Battlefield: Bad Company 2

You know when a game is good. When it has a good story, good gameplay, and for most good sound. BFBC2 offers all that, and also makes it really fun to play. I am not the kind of person who would wait for his computer to boot up for 5 minutes only to play a game to shoot up others. But yeah, this game gave me a reason to do just that. It’s the best FPS I’ve played, maybe even the best game so far.

The best part is that it even has this DLC called Vietnam or something like that and it’s just absolutely dope. No question about it, the developers who created this have done so with love and zeal. It’s so clearly visible. Even its reviews are fantastic on Steam at least. You’d be surprised to know that there is a multiplayer mode in that Vietnam DLC which works even in 2018. Like holy crap. DICE! I’m not sure many people still play that game, but I’d say that it’s totally worth every penny, and now you could get it for a huge discount every now and then.

What can I say, it’s definitely something that would set a standard in the gaming industry, and as a gamer that is something that I am proud of.

Contrast ~ An Amazing Puzzle Game

Recently, I completed this game called Contrast. Not sure how popular it is, but if you had heard of it before, I suppose it is famous!

You play as Dawn. Who is a Ghost? I do not know, but I didn’t ask myself such questions while playing because the puzzles and the graphics in general were really captivating. It was created in the Unreal engine. It has a good replay value too, but after a while. I mean the puzzles can get so hard at times that… Whew, the satisfaction you get from completing them is beyond GODLIKE! So yeah, it’s mainly a puzzle game with the puzzles getting increasingly complex as the game goes on. It even has a really good story and absolutely fantastic ambient lighting!

For some puzzles you need to find luminaries. It’s usually easy to do so, because they are in easily accessible places, you just have to look around a bit. But I think finding all of them in a level can be a little difficult (because I couldn’t). It’s essentially an open world puzzle game. A small world however. But it’s still very chic. It’s always night time in the game. The entire gameplay time is not too much, maybe for experienced gamers it would take 5-6 hours. Though a lot could be said about the puzzles. Some of them are outright challenging and require you to use a whole lot of creativity in order to solve them. Others require you to have good control over your button pressing since there is a lot of jumping around and dashing through the shadows involved. I would say that it requires a crazy amount of thinking because the developers were super creative in making this masterpiece. So if you are not ready for that, don’t buy this. But anyway, if you think your brain needs a little intelligent stimulation, this is the game for you. Don’t worry, the difficulty of the puzzles increases progressively. And I’m sure people online would have posted walkthroughs for them in case you need them.

Highly recommended, 10/10 would love to play it again!

Doki Doki Literature Club ~ The Review

This was my first VN, and I’ve just played one ending till now. Went with my instincts 😀

But I thought it would be good to share a few thoughts about how my first ever VN was. To be frank, this was an quite extraordinary VN (I keep saying VM in my head lol) even for those who are well versed in playing VNs. So, first off I’ll tell you how I found out about this game. Through Twitter and Reddit mostly. Saw a couple of posts relating to it, and especially one which was a picture from Twitch that showed that DDLC had more viewers than DotA 2 (I find that surprising no more, sorry DotA folks!). Well, anyway it just took one search to find that game on Steam and add it to my library. I hadn’t played it for a week or so, it was just sitting idly in my library. But I have this friend who was playing it and recommended it to me. So I was like, “Okay, let’s give it a shot.”

I won’t give away any spoilers other than the fact that it’s a psychological horror game (I didn’t know that when I started playing). Take the warning on the loading screen seriously if you are a sensitive person. Jokes aside, the story is about four cute girls and is essentially a dating sim. You are supposed to understand the personalities of all the girls and pick words that match their personality. Based on the highest number of words you pick for the girl that you want, the story changes and takes different routes.

It was definitely more fun than what it was worth (it’s free). I am going to support the developer (Team Salvato) for this amazing game. From a reviewer’s point of view, it could be said that the narration and dialogues were very well written. Just enjoy it! It’s worth playing, and recommending to friends 🙂

Haikyuu!!: Karasuno Koukou vs. Shiratorizawa Gakuen Koukou

Probably not worth writing a review for, because it was too dull for me. Lost interest in the series, because I guess that I finally realized how repetitive it had become, and it was a complete turn off for me. Not the OP however!! The OP was probably the only reason for me to watch the show.

