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.

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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.

 

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.

Retro Game Friday: Gex Enter the Gecko

This week for Retro Game Friday I’m back with the sequel to Gex. It’s Gex Enter the Gecko!

Plot: The plot is just as nonsensical as the first one, with Gex being tasked once more to save the world. It’s not an amazing story, but it was fun as a kid and it’s not the worst plot in a platformer I’ve ever played.

Gameplay: This was the first entry in the Gex series that was in 3D and it did pretty well in making the transition. It kept the feel of the original game fairly well, but was different enough to draw in newcomers. That being said both the GameBoy Color and Nintendo 64 versions were much worse versions, so play the PC or PlayStation versions if you’ve never played this before. The constant pop culture references were great and pretty funny.

Art: Sadly this portion of the game has aged incredibly poorly, but back in the day it was pretty awesome.

Music: The music was okay from what I can remember, but I don’t remember much of it.

Overall: Give this a spin if you love Platformers, as it was a fun game for the younger crowd.

Serial Saturday: Azarinth Healer Chapters 01-09 by Rhaegar

This week for Serial Saturday I’m covering another new series. It’s Azarinth Healer Chapters 01-09 by Rhaegar!

Plot: The plot is pretty great, and considering that the author states upfront that he’s a complete amateur it’s refreshingly well written. It is a LitRPG mixed with Isekai elements, but don’t expect our hero to be going off to slay demon lords to save the world. I won’t spoil it, but it’s a very fun read and these first few chapters are a great start.

Characters: We really only get to meet Ilea in these first few chapters, and that’s okay as she’s quirky and intelligent and very much a badass. The cast does fill out later on.

Grammar: The grammar is very well done, and given that the author went through the trouble of revising their errors out of the early chapters is a very good sign for the longevity of the series, at least in my opinion.

Overall: A fun read, and well worth the read.

For those who like: LitRPGs, Isekai, Fantasy, Magic, Action, Adventure, Female Leads, Interesting Plot, Good Grammar.

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

TNT: My Favorite Japanese Novels

Hey all this week for Translation Necessary Thursday I’m back with a continuation of last week’s topic. It’s all about My Favorite Japanese Novels! Warning there will be some major spoilers for Arifureta and Mushoku Tensei this time around!

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