Category Archives: Otaku Review

This is the archives for Otaku Review where we have written about either reviews, editorials, or discussed various topics of certain genre’s The articles are listed in chronological order, and if you’re looking for a particular article please use the search bar at the top of the screen.

If you have any questions, comments or concerns about our reviews, be sure to message us on our contact page or email the author and we’ll be more than happy to discuss our viewpoints.

It should also be pointed out that this area doubles as an archive, so reviews may go back quite a bit.

Haven Review: Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes

First up is our disclaimer.  We got this game because we wanted to review it, and as such all views in this article our are own. No money has been exchanged for this review.2449470-mgsvgz_ss_bc_title_ps4_2

Metal Gear Solid is a hugely popular franchise created by Hideo Kojima of Konami Corporation; at least he was
from Konami until he announced that upon the September release of Metal Gear Solid V: Phantom Pain he is leaving the company.

Ground Zeroes is a prequel to Phantom Pain, laying the foundation for the latter title and explaining why “Big Boss” went into a coma. The game is incredibly short. I am not joking. The world record now stands at 10 minutes front to back, assuming you skip all cut-scenes and bonus content.maxresdefault

The game costs roughly $15 (USD) or 14 (EUR), depending on where you live. So we ask ourselves: Is this a good price, considering you can speed-run the game in 10 minutes? I think it is. GZ gives you a solid look (pun intended) at what to expect in the next installment, while adding story content of its own. Fans of all franchises appreciate having the Metal-Gear-Ground-Zeroescomplete picture, and GZ helps deliver that.

You can see for yourselves how the FOX engine looks. This is thanks in large part to Kojima’s efforts to move the Metal Gear Solid franchise away from console-exclusivity.

The game itself has some issues. One is that despite the PC’s Xbox controller having a button layout similar to the PlayStation, the devices act nothing like each other.  You may need a little time to acclimate. Another is that the infamous in-game “rations” have been replaced with a less substantial healing spray for when you get too badly injured.

I am a fanboy of the series, but seeing that healing spray is disappointing; I enjoyed the challenge of having rations and using them sparingly when I fought against Vulcan or Vamp in Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty.

There are other subtle changes in this title, as well. Among the more irritating is that there is no audio option on the main menu. My guess was that they just plain forgot when releasing it for the PC platform. However, graphic and resolution options ARE present, should players require them.

a1d367457ad93a20b7d4d3f70b1d63bdUltimately, does the game deliver on the Metal Gear solid experience? Yes, but with a few tweaks needed here and there. But seeing as how Konami is calling the shots, I doubt they will be implemented before Phantom Pain hits market shelves.
And when I say a few things need tweaking, I refer back to the audio options for the PC.

-Daniel Clatworthy-

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Otaku Review: JAST – LITTLEWITCH ROMANESQUE ~EDITIO REGIA~

Classic within Otaku-Community, The Harem-Genre!
Alice VonGothique here, and I’ve been playing Little Witch Romanesque. Time for a li’l review!

LilWitch Cast
Artwork by Oyari Ashito

According to The Visual Novel Database (https://vndb.org) , the Editio Perfecta version of the game was released in Japan on July 27, 2008 as an 18+ visual novel. It includes the fully voiced Aria to Kaya to Kuro no Tou, not found in the original Shoujo Mahou Gaku Little Witch Romanesque released on February 22, 2007. The game’s two-part title translates to “Magical Girls’ School Little Witch Romanesque”; “Aria, Kaya and the Dark Tower”.

This review is based on JAST USA‘s (http://www.jastusa.com) translation of Editio Perfecta, released on December 22, 2014. An “All-Ages” version is coming soon. You may purchase it on Steam, or search J-List (http://www.jlist.com)
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Towers are symbols of Arch-mages and power. A thousand years ago, this vast and magical world used to be filled with them!

Today however, only a few towers remain from that time when Mages held god-like powers.
Presently, Mages sit rich in the capital with their minds focused on status, rather than exploring the arts of magic. Standing apart however is Domino, the youngest of the world’s nine powerful Arch-mages, and our story’s Hero!

