Review of Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann

•November 28, 2008 • 1 Comment

Better than Voltron

This is without a doubt the manliest anime ever created, and I say that after careful consideration. The brilliant minds that brought us popular anime titles such as FLCL have truely given us another gem in the anime world.

This is an anime that flaunts itself in every manner possible. It uses romance, tragedy, comedy, action, sciencefiction, and ample amounts of fan service all rolled neatly into a perfect concoction of pure entertainment. Not a single episode went by that a fight between robots was not involved. Not a single episode passed where the camera did not take advantage of Yoko’s delightful curves. Rather than turn away from brash, over the top characters and plot, this anime plunges into it headon and doesn’t stop to breath for at least the first 8-9 episodes.

The characters are incredibly strong, and never stereotypical. Kamina is definetely the star of the show and the primary source of manliness. This is exemplified in such quotes as “Do not believe in yourself, beleive in me who beleives in you,” and “Yours is the drill that will pierce the heavens.” Yoko is another strong character within the series.

The animation is superb, clever designs for the “Ganmen” (this anime’s version of mecha) really bring out the flamboyance of the show.

I’m finding it rather hard to describe the show, so lets just get things out of the way and give it 9.5/10

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Mirror’s Edge Review

•November 26, 2008 • Leave a Comment

If there is proof that game developers continue to reinvent the industry with innovative ideas, Mirror’s Edge is it.

From the first day I heard of this game’s existence, I’ve eagerly awaited it’s release. At the beggining of the month, EA released a demo of this game that blew me away. Then I got my hands on a coppy.

From start to finish, Mirror’s Edge is a solid first person adventure. The absolute thrill of sliding down the slanted face of a building to jump for the next roof or leaping to catch the runner of a helicopter to escape gunfire is incomprable. Unfortunately, that distance from start to finish isn’t very long.

Unquestionably, the largest drawback of the game is it’s painfully short campaign mode and shoddy story. Basically, your sister is framed for murder and your off to uncover the conspiracy that put her in that position.

However, the game more than makes up with it in the sheer brilliance of the game play. With an even balance of slow, thinking games where you have to figure out where and how to string together different techniques to get from point a to point b, and blazing fast paced instances of fight or flight make this game enjoyable to the end.

The melee combat control are impressive and versatile, making for an enjoyable experience so long as you keep the kicks and punches coming. Stop or mess up and it’s a sharp crack to the back of the skull that sends you back to the last checkpoint. The disarming function is great if you can time it right, but I wouldn’t recommend holding on to the gun unless you’re completely overwhelmed by the enemy. Not only will a gun slow you down and prevent you from making that all-important jump, the shooting in this game is no where near the quality of more mainstream titles. But I suppose that’s excusable, given the game isn’t focused on shooting.

That brings me to the main attraction, the movement. In most first person games, your up/down movement is limited to a single button that makes your character do a funny little bunny hop. In Mirror’sedge, you get two buttons. One is for “up” moves, the other is for “down” moves. the up button will cause you to jump, yes, but it will also allow you to scale walls, vault fences and low objects, springboard off of conviently placed boxes, catch a zipline, and even wallrun. The down button makes you crouch, slide, drop, and more. These simple additions bring out an incredible interface that allows you to immerse yourself in a game as has never been done. When you run, the camera will bob with your steps and you can see your hands pumping. Look down while jumping buildings and see your legs bicyling in midair in preparation to land. Sumersalt and the camera rolls with you. The level of immersion in this game is unprecidentd.

The speedrun and time trial modes are fine, adding a tiny slice of competion to an already great game. However I for one think EA should have put more thought into creating a tea based multiplayer mode or even an online race against other players. It just isn’t as fun when you don’t have someone visible that you are actively competing against.

Overall, Mirror’s Edge is a fast and furious game that, while short, is an innovative and reveloutionary experience for first person gaming.

I give this game a 8/10

Review of Fable 2

•November 26, 2008 • Leave a Comment

Fable 2 is a unique and interesting game, much improved over it’s predecessor.

