Collection Haul Special – Tales of Completion

Howdy!!

We’re back to the collection haul posts now, but this one is very special. For those who don’t know, my favorite video game series is the Tales of series. I became a fan ever since my first time playing Tales of Symphonia on the GameCube back in 2004 and have since made it my mission to collect and play every single Tales game out there. My original plan was to get one version of every Tales game, be it a port or a remake in place of the original (for example, I counted Tales of Phantasia: Narikiri Dungeon X as my point for the original.) However, with all this game collecting I’ve been doing lately, I figured I might as well just get all of them. And so, I did just that, plus some that I didn’t really need for the completion of the collection, but they are nice additions nonetheless. Let’s get right to it!

These are the last regular ones I needed. Starting us off is Tales of Innocence R for the PS Vita. I remember this game getting a lot of buzz when it was first announced, quite possibly more than the original on the DS did. Though, I imagine that was due to how popular the original is. This version is primarily a graphic and mechanic overhaul, though a new animated opening video with a new song was added, as well as two new playable characters. Unlike Tales of Hearts R, this game was never released outside of Japan. I was originally going to wait for the possibilities of an English version, but I doubt any sort of localization is coming. Granted, if one does come, I’ll be sure to get it. Otherwise, I’ve got this copy to play. And yes, I did go out of my way to get the “PlayStation Vita the Best” version. Why? I don’t really know. The only benefit to seeking out a “the Best” version of a Japanese game is the lowered price as well as the chances of getting the game in brand new condition. I bought the game off of Amazon, which for me was a nice throwback to how I imported games before I knew about Play-Asia.

Speaking of which, the game right next to it is Tales of Rebirth for the PSP, which I bought from Play-Asia, where most of my importing of Japanese video games has taken place, adding a teensy bit of extra significance to me. I also own the original PS2 version, which is the one I played through. Story-wise, it felt very different from the standard Tales game. The tone was darker and even the music sounded like it was being played at a lower octave. Despite this, the game looks wonderful and maintains a good color palette like most other Tales games. The gameplay is just as fun too and the “3-Line” system works well in making the game feel modern, to a degree. From what I understand, this PSP version doesn’t add much new content, though there is an arena now. That seems pretty cool, if I do say so myself. Like Innocence R, I did deliberately go for the “the Best” version of the game, though this time it was primarily due to the price and me not wanting to hunt down a standard version. This is definitely one game that I would recommend, and there’s even a multi-language fan translation in the works!

Third in the top row is Tales of Graces for the Wii, which I got off of eBay, like I have not only been doing lately for most of my game collecting lately but also I did for a few Tales imports when I was starting off collecting Tales games. Tales of Graces is probably my third favorite in the whole series, right under Eternia and Abyss. As such, I wanted to get the original Wii version, especially since the version we got in English was the updated PS3 version. That being said, the Wii version obviously is lacking the new content from the PS3 version, namely the extra story. It should also be noted that the Wii version had to be recalled due to the original release of it having a bunch of bugs and glitches. At the moment, I have no easy way to play imported Wii games, so I can’t check my copy to see if it’s one that needed to be recalled. Although doubtful, I suppose there’s no way for me to know either way. Not that it matters to me, mind you. I bought it for the collection, since it’s my third fave. Technically speaking, it wasn’t part of my main list, though I went ahead and got it so I could complete this collection. It’ll be interesting to hear the Japanese voice-over and see how the game looked completely in standard definition, for sure. What I loved about this game was the story and how the friendship trope that the Tales series is known for was used in this particular game. I did a video about this game on my YouTube channel, that was part of a series of reviews of every Tales game, though since it’s Tales I give it special treatment. The video is old but my opinions on the game haven’t changed, so if you want to know every detail about what I think, then there you go.

Starting the bottom row is Tales of Phantasia: Narikiri Dungeon for the Game Boy Color. This is the first spin-off to the Tales series and the first of the Narikiri Dungeon trio. The game was also remade for the PSP as Tales of Phantasia: Narikiri Dungeon X, which I also have and bought several years ago. Generally, I prefer the remake on the PSP over the original, because the original was made as a turn-based RPG that, while other people may enjoy, is not only not my cup of tea but also very un-Tales like. I wanted to get the original originally because I felt like it would be cool to have, and like Tales of Graces on the Wii, it wasn’t technically part of the main list but got bumped up. Oh, and I bought it on eBay. Sorry, I forgot how important that detail was.

Next up is Tales of the World: Summoner’s Lineage for the Game Boy Advance, also bought on eBay. This one is the Tales series’ first foray into the turn-based strategy genre. I haven’t played much of it, but story-wise it’s another spin-off to Tales of Phantasia. My friend, and fellow host on my podcast, Ryo has this joke where it’s his favorite. Haven’t heard that joke in a while though. I’ll bring it up the next time I talk to him.

Finally, we have Tales of Phantasia for the PlayStation. It’s a remake of the original version on Super Famicom and also serves as the base for the two enhanced ports on PSP that came after. The general consensus among fans is that this version is the best one to play, though I’d argue Tales of Phantasia: Full Voice Edition on the PSP is superior, primarily because of the battle sprite upgrades and the fact that all major characters besides the playable ones are fully voice acted (hence the title.) This is the strangest Japanese PS1 game I’ve ever seen, it’s more like a plastic clam-shell rather than the standard CD jewel case. Because of that, I was nervous buying it, but I saw several listings with different pictures of the same case style, so I can only assume that the game was sold like this. Like Innocence R and Rebirth, this is the “the Best” version and like most of the games listed so far, I bought it on eBay… I promise this isn’t a new trend for future haul posts. Anywho, I enjoyed Phantasia when I played the Game Boy Advance version back when they came out in English. Among most fans, the GBA version is not that popular, but I liked it. That being said, I’m happy to have this version in my collection.

