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

Phi Brain: Puzzle of God: Nemesis Raetsel Review


It’s time to take a look at the final Phi Brain season. The first two seasons were pretty great so I was ready to jump into the next season. This one is also very good although I would say that it is the weakest season of the 3. It just has a hard time keeping up with the first two because of Jin’s antics. His character gets flushed away here, but fortunately Kaito still makes for a pretty epic main character. We also get to see a lot of the big characters from the first two seasons show up which is always cool. All in all, it makes for a good wrap up to the series.

The season starts with Kaito solving another puzzle as per usual. It’s a little odd that there was still a puzzle around since they should have all been solved, but he doesn’t think too much of it. This changes when a girl named Raetsel shows up and kidnaps Jin. Kaito gives chase while the rest of the Phi Brain children are attacked by a man named Enigma. He is the leader of the Master Brains, a group who is dedicated to destroying all puzzlers. He states that the group is doing this under Jin’s orders. Up til now Kaito has known Jin as his trusted master who loved all puzzles and was a hero through and through. Is it possible that this was all a lie?

Why not ask Jin? Well, they try this, but Jin is no help since he is still missing most of his memories after getting steam rolled by the main villain in season 1. Jin never truly recovered from that in future seasons and even now he is being affected. He spends most of the season teetering like a rag doll between sides as he lets everyone speak for him. Jin is effectively an echo chamber or a mindless monster who follows whatever people say. He has no will of his own and unless he is being possessed you can’t expect him to do much of anything here. He’s a bit of a dull character who is always getting everyone in trouble. He never really shapes up so hopefully you enjoy his character more than I did. He’s the weakest one in the season.

Fortunately to counter that the other villains are pretty solid. One of the new ones here is Raetsel and she claims that she’s known Jin back during the “missing” year he had and that he does in fact despise puzzles. She is a talented solver which isn’t surprising since she was trained by Jin himself. Raetsel definitely doesn’t like Kaito since from her point of view he basically took Jin away from her. It wasn’t really his fault as Jin was just a jerk, but as a kid it was hard for her to know better. Raetsel does tend to get manipulated a bit as the series goes on and I would have liked her to defect early on, but she still has a strong showing overall. She’s another great rival for Kaito and we even got a duel involving her, Rook, Gammon, Freecell, and Kaito which was pretty amazing. Pretty much all of the big rivals were there.

Enigma is another big villain here and he was fun. He’s not as solid as the other master strategist from season 2, but he’s got the smug demeanor down pat. You always want to have a villain with a lot of confidence like this. He’s also good at what he does as shown by how he easily betrays so many other villains in the process. That’s not exactly an easy thing for anyone to pull off. I don’t think anyone expected him to be the final boss or anything like that, but he definitely does last for quite a while.

Unfortunately in this season Gammon doesn’t get to do much. In the first two seasons he was one of Kaito’s biggest rivals, but you can tell that he’s slowly stopped being able to catch up to the lead. Gammon is seen as more of an after thought and only gets 2-3 big puzzles during the whole season. It’s a shame but he did get a really big role in the first two seasons so I suppose eventually he had to slow down. He still talks tough to an extent, but is more on automatic mode than anything else. Gammon’s really just going through the motions at this point rather than actively trying to be the best.

The rest of the Phi Brain children also don’t get to do much here. Cubik gets wrecked in the very first episode of the season which is quite good foreshadowing of how useful he will be for the rest of the season. He’s never been the best solver though so it’s not as if it is out of the blue. He does his best when he appears, but I’ve never been a particularly big fan of his. Ana was also one of the more quirky solvers who relies on mind games more than skill. There isn’t really anyone here with personal ties to her which limits her abilities. Nonoha was never a solver anyway so she doesn’t get to do much of course, but she’s always around for moral support which is important. She’s a nice character as always.

Kaito is a top notch lead as always. It’s pretty rough for him since in every season the villains use mind games to get to him. It’s established early on that Kaito is one of the greatest solvers of all time. He’s only lost maybe 2-3 duels in the entire show in fair fights. Usually the only other way he will lose is if someone is messing with his mind or if there is some kind of device limiting his abilities. The latter doesn’t get to happen this time, but the mind games are still present. Jin and Raetsel do a number on him and he also gets more visions of how the world will end depending on his actions. It’s a lot of pressure but he does a good job of getting past it.

At the end of the day Kaito just loves solving puzzles and the villains aren’t able to take that away from him. He jumps into every battle and is quite impulsive so he just leaps in without a plan. Kaito’s a bit of a loner despite the group he usually travels with and isn’t opposed to fighting a villain one on one. I definitely liked him quite a lot and while Gammon was fighting neck and neck with him for the earlier seasons, it’s clear that Kaito is the best at least in this season.

Meanwhile Rook has now become one of the big executives of the puzzles group that used to be evil. He is now more of a planner than an active participant although he does get to have a few duels regardless. He looks pretty solid although there was one point where I disagreed with him. He basically told all of the heroes that they weren’t allowed to go after the villains. He figured it was a trap and so they needed to stay put. It’s not the worst idea I’ve ever heard, but time was of the essence and they needed to free Jin. Not going wasn’t going to solve anything and so Kaito rightfully ditched Rook. Rook tried forcing the issue with a lethal duel and I was just not on his side the whole time. Also by fighting each other it was playing into the villain’s hands. I do like the idea of having all 5 of the super geniuses across the 3 seasons fighting each other to awaken their true powers. Since it’s been such a long time and you had characters from different seasons (3 from season 1, 1 from season 2, and 1 from season 3) it was a nice balance. I think everyone would expect Kaito and Raetsel to be the final survivors, but I won’t confirm if that was the case.

Freecell had really hoped not to have to duel anymore and I don’t blame him since it was never his passion. Compared to the other characters in the show who just live for puzzles, Freecell was just mainpulated into using them. Once he regained his sanity it was time for retirement, but it was not to me. He made some powerful enemies in season 2 and one of them ended up coming back for revenge. Freecell ultimately embraces his abilities and has some pretty good duels near the end of the season. I do like him as a character. He was at his best as a villain, but is still portrayed as a skilled solver which I appreciated. He’s a step below some of the others, but really does his best to keep up and comes across as the most sympathetic hero. He could have walked away from all of this, but stayed behind to help his friend Melancholy.

Meanwhile Melancholy gets a big role here as she signs up with the villains just to get revenge on Freecell. She has a lot to avenge at this point since he took down her boss in the last season and nearly broke her with his vague optical powers. Melancholy does pretty good and still never lost sight of herself. She didn’t actually aim to murder the heroes most of the time although some of her puzzles seemed pretty dangerous anyway. Her main mistake was allowing the other villains to have control over her puzzles as well. In the end I wouldn’t say she was the smartest villain because she got manipulated quite a bit, but she was a fun wild card to have around. I always love having a third party here to shake things up and she fulfilled that role.

In a way Elena could have been in this role as well (only as a hero) except unfortunately she doesn’t really get to duel here. It’s a shame because we know she is quite skilled, but she only offers her support financially and through planning this time around. It is helpful to have her around though as she finds out a lot about Raetsel. Although in general the Raetsel thing was a little odd since she kept trying to murder the heroes, but they were pretty relaxed around her anyway. How can you hang out with someone who’s always trying to murder you? I know Kaito doesn’t really fear anything, but even for him it’s pretty bold.

