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By Jonathan Balofsky On 22 Aug, 2016 At 07:20 AM | Categorized As Featured, News, PlayStation 3/PlayStation 4, Reviews, Reviews, ROG News | With 0 Comments
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The King of Fighters XIV has arrived at last. After I wrote my impressions of the demo, I was excited to see how the full retail game would hold up and I was not disappointed. Fighting games are a genre I love and this game might just be one of the best I have played in a very long time.

First let me just say that the music in this game is nothing short of incredible. The themes are varied, but almost all are amazing and songs that you can just listen to repeatedly. My personal favorites are Antonov’s theme and Team Art of Fighting but again, almost all ( with one or two exceptions) are great. SNK did such a great job with the audio in this game and I must commend them on making some of the best music I have ever heard in a fighting game.

Now onto a low point. The visuals really are not the best for a PlayStation 4 game. They do not look up to snuff, this is undeniable. That said, when seen in motion live on a TV screen as you play, they look much better than when seen on YouTube videos or Twitch streams. They are not perfect but are very serviceable and the cinematics are actually very well done I must say.

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Now let us discuss the gameplay. The 50 characters you can play as ( 48 at first, but you can unlock the sub boss and final boss) are extremely diverse characters. While you can play as the given teams, you will likely pick characters to make the team that fits you best. The characters almost all have distinct abilities and attack patterns and experimenting with the different characters is a fun experience. Personally my favorite team is Team Art of Fighting, as I just enjoyed their fighting style and playing as them.  Other standouts to me were Alice, Kukri, Nelson and Meitenkun from the new characters, and Geese and Billy Kane and Ralf Jones from returning characters. These were the characters that were the most fun to play as and the ones I found the most interesting. There are definitely some balance issues, with certain characters being much better than others  (I am not talking in terms of tiers here) but there is a day one patch that will change some things when the game launches so maybe the characters will end up more balanced after launch.

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The game brings in mechanics like Just Defend and a new version of Max Mode. This new version of Max Mode also brings a new combo system that can only be done while in Max Mode, Climax Super Special Moves. The game also introduces the Rush system, where hitting light punch repeatedly can trigger automatic combos. If you have meter, you will perform more powerful combos and if you are in max mode, you will unleash an extremely powerful attack. This is a great way to open the game to newcomers and casual fans, and in fact the game seems to actively try to be welcoming to more players. It has an excellent tutorial, good single player content with missions and an arcade mode, with online training offering more ways for a new player to learn how to do well at this game.

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Speaking of online, the netcode in this game is improved from previous King of Fighters games. It isn’t as perfect as some other fighting games out there, but is a vast improvement over what existed in the series beforehand. The day one patch for the game might cause some changes to the online, but as of now I think it is okay. It could stand to be improved and maybe that day one patch will fix some of the issues people have been having and SNK has shown they are listening, so I wouldn’t worry too much about the online.

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Story mode is essentially the arcade mode, since the story is told via interactions between characters before fights. The fights are arranged in an arcade ladder and not all characters have interactions. You will need to play a few times to get all the interactions, and some characters you might think would interact with each other, do not interact at all and vice versa. There are some cinematics that take place at certain intervals between fights. Normally they all play the same way but a few will play differently depending on the team you are using. The game’s endings really help to establish what is going on in this new saga of The King of Fighters and some will truly surprise you in many ways. The interactions can affect the way you play and also encourages replayability so I commend SNK again on this,

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The game is not absolutely perfect, given that there are a few hiccups with the online (which I believe are being worked on) and the visuals are somewhat lacking, but the game has a true charm that others do not. This is a game I can see myself coming back to play over and over, especially if I just want to play a fighting game for a little while, or if I want to play a fighting game competitively. Would I recommend this? Oh I most certainly would. This is a fighting game that stands proud and is worthy of your time. I give this a high recommendations to play!

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Run-and-Gun games are a classic staple of gaming. From Contra to Metal Slug, the games have been a crucial part of gaming and one of the most influential genres. So when Blasting Agent: Ultimate Edition was announced for Wii U, I became excited at the chance to play a new game like that for Wii U. But was it any good? Well, that is a matter of debate….but I would argue that it very much is a good game.

