Sit-Rep: Dark Souls III: Ashes of Ariandel – A Succulent Fruit Hidden in Ashes

+Revisiting The Painted World of Ariamis with Ashes of Ariandel
+New boss fights and creatures provide a worthwhile challenge
+New PvP Arena is spectacular and fulfills a PvPers desires
+Very well paced for the small download size offering between 3-4 hours of gameplay

-Difficulty at times can be  mind boggling occasions
-Exploring can be difficult for newcomers to the series that started with DSIII.


Dark Souls 3 has been delivering an enjoyable experience for us since the day we snuffed out the flame of the Soul of Cinder boss for our reviewAshes of Ariandel delivers a very similar experience for fans to enjoy. With a new icy landscape to enjoy, new weapons, armor, and even spells, Ashes of Ariandel isn’t shy on delivering a satisfactory experience for everyone involved. However, the hunt for all of this? It will only last depending on the want players have to fight creatures to farm for their gear or even players just wanting to wipe out the bosses for the experience.

However, this expansion isn’t all-that-difference from the lands we once explored in Dark Souls named “The Painted World of Ariamis”. However, it’s not exactly the same due to where players get to visit. In this world, players will find enemies that are rather diverse, deadly, and will deal just as much damage like any-other-enemy. Players will once more find themselves becoming familiar with enemies such as “The Followers, the Millwood Knights, and even the vicious wolves that wander around. Unlike many of the enemies we’ve met before, they are vicious, they are brutal, and these Viking like enemies that like to blow things up with their weapons.

Unlike many of the places we’ve visited in the game, Ariandel itself is just as deadly as the enemies within it. With treacherous mountain cliffs, false snowbanks that randomly fall from beneath you, Ariandel will leave you in perilous situations as enemies will openly jump you without knowing. While snowy-covered lands may be a large part of the land you explore, players will also find themselves going through buildings within the land, but also they will find themselves exploring the rather deadly path of twisted roots in order to explore the lands below. The only thing that makes this experience saddening is Ariandel itself isn’t all that large as one would hope. Compared to any other zone within the game, Ariandel is almost just a blip on the radar with it only hosting two bosses, around a dozen items to be discovered.


The one thing that does make this zone a bit troubled isn’t the mobs, how small it is, or how few bosses there are. It’s the fact this zone is packed full of bonfires that allow fans to move through the zone a heck-of-a-lot quicker than they’d like. Unlike Dark Souls world “The Painted World of Ariamis,”fans will find themselves not concerned with moving once more through the lands. Like much of the game compared to the previous entries, Ashes of Ariandel remains tame compared to the rest of the game, and even makes itself feel less challenging than ever before.

This approach, however, doesn’t take away from what the expansion is about. The bosses, the monsters, and even the treacherous terrains are formidable foes that will leave players reeling in pain. As mentioned before, Ashes of Ariandel remains a pivotal point in the direction the next DLC could go. Despite how easy the DLC felt at points, the expansion itself offered up plenty of challenges for me to experience. Whether it was the Millwood Knights or even the wolves hiding within the forest, Ashes of Ariandel’s three hours of play time offered plenty of challenges for me to go through, and became a rather quick awareness check for me to experience. PvP arenas remain locked until players defeat the optional boss that’s hidden within the lands.

While mortality within the game is quite easily tested by players exploring the lands, you can quite easily expect this to shine through in Ashes of Ariandel with the games new arena. For players looking to PvP, Ashes of Ariandel offers up a rather large amount of this to be had. Players can choose from 1v1, 2v2, 3v3 or even blood filled free-for-alls, and the ability to choose whether or not to heal within it. Seeking avenues within each map is quite pleasing as players will find multiple approaches to each encounter, which will allow players to blast back against their enemies or even wither them down to nothing. Worried about spawn camping? There’s none of that to be had here since the game manages to negate this issue with an anti-spawn camp mechanic. This will definitely encourage PvP later in for those that tire of the games campaign.


Dark Souls III: Ashes of Ariandel – PC, PlayStation 4 (PlayStation 4), Xbox One
Developer: From Software
Publisher: Bandai Namco
Cost: $14.99
Release Date: Now Available

However, with all that said, Dark Souls III: Ashes of Ariandel is an enjoyabl experience that will keep fans busy for hours to come. Fr those looking to PvP, the DLC will keep fans busy for longer than expected as they find themselves exploring the frozen wastelands or even beating other players around until their ashes scatter within the winds.

Our review is based upon the release of the DLC via the games Season Pass.  For information about our ethics policy please click here.

 Final Score: 8 out of 10

About the Writer:


Dustin is our native console gamer, PlayStation and Nintendo reviewer who has an appetite for anything that crosses the boarders from across the big pond. His interest in JRPG’s, Anime, Handheld Gaming, and Pizza is insatiable. His elitist attitude gives him direction, want, and a need for the hardest difficulties in games, which is fun to watch, and hilarity at its finest. You can find him over on TwitterGoogle+, and or you can find him on PSN with RaivynLyken.

Want Some Games to Prepare for Halloween With? Here’s 5 to Get You Started

Halloween is just around the corner. It’s the time of year that many of us prepare for with spooks, scares, and wetting our beds with some of the scariest games to release to date. To help you prepare, we’ve decided to grab a few of our favorite options only to send you on your way with the games that’ll sate your needs.

So what do you say, shall we jump into our list? Lets do so.

#5: Outlast – PlayStation 4, PC, and Xbox One


When it comes to scary corridors, limited resources (batteries in this scenario), and free-roaming lunatics, Outlast takes the cake. In Outlast players take the role of a Miles Upshur, a freelance investigative journalist, whom just happens to come across the news of an abandoned asylum.

When finally getting into the place, Miles learns very quickly that the residence have taken over, and what was once a safe place is now his living nightmare. Why? Just ask that lunatic waiting to cave your skull in around the corner. Outlast is all about being sneaky, solving puzzles, and trying not to wet yourself while playing.