This is one of the surprises for this haul. For those who don’t know, this is a boxed copy of the failed Tales of Eternia Online, which ran in the mid-2000’s. Most western fans were unable to play it, due to IP blocking, but those who got in didn’t play for very long, as far as I can tell.  Even then, there was a monthly fee after the free trial, which I think lasted a week or two, I don’t remember. I was only lucky enough to make it to the title screen back when a download was available, so I never played it myself. From what others have reported, the game was one of those point-and-click style games that used the function keys for attacks once a battle starts. I was pumped for it back when it was announced. I wanted to play it really badly. Even after the game and website closed down, I still had the installer. Unfortunately, I lost it as I moved computers over time. I wasn’t planning on getting it at all, but I found it for sale on a Japanese Yahoo Auction listing. My friend and fellow Abyssal Chronicles writer DimensionSlip helped me out as a proxy buyer and sent it over once it shipped. This was my first time doing the whole “getting a buddy to buy you stuff in Japan” thing and it was a safe and painless experience. The box was in good condition as well, with the discs still wrapped in their cases. A special DVD and card set was also included. I haven’t tried installing the game from the disc, though I imagine I would need an older computer, one that at least runs Windows XP. I’d love to see a private server for the came come around, though I think it would need to be heavily reworked in order to be worth while. Slip sells various Tales merchandise on her Tumblr page, so be sure to check it out if you want to grab anything. Thanks again, Slip!

Now this bad boy is the highlight. What you see there is the Tales of Eternia Premium Box, which is basically the Japanese collector’s edition. Before there were the different special editions by Famitsu and whatnot, Namco would produce special editions of the Tales games, though seemingly on rare occasions. In fact, I believe the last one they did on their own was the Link edition for Tales of Hearts R. There was also a special edition for Tales of Destiny: Director’s Cut on the PS2, which I have (zing!) Other than those two, it’s been special editions made by Famitsu or other publications. I don’t know if this was the first special edition ever produced in the series, but it’s definitely one of the earliest. Included in the box is the game (obviously), a cool Quickie clock, a figurine set, a design book, and a cool lanyard. I filmed an unboxing video for it, so if you want a better look inside, then you should give it a watch. The only negative thing I can even come up with is that the amount of goodies included in the box is small, overall. That being said, since this is one of the first special editions they ever made for the Tales series, it’s understandable why they wouldn’t include a thousand little knick-knacks. Despite this, I’m glad to finally have it in my collection.

And that’s a wrap! It feels surreal knowing that I have all the Tales games. Though, technically speaking, there is the CGI version of Tales of Hearts on the DS, though the only thing that is different is the cover art and the anime scenes are replaced with CGI ones. Otherwise, it’s the same game as the anime version. I’m planning to get it anyway, though. Same with the PS4 version of Tales of Zestiria. I plan to get the Collector’s Edition so I can get the “Dawn of the Shepard” OVA dubbed (more on that in a future haul post.) If I wanted to be even more persnickety, there is a rare Chinese dubbed version of Tales of Destiny 2 that I think would be fun to have, as well as that special edition of Tales of Legendia that was only released in South Korea. Those are pipe dreams, however, as I’ll likely never find copies of them. Even still, I’m very proud to have (almost, technically) every Tales game.

The next several posts for the foreseeable future will in fact be more hauls. I know I said I didn’t want to do too many back-to-back, but they are piling up and there’s no reason why I shouldn’t post about them. Maybe there will be a non-haul post somewhere in between, but until then you can count on semi-regular haul posts.

Thanks for reading! See ya next time!!

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Early Impressions – Tales of the Rays (iOS)

Hi there! It’s been a while! How’s it going?

Apologies for the lack of posts lately. I’ve been sidetracked by other interests (including a random binge of Gilmore Girls) and busy with life and other projects. But you’ll be happy to know that I’m breaking the no-post-streak by doing the exact opposite: writing a post. Wow, that was kind of long-winded.

Anywho, the plan here is to start another series of potential posts in which I give my early impressions (hence the name) of something, typically a game. My progress in these pieces of entertainment will vary from barely getting into the first battle to being a quarter of the way done. And like all my other posts, they will be sporadic. For this first one, I will be talking about my experiences playing Tales of the Rays for the first time!

Tales of the Rays is a console-style game for mobile devices made by Namco Bandai in the Tales series. It was announced back in December of 2015. Post-launch, it remained in Japan for a time, until it was finally released globally in 2017. I played the iOS version on my iPhone 5S.

While the graphics are very much of the “budgeted phone game” quality, the game looks good visually. If I were to compare it’s graphics to an actual game system, I’d say it looks like a PSP game in HD, which is fitting for the smart phone hardware. As you can see, there is an anime intro as well. I believe it’s done by WIT Studio, who did the animation for Attack on Titan. It feels like a mix between the simpler style of Production IG’s animation for Tales and the newer, more vibrant animation from Ufotable. Because of that, the animation reminds me of the ones from Tales of Innocence, though the proportions of the characters is more in line with something akin to Tales of the Abyss. It works well for the smart phone hardware and assumed smaller budget.

One aspect that is definitely from the modern era of Tales is the script. Characters speak in a highly stylized fashion that is not only contemporary but also personalized to each of their personas. I didn’t notice any typos either, so the text itself was structured and edited well.

Mileena in particular was written well. I liked her friendly, bright tone and diction. You can tell she and Ix have a long history with each other and that she trusts him greatly. I found it refreshing to see such chemistry in the series, as I feel that previous relationships between the male and female leads were really only up to the “we’re childhood friends but not like BFFs so we can’t be that quirky” level before becoming romantically involved. This may be due to the writing, however. It would be interesting to see how the original Japanese script was written, as this English adaptation is very clearly punched up for style.

The only criticism I have with this game at the moment is that it moves a little too fast. Within an hour’s worth of play, the game started throwing heavy plot points at me that, while enticing, fell a little flat. I feel like I don’t have a clear understanding of the world around me and what’s entirely at stake. Some shady lady named Gefion gave a fair amount of exposition regarding the big conflict of this game, but it came across like it only affects a small group and not the world at large. That being said, these kinds of stories tend to build themselves that way, so it’s not a major criticism, certainly not one new to the Tales series. I was most interested in Ix’s backstory involving his accident with using a mirrist arte that hurt the people around him, including his gal pal Mileena. That alone makes me interested in seeing the rest of the story.

