Saturday, August 7, 2010

Anime in Focus: FLCL (Fooly Cooly or Furi Kuri) Episode 3

 <- In this episode we get a bit more focus on outside characters, like this chick in the front.


Well, this episode wasn’t quite as good as the last two, which were pretty solid. Unfortunately, this one keeps up the same pace, which is bad, since I’m used to the pacing of the show by this point. Furthermore, there are fewer surprises throughout the episode, which makes it much less interesting.

In this episode Naota has started growing cat ears for some reason. While they do not appear nearly as phallic as the horns that have been growing out of his head in the last couple of episodes, he is aroused when people touch them, ensuring that they remain just as prone to double meanings as the gigantic horns do. While he has these silly cat ears, he is required to play Puss in boots in the school play, while being bossed around by the class president who appears to have a crush on him. Or maybe it’s all symbolic of something. I can’t really tell.

The characterizations in this episode manage to be relatively easy to understand, making this one the oddball of the episodes I’ve watched in this series. While it has not turned me off from the series, it does not get me as exited for the next episode. However, I would like to believe the next episode will pick up the pace that was left behind in this episode in order to allow in more craziness.

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Related Posts:
The big FLCL review

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Shira Oka: Second Chances: REVIEW

<- You remember your first time you woke up about 5 years in the past with an Angel sitting next to your bed? Yeah, I was pretty freaked out about that too...

Demo for this game can be downloaded HERE. I’m trying to get the torrent hosted from my comp as I write this.

Oh yeah, Mac users should be happy to know the game is just as readily available for Mac as it is for PC!

Oh what’s that? The game isn’t out yet? It just so happens that I’ve acquired a beta version of the game through some rather… interesting… means (Okay, fine, I just applied to become a tester, and I’ve been helping test it for about two weeks now) While they are still ironing kinks out of game and debating mechanical issues such as balance and stuff, the project is, for the most part, functioning properly. They creators are really trying to avoid creating a project like Morrowind (love that game to death but GAH, the bugs) where even the most casual of players wind up tripping into game breaking bugs.

While I haven’t quite done everything in the game yet, I have clocked in a good chunk of time, and have managed to get a couple of the endings, first for Alice:

Clearly, I’m so American that it seeps through to my in- game avatar. IN AMERICA!

And the second time I got Rena’s ending
I actually found her ending to be much better, since the main puts in more effort towards his goals in that one. What's really interesting is the stark contrast between my predictions on what girls I would like, and who wound up liking me.

It appears that no matter how hard I try, Yui doesn’t seem to notice me. Jerk. At least Alice and Rena appreciate me XP

Anyways, let’s discuss the actual gameplay. The majority of the mechanics have been revealed in the demo… you work on your stats while events occur that make use of those stats. You then use these abilities to interact with the world, whether using your awesome mathematical skills to become an expert mechanic, or using your physique comparable to Zeus himself to defend your school’s honor. Like stated in the demo review, imagine Persona 4 without all that violence.It should be noted that after you manage to learn all of the actions to level up your skills, things get more interesting since the game loses some of the downtime the demo possessed.

What I really like about this stat layout is that focusing on different things tends to cause events to unfold very differently. While this game has a very large cast of characters, working on different stats causes different ones to notice you, giving a different perspective on the game, greatly increasing replay value. Also, it should be noted that stats are actually very difficult to balance, unlike games like Persona 3 / 4, where by endgame everything was maxed out. In this game, I find myself having to dump a couple of stats in order to keep up the ones I want. This means that each playthrough will wind up going very differently. Furthermore, these differences will keep you on your feet during future playthroughs, preventing you from just allowing yourself to stagnate.

Oh yes, the plot. You’re a guy who managed to be a total failure in life, who has been sent back in time back to the beginning of high school in order to start over, which leads you on a more enlightened set of adventures. However, what the demo DOESN’T tell you is [sorry, posting this part violates my non-disclosure agreement. Oh well. ] … and then… yeah. This left me exited to check out another ending.

Should you buy the game? It’s not out yet, silly. But sure, go for it. The replay value is exceedingly high, and most of the game is very interesting, and a lot of it is incredibly multi-faceted. You can really screw around and have fun learning more about the cast of characters, jerking them around, getting to know them, and whatever you want. Lots of the subplots are really interesting, and some you won’t even notice until a second time through or so. So you get a lot of bang for your buck, assuming you can’t afford to buy too many video games (like me, *sigh*) you’ll definitely get your money’s worth out of the game. Also, it isn’t very heavy on system requirements, and most computers should be able to handle it, even if you’re a Mac user. It’s every gamer with a budget’s dream!

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Related Posts:
Shira Oka: Second Chances Demo review
Persona 4 review
Project Profile: Shira Oka: Second Chances
Why won’t my boyfriend stop looking at Hentai?

Related Links:
Okashi Studio's website
Shira Oka on Facebook
Shira Oka on Twitter

Well, I’m back from Hiatus

Sorry about that, I’m almost done moving now, just a few more things, and those will get done quite quickly. Still need to get my brain back into a writing mood before I can REALLY get into this again.

However, during this move, I did not stop thinking like a writer. I still thought of ideas, I just haven’t implemented them yet. Expect them to come up soon

I’m thinking of starting a section called “Dirty Jobs” (working title, none of these jobs are very dirty) where I discuss various jobs that I’ve taken that relate to anime

Also, an announcement! About a week and a half ago, I managed to talk my way into becoming a beta tester for Okashi Studios, playing Shira Oka: Second Chances! This gives me a bit of information that most people don’t have, but unfortunately due to paperwork and legal restrictions, I’m not allowed to disclose the majority of it. Still, it lets me play video games for long hours without feeling like I’m wasting time, since hey, I’M TESTING THE PRODUCT HERE! Alas I do expect to make some reports on it, just not ones that give away relevant info.

Anyhoo, sorry about the hiatus, I’ll try to get back to regular posting starting… NOW