Live Streamed on Twitch May 8, 2015
Welcome to the Geek I/O’s Gamer Geeks news for the Week May the 4th 2015 I am Raul and lets get started.
Paying a visit to scottgames.com will treat you a image of a Five Nights at Freddy’s animatronic holding a top hat with the words “The Final Chapter” and a date of October 31, 2015.
In a blog post on the Oculus site stating, that the consumer version of the Oculus Rift will be shipping in first quarter of 2016 with pre-orders later this year.
And so it begins Disney Infinity 3.0 edition will have figures from the Star Wars Universe. In a Announcement Trailer posted on youtube. There will be Three Sets for Star Wars, one for episodes 1-3, 4-6, and the new Star Wars The force Awakens set to be released alongside the new movie.
GoG.com has release a BETA version of its GOG Galaxy a DRMfree online gamin platform.
The platform will provide Oneclick installs, backup copy download, Offline support, the ability to turn off autoupdates for games, and rollbacks of game update coming soon.
With the news of Konami cancelling a new Silent Hills game the Playable Trailer known as P.T. is now longer available to download from the Playstation Network Store even if you had it in
your game library but the local content is still playable.
library291652.phtml Nintendo released a Splatoon Direct this week. Highlighting many of the features including game mode, weapons, matchmaking and gear. With three new Amiibos. as well as post launch updates of new weapons and stages.
Thanks listening and check out Geekio.net where you put geek in and geek out.
Final Fantasy XV Episode Duscae is the long awaited demo for Final Fantasy XV. Coming bundled with Final Fantasy Type-0 HD in a 'Day One Edition', this is our first look at the upcoming game which currently has no release date. However, Final Fantasy Type-0 HD was released March 17, 2015 for the PS4 and the Xbox One. The copy I have was made for the PS4, but the quality should be similar across all platforms (and barring any unforeseen circumstances, there will be a review of Type-0 at some point soon).
Firstly, I would like to mention that the gameplay contained within Episode Duscae may not be totally indicative of the final product. What has been released is merely a sampling of the final game, a sampling which is likely to be changed before the final product makes its way to consumers. As such, this is not a real review, merely a look into the released product. We shall see once the game is truly released how well these impressions hold up. With that out of the way, I shall get on with the bits you came to see!
Episode Duscae begins with some backstory explaining that our band of brothers, Noctis, Ignis, Gladiolus and Prompto, are traveling across the country when their car breaks down in the province of Duscae. In order to get back on the road (and, presumably, continue eluding Imperial forces) a sum of 24,000 Gil must be gathered. While it seems possible to gather the sum without ever following the story of the demo, that story is laid out immediately after gaining control of the group: hunting the great 'Deadeye', the Behemoth. Giving a total of 25,000 Gil upon successful kill, the aim of the demo is ultimately to kill Deadeye.
After a short tutorial on combat - it is skippable, but since the combat was such a departure from previous entries, I deemed it appropriate to go through with it as a matter of principle - you are given free rein. I started my demo by running off and killing some of the wildlife, which I was informed was called a Sabertusk. A pack animal, they typically attack in groups of 3 to 5 from what I could tell. After dealing with the lot of them, this game's version of the Battle Over screen appears as an overlay that tallies up the EXP gained and a couple other morsels of information which factor into an EXP bonus, which modifies the base EXP given by each enemy. The better you handle the battle, the more EXP you get, which is a very nice addition.
After I killed a few of the Sabertusks, I turned my attention to the Garulas. Looking like enormous cows, they are harmless to you...until you attack one of the herd. I found this out accidentally as I happened to hit one while trying to fend off a Sabertusk attack. What made that battle even better was the further addition of rare spawning Imperial Guard Troops. While playing the demo, a patrol of Magitek Troops will land near you and engage. That battle was quite hectic, as I was fending off three different groups of enemies - though the AI seems to keep them separate, as each engaged the other in differing ways as well, making it quite fascinating. Luckily it's hard to die in this game. When your HP gauge is depleted, that nice white HP bar becomes red. Which it's fully depleted, you drop to your knees and are susceptible to 'permanent damage', which means damage you take depletes the red bar. After each battle, your health regenerates, but only up to the end of the red bar; so the more damage you take while downed, the lower your total health until you camp. Having the red bar totally depleted results in death and Game Over. However, if you manage to escape the scrum, one of your brothers will come stand over you and allow you to recover, returning your nice and white health bar. The same thing can happen to them, and any of you can help them - I've 'rescued' a comrade a couple times, and the other AI partners did so in a later battle.
Another departure in this game over previous is that EXP isn't automatically given. In order to level up, you have to camp - usually done once the sun goes down, but presumably whenever you like. When camping, a meal is made based on ingredients you have in your inventory (killing the wildlife can give you drops normally found on that animal, and you can also buy foodstuffs from shops around the area), and this meal confers bonuses the next day. After the meal screen, you're taken to a screen that tallies up all the EXP gained for the day, and then levels your characters up based on that. Personally, I'm slightly against the need to camp to level up, but the meal buff makes it almost worth it.
At any rate, after destroying a few packs of Sabertusks and Magitek Soldiers, I turned my attention to the mission at hand: killing Deadeye. The structure of the mission was exciting: I had to track his position and finally move in on his apparent den. Once you enter the den and come face to face with the beast, you have to track him through the mist, using his blind eye and rocks for cover - this use of the cover system was quite ingenious, but it functioned like any insta-fail stealth mission from other games, so it got annoying after a couple failures - before finally moving in on its true den. Ignis laid out a rather good plan - though rather simple - and following through on it seemed too easy. My fears proved right when the beast jumped up and attacked. We regrouped and fought it for a bit before it proved too much and we were forced to flee. I feel like the game should've explained that better, since I hit a game over screen far too many times because my group ran off without me, leaving me alone with the beast and unable to flee.
After I managed to get away, we searched for clues and found out that there was a cave near a ranch that was apparently 'haunted'. Obviously, four bros were more than up to the task, so we went in search of that cave. After battling through a goblin horde, Noctis acquires the summon for Ramuh. From what I've heard (since I have stopped playing the demo for other reasons at the moment), the summons only activate upon 'death' so I have yet to see this in action. However, it appeared to be what I needed to do, since my current quest objective is to return to the lair of Deadeye.
From what I can see, the game is very well crafted. It looks gorgeous, the controls feel right (though the camera could probably use some work) and the banter seems okay - I do hope there are more lines in the finished product, since they repeat themselves quite often. The Duscae region we are exposed to is but a small portion of the game proper, so I'm sincerely hoping to see as varied a continent as we've seen in not only other entries into the franchise, but also other open-world games like Skyrim that we can see have been borrowed from. Just look at that monstrosity to the right; that was as close as I could get, so each of those spines is easily as large as Noctis. I hope to be able to walk across that water in the finished product and lay waste to that hulk, just to see if I can do it - much like every encounter I had in Skyrim.
