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E3 2016 Keynote speech battle

Theoretically, this should be a pretty quick post about what we were shown by the major console makers just before E3 started. Much of it was very standard with some crowd pleasing games and some new hardware announcements but this still managed to be one heck of an odd E3… Much of this was due to the knowledge of new systems from all 3 major console makers were coming and yet none of them would make a splash at this years event… well, mostly. And the one which did make a showing, managed to just confuse and muddle peoples minds.

So lets take a look at the keynotes in order.

Microsoft

And we start off with the weirdest one of the lot! Microsoft started their keynote with the announcement of a new SKU for consumers and ended it with a teaser for another one coming next year (according to them). So they announced the new Xbox One S at the start, a smaller and cheaper Xbone with a slight upgrade in specs and coming to shops soon. That would have been fine except the last thing they showed was what they were calling project Scorpio, a major update to the Xbox One in terms of specs and one which pushes the system into a more incremental update pattern akin to PCs… So in one move, they sewed seeds of doubt into potential buyers of the Xbox One S and muddled their own ecosystem at the same time. Much effort was made to say that early Xbox One buyers would not be left out by this new update but if their specs are to be believed, they kinda have to leave the early adopters behind if they are going to make full use of the systems capabilities. This isn’t a little boost to make the system 4k compatible like the Playstation Neo. It looks like Scorpio is capable of much more but they are saying they are going to hamper themselves to ensure early adoptors “don’t get left behind”? I’m not buying it. I think the Scorpio will be like the New 3DS by nintendo. So far, the only things which are unique to the new 3DS is Xenoblade chronicles and SNES virtual Console games. Otherwise, the old 3DS is just as capable so the new model would languish if it was sold side by side with the old model cos there’s no reason to upgrade. I fear that will be the fate of project Scorpio.

Not that it really matters since throughout the whole conference, Microsoft went to pains to show that their games were now Xbox One AND Windows 10 “exclusive”. which basically means that you don’t need to buy an Xbone at all if you want to play their games, you just need a decent PC… which is what I have in front of me now. So there’s no reason at all for me to now buy an Xbone unless I really REALLY need to have a physical copy of the game.

Elsewhere, there was some good stuff shown on the games side. We got some Gears of War 4, which is very much more of the same as well as scalebound by platinum games (which, I admit, isn’t really on my radar at present), an announcement of Dead rising 4 & state of Decay 2 as well as a look at the new Rare pirate game, Sea of Thieves.

Ultimately though, it felt to me, personally, that Microsoft was basically trying to kill their own Xbox Brand. I now have no reason to buy their console and those who have will likely just be confused by all these upgrades… Games wise, the conference was pretty strong. But the overall message is sending mixed signals…

 

Sony

Lets face it, there was no way that Sony was going to come even close to matching their show last year but they did get a decent one out. In start contrast to Microsoft, there was absolutely no talk of the new Playstation 4 Neo at the event, which was focused almost entirely on the games. There was a bit about PSVR which was more just to give a solid release date and price before showing off the VR titles. There was also relatively little host presence. A brief introduction of the game was given but Sony mostly left the gameplay to speak for itself.

And we got a few surprises along the way, such as an announcement of Resident Evil 7, with a really clever title trick and a massive departure from the more recent games in the series, eschewing action for more tension in the gameplay but it’s still very early days. A brief demo was released after the event but it has proven divisive so far and it has been said that it’s not a true reflection of what the game will be but rather the atmosphere capcom are trying to make. A total remastered Crash Bandicoot trilogy was also announced which tickled more nostalgic gamers and Hideo Kojima got a massive welcome when coming to announce his new game after his split with Konami, Death Stranding. The trailer made no sense at all but I guess that’s par the course for Kojima. There was also a lot of gameplay from Horizon: Zero dawn, a game which looks interesting but hasn’t really grabbed me and a solid release date for the last guardian. FINALLY! And lets not forget the announcement of a new spider-man game from Insomniac games. I don’t like the new costume but I’m very interested to see what they have planned for that game.

