Project-iM@S

Community => General chatter => Topic started by: Kyo on September 17, 2009, 01:21:42 pm

Title: All-in-one Review thread
Post by: Kyo on September 17, 2009, 01:21:42 pm
Read a good book/manga or watched a great movie recently and want to tell everybody about it? Found a spectacular song or website hidden beneath all the crap being released these days? Want to share your feelings about that new video game or even that brand-new set of headphones you just bought so others can try or avoid?

In short: feel free to review anything and everything in this topic, from games, websites, movies, books, songs, gadgets and more. If you feel like telling everyone about that awesome burger you just had, I won't stop you either. The point is to share and have fun. Of course, the usual rules apply, such as no excessive swearing. Spoilers should be kept to zero or a bare minimum.

No specific format should be followed, but you should at least give an introduction before going into discussing things like storyline, gameplay, music, features, your personal thoughts and everything else before giving a conclusion. A table of contents will be added if this topic grows.

Reviews with pics get dessert.

Table of contents
1. Idolmaster:Xenoglossia and Valkyria Chronicles review by blake steel
2. Rahxephon review by Mabz
3. Komajou Densetsu: Scarlet Symphony review by Kyo
4. To Aru Majutsu no Index and Kamen Rider: Climax Heroes review by Azem4144
5. HG Seraphim Gundam model review by Overlord IX
6. Tears to Tiara and Megaman X6 review by MarxMayhem
7. Mobile Suit Victory Gundam, Disgaea 2: Dark Hero Days and Idolm@ster Dearly Stars review by Lushe
8. 1/144 HG Hiling Care's Garazzo review by OverlordIX
9. Kamen Rider Agito review by Cien Laguoire
10. Chicken Soup review by Scotty "No soup for you" Kuroi
11. Tekken 6 review by blake steel
12. The Otaku Encyclopedia: An Insider's Guide To The Subculture of Cool Japan review by Kyo
13. Phone review by Scotty
14. Haribo review by digi162
15. Warriors Orochi 1 and 2 review by blake steel
16. Garou: Mark of the Wolves review by MarxMayhem
17. Street Fighter IV review by MarxMayhem
18. Tom Clancy's HAWX review by Sev
19. Haste-chuu artist review by Pizzaman
20. 11eyes review by blake steel
21. MAG review by satty
22. Mass Effect 2 review by Scotty.
23. 1/144 HG Cherudim Gundam review by Overlord IX
24. Akatsuki Blitzkampf review by MarxMayhem
25. Heavy Rain review by blake steel
26. Split/Second review by Cien
27. Phantasy Star Portable 2 review by digi162
28. Valkyria Chronicles 2 review by Lushe
29. Valkyria Chronicles 2 review by Kyo
Title: Re: All-in-one Review thread
Post by: blake307 on September 17, 2009, 03:33:14 pm
Well then I’ll start off with a review of Xenoglossia.
I really don’t have much to say about  xenoglossia. When I think about it Xenoglossia really wasn’t that bad of an anime, except that it was absolutely nothing like the game idolm@ster and the roles they had Yukiho and Chihaya play in the anime. The anime got off to a really slow start in the first half but in the second half was where all the character drama came into place. I got to admit that the animation in Xenoglossia was pretty good. Xenoglossia Haruka was pretty cute and the relationship between the idols and Robots was pretty interesting. I especially liked the ending in the last episode, but I won’t spoil it for anyone who hasn’t seen it. Plus, I like the opening music and ending music for Xenoglossia. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a3yGyQLdjNU  
Here are my ratings on it.

Characters: 7/10
Story: 8/10
Animation: 9/10
Music: 10/10
Overall: 7.5 out of 10


Now my review of Valkyria Chronicles the game version:
I played it over the summer and I got to say it is one of the best RPG’s I have ever played. I really liked the story they put in it and the characters and how they played roles in the game. Plus I like the Welkin x Alicia relationship. I also think that the white hair girl Selvaria was pretty badass in the game if you ask me. I especially liked the ending but I won’t spoil it. I have been watching the anime version of Valkyria Chronicles and it is way different from the game. But here are my ratings on it.

Characters: 8/10
Story: 10/10
Graphics: 7/10
Gameplay: 8/10
Overall: 9 out of 10
Title: Re: All-in-one Review thread
Post by: Mabz on September 17, 2009, 07:47:45 pm
Imma go into my own anime shelf and show my Opinions on Rahxephon, the series vs the Motion picture version.  The main focus is on a boy, Ayato Kamina, and a girl, Haruka Shitow, and a division by an invading "alien" force.  Some aspects of the series have been used over several times in other anime or sci fi, but certain situations develop where the boy must return to a time shifted Tokyo (by force or willingly depenending on which version you are watching) and escapes with a female friend, Hiroko Asahina. 
Ayato with Asahina in tow try to hide after escaping Tokyo, but in the end this fantasy is shattered by the fate of Asahina as she is a blue blood, one of the beings summoning the giants attacking the world.
In a vain attempt to "protect" her Ayato destroys the giant with the Rahxephon which results in the death of Asahina.
The finaly for either gets crazy with interprittable endings in a method not unlike Evangelion, however the movie closing seemed a bit more brighter.

Characters: If we interpret the main characters for either versions:9;  overall with side characters:8
Story: The anime develops a ta slower pace: 7; The movie:8
Animation: stanard for either version: 8

Overall: Anime: 7.5; The movie version: 8
Title: Re: All-in-one Review thread
Post by: Kyo on September 19, 2009, 05:35:11 am
Game Review

Title: Komajou Densetsu: Scarlet Symphony
Platform: PC (Doujin)
Developer/Publisher: Frontier Aja

Introduction
First came Super Marisa Land and then Megamari, both games attempting to inject the Touhou spirit into NES classics. The latest NES game to be 'Touhou-ized' is Castlevania, with Frontier Aja's newest game taking the stand.

Komajou Densetsu: Scarlet Symphony is a Castlevania clone, with Touhou characters mixed with Castlevania elements. Playing as Reimu Hakurei, you play through 8 stages as you explore the Scarlet Devil Mansion, meeting familiar faces on the way as well as picking up new allies to join you on your journey.

(http://i111.photobucket.com/albums/n143/Azure_83/Screenshot1.jpg)

Graphics
Scarlet Symphony emulates the look and feel of the Castlevania series quite well, and is very similar to Symphony of the Night. Even Reimu and company have been given the Castlevania treatment, as it can be seen below:

(http://i111.photobucket.com/albums/n143/Azure_83/touhouvania2.jpg)

The background graphics are fantastic for a doujin game and the character spirites have fluid animations, even though they're a bit small. Even the enemies look gruesome.

Sound
Each stage and boss has a background of very nice music, with instruments ranging from electric guitars and drums to soft flutes and bells. Reimu's weapon emits a satisfying "twhack" each time it hits an enemy, and many enemies emit death cries when they fall.

Gameplay
Typical Castlevania-type action, where you move around the stages, jumping from platform to platform if necessary and whipping the enemies that stand in your way. Reimu is armed with two weapons, her gohei which functions as the whip, and her amulets which serve as projectile weapons. Reimu also has several partners (such as Marisa) which she call on for a little help. The partner will appear on the screen, perform their attacks, before disappearing.

Both the amulets and the partner attacks are powered by spirit energy of which you only have a limited amount. You can get spirit energy by whipping enemies and the various candles, jars and other things lying around. Unfortunately, both the amulets and the partner attacks seem disappointingly weak, so you should expect most of your fights to be up close and personal. I don't think there is a way to upgrade your weapons, or I haven't found it yet.

Reimu herself is an agile mover, able to execute jumps, slides, and even unlimited flight to allow her to reach out-of-the-way areas. If she gets hit in mid-flight, she'll stop and drop back down to the ground. A major gripe I have is that she can't change her heading in mid-flight, making it a hassle when you're trying to have some air-to-air combat with enemies.

The game itself is challenging but satisfying. The stages get increasingly difficult, and the bosses hit hard. Expect to lose lots of lives before getting the hang of their attack patterns.

Overall thoughts
Scarlet Symphony is up there with Megamari in terms of fun. It has great graphics, great sound and good gameplay, and will definitely occupy your time for a while once you start to play it. Not a bad clone of a Nintendo classic.

When can I expect to see Cirno Kart?

Graphics: 9/10
Sound: 8/10
Gameplay: 7/10
Overall: 24/30
Title: Re: All-in-one Review thread
Post by: Azem4144 on October 15, 2009, 01:55:37 pm
Anime : To Aru Majutsu no Index (A Certain Magical Index)

Hmm... It's good, the story, the illustration and everything, so does the voice actors, I don't care about the harem part... but... lack of ecchi...

Illustration:9/10
Voices: 10/10
Story: 10/10
Music: 9/10
Overall: 95% interest me.

Game : Kamen Rider: Climax Heroes

Hmm... I don't want to give a comment.

Graphics: 7.5/10
Characters: 8/10
OP Music: 9.5/10
BGM: 7/10
Gameplay: 7/10
Fun: 10/10
Overall: 80.2% interest me
Title: Re: All-in-one Review thread
Post by: OverlordIX on November 07, 2009, 05:43:38 am
I recently reviewed the Seraphim Gundam from the 2nd season of Gundam 00 on my blog

http://silentstronghold.wordpress.com/2009/11/06/1144-hg-seraphim-gundam-review-2/
Title: Re: All-in-one Review thread
Post by: RoninatorMarx on November 07, 2009, 07:54:33 am
Here goes something.

=====

Anime: Tears to Tiara

Illustration: Not bad. I kinda like it, and it's an improvement over the previous incarnations of this title. (9/10)

Voice Acting: Definitely one of the best voice-casted anime I've seen. (10/10)

Plot and Story: How do I do this? The story was OK. It was epic, but my problem here is this: The story started too slow, and ended too fast. Let's face it. 26 episodes seemed too short. Whenever the heroes needed a key item, for example the Words of Power used by Riannon in the final episode, they showed how and who can use it on when it's already needed. Oh, and I've so predicted that Talieshin didn't actually die back at that avalanche. So yeah, could use some more fillers. Last note: Mechanical Golems with AI? When did that happen then? XD (6/10)

Music: It was great. Loved the songs used in this anime. Pretty much brings up the essence of the medieval times. (8/10)

Overall: (33/40) Not bad for an anime. The weakness of this anime lies within the plot, and the number of episodes it has.

My opinions: Probably, players of the game incarnations would like this anme more than those who never known its story line before. It's something I wouldn't recommend, but also something I wouldn't show.

=====

Game: Megaman X6

Graphics: Can't go wrong with the sprites of X4-X6. Nice of them to rework on Zero (love the Katana) and giving the saber to X. Though whether Commander Yanmark is a boy or girl, I can't see that in them. (8/10)

Gameplay: Definitely a run for my money. X6 has to be the hardest MMX game I've played (especially on my first time, it was on Hard mode). Without the right equipment and skill, you'll end up dying and retrying all the time just so you can save those reploids in which, majority of them have no value to you whatsoever. (7/10)

Music: Not a big fan of rock but seeing as it's the first time they've used in on an MMX game, they did a good job with it. Also, it's nice that X and Zero has separate victory themes (but not good for my hard drive!! XD). (8/10)

Story and Plot: Not gonna go in-depth, but it's sorta predictable. We all would know that Sigma had something to do with it, etc, etc, etc. Ending depends on the ranks of the Hunters, and who you finished the game with, which is a plus on their end. (7/10)

Overall: (30/40) Definitely something all fans of the franchise should play, and it only needs getting used to to get around the hard parts of the game.
Title: Re: All-in-one Review thread
Post by: Lushe on November 07, 2009, 08:28:19 am
Quick reviews of some animes/games I've recently watched/played:

Mobile Suit Victory Gundam: (1993)

Story: 8.5/10
The story may seem very simple in the beginning, but it becomes incredibly dark in the end, especially when literally 90% of all the characters die. The ending is also very bitter, and clearly shows the true, destructive nature of war. However, I felt like some of the character deaths weren't given enough emotional impact, while some were just overly dramatic. Nonetheless, this Gundam show has a great (yet bitter and depressing) storyline.

