Arcade Review: House of the Dead Scarlet Dawn – True Horror Returns

A classic SEGA franchise brand that spawned many sequels, spinoffs, movies and a vast global following of core and casual players since its debut in arcades in 1997. It has been 12 years since we have seen a House of the Dead game in the arcades worldwide and with SEGA CEO Haruki Satomi wanting to win older fans trust again when it comes to their brand, we finally managed to get a sample of that trust with a new entry to the classic arcade horror shooter. House of the Dead Scarlet Dawn, announced back in January 15th 2018 for Japanese arcades, is now in the west and we got a chance to play and complete it! The House of the Dead has risen beyond the grave once again but does this latest entry live up to our expectations. Hit the jump to read our review of House of the Dead Scarlet Dawn.

SEGA AGES Thunder Force IV (Lightening Force) Review – Lightning Strikes Again (Nintendo Switch)

After a long hiatus, partially due to the downfall of the company Technosoft, the Thunder Force series is steadily regaining it’s spark. SEGA has been courteous enough to give fans of the series some much needed love, first with M2’s version of Thunder Force III as apart of the SEGA 3D line of titles for the 3DS, then later it’s follow up Thunder Force IV (aka Lightening Force: Quest for the Darkstar) and the arcade game Thunder Force AC as apart of the SEGA AGES line of titles on the Nintendo Switch.

Today we’re going to be looking at SEGA AGES Thunder Force IV in particular. This is arguably the best game in the series, and commonly praised as an example of one of the SEGA Genesis’ best shmups available on the system. But does this SEGA AGES version live up to this praise, or is it more like flying into a stray bullet and dying multiple times?

SEGA AGES Sonic the Hedgehog Review – Old Hog, New Tricks (Nintendo Switch)

The original Sonic the Hedgehog has a very long history with re-releases on many systems. Starting with Sonic Jam on the SEGA Saturn, the blue insectivore’s first outing has appeared on many systems from the likes of SEGA, Nintendo, Sony, and Microsoft. These ranged from the fantastic like Taxman’s efforts on mobile devices, to the absolute atrocious like the infamous Sonic the Hedgehog Genesis on GBA. Either way, Sonic the Hedgehog is once again on a new platform, this time Nintendo’s latest console the Nintendo Switch.

Though on the surface it seems like a straight forward port, the developers at M2 decided to add new features to spice up the experience a bit, giving the player new options to toy with while retaining the original feel of the original release. Does SEGA AGES Sonic the Hedgehog give the game a much needed breath of life, or is it just another cheap cash grab?

Tanglewood Review – A Retro Revival (SEGA Mega Drive/Genesis, PC)

It’s not every day that we get a brand new game coming out for the SEGA Mega Drive but Tanglewood by Big Evil Corporation is just that. Joining a very exclusive club of games released long after the console was discontinued, we got to try out and review this new release for the iconic 16 bit console. Staying true to the limitations of 90s game development and being built from the ground up, is Tanglewood a game worthy of reviving your Mega Drive for one more spin, or is it better left in the cupboard, read on to find out!

Shining Resonance Refrain Review – AKA Tales of Resonance (PS4, Nintendo Switch)

It’s hard to believe that Shining Resonance Refrain is the first Shining series game to come outside of Japan in over a decade. While the franchise use to be a stable of SEGA back in the 90s, it seemed that us Westerns have been kept in the dark on the recent releases, until now. Shining Resonance Refrain is a definitive release of the PlayStation 3 exclusive Shining Resonance. So was the wait for the return of the Shining series worth it?

Sonic Mania Plus Review – Worthy of an Encore (PS4, Xbox One, Switch, PC)

When I reviewed 2017’s Sonic Mania, I praised it as being the best 2D Sonic game in decades. Now, a year later, SEGA is releasing a new version of the game dubbed Sonic Mania Plus. This definitive edition answers fan demand for a physical release while adding gameplay tweaks, expanded multiplayer, a new mode and two additional playable characters. Typically a reviewer would take this moment to pose the question: “So does Sonic Mania stand up one year later and are the new additions worthy of a double dip or DLC download?”, but I’ll just let you know right now that the answers are “yes” and “yes”. Sonic Mania Plus is everything that made the original Sonic Mania great, and more.

