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  1. God Eater. A relatively niche series inspired by the juggernaut that is Monster Hunter, with arguments between both series tending to be heated (due to vocal segments of both fandoms despising the other game). Why did I play it? No specific reason. Just got it on a limb. Okay, partially so I could compare and contrast it with MH and form my own opinion on the subject, but not to try and exercise some dumb superiority over it. I'd been interested in it for some time, so getting to play it was certainly an interesting experience. Note: this is the PSP version, God Eater Burst (localized as Gods Eater Burst, likely to try and dodge any potential controversy-- so last minute that the VO still just says "God Eater"). So, since I can't think up any better of an intro, let's dive in. Synopsis/World Mysterious single cell organisms appear on earth in the near future. These organisms begin rapidly multiplying and bonding together, eventually forming nigh-invulnerable monstrosities (dubbed Aragami) that terrorize and nearly drive humanity to extinction. Humanity's solution? Reverse engineer biomechanical weapons from the Aragami (God Arcs) and equip special individuals injected with Aragami cells to make superhuman monster hunters (the Gods Eaters). Yeah, this game is... kinda anime. There's also a lot of terms thrown around besides those, like "Bias Factor" (which, to make a long and confusing description short, is a defensive mechanism against Aragami) for instance, that just don't get developed. The world in general is pretty flat; you have all of two non-combat locations and for all the lingo and jargon thrown around, the worldbuilding is pretty underdeveloped. That's really all that needs to be said. Plot/Characters People often like to bring up GE's story and characters when comparison-- mostly about how both aspects are actually existent compared to MH. If you want at least some actual characters and plot motivation and that makes the difference for you, okay then. But they really aren't anything special. There's the player character and about half a dozen main plot characters. Of those, 3 of them actually get some development. One of them is pretty minimal and late in the plot while the other is all at once soon after her first appearance, leaving only a single character who actually develops naturally. Even then, it's nothing remarkable; just "edgy loner becoming less of an edgy loner" (who should be and, by all rights, is the main character). The main antagonist is... well, let's play a game. Is he (a) an initially affable individual related to one of the main characters, (b) an "evilutionary" scientist who's also a well-intentioned extremist, or (c) an obviously mysterious and antagonistic individual within a supposedly well meaning organization? If you answered "A, B, and C", you are correct! The main antagonist is dull. The game tries to hide that he's the big bad for 2/3 of the game and even after they give up on that they try and play the "well-intentioned extremist" card. He's meant to be some sort of chessmaster, but he has an open playbook to anybody who's halfway genre-savvy. There's just so many little details involving him and his plan that I could write an entire essay on how dumb it is. There's also an extra story section that was added in the Burst re-release. I will admit here: I'm only haflway through that. But I have little motivation from a gameplay aspect (more on that later) and I already know how it ends, and it's just cliche anime stuff trying to be cool. You know what, that's a perfect summary of the writing: cliche anime stuff trying to be cool. It doesn't bother me as much as it may seem like it from reading this, and if it doesn't bother you that's okay. Now on to the meat of the game: the gameplay. Gameplay The gameplay loop is the one that you'd expect from the subgenre: kill monsters. Make better equipment from their parts. Kill tougher monsters. Make even better gear. Rinse, dry, repeat. Weapon mechanics definitely stand out from its inspiration. You have light and heavy attack buttons, with combos letting you mix and match light and heavy attacks. The three blade types (short blade, long blade, and buster blade) all have varying combo lengths: the short blade comes in at 5 hits, long blade at 4, and buster blade at 3. From their names you can probably guess what niches they fill: short blade is fast but weak, long blade is the jack of all trades, and the buster blade is slow but powerful. You can also jump in this game, which can be done at the end of a combo to extend it into the air; air combos have one less hit than ground combos. Overall, the melee weapons are far easier to grasp and more simplistic than MH's; they have a few unique mechanics (short blade can easily jump and dash cancel combos, long blade can fire shots while in blade form a la gunlance, and the buster blade is literally the Great Sword and can do charged slashes). But hold one... your blade is also a gun. There are three types of guns that can be part of your God Arc: auto, sniper, and cannon. Same rule applies: auto is weak but rapid fire, sniper is stronger but slower firing, and the cannon is the strongest but also the slowest. Bullets are fired by using Oracle Points (OP), which are absorbed by attack Aragami. So the game incentives you to switch between blade and gun modes pretty regularly. There's also a bullet editor, which is insanely deep and infamously broken; I haven't done a whole lot with it for that very reason. I mainly rolled cannon, since I just wanted to do as much raw damage as possible. You can "devour" Aragami when in blade mode, putting you into Burst mode (which is a minor buff to all your stats while lessening stamina costs and making OP constantly regenerate) and also gives you 3 bullets from that Aragami's essence. They range from worthless (they're all but immune to their own element) to devastating (they hate their own element). There are also three types of shields that complete your God Arc, with the exact same rule from the previous two applying-- with the added change of input delay the stronger your shield is. For that reason, I ended up switching from tower shields (the toughest variety that blocks all damage) to the medium shields (which come out quicker and don't block as much damage). The buckler comes out almost instantaneously, but also doesn't block as much damage. Okay, we've got all that covered. Now, for the Aragami themselves. Aragami There's only about 10 boss level Aragami. The game does elemental re-skins and spikier variations and stuff, but when you break things down there's only really ten of them. The weaker Aragami I find fairly fun, but most of the tougher ones... decidedly aren't. Here's the issue: the tougher Aragami hit fast and hard with big hitboxes on their attacks. This brings about a very different gameplay dynamic: instead of hit and run tactics focused on properly timing your hits and re-positioning (which MH does), it's button mashing until you see an attack coming-- in which case, guard. It's a much simpler gameplay dynamic hidden behind inflated damage numbers. This was something I didn't fully realize until I picked up Monster Hunter Freedom Unite recently: a game released two years before the original God Eater and likely their biggest inspiration. It's a straightforward, cruder gameplay dynamic that kinda breaks the experience for me. There is one exception to this, and I love it for that: Hannibal, the flagship Aragami added to Burst. He has clear tells and openings and keeps you on your feet in the best way possible; easily the best designed (and most fun) fight in the game. Makes me hope that Aragami in 2 and the recently announced 3 are better made fights. The Areas They're dull. Every last one of them. Dull colors and metallic areas. Very little effort went into designing them so I'm not going to put much effort into describing them. They aren't segmented, unlike MH, which is actually a bad thing when you have to fight multiple large Aragami at once. The OST The one thing about the game I'm entirely positive about. The battle themes are great, using varied instrumentation while focusing on a melody. The non-battle music serves its purpose as a mood setter, and I'll admit to enjoying the odd cheesy vocal theme. This is short not out of dislike, but because I could gush about so many different tracks. Conclusion It may seem like I really don't like this game, but that's not the case. I put 40 hours into it and largely enjoyed my time. It's just that the unimpressive story, simplistic and repetitive fights, and small monster roster worked against a game that has a lot of potential. It's in this weird place where I wouldn't recommend it, but I also wouldn't say "don't play it". At the end of the day, despite having so many features and a lot of raw content, God Eater Burst just feels largely inferior compared to what it strives to be like.
