September 2018 Free Time: Games, Films and Anime

Currently I’m getting stuff sorted for my wedding, so I’ve been busy most of this month but I had this past week off and so I’ve done my fair share of gaming and catching up on films and shows. Here are a few highlights of my month.

Games

Yakuza 0 Cover

Yakuza 0 is still eating away at my time. I just got to the final chapter last night and so no I have every intention of slamming on the breaks and doing a bunch of side content. I’ve completed Majima’s cabaret scene and my focus now is Kiryu’s property management. Still, a great game and currently at 60 hours, the £10 I bought it for was definitely worth it.

Ni No Kuni 2 Throne

Ni No Kuni 2 has entered my life this month but with wedding stuff I haven’t got far with it. I also want to finish Yakuza 0 before I get majorly into this game. So far though it looks great and I’m enjoying the combat. I’m finding it a bit too easy though even on hard mode. Not trying to brag, having looked online it seems that is an issue with this game either being too easy or too many one hit kills on the higher setting. Other than that though I’ve enjoyed the first 10 hours. I’ve also written about another issue I had with the game here: A Game Sin That Needs To Die: Small Text

thumper

I’ve barely put time into Thumper but it has its hooks in me already. The dread, the rhythm, the simple but increasingly complex gameplay has that quick play itch scratched. Sometimes it’s nice to play a game with no story and barely any tutorials. Just jump and feel awesome. The music and sound is second to none. I can’t rate it high enough. It’s currently on sale for just over £6 on the Switch and I highly recommend it.

Films, Shows And Anime

I had a hankering for some South Korean films lately and I had 2 that I wanted to watch for a while. Train to Busan and The Handmaiden.

Train To Busan

Train to Busan is an incredible zombie film. We had a major over saturation a few years back with zombie films but Busan puts a fresh enough spin on it to relieve the tedium. The most intense parts of zombie films is when a main character is trapped in close proximity to a zombie. The premise is that a father and daughter get on a train to go see the daughters mum who is also the father’s ex. A simplistic setup, a zombie outbreak happens at the exact same time and as the train is leaving, zombies are taking over the country and the infection is spreading on the train too. What follows mostly takes place on the train with a wide variety of characters over several train cars dealing with being locked in with an outbreak. Fantastic characters and great set pieces. I was on edge for a large portion of this film and then also chuckling at some of the light hearted dialogue. Violent, emotional and a satisfying watch. Highly recommend.

The Handmaiden

The Handmaiden I saw a year ago. I really enjoyed it and was amazed by its story telling complexity. I wanted my partner to see it and so our week off work was the perfect opportunity. The Handmaiden is a difficult film to explain without spoiling. On my first watch I remember liking the film but not seeing the surrounding hype, not until a certain point in the film. The basic premise is that in the 1930’s a young woman is requested to be the handmaiden to a rich woman. I don’t want to give more than that away as the story developments hold a big part of this film. Even things that occur early on change the initial synopsis in meaningful ways. So, I’m going to make the choice of being a poor reviewer here. It’s one of those films where the least you know about it, the better. Just know that I’ve watched it twice now and want to watch it again in the near future. Probably don’t watch this with family though. Some graphic sex scenes are featured. Highly recommend.

FMA

Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood is an anime that I’ve been watching on and off for a long time. I watched the original Fullmetal Alchemist to completion years ago and I have every intention of finishing Brotherhood. It’s one of those shows that I jump in and out of a lot. It’s a great show and some days I’ll watch 6 episodes and then I won’t watch an episode for weeks. But this week I’ve put in a lot of time. I completed the back end of Part 3 and I’m near the end of Part 4 now. There are a lot of narrative threads happening at the moment which makes me realise that my long stints between episodes is dampening my experience. Too many times I’ve not understood why a character is in a location because I’d forgotten what put them there in the first place. So, this is my commitment right here. I’m putting Brotherhood on this list as my promise to myself to finish it for next months round up. It’s a great anime, funny, full of drama and action. I just need to commit to it rather than starting new shows all the time. Unfinished: Great so far.

Random Recommendation

This could be anything, book, show, experience etc but today I’m going to recommend a podcast. We Hate Movies.

We Hate Movies

We Hate Movies is a film podcast hosted by Andrew, Eric, Steven and Chris who choose a film to talk about each week for about 1 and a half to 2 hours. As their title suggests, they talk about the dredges of film entertainment. From films you have never heard of to recent failures, they cover all bases. Some films you may disagree with like their Mrs. Doubtfire episode but if you listen to it, even if you don’t agree with them they make some good points and are constantly hilarious.

They do impressions a lot and by impressions I mean shockingly bad caricatures of people. I think they are genuinely funny. Their intrinsic film knowledge also means I’m constantly learning new trivia whilst trying to hold back laughter in work. With over 300 episodes on their base subscription and extra content on their Patreon, they have hundreds of hours of entertainment. I’ve listened to each episode at least twice and if you fancy trying them, pick a film you have knowledge of and give them a go. I also will highly recommend their Bee Movie episode and their disturbing Blame it on Rio episode. You’ve been warned though, Rio will put Micheal Caine in a new light for you.