All in all, I"m very happy with the demo. I'm sure I'll be playing it multiple times to see what I can find locked away in it, but until then, the demo simply stoked the fire I have for this game. I hope E3 gives us more information about this game, most importantly an actual release date.
We here at Geek I/O have partnered with Gazillion to bring to you THREE chances to win the COMPLETE Team-Up Advanced Pack 2, INCLUDING the pre-order Spider-Gwen, Archangel, and boosts.
How you ask? Check at the bottom of the post.
Here's what Gazillion have to say abut this Team-Up Pack:
We're offering THREE tickets!
- Show the love on Twitch!
- This weekend (February 13-15), randomly, and with the only warning given through twitter (www.twitter.com/geekioshow), we will do a Twitch.TV stream (www.twitch.tv/geekioshow) of us playing Marvel Heroes 2015. During the stream we will pick a winner out of who is live on the chat, and who is subscribed to our channel. Subscribe now so you don't miss out!
- Congratulations to the winner!
- This weekend (February 13-15), randomly, and with the only warning given through twitter (www.twitter.com/geekioshow), we will do a Twitch.TV stream (www.twitch.tv/geekioshow) of us playing Marvel Heroes 2015. During the stream we will pick a winner out of who is live on the chat, and who is subscribed to our channel. Subscribe now so you don't miss out!
- No joke, it's our 100th Episode!
- Our 100th episode will be on April 1, 2015 at 10 PM ET (GMT -5) and during the show we will give away our final two codes for this amazing set! Have to be live in the chat in order to participate. www.geek-io.net/live
- Only live listeners will be able to win, UNLESS you are one of our patrons! Those who put in at least $1 to our patreon page will get two entries if they are live in our chat room, and will be put into the pot to win even if they are not live!
- Our 100th episode will be on April 1, 2015 at 10 PM ET (GMT -5) and during the show we will give away our final two codes for this amazing set! Have to be live in the chat in order to participate. www.geek-io.net/live
This is an amazing give-away, with a $40 value, including three items that are limited release items and will be gone soon!
Warlords of Draenor is the fifth expansion pack for the acclaimed MMO World of Warcraft. It was released on November 13, 2014 by Blizzard Entertainment, and is exclusively for the PC.
Before the review, a bit of backstory. For those familiar with WoW lore, Draenor is the name of the planet from the first WoW expansion, The Burning Crusade. However, in TBC, we were dealing with a broken world, a planet absolutely destroyed by the influence of the Burning Legion, a horde of demons hellbent on destroying everything in their path. TBC was when I started my first true character - my *first* character was on a friend's account so it didn't count - a Blood Elf Paladin named Viriatus. As I leveled through Outland (the new name for Draenor in TBC) I fell in love with the lore, with the models, and everything about WoW; a love that still goes strong today, despite all the bad press WoW seems to get. So, when I heard we were going back to Draenor, before it was destroyed, I was at once excited and reticent. On the one hand, I feared for my memories: what if, in going back to areas I remember from TBC, the lustre from there disappeared and I realised I hated the game? On the other hand, what if everything they did with the expansion was what I dreamed of and more: A new history for the planet I had so much love for?
Luckily for me and my memories, I absolutely loved the new take on the planet I held dear. Indeed, my favorite new area has to be Nagrand, which was also my favorite area in Outland. It nicely wraps up the story that we were given going in, and leaves enough questions to make us wonder what we were going to be doing next. Going through the opening zones, I felt confused. After all, we entered the new Dark Portal in pursuit of Garrosh Hellscream, son of Grommash Hellscream, and the final boss within Mists of Pandaria. The story given was that Garrosh was saved from trial by a renegade bronze dragon, who sent him back in time to Draenor pre-destruction, where the Iron Horde was built and turned loose against Azeroth.
However, when we enter Draenor for the first time, not only do you not see Garrosh until the absolute end of the instanced Tanaan Jungle, you barely encounter the Iron Horde in the zones following. All the lore we were getting in the leveling zones was great, but I wanted to see the culmination of the story I saw unfold in the Siege of Orgrimmar. We met the Frostwolves, the Laughing Coffin, the Arakkoa and even helped drive the Iron Horde out of Shattrath, but I managed to level to 100 before ever encountering Garrosh again. Luckily, the story had quite the satisfactory ending, one I will not spoil so early in the expansion cycle, since I believe it's something everyone needs to see for themselves.
Following that, the game returns to what we've grown accustomed to. We grind for gear to get into heroics for better gear, which we then have to grind for more gear to be able to get into raiding, et cetera. The monotony is broken by the addition of level 100 rare elites that drop gear that can help you bypass a bit of grinding, and by the Garrison. The Garrison is, I feel, one of the best additions to the game in a long time. Not only is your character finally being recognized for all the work he or she has done for their respective faction, but you finally get to feel like you're actively changing the world around you. Garrisons effectively put you in the driver's seat of your own thriving base of operations in the opening zone for your faction. Your choices on outposts within your garrison are limited, even at max garrison level, but even with that limitation, I start and finish every game session in my garrison.
The graphical upgrade of the character models seem quite unnoticeable, but that may be because I play a Blood Elf primarily, one of the few races to not get an update at this point in time. I've read Blood Elves will get their upgrade in the first major content patch, but we'll see when that day comes. What was noticeable, however, were the zones. The zones in WoD are some of the best crafted zones in the history of WoW. From the beginning, in Frostfire Ridge, to the end in Nagrand, I was in awe by my surroundings. Especially in Nagrand, you can certainly see the depth Blizzard went to making this expansion look amazing.
One last bit before I wrap up: dungeons and raids. As a healer, I feel the changes made to dungeons and raids negatively impact us - it's far too easy at the time of writing for idiot DPS to die to stupid avoidable things (My main is a Discipline Priest, with Shadow as my off-spec. I did dungeons as Shadow to figure things out, see where the damage spikes are, etc; I found myself dying to things that didn't have as big a 'tell' as previous expansions) that I feel if you are not an amazing healer, you are simply going to hate your life. Also, tying Heroic queues to the 'Proving Grounds' is a laudable goal - teaching people their role is great in theory - but as a healer that specializes in single-target healing, getting through the proving grounds had to wait until I got to higher levels of gear before I managed to even queue for Heroics (Despite having healed respectably as tank healer in Highmaul not hours before). I will say, however, that dungeons and raids are far and away more interesting than previous games. Grimrail Depot is fun, despite having much avoidable damage that people cannot seem to figure out how to avoid.
