Add Blog

AironicallyHuman's Blog

September 26th, 2015
Anime Relations: Koukaku Kidoutai


The Phantom Pain or The Phantom Game?

Better described as 'Peacewalker 2', rather than a main series entry, the titular pain comes in the form of grinding gameplay gears. The end result will leave fans divided. Those blinded by nostalgia over the short-but-sweet cinematic stealth of old will be left unsatisfied. In contrast, those in lust with the apparent modern gaming necessity of open-world busywork and games designed to last, above all else, will be pleased. As for myself, I just feel that if not for Kojima's name and the circus surrounding it (REALLY) being his last attached - as well as wolf-dog enthusiasts - MGSV would have received more criticism. Either that or Quiet's... err, totally believable photosynthesis need to only wear a bikini and thong (as well as rolling in water as if in softcore porn, once) has a lot to answer for! Seven points from 'critic' perfection it most certainly is not.

Metal Gear Solid V ends where it begins, in a manner which made me want to end myself after 50+ hours of frowning persistence. So, I shall begin bluntly with the end, which is best described as an insult to my remaining sanity. Only in this series could an entry with gameplay emphasis take an already convoluted over-arching narrative and make it TRULY nonsensical by - worded vaguely - hypnosis rendering cloning redundant. Revolver Ocelot seeming to abruptly transition from intense triple agent rivalry to a... ret-con'd subordinate wolf-dog trainer was bad enough! But, perhaps more irksome, the game ended CLEARLY unfinished, with plot threads left forever hanging and a COMPLETE REPEAT OF THE PROLOGUE; crawling and all for a 'final mission'. Only missions #43 & #45 (which STILL hit players with a sucker punch: DO NOT DO #43 UNTIL FINISHING GAME! I lost hours reverting to a Cloud save) salvaged the game's half-arsed finale. Mission 45's optional 'Last Stand at the Alamo' ended Quiet's subplot better than mission 46 'ended'... anything. It almost made me wish the game was built around Quiet entirely. But, regardless: expect to be kicked in the teeth rather than rewarded.



Bittersweet irony leaves me conflicted; a 'phantom pain', if I were to imitate Kojima. MGS4 made me fear watching more than playing, and MGSV's gameplay emphasis swayed me. The lesson here is to be VERY careful what you wish for since quantity was valued over quality. More for the sake of more, yet far less than was desired. Rather than a sequel, it is the antithesis of the series: prisoner extract / kill target repetition, located within an empty, samey and pointless open-world. It COULD last longer than MGS1-3 together, yet to achieve this it sacrifices narrative immersion for busywork addictiveness.
What baffles me is that MGSV is a direct sequel to a PSP spin-off disguised as a main series entry. MGSV bizarrely adopted Peacewalker's 'PSP limitations' mission-based structure where you get a 'Mother Base' hub in need of expansion, pick either main missions or 'side ops', select equipment and deploy. Ballooning goons to enslave them (a novelty that wears thin after 100-1000 times); grinding for supplies; the re-usage of graphical assets... THE SAME. Wonderfully optimised, smooth visuals and an indistinct open-world that fools me not with its illusion of freedom are the main differences. Pokemon inspired Kojima when working on Peacewalker, and MGSV is structured more like a stealth RPG. Perhaps it was created as an apology for the self-indulgent, unbalanced narrative end that was MGS4, or perhaps Kojima's ego made him want to prove that he creates games rather than games that want to be movies?...

A selling point for many was MGSV's open-world "accessibility". The flip-side of this coin is 'Big Boss' stubbournly refusing to sodding talk. 'Immersive' indifference: relatable but uninteresting. Visualise a third-person Far Cry 3/4... where animals exist for no real reason. This is worsened by the minimilistic 'WHO CARES?' presentation. And since everyone that does talk is an arse (/Miller) and/or pseudo-intellectual arse (/SkullMan), ONLY the wolf-dog (wolf-dog's generally do not talk, thankfully) and aptly named 'Quiet' are worth caring for. Quiet being as talkative as her name suggests results in a strangely intimate bond with Boss; making the silence have a poignant edge.
Unfortunately - even though the story was largely inconsequential - this silent subtlety is later negated by THE WORST of Kojima's writing, with little characterisation to ground it. The first warning sign was earphones being forced into throats, involving parasites and a tribal Indian. But I was not prepared for the parody-esque villain rambling, which both I and Big Boss endured during a never-ending jeep ride in silence. Far be it from me to spoil, but it must be shared: "I shall eradicate language. I blame my traumatic childhood on language. ZERO! Then, with language gone, I shall create true peace via nukes. REVENGE!" - The "WHHHOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO?" part in particular was cringe. Such grandiose pretentious waffling: simplistic or absurd? Maybe it was a blessing in disguise plot details were ignored... until the end. Just to get SOME understanding, listening to 1-10min codec conversations disguised as cassette tapes is vital. FUN.



Following a ONE HOUR cinematic intro broken up by occasional crawling, players are let loose into Afganastan. Unsurprisingly, it is very brown and mountainous. Later Afrika is added, but add some green to the brown and you have another indistinct, barren landscape. The open-world increases tactical options (i.e kill target en route to base), but sneaking with your trusty tranquilizer handgun / game-breaking sniper is always option #1. It is just, now you can use a tank, if need be. STEALTH! Near identical guard-posts are everywhere. And there is little point taking them over since, if you do, new guards appear. I quickly learned to ride around them; being careful to stay out of the guard's now 20/20 vision. Long gone are the days of cone-vision. This realism is not a negative, but it limits stealth to night unless you are masochistic. The A.I. does adapt to your playstyle with night-vision googles and the like, though--a nice touch. The hyper-alert A.I. do initially seem challenging, but the guards are NOT smart: shoot one > another goes to check > shoot him > REPEAT.
The 'difficulty' is offset by the best and most enjoyable aspect of the game: the 'buddy system'. A horse, wolf-dog, Tit Sniper or robot can go with you on missions. The wolf-dog automatically marks nearby enemies; making stealth a breeze. Tit Sniper takes out entire bases on her own, if positioned right. And the robot destroys even tanks in seconds with its gatling gun. Even without a buddy, though, getting S-rank scores is often laughably easy since the grading is FAR too lenient. You only lose 5000p for check-pointing and 5000p for using reflex mode (bullet time) as many times as you like, and you are graded based on speed above all else. I suck at stealth yet got S-ranks on many first tries. Once for going Rambo with a grenade launcher!

What is TRULY frustrating about MGSV is NOT how it plays. In fact, the button-mapping and controls have a free-running fluidity older MGS titles lacked; ropey auto-cover mechanics and awkward-suicidal jumping aside. The problem is the way MGSV is structured. You HAVE TO do irrelevant rescue / assassination busywork missions in order to unlock an occasional mission relevant to the story after every 5-10 or so, where you will maybe get a glimpse of the villains and/or a Zone of Enders Metal Gear. Worse yet, near the end main missions become EXTREME ARSEACHE repeats of earlier missions: 14/50 main missions being hard mode replays. And I had to do one to unlock a story mission. It just screamed padding. There is just nowhere near enough effort put in to distinguish main missions from optional ones. They are usually just longer, with occasional 'Parasite Unit' appearances: the villain's overpowered supernatural hit squad. And the best part is, the game either expects or allows you to just run from them most of the time.
There are NO showdowns with entertainingly cartoonish super-villains here, or trademark MGS boss fights at all bar the inevitable Metal Gear showdown, which was made decidedly less epic by being charged money for ammo mid-battle and only a single helicopter from your small army as support. In the only two parts before then that could be described as a boss fight, the game has you hide behind rocks (seriously) in one and stun the other with water (no 'FireMan' boss battle here, folks), then get on a helicopter to flee. The Metal Gear battle was the first and only time a boss health bar was visible in the game, and that is kinda depressing. Especially after how FireMan was built up during the prologue.



The mini-mission structure is paired with RPG-esque grinding. Want new weapons? Well, you better be prepared to spend millions unlocking various guns in each category that share very similar stats, just to unlock other guns. The joy of backtracking to the armoury with keycards to find new equipment is very much dead here. You even have to wait up to an hour (much longer for base development) in real-world time for equipment to be developed! But before that, you need Mother Base's R&D staff to be a high enough level, as well as other departments, and perhaps a weapon specialist on your staff. BUT BEFORE THAT, your base needs to be expanded so each department has enough staff, and for that you need both money and materials. Simple right?... WRONG. Mother Base first needs to process materials after you find them, and it does so every 30-60 minutes. At the end of the game, I received 2500 of most materials. For the final base upgrades, you need 48000 x2. The math is not pretty.
To be honest, improving my base and unlocking new gear DID become rewarding the longer I played. Especially end-game when I could sell resources for millions at a time and S-ranked goons could be ballooned. Being able to customise my weapons added to the fun. But the amount of worthless, overpriced equipment reliant on grinding just served to emphasis everything wrong with the game. Take outfits, for example: you can buy various colours to blend in with the environment, but at the start you get a sneaking suit for stealth and battle armour of tanking. 99% of players only used these two outfits, yet no doubt they also got the other outfits to work towards getting the 300 item trophy. Adding to the grind are dispatch missions for money and materials, where you send your staff on stat-only missions... which take up to THREE HOURS real time!

