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By John Kinsella On 10 May, 2017 At 02:25 PM | Categorized As Featured, PlayStation, Reviews, Reviews, ROG News | With 0 Comments

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If you have played Persona 5, you know how great a game it really is. Though I’ve only had it a short amount of time, it seems like ages, and it has really become something I treasure. Having only played Persona 4, I was ready to try out the series next iteration. Jumping into this beautifully designed alternate world Tokyo, I was spellbound, and from the moment the game started up I had no doubt in my mind I would do anything to finish this game.

The game follows the story of a protagonist, fresh out of getting kicked out of his old school due to a scuffle and thrust into a whole new world.  The young man may look mild mannered, but he is a devious and cunning mastermind. Of course, that really is only when he needs to be, as usually he is able to keep peace. He meets a wonderful cast of characters, some who help him and some who harm him. As a Persona game it is up to you who you forge relationships with.

Persona 5’s story is certainly one worth playing to the end, as it really makes you think about the world. There may need to be some upheaval, and it is a shame the Phantom Thieves don’t exist. For the uniformed, The Phantom Thieves are the protagonist’s group. Honestly, I felt like I grew playing this game, and that I honestly do want to figure out something I can do to change our planet for the better.

Besides a wonderful story, the game itself is one of the best I’ve seen. Its battles flow brilliantly as do its cut scenes and tranisitions. Depending on where you are, the transitions change and that is something cool. As you travel all around Tokyo, you will see so many different things that it almost feels like you have been to Japan after playing it.

Back to the characters of Persona 5. They are all so unique it is hard to choose who you want to spend time with. Now, there are people who make guides where they max out everything in one run, but I personally just go with the flow. Though it does pain me that this first playthrough is clocking at 100 hours, and my main character didn’t end up with any of the amazing women. This just gives me an incentive to play the game again for a fuller experience. Seriously, it is difficult when you have a punk doctor, a teacher, a shut in hacker, and a student council president among others to choose from.

The characters themselves also have touching stories that make you feel like even though you may be putting in work, it isn’t for nothing. These people feel and live their lives, slowly becoming more and more attached to the protagonist. When you max any of the social links,  you feel this connection to the character, as you have experienced something with them that has changed them. It’s just like any real friendship, you go through something together and part of you is bonded to them forever.

Besides the wonderful story and characters, there are also have amazing dungeons, which the game calls palaces to explore. These Palaces are inside of the characters minds, and just like their outside self these worlds are distorted. You never know what kind of dungeon theme you are going to be plunged into next. They vary so differently that it is honestly shocking. One of the best parts of the game is simply to see how people see the world. I have to wonder what kind of Palace I’d have.

So, in conclusion, Persona 5 is hands-down one of my favorite games. It honestly is a contender for Game of The Year right now and will at least finish in the top 3 I’m sure. Persona 5 truly is its own game, so don’t feel like you need to play other Persona games to play it. If it sounds at all interesting, it is definitely worth picking up. When playing it, just play like you are the character it honestly makes everything all the more relatable, at least that is what I thought.

 

By Cataclysmic Knight On 9 May, 2017 At 03:48 PM | Categorized As Indie Spotlight, PlayStation, Reviews, Reviews, ROG News | With 0 Comments

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Developed By: Fire Face Corporation
Published By: Adult Swim Games
Available For: PS4 (reviewed), Windows

One side of the second building.

I had never heard of Small Radios Big Televisions before I received a review code for it, but a quick glance online made it look like Fez if it was a point-and-click puzzler. Diving in, I was presented with a building against a rather plain red background and absolutely no tutorial or clue as to what to do. Moving the left joystick moved the cursor, and when it moved over the only door present it became clear this was what I was meant to do – open the door and begin. Exploration is unique: instead of being given a character to move around, you merely move the cursor and whatever room you’re currently in tilts to allow the cursor to reach everything. To enter a room or interact with things, just press X with the cursor over it. Some things, like cogs, require dragging to complete puzzles. This may sound pretty standard, but the fact that I never saw myself and the view was pulled so far out gave the game an entirely different feel.

