Tips and Hints For Dead Cells

Because of how great it is, and the fact that the game can be very challenging at times, I’m here to provide you with some tips to get started.

Author: Nathan Doverspike

Dead Cells is a game that successfully mashes numerous characteristics together, and it has the potential to reach players who normally might not give it a shot because of that. It’s a game with beautiful 3D turned 2D graphics boasting roguelite elements, responsive action, satisfyingly quick platforming, and rewarding exploration all tied into an affordable yet deep game. This is one I can see myself picking up years from now and still admiring the art style and game-play as much as the day I bought it. Because of how great it is, and the fact that the game can be very challenging at times, I’m here to provide you with some tips to get started.

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Legendary weapons are definite game-changers.

Play To Your Strengths

As you can see from the image above, I had a wide variety of weapons equipped that particular run (I made it to the final area on that run, only to be obliterated within the first couple rooms). What saved my bacon the most is the mutation that lets you revive once in the even that you die. This is so handy during boss fights or areas where enemies get the jump on you. Also, being able to regain health from defeating enemies (you’ll be doing that quite a lot once you get to a certain point in a run) is invaluable in staying alive. However, there are plenty of other mutations and weapons other than the ones I have pictured that may work better for your play style. There are mutations that allow you to do a massive amount more damage if you are near a trap, and one that reduces the time to deploy your traps. Those combined also can be a lethal combination. Finding the right weapons, mutations, and traps is crucial in progressing in Dead Cells.

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Just keep swimming, just keep swimming!

Exploration Is Your Friend

Some of the most satisfying moments I’ve had in Dead Cells involve pushing deeper and deeper into areas, knowing that in an instant my run could be over with one mistake, and bathe in rewards from a newly discovered chest that spits out a legendary weapon. This is just another aspect that this game nails: exploration is rewarding and can be crucial to extending runs. Chests provide rewards that can help you unlock new upgrades, give you a weapon that you desperately need, or even curse you until you complete a specified task to list that curse. You can also find more power scrolls the deeper you delve into areas, so always being on the lookout and checking the map will also help keep you alive longer.

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Persistence Will Pay Off

There were certainly times while playing Dead Cells that it feels like I’m getting nowhere. Then I complete an area and am able to dump the cells I earned into unlocking a new mutation, or the ability to get a random starting weapon on subsequent runs, and I remember that this game demands persistence . It even gives you not-so-subtle hints that you will be doing the same run over and over for eternity. Once I accepted that I will be seeing the prison and toxic sewers quite a bit, I focused more on learning how each weapon functions, and how the levels are semi-randomly built on each run. Persistence has been paying large dividends, and I am reaching the final and next to last area quite often, meaning my runs are lasting one to two hours instead of fifteen or twenty minutes. If you reach the point where you feel you aren’t making much progress, keep pushing forward and you’ll realize like I did that eventually you’ll beat down that virtual brick wall with enough punches.

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The art in this game is so beautiful, it makes the repeated areas wear less on players.

When In Doubt, Switch Your Route

There isn’t a singular path to the end of Dead Cells. The branching paths mean that you could potentially beat the game in an earlier run without ever seeing whole areas of the game. That also means that you have the freedom to take a path and avoid certain areas that may prove more difficult than others. For example, earlier on in my time with Dead Cells I was having difficulty beating the Black Bridge. So, with the new ability to use teleportation coffins, I chose to go through the Ossuary. Granted, that run ended quite abruptly and I eventually went back to the Black Bridge and beat it on the following run, but it just serves as a good example of how you can change the way you reach the final area to suite your personal gaming strengths.

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Finding the best path is challenging but oh so satisfying.

Mutations Are A Game-Changer

Finding the perfect combination of mutations for your runs can do wonders for helping you push farther and farther each run. Personally, I found getting the mutation that allows you to revive once after dying a great pickup as your first mutation, followed by necromancy (you gain health each time you kill an enemy), and finish it with the 30% health boost. This all allows me to tank bosses, while letting me come back from death once if I make a huge mistake or get mauled by an elite enemy encounter. The other abilities I recommend trying are the ones that give you extra damage for being near a trap and the one that reduces your trap cool-down.

Bonus Tip: Freeze Weapons Are Killer

Just a quick tip for making the most out of your runs: have a weapon that freezes enemies. This can be a bow (freeze bows are awesome) or the freeze grenades. As long as you have a way to slow down quick enemies like the Clocktower boss and any elite enemies that can teleport once you take half their health, you’ll have a much easier time pushing forward and finding new permanent abilities.

