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By Jonathan Balofsky On 13 Dec, 2017 At 11:11 PM | Categorized As News, NINTENDO, Nintendo Switch, Reviews, Reviews, ROG News | With 0 Comments

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I enjoy KEMCO’s RPGs, I think I have made that very clear with my reviews. I feel that even though many follow the same pattern, they have been trying new things with their recent games that actually add something new to the experience. When I heard about their new game Y?danji, I was curious and wanted to see more. It ended up being something quite different than I expected, but this was not a bad thing in the end.

Y?danji is a throwback to the classic rougelike games of the 1980’s computer scene. It definitely is different than KEMCO’s usual fare and I must admit I was disappointed with the game at first. The more I played the game, however, the more I began to appreciate what it was. That being said, I feel this game is not for everyone as it doesn’t explain how things work and players will be confused the first time they play. A throwback game like this is really targeting a niche audience and they do that well, as Y?danji  truly is a great throwback. However, a lot of what was done then has simply not aged well in terms of game design. A throwback is not necessarily a bad thing, but I feel that in this case the game takes too much from the past.

A good throwback game will adapt what worked and abandon what doesn’t. I feel Y?danji tried to do that but ended up retaining too much of what did not work and that holds it back. This may sound surprising therefore, when I say that I would like to see KEMCO try this type of game again, as I feel they can do this right even if Y?danji did not hit the mark. I do appreciate that this is a budget title, probably due to its niche appeal, and there is good to say about the gameplay, but I feel so much more could have been done and should have been done. If KEMCO does try this again, I would encourage them to take risks, they can do their own take on the genre well.

As it stands, if you like that genre of gaming, then you might want to check it out. Despite my complaints, there is a great deal to enjoy and the throwbacks done well, were done very well. KEMCO does not get the credit they deserve for how much they try and do new things with their games.  I have a big piece of praise to give Y?danji  as well, and that is that the game has made me interested in playing some of the classic games to learn more. That is the sign of a game that has done its job well. KEMCO should receive credit for looking to diversify their games and I urge them to continue, because after playing for a while I did like what Y?danji had to offer. The unique Japanese myth inspired design to the gameplay really did offer something new and I liked it. Kudos!

Reviewed on Nintendo Switch

 

Disclaimer: A review code was provided

By Jonathan Balofsky On 12 Dec, 2017 At 09:53 PM | Categorized As Featured, News, NINTENDO, Nintendo Switch, Reviews, Reviews, ROG News | With 0 Comments

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As should be apparent by my many reviews and articles, I am a fan of the beat em up genre. There is just something relaxing about beating up multiple opponents while being a badass. Phantom Breaker: Battle Grounds Overdrive, a spinoff of the fighting game serves up much of what I like, but there are some flaws.

To begin, this is a fun game. Its intense and fast paced  with many enemies to fight and many ways to defeat them. There is a great RPG progression style for the game that encourages multiple replays as well, so we are already off to a great start. I love the many attacks the various characters have and finding new methods and the correct upgrade really helps bring a lot of depth to this game compared to many other beat em ups. Many have compared this to Scott Pilgrim vs The World: The Game, and there is an argument to be made there, but I feel the game goes far beyond that title. This is a full merger of fighting games with the beat em up, something Capcom did previously albeit not to this extent.

There is a bad side to this game however and it is the controls. I must note right now though, that I used the pro controller only for the game as my joy cons are being repaired by Nintendo, and I noticed some things while playing that stuck out to me as hindering the experience. For instance, sometimes while trying to jump, I instead dashed and vice versa.  The game uses two planes of movement and requires a button input to transition between the planes, which is good except that on the pro controller, I kept triggering an attack instead which caused no end of frustration.

The faults aside though, I actually had a lot of fun with Phantom Breaker: Battle Grounds Overdrive. There is plenty of replay value thanks to levelling up, a basic arcade mode style of beat em up, and more multiplayer options, not to mention all the characters. I lost hours to this game and still want to play, and considering the flaws I mentioned, that is a testament to how much I liked it. If you like beat em up games, then you must play this!

 

Disclaimer: A review code was provided.

By Jonathan Balofsky On 7 Dec, 2017 At 02:13 PM | Categorized As Editorials, Featured, Opinion, Reviews, ROG News | With 1 Comment

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Some spoilers for Skyrim will be contained within; you’ve been warned!

The holidays are approaching, and for me that means it will soon be time to light the Chanukah Menorah and eat some latkes. But when it comes to holidays and being a gamer, one has to stop note that sometimes your favourite games have a similarity to a holiday being observed (whether or not the developers intended that to be so). This is the case with The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim and the holiday of Chanukah.

