Sniper Elite 4 - Xbox One Review

Not only am I a pretty big fan of Rebellion, but so is most of the staff here as back in 2014 Chris gave Sniper Elite 3 an excellent 8 out of 10  and a year later nearly every member here at CGR was able to get in on the action of slaying zombie Nazis in the Zombie Army Trilogy. Fun fact, I am so incredibly "zombie'ed out" that I actively avoid anything to do with them … except for Zombie Army Trilogy. When Sniper Elite 4 was first announced I could not wait; not only did I want to get back into the action to revisit World War II from a sniper's perspective, but I was itching for some good old fashioned cooperative play. Few titles in this day and age have engaging cooperative campaigns and much to my excitement, Sniper Elite 4 continues the excellent trend that Rebellion set in years past. Sniper Elite 4 is a fantastic example of how to refresh a franchise while staying true to its roots.


Popular Star Wars™ games now playable on Utomik

Utomik, the “unlimited play” monthly subscription gaming service, is expanding its offering with the launch of a new Family Plan, which includes several popular Star Wars™ games.


For Honor - PS4 Review

In typical Ubisoft fashion, For Honor has received some significant hype over the past year or so. Set in a fictional world full of strife and chaos, choose your Hero from the noble Samurai, the relentless Vikings, or the bloodthirsty Knights and represent your faction in a war for dominance. Whether you are in the captivatingly beautiful wilderness or the majestic ruins of civilization, your Hero will stand as a bulwark against the oncoming threat of annihilation. With an interesting twist on the action-fighting platform, For Honor uses an innovative control system called "The Art of Battle" that provides full control over your choice of one of twelve heroes. Stab, parry, and block your way through the fight control. For all of the interesting new fight mechanics, focus on faction-specific persistent PVP world, For Honor is both new and exciting while feeling, at times, incredibly frustrating and empty.


Tales of Berseria: A second opinion - Gaming Thoughts

Like our review of the game a week ago, there are some minor spoilers in the following opinion piece. Keep that in mind if you choose to continue reading.

I thought that Berseria had a well done script with interesting characters and interactions and one of the best combat systems I’ve seen in a Tales game since Tales of Graces. While some of the plot may be a little hard to follow at times, one of the main “lessons” of Berseria is that everyone has some sort of inner contradiction, and it is through learning how to accept these contradictions that one becomes a better person/daemon/ethereal creature .


Atelier Sophie: The Alchemist of the Mysterious Book - PC Review

Atelier Sophie is one of the more recent entries in the “Atelier” series of games from Gust.  The Atelier series of games has been a favorite of mine since Atelier Iris came out for PS2. Admittedly, I haven’t played one since Rorona, which I’ve been meeting to correct. In Atelier Sophie you play out the life of Sophie Neuenmuller, a budding alchemist. Sophie’s alchemical expertise more often than not results in explosions; she has a serious learning drive to improve her abilities. One day, she discovers a reference book her grandma left behind, and after writing an alchemy recipe in it, it starts talking to her. The book, named Plachta, reveals a case of amnesia, and it turns out that writing recipes down in the book will reveal more of Plachta’s memories.


Nioh - PS4 Review

As of yesterday Nioh will have been out for two weeks. We've played, we've cried and we've been both entertained and frustrated as we've figured out how to move forward. The following is our full review in which I have both mulled over on my own as well as with the thoughts of both Robert and my brother Marc. We have all gone through our own sets of trials and kept tabs on each other pretty much since we started.

Nioh, like other releases this year, has been a long time in coming from its original announcement over a decade ago. Having gone through multiple revisions we finally saw a near final form through an Alpha Demo designed to take in players feedback for the final version. It was brutal. It was hard. It was amazing short of the durability system that had been put in place. With a handful of modifications it could be amazing.

Few months pass from this point and Team Ninja and Tecmo Koei release a Beta Demo. Gone was the durability system in place of what was called a familiarity system. Now instead of weapon degradation in which your weapons lost attack power over time you had your weapons gain the attack power instead. Not every weapon could be taken the same distance on a one to a hundred scale so you could do some choosing before you picked what you wanted to run around with. The only issue with this system is that you could simply swap your weapons at will because of how fast the familiarity rose. It's a Beta stage, there would still be time to fix it.

A few more months pass and a Last Chance Demo would be announced not long before release. This would show off the final form of Nioh while also giving players one last chance to reap the rewards of the first two demos. The Mark of the Conqueror and the Mark of the Strong would be bonus DLC for anyone that managed to complete the demos within the allocated time. Putting a bit more pressure on, the Last Chance would be available for no more than a single weekend while the other two had been available for nearly a week each. How was the Last Chance in regards to the other two? If they could keep up what they had designed things would be golden.

