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CastleStorm: The Warrior Queen DLC for “CastleStorm” on Steam/PC (a J!-ENT Video Game Review)

October 6, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

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CastleStorm: The Warrior Queen” was a lot of fun, in fact, I had so much fun playing it that I was bummed out that Campaign mode was a bit on the short side because I enjoyed the game so much!  Yet, it’s a DLC and an awesome one at that!  Zen Studios’ “CastleStorm: The Warrior Queen” is highly recommended!

“CastleStorm: The Warrior Queen” is under the copyright of 2013 Zen Studios. All Rights Reserved.

VIDEO GAME TITLE: CastleStorm: The Warrior Queen DLC

TYPE OF GAME: Brawler/Physics Based Destruction

PLATFORM: Steam and XBOX Live Arcade

PLATFORM GAME REVIEWED: STEAM PC GAME

DEVELOPER: Zen Studios

RELEASE DATE: September 27, 2013

The Warrior Queen reveals a new Viking Elite troop class, plus huge additions to the arsenal of weapons available for the destruction of your enemy’s castles. We’re not joking around here: Meteor Showers, Exploding Barrels, Stormbringers, Golem Hostages, and you heard it here first: FROZEN SWORDFISH. Throw in 20 new battles and new achievements and you have an excellent addition to your favorite super 2D physics destruction tower defense brawler mashup.

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In July 2013, Zen Studios unveiled their latest video game on Steam, “CastleStorm”.

A mashup of 2D physics destruction mashed with a tower defense brawler, according to Zen Studios, the game was inspired of a childhood memory of building and destroying LEGO castles.

As the first game focused on the character Sir Gareth, the game focused on Knights vs. Vikings and featured a story-driven solo campaign, a customizable castle editor, online multiplayer and co-op modes.

Weeks later, Zen Studios released their first DLC titled “From Outcast to Savior” which featured a new 20 battle campaign, new hero, Royal Guard-class troops, new weapons and achievements along with new environments. And the war against the Vikings continued as the goal was to capture the power-hungry Viking warrior, Chief Ramhorn.

And here we are with the second DLC from Zen Studios titled “CastleStorm: The Warrior Queen”. And this time around, Sir Gareth may have met his unfortunate demise, but he intends to continue and do good by helping a new class of Viking Elite warrior, the Warrior Queen to fight against the infamous Chief Ramhorn.

So, how is this DLC?  Let’s take a look at “CastleStorm: The Warrior Queen”!

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“CastleStorm: The Warrior Queen” has four gameplay modes: Campaign, Skirmish, Survival and Hero Survival.

Campaign:

This is the main story mode of the game which allows you to play as Freia the Viking in a 2D fight mode and the other as you must send your troops to battle to steal your opponents flag or destroying their castle.

The storyline is that Sir Gareth is now a ghost after trying to save Freia. He tries to help the Viking Freia escape from prison by having a cake delivered to her with an axe inside.  Now, Freia must free her comrades and lead her troops to battle against Chief Ramhorn and his knights.

The game is rather short and can be beaten possibly in five hours or less.

During the Campaign Mode, similar to the previous “CastleStorm” games, you control Freia (and other fellow Viking friends) as you try to fight the enemy vikings with your axe.  You can clobber them or you can throw axes afar.  But it’s not that easy as the enemy has shields, some are weak and can be beaten easily, while others are in armor or you have giant beats going after you which can literally pummel the life out of you with two hits.  So, you need to stand on a distance and throw your axe while preparing for attacks on both sides and preparing to use your shield to defend yourself and attack.

I found the 2D fighting portions to be challenging and found that using a controller pad makes it much easier as defense is the key in this game.

But most of the fun is the physics destruction games in which you can earn enough gold to upgrade your projectiles such as barbed harpoons, spear guns, flaming explosive barrels, golem hostages, strombringers, beatmakers, frozen swordfish, arctic snowballs and meteor showers.

During battle (destruction games), you can use spells that sends Freia, Captain Thorvard to fight briefly or send rock showers, lightning bolts, ghost armies, blizzard or protective shields.

You can upgrade your troops such as Berserker Elites, Pack Leaders (Wolves), Bombardiers, Shamans, Motivational Chiefs, Hammer Chiefs, Valkyries, Warrior Trolls and Flying Dragons.

But remember that the other side are doing the same thing, so you need to be quick on your selections and choose the right weapons to equip for battle.

And rooms for your castle to increase military size, faster cool downs, improve pantry’s, breweries, armories and gold reproduction and more (this plays more into Skirmish Mode).

But where I find most of the intense action are the physical destruction of another castle or trying to steal their flag.  While one can see the strategy similar to “Angry Birds”, it’s not.  The opponents army is coming after you during battle, while you try to destroy the buildings with your weapons.

Your weapons don’t run out but their is a refill gauge which takes its time to fill up before you can use the weapon again.  Thus the importance of upgrading your weapons, for faster response times, stronger weapons, etc.

Skirmish Mode:

This mode allows you to play the destruction mode or play a side that must defend its flag from a hoard of knights trying to steal it.

Survival and Hero Survival Mode:

Survival and Hero Survival is a last man standing with Hero Survival allowing one to play an unlocked character right at the start as you try to survive each wave and prevent an enemy from stealing your flag or killing you.  The more you advanced with each wave, the more stronger your opponent is.

 

 

While you can you use your mouse and keyboard to move the character (A to move left, D to move right, W to jump).  I found that for me, my finger was starting to cramp, so I decided to use the XBOX 360 controller which made the game so much easier to control your character and to pull of defensive moves.

In fact, defense is going to play a major importance later in the game especially if your difficulty is set at hard.

Which is better, keyboard or controller pad?

Because of the amount of clicking I was doing with my mouse, it felt as if I was getting cramps or repetitive pain from overclicking.  So, while it may be subjective to the player, I found playing with an XBOX 360 controller made the game much more convenient in pulling off offensive and defensive moves.

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Graphics for “CastleStorm: The Warrior Queen” is beautiful.    The characters and environments are wonderfully painted, special effects are well done.  Physics is well-implemented and for the most part, the game is quite colorful.

As for audio, there is not much talking…maybe with a few words and dialogue at the end of the game but pretty much you will hear short vocal sounds, a few words and mostly music.  There is some narration in certain modes as “the enemy has taken your flag”, “The enemy has dropped the flag”, etc. But audio is quite appropriate for this game.

 

 

“CastleStorm: The Warrior Queen” has replay value for those who want to challenge the game and obtain all achievements. Or to be on top of the leaderboards.

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“CastleStorm: The Warrior Queen” is a fun and addictive game like the previous “CastleStorm” games.  Some modes are quite challenging especially one which requires you to be a dragon (that one took me more than hour to figure out the strategy and realize how easy it was to beat once I figured it out) and the final level as you take on Ramhorn.

But I found myself replaying a lot of the levels to obtain more gold and leveling up my army and weapons for upgrade.

I enjoyed the gameplay especially the games that required one to steal the other opponent’s flag or destroy their castle.  The weapons were pretty far out, such as the use of throwing fishes at your opponent to throwing exploding barrels or golem hostages at your opponents castle.  But the fun of unleashing a ghost army on many of your opponents during battle.

The game was a lot of fun and some levels were quite challenging.  And I felt that I was having random clicking fatigue via mouse until I switched to an XBOX 360 controller and the game became much easier to defeat an enemy during Freia’s fight games, while the keyboard and mouse was easy for the destruction games, but you can use the XBOX 360 controller but it takes a little getting used to at first.

But the “CastleStorm: The Warrior Queen” DLC was better than I expected and for those who have played and enjoyed “Castlestorm” and “From Outcast to Savior”, will surely want to play this DLC game.  A lot of humor, plenty of action and enjoyable gameplay.  I don’t think there is any game where you can impale an enemy with a frozen swordfish!  That’s how crazy and fun this game really is!

“CastleStorm: The Warrior Queen” is a game that I can’t find any faults other than I wish the game was longer. “The Warrior Queen” was a lot of fun, in fact, I had so much fun playing it that I was bummed out that Campaign mode was a bit on the short side because I enjoyed the game so much!  Yet, it’s a DLC and an awesome one at that!

I can only hope that Zen Studios continues releasing more DLC for “CastleStorm” in the near future!  It’s definitely one of my favorite games to play on Steam!

