Sunday, 29 December 2019

Disney+: Not a review of Mandelorian

That will probably happen sometime in 2020.

It should come as no surprise that the Streaming wars have now well and truly started. Many large companies are either making their own services or partnering with other companies either with their own or working on their own, to try and give you everything you want at the minor cost of never actually owning any of their content again, data collection, and a small monthly fee on top of it. Though Australia has had Netflix for a while, and a collection of homegrown services like Stan to fill in the void created by other providers not bringing their content here, that does look to change thanks to the launch of platforms like Apple TV+, Disney+, and upcoming ones like Hulu and potentially HBO Max. Though reviews of these services may come in time, I can at least review this one, as it was staring me in the face every day I went to work for a few weeks around the launch. So while I'm housebound anyway, may as well take a look at something slightly different this time, with my review of Disney+... that was late compared to everyone else but let's be honest, when has that ever not been an issue with this site?

(Would love a Fox category... just saying...)

Starting with the launch lineup, and while it's a very strong selection of their content, even going so far back as to include the likes of Steamboat Willie, there are some noticeable gaps are depending on the series. I found it odd that The Proud Family show was not on the service, while the movie based on the show was. Same with the Muppets, the Muppet movies are here, but not the original show. At the same time though, there are many region-specific variations. By the looks of it, Australia was actually in a pretty good spot, as some movies being held up in licencing in the US are available here. As I couldn't find many sources very easily, I went through the CNet video on Youtube, going through the few placeholder spots they've found on the US version, and saw that all of them were available here. Something tells me that it's because of places like here in Australia that the placeholder icons are on the US platform, with messages like "Coming June 2021".At the same time, there were holes inside shows themselves, one glaring one to me being the two-part pilot of Ducktales 2017 when I went to do a quick check of it

There are however some issues on the more technical side of the platform. For the purpose of this review, I mostly focused on the web browser form of Disney+, as it allows me to get screenshots more easily. With this though, I noticed some performance issues, as the site appears to be very CPU and RAM dependent, at times burning through almost half of my computer's CPU when trying to play Avengers Endgame. Comparing this to Netflix, which has been an optimized service for me so far. Other Netflix comparisons are very easy to make, and none in favour of Disney+, with things like title sorting being a complete mess at times, thanks to being undecided about calling stuff Disney's *insert title here* or just *insert title here*. No option to marathon the Marvel Cinematic Universe in order, as going to the main Marvel subsection of the service, the first eight MCU movies displayed were Avengers Endgame, Captain Marvel, Guardians of the Galaxy Volume 2, Ant-Man and the Wasp, Thor Ragnarok, Captain America Civil War, Avengers Age of Ultron and then The Avengers. A massive example of this is The Simpsons, which many of the services from their last streaming platform are currently missing, including things like the ability to watch all the Treehouse of Horrors episodes in a row. Even small things like the ability to press the space button to pause or resume playing something feels like a missing feature due to it not working consistently, and I can't help but wonder why.

Like with a lot of streaming services, a constant and reliable internet connection is required for an ideal experience, and during testing, my router decided to have some problems, bringing to light how the video player handles less than ideal situations regarding connections. To put it bluntly, not very well. I had to restart Endgame several times because of network dropouts either skipping sections of the video and not letting me rewind to play it properly, or just outright giving up trying to buffer. Though I could bring up minor issues, like the rather bland loading screen of videos and the Android App (I said I mostly focused on the web browser, not entirely), and the locking of pre-made avatars that no one else will see anyway so what was the point? The thing I keep coming back to time and time again is the question of "Is it worth it?"

For archives of content? While there is plenty here, sorting through it is a problem (I'm honestly surprised National Geographic got a dedicated sub-menu but Fox didn't), the content is, at least for the most part, there. Original exclusive content is lacking, but that's something that can be built on in time, and if the archive content was weaker, this would be more of a problem for me then it is now. In terms of the overall all experience though? There is still a lot of work to do, and I'm hoping that these issues get fixed sooner rather than later. Keyboard shortcuts, consistent sorting of titles, the content holes, even minor presentation touches that I'm surprised are missing from something made by a company that is normally proud of their attention to detail. It's why I can at least recommend it on a content level, if not a service level.