After 2 brilliant seasons of ‘dandiya’, I was anticipating that the third one might score once again in the creativity department. How wrong I was. There’s practically no reason for anyone (especially if you enjoyed the first 2 seasons) to watch this. Okay, here comes a spoiler: Karasuno wins. Happy now? I am surprised, that although I enjoyed the first 2 seasons so much because of the new combos and strategies that both teams were coming up with to defeat one another at all costs. Season 3 offered nothing new, no new combos or anything, just that the man of the match this time was Tsukishima. Just imagine how boring it must have been it was only 10 epis long but it made me feel way more bored than the previous other seasons. To be honest, the previous 2 seasons were not boring at all!!

And surprise, surprise! It is in the top 10 on MAL. Which just goes to show (in my case) that the popular choice of the public and my choice intersect at around 80%. Meaning, I do not agree with the popular choice of around 20% of anime.

I think that after this, I have lost the Haikyuu!! fever. But I shall come back to listen to the OP since, in all three seasons the OPs have blown my mind and I listen to them even today!!

 

Manga Review: Bleach

Before I begin describing Bleach, I should make it clear that Bleach is quite an underrated production (my guess is because of the anime which forked from the original story) since the Manga on the whole was pretty exciting. I can sense the reason for the hype for Bleach, but trust me… The hype would have been more if maybe the anime reproduction was a little better.

So what comes to mind when someone says Bleach? Detergent, eh? (Just kidding, even if you were thinking of it) Well, to a person like me who analyses anime (and stories as such) it didn’t feel as though the flagship victory of Bleach belonged to either Zanpaktous, or Bankais but instead the main glory of Bleach were its characters! (You probably think that I say this for every review, um yeah, you are sort of right). But it’s true. Really. I do mean what I say, that the most important point going for Bleach is really its characters.

Did you notice how new characters were introduced with the beginning of a sub arc (within an arc. To be quite fair here, Bleach can only be said to have 3 arcs). Hiyori, Risa, Keisei, Shinji and later Nel, Dondochakka, Pesche, etc. you realize that these characters played a huge role in those arcs and even got mixed up in on the action in subsequent arcs. It was quite masterful of Kubo to juggle the personalities of as many characters and choreograph some great conversation between them to build their roles in the story and build the story at the same time. Pretty cool, huh! Every single character who plays some part (even a small one) has been fleshed out pretty well if you ask me. And it is the conversation between them that are so lively and comical that it makes you feel as though Bleach is not just some Shounen-action dance, but a well nurtured baby of Kubo Tite.

Speaking of arcs, there are only 3 as I have mentioned before. First is the best in my opinion. Second is the shortest, but has the least amount of character development (a.k.a my satisfaction level), and the third is neither the longest nor the best out of the three, and it’s not the worst either… Better to be on one side rather than in the middle, anyway that doesn’t even make sense. But the first arc (Aizen arc, even the name of this arc is a spoiler darn it!) captures the true colours of what Bleach can offer you. Sucks right? The first is the best and you just have to read 250~ more chapters after it just to finish the manga. Don’t fret, it’s not bad as I make it sound. On the contrary, it is… wait for it… Boring! The last two arcs really lack what the first arc had in abundance, comic relief. Although, the amount of fighting that takes place in the final two arcs in 250~ chapters is almost about equal to the amount of fighting that takes place in the first 400~ chapters (first arc). Just imagine, you have to go through hours of text about two men provoking and taunting each other and talking about how great they are (and in the end both sides are beaten up pretty badly). So you know now what you are up against.

Well, look here now. On the bright-side I will make a prediction based on the fact that although I haven’t watched the anime and I have no details at all about where it forks away from the Manga that the manga is definitely better than its anime counterpart. Let me explain to you why this fact seems so apparent to me. Because of the ratings of Bleach on MAL. Wait a second. It seems like the manga has got an even worse rank than the anime (x3 times bad). I might be wrong here. But that shouldn’t be a problem, you can both watch and read it if you like and decide for yourself 🙂

The only other problem that I noticed was the way the manga was the drawing of the fights was quite unintelligible. I mean honestly, I gave up trying to decipher what was going on in the picture. Like dude! If you are going to make a manga that’s mostly about fighting, at least make sure that you can draw the fights properly! Pah! That was the most annoying part. But I got used to it after a while. Also, it seemed as though the final arc ended a bit abruptly. I thought it would go on for at least 25 more chapters… Well, whatever, never mind.

As the conclusion, I would say that if you ain’t got time, read the first arc and then jump to the last chapter. If you think about it, the number of character additions keeps on reducing as the number of arcs increases. Members of Xucution in the 2nd arc (that’s around 6 I suppose) and the 5 members of the Zero division in the 3rd. In other words, Bleach loses what it had going for it in the first arc. Just look how many characters were introduced there (well of course it was the first arc, but even then. Characters being the charm of Bleach it would seem that it became a little rusty as the story went forward). Trust me, that might just as well be the best advice of the day given to you.

