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NeonNinja Blog

And like that I'M BACK!

Oh what fun we have together!

The Wii is hooked up to the TV again!

What's new?

Wii2HDMI- try a converter box that let's me finally plug my Wii into the TV.

The Last Story-  because it's the Gooch and he knows how to make good RPGs.

The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword- because it's the newest entry in one of the most important game series of all time.

Wii Remote Plus-  Because I can't find a Motion Plus anywhere and it's blue.  And blue is for boys.

Having the Wii hooked up again puts me in the driver's seat for the all-important Final Fantasy VI without having to wait on an iOS port.  Admittedly, FFV is available on iOS and I may play that first.

I likely won't get a crack at the Wii until Monday since there are things to do on the weekend.  But monday seems like a solid day to start.  Also, it was only a matter of time before I grew fed up with not being able to play what I consider to be a game in the running for game of the gen: Super Mario Galaxy 2.  Take one of the greatest ideas of all time and perfect it?  F*ckin' A!

I also got the Humble Origin Bundle, and wouldn't you know it I didn't start a single game on it.  Instead I started Dragon Age II.  I figure, the one BioWare game that gave them a bad rep for the rest of their run as a company has to be something I play.  And so far, wouldn't you believe it it's actually pretty good.

I beat Gunpoint and came away entertained for the three hours it lasted.  I'm a fan even if the content is lacking.  It's smart and funny and the gameplay is impeccably designed.  I just wish there was more of it, like a lot more of it.  As I play these indie titles the ones left on my plate are:

Recettear: An Item Shop's Tale
Hard Reset
Lone Survivor

I may give Hard Reset a shot first, get the old-school FPS fanatic in me excited.  From there's it's a toss up although Recettear is a solid 20 hour RPG and I don't think I want to go with multiple lengthy games at the same go around.

Either way Nintendo, I'm back at it!  Now I just need to find a copy of Xenoblade Chronicles that's closer to $20 and not $100 and I'll be set with the Wii.

Beyond videogames, I'm reading various stories, including Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and have lined up to follow it The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time, some Sherlock Holmes stories, The Princess and the Goblin and a few others.  But right now Carroll's complete works have my attention.  In the afternoons I like to sit outside and just read.  It's very relaxing.  I want to read The Giver again as well.  It's been a while.  And of course my favorite book, The Outsiders.  Just cuz.

And when I go on my runs, I listen to a very funny podcast called How Did This Get Made?  It's like the only one I can listen to.  It's hilarious and I've seen more terrible movies because of it than I ever should have.  But I now know the majesty of Van Damme's acting range in Street Fighter, so it all works out!

Go Fish

Ridiculous Fishing- A Tale of Redemption is a blast to play on your phone. It might just stand as the greatest fishing game ever made, although the question of substance remains as well. Theres a narrative told through the social media platform of Byrdr where the story is told through Tweets as you progress through the game. It remains entirely optional and never in the way of the actual fishing.

Ridiculous Fishing follows the basic PacMan design philosophy of retreat and then attack. You first drop your lure but must dodge the fish. This may seem counterintuitive at first, but the ultimate goal is to go down as deep as you can without touching any fish. You do this by tilting the screen away from enemies and the lure moves to that side. You will eventually get power-ups that give you one and later two chances to make progress. Eventually you will even find a chainsaw lure that will allow you to speed up the process and cut through enemies, although more powerful fish cant always be cut.

As soon as you hit a fish your mentality changes immediately. You need to hit every fish you can to bring them up into the surface. It is at this point that the power pellet moment kicks in, but with a slight twist. Jellyfish in Ridiculous Fishing are actually detrimental to your score and must be avoided while the other fish are hooked on. Once the fish are brought to the surface is where the game truly becomes ridiculous. The fish are all tossed into the air and you shoot them down, with miniguns, shotguns, rocket launchers, really any weapon imaginable. You tear the fish apart to boost your score.