Wednesday, 20 November 2019

Yu-Gi-Oh! Legacy of the Duelist; Link Evolution: It's time to constantly repeat this duel until you get the right draw!

As I mentioned in my Yu-Gi-Oh review, while the show was something I was interested in, when it was possible to keep up with it at least, the card game was not something I got very far in, simply due to no one at my school knowing how to play. While stuff like the life-sized Dual Disks was cool, the confusing rules of the Duelist Kingdom arc stuffed it for everyone (not to mention fake cards everywhere). Because of that, Yu-Gi-Oh didn't stick around for me like Pokemon did, it looked like it died, for the most part, tossed aside like other games that people called Pokemon Knock-Offs.

It wasn't until relatively recently when I looked into the series again that I found out that it was not only still going, but... let's just say the barrier for entry has gotten higher... I still knew how expensive of a hobby competitive card games like that could be, even with my reasonably cheap Psychic deck back during the Pokemon Generation 5 rule sets, and that price was nothing compared to what some decks cost in Pokemon, Yu-Gi-Oh, and even Magic the Gathering. So when I found out that a game for the Switch was coming out that had not only all the released cards at the time, but also allowed you to play iconic duels from all the shows? It had my interest, though it also came with its fair share of problems.

I'll start with the presentation, as mechanically, there's not much to talk about here, as it is the current rule set for the card game. Presentation sells these games based on collectable and competitive card games, and the presentation here is fine but very basic. The cards themselves look good, and UI implementations allowing for reading the card text makes it very easy (most of the time) to learn what a card does, at least when compared to the real cards, when some cards could have font smaller then this on a smaller then normal card for the sake of trying to explain it's paragraph long rules for its abilities. The presentation is lacking in many areas, with cutscenes represented by still portraits and dialogue boxes, with no voice acting to be seen (something I would have liked to have seen for the more important duelists, because I like hearing Kaiba going "You're a third rate duelist with a forth rate deck!"... It was in the mobile game...). On top of that, the duel fields look like basic JPG files with the duel mat put on top of it. Each image looks to change out based on what series you're playing, and what arc in that series it is, rather than the context of the show (either that or I'm misremembering the Shadow realm, last I checked it didn't have a nice happy meadow that looked exactly like the one I just fought Mai Vallentine in...). The music as well is completely forgettable, though grading when it came to hearing it repeat over and over again due to the fluctuating difficulty of the game.

Due to the nature of competitive card games, the difficulty of a match is all based on the luck of the draw. This carries over into Link Evolution as well, because if you get a bad draw, you may as well surrender and try again, because recovering is easier said then done (I wish I was kidding when I said I've been slaughtered by AI in 3 turns at times because I kept drawing cards I couldn't use yet). While it's nice to get a small number of prizes even if you lose, it gets tedious constantly repeating duels just to win a match and move on, it's the main reason why I haven't gone further then Yugi getting Slyther the Sky Dragon in Battle City (which, on a side note, going back to presentation, iconic monsters get a 3 second intro animation when they're summoned, but there are numerous monsters that you'd think would get the animation (like the Egyptian God cards), that don't for some reason.). While it is fun playing with both the story winner's deck and then having a reverse match where you can play with the other characters deck, some decks are hindered by the changed rules very heavily, to the point where it's better to use one of the premade structure decks based on different mechanics. A big example of this for me was Yugi vs Bandit Keith before Battle City, where Keith's deck was a complete pushover to fight as Yugi, and impossible to use when I was playing as Keith himself, due to the anime not having the tribute summon rules at the time. 

