Subscription Box Review: Star Wars Smuggler’s Bounty- March 2017 – Star Wars Rebels

Just when I think I am out, they pull me back in.  Funko got around to doing a box based around the popular Star Wars: Rebels cartoon.  I could not pull out of the sub if there was a chance to get some cool merch with my second favorite Mandalorian on it (Sabine Wren), so I let it go for another round.  Will it be worth it?  Let’s see.

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The box has the Star Wars Rebels logo and a pop style Ezra on it.  Other than that, the box is the same one we’ve come to know and love.  Next!

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Under the lid we see this month’s pin and patch.  The patch is of Zeb Orrelios, the Lasat honour guard who is the team’s muscle.  His look was based on the Ralph McQuarrie sketches for Chewbacca.  The pin is of Sabine Wren (yes!), or, at least, her helmet.  Both are pretty decent.

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Next is the shirt, featuring the main Rebels cast in Pop form.  The blue and orange in the picture looks good on the black shirt.  There are no variants for this month’s shirt.

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Next is a Hikari of the Ghost’s resident droid, Chopper.  This is supposed to be a Hiraki Mini, but it is larger than my Darth Vader one from months back.  It stinks as well.  I mean there is a strong plastic smell.  There are five colours variations that you can get (red, orange, silver, black or white.)  I am still not a big fan of these figures.

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Finally we get to the Pops.  We get two.  One is Darth Maul, who has recently been featured on the show.  He was reveled to be alive on the Star Wars: Clone Wars cartoon. with a robotic lower half.  The other is another holdout form The Clone Wars:  Captain Rex, one of Kenobi’s and Anakin’s trusted clone troopers.  Now aged and grizzled and on the run from the Empire, he also helps the Rebels.  Though both are on the series, I am disappointed we did not get one of the main characters, they are still cool looking Pops.

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So that was the Rebels box.  I am kind of disappointed by it, as there is no Sabine pop and I don’t like the Hikari Minis.  Still what we got was good so, it just the was it goes.  Maybe a future Mandalorian Box will get me the unique Sabine Pop I want to pair with my Boba Fett.

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The next Smuggler’s Bounty box will ship in May 2017.  May’s theme is Star Wars 4o0 anniversary. You can subscribe to Smuggler’s Bounty at https://www.smugglersbounty.com/  You can also purchase the previous boxes like the one just reviewed, but supplies are limited.  The deadline to subscribe for the Empire Strikes Back box is 15 May 2017.

 

 

Subscription Box Review- Marvel Collectors Corps Spider-Man Box

I got an surprise email from the fine folks at Smuggler’s Bounty a few week back.  It said that, due to my loyalty and sticking with the sub for over a year, they were going to send me a box from one of the other Funko subscriptions for free.  My first thought was, “Yeah, I like free.” but them it turned to “Oh I hope is isn’t one of the DC boxes I already have.!”  But I lucked out and got one from their other superhero subscription box, the Marvel Collector’s Corp.  I received the Spider-Man box from last August (didn’t think they send me the latest box, anyways), which came last week.  Let us take a look at the contents.

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The mailer box is a brown box with the Marvel Collector Corps logo and the month’s theme clearly labelled on it.  You get a picture of Spider-Man’s mask on top in full colour.  The box is nicer than the DC Legion of Collector’s box in that regard.

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Opening the box, we see the patch and pin for the month.  No surprise the patch has Spidey’s face and the pin is of his spider symbol.  They both look nice and is what we have come to expect from Funko.

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Underneath that flap we get to the rest of the goodies.  First is this comic, a reprint of The Amazing Spider-Man (the latest run, cover dated October 2016, so released in July 16) and is the prologue of the Dead No More story line which they bring back…dead characters.  That happens a lot in Spider-Man books, in particular.  I still think it was cheap for them to bring back Aunt May all those years ago (let her and her wheat cakes rest in peace!)  If you don’t follow Spider-Man or haven’t check in in a while, you may be lost (yes, May married J. Jonah Jameson’s father so he and Pete are step-brothers and Peter’s is like Tony Stark rich) so good luck to you.

