It’s been a while since the last convention I’ve gone to and I’m certainly looking forward to this year’s comic book convention! I certainly do enjoy these conventions, they are a lot of fun and you get to meet a lot of new and interesting. Plus, you can get trade paperbacks half-price off, which is a tremendous deal considering they usually cost upwards of 20-30 dollars. William Shatner will also be at this comic book convention, which will certainly make for an interesting day. I may even bring my camera along to capture some shots of the unfolding shenanigans!
I’ve always wanted to give this a game a try despite not really being into DC or MMOs all that much. Still, I am interested in making a superhero and going through the game’s unique and interesting campaign. I do like superhero MMOs, even though I wasn’t that big into Champions Online. I mainly want something to play while I like for a unique game on sale to spend 6 bucks on. In the meantime, I’m going to play DC Universe Online once it finishes downloading. I don’t have all the time for MMOs, but I certainly want to play through at least some portions of it. And after playing it, I’d love to post up a new review talking about it. Hopefully, the game is fun and entertaining, even when I play the Free-To-Play version of it.
Sometimes a game comes along with a unique premise and concept, but it comes to late in a console’s life-cycle to garner enough interest. And with no game is that truer than Solatorobo, an amazing Japanese game that is a forgotten under-appreciated gem. It’s revolving around anthropomorphic animal-like creatures who stumble across an age-old mystery and a powerful entity that they must stop. Take a seat and I shall tell you all about a classic that was one of the Nintendo DS’ last great games, let me tell you all about Solatorobo.
(Also, I’ve decided to rename my reviews to “Sweet As Syrup” to give them more of a standout title)
Plot And Setting
The game takes place on a floating series of islands and continents. Populating both the skies and the floating land-masses are two species of anthropomorphic creatures: The cat-like Felineko and the dog-based Caninu. The game revolves around a group of mercenaries, or what the game calls “Hunters”. The main characters are a group of hunters led by a rambunctious Caninu named Red Saverin. He and his sister, Chocolat Gelato, are on a mission to acquire some data for a client.
They go to a large battleship known as “Hindenburg” named after the real-life blimp and tragedy. Like the historical Hindenburg, it soon becomes heavily damaged and starts to fall out of the sky. Red must do battle against the soldiers of the Kurvaz army. After saving a young Felineko from the Kurvaz, they are thrown into a mission to save the world. From there you must travel to different floating islands, helping people, competing in battles and competitions, fighting the Kurvaz and ultimately saving the world.
The game features two story-arcs with the second story arc being accessed after beating the first. The second story arc is much darker in atmosphere than the first and expands a lot more on Red’s backstory. This story arc not only reveals the origins of the primary character, but also goes into the creation of the world itself. Another thing to mention about Solatorobo’s setting is that it takes place in the same universe as Tail Concerto, a rather obscure PS1 game revolving that also had anthropomorphic animals in mechs fighting it out. It’s a rather well-done and dark story, especially for an action RPG aimed at children.
In Solatorobo, you play as Red Savarin. You control the dog-like being as he runs around in his mech-suit known as “The Dahak”. The Dahak specializes in throwing it’s opponents around or into walls and other enemies. The Dahak has no combat weapons, lacking swords or guns. Instead, Dahak relies entirely on grabbing his enemy and tossing them. Some enemies are more difficult to grab than others and will sometimes require you to mix up your strategy. The Dahak can also be customized, as you will eventually gain parts that you can insert into Dahak to boost his stats. Dahak will also eventually unlock alternate modes such as one that bolsters his defense or increases his speed greatly.
The gameplay is simplistic and doesn’t require the most strategy at times. In fact, the game can be severely easy at times until you get the hang of a boss’s attack patterns. The game will often have you travel from screen to screen fighting enemies during missions, almost like a beat-’em-up. Actually, I guess it would be considered a grab-’em-up rather than an actual beat-’em-up. The game is of a fair length and will take about 10-12 hours to beat. On top of the main quest, there is a hardy amount of side-quests to partake in.