This brings us to now. We've all sunk some ridiculous hours into it. Most of the worries that I originally had in regards of how they were going to string the mission based levels and story together have disappeared. The combat system is just as solid as it was in the Alpha. The stages have some frustrating designs which makes you have to think about it at times. Overall the formula was there but when it was all put together there was something just "not quite right". It wasn't until I had finished a few stages that I realized, the final version is easier than the demos for feedback. The level of difficulty seems to have been somewhat reduced until certain other issues arise in which at some points? Nioh needs some balancing patches.

The three of us have all had these. There were times in which doing the exact same thing twice in a row would yield different results. This could be getting one shotted by a monster that could barely even dent you two seconds prior to being quite out of reach and getting hit regardless. Because these didn't always happen however it was hard to anticipate them but at the end of the day if you died? Well you learnt your lesson and simply found another way through it all.

From the top, Nioh is a great game. It has some issues when it comes to balancing and frame rates at times but nothing that outright marrs the experience. Unless you consider the inventory management in which case we'll touch on that later. I loved the nod to the Souls series with William sitting inside of a jail cell that happens to be sitting inside of the Tower of London. This is where it all starts. This is also where it starts to spiral downwards for our Englishman as he's in for a hell of a ride between battling humans, demons, and a crazy sorcerer which is his entire reason for sailing to Japan.

The mission based structure that Nioh decided to follow along is a lot more interesting than it originally looked like. Core missions are very long and then there are some smaller ones that are designed just as way points and a way in order to accumulate more Amrita and level up in between. Instead of just following this however the larger core stages have sub missions that follow along afterwards partitioning portions of these stages for another reason. Something else is down there and must be taken care of. Someone dropped something and needs it back or they will have to take their own life as is the code of the Samurai. It gives more substance than simply going in and doing what you need to do before heading out. It's not backtracking as much as it's revisiting but sometimes the reasons are ridiculous. Other times? Even if they are ridiculous the rewards for doing so far outweigh the little bit of time that they can take.

Combat is both interesting and fun as there's something for everyone and there are plenty of different avenues in which how to approach a situation. Swords, dual-swords, spears, axes, and the Kusarigama make up the core melee before adding on either Ninjutsu or Omnyo abilities. Going fully into one, mixing and matching, anything is up for grabs alongside light, medium and heavy armors for defense. Even these can all be mixed and match in order to find something that suits your style. It can take some time in order to figure it all out but that's the point of testing it out because what you may have wanted originally (full heavy swordsman) may not be as much fun as what you end up with (mid armoured swordsman with Onmyo magics).

Regardless of the loadout, the final version stuck with the Alpha's original concept of High, Medium, Low, and Unarmed stances. High stances are slow but put a lot of power behind each swing. Low stances are very fast but put more into how many times you can hit an opponent over how much damage you are performing. Medium stances find a balance between the two but unlike the Alpha, the Beta, and the Final Chance it didn't seem like these stances were as important as they once were. Instead their final versions they seemed to be more for flavour in a lot of cases instead of being used for tactical advantages against your opponents.

Even if the first three felt more like flavouring as I rarely moved from my mid-stance, the unarmed stance was something else at times. This stance is designed to attack with a whole lot of power through a charge up attack. If it could hit then great! But it was all about timing and I generally left it out of my repertoire because why worry about timing a charge attack properly when you could simply shoot the enemy first?

Bows, Rifles, and Cannons make up the three main physical ranged attacks. Ninja stars and kunai can be used as well as magic spells but these work their way into your combat loadouts. Bows are quiet, have the most ammo, and are the first ranged type to be picked up. What makes the bows interesting is that there are normal arrows as well as blessed ones making these extremely useful against the undead.

Rifles by contrast aren't quite as quiet but can pack a lot more of a punch than their counterpart. They come in two flavours of standard lead ball and an incendiary round. The last of these is the loudest and the proudest of the three requiring William to take a knee in order to set it up but holy hell does the cannon do damage. The amount of setup time is worth it especially for larger enemies or "Walls that have eyes" in which once you hit them too many times they come after you. Normal weapons don't do much to them but taking out the cannon will have you through in no time.

One thing that I either never noticed in the Demos or was more of a brand new thing and just easier to pull off was the ability to simply crack through an opponent's barrier in nothing more than a single hit. This is more for the Oni than a human or Revenant but I really noticed when I threw a stone to get an Oni's attention and it dropped to the ground. Stunned at the turn of events I forgot to rush over and stab it while it was down. What did I learn? I learnt rather quickly that while headshots were a viable form of mowing down human opponents, each Oni type has a weakness that allowed for an easier time at taking them out. The standard run of the mill Oni with their swords, axes or dual blades for example are very weak to getting hit in the horns. An arrow or even a stone can do this leaving them open to even more damage. Furthermore certain stances make these maneuvers just as easy as the up or a down stroke of the sword will go right through those horns dropping them onto the ground.

There are some enemies in which it's either much harder to hit their weak spot or they are simply too tough making it more of a situation for your Living Weapons. Living Weapons are what I essentially referred to as a Musou Attack as that's what it really felt like it was. By filling up a gauge, your guardian spirit can imbue your weapon with its element while simultaneously increasing your attack power and saving you from any hit that would have otherwise hit depleted your health. These can be used in any situation as long as your guardian spirit is with you.