Okay, maybe I have one more issue. The drop rates for this game seems a bit unfair. I spent like a bajillion of the prism stone things, and what do I unlock? A bunch of weapons and… Chester. From Tales of Phantasia. I mean, that’s kind of cool, I guess? I know that I’m not going to get who I want every single time, but I think there should be separate summoning things for weapons and characters. It’s not fun to grind a bunch of stones for my hero collector game and, you know, not collect heroes. My only thought is that they wanted to avoid instances where players would get multiples of the same character, but perhaps they could have done it to where you get a bonus or something? Or maybe the drops get lesser and lesser with each character you get? I’m just spit balling here, but spending a bunch of prism stones just to get one character seems to be taking the hero collecting game a little too far.

Overall, I was pleasantly surprised. Despite being on mobile, the game runs and plays well. Obviously it would be perfect with a controller, but this is certainly doable. The writing was very tasteful and fun to read. The plot hooked me, despite trying to be fast like Sonic, and even then it was really just the one thing with Ix’s past. The only real cocnern I have with this game is the drop rates and how the hero collecting aspect of the game is handled, but it’s not a major deal breaker. I’m sure they give you guest characters to use throughout the story, if not permanently. This was a nice little Tales appetizer that will hold me over until the next big one is announced, whenever that is. I can’t wait to play more–

Oh…

… Anyway, thanks for reading! The next post will be another collecting haul, which I may start doing more often so that I can be more active, as those posts are pretty simple and will have some shorter chunks as we go along. It’ll be another Tales themed one, due to events I discuss in a video I posted recently about the state of the series. It’s an opinion piece for the most part, so I hope it’ll be interesting to you readers. Otherwise, I’ll see you in the next post!

Have a good one!

Collection Haul Special – Christmas 2017

Merry Christmas! Er, Happy New Year! Er, happy whenever you read this!

I normally try to avoid posting two hauls back-to-back, but this is a special occasion. It’s a bit late, but in this post I will be showing the things I got for Christmas of 2017, though not everything, for I got some non-collectable things as well. If you must know, the other stuff I got were a couple sweaters, an organic hygiene kit, and a hand-held back massager. But that’s not what you’re here for, no no no no no. You, kind reader, are here to see the cool stuff I got. Let’s get to it!

Firstly, I got a pretty cool PS4 controller. It’s one of those clear ones except it’s red. I also have a controller like this for my PS2, which is my current favorite controller for that system (besides that Goku controller that lights up.) There was also one for the PS3, though I never got it. I believe that one was a Target exclusive. As far as I know, this one for the PS4 isn’t exclusive to any particular store. It’s based on the newer PS4 controllers that have a small line of light that comes up at the top of the touch-pad, for what it’s worth. Definitely a nice looking controller.

I also got Code Geass: Akito the Exiled on DVD/Blu-ray combo pack. I’ve had my eye on this series ever since it got announced, though it took a while for anyone to pick up the license. Thankfully, FUNimation did and dubbed it using their typical pool of actors, though I believe any returning characters are played by their original actor. The case felt thicker than I would normally expect. When I opened it up, I realized it was because it came with a set of post cards featuring the different characters. That’s a nice bonus, if you ask me. I haven’t watched the show yet, but I’d like to soon. I still need to finish R2. Maybe in the near future.

Next is the complete collection of Samurai Jack on Blu-ray. It’s one of my favorite, possibly even my all-time favorite, cartoons. It’s made by the same guy who made Dexter’s Lab, which I loved, growing up. The remastering of the first four seasons on this set are wonderfully done. Season five looks good too, though it was already in HD to begin with. There are also plenty of bonus features, mainly behind-the-scene interviews and showcases. My only complaints are the packaging, as the individual cases don’t have the logo on the side or cover so it doesn’t look very good to display on their own, and there isn’t a way to access the menu easily while watching an episode of special feature. You have to either wait until whatever you’re watching is over or exit out of the DVD entirely. This doesn’t sound like a big deal, but if you’re trying to sample things like me, it is a bit annoying. I’d still recommend it regardless. It’s a very well made cartoon that I’m glad got a proper ending in 2017.

Now we’ve got some action figures! As you’ll find out in future haul posts, I started dipping into my figure collection. The first one in this batch is of Wolverine from X-Men in his brown and orange uniform. I believe this figure has been released a couple times, this one in particular is of the Marvel Legends Classics line, where they are releasing modern versions of the early Marvel Legends figure line with a reprinted card back. Wolverine is probably my favorite super hero and so I wanted to get some figures of him. I also have another Wolverine figure in the Marvel Legends line, though it is of his modern yellow and blue uniform (and even then, I think the figure is a repaint of another.) They are also making a classic “tiger stripe” version soon, so I’m looking forward to that. Anywho, this figure is nice, though mine is a bit loose in a couple areas. His hands are not on very good and his masked head doesn’t stay on very well at all. I ended up displaying him with his mask off, which fits better for some reason. I guess he’s my maskless Wolverine figure now.

Below him is Final Form Frieza, of the newly release Dragon Ball Super Dragon Stars line, which is an American figure line by Bandai. As soon as I heard the initial news, I decided for myself that I would collect them all, which you will see in the future. In terms of articulation and sculpt, this figure is the best out of the entire line so far. Frieza is very poseable and looks great. Easily the best American made Frieza figure to date.

And then we have Super Saiyan Vegeta of the same line. He looks good and his hair has a shine to it. My only complaint (and my only one for the entire line except Frieza) is that he doesn’t have very good shoulder articulation. The joint only allows his shoulders to go up and down and turn, though you can’t rotate it like you could on a ball jointed figure. Other than that, it’s a decent figure.