And this brings me to online play: infiltrations. One of the changes from Peacewalker is that you can explore Mother Base rather than it just being a menu. But unless you like empty metallic mazes and NEVER-ENDING connecting bridge driving, it is worthless... UNTIL online play. The way it works is the game eventually forces you to build a 'Forward Operating Base', which is a second Mother Base other players can invade; even when offline. Every self-respecting grinder should at least build a FOB because doing so adds +30 max staff to every base department; even if you play offline. Think Dark Souls but with the invader attempting to steal, rather than kill. The system is 110% unbalanced against the invader since the base owner is auto-alerted if online and gets unlimited 40sec revive lives, where as the invader only has one life and an army of A.I. against. BUT, if you target a base with only one or two platforms (to win, you have to reach the final platform out of a max of four), poor defenses and the owner is offline, you can balloon all their material containers and kill/balloon their staff. It is a rewarding form of trolling which I did enjoy before the flaws became problematic. The player you invade can return the favour if you are detected, but once you have multiple platforms and armoured staff they have little to no chance. I did briefly get hooked invading, and with a few balancing tweaks, it should remain an enjoyable distraction. A reason for continuing to grind post-game, perhaps.



All in all, depending entirely on what you want and expect, MGSV is a good game with a lot to do. But beyond that?... Neither as memorable as MGS1&3 or as controversial as MGS2, it will be played and forgotten by many.
Eventually I was worn down by what became something of an addictive chore. Initially fun and rewarding, but repetition takes its toll. By the time I had seen that damned pre-mission, unskippable helicopter 'HIDEO KOJIMA DID EVERYTHING' faux-end credits intro for the 100th time, atmospheric immersion gave way to tedium. In MGS1-3 there was repetition in the form of backtracking but it was always a means to an end; whether to reach a new area or to find new equipment. MGSV had no such needs, yet the lack of mini-mission variety and indistinct open-world, when paired with a lack of narrative driving force, left it as a gear that just kept spinning, pointlessly. For me, MGS3 found the perfect balance between gameplay and an engrossing Big Boss origin arc, where as MGSV takes the 'The End' sniper duel from MGS3 and makes that the whole game, with some base building on the side and 'Big Boss' barely saying a word. Ultimately, the series ends with an inexplicable whimper even fan-fiction could best, and the open-world is yet another example of appealing to modern gamers with empty space. Not bad; just very disappointing.

Final Score:
6.5/10




PS: I never experienced any noticeable frame-rate drops and the game was mostly polished. BUT, one bug I did experience prevented me from leaving Mother Base. The screen just went blank after taking off. No clue what triggered it but others have had the issue and it can be remedied by leaving from certain platforms. For one horrible moment, I thought the game was borked. The only other 'bug' I experienced is when attempting to navigate the iDroid's horribly cluttered interface: it tends to load slowly when connected online.

PS2: Annoyingly, you can not fast travel via your helicopter in the open-world: you have to go back to your helicopter 'mini-base' then re-deploy. Fast travel does in fact exist outside of the cargo drop-off points located at Mother Base (via cardboard boxes, naturally), but I only discovered they existed in the open-world late on due to A) mostly doing missions at night and B) the small drop-off points not being highlighted on the map. Good luck finding them!
Posted by AironicallyHuman | Sep 26, 2015 6:13 PM | 1 comments
Grand Theft Auto V Review:
The Same Old GTA.... Just Superficially Different & More Flawed. Also: Money, Where?



The disappointment I now feel, having completed GTAV, was not what I expected to be feeling after being overwhelmed on my first day playing it. The moment I realised I could play full-on, completely optional tennis was a genuine 'WOW' moment where it hit me just how big the game is. And the the narrative being broken up between three characters - suggesting a more focused story than in past 'do jobs for random people/initial letters on map' GTA games - helped immerse me completely. But then it hit me: it's big yet an ultimately hollow experience where you get no rewards for your effort (yoga QTE...) and the vast majority of the side content just isn't fun. At all. The best example of the emptiness of it all is that you still cannot enter 99% of buildings, even in the 50GB+ PS4 version, leaving the world as a lifeless collection of tall buildings. And Rockstar's point black refusal to shift the gameplay of past GTA's to match GTAV's three-way story and heist focus meant the failings of the series' structure were highlighted, rather than being corrected.

Let me start with the most bothersome of GTAV's issues: money. In past GTA games, you began as nobody but then, slowly but surely, got more money from doing odd jobs for eccentric characters until becoming a rich career criminal. In GTAV, in spite of the entirely superficial changes mentioned above, you STILL spend all of the game doing missions for random individuals. The key difference is this: you get no money for doing missions in GTAV. NONE. You see, GTAV instead relied on 2-3 heist jobs (out of roughly 110+, including optional ones) that each give you a substantial amount of money. But, even so, it's nowhere near enough to buy anything other than weapons and a few of the less expensive properties until AFTER beating the game. So, basically, you do missions with no reward other than advancing the game, and only after beating the game (where you'll spend an hour buying everything, pointlessly, then either quit or play online) you get enough money to freely spend. The stupidity of this just blows my mind. And, worse yet, it seems like Rockstar nerfed the money given by side-activities, such as racing, so that you only get a few $100-1000 for winning--MAX. Then we come to buying properties: if you spend $100,000's buying a property, you get anywhere from $500-10,000 PER IN-GAME WEEK. Which is to say, you won't even get what you paid back by the end of the game. Only 2/15 unlock side-activities, only 1/15 gives you a real profit via side-activities, and if you don't do tedious kill/drive mini-missions when phoned for the properties you own, you get ZERO for that week, with no way of increasing your profit. You cannot even enter most of the properties you buy. I'm genuinely baffled by Rockstar defying common sense here. It's not as if you can do random heist missions to make money, or rob stores (I only found 1-2 in 60 hours that I could rob since they don't appear on map) for more than $300, either. The only real way you can make money in GTAV is to wait until the game is over and do Franklin's assassination missions post-game so you can manipulate stock prices (entirely artificial: can only profit at set points). THAT'S IT.

Next, we come to the second most irksome issue: the story. A three-way narrative suggested that GTAV would present three different distinctive character arcs that would eventually become one. What actually happened was Franklin (one of the three) - unnaturally - going from 'the hood' to becoming a sort of subservient sidekick to a white, rich, self-centered, family failure of a DSPGaming lookalike (with the goatee) in the form of Michael right at the start. Basically, Franklin starts out as the best character, with his own arc, before getting absorbed into Michael's arc. Until Trevor was introduced, with the promise of something more given by his psychotic-destructive self, the story was purely a black comedy centered around Michael's mid-life criminal crisis. But, in the end, Trevor only served to emphasise how little story there is and how padded it was, despite him being an unforgettable / brilliant character. He's introduced whilst fueled by anger over the apparent betrayal of his best friend, Michael, yet almost instantly becomes yet another black comedy prop for Michael's life: the questions he wanted to ask not being asked for some 20-30 missions, for no reason. And when the truth is revealed, AGAIN the inevitable gets delayed... just 'cause. At one point, you go from working for the FBI one minute, then working for a rich businessman connected to the FBI... then working for a movie director connected to the businessman. Which is to say, the structure and randomness of the previous GTA games is retained, with the three-way premise just being for decoration. And that angered me. When you reach the end and find yourself killing off a cast of insignificant nobodies for a Hollywood conclusion (unless you go for one of the two short/tacked-on alternate endings that bastardise Franklin's characterisation), if you're like me, you'll be left utterly underwhelmed. Pacing and story have always been Rockstar's main openworld failing, and this is doubly/triply true in the case of GTAV. As a black comedy, GTAV succeeds. As a crime drama, it fails.



If there's one moment where it hit home that GTAV was a disappointment, it was when I'd just got the mini-sub and was sailing around the map at excruciatingly slow speeds in an attempt to find 30/30 items, having purchased the one property that was worth buying in terms of profit. There were dolphins and sharks swimming in the unnecessary but very welcome underwater part of the map. But after finding myself stuck on a beach one too many times (when underwater, following sonar beeps, it's hard to see and easy to get marooned) and having to spend a silly amount of time sailing back from the one respawn point the mini-sub can be used from, like with the game-world as a whole, it struck me as how huge but empty it was. If you hit any sea life, they instantly go stiff and sink to the bottom, and there's no way to hunt anything, or even any side-activities such as stopping others hunting. No: you just keep chugging along, hoping something happens or it ends. And that was GTAV in a nutshell, for me. Even when I found myself absorbed in a rare side-activity of value, such as hunting on land, it quickly became a kick in the teeth after I'd spend 30mins trying to find animals and get under $1000 for a gold medal of no significance whatsoever. There was always something to detract from my enjoyment.

Also, GTAV is a surprisingly buggy game. And I'm not talking about just small things here: at one point I pressed the PS button to message a friend. When I returned to the game, I was back at the start, doing the prologue robbery. Luckily the game hadn't auto-saved or else I would've lost some 20hrs of gameplay. Others have had this happened and had to start over. But my troubles didn't end there: ever since that happened, the game would keep asking me to re-calibrate my screen, as if I was playing for the first time, and when I started playing all my settings would be reverted to the default settings. So, I'd have to change my target reticule and turn on subtitles. EVERY TIME. Worse yet, cars I'd spent $10,000's on and stored in my garages would vanish, then be back again the next time I played... then vanish completely. Hairstyles and facial hair would be there in one part of a scene, then not the next, or just revert to default after a scene. Vehicles, such as that damned drill, would get stuck on nothing and require restarting the mission. Just tapping characters with my car by accident would mean missions being failed. The list goes on. I don't know if the settings/garage issue is PS4-only, but many other people in forum threads have reported the same problems. Either way: it's shocking such a big title, when re-released, has these issues. And that's saying nothing of other sandbox games where you can just use your phone to select vehicles you want to keep, or request they be delivered to you. GTAV expects you to drive to and from garages, or just order taxis everywhere. So outdated and easily corrected with effort.

