The Powerpuff Girls Reboot & The Original

Alright, so I recently watched a couple episodes of the Powerpuff Girls Reboot (Which was recently released on iTunes) and thought it was kind of bland. As a kid, I would catch episodes of the original Powerpuff Girls on TV. It was a show that could be pretty disturbing at times, despite being marketed towards little girls. The show revolved around three little super-powered girls named Blossom, Bubbles, and Buttercup who are the titular Powerpuff Girls. They generally fight crime and be all adorable for their 7-10 year old demographic. Surprisingly, the show delved into topics most other kid shows would shy away from. Heck, some of the imagery is enough to drive a person away.

Some episodes were just flat out weird as well. One episode involved Mojo Jojo turning everyone into dogs, and then another episode was basically a rehash of that same episode. There was another episode where the Justice Friends from Dexter’s Lab showed up, pretty much confirming the shows take place in the same universe. Calling the original show a girl’s show is kind of a difficult thing to do. It was marketed towards girls, but you can tell the creative team was fighting the network and trying to get it closer to the original vision. That original vision was “Whoopass Stew” a darker and more violent version of what we eventually got. The 3 minute pilot ended with the Powerpuff Girls (Being called the “Whoopass Girls” in this version) flying into space and brutally melting the Amoeba Boys on the surface of the sun.

And now we have the reboot which is kind of disappointing. I can’t call myself a huge fanboy of the original series, but it is hard to get invested in this new show. The art-style is okay, at times. The girls look alright (Though they seem slightly chunky at times) yet all the background characters look terrible. It was like they were drawn for an entirely differently show, they just looked out of place. The new voice actresses replacing the old ones are pretty good, but they just don’t sound as good as the originals nor do they capture the energy the older versions of the PPG had. The structure of the episodes seem bland and generic, something the old show would often make fun of. All in all, I cannot reccomend this new series it just does not capture the magic of the old show. I’m sure it will get better in time, but it is hard to go from the original to the new show. I reccomend at least checking it out if you are curious though.

Poor Ben Affleck, Batman Made Him Cry

I’ll be honest, I have not seen Batman V. Superman yet. I don’t know if it is any good or not, yet I haven’t heard too many good things about it. Regardless, what caught my eye was the “Sad Ben Affleck” video on  Youtube. It’s not often I feel bad for a freaking billionaire, but DAMN! I mean, Affleck (From what I hear) poured his heart and soul into his portrayal of Batman. And the sight of him hearing the news that all his hard work and effort was for nothing because of the film’s negative reception was disheartening. I’m not going to say Ben Affleck is the best actor, there are actors I like a lot more than him. However, he is pretty good at what he does. It just sucks that he tried the superhero thing again only to once more get the short end of the stick. Poor poor Benny-Boy.

An Awesome Early Birthday Present!

I met with my friend 92Days today and we exchanged some early birthday gifts. I got him an Nintendo Eshop gift card and he got me this amazing Logitech controller. I love it! I’ve been wanting a controller to play my PC games on, and with this USB controller I can finally get that classic console experience with my PC games. Thank you so much, 92Days, and I hope you have a great Easter Sunday!

10 Cloverfield Lane Was Amazing!

I saw this film yesterday and I loved it! 10 Cloverfield Lane is part of the Cloverfield anthology series. It has almost nothing to do with the first film, aside from small nods to it. The plot of the film is that a young woman gets struck by a car while running away from her ex-boyfriend and finds herself in the basement of John Goodman. John Goodman has the woman and her neighbor living with him underground after a supposed nuclear bomb drops. It is an interesting film and a short one, nothing wrong with that though. At an hour and 40 minutes, the film does not outstay its welcome. I loved this movie, and I haven’t even seen the original. I can’t wait to see the next Cloverfield, and I hope to see the original film when I get the time.

Going To See The New Cloverfield Tomorrow!

