Tuesday, December 29, 2015

2016 at "OtakuDante's Gaming Inferno"

As 2015 draws to a close thoughts of the new year are racing through my mind. On one hand I look forward to being able to continue doing reviews, and articles for the lot of you. On the other hand I know that my busy life beckons more than it ever has. Family illness, and health issues have come into play, and as much as I hate to believe it some of my family may not live through the new year. Along with the increasingly bad weather, political nonsense, and war looming just over the horizon times are more uncertain than they ever were. Concerns are definitely plentiful in my life as I'm sure they are in yours ...

Monday, December 21, 2015

Blood Bowl 2 (PS4)

When it comes to football I know pretty much nothing about the sport. I do know of European futbol (aka, Soccer), and have participated in that activity in high school, but I've never really been an American football fan. I couldn't tell you any of the rules, or regulations if my life depended on it. Even with having watched football related movies like "Jerry McGuire" I couldn't tell you which end is up. That's why I proceeded to request this game with the hopes that it wouldn't be entirely football related, or at the very least that I would finally be able learn about the sport in a more fun filled atmosphere. Thankfully the game is a hybrid of sorts that combines both tabletop RPG mechanics, and basic football rules. By that I simply mean it is a combat dice game played on a playing field that is governed by tiled squares which houses game changing statistic modifiers. The teams which are controlled by the player/s, and CPU opponents each move as they would in an American football game, but do so square by square in a more SRPG (Strategy Role-Playing Game) fashion. While the formation changes, turnovers, half time events, rules regarding scoring, and time associated with said sport remain intact for the most part the combat centered mechanics that come with the characters'/teammates' blocking dice rolls changes the gameplay significantly. In doing so it becomes more brutal in nature, and actually gives the players a different way to win outside of the traditional scoring opportunities. Death, and blood are but two of the many things that are a part of the 'Blood Bowl' franchise. You can imagine my excitement at finding this out, especially with me being into the more violent side of video games.

Sunday, December 20, 2015

Is a Balanced Fighting Game Possible?

I've been playing fighting games for years now. Many years to be more precise. Ever since my 13th birthday when I got "Street Fighter II: Championship Ed." for the Sega Genesis I've been into the genre. To put that into perspective I'm nearing 40 years old now. That is a long time to dedicate to such a hobby. In my years spent with gaming, specifically with fighters (and I've played more than most gamers) I've noticed a trend that has been there pretty much from the start. That trend being the fact that the games in the fighting game genre have never really been balanced. Whether it be the OP (over-powered) bosses, an unbalanced roster, or poorly applied mechanics something has always been unfair for one player or the other.

What makes this so bad is that fighting games are now being marketed as an eSports type of experience. Developers have become so wholly focused on emphasizing the competitive scene that they've lost sight of what makes the genre so great. In doing so they continue to fail to see that their games are still the unbalanced mess that they always were. They don't realize how important it is to balance things out, and don't really seem to care. I think in a way the developers seek out the "show" associated with the fighting game tournament scene more so than they do making the actual fights in said games fun, and fair. Probably for sales purposes. They want their sponsored players to make a 3-ring circus out of the televised competitions for those watching, because a flashy tournament full of special effects, attention getting characters, and hype is seemingly more important than having a proper in-game fight with intense fun filled back & forth action.

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Ark: Survival Evolved - Day 2 (PREVIEW)

This morning I spent a couple of hours getting back into the PvE side of the"Ark: Survival Evolved" preview on the Xbox One. For whatever the reason the second go around was vastly more pleasant, and greatly more enjoyable than my first time with the game. The graphics definitely looked better. There were also less noticeable texture issues, and the frame rate hiccups weren't as bad as they were before. On top of that I finally figured out how to craft things which in turn allowed me to survive longer than I did before. I still feel that the menu management UI isn't as user friendly as it should be, especially in regards to the crafting mechanics though. I'd highly suggest referencing the in-game manual before getting into the game. As far as the fun factor goes this game is amazing! I feel like I'm a part of a living prehistoric ecosystem every time I get into it. I've had some laughable moments as well as some moments of discovery that kept me wanting to play more just to see what I could find.

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Ark: Survival Evolved (PREVIEW)

Instead of taking to Twitter, and spamming your timelines with my thoughts on the Xbox One "Ark: Survival Evolved" preview experience I figured it best to include it all here on this blog post. That way you can reference all of my thoughts any time you wish ...

When 'Reverb Inc.' contacted me about getting in on the preview of "Ark: Survival Evolved" I was honestly very excited. What got me even more excited than that base excitement was the fact that I was given the go ahead to stream, or post my thoughts on the game if I so wished. Not many PR, developers, or publishers have the brass balls to let the journalism outlets have at their game so early on, and this alone had me thinking we might actually be seeing one of the Xbox One's best game offerings yet. You can imagine the thoughts racing through my head when I realized that. While my anticipation was definitely hyped up, and my anxiousness to get into the game and hunt dinosaurs was to the extreme I found said expectations met with a bit of disappointment. Mind you, the game is still far from being hammered out to perfection though, and I expect it will be a work in progress up until release date. I fully realize that this is a preview build, and that the final product will no doubt function, and look much better than it does now. At least I'm hoping so.

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Fat Princess Adventures (PS4)

Before I get into this review the crew at 'Santa Monica Studios' wanted me to inform you that I was given a code by them. I chose to do the review myself though, and was not required to provide such a service. I'm simply doing it, because I fell in love with the game, and want my readers to know about it. Thanks to SMS for providing the code for this truly Awesome game! ...

Fat Princess Adventures, as it were is a fun filled RPG rogue-like adventure the likes of which I've never really seen in my time as a gamer, or a gaming journalist. While it does take obvious hints from the classic "Legend of Zelda" games, and games like "Diablo" it, in itself is a unique experience. You'll find an odd mixture of kid friendliness joined with some more mature gameplay themes. Within the game you'll find pop-culture nods aplenty, potty humor in various forms, blood splatters that would give 'Splatoon' a run for it's money, and adulterated entertainment references abound. Don't be surprised when you walk along a yellow brick road talking in a squeaky voice as you battle blood filled baddies that look as if they were ripped out of a child's storybook. Things like the underhanded mention of HALO, Blood Gulch, and the red & blue of said game are subliminally incorporated as well. As far as features go the amount of detail put into this miniaturized misadventure are titanic in proportion. Whether it be the diverse selection of characters, or their equally diverse voice-overs the attention to detail in-game is greatly impressive in so many ways. Sony, and the development studio behind this odd little treat of a game really went above, and beyond their means to impress on a budget level, and in doing so I think they succeeded. The fact that this latest "Fat Princess Adventure" offers online co-op is icing on top of the cake.

Saturday, December 12, 2015

The Wanting Oni and the Humble Monk

The Wanting Oni and the Humble Monk
a story with a moral by - Brad Carver

Long ago in a time when the demons of Japan, and the holy men of Buddha coexisted in the plains of life, and death there lived a wanting Oni, and a humble monk. The Oni, which spent it's time longing for that next wayward soul to pass was always unhappy, and always wanted for a better existence. Despite the enjoyment that torturing a new soul brought to him he couldn't be content with his role in the grand scheme of things, nor could he be content with the one or two souls sent his way every one hundred, or so years. He wanted more. He longed for more souls, and he longed for a higher position in the Oni hierarchy. Thus he made it his goal to rise among the ranks, and become the best Oni in hell. As the millennia passed, and the ages of Japan came, and went the wanting Oni continued to long for more. Though he had risen in the ranks, and became the leading Oni general with a constant supply of human souls to judge, and torture he still felt a longing in his darkened heart. An emptiness that just could not be filled. He did not understand it ...

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

My Hopes & Concerns For 2016

This year has been filled with many ups, and downs. I've had my fair share of issues, and triumphs just like everyone else has. Through it all I've tried to remain hopeful, and positive for the future. Not only for myself, but also for others. With the constant barrage of bad news, journalistic road blocks, and industry downfalls I've struggled to maintain a positive outlook. I've faltered many times, and have only been brought back to my feet by those of you who cared.

Looking forward at the possibilities of 2016 I find myself even more conflicted in the emotional sense. The world around me is collapsing, and each day I'm reminded how much closer this world, and my life are to ending. I'm realizing that my hopes which are grounded mostly on simple pleasures, and online friendships could be taken away without a moment's notice. At the same time I know 2016's lineup of video games is going to be something to behold. As oddly misplaced as that notion is it keeps me distracted thinking I might at least find some pleasant moments amid the chaos that will no doubt ensue. Video games for me have been a saving grace more often than not. At times they were my light at the end of a dark tunnel. That's part of the reason I find myself in a depressed state. Seeing the gaming industry fall victim to bad business practices, and extremist ideals hurts. It cuts deep. I know the days of couch co-op on the NES with my brothers are long gone, and that a true revival in the industry will likely never happen due to corporate greed, and industry mismanagement, but I still hope for some enjoyment from the hobby I've grown so fond of over the years. I hope, and long for the distraction.

Saturday, December 5, 2015

The Incredible Adventures of Van Helsing (Xbox One)

This review has been at least a couple of years in the making, if not more. Ever since the mention of "The Incredible Adventures of Van Helsing" coming to the Xbox 360, it's canceled release on said console, and it's later releases on the PC platform that is Steam I have waited anxiously to be able to play, and review a console version of it. It looked amazing in the shared screenshots that I viewed, and even in the developer diary videos that I watched which were constantly being posted throughout the game's lifespan. I'm personally a fan of the old Van Helsing lore, and even the questionable movie of the same name that starred 'Hugh Jackman". When 'NeoCore Games' announced that they'd be bringing the monster hunter to life in their own unique way I was stoked (Enter "Bram Stoker" Pun Here). The developers' vision seemed clear, and the gameplay looked promising. Unfortunately this hype that I built up over the years, and the longing to play the game was eventually met with the realization that the game's execution was far from being perfected. It's actually even far from being fully functional, to be honest. I suppose when you build up excitement for so long only to be able to play a version of a game that is so obviously flawed in delivery it adds a sort of salty edge to the deeply cut disappointment that comes with experiencing it first hand. Thus I find myself having to point out the many wrongs that I found among the few rights.

