Posted on 19 July 2017 with categories: Game Reviews

In the Visual novel fandom there are certain titles referred to Kamige.(God(ly) games) I previously thought the term referred to the best the medium has to offer but in recent times come to realise that a game can be referred to as a Kamige while not necessarily being the best. So Kamige as I understand it are Visual novels which stand out from the rabble and sadly many of these cannot be experienced by those of us who don’t speak Japanese. Fortunately due to the efforts of localization companies we now have several Kamige on the way. Baldr Sky, Subahibi and more are coming. Thus the first to grace our shores is Dies Irae and believe me that it wasn’t easy. As a backer of the kickstarter I watched this thing go through hell to reach our shores, from horrible mismanagement of the kickstarter to the embarrassing moment where Dies Irae had yet to reach it’s goal when a Nekopara anime kickstarter running at the same time raised one million in funds. It was dark days, truly dark days, but now we have it. A title once called untranslatable and forever out of gasp is in my hands. Now having played it, what do I think of Dies irae?

Dies Irae has four main routes and five side stories and while this version has the option to lock you into a girl’s route before starting a new game, I highly recommend that you don’t make use of it. I used these buttons to lock me into each girl’s route and encountered a glitch where I couldn’t unlock the final side story due to having missed dialogue in choices. So I recommend you use the common route button and get to the girls routes using a walkthrough. On that note as a very important rule of this visual novel is that while you can chose any girls route from the start, you should complete the girl’s routes in the following order: Kasumi, Kei, Marie, Rea. The reason for this is that later routes expect you to know knowledge from previous routes and playing them out of order can leave you confused as to just what is even going on. More importantly is that Rea’s route is clearly the finale of the entire story so playing it first would lose it’s impact. The strict route structure is a bit of pain, in particular as the quality of the story goes from worst to best. However it is interesting to see events of earlier routes subconsciously affect events of later routes. Things which previously didn’t make much sense or felt out of nowhere take on new meaning when you take into account the matter of eternal recurrence. But alas, what is the story of Dies Irae? It’s difficult to go into detail without spoilers but lets say it starts with a matter regarding a serial killer which evolves into a full blown battle which pits our main protagonist Ren against a group of superpowered nazi’s from the remnants of World War II known as the Obsidian Round Table.
(more…)

Posted on 3 May 2017 with categories: Game Reviews

When I heard about the reveal of a sequel to Nier my initial reaction was of relative apathy. Even upon hearing it was coming to PC I was relatively unhyped. To say I was uninterested would be wrong as I did previously hear of Nier being a game with a interesting and strange story but I couldn’t really find myself all that invested in it. Around the release of Nier Automata my interest in the game went higher as I learn more about the writer, Yoko Taro. Taro is a strange fellow who likes to write strange stories. He has a desire to test the boundaries of video game storytelling and his previous efforts were noted for being strange but refreshingly unique tales. The biggest problem is that while Taro has wrote some interesting stories for his games, ones enough to gather him a fanbase, even the most dedicated of fans would struggle to say they were good games. A Yoko Taro game was something you played for the plot and the gameplay was often the thing you had to struggle through to get that plot. This is another one of those things that had me rather apprehensive about a new Nier game. However this time is different as Platinum games steps up to lend a helping hand. Thanks to that while people could debate the quality of the story compared to his previous work, this is clearly Yoko Taro’s best game. One which has me rather interested to experience the rest of his work. Before playing Nier Automata I watched summery videos on youtube of Nier and Drakengard 3(As Nier is a spinoff of the Drakengard series.) Not that you need to know anything about those works as Nier Automata is clearly it’s own self contained entity. For this review I played the steam version of the game and I will try to avoid spoilers. Lets dive in.

The game is set thousands of years after the end of Nier 1 and earth has been conquered by Aliens.Humans have retreated to the moon and use an Army of Androids to go down to earth to take back the planet for the human race. Likewise the Aliens combat these androids with an army of Machines and this battle has been raging between the two for hundreds of years. You play as an android by the name of B2 who is send down earth and works together with a hacker android called 9S to fight the machine menace. Said androids also happen to fight with samurai swords while in gothic maid and butler outfits with heads up displays in blindfolds. I mentioned this before, but Yoko Taro does indeed write strange stories. The story is certainly intriguing as it explores the nature of what makes something human and whether the self is truly a irreplaceable thing. The androids are the most humanlike creatures on earth but have a rule against feeling emotion. Though expressing emotion isn’t so much as a reinforced law as plenty of androids break it. I saw that a android repressing emotion was more out of decorum rather than a genuine law. The androids hold humans to a high regard so it’s fitting that they would find imitating them to be disingenuous. I do admit that the story has very interesting idea’s and execution but I found my biggest gripe with the story is that it is just how disconnected the events of it where. Each part of the story has very little correlation to the other and there isn’t really much of an overarching goal besides the matter of reclaiming the earth. Though how that is accomplished is never made particularly clear. For most of the game you are ordered to investigate an area and often take down a certain robot but there isn’t any real sense of progress on what you are doing. One thing that really speaks of this flaw is that in the second half of the story suddenly a massive robot appears and the entire android army is tasked with taking it down. Is this massive robot related to the antagonist? No. Is it used for character development or to shed insight into Nier Automata’s themes? No. Does it affect the plot in any way? Not really besides giving a reason for 2B and 9S to be separated. Overall the whole section feels like their was a big section of the script which had “Insert multi stage boss fight here” on it. This is what really bugged me about the story of this game, it’s so disjointed. Like Yoko Taro wanted to present a series of idea’s but didn’t really attempt to weave them into an ongoing narrative.
(more…)

Posted on 17 February 2017 with categories: Game Reviews

I admit my first reaction to this visual novel wasn’t a positive one. Maybe it was because of Nekopara having a hugely successful kickstarter when Dies Irae was struggling to reach it’s goal.(I mean Jesus Christ the Nekopara anime OVA kickstarter raised nearly one million dollars. People really want catgirls.) I more or least saw the cover art, briefly skimmed the synopsis and said nope. However I got word that there was more to this story that means the eye and I tend to be fascinated by turning innocent concepts dark. My review this time will be shorter than my average ones as this visual novel clocks in at about a three and a half to four hour read. So due to it’s short length, the more i talk about it, the more I risk spoiling it. In any case the brief rundown is that a man is in a rough point in his marriage. His wife won’t give him a break and his daughter avoids him. One night after a fight the man goes for a walk and encounters a mysterious catgirl who claims to be a cat from his childhood. The catgirl called Bell wishes to repay the man for a favor he did in his childhood while also proclaiming that she is in love with him. Thus the man called Robin tries to avoid the temptation of this catgirl while dealing with a ever breaking down marriage.

One thing I was surprised by is that this visual novel is remarkably well written when compared to your standard fare. It would be very easy to turn this kind of concept fetishitic and fanservicely but the story manages to avoid that for the most part. The writing focuses mainly on the moral dilemma of the protagonist. Though starting out wary of Bell, he finds that as his home life gets increasingly stressful while Bell gives him the attention he desires. Always seemly knowing just what he wants to hear. So essentially we have a sort of Fatal Attraction story with the protagonist getting tempted by a potentially dangerous individual while trying to mend problems in his current relationship. I like how the rift is portrayed in that it’s not the usual abusive drunk or shouting matches. More cold indifference and an unwillingness for either side to just give the other a break. Neither side is particularly in the right here as while Sally does get far too bent out of shape over suspecting her husband of infidelity, Robin tends to gloss over his own failings in his family life in his inner monologues. For example, Robin mentioned that he attempted to teach his daughter piano lessons when she was young. From the way he puts it, he just gently tried to teach her and then gave up when she showed that she had no interest. However from the way Sally remarks about it, it seems those lessons were not quite as pleasant as Robin makes them out to be. The characters feel realistic apart from Bell’s more anime like mannerisms in her attempts to seduce Robin. But that in turn does make it clear why this girl is alluring to him.
(more…)

Posted on 9 February 2017 with categories: Game Reviews

When watching anime you are bound to come across a Chuunibyou character. The normal human being who acts like they are the protagonist of some terrible power trip anime. But did you ever wonder just what it was that gave them the idea to act like this? Well wonder no further because these people likely played 11eyes. This visual novel is essentially a distillation of every tired anime trope under the sun so your enjoyment of it will likely depend on how exposed to these tropes you are. Most would know this title from an anime adaption made in 2009 and I remember reading the anime’s synopsis and getting interested. However I heard that the anime adaption was poor and having recently got into visual novels I wanted to experience the story in it’s original format. Lucky for me, there was an ongoing fan translation of 11eyes so I waited patiently for it to be completed. Unfortunately that fan translation went the way of many a fan translation and ended up going silent with work stopping completely. It’s things like this that make me appreciate companies like Mangagamer and Sekai as while a kickstarter may be necessary and it takes time, at least it gets done. Eventually I just gave up on playing the story entirely when suddenly in 2016 an English patch for 11eyes was released. Thus I saw this as an opportune moment to see what I missed all these years. As it turns out, it wasn’t all that much.

