Windaria Anime Movie Review

Title: Windaria

Alternative Title: Once Upon a Time

Genre: Romance, Fantasy, Action, Adventure

Release Date: 1986 (Japan initial release), 1992 (US, (VHS) first US release), 2004 (US re-release (DVD) with title change)

Where to Watch: I don’t support piracy here, but as a heads up, ALL of the “US Releases” of this film are very severely edited. And YES, that includes even the subtitled versions! I highly recommend that you watch the original Japanese version at least once before passing judgement on this beautiful movie. Of course, I grew up with the VHS in the 90s, and I STILL loved even the heavily edited dubbed version of the film way back then. Last year, I finally got the chance to watch the original Japanese version. A lot of content was cut from the English version, including significant amounts of story content. They change the order of certain scenes, remove most of the violence (and drugs and sex) and have completely re-written the script of the original film to better suit an American audience (where cartoons were (and still are) primarily intended for children). Also all of the music is different in both versions, although it’s very good in both versions as well. Still the overall theme and plot and moral of this heart breaking anime remains the same in both versions. That’s why I really recommend you to try to watch the original film – and then still go ahead and buy the English DVD or VHS to support the creators :). I’m not going to tell you where to find the original online, but you can find it if you look. And then you can purchase the Windaria North American DVD here.

Geeky: 3/5 The music is beautiful, but the artwork is very outdated (losing 1 point). Interestingly enough, the Japanese DVD includes 2 versions of the film, 1 being a “pilot film” where the animation and coloring style is different. (I have never seen this version). Despite the outdated artwork, the character designs are cute and memorable, I often think someone working on Pokemon drew inspiration (perhaps even subconsciously) for fan-favorite Eevee from the little pet squirrel/cat like creature in this film. The story is dark and full of action (and sex and drugs and gore in the original Japanese version). Therefore I feel this film would appeal to all geeks regardless of their genders. I’m removing one more point for the heavy handed editing of all of the US versions of this film. It’s been almost 15 years since the film has been brought to American audiences (for a 2nd time) – so perhaps some day we will see a company pick up the license for this film and do it justice with a more faithful English adaptation.

Sweetie: 5/5 – The story is soul crushingly sad. If you like sad anime, this is for you. Both versions of the film, even the mangled US version(s), still show the tender love stories of the central characters, and demonstrate the costs of war and greed. I happen to be a fan of sad love stories, and this particular anime reminds me of almost a Romeo and Juliet type of fairy tale, 2 lovers who can never be together, and 2 other lovers who have everything but still manage to mess everything up in the end. It’s also a story of regret, love, and greed. It imparts morals to the viewer, to value the love you have or else it may slip away. And that even if you are poor, if you have love, you can be happy. Or you can overlook the happiness you have right in front of you and only realize what you have once it has slipped away. The emotionally engaging story is also heightened by a fantastic music score which further draws the audience into the film.

Overall: 33/45 73% C “Good Anime for Girls”

Story: 9/10 – I removed a point again for the poor handling of every commercially available North American release of this film. Otherthan that small complaint, I give the story 10/10. Even the badly edited version. I loved the anime back in the 90s, and I still love it today. It’s a tale that withstands the tests of time. Universally relateable to anyone who has loved and lost.

The story of Windaria intertwines the fates of 2 very different couples. One couple is a princess and prince from neighboring kingdoms. As tensions mount between the kingdoms, and war seems inevitable… Can their love survive? The other couple lives in a small farming village caught between both warring nations. Their village has remained neutral for years, but as war descends around them, can that peace last? The people of the neutral village are poor, but live happy lives not knowing the tragedies of war, and protected by spirits who live in a giant tree. But can people be influenced to take a side when wealth and adventure knock on their door? How will the war change the lives of the people in this tiny village?

Everything is connected, and you cannot escape war. You can’t remain neutral. You must make a decision and take a risk. What will you risk? Will you risk your life? Your love? Your Home? And how will the war change you? Can you return to your old life after the war ends? Will there even be anything left to return to?

Windaria examines all of these heavy hearted deep thinking questions.

The setting of the story is also very intriguing. We have 2 nations at war. The haves and have nots. One kingdom has plenty of water and wealth and prosperity. They control the flow of water to the neighboring nations. The other nation does not feel they have enough water. They are not nearly as wealthy or powerful as their political neighbor. The lands between the two nations are full of magic and mystery. There is a river where people go crazy and see horrors which are merely reflections of their own fears and feelings, there is the giant magic tree which protects the neighboring farming village, and there’s the ghost ship which takes souls to the other side.

Interestingly enough, although the setting and time of this anime appear to be fantasy based, there is no magic or “fantasy”, instead we see a strange blend of technology in a fantasy world. Airplanes, motorbikes, guns, grenades, tanks, etc.

Characters: 7/10 – I’ll be honest here, it is REALLY hard to like the main character of this film. He is a giant D-bag. Not even gonna lie. You’re going to hate him. He rather have drunken sex and spend all day exploiting his power to get more drugs and wealth and concubines, than return to his girlfriend even after the war ends. It’s not until his own life is in danger that he flees and comes back to his village… or what’s left of it anyways. – Maybe at the end, he has a change of heart, but that doesn’t make up for what a huge D he is in the majority of the film.

The first 15-20 minutes of the film, they build this character and his love up to have this idealistic beautiful love. Everyone in the village recognizes the love between this pair. They are utterly adorable together. They have it all. But that’s not enough for our main character.

In stark contrast, his lady love waits patiently for his return, even when the rest of her village leaves and tries to get her to come to safety with them. This made me hate the main character even more. And when she forgives him for everything, that too amplifies my anger at this character.

But I suppose this is the point of the entire movie. It still isn’t easy to watch or to like, sympathize, or side with the supposed main character of the film.

Our other 2 main characters are considerably more likeable. They are victim of circumstance. They never get a choice in the events happening to them. They are bound by duty. They don’t get to choose a peaceful life of love – which puts into perspective even more, the stupidity of the main character for never realizing the happiness he had back in his own village.

The relationship of the prince and princess is doomed from the start, however, they often dare defy the duties and responsibilities forced upon them, and meet in secret anyways to profess their love and promise each other that one day they will be together. I have never really been 100% sure about the end of their relationship. I can’t tell if what she did was intentional or accidental like perhaps she was playfully chasing and playing with his gun / flirting around. Or if perhaps, she felt the weight of her duty, and decided to put her kingdom above her love and pull that trigger to once and for all, end the war. Either way, their relationship ends in spectacular Romeo and Juliet fashion.

 

There are a number of minor characters too with very intricate and detailed back stories, including a “crazy” woman who never talks to anyone as she waits for her love to return. Her love chose to become a captain of a ship taking souls to the other side. The captain cannot leave his ship for a specified number of years. (I believe it was 10 years? I can’t recall right now).

At the end of the film, we see that our main character wishes to become the captain of this ship to follow his lady love to the other side. (This is more clear in the Japanese version of the film). The crazy woman and main character both meet in the end (I think maybe the main character was contemplating jumping off the cliff) and he sees the crazy lady still there, waiting for her husband to return. So he resolves also to wait for his love as well. (although I’m pretty sure she can never come back – although a lot of Asian religions believe in reincarnation and so perhaps it is that which he is waiting for, or for his own life to end so then in the afterlife, they can be reunited.) This shows how much thought went into even the most minor of characters to make them have heavy plot focus.

