All posts filed under: Humble Opinions

It’s Outer This World! – The Outer Worlds – Humble Opinions

After recently finishing Cyberpunk, the game left me craving more story-heavy games. Cyberpunk, although having many faults, did keep me entertained when it came to world-building, story, and its characters. I decided to do some research and, after looking in my backlog, I came across The Outer Worlds. An interesting proposition: I do love the Fallout series, and this looks quite similar. The Outer Worlds was developed by Obsidian, the makers of Fallout: New Vegas; you’ll discover just how much of a spiritual successor of the Fallout series this game is, as it plays very much the same. Upon starting the catalogue of quests available, it was quickly apparent that there was a clear emphasis on “you need to make a decision, and therefore this will affect which faction will hate you and which will tolerate you”. There is very much a cause and effect to your actions, which can take you down some alternative paths to achieve a different ending. You’ll choose whether to help each faction or go against them, and, in the …

In Erdrick’s Footsteps – Dragon Quest (Switch) – Humble Opinions

This year marks the 35th anniversary of the original release of Dragon Quest in Japan—on the Famicom. There have been eleven main-series instalments and countless spin-off games released since then. With the entire main-line series (bar the MMO instalment, Dragon Quest X) now having had an official English-language release, I figured it was time I explored some of those older Dragon Quest titles I never had a chance to experience. With the Nintendo Switch remastered releases of the Erdrick Trilogy (Dragon Quest I–III), I figured there was no better place to start than with the game that started it all. So, please join me as I endeavour to take on the quest that is the Erdrick Trilogy. Dragon Quest on the Nintendo Switch is a remastered version of the original 1986 genre-defining classic, ported across from the mobile version and rescaled. The game feels immediately familiar, as a long-time JRPG fan, because this game was the innovator that started it all. Every JRPG that you’ve likely ever played features some element of gameplay that was …

Bing Bang Boom – XIII – Humble Opinions

The original XIII released back in 2003 and has gone on to become a cult classic. When it was announced that XIII would be getting a remake for modern audiences, naturally, fans were quite excited to see such a beloved game with a new coat of paint—reborn on current day technology. In a rather strange turn of fate, the original game would see a resurgence in sales upon the release of the remake because, quite frankly, the remake is a mess. So much of a mess that even the developers issued a public apology for the state of the game on release. Now, for the sake of this review, I’m going to try and find the silver lining here with the XIII remake; but, bare well in mind that, they are few and far between. One of the major issues fans of XIII had with the remake was its decision to completely overhaul the game’s iconic cel-shaded art style. Now, while this change in art direction really subtracts a lot of the original games charm, …

Living the Electric Dream – Cyberpunk 2077 – Humble Opinions

Okay, first things first: I don’t give a flip about the graphical glitches that have been the topic of conversation wherever this game is concerned. The models take a hot second to load sometimes: big whoop. I know that might not be the most professional-sounding opinion, but whatever. I feel like talking about Cyberpunk; let the rest of the internet worry about optimisation. Like, did you know that you can wield a katana? Well you can, and that’s the sort of stuff I plan on talking about (technically “writing” about, but you know what I mean). Anywho, let’s dive into Night City, shall we? So…Night City is a little bit the worst. As a technological/societal beacon of a dystopian-like, futuristic hellscape, ol’ Night City is a melting pot of chaos, carnage, and crappy people. The game literally begins with you being blackmailed, betrayed, and almost killed—at least if you’re a Corpo. Oh, Corpo is one of the backgrounds you can pick for your version of V (the protagonist). The other two options are Street Kid and …

Live, Die, Repeat – Palm Springs – Humble Opinions

After several months of anticipation, Palm Springs, the latest Andy Samberg vehicle from Hulu, made it’s way to the Prime Video streaming platform in Australia—meaning I was able to finally watch the darn thing after watching the trailer ad nauseum. As someone who loves the film Groundhog Day, I was naturally drawn to what looked to be a modern take on the infinite time-loop scenario. So was Palm Springs worth the wait? Yes, very much yes it was. Starring Andy Samberg and Cristin Milioti, Palm Springs takes the infinite time-loop concept of Groundhog Day and flips it on its head. Unlike Groundhog Day which sees Bill Murray repeat the titular day over and over, Palm Springs explores what it would be like to share that experience with someone else. Set at a wedding in Palm Springs, we learn that Samberg’s character, Niles, has been stuck in the loop for an immeasurable amount of time and has completely given up on trying to escape the loop—just embracing the fact that he is in this situation nothing really …

Marbles With Attitude – Bakugan: Champions of Vestroia – Humble Opinions

If there’s one thing I’ve learnt from Bakugan, it’s the intro to the anime series…and that’s about it. Oh, I also know that the Bakugan are spheres that open up into little monster figures. I know that isn’t a tremendous knowledge base to start from, but we’re all here to learn. So, with that in mind, let’s see what Bakugan: Champions of Vestroia has to teach us. Lesson one: Bakugan are from Vestroia. See, what a great start we’re off to. More game specifically, Bakugan are capable of crashing to Earth in a meteor-like form—a method through which our protagonist finds their very first Bakugan. Now, I’m not sure if every child in the game’s universe stumbled upon a glowing crater containing a Bakugan, but our protagonist did; so…yeah. I’m also being rather vague about our protagonist, as this is one of those affairs where you, the player, design them. Though a fun gimmick—as character creation always is—the same assets are also used to build most other NPCs, leading to a world where slight variations on a …

Driving Dirty – Dirt 5 – Humble Opinions

It has been thirteen years since the first instalment in the Dirt franchise and, over the course of that period of time, Codemasters have refined and polished the series into what has become one of the most enjoyable racing properties on the market. Dirt 5 continues that trend, providing what may very well be the most complete off-road rally-racing video game experience to date. Upon loading up Dirt 5 for the first time, I was immediately blown away by the plethora of gameplay options available to me; the deep customisation options only add to that. There are countless gameplay modes and a rather incredible career mode with its own narrative—that features the voice work of iconic voice actors Nolan North and Troy Baker. The career mode will have you running the gauntlet in a variety of different styles of racing, be it rally, stadium super trucks, and even ice-road racing. You never get a chance to get bored, as the game switches things up frequently enough that you are always taking on new challenges and …

The Beast Offence – Zoids Wild: Blast Unleashed – Humble Opinions

Everybody likes robots: it’s just one of those inescapable facts. People also tend to be rather fond of animals. So, why not combine the two? Also, why not throw some combat into the mix? Also also, make it an anime. I know it may sound crazy, but this particular formula culminates in Zoids. I mean, you probably already knew that given the title of this collection of words, but it’s more dramatic to pretend otherwise. Regardless, let us delve into a new game from a franchise reinvented…because they stopped making series/games in the original style a while ago and mad me sad. Zoids Wild: Blast Unleashed is a fighting game based around, surprise surprise, Zoids Wild. Now, I myself am quite the fan of Zoids, but I will admit to knowing nothing of Wild. So, Blast Unleashed is my first foray into this new world…and it is wild. The first thing you’ll probably notice is just how “anime” the cast appears. I know, I know, “anime” is a wide-ranging medium, but you know what I mean. The main character has …

An Endless-Fates Escape – Kingdoms of Amalur: Re-Reckoning – Humble Opinions

Back when the original Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning came out, I simply fell in love with the massive open world, the fluid hack and slash mechanics, well-thought-out story, fantastical lore, and decent crafting and looting system. It was a game that felt way ahead of its time and while I never actually finished the game—because I got lost in the seemingly endless side quests—I was truly excited to get back into the game on PC with the new remaster: Kingdoms of Amalur: Re-Reckoning. Now, I want to get something out of the way, there are a vocal few disappointed by the remaster, as there wasn’t any tangible texture improvements, but to that I say: there really didn’t need to be. With the newly included super-sampling, the game’s textures look cleaner and crisper—while still maintaining the same art style and feel. Another addition are the camera features which allow for adjustments to camera height, field of view, and camera distance. This small change is a big quality-of-life addition, as in the original I found the game’s …

Burning Rubber – Ride 4 – Humble Opinions

Since the series’ inception back in 2015, the Ride series has proven with each instalment to be staking its claim as the best motorcycle racing game on the market. Now, with Ride 4, we get the most complete and polished iteration of developer Milestone S.r.l’s vision for the motorcycle racing video game genre. If Forza Motorsport was a revolutionary take on the motorsport gaming experience, Ride 4 is the same kind of revolution for motorcycle racers. It is, simply put, the game that motorcycle racing fans have been waiting for. Ride 4 builds upon the incredible game design of the previous Ride instalments, with a plethora of new features and modes that are sure to delight motorcycle enthusiasts and Ride fans alike. There are immersive, advanced customisation options new to Ride 4, as well as the very interesting new AI system developed by Milestone S.r.l—which will adapt to the way you play, changing as the game goes on. The new Career Mode will, however, likely be the bulk of the experience for those who want …

FIFA for Anime Fans – Captain Tsubasa: Rise of Champions – Humble Opinions

Football video games are trotted out by the year with little more than a face lift. Yet football fanatics, loyal as they are, purchase the latest FIFA or PES game each year without fail—mostly because the franchises have earned the trust of the players. The games play very well and are simple yet complex, meaning they can be enjoyed by both casual and hardcore players alike; it is undoubted that these football video games are very fun. Enter Captain Tsubasa: Rise of Champions—an anime fan’s FIFA game. Whether you are in the know about the legendary Captain Tsubasa football anime series or not, there are all the hallmarks of both a great football game and a great anime game here. Not unlike Captain Tsubasa‘s modern equivalent Inazuma Eleven, the players in the game are able to use supernatural abilities to spice up the play with some wild and explosive shots and manoeuvres. Gameplay-wise, the core foundation of the game is in the football matches themselves. If you have ever played a FIFA game, the football …

Claire de Lune – Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles Remastered Edition – Humble Opinions