Our story involves a Heterochromatic eyepatch wearing boy called Kakaru who along with his childhood friend Yuka find themselves thrown into an alternate version of their town which they refer to as the red night. A world shaded in red with is filled with monsters that seek to kill them that disappears after a certain period of time. Soon they run into a group of monsters calling themselves the black knights who swear to kill Kakaru and Yuka as well as the four other people who were pulled into the red night. So they work to join the other people dragged into the nightmare, work together to beat the black knights and hopefully regain their normal lives. The thing that mainly intrigued me about this concept was that at any moment of their lives they could be pulled into the red night without warning and the idea of a bunch of superpowered teens fighting off a nightmare world on a regular basis is a rather interesting. However this story has serious pacing issues as the beginning really drags due to the characters. A big feature of this visual novel is something called crossvision. For you see the majority of this VN is read from the perspective of Kakaru and crossvision allows you to see a scene from the perspective of another character. In theory this is interesting as it allows you to see what the characters are thinking at particular moments and see things which happen to other people when Kakaru isn’t around. However in practice you find that you can only see certain scenes from a specific person’s perspective rather than the freedom to move between characters at any moment. In essence it’s like watching a movie where every now and again you have to pause and go to the scene selection menu to watch a scene that wasn’t included in the movie. This is a game with bad pacing as is so this certainly kills it. What doesn’t help that some scenes are  exactly the same as a scene from Kakaru’s perspective, just with some extra lines of inner monologue.
(more…)

Posted on 2 February 2017 with categories: Game Reviews

A good while back I bought a little game for the Wii called Monster Hunter Tri. After playing it for a bit I got tired of collecting bits of twig and not doing the monster hunting the title promised and left it on the wayside. Then one week I decided to put in my all and finished Monster Hunter Tri and came to find what made the series so appealing. Though I stopped keeping up with the game because every time I bought one there would be a Monster Hunter slightly better edition released and the games are so much of a time sink that I can never get around to playing them. Now you may be wondering just why am I talking about Monster Hunter when this is a God Eater review? Well that’s simple, God Eater wears its inspiration inspiration on it’s sleeve. To the degree that I was ready to label it babies first Monster Hunter within its first third of missions. For reference the copy I am reviewing is God Eater Resurrection steam version which comes free when you buy God Eater 2 on steam.

Thanks to my experience with the God Eater anime I walked into this game expecting absolutely nothing from the story. That was most certainly a good call. This story is just as bland and forgettable as the anime portrayed it so in that regard I guess it was a faithful adaption. Which isn’t really helped when you have a silent self insert protagonist. There was only one point I became somewhat invested in the story and that had to do with a girl who pretty much had the personality of Asuka Langley Soryu but was hit with a serious case of PTSD. Helping her work through it was a rather good part of the story for me but I may be projecting as she has the upward character arc that Asuka so desperately needed. Other than that I found it hard to really feel the levity of this world on the brink of destruction by aragami when everyone in it dresses like they came out of a cosplay convention. Forgive me but it’s a little hard to take the situation seriously when the woman giving me missions is wearing no top besides a jacket zipped down with no bra and pants that show off the sides of her thighs. I feel a serious disconnect as what she is wearing doesn’t seem to reflect her no nonsense personality at all. Everyone else is a bunch of standard stereotypes as well with Souma(Actually had to look up his name because I forgot it) being the worst offender as he is standard emo all the way. The presentation isn’t much to look at either seeing as this is a remastered PSP game and no matter how prettied up it is you can see the signs of it’s portable origin. The first part of the game is essentially about teaching a human aragami to love and stopping the plans of the evil director who you can pretty much guess is evil by the time he opens his mouth. After that it becomes a hunt to find a former mentor who goes missing and lastly just some powerful Aragami shows up and you have to kill it. The story tries to tug at you but I found myself purely apathetic which is funny because the way I designed my avatar it looks like he gave about as much of a damn as I did. I will say that the weird sense of style does give you a lot of customisation when it comes to your avatar. So naturally I fulfilled my dream of hunting monsters dressed like a pimp with a tiny top hat and a scythe.
(more…)

Posted on 25 November 2016 with categories: Game Reviews

The Disgaea series has been one that has caught my interest from time to time when shifting between games. It’s artstyle is certainly its most distinctive feature at a glance but for someone like myself the real draw of the series was it’s similarities to one of the most shining yet overlooked gems of the Final Fantasy franchise. That being of course, Final Fantasy Tactics. Disgaea however promised more, more levels, more customization, more content, more of absolutely everything. But with more comes the thing which is likely to keep many from trying it, game length. My entire playtime with Disgaea clocked in at 42 hours and I was focusing on only the main story. Taking into account the series rather famous post game content and extra features you could spend double, if not triple the time I spent on it. Disgaea is certainly a game that gives you your money’s worth and if made today perhaps it would have as much ridiculous DLC and collector’s editions as Watchdogs 2 has. Oh yes the days when you could have extra content in a game and not have to fork over a fiver. Anyway for this review I will be covering the Steam PC release of Disgaea opposed of its Playstation 2, DS and PSP counterparts. Now the PC version had a rocky start as on release the port had dozens of problems. Graphical glitches, crashes, frame drops, Lack of resolution settings…honestly it was a bit of a mess. However in recent times the port has been fixed up and as least on my rig it ran with no real problems. Only real problem I encountered was the game crashing if you tried to start it when the monitor was connected via HDMI to a TV but in recent patches that issue has been resolved. To avoid this for Disgaea 2 being released in January of next year they are currently Beta testing it by giving out free copies for testing purposes.(Sadly the submission date to be a Beta tester has passed so I will have to buy it instead) Considering that I think Disgaea 2 should have a much more favorable reception. But well moving on to the review.

Getting into Disgaea I had a feeling I wouldn’t be playing the games for the story and from word on forums apparently this game has the best story of the franchise. If this is the best story the series has to offer I say it’s truly not impressive. It’s not bad but the focus is mostly on humor with some small attempts to tug heartstrings from time to time. It’s a passable JRPG story but not a very memorable one. Part of the reason is that Disgaea holds a kind of anime episodic format which even has the female sidekick narrating next episode previews which are pretty much complete lies endorsing her as the main Heroine. As such the story is divided up into episodes which generally have three to four battles in them a piece. The plot deals with the demon son of the Overlord of the underworld attempting to take his position on the throne while fighting off opposition for the throne. You would think this would be the end goal of the game but halfway through he pretty much achieves this end and instead humans are introduced in the form of three heroes invading hell. These characters are fine though the main gimmick of the guy being a Flash Gordan parody gets tiresome quickly. This wouldn’t be all that bad but the second half of the story almost exclusively focuses on these humans and a war between Netherworld and Earth. Then in the last episode angels take center stage as the final boss. In a sense we have three main story arcs with some small episodic side stories in between. The main theme seems to be about a trainee angel Flonne helping to teach the overlord’s son Laharl to love which yeah is trit and cliche. Best moment of the story really was this angel Trainee being sent down to assassinate Laharl but failing hard because she was too polite and kind. Hearing her say “Hi, it’s a pleasure to meet you. I’m an Assassin.” to Laharl did make me chuckle.