Animation: 9.0/10
For it's time, the animations are actually quite amazing. Especially in the final episodes, where the fight scenes (such as the battle between the V2 Assault Buster Gundam and the Rig Contio) become very smooth and well-coreographed.

Art: 9.0/10
I'd say the art style for this show really fits the storyline. And since this anime is about a group of regular people trying to survive the horrors of Zanscare's religious war, it's great that the characters don't look like pretty boys and girls, but instead have realistic, war-ravaged looks. That means that you won't find some fabulously-dressed pretty boys in this show. Instead, all you'll find are regular-looking men with rugged and worn clothing.

Music: 9/10
I absolutely love the music in Victory Gundam. It sounds very dark, and fits this dark anime very well. I especially love the battle theme that plays when Uso fights against major Zanscare mobile suits such as the Zanneck and Gengaozo.

Overall (not an average): 9/10



Disgaea 2: Dark Hero Days (2009)

Story: 4/10
Let's just say that you don't play this game for the story. Sure, there are some funny jokes here and there, but the actual storyline is just unbearably cliche and cheesy.

Gameplay: 10/10
Now this is the reason why you play this game. I won't go into details about the gameplay (since there will be way too many things to explain), but let's just say that this game can last you hundreds of hours. >_>

Music: 10/10
The music is great. It sounds very netherworld-ish, but it's amazing. I love it.

Graphics: 6/10
Yeah, it uses sprites in a 3D background, but neither the sprites nor the 3D backgrounds look exceptional. Both look pretty average.

Overall (not an average): 9/10


Idolm@ster Dearly Stars (2009)

Story: (no rating)
I really can't comment on this one, because I can't read Japanese, and I barely understand what the characters are saying. I can try to make out what they're saying though, and there are plenty of interesting communications in this game (and some are quite hilarious too, like the hot springs event).

Gameplay: 8/10
Well, the gameplay on this one is a mixed bag. First of all, I'm gonna say right now that Idolm@ster SP's gameplay is better, because you actually a lot of freedom and choices in your production career. In here, your idol career is very linear. There's only one or two auditions in every rank, and before you can join them, you have to do the required, story-based communications first. And once you win those one or two auditions in a rank, you immediately rank up (so no need to worry about how many fans the auditions give you). The auditions are also MUCH worse, since they're purely luck-based, unlike in the previous Idolm@ster games, where your idol's stats and your quick thinking will win you the audition. Plus, there are much less songs in Dearly Stars compared to the older Idolm@ster games, and that's a big letdown.

However, there are some redeeming factors. For example, you can now customize your idol's coreography AND the camera angles during a performance. Of course, you'll need to unlock "coreography panels" first before you can edit your idol's coreography (and these are obtained from lessons), but if you have a lot of panels, then you can really have a blast making your own dances. Also, customizing the camera angles during the performance is also incredible, and allows you to make your idol's dance look a lot better. Plus, in Stage Mode, you can also play a Live-For-You style minigame on all of your idol's songs, and you can also customize the minigame to make it easier or harder. Oh, and you can also create custom shirts for you idols, and that is also a great feature.

So, overall:

Game mechanics:
SP >>> DS

Idol Customization:
DS >>> SP

Despite being a mixed bag, Idolm@ster DS has been really fun for me (though SP is still superior), so I'll give DS an 8 for gameplay.


Music: 10/10
4 brand-new songs and 6 returning songs. All the songs sound great. Perfect 10 on this one.

Graphics: 9/10
Pretty good for the DS


Overall: 8/10

Title: Re: All-in-one Review thread
Post by: OverlordIX on December 12, 2009, 01:22:15 pm
Finished reviewing the 1/144 HG Hiling Care's Garazzo from the 2nd season of Gundam 00 on my blog.

http://silentstronghold.wordpress.com/2009/12/11/1144-hg-hiling-cares-garazzo-review/
Title: Re: All-in-one Review thread
Post by: Cien Laguoire on December 12, 2009, 08:11:37 pm
Here's a quickie from me.

Kamen Rider Agito
Story/Characters:
The story mainly focuses on three characters, all who are Kamen Riders. First is Soichi Tsugami, an amnesiac that was found washed ashore on a beach. Soichi adopts his name from the name addressed to on an empty envelope that was found with him. He is somehow able to transform into Agito, a being that is constantly evolving. Then there's Makoto Hikawa, a police officer who became a hero after a particular incident. Because of this, in order to prevent anyone from inquiring about the incident, his superiors chose Hikawa to become part of the Squad of Anti Unidentified Lifeforms (SAUL) and become the user of the G3 System, a robot suit meant to fight unknown lifeforms. Last is Ryo Ashihara, a former star swimmer at Jyohoku University. Ryo was involved in an accident, which nearly ended his swimming career. After he healed, he started swimming again, but soon started to mutate, which ultimately lead him to transform into Gills, a feral Kamen Rider. Ryo eventually leaves his former life behind, and pursues the cause of his father's suicide.
The antagonists are a race called the Unknown, as referred to by the police to differentiate them from the "Unidentified Life Forms" from the previous Kamen Rider series, Kamen Rider Kuuga, which were defeated two years ago in the story. The Unknown are responsible for "impossible murders" happening to people around Tokyo, all of which have a certain connection. It is up to Agito, G3, and Gills to destroy these monsters to protect Tokyo, however the police are also concerned about whether Agito is an ally or an enemy.
As the story goes on, we are introduced to more characters, including crucial ones; Mana Kazaya, who, along with her uncle and his son, let Souichi live with them, and eventually is revealed to have her own special powers, and the people who were involved in the incident Makoto Hikawa rescued them from, who eventually become targets by the Unknown.
The story starts out a bit unusually, as witnessed in the first episode, Soichi can transform into Agito, but are left with no reason why he can do so, and even worse, we do not actually see him transform; he just sort of appears while G3 and an Unknown are fighting. However, as the series goes on, more is revealed, and though some plot points are fairly obvious, others are very well hidden and unseen, which, until late in the show, is revealed. The fates of the three Kamen Riders and other characters intersect at many points during the story, which, along with the mysteries surrounding Agito, Gills, the Unknown, and the incident, is a great hook that will keep you watching. It starts out a little bumpy, but it's quite a ride up to the 51st episode conclusion. I also thought the reference to the events in Kuuga was rather clever, though it was only brought up once early in the show, and never mentioned afterward. It's a pseudo-sequel, so watching Kamen Rider Kuuga isn't required.

Music:
The opening theme of the show from episode 2-35 is "Kamen Rider AGITO", sung by Shinichi Ishihara. From episodes 36-50, a remix of the song, the ~24.7 Version~, was used, also sung by Ishihara. Both are very catchy, especially the original version, which is somehow stuck in my head. In the fandub I watched, the ending themes/credits were cut out, but I believe most of the songs used are actually played during certain segments of the show. In almost all of the episodes, the song "BELIEVE YOURSELF" by Naoto Fuuga is used during fights, and I actually found it a little tiresome to hear the same song almost every time a fight breaks out. Another song also becomes a battle theme, "DEEP BREATH" by RIDER CHIPS featuring ROLLY later in the show. Overall, though, the music is pretty good, from the silly theme whenever a comedic moment occurs, to the ominous orchestra when the main villain appears.

Action/The Riders:
The fights in Agito are pretty good. Both Agito and Gills both make visual changes when they are about to pull off their strongest attacks, like Agito's Rider Kick, which is pretty nifty. Agito can also change forms when the situation calls for it, and some have similarities to some of Kuuga's other forms. For example, Agito's Storm Form is similar to Kuuga's Dragon form, where both can use staff-like weapons, are more agile, and wear blue armor. Agito and Gills are also biological Riders, not mechanical like many of the other Kamen Riders in the franchise, though Gills appears much more organic than Agito, including a mouthpiece that opens when Gills screams, which I thought was pretty damn cool. Though I haven't seen the other Kamen Rider shows, I do believe that Hikawa and the G3 System are unique in which that Hikawa does not transform into the suit, but rather has to put the entire suit on himself. It proves that G3 is very much mechanical, and a great compliment to the more organic Agito and Gills, and can also prove the ingenuity and strength that humans can achieve... though initially G3 was absolute rubbish in fighting ability. This show is actually the first in the franchise to have more than one Kamen Rider, as well, and this formula would go on to bring in villains who are Kamen Riders in later series.

Overall, Kamen Rider Agito is a very good watch, and not a bad starting point if you want to start watching a Kamen Rider series, specifically a Heisei era one. It starts out a bit disjointed, but it gets much better as the show goes on.

[4/5]
TL;DR
+Story that will hook you in.
+Interesting characters and Riders.
+Very good music that matches the scenes and overall feeling of the show.
-Starts out a little bit disjointed.
-Could have used more variety in fighting music.
Title: Re: All-in-one Review thread
Post by: Scotty on December 13, 2009, 01:11:50 am
I'm sick, so bear with me as I review my chicken soup.

Presentation:
My soup came in a bowl, as any other soup. It'd be pretty bad if it came in a plate. The overall look of it spelled out bland and simple. The steam that was jettisoning out of the bowl was instantly felt after just having set the soup down on the table. Overall, nice and simple.

Taste:
The soup consisted of....soup. A chicken leg and thigh submerged in the dark yellow liquid. To the side, a piece of Cuban bread, somewhat hard, the end piece tasting rather stale. The soup itself had a perfect flavor, and had none of that vegetable crap floating around. The heat that the soup offered relieved my sore throat somewhat. Pretty pro soup if you ask me.

Recap:
The soup was good.
Title: Re: All-in-one Review thread
Post by: BT2 on December 13, 2009, 01:14:01 am
^Bestest review ever
Title: Re: All-in-one Review thread
Post by: TheBluePhone on December 13, 2009, 03:40:07 am
^Bestest review ever

This.
Title: Re: All-in-one Review thread
Post by: Cien Laguoire on December 13, 2009, 05:25:52 pm
Dammit, Scotty, you always have to do things better than me. :(
Except race. ;D
Title: Re: All-in-one Review thread
Post by: Scotty on December 13, 2009, 07:36:06 pm
I have high appeal, sorry. =3=;;;
Title: Re: All-in-one Review thread
Post by: blake307 on December 13, 2009, 08:52:52 pm
Tekken 6

Story: This story takes place shortly after the events of Tekken 5 where Jin Kazama defeated Jinpachi Mishima and took over the Mishima Zaibatsu. With that power in his hands he turns into a tyrant and starts a war and therefore sponsors a king of iron fist tournament 6 with Eddy and Nina Williams as his allies. It starts out that you play as captain of the Tekken force resistance named Lars Alexander as he invades the G-corporation labs. He gets caught in an explosion by the Jack robots and loses his memory. Then he ends up meeting this robot girl named Alisa. They escape the G-Corporation labs and that is how the story begins.
I'll admit I thought the story mode in scenario campaign was pretty good. Though most of the cutscenes in scenario campaign weren't that great there were a few that I liked. The Alisa turning on you part totally caught me off guard and it really pissed me off that I kept getting my ass kicked by Alisa to the point where I threw my controller at the wall and just gave up and returned it.  >:( So I just looked at the rest of the scenario campaign mode on youtube and I thought the end of the game was pretty epic, Where Jin sacrifices himself to kill Azazel. I thought it was pretty lame that they only gave you 4 stages in arena battle mode and for almost every character it was always against Jin Kazama in stage 3 and against Azazel in stage 4.