Herbert seems to appear in every season as one of those villains who just doesn’t want to stay down. You have to give him some props for that even if you never really think that he’s going to come out on top. He’s just a fun guy to go up against and here he gets a brief power up which makes him even more of a threat. Herbert doesn’t last long, but you’ll remember him. Then you have Lovushka who is mentioned a whole lot more than her actual screen time would suggest. She’s the main reason why the villains are going through the plan so she’s important in that sense. I can’t say that I was a fan, but she didn’t really appear enough for me to have much of an opinion on her.

Finally we have Orpheus who makes for a solid end boss. It was also nice to see Jin finally leave for the rest of the season which helped me like Orpheus even more. He’s fairly standard as far as Phi Brain end bosses go, but it was a nice way to tie in season 2. It gave the Orpheus Order a little more credibility here. Orpheus has a pretty cool final form and the shadow eyes effect is always a nice one. I would have liked to have seen him fight more directly though as he usually chooses to go through intermediaries.

Each season of Phi Brain always has a terrific climax and this one was no exception. As I mentioned earlier I really liked the big duel between the 5 strongest solvers in the series. It was a pretty good way to let them all have one last crack at a puzzle and those kind of stakes are just fun. It’s like the 4 way duel from Battle City in the Yugioh series. It’s a lot of fun because it does make it a little harder to know where everyone will place. You may know who will win, but it’s hard to guess aside from that. Aside from the main plot I also liked all of the duels with the Master Brains. Their competency level varied for sure, but it did bring us more puzzles which is what the whole series is about. I like to see the puzzles and watching the heroes try to solve them is fun. The series does a good job of really thinking of a lot of different combinations.

The writing is sound as well and that’s important because the puzzles are naturally going to rely on having strong writing at the ready. Weak writing would result in puzzles that don’t make a lot of sense or have convenient answers. I’d make the case that the first season still had the best puzzles with answers that you could actually solve on your own but these were good as well. My favorite puzzle was probably one of the ones from early in the season where the heroes had to find the correct door while Raetsel would snap her fingers causing the doors to shuffle. The idea is to memorize which direction her snaps cause the doors to move and then go from there. It was a very logical puzzle with an answer that made sense. It was definitely an extremely tough one, but one that followed a set of rules.

As always the animation for the season is quite good. I like the character designs and energy effects the series has. It’s looked quite solid from day 1 and that’s never changed. The first episode of the series may still have had some of the most impressive scenes with Kaito first getting his powers, but it’s been pretty consistent since then. This season is no different. Then you’ve got the top notch soundtrack. Most if not all of the tunes are from previous seasons, but the show had already established itself as having a top tier music selection so I can see why they would want to bring them back. The songs can range from being pretty emotional and ominous to having straight up battle tunes. These music selections are part of what makes the puzzles so intense and are definitely necessary for the full experience.

Overall, Phi Brain season 3 is a fun end to the saga. I may not be the biggest fan of Jin, but since his plot had started back in season 1 I suppose it was about time we wrapped that up. On a technical level the series delivered as expected with great animation and a really solid soundtrack. The old characters didn’t get to shine as much, but as they had all already finished their character arcs I suppose their time was simply up at this point. The new characters were fun and I was glad to see old favorites like Rook and Freecell again. I’d definitely like to see a revival of this series someday, but it’s probably a little too recent for that. Even so, a 3 season show about puzzles is quite unique and hopefully more and more people will find out about this title.

Overall 7/10

9 Star TV Shows, Reviews, TV Show Reviews, TV Shows

One Punch Man Season 2 Review


Anime is definitely one of the most amazing mediums there is. It never ceases to really bring you into a show. Even anime that I haven’t given the highest of scores will usually have some kind of epic confrontation that takes it to the next level. As a result I tend to really get into various series. I was on a Sword Art Online high for a while, then there was RWBY, One Punch Man and of course Black Clover. There are many great shows, but then at the top you’ve got the elites. These are shows where you are engaged no matter what is happening on screen. It could just be the characters hanging around chatting and you’ll be interested because the characters are just so well written. Then when the action comes you know you’ll be in for a good time. One Punch Man is the second greatest manga I’ve ever read and the first season is easily in my top 10 shows. Season 2 continues the series on a supreme note and I certainly hope to see the franchise continue to go for many years to come.

The season really has two main story arcs going on. One arc follows Saitama as he decides to enter a martial arts tournament to see if some of these fighting techniques will help him face off against a worthy opponent. He’s tired of one shotting monsters all the time so perhaps this will give him some kind of a challenge. This is Saitama though so it’s going to be hard to find such a challenge. Meanwhile the monster association has started to make their first moves against humanity and so the heroes could really use him right about now.

The other big arc follows a new character named Garou. He has dubbed himself the “Hero Hunter” and aims to defeat all of the S Class heroes. He believes that monsters are always portrayed in a negative light and bullied by the humans so he will become a monster that defeats them all. His quest leads him up against most of the series’ biggest fighters as he gradually goes from taking on weaker opponents to some of the strongest in the series. As he becomes a bigger and bigger threat the heroes are forced to acknowledge his power.

It’s easy to see why the 12 episode format is so popular. One Punch Man is able to go at a very quick pace much like season 1 and so there is never a minute of dull time. The plot is always progressing and we go from fight to fight. It helps to really capture the high level of intensity from the manga which is ideal. This season is also covering the beginning of the greatest arc in the series which is a really great place to start. It’s a little hard to know what to talk about first. I guess a logical part is the writing. In most shows it’s hard to like the whole cast, but OPM really manages to do a great job here. I can’t think of any character that is downright bad….well there is one. I forgot he appeared in this season, but I quickly double checked and Puri Puri Prisoner showed up after all. He would be the only negative character. The others ranging from heroes to villains are all pretty spectacular.

Another positive in this season is that it goes out of its way to build up the monsters as a real threat. In season 1 we did see a lot of powerful enemies that dealt major damage until Saitama took them out, but as a whole the society was pretty much okay after each encounter. There were slight hintings in the background that something was coming though. Season 2 is the payoff with that as we find out that there is a monster association led by Monster King Orochi and they have plans on how to deal with the heroes. It’s really the worst nightmare of the hero society since these guys are all mega powerful and know how to pick off the heroes. It’s a fact that there are more monsters than humans so if they properly gang up then it’s hard to see how they could be defeated.

I always like a good villain meetup scene so the episode where we first see Orochi and his full staff of monsters is excellent. I also like how they trolled the humans by pretending to be interested in a truce only to start shooting anyway. These monsters are ruthless and most of their members are actually cool monsters and not just throwaways. The series went out of its way to establish a lot of these guys and that’s great if you ask me.

In particular I liked 2 of the monsters in this season a lot. First is the cockroach guy who has a cool design and gave Genos a real fight. That alone is enough to make him pop out on my radar. Then you’ve got Gouketsu who has a great design and a solid presence. I would have liked to have seen him fight some more opponents to really see him in action before he left though. While we didn’t get that, it’s still clear that he is one of the strongest fighters out there.

We’ve already got an engaging story and excellent writing so that’s how you know you’ve got a winner. Next up is the animation. It certainly took a lot of heat as soon as the first promo came out with people saying that J.C. Staff was going to ruin it and that it couldn’t match up to the original. To start with, season 2 was never going to pass the first one. To date One Punch Man season 1 has the greatest animation I’ve ever seen. I don’t think it will be passed in the near future, that anime just looked perfect and it was fitting since the manga has the best artwork I’ve ever seen in that medium. You simply can’t top it. That being said, season 2’s animation is still great. At its absolute worst it’s still pretty good.