This batch is random small figures I got. The top one is one of those “blind bag” things that houses a Dragon Ball key chain. I ended up getting Krillin, as you see below.

Under it is an amiibo, specifically Urbosa from The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. What’s cool about her is that using the amiibo features in the game, a sword and shield is one of the guaranteed drops. This is useful for me, as I’m not a fan of the constant weapon breaking in the game. I also like using the same type of weapon for these kinds of games. I mean, I know I could just deal with it and use another one of those skeleton arms with a dinky little leather shield, but like… I don’t really want to.

Next up is this cool little Classic Sonic figure by TOMY. It’s styled slightly like the Jazwares figures, but with parts that don’t break or fall off. What’s cool about this figure is that it has translucent blue fur. The only con I see with this and the other TOMY Sonic the Hedgehog figures is the articulation, which the Jazwares figures actually did better in my opinion.I’ve currently got him still in the box, on top of my Super Battle Collection Super Saiyan 4 Goku figure.

Lastly (for this batch, at least), we have a Lego Ninjago mini-figure. According to the packaging, it’s from the movie, which I believe is coming out soon. I haven’t followed the Ninjago series but I do remember enjoying the old ninja Lego sets. These days, I don’t build much, but I do like collecting the mini-figures. I’ve already got him set up in my spot for Lego stuff. Rather, one of my spots for Lego stuff.

This is the final batch, which is all fine reading. At the top is volume two of the Dragon Ball Super manga that my buddy Stan got me. I’ve already read it too; it covers the remainder of the Universe 6 arc and the beginnings of the Future Trunks arc. It’s a well written comic. You might be wondering where volume one is, but you will also be happy to know that it will be covered in the next haul post. I dunno how it planned out that way. I just got lucky. Thanks again, Stan!

To the right of it is actually something I bought for myself, which is volume 12 of UQ Holder. The story is starting to get complicated and I look forward to reading the volume when I get the chance. Based on the cover, I’m guessing we’ll get to see some returning characters from Negima. Good stuff.

At the bottom left is Book II of The Elder Scrolls Online books. This one is specifically about the lore of the game. Being technically a prequel, I was intrigued by how the lore has changed since the earlier games. The pages have an old tome look to them which makes reading it all the more enticing. I’m interested to see if anything that was established in the older games has been changed.

Last but not least, we have this cool European magazine on the history of Medieval times. I’m a sucker for the subject, so I’m excited to see more of the facts about the time period. Publishing-wise, the magazine feels high quality and looks vibrant with its colors. I’m definitely going to be studying the content of this bad boy and looking at all the cool pictures.

That’s all I got this year. It was a good Christmas. We also have a semi-tradition of getting dinner out at a T.G.I Friday’s, but we didn’t do it this year. I actually don’t remember what we did for dinner, it may have just been leftovers from Christmas lunch. We went to my sister’s house and opened presents there. I also played with their Echo Dot, and by played I mean I got it to recognize FLOW’s Cha-La-Head Cha-La and a bunch of audio books. I’m proud of myself. I also got to see my nieces which was cool, though if I’m to be frank, the second biggest highlight was that their kitten was apparently comfortable enough with me to sit on my chest while I sat on their sofa. It was a fun time.

Thanks again for reading! Sorry if the extra haul post was a bit much, though the next one will be a game first impressions post, so that will be different.

See ya next time!

Collection Haul #5 – Lots of Anime

Greetings again! Are you ready to look at my stuff? I hope so, because I do indeed have stuff!

It was around the time of when these pictures were taken that I decided to dip into my anime collection, as there were a few holes I wanted to fill. I also wanted to try and “complete” some of the game collection, which for me means getting all the games I want for that specific console. Because of that, for at least the next few haul posts, you’ll see a fair amount of games in bulk for one console. As far as the anime collection goes, it’s at a standstill currently, but I have my eye on a few other ones that are coming out soon-ish. But enough planning, let’s get to the action!

This is one of two small game additions for this haul, which is a mix of both new and old games. The first one is Samurai Warriors: Spirit of Sanada for the PS4. Honestly, this game was great. The action was fast paced and the story, surprisingly, drew me in, which is something I don’t usually expect from any main Warriors game. There was also plenty of historical information on the characters and background of the era and wars. I could go on and on, but luckily for me, I’ve already reviewed the game in video form. I’ll just let that do the talking. Definitely a recommendation from me, especially if you aren’t into the typical Warriors games.

In the middle is Sword of Vermillion, an old action RPG for the Sega Genesis. While not necessarily on my main list of games to collect, I had it on the Wii Virtual Console so I wanted to get a physical copy as well. My cosplayer friend Celine Jules was selling off part of her collection and I saw she was selling Sword of Vermillion complete in the box, so I hit her up and bought it. This is my second experience buying retro games off of Facebook and so far it’s worked out very well. The game worked and was in good condition. The trick is to ask plenty of questions and ask for pictures of the condition, if they don’t give it to you already. As a fellow gaming enthusiast, I knew Celine had been taking good care of her games. As for the game itself, I haven’t played much, but the gameplay is fun and unique i my opinion. I like how you explore the fields in first person and then go into an isometric view for combat. I’d love to play more in the future. Thanks again, Celine!

Thirdly (Oh wow that’s actually a word? Thanks WordPress), I got Dynasty Warriors 6 for the PS3. This was the second Warriors game I ever played and the one that got me into the series completely. It hasn’t aged too well, but it still plays decently, though not as well as DW7 onward. Probably the biggest foul this game made was taking away Xiahou Dun’s sword and replaced it with a long mace thing, which would end up being Pang De’s weapon for his return in Dynasty Warriors 7 Xtreme Legends and the games that followed. I’m aware that the game was released on PS2 with some updated content (because that makes a lot of sense), but I only played the PS3 version and since I also own Dynasty Warriors 6 Empires, which included everything the PS2 version had, I think it would be interesting to see how certain features and characters were in this original version. I dunno if I’ll ever play through it to completion, but I’d like to play more and unlock Cao Cao or something.

