Author Archives: Crimson

Final Fantasy Brave Exvius: Producer Interview

22 Aug , 2016,
Crimson
, , , , , ,
No Comments
FFBE_Producers01

Fujimoto-san and Hirono-san (from left) were in the gumi Asia office Monday, and we asked them for the lowdown on what fans can expect in future updates.

You might have seen me talking about Final Fantasy Brave Exvius and posting screenies of my adventures this mobile RPG awhile ago.

It’s one of Square Enix’s more recent offerings, and rather than just a mindless grind with gacha elements, it’s got a rather compelling story in the vein of old 16-bit classics. Add to it retro sprites and a pretty killer soundtrack by video game music composer Noriyasu Agematsu and you’ve got a pretty polished app over all.

You also gotta give it to the folks at gumi Asia, who handled the monumental international rollout. The game has since hit more than 5 million downloads, bringing the total number of players for both the Global and JP versions to a whopping 12.5 million.  

When FFBE producers Kei Hirono and Hiroki Fujimoto dropped by the gumi Asia office Monday, we naturally jumped at the chance to pick their brains, and to find out what fans can expect in the months to come.

Hirono-san’s producer credits include PC-based browser game Imperial SaGa and the wildly popular live show Jitsuzai-Sei Million Arthur and is now Division Executive of Square Enix’s 8th Business Division, while Fujimoto-san has worked on numerous Square Enix titles since 1992, with multiple hits under his belt.

The interview was conducted in Japanese, with the help of our awesome columnist Haruta. Here are some highlights:

1. What can players expect in the future content updates?

Producers: Players can expect to see more of their favorite characters from Final Fantasy titles such as Final Fantasy XIII and Final Fantasy Tactics join the game. Some of these units are already available in Japan, and will eventually be included in the Global release. We have just released Kolobos, and the story of Rain, Lasswell and Fina will continue on Dirnado. We intend to have regular content updates, perhaps every month.

Screenshot_20160822-113819

The latest Visions to hit the gacha include FFIX staples and hot favorite Zidane, as well as ways to make these units more accessible to new players.

Screenshot_20160822-173946

Brace yourself. Dirnado is coming. 😀

2. Was Demons Unleashed too demanding for newer players?

Producers: Demons Unleashed was a brand new event for the Global release, and we hope to do better in future. We hope that the community will continue to give us feedback so we can improve the balance of events in future and to make the rewards worth their while.

Screenshot_20160822-172723

The latest Into the Abyss event tests your mettle in an expanded Earth Shrine, and rewards you for your efforts. You also don’t have to farm quite as many materials to craft the cool stuff.

3. New Co-Op Events?

Producers: We also hope to introduce more events to reward players. We are toying with the idea of a co-op event in the future. We want to create an event where there is a community objective, and all players will contribute to that objective. The event will also reward players with rare items and materials that will help them on their adventure. If the community is supportive of this idea, we hope that they can let us know.

4. Will we ever see Rain, Lasswell and Fina on the big screen or in animation?

Producers: That really depends on the fans. We cannot make any promises, but if community feedback is positive, then maybe. Would fans prefer a CG movie or anime? They should let us know on social media.

5. Are there plans for offline fan events in Singapore? 

Producers: Again, that depends on the fans. We’re doing an event in Japan soon, and if there’s demand for it, then maybe we will do something in Singapore too.


And there you have it. If you wish to see more improvements to the game, or perhaps an offline event at a gaming con near you, be sure to ping the official Final Fantasy Brave Exvius page on Facebook and let them know!

Wanna level in PoGo like a pro? Here’s how.

16 Aug , 2016,
Crimson
, ,
No Comments

PoGo’s been out for over a week, and it’s sure been a busy week for us at NTP. Because we want to be the very best, like no one ever was, we’ve been searching far and wide for the very best grinding spots in Singapore.

It’s been a helluva journey, and we’ve managed to break mid 20s with some clever strats and choice of locations.

The grind’s not pretty (and can get really boring), but if you’re the sort that wants to see your levels grow, here’s how:

1. Invest in Lucky Eggs

It's a great bargain!

When else can you put all your eggs in one basket? 😀

Pokemon Go is a game you can play without spending a single cent, but like many other mobile phone games, you may want to purchase quality of life improvements through the in-game store. If you have some gold to burn, be sure to spend it to upgrade the number of slots in your Bag (this is pretty important), and Lucky Eggs.