Let us talk about the meat of the game, the gameplay and boy, I knew going into this that this would be a grind heavy game but they really were not kidding. Gameplay in Disgaea plays much like a Fire Emblem game, with a grid like level layout where you direct up to 14 characters to move and attack enemies. It’s fairly light strategy wise as most battles are decided depending on the levels and it really just becomes a matter of using the skill best suited to hitting the most enemies. Out of the 42 hours I spent on this I could be fairly certain on saying that 30 of those hours were spent grinding. In Disgaea you can level up everything, and I do mean everything. Par for the course you can level up characters but use spells and you level those up, use skills and you level those up, you can level up weapon mastery, you can level up weapons, you level up specialists, you can level your weapons and items using item world, you can level up you standing in the dark assembly, you can level up shops if you buy from them and quite frankly anything that can be leveled, will be leveled. I said in my fairy Fencer review that if you have too many systems in place for getting strong, it becomes harder to balance the game for a good challenge and boy does Disgaea suffer from the same problem. Let me be blunt and say in Disgaea you are either underpowered or overpowered with rare times of ever being in between. The biggest challenge you can get can be from how geo panels(Places which grant bonuses to the player/enemy standing on them) which can really give you some painful levels to get through. There is even a level where everywhere is filled with panels that make people invincible so the only way to win is the lead/throw enemies to the one panel that doesn’t have the invincibility effect. I made a particular mistake one time were I accidentally made the entire field of play invincible, hereby making my characters and the enemy impossible to beat. That was certainly a facepalm moment.

The grind is the name of the game but if there is a major failing of Disgaea it’s just how poor a job it does with teaching you it’s systems. The overall interface is fairly clumsy seeing as you can’t actually view how close a character is to a level up or even how much experience they have.(You can see total experience in a separate status window but that doesn’t mention how close to a level up.) Some of the most important options are hidden under it’s awkward menus and the game really only tells you the barest minimum to get through it. Now you are informed that you can finish DIsgaea with minimal knowledge and this is true, but doing so will leave you oblivious to the game’s finer points with its mechanics as well as missing out on features which could make your life a whole lot easier. I find it rather annoying that so much detail was given on the nature of Geo panels and how to cause a chain attack with them when you will most certainly never actually use it. Yet you are given barely any info on how the Dark Assembly works or the nature of Specialists. There is info present with an NPC throwing out answers to how they work but this is akin to learning English by reading a dictionary. Just try reading over these lines several times it just won’t hit home how it all works until you fiddle with it yourself. To figure out how a number of things work I had to jump to the Disgaea wiki just to get my bearings. Even then I only came to realise about Specialists when I reached near the end of the game. Basically you would find weapons have weird names attached to them like Firefighter, teacher, gladiator and for the majority of the game i had no idea what these things even were. Only late into the game did I find out that all these things were essentially code for passive stat bonuses and by using item world you can double these stat bonuses and even move them between weapons.

What makes these so important is that there is a specialist which can double or even triple the amount of exp a character gets from enemies. In a game about grinding, that aspect is critical. Another thing it fails to tell you about is the master and servant system which is briefly mentioned but chances are that you will have no idea how it works. This is likely the best aspect of Disgaea as it gives a ridiculous level of customization to your characters. Here’s how it works, using your characters you can create other characters which are those characters servants. masters and servants don’t really differ all that much except in one aspect. The master can use and learn all the skills of the servant if placed beside them. So as an example, let’s say you have a zombie character whom you want to give healing spells. Well you use the dark assembly to create a priest using that zombie character. You level up the priest gain most of the healing spells and then you place that priest beside your zombie in combat. Then the zombie can use all the healing spells the priest has learned and if the zombie uses a healing spell enough times to level up, that healing spell is permanently added to that zombies skills. Meaning that regardless of whether priest is around or not, that zombie can cast healing spells on anyone. So making use of this system you can have Priests with martial arts abilities, dragons who can cast spells, mages who can use swords. Almost anything is possible and it certainly is fun mixing and matching to give a character the skills you want. The downside is that to power up the character you want, you need to create and level up another character whom you don’t care about. Which is troublesome when you want a mage who can use all types of magic and find that fire, wind, ice and star magic is split up between four characters.

So what’s Item world you may ask? Well in Disgaea each item, be it weapon, armour or usage, can be leveled up to be more powerful. To do this you go to Item world which is similar to a gauntlet of battles. Think of being at the top of a tower with several floors filled with enemies and the only way to progress down a floor is to either kill the enemies on that floor or find the stairs. Thus we have a pretty big source of most of your grinding as well as the most tedious aspect of Disgaea as a whole. Grinding isn’t exactly a praiseworthy aspect of gaming, mainly because it is used as a means to pad out gametime. However depending on how it’s done it doesn’t have to be a unpleasant experience. Keep it speedy and relatively easy with generous pace of reward and grinding can even be a fun aspect of a game. But here is where item world flatters. Item world is slow, time consuming and can be a massive pain at times. Reasons as to why is in part due to the randomly generated terrain of the floors which doesn’t always make the level player friendly. Nothing is unbeatable but it can make some levels that force you to throw characters all about the place just to reach the stairs. There were times I groaned when the game spawned the exit in such an awkward place and put a specialist on a platform to far to throw to or attack. To make matters worse, you cannot leave item world until you at least get ten floors down(Or use a genji’s exit which can only be obtained by going ten floors down in a item.) and it takes at least thirty to forty minutes to get down that far.

If you have the patience of a god you can go down up to hundred floors if you wish to give the item a serious boost in power but I never saw it as worth it. This mode is one of the best ways of powering up your characters but the complete slog of it just made me avoid using it until absolutely necessary. But then let’s talk about something that really bugs me about this game and it’s how you level. Unlike regular RPGs experience isn’t given out evenly among the team when you complete a battle. Instead exp is given to whomever happens to land the last blow to an enemy. This is a big problem for three reasons. For one, leveling up healing units is a massive pain as they have to kill units to gain higher level healing spells. Another is that you end up relying on certain units a lot which makes them a much higher level than the rest of the team. Ultimately the stronger units get all the experience when the weaker units get jack which leads to grinding your weaker units up to an acceptable level as you progress through the game. Lastly you end up using your stronger units to weaken higher level enemies just so your weaker units can land the last blow and it is all too easy to accidently kill the enemy. Personally I would prefer if Disgaea took on a system like Suikoden where experience is divided evenly and allows weaker units to catch up quickly with stronger ones. It’s just one of the things that could make the grind of Disgaea a little less inconvenient.

Disgaea to me is a prototype for a much better game. Within it’s clunky systems and tedious aspects lies the groundwork for a fantastic strategy RPG. I know a lot of this review was essentially me complaining about various parts of it’s systems (I didn’t even get into things throwing enemies into other enemies to double their levels or the mostly useless bonus gauge.) but I did have fun with this game. It’s just that this fun comes with a big if attached to it. I am hesitant to recommend this game as you can have fun with it if you are willing to put up with it’s rough edges. It is my hope that with it’s sequel it could polish up it’s lesser aspects and cut down the tedium of grinding to present an immensely fun experience. From word of mouth it looks like that’s exactly what it’s going to do and certainly am most interested in seeing that. What’s better is that there isn’t any real connection storywise to this game it seems so people can jump into what could be a much more friendly gaming interface. I hope they bring more of the series to PC so I can see this system evolve and potentially produce an excellent title. As for this title alone I say if you are interested I would say to make sure you know what you are getting into and whether you have to patience to deal with it’s blemishes. If you can look past it’s faults you certainly will have something to keep you busy for quite a while.

