Live Action Movie Reviews, Live Action Movies, Reviews

Die Hard 2 Review

This review is of the edited TV-14 version of the film. All thoughts below should be addressed as such as a review of the unedited version would be more negative.

It’s time to look at the next installment in the Die Hard series. The first Die Hard was pretty solid and I’m happy to report that the sequel is also pretty good. While it’s not quite as good as the first one I would say that it’s on a similar level. It doesn’t really make any mistakes and is strong in all areas, but it just loses the head to head against the first one each time. Basically anything that Die Hard 2 did, the first one did better. No shame in that of course, the important thing is that the sequel kept it close.

The film starts with John heading to an airport and getting ready to meet up with his wife. Her flight’s taking a while, but John is there early to be ready for it. Unfortunately he notices a few terrorists messing around in the airport. He chases them off, but it looks like this is once again going to be a big conspiracy. These terrorists are trying to free their drug dealer from one of the planes and they intend to destroy everyone if their demands are not met. John has to try and stop them before too many people die, but will he be able to?

It’s always rough for the hero in a case like this because there are just way too many hostages and civilians. It’s really not very practical for him to save everybody and yet it’s hard not to let it affect him either. There’s one scene in particular where a bunch of people die. The film tries to get you to think they have a chance at surviving initially but you just know that they won’t. It would be a little too easy even if it would have been great to see them live. John saves a ton of people ultimately but the body count is definitely very high. This is definitely a large scale attack.

Part of why the situation goes so poorly is because people don’t like John here. The cops are portrayed as being incredibly arrogant and overconfident. In particular I’m talking about the captain. Captain Lorenzo seems to have a big beef with John. I suppose he doesn’t like all the attention McClane got, but he ends up being really petty about it. Keep in mind that lives are at stake and Lorenzo just wants to compare egos and talk a good game. It rarely feels like he has anyone’s best interests at heart and by the time he starts to shape up it’s too late. He isn’t the only one mocking John as the Army Special Forces does the same thing as well.

It’s not intentionally comedic, but it does start to scratch that surface as we get back to back to back scenes of everyone yelling at John. Everyone can’t stand the fact that he is trying to warn them and make plans to stop this situation before it gets out of control. They’re all just doing their best to get in the way. Some of these characters have decent reasons while others have none art all. It’s no wonder why the villains had such an easy time having their way with everyone here.

Ah well, at least John is a solid character as always. No matter how difficult the situation gets he continues to try to save as many people as he can. John has a lot of great plans and in a fight he certainly deals out a lot of damage. He takes out a ton of fighters all by himself and is basically a one man army. He manages to keep the humor up as well which makes sense to keep his spirits up. We don’t get to have as much banter with him on the comms this time though.

The villains are fairly generic. They want a lot of money and that’s really about it. The main villain has good strategy tactics and their competence never comes into question. Ultimately they aren’t all that memorable though. They’re just your average run of the mill villain group that you would expect to see in a movie like this. At least the villains weren’t bad. The standout one was probably the guy who knew karate and fought John. They had a pretty good back and forth fight before John’s brute strength was just enough to take care of business.

The film’s main weakness here is that it sometimes makes the villains look good by making the heroes look terrible in comparison. One big scene that comes to mind is when Lorenzo sends a group of agents over to fight like 3-5 terrorists. It’s a large group but they all walk single file so they just get mowed down. Most of them don’t even react as they get shot to death. How do you just get picked off so easily like that? It made no sense and I never liked the idea of everyone running in single file. That’s definitely the quickest way to get blown up in a situation like this. Everyone who isn’t John on the hero side looks terrible.

The fights in this film are definitely handled well. They’re pretty back and forth which is good since the villains aren’t just getting one punched as if they were nobodies. These are still serious villains who have been training quite a lot so they better have some level of skill right? Die Hard 2’s pacing is good so the scenes never drag on. Even when there is no fight going on the plot is moving forward. There are no points during the movie where it feels like things have come to a halt and that’s always good.

Naturally the film can get a bit violent at times. Most of it isn’t really on screen as you just see the scenes leading up to the grisly deaths. People get sawed to pieces and meet other such fates. One guy gets fatally stabbed on screen though which was a little surprising. That’s probably the most intense scene in the film. While the writing is solid the script can also get a little tricky with everyone developing a bit of a sailor’s mouth. Fortunately the TV version is good at fixing this.

There is one subplot here with the TV reporter from last time and John’s wife. While the reporter was definitely in the wrong last time and just being exploitative, he wasn’t bad here. He was actually one of the more entertaining characters as he tried to find out the truth. He did good in sniffing out the lies that were being reported. He did end up causing some panic with his reporting, but unlike the first case where it was giving out critical intel to the villains, here he is just giving the public a heads up. You kind of feel bad for the guy when he ultimately gets zapped. At least he was doing a better job of getting the news out to people then the government cover up that was going on.

Overall, Die Hard 2 is just a very good thriller movie. We get a lot of good fights and dialogue here. The stakes stay high as the planes get closer and closer while the heroes struggle to think of what to do next. There are certainly quite a few moments where you will have to suspend disbelief though which is common for thriller films and especially terrorist related ones. It feels like the good guys just can’t do anything sometimes and they act less like professionally trained individuals and more like bots. These scenes aren’t too numerous though and either way I recommend checking this out if you want to see a good action movie. It can get a little intense for sure, but it’s handled with a good amount of quality.

Overall 7/10

7 Star Games, Game Reviews, Games, Reviews

Celeste Review


It’s time to look at an indie game that got pretty well known after it came out. It always looked pretty fun so I’m glad that I’ve now gotten to try it. The title isn’t particularly long, but it’s fairly challenging and a complete title. There are no real weaknesses here and the plot is pretty fun. It may not become the next Asdivine Hearts, but I’d definitely be down with a sequel someday.

The game follows a girl’s journey towards climbing a huge mountain called Celeste. While you have the option of re-naming the main character her given name is Madeline. She is fairly timid and figures that climbing the mountain would be a very big accomplishment. Unfortunately there are many obstacles standing in her way. Aside from the fact that the mountain is already an extremely difficult thing to climb, she will also have to contend with demons and her dark side which wants to sabotage her at every corner. Madeline can’t drop her guard, but so long as she continues to believe in herself and fights hard she should be okay.

The gameplay is like a 2D platformer but you have a few extra mechanics to keep in mind. One if the fact that you can air boost. This is incredibly handy and crucial to the levels. You can stick to walls and climb up and down. This uses up energy though and when you’re out of energy you’ll just end up falling. The goal is to get to the end of the level which is usually trying to go as high as you can. At times the exit will be blocked by a locked door and you’ll have to go around activating various items/switches in order to get through. The key here is to master the air boosting and everything else will come into place. One fun aspect of the game is that it keeps track of your deaths which is really cool. In the end I died exacting 500 times according to my post game stats. I wonder if they round it at all or if I actually did happen to die at such an even number. If so then that’s also pretty neat.

You may wonder if it’ll get tedious dying so often, but Celeste actually handles this extremely well. When you die, your re spawn has no animation. You just re-appear at the start of the section and no time is lost. It would be monumental if other games could adopt this same strategy or at least a game like Mario Maker where those seconds would add up to valuable time. Each level in Celeste is broken up into many small sections and the good part about this is that you don’t lose much time. No matter how often you die, you’ll only go back to the beginning of that mini section so it’s really not a terrible penalty at all. The developers really knew what they were doing here.

