Monday, January 31, 2011

Figma Makinami Mari Illustrious New Plugsuit Ver. by Max Factory

Received a while back, today I opened Figma Makinami Mari Illustrious New Plugsuit Ver. by Max Factory.

Mari appears in the Evangelion movie with too different plugsuits; a green one at the beginning and a pink one at the end. Max Factory opted to start the Evangelion figma line with the newer character with her newer (and more stylish) plugsuit.

Mari's accessories consist in three faces (smiling, grinning and a "beast mode" face), 11 hands, two different sets of twintails (one normal and the other with the tails in front of her shoulders), a set of small parts to change to green the red parts of the plugsuit, and the most impressive part is a complete interior of the Eva cockpit.

The control levers are movable, and the legs zone can move horizontally as well. There are two figma bases included, one to use with the cockpit and one for the figure.

Most of the figma is made of rubber like plastic to be more similar to the synthetic-like textures of the plugsuit. The neck is, like Rider figma, double jointed and hidden in part by the neck part of the plugsuit.

The worst part of the figure is the torso area. The breast are separated from the rest of the body in order to move, but leaving a massive and clearly visible gap making an ugly "flying breast" effect.

Smiling face.

Grinning face.

The glasses are attached to the hair part, but can be easily removed.

The Beast mode. Green eyed yelling face, the dot of the plugsuit can be turned green via a very small piece, and the wrist parts can be changed with alternate parts with green dots instead of red. The hair part is the alternate one, too.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Ghost Trick

Last weekend I bought Ghost Trick for NDS, and a couple of days ago I finished it.

In summary, Ghost Trick is a visual novel with a puzzle segment in each of the 18 chapters, but the puzzle is mostly cosmetic since the story is the main focus.

You play as Sissel, an amnesic ghost with a special power to manipulate small objects and go back in time 4 minutes before the dead of any recently deceased person besides himself. With that power he must find who is and why was killed, and he have time until dawn before disappears from this world.

Is hard to not compare it with the Ace Attorney games, not only because the developer of both series is Takumi Shuu, but also because like the AA games, the main charm of the game is the quite unique characters, each with distinctive quirks and behaviors, and see how interact with each other in a seemingly unconnected way, until you see the full picture in the last episode.

The story is pretty good, with several plots twist. Some of them are pretty evident (I figured Sissel identity at the end of the chapter six, and is one of the last revelations in the game) but some of them are totally unexpected (like the identity of the ghost that explains your powers at the beginning).

When a characters speaks, like most of the visual novels, a 2D image of the character is shown, but when appearing "on screen" they are modeled in 3D with astonishingly fluid animations. This aspect and the stylish character designs gives a really edgy feel to the game.

The puzzles consists most of the time to save a character from his/her death, manipulating the objects that you can possess. Even if you fail, you can go back in time 4 minutes and redo the situation, but the puzzles are fairly obvious, with only one way of solving them and usually you can do it with the first attempt. As usual with this kind of games, it rather short (about 10 hours) and have zero to none replayability value.

Since most of the fun is to know the truth at the same time as the main character, I won't spoil all the characters, only the ones you'll find early in the game.

The main character. He regains consciousness and find himself as a ghost, dead and without any memory of who is he or how was killed. Despite his looks, he's not as sarcastic as Phoenix Wright and usually is pretty naive.

The main heroine is this vivacious detective that have a more than passing resemblance to Gurren Lagann's Yoko. Seems to be the the only witness of Sissel murder, and is the first person that you need to help to literally escape from the death in hand of a hitman.

Known as Kanon in Japan, she's a little girl living with Lynne. She's pretty smart for her age and is the second character that you need to save.

Kamile and Lynne little dog. In order to help his masters, he becomes one of the main characters later in game.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Valkyria Chronicles 2 finished

Today I completely finished Valkyria Chronicles 2, after 4 months.

The main game doesn't take much time (I finished it in late September), but in the post-game you need to do A LOT of grinding in order to get all the medals. I also got all the potentials for the 62 characters available, all the titles (except for 3 that needs the multiplayer mode), all the 197 missions A ranked and with at least one of each enemy ace weapon, including the DLC ones.

That medal made me suffer a lot...

Comparing it with Valkyria Chronicles, the gameplay has been improved mostly because you can choose the leaders, the tank is much more customizable (and you can choose to not deploy it), there are 20 3rd tier classes (albeit some being way more useful than others)... However, VC1 had little to no grinding, while VC2 has way too much: you'll have to grind to get enemy ace weapons (each can have up to 3 different drops, 2 of them weapons), you'll have to farm the credits to class change each character, and the worst of it is to farm materials and weapons parts to build weapons in R&D (there are weapons parts that are dropped in only one mission, and you need to beat it over 15 times in order to get all the parts required).
At the end the game gets very repetitive and tedious, because not only you need to repeat the same missions over and over but because the non-story missions are very similar and in the same few locations...

There's also a problem with the character models. Despite the game being good looking for a PSP game, the character models uses only one male body and one female body regardless the height and weight of the character, with terrible results:

Selvaria, a busty female with a height of 175cm, shares the exact same body with Aliasse, a 150cm flat-chested loli.

The reward for all the grinding are two characters. The first one, acquired once you get 20 medals, is Juliana:

Unlocked Juliana (blue) versus Story mode Juliana (red). The pinkish shield is way more fitting for the character.

The reward for getting all the medals is Leon Hardins, the missing older brother of the main character:

Despite being the "ultimate character", is a rather mediocre lancer...

Finally, this is the top 12 in my deployment list:

Not counting the main characters Avan and Zeri, the first male character in the list is Largo, at the 23th place.

Next step: wait for the upcoming Valkyria Chronicles 3, that supposedly will fix all the bad traits of this game.