Posted on 25 August 2016 with categories: Anime Reviews, Game Reviews

Well I promised I would do a review of this visual novel quite a while ago and believe it or not I only just got around to finishing it. If the fellow who requested it is still here then here you go, I kept my word. Anyway it has been a while since my last game review and I have been itching to cover more visual novels on this site. What better way to jump back into the fray than with The house in Fata Morgana made by Novectacle in 2012(2010 if you consider the trail version) but recently localised by Mangagamer and published on Steam on May of this year. Now this game is a strange beast for a Visual novel. Usually a VN has a main protagonist who lives in Japan and has a number of female friends who act as alternate routes and stories depending on who you choose to partner up with. Fata Morgana doesn’t have that and just in case you were thinking it, it’s not an Otome novel either. (AKA, what i just described but with male friends) Instead what we have here is a visual novel set in the west forgoing the usual anime style for a more comic book/gothic portrait style with a story that is akin to anthology of tragedy tales. For those concerned about censorship, there is none here as this game was all ages, meaning it holds no pornographic content. Don’t take that to mean that it isn’t dark or gory because I can assure you that is most certainly not the case. In a world where in the vast majority of cases you primary concern is choosing your first waifu, this game sticks out and very much in a good way. Don’t take it that I consider visual novels to be generally trash, this is more like the anime industry were for very interesting title you have a truckload of terrible fanservice fantasy harem battle anime. Only difference here is that unlike the anime industry, the dozens of visual titles coming out are not all translated, leaving potential greats sitting in the visual novel database unread due to no English translation. As a prime example, Baldr Sky which has held a spot in the top 5 visual novels of all time in VNDB since 2009 is only just now getting an English translation. It honestly pains me when i think of the numerous potential great titles which escape my grasp due to a lack of a translation. But alas let us move on.
(more…)

Posted on 12 August 2016 with categories: Anime Reviews, Game Reviews

The title of this game rather says everything you need to know about my initial reaction, and I’m still all around puzzled at the mixed bag that this turned out to be – it IS just a standard mashup while having a bit of fun with some experimentation, but the game itself is actually a jumble of Persona’s mechanics with some hints of Fire Emblem, Final Fantasy X-2 masked behind a colorful anime-esque fatigue. Originally called “Shin Megami Tensei x Fire Emblem” but changed shortly thereafter to “Tokyo Mirage Sessions,” I decided I’d have an open mind about this before I went into it, without looking for comparisons to the Persona or Fire Emblem aspects of the game, and did actually enjoy the gameplay. But by the end of my second playthrough, it turned out to be a mediocre title that failed to consistently interest me as a standalone title, much less as a fan of both Fire Emblem and Shin Megami Tensei.

The story is entirely original, so it’s not required that you play any of the Shin Megami Tensei or Fire Emblem titles for you to dive into it unless you want to understand certain references. The story begins with our protagonist in some talent agency in Tokyo as he learns how to utilize an energy called Performa and attract beings known as Mirages much like in the Persona series. The rest of the plot is pretty by the books, it has cameos/references to Fire Emblem and Shin Megami Tensei characters to keep you interested in the plot, and in between the unnecessarily text-heavy story are the animated cutscenes by Studio 4C, which are all serviceable except for the poorly integrated CGI during music/dance sequences (which I believe were done by a different studio). Although Japanese pop isn’t really my favorite genre of music, it’s well produced to say the least and the background soundtrack isn’t too generic either, they accompany the combat really well as the fights feel like a performance rather than a traditional RPG battle.
(more…)

Posted on 23 July 2016 with categories: Anime Reviews, Game Reviews

Oh Square Enix, this is the kind of avant-garde work you need to do. Developed by Furyu with the people behind SaGa, and written by Masato Kato of Chrono Trigger, I knew I was in for a unique game right from the start. But its gameplay is certainly divisive and for good reason, as this is surprisingly much more out of the box from what you would’ve expected after SaGa. Most prominently, it has a style of story progression that allows you to quite literally go forward however you please – by opening up the world to you through unlocking maps via unstated objectives. Now, I don’t favor open world titles above linear games just for the sake of them being open world, but I do appreciate it when they’re done as well as it is here. I could play through Legend of Legacy as quickly or as slowly as I pleased in whichever order, with the intention being making the player feel like a real adventurer exploring uncharted territory, which it succeeds in spades all the way to the end. So if you’re coming out of Bravely Second rather dissatisfied, Legacy unwinds those linear genre conventions and shares more similarities with A Link to the Past in its range of freedom. Even the individual map’s bosses are more often than not just a part of the scenery as they roam the map aimlessly alongside the other mobs. But in exchange, the game can be brutal when you don’t know how to progress any further after fully exploring an area (while refusing to look at walkthroughs) and scouring the entire map looking for any possible clues. But this is also what adds charm to the game, as the game allows you to sell the maps you complete by exploring more of the wilderness. The more of the map you’ve filled, the more money you can sell them for, and it’s pretty rewarding to earn large sums of money for them. 

Yet on the other hand, it’s worth noting that the turn-based combat is about as traditional as one can get apart from its lack of any level system. There can only be three characters at a time in your party, and in-battle you can utilize the elemental spirits in your environment for various effects like HP regeneration while customizing your stances outside of battle to affect turn order and defense. As a result, building an effective party is critical, yet also entirely up to you, and since there’s only so many roles possible in a 3-person team you’ll have to make sure everyone pulls their weight. Upon a new game, you can choose a protagonist among a huge selection of characters to begin your story with, and choosing the right character from the start makes the confusing lack of narrative that much better. I personally chose Filmia (the awesome frog that’s an obvious throwback) despite his rather one dimensionality in combat, as I found his small quips that much more interesting. In the small town of Initium, you’ll see the characters that you didn’t choose on the starting screen wandering about for you to recruit, and it’s really up to you to make sure everyone stays leveled up. I decided not to change up my starting trio of Filmia, Bianca, and Liber very much, as my play style is always offensive and Filmia is rather bulky anyways. But what makes the turn-based combat a little more interesting is its integration into the exploration mechanic – however much HP your party lost in-battle doesn’t entirely carry over into the next encounter, unless a character went down to 0 in which case they’d be at a fraction of their full HP the next battle. This means that as you go deeper into the wilderness, the less comfortable you are facing stronger enemies – so it encourages you to go back to town every now and again to sleep, restock, and retread. If a battle gets too tough you can always run away to the start of the map.
In any case, the game is extremely tedious if you don’t have interesting members in your party, as you’re going to have to grind in order to raise the level on your attacks and stats. Heaven forbid you start with Meurs or Owen as they’re the blandest characters in the game. As with any of these games that allow you to choose your protagonists, your experience may vary depending on the narrative you develop for your own party. As I like to mention in any of my previous reviews, it’s important for this kind of game to be a good character story over any kind of overarching plot, and most of these characters are interesting enough to keep your interest to the end. In this way it really does remind me of Rune Factory 4. Legend of Legacy is an excellent game to sink hours into if you don’t mind traditional turn based combat and hands off free-roaming. The plot is simple, yet clocks out over 40+ hours. But because of this, all of the characters in your party don’t feel like cutouts and get fleshed out believably, and the buildup gets used well by closing off satisfyingly.  So yeah, it’s not a game that’s going to be very important to Masato Kato’s repertoire or to the 3DS RPG genre, but what it does well, it does well in spades. It does have its weaknesses where it goes too far in its efforts to let you do whatever you want, by sacrificing any sense of a greater purpose to your gameplay, but it works alright without one. To top it off, visually, the game is perfect. You can see influences of the SaGa games where they like to spam the screen with useless objects (like a giant conch, ruins, etc) but also the more subtle things. Each of the characters walk in their own unique way, and the characters move with their own unique poses and styles. This game is nearly a year old and I haven’t seen much buzz about it and it’s truly a shame. While games like Bravely Default continue to earn praise for its “traditional” gameplay, it’s games like Legacy which are the true throwbacks to a time when a game’s story was simply something to be discovered through gameplay.

Storytelling: 7/10 Open ended, it depends what you make of it on your playthrough.
Gameplay: 7/10 Very traditional combat, but a unique story progression system and an interesting cast of party members keep everything from becoming too tedious and stale.
User Interface: 8/10 Convenient quick saves, but otherwise a laughable options menu without even text speed adjustment.
Production values: 10/10 Looks great, and the score is amazing.

Suggestions:

Bravely Default/Second (3DS)

Rune Factory 4 (3DS)

Etrian Odyssey (DS)

Posted on 22 June 2016 with categories: Anime Reviews, Game Reviews

I really should be getting Grand Kingdom or waiting for Mirage Sessions. My review of Stella Glow is way past relevancy being nearly 8 months late, but I finally completed this and it wouldn’t hurt to briefly wrap up my thoughts about the game created by the now-defunct Imageepoch. I somehow managed to get through Lord of Magna in little over a week but I couldn’t motivate myself to finish this game after chapter 6. So first, jumping into the game, I admittedly didn’t have too much experience with much of Imageepoch’s previous titles, I only played Luminous Arc 1+2 and thought the gameplay was pretty good (although I’ll always hate the story in these kind of games). Therefore, I expected Stella Glow to be much of the same. In terms of its gameplay, it’s even somewhat over-simplified/dumbed-down since my last Imageepoch game.