Domino is exiled into the ruins of the Dark Tower after speaking against his fellow Arch-mages. His mission is to teach magic; not to just any students, but the two WORST at the Magical Academy! They are Kaya Xavier and Aria Vancleef. Will you succeed guiding them to the level of “Master Witch” within the designated three-year deadline?
Konachan.com - 29238 black_hair blue_eyes book dress glasses gray_hair kaya_xavier littlewitch long_hair oyari_ashito pink_eyes pink_hair short_hair thighhighs twintailsArtwork by Oyari Ashito

Our dark beauty to the left is Kaya, a polite and mature young lady with a strong sense of responsibility. The pink-headed sweetheart to our right is Aria, a gutsy tomboy who loves a little mischief now and then. A cute duo, indeed!

In the original Romanesque, the girls appear to be in their early to mid-teens.  Their palatable ecchi places them firmly in the lolicon genre, according to some. But in Editio Perfecta, Kaya and Aria meet the 18+ requirements, and so are drawn instead as off-to-college types. This also complies with scenes of Domino cavorting with a variety of harem ladies, which we will examine later.

How your students grow in their quest to become master witches affects the outcome of your game. Progress is achieved by completing main adventure quests, as well as a host of mini-games. You will use dice in various combinations to gain Spirit Points (XP). These points can be spent as tuition to help you advance through your lessons, which are depicted as a map of spells. For each spell learned, you receive a Tarot-like card featuring unique artwork and in-game abilities.

Each quest will require a different combination of spells, and reward you with special cut-scenes to drive the story.  Beware, these scenes do contain a modicum of ecchi, bordering at times on actual hentai. But remember, this game IS a visual novel after all. So let’s check out the rest of our cast and story!

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Ingame Planning Screen with the mascot, Toopy

Upon entering the Dark Tower, Domino discovers a small, mysterious creature.
It appears similar to a mouse..hamster..perhaps a magical guinea pig?!

Intrigued, Domino reaches out to touch what he calls a “cute Golem”, only to be disappointed when Kaya points out how the fur-ball fell down through a crack in the roof (poor baby)! Eventually they call him Toopy and he joins the party, remaining loyal to Domino and rarely leaving his side. Toopy appears as a small mascot; accompanying you throughout the game.

The following image depicts the game’s opening scene. It sets the mysterious mood of magic right away, as Domino opens the Tower with a glowing key. This is followed by torches in a corridor, which in turn leads to a huge room within the Tower’s ruins. While these scenes are  designed primarily to invoke players’ curiosity,  they never forget about that nominal dose of aforementioned fan service! Overall, not bad…the translations are fairly accurate and the original Japanese jokes stay true to form, thanks to the remarkable seiyū talent.

Kurotoou
Artwork by Oyari Ashito

Now let’s face it, Toopy is adorable and deserved more screentime! I didn’t realize until quite a bit into the game that he could talk, thinking that Aria was simply using baby language (as many characters do toward animals) to an otherwise mute guinea pig. Turns out, Poké-Speak  applies for Toopy, which in general consists of various ways of saying his name. Even so, that adds cute points in my Otaku opinion! “Toopy plushie, anyone?” Much needed!

Further into the Tower we meet the ghost Mauresumo. With a personality reminiscent of a cheeky grandpa, he will later take on the role of teacher for Kaya and Aria. This brings up an interesting point.  When you open the game’s planning screen, you can change teachers on the fly. Each specializes in a different brand of magic training. It’s actually quite fascinating to explore the complex yet tidy the game design!

As for our Harem beside Kaya and Aria…some are more stereotypical than others, but I dare say all their “teacups” will be filled to the brim in this game!

In a deep hidden room of the Tower hides Sepha, a loyal and pure angel, and Domino’s childhood friend. Then there is the gorgeous architect Mariella Grandback, daughter of Merchant Grandback, who pays a visit to renovate the Tower. She builds a library and eventually a bedroom for the spoiled and busty Princess Fianna Mellowa, who unexpectedly arrives with her timid Neko-Maid Tillett. The adoreably humble Saint Olga crashes the party on a giant pink bird, followed by her watchful guard Rosetta. Confident Bounty Hunter Olivia joins in with her exceptional fighting skills and many dogs! Shameless Fairy Constantine pops up from nowhere and Merrett the Elf shows up with many other characters along the way.

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As you can see, the game’s cast offers quite the scope of personalities! Love them or not, there’s no denying that much time was put into their development.  They are memorable; each with their dominant trait, and their seiyū operators do a great job bringing them to life!

