Rss

  • youtube
  • google

Archives for : Blogs

Bitches of Eastwick – Episode 5

Another round with the bitches!!!! We finally managed to sit down and talk with the boss man himself, Pat Kawula, much to his dismay. We have an amazing hour chat full of much randomness

Severely NSFW for your morning commute.

Hangin in Ivalice

So, I have begun my quest into Ivalice. While I haven’t played FFXII all the way through before, hell hardly at all as I am now realizing, I am very familiar with Ivalice. I absolutely loved FF Tactics Advance and Advance 2 both of which take place in the Ivalice world. In fact, I think Ivalice may be the most used and fleshed out world in Final Fantasy history.

The first thing I notice about Final Fantasy XII is the complete change to the way the world works. Gone are the days of a solid path forward for most of the game. This world is fairly wide open from the word go. Granted you can only do so much based on the power of your character, but there are three different deserts to explore and Hunts to keep you busy as well. You can definitely feel the fact that this was developed along side the FFXI MMORPG.

Not only has the world change, but combat has as well. Gone is the traditional monsters on the left, heroes on the right and a pop up menu when it’s your turn. Now we have real time battling, Gambits, and menus on command only. This change is nice. I loved the straight turn-based combat for the older titles, but this new real time battling is fun.

I think the most glaring new thing that screams MMO to me, is the fact that you don’t farm Gil from monsters. You farm loot. Loot that you then sell to merchants and can sometimes open the ability to buy a bazaar item that gives you a good deal on some items. It is very different that you look at your bank account to see next to no Gil until you stop at a merchant to clear out the junk. Thank goodness we don’t have to deal with full bags in this game.

I will cover the story more next time, but for now I will say that the story is compelling and the characters rich and developing nicely. I look forward to finishing this game for the first time!

Sin Sent to the Farplane

BLITZOFF!!!!!!!

Oh my gosh….so much Blitzball. It has been so long since I played FFX the last time so I had forgotten just how many games of Blitzball I needed to play to get Wakka’a Celestial Weapon fully powered. I think I ended with a record of 49-2-4. It was crazy just how lopsided the games became once Tidus and Brother hit level 8 or so. It just became too easy and pretty tedious.

Speaking of tedious…dodging 200 lightning bolts in a ROW? What sadist came up with these tasks you need to complete in order to get the ultimate weapons for each character. The easiest being collecting monsters for the Calm Lands Arena, the hardest being a tie between every other task.

As I talked in my previous post, FFX is definitely pretty linear for the vast majority of the game. It is a straight line from Besaid to Zanarkand without much branching off until you have the airship. Once you do have the airship, you are able to traverse the world to get the best weapons, and the world opens up a bit. However, once you make the leap to finish the quest, you are right back on the rails on the path to Sin.

I enjoy the story that FFX tells and for most of the game, there is a decent challenge to the combat. However, once you acquire the Celestial Weapons and begin the trek inside Sin, the amount of AP (FFX’s version of XP used to move around the Sphere Grid) is so large that you are able to level up your stats to a degree that the game becomes trivial. Honestly, I was able to beat Seymour, Sin, and the Aeons with one or two turns using Yuna and Lulu casting Ultima and/or Holy. Each was hitting for 40-50k damage each cast.

I will say that I love the Sphere Grid leveling system. It is done in a great way that you can take the time to customize every character to at least some degree assuming you are willing to take the time to grind out the Lock Spheres you need to really take advantage of it.

Final fantasy X is still a great game and I enjoyed playing through the game once again. Tidus and Yuna’s relationship adds a great subtext to the story, even if Tidus is such a big crybaby…

Now for the real fun. FFXII and FFXIII are two games that I have never finished before. These will both be pretty cool to finally play through!

X Marks the Spot

So I was 20 years old when Final Fantasy X came out, and it was at a time when all hell was breaking loose in my life. It was also the last game in the series I had played all the way through. After this one, I have not experienced the entire story of any of the games in the series.

I am touching base at this point for a very specific reason though. For a few years, all I have heard about is FFXIII is how linear it is. How all you do is follow one path with just a few branches off here and there for treasure chests……I had forgotten that FFX was VERY similar.

FFX has Blitz Ball which is a nice distraction, but honestly there is not much divergence from the prescribed path. Now granted part of that is because this game is built around a pilgrimage that Yuna must undertake, but it is still a pretty linear game.

