Saturday, 25 September 2010

Wittyannouncement: An Official Touhou Anime?

Wow...I called it

Well, it's actualy happened folks. Information is sketchy at best, but from what I can gather this really is an official Touhou anime series. Noteable features from the poster include that anime store manager guy from Lucky Star. Whether this series has been squared with the venerable ZUN is yet to come to this humble reviewers ears, however, I'll certainly be keeping an eye out. So will this meet with the same fate at the Touhou Anime Project? Quite possibly, the word 'official' has been used spareingly with all the information I can gather.

According to the always semi-reliable Sankaku Complex the anime will be produced by ufotable. It is intended as a celebration of the 10 year anniversary of our anime store manager friend from the poster. Why the hell he warrents such admiration beyond being awesome is beyond me, but then again, it isn't my branch of Otakudom. That being said Sankaku also mentions that a whole series has not, as of yet, been announced. As we know, ZUN has stomped on doujin anime in the past, and bassicaly saying "No Touhou for you".

Despite the sketchy details and the questionable information presented to me, I'll certainly be keeping an ear to the ground during this whole affair. If it does turn out to be real you can bet your bottom dollar I'll be reviewing it.

By: Wittyreviewer

Wednesday, 22 September 2010

Wittyreviews: Highschool of the Dead

Warning: You have been warned

Hell yes! I frickin' love zombies. I dunno, there's something about carveing up leagues of zombies that just makes a man feel powerfull, you know? As a long time fan of Shaun of the Dead, Left 4 Dead and the Ultimate Zombie Survival Guide, I present to you my review of Highschool of the Dead.

I'm gonna go out on a limb here, I actualy think this was the best of the summer anime line up. I'm serious, I saw quite a few I think I enjoyed this one the most. True the competition is very, very close but this one just always left me smileing. But before I get on to what makes me it good, let me point out a few things. Yes, some moments do leave you facepalming and wonder what the hell they were thinking, yes Rei can be a bitch and yes, there is alot of talky plany. Don't like those things? HoTD isn't for you, plain and simple. But enough of that, let's get started.

So the plot centers around a group of Highschool students (duh) in the middle of a zombie outbreak. Supprisingly, hardly any of the series takes place in the overrun highschool, instead the survivors leave the area pretty soon. The survivors themselves are the spear master Rei, the leader type Takashi, the genius Saya, the insanely manly gunman Hirano, the sword wielding Saeko and the total and utter moronic school nurse Shizuka. Eventualy, through strength of arms, they escape the highschool unscathed and what follows is a slow decent in the chaos the world is thrown into and their own journey to find Takashi's and Rei's parents, the rests parents either in another country or dead. Along the way they are joined by a little girl they rescued called Alice and her dog Zeke and thus the group is complete. Already it sets itself apart from the usual think you'd expect in a zombie anything. They aren't holding up inside one building waiting for resuce, they aren't trying to 'kick ass' and they know full well rescue isn't coming. Instead, their main priority is the safety of their loved ones and eachother.

Well, ok, they 'kick ass' a few times

In a clever little nod the series makes clear it knows what it's takeing inspiration from, in episode 1 one of the tracks that plays sounds like it's right out of 28 Days Later. Also in that episode they say more than once that it's just like the movies. One thing the series never draws mention to however is how the outbreak started, or indeed who's behind it. Takashi is the first to see the zombies when a lone one bites a school teacher. Also, they never refer to the undead as 'zombies' or indeed the undead, instead they are simply refered to as 'them'.

Now, get ready to be shocked, these main chracters actualy have DEPTH. I know, shocking, right? Well, sort of depth anyway. They go through character development at the very least in their own small way. At first, of course, they're all seperated and wondering not only what the hell is going on but also what the hell to do. Hirano is probably the one who exercises this best as his first suggestion is going to the teachers or the authorities, though Saya is quick to point out they couldn't do anything anyway. As the series goes on, however, they each come to terms with what's going on and act less like people trying to escape a plague and more like that the horde is just a part of their life now that needs proper attention. Hirano, fucking badass that he is, is the gun master and seems to score head shots every single time. Takashi is the leader and strangely enough is also argueably the weakest fighter, he can't shoot properly at all and his only real talent is hitting things hard with a bat. Rei is the spear expert and is also one of Takashi's many love interests. Her father is in the police force and it is him that they first set out to rescue. Saya is Takashi's childhood friend and self professed genius. She can't fight, and that is made clear throughout, though she is the brains of the group. Saeko is the sword wielder and is also the one with the darkest past, that's revealed later on in the series so I'm afraid I can't accurately convey it. Shizuka and Alice don't do jack and only there to be awesome and/or sexy so...there you go. Oh, and there's the orgy bus, can't ignore that. Yes, you read that right, the orgy bus. You see, there's this real dick teacher called Shido. He talks like a cult leader, kicks a student in the face when he asks him for help and allows his students to have mindless sex in his bus during the zombie apocolypse! Thus it was dubbed the Orgy Bus, for a good time call.

