Review: Dead by Daylight – Where a Sun Never Shines

Pros:
+Authentically creepy killers that feel original and unique
+First person as a killer and third as a survivor offers unique balancing to the game
+Each killer has their own abilities and perks allowing for differentiated gameplay
+The addition of Michael Meyers brings home that horror film feel for the game

Cons:
-Small framerate issues even while on a PlayStation 4 Pro with boost mode enabled
-Queue times for matches can be somewhat painful. Some have exceeded ten minutes as a killer.
-Survivors can’t fight back against the killer.


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Dead by Daylight Trapper Concept Art | Courtesy: Behaviour Interactive

When Turtle Rock Studio’s first launched Evolve there was no doubt they’d landed on something unforeseen. Never had a developer, a publisher, or anyone made a game where four players would try to survive a fight against a monster. It was a trend that quickly became grasped upon by developer Behavior Interactive when their smash-hit horror survival PvP title Dead by Daylight premiered on Steam.

Since the debut of Dead by Daylight it has been the predecessor to other cloned games and even by a high-profiled rival under the name of Friday the 13th: The Game. It’s a game that isn’t shy about being one of the most-played titles on Twitch since the second half of 2016. It’s a game that has also now become one of the hottest titles to own on both Xbox One and PlayStation 4. Thanks to Behavior for letting us get our Killer’s gloves dirty, we’ve finally had a chance to sit down, and hammer out over 172 matches worth as the killer and a rough 50 as survivors.

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Review: Akiba’s Beat – Akihabara’s Groundhog Day

Pros:
+Amazingly well done visuals and music that serves up an enjoyable experience for any otaku.
+Dialogue is hilarious and often-times very well done.
+Animations run smooth on both the PlayStation 4 and PlayStation Vita

Cons:
-Combat is repetitious and a nuance after 20+ hours
-Enemy designs in dungeons are over-used and lacking diversity
-Dungeons could have used more diversity and difficulty between each of them


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When it comes to looking for things to do outside of Final Fantasy XIV: StormbloodThe Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, and Marvel Heroes Omega; my time has been delicately consumed by games such as Persona 5. With the review period of games having come down to a slow down, it was now time for me to begin looking through before setting my eyes upon the review code for Akiba’s Beat. A game that would set forth to be the spiritual successor to Akiba’s Trip.

Over the past few weeks I’ve found myself throwing down a few good brawls as I decided to take a stroll through one of Japan’s most famous locations for anime, games, electronics, and all things fun. What I did find? My ability to strip down my enemies are now long gone. My determination to smack some punk upside the head with a computer keyboard has been taken away. My ability to even romance my characters best friend had been taken away. Instead I’ve even found my weapons had been taken away and stripped down to basic things.

This does not go without saying that Japan and its culture are wonderful. Both pieces of it are absolutely mesmerizing to folks like myself. We often find ourselves daydreaming about being that otaku is salivating at the very sight of giant mechs, games for miles, and more anime than you could imagine. We dream of the day we can get our hands on the figurines hidden behind glass panels. Such reasons are the reason us geeks are quick to admire games such as Akiba’s Beat since we get to live out our digital dream to some form by running through Japan’s neon light filled district as protagonist Asahi Tachibana, a kid who has dropped out of college and has become a self-professed NEET (Not in Educaton, Employment or Training).

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Review: Samurai Warriors: Spirit of Sanada – A Tale Once Told, but Told Again

Pros:
+Very heavy narrative discussing the Sanada Clan
+Combat scenarios outside of the classic maps is a blast
+Voice acting, as always, is superb

Cons:
-Lackluster performance on standard PlayStation 4’s while in heavy combat scenarios
-Combat mechanics are growing repetitious and dated
-Needs redesigned maps, combat scenarios, and graphics engines.


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If you’re a Japanese history buff or a fan of Samurai Warriors, there’s no doubt that you have read into the events of the samurai Masayuki Sanada as well as his sons. It’s a record in history that fills in much of Japan’s Warring States period and it’s a story that comes embalmed by triumph, tragedy, and a legacy that will be shared for ages. It’s a tale that has been delicately woven in and out of the franchise for over a decade and a half. It’s a story that publisher Koei Tecmo and developer Omega Force have been proud to share time and time again. It’s also a very element that has been criticized by both fans and the rest of the gaming industry for being repetitious as ever for the Warriors franchise. A franchise that has been been stated to suffer from a lack of innovation, one that has failed to mold itself into new and creative ways.