The entire game follows that same design and it is genuinely fun to play. The graphics are beautiful in a painterly way and the fish are all unique creatures with a handful of hidden ones to discover as you play through the game. The soundtrack is soothing and melancholy at the same time, setting the mood for a somewhat somber take on fishing. The game feels alien at times, giving off an atmosphere to the act of fishing that has never been shown before.

The main issue with Ridiculous Fishing is the lack of longevity. The best iOS titles will keep you coming back for months, if not years. Angry Birds and Jetpack Joyride remain the ultimate in pick up and play. Other heavy-hitting titles like XCOM: Enemy Unknown, Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic, Chrono Trigger and Final Fantasy IV provide meaty game experiences pulled straight from the major videogame market. Ridiculous Fishing is an excellent game that has been designed with an unique gameplay concept first, but there are only four areas, even if the fourth one is never-ending and randomized, the allure of continuing to fish is lost after about six or seven hours. There is always the possibility of returning to the game later or new levels to be added down the line but Ridiculous Fishing doesnt offer long-term incentive. However, as a short-form title Ridiculous Fishing- A Tale of Redemption provides some excellent fun on your iOS device.


Good on you, EA

The newest Humble Bundle is the Humble Origin Bundle.  EA is in the mix in the same vein that THQ was with the Humble THQ Bundle before they went under.  The difference?  EA isn't a struggling publisher facing their demise.  So what business does one of the biggest publishers in the world have with Humble Bundle?  None, except everything they make they're putting up for charity.  EA and Origin do not receive a single penny.  I know, some folks will immediately jump to "this is only because EA are trying to change their image and their recent history and blah blah."  You know, the usual bitching and whining.

But I'm paying more than I have for any Humble Bundle because I get some games I don't have and I can send 100% of my donation to the American Cancer Society. 

Anyway, if you pay a dollar, or under the average, the only game that REQUIRES Origin is Dead Space 3.  The rest of the batch have the option of being put in your Steam library.  The games are a mix between great, one and done but fun, and meh.

Mirror's Edge- great (like all-time)
Dead Space 3- it's new, so there's that, but I haven't played it
Dead Space- it's fun, I liked it for being a fun horror-shooter
Burnout Paradise- it's supposed to be great, I haven't played it
Crysis 2- it's fun, but you won't go back to it after one time through it
Medal of Honor-, obviously I haven't played it, but I might cuz lol

If you pay over the average price you get:

Battlefield 3
The Sims 3

Those both require Origin.

It's a smart move by EA and a good deal that makes you feel not bad in the least.  And if you absolutely despise Origin, you still get five games that work with Steam so no whining.  And if you're all about that DRM free business, gift your purchase.  Someone will play those titles.

Dead Man's Switch

Shadowrun Returns is a low-budget, turn-based RPG with bare-bones gameplay mechanics and an interesting campaign story included in Dead Mans Switch.  Its impossible to describe Shadowrun Returns as any other way.  But the way the game handles its campaign is of particular interest: its one of many.  Shadowrun Returns is not the title of the game you are playing, Shadowrun Returns is the name of a story-telling platform and the first tale is Dead Mans Switch.

Upon selecting New Game a list opens up.  If you havent downloaded any mods only one item is in the list, Dead Mans Switch.  However, any user-created stories can be added to that list, whether its a short, one hour tale or a grand epic in its alpha state at the moment.  The potential for Shadowrun Returns is not that we receive a new Shadowrun title, but that we receive new Shadowrun stories through it.

Dead Mans Switch seems to be the focus of many reviews, a murder mystery tale with a slight film noir feel to it (slight), set in the rain-soaked streets of Seattle.  You create a character as a human, elf, dwarf, orc or troll, select your gender and any class you like from Street Samurai, Rigger, Decker, Adept or Mage or if you prefer you can simply allocate skill points as you see fit based on your personal preferences.