#4: Amnesia: The Dark Descent – PC


Taking place in 1839, horror found itself seeping from every edge of the enigmatic Brennenburg Castle. The protagonist Daniel finds himself exploring through the dark halls in order to find memories that he has locked away after finding the note that gives him this evidence. When going into the castle in which he once left, Daniel goes forth to kill the Baron Alexander.

His adventure will take players through the history of what had happened to him and lead him to losing all his memory. What players will learn is that Daniel was once part of an archaeological expedition to Africa where he explored a tomb named “The Tomb of Tin Hinan”. Within the tomb, he discovered an orb that was broken into pieces. Upon returning strange things began to happen, and now it’s time for him to solve the case of what’s actually going on.

Set as a first-person horror survival title, Amnesia: The Dark Descent was the first game to remove weapons as a portion of combat into a distinct rush for survival. Instead players are forced to use their surroundings to hide from enemy threats and to move stealth like from their enemies.

#3: Alien: Isolation


15 years after the disappearance of the Nostromo spacecraft, the daughter of famed Ellen Ripley has gone on the search for her mother. In her exploration of her mother, Amanda Ripley, is approached by an android under the name of Christopher Samuels, whom is employed by the Weyland-Yutani corporation. Meeting with her, Samuels indicates that the flight recorder of the Nostromo had been located by a ship named the Anesidora. Located on the station Sevastopol, the Seegson Corporation has set orbit around the planet KG348.

Traveling to the station, Ripley, Samuels, and Nina Tailor travel to Sevastopol only to encounter a situation they weren’t prepared for. A monster has gone on the loose, with this being a problem, Axel, a survivor on the Sevastopol, is killed by the alien creature only to set forth a string of complications. Amanda’s adventure will take her racing through the Sevastopol and the Anesidora for survival. She will take on unimaginable enemies and survive unimaginable situations.

#2: SIREN – PlayStation 2, PlayStation 4


St in the Japanese village of Hanyūda, player are set to explore the village that kept itself away from the world through isolation. Following the interruptions of a ritual near Hanyūda, a rather large earthquake happens near by, and in turn the village now finds itself lost between time and space. Surrounded by a sea of red waters, the village finds itself troubled with mysterious occurrences that take place within it.

Much of the games story takes place surrounding Hisako Yao, the leader of a local religion, and one that looks to reawaken an old God who now slumbers. With the deity awake, the shibito (corpse people_ seek to go through the village while building up the god’s corporeal form once it is summoned. Their job is to also hunt down and kill any humans left in the village in order to bring him back. The game takes place over the span of three days and in those three days, fans will experience gameplay that will seem rather similar to Silent Hill fans.

Will you have what it takes to resist the Siren’s Call?

#1: Resident Evil – What platform hasn’t this been on?


While it sounds odd Resident Evil remains one of the creepiest game to date. It is a game that still brings the elements of horror to the forefront. Resident Evil takes place on July 24th, 1998 in the Midwestern town of Raccoon City. With news of odd and inhuman murders, the Raccoon City Policy Department sends the STARS unit into the mansion.

Upon arriving, the team is sent in to search the mansion after having been attacked by monstrous dogs with their flesh rotting off. Seeking efuge in the near by mansion, Chris Redfield, Jill Valentine, Albert Wesker, and Barry Burton. Once within the mansion the team discovers something out of place and fits the description of the grizzly murders: Zombies. If you haven’t played the series, Resident Evil is a series that requires fans to scavenge for supplies and use their resources sparingly.

What games do you suggest for others to try? Let us know in the comments.

About the Writer:


Dustin is our native console gamer, PlayStation and Nintendo reviewer who has an appetite for anything that crosses the boarders from across the big pond. His interest in JRPG’s, Anime, Handheld Gaming, and Pizza is insatiable. His elitist attitude gives him direction, want, and a need for the hardest difficulties in games, which is fun to watch, and hilarity at its finest. You can find him over on TwitterGoogle+, and or you can find him on PSN with RaivynLyken.



Killing Floor 2 Gets the PlayStation 4 Pro Treatment

With the PlayStation 4 Pro there’s been a rather large amount of information in regards to games that will be getting the 4K treatment. Today, Tripwire Interactive has announced hat Killing Floor 2 will be getting that same treatment on the day it launches for PlayStation 4 Pro. This means newly optimized gameplay that will run at 1800p checkboard rendering on a 4K TV (3200×1800), supersampling and increased FPS on HDTV’s, but also a higher-resolution set of textures that take the game up to Ultra High resolutions.

So lets take a peak at the trailer below for you all to enjoy.

KILLING FLOOR 2 is developed by Tripwire Interactive and will be published by Deep Silver and Iceberg Interactive for the PlayStation®4 Pro, PlayStation®4, and PC. The game will be available globally on November 18, 2016.

About the Writer:


Dustin is our native console gamer, PlayStation and Nintendo reviewer who has an appetite for anything that crosses the boarders from across the big pond. His interest in JRPG’s, Anime, Handheld Gaming, and Pizza is insatiable. His elitist attitude gives him direction, want, and a need for the hardest difficulties in games, which is fun to watch, and hilarity at its finest. You can find him over on TwitterGoogle+, and or you can find him on PSN with RaivynLyken.

One Tamriel Launches for The Elder Scrolls Online for PlayStation 4 and Xbox One


Updates are always something we look forward to when it comes to our games. The Elder Scrolls Online has received the one update we’ve been waiting about since QuakeCon 2016. This update drastically changes the game and allows players to once more experience the world of Tamriel in a new way as the free update is now available for all players.

The new update changes the game title to One Tamriel, which allows players to have an unforeseen freedom in this title. With the game having a rather large world to explore, fans can now find themselves once more playing together, and conversing in this new large scale world that level-scales to the player. This means that players can now go anywhere, with anyone, at any time from the moment they leave the games tutorial no matter what Alliance players serve under.

However, in retrospect, this does change when it comes to PvP, which will put players in a restricted sense once more. However, doing quests, dungeons, trials, and more does not restrict players based on faction.