Overall, I enjoyed the Sony conference the most. It was the most lean and simple to follow, with no new console variants to confuse things and a laser focus on the games they have planned. A good effort, even if they didn’t really have announcements that raised the roof this year.

 

Nintendo

With Ninty already saying that there won’t be any NX talk at E3, you knew that this was going to be a bare showing, and it proved to be thus. Nintendo treehouse basically padded their 2 or so hrs with just Pokemon Sun/Moon and the new Legend of Zelda game – Breath of the wild. If you are a fan of the series, then I guess you have something to fawn over but neither series has ever really grabbed me. I played Pokemon blue back on the old Game Boy but that’s it and I’ve never really been a fan of the 3D zelda games. So yeah, Nintendo was a bust for me.

 

And that’s it for this year. If the internet is anything to go by, it looks like Sony have once again maxed out on approval ratings from gamers and many are just as confused as I am with regards to the Microsoft Xbox Strategy… Well, we’ll see what happens in 12 months. By then, we will at least know what NX is and probably have a solid idea on what Sony is planning with their Playstation 4 Neo and we’ll also have PSVR in the wild. Could be very interesting…

(not so) Wild 9

Bit of a delay on this years anniversary post, primarily because I wasn’t sure if I should do one and the reason is pretty apparent…

Yup, that is the entirety of my purchases for this year. It’s considerably smaller than previous years and it lacks the single painted kit I did, which was for someone else. Still, I guess it would best to just put in a single photo.

Out of the above, I have to say that Matsuri is my fave figure, in spite of the very adult nature of the kit. The Nendo Sega Saturn is adorable too. In any case, lets see if the situation improves over the next 12 months and I’ll have more to collate next year.  I already have one on her way.

Commission(?) 1: U-511 (KanKolle) (part 3)

Another very quick update this week as I’m reaching the endgame which basically means that the bulk of the work should be completed by the end of this weekend if I want to finish this kit in time for MCM at the end of the month.

The basic colours have now been set (not pictured are the head and hair pieces which have also been painted). So the majority of what needs to be done are just the eyes and trying to get a good, even look for the hair, which may prove to be difficult. I’m not sure if it’s due to the lighting in the sample photo but the hair comes off as almost the same colour as her skin… Well, I’ll see what I can work out…

On another note, I also did a slight modification to the connector between the ship armaments and the figure by adding a magnet next to 2 support beams. This should allow the figure to be supported without needing to be permanently attached to the ship arms… In theory. In practice, the magnets aren’t quite strong enough so there’s a slight lean between the 2 parts but I think I’ll keep them as is simply because it makes the overall figure much easier to store and transport. This is pretty much crunch time if I want to try and hit my personal deadline so this weekend should be interesting…

Commission(?) 1: U-511 (KanKolle) (part 2)

Just a brief post this week but it’s kind of a big deal as, due to some unexplained randomness, I have picked up my old model kit projects and started working on them again! There might be a chance that I finish this little project before the MCM expo at the end of the month! I had originally hoped to complete both kits which were handed over to me but that definitely isn’t happening now. Well, 1 out of 2 ain’t bad.

The actual ship parts have been painted, though I may redo them depending on how well the colour meshes with the actual figure when all is said and done. The current shade may be a little too dark…

As for the figure herself, the parts fit is excellent and I didn’t see any major faults or pinholes in the parts after priming so I can pretty much jump straight to painting. A few leg parts do need a little cleanup but nothing major.

Similar story with the head. Just a few bits which may require cleaning up but the parts are all good and, if I manage to keep the momentum going and not get distracted by shiny new things (Uncharted 4), I suspect the painting will go by rather smoothly. but I will need to research more into the colour palette for this unit, just got lots of grey at the moment… Displaying the full kit will also likely prove to be awkward.

