd Adventures is probably the most well known of the games ScrewAttack has produced. How did it come about?

AH: We were talking about making a new game, specifically considering the Angry Video Game Nerd franchise, but we didn’t have a developer in mind. Around that time, Sam Beddoes of FreakZone Games reached out to us, asking us to do a review of his game, Manos: The Hands of Fate. We really liked the game and got along with Sam pretty well, and he happened to mention he was a big fan of the AVGN series. The rest just kind of clicked.

JB: Sam, how did you come to be the developer that worked on AVGN adventures? Did ScrewAttack reach out to you? What was the experience like to work on an officially licensed game based of a reviewer of crappy games? Was it intimidating?

SB: A few years back I made a similar project “MANOS: The Hands of Fate” – A retro-style adaptation of the infamously bad movie of the same name. It was a pet project which did pretty well. The idea was to adapt the movie in the way movies were adapted to games back in the 80s on the NES, and a lot of my research involved binge-watching AVGN, who I had been a big fan of for quite some time, to try and capture that “LJN” feel. Also being a big fan of ScrewAttack, I approached them to try and get MANOS some coverage, and the retro style impressed them, at which point they allowed me to pitch a collaboration to them – that pitch was AVGN Adventures, a game I’d dreamed of making since before I even started MANOS. They liked the pitch, and my life was changed!

JB:  You brought to AVGN Adventures some elements from your game Manos the Hands of Fate, based off that infamous movie. I’m curious how that game came about, being based on a notorious film from decades ago.

SB: MANOS is an interesting one. I’ve been fond of watching terrible movies with friends for as far back as I can remember, and when I caught Mystery Science Theater 3000: The Movie on TV I ended up obsessively watching that show on the internet (we didn’t have the show here in England, only the movie, which was essentially just a higher budget episode!), and through MST3K I discovered the film MANOS. Since I’d been making games as a hobby since the late 90s, my “bad movie buddy” Chris and I always joked about making a game of MANOS, how it’d be adapted, how it’d play. We joked around with the idea of a point and click adventure, for example. Whilst reading about the history of that film one day I found out that the film and everything in it was in the public domain due to the director’s failure to take all the necessary steps to copyright a work back in the time it came out (similar to what happened with George A. Romero’s “Night of the Living Dead”, thus giving birth to the entire zombie genre), and I was amused to think that I actually COULD make MANOS due to this! I believe I was thinking about AVGN when I realized how much fun it’d be to adapt MANOS the way game developers adapted movies on the NES in the 80s, and so I went for it – The main idea would be to “celebrate badness with something good”; to include all of the tropes of bad game adaptations and bad movies alike, but without making the game itself bad! Not long after the release of the game, I was befriended by most of the remaining cast of the original film, so I suppose you could even say it’s the “official” video game adaptation at this point.

JB:  What is your philosophy to game design and what are some of your biggest influences and inspirations in gaming? I’m talking about both games and game developers.

 SB: I like to keep things simple, challenging, fun and exciting! My greatest influences on my platformers are Yoshi’s Island, Mega Man X and the original Sonic games, but I also find myself inspired by some modern indie developers like Edmund McMillan and the guys at WayForward. Of course not forgetting the masters themselves, Miyamoto, Inafune, Igarashi. There’s so much more, though. Games have been an enormous part of my life and they’ve never not been inspiring me, so it’s a tough question to ask!

JB:  What do you personally hope to Accomplish with AVGN adventures II? Will it come to consoles like the first game did?

SB: Regarding Consoles, that’s up to ScrewAttack to talk about, but obviously that’s something I really hope to see happen. As for the game itself, we’ve learned a lot since the first, so I hope not just to make fans of the original happy, but perhaps win over some people who weren’t too smitten with the first game as well!

JB: Austin, Disorder is an interesting game. How did that one come about and how has the reception been?

AH: Chad and Craig were walking the floor and checking out indie games down at SXSW Gaming when they came across Disorder. Both of the guys thought it was a really awesome game and spent the weekend hanging out with the Swagabyte Games team. After a night of playing games together and drinking, we decided to take on the project as the publisher. Disorder is a different tone than our other titles, it’s bit more serious in subject matter, but most everyone who has played it has responded pretty positively.

JB:  Jump ‘N’ Shoot is an awesome throwback to classic games but I have to ask, why is it on mobile devices only?

