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

No Gravatarexiles-end

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 29 Nov, 2016 At 10:59 PM | Categorized As News, PC Games, PlayStation, Reviews, Reviews, Reviews, ROG News, Xbox 360/Xbox One | With 0 Comments
Darksiders

No GravatarDarksiders

Darksiders originally came out in 2010 from Vigil Studios and THQ. When THQ went under, the rights were acquired by Nordic Games who have since reincorporated as THQ Nordic. Since then THQ Nordic has been re-releasing THQ games as remasters or re-releases to see the market demand. This has resulted in Darksiders II Deathinitive Edition and now Darksiders Warmastered Edition. But is the remaster a good effort, or should Darksiders have stayed in the past?

Darksiders as a series has been a cross between The Legend of Zelda and Hack n Slash games like Devil May Cry, which may sound odd, but it has a formula that works. Darksiders is just fun, there is no other way to describe it. You play as War, a horsemen of the apocalypse, trying to stop the forces of Hell who have attacked the human world. It sounds generic but actually plays out very well and with a good well written story.

Darksiders uses a comic book art style that looks better than ever thanks to the remaster. But more importantly, the game running at 60 fps really shows off just how gorgeous this game really is. The remaster has fixed a lot of the visual issues the game had originally and I think a few minor issues with the gameplay have also been fixed and the game plays a lot smoother. You can also toggle effects like Vignette and Chroma FX , but you might want to leave them off. They add a shaded border over the screen and a rainbow shimmer to objects’ edges in the distance and this can affect the way you look at the game.

It is not all good news though as there is a major issue. The audio is out of sync with the cutscenes and sometimes the gameplay even resumes while the audio from the cutscene still plays. It is not enough to make me say the game is bad, but it is something that needs to be patched as soon as possible in order for the game to be enjoyable.

All in all, aside from the audio issues, the game is still amazing. Darksiders Warmastered Edition is a great game to play and enjoy for a fun time. I recommend it but must warn you about the audio issues.

 

skyrim-remaster

No Gravatarskyrim-special

Few games can truly be considered pop culture phenomenon that become well known among non gamers and non sci-fi/fantasy fans in general. The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim is one of those rare games. It has achieved an influence over gaming and fantasy in general that may not be matched for a long time and innovated the open world gameplay genre in ways that had yet to be thought of. Now Bethesda has remastered the game for PS4. Xbox One and PC and it looks better than ever. All the DLC and other add-on content from the original release are included and the game is preserved with a  new coat of paint and some minor changes to make things look better and stand out more.

You might ask, what is the point of getting it on PC? The console versions make more sense with better visuals and mod support ( to an extent), but the PC version of the original release still looks amazing with the right mods. Well my friend, the answer to that is the mods themselves. But I’m getting ahead of myself. First let me say that the remastering fixes a lot of the visual issues in the original release, and makes things stand out a little bit more. Some objects are better defined and are easier to tell apart.  The visual effects of the spell and shouts stand out a lot more than in the original release and actually feel a lot more epic. Plus if you do not want to bother with mods at all, then the game itself looks stunning as is, and much better than the original release. The game also fixes some bugs that caused issues in the original version, such as certain issues with bridges among others issues, some of which could not be fixed with mods. That said, there are some new bugs as well that cause issues, such as getting on top of a table somehow while in a mine, and with vampire attacks, but these are not major issues for the most part. In fact most of the game is still the same but with one major change

Before I go any further, I should point out that using mods disables achievements in this game, so use them at your own discretion. What makes the Skyrim Special Edition so much better on PC is not that you can access mods directly from the game menu, although that is good, but rather what can be done with the mods. This remaster is made on a new engine that is 64 bit, while the original was 32 bit. This means that the limitations on the mods that were there for the original version on PC are not here for the Special Edition. In other words, there is no limit to what can be done with mods in this game and a lot more will be able to done. Think of all the amazing mods that existed for the original PC release of Skyrim and its DLC, and imagine all the potential mods that can be made for this release.

Skyrim Special Edition is in its infancy in terms of mods. It hasn’t yet come into its own but it will soon. When it does, it will far surpass the original version. All the complaints saying that the mods for the original release made it look as good as the special edition are pointless, since the special edition will look far better in a short time.

Bottom line is, if you like Skyrim, open world RPGs, Western RPGs or fantasy games, then there is no reason not to buy this game. It is still amazing and will soon be far superior to the original release. With the big fixes from the original that the mods couldn’t fix, and mods that can fix the new bugs, this game is amazing I highly recpmmend it

By Jonathan Balofsky On 24 Nov, 2016 At 11:18 AM | Categorized As Featured, PC Games, Reviews, ROG News | With 0 Comments
bad-caterpillar

No Gravatarbad-caterpillar

Do you remember Centipede, that classic arcade game? Or what about Space Invaders? What if there were a game that combined the two into a high pace shoot-em-up? Wouldn’t that be awesome? Well my friends, for that I give you Bad Caterpillar from Fun Infused Games, a game that does just that.

