Castlevania: Rondo of Blood finally getting a U.S. on Turbo Duo

Anyone who ever owned a Turbo Duo (Turbo Grafx 16 deluxe system with CD player, of sorts) will probably swear up and down that Dracula X: Rondo of Blood is one of the best games for the system. That’s weird considering it never got a U.S. release from Konami for some unexplained reason. However that will change fairly soon – yes, in 2021.

During today’s Limited Run Games E3 presentation, it was revealed that Castlevania: Rondo of Blood (the official U.S. name of the game) will finally get a physical release for the Turbo Duo system. It’ll work in your fine vintage systems without a hitch, and it’ll be in full English, and uncensored, so you can play it as it was originally intended to be played. There’s no word on pricing yet, but it’s sure to be a rare treat for fans of the system.

For those of you that hope to get the game for a newer platform, not to worry. In partnership with Konami, Limited Run will also release Castlevania Requiem for PlayStation 4 later this year, which contains versions of both Rondo of Blood and Castlevania: Symphony of the Night in pixel-perfect form. It’s also slated to release sometime later this year.

Following the success of Castlevania Anniversary Collection, this is a nice couple of surprises for fans of the series. Check out the original Rondo of Blood gameplay trailer below!

El Hijo: A Wild West Tale Stealth and Mischief

El Hijo: A Wild West Tale developed by Honig Studios and Quantumfrog and published by HandyGames is an adorable adventure strategy game geared towards stealth players. The game was released December 2020 on Playstation, Xbox, Switch, Windows, and Google Stadia.

The story of the game follows a young boy who lives alone with his mother on a farm in the Wild West. One day a group of bandits burns their home to the ground and his mother takes what few possessions they have left, packs them on a horse and they leave. To protect her son she put him in a monastery and subsequently gets kidnapped by the bandits. It’s up to you as a young 6-year-old boy to escape the monastery and save your mother using stealth and the toys and items found on your journey.

If you’ve met me you know I love puzzles and this game is a puzzle in every step. There are many ways to achieve your objective and having a good strategy can be the deciding factor between freedom and getting sent back to your room. There are little things in the game to increase difficulty like engaging with the children of each level while trying to stay unseen. The further you get in the game the more challenging the game becomes and your strategy becomes very important to keep safe.

The graphics of the game were beautiful. Similar to a Saturday morning cartoon t and just as colorful. The transitions are very well done and keep you looking for more. The gameplay is simple and they give you a tutorial at the beginning to get you used to gameplay as well. Using the tools to distract watchers and to give you access to new areas and puzzles. Keeping to the shadows and using the light to your advantage to save mom.

I enjoyed playing this game and I can’t wait to complete it. I’m always trying to find a new strategy to get through each level without being seen and unlocking new scenes and areas. This game was really fun and I think it will be great to play for the entire family.

DVS Game Rating 8/10

Metamorphosis: PlayStation 4 Review

Metamorphosis is a first-person puzzle and platforming adventure game. It was developed by Ovid Works and published by All In! Games in August of 2020. The game was inspired by the mind of Franz Kafka, a groundbreaking novelist and short story writer from the 20th century. The game is based on his novel The Metamorphosis which was published in 1915. This game was absolutely beautiful, and the game itself was overall a great experience. However, there were some issues that I will further explain for my rating on it.

Image

What’s the Story Here?

You play as a man named Gregor, a great salesman and friend of Josef, who awakens after a celebratory night out to find himself changing into a bug. You set out on an adventure to figure out why this transformation happened, only to also discover your best friend is being arrested for unknown purposes and a whole new underground society of bugs that work for the same corporation. Throughout the game you encounter puzzles, twists, and turns of an unknown world, and discover yourself and what truly matters. You’ll find yourself in a lot of predicaments, and making new allies along the way. In the end, you’re left with ultimately a choice that tests your true nature.

Image

The Good and the Bad

This game was extremely aesthetically pleasing to journey through. I absolutely loved the art style, and the graphics were breathtaking not only in the human world but also in the insect world as well. The game really captivated the time setting as well visually. I also very much enjoyed the gameplay aspects of this game. The platforming was very well done in a way that made you guess where you could and could not climb. There was no clear direction other than you paying attention to the dialogue and making sure you explored every nook and cranny of every area. The collectibles would be hidden in the most obscure places, and none of the bugs that you needed to speak to really stuck out, and all of them on some level were interactive. This made exploration worthwhile which is extremely important in most action games and platformers.