The final level is especially fun since you get to enjoy some extra power. It’s sort of like playing as Super Sonic for a level. You can really feel the difference between the characters and it’s a lot of fun. The level designs were also really great to be able to handle this without breaking. There was definitely a lot of effort put into this game, that is just evident. There are so many different kinds of platforming elements thrown in here that will challenge you every which way possible. It’s never unfair either, just tough enough to make sure you’re always paying attention. I died close to 80 times per level which speaks to the difficulty, but play the level enough and you’ll learn the patterns.

The story has some mysterious elements like Undertale, but it’s not nearly as thorough or filled with horror elements. While the game has a bit of a suspenseful air at the beginning it quickly becomes more of an emotional game. It’s going for a different feel than some of the other games. Most of the other platformers I’ve played like this one would win in terms of plot (Trine, Shantae, Shovel Knight, etc) but it still has considerably more plot than some of the mainstream platformers. I think one thing that could have helped push the story into the next level would have been a final demon of sorts. Someone that Madeline needed to conquer to really end up breaking her shell. As it stands, the final boss was handled really well though. It was definitely a tricky encounter that felt very climactic.

As for the graphics, the game looks nice. The sprites are less detailed than in others and I think it’s intentionally going for a very old school look. Most of the effort is put into the backgrounds which are definitely solid. It really gets that mountain atmosphere down pat. Celeste’s music is fairly standard. There aren’t any themes that you’ll be humming afterwards and since this isn’t really a fighting game there aren’t many big boss themes either. Still, it’s a very peaceful ost which works well in the background.

As for the length, the main campaign took me 4 hours. (Pretty much on the dot) There is a bonus level and to access it you will need some collectibles. If you intend to 100% this game I imagine it’ll take you significantly longer to beat the game. There are a ton of strawberries after all. I only got 9 out of close to 200. So add all those up and you’ll be here for a very long time. That’s probably why most people take closer to 7-8 hours to complete this game. Even with 4 hours it’s a satisfying experience though and you get a good amount of story. With the bonus content you’ve definitely got enough value for your purchase.

Overall, Celeste is just a solid game. The plot’s pretty interesting and you’ll get to think about what is happening for yourself. Is there a dream element in this or is everything happening in the real world? The whole conversation with the guy at the very beginning of the game is still very strange, likewise with the phone call to the Mom. Both scenes seemingly have no purpose being in the game so I believe that it’s hinting some of these events may not actually be happening. It’s at least a possibility, but ultimately I do prefer to think that it all happened. As a result, I’m just going to roll the dice on the possibility that this is all happening right now. When you play through the game definitely decide for yourself what is going on though. Doing the detective work is part of the fun.

Overall 7/10

7 Star Games, App Games, Game Reviews, Games, Reviews

Super Mecha Champions Review


It’s time to take a look at an IOS game that always looked like a Fortnite ripoff. Granted, you can be a similar game to something else without being a ripoff but that was just my first thought. Since Fortnite is so cool I thought I’d give this one a whirl. It’s got a lot of potential and honestly with a big mainstream release for PS4 and the rest it could probably hold its own to an extent. It’s definitely pretty bare bones compared to Fortnite, but has a lot of the same gameplay aspects while throwing in its own spin.

The gameplay here is that of a third person shooter. There are 100 people running around the map and your goal is to be the last one standing. Be sure to stay inside the safe zone as being in the storm will cause you to lose health quite rapidly. You can pick up guns as you run around the island. Once you down another player and you last long enough you can summon your mecha. In this form you deal a ton of damage and can move very quickly making it a very simple matter to take down the humanoid opponents who dare stand in your way. That’s the jist of it and the controls are pretty simple but it will take practice to really get used to shooting on the phone. It’s why I had a hard time even playing Fortnite on the mobile. It’s just way different than using a controller.

I am proud to say that I ended up winning my very first match in the game. It was squads mode, but I did contribute with 3 kills. I had to quickly get the win because I was playing this while at the theater waiting for the One Piece film to start. It took all of my fundamentals to quickly do this, but it worked out well. When I tried out Solo mode I didn’t fare quite as well. I got 96th place, but I did get one kill so at least I didn’t die without landing a hit right?

The graphics are pretty sharp. It’s all very colorful since you’re playing in a futuristic city filled with anime characters and giant robots. In terms of visuals it’s even more colorful than Fortnite. Fortnite still has the better graphics overall, but Super Mecha Champions is just very nice to look at. When it comes to the music I don’t recall any big themes from this game. At the very least there isn’t a sound as unique as the battle bus leaving.

You get bonuses for logging in every day like new mech suits. I don’t think they give you any special abilities are are like the Fortnite suits, but I’m not positive since I didn’t test any of them out. I just wanted to get in and test my battle royale skills. The map is quite huge so if you want to live it won’t be too hard to do so. Especially with how fast the characters move. One thing that will grate on you a bit though is how long it takes to travel from point A to point B. It definitely feels longer than Fortnite at times and I think that’s because the running speed is slower here. It’s not a huge deal but I imagine if you were to play the game more often then it would quickly start to take its toll on you.

Overall, Super Mecha Champions is a fun game, but one that is too big for a phone title. As great as the app games have been over the years there are still some limits to the IPhone. We saw that with the Sword Art Online game a while back where it played like the PS4 titles. That’s very impressive of the developers, but it’s just tough to truly appreciate it on the phone. The controls also aren’t quite as well suited. Of course most of the games can now use console controllers to play now so that’s a big improvement as well. A real controller makes a pretty big difference. If you like Fortnite a lot and want to take a look at what it might look like on the mobile then this is a good game to check out. At the same time, you could literally just play the actual mobile Fortnite game instead so odds are that you wouldn’t need to try this one out. I’ll give the game props for managing to copy so much of Fortnite though.

Overall 7/10

8 Star Games, Game Reviews, Games, Reviews

Trine HD Collection Review


It’s time to look at the Trine HD Collection. Unlike most collections this game actually brought 4 whole titles in it which was pretty cool. I wasn’t too familiar with the games before although I did know the name. Now that I’ve played all four of the games it’s like I’ve gone from novice to expert in one shot. The games are pretty fun side scrollers and I can see why the series got so many games. They’re fun and will test your problem solving skills while giving you a fun little plot. Lets look at this one game by game.

The first Trine introduces us to the 3 main character. You’ve got a third, a warrior, and a mage. The Trine brings these three together and gives them immortality. The catch is that they must stick together now. None of the characters are thrilled about this so they all set out to find a cure. There isn’t a whole lot of plot in the first title. The gameplay is also the toughest out of all 4 of the games with not too many advanced features being added yet. Each of the three characters have their own unique talents and you can switch at any time. The brawler is a good fighter and he can slice ropes or beat up enemies. The mage can create squares out of thin air and levitate objects. The thief can swing across pitfalls and connect objects together with rope. You’ll have to learn how to master each character to deal with the puzzles.

Some of the puzzles here can be quite difficult. The levels are all pretty straight forward as you go from start to finish so the puzzles aren’t about figuring out where to go. They’re about figuring out how to get to your destination. For example you may see an extra large hole and you need to get across it. You may try swinging across with the third of creating a path there. Most of these puzzles have more than one way to get across which is fun. I would always try to cheese it with the mage by creating something and jumping across as it falls away. I feel like a lot of the time this wasn’t the intended route, but as long as it worked that was good enough for me.