AH: Jump’N’Shoot Attack is kind of Sam’s passion project to try and bring a real platforming game experience to the mobile phone that gamers will enjoy.

JB:  Is there any chance there may one day be a Death Battle game? I understand it would be a licensing nightmare but you could use stand ins/obvious parodies for the real characters and even include Wiz and Boomstick (and Jocelyn).

AH: It has definitely been talked about, but at this point I can’t really say much either way.

JB:  Do you see ScrewAttack continuing to pursue video game production? If so, what are some genres that you would like to see tackled?

AH: I think, like with most things, we’ll continue doing it as long as it makes sense and people enjoy it. Being a super small publishing team, we try to focus on a limited number of projects so we can give proper attention to them all. I can say that I’m busy for the foreseeable future. I think one of the hardest genres to do well is horror.

JB:  Do you have any regrets about how things were done in any of the games ScrewAttack produced?

AH: Looking back, if we could do it over again we would have launched Texting of the Bread with a Free to play model.

JB: Have there been any games that ScrewAttack was producing that have ended up being cancelled along the way that people are not aware of?

AH: There have been a few publishing opportunities that didn’t pan out. One example was a small development team that disbanded before the contract was finalized. It’s a bummer, because it was an awesome game that will never see the light of day. I hope one day they reconnect and continue work on the game.

JB:  Do you have anything that you would like to say to the audience of Teal Otaku Gamer?

AH: Thanks so much for reading the interview! If you’re a fan of retro inspired games, we hope you’ll check out our stuff!

Thank you again for doing this.

 

You can follow ScrewAttack on Twitter at @ScrewAttack, Austin can be followed at @PotatoHound and Sam at @FreakZoneGames

 

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Indie games on the Wii U come in a large variety of genres and the puzzle platformers are among the best. The Beggar’s Ride is a puzzle platformer that does the genre right and tries its best to bring in new ideas.

The Beggar’s Ride makes use of both in game powerups as well as the Wii U gamepad for puzzle solving and progression. The gamepad is used for both touchscreen interactivity and motion controls, the likes of which have only been seen in a few games on the system. But is it fun? I would say so, and it is most certainly one of the most inviting games on the system. The kind that tries all it can to bring you in and keep playing. I liked what I played of it but I will admit that it is not for everyone. The aforementioned puzzle elements involving the gamepad will no doubt alienate many as it requires a significantly higher amount of paying attention than most puzzle games. However if you can get past the controls, then fun will be had.

The Beggar’s Ride is one of the most beautiful games I’ve seen on Wii U, with an art style that helps its gameplay seem more involving than most others. It really has to be seen in motion to be understood. Combined with its control scheme, The Beggar’s Ride is a game that presents itself as more than just another game. The music in the game is great and really helps you get into the experience as well. It is the kind of music that makes you feel like you are becoming part of something.

Bottom line, if you want a puzzle platformer that offers a new experience, then I suggest trying this out. If you are turned off by new control schemes, then look elsewhere.

 

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No GravatarSometimes there are very special games that will forever hold a place in the heart of gamers. Chrono Trigger is one of those games. It is a game that is often hailed as being one of the best RPGs of all time and, in many cases, can be considered on of the greatest games of all time, period. Here are the reasons why:

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Chrono Trigger is a role-playing game developed by Square (now Square Enix) for the Super Nintendo Entertainment System (SNES). The game was created by a team of extremely talented individuals, including Final Fantasy’s creator, Hironobu Sakaguchi. It was published in 1995 with critical success and was the third best-selling game of that year. Chrono Trigger was later ported to the PlayStation in 1999 and then repackaged in 2001 with Final Fantasy IV as “Final Fantasy Chronicles.” With such critical and commercial success, it has been later ported to the mobile platforms of the Nintendo DS, iOS, and Android. It is a revolutionary game that spawned the sequel Chrono Cross and gave a lot of fans some very happy memories.

The game follows Crono, a main character who never speaks during the game, Marle, a princess, and Lucca, Crono’s super-smart friend. During a Millennial Fair for the time period of AD 1000 in their world, Lucca and her father demonstrate a new teleporter. Unfortunately, it doesn’t work quite like it was supposed to and teleports Crono, Marle, and Lucca in time. They bounce around both forward and backward in time, learning about a creature named Lavos that wipes out civilization. The party is then determined to do what they can to save the world through time travel.