Here’s where the title of this post comes into play. In this batch, I bought a butt-load of anime. Most of them came from eBay, as specific sets were rarer than others. The first one is the first Tiger & Bunny film, The Beginning, on DVD. From what I understand, it’s part of a retelling of the first season and part original story. Tiger & Bunny is one of my favorite anime from the last decade and I’d recommend it highly, both in sub or dub; you really can’t go wrong. I haven’t watched it yet, but I plan to soon. I also have the second movie, for those who are wondering.

Next is the Dragon Ball Z specials Bardock: The Father of Goku and History of Trunks double feature on DVD. I already owned the two specials individually, but I wanted to get the double feature version because it includes the “U.S. Broadcast” music score and, since it’s a double feature, it’s just one package so it helps me save space on my Dragon Ball shelf. Both of them are good watches and they give more depth to the lore of the series, especially History of Trunks, considering it was in the manga. This double feature set is difficult to come by at a good price, likely because they were released again as individual DVDs and there was also a Blu-ray version, though it was back when all Blu-ray was for Dragon Ball was a plain upscale without any additions (say what you will about the current season sets, but they do look a bit cleaner and are at least nicer looking than the “orange bricks.”) Besides the fact that in includes two movies in one thing, the other benefit is the cool steelbook case, though it’s a bit scuffed up, as you can see.

After that, I got the Fullmetal Alchemist Brotherhood OVA Collection, which is a DVD/Blu-ray comb pack. This is a collection of short original animations about Fullmetal Alchemist Brotherhood. I haven’t watched it yet, mainly because I haven’t watched all of Brotherhood yet. Like the DBZ special double feature, the set is rare, but primarily because FUNimation gave up the license to all of Fullmetal Alchemist, so the set is out of print, meaning they aren’t making anymore. So if you’re a fan of the series, I’d say pick this up just on the grounds that if you find it for a good price, it’s likely the only chance you’ll have.

At the end of the top column, we have Fate/Zero season 2 on DVD. Fellow anime collectors know that all of Aniplex’s DVDs cost more than other company’s releases. Even though this is an older set, the price was still the same, at around $60 or so. This set, along with its season 1 counterpart, features both the original Japanese audio and the English dub. The show itself is great with plenty of action, drama, and tension. Being animated by Ufotable, the visuals are also beautiful. If you like the Fate series, you’ll definitely like this one.

Let’s go back to FMA for a bit, because the next anime-related thing I got was the Fullmetal Alchemist Brotherhood movie, The Sacred Star of Milos, on Blu-ray/DVD combo pack. I remember FUNimation hyping up this movie while it was being worked on, but I don’t think it got any theatrical releases, besides convention showings. I plan to watch it in the future, probably after I finish Brotherhood, which I also have on DVD.

Speaking of movies, next up is the InuYasha movie collection on Blu-ray. This is a relatively newer set that collects the four movies in one package on two Blu-ray discs. I assume they are upscaled rather than remastered, though. There was also a DVD version, but it was more expensive and it was one of those thin flip-out sets, similar to the “orange bricks” of DBZ, and the old InuYasha sets, as a matter of fact. I’ve only seen two out of the four movies, but I hope to watch the rest soon (you’ll be hearing this a lot… And not just in this post regarding anime.) What stood out to me was how different the animation looked in comparison to the regular show. I don’t remember much of the story, but I will probably re-watch the two I watched as a kid so I’ll get a refresher then.

Finally, we have Code Geass R2, the second season of Code Geass, on DVD, specifically Bandai’s “Anime Legends” version, which is out of print. The reason why I got this one and not FUNimation’s recent release is because I had Bandai’s version of the first season and I wanted to get the same version of the second so they would match. I was watching the first few episodes to see if I liked it enough to get the second season. I’m not normally one for giant robot shows, but there are exceptions, Code Geass being one of them. For me, it was mainly hype that got me into it when the show aired on Adult Swim back in the day. The character designs by CLAMP are unique and fun to look at. Story-wise, it doesn’t do too much for my tastes, but it’s decent for what it is. I’ve only seen the first episode of R2, so it will be fun to see how it turns out, especially with a third season coming soon.

No we get back to games. All but one in this batch were purchased from my local Wal-mart, for what it’s worth. This image is about two total trips, I think. No, not in the same day, before anyone asks.

Firstly, we have Dragon Quest Heroes II for the PS4, which is the only one I got that’s not from Wal-mart. Gameplay is more or less the same as the first one, but there is now an open world that can be explored. It makes the game feel more like an RPG with a Dynasty Warriors battle system. The first game did this as well, but it’s to a whole new level in this sequel. I haven’t played much yet, but I’ve enjoyed what I have so far. I picked Lazarel as my main, due to his double swords. He’s very fast and fun to play. I believe Lucius and his crew from the first game were also unlocked for me, since I had completed save data of the first game, so hopefully I’ll be able to play as them soon.

Next is Yooka-Laylee for PS4, the first of the Wal-mart games. This game is special in that it is developed by former members of Rare, specifically the ones who made Banjo-Kazooie. They made a Kickstarter fundraiser and developed the game using donations. Te game has been out for a some time, and while reviewers weren’t too fond of the game, I think it’s decent. I think fans of the 3D platforming genre would be better off with Super Mario Odyssey (which will be coming up in a later post), but it’s a fun game for those who miss the old Banjo-Kazooie days.

I also got Kingdom Hearts 2.8 HD Final Chapter Prologue on PS4. My local Wal-mart had the limited edition, which came with a neat little pin, so I got that version. I haven’t touched it yet, but the main draw for me was the special prologue to Kingdom Hearts III, in which you play as Aqua from Birth by Sleep, in what is likely a prototype engine for the upcoming KH3. Also included is an HD version of Dream Drop Distance, a game originally released for the 3DS. So I guess by buying this version, I was able to get one of the games that was one my 3DS list. That is, before the HD one was announced. It’ll be a good appetizer for Kingdom Hearts III in probably 5-10 years.