Haikyuu!! Season 2

This review had been pending for several months now, I watched Haikyuu!! S2 before my finals, and then my vacations had a lot of hustling, but now as I can sit on my swiveling computer chair and relax it might be a good time to pen down my thoughts on this anime.

Haikyuu!! is clearly a unique anime, because there’s no anime that’s as good as this! S1 was a smash-hit already, then the creators had to come up with the second season, which was a continuation of the first and when I thought S1 was as good as it gets, S2 surpassed my expectations! You might have guessed, it has become my favorite sports anime series.

So this time, I.G decided to spice things up by changing the mostly male demographic by adding one more female. Hurrah for the improv. But in any case, not like there were hints of romance. OK, maybe yes. Wait, lemme think… What?! No! You call that romance!

So yeah, Haikyuu!! S2 mostly has romance in it, more than volleyball. Yachi-san becomes Hinata’s love of life, he quits volleyball, gets married to her, and THE END!

Watch the anime, if you haven’t yet 😉

Summing up MOBA

Recently, I made the big decision of quitting my temporarily largest addiction: MOBA games. I had to one time or the other, for fear of becoming a gaming couch potato. But I am thankful for making that spontaneous decision which brought more good than I expected.

But since MOBA was something that I gave a LOT of my time to and dedicated hours of thinking and understanding to, I decided to sum up my experiences while stuck in its delirium. For those who are not aware, MOBA stands for Multiplayer Online Battle Arena. I had been posting my views about two major games in this category for the last couple of months.

The reason this genre is so addictive is because of its unpredictability and the numerous combinations of heroes/champions and items that can be played with and bought in the games. If you’ve read my previous articles, you know that I am talking about Dota 2 and LoL. People still play even though there is hardly any choice of maps. That alone tells us how insanely addictive it can be.

The most important thing that you must focus on in the game can differ from game to game, or character to character or even position to position. It is complex, and not only depends on a player’s expertise in hand-eye coordination but also on their team picks and even the opponent’s team picks. The possibilities do not end there. As the game progresses, players accumulate gold which can be used to buy items. Those items have abilities as well.

Despite all that clutter and complexity, one thing is clear, your character should aim to level up as fast as possible. Items can offer bonus stats, but the real boost comes from levelling up. Which is why in pro tournaments, we don’t find players picking up all the attack damage and powerful items whenever they have enough money. Rather they communicate with their team and decide strategically which item must they pick.

It is a team game of course, which means that the responsibility of both winning and losing are partly on everyone’s shoulders. But that also means that if one out of the five players is not playing well, the match may well be in jeopardy. It happens all the time.

To conclude, the only logical thing that I can say confidently is that there is no way to predict if your next match will be a victory or defeat. You just can’t say. It’s a pity but that’s what makes it all the more exciting, right?

A Pale View of Hills

Kazuo Ishiguro’s first novel. What really enticed me about this was the feeling of anticipation of something serious about to happen throughout the story was amazing. In the end however, nothing special happened. Ishiguro is known for his two novels turned into films: “Never let me go” and “The Remains of the day” which won the Man Booker prize. For his first book, this seemed like an experiment he conducted to observe how people would react because it felt like he was holding something back. I really liked the slow pacing since it fit the theme perfectly. There were the occasional moments of “suspense” which were sketched out vaguely. At the end, it left me a little confused because I thought he would clear up a few doubts towards the end like what became of Mariko and her Mom? I would assume that Frank took them to America (though I have a little doubt in mind). Also, who is Etsuko’s second husband? Shigeo Matsuda? What happened of Ogata-san? As you can see, the book left a lot of loose ends. I wish Ishiguro would have answered these doubts but nevertheless the story left a good impression on me.

Dota 2 vs LoL 2

After playing League for a while, my impression on the game has changed drastically although, certain things I had said in my first post are pretty much the same. I have mostly been playing with Master Yi. His strengths are attack speed and attack damage. It’s best to build him with those two aspects in mind. As for his defence, it’s quite non-existent. He will not survive a gank, he can escape using his ulti at best. With Master, you will either lose the game badly or win it like it is the best game you’ve played in your life. Depends on your team and the champions they pick.

