Tag - fighting

Onechanbara Z2: Chaos Review (PS4)

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When I was asked if I wanted to review Onechanbara Z2: Chaos, a game about scantily-clad women killing zombies, I was wondering if they had designed this game just for me and if our Editor-in-Chief really needed to ask if I wanted to play. That probably sounds sexist at face value but one of my favorite and most overlooked games of recent years when it comes to zombiefests is Lollipop Chainsaw. While its characters were wearing little costumes and wielding big weapons it didn’t take long to realize that it was a satire about female characters in video games and they made sure to back it up with nice graphics and great game mechanics. It was with these hopes of similar results that I went into Onechanbara Z2: Chaos.

Description:
Onechanbara Z2: Chaos is the latest iteration in the Onechanbara series featuring the world’s sexiest zombie slayers. With two sets of buxom vampire sisters at the player’s disposal, over a dozen stages of high-octane real-time swordplay await, each characterized by the hordes of zombies infesting the land and the over-the-top methods our heroes employ to kill them. Fight off the invasion in gruesome detail, sending limbs and blood flying every which way through a variety of physical attacks and acrobatic maneuvers, occasionally transforming into a demon for short bursts of added power and speed at the cost of life energy. Each of the four members of the so-called “bikini zombie squad” has her own unique abilities, and skillful play is rewarded with orbs that can be exchanged for upgraded weapons and outfits.

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Features:
– Zombie-Slaying Action has Never Looked So Good! The bikini samurai squad of Onechanbara return armed with a plethora of new moves and new Dare Drive or Xtasy demonic transformations for short bursts of intense power.

– Four Lovely Ladies, Four Unique Playing Styles. Each of the playable ladies has her own unique weapons and abilities, and players may tag-team among them on the fly or even perform team combos.

– Tons of Customization and Replay Options. In addition to the series’ most involved storyline to date, Mission Mode provides specific challenges to complete, while skilled gameplay will unlock Yellow Orbs which can be exchanged for new gear and outfits to help earn a top spot in the online leaderboards.

– A Suave, Stylish Soundtrack Supported by Dual-Language Voice-Acting. In addition to the funkiest, catchiest and most outlandish soundtrack the franchise has ever known, players may also choose whether to enjoy the gameplay experience with the original Japanese voices or – for the first time in series history – a full English dub.

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Hands On:
First things first, this game is satire from the way characters are dressed to the reason they are dressed that way. The characters are designed to be over-the-top just like the comvat moves and combos and, except when reading about the characters or watching cutscenes, their outfits and exaggerated body images play no part in the game to the point you forget about them until you unlock new costume parts through achievements. The amount of cool, weird, and campy clothing and accessories you can get is pretty staggering. You can even put Voltron style armor pieces on the characters to show just how silly they are trying to be and how little they are trying to reflect true standards and ideals (just like Lollipop Chainsaw where you got to dress her as Ash from the Evil Dead movies).

Now that the buxom elephant in the room has been addressed, the question comes up about gameplay. Is Onechanbara Z2: Chaos a solid game disguised as a sexy romp? Yes, thank goodness for that but the short answer is yes – it is a ton of campy fun. There are multiple combos that can be unlocked – both simply and more complex to pull off. The moves are very gratifying to perform and their action-packed results are equally awesome to watch. What’s even cooler is that the actual effects of your combat moves get more epic as your increase your experience. For example, you might do a dash attack that simply knocks an enemy down at the beginning part of the game. However, if you keep upgrading the dash attack you will find that when it strikes that the enemy doesn’t fall down but instead flies across the screen and splats on a wall slowly, giblets slowly sliding down its surface. You feel truly satisfied when you build up an attack and look forward to seeing what it will do next.

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There are four characters that you play and are interchangeable at the touch of a button. This means you really have four life bars to work with at any given time and four styles of attacks. This can be crucial when you have enemies that might be more vulnerable to one kind of attack or even only vulnerable to one type (I’m looking at you bastard Mud Men!). So this brings in strategy as well as random mindless hack and slash. You may work on crowd control playing one character, switch to another to deal with specialty monsters then settle on your favorite type of character fighting style for a boss all in the same fight. This kind of planning and forethought that is required really elevates the game from a zombie chopfest to a solid, replayable fighter with lots of strategy. My only complaint about this specialization is that sometimes the timing on a combo has to be so absolutely precise to take an enemy out that it can take a REALLY long time to finally get it to work. A compliment about the controls though would have to be the use of the PS4 controller touchpad which I had quite honestly forgotten about. During some boss battles you are directed to swipe in different directions on the pad which gives a little extra tactile fun to playing (once I figured out it wanted me to use the touch pad instead of the directional sticks).

