10 Hour Countdown!

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In just under 10 hours one of the [hopefully] greatest sequels will be released here in the USA for consumers! Yes, Bioshock Ininite will be released via various midnight releases on the east coast! Leaving everyone else the option to go pick it up off the shelves tomorrow morning.

Bioshock Infinite will not be expanding on the story of Rapture anymore, but instead going back in time and exploring a whole new story on the floating city of Columbia. This is where you, acting as the protagonist, will be sent to save a girl from the harsh reality and rebellion going on upon the massive sky city. What will we learn about this new world, this cities inhabitants, and the main protagonists? Well we will find out in mere hours, and all of us here at the basement have never been more excited for another Bioshock game!

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Snapshot: Tomb Raider (2013)

Tomb Raider Art

Yes, as of last Tuesday (March 5th, 2013) the new imagining of Tomb Raider was released! The game was developed by Crystal Dynamics, and published by Square Enix, and honestly it’s probably the best Tomb Raider game released; aside from the lack of puzzles to solve.

Graphically the game is astonishing. The environments though not truly “open-world” have an open world feel to them, though there are obvious paths for you to walk upon and invisible barriers to stop you from going anywhere outside the allotted space. So needless to say you won’t be glitching up mountains like in Bethesda games, but they leave just enough room for exploration of various artifacts and things needed to upgrade weapons. Since, they focus on these small hub-like areas instead of a sprawling free-for-all environment the areas look damn near realistic, and almost next generation. I’ve been playing on Sony’s console, so I’m sure on the PC it looks even better. Despite the vast traversal options the game never feels clunky and the frame rate never drops.

Tomb Raider_Lara Croft Voice ActressThe game sounds great as well. The weapons sound realistic whether its the small whistle from the bow string or the loud explosion of fire coming into contact with a natural gas line. Since the island is tropical you will hear a lot of nature related sounds like birds and wolves, which you can actually come into contact with. The voice acting is pretty solid for most of the characters, pulling you deeper into the fiction. The best voice acting is of course Lara Croft; played by Camilla Luddington. Camilla gives a solid performance of the re-imagined Lara Croft. Hell, she may be Lara Croft in disguise  as a voice actor.

This new Tomb Raider also implements some pretty amazing mechanics that makes it feel more like a survival game, rather than a third person cover shooter; though at its core that’s exactly what this game is. The most exciting mechanic they use is a reaction based Lara. When you come into an area or approach enemies she automatically draws her equipped weapon. So now you know there are enemies in the vicinity what else will she do? Well, when you approach a low wall, bush, tree, or well just about anything that’s worth hiding behind she will automatically go into cover. The cover doesn’t feel still, like games where you would snap into cover, but rather more natural as you move from object to object. They’ve also included a feature called “survival instinct,” which works a lot like Batman’s Detective Vision in the recent Arkham games. The primary use for it is to see objects you can interact with, animals you can hunt, or enemies in the nearby area. However, after some upgrade points, it becomes very handy in finding the hidden treasures of the island! (The collectibles are actually worth collecting, because it fills in more of the fiction of the island!)

Tomb Raider_CombatThe upgrade tree is similar to Farcry 3 with three different trees to fill out. The skills aren’t to the extreme that the one’s in Farcry are, nor are they about the stealth kills, but they upgrades do make some considerable upgrades to Lara’s survival and combat abilities. The weapon upgrades are different and interesting enough for you to care to do them. They add things like better accuracy, more damage, fire arrows, and silences (just to name a small amount). You’re not able to upgrade everything out of the gate, but rather as you become more intune with survival and you find gun parts that will enable the next set of upgrades. You’ll also need salvage (a sort of upgrade currency in the game) to make the weapon upgrades, but don’t fret salvage is everywhere.

The AI is far from intelligent, but they are extremely aggressive, normally attacking in groups allowing for some to attempt to flank you while others are spraying bullets and throwing sticks of dynamite. However, most of them aren’t very hard to kill until later in the game where a little more planning and strategy is beneficial due to the various enemy types, including armored enemies.