Hirano: Bringing logic to zombies since 2010

Visualy, the series meanders from good to average. It's hard to say 'things go on in the background' when the place is meant to be clear of the zombies so what can you expect there? But the fight scenes are pretty graphic at times and just fun to behold. There's one scene where Takashi ride in on a motorbike. Takashi throws a revolver to Hirano who kills two zombies with an instant double tap while Rei does an elaborate spear to the head move and Takashi throws Saeko through the air who does a spinning sword strike. Holy freaking shit it kicked ass!

As you can tell, Hirano is my favourite

The music is something to mention, it adds a good amount of atmosphere and it suitably creepy and awesome when needed. The series had no ending theme, instead the song that was playing in the scene before carries over the credits. And now, something I probably should mention because no doubt someone will bring it up to me, the art design does suffer from something I like to call 'Eikenitus'. If any of my readers have seen Eiken you might be able to guess what I'm talking about, but if you haven't, allow me to explain. You see, I'm yet to count a single female except for Alice who has a small chest. Every single female, zombie or human, is amazingly busty. I, however, have an explanation. From my 'highly informed source who wishes to remain anon' I have discovered that the artist of HoTD was also a hentai artist, that's a supprise right? But anyway, if you got a think about large chests then stick away too I guess.
Boob smothering: Well, if you were gonna go... :/

I really enjoyed this series, sitting down every Monday morning to watch it was a pleasure and I, for one, really look forward to season 2. Next up for the show is the infamous mall arc, wherein Hirano gets a girlfriend, people die and things only get worse from there.

Final Score: 5/5

By: Wittyreviewer

Oh and by the way, the Elliot quote at the end of the final episode was funny.

Saturday, 18 September 2010

Amnesia Review

Yes I'm finally reviewing my mental health, well I could but unfortunately it ran away when playing Amnesia The Dark Descent which is a a fantastic new take on survival horror. It does what survival horror needs and it may take some liberties with gameplay but it shines through, well for some people. Let me tell you what I mean.

Story: You play as Daniel a guy who has plot point syndrome Amnesia (the title of the game). The story is told in a bad way, through letters this reminds me of another game F.E.A.R. .(?) F.E.A.R 1 had a great story but it was told in a awful way, so does Amnesia but I digress in Amnesia I can't see another way it could be told, what is the story well let me get to that bit.

Well as I was you play as Daniel who is suffering Amnesia, when you start the game you find a letter from yourself saying you must kill someone in "THE INNER SANCTUM!!!". Yes I may be making fun of the story but it really is a great story. Another problem with the story or in other words the way it's told is that it's never consitant for example some letters are fully voice acted, however others aren't in the slightest they have no life to them and just become well... boring and there is some important infomation in of the non voice acted letters so it's a hassle to read them. Yes I know that's sort of a nit-pick but still it stands out.

Gameplay: Well... where do I begin? Well let me say that if you are a survival horror you know that frictional games had made a name for them selves and Amnesia proves it by going us one of the best survival horror game out there I'm not joking, in the first 30 minuets there mostly jump scares which don't really scare me I've played hundreds of games with jump scares (F.E.A.R. and so on) and they hardly ever work. No I love the atmospheric scares  one of the only reasons i play survival horror games, for the scares that come after you play the game. The scares that are almost primeval to us and linger  with us till the next day.

Amnesia does deliver it and deliver it, it does. There may be shock scares threw about 30 minuets threw the game but when you get past that part you will be scared. The game almost perfectly balances the reality (as perceived by the game world) and the more hidden horrors, what i mean by that is that nearly everything is your enemy, for example the darkness is your enemy, why well you have this sort of metre where you sanity is, it starts of as normal, but the more time you spend in the dark you sanity will soon go down to small headache to head pounding and hands shakeing and so on. This means your always going around with the constant fear that your going to run out of tinderboxes (which are used to light candles and so on) or your lamp will slowly run out of oil.

This brings a whole new dimention to the gameplay, but it does bring one bad thing to the table, your always collecting tinderboxes and oil, which means the game becomes more of a scavenger hunt than collecting. However this just ties into the games mechanics so I'll let it slip. One of the biggest things that'll spilt people into buying this game is that you have no way of defense ageist anything, which means that you will be very afraid of the next corner. What makes this even more atmospheric is that nearly every object you interact with is with your mouse (ie your hand), so doors are a optical not but the controls but by your force of will. You have no idea what lurks round the next corner so it soon becomes harder and harder to open doors due to fear of what's round the corner.

Most of the issues I have with Amnesia seem to be graphical for example, your hands seem to be missing when opening doors or draws which have some effect on emersion but only a little. What this game does is what other games can only dream of, that to make you so scared that you turn off the game uninstall it and leave for fear of a mental breakdown, after you've paid £12.99 for the game (something microsoft is looking into but remove the horror part).

If you're a horror fan in any way you MUST buy this game, it scares you in ways that you would never think possible. A must buy.

Liam Hackett

Monday, 13 September 2010

Wittyreviews: Recettear - An Item Shop's Story

"Capitalism ho!"