If you own the base game of “CastleStorm”, then Zen Studios’  “CastleStorm: The Warrior Queen” is highly recommended!

 

AiRace Speed for the Nintendo 3DS (a J!-ENT Video Game Review)

September 29, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

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“AiRace” has been an exciting race game for years on the Nintendo DS and it’s latest sequel is even better for the Nintendo 3DS.  Great challenging and addictive gameplay, “AiRace Speed” is highly recommended!

Images courtesy of Qubic Games. All Rights Reserved.

VIDEO GAME TITLE: AiRace Speed

TYPE OF GAME: Futuristic Racing Game

PLATFORM: Nintendo 3DS (via Nintendo eShop)

DEVELOPER: Qubic Games

RATED: E for Everyone

RELEASE DATE: September 19, 2013

Take the challenge in AiRace Speed, the third sequel of the best-selling Nintendo DSi™ classic – AiRace, and pilot the most advanced and powerful jets as you compete to beat your best time. Experience the action as you race on stunning high-speed tracks featuring extremely difficult tunnels, spectacular halls and hidden shortcuts.

Take speed to a whole new level and enjoy a frantic new gaming experience including:
Take the challenge – fly extreme speeds across 18 adrenaline-fueled tracks
Stunning environments packed with challenging obstacles, tunnels, shortcuts and more
Take control of one of 5 high-speed futuristic jets powered with advanced technology
High-performance graphics and immersive 3D effects that put you in the middle of the action
Compete against fellow competitors around the world in online leaderboards
Fantastic replay value with special achievements to be unlocked
Third game of the successful and highly rated AiRace series

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The futuristic racing game “AiRace” is back in its third sequel “AiRace Speed” (from independent development studio QubicGames) for the Nintendo 3DS via Nintendo eShop.   Fast and furious, try to use your futuristic jet as you navigate through environments packed with obstacles, tunnels, shortcuts and more.  Try to beat your own personal time or against fellow competitors around the world via online leaderboards and unlock special achievements.

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Have you ever watched the movie “Star Wars” and remember the scene where Luke Skywalker and the rebels had to navigate through the Death Star’s small areas as quickly as possible to destroy it?  The feeling of going through the smallest areas at high speed.

Well, that’s how the AiRace games have been.  Adrenaline pumping, speed race as you try to accomplish the best time by going through tunnels, obstacles with only enough space for your aircraft at different angles.  You get a good sense of the feeling of speed and while I’m sure there are people who can probably use the 3DS controls and memorize certain patterns, I had a hardtime of using full speed and completing certain courses, in fact, braking became my biggest ally in the game.

The game sports up to 18 tracks and up to five vehicles and to move on to other levels, you will need to beat the previous level to move on.

The earlier levels are much more forgiving.  Certain spacecraft have a health meter and if you hit walls, the health meter goes down but slow down and brake and the meter goes back up.  But by the sixth level, the track doesn’t allow for brakes but then you will need to utilize your skill, get past that and you make it through a new level featuring different aircraft, environments and challenges.

As for the game, some levels will let you restart as many times as you want.  After crashing, restart takes place where you passed a glowing blue marker, so you don’t have to replay the course after a crash which is good.  But I noticed on the sixth course, three crashes and the game went back to the menu.

Crashing does dock you several seconds on your time, so if you are playing for the best speed…you want to not get into any accidents.  Otherwise, I felt I was playing not much for records but opening up new courses and aircraft.

But for the most part, I found myself memorizing certain obstacles through a lot of trial and mishaps and certain courses that I thought would be impossible, actually very possible.  Just need to learn from the certain segments after you pass each marker and prepare for it.

If you are a fan of these types of games, you’ll love “AiRace Speed”, I found myself addicted to the game and really love the challenge!

 

 

The main controls is using the stick or the directional buttons to steer, shoulder buttons to roll left or right, and A for nitro and B for brake.  In the options menu, you are able to use button mode or stylus mode, flight assist and change invert up/down and also change miles to km if needed.

 

 

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Graphics for “AiRace Speed” is very good.  Each panel is well detailed, shaded, some with very good reflections and there are more than a number of obstacles during the game.  The environments are very well-done but because the amount of speed that you are going, it’s one of the few games where you don’t get to admire the graphics so much because you’re racing through them quite quickly.  But the environments are detailed, great use of lighting and the spacecraft are also well-done and good use of flame and electricity effects as well.

Audio features synth-based music and the main audio you will hear is if you speed up, slow down, crash or when you receive a warning alert, but the majority of audio is through the music playing during the game.  And the effects do sound good via 3DS speaker but moreso with headphones.

 

 

“”AiRace Speed” does have replay value for those who want to receive special achievements or are interested in having the best speed in the leaderboard.

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I have to say that this is one of the most challenging futuristic race games I have played.    It’s an addictive game for those who love futuristic racing game like “F-Zero” and “Wipeout” with the exception that you are not racing against other vehicles and most of the time, it’s about you trying to beat your own personal time or other times while going through courses with just a small amount of openings or just simply challenging yourself to beat each course in order to open another and open up other aircraft.

“AiRace Speed” featured well-designed exteriors with plenty of detail, the feeling of speed is also well-done and what I loved about the game is the feeling that courses that seemed impossible at first, become very possible and you start to realize that the more you play, the more trial and error through crashing, you eventually start to memorize those obstacles and find a way to get through them.

It’s a great feeling of accomplishment as I was able to advance through the courses and just became immersed by the game and its various challenges.

“AiRace” has been an exciting race game for years on the Nintendo DS and it’s latest sequel is even better for the Nintendo 3DS.

Great challenging and addictive gameplay, “AiRace Speed” is highly recommended!

PROS:

+ Challenging futuristic race game

+ Well-detailed environments with great variety of obstacles and challenges

+ Addictive gameplay

+ Achievements and leaderboard

NEGATIVES:

– It may be challenging for impatient players

– The further you progress, certain levels/courses becoming increasingly frustrating

 

 

Amnesia: A Machine for Pigs for PC (Steam) (a J!-ENT Video Game Review)

September 25, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

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“Amnesia: A Machine for Pigs” is a game with great immersion, dark overtones and compelling story.

“Amnesia: A Machine for Pigs” is under the copyright of The Chinese Room/Frictional Games. All Rights Reserved.

VIDEO GAME TITLE: Amnesia: A Machine for Pigs

TYPE OF GAME: First-Person Horror Adventure

PLATFORM: Steam

PLATFORM GAME REVIEWED: STEAM PC GAME

DEVELOPER: The Chinese Room

PUBLISHER: Frictional Games

RELEASE DATE: September 10, 2013

This world is a Machine. A Machine for Pigs. Fit only for the slaughtering of Pigs. From the creators of Amnesia: The Dark Descent and Dear Esther comes a new first-person horror game that will drag you to the depths of greed, power and madness. It will bury its snout into your ribs and it will eat your heart.

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The depth-delving, horror survival is back in new form with ‘Amnesia: A Machine for Pigs” a standalone developed by creators of the art game ,”Dear Esther” and horror mod, “Korsakovia”, The Chinese Room. As well as being produced by the creators of the original, “Amnesia: The Dark Descent” Frictional Games, The Chinese Room takes a different approach in ‘Machine for Pigs’ with the same Amnesia feel, but streamlined mechanics such as no inventory, sanity meter, and less interaction with objects in game, bringing more of the focus on the story, adventure and overall experience.

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In the same spirit of the first, you play Mandus who has been out for three months and now has amnesia after contracting a terrible illness. Much of the story there after is on delving into the depths to uncover what dark secrets lie beneath and how these dark secrets came to fruition being led by visions, voice boxes with a familiar voice, and journal pages scattered among the different levels.

With much of the mechanics from Dark Descent left out in Machine for Pigs the emphasis on story and experience is apparent when playing. Instead of managing inventory or adding more oil to your lantern the focus is shifted towards progressing in the story line and immersion. While those who favored Dark Descent’s mechanics may feel as if they received the short end of the stick, I felt that the story and immersion focus paid off overall.

While I was still spooked by Dark Descent’s immersion, “Amnesia: A Machine for Pigs” seemed to leave more of an impact with much of the game streamlined in comparison to the first. The creak of floorboards or phantom copies of kids darting past areas in the game left me panicked and cautious to what may lie across the long stretch of hallway.

