Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Upcoming Video Games for 2017-2018

     Hi everyone so couple of weeks back during one episode of the Dark Discussions Podcast I covered several games that were announced back during E3(Electronic Entertainment Expo) in Los Angeles. However I missed a couple of titles along with those that were absent from the event so I will be listing some of them here by platforms they'll perform on, their genre, and the marked release date. I may not get every single game so if I miss some I apologize. Hope this is useful!

Anthem - A new project by Bioware that is rather different from their other works with this game being a RPG/Shooter in an open world with the option for both single player or multiplayer. Platforms: PC, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One. Available: 2018. 

Metro Exodus -  First person survival horror action game and the 3rd entry in Metro series. Platforms: PC, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One. Available: 2018.

Monster Hunter World - The newest addition to the Monster Hunter Franchise where now players can now hunt giant beasts in an open world setting. Platforms: PC, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One. Available: 2018.

The Evil Within 2 - A sequel to the survival horror game of the same name from 2014. Platforms: PC, Playstation 4, and Xbox One. Available: Oct. 13th, 2017 

State of Decay 2 - A zombie horror-survival game. Platforms: PC and Xbox One. Available: 2018.

Code Vein - A vampire themed action RPG which seems to have taken a lot of influence from the Dark Souls franchise and Bloodborne by From Software. Platforms: PC, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One. Available: 2018.

Far Cry 5 - Open world shooter where players face off against a deadly cult. Platforms: PC, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One. Available: Feb. 27, 2017.

South Park: The Fractured But Whole - A comedic RPG with a superhero twist based off the animated series South Park. Platforms: PC, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One. Available: Oct. 17th, 2017.

Call of Cthulhu - Survival horror based on the Cthulhu mythos. Platforms: PC, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One. Available: 2017.

Vampyr - A Vampire Role-Playing Game. Platforms: PC, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One. Available: Nov. 2017.

Middle-earth: Shadow of War - An upcoming sequel to Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor. Platforms: PC, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One. Available: Oct. 10, 2017.

Spiderman - A superhero action game. Platforms: PlayStation 4. Available: 2018.

God of War - The 4th entry in the God of War series. Platforms: PlayStation 4. Available: 2018.

Dragon Ball FighterZ - Like the Dragon Ball franchise with a lot of kicking and punching? Then keep an eye open for this game. Platforms: PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC. Available: 2018
Greedfall -  Take the side of the invaders or the magic wielding natives in this upcoming RPG. Platforms: PC, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One. Available: 2018.

Red Dead Redemption 2 - An open world action western. Platforms: PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. Available: 2018.

Star Wars Battlefront 2 - A multiplayer shooter set in the Star Wars universe. Platforms: PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC. Available: Nov. 17th, 2017.

Any games that you are looking forward to? Let me know in the comment section of this article and stay tuned for future reviews and other updates! Have a good one!