Side-quests including collecting pieces of a picture which will unlock in your art gallery, or aiding characters you’ve met while doing the main quests. There’s a large variety of side-quests including a quiz-game, cleaning out the sewers, a crate-lifting contest, and even a battle arena which will allow you to fight characters from Tail Concerto. You’ll unlock many side-quests over the course of the game, and the localization was nice enough to include the Japanese DLC as part of the main game negating the need to pay for them separately. By the end of the game you’ll have unlocked over 80 different side-quests, many of which you’ll need to complete in order to improve your Hunter Rank. Increasing your Hunter Rank is the only way you’ll be able to participate in the main quest.
I found the gameplay to be easy to get the hang and very easy to master. Unfortunately, the game doesn’t share this opinion. One of the major problems with the game is the constant flood of tutorials. You’ll get tutorials on how to move, on how to control your attacks, on how to upgrade Dahak, you’ll even get upgrades specific to side-quests! I’m surprised there isn’t a tutorial on how to open the flippin’ door! It got so bad that the game was actually giving me tutorials on the final level. Yes, the game is still instructing you even up to the end of the game. Another thing about the gameplay is that it’s repetitive. Fun, but very repetitive. This didn’t bother me too much as I am used to repetitive gameplay and it didn’t get too repetitive for me until I was nearly done it anyways.
The game boasts amazing graphics, it’s a glorious sight to behold! This game looks amazing on the DS, but by the standards of 2010 games still looked fairly outdated. Still, for a game that was dealing with the hardware limitations of the Nintendo DS it looked great. The character designs were also great, if a bit controversial. You see, the internet often shuns series featuring anthropomorphic animals due to something known as the “Furry Fandom”. These are a group of individuals who are interested in anthropomorphic creatures and the internet and media often shun this group because they think their weird. I have no real opinion on furries whatsoever, and I can tell you that the fact that they were anthropomorphic didn’t kill my interest or enjoyment of the game itself.
The character designs themselves were pretty unique and diversified and oozed personality. The thing that I didn’t like was the voice acting. Sure, the Japanese voice-overs are great but they are so immensely limited. It was as if each voice actor only recorded 3 or 4 lines and those lines get played A LOT. And if you fail a mission, look forward to hearing the same voice clips a million times more. Something that I really liked about the game were the two opening animations, one for each story arc. The animation was beautiful and was handcrafted by anime studio legend Madhouse. The music played during this opening segment is beautiful and elegant and gives you a strong sense of wonder. The music permeated through the whole game is pretty good, with the game bolstering an astounding soundtrack.
The production quality behind this game is astounding. This game had been in development for a decade and the quality of world-building and graphic quality is astounding. Every inch of this game bleeds personality and there are so many memorable characters and unique situations in this game. It truly is a masterpiece of design and shows that not every game that ends up in development hell ends up being a trainwreck.
This game bolsters some amazing graphics for the console it was on and has some fun yet repetitive gameplay. The static image cutscenes are a little bland and the voice-acting is severely limited. Despite this it’s still a well-crafted game with a moderate sized campaign and fun characters. You can get this game for about thirty bucks at a game-store and it’s well worth the price. If you want an action RPG with a unique gameplay twist and a goofy story that also exudes darker tones, then you should gave this game a shot. I give this game an 8/10 and can definitely say that this game is as sweet a syrup!
Spider-Man is an ever popular comic book series, but sadly the latest story arcs featuring the character have been disappointing. One More Day, The Other, and Dying Wish all lacked that fun energy and good writing that he Spider-Man comics were known for. I was pleasantly surprised when I picked up a few back-issues of the newest Spider-Man story. It had been so long since I had read a Spider-Man comic so fulfilling and interesting. Not since “Kraven’s Last Hunt” and “Maximum Carnage” had a Spider-Man story arc captured my interest in such a way.
But here it was, the grand-daddy of all Spider-Man stories and it was just amazing. This story-arc involves Morlun, a Spider-Man villain who Spidey managed to defeat a while back. Morlun is back and he’s brought his whole psycho evil family with him. And not only are they hunting Spider-Man, but every single version of him. That includes 60s cartoon Spider-Man, Spider-Man India, Superior Spider-Man, 616 Spider-Man, and even that kooky Japanese Spider-Man from the 70s. This crossover event has over 70 different versions of Spider-Man, including ones they just made up!
