Little Witch Academia (OVA)

posted in: Anime | 0

Little Witch Academia is a surprise joy from new studio ‘Trigger’, a bunch of ex-gainax folk lead by the same director as Panty and Stocking and Gurren Lagann.
Its a 26 minute standalone OVA set in an imaginative fantasy world full of (as you may have guessed) witches and magic, the short story follows Akko and friends through her time at the academy in a plot which feels oh so very Harry Potter. Being only 26 minutes, the OVA does a fantastic job of condensing essentially a whole movie into just the bare minimum – friendships are made, rivalries are formed, and the whole thing even gets a solid end to fit its flashy opening sequence.

Give this a try, the youtube version has English subtitles embedded, and is available up to 1080p (and it really looks lovely in HD).

Ace Attorney : the Film (2012) – and a cross-examination between the film and game

posted in: films | 0

So I watched the Phoenix Wright film earlier today, it’s running time was longer than I anticipated, coming in at around 2 hours – standard for films nowadays, yet still shocking for a film based on a video game (though, I suppose, less shocking when the subject is Phoenix Wright).

The film is a fairly faithful telling of the first game in the Ace Attorney series, fans of the game will understand what I mean when I say it covers ‘The first turnabout’, ‘Turnabout sisters’ and ‘Turnabout Goodbyes’ (Thats acts 1,2 and 4 from the first game, and omits The steel Samurai case, and the Ema Skye Case, though the steel samurai case is referenced in the film) – The latter 2 cases, Turnabout Sisters and Goodbyes, were the best 2 cases of the first game imo, and to see them retold in more or less the way I remember it unfolding brought some nice nostalgia.

I was fortunate enough to vaguely remember the cases and what happens, yet not quite be able to remember what exactly happens, which is probably the best way to enjoy the film – too much knowledge and there is no tension as you have practically seen the film already, too little knowledge and you may find yourself confused by the slightly ridiculous plotline. A benefit of the film however is that the key points have been cleaned up, and the trials do not last as long as the do in the game (duh).

Humour from the game is preserved in entertaining ways one wouldn’t expect from such a seemingly serious film, and the rest of the humour is lovingly provided by the buttz.
Music from the game is also preserved to some extent, whilst there wasn’t quite enough of it, it was nice to hear familiar tunes stir up at climatic moments of the film, an orchestral arrangement of the court theme in particular had me grinning from ear to ear.

Characters are preserved fairly well, though some were ported better than others. My gripes with the characters however are purely cosmetic, with the actors playing their parts well.
Characters I thought were being played by the wrong people were Gumshoe (too young) and Maya (too old / not adorable enough), On the flipside, I thought Phoenix, Lotta Hart, Larry Butz and the judge were all cast pretty spot on.

Verdict:
Fans will definitely get the most out of this film, though fans who remember the twisting plot too well may find themselves slightly bored. Watching the cases unravel themselves however is almost as satisfying as playing through the games again. The film is just the right length and is a great mix of courtroom drama and light comedy, and well worth a look.

I grabbed the film back in september last year when there were no subtitles available, so I can’t direct you to that, however I can tell you that the copy of the film I saw was called ‘Ace.Attorney.2012.JAP.DVDRip.x264.AC3-zdzdz’ and was okay (if a little low quality).
The subtitles are mirrored on my hosting – http://www.mengsbizarreadventure.com/uploads/Ace.Attorney.2012.JAP.DVDRip.x264.AC3-zdzdz%20-%20Copy.txt
Download the file and then change the extension to .SRT

Apparently KPOP aint bad.

posted in: music | 0

I hadn’t really be exposed to much KPOP before a few days ago, I had heard the occasional track through DJ Amaya’s stuff (who remixes Korean, Japanese and other tracks into club music) but I had never truly listen to it to much depth.