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Next is another of Funko’s Pop! Tops.  This grey and blue baseball cap features a Funko-ized Spider-Man logo.  It is adjustable so it should fit up to the most massive of heads.  The underneath of the visor even has a pattern of Marvel and Pop! logos on a red background.

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Next we get a Funko Frabrikations.  These dolls are done in the Pop style with the large heads and small bodies.  The head can rotate and the bottom of the feet are flat so they can stand up unassisted.  They are made pretty sturdy, too.  They are a bit large, so they would tower over your pops.

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Finally we get to the Pop!, which is. surprise surprise, of Spider-Man.  Forgoing the typical Pop! pose, Spidey is posed as he is jumping, ready to spin a web.  He has a clear stand that attacks to his back to keep in up.  He is also a bobble head.

There you have it.  I like all of the Funko boxes that I have got and the Marvel one is just as great.  I am trying to spend less lately, though I probably won’t be getting another sub ( I have a hard enough time letting one of my other subs go!).  But I would wholeheartedly recommend this subscription to Marvel and pop vinyl fans.

The next Marvel Collector Corp box will ship in February 2017.  The new theme will be Super Hero Showdown.  You can subscribe by going to https://www.collectorcorps.com/ .  The deadline is 15 Feb 17.  Subscribers can order any of the previous boxes, but supplies are limited.  I hope you enjoy this review.

PS Vita Review: Valkyrie Drive: Bhikkhuni

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This got your attention?

 

Valkyrie Drive: Bhikkhuni is a third person action game developed by Meteorise and published by Marvelous Inc. through PQube. It is part of the Valkyrie Drive media franchise created by Marvelous Inc, (Senran Kagura series), which includes this game, an anime and an iOS game exclusive to Japan. This game is exclusive to the PS Vita system. The game is PlayStation TV Compatible.

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Sisters Rinka and Ranka arrive on the island

The overall plot of the Valkyrie Drive series is this: Sometime in the near future, a virus starts to infect teenage girls and young women. The virus is called the Armed Virus and can affect a girl in two ways: Some gain the ability to turn in weapons and some gain the ability to wield those weapons, if the girls are compatible enough. The ones that turn into weapons are called Extars and the one who can wield them are Liberators. Some Extars don’t turn into weapons: some turn into a vehicle or some just grown giant (as seen in the anime.) Some even have both the abilities of an Extar and a Liberator.  The governments of the world have decided to remove these girls and put them on artificial islands where they can learn to control their powers or be cured from the virus.

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Extars have one thing in common, though. In order to transform, they must be compatible with their Liberator in order to initiate the transformation. To initiate the transformation, the Liberator has to bring their Extar to a state of “euphoria.” If you’ve read my review of Gal *Gun: Double Peace, you know that’s code for giving them an orgasm. Yes, an orgasm. The higher compatibility between the girls, the easier the transformation and the more powerful the Extar gets. In the anime, it is shown that some girls effortlessly shift between human and Extar form if they have the right partner. It even showed that an Extar could involuntarily turn into a weapon if the sight of an attractive Liberator turns them on. But that is enough of the back story.

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Their Love is a Weapon

Valkyrie Drive: Bhikkhuni is set on the artificial island of Bhikkhuni (hence the title). It mainly follows two sisters, Rinka and Ranka, who have been sent there in order to be cured from their virus. Everyone on that island have a variation of the Armed Virus called the V Virus, which makes them both Extar and Liberator. Here they are put though various combat exercises in order to refine their powers as they are told the way to cure the virus is to master it. The sisters encounter others on the island like the mysterious Momo, the ambitious Mana, arrogant Viola, always hungry Manpukumaru and the serious Koharu. They all progress under the watchful eyes of the Four Pillar Gods, massive mechanical Valkyries that serve as teachers and opponents. Of course the girls pair up and strengthen the bond with their partners through touching groping and kissing. Yes, even the sisters because, Japan.

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The Four Pillar Gods

The game play is similar to what was in the Senran Kagura games for the Vita. You go through the map, fighting off hordes of mostly female enemies, with the occasional robot dog, scorpion or some other mechanical contraption. You attack with the square button for light and triangle for heavy attacks. Circle launches the enemy into the air and X is jump for light presses or a dash towards locked on enemies if you hold it. You can explore the maps to find hidden items and areas (guarded by a robot keeper that recognizes the girls by touching their breasts), and to collect pieces of lingerie tokens, which unlocks underwear if you collect all the pieces in the level. Like Senran Kagura, there is clothing damage that stays through the end level cut scenes. Usually at the end, you face off against another pairs of girls. After each level, you are given a score, a ranking and experience points to split between the Liberator and the Exter.