And Rockstar provided one additional kick in the teeth in the form of trophies. Now, I know: trophies/achievements do not make or break a good game. But they're important to this generation of gamers and offer an incentive for replay value. There are two striking things about GTAV's trophies: the first is how few players bothered playing beyond the start. There were drastic drops between each story-related trophy, and by the end something like only 13% finished what is supposed to one of the greatest games ever made, which is a bit... odd. The second is that the BRONZE trophies for optional content had percentages as low as 0.9%. Having spent time getting as many trophies as I could, I ended with something like 24 bronzes and 3 silvers. Considering GTAV is a 30-60+ hour game, rivaling JRPGs in length, it just added to the unrewarding / pointless vibe the no-money-for-missions game itself gave off. I will never understand why games make every damned trophy a bronze; even for skill/effort/time requiring things. Bronze trophies should be for easy or unmissable things: not almost everything. GTAV was so stingy in terms of trophies I had to sleep 40 times in a row and run for FIVE MILES to get an optional silver. Other than that, you practically have to 100% the game - finding 100 unmarked collectibles for more bronzes - and/or play online.

The saddest thing about this is I don't hate GTAV. It's a good, entertaining sandbox game. The characterisation (aside from Franklin existing solely for an endgame choice) and dialogue are mostly outstanding; often making the cut-scenes worth enduring everything else for. Many of the optional freak missions are also fun, albeit short. But the flaws are so numerous and irritating that, by the end, I was playing it just to validate paying £40 for a re-release of a PS3 game... which, by the way, though obviously looking sharper and running better is far from 'next-gen'. Rockstar did some things right, such as adding skills (such as downgraded bullet-time from Max Payne) for each character to add individuality, yet they took so many obvious missteps it's hard for me to praise the game. The best I can say is that I love Trevor's psychotic self and the series has come a long way from GTA3's silent protagonist. The worst? That Rockstar were too cowardly to stray from their established formula, even with multiple characters and an almost non-existent heist focus leading the way. Let me put it this way: I enjoy going to GTAV's lap-dancing club as much as the next guy... it's just, I want something more to remember it by than a picture. And that's GTAV, in a nutshell: enjoyable but unmemorable. A jack of all trades but a master of none. Instead of terribly designed, needless parts such as drill-stealing stealth missions, more attention should've been put into perfecting what GTA is best at. The problem is, I don't think even Rockstar know what that is, anymore... though online play limited to 30-players max, chucked into the single-player world with added unimaginative competitive modes sure as hell ain't it.

Final Score:
6-6.5/10


-------------

inFAMOUS: Second Son Review:
The Best / Shortest InFAMOUS. Makes Superpowers FUN. Also: Story, Where?



Without any hesitation, even when taking into consideration the SHORT length, I can say that this is the best of the three main InFAMOUS games. When playing the first two, I often felt like I was forcing myself to play them, just because they were PS3 exclusives. But Second Son, whilst not quite being a system seller, is worth playing on its own merits--if only because it makes using superpowers SO MUCH fun, with added power variety that its prequels totally lacked. When creating the original InFAMOUS, Sucker Punch tried so hard to escape the cute talking animals of Sly Cooper that they were known for that they drained all life, colour and personality from it: forcing you to play as a balding Neo-Nazi lookalike called Cole, complete with a Batman-esque 'badarse' voice. It's saying a lot that the most/only likable character in those games was a fat, jealous and traitorous sidekick. In contrast, Second Son's lead (Delsin) has a naturally sarcastic sense of humour and something the previous lead lacked: likability. This is true for the supporting cast, as well; especially the lead's serious-yet-funny older brother. What's more, gone is the trying too hard dull/dreary colour palette of old: Seattle is - visually - very bright and lifelike, yet not overly so. Clearly, Sucker Punch learned from many of their previous mistakes. But, sadly, Second Son is held back by Sucker Punch seemingly having been content creating a short-lived spin-off that demonstrates the PS4's graphics with its jaw-dropping cut-scenes, as a opposed to creating a truly great game that was meant to last and be continued.

Firstly, the superpowers. The PS3 InFAMOUS games made me feel underpowered: limited to one power and having to climb and grind on rails in order to get from A-to-B. Traversing the lifeless world was a chore. In Second Son the reverse is true. In addition to three (one only unlocks during the final boss battle, though) other unique powers, Cole's electricity power returns in the hands of Delsin. But not as it once was. Now, you can hold a button and run up walls and dash around at light-speed. And that's got nothing on the 'video' power, which allows Delsin to glide with wings from building top to building top, aided by satellite dishes that boost Delsin high into the air. With the ability to either run up walls and/or fly, I didn't even need to use fast-travel: it was so easy and fun to get around, so why bother? In terms of combat, having so many powers at my disposal was a major plus. The way it works is, depending on whether you drain smoke, electricity or video energy, those are the skills you are limited to at any one time. Each power is is similar in the sense that L2 aims, R2 fires a basic long range attack, R1 fires a special and L1 uses an easy takedown skill. But, for example, if you press L1 when using video power, you become invisible and can do a melee stealth takedown on a single enemy. If you press L1 with smoke power, you make a group of enemies cough and can do melee takedowns in the confusion. Likewise, electricity's R1 special is good for taking out single targets, whilst smoke's equivalent is best targeted at groups. This on-the-fly need to change skills depending on the circumstances adds depth the prequels never had, where you'd either just use electricity or melee.

Where Second Son runs into problems is with its underdeveloped narrative and limited characterisation. Ironically, where as in the prequels too much time was spent on unlikable characters, too little was spent on likable characters here. If you ignore the typically extensive amount of blast shards/side content (which, I'm happy to report, are less of a chore than the busywork of old, with new tasks such as motion-controlled graffiti art), the game can easily be beaten in around 5-10hrs, and that's only because you can't skip the cut-scenes... which isn't a huge negative considering the facial animation is probably the best I've seen to date and the voice acting talent includes some of the best around, such as Troy Baker and Laura Bailey. You see, the game flows like this: smoke power prologue/tutorial > find character (Fetch; electricity power) > find character (video power) > smoke power revisited > final battle. THAT'S IT. It's all so rushed that, by the time you get to know a character they serve no purpose and get little to no time; as if they're only there for cameo roles so that prequels such as First Light could be made. What made this especially disappointing was that Fetch had the potential to develop as a love interest... but, instead, either hints at her feelings in a 'good' path scene or randomly demands sex in the 'evil' equivalent scene. The villain(ess) has an intimidating aura that initially impressed me, yet she's underused and, at the end, reveals that - like practically every villain not left as evil in badly written fiction - she's really just trying to save people by doing nasty things to them them in what can only be described as a WHATEVER late twist. But the greatest tragedy in all this is Delsin's brother, Reggie. He jumps from caring brother to anti-superpower discrimination on the fly. There was a great character arc for him that was ruined by the pacing, and the emotional weight a dramatic late scene was meant to carry missed the mark completely; the pacing also making Delsin seem strangely indifferent. What it all comes down to is a potentially excellent new InFAMOUS series turning out to be a limited in scope spin-off.



And this leads me indirectly to a problem that has plagued the InFAMOUS series ever since it began: moral choices that don't change the narrative in any meaningful way. Just like in the prequels, you either get good or bad karma, depending on the choices you make and actions you take. The problem is, the only purpose they serve in Second Son is replay value, minor superpower skill differences and a few altered missions/scenes. It's good in the sense having to play a short game twice for 100% completion makes the length less irksome but, ultimately, is a superfluous design choice that Sucker Punch seem increasingly unable to do anything meaningful with. Let's use the very first choice, right at the start of the game, as example: you can either choose to admit Delsin has superpowers to the game's dominatrix villainess or not admit it and make her ask others, using her rock powers of persuasion. What changes depending on which path you take? NOTHING. Either way, people are tortured with rocks and Delsin wakes up in the exact same way. And this lack of alteration is true of all the choices, ignoring edits to scenes. In addition, unlike with Cole whose character was designed to be an anti-hero, Delsin was designed to be a likable hero, and that meant that Delsin randomly telling other characters to kill protesters and gangsters in throwaway parts of the evil playthrough seemed incredibly out of character. This is the problem when a game's basic structure isn't altered and, instead, only the most superficial of changes are made. It's a tricky situation for Sucker Punch since the series is reliant on the (in)famous aspect, yet the story and setting would work better without it... unless you consider random NPCs attacking you in suicidal/comical fashion on your evil playthrough as a worthwhile difference!

In summary, Second Son is an incredibly enjoyable but also quite a frustrating experience. Enjoyable because it makes using superpowers both fun and empowering; putting right many of the mistakes of old. Frustrating because it could and should have been so much more than half a spin-off, half a PS4 tech demo. More effort should've been put into re-working InFAMOUS as a series, as opposed to just chucking it in the same universe as its prequels when there's no link between Cole and Delsin besides both having superpowers and both going obsessive-compulsive over finding blast shards. The characters held tons of untapped potential, had the game been longer - with more of a story than 'HAVE SUPERPOWER; FIGHT VILLAIN' - and the characterisation been less... abrupt. If you're looking for InFAMOUS with added fun and colour, Second Son is it. But if you're looking for a more complete, fulfilling experience and not just another sandbox world that consists of tall-yet-empty/unmemorable buildings, then you're barking up the wrong tree. By the end, Delsin either becomes a hero or villain, yet none of that mattered when the world and its inhabitants came across as unused props. My advice is to just enjoy the visual feast, enjoy flying around, enjoy the epic last boss and enjoy the relatively easy platinum trophy. If you look for more, you'll come away disappointed. I still don't even know WHY Delsin is related to some sort of fictional Indian tribe, but hey: ask no questions and get irritated far less. Apply that logic and you'll love the game.

Final Score:
7-7.5/10


-------------

Arkham Knight BATMOBILE NOOO Initial Thoughts:


Usually I do not review games before finishing them. However, in this instance I felt the need to drive home a - potentially - game ruining point to early buyers: the game shoehorns a... clumsy Batmobile into the game as much as is humanly possible, right from the get-go. So far, it is best described as GTA with a car that transforms into a tank, but without anyone in the city bar a few generic goons and the same exact enemy vehicles. Dull, and not exactly inspirational for a last in a trilogy sequel! Honestly, it feels like a DLC Batmobile expansion.