As a result of the streamlined mechanics, much of the puzzles held much less depth than the first. This gave much of the puzzles a ‘put square block into square hole’ feel and much of the confusion was short lived. Since much of the games items and objects are nailed down and can not be interacted with this left the one item needed to continue stick out like a sore thumb in most cases.

Regardless of focus, “Amnesia: A Machine for Pigs” still has monsters about just as in the first that spells certain death if you find yourself cornered with one. While in “Dark Descent”, much of your time is spent finding hiding spots or planning ways of escape from monsters.

In “Amnesia: A Machine for Pigs” however most monsters are duped by running away since the most hiding spots you have are limited to hiding under tables or pipes. I find myself more in favor of the original way of dealing with monsters, but the slight difference doesn’t seem like a ‘make or break it’ in this regard.

Levels in the game are more dynamic than the first, from a mansion, to an industrial nightmare, to the calming yet unsettling streets of London. The changes to environment was nice part of “Amnesia: A Machine for Pigs” because it was enjoyable to have a change of scenery every once and a while in game and appealing to the eyes.

Story is of medium difficulty to follow, much of the story is grasped through the journal pages and putting two and three or four together is needed to grasp the entire picture. Much of the back story is also covered in the journal pages and explain the how and why of all that is happening. Voice boxes help to lead the character through the story and give direction to each objective.

Overall, I felt the story was done well and the tales told through the pages were well enough just as in the first.

 

 

Controls are mostly pointing, clicking and dragging to interact with everything in the game.

Which is better, keyboard or controller pad?

The controls are simple enough that it leaves the decision to personal preference. “Amnesia: A Machine for Pigs” features full controller support so those who favor controller pad are all set.

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Graphics for “Amnesia: A Machine for Pigs” were better and smooth looking and were aesthetically pleasing. Items and environment were clear cut with no apparent eyes sore graphical errors. At the start of the game you have a prompt to set brightness to a level to be able to see all within the game. Details on pipes, gauges, and various metalwork was done well with rivets and stats done in detail. Horror elements such as blood and bodies are clear in their distinction and add to the ‘scariness’ of the game. Cut scenes did not appear to be much different from the actual game and just made you lose control of your character during the various sequences.

Sound is also done well no discrepancies and I recommend using headphones for a immersion focused experience. Musical scores are also done incredibly well with appropriate lyrics and genre used. The most interesting of the scores plays to the tune “God Save the Queen” backwards and provides a haunting feeling as the main lyric sung is “Kyrie Eleison” or “Lord have Mercy”. Ambient sounds were done well in immersing the player in the game whether it is the whistle of steam through pipes, creaks of the floorboard, or cries of monsters from below.

 

 

“Amnesia: A Machine for Pigs” doesn’t seem to have a whole lot of replay value except for achievements. Since the story is a large focus after you know the entire story you don’t have more reason than that to play it more than once.

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I feel that “Machine for Pigs” did Amnesia justice with immersion and story focus.

Game play is definitely not for anyone such as kids to play due to some visually graphic horror parts of the game and the depressing and very dark parts of the story.

While much of the mechanics and intricacies that some may favor are left out, I was still satisfied overall with the game.

As a final judgement call, I’d say if you are a fan of the “Amnesia” games to give the game a try, much of the feeling from carried over and left it to be an enjoyable horror experience.

“Amnesia: A Machine for Pigs” is a game with great immersion, dark overtones and compelling story warrants a four out of five stars.

PROS:

+ Story focused

+ Immersion heavy

+ Dark overarching story line

NEGATIVES:

– Veterans of Amnesia may find streamlining unfavorable

– Puzzles and other mechanics oversimplified as a result

 

 

Dead or Alive 5 Ultimate for the PlayStation 3 (a J!-ENT Video Game Review)

September 20, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

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“Dead or Alive 5 Ultimate” is the best “Dead or Alive” fighting game made so far! While I do recommend the latest incarnation of this game, its list of improvements over last year’s “Dead or Alive 5” is not groundbreaking and the fact that DOA5 owners can’t upgrade to DOA5 Ultimate via DLC is unfortunate.  But if you area DOA fan, “Dead or Alive 5 Ultimate” is an enjoyable game and I definitely recommend it!

Images courtesy of © 2013 TECMO. All Rights Reserved.

VIDEO GAME TITLE: Dead or Alive 5 Ultimate

TYPE OF GAME: Fighting

PLATFORM: Sony PS3 and XBOX 360

PSN DOWNLOAD SIZE: 6GB (two files need to be downloaded)

DEVELOPER: Team Ninja

COMPANY: Tecmo

RATED: M for MATURE

RELEASE DATE: September 3, 2013

DEAD OR ALIVE 5 ULTIMATE heightens the signature DOA fighting style with the inclusion of new modes from DOA5 Plus, dynamic new stages, and deadly new fighters to deliver the ultimate in fighting entertainment. Players will take on the roles of their favorite DEAD OR ALIVE fighters – as well as combatants new to the franchise – in an intense, action-packed brawler set in visually striking locations from around the world. The famed DOA hand-to-hand combat is enhanced with new content that extends the experience. Along with a rich array of single-player modes including story mode, DEAD OR ALIVE 5 ULTIMATE offers online options with arcade-style matches, tournaments, and social features making it the most definitive DEAD OR ALIVE experience to date.

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In 2012, the release of “Dead or Alive 5” was highly anticipated as it had been 15-years since the release of “Dead or Alive” to be followed by “Dead or Alive 5+” for the PlayStation Vita.  But a year later after the release of the first game,  “Dead or Alive 5 Ultimate” for the PS3 and XBOX 360 has now arrived and not only is it a much better game than the original, it features five additional characters plus enhanced tag team mode and more!

DEAD OR ALIVE HISTORY

Dead or Alive, the 3D fighting video game flagship title from Tecmo and developers Team Ninja has continued to go strong since its introduction back in 1996 when it was first introduced in the arcades and on consoles such as the Sega Saturn and Sony PlayStation.

Inspired with fighting gameplay similar to AM2’s “Virtua Fighter”, the games would emphasize on fighting mechanics, combos, air-juggles and most importantly, it’s countering system.

During the first game’s initial release, “Dead or Alive” was best known for its characters including Ryu Hayabusa from Tecmo’s “Ninja Gaiden” video game series, the series would also be known for its sexy female fighters and their bouncing breasts. While controversial at the time (note: There were other Japanese fighting games that incorporated the bouncing breasts), it would become the trademark of the series and to be less offensive, “Dead or Alive” would have a clever setting in the options to set an age of a person in order to give less or more bounce. The game would lead to a remixed version and allowed people to open up many unlockable costumes for the characters including remixed stage design and new characters.

“Dead or Alive” would introduce people to Kasumi and her half-sister Ayane, both are rivals. And for Ayane, she despises Kasumi for becoming a traitor to her own clan. While Kasumi, harbors no ill feelings towards her sister. The game would also introduce players to professional wrestler Bass Armstrong and his strict upbringing of his daughter Tina, who would follow in his footsteps.

The original plot of “Dead or Alive” would revolve around the first Dead or Alive Tournament and its main protagonist would be Raidou, Ayane’s biological father and the uncle to Kasumi. It is revealed that Raidou raped Kasumi’s mother Ayame, and Ayane was the daughter from the rape. In the first “Dead or Alive”, Kasumi was the winner of the tournament as she killed her father. It was revealed that Bayman would kill DOATEC chairmen, Fame Douglas and that Bayman was working for Donovan.

By 2000, with the release of “Dead or Alive 2”, Tecmo would introduce interactive stages and also showcase tag team mode. Released for the Sega Dreamcast and Sony PlayStation 2, another remake of the game titled “DOA2: Hardcore” was released and would be an update over its more inferior Dreamcast version and the game . But the second game would receive one more tweak in 2004 along with the Sega Saturn version of the first game which was released on the XBOX with the title “Dead or Alive Ultimate” featuring a new character named Hitomi and also online mode.

The plot for “Dead or Alive 2” would feature a storyline of the chaos that had taken place in the world since the death of Fame Douglas, the sponsor of the “Dead or Alive” World Combat Championship. And now a new person who is corrupt and evil has announced the “Dead or Alive Championship 2” tournament.