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Clothing damage stays through the end battle cut scenes

While leveling up the Liberator improves their speed, endurance and power, leveling the Exter improves the weapon’s power and unlocks the Valkyrie Drive. You build up you drive meter as you fight and defeat enemies, with combos yielding more power. Once the meter is full, you can initiate the Drive. There are four levels of the driver. First Drive is when the Exter turns into a weapon. Unlike the anime where the girl has to orgasm to turn into a weapon, in the game the girls just touch hands and one turns into the weapon. In fact, at the lower level, you don’t even start off in First Drive (even though you have a weapon), but you do as you get the Exter higher in the levels. You can activate the Drive 3 more times if you unlock the abilities for your Exter. Each stage of Drive is accompanied by a scene depicting you two characters: Second Drive has the Liberator touch the other girl’s breast; Third Drive the Liberator hugs the Exter from behind and nuzzles her neck; and Final Drive, the girls kiss (yes, even the sisters). In Second and Third Drive, the Exter loses a piece of clothing until by the final Drive, they are in their underwear. In the Final Drive, the underwear goes, replace by shining light to cover them up (like in Senran Kagura Estival Versus) and the girls launches into the air in ecstasy. You can also use the meter to do special attacks by holding L and pressing square.

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First Drive
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Second Drive. Yes they are sisters…and very close.
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Third Drive
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Final Drive begins with a Kiss, then her panties come off and she blasts into space!

The game has other modes as well. There is a hub you can go to change costumes, buy outfits and items at the store (including Lingerie) or look at unlocked art and scenes. You can also talk to the other girls here. Occasionally there will be hearts that you can collect for each girl which improves their affection level. Occasionally this will unlock a text and voice scene where the girls interact with each other. These could be about the girls challenging each other while training, day dreaming about an opponent’s boobs or directly asking Viola if the carpet matches the drapes, if you get what I’m saying. If you max out the affection level, you unlock a picture of the girls together. It doesn’t have much to do with the story, but is just fan service I guess.

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Momo is getting a little too friendly with Viola.

Like Senran Kagura, you can customize the look of the girls. You can either buy items from the shop, unlock items buy playing the main game, or by buying DLC. Each girl only have one outfit, but you can swap them for a different colour version of the main one for any that you have unlock or bought. You can also add accessories like Senran Kagura and adjust their position on their bodies to create unique looks. There is even a DLC pack that includes many of the items available for Senran Kagura. If you’ve played Estival Versus and checked out the Miss Shinobi Contest, you know the things that can be done. As in Senran Kagura, you can interact with the girls in the dressing room in what is called communication mode. You can press the Square and X buttons to cause battle damage to their outfits or you can play the touching mini-game as you build up levels by touching various areas of her body, with the girl all the while calling you a pervert (as if you didn’t feel that way already.) There are 7 ranks broken down into various levels, from “Girl”, the lowest, to Valkyrie, the highest. Reaching level 20 (Lady) unlocks the heart catch mini-game, in which you tap on screen hearts as they fill up and before they disappear as the girl you’ve been…tapping is shown in the background in her underwear, quipping lines like “Oooh,” Ahhh,” and “That was the best massage ever!” Doing this unlocks various pictures, lingerie and outfits for that character. Other modes in the game include a survival mode and a challenge mode.

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You can swap outfits.

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As mentioned, there is tons of DLC out for this game, including the swimsuit DLC included in Japanese special editions. There is also DLC with adds Liberator Mirei and her Exter Mamori from the anime. Valkyrie Drive: Mermaid. These two characters can only be used together, much like in the anime.  They do not show up in the main story mode, but can be used to replay beaten levels

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Mirei is a special DLC character from the anime.

Graphically, the game is on par with Senran Kagura: Shinovi Versus, meaning they are fine, but not as smooth as the later Senran Kagura game. The areas in game are fairly large and the load time between areas is not that long. The game does look good on a larger TV through a PlayStation TV and most of the touch controls can be done through the face buttons.

