Ongoing Investigations: Case #160March 9, 2012
After writing about the Zelda franchise recently, I had to get playing the DS release Legend of Zelda: Spirit Tracks because, hello, you get to drive a train. In this adventure, you are trying to restore the train tracks that connect the realms as well as stop the resurrection of an evil lord who has stolen Zelda’s body. With sword, er stylus, in hand I set out on this small but mighty adventure. I was actually surprised by how long the game was and how much was packed into that little cartridge. Zelda’s ghost is your guide, but she is also your partner in fights for certain areas which is a nice addition to the gameplay. Your path is very straightforward since you can only travel by train so the map has but a few outposts to discover, sadly. Despite loving trains, at times traveling was tedious and long since the only way to open portals was, for the most part, done with side errands that I didn’t engage in. Still I had a blast with the train driving and the first part of the final battle in which you must take on a giant evil train was quite fun. There is a noticeably low count of enemies in this game, but bosses still gave me quite a challenge throughout. My favorite was in the fire temple, it was just enjoyable to play! But I cannot emphasize enough to Nintendo: please quit it with the stylus heavy games already or at least make it optional especially for things like walking. The accuracy is just not there and it takes some of the portability out. Also flute playing gave me nothing but frustration throughout the game because no one really teaches you how to do it correctly. One thing that stood out to me as the game went on was even though there was much hand-holding, you got so used to it that when it didn’t explain something it was damn hard to figure out. This happened multiple times to me, I’m okay with not haing hints but I’d like consistency about it otherwise it is just confusing. Overall, it was an enjoyable game experience, and I spent the better part of a weekend playing it nonstop, so it hooked me quite well. I love the Wind Waker-esque world so it is great to continue to see additions to it.
With my roommate playing so much Mass Effect 3 that he actually took a week off from work I too have been sucked into to the hype. And since I have a iOS device I decided to try out Mass Effect: Infiltrator. Having sampled a bunch of iOS games the first thing I noticed is that anything other than simple puzzle games and time wasters have an annoying learning curve where you spend time learning the touch screen control scheme and wrangling it into something you can play. As much as writers like to claim that phones will kill the portable gaming machine market the fact that any full portable console has intuitive control scheme make the far more suited for full-fledged games. Infiltrator is a side story about a Cerberus operative who goes rouge. The story is fairly minimal. If you are expecting the complex moral decisions from the main game you will be sadly disappointed. They give you paragon/renegade choices but they are super simple and seem to have little effect on the plot. The combat is a system where upgrades are essential to succed. You have to grind the low-level missions to get the upgrades you need to the later story. The first thing you should to is buy the sniper rifle and the beam rifle. Then upgrade all you weapons and the pull ability. Everything else is supplemental. You need the extra weapons for get the style bonuses from switching weapons to get real money. If you just rely on the assault rifle and the shotgun you will have a very hard time getting gold on any level past the first few.Once I got the hang of the game it was fun but it is really small especially for the price. I am looking froward to seeing how this compares to the Mass Effect 3: Datapad app considering that is free.
Ah, Blade of the Immortal I really show my dedication to this series with every thin volume released. 24 just came out much to my delight! This installments features mostly bloody battles when four of the Itto-ryu take on an entire fortress worth of guys. The only problem is they are taking on no one of consequence or particular skill giving it little reward or artistry. Still it is able to build tension at the final moments of the book during a tough decision. This volume also contains scant amount of Manji and Rin so they don’t move much forward.
So far Smile Precure! has been off to a great start from the first 5 episodes. They gathered the five members of the team fairly quickly. You can tell from the first episode who all the Pretty Cures will be. They are the girls in the class with the unusual hair styles and altered uniforms. Since they are not playing the who is Cure Muse game they just introduce the girls one at a time with no fuss and no muss. Miyuki Hoshizora is the main girl and she is super spastic but adorable. She seems the type that the older audience would not care about but be beloved by the primary school girl audience. Akane Hino and Nao Midorikawa are both athletic girls who would make great sentai heroes or giant robot pilots due to their hot blooded passion and dedication to those they love. If you know that Shoji Yonemura, who wrote quite a few of the recent Kamen Rider series, is the main script writer then it all makes perfect sense. Yayoi Kise is the closest the show comes to having an otaku bait character. She is shy and artists which is a deadly combination with nerds. Reika Aoki will probably be the older fan favorite as she was instantly capable when she became a Cure unlike the rest of the team that seems to stumble around a lot. So far the show itself has been very enjoyable. The Cures are very magnetic in their personality, the fights have been fun, and the storybook theme is well realized without being annoying. Plus I think we all get a laugh out of the fact that the villains come from a place called the Bad End Kingdom. I look forward to seeing how they develop the plot and what the mid-season twist will be. I don’t think this series will be able to surpass Heartcatch but it looks like it will be stronger than Suite.
Batman stumbles right into the lair(s) of the enemy in issue 3 of this ongoing monthly. It is really working to have the story toggling between Batman as a fighter and Batman as a detective. Last issue there was a lot of action, this issue we see the aftermath of those actions and Bruce’s next step. The Council of Owls is pretty creepy adding to the gothic mystic of Gotham.
We watch some crazy things on I Don’t Even. We watch horrible things like The Room and Birdemic: Shock and Terror. Incomprehensible things like The Man Who Saves the World and Troll 2. And of course Nicolas Cage movies. But the anime Gyo is something that really makes you question the sanity of the people involved. Gyo is about an invasion of marine life on mechanical spider legs that are powered by evil sentient fart gas. There are theoretically plot threads. The main character trying to find her fiancée. There is fighting between the slutty girl and the chubby girl. There is a reporter who teams up with the main girl as well. I am not sure if this is so bad it is amazing or just so bad that it is unwatchable. When things get ridiculous they amazingly ridiculous. We have little things like how people are alternatively super panic or amazingly calm about the invasion or the visible stink lines. The fact that the monsters are animals on malevolent fart powered spider legs is just the beginning. The problem is the movie thinks it is amazingly serious and any attempts to be dramatic or introspective are just horrible. Any time Gyo tries to be smart it is like watching a toddler smash piano keys with no real conception of what he is playing. Also the slutty girl a series of three ways that really make the anime even more awkward. Gyo all just sort fizzles out in the end with what I think was supposed to be a message but one that has almost no impact. In the end it was trying worthy of the spot on I Don’t Even.
The Ongoing Investigations are little peeks into what we are watching and reading outside of our main posts on the blog. We each pick three things that we were interested in a week and talk a bit about them. There is often not much rhyme or reason to what we pick. They are just the most interesting things we saw since the last Ongoing Investigation.