Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Macross Frontier Ep 20 - Diamond Crevasse

Beautiful. I love this episode. Not often do you see an anime or even an episode with so much emotions in it. The last time I ever felt so was since Gundam Seed and Gundam Seed Destiny. Comparing the latest Gundam series or even Code Geass R2, they are like a joke. These are the things that I look for in animes; emotions that can put you to your tears. Be it mundane spice of life type or futuristic mecha shows.

Macross Frontier is not the usual mecha shows you find on the shelf. Instead of focusing on the awesomeness of mechas and crazy shooting battles, it develops slowly and smoothly on the characters, each and every one of them, and the plot of the story gets more intense as the story progresses. Intense not in the sense of battles and life threatening scenes (although it is as well), but in the sense of character development and connections. The show does not mystify you from the beginning with a sense of curiosity and confusion(slightly, yes) but instead unfolds itself nicely into a well planned story.

Cool mechas they have, but Macross Frontier was never about mechas~

I remember the first Macross show I watched was more than 10 years ago, and only one episode into it (when I was a kid). Thereafter, I did not catch on any Macross shows, until the recent Macross Frontier. Apparently, the Macross universe has a unique style of battle - utilizing music(Deculture! anyone?). It comes without a doubt that you will be experiencing alot of great composition from the anime. And true to the essence, Macross Frontier has some of the greatest music and compositions since Tsubasa Chronicles.

(This is Saotome Alto - the loser. Although he's better in recent episodes, he's still a loser :p)

"You can't give up singing yet. If you did, how would your songs reach all those people?" Saotome Alto

(I know the picture arrangement here is abit weird. But looking at the subtitle in both the pictures, I can't really separate them -.-)

I love all the songs by Sheryl Nome (vocal - May Nakabayashi). Heck, I love Sheryl Nome the character as well. In the beginning, she is portrayed as an arrogant singer with the world at her feet - dubbed the Fairy of Galaxy (Galaxy here probably meant Macross Galaxy, a ship, not tHe galaxy per se). However as her fortunes befall her, she is not just the all-talk-no-action girl. A strong spirited girl indeed, she truly shines in this episode Diamond Crevase, where she decided that if Ranka is the songstress of hope, then she'll be singing amidst despair.

Sheryl performing "Diamond Crevasse" (ダイアモンド クレバス) in the shelter during the Vajra attack. She truly shines!

Really, instead of putting up screenshots, I'd love to put up the songs instead. Some of the songs I really really like is Diamond Crevasse, the new opening theme - Lion (ライオン), and Ranka's Aimo (アイモ). But I guess I have no choice eh~

Michael Blanc - confessing his feelings during the last moments of his life
A charismatic character;
Its always sad when someone has to die.

See You Next Deculture! ;)

-End of Post-

Read More......

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Code Geass R2 - episode 21

The Black Rebellion, Order of the Black Knights, Zero, Knights of Round. I loved Code Geass Season 1. Alot of expectations was put into its season 2 direct sequel, however, I must say the least I wasn't too satisfied with what has happened so far. While Season 1 talks about the King in the making, Season 2 emphasizes more on the secrets of the Geass, particularly the theme "Geass is the power of the lone King", that everyone around Lelouch would soon leave or die. Shirley's death is pretty much proof of this idea which lead me to expect that Nunnally too will die as well. (Interestingly enough, Kallen cannot die - she is the antithesis to Suzaku).

The whole of season 2, up until episode 21 had been a roller coaster ride. Almost every episode ends with a cliff hanger, and a new "surprise" awaits at the beginning of next episode. Personally, I didn't like the idea of Lelouch losing almost every battle in this new season. I'd miss those times when Lelouch could calculate his victory and lead himself into a strong force of support. Furthermore, we see alot of Deus ex Machina here rather than a controlled situation like what we see in the first season.
Oh yah, did I mention that R2 became quite the show off of Knightmare Frames ala Gundam style? I guess they were desperate to market their R2 merchandises.