It’s up to Spider-Man and his amazing alternate dimension counterparts to defeat Morlun. However, even though most of the Spider-Men was skilled, they face the most deadliest alliance. Morlun’ family is a group of hunters who can fell even gods single-handedly. The Spider-Men not only battle for their lives, but also for the fat of every variation on Spider-Man that has ever existed. The story arc is amazing well-crafted and even features some pretty clever in-jokes. For example, Japanese Spider’s mecha known as Leopardon is well-known for being one of the most powerful giant robots in all Tokusatsu. Leopardo was always able to defeat the enemy within one minute of the fight without taking any damage.
However, here Leopardon’s arm is easily ripped off by one of Morlun’s family members, negating the near indestructible nature of the mech. The comic is full of intense moments, like when Morbius tells Aaron Aikman that his world is doomed or when Superior Spider-Man (AKA Otto Octavios) gathers a group of Spider-Men together and has them work with his genius to thwart Morbius’ insane family. I cannot reccomend this comic enough if you are a fan of the spider like I am.
It’s a really good game and always grabs me every time I play it. I find it to be one of the most involving open-world RPGs of all time. It has such an amazing atmosphere and adds a lot to the Fallout universe. There are few open-world experiences like Fallout, and I found Fallout New Vegas to be the best iteration of the game thus far. I hope Fallout 4 can measure up to it, but I doubt it. While Fallout 3 was amazing, it lacked that certain flare that made Fallout so great.
Fallout 4 is being made by Bethesda, much like Fallout 3 was. New Vegas was handled by a different stuiod and ended up being a much more solid experience. I will reserve judgement until the actual game comes out, but I do have my doubts. I hope Fallout 4 can measure up to New Vegas in terms of quality, but I guess time will tell. Hopefully Bethesda can deliver like Obsidian did with New Vegas.
Well, not really. You see, a few weeks back I saw the newest Terminator film with my friend 92Days. And it was okay, but it lacked a lot of what made the originals so great. The whole movie was a bunch of cool ideas that sounded good on paper and might have made for a good Universal ride. But that’s about it, they are just cool ideas. Instead of working the film lore into these new ideas, they just gave up and kind of weaved their own narrative ignoring how the Terminator films worked in the past.
They removed characters that were integral to the plot and gave an unsatisfying end to John Connor’s story. They created a new arc with new characters, some of which were entertaining. Ultimately it was an attempt to do what X-Men: Days Of Futures Past did, but it just didn’t work. For one thing, the movie kind of tramples over the original characters and villains. T-1000 is lame in this movie, the CGI is awful and they underpower him for the sake of introducing a new villain. And they try to make this new villain a big deal but spoiled it in the trailers. On top of this, this new villain is given little fanfare. So even if you didn’t spoil the big reveal for yourself, you’re still going to be disappointed with how it is presented. I enjoy the Terminator films, even the mediocre ones but this film left so little of an impact that I could never go back to it. Genysis was just bland compared to the classics.
There are some videogames out there that has a tendency to wear out their welcome way too quickly. One of these games is the now famous or infamous Five Night At Freddy’s. For those of you don’t know, Five Nights at Freddy’s is a horror game that is famous for it’s unique take on the genre. It was set in a parody of Chuck E. Cheese known as Freddy Fazbear’s Pizzeria. You’d play as a security guard and have to survive fight nights at the restaurant in order to win the game. Sounds novel, but the game quickly became a joke among a lot of people. For one thing, it lacked a lot of content and each game only had about 5-7 levels each. And considering the fact that each level lasts only about 6 minutes, there isn’t a lot of content to really entertain a single individual.
