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Report: Hyperdimension Neptunia Re:Birth 1 Coming To PS4

Posted on February 6, 2018 by Rae Michelle Richards

A preview of the upcoming issue of Dengeki Magazine spotted by the folks at Siliconera reveaks that Compile Heart’s remake of the 2009 Hyperdimension Neptunia will be coming to the PS4 with enhanced features under the moniker of “Hyperdimension Neptunia Re:Birth Plus”.  

No word yet on exactly what these enhancements will be – most notably the game might get some graphical upgrades, such as available on the PC version. This is especially truely when compared to the original PS Vita release of Re:Birth which ran at 540p – the PlayStation 4 could probably run Re:Birth 1 at 1080p without breaking a sweat. 

I reviewed Hyperdimension Neptunia Re:Birth 1 way back in September 2014. Here’s a snippit of that review: 

“If you’ve beaten all three of the console releases Rebirth1 is still strongly recommended due to the changed story, guild system and remaster options that extend the amount of gameplay. Don’t expect to beat Neptunia on your ride to work, this is definitely a game that requires a substantial time investment.” 



Shadow of the Colossus Remake | Review

Posted on January 30, 2018 by Rae Michelle Richards

Version Tested: PlayStation 4 (Played On a Launch PS4) 

Team ICO’s titles have taken on almost a mythical status among PlayStation Exclusives. While The Last Guardian my stand as the example of a “once in a generation release” for a much anticipated title to be resurrected – Shadow of the Colossus wowed both players and critics back in 2005 with its larger than life beasts, minimalist design and sweeping soundtrack. Almost a decade and a half later – does BluePoint’s remake on the PlayStation 4 wow us yet again with technical feats of grand scale or crush us under the weight of SOTC’s long legacy? 

Players take on the role of a young male protagonist known as Wander who has brings his significant other to an ancient temple within The Forbidden Lands in the hopes of resurrecting her. It is here that he is informed by the deity Dormin that resurrecting a human soul is difficult, if not impossible and highly frowned upon by society. By making a pact with this shadowy god, Wander is tasked with taking down 16 towering colossi before his request will be granted. SOTC’s story has never been the main draw for players, but it at least sets up the protagonist’s motivations in motion well enough. Returning players should take note that this remastered version does not include any additional narrative or lore and presents Wander’s struggle exactly the way you remember it from the PS2 release. 

Shadow of the Colossus is a puzzle game hiding under the guise of an action adventure title. While Wander can sprint large distances, attack with his sword and leap across chasms, these aren’t player’s primary tool when dealing with the colossi. Having a keen eye, observing your surrounding and in some cases the structure of the colossi themselves can be the key to overcoming the obstacles in front of Wander. One encounter has you charging forward at full speed and hopping off of Wander’s horse to gain ground on the colossi and another has Wander hanging on for dear life as a serpent-like colossi emerges under the waves as he makes his way to the glowing weak points. Each colossi fight has its own unique presentation but most encounters can be boiled down to the formula of “find way onto to the colossi, expose the various weak points and then slash with your sword until dead”. 

Controlling Wander’s movements while playing SOTC is simple and uncomplicated but there are situations where it can be unclear when you’ll regain control of your character again. This is particularly apparent when Wander is hanging off of the fur of a colossus and is shaken around like a ragdoll. Simple and responsive are unfortunately not words to describe the unpleasant experience of riding Agro the horse. While Agro can reach speeds that Wander could never dream of achieving, Agro will lose all of its momentum as soon as it collides with any object larger than a pebble. More modern games would have Agro simply side-step over small obstacles and continue at a brisk pace but time has not been pleasant to poor Agro and riding the pony express has more “stop start” than downtown at rush hour. This is made all the more agonizing with the realization that more than one colossus was designed specifically with the use of the horse in mind. While it is possible to complete this encounter without Aggro (we did during our review playthrough) – it is painfully slow and removes any tension or urgency from the battle.   

