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.
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.