Sunday, 8 October 2017

Asylum Reviews: Danganronpa V3: Killing Harmony [PS4].

The Danganronpa series has always intrigued me. The instantly recognizable character Monokuma always made me want to give the games a shot, to see what they were all about, but I never got round to it (got too many games to play, I tell ya!). So when I had the chance to play Danganronpa V3: Killing Harmony, I was excited.

It plays as a visual novel, a favourite of the Japanese market, and there's lots of information to take in within the game. The robotic bears, Monokuma and his Monokubs (five child-like miniature robot bears) have captured 16 students known as Ultimates (for their individual abilities that they are best at, which include things from Cosplay, to Detective, to Entomology) to have them face off in a Battle Royale, last man standing type event. Naturally, the first reaction to this is refusal, but when the bears up the ante basically say that your only way of survival is by killing others, then things take a darker turn. You play as Kaede Akamatsu, Ultimate Pianist, and definitely not down for this shit. Taking a stand against the bears kinda divides the others in their opinions of you, so we're certainly off to a great start!

After any murder, a Class Trial takes place, where you must guess who the culprit, known as the "Blackened" one, is. A correct guess will lead to their execution, but an incorrect one... well that leads to the death of all the students except the Blackened one. Different things can be utilised during these to try and steer things in your favour, or to throw in your evidence to break down a weak point in someones argument, which is a great help. Obviously, to assist with both your investigations and to increase your standing with the other students, you need to interact with the other characters during the moments of Free Time that you get. You'll grow to love some of the characters, and actively try to interact with some more, but don't get too attached, as they'll probably end up dead sooner than later.

The story is a little confusing to follow, due to how much is going on and the different styles of play incorporated, but despite this I still found it very enjoyable and liked how the story progressed - even when characters I liked met their untimely end. Plot twists continue to keep the story fresh and interesting, so you never really know what's to come, constantly on your toes.

After everything, I have to give Danganronpa V3: Killing Harmony a 7/10.

Have you played this? What did you think about it?
Let me know in the comments below!

- V x

Asylum Reviews: Yakuza Kiwami [PS4].

It's been over a decade since the Yakuza series first graced gamers' screens, back on the PlayStation 2. Shockingly, neither me or Allan had ever played the original, so we went into Yakuza Kiwami with fresh eyes, excited that we could finally play without having to hunt down an old copy and sort out one of our old PlayStation's to play it - and that's without the issue of having to track down a memory card!

You play as Kazuma Kiryu, a former yakuza who has just been released from prison after serving ten years for a crime he didn't commit. In an open world environment, set in the streets of Kamurocho (based on the real life city of Kabukicho), the hustle and bustle of the Japanese streets and the colourful neon lights really bring the setting to life.

The combat feels great, and the skill tree with its many branches can be continuously upgraded with skill points gained by doing everything from main storyline, to the wide variety of sub-stories, to various activities within the city itself. One of the branches of the skill tree, Dragon of Dojima, can only be upgraded by completing tasks with your trainer, or the Majima Everywhere events - where the eye-patch-wearing character Goro Majima will just pop up out of nowhere to battle you.

This is a funny, albeit repetitive action, that will end up frustrating you at times, since he can fairly knock down your health fast, however for the most part it's manageable.

The story is strong, although I do admit that it was a tad confusing to follow on occasion, but it was definitely enjoyable. The sub-stories add in a lot of humour and were a welcome break for whenever you wanted to just wander around the streets and visit the varying locations, such as Hostess Bars - where I was quickly duped and mugged after a girl dropped something in my drink...

There's a lot of detail to Yakuza Kiwami, from the locations, characters and general atmosphere, it's clear a lot of work went into it, and it's easy to see just why this game is so deserving of a current-gen remaster.

In the end, we have to give Yakuza Kiwami an 8/10. It's a solid game, with plenty to do and see, so definitely one I recommend you all pick up ASAP.

Have you played Yakuza Kiwami? What did you think of it?
Let me know in the comments below!

- V x

Saturday, 23 September 2017

Asylum Unboxing: Shadow Warrior 2 Special Reserve Bundle [PS4/PC].

Recently we received this amazing package from Special Reserve Games. I was going to wait until I'd completed the game to unbox and review at the same time, but I figured I'd just show off the goodies and add the review once finished!

SRG are a newish company to the market and one that I'd definitely recommend that you check out. Below are photos of my Shadow Warrior 2 Special Reserve Bundle, which is a beautiful set. Sadly it has already sold out, as each Reserve is strictly limited in number, but that's just all the more reason to check them out ASAP, as their next Reserve, Absolver is running low on stock too!

Run by Andie Grace and Jeff Smith, and company mascot Sergeant Ruff, SRG are a small company dedicated to providing fantastic, interesting editions for fans.

Everything came inside this burlap sack. I really love all of the branding, with the SW2 design on the front, and the Devolver, Special Reserve Games and Flying Wild Hog logos on the reverse, along with a portrait of Sarge of course!

The PS4 copy of Shadow Warrior 2, numbered 2169/2500.

