The Chaos Blogg 55: Sly Raccoon

Well things are really rough right now, perhaps even more rough than last time. I’m currently dealing with horrible mental garbage (Some days I feel like I’m going crazy among other things), and I also managed to get a skin problem and a common cold as well. Luckily though I’ve still got stuff to review here and I was a bit quicker this time. Hopefully you all enjoy what’s on offer, and I’ll continue hoping that medicine can actually save me. Ahem, enough depressing crap here’s some music.

Metrico (PSVITA): 

This game is a kind of a troll, it’s a puzzle platformer that tries to use every single input of the Vita in order to create puzzles and platforming challenges. By every single input, I mean every single input. Every jump, every movement, every death and every checkpoint could be used in a puzzle. The more annoying stuff though occurs when you have to use the touchpad to aim projectiles, or you have to use the motion sensors, or when you have to use the lighting feature. While they may be interesting concepts they’re not exactly comfortable or precise and they’re the games main downfall, especially if you go after achievements. Metrico has an interesting art-style to complement it’s game-play, as the entire world is presented in info-graphs with fractions and percentages everywhere. These fractions and percentages, help you solve the puzzles and if you pay close attention you’ll notice that they can help you find collectibles. Interesting enough collectables in this game are like secondary hidden puzzles and they do add some replay value if you miss them on your first try. The strange but beautiful presentation is also complemented by the soundtrack which while unmemorable is certainly fitting for the game and rather relaxing (which is necessary since there is frustration to be had). Overall I found this game to be quite fun and clever, but it was also a pain in the ass at times. If you have a Vita though it may be worth checking out assuming it’s relatively cheap. The game is short though so you may want to keep that in mind, and I think watching the videos bellow may give you a better impression of the game than my words could do alone so I hope you do that. (I really had nothing major to compliment or criticise here).

Note: I couldn’t find the soundtrack so the above videos will have to do

Sly Raccoon (PSVITA):

Okay so I’ve never played Sly Cooper before but I knew since it received huge amounts of praise on this website (Mainly from Blair) that it was about time I looked into the series. Know as simply Sly Raccoon in my country, Sly 1 was part of the trilogy package for PSVITA which I bought on a whim, and I do plan to play the other two games in the package once I’m ready. I also want to say that some of the complaints I did have may be due to the Vita port rather than flaws with the original game on PS2, however I don’t have the experience necessary to figure it out myself. First off lets start with the animated cut scenes, while I do enjoy the cartoon-like nature of the cut-scenes in the game and how the effectively presented the rather simple story, I can’t say the art-style was all that appealing to me. Art-style aside though the cut-scenes were at a rather low resolution and they looked like a low quality You Tube video in that regard, that being said though they were still rather charming and that was probably thanks to the voice acting. The voice acting in this game suits the cartoon-like style, and the writing never enters exceptional territory. There are laughs to be had but nothing quite as funny as say Ratchet and Clank, Jak and Daxter, nor anything truly bad enough to become kind of unintentionally funny (like starfox and Sonic Adventure). The in game visuals grew on me as the game went on and they remind me of that Bugs Bunny game on PS1 a little. Music wise Sly Cooper is good, but nothing in this game anyway is extremely catchy nor do any tracks stand out. As a whole though the soundtrack is very recognisable due to reoccurring instruments, melodies and whatnot. The music does it’s job well setting the tone of the game.

Game-play wise Sly Cooper at first comes across as a very generic platformer from the PS2 era, it’s linear but with collection elements so it’s reminiscent of crash bandicoot in that aspect. However I get the feeling Sly Cooper was a template that many licensed platformers may have copied back then, although it may have been influenced itself from many games in the genre. As a whole the game is rather easy yet losing lives is also rather easy as sly can only take one hit before he croaks unless you have a lucky horseshoe. Sly is also a bit clunky but not to an awful detriment besides a few levels with tricky to obtain bottles, however there were several times I got stuck in objects due to strange glitches in platforming which caused me to restart some levels. As for the whole thief aspect well, I never really felt like I was doing any impressive stealth. For the most part it’s just avoid objects and enemies and there’s no much else to it but it serves it’s purpose to make the game stand out more, and there’s no bullshit with enemies seeing you when they shouldn’t have (except when they turn around as soon as you hit the attack button, though I guess that’s my timing). There’s also some shooter and driving segments to try and vary up the game-play, these segments handle decently but they could use far more tuning. The game gets more interesting with it’s platforming with world 2 and onwards since new skills are introduced and the level design seems to get a lot more creative and interesting, although you’ll notice more and more mini-game like segments popping up the further into the game you go. In fact there’s even a rhythm based boss fight which is kind of cool, however this fight also highlighted the fact that the game needs skip-able cut-scenes. Now of course with all these things said I actually enjoyed my time with Sly Raccoon and I hope that the series improves as I explore the sequels. It was a short but rather fun platformer with plenty of collectables to satisfy my desire to collect. It also has a lot of cool abilities to unlock include the ability to speed time up and slow it down and the power to just break the difficulty curve by surviving pitfalls and water. I enjoyed my time with Sly Raccoon and it became my first platinum quite easily, it wasn’t a challenge but it was a really enjoyable time and shows quite a lot of potential. I recommend it for those who’ve got a day or two to kill and want something fun and relaxing (well for the most part).