If that doesn’t sound appealing, let me reassure you that this game is one of the most innovative shmups out there. Your ship moves in the style of Space Invaders, i.e. up to a certain point as enemies descend. But in this case, you also have to shoot the Caterpillars as they move through mazes reminiscent of Centipede, while at the same time, lesser insects and enemies descend faster and must be destroyed. This cleverly combines the Shmup genre with the puzzle genre while keeping everything at a fast pace. . The more you progress, the more difficult the game becomes and the faster the pace gets. This is a high score type game and is perfect if you just have a few minutes at a time for gaming. I love the different ways the game allows you to attack the Caterpillars, since it feels like different routes you can take in a puzzle adventure game.

You can choose from multiple ships to play as, although to be honest, the differences are not as important as the skill of the player and this felt like a bit of a letdown. I like more variety, but I did not really feel it here. Still seeing the interactions is pretty funny at times. However, an issue I do have is with us that at the rate things move on screen it can be easy to get confused and attack the wrong place. Its somewhat bothersome, but nothing too major but is something to keep an eye out for.

I really do like Bad Caterpillar. It is a clever blending of different game styles and genres, with a good end result. If you can look past some of the flaws, then I recommend checking this out. It has great music ( really good music actually, and great sound effects that sync nicely with the controller rumbling), nice visuals and spot on controls. I have to give this a high recommendation.

 

Disclaimer: We were provided with a  review code for this review.

By Jonathan Balofsky On 18 Nov, 2016 At 01:58 PM | Categorized As PC Games, Reviews, ROG News, Uncategorized | With 0 Comments
super-ray-raygun

No Gravatarsuper-ray-raygunThe Nintendo Gameboy was a classic in every sense of the word. It had so many great games and inspired so many series, but what if I told you there was a game that went back to the past? A game that combined everything about the 80’s and the Gameboy into one? That game is Super Rad Raygun.  In which a scientist accidentally fuses his lab assistant to the robot he was making to fight the communists and their robots? And the hero robot looks like a Gameboy? Sounds pretty nuts doesn’t it? Well, Let me just say that not only is it bonkers, it is completely crazy awesome.

This is one of the most unique games I have played ever. It plays at first like the classic Mega Man games, but also takes inspiration from other Gameboy games. The visuals look just like an old Gameboy game, not in black and white, but in lime green, and with lots of screen flickering ( you get an achievement based on Screen flickering even). This is a beautiful homage to the portable games of the past, while also being its own thing. The story involves fighting communist robots, and how is that not awesome?  There are enemies that resemble enemies from other games, but now designed to look like stereotypical communists (think big fur hats), for added comedic value.

Gameplay, as stated, takes inspiration primarily from Mega Man but also other Gameboy games. It is hard to explain, but the game has that IT factor, that make some games great. Amazing bosses, power-ups, level design, and more. The music is great and sounds like the classic Gameboy done in a modern style. Its weird, but despite being bathed in nostalgia, the game most definitely stands on its own merits.

This is an amazing game and I cannot recommend it enough. If you are a fan of retro games and indie games, you owe it to yourself to play this gem. If you just love all out insanity in a video game, then you must play this!

Thank you TRU FUN Entertainment and ScrewAttack games/Rooster Teeth Games for this.

By Jonathan Balofsky On 15 Nov, 2016 At 11:56 PM | Categorized As Featured, News, PlayStation, Reviews, Reviews, ROG News | With 0 Comments
destroy_all_humans

No Gravatardestroy_all_humans

Destroy All Humans was a quirky game for the PS2 and original Xbox, released back in 2005.  A 3rd person sci-fi shooter starring an alien named Crypto who had to gather brain stems to harvest DNA…wow that sounds weird. The game was really like nothing else at the time and for many, it was a refreshing change of pace. The game uses imagery and humor reminiscent of cheesy sci-fi movies of 1950’s America while also relentlessly parodying that decade, and the then current decade as well. The more things change, the more they stay the same.

It is hard to judge a game from 2005 by today’s merits other than seeing how well it holds up today. For the most part Destroy All Humans! does hold up well, but some of it is very much dated. The camera controls in particular feel dated but also the general controls just feel stiff compared to other games from that era. It is still fun to play but has some issues. Moving around can be a little awkward and the game has an odd habit of keeping the goal out of your line of sight at the crucial moment.