Image

My issues with this particular game actually lied with the story and the performance. Short games like these mostly rely on two things, gameplay or story. This one had great gameplay, however, in this particular case, it was laid out to be more story-driven. It was not like most mindless platforms because it had that touch of action-adventure. The way the game was designed made it heavily reliant on the experience, but the story was made so obscurely and you did not really form any relation or bond with the character. It was pretty much a case of talking to fellow bugs that would say go here and do this, but no emotion behind the main character or back story revealed. The other issue for me was performance, though bear in mind it could mostly be the platform that this was played on. The load times I expected due to playing on the Playstation 4 Pro, however, the frame rate drops, and the game freezing was something not expected. The frame rate would often crash after loading, finding collectibles, talking to NPCs, and just running or jumping on various platforms. The game would also every now and again freeze up forcing me to restart the game. Upon researching this seems to have been a common problem for most consoles.

Image

Is This Buggy Game Worth It?

I do highly recommend the game despite some issues. It’s an overall satisfying and short experience. Short games are sometimes a godsend for those with little time, and who doesn’t love a platformer fix? I overall enjoyed this game and even took the time to platinum it. I only hope to see more similar and improved work from this developer in the future.

DVS Score: 6/10

Persona 5 Royal Playstation 4 Review

Persona 5 is a Japanese Role-Playing Game with turn-based combat developed by Atlus. It is the 6th entry in the Persona franchise as well as being a part of the greater Megami Tensei franchise. Persona 5 Royal is an updated release of Persona 5 that adds over 20 hours of new content and scored a whopping score of 96 on Metacritic making it the 3rd highest-rated game on Playstation 4 game of all time. This entry in particular is a great start for new Persona players and is a fantastic entry for long-time players or JRPG fans in general. This game can be bought used and new in your local stores such as GameStop, Best Buy, Walmart, and Target. Or you can buy it online via the PSN store for Playstation 4 and 5. It still sells for 59.99 USD, however, I promise you that it will be worth every penny!

Image

What is Persona?

The Persona Franchise started in 1996 stemming for the Megami Tensei series and has undergone huge transformations since the beginning of the series. The games always take place in Modern Japan following a group of students in high school that all have to face their inner self, otherwise known as their persona, and overcome trials they face that happen around them. A persona can be explained as the manifestation of ones personality as explained in every game. The main characters are able to use their persona to fight enemies in the cognitive world to force a change of personality, or as per the 5th entry a change of heart.

Persona 5: The Story Premise

Persona 5 takes place in Modern Japan as every entry does, and follows the main character known as Ren Amamiya. Ren is a character who ends up forced under probation due to false accusations from a corrupt politician. He ends up staying with a family friend in Tokyo for a year and temporarily starts attending Shujin Academy. It is there that he befriends fellow students like Ryuji Sakamoto, Ann Takamaki, and Morgana, a mysterious cat- like being that has ties to the momentos, but remembers nothing of his past or of who he is. Learning from Morgana’s lead, they form a group called the Phantom Thieves, whose mission is to change the hearts of the corrupt to lead to a better society. They do this by tackling the inner palaces of the corrupt and stealing their treasure, which forces a change of heart. They also accomplish this by entering the cognitive world of the momentos and endless palace of society’s collective hearts.

Image

Persona 5 Gameplay: Original versus Royal

Persona 5 gameplay can be one of the most addicting, and time-consuming experiences out there. This especially goes for gamers like myself who need to do everything and anything I can in RPGs. The franchise has always made it to where you need to monitor how you spend your time, because you have a deadline to complete a palace per corrupt person. In Persona 5, they make it easier for new Persona players and veterans by actually giving you a deadline and more time in general. On average you get around 18 days to change the corrupted one’s heart. Between this time you need to decide carefully on how you want to spend it, because the game also revolves around making money, upgrading equipment, increases your social stats, and building relationships. You get two periods of time to decide what you want to do, which is afternoon and evening. You can only enter momentos or the palace during the afternoon, however you can work, hang out with people, or do fun activities at either time. Your mornings are filled with school, which on certain days you can answer questions to increase your knowledge. The 5 social states you can work on are Knowledge, Guts, Proficiency, Charm, and Kindness. Social Stats are extremely important because they allow you to be able to work certain jobs, be able to hang out with people and perform certain activities. Building relationships with your friends is also extremely important, because they give you benefits during combat, creating and fusing personsas, and even modifying weapons.