You’ve also got upgrades here. You can re-distribute the upgrades at any time which was handy. Typically I would give them to the mage because his let you create up to 2 extra objects which further helps with the puzzles. A fully powered mage on your team is really all that you need in order to clear most level. The gameplay was really quite sound. Some parts could be rather difficult, but never too crazy. This is easily the toughest game in the collection so it really starts you off on a hard note.

Then you’ve got the second game. The heroes are called back into action as a kingdom is being overrun by darkness. The princess may not be what she seems and there are goblins everywhere. The heroes will have to stick together and use their abilities as a team once more. From all 4 of the games the stretch between 1 and 2 is the only one where the gameplay doesn’t change all that much. It’s pretty similar to the first one but the game is a bit easier. The controls have been ironed out further and you won’t be cheesing quite as effectively with the mage but there is less of a need to. You’ll be able to blast through this game pretty well.

With the third game things get changed up quite a bit. For starters the game is in 3D now. It’s a 3D brawler with quite a lot of fighting involved. As a result this is definitely the easiest game of the lot. It also felt like the shortest, but I suppose they’re all close. The goal is to get to the end of the level as always, but this time you will want to make sure that you stop and grab as many of the collectibles as possible. You’ll need a great chunk of them to be able to unlock the final level. I’m never a big fan of games forcing you to grab all these things. I like being able to just blast through a level and I’ll pick up the pieces for the Platinum trophy later on if I feel like it. Fortunately the collectibles are pretty easy to grab and they aren’t super out of the way. As long as you know to grab them right away then you should be good.

The plot here is the most ambitious. Someone has stolen the Trine and we have to get it back. We’ve got a character who may be related to the thief and people running around with dark energy. The story opens up a lot of questions, but unfortunately it ends rather abruptly. It seems to me like it was cancelled early on or funding ran out and they just had to release the game. It’s too bad that the fourth game didn’t continue the plot either. At this point it’s just not likely to ever get resolved. I don’t believe the 3D part was a big hit with fans either which was also too bad. 3D is just so much fun for any game. It takes the experience to the next level if you ask me. It’s hard to say that this is absolutely the best game in the series but it was a lot of fun. You’ll miss the puzzle aspect but you’ll love the combat.

Then we’ve got the final game. This one is a return to form as it plays like the first two. The gameplay has been further streamlined though and some of the abilities you initially started out with in the first two games have to be unlocked gradually as you go through the story here. The puzzles are back and there is a much larger variety of them than the last few times so you’ll have to be extra careful. There actually were some pretty tricky puzzles here so you can’t sleep on them. Approach the puzzles carefully and then you should be okay. One change that was probably inspired by the third game is there are now beat em up sections where you have to beat all of the enemies to proceed. You can expect them in each level so I wonder how the people who aren’t crazy about combat felt here. I always like a good battle though so I was definitely fine with this.

In this game we learn that a prince’s powers are going out of control. He’s able to turn dreams into a reality and unfortunately one of his nightmares created a shadow version of himself. The heroes need to get his powers under control or the whole kingdom is doomed. Alas, they aren’t strong enough to beat an unlimited imagination so they will need to go and find an item that can aid them in this quest. The heroes are pretty well experienced by this point so they are definitely ready for this challenge.

It’s really tough to rank these games, but I think this is the best time to do it. So ultimately I’d rank the games as 3>4>1>2. 3 wins the tiebreaker because I really enjoyed the hub world and the 3D gameplay was just really good. I like to see a clear progression as well an the checkpoints/easy level access was great. Game 4 is the most polished of the 2D titles and 1 beats 2 because I did really like how the puzzles were constructed.

As for the soundtrack/graphics, those areas are a little less impressive. I remember the main menu themes really well, but not much else. The games are going for a very old look so it’s intentional that this game doesn’t pop out the way that something like River City Girls does. I think the 3rd game looked the most impressive to me though. I think that’s because the game could show off more of the backgrounds this way. It all just looked so fresh and new.

If the game has any weaknesses it is that the characters aren’t very interesting. The same can be said for the plots of the first two as they didn’t really pick up until the third game. Even though Zoya is a thief and you can sort of tell what they’re going for with her character, she doesn’t get a lot to do. You don’t really buy into the mystique around her. Pontius is your classic strong but not very smart guy. He also doesn’t look too impressive most of the time. Being able to fight is great of course, but you need more than that to be a really likable character. Finally you have Amadeus who is always having a lot of trouble with his magic. He can’t perform the fireball which is still his lifelong dream. Hopefully some day he will be able to do it. In the meantime he does his best to help out, but is fairly timid.

It goes without saying that there is a lot of replay value in a collection like this. Lets say you beat the 4 games in about 20 hours then you can probably double that for the platinums. The Platinum trophy requirements actually aren’t that crazy here but they will still take some time. You’ll have to really master each level and if you’re going to get them all I’d recommend starting with the 3rd game. That way you can then focus on enhancing your 2D platforming skills for the other 3 games. You’ll be in good shape at that point.

Overall, The Trine HD Collection is definitely a title you will want to have. Being able to attain 4 games for the price of one is really a steal. It’s also pretty cool that you can get the entire series in one shot. While the games aren’t particularly long on their own, they end up being a pretty good length when you combine them. You won’t just be beating this one in the blink of an eye. If you aim to get all of the trophies then you can extend the time even further. It’ll be cool if we ever get a 5th game. If we do then I want them to finish up the story from game 3. The cliffhanger there was too good to just let go. The game easily had the best plot.

Overall 8/10

Live Action Movie Reviews, Live Action Movies, Reviews

Ski Party Review


I’ve seen most of the old beach party films from this crew so I may as well see their skiing version as well right? It’s certainly not much better than the rest and makes all of the same mistakes. The characters may not be at the beach but they certainly dress as if they are. I would make the case that there is a little less fanservice here than in the beach versions, but I’m not invested enough into the series to do so. You certainly wouldn’t catch me defending this film. Well, let’s take a look at what we got.

The film starts off with Todd and Craig being down in the dumps because they are still single. They joined a bunch of sport programs but it was no use. Then they notice that Freddie is the star of the party and everyone is only interested in him. Perhaps the trick is that he is always skiing. The two leads quickly decide to go to the next big skiing event and are determined that this will put them on the radar. Will such a shallow plan really work or will the film test our intelligence by continuing to make the plans crazier and crazier?

There are a lot of issues here so it’s always hard to know where to start. I guess we should tackle the romance first. Romance was always a hard genre for films to really pin down and that can be especially true for this one. Part of the reason why the film kicks off is because both of the girls don’t seem to love the two guys straight away. They did go with them on two dates though so this is more about the main characters not being very patient. They want to immediately go further in the relationship while the girls are waiting. The guys are Freddie all the time and that really warps their expectations. You also can’t feel any sympathy for them because they would cheat on the two girls in a heartbeat. We have many scenes where they try to go after other girls so there is absolutely no loyalty here. They’ll simply go after the first one who accepts them.

They also use rather underhanded methods in order to complete their mission. One such tactic is to dress up as a girl and sneak into the dorms. This is a pretty bad move for many reasons. It’s also one of the largest gags in the film and it gets old very quickly. Naturally Freddie falls for one of them in this form and nobody can put the pieces together. I think if you cut away this whole sub plot the film will still be pretty terrible but it would certainly have improve. This plot line just didn’t do anything to really help the film rise up. It drags on and on.

