Chaos Blogg 79: The Umbilical Star

So seems like I’ll be moving house soon, which means there may be an even longer period of time between this post and the next. This is amplified by my latest problem and that is a broken TV which means no Zelda for me until I get that replaced. It kind of just shat itself randomly one day and for no explicit reason (It may have been due to a single day of hot weather where I wasn’t home but that’s more of a wild guess). Anyway enough of the update please enjoy the blogg.

Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed (Wii U):

While not an entirely new idea for the ‘kart racer’ genre this Sonic racing game is an excellent example of the genre. In fact on the Wii U it’s only really outclassed by Mario Kart 8 (which is arguable) and I don’t think it’s got similar competition on any other platform. The Wii U version starts off with the Metal Sonic and Outrun DLC on the disc so I don’t regret my choice of platform but from character roster alone you’ll get more value with the PC release from what I can tell. This game is visually impressive by my standards or at the very least it has a lot of striking visual variety due to the huge amount of video game IPs it draws from. The Galactic Parade, the Seasonal Shrines, Sky Sanctuary Zone and the NiGHTS level were some of my favourites and they were often fun to play as well. The soundtrack is beautiful and the fact some of the sonic tracks mix in some Sonic R music to great effect is amazing. The gameplay itself is quite similar to the first game but I don’t think you’ll be able to get a feel for it unless you actually play it yourself. Everything feels a lot faster and weightier than the typical mario kart (unless we’re talking the new 200cc mode) and the items are bit more balanced (the NPCs are often really good shots though). The main gameplay mode is mission mode that tasks you with winning races and doing a bunch of challenges, such as a drift challenge or a boost challenge. Some of the more frustrating missions were the traffic attacks and tank battles which involve a lot of dodging. Interestingly if you want to unlock characters you need to play this mode quite extensively so it’s pretty much the bulk of the single player experience. Thankfully the variety and challenge here was quite fun and I had obtained all the characters by the time it started to get stale. Of course there’s some unlockables in the GP mode (you know the standard mario kart single player) and it may be worth clearing this mode first. Overall it’s a fun title and one that I’m glad I played.

Yahari Ore no Seishun Love Come wa Machigatteiru (Anime):

A somewhat lengthy anime that hasn’t even really finished yet from what I can tell. Or at the very least it doesn’t have much of a satisfying end at this point in time. It also seems to have divided opinions with a lot of praise for it’s more realistic and/or mature take on a high school experience with also a lot of criticism about the shows tendency to drag on and at times repeat itself. Both these points of view seem right to a degree, the show does indeed drag towards the end and it did get a bit repetitive. It also does start off as more of a comedy and progressively gets more and more dramatic almost completely losing it’s humour towards the end (or at the very least it came across this way). It’s got a fine soundtrack and visual style but I think the main appeal is the characters and the dialogue. It’s often thought provoking and the protagonist is a character who is intelligent and anti-social (which I can relate to on some levels). It makes good viewing however the pacing at the second half is just too slow for me to fully recommend this yet, if they wrap up the story in the future then I’d say it’d be well worth it. Of course it just depends on the individual as to what you think is more important in a series.

The Great Wall (Movie):

A fun action film that tells the story of a couple of western medieval mercenaries who in their pursuit of a legendary black powder find themselves involved in a conflict between Chinese warriors and strange green monster hordes that try to break through the titular great wall. The acting was quite fine for this type of film and the overall writing was fine as well, although the ending left some loose ends (in terms of the characters journey not so much the actual conflict) that could even lead to a sequel. It’s got a good soundtrack however it’s overshadowed by the more memorable visuals which were really colourful for this kind of movie. The action scenes are spectacular and sometimes crazy. It was a real blast and I often found myself giggling at some of the more ridiculous battles. This movie is well worth watching at least once and I recommend it somewhat highly.

Mob Psycho 100 (Anime):

This is a fantastic anime that isn’t close to finishing but is very much worth watching. Made by the same lot behind One Punch Man it’s just as entertaining and arguably even better. It’s visually appealing while also being somewhat unique if we compare it to OPM. It also does this without becoming hideous which is something I can appreciate (balancing beauty and originality is tough from what I can tell). The music is on par with OPM and even better at times. It’s not as action packed as OPM but it makes up for it in better character development and writing, it’s pacing is excellent as well and the twist on standard conventions was fantastic as well. There’s not much else I wish to say since I highly recommend this to all of you to at least try out once.

