Chaos Blogg 72: Birthrights and Love

Time to post yet again. This time we have an equal amount of anime, games and movies. Among which is the first of three Fire Emblem Fates ‘reviews’ I’ll be posting this year (hopefully). Hopefully you find some enjoyment here and to kick things off lets have some tunes.

One Punch Man (Anime): 

Finally getting around to this one long after the huge hype has died down. Thankfully it’s actually a good show and the popularity is somewhat warranted. It’s got fantastic action, decent comedy and even some depth. It’s not fantastic though as its own randomness can get in the way of a coherent story or theme. It’s still got good visuals, music, characters and overall presentation which makes this anime well worth watching and fairly easy to recommend. Not much else to say, so lets move on.

Ratchet and Clank: Tools of Destruction (PS3): 

Outside of the upgraded graphics compared to the PS2 titles this is pretty much your standard ratchet and clank title with a few motion based gimmicks thanks to the six-axis controller (Thankfully it’s nothing overly intrusive). I’d also the difficulty is much lower in this title and overall the game felt shorter. It was nice that some backstory for ratchet is explored but the writing isn’t quite as amusing as Ratchet and Clank 3 or various other titles. The attempt at a more personal and epic style of story has potential but I don’t think it’s ever capitalised on properly. On top of that we have an ending on a cliffhanger and an odd one at that. The game is still fun to play though and it has the visual and audio charm necessary to keep the whole thing an awesome experience. In fact I can’t even remember any core gameplay complaints I had outside of difficulty and six-axis bullshit, which I think is indicative of it being a good game.

Angry Video Game Nerd Adventures (PC): 

While a lot better than most of the games that inspired it the AVGN game is really flawed game mainly because of the overuse of death blocks and the over commitment to being as shitty as possible without actually being shitty. It’s a fine line to tread and the fact that I was able to enjoy it in some way means they achieved their goal somewhat. The music is excellent, the visuals are alright and the whole thing is dripping with references to this particular internet show (Outdoing a lot of licensed games in the process). However there are times when it feels like it crosses the line into becoming shit as opposed to parodying said shit, for example the characters have a slight momentum that makes precision a pain in the ass, the vanishing death blocks outright suck and the lives system is a terrible idea for a game that has such quick and frequent deaths. I do put some blame on having to use my keyboard but ultimately the final cluster fuck of a level at the end shows just how unfair it can be. Which is weird since it can also be a fair challenge at times and there are the making of a great game here. Rambling aside I recommend checking this out when it’s on sale, otherwise don’t worry too much about it.

Rakudai Kishi no Kyabarurii (Anime):

An okay anime that includes romance, fan service, drama and action. In many ways it has difficulty finding a consistent tone but thankfully most of what it does has at least visual polish. The romance and fan service are quite connected to each other and this ends up connected to the drama as well so I can’t say much of it felt too out of place in the story. Thankfully there are lighthearted moments that induce laughter but the show doesn’t ever feel like it’s trying to be a comedy which if it did would probably ruin the whole thing. The soundtrack is also fine. Not much else I wish to say other than that I don’t recommend it highly but at the same time I think it could be worth watching for some and I personally thought it was alright.

X-Men: Apocalypse (Movie): 

A rather fun action movie that covers quite a lot of characters and at times seems to retread old ground a tad too much. I mean this is somewhat expected after they rebooted the universe with Days of Future Past and in many ways I found it quite fascinating. I was also surprised how violent this movie was in comparison to the previous one and I think that lent the villain of this title a lot more presence. The villain was menacing and while he was more fantastical than previous villains he never felt out of place in this movie. It was a bit of cluster fuck but it manged to have some depth and was overall a fun time. However I think this is also time for a warning since the whole professor X and Magneto character arcs are starting to feel really repetitive in the same way that wolverine was. If there is going to be another X-Men film these characters need to take a back seat or at the very least not seem like they’re repeating the same paths they followed in the previous films. Other than that I think the film is well worth watching for all but those who are easily confused.

