Monday, 28 July 2014

First Impressions: Project Spark

Well... who didn't hear of Project Spark, the game that got a lot of hate at E3 (admittedly not as much as Ubisoft's laziness but I'm not going to go into that one). Rare fans were furious with Project Spark, and admittedly for good reason. But before I go into why, lets talk about the rest of the game first.

So what's in Project Spark... I don't know and the developers don't now much either. Its a "Game maker" game, all its content is player created. Imagine Microsoft's Little Big Planet and you have this in a nutshell. Players would be able to create and share content online for other player is use; whether that be to play around in or tinker with. Its a tested concept that does work for games as more and more players want to ease into games development and games like Project Spark help them to do that from a young age. Aesthetic wise, the game looks good. It uses a art style that works well with the amount of assets players can use to make their maps, something that's very hard to do because of how many different assets are in the game. It takes a lot of skill to make medieval assets, futuristic assets and steam punk assets to look good using the same art style (just to name a few that I've seen/ guessing will be in the game.

And now to the controversy behind Project Spark, the elephant in the room. The inclusion of Conker. Conker first appeared in the original Diddy Kong Racing (I'm not sure he was in the remake, because of legal issues) and has appeared in two games of his own. Conker's Bad Fur Day and Conker: Live and Reloaded, a remake of the original. Looks can be deceiving with character as he is probably the least qualified cartoon character to be in a kids game. He has a Alcohol issue, Bad Fur Day had a lot of... humor targeted to a specific demographic (take South Park for example but not as smart and multiply it to get Bad Fur Day. Don't believe me, look up The Great Mighty Poo, you can't miss it). Conker, when he became his own stand alone character, was never intended to be in a kids game. Fans of Rare's work were furious because it would mean that, to them, they would never get a new Conker game similar to the first one and its remake because the character will never be the same again. Personally, I think they might be able to pull it off but the game will get a lot of hate from parents (because the last two didn't...) because of the style of writing the series uses. The question will be, would the ends justify the means for the game. As for Project Spark, I'm going to keep my eye on it and I may review it someday because it is getting a PC release (on windows 8...). It will be time for a change of pace with Sonic Boom next.

Friday, 25 July 2014

Top 10: Disney villain songs

Note: There are sources that put "Love is a Open Door" as a villain song, I personally don't classify it as one so I put it on the last list. Its really down to personal opinion though.

Whats a good hero without a good villain? And in terms of Disney, what's a good villain without a good villain song? You know of the types of songs I'm talking about, these are the songs that praise the villain for being a villain, making look evil and yet amazing. These are normally the songs we know and remember and its for that reason why they get their own list. The rules from the last Disney list still apply, so lets see who's the baddie who can put out the best tune.

10. The Imperial March (Star wars):

If I don't get Star wars fans yelling at me, then I may or may not be doing my job properly... with that said, there is only one reason why this is so low on this list, if said reason wasn't a issue, this would have been number 1. So why 10? because while Disney did buy Lucas-arts and now owns Star wars, I still don't count it as a Disney IP. I love this theme and I love the films, and of this was a "best villain songs it would be higher. The theme itself is great, its melody is one that will never leave you, no matter how hard you try, and its the perfect theme for Lord Vader.

9: Pink Elephants on Parade (Dumbo):

I should note, one of the reasons why I'm doing these posts is because I herd about Disney's newest movie concept and I'm dreading the final product (never forget Skidds and Mudflap...). This song creeped me out when I was younger, and still kinda does but not to the same level (more unsettled rather then creeped out), not because of the music, though it does help, but instead its the visuals that turn this into something that borderline's nightmare fuel. The use of powerful instruments that match whats happening on the screen combined with the mindf*&^ that is the visuals on screen are the main reasons why I still get disturbed by this song. Don't do drugs kids, because the Pink Elephants are on parade.

8: Friends on the Other Side (The Princess and the Frog):

 Like Tangled, I haven't seen Princess and the Frog so don't expect me to be able to tell you exactly what's happening in this one. While it is sad to see Disney's 2D animation studio gone because of the mediocre success of this movie, according to other critiques, I'm at least glad that Friends on the Other Side was the villain song that saw the studio out. This looks beautiful and its visuals like this that you won't be able to find in 3D animation, it just wouldn't look the same. Doctor Facilier is a gem to watch in this as well, you can tell that anyone involved with that number loved doing this song. Adding to the fact that its a shame Disney is no longer making this style of films and if you don't like the film or his service, you can blame his friends on the other side.

7: Shiver my Timbers (Muppet's Treasure Island):

Yes, The Muppet's are n this list, and for good reason. Shiver my Timbers is a great opening song for a pirate themed story and while I don't like the fact that the credits are blocking the good cinematography in portions of the video, the song itself is still great. The use of the creatures in the world to do the singing is a nice Muppet touch, the lyrics and instrumental's get you excited to see a pirate adventure. I'm not going to critique the movie itself (yet...) I would see it if only for that opening.

6: Oggie Boogie song (The Nightmare before Christmas):

How's this for a contrast? Oggie Boggie's song is a huge contrast from other songs in The Nightmare Before Christmas (because Jack does most of the singing). While most of the songs are much softer, Oggie Boogie's is bombastic and has a personality to back it up. The shifts between Oggie Boogy and Santa Clause, the glow in the dark lighting everywhere in the scene, its just a joy to watch. There are reasons why villain songs are generally the most remembered songs in any musical, and its songs like this that are why.

