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By Jessica Brown On 29 Apr, 2017 At 11:17 PM | Categorized As Featured, NINTENDO, Nintendo Switch, Reviews, ROG News | With 0 Comments

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  • TITLE: “Wonder Boy: The Dragon’s Trap”
  • DEVELOPER: Lizardcube
  • PUBLISHER: DotEmu
  • GENRE: 2D Action-RPG
  • PLATFORM: Nintendo Switch
  • ALSO ON: PlayStation 4, XBox One, & PC (June 2017)
  • RELEASE DATE: April 18, 2017
  • PRICE: $19.99 (eShop)

Wonder Boy: The Dragon’s Trap and I have an interesting history together. I first encountered the game at a kid’s club at a hotel while on vacation. At the time, I had no idea what the game was called and I didn’t even have a clue what the Sega Master System was. After that single play session, the game fell off my radar for over a decade, but as luck would have it I picked up a copy of the game in a lot of games that came with a Sega Master System I purchased on eBay while in college. Having no idea what the game was called, imagine my surprise to see a familiar title when I plugged the cartridge in and gave it a whirl!

It was my experience with the 1989 version of The Dragon’s Trap that drove me to track down other titles in the series, resulting in the discovery of a wonderful, if often-overlooked, franchise of whimsical action-RPGs.

I remember being really surprised when I first learned that The Dragon’s Trap was receiving a full-on modern remake because it almost seemed too good to be true. Thankfully, it was most certainly a thing that was really happening and it was a project that I made sure to check in on every now and then to see how it was progressing. Once I saw that the game was set to hit consoles on April 18, I made plans to pick the title up on the new Nintendo Switch, thinking it would be a perfect title to include in my initial roster of Switch games.

One of the things that I really love about this remake is that while the game is super nostalgic and very familiar, it’s also different and fresh with lots of fine details and added enhancements. The developers took the 8-bit aesthetics of the original game and used them as an inspiration for this modern hand-drawn version, adding in all sorts of extras that make the environments and characters crisp and vivid. Where once there were dark corridors and bleak hallways, now you’ll find intricate carvings, statues, and various odds and ends. The environments are much more fleshed out and places that were once empty now feel like they have their own story to tell (such as the field to the left of the village which in this version has a cemetery in it).

For those that don’t know the story of the original, The Dragon’s Trap picks up at the end of 1987’s Wonder Boy in Monster Land (an arcade title). The hero, fully decked out in legendary gear, makes their way through the final castle and confronts the evil Meka Dragon. Upon its defeat, however, the warrior gets cursed and turned into a dragon-like lizard and must escape the burning, crumbling castle. It’s here that the real journey begins with the hero set on a quest to lift their curse and become human again.

When the main game begins the player is dumped in the village – the game’s main hub area. From there, several themed areas branch off that can be explored to find hidden items, shops that sell various goodies, and lots of treasure. Ultimately, they are seeking out various dragons that hold the power to transform them into something else (for example, the Mummy Dragon turns them into “Mouse Man” once defeated). Each of the different forms starting with Mouse Man that the player can assume has their own special ability (the mouse can walk up special walls and ceilings, Piranha Man can swim in the water, etc.) and making use of these powers in new and creative ways will help advance the game as well as let you uncover quite a few hidden treasures during your adventure.

One neat feature of the game is the ability to play as either the original Wonder Boy character or a new female protagonist referred to as Wonder Girl. They both play exactly the same, but it is a fun, forward-thinking feature that they included.

I really love the game’s original, hand-drawn art style and the soundtrack is simply fantastic. Of course, as great as this version’s music is and as talented as its musical team is, they had some wonderful source material to work with. As fun as the gameplay of the original was, it was one of those games where all of the songs are very memorable and I’d often find myself humming them or playing them through in my head. Here, they’ve all been lovingly updated yet they still remain as catchy as ever.

For those wanting to take a trip down memory lane (or to just see what the title first looked like), Wonder Boy: The Dragon’s Trap allows the player to swap between both modern and retro visuals and sound at any time they wish and in any combination they wish. It may be a small touch that doesn’t really affect gameplay at all, but it’s a really cool feature that pays loving homage to the classic adventure.

