Friday, March 21, 2014

Another anime post

I have been playing some stuff, but nothing that I feel needs a writeup.  Except maybe Muramasa.

Hawken; Got back into this recently, perhaps as a result of playing Titanfall.  I’m pretty bad at it, but I think part of the reason why is because I’m still not sure which mech is right for me.  I’ve been using the Brawler a lot, which has a comparatively high amount of armor, but is also pretty slow.  I get out-maneuvered a lot in it.  They’ve added a co-op horde mode sine I last played, which is kind of fun but also kind of boring.  It’s not the sort of game I would write a review for.

Final Fantasy IV; I enjoyed FF4 when I first played it on DS many years ago, and always wanted to get back to it.  With a Vita in hand, I was finally able to with FF4 Complete.  I’m enjoying my time with it, but I’m not far enough in to write anything meaningful about it.  The random encounters can be a bit much, though.

Guild Wars 2; I really anticipated Guild Wars 2 when it first came out, but soon dropped out of it like I do with most MMOs.  Realistically speaking, I will probably drop out of GW2 again at some point or another, but I do feel like I’m finally starting to get some footing in the world.  I did learn firsthand that World vs World can be a real downer if you don’t have buddies to play it with.  I also have a small inkling that as far as MMOs go GW2’s endgame is lacking.  But considering I don’t have a single character at level 80 yet that’s not something that need concern me.

Muramasa; I’m surprised by how much I’ve been enjoying this game.  I didn’t really know what to expect going in, except it would maybe play like Dragon’s Crown or Odin Sphere.  It kinda does, but I actually think Muramasa plays better than both of those games.  It’s faster and more responsive, and every battle feels like a dance with death on Chaos.  My only issue is that I think it can be kind of…repetitive?  It’s structured like a Metroid game, but doesn’t really have the same robustness.  Woah, maybe I’m onto something for a review.

Super Metroid; I’ve been really curious about Super Metroid after playing the Prime games.  I had never played it before, but people speak of it like Kirby Super Star and A Link to the Past in the sense that it came from a time when Nintendo was at the top of their game.  It’s a really cool game, and especially for the era it was made in it’s surprisingly robust.  The amount of upgrades and stuff you can do and get in Super Metroid makes all of the Prime games combined seem trite in comparison.  My only problem is that the game is absurdly obtuse at times.  You often run into instances where there are blocks in the environment that can be destroyed (revealing the path forward or a powerup), but there’s no discernible way to know that because the textures on a destructible block are no different from the textures on a regular block, and even more than in the Prime games, what weapons can destroy what things is completely arbitrary and can only be discovered through experimentation.  I can’t imagine what it would be like to play this game as a kid with no guide.  Also the grapple beam is kinda not done well, but that’s a nitpick.

Ace Combat: Assault Horizon Legacy; This is fun and mostly feels like a straight up classic Ace Combat game in the vein of the PS2 trilogy.  Probably because it IS a classic AC game, being a loose remake of AC2.  It’s even better in some ways; you can choose whether or not to have a wingman, and you can upgrade and customize your planes’ performance.  There are some design quirks that did rub off on it from Assault Horizon, though.  Maybe I’ll leave that for a full post.

Titanfall; What can I say?  It’s the first FPS I’ve really been able to get into since Unreal Tournament 3.  I’m having a great time with it.  It also hosts some of the most fun I’ve had playing CTF in a good while.

These days I spend about as much time playing anime as I do playing videogames.  But while I’m okay writing and scoring games, I don't generally feel up to the task of reviewing anime.  So I just chat about it instead.

Recently, I finally put a cap on Minami-ke.  With four seasons totaling around 50 cumulative episodes, it’s been a pretty long road, especially for what is essentially a simple slice of life show.  It’s a good show that’s clearly had its ups and downs over the years.  Tadaima, the show’s fourth season, managed to put all that to rest and come out as the best the show has to offer.  Minami-ke doesn’t have enough of a plot thread for me to recommend starting all the way from the beginning and working your way up to Tadaima like I did, but having done so I felt like I had come a long way with these characters.  Though each episode is mostly self-contained, characters’ relationships and interactions slowly develop and morph over time, and by the end the cast felt like some kind of huge family (except for Housaka, who manages to miss the beat every single time).

I also watched A Certain Scientific Railgun S, which kind of dampened my interest in the franchise.  I’ve never really had much patience for the world of Index.  I think it’s a huge mess that’s not really worth my time.  I enjoyed the first season of Railgun not only because it did an excellent job separating itself from Index and its trifles, but because it featured a better and more entertaining cast of protagonists.  Uiharu and Saten are neither here nor there, but Kuroko is worth several Indexes and I would take Mikoto over Touma any day of the week.  Railgun S messed with the previous season’s winning formula by doing away with a lot of the central character interaction in favor of a long and drawn out arc that intersects directly with Index.  This hurt the show in a number of ways.  Most importantly it brought it closer to Index, which damaged Railgun’s own sense of identity, but it also revealed to me that Mikoto’s simply not a good enough character to carry the show on her own.  It makes a decent comeback toward the end once the Sisters arc concludes, but by then it felt like the damage had already been done.

On a whim, I decided to give Buddy Complex a shot.  I don’t generally watch ongoings, because I prefer to watch shows at my own pace, but I burned through Majestic Prince (which by the way is perhaps the most fun I’ve had watching anime in a long time) so quickly that needed a quick alternative.  Buddy Complex starts a bit slow, but I’m surprised by how engaging I find it.  It doesn’t feel like anything particularly fresh, but it’s fun to watch and the cast is generally good.  The only issue is that I feel like the show is paced like they have 20+ episodes to burn, when I was under the impression it was only going to be 12-13.  However, this being a mecha show from Sunrise it’s not only possible but perhaps likely that it will get a second season, and in truth at this point the show’s ultimate length seems to be up in the air.

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