Wednesday, 16 January 2019

Kingdom Hearts Marathon; Kingdom Hearts Birth By Sleep: With the exception of Evil Mc Wigglefingers, did anyone want to know the answers to these questions?

As much as that might sound like a joke, the best way to describe Kingdom Hearts: Birth By Sleep's plot is to ask that question because that's all this really is. Like with all the non-numbered games, it exists to answer questions. What doesn't help this though was that it was made for the PlayStation Portable, and until relatively recently, was the only place you could play it (unless it got a PlayStation Vita port on the shop, though considering how well that did, you could make the argument that my point still stands). Thankfully though, there are other ways to play it now. So how does it improve on from Kingdom Hearts 2, and the other handheld spinoffs?

Wednesday, 9 January 2019

Kingdom Hearts Marathon; Kingdom Hearts 2: What happened to the rails?

One critique often made against Tetsuya Nomura is that while he's great (most of the time) at self-contained stories, he struggles to follow them up with sequels and a continuous narrative. The biggest offender of this? This very franchise, because while the individual stories are relatively strong (provided you like the story structure), trying to piece them together becomes a nightmare worse than figuring out what is and isn't canon in a comic. Allow me to give you a taste of this as we tackle the sequel to Kingdom Hearts, Kingdom Hearts 2...

Wednesday, 2 January 2019

Kingdom Hearts Marathon; Kingdom Hearts: Time for a trip into absolute madness

My apologies for the sparatic content last month. Work, Christmas, and what happened to my grandfather took their toll on the sites and basically killed DCember 2018. The lesson of the day kids? Make a backlog, something that I will try and commit to this year. In the meantime, with Kingdom Hearts 3 on the horizon, let's begin to tackle a game series that, against all odds, somehow exists. Welcome to the Kingdom Hearts marathon.

Disney, Final Fantasy. Two things that most sane people would not think to put into the same sentence, let alone go the distance and make a game on it, and then to go even further with at least thirteen (oh Arceus I just thought of something about that... more on that next week) games, a card game, manga and novels. along with countless other bits of merchandise. It's honestly quite baffling that this exists, especially when you consider that all of this started cause one guy happened to be in the right place at the right time, yet here we are, with one of the biggest releases of the month being the Third game, while also being the thirteenth game, so long before I get to Kingdom Hearts 3 (as I still don't have the console to play it), let's look at the first game, that's also the fifth game? I think that's right at least... or maybe it's the forth because one of those is just cutscenes based on a mobile game...Kingdom Hearts.

Wednesday, 19 December 2018

In memory of John Mitchell

While it's rare that I do these "In memory of" posts, this is one time that I do feel that is justified, not to jump on a bandwagon or anything, but because of the personal attachment that this person has to me.

John Mitchell was one of the first people I ever got to know, one of a few that I saw first. My parents would tell stories to me of how much he tried to protect me when I was in the hospital, how he would stand guard over me while I slept. I don't think I would be where I am today if it wasn't for him. He helped inspire my passion for finding out how machines worked when I was a kid, helped me with construction projects when I was in high school, helped me improve in chess, and this year helped me get to and from the hospital when I had my broken foot during the winter. I owe a lot to him, as he was, and still is, one of only a few role models that I have. He has fought struggle he had to overcome, even when health issue after health issue piled up on him. Unfortunately, he just couldn't fight any longer, as two large surgeries, one for his leaking lung, and one for his bowel, took their toll on him. And when this is released, it means that he would have passed away.

I cannot begin to describe how much he has changed me, helped me through some of the hardest challenges I've had to go through. He was someone I looked up to, sought guidance from when I was lost or struggling, and I cannot begin to describe how much I will miss him. As he and many others have said, life does go on. Life will go on. But this world will not be the same without him.

Goodbye Pop. I know wherever you end up, you truly do deserve it. I just hope that now you can finally live without the pain of your aging body, and all that it's been though. You fought to the very end.

Wednesday, 12 December 2018

DCember; Justice League: Was anyone expecting this to be good?