I give the overall story a 9/10.

Characters: I believe the characters in the story fit pretty well in the Tekken series. Each character had their own seperate goals and reason for entering the king of iron fist tournament. I liked most of the characters ending though there were a few which I thought were kind of lame. But in most part most of the characters ending were pretty cool and pretty funny too. Though I really don't understand how Japanese and English speaking people are able to communicate with each other in the game.

Characters: 8.5/10

Music: I don't have much to say about the music except that it had pretty good music.

music: 8/10

Graphics: This game I believe had the best graphics out of all the games in the Tekken series. Good character design + good level design= win!

Graphics: 10/10

Gameplay: It wasn't too bad but I believe they could have done a lot better, especially on scenario campaign. I kind of had a hard time in certain levels because I didn't know much about how to do combos in the game which is pretty hard to do from my perspective. Maybe it's because I suck at this game. The main issue for me was the battles against Azazel. I thought that most of his attacks were so cheap and it really frustrated me whenever I got my ass kicked over and over again. But after a while I was able to do a little better against his cheap attacks and I had little problem with him afterwards.

Gameplay: 7/10

I would defidently recommend renting this game first before actually buying it, and when you play it don't get to competitive with it like me otherwise you might find yourself throwing your controller at the wall like me. But overall I think Tekken 6 is one of the best fighting games this year.

Overall: 8/10
Title: Re: All-in-one Review thread
Post by: h4ataraxia on December 14, 2009, 09:41:21 am
agreed that tekken 6 is one of the best fighting games this year, the only thing that ruined the game for me was scenario mode...which was really unnecessary
Title: Re: All-in-one Review thread
Post by: Kyo on December 15, 2009, 02:29:39 pm
Book Review

Title: The Otaku Encyclopedia: An Insider's Guide To The Subculture of Cool Japan
Author: Patrick W. Galbraith
ISBN: 978-4-770-3101-3

(http://i111.photobucket.com/albums/n143/Azure_83/OtakuFrontJacket-1.jpg)

Introduction

Think you know everything there is to know about the geek subculture in Japan? Or do you have friends who sometimes tell you that they can't understand what you're talking about when you talk about anime, manga and games?

This amazing guide, for geeks and non-geeks alike, aims to introduce the world of "otaku" and everything associated with it. Written by Patrick W. Galbraith, a self-confessed otaku journalist based in Tokyo and a familiar face in Akihabara, it's an A-to-Z listing of over 600 terms, ranging from the common (doujinshi, manga) to the famous (Nice Boat, 2Channel, Miku Hatsune) to terms you've probably never heard of outside Japan (tachiyomi, yankii).

Contents
Weighing in at 250 pages, the guide is also extremely colorful, with photographs and drawings of the entries. Also appearing throughout the guide is the mascot character, Moe-pon (the girl on the cover), illustrating some of the terms like tsundere and QR Code. Unlike most otaku guides, The Otaku Encyclopedia is the most modern and up-to-date with the current changes in the geek world.

Most of the terms are explained in a fun and yet informative way. For example:

Hiki (ヒキ)
Cliffhanger. Nobody likes them, but you have to buy the next episode to find out what happens. Hentai anime notoriously cut scenes off to force the frustrated viewer to buy the next installment.


Yaoi-chan (やおいちゃん, 801ちゃん)
A put-down for fans of yaoi or female otaku in general.


The book also has interviews with people from the anime, manga and video game industry, including:

Yutaka Yamamoto, director of The Melancholy of Suzumiya Haruhi, Lucky Star, and Kannagi,
BOME, probably the best-known bishoujo figure maker in Japan,
and Haruna Anno, the Japanese "Queen of Retro Games".

Find out what they feel about the industry they're working in and about otaku in general.

Closing
An utterly amazing book. Anybody who is an otaku or someone who wants to understand more about them should read this book. There's so much information that you definitely won't be able to finish it in one sitting.

In case you ask, there is indeed an entry for Idolmaster:

iDOLMASTER, THE
Or Aimasu. An arcade and console rhythm game released by Namco in 2005. The player takes on the role of producer, choosing girls from a pool of eleven wannabes, and trying to win fans by reaching the potential idoru to sing and dance. Idolm@ster is extremely popular among otaku, who get to control cute girls who aim to please by performing offbeat numbers.

In 2007, the game span off into an alternative TV anime series, Idolm@ster: Xenoglossia. It was produced by the creators of the bishoujo hits My-HiME and My-Otome, and recreated the idoru as mecha fighter pilots. A dream come true for pretty much every otaku - cute singing and dancing girls in giant robots!

Rating: 9.5/10. Minus half a point for no info on Touhou, a (IMO) very important aspect of otaku culture as well. Boo.
Title: Re: All-in-one Review thread
Post by: Scotty on December 16, 2009, 12:27:26 am
Showing off "reviewing" my phone.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_1U-mx46LrY
Title: Re: All-in-one Review thread
Post by: Sev on December 16, 2009, 04:11:08 am
you were just flashing that background man (nice phone)
Title: Re: All-in-one Review thread
Post by: h4ataraxia on December 16, 2009, 04:33:49 am
scan some pages of the book kyo!
Title: Re: All-in-one Review thread
Post by: Kyo on December 18, 2009, 02:57:11 am
I did try, but I can't get rid of the blank space that appears in the middle of the image whenever you scan a book.
Title: Re: All-in-one Review thread
Post by: h4ataraxia on December 18, 2009, 06:46:56 am
I did try, but I can't get rid of the blank space that appears in the middle of the image whenever you scan a book.

優しき方として...ページ切って、うpすれば?ww(まさに外道
もちろん冗談だけどw

それは仕方ない、願いに答えさってありがたい

its fine i'll see what pages i can find online :K
Title: Re: All-in-one Review thread
Post by: RoninatorMarx on December 18, 2009, 01:32:49 pm
I did try, but I can't get rid of the blank space that appears in the middle of the image whenever you scan a book.

Hmm....I believe the source of your problem lies on the scanning preferences settings. I'm not sure what program you used in your scanner, but try and play around with the settings until you get it right (I can't and am not sure that offer actual technical support because of above reason).
Title: Re: All-in-one Review thread
Post by: Kyo on December 19, 2009, 06:15:43 pm
優しき方として...ページ切って、うpすれば?ww(まさに外道
もちろん冗談だけどw

それは仕方ない、願いに答えさってありがたい

I might do so, if you're willing to find and send me a replacement copy of the book via EMS or at least send me the money to buy one. ;D
Title: Re: All-in-one Review thread
Post by: Sev on December 20, 2009, 01:30:53 am
send me some of the scans i may be able to edit them out
Title: Re: All-in-one Review thread
Post by: Scotty on December 20, 2009, 01:48:51 am
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5WFhYJXhxvc
Title: Re: All-in-one Review thread
Post by: Kyo on December 20, 2009, 01:50:44 am
send me some of the scans i may be able to edit them out

There's nothing wrong with the scans. It's just that I'm not pressing the book hard enough against the scanning window in order to scan the center portion of the pages which are joined to the spine. There's no way I'm going to wreck my book like that though.
Title: Re: All-in-one Review thread
Post by: Sev on December 20, 2009, 02:17:20 am
There's nothing wrong with the scans. It's just that I'm not pressing the book hard enough against the scanning window in order to scan the center portion of the pages which are joined to the spine. There's no way I'm going to wreck my book like that though.
opps i made the wrong assumption. my bad.
Title: Re: All-in-one Review thread
Post by: h4ataraxia on December 20, 2009, 08:23:03 am
I might do so, if you're willing to find and send me a replacement copy of the book via EMS or at least send me the money to buy one. ;D

EMSってお前どこの国に住んでんのよ!?www
Title: Re: All-in-one Review thread
Post by: Kyo on December 20, 2009, 02:13:13 pm
EMSってお前どこの国に住んでんのよ!?www

おいおい、俺のプロフィルを見ればすぐにわかるだろう?

Also, I think we should tone down the Japanese a bit from now on. It's technically against the forum rules to not converse in English for anything other than Idolmaster stuff.

Scottyedit: Jesus man, thank you, I've been trying to tell you guys ;-;
Title: Re: All-in-one Review thread
Post by: h4ataraxia on December 21, 2009, 08:10:58 pm
おいおい、俺のプロフィルを見ればすぐにわかるだろう?

Also, I think we should tone down the Japanese a bit from now on. It's technically against the forum rules to not converse in English for anything other than Idolmaster stuff.

Scottyedit: Jesus man, thank you, I've been trying to tell you guys ;-;

じゃぁ、アイマスの事ならおkって言うことですね?おkwww(何この外道?

ok i kid, anyways i be postan a review up soon...of...something! :K
and btw did you get that book online or wut?
maybe i should do a similar review of a similar book called magical marine pixel maritan lulz
Title: Re: All-in-one Review thread
Post by: Scotty on December 21, 2009, 09:11:11 pm
You mean Mari-tan?
Title: Re: All-in-one Review thread
Post by: h4ataraxia on December 21, 2009, 10:05:50 pm
You mean Mari-tan?

yes, seems like i made a typo
Title: Re: All-in-one Review thread
Post by: digi162 on December 21, 2009, 11:22:57 pm
I'm going to review the following candy I bought today:
(http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v69/digicharat162/51ll-66tmnL_SL500_AA280_.jpg)

Hey guys!  Ever wonder what diet cola tastes like in candy form?

So I saw this package struggling to hang on the rack at the store, and I thought wow, this must be really awful candy if it's sat there for so long it's peeling itself off the rack.  Especially the half price stickers were a clue, but curiosity and a dollar got the best of me and I tried out these guys.  I've had candy like this before, I know how it COULD taste but mannnnnnn it was like diet cola.  It tasted fine at first but there's this weird aftertaste.  Says it expires in a year so it hasn't gone bad or anything...

Sometimes I've lucked out with random candy purchases.  Like that peanut butter coconut flake candy, that was delicious.  This was not lucky.  Maybe 2 out of 5 stars if I could give it a ranking.
Title: Re: All-in-one Review thread
Post by: blake307 on December 22, 2009, 12:10:44 am
Warriors Orochi 1 and 2

Story: The story of warriors orochi 1 takes place where a serpant king named Orochi escapes from the underworld and then decides to test his abilities against the best warriors in the world. So Orochi creates this world combining the Three kingdoms era in Dynasty warriors and the warring states period in Samurai warriors. I thought it was pretty cool and creative to combine Dynasty warriors and Samurai warriors characters in a world created by Orochi, though most of the cutscenes in the game weren't that great, I still thought it was one of the coolest games I ever played.
Orochi 2: This story takes place shortly after Orochi was killed in warriors Orochi 2. It starts out that Lu Bu, Cao Cao, Dong Zhuo, and Masamune Date have rebuilt their armies and are trying to gain power across the world Orochi created and therefore bring back chaos to this world. Meanwhile Da Ji, along with Sun Wukong and Kiyomori are trying to revive Orochi with a little girl, Himiko as the key to reviving Orochi.  I thought the cutscenes in Orochi 2 were a little better. Plus it was cool to be able kick ass with Orochi in Orochi's story mode.

Story: 8/10

Characters: Besides the Dynasty warriors and Samurai warriors characters. There were some other cool characters in the game like Minamoto, Fu Xi, and Orochi. The best characters in the game in my opinion were Tadakatsu Honda, Lu Bu, Masamune Date, Zhao Yun, Keiji Maeda, Guan Yu, Sun Jian, and Nobunaga Oda.