The main antagonist would be Dr. Victor Donovan who is responsible for the death of Fame Douglas. As the later of DOATEC’s anti-Douglas faction and head of the Development Department, he created a state-of-the-art military fortress where Project Alpha and Omegas were developed. For Project Alpha, he created a Kasumi Clone (who would be one of the bosses) known as Kasumi Alpha. But also featured is the evil Tengu who has escaped from the Tengu World into the human world to create chaos and rule the world.

In 2003, the third “Dead or Alive 3” would be released as an XBOX exclusive was a minor update from “Dead or Alive 2” but featured longer counters and less emphasis on juggling combos. The game would also introduced four new characters.

The plot of “Dead or Alive 3” features the aftermath of Ryu Hayabusa stopping Tengu, but the Tengu of Destruction lead to a dense cloud covering the whole planet in darkness. The corporation known as DOATEC has lead to the development of Omega Project: Project Alpha and Project Epsilon, courtesy of Dr. Victor Donovan.

Victor plans to create a superhuman known as Omega, based on Genra, leader of the Hajin Mon ninja clan and foster father of Ayane. Meanwhile, Dr. Donovan kidnaps Fame Douglas’ daughter, Helena (who would inherit the position to become DOATEC’s new chairperson). Helena is challenged by Donovan to win the third DOA tournament in order to gain her freedom. Bayman seeks revenge for Donovan for using him to assassinate Fame Douglas. It is also revealed that Hayate, brother of Kasumi and Ayane was subjected to experiments by Donovan for his Project Epsilon and that Project Omega, was an augmentation of Ayane’s foster father Genra into becoming the ultimate DOA fighter known as Omega.

In 2005, “Dead or Alive 4” was released for the XBOX 360. The game would feature 22 characters (including new characters Kokoro, Eliot and Lisa plus an unlockable character, “SPARTAN-458” from the “HALO” series) and feature six game modes including “DOA Online”. All moves were updated and tweaked and also become the first main series game to be rated M for Mature.

The game would feature Helena becoming the new DOATEC chairperson, while Donovan was working Kasumi clones for DOATEC as part of Project Alpha, a project to create the perfect fighter. The original Kasumi clone known as Kasumi Alpha has now been turned into the evil Alpha-152, the ultimate DOA fighter.

Which lead us to…

DEAD OR ALIVE 5

“Dead or Alive 5” is the first DOA game to be released via multi-platform since the second game back in 1999. Developed by Team Ninja minus “Dead or Alive” creator Tomonobu Itagaki, the new game would be directed by Yohei Shmbori.

The fighting game would feature 25 characters. 18 characters from the “Dead or Alive” universe and would introduce new characters Rig and Mila but also feature Gen Fu and Alpha 152 as unlockable characters. The video game will also feature three major characters from AM2’s popular “Virtua Fighter” fighting video game series, Akira Yuki, Sarah Bryant and Pai Chan.

The story of “Dead or Alive 5” takes place two years since the last “Dead or Alive 4” tournament. Despite the destruction of the DOATEC TriTower HQ, despite the dissoution of the DOATEC Biotechnology Division and the Projects Alpha, Epsilon and Omega that Dr. Victor Donovan had control of and most importantly despite Helena now being the chairperson of DOATEC, it appears that someone is still working on those projects. Who are these individuals?

Meanwhile, Helena plans to hold the fifth Dead or Alive tournament, hosted by Zack, in honor of the rebuilding of a new DOATEC.

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Dead or Alive 5 Ultimate

For “Dead or Alive 5 Ultimate”, the game now adds five more characters which include “Virtua Fighter” character Jacky, “Ninja Gaiden” characters Momoji and Rachel and “Dead or Alive 4” characters Leon and Ein.

The story remains the same as “Dead or Alive 5” which is one major storyline and you can’t choose which character to play but you get to experience all fighters.  But that is where arcade mode comes in and one can play solo or play Tag Team.  While there is no upgrading from “Dead or Alive 5” to “Dead or Alive 5 Ultimate”, the game does reuse your save, so you don’t have to play storymode or try to unlock every clothing item again. In fact, the last game ofered 114 costumes iwth the game, “Dead or Alive 5 Ultimate” will come with 231 costumes.  Players will need to compete and win to unlock the entire section.

Ultimate also offers more in terms of character animations especially in Tag Team (Arcade), pair Hitomi and Leifang, Lisa Hamilton (or her wrestling luchadora persona “La Mariposa”) or Tina Armstrong, Ayane or Eliot, there are opening and ending sequences that allow interaction, otherwise pair people who don’t match or have no relationship and only the character that you played, actually does the speaking while the other just stands there.

There is a more intuitive training mode, for those who want to learn all the moves for the characters but also the inclusion of “Power Launcher” for juggle combos.  Online mode also adds Team Battle and a slight variation of trophies in which 50% of them should be quite easy for most people to achieve, while the other 50% requires more time spent online (such as fight 1,000 matches) and on training mode (complete everyone move which is difficult).

But the biggest addition and for those who want to try the game is “Dead or Alive 5 Ultimate: Core Fighters”.  A free download (a little over 3GB) which allows people to play four characters: Kasumi, Ayane, Hayabusa and Hayate and the option to pay and download additional characters.  While you can pay to own more characters, you’ll save money in the long run by purchasing the entire game (there are two download files available on PSN which include the Core Fighters and the DOA5 Ultimate which is about 6GB and can be need to be downloaded on PSN).

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Gameplay modes are a slightly different this time around for “Dead or Alive 5”.

STORY MODE:

Story mode is no longer playing a single player for their storyline. Now, it features a chronicle story mode that features every character and duration of this storymode takes about 4 hours. In the beginning, you can select two types of modes for casual gamers or those who are very good at fighting games.

As for the story, while the main story focuses on the Dead or Alive 5 tournament, there is also an underlying story of someone continuing the project of Donovan. Other storylines revolve around one wanting to win the tournament or wanting to find someone and fight them.

While each character’s storyline tend to have a connection with others. Story mode features anywhere around three matches or more with each character. There are missions that optionally can be played that requires you to pull of a move 1-3 times (which gets more difficult as you progress). Missions include, throwing someone while in crouch mode three times or blocking a hit three times.

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FIGHTING MODES:

ARCADE MODE: Arcade is a mode where you can play a character and take on other characters. By beating the game with that character, you unlock new costumes and titles.  There is Solo or Tag Team mode.  The latter which is the best to use if you want to unlock one character’s clothing easily.    During your match on arcade mode, the game will also alert you if someone had sent you a challenge/throw down (a blue symbol on the bottom right corner) or a chance to level up by going against a competitor online (via red symbol on the bottom right).  You can turn the throw down alerts off for either solo or tag team modes if needed.

VERSUS MODE: You choose who you want to fight.  Fight with a friend via solo or tag, up to four people can play.

TIME ATTACK MODE: How many characters can you beat in the shortest amount of time.

SURVIVAL MODE: Fight as many characters per stage (10 characters per stage). If you lose, game over.

TRAINING MODE: With a lot of moves, you can utilize the training mode to not only learn moves but open achievements.  Ultimate now includes free training, command training, tutorial and combo challenge.

ONLINE MODE: You can fight against anyone around the world via a simple match which you can start fighting immediately, a ranked match, lobby match and enable spectator mode to chat with other players.

Online training mode now offers 2 vs. 2 tag mode.  Players can also battle in ranked tag matches in order to become #1 in the world rankings.  Separate from solo matches, in tag matches Grade Points (GP) are earned for both team members with each win counting as two toward unlockable costumes.

DOA players can now attain the new “Prize Fighter” ranking.  Four different ranks can be earned by winning consecutive ranked matches: Bronze Fighter, Silver Fighter, Gold Fighter and Platinum Fighter.  Prize Fighters can earn extra Grade Points with wins and those who defeat another Prize Fighter receive a GP bonus.  Grade Points have been updated to now allow for players to earn up to Grade U from S+.  Bonus GP’s are rewarded when fighters move to the next grade level.

Also added to online competition is “Character Points” (CP) which displays a player’s skill level with each character.  With the inclusion of CP, players can check if they are using their best character and see where they place in the world ranking.

Tecmo also made improvements to online mode enhance gameplay and provides a smoother experience regardless of a player’s network connection and also cutting search times to find opponents ranked matches and unranked throw downs.