5: Gaston and The Mob Song (Beauty and the Beast):

This is the official villain song for Beauty and the Beast, but for me, it really isn't, The song's comical. I find it funny because while it's praising the villain, it's also mocking the villain. Its still a nice song, the instrumental matches what's happening on the screen, the performers are great, the animation is charming. Its good, but to me it isn't the villain song.

To me, this is the villain song. You have to admire the french and their mobs, weather its humans of furniture. Like any good villain song, its powerful: powerful instruments, powerful vocals, dark animation all building up to the finale of the film. The mob song is my favorite song from the film for these reasons.

4: Poor Unfortunate Souls (The Little Mermaid):

I can't be the only one who get's a "snake charmer" vibe from this? can I? Ursula can't sing (well... in comparison to the other entries) but her voice works so well for this song and it helped slow down the aging for this song. With Under the sea and Part of their world, if you listen close enough, you can hear the limitations of the equipment they used in the production of the film, especially if you hear them in the DVD/ Blu-Ray re release. You can't really do that here. Even today the audio is clear and clean. The animation is beautiful in this and helps with that snake charmer theme that I mentioned earlier.

3: Be Prepared (The Lion King):

First: "What Nazi symbolism?"
Generic joke aside, should it come as a surprise that I love the Lion King? (encase it getting the number 1 spot on the last list). I love I just can't wait to be king, Can you feel the love tonight but in particular, I love Be prepared. I love the way it looks, I love the instrumentals and I love the lyrics... So why isn't it higher up? Because Jeremy Irons isn't actually singing, but more "talking in tune" for most of the song.

2: Hellfire (Hunchback of Notre Dame):


Why is it the Gypsies in the film sing something more religious then the priest, who sings about lust... moving on...
Hellfire has all the pluses for me when it comes to a powerful song. Powerful instrumental, beautiful yet powerful visuals (the use of shadows, the red cloaks, the use of the fire), strong lyrics and a strong singer (watch the video, it explains itself), even a pseudo Latin choir (listen closely and you'll hear it). Remember when I said that Hunchback of Notre Dame got darker the further into the film you got... this is the case in point. People often have this as their number one, but I think there's one better...

Before I talk about the number 1 song. I'm going to do a 5 honorable mentions. I'm not going to talk about these, just include the videos. These also aren't in any order


5. Curella de Vil (101 Dalmations)

4. Mother knows best (Tangled)



3. Prince Ali (Aladdin)

2. My Lullaby (The Lion King II: Simba's Pride)

1. The elegant Captain Hook (Peter Pan)


And my number 1 best villain song...

1: Savages (Pocahontas):

 Another song that has a message that is, while not as pronounced, still relevant to this day. The true villain in Pocahontas isn't the Ratchiffe, but the human fear of the unknown and this song is the perfect example of it. Notice how both sides are singing the same song, using the same language, the same terms to describe the other side, then when you throw in Pocahontas's part of the song and you get something to rival the songs in Les Miserables. Pocahontas isn't the best Disney film, by any stretch of the imagination. But it still looks beautiful, even if you just look at Savages. the use of the lighting, the imagery the instruments, its beautiful. People often say that we have to remember and acknowledge our past, so that we don't make the same mistakes, here's a reason why.

So those are my lists. If there's any that you agree with, and are there any songs that I forgot? Let me know in the comments. I'm working on another Top 10 list planned, but its not going to go live for a while so I'll keep it a surprise. Project Spark's impression is next week along with Sonic Boom. Until next week...

Wednesday, 23 July 2014

The intentional content for Blaster's Reviews

As a slight extension to my post the other day on Blaster's Reviews, I want to briefly explain what is going to become a constant type of post here and how I'm going to structure them. If you don't want to read it, then by all means don't, I'm not forcing you to do so (even though this is also on Blaster's Reviews... hehehe...). But if you do, then feel free to yell at me when I don't meet these in a post going forward and I'll either remake the post or explain why i can't/ couldn't. With that underway

The reviews: The reason why this site is called "Blaster's Reviews". As I said in the very first post of this site, I'm going to review whatever I think I can, whether that be games, TV shows, movies ect. I will always be open to suggestions and I will get to any requests as soon as I can (bare in mind, some might take longer then others if i don't have the material in some way shape or form and can't find a way of reviewing it (for example, I'm not going to review a game until I can play it on its intended console, I'm also not going to review movies while they're at the cinema due to how I write the reviews). I keep a list of reviews that i'm going to do and the order I'm going to release them and any requests will get added to that list. The way I review content is that I have a series of dot points that I add to as a watch/ play, then I structure a review around that and any issues I find, I try and come up with a way to fix that or I leave it up to interpretation. I always review something within its entirety story wise. For a game, I'll review the main campaign and (something I'm going to do from now on) mention any post game content that isn't apart of the story or if its a new story entirely, I'll review that (or what I've gotten done up to the time of writing). I will always review a TV show by its season, as indicated by K-On and the Transformers Marathon. As for movies, I will review movies as a stand alone product but will look at how it fits in with the other films continuing that plot.

The impressions: These are literally just going to be my thoughts as a consumer, not as a reviewer. I'm not going to look at a product like Pokemon Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire as a reviewer until I have my hands on the product released to the public. If I do a impression of something, then don't be surprised if my review says something completely different to the impression. Aside from the E3 impressions, don't expect these to come out at set times, it really just depends on releases and what catches my interest (in most cases), but I will do impressions on topics that I get enough requests for, though they might not have a lot of content in them.