After an eleven-year break, the spin-off series of the Final Fantasy franchise returns with the remastered edition of the game that started it all way back in 2003: Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles Remastered Edition. Given new life on the Switch, PS4, and mobile devices—with online cross play between the platforms—the remastered edition is an ambitious effort from Square Enix, to say the very least. Unfortunately, its own ambition may have ultimately proved to be its defining flaw. Generally speaking, Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles Remastered Edition plays relatively identically to the original GameCube title—more a dungeon-crawling action RPG than the typical Final Fantasy formula. The crux of the original game was its multiplayer mode, which was truly where the game shined. Rather disappointingly, the remastered edition launched with a plethora of issues that plagued the online multiplayer mode, making it impossible to play the multiplayer mode for the first several weeks after launch (a problem that plagued Oceania region more so than other regions). That said, after ultimately patching the issues and correcting things, the game …

A Seriously Dated Disappointment – Serious Sam 4 – Humble Opinions

Serious Sam 4 was the first real iteration of its franchise that I played long enough to be worn out by—which took almost no time at all. It’s extremely hard to have something positive to say about this title, because it does nothing well and a lot of things poorly. Having previously tried Serious Sam 2 & 3, I expected a simplistic arena shooter. I don’t believe my expectations were super high—I didn’t expect anything particularly revolutionary and interesting—so I went in to the game only expecting a fun time at the very least. Instead, what we got in Serious Sam 4 was serious disappointment, requiring some serious questioning. Where do I begin? The enemies: seriously? The sophistication of the AI in this game is abysmal—it’s non-existent. You can cheese nearly every battle, and it is so easy to do. Countless times, enemies found themselves stuck on environmental objects, even without my intervention. They sit there, struggling to free themselves, while you unload clip after clip to take them down. Where is the fun in …

A New Legend Begins – Ary and the Secret of Seasons – Humble Opinions

There have been an incalculable number of games that have tried to emulate the magic of The Legend of Zelda games—very few have ever come close. Ary and the Secret of Seasons undoubtedly owes a lot to The Legend of Zelda as well; the more and more you play it, the more you come to find that Ary has undeniably and indisputably carved out her own legend. Ary and the Secret of Seasons is a vast game that just begs to be explored. The world of Valdi and its colourful cast of characters are bursting with life, in ways that games of the same genre often fail to accomplish. The expansive world is rich with detail and you will no doubt find yourself wanting to inspect every nook and cranny. The main hook of the game is Ary’s season-changing abilities, which adds an even deeper layer to the world—as each season can open different paths and place a different perspective on each location. Speaking of the season-altering abilities of our heroine, Ary, it hearkens back to …

La-La Island – Giraffe and Annika – Humble Opinions

Who doesn’t enjoy a little bit of fantasy every now and then? A chance to imagine a world that is free from the pesky shackles of reality; to ponder “What if?” and relish the nonsense that is born from it. As it turns out, children tend to lean further into imagination than those fuddy-duddy grown-ups; but, that doesn’t mean that adults can’t return to the world of fantasy every now and then. Giraffe and Annika is an odd duck. Though mostly a light RPG experience, each of the game’s five dungeons are capped of with a rhythm game: which is unexpected. And though not a bad idea per se, these segments are markedly separate from the other mechanics of the game. Still, I should probably explain the bulk of the game before I get to the events that end each dungeon. For the most part, Giraffe and Annika sees you—through the character of Annika—running around Spica Island. After a brief comic-panel introduction, Annika awakens with no memory and…you just go. Rather than any kind of tutorial, …

Not That Nirvana – Nirvanna The Band The Show (Season One) – Humble Opinions

Nirvanna the Band the Show is the most innovative and genre redefining comedy series in recent history, but you probably don’t know that; you probably wouldn’t have guessed it was even a comedy series. You probably don’t know that because it also has one of the worst titles for a comedy series ever, likely by design. The show, which is named after the titular Nirvanna the Band (which in turn is named after the band Nirvana), is an uproariously hilarious romp that feels unlike any other show on television. It follows life-long best friends Jay McCarroll and Matt Johnson as they concoct increasingly elaborate plans to get their band, Nirvanna the Band, booked at a bar restaurant in Toronto called The Rivoli. The show is filmed in mockumentary style; however, it blends that style together with candid footage and improv, featuring people unaware that the show is even filming. Ultimately, it comes off as a bizarre Canadian hybrid of The Office and Sacha Baron Cohen’s Borat. The show frequently features references—and even straight up recreations—of …

Breath of the Forager – Windbound – Humble Opinions

It was only a matter of time before the clones showed up, but The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild was undoubtedly a paradigm shift in open-world gaming; so it is only natural that other aspiring game developers and designers would feel inclined to emulate it. Windbound is perhaps the most obvious of these, but to call it a straight-up clone would be a little unfair. Sure, the tribal-infused, cel-shaded visuals are obviously inspired by Nintendo’s worldwide hit and the general feel of the adventure is similar—minus the epic set pieces of Hyrule or a demonic incarnation of Ganondorf—but Windbound takes a far more grounded approach, with the focus being on survival rather than discovery. Windbound starts off with a storm at sea, as our hero finds herself drowning into a watery abyss—before seemingly getting a second chance at life after passing through some sort of afterlife portal. Early on, it becomes clear that this island-survival game is a rogue-like adventure, which means there are multiple chances at this life for our resourceful, yet …

You’ll Never Be The Same – ‘Flowers for Algernon’ by Daniel Keyes – Humble Opinions

It has been two months since I finished reading Flowers for Algernon by Daniel Keyes. Since then, I haven’t been able to pick up another book. Upon reading the final pages, teary eyed on the train home from a long day at work, I found myself emotionally devastated. I was deeply moved by this book, and it had a profound impact on me. I had planned on writing this humble opinion that very same night—in fact I created the draft post for it that night—but, no matter what I did, I couldn’t bring myself to put words to the devastation. This is not just any old book. Flowers for Algernon is quite simply one of the greatest works of literature in modern history. I thought a lot about what this article should look like or what I should write about: Should I analyse the plot of the book or break down its themes and why they resonated with me? Should I dive into the structure of the book and how it may be one of …

Trouble at the Tournament – Saint Seiya: Knights of the Zodiac (Galaxian Wars Arc) – Humble Opinions

For the first time ever, the complete original run of the Saint Seiya: Knights of the Zodiac anime series has been released in full English dub—thanks to Netflix. That’s right, all 114 original episodes—which aired from 1986 to 1989—are now available to English language audiences completely uncut and with restored visuals and audio. The series has previously seen release in heavily edited formats, such as the ADV Films dub which retitled the series as Knights of the Zodiac and commissioned punk band Bowling for Soup to cover A Flock of Seagull’s 80s hit “I Ran (So Far Away)” for the theme song. The dub was widely criticised for being almost unrecognisable from the original series—with its plentiful alterations and censorship. Having no legal manner in which to watch the series, many English speaking fans had to resort to fansubs; not anymore. As a long-time fan of the Saint Seiya series and franchise, I decided to give the Netflix dub a spin and found myself amazed at its production quality and incredible dubbing effort. As such, …

Three’s a Company – Blightbound – Humble Opinions

-Sali- I always have an itch to scratch when it comes to ARPGs (and more recently rogue-likes, thanks to my love of Dead Cells). Luckily, Devolver Digital has provided us a taste of this genre with their recent early-access release Blightbound. I say “taste” as the game certainly satiates the desire to dungeon grind for progression but still has room to grow exponentially—as the developers are still actively working on, and adding to, the title. There is a lot of potential here. If you have the option, this is a game you are going to want to play with two other friends. That is how I experienced the majority of my time with the game, and I think it was all the more enjoyable for it. The game definitely relies on good communication, especially when choosing higher-difficulty dungeons. There is a need to often call out to the team for heals, to get them to group up, and to warn them of incoming attacks. I can’t count the amount of times my teammates assisted in …

Ground Control to Magnetic Moon Base – Relicta – Humble Opinions

Relicta is a first-person physics-based puzzle game very similar to games like Portal, Q.U.B.E., or Quantum Conundrum. The game has a lot great content…albeit with a glaring few caveats. You start as a female scientist, combining magnetism and gravity to unravel the secrets of Chandra Base—a collection of bio-domes on the moon used as a facility to test out the capability of the game-mechanic gloves, cubes, gravity, and magnetism. Throughout the game, you spend your time talking with different characters and working to solve different issues on the moon base—while having personal banter. I’d like to first point out that it’s refreshing to see a game including an Indian protagonist—a nationality not explored often enough within games. The cast’s voice acting is top notch, but with the unfortunate failings of the dialogue it doesn’t feel natural. An example of this is discussions with Alani seeming very schizophrenic. One second she will come off as rude, angry at your actions and overall acting hostile, then will enjoy some teasing banter—with you calling her “bae” in response. …

Newtype Wonderland – Mobile Suit Gundam Extreme Vs. Maxi Boost On – Humble Opinions

From the arcades of Tokyo to PlayStation 4’s across the globe, Mobile Suit Gundam Extreme Vs. Maxi Boost On gives console gamers the addictive arcade experience—from the comfort of their own home. Maxi Boost On is an upgraded port of the wildly popular arcade cabinet game Mobile Suit Gundam: Extreme Vs. and he action and intensity of the Mobile Suit Gundam series is on show here in what may very well be the best entry into the series’ long line of video games to date; its addictive arcade-style nature makes this a game that is hard to put down. Maxi Boost On plays exactly like its arcade counterpart: placing you in an expansive map and charging you with combating enemy Mobile Suits in fast-paced and often times overwhelming action. There is a massive list of Mobile Suits available, spanning just about every iteration of the Gundam franchise. If there is a particular Mobile Suit you have in mind, it is most likely available to play in—and likely upon launching the game as well. I was truly impressed by …

