Tag Archives: mecha

Haven Reviews: RIVE – Wreck! Hack! Die! Retry!

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Wreck! Hack! Die! Retry!

In RIVE – Wreck! Hack! Die! Retry! it all starts with me taking a trip through an asteroid belt, looking for a derelict hulk or two to loot. Naturally I found the      biggest baddest and most broken ship possible, drifting though space. A craft with a very welcoming and functional AI.

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I like robotic spiders a lot

RIVE is a twin-stick shooter, which means that I control the craft with one stick. Then use the other to shoot in the direction I point it in. The game itself uses quite good looking and well animated 2d sprites to populate the ship and give it life. Everything has life to it, despite being mechanical monstrosities. Naturally RIVE contains exactly what it says on the tin: Wreck! Hack! Die! Retry.

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Within the wreck, vicious enemies will attack you from every side in vicious waves. Throughout the game story various hacks are unlocked, these are used to take over certain foes. Such a nifty healing bot or a machinegun turret, plus several more. Unfortunately I die a lot and you will do the same. Which means I have to retry. Luckily checkpoints are plentiful.

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In RIVE I use a spider robot, which can transform into a nimble flying spacecraft as well. The game play switches between being stuck in a small area, where waves spawns from different sides. To the classical run for your life and some exploration. Which leads to many seemingly unfair situations. Yet the they are very much possible to overcome . Despite the games default being hard mode, followed by speed-running and one credit mode. You know, the kind of mode where you die and it’s game over. That is why RIVE has a health bar and several upgrades that can be bought from bolts throughout the story. For those whom are completionists, there is also a leader board and Steam achievements as well.

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The music is quite fantastic and catchy, but it does turn itself down when there is a slow section. Despite the overwhelming onslaught of enemies, there are several breaks in the action. This is a very good thing indeed, it also gives RIVE time to add some story and life the very few characters in-game. The protagonist is a very chill and unshaven engineer. With a fairly good voice actor, that has great interactions with the very questionable and quirky AI within the ship. There is an decent story within the game but I’ve probably told to much about it allready.

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Unfortunately one of the most common enemy types I encounter, are of the kind that smash my face in and goes boom. I’ve never been much fan of suicide enemies. Other than that fighting in small space and being swamped by the enemy is a bit annoying at times.

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Even though I enjoy the game greatly, most people will probably find it a bit too hard and very frustrating. Yes the game flows smoothly and is easy to control. But there is a lot going on at the screen.

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Disclaimer:  We received this game for review purposes only. As such, all views in this article are our own. No money has been exchanged for this.

Njål Sand

Otaku Review: Knights of Sidonia

Knights of Sidonia

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A Netflix original, mostly 3d animated, manga adaption by the same name. The master mind and author behind this series is Tsutomu Nihei. Whom is well known for emotional scenes, striking vistas and insanely huge and complicated environments. His previous work Blame! Took place in a huge ever expanding mega structure. This time around it’s a science fiction epic that takes place in a generation ship. A asteroid made into a humongous spaceship that has been traveling for generations though unknown space. On the run from some very, very creepy and clearly organic beings. sid4These monstrosities looks like something out of a Lovecraftian nightmare and will shred you to pieces with razor sharp appendages. Meanwhile try very hard to fight them with rocket propelled mecha. Which uses lances among other things as weapon. There is a reason why it’s called Knights of Sidonia, Naturally the students also use them to joust during combat training. By now you should know that this series is in no way affiliated with the Knights of Cydonia song from the band Muse.  Interestingly enough this puts it somewhat on the hard side of the science fiction reality scale,  Though the Guano as the thing they is know as, is anything but real.

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The main protagonist Nagate Tanikaze is a fairly decent one and is just shy of being a spike haired loud mouth. Tough he has his moments. Since he is from outside the system he’s the odd one out and slowly but surely he gains the respect of his peers. However this is a seinen  series, which gives the characters a lot more emotional flexibility, which also make then infinity more expandable. I will not go into more details, as few people like spoilers. Almost everyone with a name can die and probably will die.  At least this holds true for the first half of the series. Nagate, is a bit of an oddity that emerged from the under belly of Sidonia in order to raid the rice storage. Naturally a chase scene ensues, he got heavily injured and eventually got conscripted. By the way, have I mentioned that anyone can die? I just had to be sure. For reasons unknown to me there is also a female baker bear in the series as well.