Honestly, this does not diminish my enjoyment of the game so far but the parallels just struck me and I wanted to write it down!

P.S. I just rolled into the Travel Agency in Macalania.

9 Down, 4 (or more) to go!

Well, another one down in my quest to re-play(or in a couple cases play for the first time) all of the main line Final Fantasy games. This time it was Final Fantasy IX, one of my top 3 games FF games.

As I played through this one, I posted a couple updates. I enjoyed playing through this one, and find it so interesting how much of the story I had forgotten. Especially the ending. I also found one screen of text to be rather funny in the lead up to the final battle:

Obviously the team at Square USA was channeling their inner Yoda when writing this bit. 🙂  I also enjoyed the little Aloha armor set in-joke the Honolulu, Hawaii based development team built in. Overall, this game has a great tone and fun story.

While VII had some great side quests, I think IX really made the side quests shine. The Chocobo Hot & Cold and subsequent Chocograph hunt games were an obsession of mine for a few reasons, not the least of which being it was a way to get like 4 of the best weapons in the game. Tetra Master, the in-game card game, was also more fun than most other iterations of the card games Square has tried to put together.

The characters of FFIX are really where the game finds its groove. I absolutely love the development of every character. None of the characters are the same at the end of the game as they are at the beginning. They also aren’t abruptly different. You see the changes as the story progresses.

The story is nice, except for the very end…I feel like the ending was ruined by the random extra boss at the end (Necron). There was just no point. Nothing about this creature had been even intimated before he shows up after defeating Kuja. There are few things I dislike in games more than developers making them artificially longer (See: LoZ-Spirit Tracks) and this final fight just felt like they decided the final battle wasn’t long enough.

Overall, I still love this game and enjoyed the hell out of playing it again. So much so, that I kept a save just before heading into the final dungeon so I could go back and build up my favored party(Zidane, Steiner, Vivi, Dagger) and go back to tackle the optional boss Ozma, whom I have never beaten before. Onward to your favorite whiny bitch and mine…..TIDUS and FFX!

The Eidolon and on and on and on

So even though our latest podcast episode posted early, I still felt our friends deserved some new content this Sunday! So here is a quick update on the Final Fantasy quest I am on that has taken so very, very, very long.

I am about half way through disc 3 of 4 on FF9. Even though this is one of my favorites in the series I forgot just how far along in the game it is before I get an airship. It seems further along than any of the others and is starting to get just a bit annoying. Although, my lack of transportation and desire to get all over the world has forced me to put more effort into my Chocograph hunting so as to upgrade my Chocobo.

To be honest, I think the Chocographs and Stellazio are two of my favorite components of the game. I love the story and characters, especially after the flat cast of FF8, but I think a good portion of my love for this game comes from the fact that it has legitimate side quests. Finding the Chocobo Gardens and then playing the Hot & Cold mini game to discover the Chocographs is addicting to me.

I also continue to love Vivi and all that he is. Still one of the top five characters in the whole series. His innocence and his very palpable fear of “stopping” make him so easy to relate to that I feel incomplete when he isn’t in my party. I feel like playing this as an adult is giving me such a more well rounded experience in this game and I am glad I am doing it!

Stay tuned for another update, hopefully soon although Pokemon Sun has gobbled up a bit of my time lately. For some unknown reason I decided to shiny hunt my starter and after at least a hundred soft resets…..still no luck.

Just a Little (300 Quest) Interlude

For those that don’t know me, I have a tendency to get distracted and lose a game for some time…hence why this project has taken so damn long. This time, it is all the fault of my DS.

My Zelda edition NEW 3DS XL usually sits right next to me as I work on the couch or in the chair at home. Usually I will pick it up from time to time and maybe snag a couple new Pokemon in one of the 4 Pokemon games I own (I really need to invest in the Vault). This time however, I reached back in the archives to grab one of the games I have owned for a LONG time but never completed; Final Fantasy Tactics A2. I have been a big fan of the Tactics series but never finished the game because….side quests.

As always happens with Elder Scrolls games, I got mired down in side quests and never finished the main story. So one I picked it up again, I figured it was time I finally put FFTA2 to bed once and for all. A feat I am proud to say I finally have accomplished. Not only have I completed the main quest, but the side quests are all done too.