Kickflip My Heart – Skater XL – Humble Opinions

It has been a very long time since someone has done something to reinvent the wheel with the skateboarding video-game genre. The genre has always been fun to dive into and just enjoy skating, but games like Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater and the Skate series always had a more arcade style to them—never truly feeling like real skateboarding. Enter Skater XL: an innovative new entry into the hallowed halls of skateboarding video games, which comes about as close to skateboarding simulation as can be. Part of what made the Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater series so addictive were its simple controls and how easy it was to pull of insane tricks. Skater XL takes the opposite approach: attempting to simulate skateboarding rather than simply have you tap a button to do a trick. Skater XL implements an innovative Independent Foot Control system which allows you to manipulate and control each foot of your skater with the analogue sticks. This admittedly comes with a steep learning curve at the start, but once you come to understand the …

The Cult of the Machine – Warhammer 40,000: Mechanicus – Humble Opinions

The Warhammer 40,000 franchise has arguably one of the most well-crafted lores in popular culture. It is complex and deep in all the right ways, which makes it ripe for exploration in a variety of different mediums—be it on the table top, in literature, or through video games. Warhammer 40,000: Mechanicus may very well be one of the most interesting entries into the long-running multimedia franchise. Combining XCOM style strategy gameplay with the world and lore of Warhammer 40,000 proves to be a winning formula for Warhammer 40,000: Mechanicus. Warhammer 40,000: Mechanicus is now available on the Nintendo Switch and it actually finds itself perfectly at home on the console. The game plays like a faster paced XCOM-style strategy game and lends itself nicely to quicker gaming sessions—compared to other gaming entries in the Warhammer series which can be more time demanding. That said, it doesn’t mean that the game itself has been simplified or dumbed down; instead the Warhammer experience has been streamlined through a turn-based strategy game format—to superb results. For those uninitiated …

Malevolent-Minion-Slapping Fun – Dungeons 3 – Humble Opinions

I’m not usually fond of strategy games in general; but, as a child, I was given a dungeon-sim game and ended up spending a long time playing—and actually enjoying—it. It’s also been a while since I willingly dived into a strategy and resource management game, but I decided to have another dive into the genre with Dungeons 3. The hesitation struck me when I first opened the game: at the menu. I saw the option to start the campaign, which was tempting. I mean, who doesn’t want to skip the tutorials and just get right into things? But, I mustered up the will to navigate through the few tutorials that the game offered. And for once, I’m glad I did. The tutorials were necessary in my case. The game adds some new features that I hadn’t experienced in similar games in the past, and this is where I learnt of them. Luckily, the tutorials were quite quick to get through, and the blow of being tutorialised was lessened with the humour in the narration and …

Pineapple Express – SpongeBob SquarePants: Battle for Bikini Bottom – Rehydrated – Humble Opinions

Reading the title alone could dehydrate someone. There are a lot of SpongeBob video games—a lot. While the release cycle has slowed down to a halt, in the previous two decades there was no shortage of these damn things on any platform. Most of these games weren’t great, but among them was a decent 3D platformer called SpongeBob SquarePants: Battle for Bikini Bottom released for sixth generation consoles way back in 2003. It was flawed for sure, but certainly a lot better than most other games bearing the barnacle IP namesake. Over a decade later, they decided it was worth revisiting the game and bolstering it up to reach its full potential; the end result is SpongeBob SquarePants: Battle for Bikini Bottom – Rehydrated. Where the 2003 original was a serviceable platformer at best, the 2020 rehydration effort pays off in Krabby Patties—as the game can now claim to be a legitimately good platformer. That’s even in the presence of modern classics like Yooka-Laylee, A Hat in Time, and Super Mario Odyssey. The most apparent …

Trying to Log Out – Sword Art Online: Alicization Lycoris – Humble Opinions

Sword Art Online: Alicization Lycoris begins with series protagonist Kirito trying to log out of the virtual reality game he has found himself in. To his surprise, he is seemingly trapped in the game without the ability to log out. It is a moment that encapsulates the entire experience of Alicization Lycoris—you can’t help but want to log out and play something else. The Sword Art Online franchise is source material ripe for making a video game from; however, so many of the attempts to make a Sword Art Online game have failed to capitalise on the inherent excitement of the series’ concept. While some like Sword Art Online: Fatal Bullet actually make an attempt at exploring the video game world in a compelling and engaging way—telling an original story and letting you craft your own player in the Sword Art Online world—Alicization Lycoris is too focused on being a direct adaptation of the anime series, rather than being a good game. Alicization Lycoris retells the story of the “Alicization Arc” of the series, following …

Objects in Mirror Are Deeper Than They Appear – F1 2020 – Humble Opinions

Despite my long-lasting love for a wide range of racing games, I have never played a F1 game; so, for the first time ever, I’ve taken a curious step into the wide world of Formula 1 racing with F1 2020. Throughout many hours of play, F1 2020 opened my eyes to how deep and complex the racing world can be: countless hours spent outside the track, testing, fine tuning, practising, managing, and even being interviewed so you maximise the potential on the track. A new career mode has been introduced, called My Team, where you are both the owner and driver of the 11th team on the grid; where you not only test your limits on the track but also manage all of the intricacies that come with owning a team. From the start, you manage all parts of the company: from picking the sponsor, power-unit supplier, and second driver; to pouring finances into your R&D teams—researching upgrades and scheduling team building activities in between Grand Prix Weekends. Whilst a tad limited, you can also …

Camaraderie Isn’t Dead – Fairy Tail – Humble Opinions

Friendship. If I’m being honest, that’s all you really need to know about Fairy Tail. It is a property built entirely upon the foundation of camaraderie, of finding strength in bonds with others, of helping people move through the pain of their past in order to strive for the future. It’s uplifting, a little cheesy, and full of action that really simplifies the concept of emotional conflict. I mean, punching a bad guy in the face is also more visually appealing than internalised monologue, but the analogy is still in there somewhere. Also, I lied: Fairy Tail can be really cheesy…like, dangerously so. But that’s sort of what makes it so charming. Who doesn’t want to see the power of friendship turn the tides of darkness? Villains, that’s who. So, if you just thought to yourself that you’d like to see friendship lose…then I’ve got some bad news for you. First things first: Fairy Tail is not a game for people who have never watched or read Fairy Tail. I know that might sound mean, but I’m saying it …

Academic Warfare – The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel III – Humble Opinions

The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel has been quite the tetralogy and an immensely ambitious one too. Imagine if Shin Megami Tensei: Persona had the rabbit-hole content density of The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim; that’s basically what The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel achieves—and very successfully so on all accounts. The localisation journey of this series has been a long one, initially starting out on PlayStation platforms where it gave the late PlayStation Vita quite the RPG showcase, before completing the rest on Nintendo Switch and PlayStation 4. For Japanese players the tetralogy is fully complete, with our side of the world getting both Trails of Cold Steel and Trails of Cold Steel II in 2016; now in 2020, we finally get III—with IV due for a localisation release sometime in 2021. The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel III takes place only a couple of years after the dramatic events of its predecessor. For consistency’s sake, you can get the previous entries remastered on PlayStation 4 along with this …

Revisiting an Old Friend – Story of Seasons: Friends of Mineral Town – Humble Opinions

It’s been a long time since I played a Story of Seasons (a.k.a. Harvest Moon) game. Reminiscing, it was back on the Game Boy Advance (GBA) where I bought a copy of Harvest Moon: Friends of Mineral Town to play. Funnily enough, Story of Seasons: Friends of Mineral Town is a remake of the GBA classic—and what a classic it was. Back on the GBA, it was the game that first captured my interest in farming/mining/romancing games—where the goal was slow progression…and to get rich eventually! And it’s safe to say that the remake has captured that same feeling of nostalgia. The game is a smooth and enjoyable experience on the Switch. This being said, for the first time ever, the game is available on the PC in glorious 4K—if that’s what you’re in to. In this day and age, it’s rare to experience a game where you aren’t bombarded with tutorials and complicated mechanics; I am happy to say that the experience here was desirable. The game doesn’t call for complicated, lengthy tutorials and …

Thy Flesh Consumed – Carrion – Humble Opinions

There are quite a few games out there where you are tasked to be the villain, but not many like Carrion—the reverse-horror game in which you assume the role of an amorphous creature made of flesh, blood, sharp teeth, and countless whipping tendrils with two goals: to go on a murderous rampage and kill/eat everything in sight, and to spread your biomass throughout the facility where you were held hostage in order to escape. What’s different about Carrion is presented throughout its variety of puzzles, interesting game mechanics, and the psychopathic feeling of killing without empathy or remorse. The atmosphere and feel of the game all starts with the monster; you are the monster. Your growls echo through the hallways, sending shivers down your meals’ spines as they run or prepare for you arrival. Your tendrils pitter-patter against any surface they can, flinging you across rooms at lightning speeds. You rip doors off their hinges, lunging yourself at helpless humans with the urge to kill and feast like the ravenous beast you are. The horrified …

Can You Dig It? – Mr. Driller DrillLand – Humble Opinions

It has been five years since the last instalment in the Mr. Driller series—a mobile spin-off title: Mr. Driller for Kakao—and more than a decade since the last main series release. You’d be forgiven for thinking that, much like Dig Dug (the series which spun off into Mr. Driller), this series was effectively a dead property at this point. That is why it comes as such a pleasant surprise that Namco Bandai has revived the series with a full remake of the GameCube classic which defined the series: Mr. Driller DrillLand. The GameCube game has been remade completely from scratch here for the Nintendo Switch in glorious fashion. Mr. Driller DrillLand for the Nintendo Switch maintains all the features that made the GameCube version so remarkable, all the while expanding upon them and improving the visual aspects of the game. For the uninitiated, Mr. Driller is essentially a wicked combination of Dig Dug and Tetris—only you’re playing Tetris in reverse. The aim of the game is to drill your way through the various blocks and make …

