Suit Up Thieves: 5 Reasons to Check out Persona 5

Persona 5 visual

The Persona series is one of my favorite JRPG franchises to date. Once known as the Shin Megami Tensei series, it still shares the moniker, this spin off iteration has fans at hype level 100. Set to drop on April 4th, 2017 for both the PS3 and PS4 here are 5 reason why players should check out the Persona 5.

It has a Rich History

persona collage
Image caption: http://kotaku.com/four-new-persona-games-are-coming-to-north-america-1530572807

As mentioned above, Persona is an offshoot of the Shin Megami Tensei series. As the 5th installment in the franchise, this game that started out as a dungeon crawler dating/social sim is still delighting fans today. Most fans may have come in with Persona 3 but most know Persona 4 and Persona 4 Golden for the Vita. This series has earned it’s stripes and definitely has earned the love of the fans that it has today. Not to mention it has spawned several spin offs in the form of a fighting game, SRPG and rhythm game that are all all canonical so yeah, all the Persona you could ask for.

It’s Not Ashamed To Be Turn Based

Persona 5 Battle
Image caption: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Persona_5

That’s right, this is a reason to be hyped for the game. It has long been stated that turn based combat is outdated and has lost its luster with gamers but Persona proves otherwise. Not only does it have turn based combat but it’s unapologetic about it. The combat is fun and keeps you on your toes even though it’s not a hack and slash fest. All combat types have their place but it’s refreshing to have one of the JRPG staples present in a main stream game again.

The Game is Super Stylish

Persona 5 Protagonist
Image caption: https://atlus.com/persona5/media.html

The art style of the game has only improved with each generation and has made it mark by retaining it’s signature look in each installment. This time around the game almost has a comic book super hero art style along with the signature portraits for each main character. The graphics are ps3 era fare but it’s polished and smooth so even graphics enthusiasts can enjoy it.

The Music is Awesome

The music is so great in the series that it spawned a rhythm game using the Persona 4 soundtrack called Persona 4: Dancing All Night. It doesn’t matter what you are doing in the game there is always a tune to hum in your head. Even if you’re tackling the same content over and over again it never becomes grating on the ears or annoying. The battle music for the game has me excited to bash shadows in the face. This game has a reported 100 or more hours of game play so I’ll probably be very familiar with the soundtrack when its all said and done.

It’s Not Afraid To Tackle Mature Themes

Don’t let the anime style and dating sim fool you. This game is not for children and can appeal to the real life scenarios

If you’re not familiar with the series, Persona has had a tough time being sold in the states. In Persona 3 in order to summon your persona the players simulated suicide by shooting themselves in the head. Yikes. I was intrigued by the dark theme of the game even though there was a dating/social sim connected. In Persona 5, players become a group called the Phantom Thieves with the goal of reforming the corrupted hearts of adults by stealing them. The previous games have discussed survivor guilt, addiction, sexual orientation etc. You name it and it was probably in Persona with more to come. Don’t let the anime style and dating sim fool you. This game is not for children and can appeal to the real life scenarios

Let Persona 5 Take Your Heart

Persona 5 Preorder
Image Caption: https://atlus.com/persona5/home.html

Are you excited for Persona 5? Have you played a Persona game before? Have you played the Japanese version of the game and can attest to it’s awesomeness? Let us know in the comments below before we all disappear on April 4th. You can find more details about the game at the Atlus website.

The Smallest Co-op Feature Made These RPGs Amazing

Co-op RPGs

The Smallest Co-op Feature

There aren’t a lot of co-op RPGs out there. I’m not talking about hack-and-slash RPGs or (God forbid) MMOs. I’m talking about games like the old Final Fantasy series—character-driven, turn-based JRPG-style games. But there are two games that will forever spring to mind for me when the subject of co-op RPGs is brought up.

Eternal Sonata and Final Fantasy IX.

Eternal Sonata Co-op RPG
Image Credit: https://www.flickr.com/photos/tadeuviniciusgames/5800392578/

You’ve likely heard of the latter, but Eternal Sonata flew under the radar. Probably for good reason. I mean, the whole thing took place in Chopin’s anime Lolita fantasy fever dream. Yes, that Chopin. And no, I’m not kidding.

