Just Doing Some Moonlighter-ing

While I’ve been a bit (too) busy with some side projects but have done some (well a LOT of) gaming and yes, reviews are slowly but surely getting done. Oh, that’s 11 bit studios and Digital Sun’s really excellent Moonlighter above, which is one of the newer games on the playlist (reviews are embargoed until the 28th, but keep an eye peeled on this one). There are a bunch of other games I’ve played, but I’ll keep you all in suspense for a bit. Hokay, back to the stack of urgent stuff I need to complete over the weekend.

-GW

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TERA: Corsairs’ Stronghold Update Adds Pirates & Booty Galore (Arr!)

 

Okay, the game that got me to stop playing so much Diablo III is getting another big update. TERA isn’t quite perfect, but it’s often really gorgeous to look at and does do excellently at keeping me occupied in that theme park on steroids manner a good MMO does. The newest update is Corsairs’ Stronghold, a 20 vs 20 battleground map where you’ll need to fight with or against other players to secure or destroy an Archstone. I see that this map can be soloed, but I’m gathering that will be pretty darn tough to do if you’re trying to face off against 20 AI players (or even live ones) all by yourself.

Yes, a review is in process for this game, but I’m in the midst of figuring out the story content, which is tricky because the game allows you to play freely enough that you can miss a chunk of the plot by merely doing side missions and other diversions.  The nice thing is the game is free to play across all the systems it’s on, with the exception of those pesky keys required to unlock strongboxes. I didn’t realize this because in the beta. keys were rewarded for certain milestones. I haven’t spent a dime on the game at all, but at Level 65, I kind of have something like 1000 strongboxes (eep!) and am thinking hard about paying to unlock a few. My poor wallet is snapping at me every time I dawdle over that buy button on the store page, though.

 

 

So, we shall see what happens, I suppose. But know that my wallet has a mighty growl that can curl paint off a wall. In the meantime, did you know I’ve posted way too many videos about this game on my under-watched YouTube channel? I don’t do commentary at all, so fear not – you don’t have to hear my warbling and waxing poetic. Just pop by, watch a few and subscribe if you like what you see.

-GW

Review: Valkyria Revolution (PS4)

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Valkyria Revolution PS4 (Custom)Well, veteran developer Media Vision gave it the old college try, but as a set in the past side story to the fan favorite Valkyria Chronicles series, Valkyria Revolution isn’t so thrilling as a game experience. Packed full of overlong exposition, mostly pretty visuals ruined by stiffly animated characters, and somewhat weak gameplay, this one manages to be somewhat lifeless despite trying very hard to appeal to longtime fans and players new to the series.

That said, the music is great, some of the timely political intrigue is interesting enough, as is the main storytelling device of a teacher and student discussing events that happened decades earlier. But the core gameplay never rises above mediocre thanks to somewhat loose controls and a “tactical” side that really doesn’t add much challenge. It’s not a “bad” game per se – it’s just one where you may feel too much time was spent on making a game packed with too much of some stuff and too little of everything else.

Continue reading

Review: Moirai (Or: Brave In The Cave Matters Not So Much, Maybe.)

morai-1Got twenty minutes (or closer to fifteen) to spare and an active Steam account? Good. Do yourself a solid and go play Moirai. It’s free, short and has a corker of an “ending” that may make you a little tense for anywhere from a few seconds to a few days. “What the hell does that mean?” you ask? Well, that’s part of the game’s lure, I’d reply.

Julia has gone missing, you go look for her, some guy outside a cave gives you a knife. that’s all I’ll say here. SOME so-called writers have gone and spoiled stuff after that, but those folks probably had a word count to meet or think they know their jaded audiences too well to give them credit to be curious. Not my style, folks.

moirai-2Funny thing. I started writing this post, the water in the kettle I put on a few minutes ago boiled, I got up, made a cup of tea, decided I was a little hungry and ended up having a quick snack with my cuppa. By the time I got back to typing this out, I’d spent a longer time doing all that than I did on my first play of Moirai. Weird? No, that’s just how I roll sometimes.

Moirai is an experimental, first person game created by Chris Johnson, Brad Barrett and John Oestmann. You should play it once or twice. Maybe more if you like.

Score: A (90%)

-GW

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Axiom Verge Wii U: September 1 Is The Day It Comes “Home”

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Excellent. I’m literally buried in stuff to-day (one shelf of games fell over earlier!) but you all go and read THIS post by Tom Happ and then smile a lot if you haven’t seen or played Axiom Verge yet. Excellent. Back in a bit – I’m up to my nose hairs in work (and have a pile of games to get back up, to boot!)

-GW

Abyss Odyssey Extended Dream Edition: ACE Work, Now On PS4

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AO_EDEACE Team’s rogue-like brawler/RPG/adventure hybrid Abyss Odyssey was one of those uniquely gorgeous games that catered best to those who spent time mastering the intricacies of its seemingly simple combat system. The game’s lovely Art Nouveau-inspired visuals and realistic animation made it less of a button basher and more a game where practice makes perfect. Capturing enemy souls and using those enemies or the allies you’d also unlock to replay procedurally generated maps added plenty of replay value to what was a nicely challenging game experience.

Now, the PS4 finally gets what’s looking like the definitive version of the game. As you can see from those nice-looking screen shots below (which do indeed look nice, but don’t really do the game much justice at all), the game is Mucha beautiful:

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In addition to some nicely enhanced visuals and smoother gameplay, there’s also a new online PvP mode for those who crave fighting against live opponents. Speaking of gameplay – here’s a short look at the launch trailer:


 

Se what I mean by screenshots not doing this justice? Anyway, go grab this one if your artistic and energetic sides have been activated. It’s a neat little sleeper that will keep you entertained for quite a bit.