Stunning. Vivid. Gratifying. – Children of Morta – Humble Opinions

If you are a fan of stunning pixel art and roguelike games similar to Dead Cells, you should probably check out Children of Morta on Steam. With its recent full release—away from being an early-access title—the game provides value and a sense of progression and accomplishment for those who have the patience to stick with it for the long term. Children of Morta-–firstly—is beautiful in all aspects. I don’t feel like I’m exaggerating here. If you have a penchant for pixel art and the inherent cuteness of it all, you will adore the attention to detail and style of the art presented in this game. The art within the game is so vivid and vibrant. I imagine the colour palette of the Bergsons’ home in its entirety has hundreds of different shades of colour. Looking at the outside of the home, your eyes are met with wild, almost psychedelic colours which mesh together so well. The family home provides a beautiful retreat and is a wild contrast from the dingy dungeons you will be diving …

A Kid and Not a Squid – Ninjala – Humble Opinions

Any time a game is promoted as “free-to-play”, the grizzled gaming veterans among us raise our eyebrows; the youngins on the other hand wouldn’t have it any other way. Ninjala is among the many recent slew of these titles; but, unlike the money-grubbing exemplars of this rather exploitative model, developer GungHo have created quite the tempting “free” proposition. Splatoon quickly became one of Nintendo’s quintessential IPs—ever since its Wii U debut—and is still as strong as ever: with Splatoon 2 being part of the first-year lineup for Nintendo Switch. When Ninjala was first revealed, it turned heads and rolled eyes as the similarities with Nintendo’s squid-kid shooter were just far too obvious. In the build up to the eventual worldwide launch—and after many delays—those similarities are very much still the case, but to the extent of Pepsi being similar to Coca-Cola. Right on the title screen graphic you see a soda ad with the caption “Taste the Difference”. Subtle. Ninjala may resemble Splatoon in its style and use of fonts, but when you get right …

A Difficult Game; An Easy Cell – Dead Cells – Humble Opinions

I’ve never been one for difficult or rogue-like games—you can thank my short temper and minimal patience when it comes to dying in video games—but I’m a little bit different when it comes to Dead Cells. The game is a combination of stunning 2D pixel graphics and smooth movement. It can be punishing in its own right; but, on the other hand, the potential for progression kept me running through levels again and again. The addictive gameplay and the feeling of building my strength and capability with every run made me endure every mistimed dodge-roll and cheap enemy tactic. To be fair, I felt some of my tactics were cheap too… First off, there is no doubting that the game is beautiful in its own right. The pixel art and animation is stunning, and care was definitely taken when designing the levels and the enemies. The art style is consistent across the game, with all enemies and levels all appearing unique in their own right. The style is very much “cute-and-endearing”, but you can’t focus …

To Cop, or Not to Cop? Only One Wei to Decide! – Sleeping Dogs: Definitive Edition – Humble Opinions

If you think that Sleeping Dogs is just another Grand Theft Auto clone: you’d be wrong. After playing Definitive Edition the second time round in an attempt to 100% the game, I found myself still enjoying the story and the world—more so than I did with any of the games in the GTA series. It is a bit daring to compare the game to (and favour it over) a behemoth like GTA V, but the game does well for itself—even if it is on a smaller, less grandiose scale. Sleeping Dogs: Definitive Edition introduces the player to an intriguing set of characters facing an intriguing set of circumstances, and that’s a key factor in what kept me returning to the experience. You begin your story by infiltrating the Sun On Yee (a triad organisation) as Wei Shen, an undercover police officer. Navigating the streets of contemporary Hong Kong, Wei must balance his time between his policing duties and proving himself to the triads—travelling between four key districts to complete missions for both, earning experience and …

Dungeon Nice Monsters – Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Rescue Team DX – Humble Opinions

Since Pikachu’s Vacation, we have known that—despite nominative, and therefore linguistic, differences—Pokémon have their own interactions beyond human influence. They laugh, they fight, they party down, and they have adventures all their own. But, what happens when an adventure goes awry? What happens when a Pokémon is lost to the depths of a dungeon? Well, they’re rescued of course. This isn’t some tragic, twisted tale: this is Pokémon. And the power of courage and friendship trumps all—even the perils of walking ninety-nine floors beneath the actual ocean. Originally gracing our handhelds fifteen years ago, Pokémon Mystery Dungeon is an interesting spin-off of the standard Pokémon formula. Gone are gyms, trainers, professors, Pokedexes, and mothers who wait until after you’ve walked one town over to give you shoes capable of supporting a run. Instead, you awaken as a Pokémon—a Pokémon who was once human. Mysterious, to say the least. Thrown into an uncertain world—not helped by the amnesia you are afflicted with—you immediately befriend a cheerful Pokémon and decide to join their rescue team: vowing to …

The Entrance to Entry-Level Dungeon Brawling – Minecraft: Dungeons – Humble Opinions

As an avid lover of Minecraft for the past ten years, I knew I’d have to give Minecraft: Dungeons a shot. After all, what more could I want in a game than for it to be a combination of Minecraft aesthetics and Diablo-esque gameplay? Being a massive fan of ARPGs like Path of Exile and Diablo—which usually promise lengthy playtime, huge replayability, and that addictive feedback loop of grinding for loot—Dungeons appealed to me, as it had been a while since I sunk my teeth into the genre. The game—newly released, and on the Australian PC market for $29—seemed like a cheap enough entry point to not have to wait for a sale. The price point upon release was one of the biggest clues as to what I was diving in to—before even booting the game up. At about half the cost of a full-priced title, I was expecting half the content. And I was kind of right. Firstly, one of the striking things is the aesthetic. Even though Minecraft is not often described as …

Copious Content, Moderate Substance, and a Unicorn – Assassin’s Creed: Odyssey – Humble Opinions

“Odyssey” is a word usually used to describe a long and eventful journey or experience. In the case of Assassin’s Creed: Odyssey, this is a fitting description. Upon release, and especially after the release of Assassin’s Creed: Origins, the game received flak for some of its design choices. Currently playing through—at about seventy-one hours in—I thought I would review some of the criticisms that Ubisoft were faced with upon its release. Are these things really an issue? And for who? Gripe Number 1: The game has too much padding and filler There is no hiding this, that’s for sure. Ubisoft—maybe in an effort to draw out “more value” (a.k.a. more gameplay hours)—perhaps thought it was a good idea to make the game world, and the quests within it, massive. Yes, the world itself is huge—I would say bigger than Origins. Things are plentiful on the map (you won’t run out of things to do for a long time), but that doesn’t necessarily make all of these things fun to do. Even with an abundance of …

Aye – Robert the Bruce – Humble Opinions

Braveheat—the classic medieval Scottish pride film starring Mel Gibson—was on TV the other night. The film was meant to depict the conquests and campaigns that took place under the legendary Scottish knight, William Wallace, as he fought to liberate Scotland from the rule of England. As entertaining, epic, and charming as the film was—for all the right reasons—the fact of the matter is that it simply was not an authentic depiction of the real William Wallace, nor the events that transpired during his legendary knighthood. Sadly, his legacy has now become synonymous with Gibson’s charming crocodile smile, much to the dismay of the Scots who revere the legacy of William Wallace and his contributions to Scotland’s odyssey towards freedom. In the very same film was the conflicted Scottish king Robert the Bruce, portrayed by actor Angus Macfadyen, depicted as a cowardly and indecisive young king—which ultimately was a disservice to who he really was historically. Still, there was a layered and conflicted nature to his character as someone caught between England and Scotland. Braveheart ended …

Hard Truths – The Suicide of Rachel Foster – Humble Opinions

If you enjoy a good walking simulator—backed by a gripping narrative with light puzzles—then you may want to consider playing The Suicide of Rachel Foster. Usually, these types of games don’t entice me to play, due to the slow-paced movement and lack of stimulating fast-paced action. The movement in these games is slow, yes, that’s true; however, everything accomplished within the game is done so with purpose—to add to the overall experience. That is what makes it worthwhile—the experience. In very brief terms—so as not to detract from the experience for those who have not played it yet—the game follows the story of Nicole, who reluctantly needs to return to her father’s hotel after his passing. She is there to assess the damage to the long-abandoned hotel and collect anything she wants to keep, as she intends to sell it and be done with its (and her family’s) troublesome history. From the moment she steps into the place, she is slowly drawn into an investigation about what happened to a girl named Rachel and her …

Self-Help Fiction – ‘The Alchemist’ by Paulo Coelho – Humble Opinions

The Alchemist is a book I have had recommended to me countless times throughout my lifetime; it is undoubtedly a wildly popular book that has sparked a cult following. Finally conceding, I picked up a copy at the recommendation of my local book store clerk—the 25th Anniversary edition in fact. The book presents nicely and doesn’t fail to intrigue with its curious blurb, which boldly claims that a persons only responsibility in life is to fulfil their personal destiny. It is the type of phrase that is both eye catching and enticing to potential readers, the sort of thing that The Alchemist is full of—immediately intriguing lines of philosophy, written in a simple manner that anyone can understand with little thought. It is in those allegedly philosophical lines that The Alchemist hangs its entire story on. At the half way point of reading this novel, I wasn’t sure if I was reading something genuinely great or absolutely awful. The book plays more like self-help disguised as fiction than it does as traditional novella. This is …

Delight Amongst All the Rage – Rage 2 – Humble Opinions

Sometimes you just need a bit of mindless fun; so when I picked up Rage 2, that’s what I was hoping for. The game received a lot of criticism back when it was released in 2011, which is initially why I hesitated to buy it at full price. A couple years later, left with a wanting desire to switch off any part of my cognitive thinking after work, I decided to pick up the game during a Steam sale. I was not disappointed with what I found. If you approach the game with the presumption that you will dive into the lives of the protagonist and form a deep connection with their story, then you will be disappointed. The game introduces you to the Rangers, a group dedicated to patrolling the wasteland and eliminating the Authority. Right off the bat, the game exposes you to the villain of the wasteland, Dr Martin Cross, the leader of the Authority. You encounter Cross almost immediately, and he soon dispatches of Ranger Erwina Prowley, who raised you, Walker, …

