Play Time 18h 10m
Memories Collected 12/30
Key Items 25
Natural Level 2
Knight Level 7
Dragoon Level 1
Dark Knight Level 1
Scholar Level 1
Black Mage Level 1
White Mage Level 7
Play Time 18h 10m
Memories Collected 12/30
Key Items 25
Natural Level 2
Knight Level 7
Dragoon Level 1
Dark Knight Level 1
Scholar Level 1
Black Mage Level 1
White Mage Level 7
It’s time to look at a recent Final Fantasy spinoff I got to play. This game has been sitting on the back burner for a very long time at this point. It always looked pretty fun, but I figured it would be pretty long so shorter games kept jumping it in line. Well, no more! I finally took the plunge and it’s definitely a fun game. While I’m not a fan of all the mechanics, I can say that the game was pretty well made. It certainly does the Chocobo character justice.
The game starts with Chocobo and Cid trying to grab the Timeless Power stone from some kind of ruins. Unfortunately Cid’s rival shows up and nabs it first. Before she can gloat, the whole group is transported to another dimension and the rival vanishes. This town is a little odd as nobody remembers anything including what their names are. A bell rings every few hours which makes the memory loss even worse. Fortunately, Chocobo seems to have the ability to go inside someone’s mind which allows him to restore their memories. There is also a baby named Rafaello who seems to have something to do with it. Chocobo starts on his mission to get everyone’s memories back, but everyone keeps telling him that this is a bad idea. Even the gods of the world tell him that he will only bring despair. Is this really the right thing to do?
Chocobo’s Dungeon is the kind of game where a large part of the story doesn’t really seem to have much of a plot. You go around restoring memories, but beyond that nothing much happens. Still, it’s a pleasant enough game. Right away you can see how much content is here as there are a bunch of side missions and sub quests to fulfill. The towns people seem nice enough as well. Still, you get the sense that something isn’t right since as I mentioned everyone is against Chocobo. The bosses you have to defeat in order to save the memories are also characters like the guardians of Light and Flame. Are they really villains or are you the villain?
All of these questions are answered in the climax which is definitely intense. It’s a climax that wouldn’t feel out of place in a main installment like Final Fantasy VII. The Destroyer, who is the final boss even looks a little like Sephiroth. We get a nice cutscene towards the end where this character even takes on Chroma and I wasn’t expecting such a fight. It was cool and I’d be up for seeing this game get a remake or be turned into a movie. I know there is a sequel for the DS so maybe I’ll get that one pretty soon.
Now lets talk about the gameplay as that is the bulk of the game. It’s a 3D turn based dungeon explorer type game where you have to navigate through the many floors until you get to the boss. Each step you take counts as a turn so you will have to quickly decide whether you want to move, attack, or use an item. I do really enjoy the strategy here. Most dungeons are only 8-10 floors while the larger ones are around 20. The final dungeon is 50 floors so get ready for that. Fortunately there is a check point every 10 floors so you don’t have to worry about starting all the way from the beginning. That would have been annoying.
The game does add in some stakes here though. For one, if you die you lose all of your money and all non equipped items. This encourages you not to take unrealistic risks. Make sure you have an exit strategy in mind or at least store your money in the bank before going on a tough quest. You’ll definitely want to do some leveling up before you get to the end of the game since the final bosses see a considerable increase in difficulty. Don’t underestimate them or your items will be sorry. When going into a dungeon you also have to choose what class you want to play as. Each new dungeon unlocks a new form for you. I highly recommend the Knight and White Mage forms. The Knight has great special attacks and gives you extra defense which is always good. I used him for the first 3 and a half chapters. However, eventually he simply wasn’t cutting it so I switched to the White Mage and never looked back. This form has a lot of great healing abilities so you no longer have to worry about carrying potions. Then he also has the best ability in the game which is the fact that he can cast a revive on himself. You can also use the escape ability to just get out of the dungeon if things look impossible. The Dark Knight is typically considered to be the best, but by the time I unlocked him the game was almost over so I couldn’t really verify that.