For what it was worth, the battle system was intriguing. It was still turn-based, but during the player’s turn, they could control a character and run around the battlefield freely, attacking and casting spells in live action—for a couple seconds, and then it would be the enemy’s turn to run around and attack.

At first glance, Eternal Sonata and Final Fantasy IX might look very different (you know, other than the big heads and insane character designs). But there was one tiny feature that connected them.

The ability to choose a controller for each character.

That one feature turned these typically single-player games into incredible co-op RPG experiences—at least for my friends and me.

Eternal Sonata Co-op RPG Battle
Image Credit: https://www.flickr.com/photos/unscripted360/968966575/

You could have a separate controller for each of a battle’s three player characters in Eternal Sonata. Yes, you’d still have one player controlling all the running around the world and buying items, but there was enough battle to make everyone sitting down for the whole game worthwhile. And given how batshit loco Eternal Sonata was, you pretty much have to be pulling a Mystery Science Theater on the cutscenes to be able to stomach it. And the best way to do that is through co-op play, so every player is invested in the characters they control.

I didn’t discover that Final Fantasy IX shared the same feature until later.  I already loved the game. But one summer, my roommate and I popped the FFIX PS1 disc into my backwards-compatible PS3. We split the characters between the two of us, and had an absolute blast playing through it.

Solitary experience

RPGs are usually a solitary experience. You absorb the story, fall in love with the characters, and feel a personal connection to the game world. They’re more like books than movies. But playing through Eternal Sonata and FFIX co-op, even if it was just the battles, was a gaming experience I’ll never forget.

FFIX Co-Oop
Image Credit: https://www.flickr.com/photos/alduinx/16558079596/

And it all had to do with one simple feature: allowing you to switch controller inputs for different characters.

Sure, if you wanted, you could pass the controller around. But it’s not the same, is it? It’s not co-op—it’s taking turns in the driver’s seat.

Turn-based RPGs make the feature easy to implement. After all, you’re not actively controlling multiple characters at a time. There is little difference to the game system to have the controller inputs switch for different characters. Especially when you can only control one character at a time anyway.

Indie developers and JRPG remaster…ers take note: adding that tiny feature to turn a single-player RPG into a co-op one makes a big difference to anyone who still enjoys a good couch co-op experience.

Crystal Dynamics: A New And Upgraded Headquarters

CD_Name

Crystal Dynamics – the developers behind one of the best- and fastest-selling video games of recent history; the multi-award winning video game – Tomb Raider. This video game also reincarnated the iconic female protagonist, Lara Croft. Take that, Nathan Drake! Nah, just kidding. I’m a huge huge fan of both games. Now that we got that out of the way, let’s get back to the news. Crystal Dynamics recently posted in their Tumblr account that they just upgraded their workplace, gearing up for better games in the future. Here are some of the details. Sit back and let us take a peek at the new home of Crystal Dynamics.

Crystal Dynamics: A New Home

Welcome to Crystal Dynamics
Is it just me or you also want those Lara Crofts on your desk?

Scot Amos, co-studio head of Crystal Dynamics, revealed that they have new facilities and rooms for their developers or employees to work and play around. He said in the post that,

“After months of planning, building, and some very late nights for the construction crew, we’ve just moved into our glorious new state-of-the-art studio!”, he continued, “We have some great new amenities, from hydraulic desks for everyone to adjust as they like, to black-out shades and light absorption paint for those darkness-loving developers.”

I don’t know about you guys, but, I’m digging those black-out shades.

Aside from the “performance boosting” environment, he also stated that they added an on-site Motion Capture stage. Now, that is a great investment to make more award-winning video games.

About on-site Motion Capture stage

Crystal Dynamics: Motion Capture stage

He stated, “We’ve expanded to six fully equipped sound proof audio rooms too,” continued Amos. “With the growth of our team, we’ve also increased our studio meeting area and naturally outfitted it with tons of next-gen 4K screens, as well as dedicated console and PC gaming stations next to the huge new kitchen. Lastly, we’ve added two specialty rooms for optimal development efficiency: a photogrammetry capture space and our very own, on-site, fully equipped Motion Capture stage!”.

