Chaos Blogg 70: Bones, Bones and Cubones

Okay I’m back, I hope you all had a good Easter and whatnot. At the very least I hope you got to enjoy plenty of chocolate. In this Blogg I’ll be looking at several games, anime, and movies in a quicker way than normal but there’s a possibility of some mild ranting. You’ll find out checking down bellow obviously but right now I have no clue. Some more notable things in this blog include Pokemon Yellow, Batman v Superman and Zootopia. Anyway on with the show I guess, lets kick it off with some remixes.

Aldnoah Zero (Anime):

A sci-fi action anime with a lot of potential and a pretty good first season which focused on the protagonist overcoming the odds using wit, with a secondary protagonist having to deal with living life amongst the invaders and treated as a slave of sorts. Visuals and Audio are fine but half way through the writing starts turning to shit, the narrative loses focus and a lot of meaning and outside of an awesome battle or two it doesn’t do much to redeem the losses and quite frankly it has a terrible ending. It’s a loss of great potential and not a show I can recommend at all.

Grim Fandango Remastered (PSVita): 

A fun classic point and click adventure game, a type of game I haven’t had too much experience with but one I find to be interesting. This game has nice visuals although the remastering isn’t much to brag about. The soundtrack is very nice and while the game has it’s frustrating moments that make you feel stupid, it’s still an enjoyable story with nice voice acting and humorous dialogue. Aside from small frustrations there’s also issues with performance as the game froze on me several times and often took ages to save (which you need to do a lot since it can freeze at random). Overall though if you can find it for cheap it’s well worth playing and I am glad I got to play it.

The Finest Hours (Movie): 

A live action Disney movie based on a true story about an oil tanker accident in the 1950s. It’s a fairly straight forward movie that was nice to watch but didn’t leave much of an impression. Maybe watch this with the family or something, you could do far much worse and there’s at least some interesting themes and characters although the romance element might be a tad sappy for some (Since I have little idea on how to define levels of sappiness). I personally thought it was handled decently and tugged at the heart strings a little. Nothing amazing but I don’t regret going to see it.

Zootopia (Movie): 

Due to obnoxious crowds I missed the very start of this movie so I can’t quite say it fully captivated me. In fact all I can say it was an enjoyable watch with the usual Disney polish and a movie that certainly trampled over the lacklustre Frozen. The performances are enjoyable for the most part and there’s some good humour and plenty of visually stunning action. However there’s also this weird shakira character all over the place and the message of the film is very on the nose to an almost a cringe inducing degree. Thankfully the ending saves this to a degree but something still feels off and I can’t quite put my finger on it, however chances are you’ll be in the majority and enjoy it so it’s probably worth checking out.

Pokemon Yellow (3DS VC): 

Back in the day I received a copy of Pokemon Red alongside my game boy colour. Of course I was quite young and was absolutely terrible at it, never getting past the halfway point (until replaying it on emulator). Somewhere along the line I lost my cartridge and I’m glad to finally to own an official copy of a gen 1 game again. The game hasn’t aged terribly well but it was still enjoyable to play and in some ways the simplicity was refreshing. If you want to enjoy a nostalgic flashback I can recommend playing this, however you may just want to try it out on emulators. Emulators will allow various mods and other cool shit which could make things fresh. It’s got an excellent soundtrack, great core gameplay and improved sprites over Red and Blue versions, plus the gen 1 mons can be moved over to the new games coming out this year which is bound to make things interesting.

Yamada-kun to 7-nin no Majo (Anime):

A short romantic comedy anime that somewhat under performs in it’s visuals but excels in it’s soundtrack. For such a short show I was surprised by the amount of closure at the end. In some regards it was a little rushed (mainly in the latter half) but I’ve seen far worse when it comes to pacing. The characters are for the most part well written and charming, although many don’t get enough screen time. The story was engaging and thankfully the romance elements were well executed although I’ve also seen a lot better. Overall it’s a good anime that may be worth your time if the genre appeals to you and if you’re searching for something shorter.

Metroid Fusion (GBA 3DS):

It’s been such a long time since I played fusion that quite frankly I don’t think I’ve played it once since joining his website. Quite frankly it’s because the game just doesn’t do it for me. However I felt like giving it another shot since it was taking up space on my 3DS (even if it’s just a small amount). Fusions soundtrack has a few decent gems, most of it though is on the forgettable end of the spectrum (So in that regards it’s on level with Prime Hunters). The visuals are kind of hit and miss, I personally think the style is a tad too exaggerated but that’s not really important to my enjoyment and quite frankly much, much worse is on the horizon for the franchise. The gameplay is a decent action shooter and has some cool ideas and innovations (like the ability to grip onto ledges), however in terms of its series it is ‘entry level’. By that I mean that this game barely qualifies due to the obnoxious navigation rooms and the stupid habit of locking doors for dumb reasons. In fact many of its design flaws became the basis for the series worst game and undoubtedly shine light on Sakamotos inability to design a new location that doesn’t suck ass. I’m sorry but a space station with themed sectors just feels lazy in terms of visuals and map design. This problem makes the collection of items feels like a chore before the end game (Zero Mission does this to some degree but it’s more tolerable). It’s sad but ultimately my opinion on this game hasn’t changed much and I can’t recommend it to anyone when the series has far better games available.

Sakurako-san no Ashimoto ni wa Shitai ga Umatteiru (Anime):

Okay onto something more enjoyable. This is another short anime and one that really needs a second season, on it’s own though it is still an interesting experience. Sakurako-san is sort of a sherlock holmes character although I guess the characters quirk is more reminiscent of BONES, although this anime has far better writing, characters and presentation. It’s a rather dark series although that’s to be expected of almost any sort of crime drama (some episodes seem like regular drama though giving it a warm light hearted feeling at times). I think the series is at least worth trying out and I can most certainly recommend it to all but the most squeamish of individuals, although that may be motivated by my desire to see it continue in the future.

Batman v Superman (Movie): 

A surprisingly enjoyable movie which seems to be receiving the harsh end of the stick from the critics and is also doing poorly with normal audiences or at least when compared with its competition in the genre. The film has a cool soundtrack, and does a better job visually than its predecessor, Man of Steel which is one of the worst super hero movies to come out in the past 6 years. If you lower your expectations what you’ll find is a fun action movie with some cool ideas and set pieces, plus some unintentionally hilarious faces (among other forms of unintentional humour). Just don’t expect an amazing plot or for any major character development, although by now you should be well aware of the problems most people find in the movie. For me though it was a fun experience and quite frankly the genre has lived through far worse (Looking at you early 2000’s Hulk).

Nova-111 (PSVita): 

A small turn based puzzle game which is surprisingly fun and has some interesting mechanics. It has a nice soundtrack and decent visuals, although it is quite clear that the main focus of the game is by far the gameplay. It’s not the most engaging game but it involves some collectibles and secrets and the game does require you to think to obtain them all. It’s worth picking up on sale, but otherwise I don’t think I can recommend it at full price since its rather short and indie puzzle games are quite common.

Klonoa: The door to Phantomile (PSN):

A classic PS1 game that I don’t even remember hearing about as a kid, which is quite a shame since Klonoa is an excellent game that would’ve been perfect for my younger self in the adjustment between 2D and 3D. This game could be described as 2.5D however it functions far more like a traditional 2D platformer just with some extra cool shit. The games wonderful visuals, excellent soundtrack and surprisingly emotional storytelling make it almost a must play title for the system or at least platformers on said system. It was short most certainly but I loved almost every minute of it since the gameplay was just that fun and in many cases relaxing. I highly recommend it.

Heavy Object (Anime):

What seems a potentially generic mech based anime ends up turning into more of a series about a two man team taking down giant mechs, often with minimal equipment and often without the assistance of their own giant mech. It seems to be more of an action comedy than anything else and there is an unusually large amount fan-service which isn’t terrible but certainly wasn’t expected (it’s mostly worked into comedy scenes). The story telling was very segmented into arcs and the underlying plot never quite boils up to the surface. The series isn’t anything remarkable but it was still entertaining and in that regard I can somewhat recommend it.

Okay that’s it for now folks. I hope you voice your feedback and whatnot in the comments, and wish me luck as I undergo more testing to try and figure out what the fuck is wrong with me. Anyway please enjoy some pictures and I hope you have a good day.

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Chaos Blogg 69: Dirty Jokes and Mediocrity

Welcome to 2016, man it’s taken me some time to get this going for the new year but I hope you’ve all been enjoying yourselves to some degree. The title is mainly in reference to one show covered in this blog but I felt that it could be applied to some of the other stuff here. I feel divided on most of the things I’m covering but considering the amount of stuff there’s plenty I feel willing to recommend. Anyway please enjoy the following remixes and jump on in.

GATE (Anime):

An somewhat odd concept that balances nicely comedy and action, along with some drama. Te cast is likeable and interesting and at this point aren’t just one note joke characters like they could have easily been. The only thing stopping me recommending this right now is that it isn’t finished and with the second season airing right now I think you’re better off waiting for it to be complete. It’s a promising anime though so anyone into the medium should keep an eye on it.

Mega Man 4 (Wii U VC): 

A fairly standard and somewhat easy mega man game that introduces the divisive charge shot mechanic. Excellent visuals and music as is the norm for mega man but with something of a ‘russian?’ motif present in the soundtrack. Also this game has such amazing characters as Dust Man and Ring Man. The gameplay is excellent although I can’t say where it ranks in the series. As with most of the classic Mega Man games I recommend it.

Mario Tennis: Ultra Smash (Wii U):

Don’t buy this game folks. If you thought that the 3DS game had a lack of content wait until you see just how much they shaved off on this one. So while we may have a slightly better roster of characters. We only have on stadium, no singleplayer tournament mode and no side games what so-ever. This is fucking pathetic Nintendo and no amount amiibo functionality makes up for this appalling lack of content. In fact imagine Street Fighter V or star wars battlefront but with no PLANS for DLC whatsoever. This is such a waste of money and quite frankly it’s a waste of good visuals, great audio and solid game-play. Fucking bullshit.

Classroom Crisis (Anime): 

A decent anime that centres around a space engineering school/department trying to save their asses from the powers that be. It’s surprising political which I can see being a turn off as it can get a tad boring. I enjoyed the drama and characters though, even if they’re not all handled well. It also wraps up fairly neatly for such a short series. Low Priority but hey it’s worth checking out if you have the time.

Overworld (Anime): 

I actually quite enjoyed this show which I wasn’t expecting due to the set-up being similar to SAO or Accel World. Thankfully this series takes some different angles on the whole concept and it’s a lot of fun overall. I also think the soundtrack helps a fair bit and so does the visual design of the main cast. Very much recommended perhaps even the most recommended anime on this list.

Gex: Enter the Gecko (PS1 on PSN): 

First of all this games voice acting is better in the PAL version or at least less cringe inducing. Secondly this game has not aged particularly well. The camera is terribly clunky and to a degree so is the general platforming. The references are also really dated but there’s some charm to that, along with the visuals and soundtrack which are also quite dated. Gex is a time capsule of the late 90’s and while it is a somewhat fun 3D platformer it is certainly not one I can recommend over the likes of Crash, Spyro, Banjo Kazooie or DK64. But hey there’s a lot worse out there as well folks.

Shimoneta (Anime): 

This anime left me with a sense with dread within the first few episodes. The world presented in this anime is truly a dystopia and one that feels poorly dealt with in this comedy. In fact the series antagonist is only ever directly confronted by one character but then again this antagonist is reduced to a rather one note joke and isn’t much of a threat. It’s a shame since even as a comedy it’s lacking but has so much potential. Anyway even if it’s lacking, it’s overall decent in terms of visuals, soundtrack characters and in action scenes. Don’t recommend it unless you’re really keen on dirty jokes.

The Hateful Eight (Movie): 

So yeah if it wasn’t for that one scene where Samuel L. Jackson rapes some guy on-screen I would have really enjoyed this since it was a chaotic, violent, and fun movie. But I suppose this was done to make some sort of point? But I can only see it as shock material for shock materials sake. I personally found it really distasteful but otherwise the rest of the film was interesting and set at my kind of pace.

Charlotte (Anime):

A good anime but one that has trouble with keeping on track. By that I mean it feels like each episode ends up in a completely different place than when it started without much time to let a single situation sink in. Perhaps this is just a pacing issue but it could also be a flaw in what is otherwise a pretty good story. Ultimately it does well enough in visuals, audio, and characterisation to make it worth watching especially if you enjoyed the likes of Angel Beats.

Super Street Fighter 4: 3D Edition (3DS): 

Perhaps the laziest review on here since I only really played this just to clear up some of my backlog and quite frankly I don’t have the time or skill necessary to actually come close to completing it. However I decided to play it a bit for a couple of days and while I still sucked at it, I found it moderately enjoyable. This version is redundant though since there have been many releases of the game now and the sequel just came out. If you want a fighting game on 3DS I can at least say this is functional and has a pretty good soundtrack and decent visuals.

Dragon Age Origins (PS3): 

Got this game thanks to PS+ and decided to give it a go out of curiosity. The game isn’t the best looking and I can’t say I’m a fan of the soundtrack (although I wouldn’t say it’s bad by any means) but I found myself enjoying the narrative and the level of customisation on offer quite a bit. In fact the game was quite addicting and a lot of fun, even if it had some problems (*cough* inventory space *cough*). I will also note that I didn’t get emotionally invested into the story and characters to the intended degree (except at the start of my play-through) but I put that down to my own preferences and not so much the game itself. More important to note though is just how buggy this game is on PS3 and that it doesn’t exactly run smoothly, at this point I would suggest looking up which platform performs best before considering this one. I do think it’s a worth a shot though, and I will be keeping an eye on the sequels.

Deadpool (Movie):

An action comedy that I found both funny and cringe worthy. Indeed the Deadpool movie is hit and miss which depends entirely on the individuals sense of humour. A lot of it is crude, some of it is witty and quite a lot of it will probably end up rather dated by the next decade. I don’t regret watching it but I don’t outright recommend it either. I think it’s best you look up some trailers or proper reviews before deciding on this one since I’m too divided to be helpful.

And there we go folks. Happy New Year, Happy Australia Day and Happy Valentines Day to you all. As per usual here’s some pictures to wrap things up, hope you have a good day and maybe leave some comments.

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Chaos Blogg 68: GIANT CHRISTMAS SPECIAL

Ladies and gentlemen it’s now closing in on the end of the year and I have been planning to try out a slight variation on the regular format of this series. I would really like feedback on this one. So if you can leave a comment bellow as to which format you prefer that’d be fantastic. I hope you all have a wonderful Christmas and a happy new year, and that you all receive some cool shit. I’ll be spending Christmas Eve with my family which means having to attend two different events it’s going to be quite the task. Also if you want to know about all the shit I end up receiving let me know in the comments or on my wall. After this I’ll be doing my top 10 lists so stay tuned for more content from me soon.

Maybe that’s too many music remixes.

Xeodrifter (PSVita): 

A fun little Metroidvania game that doesn’t exactly do anything amazingly new but still has some cool ideas. I like the visuals, music and the general gameplay in this but it is very basic in comparison to classics of the genre. Worth checking out if it’s on sale but full price might be too much unless you really want more of the genre.

Bridge of Spies (Movie):

A rather enjoyable movie that was quite emotionally moving. Dealing with a Lawyer who has to defend an enemy spy but due to his dedication to his job ends up in some dangerous situations. I thought tom hanks and co. did a good job of this and there’s not much I had to complain about that has stuck in my memory. I recommend it.

Shovel Knight: Plague of Shadows (Wii U): 

Some of the best free dlc I’ve ever seen. Plague of Shadows expands on the world of Shovel Knight and turns side characters into endearing protagonists who have a rather good character arc. Gameplay wise it feels a bit cumbersome and slippery but I do think it’s still a fun time and makes shovel knight worth revisiting. Also the soundtrack is beautiful.

Broken Age (PSVita):

A fun point and click adventure game with an interesting art-style. The dialogue was enjoyable and the story went to some places I never expected. It has problems on the Vita though which made some sections run like shit in an obvious way. It’s worth checking out on sale but I can’t say it’s worth making a priority.

Also will weaton is in this unfortunately, but try and ignore that prick.

Assassin’s Creed Revelations (360):

This game has some neat ideas, but it’s ultimately the same as brotherhood but with a slightly more interesting story. Also the tower defence is ultimately pointless and doesn’t really add or subtract from how I played the games previously but I could see it being a pace-breaker for the more reckless players. Not quite worth the time but it’s still really solid.

Nagi no Asukara (Anime): 

An interesting romantic drama that has some cool twists but also lacks key development in certain areas making some of it feel hollow and unsatisfying. It’s very visually stunning but I can’t say I recommend this highly when there are better shows out there. You could do much worse though.

Crash or Splash (3DS):

Also known as Kersploosh this is a really basic game that provides a few minutes of fun but is pretty much as basic as most mobile phone games but with functional controls. An interesting distraction and nothing more.

Spectre (Movie): 

I actually quite liked this movie however it does feel like it’s lacking in execution. Personally I feel like more could have been done with certain characters which could have given everything more impact. I do like the overall “Big Brother” theme they gave the villain though and I wasn’t at all disappointed since the franchise has made some awful movies in the past (DIE ANOTHER DAY!!!). Worth watching.

Jitsu wa Watashi wa (Anime):

A decent comedy anime that didn’t overstay it’s welcome, I wouldn’t even mind a second season of this assuming they don’t just repeat everything to death. Also the music for this anime is hilariously stupid (as in the opening and ending themes).

Mockingjay Part 2 (Movie): 

A decent ending to these movies that went to some weird places but ultimately satisfied what expectations I had. I think it’s worth at least renting which is what I can say for most of these movies. Not much I want to complain about.

EarthBound Beginnings (Wii U VC):

An unexpected game of the year contender I never expected such an old game to have any significant emotional impact but the magnificent soundtrack and a rather simply told story that covers some dark stuff was enough to reach me and I feel this game excels in 8-bit where the basic visuals feel at home and in fact impressive for the time. I can easily say that I love this game and that it gets a solid recommendation from myself.

The Good Dinosaur (Movie): 

In terms of Pixar it doesn’t quite live up to the standard they’ve set themselves but this is still a good movie that feels sort of like a western but with dinosaurs. I would say it’s at least worth renting and perhaps even worth purchasing or seeing in cinemas.

Dead Space 2 (360):

A really fun action game that just gets really frustrating towards the end. I personally enjoyed the first game more and I miss the level design of the Ishimura which offers at least some exploring and a much richer atmosphere. That said it improves on mechanics and visuals and is a fucking blast to play. At this point I can recommend it but only after playing the first one (should be a no brain-er but hey you never know).

Working!!! (Anime): 

The third season of Working offers a fair bit of closure to this comedy romance series which is refreshing since so many shows go nowhere with these types of plots and characters. It’s still rather funny so I can certainly give it recommendation to those interested in the genre.

Star Wars: The Force Awakens (Movie):

I thought it was pretty good although some of it is sloppy and it feels like a retread of episode 4. I actually found Kylo Ren to be the most interesting character but that seems to be an unpopular opinion. If you wish discuss the movie please feel free to do so on my wall or in the comments. I recommend going to watch it but chances are you’ve already decided if you’ll watch it or not. I think it’s worth the time but certainly no masterpiece as I’ve seen some claim it to be.

Okay that’s it for the Chaos Blogg in 2015 please be sure to give feedback and now for some pictures to finish up this post.

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Chaos Blogg 67: Boo B. Trap

Happy Halloween folks, well yes this may be a bit early but I think that’s better than the alternative of being late. This year I tried to plan ahead a bit but things didn’t go to schedule so there’s only one game that suits the Halloween theme here. However the others do have Halloween themed levels I guess so it’s not 100% ill-fitting. Speaking of ill-fitting things, here are some remixes that are quite energetic and cheerful.

Hitsugi no Chaika (Anime):

Chaika is a fairly typical fantasy styled anime more on the light hearted side. That being said it is quite action packed and delivers plenty of drama. The characters are interesting to a degree even if the protag is fairly generic (I do like the fact that he’s established to be a lazy mercenary type figure so on the generic scale he ain’t too bad). The namesake of the series Chaika is not only an adorable character but one that actually grows and develops throughout the series. In fact she’s the most fleshed out character in the show and the supporting cast doesn’t get quite enough nourishment because of this (with the exceptions of Akari and Fredrika). The story itself is filled with mystery and while the twists aren’t all that amazing they seem somewhat naturally paced until we reach the last story arc where the whole things feels rushed. Even 3 or 4 more episodes could have fixed this and allowed for more of a dramatic build-up. It could’ve also helped with fleshing out more of the characters since there was obvious potential that was never really used properly. In terms of visuals it’s good and manages to keep a consistent style even if it’s been done before. The same could be said for the ost which is rather forgettable outside of one exception which should be down bellow.

Overall it was a good time that could’ve used more episodes to improve characterisations of the entire cast, and there’s not much else for me to complain about. Very much above the average.

The Martian (Movie): 

The Martian is a sci-fi film about survival that you’ll probably hear being compared to Interstellar but I don’t think that is a fair comparison as both movies are very different even if they share some visual similarities. For starters The Martian is more grounded in reality even if it does stretch the suspension of disbelief with some of it’s more bullshit moments. However the movie makes these events feel possible which I think is a sign of good writing. The shit that the protagonist does to survive is pretty fucking cool either way and helps create a really likeable character that is both resourceful and witty. Matt Damon is fairly hit and miss, I mean the Bourne movies are like a tranquillizer to me for instance, but in this film he nails the role and pretty much carries the movie solo throughout. The supporting cast is also good and they provide a different angle on the whole thing. Visually the film is fairly impressive but not don’t expect anything too crazy in terms of spectacle. The soundtrack is mostly comprised of older songs that you’ll have to make your own mind about, in this way it’s kind of like guardians of the galaxy’s soundtrack (but not as good).

I think this film is worth your time, so see it if you get the chance or at the very least rent it out.

Sly 2: Band of Thieves (Vita):

GREASY SWEET! Sly 2 is a bit of mixed bag, it improves on the first game but at the same time the more open world direction means you’ll be seeing the same locales over and over again which can be an issue in some of the more tedious areas. Your move set does seem somewhat more diverse though and unlike sly 1 this feels like a stealth platformer with far more ways to actually deal with guards. Bentley and Murray add much needed variety to the gameplay even if they have far more mini-game like situations than needed (the hacking for instance). Since the game takes the open world route there are no more lives, and instead of levels you have missions which makes the game feel more like you’re pulling off a heist than going through level to level. I do like this feel more but I think the lack of linear stages does effect the level design negatively (which you’ll notice more if go for all the clue bottles and fine art).

I think the most fun I had with the game was some of Bentley’s sections involving the use of traps, and it’s really only a mechanic that is used twice throughout the game. However this type of multitasking and quick thinking suited the character while also providing some comedic edge. In fact I would say the writing for Bentley and Murray has improved dramatically and they quickly became a lot more endearing then previously. The villains are fairly hit and miss with Dimitri being the biggest hit which means they play their best cards early in that category. Same goes for soundtrack the best tune is fairly early in the game and while the rest of it is great it does pale in comparison. Visually the game seems improved from Sly 1 but since the Vita still did the cut-scenes all janky I can’t quite tell.

Sly 2 is worth your time just as just much as Sly 1 was, each game has a somewhat different direction and I think personal taste will decide which you enjoy more. The level design in 2 is somewhat of a step backwards but pretty much everything else is quite improved so it more than balances that out. Also be cautious as the A.I. placement can be fucking obnoxious at times and many enemies just kind of end up seeing you because reasons. Finally I’d like to add that the game did freeze on me once (if my memory is correct anyway) which could just be a problem with this port but it’s worth mentioning.

Akame ga kill (Anime):

This anime is rather disappointing and is a great example of how being dark and edgy can only get you so far unless you back it up with substance. Visually it’s decent and this shows in some of the action scenes. However the visual style feels inconsistent in terms of costumes and weapons, and the visuals do not help the tone of the show at all. Something about the colours for example just didn’t help with giving the story impact (not to say it’s all bad though). In terms of soundtrack it’s one I’ve already forgotten and while there may be one or two good tracks nothing stood out to me enough to be remembered.

The shows greatest strength is it’s characters or at least IT WOULD BE if they didn’t decide to keep killing them off because reasons. In fact most of the time I felt saddened by the loss of a potential for the character instead of actually feeling sad about the character themselves. While I do enjoy despair in my series I think overdoing it is just as much of problem as not doing it at all. For the audience to feel about the characters they need to be developed and while the ending does offer some of that, it overall ends up as an unsatisfying experience. For example the titular character Akame is one of the most boring and underdeveloped in the show. She’s sidelined throughout and this lack of screentime is not smart for someone you’re trying to establish as a main character. This series also rushes to its conclusion which is crazy since it already rushes itself to begin with. In fact this feels like a 50 episode story being condensed into 24 episodes and that is not a good thing. The pacing just outright sucks and adding in new characters when I don’t even properly know the old ones is fucking stupid. There’s almost no build-up as things just suddenly switch from light heartedness to violent gore in a matter of seconds and then switch back again. These two elements feel detached from each other as well, the humour isn’t the “laughing in the face of adversity kind” and the violence isn’t in anyway comedic, unless that stuff tickles your funny bone. It’s like if they spliced Kill Bill with Everybody Loves Raymond… okay not quite that horrendous but hopefully that gives you an idea of what this tonal difference is like.

Okay I am being rather harsh on the show, it certainly has some moving moments, awesome action scenes and a couple of really interesting characters and dynamics. For example the series antagonist is complex enough for me to both like and dislike her simultaneously. I think the reason I’m so harsh is just the potential this series had to be good and just how it never fully lives up to this potential. With that said you can still do worse than this and I do think it has an audience that will get a kick out of it.

Luigi’s Mansion 2 (3DS): 

I freaking love this game, and while at first I wasn’t keen on the controls and the gameplay changes I warmed up to them fairly quickly. The original Luigi’s Mansion was a very atmospheric puzzle/adventure game that had a lot of focus on individual ghosts that made each encounter somewhat different. While Luigi’s Mansion 2 has decided to focus less on pure atmosphere and instead chooses a more arcade feel with an emphasis on re-playability. The game is now split up into missions across multiple mansions and since you can keep replaying missions the secrets in each one feel less obnoxious (I mean I missed so much shit in the first game on my first run that subsequent playthroughs led to many facepalms). The variety in gameplay and locations is increased significantly as each mission will often change up the location, for example in one mission everything gets overrun with plants making certain locations more difficult to traverse through. While the elemental medallions are gone Luigi’s vacuum and flashlight are far more versatile here and the added mechanics help in providing more secrets and puzzles.

However this game does lose a sense of freedom in this process especially when you realise that your time effects your score and that some of the collectible gems aren’t obtainable on certain missions. That being said this game does fill my need to explore and collect very nicely and in that regard it may have out-done the original game. Also the new control method is somewhat lacking but that is the result of the original 3DS having no second analogue. In future a game in this series could perhaps fix this and give us the mechanics of this game with the controls of the original (perhaps bring back the medallions and make both an adventure and a mission mode like in Pikmin 3?). Overall this game has plenty of great puzzle ideas and the ghost battling is thoroughly improved.

Visually Luigi’s Mansion 2 takes on a more light-hearted visual style and it’s one that works well with a portable system. It’s not close to being as powerful as the originals visual style but it stands well on it’s own and brings this game more in line with the rest of the mario brand. The game is a beauty in 3D and only in really hectic moments did I personally notice it under-perform and/or glitch. I’d also like to mention that Next Level Games excels with this type of franchise as they clearly have the ability to make bring out the most of cartoony characters like those in Punch-Out! and the Mario Universe. Luigi is brilliantly acted and animated, and so are the Toads like wholly hell they have so much personality this time in their movements. E.Gadd has the best writing though and he gets to shine a lot more this time with plenty of dialogue. This game has so much charm and even if I’m not big on the new ‘by the numbers’ ghosts I still enjoy them for their animations.

This game has a multiplayer mode but I honestly haven’t given it a fair shot yet. Probably because I ain’t got no one to play with, but also partially due to it being a more randomly generated dungeon experience and that can get dull pretty damn quick. I may try to convince some friends into playing it though. Before I end my gushing let me mention the music which for the most part is just one theme repeated in different instruments but these variations just sound so damn good. Do yourself a favour and listen to this stuff, or if you have a 3DS consider getting this game if you don’t have it already. I can highly recommend this one.

Super Mario Maker (Wii U):

I have a love hate thing going on with this game. For starters it’s a lot of fun creating levels, and you end up seeing some cool stuff that’s satisfying to beat from other players. I’m still finding out new things about the game and I’ve ended up creating many levels. There’s also some cool Easter eggs and throwbacks to Mario Paint which include the nightmarish fly swatting game from my childhood. And the new content created for this game is pretty sweet, including a pretty amazing soundtrack.

However Mario Maker has problems. For starters there’s the 10 stage cap put on new players which I guess was meant to stop garbage piling up but instead has encouraged people to capitalise on trends such as “Don’t Move” and music stages that appeal to those players who like wasting time and money. Why yes I bought this expensive game just have it play itself. FUCK THAT SHIT! Secondly there are no checkpoints, which is a huge oversight and makes otherwise good levels frustrating. I know personally since a lot of my levels are long and I would like to give the player the option not to be replaying the same sections over and over. Both of these things can be fixed with a content update though and I hope nintendo are smart enough to do this while also adding additional content over time. Other than that the faults of this game come more from the community itself. Pathetically easy levels and stupidly hard levels make up the bulk of content, alongside the overused gimmicks and a tone of trash. I’ve ended up at the point where I will star any level that is somewhat competent and enjoyable just in hopes that decent creators can keep making better stuff.

Finally we have the problem of Internet celebrities who pretty much soak up most of the attention due to their semi-celebrity status and honestly they wouldn’t be an annoyance at all if the level cap wasn’t determined by stars and was therefore a popularity contest (even if unintended to be so). Anyway this ended up being a rant but yeah Mario Maker is still a lot of fun at its core but it also shows that Nintendo hasn’t quite figured out this online community stuff. There’s hope for improvement though and it’s in your best interest to wait for that improvement… I think. Of course I do somewhat want to recommend this so that people can check out my stages and I can therefore upload more stages but I don’t think that’s a good reason to recommend the title.

Aaaaaaand there we are folks. Happy Halloween! I hope you all have a great week and please leave your feedback in the comments. Perhaps give some level codes or just ask me questions and share opinions it’s all good. I’ll be leaving you with a treat so I hope you enjoy it.

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Chaos Blogg 66: Zawa Zawa

Zawa – ざわ‥ A japanese onomatopoeia meaning uneasy atmosphere.

I figured the above explanation was necessary since most would have probably interpreted the title as weird nonsense. It took me longer than I planned to get around to this blogg but I think that’s natural since IGN is still a ghost town and my desire to pump out these posts at a swift pace has diminished over time. Even if it does take me longer I still plan to continue this series, and hopefully you’ll continue to enjoy it. This time we have 3 different games, 2 anime and 1 movie ‘reviewed’. Now on with the video game music remixes.

Kaiji (Anime):

You might remember that last year I watched an anime called Akagi. This anime had centred around a genius mah-jong player and was quite enthralling, but it unfortunately had a lacklustre ending. This makes sense though since the manga is still ongoing and there wasn’t really a good cut-off point. Kaiji is similar to Akagi, most notably in it’s art-style in which every character is wario and waluigi levels of ugly. And yes while the characters are ugly the style itself is interesting and not as terrifying as other anime out there. Like Akagi, Kaiji has a lot of high stakes gambling however it’s more varied in the types of “games” played and it ends up throwing a lot of curve balls thanks to this (Akagi on the other hand was almost ALL mah-jong). The pacing of both shows is the same with plenty of cliff-hangers and “edge of your seat” moments and I don’t think I could sit and just watch one episode. This is good because it makes a 50 episode series breeze by and it never felt like a slog. Also worth noting is that Kaijji has an ending that leaves room for further seasons but also feels like a somewhat natural end to the series with a decent amount of closure, at the very least it trumps Akagi in that regard.

Kaiji unlike Akagi is focused on Survival and it’s by no means a happy anime, that’s all I want to say on the subject though since any more is too much information that would verge on spoilers. In fact the whole “Zawa Zawa” thing is one of Kaiji’s key trademarks that helps amp up the tension and it works well with the soundtrack (which has some pretty neat tunes). There are almost no guarantees with Kaiji and I think that adds quite a bit to the anime making the audience feel more connected with the characters and situations. At the very least I recommend giving this show a shot, since I understand that the art direction can be off putting. Sorry if this isn’t too in depth but if you’d like to discuss the series you are welcome do so in the comments.

Counter Spy (Vita):

A 2D stealth with randomly generated rooms that offers a ton of replay ability, however upon reaching the end I didn’t feel compelled to play it again at all. Perhaps this is just my issue but something felt lacking from this game. Perhaps it was the same designs repeating over and over in very familiar ways? or maybe it was the lacklustre soundtrack? or perhaps it was the gameplay just becoming monotonous over time? I personally think it’s a combination of these things and that’s a real shame since there is so much potential here. For example I quite like the art style and it really suits the spy theme quite well and the core gameplay itself shows huge potential and is very competent. However the problem stems from slow pacing and not enough variety, sure you can unlock guns and perks but a lot of these go against the idea of being stealthy (like a fucking shotgun for example). Of course since I only saw the credits once there may be more on offer than I can see but frankly the game didn’t tell me that was the case and I don’t want to sink more hours into this just to try and find out.

This is another case where I’m just glad this was a PS+ game and not something that I went out of my way to purchase full price. Funnily enough if you can ever play it for free yourself I would actually recommend it since the first few hours are quite fun despite just how negative this overall ‘review’ is. Note: The story isn’t enthralling at all and the characters are bland.

Punch Line! (Anime):

You know for a show that sounds like Panty Line when spoken out loud by the characters I was expecting something that was shallow and crap. Something that might make for a nice negative ‘review’ however my expectations were way off. Punch Line! is a weird series that takes many clichés from anime and just kind of meshes them together in a story that somehow works. It’s got a nice sense of weirdness to it while not being incomprehensible and it takes several unexpected turns while also building up an interesting mystery. The soundtrack is amazing, the visual style is excellent for the most part and the fanservice has at least some plot significance and isn’t so in your face that it ruins any story and character building.

The pacing is nice and fast but never feels like it was rushed, in fact for just 12 episodes this anime has great characterisation and an interesting plot. It’s also quite comedic and delivers on intense action sequences. Personally I would consider this a must watch show, and I hope people do give it a fair chance since while this may seem like a shallow puddle it’s a lot deeper than you’d think and I think it’s worth diving into.

Ratchet and Clank (PS2): 

This game won 4th place in this years backlog tourney and I’m glad I’ve finally gotten around to it since I borrowed this title quite some time ago. It’s also great to finally experience the origins of this franchise, and really I think I’ve gained a greater appreciation of it’s sequels because of this. This game is quite clunky, for starters you can’t strafe from the start and when you finally unlock the ability to do so it’s not exactly intuitive. Next is the issue of most weapons being close ranged which makes dealing with ammo a pain especially since bolts aren’t as easily acquired and the ammo buying process is tedious. The health system is also somewhat poorly thought out as you can only take 4 hits until you obtain some optional upgrades later in the game. Even then I would say 8 hits isn’t much I’m glad that this system was replaced in later titles. All of these faults don’t drag the game down much though since it’s still a fun adventure and in some ways it has a nice simplicity to it compared to its sequels.

For an early PS2 title it’s aged quite well visually although the style wasn’t quite refined yet. The music though is pretty awesome and the type of soundtrack that gets the blood pumping and creates excitement while also sticking to the sci-fi theme. In fact it’s like a sci-fi take on a spyro soundtrack at points which makes sense due to insomniacs history with spyro. That said though it does feel like the same tune is being used throughout the game but with different instruments which worked well for Mario World but doesn’t quite cut it here. In terms of writing I think this game does a decent job of establishing characters and has some good comedic writing but it’s a bit too weak when it’s trying to be serious. There’s not much explanation about the main characters before or during the adventure and while I don’t mind Ratchet being an asshole I just don’t see the motivations for this other than petty revenge (he’s got like a moby dick thing going on halfway through the game). I’m very glad that the games after this didn’t try to be so serious with the characters and instead focused on the comedy and action side of things since that’s the obvious strengths in the dialogue here.

The game-play is quite a lot of fun though and this is an excellent foundation for some of the best PS2 games, I can easily recommend this unless you’re too used to newer titles and the problems mentioned above seem too detrimental to your experience.

Mission Impossible: Rouge Nation (Movie):

I decided to this on a whim and honestly I can’t say I feel strongly about it in any way. This movie felt very by the numbers and I’m not sure if I could tell the difference between it and the other movies in this series. The exceptions would be the Third movie which tried to be really serious and gritty, and ghost protocol which was really funny and took a more light-hearted approach. Meanwhile Rogue Nation seems cheesy but not quite funny enough to justify the ticket price, it’s not a bad movie either though and it’s at least worth renting once. This movie didn’t stand out to me in any way but it did provide a decent amount of forgettable entertainment and some days that’s kind of what you just need. Okay I can’t think of anything else to say… lets move on.

Never Alone (Kisima Ingitchuna) – (Wii U): 

A short indie game based on native Alaskan culture that is partially a documentary and a learning experience. It’s an interesting look into a culture I have next to no clue about and thankfully it’s optional. The game has an atmospheric soundtrack which is easily forgotten, however the visual style it’s beautiful… that is until you die and the character models go fucking insane and janky. Of course these moments provided unintentional comedic relief and I personally don’t feel they detracted from the experience. I don’t mind the increase of games that have passive education to them, for example Valiant Hearts is still an excellent game but has optional facts about the first world war. Never Alone has a similar approach but is perhaps less polished as a game and I think this is why it seems like a very divisive title. It’s a puzzle platformer and while it’s far from rubbish, it could’ve used the same level of polish as the presentation. The characters feel stiff and unresponsive at times and there are plenty moments of “Fuck you, I grabbed that rope”. My recommendation is to play this if you’re wanting an interesting experience and above average gameplay (like just above average for the most part, which is far from bad). Personally I was able to tolerate the lack of polish and found the game somewhat fun although that may just me being immersed in presentation and enjoying the genre. For others that kind of thing is a deal breaker so please think wisely before you buy. Also this could be a pretty cool gameplay concept for an ice climbers game, get onto it nintendo. 

Well it’s done folks another blogg down as we slowly approach october and I have some games for that planned so hopefully I can make the plan a reality. Also if you have any questions about the stuff in this blogg leave them in the comments bellow. Anyway thanks for reading, here’s some pictures.

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Chaos Blogg 65: Woolly World

I was going to write this up yesterday but I ended up in poor health and wasn’t able to make myself type. Today is looking better though and in general that’s kind of how things are looking. Still really shit but better than before. In terms of games and anime though I’d say it’s been mostly positive few weeks and I can almost recommend all of the stuff on show here. So without further ado I’d like to get into it, bit first here’s the remixes.

JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure Stardust Crusaders – Part 2 (Anime):

If you’ve been following long enough you would have seen to reviews for Jojo’s last year, and you’ll probably recognise that I enjoyed my time with this series quite extensively. Stardust crusaders may have not impressed me with it’s first half but this second half most certainly improves in overall quality and I’m quite impressed with it as a whole. I think this is because of the mixture of humour and drama present here, and probably a mental shift within myself. The art style is still fantastic and so is the sound direction, although I feel ending song was a downgrade and didn’t fit the tone until the last couple of arcs. The fights are still really intense and the characters are cheesy but well written. This is the kind of series that I do recommend people to watch for themselves (like go to part 1 and watch the first 4 to 5 episodes) before deciding if they want to check it out since I’m not sure if my words convey the strangeness and enjoyment well enough. I was enthralled and found it difficult to stop watching most of the time which isn’t something I say often about anime these days. If was throw any criticisms I would say some characters are straight up shafted and under developed which is a shame but nothing that creates a significant dent. The second last arc is brilliant and unfortunately the climatic final battle fails to create the same drama and impact. It’s amazing for sure but it didn’t live up to it’s entire potential and leaves it overshadowed by the previous encounter.

With that said though there’s nothing much that would stop me from recommending this one to you guys, but I wouldn’t mind seeing what some other people who have seen this think about these points.

Donkey Kong 64 (Wii U VC):

Most notable for it’s DK rap, collectibles and Lanky Kong this game was the one that tied with Max Payne when I did that backlog tourney thing. This means I would like to both thank you people and throw pies at you. DK 64 has far too many mini/bonus games that are required to 100% the bloody thing. In itself it doesn’t sound like much but when you go through a long tough section of gameplay to be awarded with a janky ass mini-game that controls like garbage and leaves you frustrated, it’s a big pain in the ass. Thanks to the power of the save state I was able to prevail and 100% the game but I can assure you this is no picnic and there were far more irritating moments than both Banjo games combined. On a more positive note I pretty much enjoyed everything else on offer here, even if I think it would benefit from refinement *cough*diddy’sjetpack*cough*. Core gameplay is standard collect-a-thon you run, jump and attack your away around levels trying to solves puzzles and collect shit. The levels are nice but compared to other Rare made games they feel barren and lacking at times, and there are less npc’s outside of the ones in specific buildings which doesn’t help things. The writing isn’t bad but it lacks polish and it’s really easy to just skip completely as it lacks to polish of other Rare titles.

As you can see that’s a common theme, it’s a good game but it’s lacking compared to Banjo’s efforts which is most obvious from the constant need to go back to character barrels in order to complete tasks. Honestly the game needed a way to allow for more fluid switching since while I don’t hate backtracking it does get irritating when I’m only doing it to use another character. Of course this would probably break the game to a degree so there’s not much value in complain about this at length. Speaking of breaking the game though I found a glitch or two and also had a moment where the game just repeatedly froze on me forcing to restart and continue from my save point (thank goodness I save a lot). It was startling, so just take time to save your game regularly since sometimes save states aren’t enough folks. Visually the game is good for N64 standards and the soundtrack is pretty sweet even if we take the DK rap out of the equation. Also “Oooh Banana” is a voice clip I should have trouble forgetting.

So this is probably sounding rather negative but I certainly didn’t feel that way most of the game. It’s a fun 3D platformer and I enjoyed the collecting aspect quite a lot. In many ways it was an incredibly satisfying game and I kind of regret never having the chance to play it back in the day. Outside of unnecessary bullshit this game was a blast and if we consider save states it’s not as frustrating as it would have been back in the day. In fact unless we get a remake some day this will probably be the best way to play the game on a Nintendo system. In short how much I recommend DK64 depends on more on your preferences and your tolerance levels, personally I felt it was worth it but I can understand why this game falls short of the Banjo standards. God I hope this made some sense.

Inou Battle wa Nichijou-kei no Naka de (Anime):

A mediocre anime that had a decent amount of potential and never really made use of it. Inou Battle centres around a protagonist with ‘8th grade’ syndrome which means he acts like a fictional character in an action anime (well slightly more complicated then that but I ain’t explaining any more than I have to). The protagonist and the rest of the literature club end up with actual powers which leads to comedic antics. The comedy isn’t bad and visually it looks good but somewhat standard, and similarly the music is good but forgettable. The idea is pretty good but other shows/games/movies have tackled this concept far better and this show just eventually devolves into a harem situation with no conclusion. There are some really good characters here and the show has some great comedic and dramatic scenes. In fact I’ve included the best clip from the show bellow and I don’t think you’ll need full context to enjoy just that one scene. There are also several well written and entertaining characters that get shafted in favour of characters that may have depth and potential but feel boring in their execution.

The show also has some sort of action plot in the second half but it’s forgettable and feels like a waste of time, in fact they have to dump a butt-load of exposition on the viewer to do this and it feels really forced. Perhaps this series is just the beginning since it does certainly feels like it’s trying to set something long term up, but between the forced harem aspects and the inconsequential action at the end there’s just a lot here that plunges it into mediocrity which is unfortunate since there’s some gold here.

Yoshi’s Woolly World (Wii U): 

Woolly World is one of the most charming games I’ve played this year, taking the experts at Good Feel who excel at an ‘arts and crafts’ visual style and then handing them to keys to the Yoshi series which is typically known for it’s various playful art styles and a sense of innocence. It’s a really neat combination and gives fresh air to some of the clichés in level design the series has. Woolly World has 6 worlds which range from grass, desert, dessert and clouds, tropical jungle, ice, and bowser. Thankfully there’s still plenty of variety within these worlds and I never really felt bored of a particular visual style or just in general. This game is a pure joy to look at and it’s a contender for the best looking game on the system. Adding further to the charm are the various patterns of Yoshi you unlock through out the game, they’re not all fantastic but there’s some really awesome ones here including several console based patterns. This feature also makes use of most of your amiibos except for the pokemon amiibos which don’t provide any patterns. Sonic the Hedgehog Yoshi is one of the best things I’ve seen and there are a few other great designs like Megaman, Luigi and Meta Knight.

To complement the excellent visuals Woolly World has one of the most relaxing but catchy soundtracks I’ve heard in a while, and I actually had trouble choosing which tracks to present to you here. It’s got variety with some rather unexpected funky tunes, along with plenty of stuff that sounds like it came from Kirby’s Epic Yarn or yoshi’s island. Epic Yarn had a problem with being way too easy for a lot people, while you can say that the game is a perfect place for beginners having an option for greater difficulty would have been greater. Woolly World pretty much does just that, with both a classic and casual mode. By Yoshi standards this game is certainly easy, but I don’t think it’s a complete cake walk unless you’re going for a very standard run where you just finish the game and reach the credits. At the very least you can actually die and have a health meter, and the game does have some really cool challenges at times especially with bonus stages you can unlock in each world. The real fun of this game is completing it, by finding all the neat little secrets and doing pretty much no damage runs of levels including the boss battles. For added difficulty there’s a final level that really puts you to the test as far as this game is concerned and there’s also a boss battle mode hat ups the difficulty of those encounters.

Of course in trying to 100% the game there’s some bullshit moments and you can end up replaying stages multiple times to grab the missing items.Some levels therefore can end up frustrating for collectable enthusiasts, and this is where the games Badge system can be a real lifesaver. There are multiple badges which you can purchase (one at a time) that give you a certain advantage which ranges from your friend Poochy (who has been improved since the old days thank god) to invulnerability to lava and fire damage. It’s certainly possible to break the game with these but I only recommend using them on clean up runs. In terms of controls Woolly World doesn’t have too many issues although I found the D-pad more reliable for this game and even then I’d sometimes fuck up my buttons. It’s pretty much exactly like Yoshi’s Island but with arguably a better flutter jump. Of course I maybe missing some obvious nuances such as the fact yoshi doesn’t enter a ‘running’ motion straight away but I’d much rather people discover these things for themselves.

I most certainly recommend this game to anyone with a Wii U console as it’ll be a great addition to your library. It’s filled with visual and audio joy, with some great classic styled gameplay that finds a nice balance between challenge and relaxation. Or at least it did so for me. Now please listen to the music provided here and enjoy.

Dragon Ball Z: Resurrection F (Anime Movie):

These new dbz movies are hitting all the right spots, well at least for me personally. I also managed to see this one in theatres which I think made the occasion more enjoyable, even if I did have to drive to a cinema I hadn’t really been to before. The movie balances action and comedy, however there’s little tension and if you’re looking for same type of drama the series presented to us back in the day then I think it may disappoint you. With a classic villain returning this movie is filled with references (more so than the previous movie) and I can’t easily recommend it to those who aren’t fans of series. However long time fans should hopefully enjoy the almost parody like humour of this movie, as many absurdities of the series are acknowledged in an amusing way. The movie is also visually impressive except for some 3D animation effects that broke my immersion. It’s also got a neat soundtrack that helps set the really cheesy tone of the movie. In fact I think Vegeta sums up the movie quite well with his line “It’s Cheeeeeeeese”, since this movie is very delicious cheese and funnily enough embracing this fact has lead to improved characterisation or at least wittier writing. There’s not much else I wish to say, this movie has a very specific target audience so with that in mind I give it my recommendation.

The Walking Dead Season 2 (Xbox 360): 

I think it’s really difficult to try and top the first season of this game, and I don’t think they’ve pulled it off here. However this is still a fantastic narrative based game and it’s fascinating continuing the story as Clementine who feels almost like a survival prodigy. The game doesn’t hold too many punches, although I could argue that it makes death just a tad too common and expected which is going to be a big problem if they ever make a 3rd season. You’ll also probably notice the atrocious load times during the “previously on” sections, they lag like hell as well and honestly I thought my console had frozen at some points. Outside of that though the game runs better from what I can tell and the art style still works for this series. The soundtrack is pretty much just one or two memorable themes and an ending song for each episode, which are all pretty high quality although there are many forgettable tracks that I can’t praise the whole ost. If we’re talking gameplay then a big thing to notice is that there are less ‘puzzles’ and sections where you ask characters questions. It feels less point and click and I guess they’ve done this to focus more on the narrative.

The main appeal of these games has to be the narrative, characters and the way our choices effect both of these aspects. For the most part I found a lot more of these choices harder to make especially towards the end, and I felt somewhat morally tested by the experience. The characters are still well written but at times it felt like the some characters were underdeveloped and perhaps a tad bland. Either way I grew to the story and I think expanding on Clementine’s character was the right way to go as she takes on more of a leader role, and has to deal with trying to save everyone (at least that’s what I saw). There’s also some really emotionally painful moments but they don’t exactly leave the same impact as season 1’s ending did. Alright I think that’s all I’ll say since I think I’m on the edge of major spoilers, and would rather you guys check out these games for yourselves.

Yay it’s done. So yeah these headaches don’t seem to be leaving me alone which sucks but ain’t much I can do about it. Please leave a comment bellow and enjoy some pictures.

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Chaos Blogg 64: Max Memories Plastic Payne

I won’t into to details but I’ve been at least somewhat busy these past few weeks and I’m quite warn out since I’m not quite used to this amount of activity. In short it’s been a decent few weeks but there’s been a lot of stress and less games getting completed. In fact the majority of this blogg will be covering anime, however there’s also Ant Man and Max Payne so hopefully those will satisfy people not interested in anime for the time being.

I’d also like to briefly mention Iwata’s passing, as far as company presidents go he was a cheerful happy man, who bought joy to us while also making some rather large mistakes in his goal of making games fun for everyone. Obviously I didn’t know the man personally so all I can really confirm is that he certainly knew how to win over his audience. In my eyes some of the best things he did include the recent apology he gave this year for E3, and the early days of the 3DS where he cut his own salary and then gave early adopters 20 free games. Not often do we see company heads actually admit mistakes, apologise and then take one for the team (which should be the norm really). R.I.P

Now onto the blogg itself, and if you’re wondering about video reviews well I haven’t had any motivation for them in a long while. Also it’s remix time.

Hibike! Euphonium (Anime):

Hibike caught me by surprise this season and following it as it aired wasn’t a bad choice at all. At first I was drawn in by the animation, it was rather impressive high quality stuff so in that regard it was bound to deliver. I was apprehensive about the music side of things, since up until this point I had next to no experience with music themed anime and was worried that this would be an all style no substance affair. In short I was worried about it being a rather boring slice of life but with an orchestra. These worries were put mostly to ease as within a few episodes the show established drama and narrative, along with interesting characters that were also entertaining. The story follows a high school orchestra (or band?) as they try to earn a spot in the national competition, and they pretty much have to start from the ground up and find the determination to compete to begin with. There’s plenty of character drama as well and luckily it doesn’t feel forced and they balance it nicely with humour. In terms of criticism I would say some of the characterisation feels slightly inconsistent and at times the show does feel slow which may negatively affect those who marathon it. The ending is somewhat unsatisfying in that many questions and characters are unexplored, but I believe there’s a second season in the works which may tap into some of the darker elements that could possibly be hidden (at one stage the tone convinced me it would get somewhat dark). Also the soundtrack is pretty neat although it does take a back-seat to the actual performances by the orchestra/band. In short if you’re looking for something a little light but with some substance, or just want to see impressive visuals then I can easily recommend this to you.

