There have been several cartoons based around Sonic The Hedgehog over the last couple decades (most of which are on Netflix or Hulu) and I do plan to review for this blog at some point), and actually a new one on the way next fall on the cartoon network. But Sonic X to my knowledge is the first one that follows the game series pretty closely in terms of the characters. The plot isn't based on any of the games though. Essentially Dr. Eggman, Sonic and most of his friends get transported to an alternate Earth because reasons (seriously, even the opening theme of the show says "stuck in a new location without any explanation"). Initially he is treated as a fugitive and Eggman is seen as trustworthy, which actually could've been a pretty promising premise but I guess because the core target audience is little kids they couldn't do that for too long so within a couple episodes he's everybody's hero again and working to stop Eggman with the occasional help of the government and maybe eventually find all 7 chaos emeralds and return home (honestly, they seem like an afterthought half the time even though theoretically that should be their whole motivation). That's for the first two seasons, the third and final season has Sonic & friends planet hopping and fighting weird robots called the Metarex bent on ruling the universe (I guess the writers felt him making Eggmam look like an idiot evey week got old after two seasons)
Probably the best thing about Sonic X, even with a ton of original characters introduced throughout it's 78 episode run, is that it manages to cram nearly every Sonic game character that's ever been up to that point in his history. Seriously, aside from the core cast you see Big the Cat, Shadow, E-102 Gamma, hell even the guys from the Chaotix game make several appearances. And the characters are fairly true to form. Amy is a crazy stalker who may or may not be Sonic's girlfriend, Tails is a mechanical genius, Rouge is disturbingly sexual for a little kid's show, Knuckles is a short-tempered loner, etc.
And of course therein lies the biggest problem of Sonic X. Sonic's various furry friends are mostly really annoying. Especially Cream. Her mere voice makes me cringe every time she talks (and I had to endure 78 episodes of that). You might want to say it's aimed at little kids but I think that's not giving kids enough credit. On top that, Sonic's new human best friend Chris is just an annoying brat as well.
There are some interesting and straight out weird episodes (a highlight being a very absurd tournament between most of the characters for a chaos emerald that has very little actual fighting), but mostly it's very inane stuff. It probably would've benefited greatly from shorter season runs, because I really didn't marathon this show, I've been watching it off and on since September and it still felt like it took forever to get through. The final season is a little more focused but still has LOTS of pointless filler such as Amy trying a love spell on Sonic (and again it's still ambiguous if they are dating or not even after that). Essentially this might be the series that at least in spirit sticks closest to the video games in terms of the characters and themes but it's still a mediocre kids show at best so unless you are a completely hardcore Sonic fan (and if so at this point you probably need therapy) you're better off just skipping it.
That's all for today. Admittedly game releases and news in general has slowed quite a bit, possibly for the rest of the year, but I probably will try and post something else this week.
|Might need a few extra HDMI ports...|
So the next gen is here! Clearly we should dump our ancient 360s and PS3s, right? Well not so fast. I don't know about you, over the last 8 years, I've built up a pretty decent digital library on both my 360 & PS3. Not to mention that at least through the next year, there are a ton of last-gen titles that seem worth holding onto your systems for awhile longer (South Park, Dark Souls II, Lightning Returns, Tales of Xillia 2, etc.). I feel like Sony & MS' reasoning behind no backwards compatibility (almost nobody used it) was very flawed as the PS3 and 360 were very different beasts than the PS2 and Xbox One. Nintendo clearly saw this, as it's pretty effortless to transfer you digital purchases from a Wii to a Wii U and it's backwards compatible with Wii software (also the Wii has essentially been dead since the end of 2012). It certainly doesn't help that neither next-gen console has a ton of compelling software and really won't for months. My PS4 library is basically Injustice, Lego Marvel Heroes and Resogun because I have no interest in sports or car games, which seem to be getting the best reviews and it's going to be a long few months til Infamous hits.