My final verdict: as stated previously, I love World of Warcraft. I'm in for the long haul, even though I may lose interest and disappear for periods of time. Warlords of Draenor is one of my favorite expansions, and I'm hoping that my guild manages to complete Highmaul before Blackrock Foundry opens up - it's definitely very exciting to actually be able to do content when it is relevant, even if you're not the first ones to drop bosses. I'd definitely recommend WoD for anyone who feels able to justify the subscription.
A replay of my live stream of The binding of Isaac: Rebirth. I try to steam at least once a week over on twitch.tv/techiegamer between 9-9:30 pm with replays being posted with in 24 hours. Follow me on twitch to get notified when I go live. WARNING THE FOLLOWING VIDEO CONTAINS GRAPHIC CONTENT.
Samurai Warriors 4 was released by Tecmo Koei for the PS3 and PS Vita on March 20, 2014, with a PS4 version following on September 4. North America got a simultaneous release on all three systems on October 21, 2014. This review was done utilising the PS4 version.
I'd like to make a small disclaimer for this review. Since it follows so closely after my previous review of Warriors Orochi 3, also for the PS4, I plan to make direct comparisons to the two games, since they are different forms of the same game.
For veterans of the Warriors franchise, the menus look fundamentally identical to every other game in the series. When booting up you are treated to a skippable introduction cutscene, and when you get to the main menu you see almost the same menu as any other Warriors game. At the top is the Story Mode selection, then Chronicle Mode, which allows you to replay maps at will once the are unlocked. Following that is the Free Mode, a mode I'll cover more in depth below. The last two selections are the Dojo and the Options. Dojo allows you to manage save data and create your own characters, which you use later in the Free Mode.
When you choose either Story or Chronicle Mode, you're treated to the screen to the right. There are thirteen different stages you can choose from, ranging from the one shown to others across the country of Japan, chronicling the history of the Warring States period. Some liberties are taken with history, as is par for the course with Warriors game, but the overarching story follows history fairly closely. Indeed, some stages require you to complete previously unlocked stages, so the history contained within the game seems to be fairly accurate.
When you choose a battlefield within a stage, you are treated to first the character select screen - where you choose a primary and secondary character - and then the battlefield info screen, where you can change weapons and items and get the overall lay of the land before you're thrown into battle. One difference of note in this game is that the items you choose no longer appear to permanently alter your stats like other Warriors games; instead, they act as temporary buffs that you can activate within combat - some items restore health, while others increase your attack or defense for a short period of time. This makes each item useful, as opposed to previous games where you could get by easily by stacking the highest level amulets available.
After making your choices, you are thrown onto the map in a form that is very similar to previous games. Samurai Warriors 4 offers far more mobility on the battlefield than previous games, as well as changing up the control scheme considerably. In previous iterations, your controls were limited to random interspersions of your strong attack within a long string of your weak, spammable attack, with sporadic uses of your Musou ability so you could empty the gauge for refilling. Here in SW4, your typical strong attack button is instead replaced with a Hyper Attack. This functions much the same way as your previous weak attack, with your other button acting as your new strong attack (Square, Square, Square, Triangle is one type of combo, while Triangle, Triangle, Triangle, Square does a different type of combo). Further, Hyper Attack usually involves dashing forward a short distance while attacking, which is ideal for jumping between groups of cannon fodder a la the above picture. Where Hyper Attack fails, however, is against enemy commanders. In true weak attack form, commanders automatically repel Hyper Attacks, making you switch back to your normal button hammering. However, like how Hyper Attack changed combos, there's a chance while beating on an enemy commander to proc the ability to deal considerably more damage. If you hit a certain button at the right time - usually right after a certain combo chain - your character can go through a very fancy attack flourish that has the potential to take half or more of the target's health.
Previously I mentioned primary and secondary characters. Well, while in battle, you can hit the Options button and switch between the two characters interchangeably. It's a system that unfortunately was not very well explained, but if used properly, you can effectively be in two places at once on the battlefield, allowing you to control the flow far more efficiently than some previous games - though not quite as well as some Dynasty Warriors iterations where you can issue orders to every commander on the field.
In the course of your battles, you may be given bonus objectives. They may require you to defeat enemy commanders with certain allied commanders, or to defeat them with a certain combo count. The objectives vary, but they are a good source of income and items early on, which makes them worth seeking out and completing. My only complaint about objectives and bonus objectives is that they appear to happen very frequently, and each one of them pulls you out of the combat and shows you a screen like the one shown here. It gets somewhat tiresome, having so many breaks from combat, but it's a fairly minor complaint - and possibly one that is solved through going into Chronicle Mode over Story Mode.
Lastly, we have Free Mode. After choosing your created character, you are allowed to choose a region in Japan. This region is where you begin your Free Campaign. There's no real story, and you are free to play however you like. At intervals, you have interactions with fellow commanders that you've encountered and swayed to your side, and your choices in these interactions can increase your relationship level with them - previous games have had a similar system, though it seems to be far more obvious this time around. Each node on the map screen above counts as a different location, and each move counts as a day; after your move, the other models on the map have a move of their own, so you can encounter them on a node randomly after moving. Meeting them on a map either takes you to the shop screen - in the case of traveling merchants - or to a battlefield screen with randomly generated objectives. It's a mode in which each playthrough can return vastly different results, so it's always an exciting mode to play through. I have yet to complete a game so I'm not entirely sure what happens when you complete it - or even if there *is* a completion to it - but it's quite an engaging way to pass the time.
My Verdict: despite being very similar to many other games in the Warriors franchise, Samurai Warriors 4 is a very solid interpretation, with enough changes to make it feel very fresh. I would definitely recommend this game, even over Warriors Orochi 3. Being a seasooned veteran of Dynasty Warriors, Samurai Warriors gives a refreshingly different area of history to explore, one that I am very interested in learning more about.
So it's Halloween the night of ghost and ghouls. What better way to celebrate than playing some Dead Space. Enjoy the replay on Youtube and watch me live stream over at twitch.tv/techiegamer. Follow me on Twitch to get notified when I go live. Thanks and enjoy.
This time up on 60 Minute Reviews: The "Fixed deck" card game, Sentinels of the Multiverse, published by Handrlebra Games!
This is a mobile port of an actual game put out by GreaterThanGames, and you can purchase that at http://sentinelsofthemultiverse.com/
I am playing this by on my Nexus 5 phone, and the game works very well translated to the small screen, they obviously have put a lot of effort into making the game playable on any stronger device you want. There is also an iOS version up for your gaming goodness.
This is another 60MR that I am using the words "60 Minute" loosely, mainly because one game took an hour, and I wanted to give it a few more before I felt comfortable with reviewing it. That brings me to my only major complaint with the game, it takes a long time for each turn. This can be a huge deal as this game also EATS THE WHOLE BATTERY! You can run into a game where it is not over and your battery dies. That is alright though, because the game saves your data.
