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This year's anime 'giant' Shingeki no Kyojin!

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Since I had nothing to do on a nice Saturday evening and no review to write, I decided to give some thoughts and description of one of the best things that make my Sunday mornings.

Anyone close enough to anime or avid internet users might have encountered this years anime phenomenon Attack on Titan (known as Shingeki no Kyojin in Japan). It is a thrilling anime watched by anime lovers and even non-anime lovers and has attracted more attention and popularity and it deserves to be crowned as the best anime of the year, almost hands down.

http://otakukokka.com/wps/media/2013/08/gg_Shingeki_no_Kyojin_-_01_0B164A9D.mkv_snapshot_03.09_2013.04.08_15.48.14.jpg

The story is set in a world where humanity has been driven to the brink of extinction by gigantic creatures known as Titans, mindless giants standing a few meters high that kill and devour humans even though they do not need to in order to survive, yet  do not feed on other kind of animals. The small remaining population of humans has surrounded themselves by high walls and for 100 years, humanity has lived out of harms way from the titans.

But one day, a gigantic titan that appears out of thin air, standing higher than the 50m wall, destroys the gate, allowing smaller titans to flow in. Young boy Eren sees his mother helplessly getting eaten by a titan, and vowing revenge to kill every titan and getting revenge for mankind.

Standing a few meters high, titans are mindless, genderless (though well featured), seemingly huge human beings with terrifying strength and regenerative abilities. They only have one known weak spot; the point behind their necks. Humans use a type of equipment known as the 3D Maneuver Gear that allow the user to move swiftly in three dimensional space in order to reach their enemys weak spot. It is unimaginably difficult to control and balance and it evidently requires great skill as lead characters in the anime clearly exhibit.

 

Even though Shingeki no Kyojin sounds like a stereotypical shounen, the part of vowing revenge and becoming strong, it is far from that. The story is supremely thrilling, and briskly paced with each of episode leading to the following and the first 10 episodes move at a breathtaking pace. The suspenseful story omits comedy completely, leaving only tense and tragic moments filled with grief, death, despair and fantastic twist-and-turns. It takes a lot of risks with its genre and setting, especially with many horrifying deaths (even though there is some censorship) and a few shocking moments.

Wit Studio (a branch of anime studio giant Production IG) has created the best anime of the year. Complete with a unique visual style and not afraid to accurately follow the manga its based on. The great and frantic OP song also ranks at the top of the very best anime OPs of the year, and marvelous soundtrack easily puts you in the action.

I havent awed at an anime as much as this since watching anime epics such as Code Geass, Mirai Nikki and Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood. Anime fans love it and non-anime fans love it. The anime is slated to cover 25 episodes from April till October 2013 and the first part is simply extraordinary!

DIsgaea: Afternoon of Darkness Review (PSP)

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Because i can't post the review where i am supposed to, i am posting it here because i am sick of posting reviews and then deleting them. So here

Positive

- Deep, strategic combat is a lot of challenge and fun
- Looks considerably better on the PSP rather than on TV
- Interesting setting, story and characters
- Still holds the record for the most insane amount of replay value

Negative

- Camera is still awful, occasionally giving poor view of the battlefield
- Daunting difficulty in the beginning

There is a good chance you might have missed 2003s Disgaea back on the PS2; an incredibly difficult, hilarious, charming and the deepest strategic turn-based strategy you could get your hands on. Now that same game has come to the PSP, with graphics that adapt better to the PSP than before, the same deep gameplay with an unbelievable amount of replay value, all the humor that comes with the series, but its still somewhat absurdly inaccessible to beginners and unreasonably difficult in the initial parts, and youve got to coop with an awfully uncooperative camera that is too lazy to keep up. But that is what makes a Disgaea game, and this port is as awesome as it was back on the PS2.

