"He combs the galaxy like his pompadour on the hunt for aliens."

It’s the Dandy Way

Space Dandy Series Review

What can say for a show that is so unpredictable. Nothing. Space Dandy was more than pop culture references, it was how to live your life. Most of you have no idea what I’m talking about. According to Wikipedia, Space Dandy is an anime that follows Dandy, an alien hunter who is “a dandy guy in space”, in search for aliens with his robot assistant QT and a space cat named Meow. Created by series directed by Shinichiro Watanabe and produced by Bones. The same creative team worked on Cowboy Bebop.

Though it only lasted two seasons, this show could have conceivably went on forever. The many Easter eggs that the show drew upon. These nods made the show more fun. Yes, some of the episodes were crazy and insane, like you were on some kind of drug-trip. Episodes ranged from the classic space race (a la Speed Racer), zombies, and the format wars. Space Dandy is one of those shows that can combine outstanding visuals and action with hysterical comedy. What makes the show work so well is that it does not care at all about its continuity and never takes itself too seriously allowing it to go all out when it comes to an episode’s plot and not worry about the ending. A giant explosion or a zombie apocalypse is just the tip of the iceberg for the crew as the adventures they take never cease to be funny.

Is that your final Dandy?

Is that your final Dandy?

One of my favorite episode was “Nobody Knows the Chameleon Alien, Baby”. Dandy and crew are starving aboard their ship. So, they bring an alien to get registered. They get challenged to find a Chameleonian. Which is an alien that no one its what really looks like. They unknowingly capture the creature on a fishing spree and bring their catch aboard their ship, where it begins impersonating the crew to outwit them and evade capture. One of the best scenes was of a completely random man who walks on-screen in the background whilst they bicker over whose fault it is. Of course, they don’t notice. Then Dandy finally theorizes that there’s a stowaway on the ship, prompting an exaggerated gasp from everyone including said random man. Again, no one notices. Then they decide to call roll call, and everyone, including said random man, calls in. No one NOTICES. HAHAHAHA!!!

Space Dandy had lots of laughs, touching scenes, great voice acting and interesting twists and turns. The soundtrack was amazing, the animation remains consistent and fluid. This anime just keeps giving and giving. I’ll leave you with the music video tribute that Toonami gave it on it’s last episode. Stay dandy, baby.

9.7/10

DI Review 2

An Infinite Gamble

“To infinity and beyond!” That is the catchphrase of the well-known space explorer Buzz Lightyear. Disney Infinity grew from that sentiment. To create anything you want and play anyway you want. Characters from different Disney films interacting with each other. Play how you want. In this latest edition of the Disney Infinity series, Marvel Comics joined to bring some superhero in to the mix.

Let me disclose that I have not played Disney Infinity 1.0 or any other swappable character type games. This is completely new to me. This review is going to be broken up into two parts. First, the Avengers play set and finally, the Toy Box mode.

Avengers Play Set – Story/Gameplay/Graphics

My first thought was “the Avengers are fighting Loki again?” The story is simply this. Loki escapes from Asgard and attempts to freeze New York with the help of M.O.D.O.K of AIM and a frost giant army. The story is lacking in development. SHIELD and the Avengers are called in to clean this mess up. For a game of Disney Infinity size you would think it would have a longer story line. For me this was about 6 hours to complete. The side quests are intermixed when picking a level. That is one complaint I have. You don’t know what level is the story line or a side quest. By asking Fury, Wasp, or the others, all you do is pick a level. There is no indication of what is the story line and what’s not.

Since this I bought the PS4 Disney Infinity 2.0 starter pack, the characters you received are Thor, Iron Man, and Black Widow. I also received Captain America too for pre-ordering. Mainly I chose Thor. He can fly and call down some thunder justice. You can upgrade him and all other characters with their own skill tree. (By the way Level 30 Thor is a god!) The gameplay is simple. I guess this is because it is a “kids” game. You have a targeting system but the lock-on moves too much or doesn’t even work in if you are too far away from the target. For instance, if a frost giant is in front of you can lock on to him but if he moves in front of a car the lock on will move to the car. The targeting system is not worth it in most cases. This system was better in the Toy Story 3 Toy Box and that is where they got all this Disney Infinity inspiration from. I did like that some SHIELD agents did help you out if they were by the action.