Connecting The World – Animal Crossing: New Horizons – Humble Opinions

Luke Halliday My first experience with the Animal Crossing series was on the GameCube. Playing Animal Crossing: New Horizons, and witnessing the feverish hype surrounding the game, it is evident that Animal Crossing has become one of Nintendo’s most popular and acclaimed series since its humble debut on Nintendo’s purple box that could. Tracing the history of the Animal Crossing franchise is an important part of understanding why New Horizons has had gamers clearing shelves across the country, not unlike the pandemic panic buying of toilet paper that has concurrently been taking place. The Animal Crossing series began rather humbly. The GameCube version didn’t allow for travelling to other players villages via online play because, quite simply, that wasn’t a possibility at the time. The game simply charged you with paying off your home loan, building up your own house, and welcoming other villagers to your town. I have many fond memories bonding over this game with my siblings—my sister of which has rather eagerly aided me in making this a joint Humble Opinions piece, …

Sebastian Was Right – Shinsekai: Into the Depths – Humble Opinions

Shinsekai: Into the Depths was one of the many, many launch titles for the Apple Arcade subscription service; then developer Capcom figured, why restrict this neat little underwater adventure to just one service when there are fifty-three million plus Nintendo Switch owners who would love another unique take on the Metroid formula. At its core, that’s what Shinsekai: Into the Depths really is: a Metroid-style adventure with its own signature gameplay style, but still emphasising exploration above everything else. Where most of the world is obsessed with outer space, this neat little adventure from Capcom appreciates just how little we know about the sheer depths of the oceans. Under the sea, down where it’s better—so they say. As an Aquanaut—and a sole survivor of a long lost civilisation—players venture into the depths of the unknown, as they make their way through the mysterious remnants long submerged into the deepest of waters. As much as it is about discovery and wonder, this mute Aquanaut must also deal with the looming disaster of an underwater ice age of …

The Heart of the Storm – Kafka on the Shore – Humble Opinions

When asked about the secret to understanding his novel, author Haruki Murakami had this to say: “Kafka on the Shore contains several riddles, but there aren’t any solutions provided. Instead, several of these riddles combine, and through their interaction the possibility of a solution takes shape. And the form this solution takes will be different for each reader. To put it another way, the riddles function as part of the solution. It’s hard to explain, but that’s the kind of novel I set out to write.” Kafka on the Shore is as described by Murakami as “filled with riddles”. It is a labyrinth of prose that may prove to be utterly mystifying upon first read. It is a novel that, while being a bona fide page-turner, is a book that challenges the reader to really stop and think about it. A deep dive into the themes and ideas conveyed in this book undoubtedly is a rewarding experience. Kafka on the Shore is somewhat of a departure from Murakami’s usual work. Unlike books like Norwegian Wood or …

Terror of Spiders and the Garbage Man – Resident Evil 3 – Humble Opinions

At the age of fifteen, I found myself with a bargain bin copy of Resident Evil 3 for PC; however, like Resident Evil 2, I couldn’t get past the first area. Not out of fear this time, for some reason the controls wouldn’t work on my keyboard—this I believe was due to some incompatibilities between the game and my PC. So, much like Resident Evil 2, my only experience with the game was flaming zombies making their way towards an immobile face-meal—preparing to eat me alive. It was another Resident Evil that I didn’t get to fully experience in my youth, and another horror I had to overcome. After playing through Resident Evil 2, I felt the next battle to face was Resident Evil 3. I decided to jump straight into the Resident Evil 3 remake without much of a break in between. Leon and Claire’s story has ended; however, Jill and Miguel’s…sorry…Carlos’ was still a big blind spot to me in the RE universe. In the Resident Evil 3 you play as Jill, of …

A Romantic First Date – Resident Evil 2 – Humble Opinions

When I was but a wee little child, I had accrued several PS1 Demo discs—which I believe I obtained from convincing my parents that magazines were good for me. They were like books: educational! Or maybe the true reality was I kept annoying the high holy hell out of them until they gave in. Either way, one demo disc in particular had the starting level of Capcom’s original 1998 survival horror game Resident Evil 2. I didn’t know what Resident Evil was, or the fact that it was a horror game, but I was to learn. I was to learn fast. A cop, Leon, navigating through the fire-y, zombie-torn streets. I wasn’t used to the tank like controls, shooting, or survival mechanics of the game, which meant Leon quickly got overwhelmed with the undead (and his face bitten off). A 10-year-old Matt got overwhelmed and scarred for life. Fast track to 2020, where a grown 26-year-old faced his childhood fear of getting his face bit off by playing the 2020 modernised remake of Resident Evil …

Dawn of Hope – Metro Exodus – Humble Opinions

The old Exodus book of the Bible is about several Israelites brought into slavery in Egypt, where they were freed through the guidance of Moses through God. Metro Exodus brings a similar story, though instead of Israelites, it’s the Russians of Moscow; the restriction of freedom not being slavery, but the irradiated world around them. The escape not being….all right, you got me. I know little about the story of Exodus, but I know about the story of Metro Exodus. Artyom has been through a lot over the last two years, and is at a point in his life where he wants something more. Something better than living in an irradiated wasteland, tunnelled into the metro like a rat. This chapter of his life takes place with a small group of post-apocalypse Spetznaz called “The Order”, namely on a train “‘The Aurora”, looking throughout Russia for any sign of an active Russian command centre—and any location where The Order can live in a free irradiated zone. There are a lot of things that separate Metro …

SOLDIER of Fortune – Final Fantasy VII Remake – Humble Opinions

In 1997, a 1st Class SOLDIER left the military for reasons he cannot remember. This man promptly ventured forth to the Midgar underground. Today, still watched by Shinra, he survives as a mercenary. If you have a problem, if no one else can help, and if you can afford him…maybe you can hire Cloud Strife. Dun-dah-dah-daa, duh-duh-dah. This one has been a long time coming, hasn’t it? For years people have been clamouring for the next glimpse at FFVII, the next evolution of a game beloved by folks the world over. I mean, I never even played the original and I was excited by Remake, am excited by Remake. Which goes to show the impact this instalment in the ever ironically named series had on the world. So ingrained is the story of this game, that I doubt there is any player of games who doesn’t know at least a little something about the tale of Cloud and his friends in AVALANCHE (as tumultuous as said friendship began). Still, I will refrain from detailing any …

Rip and Tear Until It Is Fun – Doom Eternal – Humble Opinions

Id Software surprised the world a few years back with its reboot of Doom (2016). A game featuring a protagonist (the Doom Slayer) who didn’t care about anything aside from ripping and tearing through demons, pushing away dialogue, and using hands as key cards before ripping them off of the dead. Unlike 1995’s Doom II, which was very much an extension of 1993’s Doom, Doom Eternal feels like a complete remix of old and new gameplay mechanics, lore, and feel. While the game is a marvel, I have a few minor bugbears that made the experience feel a little tarnished. You start the game with a pist—nope. This is the first time where you start off with the bread and butter of Doom gameplay: the combat shotgun. Id Software have decided that the pistol was largely redundant, which I agree, and started off with one of the primary weapons of the series that you’ll be using. Very quickly, throughout the first couple of missions, you also receive your double jump, chainsaw, shoulder-mounted grenade launcher/flamethrower, and …

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 …

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 …

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 …

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 …

Hadou-Ken Doll – Street Fighter V: Champion Edition – Humble Opinions

I think at this point there are more editions of Street Fighter than there are Ken dolls in this world. Not that it’s a bad thing, because in the past each new edition of a canonically numbered Street Fighter felt like a true sequel in every sense. Most modern fighting games have now migrated to a free-to-play model, some more shamelessly than others, but the 2016 launch of Street Fighter V on PS4 as a “disguised” and overpriced free-to-play title was an utter disappointment. The initial game at launch was so incomplete that the quintessential arcade mode would only come months later as free DLC; Capcom were quite generous that way. Since then, there was Street Fighter V: Arcade Edition in 2018 which was probably what the 2016 game should have launched as a bare minimum, and from there things got a little better…and also a little confusing because Arcade Edition on PS4 would subsequently get released in arcades. So basically the arcade version of the Arcade Edition. Give it a moment, it will sink …

The Love for One’s Own Sound – Sonic the Hedgehog – Humble Opinions

I honestly believe the Sonic we ended up seeing in the final cut of Sonic the Hedgehog was always the original intended design; the shock trailer with the horrifyingly “realistic” depiction of the iconic blue blur was always a deliberate publicity stunt. It worked, and “Gangsta’s Paradise” never made it to the final soundtrack. The question of “what if Sonic was real?” had been asked before, which the 15th anniversary disaster Xbox 360 release of Sonic the Hedgehog (2006) tried to answer with very limited success. I’m certain a large fan  base out there enjoyed the misguided romance of Sonic and Princess Elise. Remember kids, there’s nothing cooler than finding anything you want on the internet but always leave safe search on…always. Jim Carrey ended up playing the part of Doctor Robotnik, mainly because he realised that it was always predestined for him to take on the role since the very dawn of existence itself. A profound existential force may have played a part here, but against all odds and speculation the man once known …

Who’s Eating Who? – Parasite – Humble Opinions

The buzz surrounding Bong Joon-ho’s 2019 film Parasite cannot be understated. The film has just gone on to utterly clean up at the Academy Awards including winning the top prize of Best Picture – the first non-English language film to do so in the 92 years of the awards ceremony. Truly an impressive feat regardless of the films native language and country of origin. Admittedly, going into Parasite I had little to no knowledge of what the film was exactly about. I had only watched two other films by Bong Joon-ho, Snowpiercer and The Host, both of which I thoroughly enjoyed. I know Joon-ho is acclaimed for nearly all of his films, so my expectations were that this too must be at the very least as good as Snowpiercer and The Host. So I rented the film on Google Play, decided to turn down the lights, and got stuck into the film. What awaited me was truly beyond anything I could possibly have imagined. Parasite is at it’s core a film about a poor family …