For those readers out there who doesn’t know what this means: the new photogrammetry capture space gives the artists and animators the ability to create ultra realistic expressions and textures. Various video games are already using photogrammetry. The Vanishing of Ethan Carter and Uncharted 4 are just some one the games that used this to produce highly detailed textures.

Photogrammetry capture space

One more time, Crystal Dynamics: Motion Capture Stage
I wonder what they’re talking about…

Ron Rosenberg, co-studio head of Crystal Dynamics, also stated that, “The new studio will help Crystal Dynamics take our work to the next level,” he continued, “Crystal Dynamics’ new studio is nearly double the size in order to make room for all the new positions we’re hiring over the next year.”

You heard that right. For those aspiring game developers, artists, designers, and others out there who are looking to work in the game industry, they are hiring in various areas. You can check their website here.

Here are other photos included in their post. Enjoy!

CD_Gathering Hall
I wonder what those fellas are playing…table-top RPG?

Like to play guitar?

CD_Guitar
See those guitars? If I’m there, I’ll always be playing those in my free time…

Do you know what this one means?

CD_Media Room
Wonderful. Just, wonderful.

Like This One like I do?

Crystal Dynamics: Pantry
This is probably where you’ll see me all the time, haha

Also, here is the trailer for The Avenger project they released:

So how about that. What do you think about Crystal Dynamics’ new headquarters? Do you believe that these upgrades will further help them produce more award-winning games in the future? Leave your comments down below and let’s have a discussion.

Video Games That Tackle Social Issues

Ellie and Riley

Video Games – we all enjoy it. Whether you’re young or old, a student or an employee looking to pass the time with a little fun; we all enjoy video games. It is a means for us, an outlet, to do the things we can not do in real life; to experience the things that is not readily accessible to the most of us. Video games also help us understand different types of people by having diverse and – for some games – very realistic characters. But, not a lot of us see the underlying meanings behind the video games we play and enjoy. The implications hidden behind the realistic graphics, the heart-warming soundtrack, and the innovative gameplay. Here is a list of some of the video games that tackle different social issues. Sit back and let us dwell deeper into the meaning of these well-known video games.

War“This War of Mine” 

Video Games: This War of Mine is a video game about civilians surviving in a war-torn city.
https://wallpaperscraft.com/image/this_war_of_mine_the_little_ones_survival_stealth_shooter_105983_1280x720.jpg

Let’s start with a very well-known topic – war. We’ve all heard of different stories about war. And war has been a choice of topic or genre by a lot of video games. But, the creators of This War Of Mine, 11 Bit Studios, approached this genre in an innovative and immersive way. In this game, you don’t play as a well-trained-muscle-torn super soldier equipped with a planetary cannon. Here, you play as a civilian caught very deep in the war-devastated fictional city of Pogoren, Graznavia. You will struggle, because ‘gather’ is putting it lightly, for food. Scavenge for medicines or supplies and try your very best not to bump into soldiers or other hungry survivors.

The day and night cycle plays a significant role in the game mechanics. During the day, you’ll be managing your hideout in a very detailed manner; while keeping an eye on that sniper whose not letting you out. When darkness falls, you’ll be sneaking into buildings and areas for supplies; while avoiding being killed by other people seeking means for survival. You will also be making a lot of moral decisions; whether you’ll kill that one annoying person to save the whole group or watch as everyone slowly suffer. Add to that, the beautifully-made charcoal-style aesthetics; and you have a game that will leave you thinking and reflecting about war and its effect on the human soul.

 

Privacy“Watch Dogs 1 and  2″ 

Video Games: Marcus Holloway and the gang
https://images6.alphacoders.com/740/thumb-1920-740347.jpg

Have you ever felt like being watched? Like Big Brother is always around you, lurking in the dark, studying and recording your every move? We are living in the age and time of information and the improvement in technology is far from slowing down. Also, the number of people uploading all of their information in the internet is increasing. Which is why black hats are more eager to steal any sensitive information they can get their hands on.