I don't really say that as a joke either, this film was in development hell from the start to the point where it was a miracle that it even got to "competently made", and many would argue that even that's a stretch. From rewriting on the fly, to calling in a director with a drastically different style due to loss in the Snyder family, to badly CGI'd upper lips thanks to Mission Impossible, the reports coming out about the film during development was one mess after another. It's safe to say that this movie was released with the expectation that it was going to fail in the eyes of Warner Brothers. Were they right to assume that though?

Wednesday, 5 December 2018

DCember; The Lego Batman Movie: Ow, the edge

No seriously, stepping on the edges of Lego bricks hurt

Welcome to DCember, the DC equivalent of MAYvel. Because everyone else is doing christmas marathons, so I thought I'd be that hipster edge lord that goes against the norm. And what's more edgy then DC's track record of quality movies? I regret nothing in that, but probably will at some point, depending on what happens first. Anyway, unlike MAYvel, not everything will be dedicated to DC. The main reason being because there are often end of year games that I try to rush reviews of, such as Pokemon Let's Go Pikachu and Eevee which should be coming out within a week or two, but the large majority of content on this site is going to be dedicated to DC. Starting off with The Lego Batman Movie, a somewhat direct sequel to The Lego Movie, starting that movie's interpretation of Batman and trust me, this movie will love to remind you that you are watching a Batman movie.

Would have been nice if you learned your lesson last time and didn't make Australian's wait 2-3 months like you did The Lego Movie, but you didn't. If you don't like Pirates, stop giving them justifications for existance!

Wednesday, 28 November 2018

DCember Prologue; Lego DC Supervillains:Well, at least I'm not smelling corporate bias?

It is no secret that I hated Lego Marvel Superheroes 2. I personally found it a slog to go through, the DLC was broken, the over world wasn’t fun to travel through, the levels got shorter as I went through, and even at the 100% mark, I never really felt satisfied with the experience. I got so mad at the experience that I was genuinely considering not getting another one, and became extremely cynical towards DC Super villains. Against my better judgement, I picked up DC Super villains thinking that, at the very least, it would be a good review for this week, seeing as most of, if not all of next month’s content is going to be focused on DC. Was I wrong to be so overly cautious? In a word: No. It’s times like this when I’m glad I don’t do number scores or submit reviews to Metacritic and the like, because I’d probably piss someone off at WB for this, not that it matters, I don’t get review copies, and any ad space they may get here is through Google, not me.

Wednesday, 21 November 2018

Yu-Gi-Oh; Pyramid of Light: This seems a bit excessive for a card game...

The push to capitalize on Pokemon's fame was a strange time for shows and anime, as many shows tried to tap into that market by making their worlds revolve around their takes on Pokemon. In the case of Yu-Gi-Oh, that included things like making an entire city crawl to a halt just due to competitors in a corporation dedicated to the game's competition, used as a ploy for the owner of said corporation to try and get his hands on three cards, and unintentionally drawing in the attention of a crypt keeper and his servants joining the tournament to try and get them and a puzzle from a kid who has the spirit of a Egyptian pharaoh that shares his body. No really, all of that happens, and I'm even skipping parts of it. Point being, this universe is weird, and it gets weirder when it wants to go cinematic, so let's see how weird it gets with two of the localized movies, starting with the first (to my knowledge) that got released in English, Pyramid of Light. Before you ask, yes I did try a World of Light joke, but nothing worked for me.

Wednesday, 14 November 2018

Pokemon Stadium: Remember when people were excited to play Pokemon on a home console?

While a part of me relishes in that being a stab at the Let's Go games, it's somewhat rooted in fact. From what I've heard, people were excited for this game to come out, this was the first ever way to battle with your Pokemon on your TV after all. Whereas with Let's Go Pikachu and Let's Go Eevee, the reaction's been kinda mediocre, though I'll save that for another time. For now, though, the spotlight's on Pokemon Stadium, the second Pokemon Stadium game ever made, and allowing players to battle their Pokemon on the square screen, something that is even more fitting thanks to the Detective Pikachu trailer coming out yesterday (another time, though you can find my initial reaction on my twitter account). How well does it hold up though now? Welcome to a world of visible triangles.