EXTRAS:  Now on Ultimate, one can be a spectator and watch a matchup online, take photos for your album, watch accessed movies from story mode or arcade, see your fight record and assign title(s) for your character during online matchups.

 

 

Controls are similar to previous “Dead or Alive” games. One button to hit, grab or throw a character. The game does include a power attack if you are under 50% health and knock them out (or into) a danger zone (and fall to another part of the stage). But there is a cliffhanger event, in which a character grabs on to an object on the stage before falling out and use it to activate an action sequence.

The game also utilizes a new critical system, such as critical stuns, critical combos and critical bursts. Which definitely affects gameplay and one needing to think quickly of how they would counter if a critical move is performed.

Overall, controls for a character in “Dead or Alive 5 Ultimate” are quite smooth during gameplay. I was pretty impressed of how responsive the characters were. The more difficult holds takes a while to get down especially the critical system, but the tutorial mode will help you through that.

During Online Mode, most matches went very well, surprisingly I did not have any significant lag of the many games I have played both DOA5 and DOA5 Ultimate, very few matches in which I had any experience with lag.

 

 

The graphics for “Dead or Alive 5 Ultimate” is fantastic! There is a lot of detail in the character models. This is the best I have ever seen of Kasumi, Ayane, Hayate, Tina, Zack and others. When you fight, the characters get grimy and dirty, they also sweat and you can easily see the drips of sweat through their skin or falling towards the floor.

The stage design is also excellent and pleasing to look at. I felt that previous games including “Dead or Alive 4″ felt too repetitive when it came to the arenas. But this time around, with the interactivity of an area and how detail many stages loo, I was very impressed!

If I have to be nitpicky when it comes to graphics, it would be for some of the text in story mode. Even playing on a 51” 1080p TV, the grunge typeface used for the text was a bit difficult to read at times.

As for audio, “Dead or Alive 5” sounds great!

Audio is crystal clear and you can easily change the audio to Japanese or English. Dialogue is easily understandable and while I am used to the Japanese voicework, which is awesome! The English dub is very good. So, fore those wondering if Tecmo provides both vocal soundtracks, they do!

As for sound effects and ambiance, some states are more immersive than others.  Especially one stage that involves tanks and artillery being shot out.

Audio in story mode is crystal clear and for the most part, dialogue and music are also very good.

“Dead or Alive” games are known for replay value, due to the amount of costumes given for each character. For completionists, not only will they be playing “Dead or Alive 5 Ultimate” for long periods of time to get all clothing or titles but even the trophies/achievements which one requires one to play up to a 1,000 matches or the new training sections which require quite a bit of a challenge to learn various moves.  But because of the online competition, one will want to play the game over and over to master a character or characters in the game, so replay value for “Dead or Alive 5 Ultimate” is high!

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Having had a chance to play both “Dead or Alive 5” and “Dead or Alive 5 Ultimate”, the latest game in the series is much better than its predecessor.  But not a whole lot?

The additional characters, stages and songs are a major plus and they have beefed up the training mode considerably and you get the Power Launcher move in which people can do more juggling combo attacks.  But “Dead or Alive 5 Ultimate” also introduces players who just want to test the game thanks to its free Core Fighters release on PSN.

With that being said, as a new game and not a game that could have been updated via DLC, previous “Dead or Alive 5” players have to purchase “Dead or Alive 5 Ultimate” and can’t just pay to download the additional characters.  “Dead or Alive 5 Ultimate” is a more enjoyable game with better fight mechanics over “Dead or Alive 5” but previous owners will have to repurchase the game.

With the incorporation of “Virtua Fighter” characters, one would hope Tecmo Koei will someday add accessory or clothing customization.  While it’s great to have these unlockable costumes and some that need to be purchased online (which are mostly bikinis and Christmas outfits), people are going to want to see more if they are going to have to repurchase the game for another $39.99.  Other upgraded versions of other games did not cost as much and with the fighting game genre so competitive, you really need to stand out.  And I believe clothing and accessory customization and more than five characters would be a welcomed by fans.

As a long time fan of the series, one who has put a ton of hours into this series since the game has first came out, “Dead or Alive 5 Ultimate” is the best DOA game made so far! From the look of the characters, how smooth they play and the learning curve to learn other critical moves is impressive!

As a big Helena, Ayane and Kasumi fan, I simply love the gameplay and how I was able to to chain combos and after getting beat after a string of hits, being able to counter right back and just barely win. And it’s one thing to be able to be excited about how smooth the game plays during offline mode, but then going online and taking on many people and seeing how smooth gameplay was online with these characters, I was very pleased!

And on the topic of characters, I love the fact that “Virtua Fighter” characters and “Ninja Gaiden” characters have been added.  I’m still waiting for the “Dynasty Warriors” and “Fist of the Northstar” characters hopefully show up but Koei definitely has a characters they can tap into and bring to the DOA universe but also room for many new characters to be created as well!

And let’s discuss the stages. When “Dead or Alive 3” was released, it definitely broke new ground with the multiple level within a level scenery and with “Dead or Alive 4”, while the scenes looked amazingly beautiful on the XBOX 360, for me, the stages were very good and improved in graphics tremendously. But with “Dead or Alive 5 Ultimate” (and DOA5), I love how different the interactive arena’s were. Some levels could take a good amount of beating or certain move to really knock someone out to another level. Nothing is too easy, you need to learn those stages where as previous games, you pretty much knew that if you can sidestep and knock a character to a certain direction, they were going to fall.  But the cliffhanger moves definitely bring some excitement to the stages. But this time around, you really need to figure out the arenas and how to take advantage of the surrounding environments.

Graphically, I love the detail of the stages and how the lighting effects were done. I felt the arena’s in tandem with the beautiful character designs really made “Dead or Alive 5 Ultimate” such a visually stunning game. Audio was also well-done!

And as the game is visually stunning and gameplay is the best so far in a DOA game, for those who did care about the story of the series, Team Ninja, went all out in crafting a storyline that is much more easier to understand and makes sense than prior games.

To tell you the truth, past “Dead or Alive” games were getting near “King of Fighters” status in terms of storyline forgetfulness. But this time around, because of how the story mode was presented, you know what is going down with each character. And there are some twists and turns in the storyline that make you wonder who is truly “dead or alive”.  Is the story much more coherent after playing Story Mode?  Well, this is “Dead or Alive” afterall.

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So, the big question now is if this game is worth purchasing?  The answer is “Yes!”. And the good news is that if you want to try the game, you can download “Dead or Alive 5 Ultimate: Core Fighters” on PSN for free and start playing immediately.  You won’t have Story Mode but you will be able to utilize four characters and see if the game is worth your time.

But what if you owned “Dead or Alive 5”?  The answer is also “yes” but also depending on how important the new stages and five extra characters are for you.  There is also more added to training mode, new animations, new music and other changes included to online gaming mode.

Unfortunately, there is no DLC to upgrade your game or purchase the additional five characters or modes, you simply have to buy a new game and I know this may be disheartening for some, but it’s where a lot of companies are going with their fighting games, albeit it would have been much better if “Ultimate” was offered for a much cheaper price but that is subjective.

Overall, “Dead or Alive 5 Ultimate” is the best “Dead or Alive” fighting game made so far!

But is “Dead or Alive 5 Ultimate” a major step up from “Dead or Alive 5″…slightly.  But it’s still an enjoyable fighting game but is definitely in need for newer enhancements, more new characters than the five and beefed up training mode provided for its pricepoint.

Still, I love playing this game and wholeheartedly recommend “Dead or Alive 5 Ultimate”!

 

Divinity: Dragon Commander for PC (Steam) (a J!-ENT Video Game Review)

September 8, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

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I recommend “Divinity: Dragon Commander” to those who enjoy story and a mash up keystone genres to command and conquer as a dragon, a dragon with a jet pack no less.

“Divinity: Dragon Commander” is under the copyright of Larian Studios. All Rights Reserved.

VIDEO GAME TITLE: Divinity: Dragon Commander for the PC

TYPE OF GAME: Action/RPG/Strategy

PLATFORM: Steam

PLATFORM GAME REVIEWED: STEAM PC GAME

DEVELOPER: Larian Studios

PUBLISHER: Larian Studios

RELEASE DATE: August 9, 2013

You are the Dragon Commander. Your mission it is to reunite a broken empire and become the new emperor. Success depends entirely on your ability to efficiently rule your empire, build invincible armies and lead them to victory.

