Sorry – I’m Not Dead Yet

I’m not going to apologize for being absent for a while, mostly because I’ve had pretty good reason.  I will say that I have greatly missed communicating with all of you – but I’ll try to make up for it a bit by filling you in on some of the reasons for my absence.

First off, as some of you may have noticed from the godawful fucking heat and humidity, it’s summer!  This has meant that my two little evil-mages-in-training have been on a break from their studies and been wanting to spend time under the burning flame ball in the sky, like this:

Image may contain: 15 people, people smiling, people standing, shorts and outdoor
DEAR GOD, WHY?!?!

But since not just MY family, but ALL SORTS of people are ALSO much more active during the summer months, my work as a public defender has been extremely busy as well – and the ratio of incompetent/insane clients has gone WAAAAAY up.  Let me tell you just exactly how mentally draining it is when you are trying to explain to someone that murdering ducks is, in fact, a crime, and they are fervently telling you that it’s ok because the five-faced devil told them to do it…

Image result for multi-headed beast
Because listening to this guy is just a fantastic idea.

And just in case increased work, increased time with the younglings, and caring for my feline overlord Zero while gaming and reading wasn’t enough, I decided upon advice from my little sis, the absolutely hilarious Kate Quigley, I decided to try making people laugh the old-fashioned way – so I’ve started doing some open mic nights at local bars and coffee houses and doing a little stand up.  Well, I suppose some might call it stand up…for me, it’s kinda just group therapy, where I get to talk about my issues and not bill my insurance!

Of course, it can’t all be upside – about six weeks ago, my fibromyalgia went into (I thought) a flare up.  It happens from time to time, based on weather and pressure changes, and normally I just grit my teeth and within a few days it is back to its normal level of constant-but-not-totally-debilitating pain.  But this time…it didn’t.  After two weeks, I contacted my doctor, and she gave me a significant injection of steroids due to the fact that my fibro meds were having no effect.  If it was fibro alone, the steroids would likely have made it worse, but if they helped, then there might be more going on.  Well…they sure as hell helped at first.  For about two days, I was Superman.  For two more, I was, you know…normal?  But then I was right back where I was before the shot.  Now I was going on a month of mind-numbing pain, and my doctor was out of normal options, so I am currently scheduled and waiting to see a rheumatologist in September.  Needless to say, going through all of the daily activities I described above while wracked with physical pain is…tiring.  So many are the day I have come home and couldn’t even find the energy to game or read, let alone write to you all.  So I would perform my ritual worship of Zero and collapse into bed, where he would then sit on my chest in an effort to comfort me (or kill me, I’m not entirely sure).

But take heart – all is not lost!  First, I am finding time to engage in some reading and gaming, so I will have some opinions on those fronts coming soon!  Look forward in particular to my review of Final Fantasy XII: The Zodiac Age, as it captured me even harder than the original PS2 game did, and that was one of my favorite PS2 RPGs.  And now, if I can FUCKING REMEMBER TO HIT RECORD, I can even now and then provide you with some footage from my open mic stand up gigs – you know, in case you don’t have enough to mock me for yet, irritating mortal fleshbags (Editor’s Note: That’s not nice; they’ve always been very supportive.)

EWE and Editor Return

So before I go, I wanted to give you one last thing – a bit of the old and the new all in one.  You see, I have not been able to do much experimenting in my kitchen of late – but I have needed quite a bit of caffeine.  And so I wish to recommend a particular purveyor of pure coffee goodness – Carpe Diem Coffee Shop, in my own hometown of Canton, Ohio.  Now, while I fully understand that many of you cannot travel to their actual location (which is a goddamn shame, because it is fantastic), you CAN order their absolutely amazing coffee right through their site to be shipped to you!  I in particular recommend the Blueberry Crumble – and by “recommend” I mean “until you have tasted this, your pitiful, meager lives are wholly incomplete.”

So with that, humans, I bid you adieu for the time being.  But lest you forget, as always, if you are a Trump supporter, I suppose you have something notable you can attest to – it took 240+ years for America to progress to the point that it had this past January, and it has taken Trump only six months to set it back in many ways to before it was ever founded in the first place.  Congratu-fucking-lations. – EWE

God Wars: Future Past Review

Greets, humans!  It’s once again been a minute since I was here last – I was under the weather the last few weeks, which after work and spending time with my sons and Malevolent Moogle, I have not had energy to do much more than crawl into bed and play some games or read a book for a bit before falling asleep.  But the GOOD news for all of you is that now I can bring you the good, the bad, and the ugly of what I’ve been playing while laid up.  Aren’t you all just the luckiest things?!

Title
Is that a grinning samurai bear in the corner?  Fuck yeah it is.

We begin with a title that I’ve been anticipating since I first saw that it was being localized for the Western market.  It’s not secret that I’m a huge fan of SRPGs.  So when NIS America, the purveyors of the amazing Disgaea series, began to show off their newest property, God Wars: Future Past for PS4 and Vita, I was giddy with anticipation.  Well, ok, maybe “giddy” isn’t a word that particularly applies to me…but I was looking forward to it with something approaching positive emotion.  While the title is available on PS4, my purchase and review were done with the Vita version of the game – because I will support the greatest Sony console of all time for as long as it takes until I get a goddamn Vita 2.  Are you listening to me, Shuhei?!