The rants and opinion pieces: There isn't much distinguishing the difference between these. Opinion pieces like the conclusion to the Transformers Marathon are when I've put thought into how something is done whereas a rant is me expressing my views on a particular, current affair concerning the content I review. As with the impressions, don't expect these often but I'm willing to take requests (just assume that I take requests for anything in this post)

Top (Insert number here) lists: I hopefully shouldn't have to explain these.

Just a small thing, what the intentional content on this site is

As a slight extension to my post the other day, I want to briefly explain what is going to become a constant type of post here and how I'm going to structure them. If you don't want to read it, then by all means don't, I'm not forcing you to do so (even though this will also go onto Blaster's Projects... hehehe...). But if you do, then feel free to yell at me when I don't meet these in a post going forward and I'll either remake the post or explain why i can't/ couldn't. With that underway

The reviews: The reason why this site is called "Blaster's Reviews". As I said in the very first post of this site, I'm going to review whatever I think I can, whether that be games, TV shows, movies ect. I will always be open to suggestions and I will get to any requests as soon as I can (bare in mind, some might take longer then others if i don't have the material in some way shape or form and can't find a way of reviewing it (for example, I'm not going to review a game until I can play it on its intended console, I'm also not going to review movies while they're at the cinema due to how I write the reviews). I keep a list of reviews that i'm going to do and the order I'm going to release them and any requests will get added to that list. The way I review content is that I have a series of dot points that I add to as a watch/ play, then I structure a review around that and any issues I find, I try and come up with a way to fix that or I leave it up to interpretation. I always review something within its entirety story wise. For a game, I'll review the main campaign and (something I'm going to do from now on) mention any post game content that isn't apart of the story or if its a new story entirely, I'll review that (or what I've gotten done up to the time of writing). I will always review a TV show by its season, as indicated by K-On and the Transformers Marathon. As for movies, I will review movies as a stand alone product but will look at how it fits in with the other films continuing that plot.

The impressions: These are literally just going to be my thoughts as a consumer, not as a reviewer. I'm not going to look at a product like Pokemon Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire as a reviewer until I have my hands on the product released to the public. If I do a impression of something, then don't be surprised if my review says something completely different to the impression. Aside from the E3 impressions, don't expect these to come out at set times, it really just depends on releases and what catches my interest (in most cases), but I will do impressions on topics that I get enough requests for, though they might not have a lot of content in them.

The rants and opinion pieces: There isn't much distinguishing the difference between these. Opinion pieces like the conclusion to the Transformers Marathon are when I've put thought into how something is done whereas a rant is me expressing my views on a particular, current affair concerning the content I review. As with the impressions, don't expect these often but I'm willing to take requests (just assume that I take requests for anything in this post)

Top (Insert number here) lists: I hopefully shouldn't have to explain these.

Tuesday, 22 July 2014

First Impressions: Fable Legends

Is it just me, or is the 4v1 style of multiplayer becoming more and more common now?

Fable Legends was one of the few titles shown off at Microsoft's E3 conference this year that I hadn't seen before and caught my interest. Its a 4v1 online multiplayer RPG, by the looks of it, where its four heroes trying to get through a story while a villain tries to stop them. Simple enough. The 4 heroes seem to play out like a usual Western RPG's heroes, build up your skills, unlock new weapons ect. The villain on the other hand has the power to summon creatures and place them around a tower defense like map in order to stop the heroes from collecting the treasure at the end of the map. I haven't played a Fable game before and I only have a bit of experience in Western RPG's in general, but the game itself looks interesting to play and I only wish it was coming out for PC. As f the time of writing, Lionhead Studios haven't stated that this will come out on any other console and judging by what I know of the Fable series, it isn't coming out on any other consoles. Now before you start saying "Why don't you just buy a X-Box One?" the reason is because of the following:

While I didn't like the policies Microsoft was planning on doing with the X-Box One, I would be ok with buying a X-Box One if they had stuck with their policies, as stupid as they were. I praise risk takers when the risk is a concept and only truly judge said risk by the final product. Because Microsoft got rid of all these policies in the form of a Day 1 patch, it tells me that they didn't have a lot of faith in the ideas and makes me wonder why they were going to do it in the first place. On top of that, I haven't seen a lot of first party X-Box One games I'm genuinely interested in. I'm not buying a console for three games, its not worth it. I want to do reviews on a more serious level someday and when I can, I probably will go out and buy more consoles so that I can review more content, I just can't do that at this point in time.

I'll be posting another Top 10 list latter this week along with a post relating to the structure of the content i'll be doing on a regular basis, which means that I probably won't get to the impression of Project Spark this week, expect that one next week.

Friday, 18 July 2014

Top 10 list: Favorite Disney songs.



Foreward: I've postponed Fable Legends to next week, have a Top 10 list as a filler with another one next week

This is one of the few times I’m going to say something around these lines: If you haven’t seen a Disney movie in your life then not only do you have to get out from whatever mountain you’ve been under and you have no childhood. This topic is one of the easiest and most common Top Ten lists on the internet and for good reason. I was going to do this anyway but after hearing about what Disney is currently working on, I thought I’d do it now. This is actually two separate lists as I’m going to be doing a list for the villain songs. There is only one rule for this list: 1. No single movie can have two positions on this list. With that said, time to look at these pieces of music from the perspective of my personal enjoyment of the song and their role in the story.