To be brief, combat is turn-based spread over a 3D grid ala Luminous Arc, separated by free-times in which your character can buy weapon upgrades, find loot, do odd jobs for money, and interact with party members in order to unlock new support abilities. With combat, the atrocious AI aside, it’s relatively vanilla and doesn’t rock the conventions very much. It’s blasé to say the very least, with an outdated concept of PP-based skills that is actually a regress with its lack of any equivalent to Luminous Arc’s Flash Drives aside from the conducting (which doesn’t do much for strategic depth). There is no more depth beyond these standard attacks and skill-attacks, so what you see is what you get all the way through your 50+ hour game. Moving your team members around a strategically-lacking battle area has never felt more unexciting as a direct result, and makes grinding all the more painful to do. And you’re going to have to do a lot of it.

Compounding the problems to combat are the enemies. The AI in the game utilizes little form of strategy or out-maneuvering. If it has a better shot at greater damage output (such as attacking my characters from behind) it doesn’t do it, and as is the case almost all the time they rush the nearest available frailest unit and zerg-rush them without any semblance for party-cohesion/roles. For example, even when my tank Archibald is quite vulnerable sitting at a low health, enemies still often rush my witch who’s at full HP because the AI simply cannot understand strategy and the benefits of knocking down selective units. The challenge instantly turns to frustration as early game I didn’t even bother using healing units very often, since they have to come close to another party member in order to heal, yet then become vulnerable to long-range enemies’ ridiculous ranges. On the other hand, some skills thankfully offer low-mobility characters like Archibald with long range attacks to attack past 2 squares, which is sorely appreciated for such a slow unit, and it theoretically gives these characters better usage early-game with stronger party cohesion. However, this does not work as well as it should, as you often cannot attack diagonal squares aside from magic skills. For me, that defeats the purpose of trying to give slower units a greater mobility. Yes, Archibald gets better later on in the game, but there is little logic to not allowing long range attacks in general, Archibald or otherwise, to hit diagonal boxes especially when terrain heavily limits your ideal range of movement anyways. Some elements of Fire Emblem would’ve been great here, like diagonal attacks and earlier long range healing skills. Otherwise, everything else about the combat system is solid, such as the satisfying range of roles in your party, and the activities that you can do in between battle times are varied and interesting.

As for story, it’s about a generic protagonist with a mysterious past who has the power to collect witches, in true harem spirit–as is plastered all over the back cover. I’m not going to complain too much about the generic plot as much as I hate it, it’s simply there to provide a backdrop for the challenges that our characters will face after all, and none of the party members felt forced or too out of place. However, any longtime JRPG player will recognize the story going through the motions in a half hearted attempt to try and set these characters beyond their archetypes to no avail, and the writers have every blame for this. In a game like this it’s imperative for it to be a worthy character story, with immersive character conflicts to make up for the lackluster backdrop concerning some generic kingdom under attack by some generic villains. Unfortunately however, by the end, there is very little characterization. Well, apart from “She’s not shy anymore” and “He’s less strict now.”

Lastly, the user interface is clunky and bare bones to put it lightly. Whilst in battle, you cannot access an options menu to adjust your game settings, it is only available outside of that and events. Even then, the options menu is simply pathetic. There are volume sliders, options to turn off combat animation (which is already available in battle), and little else besides it. No options for changing the controls to adjust the inversion, utter disuse of the circle pad, story recaps, turtle paced scenes, and the list goes on. But at least the game looks good for the 3DS and the soundtrack isn’t half-bad, even if the fan service is irksome as hell and never stops, but that point is rather moot with a game like this that lets you know what you’re in for with the cover. Overall, if you haven’t picked this game up yet I’d recommend you give it a try at least, it’s honestly far better than the likes of Lord of Magna.

Storytelling: 5/10 Average fantasy story
Gameplay: 7/10 Limitations aplenty, but otherwise strong system that remains familiar
User Interface: 3/10 Clunky and frustrating
Production values: 9/10 Looks and sounds great for the 3DS

Suggestions:

Fire Emblem Fates

Luminous Arc

Lord of Magna

CHANGE USERNAME
Lenlo
Oh your right, it was Deen. I got them mixed up. JC staff has Food Wars. Thats what I get for peeking at a list of anime during work.
Anonymous1422679
That being said, no reason why you can't watch the OVAs before the TV series as well.
Anonymous1422679
@SuperMario Not at all, the Maho Yome OVAs are technically anime original (made with plot and design contributions by the original author though). The majority of the 3 episodes are a prologue but it probably makes more sense to have read/watched a bit of the original series to have context of the world setting and present day characters who also appeared.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Rakugo was deen I thought? Not JC staff?
Lenlo
@Aidan, yeah its a dark day. Animation will go down because the new director cant call in a bunch of freelance friends and im not to excited about the directing.

Still, they made quality pieces like Rakugo. I can hope.
Kaiser-Eoghan
But I'm at least thankful to be getting a non 12s/pg action film.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I remember the church scene in the first one.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Still wish the action scenes didn't have that modern editting though.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I took too long to get Colin Firth back into the story too.
Though the idea of Colin Firth of all actors being in a film like this is amusing in itself.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I also saw the new kingsman recently, when it focuses on the action its almost up there with the first film, I liked Julianne Moore's villain better than Sam Jacksons and wanted her to have more screentime, the Elton John running joke kind of grew on me. It was overall funny without being hilarious. but theres a whole chunk in the middle of the film I'd have cut
AidanAK47
Seen Kingsman 2. I think the critics are being too harsh with this one as the movies fine. Difinitely not as good as the first flim and far too long a running time but it has its fun points.
AidanAK47
@Lenlo, Oh you must be jokin...oh god it's real. No Shingo Natsume either. Yep looks like the second season is going to be a major visual downgrade.
Lenlo
Hmm, so One Punch Man is getting a 2nd Season, but its being made by JC Staff instead of Madhouse.
SuperMario
A question: Do we need to watch Mahoutsukai no Yome OVAs before watching its first episode?
SuperMario
@Amagi: they better have a second season. The way it ends now I don't even have any motivation to write a full review. I'm not really optimistic over it having a second cour because if the producers were confident about its chance, they would've greenlit it already.
Amagi
@SuperMario: Seems like the official radio confirmed PriPri might get a second season if the BD and/or game sales are good enough. - BD sales seem to be around 7k at the moment, but it looks like many only ordered them now, after the last episode, so it might be more.
KTravlos
@Aidan. Oh I did. Thank you for reminding me. I will write the review.
AidanAK47
@Travlos, Just in case you missed it, there is a reply to you earlier in the chatbox.
KTravlos
Kakeguiri also ended. In the end the anime original ending was not really an ending, but just a fan pleasing excursion. The integrity of the manga story remains. It was a good adaption, and I liked it as it brought to life the parts of the manga that make it interesting to me. Also a great Opening and Ending. Good show.
KTravlos
And to sum it up. I think this was a great series. All its episodes were good.
KTravlos
I actually am ok with the PP ending. The 12 episode series is self contained. Sure there are many future potential stories to pursue, but I felt there was enough closure to make the series a good series. This is because the next step of the narrative is really so long term as being more LOGH material than PP (the story of the ascension of Princesss to the throne, and then the story of her reforms)
Lenlo
Alright, I found the read more tag. Now my tendency to write more than I should will be contained.
AidanAK47
@Mario, Got to play catch-up but I am guessing it was very much a non ending?
SuperMario
Gosh, is that how Princess Principal end?
SuperMario
@KAiser: I really have a mixed feeling watching Assayas's films. I always find his works toe touch into pretentious area. Still have much more films from him I want to watch though so that opinion might change
SuperMario
@Kaiser: As Tears go By surprised me a little considering how straightforward it is. It's Wong's most by the book HK romance but it was one of his most commercial success. After this, the studio allowed him to do things he like and that was when he gone banana with his styles
SuperMario
not a fan. Can't even tell the difference between turtle and tortoise
Anonymous1420257
i like turtles
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: I hadn't expected some of the dry/dark humour in sils Maria, I liked the themes/aging angst and its comments on hollywood in parts even if it needed to go a bit deeper. Stewart is a revelation in it. That X-men parody scene was fucking funny lol
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: I actually kind of liked As tears go by. Mostly because of my experiences with hong-kong action flicks, much as I like John Woos films, the melodrama he tries to sell between the action never worked for me and left me just waiting around for the action to come round again. Wong was able to put genuine emotion into the hong-kong action film with this one.
Amagi
@Aidan: Somehow. The problem is rather Haruki anyway and it's canonically part of her character. Kei becomes more likeable IMO and the events get much more complicated and/or serious plus there are a bunch of characters getting added to the protag team which makes the whole thing more dynamic. The best comes when some other character joins around the middle though.
Anonymous1416115
Personally, I can digest the emotionless dialogue in the first place since I watch the series with the mindset that the main characters are innately "broken" in some ways.
Anonymous1416115
@Aidan Hmm...one might consider the emotion level increases in main characters' dialogues for Sakurada Reset as baby steps depending on how dramatic one expects a character to act in other animes. (The emotions increase do exist though) There are certainly emotional scenes and characters do develop in ways where one can't just say they're 100% robots.
AidanAK47
@Travlos, If you so wish then you can write a review for Bahamut virgin soul. Just let me know if you are up for it. If so I recommend writing it up on google docs, then when you have it done I can give your account contributer status and you can paste it into a post for us to look over and publish on the site. For screenshots our standard size is H240 X W138.
AidanAK47
Did they ever fix that emotionless dialgoue issue they had going on?
Anonymous1415748
You are not alone. The second half of Sakurada Reset made me so glad that I stuck with the series.
Amagi
Oh and I totally forogt Reset ended now too. Not sure if I am the only fan of that but the whole second half was one of the better things I've seen this year.
Amagi
Okay now thinking three others came into my mind, but that's still not much. A lot of series started interesting and turned out mediocre or cheap after a while.
Amagi
Considering that I love Made in Abyss, PrinPrin, Fate/Apo (so far) and 18if too guess this season was better than I've expected. 2016 was kind of a let down imo, animewise. Off the top of my head I only remember Rakugo, Fune wo Amu and Bokudake I think.
Amagi
I didn't expect to like Virgin Soul as much as I do. Especially the last ~5 episodes got me. The weird thing is that I was disappointed by S1 actually.
SuperMario
@Travlos: I don't mind if you do a guess review on Virgin Soul, but let's me check with other admins first.

On Virgin Soul, I'm not sure if I like the bew development. It suddenly does a 180 degree turn on King Charriot, which I don't feel rewarding.
KTravlos
Kakegurui will have an anime original ending. It might be better than the ongoing manga. We shall see. An enjoyable foray.

Virgin Soul is going for a nice explosive ending. If no one writes a review, I would be willing to write one.
Kaiser-Eoghan
*kind of
Kaiser-Eoghan
While its very much in the shadow of the first and the protaganist started out kind annoying, I kind of got caught up in the spectacle and sentimentality of gunbuster 2.
KTravlos
Urasawa is preparing a new manga
KTravlos
yes the episode where Julian watched the documentary was fun. The Caligula like character comes from one of the lesser episodes of the series, when Kircheis beats up some rebelling third rate noble in the Empire.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Goddammit, fail, it just changed the colour of the login name...
Kaiser-Eoghan
I declare in the red truth that the next anime I shall watch is Diebuster.
Kaiser-Eoghan
From what little I saw, I remember a Caligula like character in one episode.
Anonymous1409409
I remember there's an episode where Julian just goes on Space Netflix and just watches a documentary. I actually liked that lol
KTravlos
yup, a LOGH that run like the Altair anime would be bad. It needs to show the sweep of history
AidanAK47
@Anon, I actually liked that aspect. It made the history of the world feel real.
Anonymous1409027
It's compressible, as there are many episodes of buildup, but that's where so many of the interesting details and depth of planning become evident. Some of those episodes read like a history textbook though, so we'll see how the new adaptation handles them,
Anonymous1409027
*pleasantly
KTravlos
Tytania was ok.
Kaiser-Eoghan
On the Amakusa Shiro reference in the fate review, I've seen a film about him from the 50s , theres also an old josei manga where the protagonist ends up becoming essentially regarded as him.
KTravlos
Hi Kaiser. Supposedly this is a re-imagining of the original story. Thus independent of the OVAs (old serieis). What exactly re-imagining means is something I and you do not know. We shall see. But it does mean that you do not need to watch the old series to enjoy this one. The OVA was definetly more expansive than the novels. So my guess is they will stick to the novels.
Kaiser-Eoghan
There's another anime, called Tytania based on his novels but I haven't seen that series.
Kaiser-Eoghan
As in condensable in the way nothing much is lost? I assume there are fillers in the original?
Kaiser-Eoghan
I'm indifferent to the aesthetics of the new version. What I'm hoping for is that it will be accessible to newcomers and that I'll be able to jump on to the old series where the new one leaves off. I've seen very little of the original and it was a long time ago, is there any way the story is condensable?
KTravlos
The fact that they stayed away from the disgusting new manga is great. I am not too keen on the CGI ships, but they also did not rankle. It looks like it will honor the spirit of the old series, and I cannot ask for more. I am a massive LOGH fan. And the new video out gives me hope of revisiting one of the greatest sci-fi/historical settings out there. I am happy.
AidanAK47
I hope they are using the old anime as a base and not the new Manga adaption. As that Manga adaption is seriously lacking.
AidanAK47
@Anon, I like that they blinged up the space battles which is good because those things could get tiresome. But I really hate the design of Yang Wenli. They made him look so much younger and bishi. I don't think i could take this guy seriously if he started one of Wenli's signature hypothesis.
Anonymous1408919
Thoughts on that new LOGH PV? My expectations were low, so I'm presently surprised. Obviously they made everybody pretty boys, and Mamoro Miyano is voicing Reinhard I believe. But art and animation actually looks pretty decent overall. It's a PV, and LOGH's best quality is it's story and characters, so we'll have to see if they remain faithful or not. But it's nice to see it get a visual overhaul.
AidanAK47
By the way this site has the first chapters but check the other versions to find them.
http://mangapark.me/manga/tsurezure-children-wakabayashi-toshiya
AidanAK47
@Mario, Indeed. It's also a pity that over half the couples in the manga were not featured. We only got a small taste of Patricia.
SuperMario
Or maybe I'll try to read the manga. The last time I checked it online, the site doesn't have its first few chapters
SuperMario
@Aidan: man, Tsurezure Children sure is sweet. Really sad to see it ends
AidanAK47
So that's the end of Tsurezure Children.
....I'm gonna need a second season. Now.
....NOW GODDAMNIT! NOW!
KTravlos
As I said I understand the criticisms to RE:Creator, but ultimately I enjoyed most of the show. It could had been better, and it is a missed chance. But I have seen worse.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I gave up halfway through, there weren't even enough action scenes and those that were didn't justify waiting around for.
AidanAK47
Could have at least delivered on the action but that was rendered pointless due to the majority of the cast turning good and Altair being a complete cheat character.
AidanAK47
It would have been really fun to see characters discuss their stories with their creators or indulge in what our world has to offer but they really glossed over that part.
AidanAK47
It really should have gone deeper into the whole meta aspect introducing anime characters to the real world. Like they did with Mamika's powers being ridiculously destructive when outside a kid friendly setting.
AidanAK47
@Puran, I at least like the message of the final episode. But as for the show itself it was just missed potential on a lot of levels. I wanted Anime Genre battle royale and instead got a secondhand Shirobako with a crap shounen anime attached.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I have been forgiving of Anno as I've gotten older.
Kaiser-Eoghan
I also just re-watched gunbuster, I'd previously dismissed the ova after a few episodes when I was a teenager, I'd found it too slow, didn't have that issue with the 90 minute version I just finished. I've never see the sequels.
Lenlo
Ill have to finish Creators... at some point
Kaiser-Eoghan
I've been dipping back into the Lupin franchise, Gold of babylon was particularly screwball, kind of ridiculous comedy caper/adventure thing you just have to run with....turns out it was directed by a live action filmaker I especially like who made bizzare noir films in the 60s.
Puran
So that explains why Meteora had so much air time in Re:Creators. It's her story....

I hated the ending and I disliked the anime overall.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: It was a genuine surprise to see that Assayas decided to make a film framed around hentai =P
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: I loved how incoherent demonlover was.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: The criticisms I'll give wind river, is a slight inconsistent performance from Renner and that very awkwardly inserted flashback scene.
SuperMario
@Kaiser: on Wind River, I agree it's a well-executed case of the week drama, although there are some plot pregressions that I don't get (how did they find out about the man's corspe again?). About Demonlover, man, the film gives me a chill down my spine. Heartless. And a bit misogynist.
SuperMario
@Kaiser: as much as I loved Wong (yeah I too prefer him over Malick), sometimes I do think Western cinema give him too much praise that sadly overshadow other Asian directors.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: Wong is important to me as a hong-kong filmaker, he offers something entirely different from the whole Woo/Lam Hong komg movies.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: On a more positive note Maggie Cheung did mention that she felt her early work with Wong was when she first truly became a proper actress.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: ....I had no idea he had such a sad background.
Kaiser-Eoghan
*investigation drama
SuperMario
@Kaiser: that film also marked/ signified a rather sad period of Hongkong showbiz. Leslie Cheung badically lived the live of the protagonist and commited suicide in 1997. His girlfriend on screen, during the filming, was kidnaped, raped and taken topless picture. The damnest thing is that everyone knowed the culprit but did nothing, and in the press it was just deemed as "kipnapped and assaulted"
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: Wind river was a big surprise for me, just goes to show that with the right execution an ordinary police drama movie can be elevated higher.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: Thats the interesting thing, tracking a directors career.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Just binge watched the new dominion tank police ovas , admittedly these are kind of reptitive and extremely silly but its hard to hate on something so shamelessly fun that made me feel like a child again.
SuperMario
@Kaiser: you said it there. DoBW is rather raw and unpolished but that's one of the reason why I am drawn to it more compare to his other works.
AidanAK47
In all honesty, it would be nice to finally see a continuation after fusion as all games after that have just been adding chapters in-between.
Vonter
Finally I wonder, if Metroid Prime 4 will definitely branch out of the main Metroid's continuity. It's curious how an interquel subseries is still going to add things in between the first and the second entries in the main franchise.
Vonter
AidanAK47 - I think is nice we can see both takes. Especially since neither one despite a few qualms are still very solid entries for this franchise. I just hope Metroid moves forward, as IMO this is the only game that really needed a facelift do to the heavy limitations of the gameboy. And I hope the secret gallery at the end is teasing how the producer plans to move the plot forward.
AidanAK47
I thought it might be like that but it's good to know they are at least on a close level. I didn't really want Samus Returns to replace AM2R as the "Definitive" version of Metroid 2. Mostly because a lot of love was put into AM2R andit came at a point when it felt Nintendo didn't give a crap about Metroid.
Vonter
Like Zero Mission there's something added to Samus Returns but I'll just leave it at that.
Vonter
I think both have strong points. Samus Returns have better boss battles, gameplay mechanics and more intense action pieces. AM2R IMO has more atmosphere, takes advantage of elements Nintendo don't even try like the Federation subplot, and the ending portion narratively has more heart in AM2R, while in Samus Returns it feels mostly like "the final level".
Vonter
I also did got lost a couple of times in Samus Returns and aside from the big water section in AM2R, the latter is more linear game.
Vonter
I think the controls in Samus Returns bring more to the table though. The 360 aiming makes for better ways to shoot enemies and some of the bosses take advantage of that. If it weren't for the 3DS giving hand cramps because you're holding L and R at several points it'll be completely the most ideal way to play.
Vonter
AidanAK47 - AM2R is very good, I think it has the advantage that because it uses sprites IMO backgrounds and enemies are more vibrant and easier to appreciate. The Federation soldiers are better executed in AM2R and that secret section with the ship is very eery.
AidanAK47
@Vonter, How does it stack up to AM2R? I bought it and am still waiting on it to be delivered but I have the feeling that AM2R would be the better game when comparing.
Vonter
I took me 12 hours to 100% and I've heard the best ending is beating it in less than 4 hours. I think unlike Zero Mission item percentage don't matter, it's mainly to unlock an art gallery.
Vonter
My main criticism is this being a 3DS game. Small enemies can be hard to see or appreciate. And I think the 3DS wasn't made for heavy action packed games like this or Smash Bros. I got the rubber from the circle pad come off in two occasions. Also unless there was something big in the background, several areas felt lacking in detail. Still Samus and the bosses look good.
Vonter
In terms of difficulty, the game has the enemies packing more damage than in other 2D Metroids. Is difficult in the sense than you can't tank damage as in other iterations, you have to be aware of enemy behavior and bosses mainly get easier do to familiarizing with their patterns, since I did die a lot each time I faced a new boss. And got used to kill them faster as I went along.
Vonter
Ok, so I beat Samus Returns. It's quite good. Unlike Fusion that had dialogue at midst the gameplay. Samus Returns only has a prologue of exposition and any cutscenes mainly accentuate the reactions of Samus confronting a new enemy. The level design is dense, despite having isolated areas like in Fusion and the original Samus Returns, each area is very mazelike.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: =< Awww I kind of like demonlover actually despite all its flaws, it had great sound design and had this cold, clinical, un-nerving mood to it.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: Days of being wild does feel a bit un-realized/un-polished/rough compared to his other work definitely but its probably the rawest I've seen from him and that has its appeal.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: Haven't seen farewell my concubine come to think of it. Regarding the scifi element I felt I embraced it more further into the film when it started to intermingle more.
While I am more forgiving toward Malick's recent films than most, that decline in quality means I have to pick Wong.
KTravlos
by the way in RE:Creators we probably will be getting a future series focusing on the hunt for Magane :p Meteora probably playing the role of detective. I also bet her novel will be wordy and heavy in exposition :p
KTravlos
i.e his end game might had been a cross-species revolution against him anyway. We will see
KTravlos
In Bahamut Chris proves to not be totally evil, but he is totally crazy. That said I am seeing one of my hunches getting supported, the hunch was that his cruelty towards daemons was with the purpose of bringing them down enough that they would be willing to work with humans as euals (As they are in Jean's army) and thus via that create a more unified world. I
KTravlos
RE: Creators has come to its end. I know the problems everyone has with it, and while it failed to raise to the level of exceptional show, I loved it. As I said, it had been years since a show kept me so excited episode after episode. They blew it at some point, but ultimately for me this is an en-joyful show, and one I would happily binge watch in the future again.
SuperMario
@Kaiser: question for you though, between these two directors, which one do you prefer: Wong Kar-Wai or Terrance Malick?
SuperMario
@Kaiser: if you enjoyed both 2046 and In the Mood for Love, by all mean check out Days of Being Wild. The trio forms a loose trilogy and Days of Being Wild was the first film that Wong began his unique unconventional style. It's one of my personal favorite of Wong and it's a chance for you to watch the late Leslie Cheung acted (you might watch him already in Farewell My Concubine)
SuperMario
@Kaiser: 2046 is indeed a passionate film, and one of his best looking film. He tried something different in 2046 too, experimented with scifi (one of the best part in the film for me)
SuperMario
@Kaiser: it's stritcly Wong Kar Wai's romance we're talking about, since I don't find the rest of Chinese take on romance that interesting. Romance or melodrama is one of his main theme throughout his career
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: It was slightly overly long however.
I've also seen chungking express, in the mood for love and fallen angels. I think this Chinese take on romance is really clicking with me.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: I also thought it was a very passionette film and I love how Kar-wong-wai uses the music in it. I also think its one of his best looking films.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Mario: I had a look at that Chinese film 2046, very effectively melancholic take on fleeting relationships while also successfully being quite sensual while staying classy and without ever showing too much. Tony Leung and Maggie Cheung are two beautiful people =P
SuperMario
for those who still want to catch up with 18if, episode 11 has a huge recap, while wrapping up the show with a new overarching plot. Hopefully they don't pull another Matrix here
SuperWooper
It's shounen-y for sure. The competitions have been my least favorite parts of the show so far. If you're still watching, you might appreciate it more once the Tenpei Cup is over.
Anonymous1399692
Damn Ballroom looks so good. But I really can't enjoy it despite that I want to. It has too many of these typical shounen moments and plot points I can't stand.
Anonymous1399684
Omae wa mou shindeiru
Lenlo
Mononoke is actually what made me find Ayakashi. Also a good show.
SuperMario
Regarding Ayakashi, I only watched the Mononoke segment
SuperMario
"It was a long, long trip, and we're coming finally to the end of the journey. Thank you, Manoyama and Chupacabra. And thank you, 5 EURO" - Sandal-san.
Lenlo
Ayakashi was great for me Kaiser. I enjoyed my time with it
Vonter212
@AidanAK47 - The hard aspect has been commented in several reviews with bosses being able to easily kill you. (Although in my experience it might be just getting a pattern). In terms of length most 2D games can be beaten under 3 hours. This one seems to clock at at least 6 to 15 if you want to collect everything. Then again, we'll see in subsequent playthroughs.
AidanAK47
`@Vonter. It's out now but I don't remember seeing anyone claim it's the longest hardest entry 2D wise.
Kaiser-Eoghan
Going to watch new dominion tank police next and read violence action and Oddman 11.
Kaiser-Eoghan
It took me years to get round to it, but I finally watched Ayakashi and as expected like most anthologies, again its mixed, the first is a solid ghost story that improves after a weak start, but that third one with the cat spirit was great, really liked how experimental that looked.
Vonter
Soo a new Metroid comes out this week. It is said, it's the longest, hardest entry in regards to the 2D iterations. Still not as great as Super, and depending on your fanaticism it might or not be as good as Zero Mission.
SuperMario
But they didn't pull that scene off too well. It's just... unmemorable. In fact the whole show is very unremarkable. Now only 1 episode left I might as well finish it but I won't give it a full review
SuperMario
Koi to Uso has been disappointing so far. Episode 10 featured the sequence that i was looking forward the most in the manga: the former classmate tells the one sided crush of the main girl from her POV. For a romance that contrived and manipulated like this one, hearing this from the third person's perspective prove to be more powerful
Vonter
@HelghastKillzone - Good luck with that. I almost had my car's engine damaged since it has been raining heavily where I live. Had to ask for help the next day to pull it out of mud. Still not as bad as the other three cars that did get stuck in the water.
HelghastKillzone
Dealing with work and the total loss of my car really sucks at the moment so I'm quite tied up for this week.
KTravlos
I do agree to a point, but to be frank all the episodes of Princess Principal to date have been so solid I have a hard time deciding. Episode 5 though was still the best from a holistic point (action, direction, music etc) was the one introducing Chise
SuperMario
Agree. Dorothy has the biggest heart out of all the spy girls. Also "help" that her episodes are all melodramatic.
Amagi
This episode of PrinPrin showed again that Dorothy is the best character by far. Not just herself but her episodes as well are better written than the rest if you ask me.
KTravlos
It just hit me. The characters in Princess Principal may be very well working for IngSoc :p
AidanAK47
@Kaiser, in the seven chapters it's only really two of them that contain dark shocking content. Chapter three being the biggest one in that regard.
Kaiser-Eoghan
@Aidan: I read a comment where someone said subahibi shocked them more than saya no uta. While I haven't played it yet, I have seen some of a letsplay...it lleft me thinking....how many hours until this actually gets good/truly unhinged .
AidanAK47
After Reading SubaHibi, Made in Abyss's dark turn didn't shock me too much. Maybe I just got desensitised. I will have a review of SubaHibi hopefully up in a week though to clarify my feelings on it after just finishing it, It was interesting but disappointing.
Total users: 22

Featured Posts

The Reflection – 10 [Eleanor]

This week The Reflection finally gives us some quality time with our main villain, as Wraiths plan hits its final stages. Lets jump in. Reflection opens on Elen arriving at the mansion we saw at the end of last week, meeting evil!Stan Lee. Deciding that her decision to give herself up for the sake of […]

Kakegurui – 12[Gambling Woman]

It’s been awhile since I seen an anime original ending and honestly I was rather dreading it when I started this episode. Anime original endings don’t have a good track record as of course attempting to tack on an abrupt conclusion to an ongoing story is not going to turn out swimmingly. Even if I […]

Made in Abyss – 12[The True Nature of the Curse]

Today’s topic is the curse of the abyss alongside much needed revenge against the creature that put Riko in a bad spot. We get a rare glimpse of the topside village where one of the orphan kids we saw previously is deathly sick on his birthday. This caught me off guard as I believe I […]

Katsugeki Touken Ranbu – 13 [Katsugeki]

Welcome to the final week of Katsugeki/Touken Ranbu, where the plot is rushed and the art is at its best. Lets jump in. Ranbu opens this week with the title card, skipping the OP. Looks like they want all the time they can get. Picking up where they left off, Ranbu has Horikawa go and […]

Princess Principal – 12 [Case 24 Fall of the Wall]

Is that seriously how they end Princess Principal? Nothing is resolved at all except Ange breaks down the wall around her heart to welcome her team to the Casablanca’s paradise. Everything screams “second season” and with the sales aren’t that impressive from what I gathered, will they ever get one? It comes hard for me […]

18if – 12 [The Witch Wars]

Let me just say, I’m all in favor for 18if having a proper closure, but I’m wholly disappointed with what happening right now. This episode is just all over the place. For instance, I’m just as glad as the next person to see all the Witches gathering back in real life to help Haruto, but […]

Classroom of the Elite – 11 [What People Commonly call Fate is Mostly their Own Stupidity]

So suddenly, without mentioned at any point before, Horikita can suddenly kicks ass? Or that Horikita has been sick ALL THIS TIME? Or that Horikita still can kick some ass while being sick all this time? Since when the Class-D boys shrink into only Ayanokouji, Hirata and the 3 idiots? On that note, where is […]

Ballroom e Youkoso – 11 [Evaluation]

And so the Tenpei Cup comes to a close at last. It took five episodes to get from the first round to the awards ceremony, and not all parts of the competition were created equal, but I’m happy that my girl Mako managed to claim the Ballroom Queen award. After she received the trophy, there […]

Kakegurui – 11[The woman who bets her life]

So…what am i supposed to say here? Yumeko wins, the treasurer loses and now the show looks to be teasing a matchup between the Student council President and Yumeko. I would say it’s a good thing this shows end looms near as my interest in it has just about petered out. I love seeing smug […]

Latest Reviews

Sakura Quest (Summer 2017) Review – 79/100

Conceived as a third installment in a loose P.A Works trilogy about young adult girls in working environment, Sakura Quest both knows its target audience well, and has some big shoes to fill. After all, many have considered Shirobako an install classic for good reasons. As it turns out, Sakura Quest is more on the […]

Castlevania Season 1 Review – 70/100

Upon hearing that Castlevania would be getting an animated TV series my first reaction was that of unpleasant surprise. Part of the reason was because of the video games infamous history with adapting their stories to other mediums but my main reason was that being familiar with the Castlevania games, I knew the story was […]

Tsuki ga Kirei (Spring 2017) Review – 88/100

It’s hard for me not to go overboard on Tsuki ga Kirei: out of all the show I’ve followed this season, I resonated the most to this one; but even when I’m judging this show objectively, Tsuki ga Kirei is one of the most perfect one, in a way that it achieved exactly what it […]

Seikaisuru Kado Review 51/100

Seikaisuru Kado was a title which caught my attention for a number of reasons. For one it’s visuals showed not a single teenager in sight and a cast mainly consisting of working adults. Another is that it deals with a premise not often tackled in anime, Philosophical Science Fiction. The story features an alien being […]

ID-0 (Spring 2017) Review – 81/100

Here comes one of the most under-appreciated anime of this Spring season. ID-0 has many hassles that keeps viewers away from watching it: Netflix exclusive, full CG animation and a plot that just plain weird and a bit incomprehensive at first view. I originally took it as nothing more than fun spooky little-seen show until […]

Grimoire of Zero (Spring 2017) Review – 77/100

I remember, back in our first impression of this series, Aidan remarked that Grimoire of Zero isn’t your typical LN-adaptations, but he didn’t know what to make of it. To be honest, after watching an entire cour, I’m still unsure what to make of it myself. This show has some serious flaws, yet despite all […]

Uchoten Kazoku Review – 94/100

(Note: Since psgels didn’t give his final review to the first season, this review is for the entirety of Eccentric Family. If I had to grade the second season alone, it’s 90/100). Doesn’t matter how you look at it, the Eccentric Family is a unique show, in a way it feels and tastes like no […]

Little Witch Academia TV Review – 80/100

The Little Witch Academia series has been something that’s a long time coming. Ever since Studio Trigger made the original Anime OVA back in 2013 I have been hotly anticipating the time when it would be fleshed out into it’s own anime series. I love both the original OVA and the enchanted Parade so this […]

Window Horses (2016) Movie Review – 87/100

In Window Horses, or its full name Window Horses – The Poetic Persian Epiphany of Rosie Ming, many characters keep asking the main protagonist, a Stick Girl in an otherwise fully formed character designs, why is she wearing a chador, in which she’s unable to reply. It’s her first trip to go overseas, so she […]