You can collect coins to buy potions, weapons, and movement upgrades as well as outfits throughout the game. Always keeping a near full health bar through health potions is an important key to survival. You don’t get enough money to unlock all you want, at least not of the first play through so you need to be selective, I found myself just upgrading the weapons on two of the characters, ones that had very different fighting styles so that I could adjust as needed during boss fights or large crowd control. Each character gets three weapons as well (melee, mid range, longer range) so upgrading all of them is that much more difficult. Once again though upgrades look satisfying as well as performing better.

If unlocking more items and getting more combos isn’t reason enough to replay the game, then there is also the fact that you get graded throughout each chapter and unlock achievements which are then compared on an online leader board as well as triggering PS4 achievements. Also, there are different levels of difficulty and challenges besides the main player campaign. This game has legs without even mentioning there are different environments set around the world and if you have favorites you can just replay them if you want.

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Last Thoughts:
Onechanbara Z2: Chaos is a great zombie fighting strategy game disguised as a sexist, mindless slash and hack. The dialogue and outfits are meant to be tongue-in-cheek while the action is solid, up-scaling and at times plain unforgiving. If you can get around half of the characters being dressed like lingerie models Onechanbara Z2: Chaos is everything a great fighting game should be.

Mini Ninjas Mini Review (iOS)

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8705_10151544500823968_398962697_nLet’s face it, there are plenty of times we feel like gaming and the PC or console just aren’t practical.  Luckily, that is where Square Enix comes in!  Mini Ninjas for iOS is the exact kind of game for those moments. Moments, when you are intolerably bored and wanting to block out the world with some good old fashion phone gaming.  The 2D side scrolling runner has really come into its own on the iOS platform like nowhere else since the days of first-gen Nintendo titles. Mini Ninjas, with its excellent graphics is a prime example of that at a very affordable price.

Mini Ninjas themselves lend to a running and fighting game just by their nature.  Remember the original Shinobi?  If not, trust me when I say that ninjas, running and fighting, is an international favorite – especially in a side-scrolling environment.  We used to go out of our way to play it in video arcades, then locking ourselves in our homes and now you can go ahead and just play it on the fly.

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Gameplay is pretty straight forward when it comes to Mini Ninjas on the iOS as it probably should be if you are playing this game while waiting at the DMV or ignoring family members’ and strangers’ odors on buses or airplanes.  Perhaps an arranged double date? I’ve made my point I think…  You tap on the little running ninjas to jump over objects like rocks and giant pungi sticks (yikes!  I cringed every time I fell on them).  If an enemy such as a samurai gets in their way or a destructible looking box tap on it and destroy it!  Sometimes this results in temporary buff or temporary little friend but in the end just keep running, collecting coins (sound familiar?) and tapping on your screen and time will pass in a beautiful scenic fighting flash.

Last Call:

For older gamers, this is a great taste of the gaming that got us to where we are today. For the younger generation, it is what they have come to hope for from an iOS game.  Mini Ninjas is side-scrolling, running, fighting fun time from the beginning to end.

Mini Ninjas (iOS) Review Score
Overall Score (out of 5)www.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.com

DC and WBIE Announce Injustice: Gods Among Us

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BURBANK, Calif. – May 31, 2012 – What if our greatest heroes became our greatest threat?  Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment and DC Entertainment today announced Injustice: Gods Among Us, an all-new game in development by award-winning NetherRealm Studios, creators of the definitive fighting game franchise Mortal Kombat. The game is scheduled for release in 2013 for the Xbox 360® video game and entertainment system from Microsoft, PlayStation®3 computer entertainment system and the Wii U™ system from Nintendo.

Injustice: Gods Among Us debuts as a bold new fighting game franchise that introduces a deep, original story featuring a large cast of favorite DC Comics icons such as Batman, Harley Quinn, Solomon Grundy, Superman, The Flash, Wonder Woman and many others.  Set in a world where the lines between good and evil are blurred, players will experience heroes and villains engaging in epic battles on a massive scale.

“With Injustice: Gods Among Us, we are creating an all-new franchise with incredible battles set in the DC Comics Universe,” said Martin Tremblay, President, Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment.  “NetherRealm Studios is the extremely talented team behind the latest Mortal Kombat hit and it is developing a game unlike any other in the fighting genre.”

“We can’t wait to reveal Injustice: Gods Among Us because it will give our fans and gamers an epic experience as they battle like gods as their favorite DC Comics villains and heroes,” said Ed Boon, Creative Director, NetherRealm Studios.  “Our team is excited to make a fighting game that is filled with fast-paced action, incredible story-telling and iconic DC Comics characters.”

For more information, visit www.injustice.com.

