Posts Tagged 'review'

Working!!: A Review

Working!! is currently in it's first season run, and because it's on my to-watch list, I had to check out the manga.

I'm so glad I did.

The manga is incredibly funny.  The 4koma just captures the humor so perfectly — much better than the anime does.  There's been other shows based off of 4koma mangas, and they never quite seem to get that comedic timing down.  It's always slowed down or drawn out, which in turn kills the punchline.  Thankfully for us, Working!! has an excellent writer behind the scenes, so the jokes do all the magic.

Working!! has the most unique and outlandish cast of characters I've ever seen (for seinen-type mangas).  A girl who walks around with a katana at work?  A chef who blackmails his co-workers into doing menial tasks for him? They all seem so dysfunctional that when you throw them together in a manga like this, it just somehow…works (pardon the pun).  It definitely sets up a lot of jokes.

By far my most favorite character is Mahiru (above).  She has androphobia — a sickness so strong that when men approach her she punches them.  Sota, the main protagonist, is often the quick victim when she appears, much to his chagrin.  But what's even funnier is Mahiru's relationship to Hiroomi Soma, the scheming, blackmailing cook.

Seven volumes have been released since it's debut in 2005, and three drama CDs have also been printed.  There's something good here, and I hope it keeps working for them (pun intended).  I also suggest following the anime, but if you really want to get a taste of Working!!, check out the manga!

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Yatagarasu: A ham-fisted review

There aren't many reviews out for this game, so as a service to the community, please allow me to write a few words about this demo that's been making a few waves.

But first a quick synopsis:

It's the year 20XX, and clones have taken over the world.  Cities have been ravaged apart from endless sibling rivalries, leaving the rest of the world with little to no means for survival.  Resources are scarce.  The entire continent of Japan seems to be on the brink of extinction, until one lone warrior rises above the crowd and announces a tournament to end all tournaments: Yatagarasu.

Clones from all over Japan enter, hoping to grab the top prize for themselves: a year's supply of tofu and chicken.  Hanzo, a ninja warrior on the verge of starvation, decides to put her ninja skills she learned from Naruto to the test.  She also enters in the hopes of finding her own clone, as she is grows tired of being alone.  She is quickly cast away however, as the tournament rules requires would-be contestants to enter in teams of two.

Luckily she meets Jyuzumaru, the last man on Earth.  The two quickly form a team, casting aside their distrust in an attempt to horde the grand prize for themselves.  Since Jyuzumaru also works as a part-time ramen chef, his culinary skills are greatly valued by Hanzo.

Little do they realize what's in store for them…

"Enough traveling!  Let them come!  We shall grind their bones to dust!" Julia, the in game announcer

The announcer just cracks me up in this game.

So let's get to the meat of the game.  On the surface, Yatagarasu looks like your typical fighter, with dashes, specials, and super moves.  It's still in it's demo build, with a tiny roster of six characters — four of which are direct copies of the other.  Ryu must've had twins, because Kou and Kurou are instantly recognizable as the shotokan brothers.  There's also Hina and Shimo, katana sisters-in-crime.  Just like you'd expect, they also share the same moves. 

The game doesn't offer very much variety, if at all.

But the unique part of Yatagarasu involves the parry system.  There's two buttons: one for high attacks, and another for low attacks.  They don't have any animation when you press the button, so it's hard to tell whether or not the other person is anticipating your attack or not.  Parries work on the same principle as Street Fighter: Third Strike, as in they give minor frame advantages on success, and cancel out just about every move in the game aside from throws allowing for a quick counter attack.


The art in this game is magnificent.  While a bit too overtly "stylistic" for my tastes (I'm thinking of Kou and Kurou's win poses for example), it does the job well with unique character designs and sprite animations.  Definitely on par with another beautiful doujin fighter, Vanguard Princess.  The backgrounds are static and don't fit at times with the action in the foreground, but overall it does a decent job of not sucking.  The music is great as well; it fits the stages beautifully adding an extra dimension to the atmosphere to the game.