Thursday, June 29, 2017

God Eater Series


     Hello everyone its been awhile(an understatement I know). For this article we will be looking at the monster slashing franchise known as God Eater. This series has been around for a number of years but unlike the widely known Monster Hunter franchise its a bit under the radar so I thought I'd give it the spotlight in hopes that it could receive a bit more love.
     So the premise of God Eater is that Earth has seen better days as the land has been ravaged by powerful beings called Aragami and humanity has been pounded into the ropes. In each of the games released, you the player take the role of God Eater who are genetically enhanced warriors whose duty is to faced off against the Aragami and protect mankind.
     Since it made its debut God Eater has had a number of releases but a majority had been remakes which improved on the games mechanics while also adding new content. For this article I will be first talking about the first entry God Eater Resurrection which is a remake of the original version God Eater Burst before we look at its sequel God Eater 2.
     While a main focus of the game is fighting the Aragami there is a narrative built around it. The player takes on the role a new recruit who is assigned to a unit in the Far-East Branch where they find themselves facing powerful monsters and other threats. The story is progressed by completing the "Main Missions" with each challenge steadily increasing in difficulty. I wont spoil any major plot points but I will say that its a decent narrative with some good moments of drama but at the same time there isn't a lot in it that I would consider to be jaw dropping. That being said the storyline is mostly just a nice layer of frosting on this cake with the game's major strengths being its gameplay elements.
     As stated earlier the goal of the game is to defeat the Aragami with each mission having the player assemble a small team made up of the game's cast and alongside these characters work together to slay the monstrous opponents that oppose them in each given task. Battles are fast-paced requiring the player to rely on reflexes and tactics to achieve a victory with each Aragami requiring a different approach to defeating it whether it is weapon type or a specific element.
     This brings us to the weaponry available to players. In the Resurrection version of the game there are six types of melee weapons to choose from, these weapons are the Short Blade, Long Blade, Buster Blade, Boost Hammer, Charge Spear, and the Variant Scythe. Each of these weapons has its strengths and weakness, for example the short blade is fast allowing the player to get in several slices with enough time to evade an enemy attack while the Buster Blade is extremely slow but has devastating power. There are also four types of fire arms for players to use which are the Sniper Gun, Assault Gun, Shotgun, and Blast Gun and like their melee counter parts give players different options on how they may want to attack from a distance. Last are the three shields(Buckler, Shield, and Tower) which allow players to block Aragami attacks the difference between them is the speed at which they allow a player to defend and how much defense they grant.
     Customization in the end becomes a key component as a player does not have to commit to a single combination of weapons. It is possible to get through the game with the same arsenal as I managed to finish my playthrough using just the Long Blade, Assault Gun, and Shield. However it is encouraged to mix things up as certain enemies have different weaknesses to certain melee weapons or elements(fire ice, electric, or divine).
     There is also a unique feature in Resurrection called Predator Style. Aside from your melee weapon, gun, and shield the player has a fourth means of attacking enemies which is a ability called Devour. This is a charge attack that gives the player the chance to chomp into the hide of an a Aragami not only doing some damage but also give the player character a boost in power. With Predator Style there a numerous new moves added to this attack some which allow players to Devour from the air or attack a wider area than one could with the standard Devour attack. This as a result allows a player to be a lot more versatile in combat.
      When it comes to presentation God Eater: Resurrection looks really good overall with solid character models that look both clean and polished even if they are not all that detailed although this maybe intentional in order to capture the style of an anime. When it comes to the Aragami these are cool looking beasts with scales and other small details well pronounced in their designs with each of these monsters having a unique look aside from a couple of color palette swaps but that's a minor issue really.
     God Eater 2 occurs several years after what occurs in Ressurection with the player character taking on the role of the newest member of an elite unit of God Eaters called Blood. Things are a lot darker than before with people suffering from a horrible disease caused by a blood-like rain and new deadly Aragami all the while a sinister presence waits with an agenda of its own. Like with the first game I wont spoil anything related to the plot but I will say that while it seems that the creators of these games appear to be raising the stakes they don't seem willing to take major risks. I should correct that a bit as they do pull some heavy punches on the player during the first half it becomes completely undone by the second.
     Several new gameplay elements are introduced in God Eater 2 however Predator Style are absent here. The first of these new game elements are the Blood Arts. These are an array of powerful attacks that can be unlocked for the melee weapons. These abilities grow stronger the more times the player uses that specific Blood Art and become harder to level up with each rank gained.
     In the second half of the game the player will learn the ability to use Blood Rage which is a sort of berserker state that is activated by completing certain requirements and if successful increases the player character's over fighting ability to a huge degree. This can make a big difference should the player find themselves facing a powerful enemy of a group of them but it can be a bit frustrating at times to activate.
    There is also the Blood Bullets and Bullet Editor that allows the players to create new and powerful projectiles. These can range from the direction the bullet travels to a mixture of elements and statues effects. It will look complicated in the beginning but it worth playing around with as I found several combinations that utterly wrecked the Aragami in a number of situations so it is worth the bit of work that may need to be put into it.
     Lastly are the Character episodes which are episodic events with a number of the games cast of characters. These not only allow the player to bond with the character(s) or getting involved in missions or antics but also get useful bonuses for those characters which encourages the player to complete them. When it comes to the quality of these episodes they are a bit mixed with some being genuinely heart warming or hilarious to others being average or just very short and dull but as stated earlier it does help players in the long run a bit.
     Compared to Resurrection however Rage Burst falters a bit in a couple of spots in the sound department. The voice acting while good for the most part feels either awkward or lazy at other times with the voice actors either not saying the presented line of dialogue and instead creating a different or shorter version or not saying anything at all aside from a small giggle or something to fill the dead air. This doesn't occur during important cut scenes however but it does stand out in comparison to the previous game.
     Another example occurs during a couple of Character Episodes for the character Ciel. During main storyline cut scenes her voice English actress gives Ciel a mature yet soft voice but during Character episodes the pitch of her voice is a lot higher in attempt to possibly sound more girly which stands out and is very jarring.
     The biggest offense in the sound design however is the balance. What I mean in saying this is that a number of times there is a lack of harmony between the music, voices, and sound effects with some drowning out the others especially the very former. This will be come obvious to players very early into the game with the music for example being so loud in several cut scenes that it practically drowns out dialogue. I tried to lower the music a bit to fix this but it does little if anything at all and from the way it looks it is never going to get patched.
     Overall the God Eater series are enjoyable games that while flawed in places are a good time and I think that if you enjoy games like Monster Hunting franchise or Anime media I would recommend that you go check it out. God Eater: Resurrection and God Eater: Rage Burst are available on the PlayStation 4, PS Vita, and PC.
     Thank you so much for reading, I know its been too long since I posted anything here but I hoped you enjoyed this article and I will see you all next time!