Each game is usually 5-8 bucks, but considering you can beat each game in about an hour or two if you really know what you’re doing it’s not a tremendous value. I’ve played games on sale on Steam for about half the price that I’ve been able to sink a large quantity of hours into and still have many more things to find. Heck, I got a different indie game called “Dust: An Elysian Tail” which offers a lot more content and was on sale for a measly three dollars. Fives Nights’ real draw isn’t its content (Or lack thereof) but actually the lore surrounding the games. It takes place in a haunted pizzeria and begs you to search through secret details in an attempt to unravel the plot. It just sucks a new game tends to come out every three-four months. It watered down the franchise and killed a lot of suspense. Instead of waiting a year and getting a brand new sequel that improves the original in every way, you get a souped up rehash every three months. While the lore is definitely worth the admission price, the game just lacks too much content and is shoved way too much. That’s just my opinion though, you are free to form which opinion you wish on the franchise. I just tend not to like it myself.
Shinichiro Watanabe is a name that is pretty well known in the anime industry. He created both Cowboy Bebop and Samurai Champloo. Both shows didn’t leave a whole lot of impact on me, which is rather surprising considering the universal love for both series. In fact, I like the movie of Cowboy Bebop a whole lot more than the. Shinichiro’s newest series last year’s Space Dandy.
Space Dandy tells the story of a bounty hunter named Space Dandy, who isn’t just hunting for rare alien species but also for women with voluptuous rears. Space Dandy, along with the cat-like Meow and the robot QT go out into the galaxy and have fun adventures. At the same time, a strange power causes Dandy’s world to go all topsy-turvy. Hunting for this power are a group of evil aliens, who wish to use this mysterious power for their own reason. It is a fun show with a surprising amount of depth. I highly reccomend Spacy Dandy if you are looking for a new and interesting anime.
When it comes to a game that’s based off a specific culture, it can be sometimes to difficult to get fully invested in the scenario. I find that engaging in a different culture in video-games can be immensely rewarding though, because it can teach you many things that you did not know about said culture. It can teach you about the delicacies of a nation, the nature of certain things, and give interesting factoids on what makes a country tick. One such game is Toukiden Kiwami, a game heavily steeped in Japanese lore and culture. It’s an RPG where you play as a fully customizable samurai warrior and must protect your village from evil demons that are out to destroy all you hold dear. Welcome to the world of Toukiden, a land set in ancient Japan where you must protect the world using only your skills and prowess.
Plot And Setting
Set in ancient Japan, you play as a Slayer and must defend Ukakata village from Japanese demons known as Oni. These demons take many forms from foxes to wolves to birds and it’s your job to slay these beasties. The story takes place in Utakata village and has you do battle against demons as you work towards defeating the extremely powerful demon leading all of them. The game also features a second story-arc in which you have to deal with a new threat as well as acquire some new allies along the way.
The story is probably the weakest part of the game. The first story-arc was so forgettable that I could barely remember what happened. The second story-arc was actually pretty good and had a lot more memorable scenes. It just kind of sucks that you have to slog through the boring stuff to get to it. Still, I did enjoy the setting of the game despite the slow first-half. The ancient Japan setting lends to a lot of unique ideas and items that the normal American game-player may not know about.
If you’ve played any Monster Hunter game or any styled it, than you already have an idea of how Toukiden plays. The game is third-person action RPG in which you must slay demons in order to get stronger. You can slice off the limbs of demons you fight and use them to attain new items and materials which be used to make armor and weapons. You can upgrade your gear by just simply wearing / using it in the field. For example, if you get hit enough times when in combat than you can upgrade your armor. It’s a fun and unique system that rewards you for using your armor and weapons to its fullest potential.
On top of this, there are also two things in town that will give you free items: Your pet Tenko and a mystical wise tree. The Tenko is a tiny little white fox who you can send out into the field to gather items. There’s also the mystical tree who will bestow items upon you if give it a small offering of cash. There’s also the “Pool Of Purity”, a special hot-spring you can bring your allies to for some rest & relaxation between missions. Sometimes using the Pool Of Purity can lead to a little bit of steamy shenanigans. Too bad that it fades to black before you can see anything actually steamy, but then again I don’t play these type of games for the possible nudity. I play it for the gameplay and action, which Kiwami delivers in full-force.
