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By Jonathan Balofsky On 26 Jan, 2017 At 06:00 PM | Categorized As PC Games, ROG News, Uncategorized | With 0 Comments

No GravatarIts a tale as old as time itself. The hero rescues the princess from the evil villain, and its one that video games have taken to very well. From Mario and Peach, to Link and Zelda we know how the story goes…..or do we? What if we decided to reverse the roles and how the story is told? What if you were the villain kidnapping the princess? This is the world of Nefarious.

 

You play as Crow, a villain with aspirations of conquering the world. To do this, you must kidnap various princesses, simple right? I cannot explain it but Nefarious is just one of the most charming games I have ever played. Every bit of it, from the amazing artwork, to the excellent animation and humor is just excellent.  So much love and dedication was put into this game and the effort paid off.

Nefarious takes every cliché and trope about video games and turns them on their head. You don’t have boss fights, because you are the boss. You have reverse boss fights, which are even more awesome than they sound. These parody almost every genre of gaming and leave nothing untouched. Someone actually took a look at the absurdities of gaming and made a game based around them.

The music is amazing, with some really catchy tunes. You can collect more music and, without giving a spoiler, you can do some really fun things with it. I feel like the music is a cut above the usual indie fare. It just feels so good, and I can’t explain it, it just works well.

That isn’t to say the game is perfect though, and there are issues. The first is that the game had some control issues, with the controls not recognizing my gamepad at times, and other times getting a bit nonresponsive at key moments. This was annoying and I hope it can be fixed in the future if a patch is not already in the works. It didn’t hurt the game completely in my eyes but did get in the way.

Nefarious just builds its universe organically within the game. Everyone is introduced as if they have already been there for years, and the player doesn’t feel like they are strangers. Becky, Crow’s right hand woman, is an awesome character. She comes across as the straight man of the two, and along the lines of characters like Spock. Princesses like Princess Mayapple ( who is basically a stand in for Princess Peach), come off as fully developed and unique people. I want to see more of the game’s universe and one of the endings implies there will be a sequel that continues to flip the experience.

I think Nefarious is a game that everyone should check out. It is just amazing, and if the control issue is fixed, it will be perfect. I recommend this!

 

A review code was provided for this review.

By Jonathan Balofsky On 19 Jan, 2017 At 11:04 PM | Categorized As Uncategorized | With 0 Comments

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This is a hard review for me to do. I was extremely excited for Hive Jump and interviewed the developers on more than one occasion, but I cannot help but feel let down by this game. I realize that this is not the best way to start out the review, but I do not believe in holding back punches.

Hive Jump is a game that blends multiple genres. It has elements of Metroid, Contra, Metal Slug, Spelunky and more, but it doesn’t blend perfectly. Starting out, there is a slight strategic game part before getting into the meat of the game, but it felt distracting and confusing. Furthermore, the main game itself is rather awkward. The difficulty is intense and that is fine and I don’t have complaints about difficulty, but I do about stiff controls. And Hive Jump has very stiff controls that get in the way of the gameplay. This ended up holding me back significantly, both in single player and online. On that subject, Hive Jump is a game that needs to be played in multiplayer, it just does not play well in single player and you wont have a good time.

I played 3 online games and they ran fine, but it felt lacking. I don’t know how else to say it other than it was missing something. The game is a run and gun game but it has strategic elements that just don’t go with it and the difficulty of the game. It feels like the developers were trying to do too much and combine too many ideas and it just kind of sits there.

You can respawn numerous times after dying, provided the backpack does not get destroyed, after which permadeath kicks in. This is where the online fell apart for me and everything became utterly chaotic. Coordinating activity became impossible and everyone felt like they were fighting each other. The Backpack mechanic does provide some interesting ways of playing, but this is the one area where single player works better, even though Single Player is inferior in general. I didn’t get the chance to play local co-op and maybe that is better, but I walked away unimpressed.

Like I said, I was really excited for this game, but I do not feel the end product is the best it could be. It just feels like a recipe that was put together wrong. I really hope something can be done to make this game better, but right now, the product isn’t there.

By Jonathan Balofsky On 18 Jan, 2017 At 05:53 AM | Categorized As News, NINTENDO, Nintendo Switch, ROG News, Uncategorized | With 0 Comments

No GravatarAnother game has been announced for the Switch, as according to the Japanese site for the system., Story of Seasons will be coming.  Story of Seasons is the original Harvest Moon series but under a new name since Natsume owns the name Harvest Moon and now Marvelous. Story of Seasons has seen releases under its new name since 2014 and this is great for fans of the classic series.