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Strange Places on the Internet





     Almost every time on an episode of the Dark Discussions Podcast one of the many things I would mentioned during my mentioning of this blog and what I did on it was "everything awesome and awful on the internet" and to be honest that is only half true. I did cover a few flash games here and there and talked about rule 34 one of the many rules of the web which states "If it exists there is porn of it" but aside from those few things I didn't do as many articles on such subjects as I wanted to.  So I decided for this article I would talk about some of the places on the web that I had visited both the past and presents and since clicking on the their links have left impressions engraved in my mind and my hard drive.


1) Rule 34: I'm going to be brief about this one since I did an entire article on the subject a while back. There is an practically irrefutable rule within the internet: "If it exists there is porn of it - No exceptions". Honestly if you want to disprove this all powerful law of the web be my guest there is a site for it that is full of "goodies" waiting for you but just remember when you stare into the abyss it stares right back at you.

2) IMDB(Internet Movie Database): Yes I am counting this place. Aside from some useful bits of information one can get about a certain film or TV show this site can be a complete madhouse. The threads are often filled with some of the most obnoxious morons and trolls and many posted topics devolve into hilarious flame wars. Honestly any time I go there I struggle to not scroll to low on a page lets my sight fall upon another beacon of stupidity. This was also the subject for a article I wrote for this blog in the past which I'm sure you can find if you dig around a bit. In all seriousness though find out the name of that actor who played the hotdog vendor in that one movie you liked and get the hell out fast!

3) Deviantart: While there is some bang up good work in this site it also has its share of weirdness with a dab of creepy. Among many categories you may search there is the chance of finding an obscure connection. What do I mean? Well for example try searching for a character you like from a form of media you know of and chances are he/she/it has gotten fetishized in some art work whether its nudity, foot fetishes, inflation, and I'm sure with an actual account a few more doors will be open for you to take a peek in.

4) Leekspin.com: This site is pretty much a one page gag. Its a looping flash animation featuring the character Orihime from the anime/manga series Bleach where in one episode she twirls around a leek. This image is accompanied by a Finnish folk song called "Ievan Polkka"(Gets stuck in your head btw). This site even has a timer showing how long you have been "spinning".
Here is a link: http://leekspin.com/

5) Feed The Head: I'm more tempted to call this a gag site rather than a game. Its a site where you screw around with an outline of a head and watch as wacky stuff plays out as you play with certain body parts but there doesn't seem to be a goal or an end as it appears to be just an obscure time killer.
Link to Site: http://www.feedthehead.net/

6) Poonis: Some of the most unsettling crap I have ever laid eyes on in terms of animation. Its obvious that this was intentional but that in no way lowers its high creep factor.