Mini Review & series retrospective – Dead or Alive Xtreme 3

Oh boy… Well, this one is going to be a little tricky. Not much needs to be said about DoA Xtreme 3. It’s development history is pretty much well known with the publishers quickly saying that they won’t publish it in the west and a few high profile people basically saying it’s due to “the current social climate” but that hasn’t stopped people from getting a copy and the whole thing just thrust the game into the limelight.

Then the reviews came out and they have been pretty savage. BUT the thing is, the game isn’t that bad! Sure it’s not good, but there are far worse games out there. Reviews have basically fallen roughly into 2 camps, those where the reviewer has claimed to have played previous games and then do their utmost to blast the game because “it’s the cool thing to do” and first timers who really didn’t know what they were getting themselves into. I have sympathies for the first timers as the game is basically from a different time and transplanted into the current environment which is basically hostile to everything because everything offends everyone. They were probably also stung by import taxes which raise the price of the game higher than is comfortable for many. I acquired mine by other means so I don’t feel particularly hard done by it but others may not be so lucky.

Still, in the interest of fairness (And to remind me what I was getting myself into), I actually went back and dug out my copies of the previous 2 games and played them before Xtreme 3 arrived for me. so, let’s take a look back at the earlier ones in the series…

Continue reading Mini Review & series retrospective – Dead or Alive Xtreme 3

Anime Roundup: Spring 2016

Oops, I missed the last season post due to various reasons such as rebuilding my PC and backend of the blog being down around the time but since the new season is now upon us, there’s no reason for me to miss it this time. I’ll quickly skim over the last season with a glance at the usual categories but I won’t go into much detail on the other shows as, well, the winter series was rather forgettable for me. In fact, it was the short shows like Galko and Oji-marshmallow which really were the most entertaining shows. but there were a few gems…

Best Show: KonoSuba

It was a close call between this and Schwarzesmarken but in the end, laugh-out-loud comedy trumps action/thriller. Man, this show was stupidly funny.

 

Worst Show: Saijaku Muhai no Bahamut

It’s a bit unfair to put this title here since it wasn’t *bad* per se, but it was so unbelievably bland. Even when you factor in the LN clones which follow this EXACT SAME FORMAT, it’s pretty weak. I do have some hope for the clones next season though… And at least it was nowhere near as bad as the abomination that was Comet Lucifer from the Autumn season.

Continue reading Anime Roundup: Spring 2016

Quick look: Kotori Loves: Aoki Hagane no Arpeggio Takao

And now for something completely different (well, not quite). I’ve been playing a fair bit of Koihime Enbu, a PS4 fighting game recently and have been enjoying it more than StreetFighter V but I figured that readers would tire of too many video game posts after eachother so I decided not to review that game but instead, take a look at a recent acquisition which is outside the norm.

I guess a little bit of information is in order. KOTORI is a japanese company which makes custom headphones. They have 3 types which are available on their website and they allow you to customise a lot of various parts in colours and patterns of your choosing (from a preset number). They make 2 types of overhead and one type of in-ear headphones.

Now, they have teamed up with GoodSmile Company to create special sets of earphones tied to a number of popular anime shows. The first set was of Aoki Hagane No Arpeggio. They have also created sets for Girls Und Panzer and *sighs* Love Live! Anyways, I pre-ordered the Takao set because Takao is the best shipgirl in Arpeggio, without question! so here’s a short and quick review of what to expect from these sets. The basic designs for the anime inspired earphones are identical to the custom sets available on the KOTORI website but you cannot customise these nor can certain elements be used for your own customs (due to licensing issues). Also, be aware that KOTORI only ship in Japan. They don’t do international orders so don’t be too eager to grab your own unless you have a method to ship internally in Japan before shipping internationally.

Anyways, on with the show!

Continue reading Quick look: Kotori Loves: Aoki Hagane no Arpeggio Takao

First Impressions: Valkyria: Azure Revolution

Like many other fans, I was pretty stoked to hear that Valkyria Chronicles was going to get a re-release on PS4. I’m not usually a fan of re-releases of previous gen games on current systems but my love of Valkyria Chronicles runs deep. I was also one of the many who were excited to hear that a new game was in development called Valkyria: Azure Revolution and we thought we would be getting another sequel to a great series… well, yes and no!