The gameplay in Dead Mans Switch is very basic.  As a turn-based RPG it comes off feeling like a XCOM for Babies kind of experience in the wake of Firaxis masterful strategy game.  You are given a team, each of you have two moves, later three, to move on the battlefield, fire your weapons, reload, use magic and other abilities, etc.  Melee weapons are entirely useless so if you decide you want a character that swing an axe be prepared for disappointment.  Using cover and ranged weapons, special magic attacks and drones is the way to play.  Try running any melee character up close to battle and no matter how badass they seem they will eventually fall in battle while everyone else survives.

The level design is extremely linear, and so its very difficult to be surprised by enemies in combat.  One wrong move in XCOM: Enemy Unknown and you were generally sending a lone soldier to his or her death in a shrouded battlefield.  In Shadowrun Returns enemies tend to pop up where you would expect them to and worse yet, the AI does not put up a challenge on the Normal difficulty setting.  Enemies in cover will often shoot once and then move out of cover for no real reason.  The only missions that actually put up a challenge due to enemies swarming you from different sides were the final two.  The game needed more of that to keep players on their toes.

One of the major design oversights in Dead Mans Switch is the save system however.  Dead Mans Switch autosaves between chunks of the game and while there is nothing wrong with a checkpoint based system the game never provides a Save and Quit option.  So if you quit between checkpoints you will have to repeat sections of the game.  Its a silly design oversight.

The graphics are very low-budget, the soundtrack is forgettable and the sound effects are basic, so in terms of aesthetics Shadowrun Returns has indie written all over it.  And despite these shortcomings, Dead Mans Switch features some excellent game writing.  The graphics may be low-budget, but reading the description for a character will make you believe they either are the most attractive person in the world, Cherry Bomb, or the most imposing lunatic on the planet, Harlequin.  The writing is absolutely top-notch, and the way it describes the mood of each level sets the tone spectacularly.  You will never play to see what new gameplay ideas come next, but to see what new bits of writing are up for the games narrative.  The writing is so good it will compel you to move forward through the game.

Dead Mans Switch also manages to ditch the filler.  Sidequests are present, but the game lacks the overall padding of other RPGs that force you to wade through various dungeons for hours on end to see some ridiculous storybeat every 8 hours in a 60 hour game.  At the brisk length of 12-15 hours Dead Mans Switch shows you can get a proper RPG at that length with a more meaningful story than a 60 hour quest to save the world from some evil god out to destroy the world or something.

This is Shadowrun Returns greatest strength though, because it exists as a platform for telling stories in the Shadowrun universe it opens up near limitless possibilities.  Harebrained schemes are currently working on the second story set in Berlin, carrying the trend of dark, gloomy cities.  Modders are working on a remake of the SNES Shadowrun and various other stories and mods to enhance your gameplay experience exist.  Out of the box you have the editor and Dead Mans Switch.  The editor opens up a wealth of new possibilities to be created by some and to be enjoyed by the rest of us.  Dead Mans Switch provides expert writing that really pulls you along for the ride.

While I find it hard to say that I believe Dead Mans Switch is an essential title I do think its a good campaign to play through.  I do have no reservations in saying that Shadowrun Returns however is an essential game to purchase because its not only a platform for telling multiple stories rather than being sequel bait, its also the type of game release that we have been lacking for the longest time.  Gameplay simplicity and low-budget aesthetics aside, Shadowrun Returns feels like the type of game the genre needs and I cant wait to discover more new stories as they become available.


People hating on Capcom and Fish, DAFUQ?

Finally installing Super Street Fighter IV: Arcade Edition.  Not sure who I'll play with or even if the game will click for me as an online thing or just a local thing with gamepads.  I noticed people are super pissed at Capcom for announcing Ultra Street Fighter IV.  Why?

I don't get why people are so pissed.  It's new DLC.  It's $15 for five new characters, new levels and balance tweaks.  Everyone keeps talking about how they're getting ripped off by Capcom but they buy DLC for other games at similar prices at a far more rapid rate (Borderlands 2, anyone?).  The $40 packaged disc works out fine because if you don't have Street Fighter IV, Ultra is the one to buy at $40.  If you're going to tell me that package is not worth $40 to new gamers who may want to buy the game, you're an idiot.  If you're going to tell me everyone who wanted Street Fighter IV already owns it that is irrelevant or not true (as in my case).  I still have not played Street Fighter IV, it's 2013.  Had I not made an impulse sale purchase for Arcade Edition I would have waited for Ultra.  If I like SF4 enough I think the $15 charge for five new characters, balance tweaks and levels is a fair price for what is considered to be the best fighting game on the market right now.

