This is one of the offering’s from PS+ this month, and I’d actually been quite looking forward to playing it, having heard good things – I remember one friend in particular, who’s judgement I trust, saying how much he enjoyed it. Well, it’s indeed a blast to play, feeling like what a Gauntlet game should feel like, with a similar perspective as the original, but with current-gen sheen and controls. I love it, and I’ve still only played alone, and I see that there’s online multiplayer, so I’ll probably give that a try soon. Just a good ol’ time slicing things, moving through dungeons, and picking up gold. And yes, the classic lines are all in there.
As I’ve written recently, I prefer to watch shows after the season is over these days, but as I continue to get hyped for The Force Awakens (and finally bought tickets for a showing the other night) I decided to go through what’s aired so far of season 2 of Star Wars Rebels. I quite liked the first season, and so far season 2 has been just as good, if not better. This is the era of Star Wars I like, and so it’s much more satisfying than the Clone Wars series, but with the same great animation style (or even better). It’s also been fun to see returning characters from that previous series (especially Ahsoka, who is super awesome with her white light sabers), as well as appearances by characters we know from the original trilogy. Good stuff.
Following yesterday’s awesome news about a new season of Samurai Jack coming our way next year, I got a double dose of Genndy by watching Hotel Transylvania 2 (he directed it), which I’d say is even better than the first one. What I love so much about these two movies is that they are the closest I think we’ve come in the age of CG animation to something that feels at times like those old Warner Bros. cartoons (Merry Melodies and Looney Tunes). There’s something about the way characters are animated that so reminds me of those old shorts – it’s definitely nothing like what you see from Pixar or DreamWorks. Great fun, and makes me sad again that we’ll never see his full take on Popeye.
I’m so incredibly happy at the news that Samurai Jack is coming back next year for a new season, and with
Genndy Tartakovsky still involved. The series is absolutely one of my favorites, and I’m celebrating by watching some of it again (I’m currently progressing through season 2). I love everything about the show, from the designs, the music, the atmosphere, and the style of animation. Can’t wait to see what the new season will be like!
I’m having such a blast playing this game, it’s ridiculous. I often mention here that I’m not that into FPSes, and I should probably stop saying that since I do play quite a lot of them, but I will say that for me this is the kind of FPS I like to play – there’s something old-school about the way it plays, and it does indeed feel like I’m playing a Wolfenstein game. I’m also surprised by how interesting the story is (the game’s main setting is an alternate reality set in the 60s, where the Nazis won) and how well put together it feels. I grabbed this for only 8 bucks during a PSN sale, and it’s definitely money well spent (and I also bought the The Old Blood standalone expansion for 6 bucks).
I had always been curious to play this, and at 10 bucks during a recent PSN sale, I finally took the plunge. I’ve only played an hour or two so far, but it’s certainly one of the nicest looking games I’ve seen – realistic-looking graphic fidelity doesn’t get much nicer than this in games, me thinks. Gameplay-wise, I’m not completely sold yet. I was having fun at first when dealing with human enemies – and liked the feel of the weapons – but then the first time I had an encounter with werewolves, I suddenly got frustrated with their rush attacks and me having trouble to aim properly to shoot them down (the game is played in 3rd person). We’ll see how it goes as I continue to progress.
Naoki Urasawa is my favorite mangaka, and his current series, Billy Bat – the story of a Mickey Mouse-like comic strip character that is more than it seems – has been a treat to follow. I hadn’t read any new chapters since earlier in the year, and just this week went and got caught up on what was published this year. If you haven’t already, do take the plunge. It’s as enjoyable if not more than Monster and 20th Century Boys.
I just recently came across this new-ish manga from Hiroya Oku (Gantz), and was so absorbed that I plowed through everything that has been released so far (5 volumes) in one morning. It’s a mesmerizing and very dark take on what happens when someone suddenly finds themselves with fantastic (and mechanical) powers, good or bad. The two main characters are polar opposites, and both fascinating. I also love the highly detailed referenced art, which completely takes me back to my life in Tokyo (I recognize tons of places where I used to go often). It’s probably my favorite serialized comic right now, and it even pushed me to go and start reading Gantz (I’d seen at least the first movie, but had never checked out the manga).
I was deeply affected by this movie. My first steps to Asia were taken after I enrolled in an East-Asian Studies program, focusing on the Chinese side, which led me to studying in China. Chinese cinema – especially the work of Zhang Yimou, and but even a film like Bertolucci’s The Last Emperor – contributed greatly to my infatuation and desire to study that culture, and for a long time I remained a big fan of that region’s filmmaking (China/Taiwan). It’s something that I’ve left a bit behind over the years, but the talk surrounding Hou Hsiao-Hsien’s The Assassin had me longing to see it – it also didn’t hurt that one of my favorite actresses, Shu Qi, is in it – and I was not disappointed. The Assassin is one of the most beautiful films I’ve seen, and I was just constantly wowed by the choices the director made – not showy, and even slightly off, yet always mesmerizing. It’s also another interesting take on the tradition of kung-fu cinema, coming off as more arty than something like Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, which although beautiful, still felt like an action film. It may not be for everyone, but I watched it in a trance-like state, and can’t recommend it enough.