The Disgaea universe is set in the Netherworld, and the first installment opens with Laharl awakening from a two year slumber by one of his vessels, Etna. In the meantime, his father, King Krichevskoy, passed away causing a battle for the throne or something, and being a spoiled brat, Laharl will fight to reclaim his throne. The story is bizarre, yet quite charming, with interesting personality such as Laharls spoiled brat attitude, the untrustworthy Etna and the angel trainee, love-freak Flonne contrast well. Dialogue cutscenes accompany minor movements on the screen before a battle, giving the story the position of setting the stage or random nonsense. The story is divided into multiple chapters, with each chapter having four stages that must be completed to advance to the next

If youve never played a Disgaea game, Disgaea is a hardcore turn-based strategy that boasts some of the highest replay value in any game. Pretty much like the original Disgaea and Disgaea 2, Hour of Darkness pits you and your party on a map divided by square grid, allowing you to move on these square grids and attack your foe until there are none left. A character can occupy one square grid, and depending on their weapon can attack the grids surrounding them or further. The game gives you standard characters but allows you to create as much characters as you want, only to be restricted by a limited number on the map. Characters can perform melee attacks, special attacks depending on the class, defend, item usage and even lifting characters to throw. Each character present takes a turn and when finished, press the triangle button and choose to attack, and then the End Turn option to move to the opponents turn. Geo symbols affect the map by giving boosts and disadvantages on whoever stands on the colored grid that gives a refreshing turn to battles and a chance for the wise to possibly do a swift job of the enemy.

These concepts are found in all previous Disgaea installments so its nothing new. While all these mechanism are a bit complex to grasp immediately, the game is fiendishly difficult. This is a truly challenging turn-based strategy that someone makes it almost too difficult against the brutal AI to progress any further in the story, forcing you to dig in a gold mine of grinding possibilities, starting from completed levels to the Item World. The Item World offers a ton of dungeons against opponents of any level, making it ultimately the perfect place to gear up and train. All this almost forced grinding brings a ton of repetition to the gameplay formula that is showing its age. The enemy variety is a bit lacking because of all this time playing; the same enemy even appears cloned multiple times, doing the same exact some movement as the next clone which is a bit too much in some stages.

The combat is heavily strategic and absorbing, but there is one major issue that remains; that accursed camera. I guess if a Disgaea game doesnt have a bothersome camera, it aint a Disgaea game. The camera can be turned left and right with the L and R buttons, to allow a better view of the area. There is no zooming this time around. The use of environment objects such as pillars sometimes may hide opponents you are not aware of, and end up forgetting them. Even worse are gaps in maps which are mostly found in the randomly generated maps of the Item World. An enemy in the gap is almost impossible to stop or even attack sometimes. Enemies hidden on isolated plains force you to use ranged weapons or throw an ally there. There are also the chances of enemies hiding behind large objects. The position of the camera sometimes gives the illusion of an opponent being in front of you, but is in fact an another plain. This mirage occurs in the Item World, but rarely. A major problem is that the camera doesnt bother to automatically turn to give you the best view of the attacks happening, sometimes completely blocked by large objects.

Visually, Disgaea was never the looker and fortunately the small screen of the PSP has made a decent-looking game to a good looking game. Excluding the main menu, the character in battles look pretty good and the environments shine. Shame many environments and character designs are repeated so often that youd want to bang your head against a wall. The music repeats a lot but its of good quality, and the English voice acting is pretty good and doesnt fall victim to localization, with some funny moments are played quite well.

Its the same exciting Disgaea yet not quite. I found myself digging over 50 hours easily in Disgaea 2 on the PS2 and completed the game with high level characters. It wasnt the same with this game. Mainly the Item World was not as immersive as it was in the second game which is kind of disappointing. Other than that, this demonic and twisted turn-based strategy is back with its uncooperative camera and high level of difficulty, complete with a humorous story and polished combat system youd expect from this series.

OVERALL = 82 / 100
Even on the PSP, this devilish turned-based strategy game is still awesome

Translated Japanese Anime Inspired Games for the PS3

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Japan is 5 years behind

Japanese games and American games are very different indeed. There are a ton of Japan only games which are, and never will be released in America and Europe which usually are dating sims and anime related games. Recent PS3 games with animated visuals and faithful towards anime, released from Japan have failed to receive good reviews from outside Japan. A few months ago former Capcom developer Keiji Inafune has stated that "Japan is at least five years behind." Is it true?

