Month: March 2020

What Is Love? – Saints Row IV: Re-Elected – Humble Opinions

“So first I’m silent, then I’m an asshole, then I become world famous, then I topple a worldwide crime syndicate, then I defuse a nuke and kill a terrorist, then I’m elected president, and then I’m in an alien spaceship in outer space fighting aliens in a simulation…I have the best life ever.” ~The Boss This one quote that can sum up the story of Saints Row IV, and shows a clear sign of escalation throughout the series. In Saints Row IV, as “The President”, you get trapped in a Zin Spaceship fighting against the warlord Zinyak in a simulated, alien-invaded Steelport. The only way to defeat the Zin Empire is to bring the simulation to its knees by doing what The Saints do best: cause complete destruction and mayhem. You play as your own custom President; I personally created a Clark Kent, representing the Saints in a purple suit. I felt that this ties well because, within the simulation, you are quickly granted superpowers of mass destruction and mobility. Powers range from super-jumps, launching …

Beginner’s Journey in Pinball – Deadpool, Sorcerer’s Lair, and Fish Tales – With Interest

Hardcore Hobby Hopping I’m terrible when it comes to getting into new hobbies; that’s because when I jump into a new hobby I usually go real deep, real fast (hehe). One such example is when, on a night like any other, I was laying on the couch watching Netflix with my girlfriend; she turned to me randomly and said, unrelated to what we were watching, “Hey Matt, would you be interested in playing Magic: The Gathering?” Immediately and without thinking, I returned, “Nah, not my thing.” Then I pondered my immediate close-mindedness and said, “Actually sure, why not. Let’s go to our local games store.” Not long after, we went to Games Laboratory in Melbourne (shout out to the guys over there!), sat down by a table, and were given free red and black Magic: The Gathering decks to try out. Fast forward one week and I was deep into the lore, had at least seven decks, and was playing Magic: The Gathering Arena every night. See Exhibit A of craziness below. I did eventually …

The Light at the End of the Metro Tunnel – Metro: Last Light Redux – Humble Opinions

After recently finishing Metro 2033 Redux on the Switch, my attention turned quickly to the next game in the series. Metro: Last Light brought a similar experience on the Switch, but with some improvements, and a continuation of Artyom’s travels in depths of the sewers. Similarly to the 2033 Redux, the graphical fidelity is not so impressive. Of course, this was completely expected (as the Switch has its limitations), and this was pretty much hit on Metro 2033 Redux with not much room to evolve. The graphics aren’t bad in any sense of the word, but you would definitely have a more aesthetically pleasing experience on PC with settings turned to maximum (if you care about that sort of stuff). The graphical fidelity, or lack thereof, by no means diminished the experience at all. I actually enjoyed this game a lot more than 2033 Redux, and it came down to a few factors. Firstly, the levels were varied. Sounds simple, but having different environments for the player to experience is essential in making sure things …

Strategic Romantic – Romance of the Three Kingdoms XIV – Humble Opinions

After fourteen installments across countless gaming platforms dating as far back as 1985, the Romance of the Three Kingdoms video game series stands as one of the longest running franchises in gaming history. Yet despite that fact, you’d be forgiven for not having come across the series previously. While it is a genuinely popular franchise in Asia, the Romance of the Three Kingdoms series has always struggled to find an audience in the Western world. Romance of the Three Kingdoms XIV is perhaps best put as the culmination of the entire franchise up until this point. The strategic gameplay system is damn near perfected after all these iterations, and will provide strategy game fans more than enough to sink their teeth into. The game requires a lot of thought and focus in order to do well, proving to be a hardcore strategy gamers delight. That said, if you are in the market for something of a more casual experience set within the Three Kingdoms historical setting, perhaps you’d be better off exploring the spin-off series …

We Named Her Ku – Ori and the Will of the Wisps – Humble Opinions

Moon Studios’ 2D action puzzle-platformer Ori and the Blind Forest is one of my favourite games of all time; to hear that a sequel was being made, I couldn’t help but feel hyped about it. That’s an enormous thing for me nowadays, what with buggy releases, aggressive micro-transactions, uncooked early access titles, and an overabundance of cookie cutter releases over-saturating the market of gaming. What’s worse is that, for some, it’s very easy to have high expectations that a game simply cannot meet; regardless of what the game offers, it doesn’t hit the same dopamine high that the hype for it originally did. For that reason, I keep clear of those hype trappings before a game gets released. I want to keep as neutral as I can so, that when I play, I can enjoy the game for what it truly is. This is not the case with Ori and the Will of the Wisps (or Ori 2 as I’ll be calling it). Before release, I was counting the days for it to come out. …