Check out some of the patch notes for more information:teso_witches_festival_cauldronfinal_1476364444

  • Dueling: Players can now battle each other anywhere outside Cyrodiil to test their skills and builds and claim bragging rights as the toughest adventurer
  • Zone Overhaul: All zones have been redesigned for a mix of solo and group play with improved bosses and standardized difficulty
  • Dungeons: All dungeons can be played in normal and veteran mode, where story is separated from difficulty and players are battle-leveled to allow players of different levels to play together, and receive level-appropriate loot
  • Craglorn: The massive Craglorn zone has been redesigned to make it solo-friendly but still the go-to location for group content
  • Loot: Loot in zones has now been standardized like dungeon loot, making it possible to acquire specific sets in specific zones at whatever level you are when completing quests

New players can get the recently released The Elder Scrolls Online: Gold Edition, which includes the main game as well as all four major DLC Game Packs — Imperial City, Orsinium, Thieves Guild, and Dark Brotherhood – for only $59.99 by visiting


Just a reminder, the Trip of a Lifetime giveaway is currently running, celebrating the freedom of exploration in One Tamriel by awarding five once-in-a-lifetime grand prize trips to exotic locations across the world inspired by iconic in-game locations. And since One Tamriel is also all about playing together, each prize package is a trip for two, including meals, accommodations, and incredible excursions led by local guides and experts.

Grand Prize Destinations – Winners Choose One of the Five:

  • Elsweyr Package | Kenya & Tanzania: Seek out real-life Khajiit on an African safari as you visit national parks, game reserves, and conservation areas in Kenya and Tanzania.
  • Skyrim Package | Switzerland: Hunt for dragons amid the snowcapped peaks of the Swiss Alps, exploring the lands of the famed Eiger and Matterhorn.
  • Black Marsh Package | Peru: Prepare for an Argonian adventure as you explore the natural beauty of the Amazon and ancient ruins of Peru, including the former Inca capital of Cusco and an unforgettable visit to Machu Picchu.
  • Hammerfell Package | Morocco: Get lost in the deserts of Hammerfell as you discover the mysteries of Morocco, its stunning architecture and ancient mountain villages.
  • Summerset Isles Package | New Zealand: Prepare for the multisport fun in the adventure capital of the world, paddling a sea kayak on the stunning north coast and hike from glacier to rain forest or raft on a subterranean river.

In addition, 1,000 lucky Runners-Up will receive 1,000 Crowns each for use in the in-game Crown Store.

Entering is easy – simply jump online and play The Elder Scrolls Online any time between Oct 5 and Dec 16, 2016 and then head online to register to win at Entering is available without purchase by visiting the web site and mailing in a postcard as directed.

Are you ready to explore the world of Tamriel and possibly have a chance to go across iconic locales that inspired the games?

About the Writer:


Dustin is our native console gamer, PlayStation and Nintendo reviewer who has an appetite for anything that crosses the boarders from across the big pond. His interest in JRPG’s, Anime, Handheld Gaming, and Pizza is insatiable. His elitist attitude gives him direction, want, and a need for the hardest difficulties in games, which is fun to watch, and hilarity at its finest. You can find him over on TwitterGoogle+, and or you can find him on PSN with RaivynLyken.

This NIS America Sale is Outrageously Awesome


Saving money is always a good thing. It doesn’t matter whether it’s about games, movies, books, music, or what have you. Today our pals at NIS America have announced that they are having a rather large sale that’s one that could quite likely have you setting your wallets on fire in order to obtain all the games they want. So lets take a look at a small sample of what there is to obtain.

Think that is all? They’re also doing a rather nice sale on the Phantom Brave title on PC right now for those of you wanting in on that.

What games will you be picking up from this gigantic sale?

About the Writer:


Dustin is our native console gamer, PlayStation and Nintendo reviewer who has an appetite for anything that crosses the boarders from across the big pond. His interest in JRPG’s, Anime, Handheld Gaming, and Pizza is insatiable. His elitist attitude gives him direction, want, and a need for the hardest difficulties in games, which is fun to watch, and hilarity at its finest. You can find him over on TwitterGoogle+, and or you can find him on PSN with RaivynLyken.

Sit-Rep: Sword Coast Legends – Do Swords Clash Well on Consoles?

+Beautiful top down cRPG that follows a play style close to Baulders Gate
+Class system is very much along the lines of pen and paper DnD in real time
+Character creation is in-depth, intuitive and does require attention to stats

Extremely Limited Dungeon Master Mode
Character classes at start are limited as are race selections
Horrific quest markers that seem out-of-place and rather misleading



A lot has happened since Sword Coast Legends launched on PC earlier this year. Thanks to our friends at Digital Extremes I was able to get my hand on the original PC release. A lot has honestly changed since then thanks to the DLC content, but also some fine tuning that the game needed rather badly. In my previous review, I also stated I’ve experienced some in real life hysterical moments with my friends Matt and Ben when we sat at a table to play Dungeons & Dragons on weekends.

For this review, we’ll once more pretend I didn’t play with my friends, that I don’t know what D&D is, and I certainly don’t know the legendary Gary Gygax. In this review I’m also pushing to the side I have previous experience of the game and approaching it from a new view all together thanks to Digital Extremes and my friend as well as colleague Christopher Adee. So let us get this underway.

Sword Coast Legends Keeps the D&D Fans Know Alive


When it comes to D&D we’ve all had that feeling that we’ve walked in circles many-a-times. We’ve seen games such as Baldurs Gate, Baldur’s Gate: Dark Alliance, Neverwinter Nights, and even an MMO-version of Neverwinter release across all platforms. Among these many titles we now have Sword Coast Legends, which is oddly familiar in many ways. Much like Neverwinter Nights, Sword Coast Legends fills a much needed gap when it comes to D&D Games, unlike the publishers game Warframe, it doesn’t sate a deeply hungering desire that players have.