There are other parts to the presentation that I would have liked to see if they were in the game. An option to play using different rulesets would have been nice, and a good way to break up the gameplay a bit, while also giving a reason to make decks themed around rules like not needing to tribute summon monsters, or speed duelling like in the Mobile game. Going further, it would have been interesting to have other spin-off duelling styles like Team battles, Labyrinth battles and Dungeon Dice Monsters as options (can you tell I don't have much post GX experiences with Yu-Gi-Oh?). It would have helped with the presentation, as I'm happy to take a basic looking game that has a lot of features. 

I struggle to call this game bad. Objectively, it does what it set out to do with no major issues. But the big problems come from it doing what it set out to do, and not really doing anything else on top of it. It looks extremely basic, like a mobile game ported to consoles, but that in itself is kind of an insult because the mobile game has a better presentation then this game. The core itself is fine for the most part but compared to other video games based off of card games, even ones like Gwent when they were mini-games in Witcher 3, It just looks and feels bland. But at least there aren't any microtransactions using real money, because, with the number of duels you'll be playing and replaying, you can easily stock up on a lot of card packs. It's fine, but could have been a lot better.

Wednesday, 13 November 2019

Digimon Story Cyber Sleuth (Switch Port): Just as unpolished as ever

This is a follow up review to the original review of Digimon Story Cyber Sleuth. Link to the original:

While Digimon Story Cyber Sleuth was a game I enjoyed when playing it on the Playstation Vita, there were some glaring problems with it when it comes to the polish of the game. From localization errors to not making story event changes depending on the player characters gender, it gave the game an awkward charm to it that players will either like, or hate. As a quick follow up to that review though, the game has come out on the Switch, and has it made any improvements in that department?

Short answer, no. In fact, using patch 1.01, it's even worse, but in an amazing way that I am surprised did not get caught earlier on in development. There isn't much to add to the presentation, it looks and sounds as good as it did on the Vita, but thanks to the Switch's Sleep Mode, and the Digi bank, it is shocking how quickly you can get powerful Digimon as the game doesn't stop counting playtime while the console is in Sleep Mode. According to the in-game clock, I've put in over 114 hours and am barely into Chapter 3 (at time of writing). According to the console though, I've put in somewhere between 10 and 20 hours. In that time, I already have 15 Ultimate Level Digimon, most of them in the level 20s to 40s, purely by having the game running in sleep mode. I honestly struggle to call that a glitch because of how easy it is to catch and use. It's baffling to me that something like that wasn't caught before release, but considering as the game gives you several Mega level Digimon in the form of smaller versions of the Royal Knights for free, I can't help but wonder if it was intentional or not.

Presentation-wise though, this is still basically the same game, just with the extra DLC (not counting the Vita themes). Some of the visual problems are more obvious now, such as some stiff animations here and there, but it does look like the localization hasn't been improved either, as I did notice some odd word choices in cutscenes every now and then. The soundtrack is still good, and fitting for the game, but some parts of the game that I didn't do in the initial playthrough, such as the Digimon missing items in Kowloon are annoying to do and were probably worse to do on the Vita. Seriously, who's idea was it to put white sparkly things for items in a dungeon that has the primary colours of light blue and white?!

Is it worth a double-dip? That depends. For me, the main reason to get it was to get Hackers Memory, a prequel to the events of the story that I'm hoping to get a proper review of done sometime in the new year, as that game only came out to the PS4. It's a solid game to play on the go and being honest, most people reading this probably don't have a Vita around, and the better investment is to get a Switch (unless you're committed to PS4 Remote Play?). Worth a look if you can find it on sale at least, but that's without judging the second half of the package.

Friday, 25 October 2019

G.I Joe The Movie: Coma my fragging ass

October is a time for horrors all around. Everyone online goes for a spooky theme for their accounts, all the scary movies come out, stores try and get a country to care about a holiday that doesn't work in the southern hemisphere because of daylight savings, the usual stuff. Though the controversy surrounding it has been expected because the phone game market is a disaster of shovelware and glorified casinos, Transformers Earth Wars still has my interest, and recently they announced the next batch of characters to come to the game. With the timing, you would think that we'd get some horror-themed characters or a scary story event. Monsterbots maybe? What about some more beast wars characters due to how many people are afraid of bugs? Pull from the darker side of Transformers with some truly terrifying villains like the Decepticon Justice Division? What about scaring everyone by including more movieverse characters that acknowledge they're from the Bay movies other then Barricade? Or how about Duke and Cobra Commander from G.I Joe... wait what?