The game was billed as a prequel to the original games, being set many years in the past but with some links to the original games, such as the valkyria. However, if you are expecting a strategy RPG in a similar vein to the Valkyria Chronicles games, you will be disappointed. This is nothing like the games that have come before it!

The demo gives you 2 stages to play through, the first being a basic tutorial to explain how the mechanics work in the game and the second mission is more akin to an all out stage. Note that Sega have said that they will be using feedback from this demo to aid development (and the game even hints at a Ver 2.0 demo somewhere later down the line) so things mentioned in this first impression may be obsolete by the time the game makes it to shelves. You can also check out videos of the demo on youtube. Sadly, sega decided to make the entire demo a blocked scene so unless you stream using a 3rd party video capture unit, you won’t be able to show this demo off on twitch.tv.

Continue reading First Impressions: Valkyria: Azure Revolution

Wonder Festival 2016 Winter Garage Kits

Hey guys,

Sorry for the long break in posting but there was some work which was done on the backend and then there was Wonder Festival so my hands have been tied for a good week or so after everything stabilised but I’ll try to get back to regular posting now and I’ll start with this years Wonder Festival garage kits! As always, I helped cover the event over at Tomopop so hop on over there for a grand overlook of the entire event but for this post, I’ll be focusing on the garage kits which piqued my interests!

Oh, and Moeyo did a pretty decent job covering stuff as well, especially the more adult figures so jump on over there if you’re looking for the lewd.

Anyways, here are my pics from the event:

Without a doubt, these 2 kits were my standouts for the show. A full body figure of Rachnera from MonMusu (ostensibly, the best girl with Cetora coming in second) and Faintear from Triggerheart Exelica. I still love that game and seeing such a great looking figure from the game is really pleasing. Shame she doesn’t have her equipment but the figure looks great on her own.

As for the rest:

Continue reading Wonder Festival 2016 Winter Garage Kits

Exit, Stage right!

And once again, I and this blog survive past another 12 months! To be fair, 2015 turned out to be relatively uneventful compared to previous years and even the minor personal dramas paled in comparison to what has come before. Then again, there are also times which help remind me that I have good connections to people all over the place and that’s always great. In any case, lets take a look back at some of the stuff which appeared on our monitors over the past year with my top 5 shows!

Shirobako

plastic memories

1-punch man

shimoseka
unlimited blade works

Shirobako was a shoe-in from the start. It would have made it in last years list if it finished in 2014 but it was only halfway done so here it is. And it also gave us this…

Plastic Memories was a simply story which was told well and sometimes, that’s all you need. UBW was just amazing to watch in motion (even if it did completely mess up the schedule for the show succeeding it. Poor God Eater) and we all knew that 1-punch man was going to be great, we just didn’t know how great!
And then there’s Shimoseka. While not as great as Seitokai Yakuindomo, there’s just something amazingly fun about shows which wears their pervertedness on their sleeves like these shows do. It’s impossible not to at least smile when watching shimoseka, unless you’re stuck up and take everything too seriously. It was a real shock to hear that Matsuki Miyu died this year. I was actually playing Tales of Zestiria when I heard the news and she voiced Laila in that game, but for me, her name will forever be attached to this character…

Shimo_Anna2

And now, onto the rest:

worst shows of 2015

Comet Lucifer – After a pretty good first ep, the show went downhill fast. And damn, that ending was soooo bad…
Gundam Reconguista in G – Tomino should never write another show again… EVER!!!
Rage of Bahamut Genesis – What a waste of space…
Seiken Tsukai no World Break – I wish I could take back the time I spent watching this show…
Tokyo Ghoul – Shouldn’t be much of a surprise. The manga is a mess and so is the anime. A character driven story with no likeable characters!
High School DXD BorN – Oh man, I have no idea how they managed to screw up the series so bad considering the source material is solid!
Aoharu x Kikanju – It was a mistake to watch this show…
Gunslinger Stratos – Ugh… just Ugh!

