Reviews

Anime Fight Club

Dengeki Bunko: Fighting Climax review

What happens when your last hope for the world is a bunch of anime characters? This is the main concept of Dengeki Bunko: Fighting Climax. A fighting game for the PS3 and PS Vita. Now this game has been out for about a year ago in Japan. I’ll give this review in two parts. First gameplay and then graphics. I tried the PlayStation Vita version.

Gameplay

Let me preface this review by saying it has been a long time since I’ve played a fighting game. The last fighting game I’ve played was Mortal Kombat back in the early 90’s. I loved all the battle modes in this game. In this game there are five modes: Story, Dream Dual, Versus, Training and Network. I’ll explain the story below but that is what you expect. Move up the chain battling until you get to the boss. Dream Dual is the most fun. I won’t reveal too much but it does have some fun banter between the anime characters. Versus is your typical match between the computer or another player. Training is where you hone those fighting skills against the computer. In my opinion that would be the best use of your time. Since it has been some time since I’ve played a fighting game, this mode helped me gain some skills. Finally, the network mode is the multiplayer. This is where the game get intense. I lost so much but that just makes me want to train to reach my potential.

I want to say I was quite surprised on how simple this was to play. There are three main attacks: Light, Medium, and Heavy. These input commands simple due to the quarter circle motion. As with other fighting games, each character has an extensive move list with these inputs. Along with the moves, you also have Assists, Climax Gauge, Blasts, Trump Cards. Assists are rechargeable characters that help you in battle. Most of these NPCs have two attacks, one general and one directional. Your blasts are temporary blow backs to stop an attack but these also increased your health a bit. Also, you have a trump card. It is what you think. A temporary use attack with some invincibility. My character I played was Kirito from Sword Art Online. His trump card is a double blade attack. While using this power up, you can also chain up your attacks. Which in the heat of battle can help you a lot!

Graphics/Story

As with most fighting games, the story does not make sense. This doesn’t mess with the gameplay but nevertheless it puzzles the mind. Most of the anime characters that appear in this game were somehow pulled from their universe and transported to this digital world/battle realm? I really don’t know. Summoned by a girl wearing a dress that looks like a Sega Dreamcast controller, you are fighting a computer virus that lost all hope and thrives on despair. Since you are the last hope for all, this virus absorbs all others that came before you and that is who you fight. All of the playable characters and assists characters are from popular anime. Kirito and Asuna, along with their assist Leafa are from Sword Art Online. Other anime characters that are playable are: Kirino Kousaka from “Oreimo,” Mikoto Misaka from “A Certain Magical Index,” Shana from “Shakugan no Shana. The OLED screen really provides a great experience when you are playing this game. The colors pop on the character and the backgrounds. This was also the problem. All of the characters looked like they did not belong in these backgrounds. The various backgrounds came from Sega games and not the some of these animes. Why?


Overall, this is a great fighting game. If you wanted to put your favorite anime characters together, than this is the game for you. The backgrounds take you away from that immersion point when playing but that would be a small nitpick from me. Fighting Climax is a fun yet simple fighting game. This game does have me waiting for Dengeki Bunko: Fighting Climax Ignition when it eventually come to the North America.

8/10

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Trick or Treat: Halloween comes early for Gotham

Tensions are high.The streets are littered with thugs. Batman’s days are numbered. We are thrust into Gotham City, in the final chapter of the Arkham series, Batman: Arkham Knight. With this review, I’ll try to leave the spoilers out. Many people (including me) want to play the game with the story intact.

Story

Batman: Arkham Knight takes place one year after the events of Arkham City. With the death of a major starting this game, you knew this story was going to be extremely difficult for Batman. The main story-line goes as follows: Scarecrow threatens Gotham City with his all new “fear toxin” and the city evacuates. A new villain shows up calling himself Arkham Knight. For one night, Scarecrow and Arkham Knight team up to take down the bat. As always with the arkham series, Rocksteady takes their time to craft the a very well written story. Each element is extremely detailed.

The Maestro of Villainy!

The Maestro of Villainy!

From the conversations that each enemy has on the street to the side stories. The amazing thing is that they make sense. Each one is grounded in Batman lore and also makes complete sense in this lone story. The side stories in are not fully fleshed out like in the main story but still take on a light of their own. Azrael story has him trying to prove himself to Batman. Penguin has a gun running operation that you have to stop with Nightwing. Even Man-Bat shows up with a creepy story-line yet satisfying story. The first ending is completes the story but after completing 100% of the Gotham’s Most Wanted, you receive the ending for the series finale. The end all be all.

Gameplay

You are Batman. You have his skills, talents and his utility belt. You start in this game with all other upgrades from the previous games. Visually and physically, each of Batman’s gadgets are updated. Plus, is new Disruptor weapon is a nice addition. Just like in all previous games, you can upgrade Batman and his tech. One upgrade you should invest in right away is the grapnel gun boost. That will help you from the beginning to glide wherever you want.
Introduced in this game is the Batmobile.  This monstrosity of a machine is virtually unstoppable. With a simple trigger pull, the Batmobile changes into a tank. Outfitted with a 60mm Vulcan gun, you can destroy anything in your path. As cool as it is, you wonder why would Batman have a tank… Well because tanks are involved.