Super Duper Bonus Tip! My Favorite Weapon and Skill Combinations

The war spear, infantry crossbow, repeater crossbow, and frantic blades are my favorite weapons and the ones that I reached the final boss using.  If combined with a mutation that powers your melee power when damaged or drink a health potion, you become a literal tank late in runs. The crusher, ice grenade, and any trap that fires projectiles combined with the trap cooldown mutation or one that boosts your damage near a trap are also very helpful.

Hope these hints help you along the way. Knowing which weapons, mutations, and abilities work best for you will undoubtedly be the difference between making a long run and returning as a corpse five minutes in. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I need to farm some more dead cells and end the cycle.

Cat Quest 2 Announced, Coming 2019

I loved the first game, so the addition of these welcome features means this should be a treat for cat and dog RPG lovers alike when it releases in early 2019

Author: Nathan Doverspike

One of my favorite RPGs of 2017 is getting a sequel. The Gentlebros, creators of the feline themed RPG that came out on Steam, PS4, Xbox One, Switch, Android, and iOS as well, announced via their Twitter profile they are currently creating the sequel titled Cat Quest: The Lupus Empire.

In the release trailer, the addition of dogs is shown, as well as couch coop! I loved the first game, so the addition of these welcome features means this should be a treat for cat and dog RPG lovers alike when it releases in early 2019.

Why It’s Worth Revisiting Attack on Titan

The video game, surprisingly, does the show and manga justice, providing players with the same visceral combat illustrated in the show with fantastic controls and really gory combat. After playing it for countless more hours this week, finishing up getting an S rank on all the available missions, I can’t recommend this game enough. Here are just a few reasons why it’s worth revisiting after its release in 2016.

Author: Nathan Doverspike

As someone who loves shows where people battle giant monsters, really gory action scenes, and has a deep appreciation for a good apocalypse story, Attack on Titan show delivers to the fullest extent on all those fronts. The video game, surprisingly, does the show and manga justice, providing players with the same visceral combat illustrated in the show with fantastic controls and really gory combat. After playing it for countless more hours this week, finishing up getting an S rank on all the available missions, I can’t recommend this game enough. Here are just a few reasons why it’s worth revisiting since its release in 2016.

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As you can see, the game is just a gory as the show.

The Combat

Besides the giant naked humanoid creatures eating people, the other initial observation  when I saw the show is how awesome the gear they use is. Two gas powered grapple hooks, one on each side, and blades that can break away at certain intervals along the blade and also replaced by ejecting it and attaching a new one to take its place. These seemingly ancient weapons and gear are all that stand between humanity and extinction.

Speaking of awesome, using the gear to grapple your way through the different environments is just as cool as it is in the show. You can catapult yourself across most maps (the outdoors maps switch it up with few areas to swing but give you a horse to ride), sometimes without ever touching the ground, and take out the limbs of the terrifying titans along the way in mid-air style. You’ll need to be cautious when surrounded though, since they are relentless in their quest to snack on humans. Plan your attacks with precision, and revel on the brutal combat that feels oh so good. In this game, it’s a titan eat human world!

The Art Style

What appears to be a mix between cel shaded and hand drawn graphics, this game just oozes style with its substance. The environments are beautifully detailed; the enemies are horrifyingly gorgeous with their big dumb smiles and giant rear ends. Each piece of gear and weapon has a very distinct look to go along with individual stats and eventually branching upgrade paths for many of them. Everything in this game shares these beautiful design choices, and makes it one of a kind for a fan of the series and action games in general.

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Each Character Is A Unique Experience

I always appreciate a game that allows you to play as each of your favorite characters, and AoT is no exception. Unlike other games though, each character has different stats and abilities based on their characters from the show. For example, Mikasa is probably the best at combat (Levi is a close second), while Armen focuses on more strategic abilities and doesn’t have as much health or attack power. Use them enough, and they’ll earn enough experience to level up and unlock a new skill that usually ends up being a big boon to combat. Thankfully, the balance between characters is fair and playing as each is a blast.

Nothing Quite Like It

With all those features mentioned above, in addition to a full length campaign (12-14 hours) and an additional mode after you beat that, this is one heck of a game that I wish more people recognized as being a great action game on current gen platforms. It’s combat is unlike any other game I’ve played, and the art style is equally fitting. It’s a great game, with a good story, one-of-a-kind combat, and is absolutely worth revisiting. So what are you waiting for?

Why It’s Worth Revisiting Just Cause 3

Here are just a couple reasons why you should consider revisiting this blast from the past sandbox of destruction.

Author: Nathan Doverspike

A couple factors led to the writing of this article. Just Cause 4 was recently leaked as being a possible announcement at E3 2018, Playstation Store had a great sale on the XL Edition of the game that comes with all released DLC (under $12 USD); and the recent announcement that Red Faction: Guerrilla is getting a remaster sometime in Q2 of this year. Here are just a couple reasons why you should consider revisiting this blast from the past sandbox of destruction.

