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This week's famitsu review scores


Death Mark (PS Vita) – 8/8/8/7 [31/40]

Doukutsujima (3DS) – 6/8/7/7 [28/40]

Galaxy Blaster (3DS) – 4/3/4/3 [14/40]

Mini-Golf Resort (3DS) – 4/6/6/4 [20/40]

Tekken 7 (PS4) – 9/9/9/9 [36/40]

Tekken 7 (XBO) – 9/9/9/9 [36/40]

Tsukitomo. Tsukiuita. 12 Memories (PS Vita) – 7/7/7/8 [29/40]

Akiba's Beat - Review Roundup


The Sixth Axis:

Akiba’s Beat is a bad game, but it’s an even worse sequel. So many aspects of the previous game, Akiba’s Trip, are abandoned or watered down in this title, from the downgraded graphics, to the lack of customization, the poor characters, and more. Akiba’s Beat abandons it’s roots, instead trying so desperately to fill shoes far too big for it.

Destructoid:

Even if Akiba's Beat had a higher budget and more time, it lacks any unique features, mimicking what other games do, but worse. For 40 hours you'll mash X through slow dialogue, then run around a dead environment, and then do more dialogue until you get to mash square against sponges.

God is a Geek:

Akiba’s Beat is a mediocre game that tries to do too many things and be too many games at once without having its own identity. You’d be better off playing Tales of Berseria for your action RPG needs and eventually trying Akiba’s Trip if you still want a taste of this universe. I can’t even imagine how this plays on Vita if I had so many problems with it on PS4. The long load times, floaty combat experience, and overall premise here made me dislike Sunday like it was a Rebecca Black song.


Farpoint - Review Roundup


Polygon:

Farpoint may seem basic in a few years, once VR design has progressed past the point of simple shooters. But right now, as developers are still wrestling with the language of virtual reality, it’s tough to get the basics right in any VR game, much less a big budget shooter. Farpoint isn’t perfect, but it nails those basics.

Destructoid:

My enjoyment of Farpoint is inherently tethered to my experience with it in VR. As a shooter it's only slightly above average. But the team was able to incorporate various elements of sight, sound, and touch (by way of the Aim Controller) to elevate it. Here's hoping that more games actually make use of it.

US Gamer:

Farpoint is a game improved by the package it's sold in, which makes it a smart move for Sony and Impulse Gear. Taken together with the Aim Controller, Farpoint it's a solid showcase for PlayStation VR, even if it doesn't necessarily stand on its own. 

Eurogamer:

For newcomers to VR it can be a jaw-dropping experience made all the more novel thanks to the Aim controller. For everyone else, especially VR veterans, Farpoint is simply a shooting gallery whose one grand idea is placing a slightly bigger lump of plastic in your hands.

Ars Technia:

For newcomers to VR it can be a jaw-dropping experience made all the more novel thanks to the Aim controller. For everyone else, especially VR veterans, Farpoint is simply a shooting gallery whose one grand idea is placing a slightly bigger lump of plastic in your hands.

This Week's Famitsu Review Scores


Box Up (3DS) – 5/4/4/7 [20/40]

Gears of War 4 (Xbox One) – 9/9/9/9 [36/40]

Gnog (PS4) – 8/8/8/9 [33/40]

Guilty Gear Xrd: Rev 2 (PS4) – 9/9/9/9 [36/40]

Guilty Gear Xrd: Rev 2 (PS3) – 9/9/9/9 [36/40]

Hyper Light Drifter (PS4) – 8/8/8/9 [33/40]

Love of Ren’ai Koutei of LOVE! (PS Vita) – 6/7/6/7 [26/40]

Marginal #4: Road to Galaxy (PS Vita) – 7/8/7/7 [29/40]

Prey (PS4) – 8/9/8/9 [34/40]

Prey (XBO) – 8/9/8/9 [34/40]

Ultra Street Fighter II: The Final Challengers (Switch) – 7/8/7/7 [29/40]

War Thunder: Premium Package (PS4) – 7/8/7/9 [31/40]

The Surge - Review Roundup


Gaming Trend:

The Surge is the most badass game I’ve played all year, and a must-play title for any masochistic gamer who enjoys getting their ass handed to them regularly. Although the presentation and enemy variety are somewhat lacking, and technical issues occur occasionally, none of these issues come even close to putting a hamper on this thoroughly enjoyable experience. Play. This. Game.