A Look at the Japanese to Western Gaming Censorship Problem

Though I only briefly said it before I predicted that other Japanese gaming studios would follow the actions of Koei Tecmo regarding western censorship. I said that once this exclusion of the western marketplace became a "thing" other developers would likely follow in Koei Tecmo's footsteps. Whether it's out of fear of a backlash, or straight stupidity it is inexcusable for any entertainment provider from any country in the world to not port an adult themed product to another country who clearly has an audience for adult material, especially a legally acceptable market for such material. At first I seriously thought this was an ordeal about social justice warriors, or extremists complaining about DOAX3's sexually provocative young ladies, but the more I thought about it the more I realized that it seems to be something else entirely. My theory is that these "niche" Japanese developers are looking for a way out of providing for the minor amount of fans they have amassed in the United States. I think their fear doesn't lie with the morals of the outspoken few, but instead lies with the realization that it costs more, and doesn't pay out nearly enough to produce their niche games overseas. I think the whole censorship debate was a marketing ploy started by Koei Tecmo, and that it is slowly being adapted by other like-minded Japanese developers. I think other niche developers like Idea Factory who recently caved into such supposed western censorship regulations are catching on, and are slowly backing out of the US market in an attempt to save face and finances. That of course is a theory though. Take it as you will.

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Praying to the Porcelain Throne

Clickity Click Bait! You've been had by Brad, lol! Just kidding! There is a point to this article ...

These days I honestly feel like I've knelt down in front of a metaphorical toilet bowl as I pray for my putrid disgust to pass while I continuously vomit out logic, and common sense with no relief. What the gaming industry has become is truly sickening. It has failed, and continues to fail the gamer in so many ways. Like a monster turd clogging a public comode the BS that the developers, and publishers constantly push out won't pass through the plumbing pipes that make up the integrity of the gaming industry. All bathroom metaphors aside I feel we, the gamer are being dealt a bad hand. I believe we are being given a raw deal. Whether it be bad business practices in the form of abused DLC, micro-transactions, or whatever this industry is being brought to it's knees, and the gamers who made it as great as it once was are no longer being heard. Why more gamers aren't vocally disgusted, and outright offended is beyond me. We, as gamers often times side with those well spoken individuals that tell us the gaming industry is failing, but we do f**k all about the problem. We continue to buy into the bad business practices reassuring shoddy developers, and publishers that it's okay to monetarily ream us a new one. I honestly don't think this ass backwards madness will ever stop. I don't think gaming will improve.

Monday, November 30, 2015

"Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 5" Post-Patch Assessment

Activision, as a publisher has seemingly lost touch with the fan base it has amassed over the years. Whether it be through series like "Call of Duty", games like Destiny", or even the recently released "Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 5" the development, and management direction they seem so intent on pushing is continuously so far out of touch with what the gamer wants that it's damn near heartbreaking. They seem to have forgotten what made the games, and series they have published so great. When it comes to THPS5 (Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 5) the same holds true. The once fun arcade style skateboarding experience has become, and still remains after the patch the most shallow, and heartless entry in the series. The music selection is atrocious. Long gone are the hard hitting popular songs of yesteryear. Now all we have is repetitive songs full of teenage angst, and dulled lyrics tied to an annoying set of instrumentals. Most of the songs in the soundtrack are ones that I don't even know as a middle-aged gamer. Along with the uncomplimentary song selection comes scaled down skate parks in which said parks look more true-to-life than they ever have before in the series. The skate parks are nowhere near as large as the parks of the previous THPS titles, and in contrast to the larger character models they actually look like a skate park you'd encounter somewhere in the real world if it weren't for the arcade power-ups, special effects, and more fantastical add-ons.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Gentleman Squid Announce Black Friday Holiday Release For Charity!!!

Recently I was contacted by 'Gentleman Squid Studio' about their latest PC game. and charity efforts. As it turns out this former XBLIG development team has gotten into the holiday spirit of giving, and have put together a limited time charity involving the holiday themed game that they have created. That game being, "Here Runs Santa Claus". The charity tied to said game will help benefit those in need at 'St. Jude's Children Research Hospital'. It will be released on Black Friday (November 27), and will only be available through December 26. The asking donation price is $5.00, but you can donate as much as you like with your purchase of the game. Just know that a percentage of each game purchase/donation will go to the previously mentioned charity.

Sunday, November 22, 2015

OtakuDante's Top Video Games Of 2015

I know I usually reserve this article for December, but seeing as everyone will be busy scrambling to get that perfect gaming gift for their loved ones early on I figure I'd go ahead and let you guys, and gals in on my top game picks for this year. For this year I'll be looking at specific deciding factors including that of replay value, the fun factor, the amount of content provided from the base game, and the overall quality. I know everyone wants more bang for their buck, euro, or whatever currency it is your country of origin uses. I will definitely keep this in mind going forward. As far as the games go I will be weeding through my list of reviews to pick the gems that are worth your time, and money. Some may be indie, and some may be retail. Just keep in mind that these are my picks based on my opinions, and facts gathered from having spent quality time with each game. Take my suggestions as you will.

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Gaming Impressions - Black Ops 3 & Fallout 4

I know there's a lot of conflicting opinions going around social media in relation to "Black Ops 3", and "Fallout 4". Some people think they are the greatest games ever to grace the new-gen consoles while others think they are steaming piles of sh*t not worth the deflating US dollar. I tend to have an opinion somewhere in the middle though, and for my own gathered reasons. In this article I'll briefly go over the pro's, and con's I've found with each game with said opinions included. Keep in mind I've played them only on the PS4, so my opinions are strictly in regards to those versions. I've also spent several hours with each game sampling most of, if not all of what the games had to offer. Fallout 4 being the only exception since it is a massive RPG. One which I am still far from completing.

Monday, November 16, 2015

Kromaia Ω (PS4)

Mine eyes are ablaze with the aftermath of the light show spectacle that is "Kromaia Ω"! It burns! It burns!!! All joking aside do be aware that this shmup bares some intense lighting effects that are sometimes flashy. Those who are prone to having seizures, or who have a family history of seizures should probably avoid this game. Even those who can tolerate such loud, and vibrant displays should only play for short amounts of time at a time as it can definitely effect your vision afterwards ...

When it comes to "Kromaia Ω" I can't say I've really ever seen another 360 degree shoot 'em up like it. The first thing that comes to mind is that this revenge against the gods space shooter could easily be a VR game compatible with a virtual reality headset. It is visually immersive on the highest level, and definitely looks like new-gen material. Whether it warrants the $30 price tag will be subjective though. I think 'Kraken Empire', the developers behind this 'Rising Star Games' publication were trying to base their pricing on it's "WOW Factor", and I have to admit it is definitely impressive enough in those regards. As far as gameplay, and modes of play go it is a bit limited in what it offers, though the open universe you traverse is anything but small in scale. For those of you wondering 'Kromaia Ω' is, at heart a free roaming 360 degree shmup that takes in account simple objectives, and an ultimate goal which does not demand that you stay on a linear path. The objectives being the gathering of level advancing items, and the end goal being that of getting revenge for your father's/mother's death by shooting down four galaxy sized gods.

Sunday, November 8, 2015

If Her Flag Breaks (ANIME)



GENRE: Harem, Comedy, Sci-fi

DIRECTOR: Ayumu Watanbe / Shigeru Ueda

ARTIST/S: CUTEG (Original Illustrations) / Hoods Entertainment (Animation Production)

MSRP: $51.99 (Premium Edition w/Art Box, Guide Book & Bonus Item) (http://store.nisamerica.com/if-her-flag-breaks-complete-premium-bonus-set)

RATING: Teen

DATE OF PRODUCTION: 2015

LENGTH: 2 Blu-rays, 13 Episodes / 306 mins. + Bonus Openings & Endings

AUDIO/VIDEO: Original Japanese Voice Acting w/English Subtitles. Includes clean openings and endings, character trailers, commercial bumps, and Japanese commercials as stated in the website listing. From a more personal point of view I found the visuals to be exceptionally vibrant, crisp, and clean. It definitely benefits from the HD Blu-ray treatment. Even the sound, or rather voice acting comes out loudly, and clearly through an HDTV's speakers. The soundtrack that is included is as lighthearted, and fun loving as the majority of the anime series is. It's truly complimentary to the equally fun loving intros, and closing animations that come before, and after each episode.

CHARACTERS/VOICE ACTORS: Sota Hatate (Ryota Osaka), Nanami Knight Bladefield (Ibuki Kido), Akane Mahogasawa (Ai Kayano), Kikuno Shokanji (Kana Asumi), Megumu Tozokuyama (Kana Hanazawa), Rin Eiyuzaki (Yoko Hikasa), Ruri Ninjabayashi (Ayaka Suwa), Mimori Seiteikoji (Yukari Tamura), Tsumugi Ryukishibara (Aki Toyosaki), Mei Daimyozamurai (Sakura Tange), Kurumiko Daishikyogawa (Misaki Kuno), Hakua Berserker Bladefield (Ai Kakuma), Serika Ginyuin (Aoi Yuuki), Miyuki McKensie (Yuuka Nanri), Sakura/Sacrament (Rina Hidaka), No. 0 (Risa Taneda) ... Council of the Seven Virtues

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Divinity: Original Sin Enhanced Edition (Xbox One)

Going into this review I'm going to approach it as a new game as I have no clue as to what the new additions are about. Bare with me, please ...