PS2 era

Let us go back a few years. The PS2 had less anime inspired games but a great deal of Japanese RPG dominated the genre. Superb titles from the now no longer independent company Atlus are Persona 3 and Persona 4 which had close relation to anime visuals and animated cutscenes. Other animated PS2 RPGs from developer Level-5 produced two of the best RPGs on the console, Rogue Galaxy and Dark Cloud 2. Square Enix aside since their titles such as Final Fantasy aren't anime oriented.

Common in Japanese RPGs

One thing that has been noticed in Japanese games is, let us call them 'hypersexual' cute little girls which build the game. This is such a common thing in anime that now even games are being influenced by this. Recent poorly rated JPRG Hyperdimension Neptunia proves that Western fans do not welcome this as much as Japanese gamers do, and aren't appealed to busty anime girls. Another question is why are little children and teenagers always the main characters in JRPG? Western companies have improved towards realistic, real life visuals and action such as Dragon Age, Mass Effect and Fallout 3, while the Japanese content with a fantasy, magical fantasy to expand their imagination to a whole new level. But we all have to admit something; if you had the choice to choose from a party consisting of middle-aged people and another of cute anime girls, which would you, choose?

Another common thing which I found playing Japan only games on the PS2 is that almost all (found only one without them) is the motionless 2D cutscenes. These are when 2 characters appear onscreen and start chatting facing you, with dialogue and maybe voice acting. The character will show little to no reaction for example the character may lip-sync with the voice acting or show a particular reaction to horror or embarrassment, or emotionlessly nothing. The image below taken from Hyperdimension Neptunia is an example of such a cutscene.

Western titles not released in Japan

Let's stick to RPG for now. Western non-anime related RPGs such as Fallout: New Vegas, very recent Dragon Age II, Mass Effect II and a whole lot of unreleased in Japan. Are the Japanese gamers going to stick with their successful releases, namely Final Fantasy XIII? A constant flood of dating sims and anime-based games can be found which can normally outsell bigger titles (not on the PS3 mainly).

Series improvements

Some anime-based games mainly the Naruto: Ultimate Ninja Storm and Dragon Ball Z: Burst Limit were received pretty well almost overall which proved a step in the right direction for these two popular series over their many predecessors. These two long running anime series are the very few that survived the jump to the future, and actually improved. The higher quality visuals, improved gameplay for both and extraordinary cinematics are a part of this. On the PS3 there are is no Fullmetal Alchemist, no Bleach and no One Piece, the best and most popular anime.

Upcoming releases

Later this March, Gust's third installment in the Ar Tonelico series, titled Ar Tonelico Qoga: Knell in Ar Ciel which will feature a real-time based action RPG battle system instead of its two PS2 predecessors' turn-based strategy gameplay. Erotic horror puzzle-platformer Catherine hits late July on both the PS3 and 360. Released in Japan in February, the game was said to be too challenging. A super easy mode has been announced for the upcoming version and a patch has been made of the already released PS3 version. Two Tales installments titled Vesperia and Graces f are headed for the PS3, release dates to be announced. With the death of the XBOX 360 in Japan, these kinds of games are bound to wind up on the PS3.


Translated Japanese games almost all (with the exception of anime-based games) full under the RPG and strategy categories. Here is a list of some (most of them are here) anime inspired visually or all of it with their rating from GameFAQ and the genre. Anime based games Naruto and Dragon Ball are included.