This has only been announced in Japan so far, but hopefully it will be announced for North America and Europe soon, so fans here are not left out. We really do want this here!

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

 

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

10) AVGN II ASSimilation

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

 

9) Tokyo Mirage Sessions #FE

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

8) King of Fighters XIV

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

7)  Shantae: Half-Genie Hero

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

 

6) Guilty Gear Xrd Revelator

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

5) Dragon Ball Xenoverse 2

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

4) Digimon Story: Cyber Sleuth

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

3) Shadow Warrior 2

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

2) Dishonored 2

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

1) DOOM

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

By Jonathan Balofsky On 29 Dec, 2016 At 10:25 PM | Categorized As Editorials, Featured, News, PC Games, PlayStation, ROG News, Uncategorized | With 0 Comments

No Gravatar2016 has come and (almost) gone and with it has gone another year of gaming. We all have our lists of best games, but what about the games that were great but didn’t get the attention they deserved?  So to do our part to correct this, here is our list of 5 games that got overlooked during 2016 in no particular order. This does not include indie games as I plan another list for those at a later time.

 

5)King of Fighters XIV

Street Fighter V got all the attention this year, but King of Fighters XIV was a complete game at launch. Multiple modes for single player and SNK handling the issues with online in a prompt manner made this a must have game. With a large roster and actually moving forward in an interesting way that will most certainly affect the future games in the series, KOF XIV was a turning point for the series. Sadly too many people saw the visuals and looked away and missed out on an amazing game in the process. I must emphasize that this game felt like a game meant to be played by both hardcores and casuals, with the game doing its part to help get new players in without alienating veterans. With the visual update coming soon, I hope this game can get the attention it deserves.

4)World of Final Fantasy

This one sadly was the victim of bad timing. Final Fantasy XV had such a large amount of hype and momentum behind it that World of Final fantasy ended up being almost completely ignored. This is a shame because aside from a long opening sequence, WoFF is a great game that uses both classic Final Fantasy gameplay along with mon collecting and a good dash of humor. With tons of classic characters appearing and likeable protagonists, as well as intelligent writing and great visuals, this game has something for everyone. I feel if this had come out another year, this would have gotten a lot more attention. The sad thing is that this could have been marketed well to fans of the classic style of Final Fantasy but Square Enix didn’t, and I feel that was a missed opportunity. If you feel Final Fantasy has drifted too far into another direction, then I suggest this game.

3) Shadow Of The Beast

Shadow Of The Beast originated on the Amiga and was made by Pysgnosis, who were later acquired by Sony. The game was a sidescrolling platformer that was noted for its difficulty and amazing visual effects. The game received a remake on the PlayStation 4 earlier this year and like the others on this list, it was sadly not given the attention it deserved. A brilliant game that used beat em up elements along with rhythm game elements. It had amazing visuals and engaging gameplay and even included the original game as a bonus. It was brutal and fun and should have been a much bigger deal than it was. Even if you do not know much about the original game, that is fine since the game is very inviting. This is a game that is short but designed for replays and allows it to be done in new ways. I suggest checking it out.

2) Odin Sphere Leifthrasir

This game actually had a lot of hype before it came out, especially from fans of the original game. Once the game came out however, it seemed to utterly fall from the public mind.  This game was utterly brilliant with amazing visuals, refined combat and excellent RPG mechanics and storytelling. A beautiful metroidvania, Odin Sphere Leifthrasir was the complete package. A game that requires multiple playthroughs to understand fully and appreciate, and it is fun each time. The original game also did not get the attention it deserved and so it was hoped that this re-release would be a different story, but it sadly has gone the same way. I cannot understand why that is, as the game has so much to offer and it should have been a hit.

1-  Exist Archive

This one hurt the most. A spiritual sequel to Valkyrie Profile that went completely ignored. After we posted our review, I heard from people who told me they love what they read about the game and are disappointed that they had not heard of it before the review. I am going to quote this from the review.

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 game actually delivered something to the gaming world that people had been asking for. It was a brilliant RPG when many RPGs had gone stale, it was a spiritual revival of a classic IP, and it brought something new to the genre. I wish this had been promoted more, because this is a fantastic game. Since I wrote the review originally, it has grown on me even more and many of the flaws I had seen in it, I don’t see anymore. This is a truly unique masterpiece and the fact that it has been overlooked this year is a travesty. This is the most overlooked game of 2016 in my opinion.