  2. A few weeks ago, I bought my own laptop (previously I'd been making do with my school computer, which I had to send back at the end of my senior year). One of the first things I did was go hunting for emulators; I quickly remembered that there were several PSP games I'd wanted to play, so I went and downloaded an emulator for said console. One of those games was 7th Dragon 2020. As a fan of its sister series, Etrian Odyssey, I'd had some interest in it; sadly, only the 4th and final game in the series was localized, 7th Dragon III. Thankfully, I'd also heard tell that the first two games in the series had been translated. And for various reasons (the first game is a prequel and doesn't really tie into things until the third game, along with wanting to try out PSP emulation), I went with the second game: 7th Dragon 2020. Synopsis/Intro The game starts out in the year 2020, with Murakumo (a specialized task force that works with the Japanese government) holding a trial for new members. Said trial is making it to the top of Tokyo Tower, which has been invaded by monsters out of the blue. From there you create your first character by choosing from one of ten portraits (5 male/5 female), one of five classes, a ton of different voices, and lastly a name. The first character is the "hero" and starts as the party leader, meaning they get the focus in cutscenes and the like; in actuality, this really means nothing as you can switch the party leader anytime and the game acts like the new leader's been the hero all along. After a brief cutscene, you then create two more characters to fill out your party and scale Tokyo Tower, fighting monsters and doing some dungeon crawling. But, as you reach the top, all hell breaks loose; Dragons warp in, and stuff gets real. The player characters are established as Murakumo Unit 13 (a designation that possesses unintentional comedy for me and anyone else acquainted with BlazBlue), and it is their job to spearhead the destruction of all dragons in Tokyo. Story The game is slightly more focused in the story department than it's sister series; that doesn't mean it does anything remarkable. It's mildly entertaining and gives you a reason to do things (compared to the first 60% of any EO game being just "go exploring and stuff"), but it hits almost all the expected notes. Good guys aren't all as good as they appear? Check. Antagonistic force calls you out for going with the good guys but acts mysterious at first for the sake of it? Check. Massive escalation of stakes at the last minute? Check. It's not all bad; several NPCs go through the motions of character development (which is a lot more than EO can generally say for itself), and a certain one of them actually kinda sticks out (helps that I know they appear in future games in the series). It's far from the worst written RPG out there; it's just, as I said, unremarkable. Gameplay This is where the game shines. With five different classes (Samurai= Jack of All Trades Melee, Psychic= Mage who can both attack and heal, Trickster= fast class who can focus on status effects or raw damage, Destroyer= slow but powerful CQC specialist, and Hacker= your buff/debuff class) and only three party slots, you have to pick and choose; like EO, unless you want to spend time grinding up secondary party members on the side, you aren't going to be able to have everything. I went with Samurai/Psychic/Trickster, though looking back it may have been worth going with a Hacker due to my Trickster mostly just spamming healing items in fights against Dragons. Every class has a selection of skills that take SP to level up; unlike EO, SP is gained alongside XP, and higher levels of skills take more XP. New skills are learned by upgrading facilities (more on that later). The actual battles themselves are your typical turn-based JRPG battles. You can attack, defend, use items, escape (which thankfully has a much higher chance of succeeding than in EO), and use the Exhaust Gauge. The Exhaust Gauge is pretty much literally the Boost gauge from the first EO game (I'm making a lot of comparisons between the two; apparently, the first game on DS had even more similarities): you fill it up by attacking enemies and, when used, your turn speed is increased and skills you use have increased effects. Normal encounters are fairly easy; however, that's not to say the whole game is. Not at all; the meat of things are the Dragons. Acting as mini-bosses that either roam the map in set patterns or stay in place to block your progress (like FOEs in-- you get it at this point, right?), they can be quite challenging. They get two consecutive turns instead of one, hit hard, and are often packing status effects. Thankfully, if your party gets wiped you can quickly restart the battle-- though if you keep having trouble, you may have to re-load a save and see if the armory has any accessories increasing your resistance to status effects. And then there's the Imperial Dragons, the bosses of the game. Trust me, you won't beat them your first attempt. Thankfully, it's not that they are HP sponges-- they just hit really hard, and require planning and pattern memorization to take down. Dragons give you DZ, which are used to upgrade facilities. Upgading facilities is your primary way of getting new skills, equipment, and sidequests. So in a way it acts like a gameplay loop: hunt dragons to get better tools to hunt more dragons to get even better tools... . Visuals/Areas The character models are rendered in a chibi style, something that is incredibly ironic considering how often people die/are found dead in-game. I'd say that the game looks nice for a PSP title overall. The areas do have some variety (though they lean a bit too far in the direction of metallic), with the second one looking like a dead-ringer for Lost Shinjukku in EO1. Every area has its own identity (besides the multiple sewers), and every one of them has been warped in some fashion by the dragons. As for the character art, I will leave a bit of a warning: some of it is fanservicey. And unlike EO, there's no real equal opportunity stuff. If you really can't stand that stuff, then stay away from the game. Soundtrack Sharing its composer with its sister series, Yuzo Koshiro, I was hoping for a great and memorable soundtrack. While it's definitely not bad, I can't help but feel slightly let down. Some of the dungeon themes (as well as the late-game home base theme) are really good, but I can't recall any of the battle themes (including the final boss theme). It's just way too much electric noise and not enough actual melody. As I've said, it's not bad-- it just doesn't live up to other compositions by Koshiro. Oh, and Hatsune Miku is in the game. Yeah. It was published by Sega, and they put her in. She sings the intro song, and after rescuing her (about 1/3 of the way through the game) you can change the soundtrack to her "singing". Though most of it is just "la la la", it does change the instrumentation and make some songs slightly more memorable. The Translation It's really good. There's the odd typo, but often I had to keep reminding myself that I was playing a fan translation and not an officially localized title. It's pretty smooth and well done. This especially sticks out as I am currently playing Valkyria Chronicles III, whose fan translation... isn't quite as good. Concluding Thoughts 7th Dragon 2020 is a solid and fun game. It doesn't do anything new, but it remains enjoyable despite that. If you want a 30 hour JRPG that's not afraid to amp up the difficulty and don't mind a bit of grinding, I'd recommend the game. Just don't expect to be blown away by anything. Item Descriptions (this was before concluding thoughts but the wonderful spoiler tag system hid them with the images, so I had to do some re-arranging They actually tell you if an item will be needed for a side quest (in which case, save two) or if they're just vendor trash. Also, I found some of the descriptions to be quite humorous. Thankfully, using the innate compatibility between Windows 10 and the Xbox One controller, I screenshotted my favorites.
