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Shin Megami Tensei: Strange Journey Redux Review

By Mike BC

Shin Megami Tensei: Strange Journey Redux is a JRPG that thrives on its ability to story-tell.  During my play-through, I became increasingly more invested in the characters. I found myself wanting to come back for this amazing story despite a less than stellar game experience.  Strange Journey is a dated game delivering a brilliant story.

The Basics

Shin Megami Tensei: Strange Journey Redux is a reboot of a 2010 Nintendo DS title of the same name (sans the word “redux”). Strange Journey starts with a group of special forces being put together by the United Nations to investigate an anomaly at the South Pole.  The anomaly is acting like a black hole in that it consumes everything it encounters. Four ships are being sent in to investigate what exactly this anomaly, named the Schwarzwelt, is and how it can be destroyed before it consumes the Earth.

The premise is simple.  Investigate the Schwarzwelt and make a plan to destroy it.  Somehow, this simple idea turned into an hour of talking right at the beginning of the game.  Before even being introduced to the battle system, I had already gone through more dialogue than if I had watched something on television.  When the game wasn’t chatting me to death, it was giving me an endless list of documents to review.

The game is fully voice acted and the voice actors are very good.  I would have liked to have seen it localized with English actors instead of only getting english subtitles but the Japanese voice actors were very good anyway.  They do talk slower than the speed of the text so if you rather would read it and move on, there is no need to wait for each dialogue to finish before going to the next screen.

The Demon Summoning Program

Your demonica allows you to safely explore the Schwarzwelt.  The Demon Summoning Program (DSP) allows for more than just seeing enemies inside the Schwarzwelt.  As the name might suggest, the enemies are demons. Because of the DSP, you can interact with the demons inside the Schwarzwelt.  Each demon has its own personality and alignment. Some are very easy to talk to while others are easily offended. Some will match up with your character’s alignment while others are completely incompatible.  Then there are some demon types that are unable to communicate and some that are unwilling.

Because of the vast differences in the demons, it becomes important to pay attention to the different alignments and personalities.  Over time, I learned that even if two demons ask me the same question, they may respond differently to my answer. I had to pay attention to the kind of demon I was dealing with.  This gave the game a level of depth I had not expected. It forced me to evaluate every interaction I had especially if that demon was one I had not dealt with in abundance.

When summoning a demon, you can ask to negotiate.  If the demon agrees, you can ask it to become your demon.  This mechanic allows for you to build allies in the game. Instead of having permanent allies that level up with you as you go through the game, your allies are the demons you summon.  The demons do level up as you play, but they don’t keep up between areas. Therefore, it becomes important to find new demons as you go. Failing to summon newer and stronger demons result in your allies not being able to aptly assist you in more difficult battles when you move on to a new sector.  

Stronger Demons

The lack of human or permanent allies in battle was a confusing choice for me.  Being new to the Shin Megami Tensei franchise, I had no experience with this kind of battle system.  My experience with JRPGs is that when you find the team you like, you keep them the whole game. I realized that was something that sets this game apart from the others.  Having to change your party regularly created a new level of strategy that I had not previously dealt with in a game. It was very rewarding to find just the right mix of demons for the enemies I was battling.

Another important function of the DSP is the fusion ability. At first, i didn’t use the fusion function because it didn’t make sense right away.  Later when I got stuck, i realized that fusing two demons together is another way to get higher level allies to join you in your journey. Because there are limits to how many demons you can carry with you at a single time, this is also a good way to free up space for new demons you meet in your journey.  The Special Fusion ability allows you to create a special class of stronger demons that require more than two demons to create. Unlike the basic fusion ability, these demons will require that you have defeated them in battle before they are unlocked in the fusion menu.

The Religious Aspect

As a minister I may have skipped this game had I known what it was about before I agreed to review it.  I’m so glad I went in blind. The story about a mysterious anomaly slowly destroying the world asking you to ally yourself with demons to find your way home was very off putting at first.  The ramifications of communicating with, not to say anything of fighting alongside, demons literally Hell-bent on destroying your way of life cannot be understated. Enter Mastema.