Lock N' Load!

Lock N’ Load!

The Arkham Knight did not come alone. He has an army. Much like the plot of Arkham City, his army will stop at nothing to destroy the bat. To back up this army, drone tanks are provided. This is where the battle mode of the Batmobile comes in handy. If I have only one problem with this game it is the battle mode. (This is the same problem every other reviewer had too.) Transformation into the tank is a simple trigger pull but you have to hold down that trigger. This Bat-tank can and maneuver circles around anything but let go of that trigger and you lose your mobility. While on Twitter, I found that you can toggle the battle mode of the Batmobile. Once I did this, this changes the whole game. Toggling the battle mode locks the transformation. Having your hands free for higher priorities, such as tank elimination.
Like I said the story part of the review, the side stories are important. Not just story wise but gameplay too. Each of these stories hone your skills as the Dark Knight. Two-Face’s mission teaches you how to stalk and eliminate enemies silently. Man-Bat’s teaches the fundamentals for gliding. Also introduced in this game are AR Challenges. These teach the basic skills of The Dark Knight and the Batmobile.

Overall, Batman: Arkham Knight is one amazing game, yet it is not with out its flaws. The tagline on the box art is true: “Be The Batman”. You are Batman, you embody all of his fears and strengths. As the final game in the Batman: Arkham series, Batman: Arkham Knight is the epitome of the Batman experience. This is one game you should play.

9.3/10

Sequel ASSEMBLE!

“And there came a day, a day unlike any other, when Earth’s mightiest heroes found themselves united against a common threat.” A common threat, Ultron was not. There was only one person that could deal with it…Director Joss Whedon. It’s like cooking some crazy stew. Add five parts of superhero, one microchip, stir with super speed, finally add a dash of hex magic. Place in a pressure cooker on high and wait. There is a challenge when making a sequel to a hit movie. Without changing the dynamic of the movie, how do you top it? 2012’s The Avengers was so crazy that it worked. Age of Ultron worked but not in the way that you see. (More about that later.)

Lets all stand around and look pensive!

Lets all stand around and look pensive!

Avengers: Age of Ultron story starts out with our heroes cleaning up the mess from the last film. Loki’s scepter is in the hands of Hydra’s chief scientist Baron Von Strucker. His team has figured out a way to manipulate the human body. Their experiments result in the “enhanced”(not mutants) twins Pietro and Wanda Maximoff (Aaron Taylor-Johnson and Elizabeth Olsen), which they both volunteered for. The Avengers captured the Hydra facility and retrieved Loki’s staff. Jarvis (Paul Bettany) and Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) find that this large gem in the staff is highly complex and looks like it can think. Both Bruce Banner (Mark Ruffalo) and Tony were working on an AI program to protect humanity, called Ultron (James Spader). Secretly working on this project, all attempts to create this AI fails. This was supposed to be the last gathering of the Avengers together. After a fun little game of “Who can lift Thor’s hammer?”, Ultron becomes self aware. Tony’s Iron Legion attacks our groovy gang of heroes, with Ultron leading the charge. Ultron’s reason for attacking is peace. Peace by wiping humans off the face of the planet. The same idea as Tony but without all the bloodshed. The twins join Ultron and the Avengers are there to stop them.


What surprised me with this film was that each character had a definite arc. Wanda’s manipulative hex power manifested each character fear into their head. Tony could not save people. Thor (Chris Hemsworth) feared for his homeworld Asgard. Captain America (Chris Evans) wants a “normal life”. Finally, Black Widow(Scarlet Johansson) was a loner. Speaking of Black Widow, she has a romantic interest in the Hulk. For this film, it makes sense. Trust me. Both of these characters are loners. Each could potentially fill a void for the other.
There was a standout character in Avengers: Age of Ultron: Hawkeye. After Ultron attacks, the Avengers go “off the grid” to regroup. I believe this is where the film shifts its focus to Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner). If you remember, in the first film he was mind controlled. Now he’s stronger and more focused on the main goal of saving the world. Hawkeye feels that he’s the least important Avenger. In actuality, he is the most important member and this shows what he has to lose if the Avengers fail. I didn’t even talk about how cool Paul Bettany was and how he was laying a Vision for the future of the Avengers(Hint Hint). Or the tantalizing tease at the end of the film.
Avengers: Age of Ultron is a movie that had a whole lot to live up to. This was never going to live up to the first film and nor should it. What this movie was, is to lay a further foundation of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. The Avengers had to bring these characters together. This film had to humanize them. Each one these heroes had to be broken down in order to build them back into the heroes they need to be.