Thank you for reading and feel free to leave a comment if you’d like or suggestions for games, films, shows or anime for me to try. Cheers.

What Is The Worst Game You’ve Played?

We’ve all played our fair share of bad games. It’s a rite of passage. Before you can appreciate a great thing, you need to play with rubbish. I’m curious as to what everyone’s worst game is and why? I have quite a few coming to mind but I think The Simpson’s Wrestling on the PS1 takes the prize.

screen-shot-2017-07-17-at-20-21-15
Shudders

Perhaps not technically the worst of the games I’ve played but on a level of disappointment, it ranks at the top. I love The Simpsons! It is easily in my top 3 favourite shows and although I don’t watch the new seasons, seasons 2-10 are some of my most watched things.

So imagine my joy when I see The Simpsons combined with wrestling. I had several wrestling games including WCW vs NWO Revenge on the N64 so this was a match made in heaven for me. On its release I went into Blockbusters and low and behold there was a copy to rent. The fact that the copy wasn’t rented out seems like foreshadowing now.

Blockbuster_logo.svg
Ahhhh Blockbuster’s. The maker and breaker of my dreams

What a clunky and obnoxious mess. Is the wrestling ring covered in Vaseline? I remember even at my young age realising within minutes that it played like a nightmare. So floaty. But stiff at the same time. Like days old candy floss. But I trudged on as I rented this with my money and I’d be damned if I didn’t get my moneys worth. I should have realised that the more I played it the more I went into the negative value category.

But it’s The Simpsons I hear you say. At least you got the witticisms and dialogue. Yup, all 25 words of it. Their jokes aren’t funny and their grunts of pain get repeated to an insulting degree. Add that to the over the top hit sounds that play with every move and you’ve got a recipe for a mute button.

Still, I persisted and I remember clearing it. This was when I had little money and plenty of time so don’t judge too harshly. Pro-tip though, Willie with the bear traps is the way to go for victory.

I’ve rented a lot of games in my youth and a large portion are hidden at the back of my mind. I wish I could shove The Simpsons Wrestling there but it’s so awful that it’s kept at the front of my brain with all the amazing games I’ve played. Very few games have done that to me and I’m tempted to go back and play it again. I’m not sure why I would do that and what I’m expecting except to verify that yep it’s still a terrible game. But that call of the void is there for that game………maybe send help.

Thank you for reading and as I said up top I’m interested in hearing what games you wish you could erase from your mind so feel free to comment on your own gaming misery.

 

 

Video Game Rant: An Annoying Issue I Have With The Pro Switch Controller

I’m a bit late on the complaint train on this one since the controller in question came out over a year ago, but I’ve really noticed the lack of this feature recently. It’s a simple feature, one that when Apple ignored it, gained a lot of notoriety. I’m talking about a headphone jack.

Headphones
Where can I plug this into?!

I know the system itself has a headphone jack but the Switch is a handheld system and console. It should support the same features in both modes. I play 90% in docked mode and for most games it hasn’t been an issue. Then I bought Thumper.

Thumper is kind of like Guitar Hero in that you can’t really control your character. You have prompts and you hit them at the correct time to advance in the game. It has a very trippy, foreboding feel to it which adds to its simplistic but intense gameplay. This feel is amplified by its music.

Or it would if I could use my headphones on the controller! It’s not a catastrophe but the visuals and sounds in Thumper help to excel the game. They are as integral to this kind of game as Mario’s jump is in Mario games. I want that droning and dread filled music in my eyes so that I can be fully immersed.

 

Thumper
Side note: I really like this game. It’s very unique

My choice of gaming is lazily lounging on the couch looking at the TV. Not with a handheld. I can appreciate the Switch for its versatility in that regard but if I’m at home I prefer the big screen. The PS4 controller has a headphone jack and so does the Xbox One controller. I don’t understand the lack of it in the Switch Pro controller.

When the controller costs the most, I expect it to be at least on par with its competition. £65 I paid at launch for it which is £20 more than I did for my PS4 controller at launch. Not only should it be there for preference sake, but also for the individual lifestyles we all have.

I work odd hour shifts and sometimes I have to work nights. So, when my partner is sleeping and I have to stay up as late as possible for my following night shift, I like to play video games to stay awake. That requires me to use headphones. By not including a headphone jack I can’t play Switch games at night without risking waking my partner. So, I don’t play them.

I know Nintendo’s marketing shows people on the go with the Switch but they need to understand that that isn’t everyone. A headphone jack is a basic component that doesn’t add much cost to a product. It’s a daft decision and one that I hope they rectify in the future or on their next console.

Anyway, moan over. If you feel similar about the Switch Pro controller or have any other niggling annoyances feel free to leave a comment. Thanks for reading.