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Mi biggest complain would be that I feel that there is something seriously wrong with the framerate. The animations have a nasty habit of getting choppy. There are plotting and visual differences between the manga and anime, but it’s mostly faithful. There are also cases of naked breast in the comic. sid6

All in all a fairly enjoyable show, based on a very decently drawn and made manga. Though at times I wish that Knights of Sidonia was drawn instead. But you know what they say; taste is a butt, split in half and the middle is shit. One thing that also stands out is the overuse of the color white, as everyone seems to parade around in their uniform all the time. Keep in mind this is not a child friendly series, there are a lot of violence, blood and people dying in gruesome ways.

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Njål H Sand

Earth Defense Force: Shadow of New Despair

 

Earth Defence Force: Shadow of New Despair is so bad its good, Some might say that. To this I say, bah humbug!

To save our mother earth from any alien attack
from vicious giant insects who have once again come back
we’ll unleash all our forces we won’t cut them any slack
The EDF deploys!

Sure the allied AI is virtually non existent for allied soldiers. But do keep in mind that games does not really have AI. In virtually every game the CPU controlled enemies are just acting as scripted, with some decent path finding included. Sure collision detection on spiders webs was terrible, and even those have been improved greatly. (I have not been sniped through cave walls yet). As a game such as EDF has refined action gameplay down to its core. 20160719144937_1There are no quick time events, all voices and cut scenes can be disabled and any enemy attack can be dodged in some fashion. After all there is only one goal, kill all enemies and survive. The graphics are decent and does get the job done and had they been any more polished and insane, the frame rate would have been shot to hell. Which brings me to an important point, state of the art graphics does not make the game a good experience. Naturally Sandlot could have made it look like a AAA game, but then where would the 50 plus enemies go? What would happen to the huge screen shaking explosion and enough enemy attacks to blot out the heavens? Exactly they would have been non existent.20160719143811_1

Earth Defense Force has not changed the concept since its start as a Japanese budget PS2 game. Four players have to cooperate in order to beat the alien horde. The enemy drop armor, health and weapons, which unlock new gear and increase the maximum health. Some of these weapons are insane and totally outlandish. There are 4 classes, Ranger, he can run fast, roll and uses more conventional weapons. The Wingdiver, a girl with big boobs and a jetpack, that uses plasma weaponry. The air raider, whom uses a lot of support weaponry, can field airstrikes and vehicles. Lastly there is the fencer, he is heavily armored, moves slowly, can counter almost anything while carrying big guns.

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This is how you get ants!
State of the art combat armor!

There are several new additions to the armory as well, such as a 50 meter tall mecha, that can punch things hard. An APC ambulance and more enemies on the map than ever. Naturally the developers have also included steam achievements, those are very important indeed. Replayability comes from completing all the levels, with all classes, om every stage and collecting the 800 plus weapons that comes from random drops.

One of the most negative things sandlot decided to do with earth defense force, is to put a weapon and armor level cap on the various difficulties. Eventually cap will be lifted but, that requires a lot of playing, which means that some grinding is needed. Keep in mind, this will only make things easier, it is not a prerequisite for completing the game. Vehicles also     handle a lot better and the wingdiver can now use vehicle turrets. The voices and the music in the game is decent and can be switched from English to Japanese as one see fit. Those mostly braindead npc troopers that’s on the map will also react to some of the commands and words said on the chat wheel. Get used to hearing EDF!, EDF! a lot.

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Things are closer than they appear

Helicopters still need a lot of work done. Not entirely sure, why developers have such a hard time with this. The simple solution is to have the helicopter hoover at current height, until you either descend or ascend. The air raider can now summon a wall crawling mecha in caves that summons instantly as well, but it moves like a spider, a very, very, extremely slow spider indeed.

In all of this brutal murder, where you will die a lot, there is also a B move story about an alien invasion and how Earth Defense force was made in order to best them. EDF does not even try to hide the cheesiness of it all, it is embraces it fully. Unfortunately I can’t recommend this game for anyone, even if I want to. It’s an intense action game with giant friggin’ bugs and explosions.

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Njål H Sand