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The Side Content Is Worthwhile and Enjoyable

As Rico Rodriguez, the world is your playground. Sure, there are main missions that you can complete. But with so many other activities to enjoy like racing in cars, boats, and airplanes, unleashing destruction within a certain time limit, or racing against the clock as you maintain speed to prevent your vehicle from exploding, this game has plenty of fund challenges to master. Even if some may not be for you, the others will more than make up for the ones you find less enjoyable. Plus, every time you complete a mission you earn up to five gears that are used to unlock perks for Rico. Unlike so many previous open world games, this one keeps rewarding you for completing the content.

Do What’s Fun For You

Something that a game like Just Cause 3 is providing you a giant world that let’s you be you. Do you want to liberate all the different towns in the world? Maybe you love the thrill of the wing-suit like I do and jump off the highest mountains just to open it up and see how far I can glide without touching down. I got much more satisfaction out of the side content than the short and obviously padded story missions. And that’s okay, because this game let’s you do what you find fun and keep doing it.

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The Destruction Is So Satisfying

Hopping into a loaded helicopter and flying into an enemy military base only to rain down missile after missile never gets old! Usually marked with red and white colors, the plethora of destructible buildings and fuel tanks provide ample opportunity to see light up the screen with fiery explosions. This game has plenty of different vehicles of destruction to choose from. Jump in a helicopter, biplane, jet, tank, or corvette and show your enemies whose boss!

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Traversal Is Still Incredible

Since the original Just Cause, Rico has been using a grapple hook and a parachute to make his way around each game. Each game, the mechanic is refined and still provides a great tool of traversal while still being a blast. This iteration in the franchise is no different, and the unlocks you gain that improve your mobility while gliding or parachuting only improve the experience the longer you play.

It’s worth noting that I recently bought a PS4 Pro, and that’s possibly why I had such a good experience this time compared to when I played it when it released. From what I can remember, the game did have slightly unstable frame rate when it launched. Combined with patches and the more powerful console, the I only notice the frame rate dropping below 30 when there was a ton of action on screen. Even then, it didn’t inhibit my ability to enjoy the game immensely.

Have you played Just Cause 3 yet? Are there other open world games that you’ve revisited recently and found them to be just as good or better than you remember? Let me know in the comments!

Omensight Review- More Fight Than Sight

Maybe it was the self-propelled hype, but after the six hours I spent with Omensight, I was left slightly underwhelmed with the overall mystery behind the gameplay.

Author: Nathan Doverspike

Disclaimer-Copy was obtained through purchase, not provided by developer.

As someone who loves mystery games, but isn’t necessarily the best at them, I knew I had to pick up Omensight by Spearhead Games the night it released. I thoroughly enjoyed Murdered: Soul Suspect, even if others didn’t share that sentiment. Maybe it was the self-propelled hype, but after the six hours I spent with Omensight, I was left slightly underwhelmed with the overall mystery behind the gameplay.

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You’ll become very familiar with this screen as you progress through the story.

Omensight is a game where you are the harbinger, a being sent to prevent the end of the world caused by the evil entity Voden. Akin to games like Sexy Brutale, you follow different characters throughout the final day, unlocking more clues to the nature of the apocalypse each time. At the end of each day you are given the opportunity to upgrade your character with the experience you gain from that day, as well as learn new moves and eventually even reduce the overall damage you receive during combat. On the normal difficulty, I found that combat became a breeze after just a few upgrades, which is a shame because this game is about 85% combat and 15% figuring out the next path to take.

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This is where you can see what clues you’ve uncovered.

This wouldn’t normally be a big gripe, but there is very little mystery to actually put together. A character at the hub area between days will just tell you where to go next after you compete a day, completely removing any sense of discovery the player could feel. I have no problem with hints if I ask for them but being spoon fed the plot in a game that calls itself a “mystery” game seems detrimental to the whole concept of the title.

Speaking of gameplay, it’s worth noting that I enjoyed the locations you visit and how they change as the end of the game draws near. Lush forests become overrun with glowing purple decay; statues crumble. These areas are fun to explore the first couple times through, but do become stale towards the end. The game offers you the option to skip to the critical point in a day with each character, and that is a welcome change over their previous game, Stories: The Path of Destinies. Unlike that title, it does cut out a lot of the fluff at the expense of not filling up your clues for each character. If you aren’t worried about that, I highly suggest taking that option whenever it is presented.

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Pretty sure that purple stuff isn’t healthy.