When you fall in battle the first time, your guardian spirit will remain where you fell in order to protect the Amrita that was collected. Because of this, Living Weapons and any magic that uses your spirit cannot be used in the meantime. This makes sense as they are not there. If you fall a second time however then both sets of Amrita are lost for the same reason because they are not there. If losing out on Amrita is not an issue then the spirits can be summoned back from any Kodama Shrine that you come across.

Kodama Shrines are like your checkpoints. "Operated" by these tiny cute green spirits, the shrines are where William and head back to in any stage in order to Level himself up with Amrita, change his Guardian Spirit, summon a visitor, or simply restock on healing items from storage. Finding any of these during a stage is a blessing as it means that there is a safe place to rest or potentially come back to if things get too rough. As for blessings these too can be set as long as you've found enough Kodama to unlock them. The higher the Kodama count the stronger the blessing but just remember that these do not carry between the various islands. I only noticed this two islands later when I wasn't getting what I should have out of the Health Blessing designed to drop more Healing Elixirs. Oops.

All of these elements together make for a good system. Each type of equipment comes in four types of rarity going from White -> Yellow -> Blue -> Purple with the Purple generally being the strongest as it can have the most amount of bonuses to it. I say generally as I've gotten purple items with less than some of the white equipment that I picked up. If for whatever reason you pick up a new shiny piece of equipment and it's almost what you want but there's one skill on it that you don't like? Take it to the blacksmith's. In the Demos I thought that this would probably wind up being a useless feature as why would I want to give her my weapons when I could simply donate them to a Kodama Shrine and get bonuses? Now? Now I've given over most of my items in order to break them down into components to either craft new equipment or swap out skills that don't suit my needs.

The Blacksmith's is an excellent addition to Nioh. She sells you ammo. She can swap out useless skills for better ones for a price. She can make brand new equipment pieces as long as you can hand over the components for it. She can even transform the look of a piece of equipment into another as long as you've seen it before making it that you can look like a super heavy armored samurai when in reality you are wearing a very light ninja suit.

Finally, and perhaps the most important aspect of the Blacksmith, she can raise the level of an item by sacrificing a higher level item as long as you have the money for it. This means that an amazing lower level sword that you've been hanging onto can re-become useful later on as it becomes that much more powerful. This can be very expensive but in certain cases, like my brother's, he's saving up eight million in order to soul match his favorite axe because that axe is a work of art and he's found nothing close in that time that even comes close to it.

Alongside your Blacksmith is the Dojo that teaches the basics of things. If you've played before then you can skip the beginner classes however you're going to want to go back for the advanced classes. The reason for this is that it opens up nodes on William's Skill Tree. Without these classes then certain branches will remain closed. Because there is always a catch, the advanced classes for Melee, Ninjitsu, and Onmyo require that a certain amount of points have been put into William's respective stats for those trees. They are worth it and honestly if you are worried about losing out on a potential build? Don't. William can re specialize himself by the use of a book that resets both his Stat and Skill points. These can be bought for an increasing cost from the Blacksmith or for an Honour cost from the Tea House.

The Tea House is an interesting addition. It comes in rather late to the game but offers a new spin on the overall experience. Once the man that runs the Tea House has been freed he offers you the choice of which faction that you would wish to align yourself with. If you've played any of the Samurai Warriors or are simply familiar with Japanese History the names of the houses and factions will be instantly familiar. These houses offer unique bonuses to William and also compete for who can obtain the most Honour in an actual calendar month. What's Honour you ask? Perhaps one of the best systems that Nioh has to offer.

Honour can be obtained by fighting the Revenants that have been around since the Alpha. These spirits can be summoned into your realm by simply standing over them and summoning them. Once in your realm however it's sink or swim because they are out for your blood. These blood thirsty spirits come from the souls of other players that have died and have the same equipment and skill loadouts that they were equipped with at the time of their deaths. Fighting and defeating this ghosts will give you both Honour and at least one random piece of their gear. This is a great way to at times get better equipment or at least get components in order to make newer pieces through the Blacksmith.

Compared to it's original state it feels like there's something missing from the Revenants. ORiginally the AI seemed to be based off of a player's actions more than a predetermined routine that was based off of the primary weapon set. Yes some of them will use some of these abilities but short of going up against a Sword user? There's no way that some of these Revenants with their levels and gears would play a certain manner with an Axe or a Spear. There's no way. If it was based off of their actual gameplay there's no way they would have made it that far and sadly it seems like it was pre-determined attack patterns instead of the glimpse of another player's style.