Those that are familiar with the original adventure know that as fun as the game is, it doesn’t last forever. It’s one of those games that you have so much fun playing that you’re very sad when it comes to an end, even though you can see it coming. Those who have never played the classic game will most certainly take a good bit of time to make their way through this game but veteran players should be able to clear it within a relatively short amount of time.

One thing that does help with the game’s replay value is the fact that there are various collectibles that you can unlock and the game does feature three different difficulty settings (Easy for beginners, Normal being the original difficulty level, and Hard offering more difficult enemies and a time limit).

Seeing The Dragon’s Trap remade like this makes me hope that someone (if not this team here) will revisit Wonder Boy in Monster World and Monster World IV, both of which were amazing follow-ups to this Master System gem.

Wonder Boy: The Dragon’s Trap is a great game for the Nintendo Switch. It’s one of those titles that’s fun to play while docked to a TV but also is great to be able to take on the go with you (be that lounging around the house or on a trip of some sort). The developers did a wonderful job revisiting this classic and I can only hope that they consider giving a similar treatment to some of the other titles in this often-overlooked franchise.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

By Jonathan Balofsky On 19 Apr, 2017 At 01:47 PM | Categorized As News, News, PC Games, PlayStation, ROG News, Xbox 360/Xbox One | With 0 Comments

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Bethesda released a new trailer for Prey. This trailer shows off the Talos I station and how it is a character in its own right.

The aliens have escaped containment and taken over Talos I. But Prey isn’t only about fighting an invasion. And it’s not just an epic journey to figure out who you are, what you’re doing aboard this space station, and how you’ll save humanity from the Typhon threat. Prey is also about the space station itself. A shining testament to mankind’s unbridled ambitions, Talos I is more than the setting for Prey. It’s also full of secrets to discover and hidden layers to uncover. But, most of all, Talos I poses a unique threat to the player all by itself. 

Prey will be available on May 5, 2017, on PlayStation 4, Xbox One and PC. 

 

Prey is looking more and more epic with each trailer and we are eagerly awaiting its arrival. We hope to have a review up around launch.

 

 

 

By John Kinsella On 17 Apr, 2017 At 10:17 PM | Categorized As Indie Spotlight, PlayStation, Reviews, Reviews, Xbox 360/Xbox One | With 0 Comments

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The world of games certainly is changing and indie games are becoming better and better. It is no surprise then that the fantastic folks at Tequila Works have put out another great indie game. The Sexy Brutale which follows the Groundhog Day-Esque story of Lafacadio a priest out to help those in need is truly a great one. This game is unlike other games I have played recently, but it fit it with my time as I have also been playing other games.

The idea that this game also takes place in a casino resort where everyone wears masks is pretty cool. The characters all have their own quirks and idiosyncrasies, and you really don’t know who you should root for. In a bare bones sense, this game is a murder mystery, with the main character hoping to uncover the culprit. Now as the characters all wear masks, there is already a sense of distrust. Could one of these weirdos actually be the killer, or is something out there in the darkness really doing it all?

Playing through a decent chunk of the game, I’m still unsure, but it is certainly something I am enjoying. The characters are completely their own person, and it will certainly take some more discovery to figure out this mystery. The thing that really does make this game stand out is the fact that, you do relive the same day, in hopes of discovering the truth. Now, the puzzles aren’t to be taken lightly but, as I have no intention of spoiling them for you, just know it is a challenging game.

Lafcadio certainly does need help, and if you play this game, I’m sure you will help this poor man. All he wants to do is to help find out who is killing all of these people. Just don’t let yourself overstep your bounds, or you will certainly wake up at the start of the day once more.

Hopefully, you think of this game as highly as I have. It doesn’t come out until tomorrow, but if this has piqued your interest at all, it is certainly worth buying. The Sexy Brutale comes out on April 11th on PC, PS4, and Xbox One. For the purposes of this review, I did play on the PS4 and it was a great gaming experience.

By Jonathan Balofsky On 16 Apr, 2017 At 03:19 PM | Categorized As News, NINTENDO, Nintendo Switch, ROG News | With 0 Comments

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There has been another tease of Nidhogg 2 coming to Nintendo Switch. This time from Creative director of Messhof, Mark Essen.

Gamereactor asked him about the possibility of a Switch version of the upcoming Nidhogg 2, and he responded.

 “Yeah, definitely, I mean it’s two players so it makes sense, simple control scheme, so…”

Hopefully the game does indeed come. It would be an excellent fit for the Switch.

