Movie Monday: Hitch

This week for Movie Monday I’m back with another movie produced by Will Smith. It’s Hitch!

Plot: The plot is okay, honestly it’s too much Romcom for my tastes. That isn’t to say this is a bad movie, just that I wasn’t highly impressed by the story and it’s tone. However the plot is solid, and there’s nothing particularly wrong with it, just that I personally don’t like Romcoms.

Casting: Will Smith does an awesome job at portraying the titular Hitch and the rest of the cast is also pretty great. Eva Mendes and Kevin James are the other two main characters of the movie and they did a great job of acting the part.

Cinematography: The special effects are relatively tame, but I will say that the seafood allergy scene was pretty well done in terms of makeup and special effects. That said if you ever have such a allergic reaction what happens is absolutely not what you should do in such a situation. Call 9-1-1, or your local equivalent, and follow the instructions given to you by the operator.

Music: I honestly don’t remember pretty much any of it, since Hitch isn’t a sweeping fantasy epic or sci-fi soap opera the generic musical production was low on my radar.

Overall: A good movie, if you enjoy Romantic Comedies. Otherwise you might want to watch something else.

For those who like: Romance, Comedies, Drama, Will Smith, Eva Mendes, Kevin James.

Not for those who don’t like: Any of the above, particularly the Romantic Comedy part.

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Retro Game Friday: Castlevania Order of Ecclesia

This week for Retro Game Friday I’m back with another Castlevania entry! It’s Castlevania: Order of Ecclesia!

Plot: The plot is okay, it’s not the best of the series by a longshot, but it’s a hell of a lot better than the later 3D reboot that graced the last gen of consoles. It’s also nice that Shanoa is a completely standalone character and in no way connected to the Belmont line of the series.

Gameplay: The gameplay is a bit like Symphony of the Night and the more classic Castlevania games. It uses the heart system which was absent from the more recent prior entries to fuel certain attacks which was absent in both Dawn of Sorrow and Portrait of Ruin. I enjoyed the gameplay, and if Dawn of Sorrow had forgone the touch screen completely I wouldn’t be torn between Ecclesia and that for my top Castlevania games after Symphony of the Night.

Characters: Shanoa is our main character and she’s quite a bad ass. That being said this isn’t the best entry in terms of characters as it really revolves only around a few, namely Shanoa and Albus her enemy and once compatriot.

Art: The art is okay, and sticks to the Symphony of the Night style that was the peak of the series in my opinion. It could be a remastered with today’s standards, but it holds up fairly well regardless.

Music: I don’t remember much of it and since it was a handheld I didn’t listen to much to begin with.

Overall: A good entry, but not the best in a long running series.

For those who like: Metroidvania games, Action, Exploration, Drama, Badass Female Leads.

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

Video Game Tuesday: Thoughts on Blue Mages in FFXIV

This week for Video Game Tuesday I’m back with my thoughts on a big announcement that happened a few weeks ago. It’s my Thoughts on Blue Mages in FFXIV!

Blue Mage?: So announced at the Las Vegas Fan Fest was not only the upcoming Shadowbringers expansion but also the announcement that Blue Mages would be coming in Patch 4.5. This has been met with some major ripples in the community and it’s pretty torn up about it.

What do we know?: That it’s going to be the first “Limited Job”. It’ll start at Level 1 and will be capped at Level 50 for a while before the cap will be raised in the future. In addition it’ll be barred from doing anything with Matchmaking, from PvP to the Random Dungeon Roulettes and the current 24 man raids if it ever reaches the current level cap. What it won’t be barred from is premade groups which means you can tackle any older content and theoretically any newish content that’s still level relevant as a Blue Mage in a group. We know we’ll be learning various abilities from monsters, including bosses like Shiva, and that the powers are going to be pretty freaking broken (as in really imbalanced in the favor of the player) with a total of 24 usable at any one time but with 49 in total that we’ll have to pick and choose from. To learn the abilities we need to merely see it in action and we may learn it. It’s not a guaranteed thing, so there is an RNG element added into it. We know that they’ll gain XP much faster than any other job in the game, so it shouldn’t be a burden to level them up just by killing mobs out in the world or doing level relevant FATEs. We know that the weapon will be a cane and the aesthetic will be the more classic take on the class rather than the more Middle Eastern versions from the Tactics sub-series. Finally it’ll have a special Blue Mage specific solo instance or challenge area called the Masked Carnival and that it’ll take players using their various abilities with high amounts of skill to perform well.

