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.

A Game Sin That Needs To Die: Small Text

Currently I’m playing the JRPG, Ni No Kuni 2 and even though I’m enjoying it, I’m getting very annoyed with its text. It sounds absurd to be that frustrated by text but when it takes away from my experience, there is an issue. I don’t like to give games a point based review on my blog. But if I were to give Ni No Kuni 2 a number out of 10, I’d probably deduct 0.5 from its final score just because of the text. It’s that bad! Here’s an example for you kind reader:

What is that?! Even on my 40 inch TV I struggle to read it. My vision as far as I’m aware is 20/20. I’ve never had any issues with reading things at a distance but with this game I really struggle. You have all that lovely space to use up on screen, whoever made this choice. I understand that you don’t want to clutter the screen because the game looks amazing but I want to read what characters say. I wouldn’t mind so much if each bit of dialogue is voiced but it isn’t. These dialogue boxes aren’t voiced in the dungeons. Not only that but they are frequent. So far they aren’t necessary for the game but they provide nice character interactions and help to fill out the personalities of these people. I want to learn this stuff, I shouldn’t be torn between focusing on where I’m going and reading banter. This is especially annoying if in the middle of combat or trying to do a stealth section. Which brings me to my next point and problem. Here is a GIF from the first stealth section of the game:

I apologise for the blurry text. First time creating one so I might be able to find a clearer source in the future. But! You don’t need to be able to read that text. I just want you to see the problem. The text prompts require super fast reading skills. I haven’t sped that up or slowed it down, that is the default speed. Now as you can imagine, at this point you are trying not to get noticed so you are extra vigilant. A text pop up happens and obviously you want to read it because it could be important and or informative. Your attention is needed to avoid the guards so you do the classic move. Eyes up, eyes down, eyes up, eyes down. You get snippets of text and then check your movements are on point and then back down for more text. On your 3rd attempt at this however, the text disappears. Information is lost forever. I shouldn’t have to be The Flash of reading! It’s a JRPG! These games are notorious for their game length. It’s not like they’re rushed for time so how about extending that to the dialogue boxes.

90% of these won’t be important, I’m aware of that. I should have the ability to experience it thought if I want to. What the characters are talking about though is key to creating this universe it’s set in. It could be Roland’s thoughts on this new world that he finds himself in. That connection between him and me experiencing this world for the first time is vital in my opinion. He is my eyes and voice. Young Evan has just lost his father recently in the game’s timeline. He could be scared of this adventure he is setting out on but longs to be a strong leader like his father. I may miss that dialogue because of the fast and small text if he says it whilst in a dungeon. It doesn’t matter what he is saying, it could be his favourite Monster Munch flavour for all I care! The point is, those words, no matter what they are, flesh out this world and it’s inhabitants. To really delve into the universe, filler text is important. Bioshock got it right with its audio logs. You don’t need to read the subtitles as you have the audio but at least you have the choice. Rapture’s past is brought to life by those recordings. It’s just a shame that something so easy to fix in games, tends to be ignored or unnoticed. An option to change text size shouldn’t be difficult to implement. I’ve not even mentioned people whose sight is worse than mine. Everyone is different and the more options we have in games for different people, the better.

Hopefully you enjoyed my whinge and let me know if you’ve experienced similar to this. Side question, what’s your favourite Monster Munch flavour? I’m a beef guy myself. Cheers for reading!