2D, or Not 2D? – Super Neptunia RPG – Humble Opinions

Since the dawn of 8-bit time, video games have brought joy to the masses and free space to wallets the world over. However, within this lightening of hearts and pocketbooks, a darkness lurked: the darkness of perceived competition. Be it challenges found within the halls of combat both mortal and otherwise, the clashes between multiple space-based laser fests. Contest. Favouritism. Focus. Extrapolations of a joyous rivalry that make some wonder: what will it take for everybody to just get along? Amnesia. It turns out it’s amnesia. Okay, so maybe the loss of memories isn’t a true solution to perceived aeons of in-fighting, but it’s a fine place to start; and by “fine”, I mean tropey; and by “start”, I mean start; and by what I’m about to say, I mean the next instalment of the Neptunia franchise: Super Neptunia RPG. That’s right folks, it’s time for another jaunt into the world where the fourth wall was torn down long ago, and the references flow like so much prized pudding. This time, however, our beloved Goddesses …

All the World’s a Stage – Final Fantasy IX – Humble Opinions

Though the cycle of life and death has been a concern and point of interest for humans since time began a-turning, none really know what happens after that final curtain is drawn. With that in mind, nobody can really say that a decades old plot to subsume an entire planet in order to facilitate the resuscitation of an older, more advanced planet is wrong. I mean, it probably is wrong, but is it really any crazier than the theories that so called scholars throw around? Yes. Of course. But those theories are usually well thought out and morose in their acceptance of life’s inescapable final destination, so let’s focus on the cuckoo-bananas-bonkers one instead. Since jokes about the hypocrisy of Final existing in the title of a game series that has spanned into double digits, let’s skip past that particular well and get right to the good stuff. Final Fantasy IX is back and possibly better than ever. I say possibly because I never actually played it the first go ’round. So, expect a surprisingly …

All In – My Hero One’s Justice – Humble Opinions

Since the dawn of more-than-one-fictional-character-with-superpowers, people have longed to see them punch each other really hard. Not in a serious way, more in a no-holds-barred-no-consequences kind of way. Enter fighting games. The perfect opportunity for heroes and villains alike to test their mettle and meet in completely non-canon scenarios, wearing completely nonsensical clothing, all for the enjoyment of whoever so holds the controller. I mean, there usually is a story in there somewhere, but that tends to be drowned out by the aforementioned clashing of fictionally historical characters…or historically fictional characters…or a bear in a hat. With a concept so closely surrounding the idea of decking villainy until it says uncle, it was never too hard to foresee a fighting game featuring those lovable chaps from U.A. High. This is especially true if you knew about the one that already came out for the 3DS, but let’s not argue semantics. That being said, some concession may have been given to this Japan only predecessor, as One’s Justice focuses on the tale of My Hero Academia …

Fighting Spirits – JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure: Diamond is Unbreakable (Live-Action) – Humble Opinions

In a corner of a world much like our own, anomalies exist. Born of strong spirit, and occasionally aided by a magical Bow and Arrow, these twists of the natural order give birth to great good and evil. Guided by the minds of those who control them, these powers fashion a story of horror and triumph, leaving bizarreness in their wake. Also, death and chaos…they leave a lot of death and chaos in their wake. But, on the plus side, some deserved it. In case you’ve been living under a suddenly creepy-looking rock, allow me to to briefly explain the long-running history of JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure: It’s a manga that came out quite a while ago and is still going. So concluded the brief history of JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure. I’d go into more detail, but considering this film jumps into the fourth iteration of the original series, it really doesn’t matter. If anything, I wish I didn’t have my previous knowledge of JoJo going into this film. By knowing where the story was going well …

Like Someone Possessed – Occultic;Nine (Volume Two) – Humble Opinions

When appreciating a truly enormous jigsaw puzzle, one must take strides in reverse, backing far enough away until the immeasurable mesh of squiggly little pieces makes some semblance of sense. Of course, distance does not change the composition, merely the understanding. Those pieces are still weirdly shaped and were frustrating as hell to put together, barring the ever helpful corners, but the proper perspective does wonders for seeing the picture of which they are a part. That being said, the bigger picture itself may also be a confusing mess that doesn’t exactly mesh with your aesthetic; but hey, you’re the one who decided to put time into building a jigsaw puzzle. Unless you were forced by some third party…blink twice if you need help. So, halfway through and Occultic;Nine is still the epitome of rapid-fire narrative. Characters continue to blather on at a speed beyond human comprehension and treat their ramblings as if they weren’t quoting an anime that doesn’t exist in-universe; also, low blow bringing up “I failed” and Steins;Gate, real low blow. Anywhen, …

The Devil You Know – Blue Exorcist: Kyoto Saga (Volume Two) – Humble Opinions

If there were ever a being to carry completely justifiable daddy issues, it would be the child of Satan. I doubt he would turn up to any of his child’s important life moments and he also helms a realm of eternal torment and damnation. And that’s terrible. In the specific case of Rin, Satan is also rather determined to utilise his son as a weapon for destroying the entire mortal realm and gaining even more power than he already possesses as the Head Demon in Charge. Totally a selfish move, but what else would you expect from, you know, the Devil himself? When last we left our hero, he was locked in a prison cell and just discovering the extent to which his adoptive father was awesome. We already new Shiro was enough of a badass to hold Satan at bay for years with willpower alone, but now we are also aware of how simply he can heal an entire temple of a deadly demonic disease, befriend the sceptical leader-to-be of said temple and receive …

The Sky’s No Limit – Haikyu!! (Complete Season Two) – Humble Opinions

We all know that practice makes perfect…or, well, better and Haikyu!! Season Two strongly supports this way of thinking. Starting with a training camp and finishing off with the Spring Tournament, Haikyu!! comes back strong by driving home the concept of working hard, making you feel for the characters along the way. Though it’s a bit difficult to not care about somebody who puts so much effort into what they love. After having proved themselves a worthy, or at least interesting, team, Karasuno is invited to attend a training camp involving a number of other schools. Beginning in Tokyo and then proceeding to Saitama, Karasuno is given a golden opportunity to practice their skills and learn about the types of opponents they will face in the future. And even though their matches are for training purposes, we are reminded that passion defies logic, with each practice match featuring the same energy effort that we have seen in official matches past…even if the end result isn’t always what our crows hope for. Just like the energy …

Sins of the Fathers – Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood (Volume Two) – Humble Opinions

In the impossible to fathom scope of existence, there exists every possibility ever conceived. Within every possibility ever conceived, there lies infinite potential. Within infinite potential, there lies countless paths with which all who exist can progress. Down these countless paths, all will discover something unknown and, in doing so, will push reality one step closer to its end. Maybe. I don’t know, I’m just making stuff up here. But it sure did sound poetic, didn’t it? See, that’s what happens when one person spits rhetoric into the void: nothing. Maybe a few others build upon it, maybe nobody does, but words without meaning are pointless. Conviction is required to build a message and only then will those listening find a foundation to build upon. This is the kind of stuff that runs through one’s mind as this series reaches its end. Having spiralled further and further beyond the tale of two brothers, the saga of Amestris becomes one of impossible scope and tremendous impact. Luckily, everything is handled in such a way that it …

Great Sacrifices – Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood (Volume One) – Humble Opinions

Whenever a human being is told that they must absolutely not do something, an primal piece of their soul interprets such a statement as more challenge than warning. A hubristic section that refuses to acknowledge personal weakness and believes that they are the exception to the rule, that all those that all who failed before them were simply weaker. In extremely rare cases, such manner of thought is correct and paves the way for impossible discoveries; however, more often than not, it simply results in tragedy. Now, I honestly don’t think I can find an anime fan out there who hasn’t at least heard the name Fullmetal Alchemist. Heck, even if you haven’t heard it I’m sure you’ve seen the characters floating out there in the world of merchandise and cosplay. For this reason, I’m not going to pretend that I’m viewing this series through brand new eyes. It would be disingenuous to say the least. So, we shall begin our journey with knowledge of what is to come and trek through a world once …

As Per Paranormal – Occultic;Nine (Volume One) – Humble Opinions

The world is a truly mysterious place. Though we have come to understand it more and more across the decades, there remains a multitude of unanswered questions. I’m not merely talking of undiscovered sub-species or which types of food keep your body in tip-top shape; no, I’m talking of grander things, of more powerful things…creepy things. I speak of what lies beyond, of what lies hidden in the realm of spiritualism and magic, of ghosts and demons. You know, all that fun stuff that makes for a quick scare and everlasting debate regarding the permanence of the soul and the continuation of self after death. Real keep-you-up-at-night kind of stuff. Who would believe in the occult? Seriously, it’s a bunch of childish nonsense that simpler folk use to explain what they do not understand. Such is the opinion of Yuta Gamon, the ironic creator of an occult focused blog known as Kiri Kiri Basara. To debunk those who relish in the supernatural, to tear their arguments apart with science and fact, that is the aim. …

The Devil’s Own – Blue Exorcist: Kyoto Saga (Volume One) – Humble Opinions

The devil is a bad guy; I don’t think I”m stepping on any toes with that statement. Since time when-somebody-wrote-stuff-down, this beacon of all things evil has plagued the good folk of the world and tempted them with sin. Now, whether you believe such things are literal or metaphorical, they make for some damn fine fiction. One particularly intriguing tale born of this symbolic evil focuses on the age old clash of nature and nurture. More simply put: Is one’s parentage a deciding factor in who they will grow to be? Also, do devil powers make you cool? Welcome back to the realm of exorcists and demons, of cleanse or be killed. It’s been a while since the last animated jaunt through the averagely hellish streets of this particular Japan and no time is wasted jumping back into things. For clarification, watchers of the first anime series may notice a slight clash of plot with what is presented, in which you would be correct. It’s one of those we-changed-the-ending-of-the-story-so-we-could-wrap-everything-up-in-our-initial-run-and-weren’t-sure-if-we-would-get-a-second-season-to-follow-along-with-the-manga-plot situations, so don’t stress over it …

