Naruto: Ultimate Ninja Storm 4 Review

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It is with great sadness that I play through this apparent last entry in the Naruto Ultimate Ninja series, a fighting game series I have enjoyed for years. Starting out on the PS2, they were extremely fun to play, with a great selection of characters from the story to play as. The PS2 games peaked with Ultimate Ninja 3, with a strong adventure mode with lots of entertaining character interaction, and tight, fast paced action. Fast forward through seven increasingly disappointing PS3 games later, and the first Ps4 entry pales in comparison.

My first and foremost complaint is that my favorite character from that old PS2 game, Anko Mitarashi, the student of Orochimaru, has remained unplayable in any of the PS3 era games, and remains unplayable in this first PS4 Iteration. After seven years of waiting, she remains relegated to an Assist character, which are no longer supported in the new game, meaning she is now completely absent. Add to this the gross overage of different versions of the same character; Naruto, Sasuke, Itachi and Obito have a half dozen versions EACH. It becomes apparent there is a bizarre lack of priorities on the part of the game designer. The fighting itself has become slower and more aggravating in its transition to 3d as well, and players who cut their teeth on the original combat system will find themselves at a disadvantage when using chakra dashes and jutsu attacks. Guard breaks in particular seem random and poorly thought out, and limiting the main dodge mechanic to 3 uses before recharge reduces the game to a contest to see who dodges first.

Ultimate Ninja Storm 4 fails to live up to the potential of its own series, and seems to have been rushed out by CC2, the games developer, in order to get a last grasp of money out of a series that has drawn to a close. As a final insult, the two main characters of the next series, Boruto and Sarada, are dlc that is only available for people who preorder this game. CC2 and Namco Bandai seem only to be interested in money, not in pleasing fans.

With that in mind, I rate this game a 3/10. It may appeal to some Naruto fans, but most will feel this is a cynical and stale final offering in what was a legendary game series.

 

Megaman Legends to be released for PSN

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Capcom Unity has just announced that one of the best action games for the original Playstation, Mega Man Legends, will be released digitally through PSN on September 29th for the Playstation 3 and the Vita. I cannot begin to stress what a triumph this is for supporters of the Mega Man Legends series, many of whom are still chaffing from the cancellation of Mega Man Legends 3. I want to give a personal thanks to Gregaman, Brelston, and the other supporters of Mega Man Legends at Capcom for their tireless efforts on all our behalf. With the Mega Man comic going on hiatus, (ironically having Mega Man Trigger, the protagonist from the Legends series on the cover for the very first time in the very last issue.) there is now less Mega Man around than ever. It is important that we show our continued interest in a series that needs to be reinvested in and reinvigorated, not ignored or pushed aside. Personally, I have never stopped wanting Mega Man Legends 3, and I intend to keep waiting for it until Capcom sees sense and restarts the project. They don’t need to use the old Devroom winner’s contributions, but I think that they should finish this story that has captivated so many, myself included.

Karin Kanzuki announced for Street Fighter V roster.

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I have been a huge fan of the street fighter series since the mid nineties. For me, the greatest fighting games were on the PlayStation one. Darkstalkers Three, Rival Schools, and Street Fighter Alpha 3 were all games I owned and enjoyed playing with friends. In Alpha 3, there were two characters that I specialized in using. Cody Travers, a character originally from Final FIght, and Karin Kanzuki, an original character to that game. Karin Kanzuki is the heir to a business conglomerate, and goes about everything with a sense of regality and elitism, even her martial arts. Karin had a great play style, using a series of chain attack “rekkas” along with a sneaky counter attack for a great high and low mix up game. A few days ago at the Tokyo Game Show, Karin was announced as being playable in the upcoming Street fighter V, which will make it the first time in years and years she has been in the roster of a Street Fighter title. I am getting more and more exited for this game with each announcement that Capcom makes. Street Fighter V is announced for a 2016 Release date.

