Chaos Blogg 61: Age of Bags

So this took some time but that happens. I’m feeling very tired as of late, and I’ve been having to deal with tooth aches, holidays and other things. Yesterday was Anzac day over here and I went out of my way to make some biscuits for the occasion. They weren’t too bad but the more experimental chocolate ones didn’t sit well, and they felt like something that needed to be eaten with ice-cream oddly enough. I honestly didn’t expect most of the games on this blog, they just happened on a whim but this also means I can save the stuff I was planning for later. In other news I got a New 3DS XL limited Majoras Mask edition, it’s pretty sweet but also means I need to sell my old one which is easier said than done. Anyway enough of my ramblings please enjoy some remixes and we’ll get on with the show.

Banjo-Tooie (XBLA): 

For the longest time people had always made Banjo-Tooie seem like a terribly long task, difficult to navigate and hard to complete. Once I started the game I too felt overwhelmed by the size of it all, and just how much stuff there was to collect. Of course once I was in the thick of it, the fun took over and I enjoyed exploring new locations and backtracking to figure out new things. More often than not I would pass by a collectable out of reach with no clue how to get it, and most of the time I just assumed backtracking was needed. However the more I played the more I solved these “puzzles” in the back of my mind and the revelations were a joy in themselves. Of course that doesn’t mean they weren’t points where I was freaking clueless and chances are it was to do with ledges or grenades, but more often than not I could figure stuff out. In many ways Tooie is more adventure oriented than Kazooie was and everything is far more connected and collecting jiggies is a bit of a slow burn process this time. I honestly can’t pick between the two since they both felt rather different without being better or worse.

What I do think is better in this game though is the visuals, there’s a bit more polish and the designs are a little more interesting with less cliche level ideas and themes. The music is certainly on par with the first game and I think it’s the kind of soundtrack I’ll remember for the feel rather than any individual tune (except for Grunty’s lair which is only in one area I think). As for story well, I don’t think anyone is playing this game for story per se but the writing is rather clever still and the characters are excellent. It has even more charm than the first although I miss Grunty and her rhymes. This games humour still holds up well and can be even a little morbid (I want to say Adult but I don’t think that quite fits) at times, which makes sense since Conker was around a similar time period. There feels like there was plenty of love put into this game, as I doubt I even saw all the clever jokes within the game.

Gameplay is pretty amazing taking Banjo-Kazooies controls and adding plenty of new items and abilities, it expands the ideas without heavily altering the formulae. Outside of the more Open approach to the game the core gameplay feels pretty much the same, collect items and get stuff to feel heavy amounts of satisfaction. Of course as a negative I have too mention that this game has far too many mini-games for its own good. Most of them are shooting based which isn’t a bad thing since they control better than Golden-Eye. However what is a bad thing, is the button mashing mini-games. Button Mashing mini-games in single player titles was one of gamings biggest problems in the 90’s and early 2000’s. Pretty much saying fuck you to the players skill at the core gameplay and asking them to press buttons at often absurd degrees, hell fucking motion waggle wasless frustrating than these tacked on button mashers. Banjo-Tooie is a reminder of why we left this shit in the past where it belongs. What I’m talking about is Canary Mary, the character whose AI cheats when you race her in a button mashing mini-game. Typically it’s not much of an issue since her first three challenges are a cake walk. The final one though is a pain in the fucking ass, and I salute anyone who can pull this shit off, on an Xbox 360 controller since I as sure hell can’t. Canary Mary still holds that last damn cheato page and pretty much cock-blocked my 100% run-through. Honestly when they were working on updating some of this stuff surely they could take the time and fix this broken mini-game.

If we ignore Canary Mary though, Banjo-Tooie is an excellent game and a worthy purchase for those with a 360 or a functioning N64 (and a large wallet most likely). Perhaps I didn’t go into super depth about my favourite parts but I kind of believe it’s a little redundant since you should probably play Kazooie before Tooie, and I want you to experience this games magic first hand. Just don’t try for 100% unless you have a good workaround or have a thing for pain (go for 99% though).