With all of the pieces in place, one area that could have used a lot of work on was the inventory management. You can sort through certain fields but overall? It felt like a bit of a mess as there were no options to double sort for example of Rarity -> Armor Types or Weapon Types. Instead it was simply by Rarity or by Weapon Level. Even locking a piece of equipment into place did not bring it to the top or bottom but instead was wherever it fell into the list. This made swaping through armour sets at times a pain because you had to either scroll through the entire list or head over to a Kodama Shine in order to donate all your gear and forget about the Blacksmith's components for a few moments. It could get very annoying and I'll be honest that I personally may have even gotten rid of some epic leveled items because they were cluttering my inventory and I just wanted to quickly switch up gear in order to try another approach at a mid-boss or the boss of the stage themselves.

While designed as a single player experience, you don't technically have to go at Nioh alone. There is a catch though. Until you've beaten a stage once you cannot simply queue up with a random stranger or a friend in order to dive head first into coop slaying. If you need help you can summon a partner however this partner needs to have already completed the stage themselves. This means that my brother and I that had thought of going at the experience as a duo was short lived as we could only simultaneously play as long as we had both beaten a stage which brings up one thing, the multiplayer itself? Was very smooth.

Even if we couldn't tackle stages together, we did go back and that form of gameplay was different in a good way. Instead of everything else that had been set up, simultaneous multiplayer sessions worked in their own fashion. The created party is given a gauge which is reduced every time that a player falls in battle. Kodama Shines restore this gauge only once. If all the players involved die at the same time then the stage is considered failed and that's the end of it even if there is still space left on the gauge. It's fun, it's smooth, but unfortunately you can't do it on your first run though. You have to prove that you can do it instead which works for coming back and finding missing Kodama or grinding for Honour and Gear but it would have been nice to explore side by side with someone from the get go.

Nioh is an amazing game. Yes it has some issues but most of them can be solved in time with some balancing patches. Was it worth the wait? Yes. Was it worth going through all of the Demos to give feedback for the Final Form? Very. William's adventure through Japan is an amazing one and I'm glad that I got to share it with friends as well as going at it alone.

PS: Thanks for the input boys!

Article by Pierre-Yves,

Game Information

Sony PlayStation 4
Team Ninja
Tecmo Koei America
Single Player
Online Coop
Other Platform(s):


Article by Pierre-Yves,
with Robert and Marc L

Berserk and the Band of the Hawk - PS4 Review

Berserk and the Band of the Hawk is Omega Force's latest Warriors-styled experience based off an anime. The brutal nature of the battlefield feels right at home as you move from one fight to the next with the once-young man named Guts exploring his life through its veritable rollercoaster of ups and downs.

Any fan of Omega Force's Warriors series will feel right at home with Berserk. The controls are fluid, the animations are superb, and Berserk has some of the biggest bone crunching satisfaction yet. Guts uses a giant sword that rivals Cloud's but unlike the spiky hero, this one is designed to hit multiple enemies at a time instead of simply showing off. There are other characters that can be used at specifically given times, but the bulk of the single player campaign is based on Guts with the rest more so available for the Free Play mode.

The main campaign goes through the chapters of Guts' life from before bring a member of the Band of the Hawk into the time afterwards through a series of stages and anime cutscenes. A little like Arslan: The Warriors of Legend in that respect there's a flow to the events with the gameplay being the bulk of the experience. What differentiates the two is that Arslan used the gameplay as a means to an end in order to tell it's tale with the actions taken in combat being "what happened" more often than simply letting the player go nuts and seeing how high of a killcount they could have. It was a great experience, but it didn't always leave room to simply enjoy the formula that a Warrior's entry provides.

Berserk compared to this is all about mowing down anyone that gets close and then worrying about objectives as there never seemed to be a time limit unless a partner's health was in question. Objectives are generally to remove more powerful units from existence or to make it over to a certain location to provide assistance by taking out those guarding a gate. It's a lot more focused on gameplay than storytelling inside of the missions which is great in its own way as it has its own style.

Berserk at times felt more like an Action Adventure with its map layouts than it did a Warrior's entry. Yes there are loads and loads of minions to remove but it was just enough of a shift to make for a fresh experience. The brutal nature of Guts' story simply feels at home and the 1v1000 format often suits it as over the course of the journey he is praised for single handedly taking out over one hundred men. I may have taken out one thousand, but hey, who's counting?

Adding to the feel are the crazy boss fights that are provided. We are talking about a level that even Lü Bu or Oda Nobunaga would think twice before engaging*. Not everything that Guts will face is human and some of the worst customers are giant demons with multiple health bars that only increase in power every time one is removed. These fights at first can feel like everything is under control until they start hitting harder while simultaneously taking less damage. Blocking and dodging become just as important as attacking which adds to that Action feel.

If, or when the going gets tough (I'm looking at you hell…), each character has the ability to go into a Frenzy Mode that upgrades their attack power to devastating amounts. Starting the gauge at level 1", after using it the next fill will bring it to level "2" and then once again up to level "3" making it all the more powerful each time. Not using it when it's ready is actually more of a disservice to yourself unless you are running to towards heavy unit or know that the stage is wrapping up and you've already gotten to level three. This resets every stage so getting back to three, and then to even higher levels once they are unlocked, is generally the first thing that should be done. That and it makes killing enemies that much easier.