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It is a fantastic story, filled with twists and turns. Players end up traveling between seven different eras with their distinct characters, setting, and feel. Along the way, you meet the wonderful characters of Robo, Ayla, Magus, and the best and coolest video game character of all time, Frog. That’s my opinion, and I’m sticking to it. Trust me, though. Frog is freaking amazing.

One of the many revolutionary aspects of Chrono Trigger was the possibility of multiple endings. However, there were other advancements including plot-related, character-driven sidequests. These may not seem like a big deal today, but in 1995, that was unheard of.

Though the game play is a fairly standard RPG, there were several new ideas to come forth as well. Done with beautiful two-dimensional graphics (that still look good, by the way), the player can roam around in an overworld typical of RPGs of the time and visit different areas. Each area has things to interact with, whether it be people to talk to, puzzles to solve, or enemies to defeat. One change to the traditional RPG is that Chrono Trigger has random encounters for enemies, some which may be visible and some that will ambush you. Unlike other RPGs at the time as well, the game’s battles take place in the same map area instead of being whisked off to a different screen.

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During fights with enemies, Chrono Trigger uses an active battle approach. Each character can do an action based off of a personal timer that is affected by that character’s stats. Characters can either do a straight attack or use their Techs, which use their magic points. One unique feature for the time was the ability to do combined attacks with characters using the Techs. The characters can double or triple their Tech use to create an even greater effect.

The game play is a lot of fun and allows a player to use many tactics to defeat enemies. Another really cool element that Chrono Trigger officially introduced was the New Game+ feature that allowed players to keep their characters’ stats, techniques, and inventory when playing a new game. This helped players go through the multiple endings easier. Though this idea may have been used in earlier games, from my research, it does look like Chrono Trigger was the first to actually use the term “New Game+.” Pretty awesome, right?

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One of my favorite game elements of Chrono Trigger is actually the soundtrack. It was primarily done by Yasunori Mitsuda, who had some help with the legendary Final Fantasy composer, Nobuo Uematsu. The shear amount of tracks for the game was an amazing feat for the time frame. The music is otherworldly and consists of some amazing songs, one of which is my all-time favorite: Frog’s Theme. Seriously, whenever I do something cool, I start humming it. Yes, the song is THAT epic.

Chrono Trigger took some giant leaps forward for gaming. It helped push some of the gaming elements that we all love so much in modern RPGs, especially Western RPGs. The game will always hold a special place in my heart, and I am planning on making it the first game that my daughter and I play together. It is just THAT amazing.

By Ramon Rivera On 2 May, 2016 At 11:00 PM | Categorized As Featured, Nintendo 3DS, Portable/Mobile Gaming, Reviews, Reviews | With 0 Comments
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Justice Chronicles is Kemco’s latest release on the Nintendo 3DS eshop, and it puts us in the role of Kline, a novice High Beast Knight who is sent on reconnaissance into Laft,the Earth-Depths. There he comes across Alia, a Battle Maiden who has suffered terrible injuries and is close to death.  In order to help her, he forms a partnership with the God of Death, Rooselevy.  Alia lives, but in return, the young knight must give up his life. In a world on the brink of war, the newly acquainted duo must fight destiny itself in order to save the world from the ever creeping darkness that is threatening to consume everything.  I absolutely love JRPGs.  If they give me a world in the brink of destruction and a team of unlikely heroes, I am a happy man.  Justice Chronicles is a good example of a good JRPG that can keep you playing for a long time (well all JRPGs are HUGE ordeals but you get the idea).

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You first start the game you play as Kline, and you are a novice High Beast Knight.  However, since you are not a rival yet, the reconnaissance mission into Laft serves as a test of your abilities.  When you get to Laft, you encounter Josh, a strange creature who is your guide to the mine where you must gather information about your enemies.  Needless to say, something goes wrong, and your team prioritizes the mission and left Kline alone while he is fighting a monster called “Vasist” trying to save the life of a girl.  After that he forms a partnership with the God of Death, Rooselevy, and becomes a “Rivel”(Rivels are warriors that fight with the help of a high Beast).  Since Rooselevy is sneaky, Kline must give his life for his aid.  As you progress through the story, (which is really good by the way) you find the reasons why you can wield Guardian Beasts and Kline’s true power.