So you have two systems with plenty of life left in them, and while I'm sure some were anxious to dump their previous consoles, but I really think you'll be seeing a lot of people hanging on to their older systems awhile longer. Hell, with the bundle deals this past week and last year (and probably next year as well) you are having a lot of people getting those systems for the first time so it's a whole new load of people that will keep those consoles going along with them seeing healthy software support through at least 2015. I probably will hold on to mine until my current ones crap out at least, then I'll probably have to evaluate whether it's worth the money to replace them. But I really see myself playing all 5 (when I get an Xbox One) home consoles plenty over the next few years at least, and I doubt I'm the only one.
That's it for today, but expect a gamer cinema tomorrow or Wednesday at the latest.
Any other time, a Zelda, game, any Zelda game, would not be buried in the news, but a portable Zelda just probably isn't going to make a big splash in the wake of both the PS4 & Xbox One. But you should probably pay attention to A Link between worlds, as not only is it a direct sequel to the seminal Link to The Past, but also what many are calling the best portable Zelda entry to date, and some the best Zelda in years (probably depends on your opinion of Twilight Princess & Skyward Sword, I thought those were awesome frankly). But aside from the portable remake of Ocarina of Time, I've honestly never gotten into a portable Zelda. Maybe it's because they tend to try different things that while interesting ideas, don't actually work all that well (I'm looking at you any Zelda game completely controlled with the stylus).
Anyways, I haven't gotten too deep into this game, just far enough to get the new power of being able to melt into walls as a painting, but I'm loving it so far. Firstly, they removed arguably the biggest annoyance of the entire series-the artificial rupee limitation. No getting bigger wallets, you can just pretty much farm rupies to your heart's content, which is awesome because then nothing is gated by your inability to save enough funds. Also in case you haven't heard, you can rent items from a shop right inside your own house or even outright buy them. eliminating the artificial gates in all previous Zelda games, meaning a lot faster track to uncover all the overworld secrets and of course tackling the dungeons in any order you choose. And another new feature I love is that your item meter refills over short periods of time so you're never too low to use something. As for the melting into walls thing? It seems pretty damn creative so far with the few opportunities I've been given so far. The closest thing I have to complaint is that it is the same overworld as LTTP and the gameplay itself is still essentially the same but then they've created a worthy sequel to one of the best games of all time (at least based on what I've played so far, if I feel differently I'll address that in another post), so slightly familiar gameplay and an overworld I'm very familiar with and fond of is hardly a complaint. Bottom line, if you own a 3DS, this is an easy buy, and if you don't own one, this should be one of many games that should finally convince you to get one. Hell the 3DS might arguably be the best console period with all the awesome titles it has had in 2013.
That's all for today, I should be back tomorrow with a gamer cinema, until then, everybody enjoy their new games/systems!
If you take a good look at the Xbox One, it's a pretty solid device with a solid line-up (Killer Instinct & Dead Rising seem to be reviewing better than Killzone or Knack, though Ryse is reviewing pretty much as expected) and all the media apps you could possibly want either here or on the way. Even Kinect 2.0 seems to have really found it's groove as a voice command peripheral(nearly every podcast has spoke very positively overall about how well the voice commands work, even though there are a few forgivable hiccups). Not a bad package for $500, really.
But it doesn't matter. Thanks to arguably the worst PR bungling in the history of everything, MS just can't win this initial salvo. Most still have the impression that their original draconian drm policies are still in place, or that Kinect will be a NSA spy device or that it's focus on media apps means it won't have much in the way of games (which could be the case later down the line, but it's certainly not right now and probably won't be). Throw that in with the goodwill, cheaper price tag and the fact that in one day in North America, PS4 sold over a million units, this holiday seems pretty unwinnable for Microsoft. That's a hard number of units sold to customers, and if Microsoft tries any sort of dumb PR speak bullshit (i.e. the fastest selling Xbox in history, which it probably will be or a million shipped to stores vs. a million actually sold) they will be absolutely trashed yet again. So what should they do, probably just be glad they got the damn thing out the door and focus on the next round, most importantly, SHUT THE FUCK UP. Because you aren't going to win this round, and any attempt to look cocky or spin stuff in your usual PR bullshit will just blow up in your face. I cannot stress that enough.
