Month: June 2017

Nintendo Switch Review Roundup

So the Switch landed on March 3 2017 and we’ve been so busy selfishly enjoying the games for ourselves that we forgot to share our thoughts! So to cheat a little, here’s a quick little catch up of the major Switch releases we’ve seen thus far. It’s great that the Switch has had a slow and steady release cycle, gives a chance to savor the releases and catch up on the writing. So here’s our quick stop review guide! The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild All the hype, all the accolades, all the praise… all of it worth it. Living up to the hype is one thing, but far exceeding and surpassing is almost unheard of, and the latest in the legendary Zelda franchise accomplished just that without breaking a sweat. The open world template is an innovation of the Western gaming sphere, with Japanese developers too having a go at adopting this widely accepted and appreciated style of video games. Open world gaming is quite simply the only genre that has showcased …

Resolution – Attack on Titan Episode 37 – Season’s Writings

What else could go wrong? The arc words of catastrophe, spoken only by the unaware the second before something else goes wrong. In an attempt to break this cliche convention, Attack on Titan throws a curveball and simply makes the situation worse, without anybody having to say those classic words. With Reiner and Bertholdt still holding focus, I was honestly not expecting the series to throw another ingredient into the clusterfudge it has been baking over these past few episodes, let alone an ingredient that was so…smiling. Yes, friends, the Smiling Titan is back, the very same Titan who devoured Eren’s mother and ignited the fire that burns out of control within his soul. Though it may seem coincidental that this one particular Titan would appear at such a crucial moment, feelings of contrivance were washed away by the sheer shock of it all. Existing as a horde, connections to a particular Titan are few and far between within the series. The verbage of Eren’s outbursts and the scope of his hatred following his mother’s …

A Bitter Pill – My Hero Academia Episode 25 – Season’s Writings

It has been said that barking dogs seldom bite. It has also been said that Katsuki Bakugo does both frequently and has attempted multiple times to literally blow up said phrase, due to its inaccuracy in regards to his personal motivations. With the Sports Festival nearing its climax, this week sees Bakugo vs Todoroki in the match we’ve all been waiting for…at least since the spectacle of Midoriya vs Todoroki wrapped up. With a speed round of battles that lacked the inherent gravitas of said fight, fans both in universe and out are longing for the next big clash, perhaps none more so than Bakugo. With zero internal monologue, Bakugo reminds us all that he desires victory above all else. Moreover, he wants an indisputable victory, a triumph that cannot be ignored and other synonymous phrases. Combined with the knowledge that Todoroki saw fit to utilise his left side on Midoriya, Bakugo spends much of his screentime demanding Todoroki show him the same respect. Though his loud and abrasive manner fails to coax Todoroki into …

Hero Tolerance – Lost in Mistranslation Episode 112

It must be tough being a superhero. All that pressure. All those expectations. To live up to an impossible standard and never once falter. That must be why they changed the requirements to simply: Beat the bad guy. Nowadays, a hero can level an entire city as long as a villain gets their comeuppance. Bonus points if said comeuppance includes a very violent impression of an owl. -30-

Current State and Future of Japanese Video Games

With E3 2017 setting the big picture for video games in the next 5 years or so, and with recent trends and new hardware, it’s time to stop and identify the current trends in Japanese video games and what we can expect to see from the Land of the Rising Sun. Let’s accept one cold, hard reality: games like Minecraft, Call of Duty, and Grand Theft Auto not only get glowing reviews from Famitsu magazine, but they also comfortably make it to the top ten charts of Japanese video game sales. Deny it all you want, but dating simulators and bullet hell shooters are an acquired taste by Japanese gaming standards even. The sales figures speak for themselves, heck Minecraft for the Switch was the most downloaded title in Japan over the past few months! The point I’m trying to make is that Japanese gaming is changing, and there’s been a stronger unification as to what humanity enjoys in the digital medium. Let’s have a look at some of the major ones shall we? World …

Hats On To You – Super Mario Odyssey Reveals Game Mechanics

Since there is no conceivable rock under which one could live big enough to hid the fact that Mario exists, I’m going to move right into explaining the latest adventure that will soon grace our respective consoles. What with the Switch and all. With the eyes upon Mario’s classic headwear hiding a secret about as well as a glass pane, people have long suspected that Cappy (the cleverly/obviously named cap) would play a role larger than that of Mario’s portable platform mechanic. And those people were right. Apparently, accepting a magical hat as an ally grants one the ability to affix their consciousness to whatever so wear said hat next. In simple terms: Mario puts his hat on things and then becomes things. Which is as odd as it is cool. Ever wanted to be a Bullet Bill? A Goomba? Koopa? A random guy in the city? A taxi? I know I’ve never thought about it before, but now I certainly want all of those things. And if that didn’t sell you on this new …