As one would expect, Dungeon Master is something that’d be rather important within the game and honestly it is one that should have performed the best. Unfortunately, this isn’t where the game shines in all unfortunate circumstances. Much like any game, D&D titles survive based on story, which is where Sword Coast Legends shines the best out of it all. Much like any D&D title, players begin the game as a part of a mercenary band, a member of the Burning Dawn guild, and one that must guide their caravan to the pirate city of Luskan. Being attacked by a group of mercenaries being led by a Knight of Helm, players finds their guild is being condemned by him for possibly being composed of demon worshipers.


By the end of this beginning sequence players find themselves investing the city of Luskan around the Sword Coast and looking for answers to what is happening to them. While the opening cut scene was one players will be rather familiar with, it’s an issue that this game comes across besides the fact it had a chance to be intriguing, albeit difficult at the same time. The game comes out with a default “defend the caravan” scenario where players will get acquainted with combat by fighting rats, goblins, and the infamous mercenaries we discussed.

While the game grabs our attention by killing off a caravan member early on, players could easily cringe if they’ve played Pillars of Eternity since both games begin almost on the same note. If you’re like myself, don’t equip all your party members with the best gear you find, there is a chance you will lose them and the gear itself won’t remain permanent. Once getting this out of the way, the game effectively joins the collective of games that Bioware has inspired after the release of their Knights of the Old Republic titles. Players will find themselves growing accustomed to wandering around multiple landscapes such as sewers, woodlands, abandoned castles, dungeons, caves, and the likes. Sadly, this is something that remains rather common within Sword Coast Legends.

It Gets a Bit Weirder for Sword Coast Legends


While one would assume enjoying a game wouldn’t be a common occurrence, it’s something that does tend to happen quite often, which makes it odd to the games pacing. Players will find themselves doing it quite often to level up their party members, choosing items, placing points into spells, and even itemizing themselves properly so that they may become insanely overpowered. This all, of course, requires a bit of Dungeons and Dragons know-how players may be unfamiliar with at first. Trust me, it happened to me to, and I know D&D somewhat well as long as it sat within the 2.5 guidelines.

While the A.I. knew what it was doing, I did find myself swapping to my healer, more-so to ensure healing would be done properly, and would provide proper buffs needed to complete each battle. Trust me, it worked, and quite a bit. One thing that players will find problematic isn’t that the difficulty isn’t there, but it’s the fact it isn’t there when it should be and is there when it shouldn’t be. A few rats or a few goblins? No problem. Have your caster blind them, freeze them, and annihilate them with their most powerful AoE spell.



While Chris and I did take time to notice the difficulty didn’t scale in our favor, we wiped a few times, picked up the pieces and tried once more. With the few kinks in our mistakes cleared out, we ran off, grabbed our objective, and were on our merry ways due to our excessive amounts of healing items and defensive potions. Not that this is problematic at all, but the reviving friendlies without a spell doesn’t help to alleviate this issue. The only time I found a real problem was when Chris took over the tank only to have our cleric waste a healing spell that wasn’t needing to be used a few times. The other issue? The AI loved to use our healing kits, potions, and resources without really needing them, which left us in fear of never having them when they are truly need in things such as a boss fight.

With that aside, the game is quite enjoyable thanks to the character classes that are in play, which puts each character uniquely crafted as you start recruiting your party. With the new leveling system, players will be able to build the characters they want through these rather in-depth skill trees. For those unfamiliar to D&D, these may be a bit dumbfounding at first, but once figured out, they’re quite fun. Want a battle caster? That’s fine, craft your caster to do so based on the large array of skill trees to do so. My fire mage? He quickly went battle mage, which isn’t uncommon in the game. I made him good for close range combat while wearing light armor. I’m sure Hommet was calling me dirty things in the background. It happens, but he’ll fight through the storm. Our rogue? I made her more useful at picking locks, revealing secrets, and dealing delicious amounts of damage without being spotted.

Our little elf friend cleric? She quickly became our dedicated healer. While many would frown upon my choices, it’s because this game easily made this capable of happening as characters level up, and offer players a chance to designate characters to how they want them. If you are out adventuring and have a class missing from your party that synergies with your build? You could find yourself troubled, but thanks to the class system that shouldn’t happen, and won’t if you prepare properly. The only thing dumbfounding is that characters can communicate from camp by the means of magic. Wait, dwarves can’t use magic can they?

Oh, Dungeon Master… You Need Some Upgrades


While finding people to play with on Sword Coast Legends was enjoyable, I found myself cringing on several instances, but not because of the multiplayer. The game honestly has one of the most solid netcodes I’ve experienced to date, but the fact the game goes beyond the campaign and leaves players to an opportunity to play the Dungeon Master mode, which is troubled due to its rather lacking amount of content.

Just like in tabletop D&D, players are given a chance to allow players to build their own dungeons and play them shortly after. Sound familiar to anyone? We did this in Neverwinter Nights also. Players can select from traps, monsters, and loot tables for players to enjoy. While it could be heavily edited, it’d have been nice to see more complex codes so that players could add in interactive NPC’s, secret rooms, and even special loot sets for players to discover.

Sword Coast Legends – PC, PlayStation 4 (PlayStation 4), Xbox One
Developer: n-Space
Publisher: Digital Extremes
Cost: $19.99
Release Date: Now Available


Much as you’d expect, once your dungeon is build, you can take your friends or internet friends on an enjoyable spin through your carefully crafted world. Players can directly manage the party so as to make the progression of their friends even more challenging and unpredictable. Of course, this can be done without intentionally making them fail like I did a few times to show what DMs are capable of. The Dungeon Maser can openly place new traps, new missions, and spend resources (threat) to provide an elevated sense of difficulty to their dungeons.

Unlike my chances at home, Sword Coast Legends’ difficulties have proven true as to what I had expected. While some could harp on the game for such a lacking feature, it’s one that the publisher Digital Extremes could have had developer n-Space improve upon post launch. The downside to this is even more painful – n-Space has closed, which means no new content will be headed this way. We can only hope that Sword Coast Legends gets improved upon by famed publisher Digital Extremes by providing some of the love they’ve shown to Warframe.

Our review is based upon the final version that the publisher provided us with.  For information about our ethics policy please click here.

