Archive for the ‘Games’ Category

Ryu’s Musings – Dark Rose Valkyrie (PS4)

Posted on June 16th, 2017 by Ryu Sheng | No Comments

DRVA1_PackArt_PR_2DLanguage: Audio: English & Japanese; Subs: English
Developer: Compile Heart
Publisher: Idea Factory
Format: PS4
Type: JRPG
Demo Box: PS4 Pro
Synopsis: 1929 was the year of the Chimera Virus outbreak. Defend the world from Chimeras as Asahi, the new leader of Japan’s covert military agency (ACID) in Dark Rose Valkyrie. Featuring the talents of Tales of scenario writer Takumi Miyajima and and Tales of character designer Kosuke Fujishima, this action RPG for the PlayStation4 system features real-time combat as well as an overdrive mode to gain the edge in battle. As the story develops, you must seek out the traitor through a visual novel interview system in your unit before it’s too late.

Take the fight into Overdrive! Characters can transform into their stronger split personalities mid-battle, but be strategic – too many transformations will lead to Fatigue. Customise Combos! Customise attacks for each character, and do more damage with Riot Combos. A Traitor Amongst You Depending on your choices, one team member will betray you. Find the traitor in visual-novel style interrogation sequences, and change the game’s ending.

Two of Japan’s ‘greats’ come together for this game: Kosuke Fujushima the creator of Ah My Goddess, and Takumi Miyajima script writer for Tales of Symphonia and Tales of Abyss. Together with the team from Compile Heart they set out to make a great JRPG. Did they succeed? Let’s see….

You play as Asahi, a new recruit to a special unit being deployed to fight a virus, that turns people into monsters. How team is mostly cute girls wielding giant oversized weapons that are created from elements of the virus, as a result they have their own risks when being used. This aspect alone made me cringe, especially since I’ve been playing God Eater of late.

The games premise, while nothing new, is always a fun one to play. Initially this one was as well, however as time goes by it fell into nothing more than being a slog, chasing after the same 2 monsters. Initially this was fine, you needed the time to get acquainted with the vast amount of characters, their abilities, and settle into the story.

However it fast became apparent that that was going to to be the majority of the game, it ends up becoming boring.

As a result this ended up feeling like the game was being padded out, if you were to remove this padding the games play time would probably have been cut by a good quarter or so. Now admittedly there were plenty of twists in the story, some of which actually came as a surprise. But I don’t feel it was rewarding enough for the amount of time it takes to unravel.

The side missions are generic filler ones, collecting materials, killing the same monsters over and over, very unsatisfying. What’s more is you have to do these missions to progress, so in a sense they’re no longer side missions.

Another thing I found disappointing was the lack of ‘life’ in the world. With the exception of the base area every where else is void of anything other than entrances to dungeons and monsters. It lead me at times to wonder what the fight was over, since apparently the city your based in is already dead as a dodo.

Battles here are, initially engaging and fun. Reminiscent of Trails of Cold Steel I felt, with it’s side bar for order and combat mechanics. However it doesn’t play out like ToCS, it’s a semi real time thing, where time is constantly moving, until its your turn, then it pauses until you do something. This can, and does, lead to some amazing combat scenes where you’re entire party will batter the crap out of a mob, all at once. It looks, and sounds amazing and is highly satisfying.

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Sadly scenes like this don’t happen enough for my liking. Which is weird since the aim of combat is to get as many people involved as possible, since thats how you make bonus exp. What’s worse is that the combat skills aren’t explained very well, leaving you fumbling around a bit initially. This isn’t a huge problem given the number of fights you’ll be going through, but the player shouldn’t have to fumble around for this info.

Another aspect I found irritating, and felt it was done to drag the game time out, was not giving you AOE abilities till around the 35-40 hour mark. On easy mode this isn’t so much of an issue given how easy it is to kill mobs. However on any other difficulty it becomes a huge problem, given how easily they (the mobs) can swarm and kill you; some in one shot.

Was there anything good? Absolutely, the story and visual novel aspects of the game kept me going despite all the crud. The graphics of the visual novel were superb, which given it’s the creator if Ah My Goddess that’s not a surprise. This mixed with the excellent writing of Miyajima lead to a set of amazing characters whose interactions, while cliched, were fun to follow.

The find the traitor aspect was interesting, especially since you never know who the traitor is, as it’s random. This means you’re favourite character could turn out to be the traitor one game, and another character the traitor the next.

For me this lead to some insecurity over the characters, never know who was the traitor was a thrilling and exhausting time!