The main focus on Pokemon Stadium is the Pokemon battles, with a large chunk of the modes in the game dedicated to it. There are tournament cups where opponents are randomized based on the rules and difficulty level set, Gym Leader Castle, where the battles are more predetermined as you battle trainers themed around, and eventually including, the Eight Kanto Gym Leaders, and a mode where you and some friends can battle each other. Battles can be done with either premade rental Pokemon, or if you have the Nintendo 64 Transfer Pack, the pokemon you capture in Pokemon Red, Green (if you have one), Blue or Yellow. It's rather simplistic at its core, though it's the biggest problem comes from its source, Pokemon Generation 1, a generation that had infamous glitches, and when the concept of balance in the battles is laughable. This was before Fairies, before the Dark and Steel types existed. Before the Special stat split, when Special Attack and Special Defence were the one thing. This was a time when moves like Wrap made it impossible to attack when glitches let Venusaur become the strongest of the three starters thanks to Toxic and Leech Seed stacking. This was the generation that cemented Mewtwo as the strongest Legendary, even though there was a point when it was dethroned thanks to a god-like horse and your worst nightmares personified kinda nerfed him just a little bit... and was later cancelled by the invention of Mega Evolutions and now we're back to square one. Point being, if you know how to break the battle mechanics of the Generation 1 games and have a transfer pack to nuke them even further, very little is actually going to stand in your way. There is a charm in that though because it's kinda fun to tower over your friends with that kind of knowledge, and if they have a similar kind of knowledge, then do what I did while testing it at the Tech Games Fest this year, embrace the anarchy and do a battle with nothing but Alakazam's Metronome.

The Transfer pack has one other function in Pokemon Stadium though, the ability to play the Generation 1 games on your TV. I can't, however, judge this aspect of the game as while I own the game, I don't own a Transfer Pack, not to mention the lack of a physical copy of a Generation 1 game. What I can however review are the mini-games, the final mode of the game that gives players a break from battles. Like many have said elsewhere online, these games are a lot of fun, and it's a shame that they haven't left the N64. It would honestly be cool to see them remastered and added to the core games as a side activity. Sadly though I don't think that'll happen, based on how the games are designed nowadays. Though as a tip, if anyone at Game Freak ends up reading this, they would be an easy way to bring the Game Corner back. What would you rather, Voltorb Flip or Magikarp Splash?
I wish I could make it look this good on my TV.

It's hard to judge the presentation of this game, because while it hasn't aged well at all visually, what makes it worse is a common problem for retro gamers. That problem is "what happens when you try to play a game not made for a widescreen TV, and play it on a widescreen TV because how many people still have CRT's? This game looks rough and ugly when played on modern screens, even more so than normal. The only problem is that the N64 is really the only option to play the game now. It's not available on the Wii U or 3DS eShop, never came to the Wii eshop to my knowledge, and many emulators struggle to run the game (trust me, I checked). I have to ask though, why? Why wasn't it brought over because while 3D battles aren't the thing it's needed, for now, there is still a charm to it thanks to the animations used in the game, and the audio presentation which features realistic versions of the Pokemon cries, solid remixes of the gen 1 games' soundtrack, and the best announcer I've ever heard, which makes the slow-paced battles feel far more energetic and lively than they really are.

Is Pokemon Stadium fun? Yes. Is it enough fun to find a working N64, game and hopefully score the Transfer Pack and a Gen 1 cartridge, knowing you'll probably have to replace the battery? No. Hopefully, the game can get new life again at some point, but seeing as they continue to not release Mario Party 3 again, I find that hard to believe. If you can find the stuff needed for a good price, then great, have fun as there is definitely fun to be had. For me at least it's more entertaining then Pokemon Snap but that's beside the point. Anyway, from Pokemon to another fad of my primary school, let's go back to Yu-Gi-Oh next week with looking at two movies. Pyramid of Light, and the Dark Side of Dimensions.

Wednesday, 7 November 2018

Super Mario Party: Making friendships by ruining them one friend at a time.

Many believe that the best of friends are forged when people go through the hardest situations. While no game can come close to that kind of experience on its own, the closest would have to be Mario Party. What might look like a harmless party game, can quickly turn into one of the most cutthroat competitive games you can play in a group. Why? Minigames, and Power stars. That being said though, get a good group of people together, and these games can be some of the best games to play together. While there was a quality shift, especially during the Wii and into the Wii U, Super Mario Party boasts as being a return to form for the series. How well does it pull it off though?