Whiplash (2014) Review

Whiplash

After watching the Oscars, I figured I’d watch all the apparently good movies I missed out on last year, partially some of the Oscar winners/nominations as well as stuff I was interested in anyway. On the list were “The Tale of the Princess Kaguya”, “Kingdom of Dreams and Madness”, “The Theory of Everything”, “Whiplash”, “Birdman” and “The Imitation Game”. I’ve now seen all of them except for the last one. I’ll get to it eventually.

So on to Whiplash! To say it outright: this was the most intense, most magnetic movie I’ve seen in a while. There is literally nothing I don’t like about it. (more…)

I’m getting hyped for Pillars of Eternity

Pillars of Eternity

March 26, 2015. Less than 5 days. Get hyped. Pillars of Eternity is coming.

After decades of waiting we’re finally seeing a rebirth of isometric party-based RPGs full of good ol’ writing. Games like Baldur’s Gate 2 or the original Fallout were amazing and quite influential gaming experiences in my early teenage years, but thanks to the forces of business that kind of game seemed as dead as classic click-and-point adventure games.

But we’re now in a sort of post-modern era of video games. The drive for more cinematic experiences and higher fidelity graphics is slowing down. A generation of gamers raised on Call of Duty and Mass Effect is now discovering a more thoughtful, more complex kind of gaming. We see innovation in adventures lead by Telltale, we see great remakes like XCOM and now we’re seeing a rebirth of classic CRPGs with Wasteland 2, Divinity Original Sin and now Pillars of Eternity.

Here’s some things I hope Pillars of Eternity will bring to the table. (more…)

Delver Early Access Impressions

Delver

A quick impressions post today on “Delver”. It’s a first person roguelike dungeoncrawler on PC. It’s in early access on Steam at the moment and I just picked it up on the Humble Weekly Bundle: Roguelikes 2.

It’s a game I stumbled upon while browsing Steam a while ago and it really looked like a game to watch. So to my delight, this sale comes along and I just had to pick it up at that low price.  (more…)

Steins;Gate Anime Review

Steins;Gate

Recently I’ve been getting back into my Japanophilia, playing JRPGs, watching anime and reading manga. The completion of the Naruto manga which prompted me to pick that up again, my discovery of the Persona series and other things have all factored in. So here I am, a couple of years behind the anime scene, looking for stuff and collecting recommendations. I bounced off of Code Geass, enjoyed my time with Barakamon and initially bounced off of Steins;Gate. But seeing that one at the top of so many top anime lists, and seeing Kotaku’s Richard Eisenbeis declare Steins;Gate as possibly the best anime he’s ever seen, I just had to give it a second chance.
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I tried to play Suikoden 2

Suikoden 2

*sigh*

Actually this should’ve been a review of Suikoden 2. What follows isn’t a negative write-up of a cult classic, but rather a report on why I couldn’t enjoy this game.

Suikoden 2 is one of those games that through circumstances take on a new identity in the collective gaming conscience. Its peers are titles such as Planescape: Torment, No One Lives Forever, Okami or Strife. They’re games that broke new grounds, differentiating themselves in a positive way from the pack, and through that proceeded to NOT make bank in the mainstream market. Then, the people who DID play them at the time recognized their uniqueness, left in dismay when they saw that the wider public didn’t give a shit which caused developers to abandon such unprofitable paths. (more…)

The latest Persona 5 trailer is looking fantastic

Oh my god, get hyped. The first gameplay footage for Persona 5 was revealed and it looks amazing. The art is as stylish as any Persona game before it, with a strong red and black motif. Overall, I think this is going to be a darker game than the previous ones. It looks like the main protagonist (“glasses-kun” as he has been christened by fans) will be the leader of a vigilante group. Thieves fighting the good fight for their ideals against a corrupt establishment? I can totally get behind that! That’d be a really relevant topic to tackle. One of the strong influences seems to be Arsène Lupin, an anime character from way back in the 70’s. He too is a thief and anti-hero with a good heart (checkt out Hayao Miyazaki’s adaptation Lupin III: Castle of Cagliostro). Man this is all sounding really promising.