PERSONA 5 | Fastest way to Dauntless skill, Guts rank 4 - YouTube
https://images.app.goo.gl/jvsApEbU3RLLFNdh8

Persona 5 Royal not only adds to a lot of the gameplay, but also adds new characters and a new palace. Some of the changes made the gameplay a whole lot better. For example, momentos is not only a place to fulfill requests, but also a great grinding tool. In most Persona games grinding is a tedious chore, mainly because in palaces the enemies do not give you a huge amount of experience. You can pick and choose who to bring since the experience is divided amongst party members, but either way it becomes a lot and tedious chore. Momentos changes in Royal with a beautiful character named Jose. He is tied to momentos and able to change the conditions within it, as well as become a shop for resources. In momentos you can collect stamps on each floor to dump into different status bars that change experience earned, money earned, or item drops. This allows grinding for experience or money to become a hell of a lot easier. On top of that, you can even reassign your stamps depending on what you want to grind for.

Image

New characters, and a new palace are also a huge bonus for Persona 5 Royal. Aside from Jose as previously explained, you also get Kasumi Yoshizawa and Takuro Maruki. Both characters are not only well-designed story-wise, but you also get the storyline extended through mid-February with your new palace. Maruki comes to school as a therapist looking to help kids involved in the first incident with Komoshida, a corrupt teacher that is assaulting students and sexually harassing them. Maruki is a genuinely kind-hearted character who wants to reach out to help students overcome mental obstacles, however, due to issues in his backstory, his persona becomes twisted and distorted. Kasumi is another great character design. She presents herself at the beginning of the game, but you can not form a relationship until after the Komoshida Palace. She is a gymnast genius who offers to train you in return for you becoming a mentor. You find out later that she struggles with depression and self-worth, for reasons I will not bring into the light to avoid spoilers. She will later become a playable character and part of the Phantom Thieves Team.

Image

In addition, Persona 5 Royal has new locations to visit in-game such as the Jazz Club and Kichijoji’s club which allowed you to increase your social status with each character and strengthen them. The game also brought new weapons, armor, accessories, personas, and an additional form for each persona. On top of that, you also get two bonus endings to the story! I honestly did not think the original true ending could get any better. That ending left me with so many emotions after everything I had been through. Playing through persona is an experience like no other. The relationships you build with each character are so authentic and meaningful, it feels as if you yourself have a relationship with every character. You live the life of Ren and the true ending gives you not only closure but ultimately a sense of reward as if you earned it. But the two additional endings put everything into perspective, and show the difference between ignorance and reality. They were extremely well designed, and really make you think about whether or not you have done the right thing and whether or not you’re in over your head. I won’t go into too many details to avoid spoilers, but I urge interested players to do multiple playthroughs because every option is that good.

To summarize the experience that Persona 5 Royal adds versus the original version, Atlus added in the Thieves Den which is accessible to the home screen. Here you get to access new bonus content by using earned currency. This currency can give you additional cut scenes, artwork, character models, and even music! As someone that is a glutton for music, the new additions to the sound tracks were absolutely phenomenal. Music is arguably one of the most important parts of most games, and the fact that they added it in to the Thieves Den is rewarding and satisfying.

Image

Negative Feed Back

My only issues with the game were very minor. I personally found to access the new palace was somewhat of an inconvenience. In Persona you get to pick and choose how you spend your time as previously mentioned, but for the players like myself who went for the platinum in one playthrough, I learned that the new palace is something you can completely miss. To get every trophy and experience everything in the game, it is impossible to max out every relationship. Everything needs to be balanced and to access the new palace you need to max three particular relationships. These include Goro Akechi, Kasumi Yoshizawa, and Takuro Maruki, which was very frustrating in the limited amount of time you have and the fact that you are forced to choose. This in a way takes away from the experience of forming the bonds you want to form, but it was not something that ultimately impeded my experience with the game.

Image

To Summarize, Play Persona 5 Royal Now!

