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By Jonathan Balofsky On 29 May, 2017 At 10:59 AM | Categorized As News, NINTENDO, Nintendo Switch, ROG News | With 0 Comments

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We now know this week’s upcoming Neo Geo game for the Switch. One June 1, Last resort will be coming to the eShop.

 

LAST RESORT is a shoot-‘em-up game released by SNK in 1992 in Japan.

Players can use weapons such as lasers, homing missiles or grenades, which can be powered up as many as three times, along with a unit that can nullify enemy bullets and attack foes. Using these abilities and many other attacks, players will fight in order to win the war between robots and humanity.

The ACA NEOGEO series has faithfully reproduced many classic NEOGEO masterpieces.

Players can change various game settings such as game difficulty, and also reproduce the atmosphere of arcade display settings at that time. Players can also compete against each other from all over the world with their high scores*.

Please enjoy the masterpieces that built a generation of video games.

This is a classic Neo Geo game and one that is highly praised. Will you be picking it up?

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By Jonathan Balofsky On 28 May, 2017 At 11:45 PM | Categorized As News, News, PlayStation, ROG News, Xbox 360/Xbox One | With 0 Comments

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NetherRealm Studios and WB Games have released a new trailer for Injustice 2. This time it is to show off the DLC character Red Hood.

 

Jason Todd once served as Batman’s second protégé “Robin” before being brutally murdered by The Joker. Years later, the powerful healing waters of the Lazarus Pit brought Jason Todd back to life. However the power of the pit comes at a cost, and a change takes hold in Jason. He now uses mantle of the Red Hood to wage a lethal war on crime.

 

 

 

We will have a review of Injustice 2 up very soon, so please look for that.

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After Mario Kart 8 Deluxe’s success on the Nintendo Switch, I began to think of what other games might come from Wii U to Switch. There is one game I want more than others and that is Donkey Kong Country Tropical Freeze.

This might just be the best Donkey Kong game ever made. The Music by David Wise is excellent, and it had some truly amazing visuals that went against the grain for 2D platformers, even HD ones. Tthe enemies are memorable and great, especially unlike the Tikis from Returns, and were a worthy successor to the Kremlings. But most importantly, this has the best gameplay and level design in the series, with every level  being and feeling alive and bursting with energy. Every area, from the beaches to the frozen islands have a truly epic feel to them, which is greatly helped by the awesome David Wise soundtrack.

In addition, the characters are probably the best they have been in the series.feel great as well. Dixie Kong makes her return and truly shows why she was a beloved character. Also, for the first time in the series, you can play as Cranky Kong. Cranky plays like Scrooge McDuck from the Ducktales video game adaptations and is a truly worthy addition to the roster. Plus when you add in the hard modes, you could play as a different character than DK in single player. You could play as Diddy, Dixie or Cranky for the whole game, which opened up entire new play possibilities. This isn’t getting into the Time Trials, with the game encouraging speed running and allowed you to upload your replays for others to see.

The fact is that this is just too good a game to leave on the Wii U. This game deserves a second chance to make an impact and get a new audience and it should come to the Nintendo Switch. It could do very well there, especially with the overall momentum of the platform, and get better sales. the fact is that this is one of the most creative games on the Wii U, and I would even say among the most creative platformer games ever made. It is just that good and should be experienced by more.

 

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The above was the opinion of the author and does not necessarily reflect that of ROG or its staff.

By Nate VanLindt On 28 May, 2017 At 04:24 PM | Categorized As Editorials, Featured, Opinion, PC Games, PlayStation, ROG News, Xbox 360/Xbox One | With 0 Comments

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13,925.  693, no platinum trophies.  5,906 XP – Level 29.  These numbers are meaningless out of context.  The fact is, they’re pretty much meaningless in context as well.  Chances are, you already know what I’m talking about if you’re reading this, but for the few that don’t, the above numbers are gamer scores and achievement statistics.  Specifically my personal gamer statistics.  I had to look them up because I had absolutely no idea what they were and I didn’t really care.  They are from Xbox Live, Playstation Network, and Steam respectively if you’re wondering.  That’s the point, however.   Why have people become obsessed with their personal statistics?

Gamerscores and stats started almost at the same time as gaming with the advent of the high score.  The very first high score was in Sea Wolf, way back in 1976.  Most games of the early gaming era featured scoring systems of one kind or another, whether it be the number of points scored in a Pong game or the points from the number of alien ships shot down in Galaga.  High scores stuck around until the mid to late 80s, when the NES reigned supreme and longer, more complex games at home became the standard.  Even then, many games still had score tabulation functions, whether they were the game scores in R.B.I. Baseball or a run n’ gun like Contra by Konami.   In other words, high scores have always been kicking around, but as gaming advanced, high scores slowly disappeared and became less meaningful, excluding a handful of genres like SHMUPS (SHoot eM UPS such as R-Type, Gradius, and Raiden for those who aren’t familiar with the term). 