Marriage Made In-Game – And You Thought There is Never a Girl Online? (Complete Series) – Humble Opinions

As general society, and perhaps personal experience, may tell you, the online world can truly be a wretched hive of scum and villainy. However, much like a certain space port in a place far from here, within may exist a diamond in the rough, one which makes the risk worth while. Of course, rarely anybody strikes oil on there first dig and it can take time to find those golden bonds desired by all. And thus, with metaphors as technically-plausible-but-confusing-sounding-nonetheless as the title of this series, I present to you an exercise in personal growth and pwning scrublords who suck it hardcore. Yeah, that’s right, I’m down with the lingo. Proud of his interest in gaming and willing to stick to his guns even when a popular girl calls him a dork, Hideki Nishimura stands as our surprisingly mature protagonist in this trek through the Japanese schooling system. With three friends who make as much impact as a dry napkin drifting to the floor, he is content to live through an ordinary school day and …

Lost in Thoughts – Flip Flappers (Complete Series) – Humble Opinions

In a world just beyond the borders of our own, mired in mystery and born of fantasy, the power of imagination resides. Illusions, pure as the driven snow, enticing the innocent and not, drawing them ever deeper into a realm that cannot possibly exist. Except it does and it’s totally off the walls bonkers. Like, the kind of bonkers that makes you worry for the mental health of those who imagined it in the first place. Especially that part with the creepy-friendly schoolgirls and that robot that has a brain in it. That was weird. If there exists any hope to fathom the ridiculous series laid out before you, it lies within one’s ability to suspend their disbelief so far up there that they forget it even existed in the first place. What may also help is the foreknowledge that only roughly one quarter of the entire series is relegated to actually moving the plot forward, with the bulk being devoted to disconnected events that simply look cool. Okay, perhaps that’s a little grim, but it really isn’t …

Soror Ex Machina – Regalia: The Three Sacred Stars (Complete Series) – Humble Opinions

With anime running the gamut from here to someplace far enough away to implicate scope, it can often be hard to pin down the type of series you want to watch. Are you in the mood for a charming slice-of-life number that will warm the cockles of your heart, despite you not knowing what cockles are? Or are you maybe in the mood for some rough-and-tumble mecha action that will send that adrenaline needle into the red? Perhaps, just a shot in the dark, you might be interested in a more political tale, one that deals with the trials and tribulations of maintaining a happy citizenry? Well, what if you could have all three at once? Would you combine your interests into one big visual gumbo? And would you be happy to stomach the result? In the world of content/sombre looking anime girls, Rena Asteria is…unique. In addition to looking roughly seven in age despite being the older sibling of her family, she also happens to be the sister of Yuinshiel Asteria, the Empress of …

Release the Dragon – Fairy Tail: Dragon Cry – Humble Opinions

For the simple fact that apparently nobody has caught on yet, let it be stated thusly: Ancient artefacts are bad news. If they’re not the direct source of some all-consuming evil, then they appear in response to it. Also, if the known history of an object involves the beginnings of a genocide and the crystallisation of the abstract concepts of fear and rage, you should run as far and fast as physically possible in the opposite direction. On a similar note, maybe attempting to harness said calcified emotions for the purpose of a revenge only made necessary because you are a terrible person in every sense of the word; not the greatest plan. As is so often the case in adventures featuring the mages of Fairy Tail, the world is on the precipice of total annihilation. As is also so often the case in adventures featuring the imminent destruction of the world, or a large portion thereof, only the mages of Fairy Tail are up to the task of averting it. This time around, the …

Once Upon A Time – Fairy Tail Zero (Complete Series) – Humble Opinions

Just as every tale has its end, so too do they have a beginning. A simple statement, but one that can lead into many an adventure unforeseen. Far before a certain blazing wizard took the stage, long before a girl would wield keys to a dimension beyond, in a time wen magical flying cats were merely a dream, a young girl believed in a dream. An innocent, charming dream that would give rise to one of the most powerful forces in her world. For just as dreams may be realised, so too do they have consequences. For any remotely familiar with the mythos of Fairy Tail, Zero is a somewhat in-depth glimpse into the origins of that oh so titular guild. For those unfamiliar, might I recommend watching a few of the episodes set in the fictional present. Realistically, one could simply jump into Zero and enjoy the story on offer, however it lacks a certain emotional resonance, born of knowing where the story ends. Zero is also technically the final twelve episodes of the …

The More Things Change – Attack on Titan (Complete Season Two) – Humble Opinions

It has been said, more times than anyone can hope to count, that the calm comes before the storm. What fewer proclaim, however, is what comes after. Not to sound too depressing, but it usually isn’t good. In fact, it’s generally horrible, though, if you’re really unlucky, it’s specifically horrible. Such is the perpetual fate of anyone who dwells within Walls Maria, Rose and Sina. And spoiler alert, that specificity relates directly to the secret of the Titans. Having taken their former comrade down in a blaze of glory, rage and veins made of fire, the 104th is experiencing an understandable dip in morale and motivation. This is not aided by the overall suspicion that surrounds our protagonistic group, what with two of their members being Titan Shifters and all. Still, even such frightening doubts are washed away by that oh so haunting face that has been staring into our souls since the credits ran on the first season. The Wall Titan, herald of bad news and a glaring reminder that the world isn’t as …

Pallid Days – Tanaka-kun is Always Listless (Complete Series) – Humble Opinions

Tanaka-kun is Always Listless. Man, it sure is easy to write about a series when it lays it all out in the title. Honestly, what more do you need to know? There’s a kid named Tanaka and he is always, not frequently, in the mindset of laziness. So notoriously tired is Tanaka, that nobody bats an eye when his best friend and enabler, Ohta, carries him between classes. It’s oddly impressive. Still, perpetual drowsiness does not for a robust series make, which is where the surprisingly jam-packed periphery of Tanaka’s life comes in…whether he wants it to or not. Immediately decrying the sheer effort it must take to be a protagonist, Tanaka pretty succinctly establishes the vibe of this series from the outset. Not bothered by the burning light of youth others tout, he simply wishes to coast through life in the most listless manner possible. For that very reason, Tanaka is willing to his unique manner of best. Though he may allow himself to succumb to the pangs of hunger one day, due to …

Fight for Flight – Haikyu!! (Complete Season One) – Humble Opinions

What do only the best anime consist of? Easy. High school, teenage boys and the wonderful world of sport. Now I can’t lie to you, I’m a sucker for these anime, because who isn’t? I cannot resist twenty minutes of straight pretty boys. I mean…I don’t mean they’re straight, as I myself fell victim to the world of ships and OTPs. Without getting off track (Tsuki and Kuroo is best ship), I’ve seen them all. Prince of Stride, Kuroko’s Basketball and the like. Nothing comes close though to Haikyu!! Haikyu!! is about none other than the popular Japanese sport: Volleyball. Much like other sports anime that follow the pretty boys, Haikyu!! is also quite devoted the the sport itself. The anime focuses more on the matches and the actual games than fan service. Haikyu!! depicts the volleyball games accurately and is just as intense as watching a match in real life. Haikyu!! follows Shoyo Hinata, a boy with a great amount of passion that doesn’t exactly match his height. Though volleyball is a height dominated sport, …

A Cat May Be A King – Ni no Kuni II: Revenant Kingdom – Humble Opinions

As a particularly musical lion cub once said: “I just can’t wait to be king.” Unfortunately, what tunes that have been lodged in your head since the 90s gloss over is, to be king means that the previous must die. It’s like Highlander rules, only with less Christopher Lambert. Such is the way of a monarchy and so shall it be forevermore…or until there’s a coup and some rat takes the throne, after having slowly poisoned the previous ruler over an unspecified amount of time due to a combination of their own insecurities and evil magic. Though the likelihood of that very specific chain of events occurring is, like, really low…probably. Welcome to the wonderfully named kingdom of Ding Dong Dell, a place where Grimalkin (cat people), Mousekin (mouse people) and Humanfolk (people people) all live together in peace and harmony under the kind rule of King Leonhard. Psych. As it turns out, Mousekin have felt perpetually repressed by their Grimalkin cousins and held a slow boiling hatred that finally bubbled over. Said scalding onslaught saw …

In Love and War – Hakuoki: Edo Blossoms – Humble Opinions

Where have all the good men gone and where are all the gods? A question once posited to the world, left forever unanswered…until now. As luck would have it, the good men appear to have all congregated in Edo, pushed by destinies not of their own choosing. As for the gods, well, their existence can only be inferred from the presence of their opposites: Demons. Creatures who live amongst humanity, some with a desire to keep to themselves and others with a craving for human blood. Of course, situations become a touch more complex when some carry the burden of all three classifications, mixed with that oldest  and truest of emotions: Love. Also, politics… Having previously found herself tangled in the various webs woven by the Shinsengumi (via Hakuoki: Kyoto Winds), Chizuru Yukimura is still on the hunt for any clues pertaining to the whereabouts of her father…possibly. As with the previous game, and despite her best intentions, Chizuru is ever at the behest of those around her, as both enemies and friends draw her …

With a Bullet – Sword Art Online: Fatal Bullet – Humble Opinions

When it comes to virtual reality, escapism is the name of the game. Unless the actual name of the game happens to be Sword Art Online or some variant thereof, then escapism flies right out of the proverbial window. Then it flies back in and makes you wonder what the stakes are in an adventure where dying in-game does not mean you die in real life. Then somebody forcibly throws it back out when they come to the same realisation and have a bunch of people die in real life again…but with guns. Welcome to Gun Gale Online, newbie. The hip happening VRMMO taking the fictional world by storm. Glocks are in and estocs are out as everybody leaves behind the worlds of swords and fantasy, replacing them with guns and science fiction. Not to be left behind, you (the player) have also made this leap and are ready to test your virtual mettle in a tournament of firepower, the reward for which is an exceedingly rare item that will make everybody else jealous. Of …