Luckily for Koei Tecmo and Omega Force, they’ve proved me wrong. They proved me wrong on the assumptions that I would once more pick up a controller and be sucked into the repetitious nature of hacking, slashing, and running my way through pre-scripted battlefields. That I would once more find myself drilling meaningless and repetitious combat scenarios into my own head. Again, and again, and again – I was proven wrong with Samurai Warriors: Spirit of Sanada. It wasn’t until I reached a little over the halfway mark towards the three quarters way through mark would I find myself sure that their risk didn’t outweigh the reward.

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Review: Dark Rose Valkyrie – Let the Petals Dance

Pros:
+Extremely beautiful graphics, character animations, and well written scenario
+Strong soundtrack, score, and combat systems.
+Dual Audio allows for a rather fun and enjoyable time

Cons:
-Areas of the game are blocked off unless required by the games story
-Combat scaling could have used some work.


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Dark Rose Valkyrie is a joint venture with artist and mangaka, Kosuke Fujishima (Ah! My Goddess, Sakura Wars, nearly every Tales Of title), scenario writer, Takumi Miyajima (Tales of Symphonia, Tales of the Abyss, screenplay for Fate/Zero), and Compile Hearts (Hyperdimension Neptunia, Mugen Souls, Record of Agarest War) set in an alternate version of 1920’s Japan, where the world is dealing with a dangerous virus that can turn people into Chimera, thanks to the Black Garnet meteorite that hit the Earth. You assume the role of Asahi Shiramine, the new commander of Special Force Valkyrie and together with your team of anime stereotypes, you fight back against the chimera threat.

You’re squad is comprised of such tropes as the naïve rich girl, the hard core Japanese character, the gun nut, the super shy kid, the super tomboy kid, the horn dog, and a down to Earth son of a wealthy family. During your journey, you’ll uncover each teammate’s quirk/issue, build a stronger team, and fight against the true threat of the game after a twist later in the game, or so I’ve gathered as I was only able to put in roughly 30 hours.

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Review: Hakuoki: Kyoto Winds – A Tale Where Winds Blow and Love Blooms

Pros:
+First chapter in a split story, which delivers a need for both, and will drive players to continue forth with the next game.
+The new characters are great, comedic, and provide an exemplary portrayal of entertainment value.
+The story is fleshed out quite well due to the games pacing and story-telling approach.
+Character designs remain fresh and unique for returning fans

Cons:
-Some narrative based story seems left out and won’t be answered until the games follow up title.
-Does require some knowledge of 1860’s Japan and the culture.


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When it comes to storytelling, it’s not hard to find a good game, one that makes you press forth through its endless barrage of beautiful graphics, and harsh endeavors. It’s a common trait in game design and one that will push you forth as you work your way through every inch of each story. In recent years, we’ve seen the rise of visual novels as they have begun to appeal to North American audiences and dragging them deeper into their tales. Among these many franchises comes the Hakuoki series, which has held fans’ interest in recent years.

With Idea Factory, Inc. at the helm of the franchise, it’s no surprise to anyone that Hakuoki has garnished a following that keeps fans amused, and lured into the franchise. However, what appeal does a series that took places in the 1860’s featuring the legendary Shinsengumi have over fans new and old? First is the appeal to fans of the PlayStation Vita, which received an enhanced port of the first entry called Hakuoki: Kyoto Winds, which promises more romance options more-so than ever before.

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Review: The Caligula Effect – Where the Effect of Hope Comes True

Pros:
-Unique and well placed combat systems that do come with a bit of a learning curve
-Character story development seems critical through the course of the game, providing a need to know you party, and the story elements to the game
-Music and sound quality is on par with what one would expect from a PS Vita game
-Multiple approaches to combat ensures that not every encounter will play out the same

Cons:
The game offers a lot to learn in so little time.
-Social interactions can provide a bit of a hassle when wondering from location to location


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When I first caught wind that our friends over at Atlus USA would be localizing The Caligula Effect there was an instant shudder with excitement that rang through my body. Having played a bit of the Japanese version, I found myself exhilarated at the idea of being able to finally understand what I was doing, how I would go about doing, and what my abilities as well as talents did.