How do you feel?: Pretty excited, because Blue Mages have always been more than a bit overpowered if they had the right skills in the right situations and could pretty much kill anything with ease when those conditions were met. That doesn’t seem to be changing with it’s implementation into FFXIV. If anything this will make playing as a Solo player really fun, and those who use the class skillfully will be able to solo stuff much easier and be able to do older content without having to worry about sharing loot with other players. That isn’t to say that they can’t and won’t do content with others, if anything people will be running old group content with a mix of higher leveled classes and Blue Mages to learn certain abilities from specific bosses.

However I’m not a huge fan of the class aesthetic, and would’ve preferred the Tactics version’s. Especially since they had a perfect region in game that would make a lot of sense to have Blue Mages hail from if they went that route.

BUT WHAT ABOUT ME MAINING BLU?!?!: Look, it was never going to happen while feeling like playing a real Blue Mage. Having only limited monster abilities is just taking the class and making it another Black Mage/Warrior/Scholar depending on the role it would’ve been limited to. And before you bring up Red Mage being in a similar situation, it never was at all. They did an amazing job bringing the class to FFXIV and making it work in the classic holy class trinity without being either too overpowered or a completely underpowered class. Blue Mage could never fit in any of those roles without pissing off the other 2 roles and the developers know that. So they did something completely out of the box and made it the class to play as a solo player. Red Mage was going to either be a DPS or a Healer, and honestly they don’t need another Healer class, as they’ve got the entire spectrum of healing covered from HoT healing to Shields. So they took the White Magic spells and mixed them with the Black Magic and made it a Spell DPS class that mixes them together to make Red Magic, which was always the core concept behind the class. It makes sense, and while they have a heal that’ll help in a pinch they shouldn’t be using it unless they’re in an emergency.

That’s my thoughts on the situation and I’m looking forward to playing Blue Mage as it sounds like it’ll let me solo some old content without other people which suits my generally lone wolf nature perfectly.

Serial Saturday: Azeal Neralum by Kazi

This week for Serial Saturday I’m back with another series I got asked to review by it’s author.  It’s Azeal Neralum by Kazi.

Plot: Let me get this out of the way, I would normally have never bothered with reading this series, and I must have either missed the Grimdark genre tag or it was added after I had bookmarked it as a potential series to read. Either way I find the overly dark nature of the “genre” usually makes stories I tend to despise. Azeal Neralum isn’t an exception to my distaste. I honestly don’t enjoy the overly dark fantasy epic craze that’s seem to come up in the past decade. Even one of my most adored series, Mistborn, is a bit too dark for me. While I’ve read the entire thing once, I probably won’t ever do that again due to that darkness.  However other than the tone there are other serious issues I have with Azeal Neralum. Mainly the constant switching of points of view that is happening, and the lack of forward progress with regards to the main character. I don’t care about some random fort getting slaughtered, what does it have to do with the main character? If the answer to that question is “nothing” in the next 30 chapters I’ve just wasted my time reading extraneous world building that could’ve been experienced through the main characters point of view instead.

Characters: Azeal is a mediocre main character, he’s got nothing extremely likable about him that makes me interested in him as a character and the rest of the cast is just as bad. It’s even worse with the most recent chapters that the author wrote. I don’t give a rat’s ass about some “hero” or gallant general that is dying if he’s being introduced out of the blue and has no noticeable connection with the protagonist. If I had met that character 100 chapters before and grew attached to him I might feel a bit of sympathy over his death, but the way the author the author brings up these characters out of the blue is more than a bit annoying.