Eternal Sonata - RPG - 82.39% - RPG
Disgaea 3 - 81.10% - Turn-Based
Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja Storm 2 - 77.09% - 3D Fighter
Naruto: Ultimate Ninja Storm - 76.14% - 3D Fighter
Dragon Ball Z: Burst Limit - 72.06% - 3D Fighter
Atelier Rorona - 70.48% - RPG
Record of Agarest War - 67.67% - Strategy
Afro Samurai – 66.66%
Trinity Universe - 66.09% - RPG
Dragon Ball: Raging Blast - 61.53% - 3D Fighter
Dragon Ball: Raging Blast 2 - 60.85% - 3D Fighter
Trinity: Souls of Zill O'll - 55.07% - RPG
Cross Edge - 51.76% - RPG
X-Blades - 49.54% - action
Hyperdimension Neptunia - 49.35% - RPG
Last Rebellion - 48.15% - RPG
Ar Tonelico Qoga -

Not Yet Released

Disgaea 4 - Not YET RELEASED
Record of Agarest War Zero - Not YET RELEASED
Catherine - Not YET RELEASED
Tales of Grace f - Not YET RELEASED
Tales of Vesperia - Not YET RELEASED

Unannounced for English release, yet

Totori no Atelier: Arland no Renkinjutsushi 2 – Sequel to Atelier Rorona
Agarest Senki 2 - Sequel to Record of Agarest War
Rune Factory Oceans
Mist of Chaos
Tears to Tiara installments
Umineko no Naku Koro ni: Majo to Suiri no Rinbukyoku

3 year anniversary on GameSpot

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I forgot the first two years but it's too late now. This year i remembered that on December the 2nd of 2007, i made an account on Gamespot. It's nothing special but just a reminder to myself on how things change.

F.E.A.R. 2 Project Origin - Review Impression

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This is the sequel to 2005's outstanding shooter. A terrific first impression will trick people in believing that this game is better than the original, but from interval 6 onwards the game becomes a standard shooter, with no atmosphere, no scary scenes or anything and is reduces to a normal FPS level.

It is quite disappointing since the first part of the game was quite awesome. It is rare for me to reduce a grade to a game, especially an FPS. I wasn't an FPS fan, but i've played enough and played the original Fear to say that the second part of the game is almost mediocre, with poor sense of progress and will irritate a lot of people.

Metacritic score = 79 / 100

My Original score = 87 / 100

Current score = 77 / 100

More and new reviews coming up.

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From now on, i will be posting Wii games since i got the Wii. There will probably be a drastic decrease in PS2 reviews.

*because of some wii problems, there might not be wii reviews for quite a while. Although i will be reveiwing PC games, upcoming GTR 2, Red Alert 3 and in near future Fear 2.

About my reviews

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I am no a professional reviewer, so my reviews are no match for expert critics. I do this out of my free time so i normally write a review only after a few hours of playing that particular. My scores can change, certain reviews might be edited, and some of the first reviews i've written can be re-written. There might also be incorrect information and if that is the case, you can contact me or send a replay. I also don't play games online, unless it is an MMO.

YS: The Ark of Napishtim review

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YS: The Ark of Napishtim isn't a game that should be played by anyone, even those interested in the RPG genre, but it is still a fun game to play to those who don't have anything to do. Nonetheless this is a beautiful, entertaining game.

In the end The Ark of Napishtim is an unremarkable hack-and-slash role-playing which can't be recommended to everyone. The difficulty isn't cheap only tough, the visuals aren't stellar, the fact that is fully voiced make the game pass. It is a rather unique game in some game 'cos you don't come across a game like this every month. It can make for a rental for those look for something entertaining but mostly this game is aimed at those who are already fans for these kinds of games.

This installment of YS can't be recommended to anyone. Its challenging gameplay can't be justified well by anyone, but this shouldn't stop people from playing this. It is an underappreciated effort, because not always you find a game with a good story, fun gameplay and one with full voice acting.

Score by me = 76 / 100

Shining Force EXA reviewed

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Shining Force EXA missed a lot of opportunities for reaching glory. This game feels a waste in some ways. It is an enjoyable action role-playing, but an awful frame rate and unforgivable level of difficulty destroy the games. But if you find yourself with plenty of time or you are able to sustain technical problems, and you enjoy mindless action, you must play the latest Shining Force.

It wastes it premise because of stability problems. Though these don't do enough to destroy this game. EXA is still worth playing, nonetheless if you aren't willing to forgive the mentioned problems, forget it and play another game because if you want to enjoy this game, you must be ready to suffer its problem and enjoy the rest.

Score = 69 / 100

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