Just look at any of Garou’s fights and you’ll see how stellar it is. Genos vs Sonic and Genos vs Cockroach are also great fights and the same goes for Suiryu. What I’m basically saying is that all of the fights are great. This season uses different animation techniques which may take a little time to get used to if you watch both seasons back to back, but they aren’t bad. We get more air slash effects to compensate for not being able to animate every little detail like in season 1. It’s also more of a fluid color scheme that has less detail, but still gives you a lot of movement. I’d say it’s similar to the older seasons of Cardfight vs the newer ones, DBZ vs Super, or Naruto vs Boruto. In general I think a lot of anime are going towards this more streamlined era of less detail. It’ll be up to personal preference though and it’s all done within reason. For example, Black Clover falls under the “more detailed” line of anime but for big fights they tend to switch to simpler designs. Super interestingly went the opposite direction as the first few arcs were very simple so they went for a detailed look in the Tournament of Power.

In general I’d say that the detailed approach will look better than the simple designs. It’s clear that it takes a lot more work and effort to get it across, but if it’s something that’s 5x as hard to do and only makes 2x as much money (if even that) then it’s likely not worth it from a studio perspective. As long as the animation is still great I’m cool with whatever they decide to use. At least it’s not all CGI right? Now that would be something for me to get disappointed at. Season 2 has a few CGI gradients put onto the characters at times, but it’s never a full transformation like the Colossal Titan in AOT or anything like that. The actual fights are always still hand drawn and that’s the important thing.

The soundtrack is also great like with season 1. I wasn’t a big fan of the opening though. I dunno, both OPM intros haven’t really been my thing which is surprising since they are rock based. Maybe season 3 will get that one across. The new theme we have which plays during Bang’s scenes is excellent. In particular when it shows up during his fight with Garou it’s perfectly timed. It starts out as a fairly soft theme and then really picks up. Every show should have a standout theme and this is the one for this season. We also have the return of the Genos theme which was slightly remixed and still sounds great.

It’s a small complaint, but the sound mixing did seem a bit off at times. The Genos theme in particular was one instance of this as you could barely hear it playing during his fight with Garou. The sound effects were way louder than the music. Then some of the sound effects don’t have quite the pop you would expect during some battles. I didn’t notice the effects sounding weak for any of Garou’s fights though as it was just in early episodes. Perhaps it’s something that was quickly addressed.

Most of the big characters from season 1 return here which is definitely good. Saitama is still a great lead. He’s just a nice guy who’s pretty relatable and does really want to be a great hero. It must be tough being the strongest, but he’s never even been remotely tempted to turn into a villain which is good. The series could easily have had him try to be a villain so he could see if the S rank heroes give him a good fight but it hasn’t gone in that direction. It’s also always cool to see him transition into his cool hero persona.

King is one of the big new characters in this season and he definitely makes a positive impact. Everyone believes they he is one of the strongest heroes out there because King always happens to be in the right place at the right time. He is similar to Hercule from DBZ only King is fairly selfless and isn’t here for the money or power. He just wants people to leave him alone so he can play his video games. King does step up when needed though. One of the main reasons why he is such a fun character is he actually does give good advice and solid speeches. His character definitely goes in a different direction from how you’d expect and it works out really well.

Bang was in the first season, but this is the first one where he gets a fairly significant role. Since Garou was one of his students he wants to defeat the villain personally. This leads to him taking down a lot of thugs and ultimately helping out a lot in the climax. He is treated as one of the strongest S class heroes for sure although his age does factor in a bit. He’s not quite as powerful as he used to be although you wouldn’t guess it from his fights. He’s probably one of the best Shonen mentors I’ve seen in a very long while. You can’t even compare him to someone like Master Roshi. Garou manages to stay relevant next to the main characters and is just a good guy. Then we get to see his brother Bomb. Bomb’s not one of the more popular characters but he is quite solid in his own right. He is able to keep up with Bang blow for blow and just having him along as backup is incredibly handy. There would be too many enemies if Bang had to worry about them all by himself.

Meanwhile Sonic is awesome as always even if his role is very small this time around. He still has his super speed and confidence when he fights the other two ninja but this season is mostly just not about him much. His quick fight with Genos was also great. I like the rivalry between them. Genos gets a solid role meanwhile. Unlike season 1 where he basically lost every fight he actually scores some impressive wins here like against the cockroach monster. Garou also takes down a legion of enemies all while overwhelming Garou. It’s great to see him improving although I expect ultimately he will still be losing to most of the bigger fighters. It just wouldn’t be One Punch Man without Genos breaking down at least once. He never loses confidence though and that’s why he is the best hero.

Another new character is Suiryu and he’s definitely a hit. At this point Saitama already has 2 solid rivals in Genos and Sonic but why not add in a third one right? Suiryu is a martial arts master and quite possibly the strongest non hero out there. He is able to easily defeat A rank heroes and I dare say that he could give some S Ranks a run for their money. His pure physical abilities are off the charts and I always enjoy confident characters like this. He completely overwhelms his opponents in the ring and is only stopped short by Gouketsu. I don’t believe any of the villains under that guy would have been able to do much here. I really hope Suiryu gets to appear again because this guy has potential. The scenes of him getting beat up by the villains are probably some of the most emotional in the series.

Then we have Garou who really lit up the anime with his appearances. He gets stronger as he fights which is always a great trait to have. A good villain should always have an interesting backstory as well and Garou’s is top notch. He does have a point that in a lot of the old monster type shows the heroes would pick on the monster unfairly. Just look at the original Ultraman. Part of my complaints with that show was that not all of the monsters would be evil, but they’d all be beaten and blown up anyway. Garou takes this down an extreme path and does without a doubt become a villain, but it’s still a solid motivation if you ask me. He’s borderline the main character of season 2 and should play a large part in season 3 as well. Garou faces off against crazy odds in most of his fights and easily feels like the most dangerous villain. Take this into consideration, he was giving Genos an even fight despite being almost unconscious and losing his vision. Garou at full strength at this point would be completely insane.

Then there’s Fubuki who hasn’t yet had a lot to do in the show. She’s a fun character and I look forward to seeing her get more fights in the future. Her dynamic of not wanting to be saved by Tatsumaki is good as it’ll make her get stronger and is also a good motivation in general. Saitama was that making the Fubuki group is a bit of a waste when you can just get stronger but it isn’t so easy for most.

So in the end does season 2 manage to dethrone season 1? The answer is no, but it’s a very close fight. Season 2 does adapt what I consider to be some of the best scenes in the series. The season has higher stakes and more emotional moments because Saitama just isn’t around to save the day as much. It has a grander feel, but ultimately season 1 wins with how phenomenal it is. Having the greatest animation of all time certainly helps, but we also got to meet all of the S ranks in the cool climax of season 1. Boros made for a great opponent and I also enjoyed a lot of the light hearted moments with Saitama and Genos. A whole show of them hanging out would be a lot of fun as well.

Overall, One Punch Man Season 2 is a great follow up to the original and a top notch show in general. When you combine both shows you’ve got 24 episodes that would be hard for any title to match. If you haven’t seen this show yet then you need to change that. Each episode is guaranteed to get your heart pumping as you enjoy the excellent action scenes. It’s really rare to have such a well balanced show on this level so the wait for season 3 is definitely going to be tough. I hope they launch the next one right away. Since the seasons are only 12 episodes that should help them pump it out quickly. Whether they adapt the rest of the arc or not I just want to see more One Punch Man!