Most of the levels are going simple. “Go here and destroy this” or “Go here and stop the frost giants”. Fighting Loki was a bit overdone and the fight with the final boss was too easy if your character could fly. In the first part of the level “Pier Pressure”, the frame rate dropped severely and did this several times. I have no idea if this was me or the game causing this. This should have been a standalone Hulk game. Really! It would have worked.

For a second incarnation of a game to warrant a next-gen console version, you expect it to have some great graphics. This version is decent but bare. Where are all the trees? New York City has trees the last time I checked. NYC looks bare. Just building after building and a small gathering of trees. I was surprised by the detail of smashing in to a building. You could actually see inside the building. The frame rate did suffer on one level, like I said earlier. The one thing I did dislike are the cut scenes. They look like they are not rendered properly. The character models look great zoom to third person but zoomed in not so much. Some of the sound clipped out on the final battle.

Teen Titans G....wait wrong universe.

Teen Titans G….wait wrong universe.

Toy Box

This is where Disney Infinity shines. After unlocking items from playing the main story, you can place them in your Toy Box. In that land you can do whatever you want. You also have now an INterior(HQ/clubhouse) to build and add-on to. I did have some problems with building area. Naming my area Jump City, I started building. The tutorial only does so much. The toy box expects you to know how to do everything. Yes, they do have builders who will build everything for you like a city or tree house but there is a limit. The more items that are in your city, the higher the “thermometer” is. Once you reach the limit, you can’t add anything else. To create your toy box, it takes time. I only had one mishap when buying an item. I wanted the Tron Identity Disk. When buying an item, looks like a skill tree. You have to buy the items before it to buy that one. I bought the identity disk but I can’t find it. No where does it tell me where it is. It is aggravating to know you bought something but can’t use it. Disney Infinity 2.0 expects you to know how to use the toy box. Yes, it does give you a tutorial after that you are on your own.  I really wish they would tell you the location of purchased items after you unlock them.
I chose not to review any of the Marvel power disks because at the time I did not have any. All in all, I wanted Disney Infinity 2.0 to achieve high marks. I wanted it to succeed! I was pulling for it. I really believe this was a great game. It was just okay. There are a lot of things to be fixed before 3.0 comes out here’s hoping the development team will fix it.

6.9

image

Amazon’s iPhone Killer?

Yesterday Amazon revealed it latest product: The Fire phone. Amazon entering the smartphone market in a bold way.. Just another step towards building out a consumer driven ecosystem.

According to Amazon’s founder  Jeff Bezos, “Can we build a better phone for Amazon Prime members? Well, I’m excited to tell you that the answer is yes.” The new phone is described as having a 3-D, 4.7-inch high-definition display. It uses infrared lights and cameras mounted on the phone’s surface to track a user’s head movements and render images accordingly.

Amazon’s new installed app called “Firefly” uses the camera to recognize physical objects — books, games, food, household products and other items — and gives you the option to buy all that stuff instantly on Amazon. Also, it can recognize music like the Shazam app.

The Fire Phone will cost $199 with a two-year contract, available exclusively on AT&T’s network. It is currently available for pre-order on Amazon’s website, and it will begin shipping on July 25.

 

My Take: From what I seen on the new phone, it looks cool. The 3-D feature looks exciting but I wonder if this could cause eye problems down the road. The only thing I am concerned with is the Firefly app. Yes, it is amazing technology but will this all of this information is where do it go? What will Amazon do with it. I might be too cynical. If the video game Watch Dogs taught me anything it is “Everything is connected” and “Data is everything”.

Did you catch ‘em all?

 

imageRemember that April Fools joke that Google played on Pokémon fan? No…well here is a recap: Introducing their updated Google Maps app they plopped 150 Pokémon around the globe. By tapping on them you “caught” that Pokémon. Catch all 150 and win the title of Pokémon Master.

Reports were coming out that the legendary Pokémon Mew was out there. These reports were true. After that, Google contacted the people who collected all 151 Pokémon. Asking for their name and address.

Well now via Reddit – Google sent out a letter and business cards with your name and title of Pokémon Master.  I competed the Pokémon Google Maps challenge, so I await my prize. I will update you when I receive it.