Review: Lost Dimension (PS3/PS Vita)

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Platform: PlayStation 3/PS Vita
Developer: FuRyu
Publisher: Atlus
# of Players: 1
ESRB Rating: T (Teen)
MSRP: $39.99
Official Site
Score: B (80%)

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He may be smiling outside, but he’s really going to kill you inside. The End.

 

Oh, how I do wish there were a Lost Dimension OVA or short-run anime series. Just so I could see the scene at the close of one episode when villain The End materializes outside that strange massive pillar he’s dropped in the middle of Tokyo to address some reporters who’ve popped up outside with their news vans and a moderately sized crowd of terrified (but terminally nosy) gawkers. In my somewhat addled brain, the English dub would go something like this:

REPORTER: Mr. The End! You’ve dropped this massive Pillar onto the city, killed over two billion people around the world and are threatening the human race with total extinction! What will you do now?!

 

THE END (dryly): Hmmm…  I guess I’ll go to Disney World… and kill everyone there as well.

Whereupon The End would smirk, drift high up into the air and vanish as the crowd below gasps and chatters away. As that reporter is making some dopey closing commentary, the camera would pull way back as he or she is talking right before a huge chunk of rubble drops on top of everyone outside. Cut to The End looking down and grinning as we get a freeze frame shot of his face and THE END in big letters fading in before the closing credit theme kicks in.

Hey, I did say he means business, didn't I?

Hey, I did say he means business, didn’t I? THE END.

Yeah, I’d pay real money to see that. But I’m a bit crazy.

Anyway, my poorly plotted final fan fiction fantasy dream aside, let’s talk about the game in question. Lost Dimension comes to you from developers FuRyu (with an Lancarse assist) and publisher Atlus as a solid, intriguing hybrid of visual novel and tactical RPG. It’s a game that takes a number of genre cliches (and the fact that JRPG fans love them) and flips them onto their heads as it asks you to kill off your team one by one in order to advance the plot. While that’s going on you also need to bond with as many of your remaining teammates as possible before the final showdown. And you need to do this twice in order to get that best ending.

I usually don’t do this, but I’m going to go and gently spoil some of the obvious stuff the game slaps you with hard just to make sure it’s understood how important it is to NOT automatically like the cast from the get-go.

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Oh really? Well you’re still getting voted off the island, missy!

The game doesn’t care a whit how cute you think Himeno is or that Marco wears bangin’ headphones and has a snowman or whatever the hell that is on his outfit. In fact, going into the game with notions of “saving” characters you like is a really terrible idea. Not only will you be disappointed that someone you’re attached to is going to get theirs at your hands, you’ll end up in a frustrating loop of trying to reload saves that won’t matter at all as you try to salvage someone who needs to die anyway… Continue reading

Lost Dimension Update: When The End Is Only The Beginning


 

With Lost Dimension coming on July 28 to PS3 and Vita and yours truly almost done with his second play through for review purposes, it’s tough to keep from doing some bean spilling on what to expect from the game. Of course, you’ll have to chase me down and force a lot of real American dollars into my pockets just to get me to cough up the juicy details. I don’t carry change with me (the rustling of bills in a pocket hurts my follicles), so you’ll have to start with one hundred bucks at a minimum before I cough up some answers. But as I’ve already put a decent chunk of time into what’s here, let’s just safely say that the game has taught me how to lie very effectively. You may not get the truth out of me but you’ll at least get a convincing tale that will keep you entertained enough to believe every single word.

Of course, you just may bribe me and get nothing but dead air. Ever since I got my review code there’s been a black van outside my building with tinted windows and an ATLUS logo on the door. Methinks I’ll end up IN said black van if I talk too much.

Lost Dimension Hands-On: Brain Trust And The Tall Tower of Doom

LostD_Vita_CoversheetDon’t plan on getting too attached to your party members in Lost Dimension, developer FurYu’s new RPG headed to the PlayStation 3 and Vita on July 28 from Atlus. Among the cast of powerful teen agents of SEALED are a number of traitors aligned with spiky-haired villain The End and the game rather effectively randomizes who those traitors are on each floor of the enemy packed tower you’re ascending.

While it’s yet another game in which Japan gets partially destroyed and it’s up to a cast of youths with special skills to save the day (and the planet), there’s an added layer of tension here that builds as your party gets whittled down based on your decisions. Even worse, choosing your allies based on how you as the person playing the game feels about them can have some pretty drastic in-game consequences.

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Lost Dimension: Deep Vision Trailer – Getting Rid Of Traitors Is(n’t) A Cinch


 

LD Screens (2)Yeah, that’s right. In Lost Dimension you need to figure out who the traitors are in your party and eliminate them as you climb a deadly tower full of enemies. Why? Well, you’re saving the earth (maybe) and you don’t want to be stabbed in the back by someone you thought you trusted, that’s why. I’ll have a hands-on preview in a couple of days but let’s just say that “Trust No One… or Else” works well enough as a potential tagline here.

Here’s a little more about the game in the form of its E3 2015 trailer:


 

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Now that your curiosity is piqued, you should probably know that Lost Dimension is headed to the PS3 and PS Vita on July 28, 2015 along with some nice free DLC for the first two weeks of its launch window. Atlus loves you, yes they do.