It was when I found my first cassette that the game really became special. These cassettes are better than music (yes, even Star-Lord’s Awesome Mixes), they’re virtual reality! Each one has a very specific experience and is clearly labeled with things like Road, Forest or Stream. Like any VR experience these are all first-person, and while some of them offer automatic movement along a pre-programmed track you can’t actually control yourself at all. You can, however, look around with the cursor, and the goal here is to find green gems. To make matters even more wild you’ll come across magnets as you explore the main game which warp any cassettes you currently have. Idyllic, lovely settings become ruined and corrupted when entering them again which is necessary to find additional gems.

Your TD-525 provides some simple diversions, but at what cost?

After each area is completed there’s a mysterious conversation between two people. As a huge fan of story in games this was an excellent addition. They’re all very short, so folks who couldn’t care less don’t have to wait long, and they’re just long enough to tease at what’s going on. Between the lack of any kind of setup, the mysterious setting, the VR tapes and these dialogues the game’s world is constantly unraveling into something interesting. There’s also writing and graffiti on the walls of several of the rooms that elude to a much darker tone. It’s almost painful how much I want to talk about the story of this game! Unfortunately, this is one of those games where giving any details would hurt the experience.

Things get a little dark at times.

I am NOT good at puzzle games. A quarter or a half of the way in I typically start needing a walkthrough here and there, and by the last quarter or so I usually end up spending more time watching videos on how to solve the game’s puzzles than actually playing it. That wasn’t the case here, and while I ended up feeling rather smart a few times I worry that hardcore puzzle fans will be rather bored here. The difficulty in the game comes mostly from navigating through the areas and locating the green gems in the cassettes: as the game progresses rooms end up having quite a few diverging paths that make it easy to forget where to go or where you just came from. There is a map in the game, but I didn’t get any use out of it personally. The fact that doors are always closed until you first enter them and stay open once they’re opened helps, but the later areas require a fair bit of backtracking.

The audio and art fit the retro theme incredibly well. The 3D styles of the last century are evident here and the music is subdued and enjoyable, although one or two of the pieces may have been a little repetitive in the background as I hunted down gems. I also liked that the game took advantage of the DualShock speaker for inserting cassettes; as someone somewhat new to PS4 I’m always excited when a game takes advantage of it. It all came together to draw me far more into the world of Small Radios Big Television than I could have expected.

Small radios provide big insight into the plot.

I really loved that the game doesn’t hold your hand yet still ended up making perfect sense. It was awesome that even a mediocre puzzle gamer like myself could figure things out! Although the gameplay is rather simple and half the puzzles are just hunting for green gems in cassettes or navigating small labyrinths of doors the setting and story more than made up for it to me. I even felt compelled to go back through and find the two lenses I missed the first time around; completing the game unlocks the ability to go back and the doors are thankfully all closed once again. The mystery was a bit simple but deep enough to keep me excited about every scene, and the ending had a really unexpected, Twilight Zone-ish twist. If you’re a big fan of story games like me and have a few hours to spend on a unique little puzzle adventure title I’d highly recommend Small Radios Big Televisions.

Disclaimer: A code was provided for the purposes of this review

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Prey was a 2006 game by Human Head Studios that brought in some truly innovating gameplay to the FPS genre. It was like little else before it.  Now fast forward to 2017 and Prey has been revived, mostly in name only as this is more of a spiritual sequel to System Shock, by Arkane Studios and Bethesda Softworks, but fans of the original should be aware there are elements of the original present here.

Prey plays as a hybrid between survival horror and first-person shooter and does so admirably. Bethesda games are well known for having some glitches and shaky models, it’s expected by now and there is a charm to them. Prey takes these shaky models and glitches and makes them into gameplay elements. Everywhere you go there are enemies of some kind, and the game gets really creative with them. I have to give it to Arkane Studios, the enemies in the game are well thought out and well designed. The enemies can be anything and this creates a great degree of paranoia that is perfect for the game. You will never know where the enemy is, because of the nature of the enemy. This game is billed as the spiritual successor to System Shock, and I truly feel it surpasses its inspiration. It successfully pushes horror to the next level, while mixing in a perfect amount of action.