Visually, this is a PS2 game up-rendered to 1080p, with widescreen and trophy support, but there are a lot of times when the game shows its age. That said, it is unfair to judge a game that isn’t a remake by today’s standards visually, so let us look at the gameplay. Besides the somewhat stiff controls, the game is completely bonkers. And I mean that in the best way that it is possible to say that. You will use death rays, probe humans, blow stuff up with a spaceship ( at the beginning this is one of the most annoying parts of the game, but it gets better) and generally do stuff straight out of 50’s sci-fi movies and UFO conspiracy culture.  I had a lot of fun playing this, even with the issues mentioned, and it was a great time.

The game is genuinely funny, albeit sometimes in a very uncouth or disturbing manner. It has a humor that I don’t know would work today in gaming. It is hard to explain, but while it sometimes used potty humor, it also used very dark morbid humor and it was very clever about how that was done. They do not make games like this anymore and that is a shame because a modern take on this would be absolutely fantastic.

I would recommend checking this out on PSN, if only so THQ Nordic will see there is potential in the series and make a new entry.

By Jonathan Balofsky On 14 Nov, 2016 At 11:30 PM | Categorized As Featured, News, PlayStation, Reviews, Reviews, ROG News, Uncategorized | With 0 Comments
blaz-blue

No Gravatarblaz-blue

I have a confession to make. I have not played a lot of BlazBlue. I am familiar with the games, but have never really been into the series. Still with BlazBlue: Central Fiction, I went into the experience with an open mind and decided to just try and have some fun. I wasn’t sure what to expect, but it wasn’t what I experienced.

BlazBlue is well known to be a spiritual successor to the Guilty Gear series, but a lot has been done to differentiate the two series. The game seems like it would be too intense for newcomers to fighting games, but it actually is very welcoming. There are multiple game modes that help ease you into the gameplay but there are also two main ways to play. You can play a Technical route which is a traditional fighting game style of gameplay that regular fighting game players will be familiar with. There is also Style, which makes things easier to pull off major attacks. That said Style still requires timing and skill and isn’t a simple button mashing mode. I had a lot of fun with the multiplayer and feel confident in saying that this game is Guilty Gear Xrd Revelator on speed…and I love it for that. It just comes off as an extremely well designed experience that is also insane at the same time.  You always hear the expression, “Capture Lighting In A Bottle” and that is just what Arc System Works has done with this game.

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That said, it is not perfect and there have been a series of issues I have found while playing.  First, I have experienced a few issues with the online and while I hope it has been fixed since I last played ( or will be soon) it did take away from the experience a bit. Second, the story is just extremely confusing and takes up so much of the game. I admit it could be it is because I haven’t played much of the series, but I had a very difficult time following what was going on. Lastly, the game is a little too bright and flashy and I found myself getting some headaches from it. I do not usually have these problems (except with some games) but it really did bother me several times here.

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On the plus side, BlazBlue: Central Fiction is absolutely gorgeous beyond belief, more so than Guilty Gear’s recent games. The art is amazing and the visuals when not straining me, were amazing. The music was also excellent and a great soundtrack to get you pumped for combat. There is a slight issues with no English dubbing. From the experience I have had with Blazblue, the dubbing was excellent, and so this is missed. It isn’t that the Japanese voice acting isn’t good, but the English dub for the series was just very well done.

Overall, I did like BlazBlue: Central Fiction, and I would recommend it to fans of fighting games. That said, for first time players of the genre, this might not be the game you want to start with.

 

Disclaimer: We were provided with a review copy of the game for this review

exist-archive

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Valkyrie Profile is a legendary RPG series that broke new ground and brought genuine innovation to the genre.  The creators of the series, Tri-Ace have since teamed with Spike Chunsoft and the result? A spiritual successor in the form of Exist Archive: The Other Side of the Sky, a game that truly earns the title of successor. Rarely has there been an attempt to replicate the success of an earlier franchise, that has succeeded so well.

Exist Archive is played in a side scrolling 2D plane, much like the earlier Valkyrie Profile series, along with metroidvania elements as well. The world is one of the most beautifully detailed video game worlds this generation, with artwork and visuals that truly must be seen to be believed. The music is also excellent, especially by JRPG standards, and I recommend listening to it fully as best as you can. In addition, both Japanese and English voice acting is included, which is great for fans of Japanese voice acting.

The combat system in the game is truly awesome, and all battles can be enjoyed. You use four members in combat and each are mapped to one of the face buttons of the Dualshock 4.  The combat itself requires some thought, since you need to vary between attacking and guarding, especially when you need to save points called Action Points. Action Points are needed to attack and therefore the battles end up as a game of chess. You need to know when to attack and when to save your characters based on your enemies. I like this system and it made each battle fun.

All in all, I think that if there is any downside to Exist Archive: The Other Side of the Sky on PS4, is that it feels like it is missing something. It definitely has what made Valkyrie Profile great, but doesn’t use that to its full potential. My hope is that the game gets a sequel that allows it to truly live up to its heritage.

I would still recommend Exist Archive: The Other Side of the Sky and suggest checking it out.