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Justice Chronicles uses your standard turn based battle system.  You have your Attack, Guard, Items and Skills menus.  However, what sets Justice Chronicles apart is the Beast Partner system.  Each time you attack, your Beast partner does an action based in the parameters set by the player.  Pursuit type the Beast partner acts based on the characters AGL value.  Guidance type is based on the shell’s AGL value, so that gives you a room for strategy and find which is the best for you.

Another cool feature is the dual skills.  Each time you attack or are attacked, a “Heat” gauge starts to fill.  When you get it to one hundred percent, you can do a double or triple attack.  Depending on your party, you can use a powerful physical attack, or a ultimate magic attack that are really useful in boss battles.  The Crafting system is great also.  In each dungeon, there are gathering points (you get the items just passing over the blinking light), and you can use the materials obtained to strengthen your weapons and armor.  However, that is not the only way to do it.  You can also find recipes to get better equipment.

The game’s art is really good, reminiscent of the SNES era.  I totally loved the first person view when battling enemies.  Speaking of enemies, I really like the animations on each one, how they move, and the attack effects.  Also, I really like the animations when you use a dual attack and special skills.  The music is really good, and I like how it gets me pumped up when there is a boss battle.  The over world music is enjoyable and the intro movie is really cool.

Bottom Line: Justice Chronicles is a great addition to the ever growing eshop library.  It has a good story, tons of side quests, and a great crafting and battle system.  For me, it is a great retro-styled JRPG. I can’t recommend it enough.  It is one of my favorite games released by Kemco.  I can see that the quality is getting better, and that is a good sign.

 

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No GravatarWhen asked about the possibility of an NX version of Shakedown Hawaii, the response from the official twitter account did not rule it out but said they had not seen devkits or any NX materials just yet

 

By Jonathan Balofsky On 27 Apr, 2016 At 07:18 AM | Categorized As Portable/Mobile Gaming, ROG News | With 0 Comments
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No GravatarComing out of the Investors briefing, Nintendo is planning mobile games of Animal crossing and fire emblem. We will keep you updated with news

 

By Ramon Rivera On 25 Apr, 2016 At 08:57 PM | Categorized As Featured, PlayStation 3/PlayStation 4, Playstation Vita, Reviews, Reviews | With 0 Comments
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No GravatarSo after a long wait, one of the most unique Fighting games ever created has landed on the PS Vita system.  I have to say that this is my first interaction with Skullgirls, and I regret not getting into the Skullgirls hype train sooner.  From the opening movie, to the characters and the deep combo system, I can see the love and dedication that the guys at Lab Zero Games have put in Skullgirls.

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The Story in Skullgirls is really good. “The legends tell of an artifact that can grant any woman’s wish….However, if the woman’s heart is not pure her wish will corrupt her and she will become the Skullgirl.”  To sum it up: Now the current Skullgirl is wreaking havoc.  However, each character reason to fight her and obtain the Skull Heart.  This is what sets them up in their own adventure  In my first play-through, I decided to go straight to the Story Mode and chose Filia.  For whatever reason, Filia felt right to get a taste of the action.  After finishing the Story mode, I felt that something was missing.  It wasn’t something missing from the game, so I decided to go to the Tutorial mode to learn the basics.

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I have to praise Skullgirls for its complete Tutorial mode.  It teaches not only the basics of combat, but it does so with different characters, showing the player the different play styles and combo opportunities.  Another great element found in the Tutorial mode, is the different systems in the game.  One of my favorite inclusions is the Infinite Prevention System (kudos Lab Zero; you did well).  It is a mechanic in which you can escape from an infinite combo, and let me tell you it is a godsend.  One of the reasons I stopped  laying UMVC3 was for the infinite combos.  While they are cool combos, it is frustrating to do nothing to escape from them.  Many times, I just left the controller and waited for the carnage to finish.  With Skullgirls, I don’t have that issue since the combo system operates in a way that when you are in the middle of getting beat down by a large combo, you can use the IPS system to escape from it and do some damage.  However, there are some rules for the IPS to work, but you learn that in the Tutorial.  Another way to escape from devastating combos is the Drama system.  It uses the same principle of the IPS.  However, this is to prevent high damaging infinite combos.  The Drama is represented by a green gauge under your life gauge.  Each time you are getting hurt by a long combo, the Drama gauge starts to fill.  When it is full, you can stop the combo and get a chance to counter attack, making each an enjoyable match that gives the player a chance to win.  Also, the Tutorial mode covers each character specifics and some combos to get you started. Now if you want to master each character, the Trials are for you.  There are four for each character ranging from easy combos to advance combos.  However, the chain combo system allows for interesting combos, so your creativity know no boundaries.