The story of Chanukah is the story of the Maccabean revolt against the Seleucid Empire to restore freedom, both political and religious to Judea. The empire had imposed new religious laws on the region and a revolt by the faithful was launched; that led to the liberation of the land and the re-dedication of the Temple. Judas Maccabaeus was one of the key figures in the revolt that led to the Jewish people being free, and his name and legacy have been preserved for generations as a figure to look up to and admire. After the revolt, a new dynasty of Jewish kings came to power as the Hasmonean dynasty, and ancient Israel was once again under their own control; Israel was no longer under the rule of a foreign empire that imposed laws religious of religious persecution. Now doesn’t this all sound familiar?

A key part of Skyrim is the Stormcloak rebellion: led by Ulfric Stormcloak, it seeks to renew the land of Skyrim’s independence from the Empire, restore the freedom to worship their patron god Talos. Should the Stormcloaks win the civil war, so the tale goes, one of the first acts they intend do is to restore the shrine of Talos in the temple of the divines; this is not disimilar to the Holy Temple of Israel being rededicated and purified after the Maccabean revolt. This could be coincidental, but even if it is, the similarities are enough that I feel Skyrim’s Stormcloak route truly does re-tell the story of Chanukah. But the similarities do not end there.

The land of Skyrim, as seen in the game, is populated with people who’ve abandoned the Nordic pantheon (for the most part) in favour of the imperial pantheon. This is notable in that the Nords of Skyrim traditionally despised some of the Imperial pantheon such as Arkay. Similarly in the story of Chanukah, many Jews were close to abandoning their traditions in favour of the culture & religion coercively pushed on them by the Seleucid Empire. While Ulfric’s victory is only seen to restore Talos-worship in the game, it would not be hard to imagine that it would eventually lead to a full revival of the Nordic traditions. Ulfric’s restoration of Talos in the temple of the divines is more than just a simple act; it marks the beginning of the return for the Nords to their traditions that were abandoned, or taken from them. So too did the re-dedication of the temple mark the Jewish people returning to their faith and traditions after a period of war, both with the Empire, and with the loyalists.

I noticed these similarities while I was playing the game and while I cannot be sure if they were intentional or not, they stood out to me. Things like this help keep gaming fresh, by showing you that there can be deeper meaning in the games you play. You just need to look in the right places.

 

 

 

Disclaimer: The above editorial represents the point of view of the author only, and does not necessarily reflect the opinions of Real Otaku Gamer or its staff.

By Jonathan Balofsky On 29 Nov, 2017 At 06:47 PM | Categorized As Editorials, Featured, News, NINTENDO, Old School Otaku, Reviews, ROG News, ROG Retro | With 0 Comments

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I have already written about my love for Zelda II, a game I feel is criminally underrated, but now it is time to look at its sequel. The Legend of Zelda : A Link to the Past is regarded as a major turning point for the series, the moment Zelda took a massive leap forward in storytelling and presentation. My own experiences were not the same as most people when it came to ALttP, as I played this after Ocarina of Time, and not when it first came out. That being said, it was still an amazing experience for me.

Let me take you back several years, my brother’s friend David had just loaned him some SNES games and among them was The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past. While my siblings enjoyed the fighting games and beat em ups, this one occupied my time the most. I was an awkward youth and this became an escape from bullying I was experiencing, a place I could step into and just have a great adventure. After David took the games back, my mother saw how much of an impact the game had on me, and found a copy of the game at a video game store we often visited ( similar to how she would later get me a copy of Zelda II one year later). Thus I now had a game to help me deal with problems I had at the time.

The Legend of Zelda : A Link to the Past is indeed a great experience and deserves all the praise it gets. It was here that the series formula would be established for years to come, as would be seen in later games such as Ocarina of Time and Wind Waker. Just like the original Legend of Zelda and Zelda II introduced epic adventures to a new video game audience, The Legend of Zelda : A Link to the Past was an introduction to epic fantasy for a new audience. The game was on a scale like little else before it, even previous games in the series. In this game, after recovering the pendants and getting the master sword at last, you would fight the evil wizard and think the game was nearly done. But no, that was just the beginning, and you had a much bigger experience waiting for you to explore.

The Legend of Zelda : A Link to the Past also was important for another reason. Not only did it add some amazing music such as Zelda’s Lullaby that would become iconic parts of the series, but it also greatly advanced the series in terms of narrative. This game introduced really characters with personalities to the Zelda series and was the first game to have a major storyline as part of the game. It is something that all later games built on.