Devil Survivor 2: Record Breaker Review

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Tactics games are not normally my cup of tea. The first strategy RPG I ever played.caused me to throw my hands up in frustration and quit after only four maps. But with Devil Survivor 2: Record Breaker, a re release of Devil Survivor 2 for the original DS, there are several changes made so that I can more easily play and enjoy. First  and most important of all is a “blessed” difficulty, which is far easier than the normal “Apocalypse” difficulty. It makes all the difference to me in how much damage the enemy deals and how much I need to grind battles to level up. Second was full voice acting for all characters during cut scenes.Full voice acting keeps the players more involved with the fate of the protagonist and his friends as they struggle against the septentrione and triangulum monsters that threaten Japan. Besides the original game there is a whole new second story that takes place after the first, effectively doubling the game time from the original DS release. This allows for the player to experience a new twist on the original story and to interact with some of their favorite characters more. People like me who already own and have finished the original are free to jump into the new content. Gameplay is based of moving units into position and then attacking and defending using traditional turn based combat, complete with SMT’s flare for elemental weaknesses and extra turns gained for exploiting them. With new music by the acclaimed Shoji Meguro, who also did music for the Persona series, the soundtrack doesn’t wear out quickly. Even the normal battle music, which I heard over and over, didn’t grate on my nerves.

If you enjoy Tactical RPGs then I fully recommend Devil Survivor 2: Record Breaker. If you are new to Strategy RPGs, but want to get a little more SMT action, then I also recommend this game, but I strongly recommend taking full advantage of the easier difficulty, and the DLC stages which allow for easier grinding. Otherwise, it might take a while to fully get through the story.

Devil Survivor 2: Record Breaker is published by Atlus and out now for the Nintendo 3DS

Persona Q Review: A Great Dose of Persona Memories.

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1410992735077Persona Q, a dungeoncrawling/role-playing game for the Nintendo 3DS was my game of choice throughout December. I had an amazing time playing through this portable game with characters from persona 3, one of my favorite rpgs of all time, as well the characters from its wonderful sequel. Seeing their interactions was one of the main attractions for me, and hearing more dialogue from favorites Like Junpei, Mitsuru and Elizabeth was just great for a longtime fan like me. Unfortunately. there were only so many of those scenes before I found myself grinding the same few dungeons hour after hour, trying to earn enough materials to trade for money, most of which was spend healing my team from the battles, as well as level my characters skills up enough to face the terrifying and stubborn FOE creatures that littered the mazes. By the time I had invested 30 hours in the game, I was only slightly over the half way mark. From what I understand the labyrinth exploring style was borrowed from the Etrian Odyssey series, which I have not played. That may be one reason why I felt the difference between the Persona style and odd dungeon mechanics was so jarring. Especially frustrating was mapping the labyrinths out one step at a time with a stylus. Thank goodness there was an auto map function, otherwise I would have never been able to map each floor correctly.

I believe this game is a must own for any fan of persona that just can’t wait for next year’s persona 5, and wishes to revisit some of the great characters that made persona 3 and 4 so engaging. However be prepared for a long and repetitious grind through the games increasingly lengthy and at times frustrating labyrinths.

Post E3 opinion piece: Smash Bros is the Game to watch for.

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There were a lot of interesting games revealed at E3 this year, but after taking some time to digest the Microsoft and Sony presentations, as well as the Nintendo direct presentation, I have decided that Nintendos offerings appealed to me the most. The since of fun and whimsy contrasted greatly with the more corporate showings, and struck me as closer to what I enjoy about video games. With the announcement of Palutena and Pacman as playable characters, the roster is looking extremely robust. With new game modes and online fighting either for fun or for glory, Smash bros looks to be the Game to finally get me to invest in a Wii U.

The 3DS version of Smash brothers is set to release for October 3rd, and on the Wii U latter in the holiday season of 2014.

http://www.smashbros.com/us/

Preview: Watchdogs out now!