The main campaign in lengthy with tons of dialog and anime to fill in the longer sequences. From what I understand, the anime portions have been taken from the newer Berserk series over the older one. With how fast time flies I hadn't had a chance to either read or watch like I had Arslan so I've approached this experience knowing nothing more than it was brutal and bloody. From start to finish? I have not been disappointed and I have to make time to know more about the series as I'm sure that not EVERYTHING was covered.

From the beginning, surprisingly actually, the secondary mode of Endless Eclipse Mode was available. This mode opens up more of itself as the main storyline is uncovered instead of simply being a reward for having finished it in the first place. This too was refreshing as it allowed for a break from the main experience with any of your characters that had been unlocked. If they weren't a high enough level then they could simply be leveled up with the gold that you've amassed.

The Eclipse Mode is "Endless" but only in the sense that you can keep on doing it until you're either A) tired of it and want to return to the main campaign or B) run out of current floors and are returned to the main menu. Unlike Samurai Warriors 4-II's Tower with bosses every few levels, this form of endless massacre is brought to you by people's desires every set of five floors. Once a desire is chosen then that will set the pace of the upcoming events for the new few floors. Helping someone out and then having them attack you is one possibility of how events will turn out and if that happens? Put them down with as much brutality as possible as there are many floors past them and to falling to this person means having to start all over again.

There are a hundred total levels but only twenty five are available in the beginning. From there checkpoints are unlocked every twenty levels as you go through and fulfill people's desires. The only catch to remember is that is you quit before a checkpoint has been unlocked then it has to be restarted from either the beginning or the previous checkpoint twenty floors ago. Upping the challenge is that any items that are used can only be replenished if you are lucky enough to receive that bonus from a treasure chest or reward for defeating a tough enemy. It's a neat distraction from the main event and a good way to level up your characters and obtain both new equipment and the materials to upgrade them.

Starting off with Guts and then moving to everyone else, three pieces of upgradable equipment can be equipped. Each piece comes with Strength, Defense, and Technique scores alongside a series of other stat boosters such as extra attack, attack range, luck or vitality. Some of these extra skills will be locked away safely while others could disappear all depending on what you do when the feature to merge equipment together is unlocked.

Merging equipment is just as useful as upgrading because it means that an item with high values in the three basics and no other bonuses can then receive these bonuses. Up to four pieces can be inserted into the base item though just make sure that you don't merge in a previously upgraded or merged item unless that's what you were aiming for. The process takes a fair amount of Gold at time but short of using your funds to level up each of your available characters? You coffers should be up to the task.

Berserk has a feel to it that has yet to be matched by another of the Warriors titles when it comes to feeling how powerful you are in combat. You can feel the hits out on the field of combat more than simply hear and run through your attack patterns. Some of them are downright brutal and that feeling is transferred over with a combination of both slight vibrations from the controller and a bit of shaking of the screen. It's more immersive than running through the fields of Hyrule or of Japan or China and I hope that this feature translates to the next projects.

Berserk is a great addition to Omega Force's Warriors lineup. Between the smooth controls, the immersive feel that makes you feel sorry for your enemies at times and the integration of the story from in-game cutscenes to the anime insertions, the whole package is a great one.

Game Information

Sony PlayStation 4
Omega Force
Tecmo Koei America
Hack and Slash
Single Player
Other Platform(s):

Provided by Publisher

Article by Pierre-Yves

*Don't quote me on that, they may have both dived in head first for all I know!

Review incoming in an hour!

We would love to bring to you your normally scheduled 8am but this morning we've got something better. It's bloody, it's bone breaking and it'll be here in an hour!


Nights of Azure - PC Review

Nights of Azure originally released for PS4 in North America in early 2016, and now it has received a PC port to bless, or torment, the non-console gamers. Featuring a beautiful art style and soundtrack, Nights of Azure, while incredibly niche, is a soulful tale of love and friendship.


Tales of Berseria - PS4 Review

Tales of Berseria is the long-awaited pseudo-prequel to 2015's Tales of Zestiria (which we loved). Set in the same world, Berseria takes place many centuries prior to the events of Tales of Zestiria, where the world is torn asunder by daemons during a Scarlet Night (which is also, occasionally referred to as the crimson moon) and the young protagonist Velvet is on a crusade of revenge and hatred. Velvet and her merry band of misfits will embark on a journey that tries to be something that it is not. A poor script, struggling combat mechanics, and a world full of contradictions, Tales of Berseria is one of the weakest in the long-running franchises.


Devil May Cry - Retro Reflections

In Devil May Cry a supernatural guy is visited by a mysterious woman who asks him to follow her and stop an ancient demon related to his family’s past. So, he travels to a remote island and enters a haunted castle, full of monsters and well hidden secrets.