That being said, don't let any of what I just said make you worry about the long term viability of the Xbox One or that the Xbox One is a wrong choice. As I said it's a perfectly valid choice and as I have said previously if it was financially feasible I'd have both consoles day one. In the long run, the Xbox One will most likely do perfectly fine, but it's best move this holiday season will to just be out, let the games and the console speak for themselves and focus on the first real killer title in Titanfall and the far more important Holiday 2014.
That's all for today, but I should have a post up tomorrow about the new Zelda and a gamer cinema up on Saturday.
Sadly it seems like the Wii U has just been lost in the next gen conversation, even though right now there is virtually no reason to buy a PS4 or Xbox One over it. It's cheaper, has a better line-up, has all the initial kinks worked out since it's been out a year already, and hey it's backwards compatible! (and yes, despite a lot of pundits bashing the Wii as they look back at this generation, there are a pretty solid number of great titles that were on it). Hell with it's mix of classic and Indy titles the Wii U's eshop offers far superior variety as well at the moment than Sony or Microsoft will have anytime soon.
And the likely best Wii U game to date comes out this Friday in Super Mario 3D World, a follow up to arguably the first must-have 3DS title, Super Mario Land. Btw, I would not mind this as a pattern-Make an awesome 3DS game, and make a spiritual bigger follow up the Wii U. Luigi's Mansion Wii U or Fire Emblem Wii U would be awesome, for instance.
Anyways, at a cursory glance, 3D world may simply look like yet another New Super Mario Bros. game, just in 3D this time, but that's not giving it nearly enough credit.
There's a ton of variety to the levels, a huge number of new power-ups, and frankly a sense of fun that the more serious next-gen titles seem to be sorely lacking. Remember fun? The whole reason we play video games in the first place? Sadly I won't get to experience the fun myself til at least Christmas as aside from Zelda my video game purchasing is pretty much done til after Christmas. But anyone with a Wii U should obviously pick this up and anyone looking to get a new console this holiday season would be better off getting Wii U than what Sony or Microsoft is offering.
That's really all for today. I should have plenty of posts this week though, with something on the new Zelda & the Xbox One this weekend and a Gamer Cinema somewhere in there as well.
Sony's tagline for the PS4 has been "Greatness Awaits", of course with the buzz from E3 essentially making Sony the hero of the gamer crowd, maybe instant greatness is what everyone is expecting. And because we have extremely short memory, possibly. The PS2 did not start out great, many would say the PS3 didn't get great until the last 2 or 3 years (and the Xbox & Xbox 360 had growing pains as well). In that tradition, the PS4 does not start out great, but I believe it is the foundation for a great system, with great games coming for it, so I'll touch on the positives and negatives and talk about the near future.
|Yeah, might wanna skip both of these....|
Also that hard drive is going to fill up QUICK. I already have over 1/5 filled with just a couple games and apps (along with whatever the OS takes up). This probably won't be a huge issue for the first year, but with a slate of amazing indie titles in the pipeline and AAA games later in 2014 it could be. Yes you can switch out the drive but that's an added expense on top of your already pricey console.
The other issue that is bound to bug core gamers is that by optimistic estimations, the controller has 8 hours of battery life. Granted, for a lot of people who have you know, jobs and other things in their lives, that's not a huge deal, I mean I'm lucky to get more than 10 hours in over a week. But that certainly could put a damper on a big gaming weekend.
Do I even have to mention the craptacular headset? I don't think many are using it because in the online games I have played, no one has been talking...