Visually Shadow of the colossus can be breathtaking and jaw droppingly beautiful at times. BluePoint Games have successfully recreated Shadow of the Colossus‘ unique visual style and vibrant palate while both simultaneously staying true to Team Ico’s vision from the 2005 and updating model / asset fidelity for the HD era. Running across SOTC‘s vast green fields while stating at mountain ranges far off into the distance with waterfalls below you truly has to be seen in motion to be believed, static screenshots do not do BluePoint’s work on SOTC‘s revitalized visuals justice. If you’re looking for a title that will show friends who might not own a PlayStation 4 that capability of Sony’s latest system – Shadow of the Colossus is THAT title. 

All of the work that originally went into the unique designs of the 16 colossi back in 2005 is preserved in the 2018 remake. If you get a chance while battling one of these towering stone monsters, stop and observe their movements. It shows that the original developers paid extra attention to how way each colossi would shift their body weight and position their limbs during movement. Whether Wander is facing off against the large stone serpent, the small boar-like creature or the bipedal first colossus – each one moves slowly, deliberately and uniquely. All of this attention to detail was unthinkable back in 2005 and 13 years later it still holds up as some of the best intricate creature design. Just don’t get Wander squashed as you marvel at the slow finesse of the colossi.  

There was nothing quite like Shadow of the Colossus when it debuted on the PS2 and two generations later it still shines as one of the most unique PlayStation exclusives. BluePoint games did a tremendous job bringing Team ICO’s original game forward in time to 2018. SOTC on PS4 looks gorgeous, sounds great and at times feels just as epic as the original. Returning players may be disappointed to learn that this remake offers no additional content over either the PS2 release or the updated PS3 remaster. After completing the campaign players unlock New Game+, Mirror World Mode and Time Attack – just as they did in previous releases. If you haven’t played SOTC before and can stomach some minor control issues (especially with the horse) this is the definitive version to experience the 2005 classic. Returning players can expect a gorgeous trip down memory lane that plays exactly how they remember it – except in 4K and beyond. 

Sony Interactive Entertainment Canada provided BrokenJoysticks with a digital pre-release copy of Shadow of the Colossus on PlayStation 4 for review. The game was reviewed in 1080p on a launch PlayStation 4 unit – although the game does provide PlayStation Pro specific enhancements that we could not test. Shadow of the Colossus is expected to retail for $49.99 CDN. 



Yakuza Kiwami | Review

Posted on August 30, 2017 by Broken Joysticks

Game Reviewed By: John Bridgman

“Kiwami means extreme!” the tutorial explains, and that’s a good way, to sum up Yakuza Kiwami, the remake of Sega’s first entry in its open-world Yakuza series. It keeps the series’ proud tradition of bombastic martial arts combat, gritty organized crime drama, and ridiculous diversions.

An immediate warning to prospective players is in order – Yakuza Kiwami has depictions of violence and aggressive harassment of women, both implied and on-screen, so keep that in mind before playing if you are affected by such things. As well, there are displays of intense gore and mutilation which can be upsetting.

Our protagonist is Kiryu Kazama, who is fresh out of prison after taking the fall for the murder of the Patriarch of the Dojima family. Paroled after ten years of model inmatehood, he returns to Kamurocho and finds himself pulled into a wildly changed Yakuza. Power struggles have broken out among the remaining Yakuza families, and caught up in the middle of it all is his childhood friend Nishkiyama who is now a family Patriarch himself, having gained a ruthless ambition in the wake of Kiryu taking the rap for his crimes.

With these pieces as a setting, Kiryu is let loose to discover the plots surrounding his loved ones, in the only way he knows how – violence. And Kiryu is extremely gifted at the liberal application of violence. He punches, kicks, stomps, throws, swings blades, and smashes thugs with bicycles and more throughout the city. Encounters crop up through the city as you run around, including the ever-looming specter of Kiryu’s rival, Goro Majima.

Majima Everywhere is one of the most fun parts of the game. He can pop up anywhere in the city with a sing-song “Kiryu-chaaan”, ready to challenge his stoic rival and test to see if Kiryu’s skills have grown to match his reputation as the Dragon of Dojima. These fights unlock Kiryu’s skills in his Dragon style, so in addition to normal leveling up, to truly master being Kiryu Kazama, you must engage with Majima.