Art: 2/5 – The artwork is dated, because this anime is from the 80s. On almost every website I’ve visited in the past, this anime has horrible reviews. I feel it’s not judged fairly and people are overlooking the beautiful love stories and tragedies and focusing solely on the artwork and animation quality. The character designs are still cute though, and some of the background environments are very pretty. But overall, I’d tend to agree the animation is not clean enough and the character styles are outdated by today’s standards. That still never detracts from my enjoyment of this film.

Music: 5/5 I love the music in Windaria. Both the Japanese and English tracks fit perfectly with the themes and scenes of the film. The music carries much emotion and helps tell the story, complementing the action scenes, and especially painfully highlighting the sad tragic scenes of the anime. I especially love the vocal tracks.

Voice Acting: 2/5 I really dislike both the original Japanese, and the English voice acting of most of the characters. I guess it’s typical for how old this anime is, but almost all of the performances were cringe-worthy. That’s even more reason why someone should pick this license back up and bring in a fresh English cast. The story is so good, and the performances here just do not do it justice at all.

Overall: 33/45 73% C “Good Anime for Girls”

Windaria Anime Movie Review was originally published on GeekySweetie.com – Geeky & Kawaii Anime, Tech, Toys, & Game Reviews & News

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Kingdom Hearts 1.5 and 2.5 HD Remix PS4 Videogame Review

Title: Kingdom Hearts 1.5 and 2.5 HD Remix

Platform: PS4 (note this release combines various Kingdom Hearts games originally found on the PS2, GBA, Nintendo DS and 3DS)

Genre: Action Roleplaying Game ARPG

Publisher: Disney + Squarenix

Where to Buy: $49.99 on Amazon (at time of this writing)

Overall: 68/80 85% B “Very Good Game for Girls”

Geeky: 3/5 The games have fun gameplay, good graphics for the age of the games, and a great soundtrack. However, the Disney segments can be a bit too kiddie for some more serious gamers, and although the entire series is about the juxtaposition of light and dark, the light hearted disney characters can sometimes take away from immersing yourself in the deeper darker story of Sora and his friends.

Sweetie: 5/5 – This game is cuteness overload by combining well loved Square and Disney characters. It also has a surprisingly deep, relatively dark (for a Disney product at least), and mature storyline, which evolves and grows deeper and darker from game to game as characters grow and evolve.

Gameplay: 10/10 Kingdom Hearts is an action RPG. You play as Sora, a young boy who dreams of leaving his home town on a tiny island. When the game begins you are asked to choose a weapon. You may choose between shield, sword, and magic wand. You’re also asked which weapon you will give up. This allows you to customize your fighting style to match your preferences. You’ll also be asked a few questions. These questions do not have any significance on the story, but they do have a large impact on how quickly you will level up throughout the game.

A tutorial will give you a taste for how combat is in each of the games. You can run, jump, push and pull objects, climb, and use your chosen weapons as you chain attacks, dodge, defend, and parry to take down your foes. Enemies will drop small glowing orbs which can offer XP or sometimes restore health or other benefits. You will have to run around and touch the drops, because they do not get added automatically.

After settling into the game, you are allowed to freely explore the island, interact with NPCs, and engage in several minigames, such as fighting or racing with your friends on the island. You will see many familiar faces from both Squaresoft and Disney franchises.

Fairly early in the game, Sora gets his wish of leaving the island, and the rest of the game is played through traveling between different worlds, each representing a key franchise from Disney or Squaresoft. There are numerous battles to fight, areas to explore, sidequests, mini games, and hidden goodies. In fact, to find everything, across all games will take you almost 300 hours (and you’ll be awarded with an extra ending in each game). There’s plenty of content here to sink your teeth into, even for the most seasoned of gamers.

The action based combat is fun and snappy, while the mini games and interaction with a wide variety of characters gives you a break from the hack n slash combat, creating a well balanced game that equally values action as well as adventure.

Story: 8/10 I find it jarring at times how the story jumps between worlds, and I sometimes cringe at some of the Disney characters (and I consider myself a Disney fan! But it can really take away from the story, just when things are getting interesting to flash back to Goofy or Donald, especially with their well known silly voices and all). This can all make the story less immersive. However, at the heart of the story, you have a coming of age tale and a love triangle between 3 best friends. You watch throughout each game as Sora and his friends evolve and grow and change and how their friendships and relationships change as well. The story from each game is directly related from one game to the next. We’ve already watched Sora age by 2 years (and gotten a glimpse at a very young Sora as well). When Kingdom Hearts 1 starts, Sora is 14. By the end of Dream Drop Distance, he is 16. Many speculate he will be 16 or 17 in Kingdom Hearts 3. We witness Sora’s changing emotions as he transitions from adolescence to young adulthood. The main theme song in Kingdom Hearts 1 even hints at this with the lyrics of the chorus stating “Don’t get me wrong, I love you, but does that mean I really have to meet your father? One day when you’re older you’ll understand what I meant when I said No, I don’t think life is quite that simple.” Those lyrics perfectly describe the relationship between Sora and Kairi. An innocent love, a boy who still quite often views love/girls as “gross”, and a boy embarrassed by his emerging feelings of love for Kairi. And we witness not only how friendship can grow to love, but also how platonic friendships can change to rivalries when two boys love the same girl. The depths of both Riku and Sora’s love for Kairi is perhaps the best thing about the story.

I recently picked up Kingdom Hearts 1.5 and 2.5 HD Remix. I had played the original KH1 and KH2 on Playstation 2 but that was over 12 years ago now. And I had not played the other side games.

Every game in Kingdom Hearts is connected, and contains the same 3 characters, Riku, Kairi, and Sora, and the story gets deeper and more complex as the games go on as more is revealed building upon back stories and prequels and sequels and spin off games. It can be intimidating for someone new to the franchise to pick up the games now with almost 15 years of games to catch up on.

Many people recommend the following order to play the games in to get the most out of the story:

Kingdom Hearts 1 (1.5 remix)
Re: Chain of Memories (1.5 remix)
Kingdom Hearts 2 (2.5 remix)
358/2 Days (1.5 remix)
Birth By Sleep (2.5 remix)
Re:Coded (2.5 remix)
Dream Drop Distance (2.8 remix sold separately)
0.2 Birth By Sleep – A Fragmentary Passage (2.8 remix sold separately)
X Back Cover (2.8 remix sold separately.)
Unchained X (free mobile game, available separately)
Kingdom Hearts 3 (sold separately – coming soon)

So you will need bare minimum to purchase 3 games

Kingdom Hearts 1.5 and 2.5 HD Remix
Kingdom Hearts 2.8
Kingdom Hearts 3

And optionally download and play Unchained X on your cell phone.

Some of the “games” above are actually “cutscenes” because they could not emulate the nintendo DS “touch screen” on the PS4. So each of these nintendo remakes are movies which reuse old, and add new cutscenes to tell the story.

You can alternatively purchase and play these Nintendo games separately. But you should be fine with just the cutscenes from an understanding the story standpoint.

Characters: 10/10 I really enjoy watching Sora and friends evolve, age, mature, and change over the course of multiple interconnected games. I also really do enjoy seeing favorite characters thrown in from Final Fantasy and Disney. It’s a strange mashup but it works surprisingly well. If you are either a Disney or Squaresoft fan you will love the cast of characters in these games.

Graphics: 7/10 – Taking into consideration the age of the games, I think the graphics are beautiful and memorable. They are vibrant, full of color, detail, and fun. The character designs blend Disney’s whimsy and charm with Squaresofts more stylistic approach. Sora also reminded me of a brunette Cloud wearing Mickey’s big “clown” shoes. The bobble headed appearance of the characters, makes them cute, but it’s almost a bit too juvenile, given that even when we first meet Sora and friends in KH1, they’re already teenagers. I feel like they look like Precious Moments dolls, and about 7-10 years old because of the proportions of their heads to bodies. — Luckily, the artwork does improve in later games.