The game offers unique abilities as part of the story, and these offer so much variety in the gameplay. Prey is a unique type of game, given its story and the way the game lets you go about it. Using the abilities is a big part of the game, but the game makes it personal when you use the powers. It messes with you and forces you to question everything.  It’s a great twist on the usual Survival Horror and FPS gameplay and a welcome innovation.  The game’s abilities, while new and not those of the original game ( again, this is an in name only reboot), still does have a feeling of a connection to the original. This might be surprising but the original Prey’s abilities had a psychological impact that is present in many ways in this game. There are humorous aspects as well, such as becoming different objects which are amusing and great for getting ahead in the game. It is really well done and when used right, creates a rewarding experience, There are also the game mechanics that stand out, such as recycling, and the various weapons and upgrades. Prey is a game you will want to play through more than once ( more on that in just a bit), and it will definitely continue to be fun and exciting,

The story is interesting, if a bit flawed, and has some very neat twists. That said, the way the storytelling is done through the gameplay is good and the visual style of the game adds to its enjoyability a great deal. The big thing for me with the immersion was the music. The soundtrack was absolutely amazing and some of Mick Gordon’s best work, and helps to both set the mood and draw the player in, in the right way and at the right time. It switches from intense action to creepy scares in just the correct amount and keeps things fresh for the player. The story of the game takes a while to appreciate, and there are pacing issues and some things that still don’t work well ( the flaws mentioned), but once it is complete, you will want to play the game again to see how it all fits together. Admittedly, the story isn’t the draw of the game for me, but it plays its part well in the game. That said, the characters are developed well and the setting and scenario and very well thought out and developed. Arkane said they wanted Talos I to be a character itself and they accomplished that.

Prey’s biggest flaw is that the pacing in general, not just in the story, seems off at times, but that can be easily overlooked. All in all, I think Prey is another knockout title from Arkane and Bethesda, and I cannot imagine not recommending it. It just feels great to play and I want more of this experience. It was really well done.

 

Disclaimer: A code was provided by Bethesda for the purposes of this review.

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As of May 1 2017 ( or May 2nd if you live in EU), it has been 15 years since the release of The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind. In the time since, gaming has gotten even bigger and The Elder Scrolls series in particular has continued to grow, and it seems that many, while acknowledging Morrowind is a great game, don’t realize why it was.

The Elder Scrolls: Arena, the first game in the series, was a fairly average for the time CRPG. it was rooted in the D&D model and many things introduced in the game were changed in some way, or drastically expanded on to provide new explanations later on. The races were presented differently, The Daedra were not present and some key locations and didn’t have any real significance to them besides acting as shout outs to other works, such as the writings of Tolkien. The Elder Scrolls: Daggerfall saw the series go into a more fluid 3D form than before, introduced the Daedra and some concepts and characters that would become important later. But it still wasn’t  quite The Elder Scrolls we know today. Those games were very much based in the typical fantasy elements that were often used, and it wasn’t until Morrowind that the series really set itself apart.

It isn’t that Morrowind had a bigger open world than the previous games. Daggerfall was much bigger than Morrowind, which is only set in part of the fictional province. No, it was that Morrowind felt alive, like it was a unique land that was a breath of fresh air from the normal tropes of fantasy. We weren’t getting a European based fantasy story, we were getting weird fiction and it was awesome. This was the game that introduced so much to the series. The Daedra got their proper personalities, we got a true backstory for the games, there was a unique cast of characters, and every choice you made had consequences.  The game began the series tradition of starting out as a prisoner, and handled the protagonist in an interesting way, that to explain it now would be a spoiler as I want you to play this game and appreciate it.

This was the game where The Elder Scrolls set itself apart from the pack, and another way it did that was through its Xbox port. It wasn’t a good port, as the Xbox simply wasn’t meant to handle such a game, but it helped expose the series to a new audience. It was this game that brought us the mystery of the Dwemer, and it was this game that took those shout outs to Tolkien and actually made them distinct and different.  The different races all became unique in their own right, and we got to learn the mythological lore of the series that still goes on in the current games. The Elder Scrolls : Oblivion and The Elder Scrolls: Skyrim owe much to Morrowind, but so do games like Mass Effect and Dragon Age. This was the game that showed what could truly be done with Western RPGs. That they could rival and surpass the JRPGs.