Man, there were a lot of really big duds this year! And there’s a massive pool of mediocrity as well. Come to think of it, I’m surprised I managed to pull out 5 faves from the pile!

Biggest Disapointment

Death Parade – A very interesting premise but marred by poor writing, especially with the “hell” episodes.
Aldnoah Zero – The curse of Code Geass/Guilty Crown strikes again. A good start but falls apart in the midway point
Triage X – This was down to Censorship.
Ranpo Kitan – I was really hoping for a good mystery show… I don’t know what I got with this show.
Gatchaman Crowds insight – Some really cool ideas and social commentary hidden in the plot, but was hampered by very poor writing.
Yahari Ore no Seishun Love Comedy wa Machigatteiru. Zoku – Where did all the fun go?
Classroom Crisis – Started off good but fizzled.

Biggest Surprises

  • Ore, Twintail ni Narimasu
  • Nanatsu no Taizai
  • Yoru no Yatterman
  • Grisaia no Rakuen

The Rest

  • Glad to see Fafner finally make a return.
  • Man, Jojo stardust crusaders went on and on!! Still great tho!
  • I didn’t really feel anything for Durrr this time around but they’re still going on and making more!
  • Idolm@ster Cinderella Girls was nowhere near as good the original 789 pro, but still better than all the other pretenders.
  • Dog Days 3 was just… OK. Each series gets progressively worse so I kinda hope they stop soon before they just end up bad.
  • Same for Symphogear
  • Saenai Heroine no Sodatekata just didn’t have much going for it. and it ended pretty abruptly too!
  • There were way too many Light Novel adaptations with plots and characters which could be easily swapped out with one another and I can’t be arsed to list them all.
  • Isuca surprised me. Made me go back and read the manga again.
  • I really liked assassination classroom but I don’t think I’ll go and read the manga… Too long.
  • Junketsu no Maria was a really nice self contained show.
  • I still don’t have a clue what YuriKuma Arashi was about.
  • Log Horizon 2 wasn’t as good as season 1 but still worth a shot.
  • Really liked Overlord but I still feel that I’ve read titles that did it better.
  • Arslan Senki was a great remake.
  • Danmachi was fun but it didn’t leave much of a mark
  • An absolute mess but a fun ride… Yep, that’s Kekkai Sensen in a nutshell.
  • just WTF was going on in Punch Line?
  • Dragonball Z + nanoha = Nanoha ViviD!
  • Gotta love all the engrish in Hello! Kiniro Mosaic
  • Still not sure if I like Owari no Seraph or not…
  • Nisekoi 2 is everything you’d expect.
  • Ore Monogatari And the disappearance of Nagato Yuki was decent fillers but not particularly amazing on their own.
  • Monster Musume and Himouto Umaru-Chan are very much flavours of the season but they may still have a long tail… Also, Rachne and Cetora are the best girls, no question!
  • Sore ga Seiyuu was fun but not a patch on Shrobako
  • I really want to read Rokka no Yuusha after watching the anime!
  • Charlotte was made by the same team that made Angel Beats and it shows. Charlotte had all the same failings.

I think that’s everything on the anime side… As far as movies go, working close to a cinema helps a bunch so I did actually end up watching a few more movies than I otherwise would not. Fast & furious 7, Ant-man, Spectre, Force awakens to name a few… Jurassic World was stupid fun and was much better than the 2 sequels and Mad Max: Fury Road was excellent in its simplicity. But my Absolute favourite film which I saw this year was Kingsman. Sure it wasn’t the best film, but I don’t think I enjoyed any other as much as I did that one, especially since Bond went all dark and angsty. It felt good to watch an old style spy flick. Maybe that was why I enjoyed the man from UNCLE too. Avengers: Age of Ultron may have been when my Marvel movie fatigue kicked in. It was entertaining as hell, but it lacked the “wow” factor I felt from the previous movies. A lot is riding on Cap’n Murica next year… I’m sure I saw more bit I honestly can’t remember. I also went to the cinema to see the new Dragonball Z movie, friezas revenge. Not a bad film at all and a good callback to older DBZ.