When I first began playing Larian Studios' "Divinity: Original Sin Enhanced Ed." I was truly overwhelmed by the attention to detail. So much so that I had to spend a little more time with it than normal to give it a fair chance. It had gorgeous landscapes, impressive character design, and tons of menu management options to boot. What you have to understand is that at first the immense amount of text based dialogue, accompanying voice-overs, and multi-layered menus had sort of left me lost without a proper grasp, or understanding. I thought all of it was too overbearing, and that it took away from the actual gameplay portion of the game.

Upon spending some quality time with it though the game grew on me. I became thankful that I didn't just quickly brush it off as some game not worth buying, and that I actually got to a point where I enjoyed it so much that I took to Twitter to boast about the find. I told my followers that it was a gem, and that it was very much worth the asking price. Both of which things I wholeheartedly believe. I also mentioned that it reminded me of a combination of other RPGs including Fable, Diablo, and D&D (Dungeons & Dragons) due to the implementation of things like a moral Q&A system, and Diablo-like perspectives/looting. It truly took me by surprise, and actually brightened the miserable week I was having through it's embedded sense of humor. The game definitely has an irresistible charm about it, and one that is so alluring it reminded me of so many wonderful fantasy films, and fantasy book adventures I partook of in my younger days. The movie, "The Neverending Story" comes to mind.

The Man Who Talked Sense (A PARABLE)


A moral story by Bradley Carver

Long ago in a busy village filled with idiots lived a hermit who had seen it all through the words of mankind. This man of a relatively young age, but elder wisdom lived at the edge of the village outpost in an overlooked, and long forgotten house on a clearing of land surrounded by forest. His humble home which was made of the most affordable materials at the time had an interior lined with shelves that were filled with a treasure trove worth of books, scrolls, and lost manuscripts. Day in, and day out the young lad buried his face in the pages of books. He knew about everything there was to know of the world around him without ever having stepped foot into the heart of the neighboring village, or even beyond it's boundaries.

One day while he was in the midst of his reading a knock came at his door. Curious, the young lad opened up the door to find an idiotic mob of villagers begging for his help. They clambered on about their crops not growing, and various other agriculture related issues. Having the knowledge to help, and excitement that comes with wanting to share his gained knowledge the man followed the village idiots to their farm lands, and one by one gave instructions to them on how to cultivate the land so that crops would grow. He even instructed them on how to raise livestock for the coming season's harvest. Once the deed was done the village idiots went back to minding their own business, and for countless years to come they once again left the young lad to himself with his tomes of knowledge.

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Rodea the Sky Soldier (3DS)


Kadokawa's "Rodea the Sky Soldier" has an interesting history that began in 2011. It's one that started on a rocky road of development, and has only since came to fruition this year. Interestingly enough this sky oriented action game that takes hints from the "Sonic the Hedgehog" franchise, and "Nights Into Dreams" began as an ambitious Wii title. You heard me right. Rodea's adventures in the sky kingdom of Garuda was meant to be released only on the Wii. Through delays as well as development, and publishing issues though it ended up not only switching intended release dates, but also which consoles it was to be released on. Instead of being a Wii exclusive it became a WiiU, and 3DS exclusive for the sake of being console generation relevant. Though the time, and transition phase was geared towards making the game what it was meant to be on the newer consoles it did not seem to change all that much.

After having gotten my hands on a 3DS copy of the soon to be released game it was more than obvious that the game was dated both in the graphical, and functional sense. The animations definitely looked like Wii era visuals, and the controls just did not jive with the 3DS control layout. Despite the the 3DS including a console tilt/movement function similar to what you'd get using a Wii Mote, and accompanying nunchuck it failed to make the tedious tasks of objective fulfilling, and point "A" to point "B" traversing a manageable ordeal. If you strayed from the beaten, and often times unapologetic linear paths you'd struggle just to regain your bearings, and would have trouble getting back on track where you needed to be. This along with some targeting, and movement issues only served to hurt my opinion of the game as you will find out ...

Saturday, October 31, 2015

Happy Halloween 2015!!!

It is October 31st of 2015. It is Halloween!!! Currently some of you are at work, and some of you are at school. The lucky few like myself are at home preparing for the evening's activities in some form or fashion. Whatever your plans may be, be sure to play it safe this Halloween. Parents it is your duty to keep your kids safe, and kids it is your duty to do as your parents tell you. I know that may be hard as a youngster, but your parents do know best ... usually.

In light of the holiday that is Halloween I do have some tips to help you in making sure this nightly celebration of ghoulish delight doesn't turn into one of tragedy, or misfortune. First, and foremost do not go into neighborhoods that are known for violence, or criminal activity. Secondly be sure to wear brightly colored clothing, or reflector strips to keep people from running over you in their vehicles. Also do not walk in the middle of the roads. Always keep your eyes on the traffic, and always mind your surroundings. When 'Trick or Treating' be sure to do so in the company of others. Preferably in the company of a responsible adult, or adults. When you get your candy back home check every piece for tampering, and if a piece of candy looks like it's been tampered with throw it away. For those of you with food allergies be aware of the types of candies you have, and what types of ingredients make them up. If you are allergic to any type of foods be sure to have the appropriate medications on hand in case you should have an allergic reaction. Those are all good tips that you should each abide by this Halloween!

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Zen Pinball 2 - "Balls of Glory" (PS4)

It's not a normal thing for Zen Studios to step outside the comfort zone of their "E - T" rating spectrum in regards to the table themes they choose to take on. You can imagine my own personal surprise at the fact that they actually went after "MA" rated late night cartoons this time around. While the cartoons themselves are often times subject to media scrutiny, and looming controversy due to their overly explicit content the tables did seem to stray away from that mindset, and maintain the common decency which Zen Studios is known for. You won't hear cussing, or anything questionable in the way of quotes, but you will still find the often times unapologetic, and sarcastically dark humor associated with each of the four television shows embedded within. Among the lot, which you will be getting for a single affordable price ($9.99) are "Family Guy", "Bob's Burgers", "Archer", and "American Dad!". Each of which comes complete with character based scoring objectives, and features as well as events that tie-in with fan favorite episodes pertaining to the long running series. Like the cartoons that they mimic every table in the set comes to life with replicated character animations that look as if they were ripped straight from the shows themselves, and accompanying voice-overs that seems to have been contributed by each of the original voice actors, and actresses. It is truly fan service at it's finest. In saying that, and realizing that that's the case I've come to understand that if you've not followed the cartoons like me you'll be completely lost in the puns, memes, and comedic jabs that are thrown out at the gamers in a sort of massive assumption of common understanding. It's not necessarily a bad thing though.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Future Reviews & Smite Impressions (Xbox One)

While you wait for my next three review posts I thought I'd go ahead, and let you in on what's up. Recently, and possibly by good fortune I was able to secure three games/items for review including the latest Zen Pinball 2 "Balls of Glory" tables, 'Divinity: Original Sin Enhanced Ed.', and 'Rodea the Sky Soldier'. It honestly seems like it's been ages since my last review posting, and I cannot express how excited I am to be able to get back to work. As far as said work goes I'll be doing some serious multi-tasking since the games I've received were ones that were all slated to be released around the same time of month. All three games, though on different consoles come in at an order of importance close to one another due to their release dates, and accompanying embargoes, so you can expect them sooner rather than later. In fact two of the game items have already been released, and only Rodea is yet to be out to the public making it all the more important for me to get the job done ASAP. Speaking of Rodea, my nephew is going to get a sneak peek of it this evening while I begin my playthrough. It's one of the perks of being related to me, lol! He saw the word "soldier", and got super excited. I can't blame him. I don't think he knows what it's about though. My guess, since he is into that G.I.JOE toy phase is that he thinks it's an army type of game. Hopefully he'll enjoy it regardless as he's working hard at his school work just to be able to watch me play.

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Crowdfunding - "Good or Bad?"

As you likely know I just got through watching AlphaOmegaSin's Youtube video regarding Square Enix's crowdfunding/Kickstarter ambitions. My opinion about said topic respectfully mirrors that of Alpha's in that I think "Triple A" companies have no business turning to fans to fund a game especially when they can stand on their own two feet as a company. Square Enix, in particular has done, and is doing alright for themselves. They still have the money to publish, and produce 'Triple A' games. For them to ask fans to give them money for translations of Japan only video games is almost robbery, in my opinion. Translation, as tedious as it may be is nothing like making a game from scratch. It's not. Even if they were using a service like Kickstarter to create a game from the ground up I'd still not back them in their efforts, because time is the most uncertain thing in this world. We don't know what the next minute, or even second holds for us let alone the future outcome of a Kickstarter that is basically a gamble of time and money itself. Time has shown that Kickstarters, and crowdfunding are indeed a gamble. Even when some studios meet their goals the games still never come to fruition. That 'Red Riding Hood' indie game comes to mind.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Dragon Quest Heroes: Final Impressions & Verdict (PS4)

At first "Dragon Quest Heroes" seemed to be a simple bare bones JRPG brawler akin to the 'Dynasty Warriors' series, and not much more than that. You had short lived missions that you could take on with applicable in-depth battle mechanics, and after battle intermissions that left the player wanting more. I personally longed for that epic battlefield experience that 'Dynasty Warriors' is known for, but the game seemed to fall short of living up to such a grand in-game spectacle. Sure the game looked, and sounded amazing, but one couldn't help but ask "Where is all the epic stuff?". Thankfully the more I played the more the game opened up to me. There were plenty of new playable characters to play as, and plenty of new vendors that offered up even more things to do in between the various mission objectives. Not only did you have the enemy clearing challenges, and boss battles adorned with story driven cutscenes, but things like grinding levels that could go on forever began to show up. Those lucrative extra missions, and the weekend bonuses really got me excited about actually dedicating some time to my playthrough. While it may not be a game that's for everyone I do feel that 'Dragon Quest Heroes', and it's unique approach to the JRPG formula has earned it it's rightful place on the PS4 as a true gem of a game. A "Must Have!!!" title!