So I say to you now, if you haven’t ever played Morrowind, give it a try. Yes it has dated graphics and a clunky control scheme, but mods can help with that. This game brought so much joy and so much innovation, that it deserves to continue to be appreciated today!

By Cataclysmic Knight On 29 Apr, 2017 At 10:32 PM | Categorized As Featured, Movie News, Reviews, ROG News, Videos | With 0 Comments

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King for a Day

 

Yesterday, Thursday the 27th I was lucky to be one of the 30,000 to attend AMC’s King for a Day event. Armed with a terrible memory and without any way to take notes, I’ll give you a SPOILER FREE look at King Arthur: Legend of the Sword.

I stepped into the theater over half an hour early to find a good quarter of the seats full. Before the movie began, hopeful showgoers were being turned away repeatedly as literally, every seat was full. Comfort be damned, I was hyped for a King Arthur movie by Guy Ritchie with Charlie Hunnam in the titular starring role! The fact they gave out some pretty sweet swag didn’t hurt either.

 

Swag!

 

I went in expecting a humorous, action-packed fantasy movie with some great dialogue and I sure wasn’t let down. What I didn’t expect, however, were the epic twists on the source material – without spoiling anything the movie really handled Arthur and Excalibur well. I thought “Legend of the Sword” was a really lame part of the title originally, but now I realize just how fitting it was. Excalibur is perhaps the most well-known weapon that exists, and it is AWESOME here. It also leads to some truly amazing fight scenes, one of which is easily in my top 5 fight scenes of all time. It’s badass, it’s brilliant and it’s epic! I also really loved the depth given to the Arthurian legends, even the stone from “the sword in the stone” is given a really great twist.

Beyond the action and the great editing/humor, the characters were excellent as well. Arthur is a man who has made his own way – “from nothing comes a king” was a very accurate tagline for the film. I would’ve loved some more Goosefat Bill (Aiden Gillen, Littlefinger on Game of Thrones and Paul Serene in Quantum Break) but I’ll survive. Jude Law was an excellent Vortigern, although the movie could’ve snuck a bit more depth into his character pretty easily. The biggest surprise was Astrid Berges-Frisbey whose character – “The Mage” as she’s credited – was awesome! The rest of the cast was excellent as well, but nothing particularly sticks out in my memory a day later.

I typically don’t like reviewing a movie after only one watch, as hype and surprise can cover up a movie that really isn’t great a second time around. Heck, I typically don’t review movies anyway, but I couldn’t resist with such a surprise hit. Fans of fantasy shouldn’t pass this one up for anything, it was glorious. There were only a few scenes that really benefit from the big screen though, so you won’t really miss out waiting til it hits Redbox/Netflix/disc.

And if you haven’t seen it yet, check out a trailer for the movie below.

 

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Bethesda and Arkane Studios recently released a demo of Prey for players to try. Being super excited for the game, I had to give it a look and I have come away very impressed.

Prey is not like a typical first person shooter, or horror game. When people are told that this game takes influence from Dead Space and System Shock, I feel they are not being given an accurate description. Yes, the game takes some ideas from those games, but it builds on them in such unique and innovative ways, that it makes these ideas its own.

First, let me mention the beautiful visuals. The game is absolutely gorgeous and wonderfully stylized. Every detail is immaculate, and the amount of work put into getting everything right is amazing. The game’s look just pops out at you, and it is done in a way that rarely happens anymore. The music is also great in this demo, and it helps create the perfect atmosphere. Not to mention the sound effects are creepy and awesome at the same time.