Making it to the second row, we have Nintendo Land for the Wii U. A digital version came with my Wii U, but I wanted to get a physical version to not only free up space but also be able to still have a copy, should something ever happen to the digital version. The game itself is a collection of Nintendo themed mini-games. My favorite is probably the Zelda one, because i can pretend to be a cool guy with a sword and do cool sword guy things, such as slashing and trying to do the samurai-sword-sheath motion like a true warrior. I don’t play it much, but if I ever do jump back in, that mini-game will more than likely be the one I will play.

Last but not least, I got Super Mario 3D World, also for the Wii U. Like Nintendo Land, this game came with my Wii U as a digital one, but I wanted a physical copy for the space and whatnot. Gameplay-wise, it’s like an expanded version of 3D Land with more characters and levels. If I could compare it to other Mario games, I’d say it’s like Mario 64 meets Mario 3, meaning that it’s a 3D environment with a point A to point B level structure. I enjoy the game a lot and even streamed it on Twitch (though this link is of the YouTube archive) so I would recommend it if you want a 3D Mario game but something a little more focused.

Aaaaaaaand… We’re done! Like I said before, I still have plenty of haul posts to come for the future. The next post will actually be another haul post, but Christmas themed, as we’ll have been a few days past it by the time this post goes live, though it’s taken me almost the entire month to write it. The one after that will be Tales related, so I hope you will enjoy it as well!

Until net time!

Extended Thoughts – Dragon Ball XENOVERSE 2 (DLC Pack #1-4)

Welcome back! This is going to be the first of another new series of posts, where I talk about a game… that I’ve already talked about elsewhere. My idea is to go back and look at a game’s extra content, like DLC or an extra mode that you can unlock post-game or something. Depending on the game and the extra goodies it has, certain posts will be shorter than others, but I will do my best to hit as many points as I can. In this first one, I will be talking about the DLC packs for Dragon Ball XENOVERSE 2, specifically the major ones that included more story missions, though I will go over the details of the DLC before the major story ones as well.

Of course, before reading onward, it may be a good idea to watch my video review of the regular XENOVERSE 2 game. In the review, I cover the basics and my general experience playing the game on my PS4. Mechanic-wise, the DLC doesn’t add anything that wasn’t already changed in the patches, but if you’ve never played XENOVERSE 2 then it might be more interesting to read if you know about the game at its basic version.

The character choices were mostly logical. Obviously, Namco would take a lot from Dragon Ball Super, which I think was a good move. At the same time, as a hardcore fan, I love seeing anybody and everybody in the Dragon Ball universe. At this point (it’ll make sense near the end of this post) the only non-Super character released was Bojack from the ninth film. He is a good choice, but I was hoping for more. Besides him, I was the most curious about Super Saiyan Rose Goku Black and Zamasu. There were also additions to existing characters, such as a version of Super Saiyan Blue Goku that includes SSB Kaioken. To me, those additions were almost more exciting than the new DLC characters, mainly because they were stuff that should have been included anyway.

Besides the characters, the big piece of DLC was the extra story missions, which there are currently two “Arcs” so-to-speak. The first one covered the “Universe 6 Tournament” arc and the second one on the “Future Trunks/Goku Black” arc. The plot of both involves a disturbance in the timeline, with Goku being late to the tournament to kick things off. The first arc teases a connection to the second, with Trunks stating that someone else may have interfered with the timeline. It ultimately ended up being Zamasu, although it sounded more like he was just aware of what the Time Patrollers were doing, rather than actively controlling time or something. I think it would have been cool if it was a new character, possibly a tease for the eventual XENOVERSE 3, which we all know they’re going to make in the future. The main timeline difference in the second arc is the inclusion of various movie villains, such as Broly and Janemba, to aid Goku Black and Zamasu. That was kind of cool… I guess? There weren’t any major realizations at the end of the second arc, besides Trunks questioning himself and wondering if he should quit the Time Patrol. This is quickly dealt with, using the power of friendship.

The main reason why I was interested in Zamasu the most was because I was curious about who his English voice actor would be. The current rumor, and one that is very likely if you ask me, is that he is voiced by James Marsters, who is best known as Spike in Buffy the Vampire Slayer. From what can be heard in-game, I think he does a good job. He sounds like a higher being with a stern tone, as if he is looking down on everybody, even though he definitely shouldn’t with me because I kicked his ass without even going Super Saiyan. Because of James Marsters’s status as a big actor, I’m expecting a big reveal within the next few weeks (As I’m writing this, the latest dubbed episode of Super revealed Zeno.) Voice over-wise, I think everyone else sounded good. A lot of fans have criticized Sean Schemmel’s perfomance as Super Saiyan Rose Goku Black, primarily (if not completely) due to the fact that he changed to a different voice than what he did for Goku Black’s regular form. Personally, I can see why people are upset, but Sean Schemmel changing voices for the various transformations of his characters is hardly anything new. Schemmel also stated during a Q&A at a convention, I believe it was the South Texas Comic Con of 2017, that they were not given much information on Goku Black’s character due to leaking concerns, so Schemmel performed the role at its face value. My theory is that, once he started recording for Super Saiyan Rose, the recording crew and actors were given the full story, for at this point, the series had been a bit past the “Future Trunks/Goku Black” arc of Super. In my opinion, I think Black will sound best if Schemmel does a mix of the two voices. I think we will get to hear more of how he will sound in Super very soon.

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Now, based on recent reveals, it’s likely we will get another major DLC pack for the game in the near future. Admittedly, it does feel like they are trying to catch up with characters that, frankly, should have been in the game to begin with. I mean, Dabura I can understand since he’s Towa’s brother, but Super Buu with Gohan absorbed (or “Buuhan” as he is often called) should definitely have been in the base game. The characters that are revealed after will likely be from the latest “Universe Survival” arc, probably Toppo or Jiren. In terms of other characters I want to see, I think seeing Caulifla or Kale would be cool. I wouldn’t mind also seeing any of Cooler’s Armored Squadron, like Salza (or Thousa, depending of how you feel about translations.) Other than that, I’m more or less satisfied until the next game, where they would have more reason to add more characters. If they add some Dragon Ball characters like King Piccolo or Tambourine, that would be cool, though the pool they could pick from would be small. Granted, if they are able to get Bear with Sword, then that would be pretty sick!