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Mana (L) and Momo

 

Now content-wise, this game is a little more risqué than the Senran Kagura games. By risqué, I mean that the lesbian or yuri (as it is called in Japan) elements of the girls touching and kissing. While the Senran Kagura series has girls touching girls and there is some blatantly obvious attraction between some of the girls, it is not central to the plot. In Valkyrie Drive it is right there in the middle of all of it. But the game is not as explicit as the anime series. Watch an episode and you’ll be surprised that his was on a cable network (ATX, an anime cable channel) and not some OVA sold behind a counter. It is like an anime Game of Thrones, but with less violence, even less plot and much more lesbians. The game handles the transformation mechanics differently than the anime, but it have some risky elements with the two sisters being partners and all. Whether that’s so hot or super creepy is up to the player. Either way, XSeed (Marvelous Inc’s western arm) decided not to port this game so PQube had to step in.   They also aged up the girls, having the virus affect young women (meaning over 18) to appeal to Western sensitivity.  None of the girls look too jail-baity, unlike in Senran Kagura. Besides that, there are no other instances of censorship.

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Sisters give each other massages all the time, right?

Another difference is that no matter who your Exter is, you still use the same weapon. In the game, each Exter changes into a certain weapon. Ranka turns into Rinka’s sword and Rinka becomes Ranka’s hell gauntlets. But if you have Ranka as Mana’s Exter, she is her bow. I understand it is to make the game less complicated, but I would have been nice if who you choose as your partner determined what weapon you get. It could even be a challenging game mechanic to force you to use a weapon you are not used to. But it was all about the girl on girl action, right?

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Manpukumaru is always hungry

 

All in all, Valkyrie Drive is a good game that could have been better. It relies on the whole “weaponized lesbians” angle to pull in players but the story can be weak in places and the battles slightly repetitive. Not having who you choose as your Exter change your weapon is a loss for me, as I was hoping that was the case when I got it. I’m sure it was just to simplify the programming, but it was a wasted opportunity. I wonder if developer Meteorize just borrowed the SK engine to make the game since it looks so similar. Maybe if Tamsoft was involved, we would have gotten Estival Versus level graphics and unique weapons forms for each Exter, no matter who the Liberator is.

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Valkyrie Drive: Bhikkhuni is out now. Physical copies can be bought online through Video Games Plus or Rice Digital. Rice Digital had the deluxe edition with an art book, which may or may not be still available. The game can also be bought through PSN.

 

3/5

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Subscription Box Review- DC Legion of Collectors- Batman Villains- Nov 2016

Here we are, the latest box  of the Funko/DC Comics Legion of Collectors subscription.  This months theme is Batman Villains.  Will this box make us a giddy as the Joker or will it disappoint us like Killer Moth?  Let’s get into it.

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Nothing new on the box front, except it is pretty hefty this time around.  The box features the silhouette of the Joker on it.  The inside of the box is decorated with comic panels of various Bat-villains. mostly in their classic Silver Age looks.

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On the top flap are the patch and pin.  The patch is of Bane, the man who broke Batman’s back (after coming out of nowhere)  The patch is designed to look like his luchador mask like he wears in the comics.  The pin features the Riddler, more specifically, his silhouette, and is dome in black and green.  It is a very nice pin.

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The comic is a reprint of Batman (2011) issue 23.2, which was a part of Villain Month.  The story features The Riddler, so it is fitting that the cover shows a Popified Riddler with a tied up Robin, with Batman swinging in for the rescue.  The story is a stand alone one, with no appearance of Batman or any other hero.