A Lucky Egg doubles the amount of XP you earn for 30 minutes, and is the foundation of grinding. A bargain bundle of 25 Lucky Eggs on the in-game store goes for 1250 coins ($15), and that ain’t half bad to say the least.

2. Hit the Intersection of Multiple Pokestops

They just keep spawning! :o

I feel like some seafood. How ’bout you? 😮

Where lures abound, those Pokemon keep spawning.

The best grinding spot is one with at least three intersecting Pokestops in close proximity to each other.

Our favorite spot has got to be VivoCity, where you’ll see Lure-induced cherry blossoms at all hours (even in the wee hours of the morning, which is kinda creepy).

Just make sure that you’re camping where you can handily swipe all nearby Pokestops, proc spawn triggers, and easily tap on all the cute Pokemon that appear on your cellphone screen.

3. Timing is Everything

You don't want to just TRY to be the very best. XD

You don’t want to just TRY to be the very best. XD

The cooldown for swiping a Pokestop is 5-minutes. That means you can’t benefit from a Pokestop till 5-minutes have passed since the last time you swiped it for loot and XP.

Be sure to time it so that you maximize your gains from the Pokestops every 5-minutes. You’ll need the extra Pokeballs since you’ll be catching Pokemon left, right and center anyway, and might actually run out.

4. Throw ’em a Curveball

Every bit of XP counts!

Every bit of XP counts!

Since we’re in it for the grind, every little bit of XP you can eke out of your catches counts.

Throwing a Curveball (tap and hold on the Pokeball, swish it around till stars appear, then release) nets you 10 XP, which is doubled to 20 XP with a Lucky Egg active.

Clearly, this Horsea doesn't want to get in the Pokeball.

Clearly, this Horsea doesn’t want to get in the Pokeball.

A Nice!, Great! or Excellent! throw yields additional XP too, so be sure to aim well, and let fly.

5. Other XP Bonuses (and the Pidgey Grind)

Make a new Pokefriend. Pick up that 500 free XP.

Make a new Pokefriend. Pick up that 500 free XP.

Adding a new Pokemon to your Pokedex gives you a bonus 500 XP (1,000 XP with Lucky Egg), and Evolving a Pokemon nets you the same.

That’s why there are stories of something called the Pidgey grind, where you evolve multiple Caterpies, Pidgeys and Weedles (they only require 12 candies each to evolve) with a Lucky Egg active to jump several levels at once.

Bear in mind though that each single instance of Pokemon evolution comes with a 30 second animation that CANNOT be canceled, which eats into your Lucky Egg duration.

6. Raw Numbers

Putting everything up there together, it’s conceivable for a starting trainer who spends a bit of money on Lucky Eggs to get from 1 to 20 in a day (and by a day we mean 12 hours of almost uninterrupted grinding).

Here’s the math:

4 Pokestops every 5 minutes – 400 XP every 5 minutes, or 4,800 XP per hour.

1 Pokemon catch with Curveball every minute – 220 XP every minute, or 13,200 XP per hour.

If we account for variance that’s anywhere from 18,000 XP to 20,000 XP per hour.

This means that if you’ve got an uninterrupted supply of Lucky Eggs, you’ll be able to hit Level 6 by the first hour, Level 9 by the second. In five hours, you MIGHT touch Level 15, and in a whopping 12 hours, Level 20, the break point where real life (and the real grind) begins.

You can hasten the process by evolving any caterpies, pidgeys and weedles you catch in batches of at least 10 (which translates to 10,000 XP with a Lucky Egg) or more. Naturally, the more batch evolutions you do, the better.

7. A Disclaimer

The math above is fairly accurate, but your mileage may vary depending on whether your Lucky Egg buff is active, how efficient your catches are, the location you camp at, and whether you get pulled away by other distractions (like rare spawns).

Most importantly, have fun playing the game, and don’t forget to join our Pokemon Go Photo Contest!

Pop-Culture Marketing: Banking on the Action

28 Jun , 2016,
Crimson
, ,
No Comments

In last week’s column, we talked about how Japan was using manga to educate pop-culture fans about their moving options.

This week, we examine how pop-culture is changing the way several banks in Japan – traditionally known to be staid, stuffy, and uninterested in the geek dollar, are selling their credit card and loan products.

cardloan_01

Highschool girls are probably the last thing you’d expect banks to use as their mascots.