Watch Dogs, is a video game about hackers waging war on the government for manipulating information and invading the privacy of their people. This video game does not really tackle or explain ‘hacking’ in detail; but it shows what hackers can do with the information that the people, themselves, gave out there in the internet. This game is a sweet reminder that internet privacy is sometimes just an illusion to make us feel safe. It also reminds us that the internet is a very dangerous place to be placing all of our information.

 

Social Difference – Multiple Video Games (Witcher SeriesLife is Strange, The Last of Us, other video games)

Video Games: The Witcher
https://images2.alphacoders.com/600/thumb-1920-600255.jpg

So what if you have white hair, feline eyes, sterile, and has high resistance, if not immune, to diseases? So what if you have pointy ears and lives longer than humans? We are all living things and we can co-exist if given the chance and consideration.

The Witcher series, which is set in the world of Temeria, is flooded with racism and discrimination. Elves and Dwarves are discriminated for not being human, despite the humans being the invaders of the land. Basically, humans are the foreigners and, yet, they are pushing away and abusing the original inhabitants of the land. Luckily, Geralt, despite being discriminated himself, acts as the median between the two worlds. That of humans and of ‘non-humans’. Geralt does not make any rush decisions when doing a job. He investigates first and looks for a way for both parties to work together. With an exception, there is no consideration to be given for evil-tainted individuals, human or non-human.

Video Games: Life is Strange
http://www.imgbase.info/images/safe-wallpapers/video_games/life_is_strange/58862_life_is_strange.jpg

Life is Strange is a video game that takes place in a small town called Arcadia Bay. A place where a lot of things happen. Including alcoholism, bullying, and child abuse. Child abuse being a social issue that’s very rampant nowadays; this video game shows the whole issue in a different perspective. You play the game and see the world through the eyes of a teenager with the ability to control time, Max Caulfield. The game also includes other issues like teenage pregnancy, social anxiety, and brats who think like they are on top of everyone. Max’s story is also a depiction of how it feels like to be bullied for being “not among the famous”. This is a game definitely worth checking out if you want a relaxing soundtrack and a story that is full of twists.

Video Games: Riley and Ellie
https://www.bhmpics.com/wallpapers/the_last_of_us_left_behind-1920×1080.jpg

The Last of Us: Left Behind, sparked a controversy when Ellie and Riley hinted quite a number of times about their feelings with each other. We all remember that photobooth scene, right? How about that scene where they dance to a tune and then unknowingly attracted a horde of infected? All of these hints led to one conclusion and a lot of people were shocked. Some related and found themselves in the position of the protagonists in terms of personal identity; some accepted the fact and were happy for the pair; but, for some…they just do not approve of the whole charade. The relationship they have and the characters themselves doesn’t actually raise an issue; but the different ways people responded to the writing of the game, present an issue on sexual discrimination.

There you go. Here are just some of the games that tackle some of the issues we are facing up to this day. There are still a lot of games that depicts issues not mentioned here. If you have played a game with an interesting theme, comment them down below and let’s have a talk. Looking forward to hearing from you!

PS Plus, Games With Gold Freebies For June 2016

PS

With May coming to an end, it is once again time to celebrate free games with the latest batch of PlayStation Plus and Games With Gold picks for the month of June. However, I think the celebration this month might be a bit hampered as the offerings are possibly the least interesting that they’ve been in months.

These are your PlayStation freebies for June – this time without a trailer because reasons.

PSPLUSJUNE

  • NBA 2K16 – PS4
  • Gone Home: Console Edition – PS4
  • Echochrome – PS3
  • Siren: Blood Curse (Episodes 1-12) – PS3
  • God of War: Chains of Olympus – PSP, PS Vita
  • Little Deviants – PS Vita

While I don’t want to come off as overly negative, this month is quite lazy from my perspective. For huge sports fans, most of you will probably already own NBA 2K16, but as it is a very solid game, it’s cool for those who missed it. Gone Home, while entertaining, failed to capture me as it divulged into preachy territory, abandoning what I considered to be the most interesting aspects that it began with.

