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Update on my life (30/07/12)

So, just as I was looking at other people's blogs, I realized that the commentary section had changed a bit. It said that there weren't any comments, while there actually were. Then, I had the brilliant idea to check out my blogs to see if there was any commentary on my last posts, which were shown to have 0 comments. So I went to check, and guess what! People still read my stuff! =)It is kind of my fault not to check that out or realize it before, but still.

So, in about my life, I feel liek sharing stuff a bit now. First of all, my summer vacations have ended recently (I am Brazillian, and here we only have a month of vacation at this period, which is July). And since I am at the last year of high school, at the end of the year I have to take a test (called vestibular) to enter a university. While many of our universities are currently on stike, it will probably end towards the end of the year, in time for me to do it. I am going to try to enter Law school, which is reasonably hard to enter, so I have to study a lot. As such, I have barely anytime to play games, unfortunately.

On other stuff, I have been playing Persona 3 Portable for the second time (third in total for P3), and that is pretty much it. I also am really close to finishing Dissidia 012, but something is just making me unable to finish it. I don't know, I guess I am just lazy. Besides that, before vacation ended, I was watching the animes Clannad (which I have been watching for a long time, and I don't really feel like finishing it, since it is so good) and Another, but now I had to take a break. Speaking of animes, I finish watching a little something called School Days, and since I have quite a lot to talk about it, I may review it after the review after Chrono Trigger, which will be Shadow the Hedgehog.

So, I guess that is what I have been doing. Hope to be able to write the review and other blogs soon.

Oh, plus, I don't know if any of you have seen it, but there has been announced a movie adaptation of Persona 3! I love that game a lot as well, and since it will be only a movie, I know they will have to condence a lot more, but I still am reallu excited for it.

Persona 4 The Animation review

Well, after a month of writing the Persona 4 review, a bunch of tests and a bent foot, I think it is time to write the review for the anime adaptation of the best RPG ever, Persona 4: The Animation.

When this was announced, I screamed. I really did. My favourite RPG becoming an anime, I really could not ask for more. The anticipation was high, and the months leading up took forever to pass, but it arrived in October of last year. Did it deliver with the same quality as the game? Let's check.

(First of all, I avoided major spoilers in the review of the game, but here I will have to say more things, so if you are interested in watching it, do so first or know that you will be spoiled here.)

Persona 4 stars on March 2011, with protagonist Yu Narukami ariving in the small town of Inaba, to live there for a year with his uncle and cousin. After setting up things at his house, he has classes right the next day. There he get acquainted with classmates Chie Satonaka and Yukiko Amagi, who show him around the town. That day, however, a murder occurs in quiet Inaba, of a reporter, who was said to be having an affair. She died in an unusual way, and the police couldn't really tell the cause of death, so it really got weird in town. Cut to the next day, Yu meets and gets to know another classmate, Yosuke Hanamura, and the two become friends. Latter that day, Chie explains an urban legend called "Midnight Channel", that says that if you look in a TV, at midnight, in rainy days, you will see your soul mate there.

The characters doubt it, but try it just for the lulz, and they do see something. Also, Yu could put his hand inside the TV. Just, fyi. So, after telling Chie and Yosuke that, they decide to try entering the TV, not just their hands. They do so. Inside it, they find a creature named Teddie, who looks like a bear but is actually hollow inside. After the three of them come back , they are still wondering what is up with that world, so Yu and Yosuke decide to go back there the next day, with Chie waiting outside the TV, with a rope so that they do not get lost. There, they find a distorted version of Inaba, where they find monsters, known as Shadows, lurking around. Yosuke is rather hopeless, but Yu faces them, awaking a power, known as Persona. With that, he is able to defeat the monsters.

And that, is all in the first episode. I think that is all to give the basic idea of what is going on. Long story short, the characters all awake their Personae, by fighting their own Shadows, which represent their most supressed fears and secrets. After facing it, they get the power, and vow to find out who is responsible for the murders in Inaba, and throwing people in the TV (the first victim was Yukiko; if she stayed there any longer, she would have died).

The premise of the anime may seem boring at first, specially since other stories in the series took place in cities, like the amazing story of Persona 3. So how could it work in a much more deserted place? Well, it does. The anime does not suffer from its location, since it does feel very united and a nice town in general, where everyone knows each other and all that good stuff. The mystery may also throw some off guard first, since it is quite unique, unlike other popular mystery anime like Death Note. Nope, this is a pure detective story on its heart, and it works. There are always new revelations that you do not expect, and you are always curious to see what is going to happen next. The big twist at the end is also phenomenal, with subtle hints as to who is the bad guy all the way, and when you find out, there is quite a bit of fridge logic to think about.