The Judge (Movie):

Don’t let the premise fool you, there’s not a lot of murder mystery stuff here and this film is pretty much dedicated to family drama. That said though The Judge felt like it was lacking focus, like it had so many sub plots that it was having trouble keeping track. That sometimes makes for a more interesting and some dare say a more realistic experience. In this case though it just felt like a little too much at times, especially with just how creepy some of this stuff got and how easily some of it got brushed aside. For example the romance sub-plot was rather creepy and unnecessary but the sub-plot with the brothers isn’t expand on much at all. There’s also some gross scenes thrown in here, involving urination, vomiting and diarrhoea. You could argue they provide humour and/or make the movie feel more real and gritty, but to me it feels unnecessary and doesn’t actually benefit the film. Those complaints taken into account I somewhat enjoyed the film, Robert Downing Jr. does a fairly solid job here and so does most of the cast, and it was certainly able to hit me with the feelings at times. Of course nothing amazing stood out to me about the movie but that may be my reaction to family dramas in general, and if you’re curious about the film you’re best off renting it first since I get the feeling it’ll be hit or miss.

Trauma Centre: Second Opinion (Wii):

“What’s wrong with me?” “I think you’re crazy” “I want a Second Opinion” “You’re also lazy” – Planet of the Apes the musical 

Ignoring Simpsons quotes for now I never really thought I’d be playing a Wii game, nor did I think I’d be playing a Trauma Centre game at all. Being a Wii launch title the game isn’t exactly a shining example of what the system can do and it clearly shows that it was roughly adapted from a DS game as well. Visually it’s lacklustre although I don’t mind the character designs and on the DS this would be pretty passable. The soundtrack is fairly standard outside of the exceptions like this one and it serves its purpose well, actually it’s a better than standard but just not enough to get me to remember it in the long term. The game-play is pretty much an arcade surgery game, with VN like cut-scenes to provide story in between surgeries. You’re not offered any story choices and well the writing isn’t the games strong suit, though I thought it was kind of charming in a cheesy drama way, and there’s at least an attempt at building some characters. As for actually playing the game it’s pretty fun but also incredibly frustrating. The game is played using the IR pointer in the Wii-mote and typically this works for a lot of games pretty well (Metroid Prime, Pikmin, Red Steel 2), but in Trauma Centre it’s less than ideal as the game requires some precision at a very fast speed and that’s often difficult to pull off with the shaky Wii-mote pointer. I get the feeling it would be smoother on touchscreens but I heard the DS version of the game had poor item management that wasn’t time friendly. The difficulty is also pretty fucking intense and for the most part is actually manageable on Normal mode, it feels bullshit at times but you can also argue it’s just very challenging. The disease know as Triti though can go fuck itself, but luckily you can cheese your way through it using the Healing Touch, a special ability that slows down time and can only be used once per operation. Eventually though once I reached the 2 final operations I was pretty tired of some of the nonsense, and had to shamefully lower the difficulty which then made those operations feel a little too easy. To quickly describe the problem they expect you to perform 4 surgeries in a row without any deaths and the diseases you’re fighting are some of the most pesky ones to deal with including the freaking Triti at the very start of the operation. Overall this game was stressful, somewhat fun and just a bit too flawed for me to recommend it to anyone. If you’re just really curious like (I was) maybe it’s worth a look, hell you might like the intense challenge and the arcade like nature of the game. On the other hand I just don’t think it’d be worth the money and I’m sure more recent game would have improved upon this formulae anyway, so I recommend borrowing it from someone else like I did or you could hope to find it for super cheap somewhere.

Space Dandy season 2 (Anime):

Yeah I could probably copy and paste my first Space Dandy review here but I feel that overall this season was a little bit of an improvement in that I can’t remember a single episode that made me go ‘ugh’ like the last episode of season one did. I wouldn’t say it’s perfect though as while there’s still variety a lot of these episodes felt like they were constantly trying to be surreal and that can get a little stale. Space Dandy still has a rather impressive soundtrack and rather neat visuals, and the characters are given a bit more depth this season. They even managed to connect most of these seriously disconnected stories in at least some way, which was an unexpected surprise (though not really since it’s blatantly set-up at the start of the series). Crap I’m already out of things to type, there was nothing really here to make me want to go into further detail in either a positive or negative way. I guess this is probably because I’m treading the same territory again. I do think this series is something you should check out though and I hope you enjoy it, it’s got some laughs, it’s got some action, there’s quite a bit of episode variety and it can get emotional at times as well.

Princess Mononoke (Anime Movie):

Ah Ghibli, how you hit and miss with me so often is quite extraordinary, some of films I really enjoy like Howls moving castle, Kiki’s delivery service and the ever popular Spirited Away. Other films though have left me wanting more, or in the case of Poppy Hill wanting my time back. Luckily Princess Mononoke is on the enjoyable side of the spectrum. For starters it’s a bit more violent than what I’ve come to expect, and this means it had plenty of stunning action which while not necessary can be a helpful ingredient. Visually it’s quite impressive, although it’s not as visually impressive as newer Ghibli films. In terms of soundtrack it delivers some moving pieces but it’s not the type of music that sticks with you afterwards (I do think it works with the movie though). Princess Mononoke tackles that old man versus nature debate and does an interesting job of showing both sides in a sympathetic way, the protagonist is often struggling against both sides while searching for a way to end the curse of hatred placed onto him. I wouldn’t say the themes of the film are subtle but it doesn’t feel like it was shoving them in my face either. The characters are mostly well characterised which includes the animals/gods as well as the human characters, although Mononoke herself could have been given a bit more, since for the titular character she was a little lacking. Princess Mononoke feels like an adventure film, with a very well paced plot and an actually somewhat satisfying conclusion. It was far more fun than I expected it to be, and I highly recommend this one to pretty much everyone.

Okay so that’s done and over, I want to apologise because I don’t think any of these were as detailed as normal. At the same time though a lot of this stuff didn’t inspire me to either compliment it in detail, nor was there anything particularly horrible about any of it. I have no idea if it’s just me or the games/anime in particular but hopefully next time I’ll have a bit more to say. Thank you for reading enjoy some pictures.