 

WD2

Data is Everywhere

“Hacking is everything”. That is core approach for Watch Dogs. If you remember back to when we first seen this game at E3 2012, this game was a breakout hit. This game is about the personal data that we hold dear yet share on the internet freely. If nothing more, Watch Dogs is about what can happen where information is power and power corrupts.

Story
You play as Aiden Pearce. He was a criminal hacker, trying to make some easy cash. One job took away all that. He is haunted by the death of his niece. It was not his fault but Aiden lives with the pain. He is not your typical hero. He will cross that line to keep his family safe. Yes, this is your typical revenge story. That might be the negative in this game. I was hoping for some more meat to the story. ctOS is the main villain here. That is a computer system that runs and records all. As that first teaser trailer back at E3 2012, information is power. With varying hacks Aiden uses the ctOS to his protect his family.

Gameplay
What can I say? It is a game based in a open world Chicago. All you do is hack. For Aiden and now you, hacking is a way of life. It is very simplistic in its working. Yet it does work and works well. If you are running after a criminal. There are a multiple options available to you. Breaker, steam vents, valves, and electrical boxes. Hacking is as easy as judging the distance of the enemy to the hackable object.

In some ways the gameplay will remind me of Batman Arkham Asylum and Arkham City. You have in different sections of the Chicago a ctOS stations. By gaining access to these stations, this allows you to use hacks and profile citizens. At these highly guarded facilities, you need to find the access code and then hack the main grid. By using the security cameras perched above, you can do this without a shot fired being fired from any side. One of the fun things about this game is the freedom to play the way you want. I stand outside of the stations, access a camera, maybe mess with a guard or two, find the codes, hack the system, and leave.

Yes, the run and hack is mostly what you do. With most of the gameplay being driving to a destination and taking out a group of guards or hiding from the police. That brings me to the driving. It is like driving a high speed tank down the street. In some instances, instead of speeding away. You peel out for a second. Wasting valuable time if you are trying for catch someone. From a company that made the Driver games, you would think the driving would be better.

I don't think this is how a police chase works.

I don’t think this is how a police chase works.

As in most open world games, you also have side missions. These can range from chess to digital trips. Spider is the best! You play as a robotic spider, with one goal: Destroy. It seem that this could have been a easter egg. It reminded me of the spider slayers that are after Spider-Man. Also, this game has some glitches. Nothing serious but funny. You might have seen these on the internet. I would say these glitches give this game some personally.

Overall

Watch Dogs is a fun game. With varying hacks, missions and unlimited people to surveil, you will come back to this place. It has some flaws but if you can look past the driving and the lackluster story, this game property has great potential.

8.7/10

KirbyTD

Kirby Kirby Kirby

Today I bring you the review of Kirby Triple Deluxe. It is the thirteenth installment of the Kirby game series. Retro is really in at Nintendo. I would not say that Kirby is an old property but he could fit in somewhere. We all know Kirby…right? Well if you don’t, he is a round pink ball with eyes and a mouth. He does not talk much. All he says is “hi”.

STORY

As for the game’s story, Kirby lives in this place called Dream Town. Where he lives a very simple life of flying, fishing, and sleeping. One day as he is sleeping, a giant beanstalk vine thrust his home into the night sky. Waking up, Kirby sees what had happen and ventures up the stalk. He comes across King DeDeDe’s castle. Which has been carried up in the clouds too. Kirby sees a mysterious figure burst through the castle doors. As our hero Kirby runs to the king’s throne, the mysterious figure takes King DeDeDe further up the vine like stalk. It is up to Kirby to save the day!

 

GAMEPLAY

Kirby Robin Hood, away!!!

Kirby Robin Hood, away!!!

All Kirby games are simple to play. Besides walking, jumping, and dashing. He only has one ability: Inhale. This game focuses on that ability. In this game and other Kirby game your ability to suck up your opponents and absorb their powers is key. Not all enemies have powers but all can be used as a weapon. Most of the powers here are the same as previous games. There are four new ones: Archer, Beetle, Bell, and Circus.

