Hyrule Warriors Legends is a hack-and-slash game for the 3DS developed by Omega Force and Team Ninja and published by Nintendo. A spin-off of the Legend of Zelda series, it combines characters in the Zelda franchise and puts them in a game similar to Koei Temco’s Warriors series (Dynasty Warriors, Samurai Warriors.) It is a port of the original Hyrule Warriors on the Wii U with additional characters and levels. It was released in North America on 25 Mar 2016.
(Note: Pictures taken from the official site because there is no screenshot feature for the 3DS. Used for review purposes only.)
In an original story, not related to any previous Legend of Zelda games, the world of Hyrule is once again beset with evil forces. Princess Zelda (or her latest incarnation) raises an army to fight the tide of darkness, which is led by the evil sorceress, Cia. Along with Impa, she is also looking for the returned Hero of Legend, the latest hero named Link. She finds him within her own ranks as he steps up and battles the evil army. With his allies, he seeks to reunite the Triforce, the ultimate power in Hyrule and what the forces of Cia seek. To do so, they will find themselves not only fighting for Hyrule’s future in the present, but in the past as well.
The main game is the Legend mode, in which gameplay is like other Warriors games, but with only one faction playable at first (and them it depends of the level you play.) You control your character on a large battle field, fighting enemy troops and completing various objectives. You start off with only Link playable, but as you progress you unlock more characters like Impa, Sheik, and newcomer Lana. Perennial Zelda villain Ganondorf is also a playable character as you progress further in the game. This is the same as in the Wii U version. Unique to Legends are characters like Skull Kid, Toon Link. Tetra, King Daphnes and Linkle, a new character. She believes that she is the reincarnation of the Legendary Hero and runs into battle to save Hyrule armed with twin crossbows.
Other modes in both versions are Free Mode, in which you can re-play levels using any character that you have unlocked, Adventure Mode, it which you play levels with certain conditions to unlock items and characters, Gallery where you can view unlocked artwork k and an extras menu. New to Legends is My Fairy, in which you can collect fairies to gain special abilities in battle.
Graphically, it is a good as one can expect for a 3DS game. Though the gameplay is the same as the Wii U version, obviously the visuals are not a nice. But over all ,the characters are detailed, the colours are good and there has not been any noticeable slowdown, at lest not in the New Nintendo 3DS, which is the system this game is meant to be played on.
The game will work on any 3DS system, but it is meant for the new Nintendo 3DS due to the Z buttons and the C-Stick. Controls are like the Wii U version (with a choice between Warriors style, which I use, or Zelda style controls) with regular attacks on Y, strong attacks on X, Dodge is B and the special “Musou” attack on A. The Left shoulder button re-centres the camera and the Right button uses you equipped Item (Bombs, Bow etc). The New 3Ds adds the option of a lock on button (ZL) for fighting Boss Characters and the C-stick allows you to rotate the camera, with the lack of which had serious affected my enjoyment of Samurai Warriors Chronicles 2 for the 3DS. My only complaint is the location of the C-stick which is a hardware issues and nothing to do with the game.
Another this about this release that I like is that Nintendo was kind enough to include some extras. There were two download codes included in the game’s packages. The first was a Hyrule Warriors Legends theme for the 3DS, which was a nice touch. A free theme based on the game you just bought would be a nice bonus in all of Nintendo’s 3DS games. The second is a code for the Wii U. It adds all five for the new characters to your Hyrule Warriors game. Though they are not playable in Legends Mode, you can used them in the Free and Adventure modes. This is a nice gift that rewards those who had bought the original for the Wii U.
Overall, Hyrule Warriors Legends is a perfect game for the 3DS. Though the levels can be long, the ability to just close the system to suspend the software so you can take a break for the action. This game is also a good reason to upgrade to the new 3DS and it takes advantage of the system’s improvements. Fans of action games like Samurai Warriors and Zelda fans will definitely enjoy this mashup of the two series.