Known as the Card Loan Girls, these anthropomorphized cards represent products from consumer financial institutions such as Acom, Lake, Aiful, Orix, Mitsui Sumitomo, Mizuho, Mobit, and Promise, and are the latest in a long, long line of anthropomorphized objects to hit Japan.

Of course, the casual otaku should be no stranger to such things, what with ship girls a la DMM’s Kantai Collection or sword boys from Touken Ranbu dominating the doujin charts and at the forefront of fan consciousness in the past couple years.

What’s interesting though, is the way the Card Loan Girls site uses quality manga style illustrations and a presentation that’s almost akin to a dating SIM to woo the geeky demographic.

Entries even list the character’s height, attributes and favorite activities (which we assume represent a particular lifestyle or hobbies that might align with a particular loan policy).

cardloan_03

With the website's presentation, you might think it's selling a dating SIM.

With the website’s presentation, you might think it’s selling a dating SIM. Also represented above: The Lake mascot Rei Midorikawa.

Of course, www.cardloan-girls.jp does more than just flash waifu material at you.

It aggregates details about the participating bank’s credit cards and loan products such as interest rates, maximum card limits, even participating ATMs and outlets.

The site also lays out the pros and cons of each product in a nutshell, happily helping you to make informed choices about the card that’s most right for your lifestyle, income bracket and spending habits. 

bridal-loan-665x443

Car, housing, mortgage, even bridal loans are discussed on the site.

If there’s anything otakus need, it’s probably financial advice and this campaign might actually be doing a pretty good job at dispensing it.

Local banks have already seen the value of tapping on pop-culture. We curated cosplay content and a manga strip for DBS Marina Regatta last year, but we’ve yet to see them embark on something quite as ambitious. Hopefully, with pop-culture emerging as the marketing in-thing, we’ll see more diverse campaigns on the horizon.

Check out the Card Loan Girls site for yourself at http://cardloan-girls.jp.

If you have a lead on a site or campaign that’s a great example of pop-culture marketing, be sure to write us at info[at]neotokyoproject.com to let us know! We’ll be happy to take a look at it, and if it is a great fit for this column, we’d be happy to write about it! 

Pop-Culture Marketing: Telling Moving Stories

23 Jun , 2016,
Crimson
, ,
No Comments

Geeks have been identified as one of the biggest spenders globally. They’ve got plenty of disposable income, are incredibly brand loyal when hooked, and as creatures of the Internet, are excellent mouthpieces for your products if you hit all the right notes.

This has led companies to devise new strategies for engaging with a geek audience – strategies that we define as pop-culture marketing.

Such creative campaigns can run the gamut (we’re no strangers to such strategies ourselves), using imaginative ways to spread key marketing messages like animation, comics, cosplay, geeky displays and even memes.

Of course, such ideas aren’t something any advertising suit can come up with.

Case in point being Gumtree’s campaign depicting Cosplay Flyer Distributors that gave the local cosplay community a good laugh with its treatment and botched aesthetics. Also, a casual search on Gumtree will reveal that Cosplay Flyer Distributor is a job that pays abysmally (only $6 to $12 an hour). That’s nowhere near the market rate for costumed appearances (which is typically $30 or more per hour) that cosplayers are generally familiar with. 

Original Image: The Cosplay Chronicles

Would you dress up and slap on make-up for a gig like this?Source: The Cosplay Chronicles

Of course, that’s not to say that companies can’t come up with great ideas and great campaigns.

In fact, we were tipped-off about one from Japan just last month called Hikkoshi More.

hikkoshimore

The Hikkoshi More website is presented in a colorful and charming manner.

Hikkoshi More is a site for information on moving services, targeted at young professionals and new families (moving from town to town for school or work is fairly common in Japan). It includes tips for first-timers, articles about how to cope with and smooth over the process of moving to a new town, and even sections on feng shui and interior decor.