In terms of gameplay, from what was seen in the demo, Prey, while taking some influence from the aforementioned games, really does things like nothing else before it. It has innovative gameplay, unique weapons, and how you interact with the environment and the enemies is inspired. The developers were not mincing words when they said the station Talos 1 was a character in its own right. The weapons and abilities let you do things that you would never have even considered doing before. You need to stop and think about what to do, because the game gives you so many options to procees.This is one of the most well crafted games I have ever seen, and this was just the opening demo.  I cannot wait for the full game, and I must commend Bethesda and Arkane. This was an amazing demo!

By John Kinsella On 24 Apr, 2017 At 03:55 PM | Categorized As Games To Watch, NINTENDO, Nintendo Switch, Reviews, Reviews, ROG News | With 0 Comments

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Puyo Puyo Tetris has come to the Nintendo Switch and it is a fun puzzle game. Combining two of the greatest puzzle games into one really is interesting. While Tetris is known the world over and is popular world wide. Puyo Puyo has typically stayed in Japan for the most part.
I honestly have not played a lot of Tetris at least in the last decade. I’m not the biggest fan of these types of games but this was something new. But, I decided it was a good idea to review it to keep me sharp. Playing it I was reminded of a simpler time where a game like this could really trap me. The Puyo Puyo portion I was reminded of my time playing Sonic Mega Collection for the Game Cube. This amazing game had a classic Sonic Game called Dr.Robotnik’s Mean Bean Machine. This game was actually a localized version of a Puyo Puyo game and for many, was their first time playing the series. I played this game a lot as it was just so easy to pick up and play. Puyo Puyo Tetris is similar to that wonderful game as it also quite easy to pick up and play. I personally wasn’t drawn into playing it for long stretches of time. Picking it up here and there, for a little light game play made it and kept it fun.
The Adventure Mode is great as it offers 100 stages of play featuring characters from both game series. Some of the challenges are downright hard and that makes it all the more fantastic when you actually win. I honestly struggled through the early levels but that probably is because I’m rusty when it comes to this type of game. This game also offers a full on 4 player local co-op mode. With traditional Versus, Swap where Tetris and Puyo Puyo Boards swap out regularly and even Fuse where you play a true combination of both. There is also Big Bang Mode where its a race to complete boards and Party where you can help or hinder your opponents with hidden items.
In addition, there is also Online Mode with a full Puzzle League and ranking system, a Free Play mode for light online fun. If you feel confident about your skills, go all out for it. If you do well in the match and dominate, you can even save online matches. I usually am not one for online mode but I tried it and got royally destroyed. To hone your skills for online, never hesitate to go to the solo arcade. You can battle up to 3 Computer players, Compete in a never ending Endurance mode, and a robust Challenge Mode. It is certainly a game that is worth training for, as it happens rather fast. I will certainly work on my skills with training like this.
While I wait for other games and in between times I’m not playing Breath of The Wild, I will certainly make time for this fantastic game.If you like puzzle games I highly suggest you give it a try when it comes out April 25th. Plus, you can play a demo right now, to see if it fits you. So, puzzle on dear readers, Tetris blocks need to disappear and Puyo need to explode.

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I previously reviewed DOOM when it came out last year. You can read that review here. Today I want to look at some of the ways DOOM has changed and improved.

I had said that the biggest strength of the game was the single player mode and while I still believe that is true, I do feel a lot of work has gone into the multiplayer to make it work a lot better. It still isn’t perfect, but the DLC and the patches have gone a long way to take a game whose online was mediocre at best, and greatly improve it. It feels smoother, more fluid and the a.i. bots just work well. They saw what wasn’t working, took fan feedback and went to work on making it better. I can actually enjoy it a lot more now and would recommend trying it out.

The various additional modes and changes added to the game for single player also stand out. It is simple stuff like Arcade Mode that just gives the game a ton of replayability and increases the fun. Bethesda and id Software realized what the fans were really there for and gave it to them in great detail. They also added options to make the game feel even more like classic Doom while still keeping everything modern. It was classy, and it was well done.