The story itself revolves mostly around Kaya and Aria; watching them grow and steadily learn to handle each quest. You’ll smile, laugh out loud and sometimes face-palm at their antics. While interpreting the game’s subtle innuendos, some players may feel part of their innocence slipping away…welcome to the Internet!

The game’s artwork is stunning, both the scenery and the characters themselves. The musical compositions are marvelous as well, considering this a VISUAL novel. If you have the time, I suggest checking out the soundtracks and vocal albums.

All in all, Little Witch Romanesque is a lovely brew of blended teas to be strongly enjoyed!
Despite it belonging to what manga fans call the “harem-genre”, I must say that I didn’t feel the ecchi was forced down my throat. I associated with each character based on merit and how they progressed throughout the game. That’s not to say fan service was in short supply…it truly served it’s purpose! Especially so when combined with dedicated seiyū, who make you believe in their characters. Kampai!

Please note: The mechanics of spirit-dice, spell lessons and story quests will prove to be more complex than in typical graphic novel games. But along with the musical score (which I later catch myself humming in public…whoops…) Romanesque is fresh and fun!

It’s quite obvious I’m greatly enjoying Little Witch Romanesque, but how do I rate the game when all is said and done?

-Isabel Irene-
Edited by Chris Roberts

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Haven Review: Dragon Ball Xenoverse!

First up is our disclaimer.  We got this game because we wanted to review it and as such
all views in this article our are own, and no money has been exchanged for this review.

splash_logoDragon Ball Xenoverse was created by Bandai Namco games, and carries the Dragon Ball franchise onto the PC! Battling alongside your favorite heroes such as Goku, Gohan, Vegeta, and Yam… Okay lets be honest, if I finished that sentence I’d be killing people with laughter.

One interesting feature is that you can create your own Dragon Ball-themed character with Bandai’s in-depth character creator. However this can create some problems, such as me running into Taylor
Swift…or Adolph Hitler!
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Another issue I have noticed in the game is the lack of a community. Bandai decided to treat the game as a Massively Multiplayer Online (MMO) experience, but only implemented chat options that are “family-friendly”.  Speaking options are limited to “Hello”, “I’m Hungry.”, “I’m Thirsty.”, “Searching for party,” and other simple statements.

But there is a reprieve. The game includes a microphone option so you can say to other players: “Dammit Kakarot, I am the strongest alive because I am Vegeta, Prince of all Saiyans!” Despite their best efforts in keeping the game family-friendly, Bandai has given players access to a microphone. As such, I kept getting cursed out when I tried to join parties because the people playing didn’t know how to create a private room for themselves and their friends.
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However there are some bright sides to the game’s overall design. My favorite is that you can create a character from Earthling, Saiyan, Majin, Namakian and Frieza races. This helps determine how you build your character, as well as their overall strengths and weakness.

Let’s face it, you will all probably pick Saiyan like I did, just so you can yell at the screen go KAAA MEEEE HAAAA MEEE HAAA. If you’re expecting to go all Super Saiyan 3, good luck. The only time you get to do that is during the opening sequence (where you fight Buu as Goku).

Players may advance only to Super Saiyan 2 or Super Vegeta 2. Ultimately the Dragon Ball Xenoverse story conflicts with the canon, especially with respect to the recent Battle of the Gods movie. But don’t fret, fans. The canon doesn’t get entirely wrecked by this game; just a tiny bit. I am apprehensive, though about what may happen when the new Resurrection F movie comes out; how they will mess with the canon even more.

Another thing about the story is that it felt dry and a bit forced at times. As I am a person who enjoyed the series as a child, I am a bit disappointed about how they handled a few things.  After all, you are defending time itself. Additionally, I’d like to experience Goku’s true transformation all over again, and not have him babel on saying:
dragon-ball-xenoverse-34243
“I’m a Saiyan from Earth. I’m your worst nightmare, Frieza!”

Ultimately, the game is good, minus the forced dialog and lack of speaking options.
You aren’t allowed to use Microsoft in the lobby either, so you generally spend about five minutes per group talking with other players before you leave. Also, there is no “friending” option; only a “favorite”, which simply keeps players’ character data handy in case you want to play offline with NPC versions of their character.

Lastly, there is an horrendous bug where the Steam cloud can actually corrupt your data, and in so doing replace your current and future game saves with broken saves. I’ve lost sixty hours worth of game play as of this review, and I hope Bandai fixes this soon.

-Daniel Clatworthy-
Edited by Chris Roberts

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