Thursday, March 29, 2018

Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga

In retrospect, it's hard to believe we've gone fifteen years without a single new take on the Mario RPG formula. Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga, developed by Super Mario RPG alumni at AlphaDream and the game we are reviewing today, was the last new concept introduced and that was way back in 2003's GameCube/Game Boy Advance era. Since then, Mario & Luigi has ballooned with five consecutive sequels (including Superstar Saga's 3DS remake just last fall), Paper Mario only had one more RPG (2004's The Thousand-Year Door) before bumbling into a hitherto unfinished run of tone-deaf platforming/action hybrids, and despite what dubious rumors may tell you, Nintendo, Square-Enix and AlphaDream's aforementioned alumni remain uninterested in a Super Mario RPG sequel.

In other words, for maybe the past decade we've been offered Mario RPGs/non-RPGs people are either sick of or don't want, and whereas Nintendo may strangely be complacent with this state, I can only imagine a reboot of some sort would ease our depressed fatigue. My current adoration of Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga + Bowser's Minions aside, Mario & Luigi's over-saturation is mostly imposed by the series' mixed quality: Superstar Saga and DS's Bowser's Inside Story are generally regarded as the best, with the rest either considered mediocre (Partners in Time), well-meaning but tutorial/content-bloated (Dream Team) or just wasted potential (Paper Jam). When the series works, its offerings are among the most delightful Mario spin-offs around; when it doesn't, it feels draining and monotonous.

Monday, March 26, 2018

The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess Vol. 3 Review (Hey Poor Player)

I liked what Himekawa's previous Zelda adaptions were trying to do, but they were simply far too brief to be of any true worth. Now that they have all the freedom in the world, their potential bursts open in a work I may even prefer to the source material!

Anyway, this month's been pretty slow for this blog's reviews -- crazy month here-- but I've been steadily working on one or two pieces that may arrive by the 31st. Catch you then.

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Kirby Star Allies Review (Hey Poor Player)

I'm not sure what's more shocking: my final score or that I didn't have time to discuss the music. And yes, writing that last line did kill me.

Anyway, you'll be seeing Kirby Star Allies listed in the Tier List within either the Good/Great category soon enough.

Saturday, March 17, 2018

Kaguya-Sama: Love is War Vol. 1 Review (Hey Poor Player)

Alright, I confess: I read rom-coms! Don't judge me! Unfortunately, I don't think we'll be following this series, but to broaden my scope I decided to cover another genre, and what better choice than a series I was already reading? You can think of this review as a taste test of sorts.

Anyway, I've begun adding jump breaks to my reviews, and while it's a meticulous process, hopefully the front page at least is much easier to sift through!

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Astra Lost in Space Vol. 2 Review (Hey Poor Player)

This one was really tough to write, but at least it's done.

Anyway, I've been a bit behind this month, so with the extra time this week I'll be arranging my game journalism section to include manga and whatnot. I'm also finally looking into ways to add jumps toposts, so navigating the blog won't be nearly as much of a hassle. I'll let y'all know when that happens, but in the meantime, expect another review or two this week.

Sunday, March 11, 2018

Worldly Weekend: Kingdom Hearts II

Note: minor spoilers within this review. There's nothing too major, but I simply had to talk about how much the story bothered me here.

My dear readers, I ask you to journey with me to a different time: 2005, where Japan's Weekly Famitsu magazine was hyping up Kingdom Hearts II as if it were the Second Coming of Jesus Christ. This is not an exaggeration -- every week, Japanese readers (and Western fans dependent on online scans and translations) were subject to adrenaline-inducing eye candy, with the game's revamped engine providing flashy Reaction Commands and Drive Form acrobatics for protagonist Sora. Clamored Disney films such as Mulan and The Lion King were joining the world lineup, as groundbreaking inclusions like Pirates of the Caribbean, Steamboat Willie and TRON continually surprised fans the world over. A Keyblade-wielding Mickey Mouse was jumping around like Yoda, as the Final Fantasy cameos ramped up with Final Fantasy X's Auron as a party member, Advent Children outfits for the FF7 cast, and even including folks not designed by series director Tetsuya Nomura (Vivi and Setzer, to be precise). Even once-maligned efforts like the Gummi Ship and The Little Mermaid's Atlantica were completely reworked, operating respectively in the vein of Disneyland rides and theater musicals.

In other words, whereas the first game was a good-natured but rough-around-the-edges freshman project, Kingdom Hearts II was set to finally realize the original's dream: a masterful celebration of Disney and wistful nostalgia blended with brooding Final Fantasy influences, all framed within a gameplay engine that could do it justice. Naturally, I myself awaited it as a supernatural revelation, but what did I ultimately think of it when came out?

Thursday, March 8, 2018

Silver Spoon Vol. 1 Review (Hey Poor Player)

A bit late bringing this here, but I've been wanting to talk about this manga forever! And yes, I know never reading Fullmetal Alchemist is blasphemy, but while I may've mentioned this before, I'll be reviewing the Fullmetal Editions beginning later this Apring.

Anyway, I'd been meaning to have some reviews up by now, but some real-life stuff got in the way. Expect stuff this weekend.