Quick Review: Hyperdimension Neptunia Re;Birth1

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Last week I got around to finally finishing Hyperdimension Neptunia Re;Birth1 and I’ve been putting off writing my review ever since. I could blame work but frankly there are two main reasons why I’ve been procrastinating this:

  1. I don’t think anyone cares about Neptunia, at least not the older games.
  2. I don’t have much say about the game.

Hyperdimension Neptunia Re;Birth1 is good. It’s not going to blow anyone’s mind or top any “Greatest JRPGs of All Time” lists. Its story is predictable, the meta premise gets old fast, and it’s combat is ultimately watered down to mashing a single button so much that it almost counts as a clicker. But it’s fun, flashy and has interesting enough characters to pull you through the game from start to finish without feeling like a colossal waste of time.

If I had to give the game a score out of 10 it’d be a solid 7. It’s usually heavily discounted during Steam sales and for JRPG fans it’s well worth the $5 or $10 price tag. Don’t go in expecting it to rival franchises like Suikoden or Final Fantasy and you’ll have a good time for 20 – 40 hours.

If you’re not a fan of JRPGs then this game is 100% not for you.

A Game Design Lesson from Neptunia: Difficulty

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For the majority of gamers, difficulty settings are little more than a stepping stone – one more screen to smash X through before getting into the new game they just bought. They put the game on the pre-selected ‘medium’ or ‘normal’, blink through the “You can change this at any time in the options” message, and soon forget there even was a difficulty setting to begin with. Outside of the occasional novelty names some developers give their settings, like MGS IV’s confusing ‘Naked Normal’ and ‘Solid Normal’ difficulties, game devs rarely ever break the mold when it comes to creating separate difficulties in their games.

Hyperdimension Neptunia Re;Birth1, a game I’ve been playing ever since I wrote “Guilty Pleasure Games”, approaches difficulty a bit differently. There are no modes or options in the settings like you’re used to seeing in most modern titles. Instead the game uses its own mechanics to allow gamers to tweak the difficulty at will within the game’s narrative scope.

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Guilty Pleasure Games

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Talking about guilty pleasures is a bit odd, isn’t it? By definition a guilty pleasure is something people don’t want to talk about. They’re the embarrassing little joys in our lives. Closely held secrets that even your closest friends and family members aren’t told about. For guys, guilty pleasures are normally ‘chick flicks’ that we secretly love or ‘girly’ songs we jam out to when no one is around – like Pitch Perfect or songs by Avril Lavigne.

Of course, you have to keep in mind that guilty pleasures are highly subjective. Maybe you don’t have any guilty pleasures because none of your interests embarrasses you, but most of us have at least a couple.

What I want to talk about today are guilty pleasures games, or rather mine in particular.

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Steam Winter Sale 2016: Top 10 FPS

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I’m sorry this wasn’t out sooner. Truthfully I wasn’t going to write anymore of these lists because people don’t seem to like them and the traffic bump from shameless SEO abuse isn’t that satisfying for me. (Of course I don’t mind doing it for clients, but for my own work I prefer real traffic.) But I think these lists are helpful, if for no other reason than to introduce you to games you may not have heard of or remembered.

Let’s cover a quick recap of the factors involved in the list before jumping in:

  • Discount percentage
  • Each game’s overall quality
  • Lack of popularity (Don’t expect to see The Witcher 3, Skyrim, etc. Most of you have already gotten and played them or know you don’t want to.)
  • My subjective opinion of each game (Duh!)

Got it? Good.

Oh, and don’t forget the sale ends Jan 2nd, 2017.

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Steam Winter Sale 2016: Top 10 RPGs

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The 2016 Steam Winter Sale is in full swing and soon millions of people around the world will be opening Steam gift cards and become giddy at the idea of adding even more games to their ever expanding library. But what games should you get? Is quality better than quantity? Is the front page really showing you the best Steam has to offer?

Don’t have time to browse every single sale item on Steam? Fear not! For I’ve compiled a few lists to help you find some of the best deals the Steam Winter Sale has to offer and give you a few game ideas that may have slipped your mind.

The factors taken into account for this list include:

  • Discount percentage
  • Each game’s overall quality
  • Lack of popularity (Don’t expect to see The Witcher 3, Skyrim, etc. Most of you have already gotten and played them or know you don’t want to.)
  • My subjective opinion of each game (Duh!)

I’m going to start with my favorite genre: RPGs. These games often offer the biggest bang for your buck, giving players dozens – if not hundreds – of enjoyable hours discovering an intricately detailed world as a myriad of plots unfold before you.

Don’t forget these sales end on Jan 2nd, 2017.

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Dishonored 2: Improved Disappointment

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Dishonored 2 is a good game, let’s just get that out of the way now. You can add it to the short list of sequels that are vastly superior to their predecessors. If you liked the first, you’ll enjoy the second and hopefully we’ll see more games from this series in the future. On the other hand, as a fan of the franchise it’s hard not to be disappointed by Dishonored 2.

The first game got a bit of a pass because of its originality. It had to build a world from scratch and breathe life into it while also creating an engrossing game to play. We’ve seen developers fail to do this time and again, which is why Dishonored was so heavily praised for its success. Dishonored 2 doesn’t get the same pass.

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ELeague Major Qualifier Recap

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What a crazy year for CSGO! We’ve seen the rise of the Americas with the Brazilians of Luminosity Gaming, now better known as SK Gaming, winning back-to-back Majors and Team Liquid securing 2nd at ESL One Cologne 2016 – the highest Major placement ever for an NA team. It’s been a changing of the guard, a year of redefinitions as the French and Swedish titans of competitive CSGO fell from their once untouchable perch atop of nearly every CSGO Major tournament.

Even though the Majors were done back in July, 2016 wasn’t done surprising everyone. The ELeague Major Qualifier was just held to determine the final 8 teams that would secure a spot at 2017’s first CSGO Major. Recent upsets and changes in the competitive scene left the qualifier stacked with household names like Envyus, NiP, Mousesports, Dignitas, G2, Cloud 9 and many others battling across four days for a chance to kick off 2017 right.

The results of the qualifier left commentators and fans alike scratching their heads in disbelief.

NiP is OuT at 1-3

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