I’m hyped up for this film, despite having never seen the original. Luckily, I’m told this Cloverfield film is a part of an anthology and is almost completely unrelated (aside from a couple Easter Eggs) to the original film. And that’s really good, in my opinion. I like being able to see a new film without having seen the original, and sometimes an anthology is a good way to sell an audience on something they may be interested in. The film involves John Goodman holding a woman underground while the outside world is bathed in supposed nuclear fire. I’m told it is a great drama film with a lot of suspense and I’m really looking forward to seeing it with my brother in-law tomorrow. I’ll be sure to tell you guys all about it when I get back!

Sweet As Syrup: Phantasy Star Zero Review

I’ve been talking about Phantasy Star on this blog quite a bit as of late. This Phantasy Star marathon was only going to encompass the 5 Phantasy Star games that I played, but I recently played through a sixth game: Phantasy Star Zero. I’ve wanted to play this game for years, but only got a Nintendo DS in 2014. By then, the game became somewhat hard to get in stores. It was a game that came out in 2009 and to my knowledge there hasn’t been any sort of re-release or reissue. I finally got my hands on this game and I’m going to share my thoughts on it with you. Keep in mind, I will only be reviewing the offline components. I did not try the online features (Though I hear the server is still up and running) So, without further ado let’s see if Phantasy Star Zero isn’t nil in quality.

Need To Know Information

Phantasy Star Zero was released in 2008/2009 for the Nintendo DS. The game is often referred to as a prequel to Phantasy Star Online, however this isn’t made fully clear within the game itself. The game was released with an online component that was completely free, and remains so to this day. This game is so far the last Phantasy Star released on a Nintendo console since 2008. The game was initially released in Japan in 2008, but was brought to America the next year, along with another game called “Phantasy Star Portable”.

Phantasy_Star_Zero
To The Whole New World! (Image propety of Sega and Sonic Team)

Plot

The game takes place on an unknown planet 200 years after a mysterious event known as “The Great Blank”. You play as a protagonist with an unknown past. You come across three heroes representing the three different races and journey with them to take on an encroaching threat from a species known as “The Newmans”. Along the way, you uncover a mystery that brings you face to face with the ultimate evil. The story plays out differently depending on the race you choose for your character. Choosing a certain race depicts which areas you’ll go to first. You’ll also get different cut-scenes in each of the three stories, which makes them feel a lot more unique.

Sadly, all three stories end the exact same way which is a bit disappointing. The game does make up for it though by having unique dialogue for whichever race you end up choosing. This adds a lot to the lore and story of the game. Sadly though, the plot feels a bit generic. It feels too much like typical anime storytelling and lacks the flare that the original Phantasy Star series had. It’s a much better attempt at telling a story than Universe though. In fact, some unique and interesting stuff did happen in Zero. On top of this, the game does a good job of depicting the differences in body structure between the races. For example, Casts can pop off their heads and put them onto different bodies. This made for some really unique and interesting moments in the plot.

The game designers and voice actors also had quite a bit of fun with certain events in the story. I won’t spoil it, but some crazy silly stuff happens at certain points in the game. This kept the world interesting and the characters somewhat fresh, even if the story had a tendency to drag near the end. All in all, it isn’t a terrible or painful story by any stretch of the imagination and was enjoyable enough that I didn’t suffer through it. And really, it did what it was supposed to and gave me a purpose as to why I was running into dungeons and slaughtering countless monsters. That’s really all I could ask for, honestly.

Gameplay

Honestly, the best part of this game is how it plays. Phantasy Star Zero brings back the addictive dungeon-crawling gameplay of the Online series. The game plays very similar to the Universe games. You have regular attacks and heavy attacks like in previous games, but can now wield Photon Arts. MAGs return from Phantasy Star Online and once more provide you with Photon Bursts. The Photon Bursts in this game I found to be a bit more flashy than in Online. Also, Photon Bursts no longer pause gameplay when they are used which is great because I always found that to be a bit annoying. Generally, combat is the same as it is in previous games.