Saenai Heroine no Sodatekata (Anime):

This anime opens with some quite blatant fan-service but at the same time accompanies said fan-service with dialogue which pretty much mocks what it’s doing. This isn’t an entirely new concept I believe I’ve seen many shows that have realised adding a sense of self-awareness can make some of these scenes funny, but the question is does this anime (Which we’ll now refer to as Saekano for shorthand) actually poke fun at itself in a clever way or is it perhaps just doing so to justify the fan-service. I can’t quite figure out the answer but I feel that either way, this wasn’t a terrible show and it was far from the stupidest thing I’ve ever seen and I might even consider it good. Music wise I say there are some good pieces here but most of them show up later in the series, otherwise I’d say the soundtrack doesn’t stand out much at all. Visually it’s filled with fan service shots which isn’t necessarily a bad thing and it seems to be a trend in series that have quite a bit of dialogue, but even then it can get a bit on the nose. If that’s your thing (honestly if we’re talking just myself it depends on my mood) though you’ll be glad to know it’s fairly well handled and animated. In fact I’d say the whole series looks nice although the op and ed are visually uninteresting.

The story of this anime centres around an otaku protagonist who finds himself suddenly inspired to make a dating sim. Of course during the creation of such a product he ends up in a harem situation which is at least more bearable by the writing and premise. The protagonist is fairly more concerned about the end goal and quite obviously avoids romance instead of just coming off as a fucking dunderhead (of course this may just be how interpreted it since he is still rather generic). The characters are handled fairly well and their motivations make sense most of the time, but I wouldn’t say the story is anything to write home about. What I think does deserve praise are the more comedic moments and part of that does come from the self awareness that seems to be present, of course there are better shows that do similar things and with less fan service. In summary I think it’s a decent comedy with elements of romance and drama, that has its moments of greatness but also plenty of moments of blatantly doing the stuff it pokes fun of. Not quite shallow and not quite deep.

Note: finding videos for anime is getting rough since they seem to be fucking crazy about copyright shit

Mario Tennis Open (3DS):

When I was around the age of 12 I used to play a lot of Mario Power Tennis for the gamecube, it wasn’t my favourite multiplayer title as back then Melee, Mario Party 5 and Double Dash still took most of my attention in that area. However Power Tennis was a great game, with plenty of courts, modes, minigames and characters. With all this in mind you’d think that Mario Tennis Open would have more content and overall improve over the previous game. Well you would in fact be wrong. Mario Tennis Open is a blatant step-backwards from the gamecube title and it’s pretty obvious when you look at all the characters cut from the roster to be replaced by QR code colour swaps and baby characters. No more Koopa Trooper or Shy Guy but you can play as Metal Mario and Baby Peach instead because repeating the exact same character is nintendos fucking jam and butter these days. Also Petey Piranha is gone and so is Wiggler, and honestly the only new character that is actually new is Luma (Luma’s inclusion makes me laugh more than anything).

In terms of courts this game has but only 1 more than the Power Tennis but you’ll also probably notice the complete lack of optional Gimmick modes which means that the courts are overall vanilla and boring. Well what about Mini-games then? They’ve been cut in half that’s what and they quite similar to what was here previously it’s almost shameful. If the quality was high I would probably be less critical of the games lack of content but it’s overall an average game that feels like it was built around this idea of grinding for items in the shop and playing a shit tone of online multiplayer. News flash no one is playing this thing, so all this Mii gear and costuming is actually pointless.Why do I say average though? since it’s pretty much the same gameplay as Power Tennis right? well it’s not quite, sure it’s very similar but it completely removed the Power shot system that was introduced in Power Tennis (it was optional in many modes I believe). The power shot system made the games feel more dangerous as it had both an offensive and defensive mode and it often came down to when you’d actually use it. Instead of expanding this idea, it’s been cut completely and replaced with Chance Shots, which as far as I can tell just comes down to who is lucky enough to get the Purple shots (It involves you paying attention to symbols on the ground). I honestly felt like this limited my options and made the game more Mario Party 8-esque in nature. With that said though the game is a decent challenge and I did manage to have fun with the singleplayer modes even if I did get a little angry sometimes.

When there are so many excellent 3DS games out there, I see no need to purchase this one. In fact if they were so keen on delivering such a small amount of content this should have been a downloadable title at most. It’s graphically fine but it certainly needed more time in the oven in that regard as well, and to top it off the music is rather average with the best tunes coming from rather simple remixes. Do yourself a favour and play the gamecube game instead, maybe someday it’ll get a legitimate sequel.