Helping to present this information in convenient, bite-sized bits is the page mascot Kuronishiki, a black cat, and his master Momoa (an aspiring artist). Their adventures are serialized in a series of Cat Diary strips, which serve as anecdotes for handy advice such as techniques for packing, lifting bulky items, and even making new cat friends in an unfamiliar place.

cat_kuronishiki_move_img_00

Kuronishiki and Momoa, from Hikkoshi More’s comic strip. Source: http://more-hikkoshi.com

 

img_kuronishiki_danshari_01

Some handy packing tips before a move. Source: http://more-hikkoshi.com

 

img_kuronishiki_heavy_02

Do you even lift? Source: http://more-hikkoshi.com

 

img_peach_catbirth05

There’s even a strip about Kuronishiki’s origin story, where he is paralleled with the Peach Boy of Japanese folklore. Source: http://more-hikkoshi.com

 

It’s impressive to see how a change in stylistics and treatment can turn an otherwise dry and boring topic like moving into something informative, without losing its essence.

While this campaign has found success in Japan because manga is so intrinsic to the country’s culture, the use of such techniques to sell a service or key marketing message might not be that much of a stretch for international brands either.

We’ll be examining more such examples in the weeks to come, so do check back with us.

Check out the Hikkoshi More site for yourself at http://more-hikkoshi.com.

If you have a lead on a site or campaign that’s a great example of pop-culture marketing, be sure to write us at info[at]neotokyoproject.com to let us know! We’ll be happy to take a look at it, and if it is a great fit for this column, we’d be happy to write about it! 

Monniker: Serving up Steampunk with a Twist

28 Oct , 2015,
Crimson
No Comments

We’re always on the lookout for new pop-culture inspired hangouts, and the latest one on the block – the one-month old Monniker – makes for both a fantastic chill-out spot and a place to satisfy your food cravings.

With it’s Steampunk inspired decor, tungsten lighting and wooden furniture, this cozy cafe on Balestier Road is every would-be aeronaut’s dream.

20151027_160206

Check out the awesome atmosphere!

20151027_160324

The cafe is replete with shelves filled with cool paraphernalia like these sweet, sweet goggles.

It evinces the interior of an airship plying the skies in an alternate, Victorian sci-fi reality, and serves up not just hearty breakfasts fit for adventurers, but also some really amazing mains like their signature Chicken Waffle Stack ($19), Fish & Chips ($19) and Ribs ($23).

The Fish & Chips was deliciously fluffy, and scented with a hint of lemon grass mixed into the batter, while the Ribs were succulent, tender, and dripped with BBQ flavored goodness.

The ‘All Ribbed Up’ dish sure lived up to its name.

20151027_160718

The sea bass filet was fluffy beneath the batter, and melted in our mouths.

There was also the sinfully savory Chicken Waffle Stack – buttermilk waffles generously sprinkled with maple syrup sandwiching a chunky slice of cheese-topped chicken. It was served with a fried egg (sunny side-up), and complemented by a homemade mushroom sauce that smelled faintly of truffle.

We have to admit that the Chicken Waffle Stack was our favorite. XD

We have to admit that the Chicken Waffle Stack was our favorite. XD

Monniker also has an amazing assortment of alcoholic beverages, and their barista-in-residence whips up not just amazing coffee and tea, but also Iced Valrhona Chocolate ($7).

Monniker is a great place for a cuppa.

Monniker is a great place for a cuppa.

20151027_161200

Plenty of chocolate shavings and even a chocolate chunk to help with your sweet fix.

All in all, Monniker’s a great place to while away your afternoons, and we’re really excited to see what else they’ll have to offer in the months to come.

If you’d like to check Monniker out (they’re also open for event bookings), they’re situated at:

ADDRESS
387 Balestier Road
Singapore 329795

OPENING HOURS
7:30am – 4:30pm

CONTACT/RESERVATIONS
(+65) 62502433

They’re also holding an Opening Promotion, and a special complimentary drink promotion just for Halloween, so be sure to check out their Facebook Page for more details!

Fate/Grand Order – Gold, Leveling and Progression Guide

9 Aug , 2015,
Crimson
, , , , ,
No Comments

“Fate/Grand Order is easy”, said no weeaboo over.

While the interface itself is fairly straightforward, the shitty RNG that plagues the Grand Summon system often results in erratic rolls, and has the tendency to screw you over with a whole bunch of Craft Essences rather than fresh Servants.

This can often mean that if you’re not a pay-to-win, Saint-Quartz spamming player, you’re going to either be behind on the curve because your Servants aren’t cutting it level wise, or you’re often out of AP, which you need to maximize your story progression.