That isn’t to say I didn’t enjoy my time with Omensight. I had a great time for the lost part (minus an escort portion of the game that I must have played half a dozen times) because it takes notes from the Batman Arkham game’s, with enemies having an indicator appear just before they attack. This allows you to dodge, counter, and combo your way to victory. The abilities you earn through upgrading and leveling up are also satisfying, like the ability to use telepathy that evolves into telepathy/life drain. If not for the constant and satisfying character progression, it would have been a struggle to finish.

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Combat is by far the best part of this game.

The silent protagonist doesn’t do the game any favors either. Injecting any sort of personality into the harbinger would have made the numerous variations of situations you have with the different characters more interesting, because those four main characters themselves are quite a joy to hang with for a day. They all have their unique personalities, and seeing how they react to having different companions with you was certainly interesting. I just feel it would have been better if your character had more impact on these scenes instead of being nothing more than a pretty sweet-looking empty vessel.

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The main hub is beautiful, even if it lacks things to do there.

This review may sound harsh, but that’s only out of love for the potential this developer has. As the same studio that created Stories: The Path of Destinies, they have proven they understand what it takes to implement entertaining combat into their games. The mystery part could use some work, and hopefully a third title set in this universe will nail everything down and it will come together to create a one-of-a-kind masterpiece. Until them, I still recommend checking this game out if you enjoy that type of combat but aren’t afraid of a decent half dozen hour journey through ascetically pleasing areas.

Final Score: 7.5

This is currently available on PS4 and Steam. PS4 version used for review.

We Need More Games Like God of War

There is certainly a time and place for those games as a service, and if done well can be a very rewarding experience. For the purpose of this article though, I want to explore the reasons why we could benefit from more games like God of War.

Author: Nathan Doverspike

Back in the 90’s, I was just a kid who found endless amounts of joy exploring worlds as a purple dragon that could breathe fire onto unsuspecting sheep and charge head-first into enemies. Never would I have thought that single-player only games like Spyro the Dragon (I can’t wait for the remaster to come out in September!) would become overtaken by games like Destiny 2, Farcry series, or recent Assassin’s Creed titles, games that prefer to be a service instead of a singular experience. There is certainly a time and place for those games as a service, and if done well can be a very rewarding experience. For the purpose of this article though, I want to explore the reasons why we could benefit from more games like God of War.

Awhile ago, I wrote and article condemning micro transactions in video games. It appears I am not alone, as the ESRB has begun cracking down on them, countries have started outlawing them completely, and there is even a petition online to have them halted altogether. These are steps in the right direction, but until these companies see a direct impact in sales (both Assassin’s Creed Origins and Farcry 5 were well received critically and sold well) I don’t see this issue going away. The loot boxes in Shadow of War, a game that was obviously crippled by their inclusion, recently removed them. I would give them a slow clap, but it’s too little too late for that game. These gamble boxes of random nonsense prey upon people who may have an addiction to gambling, or could possibly develop one due to this insidious practice. Jim Sterling, a moderately famous YouTuber, has been extremely vocal about the abolition of loot boxes in games for these reasons and others, and I highly recommend checking out his content to see exactly why they should be removed. They impact the balancing of the game, with the core experience often tampered with to make you feel inferior without dropping additional money to have better gear, weapons, etc. God of War doesn’t fall into this trap, and it deserves recognition for it.

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Horizon Zero Dawn is a great example of a single player game that was financially and critically successful.

Also along the lines of scumbag practices are season passes. These promises of extra content to gamers for extra cash often don’t live up to the money you invest in them. Whether it’s not as much story content, maps that don’t feel worth the price of admission, or outright screwing over customers with incomplete content, there always seems to be a downfall to a game’s season pass. God of War could have had one of these. There are multiple realms you do not visit in the game, and quite honestly I would pay extra to travel to them because the game is so extraordinary. But they aren’t available for purchase, and most likely won’t be according the game’s director Cory Barlog. For the first time in a long time, we have a COMPLETE game at release. No need to pay to finish the story, get more loot/gear, or unlock other content like characters that were already included on the original disc (Mortal Kombat I’m looking at you on that one). This gives us something to look forward to in the sequel.

Speaking of complete story, not since The Last of Us did I think a story was so well-done. It kept me engaged and always wondering how they were going to overcome their next challenge. Like the relationship between Joel and Ellie, Kratos and Atreus aren’t always on great terms. In fact, for the majority of the game, they butt heads more than a millennial and baby boomer stuck in a closet together. Which makes their evolution throughout the game that much more interesting. You see where each is coming from, you see the regret over the terrible things Kratos has done, and how hard it is for him to express that to his son. And without spoiling anything, you see how some of these rifts are closed by the credits, and how some more could be opened in future installments. Too many games are shifting to imitate a service instead of an excellent experience.