Heroes of Another Story – The Seven Deadly Sins: Knights of Britannia – Humble Opinions

If there’s seven things I’ve learned, it’s that the mortal sins make for fun character archetypes. Not always as literal as the particular example soon to be delved, but even a glancing connection to the listed weaknesses of humanity is discernible. Is wrath entirely evil? Is greed perpetually consuming? Is lust destructive, or just really fun? It is these questions that intrigue and cause us all to ponder this veritable rainbow of corruption and how damning its light doth shine. Either that, or what dots must’ve connected to transform envy into a tsundere giant what swings a giant hammer. To put all my cards on the table, as one does in poker or something, I am quite a fan of The Seven Deadly Sins. I also like the series. But enough terrible jokes, The Seven Deadly Sins is a property that appeals to my personal style, with plot points generally unravelling in-line with my own ideas. That is to say, incredibly over-the-top and stupid moments that are more often than less often than not actually …

Why Are You Taller than a Fifth Grader? – First Love Monster (Complete Series) – Humble Opinions

Tall, handsome, caring and fun. Are they on your list of your dream man? Well, if so, you’re in luck. Kanade Takahashi is an owner of all of those attributes, but I do have to warn you…he’s a fifth grader. Now, that may make you cross him off your list, but that wasn’t the case for Kaho Nikaido. As a rich and sheltered girl, Kaho decided to move to Tokyo for high school and had her life saved by Kanade. That’s where our story begins. Full of childish humour, interesting moments and a lot, a lot of mention of weiners is none other than ‘First Love Monster’. Following Kaho’s big move to Tokyo, you get to meet all the tenants she lives with. You’ve got many fun characters to follow like shy-boy poet Kota, pervert-for-pretty girl-boys Arashi, underwear sniffing Mafuyu (only of the man she loves of course), probable sadist Taga, Arashi’s often annoyed girlfriend Chiaki and Shuugo, the landlord and Kanade’s dad. Kanade also isn’t the only tall fifth grader, as he has his friends …

More Harem Than Good – Maken-Ki! (Complete Season One & Two) – Humble Opinions

High school is a time of learning, of growth, of coming to understand the beginnings of life beyond the educational realm. Additionally, it is the place where all guys are perverts, all girls possess the power to slap somebody to the moon and all teachers are oblivious, if not in on the shenanigans themselves. At least, that’s what literally hundreds of anime has taught me. Tenbi Academy: A place where students from across Japan gather to train their bodies and master Element and Maken. Now, as for what Element and Maken are, your guess is as good as the explanation given. Element appears to be a natural force, perhaps relating to the traditional explanation of elements, or simply vague life force energy. Maken are slightly easier to understand, being weapons that a wielder is capable of summoning whenever they so desire. Still, the fact that Maken range from swords to reality altering pencils and are shown to both be specially manufactured by a teacher and pre-existing enough for a database to be present, definitely muddies …

Familial Bondage – The Testament of Sister New Devil (Complete Season One) – Humble Opinions

Family can be a weird classifying unit, a fact that none may understand more clearly than the humble anime protagonist. Partly because more extreme examples  make for more engaging narratives and partly because anime is a medium in which family can be anything from a group of friends you hold truly dear, to a demon girl with whom you accidentally enslaved through a combination of good intentions and a succubus…this is an example of the latter. Despite the bevy of scars that litter his flesh, Basara Tojo seems like your standard fare slice-of-life anime protagonist. He’s a guy and in high school…and I’m pretty sure that’s all you really need to claim a series in this genre. No, wait, I forgot one more thing: An ungodly ability to attract every female within a 10km radius. Maybe it’s a pheromone thing, that’d explain why it can be hard for an audience to understand why exactly a generic character can slowly but surely amass a harem that somehow never reaches a point wherein the enamoured take a …

The Children Are Revolting – Mobile Suit Gundam: Iron Blooded Orphans (Complete Season One) – Humble Opinions

Childhood is a wondrous time of life. Far beyond the realm of work and responsibility, before the weight of the adult world becomes evident. Or at least it’s supposed to be. Some are not lucky enough to live their formative years free of strife and must mature beyond even the kin of those supposed to protect them. They struggle and fight in battle not meant for them, pondering concepts they should never have to. Granted, not every child under these dire circumstances enacts a coup against a corrupt corporation and embarks on a journey across space to destabilise a military superpower, but not every child doesn’t either. Enter the Iron Blooded Orphans, never actually called that in-universe, but representatives of the ideal all the same. Born into poverty, or sold by parents who were, the young employees of CGS live lives of hardship. As far as the specifics of what they actually do are concerned, the series is a little vague on the details, but you’d better believe their lives are awful…because it tells you …

Syntax Terror – Project Itoh: Genocidal Organ – Humble Opinions

Language is an intriguing concept. Be it the divergence at Babel, or the allowance of internet slang into the dictionary, there is always something to talk about. Yet, irony aside, language is more often than not a means to a different end. To discuss a myriad of topics unrelated and yet only pursuable by the existence of language. It need not even be a complex issue, some moron could prattle on and wax pseudo-philosophical about an animated feature film. Language would even allow said fool to reference themselves in a confusing self-referential tangent that will most certainly end abruptly and in an unfulfilling way. What it means to be human is an incredibly complex and nigh indecipherable question that has plagued society since they first came up with the words to convey it, perhaps even earlier. To this day, intellectuals debate the nature (and even existence) of human morality and the confines in which people live their day-to-day lives. Now, I don’t claim to be one of these intellectuals, but I have noticed a distinct …

Butterflies Dream – Digimon Story: Cyber Sleuth – Hacker’s Memory – Humble Opinions

Digimon. Digital Monsters, if you will. A fictitious collection of creatures that captured the hearts and minds of children long ago, by taking the concept of virtual pets and asking one simple question: What if they could fight? Then they did. Then there was an anime and they saved the world. Then they did it again. Then Chiaki J. Konaka got involved and things got dark. Then they got lighter. Then a few petitions cropped up and the video game side of the franchise reappeared in the Western market, resulting in another World and a rather interesting Story. However, we all know that stories are not one-sided endeavours, leading to yet another question asked and answered: What was happening, like, two meters to the left of the protagonist of Cyber Sleuth? Just so there are no misconceptions about what this game is, Hacker’s Memory is rather heavily tied into its predecessor in terms of both setting and story. Though the tale of this game is one unto itself, far too many references to Cyber Sleuth …

Appetite for Destruction – Dragon Ball FighterZ – Humble Opinions

As the old adage so delicately puts it: Dragon! Dragon! Rock The Dragon! Dragon Ball Z! As true now as it was back then, this infallible selection of 90’s lyrics goes to show the true artistry that lies at the core of Akira Toriyama’s famed creation. Of course, a true creator never remains content for long and the various people who have added their input to this franchise have created many a variation on the formula that is Dragon Ball Z. This time around, it’s Arc System Works’ turn and they have most certainly put their spin on the seven magic balls that we have all sought since we were young. Which is totally fine because you can see the stars no matter what angle you look at them, thanks to the magic way they were made and…I’ll just move onto the topic at hand. Dragon Ball FighterZ, the game that every fan wanted when they saw the artwork way back when and have only now figured out how to pronounce (like the word “fighters”). …

A Young Girl’s Heart – Mary and the Witch’s Flower – Humble Opinions

Magic is, for lack of a better word, magical. A five letter excuse for people to forget the limitations of the world and let their imaginations run free. No longer confined by the rules of physics, a single being can fly freely through the air and dance flames across their hands. Of course, the human imagination can only stretch so far, inevitably resulting in the misuse of magic, in the creation of an antagonist. But hey, what’s an adventure without a bad guy to clock in the jaw? Which may or may not be a literal statement…because magic. Unless you have been living under a proverbial, or painfully literal, rock for the past few decades, Studio Ghibli is a pair of words you know. Lauded by many as the pinnacle of animation, their film catalogue has a prominent place in many a fan’s collection and in many a fan’s hearts. But, Studio Ghibli did not make MAry and the Witch’s Flower, so why do I remind you of them? Well, Studio Ponoc is a fresh …

Stage of Heroes – Fire Emblem Warriors – Humble Opinions

Long ago, in a far off place, lived a brother and sister, twins, destined to share the burden of ruling their kingdom. As for how monarchically accurate that is, I do not know, but it is what it is and we all have to deal with that. Also, it would seem that calmly ruling a nation does not a good adventure make, and thus the intricacies of wearing a crown are not so much focused on as they are forgotten amidst a horde of monsters whose ultimate goal is seemingly the destruction of everything ever for now real reason other than evil. On the plus side, combating the forces of evil is a pretty solid learning experience for a pair of fledgling royals…because responsibility. Welcome to Aytolis, one of those wonderful fictional kingdoms that has lived in peace and tranquility for an indeterminate amount of sunshine laden years…until now. As it is want to do, the forces of evil descend upon the innocent, transforming the once idyllic landscape into a brutal realm of monsters and …

Digital Aegis – Cyberdimension Neptunia: 4 Goddesses Online – Humble Opinions

Let’s face it, the real world is so last season. It’s all about the virtual space now, buckaroo. What with all the websites and apps and streaming, the just isn’t any fervour for the actual world. Heck, even fiction is becoming a little predictable. So here’s what we do: We put a virtual world in a fictional world. I know, mind blowing. Who would ever think to have a story about another story? Nobody, that’s who. We’ll make a mint with this. Just need to come up with a catchy name. The game’s got swords in it, obviously, and takes place online. The title should also be, sort of, artistic… Get it? Because of that other series. Now, if that kind of referential humour doesn’t tickle your funny bone…then you should probably not invest dozens of hours into this latest foray into the realm of Neptunia. Seriously, there is a character called Kiria who is straight up You-Know-Who. Also, he is kind of annoying and sworn defender of the most annoying character I’ve seen in …