Characters: 8/10

Music: It has a really great soundtrack they put in the games. My favorite of course was Lu Bu's theme. In fact I think Lu Bu's theme in this game was the best out of all of Lu Bu's themes.

Music: 10/10

Graphics: The graphics in the game were alright for a PS2 game. But I also thought it could have been better too.

Graphics: 7/10

Gameplay: The gameplay made it pretty fun to play, with the idea of being able to switch between 3 different characters. Plus the new feature where you use your musou to deal devastating damage to your opponents was also pretty cool and most of the time way more affective than using your musou.  It can get pretty repetitive after a while. But still I thought it was always pretty fun to play.


Gameplay: 8/10


This is defidently one of my favorite games of all time since it combines Dynasty Warriors and Samurai warrior characters in a game. If you are a fan of Dynasty and Samurai warriors you defidently should check this game out. XD

Overall: 8/10
Title: Re: All-in-one Review thread
Post by: RoninatorMarx on December 28, 2009, 03:39:55 pm
Game: Garou: Mark of the Wolves

Known in Japan as Fatal Fury: Mark of the Wolves, it is the 9th (and currently final) game in the Fatal Fury series. Set 10 years after Geese Howard's death on Real Bout: Fatal Fury, the story now focuses on a new hero by the name of Rock Howard (Geese's son) (This game shows that Terry's ending in Real Bout is the canon ending).

I did a Grant playthrough, for those curious to see my moves how the game plays like.

Pt01: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tdPpinBKOys
Pt02: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=klL30s184sg
Pt03: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EzykSy-mbW4

Graphics: Don't look here if you're not expecting sprites. But if you are, let me be the first to say over the great improvement of the sprite work here. (Quote from Wikipedia: "It is known for pushing the graphical capabilities of the Neo Geo...") Still, it never left the traditional display of special effects. 10/10

Gameplay: New to this game, is the Tactical Offense Position (or TOP for short), a special area in the character's life bar. When a character's life enters this area, he gains passive regenerative ability for that entire area, as well as both increased attack and the T.O.P. move, a special maneuver that can be performed by pressing both strong attack buttons. This game has a grading system still, which provides one-half of the requirement of fighting the true final boss, Kain (having to obtain at least one "AAA" rank along the way) (the other being not losing any round).

It has up to 14 characters, 12 initially playable, 2 (Grant and Kain, last bosses for any route) with the need of a code. All balanced and neither of them plays completely the same, thus bringing out the potential of players in mastering them, as well as for their different endings.

Aside from that, the game still stays to its traditional best-2-out-of-3 1-on-1 match. 7/10

Music: Being a game in 1999, arcade-style music is still the way to go. Regardless, music fits the character who has it for a theme, and the difference in genre of music can have a psychological effect on you when you're fighting different characters. 8/10

Story and Plot: Copied from Wikipedia:

"10 years after crime lord Geese Howard's death, the city of Southtown has become more peaceful leading it to be known as the Second Southtown (having formerly been corrupted by Geese). However, a man named Kain R. Heinlein wants to take revenge on Geese for the poverty-stricken childhood he suffered and aims to become the new lord of Southtown, more violent than Geese.
Don't edit my post please! The need for it is NOT there.
Wanting to find Geese's son, Rock Howard, and understand the meaning of his legacy, Kain creates a new fighting tournament called "King of Fighters: Maximum Mayhem" (a homage to my name). With the tournament and information about Rock's mother, Kain aims to make Rock join him in investigating Geese's legacy."

That being said, various characters in this game has various reasons for joining MM, such as Hotaru searching for his brother Gato (which denies but later hints it as so in her ending), him searching for some man (who is revealed to be their father). B. Jenet with the intention of looting Kain (despite the fact she's alredy rich), The Kim brothers being better than the other, and so on.

True endings can only be obtain by beating Kain, and all endings can be sorta pieced together without overlapping. Rock's ending, which is considered the canon one, is epic. Kain tells him having information about his mother (but Rock probably doesn't know that she dead by canon) and only offers info about it if he works with Kain. Terry comes in but Rock declares the oh-so epic "I'm leaving you den" line. It will probably be the basis on Garou 2. (Come on SNK, I can wait for the next KoF, but make Garou 2 please!!) 10/10

Overall: Garou doesn't really offer much in terms of gameplay. But if you're a fighter-game-maniac who just wants a good game to spend time with, Garou is definitely a choice. 35/40
Title: Re: All-in-one Review thread
Post by: RoninatorMarx on December 31, 2009, 10:14:30 pm
Edited the above review so it has a playthrough in it.

Also:

Game: Street Fighter IV (Arcade version)

So I found an arcade machine of SFIV on the mall. Eager, I tried it out and got enough data to make a sufficient review. NOTE: Sorta incomplete.

Sequel to SFII Turbo and prequel to SFIII, this game makes all lost tension between those games come back.

Graphics: 3D models are used here. Regardless, characters stand out from the stages. The ink effects found in certain points are impressive. It gives more detail when they should, and doesn't fail miserably at it. If you still recall in some SF games, character reactions vary from tongue-outs and eye-pops, they still have this in SFIV, which is why sometimes after I cleared a round, I stop and pause to look at the damage, and laugh at it. XD

This should be the part where I praise the character models, but two things came to mind when I saw this game's characters. 1) There is no fanservice. I mean, there are only two girls in the arcade version, and no jiggle physics from them. Yeah there's Chun-li, but it's been a while already, no? And, 2) here's what I like to call Fan Disservice, it goes by the name of Rufus. I mean. E.Honda's fatter, but he didn't jiggle as much as Rufus.

Overall, it's quite nice, but if they ever decide to use Rufus again, please lessen the jelly of the belly. 9/10

Gameplay: It's 3D. But gameplay's 2.5D. No surprise, as SF got more success that way. Regardless, it has new elements that makes the mastery more challenging, such as Focus attacks (powerful attacks that can become unbloackable in time) and Ultra Combos (a built-in variation of CvsS2's K-Groove). Old characters retain their moveset (with the exception for the new Ultra Combo added to everyone), though variation between fighters are good. 8/10

Music: Hmm...This must've slipped my mind. Only proof that the themes fit the battle. Since I'm pumping at most times. 7/10

Story and Plot: I'm not really sure about the plot. Bottom line, we all face Seth, some weird creature made by SIN later revealed to be one of the clones Bison intends to use for a future body and seems that he has a relation to Adel. And seems Charlie is still ALIVE!! lol I'll let you be the judge of it. For now, I don't have the money and time to try and figure out everything. lol 7/10

Overall: The game's plot heavy, but then it should be, because it should at least explain why things went on as they are in SFIII. But for now, this guy just gonna say "One of the best fighting game to pass. Die-hard fighting gamers should try this out." Next time, I should play it some more and get more data outta it. 31/40
Title: Re: All-in-one Review thread
Post by: OverlordIX on January 06, 2010, 02:13:54 pm
I'm going to review the following candy I bought today:
(http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v69/digicharat162/51ll-66tmnL_SL500_AA280_.jpg)

Hey guys!  Ever wonder what diet cola tastes like in candy form?

So I saw this package struggling to hang on the rack at the store, and I thought wow, this must be really awful candy if it's sat there for so long it's peeling itself off the rack.  Especially the half price stickers were a clue, but curiosity and a dollar got the best of me and I tried out these guys.  I've had candy like this before, I know how it COULD taste but mannnnnnn it was like diet cola.  It tasted fine at first but there's this weird aftertaste.  Says it expires in a year so it hasn't gone bad or anything...

Sometimes I've lucked out with random candy purchases.  Like that peanut butter coconut flake candy, that was delicious.  This was not lucky.  Maybe 2 out of 5 stars if I could give it a ranking.
I usually classify Haribo and other stuff like that as ‘knock-off’ candy. But it aint too bad in my opinion. I’ve seen friends get high on that stuff. lol
Title: Re: All-in-one Review thread
Post by: Sev on January 07, 2010, 06:22:15 am
Sev reviews Tom Clancy's HAWX

HAWX is probably the third (fighter jet) flight sim to enter the next gen arena (the first two being Over G fighters and ACE COMBAT) and the first flight sim created by Tom Clancy.

Story:Taking place in the near future ,2015, HAWX takes place between Ghost Recon and Endwar. The player takes on the role David Crenshaw, an Air force pilot who joins a Private Military Company after retirement. You fly some missions for the PMC untill the PMC decides to back up some bad guys afterwords you go back to the Air Force just in time for the PMC to launch a full scale invasion of the US. You kick but save the day and the big hero. The story presentation is somewhat interesting though not interesting enough for someone to remember the details of the story and the characters are not exactly the most memorable despite Clancy's attempt to play the whole faceless hero thing. Despite this the story has enough twist and turns to earn it a 5/10

Graphics: on the whole the graphics aren't too bad. The ground is simulated using pics from google earth and everything below looks real nice at high altitude however fly in low and things get a little dicey as the once beautiful view becomes a blur of pixels. The 60 fps is quite nice though during certain battles everything gets a little choppy but not enough to ruin the game. There's a bit of shine problem kinda like the one in Halo 2 only in this case its your afterburners that shine instead of Brute hair. 6/10

Planes:
this is the part where everyone praises HAWX for having around 50 different kinds of planes including the brand new F-35 and the failed Y-23. The variety being something that makes HAWX an attractive game to pilots who want to fly them all. However the lack of detail between various models just kills the variety. For example the F-15E has two seats while the F-15C has one.  According to HAWX both planes have just one seat which is an obvious error. which means instead of having 50 different planes you have a whole bunch of look alikes with different names.  This however is no big problem unless your someone who plays flight sims often in which case the lack of detail would make you throw a fit. 7/10

Gameplay: in my humble opinion i would have to say the gameplay was a little weird. Unlike most previous flight simulators HAWX features an Assistance Off mode which is necessary in order to achieve high manuvarbilty with the aircraft. However the Assistance Off mode forces an awkward side view making it hard to control the plane and almost impossible to engage the enemy with (though helpful for dodging missles). Most planes have similar maneuverability (an F-16 will fly just as good as an F-22) and the set minimum speed with Assistance On is ridiculously high. Most of the game is just go here and blow this up and there are few actual dogfights in the game leaving the player with a somewhat longing for more feeling. Your wing men have their basic attack and defend command though don't do much else unless told to. 6/10

Music:
not epic but not too bad either. no reason to got buy the soundtrack though. 5/10

Overall:
If your someone whos into flight sims i'd say just stick to what you got even if its not next gen (unless your playing Over G in which case any other flight sim will do.) To gamers in general i'd have to say its a game worth trying if you want to jump in or try out a flight sim but i would say get it used or on sale. I am however disappointed that the game did not live up to its pre-release hype.

Final score:
6/10
Title: Re: All-in-one Review thread
Post by: RoninatorMarx on January 07, 2010, 10:53:50 am
That's my format!! You ripped off my format, Sev!! *rage* Nah, I'm good. You can use it. ;) I was just surprised that you followed that. That's all. XDD
Title: Re: All-in-one Review thread
Post by: Sev on January 07, 2010, 11:20:31 pm
what can i say Marx you had a good format. blake used it too
Title: Re: All-in-one Review thread
Post by: blake307 on January 07, 2010, 11:28:16 pm
what can i say Marx you had a good format. blake used it too

It's true that I do use the same format because it is a good format. I'm sure you don't mind that Marx.  ;)

Edit: One more thing.  I'm planning on doing a review for the anime 11eyes when I have the time.
Title: Re: All-in-one Review thread
Post by: Pizzaman on January 08, 2010, 07:58:01 pm
Seeing how this is an all-in-on review thread, I think I'll review one artist I stumbled on in Pixiv:

ヘイスト厨 / Haste-chuu
http://www.pixiv.net/member.php?id=65512

He does regular art, but his forte lies in "things that make no freaking sense."
The lack of meaning in his manga creates humor that is only achievable through the use of his technique: incomprehensibility.