Overall, it was a good batch of DLC. Based on the DLC trends of XENOVERSE 1, the choices they made for characters made sense for the most part, though adding in Bojack from the movies was also a nice touch. The extra content from the free DLC that would come before the big new DLC packs was also a welcomed addition. Besides those, my favorite parts were the new story missions that gave us twists on the arcs in Super. I look forward to seeing more cool DLC in the future! Thanks for reading! See ya!

Collection Haul #4 – Mainly Mangoes (And a comic…)

Welcome back! It’s been a while, and I have built up quite the backlog of stuff to share. To be honest, I’ve built up enough for eight more haul posts. I’ve started branching into action figures as well, which we will get to in the future. This one is primarily comics, and by comics I mean manga. Which is Japanese for comic… So, still comics? Yes, comics. Comics. Let’s move on before I get caught in a loop.

This here is the remaining volumes of Berserk that I needed to get before having them all, besides the recently released volume 38. And yes, I’ve read them all now. It is still a great read and Berserk is quickly becoming one of my favorite manga series. Without going into too much detail in the interest of avoid spoilers, there is a touching flashback chapter involving Guts. I wasn’t as interested in what was going on with the other characters, particularly with Griffith’s army and the Kushan people, but it was useful to establish what is likely going to be the next stage in this current conflict. I don’t know how others feel about the current pace of the story, but I get the impression that we are reaching the climax. I’ll have to get volume 38 and read it so I can see if my feelings change.

Besides Berserk, I’ve tried to keep up with a few other manga. Firstly, at the top you’ll see a Daredevil comic that my buddy Troy got me for my birthday last March, titled “The Man Without Fear.” I haven’t had the chance to read it yet, but it looks like an origin retelling, which will be useful for me since I’m not too familiar with Daredevil, although I had this kickass figure of him as a a kid which, besides the fact that he’s almost completely red, made me all the more interested in his character. Plus, the fact that it’s written by Frank Miller acts like a seal of quality, as he is one of the biggest comic writers out there. Thanks again, Troy!

Directly under it is volumes four and five of Citrus, the latest in “yuri” (basically girl-on-girl in manga/anime form) storytelling. It seems to be the new hotness in the genre and I enjoy it. Yuzu’s relationship with Mei is fun to watch unfold, with Mei being pretty hard to read. I both like and dislike this about her character. On one hand, it makes her more realistic and appear as if she doesn’t know what she wants romantically but on the other hand, it’s annoying as hell, haha! There is an anime adaptation in the works, so it will be interesting to see how Mei is portrayed. I will continue to read as the story progresses.

Next up is volume 10 of UQ Holder, the sequel to Negima. While Negima was a magical school life harem series with shonen elements, UQ Holder is straight up shonen (with the magic and stuff) so I kind of like it more than Negima. There is still plenty of gags and harem shipping though, so it doesn’t feel like a completely different story, which is good as a sequel. I’ve also read volume 11, but I will get to it at a later time. As far as volume 10 is concerned, it’s still a bit before the big tournament, I believe right after Tota finishes his training with Dana. Visually, the manga is very easy on the eyes and is a smooth read, at least for me. In terms of my reading speed, it’s in the middle, with Dragon Ball being my fastest and Berserk being my slowest. I’ve been told the story gets crazy later on, which I started seeing a little of in volume 11. I look forward to seeing what comes next.

This is where the “mainly” part of this post’s title comes in. As you can see, I’ve continued to make small progress in my game collection. Like I said before, I’ve taken enough pictures for future posts, and here I will also say that I’ve made enough progress to complete a couple areas, meaning I have all the games for a specific system that I want, though some a still up in the air. Anywho, the first game in this batch is Wario World for the GameCube. I rented ths game once from Blockbuster and had fun with it. My experience with the Wario games is limited, having only played this one and the GBA one (Wario World 4, I believe.) It plays like a 3D version of the typical Wario World games, so this one is a good game to pick up if you enjoy them.

Next to it is Guilty Gear 2: Overture for the Xbox 360. It’s an action game set in the Guilty Gear universe. I’ve only played it twice. The first time, I wasn’t too into it, but I gave it another chance and liked it more. It was mainly the camera that turned me off, but I got used to it. The gameplay is what you would expect, something more like Dynasty Warriors or God of War, but scaled down a bit. The game was recently released on Steam, so if you’re interested, that may be the better place to go, but I’m pleased with my copy on 360.

Third is Samurai Warriors 2: Empires for the PS2. This was the first Warriors game I ever played, so I wanted to add it to my collection, having only rented the game from Hollywood Video, the one that was right across the “better” Blockbuster (where I lived, there were four nearby, plus an extra two if I wanted to venture further.) The character customization is very dated by today’s standards, but the gameplay holds up well and doesn’t feel clunky at all, surprisingly. It was nice to go back and play it after all these years.

Starting the second row is Spider-Man for the PS1. This is currently my favorite Spider-Man game, mainly due to nostalgia. It was always very fun to play and I felt like I learned more about the characters, having only caught the animated series from the 90’s on the rare occasion that I would watch Fox Kids. Though, it must have aired on another channel too, because I remember watching it a fair amount of the time… Or maybe I watched Fox Kids more than I remember? I dunno, but regardless this game was fun. The N64 had this game as well as a red cart, which I hope to get, as I played both the N64 and PS1 versions. Fun times.