With a unique turn-based system, social interactions, and musical score – my Persona fan would finally be sated till the next installment would be announced. Much like many JRPG games these days, I was expecting for the game not to initiate a sense of contentment inside of me, but the fact the game could sate the need for another style of Persona game need.

With strong RPG’s being the Vita’s strong suit, it seemed only natural that team Aquaria would be placing their title on the PlayStation Vita as an exclusive game for the console.

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Review: Prey – In Space, No One Hears You Scream

Pros:
+An incredibly well written story that will drive you through 40+ hours of gameplay
+Easily stands beside games such as Deus Ex: Human Revolution and System Shock
+Insanely large amounts of freedom to explore
+Typhon enemies are unique in design as well as their originality
+Zero G sequences are a fresh breath of air in the first person genre
+Strong FPS mechanics that serve well in the horror-survival elements the game offers
+Headphones are absolutely a must to enjoy the amazing depth of sound quality and music

Cons:
-Not beginner friendly at all
-Fabricator is overly relied upon
-Inventory fills up entirely too fast due to materials
-Resource management is painful to deal with and rather tedious


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When first looking at the title Prey, many may relate it to the 3D Realms published game of the same title. It was a game that took us on an adventure through space as protagonist Domasi Tawodi (Tommy for short) who lived on a Cheeroke Reservation in Oklahoma. His job was simple in the original, he was a mechanic who just happened to end up on the wrong side of a bad bargain.

After the game was rallied to obtain a sequel through Bethesda Zenimax, the title seemingly fell into obscurity since it was rarely spoken of, but when it was there was always trouble behind the door. It wasn’t until last year that publisher Bethesda Softworks came out at QuakeCon 2016 with an ambitious idea: A reboot. With their announcement, fans sat bewildered by the inconceivable thought, which left fans curious to what was going on.

Within the past few weeks, we’ve been able to sit with a copy of Prey on a PlayStation 4 and a PlayStation 4 Pro in order to see the differences in performance, but that’s not where we will begin. Prey by far is one of the most ambitious titles to come out of Arkane Studios (DishonoredDishonored 2) and it even sought out to distance itself from those two titles with quite a bit of easy. While reviewing, you must keep in mind that games are usually pushed out quick for their reviews. Some getting only a few days gameplay time, while others merely a few hours. Luckily for us, Bethesda is a company that is patient, and prefers reviews to take time before being published, which fortunately for us, is the same case we have here with the game Prey.

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Review: Story of Seasons: Trio of Towns – Where You Learn Why Friends Matter

Pros:
-Characters are uniquely developed during the games story
-Farm upgrades feel like they take a bit, which adds prolonged playability
-Plenty of side adventures to complete such as friendships, relationships, fishing, etc.

Cons:
– The game is very slow starting out
-Tends to take control from the player during tutorials
-Tutorials lasted roughly 20 hours, which is a bit much
-Story progress is slow to start, sitting between 5 to 10 hours before unlocking other chapters.


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Ever wondered what a game would be like where repetition, time management, and a lot of tutorials would be like over the span of between 15-20 hours? This is the welcoming players are in for with this Harvest Moon spiritual successor. If it hadn’t been for my curiosity, it’d been easier said than done to shut down my Nintendo 3DS, and simply walked away for any other title of the genre.

Story of Seasons: Trio of Towns is a coming of age progression title. One that offers multiple options for you to explore as you play. In the game, you start out at odds with your characters father. In effort to prove him wrong, you step out into the world in order to become a great father, and set the record straight in this dispute.

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Review: Bulletstorm – Hail to the Bullets Baby

Pros:
+
Heavily upgraded graphics and performance
+Online multiplayer offers insanely fun arcade style cooperative play
+Duke Nukem DLC.. That is all.

Cons:
-Multiplayer can lag a bit.
-Lack of communication in the game takes away when not grouped with other players


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When we saw a trend of remakes getting done, it was clear that there were many games fans would want, and many of those games would no doubt see the light of day. From Resident Evil to Darksiders to Call of Duty: Modern Warfare Remastered helped bring forth the idea of what game remastering can be like. It brought forth a valid question of whether or not games could be lost to time. With smash-hit sales in the years before as well as a rather ubiquitous sales as well as cultural marks.