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Watchdogs, a daring new sandbox game being developed by Ubisoft has, after a delay, finally been released for Ps3, Ps4 Wiiu, PC and Xbox one. The game concerns the adventures of hacker Aiden Pearce and his vigilante mission against those in the Chicago underworld who threaten his family. Virtual Chicago looks amazing, and it is clear that they designers sought to be as close to the real Chicago as reasonably possible, although I still smirked at the generic replacement of Wriggly Field. The gameplay seems to take placed in a carefully crafted sandbox that makes use of environmental elements in combat and navigation, from manipulating streetlights to tracking opponents. This game looks to have involving narrative with interesting characters, and I am looking forward to playing this in its entirety very soon.

 

Watchdogs is available today on all current gen systems.

 

Preview: Ultra Street Fighter 4

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I have been playing the Street Fighter series as long as I can remember. Amid all the fighting games of my youth, i preferred the fast paced action of Street Fighter Turbo for the Super Nintendo. Since then I have followed the franchise with loyalty and have enjoyed many of their games. This newest outing, however, may be stretching my tolerance for sequels to the breaking point. Ultra Street Fighter 4 will be the fourth Iteration of Street fighter 4, which originally came out back in 2009. Each iteration of the game has had more characters and balance adjustments, but I feel that the asking price for what is essential marginal upgrades had always been too steep. The previous game, Super Street Fighter 4, arcade edition, was supposedly the definitive version, but this is now obviously not the case. Would Capcom be better served beginning to work on the next proper installment of the series? It seems to me that you can only re-release what is essentially the same game only so many times before you are accused of being lazy. But in any event, it promises more of the fun and competitive action the series is known for, so newcomers to fighting games should definitely check this game out.

Ultra Street fighter 4 is scheduled for retail on June 2nd and 3rd for digital upgrades from the previous versions, and August 5th for full retail.

Review: Kirby Triple Deluxe

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While less famous next to Mario or Link, Kirby is also one of Nintendo’s mainstays. Since his first game in 1992, Kirby has been the star of some of the best built and entertaining platform/action games I have had the privilege to play. Kirby, a pink puffball from  the world of dreamland is again on an adventure, this time climbing up a magic bean stock and traveling through various worlds in the clouds in the search of his kidnapped erstwhile rival, King Dedede. The visuals are very beautiful, often making use of the depth of field that the Nintendo 3DS can provide Kirby’s main ability to deal with enemies is to swallow them whole and absorb their powers. There are many new powers introduced in this game, such as bell, archer and circus powers, along with classics such as fire, cutter, stone and beam. . The cutesy presentation might be unappealing to some gamers, but don’t mistake the lighthearted tone this game has for it being a child’s game.The game play starts of very slowly, with easy to complete levels and weak enemies,, but the challenge expertly ramps up, and by the time I was two thirds through the game, I found myself being challenged and test at every level. By the time I was finished, I had triumphed and had a great time playing this fun and charming adventure.

I highly recommend this game to anyone who wants an enjoyable platformer that has a good balance of difficulty and a charming sense of character. Kirby Triple Deluxe is available now for the Nintendo 3DS

http://kirby.nintendo.com/triple-deluxe/

Review: South Park: The Stick of Truth

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It has been awhile since I have had time to sit down with a console game and play though it fully, but I have just finished this game based of the Comedy Central cartoon show, South Park. I can say that it is far and away the best south park game ever made, overshadowing any previous attempts at the license. With a solid combat system loosely resembling the timed hits system of Paper Mario, and fun adventuring and exploring around the little mountain town, the game play will keep you engaged throughout, although the time it took me to finish the game completely was a little on the the short side at about 15 hours. The story is that of a new kid arriving in town just as the children of south park are engaged in a massive LARP that is quickly spiraling out of control. The humor ranges to quick nods to past episodes of the TV show, to complete overblown gratuity. Do not play this game if you have a low tolerance for lowbrow humor or scatological offensiveness. Although it might be unsettling for new comers to Trey Parker and Matt Stone’s work, the game is clearly well made, and shows a masterful understanding of the source material. 

My final recommendation is to give it a play through if you are a fan of RPGs and South Park’s irreverent humor. Just be prepared for inevitable dips into the scatological and profane along the ways.