Enough of that. LoL has a 1-Dimensional gameplay compared to Dota 2, I’ll be honest with you here. There are two major things I found lacking in LoL, but which are very much in abundance in Dota 2. The first is the champions themselves. Their abilities are primarily attack based, if not occasionally causing stuns or slowing movement. It’s all about how much damage you can inflict versus how much you can concede. Unlike Dota 2 where different heros are known for some special ability that they have. In LoL nobody cares! Because you don’t really have to care. Right-click to win. This very flaw of champions not having a “character” of their own is the main reason for the 1-Dimensionality of this game.

The second aspect is complementary to the first, in the sense that even the items do not have any special “characteristics”. All they give you is extra attack damage, or magical damage, critical strike, life steal, yada yada yada… Quite contrary to Dota 2 items. Almost half (or even more) of Dota 2 items have some active ability and a subsequent cooldown. It adds a whole new dimension to the game! It’s not just that, even the abilities that the items have are unique amongst themselves, like the Bloodstone with which you can commit suicide and hence not feed the opponent with experience and gold. As a result, Dota 2 is much harder than LoL on many levels, and is also way more serious. If you have watched tourneys you’d know. Once I saw LoL players singing songs before the start of the game and some even had a victory dance which they performed after they had won! Dota 2? Nothing of that sort. Can’t blame them though, look at those freaking huge prize pools ESPORTS puts up. Better commentators and overall production for Dota 2 although LoL is the game having more players per month. I am sure that they see a lot of potential in Dota 2. It feels great watching Dota 2 matches though. I will say that it depends more on the skill of the player than on the hero that he/she selects. However, LoL isn’t like that. From their pool of 100+ champions, very few even get played with in tourneys and nearly the same ones get banned all the time. I would say that’s a turn off because the team that has the strongest picks will win. And that’s lame, especially after you’ve played Dota 2. I just play LoL because it’s easier, and people are cool.

The Game of Thrones

Possibly one of the greatest stories ever created by humans, a legendary book series turned TV adaption by the famous George R. R. Martin is the best book that I have come across so far. So good it was, and so much thrill I got from it, is unforgettable! With some nerve wracking plot twists that you will not see coming and stupendous characters, GoT has outdone itself.

I was introduced to GoT a few years ago when I heard friends talking about it excitedly. But that really didn’t pique my interest. I was into other things back then. But recently, I joined a library and they happened to have Game of Thrones. So I decided to see what all the hype was about. Then it began, the endless adventure and lasted around 800 pages yet which seemed like a teaser for the story still to come! When a masterful plot and great story writing come together, this is the fantastic product that they create. The first book was published in 1995, which is quite long ago. Never have I heard of it before. Quite surprising, that. It became really popular when HBO launched the GoT TV series.

Maybe there plenty of gore and sex, but if you’d like to bathe in maturity here is a golden opportunity. Martin kisses goodbye to naivety and brings the darkest part of our minds come alive with so much cunning that will keep you gripped till the end no matter what! There are a few main characters through whom he narrates the story in 3rd person. Ned, Catelyn, Tyrion, Robb, Jon, Bran, Arya, Daenerys and Sansa were the main characters in the first book of Song of fire and ice which is the name of the series GoT is a part of.

If maturity disturbs you, the TV series is no different. But trust me, you would want to read the book than watch the series to enjoy everything the author poured out into the book. Personally, my favourite character is Tyrion because of his cunning, calm character and the way he can retort to anything spoken to him. It’s really quite amazing how much character development he got and you get to see several sides of his personality like his will to save Catelyn even though it was her who captured him. Tyrion may seem like an evil character, but so is everyone else in that case. The other character I adore is Daenerys. Although not so much in the TV series. She is supposed to be a very powerful person which I felt her actress missed out on. The first book ends on a neutral note, but exciting note. While Daenerys becomes mother to the 3 dragons, Robb Stark becomes the Lord of Winterfell and their banners and they separate from the Seven Kingdoms. Sansa and Arya are still in King’s Landing where prince Joffery is wreaking havoc.

I felt like Ned and Catelyn were the main reason behind the whole crisis that occurred with Ned’s eventual death. He made the biggest blunder by going to the King’s Landing with Robert at the start of the book and almost as a price that he had to pay he was beheaded. None of this would have actually happened if he refused to become Hand of the king. The worst part of it was, not only did he lose all of his personal guard, his daughters were both in a bad position, his wife had to flee and his son had to go to war.

The character who most people will like, maybe not as a favourite nor as their least favourite is Jon Snow. There is a lot to be said about this guy. His life has been terrible because of how his name got tainted with ‘bastard’ and it was none of his fault. Jon Snow’s life on the Wall always served as a good distraction from all the politics and war going on at other times in the book.

I’ll conclude by saying, I can’t wait to read the next book A Clash of Kings!