 

Disclaimer: We were provided with a review copy of the game.

 

dishonored-2

No Gravatardishonored-2

Dishonored was one of the most unique games of last gen. A spiritual successor to the Thief series, yet with an identity completely of its own. It is a game that cannot just be described but needs to be experienced. When its sequel was announced, many were excited and I myself was curious where Arkane would take the series. Could they top the original? Or would it fall short?

Well, I am pleased to say that Dishonored 2 manages to surpass the original in every way. The developers looked at each and everyone of the complaints and tried to do something about them. They didn’t always succeed but they did try. For starters, we now have voiced protagonists. This was a great move in my opinion, as it lets the player get more involved with the story. The story itself can be a little disappointing, coming off the first game. No spoilers will be given, but some changes may upset some players.

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Visually the game is just a marvel, with some of the best visual effects in gaming in 2016. I feel that this game is a true standout both in art design and use of shading. I wonder what it would look like on a 4K TV on the PS4 Pro (I played on a standard PS4), because the visuals are just that eye popping. The setting just feels authentic and the dynamic changes just  make everything more immersive. In terms of audio, the game could have had a better soundtracks, I won’t lie, but it does its job well.  The sound effects are great and the voice acting as mentioned above, helps bring the player more into the story. Plus, remember how I called the first game a spiritual successor to the Thief series? Well Corvo is now voiced by Stephen Russell, aka Garret himself.

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In terms of gameplay, Arkane built on the foundation set by the original and made it better where they could. Stealth is handled better, combat is more intuitive and choosing what path to take, in terms of behavior, has a more interesting feel about it. The characters also play differently and this helps set it apart from the first game even more. You can play in a variety of ways that can make the game easier or as hard as you want it to be, and not through difficulty settings but rather through in game choices. I love the way this was handled and I applaud Arkane for it. The upgrading system from the first game has been changed to a skill tree with multiple possible directions to take and thus different possible upgrades. each character has unique abilities to set them apart but with some shared.

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I must recommend that players check out the tutorial, not just in case you have to brush up on controls and how to play, but also because it helps serve as a but of a prelude to the game and shows some interesting bonding between Corvo and Emily. It was a good touch and I like that it was done this way. It helps new players get up to speed, gives some story details and teaches you how to play the game. All done in a simple and refined manner.

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Dishonored II just feels better than the first game. The different protagonists gives them game more replayability than the first game as well as more options for ways to play. The game can be played as a stealth game or as an action game with stealth elements and it is entirely up to you.  The mechanics are more refined, the graphics are better and combat is more natural. I just had a really good time with this game. If I was asked to say where or not I would recommend it, I would say without hesitation to buy this. It is just a great game!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Disclaimer: We were provided with a review copy by Bethesda Softworks

dragon-ball-xenoverse-2

No Gravatarxenoverse

Dragon Ball has had a long history in video games. From Japan exclusive entries, the GBA RPGs, the great Budokai series and more, Dragon Ball has had great representation in gaming. Dragon Ball Xenoverse was a great entry in the series and was a breath of fresh air after some increasingly stale games. Xenoverse gave players the chance to explore multiple points of the series timeline from another perspective. The online was great and it had an excellent amount of characters. So how does its sequel hold up?

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I am pleased to say that for the most part Xenoverse 2 is a worthy follow-up to the original game. It has its issues but it is still fun and enjoyable. We have a great amount of characters, better character creation ( my Frieza race character can now go golden Frieza which is excellent!) and best of all, refined gameplay.

The story is in parts too much like the original but does manage to have its highpoints and when it does, it hits it out of the park. A major difference is that new villains are being put into the scenarios which manages to give things a fresh look for longtime fans who have gotten to used to how things play out. The game has numerous “What if?” scenarios that help shake things up as well. Things play out differently than you are used to and so this is a great treat for longtime fans.  The lineup of characters, as mentioned above, is great. The game incorporates characters from Dragon Ball Super as well as the usual sources. This is a great way to introduce fans to Super, if they haven’t been following the subbed versions. I do feel that some characters should not have been saved for DLC and should have been in the main game right away but that is a small issue really.

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The online play  have been greatly improved and I had a lot more fun with them this time around, then I did with the first game. That said There was some connectivity issues and lag that did get in the way of my enjoyment. And speaking of missions, the central hub from the previous game is back but greatly expanded on. You can go to more areas, visit more shops and interact with more people. You do need to do the parallel missions to progress, same as last time, so there is some basis to fall back on in the game.

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Xenoverse 2 has a great selection of music but the voice synchronization is terrible. It really feels like an awkward dubbing from the past, and not up to par with some great English voice acting in modern games from Japan. It isn’t a deal breaker but it is noticeable. I would say that Xenoverse 2 is a good sequel to the original Xenoverse. It is not perfect but it is a good game. I would recommend it greatly,