Being a single player game, without a season pass or expansions, you would think that sales would be down right? Publishers want to claim that multi-player games sell so many more copies, thus making them considerable amount more cash. God of War would like to disagree, with it selling over 3.1 million copies of the FIRST THREE DAYS! This sold more than Uncharted 4 (had multi-player) and Horizon Zero Dawn, both Sony first party games. It is hard to believe that if this were released on even just Steam as well as PS4, that the sales numbers would be even more impressive. Even still, the notion that single player games don’t make as much money would be labeled as busted if it were to be analyzed on Myth Busters.

It’s my hope as a gamer that studios continue to release quality big budget games that aren’t looked at as a service. Something that I can sink a decent amount of time into (currently sitting just short of 40 hours in God of War) and feel like I received a full and complete experience. The Last of Us did it, Horizon Zero Dawn did it (speaking about before the later expansion), and God of War did it as well. All were successful, and I strongly believe that single player games can continue being profitable for companies and provide their audience with experiences that stimulate their gaming senses. We just have to hope that publishers like EA, Activision, Ubisoft, and Warner Brothers come to their senses before another collapse occurs.

 

Pros and Cons of God of War (PS4) – The Summit of Gaming

While there aren’t many things to gripe out with this game, here are my pros and cons for God of War for your reading pleasure.

Author: Nathan Doverspike

If the title didn’t give it away already, this is one of my favorite games. Ever. I don’t say that phrase often either. Only Mass Effect 2 and The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt fit into that category for me in the last 10 years of video games. There aren’t many things to gripe about with this game, so here are my pros and cons for God of War for your reading pleasure.

Pros

The Combat Is The Best in The Series

From the minute you were able to throw the ax at an enemy’s head, have it stick in it and freeze them, then lunge forward with a flying punch to the face, I knew this game was going to be special. You don’t get as many weapons in this game as you did in the past God of War games, but they more than make up for it with robust

The Visuals Aren’t Just Breathtaking, They’re The Best

Graphics aren’t everything. Mass Effect 2 looks slightly aged now, but I still think it’s one of the greatest RPG’s ever. But unlike Mass Effect 2, God of War looks leagues better than its competition in a way that the Mass Effect series never did. The fact that I took a screen shot of mud in the game…should tell you everything you need to know about how great this title looks.

Exploring the Worlds Is As Enjoyable As You Would Expect

With so much effort placed in making the visuals some of the best in a video game to date, just as much effort was placed in making the gorgeous locations just as fun to explore. From solving puzzles to defeating powerful foes in the late game content, I never grew bored of any of the numerous caves, beaches, or treks up a mountain. Finding new paths to take as you gain more abilities and progressively better loot was always a great time.

Extra Content After The Story

This is something that I certainly didn’t expect. I had a feeling this game would have a lengthy story for and action RPG, but I didn’t expect it to have a bunch of side quests and content that is unlocked after you complete the story. With all of this content available to complete, this game gives you reason after reason to keep playing, even after the main story is finished.

Bonus: New Game Plus Added

Did you finish God of War and ask yourself: What next? Lucky for you, Santa Monica added a New Game Plus mode that allows you to carry over all of your gear, experience, currency, and talismans to experience the story again. You also have the ability to skip cutscenes, craft new armor and weapons, and even some previously unavailable abilities will be available! The new armor sets add a wonderful twist with positive and negative effects, breathing new life into an already spectacular Game of the Year winner.

The Story

I don’t normally get emotional playing games, especially not ones that feature Kratos yelling and grunting his way through them (of which he does a considerable amount less than the previous titles). God of War redefined my expectations for this series moving forward, offering an incredible story and a very moving ending with twist after twist. I love where the story goes, and the curve balls the developers boldly throw at you until the credits roll.

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Even the mud in the game is impressive!

Cons

Odin’s Ravens

I understand the idea behind having clever things hidden in the environment for the player to find. However, to me the 51 Odin’s Ravens scattered throughout the game are more of a pain than they are worth to find. There are other collectibles like chests, artifacts, and special enemies hidden that are far more interesting and fun to find. Personally, I wish there weren’t as many to collect or didn’t literally blend in with some of the environments to the point of being almost completely impossible to see.

Attitude of Atreus Half-Way Into The Story

This is a minor gripe, since in the context of the story it makes sense. The story is about the journey and how it changes both Kratos and Atreus along the way. At one point, I grew tired of Atreus’s attitude. I understand what the developers were doing with his character, but it didn’t make it any less annoying. Thankfully, his personality doesn’t remain this way for too long.