8.2/10

Bowser Amiibo Unboxing & Review

Hi and welcome to my first (maybe only) toy review. If I feel this type of blog has gone well, than I might continue it. You often don’t see “reviewers” review these interactive toys such as Amiibos. Your first reaction of looking at an Amiibo is “What is there to review?” or at least that was my reaction. Since I don’t own a Wii U or the new 3DS, I will just be looking at the figure itself. Today’s review will focus on Bowser, king of the Koopas and eternal bane of Mario!


Box Art

NOVEL_ura_0613

Looking at the box art, you can tell that Nintendo put their heart and soul into this figure. The box has a large front image of Bowser, which is stunning in its detail. It perfectly matches the figure inside the box.  As well as the bottom bar stating that this is a official Amiibo. On the back of the package, it shows some game play and states that Bowser can can reach level 50. There is a small “app” looking icon saying you can use this figure with games that have this icon. (Sidebar: The games that Bowser can be used in are; Super Smash Bros. for Wii U, Mario Party 10, and Hyrule Warriors.) If I could give a letter grade for this box, it would be an “A”. Now lets get this guy open and see how cool he really is.

Figure

Bwah hah hah!

Bwah hah hah!

Wow, this sculpt is amazing! Nintendo nailed it with this one. The color. The spikes. Bowser’s eyes. All astonishing! I would say that this Bowser Amiibo is the best of them all. I believe that this is the best Bowser figure that I have ever seen. There are some small paint issues. On my Amiibo, the paint rubbed off near the tail and the base of the turtle shell. Also, there are some spacing gaps on the face. The head almost looks to be two separate pieces. I don’t know why that would be. It seems that the head and face should be one solid piece. These are very minor gripes on my part. The best part for me is that he has no plastic stand like some of his predecessors. Bowser is one solid figure. He does not have any articulation but that is fine by me. This will be used as a display figure.

All in all this is a fantastic Amiibo to add to your collection. The Bowser Amiibo is in stores now. So, join the hunt to find him. Happy hunting! If you liked this type of review please leave a comment below and share it!


World’s Finest

LEGO Batman 3: Beyond Gotham Review

He’s the Caped Crusader, the World’s Greatest Detective, and a Lego minifigure. Lego Batman 3: Beyond Gotham obviously stars Batman and a wonderful cast of minifigures as they soar beyond the stars to stop the evil Brainiac. With over 150 minifigs from across the DC universe like Atrocitus to Zatanna. The biggest draw for me was not the story but minifigures. Like all my other reviews, I will break this up into two sections: Story and Gameplay.

Story

If you played the last game Lego Batman 2, you seen at the end that Brainiac set his sights on Earth. Well in this game, Brainiac arrives and captures/collects all the leaders of Lantern corps. With the Lantern corps in his cluches, Brainiac uses their powers to shrink Earth. Meanwhile, the Legion of Doom breaks into the Justice League’s Watchtower. It is up to Batman and friends to save the day. The story doesn’t not have much to offer but it is satisfying. At the end of the game, you do have a small storyline that relates to the 1966 Batman TV show, with Adam West reprising his role as Batman. This is a fun mini level that summed up the whole game. This level could have been easily sold as a DLC.

I, Frankenstein.

I, Frankenstein.

Gameplay

At first while I was playing this game, I thought this game did not change much. I was expecting some type new mechanic. There were only two things I seen that were new. First, the costume wheel for various characters. This costume wheel is something I like. For instance, Batman can change into his flight suit to his Arctic suit with tap of a trigger or by holding the character selection button you can select the suit you want. This is a game for kids. So, I was not expecting much. These Lego games are known for their hub worlds, which are in a open world. For the longest time, I was wondering where was this. This is why I buy games like this. I love open world games. During the course of the the game, you visited the Batcave and the Watchtower. Finally after beating the game and returning to the Watchtower is where the real fun happens. YOU CAN VISIT THE MOON AND THE LANTERN WORLD!!! As you can tell by the large caps, I really like this part. Literally you can visit the Moon. You can fly or run around. As you jump, you can go higher because of less gravity on the Moon. Also, there are cows in the Moon. The Moon acts as a hub world to the other Lantern planets. Each planet has their own quests and secrets. All of this provides the game with the best Lego experience yet but this could also be one of its main problems.

I'm Batman...on the Moon.

I’m Batman…on the Moon.

The camera is a hassle at most points. At some points in my game the camera was too far back to the point I had to stand in front of the TV and play. When playing on the Moon or Lantern planets, it gives the impression of the character moving the planet under it feets. Also, the camera jumps too much when in tight spaces. One point in my game, some type of glitch happened causing a Lantern planets environment to merge with the Moon’s rocky surface. The camera was stuck in a tilted angle. As I exited this area. It did not change. My character could not make it up a simple set of stairs. Finally reaching the Hall of Justice, the whole world flipped upside down. After restarting the game this issue was fixed. I have no idea what happened.
Overall, this is a fun game. You have over 150 characters to play as, races to beat, and worlds to visit. The main story only last for 10-15 hours but the free play can last an lifetime. The one drawback could be its camera but I would think most people could overlook this. This is a game for most people to play. I highly recommend it.

9.0/10

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

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