Overall 9/10

5 Star Games, Game Reviews, Games, Reviews

Star Fox 2 Review


It’s time to look at a pretty obscure Star Fox game. Not a lot of people got to play this game back in the day although that has changed to a degree since the game was included on the SNES classic and now it’s also available through the Switch Online. I can definitely see why Nintendo wanted to bury this game back in the day though. While I applaud Nintendo’s effort to make a new kind of Star Fox game, it really doesn’t hold up nearly as well as the original. The gameplay just isn’t that good and that’s always tough to get past for a video game.

The basic plot is that Andross wants to conquer the star systems once again. Fox and friends don’t want to let this happen, but at the same time it’s going to be really hard to put a stop to this. The team splits up and prepares to defeat the opposing planets while protecting their own. This takes you to the hub world which shows you where everything is at. It’s a bit overwhelming but you’ll get the gist of it after a few minutes. Corneria is your home base and if it gets destroyed then that is an instant game over. Your goal is to stop the missilles heading towards it and taking down all of the enemy bases. Personally I feel like the easiest thing to do is taking out all of the bases right away. The villains won’t have time to blow up Corneria if you do that. That’s what I did and the game is over within 40-50 minutes.

The actual gameplay is a 3D shooter. You fly through the air and try to blast the ships out of the sky. This is the worst part of the gameplay because it’s hard to see anything. Your sensor is oddly not in the middle of your screen so you have to find it and then shoot from there. It’s just not very fun and the gameplay feels like it was slapped together. It’s always hard to tell where you’re at or even just moving in general. Fortunately not all of the levels use this gameplay style but it would have to be one of the worst shooter gameplays I’ve tried.

The other style is your ground missions which ties into the final level. You get to run around as a walker and blast various objects. It actually feels pretty similar to Star Fox Assault which is good since that is still the best Star Fox title. You can also switch back to your Arwing if necessary but I don’t see why you would do that. The walker is way easier to move around in and the blasters take down all of the enemies very quickly. The final boss even goes down quickly like this and the gameplay is a lot more fun. This would be a whole different game if you could just play in the walker the whole time. It’s just really solid.

If I had to describe why the gameplay didn’t work, it’s just a little too unfocused. It can be hard to know what is happening right away and it’s just too hard to turn around. The boss against the long snake is a good example of that as he keeps flying around you and it’s so hard to keep up with him. He barely ever tries to attack you so the boss isn’t hard, just a little on the tedious side. I think the first person view is what tripped the game up, it should have been more of a third person camera view like the original Star Fox. That’s always a safer approach if you ask me.

Team Wolf shows up in this game, but they don’t really serve much purpose except to give you a quick dogfight. The level is okay but surprisingly Leon was way more difficult than Wolf. Wolf went down almost instantly while Leon actually beat me the first time. The difficulty level here isn’t as crazy as some SNES games, but it’s still tough enough where you can’t just breeze through the whole thing. You will have to think through your moves and be very careful about how you approach each level. One loss means game over, but the rewind feature on the SNES should help you avoid that.

Meanwhile the graphics are pretty good. In this area at least I’d say it keeps up pretty well with the original game and maybe even surpasses it. I was glad we got little text cutscenes even if the game didn’t have the most elaborate story in it. At least having a bit of a story is better than none right? The soundtrack is also decent I suppose. Not the most imaginative, but it’s got those classic Star Fox vibes that always work well. As for replay value, I wouldn’t really say there is much. You can try beating the game in a different way but there’s not a whole lot of reason to do so. I suppose if you just like the game enough then that’s not a bad idea. Since the game is free it’s not like you need the game to be quite as long though.

Overall, Star Fox 2 is a fairly weak Star Fox game. I have to say that the franchise has had a pretty tough time over the years. The original Star Fox game was decently good, but then we had this one which wasn’t very good. Star Fox Assault was amazing and Adventures was pretty good but then we had Command and Zero which really could not hold their own on that level. I hope the next Star Fox game we get is more like Assault and brings the series into the elite level. The concept is still so much fun and Fox is always a great character to have around. I don’t really recommend this game, but if you have the Switch Online then you may as well check it out. Otherwise I’d say you should just pick up Assault instead.

Overall 5/10

1 Star Movies, Live Action Movie Reviews, Live Action Movies, Reviews

Alien: Resurrection 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 Alien installment. I think we all already knew what to expect from this one, but even so you can’t help but feel a little disappointed at how bad this one is. Why can’t the Alien series just adapt what should be an easy premise into a great film? This one makes about all the mistakes it can and you’re never left engaged in what’s going on. If you’re going to be a terrible film you should at least be interesting like Resident Evil or something. That one kept you guessing so you would at least have fun during all of the craziness. This one couldn’t manage that.

The film starts off 200 years after the last one. Ripley has been revived so that the scientists could get her alien. They decide to leave her alive though since she has super powers and they’re hoping that she somehow doesn’t use it to wreck their plans. This is all a pretty illegal operation of kidnapping humans to use as expendables in the Xenomorph project so you’d think they would want to silence everyone right away. Well, a group of mercenaries led by Frank show up and we immediately can’t accept these guys as characters to root for. They’re literally trafficking humans across the cosmos to be murdered. You can have a group of bandits as the lead like in the Guardians of the Galaxy so long as they aren’t pure evil. These guys are terrible and since the scientists are established as villains with Ripley being insane….we have to root for the Xenomorphs this time. Lets see if they can crush all the humans!

Resurrection really made a mistake in making everyone an antagonist. I like a good villain vs villain fight as much as the next guy, but it only works in the context that there do exist some heroes who can fight back. If it’s just a bunch of villains running around then there’s nobody to root for. None of them are all that interesting either. The best member of the rebels would be Frank almost by default. At least he tries to act like a real commander and resorts to blackmail really quickly just to let everyone know that he’s still corrupt. Unfortunately his role is incredibly minor here.

Then you’ve got Ron who is probably the worst member of the group. His first scene is him picking on Dom for not being able to walk and from there he tries to make some moves on Ripley. There’s no real point to his character and while they may be trying to have a gruff lead here, it doesn’t work. Then there’s Dom who exploits the fact that he is in a wheelchair here to load a bunch of guns here basically proving the security guards right for thinking twice about letting him in. I do have to quickly say that this was one of the biggest stretches in the movie. What’s the point of having a metal detector if you’re going to let everyone in anyway? It buzzes for someone’s water bottle which of course turns out to be a gun later on. It buzzes for the wheelchair and later on we find out it’s because there was a gun inside. If you’re not going to test the results then the whole thing is pointless. It can’t eve detect when a robot walks through it.

Then we have Annalee who is trying to be the detective here. She intentionally acts a little slow at times to get everyone to leave her alone. That being said, she is intimidated way too easily. The whole scene with Ripley was pretty awful for her and she never really became a likable character. There is Ripley too of course, but she is pretty much dead to the world throughout the film. She lets her emotions get the better of her whenever they do pop up and she rarely uses her powers in a useful way. She’s got super strength and speed, you’d think she would use that to do more than just intimidate the characters around her the whole time. She’s just an annoying lead with no real personality. There is a twist about her which makes sense almost from the jump but the film waits til near the end to actually confirm it.