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By Jonathan Balofsky On 16 Apr, 2017 At 02:48 PM | Categorized As Featured, Movie News, Reviews, ROG News | With 0 Comments

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I had to take some time to write this, and I felt waiting a few weeks after seeing it once and then going back, was the best way to go about getting what I needed for the review.

Power Rangers was a show I loved as a kid, I watched it all the time. I watched the various series up to Power Rangers: Time Force, and then fell off. For those who don’t know, Power Rangers used recycled footage from the Japanese series Super Sentai, and spliced in American footage as well to create a new show. It was cheesy, goofy and silly, but fun. It gave many of us a love of Japanese monster movies and rubber suit creatures.

So how does the newest film take on the series hold up? Surprisingly well.

I was very skeptical about the new film and everything I heard about it, but it actually was a great film to watch. The characters actually live up t the line “teenagers with attitude” this time, and they were all properly developed. Especially Billy Cranston, who was played brilliantly by RJ Cyler, in what was the most refreshing depiction of someone on the autism spectrum. He felt accurate and not like a forced attempt at pandering and I can appreciate that immensely.

Even Elizabeth Banks as Rita Repulsa was good, and she was able to switch between hamming it up and being genuinely creepy at times. The only cast member who felt out of place to me was Bryan Cranston as Zordon, as he just didn’t seem right in the role. He is a good actor, but the portrayal was not the best. There was an alternate take on Zordon in this depiction which I liked, but again, I feel Cranston just didn’t pull it off that well.

Now, when it comes to Power Rangers, special effects and monsters are a necessity and the film does both well. The toy versions of Goldar and the Megazord that people saw before the movie, didn’t give the best depiction since they looked far better on screen. The putties actual looked like a real threat in this version as opposed to the TV show.

If I have any complains, its that the product placement felt very forced, like it interrupted the narrative. As well, the rangers took a long time to get into their gear, but that one is more understandable, and the action paid off well.

All in all, this was an amazing movie and a real treat for fans of the series. I loved it and would see it again!

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First person shooters often fall into the usual traps that leave them feeling stuck in a rut. Bulletstorm was a game that tried to offer something different but went unnoticed. It was over the top and it was insane, but just didn’t catch on.

Now a remake has come in the form of Bulletstorm: Full Clip Edition. Its prettier, runs better and has the preorder bonus of being able to play the game as Duke Nukem.  I will not lie, that is what attracted me to the game, and I played it as the Duke. But is this a good game? And does Duke fit in well?

Bulletstorm knows what it wants to be. It is all out action, insane destruction and full of hype. The weapons were great, the visuals stand out far better and best of all, the game runs well on most PC, and is optimized well. The story had some stupid moments, but that was part of the charm. But most people want to know the important part. How was the game when you played as Duke Nukem. Well, if you couldn’t guess from the title of the review, this plays as a much better Duke Nukem game than Duke Nukem Forecer did.

Duke Nukem just fits right into the game. The dialogue doesn’t change really aside from Duke remarking about how he is n a new situation, and reacting to people calling him by the name of the game’s actual protagonist. It is actually funny how they handled it. Duke still does feel like a bit of a relic from the past, and his dialogue is cringe worthy at times. This is annoying given that games like Shadow Warrior show that this type of character can be done well in the modern day. It feels like the writers refuse to make Duke more up to date. He doesn’t need to lose his personality, but as stated, Shadow Warrior took a similar character and made him hilarious in modern games but focusing his character in a certain way.

Bulletstorm is fun. There is no debate about that. There is the occasional framerate drop and screen tear, but it isn’t too much of an issue. No, for me the main issue was something else altogether, I played with both mouse and keyboard and an Xbox One controller, and noticed some issues. Some FPS games I play on PC feel great with the controller, and even manage to keep the same feeling as the mouse and keyboard. Bulletstorm doesn’t have that feeling on PC. At least not yet. The controls didn’t feel mapped out well at times, and trying to do certain actions just got frustrating. As a result I had to use the mouse and keyboard. I like to use both normally and switch things up, so this was disappointing.

Overall, I did like Bulletstorm. Its a fast paced game, with great combat, and the addition of Duke Nukem was inspired. I think this is worth looking into, even without the Duke Nukem mode, which will probably be available to all as DLC later.