Expelled from Paradise (Anime Movie):

An anime sci-fi film with some rather interesting concepts that doesn’t quite make full use of the potential these concepts have. The looks are quite divisive since it’s that weird 3D/2D style some shows like to adopt and while for the most part it didn’t bother me, there several points where it was jarring and immersion breaking. In particular the character “Dingo” just looks awful a lot of the time and his design doesn’t mash well with the this particular style, which is a shame since since otherwise he was a fairly good character. Also the protagonist has a lot of fan service and early on there’s some nudity so please keep that in mind if that’s not your thing. The battle sequences are rather impressive and probably the highlight of the movie and the best use of the 3D/2D visuals (thank goodness since that shit is easy to screw up). The narrative is just okay as it doesn’t really feel like it has a lot of drama to it especially since most of it is gone by the second half. The characters and themes are pretty neat however as the story explores what it means to be human, and the effect virtual realities could have on humanity without the whole “red pill, blue pill” stuff. The soundtrack was somewhat forgettable but it’s decent, and serves it’s purpose. There’s a repeated song that’s pretty kickass but youtube ain’t a fan of letting me listen to the versions I wanted to, it really saves this soundtrack though and ties it together nicely. It’s a short movie (by my standards anyway) so if you’re curious I don’t think it would hurt to check this one out at some point in time, but you could always do some research if you’re on the fence.

Plastic Memories (Anime): 

Plastic Memories is a somewhat misleading anime that changes focus about halfway through which caused some people to feel duped by the intriguing premise. For myself I kind of had a feeling it would take the turn it did but I’m also slightly disappointed they didn’t explore much of the concept as possible (probably due to length constraints). While it could’ve used more episodes Plastic Memories is pretty good show that had the same effect on me as the cutting of onions. While not the saddest anime, it certainly earns a spot just under Angel Beats which is somewhat extraordinary since they don’t really try to hide the sadness. Set in the future this series deals with special androids known as giftia. They’re often used to fill the holes in peoples lives and are designed to be as human as possible, however they have an expiry date which means they need to have their memories wiped (and by extension their personalities) before things go wrong. That’s as much as I want to reveal. It’s an intriguing premise and it’s a world I wouldn’t mind exploring in a different way in future. Visually I’d say this show is about average, although that may because of the recent high quality stuff I’ve been watching. In terms of music, I think it does a pretty good job of fitting the mood and that’s about all I remember at the moment. The show certainly has a comedic element going for it and I find most of the characters somewhat charming even if there are a lot of clichés here. While I wouldn’t say this series is a must watch if you’re looking for something short and bitter-sweet this might be what you need, and if you’ve already seen most of the other stuff I’ve recommended then you could do much worse than this series.

Ant-Man (Movie):

How is it that Marvel can always pull off shit that seems unlikely. Chances are if it sounds stupid on paper they can make something amazing. Hell back in the day even Iron Man seemed like a crazy idea but damn did it work. Then we had Avengers, Guardians of the Galaxy and most recently the Dare Devil TV series. Ant-Man joins these titles in this category of scepticism that turned into something amazing. I absolutely enjoyed this film, it had fun with it’s rather silly premise and still managed to have a certain amount of depth to it. Hell they even made the powers seem bad-ass and quite intimidating which I wasn’t expecting at all. The visual spectacle of it all is nice, and the soundtrack wasn’t bad either. The acting and comedy certainly made it though and I had quite a blast watching it to the point where I can barely think of anything that I just straight up disliked. Perhaps it was a bit unexpectedly gory??? Either way I recommend this movie and hope you all enjoy it.

Dragon Ball Z: Battle of the Gods (Anime Movie):

Can’t say that I ever expected more DBZ to be made, but here we are with 2 new movies and a new series in the works. I finally found a dub copy on DVD which for any other anime isn’t a good thing but DBZ is my exception to that rule. I decided to watch the uncut version so keep that in mind as I continue. Battle of the Gods has some issues mainly that the dub feels awkward as many of the lines don’t translate very well. I also found the sound effects out of place at times, and the music often lacks the same punch as the stuff from my childhood which does effect the overall tone somewhat. Visually I was impressed for the most part, although there were some bits that felt awkward. So yes there are some impressive fights and they certainly ramp up the drama at times but overall I’d say Battle of the Gods felt more like a comedy of sorts. I never really thought I’d be laughing this much because of a Dragon Ball Z movie that wasn’t an abridged version on YouTube, it was a pleasant surprise for certain. If they plan to go in a more comedy route in the newer series I think I’ll be okay with that assuming they don’t remove the crazy action altogether. It was a good movie, and probably the best by DBZ standards since while I do enjoy other DBZ movies I can’t ever claim they’re good by any means. If you’ve yet to check it out and are open to a change of tone then I can recommend Battle of the Gods to you.

Max Payne (PC):

Max Payne is a somewhat simple game, straightforward and linear but with level design that isn’t just a straight line. If you take your time though you can absorb extra details and find useful items which you may very well need just to survive this game. Lucky for you Max Payne on PC has a quick save and quick load feature so even if you do miss helpful items you’re not always 100% screwed. Also as a side note thanks to those who voted for this game in the backlog tournament I held. It’s simple design but it flows well and while it can get repetitive it has plenty of variation to avoid becoming a slog.

Max Payne hasn’t aged well in the graphics department, not only do the character models look hilarious but everything has low quality textures. However the low quality lends itself to the more murky, gritty tone of the game. In fact it gives everything a dream/nightmare like quality which reflects the nature of the story and the mindset of the main character as well. The cut scenes are presented in a graphic novel format which works surprisingly well even if it’s blurry and messy, in contrast though the characters are more realistic looking (I believe they’re heavily edited photos of actors) which gives this strange vibe. The writing in these graphic novel cut scenes is fantastic and the narrator (Max Payne) has fantastic delivery which is reminiscent of nior film. These highly detailed lines that border on poetic at times provide a strong contrast the high amount of violent action that feels more in place in Die Hard, the Matrix and other action movies. The rest of the voice cast also do a good job with only a few annoying performances. To top it off the music fits very nicely with everything else and has a decent amount of variety.

The narrative is handled fairly well, and there is a certain amount ambiguity to the whole thing that I feel like there were many things left unanswered. Which fits with the games themes and just shows how much shit Max Payne doesn’t give. The gameplay is solid third person shooting with the only real twist being your ability to slow down time in order to dodge bullets and fuck shit up more effectively. It’s simple but it felt really nice to play and the game constantly ramped up the challenge. Sometimes you need to jump around and find shit but these sections are simple and there were only a couple of times I was stuck due to well hidden items/areas. One annoying part of the gameplay is the AI though, which often has stupid aim and can often end up swarming you. The worst example of AI has be the section where all you have is a baseball bat and you’re forced to sneak around, some AI spontaneously notice you if you go the “wrong” way and that whole section was a PAYNE in the ass. Also I would like to add that this game does not have controller support on PC which is bullshit but I somehow managed to beat this game with just my laptop and trac-pad, not sure if I should be proud of that or not. Overall it’s a rather simple action game with solid gameplay and aesthetic and it may very well be worth your time in future (Steams sales are a thing).

And that’s another Chaos Blogg done, I hope you enjoyed this one and please be sure to leave a comment as interaction is needed on this website. Lets not give in to the tumble weed. Now I leave you with these pictures.

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