In the game, the bulk of the stroy was on the characters, and how you interacted with them. This is the biggest difference here, and what I was most wondering as to how it would be adapted. To those who have not played the game, there are many side stories called Social Links, which raise your battle performance in the game, besides being interesting on their own. So, how does the anime work so many stories in only 25 episodes? Well, the answer is... complicated. The thing is, all Social Links are covered one way or the other, but a vast majority are too haphazardly done. Take for the exaple Death, Devil and Sun Social Links. The first two are among the best in the game, and the latter is alright. But the first two are done in the same episode very briefly, and the latter barely five minutes are given to it. They have characters with deep issues that they have to overcome, and the anime does not give them time to shine. Devil had a great resolution in the game, but here it is not even mentioned. Death is talked a bit more in-depth, but still missed many great points. Sun was quite interesting, but the way the anime handles it is quite hilarious, unfortunately. I do get that it was done due to the short span of the anime, but they could have stretched out a little bit more.

The short length problems do not stop there. Since the game is almost 80 hours long, the 25 episodes have to fasfoward a lot. Besides the fact that more than half of the Social Links not done justice, much of the slow scenes in the game get done so quickly you will have to stop to breath a bit. Not to spoil much, but the big bad is only reveled in episode 24, so it and 25 have to be really fast to cover everything to their finest.

Out with the negative stuff, the main positive thing is that the great story has not been changed. You can almost say that the dialogue is a direct transition from the game, which is always a good thing. None of the scenes fail to represent what they need, and there are even some cool touches, like when the characters go into the area of Persona 3. The episode only uses music from that game, besides some mentions, and that is really well done. The main cast is also well handled. While their personal issues from the Social Links are only breifly mentioned in some cases, some really get to shine, mostly Yukiko and Yosuke. Naoto and Kanji kind of get left on their issues, but what they do on the main story is enough already, and they do not feel underdeveloped. Teddie's journey to find out about himself is also well done an interesting, probably one of the best transitions from the game, as is the development of your cousin Nanako.

The last things to mention are voice acting, animation and music. The voice acting is the same as the game, and the seiyus do a good job. I had never listened to them, since I played the game with english voice acting. But they are good as a whole. The main character is the main deal in this case, since he was silent in-game. Now he talk; not that much, but still. And he is given justice, with a rather fitting voice. Most other also convey good emotion and have solid performances, with the exeption of Rise, who is too girly and annoying, and Teddie, who I personaly can't stand. In terms of animation, I do not have much do complain here. It captures the essence from the game, and there is really nothing that moves inconsitently or looks bad. There are a few differences regonizable to those who played it, but nothing too major. The music is also taken from game, and seeing them in the anime normaly made me smile. It is a great soundtrack already, and plays perfectly here. The next music, mostly the opening and ending themes, are also a blast to listen to, and catchy as all hell.

FINAL THOUGHTS:
Watching Persona 4 was a funny experience. I knew the story, but the good and powerful scenes still got me, and some fo the transitions to an anime made somethings even better, like the handling of Nanako and her issues, definitely a highlight. I would recomend to anyone who played the game, to see who it transitioned. It was a well done job, and I had a blast watching it. It does not beat playing the actual game, but is a solid way to see a masterfull story. The issues are really only aparent to those who played the game before, and newcomers may get a bit lost a times due to the pacing, but it still is very well done, and I enjoyed it a lot.

The good:
-Animation captures the essence of the game
-Story is still fantastic
-Main group of characters are very well developed
-Music is amazing and most of the voice acting is solid

The bad:
-Leaves some of the side stories from the game
-Some of the voice acting is really irritating
-Can be a bit too fast paced

OVERALL: B

Next review: Sonic CD (PS3)

3DS: One year anniversary review.

Well, it has been about one year since the Nintendo 3DS has launched in America. March 27th was the day that technology evolved a bit more, and the day that gamers were introduced to 3D without glasses. When it was first released, while it recived generally positive reviews, there were many aspects that were criticized by everyone. We now had one year with the console, and now that we had the time to settle down with it, how is it really? Here is my review of the console and how good/bad it is.

HARDWARE: On the surface, the 3DS looks really good. It has about the same size as a DS Lite, which in my opinion is the best DS there is. It is also the same weight, so it feels the same on your pocket. The two screens from the DS family were maintained, and the touch screen is still very responsive and well made. The top screen is now wide, much like a PSP screen, which is a great decision that make games more comfortable.