Now, I mentioned that not all of the mechanics were my favorite. In particular I am referring to the fact that enemies can rot your weapons. It works like in Breath of the Wild where your weapons just get weaker as you use them. They don’t actually break in this version but they do get weaker which is annoying since the only way to power them up further is to spend more money. What you want to do is find a weapon with an anti rust upgrade and then fuse that to your main weapon to ensure that nobody can weaken it. At that point you are all set. There are others for extra EXP and money, but I never found the former. It would have certainly come in handy though.
The graphics are pretty decent. It’s certainly a step below most of the other Final Fantasy games, but it still looks pretty good I’d say. It’s just using a different style. It’s sort of like World of Final Fantasy but not quite as polished. It does have each character keep up a motion throughout the game which is cool though like Chocobo’s power squats. He is doing squats during the entire game which is pretty impressive. Then we have the soundtrack which is pretty ordinary for the most part, but I do like the Chrome boss theme. That one’s definitely hype and will pump you up for the actual battle. It’s just that kind of high energy theme. So this game ultimately definitely delivered when it counted.
Overall, I’d recommend checking this game out. It’s a pretty fun RPG and one where you really feel like you got a lot of value for the price. The story took me 18 hours and that’s certainly a good amount of time. As I mentioned, the plot does take a while to get going, but as long as you’re fine with that then this is a slam dunk. With this game gone now I’ll be eagerly awaiting the Spyro trilogy. In the meanwhile I’ll work on Ridge Racer, but those turns are definitely real tough. I need some more training before I can be a master at the game like Chocobo. They always start out tough, but get enough level up and any RPG is cake. Sadly there are no level ups in something like Ridge Racer.
Looks like Fairy Tail’s got another spinoff going! This one is pretty early on, but it already has some warning bells. The series seems like it’s going to try and add in the typical Fairy Tail elements, but hopefully it can end up being a good series. It’s got potential, it’s just got to live up to it.
When Venom was first announced there was a lot of panic in the streets since there are so many good arcs to choose from and so little time. Naturally it made sense to choose one where Venom is a little more on the heroic side to build him up as the main character of this universe (Or that’s what they should do at least) so then the film builds its origin story around that. It was actually quite a bit better than I expected after hearing the negative buzz. It’s a good film that can hold its own and I’m definitely ready for that sequel.
The film starts with Venom crash landing on Earth along with 3-4 other symbiotes. (The film opted to switch the pronunciation back to normal) they had been captured by the government except for one who manages to escape. This corrupt company wants to find a way to merge humans and aliens so they can live in space and are murdering a bunch of people off the streets in order to do this. Eddie once tried stopping this company but it cost him everything. Well, a doctor has convinced him to give it a second shot and with a symbiotic of his own, Eddie may just have a chance. He’s been beaten by corporate, humiliated, treated like a drunk has been. Eddie decides that it’s time he stood up for himself.
A lot of this film will probably depend on how much you like Eddie Brock himself. The guy is definitely not like your average hero. He’s usually a little on the drunk side and is always down on his luck. He means well but at the same time doesn’t think things through. On one hand you see several examples of him being a good person like when he gave a homeless lady some money or how he tends to get along with everyone like the door man and the owner of a convenience store. Eddie’s just a very easy going guy even if he can be a little slow to adapt to what’s going on. I don’t think his character personality was executed nearly as well as it could or should have been though. I think he could have been very likable if handled right but from what we got he can be rather annoying.