I can not recommend this game enough! Persona 5 Royal is an emotional roller coaster. This game succeeded in every way imaginable and improved upon an already near-perfect game. The gameplay is solid, the side content is perfect, and the story is downright incredible. This is one of the few games I have played that made an impact in gaming and gave me an emotionally satisfying time. I can only urge players to pick it up and put the time into what I can only describe as an incredible experience.

Rating: 9.5/10

Black History Month: How Jerry Lawson Revolutionized Gaming

Black History Month is for raising awareness about issues affecting the black community and celebrating the achievements of black people. Martin Luther King, Jr., Muhammad Ali, Michael Jordan, Nelson Mandela, and Morgan Freeman, among others, are universally known in their fields. Video games also have a black man to thank for revolutionizing the gaming industry: Jerry Lawson. While not as well known as the people mentioned before, Lawson has had an impact on gaming that continues to the present.

Jerry Lawson was born in 1940 in New York City, and his own teachers encouraged him to be someone like George Washington Carver (a black scientist and inventor who people mistakenly believe invented peanut butter, although he did make numerous contributions to the advancement of agriculture). Lawson got an early start to his career, earning an amateur ham radio license at the age of 13. Lawson also showed his aptitude for technology, earning money by repairing television sets. Lawson also created his own radio station in his room.

Lawson joined Fairchild Semiconductor in San Francisco in 1970 and created the arcade game Demolition Derby in his own garage in 1975, possibly also making him the first black man to develop his own video game. He also recalled interviewing (but not hiring) Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak for a position at Fairchild. Along with Ron Jones, he was only one of two black members of the Homebrew Computer Club, a computer hobbyist group located in Menlo Park, California that met from 1975 to 1986. The group’s membership also included Wozniak and Steve Jobs.

Lawson was eventually promoted to Chief Hardware Engineer at Fairchild, as well as the director of engineering and marketing for the company’s video game division. Lawson led the development of the Fairchild Channel F, which was also the first video game console to feature swappable video game cartridges. Previously, games were built into the hardware. This also made Lawson the inventor of the video game cartridge. The Fairchild Channel F also had other revolutionary features: a pause button and an 8-way joystick. While it was not commercially successful, it would lay the foundation for the wildly popular Atari 2600.

Lawson left Fairchild in 1980 and founded Videosoft to produce games for the Atari 2600, but the company was one of the many casualties of the video game crash of 1983, folding in 1985. Lawson eventually went into consulting work until his death in 2011. So whenever you play a video game, just remember Jerry Lawson helped make it all possible.

Layers Of Fear 2

DVS Gaming Video Game Review

Layers Of Fear, horror, and suspense wrapped into a dingy dark video game. If you had played the first Layers Of Fear game, that was released in 2016, then you have no clue what’s about to crawl out of the corners of the second installment in the series. Unlike most horror game series that tend to follow the same story through-out the multi-game series, Layers of Fear brings you story upon story without looking back. There are very few things similar to LoF2 to its predecessor. Both games brought to you by Bloober Gaming, which sets an example for how far they’ve come from the original planning and testing of Layers Of Fear. Thanks to GunMedia, the second installment of Layers Of Fear is polished and curated to make the experience even more indulging. As Layers Of Fear started as an ”Indie Game” in 2016, their studio has grown and made possible this amazing horror.

Darkness Wrapped in a Mystery

As is with most horror, music and atmosphere truly make the game. If one is lacking, then surprise and deceit can be seen from chapters away. Yet if it’s drenched in mystery and soaked with fear, the smallest of shadows can send one spiraling into fear. Layers Of Fear 2 truly built upon their strongest points. Between the lighting in the game, the music and the sense of never-ending mystery, this game offered more within its first chapter than most horror movies do in their entirety. Shadows played against the light in perfect tandem to the madness building in your mind, making you second guess what you thought was real. What you thought was your story, has changed again and again into a dark hallway with the stories of those who have been trapped on board…

The Candyman Comes To Play…

Welcome onboard the ship…this is where actors come to play, to cry, to die. The 1930s style suite you landed in offers no help to your confusion. You were told to come for a play, yet you’ve found no stage nor any scripts. Just the lone phonograph taunting you with a steel cylinder used to record sound. You’ll find yourself enthralled with the amount of history in the suite; the art, the photos, the music… The Voice. As you move through the game, exploring more of the ship, finding out that the play is to be conducted as realistically as possible. With no interruptions from the crew or any other passengers, you have full right of the ship. As the evening goes on, and you have finally come to find that you are alone in this play, a voice can be heard. First quietly, almost taunting you into the next chapter of the game. A familiar, immediately frightening voice peers through the crashing waves against the ship. CandyMan… Otherwise known as Tony Todd, is the voice narrator of this game which only adds to the intense darkness of ‘Layers of Fear 2’.