The game lets you choose between 14 classes split among the three aforementioned races. You can be a Human, Newman, or Cast that falls into one of the two genders or three vocations. Hunters are your typical warrior class, while Rangers fill the role of long-range support, with Forces being the magical damage-dealers. Once you choose your class, you are taken to a character customization screen. Sadly, there aren’t a whole lot of options for character creation. This is one of the weak-points of the game, as Phantasy Star Portable was much more diverse in its customization. Heck, even Online let you tweak your character more! To be fair, customization is only a minor thing really. So, I can’t really count it as a major failing in the game department.

One of the weaknesses that I found with the game was the lack of areas. There are 7 areas in the game and a lot of them feel like they go on forever. Sure, the areas are varied and there is good monster variety, but there are a lot of times where I just wanted the level to end. There were also certain changes that were made to the Online engine that kind of annoyed me. For one thing, all areas are split up into small segments that you travel between. The problem is that all these tinier areas kind of look the same. So, there will be times when you hit a dead-end and try to make your way back only to realize your lost.

One thing that the game did great was how it handled loot. In previous Online games, items would just drop randomly when you killed a monster. In this game, a giant chest drops when you wipe out a room of monsters. This means you don’t have to run to every corner of the room and check every nook and cranny to make sure you got everything. All of the items you get are either in the chest or in boxes so there isn’t a lot of needless running around.

The game offers all of the loot and items you’d expect from a Phantasy Star game. You get all kinds of new weapons and gear, plus new weapon types like shields and spears. The game has a good variety of gear to choose from as well, the point where it may become a bit daunting. If you ever played Diablo, you know what I’m talking about. That unceasing urge to hoard every item in the game is enticing. Something that may annoy veterans is the inclusion of Photon Drops early in the game. Photon Drops were a special item-based currency in the original Online games that took you forever to get. It was used to access an item shop that gave you rare stuff. It serves the same function in this game, only you gain access earlier and Photon Drops are as easy to find as candy. It’s not a terrible change, but it is one that messed with me considering how hard it was to get these things in PSO. In all honesty, I find the gameplay to be rather top-notch despite its shortcomings.

Visual Stimuli

The game looks fantastic for a DS game. Keep in mind that the DS isn’t one of the most graphically capable consoles out there, so having a game that looks this nice is a rather welcome change. Character designs on the other hand felt very generic. The game used a different art-style from PSO and it gives the characters a more cutesy anime look. On top of that, the Humans were given strange cowboy-esque attire. It wouldn’t bother me so much, if it wasn’t for the fact that only the humans dressed this way. Every other race looked like how they did in earlier PSO games. I got a Wild Arms vibe from these more western design, not that there’s anything too wrong with that. They tried something different with the designs and art and I can respect that.

The music for this game is marvelous! Everything sounds how you would expect and some of the tracks for the game were downright beautiful. I especially loved that goofy little jingle that played whenever a rare enemy showed up. The game boasts voice-acted cutscenes and the VA cast does a good job playing their respective characters. I especially love Yuri Lowenthal as Kai, he brought his usual energy to the character which is always appreciated. I found the visual elements of this game to pretty well-done overall.

In Summation

The game is pretty sweet. Sure, it doesn’t do a whole lot new and doesn’t have a whole lot of unique areas, but has a lot of heart. The game lacks meaningful side-content, but has some great post-game content. Generally, I found the game to be fairly solid and fun and I feel it is a game you need to play if you like Phantasy Star. It may be a bit hard to find, but it is worth it. I give this game a solid 8/10 and can say without a doubt that it is as sweet as syrup. It’s a fun game that can get repetitive, much like all the other Phantasy Star games. It’s good if you are looking for a Diablo-style game to binge on.

Also, this is my 100th post on this block! I’m glad people are enjoying the stories / reviews / random blog entries I’ve put out thus far. You guys are great and I love that you take the time to read through my stuff. Thank you for your support and I look forward to posing more stuff in the future!

