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8:00 AM on 03.29.2015

Review: Ranma 1/2 Set 4

  It’s been a while since we’ve visited the world of Ranma 1/2. It was my favorite anime growing up, though I never came close to seeing all that the series had to offer. Like many people out there, I’v...

Jayson Napolitano



Review: Naruto: The Last photo
Review: Naruto: The Last
by Red Veron

Naruto is a name known throughout the anime and manga world that stands alongside shounen action staples such as Dragon Ball and Bleach. Masashi Kishimoto’s orange-clad ninja has been around since 1999 and has grown up with a generation or two of anime and manga fans, with the manga concluding last November in Japan. The last manga chapter of Naruto offered up a glimpse into a decade into the future, introducing new characters as well as showing old friends all grown up.

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Review: Bladestorm: Nightmare photo
Review: Bladestorm: Nightmare
by Josh Tolentino

Bladestorm: Nightmare is not a Dynasty Warriors game.

That bit of information might be good or bad news, depending which side of the fence one falls on with regard to Tecmo Koei's long-running brawler series.

At the same time, though, the game does manage to capture just enough of the essence ofDynasty Warriors to drive away those who dislike it, while disappointing those who come in hoping for a more conventional entry into the franchise. 

Which is a shame, as despite being an almost eight-year-old design, Bladestorm still has a few tricks its more popular cousins could stand to crib.

 

 

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Review: Oreshika: Tainted Bloodlines photo
Review: Oreshika: Tainted Bloodlines
by Josh Tolentino

[This review originally appeared on Destructoid]

Like many games of its type, Oreshika: Tainted Bloodlines features a tiny graphic in its text boxes to remind players they can press a button to advance to the next line. Usually the graphic is of an X or O button pressing itself, but Oreshika's is of a little weasel pushing a button with its nose.

It's animated, and viewed from the side the little weasel can also look just like a person, sitting on their knees Japanese-style, bowing respectfully, over and over. That behavior's almost emblematic of the game's attitude, as it's so eager to let players do what they like (sometimes to their own detriment) that it almost comes off as desperate. 

But hey, they're gonna be dead soon anyway, so perhaps some deference is warranted.

 

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Review: htoL#NiQ: The Firefly Diary photo
Review: htoL#NiQ: The Firefly Diary
by Josh Tolentino

[This post originally appeared on Destructoid.com]

No, that isn't an encoding error up there in the headline: "htoL#NiQ" is indeed this PS Vita game's title, and is essentially a very stylish way to type "The Firefly Diary" in Japanese.

Whatever personal peculiarities led the team at Nippon Ichi to title their new game this way seem to extend to the game's design as well. htoL#NiQ marches to its own rhythm, and ends up being two things at once: a fascinating work of minimalism, and a needlessly difficult ordeal best enjoyed only by the most masochistic of flagellants.

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Review: Ranma 1/2 Set 3 photo
Review: Ranma 1/2 Set 3
by Jayson Napolitano

After reviewing Ranma 1/2 set 2 earlier this month, I knew it was time to hunker down and dig deep. This series had a seven season run, and while this latest re-issue from Viz Media has resequenced the episodes to align more with the manga, there are still seven planned sets. It would seem as though 50-60 episodes in would be the appropriate time for Ranma fatigue to set in, which in my mind, makes set 3 a make-or-break experience.

The premise of Ranma 1/2 should be familiar enough by now: Ranma Saotome of the Anything Goes School of Martial Arts has fallen victim to a Chinese curse that turns him into a girl when he's splashed with cold water, and back to a boy when splashed with hot water. Several other characters are under similar curses, and much hilarity ensues at the show's large cast of characters falls in love with one version of Ranma or the other, and so on.

Does set 3 do the trick to keep things interesting, or does it start to grow stale?

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Review: Ranma 1/2 Set 2 photo
Review: Ranma 1/2 Set 2
by Jayson Napolitano

Ranma 1/2 was my first anime. Sure, I might have watched a few feature-length titles like Ninja Scroll or Akira before sitting down to watch Ranma 1/2 with my half-Japanese friend who was always up on the latest games and anime out of Japan, but it was really the first anime series that I was exposed to, and it set the stage for what I’d come to expect from anime thereafter.

I have to say that Ranma 1/2 set that bar pretty high, as I found myself disappointed by a lot of what my local Blockbuster had on offer at the time, but as Karen noted in her review of Set 1, even the Ranma 1/2 episodes that were widely available in the 1990s were scattered across a few (and expensive!) VHS tapes that offered an incomplete presentation of the series, so I relish the opportunity to really dig in with Viz Media’s re-release of the series given how rare and expensive their previous DVD releases have become.

So, does Set 2 go above and beyond what Set 1 was able to offer? I believe it does, but I also think this is the point at which potential fans will need to make the decision as to whether or not to continue on with the lengthy series.

 

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Review: Danganronpa 2: Goodbye Despair photo
Review: Danganronpa 2: Goodbye Despair
by Josh Tolentino

I almost don't want to be writing this review.