It goes without saying that there is a lot of fanservice here even though they are in the snow. Characters just don’t care about the storm at all. They’re dressed for the beach and they aim to keep it that way for most of the film. We get a lot of zoom ins and crazy dances reminding yo that the plot was not the movie’s first priority. At least the singing isn’t too bad, the series has certainly had worse songs at any rate. Then you’ve got the beach scene at the end just to mess with the audience even further.

There are moments in the film that can be reasonably funny. It’s not like the whole duration is one failed joke after the other. While a good chunk of the jokes don’t work, the surreal nature of the movie helps at times. The scene of the main character floating like a balloon was fun. Additionally I liked the Polar Bear scenes. It’s a pretty nice gag to have that guy running around. The problem is that the movie beats this joke into the ground by having the same joke show up around 5-6 times. You never want to spam a joke that often because it will inevitably get quite old. It’s going for the running gag approach but that works better in a series. If you cram it into a single movie then you are bound to have some issues.

There aren’t any characters to root for here either so you won’t be as invested in the film as you could be. The two main guys are chronic cheaters. The two heroines are too passive and ultimately try to say that the guys were right even though that is definitely not the case. Freddie starts out as a pretty intense guy but by the end he is total comic relief to make the other characters look better. The movie definitely could and should have had more restraint. Maybe make it so the heroes get a win but Freddie still keeps his dignity. The parental figure here literally goes insane by the end of the film and I couldn’t give him any consolation points either. It was rather mean of the main guys to mess with him the whole time, but it’s also partially his fault for falling for their gags. They absolutely should not have worked on him. I prefer the guardians who at least talk tough the whole time. This guy was a punching bag so you’ll sooner feel bad for him than find the scene overly funny.

Overall, Ski Party is definitely everything you expect it to be. The film is pretty straight forward on delivering everything it is advertised to be. If this is your kind of film then you’ll enjoy it. However if you want a film with good writing and an actual plot then I’d recommend staying far away from this movie. It will have nothing to offer you. At least the gang sub plot isn’t around to get dragged out forever. The car chase at the end is actually a little better without those guys around to slow the pacing.

Overall 1/10

8 Star Games, Game Reviews, Games, Reviews

NBA 08 Review


It’s time to look at another NBA game. I bet you thought I had finished them all by now right? Well, I did temporarily get into some other sports like Hockey, but there were still more Basketball titles in the backburner. I believe I just have one left now so that’ll definitely be a good milestone to finish up. I actually only have 11 more sport games to go through and then I’ll be caught up. It’ll be sad to see them go but at the same time it feels like ages since I’ve had them around. Now when I get future sport games I’ll be able to dive in a little deeper.

There’s not much separating this NBA game from the previous ones. One thing that actually still confuses me is what the difference is between NBA 08 and NBA 08 Live. See, I played the latter before playing this one, but they both feel the same to me. One part of me thinks it’s like a game of the year edition, but another just thinks it’s a really slick decision of adding one extra feature to one version and calling it a day. Regardless I ended up getting both since back then I had lost track of which sport games I owned and ended up getting this version. Otherwise I’d be satisfied with just owning one.

The gameplay is pretty smooth and it hasn’t been super long since my last Basketball game so this time the fundamentals actually stayed with me. That was definitely a welcome surprise to be sure. I ended up playing the first 3 quarters of the first game and had a 6 point lead. Now you may wonder why just 3 quarters right? Well, the game froze on me in a rather odd glitch. I had just made a free throw, but then the ball fell to the ground and nobody went to pick it up. Everyone just stayed frozen and I did everything I could like calling a time out, substituting players, and switching sides, but nothing worked. Everyone was just completely glued to the ground and that was really curtains for me. It was too bad because I was looking forward to seeing my win and the nice presentation afterwards.

Ah well, I quickly went in and did half of a second game so I could at least feel like I did the whole thing. This time I had a much bigger lead at around 10 points. Part of why this happened is because the guy kept passing it to me and I would score. What I did was I positioned my guy right next to the basket. When I’d score the other team would try to pass the ball to their guy, but I’d intercept and score again. Honestly this seemed like a big weakness to the A.I. but it was hard to get it to work just right. Once it did work though, then it became consistent. I have to admit that it felt pretty satisfying.

The only part of the gameplay that seemed a little suspect were the 3 point shots. For some reason the players would never take a proper position with these. They would jump in the air and shoot as if off balance. All of the other NBA games I’ve played had proper 3 point shots so I don’t know what was up with this one. Perhaps there is an extra button or two that you have to press or it’s about the timing. I still landed a few shots so it’s not that bad, but it just looked rather off. I recommend going for slam dunks as much as possible anyway although the team definitely won’t make it easy on you. You’ll have to fight hard for each and every point.

As far as the graphics are concerned NBA 08 definitely isn’t holding back. The courts look really good and the animations for the throws are solid. Everything is very clear and no shortcuts appeared to have been taken in this arena. I can’t really speak to the soundtrack, but the sound effects were solid. You don’t really notice much while you’re playing with the music, but I believe the menus should have had some tunes going. Surprisingly the sport games do tend to pick up quite a few big songs to play in the background.

There is no end to the replay value as you may expect. While the online modes have long since been forgotten you can still test your skills in the various season and franchise modes. There are also in-game achievements to have fun with as well. They may not be quite as much fun as the PS3 trophies but it is a nice addition for those who still like to have some kind of incentives to playing. You can get this game for about a dollar so you don’t have to doubt the value at all. This will really work out quite nicely for you.

Overall, NBA 08 is really solid. I can’t say that there was really anything wrong with the game. It may look a little dated next to the newer games, but that also brings a certain level of nostalgia to it as well. It ended up making this a very balanced experience. I was also winning in both games which made the whole thing feel pretty balanced as well. The controls weren’t sliding away from me and I felt like the players were doing what I wanted them to do. It doesn’t get much better than that and if you’re looking for a cheap basketball game to test your fundamentals with…this is the game for you!

Overall 8/10

Comic Reviews, Comics, Reviews

My Little Pony: The Crystalling Review


It’s time to take a look at a comic adaption of the Crystalling two parter from the TV show. This is one of those comics that is basically a screenshot version of the show. It was always an interesting concept even if I don’t totally see the point of it. I suppose it’s a good way for fans who are unable to actually watch it live to still experience what the episodes are like. As a result it’s almost like I’m reviewing the two episodes. It’s a solid comic and if you did have to read this instead of watching the episodes you won’t be missing much. The key scenes are all here.

So Twilight is getting ready to head to Cadence’s palace for the Crystalling of the new baby. It’s effectively a ceremony using the heart of the kingdom. She also needs to give her student Starlight Glimmer a first lesson and figures that she can knock out two things at once. She instructs Starlight to seek out Sunburst as they used to be best friends before Starlight turned evil. Starlight isn’t thrilled with this mission, but she doesn’t want to let Twilight down. As such, she gears up for the meeting. Will she really be able to re-connect with Sunburst and will the Crystalling go as expected?

There are really two plots here which eventually merge into one. For the Starlight plot, you can definitely see how this is a hard mission. It’s hard to reconnect with someone you haven’t seen in many years. Twilight making this into a friendship lesson also puts a ton of pressure on Starlight. I think Twilight’s heart was in the right place, but I don’t think this was a great thing to turn into a lesson. Starlight did a really good job of adapting either way though. She went and met up with Sunburst even though it was hard on her and from there she went and helped save the kingdom.