The Venom symbiote is a lot of fun though. His personality reminds me of Blue Beetle’s scarab. At first he is pretty ruthless and acts like a villain but gets rehabilitated rather convincingly. Even from the start he is pretty handy to Eddie and as he mentions, Venom is a reasonable guy. He even lets Eddie square away his personal issues before they head out on their final mission. The symbiote is always quick on his feet and I’d say he is also quite patient considering how much Eddie is complaining throughout all of this. Venom’s easily the best character here although I have a hard time believing that he wasn’t cool back on his world. I like to think he is just trying to be sympathetic to Eddie which shows once again that he is a pretty nice guy. The plot of a character being possessed by another entity or being forced to share a body can usually go on 3 ways. The spirit is evil and crushes the hero, the spirit is heroic and they team up, or the spirit is rather ruthless but will help the hero for mutual survival and down the road they become friends. The final version is typically the best route, especially when the other entity never fully turns good and is always a bit of a loose cannon. That’s why I’m glad the film went this route.
I do have to say that the writing can be rather weak though. The script isn’t great which makes the characters a little harder to like than they would be otherwise. The language definitely could have been toned down quite a bit. There is also the matter of the romance being quite weak here. The main heroine’s instant rebound was super suspect as she clearly couldn’t have cared for Eddie much if she’s already moved on so completely. There was a time skip of a few months which is supposed to make this feel more organic…but it doesn’t really work. Throw in the fact that some sketchy stuff happens later on and I don’t think her character arc is going in a good direction. Plus, Dan seemed like a reasonable character but you get the feeling that he is doomed from the start. At least he tried helping Eddie. Two other supporting characters who were fun were the Deli owner and the homeless lady by the store. They seemed to be pretty nice characters who were doing their best to get by. Eddie being nice to them is part of the reason why he’s a likable character in the first place. The rapport with those characters is on point and hopefully the Deli owner gets to appear in the sequel. Maybe she can give him some more advice.
As for the scientist lady who tries to enlist Eddie’s help….I can’t say that I was really a fan of hers. She just seems a little wishy washy and far too late about suddenly feeling bad about her work. The company she works for has already murdered a ton of people. She has a quick line about how it was worth it since they were curing cancer, but not anymore since they’re trying for space travel. While the latter does seem to be less important than the former, the ends don’t justify the means either way. Then when she does make her move she isn’t particularly smart. She should have left the complex the instant things went sideways. Did she forget that security cameras are a thing? As soon as the villain found out that someone had broken in she should have left. She just wasn’t nearly as compelling as the other characters.
Then you have the corporate big shot who is trying to harness the power of the symbiotes for his own gain. The guy is heralded as a genius, but doesn’t seem all that smart from what we see. It just looks like he has a lot of money and gets everyone else to do the inventing for him. I mean, that happens a lot in real life as well as the small workers do all the work for the big shots who take the credit, but it needed to be said. Still, he’s a pretty fun main villain. He’s very full of himself and definitely does take down a lot of characters during the course of the movie. He definitely gets outranked once Riot shows up though. Also, he wants to inhabit space since Earth was too overpopulated. I think he would have liked Thanos’ plans to snap half of all life away. Then things would be balanced….as all things should be. He would have joined Thanos’ ranks in a heartbeat….and then chickened out halfway so he would have been doomed.
Riot is definitely a fun character. He makes for a great villain and his deign is pretty hype. In general the designs for the symbiote creatures were pretty solid. Venom looks like his classic 90s self and of course Riot is basically just a grayer version of Venom. This makes for a pretty epic climax in the film where both characters really get to go at it. With the raw power that both characters have as well as their regeneration, it means that neither one will be going down very quickly. I suppose that it’s unlikely we will have Riot show up again in a sequel since the next film will likely feature the fan favorite Carnage as the villain. We’ll see if that guy can really match up to Riot though.
Naturally this film does have an after credits scene so you may want to stick around for that. It’s a fairly low key scene involving a character who certainly doesn’t seem to be very interesting, but you could argue that this side of him doesn’t actually matter. The real deal will show up soon. It’s definitely a good stinger for the next film though. It does its job of cluing you in as to what will happen next time as opposed to just going for a quick gag. There is another scene at the end, but that one’s just a preview for Spider Verse so you don’t need to stick around for that. Having previews for other films don’t count and shouldn’t be left for the end unless it’s a direct sequel or something like that.