Along with these new powers you have the Hypernova inhale ability due to the Hypernova fruit. This allows Kirby to inhale items that he previous could not. Which is not limited to not just enemies but large trees, rocks and gigantic eels. This power is used in innovative ways. You can inhale and walk backwards to pull something or propel a drill boat on hot lava. In these levels, you have a mini boss which will usually shoot some item at you. Kirby inhales the item and shoots it back. Simple mechanic but fun.

MOVE. THAT. TREE!!!

MOVE. THAT. TREE!!!

In this game you go from stage to stage collecting sun stones to unlock the boss at the end of the levels. As a platformer, it is at its best. The 3D effect adds another touch whereas Kirby can travel to the foreground and background wherever there is a shifting star to help him. Certain parts of the level requires you to tilt your 3DS to put out fires or help guide a lit fuze across a maze.

As I stated in my opening, I believe that Nintendo and HAL Labs was going for a retro theme. They might have missed the mark. As you play through, you will find keychains. These are the collectables in this game. The keychains are of various enemies and Kirby powers through his video game history. You can’t really do nothing with them other than to see them in your keychain collection. I mean does Kirby have a keychain? What does he do with them?

KTD Key

At times you need it most the controls are a bit loose. Each power has a set move list and combos for different power moves. To activate a certain power, I would sometimes use the 3DS D-pad. Using the analog stick was too loose. I would try one move and get another.

Kirby Triple Deluxe has two other games included. Kirby Fighters and DeDeDe Drum Dash. Kirby Fighters is the fun one. It is like a Super Smash Bros. clone. You can play one of four different colored Kirby’s and choose one power. You can duke it out which your friend or see which power reigns supreme.

All in all Kirby Triple Deluxe is a fun game. The nods from previous game are there. There is a little extra for beating the game and to replay it as well. I don’t know the idea for putting the keychains in the game. There was no clear thought on that. I would have like a little more involvement on that part.

8.5/10

All Aboard the Hype Train!

Webster dictionary defines the word “Hype” as promotional publicity of an extravagant or contrived kind. In this realm of video games we know this well. Game companies know what we want. Hype can come in many different forms. When pre-ordering for some game you can get different levels of a pre-order that will come with bonuses. Also, you could have exclusive DLC or skins for the character for only one system. I will be the first to post the an item showing the graphical capabilities of the new Watch Dogs game or new gameplay. It can lead you to talk about it with friends.  Which itself is a great thing.  It is perfectly natural to be excited for a game and consequentially hype it up; however, is it really a good thing for us to be doing so?

You all remember the game Aliens: Colonial Marines? Five years ago, Sega announced that Gearbox was going to develop an FPS based on the Aliens franchise. Aliens: Colonial Marines had Fox’s blessing to tell a canonical story that bridged Aliens and Alien 3. It looked pretty good in demos, and for a moment it seemed as though, after being disappointed for decades, Aliens fans were finally going to get the game they deserved. Unfortunately, the result of the long wait turn out very differently. It became worst for Sega and Gearbox due to the pending lawsuit claiming the two companies falsely advertised Aliens: Colonial Marines by showing demos at trade shows like PAX and E3 which didn’t end up being accurate representations of the final product. I won’t pass a final judgement on them but the hype surrounding this game because of the screenshots and trailers that came out, it had reached a point where me and other people expected it to do anything and be everything we wanted from an Aliens game, even when that could never really happen. Even though this Aliens game was not the worst game ever, it seemed far more disastrous to us than it actually was because it became so built up in our minds.

 

CoD image

The above picture is from an IGN article showing the next-gen version of Call of Duty.  Sledgehammer Games revealed this image showing in-game character model. People are already reading into this character and dissecting where does this take place. This is a Call of Duty game, I need to see soldiers in action and explosions everywhere. I need to see the story and the premise. That is what I am going to care about.  Not a cheek. When I am living in the best moments in the game, it will not be about the pores in this guy’s face. This seems impulsive and not planned out. (The image was shown in private at a GDC 2014 function.  Asking what happen between now and then is for another blog post.) Sorry for going into a small rant but I had to.

Gaming is a symbiotic relationship, the gamers and the publishers have a responsibility to each other that must be fulfilled to keep a happy medium. Yes, publishers may say false things about a game to hype it up. That is why it is our job as gamers to see past this. Take the time to do some research first. Make sure you will be happy with your purchase before you walk into the store; because like everything else, hype is only a phase.