I love the stories on each character, completely making you think that these comics are all real, each backstory is fantastic, if a little trope-y. The gameplay is easy to learn, and the tutorial is fantastic, but only a little more wordy than is wanted. You tend to catch on quickly though.
That being said, I am playing the hell out of this game, and will continue to do so. This is a staple on my phone now, and I will love it, hug it, and hold it forever.
60 Minute Review Score: 9/10
This time up on 60 Minute Reviews: the latest addition to one of the biggest franchises in video game history, Skylanders: Trap Team on the 3DS!
This is my first time around on the Skylanders train. I have seen the toys, games, and the hype, just never got into it. This time around though, I found out about this on the 3DS, and I recently got one, and fell in love with the idea. Because, you know, I have too much time and money as it is.
I am a sucker for a good 3D platformer, and have been since the Spyro and Crash Bandicoot days, and I have to say, after setting up the scanner for the "Trap Masters", which did indeed take a few minutes, I really got into the game.
If you're looking for the next evolution of the platformer, or a hugely in depth storyline, this is not your game. You got Skylanders because you have kids, or realize this is kid friendly, and want to play with the awesome looking toys they have in the stores. This game does indeed deliver on that, with a solid platformer experience, and a lot of family friendly fun.
In the game itself, you have an almost Pokemon experience where you have to trap the villains, and use them for mini games and missions. Unlike the main game, you do not have to use the separately sold traps to capture the villains, just a mini game.
That leads to my main complaint with this, it is a watered down version of the main version of the game (review coming up soon on that). The plot is very abbreviated, and you just feel a muddied down mentality to the entire game Also the fact you lose the ability to have the entire features of the game. Again, because I have too much money and time and want to spend money on capturing them all. I have a Pokemon issue, but that is a different story for an upcoming review.
60 Minute Review: 7/10
This time on 60 Minute Reviews, the prequal to the Ar Tonelico series of games, Gust's Ar Nosurge!
I use the term "60 minute" loosely on this, as it is more like a 90 minute review; like most JRPGs, the first hour or so is tutorial and exposition. This is helpful because this is a sequel to a game, Ciel Nosurge, which was never released in North America. Since the relationships between the characters are such driving forces in the narrative, this introduction to the story is essential to players getting caught up.
Once you get into the game, the artwork is a little odd, but I'm not the hugest fan of cell-shading, I have since gotten used to it, which is nice. The music involved in this game however could not be more the opposite. It is beautiful, melodious, and is really tempting me to buy the soundtrack.
The battle system in this game is a bit of a mish-mash. It is turn based, but active combat, with a once-per-turn magic ability, that only certain characters can use. Basically the male characters can hit people and the female characters can fry people with their immense scary power. This is made more frightening considering the godly powered spell-singers are all petite pretty girls. The combat is easy to learn, but is hard to master, as you have to make sure you are on tempo and are in control. This is not a look away and jam X until dead battle system.
Speaking of the girls, MAN is there a lot of fan service in this game!
Like most games from Japan, they do not shy away from the sexy time, and just like every other game in the series, you have to connect with the girls in order to unlock stronger spells. This allows for some hilarious plays on JRPG tropes while also giving you the T&A that Japan thinks we need. I'm not arguing, just stating a fact.
All in all, I loved all of the Ar Tonelico games, and I'm already sold on this. The one hang-up of the art has stopped being an issue, and as I get further, I am sure the battle system will fully work itself out.
60 Minute Review rating: 8/10
Senran Kagura Shinovi Versus was released for the PS Vita on February 28, 2013 in Japan and October 14, 2014 in North America, with a European release following on October 15.
Senran Kagura is a 3D Brawler in a similar vein as the Dynasty Warriors franchise. However, due to the limitations of the Vita system, it doesn't feature quite as much depth in terms of AI or enemy count, but it does seem to offer larger aerial capabilities.
Right after getting into the game, you are given a choice between three 'schools': Hanzou Academy, Gessen Academy, and Hebijo Academy. Each have their own story, and after a short Visual Novel introduction, you are free to move around.
The above screen is what you see once the original exposition is finished. You can either move around the room - there are also NPCs you can speak to who have different dialog depending on where you are within the story - or you can hit the right trigger and open the screen to the right, which allows quicker navigation.
I'll skip Missions for now, since those lead into the bread and butter of the game. Dojo takes you into the multiplayer with the game. As, at the time of review, the game is not out yet, I haven't been able to test this mode just yet, but it seems to be fairly well designed from what I've seen. The Dressing Room allows you to alter the outfits of the heroines, using articles of clothing or accessories you have bought or obtained during missions. The Library functions as its namesake: it holds all the unlocked pictures, videos, songs and your overall score. Some items are given over the course of the missions, while others can be bought through the Store, which I'll cover right now. As the name suggests, the Store is your go-to for buying clothes, accessories, and Library entries. It also has the appropriately named Lingerie Lottery which, as you might surmise, allows you to bet money (Zeni) to get new Lingerie for your heroines. There are 98 pieces of Lingerie to collect and each time you bet money, the chance to get a new piece decreases. You can also presumably buy lottery tokens from the PS Store for some amount of money that is currently unknown. These are probably ideal, since each token gives you a 100% chance to get a new item, but depending on the cost, might be exorbitant.
Moving down to Character, this allows you to change characters - however you can do this through the Dressing Room by hitting the Left or Right Trigger, so the use of the Character menu is to allow you to examine each character's stats and combo list. I find this selection to be fairly unnecessary, but it might get its mileage later on. At any rate, Records allow you to save outside missions - which allow you to save after every one - as well as load a different save or delete. Settings should be self-explanatory, since it's the same menu you are probably familiar with from any number of other games. Finally, the selection hiding under the watermark on the right is to Change Schools. You are allowed to change your school at any time from this screen, and I believe it resets the story - each school has its own story, and what you do in each doesn't appear to crossover between schools.
Finally, to the meat of the game. Missions allow you to choose between story missions or character submissions. Story missions progress the main story and demonstrate the relations between the different schools you can choose from. Character submissions follow a specific character and help flesh out her backstory. They appear to consist of five missions, in which you fight against a group of cannon fodder, and a boss. Sometimes there are waves you have to complete, other times you are pitted against the boss from the outset.
Once inside one of the missions, which all seem to function basically the same, the brawling portion of the game begins. As previously mentioned, you fight a group of enemies plus a boss. The controls are very similar to Dynasty Warriors, with the Square Button being your standard weak attack, Triangle being your strong attack (and combo ender), Circle allowing a dodge move and Cross being your jump. There is also your Shinobi Transformation button, typically assigned to the Left Trigger, which acts as both a strategic move and a game changer. When used, the Transformation restores your health to full, while also modifying your attacks. In addition, your attack and defense go up, which helps tremendously if you're fighting a particularly challenging boss.
