Testing Tabletops (that are no longer supported)

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I figure it’s about time to give you guys an explanation on why I haven’t posted anything recently (besides the rants I know ALL my readers come for).  To be honest, I have no excuses – I’ve just been putting it off.  I haven’t done much of anything, honestly – summer’s here, and it’s too hot to breathe without becoming exhausted.

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Stolen shamelessly from: http://lregnier.weebly.com/tabletop-rpg-club.html

But now that it’s below 70, I figured I should post something.  Sadly, I don’t have the energy to write a review of a game, and most anime of the last three seasons I’m still catching up on, or haven’t rewatched to write a review.

That leaves Tabletop… or art.  and I’m not really drawing when my sweat binds my arm to my book.

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Game Review: Demon Master Chris

!!!WARNING!!!

The content in this review is intended for adults only (as most of the things on this site are).  This review covers a Hentai game, and therefore should only be bought by individuals of the appropriate age.  I’m warning you here:

!!!Viewer Discretion Advised!!!

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Anime Review: Kara no Kyoukai (The Garden of Sinners)

So, it’s been a bit since my last update. Because of that, the next few posts may be a little cluttered together.

But for right now, a new anime review – this time of a fairly well-known series of movies!

Anime Review: The Garden of Sinners

Kara no Kyoukai

I want to start this review by saying that I had no clue what the hell Kara no Kyoukai was when I found it. The first movie I saw was the latest in the collection, and then I went back and got the rest of the movies. Among my favorite fansub groups, there is a large amount of anime I subconsciously avoid, and for the longest time, Kara no Kyoukai: Future Blessing was on that list. But after realizing that the majority of UTW’s anime choices were amazing, I decided to give it a chance.

Kara no Kyoukai started out as a 1998 light novel by Kinoku Nasu, which apparently gained a cult following, with eight novels and more than seven animated films o date, with one novel unreleased, and a possible final film being released soon. It follows the story of a small group of people in late 1990 Japan, and tackles many mature subjects such as incest, rape, suicide, murder, and parricide, adding a paranormal twist to it. The main character, Shiki Ryougi, is a form of paranormal sleuth, dealing out her own form of vigilante justice through her knife, and her mysterious powers.

Throughout the movies, it is obvious that she and a second character (Mikiya) have some sort of unspoken relationship. Not only that, but as the prequels and sequels come in, we also learn about Shiki herself, and the mysteries surrounding her, such as her prosthetic arm, her entanglement with the paranormal, and in the latest movie, her connection to these people who target her.

To be honest, I wanted to watch all of the movies in one go. However, there were problems with my player, and the middle movies aren’t playing correctly. The movies I did see, however, were definitely interesting – each movie is directed by a new director (with some exceptions)- and the story and animation show that- but still, the story seems to flow well from chapter to chapter. Also, despite the fact that the movies skip along the timeline weirdly, they seem to do so in a way that answers the questions from the previous movie, and makes new questions that can be found through careful study.

I have not seen many other reviews on this series (Demolition D+ is the only one I’ve actually seen), but despite that, after seeing the first movie, I realized that it is in fact a classic. It inspired such series as Fate/Stay Night and Tsukihime, and the characters and plot points seem to be reminiscent in those series.

There’s not much more that I can say about this series, but I must say: watching Shiki break someone’s pupil with magic was awesome.
Beating a serial killer has never been so badass

And now, without further ado, the scoring of Kara no Kyoukai.

Looking at my past posts, I realize this is actually the first Anime review I’ve published. So here’s a breakdown of the scoring system for anime:

-Plot / Story: how well-thought out the plot was, or how well the story arcs build into the main idea of the series. Out of 10.

-CD: short for Character Development. How characters develop, and how their relationships or interactions with other characters change them. Out of 5.

Art / Acting: based around character design, clothing and environment design, and above all, acting. Poor acting means a poor grade. Out of 10.