The Batmobile is by no means the small-cool part of the game I expected it to be since I have spent more time in it than punching and/or flying around in the first few hours... which is a pity when I quite liked the idea of punching people and/or flying around. Also, it is difficult to actually see (or appreciate the graphics) given how dark AND rainy it is when you are driving, with motion blur not helping matters. The game tries to compensate for the speed/visibility issue by making the Batmobile seemingly impervious to crash damage and providing a breadcrumb arrow-trail on the road. And the tank resilience is most useful given the handling and controls drive me batty: accelerate is R2 and brake is SQUARE... with tank mode assigned to L2, which most driving games use for the brake. (EDIT: Hidden at the bottom of 'game options', rather than 'controls', is a vague 'Battle Mode Toggle' option that switches the brake to L2. WHY NOT HAVE THAT AS THE DEFAULT SETTING!?) Naturally, I keep switching to tank mode by mistake. So, up to yet, the game has made me feel like an especially blind bat and not punished me for button confusion crashing. Last night I did two things: a CHECKPOINT RACE (in a Batman game!?) through some kind of sewer tunnels and a failed attempt at PLATFORMING IN THE BATMOBILE across buildings, which required 'precision' usage of the tank mode. I drove off the top of a building a few times as my frown engraved itself onto my forehead.

I played Arkham Asylum and was impressed by the compact, focused approach it had. I avoided Arkham City because it just struck me as a 'bigger MUST mean better' open-world continuation. Perhaps unwisely, the allure of the Batmobile, for whatever reason, made me give Arkham Knight a chance after having ignored the series for all these years. But I have to say, the story set-up for Knight is incredibly LAME. Instead of going for a little chaos and anarchy, as one would expect of super villains, Scarecrow... err, knowingly scared the entire population of the city away with a threat which, I must point out, is the the most THINLY disguised 'The game would be 10x harder with a fully populated city, so... that is that.' game design choice EVER. Maybe watching Batman Begins and the Scarecrow toxin plot in that spoiled me here but the game opening with an anti-climax, after bizarrely random 'press button to burn!?' Joker scene + being a first-person view cop set the tone for the rest of the game. And, up to yet, it has not swayed my opinion.

All I can say, for now, is that as first impressions go, Knight has not impressed. Finding firefighters, Riddler collectibles / trials, serial killer clues and other optional busywork seem to be the only alternative to main story Batmobile driving. EMPTY open-world + tedious BUSYWORK do not excite me greatly, I must confess. I was hoping to get straight back into the whole square punch / triangle counter combat, but instead, that has played second fiddle to driving, with few to no reintroduction combat tutorials since Batmobile tutorials were required... which is a problem for me especially given that I went into it disconnected with the series and unaware of new moves/gadgets.

UPDATE:
Played for a few more hours, taking me to the end of the ACE Chemicals section. Most, I wager, would start to truly hate the Batmobile busywork emphasis shift here. The driving and the rest of the gameplay just do not blend together smoothly. At all. The IN-OUT-IN-OUT routine goes overboard to the point all coherence is lost: I would constantly be forced exit the Batmobile, hit a switch, then jump back in to resume attempting to platform with a car-tank, which is every bit as enjoyable as it reads... or, instead, mash 'X' to dodge in tank mode whilst shooting rockets at identical enemy vehicles. Repeatedly. Occasionally I got to actually fight some goons, with Batman SO OVERPOWERED that what made the series so loved originally felt like a mere afterthought (mashing my way to a x50 combo proving easy enough). But this was only when doing 'puzzles' to allow the Batmobile to advance a few more inches... before another roadblock appeared. Rocksteady clearly decided something fresh was needed... but the execution is so misguided here that it is alienating to fans of the series. Especially when the Batmobile is SO LIMITED: fire rockets, blow identical things up, DONE.

To give you an idea just how much the car-tank is forced into a game that may as well have been titled 'Batmobile Knight', here are three examples.

Batmobile 'Puzzle' Example #1:
Inside a building, I frowned upon the discovery of pipes/gas designed with the sole intent of ruining Batman's day. I then remembered the Batmobile: I had been pulling down walls with it, so the next logical step was - naturally - pipe pulling. After using 'Batman Vision' outside to find where to attach a cable, I reversed the Batmobile until the pipes broke. Next, I returned to Batman to deal with FUSEBOX BUSYWORK in order to open shutters and use a crane to position jump ramps for vehicle platforming awkwardness. This was then repeated over and over AND OVER.

Batmobile 'Puzzle' Example #2:
An elevator blocked Batman's way after jumping down a shaft; possibly with suicidal thoughts in his mind by that stage. Once more, only the Batmobile could save the day. So, following more investigating, I switched to it and pulled the elevator up. Next, I helpfully moved Batman into the elevator, before switching back to the Batmobile AGAIN in order to lower myself down. And, on the way out, OF COURSE: I had to use the Batmobile to pull up the elevator to make my exit. WHY NOT JUST HAVE THE ELEVATOR WORK!?

Batmobile 'Puzzle' Example #3:
The game wanted me to blow a hole in the upper wall of a building, using the Batmobile's tank mode, which I dutifully did. My first instinct was to glide through the hole. SUCCESS... or so I thought. After reaching enemy vehicles, I was informed the Batmobile felt neglected and needed to come through the hole with me. Back outside I went to reposition the jump ramp. This was followed by me repeatedly failing to make it through the damned hole and, instead, spastically hitting the wall--falling to the ground in defeat. WHY NOT JUST LET BATMAN FLY THROUGH HOLE AND LEAVE THE DAMNED TANK!?

Even the narrative seems to be intentionally anti-climatic at every turn: Batman might be dead!?... NEVERMIND: he is shown to be perfectly fine literally a few minutes later. Controlling Gordon as he walked EXTREMELY SLOWLY for a few minutes, before a first-person 'jump scare' was just there to add variety. Overall, it is just disappointing and underwhelming. If there are no further updates, assume that - although I will have completed it - this is my final score, with the game having been sold. I am starting to think I would be better off just replaying the original and then trying Arkham City. At least I would be free of Arkham Knight's 'selling point': the vehicle platforming busywork suffering NOOO.
Posted by AironicallyHuman | Sep 26, 2015 5:23 PM | 0 comments
Anime Relations: Batman: Gotham Knight
TLTR Version:


After finishing Arkham Knight, I feel conflicted because it did have the potential to be great. But a great game it is NOT. Instead, it is merely a good game that also happens to be a poor sequel and TERRIBLE as the grand finale of a trilogy. Needlessly divisive among fans with its split gameplay mechanics and ANTI-CLIMATIC at every narrative turn. 'Batmobile Knight' would have been a more fitting title since it frequently plays like a dull, VERY limited Batmobile DLC expansion. The Batmobile is shoehorned in to such an extent that, at times, it comes across like a 'Grand Batmobile Auto' TANK SIMULATOR. The Arkham Batman of old is still hidden in there, but for many, the gameplay disconnect soured the experience. Myself included.

There was a point during the game when the Joker bizarrely began singing to Batman, on a rotating platform. At first I did not realise that I was expected - controlling Robin - to awkwardly stealth-navigate with a fixed 'cinematic perspective' and disarm bombs... as the platform rotated and the singing continued. That moment was perhaps when I lost all hope for Arkham Knight. Rocksteady quite simply got lost between PANDERING to the wants of fans and making a game that would live up the expectations placed upon them.

STORY:
4/10



Surprisingly, given my initial Batmobile annoyance, by far the most DISAPPOINTING aspect of Arkham Knight turned out to be the not-so-secret identity of its titular 'villain' and the MONOTONOUS nature of Batman needing to report everything to Albert/Oracle as the plot went in increasingly predictable circular motions.

The empty city premise always struck me as a rather lame, THINLY disguised 'The game would be 10x harder with a fully populated city, so... that is that.' one, and it quickly became more of an all-star hero / super villain cameo reunion than a structured narrative. It was perhaps redeemed, to a certain extent, by the dark psychological edge added with Batman's drug-induced hallucinations that came in the form of the Joker 'returning' (in more disbelief suspending ways than one!) to add SOME personality (and Joker fan-service) into a game that Batman himself seemed determined to stamp out of it. Undeniably a cool character, but his unbending, almost wooden persona was not exactly ideal for a man SUPPOSEDLY on the brink of mental collapse. Honestly, as entertaining as Mark Hamill's Joker is, relying on the Joker to convey Batman's despair was something of a COP-OUT: a way to show weakness whilst Batman himself remained incorruptible. And Joker commenting on everything with jokes got old. Fast.

But, more specifically, what of the titular 'Arkham Knight'? Rocksteady's sales pitch was that this was a new, never before seen villain. And that was a blatant LIE. The only 'new' aspect is him being disguised as a Metal Gear Solid cyborg reject. I have not read the comics and even I knew the identity of Mr. Knight halfway through since the game was as subtle as a hammer with some choice psychological breakdown flashbacks. NO MYSTERY. Worse, Mr. Knight started out as the most CLICHED of 'I could kill you now, if I wanted... but I refuse. Just because.' bad guy before consistency was thrown to the wind and he decided Batman must die as soon as possible. His character was then reduced to non-teenage abandonment ANGST over Batman not loving him, or something, and he was never seen again outside of a predictably inconsistent end glance. Seriously. HE WAS NOT EVEN THE VILLAIN. Bugger knows how he got an armed militia with 100's of unmanned drones... oddly enough, perfect for Batman to destroy without killing. His entire justification for wrecking havoc with super villains was... hurt feelings? A waste of a character, as well as a game since the narrative was built around his 'mystery'; even after his identity became PAINFULLY OBVIOUS to everyone not dressed as a bat.