Skullgirls – A Review (XBLA)

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With this last generation of fighting games, developers have stepped away from the three dimensional arena and game play style and headed back to the world of two dimensions.  Fighting game veterans, like Street Fighter, Mortal Kombat and the Marvel vs. Capcom series, have all reverted to the good ole days of the 2D fighter.  Since the fans have shown a renewed interest in this old 2D fighting style, Reverge Labs have released Skullgirls to contend with the big boys.  While Skullgirls does lack some serious options and even a move list in game, it makes up for it by being a gorgeous fighting game that is well balanced and just downright fun to play.  Skullgirls may not be a perfect 2D fighting game, but it is a massive step in the right direction for Reverge Labs.

Story:

Skullgirls is set in a world that has been decorated by Andrew Ryan and populated by anime characters straight from Japan.  Within this world is a relic called the Skull Heart that will grant a woman any wish her heart desires.  The trick is that the wish must be selfless and pure, otherwise the woman will turn into the Skullgirl and become a slave to the Skull Heart.  Eight women are now connected to the fate of the Skull Heart and are battling to have their will to be the one that comes out on top.

The story does the job by putting the game into some sort of narrative, instead of just a string of senseless bouts.  What makes the story special to me is the way it is told and the world that it exists in.  Skullgirls is designed in the art deco style and populated by anime characters straight from Japan.  This mixture of styles truly brings out a very unique looking game.

The characters, all women, range from a 15 year old lab experiment designed to kill the current Skullgirl to a 25 year old leader of a nation that battles using an umbrella.  Each character is created to be a unique play style from the other characters on the roster, so finding a character to match your play style should be easy to do.

Gameplay:

Skullgirls has the typical game play features that many of its counterparts have, such as story mode, arcade mode and online mode.  Unfortunately for Skullgirls, that’s all it has.  There is a serious lack of features for the game and that can limit the amount of time that you may play this game.

The good news here is that the actual game play of Skullgirls is solid.  The game plays beautifully over the internet and is balanced extremely well between different types of characters.  I never felt I was at a disadvantage just for picking one character over another, and that is huge when talking about a game that is looking to become a future tournament game for competitions such as Evo.

Characters have the standard three punch and three kick buttons with various different moves using button and stick combinations.  The characters have a health bar and an energy bar, with allows for super moves that use up either one bar or three bars, depending on the move.  The dash, the cancel, and other genre standard moves are within Skullgirls as well.

The only thing that isn’t in Skullgirls when it comes to moves is an actual move list.  Until recently, you had only to guess at what each character was capable of.  Now, you can download a move list off of the Skullgirls website, but not having one in game hampers the overall quality of the game itself.

Skullgirls also has a tag mode in the game, with allows up to three versus three combat.  The game will automatically balance smaller teams to fight the larger ones, so you can change up the challenge.

Aesthetics:

With a solid game play and a half decent story line, Skullgirls is made that much more special due to its aesthetics.  As I have previously said, it combines the art deco style of the 20’s and 30’s with the Japanese anime style character, then presented in a film format.  I am a huge fan of how aesthetics really make a good game great, and this is where Skullgirls truly steps into the limelight for me.

Each character is dripping with, for the lack of a better word, character.  The women have snappy one liners that they rattle of, nice puns that work well with the world that Reverge Labs created, and are visually unique and interesting that it’s hard to take your eyes off of them.  Of course, the visuals of the skimpy outfits and some of the ladies ample physical traits doesn’t hurt either.

The music is another hit for me with Skullgirls.  The introduction with the snappy double bass line just made me smile before I even started the game.  Then the music just gets better from there, adding more and more of a vibe to the game that is missing in most 2D fighting games.

Final Thoughts:

While Skullgirls isn’t perfect, it is a fantastic entry into the 2D fighting genre that, if Reverge Labs learns from their few mistakes, will lead into a fantastic new series of games for years to come.  The gameplay is extremely balanced and well thought out and the aesthetics of the game are just fantastic and are really nice to look and and enjoy.  Skullgirls does skimp on the modes that the other premium fighting games have, and there is absolutely no move list in game, you must download it and print it from the web site.  The online play for Skullgirls was also top notch with little or no lag, but the AI during story mode could be brutal and unforgiving, especially to newer players to the genre.  Overall, this game is a must buy for any fan of the 2D fighting genre, especially for those that like over the top character design.  Skullgirls is available now through Xbox Live Arcade.

Soul Calibur V Comic-Con Screenshots

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Namco Bandai has released some new screenshots for their upcoming Soul Calibur V fighting game, from this last week’s San Diego Comic-Con convention. The new screenshots show off three characters announced at the show: Ivy, Natsu, and Z.W.E.I. Soul Calibur V is due out early next year.

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Mortal Kombat Review

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NetherRealm Studios new Mortal Kombat is a re-imagining of the famed fighter series that began back in 1992 with the original Mortal Kombat. Created by Ed Boon and John Tobias, the series started off with an arcade fervor that lasted for a few iterations before losing some steam on the console generation as it began to stray from its core gameplay. This new Mortal Kombat, which has been released roughly 19 years after the original, is an attempt to get back to the roots of the series.

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