Angels With Scaly Wings - PC Review

So when it comes to dating… let’s just say that I don’t really know the first thing. If you really want to confirm? You just need to ask Breanna. We never really dated and then suddenly it's almost five years later that we have been living together. So when it comes to a Dating Sim, involving dragons no less, the level of depth that I was out of seemed insurmountable. Thankfully, your eyes and ears of this world is a rather smooth talker with both the men and the ladies. The only catch is that you’re here for a reason and because nothing is ever easy as there is a serial killer on the loose.

The planet Earth has gone to hell with solarwinds having fried just about everything that had brought Humanity into its Golden Age. Having discovered a portal, a part of Humanity views it as their last chance to save a city that has walled itself off from the outside chaos. The city is running out of power and whatever can be found on the other side of the gate is all that stands between the cities survival and it being torn to pieces by those living outside its walls.

Humanity one day found its answer. The portal connected with another and messages were passed through. Not long after a deal was made. Information for power generators. Sending one human through as an ambassador was nerve racking enough while waiting for answer. Suddenly word comes back. He’s alive, he’s well, but he’s the only human as the race on the other side is a race of Dragons that evolved in a similar fashion to us. Equipped with a few PDAs of the information payment in order to receive the power generators, you prepare yourself to cross through the portal and meet this other race as a symbol of your own.

After stepping through this portal the rest of the adventure is what you make of it. There’s an overarching plot but everything else relies solely on your choices. Who do you talk to? How do you talk to them? Are you nice? Are you an outright ass? What I thought was interesting is that in certain cases even nothing was an option. You had the choice to simply sit around and read a book instead of getting to know the people of this world better.

Angels with Scaly Wings was all kinds of interesting. Visual Novels themselves are still new to me as it’s strange to even call this “playing” as much as it’s experiencing something that has been well crafted. The dialog is well written and it flows easily between the various characters involved. Taking things a step further is that each character is associated with a color to even further help the distinction between them. Even the cast are varied from a Grocer / Bartender to a Genetic Physicist and a Police Chief. Adding in a Cafe Waitress, a Disgruntled Police Officer, a Secretary, and a Minister and things can get interesting as long as you let them. This mean not staying inside on that comfy looking couch all day.

Visually the experience is easy to look at. Soft colors are used and the visual designs of the Dragons are very well put together. It was nice to see that each character had differences such as smaller ones with longer arms, Wyvern types with no real arms as they are part of their wing spans, wingless dragons that were hulking masses of muscle. They had different designs, they had different colors, they were different. Like our own race that comes in a variety of shapes, sizes, and colors, so did theirs and it was a much more believable experience because of it.

Not everything is pretty in this world however. It has some of the same problems that ours does and the occasion to help does arise when you are offered for an input to help out at a crime scene. Several of these come up and you can be as serious or as ridiculous as you wish. If you want to help them picking the right kind of answers will help about the location of the murder or possible weapons used. Those involved will appreciate you more for your cooperation but like the rest, that’s up to you and how you feel about lending a helping hand.

Mechanically there’s one feature that I have to praise the developers for and a lot more even in non-visual novels / dating sims should use. Using the spacebar to move a conversation forward would move the conversation forward but if a choice appeared it would not simply move it along if you accidently hit it. The famous “well shit” moment in which you aren’t even sure as to what you said can’t happen. To enter a choice you had to either hit the Enter key or use the mouse on the selected choice. This boils over even to the tablet mode, if your laptop has one, in which touching the screen to move forward will move it forward but it requires clicking on the actual choices to make them.

Angels with Scaly Wings is a great experience to sit down to. Visually appealing artwork is supported by well written text that flows from one chapter to the other. Having several choices in order to pick from was simply a bonus with the mechanics that are designed to allow you to pick without accidentally choosing something you wish you hadn’t said.

Game Information

Radical Phi
Radical Phi
Visual Novel
Dating Sim
Single Player
Other Platform(s):

Purchased or Provided by Publisher

Article by Pierre-Yves

Favorite female characters in video games (Part 2) - Gaming Thoughts

If there’s anything that can be said about video games over the years is that we can get attached to the coolest or the strangest characters at times. While there are plenty of awesome male characters out there, here’s what I consider my top 5 female lineup of sheer bad-assery from the first to the last as there really is no order to them as they are each awesome in their own rights.


Favorite female characters in video games (Part 1) - Gaming Thoughts

Over the years, there have been a good many video games that featured female characters of note. Some were protagonists, others were antagonists while others fell somewhere in between on the spectrum. Different characters resonate with us for different reasons, and  some are more memorable than others.


Burnout 3: Takedown - Retro Reflections

I am not a big fan of racing games. On the arcades I used to play shooters, fighters and beat’em ups; I never bought a racer for my PC either. Nevertheless, I thought Burnout 3 could offer me some variety; indeed, it proved to be surprisingly entertaining.