Polygon:

Still, the frustrating boss fights and the mediocre plot are blemishes on what is, by and large, a much better game than I ever would have expected. When I reviewed Lords of the Fallen in 2014, I said it was "a surprising show of skill and hopefully a sign of much brighter things to come." By building on its more obvious inspirations with a more unique vision, Deck13 has fulfilled even more of that initial promise with The Surge.

US Gamer:

The Surge gives a lousy first impression with it bland sci-fi setting and grab bag of obvious influences. Given time, though, there’s an unrefined gem in here for those willing to put up with its quirks. If this is Deck 13’s next step to building something truly great, it’s solid, if flawed one.

Trusted Reviews:

Like Lords of the Fallen, The Surge is another rock-solid souls-a-like, losing a little of its predecessor’s strong storytelling and atmosphere, but gaining from the change from fantasy to sci-fi and the ingenious mech smashing and harvesting upgrade system. It’s not quite on the same level as the Dark Souls trilogy, Bloodborne or Nioh, but that’s more down to the lore and art style than the brilliant gameplay. If you like the sound of a gritty dystopian take on Dark Souls, The Surge is an easy game to recommend.

This week's Famitsu review scores



How to Survive 2 (PS4) – 8/8/8/8 [32/40]

Kamiko (Switch) – 7/8/7/8 [30/40]

Rewrite Harvest Festa! (PS Vita) – 8/8/7/7 [30/40]

Shoot the Ball (Wii U) – 5/4/5/3 [17/40]

Shoot the Ball (3DS) – 5/4/5/3 [17/40]

Birthdays the Beginning - Review Roundup


Eurogamer:

The damning sound effect that play whenever a species goes extinct (and often multiple species go extinct at once, when, for example you've been forced to drastically raise the temperature to pave the way for a diplodocus) becomes a trigger for a pang of micro-grief, as one pet dies to make room for another. There is unique and unusual pleasure to balancing this world just so, but without a straightforward way to restart chapters, or way to wind the clock back to undo decisions, the troughs of frustration eventually come to overwhelm the peaks of delight.

Digitally Downloaded:

Properly articulating what Birthdays means to me is difficult. It is the embodiment of the pure joy of gaming, where I can sit down and simply immerse myself within this space without feeling pressure or tension. There’s nothing to “win,” but everything to enjoy while, at the same time, the game is pointing out, in its very innocent and heartfelt way, a very simple but so important environmental message. To Yasuhiro Wada, the environment itself has always been the real protagonist of his games, and Birthdays The Beginning is the ultimate realisation of that philosophy.
 

Destructoid:

Even though certain design elements aren't as streamlined, fleshed-out, or user-friendly as they could have been, part of me is just thankful Birthdays even got greenlit. Niche as it might be, I've wanted something like this for years, and despite my admittedly high expectations, I still came away impressed. I hope the game is able to find an audience, because it so clearly deserves one.

Gameinformer:

Wada says he named the game Birthdays the Beginning because he sees this as the start of a larger series. Perhaps there are some elements that didn’t make it here that could redeem Birthdays down the line. For the time being, it’s a tedious and obscure simulation that, more than anything else, made me yearn for another SimEarth.

God is a Geek:

Despite the unique nature of Birthdays the Beginning, and how it approaches the god game genre from a completely new direction, I really can’t see it appealing to too many people. It has the potential to be a decent learning tool, but the progression blocks in the early game, combined with a tutorial that just doesn’t explain anything in enough depth, will keep most people from seeing the best bits anyway. Sir David Attenborough is a better bet, if you want entertainment while you learn.

Prey - Review Roundup

I'll keep this updated as we get more reviews in


Attack of the Fanboy:

As far as first person action games go, Arkane Studios is probably the best in the business. Proving that the studio has no shortage of interesting ideas, Prey is the perfect blend of thrilling action and thought provoking story. Who needs a new Bioshock or Half Life game when we’re getting experiences like these?