Welcome to The Show

This Ship Is Not For The Weak

Tony Todd’s voice lulls you into a false sense of darkness, as Tony does, slowly making you comfortable with the horror you are about to experience. Tony does well introducing the story to you, leaving you alone in silence just as the ship starts to turn. Chapter after chapter, the stories being written scratch at the back of your mind. Shadows play in the halls, dancing in and out of rooms causing you to follow them as curiosity is one of mankind’s weaknesses. Layers of Fear uses your own inability to quell the curiosity, to lure you further into the story. The ship continues to toss and buoy in the oceans drift, this being shown by small glimpses to the deck, or through portholes along the hallways. As you move through the chapters, the darkness starts to illuminate more than just some monsters waiting to pop out of the dark.

The ship, previously thought to be empty had signs of children and crew on the levels where you were told to explore. Stories unfold, sadness and evil coming together binding upon the ship, trapping all those who enter its chambers. The food you had walked by, has now become rotten with time. Spiderwebs stretch across the halls and rooms as far as the eye can see. Parts of the ceiling had collapsed, giving the actor a clear sense of madness as the rooms continued to change. To escape your own madness, you’ll have to piece together clues that surround you with every step, every word of the stories told to you.

The Calming Seas

Can you tell the difference between reality and make-believe?

Choices to be made…yet with no discernible proof for either choice, with nothing more than a perfectly poised question during your darkest moment…the choice will be yours to make. Good or bad…a choice is a choice that has to be made. Will your fear make you choose? Or will you be in control of your fear? Strength has no meaning in a destitute place like the Ship. Only the darkness can show you the way to the light. Has it been a day? A week? More? The Ship is control of what you will experience and there is but one ‘man’ whose been freed of the Ship, but at a cost. You hear more and more of this man, but every photo you come across with him has his face scratched out for none to see. The Actor and The Painter, again and again, these men haunt your vision. You learn more about them through the slides and photos you find scattered about the ship in its many rooms.

The humanity…what’s left of it…can be more frightening than the monsters in the dark.

As you scavenge for clues and anything that can help your protagonist make his way through the story, don’t forget to enjoy the scenery. Layers of Fear is drenched in horror. Keep your eyes wide when you explore, as you’ll find hidden references to Horror Movies and Monsters of the past. Some will be more apparent than others, but there are over 30 references in the stretch of Layers Of Fear 2. If you’re lucky, you might just figure out what the link between Layers of Fear and Layers of Fear 2 is….

Careful in the darkness, it can make you go mad…

Layers of Fear is exactly what the title says, layers of your fears. One upon the other, forced into tandem as you experience the darkness that surrounds and expels from your soul. Layers has a unique feature, that you can choose the pivotal points in the story. You, the ‘Actor’ will have to choose between your morals or your gain. Will you save yourself, reach the deck and feel sunlight against your skin again? Will you succumb to the cries of children? Your choices are important and can impact your gameplay, heavily. Will you refuse the beautiful darkness that Tony Todd speaks softly to you? Layers of Fear 2 is an amazing psychological thriller game that takes you in-depth of horror history and it’s building blocks. From the visuals to the story, to the sound, Layers of Fear 2 has encompassed that of which makes a horror game, a horror game.

DVS HARLECHAN REVIEW: 8.5/10

Activision Demands That Reddit Identify Call of Duty Leaker

Activision has invoked the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) against a Reddit user.

While leaks are everywhere on the Internet about the next big game, Activision has sent a clear message to the sleuths of the gaming world: don’t leak Call of Duty.

The game developer has used the DMCA to file a subpoena against Reddit to identify those who leaked the upcoming Warzone mode of the Call of Duty franchise. The filing was submitted on February 14 in California’s Northern District Court. “The Content infringes Activision’s exclusive rights under copyright law. Specifically, it infringes Activision’s rights in its popular video game Call of Duty: Modern Warfare. The Reddit user, Assyrian2410, has had his post taken down.