As a conclusion to a trilogy, Arkham Knight ended with an equal parts INCONCLUSIVE and UNSATISFYING whimper. THERE WAS NO END... or at least not one that made a great deal of sense beyond the 'execute order 66' decision. The worst part is that if you dare to end the game with less than 95% completion, you are told to finish 12/14 (supposedly optional) 'Most Wanted' sidequests (mostly just outright open-world busywork padding repetition) to see PART of the ending. For the other part? 200+ Riddler collectibles. I think it is safe to assume most ran to YouTube in the hope of closure. And there was NONE. The third in trilogies are just doomed, clearly...

GAMEPLAY:
6.5/10



First, a rare ray of sunshine: THE POSITIVES. Despite the flaws Arkham Knight has, the fundamentals remain intact. The free-flowing combat is even more bone-crunchingly satisfying since countering and moving the joystick towards enemies in-sync now sends them flying--a 'critical strike' for counters, if you will. The only issues the combat has is that there are now SO MANY enemy types and specific button combinations to be able to hurt them that fights can easily turn into desperate clusterducks. The electric baton / electric armour goons in particular were the bane of my existence: L2 + triangle for one; L2 + circle for the other. When fighting 20ish enemies at once and having to react instantly as the game unfairly puts every enemy type together, FRUSTRATION awaits. Especially given the almost complete lack of non-Batmobile tutorials. But the satisfaction when it all comes together make it REWARDING.

In terms of stealth, a 'fear' multi-takedown system was added that allows for up to five chain stealth takedowns. This addition did help balance how under-powered Batman is when forced to be stealthy, but there were issues where objects/walls blocked my path and much frowning following. The stealth mechanics are still quite... AWKWARD, with there being limited ways (under vents + from behind) to take out goons silently and not auto-alert a small army eager to prove that Batman is not bullet resistant.
The increased enemy variation makes that aspect even more trying: gatling gun brutes, drone controlling goons, 'Batman Vision' jamming goons, sentry guns AND stealth goons. But, again, the good (fear takedowns) outweighs the bad. Combat aside, flying around in the skies has never been easier or more empowering: grappling boosts have been increased and the Batmobile can even propel Batman into the sky with momentum--the one thing it is good for. In terms of gadgets, they alternate between being cool to use in combat and a CHORE to use outside of it; hacking 24/7 as if playing Watch Dogs to open doors during some sections being especially IRRITATING.

...And now we come to the (in)famous Batmobile. The WORST of the Batmobile is, rather helpfully, placed towards the start and end of Arkam Knight, with the vast majority of PLATFORMING IN THE BATMOBILE across buildings - involving me driving off rooftops or into walls as my frown engraved itself onto my forehead - occurring during the first third. In contrast, the true horrors of Batmobile tank combat were saved for the final third. The early IN-OUT-IN-OUT Batman/Batmobile 'puzzle' FUSEBOX BUSYWORK routine required to advance (wall/pipe pulling, elevator lifting/lowering and jump ramp positioning) goes overboard to the point of ALL gameplay coherence being lost. BUT, in-between the start and end, the game actually plays more like fans expected: you beat people up, occasionally using stealth, and fly around. I still had the Batmobile forced on me from time to time, but I was mostly allowed to just use it as an ejector seat in order to avoid navigating the narrow, CLUTTERED streets.



The most eyebrow-raising aspect of the Batmobile's existence is this: grappling hook boosting into glides proved faster to get from A-to-B than driving... which made the Batmobile TOTALLY UNNECESSARY as transportation. Not even the discovery that brake can be switched from square (WHY!?) to L2 via a VAGUE, almost hidden 'Battle Mode Toggle' option swayed me. A car-tank though it is, it most definitely handles more like a clunky tank than a car and definitely drove me batty. Annoyingly, even though the irksome vehicle platforming NOOO lessened over the course of the game, the flaws were driven home full force at the last. And unless you like your boss battles not involving ANY FORM OF PHYSICAL COMBAT, boy did Rocksteady RUIN that aspect!

I am not exaggerating when I say that ALL OF THE BOSSES in the game are as follows: shoot 'n run stealth WTF vs. Mr. Knight; repetitive huge drill chase WTF vs. Mr. Knight... and an even more WHY!?, optional repeat of the first Mr. Knight tank battle against Deathstroke (of all characters, after Batman Origins made people expect SLIGHTLY more). I can not even describe the 'final showdown' with Mr. Knight as anything other than a STEALTH-CHORE: it consisting entirely of him imitating an especially blind bat and remaining static as Batman stealth'd through multiple rooms of generic goons to get to him. Repeatedly. EPIC!..... not. So much for the purity of hand-to-hand combat! Other super villains were defeated like generic goons... or, worse, DURING CUTSCENES. Just for the sake of playing with Rocksteady's new toy, the thrill of taking down super villains by beating them silly was totally lost. And on a semi-related note, the finale gameplay consisted of an hallucinogenic attempt at Batman statue spawning JUMP SCARE HORROR, as I was forced to walk around in first-person view armed with a gun. Yet another in a long line of MISGUIDED attempts at adding story emphasis variation, such as earlier when I got to walk EXTREMELY SLOWLY with Gordon for a few minutes. And, no: I am not joking.

My Batmobile frowning resumed full-force during the last portion of the game, which consisted largely of tank horde mode ENDURANCE HELL against a few variations of the exact same red-white drones, including tank stealth, of all things in the known universe. TANK STEALTH. The tank mode combat was simplistic from the beginning and never evolved at all beyond a few unnecessary drone hacking / EMP skills. All you do, from start to end, is MASH 'X' to dodge whilst shooting at and often insta-killing drone clones as the hordes of drones increase in ARSEACHE numbers. Repeat.

GRAPHICS / SIDE CONTENT / DLC:
6.5/10

[/img]

The graphics and performance combined impressed. Clearly, Arkham Knight was OPTIMISED for consoles. The frame-rate remained consistent, even with constant rain, and speeding around in the Batmobile was - poor handling aside - smooth. I encountered no bugs other than the Joker appearing on top of Batman once and getting him stuck; forcing me to reload. Batman's cape physics and the detail of the Batmobile alone convinced me that the game is the best looking AND performing 'next-gen' title I have played.
My ONLY real complaint is the motion blur effect and how it is so difficult to see where you are going when driving--waypoint breadcumb trail being placed on the SMALL and cluttered roads. It was so dark that it was hard to appreciate the sights and - Batman tone by damned - I would have appreciated SOME daylight, rather than the game playing out over one night, if only to get a picture in my head of the setting. Everything looked too dark-samey. The lack of enemy / vehicle variety also played a part in the open-world playground lacking an identity distinct enough to make me even care that, supposedly, there were three small islands linked together by bridges.

Moving onto side content, perhaps ironically, my favourite parts of the game turned out to be the Riddler challenges (not requiring any of the 200+ collectibles... until the final challenge UGH). Almost all of them heavily involved the Batmobile--naturally! However, they were entirely optional and treated the car-tank as it should have been: as an entertaining distraction and no more. The puzzles were just challenging enough to feel rewarding without requiring aid from elsewhere; encouraging expermentation, such as using the Batmobile's ejector seat at speed to gain momentum in order to glide into switches. And driving at insane speeds whilst DEFYING GRAVITY on the sides of tunnels in the checkpoint death-game races proved to be fun when no longer restricted by the game's cluttered streets and with the handling made less of an annoyance. It just goes to show: when not forced on the player and free of tank combat, there was a far better game waiting to be played here. If only the Batmobile existed solely as an unnecessary form of transportation and novelty addition... 'Tis a pity.

The remainder of the side content was far less compelling and enjoyable, unfortunately. Mostly the WORST KIND of open-world repetition: taking out dozens of enemy outposts, C&P vehicle chases, and/or even repeating parts of main story, such as teaming up with Nightwing to take down arms dealers. Unimaginative TEDIUM. The worst offenders are finding 17 fire-fighters, which you have to look for by flying around in hope using 'Batman Vision'; even after taking out all flying enemy drones since the game only throws you a waypoint bone occasionally. Serial killer victims - each requiring THE SAME three-part scanning process - required the same luck to find. The only non-Riddler side content I enjoyed even a little was chasing Firefly in the Batmobile (only three chases, and so frantic they did not seem tedious) and the freeflow combat NO HIT challenges controlling Azarel. But, again, Azarel was annoying to find without waypoints - I had to look it up - since the game expected me to fly around and see a TINY burning bat symbol. NO! The AR challenges unlocked by playing through the game and doing certain things were an entertaining diversion, but they just recycled main game content with added arseache. I got my 3/3 stars from each of the racing challenges and that was that.

And as for the 'free on release' day one DLC... the less said the better. A LAZY pre-order ploy and no more. I had two with my copy: Harley Quinn and Scarecrow. Harley's lasted 15-20 MINUTES, with reskinned 'Batman Vision' and two edited Batman tools. So, the same gameplay as in the main game, just with less options. A few freelflow fights and stealth bits later, followed by an UGH 'jump over Nightwing like a stun baton enemy' mini-boss... and that was that. Scarecrow's DLC was JUST AS SHORT: three easy Batmobile races / tank mode combo challenges. I did them all first time, got 9 extra AR stars... and that was that.

The only reason I bothered was because they both offered silver trophies. The main game? I ended with 55 bronzes, total. And I am more of an obsessive completionist than most, I assure you. So, no silvers for... however many hours spent doing 95% of the main game, but cheap & dirty DLCs? TWO SILVERS! To get the ONE silver trophy from the man game, you need to REPLAY THE ENTIRE GAME. To get a gold? Find EVERY Riddler collectible / 100% / secret ending. No, no, NOOOOOOOOOOOOOO! I get that Rocksteady wanted quantity over quality with their trophies, but seriously: making EVERY trophy a bronze is a surefire way to kill the desire of any local OCD trophy whores. Making a bronzefest of bronzefests trophy list is the death of... modern gamers.