However, bosses also have access to this Transformation, and will typically use it when they are down around twenty to thirty percent health. This provides them the same benefits afforded to you, so be warned. Also, as astute readers might notice form the image to the right, there is another system in play. The more damage you take, the more damage your clothes take. I haven't yet figured out the point behind this system entirely, but I have noticed that if you use one of your Shinobi Arts on the boss - you refill this bar through combat, and at certain intervals gain more - while they are in this state of...undress, it destroys a piece of their lingerie according to which form of Art is used. As I mentioned, it's a fairly interesting and seemingly unnecessary system, but maybe it has a use later on that I have not encountered as of yet.
Completing the mission takes you to the level up screen. Based on the stats on your mission complete screen before this, you gain more levels. Mastery refers to the power within each 'stance' available to each heroine: Flash refers to your pre-Transformation power; Yang refers to your post-Transformation power; and Yin refers to your power within 'Frantic Mode', an activated mode in which your clothes are completely stripped, but your attack skyrockets, making you a literal glass cannon. You can very easily be destroyed in Frantic Mode, but it allows you to chain your weak attack indefinitely, which would allow you to juggle the boss indefinitely as long as you're careful of your surroundings.
Last thing I want to cover slightly is the animation. Considering you're dealing with dozens of enemies on the screen and many of them are probably being hit by attacks, the animation is quite fluid. In fact, in the missions I have completed, I have experienced little to no slowdown - I say little, since if there was any slowdown I did not notice anything.
Verdict: Senran Kagura Shinovi Versus is a fairly odd game. On the surface, it's very 'fanservicey' (a term used in anime and manga to denote elements added simply to please its fans) with its additions of the lingerie and stripping mechanics. When you delve deeper, however, the systems in place show an understanding of brawling games in a similar vein to Dynasty Warriors. All in all, it's a strange combination, but I think they did a great job. The story seems to be a typical anime story, but the gameplay is engaging enough to make me want to keep playing. Further, the grading system inherent in mission completion gives you a way to aim for a high score in any given mission. I will continue playing this game in weeks to come, and I would recommend it to anyone with a Vita.
Sorry for the length between reviews; Destiny stole my soul for the month of September - a review is forthcoming for that as well - but I managed to wrest control of my soul from the maw of Destiny and make a triumphant return.
Anyway, Warriors Orochi 3 Ultimate was originally released on the PS3 and Vita on September 26, 2013, with the PS4 version released on September 2, 2014. This review comes based on the PS4 version of the game.
A bit of backstory on this series. The Warriors Orochi series is a cross-over of the Dynasty Warriors and the Samurai Warriors franchises. As such, it features popular characters of both, as well as very similar gameplay elements. Not having played the WO series prior, I wasn't too familiar with the storyline of the series, but they give you a short introduction before the first mission to bring even veterans of the series up to speed. However, despite my lack of background with WO, I knew about what I was getting into when entering this game due to my history with the Dynasty Warriors property.
If you've played any entry into any of the three properties involved here - DW, SW or WO - then you're familiar with the gameplay. You play a main general whose sole job is to cut swathes of enemies apart. The PS4 entry is especially sweet, due to the sheer processing power of the system, bringing untold hundreds of AI enemies onto your screen at any time. Also, WO uses the weapon system from previous games in a unique way: Instead of switching weapons, you switch between generals, each with their own moveset and flair. This allows you to keep combos moving nearly indefinitely, only failing to continue when you run out of fodder to destroy.
The story for WO3 follows years after the events of WO2, in which the titular Orochi is finally killed. The opening mission in WO3 is based on the Hydra, a megabeast destroying its way through the warriors in the world. You are a leader in a coalition army that attacks the Hydra's base of operations, and your job is to kill it. Unfortunately, it further massacres your army, and you are forced to flee. When all seems lost, the remnants of the army are rescued by the goddess Kaguya, who uses her powers to allow the heroes to travel back in time and save their comrades from their deaths.
The above screenshot shows the camp, your base of operation during Story Mode. Here, you can chat with the other officers you have access to, and you can also use the Blacksmith you can see in that picture to upgrade your weapons and buy more to further upgrade them. Adding in Sockets and Attributes to fill those sockets, the relatively simple system becomes somewhat more complicated. There may be special weapons and attributes, but I have yet to encounter any just yet.
After leaving the camp, you are able to choose your mission and are taken to a very familiar screen for veterans of the series. Here, you can change weapons and accessories on your characters, take a look at each army's members, and accept side missions that are are to be completed during the mission. It also shows a map of the battlefield and you are free to begin planning your route of attack, if you so choose.
Finally, hitting Begin Battle takes you to the actual battlefield. Again, for veterans of the series, this comes as nothing new. The map from the Preparation Screen appears again - and is very helpful in thwarting the opposing army's movements, since it shows every move made by any member of any army and will end up being one of your main weapons against the enemy.
The battlefields each have their own win conditions, but I've always been partial to the 'kill all of the things' condition which, while it may take a while, is not only satisfying but also ensures optimum experience gain for the team you took into the mission. It's rare, but enemy commanders can drop an item that puts you in a state called "EXP Fever" in which every enemy killed drops an EXP satchel, which vastly increases speed of leveling and becoming stronger.
Verdict: If you are a fan of the Dynasty Warriors franchise, Warriors Orochi 3 is a very solid entry to the genre. It's quite satisfying to rack up thousands of kills in the span of a battle, and the harder difficulties are challenging enough to make even the highest level characters sweat in the course of each battle.
By: CJ Boat
In this segment, we play a game for 60 minutes (give or take) and give our first thoughts about the game. This will of course be followed up with the full review later.
Game: Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic
Publisher: Aspyr Media
This game is a port of the 2003 Xbox classic by BioWare, ported to Apple iOS in 2013. I played the heck out of the game back when it was first released, beating it both as pure Sith and Pure Jedi, if I could have gotten achievements, I would have gotten them all.
I'm always a little leery of ports to mobile as they tend to do odd things to emulate the controls of the original. This KOTOR doesn't try that at all. They go for a point/click control system that works AMAZINGLY on the iPad (where I'm playing it) , the graphics translate very well as well, the game looks better than the original version. I'm guessing because there was no pressure and they could focus on fixing the issues that plagued the original, as there are no glaring bugs that I have been able to find.
That being said, doors are almost all impenetrable so far, but I didn't find them able to be destroyed until later if I remember correctly. Other than that, it's a fantastic port, even though I am only to the cantina on the first planet, I took time creating my character. This time I'm going straight blaster Jedi, to try something different.
