A new trailer for Grand Kingdom

We have covered this title a few times already, but this newest slice gives us a nice trailer to look at.


Month In Review - February

Looks like it’s that time of the month again! See everything that we’ve been up to and catch up on anything you may have missed.

The months right after the holidays can be a bit slower while everyone tries to get everything back into gear. Just because of this though does not mean we don't have exelent content to bring to you as some of these titles made for a hell of a month! Now to the games!

Article by Pierre-Yves

Some new screens for the upcoming Trillion: God of Destruction

We have already covered the upcoming Trillion game a couple of times, bug with some new information and quite a few new screenshots, this seemed like the perfect time to share the latest and greatest info from Idea Factory International.


Memorable Music in Gaming #21

I am kicking things off by going back to a familiar well here - with a song from the Neverwinter Nights soundtrack. This is still arguably one of my favorite music scores in a video game ever, but I decided to lead off with it and then create something of a theme as I decided to pull all of this edition's songs from RPG games.


Your favorite fairies and fencers are back in the upcoming Fairy Fencer F: Advent Dark Force

We were big fans of Fairy Fencer F, both when it first released on PlayStation 3 and then later when it saw a PC release as well. So I definitely file this under 'good news'.


Far Cry Primal - PS4 Review

Far Cry is a series well-known for its violence, but also for its heavy use of firearms. This makes the newest offering in the series, Far Cry Primal, something of an unusual entry into the series as there is not a gun in sight. That being said, a lot of the things the series is known for - both for better and for worse - are on full display here. At the end of the day however, I found myself enjoying the title a great deal, despite some issues here and there.


Shiness: the Lightning Kingdom gameplay revealed in new trailer

A new trailer shows off the combat system and gives us a peek at the fairly expansive world.


Tempest - PC Preview

I love pirates - they hold a particularly warm and ale filled place in my heart. So do games that let you go off and do what you want. I like good stories but I also like to slip away and go off on my own little adventure before saving the day. Tempest plays right into my love of gleefully scooping up loot, outwitting grimy characters and excitedly buying new types of projectiles.


Dark Souls III Digital Pre-Orders Now Live for Xbox One, Steam and PlayStation 4

To say Dark Souls III is one of our most anticipated games of 2016 would probably be selling it short. Several of us gleefully subject ourselves to the series time and again and are anxiously looking forward to the upcoming release.


Hero and Daughter+ - PC Review

Hero and Daughter is a rare treat. Here we have the Hero that’s done it all, multiple times, and is still max level. Essentially being tired of everyone’s shit he basically tells the King to deal with the xth resurrection of the Dark Lord himself. Not impressed with the qualities that should so in fact be upheld by a Hero of the people the King takes matters into his own hands and gives our parched Hero a drink. Welcome to the bottom of the barrel as our Hero Ralph is now a grand total of Level 1 permanently unless he gets his act together. How does a Level 1 Hero manage to take out a Dark Lord? Apparently by meeting up with a Haremancer and summoning a plethora of girls to fight with and for him. Yes you read that right. Haremancer.


Glimpse a Fractured Psyche in 'The Walking Dead: Michonne - A Telltale Miniseries' Launch Trailer

We have covered this upcoming title a few times recently, but the game is quickly gaining steam as it moves closer to release. The new trailer and information surrounding it should tide fans over for just a little bit longer.


Nitroplus Blasterz: Heroines Infinite Duel - PS4 Review

A Veritable Rush of Superb Mechanics and an Insufficiency of Game Modes.

I enjoy anime. I adore 2D fighting games. And I’ve read through some fantastic visual novels during my lifetime of comedic peasantry, yet somehow, I didn’t know what I was jump-kicking into when my Editor-in-chief requested a reviewer for Nitroplus Blasterz. Eyeballing the title, I figured I’d be scaling the treacherous cliffs of K2’s Magic Line with a canister of nitro on my back, blasting away ice sheets so as to expose and recover my lost lover’s frozen corpse, and dragging it down to base camp before the ghost of Bill Paxton stabs my bundled heroine with an empty syringe. But instead of a supernatural gaming sequel to the tragic family rescue film Vertical Limit (Vertical Limit II: Mountain’s Infinite Explosion!!!), I discovered, with a search engine powered by inquisitiveness, an attractive fighting game with a roster of sweet yet aggressive ladies, who originate from a variety of Nitroplus properties and visual novels.