Thats not to say this aspect of the game doesn’t have it’s flaws, because it most certainly did. the most notable being that the number of questions you can ask is limited by the girls trust level, which I found odd. Thankfully there’s elements that help to mitigate this problem, so it’s not to bad, just annoying. And as like the traitor it’s all random.

Then you have weapon and outfit customisation, which is pretty indepth. Of course being a JRPG you can end up in panties! The customisation did take a bit of getting used to, but once you get used to it it’s actually a pretty fun system.

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So was it a total wash out? No! The overall mechanics are fine, the story was great and fun to watch play out. The problem was with the implementation of the mechanics. And while I’ll admit that as it stands the game isn’t great, it’s not bad. I’d like to see Compile take another go at this one, and hopefully get it right next time.

Is it worth buying? Thats a tough one, the game has already had it’s price slashed from its £55 launch price, to £45 at the moment. At that price it’s not a bad game to pick up, sure it has it’s issues, but i think it comes down to you’re expectations.

Overall i don’t find this to be a horrific game, it’s certainly got it’s issues, but it’s random aspect does mean that there’s a lot of replayability in this game, something we don’t usually see.

Ryu’s Musings – Bounty Train (PC)

Posted on May 31st, 2017 by Ryu Sheng |

Note: Apologies for the lack of activity the past few weeks. Both the PS4 and PC died within a day of each other, so we decided to take the time to renovate the office a bit, as well as go for new PC altogether rather than just fixing the old.

box artLanguage: Audio: English; Subs: English
Developer: Corbie Games
Publisher: Daedalic Entertainment
Format: PC
Type: Simulation, Strategy
Demo Box: PC
Synopsis: Explore the dangerous life, the accurate historic events and contemporary inventions of the North American/US 19th century. Acquire one of the most legendary steam machines and transform it into a fortress on rails.

The concept of this game really appealed to me, wild west, train heists, trying to turn a profit on a train line while fighting off bandits both on and off the line! While the game does certainly deliver on those promises, it does so in a rather weak way, and for me, ultimately ends up being a bit of a let down.

There’s a lot wrong with this game, besides it’s weak delivery, yet despite that I have found myself playing on and off since I got it, no long sessions (looking at you ME: Andromeda and your 28hour sessions!!), just short bursts of 20-30 minutes.

The game itself is visually ‘average’ there’s nothing really stand out about it. Yet it’s by no means an ugly game, nor is it a colourful game. Honestly, I can only describe it as average. It docent leave any sort of impression on the player.

Now lets move onto the meat of the game, the gameplay. For me this is where the frustration set in.

The start of the game is an annoying ride, little to no direction on what you’re supposed to be doing. Tied with tool tips that for some reason are hidden off screen, and overlapping others, hiding them.

The game is text heavy, especially the campaign, at times it felt more like a visual novel than a game. Which admittedly is neither a good or bad thing, but it is something you’ll need to consider. If you’re not into reading this could be a turn off.

The tutorial is all over the place and at times I found it a little confusing, and ended up just pressing random buttons to see what happened. Thankfully though once you get a grip on the game you’re off and running, and it’s surprisingly fun!

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The game is split into 2 parts. First we have the economics side of things, which is amazing fun. Your father has been murdered (presumably by his business partner) so you return and take up his mantle. Your aim is to stop a war with the indians, stop your fathers old partner ripping off the government (how dare he!!), and basically make a but load of money.

You do this by running from city to city on your clunky train carrying cargo and passengers while looking for your remaining family. The split up family is a very weak plot contrivance, especially when you find your brother, and he says ht while he gets letters regularly, he docent know where they are.

So yeah, ignore the story!

To be honest, I had a lot of fun trundling around, trading, moving passengers and letters, basically treating the game as a economic sim of sorts. If thats the way you play (and you can in the sandbox mode) it’s actually not a bad game.

However there was one damn annoying things, illegal goods. While checking out the prices I found alcohol was selling for insane prices in New York, so I bought as much as I could and set off. It would be a close thing,  having just enough coal and no money left. Off we went, fought off the roving bandits and finally arrived in New York, to be told alcohol is illegal, if I go into the city i’ve 100% chance of being caught, and i’ve no coal left.

For me, this was the frustrating point. Surely I (as in my character) would know what’s illegal and legal in which city? This was made worse by some actually having a a notice on them in the trade market saying they were illegal in which city. Talk about frustrating!

That said, if you take your time, plan, it’s a lot of fun, almost cathartic! It reminds me a lot of the old Sid Meir’s Trains game that was just as relaxing to play.