The game hits some lulls when the narrative shrinks things down and removes the degree of openness the game has. Yakuza games shine when something ludicrous is happening on-screen, and searching for an item on the pavement isn’t particularly interesting, especially without the prospect of fighting anyone for a while. These segments aren’t difficult but if you have trouble finding what’s needed it really breaks the flow of the game.

When it’s open though you really get to experience the variety that Yakuza games have come to be known for. While traveling from plot to plot, you will find yourself distracted by fights, games, fights, sidequests, fights, bars, restaurants, and fights. Head to a bar and shoot some darts, have a drink, then make your way to karaoke – all of which will net you experience points and thus lead to improving Kiryu’s skills.

There is a very strange minigame I feel I have to discuss. In your travels, you will begin to find trading cards with pictures of ladies in swimsuits and bug hats. These you can then use to have weird rock-paper-scissors matches, complete with 3D modeled and animated wrestling holds between the scantily-clad women in an arena surrounded by bugs. It’s absolutely bizarre.

Combat though – oh the combat is where Yakuza Kiwami excels. Kiryu has an enormous variety of moves and combos to perform, which only gets more involved as you level up his skills. There are four styles to switch between, each with their own strengths and weaknesses, and knowing when to use which and when to switch is key to major fights. The Rush style is about fast combos and dodging rapidly, the Brawler style is the balanced option, and the Beast style is tanky and has an emphasis on breaking nearby objects over your opponents. The fourth style is Kiryu’s Dragon Style, which features unique and powerful abilities, but can only be trained by fighting against Majima.

Yakuza Kiwami is a game that manages to balance its bombastic, ridiculous, and grim elements very well. It can seamlessly carry you from winning dolls out of a crane game for a businessman to give to his… “daughter”, to kicking a road cone and knocking out a group of thugs, to smashing an assassin’s face against a wall with your fist in a span of minutes. It is extremely violent, extremely silly, extremely bizarre, and extremely fun if you can get past the uncomfortable elements. “Kiwami means extreme!” indeed.

Yauza Kiwami’s publisher SEGA USA provided us with a review code for our consideration.


Wonderboy: The Dragon’s Trap | Review

Posted on April 21, 2017 by Meghan Kass

Back in the ancient year of 1989, there was a game called Wonderboy III: The Dragon’s Trap. This game was the third in the Wonderboy series, brought to us by Sega. These platformer/action adventure games about Wonder Boy trying to undo the curse that changes him into various monsters was well received and given a lot of love by critics and gamers alike.It was praised for its beautiful, colorful sprites and backgrounds, its challenging gameplay and overall fun. Fast forward to 2016 and an indie developer Lizardcube and publisher DotEmu announced a remake of Wonderboy III, appropriately calling it Wonderboy: Dragon’s Trap. Now, as of April 18th, 2017 the remake is released. Was this remake worth the effort? Did it do the original justice? And is it worth the price?


The first major difference to be noted are the graphics. Lizardcube gave the game a complete overhaul and new style. Still bright and colorful, but more of a gradient and definitely less blocky than the original. The models look far more like the animals and humans they supposed to be and the detailing has been greatly increased. This is only logical considering the advances games have made graphically, but the style stands on its own merits. It has a cute, super deformed style for the humans and a smooth, round, chubby look for the rest of the enemies and characters. This was definitely an upgrade from the original. You can even see a comparison by switching from the “retro” style to the remade style. I switched back and forth multiple times and was astounded at the change. It made me appreciate Lizardcube’s efforts even more. The animations were more realistic looking too. Sword swings looked smoother, the fire faded the further it traveled and had more of a gradient in color and the facial expressions on enemies as they were hit was extremely satisfying.