  3. Azure Striker Gunvolt was a game that was released in summer 2014 (spring 2015 to all of you poor folks in Europe/Australia) to a mixed reception. It was very much love it or hate it- many making direct comparisons to Mega Man (as was bound to happen, due to the developers- Inti Creates –having worked on the Mega Man Zero and ZX series) found it dull and lacking, while those who went in without those expectations found it to be decent, at the very least. Despite its flaws, I adored the first game- it had its own identity and did its own thing, not trying to be like Mega Man or cash in on it. So, needless to say, I was hyped when they announced a sequel in early 2015 and teased it with concept art (spoiler alert: that concept art is nowhere in the game). However, for a whole year nothing was shown- until Magfest 2016, where the first footage was revealed as well as the protagonist’s new design and the game’s theme song. Then, in the March 2016 Direct, a full trailer was shown- revealing a ton of new info, including a new playable character. I’ll spare you the details of the steady info releases leading up to release, and just jump into what you probably want to read: my thoughts on the game. Localization Yes, this gets its own section- and is the very first one, no less. The first game’s localization was very controversial, thanks to the majority of in-game text being cut so they could rush out it stateside and the rest being not-so-accurately localized by 8-4. These cuts were talks with an important NPC and mid-stage chatter (think Star Fox)- seemingly nothing that effects the core experience, but I’d compare it to a Tales Of game not having the skits localized. So much characterization, worldbuilding, and just plain funny moments were dumped. Inti Creates was aware, and for the Steam release of the first game included a “Japanese Voice Mode” with the original Japanese voiceacting intact and a much more faithful localization. This game’s localization much more closely resembles the Steam version’s. All the Japanese voice acting is intact (I’m mostly neutral on that matter), and all mid-stage dialogue and NPC chats are kept intact. There are many, many interactions that –as a fan of the first game- got me chuckling, and I almost always had a smile on my face while reading them. In general there are many callbacks to the first game that work to help establish a greater sense of continuity between the two. Even then, there’s still a few that are entertaining if you don’t know the characters at all- for instance, the contemplation of bottomless pits. However, the big caveat about the mid-stage dialogue (and the touted reason that it was cut from the original’s localization) is that it covers up a diagonal swipe (mostly the bottom) of the screen. In most instances it’s not a big deal, but can be frustrating on certain bosses. Fortunately, it can easily be toggled in the pause menu (“Story Mode+”), so that if you don’t care much for the banter/are replaying missions you don’t have to deal with it. The game’s rated T for Mild Language, Fantasy Violence, Mild Blood, and Suggestive Themes- compared to the first one’s E10+ for Mild Language and Fantasy Violence. I personally think ASG1 was borderline T, but ASG2 definitely earned that rating. There is not one instance of the infamous “gack” or “jitt”; instead, all the other main expletives of the English language are used. Notable points include Gunvolt himself saying “Go to hell!” and Copen (the second playable character) repeatedly labeling psychics/Adepts as “bastards”, as well as a general stream of craps, damns, and hells with a side of “pain in the ass” and "now I'm pissed/you've pissed me off". Why all that counts as only mild language beats me- the first one had several blatant innuendos and shares its rating with the Lego games, so it's obvious the ESRB works in mysterious ways. There’s also a certain boss character who’s an explicit masochist- in the mandatory boss-rush rematch that is the closest tie this game has to standard Mega Man tradition, she states that the main character killing her the first time was a “sign of young love”, and that since she loves him she wants to reciprocate the “favor”. This ‘aint Mega Man, folks. There were name changes here and there, and I'm certain the localized dialogue isn't 100% true to the Japanese voice acting, but I don’t give a damn about the literalist camp (thank the amount of nitpicking FE14’s localization has gotten). This game’s localization is heads-and-shoulders above the first one’s. Gameplay Finally, the meat of the review. ASG2’s gameplay at first glance is just like the first one’s- something that anybody familiar with Inti Creates should expect. Gunvolt’s “main” weapon- his gun –is used mostly just to tag enemies. Enemies can be tagged up to three times, or you can tag three different enemies. The main weapon in his arsenal is the Flashfield- acts as a weak area-of-effect, damage-over-time attack around you, but rapidly depletes the health of tagged enemies (how rapid depends on how many times they’ve been tagged). However, alongside streamlining and tweaking, a new playable character was introduced- Copen, the rival character from the first game. Copen plays quite differently from GV- his gun is his main method of attack, and perfectly damaging in it’s own right. However, by dashing into enemies he can tag them- giving his gun a homing effect and much greater damage. He also has air dashes- up to three at a time, while being able to do an extra one for each enemy tagged. His other main difference are his EX weapons- essentially, he has a drone with a Variable Weapons System. As you defeat bosses, new attacks based off of them are unlocked. Though dash-and-blast is his bread-and-butter, the EX weapons provide a nice way to mix things up and do some burst damage. Now, for the streamlining- and there’s quite a bit of it. Firstly, the kudos system. In the first game, your score was heavily dependent on “kudos” (Project Gotham Racing flashbacks, anyone?) that were earned by defeating enemies, with bonuses awarded for killing multiple enemies at the same time, killing them in the air, and things of the sort. However, if you took one hit you lost all the kudos you had gained- checkpoints throughout the level were the primary way to store them, as well as using powerful offensive skills. ASG2 fixes things by introducing three kudos levels: gutless, cautious, and fearless. Gutless keeps you from losing kudos at all, but greatly lowers the amount that you earn. Fearless, on the other hand, is ASG1’s style- but with a bonus to kudos earned. Cautious is the default; with it, you can take three hits before kudos drain- hits that recharge when you use offensive skills. Instead of just mapping out levels and trying to do a no-damage run, kudos management is much more on-the-fly and dynamic- do I wait for the next checkpoint to replenish the hit counter, or should I use an offensive