How are you enjoying the game? Were there any points you think I missed? Let me know in the comments!

Tips and Hints for God of War (PS4)

Here are some tips and hints for God of War that I wish I had known earlier and some that have helped me enjoy the game even more as I continue my journey to the top of the summit (of gaming and Midgard).

Author: Nathan Doverspike

Almost 20 hours into this game, and I can honestly say this is one of my favorite games EVER. Not in the last decade, not favorite RPG or action game, quite literally top 3 games I have ever had the pleasure of playing. Here are some tips and hints for God of War that I wish I had known earlier, and some that have helped me enjoy the game even more as I continue my journey to the top of the summit (of gaming and Midgard).

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Not all realms are created equal.

Explore, Explore, and Explore Some More

As most RGP and open-area games go, it pays off to return to areas you’ve been. This holds especially true for the new God of War. Kratos and Atreus will receive ways to explore even more of the worlds as you progress through the story, so if you see something that looks important but you can’t access it the first time, make a mental note or real one on paper to return to that area. While some areas pay off more than others, I never felt cheated when I chose to spend some extra time exploring with “Boy”.

Mix It Up in Combat

While the axe is an adequate weapon, your fists can be just as deadly. Mixing it up in combat will help you overcome the myriad of enemies the game like to throw your way. At the beginning of the game, I found myself barely using my fists to pummel enemies. Now, I go all out, using the axe and fists, combined with the separate abilities that correspond with each style, to thoroughly obliterate my foes.

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The different environments are all beautiful in their own way.

Spread Out Your Upgrades

This goes for both your armor and skills. I foolishly upgraded an early armor a few times, then regretted it an hour later when I found a much more improved armor that I could have improved even further if I didn’t spend all my resources on the one armor set. You get a ton of loot in this game, and most of it is markedly improved over previous iterations. Keep that in mind when you are deciding what to spend those precious resources on.

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Stunningly gorgeous and equally dangerous.

Play It For the Story

A great story in a God of War game? Yup, and even though I haven’t quite finished it yet, I have seen more character development than many other RPG’s that have come out in recent years. It is obvious how much time and effort was put into making the story not just coherent, but engaging and moving. The characters are interesting, the setting spectacular, and the twists and turns the plot take are sharp and unexpected.

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To the summit!

Play With Headphones or a Nice Stereo If Possible

This one might not apply to everyone reading, and that’s understandable. However, if you have the ability to play this game with good headphones on or a nice stereo system, I highly recommend doing so. This game makes sounds I’ve never heard from my speakers before, and the World Serpent made my house literally shake from it’s voice. It’s something to behold that I never experienced in another video game before.

What do you think of the game so far? Are you enjoying the new camera and increased focus on story as well? Let me know in the comments!

The Pros and Cons of Ni No Kuni 2: Revenant Kingdom

Instead of doing a traditional review, I am making the creative decision to do a list of pros and cons for the game (hopefully with similarly positive results like those in this masterpiece of a video game). Not only does this allow me to produce more quality content in the same amount of time, but it also let’s me provide a concise list of what features stood out the most, both good and bad.

Author: Nathan Doverspike

Instead of doing a traditional review, I am making the creative decision to do a list of pros and cons for the game (hopefully with similarly positive results like those in this masterpiece of a video game). Not only does this allow me to produce more quality content in the same amount of time, but it also let’s me provide a concise list of what features stood out the most, both good and bad.

Pros

  • Art Style-continuing the hand-drawn look of the first game that stands up to Studio Ghibli’s pedigree was a smart decision. This game looks just as good as the original, and possibly even better during battles and in the over-world.
  • Re-imagined Combat-The switch to a more Tales-like combat style that emphasizes mobility and quick decisions without the ability to pause the action mid-combat paid off. I think it is the most improved aspect in the sequel and a major reason I poured over 70 hours into my play-through.
  • City Building-Ni No Kuni 2 introduces a robust and enjoyable city building feature that is something other games could implement in the future. While it isn’t necessary to engaged with this system, it is well worth your time if you plan on getting the platinum trophy.
  • Higgledies-I wasn’t sold on the concept of Pikmin in my Ni No Kuni game, until I realized how valuable they are to succeeding in combat (in additional to be adorable). Having a Hiddledie that can boost your elemental resistance when fighting a dragon can be a difference maker, especially on late game enemies. They can also have abilities like bringing another Hiddledie to battle when they power up (Awaken), transform into a cannon with their respective element, or even boost your attack. With so many different ones to find in the world and create in your city, the variety of combinations is impressive.
  • Side Quests-Most JPRG’s have fetch quests galore. Thankfully, this game mixes up the objectives required to complete the plethora of quests. From getting specific items, to completing strategic battles where you control four groups of different warriors with different abilities and battle against other groups on the over-world map.
  • Pacing-Something that should not be overlooked in games is the pacing, whether it’s a story that drags on a dozen hours too much, or has too many points where you can’t progress without completing certain objectives. Whereas the first game did have some pacing problems, often slowing down the progression of the game to a crawl, I am happy to report that the pacing in this game is nearly perfect. It took me about 30-40 hours to complete just the main story, which to me felt like the perfect amount of time.
  • The Map and Traversal-I included both of these in this point since they are closely linked. The traversal in this game is vastly superior to that in the original, to the point that going and playing the original has been a tough sell lately for me. The map itself may not feel as large as the original game once you acquire all types of traversal, but the layout and getting from point to point is easy and doesn’t require too much additional travel time in between. Also, the Traps (teleport spots) scattered throughout make getting where you need to very accessible.