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Next up is a new mug.  Funko continues to release new Pop mugs based on various properties and this time it is the Joker.  The mug is really nice  with the Joker’s eyes being all swirly.  Like all the Funko mugs, they are a bit hard to drink out of  but there of a very good quality.IMG_1504.JPG

We also get another hat from Funko’s Pop Top line.  This hat is grey, black and purple and features The Joker.  No worries about Batman’s most iconic villain being underrepresented.  The hat is nice and it is good to switch up with the T-shirts once in a while

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Next up, you get one of Funko’s other line of vinyl figures, Dorbz.  In this month’s box, you get a Dorb of Two Face.  Now, if you though the Pops were cutesy, the Dorbz (short for “Adorable,” get it?) are even more so..  Even Two Face’s scarred side is cute.  This is my first Dorb and I like them, but between them and the Pops, I’ll stick to Pops,

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And finally, we get to the Pop!  Funko decided to go for a classic Batman villain,  Catwoman.  She is featured in her Silver Age “more anti-hero than villain” look.  Surprisingly, this is the first Catwoman pop of her in a comic accurate costume.  It is not her current costume, but I do remember it from comics I had read in my youth.

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This box was definitely a solid one.  The Dorb was a nice get and the mug and hat really added to the value.  Three boxes in and I am still interested in seeing what the next box will be.  I am still hoping for more of the figures:  Harley and Joker need someone to face off with.

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The next Legion of Collectors box will be shipping in early January 2017.  The next box’s theme is DC Legacy, with the ad featuring classic versions of Batman, Green Arrow and Plastic Man.  You can subscribe at https://legionofcollectors.com/ in order to get your box.  The deadline is 1 Jan 17.  Subscribers can order any of the previous boxes, but supplies are limited.  I hope you enjoyed this review.

 

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PS Vita Review: Criminal Girls 2: Party Favors

Criminal Girls 2:Party Favors is a Japanese Role Playing Game developed by Nippon Ichi Software and published by NIS America  it is a sequel to Criminal Girls: Invite Only, also for the PS Vita (and reviewed here)It was released physically on 20 September, 16 and on PSN on 11 October, 2016 in North America.  The game is PlayStation TV compatible.

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Meet your new charges

As in the first game, you are a Reformation Instructor in Hell.  Your job is to guide the souls of delinquents, girls who have yet to commit a crime punishable by damnation, but are close enough to need guidance to reform.  Unfortunately you have lost your memory and suddenly fin yourself with seven delinquents to guide through hell.  Each are headstrong and resistant in their own way but you have to get them to work together to ascend the Spire.  The only issue is, you find out there should only be six girls…

 

Criminal Girls 2 plays exactly like the previous game, with you moving your 2d  characters through the mazes of hell.  Monster encounters random, except for boss fights and when it is needed to move the story along. The story is told though Japanese voice acting with English subtitles with 2D images of the characters with limited animation.  You explore the levels, only saving at camps at various locations.

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Yurine is ditzy, but she seems to mean well.

The girls that you guide  pretty much follow the typical anime tropes as the first game.  You have the regular sized girls (Shinoa and Lily), the well endowed women (Yurine and Tsukyasa) and the uncomfortably jailbait-like ones (Kuroe, Mizuki and Sui).  Of course the girls are old enough to no get NIS in trouble.  Each character has their own personality as well. Shinoa is caring and trusting; Lilly comes off as a rich snob but does have a soft spot; Yurine is a bit ditzy but wants to help, Sui is sarcastic and analytical, Tsukasa is a bit of a tease, Kuroe is shy and talks through her donkey doll, Baron; and, Mizuki who is a clumsy girl who’s child-like nature makes motivating her creepy.

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Mizuki skews young, doesn’t she…?

Combat is turned base and when you go into a encounter, the screen changes and you see four of your girls , two on either side of the screen and the monster(s) in the middle.  As the Instructor, you do not attack, you only choose which character to take battle advice.  That action will be take that round then the monsters go (if they didn’t attack first.  Some action have two characters attack at once.  You can also heal your girls with items or switch a girl out for another character.  These actions do not count towards the turn.  You can also use skill as spells that the character has learned.  After  the battle, the characters get experience to level up their hit points and CM points with can go towards items in the shop or to towards the motivation mini games.

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Yes , the Motivation system is back.  In order to get the girls to fight, you must motivate them with various punishments. There are five Motivational mini-games:  Scrubby Scrub, which you scrub soap off the girls; Spanking X, which is spanking two girls at a time; Slimeshot, which you spray your goo, er slime on the girls (that’s not suggestive…); and Shocking bondage, in which you shock the girls when they are all tied up.  As their Motivation level goes up, you unlock more attacks, magic or stat bonuses for that character.  You will have two types of skills, S Skills and M skills.  They can affect your character when you coach them in battle, enabling them to deal more damage (S) or reduce damage take (M).