I guess the first place to begin is the story, which is certaintly more engaging than that of the first Fable Game. One reason for this is that the story will differ between playthroughs, dependant on the choices you make within the game. The earliest example of this occurs within childhood, and several more will present themselves throughout the game as you progress, accomadating to marriage, children, and more.

The villain is also the better of the two we’ve seen in the series thus far, with a clear distinct past and motives that range far beyond a mere “rule the world” scenario. In fact, the villain in this game already does rule the world so you don’t even have to worry about that!

While the magic system proves awkward at first, but it grows on you after a while. My biggest vice about the combat system is how you have to level up aspects of your character so that you can do things you could do from the very beggining of the first game. Normally, I wouldn’t complain over something this small, but considering you can’t even block until you level up one of these skills, Lionhead is pushing it considerably. After you have these skills fully leveled, woever, it’s a blast. Shooting the weapons out of my enemies heads and then finishing them off with a blow to the head will never get old.

As far as content is concerned, there are plenty of quests to keep you busy while you play the game (some of which only become available after beating the main story line). The addition of dyes to the game to color your hair and clothes however you want was a nice touch, but the limited selection of clothing (which, by the way, is purely asthetic and offers no defense bonuses whatsoever) hampers creativity and you’ll usually find yourself garbed in nobility after an hours work at the blacksmith shop.

The old good/evil mechanic of the first Fable game is now supplemented with a purity/corruption bar that measures such things as how high you set the rent, what food you eat, etc. This affects the attractiveness of your character, allowing them to become corrupt results in a fat and ugly character while growing pure will slim you down and make you incredibly irresistable to the opposite sex (or same sex depending on your preference). Unfortunately, I cannot seem to get any of my characters to have the horns that traditionaly marked an evil person.

The dog is a wonderful tool and character that never grows tiresome and is generally always useful. The breadcrumb trail that leads you to your current objective is a nice addition, allowing for exploration and letting you get right back on track when you feel like it. Admitedly, some features feel a bit tacked on. Before the games release, the developer’s let slip that you can catch STDs if you have unprotected sex outside of marriage, and while this is possible it doesn’t seem to impact the game whatsoever. Yes, there are some quests you can do after saving the world but it’s not enough to sustain interest through the so called “sand box” phaze that occurs after the story.

Overall, Fable 2 is an enjoyable experience worthy of a few run throughs and many hours of play, but it’s drawbacks put an ugly spot in the upper left hand cornor of what would otherwise be a perfect game.

8.5/10

Aftermath

•November 4, 2008 • Leave a Comment

People wouldn’t leave me alone.

Is was bad enough people were coming to my home to proposition me for sex before the death of my wife, but when the pain was still fresh they decided to add salt to the wound.

I didn’t spare them any love. The flames swallowed them whole.

I may remarry again, but I can’t say for sure. It will be a while to say the least.

One Bad Day or Why I Hate Reaver (end game spoilers)

•November 2, 2008 • Leave a Comment

I officialy hate Reaver. Seriously. Why, you might ask. He is you’re ally, isn’t he?

It all started when I returned to Reaver. He took one look at me, smiled and said with a straight face “My, you look a bit worse for wear.” And that was only the beginning. As he continued he slowly reveals that he had sold me out to Lucien. Damn.

Unfortunately for him, Lucien wanted his head too. So together we fled down his super secret passage way through several underground chambers where we confroned badies of a most vicious sort, finally coming to his hidden cove with escape ship waiting. Escape ship for him that is. he could care less for me and my companions (who had spontaneously appeared on the beach).

Well that plan went down the drain when a Great Shard showed up and blew it to smitherines. Take that, you egocentric bastard!

Battle ensued and soon the four of us had defeated the Old Kingdom super weapon and teleported safely away to the Guild Hill in Bower Lake, where we began to summon the weapon that would defeat Lucien once and for all. Then Lucien himself decided to join the party and we discovered we hadn’t put out enough chairs.

