Serial Saturday: Siphon Volume 2 by Jay Boyce

This week for Serial Saturday I’m back with the second volume of the Siphon series. It’s Siphon Volume 2 by Jay Boyce!

Plot: First let me say that yes I do know that there is an audiobook release of this already out, but I had this post planned for a while and had a rough draft stored in my notes of my thoughts on the original unedited version on RoyalRoad so I won’t be covering the released versions until the third book is released.

With that out of the way let me say that this second entry in the series was pretty good and covered a ton of threads that came up by the end of the first book and has Jade actually attending the school Dracona that was teased way back in the first few chapters. There were some points where I cringed, but that might just be due to Jade being a dork at times.

Characters: We get to meet a bunch of new characters in this entry, which makes sense given all the new people she has to meet at Dracona. Of the newcomers I think Brady is my favorite, if only because he is the small blades teacher and I’ve always loved the rogue archetype. The rest of the cast is good, although there were some characters that felt a bit forced that may or may not show up in the edited release.

Overall: A solid entry, although I do wish the author was more timely with her releases I am given to understand she has been dealing with health issues.

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Video Game Tuesday: Shadowbringers’ Lack of Healer

This week for Video Game Tuesday I’m back with a topic I promised I’d cover in my review of Final Fantasy XIV’s latest expansion. It’s all about Shadowbringers’ Lack of Healer!

Lack of Healer?: Yes, Shadowbringers is the second expansion in a row that Final Fantasy XIV has not had a new healer job added to the game. Many people are upset that Dancer wasn’t a healer and were very quick to blame the development team for this. It’s certainly their fault, but not at all for the reasons most people assume.

So why is it their fault?: Well first off there are two archetypes of healer that work in Final Fantasy XIV’s combat system. Adding any more to that would either dilute the given identity of the already available Jobs. This is completely on the developers for getting themselves stuck with those two archetypes as the only viable options. But to be fair the last avaliable archetype isn’t really possible in any MMO if you hope to have balance.

Archetypes?: The two healer archetypes present in Final Fantasy are the Heal over Time and Shield to Prevent Damage types. These are best showcased with White Mage being the Heal over Time type and Scholar being the Shielding type. Astrologian, is both of the two with the addition of RNG cards in the mix. However Astrologian cannot switch between the two types in combat, and lacks the fairy of the Scholar to add consistent healing. In Shadowbringers Astrologian’s utility was changed quite a bit, with every card being a damage increase to two roles, like Tank and Melee Damage Dealer. However if you were when it comes down to the basic archetype it’s nothing either of the other two jobs don’t already do. No other archetype works with the combat system of XIV, everyone already does damage, so the last archetype that hasn’t been used, the damage to perform healing archetype, is completely impossible to pull off with any reasonable balance.

So what?: Well if they were to add any other shield or heal over time jobs they’d be hard pressed to come up with an option that feels different to the current three and is still able to be balanced with every other job currently in the game. It’s just not possible unless they completely redo the combat system, and while that would be something they could theoretically do, they just can’t do it reasonably with the funding they are receiving at the moment. The higher ups at Square Enix won’t really want to fund the massive undertaking that would be needed to completely revamp the combat system, and all that entails, which includes remaking every single fight in the game.

So no more healers?: I’d say most likely not, they might add one more in the future, but honestly with Astrologian already having identity issues it’s just not an option at the moment and I don’t see how they’d pull off adding another.

That’s it for this week’s Video Game Tuesday.

Retro Game Friday: Super Monkey Ball

This week for Retro Game Friday I’m back with a game that is often overlooked. It’s Super Monkey Ball!

Gameplay: There is no story so I’m not surprised that it took me this long to remember about this game. The gameplay itself is pretty solid but very repetitive and really the only saving grace for me was the multiplayer games. The Monkey Fight one in particular was fun for me to play with friends and my brother. This was definitely a rental game, and yeah there were such things as video rental stores back then, because I couldn’t really fathom bothering to pay for what amounts to a game you’ll enjoy for an afternoon or two at max.

Art: The art has aged fairly poorly, but that is no surprise given that it’s in 3D.

Music: I don’t remember much of it, but it fit the simian theme of the game pretty well.

Overall: A fairly skippable game, and not that special overall though it does have solid gameplay it wasn’t worth it to me to purchase outright instead of just renting it for a weekend.