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Motivation makes use of the Vita’s touch controls.

 

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Scrub their sins away.  This is the least creepy of the Motivations
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As you progress in the motivation, you can unlock new abilities

The gameplay is like a typical JRPG.  There will be a lot of grinding to get up levels and to unlock abilities.  You can go up to 30 second without having a random encounter and when you start out with only one girl fighting, some enemies will be tough.  Getting enough CM points to motivate the girls will be your priority as your attacks will improve.  All characters get XP after battles so don’t worry if you tend to stick with your favourite four.

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You get some XP.  You get some XP.  Everyone gets some XP!!!

 

Graphic-wise, it looks the same as the first game.  The dungeons change a bit from level to level but it can become a bit repetitive.  The monsters still look like they did in the first game, with some of them not resembling the creature the game says they are.  But, hey, you’re in Hell, scrubbing and spanking girls to redeem them.  Nothing has to make sense.

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The art was redrawn to be less explicit

Now, it has to be obvious that his game must have been somewhat censored to be brought out west.  Japan has some different sensibilities that may not fly in the west.  So the girls have been aged up (or, more accurately, all traces of age have been removed and it is assumed that they are old enough to drink in Alberta at the very least.).  Some changes NIS admitted were redrawn art for the motivation mini-games, removing elements that might have been considered explicit, removing the yelps and moans from the mini-games ,and even changing the name of the Motivation system (originally it  was called Punishment.)  Compared to the pink mist obscuring the Motivation mini-game in Criminal Girls: Invite Only, this is acceptable.

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Mizuki looks like a kid so Tsukasa treats her like one.
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…That ain’t helping to change anyone’s mind.

Overall, this is a okay game for those who do not mind the tediousness of a grindy JRPG.  You definitely have to be in the mood for it if you want to get far in this game.  Looking back, I think I judged the first one a bit harshly, mostly because of the annoying censorship and the battle mechanics.  But I seethe strategy in the system now and the censorship is not as prominent in this game,.  But it is not a overly pretty game, save for the characters themselves.  It is a long, dark bland game, but then again, it is set in Hell.

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Hell is other people.

Criminal Girls 2: Party Favours is available through online retailers, such as Video Games Plus and Rice Digital on online on the PlayStation Store.  There was a Collector’s Edition available as well as a standard copy.   Prices may vary by your country .

3.5 out of 5

 

 

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Movie Review: Suicide Squad

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Suicide Squad is the new movie from Warner Bros and DC Entertainment directed by David Ayer.  It is the third movie in the DC Cinematic Universe after Man of Steel and Batman V. Superman.  It stars Will Smith, Margot Robbie, Jared Leto, Viola Davis and Joel Kinnaman; to name a few.  It released 5 Aug 16 and it is rated 14A in Ontario, Canada (PG-13 in the US).

Suicide Squad follows the story of a government agency called Task Force X.  Headed by Amanda Waller (Viola Davis) and led in the filed by Rick Flagg (Kinnaman), this group is composed of super powered criminals forced to cooperate with threats and promises of a reduced sentence.  They are considered expendable and deniable and if they fail, they would be killed and blamed for everything.  They are a Suicide Squad.

The squad consists of the following villians:  Deadshot (Will Smith), a deadly marksman and assassin for hire;  Harley Quinn (Margot Robbie) the Joker’s (Jared Leto) psycho girlfriend; Killer Croc (Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje), half man, half crocodile; El Diablo (Jay Hernandez), a pyrotechnic haunted by his past; Captain Boomerang (Jai Courteny), a Australian criminal who is a crack shot with a boomerang; Slipknot (Adam Beach) an assassin and infiltration expert; Katana (Karen Fukuhara), a master swordswoman and Flagg’s body-guard; and The Enchantress (Carla Delevingne) a spirit of a millennia-old witch trapped in the body of archeologist June Moone  When the Enchantress awakens a powerful entity that takes over Midway City, the Squadis sent in to rescue a High Value Target (HVT) or die trying.  But as they discover that there is more to the mission, can the Squad hold it together?