I recently started listening to 2NE1 after hearing their track on Dance Central 3, this is where I found they actually have a very heavy beat and lots of nice synth – most of their tracks seem to be a mix of dance, hiphop and pop – which I am pretty okay with.
Heres one of their English songs if you want a sample of what im talking about

After this, or rather, whilst downloading some of their music, i stumbled upon isohunts ‘KPOP & STUFF’ releases – http://isohunt.com/torrents/?ihq=KPOP+%26+STUFF – Massive packs of 100+ songs per pack, of which I presume are hits (but I honestly haven’t a clue), after having a listen through the first and second packs, I realised that I hadn’t actually skipped a single track, this stuff is good…
I was shocked.
I’m not actually sure if its just this pack which is filled of this sort of music, but for now, I kind of just expect korean music to be essentially dance music mixed with a little hiphop.

If you fancy something different, i’d definitely recommend grabbing Packs 1 and/or 2 from the link above.

Ookami Kodomo: Ame to Yuki // Wolf Children (2012)

posted in: Anime, films | 0

Director Mamoru Hosoda seems to be on a hot streak after The girl who leapt through time, Summer Wars (the best Japanese animated film of all time imo) and now Wolf Children.
The film is 2 hours long and takes the viewer for an emotion fueled trip through the life of mother Hana, who falls in love with a wolf and subsequently has to raise two.
Wolf Children is filled with joy and tragedy similar to life itself, and has a very lovable cast of main characters – which is just as well as the film would likely drag on if not for the rollercoaster stylized plot.
The animation is top notch as you would expect from a film of this scale, scenery is beautiful and detailed whilst characters are kept fairly simplistic and yet detailed where it matters (facial expressions and so on).
Segments of the film become almost an orchestral music video, with the film becoming almost a backup act for the music.
I can’t really say too much more without spoiling stuff, but it is definitely worth a watch, this is a film that will make you laugh, hold your breath, and maybe cry. Watch it (Commie sub link)

What you should be watching this season (Spring 2013)

posted in: Anime, WYSBW | 0

Slim pickings once again
Full list here

New Shows

Shingeki no Kyojin
(Attack on Titan)

Looking like anime of the season if it keeps this pace up.
Mankind faces extinction from the titans, who are equal parts creepy as shit, and fucking badass (like this guy above). This show looks set to bring some strong character development along with some fantastic action scenes. Give episode 1 a try and see how you feel.
Oh, it also has the best opening this season

Suisei no Gargantia
(Gargantia on the verdurous planet)

I’ve yet to really enjoy a mecha anime, but this seems pretty ready to convert me. Visually stunning and with lots of lasers if you are into that sort of thing.

Hataraku Maou-sama!
(The devil is a Part-timer!)

Demon lord ends up on earth… working part time at a fast food joint.
Is a comedy for now, though something tells me it might mingle amongst other genre’s later on, the comedy is pretty solid however.

Hentai ouji to warawanai neko
(The perverted prince and the stony cat)

A fun, if slightly juvenile comedy with its fair share of flat chest jokes, the female main character is moe to the fucking max. This show gets a recommendation almost purely for its adorable female lead, but the MC is quirky and pretty original as well (for the type of show that it is).

Sequel Tier:

Ore no imouto Ga Konna ni kawaii wake ga nai 2
(My little sister can’t be this cute 2)

A second season if ‘My little sister can’t be this much of a bitch’, Kirino maintains her 7 tablespoons ‘tsun’ to 1 teaspoon ‘dere’. For fans only tbh as this seems to be leaning weaker than the first season.

Toaru Kagaku no Railgun S
(A certain scientific Railgun S)

I enjoyed the first season of Railgun despite not watching the related ‘A certain magical index’, season 2 seems to have grown up a little since its last appearance, and I’m thankful for it.

Meh Tier:

Haiyore! Nyaruko-san W (Nyaruko-san 2)
A disappointment, I rated the first season a 7, but this s2 is off to a very bad start.
edit. 3 episodes in and i’ve dropped it. Fucking awful.

Yahari ore no seishun love come wa machigatteiru (My teen romantic comedy SNAFU)
Holds both a terrible title, and terrible content. Unlikable main characters and generally unentertaining premise have made me drop this one.