Secondly, I don't see why everyone wants Street Fighter V instead of an update to IV.  What exactly do you intend on getting with V?  Balance tweaks and some new characters with everyone else returning?  People are so obsessed with the damn numbers they'd rather bitch about that than pay the smaller price for the update that can change up their game without costing as much as a new $60 product.  The fifth iteration needs to be something entirely new.  If their intention is to add a handful of characters I will take the $15 update over a new $60 package any day.  Look at what Street Fighter IV has become from its original release?  Based on three $15 upgrades the game has double the characters it started with, more levels, getting retooled and rebalanced.   So my question is, why is everyone so damn pissed at these expansions?  And why do they all use the same stupid reasoning?

Also, Phil Fish apparently quit the game industry and cancelled Fez II after announcing it a month ago.  Dear Phil Fish, reading your initial Twitter comments and Steam comments and more showed you were a rude, unprofessional jerk who knew NOTHING about customer service.  At the end of the day, you are a salesman selling a product.  So no matter how rude your customers are, shut the hell up and smile.  If you can't do that than you do not belong in this industry or any other industry that involves selling a product.  You don't need to quit the industry, you need to learn to treat customers with respect.  Everyone does that, why should it be different for you?  You gave people a game that they liked, why act like a jerk?  Why try to fuel fanboy fires and then get butthurt when they say they don't like you.  Your response is "I take the money and run" and that wording alone shows your character: a thin-skinned loudmouth who can dish it but can't take it.  Your customers should be your greatest ally, insulting them does not build a brand.  Ignore the ones that dislike you and focus on the ones that appreciate the work and want to see more of it.

It's a shame Phil Fish turned out the way he did, his whole tenure in gaming was a wreck.  Sad, but a lesson for anyone looking to ever sell ANYTHING.  You need to maintain professionalism.  That's just the way things go.

Thomas Is Not Alone

What do Dear Esther and Thomas Was Alone have in common?  Aside from a narrator with an English accent they share many themes including companionship, solitude, sacrifice, love and more.

The big difference?  Dear Esther fails at creating a memorable experience.  Thomas Was Alone on the other hand provides a game that succeeds marvelously.  This is the type of experience you celebrate because the love, care and attention to what makes games so special was all done flawlessly.  Where Dear Esther left me scratching my head at WHY I was even playing it, Thomas Was Alone captivated me.  I didn't want to stop playing at any point in time, and yet I appreciated how strong the writing was.

Dear Esther could not get me to care about a dying man.  Thomas Was Alone got me to care about Thomas, Chris, Laura and the rest of the gang.  And do you know what?  They're all squares and rectangles.  And yet I saw Laura and felt bad for her.  Because she felt like she was being used.  I feel that for a rectangle who was afraid of approaching others squares and rectangles because she had previously been used and abandoned by others.  That level of care in how the gameplay and the narrative mesh together speaks volumes about how wonderful Thomas Was Alone is.  The narrator, in his glorious accent, mentions that James has a nervous laugh.  You never hear that, but you start to feel that James isn't so good at being sociable based on the way the rectangle moves.  So when the writing bills James in a certain way and then introduces him to Thomas after a level or so the narrator mentions that James has a nervous laugh.  And it fits with his character.

I'm very pleased that I played Thomas Was Alone following Dear Esther.  Thomas Was Alone is a game about companionship, solitude, sacrifice and love.  So is Dear Esther.  But Thomas Was Alone makes you care about the narrative.  It makes you care for the characters.  They're blocks, and yet they hold more value than the entirety of that "armada" in Dear Esther.  They hold more value than games with 20 or 30 times the budget of this game.

