Review: Back to murder school in Danganronpa V3

A new Danganronpa is here! While we’ve seen a steady stream of releases in the franchise in recent years (especially in the West), Danganronpa V3 marks the first release that isn’t a port or spinoff since the 2012 PSP release of the second game. It’s been long enough that the development team has had time to breathe and regroup, delivering a new adventure that’s similar enough to past titles without relying on their lore for plot and tension.

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Review: Drive Girls crashes and burns

I like weird games. Nothing makes me happier than a game like Katamari Damacy, Car Battler Joe, Pocket Card Jockey, Duel Love or Chulip. Naturally, I wanted Drive Girls to be good. It is, after all, a game about women who also happen to be cars and both fight and race giant, invading robot bugs. Instead, it squanders a novel premise and takes you on one of gaming’s worst road trips.

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Review: Mary Skelter: Nightmares involves some rather risky (and risque) business

The PlayStation Vita is rife with dungeon-crawling JRPGs. Traversing expansive spaces in the first person with a group of characters you are able to customize and organize in some way is commonplace. This means new games need to try something different to stand out. Enter Mary Skelter: Nightmares. In this Compile Heart and Idea Factory International release, players follow characters inspired by fairy tales as they attempt to escape a sentient jail. Sound weird? It totally is.

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Review: Ys VIII is all about community and combat

For as long as the series has been around, it’s a bit weird that we’re only now getting to the eighth numbered Ys release. The series takes its time, not necessarily to build grander worlds but to give its grounded adventures more time to breathe. Ys games are about engaging combat and a long but fulfilling grind, story and systems surrounding fights that are designed to enhance that core play. Ys VIII: Lacrimosa of Dana is the most focused on its strengths the series has ever been, keeping players in comfortable fun for dozens and dozens of hours.

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Preview: Mary Skelter: Nightmares puts tremendous pressure on players

What happens when confinement, torture, blood and pain become all people know? Do they lose all sense of hope and withdraw? If Mary Skelter: Nightmares is any indication, they will do their best to overcome a dark and dismal situation. Thus, players are placed in a position where they will attempt to save people from this living Jail. It is an apparently sentient prison calling out for blood and filled with monsters called Marchens. Naturally, this means it attempts to infusing horrific and unsettling elements into the formula.

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Examining the Zero Escape series’ many rooms

August 2017 is a big month for the Zero Escape series. This marks the first time that every entry in the trilogy is available on the PlayStation 4. Zero Escape: Zero Time Dilemma has made its way to the console for the first time. Which means it is a perfect time for someone to begin playing these thrillers. But where are can someone find them and how do they get started?

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Collar x Malice constantly showcases the red oni/blue oni dynamic

There is a trend people may have noticed in Japanese games. It is a phenomenon known as red oni and blue oni. In Japanese folklore, there would always be two different kinds of oni, one who was red and one who was blue. Various elemental qualities and personalities became associated with the type, with the red oni being a fiery and passionate man of action and the blue oni being more calm, logical and stoic. The concept became pervasive, with such pairs appearing in all sorts of media. Collar x Malice, Aksys and Idea Factory’s latest visual novel, gives people one of the clearest examples of the red oni and blue oni dynamic.

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Collar x Malice makes you feel good about bad ends

Bad ends are everywhere in Collar x Malice. Almost immediately after Adonis, the terrorist group, places the life-threatening collar around the heroine’s neck, you can run into one. She meets her superior in the police department, Masanobu Mochida, and has the option of hiding what happened or telling him everything. Choosing the latter causes Adonis to inject her with the lethal poison and the game to end. What a buzzkill, right?

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Review: Collar x Malice aims at your heart

There are two kinds of otome games. The first are titles where the romance comes first, and the story exists to further the relationships. The second are ones where the tale a title tells takes priority, and the romance is an incidental that happens along the way. Amnesia: Memories is a good example of the former, while Hakuoki showcases the latter. Collar x Malice is another game where the narrative needs and gets the most attention. This doesn’t make the relationships between characters any less satisfying, but does mean the adventure might not be as appealing to some members of its audience.

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