Posts Tagged ‘x’

PokeMagnifique: Returning to Kalos Six Years On

So the Pokemon series is set to resume regular programming in a matter of days with Pokemon Sword and Pokemon Shield. At long last, we will be treated to a region based on the United Kingdom, with all the rich historical and cultural inspirations that implies. This has poured petrol on the never-quite-dead embers of the theory that someday Game Freak will let us return to the Kalos region, based largely on the south of France and made famous by 2013’s Pokemon X and Y. After all, England and France have a long and, ahem, storied history together, and to this day Kalos is the only region to star in just a single main series Pokemon game release…

Now I don’t actually believe for a second that Sword and Shield will be the first games in a almost two decades to give us a full prior region to explore on top of the fresh one. But I do believe there might be some significant Kalos references in there. Of more importance, lately it seems that something inside me will break if I don’t play a Pokemon game every half-dozen months or so. In fact, since the dreaded 2015 – the only year without a new main series Pokemon game in the last decade – I have done at least two full Pokemon playthroughs per year (Yellow and Sun in 2016, then Red, Silver and Ultra Sun in 2017, followed by Crystal and Let’s Go Eevee last year). And I still don’t feel like I’m ready to say goodbye to my 3DS, even if Nintendo definitely is.

mmmm, 240p

Long story short, I decided to pick up Pokemon Y all the way back in April of this year and give Kalos the second go-around that I’ve given every other Pokemon region by default thanks to customary re-releases over the years. It’s been long enough and my Pokemon-playing habits have changed a great deal since October 12th, 2013, when I picked up Pokemon X for the first time. This could be a bit of fun, I thought. Cue a few months of on-and-off playing, a few more months of on-and-off writing, and a whole lot of fresh perspective. Here are my unsolicited thoughts.
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Movie Review: X-Men Apocalypse

Had to sit on this review for a while to give it some thought, and that ended up making it a long one.

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Starring:
James McAvoy, Jennifer Lawrence, Oscar Isaac
Director:
Bryan Singer (The Usual Suspects, X-Men)
Rating: M
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Well, it turns out that couldn’t last.

The X-Men movies continue to exist, for better or worse, as the only discernible remnant of the superhero movie scene pre-Marvel Cinematic Universe. The way they have always done things sits somewhere between DC Comics’ macabre big screen blockbusters and the MCU’s lighter escapades, boasting an embarrassment of riches in the character department to mine for both humour and drama. When the movies are good, they feel like giant middle fingers to the critics who think there are too many superhero movies kicking around these days. When they’re bad, they tend to become the easiest targets for said critics, as at their core they tend to feel extraneous and disposable.

X-Men Apocalypse isn’t a bad movie, but it is the worst X-Men film since X-Men Origins: Wolverine, and as an X-Men fan first and foremost within the superhero movie realm, that stings a little.

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Movie Review: X-Men Days of Future Past

Ooh boy, been waiting for this one for a while…

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Starring:
Hugh Jackman, Jennifer Lawrence, Michael Fassbender
Director:
Bryan Singer (The Usual Suspects, X-Men)
Rating: M
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What’s this? A good multi-superhero movie that isn’t made by Marvel Studios?

As movie franchises go, the X-Men movies mean a lot to me. Not only do I remember where I was when I first saw X-Men III: The Last Stand in cinemas back in 2006, I also remember what I was wearing and who I was with. I was so damn excited for that movie and to see it play out as such a mess after the first two X-Men films had literally made me interested in comic book mythology was not the greatest feeling. Three years later the release of the underdone and just generally awful X-Men Origins: Wolverine meant the franchise was suddenly “only 50% good”, and while 2011’s X-Men First Class was a triumphant return to form with a fun political twist and last year’s The Wolverine didn’t suck, the franchise was still lagging far behind the efforts of Disney’s Marvel cinematic universe. And there was still that lingering bad taste in my mouth from 2006. Well, not anymore.

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Obligatory Post-April Fools’ Post

FFX_5zip

Yes, that last review had an April Fools’ theme. I don’t really play Final Fantasy X/X-2 HD Remaster just for the Blitzball and yes, I do realise that reviewing the game without even bringing in the X-2 part is unfair. In truth I’m not very far into the FF X part of the game (not much further than the part when you can first play Blitzball freely, actually) but I am thoroughly enjoying just about every aspect of the experience. The sphere grid is clever, the hands-off weapon system is refreshing and most of the characters are pretty cool. Being able to take an RPG that still features so many unique design elements with me on the go on my PS Vita is a real treat. Based on what I’ve played so far there’s no way I’d give the game just 3.5 out of 5. It seems the game is highly regarded for a reason, and that reason goes beyond the fanboy and fangirl rants I used to hear way back in the day.

But yeah, Blitzball is still awesome.

Game Review: Final Fantasy X / X-2 HD Remaster

I’ve been playing a whole lot of this one since it came out in Australia on March 20th.

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Platform:
PS3, PSV
Developer: Square Enix

Rating: M
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X-2 is download-only on the Vita version, but you won't be playing that anyway.

X-2 is download-only on the Vita version, but you won’t be playing it anyway.

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Those Al Bhed bastards.

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They have the most annoying goalkeeper I have ever seen, ever, in anything. I just want to take his polygon-encrusted face and slam it into a locker until he decides never to play Blitzball again. Ugh. But the game from which he hails is great fun.

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Game Review: Pokemon X

Over the last couple of weeks, every time I thought I was ready to write and complete this review someone online would discover some other new thing within Pokemon X. But now I can finally say I’m ready to post the review having experienced enough of the whole game to make a good fist of everything. This will be a long one. Enjoy.

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Platform:
3DS
Developer:
Game Freak
Rating: PG
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Not "X Version", for some reason. Just "X".

Not “X Version”, for some reason. Just “X”.

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Simply X-cellent.
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Pokemon X and its near-identical counterpart Pokemon Y represent several ambitious steps forward for one of Nintendo’s flagship videogame series. The first three-dimensional Pokemon adventure is a stunning audio-visual achievement that makes the 3DS sing and draws smartly from the nostalgia wells of an entire generation. But perhaps most excitingly, the game is the first in the series to admit that Pokemon has transformed beyond its creators’ wildest dreams into an endlessly deep competitive juggernaut over the last decade. The game works very clearly with this in mind, resulting in a wonderful social experience that is also more balanced than the series ever has been. It’s a must-have for most any 3DS owner.

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Mega Ultra Blast Cast Ep.11

mubc2The Mega Ultra Blast Cast FINALLY devotes an episode to discussing Pokemon, specifically the recent worldwide release of Pokemon X and Pokemon Y. We discuss what we like and don’t like about the new games, sealing any story spoilers in their own section. Delaney and I spend most of the episode trying to talk down a fired-up Shane (here’s the link to the blog post he talks about on the cast), but there can be little denying that we all really, really like what this new 3DS generation is doing for the series. We also find time to talk about the excellent movie Gravity and answer a rather deep question about the nature of choice in videogames, submitted by a listener for the first time ever!

If you feel so inclined, go for a run, take a scenic drive or just curl up on the couch and play some Pokeomn while you listen to the biased opinions of a Pokemon hater, a Pokemon lover and someone who just can’t see past Pokemon right now.

You can play the whole thing right off this page if that tickles your fancy:


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Or you can go to the Soundcloud site/app and listen from there:
https://soundcloud.com/mega-ultra-blast-cast/mubc-11

(Follow the link and then click the download tab)

As always if you enjoy what you hear please share the cast with your friends and like our Facebook page. Cheers!