For those who like: Physics, Repetitive Gameplay, Puzzle Gameplay.

Not for those who don’t like: Any of the above.

Movie Monday: The Lincoln Lawyer

This week for Movie Monday I’m back with an adaptation of one of my favorite Michael Connelly novels. It’s The Lincoln Lawyer!

Plot: The plot doesn’t exactly follow the novel, given that it’s only roughly two hours long it can’t possibly hope to fit all of the novel into that time, but it does a pretty good job of it nonetheless. Something most movies adapting a book fail to do.

Casting: The casting is excellent with Matthew McConaughey cast as the lead Mickey Haller. The rest of the cast is just as good, with Marisa Tomei cast as Mickey’s ex Maggie.

Cinematography: There isn’t any particularly special here, with no amazing special effect sequences or the like, but it was filmed very nicely fitting the courtroom drama genre very well.

Music: Nothing too major here either, but nothing stood out as particularly bad either, so it serves the purpose.

Overall: A solid movie that does the original novel justice very well. If you enjoy courtroom dramas at all, The Lincoln Lawyer will be perfect for you.

For those who like: Courtroom Dramas, Crime Thrillers, Intrigue, Matthew McConaughey, Excellent Casting.

Not for those who don’t like: Any of the above.

TNT: Bluesteel Blasphemer Volume 02 by Sakaki Ichirou

Hey all I’m back with the second entry in an axed series for this week’s Translation Necessary Thursday. It’s Bluesteel Blasphemer Volume 02 by Sakaki Ichirou!

Plot: Now I know in my previous Translation Necessary Thursday I covered the first volume and I said to stay away. For those of you who thought I should’ve given this series a second chance I did, and read the second volume. It was just as bad as the first, with it having some seriously dark fantasy elements just because that’s the general fad in a ton of fantasy at the moment. Honestly I totally regret reading this second volume with it being a massive waste of time. The romance portions are just hamfisted and honestly not that well done.

Overall: I’m going to skip the rest of this review and say once more to steer clear of this series, it was axed for a very good reason.

Anime Sunday: Arifureta Episode 01 Impressions

This week for Anime Sunday I’m back with my first Summer 2019 series. It’s my Arifureta Episode 01 Impressions!

Plot: I’m pretty happy with the pacing of this first episode, as it seems the series is taking the plot fairly slow which allows for the anime to do the story justice. That said it is handled a bit fast, and doesn’t cover everything that I’d have hoped from the adaptation of a series I thoroughly enjoy. Maybe that’ll change in future episodes, but I am a bit disappointed.

Characters: We get introduced to our main protagonist, Hajime in this episode along with a couple of the heroines, Kaori and Shizuka. That said the plot is mostly focused on Hajime which is understandable given what the first volume of the Light Novel covers is mostly focused on him and another heroine, Yue.

Art: The art is fairly good, though there were some points where I thought I could see CG used, which is worrisome given how I tend to despise the use of CG if it’s detectable compared to the rest of the animation. Hopefully that is something I just thought I saw, but still it doesn’t bode well for my overall opinion of the series if it continues into later episodes.

Music: The score is well done, and I enjoyed both the opening and ending themes.

Overall: A fairly solid first episode, but there are some parts that led me to dampen my hopes that this adaptation would be as good as some other ones I’ve seen before.

For those who like: Fantasy, Isekai, Magic, Drama, Action, Adventure, Good Plot and Excellent Cast of Characters, Good Musical Score.

Not for those who don’t like: Any of the above.

Bookish Wednesday: Future Tense by John Van Stry

This week for Bookish Wednesday I’m covering the final entry of a series I’ve covered in the past. It’s Future Tense, Days of Future Past Book 3, by John Van Stry!

Plot: The plot is pretty great and it rounds out the series very well. I honestly wasn’t expecting this series to end the way it did, but I’m not upset that it did since so few stories these days can truly surprise me.

Characters: We finally get introduced to the series antagonist, Aybem, in this entry and I have to say it was a surprise to see who it really was. I won’t say more because that’s super spoilerific, but needless to say it was very well played by Mr. Stry.

Overall: A good ending to a solid series, if you enjoy Sci-Fi mixed with Fantasy at all you’ll most likely enjoy this series and it’s final book in particular.