While the lobster scene wasn’t quite as bad as I thought it would be I definitely don’t think it was needed in the film. All the scenes of Eddie just eating random stuff just didn’t age particularly well and showing him trying to deal with being the host to Venom could have just been shown through the voice in his head. Why would Venom be trolling him like this? Also, the film briefly delves into the whole “The symbiote will destroy you from the inside” plot, but in Eddie’s case he should have believed Venom. He had already seen the regeneration in action so why wouldn’t that keep working to protect him? Worst case is that he becomes dependent on the symbiote to live, but if that’s the case then so be it. Venom seems like a trust worthy guy.
This film also keeps up Sony’s trend of having scenes from the trailer show up at the very end of the movie. It’s a pretty interesting strategy as you keep waiting for the moments to arrive and almost start to think that maybe they were cut until they finally show up at the end. An example of this is the deli scene near the end that basically everyone knows about since it was in the trailer and probably a lot of TV spots. It’s a pretty fun way to end the film I suppose. It’s one of the perks about being more of a villain who just helps out the world for his own reasons. If Batman, Spiderman, or another hero did this then it would be time to write a lot of quick editorials about how this was a terrible mistake. When Venom does it? Eh, it’s no real problem. Venom’s not the kind of guy who typically spares people. At least he didn’t destroy the cops right? When done right characters like this can have some pretty interesting story arcs. Eddie doesn’t really seem to care much about hiding his identity and pretty soon the villains are going to be terrified of him. The crime rate should drop quite a bit in his home town although he will have to make sure to be at least a little more subtle before the government starts going after him.
Venom’s also fairly tame with the violence considering that at one point it was possibly going to be R. It just goes to show that the film didn’t need it and honestly no film has ever been improved by upping the rating that far. All it does is water films down with excessive content so I’m glad that the sequel is going to stay like this one. With the cool effects we’ve already seen here we are guaranteed to have some really fun fights as it is. It also makes sense to keep the opponents to symbiotes since it will be tough for a normal opponent to hope to fight Venom. Even Spider-Man likely wouldn’t stand a chance against this version of Venom although since his spider-sense should work it could still be a good fight.
Overall, Venom was a solid film. It delivered on the action scenes and it’s also good to have a lead like Eddie who is very down to Earth and looks after the every day guy. He keeps on helping the neighborhood and won’t let fame cloud his mind. It’ll be nice to see him in the sequel as his confidence should be a lot higher and he’ll have his life under control once again. So long as the sequel stays on point and maybe fixes up the writing, it could definitely be quite the title to look out for. If you haven’t seen this film yet then you should try to fix that while you still can. Its theater run won’t last forever after all. Minor thing to watch out for as well, the film decided to drop the whole SymBYote thing so…if you’re watching for that line then keep this in mind.
It’s time to look at my first ever Twisted Metal game! It felt good to finally be able to open the door on this franchise. It always looked pretty interesting and who doesn’t like car combat? Naturally the game’s likely a little more limited than the main installments would be, but it gives you a pretty good look at what the franchise is all about. (I assume) There is even a story even if it was rather brief so that’s cool. It’s a fun game and one that you will remember down the line.
The game starts with a mysterious being announcing that the entire planet is going to be the battleground for a tournament that he is hosting. The objective is to use your vehicle to destroy everyone else’s. If you are successful then he shall grant you a wish. If you don’t want to participate in the tournament…too bad. Each character gets their own story but at first you only have 2 characters unlocked so I chose the biker dude. He’s not thrilled about this, but if someone’s going to win this thing it may as well be him. There aren’t really any more cutscenes until the end of the game where you fight a giant car that is all but indestructible. Then you are treated to the ending. The guy’s reaction to it wasn’t great though. You get a wish of course, but the main character is just super confused and starts yelling about how this must all be a nightmare. The villain zaps him a bit, but the guy won’t budge so the announcer takes this as his wish and decides to stop with the tournaments for a little while. However, he does say that this is wish that he cannot grant so it was pretty pointless. The main guy should have asked for something a little more valuable. The options are pretty much endless to be honest.