Take a look below:

Sora from Kingdom Hearts 1 (Does he look 14 to you? Not even close in my opinion).

14 Year Old Sora in Kingdom Hearts 1

14 Year Old Sora in Kingdom Hearts 1

Sora from Kingdom Hearts 2 (He is supposed to be 15 here, looks about right.)

15 Year Old Sora in Kingdom Hearts 2

15 Year Old Sora in Kingdom Hearts 2

Sora from Kingdom Hearts 3 (Speculated to be 16 or 17 here) (meh this design is alright, I expected to see something like Final Fantasy XV quality here. There are very few details in the hair/face and almost no shading on the clothing, it just looks kinda flat/plastic-y… not what I’d expect from a PS4 title. He does look a tiny bit more mature, slimmer face, etc.)

Music: 10/10 I’m a big Utada Hikaru fan, and I love the opening theme “Simple and Clean” – as I mentioned, I feel the lyrics foreshadow the coming of age story and changes that our little island buddies are about to experience. She also sings “Sanctuary” the opening theme of Kingdom Hearts 2. And it has been confirmed that she will also be involved with the opening for Kingdom Hearts 3. My favorite Utada Hikaru song though will always be “First Love”. The Japanese versions of the tracks are also quite catchy even without knowing the lyrics or understanding Japanese. The background music is also fitting and full of adventure and wonder.

Voice Acting: 6/10 – The voice acting is definitely hit or miss for me. Some characters I think are perfectly cast, and others way off mark. Some give pretty convincing performances, while others are too overdramatic and/or the opposite, lack any feeling or emotion in the deliverance of their lines. The iconic Disney characters also can tend to annoy and detract from the story with their overly cartoonish voices for which they are so well known.

Replay Value: 9/10 Although the games are linear, there are multiple games in this “bundle”, and each game has a secret ending, usually only uncovered for completing all side quests, or playing on the hardest difficulty settings, which will take you around 270 hours total according to How long to Beat. Even if you don’t want to go for the secret endings, you’re still looking at over 130 hours of gameplay just for the main stories of each game. For just $40something, that works out to around 30 cents per hour of entertainment. Therefore your return on investment is quite high in this title, even if you might only play each of the games once.

Overall: 68/80 85% B “Very Good Game for Girls”

Kingdom Hearts 1.5 and 2.5 HD Remix PS4 Videogame Review was originally published on GeekySweetie.com – Geeky & Kawaii Anime, Tech, Toys, & Game Reviews & News

Assassination Classroom Anime Review

Title: Assassination Classroom
Genre: Comedy, Action, Slice of Life
Studio: Lerche
Original Release Date: 2015
Based On: Assassination Classroom Manga by Yūsei Matsui
Length: Season 1 is 22 episodes, Season 2 has 25 episodes, for a total of 47 episodes. There is also a spin off series called Koro-Sensei Q and several animated and live action films and OVAs. There’s even a game (only in Japanese) by Bandai.

Where to watch: Crunchyroll has season 1. But they do not have season 2 Funimation has seasons 1 and 2. You can subscribe to both Crunchyroll and Funimation – and some other anime/scifi networks for $9.99 a month in a new service called VRV at https://vrv.co/. They both also have Koro-Sensei Quest. From what I can tell neither of them have the movies or OVAs available.

Overall: 60/70 86% B “Very Good Anime for Girls”

Geeky: 5/5 The comedy and action in Assassination Classroom will appeal to fans of any gender. The animation and character designs are unique, and there are a number of pop culture references and jokes that will appeal to fans of geek or super hero culture.

Sweetie: 5/5 Surprisingly, this may not seem like a “sweet” anime at first glance, but Koro-Sensei is adorable, and also a very good, thoughtful, kind teacher who loves his students. This anime is full of just as many heartfelt moments as it is full of comedy and action.

Overview: 10/10 Assassination Classroom is first and foremost a slice of life anime. Each episode focuses on a different student or faculty member and how Koro-Sensei helps them with whatever turmoil they are experiencing while at school. Assassination Classroom is also very much a comedy anime, as if you can’t tell by just looking at the design for Koro-Sensei. He is a murderous demon lord with a sweet tooth, love for super hero movies, and kind heart, but that still doesn’t mean he won’t destroy the earth. Although Koro-Sensei may be a villain that the other students must defeat, it is hard to not fall in love with Koro and his classroom. Each episode does have action, with the students trying to defeat their teacher, but each episode also is full of tender sweet moments, and lots of very wtf moments and comedy as well.

Story: 8/10   Koro-Sensei destroyed 75% of the earth’s moon, and his next target is to destroy the earth. Koro has made a deal with the government, he proposes that he be allowed to teach a classroom of students and that the students be given special weapons and special training in order to kill Koro-Sensei. If the students fail to kill Koro-Sensei before graduation he will destroy the earth.

Koro-Sensei is not such a bad guy though. He earnestly wants his students to succeed in defeating him. He also takes interest in each of his students, wanting to ensure they have a happy school life. The students he is teaching are part of Class-E referred to as the “Garbage Class”. The lowest scoring students, as well as delinquents and trouble makers of their school.

No one believes these students will amount to anything, and the principal even believes these students must not be encouraged to succeed because it is imperative to make an example out of them to motivate the other students to perform better or else they too may end up like the students of Class-E.

This is where Koro-Sensei disagrees. He absolutely believes that his students are smart, talented, capable, and just as deserving as the other students in the school. While many other students and faculty members seek to make life harder for the students in Class-E, Koro-Sensei seeks to make their lives better.

Koro is joined by additional faculty members, appointed by the school or by the government, to further train the students to kill Koro before the deadline. New students also come to the classroom as well. They all begin to get along and begin to experience a happy school life under Koro’s guidance.

Koro could best be described as a squid like creature. He makes (ridiculously cute) squishing sounds when he walks, has a sweet tooth, and unique super powers. He can travel at mach 20 speeds, regenerate his tentacles, clone himself, change forms, shed his skin, and other unique abilities that make him nearly impossible for his students to kill.

Little else is known about Koro-Sensei. As the story goes on, more is revealed about his past, his connections to the school, and the real reason why the students must defeat him before graduation. Note: I haven’t finished watching this anime yet, but that’s basically what the synopsis from wikipedia explains as the story. I’m up to episode 16 out of 47, so there’s still a lot to learn.

Wanting to learn the real reasons behind Koro-Sensei’s request to teach at that school, and learn more about Koro Sensei himself keeps the story moving, and keeps the viewer interested with morbid curiosity.

However, the story does at times move a little slow, like most slice of life anime. There are a lot of filler episodes, and after awhile, it becomes a bit predictable. My friend also likes to point out how unrealistic the story is, because if the moon was destroyed it would have a major impact on the Earth, and thus make Koro’s threats to destroy the Earth a moot point. This in no way detracts from the enjoyment of the show, but in trying to be objective, I would say those are the flaws of the show.

Characters: 10/10 One really unique thing about this anime is how each episode highlights a different character. You come to know the back stories of all 27 of the students, faculty members, and Koro-Sensei. There clearly are 2 or 3 students that are more “important” than others, but overall, each of the characters are given a chance to shine, and each of them are fleshed out in detail with their own troubles and school-life struggles which Koro guides them to overcome.  Each character is so unique that they even (very slightly) alter every single opening theme song animation to include the new students. You get a sense that the classroom is like a close family. Koro begins doing exceptionally nice things for his students, taking them on trips, planting a garden, building a swimming pool, and of course encouraging them to stand up to the other students who bully them in the school. Character development is one of the key things that keeps this anime moving, watching the students in Class E begin to believe in themselves, and come together with a common goal (to kill their teacher.).