    Link to site here: http://poonis.com/

7) ZOMBOCOM: This site is amazing! Anything is possible at Zombocom! The infinite is possible at Zombocom! This is Zombocom!
Link to the infinite and amazing!: http://www.zombo.com/

8) Ducks Are The Best: Similar to "Feed The Head" this is also a gag site just a lot more one note. All you do is move your mouse around and whatever direction you move it in you'll leave a trail of yellow pixelated ducks in your wake as you cover a flashing background.
WARNING: Do not go here if you are bothered by flashing color/images!
Link to Site: http://ducksarethebest.com/

9) Alien Abductions.com: A site with services wishing you bring you the experience of an Alien abduction.....there is something for everyone I suppose.
Note: Site is safe for work!
Link to site: http://alienabductions.com/products/overview

10) Zombie Passions: An actual free functioning dating sites for Zombies and Zombie Lovers.
Link to Site: http://zombiepassions.com/

11) Snap Bubbles.com: A bubble wrap popping simulator which to be honest is no where as amusing a popping actual bubble wrap. The magic of such an activity is truly lost here.
Link to site: http://www.snapbubbles.com/

12) Staggering Beauty: When you visit this site you will be greet by a very NSFW(Not Safe For Work) black worm with blinking whites eyes and wherever you move your mouse the worm will sway into that same direction. If you wiggle the mouse the worm will do so as well and if you keep doing that you be given a spectacular light show along with a cluster-fuck of noise.
WARNING: If you are susceptible to flashing colors and don't wear head phones either.
Link to site: http://www.staggeringbeauty.com/

     Thank you so much for taking a look at this article I'm sure there will be plenty more these types of lists down the road. Please stay tuned for my review of the third storyline of Fate/stay Night; Heaven's Feel as well as my upcoming lists of strange online games that I have founded and new episodes of the Dark Discussions Podcast. So until next time everyone have a good one!

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Dark Discussions Podcast: Gantz



     Man was this recording is certainly a blast from the past. Done two years ago this was the first time I had joined the Dark Discussions Podcast. In this episode Phil and I take a look at the franchise Gantz created by Hiroya Oku as we cover the manga, anime, and the live action adaptations.

Link to episodehttp://darkdiscussions.com/Pages/podcast_190.html


    Enjoy and please stay tuned for new episodes. Please like us on Facebook and visit our main site which access through the link to this episode. Until next time!!!

New Harbinger Down Trailer and Release Date!

 


    Hey folks its me! So I got some news to share. We got an official international trailer for the upcoming practical effects monster flick: Harbinger Down as well as an release date. The movie will be coming out in theaters and VOD on August 7th. Furthermore the film will be getting a DVD release on September 1st.


                               


     I cannot wait to finally see this film after waiting so long and I will try to keep everyone posted on any further news along the way. Until next time!

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Fate Stay Night: Unlimited Blade Works



      Welcome back everybody. Here its part two of our journey into visual novel known as Fate Stay Night. Looking back at my article of the Fate route I wasn't really all that satisfied with how it came out. That storyline was just a bit frustrating at times and I was surprised by how long it was so trying to remember all those details and bits of information as well as construct a decent structure for reviewing it was kind of a challenge. I only got the job half done however so I will be keeping the same format but I will be approaching today's topic differently. I will be discussing the plotline BUT I will not spoil any major reveals or plot twists but just my overall impression of the story and how felt it was handled. I will talk about the characters and how I felt they were handled BUT wont reveal any major plot points connecting them to other characters or the story although I might do so for minor characters. The endings will go unspoiled But I will give a basic idea of what I thought about them.

      So in this review you will be getting an analysis and review with some unfilled in blanks because I feel that this route as well as Heaven's Feel need to be experienced. Now that is all cleared up lets get started here!