Memorable Music in Gaming #33

Friday is upon us, and that usually means either a Beeps and Beers or a Memorable Music. In this case, it is the latter. I decided to go with a very heavy RPG theme with this edition, most of them a generation back in terms of console hardware.


Digimon World: Next Order - PS4 Review

Fans of the Digimon world will likely enjoy this offering the most. However, this is a slower grind of a game, one that will not appeal to everyone. However, despite the very slow learning curve here, Digimon World: Next Order offers some real depth that I found myself sinking a ton of time into - and I was enjoying it more often than not.


Dragon Quest VIII: Journey of the Cursed King - Retro Reflections

I have always been a fan of Japanese role playing games for their magical worlds, lovable characters and friendly combat system. Dragon Quest 8 was in my collection for a long time, waiting for its turn. Finally, one day I decided to try it; and I was amazed.


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More experience (and a educational one at that) than a game, Time Machine VR squanders a great first impression to deliver a title that has some cool ideas and polish. That being said, despite a theme around great depth, the overall gameplay here is pretty shallow.


7th Dragon III Code: VFD - 3DS Review

7th Dragon III Code: VFD is a really interesting throwback to old school turn-based RPGs, that feel right at home with the older Final Fantasy or Dragon Quest games. Code “Very Fancy Durians” is the game that I didn’t know I needed to get me back into turn-based combat. While I’ve always been a fan of RPGs, lately I’ve been finding it more difficult to have my attention held for longer than an hour or two at a time by these styles of games. Vicariously Furry Dogs however, had me up until three in the morning before an 8:00 am work shift. RPG fans will have a reason to dust off their 3DS if they haven’t picked it up in a while, because this is exactly what you’ve been missing.


Digimon Story Cyber Sleuth - PS Vita Review

I remember when I was younger, about 17 years younger, I managed to get my hands on Digimon World for the PlayStation. Admittedly, while I did enjoy it, it wasn’t something that particularly held my interest for all that long. I tended to stick to the shows and card game (yes, that was a thing when I was younger) and never really paid any more attention to the games. So when I heard “there’s a new Digimon game coming out” my first thought was “Okay”. When a friend asked if I was interested in playing, I thought “not really”. Boy did that change fast. Digimon Story: Cyber Sleuth is the Digimon game I didn’t know I needed in my life.


Double Dragon IV - PS4 Review

Double Dragon IV clings to its retro inspirations just a little too tightly. Fans of the old 8-bit titles will likely enjoy their romp here for what it is, but Arc System Works could have taken some more chances and delivered a brawler that had more to offer. Instead we get a fighting game that is simply average, despite my deep nostalgia for the series.


Zen Pinball 2: Star Wars Pinball - Rogue One - PS4 Review

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Brightrock Games' Managing Director Josh Bishop on War for the Overworld - Interview

The WFTO Team & Volunteers with Richard Ridings at EGX 2013The WFTO Team & Volunteers with Richard Ridings at EGX 2013

We recently had the chance to sit down to both War for the Overworld and the new Survival Mode content known as the Crucible. Curious on how things came to be we reached out to Brightrock Games to see what they had to say about their adventure and this is what the Managing Director Josh Bishop had to say!

1- Thanks you for taking the time to answer our questions. Starting at the beginning, what made you set out to develop War for the Overworld?

There were a couple of things that set us on the path to developing WFTO, but if I had to narrow it down I'd say that for over a decade the industry hadn't delivered a great Dungeon Management Game. There was a huge hole in the market and an eager fanbase waiting for something to come along and fill that gap.

Although there were a few games out there which had tried to fill the void, none of them seemed to have captured the core gameplay that made that type of game so much fun. As huge fans of the genre and games such as Dungeon Keeper and Evil Genius we were tired of waiting. We decided it was time to do something ourselves so we came together on a fan forum called Keeper Klan and the rest is history.

2- With the direction of the core game / Heart of Gold what prompted the move to a pure Tower Defense style for the Crucible?

The very first iteration of what became the Crucible was released in Patch 0.4 under the name "Stumpy's challenge", a reference to our Blood Imp mascot. It was a simple mode primarily developed to refine the capabilities of our custom scripting engine. We were surprised when the mode became very popular within the community.

Later that year we took the game to the Eurogamer Expo 2013 (now called EGX) in London and we decided to issue a challenge: anyone who could beat our high score would win a T-shirt. It was tough, we were asking people with little to no experience of the game to try and beat us at our own game. Amazingly everyone loved it! We even had people coming back every day of the four day event just to try, and we had to cycle people off our four PCs lest they hog them for hours.

I remember in particular this one guy came by each day and on the last day at the final hour he beat the score and set an all-time record! We were all yelling and pointing at the screen to get him those last few points with some choice lightning casts! With that energy circulating about the mode we knew we were onto a winner.

It's been a long road but we always intended to return to the mode, and we're glad to have built something that feels as tight as Crucible does. But if you feel like playing a bit of history we even left the old prototype in the Extras menu!