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The Challenge mode is really good as well.  It is a good way to put your skills to the test.  There are twenty-five challenges with different conditions to end them.  Know some combos?  Well, try to beat a character with unlimited Suspense, and you can’t jump.  There are only combos over three hits can damage it.  Add a timer of 60 seconds, and you are set.  Some challenges are brutal but they are manageable at least with some effort.

The online mode is well done.  I was able to find matches really quickly and with no lag whatsoever.  However, I couldn’t know if I was fighting a fellow Vita user or a PS4 user.  Maybe when the lobbies patch releases, this can be fixed.  However, there is nothing game breaking.

The game itself looks amazing.  The art style is so good, and it is a joy to look at.  Each character is so highly detailed and on the PS Vita screen, they look beautiful.  Though everything looks good, there are unfortunately some issues such as some of the text looking blurry and the letters are hard to read sometimes.  The background on each stage is highly detailed, but all of the backgrouns are static (the PS4 version has dynamic backgrounds, so the stages look full of life).  The Vita’s limitation doesn’t allow for them as the developer explained, so while it sucks that they aren’t dynamic, they are good enough.  In all honestly, I almost never look at the stages when I am playing.  One of the things I like the most is how Skullgirls was inspired by many games such as MVC and Street Fighter (love that you can see a “Ryu” in some stages but with Lab Zero unique style).  However, just because they were inspired by them it doesn’t mean that Skullgirls is a clone.  It is a whole different experience, and in my honest opinion, they have won my support for years to come.

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Now the voice acting and the music is top notch. Each character feels alive, and each of the songs get that cool vibe.  For me, playing with headphones is a must.  I also love the subtle references to some fighting games, such as “This is True Love We’re Making”( reference to London Stage in CvS 2), or “Try again Kid”(Sagat all the way). To someone who grew up playing these kinds of games, it is nostalgic to hear and see this references.

Overall, I am pleased the game. The inclusion of all DLC characters is something that makes this the definitive Skullgirls version.  Bottom Line: Skullgirls 2nd Encore is a terrific fighting game.  It is the definitive version, and the Vita port looks and plays beautiful.  With the great voice acting, great music, and a cast of different but peculiar characters (Peacock is something else), I can definitely recommend it to any Vita owner.  As a plus is cross buy with the PS4 version, so you will get the other free.

See the trailer for Skullgirls 2nd Encore for PS Vita below:

 

By Ramon Rivera On 23 Apr, 2016 At 08:37 PM | Categorized As Featured, Playstation Vita, Reviews, Reviews | With 0 Comments
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Picture this: You are travelling in a plane without a care in the world.  Suddenly, the plane crashes, and you wake up as the only survivor.  You search for an exit, but instead of finding the world you know, you find yourself in a strange land.  Why are you here?  What happened?  A torrent of questions goes trough your mind.  Alone and scared you search for answers….This is the premise of DRPG Stranger of Sword City.

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When you start the game, you follow a little prologue.  You wake up and are naked and afraid.  Upon searching you find some clothes, and after moving forward, you find an old man.  “He means no harm” or so he says.  He kindly offers to guide you out of the maze in which you are….only to be greeted by a giant monster!!!  Suddenly the kind old man is not a friend but a fearsome foe that wants to take your life (for fun and giggles when he asks to stay still I answered “sure”).  It appears is game over for you, but in the blink of an eye, one of the wyvern’s necks is slashed clean by a girl called Rui who chases off the old man. She briefly explains that like you, she got stranded on this land called Escario, the city of swords.  Here you are called “Strangers.”  She then guides you to the Stranger Base for further explanations. There you learn that humans for a odd reason can wield more power and become a mighty city-defending hero.  You are a rare case (yep), and you are “The Chosen One.”  The only one that obtain crystals from powerful monsters called “Lineages.”  That is the story in a nutshell.