None of the other titles are bad per se, it’s just that they’re games most of us already have. Little Deviants was one of the only launch titles for Vita, and Echochrome was one of the most interesting PlayStation Network titles when it arrived years ago.

That said, if you missed the boat you should feel entertained with such a diverse offering.

And without further adieu, these are the Games with Gold freebies for June.

    • Goat Simulator  – Xbox One
    • The Crew  – Xbox One
    • Super Meat Boy  – Xbox 360
    • XCOM Enemy Unknown – Xbox 360

For those of you who felt that Grid 2 from last month lacked a huge open world to explore with friends, The Crew should feel right at home if you don’t already own it. I’ve neglected it for far too long, so this is actually my favourite freebie from Microsoft this month.

Ending the list with a game as phenomenal as XCOM or a game as crushingly difficult as Super Meat Boy, you should be in for a treat if you somehow them thus far.

PS Plus, Games With Gold Freebies For March 2016

With March swiftly approaching, both Sony and Microsoft have detailed their free games of the month.

From the zany hit that is the original Borderlands, to the excellent Sherlock Holmes: Crimes & Punishments, this month is definitely one of variety and a welcomed great change of pace.

Without further adieu, here are the freebies for PlayStation patrons.

 

  • Broforce – PS4
  • Galak-Z – PS4
  • Super Stardust HD – PS3
  • The Last Guy – PS3
  • Flame Over – PS Vita
  • Reality Fighters – PS Vita

A lot of past PS Plus line-ups consisted of mainly 2D platformers, yet this month we’re graced with not one, but two space shooters! Galak-Z is a game I’ve been eyeing up for a while now, and Super Stardust HD is one of the best shoot-em-ups on PS3. While I personally voted for Assault Android Cactus during last month’s Vote To Play, Broforce seems to be quite fun.

For Xbox owners, here are the games you will receive for March.

    • Sherlock Holmes: Crimes & Punishments  – Xbox One
    • Lords of the Fallen  – Xbox One
    • Supreme Commander 2  – Xbox 360
    • Borderlands – Xbox 360

March is certainly a good month for Xbox users with Sherlock Holmes: Crimes & Punishments leading the charge. The game failed to gain the popularity it deserves, so anyone who missed out definitely needs to jump on it, as it is a very polished and consistently entertaining adventure.

And while I can’t say the same about Lords of the Fallen, having an RTS like Supreme Commander 2 is such a breath of fresh air that I think we all might need.

Lastly, don’t forget to check out the video above for the dates of availability, as Microsoft has a tendency to throw off the best of us with their strange schedule.

First PSN Flash Sale Of 2016 Wants All Of Your Money

It seems routine at this point for Sony to suddenly drop another flash sale, yet they somehow keep making these sales both surprising and tempting. This week’s theme is indies, and this time, they seem committed to actually following the theme.

Here are a few of my personal favourites for your consideration.

FlowerA vibrant ‘art game’ that doubles as a relaxation exercise. From the creators of Journey, it’s priced at a little over a dollar and your purchase unlocks the game on PS3, PS4, and PS Vita. Pretty nice bargain.

Bastion An incredibly beautiful action game where your every move is narrated in real time. A lovely western soundtrack, unique enemies and locales, and great voice acting make this game a definite must-play for anyone who is a fan of swinging big hammers.

LimboEveryone knows what Limbo is, but many of you probably haven’t taken the plunge. This game deserves all of the praise it receives. A moody, tense, and bone-chilling experience that every fan of platformers should try. Great puzzles help make this game all the better too.

OutlastWhile Outlast fails to remain horrifying throughout its entire runtime, this game starts off with a huge bang. I still get creeped out thinking about some of the events that take place, and any fan of horror games would feel right at home with this one.

Sound ShapesOne of my favourite recent platformers. It manages to blend music and platforming in a unique and interesting way that simply doesn’t get stale. An excellent soundtrack and wonderfully simplistic art make this one worth trying.

The Unfinished SwanOne of the coolest indie games to ever grace the PlayStation 3 and 4, The Unfinished Swan is both an intriguing puzzler. It consistently changes up the mechanics while offering a concise and charming tale about a boy chasing a swan, all told in the style of a children’s storybook.

