Difficult games are coveted by the most hardcore gamer’s, and this may be due to many games grabbing your hand like a loving child and never letting go. The Dark Souls series is not one of those games. Dark Souls takes pride in letting you know little to nothing, and punishing you for your ignorance at every step. It is all about challenge in this world where two swings from a sword can send you to your doom. The wrong misstep can send you spiraling off a cliff, or into the hands of a hungry beast who will take you out in seconds.
High school life can be rough for just about anyone in life. For Makoto Naegi, life is just good simple normal fun. That is until he received a letter to join a school designed around teaching the best students in the world. We’re talking about students who go above and beyond the norms to earn the moniker “Ultimate.” So what brings an average person like Makoto into a school full of enormous talent? Good old fashioned lucky of the draw, or maybe he’s the Ultimate unlucky student after all.
The story is filled with twists and turns, and draws the player in with unpredictable murder scenarios.
Welcome to hell, or how it is otherwise known: Hope’s Peak Academy. Danganronpa is in essence a video game novel in the frame of titles like the Ace Attorney series. A deranged Teddy Bear has trapped a group of students in a school with the ultimatum to get live the rest of their lives there, or kill each other and graduate. Now of course it would be fun to just get crazy all Battle Royale style, but a student who kills another must not be discovered.
The tale of a group of students forced to kill each has been told before in a variety of ways – Battle Royale, The Hunger Games, and more. However, it’s the first time that I’ve ever experienced it in a video game. It looks and feels like many an anime show would, but carries the weight of a hardboiled murder mystery. The story is filled with twists and turns, and draws the player in with unpredictable murder scenarios.
Players can move around in a 3D space investigating the school and the surround environment. Like many adventure games that came before it, players will be able to scroll over items to study them by way of the analog-stick or the touchscreen. The action doesn’t pick up until someone is killed and a trial begins. All the evidence that you’ve collected will come into play as you and your fellow students take on the role of Judge and Jury.
Unlike another well-known series involving trials and objections, Danganronpa expects the player to solve the crime within a time-limit. Using the evidence you’ve discovered over the course of time, you will have to shoot Truth Bullets at statements to reveal the truth. You can fast forward the conversations speeding up the time, and rotate your chamber to discover the correct Truth Bullet to fire and continue the trial.
It contains a unique graphical flair and takes a stylistic approach to animating the murders in a comic book style.
The cases become more difficult as time goes by as players can single out certain dialogue to trigger truth flashbacks, or shoot down static covered text with a silencer. A game of hangman also appears, with the player guessing a series of letters to discover the missing truth. Finally, when the culprit is cornered players will have to participate in a rhythm mini-game to reveal the final truth. The rhythm game is the only weird part about the game, and it isn’t necessarily needed in the formula.
This is a Visual Novel, so you can expect to walk around getting to know men and women. Unlike most dating titles though, you earn Skill Points from engaging each character in your free-time. With each successful conversation your maximum SP will increase, and you’ll gain a useful skill once you’ve learned everything there is to know about a person. It’s best to get to know the other students as quickly as possible, because you’ll never guess who will get the axe next.
The art style is a bit wacky, but the sound design and voice work is fantastic. The school looks great in 3D, and the various rooms cascade down like dominoes as Makoto discovers them. It contains a unique graphical flair and takes a stylistic approach to animating the murders in a comic book style. The incredibly wordy visual novel filled with adult themes, are the only things to dissuade anyone from getting involved. This title is about the act of murder, and it only pulls one punch regarding it. The blood is bright pink, but curse words and vicious killings are aplenty. You should not be buying this game for kids of any kind.
This title is not for everyone, especially not those who don’t like to see a bunch of text and still frame characters on screen. For the rest of us Visual Novel nuts, this title is a faster paced and more adult version of the famous Phoenix Wright titles. It can give the long running series a run for a money, and it’s much more deserving of the mature rating. Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc receives four stars out of five. This oddly intriguing mystery novel is a fantastic addition to the Vita library.
Bravely Default starts off like any other RPG of its ilk in story. Devastation has come to the world in the form of a gigantic hole simply named… “The Great Chasm”. With the appearance of The Great Chasm, the town of Norende and nearly all of the residents are swallowed whole. Tiz is the last survivor of his town, and he must discover a way to rebuild his home. He meets up with a powerful magic user named Agnès. She is known as the Wind Vestal and she is on a journey to seal The Great Chasm. Tiz decides that this is the best way to build his town, and help save the world along the way.