Crucially you can see the “new” in game graphics. I say “new” because this is pretty much the engine and style used in Atlus’ other PS3 game Catherine. I’m loving it. It’s so…next-gen for a Persona game.

Just look at these shots!

Persona 5

Catherine

 

Anyway, I wish I had a PS4…this is going to be a system seller!

More info can be had here: http://www.siliconera.com/2015/02/05/persona-5-producer-shares-thoughts-trailer-characters/

Tactics Ogre: Let Us Cling Together Review

Tactics Ogre

One of the biggest surprises I had after getting a PSP is that long epic JRPGs are the perfect fit for portable gaming. It might be counter intuitive. After all, for a big epic RPG it should be most appropriate to play in front of a large screen in the comfort of your living room, no? But the parameters of my lifestyle have changed and I can’t justify hogging the TV like that anymore. And anyway, with the added responsibilities of being a grown up, there’s simply not enough time to chomp down on a long JRPG with 5, 6 hour play sessions.

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Shadowrun Returns Review Part 2

Continuing on my review of Shadowrun Returns

Visually, it’s very pleasing

It's so pleasing....

It’s so pleasing….

So you might have seen screenshots of the game and thought “DAT BACKGROUND ART THO”, and you’d be right. SRR knows to build an ambiance with the soft, painterly 2D art used for the environments. You’ve got grimy looking cyberpunk back alleys contrasted with huge glowing neon signs next to shamanistic totems. It’s got a very hodge podgey quality, without looking irritating. The only issue I have with the visual aspect is that it all looks arranged like it was built in a level editor. Which it clearly was, but it’s quite blocky. Reminds me of Neverwinter Night’s unnatural looking environments. The mitigating factor is that most of the game’s campaign is set in the city or indoors, where you’d expect straight angles. I wonder what the designers would do if they had to include a forest setting for example. (more…)

Shadowrun Returns Review

Shadowrun Returns

So as one of the first games to be part of the Great Resurgence Of CRPGs of 2012, Shadowrun Returns has naturally been on my list of games to play. At the time I kickstarted Wasteland 2, but somehow missed out on this one.

I finished the first campaign called “Dead Man’s Switch” over a couple of relaxed evenings. I find it hard to give a vague, all encompassing verdict though. There are highs, but there are also gripes that simply dampened my enjoyment a lot.

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Blog Update

Oh man oh man, feels like an age since I last had a look at my blog. What’s up?

I found a really well written blog called “Excerpts from the life of Rao Dao Zao”. Made me wanna continue writing this blog.

So anyway, what’s been going on since June? I had gone on hiatus on all my gaming for a few months due to real life circumstances. Up until the end of the year, I’d played and completed Persona 3 Portable (finally! took me 3 years!). I also played and aborted Wasteland 2, Witcher 1, Guild Wars 2, had a phase of CS:GO (excellent shooter. Best competitive shooter of all quite likely). Oh, I started a YouTube channel as I wanted to dabble in recording gameplay. If I get a good mic, I might even try Let’s Play. I really enjoy Let’s Plays. The url is: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCaT9cYo049A3v7OZOQvrFwg

I’ve had a really enjoyable iron man campaign as the King of Leon in Crusader Kings 2. Man, that game is a beast.

At the moment though, I’m really enjoying a phase of old-school CRPGs. Currently in the penultimate mission of the “dead man’s switch” campaign. I’m going to pen my thoughts on that in the next blog.

Also, I’ve really enjoyed completing both The Wolf Among Us AND Season 2 of The Walking Dead. I binged on them once I had access to my gaming PC, so that’s why my reviews for TWAU episodes were interrupted. I’m pretty sure I’ll write up a lengthy blog musing on Telltale’s style in general. I’ve really enjoyed episode 1 of Game of Thrones. Reeaaally looking forward to episode 2.

Thanks for reading, and hope to gain more readers this year!