Nier Automata: It Was Meant 2B

March 1, 2017 2 comments Posted in PC, Playstation & Sony, Video Games

DISCLAIMER: I have finished all endings, and anything you say I’ve missed from later branches is probably just me covering up spoilers for people yet to play the game.

 

The original Nier (which I have written about here in the past) is a game I hold as one of the best examples of the medium in spite of itself. It is a game with a poorly balanced, shallow combat system, graphics many would describe as pig-ugly and a poorly placed quest marker in an early-game mission that caused a number of prominent game reviewers to stop playing right then and there. You may be wondering why I place this game alongside greats like Metal Gear Solid 3 and Super Mario Galaxy. It managed to claw out from its own mediocrity with a storyline and soundtrack somewhat unparalleled in its art form. Despite being cut to pieces (and those cuts really showing) it manages to tell a story that does things only a game could get away with (and even then it didn’t get away with it in the eyes of many), while also managing to have one of the most endearing casts of characters this side of Persona 4. So then, why have I been talking about a different game for nearly 200 words at the start of this review? I simply can’t separate Automata from its predecessor.

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Gravity Rush 2: Great Daze

January 30, 2017 no comments Posted in Playstation & Sony, Video Games

The original Gravity Rush (or Gravity Daze in Japan), a 2012 PS Vita game later released for PS4, was a pretty divisive game, even within the staff of this very site. Some chose to focus on the somewhat sub-par combat and plethora of loose ends left for a sequel that was not looking likely at the time. Others, like myself, chose to focus on the phenomenal environmental design, wonderfully endearing characters and spellbinding musical score that backed up the joy of falling with the game’s one-of-a-kind gravity mechanic to make it feel like a truly unique experience in a sea of games wider than ever.

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How Hitman Teaches You

December 9, 2016 no comments Posted in PC, Playstation & Sony, Video Games, Xbox & Microsoft

The first level of Hitman is a truly extraordinary example of teaching the player through just that, play. It frames itself as a training mission for the titular hitman, Agent 47, taking place inside some sort of secret base in a mountain, which presumably houses the rest of the shadowy organisation you’re working for. What they choose to do in the level is to essentially make a very small version of the sort of levels you’ll be experiencing later, condensing everything you can do mechanically in the game into one yacht-sized playground.

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Sonic CD: Review

November 12, 2016 no comments Posted in PC, Playstation & Sony, Video Games, Xbox & Microsoft

Sonic’s Bizarre CD Quality Adven- oh crap I used that joke already

Sonic CD is a rather strange game, and a even stranger pick for my first review of a Sonic game. It was released in 1993 for the Sega CD add on for the Sega Genesis. For the 3 of you who320px-sonic_cd_2011_android don’t know, the Sega CD add on allowed games to have the benefits of being released on a CD format. Unfortunately back then this just meant pumping the games full of shit FMVs, making a bunch of ports and maybe making a better soundtrack thanks to the CD quality audio. Simply put the system flopped, though not nearly as badly as the Sega 32X. Sonic CD, Night Trap and Snatcher are the only games considered “worth having” out of the system’s library. Of course that is if you have the money to pay for a expensive add on for a Sega Genesis which you need to already have to begin with.

For the longest time I was curious of Sonic CD (more…)

JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure All Star Battle: Style Over Substance

October 24, 2016 no comments Posted in Animation & Anime, Books & Comics, Playstation & Sony, Video Games

NOTE: This article contains no future anime spoilers

 

In a vacuum, JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure: All Star Battle is a game with almost no merit whatsoever. The 2014 fighting game by CyberConnect2 (developer of the great Asura’s Wrath and not much else good) was released in Japan to fervent hype, receiving a 40/40 from Famitsu (Putting it alongside such greats as Final Fantasy XIII-2 and Nintendogs) and going on to become the best selling game of the year. However I feel this was a mistake on their part, as the game is a steaming pile of horseshit, no matter how much a fan of Hirohiko Araki’s 30 year spanning saga you are.