 Final Score: 6 out of 10

About the Writer:


Dustin is our native console gamer, PlayStation and Nintendo reviewer who has an appetite for anything that crosses the boarders from across the big pond. His interest in JRPG’s, Anime, Handheld Gaming, and Pizza is insatiable. His elitist attitude gives him direction, want, and a need for the hardest difficulties in games, which is fun to watch, and hilarity at its finest. You can find him over on TwitterGoogle+, and or you can find him on PSN with RaivynLyken.


Sit-Rep: PSYCHO-PASS: Mandatory Happiness – Smile for the Camera

+Stories are short, deep, and incredibly well written
+Anime knowledge isn’t required, but is suggested
+Choices matter, big time, even the small ones
+Multiple endings that actually reflect your choices made

-The graphic novel approach could deter some players
-Better choice options could be priceless if better ones were put in


When looking at games, many of us are used to narrative driven shooters, action-adventure, and even RPG titles. Many of us are used to scaling across landscapes, through buildings, and focus on rather active games, but what if one of the best narrative titles didn’t have any of this? What if this game was presented as a children-esque picture book made for adults? That’s exactly how PSYCHO-PASS: Mandatory Happiness is approached.

While that seems like a negative to some, PSYCHO-PASS: Mandatory Happiness isn’t scared of bad endings, and it isn’t ashamed of them. This game is fatalist in every sense of the word. One wrong choice could result in a rather grotesque and brutal death of the main protagonist. Want to play the 20-to-30 hours I did and know that your character could very well die? That’s fine if you are up for it. This game isn’t scared to give you that formulaic approach. It’s built into this games nature.

If you play it like I did, you’ll also know you can complete this game in one swift and direct playthrough. With it lasting only roughly 3-4 hours per story (one of mine took a bit longer due to my PlayStation TV not loving this game as it should have, which was hardware based problems), I was able to see quite a few endings within 9 hours. Luckily, this game tempts you to actually play it once more, and if you think you want to ignore all the possible endings, I’d by you dinner if you didn’t have even the slightest want to obtain them all. Hell, I’m still playing due to this.

Psyco-Pass: Mandatory Happiness is Based on an Anime After All


While it’d be hard to justify a game not based on an anime, PSYCHO-PASS: Mandatory Happiness follows suit in this world that’s already been created. Just as the anime is actually relevant to the game, Mandatory Happiness is more-so an offshoot of the already established franchise.

In Mandatory Happiness players take the role of one of two characters. Players can choose from either Nadeshiko Kugatachi or Takuma Tusurugi. Both of these characters are unique in the sense that both of them come from different backgrounds. Nadeshiko is an Inspector for the Public Safey Bureau. Takuma is an Enforcer. Both of these characters serve very different roles within the game, and each of them also give a new insight to their own underlying plots. Something that is quite important to the end of the game.


For those unfamiliar with PSYCHO-PASS lets take a bit of a look into it before we begin. The series starts in a rather futuristic Japan where technology has reached all new heights when it comes to surveillance. This new technology has reached a point to where it can keep tabs on everyone and will predict their chance of committing a crime. If they get near it, the system will warn them and alert the authorities of such a risk. Let alone does it do this, the system also creates a profile about each of the citizens it watches over. With the Big Brother-esque Sibyl Systems in place, everyone is not free of being scanned. The system scans, as stated, both mental and emotional metrics in order to keep a check on everyone’s “Psycho-Pass”.

In this system, people are monitored based on a Hue. If a person’s stress level changes, their color will grow cloudy, and if it continues to stay cloudy too long, they are flagged as a risk for society. Society’s goal is to keep their Hue clear, which means they must control their anger or their sadness. On top of the Hue, Psycho-Pass also has a Crime Coefficient that works along side with it. This number, the Crime Coefficient that is, keeps a number on the citizens. If the number reaches a certain point, the Public Safety Bureau (PSB for short) will send a detective team of Inspectors and or Enforces to determine if a person needs to be enforced. If they do, they’re knocked unconscious with a weapon known as a Dominator. If people are knocked out, they are sent to a hospital to try and rehabilitate.

If that was too long, lets just understand that Minority Report is an excellent movie to use to describe this system and how crime is predicted, but with technology instead of psychics. Regardless of which character you play, you’ll learn that one of them has lost their memories, the system has decided that one of the characters needed to rehabilitate before going back into action. Unfortunately, this does set one of the characters apart from the other, which creates a void between what characters should expect in the long run. This aspect brings the anime to life within the game and makes it so players don’t exactly have to understand the anime in order to play.

There’s No Action Outside of the Graphic Novel Reading


While many of you are quite possibly used to anime games such as Freedom Wars, Lost Dimension, and even Soul SacrificePsycho-Pass: Mandatory Happiness forgoes all of this for the graphic novel -like appeal. While Psycho-Pass: Mandatory Happiness would work quite well as an action game, the fact it comes off as a graphic novel works out quite well for fans. Even with all the reading, it’s a game that is rather addicting once players get started.

While I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t at least slightly discouraged by the graphic novel appeal, PSYCHO-PASS: Mandatory Happiness, is one of those that has been very well done to the point that players would find themselves drawn in more than once. Decisions, as you would expect, play a major role in this game, even the smallest ones. In PSYCHO-PASS: Mandatory Happiness players will find decisions to be something of importance in completing their play throughs one by one. However, how will your decisions be made? Will you infiltrate a location that serves as a home base to a possible suspect? If not, will you stay back and research your options? All of these will play a radical point in your overall story. Each of them will manipulate your possible endings.

PSYCHO-PASS: Mandatory Happiness – PS4, PS Vita, and PC
Developer: 5pb.
Publisher: NIS America
Price: $39.99
Released: Available Now

While these choices certainly don’t seem as exciting as they should, each one serves their purpose, and each of them remains important to the stories final outcome. If you were to look at the Steam achievement list or even the PlayStation Trophy list, the possibilities for your options are truly astonishing at what you could do. While I could argue that PSYCHO-PASS: Mandatory Happiness is an astonishingly well crafted game. For players that want a game with multiple outcomes, multiple choice paths to take, and multiple endings this is one for their shelves, this is a must have as fans of the anime will surely find this game a diamond in the rough.

