This one probably took a while but to be honest it felt rather quick. Today we have not 1, not 2, not 3 but 4 GAMES being reviewed (if you consider these reviews that is). There’s also some anime here, and I hope you can find something that interests you in this blogg. Now lets have some music.
Wait a PSP game? holy shit I haven’t talked about one of these in about a year. While probably not the best example of what the PSP is capable of Fate/Extra is what would consider a good game, and one of the more memorable experiences I personally have had on the handheld. Funnily enough I won this in a competitive raffle of sorts run by a very kind and generous individual. Such incredible luck doesn’t happen too often, so I knew I had to make the most of this opportunity. The story of this game is quite similar to Fate/Stay Night however it doesn’t acquire too much knowledge of the series due to it being set in an alternate universe. This Alternate universe is more sci-fi in nature than 100% straight up fantasy as you wake up inside a large computer known as the moon cell and are forced into a death tournament where the winner gets their wish fulfilled. That’s right it follows some Matrix like logic (although there’s more of a magic-based twist to it), and in order for you to battle the moon cell generates your servant (saber, archer and caster). The story explains itself decently throughout the game and while it can be confusing it’s not mind melting. The appeal to the story is the characters that are both charming and well developed, in particular the servant you pick is highly developed (assuming you did everything correctly) and there’s depth and variety in the opponents you face through out the story.
Visually this game doesn’t have too much going for it, however the character portraits are beautiful in both design and art style which gives the game it’s own unique feel. The inside of the arena is also visually appealing with bright colours and an interesting style even if I did think there were too many fish in the background (I don’t like fish). The Music is also top notch with lots of catchy upbeat tunes as well as some well done sorrowful pieces, there’s elements of what I call jazz here and elements of electronic music as well. Now for the gameplay which is where Fate/Extra is actually rather hit and miss. You first pick your servant which will affect difficulty (Saber is meant to be the easiest but her character more than makes up for that) then as the story progresses you must ‘explore’ the arena where you train your servant and collect items in order to be ready for the next boss fight. It’s a rather simple premise and as long as you explore the ‘hub world’ each day before entering the arena it’s pretty hard to screw up royally. The combat itself is like an RPG had sex with Scissor, paper, rock and to be honest I haven’t seen anything like this before. Each battle has 6 moves per turn and in those 6 moves you must input commands, which range from Guard, Break, Attack and Special (which uses up mana). This means you have to guess/predict your opponents moves and knowing is probably more than half the battle in this game. You gain this knowledge by fighting enemies and for boss fights you find it through the story itself. The whole system is a bit more intricate than I can describe and I don’t really want to spend all day writing a tutorial.
For the majority of the game I had fun with this combat system as enemy moves formed patterns that I could pick up on and it was fairly rewarding figuring stuff out without all the required knowledge. Gameplay wise the most fun sections are the boss battles as they offer a fair challenge and they let you go all out without having to fear too many consequences. Using all your items, skills and eventually your Noble Phantasm (super special move) to beat tough opponents is a blast although it will all depend on your servant and the amount of grinding you’ve done. This is where we reach the main complaint, and that’s the grinding which is tedious at first but eventually ends up both tedious and stressful. For starters you’re limited to small areas that take a fair amount of time to move around, you have to fight the same enemies over and over, and there’s no way to save when you’re in the arena meaning if you die in the arena hours of grinding can be wasted. To be honest it doesn’t become a problem until about the 5th chapter, which is when enemies are given their own special moves which are hard to predict and seemingly random. Some enemies can also inflict random paralysis even if you do guard an attack successfully and it’s horrifying when it happens. One situation had me grinding brand new enemies after a boss encounter and that took several retries and a lot of luck to get through. Another time in chapter 6 a random enemy managed to hit me with a special move (didn’t see it coming) that ALSO paralysed me, this paralysis let the enemy take out my character in about 4 hits sinking about 2 hours down the drain. These pure RNG elements made grinding for xp a boring slug through enemies as wondered when and where the next bullshit would come from, luckily the caution I did take saved me from a lot of bullshit but it was never quite as fun. I also found the grinding may have been too much when it came to the final boss who was kind of a cake walk, but that may just be Saber being op in some regards.
Overall there was enough good story, music, art style and boss fights to make me feel like my time was well spent, however there are some huge negatives with grinding and RNG that bring this game down quite a bit and the presentation is lacklustre in areas. I personally think fans of the Fate series are the ones most likely to garner the most enjoyment from this title. Whether you check it out or not is up to you but just be cautious friends.