60 minute review score: 9/10
Sword Art Online: Hollow Fragment was published by Bandai Namco Games and released in Japan on April 23, 2014, Hong Kong on May 29, and North America on August 19 (with Europe and Australia following on the 20th) for the Playstation Vita.
For those unaware of the source material, Sword Art Online takes place entirely in a VRMMO (Virtual Reality MMO, using new technology called the NerveGear, a headset capable of intercepting all brain communication to the body, translating that movement into the game) that has been turned into a death game - upon logging in, the ten thousand players find that they are unable to log out, and are told by the creator Kayaba Akihiko that dying in game will mean you die in the real world. The series follows a beta tester of the game known by the user handle Kirito and, for the sake of this article, his exploits within Aincrad, the world within the SAO game.
Hollow Fragment - and it's predecessor, Infinity Moment - actually takes place in an alternate timeline from the source material. In the Light Novel and Anime series, the game comes to an end when Kirito and Kayaba have a duel on the 75th floor of Aincrad, in which Kirito wins and everyone is logged out. In the games, however, Aincrad appears to glitch when Kirito lands the finishing blow, and the death game continues. Thus, the group moves on to complete the game as intended, since they have no other choice.
Luckily for North Americans, Hollow Fragment also contains a High Definition version of Infinity Moment, the PSP game released in 2013 in Japan, which means NA users can finally experience the story laid out within IM. A downside from this is that there are technically two stories within the game, and aside from a couple small connections, they are largely independent. Because of this, I intend to review both portions as separate entities.
The gameplay for both portions are deceptively simple. You're given three sets of skill palettes: the four face buttons naturally, and a set tied to the four face buttons for both the left and the right trigger, bringing the total of quickly usable skills to 12. Further, the left and right triggers also allow you to issue orders to your party member through the D-Pad. The default Circle button is tied to your 'Burst Attack', which is basically a sword combo which culminates in a changeable Sword Skill. While it is possible to get through most, if not all, of the game using just this attack, it is far more satisfying to vary your attacks according to the opponent. As such, the game is at once an Action RPG and a Tactical RPG. In many fights, I find myself switching - Down on the D-Pad during combat, and an ability that basically transfers all aggro from you to your partner - frequently with my party member, moving from attack to support with ease. This allows you to heal up between major boss attacks - or even allow your partner to take the damage which may kill you. One has to be mindful however, since if either you or your partner dies, it's game over and you have to start from the last autosave, which is far more annoying that you might think. Still, I've found the AI partner much hardier than myself at times, so it comes down to knowledge of your opponent and your skill at issuing orders during combat.
As mentioned previously, the story is made up of two parts. The first that I'll cover is the Infinity Moment story line. This starts immediately after the assault team moves up to the 76th floor of Aincrad. Arc Sophia acts as your base of operation, since the team quickly finds themselves unable to return to the lower floors due to the glitch that occurred when Kirito defeated Kayaba. Soon, the girls that Kirito has befriended during the game previously also come to the floor and are trapped. The story progresses simply: beat the floor boss and continue to the next floor to do it all again. Luckily, each floor has it's own flavor, which makes each floor fascinating to wander around. My only gripe about this portion of the game stems from the size of each floor, but that stems from the limitation of the original PSP hardware as opposed to being indicative of the game itself. The environments that I've seen in the lower areas are unique enough to make each new floor fresh.
The second part of the story is the Hollow Fragment story line. This is where many players will spend the bulk of their time, since it's absolutely massive. The story line begins as soon as the game begins, and is how the game introduces you to the basic gameplay. Kirito is suddenly teleported to an unknown area, where he meets an Orange player named Philia (Since this is a death game, PvP is generally frowned upon, but many players thrived on killing; the normal cursor color is green, while players who have committed crimes, such as theft or murder, have orange). She begins to attack Kirito, but then a large enemy appears and you have to kill it and this fight acts as the basic tutorial for the game. The Hollow Fragment story is very much a story about Philia, so in order to progress through it, you have to have her in your party. It takes you through five major zones within the Hollow Area, which is a testing ground for the Cardinal System - the main governing program for Sword Art Online - and developers. As expected, items found within the Hollow Area are far more powerful than many items on Aincrad, which means that if you're looking for a challenge in Aincrad, it's best to do much of that first. I chose to do the Hollow Area first, which means I'm basically steamrolling my way through Aincrad.
Outside of the separate stories, Hollow Fragment adds many other systems that were not in Infinity Moment. For instance, while it wasn't explained very well within the game, Hollow Fragment adds something called an "Implement System". The basic premise of this is that you are given certain requirements, and upon completion you'll unlock skills, items, and weapons. Some of the strongest items in the game are gated behind Implements. The requirements range from completing a thousand sword skills to taking five hundred thousand damage. Upon completing a requirement (of which only one can be 'checked' at any given time), you are given access to the subitems connected to it. Some of the implements are very grindy, and I've found myself zoning out while farming them out during hollow missions - random spawn missions that range from killing a boss to heading to an area without getting into battles.
As well as adding the Implement system, Hollow Fragment also adds Ad-Hoc Multiplayer into the game. Ad-Hoc is very limited since you have to be near other players in order to do so, but at least there's a multiplayer system here that was lacking in the previous PSP game. It is also possible to go into multiplayer alone, which allows you to bring up to four other player characters with you, so it makes killing some bosses much easier. It was also brought to my attention that chest you have not opened in single player appear in multiplayer, and opening them there does not open them in single player, making it easy to farm chests for lucrative items or cash. It was further brought up that this was a glitch that has been fixed in the JP and HK versions of the game, and will be fixed in a big patch coming to the US on September 23. Glitch or no, it's a good way to gain cash early on, so early adopters will be able to easily and quickly farm for these drops to pad their cash flow.
Finally, completing the Hollow Fragment story opens up a dungeon call the Concealed Area. It's basically a one hundred floor dungeon as of writing has no checkpoints, so if you want to complete it, you must do so in a single bound. The aforementioned update will add checkpoints, which will make it much easier to complete. I haven't yet hit a level where I feel comfortable actually using this place, but I've read that it's the best source of XP in the entire game, so once I finish the story I'll probably be farming this place.
There's also a small 'dating sim' type game here, where you basically woo the heroines within the game. They never really explain this within the game, but getting the heroine's affection level to five gives a trophy, so it's something a trophy hunter must learn how to complete if they intend to receive the platinum for this game. It's highly recommended to do this portion while doing something else, since it's very easy to get bored by it all. Aside from the trophies, there's very little need to do this portion, so you can generally ignore it. Further, each heroine has four alternate costumes that are unlocked by praising them when they use a skill that falls under one of three parameters: Attack, Defense, and Buff. As before, this is fairly grindy, so I've been doing this while farming Implements, since you can force the heroines into one of those paths beforehand and raise her parameters during the grind.