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-Shin Megami Tensei: Nocturne- Review

September 25, 2016 one comment Posted in Playstation & Sony, Video Games

-Demi Fiend’s Bizarre Shine Megan Tense Game FEATURING DANTE FROM THE DEVIL MAY CRY SERIES –

So lately I’ve been playing JRPGs made by Atlus, probably more than a Leaving Cert student should. I originally wanted to talk about Persona 4, then I played Persona 3, then Persona Q and it got to the point where I couldn’t let myself put together a good enough review on Persona 4 or 3 because they were no longer the thing I had the most recent memories with. Hence this review is on the last Atlus RPG I have currently played; Shin Megami Tensei: Nocturne. (more…)

“Should I play FES or Portable?” – Why I think FeMC takes Persona 3 from Good to Great

July 12, 2016 no comments Posted in Playstation & Sony, Video Games

 

I have a great amount of love for Persona and of course the Megami Tensei franchise as a whole, I would say it is without a doubt my favourite RPG series and I can’t see anything overtaking it now or in the future. One of the more popular games in the series is Persona 3, in which you play as a transfer student living in the Iwatatodai Dorms who is dragged into a fight for the fate of the world when you realise you possess the power of the Persona, specifically that of the Wildcard, which allows you to switch Personas at will. You must balance school life and world-saving between the game’s Social Link system, in which you spend time with various main and side characters and the dungeoning side, being a slightly less punishing version of the common SMT press turn system, in which you are rewarded extra turns for exploiting the weaknesses of enemies, but they also get extra turns for exploiting yours. I know it sounds like generic anime nonsense, but it’s good, I swear. One thing people ask about the game is, “Which version should I play? FES or Portable?”. People argue that they both have their pros, from FES’ “The Answer” epilogue to Portable’s, well… portability and their cons, such as FES’ inability to directly control your party members or Portable’s lack of 3D graphics in the overworld, and anime cutscenes being replaced by visual novels. Through dozens upon dozens of threads on the /r/MegaTen board of reddit, no consensus has ever been decided on. To me, at least, the most important element that makes Portable the better game is the option to have your main character be female. You may be thinking, why does that make such a difference? Surely not having a penis doesn’t just take it “from good to great”? Changing all the UI from blue to pink doesn’t make a masterpiece.

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-Dissidia Final Fantasy- Review

June 29, 2016 no comments Posted in Playstation & Sony, Video Games

Super Final Smashtasy Brothers was a tad on the nose.

Ever wanted to play a Final Fantasy fighting game? Well here you go. Dissidia Final Fantasy was released for the PSP in 2008. Tetsuya Nomura started the idea off as a spin-off of Kingdom Hearts but decided to use Final Fantasy characters instead since apparently the idea of Disney characters fighting each other wasn’t too comfortable for them. Although the game wasn’t directed by him, Nomura did the designs for all the characters and worked along with the staff to make it appealing to a international audience. Did it work? Well, let’s see.

Warriors of…….zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

Ladies and Gentlemen, even in the realm of Final Fantasy, a fighting game like this is not going to have a plot worth diving into. Not like this game actually knows that, the amount of cutscenes in this game are fucking staggering. From Final Fantasies I to X, protagonists have been summoned by Cosmos (goddess of harmony) to defeat Chaos (the god of discord) and his team of Final Fantasy antagonists. However this war has been continuously repeated. Everytime a side wins the losing side loses the memories they had of the previous battle, take a long nap, and wake up when they are called back to the war. However Cosmos now wants her warriors to find their “crystals” which will give them the power to end things for good. Thus the warriors fuck off to wander around, have a tiny arc that doesn’t mean anything but drags out, get their crystal under convenient circumstances and watch their goddess die at the hands of Chaos. The warriors almost die, live thanks to their crystals, beat the shit out of Chaos and end to war. They return home and the game ends.

That’s skipping over a good deal I know but hear me out, I have quite a good number of reasons for telling the story like this besides it not needing to be in a fighting game. Firstly the story is split into ten main chapters, covering how each warrior gets their crystal. You only need to beat one of these stories to unlock the final chapter. Of course I did EVERY chapter and let me tell you how each arc can usually go.

  1. It’s a poor recreation of the arc that character had in the game they came from.
  2. It’s a arc detailing a underwhelming problem that character has and why we need them to fight their respective antagonist to get resolution. Problems include: Cloud not having a reason to fight, Squall learning how fight on his own….but with his friends (makes the same amount of sense in context), Terra for some reason losing control of her powers at times, Cecil fighting Golbez to prove how his friends make him stronger (ugh this shit sucks).
  3. A story that just has the characters go about, talk shit to the villain, have the villain talk shit to them which somehow gives them doubts, and then they fight after a resolution scene with the character by himself or with his friends.
  4. A poor excuse to overuse bad purple prose every ten seconds and/or repeat what the person just said using different words in a attempt to sound deep.
  5. A combination of the story sets I just mentioned.