Thankfully, there are daily Event Quests in game that are designed to help you speed things along, and they aren’t that hard to master.

The trick to it, we realized, is the Sunday Event Quest – the Master Training scenario. We got an early start before last week’s Unlimited Maintenance Works thanks to that, and it’s really helped us come out ahead in the grind.

You can access Dailies through the Chaldean Gate option in Stage Select, and you can start blowing through them as early as Level 10. Just make sure you’ve got Shielder and your Starter up to at least Level 10 using XP-up drops, and you should be all set.

Screenshot_2015-08-09-13-57-37

You should have plenty of Exp-Up drops early game, so DO put all your eggs in one or two baskets.

Like all other Dailies, the Master Training scenario has three difficulties and cost either 10, 20, or 40 AP.

Screenshot_2015-08-09-13-23-27

Everyone loves a good Event Quest. :3

1. Master Training (AP 10)

Mooks are werewolves with an average Level of 6 and 3,800 hp, with either Saber, Lancer or Assassin Classes.

Boss is a werewolf Assassin with a Servant level of 15 and 13,765 hp. Abilities include a Critical rate buff and a multi-hit finisher.

Rewards 1,650 xp upon completion.

I-it's not like fighting werewolves is difficult or anything. :o

I-it’s not like werewolves are hard at lower levels or anything. Well, maybe if you have no friends…

2. Master Training (AP 20)

Mooks are ghosts with the Assassin class, an average Level of 10 and 6,000 hp.

Leader is a Level 25 ghost with 27,074 hp that can paralyze your party and inflict debuffs.

Rewards 8,310 xp upon completion.

Screenshot_2015-08-09-13-26-06

Once you’ve gotten the hang of farming Master levels, it’s easy to get into the spirit of things. 😡

3. Master Training (AP 40)

Mooks are primarily lamia between the Level 12 to 18 range with the Caster class and average 8,000 hp. Every now and then, you might also encounter shadow Servants with the abilities of Medusa (Rider), Euryale (Archer) or Stheno (Assassin).

Boss is a Level 40 demon with the Caster class, 58,503 hp, buff skills and really big damage potential.

Rewards 34,140 xp upon completion.

Screenshot_2015-08-09-13-11-51

Can’t say I enjoy snaking around with these guys. =_=;;

This is the toughest guy you've gotta kill. :o

This is the toughest guy you’ve gotta kill. 😮

Since gaining Master levels improves your abilities and also replenishes your AP, you can speedily farm levels as long as you’re able to hit all the right leveling break points. With enough level ups, you can also increase your party size, and attempt the same scenario at a higher difficulty.

The risks are definitely worth the reward, and it’s not uncommon to gain 20 Master levels on a good day before you hit a point where you can’t level up on the quick and need to wait for your AP to recharge anymore.

Does Master Level matter?

A higher Master level means better Master skills, a bigger party of Servants, and more AP to expend for Event Quests and Story Mode.

Being a Master means more than just wearing a swanky jacket.

Being a Master means more than just wearing a swanky jacket.

Right now, my Master rank is 45, with Level 6 in all Master skills. My AP is 70, and my party cost is 69. That means I can run a full party of 5 4-star Servants, or a full party of 3-star Servants with some sick Craft Essences, and that makes clearing stages a breeze.

Daily Quests for Fun and Profit

Screenshot_2015-08-09-13-24-38

Daily Event Quests are the path to victory. There’s even a handy list in game that reminds you which days are the best days to play!

If you’re just starting out, your best bet is to focus on doing a whole bunch of daily Event Quests rather than jumping ahead with the story.

Some recommended Event Quests to start with are:

Monday, Wednesday & Saturday:

Treasure Vault (QP). Mooks and bosses are primarily Caster types. You’ll need lots of QP to level up your Servants later, so start farming this Event Quest early and often.

Monday & Thursday:

Gathering Sparks (Three Knights). Exp-Up drops for the Three Knight Classes Saber, Archer and Lancer. Focus on this if your preferred Servant is a Saber, Archer or Lancer.

Tuesday & Friday:

Gathering Sparks (Four Horsemen). Exp-Up drops for the Four Horsemen Classes Assassin, Berserker, Caster and Rider. Focus on this if your preferred Servant is an Assassin, Berserker, Caster or Rider.