While I still prefer Zelda II: The Adventure of Link, as my favourite game in The Legend of Zelda series, The Legend of Zelda : A Link to the Past is indeed an amazing game. It is one of my favourite games and will always hold a special place in my heart. This is a game that is not played, it is experienced, and this is an experience everyone should have. This really is something special indeed. I do not have the same problems today that I did back then, and I thank A Link to the Past for that. It helped change my life and no doubt that of many others as well.

 

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The above is the opinion of the author and not necessarily that of ROG or its staff.Feature

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Earlier this year, Double Dragon IV was released on PC and PS4 and then later Nintendo Switch ( the system the game was played on for this review). It was a deliberate throwback to the NES Double Dragon games, in contrast to Double Dragon Neon, and received some mixed reception. I wasn’t sure what to fully expect as I began playing, as I went in fearing the worst. What I found however, was a decent throwback that may have been treated a bit unfairly.

It has been argued that Double Dragon IV is too deliberate a throwback to the NES games, to the point of also including everything bad about them. I disagree however, as while Double Dragon IV does have some flaws due to its style, I feel the game is better than most are giving it credit for. I enjoyed playing this retro style beat em up and found myself liking some of the changes that were made. The controls, while still stiff and not perfectly responsive, have a lot more variety to them. It now feels like a more complete beat em up from the past that takes cues from gaming today, as the extra buttons allow new moves and new combo attacks. This really does help set this game aside from its predecessors.

There are a number of flaws of course. The stiffness of the controls can really throw off the jumps that are required to be done in the game, and the jumping mechanic in general is not suited to platforming. I would say this is one thing that was a mistake to retain. As well, the story, while nice at times, takes a turn at the end that made me just say “Really? This is what you are going with?”, it was just nostalgia not being used right. Not to mention that some of the attempts at variety just come off as lazy nostalgia, its not bad, but its not great.

That being said, I did have a lot of fun playing the game, far more than I ever thought I would. Despite the flaws, I feel Double Dragon IV is actually a really good game. It is far better than it was made out to be, and deserves an honest chance. I recommend it.

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Well this is an interesting one. I was not sure what to expect with This is The Police, and was interested in what I would see. What I did see was a game that blended genres and ideas, sometimes well, and sometimes not so well. This is the Police is a blend of noir style crime drama, and a management sim game. This was certainly a different experience, but was it a good experience?

This is the Police tells the story of the last days of a police chief dogged by allegations of corruption and failure. What you do in those last 180 days determines the future of the department and this is where things get interesting. The meat of the game is obviously the management parts, and the game does offer some interesting choices you will have to make. This includes embracing or shunning corruption, or even playing things out quietly.

There is a lot of variety in the game and the choices do offer a great deal of replay value, unlike some other games filled with choices. This is of course fitting, seeing as this is a strategy/management simulation, but the amount of replay options is still a great incentive for the game. However, here we come to an issue because at times, the game seems to be pushing you in a direction/choice even if you do not want to do so. I attribute this to the blending of genres, but while it doesn’t always work, when it does, it works beautifully.

The moral choices to be made and the consequences are the highlight of the game. The narrative is extremely well done and actually makes you feel invested. I am reluctant to share details of what the plot involves, other than dealing with the mafia and the sheer state of chaos and severe tensions, political and racial, that are occurring in the streets. For a strategy/management simulation, this game goes to some very dark places, and this is where the blending does succeed.

Overall, while uneven, This is the Police is an overall good product. It forces you to actually make deep moral choices and then makes you explore the consequences. There is enough content here to last for several playthroughs and that gets high points form me. This is one to check out.

 

Disclaimer: A review key was provided

By Jonathan Balofsky On 26 Nov, 2017 At 10:52 PM | Categorized As Featured, Reviews, ROG News | With 0 Comments

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Rockfish has done the impossible and has managed to rebuild their original release of Everspace without needing to change anything but simply add. The new expansion Everspace Encounters is simply one of the best DLC for a game in this style.

The expansion adds one new ship to the roster, which is a medium fighter that has some great electric weapons as the basic starting weapons. While not the best ship in the game, it does help integrate the DLC well and serve as an introduction for new ideas and mechanics. It is also great that it includes enough device slots to use said new mechanics and doesn’t need to be purchased. It is available from the start, which again is great for people just getting into the game.

As I stated in my intro, Everspace Encounters doesn’t change much but adds instead. With new NPCs and missions, there is more than enough to keep veterans happy, but also enough to make the game just feel more complete than it did initially. This adds some significant challenge to the game and to be honest, to me this makes Everspace actually feel more appealing. Everspace had a lot going for it but felt lacking in several areas. Now though, the game feels more filled and lifelike, especially with space stations being added. These stations also give players the chance to do repairs and upgrades for the ships. That being said, don’t expect space to be filled with them, and you will have to keep an eye out for where they might be.