There are loads of other shows I didn’t even bother checking the first episode of due to bad reviews, low ratings and so on. The most promising ones of those I havent seen look like ‘Aku no Hana’, ‘Devil Survivor 2’ and maybe ‘Date a live’ I guess? You’ll have to get someone else’s opinion for those though.

Company of Heroes 2 (Preview)

posted in: Games | 0
All opinions and pictures are from the closed beta of CoH2. as such the game will likely change, hopefully get better, and so on. Take everything written here with a pinch of salt.
There used to be trees and stuff here. Then the mortars and tanks showed up…

Company of Heroes (as a series now I suppose) has always been one of those games I wish I could play. Its a wonderful RTS filled with incredible ideas and design choices which just make sense, its also a game filled with so many genius strategical opportunities that I am completely unable to play it to any degree of confidence.
Being let loose in Company of Heroes 2 feels similar to being allowed to climb Ayers rock – Can I rock climb? Sure! Will I die climbing Ayers rock? 100%

CoH2 introduces some new mechanics, brings back the stuff from CoH which made sense, and adds in some new age leveling systems which seem to be prevalent in more and more online games nowadays.

Old Stuff:
Engineers building stuff, reinforcing, retreating, suppression, directional armor on tanks, mortars, snipers, cover mechanics, garrison, actives on most units, breaking down walls…

New Stuff:
– Snow and Freezing – Russia being the frosty deathtrap that it is, there are now blizzards which limit sight and movement, as well as slowing infantary left out in the open. Infantary will have to maintain body temperature by sheltering or going near fireplaces. There is also ‘deep snow’ which will slow units and leave tracks, and iced lakes which will break if bombarded or if tanks cross.
– Line of Sight – Not that this wasn’t a thing in the original, but LoS seems greatly emphasized in this game, and it feels like most units have had their sight range reduced – this allows for lots of clever trapping and ambushes, though as a League of Legends player I always feel worried going into fog of war constantly.
– Tank stuff – Tanks are now able to do things other than be tanks, crew can stop manning the weapons and capture points, or come out of the top to increase vision for example.
– Commander points – seem more important now. Still allow for cool shit.
– Leveling Stuff –
– – Gain XP for playing, access more commanders, perks, skins
– – Loadouts for commanders
– – Loadouts for perks, unlock more perks by doing X of Y (similar to CoD style unlock stuff)

Notice the blue bar on the side of the unit shield, showing its temperature. Units can freeze to death on the field if not protected
Commander loadout selection, You can select a few commanders, then choose which to actually use once you get your first commander point a few minutes into the game – Which is a nice opportunity for strategy counters
‘Bulletins’,  another way of saying perks. You can unlock a ton for all the different unit types, provided you can complete the challenges required.
Postgame screen, showing a ton of unlocks and buzzwords to make me feel cool.
The game itself seems a fantastic RTS experience with a very VERY high skillcap – So high that I feel barely able to play it or keep up, despite experience in AoE/SC/War3/DoW2 etc.

If there was a way to play the game at half speed. I would do that.

I’d love to talk gameplay balance and whats overpowered etc, but fuck if I know. The game runs on such a hardcore rock paper scissors format that everything seems counterable, I’d run in a tank and take out 2 squadrons, only to be completely shut down by a 3man anti-tank gun crew, Similarly my snipers would ruin shit from miles away, only to be taken out by a mortar crew I couldn’t even see.

I’d also like to add that the game doesnt actually feel THAT different to the original CoH, but rather a refined and polished version of the free CoH they put out towards the original’s end

JET Programme Application Result Confirmation

posted in: JET Programme | 0

AKA. The stuff the JET Programme doesn’t mention when you sign up.

So one of the things they neglected to mention on the previous letter where they said you need a certificate of health and a police check, is the cost of these things.

The police check to remain on the reserve list is £10, however if you are a shortlist candidate it is £50 – should you be on reserve and then get promoted? Yep. £60.

And then the certificate of health? oh boy.

