Bit of a late post this week as it’s close to Christmas so things are getting rather busy. That and (more importantly) I couldn’t think of a witty pun for the title!! I had thought I used this for a past post but after going through a quick check, that proved to not be the case so I can use it! And of course, I will be using it for the best heroine in Walkure Romanze; Celia Kumani Aintree!!
And she’s finished just before the anime ends as well! How about that? Just a shame that she wasn’t given a more prominent role in it…
Despite basically being a block metal colour, I had immense fun painting her and I’m glad that I buckled down and bought her before we even knew very much about her or the game she starred in (the original game was eternally delayed so the first few GK from Volks ended up being released before the game they were meant to promote…).
I still have one more in the shape of Ryozouji Akane but let’s enjoy the view of Celia for now. We know that Akane would!
Continue reading Ride of the Walkure!!
After the somewhat disappointing Arkham Origins on home consoles, I got a chance to play through the portable game which was released side by side with the big brother release. Arkham Origins Blackgate was released on the 3DS and Vita and it was the Vita version which I was able to pick up. I had some hopes for this game as much of the preview videos painted the game as a sort of metroidvania type game, which happens to be one of my favourite genres!
The story picks up a mere few weeks after the end of Arkham origins. All the major villains in the main game have been incarcerated in Blackgate prison and the first stage introduces you to catwoman. You chase her down and that doubles as a tutorial for the game basics, which are just toned down versions of the main systems in the main game. Your combat still revolves around 2 buttons, attack and counter, detective mode is still there and a new feature called scan mode, where you need to touch the screen on various parts of interest to analyse them before being able to use them is a new addition to the gameplay. After you catch catwoman, the game begins proper with a prison riot which you go in to quell. You quickly meet up with catwoman who gives you information on the situation and news that there are hostages in a special wing at the bottom of Blackgate, who you will need to rescue. The prison has been split into 3 main areas controlled by the Penguin, the Joker and Black Mask so you know who the big bads are straight away and you set off to take them down and rescue the hostages.
The game uses an odd 2.5D style of look where the gameplay is effectively locked into a 2D plane but the camera moves around to give a 3D feel even though your movements are limited to left and right. Furthermore, you are frequently able to move into or out of the plane to get into vents or ledges in order to proceed. The story is pushed forward with comic-style cutscenes which do a decent job of portraying what’s going on before you regain control and move to your next objective. Initially, you start off with just a baterang but your arsenal will expand as the game progresses and you will be able to explore more areas which were previously inaccessible. Overall, I think I prefer Arkham Asylum out of all the games thus far as the linear path led to a rather tight and involving story. My only complaint was that it was so close to being a metroidvania game yet wasn’t. The level design was too rigid to allow for exploration and that destroyed the illusion. So I was really hoping that Blackgate would scratch that itch and make for a good metroidvania game. Well, it tried. but ultimately failed…
Continue reading Batman: Arkham Origins Blackgate
Another break from posting about Celia (who is nearing completion. She should be done in a week or 2) so I thought I’d post something about a rather pleasant surprise game which I recently finished!
I have to admit that I have not been the biggest fan of the lego series of games. I tried getting into Lego Indiana Jones and Lego Batman but the games felt too simple and lacked depth for me. Then I heard good things about lego batman 2 but it wasn’t enough to sway me. But recently, I was given the chance to play the latest game, lego Marvel Superheroes and decided to take the plunge. Afterall, it was no skin off my neck and in terms of overall stables, I do prefer Marvel over DC.
And the result kinda surprised me! Basically, the game is pretty much a sandbox open world game but the initial story missions are completely separate and link up to eachother in a linear fashion. The sandbox element only really takes off once you complete the main story mode and want to collect new characters and the like, and boy, are there a lot of characters to collect!! The main story mode isn’t very long either but there’s plenty to do once you see the credits roll. The question is, do you want to spend time with it?
Continue reading Mini Review: Lego Marvel Super Heroes
At this point, we should be near the final stretch for the kit but upon checking things, I have a feeling I’m going to want to go back to several parts and repaint them… Then there’ still the bit about the eyes, the most hated part of any kit I paint. Volks were kind enough to supply decals for the eyes but they can sometimes do more harm than good due to the exact nature of the placement and size. Still, that’s something to consider for another day. For now…
The cape was done by simply spraying the whole thing pastel blue and then going over it completely with white. The white wasn’t able to cover the blue completely (despite some rather heavy handed application of the white) so left a nice effect behind. I think I’ll redo the clothing under the armour to try and match the cape more. At the moment, they’re still a bit too deep for my liking.