Saturday:

If you’re in a fairly comfortable position, or have a sizable enough pool of Servants to choose from, you can also do Congregation at Dawn (woohoo, MTG reference!), which has Exp-Up drops for all seven Classes.

Developing a Routine:

Because my starter unit was Ushiwakamaru (Rider), I went with Sunday (Master Training) > Monday (QP) > Tuesday (Four Horsemen Exp-Up) > Wednesday (QP) > Thursday (Three Knights Exp-Up) > Friday (Four Horsemen Exp-Up) > Saturday (QP) > Sunday (Master Training).

This netted me a good amount of QP and Master levels early game and helped to offset some really bad 40 Saint Quartz pulls.

My personal routine now is Monday (Three Knights Exp-Up) > Tuesday (Four Horsemen Exp-Up) > Wednesday (QP) > Thursday (Three Knights Exp-Up) > Friday (Four Horsemen Exp-Up) > Saturday (QP) > Sunday (Master Training).

Once you’ve found a routine you’re comfortable with, the game will turn from an annoyance into a breeze.

Fate/Grand Order

3 Aug , 2015,
Crimson
No Comments

I don’t usually play mobile phone games, but for Fate/Grand Order (mostly because the Fate series is my one weeb indulgence), I decided to make an exception.

Grand Order is the latest in Type Moon’s long running Fate franchise. For those of you who have not been exposed to the awesomeness that is Fate, well, think of it as a history lesson for otakus on crack, with a heavy dose of the supernatural thrown in.

In the setting, magicians vie for supremacy in Holy Grail Wars, with the ‘heroic spirits’ of famous persons from the past as their battle companions. These spirits are categorized loosely into RPG style archetypes like Archer, Assassin, Berserker, Caster, Lancer, Rider and Saber, and possess both mysterious powers and arcane relics (called Noble Phantasms) inspired by their real-world legends.

I could go on and on about the setting and all, but it’s really easier to just scoot over to the Type Moon Wiki for a quick look.

Say hello to Mr. Genderswapped Rin Tohsaka.

Say hello to Mr. Genderswapped Rin Tohsaka.

Now, on to the review.

Fate/Grand Order puts you in the role of a fresh recruit in Chaldea, an organization that oversees human history (it’s kinda like S.H.I.E.L.D., but with magic users).

Naturally, being the typical spiky-haired anime-style protagonist that you are, you quickly get embroiled in all sorts of trouble, and have to plunge through time to save the world.

Of course, as in all things Fate, the Master (that’s you) isn’t capable of going it alone since you know, people tend to die when they’re killed. That’s why you’re relegated to more of a support role, slinging heals and buffs while your Servants handle the heavy lifting.

Gameplay switches between a simple map-based navigation, VN style narration, and fights with some repetitive mooks and the occasional stage boss.

The navigation's pretty straightforward. I mean, you can't get more obvious than that.

The navigation’s pretty straightforward. I mean, you can’t get more obvious than that.

The story reads like a visual novel. Also, who woulda thunk your kouhai would be part-Heroic Spirit?

The story reads like a visual novel. Also, who woulda thunk your kouhai would be part-Heroic Spirit?

Attempting stages consumes AP (like any other mobile game), and naturally, you have to conquer stages to progress in the story.

Combat is simple and essentially a spin on the Rock, Paper, Scissors (and in this case also Lizard and Spock) system, coupled with match-3 elements.

You can check out how the Servant classes interact by clicking on Menu. You can also select Menu if you want to Flee the battle.

Check out how Servant classes interact by clicking on Menu. You can also select Menu if you want to Flee the battle.

Each Servant has a predetermined pool of color-coded cards determined by their class, which contain Arts (Blue), Buster (Red) and Quick (Green) moves.

Check out your Servant's status screen to find out what Attack cards he has.

Check out a Servant’s status screen to find out what attacks they possess. Building a team with good synergies can go a long way.

In a nutshell, Arts cards increase the Servant’s NP (Noble Phantasm) gauge, which allows them to pull off their special attacks, Buster cards inflict a large amount of physical damage, and Quick cards add to your Critical chance in the following round, allowing for bigger numbers on a successful hit.

Each round, the game pulls five cards, and after making tactical decisions such as using Servant abilities or Master buffs, you can lock in three of the five cards to form an attack chain.