skill to store them here and now? Another instance of streamlining is the new plugs system. In ASG1, each gun had different attributes and could make a certain amount of tags total- this ranged from a measly one to a godly eight. The plugs system makes things so that the amount of times you can tag enemies isn’t tied to the guns themselves, encouraging you to use more of them (in ASG1 there was a pretty linear two-step progression on which gun was best to equip). The default is three, but you can either limit yourself to two and increase your damage dealt or increase the amount of tags you can make to four- but lessen damage dealt. It’s a much more tactical choice- or something that you just don’t bother with at all (like yours truly). Long story short, all guns are now created equal. On the topic of item synthesis, that has also been streamlined. Though replaying levels to get materials for synthesis is still essential, upgrading equipment is much easier. Instead of creating two of the same item and then merging them for a higher fee, items gain XP throughout stages. After four stages, they level up- encouraging you to re-play old stages. However, grinding to upgrade gear isn’t the only reason to replay stages- the challenge system has also been tweaked. You no longer need to accept challenges, or are limited to just three of them- after completion of a stage, the game tells you if you have completed challenges and to report them. However, there’s still a knock against this- you can’t complete any challenges while playing a stage for the first time, and unlocks are still staggered. What this means is that even though I got an S rank on a mission first try, I’d have to re-play to first get the B and then A rank challenges done before I’d even have the chance of knocking out the S-rank challenge. It’s better than the way the first game handled the system, but the biggest issue is still there. Stages Spoiler alert: if you found ASG1’s stages to be bland and boring from a platforming perspective, it’s more of the same here. The intro stages take place around a giant ship, and each stage still has a metallic, technological slant to it. The seven main stages are: -a “haunted” manor -sewers -a clinical database halfway in cyberspace -an orbital elevator (the orbital elevator from the first one, but with a completely different layout) -a scrapyard -a highway that has been overrun with purple crystals -and a frozen-over luxury hotel Though they have different color pallets, most of them aren’t that different aesthetically- with the exception of the haunted manor (home stage to the aforementioned teenage masochist boss). Inti Creates is the main development force behind Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night, and this stage seems like a shout-out to that game’s roots. It’s a Victorian-style mansion with breakable stain-glass windows that leave behind money and sometimes even enemies. It has torture devices and traps throughout, and honest-to-goodness zombies that rise out of puddles of blood. And the music is primarily a jazz-organ riff, further cementing the referential atmosphere. Other stages have interesting gimmicks- the cyberspace one has wraparound physics, where bottomless pits spit you back out at the top and walking to one side of the screen can make you come out on the other. Another example is the sewers- the boss is a water-wielding Adept, who starts creating traps throughout the stage. These of course require some puzzle-solving. Though the actual stage layouts themselves are fairly basic (as ASG is explicitly more about action than platforming), they all have their own gimmicks that make them memorable and a step above the first game’s (notice a trend?). Bosses Thanks to the Cautious setting becoming default for Kudos management, bosses have become noticeably harder, with faster and harder-to-dodge attacks (hence why any serious playthrough of a stage should probably turn off mid-stage conversations). They still have fairly straightforward patterns- they’re just much harder to deal with. Stand-outs include the final boss’s first form—who gets crazier the lower health they are and are totally different from anything else you’ve fought. The game also has a good and bad ending system like the first one, though thankfully it's much more streamlined (Gunvolt 2: Streamlined, anybody?) and doesn't require looking things up on the internet to figure it out. Just get the bad ending with both characters, then pop into the last stage as either of them, run through it again, and you're on your way to the good ending. Below I'll discuss the true final bosses, which just so happen to be the easiest and hardest bosses in the game: The Story Inti Creates has always been better at worldbuilding and making characters over telling a straight-up story, with there being several different drama CDs and written side-stories to ASG1 that further flesh out the characters and the world. ASG1’s story was fairly simplistic and nothing special- like its predecessor, ASG2’ story is nothing special. However, there’s an added caveat- familiarity with the expanded universe is basically required to make sense of a couple of the events and references in-game, including the big ending twist. I’m not really going to talk about it’s contents all that much, because as I said it’s nothing special; if you’re familiar with Inti Creates’ other work, the things that you probably do appreciate about their writing is their dedication to worldbuilding and fleshing out characters through in-game interactions and spin-off material. That said… the wait to Gunvolt 3 is going to be long and hard. I almost feel sorry for Copen. Extra Features The game supports the Shovel Knight amiibo as a secret boss. As I have an OG 3DS and don’t have any amiibo, I can’t make comment on this. After getting the good ending, though, you unlock Runner mode- essentially, a mini speedrun mode with all dialogue and equipment bonuses removed (no prevasion). It's challenging, and I'm not quite good enough at the game to really utilize it yet. Those two features may not sound like much, but those are two more features than the original release of ASG1 had. The Character Select Screen Yes, this gets it’s own section. Because yes, despite there being a grand total of two playable characters, it is that awesome. Their artwork on it is awesome, the effect of when you switch between them (especially with 3D on) is awesome, the music is awesome… the CSS in general is more awesome than it has any right to be. Conclusion As a fan of the first game, Azure Striker Gunvolt 2 is an absolute blast and a treat that I would absolutely recommend to fellow fans of the first game. It streamlines and expands upon a lot, making it better than the first game in virtually every single regard. However, if you disliked the first game or are looking for your Mega Man fix, there is nothing here for you. Azure Striker Gunvolt isn’t meant to be an action-platformer throwback- it’s much more focused on action. In regards to the first game, the devs commented that they wanted to prove to themselves that they could create something that was similar yet different; something that was more accessible than Mega Man. Azure Striker Gunvolt is a fundamentally different game from Mega Man and does it’s own thing- something I greatly respect. Inti Creates has proven that they’re a competent developer without Capcom and their IPs. I’m looking forward to Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night, not primarily because it’s a Castlevania throwback (I haven’t touched any game in that series, though I have a passing interest in it), but because it’s being developed by Inti Creates and I know that a game that is developed primarily by them is probably going to be good. I’m just never touching Gal-Gun with a thirty-foot pole. I’m sorry, but no- I will not go there. Random fun fact: Ghauri is one of the adepts who pretty much "raps" non-stap using rhymes. ACE, who have done work for One Piece and (as more of you will probably recognize them from) Xenoblade, is credited with overseeing said rap lyrics. Huh.
  4. While many of us where freaking out over FE Amie's reveal in the April 2015 Japan-only direct, I was freaking out of the announcement of Monster Hunter X. A game which took a series that had it's own logic and felt grounded in it's own way (yes, you CAN swing that sword larger than yourself; no, you will not be doing it with anything resembling "speed") and throws it out the window for hunting styles and arts that make the game super flashy. While initially lukewarm to the concept, I gradually warmed up to it- enough that I was very hyped when it was revealed to be localized as Monster Hunter Generations. Having just passed the 100 hour point, what do I think of it now? -The visuals A lot of people complain about "how much worse" it looks than 4U. I assume that those people played 4U exclusively on a Nu3DS, because it looks a step above it on my OG model. There's significantly less texture fade-in, and in general they brought over the Nu3DS-exclusive 4U textures. The Arena is the most jarring example- in 4U I could clearly see the game rendering the ground textures in a circle around me, while in Generations everything there looks much smoother. This is probably due to the game being locked at 30 FPS- something I actually prefer over 4U's stuttering "60 FPS" on the OG 3DS. Online, when you have all four players dogpiling on a downed monster with a hunter art or two thrown in there's a definite drop, but for single-player and most of online I've found it to be pretty solid. Overall, it's a step up from 4U with me. -The villages 4U was unique in that you could visit multiple villages in singleplayer- villages that tied into it's simplistic, but the best the series has seen, narrative. Generations brought back the villages from the "Portable" side series (localized as "Freedom"... 'cuz taglines?) that the director worked on for the PSP: Kokoto (1st Generation), Pokke (Portable 2nd/2nd G), and Yukumo (Portable 3rd- which was never localized). So, what do I think of them? They have nice music, provide a nice change of atmosphere... and that's about it. They're unlocked right as soon as you hit HR2, all at once. Though certain NPCs in each village do give you quests as the game goes on, they don't add much to the actual story overall. Generations itself introduced Bherna as it's main village; this is where stuff actually happens, and it has the most "plot importance" of them all. Really, I'm not quite sure what they were going for; it's based in mountainous terrain, has a chieftain that looks like an overdressed Scottish highlander, and has... fluffy Alpaccas/Moofahs as a native animal? It feels like a hodge-podge without a distinct theme. The online area itself, the Hunter's Hub feels as unremarkable. It gets the job done, but the tavern theme was dropped... as was arm-wrestling. RIP, you will be missed. -The new upgrade system Generations brought along a new upgrade system for improving equipment. Before, things would be fairly linear- you'd upgrade a weapon, come to a branch, choose one branch, and move on. However, now you can see all the branches from the very start- and as long as you keep upgrading the base weapon, you can go into any branch that you have unlocked regardless of weapon level. Also, material restrictions were lessened- sometimes, you just need parts from a specific monster or bugs to contribute to upgrades, instead of a specific part from a specific monster or a specific bug. With weapons, this is a good thing. But it's not the best idea in the world with armor. You won't be hunting for just armor spheres- you'll need to make sure you have extra materials on hand during upgrading. Also, upgrades seem to cost more than in past games- upgrading equipment is a major money drain late-game. -The areas Generations also brought back returning areas from previous games as well as adding one (technically two, but the latter is used only for one monster) of it's own. So how are they? A mixed bag. The Deserted Island and Misty Peaks fared the best, due to coming from the most previous generation. Outside of the excision of underwater combat (which as a Lance/GL main in 3rd gen I actually liked) warranting the Portable 3rd version of the Deserted Island, they're largely the same as before. Just with the occasional ledge here and there that feels naturally implemented into the environment- something 4U's maps kinda failed at doing. The rest of the maps, though, feel really bland and generic. Okay, the Arctic Ridge isn't bad, but whose idea was it to bring back the 2nd gen Volcano instead of Tri's much more interesting one? The Old Swamp is a first gen area, and feels pretty bland and lifeless- with dull textures to boot. Verdant Hills I have equally non-existent nostalgia for; on top of the drab environment, it's essentially set up as three "corridors" of areas- making it just a tad more frustrating to chase after a monster. The Jurrasic Frontier, this game's new area, is really good. It's very prehistoric themed, and has more than enough variety to keep it away from the "Green hill zone" all too many games start you out in. The returning 4th gen areas are unchanged; I'm fairly neutral towards them. For some reason, though, they cut the Sunken Hollow... the effects of this will be stated later. -The monster roster And by later, I mean now. They cut Nerscylla. Of all the monsters to cut, they cut Nerscylla. Nobody misses Gravios or Congalala, but when it came to 4th gen monsters to cut they just dropped Nerscylla. Not Najarala. Nerscylla. The Primeval Forest is still there... it didn't just exclusively live in the Sunken Hollow. Anyways, the game brings back a lot of 3rd gen monsters and cut some from 4U. The only 3rd gen monsters not to come back are the Great Jaggi (Jaggis and Jaggia are still there) and all other ggi's, Qurupeco, Ceadus/Jhen Mohran, and the arctic crew (Gigginox and Barioth). Outside of nostalgia pandering, there is no reason not to axe the Dromes and Kut Ku and make the Great ggi's and Qurupeco their permanent replacements- they're so much better from a game design department. At least they brought Lagiacrus back, and made it an actually challenge on land. Also, Generations has no subspecies- personally slightly miffed, but it has the largest variety of monsters disregarding subspecies anyways. That can be forgiven. Though Golden Rathian and Silver Rathalos are in there for some reason. The new monsters complement 4 and 4U's additions, bumping up 4th Gen to a comfortable new Monster count of 25 (including small monsters and not including subspecies). They're all pretty unique in their own right. The Great Maccao is the new Great Jaggi/Velocidrome... who actually puts up a fight at first, due to having a wildly different attacking style from either of them. Mizutsune is an awesome monster. Fight, design, music... it complements the Misty Peaks and Yukumo perfectly. Gammoth is kinda underwhelming. It's big and slow... the only way it will hit you is if you're trying to remove your snowman status because it kicked snow all over you. Astalos is one more semi-unique (read: not a Rathalos clone) flying wyvern... probably my favorite fight overall, and definitely in my top ten monsters. Glavenus, the flagship of the game, is a Brute Wyvern that is nevertheless extremely agile and not afraid to take you out with it's massive tail. Nakarkos, the online final boss, is pretty eh. It's music (it's first phase theme belongs in a Metroid game) and the atmosphere is really good... the fight itself is just eh. The only stinker of the bunch of Malfestio. It can infect you with a special "confused" status that inverts your controls for ten seconds and can also put you to sleep. It's just a pain to fight and is quite aggravating. Until you learn all it's tells and are in a group; then, it's complete domination. It's earned the nickname "Molestio" on Gamefaqs and Reddit, for good reason. -The Deviants