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Monday, June 30, 2008

Picard! Status Report!

Sorry for the late post. I was kinda pre-occupied this weekend with many things.

First off, I made a really nice sale this weekend (sold $1600) which is gonna look nice on this week's paycheck.

Went to an MSI concert on Friday (they rocked). There were 3 bands that opened for them, two of which sucked and one memorable one (The Birthday Massacre) which seemed good but felt like if you heard two or three songs, you've heard them all. Kinda like Three Days Grace. It's not a bad thing by any means since if you're a fan of a certain thing and a band plays only that one style it's definitely good. It's good to be consistent.

I also saw Wanted. Really nice movie. Apparently it's from the same director who did Nightwatch. The special effects were amazing and so were the gun fights (what kind of action fan DOESN'T like bullet clashing?). The characters were well done. I kinda wish there was more to it though. Seeing as this was once again derived from a book-like medium, what I felt was that it was rushed in the beginning so you don't get a REAL good sense of what the fraternity is like. Basically, it's kinda annoying that a good amount of the fight scenes were already shown in commercials. Something like that tells me that they didn't have enough content for it. It was long though. They spent a great deal just on introducing the character and then the transition was really short. Going at around two hours, I honestly wouldn't have minded an additional half an hour to an hour of more assassinations before the major "I'm setting out for the antagonist" line. Everything from that point on was actually decently paced, it's just the beginning that felt off. I loved the romance they did in this movie and by that I mean subtle almost non-existent one. My take on good movies in terms of romance is either, you do a good development of it, or you just take it off and only hint at it because half-assing it either way is really bad.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Gungrave - Review

Gungrave is in an odd anime. I say odd not in the sense that the content is odd, but the way the plot was directed and how the story was done overall. First off, this anime was based off the game (action-shooter) rather than the opposite.

Brandon Heat is brought back to life as Grave, a soldier resurrected to take on Harry McDowell the head of Millennion, an organization that has take over the city. But it seems there's more to this it seems as Brandon was was Harry's closest friend and Brandon was once part of Millennion, so why would Brandon be willing to kill his friend?

I'm not really fond of this kind of style of storytelling where the end, or rather near end comes first and then shifts the story to the beginning. While I liked Gungrave, I personally think that's a poor way to tell a story. It's effective in some ways and poor in others. It's definitely useful in creating suspense, or rather some way to hook the reader in since they then constantly ask the question of "What happened to make the things the way they are?" Thus, it can be used to stall a weak plot opening but then that means that the storyboard director knew from the start that it would start off weak which then leaves a bad taste in my mouth. I'm not really keen on watching something that people purposefully put no effort into.

The "real" opening was interesting and held my attention since I knew there's always more to the story than just the beginning, but to some extent I need to be hooked from the start. If I didn't get that fast forward bit first I would probably still watch it since it was above average and had really nice production values, but I'm known among my friends to have patience which would mean that it had a chance of not hooking many others. Regardless, Brandon Heat starts off as the stereotypical silent but compassionate type and Harry McDowell comes off as the suave, high-ranking gangster type without the experience.

Watching the development that occurs within Brandon and Harry throughout the anime was actually really good in my opinion, and once it picks up it moves fairly quickly. The action scenes are beautifully orchestrated (direction and musically) and Brandon's character grows and develops without him ever needing to speak. If I think about it carefully, I think that's what hooked me. While at first he seemed very generic, the director's ability to portray the type of person he is without ever having him speak. In fact, I think it was a good choice for having his voice actor do all the episode previews, I feel as if listening to him speak gives you an insight into the complexity that is Brandon Heat. While it isn't new to have someone say something different but related to the concept of the next episode, having a character that doesn't speak often seems to amplify that concept and apply it to the one speaking or "thinking."

Once again, this anime thrives on its secondary characters. While the protagonists are important, secondary characters are given just as much attention as the primary ones but that seems to be the limit. Anyone that is below "some form of chief/boss" dons a very run-of-the-mill mafia look that works in the anime but shouldn't work well in general.

Music is a plus. I'd buy the soundtrack if I knew where. The opening is just such a great musical interlude and all the music in the anime is worth paying attention to.

FYI. There's a sequel to the game called Gungrave: Overdose. Apparently it's really good and much better than the first one. There's more development on characters that didn't get much "camera time" (Mika *cough*) and I heard it's something worth spending a bit of time on when you're bored. A pick up and play game if you will.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

I bring good news--sorta

With the closing of DJMax, one has to wonder what happened with Pentavision and Neowiz. (Well, Neowiz is having fun with Alliance of Valient Arms but that's beside the point) S4 League is what's happening, and while DJMax was a very popular game, I heard word from a friend of mine who's been scoping the Korean gaming industry for a while that DJMax's closing may have been due to over spending in development for future projects and that this wouldn't be the first, rather, it's been happening a few too many times.

Regardless, I still have DJMax portable and Portable 2 and S4 League is also to come out on the PSP.