Two For All – My Hero Academia: Heroes Rising – Humble Opinions

What can be said about My Hero Academia: Heroes Rising without spoiling the plot in its entirety? Nothing, so buckle up for a slew of words that detail every single thing I found to be cool in this second film outing for the series I love oh so much. Fair warning, I am just going to write this as it pours out of my head; so, literacy be damned, this is about fun…and cool…and cool fun…and punching things really, really hard…with a film budget. As is apparently the case, My Hero loves throwing Class 1-A onto islands when it needs a film set piece. I don’t know why. Maybe so they can wreck shop and not impact mainland Japan? You could argue that it’s so Pro Heroes aren’t as readily available, but that only applies to this film, since the first took place on an island that had literally just called a bunch of extra Heroes to it. Regardless, Class 1-A is on an island, helping out the locals as part of their training. With …

Down in the Depths of the Metro – Metro 2033 Redux – Humble Opinions

I’m not one to usually enjoy playing first-person shooters on the Nintendo Switch (and you’ll understand why soon enough), but I had the opportunity to play Metro 2033 Redux recently and it was still an enjoyable experience. The game takes inspiration from the Metro books written by Dmitry Glukhovsky – you follow the story of Artyom, who is residing within the sewers (along with the rest of civilisation), after a global nuclear holocaust forces humanity to retreat from the surface and away from the threats that lie above. Going in blind to the series, I wasn’t sure quite what to expect. From screenshots, I envisioned a similar setting to the Fallout games: that post-apocalyptic grimy wasteland, filled with abandoned buildings and sewers. This is what I encountered, but on a smaller and more linear scale; there weren’t large open wastelands to trek across, but that was probably for the best. With such a current focus on making games expansive, and ensuring they have maps so big you will never finish exploring, sometimes you need a …

Story of Another Hero – Trials of Mana – Coming Attractions

It is said that people are often the hero of their own story, the protagonist for which the plot progresses. That being said, it’s awfully hard to experience this beyond one’s own mortal form, what with the limitations of reality and all. Luckily for us, video games provide a lovely break from the rules of existence, allowing us to inhabit the saga of whomever we so wish. But even then our scope is limited. We may assume the role of the hero, but it is still an instance of a singular hero in their own story. But what if we could follow the stories of many a hero? Protagonists in their own rights, providing their own unique additions to one singular world? Surprise surprise, that’s what Trials of Mana is all about. Before the story unfolds, you are given a choice of six characters: Duran, Angela, Kevin, Charlotte, Hawkeye, and Reisz. Each possesses their own fighting style and, since it’s what we’ve been talking about, their own story. That being said, the overarching plot remains …

Dodge-Rolling Its Way Into My Heart – Wolcen: Lords of Mayhem – Humble Opinions

With the recent release of Wolcen: Lords of Mayhem, there is an abundance of solid ARPG titles on the market to choose from. I was excited about this release; it had been in development for some time now, and was early access on Steam. As a massive fan of ARPGs, I wasn’t inclined to purchase it with that “early access” label on it however, due to bad experiences with early access titles in the past. When it became a full release on Steam, I decided to try the game out, and was pleasantly surprised to see that it was marketed at a cheaper rate than a full-priced, newly-released title. Just at first glance, the game was stunning. The graphics were akin to Diablo 3‘s style, which has always been one of the more aesthetically appealing ARPGs that I have experienced. Path of Exile compares very differently, reminding me more of classic Diablo games – with its gritty textures and typically dark environments. From the previews into Path of Exile 2 that I have seen, Grinding …

Heard Feelings – Bryce Papenbrook – Waxing Inquisitive

During Anime Festival Sydney 2020, I was fortuitous enough to sit down and chat with Bryce Papenbrook. Known throughout the dubbing world for his roles in, well, most things, Bryce explained the nuances of voicing characters who have already received such a treatment in Japanese. More than producing a similar performance, he focused on the importance of translating the emotions behind the voice. One may understand the intention behind dialogue presented in a tongue not their own, but to feel it is a visceral sensation granted by knowing the language spoken. That isn’t to discourage linguistically branching out, merely acknowledge what adaptational performances can bring. Simply put: We can all enjoy what we love, and love what we enjoy. And that’s nice. -30-