And now, onto the games!

Best Game

splatoon

Man, this was a tough one. I don’t think this game was the one I spent the most time on (that honour probably goes to Xenoblade Chronicles X at 50hrs and still going) but this was the game I kept coming back to. I’d play for a weekend and then leave it for a while but I’d always come back for more and it would be just as fun as I left it. And I’m sure I’ll go back to it again when I get back to my Wii U!

Honourable mentions

  • I very nearly put Onechanbara Z2 Chaos as my top game of the year. It’s very rough but stupidly good fun.
  • The Order 1888 had a bunch of good ideas and fun weapons but there wasn’t enough of it to lift it above average…
  • I never thought I’d enjoy Hyperdimension Neptunia U as much as I did. Hell, I even platinum’d the game!
  • Tales of Zestiria was decent but has some major issues and bugs. How the hell does a boss character just randomly shrug off an attack string like it suddenly got impenetrable armour?
  • rocket league was a surprise hit with me, as much as it was for many others!
  • Batman: Arkham Knight felt like a good time to end the series. It hadn’t jumped the shark yet but it was getting close.
  • I need to go back to Final Fantasy: Type 0 and finish it, but even though it’s a PS4 game it’s PSP basics show in every part of the design.
  • Toukiden Kiwami was only the 3rd MonHun game I really enjoyed after God Eater and Freedom Wars. Man, I can’t WAIT for God Eater 2! I’ll prob pick up resurrection too.
  • Transformers Devastation was a mostly enjoyable romp but was a far cry from the usual high standards from Platinum games. I just hope working multiple games doesn’t adversely affect their output too badly.
  • Transformers Devastation was a decent Transformers game but was a considerable mark down from the usual  quality of Platinum games.
  • I finally jumped on the Destiny Bandwagon.
  • Ditto with Shovel knight!
  • Xenoblade Chronicles X isn’t as tightly made as its predecessor and has some major trappings but if it made me sink 50+hrs with lots more to go, you know it’s doing something right!
  • Also grabbed HyperDevotion Noire so I now have the game starring the best goddess!
  • Another deception game? I’ll take it, even if it is just an expansion.

Still, even with this list, the year was amazing for gaming purely with the announcements and kickstarters. This year was purely down to sony and Nintendo. Both had missed and delayed games but Ninty still gave us Splatoon and Xenoblade Chronicles X. Their Nintendo Direct reveals of Cloud and Bayonetta for Smash were major points which brought the hype! But if you want hype, it was definitely down to Sony and their E3 conference. It says a lot when microsoft gave a really solid conference and nobody remembers it simply due to the announcements from Sony! You almost feel bad for the big M.
In 2015, we got a spiritual sequel to Castlevania: Symphony of the night, another for Valkyrie Profile, Confirmation of Shenmue 3 and a freaking FINAL FANTASY 7 REMAKE!!  You just need to watch the reaction videos on Youtube from the FF7 announcement. And that’s not even counting stuff like the Capcom Cup Finals, with amazing moments like Daigo vs Infiltration. AND to top all them off, A Resident Evil 2 Remake. A full Remake of the best game in the damn series (yeah, you heard me RE4 fanboys). No remixing, no over-the-shoulder viewpoint. Just classic RE remade again. That might have actually been more exciting for me than FF7 remake. If Capcom announced it at E3, I would have lost my shit!!… even more than I did.

2015 was pretty much Sonys year but much of it were promises, so now they need to deliver. But if they do, 2016 will pretty much be theirs too!

And that’s pretty much it for 2015. An uneventful year but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Thanks to Q, Simbo and the FCG guys, Mr.E, Firei, Dblanks, T101UK and the others for all their help this year! The figures Retrospective will be done later, at the time of the blogs anniversary but otherwise, thanks to everyone for visiting and あけましておめでとうございます