Monster Hunter Generations introduced the Deviant system as a way to replace subspecies. They're definitely not as numerous (12 in total), but make up for it by being pretty challenging. Their gear also provides the best full sets in the game- they give you two normal skills and (when upgraded to level six) a special dual skill. The problem lays in upgrading them. You can't use armor spheres; you need tickets. Tickets are awarded at the end of each quest; you get two pertaining to the quest's level. You'll need to do each level of quest three times to upgrade your armor. There are ten levels for each Deviant. Do you see the issue? To max out a Deviant armor set, you need to hunt it 30 times. This is far and away the biggest flaw with the system. It's simply too much of a grind that can't be done without spacing things out. I've fought six so far: Crimsonhelm Arzuros, Snowbaron Lagombi, Stonefist Hermitaur, Dreadqueen Rathian, Silverwind Nargacuga, and Dreadking Rathalos. Dreadqueen Rathian is actually the most frustrating, due to leaving poisonous spikes all over the place and in general poisoning you at every single opportunity. Stonefist Hermitaur is probably the most underwhelming; yeah, it hits hard, but it's also a massive target and gets slaughtered by Aerial style. Dreadking Rathalos is the one that I've been farming, and it really isn't too bad. You can't flashbomb it out of the air at first- you need to break one if its wings. The problem I find is that nobody else seems to know this, and never brings flashbombs. So, besides staying in the air much more than normal, it's just a slightly bigger and meaner version of the Rathalos. Silverwind Nargacuga is pretty difficult- it's tail swipes and tail slams send out shockwaves (though if you manage to cut it's tail, they become pathetically small and weak). It's a nice system that needs some polish. -Hunting Styles One of Generations biggest additions is hunting styles. These alter the moveset of weapons, encouraging different playstyles. There are four in total: Guild, Striker, Aerial, and Adept. Guild is basically the exact same as 4U. Striker trims down the movesets of weapons while letting them use more hunter arts. Aerial replaces the normal evade roll with an aerial vault. And Adept gives a very large window during evasion to trigger a run-in that you can follow up on. I freaking love Aerial. I've been maining Aerial SA, and that things makes the 4/4U Inset Glaive look tame in comparison. The vault in sword mode counts as an attack on its own, meaning I almost always get two attacks off for each vault. It's a complete mounting machine, which lets monsters get demolished incredibly easily (my first Kut Ku died in less than three minutes to rank appropriate gear). Aerial Gunlance (at least for normal types) is also a blast to play; jump up, slam down, and full burst. However, it's also kind of a gamebreaker. The aerial vault has invincibility frames that, when taken advantage of, let you jump off of monsters' attacks (I once cut Glavenus's tail off mid-attack by doing that). Though it's not effective with every weapon, certain weapons (read: Switch Axe, Dual Blades, and ironically enough Insect Glaive) are just incredible in it. Also, most monsters can't really attack you while you're in the air- the best defense ends up being a good offense, letting things die super quickly. Adept style is also incredibly good for certain weapons- compared to having to learn the i-frames on your roll and take advantage of situations, it almost babies you. You pretty much have evasion+2's window to trigger the perfect evade- which you are invincible for the entirety off. You can then rush back in and keep up the offensive. It has a bit of a learning curve, which has served as a turnoff for some people- enough that it isn't super popular. The styles system needs tweaking and improvement. As-is, they completely change the feel of the game and- at points -trivialize it's difficulty. I actually think the main series should take something from Frontier's playbook- Style Ranks. Or at least, the actual functionality of it's styles- not the tedium of unlocking them. Each weapon has two alternative styles that drastically alter it's moveset and aren't cookie-cutter at all. For example, Storm Style SnS replaces X button attacks with stabs and lets you sidestep out of attacks- while Storm Style lance removes the charge attack but lets you chain together four stabs instead of three. And then Storm Style Switch Axe (or "Slash Axe F(rontier)", as it's called there) lets you use sword mode energy to literally rush in, and emphasizes switching between sword and axe mode. -Hunter Arts The other big addition Generations made is Hunter Arts. They're a mixture of flashy attacks and powerful support skills, and as with Hunting Styles they're a mixed bag. Certain weapons kind of got screwed in the exclusive arts department- I've seen numerous Hunting Horn mains disappointed with what they got, why Long Sword mains gloat that they've got the best selection in the game. However, I'll illustrate my main issue with Hunter Arts using my main for this game: the Switch Axe. The SA has three arts: Energy Charge, Demon Riot, and Trance Slash. Energy Charge charges 80% of the sword gauge. With the SA, sword mode is almost always more useful than axe mode- this is counterbalanced by each attack in sword mode draining a gauge. Once it hits the bottom, you're booted out back into axe mode. True, you could manually reload 50% of it, but it left you wide open. Energy Charge charges up super quickly (long before you'll run out of gauge), and at latter levels completely refills the gauge and boosts affinity. So, the Axe part of Switch Axe is virtually obsolete. What makes it completely obsolete is Demon Riot. It causes the sword gauge to slowly drain over time rather than with your attacks and also gives an attack buff to sword mode. In Guild and Striker Style, where you can equip more than a single hunter art, you can have both Energy Charge and Demon Riot at the same time. They also stack. Once you have Demon Riot up, as long as you have some semblance of how to play the weapon it will never run out, as you'll keep using energy charge to refill the gauge well before it depletes. Trance Slash is the least useful, but the most flashy: it's a long combo that, when coupled with Demon Riot, has a super powerful finisher. It's the most powerful hunter art in the game, but it's only useful on monsters that have just been knocked over from mounting; as such, I'm fine with it. The issue I have with Hunter Arts are with those that have secondary effects. They make the weapon more powerful by ignoring the technical aspects of it. I already illustrated it with the SA, but I'll give you an example with the Long Sword: Sakura Slash and Focus Spirit. Sakura Slash is a powerful attack that also raises the spirit gauge by one level, while Focus Spirit temporarily stops it from decreasing and charges up very quickly. It greatly de-emphasizes the use of the spirit combo to build up the spirit gauge. Then there's the general purpose Absolute Evasion art for all weapons. It has the quickest charge time in the game and when activated gives you... an evasion with massive invincibility frames. To me, it completely undermines the point of learning the game and learning how to dodge attacks- if it was an emergency evade, okay. But it charges up super quickly, meaning you can easily rely on it and never need to learn how to evade half a monster's attacks. Hunter Arts are a neat concept, but have a questionable execution here and need some polish. Notice a trend? -The Story Monster Hunter has never been about story, and never really cared about it anyway. 