That's because Danganronpa 2: Goodbye Despair is quite a lot like its predecessor, Trigger Happy Havoc. That means it's one of the few games where "spoilers" really matter, and the more I say about it, the more I risk lessening the experience for potential players. 

Here then, is the quick advice: If you played and enjoyed Trigger Happy Havoc, go get Danganronpa 2 now. It's everything the first one was, and more.

But if you're new to the series, get the first game and play through that before starting off with this one, for despite a premise and cast that's friendly to series newbies, Goodbye Despair works best when taken as sequel to Trigger Happy Havoc

And if you're still hungry for more info, keep reading. No spoilers, of course. That path leads only to despair.

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Review: Persona 3 The Movie: #2 Midsummer Knight's Dream photo
Review: Persona 3 The Movie: #2 Midsummer Knight's Dream
by Elliot Gay

Despite its pacing problems and general lack of an overarching story, I enjoyed Persona 3 The Movie: #1 Spring of Birth. As far as animated film adaptations of long games go, I think it did a novel job of compressing hours of gameplay and story into about 90 minutes. The first film had the unlucky task of handling the least interesting part of Persona 3's tale, the intro hours, but director Noriaki Akitaya and the production team managed to shift the focus enough that it totally worked. Fortunately for new director Tomohisa Taguchi and for us viewers, the next chunk of Persona 3 is far more intriguing.

Picking up after the end of Spring of Birth, Midsummer Knight's Dream begins with the crew taking down yet another large Shadow, only now with the help of Mitsuru and her powerful ice Persona. With all the hard work they've put into their after school monster hunting activities, it's about time for some R&R. Summer vacation is in full swing, which means its time for an all expenses paid island trip Yuki, Junpei, and Aikhiko go on an adventure to pick up girls, things go poorly, and the three young men are left to soak in their own self-pity. This doesn't last too long, as Yuki notices a beautiful blonde-haired girl staring off into the ocean, dress flowing in the wind. Who is she, and where did she come from...?

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Review: Kamen Rider Battride War II photo
Review: Kamen Rider Battride War II
by Salvador GRodiles

Back when Kamen Rider Battride War was first announced, many toku fans were excited over the fact that they were getting a Dynasty Warriors-like game that featured their favorite Heisei Riders from Kamen Rider Kuuga through Wizard (Gaim didn't exist back then). At the time, Namco Bandai seemed like they had a good tokusatsu video game on their hands. However, the company made a slight error when they commissioned Eighting (Marvel vs. Capcom 3, the Kamen Rider Climax Hero series) to develop the game instead of Omega Force (the Dynasty Warriors series).

While Eighting's known for creating many interesting fighting games and multiplayer brawler titles, the team rarely tackles the hack ‘n’ slash genre. Due to Eighting's inexperience in this department, the first Battride War game felt like an underwhelming title. Even though the team managed to almost get each Rider’s fighting style right, the game’s small character and boss roster prevented Battride War from reaching its true Form. Thankfully, the title had a few fun aspects for Kamen Rider fans, which gave players hope that Eighting could learn from their mistakes when they complete Battride War's next installment.

Since the development team have updated a few of game’s key elements, Kamen Rider Battride War II might be the Rider Musou-like adventure that we’ve been waiting for.

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Review: World End Economica Episode 1 photo
Review: World End Economica Episode 1
by Brittany Vincent

[Originally posted at Destructoid.]

Visual novels are a finicky medium. It's difficult enough to drum up interest because of their exotic origins, and harder still to find an audience due to their nature -- it's a bunch of reading. And you can't always be sure that the story you're reading is going to be one that you'll want to invest dozens of hours in. On one hand, you've got a menagerie of engaging tales that capture the imagination and ensnare the reader until the very end. On the other, you've got a set of stories with dull, flavorless dialogue and uninteresting protagonists.

Why waste time on a less-than-stellar adventure when there are juicier ones at your disposal? I find myself asking this question and others when it comes to World End Economica Episode 1, Spice and Wolf author Isuna Hasekura's three-part visual novel series that follows a teenager who runs away from home and attempts to make a living for himself in the world of day trading. It's ambitious in scope, but ultimately ends up failing due to a lack of interactivity and a protagonist that's difficult to root for.

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Review: JoJo's Bizarre Adventure: All-Star Battle photo
Review: JoJo's Bizarre Adventure: All-Star Battle
by Brittany Vincent

[As originally posted at Destructoid.]

How do you like your fighting games? Personally, I like mine with a sizable dose of pop culture references and eye-melting color palettes infused with a healthy dose of humor that's hilariously self-aware. That's what you get with JoJo's Bizarre Adventure: All-Star Battle, the most gleefully insane anime-inspired fighter the genre has seen in some time.

Distilling a good 25 years' worth of story arcs from the wildly popular JoJo's Bizarre Adventure into an accessible fighter that anyone can enjoy is no easy feat, and yet developer CyberConnect2 has done an admirable job that should be praised. Even if your heart is as black as professional jerk Dio Brando's.

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