Exhibit A (http://www.pixiv.net/member_illust.php?mode=medium&illust_id=4512139)
If this manga was done by a layman, it'll most likely end with the producer sharing umbrellas with Haruka. How lovely.

But in Haste's case, it ends with the producer avoiding rain drops, and the rain gods targeting him with rain-lazers, only to finish with the producer actually being a kage-bunshin.

This particular piece of manga goes against the readers expectations five times.

1. Producer refusing Haruka's umbrella
2. The producer avoiding rain
3. Rain gods
4. Rain-lazers
5. Kage-bunshin

Most artists won't be able to achieve this in a 4-panel manga, but Haste does.

Exhibit B (http://www.pixiv.net/member_illust.php?mode=medium&illust_id=4603479)
This particular piece has no point, and no end. What Yukiho thinks to be her dream ends up being the dream of an unknown man.

What does this signify?

Nothing. Nothing at all.
It's meaning less. Nihilism.

This manga has no meaning, which makes it so funny and yet beautiful at the same time.

Exhibit C (http://www.pixiv.net/member_illust.php?mode=medium&illust_id=1255079)
Yukiho: "Everyone, iM@S is getting a PSP release. If you don't have one, now is a good time to buy it.
I asked my dad, and now I have a PSP too! Monster Hunter is so fun."

Ami: "AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA"
Mami: "AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA"
Iori: "AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA"

Again, a piece of work that makes no sense, except the fact that Haste must love Yukiho.
What can you infer from this? I can't see anything, but it sure as hell is funny.


Rating:  10/10
If you enjoy works by Nekojiru (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nekojiru) like I do, then you'll enjoy Haste-Chuu's works.
When you look at his Pixiv, appreciate his "normal" artwork, but enjoy his manga too.
It's like Nekojiru's later works but without the death and violence.... and without cats.

The only downside is that if you're a fan of his regular, cute artwork, you'd be surprised how little of it exists.
Title: Re: All-in-one Review thread
Post by: blake307 on January 09, 2010, 04:06:00 pm
Here is my review of 11eyes like I promised.

Story: The story takes place 7 years after Kakeru's sister committed suicide. Since then he has been living a somewhat dull life with his childhood friend Yuka Minase. But then one day he and Yuka get transported into the red night where they have to fight off demons and the black knights. That is when they meet Misuzu who rescues Kakeru and Yuka. Kakeru asks Misuzu to train him how to fight so he could protect Yuka. Along the way they also meet Yukiko, who has the ability to heal her wounds quickly, Takahisa, who has the ability to shoot fire, and suprisingly enough Kakeru's sister. The story was alright but I believed it could have been explained a lot better. I also believed that they should have explained the Black Knights motives and intentions better throughout the series. They also never explained how Kakeru got the eye of Aeon in the first place. And I thought the story was way too short. They should have made it 26 episodes like some other anime out there. I also thought the endings were pretty lame, if I were to choose between the good and bad endings shown in the last 2 episodes I would have to say the bad ending was better.

Story: 5/10

Characters: Most of the characters in the anime were pretty cool in their own way. I thought Yukiko and Takahisa made a cute couple. Misuzu and Kakeru were a pretty cute couple too. The only bad character in this anime has to be Yuka Minase. At first I thought Yuka was pretty cute but as the anime went on I realized that she was a selfish, possessive psychopath who would get upset if she saw her precious Kakeru-kun with Misuzu. She even put a razor blade in Misuzu's tea to try to kill her when it was clearly noticeable in the tea. In fact most of the words from her mouth were "Kakeru-Kun!" and it got to be pretty annoying. I looked at the comments from another anime forum and there were a lot of people who despised her so much they wanted her to die, which didn't happen. Here is my rating on the characters.

Misuzu: 10/10 for being a cool and tough character who was perfect for Kakeru.

Yuka Minase: 4/10 for being a self-centered psychopath.

Animation: I don't have anything to say about the animation. It's not the best animation I have seen in an anime but it's still alright.

Animation: 7/10

Music: Probably the best part of the series was the music. I liked the opening and ending themes for the anime.

Music: 9/10

This was the biggest dissappointment in 2009 from my perspective. When I first saw it on the anime list for 2009 I thought it seemed pretty cool but then all I got was a real dissappointment from a choppy story, lame endings, and of course that self centered and possessive Yuka Minase. If you like action animes like me you can check it out but don't expect any good storyline for this.

Overall: 6/10
Title: Re: All-in-one Review thread
Post by: satty on January 31, 2010, 03:43:01 am
Well, time to make my review on MAG for the PS3. (sorry Marx, taking your outline too)

Story:
By 2025, armies of the world are limited due to rising costs, inefficiency, and the "Millennium Accord", preventing any army to leave the border of its country. In their place rise private military companies (PMC's), who can go anywhere for cheaper. In an unregulated global economy, the companies start using less-than-honest methods to compete with each other for contracts. After numerous mergers, bargains, and buy-outs, the remaining PMC's decide to use their power to full use, creating a worldwide "shadow war". Now, three PMC's, Valor Company, a North American-based PMC made up of people operating with equipment like those in the US Army, Raven Industries, a European-based company that uses the latest in combat technology, and SVER (Seryi Volk Executive Response), a Asian-based company that uses weapons made in the former Soviet Union.

Basically, it's an excuse plot, meant to make the setting of the game possible and to make the factions that anyone can play in. There's barely any depth to the story, but considering that MAG is an MMOFPS, the story is workable enough.

Score: 7.5/10

Graphics: Well, the graphics aren't on an Uncharted 2 or Modern Warfare 2 scale, but they are pretty clean and don't bother with the actual gameplay itself. The textures do look unique to each faction, from the carbon fiber of Raven weapons to the rust colored weapons of SVER.

Score: 8/10

Sound: Each faction has different music that plays whenever you first start a game or when you start killing a lot. And each fits the faction well, albeit a little out of place for a game such as this. As for battle, the sounds of guns firing, the boom of grenades, and the warning bells of a position being captured make it sound like a warzone, but the constant notifications of objectives can get annoying in a heated match.

Score: 7.5/10

Gameplay: There are 4 game modes: Supression, Sabotage, Acquisition, and Domination. They're nothing special, just variations of tried-and-true modes.

Supression: Team deathmatch with members from your faction.
Sabotage: King-of-the-hill with demolition
Acquisition: Capture-the-flag with vehicles
Domination: King-of-the-hill with demolition again.

The thing that makes these modes special, and the main selling point of the game is the number of players on each team. Other shooters usually have about 16-32 people max. MAG can hold up to 256 players depending on the game type. The game solves the problem of having a large number at one time of people by putting them into 1 to 4 platoons, each platoon comprised of 4 squads. Each squad can have as much as 8 people in them. There are also squad leaders, platoon leaders, and officers in charge, each with special abilities of their own.

In short:
-1-4 platoons
  - 4 squads
    -8 people

If you're looking for something like Modern Warfare 2, turn away. For one thing, there is no regenerating health system. Sure, there's medkits, but they have a charge time, so you cannot spam at will. No more instant respawning, either: there is a 20 second timer that is activated after you die.  Another thing is that weapons are powerful enough that anyone charging in alone it is going to see a lot of deaths. Teamwork and communication is vital to winning a game, almost to the point that people say you need a mic to play the game well. Thankfully, people are willing to play as intended.
The controls are pretty standard, but using the L2 and R2 buttons to switch between weapons and equipment can be a bit confusing at first.
There is a good amount of customization that you can apply to your character, separated by trees. You use skill points, earned by leveling up. Better equipment is unlocked by investing in earlier equipment, and is marked by more skill points to earn it. Wish to be a sniper? Invest in the sniper tree. Want to get up close? Invest in the close combat tree. Wish to fight in the front while healing others? You can invest in both Assault and Medic trees. The choice of what to customize is yours.
In short, the game is more on the tactical than other shooters released for the PS3 and can be quite frustrating if not played right.

Score: 8.5/10


Balancing:
While every side is the same, there are some differences. Valor weapons have a mix of accuracy and power. Raven has more accuracy at the cost of power, and SVER is the opposite. Some of the maps have issues in terms of attacking and defending. Case in point: SVER's maps are somewhat designed to have the bulk of the attacking force become bottlenecked and get bogged, although a good team can get through it. Raven and Valor's defensive maps are quite open for flanking and frontal charges.

Score: 8/10

Overall:
This game isn't everyone's cup of coffee, for sure. But for those who like tactical gameplay, this game won't disappoint.

Score: 7.5/10

(If anyone wonders, I'm in Raven)
Title: Re: All-in-one Review thread
Post by: Scotty on January 31, 2010, 03:58:54 am
Mass Effect 2 Review

It's good. Too good.
Title: Re: All-in-one Review thread
Post by: BT2 on February 18, 2010, 05:20:42 pm
(If anyone wonders, I'm in Raven)
*CoughValorRapidAssaultcough*

(If anyone wonders, I'm in Raven)
Title: Re: All-in-one Review thread
Post by: OverlordIX on February 25, 2010, 04:32:46 pm
Recently completed reviewing the 1/144 HG Cherudim Gundam

http://silentstronghold.wordpress.com/2010/02/23/1144-hg-cherudim-gundam-review/

And its looking good. =)
Title: Re: All-in-one Review thread
Post by: RoninatorMarx on April 11, 2010, 05:26:42 pm
Game: Akatsuki Blitzkampf

Created by a doujin group called SUBTLE STYLE in 2007. Unlike doujin fighter games released around the same time, Blitzkampf was noted for having an somewhat old-school gameplay, contrast to new, complex gameplays of BBB and EFZ.

Graphics: The design is one out of two things noteworthy about Akatsuki. Character detail is awesome. It's still as solid as what I'd expect from a good doujin fighter. No further comment on them. Background is beautiful without being too detailed (at least for my taste). Also, like Garou, it gives that 3D-ish effect when the battle comes. 9/10

Gameplay: As said earlier, it plays like old-school fighters. Three buttons (Weak, Strong and Heavy) and the D-pad. Pressing both Weak and Strong attack keys will launch the Grab move, while with the strong and Heavy, the reflector system, functioning similarly to the parry system. Supers here are performed by a directional command + Reflector command. By pressing all three attack buttons while you have max (3) power bars, you get to use a stronger Super Combo.

And if for one second you think this game is like the old games that has little-to-no combo system, a good beating from the AI will prove you wrong.

The thing about this game is, you can't play this game the same way with each character. The main hero Akatsuki is a shotoclone. Mycale and Anonym are ranged-based fighters, but Mycale can't perform the cliche weak-strong-heavy attack combo, while Anonym can pull this more or less with her (basic) melee attacks (which can be used when holding the directional stick backward/holding the backward key). And not everyone here can't pull off a combo similarly to how some others with theirs. This is the other distinct fact about Blitzkampf. Anyone who wanna main all the characters here will put their skills to the test. 10/10

Music: Music was great. You'd probably get that war feel when you fight. lol Themes are different by the player, so it seems. 7/10

Story and Plot: From what I understand: Main villain holds a powerful weapon, and everyone in the game is either on their way to stop him, want it because it's their mission, or for their personal gain, or he were somehow on the way. I'll consider Akatsuki's ending canon and all's well that ends well when he finally took out Murakamo and leaves with the mission finally complete. 5/10

Overall: Akatsuki Blitzkampf may not be something you can call "fresh and new" but with great designs, solid gameplay and skill-sharpening tricks you'd go to just to master (or at least play) all of the characters, this game is something you'd wanna try out. 31/40
Title: Re: All-in-one Review thread
Post by: blake307 on April 11, 2010, 06:38:06 pm
Game: Heavy Rain

Story taken from Wiki: Heavy Rain's story is a dramatic thriller, centred around four protagonists involved with the mystery of the Origami Killer, a serial killer who uses extended periods of rainfall to drown his victims. Ethan Mars is a father who is trying to save his son from being the next victim, while investigative journalist Madison Paige, FBI profiler Norman Jayden, and private detective Scott Shelby are each trying to track down clues to the Origami Killer's identity. The player interacts with the game by performing actions highlighted on screen related to motions on the controller, and in some cases, performing a series of quick time events during fast-paced action sequences. The player's decisions and actions during the game will affect the narrative; the main characters can be killed, and certain actions may lead to different scenes and endings.