The button layout is the same ABXY and RL as before, and they are a bit harder than the DS Lite, but feel better in effect. The Start and Select buttons have been renegated the down part of the touch screen, and it feels a bit awkward to press them, since they do not respond that much, and at times you have to press a bit more, but not too much a big deal. The new additions are a Home button, to go back to the 3DS menu at any time, much like the one on the Wii, and best of all, an analogue stick. Called the Circle Pad, it is similar to the one on PSP, but with a smooth surface, rather than the grip on the latter. It suits your thumb really well, and although it can be slippery if your finger gets a bit sweaty, it still is great that it is there and works wonders. The D-pad is located down the Circle Pad, with a rather awkward positioning and feels a bit too hard, so it is not that recomended to use it, even in 2D games. A lack of a second analogue is actually quite hurtfull to it, since the touch screen can always save camera and reticule aiming (as seen in Kid Icarus Uprising), even though there already is a peripheral that gives another Circle Pad. Let's just hope the "3DS Lite" will have another one.

There are also two cameras on the outside and one on the inside. The outside ones can take 3D pictures, but it is more of a novelty than anything. Still, it works well for what it is. Overall, the 3DS looks good and feels good when you are playing, with a good button layout and structure.

3DS

TECNICHAL: Since I'm not a computer expert, I will use very daily and simple explanations here, to the best of my knowledge.

The DS was most definitely the worst console on this generation graphic wise. It could produce relly good 2D games, like New Super Mario Bros, and even some good 3D ones, like Phantom Hourglass, but any time there was the need to zoom in a bit, you could see the blocky and murky textures. An example from this could be the Kingdom Hearts games on the plataform, as the plataforms on the game look pretty blurry.

The 3DS was made to change that. It was meant to be a portable powerhouse. And, in many ways, it is. Comparisson wise, its graphics compare to probably the best on the Wii and GameCube. Just look at Super Mario 3D Land, which looks about the same as Galaxy, an amazing looking game; Resident Evil Revelations, not as good as RE5 of course, but better than any iteration of 4; Ocarina of Time 3D probably rivals the graphics of Twilight Princess, if not the former is better. There is a huge potential for great looking games, and what we have often is quite beautiful.

The big selling point, though is, of course, the glass-free 3D. There is a little bar in the top screen, which controls the amount of 3D you are seeing, and you can ajust it to suit your liking. The idea of seeing 3D without glasses as a main feature of a portable sounded preposterous at first, but when you see it, you can really see that it is what it was meant to be. When the 3D is done correctly (as in the three games cited above), you get a sense of depth that is absolutely unheard of, and leaves you amazed. The first time playing OoT 3D shocked me at how good it implemented the gimmick, and even though it can hurt to leave the thing on for too long, it is mandatory to play the game with the 3D on. It really is cool the effects that they can produce, as you quite often feel things coming towards you or being thrown at you.

So the 3D works. Any drawbacks? Three. The first is that it kills the battery life to use it for too long. Without it, the 3DS lasts for about 5 to 7 hours, which is already not too much, but with the 3D, it can go as down to only 2 and a half hours, which is really a shame. The second is that not only to find the sweet spot for the 3D a bit dificult at first, but that it can also cause to headaches if used for too long. The thrid is that it is a main selling point of the system, so if the company doesn't use it well or at all, it can hurt the experience quite a bit. But overall, this is most definitely a well done experiment.

Professor Layton

GAMES: The main selling point of a console, the 3DS struggled a lot with this. But right now, lets look back at what we have, and see if the games do make this console worthwhile.

During its launch until the release of OoT 3D, it had pretty much nothing. Sure, there was Street Fighter and Tom Clancy, but that was it, as the other games were pretty much just gimmicky puzzle or small adventure or action titles, which underutilized its functions. Then, in June, we had Ocarina, a step up, but still not much after it. Then, in September, Star Fox. So, the library started to pick up, but it wasn't until Novermber that stuff got real, with the release of Super Mario 3DS Land and Mario Kart 7, two most definitely system savers. Latter on, we also got Resident Evil Revelations, Metal Gear Solid 3, just got Kid Icarus Uprising and will get Paper Mario, Luigi's Mansion 2 and much more to come, which ranges from first party games, to strong thrid party suport.

Besides the awesome first party and thrid party games we have, there is also an online system, just like with any other console. The eShop, as it is called, has games for the 3DS, from the DSiWare and clas$ics from theGame Boy and other portables. While still quite fresh, the eShop has some awesome things, like a portable version of Plants vs. Zombies, a great puzzle called Pushmo and so on.

So, right now, the library is a bit more lively, and has varied games which can suit anyone.

VEREDICT:
Also to take account is the price. The original $250 bucks was expensive, but now it stands for $170, and even here at Brazil where everything is expensive, it also got a price cut. Considering how much the games right now have of value and how much it costs, it is worth to buy the 3DS if you really want one, since there is a lot to it now. But if you are still in doubt, it is best to wait a bit more, for the inevitable "3DS Lite", which will hopefully come with a second analogue stick in its hardware. For what it is, the failure has passed, and what we have now is an awesome portable, which is condemmed to be a huge success