Cons

  • The Story Until The Last Chapter-I want to be very specific about this point. The last chapter in this game is phenomenal, and has a giant twist that I honestly didn’t see coming. However, until then I feel the story was slightly underwhelming and that a few of the story beats that should have been momentous instead fell a little flat. Still, overall it was enjoyable and the last chapter made up for all the previous areas that didn’t have the impact of the original game.
  • Strategic Group Battles-There are battles in the game where you are able to choose four groups of warriors, each with their own individual stats, strengths, and abilities, and are asked to complete objectives that normally include defeating the enemy groups. There isn’t a ton of variety in these battles, and to fully complete the game you need to grind out a minimum of 50 of these (something I am slowly working towards completing). They aren’t always exciting, sometimes have very high level requirements, and occasionally leave me wishing this feature wouldn’t have been relied on as heavily as it is for the side quests.

Those are my Pros and Cons for Ni No Kuni 2. Hopefully you are able to find these helpful and informative. Are there any that you feel I missed? What do you think of my choices? Let me know in the comments!

Tips and Hints for Ni No Kuni 2: Revenant Kingdom

Here are some spoiler free tips and hints as you begin your journey with this spectacular and breathtaking new JRPG from Level 5.

Author: Nathan Doverspike

I have learned a lot with during my time with Ni No Kuni 2: Higgledies are like adorable Pikmin but better, I am pretty sure I would love the Tales games if the combat is anything like Ni No Kuni 2, and open world JRPG’s still bring out that wonder you normally only feel as a kid. Here are some spoiler free tips and hints as you begin your journey with this spectacular and breathtaking new JRPG from Level 5.

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Exploring the world is an absolute delight!

Play the Game Your Way

This might sound obvious, but it’s especially true with Ni No Kuni 2. After the somewhat brief (compared to other JRPG’s like Xenoblade Chronicles 2) tutorial, it becomes abundantly clear that there are many more moving pieces going on here that you can interact with and enjoy. Or not. That’s your choice! Do you want to focus on upgrading and nurturing new Hiddledies? Would you rather build up your city into a glorious and magical new kingdom? Or do you want to hunt down all the tainted enemies that inhabit the world to truly make it a peaceful world? You can do all that and more, or choose to just play through the story with minimal to no interaction with the numerous systems available. That’s just one of the great things about this game that I hope people don’t overlook.

Don’t Rush To Sell All Your Items

I made this mistake about half way through the game. I though that I needed all the gold possible (trust me, you don’t), so I decide to sell all the extra armor, weapons, and miscellaneous items I had in my inventory. Turns out, I definitely needed those to complete side quests a couple hours later and had to spend a lot more gold than what I received for selling it to get similar items for those quests. Word of advise, don’t sell all your items unless you have plenty extra or are more focused on completing the main story and not the majority of side quests.

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The combat is very different from the original, and that’s not a bad thing.

Upgrading Your Spells Will Make Combat a Piece of Cake

The Spellworks building in game allows you to upgrade your skills/spells for each character. If you want a challenge, don’t upgrade them to the max or unlock the upgraded version of them. However, if you want to feel really powerful by the end and exert your power as King Evan by demolishing anyone who stands in your way (i.e. tainted monsters), then upgrading these will definitely help you accomplish that goal. By leveling up the building, having the right personnel assigned to it, and completing research you are ultimately working towards building an unstoppable team of charming adventurers.

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Did I mention they are really cute yet?