Logan (Movie):

If you were to me last year that I’d end up almost tearing up TWICE! in an X-men film last year I would have just laughed or given you a really confused look if we were in a face to face conversation. Logan is perhaps the most emotionally moving superhero film and in an age of ultra happy action fests made by Marvel and whatever it is that DC is doing it’s nice to see something in an incredibly different tone. It’s serious and gritty and wolverines claws fucking cut people up like they fucking looked like they would when I first saw them. It’s well paced, it has a good soundtrack and it’s well worth watching if it’s still airing in cinemas. I’d say it’s a must watch.

Girlish Number (Anime):

This show seems to be taking the piss out of the anime industry for the most part and it’s kind of all over the place in terms of it’s narrative structure and overall focus. If it wasn’t for likeable characters and some good music I’d say it wouldn’t be worth watching at all. Thankfully this comedy does have some charm so it may not be a waste of your time but I can’t say it was a satisfying experience and it’s not like I even set the bar that high to begin with (It’s not what I’d call trash but both of the other shows on this blogg are well worth watching way before this one).

Duke Nukem 3D: Megaton Edition (PS3):

Thanks to PS+ I was able to play this game which from my understanding is considered a classic fist person shooter at least by some if not most. However I can’t say for sure since I’ve seen more people talk about the franchise with derision thanks to Duke Nukem Forever. Either way though I managed to have fun with this simple title, going around shooting things, blowing shit up and finding hidden secrets. The old school graphics are pretty neat for the most part and lend this title a charm that it might not have otherwise. The music is quite fitting and contains some tracks that are fun to listen to. The ‘cutscenes’ are rubbish though and there’s nothing close to a substantive story here, but thankfully the fun gameplay and the overall style make it unnecessary to the enjoyment of this title. This game parody’s action films of the 90’s and 80’s and often references culture from that time (It’s really dated but that’s the charm) it’s therefore rather cheesy. Important to note however is that this game froze on me several times at random, however it wasn’t often enough to cause much stress. There was also a huge glitch in Duke Carribean on the first level where one of the rooms bugged the fuck out but possibly more annoying was the fact that the christmas levels got stuck on the leaderboard screen which meant I had to exit the game in order to move on to the next level (which also resets your items). All that considered though I think this game is worth checking out for a cheap price although just keep in mind that it can be quite crass.

Fate/Extella: The Umbral Star (Vita):

In terms of story this is a sequel to Fate/Extra on the PSP which was in itself an alternate universe of the visual novel Fate/Stay Night. I’m not 100% sure on what from Extra is a part of this canon since that had elements of player choice and a second game that was never given an official translation (which to my understanding was an alternate timeline or route). However it gets too confusing to think about for too long so lets not do that, instead the story in this game is fairly well executed in the fact that it has likeable characters, drama, spectacle and even romance. It unfortunately gets muddied by the unclear backstory and some time travel elements. I’ve dealt with more confusing things in my life though so I can’t say it ruined my enjoyment but I did scratch my head on several occasions (and to counter that there were times where mysteries were solved or the plot went in neat directions). Visually well the model quality isn’t impressive but thankfully it’s not too noticeable mid action and the character portraits are really nice. It’s definitely got that Extra art style and it’s nice to some series favourites in this style including the original Saber and Rider. The music is excellent however this is mostly because of the amount of remixes of past tunes and not so much the original compositions which mind you are still pretty good. What is extremely different to Extra though is the gameplay, which seems to be Dynasty Warriors as far as I can tell. You hack and slash your way through enemy attack programs and take over there territory until you win enough sectors to unlock the boss fight. There’s more to it than that but that’s pretty much it in simple terms and it’s a fairly fun and straight forward time however I can see it getting repetitive in the long term. Overall I can only confidently recommend this title to those who are invested in the franchise and the Fate/Extra alternate universe.

Well that’s done, so hopefully I covered everything I wanted to cover. If you have any questions feel free to ask and what not. In the meantime I thank you for reading and here are the usual pictures that signify the end of the post.