There is also something else I should mention. Everspace Encounters gives the chance to visit an area we hadn’t expected before and while I do not want to give spoilers, I have to say these missions blew me away. They were unlike anything I expected, and some of the most challenging missions ever. This is just a great DLC and if you have Everspace, you need Everspace Encounters.

 

Disclaimer: A review code was provided

 

By Stark Wyvern On 26 Nov, 2017 At 05:37 PM | Categorized As Featured, News, NINTENDO, Nintendo Switch, Reviews, Reviews, ROG News | With 0 Comments

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A game was released for the Nintendo Switch which hopes to take you on an adventure. This is one game you may have overlooked but it is certainly charming for an indie game. In this game which has the vibe of an old school collect em all, you play as a young explorer out to see the world. Seeing that you can play as either a boy or a girl is a plus as it still seems many games aren’t doing this.

This game has you collecting explorer medals which really is a lot like finding something like stars in Mario games. You choose the level and jump in, and there are obviously other medals to collect but you should probably just stick to your objective the game gives you. This game is clearly lovingly designed and the characters do look rather nice. As you traverse this wide world in your ship that looks like a whale, you fly around to different locales. There quite a few of them, from a desert, to a seaside area, and much more. Your character collects medals and defeats enemies, and you do never know what you might come across.

This game is also cool because unlike a lot of games on the Switch, it also has its own achievement system. I know personally getting achievements of any kind make me feel good. This game does that and that in and of itself is a plus. While this game may not be the best, it certainly may be something some people would enjoy. I could certainly see younger kids enjoying this, or someone who just wants to play a game as a female character for once.

Poi Explorer’s Edition is out now on the Nintendo  Switch. So, if it looks good, download it go on a solid indie platforming adventure!

 

Disclaimer: A review code was provided

By Stark Wyvern On 26 Nov, 2017 At 04:10 PM | Categorized As Featured, NINTENDO, Nintendo Switch, Reviews, Reviews, ROG News | With 0 Comments

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Super Mario Odyssey is clearly the culmination of all that Mario is and ever has been. A series where you control a pudgy gent, just trying to rescue his lady from a monster. This game is also about traveling a world and seeing all that it has to offer. Combining these two ideas makes for quite an interesting experience. In a crazy way, this game has become just a source of unbridled fun, something that games don’t always bring to the table. With Odyssey, you have so much game to play, but it just is truly a fun time all the way through.

In Super Mario Odyssey, you are paired up with a magical cap named Cappy. Cappy is by far the best sidekick Mario has had in a while. He is ready to help out at any turn, and knows what style is. That’s not to say the Lumas of Galaxy or Fludd from Sunshine were bad but Cappy is just too cool. The fact that he can inhabit any hat in the world is truly something interesting.

The worlds in this game are also just too great and need to be seen to be believed. They are numerous, and each hide their own secrets and challenges. You may not find them all on your first go through, and that is okay. This game is certainly one to be picked up time and time again, as you work your way through the moons. I will say that some of the moons are quite easy to find. But, I’m sure that is partly because Nintendo knew people would want to speedrun this game.

The music in this game is also so good, and you really get a feeling for every world just from the music. Like all Mario games the music is great. With the inclusion of lyrics into a few songs, it really brings the game up to 11. Jump Up Superstar is an instant classic that will probably be in my head forever. That is a great thing, as only great music really sticks with you for all time. I just find it really cool that Mario games have progressed so much that a voiced song really fits in the world. Pauline is literally singing a song in a game where very few characters actually speak. Mario has alway said little, and Peach may say a sentence but here is a fully sung song. It just goes to show where thoughts and ideas can change over time.

I also found it interesting how many costumes there were in the game. Here you have Mario on a world journey, wearing quite a hodgepodge of costumes. The coolest aspect about this though is that the costumes weren’t just random. They were all worn by our mustachioed hero in the past. True homages to the classic antics this hero has enjoyed. Plus, there is a certain nostalgic world, that will make many people smile, especially when they see what costume it brings.

Snapshot mode is also just a treat and can be used all the time. You can really just go crazy with this mode and that is great. With the continued push of games to doing more, photo modes are becoming even more prevalent. It is crazy what Nintendo put into this mode. Mario is by far one of the most emotional characters, and you can really see it. Taking pictures is fun, because you can even make the pictures your phone background or wallpaper which cool. It’s just another fun touch.