Same themes, same values, one left me scratching my head, the other had me enthralled.  The gameplay is puzzle platforming.  Smooth platforming and basic puzzles.  But it was how that interaction between the pieces that took place with the narrative built character and had me invested in this game.  Three hours in one day and it was over.  But it was worth it.  Thomas Was Alone is an indie classic and something that needs to be played by anyone with an interest in wonderful writing and how, when combined with the proper gameplay, can help give life to a game.  This is a meaningul game, and missing out on it only deprives you of an experience that proves if you get the fundamentals right you don't need the other junk.

Remaining list I have planned right now:

Strike Suit Zero- I'm on Mission 10, I do one to two missions each time I play so give it another few days and it'll be beaten.

Gunpoint- Game looks dope.  Super stoked to play it.

Hard Reset- Basic corridor shooter, may or may not be crap.  But I like Painkiller so this might be fun.

Ys: The Oath in Felghana-  I'm going to speedrun it on Very Easy.  Go for the achievement.  Then I'll give it's super high rating.

I'm going for short experiences right now.  I don't want a major time sink so these three hour games are doing nicely for me.  Toss them out of the backlog before going into Borderlands 2's DLC.  I also just heard of The Raven, which is a new, episodic adventure game..... I want it.  The final two episodes release in August and September, so I'll probably pick it up in September.

Also, people on Steam are ridiculous.  I literally sold Steam summer trading cards within a minute of putting six of them on the market.  I made a $1.50 by selling digital pictures.....  Come on, people.  I can't wait until I start getting "rare" or "foil" cards.  More cash for games that I don't have to spend, I guess.  Thanks, Valve!

Dear Esther, WTF just happened?

People pay $10 for this?  GameSpot, IGN and others rate this an 8 and it has a Metacritic score of 75?  WTF did I just play?

There's like some spoilers I guess if you're going to whine about it later.

I get it, the island, it's a hallucination.  Clever, I get it.  When you're walking through the caves and there's all the DNA symbols and you dive down in the water and spot the hospital bed... I get it.  Here's an island with wrecked vehicles where there are no roads... I get it.  And the whole "Come back...." thing that happens every time I tried to kill the narrator (because death is the only way this stupid game can end) made things sort of murky, sort of clear.  When you go underwater and can see things, I'm not sure if the narrator is the one dying from a car accident without anyone by him, unable to get a message to this real or imagined Esther, or if this Esther is dying on a hospital bed and our narrator is in denial, or if its something else, but I get that the actual island is a metaphor for something else.

But as clever as that is, as nice as the visuals are, that is no excuse for how terrible this game is.  Dragon's Lair has more gameplay variety than Dear Esther, you know, because Dragon's Lair let's you use the A, S and D keys.  In Dear Esther, hit the W key to move forward and listen to this dude ramble for an hour.  A lot of the praise I see for this game is "it's a story only possible with a videogame" (PC Gamer.....) the thing is, this is a really bad videogame and no one should ever pay $10 for this.  Ever.  You get it in a Humble Bundle, fine.  You want to be a nice guy and toss a dollar this game's way and get a handful of other junk, fine.  But $10 is a rip-off.  $2 is a rip off.

The only reason to play Dear Esther, and I can't stress this enough, THE ONLY REASON TO PLAY DEAR ESTHER, is to watch what happens when a team with ambition fails in every way imaginable.  The reason Dear Esther is an hour long is because if it lasted any longer you would try to drown yourself.

Some of you may be wondering why the massive score difference between Dragon's Lair and Dear Esther now?  A 6 for Dragon's Lair but a 2 for Dear Esther (and that extra point is because of the narrative concept and visual creativity otherwise we'd be looking at a 1 out of 10), is because Dragon's Lair is an interactive cartoon and billed as such.  It holds no real value beyond nostalgia for classic game fans and classic animation fans.  It may have minimal gameplay value, but it has replayability as you go for higher scores and it has nostalgic value.  Dear Esther has no value aside from being a lesson in what not to do with a videogame.

I can't believe people praise this crap.