Saturday, October 17, 2015

Dreams, Ambitions & the Long Road Out of Hell

It's hard to not notice the lack of posts from a favorite blogger especially when said blogger used to post reviews, and articles like an obsessed madman. Assuming that you've followed this blog, and my posts from it's humble beginnings you'll more than likely be able to notice the difference in the content that's being provided, yourself. Sure I still type up quality reviews, and sure I've still got the support (which continues to grow), but things have begun to slow down to a crawl. I still reach out to developers and PR, but due to various issues things aren't all that easy to come by anymore. I've had my personal falling outs with PR who obviously don't want to do their job, and have even run into an issue with the Industry not offering much in the way of new releases. Being a journalist who has the time to dedicate to multiple reviews, but who cannot do so due to such issues makes me rather frustrated. I offer up my talents pretty much freely in comparison to the paid off sites, but often times get turned down for one reason, or another regardless.

What developers, and PR fail to see with my blog, and my review offers is that this blog is a hassle-free platform for getting the news out to a significant amount of gamers, or hobbyists. There are no pop-ups, no loading issues, and the reviews I provide are easy to understand yet highly informative. Of course I also follow-up via social media with my readers, and followers if they are interested in knowing more about a game, or product. I often times go out of the way to back games that I was impressed by as well. Not many mainstream sites can claim all that. In fact I recently caught a mainstream site/streamer that reviewed "Disgaea 5" giving one of the most uninformative reviews I've ever watched on Youtube. They talked to the followers like they knew the series, and that they knew the game. That is where my reviews differ. I spare no words in relaying necessary game information, and my opinions of said game afterwards. I even go out of the way to try, and help the developer better understand how to appeal to their target audience at the end of it all. Why I'm passed over as much as I am with all that I offer is truly beyond me. I think developers, and publishers often times seek the more well known outlets while not understanding that most of them are under scrutiny by gamers themselves. As a PR seeking attention for your supported studios you have to realize that It's not the messenger (the sites) that really matters, but more so the message. If you would bother supporting lesser gaming blogs like my own, and like-minded journalists with the time, and talent to commit to reviews you could get some serious attention. Keep in mind though that it also helps us when you treat us like the well known sites by sharing our links.

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Dragon Quest Heroes: The World Tree's Woe & The Blight Below (PS4)

When I chose to pre-order this game I kind of knew what to expect, but honestly upon playing it my expectations weren't met in full. At least they haven't been up to this point. Currently in my playthrough I seem to be caught up in the game's introductory phase which is teaching me the controls, and various other mechanics related to the Dynasty Warriors inspired gameplay. I will say that what I've learned so far is easy enough to pick up on, and understand, but that the control scheme is a little complex. Unlike the DW games there seems to be a lot more involved in the various combat scenarios that you take on than what you'd find in such gaming experiences. Sadly those combat scenarios, or missions which have the characters getting to the bottom of the world's monster issues are short lived, and divided by character management intermissions. I do understand in saying that, that I have yet to experience the game in full though. I'm hoping there's more to it than to just go out, kill all the baddies, and return to better equip your characters for the next battle. We'll have to wait, and see though ...

When it comes to the complete package that is "Dragon Quest Heroes" the graphics, and accompanying soundtrack are hands-down the most delightful I've experienced thus far this year. By Square Enix, and Koei Tecmo sticking with the original artist of the series on the project it has truly lived up to it's hype both visually, and audibly. There's plenty of gorgeous cutscenes, and even the in-game character models are a sight to behold. The fact that the soundtrack is so special the developer, and publisher had to throw in a copyright notice regarding the legal terms of streaming the game tells you that this game is truly a gem in someone's eyes. To me the soundtrack was a noteworthy homage to Dragon Quest games of old. It sounded retro, but modern at the same time. It had a sort of fun-loving ambiance that reflected the more lighthearted scenario that the game encompasses. Keep in mind there is a bad guy doing bad things in the story, but this game is anything, but foreboding. The added fact that the spoken dialogue can be heard through the PS4 DualShock4 controller makes the game even more immersive.

Monday, October 12, 2015

Playstation Communities - OtakuDante's Fight Club

After finding out about the new PS4 community feature I took it upon myself to start up a community geared towards fighting games, and the enthusiasts who love them. As the title of this post suggests the name of said community is, "OtakuDante's Fight Club". It is for both experienced gamers, and newcomers looking to get into the genre. I'm hoping that the more experienced players will extend open arms, and tutor those willing to learn the tricks of the trade in a sort of mentoring leadership. That is the goal of my community. That, and simply having fun playing the games. As of now I only have a few members joined, but I am looking for any active participants who aren't going to troll me, or the other legit players who join. No mods are allowed, and that includes the use of modded controllers with mapping functions. As of now the membership is open to anyone wanting to join, but might change if things get out of hand.

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Onigiri (PS4)

Today I took the time to try out CyberStep's free-to-play Japanese/Anime MMORPG "Onigiri", and was pleasantly surprised at what I found when I dedicated some time in figuring it out. Beyond the initial setup that required an email and password, and further beyond the Tecmo Koei inspired character customization menu I entered perhaps one of the more oddly beautiful gaming experiences I've had the privilege of playing this year. While the graphics do look like something ripped straight from the PS2 era, and are outdated for being on a console like the PS4 the world in which you play, and the mythological creatures you encounter in battle more than make up for the more poorly applied design elements. It truly is a Japanese inspired role-playing experience in every way imaginable. Even the soundtrack screams "Japan!". As a matter of fact a couple of Japan's own flagship games, and gaming series come to mind when I think of "Onigiri". Digging deep beyond the facade, and into the skeletal structure of the game that is, "Onigiri" I find that it reminds me a lot of the quest oriented N64 "The Legend of Zelda" games as well as the hack 'n slash centric "Toukiden: Kiwami" games that were recently released on the PS Vita, and PS4 consoles. Unfortunately everything that makes this free-to-play experience a gem could fall short of impressing the American audience it's aiming to captivate for the simple fact that it's not explained nearly well enough.

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Weekly Update - Oct. 6, 2015

This morning I spent some quality time with friends playing through Destiny's weekly Nightfall, and uncovering a secret that's tied to god knows what in the Daily strike? Afterwards I did my morning routine of tidying up the place, getting a bite to eat for breakfast, and spending some time on Twitter chatting it up with my other friends. To me it's time well spent even if I'm not currently obligated to deliver a review. Speaking of game reviews I have been seeking out possible review prospects, but due to the availability issues, and my limitations with PR I'm finding it difficult to gain anything. I did, however go out to Gamestop last night, and pre-ordered "Dragon's Quest Heroes" for the PS4 which I'd be glad to review if anyone wishes to know more about it. In the meantime I'll be gaming for myself, and doing a couple of dvd reviews for my "Adult" blog readers. I do realize I need to post something of significance soon on this blog though, or risk forfeiting some of my loyal followers. Just keep in mind I am reaching out for review material, and that I'm still trying to keep this blog afloat.

Saturday, October 3, 2015

Weekend Blog Log (Oct. 3, 2015)

It is Saturday, or rather late into Saturday of October the 3rd. I've mostly sat on my ass today tweeting to friends on Twitter via the old PC, and have spent a lot of the extra time off playing Destiny. Despite my lingering complaints about the game it is one those gaming experiences that has kept my undivided attention. I think most of that can be attributed to my friends' love for the game, and my return love for gaming with said friends. I have to admit that I do value what little time I have with my friends each evening in Destiny. It's a friendly conversational opportunity that I'm not afforded very often outside of social media text chat. Though my contribution to said conversations consists of mostly out of place exclamations, singing, and a lot of "dude" talk I still get to speak my piece about gaming, which I enjoy greatly. The one-on-one sessions with my friend 'Trouble' always gives me the opportunity to open up even more about my day, hobbies, and gaming passions. In return I also listen to her about her day, and her thoughts on things. It's a friendship that I couldn't do without, and one that I'm truly thankful for.

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 5 (PS4)

Growing up as a gamer among my brothers I had the privilege to share my time playing some of today's retro classics in good company. One of the most memorable gaming moments that I can think of in regards to those times, and those classics includes me playing "Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 2" on the PSOne with my brothers back at the old homestead. We always challenged each others' high scores, and even spent time laughing as the characters wiped out on the pavement of various environments in an over-the-top fashion. Things like the absurd gravity effects which caused characters to drift forever upward made for some truly laughable moments. I also loved unlocking the secret characters which always seemed to make the experience even more enjoyable. Being able to play as different versions of Spider-man was awesome as was the other unnatural characters which became a part of the Tony Hawk's lore over the years. The series was definitely epic in every way imaginable back in the day, and as time progressed with new releases the franchise always seemed to stay close to the roots only deviating from said set path to innovate a little. Everything about the series from the arcade style skateboarding features to the secret characters, and unlockables as well as the easy to learn mechanics always kept true to the classic Tony Hawk's pro skateboarding video game formula.

Past all that, and onto the recent release of "Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 5" though I have found that while the game has attempted to stay true to it's core standards it deviates somewhat, and sometimes fails at being the more fantastical, and rock solid skateboarding adventure that it once was. Instead of adventurous treks through larger than life skate parks for that high score we have a series of environments that are more true-to-life in size, and centered mostly around a socially interactive experience much like a true skate park would be. Things like online competitive modes, and a new "Create-A-Park" map editor will have you experiencing the game with people from across the globe in a variety of different ways as you show of your virtual skateboarding skills. Even the offline single player which has you gaming by your lonesome offers up social standings in a sort of leaderboard fashion that keeps track of your performance progress, and feats in the limited selection of levels that are made available to you. I think this time Activision really went for that true-to-life skate park appeal, and only added certain arcade style gaming nods into the mix as more of an afterthought. Those missions that have you completing gap lists, and collecting items as well as spelling words are more or less a way to unlock the customization extras which are tied to the game's new skateboarder leveling system. As such the main focus is more about impressing people with your skills, and less about the single player campaign shenanigans.