Art: 6/10 – Some of the character designs seem kinda wonky… but they are actually done in a style similar to the manga. Koro is super cute, and most of the students look distinctive. The animation style is clean, but simple, and not overly detailed. There’s nothing mind blowing about the animation, but it is still modern, clean, and fresh.

Voice Acting: 10/10 – Koro Sensei alone has one of the best voice actors, with a very distinctive evil laugh, that is more cute than it is terrifying. The other cast members are also very talented, but less memorable than Koro.

Music: 6/10 – The music is a bit hit or miss. The first opening and ending themes are really catchy. I’m not as much a fan of the 2nd themes. Background music is good, but not overly remarkable.

Overall: 60/70 86% B “Very Good Anime for Girls”

Assassination Classroom Anime Review was originally published on GeekySweetie.com – Geeky & Kawaii Anime, Tech, Toys, & Game Reviews & News

Final Fantasy XV Review

It’s been awhile since we’ve done a review around here with the holidays and all. It’s time to fix that. Having just finished FFXV over the weekend, that seems the best candidate for a review this week. I’ve been a fan of Final Fantasy for a long time, ever since “Mystic Quest” on the SNES. Final Fantasy 6 (3 in America) is still my favorite in the series. I’ve played every Final Fantasy Game since the 16 bit era. And I’m “strange” I know, but I don’t really like FF7, not as much as everyone else seems to be in love with that game. But Final Fantasy in general always holds a special place in my heart. If I had to rank my favorite FF games that I’ve played from best to worst, it would look something like this when using the corresponding Japanese numbers for each title… With the newest game, Final Fantasy XV somewhere solidly in the middle. Although I’ve played 11 and 14, I didn’t include them in the list since they are a different genre (mmorpg)

  • FF6
  • FF8
  • FF4
  • FF10
  • FF13
  • FF15
  • FF9
  • FF5
  • FF7
  • FF12

Honestly, my most favorite thing about the new FF game was Prompto’s Photography skills lol. My twitter and facebook looked like a giant marketing website for the game for the past few weeks. Pretty smart move by SquareEnix, getting the public to help promote their game like that on social media. The characters are quite likeable in the game, and although the story starts slow, it eventually builds with a lot of emotion. The first half of the game features an open world environment where you can travel, explore, and quest freely, but the last several chapters are much more linear, and it’s within the later half of the game that the story becomes much darker. The emotions are felt stronger due to the first half focusing on friendship between the main character and his friends and the light hearted feeling of the early chapters.

The story however, is not without flaws, and that is where I have to deduct points. People are killed off much too early in the game to feel any sense of loss or attachment to them. Furthermore, some characters are mysteriously killed off without ever showing exactly what happened to them. The character development between the 4 “bros” is the highlight of the game – and it is beautiful. On the other hand, supporting characters are introduced only to be almost forgotten in later chapters. For example, I really liked Iris in the first half of the game. In the end it’s eluded that she too has become a daemon hunter, but it never shows her again nor does she ever rejoin the bros. Aranea is another forgotten female as well.

The game is supposed to be receiving numerous updates in the coming weeks and months. Among which include new story sequences, special dlc for each of the bros, gameplay enhancements for the later chapters (chapter 13), and the ability to create your own player character. But I shall base my review solely based on the content that was available when I played through the game.

Title: Final Fantasy XV

Platform: PS4 and Xbone (I played the PS4 version, but they are both the same).

Publisher: SquareEnix

Release Date: November 29, 2016

Genre: RPG

Where to buy: Amazon

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Geeky:  5/5 – The new combat system, high production values and cutting edge graphics make this new entry into the Final Fantasy series a new, but amazingly fun experience.

Sweetie:  4/5 – The story and character development sometimes struggles to keep things coherent and cohesive, especially in the later chapters of the game. Many of the side characters, especially female characters, are tossed aside and forgotten in the second half of the game. Some scenes that should have been tear jerkers fell flat due to not enough time spent developing characters before introducing tragic events. However, lots of non-combat activities, such as photography, fishing, cooking, and chocobo racing are sure to delight most girls playing this game. Not to mention ample amounts of glorious man eyecandy.

Overall: 69/80 86% B “Very Good Game For Girls”

Concept: 10/10 Final Fantasy XV is an action RPG with the ability to select Real-time combat or the Active Wait commands which allow you more time to use items and plan your strategy. Early chapters feature an open world with numerous quests, while later chapters shift to a linear narrative focused on building a strong story. Without spoiling it for you, Final Fantasy XV tells a story about a prince trying to rescue his bride to be while avenging his father’s death and reclaiming his kingdom. When the game starts, the prince is a mouthy spoiled brat, who, along with his friends journey to meet the Oracle, who is also the prince’s childhood friend and betrothed. However, shortly after leaving the capital city, their kingdom is attacked which begins a quest to seek the powers of the gods as well as past kings to help defeat evil and bring peace to the lands.

Gameplay: 9/10 – Some people really dislike the new action based combat; however, I find it much more fun, engaging, and fluid than traditional JRPGs (and I love JRPGs don’t get me wrong.). You can chain attacks like crazy, which is really cool, especially later in the game, it’s possible to see triple digits on your chained attacks. You can bring up the menu which in Real-time mode, monsters will still attack, but in Active Wait mode, the monsters will be paused allowing you to select the items you want to use. I had no trouble using items in the Real-time combat modes.  I relied pretty heavily on elixirs and potions, especially in later chapters of the game lol. There are two difficulty settings, and I played on easy and found most of the fights a breeze, even in the dreaded chapter 13 which finds the main character separated from the bros and without any weapons or armor. So I would say the game is of average difficulty probably. I did not need to grind or run into any issues.

Overall the game took me about 55 hours to complete. I spent the first several hours doing side quests, and enjoying the extra content of the game, and about the last 20 hours maybe actually trying to progress through the storyline. FFXV is one of those games that can take you as little as 30 hours or as many as probably 100+ hours depending on what you want to do! I still had plenty of side quests that I could have completed. However, I didn’t feel particularly motivated to do so, too many “fetch quests” – go here, bring back x, or kill x number of monsters, etc. Needed more story based quests. Also money became laughable as a quest reward. I had 99 (the limit it lets you carry) Hi Elixirs, Hi Potions, etc.

Long time fans will be delighted to see the return of chocobo racing (which in my opinion was the best part of FF7 lol). You can also name, customize (with medals and colors), and take your Chocobo on the road with you. Not only that, but as you travel by chocobo, he will level up, gaining more stamina and learning new skills such as being able to help you in combat. In the beginning he may run from a lot of encounters as soon as you dismount, but as he levels up it’s implied he has more affection for you as he will often take initiative to engage in combat and wait for you to mount back up when the fight is finished.

New features in FFXV include Prompto’s photography skills. Prompto will take pics randomly throughout the game. I believe most are randomly generated, but a few are perhaps storyline driven. This is by far my favorite part of FFXV. I filled up all 150 album slots by Chapter 10. You can check out my twitter to see some of my pics. 

The main mini game in Final Fantasy XV is a pachinko game (popular in Japan, these casino games kinda resemble Pinball in a way). You can win trophies and in game items (mostly accessories from what I noticed) by getting high scores in the game. The mini game felt kinda long and tedious in a way to me, too many levels. I made it pretty far, but never did reach the end – if there even is an end to it.

