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Video games have undergone some substantial changes over the past few years. Those who grew up in the 1990’s era of video games desire nostalgia, and a lot of old-school style games have made a comeback. With all the new programs, software, and technology available today, virtually anyone can now develop their own video games and get it distributed to the public via the internet. Today’s video games range from classic 8-bit or 16-bit style games to rich, beautiful games with tons of graphics and objects. Beyond the standard video games, we now have virtual reality games to further immerse players into the games that they play. With all of the big games and new technology out, sometimes the lesser known games get filtered out fast. Check out these five games of PC that I recommend taking a look at this season.
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5. Airtone (Steam link)
Virtual Reality technology remains in its introductory phase at this point. VR has not gained too much media attention, as the technology to use it costs about as much as a high-end smartphone. For now, you may find some virtual reality gaming centers – like how department stores used to demo video games, some shops specifically have VR games for you to try. Virtual Reality expos and events also take place occasionally, allowing you to try out VR before making the plunge with your wallet. At this year’s VRLA Expo, I got to try out a handful of VR games, including the VR rhythm game, Airtone. Fans of anime and/or rhythm games would love to check out Airtone, combining the music and characters with the rhythm of tapping or holding on to points along the song track. Song tracks contain three colored notes that each correspond to a different action: touch the green notes, click on yellow notes, or click, hold, & follow pink notes. On harder difficulties, Airtone can really give you a good workout! Dozens of VR rhythm games exist, but none as fast-paced as Airtone.
4. Valkyrie Drive: Bhikkhuni (Steam link)
Anime games have to walk a careful line. Most anime games have scenes or images not suitable for children. As such, anime games receive a bad rap from other gamers due to the cheesy fanservice content. Still, this manages to entice lots of gamers to check out the game anyway, especially if the gameplay has even more ridiculous mechanics. The hack & slash genre usually employs ridiculous mechanics of one versus the world, where a sole person takes out hundreds of foes in one battle. Dynasty Warriors perfected that formula, but that series lacked something. When you take hack & slash and combine it with fanservice, you get the Senran Kagura series. The Senran Kagura series revolves around dozens of high school girls with shinobi powers. Armed with a variety of weapons, these girls can beat up hordes of baddies, and when the going gets tough, like in many anime series, they can transform into a more powerful forms. As for the fanservice part, when the girls take too much damage, their clothes rip off. The series has a handful of games, but the publisher behind it has also entered another franchise, Valkyrie Drive, which led to the launch of Valkyrie Drive: Bhikkhuni. While Senran Kagura wants to introduce you to lots of girls, Valkyrie Drive prefers to keep the roster smaller so that they can develop on characters and their stories. The gameplay remains mostly the same as Senran Kagura – characters have a variety of weapons, characters can transform to gain stronger combat prowess, and you fight off dozens of foes at a time. If you like anime games or hack & slash games or both, check out Valkyrie Drive: Bhikkhuni.
3. Kritika Online
The peak popularity of the MMORPG (massively multiplayer online role-playing game) occurred years ago during the high times of World of Warcraft, Guild Wars 2, and Final Fantasy XIV. Since then, hundreds of MMORPG’s have launched around the world, most with the free-to-play model. Additionally, the MMORPG genre has paved the way for other multiplayer online games, such as MOBA’s (multiplayer online battle arena) and ARPG’s (action role-playing games), one of which includes Kritika Online. From the publisher behind Tera Online, Kritika Online has come to deliver another ARPG experience to the west. Kritika Online recently entered Open Beta, a term used by game publishers to officially launch the game while allowing bugs and imbalances to exist. However, that does not detract from the fun of Kritika Online. Featuring four classes that branch off into more subclasses, WASD movement, and lots of skills to combo with, Kritika Online can make for a good casual experience to the MMORPG waiting for the next big thing. Do note that this game contains heavy pay-to-win features with the microtransactions. With premium costumes & titles giving stats, and the Elite membership giving unfair boosts, if you do not spend money on this game, do not expect to do too much at max level other than grind for gears.
2. Little Nightmares
Horror in general has captivated the hearts of countless people all over the world. To the typical person, horror typically associates with movies, as in horror movies. Horror also refers to a plethora of video games, from psychological horror to survival horror. Establishing a sense danger and uncertainty makes for a great horror game, something that Bandai Namco has done with their recent release, Little Nightmares. Launched last season, Little Nightmares combines elements of puzzle, platforming, exploration, and horror all into one package. The player controls a child who wants to escape from an unknown area, but on the way out, the player encounters many horror-themed villains, such as a doll-keeper with long extendable arms and a cannibalistic butcher. The player must traverse from room to room, solving the puzzles in the room in order to progress. Criticism for Little Nightmares mainly revolves around the short duration of the game. The game contains five chapters, and each chapter takes between 30-60 minutes to complete. Although initially short, this game will get some DLC to add more chapters with greater difficulty. If you enjoy solving puzzles while having a sense of pressure or urgency, check out Little Nightmares.
Rail shooter games have existed for a long time. Gamers still remember the classics such as Gradius and Raiden, as well as modern favorites like the Touhou series. On another level, rhythm games have existed for a long time as well. People recognize games like Dance Dance Revolution and Guitar Hero worldwide, with a majority of rhythm games originating from Japan. But what happens if you love both genres of games and want to somehow combine the two? Independent developer Mad Fellows Games has done just that with their entry into the gaming market, Aaero. This visually-stunning game takes the mechanics of a rhythm game and throws in the elements of a rail shooter. The player will automatically move forward through a stage, and will encounter both rhythm and shooting gameplay. On the rhythm side, the player must follow a line, called the Ribbon, that moves with the beat of the stage’s song. On the shooting side, the player can shoot down baddies that appear, but for best effect, the player should shoot to the beat of the song. Shooting not on the beat will cause the shots to fire slower, as well as reward less points. With unique gameplay, stunning graphics, a great independent soundtrack with some popular hits, and a global leaderboard, Aaero represents one of the most underrated releases of 2017.