The story in the game is pretty awesome. It's the only game I know where you can fail a level and the story moves on. My favorite part of the game is the fight scenes, especially the ones against the Doc and Mad Jack. There were many parts of the story that shocked and amazed me! The best part of the game is the many different endings in the game depending on what decisions you make.

Story: 9/10

Graphics: What can I say? The graphics are amazing, the backgrounds are great, the realism is incredible and the character details, awesome!

Graphics: 10/10

Music: The music is great, the music in the suspense moments and fight scenes fit perfectly in the game.

Music: 8/10

Gameplay: The great thing about this game is that you play as four different characters and try to get through the whole game with each of these unique characters. I liked being able to interact with these characters throughout the game as the decisions you make can either kill them, help them find Shaun Mars etc. The fights scenes like I said before are amazing! I liked the button pressing sequences in these types of events because depending on how well you do you can either succeed or fail the mission in this fighting or escape scenario. All I have to say is that the Gameplay is the best part of the game.

Gameplay: 10/10

Overall: If you own a PS3 I recommend getting this game as it is one of the best real life games I have ever play. You won't be dissappointed! This is the second best game this year behind God Of War 3.

Overall: 9/10
Title: Re: All-in-one Review thread
Post by: Cien Laguoire on May 31, 2010, 04:30:06 am
Can't decide on if you want Split/Second, Blur, or ModNation Racers for your racing fix? I'll be glad to help a bit with a few reviews.

Split/Second:
Split/Second is the second game from Blackrock Studios, known for the pleasantly surprising ATV-racer Pure some time ago. Is this game also as fun to play?

The premise of this game is quite interesting; you are in a TV show, called Split/Second, where you race in a city pretty much rigged to blow. Every stage has a different set of Power Plays, which can be used to take out opposing drivers (and vice versa), cause changes to the environment, or even switch routes and temporarily create shortcuts. These Power Plays can be executed by gaining points by drifting, drafting, and other skillful driving maneuvers to fill up the Power Play Meter. As you get more points, you can use more than one Power Play or activate a more powerful Power Play or Route Changer if the meter is fully charged. It's definitely awe-inspiring to see some of these Power Plays and Route Changers, which include bringing down a jet onto a runway, blowing up a docked ship, or bringing down a water dam. However, once you've seen most of these fantastic events fold out more than once, you'll pretty much know the timing it takes to use them effectively on opponents or the line you'll need to drive to avoid them yourself. It's an excellent party trick, so to speak, but after seeing the same things happen a few times, it may start to lose its awe factor.

The main mode is called Season, where you have to go through twelve episodes of the show, each episode having six races; four normal races, one bonus race, and the Elite Race, where completing it advances you to the next episode. Bonus races are earned by wrecking other drivers, while Elite Races are earned by credits, though you'll usually have them already unlocked in new episodes if you do well. As you complete races, you earn Credits, which unlock more vehicles, including muscle cars, trucks, and exotic sports cars, as you progress through the Season. You'll also unlock new tracks and game modes as you progress through Season mode as well. These modes include Detonator, where you do a hotlap while Power Plays are activated in front of you, Elimination, where the car in last place is blown up after a countdown while racing, Survival, where you pass semi rigs that shoot explosive barrels for points while on a time limit, and Air Attack and Air Revenge, where you rack up points for avoiding missiles fired by a helicopter during the former, and where you have to take down the helicopter by deflecting missiles as quickly as possible in the latter. Progression through the Season can be simple enough, but winning can be quite challenging, especially in later episodes. If you're good, though, you may be able to pull off wins in every race in the Season... and then that's it. After you complete Season mode, there isn't much else to do with the single player modes, aside from collecting some leftover Trophies/Achievements. Speaking of which, your Trophies/Achievements become decals on your vehicles, which is an interesting touch. On top of that, progression in Season is seen by the number on your car; 99 meaning you just started, and 01 meaning you pretty much completed Season mode 100%. Multiplayer also does something similar, where doing well gives you a lower racing number, while performing poorly will bring your racing number back up.

Once you're done with single player, there is also a 2-player splitscreen mode and 8-player online mode with normal races, Survival, and Elimination modes. There isn't much to offer here, and like the single player, if you're good and have the right vehicles (you use the vehicles you unlock in season), you'll breeze your way up to getting number 01 on your car and a few more Trophies/Achievements.

The game looks and sounds quite nicely. Explosions galore, falling buildings, twisted metal; it looks pretty good. Sounds convincing as well, with some nifty little effects depending on what's going on around you.

Split/Second is definitely fun to play, and feels a little bit like Burnout... but the game can be short-lived, especially if you're a good driver. I rented this game, and felt satisfied with that instead of buying it. I managed to get all the Trophies in a matter of three days during the week-long period I had it... but it was definitely a wild ride while it lasted.

Split/Second gets a 3.5/5.

Blur:
What happens when a kart racer and an arcade-style racer had a love child? You get Blur, the latest creation from Bizzare Creations, best known for their Project Gotham Racing titles. Is Blur a successful experiment?

The game is split into single player and multiplayer modes. The single player career puts you up against several different levels of competition, each run by a certain driver. To progress through career, you earn Lights and Fans. You get Lights by placing in the top 3, getting a certain amount of Fans during a race, and clearing on-track Fan Runs, where you drive through gates to earn more Fans. Fans are pretty much like experience points; as you earn more by driving skillfully, using powerups effectively, doing Fan Runs and Fan Demands, and win races, you level up, which earns you more cars to use during races. It's a good concept, and it persuades you to finish events, even if you fail to win, since you still earn more Fans regardless of position. If you meet certain Demands from rival drivers during the career, you get to race against them for a chance to win their specially painted car and a mod, which include getting four Bolts instead of three, or enhanced Shield properties. These demands start out easy enough, but can get really challenging later on. Single player racing modes include normal races, checkpoint races, where you need to clear checkpoints on a time limit with the help of Nitros and time-saving Stopwatches, and Demolition, where you shoot green, yellow, and red vehicles with Bolt powerups for points. Career mode can take some time to complete, but there is one big flaw; it's the only mode in single player, meaning there are no quick races for you to mess around with different racing modes with different car classes on different tracks of your choosing. You're pretty much stuck with the career.

On the multiplayer side, things are a little more open-ended. Though the progression is slightly different (you start off with different cars than in single player, among other things), you are able to have up to 4 players on split screen, and up to 20 players online. You still earn fans to level up and unlock more cars, but you'll also unlock different paint materials for cars and unlock some very useful Mods. Though you can only equip one Mod in single player, you can equip up to three in the multiplayer. It feels very much like the later Call of Duty games; just like you can equip different weapons and Perks in Modern Warfare 2, you can drive different cars and equip different mods in Blur (oddly enough, both are published by Activision...). There are many more different modes in multiplayer, too, including normal races, races where power-ups are turned off, and arena-style combat. Multiplayer can get addicting, so don't be surprised to find that you come back for more.

In both modes of play, the game plays like it's on the border of arcade and sim racing; though the action is fast-paced and vehicles are maneuverable, they do handle like you might expect them to in real life, and you still need to brake in some corners. Every car has a certain handling property, like Grippy, Very Drifty, and Off Road, so depending on your driving style or track, you should have a vehicle that will supply your needs. However, no matter what vehicle you drive, you still need the aid of the power ups, which include Nitro for speed boosts, Shunt for homing attacks, and Mines for protecting your rear. You can hold up to three, and most of the powerups have an alternate fire as well, like shooting Mines forward a short distance and shooting Bolts behind you. Other drivers will use these powerups to their advantage as well, but none ever feel cheap; there are ways to avoid each powerup, unlike a certain long-running kart racing series...

In terms of presentation, everything looks slick and stylish. Though it is rough around the edges, the special effects are not that bad, and the music is delivered via techno and drum & bass... when you turn it on, at least. Oddly, the game's default setting for music while racing is off, something I've never heard of before in a racing game (there are racers that don't have music while racing at all, like Forza 2, but that's a different matter.).

This game will last you for quite some time, especially with the multiplayer. Some say that this is the racing version of Modern Warfare 2, and I would have to agree. The game can get quite tough though, but perseverance will reward you with a really fun game.

Blur gets a 4/5.

ModNation Racers
ModNation Racers is the second game to utilize the "Play. Create. Share." mantra started by the awesome PS3 platformer Little Big Planet. Does this kart racer achieve what it set out to do?

There is a story for this game; you play as a Mod named Tag, a newbie driver contending for the ModNation Racing Championship (or MRC... wait, wasn't that an old N64 game?). You are aided by your mother who owns a paintshop, and your crew chief who was a former MRC racer before his career met a premature end. As you race though the Career Mode, you meet and see other characters, including the CEO of the bland and utterly meh Conservative Motors and the reigning champion of the MRC. Each race is voiced over by two commentators, one who is a complete jerk to the other guy, who is rather nerdy but efficient at his job. The story is overall ho-hum, and plays second fiddle to the gameplay and other features to the game. All it does is set up the situation for the next race.

After completing the introductory race, you are placed in the Mod Spot, where you can view and access many different things, like the Career, Single Race, Split Screen, and Online Multiplayer modes, the Top Mods and Karts made by users for the week, the shop where you can create your own karts, Mods, and tracks, and even other players if you're in the Mod Spot while online. The Career takes you through more than 20 races in the MRC tour, with each race having it's own set of unlockable rewards, including parts for your Mods, karts, and tracks. Each track in the Career has three challenges; Advance, Payoff, and Bonus. Advance requires you to only need to place third or better to move onto the next race and earn some rewards. Payoff and Bonus challenges require you to do something particular during the race, like attack a certain driver, or get a certain amount of drift points, and then win the race. Some of these challenges are quite difficult; trust me when I say you'll be spending time trying to complete them all. And with the usual behavior of kart racing AI in most games (read: as insane as a retarded psychopath on cocaine), it's no joke. Single and split screen races have a variety of options, including kart speeds, turning powerups on or off (Action and Pure races, respectfully), and AI difficulty.

The real meat and potatoes of the game, however, is the multiplayer and user-generated content available to download; want to play as a Zaku? Want to drive the Mach 5? Want to race on a recreation of the Monaco Grand Prix circuit? It's all there to download. Can't find anything you want? You can easily make it! Karts have tons of parts to play around with and paint, Mods can use many different face parts and clothes that can be recolored, stickers can be used to customize both karts and Mods, and both can be used anywhere in the game, including online multiplayer and the Career mode. Track creation is quite deep, and has much to offer. If you put time into it, you can create your own masterpiece to race on - or just simply drive the layout for your track and hit the Auto Populate button. Easy as pie. When you feel confident in your creations, you can publish them for the world to download. It is just as good as LBP's abilities to create user-generated content, and you can earn Create XP as well for having your stuff downloaded.