I think there also may be a coliseum fighting tournament thing – I heard NPCs saying “Let’s go out for drinks if we win the tournament” etc. I didn’t fully explore enough to find the arena – so I can’t comment on this feature – if it actually exists.

Fishing is another passtime which you can choose to level up throughout various fishing spots in the game. It is very challenging at first, but if you fish enough your skill increases and you also become accustomed to the controls and it does get easier and more enjoyable as you go on.

There’s also Ignis’ cooking skills. When you make camp you can have Ignis cook a stat-boosting meal for the group. As you travel you will discover new recipes (hint try ordering everything at the taverns you visit, and check shops for recipe books and other key items). Sometimes just foraging for the ingredients out in the wild will be enough to spark Ignis’ inspiration. Characters also have favorite foods that further give an increased boost to their stats when consumed.

Camping can also unlock special scenes between you and the bros. For example, staying at an outpost one night, Prompto approaches the main character to reminisce about their childhood. It’s a very moving scene – one that really does a lot to develop Prompto as a character – and kinda a shame a lot of people may not get to see it.  There’s other scenes too and some include mini games such as cooking with Ignis or racing with Gladiolus.

Traveling in Final Fantasy XV is easier and faster than any other JRPG I’ve ever played. The main mode of transportation is the Regalia, a beautiful black sports car. You can choose to drive yourself, or choose to have Ignis drive automatically for you by selecting quests or map markers kinda mindlessly guiding you through the game. To pass time you can collect and listen to numerous Final Fantasy soundtracks from previous games. You can also shop while driving in your car (or even while it’s parked). At times the radio will have news or other backstory elements you can hear while riding around. Your car will need gas so don’t forget to refill for a measly 10 gil at outposts along the way.

The car is not the only means of transportation though, as mentioned you can take your Chocobo on the road as well. I chose to travel by chocobo throughout much of the game, because I liked the photos Prompto took while on chocoback. Yes, that’s my “fuschia” chocobo in the featured image lol. I later changed him to teal. I named him Cho-Cho. And he was awesome :).

You can also instantly teleport to the last campsite or inn you’ve slept in, or teleport instantly to wherever you parked the car. When traveling by car you can also instantly teleport to any previously visited parking spots. This makes traveling super fast and cuts down on gametime and gameplay that is “boring” in most other JRPG.

With so much to do, Final Fantasy XV gets high marks on gameplay. I only deducted a point for the lackluster nature of most of the side quests which may cause some players such as myself to not want to bother completing them.

Story: 6/10 The bones are in place, but the skeleton needs a little meat on those bones to flesh out the story and characters more. The potential for emotional and gut wrenching scenes is there – and I won’t lie, the end and later chapters did elicit a few tears from me, but I felt a lot more could have been done, especially involving supporting characters who seem to be cast aside in the 2nd half of the game (as mentioned Iris, Aranea, etc). The supposed emotional scenes also would have had more impact had they built more rapport with the characters before killing them off, giving them some more screentime, personality, and showing the bonds between them. I feel they did pretty decently with one of the characters they killed – but I won’t say who so as to not spoil anything. But most of the others it never really explains exactly how they died or why we should even care that they’ve died.

The story starts slow and light hearted, a happy prince on his way to see his bride to be who he has not seen since they were children. Each chapter has setbacks and builds more and more darkness, and misery. Until the final chapters where light no longer exists in the world, very symbolic of the story itself. The final chapters reveal the true nature of the daemons that have been plaguing the lands as well as the role of a wayward god. The middle of the story focuses on seeking favor from the gods and ancient kings to help defeat the evil across the land. The end is left open-ended in a sense that it could be left to interpretation by the players and there is much debate as to what exactly happens. I have my own theories but I won’t spoil anything for anyone here. Make sure you watch through all of the credits, there’s numerous scenes after you may think it has ended. Until you have seen Noctis sleeping on the throne, you haven’t seen the true ending, the logo will also change after you complete the game.

Characters: 8/10 Although as mentioned, I have some serious gripes about how side characters (Iris and Aranea for example) are just forgotten in the later half of the game, I can’t overlook the strong character development of the main character and his friends. He changes from a whiny brat who’s insecure and unsure if he even wants to rule, to someone who is so determined and mature, that he is willing to sacrifice everything for his kingdom. Many sad and many happy things will happen between the bros. The first half of the game will make you love the bros. This is important in making you care about what happens in the later parts of the game. Aided by Prompto’s selfies and group shots, and some solid narratives, the bromance between the group is really the highlight of the game. Each of the bros is very likeable. Ignis is kinda the mother hen of the group, Gladio the rough around the edges strong forceful type who sometimes has to motivate Noctis to stop whining by nearly pummeling some sense into him, and Prompto the carefree high-energy playful sidekick who mostly serves as comic relief Prompto is featured prominently in later chapters of the game, and also as I mentioned you may get lucky and see a special scene with him and Noctis which reveals that he hasn’t always been so outgoing. Prompto has a lot going on under the surface – and for that reason, he may be my favorite character in the game. Although I also really like Ignis who has a tragic event in the later parts of the game which changes not only his character, but his appearance and also his skills and abilities. All of the bros are absolute eyecandy for any girls playing the game, and are often compared to boy bands of the 90s lol. And any guys playing the game will likely relate to the friendship between the group of young guys. Liking the characters goes a long way in motivating me to play through the end of the game and also is instrumental in drawing the desired emotions from the players.

Graphics: 10/10 – Can’t deny that this is one beautiful game. The huge scale monsters create a feeling of awe and terror. The various destinations, from desserts, to large cities, to forests, caves, and the open road give the game a sense of realism and adventure. Your characters can wear different outfits and you can customize the chocobo colors. – Soon you will even be able to create your own playable character as well. The quality of the graphics, especially the hair and the environment are amazing, almost photo realistic.

Music: 8/10 – I actually really liked the ending theme which is Stand by Me by Florence and the Machine. However, I miss days of yore when Final Fantasy had original music, such as Eyes on Me or Suteki Da Ne. That said, the music is still fitting for the game. That song got me at the end, making me cry a little. And it is a great song that fits the theme, because the bros will stand together through all kinds of hardships in this adventure. It’s also super awesome to be able to collect previous Final Fantasy soundtracks to play and listen to in the Regalia. And like most FF games, a large number of the tracks in Final Fantasy XV have been remixed once again (such as the chocobo theme which is a fan favorite).  I deducted a few points for lack of originality in the sound track, but overall, it’s a great soundtrack with a lot of variation and some old throw backs as well :).

Voice Acting: 9/10 – I played the English audio. I will probably do Japanese audio next time I play the game just to see what the original cast is like. But the English voice acting is actually pretty good. There are a few lines that are sometimes either overdramatic or lacking in emotion, but it’s nowhere near as bad as most other dubbed games or anime. The audio goes a long way also in helping the audience to identify with the characters and further creates deeper impact for the emotional scenes throughout the game.

Overall: 69/80 86% B “Very Good Game For Girls”

Replay Value is unknown at this time. As of writing, SquareEnix is reworking Chapter 13. Most notably this will be gameplay “fixes” such as powering up the ring of lucis. However, they have stated plans to introduce new story elements as well which require localization and voice acting and are further down the road. There are multiplayer aspects and the game does present at times choices to the player, but those choices have little bearing on the story which remains largely linear. Replay Value ultimately will be determined by the nature of updates and DLC released by SquareEnix.