It’s easy to see why Starlight would go on to basically become the leader of the group. She’s definitely the strongest pony around and she took to the friendship skills pretty quick. I was definitely a big fan right away. Meanwhile I was less impressed with Sunburst. I dunno, I never really liked the guy much. On his side he had far less reason to be cryptic about his past which inevitably leads to him blowing a fuse and not even trying to help save the world. It was a lot of pressure but it still would have been nice to see him stick up for the others and try to help even if it meant pretending to be a magician for a little longer.

The other plot had Cadence and Shining Armor being out of their depth once more as Flurry Heart took center stage. It’s always nice to be born with incredible powers and that’s exactly what happened for Flurry. This time Pinkie Pie did a good job of distracting her while the others went to work. Twilight may not have been able to solve this by herself this time, but she was definitely necessary in saving the world. Without her the heroes wouldn’t have even had a book to start solving with in the first place. We also got to see Celestia and Luna fight off the clouds a bit. Not the most exciting action scene, but it’s still an action scene nonetheless.

The writing is sound here and the cast of characters are good. There’s not a whole lot more to say because the comic is so short. You’ll be done reading it in the blink of an eye and then you’ll be ready for the next saga. In retrospect it is a little surprising that no villains were present in this story, but I suppose you can always get a little tension in with natural disasters rather than relying on a villain to get things moving every time. At the very least it makes sense why you would want to mix things up every once in a while. I would have been game for a quick Twilight vs Starlight battle due to a misunderstanding or something though.

Overall, The Crystalling is a fun two part event. There aren’t any villains here, but it’s just a fun story where we get to see the whole gang of MLP fighters. All of the ponies contribute to the plot and make for a fun team up issue. The Mane 6 certainly have less of a role next to Twilight and Starlight, but they still get their contributions. The format of the comic makes it easy to take on the go and read. It’s also a decent enough size where it’ll last you a good batch to read through. I don’t expect I’ll be getting more of the episode adaptions (I got this one by mistake) but they are good. They’re as good as the episode versions and most of those get a 7 as well. It is always nicer to read a brand new story, but nostalgia goes a long way. It’s been ages since I saw this episode.

Overall 7/10

Animated Movie Reviews, Animated Movies, Reviews

Teen Titans Go! vs Teen Titans Review


It’s time to look at the most recent Teen Titans Go! movie. This one brings back the classic Teen Titans for a quick crossover event. While the film doesn’t manage to be quite as fun as the first Titans Go movie it’s definitely still a quality film in its own right. You’ve got action, comedy, and a final boss. What else would you even need right? One thing to watch out for is the opening credits makes the interesting decision of spoiling the entire film. It literally goes section by section from start to finish and shows all of the big scenes. It’s a very odd choice.

The movie starts off by showing us that the Teen Titans have still got it as they beat the Gentleman Ghost. People may doubt their abilities, but they shouldn’t because these kids are the real deal. Things get a little hectic when a portal appears and they’re all kidnapped. It turns out that the Master of Games is kidnapping Teen Titans from various universes to make them fight. The Go Titans are eager to start the battle while the modern ones just want to find a way to save their world. It looks like both of them may have to team up, but can the two groups possibly learn to work with each other in time?

Going forward I’m going to call the original Titans the Gen 1 crew and the others will just be referred to normally since they are the main characters here. The Titans act about as well as you’d expect them to. They’re still treated like comic relief because even they acknowledge that they aren’t serious the way that the Gen 1 guys are. They can’t help but constantly be at the center of the gags. The only one who tries to be serious is Robin and even then he is constantly overshadowed by his Gen 1 version. I’ll give him points for effort though and he’s the only Titan who really understands the gravity of the situation. He needs the portal device and he needed a win to secure the team’s confidence. It’s just a shame that he isn’t able to fight quite as well as the others. The other Titans are all on point except for the fact that Starfire was not taking this seriously enough. None of them were all that serious, but at least they tried in the tournament. Starfire was too busy trying to make friends to do much of anything which was disappointing.

As for the Gen 1 crew, it was fun to see them again. Robin and Raven probably get the most to do here. Raven has a lot of experience with the demonic realm so she coaches the kid version on this. Meanwhile Robin is ready to lead the team and he definitely does not like the baby titans. He’s constantly belittling them and when they don’t listen to reason he is quick to put them down. Gen 1 Robin certainly enjoys being the leader and makes sure to stretch things out when possible. After all this is his chance to lead two different teams to victory so you can bet that he is going to milk this as much as he can. It’s just an opportunity that he cannot miss.

The movie moves pretty quickly through the different phases to the climax so it never drags on. I didn’t feel like any of the humor was all that bad either. I would consider this to be one of the stronger Teen Titans Go episodes if it was on TV. The return of Santa Claus was also a lot of fun. It’s always great to see him as an antagonist and he is one of their tougher opponents. Of course taking on a group this large would be difficult even for the greatest of villains.

Then we’ve got more crossover appeal towards the end of the film. If you managed not to see who was included already then I won’t spoil it for you. Needless to say it’s a pretty solid lineup. I would have liked to have seen them all a little more to be honest, but what we got was pretty neat. Imagine if the whole film was the tournament though and we got to see a lot of different verses duke it out. That would have been really cool and then this probably would have beaten the original film. The animation here does look pretty good, but more standard than the first movie. The colors are a little brighter and there is extra detail either way. There’s no super catchy theme like we got in the first film, but I guess it’s hard for Lightning to strike twice.

Where the film really shines is in how absurd the whole thing is. The Go characters are in full parody mode and they just don’t care what the Gen 1 group thinks. They’re here to have fun and nobody’s going to stop them. That straight forward goal really keeps the film going and it’s why you don’t even need the crossover aspect for this to be a success. The group can hold their own as is. If anything I’m just glad that the Gen 1 group weren’t too obnoxious in trying to question the Go characters at every turn. They quickly learned that the Go characters weren’t going to change and just rolled with it.

Overall, Teen Titans Go vs Teen Titans is a fun film. While it’s a versus title there isn’t a lot of action between the two teams. A good chunk of the action scene is just comedy, but to an extent that is to be expected with these guys. It’s probably the only vs title I would give a pass to because of that. Whether you’ll enjoy this film or not is completely dependent on whether or not you enjoy the Go series. If you like the TV show then you’ll like the film and if you don’t like the show then the movie won’t be for you. This basically feels like an extended few episodes and it’s really a movie for the fans. It brings all the best qualities of the show together.

Overall 7/10

7 Star TV Shows, Reviews, TV Show Reviews, TV Shows

Hunter X Hunter (2011) Review


All right it’s time to look at the second anime adaption of the Hunter X Hunter show. The original anime ended quite early as the OVAs had to continue the arcs and even then it didn’t make it all the way. Since the manga is still going this series wasn’t able to finish either, but this time it did make it through the Chimera and Election arcs so it’s getting closer and closer. The series has a lot of dynamic scenes and has some of the best strategic battles in all of Shounen Jump. While the series has a few jump the shark episodes in the Chimera arc the series is still solid as a whole.