Artwork on the reverse of the sleeve.

This Reserve not only includes the PS4 copy of SW2, but the original as well!

Safety warning sheet, with character art on it.

The stunning PC Collector's Edition box. Limited and numbered out of 1000, ours is number 665/1000. Each copy also has an individual, unique blood splatter effect on the box which is just an amazing extra detail.

Contents of the PC CE box: the game itself, an art book and 3 die-cut vinyl stickers.

The art on the front and reverse of the PC box, digipak style design.

It contains both the first and second games, all soundtracks, as well as some extra DLC. The inside cover reads:

"This copy is from a small batch of Collector's Edition Boxed sets of Shadow Warrior 2. The celebration of independent development is the reason Devolver is in business. Our team is proud to present this outstanding sequel bundle the artistic elements highlighting that went into creating it. - Devolver Digital"

"We always put everything we can into the making of our games. Thank you for the love and support. May the WANG be with you! - The Hogs"

The art book, with a couple of sneak peeks into the art inside.

And finally, the stunning Kanji Scroll of Empowerment, included with PS4 orders. With four designs available (and randomly inserted into orders): Yellow meaning Sword; Blue meaning Treasure; Red meaning Demon/Oni (which is what we got!) and Black meaning Butt. A fifth, secret purple scroll was just revealed, which was peppered in with orders. The four main ones being limited to 625 each (totalling 2500, the number of PS4 copies available), but no word as to how many purple are out there, or what happened to the spares of the four main ones, since they wouldn't have all been required if a few purple ones took up space from the total 2500. Congratulations though to everyone who got a secret scroll!

Anyway, thank you so much to Special Reserve Games for creating such a wonderful bundle, one which I am so, so very happy to own. I genuinely cannot wait for the Absolver Reserve, as that one just looks unbelievable!

Go check out SRG on their website, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to keep up to date with their releases <3 I will add a link here shortly to my reviews of both games, too - so make sure to check back for that!

Do you have any of Special Reserves' Editions? What do you think of them?
Let us know in the comments below!

- V x

Wednesday, 20 September 2017

Asylum Unboxing: J.T studio Yox [Yellow].

Here in the Asylum, we're huge fans of J.T studios work. J.T studio is a Taiwanese designer toy studio, founded by Jei Tseng. His work is often inspired by Journey to the West - which is something Allan loves, and was how we initially discovered him after falling in love with his Monkey King W figure (which makes a little sneak appearance in the photo at the bottom of this page).

We received Yox very recently and are glad to have him within our collection. And limited to only 250pcs, there's certainly not many of him within the world!

The packaging itself is beautiful, with the top folding up to resemble ears.

The reverse showing that Yox falls under the "Street Mask" range, as well as a little bit of info about him.

Further adding to the luxe packaging, inside the box we have a velvet pouch, with metallic Yox branding.

(Took this photo elsewhere, clearly!) - inside the pouch is Yox in a branded poly-bag.

And there's Yox! Such a stunning piece. I definitely want to own them all, as little Yox here comes in a variety of colours :) (oh how I would kill for a Glow in the Dark one!)

Detail is sharp, bright and looks fantastic.

J.T studio branding underneath, along with a Jei Tseng signature motif. 

Here's Yox at home with all his figure buddies :) J.T studio's Monkey King W shown also (in the yellow jacket with red scarf), holding his staff. There are so many other amazing products for J.T studio, so I highly recommend that you all check them out here.

Yox (Yellow) is still available for the great price of $65 here.

Have you got any J.T studio pieces? What do you think of them?
Let us know in the comments below!

- V x

Monday, 18 September 2017

Asylum Reviews: Oh... Sir!! The Insult Simulator [Xbox One].

Oh... Sir!! The Insult Simulator was inspired by the Monty Python quote "the parrot is no more" and was originally released on iOS and Android, before later coming to consoles. The objective of the game is to come up with the best insult against your opponent. It's a very loose definition of a game on console, but fares better when played as a party game with a friend, especially after a few drinks.

Playing alone against the AI can be quite boring. Sentences often turn nonsensical after the second noun and I found that a few times I thought I'd come up with a great insult, only to have the AI take waaay more points off me for a super shitty one. 

Playing with a friend increases the humour, especially as I've said above, if you've had a drink or two! When you pre-plan your insult from the choices available, only for your friend to nab your pièce de résistance and completely ruin the fantastic takedown you had thought of.

It's not a great game by any definition, but it's a cheap one at only £2.39 on the Xbox Store, so that certainly softens the blow. If you don't have many friends who are into gaming, I'd say probably leave this one alone, but if you like a quick, humourous game whilst having a drink with friends, then the £2 is worth it to try at least.

Overall, we'd give Oh... Sir!! a score of 4/10. It bored us to play against AI, but against friends in a more social setting, we can see the appeal a bit more. To quote one of (the amazing) Jeremy Jahns' scoring tiers for movies... "It's a good time, if you're drunk".

Have you played Oh... Sir!!? What did you think about it?
Let us know in the comments below!