I love the job system they use in the Tactics series and am always trying to master all the jobs, and to build out a better character as each job gives different bonuses to stats. The only downside is the limited skills that many of the jobs have. You really have to make sure to set the correct abilities that compliment your current job.

The law system is frustrating to say the least. The bonus gear and items are awesome quite often, but sometimes the laws are almost impossible to uphold, especially later in the game if you didn’t unlock a quest chain at the right time and the law forbids harming lower level units….

Alright, that is enough of the interlude time to get back into FF9! Back soon folks!

SMF: The Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog

The Adventures of sonic the hedgehog

Original Run: 1993 – 1996

1 season

65 episodes

Primary  production Company: DIC

Based On: The Sonic the Hedgehog Game Franchise

 

What is it?

Clearly seeing the success of Nintendo’s super Mario bros. Super show, Sega decides to get into the world of Saturday Morning cartoons. And seeing as they already have a mascot that’s sarcastic, perfect for slapstick, and whose surreal art style lend itself to low budget low risk animation, Sega orders up a whopping 65 episodes of sonic.

 

Opening Theme 

High energy….at times, maybe a bit too high energy….This thing is out of control. It changes every 3 seconds or so and none of it ever makes any sense….but i’ll be damned if i don’t remember it. The music is definitely based on the actual sonic the hedgehog theme song, but they sample in a lot of other weird songs every now and then to fill in the time slot. A weird choice but it’s still pretty catchy and fun to watch if you don’t mind the chaos. If you waking up to this show on a saturday, it’s sure gonna wake you up quick. The theme mostly consists of multiple attempts to catch sonic or stop him from making a logo. Yeah that fiend. What better way to start a show that trying to thwart….self promotion?

 

Art design

background aesthetics are…par…i guess? I mean this style of ambiguous surreal background was often used in super mario bros super show, but all kinds of shows lucky enough to be cast in fantasy environments used these as a cost saving measure. That said still, I can’t say they don’t push that a bit much at times as often the line between Surrealism and buildings made out of scribble can get uncomfortably thin.

 

Character design

Character design fairs quite a bit better.  Sonic and his various side characters, consisting mostly of character defining colors that pop out and are easy to identify helps make the transition to animation a good one. As a sonic show should also, the show looks best when it moves fast. And that’s not just because the backgrounds blur out when sonic runs, but the slapstick, action and pace of the show are at it’s best when it’s kinetic and moving from one thing to the next. Robotnik is really the only character complicated enough to need even small changes from the games, but the changes are small at that. When close up, Robotnik’s iconic mustache is more prominent and his overweight egg shape is definitely more clear and frequently used in the slapstick itself.  The same can be said for the designs of Scratch and Grounder. While this series definitely does not hide it’s looney tunes influences, rather than the typical cartoon stretch and contort that injured tons do, these characters both being robots means they can sustain substantial physical damage, bust into a pile of bolts, or contort into ridiculous shapes as they try and put each other back together.

 

Story

 

Sonic the hedgehog is a resident and sometimes planetary defender of the alien planet mobius. The evil Scientist Dr. Robotnik has hired bounty hunters from all over the galaxy to track Sonic down so he can finally achieve world domination. Also helping in his schemes is the botched results of a ultimate killing machine experiment, a robot chicken named scratch and a talking tank like swiss army mech named grounder.  Together, we follow Sonic and Tails adventures chasing bad guys, solving problems of the people, and maybe catching some one liners and chili dogs along the way.

 

Characters

On the character side however, things start to pick up quite a bit of momentum. Sonic is voiced for the first time by Family Matters’ Jaleel White and despite how gimmicky that sounds at first, it’s become for many the definitive/favorite version of talking sonic. He’s witty, full of himself, and one step shy of annoying asshole.  It helps his character a lot that he does show a legitimate interest in helping people, even if he is a bit more begrudgingly when helping is inconvenient for him.

 

Tales is typical kid sidekick fair all the way down to the whiny attitude and cringe worthy voice. It’s not as bad as most shows by along shot, but it’s the character archetype we’re working with.  There’s nothing inherently wrong with tails, but he’s a bit one dimensional. Not that sonic characters are known for their depth, but at times, rather than being the moral compass to Sonic’s rebellious attitude, he can come off a bit like a buzz kill.