Rewatch Value: how tempted I would be to re-watch the series. Things like To Aru have a high rewatch value for me, while things like Helsing don’t. Out of 10.

Overall Rating: kind of self-explanatory. Based on the above factors (and my other personal feelings about the franchise or series) I will give the series a rating and an S through F grade, with high and low markers. Out of 50.

So, here is my score for Kara no Kyoukai: The Garden of Sinners (TVMA):

Plot: 7.5 out of 10
while I did like the story (and in the series’ defense, I watched the last movie first), there were times in the movies that I just couldn’t follow. Whether it is because of poor subbing, or if the language just didn’t translate well, it caused me to deviate, albeit a little, from paying attention to the plot. However, the parts that I could follow were definitely amazing – seeing the evolution of Shiki between the first and latest movies was definitely surprising, and it correlated well when watching the other movies in the series.

CD: 4 out of 5
Possibly the only slow character development that I can stand, TYPE-MOON uses each chapter to tell a different story that connects with the main characters, and almost always features a new character that helps flesh out the major characters. There still seems to be some characters that could use this (such as Bomberman Mitsuru in Future Blessing), but that could just be because I haven’t seen him in the other movies yet. Shiki especially changes throughout the series, going from a murderous introvert who hates socializing, to a young woman who can express some form of feeling.

Art / Acting: 10 out of 10
I may be generous in most of my reviews, but it is still rare for me to award a full score in any category. The art of each chapter evolved as the series grew older, and each director had a distinct but powerful difference in their interpretation of the series. Each actor seems to be carefully chosen for the role they portrayed, and each character seemed believable, from the simple Mikiya to the complex Shiki – even some of the less-major characters (Seo, Bomberman) seemed to have their own backstories in their voices. The clothing choice is interesting, and always complements the character it is chosen for; as for the environments, the distinct lack of high-tech devices in the 1990’s gives the series a nostalgic feel, like when we used to all have that huge cellphone from Nokia.

Rewatch Value: 8 out of 10
As I said before, while I couldn’t watch the middle chapters, the episodes I did see have stuck with me. Not to say, they were perfect, but Future Blessing and Overlooking View seem to have many hidden themes, which gives me the feeling that I missed something. In fact, I have watched Future Blessing four times, and each time, I notice something new. Although this is the case for many movies and series, I feel like this movie does it well, and in such a way that makes a watcher come back again and again (although, once again, it could be the different directors).

Overall Rating: 48 out of 50
A

I have to admit, I absolutely loved the series. From the symbolism to the scenes, the characters to the antagonists, Kara no Kyoukai peaked my interest, and kept my attention all through the movie. Usually when watching a movie (subbed or dubbed) I have the need to multitask – for the chapters that I have had the pleasure to watch, I couldn’t tear my eyes away from the screen. Many of the themes, characters, and basic ideas in the game were different – innovative, interesting, and above all, mysterious. I can’t honestly say that I have seen a better anime series, excluding Ghibli films, and even my favorite series can’t match up to this. Kara no Kyoukai is definitely a must watch, but only for the older audiences, as there are many violent, mature, and just plain disturbing scenes throughout each episode.

I’m not sure if there are DVDs available in North America or Europe, but the series is subtitled only, and there are a large number of Torrenters who you can get the series from. If you can find an official release for your country, however, I definitely recommend buying it.

Quick Update! +Game Review: Gravity Rush

Hey, everyone!  I’ll bet you thought I was dead!

Well, almost.  But what happened is in the past, and now let’s delve into the future!  Over the few months I’ve missed here, I’ve been watching some Crunchyroll, and I also got some new consoles.  So, hopefully, after Friday’s work and/or classes, I’ll be able to do some hardcore reviews.  We have both an Xbox One and a PS4 now, so games from most consoles may be subject to reviews.  Games I have been playing and may review soon include: FFX-2 HD; Kingdom Heats II.5 Remix; Shadows of Mordor; Project Diva; and even some “demos” that have recieved a lot of hype.