4/4U is the only game in the series to try to throw together an actual plot, which on it's own is very simplistic and uninteresting but for Monster Hunter was a huge step forward. Generations doesn't do that. Thanks to the four villages having no real connections, there isn't any real plot. This is perfectly explained by the four "flagships". Except none of them really feel like flagships (besides Glavenus, because he's on the cover and got a Deviant form). They all simply crash a 3* gathering quest and then are fought in 5* later. Glavenus is the worst offender, as it's the offline final boss. Let me back up a bit to 4U; I don't really like it's offline final boss, the Shagaru Magala. It's just Gore Magala, painted gold, brought to you by Michael Bay. But I actually enjoyed the fight as a climax; this creature that you had been hunting, that had been harassing you and disrupted an entire ecosystem, had molted and become something much scarier. It was a final showdown. With rank appropriate gear (the first upgrade to the Rathian Charge Blade, which has elemental phials and fire- what Shagaru is weakest to), it took me about 15 minutes to kill it. In Generations? Glavenus disrupts a mushroom gathering quest and then two quest levels later you take it on, kill it, and go on your merry way. Using rank appropriate gear (the level 2 version of the Astalos Switch Axe- element phial and thunder, something Glavenus resists), I killed it in seven minutes. Glavenus just leaves a bit of a bad taste in my mouth due to how much of an anticlimax it is. -Conclusion I really enjoy Monster Hunter Generations. However, it's definitely rough around the edges. More importantly, though, with the styles and arts it kinda doesn't really feel like a Monster Hunter game to me. There was a pace and balance maintained in the series that feels gone- you're spending less time fighting the monster and more time trying to be flashy. The focus feels as if it's gone from the monster to the player. The Deviants mostly avert this, but those are twelve end-game challenges out of 60+ monsters- the journey there is, at times, almost disappointingly easy. I'm not being super critical because I don't enjoy it; I'm being super critical because Monster Hunter is my favorite game series, and I do enjoy it. It's the most genuinely "fun" Monster Hunter experience I've had. I've experimented with many different weapons and styles, and have multiple end-game armor sets (compared to my 4U endgame strategy of "Grand Mizuha with gemmed in guard +2 and Status Charge Blades 4 life"). I wonder Monster Hunter 5 has in store, and what it improves upon and does differently. Tri launched in 2009 in Japan, and 4 was released in 2013- couple that with Capcom's financial reports listing an unannounced title in the series that's anticipated to sell 2 million units by the end of next April, and Monster Hunter 5 may be an NX launch title for Japan. Generations is simultaneously a celebration of the series and one big experiment with it- I am very interested in what lays in the series' future.
  5. So, a couple months ago I started watching Rooster Teeth's faux-anime web series, RWBY (I say "started watching" when I mean "watched every released episode over the weekend"- 8 hours, in all). The show was hyped up upon its reveal, with Monty Oum at the helm; upon the first Volume's debut, however, mixed reactions caused that hype to fizzle out. That is, until the beginning of this year, when Volume 3 was finishing up. At that point, the show surpassed Red vs Blue in popularity on RT's website. With volume screenings in select theaters, a growing amount of merchandise from places like Hot Topic, (a glorified fan-game that's a crappy excuse of) a hack-and-slash launching on Steam, Volume 4 premiering on October 22 (with trailers for each main character that will be released leading up to it's premier), and freakin' books to extend the universe coming in 2017, the series has definitely taken off. Why, though? Why did it become so popular? Why do people like it so much? I've been thinking about those questions quite a bit, so I have decided to write a review of the three released volumes (which are pretty much all one season, due to length and pacing). I'll be upfront and say the show's flawed- but if you've read the title, you may be able to guess where this is going. I'm going to make this as spoiler-free as possible, with more spoilery comments/thoughts hidden away under the appropriate tag at the bottom. I'll start off with a synopsis, before giving my thoughts on each volume, and then concluding with some general thoughts at the end. What the heck is this show about? Humanity has always been locked in a struggle with The Grimm- basically, think Heartless but based off of real-life animals and with Oni mask-like faces. 4 Kingdoms across the world eventually formed, with defenders to keep The Grimm at bay- Huntsman and Huntresses. These Hunters use specialized weapons to fight The Grimm, but also something else- aura. To quote one character, "It's like a force-field". It's basically used to let characters get slapped around and get up only winded, as well as a quasi-justification for "anime physics" stuff in the show. Technically, it's a "projection of a person's soul"- every living creature has it (and Grimm explicitly don't- hence the Heartless comparison). Those who refine their aura eventually unlock their semblance- a special ability that's tied to their very soul. There's moving so fast that it may as well be short-range teleportation, leaving behind weaponized after-images, turning into an animal, telekinesis on a fairly large scale- you get the picture. The show focuses on four huntresses in particular; first year students at Beacon Academy (basically this universe's Hogwarts), who get involved in something big and end up slowly getting involved in and uncovering an "end of the world as we know it" plan. That's pretty much all I'll say here. So, nothing super original- I straight-up made Kingdom Hearts and Harry Potter comparisons. It's definitely very anime inspired- a Japanese artist did the first concept art for the characters, the show's started to take off in Japan, and what we've seen of volume 4 and the new animation tools almost definitely has it looking like a 3D anime. If you can't stand some stock anime tropes, then yeah this show isn't for you. Moving on... . Volume 1 I'll be upfront: it's a 2-hour pilot that was released in sixteen parts. If you started watching when Volume 1 was first airing and dropped it, I can't blame you. There's no real continuous plot thread throughout the whole season, and the out of combat animation is fairly stiff- the program they used wasn't even meant for animation (Poser 2014), and was used by Monty Oum's insistence because that's what he was familiar with. The natural environments have this simplistic "artistic" feel to them, while the man-made environments are fairly by the numbers. Also, background characters are animated as silhouettes- which are mostly using models of pre-existing characters. The voice acting, though not as bad as what was demonstrated in the original trailers, is a bit amateurish from the main characters. This makes sense, as they didn't have much experience going in- they improve quite a bit for the next two volumes. As I said earlier, it's basically one big pilot- it's best watched in one or two sittings. The point of this volume was to establish the characters and setting. The highlight of the volume is episode 8, with a major fight scene. They put a lot of effort into it, and with how fluid and awesome it turned out to be, it shows. 