The First 7th Dragon III Code: VFD Trailer Features a New Apex Predator

We recently announced and share a couple of screens about 7th Dragon III Cdode: VFD - and now we have a little more information about the game. Oh, and a trailer.


Disney Infinity 3.0 - Xbox One Review

The 'toys to life' phenomenon is one that has really taken hold of video gaming, and Disney Infinity may be one of the most popular iterations out there. In my time with the game, I found it to be fun, but with some notable flaws as well.


Memorable Music in Gaming #20

This installment of Memorable Music in Gaming is spread out over a handful of different console generations, but were all titles that resonated with me as games while still having sound tracks that stuck with me in one way or another as well.


Koei Tecmo America reveals series debut features for upcoming Samurai Warriors 4 Empires

While a Warriors fan, the Empires games in particular with their more strategic elements has always appealed to me, and this upcoming release looks like it will be bringing some cool new features to the table.


Rainbow Moon - PS4 Review

Rainbow Moon is one of those games that probably did not need to be re-released on the PlayStation 4, but I am glad it was. Charming visuals, challenging combat and an often lovely soundtrack punctuate what is still a very good game previously only found on the PlayStation 3 and Vita.


Final Fantasy Explorers - 3DS Review

I have to admit, I’ve always been a fan of the Final Fantasy series. Whether it’s the battle style, the music or just the feel of the games as a whole I’m not certain, but they’ve always held a special place in my video game collection. The spin-offs are a bit of a different story, however. Needless to say, when I heard that Explorers was going to be a game in a similar vein to the Monster Hunter series, a series I have pumped over six hundred hours into cumulatively, I was really looking forward to it.


XBlaze Code: Embryo coming to PC - soon

I thoroughly enjoyed both of the XBlaze visual novel games upon getting to play them on the PlayStation over the last couple of years. These should find a nice home on the PC then as well.


RPG Tycoon - PC Review

You always hear tales about the great heroes who slew the dragon, defeated the shadow cult, or rescued the princess from the clutches of a large yellow turtle and multiple castles. But what about the villages that spawn those heroes? What about the boring old settlements under their protection? Enter RPG Tycoon, why build a theme park or a zoo when you can be the kind of tycoon who saves the world one dungeon delving hero at a time!


1942 - Retro Reflections

1942 is among the various games in the Capcom Classics Collection vol. 1 for PS2. It is a vertical scrolling shooter where you control a rather ugly plane and destroy hundreds of other aircraft. Unfortunately, the game suffers from two problems.


Shiren The Wanderer: The Tower of Fortune and the Dice of Fate release information

While I have only heard of this series and never had a chance to play it, the news that it will be coming to North American on the Vita is interesting indeed.


The Dwarf Run - PC Review

Dwarves for some reason or another never quite seem to have things easy. Forgotten Realms, Tolkien, or even those from within The Dwarves series from Markus Heitz. This is just as well as it makes for much more interesting stories and The Dwarf Run is no exception. Stripped of their gear and most of their clothes, four Dwarves find themselves stuck in a cavern with nothing more than their wits about them. Using some Point and Click elements there’s more than enough exploring and RPG turned based combat to keep them occupied as they try to find their way out.

From the drop through the ceiling onto a pile of snow one thing is clear, challenging is a very good word to describe these Dwarves’ adventure but in a very good way. Using a Point and Click like style, control is given over to the player through the leader of the Dwarves Dalain who is essentially your avatar in order to interact within this world. Picking up rocks, interacting with the crafting table, or simply initiating conversations will all be done through him with the others that will follow closely behind.

Interacting with objects while looking around the environments is what is going to take up most of these Dwarves’ time as they must figure out how to move further along with essentially anything left lying around. Looking, touching, using one object on top of another are all actions that will need to be taken in order to move further along and the challenge is figuring out how with what is on hand. Sometimes the biggest part of the puzzle is that you don’t currently have all of the pieces and a bit of abstract thinking could be required.