10.
Love is a Open Door and Beware the Frozen Heart (Frozen):


 Aside from the fact that I know someone who will never let me hear the end of it if I don't have a Frozen song on this list, the other reason why I put these here is because of their roles in Frozen ( in regards to Love is a Open Door). As I said in my review of Frozen, Let it go is still a good song but there are other songs in the film. For Love is a Open Door, using any form of judgement for music, its awful. The instrumental doesn't match the theme of the song, the singers aren't in sync, the lyrics are forgetful, and yet it has a more important role in the film then Let it go, but you wouldn't know it the first time you see the film until the reveal of the villain, Hans and its for that reason why I put it here.
As for Beware the Frozen Heart? Listen to this clip and see why I put it on this list.

Its the same type of song isn't it, the only difference is that you don't need to understand the world of Frozen to know what the people are saying in Beware the Frozen Heart, but the lyrics in Dragonborn are in the game's language, so to understand what they're saying (assuming you want to), you would have to play the game and understand the language (and that's assuming the song makes sense when you translate it). So yes, the whole reason why Beware the Frozen Heart is here is because it reminds me of Dragonborn (I still maintain that the scene where its in could be cut out of the movie but that's just me).

9. Tell Everybody I'm on my way (Brother Bear): 


I don't hear a lot of praise for Brother Bear and to be honest, I'm not sure why, its a fine movie (saying this as a general viewer, not a reviewer). The story is nice, the visuals are gorgeous and the characters are memorable. As for the song itself, while I'm not a fan of Koda's singing, when it cuts to Phil Collins portion of the song, I absolutely love it. Phil Collins does a lot of iconic Disney songs so don't be surprised if he appears more then once on this list. Like Beware the Frozen Heart, this is here because I enjoy it more so then its role in the film.

8. Under the Sea and Part of Their World (The Little Mermaid): 


These two are in a similar position to the two Frozen songs, in the way of I'd never hear the end of it if I don't include at least a song from The Little Mermaid. But Unlike Frozen, The Little Mermaid was going to be on the list because of Under the Sea in particular (Part of Their World came after). I like songs that cheer me up in some way, shape or form and Under the Sea does this beautifully... kinda. The reason why I put Under the Sea so low is because I don't love the original song, but a particular remix of it

 There isn't that much of a difference between the two of them, its just a slightly faster pace and a slightly higher vocal track that makes this version better then the original in my personal opinion. Now there isn't anything wrong with the original version, its just that the original track tends to show its age whereas this one is more of a update then a remix. The picture in this is also beautiful in my opinion and the animation is still great for the original film.


I also have the same problem with Part of Their world, The Little Mermaid is a old film and things like a Blu-Ray release show this off and make the film worse in comparison (it was released in 1989 so while it might not be as old as other films, it isn't exactly the newest film either). As for the song itself, people tend to think of this as the song that started the trend of the Disney Princesses wanting "more" but not knowing what more is. It was brought up in a video I watched that, realistically, this isn't the case because Ariel does know what she wants. Ariel is one of the smartest Disney Princesses because, when you think about it, she is, by the dictionary term, a scientist "a person who studies or practices any of the sciences or who uses scientific methods". She wants to know more about the human race, see what all the items she has found over the years actually do and what they're used for and I think its for that reason why she went along with Ursala's deal more so then Eric.

7. One Jump Ahead (Aladdin):  

You ain't getting this song out of your head for a while, while this isn't as catchy as Ducktales (dammit, now I have that stuck in my head again...) it still has a theme to it that won't leave. Its a great number in Aladdin as it establishes the character perfectly. The animation for it is also hilarious to watch and is perfectly in sync with the instrumental for the song. I think that the vocal track could be a bit louder (at least in this version, I don't know where this comes from (in terms of which version of the film)) but apart from that, you just have to stay one jump ahead.

6. Two Worlds (Tarzan): 

Another great way to open up a film as it's a great example of showing, not telling. Again. love Phil Collin's work in Disney and combining it with this from Tarzan, it establishes why the character is the way he is without a single line of dialogue from the characters. The way it shifts between the human family and the gorilla family is beautiful to watch and as a result, its hard to say why exactly but if you watch the clip above, you'll see why.

5. God Help the Outcasts (Hunchback of Notre Dame): 

 
Not only would I say that this song still holds relevance to this day and possibly for several years to come, but I'll also go so far to say that this is probably the darkest song Disney has put out when you take into consideration the rest of The Hunchback of Notre Dame. Its a glimmer of hope and light in a story that only gets darker and more depressing up until the very end. It's a type of dark writing that's very rarely seen in any form of writing in this day and age because of how hard it is to get right, and if you have seen Hunchback of Notre Dame, then you'll know that they get this done perfectly. The vocals are absolutely beautiful with a beautiful instrumental to back it. I actually get a bit teary when I see and hear this song and I'm not religious by any stretch of the imagination, its that good at telling its message.

4. I've Got a Dream (Tangled):


Time for a mood swing, because I need something to cheer me up after number 5. I'm going to say right now: No, I haven't seen Tangled at the time of writing this. Like Frozen, it didn't catch my interest when it was first teased. I do intend to give it a look now after seeing this song. We've all seen the "merry band of misfits" gag before (just look at Shrek for a example) and yet this one seems to be the best, to me at least (not including the rest of the story) because it seems to be done with pure intentions instead of for the joke in Shrek. Rapunzel is adorable in this song and the song itself is just funny to watch, especially when (for this clip) it gets to, who I want to say is, Flynn Rider's part. Pause the video at 2:15, you should see him surrounded by swords, its at that moment when he realizes that he's in a Disney movie. Its just funny to watch and has made me want to see Tangled now, just to find out if the rest of the film does this style of humor as well.