Kara no Kyoukai (Anime movies):
Anime movies? But Chaos don’t you normally just review one movie at a time? Yes I normally do that but Kara no Kyoukai is an exception since while it is technically a series of movies it honestly feels more like a mini-series with some episodes being as short as 50 minutes to some going long over the hour mark. If I were to review all 8 movies separately it’d get rather boring and time consuming. The animation quality is pretty good, it was made by the same people who did Fate/Zero and even the stuff from 2007 still holds up. The soundtrack is also well done and there’s some pretty memorable central musical themes of course since these are movies I think some of the soundtrack is quite forgettable but I still encourage you to give it a listen. As for the story well once you piece it together it’s a rather touching story that brings up various moral questions even if it does lay it on a bit too thick at times. However plot is a bit different as these movies are not only out of chronological order but the first 4 are so intentionally vague and misleading that it’s a little frustrating to try and figure out all the details. Movie 5-8 kick everything up a notch, everything visually improves and despite 5’s intentional misdirections all these movies clarify a lot of the vague details and have more solid plots than 1-4. The later half is when I felt like everything was paying off and was when I felt the most emotional investment in the characters and their stories. However I must warn you now these movies are not for faint hearted people as they contain some very dark and disturbing themes, lots of gore and the 3rd movie has nudity and rape I’ve put those Bold just in case some idiot doesn’t read through the whole thing. The nudity is rather tame but the series doesn’t shy away from things like rape, cannibalism, suicide and just murder in general (but it’s reserved enough for it to not make me feel ill). Also note that there are supernatural elements and magical shit in these movies so be warned if that ain’t your cup of tea. If you think you can handle it then it has my recommendation because half way in the series I found myself enjoying the story quite a bit.
Mega Man 6 (Wii U VC):
Mega Man 6 is probably one of the better Mega Man games I’ve played. “But Chaos that game’s too easy” I hear you say, well you do have a point the game is rather easy however considering the average Mega Man difficulty this might be the perfect starting point for new comers to the series. Difficulty aside I had a blast playing Mega Man 6 and could easily see it sliding under Mega Man 2 & 3 in my own top 5 list. I enjoy the 8-bit graphical style of this game and visually it seems nicely polished probably due to it being a later NES title. The robot masters in this game range from lazy stereotypes like Flame man and Tomahawk man to the kind of weird like Yamato man and Centaur man. The music is good old classic 8-bit Mega Man and the themes I included here I pretty much ones I all enjoyed, although the soundtrack doesn’t reach 2, 3 or 9 levels. As for the game-play itself well the charge shot pretty much wrecks everything but the new weapons aren’t exactly useless, for example Flame mans weapon can melt ice walls and also deals a ton of damage to plenty of bosses (Silver Tomahawk is pretty neat as well). The levels like Mega Man 5 also have gimmicks to them, like Plant man whose stage has springs, the Centaur man stage has water and upside down water, Knight mans stage has bumpers and treadmills, and the Flame man stage has pits of oil and moving platforms you somewhat control. The stages have variety and even replay-ability as several stages have alternate exits and hidden goodies (for example Yamato Man has a hidden miniboss). Get all the secret exits and you gain beat who can help you out in a jam. Having alternate paths is a pretty awesome thing and to get most of them you need to use the rush adaptors that give an awesome punch and a jetpack. With these adaptors they found a work around for the weapon energy problem as each now comes with a smaller gage that’s used up quickly but also recharges automatically. It’s somewhat exploitable but since it runs out fast so it’s not a good idea to over rely on it, yet at the same time you don’t have to hunt down weapon energy for the damn things. No doubt this game is easy but it’s a lot of fun and I could easily recommend it to anyone looking to start off their mega man experience on a lighter note, before they work their way onto the likes of 2 and 3 of course. Note: I think they tried to compensate for some of this with lots of ceiling spikes.
Liberation Maiden (3DS eShop):
Fans of Kid Icarus Uprising are probably going to dislike me more than they already do but I’m quite adamant about those ground controls being shit. So how on earth do you get 3D shooting to work on the 3DS with out the Circle Pad Pro and without it being on-rails. Well Liberation Maiden has a good crack at figuring that out and I have to say it’s a lot better than Nintendo’s own solution. Liberation Maiden is a small shooter where you control the president of New Japan who flies around in a mech and shoots up a bunch of enemies in order to Liberate her country. The plot and the premise are fairly nonsensical but the character designs and various artwork are very neat which is probably expected from a Level 5 game. The cut-scenes were well done and the music is pretty kick-ass, although you’ll find the in game visuals to be a little lacking on detail (I would by no means call them bad though). The biggest downside is the games incredibly short length, as you can play Liberation Maiden in about a couple of hours. However you can argue this adds replay value but I haven’t really had the urge to play it again yet, so that may just be for those who love this genre and love getting high scores. In that regard you may want to get the game on sale instead of paying full price but I’ll leave that choice to each of you. Anyway lets get back on track to the game-play itself. Unlike Kid Icarus you control Shoko by using the L button the switch between strafing and free movement, this gives you greater freedom to move around and removes most camera problems out of the equation. However this leaves the question of how do you shoot? Well they figured a way around that by using the touch screen itself to shoot, this means as you aim you lock onto targets and when you let go you fire your ammunition which is also your shields, which means the greater the damage you deal at once the more exposed you are to a quick death. It’s a brilliant idea and the controls work well for the most part unless you forget to actually fire any weapons of course. Like Kid Icarus Uprising this game gives you hand cramps but thankfully the game is short enough for those cramps to not be too detrimental (so the two major negatives compliment each other I guess). There’s also plenty of lore here hidden in the game and I guess that’s why they made a VN sequel (although I get the feeling that ass was a factor as well). Anyway it’s a short but fun game and it may be worth your time if you’re curious and have too much money (you lucky bastard).