 

Speaking of Cringe Worthy Voices….Oh my god….Scratch and Grounder…by far the two most divisive character in this show, this duo is nails on a chalkboard, loud in your face, and absurdly annoying….And I love them.  Despite the annoying voices being a step too far for some people, and i don’t blame you one bit, the chemistry they share is actually really good and  the writers have a lot more fun with them than most generic henchmen. They may be abrasive, but they are memorable, unique, and often get the best jokes and plotlines in the series.

 

Robotnik himself steers more towards typical sneering evil, but the comedic differences between his evil controlled mannerisms and his flabbergasted by sonic slapstick ones keep him entertaining. He carries himself almost exclusively on how badass he thinks he is. Every sentence out of his mouth is congratulating himself on being himself. It’s almost endearing how much toxic self confidence he has in himself. And it’s that same overabundance of self pride that makes it that much funnier when it all comes crashing down in a blaze of blue spiny glory.

 

The remainder of the characters talk in your typical wacky cartoony  borderline annoying fashion. Not to scratch and grounder levels, but traditional talent is not the words i’d use. To be honest though, if this style of over the top cartoon acting was a deal breaker for you, you might be in the wrong book.

 

Music and sound design

Music for the show is definitely a major positive, in particular, Character themes. Sonic already had one from the games, but the theme they gave Robotnik is a great earworm. Just serious enough to be intimidating, but goofy enough to fit the tone of the show. The show itself has good music overall, but like many of these shows, a lot of tracks are reused several times. It’s not something you’re going to notice unless you watch a lot, but if you’re already watching that many episodes, you likely don’t care.

 

anything else of note?:

Sonic the hedgehog is far from a groundbreaking show. In fact, when you look carefully, it borrows heavily from quite a few cartoons. Lucky for it, it borrows from some really good ones. Right off the bat, sonic being a super fast character, they realize that working of a coyote and Roadrunner aesthetic works really well for them, especially because Robotic is already an inventor.  on top of that, Sonic’s frequent use of Funny voice and random costume gags, although used in all sorts of shows, feels closest to that of Bugs Bunny. Even Sonics obsession with chilli dogs, while to their credit, ended up becoming a staple in the later game series, seemed like it was in direct response to the abundant pasta puns in the above mentioned mario Sat AM cartoon.

 

I’d also be remiss if i didn’t at least discuss the Sonic Says segments. While this was far from the only show to have these kind of closers, Sonic’s were famous/infamous for just how bizarre some of them got. Most of them were standard stuff like washing your hands, what to do in a fire, listen to your parents, but some got plain goofy like moss grows north, which isn’t true, you can always trust a sloth…..OK…..but also sometimes they were misleading. Thier don’t call 911 episode was incredibly misleading as it almost accidentally says not to call the police if you get mugged. On top of that, as i’m sure their heart was in the right place, their meme inducing  episode on sexual Stranger danger may not have been the right venue to discuss that topic.

 

The Good:

Great character design

Clever interpretation of source material

Interesting week to week plotlines

Great slapstick and character interactions

music and sound design

 

The Bad:

Set design and non character animation quality

Reused audio tracks

No consistent supporting cast

Scratch and Grounder will be too much for some viewers

Possibly lays on the Loony tunes homage a little thick

 

Final Verdict

The adventures of Sonic is a very mixed bag, but a show that I happen to enjoy. I’m not denying your result may very, but it’s a show that good and bad balances about 50/50. In many ways, it’s one of the very best in a format of cheap cartoons that are often very bad.  The lucky part for you is that although most people are content only watching one episode, most episodes are of the same approximate quality, so while the pilot is actually really good, feel free to jump around to whatever episode premise strikes your fancy. The best thing i can tell you is i’ve tried my best to point out any of the deal breakers to the best of my ability. If nothing bothers you from that, i’d recommend try at least one episode.

 

Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

worth a watch.

Guilty pleasure seal of approval*

 

*The Guilty pleasure seal of approval is an acknowledgement that the show in question borders on or is clearly in Guilty pleasure status. This differentiation is made not to dismiss the merits of a show, but rather to allow the rating system to work better with such a wide variety of genres.


TL DR: it’s a reminder that i rate shows on both quality and enjoyability. Interpret that as you may.