(Ugh I couldn’t find any good quality music for this game on the net, sorry everyone)

Monster Bag (Vita):

Monster Bag is a promising game, it has a great artstyle and a rather morbid sense of humour. The gameplay ideas are interesting with some Ghost Trick like stuff going on. There’s also a rather heart warming narrative here which you may even be able to interpret as symbolism. In terms of music I can’t remember a single track but that also means there was nothing awful in that regard either (it certainly doesn’t help that this game was tough to find videos for). The major flaw I think this game has is the touch screen controls. To be honest I can’t stand excessively using the Vita’s touchscreen since it lacks a stylus and I don’t see why this games simply mechanics couldn’t have been all button controlled. It takes away from what is a rather simple and interesting game and makes it a bit tedious and unreliable at times. To simply describe it, this is a puzzle stealth game, and for the most part it’s pretty good in that regard. I wouldn’t say great but I didn’t feel too frustrated either. Then as it got closer to the end, the timing need became somewhat ridiculous and I ended up quite frustrated until they came up with some clever distraction based puzzles… then it went back to the bullshit it was doing before when I got to the final level. One thing that this game needs is skip-able cut-scenes after the first time seeing them. It just adds to the frustration at the end and it shows why games where failing a puzzle is a common thing often have stuff reset quickly (which is mostly the case in this game) and also often allow you to skip cutscenes.

This game is probably still free on PS+ and I honestly have no good reason to not recommend you play this rather charming but massively flawed game, especially if any of the bellow videos do anything for you. I do not recommend that you actually go out of your way to purchase this game though, as there are far better games on the system and I honestly can’t justify putting down money for this thing. Not quite a monstrosity but not worth bagging yourself a copy.

(I couldn’t find enough videos so have this slam jam)

Avengers: Age of Ultron (Movie):

The Marvel movies haven’t exactly been consistent in quality over the years, sometimes we get something kind of lame, sometimes we get something pretty good and sometimes we get something amazingly good. Age of Ultron falls into the pretty good category, which is in itself impressive considering just how many sub-plots are in this series. I was certainly impressed by the visual spectacle and the new character designs, of course I think the soundtrack is nice but gotg set the bar much higher. I’m glad to see the series keep a sense of humour while also managing the more serious moments effectively, there’s also plenty of character development going on and none of it feels overly contradictory. Of course there’s a certain relationship that really felt out of the blue and Ultron himself feels underdeveloped which is a shame since I found Ultron to be a rather interesting character with a rather morbid sense of humour. There’s very little background info provided in the movie about him although I’m sure comic fans may know it already, but I still feel it needed more time to develop this particular character (especially since they’re in the fucking title).

I find these to be minor complaints though when I consider just how much is happening within this movie, and the fact they managed to expand on characters both new and old. For example Hawkeye really stood out to me in this movie as an interesting character, who is aware of how much of an underdog he is and pretty much kicks major ass. I think I’ll shut my trap here though, since I don’t want to spoil the entire movie for everyone. If you have seen it though I’d be interested to see your thoughts and maybe we can get down to the more spoiler-ish elements. Also yes I do recommend watching this movie.

(again another case of having limited music choices, so I just went with trailer music. I’m sorry for this everyone)

Koufuku Graffiti (Anime):

A rather simple slice of life anime that uses cooking as a means of having characters bond and learn various life lessons. It sounds rather wholesome in theory and a lot of the time it actually is quite a charming and moving show… but then they actually eat the food.

I think this video speaks louder than anything I could say. The eating of the food is erotic in nature and I’m honestly not sure how I personally feel about this, but I can easily see this making or breaking the experience for people. It does tone down as the series gets passed the halfway mark and this allows for more of the emotional elements to kick in, even if they are quite mild. One episode got to me though towards the end and that caught me by surprise since the show is didn’t really reach that point before nor did it do so again afterwards. As for soundtrack, it ranges from slightly annoying to decent. Visually it’s good but it almost feels like a waste of talent but nowhere near Nisekoi levels of waste. The sense of humour is also a positive. Ultimately though this is an average show that drags on a bit too long and some episodes felt like pure “food porn service” and not much else, which is a little sad since there are some good moments here. I don’t recommend it though, unless you’re actually really turned on by the above footage, have a thing for Japanese cuisine or have not much else to watch. Once this current season ends I’m sure I’ll have better anime to recommend.

(Once again can’t find the original op because it’s not like that’s free marketing for your shit right guys?)

And that’s the end of that chapter. So want to apologise for the lack of music, just some bad luck on my part I guess. I think YouTube needs to stop with this instant claim bullshit since I don’t think it’ll benefit anyone long term. Also I’ll be working on a new video now, but I’ll also be playing Mario Kart 8 and Smash Bros due to the DLC this week so if you want to race or fight against my horrible Australian Internet let me know and we might be able to get something going. Note: The intro is now out of date since ANZAC day was on Saturday. Anyway here are some pictures, thank you for reading.