With all of that said, we get to the best part of the game… THE STORY! The story takes place on Lara’s first expedition to find a hidden (almost Atlantis-like) island, where she hopes to find answers to the worship and culture of the ‘Sun Queen.’ However, Lara believes they must head into the Dragon’s Triangle to find the island. The Dragon’s Triangle makes the Bermuda Triangle look like a bedtime story for little kids. Nonetheless, they head straight into the storm ridden and dangerous area in search of an adventure, however, the adventure finds Lara as they shipwreck on an island with a constantly changing climate that stops all who try to leave the island.

You’ll play as Lara as she goes from being an ‘innocent’ shipwrecked girl in search of her team as she faces the many dangers of the forested island with her instincts leading the way. Though, this story is one action and over coming, as well as, a story of loss and confusion. Lara will have to survive and overcome everything if she plans to help even just one of her friends last on an island overtaken by a group of bandits who’ve been stranded on the island for years, an island who has a great amount predatory animals, and many old dangerous and explosive (and wrecked) buildings. Oh and there’s a group of over-sized and very powerful enemies protecting a sacred chamber.

Honestly, I can’t see this game just simply being a prequel story. I feel like this game has great potential for a reboot of the series. With all the resources Crystal and Square dumped into this game I’m sure we’ll atleast see a trilogy out of this new and improved Tomb Raider. Hell, as long as they keep just about everything that made this game amazing and add some more puzzles I’m sold!

Snapshot: Sora No Otoshimono: Tokeijikake no Angeloid

Sora No Otoshimono Angeloid of Clockwork

If your really not sure what Sora no Otoshimono we actually took everyone on a little drive through the universe yesterday. So, if you are looking for some background on the series you can certainly check there!

Sora no Otoshimono: Tokeijikake no Angeloid, or Heaven’s Lost Property: Angeloid of Clockwork, is the movie that was released at about the same time as season 2 became available in English in the states; earlier this year. It is marketed as a sequel to Heaven’s Lost Property: Forte (the second season of the small franchise). However, if you have read the manga, this movie and the events take place during parts of the first season and throughout the second season. The story is told about a pretty important character, Hiyori Kazane, who was actually not featured in the second season of the anime except for one particular moment. So there were hopes that she would be placed in the beginning of the upcoming third season. However, this movie pretty much tells her story in an hour and half.

They hold to the important parts fairly well for most of the movie, until the movie begins to wrap up. Then the anime movie takes the story in a completely different direction. Which I feel like wasn’t the smartest or best decision. The ending of the movie should have happened as close as possible to what happened in the manga. It would have certainly made more sense to do it that way to continue with the emotions that they have built in the universe. Also, the way that the movie ends kind of makes me question what they will do in the third season, since she becomes a part of the group to some extent after what happens.  Overall the movie was enjoyable, and normally I like a little deviation between the two forms of media. The deviation that they put in place here, on the other hand, I just can’t agree with or get behind.

For those of you who don’t like subtitles and would rather just watch the dubbed versions aren’t going to be happy to hear, but the movie currently isn’t in English, and I don’t believe there are any plans to make it in English. I’m sorry to the bearer of bad news, especially since, despite the ending, there are some revealing pieces of the universe in the movie to help explain some more of what the synapse is, who the bad guy with wings is, and just what nymph said about Sugata being ‘real.’

Snapshot: Little Big Planet Karting

Little Big Planet Karting

The next story of the sackboys and sackgirls released this season, with Little Big Planet Karting. This addition features a Mario Kart style of racing featuring the sack people, and delivering a large amount of customization to hands of its players, as it’s predecessor’s did.

The story’s format, as I’m sure you would have guessed, had to take kind of a make over since the base mechanics in this game are fairly different from Little Big Planet & Little Big Planet 2; which were both platformers. A new enemy has revealed themselves in there sporty karts, which are referred to as the Hoarders. They drive by and steal and horde all the items throughout the universe. Yeah, I said universe instead of world. You are limited to only one planet in this game. Instead you will travel from world to world instead of country to country. They have the same base area designs, but just now each area has it’s own planet.

While the story is always entertaining and comical, most people come to the Little Big Planet games to create and play other user generate content with their friends. Well don’t worry there is no shortage of ability to create your own tracks and arenas. Hell there is actually to some extent some more ability to be creative since you will be designing in a three dimensional aspect instead of the two dimensional aspect of the previous games. The designing is a little confusing at first, but there are no shortage of tutorial videos to teach you how to do just about anything you can imagine.