This is the letter I sent to my GP, and the reply that they gave back

The short version? The Certificate of Health is going to cost me £180 – and after submitting all these things, I may still not even end up going.

Just to sum this all up, the JET programme so far… (and still not even a confirmed shortlist candidate)

– 1000 word personal statement
– Longass application form
– Statement of Physician
– Copy of transcript (which I think cost me £20 for 5 as well)
– 2 Sealed references

– 20 Minute interview
– English Test

– £180 certificate of health
– £10-£60 Police form

Re: North Korea

posted in: news | 0

“In a commentary carried by the Korean Central News Agency (KCNA), the communist country lashed out at Tokyo’s standing orders to destroy any missile heading toward Japan, threatening such actions will result in a nuclear attack against the island nation.”

Wat.

Korean logic = We are going to shoot missiles at you and if you don’t get blown up you are totally declaring war on us.

What a complete joke of a country, perhaps only a matter of time before North/South Korea turns into the United States of Korea after murders KJU

‘Always Online’

posted in: Games, rant | 1
The current debate over the ‘Always Online’ neccesity of the Xbox720 is pretty justified, emphasised by the fact that Adam Orth has since been let go from Microsoft for his recent twitter rant.

Always online shouldn’t really be a problem, and as much as people are panicking now, it probably wont be a problem for most people – Instability is the problem, both in a sense of some people have unstable connections, and that if the master servers become unstablized for whatever reason, millions of gamers will be unable to play.

Games companies seem to be constantly leaning closer towards ‘Games as a service’ rather than ‘Games as a product’ which is a terrifying fact for the consumer, we’ve all seen what happens to the online support in old EA games for example, or the recent fiascos that were the Diablo 3 launch and Simcity 2013 launch – people are terrified of spending money on things they wont be able to use.
If there were a mobile phone which wouldnt let you get past your lockscreen without having any signal would anyone still buy it? Probably not – why? – because that sounds fucked up, and yet its exactly what Microsoft are going to introduce if Adam Orth is correct in his ranting.

No internet? The game will shut itself down.

What if I have a bad ISP? What if my wifi connection is spotty?

Basically, what im saying is…

The Square Enix situation

posted in: Games, rant | 0

http://www.siliconera.com/2013/04/08/square-enix-detail-where-their-losses-are-coming-from/

“Let’s talk about Sleeping Dogs: we were looking at selling roughly 2~2.5 million units in the EUR/NA market based on its game content, genre and Metacritic scores. In the same way, game quality and Metacritic scores led us to believe that Hitman had potential to sell 4.5~5 million units and 5~6 million units for Tomb Raider in EUR/NA and Japanese markets combined.

“For reference, Sleeping Dogs has moved 1.75 million copies, Hitman Absolution 3.6 million and Tomb Raider 3.4 million.”

—-

This article was kind of an eye opener, and the comments say a ton.
Im not entirely sure what planet the directors at squeenix are on when they expect their franchises to sell such obscene amounts.
Sales figures of 3.6 Million for Hitman Absolution is incredible! Hitman!
According to a quick bit of research, blood money and contracts both only sold about 1 Million each.
Why on earth then, are they expecting 5 million sales for Absolution?

On the plus side, its likely Square Enix are one step closer to pushing ‘The button’
Perhaps the new president Matsuda will have more of an itchy finger, or will develop one when the PS4 comes out…

JET Programme 2013 Application Result

posted in: JET Programme | 3

Le Sigh.

Rather annoyingly, this is pretty much the worst scenario for me.
Obviously I would have preferred to be on the shortlist and so not have to worry about this sort of  thing, but I might have been happier just seeing ‘Declined’ instead of ‘Maybe, Maybe Not’.

I now have to fill in a ton of forms, get health checks, police checks (which apparently might cost me up to £100) and send them all off (they want them by recorded post as well for some reason) and then they’ll let me know if im going anytime between now and supposedly December (though another website says promotion past End of June is very unlikely).