TransistorOne of my all time favourite games and certainly an underrated masterpiece, Transistor should be played by absolutely everyone.

For the full list of games and their respective prices, check out the official sony blog post here. This sale only lasts until the 25th, so get on it while you still can!

I Was Right: Persona 5 Has Been Delayed

Persona 5

Persona 5

A few months ago I wrote an article that I got a lot of hate for. In my article “There’s No Way Persona 5 Comes Out This Year” I said that, “Considering that we haven’t really seen much of the game, and that it had no large presence at E3, it seems like the game isn’t close to going gold.” These comments gave me a lot of hate mail on sites like N4G and Reddit saying that I was wrong, and how dare I say that the website that said “Coming 2015” was wrong.

Well at TGS a new trailer released (Wooo! I still can’t wait for this  game) but Atlus also announced that the game was being pushed for a Summer 2016 release.

I understand why people are upset about this delay, but this is good news. This means that Atlus isn’t going to release a game that’s not ready. I don’t know about you, but I would much rather wait until next summer too play it than play it this Winter with it having a bunch of glitches and graphic/frame rate drops.

Also, on a personal note this news gives me some form of validation for all the crap I have to put up with when submitting articles to N4G.

That aside, I have no doubt that Persona 5 is going to be anything short of amazing, and this delay will help the game achieve that. I love Persona and wish nothing but the best for the franchise and it’s fans.

Expect more news on Persona 5 in the upcoming months.

One Piece: Warriors 3 Season Pass Announced

Bandai Namco, the company that is behind the video game franchise based on the much acclaimed anime One Piece – has revealed the Season Pass for One Piece: Pirate Warriors 3, which will be released next week for the PlayStation 4, PlayStation 3, and the PlayStation Vita.

This Season Pass will include the first and second DLC pack that will separately cost $7.99. The DLC will bring 8 new quests, and various costumes for numerous characters.The costumes can be used in both the single-player campaign and multiplayer online co-op mode.

The story begins in the Fushia Village, in which will progress until the Dressrosa story arc. The main focus will be in the bonds between characters, as shown in the Kizuna Rush system.

The Kizuna Rush system allows the player to build up the Kizuna Gauge on the normal combat.The Gauge allow the player to summon an ally to help defeat the enemy, and when full , the player can then use the Kizuna Rush ability, which – in other words – means he can summon an ally in order to activate a powerful combo, which will then vary depending in whih characters are currently available.

And if you pre-order the game you will receive a costume of a fish for Luffy (the main protagonist), and a Lucy costume for Sado.

One Piece: Pirate Warriors 3 will be released on August 25 for the Playstation 3, 4 and Vita.

For more on One Piece: Pirate Warriors 3-related, stay tuned to VGamerZ.

Playstation Summer Sale Week 1 Begins

Casually perusing the Playstation store as I do every so often, I was shocked to see the words ‘Summer Sale’ appear. Did we not already have one a few weeks back? Probably not. Am I delusional? Probably.

Regardless, we’ve been graced by the Playstation Gods once again, as the Summer Sale is either just starting or returns for the second time this year!

Below are some of the greatest deals of the first week.

Summer sale Week 1

 

Far Cry 4 – If you have the desire to save money and hunt all sorts of animals  in the Himalaya’s, look no further. Step into the shoes of Ajay Ghale and prepare to have your eyes repeatedly pecked out by birds. Yep, birds.

Apotheon – If you’ve ever had a desire to play a game that looks like ancient pottery art, you’re in the right place. Apotheon is a Metroidvania with a gorgeous art-style and some innovative combat. You can do worse.

Trine 2: Complete Story – If Lost Vikings and some fairy tales of old had a baby, it would be Trine 2, a gorgeous puzzle platformer from Frozenbyte definitely worth checking out.

Slender: The Arrival – Remember PewDiePie exaggerating the scare-factor of Slender? Remember him screaming incessantly into the microphone until you closed the tab and sought out psychiatric help?  You can somewhat recreate that horrible memory by playing Slender. Good luck.

More deals await your deliciously full wallet on the official Sony blog.