It does sadly have this honking big wart attached to the game, combat.

The combat in the game is mind numbingly dull and frankly enough to send you to sleep. There’s nothing satisfying in it, nor anything rewarding, its just there, sucking out your soul.

So you’re trundling along on your train and you get into combat, which for some reason stops the train, no idea why! You have to get the train going again from cold, which takes ages, and no i’m not kidding. There’s nothing else really to do in combat, other than watch them try and shoot each other in the most dull way possible.

Then the bugs(?) crop up. Horses running through the train, men being shot dead, but still keep on shooting. Barricades on the tracks being half ignored, as in the train will go through the barricade a little before stopping. Then the event s over, and I celebrate.

Overall I have to admit that despite the great big ugly wart that is combat, this is actually a fun game. What’s more it’s not a triple A release game, running only £18.99. At this price i’d say the game is worth a gamble, especially if you liked the afore mentioned Sid Meir’s game. While its not an exact comparison, the feel of it was there for me!

I think adding an option to turn off the combat, make it a behind the scenes thing, would greatly improve the game. For me the combat really holds the game back and makes me want to walk away every time it crops up.

But I do still feel the game is worth playing!

Ryu’s Bites: Persona 5 (PS4)

Posted on April 17th, 2017 by Ryu Sheng |

Persona_5_cover_artLanguage: Audio: Japanese & English; Subs: English
Developer: Atlus
Publisher: Atlus (NA) Deep Silver (EU)
Format: PS4
Type: JRPG, Social Simulation
Demo Box: PS4 (OLD)
Synopsis: Persona 5 is a game about the internal and external conflicts of a group of troubled high school students – the protagonist and a collection of compatriots he meets in the game’s story – who live dual lives as Phantom Thieves. They have the typically ordinary day-to-day of a Tokyo high schooler – attending class, after school activities and part-time jobs. But they also undertake fantastical adventures by using otherworldly powers to enter the hearts of people. Their power comes from the Persona, the Jungian concept of the “self”.
The game’s heroes realize that society forces people to wear masks to protect their inner vulnerabilities, and by literally ripping off their protective masks and confronting their inner selves do the heroes awaken their inner power, and use it to strive to help those in need.
Ultimately, the group of Phantom Thieves seeks to change their day-to-day world to match their perception and see through the masks modern-day society wears.

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Ryu’s Bites: Mass Effect Andromeda (PC)

Posted on March 25th, 2017 by Ryu Sheng |

Mass_Effect_Andromeda_cover_thumb.jpgLanguage: Audio: English, Subs: English
Developer: Bioware
Publisher: Electronic Arts
Format: PC
Type: 3PS/RPG
Demo Box: PC
Synopsis: Mass Effect: Andromeda takes you to the Andromeda galaxy, far beyond the Milky Way. There, you’ll lead our fight for a new home in hostile territory – where WE are the aliens.

Play as the Pathfinder – a leader of a squad of military-trained explorers – with deep progression and customisation systems. This is the story of humanity’s next chapter, and your choices throughout the game will ultimately determine our survival in the Andromeda Galaxy.

As you unfold the mysteries of the Andromeda Galaxy and the hope for humanity lies on your shoulders – You must ask yourself… How far will you go?

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Ryu’s Musings – NieR Automata (PC)

Posted on March 20th, 2017 by Ryu Sheng |

Language: Audio: Japanese & English, Subs: English
Developer: Square Enix, Platinum
Publisher: Square Enix
Format: PC
Type: Spectacle Fighter
Demo Box: PC
Synopsis: NieR: Automata tells the story of androids 2B, 9S and A2 and their battle to reclaim the machine-driven dystopia overrun by powerful machines.
Humanity has been driven from the Earth by mechanical beings from another world. In a final effort to take back the planet, the human resistance sends a force of android soldiers to destroy the invaders. Now, a war between machines and androids rages on… A war that could soon unveil a long-forgotten truth of the world.

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Ryu’s Musings – School of Talent: Suzu Route (PC)

Posted on March 13th, 2017 by Ryu Sheng |

Language: Audio: Japanese, Subs: English, Japanese, Chinese, Portuguese
Developer: MyDearest
Publisher: MyDearest
Format: Steam
Type: Visual Novel
Demo Box: PC
Synopsis: Bishōjo Visual Novel advised by Japanese charismatic editor of young-adult fiction, Kazuma Miki. Welcome to Mikage Academy, they accept only students with Talents – special powers that border on magic, granted by the divine, said to only occur in one in every ten thousand people by the time they

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