Archive for the ‘Video Games’ Category

h1

Top 8 Type-Moon Items I Would Love to See Translated – 2015 Edition

January 15, 2015

 Back in 2012 I did a post about the five Type-Moon projects I would love to see translated. Since then some of my dreams came true and at the same time others of them are still unfulfilled. That said we finally have a fully translated Fate/Hollow Ataraxia so I’m generally going to put the post in the success column. One could argue that I had nothing to do with that so I’m going to say that we might only want to write it onto the success column with a pencil. Still with Fate/Hollow Ataraxia out-of-the-way I really wanted to do a new post to cover some of the material that has come out in the meantime. Just as quickly as wonderful things get translated there are two more things that come out that I still wonder about. Theoretically someone might read this post and get a bit of powerful inspiration they might not have otherwise had. Who knows. Stranger things have happened.

Everything on the list has to be a full on Type-Moon project. That means as much as I would love to see a translated Red Dragon it does not get a spot on the list. Also there has to be some easily conceivable way of seeing a translation. While I am curious to read Ice Flowers I don’t know anyone who has a copy of it. This is hardly a definitive list. There are countless things I would love to add but five is a good start.

They are just titles that as far as I know have not been fully translated into English. If you have evidence that is not the case please send it my way. I would love to be wrong.

Read the rest of this entry ?

h1

Fate/Hollow Ataraxia: Fuyuki City Cooking Simulator (Now with Bonus Holy Grail War)

January 9, 2015

hisui_icon_4040 It seemed like Fate/Hollow Ataraxia was in an eternal limbo where is was fairly close to being translated but at the same time became a running joke that it would never be finished in some sort of Zeno’s Paradox. It seemed the closer it was to be done the longer it took between updates. The original game came out on  October, 28th 2005. In the mean time on April 12, 2012, 6 years and 5 months later, Mahou Tsukai no Yoru was released. It quickly became an odd race to see which of the two would come out first. In the beginning it seemed like Witch on the Holy Night would easily cross the finish line before its predecessor. But then Mahou Tsukai no Yoru crashed into the same wall that Fate/Hollow Ataraxia had hit and both of them were in limbo. Then the cold war was finally broken.

If you have even seen a stalled fan work you will quickly realize that threats, pleas, well wishes, and indifference either do nothing or actually actively block progress. Threats and insults just usually make the people behind the project wonder why they started such an undertaking for an ungrateful audience. Pleas often just become regarded as passive aggressive threats rather quickly. Well wishes often start off as encouraging but often become a weight around the teams neck as time goes on. Indifference is usually the greatest killer of stalled projects as they give permission to whoever is working on the project to finally let it go.

There are usually only three things that revitalize such a project. The first is new blood. A new addition to the team can sometimes stir things up. The only problem is new people can easily throw off a team dynamic permanently killing the project and often such projects are not quick to take on new people anyway. The second is new inspiration. Sometimes the people involved will just get a second wind and finish off a project.The problem with that is that while there are 1001 events that can trigger such a renaissance the muse is fickle and such events are extremely rare and unpredictable. It turns out the most common thing that spurns these projects to be finished, in my humble opinion, is wounded pride. I have seen dozens of projects that seem like they will never move forward that spring to life when someone else looks like they might beat the original team. An official license or a rival group has completed thousands of projects that an ocean of cheers and jeers have not budged.

Fate/Hollow Ataraxia is no exception to the rule. It seemed that someone leaked a working copy with Google Translations as place holders in the unfinished parts. A few month later the full real translation was complete. Forget about love or hate. It seems that spite is one of the most powerful forces of the planet.

But with that sordid affair in the past we are mostly here to answer the real questions. How is Fate/Hollow Ataraxia as a follow-up to Fate/Stay Night? How do CarenBazett, and Avenger stack up to the original cast? Is there enough Saber?

The answer to the last question is always no.

Read the rest of this entry ?

h1

A Puzzling Objection: Professor Layton vs. Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney

September 19, 2014

hisui_icon_4040 Professor Layton vs. Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney always seemed like someone’s dream more than something that would get made. More the realm of fan fiction and comical videos than something you would actually play. Super Robot Wars, Project X Zone, Super Smash Bros., and Tekken X Street Fighter are all notable examples that while crossovers are not commonplace they are also hardly unheard of. So when the game was announced there was a good deal of buzz around the title. They are both melodramatic comedic puzzle games with a mystery structure and an anime style. The game play and mechanics  in both series was very different but it was fairly clear to most people with little effort both games could be combined in a way that let both of their strengths shine. All it would take is a smart story and a solid commitment to both sides of the crossover. There were a lot of things that could go wrong but it was equally feasible for the game to succeed big time.

And then we actually got Professor Layton vs. Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney. I have read a bunch of reviews at this point and no one has hated the game. Overall all the reviews have been positive. But none of them have been glowing. If anything the general feeling has been underwhelming. It was fine but it could have been better. A lot of the complaints seem like nitpicks. They did not have enough cameos from fan favorite characters, mechanics from both main games could have blended more, the puzzles and court cases should have been tougher, hint coins made parts too easy, or the story could have been tighter were all sort of mediocre critics of the game I heard.

It is east to assume that this a the case of haters going to hate or that people have over inflated expectations that no game could live up to. But I don’t think that reaction is unwarranted. I think it is more people wandering through their reviews trying to touch on what made the game not live up to their dream but not being able to touch the core of their discontent. The thing is the sticking point might very well be at the heart of the story but to talk about that means spoiling a good deal of the plot.

