As of this typing it’s been one day since the passing of Robin Williams, and we all probably need a pick-me-up after such events. I myself was shaken by the news that one of the greatest heroes of my childhood had left so early. I don’t really have much else to say on the subject but I wanted to at least say thanks to him, and if you haven’t yet, go to Anthony’s (gameguy) blog he pretty much sums it up better than I ever could.
Moving on I just got back from the city with a new pair of headphones because the last pair broke last night for no reason, I also took the time to put in a special pre-order for 2015. It’s one that I think will deserve it’s own blog in the future. Hopefully I’ve got some good content here for you. It’s got lots of ups and downs. Some good games, a terrible anime, worst movie of the year and best movie of the year all await you inside. Here are some tunes to begin the show.
Batman Arkham City: Armoured Addition (Wii U):
After enjoying Arkham Asylum last year I decided to finally pick this game up on sale. I had heard that this was one amazing game, and I can clearly see how it has become beloved by many. The dialogue is as splendid as it was previously and for the most part the story and world building has been improved. However the games story does have pacing issues and the ending feels like an anti-climax. I had honestly thought something greater and more finale-like was waiting and was let down. Otherwise writing and story-wise this is an excellent game, and it also has an excellent art style that while lacking colours (the city feels very grey) at times, is overall enjoyable to look at (Graphically I was somewhat impressed but that doesn’t mean too much in the scheme of things). The soundtrack is meh and is your standard movie like music that a lot of modern games have adopted, although there were a couple of nice tunes. It just all felt rather boring to me with the occasional hint of batman thrown in and the fact that people praise these soundtracks is not something I can really understand. However the soundtrack does serve its purpose to compliment the story, the environment and the action (so it is far from bad). The gameplay itself for the most part is an improvement on Arkham Asylum and in that regard it’s still incredibly fun. The combat has been fine tuned and so has the stealth, another thing that’s been improved upon for the most part is the boss encounters which were mostly laughable in Asylum. In particular the Mr. Freeze boss battle is fan-fucking-tastic (In fact I really like Mr. Freeze in this game) as it also demonstrates the versatility of the stealth system this time around while providing a fun battle. However some boss battles are pretty crappy (Two-Face) still and there are some that just feel really out of place in a way that reminded me of the old spiderman games on PS1. Movement capabilities have also increased and the gadgets are more plentiful allowing for lots of clever Riddler puzzles that gave me plenty of “EUREKA” moments. In fact the puzzles and collecting are probably my favourite parts of the game although I do think there’s a bit too many. I also liked doing all the side-quests and enjoyed the various Metroidvania aspects still present in the game, however if you were to ask I would say I actually like Arkham Asylum a bit more. Why is that? Well for starters Arkham Asylum is much closer to being a metroidvania game in nature, and if you all follow me closely you should know I love Metroidvania. And really that’s the main reason, Arkham City cuts away the more Metroidvania design in order to have a more open world experience, in that sense it’s more like assassins creed with metroidvania elements and batman. Right off the bat you’re thrown into a huge city with collectibles galore with very little restriction on where you can go, it’s an overwhelming experience and once you’ve done it all Arkham city feels kind of barren except for the generic goons on the street which don’t serve any purpose than to amuse combat junkies (but wouldn’t you just go to challenge mode then?). Which ever one you like more though is a personal preference issue and both games I can easily recommend to you all. Of course I need to address the Wii U side of this, for starters there’s no forced motion controls and all the game really messes with is the interface and the hacking components. The interface could have used an optional pause menu, however from what I’ve seen the Wii U has an easier hacking mini-game that reminded me of the DS days. Other additions include the armour suits which I personally like the look of. and I enjoy the boost given in combat since it can help in a tight spot. The game also has this handy riddler trophy locating sonar on the Wii U which helps big time when looking for those trophies and helps make the Riddler side-quest less of a burden. Other than that the Wii U version has all the extra DLC which I’m assuming is present in the GOTY edition on other consoles. One thing to note though is that the game froze a few times on various loading screens and that the harleys revenge dlc bugged out on me when I tried to play it a second time, I have no clue if this is fairly standard or not but just do some research into it before deciding on which console to purchase the game on.
Ugh. Where do I even begin? Well Nisekoi is a series with a lot of potential that is horribly wasted. For starters it looks amazing, it has some good music (the EDs bellow are pretty neat), and has some nice characters and designs. However Nisekoi is a poorly written mess where nothing happens at all, and instead it chooses to drag on without fulfilling any requirement for drama OR comedy. The saddest thing is that there’s still more of this being made and that from what I hear it’s going to go on for a long time. The characters start off interesting however as the show goes on the writing gets repetitive and the characters suffer for it. None of the characters are developed properly with some receiving excessive amounts of screen time while others are very much ignored. The ones that constantly get screen time eventually come across as stupid and indecisive, overall they eventually becoming irritating stuck in limbo with no character growth. Now for some shows not having your characters grow is great, in fact that’s the basis of a lot of great comedy. However Nisekoi is nowhere near funny enough and nor does it even try to emphasise it’s comedy aspects. Instead it focuses on visuals and teasing the possibility of drama. Well there is some conflict as the first episodes really do a decent job of establishing characters and situations, however within 25 episodes they just don’t do anything worthwhile with it. I honestly recommend avoiding this at all costs even if you are heavily into the medium as it is a complete waste of your time. The fact the plot manages to make the characters worse as it progresses is horrifying. I also checked out a little bit of the source material due to the adamant request of a friend and found that the original idea was a lot more interesting (I believe it’s called a one-shot, something along the lines of a pilot) and I wonder whose digestive system it went through to produce this turd.
Accel World (Anime):
Accel World is set in the same universe as the somewhat infamous sword art online. This can be an instant turn off or turn on depending on who you’re talking to but for the most part the quality is more consistent than sao. Accel World isn’t that great to look at, as it has some weird metallic effects being used, but it is far from horrendous. The character designs aren’t too bad although the protagonist does feel a little out of place. In terms of music it has a fairly decent soundtrack and it can get your heart pumping at times which is pretty neat. Story wise, well it’s really hard to tell how it’ll turn out over time but so far the show has gone over some arcs that weren’t too predictable. The fact that it needs to be completed still is a bit of a turn off but it didn’t leave me feeling ripped off, and instead I wouldn’t mind watching more if it is ever made. I was honestly surprised by some of the character development and I while it’s nothing extraordinary it was good enough to surpass the likes of Guilty Crown and the second half of sao. If were to complain about anything really is that one of the villains was a bit too irritating although there is a level of pay-off at the end. Honestly there’s not much to say about Accel World, it’s just above average and is an overall good time, the easy recommendation is to those who like sword art online but at the same time if you’ve already seen much better anime then this might be worth considering. Either way it’s more worthy of recommendation than Nisekoi.
Where do I even begin with Lucy? Well for starters this dumbest movie about incredibly ‘smart’ people I have ever seen and quite frankly you’ll get a far better experience by watching Limitless. Lets just kind of start at the beginning where we see the original Lucy the ancestor to humans, this makes sense since it fits the name of the movie and the theme of evolution. We are then introduced to our protagonist talking to some douche canoe rather casually, I believe this was meant to be character building but it feels more like cheap exposition. Throughout the opening scenes we are given oh so clever cut-aways from a flashback at some night club, to some stock footage of cheetahs hunting a gazelle. These cutaways are obnoxious and the very first sign that this was going to be rubbish, the movie is going “look lucy is like that gazelle she has no power, see this is symbolism guys, this is art right guys? look, look see this shot of the mouse and the cheese and the mousetrap. well you’re never going to guess what that means right? It means she’s being lured into a trap. Look at that we have symbols and meaning, we must be like really smart”. Funnily enough this almost stops completely once Morgan Freeman’s character finishes his lecture and it feels just as pointless as it sounds. The film tries to be a gritty action flick as well, with Lucy throwing up minutes into the film after seeing some blood covered feet… of course moments before we did see her “boyfriend” get shot with blood splatter and everything but man those feet are so much worse. To be fair once we get to the weird and tense drug cartel scenes the movie picks up a little as in the atmosphere is tense and there’s some investment in these characters to be had. However this does not last long at all, and once again we are presented with a movie full of people doing stupid shit. For example they plant drugs into her stomach but don’t tell the dip-shits transporting her not to hit her in the stomach. And then we reach the point where the powers kick in and shit hits the fan pretty fast. Lucy’s power is inconsistent and often never explained, most of these powers are over the top and make no sense but what makes even less sense is the actions of Lucy herself. In one scene she says she can no longer feel any human emotion but in the scene before she was crying to her mom about remembering the taste of her milk… yeeeeep that’s a thing, that’s said. Towards the end of the film she even kisses some random guy for no fucking reason other than “A reminder” A reminder of what? you lost all your human emotions half an hour ago. Also why is a super human with no emotions letting the people who want to kill her live? it’s established early on that she has no qualms about killing them and yet plot convenience dictates that there be a villain until the ending I guess. I could keep going folks but I’m going to sop with the specifics here, in short the writing is god fucking awful. Not even Morgan Freeman and Scarlett Johansen can save this crap and they don’t look like they were enjoying this either. The action scenes and special effects aren’t even that great in grand scheme of things and in many cases they’re just as weird as the writing. Of course there are some cool scenes scattered throughout like the bit where she puts everyone to sleep, and the bit where she uses the reflections in someone’s memory to find hidden information (still stupid but cool). In fact I thought the core concept had potential and the cast was promising, however it is stupid as the myth it’s based on. Many scenes haphazardly throw around scientific terminology to make the characters sound smarter, and it’s just cringe worthy. I would honestly say more but even thinking about this awful movie is giving me a headache. This is the worst movie I’ve seen all year so far, I do not recommend it, instead avoid it until you can rent it out of morbid curiosity. This film will insult your intelligence and waste your time, however there’s at the very least a decent soundtrack and some cool shit.
Kirby’s Dreamland 3 (Wii U VC):
Dreamland 3 is pretty much an SNES upgrade of Dreamland 2, a really impressive upgrade but that’s still the simplest way to describe the game. In many ways it’s a step backwards from super star saga the previous SNES game and you’ll probably notice some similarities to Kirby 64 (I tried that on emulator once). Dreamland 3 has the usual charming and relaxing Kirby soundtrack you’d expect by now and it’s pleasant to listen to. Complimenting the soundtrack is the games visual style which is really neat and charming, and is a lot softer on the eyes. In terms of gameplay it’s a very basic for the most part you go through levels with Kirby, absorb abilities and then ride your animal friends. A standard play-through really offers not much difference to Dreamland 2. Surprisingly it’s a lot easier to take damage in this game at times, however it’s not too troublesome until you reach certain challenges. In order to properly complete the game you need all the hearts, which you win at the end of each level for doing a specific thing. Sometimes you need to find a specific object, sometimes you need to solve some puzzles, and sometimes you get a minigame. Honestly the most challenging aspects are the levels that require you to make it through the toughest stages without a single death so that you can reach the end with the required animal buddy and/or power up. Of course this means game does have trial and error elements that extend the gameplay time, but it’s never anything too intense and since it’s such a short game it won’t matter much in the long run. The boss fights are also pretty easy by Kirby standards in particular the final boss is probably the weakest of it’s type I’ve seen so far in these games. Is Dreamland 3 worth your time? I’d say yes, if you haven’t played Dreamland 2 this one will give a similar relaxing experience with a bit more gameplay variety. As goes for most Kirby games this is worth your time if you’re looking to relax and if you’re needing your Kirby fix. It’s certainly one of the better looking games in the series.
Guardians of the Galaxy (Movie):
Folks here we have the best movie of the year so far. I haven’t felt this much enjoyment and emotion in a cinema for quite a while and Guardians does a great job of balancing comedy with drama. I honestly have no idea where to begin, the concept for the movie is crazy enough and it’s surprising to see it work this well. The soundtrack isn’t very original as it uses lots of pop music from the past, and the original tracks in the movie are fairly standard and simply serve their purpose of complementing the action on screen. Visually I was pretty impressed and the designs for the most part feel really quirky and while they have influences in other science fiction (star wars, star trek, so and so forth) it felt like the movie was carving out it’s own unique look. Great comedy really helps lighten the tone and the movie doesn’t take itself too seriously while at the same time investing the viewer in the characters. The movie is filled to the brim with spectacular action sequences as well, and the plot itself is fairly standard for Marvel movies (magical mcguffin stones of power) although I would say there’s a greater sense of adventure here. Rocket, Groot and Starlord are incredible characters that are well written by my standards, and gamora, drax and most of the side characters where engaging as well. The only exception is the villain who is kind of just there to be a dick, and he has a room where he talks to emperor palpatine a bit. Honestly I think the only big negative I had with the film is that some of the lines where hard to hear, mainly these were exposition lines, but sometimes it was bad enough to ruin a joke or two. However keeping that in mind it could have probably been an acoustics issue, or an issue with my own ears so I’m not too mad about this problem (In future I plan to purchase this movie and watch it with subtitles). Overall I highly recommend Guardians of the Galaxy, it’s a fun time and also quite a moving time.
I hope you enjoyed this blogg, it took me quite a while but that seems to be the pace for this year. I’ve already got stuff planned for the next blogg so stay tuned. For the perverts amongst here are some pictures. NOTE: This was not published on the day I started typing, just in case the intro confused anyone.