Moving around at times can be a bit awkward depending upon how the room is placed in regards to its camera angles. Some of these are done on purpose as it serves to either highlight and emphasize a particular element, or by contrast, hide it away. While these angles add to the puzzles they can also feel like they can get in the way when wanting to physically move over to another vantage point which is a trade-off that is not always in the player's benefit.

With areas to explore and move through being rather large though, the map function serves more purpose than simply stating, quite literally, you are here. As long as an area has already been explored by your group simply clicking on the map location will immediately relocate all four Dwarves. Not having to move manually through each area will not only save a generous amount of time especially when attempting to find the missing link as to how to move forward, but it also alleviates a bit of the frustration from the times in which the camera angles get in the way.

With all of the exploration however, what kind of story about Dwarves would be a good one without some good old fashioned skull cracking? To anyone who’s ever played a good old fashioned session of Tabletop Dungeons and Dragons, you should feel at home here as to hit percentages honestly had me wondering if my D20 was not loaded on 1. That is honestly, and generally, my luck. Using a hybrid of elements however, this is more than just a bit of D&D thrown into a Point and Click style. Using a Turned Based Combat System with Action Points and a battle area to move around, battling is just as impressive as the exploration if not more so because of how important some of these elements truly are.

Action Points in a battle system can sometimes be a bit of a hit and miss as there’s sometimes something just not quite right that can mar an otherwise well thought out system. What impressed me the most about our Dwarves adventure is that if an action cannot be taken on the current turn because of the lack of points, that action will use the points from this turn and of the next turn in order to perform the selected command. This means that nothing is wasted just because a member of your group was simply one point off as well as letting you plan a few steps ahead without truly needing to the do the math.

In regards to the flow, participants each have their turn in an order that can be seen on screen which further helps in the planning. Once it is their turn, that character will have options as to how to act whether to move a few spaces closer or to attack from range if there is ammo remaining or simply casting a spell once a staff has been acquired. With a well designed to hit system thing become even more interesting when participants actually take a hit. In regards to your party of Dwarves as the player can see their stats and make modifications to their skills upon level up, there is a pain threshold in place that will reduce the possibility to hit an opponent once their Hit Points drop below a set percentage as the pain makes it harder to concentrate. Combined with possibilities for Attacks of Opportunity from moving in and out of an opponent's personal space, and there are more than enough ways to either win or lose a battle.

The Dwarf Run is an awesome example of mixing several types of gameplay together in order to provide something new. With challenging puzzles to overcome even in the first few minutes while attempting to figure out your bearings and a combat system that will appease any tactical based lovers, there is more than enough for anyone as long as they are up for the challenge.

Platform PC

Developer(s) Alexander Mirdzveli
Publisher(s) Alexander Mirdzveli
Genre(s) Point and Click?
Mode(s) Single Player
Other Platform(s) None

Article by Pierre-Yves

Age of Mythology EX: Tale of the Dragon - PC Review

Re-released two years ago as an Extended Edition, Age of Mythology returned to the PC after a decade from its original release. Almost two years later it’s back once again with an expansion which introduces the Chinese Dynasties alongside multiple new Gods, maps, units, and a campaign to bring it all together.

Before getting into the thick of it, it should be noted that other than new style of units and scenarios to tackle through a campaign mode, Tales of the Dragon doesn’t actually introduce anything “new” to Age of Mythology. Like the other selectable Nations, they will have melee and ranged footmen, cavalry, alongside various more godlike beings and siege weapons whose sole purpose is to take down those walls that stand before your forces. Essentially Tales of the Dragon is a way in order to inject a bit of new life for a different approach to conquering all of those that would stand before the Gods that you yourself follow.

One thing that was immediately noticeable while loading up the first scenario of the campaign unfortunately was how buggy things could be. Getting back into the groove of things can take some time so it’s only natural to restart once or twice especially wanting to make sure that your village is not swept away from the incoming floods before your dam can be fixed. Having restarted though I realized after several minutes of setting up mining and foresting operations that I did not have access to build either watch towers or academies to produce soldiers in order to defend my village. This was a problem with the constant flow of giant lizards (no not Godzilla that’s Japan) that came to lay waste. After restarting three more times I still did not have access to these buildings even after restarting the software itself. Allowing the “cutscene” to run however did in fact allow me to finally build these buildings but unlike the first time I could not build a temple… which was unfortunate as Terracotta Soldiers are awesome.