Yes, it turns out that the next batch of characters is a G.I Joe crossover, and after seeing the trailer, it did get me in the mood to dig further into it, mostly because G.I Joe hasn't really been a thing since the 80's, at least versions of it like the incarnation people remember. While it's lived on in comics, television endeavours haven't really gone anywhere, toys are nonexistent (at least outside of the US), and the live-action movies... are better saved for another time. So, let's see why they keep coming back and killing Transformers off for the sake of proving human superiority... Are we sure the Joes weren't the inspiration behind Sector 7 and the army in Bayformers?

In another case where it feels like the movie is a long episode of the show, the easiest way to sum up the movie is "it's an eco-terrorism plot". After joining up with a alien snake civilization that uses weapons made from biological materials and giant insects, Cobra plans to capture a Joe developed device that can wirelessly send power to machines, in order to power a series of space flowers that will release a spore that will turn any human on the planet into a mutant snake with low mental capacity, leaving Cobra to rule the planet. The Joes, "with a focus on a new batch of Joes", including Duke's half brother Falcon, must find a way to stop Cobra before it happens. It's extremely basic, but unlike something like the Transformers movie, this feels like it's a story thread from the show with a larger animation budget, mostly due to how many of the original run of GI Joe's episodes had 5 episodes to tell their stories. The story itself though is overall fine, but it doesn't feel any larger than the show.

One big part of that though comes from the similarities between it and the Transformers movie, in that it feels like they wanted to do a movie like the 86 film, but for the Joes. Kill off the characters not on shelves anymore, focus on the new team with the new vehicles and new threats. The only problem is that you barely spend any time with the new team. A large focus is on the older heroes and villains, and while Falcon gets the most of the screen time compared to... actually I don't even remember the rest of the names, his big moment was diminished due to the feedback from the Death of Optimus Prime, that's where the "Coma my fragging ass" comes from in the title. Duke was supposed to die, and being stabbed through the heart by a snake shape spear would do that, but a last minute change, only done through voice acting rather than reanimating footage, Duke falls into a coma. The only on screen death was the Cobra Commander, and even then that was more "I'm going insane so you'll never see me again!" It's these two factors that make the movie feel unfocused, and the lack of stakes makes it feel watered down compared to the Transformers movie.

The animation also looks uglier at times. The copy I was able to find (because finding anything related to GI Joe here is a pain at best), was very dark in terms of lighting and colour tones, which made a lot of the bright flashes from the guns very hard to watch at times. What would have helped is if the overall colour palette was brighter, as it would make the flares less obnoxious, same as how shining a light into your eyes is easier to do when in a brightly lit room, compared to a pitch-black room. The soundtrack is on par with the show as well, further adding to the "was this meant to be a movie, or just a part of the show" feel to the whole thing.

Coma nothing, that guy is straight up dead!

On the whole, while it wasn't bad, I find it very hard to remember anything about it, and probably won't watch it again after this. It never hooked me in, though the same can be said about the franchise as a whole. It's a shame because there are parts of it I do like, and going back to watching the show to get some context for the movie, parts of it have aged surprisingly well considering the political culture of the day, mostly by way of representation (I mean it took 2 years for a female Transformer to get attention, and the first toys of them didn't start showing up until Beast Wars). If I could get some help sourcing media from the other shows, I'd honestly be up for seeing how the series has evolved since the 80's incarnation, but the problem with a show with the subtitle of "A real American hero" is that finding it outside of America seems to be more of a hassle then it really should be.