With a confirmed I could have gotten a part time job and worked on my Japanese or something to prepare, but now I guess I pretty much have to assume its a fail and look for a full time job – and nothing is going to piss me off more than if I get a full time job with a contract and then they offer me a position…

Looking for Interview preparation and procedures? – http://www.mengsbizarreadventure.com/2013/jet-programme-interview-preparation-and-my-experience/

Evoland

posted in: Games, Games Review | 0

http://evoland.shirogames.com/ (Game getting reviewed)

http://www.gamerfish.com/rpg/evoland/ (Flash Version)

Evoland is a ‘full’ version of the flash game similarly called Evoland.
Im not entirely sure if its the same developers or there was collaboration or what, but the games start off pretty much identical but then the full version keeps going and refuses to end.
The problem here is that whilst the flash version was short and sweet, with entertaining gimmicks and fast feature additions, the full version is longer and more drawn out – and eventually tries to turn itself into an actual game.

Whilst im not going to bash it for trying to be an actual game, in doing so it loses much of the charm of the original flash version – the gimmick of the game being the evolution of the world and game concepts, the actual game being played is, to be blunt, really fucking boring – with the player mostly continuing play to see what the future holds.
As such, when the game throws you into a 10-15 minute long zeldaesque dungeon with only a sword and no other mechanics, you quickly realise you are wasting away precious time which could be spent playing other things.

Approximate Game Length :  Unsure. I played for 1 or 2 hours before quitting from boredom

Actual Worth / Shop Price :  £2.50 / £7 = 0.35
Should you play it : Save Money and time by just playing the flash version if you haven’t already tried it, its basically the same thing but less drawn out.
Rating: 1/5

Dead Space 3

posted in: Games, Games Review | 0

The Dead Space series have always been solid action/horror games, the first one in particular was full of memorable moments and the second was impressively scary.
The third seems half and half in a variety of ways, with a handful of highly refined ideas which work well, some other new features which perhaps were not so well thought out, and other aspects of the game which just seem like steps backward for the series.

I’ll start with the new features for this game, the first half of DS3 takes place in space as usual, and eventually you unlock a small flying vessel of some description, the game almost goes into a kind of free roam mode for segments, with the ability to choose to backtrack to previous locations, fly out to a derelict ship for an optional mission, another place for a co-op mission, or to simply complete the main objective to advance the story – Im a pretty big fan of ‘do what you want’ style games, so it was nice to sort of be able to choose what my next objective would be, the optional missions reward you with additional resources, weapons and upgrades (which i’ll get to shortly). Unfortunately, very quickly after it is introduced, the flying vessel and any free roam capability is stripped from you, and you’re back to crawling through corridors for another few hours, I cant help but feel this was a waste.

Another new feature, and potentially a game breaking one, is the new weapon system, In previous games you would find weapons similar to Resi (ie. a pistol, a shotgun, rifle), however in DS3 you find weapon parts, or can craft them from found resources. The game has has little limit on when or how you use these parts and so it is all a matter of how fast you can scrape together the resources to build your weapon of choice – its worth noting also that these weapons have 2 slots, essentially allowing for 2 weapons on the same gun frame. Being able to have an assault rifle and shotgun on the same slot is a pretty big firepower advantage over previous games where you would oftentimes find yourself armed with just the welder (and then the line launcher for emergencies), I would say that once I had an AR/Shotgun and a Sniper/RPG, the entire game became almost trivial and monsters became much less of a threat.
Something minor which may not seem like such a big deal (but actually is), is the changing of ammo, imagine if you were playing Resident Evil 1 and you could reload your shotgun using pistol rounds (and still fire shotgun shells), why the fuck would you use the pistol anymore?
This lack of foresight means you always have your strongest weapon available at all times, with little need to ration ammo for it – When playing old school survival horror games I would have the mentality of “I need to keep X shotgun shells on me incase shit gets real”, the ammo change really enforces that this is an Action horror, and definitely NOT a survival horror.