To be honest? Because of this anime. I’ve found myself watching the anime in order to understand the game world a bit better.

Our review is based on a full release version that was provided to us by the games publisher.  For information about our ethics policy please click here.

 Final Score: 8 out of 10

About the Writer:


Dustin is our native console gamer, PlayStation and Nintendo reviewer who has an appetite for anything that crosses the boarders from across the big pond. His interest in JRPG’s, Anime, Handheld Gaming, and Pizza is insatiable. His elitist attitude gives him direction, want, and a need for the hardest difficulties in games, which is fun to watch, and hilarity at its finest. You can find him over on TwitterGoogle+, and or you can find him on PSN with RaivynLyken.

Sit-Rep: Touhou: Scarlet Curiousity- Blurring the Lines of Bullet Hell and Brawler Genres

+Accomplishes the amazing blending of multiple genres
+Highly fun and addictive to play
+Levels offer variety, beautiful views, and charming songs to experience

Enemies sometimes blend into the environments
Can be easy to lose direction of where you need to go
For some the game could be an easy hit or miss


Lately it’s almost odd to see as many bullet Hell games as we have. Just recently we got a chance to play that missed chance with Touhou Genso Rondo: Bullet Balletwhich could have offered a rather large opportunity, but failed to do so in the end. Next up is a second chance for the bullet Hell genre, but luckily? This latest entry does an amazing job at several feats, but in a rather interesting way for fans to enjoy.

But before I begin I want to disclose the fact I’ve never heard of the Tohou series until now. Thanks to XSEED Games that’s no longer the case. We here at Blast Away the Game Review have now become familiar with the famed Touhou franchise that captivates fans around the world. This entry is only the second one to come here to the West, and with what it is, it’s actually one that we can now say how we feel about a franchise of this prestige. As some of you may see this as a sincere apology, it’s anything but that since it was interesting to approach a game franchise that left me scorned with the spin-off fighting title.

Touhou: Scarlet Curiosity Is Surprisingly Fun


As one would expect, a game of this kind is unique, and because it’s one from the East, it makes it all the more interesting to see due to how unknown this series is in the West. To begin, Touhou: Scarlet Curiousity is surprisingly and astonishingly fun. It’s a captivating title that manages to blend multiple genres together in one. With its combat fluidity as balanced out as ever, the game flows gracefully between Bullet Hell, RPG, Adventure, and even brawler hanks to the unique presentation of the games core mechanics by the developer. In my earliest hours of gameplay, it was hard for me to find the story as captivating as it could be, but later in I found myself hooked and unable to quit.

Our story presents itself as a tale that takes on the adventure between Remilia, a 500-year old vampire that could easily be a tween, and her maid Sakuya. Sakuya of course being tasked with keeping care of this rather powerful and bored vampire that she just so-happens to know rather well. While all would seem well for Remilia, all is not as well as one would think. Living together proves this true for Sakuya who lives within the Scarlet Devil Manor in a place known as Gensokyo (Tokyo anyone?) and more often than not finds her mistress wandering around the colorful wildernesses nearby. With fantastical creatures such as fairies, wolves, lively plant life, and giant bugs running awry, Remilia has decided to wander off to see the world around her.

While many of us are familiar with Remilia’s every-day problems, many of us get to take a glimpse into a common occurance we all know rather well: Boredom. Alleviating it for Remilia involves her taking off into the wilderness near by, however, for her it’s not an experience like one we know where we can alleviate such issues with video games, movies, and music, but instead for her it’s an adventure. Unfortunately for us, her adventure includes her need for finding a challenge that would be noteworthy and make her legend famed. Fortunately for her, this happens quickly as a rather large monster has been seen in the areas around Gensyoko, which includes her Scarlet Devil Mansion being left in ruin, which she returns to almost immediately upon this discovery. Their new adventure is no longer about curing Remilia’s boredem, but instead takes the twist of becoming a full on adventure.

Touhou: Scarlet Curiosity Perfectly Blends the Genres


As one would expect, the game is all about both Emilia and Sakuya. Both of these characters come with several features that are unique to them. Each have their own spells, their own equipment, and even their own approach to the story itself. Underneath those two features, the game drives deeper into core mechanics than any other game I’ve played, which is a wonderful thing for Touhou: Scarlet Curiousity. In the beginning we first get to see the game as a top-down dungeon crawler with core JRPG mechanics in it. However, things go a bit deeper as the game quickly goes into a transitive change where it goes from the aforementioned genres to blending in two more: Bullet Hell and Hack-and-Slash.

With these genres blending together so perfectly, traveling through each forest, each town,  and each maze comes in with amazing designs. The game will appeal in a top-down style where players are looking down upon the world around them and in the next section, the game could quite easily transform into a side-scrolling title.  While it sounds like the game would eventually starve players of something to do, it manages to divert players from this with switching between those formats only to bring in an all-new interesting twist: sometimes the zones become tricky mazes and puzzles to complete. While aggressively fighting enemies seems it would be wise, this isn’t always the case as sometimes using ranged attacks is best, and can quite easily set up enemies to be dismissed with a rather powerful combo counter. Plus, who doesn’t enjoy a rather humorous appeal to the game with a “5 HIT!” counter quickly goes up to a “100 HIT!” combo counter? I know I sure as heck did and chuckled every time I got to that point.

While all this sounds fun and all, something underneath it does seem a bit problematic, and can be a bit of a pain. While you could be like myself, and enjoy combat, the biggest issue is getting hit by enemies that can cancel out your combos. However, in turn, it’s quite easy to get these combos back up, which provides player with a new approach to their combat situation. The biggest change of pace is the games boss fights, which come out of the box as a bullet Hell experience. Projectiles are quickly unleashed across the screen in a vast array of colors and shapes. While these sound fun to look at, these will quickly remind players that they need to move as quick as possible to carefully avoid them, and will then send players screeching players into an abrupt halt in order to smack the enemy a few times. These fights can take a decent amount of time as enemies will find their health bar degrading rather quickly before the enemy dies if you don’t approach the fights with some care.