Graphically the game is an improvement. I mean yeah it’s still the same basic character models and upgrades with some minor tweaks and additions, but the image seems more crisp and the frame rate seems pretty constant. The game also sounds well. Actually in your popit you can edit your kart and change the different engine sounds to make the Kart sounds just the way you want it to. The music is calming and catchy as usual, and the weapon sound effects seem pretty constant.

The game controls alright, i suppose. The kart just doesn’t seem as floating as it should at times, and other times it seems like your floating all over the place and becomes hard to steer and control. I have a few problems with playing some races and the game saying I wasn’t on the track while I was doing a jump so it would respawn me, which becomes annoying when you finally get to first amongst the crazy rocket battles throughout the races. Other times I got stuck just outside the track and it wouldn’t respawn me at all, which really made me miss that kind of suicide respawn the franchise featured in earlier games. My biggest pet peeve though is the loading time. So there is no option to go to the next race at the end of a race. Every time you have to exit to your pod and from there you pick the next story level or challenge. Okay cool. The problem is the loading time from the end of race leaderboards to the pod, and then the load time to the next race.

Overall, the game is alright if you’re playing by yourself. Though I noticed some of the more annoying things while I was playing alone. However, when I’m playing with other people the fun doubles, if not triples. The franchise had delivered another fun family and friendly game that you can pick up and play a couple of rounds before placing it down. You’ll have a good time, but it’s not necessarily going to keep you entertained in the longer sittings.

Snapshot: Sora No Otoshimono

Sora No Otoshimono Manga

Let the media review begins, and at what better place then perhaps one of the best manga and anime series of the last couple years; Heaven’s Lost Property, which is the English translation of Sora no Otoshimono.

My first taste of Heaven’s Lost Property was through the anime, which is rarely ever the right way to start. Similar to books and movies based on books, its often better to start with the writing. However, after watching both season’s of the anime I was able to get around to reading the manga this past week. Well at least as much as I had available to me; considering the story as actually still in production. Today I will be letting you into both the world of the manga and the anime.

For those who haven’t had the fortune of enjoying the series, Heaven’s Lost Property follows the once peaceful life of Tomoki Sakurai. Tomoki has lived in the same city his whole life, and much of that time has been without the care of his parents who are constantly on business trips and vacations around the world. However, he hasn’t been all alone. His neighbor, and childhood friend, Sohara has been keeping an eye on him, and has kept him in line as much as she possibly could. There has also been the girl in Tomoki’s dream that has been keeping him company through his sleeping hours. One day Sohara convinces Tomoki to talk to a peer in their class that is referred to as one of the smartest students in the school, Eishiro Sugata. This is beginning of the demise for Tomoki’s peaceful life. Sugata convinces Tomoki to meet him at a location under a large tree that has been alive for many years in the fields of the city to discover The New Continent as well as find out the real reason behind  this dream. On his way to meet up with Tomoki, Sugata runs into some trouble and tries to warn Tomoki not to go there. The only problem is Tomoki is already at the location, and the cell phone call breaks out during the warnings. This is the night where Tomoki see’s the skies open up and release one of the most important people to him, Ikaros, an angeloid from the Heavens. So yes, Tomoki’s peaceful life has shattered, but a much more interesting and fun filled life has just begun; especially as their friend circle opens up and they meet more angeloids.

That’s the story in only the first couple of chapters of the story. So yeah there is a lot… A LOT… more that happens. The story is really great mixing both ecchi fan service comedy with combat and strong emotional ties and problems. I myself became very attached to Ikaros right from the beginning, and that was before the details about angeloids come into place. Along the journey the group sure does have a great time, as well as some tough ones, as make new friends, compete in absurd compeitions, and take a particular guy who begins to despise the downer (which means human in the series) Tomoki.