 

 

Watched Ant-Man For The First Time Ever

So, today I sat down and watched through the entirety of Ant-Man. Ant-Man was the big superhero film of 2015. It revolved around a young thief named Scott Lang (Played by Paul Rudd) who is enlisted by a Mr. Miyagi-like character named Hank Pym who wants the man’s help in stopping a catastrophe. You see, some evil dude who you will forget about once the film is over has created a powerful suit that can shrink himself. Pym also has a suit that does just that, but the evil dude has negative intentions for his suit.

So, it’s up to Pym to stop him by assuming the role of Ant-Man. Generally, I thought it was a really good film. It had solid action and the scenes of Ant-Man shrinking himself and having adventures felt really unique and enjoyable. On top of that, Pym controlling ants was some of the most entertaining scenes in a superhero film I’ve ever seen. The problem comes with pacing and the way the plot of the film plays out. There is about 15-20 minutes of the film where almost nothing happens. It is basically an overly long training montage of Hank and his daughter Hope trying to get Scott in shape to take on the bad guy and steal his suit.

It’s not really that entertaining and felt a bit too expository for my tastes. Another problem was that the villain felt really generic and had little in the way of uniqueness. There was also this extremely pointless scene where Ant-Man fights Falcon. It has little baring on the plot, aside from setting up Ant-Man’s appearance in Captain America Civil War and possibly Avengers 3. Generally, I thought it was a great film and it is something I reccomend. I hope to see more of Ant-Man in the upcoming Marvel films as I had a blast with this film.

My Ms. Pac-Man Story

I wanted to share another gaming related story with you guys. I find it fun to talk about stuff that really got me into gaming or gaming-related stories that I find silly. One moment I remember vividly as a child was one where I asked my dad to purchase Namco Museum Vol. 4. My main intention was for him to play part of the game with me. My dad used to play Pac-Man and Ms. Pac-Man was younger, so within my childish reasoning I assumed I could get him to sit down for a game session.

After setting the game and playing it, I started going through all the retro games contained within the collection. Finally, it came time to play Ms. Pac-Man. And guess what? It was the only game in ENTIRE collection that didn’t work. Yes, the whole reason I pestered my dad into getting the game and it didn’t work. No matter how many times I loaded it, no matter how many times I blew the dust off the disc nothing worked. The game would just crash on the title screen every single time. To be fair, everything else in the collection worked fine and played fantastically. It’s just sad that the best game was the only one not to work. I found out later that the PS1 had different iterations and certain older versions of the console just couldn’t play older games. At least, that’s what I was told. It’s a real shame that I never got to play Ms. Pac-Man. To this day, I still haven’t played this iteration of Pac-Man. But hey, maybe sometime in the future my dad and I could play the game on an emulator as a father and son duo and I could experience the magic I missed out on. Now that would be awesome!

A Stunning Tribute To Iwata

A lot of people (Myself included) were shocked last year when the news of the untimely demise of Satoru Iwata was announced. It was a shocking announcement that took the world by storm. Well now, the “Game Developer’s Conference” or GDC has created a short animated tribute to a great man who shall never be forgotten. This animation shows Iwata and how he tried to really innovate the way we played games. It depicts his amazing ideas and creations and how they changed the world. It depicts how the world sees his greatness even when he is forced to leave it. It is a beautiful sendoff to a great man and it brings a tear to my eye every time. I suggest you check it out on Youtube, the video is titled: “Satoru Iwata Game Developers Choice Awards Tribute”. It’s something you really need to see if you ever loved Nintendo or Iwata’s work.

Played Phantasy Star Zero For The First Time Ever

I’ll be honest, I found this game immensely satisfying for what it was. I enjoyed it even though it was effectively a kid-friendly version of a classic MMO. I find the characters and story to be forgettable thus far, but it still is a very fun time indeed. It plays like the old PSO, which is both good and bad. It feels way too similar to old stuff for my blood, but I still got a ton of enjoyment out of it. It’s nothing too spectacular, but I like it thus far. Expect a review of it soon, once I get the time to do so.