Aside from the few gripes I've mentioned above, there is one that I still find myself shuddering from: the translation. While it is better than the English translation within the HK version, it's still *very* Engrishy. There are times where I cringe reading a line. Some lines are better than others, but far too many are horrid. I wish Bamco had taken a bit longer on localization for the sole purpose of ironing out the translation. The game itself is very solid, but the translation makes it very hard to recommend to people who aren't familiar with the series - also the spoilers from the opening sequences are pretty huge.
Verdict: due to the nature of this game, I'll break it down into three categories:
- If you watched or read SAO before, this game is a good addition the the mythos, despite being a separate entity.
- If you haven't watched or read the series previously and plan to, I would recommend staying away from the game until you've done so, since there are spoilers within this game.
- if you don't care about spoilers and enjoy hours of mindless gameplay, this game is definitely for you.
Finally, it's also a game very much aimed at trophy hunters, due to the nature of some of the trophies. All in all, it's a game I'll end up returning to from time to time once I finish it, since I very much enjoy the ability to spend hours farming in a game that's fun to play.
Google has been beaten to the punch in buying the video game streaming service Twitch by Amazon. Amazon has announced today that, " Amazon will Acquire all of the outstanding shares of Twitch for approximately $970 million in cash."
In a letter from the CEO of Twitch Emmett Shear he stated that, "Today, I’m pleased to announce we’ve been acquired by Amazon. We chose Amazon because they believe in our community, they share our values and long-term vision, and they want to help us get there faster."
Shear went on to assure that they will be keeping mostly everything the same with their office, employees, the brand as well as their independence.
Akiba's Trip: Undead and Undressed was published by Acquire and released in Japan on November 7th 2013 for PS3 and PS Vita, and July 3rd, 2014 for PS4. XSEED Games localized it for North America, which released August 12th, 2014 for PS3 and PS Vita, with a PS4 release coming November 4th, 2014. The review was on the PS Vita.
I was very surprised when I heard this game was getting a NA localization, since the premise is quite...obscure for many American gamers. The main character is Nanashi, a high school age boy living in the Akihabara district of Tokyo, Japan. The story begins with Nanashi learning that he was transformed into a Synthister, a vampire-like creature that feeds off the life energy of humans living within Akihabara. Not long after, another main character appears, a young girl by the name of Shizuku Tokikaze. A short tutorial battle ensues, after which there is more exposition, before finally opening the exploration portion.
The story revolves around the Synthisters and why they're feeding within Akihabara, as well as a lot of backstory on Shizuku. The main story is set in stone, however there are five 'routes' within it; these routes revolve around the affection level of five of the main female protagonists, and show different angles of the same general struggle.
The gameplay is fairly addictive. Outside of the visual novel portions, you have two additional angles: Exploration and Combat. Exploration sets you in a near perfect representation of the Akihabara district. Those familiar with Akiba (A diminutive of Akihabara) will delight in seeing some of their favorite locales within the game. For those not, it serves as a nice intro to the district, should one decide to travel there. Additionally, you can receive flyers in-game for real stores and cafés within Akiba, with a trophy for those who collect all of those flyers.
Combat within the game is deceptively simple. On the surface, it's quite basic: hitting Triangle targets the enemy's head, Circle hits their chest, and Cross their legs. The goal of this is to strip your opponents - being vampiric, Synthisters melt in the sun (though covered later in the story, and not relevant to events, by melting they turn back into normal humans instead of completely dying). Conversely, you also have to be mindful to not be stripped yourself, else you hit a game over screen - though the game allows you to redo any combat quest following, so long as you choose to continue. It's quite simple, until you factor in blocking and strip chains, and unblockable attacks, etc. For the unwary, it's entirely possible to be completely overwhelmed by your opponents on higher difficulties, but once you understand the nuances of combat, the game evens out in difficulty.
To add a level of depth, you can change your clothes and weapons to numerous different varieties. You can collect them from the NPCs that spawn in each zone - though you have to level up your Strip Skill for that clothing style. Without a maxed Skill, the clothing has a high chance to 'rip', rendering it useless to everyone and disappearing to the nether. Once it maxes, you can gather all the clothing to your heart's content.
Finally, there are two parts that pad the length of gameplay: Side Quests and the Battle Arena. The Arena is quite simple. Each level - F, D, E, B, A, and S, in order from lowest to highest rank - pits you against three groups of opponents, the goal being the same as any combat within the game: to strip the opponent. Early levels are populated with groups you can find wandering the streets naturally, while the final levels have unique gear that can only be found in the battle arena. Sadly, there is no way to repeat a set without restarting the game (I'll cover that slightly later), so be careful if you go in with less than max Strip Skills and want the unique clothing.
Side Quests function like any other game that has side quests; you accept the quest, and then complete it to the satisfaction of the giver. The side quests can be failed if you don't complete them in a timely fashion - usually within two or three story missions - so it's a good idea to complete them as soon as you accept them. They range from combat (There's an annoying man who runs around making train noises all day) to search quests (A maid cafe is opening and you're looking for new maids to work there). They all give money, so it's a good way to gain cash early on.
Last thing to cover are gripes. The game is fun, but unfortunately comes with some downsides. The combat sometimes causes the frame rate to suffer, and the hit detection sometimes misses the mark entirely. Once you figure out the timing, it doesn't affect the combat too much, but it is slightly annoying that one even has to learn how to move around the stuttering frame rate. Additionally, the game sometimes chooses to not load important quest targets - not a problem for Main Quests, which load when you enter the requisite area, but having to search an area for minutes at a time for a quest target that's standing in a corner that you checked right before is troublesome. A simple increase of loading precedence of these targets would solve this issue, but until then it's definitely an issue. Finally, the lack of a targeting system is my main gripe. During combat, not being able to target an enemy right next to you - instead preferring a target on the other side of the battlefield - was the cause of multiple game over screens for me. I would've liked a simple targeting system to make it much easier to complete quests.
Verdict: If you're in the market for an off-the-wall JRPG that may or may not be appropriate for others to watch you play, buy this. The few gripes I have are minor to the fun I had playing this. Also, being able to choose to play the game entirely in Japanese - in the English port - gives it a big boost for those who are learning the language. Very few English releases of JRPGs like this allow you to change the written language into Japanese, so being able to do it sets it above the rest I've found so far.
Rogue Legacy is a 2D sidescrolling roguelike that was released on June 27, 2013 for Microsoft Windows, October 16, 2013 for Mac and Linux, and July 29, 2014 on PS3, PS4, and Vita. This review is for the Vita, but it should translate well to any system.
Aside from a short tutorial at the beginning, it doesn't seem to emphasize the story. Throughout your playthroughs, you encounter journal entries around the castle that flesh out the story. The main foyer of the castle also contains a massive doorway with recesses for the 'bosses' so it's possible there's a true story that I have yet to truly find.