Wednesday, 9 October 2019

The Legend of Zelda; Link's Awakening (Nintendo Switch version):

While it is always nice to shake-up established franchises from time to time, a big problem with that is the fans that prefer what the IP was before it happened. This can be for any number of reasons (some debatably more valid than others), but in terms of games, a common one is the gameplay style. To me, an example of this was The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, and while I won't say it's a bad game, I'm personally not a fan of Open World Games like it, games that feel like giant sandboxes that try to have something resembling a story, but it's so easy to be sidetracked that you forget what the main plot was until it's over. While I don't believe Breath of the Wild is exactly like it, other games like the Elder Scrolls and Fallout games, a lot of Ubisoft's generic open-world games, and other games in that vein do fall into that category. Games like that feel like they don't have a clear focus, at least to me.

So, when the next Zelda game that was revealed turned out to be more traditional, thanks to it being a remake of an older game, I was excited, especially as I'd never played the original Link's Awakening. However, one big question was hanging over it and continues to hang over it. "Is it worth the price tag?" It is, after all, a remake of a Game Boy game, a system not known for its large games. Without going further, the easiest way to answer that would be "How much do you want a traditional Zelda game?"

Wednesday, 25 September 2019

Kim Possible; So the Drama: At least it's a streamlined plan compared to Xemo's

I hate writer's block...

In an attempt to get back onto a consistent release schedule before the busy period of the year comes up, I'll be skipping the show this is based on, and tackle one of the movies. Due to the popularity of the show (one of the better "teenage girl double life" stories on the Disney Channel from what I've personally seen and experienced), multiple movies were made for Kim Possible, a show focused on the title character who fight's supervillains with combat skills gained from cheerleading, along with a handful of secret gadgets, with a rogues gallery including an evil scientist, a rich old man and his son, a half-human, half-monkey that has an army of ninja monkeys, a golfer, certainly a... interesting rogues gallery to say the least, and that's not including the standard "High school students are a b*!&$" members of it. A good way to tell though what you're getting into when it comes to these kinds of shows though is to look at the movies, which tend to blow up the positives and the negatives. So, welcome to Kim Possible: So the Drama. Be grateful this isn't that live-action movie, do not even bother asking because you have to actively convince me that a live-action Disney Channel movie is good.

Sunday, 8 September 2019

Fillmore!: Seriously, what doesn't this school have?

Well, aside from an interesting name. X? Really?

With Disney Plus on the looming horizon, I cannot help but wonder how big the back catalogue of content will be on the site. What gets to be there? What gets cut? Will the "Disney Vault" be opened completely, all the old content released? Or will some things be destined to never be seen again? Well, it is probably safe to say we will never see Song of the South again, but in terms of their shows, that is a tricky one. As with their animated movies, many of Disney's animated shows are still held up with a lot of praise, to the point where many view the live action reimagining’s they have been doing as a disservice to the original shows. Need I say more than that Kim Possible movie they recently aired? After the announcement that Ducktales 2017 is going to become the home of the Disney Afternoon reboots, I figured I would look into some of the animated shows of theirs I grew up with, back when Disney Channel was doing something other than setting up Tween pop-stars for a life of disaster. I've got one planned that has a larger fan base, but for now I want to tackle something more niece, back when a show could star a black guy and a girl and not be called SJW Propaganda. This is Fillmore! (Yes, the exclamation point is in the title, will not be using it for the rest of this review though).

Wednesday, 14 August 2019

Opinion Piece: Microtransactions

It should come as no surprise to anyone that I have issues with the way monetization is happening in the large-scale games industry now. I am completely on the side against micro-transactions and loot-boxes in games. I may tolerate them in free to play games, and I will not deny the fact that I have spent money on some of these free to play games, but I despise them in games you do have to pay for. I had a personal policy of never buying a game that had either of these practices in them. I would actively avoid them regardless of how good the base game might have been because to me, once you put a monetary value on the game, ask players to pay for a game in order to play it, that should be it. I am happy to look the other way when it comes to post launch content. I have no issue paying for DLC if I personally feel the DLC is worth the price (you will have to do a lot to convince me a single map should be worth $10 for example). Nevertheless, there is a difference when it comes to micro-transactions. Because it's not paying a few dollars for more content, it's paying a few bucks for in game coins to help you get in game content, be it a up front charge as a way of avoiding grinding in the game, or a loot-box, where you're paying for the chance to get the thing you actually want. Either way, it is never "one and done". Crash Team Racing: Nitro Fuelled though has broken this rule, not because of choice, but because of a new practice that Activision started doing relatively recently, post launch micro-transactions. So with that, allow me a moment of your time to rip these mechanics and implementations a new one.