Combine all that with the amount of cutscenes there are and you WILL get sick of the fucking story soon after the first chapter you play, especially since there are only 11 locations in the game for cutscenes to happen in. Now I know a lot of people enjoy this story, specifically for the backstory about the gods and how it serves as retelling of the Final Fantasy I story but JESUS it’s a fucking roundabout way of making that story have some kind of connection to this one. The story as expected, leaves nothing to cherish besides a few good cutscenes here and there but the amount of repetition and nonsense and prose and overall NOTHING to the narrative as a whole makes me VERY surprised that Nomura didn’t direct this game. Some of you out there may get some enjoyment out of it, personally I think skipping the story wouldn’t exactly leave anyone missing out on much. Hell, I would only consider the voice acting meh or passable besides a few exceptions; mainly the returning voice actors from other games and Golbez’s fucking awesome voice. Exdeath and Garland are pretty good too with their ham factor but besides them the rest most likely just didn’t get any good voice direction with their characters.

Now the actual fucking game

Dissidia is a 3D fighter with RPG elements. Each character has something that makes them unique and better than others in specific areas. Zidane is great at air combat, Onion Knight can perform light and quick attacks that can chain into more attacks, Cecil has the ability to swap between his paladin and dark knight persona’s for different atatcks, Bartz mimics attacks from everyone with different touches added, and Terra is a powerful spellcaster. That’s only some of the 20 different ways the game lets you fight so there’s bound to be a few out there that you enjoy.

However I said this game has RPG elements for a reason. Half of the trick to winning is having good gear, which follows the rules you’d expect. All your gear can be bought from the shop which is accessible via the customization menu. You can also use materials you get to trade for new items. The shop gets new stock via getting new materials and levelling characters up. The shop also lets characters power up with new materials; this lets them equip weapons from what you own that they normally wouldn’t be able to or increase their equipment slots. We also have accessories which, along with raising stats, also can have their effects multiplied. When you equip a accessory with a yellow-ish ring icon, if you equip items that say things like “When HP is maxed” or “When Level is 1-9” it means that any yellow ring accessories you have equipped will have their effects multiplied when their requirements are met. A good set up of these can really make things go well.

Levelling up does a number of things besides raise stats: You can learn new moves, skills and abilities as well as increasing your SP so you can have more of those abilities and moves on you at once.

In battle characters can lock on with the “L” button and jump/double-jump with “X”. Triangle is used for interacting with the environment, indicated by orange arrows appearing around the character. Using this you can do things like wall-run, grind on rails and dash across large distance. Pressing “R” and Triangle at once will have the character fly quickly towards what they’re locked on to. Circle is used for BRV (Bravery) attacks and Square is for HP attacks. BRV attacks drain the opponents BRV and adds it to your own. HP attacks uses the number of BRV you have to damage the enemy, reverting your BRV back to zero if it connects. When your BRV hits 0 it’ll regenerate to what it was when you started, the speed of which can be altered via different methods. BRV Break is when a BRV attack drains all of a character’s BRV, giving the person that attacked them a Stage BRV bonus. Obviously you don’t want your opponent to have this but when they do its countering time. “R” lets you block a BRV attack leaving your opponent open if you block successfully. Dodging is done by pressing “R” and “X” as well as moving in the direction you need to dodge.

Now if the opponent is close to winning there are ways of tipping the scales (lol).     EX Mode can be activated by pressing “R” and Square when your EX Meter is full. EX Mode gives the character regeneration as well as abilities unique to them but the best part is the EX Burst. Connect a HP attack in EX Mode and press Square again to do a EX Burst. During this you’ll do great BRV damage though this can be increased if you do what the game tells you to during it, which is different for specific characters. FINALLY there are also Summons which can be activated at will or during certain situations depending on whether they’re AUTO Summons or not. They fuck shit up in various ways, like tripling your BRV or swapping it with a opponents. You obtain Summons mainly through story mode so you’ll have to play a great deal of it to get a lot of them.

NOW if that sounds complicated, don’t worry you have the game to give you loads of good tutorials/tips and many battles to try different things out.