Higgledies Aren’t Just Cute, They’re Useful Too

Going into this game, I wasn’t quite sure how I felt about the combat. I loved the first game, and really enjoyed the familiar catching and evolving that reminded me of an open world Pokemon game. Still, I went into this one with an open mind about the combat and, like everything else in this game, it doesn’t disappoint! Each Higgledie has an elemental affinity, like normal, fire, nature, just like the familiars in the original game. Unlike the orginal game though, you don’t take direct control over them. They are still important since they can boost your stats, or even awaken and use special abilities like transforming into a cannon or raising your resistances to certain elements. Having the right combination of Higgledies in your party can sometimes mean the difference between defeating a tainted enemy, or having to retry the battle from the start. By upgrading the Higgledie Hut and nurturing new ones, you can make sure you’re prepared for any enemy you want to take down. Plus, they are really, really cute.

What do you think of Ni No Kuni 2? Has it lived up to your expectations? Are you enjoying the change in combat more or less? Let me know in the comments and feel free to post any other hints or tips I may have missed.

Unboxing Ni No Kuni 2’s Premium Edition

Author: Nathan Doverspike

Not only is Ni No Kuni 2: Revenant Kingdom a really good game, the Premium Edition is well worth the extra $20USD! It comes with additional weapons that were useful for the first half dozen hours of the game, a really cool paper craft, the OST disk, and a gorgeous steelbook with the ability to store the game and CD in it. As far as exclusive editions go, this one doesn’t feel like a cheap way to make a quick buck. It feel genuine, just like the amount of care and effort put into this fantastic JRPG. Check out more images below and let me know in the comments if you’ve picked up the game and/or your thoughts on it!

Top 5 Games I’m Most Excited For In 2018

In no particular order, here are my top 5 most anticipated games for 2018.

Author: Nathan Doverspike

Two Thousand and Eighteen is shaping up to be quite the year for video games. With heavy hitters across various genres, I can’t wait to dig into them when they release. In no particular order, here are my top five games (hopefully) coming out in 2018.

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The Last of Us 2

Release Date: 2018 (TBD)

Systems: PS4

Developer: Naughty Dog

I’ll admit, I am not sure my first pick on this list is going to launch in 2018, but I want to mention it anyway. If it does release in 2018, it will most likely be a Q4 release according to most sources, but that’s alright with me. It is already shaping up to be just as heart-stopping and beautiful of a game as the original. Even though I loved the ending of the first one and thought the story might not need continuing, more Last of Us is always welcome on my system!

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Ni No Kuni 2: Revenant Kingdom

Release Date: March 23, 2018

Systems: PS4, Steam

Developer: Level-5

I am sure fans will be divided on this title when it releases towards the end of March. It appears to be geared more towards a Western RPG audience, with battles featuring players taking less control of the monsters and more of the characters in the party. Players also have the ability to use Pikmin, I mean Higgledies, to attack enemies instead of regular familiars. Level-5 doesn’t have the famed Studio Ghibli working on the cut-scenes, and while I find that slightly disappointing, I still can’t wait to play Ni No Kuni 2. Want to know how much I loved the original? Check out my article on why Ni No Kuni is the Open World Pokemon RPG Game We’ve Always Wanted!

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God Of War

Release Date: March 22, 2018

Systems: PS4

Developer: Santa Monica Studio

It’s a new God of War game, with Kratos facing off against Norse gods, what more is there to say? But seriously, I love the feeling I get from this game (reminds me of the novel/movie The Road but with Norse gods and more magical axes). This looks to focus more on the narrative than previous God of War games, and also lets you control the camera for a true third person view for the first time in the franchise. The combat looks visceral and I get a feeling both Kratos and his son(?) aren’t both making it to the end of this one alive. Spoiler from the future: this game is one of the best I’ve ever played!

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Spider-Man

Release Date: 2018 (TBD)

Systems: PS4

Developer: Insomniac Games

I loved playing Spider-Man 2 on the PS2 back in the day. That game was fantastic, and I also really enjoyed Spider-Man 3 (even though they changed the web slinging for some reason). A triumphant return to an open world Spider-Man game is just what this industry needs, and I have full confidence that Insomniac is going to pull it off with flying colors. Sure, the previews we have seen might have one too many quick-time events, but I am hoping that is just in the early part of the game that they’ve shown off.

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Agony

Release Date: March 30, 2018

Systems: PS4, Xbox One, Steam

Developer: Madmind Studio

This one is a little out of left field, since one of the only first person horror games I’ve played in recent years is RE7: Biohazard (holy crap that game is good). Needless to say, if Agony is anything up to the visual quality I’m all in, not to mention the mechanic of possessing people and demons to escape Hell. This game looks terrifying, and if you don’t believe me just watch the trailer for it and you’ll understand my excitement!

Those were my picks for the top five games I’m excited for coming out in 2018. What are your picks? Do you agree with any of mine? Let me know in the comments!