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Larian Studios comes through with their latest “Divinity” video game.

Finely blending combination of strategy and RPG elements with a sprinkle of real time strategy gameplay. “Divinity: Dragon Commander” is the name and dragon commanding is the game from outsmarting other nations by cards or clever unit placement to commanding armies on the battle field first hand to making hard decisions in the political arena. With a world torn by treachery and heavy war machinery only the Dragon prince can hope to have the final say.

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Overall gameplay focuses on role-playing as the Dragon prince turn “Dragon Commander” utilizing strategy, RTS, and role playing all in one package. As the last loyal of kin it turns to you to reclaim the kingdom from your treacherous brothers through strategy and a large commanding force.

Though you do not stand alone as many who join you along the way offer advantages such as upgrades and the ability to turn the tides with enhanced speed in battle or sleight of hand on the world map.

Strategy when commanding units and the like on the world map is simple enough with actions such as moving units, building units, and making various types of buildings. On this map you also have cards available to buff your own economy or attack another nations economy. Each turn taken gives gold used for units and research points used to upgrade either your dragon form or to buy and upgrade various units.

With each turn your opponents also move, upgrade units, and use cards against you. While simplistic in comparison to pure strategy games that have more depth such as assassination and counsel management, it is only one part of the three part package.

“Dragon Commander” utilizes RTS gameplay to decide battles when you choose to take the battlefield yourself. Each unit has advantages and disadvantages with some having abilities to turn the tides quickly in your favor. Building in the game is straightforward purchasing buildings using recruits and gold to build more units to siege your opponent.

Aside from the air and land units, sea units are helpful to assassinate an enemy building or provide much needed support near the shores. With all this said there still remains the one unit you can employ at the cost of recruits: the Dragon. Each time you summon your hero unit you have abilities to buff and debuff units, firepower, and a jet pack to zoom across the field to key points. All this allows for an enjoyable alternative the usual strategy game combat.

Although like it’s strategy counterpart, it lacks in comparison to the purebred RTS games which either point may turn away those looking for the whole experience when it comes to specific genres. I find it lacking due to the structured RTS gameplay where you can’t choose where to build buildings and at times end up mobbing for the win rather than a clutch maneuver. Difficulty increase could circumvent these cheese tactics, but still remains to be seen whether or not it would make difference.

Even though the game can feel like Jack of All Trades and master of neither, the story and role playing involved picks up the slack. You as the dragon prince have multitudes of choices and can shape the future kingdom how you see fit.

In the political arena, you allow or disallow touchy subjects such as drug usage, same-sex marriage, and wages for those you have dominion over. Relationships with your wife and your generals are also greatly influenced by some of your political decisions as well as dialogue choices with them could end with any one of them not enjoying your company. For those who enjoy going down an evil path, are also properly satisfied as there are options to deal in dark magics to give you an edge at a cost.

Those who enjoy the good path can skip the dark magics and make whatever choices add to the overall betterment of the kingdom. In the instance you are unsure of how someone will react to your choices each turn, you can save before then to ensure that it won’t be permanent damage to your save meant for doing only good, evil, or neutral. With so many choices, compelling role playing, and influential actions makes the RPG aspect of “Dragon Commander” stand out above all else.

 

 

Controls are straightforward such as clicking and scrolling to select units and keyboard bindings to use abilities and issue commands.

Which is better, keyboard or controller pad?

There appears to be no controller support as this game was only released on PC, and with RTS combat would be better to stick with keyboard and mouse either way. No noticeable problems with unresponsive controls.

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Graphics are outstanding with the amount of detail of the various characters met and the landscape of every battlefield you fight on. With noticeable subtleties such as trees crashing down as your machinery crosses over them or facial expressions and hair movement.

Surround sound audio seems to be a great asset when battling it out on the field as everything seems to explode immersing you more into the game. Audio is clear cut with no noticeable discrepancies allowing for an enjoyable audio experience.

 

 

“Dragon Commander” has some a bit more replay value than most story games out there as different paths are available as you decide how to rule your kingdom. There is also a multiplayer battle system where you can duke it out against other dragon princes and co-op campaign for those who prefer playing with friends as they conquer each nation.

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All wrapped up in one package “Dragon Commander” is a worthwhile game. While it may not appeal to those hardcore to the various genres mixed together, it still allows plenty of fun by appealing to a multitude of different players.

I recommend “Divinity: Dragon Commander” to those who enjoy story and a mash up keystone genres to command and conquer as a dragon, a dragon with a jet pack no less.

PROS:

+ Story/RPG heavy

+ Influential choice system

+ Save system for strategic errors and progress

+ Combination of complimentary genres

NEGATIVES:

– Lack of depth when it comes to RTS and strategy

 

 

Guncraft (Steam) (a J!-ENT Video Game Review)

August 21, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

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“Guncraft” comes through with dynamic battlefield gameplay and unlimited customization in a FPS platform.  Recommended!

“Guncraft” is under the copyright of Exacto Game Studios/Reverb Games. All Rights Reserved.

VIDEO GAME TITLE: Guncraft

TYPE OF GAME: Shooter

PLATFORM: Steam

PLATFORM GAME REVIEWED: STEAM PC GAME

DEVELOPER: Exacto Game Studios

PUBLISHER: Reverb Games

RELEASE DATE: August 9, 2013

Marrying the addictive nature of block building sandbox games with the speed and competition of modern first-person shooters, Guncraft features gameplay that is instantly intuitive and addicting. Players can create arenas and levels based on anything they can think of, and once complete, utilize these stages for addictive fast-paced shooting action.

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Where fast paced FPS meets unlimited voxel-based game, “Guncraft” stands a part offering both and more. Finally, coming out after their successful Kickstarter in early 2012, Exato Game Studios seek “to break the traditional standards of indie game developers” with “Guncraft”.

The game features fast paced FPS combat, tons of different game modes and creative outlets such as creating your own guns and crafting maps submitted to the developers for approval.

This game also showcases completely destructible environments as well as complete customization each class from appearance to various kill streak rewards.

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Overall, combat in “Guncraft” is fast paced with no limit to sprinting, hook shots to get to hard to reach places, and vehicles such as hover bikes to get across the battlefield fast. Gun play in the game is interesting as there is no recoil, which may seem disconcerting to hard core FPS fans, but rest assured it does not limit the amount of fun that can be had from soaring through the air sniping any who pass through your crosshairs.

The destructible battlefield plays hugely into the game with rocket launchers doing more than just blowing up the enemy, but molding the battlefield to the carnage taking place. This adds more than just craters, but allows players to adapt using newly blown holes to take cover in or making your own nook as a sniper to conceal yourself in.

All together, this causes the battlefield to feel more alive so you have to do more than aim at that one building everyone camps in, but look for new additions to the map made by players whether blown out or built.

Building at first seemed to be impossible to work in such a high paced environment, but the thought was countered when looking at much of the “pre-fab” options such as towers, bunkers, bridges and more that builds itself in an intense environment. Of course buildings do not come without a price as the game uses an in-game currency to purchase the right to place buildings and individual blocks.

While you do not receive money from blowing things up, you do gain money from breaking out your building tool to break blocks at different speeds depending on your class advantages.

Each class uses full customization whether that be appearance or passive class benefits. Preset guns range from the usual assault rifle to a gun that looks like a bald eagle each with their own advantages and disadvantages.  Many preset appearances come with the game such as a pirate, gruff army veteran, or even Mr.T’s Caucasian counterpart Mr.W. Melee weapons each have their own perks such as one-hit perk at the cost of “pre-fab” buildings or all around melee tools that doesn’t do anything the best, but can be used in any situation.

Various perks are also at your disposal such as “Demolitionist” which allow players to use weapons such as the Blockbuster without worry of running out of ammunition. Construction bonuses allow you to choose how you want to build, whether that be purely pre-built buildings or high income perks from breaking blocks with the building tool.

Since the game is voxel-based, the amount of creativity and the number of maps that can be made is limitless. Some of the maps were developed by Exato themselves, but they also feature many community created maps that they approve in the map list of each lobby. Skins and guns can also be shared, voted on, and used among the “Guncraft” community as long as there is no obvious copyright infringements or vulgarity.