Final Fantasy XV Review was originally published on

Third-person Action RPG *Anima: Gate of Memories* due June 3 on Steam (Windows/Linux), PS4 & Xbox One, North American PS4 launch to take place June 7

The folks at Badland Games just emailed me their press release for their upcoming title: Anima: Gate of Memories which is based on a series of books. It is being developed by a small team and heavily involving the author of the novels.

This looks to be a really fun, story-rich RPG with multiple endings, choice-based dialogue system, beautiful graphics, and fun combat system. I’m seeing if I can get a key so I can share some more details and possibly stream or upload some videos for you guys – but until then, enjoy the press release and official trailer below!

Third-person action RPG *Anima: Gate of Memories* due June 3 on Steam (Windows/Linux), PS4 & Xbox One, N. American PS4 launch to take place June 7

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

 

Action RPG Anima: Gate of Memories Available June 3rd (Steam, PS4, Xbox One)

 

North American PS4 Release on Tuesday, June 7th

 

MADRID — May 26, 2016 — BadLand Games and Anima Project proudly announce that the much-anticipated RPG Anima: Gate of Memories will be released digitally on June 3, 2016 on Xbox One, Steam, and PlayStation 4. In North America, the PlayStation 4 launch will take place on June 7th.  Anima: Gate of Memories will have both a standard and collector’s edition PlayStation 4 box release in select territories on June 3rd.

 

Anima: Gate of Memories is a third-person action RPG focused on combat and exploration. Players will enjoy a deep and multifaceted story where their choices and actions directly impact the journey and decide the characters’ fates. As players travel through the tower of Arcane and the gorgeously animated world of Gaia, they’ll endure epic battles with formidable opponents — each with special features and gameplay.

 

Join The Bearer and Ergo — agents of an ancient society called Nathaniel which for centuries has protected mankind from the darkness — on their journey to recover an old artifact called The Byblos that has been stolen by a renegade of the order. After a long pursuit — crossing areas ravaged by war — they are able to corner the fugitive in the middle of an ancient construction. All at once, the entire area is swallowed by light. Our protagonists awake inside a strange structure where they are no longer alone; strange beings have also been summoned there. Soon, both will discover that something darker than they could imagine is about to begin — a war in the shadows in which they will have a leading role.

 

Based on the international Anima: Beyond Fantasy RPG books, Anima: Gate of Memories is being developed by the author and Anima Project — a small team of developers.

 

Key Features

  • Multiple endings: Your choices and actions will influence the journey and decide the destiny of the characters.
  • Epic battles with formidable opponents: Challenge many legendary entities, each with their own special features and gameplay.
  • Deep combat system: The combat system combines RPG elements with fast-paced action and spectacular attacks and spells.
  • Unique locations: Travel through the tower of Arcane and the world of Gaia across stunning backgrounds and places.
  • A huge world: You can move with great freedom — visiting different locations and having the option to always retrace your steps to revisit areas, discover new secrets, and unlock access to previously inaccessible places.
  • Customizable skill trees: Enhanced your characters’ abilities by increasing their stats.

 

Pricing & Availability

Anima: Gate of Memories will be released digitally on June 3, 2016 for Xbox One, Steam (Windows/Linux), and PlayStation 4.  (In North America, the PlayStation 4 launch will be on June 7th.)  On June 3rd, the title will also have a standard and collector’s edition PlayStation 4 box release in select territories. The game will retail for $19.99.

 

Assets

Trailer

YouTube

https://youtu.be/nimAxpPBoVY

 

Download

https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/9186800/announcement_trailer_Anima_Gate_of_Memories_ESRB.zip

 

Screenshots & Logos

IMGUR

http://imgur.com/a/UcDuR

 

Download

https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/9186800/screenshots_Anima_Gate_of_Memories.zip

 

Concept Art & Wallpapers

IMGUR

http://imgur.com/a/4H7e0

 

Download

https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/9186800/concept_art_Anima_Gate_of_Memories.zip

 

Social Media

 

BadLand Games

Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/Badland.Indie

LinkedIn – https://www.linkedin.com/company/badland-indie

Twitter – https://twitter.com/BadLand_Indie


Anima Project

Twitter – https://twitter.com/animaps

 

About BadLand Games

BadLand Games is an international publishing company that firmly believes in the need to support emerging talent. We are passionate gamers on a mission to find the diamonds in the rough. Working alongside talented developers, we bring captivating, outstanding games to the masses. We’re always on the lookout for enthusiastic and dedicated developers with all sorts of games from beat ‘em ups and RPGs to puzzle games — and everything in between. To learn more about BadLand Games, please visit http://badlandgames.com

 

About Anima Project

Anima Project is an indie studio formed by just three people who have dedicated their lives to games. After 10 years working on the acclaimed Anima: Beyond Fantasy RPG book series, they have decided to go further using their experience to create videogames. To learn more about Anima Project, please visit http://www.gateofmemories.com

 

###

 

Media Contact

Luis Levy

Co-Conspirator

Novy PR for BadLand Games

luis@novypr.com

Third-person Action RPG *Anima: Gate of Memories* due June 3 on Steam (Windows/Linux), PS4 & Xbox One, North American PS4 launch to take place June 7 was originally published on Geeky Sweetie

Kore Wa Zombie Desu Ka Anime Review

Title: Kore Wa Zombie Desu Ka?!! (So I’m a zombie?!!)

Length: 22 Episodes

Genre: Comedy, Parody, Action, Romance, Harem

Overall: 28/35 80% Very Good Anime For Girls

Story: 9/10 Kore Wa Zombie is a fun series that pokes fun at both itself and several other anime tropes. For example, the main character becomes a magical girl who fights with a giant chainsaw while wearing a pink uniform and hairstyle very similar to Card Captor Sakura. He finds himself in the middle of a harem with a house full of beautiful, but strange other worldly girls, including a Necromancer, Magical Girl, Ninja, and more. One episode even parodies and pokes fun at the idol culture in Japan.

While all of that sounds silly (and it is pretty hilarious), the story is not without substance, feeling, and heart also. Namely, in the relationship between the main character and Necromancer who is responsible for turning him into a zombie (and thus saving his life). The Necromancer (almost) never speaks because she’s so powerful that her words become magical spells. Since she can’t control this, she isolates herself from others and writes her thoughts down instead of speaking. This causes her to be very sad and lonely which becomes a plot device later to strengthen the relationship between everyone in the house.

It is a little bit tongue and cheek and over the top at times, but that’s part of what makes it so much fun to watch.

Characters: 8/10 The characters, like the story itself, are over the top; this also makes them highly original. Although each one represents a common character trope, archetype, or stereotype, this is the only anime that asks “what would happen if you stick the characters from series like Bleach into Sailor Moon, or the characters from Inu-Yasha into Tenchi? Because it’s the only anime that has such extreme opposites for characters and blends characters from other worlds all into the apartment of one young (undead) highschool student.

Also, this series is not without a fair amount of character development and you do watch the characters and their relationships with one another evolve and grow throughout the series.

Art: 3/5 The art is kawaii (cute) and very distinctive. The animation is clean and it does have some nice special effects. The character designs are a bit awkward at times and almost reminiscent of the 90s with the very pointy chins and large eyes; however the characters also have a cute charm of their own. Backgrounds are colorful and detailed as well.

Voice Acting: 3/5 (I watched the original Japanese version with subtitles). I wasn’t blown away with the voice acting, but certainly can’t complain either. It can at times be as over dramatic and over the top as the characters and story itself, but that is the intention here.