The game plays very similarly to other Run-And-Gun games but it also goes back to a classic pixelated art style. This art style helps the game stand out with a unique look which can draw in more players. The music is okay and while not the best, it does do its part to help capture that retro feel for the game. The music and art combined work great to create that classic feel and the audio effects and visual effects beyond are a step above other Retraux games in this style.

The gameplay in this is fantastic and insane in many ways. The bosses are over the top, the levels are well made to create a sense of intensity and a feeling that everything will continue to be topped as you progress. Some of these bosses have to be seen to be believed. The game is no cakewalk but once you beat it, you can unlock a hard mode which takes things to the next level of intensity. The game takes the right influences from retro games and the right ideas from modern games. It is a fun Run-and-Gun game that is very much worth your time to check out and play. It is not very expensive and can give you quite a bit of enjoyment. So all in all, I must recommend this game and suggest you do try it out.

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By Jonathan Balofsky On 19 Aug, 2016 At 05:56 AM | Categorized As Featured, News, NINTENDO, Reviews, Reviews, ROG News, Uncategorized | With 0 Comments
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One of the most beloved FPS games of the 90’s was Heretic and its sequels Hexen and Hexen II. These games were fantasy themed FPS games where instead of guns, you used magical weapons. While it was heavily influenced by Doom, it was able to establish its own identity and is a series I truly wish would return one day. While that has not happened yet, it seems a spiritual sequel has emerged in the form of Ziggurat.

Ziggurat is a rougelike with procedurally generated scenarios and encounters through the Ziggurat. You play as different characters, each with their own stats, who are unlocked as you progress through the game. By accomplishing various tasks or goals, you gain access to the new characters and their abilities, in addition to the starting characters. The game, much like the aforementioned Heretic and Hexen games, is a first person game with magical weapons and mystical enemies and it is excellent. The game just feels great as you play it and you can really feel the attention to detail put into the game with the various weapons, characters and enemies.

That said, this is not perfect. On the Wii U version, there is a large amount of loading and even pausing the game caused loading and waiting for me. As I understand it, this can be remedied with putting the game on the internal memory and not on an external hard drive. This helps with some of the issues but not all of them.

That said, aside from the loading issues, the game is good. I had a lot of fun playing it and the FPS mechanics and rougelike mechanics worked well. Visually it was stunning and the weapons effects all worked great. The music was great and really worked in well to give the game a classic feel. It really feels like a fun combination of old and new, with the rougelike elements blended with old school FPS game mechanics. It really si unlike anything else. It might be strange to call it a successor to the Heretic and Hexen Games but I truly get the same feeling from this game that I did from those ones. I must recommend this, although I hope there is a patch soon to fix the loading issues.

By Jonathan Balofsky On 18 Aug, 2016 At 06:04 AM | Categorized As NINTENDO, Reviews, Reviews, ROG News | With 0 Comments
word logic

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Logic Games are something I have recently been getting into. I have gained a desire to keep my mind sharp and broaden my way of thinking, so Word Logic by POWGI is a perfect game for me to try. The game involves word puzzles and is made up of minigames. To quote the Nintendo profile on the game….

Kriss Kross
The classic word-fit puzzle. Place words into the grid using their length as a guide, and using logic to make sure everything overlaps correctly!

Ladders
Make new words by changing one letter at a time. Can you turn one word into another in a limited number of steps?

Crypto
A cipher puzzle (also known as a cryptogram) which reveals a quote when you crack the code!

Word Sudoku
It’s sudoku with words! As an extra clue, one row or column will spell a word.

Gaps
Several words have one letter missing. Deduce the correct letter to fill in the gaps and spell a new word!

Wordsweeper
Drawing inspiration from Minesweeper, the clues tell you which letter can be placed in an adjacent square. It’s a crossword-style puzzle solved using logic!

The games range from simple in theory to rather complex. Ladders seems like an easy game but gradually becomes trickier as you try and progress without slipping up. Wordsweeper is one of the most unique word games I have seen in a long time. Word Sudoku appealed greatly to me as a fan of Sudoku puzzles while the rest were…okay for lack of a better word. It isn’t that they are bad, it is just that they are not on the same level of quality and imagination as the other 3.

The games kept me thinking about how to progress and what to do and that is what I am looking for in logic games. Even if 3 of the games are not anything special, 3 games that really standout make this a worthwhile game to me. The games take full advantage of the Wii U gamepad to interact and I felt that was a great touch.