I think the scene where you realize that Ripley isn’t going to get any better is during the basketball scene. The whole scene is stretched out quite a bit and somehow the film messed up what it’s going for. This is supposed to be a cool scene where Ripley beats up the guy trying to get too fresh with her and shows them why she is the main character. Instead she forgets how to talk again doesn’t really get to do anything beyond sinking the shot before they are interrupted by the scientists. That was not the way to do this.

I can’t think of any solid tunes here so you can forget about watching it for the soundtrack. The film’s incredibly violent as expected so that’s something to consider when watching the film. Everyone dies in various ways and in this case they don’t even seem to have a chance against the Aliens so it’s not as if it’s exciting. It’s just violent to tick off that box. The writing is also very weak. Aside from all of the characters being unlikable there is also quite a bit of language so the film fails on all technical levels.

At this point…what’s left? Resurrection has to go down as one of the weakest creature features out there. Even the Xenomorphs didn’t seem as cool because they were drooling even more than usual. It’s probably because they were in daylight more, but I don’t remember them looking quite so bad. I prefer the sleek Xenomorph look where it’s more of a hard shell. Maybe they were a little nervous here though. One of them did get jumped by a bunch of others after all.

Overall, Alien Resurrection is definitely a mess of a film. It tries to get in some interesting visuals and ideas with the people in stasis, the alien farm, and stuff like that, but it all falls flat. None of that made me think the film was about ot turn things around and a big part of that goes back to the writing being no good. You can’t properly execute any ideas if the writing isn’t on point. There is really no reason to watch this movie. It’s all about a bunch of unlikable characters getting murdered by aliens and the plot is just a backdrop to that.

Overall 1/10

7 Star Movies, Live Action Movie Reviews, Live Action Movies, Reviews

Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker Review


It’s time to take a look at the final Star Wars film in the main saga. It’s been a long road so we’ve been waiting quite a while for this one. This trilogy has definitely had a checkered history with the first film being pretty much a 1-1 remake of episode IV and V destroyed any semblance of Luke Skywalker’s character, but did give us some of the first fight scenes we had in a very long time. This one is definitely better than the last two films. It may not take the series to the next level, but it certainly has more positives than negatives and I would easily recommend it to anyone who wants a good action film.

The movie starts off by with the group scattered once again. The Empire is on the offensive as always and Kylo Ren is searching for even greater power. He has found a new spark of life for his army and they threaten the very universe. Rey has been training so that she would be ready for the next big battle and is closer to being a Jedi Master. This has caused her to not be as available to the resistance which does bring some apprehensive feelings from the other characters. Finn and Poe have done their best to locate more intel but they are heavily outgunned and need some kind of backup support. Can the resistance rise up to overthrow the empire or have they finally hit their limit?

Right away one positive in the film is that it has a very fast pace. Something is always happening and we get to cover a lot of ground. There aren’t a whole lot of action scenes or at least it feels that way, but the ones we do get are very good. Whenever Rey and Ren face off against each other you are sure to have a good fight. The series still isn’t nearly as good at the battles as in films II and III which is a little odd since those are so old, but the battles still hold up. I always like hearing the lightsaber effects and how they are designed as well. The Force abilities are also pretty versatile and can be used in many ways. The film did a good job of incorporating them into the action scenes.

Luke Skywalker actually didn’t look terrible here which is already a point above the last film. He seemed like his old self and I was glad about that. It’s always fun to have cameos from the older characters through their force ghosts although some of them can be a bit much here. One character in particular was a bit iffy since he really shouldn’t have the ability to become a force ghost compared to the others. We can assume that they let him in and it’s not like the rules are totally set, but it did feel a bit cheesy. It does help make this finale feel a little more special though. We get to see almost every important character and location in the series.

One of the film’s weaknesses is that it’s a long movie that does feel long though. In part this is because the cast can’t hold their own scenes as well as the original characters. Rey does a good job as the lead, but Poe and Finn aren’t quite as exciting in the B plot as Han Solo was back in the day. We get to see a lot of nice backdrops in various scenes, but the scenery does add up which also gets attributed to the feeling that the film’s lasting a while. It’s probably a tradeoff that is unavoidable to feel like a LOTR epic, but I think the film could have shrunk the length down a bit or maybe focused more on Rey and thrown in some more fight scenes.

As always Rey is a great lead. In this film she is really struggling with her past a lot and trying not to go to the dark side. It’s a good internal battle and Rey tends to make the right decisions. I do think her friends had a point that she was taking too long training when they could use her on the front lines, but the training did allow her to stay on par with Kylo Ren so without it I wonder how she would have fared. Rey not come out on top every time, but she always fights hard and it’s nice to have a Jedi who is trained so well for a change. It feels like a long time since we’ve been to this point. The scene of her dragging down a ship was impressive the likes of which we haven’t seen since Starkiller.

This is one of the best parts about the film in general. It’s great to see Rey as a Jedi Master who is pretty confident and knows what she is doing. I’d like to see her go rogue a little more and just wreck the enemy, but she shows us enough so we know what she is capable of. We haven’t seen someone as powerful as her since episode III so it’s been a considerably long time. The fun part is when you think about it she is way stronger than even someone like Darth Vader just going by the films, but his appearances came before the effects got to this point so it’s not totally an equal comparison.

Unfortunately Finn didn’t bring his A game this time. I found him to be pretty annoying in a lot of scenes where he acts like he knows Rey better than Poe. Whether that is true or not he comes across as pretty obnoxious. One scene in particular is when he accuses Poe of not understanding Rey and when Poe asks him to help get this understanding, Finn just doesn’t bother helping out. It’s like telling someone that they don’t know the right answer and you do, but then not giving it to them when asked. In general I thought Finn was giving Poe a hard time throughout the film when it wasn’t really deserved. Poe was actually quite solid here. He got the shaft in the first two films compared to the other two so it was nice to see him take more of an active role here. Poe is probably the closest we would get to Han Solo so it’s nice to have another hot shot pilot like him.

Meanwhile we’ve got Kylo Ren on the villain side. I still can’t take him all that seriously without his helmet because of how beat up he always looks. The guy can still fight though so ideally this should be enough to get you on his side. While I can’t go into detail on his character too much, I thought his portrayal here was pretty good. I consider it to be an improvement over how he looked in the last two films. His first scene in the movie is probably his best one though even if he made the wrong call in the end.

Part of why most of the characters are at their best here is because the writing is pretty solid. We get a good script with some nice humor included. Most of the characters make the rational choices time and time again. The villains are constantly in-fighting while the heroes keep using their bonds to get through tough times. It helps their resistance feel a little more realistic even if they probably should have been completely wiped off the map by now. I already covered the fights, but the effects in general are really great as well.

Princess Leia is one character who I felt had no real purpose in this film. She was one of those characters who was just here for nostalgia along with a bunch of cameos. We got a flashback scene with her and I feel like it should not have been included because it just makes her look terrible. The reason why she gave up something boils down to her being scared of the future and that’s always one of the worst reasons to abandon something. She also made some wrong calls with regard to certain secrets so overall she really didn’t help the troops much at all.

One interesting concept that the film dabbles with is how the force can allow you to be in multiple places at once and transcend space/time. It seems like an interesting take on the astral plane because in a way that’s how the characters are connected. It was cool to see how they would effect different places at the same time. One point where I don’t see how it worked is how both characters got a lightsaber at the end and you’ll know what scene I’m talking about when you watch the film. It’s possible one was on the ground, but if the force duplicated it then that might be stretching things a little bit. Otherwise I think this ability still makes sense and is effectively a further demonstration of the usual force ghost abilities.