The world of HXH centers around professional hunters. In this world this is the most lucrative position as you can get rich just for selling your license. Of course if you went to all the trouble of passing the exam it is very unlikely that you would ever do such a thing. The hunters keep their licenses as a matter of pride and serve as body guards or go on quests. The options are endless. There are quite a few main characters who each have their own goals and ambitions which lead to the various story arcs. Unlike most other series you can get arcs where the main characters shift more than once. Otherwise I think the only other series I can think of where this happened is Naruto where Sasuke got his own arc. Potentially Dr. Stone will count as well if the other guy ever gets his own arc.

The first arc follows Gon in his quest to become a hunter. He is finally old enough to take the Exam and dashes on over. He meets up with a few other applicants known as Killua, Kurapika, and Leorio. The tests are quite rigorous though as you have to go through a forest of death, run for miles, escape a death zone, and then engage in one on one battles with other fighters. This won’t be easy, but Gon has trained quite a lot to be in shape so he would be ready for this. Unfortunately for him this happens to be the exam where a villain has entered the ring as well. His name is Hisoka and his goal is to cause quite a lot of chaos.

It’s a pretty good introduction to the series. We get to meet the main cast and there’s even a tournament. While the Chunin Exams from Naruto do still take the cake for this format you can see how similar these two are. Adding Hisoka into the mix also adds a good level of tension. It would have been interesting to have had Killua and Hisoka meet up early on here, but realistically that probably would not have gone well for the kid. At this point Hisoka already had nen which means he is effectively invincible here.

The next big arc was the Heavens Arena which is another big tournament. Now this arc isn’t very large compared to the others, but it’s a lot of fun. Gon and Killua learn about nen which will be crucial later on and Gon gets to have his rematch with Hisoka. That’s basically his motivation here and Killua works to keep everyone out of Gon’s hair. I don’t think this arc is remembered quite as well as some of the others, but it was another solid way to build more character development. I’ll also take any excuse to have a bunch of extra fights. HXH does a lot of “about to fight, but then doesn’t” moments so it was nice to enjoy these days while you could when every fight did happen.

Next up is the arc considered to be the best in the series and I would agree with that. Yorknew brings Kurapika into the center stage this time. His goal in life is to destroy the Spiders since they murdered his entire clan. It’s his whole reason for becoming a professional hunter and he never lost sight of this goal. This is his chance to take them down, but these guys are world class threats for a good reason. It won’t be easy for Kurapika to bump them off. Meanwhile Gon and Killua wander into the fray, but at their current level they sometimes prove to be more of a liability than a help. We also get the government involved and a bunch of other characters.

Yorknew is just a very packed arc with cool moments around every corner. Kurapika vs Uvogin is still a very iconic fight and seeing Chrollo take on Killua’s father and grand father was epic as well. At this point in the series there are also a lot of fun dream match-ups. For example while Killua may not have much nen yet he still does have a lot of strength and speed. Would he have been able to at least take one of them down if Gon wasn’t around? Kurapika also did good in taking on Uvogin, but would he be able to take down the others? Most of the Spiders have fairly broken abilities so in a sense Uvogin was the easiest to beat because he’s all about strength. His strength was certainly crazy though.

Then we have Greed Island which is more of a peaceful arc in comparison. Gon and Killua enter a video game to find Gon’s father an instead they wind up stuck in the video game. To escape they have to clear it, but in the meanwhile there are a bunch of bombers running around in there as well. Their goal is to clear the game first and they’re willing to murder all of the other players to get their way. They don’t appear to be quite as tough as the Spiders, but the ability to blow someone up with a single point of contact is always helpful. The arc is fun enough and we meet more characters like Biscuit. It’s never quite able to capture the same level of energy and excitement as the earlier arcs though.

Next is the Chimera Ant arc which was certainly anticipated because it had never been animated before. It’s the author’s shot at a DBZ type arc. If you’ve noticed each of the arcs seem to switch genres time and time again. Well this arc focuses more on power levels and the whole alien invasion even makes it part horror. This arc is very long and it feels like the longest in the series although I don’t know if that’s accurate. Basically these insect creatures have taken over a kingdom. They are slowly growing more and more powerful as well as intelligent because of the humans they eat. When they eat someone with nen they start to grow nen as well. The government is trying to hide this, but as a result the situation is quickly growing out of hand. Hunters are sent in to handle this. Gon and Killua will have to prove themselves against professional hunters as well if they want to make the cut. This time they will need to master Nen and have special abilities to help out.

This arc gives the heroes the biggest power upgrades they’ve ever gotten in the series. That’s why it’s a shame that neither Gon or Killua have really gotten to fight after this arc. Not only have they likely surpassed Kurapika now but they’re possibly Spider/Pro hunter level at this point. I’d say certainly since they were taking on Ants that the pros were having a lot of trouble with. There are a ton of fights in this arc and the heroes even have to split up at one point to take down a lot of enemies. That’s why it’s a shame that this is ultimately the arc that really holds the series back. On the one hand, it’s easily the most epic arc in the series. It has a lot of the best battles and the set-up is really solid. This is basically an alien invasion and it’s the most ambitious arc yet. We even see the Hunter association chairman Netero fight for once.

What hurts this arc is how the violence steps up and also covers animals. The insects murder a bunch of animals in this arc. They take down kids and in general the arc gets really dark. We even have a human villain out of nowhere who is basically doing trafficking amidst the chaos in a plot that has no point. The author also started to get a little more experimental around this point so we get an episode about nothing much as a guy with a terrible past is wondering what’s going on. He had an abusive father or something and while I’m sure the episode tied in to something, it feels like half an hour of nothing. The new characters here weren’t all hits so when they get a lot of focus it takes away from the main characters.

That’s why this arc is a mixed bag. It has the largest amount of great moments and the animation is also stunning. The Nen affects and how they affect everyone is handled very well. One character ages many years in an instant which is a dramatic but effective way or showing just how fierce these enemies are. After all, the heroes know that if they’re caught then they’ll definitely be dead. Put it this way, this arc would get the lowest score in the series at a 4 or a 5. Everything just adds up, but it is the most interesting arc. It does get the same atmosphere you’d expect from something like Attack on Titan or Fate/Zero which always does keep you engaged from start to finish. It’s just a shame that usually in creating that atmosphere the series usually has to go into some pretty dark places. You could take away those scenes and the arc would be fantastic. It’s rare to get a series to such an interesting place with so many pieces so you always hope it’ll be the next big thing.

Finally we have the Election arc. This one is more of a return to form as it feels like the first arcs. The Hunter Association is going to pick a new chairman and naturally there are a lot of candidates to choose from. They’ve all got their own motives and agendas so the people have to vote carefully. There are a lot of rules here to prevent anyone from being chosen too easily and I always enjoy this complexity. In the sub-plot Killua has to go back home to rescue another family member and then try to help out Gon. This leads to a lot of chase scenes and clashes of brawn and brain. It’s a pretty fun adventure arc and a nice little adventure to cap off the anime. You definitely feel how there are a ton of loose ends left, but hopefully the manga ends someday so we can get a sequel show. There’s almost no point in making another season yet because there isn’t a ton of content available at the moment.

So lets look at the characters. Gon is our lead here and he certainly goes through a lot of development. He’s a pretty happy kid at first, but as the series goes on we see more of his serious side. I dare say that he showed glimpses of being a little unhinged near the beginning though. All good main characters get upset when their friends are put in danger or threatened and Gon’s no exception. However, mix that in with his stubborn nature to never back down and he completely loses it. Gon tends to lose himself in his emotions which is good for building up his Nen, but it does mean he’ll often do anything for a quick boost of power. He gets the job done, but by the end he does tend to push people away.