3. This is Halloween (The Nightmare Before Christmas): 


From depressing, to hilarious, to creepy mindf&^%... I swear this wasn't intentional... Like Tangled, I haven't seen Nightmare Before Christmas, but I have a better excuse for finding this then finding a random Youtube video. I'm a fan of Kingdom Hearts and the main theme for the Nightmare Before Christmas's world is a instrumental of This is Halloween...Then it was a random Nightcore of the song before the original. The particular Nightcore is this one here, though it doesn't achieve the same effect as original.


As for the song itself, if your noticing a pattern with some of these songs its because I think the opening number for a musical must always be one of your best as its how you get your audience's attention, thats why there are a few opening numbers here. This is Halloween is a perfect showcase of the theme of the world the story revolves around and its for that reason why i like it, aside from the good, while creepy visuals. Don't let the bed bugs bite...

2. I'll Make a Man out of You (Mulan): (mention Honour to us all)

Another case of "its catchy, thats it". I love the instrumental track, the vocals work perfectly, it matches whats happening on the screen perfectly. Its just a great song in general. People sometimes combine I'll Make a Man out of You and Honour to us all as one point on their lists as they are very similar. Honour to us all focuses on the role of women in Feudal China while I'll Make a Man out of You focuses on the role of men in Feudal China and while I will agree with this view, I'll Make a Man out of You, to me at least, is just a bit better as I like its instrumental more then Honour to us all. Its the same issue that I have with Lesson Number One in the film's sequel, which I why I didn't include either of them here. A instrumental can make a song or break it for me.

1. I Just Can't Wait to be King (The Lion King): 

Do I need to explain this one? HAVE YOU NOT SEEN THE LION KING? If you look at this song and compare it to the rest of the list, you'll see why I've put it at number 1.

That's it for my list, any that you agree with, any that you hate or loath the decision? Let me know. The next Top 10 list, time to give the villain's their role in the spotlight.

Tuesday, 15 July 2014

First Impressions: Splatoon. Did Nintendo make a new IP?

This is probably going to be the shortest impression here, the reason for this is, like Hyrule Warriors, i'm not keeping up with the news on Splatoon so that i can be surprised. Before I go on though, i'm just going to say these

  1. No, I don't intend to do a updated impressions on Smash 4 after the release of the trailer last night. I'll save it for when I do the review. You'll have to wait for my opinions on Lucina, Robin and Captain Falcon's trailer.
  2. No, I'm not going to do a new impressions on Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire after its new trailer and Corocoro leaks because I wrote the last one this time last week. You'll have to wait for my thoughts on Mega Metagross and cosplaying Pikachu's (watch the trailer for that one...)
With that out of the way, Splatoon.
From what I've gathered so far of Splatoon, if you've played Team Fortress 2, then you'll feel right at home here (minus control) as its a similar style of shooter (except I think Splatoon is third person instead of first, don't quote me on that one though). The purpose of the game is for your team to cover as much of the arena as possible with your colour ink. You move faster if your in your own colour ink and slower if your in another colour. The way you move faster is by turning into a squid (I swear, I'm not making this up) and in your squid form, you can travel faster, warp from one point to another assuming its covered in your ink, jump higher ect. In your human/ anthropomorphic squid form (still not making this up) you can shoot in using a variety of weapons like a water pistol or a giant roller brush. To say that this is insane is a understatement but seeing as its being tailored for a party game, I don't care, it looks fun. That being said, i'm not going to pay full price for this as I do believe its going to be Multiplayer only so i may or may not do a review on this, it depends on what its going to cost when it comes out here. Up next, contrary to belief I do play other consoles so next is Fable Legends.

Thursday, 10 July 2014

First Impressions: Hyrule Warriors

This is a game that was shown off last year that caught my attention. I've never played a Dynasty Warrior games, in fact, I never heard of the franchise until last year. So aside from Legend of Zelda characters, why am I excited for it?



For the people who don't know, the Dynasty Warrior franchise is a tactical RPG. You have to capture areas of the map as one of many character to build up more troops to take more areas. Sounds simple enough? But one character against armies, thousands of enemies at once doesn't sound fair right? That might be the case... if you didn't mow down hundreds of those same enemies with a sword strike. The main characters in this style of gameplay are brutally overpowered, and that's fun to me. There's something satisfying about mowing down armies with basic gear and to see this style used in a Legend of Zelda game looks great.

So what do we know about Hyrule Warriors? We know the playable characters along with most of their new design:

Link design wise is very similar to his Twilight Princess/ Skyward Sword design but now has a nice scarf and a bit of extra armor


Impa: again, very similar to Skyward Sword (young Impa...), extra armor and a GIANT SWORD!!!



Queen Zelda: no, your eyes aren't deceiving you, I did say Queen Zelda, not princess. I can't describe a example of what she looks closest. Just look at the photo. She wields a rapier sword along with her signature Light arrows and Bow.

Midna: The Twilight princess is also playable. Imagine playing as Wolf Link again with even more power and access to weapons like he Hookshot.

Lana: A character designed for Hyrule Warriors, and is a white mage. Specializing in magic.

Agitha: If Sakurai can make a moveset for Pac man, then apparently you can make a moveset for a bug lover...

Fi from Skyward Sword is also playable but I've yet to see her in the game so it might be false

I'm not going to go into the villains as I don't want to spoil myself with the details (go here for information http://zeldawiki.org/Hyrule_Warriors), but the reason why I like the look of the game play.