The two obtain more group members to join them on this epic quest. Ringabel, an amnesiac with a penchant for philandering, and Edea, an honorary knight and the daughter of a tyrannical empire. The four must journey through the world and awaken the four crystals to seal The Great Chasm. That in turn makes the story nothing special, but by the end of chapter four, it attempts to paint a different story and that’s where it bungles everything.
If the game would have ended in Chapter Four, I would have had no issues with the title aside from the story
Without spoiling too much about the story itself, the drastic shift in Chapter Five dashes the hopes of the title. I was willing to forgive the generic storytelling that didn’t draw me in at all, but the attempt to rationale everything with a strange twist outright destroyed that. It’s like the game tried to pretend that for four chapters of average storytelling didn’t happen. You can’t just magically say, “Hah, now this is where the technical and interesting elements come to life!” Not after we’ve already spent forty to fifty hours building relationships, experience, and obtaining new jobs.
To top it all off, the story weaves into a path of disgusting repetition that is completely unwelcome. If the game would have ended in Chapter Four, I would have had no issues with the title aside from the story. Instead, I get to complain about how I have to repeat things I did in previous chapters until I can beat the game. That’s an outright ridiculous and unacceptable flaw in an otherwise enjoyable game, and I almost removed it from my 3DS as a result.
Now before my anger wave completely washes over this review, I will not allow the gameplay to drift away without the respect it deserves. Simply put, this is one of the best RPG gameplay systems I have ever played. Taking after the name “Bravely Default” in the title, Brave – allows players to save turns for extra moves later on. Default – Let’s players suck up the next turn immediately and use as many attacks, items, or magic that they can at that moment. It’s a simple formula that turns out to be a ton of fun, and I admit to defaulting more than braving anything.
It features a world map, fantastic music, and incredibly detailed towns and dungeons.
The job system is what pulled me completely into the title. Defeating various enemies in side-quests and gaining job after job was the best part of the title. There were so many combinations for my characters to learn that I ended up grinding most of them to 14 just to see what the perks were. It was incredibly addicting, as was the town building mini-game that offers items, weapons, and more. Much like many of the Facebook games out in the world, players can obtain friends from the internet or via Spotpass to help them build a town. The more people available, the faster it will be to build an area of the town. This side-game kept me checking back to see what I’d earned, and it was a fantastic time-waster on the side.
The visuals hark back to the days of old-school roleplaying games. Each character is modeled in a chibi bobble head style that made many an RPG popular. It features a world map, fantastic music, and incredibly detailed towns and dungeons. The voice work is also well done outside of one specific character in the cast. Erin Fitzgerald who is known for her representation of Chie in Persona 4: Arena and Persona 4: Golden… just seems out of her element here. Her voice just doesn’t match up to the emotional weight needed from the character Agnès, and it puts a strain on the effectiveness of her performance. The other three are great, but overall the side characters have the most impressive voices.
Luckily, you can swap out the English voices for Japanese in the options if you prefer it that way. The 3D effect in the game also deserves special note. The world zooms out when the characters are idle, and shows off a full view of the town that players are in. The 3D of the detailed towns are distinct and some of the most impressive on the 3DS.
Bravely Default is one of the most entertaining RPG’s in years, at least where the gameplay, sound, and graphics are concerned. The story is generic and extends itself far beyond where it should have concluded. Bravely Default receives a 3 stars from Geek Citadel. If it didn’t concern itself with filler, it would have easily been one of the best RPG’s in years.
Cross generation titles are a common thing for the new consoles, and most them sport upgraded graphics instead of new gameplay systems and modes. NBA 2K14 is not one of those games in terms of modes. The first thing players will notice is the updated visuals of the character models, stadiums, and the crowds. 2K14 sports a brand new engine named Eco-motion, which creates the most realistic faces ever seen in a video game.
Dead or Alive 5 was released back in September 2012. PlayStation Vita got Dead or Alive 5 Plus in March of this year, bringing new training modes and combo challenges. Now, this brings us to the definitive version, Dead or Alive 5 Ultimate. This includes everything from Dead or Alive 5, Dead or Alive 5 Plus and five new characters including Ninja Gaiden characters. Should you upgrade to Ultimate or keep your original copy of Dead or Alive 5? Continue Reading