The gameplay is solid. The enemies move predictably enough to plan out your attacks, while your character moves just slowly enough at times that if you miss a strike, you can easily die. And you will die. The game is designed around using the money you gain on each dungeon run to upgrade your character's stats. Further, the game has a system that keeps you from banking your money: before you enter the dungeon, you encounter an NPC named 'Charon' who takes all of your money - which can be lessened by the aforementioned character upgrades. Given this, you need to be mindful of your upgrades before entering each time. If you don't find enough gold in each run before you die, you're forced to start over with no money.
When you begin, you get to choose between three randomly generated characters. They have a randomly generated class (which determines how you play each run), a randomly generated spell (though if your class is archmage, you can switch between spells) and randomly generated traits. Some traits are meaningless, while others change the way the character plays. Alzheimer's, for example, make it so your character can't use the map setting - however the normal in-game minimap works as intended. Dwarfism makes you really tiny, and Gigantism makes you huge. However, Flexible and Clumsy in the above image appear to have no real use. Some traits are awesome to have (ADHD makes you move faster and OCD gives you MP for breaking objects) while others are annoying (Near and Farsightedness make some portion of your screen blurry, and Dementia makes you see enemies that aren't there), but all of them brings a new flavor to each playthrough. You can have at most 2 traits, or as few as none, so each new heir keeps things exciting.
You start out with a few classes available, and you unlock other classes through gold. Each class also has a boosted version, which have a special ability that makes them unique - the Barbarian King, for example can shout (reminiscent of the Unrelenting Force shout from Skyrim, which is an amusing nod to that series). Once you choose your class, you begin on the manor screen, where you buy character upgrades. After running by your vendors and paying your toll to Charon, you're on. Each dungeon is randomly generated, though you can pledge some money to a vendor to keep a certain layout. Unfortunately, I'm not too familiar with this feature, but the idea is spectacular.
The dungeon itself is divided into 4 distinct sections: The Castle, The Tower, The Forest and The Dungeon. Each area has a certain level range within it, with The Castle being the lowest. Each area also contains a boss which, when defeated, does not respawn. This makes death a little bit easier to complete your mission...if you can survive the journey to the next boss.
The best thing about this game is that it was cross-buy and cross-save, which means you get three games in one and you can play on any system at any time and keep your current status. This made the $16.99 price tag worth it for me.
Final Verdict: Buy. The first bit of the game is annoying, but once you get a handle on the enemies and survival, it makes the rest of the game fall into line relatively easily. I've never been a big fan of roguelikes, but this kept me entertained for hours, so I'm curious about trying other roguelikes in the future.
All this week the Humble Store is have a Square Enix sale with up to 75% off some great games. The Game of the Year Edition of Tomb Raider 2013 for $7.49 along with some of the other Tomb Raider Titles, Final Fantasy VII and VIII for $5.99, Final Fantasy III for $7.99 and many others. Head on over the The Humble Bundle Store to check out the full list of games.
Source: Humble Store
Blue Estate is a rail shooter brought to us by the minds over at HeSaw. From what I can tell, it's their first venture into game design, so don't feel bad if you haven't heard of the company before now. It was released June 25, 2014 on PS4 and on Xbox One seemingly in the future. Also, it's a game adaptation of a graphic novel by the same name, written by Viktor Kalvachev and Kosta Yanev.
The first thing I notice about the game is a tongue-in-cheek disclaimer that pops up before the game begins, which basically sets the tone for the game - spoiler: it's not all that serious of a game. After a quick gyroscope orientation, you're treated to a screen with a - very well animated, admittedly - scantily-clad lady on a stripper pole. Again, sets the tone for the rest of the game.
The story doesn't appear to be much of a priority. Once you get past a second tongue-in-cheek disclaimer, it introduces us to our narrator, Roy Devine, Jr. who is a private investigator in Los Angeles. The storytelling feels like an attempt at an old Dick Tracy movie, if Dick Tracy was a nerdy fat kid. After some wandering narration which sets up the story, it's time to begin.
We are introduced to Tony Luciano, one of our actual protagonists. Being the son of the West Coast Cosa Nostra mob boss Don Luciano, Tony was somewhat of a loose cannon. We are told that he was the manager of a strip joint, and his best stripper goes missing (the same stripper from the opening screen), so he goes to the competing club nearby, owned by another pair of mob bosses, and the shooting begins.
If you've ever played a rail shooter before, you've played them all. Like House of the Dead and Time Crisis before it, Blue Estate plays much the same way. You move through well-crafted set pieces, blowing off faces (and nuts, as this game includes 'Nutshots' in addition to the standard headshot) as you aim to finish the level. The game doesn't appear to add anything exceedingly new to the genre, though the touchbar on the Dual Shock 4 gives another form of interaction, and is used to melee in small quick time events.
One of the things that stand out is the art. The art direction is crisp, exciting and the backdrops that you are blowing through look real and have depth. Also, from what I've seen, it's mostly destructible. Bullets do real damage to your surroundings, so the cover you were standing behind can suddenly disappear, but you can do the same to the enemy's cover as well. Shooting people in the face with a shotgun will send them flying, which is quite satisfying indeed.
The other thing that stands out is the writing. While the story doesn't seem very good, the banter during missions seems to work. As you're blowing away enemies, the protagonist spouts tacky one liners, some of which actually made me giggle a few times. If they took away any semblance of true story, the one liners could carry the game almost entirely, I feel.
That is where my praise ends, unfortunately. The controls and handling feel very spotty. You're only really using 4 buttons, but they give you no way to reassign the controls so the normal shooter controller layout (The right trigger shoot, and the left trigger recenters your gyroscope instead of zooming) feels awkward. Further, you're constantly moving your controller around since the aiming is controlled by the controller's gyroscope. In theory this sounds fantastic, but I found it wasn't quite as sensitive as I would've liked it to be. One of the first things I like to do with FPS games is to adjust the joystick sensitivity to make it more responsive. Not having that capability felt quite frustrating, considering you're trying to make precise shots at times. Having to go from one corner of the screen to the exact opposite side in fractions of seconds frustrated me immensely. If we had a way to turn up the sensitivity of the gyroscope - or turn it off entirely - I would be alright with that, but unfortunately they didn't give us that option. I have also been informed that it does not have Playstation Move capability, so you're stuck with the controller gyroscope. As it stands, it feels like an easy way to get carpel tunnel even faster than otherwise.
My verdict: the spotty controls coupled with the bland story make this almost painful to play through. I played on the easiest difficulty, so I'm sure my gripes would be much worse if I had tried it at a higher difficulty. I'd rather then go to the arcade and play a true rail shooter. No amount of witty banter or beautiful backdrops can save this game in my eyes.