The progression of the story is... weird. With the story having so many twists and turns - with nothing one would expect ordinarily, I wouldn't say that it is more interesting than the previous season nor did the production staffs did a bad job either.
Another thing is that I didn't quite get what they were doing at times - the objectives of the Emperor, C.C, V2, Sword of Akasha? etc; naturally, alot of loopholes as well. Nonetheless, overall I would see that R2 is introducing us to get a closer look to Lelouch's personal life and thoughts.

Wonders how 2 pile of poos can slay the god...

And when we thought the matter with the Charles would end here with the Sword of Akasha in episode 21...

All hail Lelouch, the 99th Emperor of Britannia!!

The staffs are leading us back to Lelouch vs Schneizel; with Lelouch leading the throne whilst Schneizel as the rebel. (Yes! Code Geass never stop amazes us with their plot twists!) What can I say other than the word: weird!

Anyway, lets expect more interesting stuffs ahead!

What's better than a one-eyed Geass... its a TWO-eyed geass!!

P.S. A friend linked me to this. I guess there's where the inconsistencies lie when we tried to catch back up from season 1.
P.S.2 - check this out funny shit!

-End of post-

Read More......

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Cabal Online: The Revolution of Action

Cabal Online, brought into the South-East Asia region by AsiaSoft. This is the third MMORPG that got me addicted enough to train a character above the average level and left me playing more than... 3 months! (Yes, MMOs don't last me longer than 3 weeks usually...); Made alot of great friends and as usual, cross alot of b@5t@rds as well. It has really nice graphic and special effects, and typical with any MMO I like - its FREE!

Graphics - 3.5/5
It should came to be unsurprising that MMOs nowadays spot great graphics. Just look at the newer games on the shelves, from the likes of World of Warcraft, to Guild Wars, to Granado Espada, and to some-not-so-famous MMOs as well. Comparing to those, I wouldn't say that Cabal offers exceptional graphics but still it pleasants the eye, scores a mark above the average MMOs you find on the net. Coupled with special effects such as lightings, shadows, water effects, spell effects, distortions, it really pulls off to be quite a fluent flow of graphic. There really isn't anything not to like in it.

Look at the water effects. Gives off a very nice reflection.

A great day at the beach.

Music - 4/5
The other element that caught my attention was the music playing in the background. Browsing through the game's forum, it was said that the music was taken from songs and modified into the game. But anyway, its one of those elements that you take note of, and wouldn't trade it away for your personal Windows Media Player (Ok, atleast before you got bored of listening to the music over and over and over and over again).
Sound effect wise, its pretty cool, not anything unbearable except for certain mobs (ok, I lied.. most mobs!) which makes you feel like stop hitting them (I was in Ruina Station hitting buffaloes, that I thought my speakers was gonna burst due to the high squeaking noise made by them every time I hit them!). However, the sound effects from spells are cool!

Special Effects - 4/5
They make really nice skill effects for every class. One of the reasons you are grinding so hard is really just to see that skill in action - albeit it wouldn't be a useful skill (in particular, classes like Force Blader and Force Archer).

Force Shielder's Shield Break skill

Blader's Blade Scud skill

Gameplay - 4/5
I remembered when I invited my friend to join me in Cabal, he said he didn't want to and only wished me "Good Luck in leveling". Well, Cabal is one of those games where you wouldn't need to spend hours of grinding on mobs and yet you don't see any progress. I would say Cabal is one of the easiest MMO around to train a high leveled character. Nonetheless, Cabal is not really a system of Level, but that of Skill Level. Grinding on Skill Level... is a different story all together.
The other interesting element of Cabal is the slightly out of ordinary quest system. You still go by killing X amount of monsters, or collecting X amount of items, but mixed in are quests that requires interactions with NPCs and place explorations. The quests are nicely fit in for first timers to learn enough about the monsters, environment and sufficient exploration into the area to recognize it. (However, the second time doing it, might be boring but lucky enough, certain quests can be skipped)

The amount of detail on the Character goes far even to the underwear~ o.0

Oh did I forget to mention an interesting element in this game? Its the Combo Mode not seen in any other MMOs before. It is pretty much like some dancing/music games, where a meter bar will come out, starts filling up to a certain point and you need to hit the skill. This shortens cast times, enabling you to cast more skills/spells and guarantees 100% hit. Definitely a system more fun than just standing there keep hitting the same skills all the time with no excitement added to it.