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Now one of the strongest traits in Stranger of Sword City is customization.  Right from the start, you get to customize your character’s avatar, race, class and even voice from the vast choices made available.  However, these are just related to aesthetic since these choices won’t affect the game play.  Another nice customization that the game offers is the choice of changing the NPC art, which basically modifies the look of the whole game since you’re interacting with NPCs the whole time (and the title screen art changes accordingly too!). One cool feature is when customizing your avatar is the Age, if you create for example a 15 year old it will have the bonus trait that it heals quickly,(ah the perks of youth) but since its young it won’t be to strong.  However, if you create a 30 year old, he will be stronger and will have more experience (the perks of a responsible adult).  It is a nice change of pace from typical DRPGS.

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Graphically, the art of the NPCS the Avatar and monster are awesome.  However, they feel kind of static since the characters don’t show much motion, but the narration is done in an engaging way.  It is partly narrative and partly descriptive, setting the mood and leaving room for your imagination to picture the scenes. The soundtrack also perfectly help to set the mood in the various situations you find yourself in.  I personally like games with good story and the narrative aspect of Stranger of Sword City kept me interested in the story. I liked the pace in which the game moves.

Concerning the game play, other than interacting with the other characters during the narrative parts, it revolves around exploring unmapped labyrinths in a dungeon crawler mechanic to face off boss creatures (Lineages), collect blood crystals, and unlock abilities. As you advance in a labyrinth, it gets mapped automatically, and you encounter creatures which you can evade but some are mandatory to face with your guild. The latter has to be strategically built.  The members are positioned depending on their abilities and class for the turn-based combats.  Another cool feature is the “Ambush.”  Here you can choose a ambush point and wait for monster carriers to appear (special type of monsters that carry valuable items).  After defeating them, you claim their loot.  However, if you take to much time to do so, they can flee and take their goods with them.  Watching your comrades grow and gaining new skills and spells as they level up is a rewarding process, especially since dungeon delving can be risky business.  As you unlock more abilities and gain access to better equipment, the release really opens up as an increasingly tactical affair. Depending on enemy formations and the type of foe that you’re up against, you’ll quickly start to form strategies for each battle.  The turn based combat system as a whole ends up having a satisfying amount of depth to it, so for grinders like myself, it is a field day.

Bottom line: Stranger of Sword City is a solid DRPG.  It has a great customize system, an engaging narrative that keeps you enthralled in the game, beautiful art, and a great soundtrack to boot.  If you love challenges and dungeon crawlers, Stranger of Sword City is a recommend game that must be in your library of games.  I give Stranger of Sword City a solid recommendation.

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Virtual Reality (VR) has been hovering over the world of technology for awhile now with products like the HTC Vive, Oculus Rift, Samsung Gear VR, Sony PlayStation VR, and the Microsoft HoloLens. Opto adds to that list with a defining difference: it intends to be the first portable VR headset with integrated audio. It’s Kickstarter campaign has already been launched on March 31 with the goal of 40,000 GBP by April 29 for the first 500 devices.

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Developed by industrial designer Tom Jarvis and software developer Richard Stephens, Opto is a portable VR headset where sound was a top priority during the start of its design. Speakers sit inside the headset so that users do not have to add their own headphones. It has a 40mm 32ohm speakers and a frequency of 20hz/20 khz.

Opto will support any smartphone with screen sizes between 4 and 5.1 inches. It will attach to the phone by way of a magnetic front cover that will allow the user to easily place the phone in and out of the device.

According to Opto’s blog, they are actually reworking the device to support larger phone screens as well as enlarging the acoustic chamber to 50mm.

It is made from the patented closed-cell foam material, XL Extralight, which should make it extremely lightweight and comfortable yet tough at the same time. This could make for an interesting angle for parents, considering that this technology is not only durable but is also easy to clean.

“It is especially suited to children as it’s made of lightweight foam and very impact resistant,” Co-founder Richard Stephens said. “We have tried it with children from about 9 upwards. We are also in partnership with WEARVR.com…They are also launching a new app for curated VR content for kids.”

This means that older children as well as adults could experience movies, games, and other content on the go in a full-immersion type of experience, though Stephens stresses that the device has not been tested on children younger than 9 (the American Academy of Pediatric recommends limited time for children on these types of devices anyhow).

The current set of VR devices as of right now are bulky and heavy. They also require wires as well as a set of headphones. The goal for Opto is to just carry a smartphone and the VR device instead of lugging around headphones as well.

“Opto is about making high-quality VR accessible for anyone who owns a smartphone. Our aim is to move VR from the gaming den into the living room, “ said Stephens.

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