The biggest problem I faced here was the contrast — or lack thereof — of the enemies to the environment, sometimes creating moments where I would unfairly lose my combo counter to an unseen fairy or sneaky frog. The combo counter increases gold and experience gains, so these losses are about more than just losing the high score. Still, the combat throughout each level never presented much of a challenge, being more fun and relaxed than most bullet hell games. Finally getting to the end of these stages presents the real attraction of Touhou: Scarlet Curiosity. The boss fights are a true exhibition of Touhou’s bullet hell roots, seeing patterns of brightly colored projectiles that must be carefully avoided in order to get in close enough for a few brief attacks, slowly whittling down their health until victory is yours.

And Here’s the Problem in the Game


While the combat is enjoyable, and I’m adamant for others to experience it, there’s a large and overly glaring issue a the forefront. Playing through Remilia and Sakuya’s story didn’t see much variety within the game. You see the same paths, same levels, same fights, and ultimately you see the same story at hand. The only change to make this work? Changing names in the narrative where the writers deemed it necessary.

While this can be considered a minor nuance, it brings the question forth: Why not write a unique story for both? After all, isn’t the idea to give us two sides of the same story, but one from each view? Well, that’s not the case. It makes the story feel artificial as we pick from both characters to experience a new story, but instead get the same one, which could have had a lot of potential in exploring each characters unique motive. However, completing the story with one character opens up a bonus dungeon and an alternative ending for players to enjoy, which would have made the alternative narrative a bit more enjoyable in the long run.

Okay, okay, the Game is a JRPG After All

Touhou: Scarlet Curiosity
Developer: Ankake Supa
Publisher: XSEED Games
Price: $19.99
Released: Available Now

While many of the encounters could be seen in a bullet Hell fashion, it’s hard to call the game a true bullet Hell title due to its underlying JRPG mechanics. Players will find themselves grinding out enemies in order to level up, obtain new gear, and even hunting down hidden treasure to provide themselves with a leading edge against their foes. While I didn’t find the mildly letdown of a story bug me, I did find myself more interested in the overall progression of both characters. Downside? They aren’t all that different from one another. Both fight almost the same, they both almost itemize the same, and they both approach tactics to each enemy the same.

While picking fights with these minor sprites can seem fun, the game does find itself growing dry on the enjoyable experiences after the first time through. The most enjoyable part was seeing the flashing “bullets” going across the screen and seeing the spectacle of magic flowing across the screen when new spells are integrated into a players combat. Their most usefulness utility is when boss fights present themselves for players to enjoy. Whether it’s sending Remilia’s shadowy like tendrils into the ground to dispatch enemies or even her “spiral of death” as I endearingly call it.

Like any JRPG, Touhou: Scarlet Curiosity finds its most enjoyment in exploring, the beautiful animations, and the boss fights due to the fact many underlying itemization options such as shops and spell equipping seem minor. However, purchasing and discovering items seem minor due to the fact most of them offer the same bonuses with little effect.


However, if you can look past these small flaws, Touhou: Scarlet Curiosity is rather enjoyable, charming, and quite unique among many of the PlayStation 4’s franchises that are already here.

Our review is based on a full release version that was provided to us by the games publisher.  For information about our ethics policy please click here.

 Final Score: 7 out of 10

About the Writer:


Dustin is our native console gamer, PlayStation and Nintendo reviewer who has an appetite for anything that crosses the boarders from across the big pond. His interest in JRPG’s, Anime, Handheld Gaming, and Pizza is insatiable. His elitist attitude gives him direction, want, and a need for the hardest difficulties in games, which is fun to watch, and hilarity at its finest. You can find him over on TwitterGoogle+, and or you can find him on PSN with RaivynLyken.

Sit-Rep: MeiQ: Labyrinth of Death – Busty, Bubbly, and Deadly to Itself

+Amazingly intricate dungeon designs
+Intuitive gameplay mechanics

A Shallow story that feels rather silly and impossible to follow
Difficulty spikes can be difficult to overcome
Building new bots can be a rather large hassle in its own.


Whenever I hear that two of my favorite duos have teamed up once again, it’s hard for me not to be excited, and it continues on to be that way with Idea Factory and Compile Heart. They are one of the strongest duos in the industry when it comes to making some of the best RPGs in the world, and it continues on thankfully to the help of the Hyperdimension Neptunia series, which I’ve been enjoying for years on end. The latest from this team up comes under the name of MeiQ: Labyinth of Death, which brings us into a new gameplay perspective for the PlayStation Vita. Well not new, but definitely new from Compile Heart and Idea Factory.

With near constant releases across the world, MeiQ is a series I’ve neglected with the many releases the series has received over the years, but thanks to Idea Factory that has changed and we’ve finally gone hands on with it. Not just hands on, but full playthrough that has allowed us to try and enjoy this latest entry for MeiQ. While I know that Compile Heart and Idea factory aren’t a one trick pony, it still comes out hard to believe and doesn’t seem to change much between their two games.

MeiQ: Laybrinth of Death isn’t all Bad


Before I begin to truly pick apart the games flaws, lets take a look at what makes MeiQ: Labyrinth of Death is a rather enjoyable before I begin hammering down on some of my biggest problems with the game. To begin, the world we are presented isn’t a bad one, nor is it flawed. Each character feels truly alive, enjoyable, and even brings in something completely new in comparison to what we’ve experienced before.

The world has been cursed with an eternal night that seeks to never end. With the curse being more problematic than ever before, game presents itself as in need of a hero that can attempt to lift it, and place those at the helm of the cause to rest. With various guardians spread across the world, it’s hard for any of the hopeful heroines or heroes to find their way through, but for us it is possible thanks to our ability to control a machina.

