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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 18 Dec, 2016 At 11:50 PM | Categorized As Featured, PC Games, Reviews, ROG News | With 0 Comments

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Earlier this year I reviewed Guilty Gear Xrd Revelator on PlayStation 4, but now I had the chance to play the PC version and see how it compares. I wont talk about the gameplay as I discussed that in my previous review, other than to discuss what is different here.

To begin, online matches play a bit differently on the PC version than they did on console.  On PC the matches use input delay and that took a bit of time to get used to. That said, the online felt much better than it did on console ( and it was already great on console), once I adjusted. I felt the pacing in Revelator was much improved over Sign, but somehow it feels even better here.

it may sound weird, but I feel the changes made to the game, far improve the flow of the action. Guilty Gear Xrd Revelator is one of the best fighting games of all time, and this version just makes it better. I was able to make some adjustments that I couldn’t in the PS4 version to help get more enjoyment out of the game, and that was a bonus for me.

If I do have some complaints, it is that some advertising has been promoting this version as having all the DLC. That is true if you buy the digital deluxe version. Otherwise, you still need to buy all the DLC. As well I did notice a small amount of framerate problems but they were not present all the time and therefore I cannot fully judge them. The main thing to remember with this game is that its online plays a bit differently and you need to adjust to that. If that is not an issue for you, then I would easily recommend this game for any Guilty Gear fan, or any fighting game fan in general. It is a good one.

By Jonathan Balofsky On 30 Nov, 2016 At 12:27 AM | Categorized As News, PC Games, PlayStation, ROG News | With 0 Comments

No GravatarrevelatorGuilty Gear Xrd -REVELATOR, the amazing PlayStation fighting game is coming to Steam on December 14.

Astonishing 3D cell animations and overwhelming content volume, the next-generation fighting game “GUILTY GEAR Xrd -REVELATOR-” is now out on Steam! Total cast of 23 unique characters, and tons of game modes, get ready to ROCK!

 

You can read our review of the PS4 version here  Source

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

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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

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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.

 

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This is one of the more unusual games I have played. I am not even sure how to describe it, because it mixes so many genres in so many ways. Tokyo Twilight Ghost Hunters: Daybreak Special Gigs is a game that mixes visual novels with RPGs but the blending is not a hundred percent perfect. It tries to be something new, but just ended up as something strange. It isn’t bad, but I guess I have to admit that it is just something I haven’t really encountered in this format before.

A Re-release of Tokyo Twilight Ghost Hunters: Daybreak, this version comes with an extended story. The same plot of high school students and scientists taking on the supernatural is there, but is expanded on in many ways. The gameplay is mostly unchanged, with the visual novel style of choices to move the story forward, combined with tactical RPG battles. This part of the gameplay is rather fun and I wish there was more of it. These battles require a lot of strategic thought and planning and to me, were the best part of the entire game experience.

Overall, the game is rather gorgeous, with eye popping artwork that really helps it stand out. For some reason the art in this game just stood out to me more than in other games of this kind. Maybe it was the power of the PlayStation 4, but this was just amazing. The one part that does bug me is that it uses photographs as backgrounds a lot. This does take away from the experience a bit.

Overall this is an okay game and if you liked the original releases, you might like this one. Its difficult to recommend because I am not sure who the target audience is, but I will say that when the game is fun, it is a lot of fun.

 

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Zero Escape is one of those series that demands attention. A game that shows the ways that visual novels can change gaming, it is one of the most unique series out there. While the series has only managed to have a cult following, the fan base is extremely devoted and it is their support that made this game happen.

The game takes the time hopping from the previous entry and furthers its use in this story. You will jump around in time in a non-linear way but it becomes easy to understand as you go on. The mechanic actually helps tie the story together much better in this game, by allowing you to understand it in greater detail and see it from multiple perspectives.

You will control 3 different teams as you play The Decision Game, and while it seems like your characters are just average Joes, you will find out that there is much more to them. I don’t want to give away story elements, as the story needs to be played to be really understood. Things will get out of hand fast and death does occur. That is safe to say and truly par for the course with the series.

The escape elements are better in this game than in the last one and the puzzle elements are the best in the series. The developers have gone all out and made some of the most difficult puzzles yet to test your mind. There are a diverse range of puzzles throughout the game and while some are utterly bizarre, most end up being clever and fun. This is a thinking person’s series after all.

The game does have a major flaw though. The presentation is off. The voice acting, visuals and audio in general are all sub par when compared to the previous games in the series. It feels like the developers wanted to try something new but did not implement it well.

Do I think you should buy this? Even with the presentation flaws, yes I do. The game is good and surpasses its flaws.

By Jonathan Balofsky On 22 Jun, 2016 At 03:48 AM | Categorized As Featured, News, PlayStation, Reviews, Reviews, ROG News, Uncategorized | With 0 Comments

No Gravatarrevelator

 

I have always liked fighting games even if I have never been very big into the FGC. I loved games like Mortal Kombat and Tekken but I was always aware of Guilty Gear. It was that game that my friends would tell me about and let me play when I could. Guilty Gear has always been so different from most fighting games, it has been more intense for lack of a better word. If other fighting games are hard rock, then Guilty Gear is death metal. It has been a pioneer in the air-dasher subgenre of fighting games  and has brought many other innovations as well. The series has only gotten better with each installment and now in the Xrd subseries Guilty Gear is going all out.

Revelator and its predecessor Sign are two amazing works of art. The blend of 3D graphics and cell-shading to mimic the look of sprite art animation is amazing and creates the perfect look for the games. All of the effects and character animations are spot on and look great and true to the series.

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Music wise, Revelator continues the series’ tradition of awesome music. The character themes are great, the background music, menus and more all have great sounds, and the story mode has some amazing audio. The developers at Arc System Works spared no expense at creating an awesome sounding game here. The diverse metal soundtrack the game has is just epic and I could listen to these tunes for hours on end. The only audio part that was a downside for me was the changes in voice acting, with Xrd Revelator not having an English dub. Some didn’t like the English dub of Xrd Sign, but I did and I miss it since I think the voices fit the characters well.

Now that all those details are out of the way, let’s talk about the gameplay. The fighting in Xrd Sign was smooth yet sometimes a little too stiff with random elements popping in that could disrupt the flow of the game. These issues are mostly resolved with Revelator, giving a far smoother experience and much more straightforward. The combat mechanics are greatly refined and allow for more variety of attacks that what was commonly used in Xrd Sign. The matches I had were a big step up from Xrd Sign.

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Now to talk about the online play. The netcode is far superior in Revelator than in Xrd Sign and I have had no problems connecting for matches. I experienced no lag, no connection errors, just intense matches. The lobby system is also greatly overhauled, and Arc System Works did a great job with this new lobby system. It is far more inviting and easy to use, but with one downside. The larger the lobby, the weaker the connectivity becomes, and it can lead to the only online issues I have seen in the game. Hopefully this gets worked out soon, because aside from that, the online functions great.

The thing that needs to be mentioned the most, and that many are ecstatic over, is the tutorial mode. The tutorial in Guilty Gear Xrd Revelator is the single greatest tutorial in any fighting game there ever was. I am not exaggerating. It helps walk you through the basics though unique interactions, and gradually helps you get the hang of the more difficult mechanics. The best pat of that is how it is incredibly welcoming to new players and helps them get into the game and not feel overwhelmed.  However, the tutorial doesn’t end there and does something I have never seen before. It gives Matchup tutorials. The game will actually teach you how you should fight against other characters (or at least make suggestions for how to do it, since everyone can form their own strategy), which is the most welcome thing in the tutorial.

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Many people want to play fighting games, and Revelator wants to be that fighting game you will play. Xrd Sign was good but rough around the edges and didn’t have the best online, but Revelator has addressed this all. Revelator is Xrd Sign taken to the next level and done completely right. If you like fighting games, or even just want to try one, then this is a game for you. I must highly recommend it. This is a great game and I am excited to see what future support they have in mind for this series.

 

By Jonathan Balofsky On 27 May, 2016 At 02:33 AM | Categorized As News, PlayStation, ROG News | With 0 Comments

No GravatarArc System Works and Aksys Games have released a new story trailer for Guilty Gear Xrd -REVELATOR. The trailer shows off the new plot of the game and hints at some major events occurring. Given that a major theme of the game is revelations, we can expect this story mode to answer many questions people have had for years.

Check out the trailer below.

 

By Ramon Rivera On 19 Apr, 2016 At 03:54 AM | Categorized As NINTENDO, PlayStation, Reviews, Reviews, ROG News | With 0 Comments

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When I was younger (eons ago), each game I played was a discovery and the internet wasn’t something like it is now, where we live in the era of information. There was no way to get info on a game until you got it in your hands, or  by listening to the kids that had it and you then obtained a general idea of what they were talking about, then begged your parents to buy you X game (or buy it yourself if you could). Nowadays the sense of discovery has been somewhat lost in videogames. Thanks to extensive tutorials and handholding and the many guides found on the internet, the sense of wonder is almost lost, or at least that is what I thought until I got to play Chronicles of Teddy: Harmony of Exidus. If I could describe it in a simple way, Chronicles of Teddy is the child of The Legend of Zelda II: The Adventure of Link and Super Metroid, and this child is beautiful!!!!

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You start the game playing a game (gameception), but then a power outage occurs which makes you go down to your basement whre your floating teddy bear hovers toward the  portal of the land of Exidus.  You learn of the impending doom, so you take your sword and shield and thus you start your adventure. I have to say that I love metroidvania style games, and this takes me back to the sense of wonder and discovery long forgotten. In Chronicles of Teddy you have to explore and search for answers and when you find them, you can’t help but feel excited to see what’s next. Your flying Teddy gives you some hints in the beginning but after that it all depends on you. The Musicom instrument opens a whole new world, since the inhabitants of Exidus communicate through music, and whenever you encounter one you can hear some soothing tunes  and see the subtitles with the meaning of those tunes, which in turn get added to your Lexicon (your dictionary). Some might say that this is tedious but I find it quite charming, and its use for solving puzzles is a good chance of pace,from what we are used to. One particular example is in the first world (book) there is a Guardian that asks what you want, and after that asks for the “magic word” (remember kids “Please”and Thank You” open all the doors). For me this showed me that the best was yet to come.

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Graphically the game looks amazing, the pixel art is gorgeous to look at, and the level of detail in each world is incredible. From simple details as the brightness of some fireflies that can be found in the Forest, to the water palace of Hazaura, you can see that the devs did not leave anything to chance. The contrast of the colors, and the way your character moves all blend together to give a world full of life and lively details. And speaking of details, I was particularly fond of finding action figures of two warriors from certain planet, just saiyan  of course ;).

The music is really good also and it complements the game perfectly. The tunes in each area, the sounds of the musicom, and how the inhabitants of Exidus interact is really something to behold. The music never gets old or overstays its welcome so for me the purpose was met.

 

Bottom Line Chronicles of Teddy: Harmony of Exidus is a pleasant surprise. It renewed my passion for the genre, it showed me that the sense of discovery and wonder still lives on. The feeling of excitement for finding the next upgrade to move further and reach previously unavailable places is something that not every game can give. I can’t recommend Chronicles of Teddy enough. It is a brilliant game, and if you like metroidvania style games, you are are going to have a blast, and if you don’t, then know that you are missing out.