When it comes to the gameplay, you’ll likely pick it up very quickly. You drive around in the car and try to blow the others up. You have a machine gun built into the car that you can spam although you have to let it recharge from time to time. It does almost no damage but it’s still good to have. Around the stage there are a few different power ups like Fire missiles, power missiles, upgrades, etc. The best ones are the homing missiles as they deal a lot of damage and are easy to hit with. Most levels will have you try to destroy 4-5 cars. You get 3 lives to do so or you have to restart. I died once, but after that I realized the perfect way to cheese. Look for a health power up somewhere in the level. It’ll keep respawning there so whenever you’re low on health just head for that place.
However, the most important thing to do is to grab the upgrades. There are 6 upgrades. I’m not sure if it was a glitch or not, but once I got them all my car became completely invincible. This was really handy for the final boss since I literally couldn’t lose health. Getting the 6 upgrades can be tough because if you lose a life you lose all of your upgrades and earning them back takes a while since you get them only when you destroy cars. Still, it’s worth it and without that invincibility I get the feeling that the final boss would have been a whole lot more challenging.
The graphics look pretty good. Naturally I was impressed that it had full voice acting and everything. I shouldn’t be surprised since the PSP always did a good job of feeling like a big console. It’s a shame that it didn’t end up selling better because I do think a lot of passion was put into the PSP. It really could have ended up being one of the big ones and instead it ended up fading into obscurity. The soundtrack is also pretty good for the most part. Naturally there is a lot of rock music which is fun. I can’t really vouch for the lyrical themes because I didn’t understand anything they were saying, but the instrumental themes are definitely quite good.
As for replay value, I wouldn’t say that there is a ton here. There is probably a multiplayer mode for if you have two PSPs, but that’s tough to find nowadays. You can try beating the game with everyone to get all of the endings. That will take you around 10 hours I’d say. Beyond that there isn’t much else. If the price was higher then it probably wouldn’t be worth it, but if you can get the game for a few bucks then the initial playthrough probably still justifies the cost. It’s a car game that you’ll want to add to your collection.
Overall, Twisted Metal was fun. The plot twist about who the main character at the end was is pretty intense. I’m not sure exactly how straightforward it was though as it’s possible that the guy is actually someone else. I just get the feeling that there is more to the clown than meets the eye, but I really don’t know enough about the franchise to say one way or the other. If you play this game, make sure to keep an eye out for those final cutscenes. They’re pretty fun. With this game completed, I have finally gotten the video game backlog down to 100 games. Definitely a pretty emotional moment.
I got to start the Conan spinoff where a bunch of short stories are published. It’s a pretty nice concept since if you have some stories lying around you may as well use them right? It’s hard to say when these will end since they could probably start or end on a dime, but I’ll have a review for it once it is over. It does a good job of capturing the essence of Conan.
It’s time to look at a Happy spinoff! On one hand this is good news since that should reduce the fanservice in the series. On the other hand this is Fairy Tail so we’ll see if the series can avoid it. It’s off to a decent start at best, but we’ll see if it can stay on course. I’ll have a review for the series once it is finished.
It’s time to look at the Noragami short stories volume that came out recently. It may get a follow up at some point but seeing as it has been several years I think it’s unlikely so I may as well write the review right? It’s not that good unfortunately as it’s an anthology series which is already difficult and it forgets most of what makes the main series good. It could have been better if it didn’t rely on fanservice for quite a few of the jokes as well.
Let’s start with the stories! One adventure starts off with a guy who is down on his luck so he has decided to jump off of the largest skyscraper in the world. He ends up calling the main character accidentally so Yato jumps off with him to listen to the story. This guy has been using up all of his money to please the whims of a girl he just met since she is broke. The problem is that he gave all of his money to this cause including rent and such. Now he has nothing. Yato helps set him straight and we find out that it was one of the gods messing with the poor chap. It was a bit of an unexpected twist but it makes the girl look pretty mean. Perhaps she didn’t realize I guess. It’s a decent story even if you can’t feel sympathetic to the guy who was wasting his money since he made his choice.