Grammar: The grammar is okay, but the writing itself seems off. I can’t put it into words much better than it feels just a bit wrong when I read it. Either the way the author writes is grating on my internal sense of how a book is supposed to read, or the issue is something else, but I just find it’s “flow” to be not pleasing to the eye.

Overall: If for some reason you love dark fantasy, Azeal Neralum might be up your alley after a few editing passes have been done by the author. Otherwise steer clear of this.

For those who like: Fantasy, Grimdark, LitRPG.

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

Bookish Wednesday: You’re Not Allowed to Die by Kip Terrington

This week for Bookish Wednesday I’m covering another LitRPG series. It’s You’re Not Allowed to Die, Book 01 in the Twenty-Sided Eye Series, by Kip Terrington!

Plot: The plot is pretty standard Isekai/LitRPG and it’s honestly nothing new. There are serious issues I have with the pacing as it’s incredibly slow and not that action packed compared to other series. In addition the plot isn’t all that interesting, and due to that slow pacing I just mentioned it doesn’t go anywhere.

Characters: Joe is one of our main characters and I absolutely hate him. He’s shallow, incredibly childish and a complete dumbass, and even when he’s told straight to his face that it isn’t a game he refuses to believe it. Spooky Joy, the other main character is just as bad. She’s shallow, nor all that helpful and I find Navi from Ocarina of Time to be a better fairy companion than Spooky is. At least Navi helps point out things, Spooky is actively hiding the situation from Joe for pretty much no reason.

Overall: Stay clear of this garbage pile of a LitRPG, it’s a waste of your time to even contemplate reading it.

 

Anime Sunday: Tensura Episode 01 Impressions

Hey all I’m back with another new series for this week’s Anime Sunday. It’s my Tensura Episode 01 Impressions!

Plot: This first episode is pretty focused on the Mikami’s life in Modern Day Japan, and while it does get us to the first big plot point it’s taking it’s time. So those wanting a ton of action will probably be disappointed. I wasn’t one of those people however as I’m really happy they’re taking a slow pace with the series and doing the story justice. I will admit I’ve read the Light Novels this is adapted from, and seeing it take such a slow pace when compared to the frenetic pace other adaptations have done in the past is really good.

Characters: Mikami is a pretty standard dude, honestly he’s kind of boring. Thankfully the rest of the story will make up for that, and Veldora was awesome to see in the Anime. Veldora was a very fun character. We don’t get to meet much of the cast though, but since it’s just the first episode that’s okay.

Art: The art is pretty awesome, and while it’s not ufotable quality Studio 8-Bit did a pretty darn good job.

Music: The music is okay, but it’s not that intense in this first episode so who knows how the rest of the series will handle music.

Overall: An excellent adaptation, with good pacing and excellent artwork.

For those who like: Isekai, Tensei, Fantasy, Magic, Drama, Action, Adventure,Awesome Plot, Great Cast of Characters, Outstanding Artwork, Good Music.

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

TNT: Only Sense Online Volume 05 by Aloha Zachou

This week for Translation Necessary Thursday I’m covering a series I haven’t covered in over a year! It’s Only Sense Online Volume 05 by Aloha Zachou!

Plot: The plot is much less action oriented in this volume sadly, and while that does fit this series well, it will turn away those who are looking for more action in a series that sometimes lacks it quite a bit. It’s not necessarily a bad thing, but the short action sequences were very lackluster and don’t really involve our heroine Yun. That said it’s definitely a more “fluffy” series like Kuma Kuma Kuma, but some may not enjoy it.

Characters: We don’t get any newcomers in this entry in the series, and it mostly reintroduces us to some people we didn’t see much of in the past volume. It was an okay entry, but short on character development.

Overall: An okay entry, but light on the action.