As for anime, expect some of the genres that you would expect of me.  Anime I may end up reviewing include: Celestial Method; Your Lie In April; Plastic Nee-san; Highschool DxD; Girlfriend Beta; and Denki-Gai.

On a secondary note, I also recorded some videos of me playing horror games (if you’ve met me, I pussy out easily), fittingly titled “Let’s Die!”, so stay tuned for those to hit YouTube!

And now, onto the thing you’re actually here for:

Game Official Art

Game Official Art

Game Review: Gravity Rush

Platform: PS Vita

ESRB: Teen

Price: $13.49 (Digital)

Genre: Open World Action-Adventure RPG

I’ll be completely honest: the only reason I didn’t get a Vita right off the bat was because this was the only game I wanted.  At the time, this game intrigued me with the unique combat system, plus the graphic were just beautiful.  But I repressed my urge for the game, and instead went for the 3DS, where Pokemon awaited another journey.

As soon as I started playing Gravity Rush, however, I realized my mistake.

Gravity Rush takes place in a fictional city / country / world / continent called Hekseville, which is being swallowed in parts by these strange rifts called Gravity Storms.  You play as a girl who has lost her name, waking up next to a cat you lovingly nickname Dusty.  as you play through the story, you gain the name Kat, and start to help the people of Hekseville by doing little chores, killing enemies (known as Nevi), and destroying the Gravity Storms, thereby returning parts of the city to normal.

By far, the most interesting mechanic that I have found in the game is the main focus of the game: the gravity shift.  There is a plethora of collectibles, enemies, and missions that require going under the city and not falling into the giant void below to gain – the fact that you can control which direction your gravity makes you fall can make these tasks much easier than if you were just flying.  You can also float in space and do a high-speed Gravity Kick, dealing extended damage to father enemies.  There are even three (maybe more) special moves that can help with those bigger Nevi, or the ones that like to spawn more.

The story is separated into different chapters, where in-between missions, you can wander the city, talk to some people about the next mission, and (if you pay a few extra bucks), go do some DLC missions for more stuff, including costumes.  Other than that, I have to also mention that the game has its own language that you may hear bits and pieces of during the cutscenes.  This language, as I have heard, is a “Japanese-French fusion that’s essentially just gibberish”, but still finds a way to be interesting and colorful.  Along with that, the soundtrack for the world is just beautiful – it is one of the few games that I can say, “This soundtrack has no bad moments, and fits the game perfectly!!!”

There is not much I can criticize about this game; the only thing I really dislike is the Gravity Slide mechanic, where you basically turn while sliding with the Vita itself.  There are no penalties for falling off of the world, and if you go farther that you are supposed to, the rift will teleport you back to the last populated area.  Not only that, but fall damage doesn’t exist, and there are no real penalties for accidentally tossing the people who get caught in your gravity field.

As always, this review is my opinion – I don’t mean to offend anyone with it, as it is what I believe, notice and/or have done in-game.  If you disagree with me, have comments, questions, or just want to bitch at me, my e-mail is on the About page.  Now then, to the Final Scoring.

My scoring for Gravity Rush (ESRB T, PSV) is as follows:

Story: 4/ 5

As much as I want to give this game a 5, I need to finish the game before I can honestly say the story is flawless.  However, playing through this huge world with these tiny secrets and multiple entryways keeps me (and maybe you) entertained for hours.

Art/ Acting: 3.5/ 5

Again, love the game, and its art, but I feel like they didn’t put enough effort into the acting portion.  There are many scenes that are partially-voiced, but they have no reason to do so.  Like I said, the game’s language is intriguing and colorful, but it would be fun to hear more of it.  The art, on the other hand, although a little old, is still swimmingly beautiful, cel-shaded in a form that reminds me of Musashi’s 3D-Manga style.

