Thursday, 1 August 2019

Video Game Character of the Month - August 2019 - Solaire of Astora - Dark Souls

Video Game Character of the Month
August 2019
Solaire of Astora
Dark Souls
Overview:
While you may have taught us to 'praise the sun', don't think that we've forgotten to praise you! But while we can't get you your own sun (whatever that means), we can give you an award that shines like one. I am, of course, talking about the prestigious Video Game Character of the Month Award, now in its sixth (!) year! An award even tougher to achieve than beating Dark Souls itself. Praise the sun!
And now for a little bit of info on Solaire:
Warning: spoilers ahead

Sunday, 14 July 2019

Film Review No. 49 Pokémon Detective Pikachu (PG)

Strong Points:
Brilliant designs for the Pokémon
Detailed animation and world-building
Ryan Reynolds is brilliant as Pikachu
Funny
Use of more than the first 151 Pokémon
Small details show the seriousness the filmmakers had with the film
Doesn’t push for a franchise
Some twists and turns I didn’t guess
A mostly well-connected screenplay combining drama, meta-comedy and cheese...

Weak Points:
Some cliché or stilted dialogue
Not a lot of Pokémon battles
...Sometimes crosses the line between knowingly cheesy and cringe-inducing
Most of the human cast doesn’t get a lot to do
Opening minutes crammed a lot of exposition and explanation into itself
Could have done with the classic Pokémon narrator

Some spoilers ahead:

Monday, 1 July 2019

Video Game Character of the Month - July 2019 - Nana and Popo - Ice Climbers

Video Game Character of the Month
July 2019
Nana and Popo
Ice Climbers
Overview:
Looking at the ever-increasing Smash Bros. roster, I’m reminded just how many great characters we have in the world of video games. Complex characterisation, detailed designs, fully formed faces (I didn’t mean to start this alliteration, but we’ll keep going), contrasting colours (OK, we’ll stop now)... But there’s one character which I feel doesn’t get nearly enough recognition, even for just hanging in there. Well, actually, there are two characters. That right, the Ice Climbers are the newest recipients of the Video Game Character of the Month Award:
And now for some more information on the Ice Climbers:

Saturday, 1 June 2019

Video Game Character of the Month - June 2019 - Professor Willow - Pokémon Go

Video Game Character of the Month
June 2019
Professor Willow
Pokémon Go
Overview:
Ah, the professors of Pokémon. Always there to offer advice, a double-edged compliment, the tools to enslave creatures of any region, a friendly smile and confusing conspiracies about our own parents. Oh, and of course, to expand our knowledge of the various types of trees in the world. Now, while all of the professors in the Pokémon universe are probably deserving of this reward, I've decided to give it to Professor Willow of Pokémon Go fame specifically, for one reason. The love of Pokémon Go has transcended the core series much like the first games all those years ago, so to award an honour such as this to the incumbent Professor allows an even greater audience to notice and hopefully fall in love with the entire series through our blog. SEO. Ah, the cynical nature of the world...
And now for some more information on Professor Willow:

Wednesday, 29 May 2019

Film Review No. 48 Tolkien (12+)

Strong Points:
Great, confident acting from the cast, young and old
Confidence in the audience to have references to Tolkien’s work in the background to find as well as in the foreground
Great cinematography
Nice production design
Focussed on different areas of Tolkien’s life than you might expect
Good, subtle but apparent score
The right amount of fantasy

Weak Points:
The opening ‘montage’/set up didn’t engross me
Slightly ‘by the numbers’
A lot of information was passed on all at once
Pacing issues

Note: as I only have a passing knowledge of Tolkien’s life, I won’t be commenting on any potential historical inaccuracies (I’ll leave that for the comments). However, remember this isn’t a documentary, it’s a dramatic biopic and should be treated as such.