Friday, September 25, 2015

Gaming Journalism - The Inside Scoop

I've been in the gaming journalism biz a little over four years now. Closer to five, or six if you count my work with other official websites. I've poured countless hours, days, months, and even years of my own personal time into ensuring that I have a place among the more well respected gaming journalists. As a one man reviewing army I think I've pulled off some impressive numbers in my time. More so than most paid off, or bought out mainstream gaming journos. Sometimes I honestly feel that the struggle to stay relevant in this industry isn't worth the hassle though. If that makes any sense? As a lowly blogger it hasn't been an easy road getting to where I'm at today. Not by a long shot. I've had to prove myself over, and over to various PR of the same studios which I've worked with in the past due to constant staff changes among other things. The PR turnover itself is, but one of many stumbling blocks I've tripped up on on my way to covering retail releases. The fact that gaming journalism is an actual "J-O-B" that requires actual dedicated work often times makes me second guess what it is I'm doing, especially since I offer up my services for a game code that costs the developer/publisher nothing in the grand scheme of things. That, and the added fact that I pour my heart into what I do to provide some of the more notable reviews on the web really makes me question things.

For the longest, before all of the knit picking guidelines, review material hassles, PR bullsh*t and journalism requirements were introduced I was a successful indie exclusive blogger. I truly loved the time spent exploring, and sharing what I found in regards to those lesser yet innovative indie games. It was easier to convince indie developers to have faith in my work, and in turn made it easier for me to provide critiques that were attention getting simply because the games themselves were unique. Jump forward to today though, and you'll find that the retail phase I'm in doesn't allow me to provide as many review posts as I did in this blog's earlier years. Sure the support has grown as have my followers, but I feel like I'm letting the lot of you down by not staying up to date with what's going on in the gaming industry, game-wise. Like other journalists I'm slowly losing motivation to continue onward due to the various complications that I run into. Whether it be PR like that of Atlus's who won't give you the time of day in regards to a request/follow-up inquiry or the lesser and lesser amounts of available review codes it always seems like something is getting between me, and what I aim to do with my blog. At times I've lost heart, and felt like retiring. Enjoying some gaming for myself doesn't sound all that bad, to be honest. To hell with developers, publishers, and PR who have the business etiquette of a spoiled child (you know who you are). At least that's the way I see it sometimes ...

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Disgaea 5: Alliance of Vengeance (PS4)

Returning with a vengeance NIS's long running tactical JRPG series, "Disgaea" makes it's way once again to the forefront of the gaming scene in an attempt to impress a new generation of gamers. This time around the PS4 exclusive that is "Disgaea 5: Alliance of Vengeance", and it's traditionally based, but vastly tweaked micro-management system aims to attract a broader audience with even more to do, and plenty more to discover! While those of you familiar with the series will find yourselves at home once again in the netherworld that coincides with the Disgaea series theme you will also find that new mechanics/features have been added as well as new characters, and an all encompassing plot that takes in account a multitude of different warring netherworlds. Even the enemy comes in various new forms with the main threat being that of Void Dark.

The rag tag group of vengeance seeking overlords which will be leading the episodic show-down against said baddies includes the mysterious wanderer "Killia", The mistress of men "Seraphina", The brute demon with a superiority complex "Red Magnus", and the supposed demon overlord with a hidden agenda "Christos", among others. As a team brought together for a single unified cause these denizens of the damned are all out for one purpose, and one purpose only. That purpose being to rid the netherworld of Void Dark! Each of them, for their own personal reasons want to conquer Void Dark, and his tyrannic army. This of course is where you, the gamer steps in. While there's not really one main character to take on as a personal role plot-wise you will find yourself seeing things from all of the main characters' perspectives. As I mentioned before this latest installment of Disgaea has a plot that is all encompassing. Through some serious grinding you might just be able help the anti-heroes, and heroines of this particular tale do what they've set out to do as you learn more about their deep seeded plight.

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Destiny: TTK - Initial Thoughts & Opinions

It has been a long hard road out of the Hellmouth folks. Seriously. Year one of Destiny has taken a toll on my confidence that online gaming can be salvaged for future generations. Throughout Destiny, during the first year it was evident to me that the game was flawed on a serious level. I could ramble on for a good hour, or more about how many things were wrong with Destiny in it's "Beta" phase, but I won't though. You've likely all heard it by now anyways, and with the new expansion upon us what is relative is "The Taken King". When it comes to this hyped, and highly promoted end-game experience which is tied to the core of Destiny the added expansion has lived up to said hype in some ways, but still continues to fall extremely short in others. The story, for example is the prime example of what the other expansions should have been content, and story-wise. It is the most epic, and cinematic journey I've seen in Destiny, yet. The Crucible, however is still plagued by problems mainly brought on by those who play it, and those who sit on the sidelines doing f**k all about what's going on. Even with the new maps, and modes of play the online multiplayer that is the Crucible comes off as being a proper annoyance in many different ways. As a result Destiny, in it's entirety is currently an offset balance of quality, and the lack thereof.

Saturday, September 12, 2015

Whasssup!? At The Inferno???

As you've probably noticed the posts have slowed down to an almost non-existent state this week. There's a reason for this, so don't jump ship just yet. Currently I am working behind-the-scenes on my "Disgaea 5: Alliance of Vengeance" playthrough, so that I can have that review out when the embargo is up. Disgaea is a game series that demands a lot of attention as it includes a ton of different things to do. I'm having to dedicate time to focus on details of the game so that when review time does come I can flow forth words in one fluid motion without having to go back, and reference things. Believe it, or not, but JRPGs are one of the more difficult genres of games to review, especially if you aim to be thorough. With that being said though I will be looking into Tuesday's PSN store offerings to see if I find something worth bringing to your attention via a review. I have admittedly slacked a bit in requests, but with my Xbox LIVE subscription renewed I can start reviewing Xbone game releases again. That will up my review count at least a little. Thanks to those of you who did not take back your Google+ likes, and to those of you who have stuck around. Just know that I've not given up, and have more reviews intended for the weeks, months, and possibly years ahead. Life willing, of course.

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Knock Knock (PS4)

Ice-Pick Lodge's debut console thriller, "Knock Knock" will no doubt strike a chord with many creepypasta, and urban legend fanatics around the world. Not only is it's gameplay psychologically horrifying, but it's also the type of game that makes you second guess yourself. In fact the introduction to the game which is typed in a sort of hypothetical series of quotes clues the gamer into such a creative direction, or possibly even the lack thereof. It basically states that the developers obtained instructions on how to make the game from an anonymous person, and that the game is best looked upon as an urban legend as well as played alone, and in the dark. When it comes to making sense of the game it definitely all depends on which way you choose to look at things. I personally think the reality behind the game lies on a deeper more psychological level meant to test our own rationalization skills.

The suggested "interactive" experience that lies within the digital confines of "Knock Knock" is eerily child-like, and borders on being stealth in design while including the need for proper understanding without overthinking things as well as actual platforming element knowledge. All of which is tied to the theme of irrational fears. At heart the game incorporates the passage of time, and everything horrific that the haunted mind can dream up within the nighttime hours. The creaking of floorboards, the flickering of lights, and voices in the dark will all play on your most primal fears. Your objective as it were, is to merely make it to dawn so that everything regains a sense of normality for the game's odd protagonist. I'd say that despite it's obvious trip into the psyche of the rather disturbed individual (aka, worldologist) it plays heavily on the key fear behind trying to rationalize irrational circumstances. Of course I too could be overthinking it all, and it could simply be a game to test areas of my own human nature as a gamer, and a fellow human being.

Monday, September 7, 2015

Hyper Void (PS4)

In my twenty plus years as a gamer I've seen all kinds of shmups (shoot 'em ups) come to light. From the Atari 2600's "Yar's Revenge" (which basically amounted to clusters of tiny moving pixels) to the more complex, and intense bullet hell shooters of today the creations developers have designed have evolved in more diverse ways than what most video game genres can claim. I think the fact that shmups aren't the hardest thing to develop makes the interest in creating such games all the more attractive to developers thus making them an easy go to project, and one of the most plentiful of indie gaming experiences for gamers to purchase these days. I think the developers who grew up at the time I did when arcades were a hit, and such shooters were commonplace really connect with the genre on a personal level. Thankfully there are also gamers around who still love the high scoring challenges, and challenging nature that such games provide as well.

When it comes to Inframez' vision of a shoot 'em up I think it's safe to say that "Hyper Void" somewhat surpassed the visual hype that was the trailer, and at the same time kind of lived down the sickening graphics that most of you will be worried about. At the heart of the experience "Hyper Void" is a simple space saga in the making that will most likely be lost to the gamer due to the more binary terminology, and the way the story elements are presented in-game. Sure there is a story if you stop long enough to read it, but spamming the various shooting options, and control functions will often times cause you to skip the virtual panel pop-ups that house said information. Regardless of this fact the gameplay itself is a deeply involved "Wipeout" inspired gaming experience that will definitely test your mettle as a high scoring arcade game player, and try to impress you while doing so. The game is both simple in layout, easy to pick up on, and vastly complex in the way the visual environments are depicted. If you remember the wire frame computer graphics of the 80's arcade scene, and enjoyed that first introduction into the realm of 3D I think you might just enjoy 'Hyper Void' for it's visually heavy gameplay. Be warned though it does have the potential to cause seizures in those who have a family history of it. Thankfully the warning is one of the first things you'll see when the game starts up.

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

What Warrants a Perfect 10 Rating in Gaming?