Bulletstorm is one of those games that just managed to fascinate its fans with its ability to lure in rewards for styles of killing enemies, working with their friends, and even pushing them through the games campaign. However, the question remains: Do games deserve a second chance like this? That’s the biggest question of them all. With new state-of-the-art hardware. Do these games deserve a second chance even if they possibly failed to succeed the first time around?

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Review: Persona 5 – Stealing Our Heart Away

Pros:
+One of the most artistically stylish games for PlayStation 4 to Date
+Offers a quick push into the action compared to previous titles
+Character development is on key for the Persona franchise
+The Anime cut-scenes are a huge change and add a much needed change

Cons:
-Screenshots and footage capture is restricted
-Micro-managing at times can be overwhelming


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In a generation of games where traditional JRPG’s remain rare, ATLUS has decided to once more change the status quo, and offer up an adventure unlike any other. In their latest story life isn’t at all what it seems for these Japanese high school students Ryouji, Anne, and the protagonist Akira (if you go by the manga). The tale for these specific students is one about adventure, about righting wrongs, and most-of-all, changing hearts.

Much like any past Persona game, Persona 5 carries the weight of a rather familiar theme. It’s once more about a green of teens who want to shift away from the status quo, ones that want to change the world, and break its current state. This game tells that exact story over the case of almost two hundred hours for first timers. For many this could be a grueling task due to its length, the patience it requires, and the fact the game requires a great amount of time management. It’s a game that challenges players to make the most out of balancing out their busy schedules and beating the Hell out of demons while doing so. It makes you truly think of what your options are and how you will go about them.

Just as you’d expect from a Shin Megami Tensei title, this one follows a familiar path of how it tells it story, and drives its narrative home. It’s a game that uses an anime approach to many of its themes and elements. It’s one that does not shy away from these aspects through out its entire campaign. It takes those elements in order to drive the themes of rebellion, politics, and the ability to enact upon social change. It’s a game that is not afraid to approach these themes nor is it one that is brash or outspoken about them. It’s one that stylizes this in a minimalist way without cramming it down the players throat.

What also differentiates this game from past titles is how it manages to thrust players straight into the games core gameplay elements. Within the opening minutes, players are welcomed to Persona 5’s subtle changes. It’s a game that has added in stealth, ambushing mechanics, and the identity that these characters truly are the games “Phantom Thieves”. Much to the dismay of some, the games opening seconds are also the games close-to-end moments where “Joker” has been captured, and his story is told via an interrogation.

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As the game rewinds players are greeted with Joker’s current situation. He’s been sent away from his home town after getting in trouble with the law for a rather questionable offense. Due to the predicament he’s been sent out to live with family friend Sakura Sōjirō. Within a few days of being at Shujin High School, Joker has already assembled a ragtag group of persona users, and is well on his way to telling us an enlightening story.

However, not is all as it seems at his new school, and chaos seems to ensue. Much like Persona 4‘s Shadow World, Persona 5 throws people into the games “Metaverse” where things are rather similar between the two. For Joker, a disgraced ex-track star known as Ryouji, a troubled teen model by the name of Anne, and the student council president who is caught between two worlds, their adventure is no joke. Especially when they all learn they can control Personas.

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It doesn’t take long before Joker gathers a ragtag group of friends, including a disgraced ex-track star, a troubled teen model named Anne, and a human turned cat named Morgana. In true anime fashion, these friends each discover that they have a strange power: the ability to enter a bizarre shadow world known as the “Metaverse”. Because of this they are pressed to help right the wrongs of the world and help those around them. To do so is a bit trickier for them than they anticipated.

Aside from this, the game follows the core plot elements of the franchise rather closely. It doesn’t deviate from this at all except in one way. Unlike previous games, however, this new rag tag group of friends decide not to hide their abilities from the world, and take on a moniker to allow so by dubbing themselves “Phantom Thieves”. They also aren’t afraid that they can use the Metaverse to “steal” the hearts of their targets. Doing so allows them to turn those in the real world that are vile people on a new path. This new one turns them into nicer people, which causes them to change and repent for their wrongs.

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