There are a few other new features (or at least, features I don’t recall being in past games),
– Co-op is obviously one of the bigger ones, I didnt get to try co-op but I was mostly glad to see that the game had not been balanced around it (or at least scaled it for me playing alone), there are some obvious tell signs that it has been designed for co-op but the singleplayer experience hasn’t suffered as a result (something which I was worried about when they revealed the feature at E3 2012), there are special co-op only missions, which will likely fully exploit the fact there are two of you, which is probably a good thing.
– There were a few puzzles put in, hacking minigames and so on, these are actually never explained and can take a little while to figure out, some extra effort in the objective of the minigame/puzzle would have been nice, especially since the game seems to give you tutorial hints on just about everything else.
– There are some segments of the game with human enemies, which are about as uninspired as one would expect, the game essentially turns into Gears of War for these bits, but at least they die fast so you can get back to fighting necromorphs.
– When you land on the Ice planet a body temp gauge is introduced, and you have to keep yourself at a reasonable temperature. I quite liked this new challenge mechanic and would have liked to see it used a little more in the game, however the idea seems to get scrapped after about 15 minutes.

The remainder of the game (read: the established Dead Space gameplay) is all pretty routine, explore spaceships, bases and so on whilst scavenging everything you can find, trying to anticipate which vent the next monster is going to explode out of. DS3 handles these sections well, with some cheap thrills thrown in here and there, some tense sound, and enough monsters to keep you occupied and on your toes. The necromorpsh seem to be shockingly fast now, I like to call them Usain bolt zombies because of how fucking fast they run at you. The game runs well on PC, I ran the game on abs. Max at 1080 and was getting a consistent 120fps (Vsync locks the game at 30, so turn that off as soon as you can), It feels almost a shame they didnt go the extra mile graphically – the game looks fine and all but there was plenty of room for improvement, particularly in texture quality for the PC version.

I had a few gripes with the game, there are segments when the objective arrow would just lead you to a corner and not really pinpoint why you are there, only for you to realise you have to complete something else and the objective marker is guiding you to the end point.
I did not enjoy having to jollystomp every motherfucker I killed, along with having to break about 500 boxes, open 300 lockers and so on, Im not entirely sure why you need to overkill the enemies to recover items from them, and in a game filled with enemies, this gets tiring very very quickly.
Also the difficulty of the game seemed…meh. Granted I wasnt playing it on the hardest difficulty but there seemed little challenge aside from some stupid cutscene deaths (soon.).
DS3 also takes a step back from its predecessors in terms of scares and shocks, I feel like the previous games (particularly DS2) were much scarier and more tense, whether this is game is less scary due to the weapon stuff I mentioned earlier, worse designed, or just become routine, im not entirely sure.
Special mention also to ammo scarcity, in the first 3/4 of the game you are swamped in ammo, literally you dont even need to aim properly just spray at stuff, but then in the last hour or two of the game you will find yourself with practically no ammo relative to what the game is throwing at you enemy wise, very odd.
One last gripe, towards the end of the game you have to climb lots of cliffs, and then climb down lots of cliffs. Its really fucking boring, and occasionally frustrating with insta death happening if you get hit by something falling. I died 8 times on one cliff face, Dumb as fuck, and not fun at all.

Verdict:
Dead Space 3 is a competent and refined Action Horror title, however during its evolution it seems to have forgotten what made the previous games so appealing. Both the scares and challenge in DS3 seem to have taken a back seat to what can only be described as a Michael Bay edition of Dead Space filled with explosions and gunfights. DS3 is not bad by any degree, but it feels like a disappointing end to the trilogy.

Approximate Game Length :  10-14 hours depending on optional mission
Actual Worth / Shop Price :  £16 / £25 = 0.64
Should you play it : I would probably actually say no, fans of the series will be disappointed by the gameplay choice devolutions, and people new to the series should probably go and play DS1 and 2 first (which would leave them in group A afterwards anyway)
Rating: 2/5

Best bit of the game? Mashing the shit out of Space on a corpse and then throwing the remains of the body off a cliff.