When Man of Steel came out, there was talks of how Warner Bros could do an extended movie universe with DC Comics characters like Marvel/Disney was with the Avengers. With the previous DC film, Green Lantern tanking, they wanted to do a crossover with Superman and, by far the most successful DC Comic character ever brought to the big screen, Batman. The result is Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice.
The movie opens with Bruce Wayne (Ben Affleck) witnessing the Battle of Metropolis. As he rushes to the site of the Wayne Corp offices in Metropolis, he is helpless as the rest of the population as the event unfolds around him. He reaches the building only to see it destroyed in the wake of the fight between Zod and Superman (Henry Cavill). 18 months later, Bruce is convinced that he is a threat and need to be put down.
Superman is having his own crisis of conscience. With the public divided on how responsible he was for the death toll in Metropolis and an incident in Africa, he questions whether or not he is doing any good. He starts to take notice of Batman’s activities in Gotham, as his actions have become more violent. Both heroes are set on a course that will see them come in conflict with each other. The apparent mastermind behind all this is the head of Lexcorp, Lex Luthor. His plan is to play both heroes off of each other and convince the US government that Superman is a threat. He gets his hands on the Kryptonian ship and the body of Zod that the government had possession of. With that, he plans to create a threat that would spell “doomsday” for the Man of Steel, if Batman doesn’t take him down first.
The movie clocks in over 2 and a half hours but it held my attention the whole time. There are a lot of huge action pieces as the Dark Knight and the Man of Steel come into conflict. Affleck is a good fit as an aged Dark Knight, dark and brooding after a two decade long battle against crime. He invokes the Batman of Frank Millar’s classic, The Dark Knight Returns, being more brutal and less likely to care if criminals a killed or injured, but still concerned with saving the innocent. In fact, there are scenes that mimic panels from the comic, which is fitting because the film is inspired by the fight between Superman and Batman at the end of that series.
Cavill is good as a Superman who is still a man and not a god. He makes mistakes and in the high stakes role as a superhero, that can cost lives. He, too is manipulated in fighting Batman, but in the end lets his rage get the best of him (though Batman’s attacks doesn’t help.) Eisneberg’s Luthor is a bit of a misfire for me. He comes off a bit whiny, like a spoilt brat, but he does have the cruel streak that the modern Luthor has in the comics and believes that the ends justifies the means because his ego won’t let him be wrong.
The film also features Wonder Woman (Gail Gadot) in a supporting role and what ever misgiving I had about the casting (mostly because she was unknown to me) are gone now. She plays a vital role in the end and looks amazing in the outfit, which is better than in the porn version, for a change. Her characterization is pretty much in line with her depiction in the comics since 1987. I cannot wait until we see Wondy in her own movie next year.
If there is one complaint, it’s that it is too dark in places. While I like that the Man of Steel did not go for the “gee willikers” brightness of the Christopher Reeves films but felt a bit of levity wouldn’t hurt it. With Zack Snyder and Cristopher Nolan keeping the overall tone similar to the Dark Knight trilogy, a lot of the movie is dark and somber. Only the scenes with Wonder Woman are there a few funny quips (“I thought she was with you?”) to break up the serious tone. As a movie that has accompanying toy line aimed at kids, it is a bit too dark for that audience
I think that Batman V Superman does what it was intended to do, to set up a future franchise featuring multiple heroes. Aquaman, Flash and even Cyborg appear in some form or another. with the Flash getting a speaking role, referring to event that, out of context, may confirm Batman was right about Superman, but I think hints to Superman’s fate beyond the end of this movie. As a Batman and Superman movie, it does its best to show what would happen if they went head to head. It pays homage to the Dark Knight Returns series and even has elements from a certain Superman storyline in which he fights Doomsday (I’ll let you guess which one.) I hope we get a Justice League movie out of this because more Battfleck (now my second favorite Batman after Adam West) and Gail Gadot’s Wonder Woman is a good thing.
FUNKO has released the newest installment of the Smuggler’s Bounty Subscription Box. This installment’s theme is the Cantina, the space bar in the “most wretched hive of scum and villainy” of Mos Eisley, from the original Star Wars movie. Here is a run down of all the Star Wars goodies you will get in this box.