To accompany the wealth of different maps, come the many featured game modes in “Guncraft”. There is the run of the mill game modes such as Death Match, Team Death Match, and Capture the Flag.

Then there are the more unique game modes such as Spleef, Lava Survival, and Meteor Survival.

Those who played on custom Spleef servers in “Minecraft” will be delighted as it is an official game mode in “Guncraft” using the building tool in maps such as a bowl of alphabet soup trying to knock each other down into the fatal tomato soup blocks.

Lava Survival uses the same mechanic of knocking people into lava, except you can also freeze people by shooting them then breaking blocks under them. Meteor survival  uses the same freezing mechanic, but people are killed by random meteor showers that break the environment and the last one standing wins.

Though the game has so many game modes it has the one unfortunate pitfall, the number of players willing to play them.

On release there was a sizable number of people who wanted to try out the new game modes which were a great amount of fun. Over time much of the player base instead sticks to the usual Deathmatch and Team Death Match for their “Guncraft” needs, but hopefully it is a problem that solves itself as the game is out for longer.

 

 

 

The controls for “Guncraft” use standard W-A-S-D to move and left click to shoot for basics while building and other controls are best looked over in the settings menu.

Which is better, keyboard or controller pad?

Keyboard and mouse are definitely go to as the controls are much more manageable.  Some gamers who are used to using a joystick or even an XBOX 360 controller may prefer using them over a keyboard and mouse.

 

 

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Graphics are good for a voxel-based game as everything is clearly conveyed.  Similar to “Minecraft”, the games are never known to be great when it comes to modern gaming graphics, but for those who enjoy the visual style will also enjoy “Guncraft”.  There is good shading, especially around shadows behind letters.

While there is not, the most distinct or mind-blowing explosion sounds in triple-A FPS games, for what sounds there are it is clear such as gunfire, explosive sounds and death sounds. There is no real advantages to using headphone or stereo systems for bass or otherwise. All sounds are more simple and clear than intricate.

There doesn’t appear to be any music during the matches except after the two minute mark each match.

 

 

“Guncraft” has tons of replay value as there are so many modes to play and plenty of players with varying skill levels to challenge your metal against.

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With so much to offer such as mass customization, tons of game modes and destructible environments “Guncraft” is hard to pass up for voxel gamers. While it may not appeal to hardcore FPS fans, the game mashes many great elements together allowing for tons of fun among friends or with fellow Guncrafters.

It is unfortunate though that much of the game modes appear to be vacant due to the player base playing Team Death Match or Death Match, I hope this problem is fixed as more try the game.

“Guncraft” comes through with dynamic battlefield gameplay and unlimited customization in a FPS platform giving the game a 4 out of 5. Recommended!

PROS:

+ Destructible battlefield.

+ Tons of customization.

+ Huge creative outlet for fans of voxel games.

+ Fun and simple FPS fire fights.

+ Several game modes.

NEGATIVES:

– May not appeal to hardcore FPS fans.

– May not appeal to those who do not like “Minecraft” style graphics.

– More creative game modes appear vacant a majority of the time.

 

The Raven – Legacy of a Master Thief: Episode 1 for the PC (Steam) (a J!-ENT Video Game Review)

August 14, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

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“The Raven: Legacy of a Master Thief” features detailed graphics and beautiful aesthetics, a great mysterious story premise and intuitive logic based puzzle solving. Recommended!

Screen Captures are from Steam gameplay. “The Raven – Legacy of a Master Thief” is under the copyright of KING ART/Nordic Games. All Rights Reserved.

VIDEO GAME TITLE: The Raven – Legacy of a Master Thief for the PC

TYPE OF GAME: Adventure Game

PLATFORM: Various Digital Distribution for PC, Mac, Linux, PlayStation Network, Xbox Live Arcade

PLATFORM GAME REVIEWED: STEAM PC GAME

DEVELOPER: KING ART

PUBLISHER: Nordic Games

RELEASE DATE: July 23

Set across 1960’s Europe, The Raven combines the thrill of the chase ‘whodunit’ with the risk and reward of a heist story where players get to experience both sides of the story as the investigator and the thief. Paying tribute to Agatha Christie’s crime stories and gangster movies from the 60s and 70s, The Raven is set to be a thrilling episodic journey.

From  simple, Swiss police man to an, albeit unofficial, detective in training sleuthing with the best. King Art Games comes back with another point and click adventure game with the main character stuck in the middle of a mystery involving the notorious Raven. “The Raven: Legacy of a Master Thief” challenges the player to question suspects, combine items to get past obstacles, and explore various areas and environments to find evidence and clues to unveil who is behind these thefts and dangerous occurrences.

King Art is a German game developer with hits such as “The Book of Unwritten Tales”, a fantasy point and click adventure game, and popular browser games such as “MyFreePark” and “MyFreeZoo.” They currently have a turn-based strategy game dubbed “Battle Worlds: Kronos” in alpha, which was a favorite among Kick starters as it received more than full funding. King Art Games cover programming and concepts across multiple platforms such as PC, Mac, Xbox 360 and PS3.

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In ‘The Raven’ you control Constable Anton Jakob Zellner, a Swiss police officer who aspires to be as the detectives he reads about in the mystery novels he reads in his spare time. Constable Zellner finds his opportunity when he is assigned to police a train transporting goods expected to be hit next by the alleged successor of the Raven supervised by the man who was honored as the man who killed the original Raven. From then on, Constable Zellner works to prove his moxie to the highly respected detective and see this case to the end all placed in the world of the 60’s.

Most of the game revolves around talking to each character to garner enough evidence or clues to complete a part of the main case or an aside such as a missing purse. The other half is searching the environment you are on to find tool, items, or physical evidence to continue in each case such as finding a key. Each character has various dialogue options, majority of which concern evidence with the case, while the other concerns background on each character and interesting points concerning the personality of each character. When combining or using items usually the answer is logical enough for you to figure it out fairly quickly, as long as you find all that you can in each environment you should have the keys to each obstacle you face.

The game uses standard point and click interactions such as: click to interact, click on item then click on another item to combine if valid and dialogue choices. The game also has a mini game here and there such as picking a lock with wire. The mini games feel as if they interrupt the flow of the game, but if you enjoy a break from the usual sleuthing it could be just your ticket.

The game also includes a hint and highlight system which you can activate using adventure points. Adventure points are gained through completing phases of the case and spent on highlights or hints. This is greatly helpful if you cannot put your finger on the one thing in the room that you  missed. Adventure points also determine how well you did at the end of the chapter as it would be a clear indication on how much help you needed via the system.

A notebook is self-maintained as you go along, containing finer points of each character and other details that can be reviewed to help you to piece together parts of the case. This also has objectives written out to give you direction should you need it.

Music is well orchestrated and melds with the environment well, wherever you go and under which ever circumstance. For example, when you are in the care free environment of the train, the music matches with light, whimsical music to match the environment.

Cinematic scenes take you from one environment to the other after pivotal moments in the story happen, or to portray a scene of all the characters in a cinematic light.

As far as bugs go, I only ran into one occasion where I could not see Constable Zellner until I interacted with another object across the room. Though there may have been more bugs I did not notice, King Art Games seem to be diligent on bug fixing as the first patch was sent out not even a week after release.

 

 

‘The Raven’ uses standard control of a point and click adventure game, with no need to interact with your keyboard.

Which is better, keyboard or controller pad?

As a point and click adventure game it’s much better to stick to keyboard and mouse.

 

 

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Overall graphics are significantly above the bar of the usual adventure games. The various characters’ faces are well defined, while facial expressions are at times hit or miss, but usually on point. At times there is clipping or awkward occurrences with some of the characters’ faces, but usually isn’t a large enough issue to groan about. Aside from that, the voice work is superb with each of the characters’ personalities exemplified through their voice work with accents matching each character’s origin. Each environment is beautifully crafted with scenery such as the passing of mountain sides or crashing waves, and even small details in rooms are included such as a pen or askew book.

Audio is clear cut, no clear discrepancies or audio bugs. 

 

 

Overall, I don’t feel there is a whole lot of replay value. Most of what you are going to get out of the game is story based, and once you’ve played it once there is not much of an itch to play again.