The hair will also need some adjustment as I think it’s still too yellow. The problem with blonde is that it’s not a straight up yellow hair colour, it’s far more subtle but even in the anime art, Celia is portrayed as having a more light Grey-yellow (platinum blonde?) colour to her hair and that’s something I want to try and capture. Still, it’s better than what I had initially…
Here’s a before and after shot of the colours I was using. The left was solid yellow and the right was the adjusted colour using a colour called “dirty yellow”. It’s almost there but not quite. Might need to mix some white into the mix to get the desired effect…
Another comparison shot with the 2 drill hair bits. The adjustments to the colours might take a while since the solution to the hair colour is illusive and the blue garments will require a lot of masking and other bothersome tasks but Celia should be finished before the series concludes… Man, I really wanted a Celia route in my anime!!!
And now back to our regularly scheduled posting… For as long I can anyway. The alien menace is back and I must return to XCOM to fight the enemy within!!!
Still, Progress on Celia has been pretty solid, though the fact that she’s mostly solid colours helped a fair bit!
And I’m sure I’ve said this before but it bears repeating… The level of detail on the armour is insane!!! Leaving the parts as solid paint colours didn’t reallysit well with me so I painted in the details in a similar manner to how I handle panel lines on Gunpla. The result is much greater visibility on the patterns but I do wonder if it’s a bit too much…
I’m also wondering if the colour for the clothing under the armour is the correct choice. At the moment, it’s a somewhat sky blue colour but I’m wondering if it’s better served if I made it more white…
And here’s a proper look at some of the detailing on the armour. There’s still some more to do but I’d say it’s around 70~80% done at this stage. I do need to paint the lance still though… That will take some time.
But next up is the cape and head. Think I’ll give Celia a more light hair colour as opposed to going full blonde. Not sure how I’m going to pull it off though…
I’ll admit that I’m being a bit lazy with this post but I felt that it would be better to break up my various WIP posts of Celia, who is still coming along. In fact, Most of her body is completed and only detailing, head, cape and lance are needed. I may redo some of the parts though, particularly the clothing under the armour. I currently have it in pastel blue but I think I might go for straight up white. In any case, in the meantime I’ve been working my way through Arkham Origins, the latest game in the Arkham series of Batman games. Coming off the back of the much loved Arkham City, Origins is a prequel to the first game and is set in a time where Batman has only existed for 2 years, Arkham Asylum is not yet open and much of the story revolves around another take on the first meeting behind Bats and the Joker (no spoilers there as it has been advertised that the joker plays a major role in this game for quite a while!).
The plot revolves around how Black Mask has decided to put a large bounty on Batman and has hired a number of high profile assassins to try and take him out in the space of a single night. So, as Batman, you uncover a few extra bits of info which leads you to discover some additional workings and an underlying conspiracy while also taking on the various assassins who are after your head.
And that’s pretty much all you need to know. The game plays very much like Arkham City. So much so that some reviews have criticised it for being the same game in a different skin (though it’s nowhere near as bad as crackdown 2, which used the exact same artifacts and maps). You still zip around using a combination of your grapple hook and gliding, the combat is still very simple but massively satisfying (when it works) and the plot is generally much better than previous games, with no major “jump the shark” moment which has plagued the games developed by Rocksteady. Warner bros Montreal take on developer duties this time and, at times, it does feel like they were simply too scared to mix up the formula. But when your base is as solid as Arkham city, you can’t really blame them. Sadly, the fact that they are not the original developers of the series really shows in the presentation at times. The game sorely lacks the polish one would expect of a title in a now big and respected series and there are some near unforgivable errors in there too!
Continue reading Mini Review: Arkham Origins
Progress has been slow and steady thus far for Celia. A lot of time was spent playing around with the armour colour. Initiall, I went for chainmail but that looked a bit too dark. It was great for something which was well worn but I get the feeling that presentation plays a big part in the Walkure Romanze jousting armour so I wanted something lighter. Eventually, using a pearlescent medium over the chainmail, I got what we have below.
I still have a few touches to do before I can say that the legs are finished. Not sure if I want to keep the undercloth white as well. It may be better served in a light blue to match what the cape will eventually be…
There’s also the matter of the detailing on the armour. Does anyone else think that it doesn’t quite stand out as much as it should? Maybe I’ll see how well the black ink shows the details up. There are also some gold highlights which need to be put in but I recently got a copy of Arkham Origins and a copy of XCOM: Enemy within is on its way too… Finding time to continue Celia may be tough for a while…
I’ve been looking forward to this next kit for quite some time. Truth be told, I was planning on doing my Try-GK Yoko first but with the anime adaptation of Walkure Romanze currently airing, it felt appropriate for me to take on my kit of Celia Kumani Aintree. Hell, I fell in love with this kit before even the game was released! The design won me over instantly and even though she’s been sitting on my “to do” pile for a while, she’s still looking great!