Speaking of giving the fans what they want, SnapMap has had the biggest improvements. While it always had good content, there was no doubt that it was mainly there to help multiplayer.  id Software did a great job revamping it and allowing fans to use it in a manner much more like classic Doom mods. There is so much more variety now and the replay value is now bottomless. This was the best thing that could have been done, and I give major props to Bethesda and id Software for taking the time to overhaul SnapMap and allowing it to reach its true potential. Stuff like that makes gaming fun,

Overall, the changes made to DOOM since its release have been for the better. The game was amazing then and is even more amazing now. If you haven’t checked it out yet, you should do so!

 

By Jonathan Balofsky On 21 Apr, 2017 At 04:20 PM | Categorized As Featured, News, NINTENDO, Nintendo Switch, Reviews, Reviews, ROG News | With 0 Comments

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WonderBoy: The Dragon’s Trap was a classic game for the Sega Master System. Regarded as one of the all time greats, it has now been given a modern remaster thanks to Lizardcube and Dot Emu, but is it any good?

WonderBoy; The Dragon’s Trap is a beautiful game that takes great pains to replicate the classic 8 bit game and turn it into a modern experience. It has gorgeous hand drawn art that is full of detail and liveliness. The music is also lovingly redone in tribute to the original. You can switch between the original and modern look and sounds at the touch of buttons, and just comparing the soundtrack between the retro and modern really shows how much care was put in to be true to the original music.

Everything has been given an overhaul, for example instead of passwords, you get hints ( the game autosaves now), the nurse is now full of snarkiness, and most useful of all, you can use the shoulder buttons to scroll though your sub weapons. This does come with a drawback however, in that the awkward parts of the game are retained as well. The game has a way of registering hits that is straight from the original game, but feels out of place in a modern game. This gets really annoying during boss fights, and can throw you off. As well, the confusion about where to go next is still here. You can get lost for a while and just wander around looking for wear to go, which is one way of expanding the play experience, which is only 3-5 hours.

Don’t get me wrong, this is a good game and I love it. I love finding all the secrets and the ways to progress and there is just a sense of charm that the game has, that most other retro revivals just miss out on. The different weapons and armors are great, the transformations are awesome ( but actually transforming has a bit too strong of flashing lights), and  the overall experience is really well done. If it weren’t for trying too hard to preserve what the game was in full, instead of filtering it to get only the good, this would have been much better. Still this is a game that is rewarding, that gives you a sense of satisfaction when you make progress and gain new abilities. People often forget how hard the master system games could be, so the challenge is welcome, even with the difficulty settings. Plus there is now the option to play as a female protagonist and if that is chosen, the title screen will say WonderGirl: The Dragon’s Trap. It is a nice touch and really adds to the experience.

Overall I really liked WonderBoy: The Dragon’s Trap. It is a retro game done right (with a few issues) and is genuinely fun and charming. I fully recommend it.

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Mr.Shifty which was created by Team Shifty is coming out tomorrow, on Nintendo Switch and Steam. I was lucky enough to score a review copy and let me tell you, I enjoyed it. This crazy game is similar to certain top down games like Hot Line Miami but has its own twist. The main character Mr.Shifty can teleport. It honestly is quite similar to Nightcrawler of the XMen and his teleporting skill.

This game may seem simple on the surface in that you just need to climb a tower and take down goons, but it gets hectic fast. This game is unforgiving in that if you die you start the stage over.

Enemies appear seemingly out of nowhere in certain stages. In other stages they are planned, but they do tend to walk towards sounds. You need to have quick reflexes in order to take down all of the goons.

Mr.Shifty’s power is hard to handle sometimes especially in moments of high stress. Taking down 50 enemies who all can one shot kill you makes things tense. This mission that Shifty and his assistant are on is something clearly worth it all, but it certainly isn’t a game for those who hate to lose.

I died plenty of times but honestly it felt good to start floors over. You honestly learn how to play the game as you die. You learn where you need to go and how you can wipe out more men in a single attack.

This game is certainly worth picking up if you need another game worth playing. It might fill some of the void of time you may now have after beating Breath of the Wild for Nintendo Switch!

So, if this game sounds at all interesting it is certainly worth the 15$. If you need some convincing they did release a demo online in February for people to try!

Feel free to watch the trailer below to find out if you may like it, and get ready to Shift into crime with Mr. Shifty tomorrow!

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