The video above is a presentation done by Nintendo during E3 on Hyrule Warriors and the game itself looks great to play (I can't stress this enough). I've yet to see a Zelda game (or a game period) where the way to knock a dragon out of the sky IS TO RIP THE MOON FROM MAJORA'S MASK OUT OF THE SKY AND SLAM IT INTO THE DRAGON!!! That's awesome. While I don't have a WiiU yet (soon...), the moment I do get a WiiU, I'm getting this along with Smash 4 (and other games...). I like mindless fun every now and then and being able to mow through thousands of enemies because your overpowered is fun. Do I play these types of games often? No, but do I love playing them? Absolutely. I hope you like ink because next is Splatoon.

Tuesday, 8 July 2014

More rants: The future of the R18+ rating

Well, this isn't something I thought I'd write in any way shape or form, a post about Australian Politics... I don't like it either and I won't be making this a common type of subject like my reviews, impressions and rant/ opinion pieces, only if it still relates to the content I review on this site in some way shape or form. I'm also making this point here and now, the content of this post is going to be for mature readers as I will be expressing a lot of harsh opinions, nothing I say here is going to be aimed at any one person but a group as a whole and while I will be using Australian terms here (no, not "Australian Slang"), aspects of this can be used in any other country with similar issues.

For people both inside and outside Australia (assuming you have no idea about this country's classification system) the R18+ rating is one of the highest ratings in the Australian Classification system, our version of the ESRB for example. For any form of audio visual entertainment (including cinema, pieces of still art, video games ect) a grading system is put in place to provide a basic idea as to the content said piece of audio visual entertainment may or may not contain and a recommended age barrier to stop kids from viewing things they shouldn't be viewing at their age. The rating goes as follows:

  1. E (Exempt from classification): Generally on educational material and artistic pieces as they don't need to go through the Classification beau before they can be given to the public in some way, shape or form.
  2. G (General): In a nutshell, its for all ages. Any person can see this as it is intended for young kids
  3. PG (Parental Guidance): This is for material that kids would be better off seeing it with some sort of parental figure as it might have content that said parental figure has to explain.
  4. M (Mature): Recommended for a mature audience, need I say more?
  5. MA 15+ (Mature audience fifteen and older): Not only should you be mature, but you should also be older then 15 to view this material.
  6. R 18+ (Restricted to people eighteen and older): In Australia, 18 years old is the age where you are, according to the law, an adult and have access to adult privileges such as drinking alcohol (assuming you haven't before hand...), go to night clubs and get these types of material. people working at the checkouts of stores like EB games or JB Hifi, under law, cannot and will not sell R18+ games, movies and TV shows to kids (make note of this).
  7. X 18+: Pornographic material get this, nothing else
  8. RC (Refused classification): "IT AIN'T GETTING IN THE COUNTRY UNLESS IT'S CENSORED"
One final piece of backstory you should get about the following issue is this: Any change to the classification system must be a unanimous decision by all the representatives of each of the states of Australia.

So whats the issue? The article is here http://www.polygon.com/2014/6/27/5849098/western-australian-commitee-wants-r18-video-games-banned-in-the-state but i'll provide the basic synopsis of the issue.
"The Western Australian Joint Standing Committee on the Commissioner for Children and Young People recommends in its Sexualisation of Children report that the Classification Enforcement Act should "prohibit the sale, supply, demonstration, possession or advertisement" of R18+ video games in the state." the English version of this statement is that they want to ban R18+ games from being sold or shown in that state along with limiting the showing of sexually explicit music videos. As for games, the R18+ rating for games was released to the public the first day of 2013, we've only had this for a year.

So why am I, a reviewer in Victoria, a state on the other side of the country taking this as a issue? The reason being is because, as I said before, the classification and censorship of any material is a national issue. The committee in Western Australia isn't going to have any luck with this in the state itself simply because, its out of the states hands, they can't do much about it realistically as its a national "issue". As such, they are going to try and impose this on the other states or people in the other states are going to agree with their values and try and do the same things as they are in the other states, meaning that adults such as myself are going to suffer because they are ignoring the bigger issue at hand.

The people in this committee are, quite frankly, bad parents.
I'm not saying this to offend anyone, however, when I read articles like this, one thing stands out to me and its the reason why they're trying to pass this in the first place. "We're to lazy to parent so we're going to make everyone suffer so that we don't have to parent". So what do I mean by this statement?

Parents nowadays are using the TV, the computer, the games console, the phone and the tablet do the parenting for them, most of the time because they're to busy to parent themselves and that fine, I can respect the reasoning behind this but you have to understand that your actually doing more harm them good in the long term, and this is for every parent who does this, not just Australian parents. Because of this, and the fact that more times then not, parents don't enable the parental controls in these devices to help protect their kids (and even then, there are ways around them), children are being exposed to material they shouldn't be seeing at their age, at all. Kids shouldn't be playing Call of duty or Grand theft auto unless their parents think they are mature enough to be playing them and yet, thousands of parents are letting kids play these games even though they know they shouldn't be playing them. Parents should say "no" to their kids when it comes to these things, you wouldn't let your child watch a R18+ movie, so why would you let them play a R18+ game, or even MA15+ for that matter?

As a child, my parents didn't let me see things until they thought I was ready to see them (this included not watching the news at all while 9/11 was still making the front page of news papers). When they thought I was ready, they watched it with me and if they thought they were wrong, they stopped it. When I got into High school and I started getting games on my own, if it was something that I never was allowed to play before then, I'd tell them that "I've been playing (insert game here) for a while now and (continue conversation here)" and to them, if I was telling them about it, I was mature enough to play them and have either good or bad times with them. While its ok to let a child explore things at their own pace, you still have to usher them in the right way, share experiences with them and they should, in time, respect you enough to let you know what was happening, that's how to be a parent, not just letting the TV on its own occupy them. You can't protect a child forever, all you can do is hope their ready to see what the world has (in some way, shape or form...).