The Plot
 
    Unlimited Blade Works is mainly about Shirou and the ideals he continues to carry for his adoptive father who has long passed as well as the conflict between him and Rin's servant; Archer.
   
    As opposed to Fate, the Grail War gets knocked a bit off the rails so a lot happens throughout the route. This is partly due to much of the world building having been already taken care of in the previous route so as a result the pacing in Unlimited Blade Works is solid not to mention it felt like Nasu had a an idea where he wanted to take the narrative. Of course there are always new things to learn but the bits of exposition we get are no where near the truckload we had to swallow before hand.

     For the action junkies your cravings with this route will be sated as its has a ton of battles and some pretty jaw droppingly epic scenes. I could name few favorite moments of mine but you know...spoilers :/. Just know that this for me was the route where I could not tear my eyes away from the screen. However don't think that its just all action though as it goes into some deep subjects of ideology, dreams, and regret all of which I thought this route handled very well and really its these things that make Fate/stay night what it is because the whole war for the Holy Grail is just a big backdrop to the questions, themes, and issues this and the other two routes tackle.


                      


    If there are any negative things to say there would be a couple of minor things that come to mind. An example would be how poorly handled Saber is since she has no further development or importance to this route at all or the how I feel that this storyline didn't need a central villain. Nothing huge that hurts the story all that much but they did kind of bug me.

     I could say more but here but I can already feel that I might end up tripping one of the many spoilers hidden the landmines all around me.....

    
The Characters

Shirou: In Unlimited Blade Works the focus shifts from the ordeal of the route's heroine to what has always been the main subject of the visual novel: Our protagonist. Shirou Emiya to me is one of the most interesting and underappreciated protagonist I have seen. When he was saved by from the fire that destroyed the town years ago he was essentially a broken and empty shell. But ever since his promise to the man who saved him he has lived only to help other no matter the cost to himself. He never really thinks about what he wants and his sole goal is becoming a "Hero of Justice". Seeing things through Emiya's eyes was one of the most interesting parts of Fate/stay Night especially when you tie his ideals and thoughts to the themes of the three routes not to mention the visual novel as a whole. Unfortunately too many folks are quick to write him off as "stereotypical Shounen hero" or based the entirety of his character from what they saw in Deen Studio's flop of an adaptation.


Rin: In this route Rin takes the role of heroine becoming Shirou's greatest ally, guide, and even love interest. She has some pretty awesome moments here and I liked her interactions with Shirou a lot especially when the two bicker with one another but strangely enough she doesn't get a whole lot of character development when compared to the final route Heaven's Feel which is often joked as being Rin's second route. It actually makes since though since Unlimited Blade Works(and the visual novel as a whole) is about Shirou despite those who keep insisting that because she is the route's heroine that she is the main character. Regardless this character is just layers upon layers of ice hiding a warm and tender heart. That along her mischievous personality always puts a big smile on my face.


Archer: Rin's mysterious servant steps on to the stage to play a huge role in the route. Its difficult to really describe him although the fandom has a term often used when talking about him: GAR which translates to Gay For Archer in regards to the guy's sheer levels of badass which after reading this route I believe the term is pretty accurate. Aside from just how awesome the guy is when he whipping out an arsenal the guy is a bit of a dick...okay that's an understatement he is a huge dick. But once you read this route you'll understand why especially as the cloud of mystery around him begins to dissipate.


Saber: Due to her character arc being completed by the end of the Fate route our blond knight doesn't have much to do at this point. Sure she has a few battles and there a options to interact with her which(with the right amount of points from her and Rin) will get you one of the endings but that's it really. She pretty much becomes an extra wheel who is often in the background who contributes very little to the route's narrative. Its like Nasu had no idea what to do with her so she just stands around looking pretty.


Caster: During the Fate route our heroes were attacked by a mysterious servant whose appearance was rather short lived before being turned into a human pincushion. Here she has her chance to shine becoming a major threat to our heroes. We also learn about her identity and past and see there is a lot more to this hooded figure than meets the eye.



Shinji: Our seaweed headed little weasel plays a larger role than just being an evil counter part to Shirou and we get a bit of insight to him as well but that's really all I can say in this regard.