Hai to Gensou no Grimgar (Anime):

The concept of fantasy worlds and our modern one has lead to some good stuff recently, Overlord and Gate being the examples of this. Grimgar tackles a similar concept to Overlord (Vaguely I guess, maybe the first season of sao is a better comparison?) but with a larger amount of mystery and protagonists that don’t remember anything. This leads to a darker tone as the characters have to work themselves up from scratch and risk their lives facing even the most common fodder enemies. It’s admittedly slow (I’ve seen some call it a slice of life set in a fantasy RPG world) but in return it offers great drama and a fuckton of tension. The artstyle is beautiful and the soundtrack is pretty good too. However I don’t think it’s close to finished yet as none of the actual mysteries are solved in this season, So while I personally recommend it I think it might be worth waiting for a second season.  

Fire Emblem Fates: Birthright (3DS): 

I love this game but I also feel disappointed in this localisation. It’s not so much the cut content and cringe worthy dialogue that left a slightly sour taste but the lack of dual audio and the terrible dubbing on most of the characters. For example Camilla now sounds like someones creepy grandma who smokes too much, Kagero sounds like a zombie with a lisp and the male Corrin voice I chose made some of the more emotional scenes absolutely laughable. Thankfully some of the characters sound okay like Xander, Caeldori and my personal favourite Sophie so I can’t say it’s 100% awful. The fact we’ve taken such a step back from Awakening by removing dual audio is what I consider the games biggest fault, since for the most part the game plays like Awakening but with some altered mechanics and a better narrative. The music is great and for the most part I like the visual style. For the most part I enjoyed the gameplay but with the removal of the weapon durability it feels a little less important to spend as much time planning ahead. There’s also two/three difficulty spikes in the Birthright campaign and I feel like the game intentionally tried to encourage grinding at these points.

Anyway as much as I complain I actually really enjoyed this playthrough and I got quite addicted to the game. In many ways I think the problems I have with it come from a place of wanting it to be even better and quite frankly it’s a little hard to even critique the meat of the game when the presentation problems are so distracting. I’m planning my next playthrough already and it’s going to be quite the undertaking to even get it underway but I hope the next two reviews of this game can be more substantial than this. At this point I can’t recommend it but I think I may be able to once I’m done with all 3 routes.

Money Monster (Movie): 

A mediocre thriller movie centred around stock and a tv show about the stock market. It was okay I guess, but it felt a tad preachy and had a cameo or two that seemed a little odd to me. Ultimately it’s not worth your time but I was lucky enough to have a free ticket so no harm done. Maybe rent it for cheap in a few years time?

Alright folks I hope you enjoyed this and I look forward to reading some of your thoughts on this stuff. Assuming that someone actually comments. Anyway if you’ve sat through all this, I hereby reward you with the usual pictures. Thank you for sticking with me.

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sophie

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Chaos Blogg 71: Frontier of Despair

Decided to cut this series from 12 to 8 since it was taking a stupid long time between posts. So here we go again, enjoy these remixes.

SteamWorld Dig (Wii U):

I bought this game on sale out of a desire of something simple to play, and thankfully SteamWorld Dig is quite simple and a fair bit of fun. It’s a platformer with some very light metroidvania and puzzle elements with a large focus on digging. The soundtrack and visual style are pleasant to a degree but nothing amazing. The game is very short but quite addicting and don’t seeing it lasting a long time since there’s no apparent replay value and the digging eventually becomes a tad boring once you’ve obtained all the upgrades the ore can buy. In short it’s fun while it lasts but I can’t recommend paying full price for it. Wait for another sale before you consider it.

GATE Season 2 (Anime):

Season 2 of GATE ramps up the action and provides some really cool battles and drama. The soundtrack is still pretty sweet and it’s visually solid. This season leaves many unanswered questions but presents it’s ending as a conclusion to the series (Probably in attempt to hedge its bets just in case a third season doesn’t happen). Something feels a little lacking compared to last season but I can’t quite place my finger on it. Either way I recommend this series quite highly.

Pokken Tournament (Wii U):

This game is a lot of fun but unfortunately the online is quite unreliable or at least my experience leads me to believe. Offline multiplayer works and is quite fun but I wasn’t quite able to enjoy to it’s full potential due to the controls I had on hand when I tested the feature with friends. Do not try to play this game with the wii mote and nunchuck. The single player is repetitive but I found it a great stress reliever and I think it’s a great way to train the player (after the training mode of course). It’s sparse on content and screams for dlc, but it’s still a really fun game. It’s got a great visual presentation outside of some of the pokemon looking a little weird (Mewtwo why you all slimy looking?), and it has an amazing soundtrack that gets the blood pumping. I recommend the game for those with good internet connections and for others I suggest waiting for DLC, a price drop or a sequel with more single player content.