Then you have Killua who sort of has the reverse character arc of Gon. At first he’s a deadly assassin who has a hard time fitting in. Eventually he learns to believe in teamwork more and even talks about friendship. He makes some close bonds with Gon and the others and really has come a long way from when he first started. He gets a lot of character development and is the best ally you can ask for. He’s always got your back and balances out his impressive fighting abilities with a strategic mind. Killua’s my favorite character in the series.

Then you have Kurapika who is also a big focus in the series. His origin story is similar to Sasuke’s and his goal of revenge is certainly the same. He’s put everything on the line to stop the spiders including giving himself an ability that is only useful against them. As a result he’s permanently limited himself against any other kind of enemy. He’s the smartest of the main characters and rarely lets his emotions get the better of him. It’s a shame that he misses the final half of the series because he’s a very interesting character. Well if the next arc ever gets animated he’ll be the main character of that one.

Then we have Leorio who quickly gets left in the dust by the other characters. He used to be reasonably skilled, but he never learned a lot of Nen so he quickly fell out of the picture. Nen is something that you absolutely need to have or you just won’t stand a chance as the series goes on. He was never as serious or determined as the other characters though so maybe it’s for the best that he was written out. He can be a fun character, but you won’t really miss him while he’s gone.

Hisoka is one of the biggest villains in the series. He’s a constant thorn in the heroes’ path and the guy’s talents also ensure that it is hard to get past him. He’s incredibly powerful and right now it’s hard to say who in the series could really beat him. He’s at least around the level of the leader Chrollo and that would put him at the very top. His obsession with Gon can border on being a character wrecking trait, but so long as that never goes anywhere dicey we should be good. He’s definitely a wild card for all characters in the series.

As for the Spiders, Chrollo is their experienced leader. His ability to copy other powers is always something really hard to defend against. Mix that in with the fact that he is a tactical genius (Isn’t everyone in this series a genius?) and you’ve got a solid threat. One thing that makes the Spiders especially dangerous is the fact that they’re all reluctant friends and will go to war to help one of their own. They’re a unit so mess with one of them and you mess with all of them. Feitan is one of the stronger members of the group. He’s pretty quiet but beneath that are the abilities of the strongest member of the group. Next to Chrollo I just can’t see anyone else challenging him in a fight. Feitan is incredibly fast and strong and his heat abilities mean that escape is basically impossible.

Machi is the most enjoyable member of the group. She has a lot of fun while doing her job and while that doesn’t take away from her being evil, she’s just a nice contrast to the others. Her thin wires are also a tough ability to fight against for sure. It won’t be an easy match for any of the other Spiders against her. Nobunaga hasn’t done much yet and his abilities are pretty straight forward. If you get close to him then he’ll slice you to ribbons. That being said, just because the technique is simple doesn’t mean that beating him will be easy. His idea to get Gon and Killua to join the Spiders was interesting, but quite far fetched so I guess he doesn’t mind going for long shot plans.

Shalnark is probably the most cheerful member of the group though. He just likes hanging out with the group and seems to think of them as just a group of people hanging out. His ability to mind control people is definitely a scary ability to fight though. You never know when you’ll actually be taking on an ally. Then there is Shizuku who is one of the more inexperienced members of the group. Her vacuum does most of the work but her physical strength is in the higher end from the Spider members. All she needs is one good hit to possibly win a fight. She’s one of my least favorite Spider members but she’s not bad. Her personality just doesn’t click with me.

Uvogin is a fun member. He’s all about beating people with raw strength. The guy did allow himself to get captured pretty quick which didn’t work out well for him, but he always knew that the other Spiders would come to help him out. Had he fought almost anyone other than Kurapika in Yorknew he would probably still be around. He certainly had the best fight out of all the Spiders. As for other villains, Illumi is another big name in the series. He’s always messing with Killua and it can be hard to tell what his ultimate goal is. I believe it is just to break Killua down so he recognizes Illumi as his boss and everything else is to get to that point. He certainly doesn’t want anyone murdering Killua before that happens and is willing to fight for him. I’ts a pretty twisted state of affairs. He does seem pretty powerful so I hope he fights someday.

Genthru is the big villain from Greed Island. He’s probably one of the pettier villains though. He just wants a lot of money and to blow people up along the way. There isn’t much to him beyond that. He’s an okay villain, but not one you will remember. Biscuit left a much bigger impact in that arc and she was a fun coach to have. I do feel like she was surpassed in strength pretty quickly though. I don’t think she would be able to hold her own so well if she were to return.

As for the ants, Meruem is their leader so he should go first. He’s like a DBZ character who was thrown into HXH. He’s way too strong for everybody else. Even when he isn’t fighting seriously he’s able to handle the strongest hunter of them all. I like hie design and skill set. He gets a big character arc with a Go player. Mereum started out as a total villain, but was quickly getting redeemed. He’s an interesting character and by the end of the arc it’s quite telling that you’re almost rooting for his side over the humans.

His three generals were also great. Youpi is the weakest of the group (In terms of personality) He starts out as one of those guys who only wants to fight, but quickly begins to learn strategy. He actually outsmarts the heroes a few times which was cool and his final form would have been really tough to deal with in a fight. Pouf is the strategist of the group. He may not be as strong as the other two, but his abilities ensure that it is difficult to trap him. His voice actor did an excellent job with the character. He’s just a lot of fun whenever he is on screen. Finally we have Pitou who I consider to be the strongest of the 3. She took down Kite like it was nothing and was brave enough to make a move on Netero. If not for power level stuff and overthinking she should have been able to take everyone down.

As a quick aside, that’s another issue with the second half of the Chimera arc. I think the author wrote the heroes into too big of a hole. They were heavily outnumbered already and then he added the 3 generals who were stronger than all of the Hunters. There was no way they were going to mount a real comeback here and it shows. The heroes were so far out of their depth that the arc basically got cancelled and had a sudden ending that was not satisfying in the slightest. The power levels had just started to get out of hand so maybe it was a good idea to suddenly stop it, but as a result there are a ton of battles that should have happened, but ultimately didn’t. It was a very anti climactic end to the arc considering how much build up there was. I think the arc could have used another 20 or so episodes which would have been enough to cash-in on all the anticipation built up throughout the saga.

Ikalgo is a chimera who gets a big role as he eventually joins the heroes. He means well and while the guy was a total villain initially, his redemption arc is handled quite well. Ikalgo contributes quite a lot during the arc and while he may not be the strongest guy on the block, he is pretty sneaky. Then you’ve got Cheetu who is just a fun villain. He’s incredibly fast so it’s hard to tag him and he causes a lot of damage. If anything it’s just too bad that we couldn’t see him fight a bit more. It’s hard to really see anyone taking him down in a straight fight. He can destroy most opponents before they even notice he is around. Cheetu also continued to improve more and more as he developed new powers mid-fight. Rammot’s role isn’t nearly as big but he’s also a fun villain. The guy was really the first Nen chimera. Of course that means he isn’t quite ready to take on any of the commanders, but he still gives a good fight. I think his design is what really made him interesting. It’s a cool hybrid type look.

Then we’ve got Netero. This guy likes trolling everyone and by the time he is ready to act in the Chimera war it’s a little too late. The guy is definitely powerful and is probably still one of the strongest characters in the series. He couldn’t quite match up to Mereum but otherwise there are probably just a handful of characters who could give him a good fight. I wasn’t a big fan of his, but he beats most other old mentor type characters. As for Ging, he’s definitely one of the worst parents you’ll see around. He still has no good reason for ditching Gon and his wife. The guy just likes adventures and doesn’t want any responsibility that comes along with it. I want to see him fight because the guy gets to much hype, but at this rate it’ll be a long time before that ever happens.

A real standout character was Pariston. He really stole the show in the election arc. The guy has a charismatic presence so it’s easy to see why he was a front runner to be the next chairman. He destroys the opposing arguments with ease and is always one step ahead of the other characters. Everything goes according to his plans and it’s safe to say that he is still in control. I wonder if he’ll ever get a big role again, but even if he does not he left a great impression. Morel is a pro hunter who can manipulate smoke. He’s a very calm and calculated guy who knows not to bite off more than he can chew. He’s definitely a solid ally to have around and was a fun supporting character. His partner Knov may have cracked, but I liked that guy a lot as well. Ultimately he wasn’t able to press on with the rest of the heroes, but he was inches close to death. His older design also worked pretty well. It was really surreal to see that.

Knuckle is like an old school brawler character from an 80s anime. His power is pretty good because unless you have broken levels of Nen it’ll seal you off very quickly. Calling his attack Bankruptcy was also pretty neat. I do think Killua surpassed him a while back though and at this point Gon should be able to take him down. The guy was a good coach though and he was always nice to the local animals. In comparison Shoot never left as much of an impact. He did fight hard to the end though. Even while dying he wanted Knuckle to continue the fight. It’s always good to have that level of determination in battle.

Then there is Palm who is an odd heroine. She’s very unhinged and is always throwing threats around. Fortunately the heroes are tough enough where they don’t need to worry too much, but she is not an ally you’d want to have on hand. She wasn’t really my kind of character. Then you have Kite who is nice enough. He seems a lot more reasonable than Ging at any rate. He wasn’t terribly interesting either, but I did like his weapon. It’s pretty unique and the fact that even he doesn’t know what it’ll do next makes it a very interesting weapon to see in action.

Zeno is Killua’s grandfather and we can see why he was such a big threat back in the day. Even now he has some powerful moves and the fight with Chrollo was a lot of fun. We also saw what a large range his attack had in the Chimera arc. Pretty much everyone got affected by that. Then Silva is also a powerful fighter. We haven’t seen a whole lot of him either (Such is the fate of many characters in this series) but you can tell that he is the real deal. Killua’s family is just stacked with great fighters. Just take a look at Alluka. Alluka has never even trained before, but was born with a great ability to grant wishes. There is no wish that Alluka can’t feasibly grant in some way or another. I wouldn’t want to have that ability since I couldn’t grant my own wishes though. Seems like a big downside to me.

This likely won’t come as a surprise but the animation is definitely top notch. The colors are very strong and the battle animations are smooth. Everything about the shows looks quite modern. It’s got that sleek new look while still having a good color contrast for the dark nen abilities. Meanwhile the soundtrack is great as well. It’s a shame that my favorite track was never officially released but you’ll hear it quite a few times like when Killua fought the darts guy. There are many other great themes that you’ll be hearing as you go through the series as well.

One big factor in why the show is so good is the writing. Every character is written to be pretty intelligent and three dimensional. The narrator in the chimera arc also adds to the hype by building up each scene. A good narrator goes a long way and this guy definitely succeeded. The play by play enhanced each of the scenes as opposed to slowing things down too much.

Overall, Hunter X Hunter is definitely a fun show. If you’re looking for a good action/adventure anime then this is the one to check out. In some ways it is still one of the most ambitious titles out there. The mind games are incredible and the universe built around the characters is very interesting. There are so many complexities and various characters running around that the series could last for many years even without all the breaks. Once you watch this show you’ll likely want to go read the manga to see what happens next. It may have had a rough patch with the Chimera arc, but the series is long enough where it was able to survive this. Just dive in and enjoy the ride.

Overall 7/10

5 Star Games, Game Reviews, Games, Reviews

Super Puyo Puyo 2 Review


This is definitely an interesting SNES online game because it wasn’t translated. The game is still in Japanese from the controls to the cutscenes. While this does mean it’ll be impossible to follow the story unless you learned some Japanese, at least the game came at all. Better to arrive like that than to never arrive right? I like Tetris gameplay a lot and while I realize Puyo is quite a bit different I thought my skills would transfer over. Unfortunately that was not the case and I kept getting wrecked on the second level. There must be some gameplay mechanics I am not aware of because this did not feel legit.

When you boot up the game there are quite a few modes. You’ve got speed run, options, and the main one. There were two others that I did not click on. Naturally I ran to the main mode and did not look back. I was able to consistently beat the first guy with my quick combos. The problem was always the second level. So the goal of the game is to match 4 bubbles of one color. As long as the bubbles connect in any form then you just need to get the 4. It doesn’t have to be a complete line like Tetris. As you get more and more combos you will be sending bubbles to the opponent’s side. Once someone’s screen fills up with bubbles that person is defeated. You can get rid of these bubbles by making matches so it will come down to speed….seemingly.

The issue here is that I only ever seem to send over a few bubbles to my opponent while he is suddenly able to send an army at me. I’m assuming it’s because he either lands some kind of combo or manages to match 5-6 at a time. I tried both options but even then he would take the win. It would happen pretty suddenly too as I would have a huge lead and it would all go away in an instant. It definitely didn’t feel very legit, but I’m sure one day I would get the hang of it. That day was not in time for the review though so I was left spinning my wheels for a bunch of rounds before I eventually turned in the towel.

I think the craziest part here is that this was technically still just level 2 of Easy mode. It makes you wonder what normal and advanced levels of difficulty look like. The game really expects you to be a master at this point and I suppose this is the second game in the Super series so maybe that’s a fair expectation. I did try one round of the speed run part, but I died pretty quick. That seems like it would be a good way to hone your skills and level up though. Eventually you could land the pieces without any real effort. That being said, the toughest part about going at a high speed is that it’s easy for the control stick to move to the left or right and then you’ll have quickly gotten yourself into a big hole. Once you’ve messed up a piece making a comeback is even more impossible.

I suppose the gameplay wouldn’t change much from level to level so I still got most of the experience. The most interesting part of the game was definitely the plot and it’s not like I could actually follow that part. The animations were very expressive and it looked like it had a pretty colorful story. The graphics have aged incredibly well for its time and I’d be game for a newer Puyo Puyo game coming to America someday. I’d buy an HD collection for that. The soundtrack is less noticeable, I can’t really recall any of the tunes to be honest. That’s something it’ll need to work to improve since the music in Tetris 99 is downright excellent!

Overall, Super Puyo Puyo 2 is one of those games with a lot of promise. I like the fact that it has an actual story. It looks like an RPG and the colorful characters really help to make this game stand out from the pack. I suspect that is part of what helped make it so popular along with the gameplay. The gameplay didn’t really click for me but I’m thinking that’s partially because you’re just thrown into the action. If you’re more familiar with the gameplay and know how to really put up a fight then I expect you’ll really like this game. Try to learn some Japanese while you’re at it and then you’ll even have bragging rights when your friends come over to play.

Overall 5/10