3- Between the original's development, Kickstarter, and the Crucible, is there anything you wish that you would have done differently knowing what you know now?

Definitely, that's the thing about game development you always feel like you could have done more when you get to the end. But WFTO has this more than other games. It was a behemoth undertaking at the time and we didn't really appreciate the complexity of what we were setting out to do - it was a risky endeavour for a small team with everyone spread across the world.

There was a lot on the line with WFTO and we had so little in the way of resources and time, especially after some early development disasters. There was a great pressure with the ever-present spectre of financial bankruptcy pressing down on us, even without the overhead of an office.

In a way early development was a lot like a game jam - we had to experiment a lot, quickly correct mistakes and hack a lot of stuff together to get it to work in time. We incurred a lot of technical debt that makes some parts of WFTO tricky to edit, even to this day.

If we could do it all again with the resources, knowledge and experience we have now and all the team in the same building, WFTO would be a totally different beast. There's so much we'd love to tidy up from the original development - in particular developing a more cohesive art direction, and injecting more personality into the dungeon and its denizens. We'd also probably shift to a slightly slower-paced, more simulation-focussed game design.

But with all that said we're proud of what we achieved and we're pleased with how WFTO turned out and how it continues to evolve. More than anything we're proud we've delivered a game that so many fans of this lost genre are satisfied with. That's been our goal all along: to create a game for the fans, by the fans.

4- With both sets of content now behind you, what are your plans for the future? Can we expect new content and games modes or did you think of trying your hands at something new?

There's so much going on it's difficult to know where to begin. In November we made a statement on our plans for the future and the endgame for WFTO, but things have changed a little since then.

Originally we were planning to release one more major update early this year with a whole suite of changes - in particular a complete AI overhaul for Skirmish that would release alongside WFTO's second paid expansion (new campaign, new mechanics and much more). But since the incredible success of Crucible, plans have changed. We're now expanding the scope of the original plan with extra content throughout the year.

I can't speak on what exactly is coming beyond what's already announced, but the expansion will be releasing a little further down the line than originally planned. In its place we'll be releasing a whole new and oft-requested game mode in the first half of this year. Beyond that there's even more exciting stuff in the pipeline that I just wish I could share, but I promise as soon as we're confident in it we'll be sharing news.

We're also looking beyond WFTO itself. Our next game, codenamed "Project Aftercare", has been in pre-production for nearly a year now and it's really shaping up to be something exciting, although full-time development is not likely to begin while we're working on WFTO. So far we have designed a new software architecture, as well as developed the lore, art direction and overall game design. Honestly we're really excited for it and can't wait to start sharing details with our community.

5- A little less about what you've done and more about what you like to do, what does the team like to do for fun? I'm pretty sure, and I hope, that the bosses are not like the overlords causing you to constantly work!

We've got a pretty diverse set of hobbies over here, even amongst a team of only nine people. Obviously there's the video games, and in particular a few of us spend a lot of time with the Blizzard titles. We also host board game nights at our office a few nights a month for all members of the Brighton indie game community.

Our Community Manager runs a fortnightly D&D session for the team and friends - with a party of eight it gets pretty hectic but it's always great fun, though nothing ever seems to go according to plan for us. You would have thought that a bunch of game developers would be good at something like this, but after our Art Director eviscerated my character, it seems we evidently are not. He says the axe slipped - I'm not so sure.

Recently some of the team have taken up weekly badminton sessions too - who says gamers can't do sports? ;)

6- Finally, because I need to know, how much fun was it writing the dialog for the narrator? More than that, how long did it take you to convince the man behind the voice to do it?

Working with Richard Ridings is an absolute pleasure - he's as much a personality in real life as he is when he steps into the disembodied narrator's shoes (but a bit less evil). In fact he's one of the nicest chaps we've met on our long journey with WFTO. When he walks into a room you take notice, and his voice is even more incredible in person. In a way it's also very surreal - for many of us on the team Richard's voice is counted amongst our fondest childhood memories. So you could say it really is a dream come true.

Richard was on board with the project from the early days, and we can't thank him enough - his voice has really taken the game to the next level and brought back that special Dungeon Keeper feeling. He even joined us at EGX 2013 to check out the game for himself!

From our writer:
Scripting lines for Richard's character is as much fun as you can imagine. Writing comedy is liberating at the best of times - even more so when you're dealing with someone so despicably malevolent. I'm sure Richard feels just as liberated when he steps into the booth to bellow out the lines!


I and the rest of the team at Chalgyr's Game Room would like to thank both Josh Bishop and the rest of the team at Brightrock Games for taking the time to answer our questions. Good luck in the future guys!

Article by Pierre-Yves

Dynasty Warriors: Godseekers - PS4 Review

Dynasty Warriors: Godseekers is a guilty pleasure for me, but one I have not been able to get enough of. This is a great twist on the traditional Dynasty Warriors formula, and while the game is not flawless, it is the most fun I have had with a title so far in 2017.


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