The movie, while good, does have some issues with pacing.  The first third is set up, with the movie introducing Waller, Flagg and giving us back story on most of the squad, mainly Deadshot, Harley and Captain Boomerang.  Deadshot and Harley’s story give us a cameo by the Batman and Boomerang’s gives us the best view so mar of Ezra Miller’s Flash. Once the mission starts, the action picks up and it is an enjoyable ride.

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The portrayals of these comic characters are more or less true to the source material.  Deadshot’s kid, Harely’s lack of control around the Joker and Boomerang’s abrasiveness to his teammates are close to their comic roots.  Rick Flagg’s relationship to June is also from the Suicide Squad’s 1980’s series and Amanda Waller has always been a hard ass.  I would have liked to see more of Katana as her back story and I like the costume they made for her.  Katana has been getting some more exposure recently, playing a big role in season three of Arrow and featuring in the new DC Superhero Girls property.  More of her would be nice.

One minor gripe I have is with the Joker.  Leto’s Joker is going to put some people off.  Some may have issues with Will Smith’s Deadshot (he’s fine in the role), some with Margot as Harley (she nailed it and fills those shorts SO nicely), but The Joker is off-putting.  The new look is different, but mot the strangest incarnation of the Joker (in the comic, he once had his own face removed and then wore it as a mask.)  His appearances are chaotic and have a minimal effect on the story.  But isn’t that the Joker?  Strange and off-putting?  Maybe he is not the Joker we want, but the Joker we need?  He will need a bigger role for us to really find out.

Over all I did like this movie,  I thought is was good.  I like it better than Batman v. Superman:  it is not too long, there are no parts that made be cringe and all the portrayals of the comic characters were well done, even, when it comes down to it, Leto’s Joker, for the small part he played.  Maybe it would be better if some of the characters were set up in a previous movie because their character is tied to the heroes they fight.  The movie is dark, but it has the lighter moments that BvS so desperately needed.  I do hope this does well enough to warrant a sequel, in addition to a movie starring Harley Quinn.  But, I’d watch her reading a phone book if she was in that outfit.

harley-robbie-butt
Damn.

 

4/5

Movie Review: Spectre (James Bond 007)

Spectre
Spectre

James Bond is back in the twenty-fourth film in the 007 series, Spectre.  Daniel Craig reprises his role as the British super spy and is joined by Ralph Fiennes as M, Lea Seydoux as Dr. Madeline Swann, Christoph Waltz as Franz Oberhauser , Ben Whishaw as Q and Naomie Harris as Monneypenny.  The movie is directed by Sam Mendes, who also directed Skyfall.

In the aftermath of Skyfall, Bond has been  chasing down a shadowy organization that’s orchestration terrorist attacks.  When an incident in Mexico gets him suspended, right when a merger between MI5 and MI6 into a new organisation that threatens to make Double-O agents like himself obsolete, Bond sets out to uncover the organization, with his only clue being a ring with an octopus on it.  With aid from Moneypenny and a reluctant Q, travels to Rome, where he finds the organization and their leader, Oberhauser, a man with links to Bond’s past.  He also finds out the name of the group, Spectre, and that they’ve been watching him for a while.

The Bond movies have always been about huge stakes, car chases, fight scenes and beautiful women and Spectre does not disappoint.  Daniel Craig’s Bond may not be so quick with the one liners, but he has his moments.  The movie also touches on the reality of spycraft today; electronic monitoring, drones and invasion of privacy in the name of national security.  One of the sub-plots is the new organization replacing MI6 would be apart of a worldwide surveillance network.  M argues that although a drone could track down and monitor targets better than a human agent, a human agent can better adjust to changes and even decide not to kill.

The movie is 148 minutes long, but it kept my interest the entire time  The plot moves along at a good pace and the fight scenes (especially the ones with Dave Bautista) are awesome.  Long time Bond fans who know about the Spectre organization from the older movies won’t be disappointed when Oberhauser reveals his true name (there is a white cat),  Wherever or not this is Craig’s last film as Bond, it leaves the franchise at a point where they can continue and use Spectre or have Bond face newer threats.  Who knows, maybe a certain character in this film returns with a metal jaw?

Spectre is rated 14A in Ontario.

4/5