The box itself is the standard Smuggler’s Bounty Box that we’ve gotten so far. This time the box features Greedo ,who is best known for his confrontation with, and untimely demise at the hands of Han Solo. The box still says “The Force Awakens,” even though Greedo (or anyone like him) doesn’t appear in that movie. That’s okay because I remember as a kid, they’d reissue old figures from the previous movies on a card with the newer movie’s logo. So, precedence?
As with all of the FUNKO subscription boxes, you get a pin and a patch matching that box’s theme. We get a patch, featuring cover alien (and murder victim) Greedo and a small picture of Mos Eisley. The pin features and alien the Cantina band, known by Star Wars die-hards as Figrin D’an and the Modal Nodes. Also note the message on the top has been changed, no longer saying this is you first share. It’s a minor thing, but shows attention to detail.
Next in the box is a pen. FUNKO has a line of pens featuring Funko-ized characters from their various licensed properties. As you can see in the picture, we get a Chewbacca pen, with a little Chewbacca Funko Pop! at the end. The mini-POP is not (easily) removable, at least without destroying the pen. I like this better than the lanyard we got in the first box. I actually have use for a pen.
Next is the shirt. There are four shirts going around featuring Imperial wanted posters for various smugglers. The best of these (in my opinion) is the Han Solo one, because is the most recognizable. Other’s include, Ponda Baba, a.k.a the Walrus Mna, a.k.a. the alien that Kenobi crippled in the cantina, a Hammerhead alien (Ithorian, according to the Star Wars wiki) and Muftak, a Talz pickpocket and burglar. As the picture shows, I got Muftak. All the shirts are black with each design having a different colour.
Now for the real prize of this box, the POP! bobble heads. We get two this time and we did see them in the cantina in Episode 4. First is Ben Kenobi (using the name he used while hiding from the Empire because, apparently, “Kenobi” is the Star Wars equivalent of “Smith.”) He is different from the previous release of Kenobi, with the light-sabre at the ready. The second POP! is called Red Snaggletooth, referencing both the character in the movie (you see him reach up and get a drink at the bar) and the characters toy in the Kenner toy line. There were two versions of Snaggletooth: The first was in a blue version of its outfit and was as tall as the human characters, which was inaccurate. They released a corrected version in the next wave, shorter and in a screen accurate red outfit. Whether or not there are subscribers who got a Blue Snaggletooth, or FUNKO plans to release a blue version, I don’t know.
So this was a good box in my opinion. I like the shirt and that they didn’t make the characters look like their POP version. Those shirts are good, but it’s nice to know that they won’t all be like that. I can see me using the pen (at home because I don’t want to lose it) and the POPs are displayed with the rest of the POPS my wife and I have.
The Smuggler’s Bounty subscription page is www.smugglersbounty.com. You can still order the three boxes already released or sign up to get the next one, scheduled for May 2016. The next theme is Bounty Hunters, so chances are , there will be at least something with Boba Fett on it. Deadline to subscribe is May 15, 2016
Senran Kagura: Estival Versus is a third person hack-and-slash game developed by Tamsoft and published in North America by XSEED/Marvelous USA. The game is available for both the PlayStation Vita handheld and the PlayStation 4 home console. It is the third Senran Kagura game on the PS Vita and a direct sequel to Senran Kagura: Shinovi Versus. It is the first game in the series on the PS4. The PS Vita version is compatible with the PlayStation TV micro-console. This review covers both the PS Vita and the PS4 versions.
Estival Versus features all four factions from the previous game. After Ryobi and Ryona (from Hebijo Clandestine Girls’ Academy) encounter their long dead sister at a strange ceremony in the woods, they are transported to a tropical paradise dimension. Soon the other Hebijo Girls find themselves drawn into a bright light into this dimension, as are the other groups; Asuka and her friends from Hanzo, Yumi and her Gessen classmates as well as Homura and the rest of the Crimson Squad. Each group are set upon by mysterious ninja, the same group that had attacked them before at the hot springs (as shown in the Senran Kagura: Estival Versus Original Video Animation, not included but you can find it online). The girls fight their way through and all of them meet up and encounter their mysterious host.