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All together, episode one of “The Raven” make a great starting point to the rest of the game. The overall quality of the game cannot be stated plainly as only one of three are currently released, but with great looking graphics, a blooming story and the mystery still left unsolved it has great promise. Though I do not blame you if you decide to hold onto your money until the last installment is released late September allowing for the final word to be said on the game as a whole.

“The Raven: Legacy of a Master Thief” features detailed graphics and beautiful aesthetics, a great mysterious story premise and intuitive logic based puzzle solving. Recommended!

PROS:

+ Detailed environment, characters, and individual rooms.

+ Logic-based puzzle solving

+ Compelling story-line.

+ Hint system for those who are stuck using earned in-game points.

CONS:

– Graphical clipping with facial features

– Voices at times not matching facial movement.

 

Sword of the Stars: The Pit/The Pit: Mindgames for the PC (Steam) (a J!-ENT Video Game Review)

July 16, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

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I recommend “Sword of the Stars: The Pit”  on Steam to those who favor gritty aesthetics, unlimited replay value, or good old fashioned dungeon crawling. With so much time already logged, this game is definitely a steal at ten dollars for the base game and five dollars for the huge expansion in the DLC “The Pit: Mindgames”.

Screen Captures are from Steam gameplay. “Sword of Stars: The Pit: Mindgames” is under the copyright of Kerberos Productions. All Rights Reserved.

VIDEO GAME TITLE: Sword of the Stars: The Pit/The Pit: Mindgames for the PC

TYPE OF GAME: RPG/INDIE/CASUAL

PLATFORM: PC Steam

PLATFORM GAME REVIEWED: STEAM PC GAME

DEVELOPER: Kerberos Productions

PUBLISHER: Kerberos

RELEASE DATE: The Pit: Mar 8, 2013; Mindgames: Jul 3, 2013

Classic, dungeon-crawling, PC RPG, set in the Sword of the Stars universe. How deep can you go?

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Kerberos is a company composed of those hailing from Barking Dogs Studio and Rockstar Games Vancouver. Those working at Kerberos worked on hits such Bully by Rockstar GamesTeam Fortress from Valve, and Ghost Busters: The Video Game developed by Terminal Reality. Their most recognized work is the Sword of the Stars a space strategy game involving giant star ship wars and capturing sector’s of the Sword of the Star’s Universe.

Sword of the Stars: The Pit builds on Kerbero’s previous franchise’s world from Sword of the Stars space strategy game. Those who have played Sword of the Stars will recognize familiar races to play as in The Pit. Although it is under the same name, the Pit poses itself as a spin off to the original game from strategically fighting with ships in space to controlling a single hero fighting your way down several floors in a turn based,2D top-down, rogue-like dungeon experience.

 

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GAMEPLAY:

Sword of the Star’s: The Pit/Mindgames  involves controlling a hero to brave the depths of the pit. Each hero has different advantages and stats to accommodate each play style. Want to cast mental spells? Psion fits the bill. Want to be incredibly beefy, the Marine is your man. Utilizing these class advantages you fight a variety of monsters and transformed Humans and Tarka to reach your ultimate goal in the game: The Pit. Each monster has its own sleight of hand whether that be poison, disease, or hit and run.

Though caution is always advised playing the game because any step you take in this turn-based combat system could be your very last because death is permanent similar to The Binding of Isaac  or any other of the old school RPG’s featuring the rogue-like game play of randomly generated dungeons and monsters of varying difficulty depending on how far you venture into the rabbit hole that is The Pit.

As with most Role-play games, has a selection of stats to add to with each level, which increases the chance for some weapons to hit or actions to work, and become more powerful, or profitable. Also standard to RPG’s is a health bar and hunger bar as well as a Psi/Mana bar added in with the Mindgames DLC.

The game also features various difficulty settings from easiest to hardest: Easy, Normal, Hard, Insane, and Seriously?!. This allows for players from casual to hardcore to enjoy the game at their own pace.

The story of the game starts off with the hero you choose going into The Pit to find a cure for a rampaging alien disease that transforms organic beings into danger zombies. Overall the story is mostly progressed through translating messages at consoles which you may or may not get depending on your decryption skill.

Overall, combat feels good, click to attack, shoot with your current weapon, hot key abilities or items to quick slots to use faster than going through the menu.

For a turn-based game the combat is usually surprisingly fluid unless there are many enemies on the screen, then you might have to wait a few more seconds than normal as each turn has to be taken by the enemy as well. This also happens even if you are out of sight of the enemy as you will notice the turn taking system working when going down an empty corridor.

Interacting with items and objects garners benefits of finding items, helpful tools or food. Interacting with anything in the game has a chance to fail depending on your skills in the corresponding stat. For example, opening locked doors or supply boxes are influenced by the lock pick stat while prying open freezers are calculated by the mechanical skill.

Although it is interesting how each stat correlates to a different action possible, it sometimes makes the game feel too much at the mercy of luck. This also includes attacking where R.N.G (Random Number Generator) could slap you in the face with four misses in a row with your pistol that happened to have only four bullets left. This all influences how far you may get into The Pit because it could happen to just not be your day or vice versa.

Most of the weapons and psionic powers are unique aside from the standard pistol, assault rifle, and heavy weapon archetypes. Laser guns, mind control, and energy cannons are but some of the weapons available to you as you venture deeper.

The aesthetics of each floor changes the more you go down from a standard cave to a post apocalyptic station to natural biomes with new and more challenging creatures. Each monster having new or increasingly powerful abilities to challenge your advancements in skills, weaponry, and stats. Much of the game is naturally gritty as much of the floors of the facility have been abandoned due to the apocalyptic story premise.

The Mindgames adds a wealth of new items, monsters, areas, and classes with unique attributes, advantages, and abilities. Though there are too many new features to list, the ones that stand out are the new Psion and Ranger classes who adds a whole new twist to the original three classes. Also with the DLC is the new safety net added every five levels where you can bank experience, and items for future characters and start on those respective levels that you’ve reached when you start a new character.

 

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CONTROLS:

Controls for Sword of the Stars: The Pit are lag-free provided that you are not trying to attack during an enemies turn.

Which is better, keyboard or controller pad?

Sword of the Stars: The Pit/Mindgames does not have controller support according to the game’s steam profile.

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GRAPHICS & AUDIO:

The graphics are great as everything appears to be clear what the item might be or what it might be used for, as well as clarity in what is attacking you or how it is attacking you.

Audio is fine and reminiscent of old school games clear and unique. 

REPLAY VALUE:

As a rogue-like game with permanent death and randomly crafted dungeons with various ways to play the game makes Sword of the Stars: The Pit a hugely re-playable game.

Leader boards with high scores are also available to you to see how you measure up and strive for higher scores.

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Overall, Sword of the Stars: The Pit should be a hit among avid dungeon crawlers, rogue-like gamers, and those looking for a game to play casually on the side at your own pace. If you are looking for a game to fill time gaps each day, this game should suit your needs fine.

As well as having an addicting progression based game structure, the game has personality quirks within each of the classes and items that some may find enjoyable as well as the gritty apocalyptic setting reminiscent of the Fallout franchise.

Sword of the Stars: The Pit is user friendly in that the controls and combat are not overly complicated and its depth is more tied in with the strategy involved with the turn based system. Unique weapons and abilities add to the fun and strategy of the game as well as items to help lessen the RNG with the highly RNG based game play.

With all this said, it suffers from how chance some things can be, and too much bad luck could end with your hero in a tricky situation. This at times can get frustrating, but each classes’ advantages usually make up for it provided you are doing actions corresponding to their unique advantages. For example, this comes into play as a Engineer who has higher than average electronics therefore he has a less chance of getting hurt concerning actions with electronics.

As a final thought, I recommend Sword of the Stars: The Pit on Steam to those who favor gritty aesthetics, unlimited replay value, or good old fashioned dungeon crawling. With so much time already logged, this game is definitely a steal at ten dollars for the base game and five dollars for the huge expansion, The Pit: Mindgames via DLC.

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PROS:

+ User friendly controls/Not overly complicated

+ Tons of replay value with new classes, play styles, and difficulty.

+ Simple turn-based strategy game play.

+ Generally challenging due to it’s rogue-like nature

NEGATIVES:

– Heavily RNG based game play

– Frustrating at times due to bad luck

 

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