Some spoilers ahead:

Thursday, 9 May 2019

Review No. 148 Pokémon: Let's Go Pikachu/Eevee - Nintendo Switch (7+)

Strong Points:
Streamlined approach to the games
Great graphics and art style
References to other games in the series and general lore
Legendaries are an event to catch again
Catch mechanics add a different style to catching Pokémon...
Small cutscenes show visual flair and small changes in gameplay show creativity
Pokémon in the overworld means you can pick Pokémon you want
Customising appearance of Trainer and Partner Pokémon is nice
Rideable Pokémon help to speed the game up (and have some nice visual gags)
Pokémon Go comparability is well implemented
Catch combos reward perseverance...
Master Trainers offer a tough endgame...
Shiny catching is improved and visual
Pokémon Box and secret techniques being taught to partner are efficient...

Weak Points:
Unreliable motion controls
Barebones co-op
Removal of many conveniences and well-established features
Some lag in areas such as Viridian Forest doesn’t bode well for the sequels
...although they don’t offer a lot of depth
A slight jump in animation between walking and running (allows rideable Pokémon to get out of Pokéball)
... although catching every Pokémon in sight so as to transfer removes the special bond between trainer and Pokémon
Partner Pokémon becomes an unstoppable machine by the end, and you are pushed towards not changing your team
...albeit a slightly tedious one
...Although the need to go through multiple menus isn't
Actual Pokémon battles against legendary Pokémon and minibosses feel tacked on

Nitpicks:
Eevee gets more costumes than Pikachu

Wednesday, 1 May 2019

Video Game Character of the Month - May 2019 - Aqua - Kingdom Hearts

Video Game Character of the Month
May 2019
Aqua
Kingdom Hearts
Overview:
Is it done? Can I come out now? Yes, that's right, dear readers, I've finally finished enough of Kingdom Hearts 3 that I feel comfortable searching keywords (pun intended) involving the franchise. And, therefore, I think it's time to give Master Aqua another award. And this one is even harder to achieve than the Mark of Mastery. It's the Video Game Character of the Month Award!
And now for a little bit of info on Aqua:
Major spoilers ahead:

Tuesday, 30 April 2019

Comment: Avengers Endgame - An End Of An Era

There was an idea, called the Avengers Initiative. The idea was to bring together a group of remarkable people, see if they could become something more. See if they could work together when we needed them to fight the battles we never could.

There was also an idea, called the Marvel Cinematic Universe. The idea was to bring together a diverse (or at least getting there) group of remarkable cast and crew, see if they could become something more. See if they could work together when Hollywood needed them to create a film franchise we never could on our own. And after 22 films and just under 11 years, we're in the Endgame now.


Monday, 1 April 2019

Video Game Character of the Month - April 2019 - Boy - Limbo

Video Game Character of the Month
April 2019
Boy
Limbo
Overview:
So... Is anyone going to mention it? No? Ok, I just thought? Right. Of course. Silly me. It's just, well it's quite in your face to be honest? So wouldn't it be easier? No. Right. We won't say then...
But what about the kids? More specifically, the boy? No, you can't just give him a Video Game Character of the Month Award and expect him to be OK with it. I mean, look at him. No, no, you're right. I think. I still think we should tell them about that, that, thing. 

What am I talking about? A spider? An orphanage? The political unrest of some far off planet? Carrots? It's hard to be certain, but I guess that's all part of the fun. At least for the boy. He's in Limbo at the moment, constantly replaying, over and over. Better him than me I suppose...
And now for some more information on the Boy:

Tuesday, 26 March 2019

6th Birthday

Well, well, well. *Nervous smile* So you've arrived, have you? That, that, didn't take long. *Shuddery laugh* Are we completely sure time is regular? Six years, hm? And look at you! You've only gotten better! More vibrant, more knowledgeable, more, more... I'm sorry. We haven't spent nearly enough time together. No, we are not drifting apart, how could you say that? It's just, you know, I've been busy with other things, and you've demanded more and more thought and care. OK, I didn't mean demanded. Forget I said that...

Wow...

Anyways, happy birthday to the blog! 6 years strong. *party poppers and crackers*