Why are these reviews lying about Strike Suit Zero?

Losing an hour of progress due to poor checkpointing?  Losing objectives due to poor friendly AI?  Am I missing out on something?  Are we playing different games?  I need to know, because it's these same journalists who sit down and high five each other for the difficulty of the Souls series and then they whine and moan when they suck at something else.

I'm roughly 2/3's of the way through Strike Suit Zero and no mission has lasted an hour.  In fact, I seem to be taking too long on some missions as I'm getting time penalties thrown at me for taking 25 minutes to complete a mission instead of 24.  I need that score multiplier, damn it!  And the complaint that you lose missions due to friendly AI, are these guys serious?  As in just about every arcade space shooter out there, you do all the shooting.  I have not lost a single mission due to friendly AI.  Now don't get me wrong, the friendly AI sucks (though they do shoot down the occasional enemy), but they never get in the way of you completing the mission.

These complaints are false and there need to be either reviewers that suck significantly less or they need to quit making up crap.  The GameSpot review itself mentions that you will lose an hour of progress due to the checkpoints.  That's a lie, and the reviewer is full of crap.

As far as Strike Suit Zero as a game goes, it's a great space shooter.  You can definitely tell that it's an independent game as it lacks the bombast of Rogue Leader, which I think remains the best arcade space shooter of recent years.  Granted, it's a genre we don't see too much of, but Rogue Leader's intense sound design had just as much to do with how impressive it was to play that game.  It was a genuine showcase game for the GameCube.

Strike Suit Zero however does pass it in a few spots.  Namely, you're in space, so you can fly your ship any which way you want.  It doesn't have to be upright, you can fly it upside down, barrel rolling through ranks of enemies and at any angle that suits you while doing loops in the stars.  It feels a little jarring at first, but once you get used to it the freedom of movement is just too fun.

Second of all, the scale of the objects in the levels that you attack is pretty grand.  In mission 6 there's a giant communication relay you need to attack.  The actual comms however are on both ends of the giant station and getting from one side to the other while dodging enemy turret fire helps hammer in the size of your ship compared to that station.

Strike Suit Zero's a really fun game and I hope everyone picked it up when it was going for super cheap on GoG or the Steam Summer sale.

Speaking of that sale, here's all the new stuff not counting my repurchase of Hotline Miami and free copy of Torchlight off of GoG:

Steam Games:

Dragon's Lair $5
Gunpoint $6
Portal 2 $5

GoG Games:

Strike Suit Zero $5
Dyad $5
Fez $5

Steam DLC:

Borderlands 2 Season Pass $10
Dishonored: Knife of Dunwall $3
The Walking Dead: 400 Days (Completed) ($5 not part of sale but I bought it anyway)

I'll figure I'll knock out Dragon's Lair since I hear it's like an hour.  I'm a fan of Don Bluth and his animation work.  He did a lot of good stuff back in the day from The Fox and the Hound, The Black Cauldron, The Secret of NIMH, All Dogs go to Heaven, Titan AE, An American Tail, Anastasia, etc.  I like his work a lot.  The thing is, the game only shows me half the screen and the top is black.  Apparently it's a MS driver issue or something, so I can either uninstall MS's driver or wait for it to be fixed..... so lame.  Once uninstalled the game works fine, but I've read that the update effects numerous games since it was released like 10 days ago.  Microsoft, get your shit together, man.

EDIT- And I beat it.  It's one of those games you can replay just to go for the high score.  It's OK, animation is really nice though!

I might play Dear Esther.  I was given the code from Legolas, but I'm really not expecting it to be good.  Reviews are pretty positive, but as I learned from Strike Suit they aren't always accurate.   I don't know if a game about walking is going to be that great, but I'll find out soon enough.

I tried playing some Knife of Dunwall, but it's pretty difficult to get into it because it just jumps right to the meat of the game and I've forgotten the basic rules of Dishonored.  I might need to play the first mission or two to get back in the groove of things.  Although, that might necessitate replaying the full game because Dishonored is awesome.

