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Wednesday, 28 June 2017

Persona 5

Persona 5.

Another game that came out ages ago (although not quite as long ago as Dark Souls III), my review of this game was partly delayed by how long it is. I didn't play a completionist run or anything like that, by any stretch of the imagination, but the game still took me over a hundred hours to play through. In a market where it's becoming increasingly prevalent to sell twelve or eight hour games for a full fifty quid price tag, a game that costs an even fifty quid and which provides two hours of enjoyment for each pound is astounding to me.

In fact, it was almost too long. Towards the end, I was starting to become increasingly vexed with the real-life segments (which are never the most interesting parts of a Persona game), especially when I needed a certain level in a social stat and had to effectively spend time grinding that stat with DVDs and visits to the diner. Still, I did eventually finish it, and even felt a little bit sad when I had -- although, with a positive storm of spin-offs lined up, I'm sure that I won't have to wait long to see more of the Phantom Thieves.

Tuesday, 27 June 2017

Final Fantasy XV: Episode Prompto

Final Fantasy XV:
Episode Prompto.

Wow, I just realised I actually never got around to reviewing Episode Gladiolus. Well, something for next week, I suppose.

As part of Square-Enix's bid to maintain interest and investment in Final Fantasy XV (working as a sort of not-absurd version of what the Fabula Nova Crystallis, where XV had its origins as Versus XIII, was meant to be), we've been given an aggressive schedule of free updates -- including a drastically overhauled chapter thirteen, new vehicles and outfits, and new game modes -- and at least three paid DLC with more potentially lined up for the future.

Each of these DLC boasts a drastic change in gameplay from the original game, with Episode Prompto being a sort of Metal Gear style stealth shooter with vehicle segments.

Monday, 26 June 2017

Doctor Who S36E11: World Enough and Time

Doctor Who
Series 36, Episode 11
World Enough and Time.

So, if you've been on this blog for long enough, you'll have noticed that I really don't rate Steven Moffat as a writer. I wrote an entire editorial series on his misogynistic tendencies, and in general I find his stories to be high on 'dazzle' factor but low on actual substance, often trailing off into either total incoherence or boring cliche.

That having been said, my one massive problem with this episode aside, this is a superbly written episode. It's tense, scary, both deeply human at points and unnervingly terrifying at others, with a solid and easy to understand concept, some excellently telegraphed but still compelling plot twists, and atmosphere in spades. It's in spitting distance of being a perfect episode, and it's certainly the best episode this current series has had so far.

Saturday, 24 June 2017

Dark Souls III

Dark Souls III

I know, I know, Dark Souls III came out over a year ago. I didn't play it at the time, but I picked it up not too long afterwards and started slowly working my way through it, with fairly frequent help from two friends, one of which is a regular guest contributor for my job. I picked up the Pyromancer class (after trying and failing to beat Iudex Gundyr with a few others), found it fit me like a glove, and before long had specced my character into a spellblade type thing, wielding a frost-enchanted straightsword in one hand, and both pyromancies and sorceries in the other.

Everything was going fine until I reached Upper Lothric, and then my enthusiasm just died.

Thursday, 22 June 2017

Guest Editorial: James Potter - JK Rowling's Accidental Wife Beater. (TW: Domestic violence and sexual assault.) (Guest editorial by Reecey.)

Editor's note: This perhaps goes without saying, but trigger warning for discussions of domestic violence and sexual assault. 

Okay, on with the guest editorial, another offering from Reecey to fill the one day a week that I'm really busy.

James Potter
JK Rowling's Accidental Wife Beater.
(Guest editorial by Reecey).

There is no way she did this on purpose.

Absolutely no possible way that a woman who wholesale lifted characters from The Worst Witch purposefully wrote the dead parents of her main character to be in an abusive relationship.

Wednesday, 21 June 2017

What We're Watching 21/6/17

What We're Watching

Shadowhunters: The Mortal Instruments S2, Act 2.

I'll admit, I'm increasingly bored of Shadowhunters. It was -- and still is, really -- a promising series, taking an admittedly terrible book series and adapting it into a not-especially-deep but fun television show.

It's in a slump right now, though. The first act of the series saw main antagonist Valentine being defeated, and while the series is clearly setting up enigmatic shadowhunter Sebastian to be the new villain, at the moment the show is floundering, antagonist-less and directionless.

It still has spots of being good -- this week's episode involved the Clave becoming increasingly draconian, drawing parallels with fascist regimes and putting the protagonists squarely on the wrong side of the conflict, which is interesting if never exactly followed through on -- but until it finds some direction and a decent new antagonist, it's somewhat adrift.

Dark Matter.

I've spoken before about how ardently I love Dark Matter and Killjoys, and how much I wish for their success, so it's probably no surprise that I was pretty delighted to see that Dark Matter's third series had started.

After a very strong first outing with a superb two-parter, the third episode was more than a little bit lackluster, a rushed and half-arsed affair that seems to exist purely to wrap up Six's character arc and then summarily write him out of the show.

Dark Matter has problems when it comes to introducing new characters, with its last attempt -- introducing Devon and Nyx -- falling short of actually making them memorable characters, and eventually killing both of them off, so if it keeps trimming its cast down, eventually it's going to run out of people. We're already down from seven to four.

Digimon Universe: Appli Monsters.

Increasingly, it feels Appli Monsters has a tone problem. Obviously, it's a more light-hearted fare even by the standards of its very light-hearted franchise, but then, when it comes to dramatic moments, it struggles to communicate all of the tension and drama it wants to while still keeping that light hearted tone.

Which is how we ended up with a series of fun, happy episodic stories with the ominous threat of a traitorous teammate hanging over things, and how we got a curb-stomp losing battle against several new enemies, culminating in the seeming death of the Digimon partners, shot through with heavy amounts of comedy and whimsy.

But also, Appmon is just slowly starting to lose my interest. This isn't the first time this has happened -- The Young Hunters That Jumped Through Time lost my interest pretty quickly -- but it's still a little vexing.

Kamen Rider Ex-Aid.

Easily the most fun show on this list, Ex-Aid has surprised me with how enjoyable it is. When it first started airing, I only got a few episodes in before I grew bored, but once I picked it up again, I found that it went from being kind of dull to having me hooked surprisingly quickly.

We're approaching the series' final act, currently, and the conflict is mostly focused on Dan Masamune, father of previous main antagonist and time-manipulating Kamen Rider. That arc looks like it'll be ending soon, with Masamune probably doomed to be defeated next episode or the one after.

It's up in the air as to who will be the main antagonist after that. Perhaps Pallad will make a resurgence. Maybe Gemdeus, foreshadowed and briefly seen but not really part of the show yet, will make his appearance. Either way, I'm interested to see what happens.

Tuesday, 20 June 2017

Doctor Who S36E10: The Eaters of Light

Doctor Who
Series 36, Episode 10
The Eaters of Light

So, last week, I said that this episode would take us to Stonehenge, but it actually took us to Aberdeen, and an entirely different stone circle, so that's good.

This week's episode is written by Rona Munro, who is perhaps best known for the James Cycle of plays or her adaptation of Watership Down, but who is also now the only writer to have worked on both Old and New Who, having written the very last serial of Old Who (which was very well-received at the time). I do quite like Munro's work, as a rule, so I was somewhat looking forward to this episode.