Mastema is an angel you meet not terribly far into the game.  He saves your life and very subtly recruits you to help him with his goal of defeating the demons that are in the Schwarzwelt.  Mastema saved this game for me. This wasn’t because Mastema was some great character with completely altruistic attributes. It wasn’t because I was able to play as someone working for God in the game the way that I work for God in real life.  Mastema entering this game added a whole new element of depth into this story that took the crazy demon allies fighting with my better judgment and showed me that at the core this game was about more than its religious undertones. This game was about the constant struggle between light and dark, good and evil, or as the game called it, Law and Chaos.

As a minister, and more importantly, as a Christian, this was a supremely important discovery to make.  One of the most important tenets of my faith is found in the Bible verse that says “For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this dark age, against the spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.” (Ephesians 6:12 NKJV).  Simply put, as a Christian, my life is short but the struggle I face against a demonic enemy is eternal.  It’s the real fight. Strange Journey is in no way a Christian game, but it is a grand reminder for Christian players that our struggle is not here in this world.

Is It Worth It?

Strange Journey was released for the 3DS at a full retail price of $39.99. Despite that,  it felt to me like something from the Nintendo DS era in it’s dungeon design, art choices, and lack of exploration.  Yes, the textures have been improved and the graphics are better than they were 8 years ago, but the lack of an overworld or the ability to do anything beyond travel between sectors and the ship felt awfully dated. It should be noted, if the game had been originally developed for the 3DS, it may have fared better in how detailed the worlds were. Instead, it keeps a very simple dungeon crawl feel to it.  It takes an opportunity to explore the place that demons have made their home, and makes it repetitive and boring.

How Does It Play?

There is a total of eight sectors in the game each with their own unique look and set of traps and puzzles. In one sector, you may fall through traps in the floor so often, you’ll consider throwing your 3DS out the car window while flying down the freeway. Another  may have a maze of portals that transport you to a new location but it took me so many attempts at going through the wrong portals and starting over before I made it through all of them without error, that it bordered on comical. A few sectors rely on making you use what you’ve learned so far and combine different puzzles and traps to make for an especially frustrating and difficult sector. There is also a side area that becomes a major part of the story about half way through the campaign.

Each sector and the side area have their own boss with a few sectors having mini bosses or multiple bosses.  Most of the bosses become playable through the demon fusion menu in Special Fusion after you defeat them in battle.  The boss fights were the most fun I had in any dungeon. While the dungeon crawling triggered so many battles that they too became repetitive, the boss fights were interesting and unique.  Each boss had its own strengths and weaknesses. The bosses had unlimited amounts of magic points so whatever made them special, would continue to do so through the entire battle. Well prepared, a boss fight was not a huge challenge until late in the game.  Unprepared, a boss could be a huge pain in my side. Either way, each boss was memorable and entertaining.

Is It Fun?

The story, more than the game, kept me invested.  The puzzles from sector to sector were fun for a while but at some point in every sector I began to pray for an end to the madness.  The game even on the easiest setting is needlessly hard. For example, in the casual difficulty setting, battle difficulty takes a backseat, but the puzzles in the game are so difficult, it’s a wonder anyone can get through it at all. Because it’s primary game element is dungeon crawling, the puzzle has to be solved to move on.  Reducing the challenge of the battles doesn’t change the difficulty of the dungeon itself.

Strange Journey would have benefited greatly from a more streamlined approach to completing each sector and incentivizing players to go back for side quests.  By the time I was done with a sector, I had no desire whatsoever to go back and do side quests. I just wanted to move on with the story. With the upgrade in graphics and design choices, this game could have also made the move to the Nintendo Switch, which may have alleviated some of the difficulty issues as a bigger screen may have made it easier to do some of the puzzles.

It’s Your Choice

Strange Journey has a lot to offer.  One of the best things that it offers is choice.  Throughout the game, you will be given choices that help define your alignment to either Law, Neutral, or Chaos.  Near the end of the game, you are given a choice with how to deal with the Schwarzwelt.  Your choice will define your alignment definitively.  The way you answer will decide what ending you get in the game. I personally chose the Neutral path.  You can choose however you like and get the ending that it comes with.  It’s your choice!

Verdict – Pass or Play?

Shin Megami Tensei: Strange Journey Redux has so much to offer in the way of its captivating story.  The characters grab you and hold on tight. I just kept coming back for more. That’s not to say that it was without fault.  This game was repetitive and boring. It should not have released at full retail.  If you are a fan of dungeon crawling, I can recommend this game with no reservations. Fans of great storytelling will enjoy this game if they don’t mind dungeon crawling.  Otherwise, I can recommend this game with the caveat that you know what you’re getting.