Music: 5/5   It has a zany fast paced, loud, and in your face soundtrack with memorable opening and ending themes. It’s not always to my tastes or my style, but I can’t deduct points just for that. It seems rather fitting for an action harem comedy parody anime

Kore Wa Zombie Desu Ka Anime Review was originally published on Geeky Sweetie

Catherine PS3 Xbox 360 Visual Novel RPG Review

My copy of Catherine Love is Over for the PS3
My copy of Catherine Love is Over for the PS3
the Tshirt from Love is Over
the Tshirt from Love is Over
The Pillow Case from the Special Love is Over Limited Edition of Catherine for PS3
The Pillow Case from the Special Love is Over Limited Edition of Catherine for PS3
The pizza box which contains all the other goodies and the game itself. Love is Over Catherine Atlus PS3.
The pizza box which contains all the other goodies and the game itself. Love is Over Catherine Atlus PS3.
Box Opening Catherine PS3 Love is Over Edition
Box Opening Catherine PS3 Love is Over Edition
Box Opening Catherine Love is Over Edition Atlus PS3
Box Opening Catherine Love is Over Edition Atlus PS3

Screenshots:

catherine | PS3 | Xbox 360 | RPG | Atlus | Atlus USA | Platform | Platformer | Multiple Endings | Love | Sim | Simulation | Dating | Cheating | Romance | Nightmare | Visual Novel | Dating Sim
catherine | PS3 | Xbox 360 | RPG | Atlus | Atlus USA | Platform | Platformer | Multiple Endings | Love | Sim | Simulation | Dating | Cheating | Romance | Nightmare | Visual Novel | Dating Sim
catherine | PS3 | Xbox 360 | RPG | Atlus | Atlus USA | Platform | Platformer | Multiple Endings | Love | Sim | Simulation | Dating | Cheating | Romance | Nightmare | Visual Novel | Dating Sim
catherine | PS3 | Xbox 360 | RPG | Atlus | Atlus USA | Platform | Platformer | Multiple Endings | Love | Sim | Simulation | Dating | Cheating | Romance | Nightmare | Visual Novel | Dating Sim

Title: Catherine

Genre: Action-RPG with Platformer and Visual Novel Elements

Publisher: Atlus

Release Date: July 2011

Platforms: PS3, Xbox 360

Where to Buy: Amazon: 360 Click here; and for PS4 Click here

There is a special Love is Over edition that included a pillow case, men’s boxers, a pizza box, tshirt, and some other goodies. I have this version and took some pictures when I got it a few years ago at release.
There’s also special box art for the 360 version, but I don’t have that, it is however, available, as well as the Love is Over edition, via the Amazon links above. The standard edition of the game costs about $12. And for PS3 you can also get the digital version. The limited edition will cost about $95.

Geeky: geekygeekygeekygeeky

Sweetie:

Concept 10/10: The concept of Catherine is quite unique. The gameplay is a bit like Qbert in a way while in Vincent’s nightmares. You see, Vince is having bad dreams because he is worried about being caught cheating on his long-time girlfriend, Katherine with a K, with his hot new heartthrob, Catherine with a C. He’s so scared of being caught that every night he sees strange demons trying to eat him in his sleep. He must climb an endless tower, where the screen moves from the bottom up, while avoiding monsters and obstacles, and racing against a clock to make it to the exit of each dream.  When not dreaming, Vince meets with the girls and his other friends in a local bar where the gameplay is very similar to a visual novel. You watch numerous cutscenes and choose the “correct” answer to get different endings ultimately within the game. There are numerous endings, including, good, bad, and true endings for each girl, and good, and true endings for Vince being single as well. So it’s a total of 8 different endings. The entire game is cel-shaded, in a way that’s never been done, before or since, at least not in any game that ever found it’s way to this side of the world. It’s so beautiful. It’s like watching an interactive anime. (actually school days may be similar now that I think about it; but Catherine’s art is higher quality.)

I covered a lot of the other aspects of the game which I’m reviewing below here in the concept above, but I feel like all of these elements make Catherine, what it is, and are what make it such a unique and awesome gaming experience and therefore, they’re all part of the “concept” of the game.

Gameplay 10/10: As mentioned above, the gameplay is really two fold. In his waking hours, Vincent interacts with the girls and his friends in visual novel fashion. When Vince returns home and falls asleep, the gameplay switches into a sort of Qbert style, climbing and jumping from blocks, which fall, as the screen moves and you race against the clock, grabbing power ups, and avoiding monsters and obstacles along the way. There’s also a number of interesting minigames and sidequests available back in the bar as well.

There are numerous difficulty settings in the game, including one hidden “Very Easy” mode which you can access by holding down select on the main screen until you hear a ding sound go off. You can then select Easy mode which will now become Very Easy. In this mode, more powerups appear, and the nightmare modes are all the same as easy. You can also climb 3 blocks at a time with special power drinks. This allows you to play the game more like a visual novel, by (practically) skipping all the puzzles in the game. I think this version is great for your second, third, etc playthrough, but kinda kills the fun of the game if this is your first playthrough. Part of the fun of the game is the difficult puzzles which await you in Vincent’s dreams. If you want a challenge, you can also decide to play the game on Nightmare mode. Different achievements are also available for different difficulty levels. But the story is the same regardless, so if you ONLY want to see the different stories/endings and enjoy the game in a relaxing way, feel free to pick an easier difficulty setting.

Graphics: 10/10 The majority of the graphics are all real-time 3d cell shaded anime style. I think there may be some anime cutscenes mixed in too; but the cell shaded 3d models are so good that it’s hard to tell sometimes which ones are 3d and which ones are 2d (if any). The graphics are truly unique and a sight to behold. They are vibrant, colorful, and look like a real anime. I’ve never seen a game with this style before. Check out these screenshots below as you continue to read the review.

Story: 10/10 Vince has a long time girlfriend, Katherine. Katherine wants Vince to get married, but Vince is too immature for such a big commitment. While struggling with both his feelings of love and feelings of fear, Vince meets Catherine, a girl who walks into his life unexpectedly and begins to have a week long affair with her. Tormented by feelings of guilt towards his longtime girlfriend, Katherine, Vincent begins to have nightmares each and every single night in which demons are chasing him. What unfolds next is a deadly love triangle. Can Vincent keep his affair a secret? Can he make the girls happy? And can he keep his own conscious from eating away at him?

Characters: 10/10 One of the really cool things about Catherine’s story is that it does not try to impose a “right” way to play onto you. None of the characters are perfect, not Vince, nor Catherine, nor Katherine. They all have flaws, they’re all equally to blame for any relationship problems within the course of the game; but they all have endearing qualities as well. Vince himself is feeling pressured to marry his long time girlfriend Katherine. Vince doesn’t really want to get married, but he realizes that if he doesn’t marry her, she will break up with him. Katherine is a VERY strong woman, and perhaps more woman than Vince can handle. She is very demanding in the relationship and she isn’t above lying or manipulating Vince to play on his emotions to make him more sympathetic to her and try to rush him into a marriage that he isn’t even sure he wants. Around this same time, Vince suddenly meets Catherine, a girl who only wants a no-strings-attached sexual relationship. She makes Vince feel alive, and young, and free, and all of the qualities that Katherine lacks, Catherine has in spades. However, when it comes to love, and a real lasting relationship, Catherine is too immature; she’s like Vince; she isn’t ready for all of that, and as the game progresses, Vince realizes that Katherine’s stability and commitment to him is something unique and special that Catherine can never offer him. (and for good reason too, but I won’t spoil that). There are basically, 3 routes you can take. Go back and beg Katherine for forgiveness, turn your back on her and continue down the path of sin and lust with Catherine, or tell both girls to go F*** themselves and realize your own dreams and ambitions which is perhaps the best feeling of all. However, the game never makes you feel like one ending or choice is better than the others. They both have pluses and minuses. They aren’t “right or wrong” they’re just different choices. That’s all. I also really like the artwork for the characters, Vince’s hair style is so cute. I want to play with it. It looks fluffy! lol. And both of the girls are ridiculously beautiful. Catherine is so cute, youthful, sexy, flirty, etc; while Katherine exudes maturity, calmness, intelligence, and a sort of refined elegance which is also sexy in it’s own right.