Truce and Justice – Fire Emblem Warriors Reveals More Characters

I’m not going to waste too much of your time dissecting the formula that is the Warriors franchise. Lots of enemies. Crazy powers. Power fantasy. That’s pretty much it. And whilst that sounds pretty fun to most people who have ever held a controller, it is the skins laid over this formula that draws in the numbers. This time around, it’s Fire Emblem. Though we have known for some time that Falchion (and by extension its wielder) would grace this game with its legendary presence, details beyond have eluded us. “Have” being the operative word. Following the electronic extravaganza that is E3, we are now in the know when it comes to who shall fill out this game’s fine roster. Namely, Fire Emblem Fates shall be represented by Corrin, Xander and Ryoma. So, whether you played Awakening or Conquest, you’ve got one prince to put a smile on your dial and lovely lady Corrin to enjoy. Especially when she does that whole dragon thing she does. Thus, with a new list of old allies, a …

The Game is Afoot – Monster Hunter: World Announced

Monster Hunter. The test of character that has seen many a player give up quite early into their hunting careers. Which is totally understandable, given that some monsters are difficult and unfair and it is totally not a lack of player skill that leads to defeat after defeat after defeat…after defeat. But once those glitches are sorted out, and that bird wyvern goes down, a veritable paradise unfurls and now said paradise has spread its wings to consoles beyond Nintendo’s purview. In addition to the tried and true mechanics of the franchise, namely hunting monsters and using their parts to make weapons to hunt monsters and using their parts to hunt monsters and so on and so forth, the more powerful processing potential of the PC, PS4 and Xbox One opens up the greatest advancement in the Monster Hunter world ever: Reduced loading screens. With map areas still very much a part of the hunting ground layout, World promises to mitigate the segmented nature of this practice by removing loading screens. Though admittedly not too …

NJPW Dominion 2017: Okada vs Omega II – The Greatest Story Ever Retold

There is a difference between good and great, a lot of things that are good are absolutely stellar but what’s truly great is what stands the test of time forever. You’re only as good as your last gig, and sometimes we have to make a choice and find the passion and drive to create something that is truly larger than life, to create something that is quite simply immortal. Wrestling as an entertainment platform is one that melds fiction and reality to create something that suspends our belief better than any form of entertainment, there is nothing that can compare to sports entertainment. Whether it is WWE or NJPW, the lore underlying them has a life of its own. It’s like anime in the real world, there’s no better way to put it. Earlier this year I, and the rest of the wrestling world, had the pleasure of being absolutely blown away by the main event of Wrestle Kingdom 11, an absolute classic between The Rainmaker Kazuchika Okada and Bullet Club Boss Kenny Omega. The …

The Battle is Set!! – Dragon Ball FighterZ Announced

Like the World Martial Arts Tournaments that gave our heroes their first fighting aspirations, a new battle seeks to give the warriors of Dragon Ball their next fix. Maybe. I mean, I’m making a lot of assumptions on the game’s behalf. It’s a game by the way. A video game. A fighting video game. In the style of Guilty Gear and BlazBlue (also developed by Arc System Works, as this is to be), Dragon Ball FighterZ revolves around a 2D fighting system and character models that possess a distinctly anime feel. Of course, said feel is slightly outshone by the influx of lighting effects and beam attacks, that are impossible to ignore when they are utilised. The fact that it is also a 3v3 affair bolsters the chaotic nature of the clips shown, expressing a distinct learning curve all fighters must hike. Or not. I’ll admit, fighting games are not my forte. Still, FighterZ looks like a bundle of fun and any excuse to kick Freeza in his smug face is fine by me. -30-

Hath No Fury – Attack on Titan Episode 36 – Season’s Writings

Humanity is not the strongest species in the world. We do not have claws, we do not have fangs, we cannot fly, breath underwater burrow into the Earth itself. And yet, we can. Through intelligence and ingenuity, humanity carved a path through history as a dominant species on a planet of creatures more suited to this role. It is this very same mentality that has seen our characters through their toughest trials, plagued by Titans as they are. Reiner and Bertholdt themselves have been assuring their survival in their own betraying way, longing to live on past a time of war. So why, oh why, did they get between Eren and Mikasa? Literally anybody anywhere could have told them how boneheaded that move was. Very. The answer is very. Holy crap. Mikasa Ackerman is terrifying. Sure we’ve seen her slice up Titans like they were a tomatoes an infomercial about knives, but she take the fear factor up to eleven this week. We saw her click when Eren was in danger, we saw her slash …