From this point on just about everything handles as it should. Gatherers will collect food, wood, and gold in order to further your war machine against those that would trample you over. The more mythical beings will require prayer energy in order to bring them into existence. At this point it becomes a challenge between developing your settlements and your warriors fast enough to survive an onslaught while similarly planning your own as most of the time, that is the end goal. The with the gameplay remaining the same, the only real change is the addition of newer units for the new Nation which are interesting in their own rights as they’ve added the fabled Age of Empires 2 Monk. If that doesn’t ring a bell, Monks are essentially evil incarnate for anyone having to go up against them. They not only heal your units, but convert your enemies’. Dirty tactics, but you’ve got a war to win and they are a great way to do it.

Overall while Tale of the Dragon does infused a bit of new life into Age of Mythology, it comes a bit as a double edge as there are certain times in which the bugs that currently plague it can honestly halt any and all advancement. With a decent single player campaign having been brought in and new multiplayer options, it was nice to see an old title get new treatment but sadly the bugs can halt some of that enjoyment right in its tracks.

Platform PC

Developer(s) SkyBox Labs
Forgotten Empires
Publisher(s) Microsoft Studios
Genre(s) Real Time Strategy
Mode(s) Single Player
Other Platform(s) None

Article by Pierre-Yves

Sheltered coming to PS4 very soon

Not too terribly long ago, we talked about a developer diary for the upcoming survival game Sheltered. Sheltered looks to be coming to PlayStation 4 rather soon and I'm curious to see what it will look like when complete.


Protoshift - PC Review

If you, like me, enjoy (or enjoyed while the phenomena lasted) the likes of Flappy Bird and Duet, and just couldn't get enough of either or both of them, then Protoshift may very well be the game for you. Unfortunately, the lackluster production of the game and garish color scheme deletes any fun to be had with the otherwise addictive and challenging title.


The Coma: Cutting Class - PC Review

Genuinely creepy with some interesting and original surprises along the way, The Coma: Cutting Class gets more right than wrong despite a few questionable design choices and a repetitive core gameplay.


Grand Kingdom Coming this June with Special Editions!

Grand Kingdom has been one of those games I've been aware of, but not seen a great deal on - so I'm more than happy to pass on any additional information about the game that we get.


Crypt of the NecroDancer - PS4 Review

Before the actual review gets going, there are a few things I need to mention as a preface. First of all, this game came out on PC a while back, and while I was intending to pick it up, I never actually did so, so I have no idea about any possible changes between the PC and PS4 version, if any. Secondly, I suck at the game. Like, really badly. That being said, I absolutely loved it.


Memorable Music in Gaming #19

Some games are ingrained in our memories due in large part to their music. Final Fantasy, The Legend of Zelda, Super Mario Bros. and more. They are important of course, but every now and then a game tune can be so catchy and memorable - despite the game itself not being elevated to a kind of legendary status in our minds. This list has a few of those types of titles this time around.


Arslan: The Warriors of Legend - PS4 Review

Arslan: The Warrior of Legend is a series that has long standing roots dating back to the mid 80s. Taking on a spin of the historical invasion of Persia (Pars) by the Christian war machine of the time during the Crusades (Lusitania), Arslan is all that remains against the invading hordes as they enslave and butcher his people after defeating his undefeated father and his unstoppable cavalry forces through treachery and some darker magics.

Arslan as both a protagonist and a game shows off growth that was amazing to experience over the ten plus hours of the main storyline. This campaign in order to reclaim the Capital of Pars from the Lusitanian Horde was nothing short of an amazing blend of anime cutscenes and gameplay segments that never once required going through menus in order to advance. This alone was an enormous change from the rest of Omega Force's entries that are generally comprised of multiple menu levels in order to set up and outfit your character(s) for battle.