Overall:
5.5-6/10



There is something of a misconception surrounding direct sequels: bigger does NOT always mean better. Budget restrictions placed on first titles in popular series tend to defy all the odds by working in the original's favour. Restraint due to lower expectations; core gameplay focused on above all else; fresh ideas--a recipe for success. Arkham Asylum is an EXCELLENT example: forced into its compact, small-scale setting... yet thoroughly convincing as a tightly-woven, cohesive game. It was also ground-breaking with its now copied-into-oblivion combat fluidity. The Arkham sequels added new moves and gadgets, along with other refinements, but it is the freeflow combat blended with stealth Asylum began with that gave the series its identity, and that has ultimately changed little.

The problem Rocksteady faced after Arkham Asylum's streamlined approach is that less will ALWAYS be more satisfying than more for the sake of more. There was not much to be added beyond expanding each sequel by giving into fan demands: with Arkham City, the apparent modern gaming requirement of an open-world setting. With Arkham Knight, Batmobile driving... and, for reasons ONLY GOD could possibly justify, tank horde mode hell. Arkham Knight is perhaps the perfect example of a sequel that loses itself in its own grandiose ambitions; forsaking the polished gameplay that made the series loved for CLUMSY driving and primitive tank combat, whilst blurring the line between a compelling narrative and outright UNIMAGINATIVE fan-service.

There is enough left of what made the Arkham series so highly regarded for fans to enjoy, but there is also an equal amount for other fans to be disappointed by. Arkham Knight is, at best, a partly satisfying, partly disappointing mess. At worst? A final failure.
Posted by AironicallyHuman | Sep 26, 2015 4:34 PM | 0 comments
June 16th, 2015
Anime Relations: Kenpuu Denki Berserk


In my very own utterly indifferent kind of way, I wanted to like Witcher 3. Truly, I did. I had little to no expectations going into it but was hoping it would enter my PS4 and do what has proved almost impossible for PS4 games: satisfy me. But by the time I came across a troll that wanted to sing the "trollololo" song to Geralt, I felt like that was the game's way of poking fun at me for my attempts at searching for a game hidden beneath cut-scenes and busywork questing. I frowned, and the frown never left my face as I edged towards an end that stubbornly remained out of reach, in increasingly anti-climatic fashion.

Whilst Witcher 2 was not the greatest game known to mankind by any stretch of the imagination, it did have a sense of purpose--momentum. And a narrative driven dark fantasy paired with something akin to self-insert male fantasy is difficult for most males to say no to; myself included. It most certainly had clunky, awkward combat but just the mere notion of a medieval WRPG complete with a predefined, non-silent lead + boobs made it hard for me to hate. Naturally, I still moaned about it but I did enjoy it, overall. Unfortunately, the same cannot be said of its bloated sequel, which opted for equal parts tedious and dull episodic mini-arcs over the far more compelling 'Assassin of Kings' narrative seen in Witcher 2. Getting into Witcher 3 at all was a challenge, where as - in stark contrast - its prequel grabbed my attention from the get-go with its fast-paced intro.

When the game arrived with a slipcover, game manual, compendium, soundtrack, map, stickers AND a thank you note for purchasing (although I was grateful for the unusually generous gifts in an age where proper game manuals no longer come with games), being the cynical git that I am, my first thought was that I was being compensated in advance for a failing of some variety. And, even more unfortunately, my gut instinct proved unerringly accurate. Effort and good PR alone does not make game developers exempt from criticism.

One of my main complaints about Witcher 3 is that it was released CLEARLY unfinished and unable to perform up to the required standard on consoles. The load times once you reach the second area, Velen, are so bad that I did not want to die purely because dying meant waiting upwards of one minute for the game to reload; a sort of additional punishment for failure. So many patches (up to 1.04 ALREADY) in quick succession, yet that sodding horse Roach was still busy floating in the sky in Kaer Morhen even after the latest patch. All I had to do was ride down a hill / mountain and Roach would be running on air whilst attempting some form of horse handstand. Bugs like that are EVERYWHERE, with the most comical example being when a bear killed a quest-giving NPC whilst trying to kill me, right as I was returning having finished the quest... before randomly reviving in front of me later. And then there is the frame-rate drops. When it was raining and I was in Novigrad in particular, it almost reminded me of the start of Castlevania: Lord of Shadows. The game just could not handle it. I have to assume the developers prevented people from galloping on horseback through Novigrad and Oxenfurt purely because it would break the game if things had to load that fast. Countless times I walked up to quest NPCs, got no prompt to talk to them, and had to JUMP (in-game, mainly) in order for the interaction prompt to appear, or just wait for the game to catch up with me. And the game seemed to just give up altogether towards the end when the frame-rate dropped well under 20FPS during the blizzard end battle. Unacceptable for a full price game. I often felt like I was a beta tester rather than a paying customer. Having the text size eventually increased from eye-strain to readable was small consolation.

Ciri's gameplay portions in particular - one of the major changes from Witcher 2 - are laughably inept to the point one has to wonder HOW they passed any form of quality assessment. They scream unfinished. Ciri is so game-breaking overpowered in her teleport-spam EASY gameplay sections it begs the question of why Geralt even needs to save her in the first place, but the far more baffling issue is that you can simply ignore the enemies, teleport past them, reach the waypoint... and that is it: GAMEPLAY, OVER. I did this in Ciri's Novigrad segment and was greeted with the image of enemies doing a bizarre military march up some stairs, not attacking me, in one huge line. Farcical.



Another issue is outright disappointment with the best example yet I have encountered of 'bigger does not mean better'. Outside of the two larger towns, the areas in each region and the 'Mudsvile' mini-towns in each region look FAR too samey. I would find fast travel markers, get quests off notice boards and feel generally underwhelmed. And exploring the countless question marks is entirely pointless (and often frustrating since the fall damage is RIDICULOUS: Geralt nearly dying after even small drops) outside of finding 'places of power' for additional ability points - only attainable otherwise by leveling up - and Witcher gear treasure hunts, which break the game by making crafting or looting other equipment WORTHLESS. Pitiful amounts of experience points are offered for side-quests and killing monsters whilst, in contrast, insane amounts ranging from 200-800xp are instead given for challenging main story tasks such as... talking to NPCs. When you get so much experience for doing so little just completing tedious main quest tasks, why bother? Only hunting down unique and occasionally challenging monsters via monster contracts was enjoyable since the game basically auto-levels as you progress. Also irksome is the game having a 'five level rule' where - on the hardest difficulty especially - if you are more than five levels below enemies you die in two hits. The reverse is also true: if you are five levels above quests, you only get FIVE experience points, when you need 1000-2000 to level up. In addition, there is little to nothing to spend money on and 99.1% of loot is just junk that has to be sold / dismantled or else Geralt decides to be as annoying as his horse and refuse to run. Many times I had to sift through my inventory just trying to work out what junk was weighing me down even after selling equipment. Far from ideal when the inventory is best described as a cluster of 'WHY THIS LAYOUT NOOOOO'!

But, in truth, what does pure padding side content matter if the main story is good? Well, here is the thing: as excellent as the dialogue and characterisation can be, the pacing is atrocious throughout, with busywork chores making up the vast majority of the game. At times it became so mind-numbing I would need to check what, exactly, my latest busywork objective was in the ever helpful quest log. For nearly the entire duration, the story is as follows: Find Ciri. You must go to three different regions and, predictably, fail to find Ciri in each of them. During this there were moments, such as during the Baron's family drama story, where I cared enough to want to see how the episodic mini-stories would turn out. But there was zero main narrative progression and I was only impressed by the game NOT being a game, I quickly came to realise. And by the time Ciri was actually found, I did not understand or care about whatever the convoluted 'read the novels' main narrative was supposed to be... which, as as far as I could tell, involved a war against evil teleporting elves with ice powers and skull masks / voice modulation.

I began officially wanting to beat my head into the nearest wall when I reached Novigrad. At first I was intrigued: AN ACTUAL TOWN! I thought the real game would start, right there. Instead - and I kid you not - I spent around 5-10 hours doing exciting tasks such as exterminating rats, investigating a haunted house and walking back and forth talking to NPCs trying to figure out how Geralt's idiot bard friend, Dandy, had got himself in trouble. The game would keep shoveling experience points down my throat for very little and it kept going... and going...... AND GOING. Eventually I found myself acting in a play to find a doppelganger in order to find Dandy whilst involving myself with a dwarf gangster. By then I had lost all hope for Witcher 3 as a game. I assumed Novigrad would be the low-point, and a fairly epic last stand - which I assumed / hoped to be the end of the game - made me think it would be... but NO: typical of the game up to that point, IT KEPT GOING. Worse, the busywork workload INCREASED: I had to talk to a NPC waiting to watch a whale to find a cave, as well as swimming to a boat, using my powers of stealth.... just for a cut-scene. STEALTH SWIMMING. I was begging for it to end and it kept refusing, with an anti-climax around every turn.



And now, finally - almost fittingly as an afterthought - we come to the gameplay: the small bits hidden between interacting with NPCs and Geralt ("Run, Roach!") / myself insulting the damned horse for getting stuck and refusing to jump. Many people mention the clunky combat, and for good reason. HOWEVER, a more irksome issue is that game is unbalanced. There are four difficulties, and by the end the game is SO EASY even on the hardest difficulty that you are forced to receive less experience points to compensate for the lack of difficulty. Yet, at the start, the game can be unforgiving. Before potions, bombs and Witcher gear - especially if you try to explore - even gangs of wolves proved challenging... until I realised holding block defies logic by working against them no matter the angle, yet not against other creatures. I got annoyed to the point I lowered the difficulty to normal, before quickly returning to hard and then finally going up to 'very hard'. The game can be so easily broken by finding Witcher gear, upgrading melee skills and applying red mutagens that even early on it reaches the point where I considered intentionally lowering my stats. Bizarrely, the hardest parts of the game on the higher difficulties were - wait for it - FIST FIGHTS when outnumbered since it took only a few punches for a mutant monster hunter to go down, when blades / claws did little to him.