Mark of a Hero – My Hero Academia Episode 24 – Season’s Writings

When a fire consumes its fuel in one glorious spectacle, a truly memorable flash is seared into the memories of those there to witness it. However, with its power source depleted, it is only a matter of time before it burns itself away. Now, Todoroki’s situation is not that metaphorically morbid, but the analogy is still a pretty sound one. Especially when applied to this episode as a whole. With the explosive clash we have been waiting to see already over, this weeks affairs are of a much lower key. The cruel sadness of this being that the matches we see this week are the quarter and semi finals. Thus, despite their best efforts, Iida, Tokoyami, Bakugo, Kirishima and even Todoroki are not able to elicit the sheer thrill of last weeks fight. Not that I really expected anything else. After all, Midoriya vs Todoroki was the climax of the plot laid out before us. Though the Tournament Arc provided a solid backdrop, it was that clash we longed to see. And we have seen …

The Next Cycle – Dissidia Final Fantasy NT Heads West

Gotta say, pretty happy about this. With the original two a distant PSP memory and Japanese arcades claiming the third, I wasn’t entirely sure that Dissidia would make its way to a console within my reach. But it shall. A port of the aforementioned arcade release, the adaptationally named Dissidia Final Fantasy NT is set for PS4 in early 2018. Not entirely certain as to what NT stands for, but I’m going to hazard a guess at New Tournament, seeing as Chaos and Cosmos are no more, their roles seemingly replaced by Spiritus and Materia respectively. Makes you wonder how the various FF heroes and villains ever get anything done, being summoned to new worlds by gods every six seconds. Still, sure is a neat chance to test their mettle against opponents most strange. I mean, where else would you find a guy called Onion Knight? -30-

Ultra Evolution – Pokemon Sun and Moon Sequels, Pokken Tournament DX Announced

Well that sure came out of nowhere, didn’t it? And I’m not just talking about the announcement itself, but the organisation of said announcement. Okay, to be fair, the majority of the latest Pokemon trailer was devoted to the newly announced Pokken Tournament DX. As the new and improved Switch iteration of the oddly entertaining Pokemon/Tekken hybrid fighting game, DX promises an increased roster and a few new modes. The headliner of the aforementioned new roster is Decidueye, Rowlet’s fully evolved form and all around cool archer bird. Fellow starters Litten and Popplio also join the cast, but on the support side of things. Which is nice, though fighting as Incineroar would have been cool…because of him being a wrestler cat and all. Tagging along on the end of this trailer (which centres on a brother venturing across a country, playing Pokken at every given opportunity), Pokemon Sun and Moon are seemingly aligning themselves with the Black and White mentality: One sequel apiece. Newly crowned Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon, the games seem to promise …

Wounds of the Past – Attack on Titan Episode 35 – Season’s Writings

They say that home is where the heart is and, as is made painfully clear, our poor Ymir has been homeless for quite some time. From a traumatic past, to a terrifying adolescence, this 104th cadet has the makings of a protagonist in her backstory. However, as always, Eren is on the scene to scream and remind us that he is the core of our story…at least until he gets knocked unconscious and tied to somebody’s back. Continuing from where we left off, newly revealed traitors of humanity Reiner and Bertholdt discuss their options as a troop runs ever closer to rescue Ymir and Eren. Their obvious panic aside, this was the first time I actually felt as if the two secret Shifters were actually characters of their own. With a quick check that Reiner was still a warrior, Bertholdt showed a more apparent sense of concern and reservation, rather than the quiet terror stares he has subsisted on in the past few episodes. Reiner’s assessment of the situation, and clarification that the true him …

Up in Flames – My Hero Academia Episode 23 – Season’s Writings

Here’s a philosophical question for you all: What happens when an unstoppable force meets an immovable object…but also that immovable object has the ability to produce frightening quantities of ice and fire? Action. Action is what happens, my friends. And I’m not talking about that surface level stuff, no, I’m talking about the kind of action that strikes your very core and leaves you shaking long after. I’m talking about that tried and true, learn from your mistakes, make yourself a better person Shonen Jump magic. With all of the lead up to the grand showdown between Midoriya and Todoroki, this weeks clash was already set up to be a memorable one. With two competitors who simply refused to back down, regardless of the circumstances, there was also no doubt that we would witness two powerhouses of the series show us what they had…but maybe not all they had. Despite his remarkable strength, their was still always a side of Todoroki we never saw: His left. Now, whilst a touch more literal than most uses …

Questionable Intent – Attack on Titan Episode 34 – Season’s Writings

As with any plan, there are two key features which must be present: Conception and execution. Without both of these aspects, a plan is either an idea or a whim. However, should both features be performed flawlessly, there still remains an important question that must be answered: What happens next? For Reiner and Bertholdt, the answer is a resolute: Who knows? Having stolen both Eren and Ymir away from the friends they have who aren’t traitorous Titan Shifters, Reiner and Bertholdt are seemingly lost, with no real handle on their situation. Given Reiner’s spontaneous decision to simply tell people that they were the monsters who began one of the worst tragedies in recent history, this is more than expected. And so we find ourselves returning to a particular forest, wherein captors and the captured try and wrap their heads around just what the hell is going on. Spoiler Alert: A consensus is not met. As he is want to do, Eren spends most of this episode screaming about the injustice of the world and focusing much …