Ok, enough with the bad, because I think it's pretty awesome hardware, so on with the Good:
|All other controllers bow down before me...|
Granted, I have still have yet to play with the Xbox One's controller, which by all accounts is also great. But the Dual Shock 4 is easily the best controller to ever grace a Sony console and arguably one of the best gaming controllers to date. It's just feels great and comfortable, the triggers are much improved, the touch screen use is minimal so far but unobtrusive and really responsive. The loss of the long-standing start & select buttons will certainly throw some off but you get used to the option & share buttons quick enough. This is just a great controller for just about any type of game.
The UI is also pretty cool, it's just slick and clean, and the ability to run two apps at once is nice so you can switch back and forth quickly (though understandably not two games at once). We'll see if they can keep it up with tons of games and apps but it's a really good start. It's also fast, though I don't think it's as fast as the Xbox one claims to be, but way way faster than the PS3 interface. The loading also works fairly quickly as I was able to start games after they downloaded just a little bit.
I also have to admit that at first my attitude about social integration was basically "meh", but I enjoy seeing my activites and achievements quickly posted to facebook with no hassle, which was not the case on the PS3 and especially the 360.
Then there is the freebies-Warframe, Blacklight Retribution & DC Universe Online are all great free titles that you don't even have to have PS plus for those. Granted you can download those on PC as well, but it's fun to be able to play them on your TV with a controller on your couch. Have PS plus as well? Awesome you get Resogun for free too (the less said about Contrast the better). That could potentially keep you busy for months without buying a single game. Not a bad deal.
I also love the Playstation App on my phone, getting to send & receive friend requests wherever I am is awesome, no more writing down usernames and then forgetting them ever again!
In the end, I believe the PS4 will be a great system, it's already got the foundation there, which puts it in a much better state than the PS3 at launch so it will get there a lot faster than its predecessor. It's just lacking some truly killer games, but those will come soon with titles like Infamous, Destiny, The Order 1886 and more on the way already in the next year. And a ton of great-looking indie titles are on the way to fill the gaps in-between. Add in Gakai and you certainly have a great system that is really geared towards gamers that still throws in the social and media apps you want.
I wish I could say I'll be able to give an in-depth look at the Xbox One next week but that's just not financially feasible. But with a little luck I'll have that by next April so it won't be too long til I'm enjoying that as well. I should have another post up by Wednesday. Until then everybody enjoy their new consoles. Or their current still awesome old consoles for that matter.
Ah Uwe Boll, he may have mostly disappeared from the spotlight thanks to going back to making terrible movies not based on beloved game franchises, but for many years he was pretty much the poster boy for gamer rage thanks to his awful low budget films based of stuff like Alone in The Dark and Bloodrayne. One of his (hopefully) last assaults on game franchises was Far Cry back in 2008. I'm not greatly familiar with Far Cry, I only just picked up 3 on the cheap and can't honestly remember if I played the first 2 games. But this one at least seems to follow the basic plot of the first game, with an ex-army burnout and a reporter investigating an island where a mad doctor is doing experiments to create super soldiers.
The highest compliment I can give this film is that for a movie that looks like it was made for way, way less than it's reported $30 million budget, it functional. Don't get me wrong, it's a bad movie. The lighting is awful and that's not something I normally notice. The dialogue and acting (and dubbing in some cases) is pretty atrocious. But the plot makes sense (relatively speaking) and it's got perfectly functional action scenes. Really the only times I really cringed was when the dumb annoying comedy relief showed up, and that was way late in the film (one scene with him and the hero handcuffed together was particularly awful). It's no better or worse than most of the straight to dvd low budget mediocre stuff you see all the time, which instantly shoots it up above a normal Uwe Boll effort, where the entire film is pretty incomprehensible on nearly every level. It's still a pretty bad film overall, just managed to beat my bottom of the barrel expectations.
That's all for today but I have acquired a PS4 along with plenty of games to try out so look for impressions either tomorrow or Monday.