But then, something odd happened in 2005.  Microsoft introduced achievements on the Xbox 360.  All of the sudden, every time you completed a specific set task in a game, you got a digital attaboy.  A little notification would pop up on screen and tell you you’d completed a task that you didn’t even know you were working towards and it added to what Microsoft calls your “gamerscore”.  Suddenly people were trying to have the best gamerscore, competing with their friends, doing things they’d never bother to do in a game before and spending lots of extra time in a game to do it.  Companies noticed this.  Nearly every game had achievements in short order.  In 2007, Valve added their version of gamerscores, badges, to Steam.  The next year, Sony added Trophies to the PlayStation Network as well.  Suddenly, everyone had a scoring system to track how much better (or worse) you were than everyone else you knew.  People bought into it.  Companies offered rewards for the highest gamerscore and Microsoft even gave away a lifetime membership to Xbox Live Gold in 2013 to the player with the highest gamerscore.  The entire concept had entered the collective consciousness of gamers and they have accepted it as a standard.

Should we be paying attention to our gamerscore and our trophy list, however?  Perhaps we should not.  In 2006, Gears of War was released for the Xbox 360.  It was one of the first games I played that had achievements.  I’d seen the achievement notifications pop up before, but I generally just tolerated them.   As I played Gears of War, I reached the end of a section and defeated the Berserker the first time, earning the trophy “My Love For You Is Like A Truck”, a reference to a fairly obscure song called Berserker by a band called Love Among Freaks.  Unfortunately, the trophy notification popped up prominently onscreen in the middle of a cinema sequence, blocking me from seeing the cinema fully and destroying my immersion in the game instantly.  On top of that, I couldn’t go back and see the cinema again without replaying that entire section of the game.  From that moment on, I was dead set against gamerscore in all its iterations.

In case you didn’t know, you can actually turn off achievement notifications on both Microsoft and Sony consoles.  On the Xbox One, it’s under Settings,  All Settings, Preferences, Notifications.   For the PS4, the option is under Settings, Notifications.  I did this as soon as the option became available on each network (as far as I know, it still isn’t available on Steam unfortunately) and I never looked back.  As a gamer for over 30 years, I ask you to consider it this way.  Games are designed to have fun.  They’re a form of escapist entertainment.   We generally play games to try and either finish them or get a high score.  But with achievements, we play through tedious grinding activities just to get an ephemeral payout of gamerscore so we can brag to friends and strangers.  That’s not only weird, it borders on pointless.  Take Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End for example.  I played Uncharted 4 right after it came out.  I blew through the game in my spare time (about a week).  The pacing is fantastic, the story moves just the right amount at a go, none of the gameplay holds you up too badly, but you still feel challenged.  It’s one of the most well-crafted games I’ve played in years in terms of pacing and structure.  I finished the game, had a blast, and came away fully satisfied with my experience.  I can’t speak highly enough of the game (keeping in mind that to enjoy it fully you must play the entire series in order).   Now, take a look at my personal trophies on the PS4 for Uncharted 4.

That’s right.  I got a measly 14 bronze trophies playing through a game that I raved about as one of the best games I’ve ever had the pleasure of playing.  A game that I just stated I was ‘fully satisfied’ with.  There are sixty-eight trophies in this game.  Sixty-eight!  Essentially, I didn’t ‘play the game’ according to the current thinking in gaming.  How could I possibly call myself a gamer?  Obviously, I don’t take gaming seriously enough, right?  Wrong.  Gaming is for fun, and I had fun playing Uncharted 4.  A lot of fun actually.  I don’t want to waste my limited free time finding 109 treasures that have no bearing on the story in my well-paced story-based game.  I am not interested in spending hours hanging from ropes to get the trophy for making 20 headshots while hanging from a rope.  And I certainly don’t want to buy an apple just to let the lemur steal it in chapter 11.  Because that’s not fun.  It’s tedious make-work in a game I’m playing for entertainment.  And achievements, trophies, and badges get much more ridiculous than that, up to and including repeating a specific activity or action thousands of times just to get that pop-up payoff.   Let’s call it what it really is, a Pavlovian response pattern that reinforces obsessive-compulsive tendencies in a mostly antisocial social sub-group.   In short, they are a prize with no value.

And yet there is a large and vocal demographic online that openly mocks anyone who dismisses the value of achievements.  Gamers often minimize the impact of these psychological tools, resorting to simplistic responses such as ‘if you don’t like them, just ignore them’, or ‘only people that suck at gaming hate trophies’.  Who is missing the point here?  Obviously, games are designed for both types of gamers now, the trophy hunters and the purists.  There’s no arguing that.  But are game designers themselves compromising their vision to provide a game that appeals to a wider audience due to the frothing demand for achievements?  It seems like they are.  Adding online content, online trophies, and various other extras to games that don’t really need them seem like pandering.  Some games force you to go online to get some of the achievements, necessitating play against others as well as paying for premium network access in the form of Xbox Live or Playstation Plus.  And gamers are falling for it.  In a recent discussion with a colleague, he informed me that he was replaying a game after finishing it so that he could “platinum” it because he loved the game so much.  When I asked him about the achievements though, he related that many of them were tedious and difficult to achieve.  After this discussion, I asked him about his game backlog and he admitted that he has games that he hasn’t even opened yet.  In other words, achievements are artificially inflating the average gameplay and dissuading gamers from moving on to the next title, regardless of the next game’s quality, even after they’ve finished a game and have stopped enjoying it.

It seems to me like this is an issue that gamers should actually take seriously.  Not because it matters whether you play for score, but because game developers take it seriously and they design games based on the trends of the market and the input they receive online.  The best games, the ones that everyone raves about for years or even decades, are the ones that provide an uncompromised creative vision.  These games are at the top of everyone’s list for a reason.  They were designed to enjoy, not to appeal to every single person, and that makes them rise above.  Too few of those games exist these days, and fewer are released every year.  Maybe if we focus a little less on finding every flag or using every weapon for a thousand headshots or revealing every single tenth of a percentage point of every single map and a little more on just immersing ourselves in the fun a game can provide, we’ll all get a bit more enjoyment out of gaming.   Try turning off your notifications for a game or two and see if you have more fun.  If you don’t know you’re missing out…maybe you aren’t.

 

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Castlevania is one of the most beloved series of all time, but has been allowed to lie in neglect for far too long. However, recent events have caused me to wonder if there is a chance to revive the series still. Nintendo worked with Konami to bring back Bomberman for the launch of the Nintendo Switch, which ended up as a major success for the two. This made me wonder if nowthat Bomberman has seen successful opening week numbers, Konami might try to work with Nintendo to revive Castlevania as well. However, there is still the issue that without IGA at Konami, a metroidvania take on the games wouldn’t be the same as before. After all, IGA is now working on Bloodstained, and I doubt he is on good terms with Konami still.

There are some possible good ways to revive the series, such as by licensing it out to Platinum Games.Hideki Kamiya and other developers there are major fans of the series, and a Castlevania game made by them would be an amazing action game, that would finally avert the nature of the 3D games to be lesser games in terms of quality. It could be the next successor to Bayonetta even, much like Bayonetta was the successor to Devil May Cry, which was influenced by Castlevania.

However, there option for who to make the game and it might be an even better choice. From Software’s Souls series is often considered the spiritual successor to the Castlevania games. In fact, it is considered the successor to both the classic and metroidvania games, and for them to get to work on the series itself would be a chance for a fresh new take on the series that would attract a new audience. From could give it a unique feel and identity,  one that merges the  feel of the souls series with the lore and feel of Castlevania. Plus they would be able to create a truly punishing game, similar to the NES games.

I feel this is a way to create a new Castlevania experience that doesn’t just retread past territory, and both of this paths offer a bold direction for the series. Either a strong action series, or a atmospheric and challenging game. This could be what Castlevania needs and I hope Nintendo and Konami agree to do something like this. It is our best hope for the series’ future.

 

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The above was the opinion solely of the author and doesn’t necessarily reflect the views of ROG or its staff.

By Jonathan Balofsky On 28 May, 2017 At 02:09 PM | Categorized As News, ROG News, Xbox 360/Xbox One | With 0 Comments

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Microsoft has released a new Killer Instinct trailer for the character Eagle. We only have a teaser now but it is likely Thunder’s brother will get his full trailer very soon.

Check it out below.

This is one character who looks different from the teaser alone. We are excited to see more,

By Jonathan Balofsky On 26 May, 2017 At 06:48 PM | Categorized As Editorials, Featured, News, NINTENDO, Nintendo Switch, Opinion, ROG News | With 0 Comments

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The Switch has been out for a while now, and two of its biggest games were ports from the Wii U, with Mario Kart 8 Deluxe and The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. There has also been a port of Lego City Undercover and there has been speculation on more coming. Some have started complaining and feel they do not want Wii U ports as they would rather have new games and new experiences. as they see the large amount of ports on PlayStation 4 and Xbox One as a bad route for Switch.