In light of the hype that surrounded MGSV's perfect rating I feel inclined to voice my opinion about what I think warrants a "10/10" rating in the world of gaming. Before I get into that though I want to explain that I can't recall in my career as a gaming critic ever having scored a game with a perfect numerical rating. I've just never found such a game, and if I were to be 100% honest I'd say that that game does not exist even with today's gaming technology advances in place. There are too many factors to consider when rating a game based on number values as well as particular in-game features that must be evaluated, and unless all those points are flawless then such a perfect score would be invalid. That's why I tend to avoid numerical ratings altogether.

While I've personally been amazed at what Konami has done with MGSV (and speechless at moments) I still cannot bring myself to saying that the game is perfect. It honestly isn't. Despite my urge to critique the knit picking things related to MGSV's build I will refrain from doing so, because I want to keep this article as generic as possible. This isn't only about MGSV. This article is about giving a game a perfect score, and whether or not the game deserves it. It's also about what a perfect game would have to be like to gain such a rating.

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Amnesia: Memories (PS VITA)


Produced initially as a visual novel game for the PlayStation Portable back in August of 2011, the "Amnesia" series has continued on throughout the gaming scene in various forms, and has captivated it's core Japanese fanbase while doing so. In turn this capturing of the core audience's attention has also caused the creation of other non-game related merchandise including a 2013 anime series on the side. It has even brought the series over to our western shores via translated versions. The story behind said visual novel based experience is basically of the "Otome" game classification. Meaning that the gamer will be taking on the role of a female protagonist, and will be engaging in relationship related scenarios with provided male characters while progressing the plot at hand. While there's really nothing sexual to be shown in the provided situations the romantic relationships found within do play a prominent part in said instances. In the case of "Amnesia: Memories", for example the nameless female protagonist in question finds herself waking up without a name, recollection of she is, or what has happened in her real world to cause her to forget all of said information. What she is left to deal with as she awakes, and traverses several possible alternate realities/worlds named after playing card suits (Heart, Spade, Club, Diamond) is a lingering tug-of-war relationship with a supposed boyfriend, and a separate possible love interest/s.

As you play the game, and get to know the girl's odd situation more intimately through character driven conversation, detective work, and her daily routine things begin to make sense, but only if you choose the right replies to the questions that are asked of you. This is one of those game series where choices greatly impact the story's outcome, and as such you will certainly find different endings for each scenario based on what you choose. The balancing scale in the middle of all of said character interactions being that of "affection", "trust", and "suspicion". Mind you there is a common ground in the different worlds that the female protagonist encounters though, and for the most part that common ground comes from a rather fantastical source as you'll find out from the start.

Thursday, August 27, 2015

"What I am & What I'm Not""

From time to time I like to post an article going over my life's journey, and how it is I got to this point at being a gaming, and adult film journalist. It's sort of a way to keep things in check, while trying to make sense of why it is I do what I do. In that sense it's all a reflection for me. For most of you you'll likely see me as an underdog who kind of appeared out of nowhere, but to me it's been a long hard road getting here (A certain Marilyn Manson song comes to mind). I haven't exactly been a "somebody" all of my life, and until a little over four/five years ago I did not become as well known as I am today. For the longest I have lived in silence, and solitude withdrawn from society, and have been unable to reach out to anyone like you. I kept to myself in my little corner of the world, and used my imagination, and creativity to make the days before me more tolerable. I often times read books, wrote poetry, did art, played video games, watched movies, and listened to music in the confines of a single room in the house I grew up in. I can't remember the last time I had an actual friend in my life, nor do I recall what it's like to have a close friend to hang out with. I've become so accustom to being alone that until now I was not even a person in the sense I could not relate with people on a personal level. I lived in my own little fantasy world which resided in my own imagination. I had genius conversations with myself, and even enjoyed video games by myself. Even with the occasional support of family members I still felt alone in this world.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Danganronpa Another Episode: Ultra Despair Girls (PS VITA)


NISA's Danganronpa series continues it's twisted, and often times morbid tale with one hell of a plot deviation that most gamers will not see coming. This 'Spike Chunsoft' re-imagining of the traditional Danganronpa formula not only impresses with it's visual aesthetics, deep seeded storytelling, and action RPG inspired gameplay mechanics, but goes well beyond all of that to provide likely the best entry in the series to date. It touches base on some real world problems while continuing to be it's own beast of burden. We find some returning characters of interest as well as a character or two that was briefly shown in the previous two game entries. All of which are showcased through amazing in-game visuals as well as through decent length anime sequences, and CG cutscenes that will no doubt keep the gamer closely following what the hell is going on. Content wise this sequel is more robust in nature, and more hefty with everything that it offers. While the developer could have easily made it a more linear experience they added extra mini-games, secret items to discover, and a grade system among other things that will have you spending plenty of time outside of merely advancing the plot. As usual the game is chapter based, and will incorporate some of the elements of the previous Danganronpa experiences while doing it's own things with them.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Shutshimi: Seriously Swole (PS4/PS VITA)

If you like your WTF with a side order of memes, and pop culture nods then you might just like Neon Deity Game's, "Shutshimi: Seriously Swole". Like Konami's 'Paroduis' (a Gradius Spin-off) you'll find an unlikely protagonist shooting unusual oddities in a fictional shmup driven environment. In the case of this particular indie shmup you'll play as what some journalists deem a "Reverse Mermaid". The creature in question is a fish with two buff arms in the place of fins. For whatever reason this guppy with a shotgun, and a cigar in his mouth has a beef with invaders who have invaded his oceanic paradise. That's all that's disclosed via intro plot text before you are thrust head first with no f**ks given into a series of wave based mini-game inspired modes that incorporate the usual shmup mechanics. Through the provided mode selection screen you'll enter an underwater world filled with creatures that ought not be there as well as some that will have you second guessing your current state of mind. The game doesn't take itself seriously, and plays on the memes, pop culture nods, and WTF inspirations of social media. In a way it's like a trend itself in that it bundles all the absurd worldly trends into one super wacky gaming package. Sure there's an actual game embedded in the nonsense, but it's more so a nod to nods.

Monday, August 24, 2015

Curses 'N Chaos (PS4/PS Vita)

Tribute Games has done some impressive things with their retro/indie hybrids. Wizorb, for example mixed classic 8-bit retro RPG mechanics, and visuals with classic brick breaking combat to make the perfect retro tribute. The end result was that the game not only caught the attention of me, but also a number of other gaming journalists who were into the indie scene when that game had launched. It was even accepted among the gaming community on an equally impressive scale. Seeing the previous success, and impressive nature of 'Wizorb' I was very curious to find out what Tribute Games' latest creation, "Curses 'N Chaos" was all about. I had not seen the trailers prior to requesting it for review, but I did see the screenshots, and accompanying art which all looked awesome to me. When I finally got into the game I was pleasantly surprised, and hooked from the start as I found yet another hybrid retro experience done up with all the glory of an innovative indie. This game turned out to be a mixture of Metroidvania platforming, RPG elements, and wave based combat similar to what you'd find in a shmup (shoot 'em up). It may seem odd, but it's the type of game that takes skill to master, and delivers on so many levels in demanding that mastery.

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Weekend Blog Log (Aug. 23, 2015)

Here I sit once again contemplating life, and the recent week's happenings. I've come to the realization that I'll never have a solid week's worth of peace. It's just not going to happen. It's not a realistic goal. Despite being unrealistic, and out of reach I do also realize that I will have my peak moments of happiness in life that will make the down times an easily forgettable series of events. I just have to hold out for those shining moments, and sojourn on through the darkness that will eventually happen ...

At the beginning of this week I was thankful, and beyond grateful that I'd finally gotten enough review material to matter. Instead of scraping by with only a single game to review I had received an anime Blu-ray set, and several games to cover. It kept me busy, and my mind off of the negative things in life for a short while. Unfortunately as I took on said tasks my efforts were plagued by drawbacks including a week's worth of stormy weather, and the stress that comes with friendship. I hate even mentioning it, because I know it'll only serve to drag my readers down with me, but that's the nature of my life. I'm on a roller coaster ride that just won't level out. Nothing, but highs and lows. This weekend I've tried desperately to regain focus, because I've still got review work scheduled. I'm hoping that I can find that peace of mind among the storms, and life's negative surprises, so I can get done what needs to be done. That is my hope for the coming week.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

The Troubled Life of Miss Kotoura Premium Edition (NIS)

GENRE: Romantic Comedy, Drama, School Life

DIRECTOR: Masahiko Ohta

STUDIO/PRODUCER: NIS, Nippon Ichi Software

MSRP: $51.99 (USD) (http://store.nisamerica.com/the-troubled-life-of-miss-kotoura-complete-premium-edition)

RELEASE DATE: Aug. 4, 2015

LENGTH: 2 Blu-ray Discs, 12 episodes, 288 mins.

AUDIO/VIDEO: This Blu-ray set is geared to be played, and watched on an HDTV. It sports 1080p visuals on an AVC MPEG-4 16:9 scale. The colors are vivid the animation is clear, and the characters look amazing doing their thing on the widescreen in HD. As far as the audio goes it is a LPCM 2.0 Japanese soundtrack with optional English subtitles. The menu system which house all of the anime greatness is easily accessible, and contains a "Play All" option, a "Scene Selection" option, and even an "Extras" option for viewing the opening, and ending song sequences.