The host is an old woman named Sayuri, a former Kagura or demon hunter. She is also Asuka’s maternal grandmother. She tells the girls that they are now part of the Kagura Millennial Festival, a 8 day celebration to honour those ninja who died in vain in order to give their spirits peace. The celebration includes a contest called the Shinobi Bon Dance, with each team competing against each other to see who can destroy the most shinobi platforms. Assisting Sayuri are Ryoki, the sister of Ryona and Ryobi who was killed by a yoma (demon) on a mission against Miyabi, and the Mikagura sisters, three shrine maidens with their own ninja arts and agenda. Sayuri should not be underestimated either because she holds power inside her.
The game plays pretty much the same as Shinovi versus, with some levels requiring you to defeat a group of enemies to be able to move on to your next objective within a large area or just a large battlefield where you fight until you win. Most of the time (not always) you will face off against up to three or the other characters and have to defeat them. You still have tricks like Aerial Rave, where you launch you opponent and chase after and attack them in the air. You still have the three mode to fight in; Flash, where you fight in your normal form with no access to you ninja arts; Yang, where you use your shinobi transformation and have access to your ninja art attacks with increased strength; and Yin or Frantic, where you strip down to your underwear, increasing you speed, strength and power, but at the cost of your defence.
New to the game is being able to fight in missions along a partner. Unlike Deep Crimson for the 3DS, this partner is totally Ai controlled and shifts between modes when you do. However, you can do an Fusion Aerial Rave, where if you touch the screen (or touchpad for PS4) when you or your partner initiated and Aerial Rave, both of you will attack the launched target no matter where you were. There are also new power-ups in the form of bombs. Besides the standard exploding bomb, there are bombs that inflict status ailments on you opponents like fire, ice or poison. There are even bombs that render you invisible for ten seconds . And there are context-specific finishers in most (if not all) levels. If you defeat an opponent near certain objects, the final blow will send them into that object for an comical, embarrassing cut scene, in which, of course, there are rendered naked.
Here’s the Senran Kagura series’ main draw. Yes, the destructible clothing system is still intact. Each characters outfits can be torn away with enough damage. Powerful attacks will trigger a cut scene showing the character reacting. Unlike Shinovi Versus, the area you damage is not dependant on which type of attack you use (weak vs. strong). Outfits can be torn two times before the character is reduced to her lingerie and scraps of clothing. If enough of the costume was torn away and a powerful finishing blow was landed (or cut scene triggered) the character is stripped completely naked, with bright stars protecting their modesty.
The Shinobi transformation scenes are pretty much the same, too. There girls are naked once the transformation sequence starts, which is a magic girl trope from Japan since at least Sailor Moon (censored in the West) and the shinobi arts scroll appears, sometimes between their boobs, below their cleavage, behind their backs or appearing in…other areas. .We also get a close up of their outfits appearing onto their bodies with shots of their rear and chest. All the time any naughty bits are obscured either by a body part of by those glowing stars. Because, Lord knows, the world would lose its shit if they showed a nipple, animated or otherwise.
Customization is also a big thing in the Senran Kagura games and Estival Versus is no exception. You can customize your characters in the dressing room changing both their normal and post transformation outfits. Outfit and accessories can be bought with currency earned for completing missions. There is diorama mode in the dressing room in which you can pose up to three characters in the PS Vita or five on the PS4 and take a screenshot of them. There is also the touching mini-game in the dressing room. Using the touch screen on the Vita or on screen hands on the PS4, you, erm, well grope them until they like you (THIS IS NOT HOW IT WORKS IN REAL LIFE! DON’T DO THIS!!!) after which, if you touch their hands, you can “give” them a “kiss.” You can also tear off their clothing (DON”T EVEN THINK ABOUT IT!!!) by rubbing them on the PS Vita’s touch screen with the handheld vertical, which I cannot get to work, or, on the PS4, where, with the grope hands activated, you turn the DualShock 4 vertical and… shake it up and down (think about it…) Subtle, this game isn’t.