If you agree with these, show this to others and let them see this, if you don't agree: let me know. Contrary to popular belief (for some reason) I'm open to comments. Let me know what you think of this and other posts, it actually reassures me that there are actual people reading these posts and not bots just trying to collect data of me. If I offended anyone, please be assured that it wasn't the intention of this post, that was never the intention.Will I make this a common theme, NO, I actually hated doing this as I know that this is a topic that easily offends people and I hope I never do it again. As to why I'm doing this now? The same reason why I'm doing the impressions now, I wanted to finish the Transformers Marathon. As I said earlier today, the next post is going to be Hyrule Warriors.

The actual first impressions: Pokemon Omega Ruby and Pokemon Alpha Sapphire

Yeah, this has probably been a long time coming but i wanted to finish off the Transformers Marathon before i delved into these, and seeing as I've been promising this one for longer then the others: my thoughts on Pokemon Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire, the remakes of Generation III.

Fans have been wanting these remakes since the release of Pokemon Heart Gold and Soul Silver and for a good reason. Contrary to the belief of Generation I fans, not everyone started with Pokemon Red and Blue, in fact the second major wave of fans was in Generation III, people around my age were starting to play the games for the first time. For myself, while the first game I ever played was Yellow on my cousin's Game boy (it might have been a GB Colour but i don't remember off the top of my head) when I was 5, but the first game I ever owned was Emerald version for the Game Boy Advance (GBA Wide is still the best, regardless of its lack of back light) on my 10th birthday, so yes, I started my "Pokemon journey" when I turned 10 years old. The other major reason for fans wanting the remakes is that all the regions would be either directly connected to, or need a extra step to sync it to, the Pokemon Bank. At the moment, to transfer a Pokemon from Ruby/ Sapphire or Emerald into X and Y, you would need to transfer it to a Generation IV game (Diamond, Pearl, Platinum, Heart Gold or Soul Silver), then to a Generation V game (Black, White, Black 2 or White 2) and then to the Pokemon bank to send it to X and Y. I don't know about others, but i personally hate the Gen IV-V mini game so the less I have to do that pain, the better.

I'll run through the list of what we know based on the trailers and Corocoro leaks we've gotten up till now (8th of July as of writing this, no i don't keep a large backlog at the moment...)

The Graphics and Aesthetics: Its obvious that this is running off of X and Y's engine, and seeing as this was most likely being developed at the same time as X and Y, I'm not surprised. From the screenshots that we have (thank you Serebii), it looks like the only major changes to the world is more detail in the X and Y assets, which isn't a bad thing, I liked the way X and Y looked

The character redesigns: The character designs... I'm still getting used to as a whole. I don't outright hate them, a lot of them look great. I love how Team Aqua looks now (Archie in particular looks great, but he reminds me of Riku's D-mode from Kingdom Hearts I and Chain of Memories, though that could just be me). The other members of Team Aqua look great and feel more like Pirates then they ever did in R/S/E. Team Magma on the other hand, I'm not as sold on. The grunts look fine, and Maxie has been growing on me, my issue is Courtney and Tabitha. Courtney looks like she was a Team Flare reject now whereas before, she looked like a bad ass (though that might because of how she was portrayed in the Adventures Manga, where she was a bad ass...). Tabitha on the other hand "GO ON A F&(@%^* DIET YOU FAT ASS!!! Another character that looked awesome in R/S/E, now looks like he was in Mcdonalds for 3 days and ate nothing but cheeseburgers, why?

Steven Stone: he hasn't changed (in terms of design), it is believed that he will serve as the way for the player to use Mega Evolution in the game, which I like the idea of as it fits his personality and love of stones.

Brendan and May: More characters that have been growing on me since their reveal. They look nice and admittedly, its probably my nostalgia for their Emerald designs that are holding me back from loving these new designs. They're more tamed then the redesigns Blue/Green/Leaf and Kris got in Fire Red/ Leaf green and Heart Gold/ Soul Silver respectively so i am grateful about that.

The New Mega forms and Primal Forms: (all of these are based on their abilities and design, I'm not including stats)
  • Mega Sceptile: I love how Mega Sceptile looks in this and the loss of its tail leaves during battle is a nice touch. I'm not a fan of it having Lightning rod as its ability but that's because i don't see it being used often in battles (personal opinion, don't hate me for it)
  • Mega Swampert: First: "Do you even lift bro?" (I couldn't help myself...). Design wise, slowly growing on me, its not the worst Mega form I've seen but it also isn't the best. As for its ability, I DON'T SEE HOW A BULKY THING LIKE MEGA SWAMPERT COULD MOVE FAST, REGARDLESS OF WHERE HE IS AND THE WEATHER (its Swift Swim)
  • Mega Diancie: I'm not making a opinion yet about Diancie as i haven't used its regular form so I don't know how this improves it.
  • Mega Sableye: "I wonder how long it will be until Link comes to get that Rupee" (...I'll stop now...). Design wise, it looks good when comparing it to Sableye's original design and one thing i would personally like to see with it is that the gem its holding and the eye gem colours change depending on which game your playing. Red in Omega Ruby and Blue in Alpha Sapphire. I do like the fact that it has Magic Bounce, which means that Mega Sableye could make for a viable lead pokemon if your opponent loves using Hazards.
  • Primal forms: At this point in time, I get the feeling that its a redundant form of Mega Evolution and that Mega Aerodactal will get reclassified as Primal Aerodactal.
  • Primal Groudon and Primal Kyogre: Both of them look great, I love the way they look. My big problem with these two is Primal Groudon's typing: Ground/ Fire which means that it has a 4x weakness to water, so unless Groudon gets a massive buff to its defensive stats, then Groudon won't be winning to Kyogre any time soon...
As for the new map: I love it, but i was never going to hate it. I love that the sea routes between Mossdeap, Sootopolis, Ever grande and Pasifilog look great and looks like it will have more exploration in it then the originals (less empty).
That's it for now, my impressions on all the information we have so far on Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire. I might do another if we get another substantial info dump before release but otherwise, wait for a review (as I will be getting a copy of the game, preferably at launch). The next impression latter this week: Hyrule Warriors.