So before we go to the rest of the review I’m going to give the game a quick one paragraph review and if you don’t want to be spoiled you can just read that and the decide if you want the game or not. But if you have played the game or don’t care about spoilers you can just continue past the next paragraph. I think that it the fairest way to do this.

I like the game but acknowledge its flaws. The game is decidedly more Professor Layton than Phoenix Wright in both storytelling and game play. Both halves get a chance to shine but Layton gets the first billing on the title for a reason. The puzzles for both halves is a bit more easy mode than what you are used to in the respective main series. If you are new to either half you won’t be over your head but if your and old hat don’t expect to be challenged most of the time. The story is fun but your mileage may vary on the twist during the last third. If you a fan of either series where is something to enjoy. The puzzles parts feel very Layton and I actually thought the Witch Trials were an interesting twist of the Ace Attorney formula. Just temper your expectations. This is more of good combination of two franchises than a golden child that is greater than the sums of its parts.

I might just be really happy that Maya has not been shipped off to the land of random offhanded mentions like she has in the recent games.

Read the rest of this entry ?

h1

Ongoing Investigations: Case #239

May 26, 2014

hisui_icon_4040  A long time ago, we used to be canceled.

It was a fairly well publicized story. On May 22, 2007 the last episode of the Veronica Mars series was played on TV. While there were many dangling plot lines it seemed that the ending of season third would be all they officially wrote about the series. In 2013 a Kickstarter was launched to fund a movie that could finally give some closure to the series. It was wildly successful and the movie caused quite the hubbub. Kate and I loved the movie. You can hear our gushing praise on the Speakeasy. The movie did rather well on tying up all the loose ends from the TV series while showing that Veronica continues on to be her bad self. But the momentum of the Kickstarter seems unstoppable. The first major item from that continued energy is a Veronica Mars novel.

If you went into Veronica Mars: The Thousand Dollar Tan Line with a healthy amount of trepidation no one could blame you. Fiction based on TV series can be wildly variable. If you have ever read things like Star Trek or Star Wars novels you will know that reading those books can be like playing Russian Roulette. Since writing novels like this is a work for hire affair you will get all stripes of writers looking for a pay check. Sometimes you get some amazing synergy when a good writer totally gets a series and has a great story for the characters to dig into. Most of the time you get some mediocre work. Maybe the author writes the characters a bit too much like their own characters as opposed to their established portrayal. Other times the characters are on point but the plotting is weak. Sometimes you just get shlock that makes you wonder why you did not just read something from fanfiction.com. Your never sure what you’re going to get.

Thankfully this first novel feels like a good Veronica Mars story. Not the best Veronica Mars story. But it feels like a good episode of the TV series. I think that is exactly what you want for a book like this. A radical examination of the character or an experimental work seems a bit too bold out of the gate. Unless you plan for this to be the only novel something that impactful would make everything after it feel limp. You want something that assures the audience that these novels will be enjoyable and exciting but not that they are GOING TO CHANGE EVERYTHING FOREVER.

At the same time the story feels like more than just a throw away story. Veronica and her father move forward after their somewhat strained relationship in the movie, Mac moves into a more predominant role, and there are one or to other changes that are spoilers I won’t go into. Enough happens that it feels like a real TV episode. If everything is static the novel feels like a filler arc from a shonen show. Too many changes and it feels like silly fan fiction.

Also all these changes are canon. So this won’t be pushed aside by a new movie or series.

The actually case moves quickly. I read the story in two days without even trying that hard to read it. But at the same time it does not feel rushed which is possible the greater crime for a novel to commit. The fast pace does help some of the later twists feel stronger. I read the novel in two days and I was hardly trying very hard. So I did not meditate too hard on the mystery and was more absorbed in it. It let me notice some of the clues so the solutions did not come out of nowhere but did not let me dwell on them too long so I figured out everything before it happened. If the story had moved a bit slower I probably would have meditated on it more.

Apparently the book already has a sequel lined up called Veronica Mars: Mr. Kiss & Tell. Jennifer Graham and Rob Thomas are still writing this one so at least the writing will be consistent which means I can look forward to it with a minimum of trepidation. For such genre fiction that is a fairly strong endorsement.

narutaki_icon_4040 Veronica Mars: The Thousand Dollar Tan Line by Rob Thomas and Jennifer Graham was way too good for being a novel based on a media property.

The voice is what is most important in a venture like this. If the voice doesn’t come-off like Veronica then it is just a mystery novel. But Veronica sounds spot on in the way she verbalizes both in dialogue and internal thoughts. Kristen Bell made the character what she is, but from this book you can tell how well written the character has been and how well the writers understand her.

Biggest and best part of the book has to do with Veronica really sinking her teeth into being a for-realz P.I. Not that she doesn’t bust out some of her old tricks, but she is now an adult and professional and it changes the dynamics a a bit.

There is a lot of personal progress made in this book which left me very surprised mostly because if they make another movie I don’t know how they will reconcile it with the book(s?). But I won’t fret over that, instead I’ll look forward to the next story!

The Ongoing Investigations are little peeks into what we are watching, reading, or playing outside of our main blog posts. We each pick three things without much rhyme or reason; they are just the most interesting things since the last OI.

Read the rest of this entry ?

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 4,970 other followers

%d bloggers like this: