Palworld - Before You Buy

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Palworld - Before You BuyPalworld is an early access survival game that is currently taking the gaming world by storm. What is it? Let's talk. Subscribe for more: ▼ Watch more 'Before You Buy': #palworld

Like A Dragon: Infinite Wealth Review - The Things Money Can't Buy

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On paper, Like A Dragon: Infinite Wealth has everything I could possibly ask for in a game from RGG Studio: Kasuga Ichiban from the 2020 RPG Yakuza: Like A Dragon co-leading with series legend Kazuma Kiryu--two characters I love dearly fighting alongside one of the most memorable supporting casts in recent years. It's the best of both Yakuza worlds coming together for a story about life, legacy, and the daunting realities of the world we live in--but, more than anything, atonement and the various forms it can take. It also comes with greatly improved RPG systems that nail the tactical joy of turn-based combat while upholding Yakuza's identity in remarkable ways. And in splitting its time in Hawaii with Yokohama, you get two robust and detailed locations to explore new and old ideas through the biggest suite of side activities the series has had thus far.

For all its comedic absurdity and optional diversions, Infinite Wealth brings its heavier themes into focus--at times--with the kind of dramatic storytelling the franchise has mastered over the years. It's unfortunate to say, however, that the main story loses the thread along the way. By putting unearned emphasis on its least interesting aspects and meandering for much of its runtime, the compelling narrative ambitions it sets up are largely left unfulfilled. That's tough to grapple with for what's supposed to be a monumental passing of the torch between the two beloved leads and one last hurrah for one whose life we've seen unfold across nearly two decades' worth of games. And so, instead, Infinite Wealth becomes a game about individual moments--moments of bittersweet reflection, moments of heartfelt camaraderie, and moments of hype that uplift legendary characters even higher. These are moments that remind you the Yakuza franchise is much bigger than any one game. Even when Infinite Wealth's overarching plotline comes up short in crucial ways, those moments still make it worth playing.

Things kick off with a strong opening that puts the realities of normal adult life front and center, almost as if RGG held a mirror up to my face and made a prologue chapter based on some of the things I've been through. More than just being real and relevant to the average person, this also tees up a powerful theme about the struggles of reintegrating with society after a life of crime, which has frequently been explored in the series from different perspectives. In Infinite Wealth, the theme is used to show Ichiban's struggles, as someone who embodies everything good about being the naive goofball with fists of iron and a heart of gold, and as a person driven by the ideals established in his previous game. Furthermore, the recurring theme of public opinion and internet virality dictating reality sharply foreshadows how Infinite Wealth steeps itself in modern social commentary.

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Tekken 8 Review - The Heat Of Battle

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Tekken 8's greatest challenge is building on a fighting game experience that has been refined to close to perfection over the course of eight-plus years, without feeling like it retreading old ground or needlessly upending the foundation laid by its predecessor. Thankfully, it's a challenge that developer Bandai Namco meets by introducing an improved fighting system focused on aggression, an impressive roster of 32 fighters, and one of the most rock-solid online experiences I've ever seen in a fighting game.

The main draw of Tekken 8 is the Heat system, which represents a new wrinkle to an already-satisfying set of brawling mechanics. Certain moves in each fighter's repertoire emit a burst of white energy on contact which, in turn, activates an aura of that same energy around the character's limbs. While in this state, characters can inflict more damage when blocked, gain access to a quick Heat Dash or powerful Heat Smash, and receive a few unique perks depending on the character. Claudio, for example, gets access to enhanced and powerful Starburst attacks while Heat is active, while Leroy can add time to his Heat meter whenever he uses one of his unique parry or reversal attacks, which keeps him powered up for longer. Heat can only be activated once per match, and it's only active for a short period of time, which promotes more aggressive tactics. Although it can be easy to think of this as a comeback mechanic, it has much more strategic utility and versatility which can mean it's used for an aggressive offense or a Hail Mary.

This makes every battle feel like a slugfest, which I find to be a refreshing change of pace for the franchise. Tekken has always been good at getting the adrenaline pumping during a match through the basics of trading fists, but the swings in momentum that a perfectly timed Heat activation can cause significantly amp up the excitement for both players and spectators. Importantly, the new Heat system doesn't pave the way to mindless mashing of buttons to brute force the aggression. While it's certainly possible to win a bout or two by smashing buttons, players who prefer to wait for the opportune moment to strike will often come out on top, and in brutal and cinematic style, they may just need to make some adjustments to account for the unpredictability of mashers. The new Heat System offers a lot to new and returning Tekken players, and the threat of a drastic turn in the tide of a battle at the touch of a single button press makes for tense moments and satisfying flourishes when successful.

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Another Code Recollection Review - Full Of Mysteries

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I'll admit upfront: I missed Another Code (known in North America as Trace Memory) when it first came out on Nintendo DS. Despite voraciously consuming other DS adventure games like Phoenix Wright, Ghost Trick, 999, and original Another Code developer Cing's other title, Hotel Dusk, Another Code just slipped by me. And with the sequel, Another Code R, being a European Wii exclusive, catching up there wasn't easy to do. So when Nintendo announced remakes of the two Another Code games for Switch, I was eager to correct those wrongs and see what the now-sadly-defunct Cing had put together. To my surprise, Recollection is fundamentally different from the originals in a number of ways--all-new visuals and updated puzzles, for example--and these quality of life improvements helped me appreciate the original game's supernatural mysteries.

Another Code Recollection puts you in the role of Ashley, a young girl who tragically lost her mother at a very young age. Haunted by disturbing memories she can't fully recall, Ashley receives an invite to a secluded island to meet with her long-absent father, and a strange-looking portable device called the DAS. On the island, she finds a well-preserved old mansion and a very unusual friend who also shares her lack of memory… but no dad. In the second part of the game, an older Ashley is invited to Lake Juliet for a camping trip that immediately goes south when her bag is pilfered. In the quest to get back her stuff, Ashley discovers the truths and tragedies of a conspiracy in the background of this placid lake.

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