Character: 3/ 5

There seems to be something left to be desired with the characters, as many of them start to get fleshed out, then just drop out of the major story.  This may pick up later, but I’ve played through half of the game, and there are still character questions left unanswered: Gade is a creator who can’t do shit, Raven seems to be a bipolar rival (like Gary MF Oak), and we still haven’t seen anything about Kat’s background, or how she arrived “in this strange city”.  Worst of all, more and more questions keep popping up without being fully answered.

Playability: 5/ 5

I have never found a game that I can play for more than a couple of hours at a time (except for Ratchet & Clank UYA), and this game is no exception.  However, I still end up playing it first thing in the morning, during my work breaks, and right before bed.  Every free moment has been taken buy this game recently… and I love it so much.  It is probably the first game I have played day-by-day since N3 first came out.

Overall Rating: 93/ 100

A

There is very little I disliked about the game: the enemies are for the most part unique per level, and it appears that the game’s difficulty matches the way you play.  Not only that, but the unique control scheme easily becomes second nature after fooling with the world for a little bit.  I also like the upgrade mechanic, which you can also use to fix parts of the city that you regained.  Talk of a Gravity Rush 2 has me very excited for a sequel to this amazingly beautiful game.

I cannot recommend a game more than this one right now, and I am.  GO TO PSN AND BUY THIS GAME NAOW!

"Please buy my game!  You won't regret it!"

“Please buy my game! You won’t regret it!”

Anyway, that was all I have to say.  Expect more updates soon, hopefully less scattered.

Until then,

Marcosias Isif.

Visual Novels are the new…novels

You read right: Visual Novels.  I don’t talk about them much even though I am a fan of Japanese culture / anime / manga, but I am a huge fan of VNs.  I even wrote one back when Katawa Shoujo was only in Act I (I was unable to work on it, though, as my laptop killed itself).
But I digress: the reason I suddenly bring up the phrase is because I am asking you.  The reader.  The Internet.  That lonely kid in the corner who has The Voice of God.

I need your help.
I have come up with a (rinsed, but solid) plot for a VN, and I am looking for helpers.  I have the software, I have the idea, and now I need the manpower (or womanpower). Currently, the things I need help with are as follows:

•Cowriter(s).  I have a basic idea and a starting point, but that’s it.

•Composer(s).  If I’ve learned anything from using a Mac for 7 years, it’s that I can’t use Music programs worth a flying shit.

•Character Designer(s).  This is a maybe, as I can draw fairly well, and I have started using a tablet for my Mac.  It’s always cool to have multiple art styles and views, though.

•Someone with programming skills.  I am relearning how to use Ren’Py, but some of the things I’m doing might take me a while to learn… or never.

•Beta Testers.  Obviously, we’ll need some VN Gamers who are willing to test it out, based on the genre of the game.  They will also help determine the game’s rating.

•Voice Actors.  This will probably be the most fun, and the most difficult (aside from programming).  People with talent to voice one of the 20+ characters I have planned will be a great help.  This is not a necessity, nor do I truly know if I can add voices to this.

•Photographers.  This goes hand-in-hand with artists, but real photographs of Japan will give the game more realistic values.

Just so I’m clear, this project is completely nonprofit.  This is due to a couple reasons, but mainly because I am unable to pay minimum wage for two people, let alone for approximately 30 people at a regular rate.  This is purely a charity project, unless we can come up with a way that everyone gets paid.

Currently, I have enlisted four potential voice roles (but that part will come much later).  At the very least, I’d like help planning the story a little better than I already have.

If you do want to help out, just send me an email, a tweet, a post, a SMS, or anything to let me know that you’re interested.  My information is below.  I will start a page for the Visual Novel(s) on this blog (and the Moronic Spasms one, if it becomes more popular).
Thanks in advance to those who want to help.

~Marcosias B.

Email: marcosiasisif@gmail.com
Phone: (907)347-8885
Twitter: Marcosias Isif @DemonEvangeline
deviantArt: MarcosiasIsif
Facebook: Marcosias Adam Bowman