The online multiplayer can support up to twelve players, and is split into casual races, or the more hardcore races where you earn XP for your driving. Admittingly, I didn't spend too much time playing multiplayer during the rental time that I had this game, but you can expect a good challenge from other players.

The core gameplay is rather simple - you race to finish first by using powerups and other skills. Powerups can be upgraded by collecting up to three powerup spheres. Each version of a weapon has a different effect, so mastery of each weapon and upgrade is essential. However, when used against you, they all seem to stop you dead in your tracks. The one way to avoid this problem is earning Boost. You earn Boost power by drifting, attacking other drivers, and spinning in the air. Boost can then be use to either make you go faster, shunt other drivers with a close-range attack, or shield yourself from deadly powerups. Using your Boost power effectively is definitely a must, otherwise you could be caught by an enemy's missile attack with no Boost power to use your shields, since you used it all to try and open a gap between you and second place. With practice, driving in ModNation Racers will become second-nature. Just be prepared to deal with some frustration.

Visually, everything looks fairly nice. It's not really pushing the limits of the PS3's capabilities, but its fidelity is still quite good. Sounds are quite good as well, from the various engine sounds, to your Mod doing various cheers, if you gave him or her a voice, that is. The voice acting for the game is alright, but it's not much worth remembering. The music for the game can be fairly catchy, but there isn't any track-specific music like most kart racers.

ModNation Racers definitely carries the adage of "Play. Create. Share." just as well as Little Big Planet. Though it can be infuriatingly hard at times, your efforts are well rewarded with more personalization options for your character, kart, and track. The user-made content is great, and will get better as time goes on. Though the presentation isn't the strongest suit of the game, the gameplay is fun and rewarding, and the community will have you coming back to play this game.

ModNation Racers gets a 4.5/5.
Title: Re: All-in-one Review thread
Post by: digi162 on September 15, 2010, 07:40:24 am
PHANTASY STAR PORTABLE 2 REVIEW

OKAY.  YES.  I have not beaten the game, I did get it today, but played through enough to formulate an opinion.  If you played the first Phantasy Star Portable, or currently are playing through it, just stop and throw it away.  Or something IDK just don't bother touching it.  This game is FAR superior from the first, so if you had problems with the first like I did, chances are they've been corrected here.  I'd probably suggest thinking about what you didn't like and try and read somewhere if it's been corrected or not.  I mean I did like the first one so I will have a little bias toward the series, but it was too easy, and there was a lack of motivation to do stuff, and the plot was so meh.  Seeing all these major improvements made me happy :3

Things to note off the bat:
-PP with weapons is now one gauge rather than each weapon having it's own and having to refill it.  So if you pick guns or something it's easier to reload, you don't have to carry a bunch of guns and just keep swapping them.
-Attacks are more fluid and feel less hack/slash like the first
-Guarding and dodge-rolling have been added
-Character creation is even MORE expanded
-Leveling up is harder, and max is 200 from what I've heard, so there's a long way to go
-Difficulty has been cranked, I normally would just go solo on the first portable, but I think I'll have to constantly add people to my party or just get better at maneuvering with dodging/guarding

Gameplay
If you played the first one, it's pretty much the same but just expanded and improved.  Instead of all the static imagery, there's a lobby you walk around in and just select which planets you want to have missions on instead of traveling to that planet in order to pick what missions you want.  New things include a room you can customize with items you purchase/obtain, as well as new levels, monsters, etc.  But if you've never played, basically you select a dungeon/level/thing, go on a MMO killing spree of the monsters there, then fight a boss at the end of the level.  The levels aren't complex, don't expect to be moving boxes on switches or solving puzzles.

Music
OMG.  IT IS BEAUTIFUL.  The first portable had some really epic music, and they've taken it and added more amazing tunes.  I HAVE LISTENED TO THE OP SONG a lot over the past year, a lot of people hate it but I love it, it just got me excited to play.

Replay
Not sure yet.  The first portable had no replay value.  It would take 20-25 hours to beat, and there was nothing to do after that because you would level up so quickly.  You could make more characters, change job classes, etc. but without multiplayer or any sort of difficulty, the motivation isn't there.  Supposedly there are two story modes from what I've read in this new one, and with added Infrastructure multiplayer, you get a lot more out of the game now.  Although it's interesting because you'll have to choose between ad-hoc with friends, ad-hoc with xkai stuff, ad-hoc party on PS3, or just use the built in infrastructure.  You'll have different experiences most likely on all those.

Graphics
Very nice for a PSP game.  Nothing really groundbreaking, but the visuals are great, definitely acceptable for a PSP title now-a-days.  Especially since a lot of titles have pushed and shown what the PSP is capable of, and Phantasy Star could definitely fit into that.  I could say it's on-par with Monster Hunter but if I spent the whole review comparing those two titles it'd be a waste of time.  I do appreciate they got rid of those ugly screencaps they used in the first one for the visual-novel-ish scenes.  They are now drawn character portraits in place which is better.  There is also a data install for the game if you play off UMD, I'm not sure what's saved on it but it helps with loading.

Complaints
Well first off, the box cover.  On the back where they have little boxes showing screenshots of the game, someone accidentally put the cover art wraparound in one of those boxes...Which is worrisome to see because it's clearly an error and not supposed to be there since it doesn't scale to the box D:  Makes me wonder how rushed this product might be... I haven't tried out infrastructure, so I have no idea how well that experience is.  In order to access infrastructure you need a passcode which you plug into the PSN for your account.  It comes with the game, sorta like how IM@S came with the school girl outfit code in the box.  I haven't tried it yet, but I think you might need a USA PSN account, not sure if it works on other regions.  I think the whole point of that is to prevent people from downloading the game and playing it.  Although I could be wrong about all this info, it's so shady anyways doing this -___-  I mean Resistance Retribution just lets you in the lobby no problemo, I hope maybe I'll wake up tomorrow to discover the lobby is open to all or something.  Also...why is there no voice-acting ._. I mean I suppose that's alright considering how crappy the voice-acting was in the first portable.  But the Japanese portable 2 had voice acting throughout.  Sorta reminds me of Arcana Heart when it was brought over stateside, they ditched a lot of voiceacting.

I think if I were to give this a score out of 10, I'd say the first Phantasy Star Portable is a 7/10
The second Phantasy Star Portable is a 8.5/10 because it just feels like a sequel rather than a strong standout game.  There's a lot of potential and amazing things in the game, enough to make it worth picking up, but it retains too much of that MMO quality to it.  Also there's more they could improve despite improving on a lot of things.  Play the demo if you're curious, if you enjoy the demo then you'll love the game.

DO YOU LIKE MECHA? : D (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ElmVrEiyYgw)
Hardest part of the game is choosing what character to make.  So many good options D:

/posted this for Scotty I think xD
Title: Re: All-in-one Review thread
Post by: Lushe on September 15, 2010, 08:32:07 am
Valkyria Chronicles II (PSP)

My opinion:

It looks nowhere near as good as VC1, but that's to be expected. Gameplay has a lot more to offer than VC1, but the small, area-based battlefields are nowhere near as epic as VC1's large-scale and chaotic battlefields. It's a bit more balanced than VC1 (since order-spamming is now impossible), but overall, I'd say the gameplay is just as good as VC1's. However, VC1 definitely beats this game in almost all other aspects. VC2 doesn't have the same brilliance that VC1 has, but it's still an EXCELLENT game. I love it! Gameplay and music are still as great as ever, but some may be disappointed by VC2's much lighter tone, much younger cast of characters, much smaller battlefields, and heavily-downgraded visuals (VC1's visuals was one of the things that made it so memorable).

Overall Score: 9/10  (while I give Valkyria Chronicles 1 a perfect 10/10, lol)
Title: Re: All-in-one Review thread
Post by: Scotty on September 15, 2010, 02:28:38 pm
TGS has disappointed me once again with their announcement of Valkyria Chronicles 3 being a PSP game...
Title: Re: All-in-one Review thread
Post by: Kyo on September 15, 2010, 05:43:08 pm
Deal with it.

Anyhow, a quick review of Valkyria Chronicles 2 from me. Keep in mind that I've never actually played the first game.

Graphics: Quite good, especially the character portraits. One minor fault which I find weird though, is how all the characters have identical models for their bodies with just a head model swap. It makes them look as if they're all the same height even though their profiles say otherwise.

Gameplay: I found it surprisingly addictive and a lot of fun. A great thing is how there are different classes for your soldiers to choose, as well as having their personalities factor into your strategy (Damn you Chloe and your moodiness).

I just finished the March story mission, took 10 tries to beat that SOB.

Sound: The music is fantastic and fits the mood of the battles. Character voices are okay, considering that not all of the lines are voiced. Avan, however, has this irritating laugh that gets on your nerves after a while.

Story: I'm just a little way into the game, but so far the story isn't that bad. I just wished that the school events could be a little more "meaty" and fleshed-out, because some of them are really quite funny to watch.

Overall, I'm glad I purchased this.

Score: 8/10

From Scotty: I wish I had money to buy the first one for you. You would love it forever.

Edit: In that case, you can buy me a PS3 too thx
Title: Re: All-in-one Review thread
Post by: Cael K. on November 23, 2010, 07:23:22 am
Copy-paste from my blog.

So, I beat Last Ranker today. How'd I feel about it? Excellent game. Really good.

As far as plot goes... think movie plot. Light, not deep at all, coupled with the fact that there are a few restraints: you can never stop needing to increase your rank (you raise it by fighting a higher-ranked Ranker and taking his), and there always has to be a reason you fight alone. These two gameplay elements combine to weaken this part of the game, and the last parts of the game feel kinda jumbled together. Dragon Quarter, which I think should be looked at in a similar vein (don't expect anything deep), probably was more coherent. You advance at first by undertaking trials (quests), but these are structured in a way that you have to finish them in a certain order (with a few exceptions). Mostly a linear game, then, and let me make this clear: this is not what you play the game for.

The game portion is where LR really shines. Kazuya Niinou made it, and it shows: much of the game is you trying to figure out the best way to put skills together with your styles. There are many strategies you can employ, from countering and waiting, to in-your-face beatdown, and you learn them by beating other Rankers in fighting-game-meets-RPG style. Most Rankers will give you a skill (some won't), some have Ultimate Attacks that you can learn if you beat them (you can't learn everyone's Ultimate Attacks, though).

Just to give an example, healing in the game can be simple, or complex. There's the skill Healing, which gives you back 50% of your HP. On the complete opposite side, Kura-fu Ken (Gluttony Fist) gives you back HP when you use a fist attack, which you can only do in Break Style. Thing is, only two fist skills do a lot of damage (the style attack doesn't do much), one of which is a counter. This means the enemy has to come to you for you to regain HP, and you still have to time the counter (the return is damage prevention, awesome damage to your opponent and what is probably half your HP). The other has long startup, and you're liable to get knocked out of it... unless you guard break your opponent. If you manage to pull one off in time and you've got Kura-fu Ken up, well... say hello to all your HP again. No joke, it does that much damage, and thankfully Break Style is the style that focuses on guard breaks.

There are a lot of skills in the game, and just about all of them have some use. Mixing, matching, and experimenting with these skills is the game. You can have four per style, and two styles per battle, so you can pick skills to focus on a certain strategy or playstyle... and there's quite a few of them. Of course, Attack Style/Break Style skill spam always works too, for those of you who just want to get to the game.

The music in the game... is epic. I can't remember the last time I heard music this good in a game. If I haven't convinced you to get this game when (if?) it comes out in the US, then take a look at (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W7IE7IiZLfU&feature=related) and (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7vYDooWXw-o&feature=related) to sample it. If I have convinced you already, I mean it when I say it: don't sample it. Hearing each of the battle themes for the first time in game as a fight starts is something to be experienced. That being said, the battle music is pretty much the highlight, and most other pieces aren't nearly as impressive.