There are also DLC available at launch, with four free outfits that are cross-buy (buy for PS Vita, get it for PS4 as well. Additional characters are also coming with Naraku and Kagura from Seran Kagura 2: Deep Crimson and a special guest character in the form of Ayane from Dead or Alive, reciprocating the Senran Kagura costume DLC for Dead or alive 5: Last Round. I’m sure there will be more outfits and accessories in the near future.
Despite all the fan service this game offers (and uses as a selling point) the story of this game is pretty good (yes there is a story!) Ryona and Ryobi’s relationship with their dead sister Ryoki is one of the main beats of the story. While Ryona is thrilled to have her older sister back, Ryobi is not, still feeling guilty for telling Ryoki that she hopes she dies before the battle that claimed her life. Of course all this character development is undercut with Ryobi verbally abusing Ryona and Ryona loving it and demanding to be abused more. Seriously, Google search Ryona (BUT NOT IMAGE SEARCH, for your sanity’s sake) to see what fetish her name can refer to. Feel free to GIS Ryobi. All you get are pictures of power tools, which I don’t think has anything to do with the character.
There are other serious storylines for the other girls. Yumi and the Gessen girls have a part in which they encounter Kurokage, Yumi’s grandfather and teacher to all of the Gessen students. Miyabi also has a part in which she looks for the soul of her dead mother, who was killed by a Yoma when she was very young. Asuka also has her part to play, trying to figure out why her grandmother really brought them here and what her true motives are. But before you start to think you were getting some serious and deep storyline, it reminds you this is a Senran Kagura game with Katsuragi groping the other girls, Imu lusting after Miyabi and Haruka making up events like a panty-eating contest.
Now it is time for a bit of a rant. Now, I am not a big believer in censorship. I think it is stupid that we are afraid of showing nudity more than violence. Now there is violence in this game but it is not graphic and the nudity is fan service, but very cheesecake and all the naughty bits are censored for our protection. Some have objection with how the girls are portrayed.. They are just drawing, not real people and there is enough plausible deniability they the school as post-secondary and all the girls are of age (why would they release this if they were not?). I personally avoid using characters like Ryobi and Mirai because the whole jailbait look is not for me. So, if a game like this gets released in the West, why isn’t Dead or Alive Xtreme 3? It is much less violent, nobody gets stripped (those there might be a few near wardrobe malfunction scenes) and the swimsuits aren’t that far off of what you see in a Sports Illustrated Swimsuit video or, at worse, A Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show! Why doesn’t Koei Tecmo release it here? Marie Rose? Mirai is much worse and the official trailer for DOAX3 says Marie’s age is 18. How else would she travel to a tropical paradise alone? My only guess would be the Relationship System with the faux lesbian undertones. But I’ve gotten off track…
Senran Kagura is a game that you must know what you are getting to enjoy. Like all the games in this series, it is Rated M and should not be played by anyone younger than 17. It is good clean dirty fun that is best enjoyed with a bit of irony and a whole lot of “oh, Japan…” It is a worthy sequel to Shinovi Versus and helps to expand the Senran Kagura universe. The physical release is the special Endless Summer edition which includes the game (either PS4 or PS Vita, art book, one of four sets of cards featuring the girls of each faction and a 2-disc soundtrack. The game is available as a digital download for each system for a cheaper price (I paid $79.99 for the Endless Summer pack for PS Vita and $49.99 for the PS4 game as a download on PSN.
Senran Kagura: Estival Versus was released on 15 Mar 16 and is available on PSN or on online sellers such as Amazon. Some video game stores may have it in stock or can order it for you. Check your local retailer for details and pricing.
Senran Kaugra 2: Deep Crimson is a side-scrolling hack-and-slash game developed by Tamsoft and published in North America by XSEED Games (now Marvelous USA). It is the third Senran Kagura game on the 3DS, with the first game being Japan-Only and the second. Senran Kagura Burst, being a re-release with an additional storyline. It was released physically and as a download on 15 Sept 2015.