Fire Emblem (Wii U VC):
This is the first localised Fire Emblem and was the game we got thanks to the popularity of Roy and Marth in Melee. Also known as Fire Emblem: Rekka no Ken and FE7, Fire Emblem is an excellent turn based strategy game known for its cruel perma-death feature. Now lets start with what I liked since while I do love this game I feel it does fail in many areas compared to the rest of the series. Hector, Eliwood, Lyn (who is super attractive, just getting that out there), Jafar, Nino, Athos, Ninian, Nils and the villain Nergal are all rather interesting characters who I felt had rather emotional and dramatic stories which suit this series well (they also have good designs). The dynamic between Jafar and Nino for example is a story of redemption that I thought was pretty powerful (I didn’t support them though I’m just going off the main story). Various other spoilers with these characters made me enjoy the story and hopefully I’ll remember this games story as time passes. That said there’s fantastic replay value as after Eliwoods story is complete you gain access to Hectors story, however I have yet to complete Hectors adventure so I’m not sure if it’s worth playing through just yet.
As mentioned the story is engaging and can be emotional at times which is something I found lacking in Shadow Dragon (FE11). In fact the entire game is better than Shadow Dragon as the gameplay is far more addictive and I would argue less bullshit. If you’re curious the units I found most useful besides the 3 lords were the two snipers Wil and Rebecca, the pegasus knight Florina and the druid Canas who could pretty much own both of the final bosses. The music in this game is solid, with several stand out tracks although it’s a little on the generic side at times and other games in the series have better soundtracks (this one is still great though don’t get me wrong). Also since it’s on Wii U you now have access to an optional battle save feature, the kind which was in Radiant Dawn. It’s only really viable in long battles and while it is exploitable it can easily fuck you over so it’s not an instant win thing. (speaking of exploits you can also exploit some bosses and arenas which could be handy if rng screws you).
Now for the negatives, Night of farewells can go fuck itself and so can the Berserker staff, that chapter was long tedious and to top of it off the ass-hole with the annoying staff was on his own little island with an angelic robe in tow (it’s an item that increases your HP). Trying to get that robe and survive was one of the most unpleasant things I’ve ever tried to do and I eventually said fuck it and killed that ass-hole. That being said I won’t claim myself to be an expert, in fact I know I lack skill in these games and they always feel like a challenge to me. Of course another complaint I have is this games difficulty curve or lack of one, most chapters are straight forward while others are painful and then there are times where it’s just too easy and I’m left sitting around waiting for time to pass. I remember other games in the series having difficulty peaks and troughs but never to this degree of inconsistency. This is going to get me some flack but the supporting characters felt bland and unmemorable, not quite as bad as Shadow dragon (I only remember Marth and Shiina) but to the point where they felt very cliché and that I had seen them all elsewhere. The only way to flesh out these characters is with supports which take a long time and waste a lot of turns to get, which if your impatient like I was you wont bother too much with. I also felt the ending was a little anit-climatic and the Epilogue was lacking though I get the feeling I’ll find much more in Hectors story (although that’s just my hunch).
If you’re wondering yes I love this game, to the point where I even started a second play through today. I find the game-play addictive and I kind of want to see if I can flesh out more of the characters next time. Do I recommend this game? Yes, while no Sacred Stones, Path of Radiance or Radiant Dawn, FE7 is a solid entry in the series and one I can recommend to most people (Right now it’s also the cheapest out of these, so yeah go get it).
Space Dandy (Anime):
Right so this only covers season 1 so there’ll probably be a season 2 review later this year I guess. Space Dandy is a great comedy anime, that centres around the adventures of Space Dandy a bounty hunter who is perverted and rather incompetent. That’s about as much premise as I’ll give as the series is pretty off the wall and no one episode is the same in terms of theme and plot (It’s highly implied that some sort of multi-verse thing is going on). The series looks great and sounds great. There’s plenty of laughs here, but there’s also some surprisingly emotional episodes and they do a really good job of building up most of the main characters. However I though the last episode of this season was a bit crap and it was dumb note to leave on. But really I don’t have much to talk about here. It’s a fun but short anime and I’d say it’s worth your time if you want a comedic anime set in space. Hell actually I’ll just recommend it to most people who are into anime as you should all at least give it a shot if you haven’t already.
Thanks for sticking with me on this one, there’s some long ones here and not everything got the same amount of time but hopefully you like what was done here, if not then maybe the perverts in the audience will enjoy the following pictures. Also I’m thinking of trying to do a video review on Fire Emblem, however since my equipment is shit it’s not going to be that great but I at least want to see if I can pull it off or not.
See you next time for Chaos Blogg 54