Next to it, in the bottom middle, is Soul Calibur for the Dreamcast, giving me a complete Soul Calibur series collection, besides the arcade version of my favorite, Soulcalibur III. Anywho, if you follow this series as well, you’ll know that the arcade version of Soul Calibur was released on Xbox Live several years ago in HD. The main difference with the Dreamcast version, besides the fact that it’s a physical game and not a download, is that there is an extra mode in which you pick a character and do missions and stuff. It’s a nice way to give the game more of a life spin, since you won’t just be playing the arcade mode or doing multiplayer. Unfortunately, not all the characters are unlocked, but it’s still nice to play every now and then. And of course I made sure to unlock Hwang as soon as I could!

Right next to it is Custom Robo Arena for the DS. I am a HUGE fan of the GameCube game, it being one of my top three GameCube games. With that in mind, I’ve been itching for another Custom Robo game, this one being my only option, due to the rest of the series being exclusive to Japan. I’ve only played a little bit of the game and it works well even on the DS. My only complaint so far is that the script is a bit cheesy, which is something I don’t recall from the GameCube game (not saying it was always super serious, but I remember it being less cheesy than this one.) Regardless, I think I’ll enjoy it.

Finally, we have Yoshi’s Story for the N64. Growing up, this game was always a rental. I never finished it, nor was I very good at it as a kid, but it was a fun game to play. I remember not wanting to play as any Yoshi besides the red one, since red is my favorite color. I’ll probably still do everything in my power to keep me from playing as any other color Yoshi besides the red one, and with my skills as a gamer having gone up with my age, I’d like to think I can do it. We’ll see.

And that’s it! As you can see, I’ve started dipping into other collections I’ve been wanting to expand, and I have plenty more to show, as stated earlier. Next post will more than likely be video game related. We’ll see how things go. I have a few ideas for future posts that I hope to get to as we continue, it’ll just be a matter of which ones I want to do first.

Thanks for reading! See you next time!!

The Plug – Brutalmoose (YouTuber)

Figured it was a good time to introduce a new kind of post. This is what I call “The Plug,” where I will basically write about something or someone who makes stuff I like and talk them up. For this first one, I thought I should talk about Brutalmoose, a YouTuber that I follow, who is a pretty cool cat.

DISCLAIMER: This is not a sponsored thing. Brutalmoose did not pay me to write this post, and as far as I know, he doesn’t follow my blog. I am simply writing this because I want to share his content.

Brutalmoose, or Ian, for those who prefer IRL names over usernames, is a YouTuber who makes video game reviews. While he does do some newer stuff, it’s mostly old PC games, such as Pajama Sam. He also streams on Twitch, the archives or which are also available on his second channel. You can find more information about him on his website.

I first discovered his content when I heard his narration in DidYouKnowGaming’s Nintendo 64 episode (I’m aware that they made another one, with Brutalmoose narrating again. The one I’m referring to, as well as linking to, is the original.) What caught my attention was a like to his video about the PC game Oregon Trail II, a game my family used to play when I was a kid.

As soon as I saw the link, I was intrigued. I had memories of playing the game myself, but could never remember which Oregon Trail game it was. The one time I remember from the game is the intense tune that plays when something bad happens. To be honest, the tune wasn’t exactly as I remember it, but I’m pretty sure Oregon Trail II is the one I played as a kid. I still have the CD case, but I wasn’t sure if another company tried making a cheap version of it or something. I still don’t know if it truly is the same game I played back then, but it seems more likely than not.

What appeals to me about Brutalmoose’s videos is his style and tone of his reviews. His smooth narration sounds like he’s explaining with specific detail rather than flatly telling, at least it does to me. It’s not characterized by any means, but I find that to be a good thing. These days, it seems like most YouTube game reviewers try to play some kind of character, even if loosely. Brutalmoose, however, is simply himself reviewing a game. Nothing more, nothing less. Because of this, his humor is never forced and the overall “rating” of the game isn’t exaggerated. The choice of games he reviews also helps him stand out to me. The old PC games he picks remind me of my youth either playing or watching a friend play them. Watching his videos make me feel like I’m hanging out with a friend who is pretty knowledgeable about older PC games.  His content is very relaxing to watch and I tend to make sure I have nothing else going on before watching his new stuff, so I can just chill and enjoy whatever kind of video he puts out.

Here are three of my favorites Brutalmoose videos! They are in no particular order.

This one is both nostalgic and not for me. It’s not nostalgic because I never played RuneScape, but I can definitely identify with the idea of the classic online game that you would play as a kid. I’d imagine most people my age had a similar experience. While I grew up with other browser games like NeoPets and AdventureQuest, I knew a fair amount of people who played RuneScape. Brutalmoose’s video reminds me of a simpler time when I would come home after school and play a browser game, usually while simultaneously browsing the internet. Very fun watch.

This one is probably my favorite of the “trail” games Brutalmoose has reviewed, besides Oregon Trail II. For me, what made this video hilarious was his partner in the game, who always sounded so sassy whenever he fell and broke his leg. It’s like he expected Brutalmoose’s character in the game to drop everything and just stop. Though, it would proably be a smart idea, since he was a businessman. Meaning he’s got that cash money.

This one I have a lot of connection to, for I grew up watching this OVA when I was a kid. It’s what made Metal Sonic my favorite Sonic villain. It brought back memories of the older days of my youth when I saw that white VHS tape, which I also happen to have a copy of. I hope to get it on DVD at some point, though I think it’s out of print. I also heard that it was getting another release, but I don’t remember. I might have misheard. Either way, a very nostalgic and entertaining review.

And there you have it! I hope I explained why I like Brutalmoose’s content well enough. As of the writing of this post, his new video is out, which I plan to watch as soon as I finish typing this bad boy. It always feels like I’m eating a sweet piece of candy or slurping hot soup, that is, a feeling of relaxation and content. And yes, I would compare his videos to the feeling of hot soup traveling down my throat and into my tummy. Or maybe laying in bed after a tough day? Regardless, I think you get the picture. Brutalmoose’s videos are like a sweet trip down memory lane.

Thanks for reading! Next post will be another collection haul post. See ya!!