Q4P: Play!

Disclosure: This review was completed using a retail code provided by ATLUS PR for review purposes.

 

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Monster Hunter Generations Ultimate Coming To Nintendo Switch

Alright, Hunters get ready to hunt on the go when Monster Hunter Generations Ultimate lands on Nintendo Switch!

Monster Hunter Generations Ultimate Comes Nintendo Switch

That’s right you will now be able to hunt on the go once again! A new title in the Monster Hunter series is releasing on Nintendo Switch exclusively this August. Monster Hunter Generations Ultimate is slated to release on Nintendo Switch on August 28th, 2018! Generations Ultimate is the follow-up to Monster Hunter Generations which was available on Nintendo 3DS. This will be the first Monster Hunter title on the Nintendo Switch.

Monster Hunter Generations Ultimate

Hunt On The Go

Monster Hunter Generations Ultimate will be a great addition to the Nintendo Switch library. Monster Hunter titles work well as a handheld title but have also been phenomenal on home consoles as well, as with Monster Hunter World on Xbox One and PlayStation 4. The switch is the perfect console for the series, allowing you to hunt casually collected parts and crafting armor on the go, then taking on some epic fights on the big screen at home.

What Will Monster Hunter Generations Ultimate Bring?

Monster Hunter Generations Ultimate will feature a blend of classic gameplay as well as some new spins. New areas and monsters will be available to hunt and explore also a return of fan-favorites. Generations Ultimate will feature the largest roster of monsters to date of any other game in the series. The online play which is a staple to the series will also be available. So you can hunt with up to three other players online or locally. The ability to take the game on the go once again returns allowing you to hunt anywhere and anytime. Alongside the previously featured low-rank and high-rank levels quests, hunters will be able to take on new “G” rank quests to further the challenge.

By Sheldon Benedict

 

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Action Packed Zombie Horror – Garage Review

Get ready to run, shoot, and survive in this top-down zombie horror! Lets blast into the Garage Review!

Garage Review
The action in Garage will get your blood pumping as you shoot and run through zombie hoards.

Garage Get Out Alive

Garage is a top-down horror game similar to games like Hotline Miami and Grand Theft Auto(PS1). It is releasing on Nintendo Switch first, then later moving onto other consoles. The game focuses on the character Butch, who finds himself in a zombie-infested warzone. In the beginning, you are trying to figure out what is going on as you search for a weapon after coming across flesh-eating zombies. As you make your way through the first few chapters of the game you come across a ringing telephone. Out of curiosity, you answer it, and this is when you meet Anaconda. Anaconda is trying to reach her zombie slaying team. She is somewhat disappointed in you answering her call but decides to bring you on to the team and tasks you with rescuing her.

Top Down Horror

The controls in Garage are great. The character movement is smooth and aiming and shooting weapons is easy. Something that puts Garage above the rest is the ability to run backward as you mow over zombies. This control is an excellent option as you find yourself having to avoid the fast-moving undead cadavers. Ammo is never scarce which is very welcoming in a horror game. You will never find yourself up against the undead without a healthy amount of bullets. As you progress in the story, you will find new and improved weapons to add to your zombie slaying arsenal. Along with the undead you will also be pitted against gruesome bosses. One of the bosses that caught my attention was a human centipede like mutation. This fight is where being able to run and gun backward really came in handy.

Garage two headed dog
The creature designs are phenomenal

Blood Guts and Gore

The graphics in Garage are simple yet satisfying. The top-down style limits what can be done with characters but Tiny Build does a great job of making characters stand out in Grage. Enemies are easy to tell apart from other characters, such as the soldiers. But the best part of the game is the sheer gore. Blasting zombies and seeing them pile up is simply satisfying and helps intensify the creepy nature of the world in Garage. Fans of the horror genre will appreciate the work that went into making the graphics in Garage stand out.

Final Thoughts

Garage is well paced and addicting. The game saves often which makes dying less painful. The frequent saves make Garage easy to pick up and play for shorter periods of time, making it a great title for the Nintendo Switch. The game can be difficult but keeps you progressing, though doesn’t try to stump you with unnecessary difficulty. The story is interesting and breaks up the intense gameplay with some comic relief. Garage is great at getting to you when you are least expecting it. It will scare the hell out of you. Jump scares are used perfectly in Garage and actually add to the gameplay by making you plan your movement. You never know when a flesh-eating cadaver will blast out to devour you! In the end, Garage is one of the best horror games I’ve played!