The combat is fun and easy to use, with each individual weapon-type playing different than the last. Using a chain & sickle to grapple onto enemies and deliver insane air-combos, or using a pair of twin swords to attack the enemy with fast and furious strikes is just two of the many ways your weapons allow you to deal with the enemy. On top of this, you are also gifted with spirits known as Mitama. These Mitama are actually the souls of dead warriors who will allow you to use special abilities once acquired. Each Mitama is grouped into different attribute categories such as defense or attack. Certain Mitama work best with certain weapon types and you mix and match them to find some awesome combos. I often use a defensive Mitama with my chain & sickle, because it allows me to produce a force-field so I can shield myself when I go in for an aerial combo.
Along with your Mitama and weapons, you also have several party members that offer their own unique skills and weapons to aid you. Find a proper combo of party members and gear allows you to effectively bolster a strong team. The original Toukiden game had extremely bad party member AI, but it was greatly improved for this game and it makes the party members more of a necessity. Combat is fast frenetic despite getting somewhat repetitive at times. One of the few major gameplay flaws is that the areas in the game are quite barren and featureless. Compare this to Monster Hunter, where a lot of the areas will feature wildlife or items to scavenge from herbs or mushrooms. In Toukiden, the areas are filled with some generic demons and a few glowing blue items here and there. There is very little reason to explore these areas, which makes it quite disappointing since there are a fair amount of areas that have multiple segments like this.
Visual Stimuli And Sound
The game looks pretty awesome, with some nice character models here and there. The faces of the characters look a little plane, but I do like the graphics a lot. The game has some nice music that is styled after the kind of songs prevalent in the feudal era of Japan. Despite this, very little of the game’s music made an impact on me. The voice acting is immensely solid and entertaining to listen to, being done primarily by well-trained Japanese voice actors. The cutscenes are gorgeous and well-done and look like something out of a flashy CGI anime movie.
This game looks amazing and has some fast and furious gameplay. The areas you fight in may be bland, but the fun combat easily makes up for it. The game’s soundtrack may be a bit forgettable, but the solid graphics and voice-acting make up for it. And even though the first story arc was immensely forgettable, the second story-arc added by this update adds a lot of intensity to the story and give me a fun narrative I won’t soon forget. I enjoyed it greatly and I would definitely play through this game again. My final rating for this game is 7 / 10, somewhat unpolished in a few areas but nevertheless fun. If you want a good Monster Hunter clone, definitely go out and give this game a try!
When it comes to anime, I’m a bit behind the times. Sure, I used to watch a ton of anime and had a collection of anime films, but nowadays I’m just kind of put-off with the styles of anime that are out there. Will I watch anime on occasion? Of course! However, I find myself often drawn to older anime. I like the stuff that came out in 90s and early 2000s, because that’s what I grew up with. I’m talking Samurai Pizza Cats, Dragon Ball Z, the first few seasons of Naruto, Dai-Guard, Mazinkaiser, etc.
On the other hand, I don’t tend to watch a lot of 80s anime. I’ve never really been into Fist Of The North Star nor have I watched every single episode of Robotech. One 80s anime that I’ve always been into though would have to be Saint Seiya. Labelled as “Knights Of The Zodiac” when first released here, this show remains lukewarm in America and Canada. It’s super popular in Japan, Spain, and France but has never really caught on in North America.
The anime has never received a full translation, only the first 60 episodes have ever been released in America. None of the prequels, sequels, or spin-offs have ever been released in America. Of course, the powers that be are trying to fix that. Bandai-Namco released a Saint Seiya game in America and plans to release another one next year. On top of that, the first four films have been subtitled and released on DVD in North America just a couple of years ago.
The show itself essentially inspired the Shonen anime genre, for better or for worse. The show revolves around five young men who are known as “Bronze Saints”. The Saints are a group of warrior-knights who battle evil in the name of Athena, the Greek goddess of war. The Bronze Saints are said to be the lowest rank of Athena forces, yet the Bronze Saints on the show always end up doing all of the work. Seiya, Shiryu, Hyoga, Shun, and Ikki battle their way through powerful warriors in an attempt to save the goddess Athena. Yes, they almost always have to save her in every story-arc. She’s effectively the Princess Peach of anime and almost just as useless.