I’ve already gone through the first priming stage so now it’s a case of looking for any imperfections which I missed out during the initial build but since this is a Volks kit, there are very few imperfections. Just a few seam lines here and there.
I have yet to prime the lance though, and it’s going to take some extra work to get this part done. I’m not even sure if I’ll pose her this way either. I think she looks better with the lance but she takes up so much more space!! In any case, even just in grey, she looks fantastic so I’m really looking forward to the painting process. Incidentally, I also primed the try GK Yoko parts as well so I should be able to jump straight into the painting part when I work on her next!
Man, I hope the anime goes for a Celia ending and not a Mio one…
This mini review has been coming for a while. I actually bought the US version of the game on the US PSN store a few weeks ago, before it got released in europe, but then I wanted to get far enough into the game to get a proper taste for it. Not that it mattered cos I was certain that it was going to be awesome!!!
Anyway, Dragon’s Crown is the latest game from Vanillaware, who are well known for their insanely well animated 2D games such as Grim Grimoire, Odin Sphere and Muramasa (Muramasa just got a re-release on the PS Vita in Europe too!) and Dragon’s Crown looks just as gorgeous as those. The game gets some stick for some of it’s overly sexualised art in some parts of the game but screw those guys! Complaining about Sexism in video games is getting so common that the message is in serious danger of reaching irreverence. Hint to all those who like to stand on the soap box and shout: Complaining about a smaller number of real issues of sexism is more effective than ranting about every single damn infraction, big or small!! Now, a complaint about sexism in video games is more likely to get a response of “oh god, not another one” rather than the intended response (unless the writer is trolling…)
But anyway, that’s a long ass rant which should never reach these pages, or anywhere else for that matter, as I have better things to devote my energies to. Back to Dragon’s Crown! Basically, it’s an HD version of Golden Axe or Dungeons and Dragons. A freaking 2D scrolling beat-em-up!! See? How can this not be awesome??? You and up to 3 other characters basically get sent to various stages to battle through enemies and slay the final boss. Simples! As the stages get revealed, you are taught various elements of the game as the story is slowly revealed. Once you go through the stages once, the game properly opens up and asks you to fight through the stages again but gives you a second route in each stage to complete and a new boss to slay. Each of these new bosses will provide you with a talisman and once you have them all, the final stage is unlocked. Beat the final boss and you learn of other bosses to slay which requires you to complete the game on higher difficulty levels.
You are given the choice of 6 characters, each with different playstyles. The fighter is basically a tank, Amazon is a combo fiend, Dwarf is the heavy hitter, Elf can use her bow to attack from a distance, Warlock has all the offensive spells and Sorceress has all the support spells and a few other tricks up her sleeve. I spent most of the time playing as the Elf (voiced by Imai Asami! Yay!) and Amazon, though I dabbled with the amazon and fighter as well. There’s an RPG element to the game as you can level up your characters by completing stages and optional quests as well as use bonus points to learn new skills and abilities. You can tackle the stages in a team of 4 characters. During your battles, you come across piles of bones which can be collected and resurrected in the hub town to provide a NPC who will help you in stages. The game features a drop in system so even if you start a stage alone, characters can drop in at certain points of the stage. This is especially cool when you start your second run through the stages to collect talismans as that’s when the game unlocks online mode! You can get random players dropping into your game at any time so long as you have open slots and a net connnection! Most players I’ve come across are pretty friendly as well so you don’t really get the dick who just hoards everything but does sweet FA. I may have spoken too soon though. Maybe I just haven’t met one… Then again, you can just jump into a friends match if you want to as well. And, recently, there was a patch released to allow PS3 and Vita cross play!! I still have yet to get my Vita version but it’ll come!!!
Anyway, that’s pretty much the game in a nutshell, a 4 player, online enabled modern take of the fantasy side scrolling beat-em-up! Hell, it even has the animals to ride on and thieves to kick around for bonus items!! But, is it any good? (of course it is, but I’m going through the motions here!)
Continue reading Mini Review: Dragon’s Crown
Hurrah!! New season time, and it’s the big one too! Autumn usually gets the biggest shows and it doesn’t look like this season will be an exception. There are craploads of light novel adaptations and sequels as well as some serious big guns starting up. But before we look forward to the new stuff, it’s customary to look back at what has come before.
Kami-sama no Inai Nichiyoubi
To be honest, it was pretty tough choosing a best show as, ultimately, none really stood out as exceptional. Even Kami-sama no inai nichiyoubi wasn’t that great. It did start off great but spiralled into mediocrity around half way. Gin no Saji came very close to the top spot but, like Shingeki, it was spoiled somewhat by the fact that I’ve been reading it and know what’s going to happen. Basically, it lacked impact. And I really did love the first half of the chosen show.
Runner up: Gin no Saji
Continue reading Anime Roundup: Autumn 2013