Music: 10/10 The music in this game is composed by Shoji Meguro and is often compared to the soundtracks of Persona 3 and Persona 4. Atlus USA released a version of this soundtrack with their Love is Over limited edition release (pictured above). You can listen to the soundtrack on youtube below:

Or you can pick the soundtrack online on sites like Amazon.com It’s out of print though and as of this writing goes for about $80. Here’s a link where you can check the current prices. http://www.amazon.com/CATHERINE-ORIGINAL-SOUDTRACK-MUSIC-O-S-T/dp/B004GN9AW6/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1445396054&sr=8-1&keywords=catherine+ost

This is the full soundtrack which is DIFFERENT from the one that Atlus USA included in their special edition. The soundtrack included in Love is Over, only has 11 songs, which are the levels in Vince’s nightmares. It does not include the cutscene music and other tracks. However, the link above, via Amazon will include all of these awesome tracks for you.

catherine | PS3 | Xbox 360 | RPG | Atlus | Atlus USA | Platform | Platformer | Multiple Endings | Love | Sim | Simulation | Dating | Cheating | Romance | Nightmare | Visual Novel | Dating Sim
catherine | PS3 | Xbox 360 | RPG | Atlus | Atlus USA | Platform | Platformer | Multiple Endings | Love | Sim | Simulation | Dating | Cheating | Romance | Nightmare | Visual Novel | Dating Sim
catherine | PS3 | Xbox 360 | RPG | Atlus | Atlus USA | Platform | Platformer | Multiple Endings | Love | Sim | Simulation | Dating | Cheating | Romance | Nightmare | Visual Novel | Dating Sim
catherine | PS3 | Xbox 360 | RPG | Atlus | Atlus USA | Platform | Platformer | Multiple Endings | Love | Sim | Simulation | Dating | Cheating | Romance | Nightmare | Visual Novel | Dating Sim

Voice Acting: 7/10 My review is for the English dub voice cast. I thought they were fairly good actually for a dub. There were times where I felt they were overacting a tad. But it wasn’t distracting. Catherine has a cute, peppy sugary sweet voice; while Katherine is more quiet and refined, both of which fit their characters perfectly. Vince has kinda a dopey goofy voice, which I guess fits his character. I haven’t watched the japanese voice actors on youtube. I dunno if they are better, my guess would be yes. lol. It’s not that I hate the english cast though. I find it to be better than the Persona dub (which isn’t horrible either). (It may even have some of the same actors. I don’t follow the English voice acting “scene” so I wouldn’t know.) Their performances are all very convincing. Vince has a goofy scream sometimes, but it’s supposed to convey his fear (of himself/his conscious/his actions) and I think it does convey a lot of stress and emotion.

Replay Value: 10/10 The 7 different endings force you to play multiple times to see the entire story. You can skip cutscenes you’ve seen already, and you can also use the cheat above to get a “Very Easy” gameplay mode to make your multiple replays fast and as pain free as possible so you can just enjoy the story. The endings and the plot are very different, not just small differences, but very unique. This makes it a very rewarding game on multiple playthroughs. If you like achievements there are different ones which are specific to different difficulty settings which you will have to play to unlock them all.

Overall: 86/90 96%  A “Excellent Game For Girls” 

In fact, the Mature rating, horror, gore, and sexual themes, make it a great game for guys too 🙂 Maybe a good way to introduce your guy friends to anime or visual novels.

catherine | PS3 | Xbox 360 | RPG | Atlus | Atlus USA | Platform | Platformer | Multiple Endings | Love | Sim | Simulation | Dating | Cheating | Romance | Nightmare | Visual Novel | Dating Sim
catherine | PS3 | Xbox 360 | RPG | Atlus | Atlus USA | Platform | Platformer | Multiple Endings | Love | Sim | Simulation | Dating | Cheating | Romance | Nightmare | Visual Novel | Dating Sim
catherine | PS3 | Xbox 360 | RPG | Atlus | Atlus USA | Platform | Platformer | Multiple Endings | Love | Sim | Simulation | Dating | Cheating | Romance | Nightmare | Visual Novel | Dating Sim
catherine | PS3 | Xbox 360 | RPG | Atlus | Atlus USA | Platform | Platformer | Multiple Endings | Love | Sim | Simulation | Dating | Cheating | Romance | Nightmare | Visual Novel | Dating Sim
catherine | PS3 | Xbox 360 | RPG | Atlus | Atlus USA | Platform | Platformer | Multiple Endings | Love | Sim | Simulation | Dating | Cheating | Romance | Nightmare | Visual Novel | Dating Sim
catherine | PS3 | Xbox 360 | RPG | Atlus | Atlus USA | Platform | Platformer | Multiple Endings | Love | Sim | Simulation | Dating | Cheating | Romance | Nightmare | Visual Novel | Dating Sim
catherine | PS3 | Xbox 360 | RPG | Atlus | Atlus USA | Platform | Platformer | Multiple Endings | Love | Sim | Simulation | Dating | Cheating | Romance | Nightmare | Visual Novel | Dating Sim
catherine | PS3 | Xbox 360 | RPG | Atlus | Atlus USA | Platform | Platformer | Multiple Endings | Love | Sim | Simulation | Dating | Cheating | Romance | Nightmare | Visual Novel | Dating Sim
catherine | PS3 | Xbox 360 | RPG | Atlus | Atlus USA | Platform | Platformer | Multiple Endings | Love | Sim | Simulation | Dating | Cheating | Romance | Nightmare | Visual Novel | Dating Sim
catherine | PS3 | Xbox 360 | RPG | Atlus | Atlus USA | Platform | Platformer | Multiple Endings | Love | Sim | Simulation | Dating | Cheating | Romance | Nightmare | Visual Novel | Dating Sim
catherine | PS3 | Xbox 360 | RPG | Atlus | Atlus USA | Platform | Platformer | Multiple Endings | Love | Sim | Simulation | Dating | Cheating | Romance | Nightmare | Visual Novel | Dating Sim
catherine | PS3 | Xbox 360 | RPG | Atlus | Atlus USA | Platform | Platformer | Multiple Endings | Love | Sim | Simulation | Dating | Cheating | Romance | Nightmare | Visual Novel | Dating Sim

Catherine PS3 Xbox 360 Visual Novel RPG Review was originally published on Geeky Sweetie

Kingdom Hearts 2.8 Final Chapter Tokyo Gameshow 2015

PS4 and Kingdom Heart fans are in for a real treat. Kingdom Hearts 2.8 Final Chapter was just announced at the Tokyo Gameshow. Check out the trailer below:

This game is meant to serve as a prologue of events leading directly to the long awaited and anticipated Kingdom Hearts III.

According to IGN.com “Kingdom Hearts II.8 will contain a HD remaster of Dream Drop Distance, along with scenes from Unchained X called Back Cover, set to tell the tale of the Foretellers and revealing new parts of the series’ history. The final part of the collection is Birth by Sleep 0.2 – A Fragmentary Passage -, which is a completely new part of the story taking place after the events of the original Birth by Sleep, told from the perspective of Aqua”

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Kingdom Hearts 2.8 Final Chapter Tokyo Gameshow 2015 was originally published on Geeky Sweetie