Reviewed By Sheldon Benedict

 

Play or Pass?

Play!

 

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Upcoming Nintendo Investor Meeting; April 26th 2018

Nintendo is set to release fiscal year earnings tomorrow, April 26th at their investor meeting.

Nintendo Investor Meeting: Fiscal Year Earnings

This is typically sales figures and investor briefings. Though the Q&A has brought interesting subjects to light in the past. This has included subjects such as the Nintendo Animated Film, mobile game development in the past. This is just speculation, but we could possibly see some new info Nintendo released during this investor meeting.

Nintendo Investor Meeting

Stay tuned to Quest 4 Pixels Gaming to stay up to date as this story develops.

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Sea Of Thieves Simple Gold Guide

Sea Of Thieves Simple Gold Guide

If you are like me, you’re thinking to yourself “man items in Sea of Thieves are so expensive!” But worry not I have a spot on Sea Of Thieves Simple Gold Guide. The main task in this guide in completing merchant missions delivering chickens. They are one of the easiest most efficient ways to earn money in Sea of Thieves. Read on to find out how to master the way of the chicken.

sea of thieves simple gold guide

Step One: Get Those Skulls

When you first start the game instead of going on gold hunts, turn your attention to the Order of Souls faction. This faction offers you quests to take down a horde of skeletons and take out their leader. the Leader will drop a skull which you bring back to an outpost to sell. These missions are usually quick and not to tough to tackle on your own. Be sure to stock up on bananas while doing the Order of the Souls missions, as you will be fighting a lot of skeletons. The skulls you can receive are; Foul skull (100-250 gold), Disgraced Skull (250-400 gold), Hateful skull (500 gold), Villainous skull (800-1700 gold), and Stronghold skull (2000-4000 gold). Keep in mind you will be receiving mainly foul and disgraced skulls and maybe a few hateful skulls at the beginning.

sea of thieves order of souls

Step Two: Catching Chickens

Once you have acquired some gold from hunting skulls you can move on to the Merchant faction. The merchant will send you on quests for chickens, pigs, and snakes. What you want to target is chickens, specifically black and gold chickens. These missions are much quicker and less deadly than the Order of the Souls mission. This is the main way to earn gold in this Sea Of Thieves Simple Gold Guide. What you want to do is pick up all three available merchant missions from the merchant on the dock. Return to your ship and vote in one of the missions. You want to aim to get a black and gold chicken mission, but red and black is decent as well. Avoid doing any mission that sends you after white chickens as they are not worth much.

chickens in sea of thieves

Gearing Up and Finding Chickens

Every time you vote on a mission return to the merchant on the dock an collect cages for the mission. If you get a white chicken mission, collect the cages for that mission then vote to cancel the mission. You want to have the spare cages. That way if you come across gold chickens you can trap them and keep them on your ship. You can sell them when you return to port.Though selling chickens you don’t have a mission for yield less gold. I recommend keeping them until you have a mission to sell them. The chickens will not die on your boat and do not require any attention. This is why the chicken missions are much better than the other animals. There are many islands that will have chickens, and most are near ports. A few of the islands that normally have chickens on them are; Chicken Isle (imagine that), and Crooks Hollow. You can find a full list of islands that have chickens here.

chicken guide to gold

Step Three: Cashing In

A simple black and red chicken mission will usually bring in around 1,000 gold, instantly making it better than the treasure chest missions. A black and gold chicken mission can bring in anywhere from 1,600 to 2,400 gold per trip! Usually, you will be able to find both chickens you need on the same island. This is better than having to sail to two of three different islands like the Order of the Souls missions. The Chicken missions are one of the easiest ways to make butt loads of gold and are simple to do if you find yourself sailing alone.

sea of thieves simple gold guide

Written by: Sheldon Benedict

 

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An Earth Breaking Game: SteamWorld Dig 2 For 3DS

SteamWorld Dig 2 For 3DS!

SteamWorld Dig 2 is now available on your Nintendo 3DS! It has been available on Nintendo Switch, as well as other platforms. But now you can play SteamWorld Dig 2 for 3DS in glasses-free 3D

steamworld dig 2 for 3ds

 

Where is Rusty?