 

HunnicOutcasts Review of Amazon’s The Tick

Amazon’s The Tick, part of the new Pilot Season Program, is one of three shows now available on Amazon Prime Video. The Pilot Season Program offers viewers the option to take a five to ten minute survey which will help determine if the show will be picked up as a full series.  The other two shows star Jean Claude Van Dam and Kevin Bacon and weren’t unwatchable.  However, in a world where capes and cowls have taken over.  I wouldn’t be surprised if The Tick does get a full season.

download

This is the third T.V. series starring the Big Blue Bug. The first was an animated series that aired on Fox Kids in the mid 90’s.  Another was a live action show that starred Patrick Warburton and aired on Fox in the early 2000’s.   In my opinion one was a cult series(animated) and one was forgettable(liv e action).The live action series did have a cult following, but between it being too expensive, the lack of on screen chemistry, and poor writing the show didn’t have much of a chance for success. I’m glad that the live action is getting a second chance.

_DG29087.NEF

Fans had rejoiced until they heard that Patrick would only return as a producer. I enjoyed Peter Serafinowicz’s performance a lot more than Warburton’s. Granted voice actor Townsend Coleman “is” The Tick, but Peter is no slouch. He comes off as Adam West from Batman ’66 meets Moose from Archie Comics. He still keeps his unconstrained bliss. Charging into battle and swaying at the bad guys like they’re nothing.  The Tick is still invincible and that is fine.

 

_DSC3608.NEF

Arthur is now being portrayed by Griffin Newman. As a boy, Arthur witnessed The Terror, portrayed marvelously by Jackie Earle Haley, slaughter his childhood heroes.  This is probably the best live action version of these characters that I have ever seen.  Now if you did purchase The Tick live action DVD you did pick up the lost episode featuring The Terror, but the less it’s brought up the better.  Here Jackie brings his classic creepy and funny at the same time. It’s a nice balance of how Arthur just wanted to enjoy his FroYo only to have The Terror come out of nowhere to wreak havoc. I don’t want to go into full details of how The Terror and future crime fighter meet besides to say it is terrifying.

Arthur still thinking that evil is still afoot heads over to the docks at night.  He is listening in on criminals that have stolen, what will soon be Arthur’s famous Moth Costume.  Griffin is actually the main star of this episode which is not a bad idea at all. In the cartoon, Arthur found the costume in a trashcan. Outside his apartment, and never wanted to take it off.  Claiming that his life as an accountant was getting boring

In the cartoon and live action series Arthur unfortunately became a wet blanket rather quickly. He regretted finding the costume and becoming The Tick’s sidekick and became whiny and neurotic fast. In this universe, Arthur is a delight. Far from being a wet blanket.  Granted he’s not ready to fight crime yet. Fans can’t wait for him to put on the costume and there is some controversy on how Big Blue and Moth will unite.  Again I don’t want to give away too much, but there is “potential chemistry” with these two; more than I have seen in the past.

The Verdict

This version of The Tick is Alan Moore’s WatchMen meets Mark Milliar’s Kick Ass.   It’s both light and dark.  Making the balance between the two work rather well.  People do die in this episode and they don’t sugar coat it in any way.   Then a comedic moment will occur, but it doesn’t stink up the room.   The Tick is still The Big Blue Brute, with a tiny brain and good intentions.  Arthur has more meat to him. And as for The City, which has always been named The City.  It has never looked better.

The reviews have been mixed, but with some three to five star ratings on Amazon.Com as well as IMDB and the “cliffhanger” ending.  We haven’t seen the last of The Tick and Arthur.

Until Next time…SPOOOOOOON!!!

Review by HunnicOutcast.

You can also find our Podacst.  On Digital Nerdage and SoundCloud

Nine is so very fine!

So it has been a while since I posted an update and I didn’t want folks to think the project had fallen by the way side….AGAIN. It has not. I am just not making as quick of progress on IX as I did on VIII.

I am through the first disc (of four) and have already begun to remember why I love this game so very much. The characters are rich and well developed from pretty much the word go. Vivi is arguably the best character in the entire series.

In addition to the wonderful characters, the story has a great pace. Early on you don’t have much customization fr your party because there are so many different story lines happening at the same time. The Active Time Events enrich those storylines by adding details in about characters that are off screen from the main party through out the game. The biggest advantage of them is that you don’t HAVE to watch them if you don’t want to; but who wouldn’t want MORE story? 🙂

As my summer winds down and my schedule normalizes once again I will be able to dedicate more time to playing again, but I felt an update was warranted!