Kid Icarus: Of Myths and Monsters (3DS VC): 

Oddly enough this game seems like a prequel to the NES one since it talks about the protagonist Pit being in training. In terms of visuals it’s basic but it’s not terrible. The soundtrack is fairly limited but I thought it was quite nice although I think that might be my fondest for 8-bit talking. The gameplay is slightly improved over the NES game in some of it’s concepts but it doesn’t feel quite as polished as the original. One problem is that the first boss is stupidly hard compared to the rest of the game (or at least it’s the only the challenge I remember). It’s a short but fun time and while I can’t recommend it as a priority it still has worth and I think you can do so much worse.

The Jungle Book (Movie): 

I never expected this movie to be good, and I was therefore pleasantly surprised when it turned out to be a well done family film that paid a good tribute to the classic animated feature. The voice acting is neat, and the film is quite visually striking. It’s a fantastic example of how a terrible idea on paper can actually work in practice. The soundtrack is fucking brilliant and offers several surprises. In fact don’t listen to the tracks I’ve provided until after you’ve seen the film… unless you don’t plan to see it of course. I recommend seeing this with family if you can.

Danganronpa: Another Episode (PSVita): 

An interesting experiment for the franchise that expands on the danganronpa universe. However making the jump from Visual Novel to third person shooter isn’t smooth at all but forgivable due to it being a spin-off. The gameplay ranges from passable to good, and in some ways it’s reminiscent of Resident Evil 4 but far less serious and refined in it’s mechanics. In fact the game eventually devolves into a bunch of separate horde and puzzle rooms, and thanks to genocider syo you can almost ditch the 3rd person shooter stuff entirely. Another big turn off point is the forced English dub, there’s no dual audio here folks and because of that the game suffers. For example Togami’s dub voice is unbearable and only outdone by the horror that is shirokuma (even if he does grow on the player). Thankfully a lot of the main cast is voiced decently so overall the dub is tolerable. The writing is pretty solid and even in 3D the series has a distinct visual style, if we include a pretty neat soundtrack it wins in presentation. The story is actually more fucked up than normal for the series, like some really dark shit so that’s something to keep in mind. Thankfully the story is somewhat self-contained while also providing some backstory for the main titles, unfortunately there also some unanswered questions and loose ends that I can only assume were left like that just in case there was a sequel to the spin-off. I think it’s worth playing for the story, the characters and presentation but I can only recommend it to people who have played both Danganronpa 1 and 2 but I also think that should go without saying.

Macross Frontier (Anime):

Space battles and music, with a relatively open love triangle (protag is more avoiding the issue than just being oblivious). While some of the character design feels a bit dated, and a bit janky this anime is an audio and visual treat as it takes catchy songs and uses them as a weapon in pretty cool space battles. It’s got decent story and characterisation but a lot of those aspects suffer/take a back seat due to the amount of music and space battles. I’m hesitant to recommend this one as it feels quite niche but hey if you like the sound of the music bellow maybe it’ll do something for you. I’m honestly on the fence, I enjoyed watching it but at the same time it didn’t really hit the spot for me due to some of the sloppier story telling mainly dealing around the antagonists. I plan on watching the movies for this which could be deserving of their own section but if my overall impression is the same I won’t bother.

Captain America: Civil War (Movie): 

By far the best Captain America movie to date, that capitalises on the huge cast of characters and the building internal conflicts seen in the previous Avengers movies. It’s got fantastic action, humour and drama with a tad bit of a darker tone. If I have one criticism it’s that the villains scheme seems way too luck based, which does break immersion but quite frankly delivers one the best fights I’ve seen from the Marvel cinematic universe as a whole. It’s also got good audio and visuals of course, outside of maybe a few shots in one scene. The introductions of Black Panther and Spider-Man were handled really well and I’m surprised at just how much I want to see a Black Panther movie now. Fantastic movie that I recommend highly assuming you haven’t already watched it by this point.

Well that’s all for now folks, let me know if you like this more middle of the road approach to this series. I’m trying to find what feels right so hopefully this is it. Anyway have a great day and enjoy some pictures.

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