- V x

Sunday, 10 September 2017

Asylum Reviews: Yonder: The Cloud Catcher Chronicles [PS4].

Yonder: The Cloud Catcher Chronicles is a wonderfully bright and colourful game, with lots of reference towards the Legend of Zelda series - obviously visible within the opening moments of the game - and this is by no means a criticism, we loooove references to other games within games :). When we first saw someone playing it (Playstation Access, we mean you!), we instantly fell in love with the adorable world of Gemea and couldn't wait to get our hands on it, too.

The debut game from Australian indie dev team Prideful Sloth, Yonder is an open-world adventure, with you at the helm. You can customise your character in many ways, including gaining a beautiful galaxy coloured beard (which is what Allan went for as soon as he could).

The Breath of the Wild reference is obvious, but beautiful and we love it, haha.
The story itself is fairly simple, with you having been shipwrecked on the island of Gemea. You discover that a nasty fog called Murk is wreaking havoc with the island's inhabitants, and you must find and use the Sprites in order to restore the island. There isn't a whole lot in the way of story-based sidequests, so the story isn't padded out all that well. We found ourselves more often going off for a wander doing various fetch quests for the NPCs - which are admittedly pretty damn repetitive. The gorgeous island itself is definitely the main focus, rather than the story. 

There's a lot of focus on crafting and scavenging for supplies within Yonder, which is something that really appealed to us. Smashing up rocks, finding ingredients and learning recipes definitely invests you more in the world, but more story to go alongside would have been an improvement.

There are no enemies in Yonder, so no impending doom hiding around every corner, no fighting necessary at all, really. You can plod on throughout the game, marveling at the sights and sounds without the worry of dying and having to start over, or losing items/progress due to a badly dodged attack. It's a nice change to just enjoy a game this way, planting and growing trees, taming the cutest animals ever and just being fascinated by the world around you, but this is coming from someone with a very panicky state of mind when it comes to enemies in games. It just feels great to play a game without sweaty palms gripping the controller, haha. Maybe others would have preferred some element of combat, but I enjoyed it without.

The Gemean wildlife is freaking adorable.
Although you interact with NPCs, there is never any dialogue from you. This is either in reference to Link, from the Zelda series, or it is to allow you to imagine your own dialogue (to immerse you in the game more?) but to me, it felt quite bland without any replies from your own character. I didn't ever feel anything for the nameless, voiceless entity that was my character, which is a shame really (and probably quite poor of me, since it doesn't bother me with Link).

It's a relaxing, enjoyable game despite my few gripes, which is why we ultimately decided to give Yonder a 6.5/10.

Have you played Yonder? What did you think of it?
Let us know in the comments below!

- V x

Asylum Unboxing: Yonder Signature Edition [PS4].

Quick Side Note: Apologies for how long it has taken to post this, posted about it on Instagram just over a month ago! But laptop issues have gotten in the way, sorryyyyy! Better late than never, though - so thanks for being patient guys <3

So you may or may not have heard of the company Signature Edition Games, but you really need to check them out! Recently started in the industry, they aim to bring not only physical copies of games that would have possibly lived out their lives as digital only, but they make fantastic Editions of them. Similar to a few of the other companies out there, SEG's Editions are only available on PS4 (and Vita), and considering there are loads of collectors out there who would jump at the chance to get some of these physical copies for Xbox One, I guess it must be easier to get permission from Sony than it is from Microsoft - which is a little disappointing I must admit, but I digress.

We recently received the Signature Edition of Yonder: The Cloud Catcher Chronicles and it is a beauty. It contains the items below, and is still available here for the bargain price of £30.00!

- PS4 copy of Yonder: The Cloud Catcher Chronicles
- Official Yonder Artbook
- Official Yonder Stickers
- Official Yonder Coin
- Special Edition Box, which is printed digitally with the developers' signatures!

(I'll upload more photos of our copy shortly, things are just pretty frustrating at the moment with a temperamental laptop haha!)
It's a really great edition, especially considering the price point. Recently we've been trying to stay away from the massive editions a little bit, as we're running low on space (and we find that the bigger ones tend to disappoint us more often), so with this edition being a nice space-saving size, it fits perfectly on your shelf. Definitely ticks all the boxes for us!

The only thing that would make it better would be if the editions were actually hand-signed, but this would ramp up the cost, as well as limit what games it would even be feasible for.

A nice little touch that Signature Edition do is that if you preorder the edition, you get a bonus coin with it. After release, the coins become a separate purchasable item (for only a fiver!), but will only be available while stocks last. The bonus coin for Yonder is still available here, but if you're after one, I wouldn't leave it too late to order!

The game itself is fantastic too, so if you want to read our review for it, then check that out here.

All in all, we definitely recommend that you check out Signature Edition Games as their editions are great value for money, and are really well done and beautifully presented.

Have you got any Signature Edition Games releases?  Will you be buying any in future?
Let us know in the comments below!

- V x

Asylum Reviews: Danganronpa V3: Killing Harmony [PS4].

The Danganronpa series has always intrigued me. The instantly recognizable character Monokuma always made me want to give the games a s...