The game starts with a reprise of the end of the first game, with the Hanzon Academy girls (Asuka, Ikaruga, Katsuragi, Yagyu, and Hibari) facing off against, and eventually teaming up with the Hebjio Acaemdy students (Homura, Yomi, Hikage, Mirai and Harkura) to take down their sensei, Dougen. They prevail in the end, but while the Hanzo students returned to their school, Homura and her friends find themselves as renegades from Hebijo,
Now calling themselves the Crimson Squad, Homura and the rest continue to train while working the odd job to survive. They find themselves face to face with Asuka and her friends once again as a vacation turns into a mission. Demons called Yoma have started to appear which put the Good Ninja Leadership on alert. Somehow tied to the Yoma is a mysterious woman named Naraku and a little girl who when she absorbs enough “red orbs” from the Yoma, she ages up and becomes the legendary demon hunter, Kagura!. Now, with the Hanzo girls ordered to slay Kagura and the Crimson Squad sensing a kindred spriit, are they two sides able to come to terms and find a way to both stop the Yoma and save Kagura from her fate?
Like there previous games for the 3DS, Senran Kagura 2 is mostly a side scrolling game. Most of the time you move forward until you a blocked by enemies, and are only able to proceed once you defeat all of them. Boss battles are in a large open area where you can move freely around the area. Stages vary from city streets to crater and to a hot spring resort, just to name a few. You can fight in both normal modes (school uniforms and street clothes) or transform into Shinobi mode where you can access you secret ninja arts for more damage. Anyone who has played a Senran Kagura game would have no issue playing this one.
New to the series is the abilities to play as two girls at a time. Some levels have you play as two of the girls, whom you can switch between by pressing A. In these battles you lose if both girls are defeated. If one is knocked out, if your remaining character survives long enough your other character will revive with a small bit of health. You can also play local and online co-op play through WiFi.
Of course it would not be a Senran Kagura game without the stripping! All the ladies of Senran Kagura games have destructible outfits and can be stripped to their underwear in battle. Some of the generic troops feature clothing damage but only when you fight one of the 10 main girls,, or Daidoji, Rin, Naraku or Kagura (in her adult form, of course!) do you get a close up of the action. You character can be stripped too and any damaged is reset between rounds, except in the Yoma’s Nest mode, which I’ll get into next.
Besiudes the main game, there are other modes like a challenge mode, whenre you win under certain conditions, for which you get a Shinboi Stone to power up you character in the game. The Yoma’s Nest mode is an endurance mode in which you fight match after match, facing increasingly stronger opponents, which regaining little to no health between matches. There are also training missions and additional content can be bought from the Nintendo eShop.
You can also customize the girls, too. Entering the dressing room you can change the characters look in her normal or shinobi modes. Hair styles and colors can be adjusted and accessories added. Even their bathing suits (what the game calls underwear) can be adjusted. New costumes and accessories are unlocked as you play the game or when you download certain DLC packs. You can also take phots or the girls, alone in in pairs, in various poses and save it to your SD card.
Have the girls strike a pose!
Yeah, not dirty at all…
I like the Senran Kagura games and this one does improve on the last one for the 3DS. However I do prefer the PS Vita version of this series ( Senran Kagura: Shinovi Versus) and I can’t wait to play the new one in that series (Estival Versus, which I’ll review soon!). As I said in my review for Shinovi Versus, this is the sort of game that we used to rarely see out here due to cultural differences and attitudes towards showing a little skin. Though this game series is toned down compared to the anime and, to an extent, the PS Vita versions, I am still surprised that this is on a Nintendo platform. A game like this wouldn’t have bee allowed twenty years ago or ten years ago, or, at least not released in the West five years ago. Still, this is a game that the M rating was made for. It is definitely not for kids. Still, it is strange when you think that society would rather show violence than show a nipple.
Senran Kagura 2: Deep Crimson is available as a digital download or as a physical release. The physical release, tactfully called the Double D Edition, comes with a two disc soundtrack featuring the music from the game. It is available through online retailers such as Amazon and may be available in shop at EB Games. Check online for details.