Having done away with all the menu transitions everything is much more automatic and thus smooth in its flow heading right into the next cutscene or cutscenes that never leave the player wondering what is going on with the very well structured pace. Having read a good portion of the manga up until this point the faithfulness to the original story was amazing to see. If there had to be one complaint it would be that the other side is not shown off as much give a full picture of the events. This doesn't really affect the constructed narrative but it would give a fuller picture if nothing else to show that just because they invaded as a horde under the banner of their “one true God” it does not mean that they themselves are unified as they are quite separated in their upper ranks due to their human desires as it would appear from someone on the outside.

With the removal of the in between stage menu interfacing, gameplay follows along at a very good pace in which still manages to throw in some new elements all the way in the final chapters of the story mode. Having no menus has essentially created an interactive story with different characters having turns in which to shine in the spotlight over the course of the campaign. By doing this everyone is given not only a bit of limelight, but they are used at key points that highlight either their strengths or do the complete opposite having them scramble simply to survive the situation they find themselves in. “Stages” if they can indeed be called that in this case as they are played out sequences of the narrative, come in a variety of lengths and in regards to a character’s limelight the player could in fact see the point of view change between them as it will happen that there will be a character change just to spice things up a little bit.

In regards to the combat itself, Arslan can take a bit of time in order to come into its own groove which works perfectly with the story up until the starting point and the events unfolding thereafter. Starting off with his maiden battle, Arslan himself is in no way, shape, or form, A Warrior of Legend. Quite the opposite really as everyone is essentially saving him in one form or another. As events unfold, and as experience is acquired in both the sense of having participated in several battles and an actual experience counter is filled, Arslan himself starts to move in a much smoother manner as his attack patterns become more fluid and less staccato. This is in stark contrast to several of the others especially Daryun who is second to none in the kingdom when it comes to battle prowess and it shows when from the beginning his combat is smooth and only ever gets better.

Because of its menuless approach, customization options have been kept to a minimum. As characters level up they can get access to new weapons which allows for some different approaches to various foes. With these new approaches opening new avenues it becomes interesting to see how a character actually uses this new weapon type in comparison to another who proficiently uses it as their main weapon. Swords, Spears, Bows for both short and long range, Fists, Paintbrushes and Greatswords are all interesting among some others to see in action with a character’s moveset. To aid characters, as they have nothing more than their provided weapon types, Ranked Cards (C, B, A) can be acquired that can boost parameters such as Attack, Defense both solo or while leading a squad through the various Mardan Rushes. Three cards can be equipped at a time in which their total must be under the capacity that a character currently has access to which is in direct relation to their levels. As double, triples, etc can be picked up, if a certain card type does not quite make the cut then they can be synthesized into a newer random one.

Marden Rushes are a mechanic that are simply in one word. Destructively Awesome. Alright two words then. At select point in a stage there can come an opportunity to perform one of these actions in order to complete a task. Leading a cavalry charge to breakdown rubble or a group shielding a passage, leading a footsoldier charge in order to break down a gate, or simply pointing over to where you wish to rain death from above with a barrage of arrows to set a war machine or supply stock on fire. All of these actions can be seen on the map through a blue spiral and visually through what almost looks like a swirling blue vortex. Once engaged, a meter will deplete visually notifying you as to how much time is left to either complete the objective or simply rain mayhem upon your enemies. If an objective is not complete then the Mardan Rush point will respawn in order to do it all over again.

With the amazing presentation and blend of both gameplay with its anime-esque cutscenes to bring it all together, as not all are pure anime, sometimes the cel shaded approach for presentation can give way to a bit of jaggedness in the character models as if the resolution isn’t keeping up. It doesn’t happen often but it is enough to notice and mar the otherwise gorgeous visual appearance of the characters. 

On a whole, with what Arslan may not bring to the table in mechanics as say Dragon Quest Heroes or Hyrule Warriors, it more than makes up for it with an amazing blend of storytelling and gameplay. It was extremely refreshing to simply flow from one field of battle to the next without ever having to select ready or go through a vast amount of inventory and skill options. I for one would be more than happy for Omega Force to re-visit this formula in the future or possibly create a blend of it with something else.

Platform Sony PlayStation 4

Developer(s) Omega Force
Publisher(s) Tecmo Koei
Genre(s) Action
Hack and Slash
Mode(s) Single Player
Online Coop
Other Platform(s) Microsoft Xbox One

Article by Pierre-Yves

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