Unlike the Fate route; Shinji's servants Rider doesn't really do anything. She sucks the blood of a couple of students(She does this to obtain energy because Shinji cant provide her with any) and has a skirmish with our heroes before getting an anvil dropped on her head by the plot.


Gilgamesh: To be honest there is not much to say about him really here as his only real purpose here was to give this story a villain although in my opinion the actual focus of Unlimited Blades Works and its resolution could have been a finale on its own.


Lancer: Oh yes Lancer is the shit. He easily became one of my favorite parts of this route. While we don't get much out of him in terms of character depth he has been often considered to be the biggest bro of the cast and for good reason. He has just a likability to him that you can't help but adore the awesome bastard when ever he when steps into a frame.

                        


  
The Romance


    Compared to Fate the romance between Rin and Shirou was a big improvement. These two in my opinion have some great chemistry and in a way compliment each other. Its not a major focus here but strangely enough made it feel more natural as the two grow closer to each other despite the obstacles they face during the Grail War. It may bot be the deepest thing but I really liked these two together in fact they might be might my favorite pairing in the whole visual novel even if they have the absolute worst sex scene...just trust me that scene sucks the big one.

The Endings

True End: I could have stopped here and I would have been completely satisfied with the VN it was that fantastic.

Good End: Despite being a "Good End" its...not very good(should have thought of something more clever). It just doesn't fit with the theme of the route or the entire VN in general its simply the best case scenario for our heroes and that's it.

The Good

+ The pacing is vastly improved when compared to the Fate route and when it gets going it gets going.

+ Romance. While not a big part of the story it feels a lot more natural than what I experienced while reading Fate and I loved the chemistry between Rin and Shirou.

+ The Scene "Answer". I wont tell you what happens here but for me it was the best moment so far in the visual novel thus this far. I am using all my will power not to spoil anything it was that great. :)

+ A roller coaster of excitement this route is chock full of many exciting battles.

+ Aside from Rider this route was big opportunity for the Servant characters to shine among them being Lancer, Archer, and Caster.

+ Tackles its themes in both a gripping and provocative manner and in my opinion does it the best out of all three of the routes.

The Bad

- The Good End is really lame in comparison to the True Ending making the whole journey feel hollow by the end of it and just comes off as complete fanservice.

- Holy Woman Violated........this scene just....this fucking scene. Its just as embarrassing to read as any of the crappy sex scenes that's all I can say really. :X

- The narrative probably would have been a bit stronger without needing to have a villain. This is a minor issue though.

-  Because of having no new character development or real importance Saber feels like prop on a film set that gets very little use.

The Final Verdict

     Overall I thought Unlimited Blade Works was a very enjoyable route and I am so glad that I read it.  The pacing is great, the romance is cute, it was exciting as hell, I found Shirou to be a compelling protagonist, and the themes which the story tackled to be very thought provoking and interesting.

     If I had to give it a score it would be probably be an 9 out of 10. Its a great storyline but there are some problems that keep it from becoming legendary.


    I cant believe I let this damn article collect as much dust as it did. I think it got a little trickier to finish since I tried to prevent any major spoilers so I couldn't go into as much detail as I wanted to. I'll be doing the Heaven's Feel article the same way so expect that sometime soon. It was a bit tempting to just go right into spoiler territory but I had smack that urge over the head with a shovel and bury it six feet deep. What I will probably do is a future article where I can go crazy with the spoilers and give you folks my complete thoughts on this visual novel.

     Apologies for the lack of new content I need to get my head into the game. Thank you for your patience guys!

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Dark Discussions Podcast: Dog Soldiers


     In this episode we take a look at the 2002 British Werewolf film from Neil Marshall starring Sean Pertwee, Liam Cunningham, and Kevin McKidd. The film revolves around a squad of British soldiers who get into the fight of their lives when they go head to head with a pack of "weird fucking howling things".

Link to episode
http://darkdiscussions.com/Pages/podcast_172.html

Enjoy and stay tuned for more down the road! :D