Could other game developers follow suit?

The DMCA protects Internet companies including Reddit and YouTube from liability for copyright infringement if a user of the website posts copyrighted material without permission from the original copyright holder. In exchange, the company has to take down infringing content, which is what was done in this case.

Activision is deciding to go after the individual in this case—Assyrian2410—and is currently seeking legal action against the user for the leaks. They want information such as names, addresses, telephone numbers, email addresses, and IP addresses to identify the individual. It is unknown if Reddit has handed any of this information to Activision, or even what they do with user data after account deletion. If Activision is successful, it may be seen as a sort of Pyrrhic victory because of the amount of time and resources they may spend to go after Assyrian2410.

The Warzone mode is scheduled for release in March, but this definitely shines a light on how far major game companies will go to take on random Reddit users. What do you think? Let us know in the comments below!

DVS Movie Review: Sonic the Hedgehog

The Sonic the Hedgehog film manages to avoid the pitfalls of failed video game movies by sticking to the source material.

Video game adaptations of movies are a mixed bag; you generally expect it to closely follow the source material. There have been successful video game movies such as Tomb Raider and Detective Pikachu and flops such as Assassin’s Creed and Super Mario Bros. The Super Mario Bros. adaptation was so bad, Bob Hoskins (who played Mario) said that it was not only the worst job he’s ever done but also called it his biggest disappointment and something that he would edit out of his past in a 2007 interview. Knowing the track record of video game films, would Sonic the Hedgehog suffer the same fate as their Nintendo-based plumber rivals?

Most classic Sonic the Hedgehog media is memorable; could the live-action film create new memories?

I enjoyed watching Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog as a kid; the TV show cast Jaleel White as the voice of Sonic (he would also voice Steve Urkel in the successful African-American sitcom Family Matters) and also played Sonic games fervently in my childhood. I even was Sonic for Halloween, so this was sort of a homecoming for me after Sega significantly chucked the franchise down the toilet in the new millennium. After the fall of Sega as a console developer, the company relegated him to terrible video games on the Nintendo Gamecube, Xbox, and Xbox 360, as well as token appearances on other Nintendo consoles.

Sonic the Hedgehog

Thankfully, Paramount Pictures had bought the film rights to the franchise in 2017 and a cast of James Marsden, Ben Schwartz, and 90s comedy superstar Jim Carrey had joined the cast by 2018. The film was scheduled for a November 2019 release, but fans were upset about the Sonic design. The producers listened, and they pushed the film back to a February 14, 2020 release.

Jim Carrey turns in one of his finest performances in years.

The film avoided a major pitfall by sticking to its source material. The trailer prominently featured the Green Hill Zone from the original Sonic the Hedgehog game. While Tom Wachowski (James Marden) provides straight-man relief for Sonic’s (Ben Schwartz) 500-miles-a-minute speech patterns, the real star of the movie was Dr. Ivo Robotnik (Jim Carrey). The United States government begrudgingly employs Dr. Robotnik to investigate Sonic’s appearance, which sets off the events of the film.

Sonic the Hedgehog Dr. Robotnik

His performance during the movie reminded me a lot of the Jim Carrey of old, who made audiences double over in movies such as Ace Ventura and Liar Liar, harkening back to his roots in physical and slapstick comedy and doing what he does best: playing over-the-top, exaggerated characters. I would go as far as to say that Carrey enhanced the role of Dr. Robotnik, who portrayed a cartoon villain in the Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog series. Carrey used his experience as someone who portrayed those over-the-top and exaggerated characters and seamlessly placed it into the Dr. Robotnik character like he never missed a beat.

Although Sonic made way too many pop culture references during the film, his performance brings together the Sonic fans of old (such as myself) and younger audiences who may have never heard of him or heard about him from their parents. The film rides the wave of 90s nostalgia and revivals that have been a part of Hollywood for the past five or so years and surfs it almost perfectly from start to finish. The synchronization of the live-action and cartoon elements of the film cannot be ignored either. We hope this kicks off a long string of live-action Sonic movies, as this may be the blueprint that video game movies need to succeed.

Grade: A