The music in this game comes off an very generic and is definitely a low point though. It just doesn’t feel like a good fit for a logic game. I personally muted the music and just played with no sound but you might like it.

In conclusion, I would suggest this game. It has 3 of the best word puzzle games I have seen in a long time, it will make you think, and uses the gamepad well. It is worth a look.

By Jonathan Balofsky On 4 Aug, 2016 At 05:20 PM | Categorized As News, PlayStation 3/PlayStation 4, ROG News | With 0 Comments
KOF

No GravatarAtlus and SNK sent out the following

We’ll not beat around the bush. Team Ikari Warriors is an elite mercenary agency,
led by Commander Heidern, that’s tasked with gathering intel about Antonov and some
of the other… undesirables in
THE KING OF FIGHTERS XIV tournament.
These soldiers of fortune are big, strong, and not afraid of getting up close and personal in combat. Leading these warriors into the tournament is Colonel Ralf Jones, nicknamed the One Man Army, who is no stranger to fighting. Although Ralf is a bit hotheaded, he is an exceptional leader who utilizes a dangerous mercenary combat style that focuses on deadly strikes. Oh, did we mention that he’s ripped a tank wide open with his bare hands? Yeah, he’s pretty dangerous. His brother in arms, Lieutenant Clark Still, is a pretty dangerous dude too. Clark also trains in mercenary combat style, but he’s geared more towards wrapping his opponents up like a pretzel and slamming them. That being said, he’s calmer and more level-headed than Ralf and just as formidable. Lastly, we have the cold and professional operator Leona Heidern. Leona is the adopted daughter of Commander Heidern who uses a hybrid fighting style that combines martial arts with Heidern style assassination techniques. Although she is simply a soldier, she has the powerful blood of Orochi running through her veins and must keep her emotions in check to prevent bad things from happening. She’s not a total ice queen though, because Leona is very loyal to the Ikari Warriors and will fight to protect her friends.

Also, don’t forget to get ahead of the competition and download the free demo. Practice local versus with seven characters (Kyo Kusanagi, Mai Shiranui, Iori Yagami, Sylvie Paula Paula, King of Dinosaurs, Shun’ei, and Nelson) before the game comes out on Aug. 23!

Check out the trailer below

By Jonathan Balofsky On 29 Jul, 2016 At 11:20 PM | Categorized As Featured, News, NINTENDO, Reviews, Reviews, ROG News | With 0 Comments
hot rod

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Simple games tend to be not so fun for me. I will play them and nine times out of ten, I will get bored and feel like I wasted my time. I was prepared to feel that same feeling when I started playing Hot Rod Racer, but to my surprise I instead felt something else. I felt myself having fun and enjoying the game and I did not think that possible. On the surface it seems a generic title that should be boring and terrible but instead I found it to be fun and addictive. Oh sure there are issues, like the weird crashing and freezing that happened when I started playing. I encountered that a few times but as I continued to play the game, I stopped experiencing it as much and eventually it became rare.

Ostensibly this is a racing game with a 2D overhead track but in truth there are elements of multiple different genres present. This game takes cues from Shoot em Ups, from demolition games, from arcade racers and more. It is a mix of styles done incredibly well by ZenFa productions and creates an experience that demands attention. The replay value is there, the fun factor is there and the gameplay is tight.

I also need to mention the music. It is fantastic in this game and really feels great for a racing game. It takes me back to the music of the classic 16 bit console racing games with all their fun tunes. Small things like that might not be a selling point for others, but it helps sell me on the game. The music does a great job of bringing the player into the gameplay as well as setting the mood. So good job to the developers on that!

Do I think you should buy this game? Yes, since aside from some glitches, which I mentioned already and are hopefully going to be worked on, the game is great. You will not regret this experience.

By Jessica Brister On 25 Jul, 2016 At 10:19 PM | Categorized As Featured, Reviews, Toys and Merchandise | With 0 Comments
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No GravatarA lot of geek parents often like to share their various fandoms with their children. Call it the perks of being a totally cool parent and all. I am no exception. I love doing geeky stuff with my daughter. When Disney purchased the Star Wars franchise and the release of The Force Awakens, there have been a lot more novelty items out there for fans to love than there used to be. My daughter received a boxed set of Star Wars Little Golden books for her birthday that follow the first six movies. If you don’t know, Little Golden books are children’s books with a gold-colored binding on them. Many of you may have read them as kids or are currently reading them to your kids. I read Episodes I through III with my daughter, and we moved on to the meat of Star Wars: Oh, yes, it’s time for A New Hope!