8 characters, split into groups of four (the fair main character and the four main supporting characters), each taking on a different monster. They went all out- this was Monty Oum's area of expertise, after all. There's bits of action throughout the volume, but it's mostly focused here. The ending of the volume mostly teases things to come- which works nicely now, since you can watch what's to come, but for the people watching when it was first releasing, a tease as a climax didn't work for everybody. On it's own, it's not that great and is nothing special. Volume 2 The show hits its stride here; the volume is made up of 12 episodes, but is three hours long. Now that the characters have been established and been through things together, more is done with their interactions. There's a fair amount of stuff in this volume that made me actually laugh out loud. The plot starts moving a bit and more of the actual antagonists are shown. One of my favorite scenes in particular has the main characters discuss what drives them. One of them, who had already had the most development from Volume 1 to 2, gave an answer that made me respect her a lot- enough that she's my favorite character in the series (and yes, that's who my avi is of). The animation has gotten noticeably better; the environments have improved, and the background silhouettes have been retired. Out-of-combat animation is also smoother, due to the use of motion capture software. The VA's have also grown into their roles, making things on a whole much better than volume 1. There are three episodes with major fight scenes in them: episodes 4, 11, and 12. Of those, 4 is my favorite- you see teamwork between the main characters, a couple side characters get in on things, and overall it's flashy and fun. 11 is a different situation, with a sense of urgency and functioning more as a series of 1v1 encounters. 12- which is the Volume finale -is disappointing. It's too large scale, with too many characters each fighting their own little fight. Instead of any big fights, it feels like it's back and forth between smaller ones in a vacuum- in episode 11, it was still a bit smaller scale and felt like four consecutive fight scenes. And then the worst offender; basically, the cavalry comes and what had been built up as a very dangerous situation ends up getting swept away. It was rushed, but it serves to highlight a problem with the first two volumes' fight scenes: there's no real tension. Either the good guys completely curbstomp the bad guys, or the bad guys curbstomp the good guys only for the good guys to get reinforced. The ending of volume 2, continuing the trend of "all three volumes are really one season", feels like more of a mid-season finale. Granted, it's definitely not as disappointing as volume 1's ending, but it's certainly not climactic. Volume 3 The creator and lead animator/writer Monty Oum died mid-production. Some people feared that the show would be cancelled, but co-director Kerry Shawcross and co-writer Miles Luna stepped up and took over. What happened is the most divisive volume to date. The volume starts out with (and largely takes place around) a tournament. I'll be honest: the first three episodes have what I consider the worst fights in the series. The 4v4 tournament fights have this stilted feeling to them- some blame the lack of Monty's involvement, while I believe this is a problem with the show in general. When you have to focus on different characters each doing their own thing, the flow of combat kinda gets wrecked. This happened at the end of Volume 2, and honestly I didn't even notice it at first this time- a testament more towards how well-choreographed the fight scenes were in the first two volumes than these scenes being bad. Talking is a free action, indeed, and the fighters introduced in the 4v4 segments come off as completely incompetent. Then episode 3 has a 1v1 fight, and... it's my least favorite fight in the series. The animation is stilted, it's not that long, and it relies way too much on effects; parts of it feel like a stereotypical DBZ fight. However, the rest of the fights in the volume range from decent to good; the very next fight, a 2v2, feels just like something out of the first two volumes (the music helped). In general, I'm less of the inclination to say "Monty's gone, therefore the animation sucks now" and think that it's largely "Their lead animator died and they've got a bunch of fights at the beginning that don't really matter in the grand scheme of things; hence they were just getting their bearings and cut some corners". The big thing that happened in this volume is the story. The story really gets moving. The thing is, the first three volumes were mostly written out at the same time. However, Monty Oum decided to add an aspect to the show in this volume that wasn't planned. It's not done perfectly, but it was mostly passable. However, a certain instance makes a few characters feel like idiots, and the antagonists' complete domination feels a bit too complete. It's one plot hole that could easily be missed, but it just doesn't reflect well on certain characters. Oh, yeah. This volume gets dark. It's probably the darkest thing Rooster Teeth has ever put out. A couple side characters die (one of which who pretty much got promoted to main character for part of the season). Other stuff happens to characters, and some people found this turn of events disarming. The thing is, I saw them coming; most of the big stuff was foreshadowed, and the music lyric's were hinting at something big. Though some people didn't like the character deaths, I did. It got the series moving and felt climactic. We also, unfortunately, got to see how Monty Oum had been both a blessing and a curse to the project. There's a Diablos Ex Machina towards the end that gets completely nullified by something that was hinted at but used as a Deus Ex Machina. The Diablos Ex and the aforementioned plot hole really illustrates that Monty Oum is no storyteller. Even though the volume was released after his death, he still had a hand in things. The Deus Ex (which is a reveal of a certain characters' powers) could've been handled very differently and much better involving only the removal of the Diablos Ex. My problem is that people have taken to blaming this on Kerry and Miles (the current director and writer of the series, respectively), when from what we've seen they did make changes, and most who've seen them agree those changes were for the better; they just couldn't change big things, because of the various issues of doing so in the midst of production after Monty's passing. Miles wrote the Chorus Trilogy for Red vs Blue (which, though it has it's detractors, I'd say was solidly written and properly built up/foreshadowed big twists and events), so I have hopes for Volume 4- since they only have a basic outline left behind by Monty, and the changes that they made bode well to me. Though Volume 3 itself had it's flaws, it got the story moving forward and opened up more venues for character development. The things that happened to certain characters will have major effects on them, be it confronting massive barriers or simply moving on. The Soundtrack One of the things that's been consistently great throughout the show has been the soundtrack. Composed by Rooster Teeth veteran Jeff Williams and sung by his daughter Casey Lee Williams, it's awesome. There's pumping alt-rock tracks galore, but there's also variety to it. The lyrics are attuned to specific characters/events- heck, both the volume 1 and 2 intro themes teased the dark turn of events in volume 3. Conclusion RWBY is a show that's taken a while to gain it's footing; it's not flawless by any means, and it's not for everybody. But I've found something that I enjoy a lot and am looking forward to the future of- something that generally doesn't happen with me outside of videogames. As the review title says, half the fun (for me at least) has been watching the show grow and progress- even when it's held back by low production values or the creator's death. Plus, the seeds have been planted for interesting main characters- seeds that are beginning to sprout. It's certainly not amazing, but it's become something almost special to me- it's something that I'm a fan of. There are things that I like, and there are things I'm a fan of. Harry Potter, Halo- I like those things. Monster Hunter, Fire Emblem,- I'm a fan of those things. I recognize it's issues, but enjoy it nonetheless. Now, for those of you who don't care about spoilers/have watched the show, here are my comments on a few certain spoilery things:
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