I haven't said anything about S4 League have I? It's a third person shooter hosted by PMang that's regarded as a "stylish" shooter. Think of it this way. It's like putting all those unnecessary gun swinging, cross arming actions into a game. The end result is that you have a handful of people who all look really cool.
And just to add more fuel to the flame, the soundtrack is done by all the artists who helped make DJMax. So there's a chance that you can hear ESTi, NieN, 3rd Coast, and Croove scratch away on their electronic boards while you go around doing what you do best.
Like this one. The song's by Forte Escape.

Don't think of this as a Gunz clone by any means. Everything in the game will be intended unlike Gunz which originally started off with glitches and led to canceling abilities. Obviously S4 will have bugs but it won't be anything too serious.

One thing that I like is that guys have a sense of style. I'm a bit tired with all those berserker costumed guys in every game. What's wrong with looking decent for once?

It's a pretty recent game so I was then surprised to hear that a European company bought a license for it. There isn't a LOT of content but it's still in its early stages, and hopefully this english version will be playable. I'm not sure what their policies are with the US, but I'd like to play this.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

A Tacheon in Brawl? Not quite, you do hear a loud boom when they fly though....

After one mess of special brawl in Super Smash Brothers Brawl, my friend and I got an idea after looking at the stats post-match. Max launch speeds were recorded for some odd reason (and in Miles per Hour), and so we decided to do something ridiculous. See what we can do to get ridiculous speeds. After a while we were able to record a launch speed of over 120,000 MPH. Yes, that's One hundred twenty THOUSAND. Haow yu doo dis?

First we tried to find a lightweight character to be our victim. In this case, Jigglypuff. Next we found someone who can not only deal damage but deliver a blow that launches enemies. For that we used Gannondorf because of this "falcon punch"

First, re-edit the "Sample: Bath" custom map so that the right side is missing.

Set it to special brawl, 300% damage, Flower, Light gravity, and fast speed (I don't know if speed made a difference but the death is quite amusing). Now edit the options so that the damage ratio is 2.0

With jigglypuff, jump onto the spikes on the top left and hold down. This way, you won't be launched off screen. Each spike hit will deal 20% I believe, but because you're on 1.5x speed and flower'ed, you'll take streaming damage.

Now that you're at 999% damage. Stand to the right of Gannondorf and have him use B on jigglypuff. Not only will you NOT see Jigglypuff fly through the air, but it's one of those instant death things where you're not even sure if the game could register its movement. Honestly, I couldn't even find a puff of smoke as they were launched. All I saw was the hit and then that pillar of light as jigglypuff cratered into the side of the screen.

This week in review

I know I forgot last week and that's due to me being at the beach for the weekend and then having to work this week. Now that I've gotten used to it, I'll set up the scheduled stuff once more.

The beach was an interesting experience. Because it's still early Summer the water hasn't warmed up yet which means that the coastline has cool air, but I didn't expect it to be THAT cool. Inland, temperatures were to be expected at around 95 degrees. When we got to the beach it was a cool 65. I didn't realize the air from sea breeze was going to affect temperatures by that much. Don't even think about going into the water. After keeping my feet submerged for a good 6 seconds, they were numb. This was quickly fixed by walking inland over the very hot sand but it wasn't necessarily a fun thing to do.

Friday, June 6, 2008


Since one guy asked for it, it'll probably mean that many more will say yes, so I've added reference pictures to everything I believe needed it. Some will stay as just text for personal reasons (to be read as: stupid reasons that aren't worth mentioning). Anyways. It took me about an hour straight but it was worth it in my opinion. There were a few (one) that I had alignment issues with but what ever.

Clannad: Tomoyo Chapter

Apparently there's to be an extra episode separate from the Clannad series that's to be shipped with the 8th DVD release featuring Tomoya (the male protagonist) and Tomoyo that's separate from the series and in an alternate universe. Basically, it's like taking the other path if only for one episode.

You know... It's weird. After having watched Clannad and seeing all the girls interact with Tomoya, I noticed that Tomoyo really stood out. Having an amusing personality she had a very aggressive approach in trying to be in his life without realizing it and then being (I believe) one of the few who realized her feelings for him. Her ability to deal with him never being able to go out with her came as a surprise as well. It was more of a "Oh right, I knew this would happen. I probably shouldn't have gotten involved in the first place" and handled it in what I believe to be in the most mature fashion. Because of that, she became my favorite character in the story.

What's weird is that clearly I wasn't the only one who felt that. Rather, the same scenario must've happened in the game because Tomoyo After: ~It's a wonderful life~ was released after Clannad featuring a Tomoyo only path (which Key then included those scenes they do best). Interestingly enough, Tomoyo After also has a manga adaptation in the works which makes me realize that there's a large group of people who probably feel the same way.
"What would happen if Tomoya had feelings for Tomoyo instead of Nagisa?"

P.S. Sorry for the large images, instead of resizing them I thought "Whatever, these are the only images I have available to me, just use em."