As for the combat itself, it is much the same as in Witcher 2: two swords (which, once again, initially confused me; resulting in comical in-out accidental sword drawing in towns and guards killing me), dodging and spamming quen (a defense spell) in order to tank hits. As with Witcher 2, the four spells other than quen proved mostly useless, some occasional burning and mind control aside. The only real improvement to the combat was that, in addition to dodge rolling, you can now do a shorter dodge instead of rolling miles away from enemies. Honestly, all you would really need to do to beat the game on normal is press R2 to cast quen, square to attack and circle to dodge. Just do not expect responsive precision. The rest of the gameplay consists of Geralt using 'Batman vision' to do investigating busywork and being made to hate riding virtual horses--as compelling as it reads, I assure you.

My Witcher 3 experience can be summerised by how I ended the game. Due playing it on the hardest difficulty for the most part, I got less experience points than those that played the game on normal; ending the game at level 33 due to wanting challenge when level 35 is needed for a gold trophy. You only get 5xp for side-quests when over-leveled, and I had done most of them - pointlessly - anyway. So, as a dutiful trophy-whore determined to get my ONE gold trophy from the game after 50+(?) hours, off to the internet I went. Someone, somewhere discovered a trick involving a level 30 enemy where you can kill it, meditate, and it instantly re-spawns. After killing about 40 on the easiest difficulty, with huge bodies lying everywhere which occasionally spaz-glitched into the sky, I got my trophy. But before that, I got knocked off the side of a cliff and was left stuck: unable to get back up and only suicide awaiting me if I moved. The game reduced me to the point of choosing suicide in-game, and the same would be true for me in real life, I fear, if I had to play any more. So, I shall accept only getting the bronze easy / normal difficulty trophy after playing it on hard-very hard for most of the game as a final insult and off to Amazon UK via trade-in it will go. Farewell, for I loved you not... Triss aside.



PS: Upon seeing my rather critical review score, some of you (males) might be thinking, "...b-but it has story choices, boobs and sex and boobs!" - a valid argument, for sure. However, what I did not know going into Witcher 3 was that due to an apparent feminist backlash the game developers, CD Projekt RED, received after Witcher 2 dared to have a somewhat artistically erotic Trissex scene (complete with a pubic hair glimpse), they decided to go more... politically correct and tone down the sex / usage of sex to the point of lazy EXACT SAME SCENES, very short sequences; tragically with no female pubic hairs in sight. They either lied about the tens of hours of smut or removed it all. There is a ten page forum thread on this very subject on CD Projekt RED's forum if you doubt me, with many a male left in anguish.

The series is, essentially, male wish fulfillment... and Witcher 3 only offers Triss / Yennifer romance without the whole fulfillment bit. Even more so for me since the 'threesome' I worked towards was not quite what I - or Geralt - had in mind. In Witcher 2 it was actually harder not to find a brothel than to find one, but in Witcher 3 it took MANY hours to find any similar respectable romancing establishments. And the NPC models are similar to the point of having near identical petite builds and, often, faces--a lack of NPC variation being a noticeable problem in general. For example, I did a side-quest involving being a fencing instructor for a tomboy. She had a playful twin. This excited me. The result? NOTHING... although I did find the exact same character model, hair and all, elsewhere. I then did another quest involving a succubus, even more expectant. The result? She was not into the whole sex-reward thing. I cried... oh, and as for story choices, unlike in the prequel, there is no midway point split path to add re-playability. Disappointing whichever way you look at it... unless you are a single play-through feminist, that is. There are multiple endings, but in terms of romance, a brief mention in a still-image montage is your lot.
Posted by AironicallyHuman | Jun 16, 2015 8:02 PM | 1 comments
April 2nd, 2015


Before playing, a lot appealed to me about Type-0. After playing, not even chocobo mating appealed to me. And for a FFVII fan there can be no greater insult than that.

'A Final Fantasy like no other, with gore!', people said. What is more, the trailers showed off the long-awaited return of the JRPG world map, complete with chocobo riding and even an airship. This was - supposedly - Final Fantasy as it should be: for a new generation of gamers, with throwbacks to the classics. Fourteen playable characters, each with their own style, to top it all off. How could it possibly go wrong?...

...In reality? It is nothing more than a low budget, hollow mess that somehow manages to merge Japanese school setting silliness (Persona this ain't, folks) and mini-skirts with... FFXIII's stellar writing. And for anyone that has heard 'L'cie' said countless times without context already, they will know full well what this means: how NOT to tell a story. There are no characters to care for, or even like as people: just poorly dubbed, terribly written caricatures that each have their own distinctive quirk, such as the guy that says "yo!" and struggles to form sentences, or the four-eyed uptight class president type that pushes up her glasses as she speaks, all smart-like. Only a handful get more than a few lines of voiced dialogue, and the characterisation of the one that does say a lot consists of the following: "You killed my brother by existing, MNEH, so I am going to sulk and be emo over in my corner. MNEH!"

Graphically, it is awful for a PS4 game, as expected... yet somehow still worse than expected. It looks strangely enough like a PSP game; one poorly disguised as a PS4 game, rather than a true remaster. The main character models were edited, the school... and little else. However, the flat faces and horrid textures are only noticeable after experiencing the motion blur added to try to mask the graphical inadequacies. When locked-on and dodge rolling, the game went to great lengths to convince me it was not a game created with camera control in mind. Combat literally becomes a chaotic blur of invincibility frame rolling. And aside from a FEW scenes not running off the in-game graphics engine, such as the almost Advent Children-esque ending where the cast assembled to cry together like I very much wanted to whilst playing, every scene consisted entirely of characters repeating THE SAME exact basic mannerisms over and over as they remained standing/static. It is no prettier to watch than it is to play. By the time the game looks almost impressive, the credits start playing. Seriously.



But no-one got this for the graphics... or for Type-0 even, in truth. Most knew it was a remaster of a PSP game that, more importantly, came with a FFXV demo. In an attempt to validate my PS4 purchase as a JRPGer of old, I got it anyway... only to later lament my idiocy. What really matters is the game itself. The best way to describe it is as FFXIII gone wrong - if you do not think it did already, that is - with a school setting. It is on the grimdark side of grim where the main characters refuse to die even when they are killed in battle (unlike in, say, Valkyria Chronicles) but do have some blood splattered on their faces from time to time; just to show how dark and gritty the world is. The boy / girl band character posing at the start was a warning sign from the Gods I should have been more receptive of, honestly. The game starts with a typically long-winded Japanese 'JUST DIE ALREADY!' random death that drained all of the impact from it without it just... happening. It went on for so damned long that the lead (?), Ace, went back to the guy to see if he was dead yet / say goodbye after having only just said hello. But, hey: a chocobo died. All people seemed to talk about before the release is how *A* giant chicken died. Right at the start. I mean, that is as dark as you can get for a Final Fantasy game, right?... It is just a pity no other chocobos died for forced tragic effect at all throughout the story. I guess one was enough to set the tone, ready for the player to jump happily into school life.

In this dark world of Japanese 'THE HORROR' dread, you spend most of your time at school--interacting with blocky-faced teenage NPCs. Because, OF COURSE, the main characters are a diverse cast of elites in 'Class Zero'; fit for any anime. A moggle says "Kupo~!" one of two ways over and over as it teaches you how to get experience points without doing anything (which actually works better than killing things, when offered) in mentally stimulating SAME EXACT SCREEN panning lessons. Even more exciting, one can pursue their innermost desire of spying on a flirty instructor with big boobs by planting a camera on her gifts and and casting 'sheer' to remove her clothes, before proceeding to admire her thong and bra combo. It truly is a realistic Final Fantasy, in that sense. Every school day is spent in non-lesson bliss; running around the same select few areas after every mission hoping to see new characters with exclamation marks above their heads to ironically waste the limited time given before missions in order to not waste time. By the end of the game, after 40+hrs of doing this, you will either be left desperately trudging on every 2-6hrs in a attempt to spy on a woman, like me, or just fast-forwarding to missions to end your suffering. In many ways, the school aspect of the game is a subtle metaphor representing the life cycle of the average human male.



But what about life outside school--THE WORLD MAP? Well, the only monsters visible on the world map are generic lev99 ones designed with the sole intent of ruining the day of the unwitting. There are also chocobos running about for you to run into and presumably lasso into submission; keeping later to force to breed in the quest for 100 chicobos. And that is your lot. The towns are the exact same in each region, with the only differences being some being corridors and some having side-streets. Some have quests but few to none are worthwhile. FFXIII's towns had more life, and that had no towns. There is a 'RTS' mini-game where you get to kick robots with chocobos until your troops take over bases (unfortunately not as fun as it reads), but describing it as strategic is a stretch. Tacked-on is much more fitting. There *IS* an airship, and shooting other ships down as they make the exact same death cry is as close to fun as Type-0 ever gets. But here is the thing: it is optional and so well hidden the trophies relating to it have the lowest percentages in the game. You need to kill level 44 enemies to get it, even if you find it, which requires either easy difficulty and/or abusing secret training (gain exp when not playing) to over-level. It is NG+ content. So, basically, 95% of players will never know of or use an airship, when the main selling point of this game for fans in the know is the world map. Just think about that for a moment, for the sake of my sanity. Not that there is anything to see or do when you have an airship: it just avoids the many joys of riding on a chocobo for five consecutive minutes and allows you to shoot things. There is a level 99 tower you can fly to, but that can go take a running jump. No. Just no.