CAST: *ACTORS/CHARACTERS* Hisako Kanemoto (Haruka Kotoura), Jun Fukushima (Yoshihisa Manabe), Kana Hanazawa (Yuriko Mifune), Yuriko Kubo (Hiyori Moritani), Hiro Shimono (Daichi Muroto)

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Kung Fury: Street Rage (PS4)

Going into this review I was very curious to see what a $1.99 promotional video game experience would be like. The price tag alone had me intrigued. I had hoped for the sake of the gamer, and the developer that 'Kung Fury: Street Rage" would be a brawler similar to that of "Streets of Rage". To my dismay though It was nothing like that. It was nothing like the quality indie games former XBLIG developers had made back on the Xbox 360 gaming console, nor was it like the previously mentioned 'Streets of Rage' experience. In fact Hello There AB, the developers behind this movie based action brawler made it as bare bones as they possibly could. I guess they figured bringing back the nostalgia of the 80's arcade experience, and offering little else of new generation standards would suffice. As much as I love the arcade cabinet screen look, and the 80's nod I cannot back this game even at the lowly price of $1.99. I've seen indie developers do more, and ask less for what they have created than what 'Hello There AB' has done. You can't just feed off of a movie's hype, or nostalgia to make yourself known as a proper indie studio. Quality matters even in the indie development scene.

Adventures of Pip (PS4)

Tic Toc Games takes all the impressive things about the retro gaming era including the 8-bit goodness of the NES, the 16-bit upgrade of the SNES, and the graphical 32-bit upgrade of consoles like the original Playstation, and makes the penultimate homage to the classic gaming experiences us older generation of gamers grew up enjoying. Of course there are a lot of nods, and inspiration borrowing from titles of said consoles, and console eras, but for the most part "Adventures of Pip" remains it's own unique experience throughout it's entirety. Beyond the Metroidvania platforming, The Castlevania quotes, the Legend of Zelda II features, and the Super Mario World maps you'll find a story about a tiny pixelated kingdom not unlike our own world. Within said kingdom lies a land divided by wealth, social standings, and the lack thereof. The currency, and social stature being that of pixels themselves. Things like today's real world stock market, the homeless, and the potential introduction of a one world currency (BitCoin) come to mind in relation to this game's accompanying lore.

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Conspiracy Coroner - "The Entertainment Industry Sold It's Soul to the Devil"

Hello there! It's your friendly neighborhood conspiracy coroner, back with some entertainment industry possibilities! Prep yourself once again for the details about one of my conspiracy theories relating to the greedy stance taken by many, if not all industry providers. It's gonna contain a dab of religion, but I will not push the envelope beyond generalities, so don't get your undies in a wad. Replace the biblical entities with any good, or evil deity that you wish. Good is good, and evil is evil ...

Saturday, August 15, 2015

Let's Talk - "Numbers vs Quality"

This topic has been weighing heavily on my mind for the past few years that I've been into the retail part of the journalism biz. The topic in question being, "Numbers vs Quality". It's obvious through my rants, and ravings that I think greed has taken a firm grip of many entertainment outlets including that of the video game industry. A grip that developers, PR, and publishers just won't loosen. Industry makers see numbers in the form of possible monetary income, and sales percentages. Sure that's an important part of running a business, but if you give the consumer less, and constantly ask for more you begin to look like the greedy corporate pig that you are. On the opposite end of the spectrum gamers simply want to spend their hard earned money on gaming experiences that are of the highest quality. Experiences that are not plagued by day one patches, broken elements, or other fun negating issues. They simply want to get their money's worth in the form of a fun time. Of course as it stands there is no middle ground meeting on the plain of "Numbers vs Quality". It's a one-sided scale that is usually offset to one side, or the other by number crunching businesses, or the cries of gamers who are getting fed up with being force fed the same excuses as to why they are not getting their money's worth. There is no balance to be found here.

Weekend Blog Log (Aug. 15, 2015)

For most of this year I've been met with huge disappointments on the gaming journalism front. I've either been too late to request a code, or denied outright by the constantly changing PR. I've even had to get reacquainted with PR, because of employees leaving for one reason, or another. I have tried to keep it up for you guys though, and have been inquiring constantly despite what my meager review output might imply. Today, despite the shortcomings I am glad to say my gaming, and hobby review plate is full once again. I've got an indie to review, a Danganronpa game to review, and my first NISA anime to cover. Things are looking up for the old Inferno once again. I have to say in the midst of all this good news that I wouldn't be able to do what I do if it weren't for your support. For that I humbly, and sincerely thank you. You are the force that keeps me going, and that keeps me from retiring. I hope that you stick around for the future reviews, and that the critiques I provide are worthy of your patronage. Here at the Inferno I don't half-ass things, and I work my ass off to provide you the best informational reading experience I possibly can. It's the least I can do for those of you who acknowledge, and support my efforts. Once again thanks for continuing to stop by, and reading what I have to say! Thank you very much!

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Awesome NISA Review News!!!

It has been a super long while since I've sat down to enjoy any new anime series. I've just been so involved in gaming, and adult film work that anime has taken a back seat in my ever-expanding list of things I want to do. I have noticed a ton of new anime series over the past few years that I want to see, own, and review, but gaming, comic book collecting, and toy collecting have become my mainstay review related hobbies lately. Thankfully the guys, and gals at NISA have heard my plea about reviewing anime though, and have allowed me to review one of their exclusive anime series. It is a premium edition, which NISA is known for, and it houses the complete 12 episode series plus extras on two Blu-rays within an art covered box container. For those of you who are curious about the title of said anime it is, "The Troubled Life of Kotoura". I haven't got a clue in hell as to what it's about, but from the box art it looks to be one of those pervy, and comical anime misadventure series filled with wacky hijinks. I'm anxious to get started on my viewing of the collection, and will be snapping some photos to accompany the detailed review that is to come. If you guys want to see a video unboxing on my Youtube channel just let me know, and I'll try to make that happen as well.

Friday, August 7, 2015

Conspiracy Coroner: "Illuminaughty, Anunnaki & Otherworldly Matters"

For as far back as I can remember I've been fascinated by the occult, the spiritual world, and worlds beyond our own. I've read countless books, articles, and stories relating to things like aliens, reptilians, and ghostly apparitions amongst other oddities. I personally think that there's a hidden truth to it all, but not exactly as we see it. I've always had the theory in mind that this world is made up of layered realities. Like an onion with it's many layers I feel people, things, and events from the past, present, and future are all happening simultaneously in our plain of existence. With things being layered like that that's why I believe some of us are able to see things like ghosts, and otherworldly creatures, theoretically. If my theory is correct then there could also be ways for knowledgeable individuals to traverse said layers at will, and influence the various time periods as they see fit. It is this intentional influence upon time that could possibly be swaying the balance of power, and the way things will play out for those of us who have yet to see the future ahead. Where this theory gets interesting is that all throughout history traces, and hints have been left behind in a cryptic manner for us to discover. Even the entertainment world of today contains hidden meaning, and messages relating to the occult, and otherworldly happenings.

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Trans-Galactic Tournament BETA (PS4) - "Impressions"

This morning I spent some time getting familiar with Kiz Studio's new free-to-play MOBA, "Trans-Galactic Tournament". It is currently in a BETA state, and is not yet complete. Thankfully there were no NDA (Non-Dsiclosure Agreements), or legal notices required to play, and enjoy the game though. After having played through the tutorial, and the first few "Plunderball" matches myself It became apparent to me that this game is an indie trying hard to impress on a MOBA level. By that I mean it's not as grand in scale as say, "League of Legends", or 'Smite", but does hold it's own as a competitive team oriented gaming experience nonetheless. I'd say it's a scaled down version of those types of games in some ways, but is more akin to a team based brawler. You do have your MOBA mechanics, and features, but at heart it plays more like a brawler that took a hint from the FPS genre. The modes of play which become available as you level up your character through the initially playable mode, 'Plunderball' are included within the 'Tournament (ranked)', 'Quick Match', and 'Practice' main menu listings. They take hints from FPS 'Capture the Flag', 'Domination', and 'Team Death Match' game types, respectively. In this case 'Plunderball' replaces CTF, 'Conquest' replaces DOM, and 'Annihilation' replaces TDM. Each mode is a small team endeavor with a team based objective in mind.

Monday, August 3, 2015

Plans, Plans, Plans ...

It is early August of 2015, and I've got little to offer in the way of reviews, unfortunately. Journalistic outlets of various standings are jumping the gun, and requesting review copies early. Most of the time I'm left wanting in said cases. I've even run into the problem of finding a proper contact in some instances. I know that sounds like a bunch of excuses to not provide for my dedicated readers, but it is what it is. What I do have planned for this week is a basic review of the upcoming free-to-play PS4 MOBA, "Trans-Galactic Tournament". After having sampled the last supposedly "Free-To-Play" MOBA I have my doubts about the sincerity of the free-to-play model though. I will spend some proper time with it learning the controls, and feature functions to give you a breakdown of how user-friendly it really is. From the preview trailer I can say that it looks visually promising, and definitely more action oriented than the previous PS4 MOBA flop. Sony definitely needs to provide a proper MOBA experience as that is a rising genre in competitive gaming, and with Microsoft having the rights to "Smite" they really need to impress the genre fans with this new game. I'm still holding out hope for a worthwhile free-to-play experience on the PS4, something akin to what "Destiny of Spirits" had to offer. A true free-to-play gaming experience. While such a thing might dip into Sony's pocket if they were to offer something of a "Triple A" nature in the free-to-play format they could possibly make up for the loss, and earn a profit with more console, and gaming peripheral sales. That's "Big Business 101", my friends. Take a hit to impress, and it could lead you to fame, and fortune.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Phantom Breaker Battlegrounds Overdrive (PS4)