Not comparing it to the original, the game for me still stood on its own. It is a challenging action platformer. You make your way through each level, fighting various colorful enemies until you reach a boss; unfortunately, this boss will inevitably change you into a beast of some sort. Wil you be a lizard? A mouse? A lion? Who knows what each new form you will take. What I enjoyed most was the new skills each form gave you. It made each level fresh and not as repetitive as a retro platformer can tend to get. I also loved that you could go to previous levels and use your new skills to get to new areas you couldn’t previously. My only complaint came from some of the controls not doing exactly what I wanted when I gave the command. Sometimes jumps wouldn’t stick correctly or an attack hit like I expected it to. It didn’t happen for most of the game and overall the experience seemed fair, although quite challenging as a retro gaming experience should.


After all is said and done, this is a wonderful remake and action platforming experience. If you enjoy old school gaming experiences, this is definitely worth the price. The beautiful art, whimsical soundtrack and fun gameplay make for a full, enjoyable experience that will take you back in time with a fresh coat of paint, or you could even have the full retro experience if you wish. It is worth the price for fans of platformers looking for just a little more than a straight port of a nostalgic favorite. Customers can buy this game for the PS4, Xboxone and in June it will be available for the PC. Go wild and have fun!


This Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time’s Gerudo Valley UE4 Recreation Is A Thing of Beauty

Posted on April 18, 2016 by Rae Michelle Richards

The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time is one of my favorite games of all time – I have many fond memories playing the game as a child. To see those childhood memories transformed into a series of absolutely breathtaking HD demos constructed in Unreal Engine 4 is an absolute treat for any Zelda fan and thanks to one creator, they are real!

Creator CryZENx used the maps from the 3DS enhanced port of Ocarina of Time as a reference and re-made the map from scratch in UE4. Looking at the lighting effects and texture work done in this recreation shows the potential for the Zelda franchise on next-generation hardware – and all of this was one by just one person! Best of all CryZENx even has some of the game’s core functions – namely Z Targeting already working with appropriate camera, animations and sound effects.

This stunning gerudo valley isn’t CryZENx‘s only work on an OOT HD recreation. They’ve also made impression versions of the Temple of Time and a Work In Progress version of the Shadow Link fight from the Water Temple.

Playable builds of CryZENx‘s work are available on their YouTube channel.
[youtube id=”GgbGgtq-NMc”]


Capcom Finally Commits To Developing An HD Remake of Resident Evil 2

Posted on August 13, 2015 by Rae Michelle Richards

Fans have been clamoring for an HD update to Capcom’s 1998 classic Resident Evil 2 for well over a decade and now the publisher has announced that production on a reboot of the game has begun at Capcom R&D Division 1.  Capcom has been on a bit of a roll with the Resident Evil franchise after the polished re-tooling of the 2002 remake of the original RE sold over 1 million copies.

Yoshiaki Hirabyash from R&D 1 is featured in a brief one minute video that was posted on the official Resident Evil YouTube page and on Capcom’s social media profiles. Work has just begun on the rebooted RE2 so it could be sometime before we see anything from the game.Read More


Final Fantasy 7 Remake Heading To PS4

Posted on June 15, 2015 by Rae Michelle Richards

Square Enix showcased a teaser trailer for the long awaited Final Fantasy 7 remake at Sony’s E3 2015 press conference. The teaser trailer talks about a world falling into ruin and a group of heroes returning. If that makes this title sound like a sequel, it’s not.. the crowd literally erupted in energetic applause that is hard to describe in words. This a game that people have waited almost 20 years to be remade

When the PlayStation 3 was announced in 2005 Square Enix showed off an impressive remake the train sequence from the original game and at the time it looked fantastic.

We know that the FF7 remake will be directed by Tetsuro Nomura and will be released in 2016 but no other details are currently available.

Check out the trailer below

[youtube id=”Kznek1uNVsg”]


Fan Made Remake Of Descent In The Works

Posted on November 1, 2012 by Les Major

Modder MadMaxBLD definitely deserves kudos for beginning work on bringing back a great game of yesteryear, Descent. This is a series that I would love to see a return of, and Max’s mod/remake is a beautiful example of why. Even with what seems like the original enemies as place holders (or as a nice homage, I’m fine with either really) the concept looks just as mesmerizing again now as seeing the original was back in the day.

This is definitely a mod I’d love to play. Read on for a youtube video sample.Read More


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