Wednesday, 17 July 2019

Persona Q2; New Cinema Labyrinth:What did I get myself into?

Cats turning into busses, bear suits where the suit came before the guy, dogs with machetes, and demanding kids accept their maturity by shooting themselves to summon powerful ghost-like things... Seriously, what did I get myself into?

While I won't deny for a moment that one of the main reasons I looked closer into Persona was the inclusion of Joker into Super Smash Brothers Ultimate, Persona has been a series on my radar for many years now. I'll always at least consider something my friends recommend me, give it a shot when I can, and if it's not for me, I let it be. Couldn't really do that for Persona until relatively recently, and when I could, I didn't really have the drive to look into it, as word of mouth on the... shall we say, character design, Atlus use often didn't leave a good impression from an outsiders perspective, and the only game of theirs I've seen in action was Catherine, via a commentary channel I follow on youtube. Game music though is an easy way to get my attention, and with Joker's inclusion, came the songs used for his stage, Mementos. Wake up, Get up, Get out there, Rivers in the Desert and Last Surprise from Persona 5, along with Mass Destruction from Persona 3, made me want to actively look into Persona. With Persona 5 Royal coming out next year on PS4 (hopefully), I figured a good place to start for now was Q2 on the 3DS, mostly because I could still find it on shelves.

As FalselyProfound ( can attest to, as she thankfully helped explain a lot of things going on), jumping into a crossover game that expects you to know who everyone is was probably not a good place to start when all you have is an absolute basic understanding of what's going on.

So, the story. Through many twisted events, the Phantom Thieves from Persona 5, the Investigation Team from Persona 4, and the Specialized Extracurricular Execution Squad (S.E.E.S) from Persona 3 (along with the female protagonist from Persona 3 Portable), and their corresponding Velvet Room associates (trust me, it's better to just look all of this up yourself, like I said, I went into this with a basic knowledge of the games) end up inside of a locked cinema, with the ability to jump into special movies, three of which relating to the three team. One movie is a superhero movie where the first major boss of Persona 5 is basically evil Superman, another is a parody of sorts of Jurassic Park where one of the dinosaurs has the head of one of the characters from Persona 4, the third is a sci-fi movie relating to the robot companion the S.E.E.S team has, and the forth is a fairy tale musical movie relating to one of the new characters in the game, Hikari. Inside the movies, the Persona users have the power to change the plot, change how the story goes, and choose to do so in order to correct the harsh story threads within the movie and to rescue their friends who are trapped inside.

While a basic story, the story itself is drawn out a lot due to how much dialogue there is in this game, and unfortunately for many, none of the English voice actors reprise their roles for this game, all Japanese voice acting, with English text. When you consider how many characters there are, it means that there are large chunks of the game that are just cutscenes. While this is faithful to what I've seen of Persona, and the interactions are interesting, I don't think this suits a handheld system very well, as it's not a very good "pick up and play" game, and I think it will suffer in repeat playthroughs when you know the plot twists that are coming. As tired of a statement as this may sound, I think this would have been better suited for the Nintendo Switch instead of the 3DS for this very reason. Many players prefer to play this type of game on a home console, and at least there, you have the option to play this type of game in either form. Personally, I prefer RPG's on handhelds, but even that didn't help me feel at times "Ok, I get it, gotta stop him, can I get back to the gameplay now?"