Theatre of the Voice – Ricco Fajardo and David Matranga – Waxing Inquisitive

During Anime Festival Sydney 2020, I was lucky enough to be able to sit down and talk with Ricco Fajardo and David Matranga. Known for their work in dubbing, they were more than happy to discuss their experiences and the overall process itself. That being said, the discussion of how dubbing relates to both theatre and the study of dialogue itself presented a unique insight beyond the trappings of booth recording. Were time not so limited, I would’ve loved to carry on this train of thought, as it goes to show just how much goes into bringing the characters we all know and love to life; a second time to us, but also a first. Which is pretty darn cool when you think about it. -30-

Fun at a March Convention – Anime Festival Sydney 2020

-Mattiese- Saturday the 7th of March started out real poopy. I ripped my pants, just barely made the train, and the camera ran out of storage half way through our first interview; Kane and I had to walk to buy a new SD card, and then walk all the way back to the convention, and boy was I already tired. None of this was ideal, and I started worrying what else would happen to me throughout the rest of the day. It was about 12pm when we finally stepped foot into the convention, and I already felt as if my worries were lifted. Cosplayers, stalls, and panels are what made up Anime Festival Sydney 2020; and man was it enjoyable. The first thing we did was head to the “Live Drawing with Shingo Adachi” panel, and boy is that guy talented. Adachi drew a few popular Sword Art Online characters (as he was character designer on the series), while answering questions related to his work. At the end of the panel, they let fans ask …

Switchin’ It Up – Devil May Cry 3: Special Edition – Humble Opinions

In 1320, Dante Alighieri finished The Divine Comedy. His epic poem dealt with humanity’s relationship with sin and presented a representation of the journey towards spiritual understanding. In 2001, Hideki Kamiya helmed a project that punched up the script a little; eventuating in a few more iterations, the third of which we shall be specifically speaking. Now, I won’t say that somebody of Alighieri’s literary magnitude would unequivocally love the work which took nominative inspiration from his poem…but he’d be crazy not to appreciate a game that has a guitar-scythe in it. Like, a guitar that is also a scythe. I don’t care what era you’re from, that’s cool. Now, if a guitar-scythe is up your proverbial alley, then boy are you going to love this game. Just in case you didn’t know, Devil May Cry 3 is all about style (as were its predecessors). If the protagonist wearing a red leather trench coat wasn’t proof enough, then…just, everything else will be. I mean, the entire opening brawl consists of Dante beating up demons with …

Complexity in Simplicity – Path of Exile – Humble Opinions

Time is a commodity – once you spend it, there’s no getting it back. So, why you ask, have I spent 400+ hours grinding away in Path of Exile? Some simple reasons really. There’s a lot of treasure to be had within this free-to-play title, and if you’re already a fan of ARPG’s (that’s Action Role Playing Games for those folks of you out there who aren’t in the know yet), then this is my preferred one to sink in every free waking hour into. Let me tell you why. Never have I come across a free-to-play game as refined as this – at least not one that has always been free. Sure, some games eventually go free-to-play once their subscriber base starts to diminish, but Grinding Gear Games have expended all their effort into Path of Exile (POE) from very the start, regardless of the size of the fan base or monetary gain, and it shows. The developers are New Zealand based, so I was pleased to find that there are dedicated Oceanic servers …

Once More, With Feeling – Final Fantasy VII Remake – Coming Attractions

“So, our objective here is nothing less than creating a new, definitive, benchmark RPG.” Since its initial release in the pre-centennial year of 1997, Final Fanatics have been clamouring for more content relating to the world of VII. And, to their hope, they were met with some. Crisis Core told us a story from the past, and Advent Children wove one from the future; yet, the initial story continued to draw passion. So much so that one brief glimpse, a tech demo in the era of the PS3, sparked a rallying cry that crystallised into one word: Remake. Now, what does this mean for people who care not for my faux-losophical ramblings? People want them some Final Fantasy VII. They want it shiny and chrome, pushing their consoles to the limit, reminding them of all those fond experiences they once had as children. Now, I say “they” because I am one of those who slipped between the cracks, who never played the original VII; so, consider my opinions as nostalgic-by-contact, a testament to how ever-present …