The Borderlands 2 Season Pass should add some serious longevity to a game I already put over 40 hours into on a single playthrough.  If I don't add another 20 hours to my total playtime and push almost 70 hours total by the time I get through the DLC I'll be disappointed.  But that'll be the next major time sink as far as I'm concerned, so I'll knock out some of these smaller games first.

I've got some other indie games sitting around like Hard Reset (I like Painkiller, so Hard Reset might scratch a similar itch) and Thomas Was Alone (another key given from Legolas) looks like an interesting little platformer/puzzle game.  After I finish up some of these indie titles I'll go between either Portal 2 or another indie in Recettear which looks like another major time sink.

Thank you, Guillermo Del Toro

Pacific Rim

When I was a toddler I would get into my car seat, strap myself in and pretend that I was piloting a robot of my own.  I wanted to take to the skies, transform mid-air, stop alien threats, giant monsters and rival robots and that attitude never let up as I grew older in Elementary school, from being exposed to Robotech's Macross Saga to the Gundam series.  Even the over the top, B-level quality of G Gundam won me over when I realized I could be my own nation's Gundam fighter.  My uncle had a love of robots too when he was a child, and my little brother grew up alongside me feeling the same way.

Pacific Rim captures that feeling, it brings out those emotions that I always had.  The thrill of the ride as the Jaeger pilots take on the Kaiju that teleport to our world.  Humanity fights back, their machines are human like in design.  From Russia's Cherno Alpha, China's Crimson Typhoon, Australia's Striker Eureka and of course, the God Blessed United States with their Gipsy Danger are all too damn badass.  Cherno Alpha's design reminded me of one of the enemies in Big O.  And speaking of Big O, I cheered when Gipsy Danger busted out a punch similar to Big O's iconic punch.  There's Striker Eureka's influence taken from the Nirvash had me just as giddy.  Crimson Typhoon's three arms and acrobatic moves were similar too cool.

The story is basic, they're canceling the apocalypse, but basic is all you need when the stars of the movie are the Jaegers and Kaiju.  Ron Perlman's black market Kaiju dealer was hilarious and his gold plated shoes and teeth had me in smiles.  Pacific Rim is meant for everyone who has ever been 10 years old and everyone who will ever be 10 years old.  It's just too cool and it's the movie I've been waiting for since I was a toddler pretending to pilot my own machine.

Thank you, Guillermo del Toro.  Thank you so much.

Man of Steel

When I was ten years old, Dragon Ball Z was the hit thing for boys my age to watch.  It was that or the WWF (it's WWE, now).  As soon as my family told me wrestling was fake I dropped it.  Afterall, if you're going to watch fake fights, it might as well be fake fights that destroy the planet and involve flying around.  They tried creating a Dragon Ball Z movie before, it was terrible.  Unwatchable terrible.  Man of Steel is the first true Dragon Ball Z movie, and it's pretty dope.

If you enjoy Superman in the classical sense, Man of Steel is not for you.  This is the truest adaptation of the Dragon Ball series in spirit ever made into a movie.  Fast flying, shooting lasers, stopping human weapons without trying, destruction everywhere, it's mad fun.  The bad guy even reminded me of Vegeta at times (minus the hair).  There comes a point where the main antagonist leaves and Kal-el stands in the street noticing two figures walking up to him.  One's a petite woman, the others a tank of a man.  They clench their fists, he clenches his.  From that moment on Man of Steel goes in full anime mode and it's glorious.

The acting is OK, the story jumps around a lot between the present and the past, but it has some interesting scenes play out, even if some of them are initially confusing a bit.  But on the whole if you love your action with that shonen vibe, Man of Steel is the way to do it.  Badass fights scenes await and they are wicked good fights!

Monsters University

Monsters University is basically a Pixar version of Revenge of the Nerds.  Good news, if you liked Revenge of the Nerds, you'll like Monsters University.  If you don't know what Revenge of the Nerds is but you like Pixar, you'll like Monsters University.  It's a light-hearted comedy but it does play on some emotions that we expect it to, namely friendship, trust and acceptance.  But it also brings to light that sometimes, no matter how hard you try, you can't have what you want because whether you want to admit it or not, you just might not be good enough.