Sunday, 6 July 2014

Transformers Marathon: After 30 years, how is this franchise still alive and popular?



I have one last part of the Transformers Marathon. It’s not a review this time (though I’ll need a break from those as I said in my Transformers: Prime review), it’s a editorial. One of the things that crossed my mind as I’ve been going through the franchise is this, “How has the series survived this long and is still going strong?” There were series of the franchise that I didn’t look at in this marathon, I barely scratched the surface when it comes to the games and I haven’t even looked at its other mediums including the comics and the toys themselves, and even with those, the question still stands, how did the Transformers survive the test of time?

It would be too easy for me to say that the fan base kept it alive, and as such I won’t mention it until the end of this piece. There are other elements that kept this tale alive, one of which I mentioned in my first review for this marathon. One of the reasons I think that it survived is its overall simple plot. The classic Good vs. Evil stories have been around since the creation of the story. However, as time has gone on, the classic plot has developed, very few stories nowadays have that clear distinction of good and evil, the line has been blurred as there is always another side to the story, it’s a reflection of the world today. There’s no longer a clear villain in society as everyone could have dark intentions and it’s actually because of that, the classic tales of good and evil have kept alive. People want to believe that it’s just black and white, that there’s always a clear villain, so they cling to the stories that have that clear distinction. It’s a reason why the Harry Potter books became so successful (not the only reason, just a reason) and why they would likely survive the test of time and why some reinterpretations of older stories won’t. At the same time though, the story has to have differences to the concept and the way the Transformers franchise has done this is by moral choices, the reason why the plots of the episodes are more complicated then what they seem. Do you sacrifice a world, a civilisation, a race of sentient creatures just to save yours?  Do you protect creatures you’ve never met, that are probably afraid of you and will kill you just to protect themselves and risk the safety of your own race, or do you destroy them so that your race can thrive?  When is something going too far? These and other questions kids wouldn’t pay attention to when they first see the show, its something for the parents to see and the kids to notice when they are older and can understand the concepts and the consequences of the actions. The story that has always been a part of the Transformers Lore (not including Rescue Bots...) is a story that will be told in some form for years to come, because it’s a story that everyone will hear somehow. It’s a story that will never be dated due to human nature.

Every story needs its characters and while I might not agree with the decisions made with some of them, the personalities of each of the characters are distinct and memorable, even if sometimes they were poorly written. You remember Gears, Ironhide, Wheeljack, Bumblebee, Perceptor, Cyclonus, Demolisher, Override and many more. You even remember the Human characters: Spike, Rad, Alexis, Kicker and Coby, and I’m only mentioning the humans from the seasons I’ve reviewed here. And its actually for that reason why I hate the direction the Bay films are going. While I will openly admit that I like the first one (see review for why people wouldn’t like it) but from Revenge of the Fallen onwards, this includes what I’ve heard of Age of Extinction, the characters are turning into more emotional versions of the character in a M. Night Shyamalan film, bland and boring to watch.

The cartoons have always been a promotion for the toys, and the toys have helped in the popularity of the show and the franchise as a whole. The Transformers toys have been, and always will be, the fusion of a puzzle and a action figure. As time’s gone on, the toys have developed, become more complicated, harder to transform but does more in both vehicle and robot mode while still maintaining the core design of the character (some more obvious then others). I could show you 3 different versions of the Optimus Prime figure and you would be able to tell that they were all Optimus Prime because they always keep the core features of the original (they always have a red truck transformation, the head design is always the same and when the trailer is included, the trailer always has a transformation of its own (this isn’t including his Beast wars design but some of these also apply to Optimus Primal)) Megatron would be harder to distinguish but all of his designs have been offensive (a gun, to a cannon, a tank, a fighterplane, a batmobile esque car along with a plane ect), Starscream has always been some sort of fighter plane, Red Alert and Ratchet have always been ambulances as just a few other examples but over time, they’ve become more complicated. It would take less time for anyone to transform Optimus’s Generation 1 design then it would to transform his Evasion mode from the new Age of Extinction line of toys, even though they’re the same truck. As a result, kids still love playing with the toys and they watch the show to add to the experience, to use their imagination to make new stories for the characters.

The Michael bay films might be making more money in a week then most people will ever see in their lives, but its the cartoons and the toys that will keep Transformers going. It’s the Generation 1’s, the Unicron trilogies’, the Animated’s and the Prime’s that will keep the franchise alive long after the movies have finished. On top of that, it’s the fans that have grown up with the franchise since Generation 1 exposing their kids to the newer seasons and playing with their kids’s Transformers toys that keeps the name alive. It’s the lessons it teaches with characters that you want to be. It’s been 40 years, and let’s hope it lives for 40 more, or until all are one.