And now we get to the combat. A good real-time battle system with depth it most certainly is not. I have already detailed how the camera goes crazy when locked-on, and the lock-on system requiring you to hold the R1 button was a source of early annoyance until the discovery of a setting that enabled me to not have to hold it to lock-on. WHY NOT JUST HAVE THAT SETTING ON TO BEGIN WITH!? The combat comes down to this: you either use a melee, mid-range or long-range character. Two AI party members join you; happy to suicide against any and every high-level enemy. Each character has four attacks, with every character having their own unique skills and style; ranging from a samurai to an archer. But what it basically comes down to is these three types and magic, which you will most likely never use since it costs so much MP to cast and it is easier / faster just to beat everything silly with your weapons, before draining their souls (no, really!). After set attacks, enemies have a red target appear - signifying a 'killsight' chance - and you can then one-shot them during a very short window of opportunity. Or, an orange 'breaksight' for massive damage. The end. That is all the depth the battle system has to offer, aside from summoning summons to control for 1-2min periods, at the cost of a character's life. You will be blindly rolling as the screen blurs to avoid damage whilst staying locked-on (you can only get killsights when locked-on) or just mashing / holding your way to victory. And, by the way: the game does not tell you how much experience you get (a tiny amount, no doubt; not even worth displaying and better just to let the moggle boost you), nor can you check what skills do or change anything on the fly--only at save points. I eventually worked out that holding attack auto-attacks and is often better than just pressing the button for certain characters. A total guesswork micromanagement cluster is an apt summary. Rarely fun but never rewarding.

Also: you are meant to die against nearly all of the bosses towards the end. They are level 50, 65, 99, etc. NG+ victories only. So, no skill is required: you die and you win. It begs the philosophical question: can a loss truly be a win?.... The second battle against the flying Macross transforming mecha boss is a different matter altogether, though. For that, my eye candy summon saviour Shiva came to the rescue. She always came with a nice view of her most tasteful rear-end and was the cause of my victory in a few of the expert trials.



ALL of this typing and I have yet to get to the worst part of the game: the final chapter. An endless platinum trophy 'WHAT THE HELL IS GOING ON!?' endurance marathon. I am not kidding here when I say that, in-between the penultimate and final chapter, a BRIEF still-image montage plays that helpfully informed me the apocalypse had occurred and the end was nigh. The world was in chaos, Steve Blum had put on his EVIL "muhahahaha" voice, complete with choice 1D villain narration, and off I went to some sort of anime gone wrong quasi-physical temple of tedious trials that refused to end. Now, the game was an unfinished type of bad before that point where wars ended off-screen, scenes seemed missing and I never had a reason to care or understand 'L'cie' and 'Agito' (I understood 'L'cie' only due to FFXIII), or give a toss about any characters other than the arousing-bitchy anti-social whip and scythe girls that excited me greatly. There was a war, summons of mass destruction, and many robots/dragons died. It was uninspiring and consisted of terrible story-telling / no actual story, but at least it was semi-comprehensible: war; people die; school girls; rolling pantsu. But there are no words to describe the abrupt charge into nonsensical lala land it ended with. I can not even describe it. It was a form of mental torture equivalent to my balls being placed in a vice and it getting tighter and tighter. By the point I reached the final level 99 boss and he one-shot my characters, before they revived, became invincible and won via the power of love, my mouth was open in a awe. Yakuza 4's 40-minute "keyodai" scenes had a similar effect on me, for sure, but never before have I seen story-telling so hopelessly borked before. It is almost like the writers were trying to be unconventional and create a new form of art that makes sense the less of a grasp on reality one has.

In summary, this is one of the worst games I have completed. Ever. When I was busy using a turret on an airship to kill dragons, only then did it hit me what the series has become: everything and nothing. Only platinum trophy obsession kept me playing it as I attempted to grow to like it. Instead, I just frowned more. Holding the attack button as the screen becomes a blurry haze has a certain chaotic charm to it, as does timing attacks to one-shot kill. The music is mostly very good, also... although over-the-top / out of place on mission days at school and distracting. But the world is so lifeless and the story / characters so painfully inept that it undermines even the primitive fun of fighting palette swaps of the same enemies... or just outright the same enemies, over and over. The missions can last for 40+ minutes each, and all but chapter 5 (and the hell that was ch8) were so uninspired they had you just run through the same corridors and fight the same enemies. And when you are not experiencing the joys of battle tedium, you are running around a grand total of ten or so screens at school in an attempt to waste both in-game and real-time. Even if the story made SLIGHTY more sense in NG+, who in their right mind would go through something like this again!? NO to the NG+ expert trials, NO to the game and NO to Square Enix. They just CAN NOT create a decent story anymore. Or even a single relatable character. I am done with them. No more. Rather than sell FFXV's button holding fujoshi bait to me, it has made me even more wary of the series.

A core theme Type-0 beat me over the head with repeatedly was how its characters had the memories of those that died automatically erased. It is a pity breaking my disc would not result in removal of Type-0's existence from my brain. Instead, I will be trading it in to Amazon as soon as possible. And I wager many others will be doing the same in the coming weeks.



Note to self: when you hear a man that has put on comical Japanese, Russian, Spanish AND Australian accents using his evil voice in the trailer, STAY AWAY. Lesson learned.

Note #2: My equally pleased Type-0 co-playing comrade, Fabio, inspired my title choice. My inspiration for the review itself, however, was purely an affection for walls of text.
Posted by AironicallyHuman | Apr 2, 2015 8:46 PM | 2 comments
March 29th, 2015


Text Version: (image cuts off at the end)


Review Comments: (thanks!)


-----------

I was fully intending to come on tonight in order to update my Aldnoah 'review' (/Gary Inahoe = CYBORG, fyi). I had already edited the disclaimer at the top (the image below is week old; last I checked, the stats being 167/427... after -40) to say I would be updating it SHORTLY after completion. But I noticed a few hours ago it had been deleted, and a generic moderator private message awaited confirming it. Joy.

I WAS going to do it yesterday (although I thought it ended today...), but then I noticed almost immediately after completion my social experiment of sorts had finally borne fruit: 40ish down-votes in ONE DAY, because - I assume - no-one on this site can read, saw 10/10 when everyone else was 4/10ing post-completion, and that was that. It pissed me off, as you might expect. So, I waited a day. Then the double-whammy of deletion. My motivation dropped to zero, there and then. I could just re-post it, yeah, but considering that most people on MAL vote before reading, don't read anything longer than a few sentences and/or require an 'overrated isn't bad, ok!?' moron disclaimer, fuck it. I'm sorry but the idiocy of some of the 9-10/10 art/animation Parasyte reviews that are highly rated, combined with this Aldnoah fuckery, means..... NO. Just no.

Honestly, I didn't expect anyone to enjoy reading it and see the funny side. But I got lots of messages and a half-arsed joke made people laugh. I really appreciated that people were dropping by to say they got a giggle out of it. So, even though originally I wasn't going to update it heavily, if at all, as I watched the series I kept making notes for later use. I was going to expand on the Gary Inahoe / Terminator light trolling, whilst covering S2 itself by doing a section on 'Blame Tryhard' / Slaine. I'll post the notes just so they don't go to complete waste, as random and retarded as they mostly are. Who knows: some I might have actually used! Shame I didn't add more for the last few eps...

Anyway, thanks again for the +1's and comments. Sorry about not finishing. Just know I would have, had a moderator not been so quick on the trigger finger. GIVE ME A WEEK, AT LEAST!... anyway, 'enjoy'!

---------------

NOTES:
-- Like Gary did with his x55455455454 zoom, the writers looked up at the moon for inspiration.

-- Inahoe's characterisation = Arnie / Rei without tits. Superior to Shinji Ikari. Fans thought Inahoe underpowered / writers understood OP concerns / needed Geass power-up. Inahoe has brain damage; Battle Royale. Inahoe, using his internal hard-drive, knew Count Mazuurick would assist him in his quest through time. Inahoe can act as a navigational computer and take control of army all at once; WIN BUTTON. His Engrish theme song so kewl I dance to it; hip thrust in-sync.

-- Slaine/Blame Tryhard was driven corrupted power mad by NTR. This is why it's logical to get help to save someone, who'd just been shot by that same person. I feel empathy for someone that stalked a bitch, only to be rejected. WHO IS THIS CHARACTER? What you should be asking is WHO ARE YOU, since only in darkness does one find himself. Was headless chicken

-- Urobuchi = Shakesphere / Sawano = Horner with Engrish lyrics. In spite of Urobuchi desperate to escape assumption he kills every character he creates and/or leaves them in despair, he's the Japanese Nietzsche. Zero = Inahoe origin, rather than FateZero nod/Urobutcher

-- Aldonah takes the intrigue out of the political, making it accessible for modern cliffhanger every episode audiences. It also takes the human out of the character so as to have otakus better relate.

-- Tactical genius: more than one boss enemy at once; Evangelion +1; superior to LotGH's flanking genius + Code Geass chess

-- Everyone expected how cliffhanger would be continued; like meteor coming to end all life on Earth + Bruce Willis. Not a cliffhanger if already fell down the cliff then climb back up; GENIUS OF IT. Like Batman after back break; HE RISES

-- POWER OF SCIENCE; water healing powa; HOLY WATER. I'm positive there are a handful examples of people getting shoot in head point blank and not being vegetables

-- True art is repetition; NOT STAGNATION. If Gundam didn't exist, it would be original. Japanese originality. Cockpit name screaming very excite. Second/third coming of Code Geass. Geass R2 proved progression is regression. Disgusted that average lower than 9/10 / R2.

-- Mecha genre narrow; Code Geass good 'cause of Death Note rather than robots; Guilty Crown SAWANO / Gundam remakes.

-- Magic robots weaknesses like video games

- Princess Moe necklace memory INSTANT RECOVER. Dumb bitch wants peace when her people will suffer.
Posted by AironicallyHuman | Mar 29, 2015 5:28 PM | 1 comments