This will come as a supprise to some but I don't play that many JRPGs. Not because I don't like them, I do, but I just can't ever find any. Now I know what you're all thinking, "There are plenty of JRPGs out there", and yes there are. The problem is that most of the major gameing consoles past me by, either because I was too young or too poor to afford them. I'm probably the only one in the world who grew up in the 90s and never owned a Nintendo64, Gamecube or a Dreamcast. I know, heracy, right? The first games console I ever owned was a Playstation 1 and even THEN most of the games passed me by, I heard of Final Fantasy 7 of course, most people did, but I didn't care about it or play it. Not to say I don't play any of course, I've played a few if they can be called JRPGs such as Star Ocean Last Hope, Infinate Undiscovery and the new Final Fantasy, but this was the first anime style JRPG that I've been able to play. But you don't wanna know all of that, all you want to know is: Is it any good?

Well, yes...and no. It's pretty obvious to anyone with eyes and at least one braincell that this game is an aquired taste. It's much more animeesque than most games people will be familiar with and this is only bolstered by the fact there is no English voice acting. All of the voices are in Japanese, and they do very well I might add. Considering my huge raveing Otakudom this didn't bother me but for those of you alergic to anything anime you might find it grinds you after a while. The game itself is sort of like a mix of the Sims and and Zelda, you run an item shop so you can make money. How do you do that? Well you gotta buy stock from the market or the guild which you sell so you can make money so you can buy stock which you sell. So on and so forth. That's not the only way you can get stock though, you can go adventureing through large dungeons by hireing people to go down there and collect stuff. This is one of the hardest but most rewarding way to get stuff to sell. True odds are you'll fail spectacularly the first few times but you go get some of the 'phat lewts' more quickly. If you die in the dungeon, however, you'll only be allowed to take one item back. You don't go out empty handed sure, but considering it will most likely take you from morning till night to do all that it's not worth the excursion most of the time. Note I say MOST of the time, if you're doing pretty well with your profits it might be worth the effort to go in there and kill some dudes. Gameplay in this game is simplistic but that's pretty much what makes it fun. It's not over complicated and you won't find yourself getting confused any time soon. You buy, you sell, you buy, you sell. The fun is trying to work out what to sell and who to. Adventureing is where things get strange, you won't control the main character but the person doing all the fighting. You swing your sword, hit the enemy, collect EXP and slice chests to get moar lewt. Some of the chests have enemies in them so keep an eye out for that though. By now you're probably wondering why you have decided to open up such a venture, well, let's start from the begining...

You play as the young, adorable and slightly airheaded Recette (who bears a strikeing resemblence to Ink from Moetan).

Ink, the Socialist Recette

Her father disappeared three months ago shouting something about being a hero and Recette hasn't heard from him since. One day, a loan shark....sorry, 'debt collector', knocks on her door and explains that her father owes a very large sum of money and bassicaly demands that it be handed over or they lose the house. Recette quickly goes into panic mode as she barely has enough money to keep herself going let alone pay off a substantial debt, all it not lost however! The 'debt collector', a fairy named Tear, offers to help her open up an item shop as the house is in the perfect spot for one and the town gets alot of adventurers. Haveing little choice Recette goes with the idea. And thus, in the name of the partnership, the item shop Recettear is born!

Recettear: NOT Racettear

But is it ever that simple? Hehehehe NO! For a start, Tear refuses to tell Recette just how much her father owes since 'you would faint' but she does suggest paying in weekly installments to chip away at it since paying it off in full would be close to impossible. That, coupled with the fact the first weekly installment is 10,000 pix the debt must be massive. There small catch though, if you miss a single payment it's game over and getting to the amount owed with enough to spare is pretty tricky. The only real way to do it is to pick a way of makeing money and stick to it. But then! Incase you thought you had it down, a rival appears! The 'oh ho ho ho ho'ing form of Ado...Alou...'rival #1' appears. She is the heiress the big item shop chain known as Big Bash. In short, they make more money than you, they are better than you, prepare to fail. We can only assume she will plague you and your efforts to do business for the rest of the game. Oh, and she's related to Solid Snake apparently.

Take my word for it, she's trying to sneak in using a cardboard box

When it comes down to the wire, Reccettear is a good game. It's hard to fault that. But it just comes down to personal taste really. If you like JRPGs you'll like Reccettear most likely, if you don't then..this won't change your mind. The art style is nice and there's always something going on in the background, even in your shop you'll see people walking around outside and the art design is amazing. The graphics are a little pixely but that's not too much of a bother unless you're a graphics pureist, which I am not by the way. The voice acting is pretty good and actualy very natural sounding and Recette does say some pretty cute stuff occasionaly like "Yayification", I have no idea what it means but it's going into my dictionary! The only small problem really is the difficulty. You'll most likely fail again...and again...and again. Haveing 7 days to make huge ammounts of cash is difficult but not impossible, which is good and it should provide a challenge without alienating anyone. As for me? I remain pleasently supprised at how good the game is. And I am happy to give it:

Final Score: 4.5/5

By: Wittyreviewer.