Another story has the main cast chilling at a cabin in the middle of nowhere but someone appears to be trying to assassinate Yato. Someone knocks him on the head with a blunt instrument, poisons him, etc. Of course the main character is a god so he can’t die through mortal means but this killer must be stopped! I think the villain gets off rather easy here as it was an aspiring writer who just wanted to see what murder was like. That’s an interesting justification but the guy should still be locked up if you ask me. Instead he is taken to an institute though so at least he’s not running around scot free. It’s definitely the most fun story here. While Yato is never in any danger or anything like that, it’s still pretty fun to see him try to figure out what’s happening.
Following up on that we have a story where Yato wants to join the main group of gods so he can get rich and famous. The problem is that none of the other gods like him. They have all either dealt with him before or just don’t see what he has to bring to the table. That’s when he decides to possess the main heroine to make it instead. This gets dangerously close to succeeding. It’s a fun story for the first half but you always end up feeling bad for the heroine when she is thrown into these scenes. Yato always crosses a line when he unexpectedly takes control of her like that. He needs to respect the boundaries.
In another story Yato is tricked by a clever fortune teller. The guy tricks Yato into giving away his secrets and then the guy “predicts” them in exchange for money. Yato decides to get revenge by turning the tables on him. It’s a fun enough story and maybe the best one in the batch. It was a little sad to see Yato get played like that but he evened the scoreboard before very long which was good. The guy doesn’t just crumble before a loss, he embraces it! Yato is certainly petty, but that’s part of what makes him such a fun character at times.
One of the shortest stories is when Yato’s sword finds out that he can actually apply to get a real job instead of just hanging around Yato all day. The lead tries to stop him at every turn, but at the end of the day it’s his sidekick’s decision to make. The kid decides to stay with Yato which is the smart thing to do since none of the other gods can be trusted of course, but at least he pretends to be tempted for a while to mess with Yato. Considering how much Yato messes with everyone all the time that is definitely a reasonable thing to do.
Finally we also have the story where someone appears to be stalking Yato. Naturally this is a little distressing to him for 2 reasons. 1 is that mere mortals can hardly even see him and then tend to forget about him entirely a few minutes later. The second is that tracking him should be nearly impossible since Yato is always teleporting around quite frequently. As a result he is quite terrified, but it turns out that the stalker is fairly harmless. Having an internet god makes sense with how big it is and it’s almost too bad that she’s not in the main series. Cyber powers can always be interesting.
The art is pretty solid as always which is good. All of the character models are on point and the art is clear so it’s easy to read. Noragami in general is pretty consistent in that regard. The only time the art tends to get tricky is when there’s a large scale action scene but naturally you won’t be seeing something like that here. It’s just consistent from start to finish.
At the end of the day your enjoyment of this series will largely depend on if you’ve read the main series. Without it you’ll have no reason to care about these characters and most of the gags are based on character traits that we know about the characters through their adventures. At the same time, as this is a pure comedy you won’t care for it either way if you mainly enjoy Noragami for the action scenes. The cast can lend itself well to comedy so a spinoff like this would have potential but the series has definitely got to curb the fanservice if it really wants to get ahead of the crowd.
Overall, The stories here are fairly entertaining but they are brought down by the fanservice that tends to show up. If the series had played it straight then it would have been a solid comedy one shot that I could recommend. As it stands I’d say that you should just read the main series instead. It has its share of issues as well but it has big fight scenes to distract from them. It’s still surprising in general that this series got a spinoff but the more the merrier right?
This latest spinoff to the Detective Conan series is pretty fun. It’s definitely a more slice of life type series than the others with no actual villains or anything, but it’s a pretty good look at the inner workings of Zero’s life. The guy is definitely pretty busy. I’ll have a review for the series when it finishes, but I imagine that this could be a long while from now.