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The Witcher 3: Blood and Wine

The Witcher 3: Blood and Wine

Blood and Wine ends the series on a so-so note. The story does not entice until later into the last hours and even then its narrative is still not that strong compared to the base game and Hearts of Stone. Characters such as Anna even with her strong performance is nowhere near as intriguing as say the Bloody Baron or Gaunter O’Dimm.

When the story came to its conclusion it’s a bit petty in the grand scheme of things. Worse, the side quests in Blood and Wine are boring to round it all out. It’s as if the stories have been told before and the game started to feel as though it has overstayed its welcome. Blood and Wine feels outdated and did nothing to change its mechanics for this last installment. The dye system and the new mutagen slots do nothing to affect the game in any meaningful way.

I was very happy with Geralt’s ending though. Was worth playing Blood and Wine for that at least.

Rating: 7/10

Black Desert Online

Black Desert Online

Black Desert Online was my spiritual successor to another game I loved called Lineage 2 back in the day. As that game was consumed by botters and cheaters and left to die by NCSoft, BDO videos from Korea started surfacing and I immediately knew this was going to be a return to home.

For the past six months my time with Black Desert Online has been nothing but great, not amazing as the game has some serious flaws (lack of group content, shoddy UI, terrible story, etc), but the Lineage 2 nostalgia was popping all over the place.

The world of Black Desert is amazing, the cities complex and natural in design and layout. The sense of exploration was real in this game even though it wasn’t a core feature. I was just lost in the ocean and its many islands hours on end. The omission of fast travel just made it even feel bigger than it really was and you were connected to the world since you had to traverse it for better or for worse. The living world of Black Desert with other players running about questing, doing life skills, and just chatting it up with their guild was something I could not think be repeated. Not to mention its biggest selling feature, the combat, was great and made the grinding enjoyable.

With my guild I knew I was going to stay for a long time. Even with our rag-tag of lesser numbered members compared to the bigger guilds and their alliances, fighting in small level node wars was fun as hell, even if we got swamped by a huge zerg in a matter of minutes.

Alas, the changes coming to the game making it “pay2win” has come as a huge unbelievable disappointment. The amount of trust shredded in recent news of new in-game mechanics that the community was under the assumption would never come has finally come with no signs of reversal. With that, I bid the game farewell with not too much remorse as seeing Legion is just right around the corner.

Rating: 8/10

Kabaneri of the Iron Fortress

Kabaneri of the Iron Fortress

I don’t want to take it too seriously but Kabaneri takes itself too seriously and that’s the problem. It’s too short to develop anything meaningful. What is here is driven by stupid people doing stupid things to push the story conveniently to whatever unexplained plot line it wants to tell. How the human race has not fallen over to the zombie horde is beyond my imagination with the idiotic characters that inhabit this world.

The world building for the first episode I felt was fantastic in terms of scope. Character animations and designs are equally impressive. The action scenes are the definite highlight of Kabaneri but sadly it’s a visual feast and not much else.

Immediate Attack on Titan comparisons spring forth, but you quickly realize the story is a revolving door. The main characters enter a walled off town, zombies then attack unsurprisingly, and they finally manage to escape to do the same thing again in another walled off town. Again and again this repeats to the anime’s less than stellar conclusion.

Rating: 7/10

The Lost Village

The Lost Village

The Lost Village is as insufferable as its entire cast. Plagued with the worst Japanese stereotypes and cliches throughout anime, things are made worse as they like to yell at each other all the time. I have zero attachments to any character and there are almost 30 of them! Hoping for their deaths gave me motivation to finish this mess all the way through.

Rating: 4/10

Ori and the Blind Forest

Ori and the Blind Forest

Obviously Ori and the Blind Forest’s visuals are its main attraction, but it’s platforming is equally spot on. Precise and rewarding, Ori and the Blind Forest plays like its dreamy visuals. The sense of progression is just right, unlocking different abilities and utilities on an even pace to keep things interesting enough before boredom sets in.

Rating: 8/10

KonoSuba

KonoSuba

Another MMORPG anime!? Wait! This one’s good … and funny. It took me an episode to figure out what the hell I was watching because MC came off as a huge dick. Which I guess was the point considering the harem of girls he’s stuck with. The humor was on point, crude and stupid for my low-level of taste.

Rating: 8/10

Haikyuu!! Second Season

Haikyuu!! Second Season

Haikyuu!! returns to the court and is bigger and badder than ever before. Haikyuu is far from the epitome of sports anime but you surely can’t say it’s not intense. The tension and action that the animation brings out from these characters and matches is just something else at times. The varied animation styles and techniques help you to feel the speed and impact of the ball every time.

It’s still a very formulaic story but it’s high school volleyball so you can’t be too hard on it. You almost know what’s going to happen but the games are still amazing and the different rivalries give each match meaning and importance.

Rating: 9/10

Dimension W

Dimension W

I kept watching for Mira because she is just adorable, but she alone could not carry this series through. The first batch of episodes are strong and interesting with their set ups, the reaching into a 4th dimension of sorts to use unlimited energy is an interesting starting point.

Sadly, everything starts to fall apart in every category. The story is too convoluted and too confusing for its own good, namely a certain ghost arc. The animation starts to show some severe decline compared to the start of the series. The main characters are good namely Kyouma and Mira, but when a certain prince and brother and their plot line is shoved in it’s just too much. Dimension W has too many fragmented storylines and too few episodes to flesh any of it out. Let’s not even get started with the main antagonist’s character design, what a joke.

What Dimension W had going for it though is that it has the best OP and ED of the season.

Rating: 6/10

Grimgar of Fantasy and Ash

Grimgar of Fantasy and Ash

Alright, another one of these. Except it’s not. When you take away the gamification of Is It Wrong to Try to Pick Up Girls in a Dungeon? and semblance of life outside a game of Sword Art Online then what you end up with is strictly high fantasy and Grimgar of Fantasy and Ash judged as high fantasy is mediocre at best.

It’s setting is rather commonplace by now, though its unique watercolor background art differentiate it from comparable shows. The classes chosen by each character is nothing new and the monsters they battle against we’ve seen many times over in anime or not. The music is glaringly inappropriate at times with odd modern J-POP songs squeezed in for what has to be promotional purposes for the show’s funding.

What Grimgar has going for it though is its strong cast of characters and general character development. I kept watching because I loved the maturity and seriousness of this anime with respect to its characters and its treatment of death.

The pacing is a bit off at times, but Haruhiro and gang’s adventure in this unknown land is interesting to watch and when the party dynamics are tested is when it gets really compelling. I grew to like their everyday routines as they live their lives as lowly adventurers by hunting goblins and barely scraping it by.

Rating: 7/10

Myriad Colors Phantom World

Myriad Colors Phantom World

It’s fanservice. Set your expectations appropriately. There were nice episodes here and there, the Baby Haruhiko and Grown Up Ruru episodes come to mind, otherwise forgettable and some what really bad episodes fill in the rest. The last two episodes has a semblance of a story and probably should have been the tone for the entirety of the show if they cared enough. Well I finished it so you know what I watched it for.

Rating: 6/10

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