Overall, the game is passable for fighting fans to indulge until the next big title comes along.  There isn't enough depth to the game as of yet, but hopefully as the next build comes out more characters will be released as well.  I also hope they give the existing characters a bit more personality — I don't really like how the clones play all too similar to each other.  I also think Hanzo needs a better moveset.  Her existing one is pretty crap.  For a star of the series, she's pretty weak.  Plus she's a ninja, why doesn't she have any throwing stars or anything?  Every ninja needs one of those!

You can find the game here, as well as additional info and screenshots.

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Tekken 6: Bloodline Rebellion (a review)

It's been a week since Tekken 6: Bloodline Rebellion has been in my hands, and the wait has been somewhat worth it.  10 long months after T6:BR debuted in arcades all across Japan (and small pockets in North America), we finally get our localized version for the PS3 and Xbox60 consoles and it's wonderfully inept, pun intended.

The question I have right now is, "was it rushed?"  Most certainly not one would believe, but after playing Scenario Campaign mode and the much-anticipated Online mode, I was dismayed and bewildered.  Granted I don't play fighting games for the story so I didn't have any absurdedly high expectations for Scenario mode but Online mode?  What the hell happened here?

Nothing beats playing someone in person but I was hoping to at least be able to play some old Tekken friends over the online mode.  Unfortunately I couldn't even play my friend who lives in the same city as me due to horrible synching problems.  If I can handle playing Resident Evil 5 and Street Fighter IV worldwide, why can't I enjoy Tekken in my own region?

You'd think Namco would have the capacity to at least incorporate some simple mechanics from the Nina Williams "Death by Degrees" spinoff for the Scenario Campaign mode, but noooo, lets keep that horribly awkward mechanic of confusing the analog stick inputs with the rocker pad, yeah!  No Namco, we don't need every single attack in the movelist; just one or two work just fine.  Oh hey, a targeting system.  Woot, thanks.

At least a patch is on the way.

Modes aside, Tekken 6 is the best incarnation of the franchise yet.  With a slew of new moves and gameplay tweaks abound, Tekken remains the undisputed king of balanced fighting.  Even the joke characters can stand their ground with a slew of much-needed attacks that round out their already impressive repetoire of shenanigans.  Namco probably also heard the fans decries of previous versions, and super nerfed the typically strongest characters in the game: the Mishima family.  They're just terrible to play now, albeit still unquestionably solid.

In short, tl;dr, buy the game if you're a hardcore Tekken fan.  Buy it if you enjoy 3D games and have a reasonable amount of friends to butt heads with.  Just don't buy it expecting anything too terribly philosophic.  Remember, masher and master are only a single letter apart.

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Headphone reviews

Just wanted to share some thoughts on some headphones that I'm using at work.  I'm constantly looking for the next set of 'phones that are visually stylistic, and in this case I've found two that really caught my attention.

First up is the Bang and Olufsen form 2 headphones.  Its actually a remake of a really old set of classic over-the-head phones from Denmark.  They're pretty pricey, ($100) but very, very cool in design.  You don't find many of these styles of headphones anymore, which is kind of unfortunate.

The sound is great, no problems there whatsoever.  But some of my gripes with these 'phones include a really long cordjack (nearly 8 ft), ear buds that tend to hurt after lengthy sessions, and a top section that tends to slip a bit.  Overall, I'd give it a B-.

Next is the Audio Technica ONTO line.  These headphones hail from Japan, and as such are not available inside of the states.  At first, I thought these were behind-the-back style headphones, but apparently, thats not the case.  Its cheap too, going for $29.

The sound quality is decent; a little tweaking in your iPod and you're good to go.  There's actually a leather cushion on the earbud, which is a big plus.  Sometimes I thought it felt like they were noise-cancellation 'phones, lol.  They're really light phones, and don't slip at all.  You can twist the earbuds to kind of "fit" into your ear a little better.

The only problem I got was that I can't tell which way to put them on.  Twisting the earbuds is a task at first, but when you get used to it its no problem.  The only thing  I worry about is breaking the top part in half someday, leaving me with some mini-speakers.  Overall score: A.

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Random quote of the day: "I like girls, but I'm more into justice."

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