Defiant Gravity – My Hero Academia Episode 22 – Season’s Writings

Since the bombastic Bakugo first blasted his way through Midoriya’s life (and notebooks), we have all longed for the moment when the bullied would rise and take a stand. And we got that. So now let’s get wacky with things and see what happens when Bakugo fights Uraraka. Aren’t tournament arcs magic? So yeah, Uraraka vs Bakugo. Who saw that one coming? Not I, for one. Not I. And yet I find that this is one of those situations where you don’t know what you want until you get it. Because Uraraka vs Bakugo is awesome and so totally worth every second of this episode. For more than the reasons you’d expect. But let’s start with the reasons you’d expect: Explosions. Say what you will about his personality, attitude, the way he treats people, his overall willingness to work with others, his insurmountable pride, his anger, his disrespect, his violent tendencies, that thing he does where he makes explosions in his hand when he has a dangerous idea and…what was the point of this again? …

Auld Lang Syne – Attack on Titan Episode 33 – Season’s Writings

When action reaches its fever pitch, that which follows is a wind down. An eerie calmness. An aftermath. Unfortunately for our intrepid soldiers, their recent clash with forces mostly unexpected did not end in the victory they were all but assured and they instead find themselves battered, bruised and fewer in number. So Eren just can’t win a fight, can he? Like, ever. And that’s not just me being mean to the guy, it’s actually a plot point. In a stunning return to relevance, Hannes reminds us all that he too was once important in the life of Eren and shares the collective emotional range of Mikasa and Armin, which essentially amounts to concern and blind, unyielding fury. He also serves as a rare example of human compassion that is not surrounded by promises, salutes and vendettas. Though rescuing Eren will require combating Titans, Hannes speech is simply about Eren’s personality, his flaws and strengths, his relationship with Mikasa and Armin and the hope he holds for the future, along with his fondness for the past. …

Lightning Round – My Hero Academia Episode 21 – Season’s Writings

With our Shonen protagonist sitting back until round two begins, it’s time to take a look at the other characters who fill out this quirky cast and watch them beat the tar out of each other. Come on, it’ll be fun. We don’t even have to listen to Todoroki talk about how terrible his father is. I promise. So here we have it, the best of the rest. Is it a touch on the mean side to call these powerful students who are fighting with all they have to achieve their dreams “the rest”? Yes. Yes it is. But the series did it first. After all, they’re the ones who crammed five final matches into one episode. Last week had two and one of those was supposed to be frighteningly short. These fights are short, don’t get me wrong, however they are most certainly so to move the plot back to Midoriya and Todoroki. Or at least to Uraraka and Bakugo, oddly enough. Still, this is simply how series of this nature work and I am …

Grudge Match – Attack on Titan Episode 32 – Season’s Writings

Sometimes, when the world grows ever more complicated, when those around you change and truths find themselves transforming into lies, the best solution is the simplest one. And what could be simpler than standing resolute in your beliefs and punching a bad guy really, really hard in the face? Well, isn’t this a fine kettle of fish we find ourselves in this week? Except by fine, I mean terrible and by kettle of fish, I mean world of monsters. With Reiner and Bertholdt dropping all sense of care and subtlety, a Colossal Titan now stands half formed on a wall and an Armoured comrade plunges to the ground below, Eren in hand. At least until our furious protagonist reminds us all that he too is a Shifter and kicks off one of the most action packed episodes Attack on Titan has produced. However, it is a little more than simply explosive violence and screams. It’s choreographed…and also has explosive violence and screams. For those who don’t know, Hajime Isayama (the creator of Attack on Titan) based certain …

I Put A Spell On You – My Hero Academia Episode 20 – Season’s Writings

As loner heroes the world over have taught us, in a world of heroism, villainy and all that lies between, you can only truly trust yourself. Unfortunately, this particular belief flies completely out the proverbial window when somebody who has the ability to control minds saunters into the plot. Say, a blue haired boy who looks a little on the tired side. So Midoriya done goofed. Two seconds into the finals and our hero-to-be finds himself mind controlled by his opponent. Now, you might be thinking it a little harsh of me to blame our protagonist for this and you’d be right…had Midoriya not received a specific warning regarding the mechanics of Shinso’s power immediately before the fight. Which he did. Anyway, no use crying over spilt milk, especially considering the fight it brought forth. Although, I guess it wasn’t technically a fight at first, considering it was mainly Midoriya walking slowly towards the edge of the battlefield. Maintaining his low key existence, as consistently noted by Present Mic, Shinso’s plan for victory is simply to …