The show itself has four story arcs and a bunch more if you include all the other manga and anime series. These primary arcs are known as the Sanctuary, Asgard, Poseidon and Hades arcs. The odd-man-out is the Asgard arc of course. This story arc has a rather long history as it was actually greatly inspired by the second film, “The Heated Battle Of The Gods”. In the film, the Bronze Saints went to Asgard, which exists in this universe for some reason. The film takes a break from Greek mythology and indulges primarily in Norse myths. The film itself was pretty badass for a forty minute anime film. It had some good action scenes and depicted a battle between two friends that was so epic they put it in on the American DVD cover.
The anime arc itself was very loosely based on the film, being its own entity rather than a simple adaptation. The anime ignores the film and gives us an all new story with new characters and higher stakes. Sandwiched between the Sanctuary arc and the Poseidon arc, this story arc acts as a lead-in to the Poseidon. The Asgard arc is in my opinion the best story-arc in the entire series. It has good villains, some awesome action sequences and a truly awesome climax! It has its faults, but I still think it to be the best show has ever done. Today, I wish to discuss in detail this amazing story arc of an amazing anime.
Taking place several months after the Asgard arc, Seiya and friends are taking a reprieve after their grand battle with the 12 Gold Saints. However, peace is fleeting as a knight appears. Calling himself a “God Warrior”, he easily beats back both Seiya and Shun in attempt to kill Athena. After the battle, a new character shows up and she is known as Hilda. She is a representative for the Norse god Odin on earth and she is being mind-controlled by a magic ring belonging to Poseidon. She leaves with the Saints wondering what to do next.
They decide to bring the fight to Hilda, however ice-burgs all over the earth start to melt away. They were once kept in place by Hilda’s power, but due to her being under the control of Poseidon, Athena has to keep the ice-bergs from melting herself. However, it is a tremendous strain on her body and she will perish in less than a day if the Saints do no make it in time. And if Athena can’t keep the bergs in place, than the world will be flooded!
Yes, it’s a bit of a ridiculous setup, but it leads to an amazing arc! Each villain has a pretty awesome backstory and every fight is intense and memorable. I recall the battle with Fenrir, where Shiryu got ganged up on by a zillion crazy wolves. And who could forget the battle against Mime, a character with one of the best backstories in the franchise. One of the best moments in the series is when the Bronze Saints face off against Siegfried at the end. It truly was a badass moment. The arc still had its problems though, suffering from a fair amount of filler and pointless scenes. Despite that, it’s one of the most intense and well-written arcs in the franchise. And even though it’s non-canon, it was still popular enough to warrant a videogame adaptation as well as an entire sequel / spin-off called “Soul Of Gold”. So, it certainly is a forgotten gem of a story arc.
Visual Style And Voice Acting
The series uses the same art-style it’s been rolling with for the past 73 episodes. It looks good and the late great Shingo Araki’s animation style still shines through. Fight scenes are fast and dynamic and the abilities of each villain make for some truly awesome eye-candy. Voice acting is solid, with all of the voice actors from the previous arc returning. The voice-acting is well done on each character and it really adds to the intensity of each action scene. As usual for the franchise, it looks and sounds good. Unfortuntely, it’s hard to find good translations of the arc. The arc has never been properly translated into English and the subtitles I’ve found are severely lacking. Despite all that, I was still able to understand most of the plot despite a few awkward translations here and there.
The Asgard Arc proves to be one of Saint Seiya’s finest moments. A battle against the Bronze Saints and the Asgard God Warriors results in some intense fight scenes and good character-building. It is packed with a fair bit of filler and the story is a bit dumb, but it manages to deliver an arc that outshines even the canon story-arcs of the series. It’s a fun yet padded ride and is a blast to watch from beginning to finish. I’ll definitely have to go back and re-watch this arc once Soul Of Gold wraps up.