Plan your moves before you hit the Attack button, because there's no way to go back. Luckily, the cards you're dealt each turn are displayed prominently.

Plan your moves before you hit the Attack button, because there’s no way to go back. Luckily, the cards you’re dealt each turn are displayed prominently.

Chaining the same type of moves can grant a stronger effect (a successful Arts chain fills the NP gauge of all Servants participating in that attack by 20%, for example), while chaining three attacks by the same Servant (by picking 3 similar portraits rather than move types) grants an extra attack. You can combine both move chains and Servant chains for even greater effect, but such occurrences tend to be rare.

Filling up a Servant’s Noble Phantasm gauge lets you use their special attack. These stronger moves also fall under the Arts, Buster, or Quick categories, so chain them strategically to take down difficult enemies.  Each Noble Phantasm activation also comes with animation and cut-ins, so Fate fanboys who’ve always wondered how some of these attacks look like, rejoice.

Darius III's Noble Phantasm - who doesn't want to be trampled by demonic elephants and hordes of undead?

Darius III’s Noble Phantasm – Athanaton Ten Thousand. Who doesn’t want to be trampled by elephanthulhu and hordes of the undead?

There are currently 59 Servants and 36 Mystic Codes (called Craft Essences in the game) to be collected, and rolling for them is done lottery style through the Grand Summon interface.

These Servants include fan favorites like Arturia, Cu Chulainn and Gilgamesh, as well as brand new ones created just for Grand Order. Nasuverse followers will also recognize Mystic Codes such as the Black Keys, the Kaleidoscope and Rin’s pendant in the Craft Essence pool.

You get a free low-tier summon each day, which may result in a 1-star, 2-star (or extremely rarely) 3-star unit or item. You can also make additional low-tier summons with Friend Points acquired from fighting alongsideton your contact list.

Spend more in-game currency, why don't you?

Making ten premium pulls with 40 Saint Quartz has a guaranteed chance for a 4-star unit or item, so spend more in-game currency, why don’t you?

Expending Saint Quartz (acquired through completing objectives and stages or through real money microtransactions), by comparison, guarantees a 3-star or higher unit.

The cost is fairly prohibitive though, and with the very iffy RNG system (I’ve been rolling more Craft Essences than I have Servants), you’re better off saving them till later when the game gets patched and things become a little more stable.

I-it's not like my Luck stat is E rank or anything right? Right? ><;;

These pulls. T_T I-it’s not like my Luck stat is E rank or anything right? Right? ><;;

Needless to say, this means that while the game has it going with the story, the biggest woes plaguing it right now are all design related.

Fights tend to be repetitive and lacking in variety, the recharge rate for AP is tediously slow (which reduces replay value), and Servant balance is questionable at best.

For example, I’ve pulled some really abysmal 4-star Servants, while most 5-star ones I’ve seen are insanely overpowered, with ridiculous parameters and abilities. 1-star and 2-star Servants, by comparison, are little better than chump blockers and the same disparity applies to Craft Essences as well.

She sure can pull off that dress, but seriously, most underwhelming 4-star unit ever.

Sure, she can pull off that dress, but seriously, most underwhelming 4-star unit ever.

This, of course, begs the question – could the game have been tested more rigorously before release? It’d have definitely mitigated the slew of QQing the devs are seeing on social media to say the least.

Fixing these problems in the first few weeks will be crucial, since player satisfaction and retention pretty much makes or breaks mobile games.

Still, I wouldn’t be surprised if this title manages to take off once the teething pains are over.

While the system lacks in polish, the game is faithful to, and builds upon, the source material. It documents several Holy Grail Wars that never made it onto the small screen, and that’s sure to whet any fan’s appetite. The art is generally pretty, the animation smooth, and the sheer number of new Servants makes for more story and waifu (or husbando) potential. 

Fate/Grand Order is currently gated for Japan (to keep us ignorant gaijin types out), but we all know dedicated fans will find a way. It’s also unlikely that there will ever be an English port, but the game’s intuitive enough that you can manage without knowledge of moon runes. 

Final Verdict: 3.5/5

For more information about the game, check out the Official Site at: http://www.fate-go.jp.

Heroes of the Storm Enters Open Beta, World Championship Announced

21 May , 2015,
Crimson
,
No Comments

If you’ve been following our recent adventures in the Nexus and have been itching to play, then you’ll be happy to know that Heroes of the Storm has officially gone into Open Beta!

