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Mini Review: Valkyrie Drive Bhikkhuni

I just realised that there has been very little in figure news on this blog for some time. Partially because there’s nothing of note to report and also, although I have had a few purchases arrive, they don’t really strike me as review-worthy. Maybe I will re-evaluate soon but for now, let’s go with another game review.

Now, Valkyrie Drive: Bikkhuni is from the same mind that brought us Senran Kagura and it is fully aware of what it is and what is expected of it. Having said that, the whole game lacks the tongue-in-cheek atmosphere of the Senran games and feels more “serious”, at least in terms of story. And by that I mean injecting seriousness in a mass of fanservice, Kinda like how Oshii Mamoru forcibly injects philosphy and religious stuff into his animes, even if it’s a detriment to the movie itself (GitS2: Innocence Anyone?).

*ahem* but in any case, this game never goes too far off that end. The game was designed in conjunction with an anime series set in the same world called Valkyrie Drive: Mermaid. (in fact, the 2 lead characters in the anime are DLC for this game!). The premise goes something like… *deep breath* a virus has infected a number of girls in the world and those infected are shipped off to specially created islands as some sort of quarantine. The Virus has 1 of 2 effects, a girl can either transform into a powerful weapon if aroused or the girl can be capable of welding said weapon after doing the arousing. Yep, that’s basically it. The method is basically an excuse to get characters to pair up and for Yuri scenes.

Now, the game is a little different in that the characters you control are able to do both. They are both able to wield weapons or become one themselves. OK, I think I’m done. If you want more

*details*, check out the promotional video for the western release.

So, with that out of the way… this bit comes pretty easily. Basically, this game plays like a reskinned senran kagura. The combat is almost identical, save for a few minor changes which affect how you can raise your super bar and the like and the mission hub also works in almost exactly the same way. The major differences revolve around a special “affinity meter” which characters have with eachother and filling that up for the course of the game is how you can unlock more powerful attacks and transformations.

Speaking of which, the transformations are basically the Shinobi Tenshin from Senran Kagura. There are also moves to launch enemies and then chase them to continue a combo with a single button press as well and the stages follow the same structure of “beat up gangs of zakos -> move to new area -> repeat -> final battle 1v1 with named character.”

Now, I’m not trying to knock the game but it pretty much tells you instantly if you’ll enjoy it or not.

There really isn’t that much more to say about the game. There’s not even a real need to do the usual Like/Loathe list as it will basically be “do you like Senran? You’ll like this! But the things you don’t like are probably here too!” There are some drops in performance when the screen gets really busy and, oddly, framerate lowers during the intermission parts (tho it does remain constant). still, the game knows what it is and isn’t afraid to flaunt it. There will be those who won’t give the game a chance and judge it purely on the massive orbs on the chests of the characters but if you’ve liked any of the previous games from the creators, then you can walk in with eyes open and there will be no surprises.

Anime Roundup: Autumn 2016

One thing I do find rather irritating is how all the anime shows now start on different weeks. This would be due to the shows now varying in length from anything between 13 and 8(!) episodes long! It makes it hard to make a decent schedule to watch things but I think I have it under control now so I can finally put some kind of anime post for this season together. Though, to be honest, this season isn’t looking too strong.

But lets look back before we move forward and skim over last seasons shows!

Best Show

New Game

This show was just adorable and entertaining as well. While the show does beautify things a lot and take out all the really bad stuff, it apparently is fairly accurate in its depiction of japanese game developers, so it’s also educational!!! to a point…

Continue reading Anime Roundup: Autumn 2016

First Impressions: Valkyria: Azure Revolution Demo Ver 2.0

I was fortunate enough to have had access to the recent Valkyria: Azure revolution demo from the japanese PSN store recently (My understanding is that you either had to pick up a code from TGS or have the version 1 demo from the Valkyria Chronicles Rerelease to be able to access it) and so, I thought I’d give my thoughts on it. Luckily, this time around, Sega didn’t block recording or streaming of this demo so I was able to do a few runs on twitch and archive it on Youtube. tl:dr – here’s a video of the run if you want to see the game in action. I’ll put my thoughts up afterwards.

Continue reading First Impressions: Valkyria: Azure Revolution Demo Ver 2.0

Mini Review: Touhou Genso Rondo Bullet Ballet

Firstly, apologies for the lack of posts for the past couple of months. Real life stuff at work hit pretty hard and I’m still trying to pick up all the pieces but here’s to me trying to get things back onto track.

And for the first post back, I felt that a recent purchase deserved a mini review for a little more exposure simply because it won’t otherwise. It’s that damn niche!! And that purchase is the first Touhou game to come to a playstation console officially, Genso Rondo! Now, there’s another reason why I wanted to write this up but I’ll get to that a little later.

Now, for the completely uninitiated, Touhou is a series of doujin (basically, japanese indie) games which have been around for a while. They’re mostly bullet hell shmup games but they have diversified into a number of other genres as well. Each character has also been given their own fairly intricate back story and personalities so the Touhou universe is actually quite expansive. But that’s enough about Touhou in general. There’s a whole wiki dedicated to it so you can check that out for more info but lets go into Genso Rondo a little bit more.

Continue reading Mini Review: Touhou Genso Rondo Bullet Ballet

Quick Look: Cat Ear Headphones by AxentWear

I’ve actually had this pair of headphones for a while but didn’t really think about posting anything about them but since a bonafide UK dealer has picked it up and you can now purchase these things locally instead of going through the intense pain of importing, I figured that some people would be interested in grabbing a pair, but I do have to temper any enthusiasm first.

Well, at least the box is pretty stylish! and I was also able to find a seller of 1/3 scale replicas for my Dollfies too, as modelled by Alisa here!

Continue reading Quick Look: Cat Ear Headphones by AxentWear

Wonder Festival 2015 Summer Garage Kits

Wonder Festival was a couple of weeks ago but I was sadly caught up in writing up the Tomopop coverage so I haven’t been able to write about it until now.  You can still go over to Tomopop for a more full coverage but I’m just going to focus on the kits which I liked the looks of in this post (as usual).

Vispo really came back with a BANG at this event with 2 new kits of Rin and Sakura with scooters! Ages ago, he did one of Rider and I thought it looked decent but these 2 are something else. I particularly like the Rin kit tho.

And if that wasn’t enough, Vispo also did this great original number! The lady is named Ruka and I really like this kit! Think I will be trying to get one in the future!

Continue reading Wonder Festival 2015 Summer Garage Kits

Anime Roundup: Summer 2016

And once again, the new anime season is upon us and, to be honest, not many of the shows really interest me this time around but there are a couple I will definitely be watching and some which I am curious about so my viewing habits are not likely to change. But, as always, lets take a look at the previous season and what worked and what didn’t.

Best Show

Joker Game

 

This is mostly due to my personal tastes in entertainment as I really like mysteries and thrillers with a logical structure and allows you to work things out without the show having to explain every little detail to you so this was right up my alley. Not as great as Gosick or (more recently) Hyouka but still very solidly put together and keeps your interest.

Continue reading Anime Roundup: Summer 2016

(commission): Deep Rising!

Sorry for the late post but I’m just putting in a brief one because this kit kinda deserves a post. I finished U-511 from KanColle a while back and she is now with her new owner but I still wanted to post a little bit of her but waited for a while.

Continue reading (commission): Deep Rising!

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.