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Star Wars: A New Hope (Little Golden Book Edition) was written by Geof Smith and illustrated by Caleb Meurer. It was published in 2015 by Golden Books. I got this particular book in a packaged deal with five other Star Wars episodes as children’s books, but for the purpose of this review, I will only be discussing A New Hope.
The book focuses on the main plot points of the movie. Young Luke Skywalker dreams of bigger and better things when he meets Obi Wan Kenobi, a Jedi who wants to show him the ways of the force. On a desparate mission to deliver a set of stolen plans for a battle station capable of destroying planets, they meet up with a smuggler and a beautiful princess. The rest is history. Of course, I’m assuming that if you are interested in this book, you probably already know the rest, so I’ll spare you the details.
I adored being able to go through the little kid’s version of A New Hope. There is something very special about sharing this story with my daughter. The story itself works really well as a kid’s book. Well, except for the fact that an entire planet is destroyed, but I thought the book did a good job of glossing over that fact and sticking to the characters instead.
The book is aimed at older children and has no rhyming or rhythm to it. It is definitely story-oriented instead of focusing on teaching a concept. The book only comes with regular soft pages with a hard cover, so you may want to watch this book with very young children. They tend to like to destroy things, and this is very much not a board book.
The illustrations were great, though the faces looked a little more mature than some of the previous illustrators in this Little Golden Book series. They really helped further along the story when necessary. There are pictures on every page as well as text, and they kept my daughter’s interest as we read through it.

Overall, this is a cute book as a novelty Star Wars children’s book. It is a fun way to share your love of the franchise with the movie that started it all. I recommend it for any geek parent.

By Jonathan Balofsky On 25 Jul, 2016 At 03:22 PM | Categorized As News, NINTENDO, ROG News | With 0 Comments
rive

No GravatarIn an interview with Nintendo Life, Rive developer Two Tribes has revealed that the game will be delayed on Wii U and might in fact switch to NX

Having been confirmed during the Spring for a September release on Wii U, PC, PS4 and Xbox One, there’s now some disappointing news for Nintendo fans. Two Tribes has confirmed to us that the Wii U version of RIVE won’t be hitting that window, and at this moment of time doesn’t have a fixed date. Two Tribes is keen to bring the game to Nintendo hardware and it may transition to NX – depending on what the next-gen system actually is – as the studio wants to ensure that the experience reaches its standards of 60fps performance, a benchmark vital to shooters and bullet-hell titles of this nature.

…….

First of all, can you talk us through the reasons and thoughts behind RIVE being delayed for Wii U, or perhaps being moved to NX instead?

It’s very important to us that Nintendo users will get a great version of RIVE, but unfortunately we don’t know at this point when or how we’ll be able to deliver this. There are two main reasons for this, one technical and one business related.

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The market has also changed. The game was supposed to ship over a year and a half ago, and things are a lot different now. Nintendo is exiting the Wii U market early in favor of the NX which means a long tail in sales is not looking likely. So that is the business part; do you release a game on a platform in its last days or on a new one that’s better suited and can reach gamers for years to come?

 

While this is disappointing , we can hope that Rive will be a success when it does arrive on a Nintendo platform. Whether that be on the Wii U or the NX. It is understandable that many are worried about the long term viability of putting a game on the Wii U with the NX looming, considering that Nintendo is winding down support. That said however, there is still a market of Wii U owners who would like games to play and this would be perfect. Either way, we wish them the best.
You can read the full interview here

sonic 2017

No GravatarThis Past Friday, Sega unveiled the first trailer for the new holiday 2017 Sonic game. This game features classic and modern Sonic but is said to not be a sequel to Sonic Generations. Also notable is that the game will be coming to the Nintendo NX along with other platforms

Check out the trailer below

 

 

SonicMania

No GravatarThis past Friday, Sega revealed a number of Sonic Projects. First among these is Sonic Mania, a return to 2D gaming that takes things back to the classic Genesis days but with touched up visuals and new features and levels/zones. You can play as Sonic, Tails and Knuckles. Check out the trailer below.

 

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