It does always make you wonder why the heroes don’t use this more often to mess with the villains. It opens up an interesting can of worms since the heroes could have easily ruined the villain’s plans a lot sooner if they would act in the real world more. One of the novels explained why they do not, but most of those are not canon anymore so I’d like the films to address it at some point. The power levels are pretty good for the most part though so I don’t really have any issues there. The soundtrack is good as well even if a whole lot of it is really just re-used from older films. I’d like to start seeing some new music in any future films going forward.

It’s hard to pick what the best scene in the film is, but mine is possibly when two characters are struggling for control over a ship in the distance. It’s a really nice scene showing how persistent both characters are and was one of the best portrayals of their individual strength as well. It was also the right move for the hero to do there instead of retreating or following. Just grabbing the ship made the most sense so long as it was a feasible option and that’s exactly what happened. One scene where a character made the wrong move is when someone rightfully mentions that they should consider a potential counter and as he is going into detail on why they should think about it he gets silenced. I guess some people just don’t want to win….

This film has a little romance although fortunately not much. Unfortunately it wasn’t handled well at all. This doesn’t feel like a natural progression considering how much animosity was between the two characters. It’s great that they could move past this so quickly of course, but jumping to the next step was a bit soon. Time was of the essence I suppose so it might have been more of a gesture of friendship with one person feeling bad for the other, but no matter how you slice it I couldn’t really give this part a thumbs up.

Rise of Skywalker has a pretty satisfying ending that deals with everything more or less. There is one missed opportunity in my opinion though. One character gets one last line to end the film with and if it was one word different it would have been amazing. It would have probably been pretty controversial as well, but sometimes you gotta take some big risks. This isn’t a negative though as it’s a purely subjective change and either way it works well enough.

So, where does Rise of Skywalker rank overall? Well, I’d put it above pretty much all of the films except III which ages better each time and IV. It’s tough with V, Rogue One, and VI, but I may have to actually put this one above those. Here’s the thing, those films had a more interesting setup and better characters, but I would call this the stronger film. I’d sooner rewatch those in part because it’s been a while, but if we’re comparing initial viewings then I would have to pick this one. So initially I thought this was around middle tier, but this would actually put it near the top.

All in all, this third trilogy is the strongest one. It may have had a slight dip with the middle film, but it didn’t have any bad installments either. I still think the worst thing it did was basically make all of the old films pointless with the reveal in VII that the Empire is back, but after that it recovered well. I think it’ll definitely live on as a nice trilogy for new viewers who don’t necessarily want to go back to the older days. I am interested in seeing new films come out with a fresh cast and all though. One thing I still really want is more Jedi and Sith battles. I’d like some high end battles like in Episode III. This one had some good battles, but there was still nothing even close to the level of those.

Overall, Rise of Skywalker is a solid way to wrap up the Star Wars series. I think I covered about as much as I could without heading into spoiler territory. I won’t call it a great movie because despite the fast pacing it wasn’t always super engaging. I think in part this is because the big emotional moments don’t really land. Seeing some guest stars and throwbacks to the past is always fun and all but I wouldn’t call any of these scenes particularly powerful. The action and effects should still keep you busy though and the film is technically sound. The writing is good and at the very least you can see how there was a lot of effort put in here. I’d recommend checking this film out whether you are a Star Wars fan or not. You should be able to jump in and quickly understand what is happening thanks to the helpful opening text and the fact that the basic plot (large scale) is easy enough to understand. It’s a war and the empire is the evil side.

Overall 7/10

4 Star Movies, Live Action Movie Reviews, Live Action Movies, Reviews

Pitch Perfect 3 Review


It’s time to end the trilogy at long last. Pitch Perfect has definitely been a series with a lot of musical themes and some fun ideas, but ultimately it has not been able to reach up to its potential. The best parts of each film have always been the riff offs. This film does improve upon the second film in almost every aspect which is good, but ultimately still couldn’t shatter the border into being one that I’d recommend. I appreciate the fact that we got some fight scenes though.

The film starts with the Bellas all still on their separate paths in life since they aged out of the Bellas. None of them are enjoying their current jobs though and Beca ends up quitting hers. Fortunately that’s when she becomes aware of Emily sending everyone an invite to take a look at the new Bellas. The heroines were hoping to sing, but it wasn’t to be. Still, it gets them together and they decide to compete in the military contest. The winner gets to be the opener for DJ Khaled. Do the Bellas still have what it takes?

Pitch Perfect 3 is more of the same in many respects. It’s an adventure with the girls trying to prove that they have the best acapella skills out there while having to compete with people who use instruments to augment their singing ability. They are also dealing with real world issues that makes it hard for them to focus on the group at times and that is really their main dilemma. This time the main character is probably Amy although Beca gets a large role as well.

One area where it improves from the second is that the film isn’t quite as crude. Keep in mind that this is relatively speaking though as the second one was just super over the top. The third isn’t quite as bad, but that doesn’t mean that the writing is good. Most of the characters are pretty obnoxious the whole time and you can’t help but root for the disaster group instead. The Bellas really haven’t proven that they deserve to be on the grand stage.

Unfortunately the musical numbers aren’t as dynamic as in the second film. That one had a ton of songs left and right with all of the bands while this one had fewer ones. It did have the big riff off that all of the films have though. As always it was the best film in the series and it does remind me that if the whole film were about the riff offs it could be amazing. I just like the concept of people battling it out through song. The Bellas were party poopers the whole time though as everyone on the base were trying to have some fun. Without a doubt the main characters lost that round.

Despite being the protagonists, you’ll be rooting against the heroes most of the time. The disasters actually earned their spot here and you just know that they’ll get snubbed right from the start. Then you’ve got the army guys who want to have a good time, but Amy continues to harass them the whole time. They probably could have sued her to be honest, but they were trying to keep things professional at the very least. I’ll give them some props there.

The romance here is pretty weak. We do learn that the main characters broke up with the guys from the second film and I don’t see any reason why this would be any different in the third film. There’s a bit of a twist with Theo so we may not need to count that as a romance plot, but there did seem to at least be one-way interest. The film’s at its best when the gang are just pumping out songs, but surprisingly we just don’t get a lot of that.

Beca is greatly improved from the second film though. She’s more of a leader here even if she’s making some of the same mistakes. I don’t really think she needed to quit the job since it wasn’t that unreasonable. You are working for someone so you can’t expect to have everything go your way all the time right? Once she is on the team she may still panic quite a bit, but at least she isn’t being humiliated the whole time the way she was in the second film. Now that was an embarrassing showing for her. Meanwhile Emily gets a very small role here which is unfortunate. She’s still the best member of the group by far. It’s not even remotely close despite the whole cast constantly ganging up on her. She’s the only one to come up with a plan to try and get their dignity back, I think that’s pretty impressive in itself. At least she is still on the real Bellas team while the others are just getting their last hurrah.

Amy continues to be one of the worst characters in the series. Part of the issue here is that she is the comic relief character in a comedy film so they have to dial her to 11 just to stand out in such a crowd. Her fight scenes aren’t meant to be taken seriously, but I suppose it’s nice to have an action parody in here. If she was more of a loyal friend and not super desperate to be with a guy she could have some potential.