The downside to this, the hopefuls are weapon that are barely dressed, oddly young, and could quite easily be said to be overly well endowed. Their enemies should be worried more about their chests than the weapons or magic they wield. This is quite easily offset by the games overall appeal, which is quite unique thanks to the games beautiful artwork and character designs. While there, as stated, a diverse set of characters, MeiQ fails to alleviate on this as much of this unless you look into their personalities, which even then are almost one-in-the-same at the end of the day.

One thing that does make the game a bit more enjoyable is the games use of dual audio that can be chosen within the options menu. Here you can use the Japanese voice overs, which quite honestly, alleviates some of the nuances this game comes embedded with. This only serves as a minor alleviation from the games painful and identical encounters that seem rather identical. It’d have been nice if they had seemed to make this game a bit more unique with newer monsters, mini-boss fights, and more intricate puzzle designs.

And Now for the Ugly Side of MeiQ: Labyrinth of Death


As stated, MeiQ: Labyrinth of Death isn’t such a horrible game at all times, and in many ways, it has been quite painful for a good bit of it. Much as one would expect, the game has five characters that players will be able to choose from to form their party, and in this one we are restricted to using only three of our characters to choose from. Also, our heroes will be paired up with mechs titled “Guardians”. Unfortunately, this also means that players will be grinding out gear parts for these Guardians in order to customize them and grab new parts.

In order to also enjoy the game requires fans to enjoy an RPG that isn’t just turn based, but also requires fans to constantly click forward, left, right, or back on the d-pad or thumbsticks in order to get where they want. As much as this seems as a small problem, after ten-to-twenty hours, it becomes a rather large scale problem for many. while characters and their use of magic as well as items can be useful, it’s not near as useful as it could have been have been were they using their guardians. Another issue, however does lie in wait with the games combat systems: Combos. While Combos seem like something that would be hard to enjoy, it is something present within this game, but is not nearly as easy as games like White Knight Chronicles or even as the ones on Phantasy Star IV where players could easily access them when needed be as players alternate between Guardians for each character.


However, let alone does combat show these issues, one of the largest ones just happens to come about with difficulty scaling. This actually shows up quite easily in several occasions where players will encounter Boss Genbu who just happens to show the games later spike in overall difficulty. It’s places like him and even The Earth Dragon Gomorrah battle where  the difficult spikes and even requires fans to grind quite a bit more before taking on further adventures. The downside to this exists in the extent it slows down the overall enjoyment of the game due to how much time fans will spend moving across each dungeon once more. To be honest even on easy the game presented itself with an overall difficulty spike that at times, made me wish there had been an easier selection, and a choice in boss difficulty levels.

Unlike other RPGs, MeiQ: The Labyrinth of Death isn’t one where you can expect to just beat your way through it. Instead the game does require players to use strategy, farm, and even get the best gear available for their characters. Defeat in the game is actually an option as there is no penalty for it. I’ve found times when I’ve died a few times on boss fights before moving back, and even found myself grinning at the idea I didn’t find my health lowered, or even penalized for each of my deaths. Had the game punished me a bit more, I’m sure I’d had been a bit more cautious in my overall adventures.  For now, even post review? I’ll find myself still trudging on even more violently than ever before to ensure I can brute force my way through the games hard difficulty.

Closing Thoughts on MeiQ: The Labyrinth of Death


MeiQ: The Labyrinth of Death – PlayStation Vita, PlayStation TV
Developer: Compile Heart
Publisher: Idea Factory
Price: $39.99
Released: Available Now

While my complaints on MeiQ: Labyrinth of Death seem minor, the game does suffer from multiple scenarios of issues relating to a shoddy story, poor character development, difficulty spikes, and even repetitious combat that will send many cringing in pain due to all of it. While some may find fun in MeiQ: The Labyrinth of Death, it’d be easier to pick up a different Compile Hearts title and even find one that you may enjoy a bit more, but that does not go without saying that this game does deserve a fair chance from those wishing to give it a chance.

For now, I’ll stick with Fairy Fencer F: Advent Dark Rising and keep giving it the multiple playthroughs it enjoys.

Our review is based on a full release version that was provided to us by the games publisher.  For information about our ethics policy please click here.

 Final Score: 6 out of 10

About the Writer:


Dustin is our native console gamer, PlayStation and Nintendo reviewer who has an appetite for anything that crosses the boarders from across the big pond. His interest in JRPG’s, Anime, Handheld Gaming, and Pizza is insatiable. His elitist attitude gives him direction, want, and a need for the hardest difficulties in games, which is fun to watch, and hilarity at its finest. You can find him over on TwitterGoogle+, and or you can find him on PSN with RaivynLyken.


Like Card Games? The Final Fantasy Card Game is Coming!


Setting our wallets on fire for Final Fantasy related collectibles isn’t nothing new. We’ve all been doing it for years. Today, Square Enix has made that reason even bigger. Today our friends at Square Enix have announced that the Final Fantasy Trading Card Game is headed our way next month with all 426 cards being translated into English.

The downside to this? It won’t be cheap. You’ll want to prepare to set your wallets on fire and walk away knowing that the damage hasn’t even been dealt yet. However, if you want to just play there’s no true damage to be done just yet. So what do you need to know?


If you plan on collecting, it’s not going to cheap. If the game follows on with pricing that we have seen with Trading Card Games such as Magic the Gathering this will set each deck to be priced at $13.99 USD while booster packs could run anywhere between $3.99 USD to $6.99 USD. Luckily for us it’s a fair assumption to how much they’ll run. Downside for you collectors? Each card will have a premium foil counterpart (ouch that has to hurt).

The card game will feature art from Final Fantasy Dissidia, Final Fantasy VII Remake, and even World of Final Fantasy. Don’t be surprised to see characters such as Zidane from Final Fantasy IX to appear.

About the Writer:


Dustin is our native console gamer, PlayStation and Nintendo reviewer who has an appetite for anything that crosses the boarders from across the big pond. His interest in JRPG’s, Anime, Handheld Gaming, and Pizza is insatiable. His elitist attitude gives him direction, want, and a need for the hardest difficulties in games, which is fun to watch, and hilarity at its finest. You can find him over on TwitterGoogle+, and or you can find him on PSN with RaivynLyken.