Sora No Otoshimono Anime

All that being said the anime follows pretty close to the story for the entirety of the first season, with just a few small changes to character introduction times. For example Nymph, an angeloid that plays a large roll in the story, comes into the story a lot sooner in the anime, then in the manga. There a couple of other small things that are switched around for the purpose of flow, or at least I would assume they are for the purpose of flow. Which is just fine with me. Personally, I like it when the anime has some differences so this way I can still have some chance of surprise when I watch all the characters comes to life.

The second season is where there is quite a bit of difference between the manga and anime. The manga dives quite some more into the darker side with some a particular character that comes into place in Heaven’s Lost Property: Forte. They even cut out a character almost completely from the second season, that comes into a fairly large amount of play in the manga even after the second season. There is a movie that tells her story that was released under the name Sora no Otoshimono: Angeloid of Clockwork; which I will dive into when I do that review. Also, there were quite some difference in the timing when things happened from the manga to the anime. Overall, however, they still told a great story and hit the major plot points.

It was certainly one thing to read all the things that happen in this story, but to watch it made it so much better. They do a great job with the character models and coloring to make everything just pop. The Japanese, and American, voice actors are completely top notch. I love every second that I submerge into the Heaven’s Lost Property universe. It just keeps getting funnier and tugs more and more at the heart strings. I’m looking forward to whatever they creators throw at us next! I highly suggest checking the series out, even if you’re not all that large of a fan of anime. It’s certainly a great time.

Reviewer’s Note: If you do wind up watching the series make sure you watch the bonus scenes after the credits roll at the end of the episode.

Snapshot: High School of the Dead

 

Welcome zombie lovers to an anime that has all you desire in a short, manageable, and enjoyable series.

The series revolves around a group of teenagers as the zombie apocalypse occurs on Earth. While they all have their own reasons for survival they soon find each other and begin to work as a group to survive and make the best of the situation. You don’t get much information on each of the characters as the story begins, but you do get to see their personalities evolve due to the harsh conditions and brutal killings occurring all around them.

However, which is more deadly.. the living or the walking corpses. That seems to be the major question in all zombie scenarios. Let’s just face it, when push comes to shove there aren’t really many people you can rely on or trust. Well there is plenty of the darker side of the living throughout this series; from a corrupt and crazy teacher to left wing protesters who don’t believe that the recently dead are really ‘zombies.’ Hell there is even a number of looters that you get to peek in on and some people who are only out for their own safety.

While only about half of the manga is in anime form (and just barely half of the series is in English til the rest of the English copies release later this year), it is more than worth the watch. The only problem is the questions that are left and the want, no, need for more episodes.

There is plenty of action and comedy throughout the whole series; not to mention the amount of boobs and fan service.[lol]

Snapshot: Rosario + Vampire

I spent quite some time watching both seasons of the Rosario + Vampire series, and I must say that it was well worth the time I spent watching the anime.

Before, I even start really talking about the topic of the hour, forget everything you know about vampires.. and well just about every other monster. Also, don’t expect this series to be a downright scray and creepy experience. This series is deffinately a romantic comedy mixed with a lot of ecchi humor and panty shots.

The story revolves around Tsukune, a young man who has failed the high school entrance exam. With fear of his son having to stay back a year, Tsukune’s father runs into a peculiar person who offers papers for Tsukune to attend a school called Yokai Academy. However, to the human race, Yokai academy has a dark dark secret.. it’s actually a school for developing monsters. ‘Monsters’ go to this school to continue their education while learning how to coexist in the human world. On Tsukune’s first trip to the school he finds that he has no cell phone reception and the bus only comes once a month, so he is quite literally trapped there.

Also, within minutes of entering the monester realm he meets a beautiful girl named, Moka. She reveals herself to be a vampire. However, she is completely a sweetheart. However, she reveals that she isn’t as easy as her emotions are sweet. She must wear a Rosary to block her true power, and she is unable to remove the charm herself. (Honestly, Tsukune doesn’t believe a thing she says.. at first..)

However, once classes start Tsukune finds out about the school’s true nature and that everyone of the classmates he is sitting around is a monster. He also learns that humans can’t normally pass into the monster realm, and often hunted when they do. Uh oh.

As the story evolves Tsukune meets plenty of new friends who become infacuated with him. The true question is will Tsukune stay in attendance at his new academy? Will everyone find out that he is a human before he even has the chance to make the decision? What is Moka’s true nature?