We can’t forget John and Gail who are always here to make their crude comments and follow the heroines around. They get significantly less to do here even though their plotline of filming a documentary had a lot of potential. They’re reasonable as humor characters since I do like the fake announcer voices they use. Their lines aren’t 100% terrible this time either so they have their moments.

As I mentioned the songs aren’t as good as in the second film, but they’re not bad. The tunes during the riff off are pretty clever and it’s always interesting to see how many songs you can come up with for a single theme. That’s tough to do on the spot and I still think we need a whole film for this. The climax had the heroes singing a better song than in the second film which is good as it felt more like they could hold their own. Beca also made the heroic call when it counted.

As a whole I have to dock the Bellas some points for falling for such an obvious trap near the end of the film though. That’s the kind of thing that you just can’t let happen to you if you want to keep your hype. Fortunately the villain wasn’t all that smart so things worked out, but it could have gone sideways very easily based on how they fell for this.

Overall, Pitch Perfect 3 improves on the second one and likely beats the first as well. The fact that it is basically a franchise by this point does help since you are used to the characters now. Still, it makes a lot of the usual problems which keeps it from going higher up the ranks. The dialogue is pretty weak and that’s going to doom any film. The fun parts aren’t enough to raise it above this. You’ll have a good time watching this film and if the plot sounds good then you may have a great time. That being said, don’t expect this film to really stand up on its own merits all that well. It’s a fun ride where you’ll feel motion sick afterwards.

Overall 4/10

3 Star Movies, Live Action Movie Reviews, Live Action Movies, Reviews

Pitch Perfect 2 Review


It’s definitely been a while since I saw the first Pitch Perfect. The series definitely goes for a very “Bring it On” vibe throughout and this sequel is no exception. A film being about A Capella is definitely still pretty original since that’s not the most popular form of entertainment out there and the movies consistently make you aware of this fact as everyone comments on it. Unfortunately I can’t say that this film was a success, it makes pretty much all of the mistakes you would expect.

The movie starts with the Bellas performing on another grand stage. Unfortunately there ends up being a mishap involving Amy which shames the group and puts them in a global controversy. Their group is now about to be disbanded. Fortunately, due to some quick thinking on the group’s part they are going to get a second chance. If they want to keep the group alive then they are going to have to win the world tournament. The problem is that America has never won it before and the commentators mention that nobody likes the U.S. so it’ll never happen. Still, at least now they have something to fight for!

The group isn’t in perfect sync at the moment though. Beca still enjoys this competition, but she is ready to move on with her life and has begun an internship at a big music recording studio. She is actually having some success here, but keeping this big secret is threatening to ruin the group forever. Meanwhile a new girl named Emily has shown up and she really wants to be a Bella. Her Mom was one and always mentioned that it was the best time of her life. Emily is doing her best to fit in, but the only issue is that the others are giving her a hard time and the group may not even exist soon. Still, she is ready to give it her all. Can the girls find a way to win this tournament against the German favorites DSM?

Well, I guess we should get into the positives first because they are outnumbered. Some of the songs can still be catchy. I always like the idea of a Capella battle which is just really cool. One group starts a song and then when the judge gives the queue the next team has to immediately jump in with a different song, but tuned to the same beat. In a sense this means the first team will always have the advantage, but since they’re starting they need to pick a song that picks up right away. This film has a bigger song battle than the first film as it is around 4-5 groups all going at it. It’s easily the best part of the film and really should have been the climax.

I also liked Sammy. He’s Beca’s boss at the studio and is really a scene stealer. He’s definitely a bit on the rude side, but definitely does know what he is doing. He’s got a real quick wit when it comes to music even if he is considerably slower on the take when it comes to learning someone’s name. That’s one thing he couldn’t wrap his head around. His dynamic with one of the interns was also pretty fun as the guy kept on throwing ideas, but Sammy really didn’t like any of them. Honestly I didn’t think that the guy’s ideas were all that bad. At least he was trying right? This is exactly why some people don’t volunteer ideas because you don’t want to get shut down like that. I think part of what makes these scenes work though is the intern never loses his nerve and keeps trying to talk anyway. He certainly doesn’t take it personally and it takes a lot of fortitude to keep getting back up.

I thought Emily was also a reasonable character. She wasn’t as strong as Sammy, but at least she had a lot of enthusiasm and wanted to help make the Bellas better. It’s hard to excuse her for messing up in the music battle since that was a bit selfish, but otherwise I don’t think she made any mistakes. She felt more like the main character than Beca this time around with how much of a focus she got. Without her in the squad ironically not much may have really changed, but I’m sure her optimism helped the group out a lot off screen as well.

Now lets get into the bad parts of the film. First off, the writing is pretty terrible. Almost every line is someone making a dirty joke or just saying something super offensive for no real reason. The latter kind of humor can work if handled perfectly like in Airplane, but you really have to have talented writers to pull it off. Otherwise everyone just ends up being unlikable and you’re always getting ready to cringe at what’s about to be said next. There is really no safe point where you can just wait for it to all go away.

The romance plots in the film are all handled poorly as well. This is to be expected, but they all move very fast with no realistic development. You’ve got the magician who likes Emily but can’t even form a coherent sentence together. Then you have Amy and the other guy whose romance goes from being completely shut down to then they are back in biz. If I were the guy I’d be a little worried since Amy constantly hints that she will have a hard time sticking to one guy so that really does not bode well.

Meanwhile Beca isn’t quite as good as she used to be. Her keeping the massive internship secret was not a good idea. She also gets overly defensive about it when pushed which is just playing the blame game at this point. Beca also gets completely defeated by the leader of DSM in every single confrontation they have, which was not a good look. She may not be the leader of the team or anything, but she is a senior member so you would expect her to stay strong and at least have some kind of retort to the antagonists. By losing each time she really lost her chance of being a capable member.

Then you have Amy whose gimmick revolves around constantly using self deprecating humor on herself and also leads the charge for most of the iffy jokes. She’s the one who gets the group into trouble at the very beginning of the film and doesn’t really stop from there. Her character is definitely the most extreme from the group but it doesn’t always work out in a good way.

There are other characters on the Bellas and some of them have a good sized role but not to the same extent as the big 3. Mostly they’re just here for humor scenes and the leader is the only one who gets a role. She has good reason to be upset since none of the others seem to be taking the team seriously at times. She did invest multiple years on the team so to watch it go down like this is tragic.

The film did a good job of picking commentators who really sound like professional ones in real life. The humor there is supposed to be in how crude they are while announcing. I’ll grant the film that the voices are on point and sometimes they land a good joke but usually the guy goes a little too far. Both of them constantly walk into the insults and then throw some more of them out there.

As for the climax, that one was underwhelming. I didn’t mind the songs in general. Using a competition to end off the film is a good finale. It’s just that the film really gave the Bellas a bad song to end things off with. DSM’s song completely blew theirs out of the water so it’s hard to see how the heroes won that match. I suppose going for a brand new song is a pretty bold tactic, but not one that would win you the world championships. Of course music is completely subjective, but for me it was one of the weakest songs in the whole film so ending off with that was…interesting. It really didn’t have energy compared to DSM’s.

Overall, Pitch Perfect 2 is not a sequel that takes the series to new heights. It makes all the mistakes it possibly can. The plot makes sense for a sequel as you can’t get bigger than the world championships and adding a new main character was good since she was better than most of the established ones. That being said, she couldn’t help carry the film. More scenes with Sammy would have been great since he was definitely entertaining. This is the kind of film that may be fun as you are watching it, but ultimately falls well short of being a good title. If you want a better musical film you should check out Camp Rock or High School Musical.

Overall 3/10

8 Star Games, Game Reviews, Games, Reviews

Asdivine Hearts 2 Review


After a long time since playing the first game it’s finally time to take a look at the sequel for PS4 thanks to Limited Run Games. The first one was super memorable for me thanks to its really impressive UI and menus. The game is just super streamlined and has every feature you could want in an RPG. This one is a great followup even if the plot isn’t quite as good as the first one. Some of the characters can be a bit much, but either way I would definitely still recommend picking up this game.

The game takes place 2 years after the first one. Zack and Stella haven’t seen each other in that span of time, but they are called together once more by the light goddess Felix. She explains that something is wrong in a parrallel world so she wants their help in investigating. The dark goddess Nadia will be accompanying them as well as Uriel from the last game. Celine has to stay back this time to help with preparations for the Star Festival. The heroes enter the portal and find that the other world is freezing over thanks to the powers of a new deity. They will have to stop this guy at all costs, but is there more to this threat than meets the eye?

Naturally the plot expands quite a lot from the general premise as you would expect from any long RPG. This game is quite a bit shorter than the first one and you’ll probably beat it in half of the time. Still, at around 12 hours the campaign is still long enough to get your money’s worth as well as a bunch of twists and turns in the game. Whenever the climax approaches (We get 3-4 different climaxes) the game always draws you into the excitement thanks in part to the music. The soundtrack is pretty limited, but the tunes that we do get are quite terrific. I could hear the enemy theme on loop for hours and the final boss theme is suitably hype as well. The game does a good job of really selling you on the game ending before a twist suddenly throws everything for a loop once more.

The graphics are also very good. The cutscenes are told through image illustrations like a GBA game, but the character portraits definitely look like they are in HD which is good. Everything just looks shiny and modern which I think it a must for any big PS4 game. The gameplay graphics are nice as well even if I don’t look at the effects all that much since I have the game running at high speed mode. The attacks look great, but the animations do tend to take a while so after you’ve seen them all once it makes sense to just skip past them.

As for the gameplay, it’s your standard turn based combat system. Each character gets to attack and you can use various skills and techniques to speed up your turn or slow the opponent’s down. Each character can learn a ton of attacks including physical skills, magical skills, unity skills, combo skills, etc. By the end of the game your menu will be pretty cluttered with how many different kinds of moves you can activate. In most games this could be overwhelming, but Asdivine Hearts does a good job of never letting it get that far. Part of how it does this is by allowing you to control everything. You can put your guys on automatic for fights, you can skip fights with weaker fighters altogether, text speed, etc. Everything is customizable which is awesome.

I’ve never seen a game that can make grinding so effortless. Then you’ve also got other featured like gardening which increases your physical stats, tickets which gets you rare items, and power jewels which can be traded for great items like doubling your EXP for the rest of the game. I highly recommend buying all 3 copies of that as soon as possible. This is one game where you should never skip a fight because you’ll want to do as many as possible to get those gems. Trading them in gets you the very best rewards. Even with all of this the final boss is pretty difficult though. A lot of their skills will really test your abilities and put your skills as a player to the mettle. They seem to have almost unlimited durability and even with my characters at level 90+ I was having some real difficulty. The final bosses took around 30-40 minutes to conquer which was pretty crazy.

The main character cast is good for the most part. Zack is still a great lead who always does the right thing. He has a lot of confidence and usually comes up with the best plans out of the bunch. Even with his companions being a little crazy he never lets it get to him and always stays ready as the leader. Stella is a good main heroine as well even if her whip gimmick feels a little forced at this point. At least she is a little bolder than in the first game and also doesn’t get quite as jealous as last time. It would be nice to see her use her light powers a little more though.

Then we have Uriel who is the best of the training companions. She’s honest about her feelings the whole time and her subplot about being a little worried since she is a human was pretty emotional as well. Uriel was a good companion to have around. Then we have Felix who isn’t quite as solid as the others. She’s a goddess and yet she is always a few steps behind the other characters in just about everything. How can you be a deity and still not be prepared for what’s going on? That just doesn’t work and it makes her look pretty bad the whole time. Her whole fur gimmick is definitely not great either.

Then we have Nadia whose core personality isn’t bad, but her obsession with Felix gets to be a bit much. The game loves giving everyone a different creepy gimmick like this which can get old very quickly. Lets not even start with the character who wants everyone to stomp on her. (Or him. It’s hard to tell with some of these characters) The problem is that these traits start to take over the characters very quickly so it has to appear in every cutscene more than once. A lot of the cutscenes get pretty iffy as a result.

The villains are good at least. As I mentioned there are quite a few twists with each villain getting a different “All according to plan” moment which is nice. The hype music also really sells these scenes so that the game can get quite epic when it needs to be. As a result I can’t say that the story was bad. Really it is great during serious scenes and then pretty bad when it’s back to slice of life mode. Hopefully it can be a bit more balanced in a potential third game as this is the only thing holding the game back from a full 9 star title.

There is definitely a lot of replay value here. Beating the game will take around 12 hours as mentioned, but if you intend to platinum the game you can expect to double that amount of time. Increasing everyone’s trust levels will take time so I’m thinking the best way to get everyone’s ending would be to save right before the end and give all of your trust items to one person. Then after the trophy pops you reset the game and do the same for each other character. Some of the other trophies will still take some time though. The game’s excellent gameplay mechanics for encounters and such do make it easier to explore and find all of the chests though. It’s a much more manageable Platinum than what you would see in most other games which is definitely appreciated.

Overall, Asdivine Hearts 2 is a really fun game. The gameplay is out of this world and the level of customization that you have at your disposal is quite impressive. It may all feel a little overwhelming at first, but I think the developers did a great job of making it all as straight forward as possible.The actual story is a little on the weaker side though with the characters going a little too overboard on how desperate to be quirky they can be. Still, it’s never too bad I guess and you can always just quickly skip through the dialogue when certain characters show up. You can set the text to instant so you blast through the conversations and you can then prep for the actual cutscenes that are important. I’d definitely be game for a third title in this series but with how overpowered the heroes are at this point it’s hard to see what could possibly be a threat to them at this point. I’m sure the developers can think of something though.

Overall 8/10

Game Records

Asdivine Hearts 2 Stats and Records

Stats time!

Play Time 11h 27m
PS4 Trophies 24/35
Money 1,611,702
Guild Coins 973
Gems 600
Total Steps 135016
Enemies Defeated 1153
Skills Used 969
Magic used 1471
Trust Charges Used 32
Max Damage dealt 297919
Max hit count 306
Overkill Count 43
Gold Spent 769950
Guild Coins Exchanged 70
Max Weapon synthesis level 124
Weapons Dropped by enemies 63
Buddies released 18
Unison Types used 1
Harvested Fruit 258
Buddies dispatched 12
Story Quests cleared 88
Subquests cleared 1
Treasure chests opened 132

Character Levels

Uriel 90
Stella 91
Zack 92
Nadia 90
Felix 92
Pugsly 6
Celine Doll 40
Slime 11
Slug 11
Lykaon 1
Poison Shroom 1
Shark 6
Fairy 16
Wolf 11
Wyvern 1
Love Slime 1
White Lykaon 1
Seaslug 1
Ruddy Chick 16
Shining Lizard 1
Killer Shark 1
Petite Fairy 1
Phantom Wolf 6