If you’d like to read our initial review, click here. Everything said there applies here. After the break, read about the new additions and enhancements, as well as the contents of the physical release.

Yakuza 6 Review – New Engine Breathes New Life (PS4)

The Yakuza franchise has been one of SEGA’s longest running franchise since they went 3rd party and Yakuza 6 celebrates a new beginning and an end to the franchise. For one this title sports a brand new, high budget engine created from the ground up for the PlayStation 4 and on the other hand this game is meant to be the last game starring the franchise’s protagonist, Kazuma Kiryu.

But did SEGA deliver in a true next-generation experience with Yakuza 6: The Song of Life? Find out with our review.

Rez Infinite Review – Techno Enlightenment (PC)

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Rez is a one in a million game. A vision so confident, so bold, and so focused only comes around every decade or so. Released on the Dreamcast in late 2001 in Japan, ported for all regions on the PlayStation 2 in 2002, rereleased in HD for the Xbox 360 in 2008, remastered for VR on the PlayStation 4 in 2016, it’s now fully featured, fully formed on Steam and Windows in 2017. Rez Infinite may not technically be in the SEGA family on account of series rights apparently now owned by Enhance Games, but the legacy started with Tetsuya Mizuguchi’s concepts makes it only fitting to honor it here.

It’s a modern marvel, at once distinct, yet familiar; unique, yet clear in its inspirations; as awe-inspiring as it is clearly dated. Standing head and shoulders above its contemporaries in concept, presentation, and vision, no game comes close to it; before or since.

For the record before you hit the jump, there are certain features of Rez Infinite for the PC that I will not, and cannot review. Trance vibration is functional but I do not have the controllers for it, nor will I talk about the VR features of the game. The screenshots are also a lower res 720p than 1080p, apologies. Now, let us dive into synesthesia, and experience Mizuguchi’s masterpiece.

Night Trap 25th Anniversary Edition Review – The Definitive Package (PS4)

Night Trap is an odd little gem that has a cemented history in gaming. While the game has garnered mix reactions over the years, those that have played it will all tell you that its the leader of FMV games from the 90s, being one of the most popular games in the genre. 25 years after the initial release, Night Trap is finally getting a remastered port for modern platforms including PlayStation 4, PC and Xbox One. Today we give you our review of Digital Picture’s Night Trap, brought back to life 25 years later.

Sonic Mania Review – Classic Sonic Returns! (PS4, Xbox One, Switch, PC)

I have no doubt that many reviews released today for Sonic Mania, releasing August 15 to the PlayStation 4, Xbox One and Nintendo Switch and releasing August 29 to PC, will chart the ups and downs of the Sonic franchise, make mention of the recent Sonic Boom games, and make the assertion that Sonic has not been good for a long time. I also have no doubt that reviews like my own will smugly mention such reviews in an attempt to show how I’m coming at Sonic Mania from a more educated and informed place. Really, I just wanted an intro paragraph and now that that’s done we can get to what we’re all here for: my review of Sonic Mania!

Valkyria Revolution Review – A Losing Battle (PS4)

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The Valkyria series has had a rather shaky history. The original game in the series, Valkyria Chronicles, was released in 2008 on the PS3. The initial release on the PS3 was met with generally positive reviews, but it was lacking in terms of sales. The game was notably praised for it’s more free movement via the BLiTZ (Battle of Live Tactical Zones) system, being somewhat of a successor to the battle system in Sakura Taisen 3 and future titles. Later Valkyria Chronicles would receive better success with the later PC port in 2014, along with being successful enough to spawn two sequels on the PSP simply called Valkyria Chronicles II and Valkyria Chronicles III respectively.

But after a bit of a hiatus, the Valkyria series is back with a new installment on the Playstation 4, Playstation Vita, and Xbox One (Western exclusive), more specifically a spin-off game that shifts genres from a strategy RPG to a more traditional action RPG, while retaining some familiar Valkyria elements. Is this game a revolution like implied, or should it stay oppressed?