5 Pairs of Similar Games, Released Closely Together

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Back in 1998, there’s a movie about an asteroid that’s going to crash on Earth. It’s so huge, the impact could result in Armageddon. So a team of every-day Americans was sent out to space to blow out the asteroid before it reaches Earth.

Scratch that, for some reason, there’s two movies with this same plotline, released closely together. Armageddon, and Deep Impact. What a coincidence these two movies were tackling the same oddball but action-packed story. There’s a term for these kinds of phenomenon. It’s called Twin Films.

I am no movie buff, but these two are not the only coincidental pairing of similar content being released closely together, there are many cases for videogames as well! Here’s a few notable case, that can be stretched as gaming equivalents of Twin Films. Twin Games perhaps?

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How Much Would You Pay For Games?

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Playing video games is an expensive hobby. Game consoles have dropped in price over the years, with a PS4 bundle currently is cheaper than the latest iPhones or flagship Android phones. Isn’t that exciting? Compared to the days where buying a PS2 on launch costs RM2000 and a PS3 was at an absurd RM4000 price tag, now more people can share the same hobby and passion!

Yet game prices are steadily increase in price, and some games are harder to justify a full RM200+, only to have not as many features as expected, content gated in the form of DLC, really fancy collector’s edition, and sometimes, broken, bug-ridden or even missing features on launch.

So there lies the question: in the dire economic state Malaysia is suffering through, how much would you be willing to pay for games?

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[PS Plus Reviews] February 2016 Quick Roundup

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Oh boy oh boy.

February 2016 is a good time to hop on the PS Plus train if you’re looking for great free games. (Free as long as you are an active subscriber that is). The PS3 definitely the strongest offering- a AAA double whammy of a racing and fighting game. The PS4, as always, have no AAA offering (and if you’re wondering why, read my opinion piece here). BUT! They are offering one of their best indies exclusive on PS4, PS3 and PS Vita, well not anymore since there’s already a PC release. But I digress.

Here’s a quick roundup of all the available titles free for all active PS Plus subscribers on February 2016.

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[PS Plus Reviews] February 2016- HELLDIVERS Democracy Strikes Back

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Disclaimer: This post is made as an entry for PS Asia’s PS Plus Junior Reporter competition. The points and views raised in the review however are not affected in any way.

Let me begin this review with some introduction to the folks behind Helldivers, Arrowhead Studios. This Swedish outfit made their debut with Magicka, a game that borrows a lot of concepts of top-down twin-stick shooters and hack n’ slash, but replacing all the shooting and massive hacking and slashing with magic. Its zany humour of the pop-culture references variety, substantial magic system, and plenty of chances to screw around your friends with its (hopefully intentional) finicky control scheme and the always on friendly fire. It was mired by bugs and glitches, but it is now a stable and awesome experience.

Arrowhead went to make a multiplayer-only side-scrolling shooter The Showdown Effect. While that game is fun and didn’t get much love (I haven’t tried it too), the guys got the opportunity to reboot the classic Gauntlet, a hack and slash from the 80’s. And then they worked on this gem, Helldivers.

All this preface is to show how the team has already have a signature style to their game design, and the easiest and most accurate explanation for what Helldivers is “Magicka as a full on twin-stick shooter” (Magicka with guns isn’t accurate, there are guns in that game via DLC). The humour is there, but now more subtle. The franticness is there. Controls are fluid in some place, intentionally not so in others. And now with backing of Sony, they explored new concepts as well.

With that out of the way, let’s get on with the review.

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[PS Plus Reviews]- February 2016- Persona 4 Arena Ultimax

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Disclaimer: This post is made as an entry for PS Asia’s PS Plus Junior Reporter competition. The points and views raised in the review however are not affected in any way.

Otherwise known as Persona 4 ULTIMAX Ultra Suplex Hold in Japan, this is the sequel to Persona 4 Arena, a spin-off fighting game based on the hit RPG Persona 4, released in 2009 on the PS2. The current Persona series has grown in mainstream popularity lately, starting with Persona 3 introducing an ooze of style not seen in other RPGs. Something of an oddity since the first two entries are brooding, dark, and to my seven-year-old self, a super scary looking game. Now there’s even a rhythm game spin-off with the main cast doing sick dance moves.

That aside, Persona 4 Arena is indeed a very good fighter. Made by the masters of 2D anime fighter Arc System Works (BlazBlue, Guilty Gear), they have carefully adapted the lore of Persona to fit into a blend of 2D fighter they are famous for. Persona 4 Arena Ultimax (P4AU) can be passed on as one of those update titles fighting games used to do (think Ultra Marvel Vs Capcom, Super Street Fighter IV Arcade Edition). But it is indeed a full-fledged sequel, in some ways.

Is P4AU worth playing for the die-hard pros of fighters? What about the people who have nary a knowledge of fighters but are so into Persona 4 and 3? The answer is: both parties can enjoy!

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[PS Plus Reviews] February 2016- Nova-111

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Disclaimer: This post is made as an entry for PS Asia’s PS Plus Junior Reporter competition. The points and views raised in the review however are not affected in any way.

Another game I went in completely blind, with nothing to expect. And it seems it is designed to accommodate people like me. That feature image is the start screen and poof, it throws you right into the game.

Nova-111 would seemed to be well designed for the Vita, but that is not its main platform. Available for all three Sony systems, as well as on PC and Xbox One, Nova-111 should not be missed. It’s turn-based move-attack gameplay reminds me of a an old pc shareware I forgot the name is, but a more recent equivalent would be Crypt of the Necrodancer. That game used a turn-based system, with a twist that you need to move to the beat of the music, as so are the enemies.

Nova-111 has a similar twist, as some elements follow the turn-based system, while some are in real-time.

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[PS Plus Reviews] February 2016- Nom Nom Galaxy

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Disclaimer: This post is made as an entry for PS Asia’s PS Plus Junior Reporter competition. The points and views raised in the review however are not affected in any way.

For most games that I have background knowledge of, expect a bit of a lore dump in the intro here, just like I did with GRID Autsport. But to be honest, Nom Nom Galaxy isn’t one of them. Heard of it before, saw the artstyle, and became not interested and let it fly out of the radar.

Yes, so I decided early on this indie game is not for me, and while I appreciate the Pixeljunk series of games, I feel that it just won’t click for me, despite each of the games are of different genres.

So colour me surprised to find out the Nom Nom Galaxy has similar tones to Minecraft, or more accurately, the 2D Minecraft-like Terraria. The twist is that it has an economy angle on the crafting.

Or, to put it in another way, this tweet (which developers Q-Games’s Twitter account RT’d and liked. So it means something):

I still don’t like it as much, but I implore you to give it a shot if you’re into Minecraft and/or Terraria. It’s pretty good.

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