The series is a great watch even with its abundance of sappy 10 second love scenes. The fights, although often short, are pretty enjoyable. Also, the many situations that Tsukune gets him in are pretty entertaining. As I said earlier, forget everything you know about monsters (especially vampires) and remember that this is mostly a romantic comedy. However, I’m sure anyone from a noobie anime watcher to an anime veteran will enjoy the series.

Adventure time: Ice king Why did you steal our garbage? Collectors edition 3ds.

First of all if you don’t know what adventure time is shame on you! Your missing out. It’s a funny children’s cartoon on cartoon network. Why do I watch it then you ask? Lets just say when you watch it, you will realize its not just for children. But if you did know what adventure time was then YES they did make a video game. BUT! Only for 3ds and ds users. This comes with the enchiridion Steel-book case that holds all your little goodies in this collectors edition. If you do not know what that is the enchiridion is a book that fin and jake use to carry around it should them how to be aw sum and how to beat up bad guys etc. But later on in the series they end up giving it to a bear that wants to be like fin. And comes back up in the story later on when fin has a crazy nightmare. You get a stylus but it is Finns gold sword witch he dose not use anymore but it used to be the one he used in most of the episodes. You get the book of beasts witch I have never herd of before. And you get the pixleized version of Ooo map witch is your game play map. And of course the game. I have not played this yet it comes out today! And I’m so excited. I will be doing a unboxing video for those who want to see everything first hand. But it has a old school Zelda feel or a pokemon feel. Everything being pixelated like your playing your black and white game boy again.

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From the games description from gamestop.com:

Finn and Jake wake up one morning to find their trash stolen by the Ice King! Jake couldn’t care less about half-eaten bananas, crumpled up math notes, and old chicken diapers – but when the Ice King uses these stolen goods to construct a Garbage Princess, our heroes embark on a fantastical adventure and teach him a lesson! Journey through the Land of Ooo in an offbeat adventure and discover perilous dungeons, unimaginable treasures, the true meaning of friendship, and never-ending fun!

  • An original storyline and concept written by series creator Pendleton Ward
  • Classic Action Adventure gameplay!
  • Conquer dungeons, collect treasure, and complete quests in the Land of Ooo.
  • Punch, kick, or slash foes with Finn!
  • Use Jake’s magical stretchy powers!

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I Am so excited for this game! A New school game with old school twist. of coarse its going to be for children but to me and many fans can see the adult humor in it and favor it for that and the children’s theme. because hey who really wants to grow up?

Sailor Moon 20th anniversary

Hello Everyone! For Who Is Not a Sailor Moons Fan Lets Give You A Quick Description. Hot Girls That Have Magical Powers That Kick Evils Ass All The Time With a Twist Of a Love Story. If You Don’t Remember In America It was on toonami before captain planet and sometimes dragon ball z. If You’re a Fan That loves It As much as I Do You Already bought all the manga  books + preordered them. But in case your just finding out save some money and buy the New Box Set that comes out on Amazon on nov 20th. You save some money and the box is beautiful with art work! So grab this box set while you can.

Remember The art books? If you never went to your local comic book shop and actually saw them you have no idea what I’m talking about. When I was about seven I saw them for the first time. My comic book shop got them imported and they where such a big hit in Japan! But in America we did not receive a English version. About that time when I was seven they were around 70 dollars because of shipping and of course they had to make some money on them. But Today’s Date I have seen them on eBay for around 41 dollars to 200. But before you go spending your money we officially found out sometime in 2013 we get our own art book that has special art that has never been seen before! We do not have a official date but we know that 2013 is the time.

So You Think That’s all the good news? One last thing before I forget. A New Sailor Moon Anime Is Being Released in 2013. World Wide but this does not mean it will be dubbed it might be subbed. That’s All I know. Honestly I want it dubbed I really never get the full affect unless it is. I Want to know what finally happens to sailor moon in the stars series I know I can go watch it on YouTube but I don’t want to spoil it for myself. So I’ve been waiting all this time for a dubbed version of stars and I’m so ready if this happens! No promises though! Hopefully we won’t have that corny intro theme song. I hope we get a real one if this happens. Are You Excited?