Time to move onto the different modes.

Story mode has you pick a chapter and then you go through 5 boards with that character. Each board has you move with DP (Destiny Points not Double Penetration) towards enemies, chests and items. DP is used to get PP and items at the end of each board, you’ll still be able to move without DP but you’ll be missing out on some stuff if you waste it by running from battles and getting DP penalties. Bonus DP can be gained by performing specific actions in battles like winning within a certain amount of time. The main idea of the board is to use your DP wisely so you get some good items by the end of the board. Board Skills are there to help you out too when you get them, which lets you do things like being able to lower the enemies’ health or heal before the fight begins. Its not the most interesting set-up, and its best you play Story Mode in moderation to avoid losing your sanity but the thing is not a lot is unlocked before you beat story mode. Beating this mode in itself can be a chore since the final chapter takes a LOT of levelling and good gear to clear but at least I can pick whatever character I want to play as during that.

Arcade Mode is you taking a pre-set character through a bunch of fights for PP and a couple of items, there’s not much too it even on the unlockable difficulties. Quick Match is self explanatory but since XP is determined by the enemies HP you can do some neat grinding tricks by beating a enemy that is high in LV but has a dumb AI thanks to you tinkering with the Quick Match settings. You have to unlock the ability to raise the enemies LV far above the one you’re currently at though.

Sadly the only thing you can do before beating the game is unlocking the playable antagonists via the PP Catalog as well as a whole bunch of other things there like new battle music during the post-game. PP is gained by winning battles, enough said. Villain characters I don’t generally use because they don’t have a board in story mode you can go through to get them stuff and XP, its Arcade Mode and Quick Battle only for them till you beat the game. Duel Coliseum is unlocked in the post-game, letting you fight enemies of different levels, earning you medals. Medals can get all sorts of different things when they appear in the Coliseum Deck but you can also just trade them in for PP when you leave the mode. After beating the game some Story Mode chapters open up. 2 of those chapters lets you get Shantotto and Gabranth as playable characters (Vaan isn’t here for some fucking reason, Gabranth is the only FFXII representative). The final extra chapter consist of gruelling fights against Lv. 110 characters (you cap at 100) then ends with a rematch against a overpowered Chaos. I’ve gotten to that rematch and cant fucking get past it, the fucker is next to impossible even with my Lv. 100 team of Zidane, Onion Knight and Cloud.

The Chocobo and Moogle Messages stuff are simply there to encourage you to play the game. The former lets you pick a chocobo that gives you bonus’ for battling while the latter gives you PP and items for interacting with it if you play the game once per day. Calendar bonus’ give increased payouts for battling depending on the day and what calendar you use which depends on what gamer you tell the game you are (which can be changed at any point). Completing Accomplishments and performing specific actions for Battlegen get you new stuff too. In Battlegen’s case it’s for getting a good chunk of all of the materials and you only have a chance of getting the material when the action is performed. Even then specific materials can only be created by certain characters with Battlegen.

Sweet mother of god, just fucking say if that game is good or not.

Look I’m going to cut myself short here because you probably get the picture by now. While there is LOADS of repetition in this game full of countless amounts of battles that one go through, there is loads of fun in picking my favourite character, in using tons of different means to make mine the strongest one, in turning the tides at the last second, in using strategy to get around a really tough opponent, and in unlocking all sorts of shit. I think you get the picture. If not let me put it this way; unless the in-game clock is somehow wrong (which I really, really doubt) I’ve spent over 90 hours on the game. And this does not surprise me considering how much I’ve played it since I got it nearly a year ago. It’s a fun handheld fighting game with a bunch of bells and whistles. I have my problems with how a lot of things are set up and the story is utter garbage but I had a lot of entertainment with this game specifically its post-game stuff. The remixed music is pretty nice too. Too bad its multiplayer is really fucking limited since there’s no online multiplayer, its only wireless local multiplayer. Who the fuck wants to play this with me? I found my copy for 10 euro in Gamestop, the digital version is a bit more expensive. If you have a PSP/Vita and are interested then go ahead and get it, I don’t think this one is just for Final Fantasy fans though the references to the series help a good deal when going into the game no doubt. Also might make the time I put into this game have some kind of slight real-world application if I get people to buy it.

Dissidia_cast.jpg

-TheAceAlucard