Gadgets 360:

None of Prey’s elements stand out on their own, but they work well in cohesion. Progressing through the story was a treat. Without spoiling much, there are a fair number of plot twists that keep you engaged. This is backed up with slick controls, responsive gunplay, cool neuromods, and stellar level design. Clocking in at around 20 hours, Prey is well worth checking out even if you’re not a fan of horror or sci-fi. It might not be wholly original, but that doesn’t make it any less fun.


The Caligula Effect - GoingSony Review

The Caligula Effect launches digitally on the Playstation Vita later today, and Atlus has been kind enough to provide me with a review code. So be sure to give it a read if your interested. Those with little time can find a very brief overview of my general thoughts at the very bottom. 

The Caligula Effect is a Japanese Role Playing game developed by Aquaria for the Playstation Vita. It stars a group of high schoolers who have to track down and defeat a group of musicians in order to escape a virtual world. It offers turn based combat, but with a cool twist, and social link gameplay akin to Persona. It has it's ups and downs, but it is certainly not something RPG fans should ignore.

The combat of The Caligula Effect is really where this title shines the most. It is built on a combo system where each party member is simply a piece of a larger puzzle. In many RPGs, each party member will mostly act on their own, save for healing, etc. But in The Caligula Effect, thinking of your party members as a whole is key to success.

For example, some actions are only effective when the target is thrown up into the air, and others won’t land at all if the enemy is on the floor. I will often have my first party member execute an action to knock the enemy up into the air. After that was set, I followed with my two heavy hitters using actions that did more damage if their target was airborne. And to finish, I set my final party member to use a move that would land when the enemy had fallen to the floor. It feels awesome when pulled off correctly. And the neat thing about all of this is that I was able to punch in all of those actions, and then hit confirm to watch it all play out at once. Meaning it has the depth of your standard turn based combat, but the flash of a live action title. It is actually very satisfying to watch.

But the battle system is not without it’s flaws. It does have the depth that makes it rewarding, but some aspects can also make it frustrating or confusing. Like I mentioned, the whole system revolves around using every party member’s actions in a way that allows them to combo off of each other. This means that the order in which they are actually used is very important. I normally had no issues, but there were moments when things started to get a little messy. To be specific, sometimes the order in which I set my party members to act gets thrown off, which is made worse by the fact that their arrangement can't be changed in battle. And because of how important the order the skills are in, things quickly fall apart if the player is unable to combo correctly. There are some tools provided to help with this problem, but they are often not enough. 

Another touted feature of The Caligula Effect is the social element. As a high schooler, the protagonist is in contact with plenty of other students. Players can talk with all of them in the game, with an exception to enemy characters, to develop a bond. The concept of this is great, and when done correctly can be very compelling. Unfortunately, that is not the case here. Talking to other classmates is a very generic experience. In most cases they all just say something very similar to each other, and then their social meter goes up. That is it. Full conversations are few and far in-between. What makes this worse is that the overall character design, including the main characters, is fairly dull. I feel quality over quantity would have worked much better for this game, and maybe been more of a motivating factor in recruiting new people. 

I won't go into too much detail regarding the story, as I don't want to spoil anything, but I certainly enjoyed the story a lot more than I thought I would. I'll be honest, the whole "singer idol" theme of the game isn't really my style. But I was able to look past it and enjoy a story that is actually a little dark.

The Caligula Effect has it’s fair share of weaknesses, but they weren't so glaring as to ruin the experience. The deep battle system, and intriguing story do more than enough to make up for the missteps. I will say however, that will a little more polish, The Caligula Effect could have been something really great. It’s no Persona, but it is definitely something worth looking into if your a fan of the series and looking for a reason to dust off your PS Vita. 

My favorite thing about The Caligula Effect:

  • The battle system. Yes, it can get frustrating at times, but it offered a good amount of depth and was very satisfying when working correctly. 

My least favorite thing about The Caligula Effect:

  • Social links. I really liked the idea of being able to interact with other students in a meaningful way, but The Caligula Effect simply doesn't pull it off. Talking with other characters is very uninspired, and has an almost lazy implementation. 

EDGE - Issue 306 Review Scores


Yooka-Laylee – 6

Mass Effect: Andromeda – 7

Little Nightmares – 8

Snake Pass – 7

The Sexy Brutale – 8

Outlast 2 – 5

LEGO Worlds – 6

Everything – 7

Korix – 7