Back in early April of 2013 Mages, and their publisher 5pb released onto the Xbox 360 XBLA library a substitute game for a planned Phantom Breaker 2D fighter. This unsuspected yet brilliantly delivered anime beat 'em up that was "Phantom Breaker Battlegrounds" ended up surprising even me. It turned out to be a game that incorporated deeply involved fighting game elements into a "Streets of Rage" style brawler. It could be played solo, or in the company of friends as a co-op, or competitive game making it all the more intriguing. There was both local, and network play included in the affordable retail cost. The art style that accompanied said gaming experience was of a cutesy chibi-anime design, and was done up in a way that utilized pixels for character builds. One might think that such an odd combination of features would screw with the game's intended quality, but in the end it was the perfect genre blend. When 5pb announced the release of an upgraded version of the same game for the PS4 earlier this year I was once again excited to take that trip down memory lane, and see what changes, if any had taken hold of the original experience. To my dismay I did not notice any real changes other than the inclusion of a former DLC character, and some possible tweaks to the character management system, and modes. Regardless of these possible basic improvements, and the lack of truly new content I still had a blast playing through the game. It definitely lived up to the asking price, and it's former glory.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Youtube Culture, Gaming, and the Entertainment Industry

Diving right in ... I've noticed, since my own Youtube channel's debut in 2008 that things slowly but surely began to effect various things in the world of social media, and entertainment. Youtube started on a harmless note with comedic videos, and videos of the homemade sort meant to entertain those newcomers who would dare invest time out of their day to view what the content provider had to offer. Eventually when money making aspects reared their ugly head alongside other harmful trends Youtube, and the accompanying social media outlets took the internet invention on a downhill spiral that it will likely never recover from. Everyone, and their mother was out to get their time in the spotlight. Everyone was looking to make the big bucks even if it meant forsaking their morals as entertainment enthusiasts. Things like "Trolling", and "Griefing" became popular. As sexist as it may sound sexy gamers also became a popular thing. To this day there are tons of copycat channels providing like-minded content of the worst sort to their subscriber fan base in hopes of reaping that PewDiePie fame, and fortune. Let's jump aboard that trend train kiddies! Choo! Choo! ...

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Weekend Blog Log (July 26, 2015)

For those of you who have followed me this past week on Twitter you'll know that I had a sort of emotional meltdown. For the first time in a long time I had hit rock bottom in my life, and openly so. I think it was a combination of things building up to that point, and not particularly one simple thing. My life is chaos. I endure family drama on a daily basis, and life in general has begun to collapse around me. When a certain friend started making judgmental tweets indirectly about something I had tweeted earlier it sent me even further over the deep end. I felt bad for having lost her friendship, but at the same time knew the ties must be broken. What you have to understand is that I go to Twitter for an escape. Each time I log in I look forward to the positive things my friends have to say whether it's game related, or whatever. For a long time gaming had been that escape for me, but with the quality of online gaming, and gaming in general going downhill I can no longer depend on that hobby to brighten my day. Twitter has once again become my last hope at happiness. Even that is suffering from drama though.

Friday, July 24, 2015

Destiny - "A Reflection, A Farewell"

This morning, out of sheer curiosity I logged into to Destiny on the PS4 just to see what Xur was selling. It's like a bad habit now. Regardless of the nature of this routine addiction I played through two weekly heroics with my Hunter, and Titan to get the strange coins I needed to buy whatever it was that Xur had in stock. The weekly heroic playthroughs went by fairly quickly, and smoothly on the level 32 difficulty setting, mostly thanks to void burn damage. As usual I was rewarded with 9 strange coins in each playthrough, and went to spend said tokens on Xur's stash. I should also note that someone at Bungie gifted my Titan 9 extra strange coins, possibly because I complained about the state of Destiny this morning. It didn't say it was from Bungie, but the tagline "gift from an unknown benefactor" pretty much stated the obvious. When I finally found Xur near the 'New Monarchy" vendor in the Tower (At the large sealed door) I discovered that he was peddling the same damn crap he always does. It's SSDD at it's worst. Regardless I nabbed some exotic chest armor for my Titan, and a pair of exotic gauntlets for my Hunter. Both of which will not likely be of any use for my preferred play style. As I went about my morning Destiny biz doing all of this some thoughts came to mind. Particularly about the current state of the game, and what it used to mean to me ...

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

God of War III Remastered (PS4)

The 'God of War' series, for me has been a truly exciting journey through makeshift mythology. While it doesn't exactly stay true to it's Greek origin stories it does give us history buffs plenty to enjoy as we help the protagonist, 'Kratos' exact his revenge, and tear the foundations of Olympus asunder. The combo based gameplay, and brutally unforgiving boss battles help to set the proper mood for this story of vengeance, and and the Spartan soldier who was done wrong. In the beginning (aka, "God of War") we learn of Kratos being tricked into killing his beloved wife, and daughter by the Gods themselves. This act of betrayal sets into motion the ultimate fall of Ares, the original "God of War". After Ares is slain in the first game Kratos assumes his place, and identity amongst the Gods of Olympus. Not satisfied with Are's fall though Kratos takes his war mongering through the Olympian hierarchy, and sets his sight on Zeus who was the mastermind behind his betrayal. He ends up nearly defeating Zeus only to kill Athena instead. Of course Zeus retreats, and Kratos pursues him up Mount Olympus with the aid of Gaia, and the Titans who have been trying to get at Zeus themselves. Thus enters the third portion of the ongoing 'God of War' saga ...

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Weekend Blog Log (July 19, 2015)

Here we are at the final day of the weekend. It is Sunday, and so far my weekend off has been a mixture of grief, and fun. I have been gaming with my friend @Bitch_Duck_ in Destiny lately, and have been enjoying our online time together. We each hail from similar life circumstances, and find comfort in chatting with each other as we game. It's a nice distraction being able to talk to her as we play. I can't say I'm enjoying Destiny too much, but being alongside her in it makes things more tolerable. In the way of family strife my Grandmother continues to worry about every little thing. She worries to a point it's consuming every moment of her daily life. Often times she says she'd be better off dead, and living life the way she does I could see myself feeling a similar way. The only advice I can offer people like her who constantly dwell on the negative things is that you're life will only be miserable so long as you continue to dwell on things that make it so. Find hope, and positivity even if it is in the simplest of pleasures. Life is only worth living if you can set goals, find hope in a better tomorrow, and strive to make the most of the time that you are given. Don't become set in your ways. Don't become satisfied with merely passing time, and hoping for an end to your misery. The only way you are going to dig yourself out of that abysmal hole that you're in is to make an effort to do so.

Thursday, July 16, 2015

What Gaming Means to Me ...

First off I want to say that a certain Twitter follower whom I've blocked seems to be tinkering around with my passwords, and social media accounts. If you notice any suspicious activities/posts that seem to be coming from me be aware. They are more than likely not from me ...

Growing up I've seen some truly dark times, and have experienced a lot of grief in said times. As such gaming for me has been an escape from my troubled existence many times over. Had gaming never become a part of my life I don't think I would have done too well in the grand scheme of things. I truly don't. I know a lot of gamers out there who can relate with me in saying that same thing. When it comes to gaming in the current iteration of consoles though I'm finding it very hard to enjoy the entertainment genre I've grown up loving. The introduction of online features, and the follow-up of half-finished games that incorporate shady DLC practices have all but begun to bleed the gaming industry dry. Like a proper horror movie vampire greed, and the seeking of massive profit has started to drain the life force out of gaming, and the gamers who dare invest in it's current generation offerings. Sadly too many gamers have become complacent with said practices, and wrongdoings. They don't speak up for themselves, and just accept things as they are.

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Zen Pinball 2: Ant-Man (PS3/PS4/PS VITA)

Beyond what I've seen in the movie trailers I have absolutely no clue as to what the Ant-Man origin story, or continued Marvel lore entails. It's a given that the rogue protagonist who plays the role of the miniscule hero is gifted his abilities through the scientifically created suit, and helmet that he wears. In a similar way as the Iron-Man saga we are also presented with a hint via the trailers that a certain someone is out to steal the technology, and that they eventually do. Thus creating the series' villain, the 'Yellowjacket'. I imagine all sorts of shenanigans go on as 'Scott Lang (aka, Ant-Man)' changes sizes, and commands armies of ants to defeat his almost equally sized adversary. There will no doubt be a criminal aspect thrown in as well since Scott led a former life of crime before joining forces with 'Hope Van Dyne/Hank Pym' for the good fight.

For those of you looking for that usual Marvel history lesson fret not as I did do some online digging in order to provide at least a few factoids that relate to Ant-Man's source material. Those factoids go as follows ... Like many of Marvel's masterpieces 'Ant-Man' had his humble beginnings as a guest character in a series that was not his own. In September of 1962, in the pages of a comic book known as "Tales to Astonish #35" the original Ant-Man (aka, Hank Pym) made his debut appearance. Unlike the movie protagonist Hank created, and sported the unique size and strength changing apparatus as a scientific way to combat the world's many problems. You could say he was one of Marvel's geniuses in that respect.

Thanks to the initial trio of comic book legends (Stan Lee, Larry Lieber, and Jack Kirby) whom each contributed to the origin story of Ant-Man the pint-sized hero that was Pym was able to pave the way for other characters of interest to sport the same mantle through the years, but to a different affect. Originally Hank Pym was the scientist who crafted, and the Ant-Man suit/helmet combo, but through chance encounters Pym's legacy was passed on. In the Scott Lang continuation Scott effectively steals the suit to save his daughter only to be caught by authorities, and trained later under the tutelage of Hank Pym himself in order to turn his life around for the better. Of course it goes without saying that the epic saga did not end with Hank, or Scott, and has in fact been picked up to this day as an ongoing series in the ever-expanding Marvel multi-verse. In total there are four men (possibly more ...) who have each donned the Ant-Man guise according to their own unique situations. This includes Hank Pym, Scott Lang, Eric O'Grady, and Chris McCarthy. While the story is a continuation of sorts that has been built upon through the years other famed Marvel artists including 'Robert Kirkman' and 'Phil Hester' have also contributed their visual, and novel interpretation of the characters/situations at hand. With the success of the Ant-Man film, and the revival of the super-hero we may yet see more in the way of comic book spin-offs, merchandise, video games, and films. Let us hope so!