What this means is that you’ll be able to log into Battle.net, download the game here, and instantly brawl to your hearts content with your favorite Blizzard heroes from Diablo, StarCraft, World of Warcraft and more!

We’ve had a great time with the game in the past half a year or so since we got into the Technical Alpha, and we’ve seen the game evolve with the feedback of testers and the community. It’s a great game that encourages teamwork through structured, map-based objectives, boasts a fun skill tree system reminiscent of Blizzard’s other franchises, and plenty of familiar faces for Blizzard fans.

We also appreciate how toxicity and baiting has been kept to a minimum thanks to systems Blizzard has put in place (though I’d still encourage players to get on the U.S. servers), and this makes the game incredibly friendly to new players who are totally unfamiliar with the team brawler genre.

For a more in-depth look at the game, check out the promo vid below:

Heroes of the Storm is also set to become a strong competitor in e-sports, with the Heroes of the Storm Southeast Asia (SEA) Championship organized by our friends at Asiasoft (more information can be found here).

Qualifiers will be held in Thailand, Singapore, Malaysia and Philippines, with the Regional Finals to be held on 8 August in Thailand. This tournament will see the winning team square off against others from around the globe at BlizzCon 2015 for a shot at the World Championship title.

Who's gonna make it to BlizzCon? We're also anxious to find out!

Who’s gonna make it to BlizzCon? We’re also anxious to find out!

This pretty much means that there’s gonna be a lot to look forward to with Heroes in the months to come so be sure to keep tabs on the Heroes of the Storm SEA Facebook Page for more updates!

Event Alert: Gundam Docks at Singapore

7 May , 2015,
Crimson
, , ,
No Comments
Gundam Docks at Singapore - Image 1 (Photo credit © SOTSU・SUNRISE)

Photo credit © SOTSU・SUNRISE

If you’re a fan of the Gundam franchise, then you’re in for a treat.

Come June, Bandai Namco Asia and Takashima Department Store will be holding Gundam Docks at Singapore, a 4,000 sqm showcase featuring more than 200 Gundam plamo at Takashimaya Square, B2 and the Ngee Ann City Civic Plaza.

There will also be two 6 meter tall sculptures – Amuro Ray’s iconic RX-78-2 and Char’s Zaku (which goes three times faster) on display. These 1:3 scale statues are the centerpieces for a daily multimedia light show that will bring the dramatic conflict between the Principality of Zeon and the Earth Federation to life.

Collectors can also expect to purchase exclusive plamo kits from more than 10 stores in the Civic Plaza, and indulge in their love for Gundam.

Admission for the exhibition is free, and the exhibition will open from 10am to 9.30pm daily. For more updates and details on the exhibition, check out www.gundamdocks.sg.

 

REG in Singapore Vol. 9: More immersive than ever!

4 May , 2015,
Crimson
No Comments

If you’ve been following some of our posts about Real Escape Game in Singapore‘s events, then you’ll know we’re suckers for immersive reality games.

Vivid Creations and SCRAP, the creators of Real Escape Game in Japan, first teased their plans for an island-wide event sometime last year during the press preview for their Shingeki no Kyojin inspired REG, and we’re really glad to know that their latest adventure – Escape from the Conspiracy – will turn the entirety of Singapore’s downtown and heritage belt into a puzzle-lover’s playground!

Check out the trailer below:

Games will run every weekend in June 2015, and get this – there is no time limit! This means that you can play as long as you want and take as long as you want, so long as you’re done within the day.

If you’re interested, check out their ticketing information and website below:

Escape from The Conspiracy

VENUE: Singapore Art Museum (Briefing Location)

DATES: Every Saturday and Sunday in June 2015

TIME: 11:00, 12:00, 13:00 (Game Briefing)

TICKET PRICING:

Limited Early Bird (Single): $22 | Limited Early Bird (Group of 6): $120 | Standard Online (Single): $27 | Standard Online (Group of 6): $150 | At‐the‐door: $30 |
For block / corporate booking, please contact us at 6522‐0527 or shihui@vivid-creations.biz
Tickets are available on PEATIX platforms: http://reg-theconspiracy-day1.peatix.com (Day 1)
For updates and more information, visit our website: http://www.realegame.sg
• No time limit.
• All sessions are conducted in English.