 

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The New 3DS virtual console will receive Castlevania Dracula X tomorrow. The SNES port of the Turbo Grafix 16 classic, Rondo Of Blood, was controversial in its time but has since found itself a fandom. Will you be buying it when the eshop updates?

After rising from his eternal sleep, Count Dracula summons his dark minions–Cerberus, Minaurus and the Salamander–to bring a reign of terror on the land. In order to lure the latest Belmont descendant, Dracula kidnaps Annette Renard and her sister Maria as bait.

Gear up as Richter Belmont, equipped with the legendary Vampire Killer, in his strife to save his beloved. Battling against the monsters that lurk in the shadows, strategically using magical tomes, mystical power-ups and titanic weapons and discovering secret bonus levels. Unfold another chapter in the Belmont family’s lineage, with over 7 stages of grim encounters and a myriad of possibilities depending on the choices that you make.

This game is only playable in 2D.
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By Jonathan Balofsky On 19 Dec, 2016 At 10:46 PM | Categorized As News, NINTENDO, ROG News, Uncategorized | With 0 Comments

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A lot of rumors have been swirling about the Nintendo Switch, but they cannot be confirmed until January. What we do know for sure is that the Switch will be supporting Vulkan as well as OpenGL 4.5 and OpenGL ES 3.2.

 

The Nintendo Switch has been certified as a Vulkan 1.0 conformant implementation by The Khronos Group. Over on Khronos.org is now public confirmation with the Nintendo Switch currently being listed as the newest certified Vulkan product. The OS is listed as “Nintendo OS” and it passes the Vulkan 1.0.1.0 CTS.

The certification passing was yesterday, 18 December. Additionally, the Nintendo Switch is also listed as hitting OpenGL 4.5 and OpenGL ES 3.2 conformance. There is no mention of OpenCL conformance or any other Khronos APIs for the Nintendo Switch.

This is big news for Nintendo and also raises some questions. What is Nintendo OS? Is it a different OS altogether, or a new version of something they used in the past. We will have to wait and see.

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

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

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

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

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

By Jonathan Balofsky On 6 Dec, 2016 At 11:19 PM | Categorized As Featured, News, PlayStation, Reviews, Reviews, ROG News, Uncategorized | With 0 Comments

No GravatargarouSNK is a legendary company and have produced many amazing games, especially fighting games. One game that is held to be the peak of their greatness is Garou Mark of The Wolves. The last canonical entry in the Fatal Fury series, Garou was often compared to Street Fighter III: 3rd Strike from Capcom, perhaps as part of the ongoing rivalry between the two companies. MOTW brought many innovative ideas to the genre and was greatly acclaimed and is now back on PlayStation 4 and Vita. But does it hold up? Or is this another game that was good for its time and better left in the past?

Well I am pleased to say that after spending the day play Garou MOTW, I can safely say the game is actually better than I remember it being. Garou is one of the best designed fighting games ever made and a technical masterpiece. The game is one that anyone could learn but it requires effort to master. It is far more accessible that 3rd strike but just as technical. New ideas such as the Just Defended, the  T.O.P. System, and Breaking brought a lot of variety to the table and made the game stand out more. the technical aspects of the game hold up great and I spent a lot of time playing through the game, re-familiarizing myself with it and enjoying myself the entire time. The fun factor is still there. the game is designed to bring you in and give you the means to get better while having you do the work yourself. it doesn’t hold your hand but it doesn’t just throw you into the pool and leave you to survive on your own.

Garou MOTW has a great art style that still looks great today and  it really shines on an HD TV set. The music is amazing and the game allows you to go into Music Menu to listen to character and stage themes when you want to. You will want to do that because the music is just that amazing.

The game has a great cast of characters, most of whom could really use another appearance, especially protagonist Rock Howard, Terry Boggard’s adopted son. Some have been making appearances but most have been held for a potential Garou 2 which hasn’t happened yet, but SNK does want it to be a reality.

There are some issues. The online has some delay and I did encounter issues getting matches, but I am confident that SNK will fix this considering how much effort they have put into fixing King of Fighters XIV. Aside from that, the port is amazing.

I would definitely recommend this game to SNK fans and fighting game fans in general. This is one of the best ever made.

 

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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