Lastly, this game really is great because I can see it as a game perfect for new gamers. If you want a kid to love Nintendo, plop them in front of this game. It’s amazing to me that there will be new gamers whose first game is this. While I’m glad my first game was Super Mario and the 6 Golden Coins, I may just be a little jealous of kids whose first game is Odyssey.

Super Mario Odyssey is an amazing game and one that I will certainly always think of. I am curious how Nintendo will top such an undertaking but with what this game is I’m sure it’ll happen some day. Super Mario Odyssey for me will always be up there for being one of the most fun games I have ever played. Something that while it keeps me playing to collect, really keeps me there because of how fun it is. Here’s hoping many more people buy this game and have some solid fun. If you haven’t gotten the game yet, you seriously are missing out. This game really is just the embodiment of all Mario is and a truely fun experience. So, if you haven’t gotten it yet, Jump up Superstar, and do the Odyssey, The Super Mario Odyssey, that is!

By Stark Wyvern On 26 Nov, 2017 At 03:38 PM | Categorized As Featured, News, NINTENDO, Reviews, ROG News, Uncategorized | With 0 Comments

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It’s crazy to think that a Pokemon game has arrived less then year after is predecessor. With such little time, you might even think the game wouldn’t change so much. You’d think that but you’d be wrong. Pokemon Ultra Sun is a return to the glorious Alola region, and one that I have been hyped for as soon as I beat Pokemon Sun. I knew there had to be more that this region had to offer and of course Ultra Sun proved that to me.

In Pokemon Ultra Sun, you start a new journey in Alola, though there are quite a few differences. While much of the game is the same there some things that change that really do make this game better. The characters are certainly more fleshed out and that is always good. Your protagonist might still have lifeless eyes, but the story is definitely more touching. There is just something about this rejuvanated region that just feels right.

Being the last main series game on the 3DS Family of Systems, Gamefreak has really stepped up its game. While Pokemon Switch is next, this game certainly wasn’t a weak game. The challenges in the game are truly present, and I found myself losing at places I didn’t lose before. New Pokemon add to you team creation, and that is a good thing. Now, they aren’t new Pokemon really but they are new to the region, and therefore new. These Pokemon will make creating a team that much more different as new type pairings are now available. You can find a Zorua early on which adds a handy dark type, even a Noibat which adds an early dragon. These types add to the customization of your team and what more could you ask for.

The story itself is different too, especially with the introudction of the Ultra  Recon Squad. These kookie weirdos comes from another dimmension and have a mission of their own. Now, I don’t want to spoil anything but they have certain pokemon that are quite cool. Especially with a new legendary form for a solid Alolan Legendary. These characters appear in scenes and really do shake things up.

Hau, your rival is also significantly stronger. Where before you just saw him as someone who is just out for fun, in this there is a clear shift.As the story progresses he gets bolder, still wants to have fun, but knows you are what will make battles better. The ending is also different and you other characters like  Guzma, Gladion, and Lusamine in different lights.

There is also the new addition of the Battle Agency. Three trainers come together to win battle after battle. Don sunglasses and get into the arena with rented Pokemon. With over 1000 Pokemon to choose from, you never know what will come next. Plus you get to fight trainers from past games as you still can do in the classic Battle Tree. This mode is just a lot of fun, and meeting more players gives you a larger roster to choose from, which is cool. When starting a challenge you neve know what you can expect as everyone will get 3 different Pokemon to choose from.

There are a few new Pokemon who you can also capture. They are all legendaries, so honestly I knew they wouldn’t be on my team. But it is still nice to see new Pokemon. I’m sure they will appear in a movie as they really do have a lot of emotion. That is a good thing. It is always interesting seeing what Pokemon they come up with even if there are only a few.

Now, you can also ride through Ultra Space on either Solgaleo or Lunala. These two Pokemon fly through these amazing portals and along the way you can catch any legendary from past games, even shiny Pokemon may appear. Mantine Surfing is another fun addition and you can even earn a special Pikachu, which in and of itself is a nostalgic nod. The greatest addition to the game has to be Team Rainbow Rocket. Out of nowhere Giovanni returns with all of the past team leaders. I won’t spoil anything, but this story is great and the battle music tittilated me beyond words.

Pokemon Ultra Sun and Pokemon Ultra Moon are the last games to grace the 3DS. While yes, it is sad, it is also amazing to see how far these games have come. To see these games looking so good, you can only imagine what the next games could look like. Playing this game will certainly hold me over as there really is just so much to do. With all of the activities, this game is looking to be the best game yet. With the future now looking ever brighter, if Pokemon Switch is better I may be a little surprised. Here’s hoping we get a robust new region, with more nostalgia, as we head into a new generation happy to have played through Alola but ready for more Pokemon than ever before!