The combo gauge. Really hard to continue after the 11th Combo.

26 combo is the best I could do...

Story - 4/5
Who would talk about a storyline in MMOs. Cabal is the first MMO ever that I take note of the story line. You learn about the storyline when doing compulsary quests. Yes, some do put you through alot of texts and dialogues but eventually you do take note of what is happening instead of just clicking "next". In the course of time you get to be fond of NPCs by their names... and dramatic when some of them dies near the end of the story. They even have ending scrolls/credits when you finish certain chapters of the story. Nonetheless, the story does end (quite short actually) and you'd be asking for more. Not the most epic/dramatic story, but the 4/5 score is for MMO, not the typical platform RPGs.

Dramatic when one of the story character dies...

Latency - 4.5/5
As with all the MMOs that I'm fond of, is the idea of zero lag!! Yes, its a server based in Singapore, for the SEA region. With 3 servers and 32 Channels around, you don't see overcrowded places (except for Trade Channels) and definitely negligible lag and delays.

Conclusion - 3.5/5
This is one of those MMOs that I'd stick by and play for a long time (3 months is definitely long for me). However a huge drawback with the game is the really small world/places it has. After playing for 3 months at level 130+ (currently capped at lvl 170), you'll only be frequenting that same 5 places you started the game with.
A great experience nonetheless. Go try it!!

-End of post-

Read More......

Almost a year

Wow, its been almost a year since I last updated this blog. Previously I was busy with my finals, and boy am I glad that its finally over(no puns intended). I've been awarded with a 2nd Class Honours(Lower Division); although a bit disappointing (I was expecting better results), but I do get to continue on to the next stage (guess I should be glad and thankful anyway~) - the dreaded CLP!

Anyway, enough with all these academic stuffs. While I was away (from this blog), I've completed Season 1 of the Tower of Druaga: Aegis of Uruk. It was a nice anime; To begin with, it started out as a whacky comedious type of anime, but later turns out to be quite an interesting plot. Except for the really short span of episodes which sees everything rushed and crumpled into one short season, its really quite a good show to say the least.

Animes aside, I dropped DotA for quite some time (8-9 months I think)... picked up Counter Strike 1.6 and was addicted to it for the last 8-9 months (obviously... =.=). But things come and go, so does games. Now I'm suddenly picking back up interest in DotA again.
Cabal SEA (for South East Asia) - the mmorpg that got me addicted since middle May (during my Finals!!!). Beautiful graphics, awesome story (hell yeah, no one would talk about "story" in MMOs, but Cabal's story is really awesome) - with interesting-at-first-boring-later Quests, and Great gameplay, I'd really recommend any MMO-ers to try this game out. The only drawback... it has really very very few places to explore; after months of gaming, you'll still be seeing the same old place where you started.

I'll stop here - screenshots? I'll save it for later.

-End of post-

Type rest of the post here

Read More......

Thursday, October 18, 2007

PSP Toshiba?

Good things come in doubles... or at least in my case. Finally I bought my long awaited PSP Slim and Lite, and its Felicia Blue!! I love the colour. Then a few days later, I got a Toshiba Satelite A200 from my mom (Yay!!!). This whole week had been a busy one. So many games things to do, yet so little time. Addicted to Final Fantasy Tactics: War of the Lions now, although its a game I've played numerous times on the PSone already. Monster Hunter Freedom 2 looks cool, but certainly lacks storyline; mayhap its merits only shine in ad-hoc mode with other players. Final Fantasy 7: Crisis Core totally awes me. Too bad its in Japanese; may play it sometime later.

No screeny here. A bit busy nowadays with games college assignments and a lot of study catch-ups to do.

-End of post-

Type rest of the post here

Read More......