In regards to the gameplay itself, it's solid for what it is, but it still has a few pacing issues. The game is a dungeon crawler where you have to explore these labyrinths floor by floor, taking out random enemy spawns along the way to level up your characters. Many of the pacing issues come from your inventory, and the sub-bosses you can find in dungeons. Your inventory is limited to 60 items, not counting equipped weapons and gear. Chests and enemy spawns are bountiful, so you'll often be using the "Goho-M" item (an item the game will harass you for if you don't have one in your bag), to teleport back to the central cinema to dump items and heal. I honestly didn't carry dedicated healing items in my bag until I came up to the main bosses of dungeons, I needed the inventory space. The annoying gimmick of the game though is the map creation, how the game uses the touch screen. It's not frustrating to use, but it becomes tedious after a while, and aggravating due to the game tracks how much of the map you've walked across, rather than how much of the map you've drawn. So when you have squares that have powerful enemies on them, and you can't get to them without potentially dying from them depending on where you are in the game, it becomes frustrating to complete the map and open up the special golden chests (though thankfully play coins are an option).

Combat is lifted directly from the Persona games, with an (at most) 5v5 turn-based battle system. Each character can have two Personas on them to assist with covering weaknesses, as it is on you to discover the weaknesses of every single enemy you fight. If you can get a critical hit or use a move that is weak to the enemies you're fighting, you have the chance to use an All-Out Attack, a powerful move that will increase money and experience if you use it to finish the fight. Characters can also randomly get assistance from other members of your party (though to change the main members out, you do have to go back to the cinema), either as a single attack that can lead to an All-Out Attack, or a unlockable Unison attack, where two characters work together to damage your opponents. Some combinations are characters like Chie from Persona 4 and Ann from Persona 5, along with the main protagonists from Persona 4 and 5 (both of which are relatively early unlockables when the mechanic is introduced).

The combat animations are nicely done, and even though you'll be fighting a lot of enemies, especially when you need to do pre-boss level grinding, what helps keep the fights from not feeling mindnumbing is the soundtrack. From reused and remixed versions of songs from Persona 3, 4 and 5, to the original battle themes, with the themes appearing depending on who's in your party. If you have at least one character from Persona 3, you'll get a chance at having Pull the Trigger play, Remember, we've got your back will start to show up if you have someone from Persona 4, and Wait and see for Persona 5's battle music (the weakest one for me personally). The dungeon exploration themes are ok as well, but they go for more atmospheric compared to the battle themes. The art direction is also very nicely done, all the models are expressive, and the animated cutscenes use the simpler art style (compared to the core games) to have some extremely lively moments, even when nothing much is happening on the screen. It's nothing spectacular, but it's fitting of the hardware and one that I'd like to see used in an HD environment.

Though it has problems, it's still a fun game and worth picking up if you really like those wordy RPGs. Would I recommend it if you, like me, barely know a thing about Persona?... Kinda? It's clearly made more for fans, but at the same time, the insanity of coming into this experience blind was entertaining in its own way. There's a genuine sincerity to the insanity of the situations that you kinda grow numb to it. "Of course the dog can use machetes and summons Cerberus as it's Persona. Of course, there's a side mission where these two normally serious characters have to compete in a fishing competition, in the middle of "Not Jurassic Park" (I think the level was called Junessic Land). Of course one of the answers you can give when asked "why did the gym teacher turned evil Superman turn into a giant rabbit with carrot shaped guns" is "he's h!)$%y". Of course there's an entire musical themed movie all about giving up individualism for the sake of being normal, complete with an animated movie intro with a fully choreographed song and dance number. I expect nothing less at this point! This is a niche title, not going to deny it, it expects a lot of patience out of you. but if you're willing to give it, you'll be in for an interesting ride.

Wednesday, 10 July 2019

Super Mario Maker 2: When the be all end all 2D Mario game turns out to not be the be all end all 2D Mario game

Apologies for the random week-long absence. The Tech Games Fest 2019 took more out of me then I thought it would, and the planned review, Persona Q2, needs a bit more work before it's ready. In the meantime though, there is a quick thing that could get it's time in the spotlight, and one that did get a good amount of play at TGF (though not while attendees were around), Super Mario Maker 2, the switch release of Super Mario Maker with more building tools, along with other new features (for better or for worse).