A lot of folks like to say Pixar lost their touch.  I don't think so.  Cars 2 we knew would be a dud because Cars was a dud.  Brave on the other hand was a great movie, it just wasn't in line as an instant classic with Ratatouille, Wall-E, Up and Toy Story 3, all four of which released back to back to back to back.  So yeah, it felt like Pixar was on track to be a flawless studio (Cars preceded Ratatouille).  But Cars 2 was the sandwhich between those masterpieces and it led to some folks to over-react.  Brave, while not as much of a classic as those four movies named above, is actually a fantastic cartoon, and Monsters University follows suit.  It's a great comedy that had me laughing from basically beginning to end.

It helps that it reminded me of some of my own college hijinks at times (although not as severe as some of the stuff in this movie), but it's a trip worth taking.  I didn't care for the ending however which I felt was too swift of a progression (and in the opposite direction the movie itself was heading towards if you ask me) as well as some missed opportunities with some characters like Randall.  But overall, Monsters University was a good time and one that had me laughing before I even bother questioning some story decisions.

All I've bought is DLC

Steam sale is here, and all I've managed to purchase is DLC (one of which wasn't even part of the sale) and Portal 2.

Most people know I don't care for Portal.  But based on the recommendation of my uncle and lightwarrior I'll give it a shot.  Otherwise I bought The Walking Dead: 400 Days, Dishonored: The Knife of Dunwall and the Borderlands 2 season pass.  Because there's never too much Borderlands 2.  Ever.

I was hoping for Monaco and Gunpoint to get heavier discounts, but they're like brand new so I'm not surprised that the prices haven't dropped.  I was hoping 400 Days would get some kind of discount, but not the case so I just bought it at full price since I initially intended to get it the day it released.  Rogue Legacy looks solid too, but that'll be a GoG purchase.  Reus looks kind of interesting as well, but that one is also going to be a GoG purchase.  If ever there's an option between DRM free or stuck to a service, go DRM free.  Them's the rules.

I was also hoping for games like Metro: Last Light, DmC and even Far Cry 3 to have deeper discounts.  They're all pretty new-ish, but they're not THAT new that the discounts peak out around 40% for them, and none of them look impressive enough to pay over $20 for.

Instead I've found myself jumping back and forth between Strike Suit Zero and a bunch of games I beat before:

Half-Life 2- I just got past Highway 17.  I still stand by what I said in the previous blog, Half-Life 2 is better than the majority of shooters on the market right now.  It's just a well-realized and fun experience that does things right.  Looking forward to Episode 2 in a while.

Bastion- I actually beat Bastion again.  I love this game so much!  Really, just a fantastic experience all around.  Those final levels are just too good!

Hotline Miami- I started replaying the game, still addicting as hell!  Hotline Miami's just one of the most stellar experiences you can have.

Strike Suit Zero- The first few missions have no SS so it played like a traditional space shooter.  But once the Strike is introduced things get more exciting than they have any right to be.  I'm still really early in the game, Mission 4, but it's a nicely made game.  I had read that 360 controller was the way to play this game.  I honestly prefer the mouse and keyboard controls, it's just so much easier to line up a shot.  That's usually the case, but I was just surprised to see so many discussions where folks preferred the controller as the best method.  No clue why.

The Walking Dead: 400 Days- I beat this the day I bought it.  Good stuff!  I kind of want to play through the stories again.

I also watched John Carter and it's actually a really good sci-fi action movie.  Go figure.  I know it's a massive flop in sales, though that's a very clear marketing problem with this movie.  No one had any idea what it was about.  But I liked it a lot!

I also saw The Hobbit, which everyone saw, and that movie was three hours of my life wasted.  So stupid, it's almost insulting to The Lord of the Rings trilogy.  Almost, because you don't need The Hobbit to appreciate the true masterpieces.