He quickly made room for himself though, and teleported everyone else away. Just him and me then. He proceeded to inform me of the tragic death of my wife and kids (by his hands, no less), shoot my dog, and then attempt to shoot me. Thankfully I was saved by a mysterious flash of light.

When the light cleared,  I was a kid again and in a nice comfy bed somewhere in the country side. Wait, what?

I got out of bed and there was my sister, alive and well, and acting as if nothing had happened. Confused and befuddled I clambered out of my bed and went on to shoot bottles, kick chickens, kill beetles, and have a general all around good time. Night came and with it the song of a music box. Against my sisters begging and pleading, i followed the sound of the box untill I heard her screa. I turned and saw she was gone. There was nothing left for me but to continue onward.

I collected the box and after a brief montage of quotes and memories found myself in the Tattered spire again, only this time I was well armed and prepared. I approached Lucien, who was draining away the power and abilities of my companions to fuel his giant wishing rod, and stole his power from him with the music box. I then held a gun to his head while he said his last words and, in mid sentence, Reaver pulls out his pistol and shoots him, knocking him backwards into the pit and depriving me of my much deserved revenge.

I hate that man. I truly, truly do. I was numb as i wished for the lives of all those who lost their lives to the Spire to be restored. I hate that man. He’s far away, out of my reach now. One day, he’ll return. And I’ll be waiting.

Day 8

•November 1, 2008 • Leave a Comment

Sometimes I think fate really likes to mess with me every chance it gets.

The task Reaver had assigned to me was simple. Take the seal and return it to its owners in Witchwood. Alright. Exempting the odd Banshee/Hollow Man horde, it shouldn’t be a problem. WRONG.

You see, Reaver is a clever son of a gun. Turns out the owners of the seal, called the Shadow Court, had been expecting me. Reaver had, sometime in the distant reaches of the past, struck a deal with this Court that guarenteed him eternal youth so long as he periodically sacrificed that of others.

There happened to be another youth, a young maiden, in the court when I arrived. I had the option to give her the seal before the Court extracted the price (whoever was holding it would recieve the curse of old age), but of course in an act of selfless chivalry, I spared the girl and took the punishment upon myself. Doesn’t mean I wasn’t pissed.

I decided to blow off some steam before returning to Reaver and went off to kill a swamp troll, resurrect the long dead Lady Elvira Grey for a freaky gravekeeper, and kill a bunch of hobbes. I would return to Reaver the next day.

Day 7

•October 30, 2008 • Leave a Comment

Reaver has to be the hardest person to please. Ever. The first guy I happened upon that looked like he was needing help was a poor sap in the local pub, claiming he had heard the ghost of the long dead Captain Dread in a nearby cave. So, being the goodhearted fellow that I am, I agreed to investigate.

What I expected was a lesurely stroll through some old cave with a few wooden structures here and there. What i got was a horde of angry ghost pirates out for my blood and a ten foot zombie captain. Not exactly a pretty sight. One of my first stunning realizations was that this pirate captain could use Will, which meant he was from the age of Heroes. Wonderful, well two can play at that game. A pity my fireballs merely skidded across his flesh err, bones.

So, after making sure that the honorable captain was dead for good, I comandeered his ship,  picked up a crew in Bloodstone, raided, pillaged, plundered and
otherwise pilfeed my weasely black guts out.

Or, thats what I would have done if the ship wasn’t enchanted to opnly be able to go one place. It took me to an odd island with a seemingly impossible pool at the center fed on all sides by waterfall and yet never overfilling. A long, strenuous search of the island yielded a total of 15,000 gold. Not a lit sum, but nothing to be proud of for such a notorious pirate.

Well, even if the gold was a little bit of a letdown in size, it made for a good story and got me a nice chunk of renown.

So, after all this and running a sham of a con artist out of town, Reaver finnaly determined I was worthy to have an audience with him. The prick.