The game is voiced by some fairly prolific voice actors. If anything stops a localization, it'll be this. The script isn't that hard a translate, and most the menus (even all but one of the songs with lyrics) are in native English, though item and location names are in Japanese (you do get to see location names in English when you first enter an area, though). Ranker tag lines generally are as well, with some exceptions that usually pop up around halfway through.

Shortcomings... well, I explained the plot shortcomings earlier. Other than that, and the fact that dungeons are painfully simple, there aren't enough Ranker fights (against humans, and there are fights against monsters to clarify), and you can't call for them when you want them. Once you beat a Ranker, he won't fight you again. This, of course, means you can't experiment with that battle plan you had in mind if you've torn up all the other Rankers you can beat at your level. Also, enemies don't work like you do: they attack on intervals, in a certain rhythm, and don't use SP like you do. This means that you can eat five counters in a row whereas you can't throw out more than like... two in a row. Guarding will slow you down, but they won't attack any slower if they guard your attacks. They also have infinite skill usage, whereas you don't. Also, Ultimate Attacks. Certain enemies will use their Ultimate Attack on you once you take them down to 0 HP. You avoid it with timed button presses or button mashing - the game will tell you which, and you have to react to it. Thankfully, they gave me enough time that I got all of them, but I assume it's insta-death if you miss them. Also thankfully, you can retry a battle immediately if you lose it, and can even go back in to the menu to rearrange skills and heal back up before you do in case you walked into the fight at low HP. I suppose there's really no good way to stuff Ultimate Attacks otherwise, but still... insta-death is not something I'm fond of. It never was an issue for me, really, but the possibility was still there. And also... when you use Ultimate Attacks, all your skills become unusable, no matter how many uses of each skill you had left, though most will have some secondary effect (Attack Up, every status ailment you can inflict on the enemy, and others). I never really used Ultimate Attacks because of this, and I usually wasn't pushed far enough into a corner that they were the only thing left I could do.

But that's the game in a nutshell. It does something unique (Ranker fights and the battle system), makes it fun, and because it does it so well, it has hit my list of favorite games of all time. My suggestion: get it for the fights, or for the music. The more you put into the game, the more you'll get out of it... and if you're the type that likes to squeeze the system dry of every possible thing you can do with it, you'll love it. It's not SaGa hard to do it, though, but it takes a bit of brainpower.

For the record, my favorite setup. Note the lack of Hagane Soul.
(Main) Shoot Style (Light Guns): Healing, Power Edge, Charge-EB, Sny-PNG (Skill Use +), S. Colors
(Sub) Break Style: Kura-fu Ken, Renjyu-Gouken (Skill Use +), Fukkoushou, Tomoe-Uke, Grand Task

Also, things that I think would help game balance more.

Shoot Style needs another style-exclusive skill. Giving it Atk Down and/or Def Down would help. Moving Attack Kill and Defend Kill to Shoot Style would make it immediately worthwhile.
A support skill that decreases the amount of startup skills have might be nice, but it might be game breaking.
Double Edge is grossly overpowered. Spinage IV and Air Raide II are underpowered. Hel-FIRE might be slightly underpowered.  Adjusting damage and/or number of uses might help. Bomber Run might be slightly overpowered, but I think Attack Style needs something like it more than Guard Style does.Headbutt might need to be faster.
There should be some incentive to use Ultimate Attacks. Maybe they could halve the number of skills left for you to use, not deplete them thoroughly. Or perhaps they could stay the same but also be used automatically when you hit 0 HP, saving you from a game over (with proper button presses/mashing for this use) and giving a grip of HP back as well. As it stands, they're only stylish finishes that are mostly too risky to pull off.
Title: Re: All-in-one Review thread
Post by: Cael K. on December 09, 2010, 08:43:38 am
General copy-paste from my blog. Parts removed for brevity, if you're interested about reading about Final Fantasy Tactics A2, which came out like three years ago.

Finally beat this game, after 271 quests and... what is probably 149 hours and 40 minutes. Yes, this means I'm going to blow off steam. Hard mode made dispatching a pain, so I never really dispatched any quests. There's two quests you have to dispatch, but your level has to be so high for those, it's just stupid.

All in all a great, creative game that's generally fun to play. Tweaking your characters to be how you want them to be is all kinds of fun, and the quests are varied and bring something new to the genre. There's the standard defeat all enemies you see in other games, sure, but there're other things like set off all traps, or talk to all NPCs on the map and figure out the most common thing they want for New Year's.

Breaking the law wouldn't be bad if the bonus from AP Up 3 wasn't that great. Seriously, they have a fantastic thing called Clan Abilities, then introduce an element that pretty much makes you look stupid for picking anything other than AP Up 3. The simple solution is to increase the number of AP you get from quests, and decrease the amount of AP the ability gives you. Maybe if that were done (like, 70 AP from the quest, 20 from AP Up 3), I wouldn't mind breaking the law, and might even use other abilities. As it stands, I think I'd rather gain the bonus AP and bail my guy out of Prison, even if he loses out on it, rather than to have the entire clan lose the AP.

Alternatively, the law system is restrictive by nature and only hinders the game (in fact, it's like the system tries really hard to make the game suck), so taking it out would've made me enjoy the game so much more. I ranted three paragraphs about it (in my blog) and could've gone on much longer. That should tell you how I feel.

The final verdict: It's standard FFT fare, which is great, but keep in mind the mistakes of its predecessor still cling together (haha) with this one.

For the record, my Ruso: (Parivir) Flair, High Magic, Counter, Geomancy
Title: Re: All-in-one Review thread
Post by: altuixde on June 14, 2012, 01:30:59 am
Pixelmator (http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/pixelmator/id407963104?mt=12)

This is going to be a short and incomplete review, because I just purchased this app yesterday.
Title: Re: All-in-one Review thread
Post by: Elixir on June 14, 2012, 07:43:47 am
I review mostly games on my blog: http://d.hatena.ne.jp/elixir68k/searchdiary?word=%2A%5BReview%5D

A little too detailed to post here though.
Title: Re: All-in-one Review thread
Post by: altuixde on June 21, 2012, 03:19:50 am
PhotoSweeper (http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/photosweeper/id463362050?mt=12)

This is another piece of Mac software that I found useful.  PhotoSweeper helped me find duplicates in my iDOLM@STER image collection, as well as my anime image collection.  I bought it for $10 US but I kinda wish I had waited until recently, because it's on sale now.  The sale probably ends in just a few hours, though (which is why I don't have time to make this review very review-like).  There's also a completely free piece of Mac software that does the same job, called PixCompare (http://www.dreer.ch/misc/pixo362.zip), but PixCompare doesn't work on PNG images.
Title: Re: All-in-one Review thread
Post by: Elixir on July 09, 2012, 11:56:37 am
I beat Atelier Ayesha and here are my thoughts (http://d.hatena.ne.jp/elixir68k/20120709).
Title: Re: All-in-one Review thread
Post by: altuixde on August 30, 2012, 10:34:13 am
SynthCam (http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/synthcam/id412992079?mt=8)

SynthCam generates photos using your iOS device's video mode.  One of the things you can do with this app is take photos (of stationary objects) with much less noise than when using a single exposure.  This is a real boon for iPod touch 4th gen users.

Here's a SynthCam photo:
(http://a.yfrog.com/img686/9893/kmttn.jpg)

And here's a photo of the same thing taken with Apple's built-in camera app:
(http://a.yfrog.com/img875/3076/anors.jpg)

Oh, and it's free.
Title: Re: All-in-one Review thread
Post by: Scotty on September 01, 2012, 09:49:16 am
Impressive. I'll give it a go.
Title: Re: All-in-one Review thread
Post by: altuixde on December 21, 2012, 10:28:35 pm
Audioengine 2 speakers (http://audioengineusa.com/Store/Audioengine-A2)

I've had these for two weeks now. They may have been improving with burn-in, but I can't remember what they sounded like immediately out of the box, so I'll just talk about what they sound like now. I have these speakers placed behind my desk and elevated; I don't know what they would sound like if they were on my desk. What I like best about these speakers are the highs. Every S is there, but they're never sibilant; perhaps it's because of the silk dome tweeters. There's also plenty of sparkle. The mids sound fine. The lows don't extend down as deep as they do on my Sony MDR-V6 headphones, but that's to be expected with small to medium sized speakers. I'm using a loudness control as an EQ to increase the bass in imas-like music. One problem is that, on my favorite CD (when I don't use any effects or EQ), a certain string on a harp seems to come out much louder than it's supposed to. To be specific, the note is E3, or about 164.81 Hz. Another problem is that when I tried hooking up my iPod directly to the speakers, they put out loud noise, and I hadn't even started playing music. It's probably because I didn't have the iPod grounded by a charging cable. Hooking up the speakers to my computer or an AirPort Express works fine, though.
Title: Re: All-in-one Review thread
Post by: altuixde on December 30, 2012, 07:12:30 am
iStabilizer Flex tripod review:
There are some great camera apps out there, and some of them require a tripod. This is the tripod I settled on, and so I asked for it as a Christmas gift.

(http://a.yfrog.com/img856/9561/epuv.jpg)
An iPhone 4 in a case will fit in this tripod.

The legs are covered with soft foam and are flexible, but I can't see whether there are joints under the foam or if the flexibility is due to bendable metal. If the latter is the case, then I predict that the legs will break after bending them enough times (like bending a paperclip).
(http://a.yfrog.com/img703/9571/2yd5.jpg)
The mechanism that holds on to the smartphone is a spring loaded clamp.

It looks like it could accommodate a device that's almost twice as thick as the iPhone 4.
(http://a.yfrog.com/img716/5043/sgd3.jpg)
The contact at the bottom of the clamp is about 1.75 inches wide and made of spongy material.
(http://a.yfrog.com/img805/7953/ng1.jpg)
The contact at the top of the clamp is about 0.25 inches wide and made of rubbery material. Since it's so narrow, and the clamping force is quite high, this makes me think that it's going to wear off the coating on my iPhone's case.

The little rubber handle you're supposed to use when mounting your smartphone feels like it could be unintentionally ripped off, considering the amount of force necessary to open it. So, instead of using the handle, I push it open with the smartphone itself, and then twist the smartphone into place.
(http://a.yfrog.com/img835/6471/1fci.jpg)
The main joint is a ball and socket joint, and its resistance is adjustable. I think that this joint is the best feature of this tripod.
(http://a.yfrog.com/img521/2134/r6ux.jpg)
There's also a notch in the socket, to get more extreme angles.
(http://a.yfrog.com/img194/2282/dpus.jpg)
The bottom part can be unscrewed and attached to my ancient Sony CyberShot camera.
(http://a.yfrog.com/img822/9809/pl2r.jpg)
The screw that attaches to the camera is probably a standard tripod screw. So it should be possible to use the top part (the clamp) to attach a smartphone to other tripods that have the same screw.

The screw looks like it's made out of plastic, so it may be fragile.

What concerns me the most about this tripod is the high clamping force that it exerts on an iPhone + case. Other than that, it works well. It's very light so it's very portable. Also, it will fit more than one kind of smartphone, so it probably won't be obsolete after upgrading to a different phone. I think this tripod is a decent option for smartphone photography enthusiasts.
Title: Re: All-in-one Review thread
Post by: chikorita157 on February 08, 2013, 06:14:20 pm
Beaten Atelier Totori Plus and here my thoughts (http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/Chikorita157sAnimeBlog/~3/PIaza9DtDM8/). In short, it's a fun game, but have a few technical flaws. Hopefully the same issues won't show up in Atelier Meruru Plus, which I preordered a while ago.