SteamWorld Dig 2 for 3DS tasks you with finding Rusty, the protagonist from the first game. Rusty has disappeared and Dorothy, the main character, must find him. SteamWorld Dig 2 is a “Metroidvania” style game that has you digging through the dirt, forging your own path. So with that, let’s get our hands dirty!

steamworld dig 2 main character

Grab Your Pickaxe

The main idea of SteamWorld Dig 2 is to dig your way down into the Earth to make your own path through the world. As you start to mine your way down you will uncover minerals that you can take back to the surface to sell to earn money. When you make more money, you can upgrade your gear, as well as acquire new abilities. As you improve your equipment, you will be able to dig further down and uncover new areas. The game involves platforming, and it does a beautiful job with it. The controls are fantastic, and the platforming is addictive. Steamworld Dig 2 for 3DS makes you think about how you dig your tunnels so that you will be able to maneuver back to the surface.

Down In The Tunnels

As you make your way through your mine, you will find caves to enter that will challenge you, and reward you with more minerals or upgrades to your steam tank, health, and light. Specific tools will make use of your steam tank, which you can refill at any pool of water. The light bar will continue to run down as long as you are underground. The only way to refill the light bar is to either return to the surface or find an upgrade. Upgrading Your characters stats will allow you to spend way more time exploring down in the mines. While you’re exploring, you will come across many characters that are full of life and have a lot to say. Some will even give you tips and tricks for digging your mine.streamworld dig 2 for 3ds

Dig Dig Dig!

SteamWorld Dig 2 offers up a ton of replayability by giving you the freedom to dig the tunnels your way. You may want to jump back in to see if you can beat your time. The game is perfect for speed runners and casual players alike. You can play however you like and have a good time. Aside from the gameplay, SteamWorld Dig 2 also features some cameos from other indie game developers. One that sticks in my mind is a mineral named Zoinkonium, a wink at Zoink Games.

The Results Are In!

swd2 for 3ds

I have no problem recommending this game to everyone. The game is full of personality, fun gameplay, and a vast world to explore. The first time I sat down to play SteamWorld Dig 2 I ended up marathoning the game to completion. Image & Form Struck diamonds with SteamWorld Dig 2, and I cannot wait to play through it again on my 3DS!

Reviewed By: Sheldon Benedict

 

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Tesla VS Lovecraft Review

By Mike BC

 

Tesla VS Lovecraft – What You Need to know!

 

Tesla VS Lovecraft is a top down, twin stick shooter. Nikola Tesla has just uncovered his ability to harness the power of electricity.  A fiction writer by the name of Lovecraft gives him a stern but mysterious warning.  In short, he tells Tesla not mess with what he doesn’t understand.  This leads to an all out mech war between the two men.  You play as Tesla defending against the onslaught of fantasy creatures from Lovecraft’s mind.

 

Tesla VS Lovecraft – Choosing sides!

 

Tesla is your main character.  One of the main issues I had with this game was that I wanted to play as Lovecraft and control his hordes of literary nightmares.  Unfortunately, the game only allows you to play as Tesla.  This is a huge misstep in the game because had they gone the extra mile to include a Lovecraft side, there could have been a great vs multiplayer mode.  Instead, the game chooses sides for you.

 

Tesla VS Lovecraft – Great Improvements!

 

When I first opened the game, I didn’t know what to expect from it.  The opening cut scene immediately grabbed my interest.  When the first level started, I audibly groaned.  The last twin stick shooter I reviewed for 10tons was Jydge.  I lambasted some of the options of that game on the podcast because it felt too much like a mobile game in ways that it shouldn’t on a console.

I am happy to report that every criticism I gave that game was improved in Tesla VS Lovecraft.  Tesla VS Lovecraft doesn’t use achievements to open new areas of the map.  The game doesn’t give you pointless tasks that require you to play the same levels repeatedly.  You get a full experience that you can just go right through.

 

Tesla VS Lovecraft – Play or Pass?

 

Tesla VS Lovecraft is a great option for you no matter where you play.  The game is available now on XBOX One, PS4, and Nintendo Switch.  You won’t get bored playing because every experience will be new and fresh.

 

Tesla VS Lovecraft for XBOX One, PS4, and Nintendo Switch – PLAY!

 

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