This however, somewhat misguided. The Wii U did not sell well, and most of its game have not reached a wide audience. Ports to the Switch would be an opportunity for more to experience games like Pokken Tournament, like Tokyo Mirage Sessions #FE, like Donkey Kong Country Tropical Freeze and so on. Games like Fatal Frame Maiden of Black Water and  Bayonetta 2 would be given a wider audience this way, and we could potentially see new sequels because ports do well. The fact is, the games did low numbers and they can be saved by ports.

Ports to the Switch would help by giving more games that can fill out the release scheduled and avoid droughts. Ports will likely be handled by outside parties and not Nintendo themselves, and there is nothing stopping Nintendo from releasing both new games and remasters on the Switch. I would even say that it comes off as rather selfish to not want ports and remasters, because while you may have played these games on Wii U, others may not have because of the Wii U’s sales numbers. The Switch is bringing a large new audience to Nintendo, these new players  may want to play games they may have missed on the Wii U. It just makes sense to have ports, and not doing it would be leaving money on the table. I hope you can understand where I am coming from with this. It feels elitist and reeks of snobbery to hate ports this way.

 

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The above was the opinion of the author and does not necessarily reflect ROG or its staff

By Jonathan Balofsky On 26 May, 2017 At 02:16 PM | Categorized As News, NINTENDO, Nintendo Switch, ROG News | With 0 Comments

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Monster Hunter is already helping Nintendo out, and this is only hours after the game was announced for Nintendo Switch.

Nintendo’s market value has risen by 2.2 billion dollars after the announcement of Monster Hunter XX for Switch. Yes, that number is real. This has resulted in an eight year high for the company, which is a sign of investors going all in on Nintendo and the Switch.  Monster Hunter is a major deal in Japan, and is considered a true killer app for any system. The fact that the Switch is receiving an entry may have caused investors to realize that the momentum of the system is not slowing down anytime soon.

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By Jonathan Balofsky On 26 May, 2017 At 02:46 PM | Categorized As Featured, News, PlayStation, Reviews, Reviews, ROG News | With 0 Comments

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Guilty Gear has undergone a major resurgence of late. It began with Guilty Gear Xrd Sign and doesn’t seem to be stopping anytime soon. The latest release in the series is Guilty Gear Xrd Rev2, but does it really offer much in comparison to Gulty Gear Xrd Revelator? Or should you avoid it?

I will begin by stating what I felt to be a key point. The combat has been refined yet again by Arc System Works and is smoother than ever. The game continues experimenting with different playstyles for players who do not want the standard inputs and that is highly commendable. Along with the amazing tutorial, Guilty Gear Xrd Rev 2 has the unique nature of appealing to two different groups of players at the same time. I must say again about the tutorial, in that it is one of the best tutorials ever made for a fighting game. It teaches you exactly how to play a fighting game if you were unfamiliar and will help you not only in this game but others as well.

The revised combat has more than a few balance adjustments. I would say that most fans will notice them depending on the time they put in to the previous game, the more time the more you will notice and vice versa. More notably in my opinion, is that there are animation additions almost everywhere. This is just a gorgeous 2.5D fighting game and I do not think I have ever seen a better one. Everything just feels smooth and fluid. My complaints about the little moments of stiffness in Revelator are gone, and even the online works so much better. It seems Arc System Works took each and every criticism to heart and set out to make the ultimate Guilty Gear game. I have to say that in my opinion, they succeeded. The music is top notch as always in the series, but it just feels even more epic here. It feels that the music has been kicked up a notch or three and that gives the game a more exciting feeling.

In terms of the roster, there are two additions, Baiken and Answer. Answer is a difficult character to learn, but very rewarding, while Baiken is true to past iterations. I like that not much was changed in terms of the roster, but what was added, were well done and excellent additions.

There are of course multiple online modes and story modes, as to be expected in a Guilty Gear game, and to be honest, I feel this is one of the most complete fighting games around. With its cheaper price ( and even cheaper digital price if bought as a DLC  upgrade), I cannot recommend this enough. Guilty Gear Xrd Rev2 is just an awesome game all around, and one of the best fighting games for both fans and newcomers to the genre. I urge you to check this out as soon as you can. You will not regret buying this game anytime.

By Jonathan Balofsky On 25 May, 2017 At 07:01 PM | Categorized As News, NINTENDO, Nintendo Switch, ROG News | With 0 Comments

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Capcom’s Ultra Street Fighter II launches tomorrow on the Nintendo Switch, but the publisher is not stopping there. Capcom, via the official Monster Hunter twitter account, has revelaed that Monster Hunter XX will receive a Nintendo Switch version

 

This is a really big deal and the Monster Hunter series was directly responsible for a lot of the success of the 3DS. Hopefully the game finds a big audience on the Switch, although it is almost guaranteed to do so. It is a good move by Capcom and this is the right time to do it.