God Wars Gameplay 1
Mmm…cruncy, munchy stats.

Now, this isn’t going to be a deep dive on what makes up an SRPG.  Suffice to say, the name of the game is tactical positioning and planning, as well as class grinding to mold your individual characters into a well-balanced and complementary fighting force, to be deployed on various isometric, grid-based maps and engage in turn-based movement and combat with enemy forces.  That basic concept underlies the entire genre; but that said, SRPGs through the years have tended to gravitate toward one of two camps.  The first camp is made up of games with tough battles, deep plots full of political scheming and intrigue, and relatively little grinding outside of that needed to unlock new classes or purchase new equipment.  Some excellent entries here include Final Fantasy Tactics: The War of the Lions and Tactics Ogre: Let Us Cling Together.  Those of you that have been here since the beginning of my little blog will remember that I reviewed Tactics Ogre once upon a time.  In the other camp, one populated by NIS itself on many occasions, are wacky, anime-inspired SRPGs which are the essence of the term “over-the-top.”  These games eschew dark political plots for comedic, barely necessary stories that are primarily there to get you on the grinding treadmill, which is the true star of the show – getting all of your stats to obscenely high levels in order to challenge god-like uber-bosses after the main scenario has ended.  In games like my recent review of Disgaea 5 Complete on the Nintendo Switch, the vast majority of the game doesn’t start until the “story” is over.

Bridging the gap between these two groups is a PSP original title that I absolutely adored – Jeanne d’Arc.  A fantasy retelling of the story of Joan of Arc, set in an anime-inspired alternate history involving beastmen and magic, it deftly combined the slick anime presentation and somewhat quicker combat of the Disgaea titles with the deeply political and historical plotline that would have been at home in a Final Fantasy Tactics title.  So, where would God Wars land – serious, wacky, or somewhere in the middle?

Cutscene
It’s Japanese history, if every anime you ever watched were historical fact.

I’m pleased to say that much like Jeanne d’Arc, God Wars occupies a happy middle ground in the SRPG genre.  Imagine a feudal Japan in which every mythological god, goddess, yokai, spirit and the like were all present and accounted for, accepted as part of the fabric of the world.  In this fantastical history, Princess Kaguya is freed from imprisonment and sets out in search of her mother, who disappeared after being forced to sacrifice Kaguya’s sister to appease the angry gods of Mt. Fuji a decade before.  Along the way, she will meet and befriend a host of humans, demons, gods and goddesses, as well as master over twenty different character classes, each with its own skill tree and abilities.  Along the way, she will also help the common villagers she encounters by way of taking up requests from shrines – side missions that are repeatable and function as both sidequests as well as the grinding mechanic to replace random encounters on the world map.  This is a welcome change, as once a request is accepted, the party is transported directly to the battlefield.  Combat is standard, grid-based SRPG fare.

The story manages both lighthearted and serious moments, and treads the line of being serious without ever taking itself TOO seriously.  Likewise, battles are challenging, but never to the point of needing hours of grinding simply to proceed to the next plot point.  Each character may equip a main class, a sub-class, and has an inherent unique class, all of which determine the pool of abilities available to that character in battle.  The system is flexible enough to allow for a wide variety of builds, without suffering from the crippling feeling of having TOO MUCH freedom and being paralyzed by that freedom.

GOD WARS Future Past_20170111142010
That is a whole lot of brown…

The artwork in this game is what jumps out immediately and grabs hold of someone, and interestingly this beautiful aesthetic also serves to highlight one of the games biggest weaknesses.  While cutscenes, character models, and portraits are absolutely gorgeous to behold, they stand in stark contrast to the bare minimum effort that seemed to go into designing the levels and maps on which you will spend most of your time in combat.  A dull, brown rock quarry looks like the dull, brown mine, and you’ll quickly stop paying any attention whatsoever to the backdrop for your battles because it’s just so boring to look at.  The other primary flaw in God Wars is not a visual, but technical.  Despite having the entire game downloaded and installed on my Vita’s memory card, I still experienced far too many loading screens that went on for far too long.  Now, I’m no stranger to SRPGs and portable consoles – and had the load times been limited to transitions between the map and combat, I likely would have said nothing.  But a cardinal sin in gaming for me is when I press the menu button and am forced to endure a load screen just to arrive at the main menu.  This is compounded by a fucking load time when going into submenus for inventory or class management.  I understand this is a portable title with a lot of assets but this just seems like it could have been avoided with a little more work on the part of the developer.  Thankfully, the game is good enough that these irritants are minor and don’t detract from wanting to proceed through it.

God Wars Gameplay 3
When you see ??? instead of numbers for health and magic, shit has just gotten real serious.

All in all, I’ve thoroughly enjoyed my time with God Wars: Future Past.  It has combined all the things I’ve enjoyed in other SRPGs into one slick, beautifully presented package – and despite a few technical hiccups and some bland backgrounds, is just an absolute blast to play.  It has kept me up more than a few nights saying “just one more battle” – and really, as gamers, isn’t that the ultimate praise we can give something?

EWE SAYS:

EWE Says God Wars

So that’s the verdict on God Wars!  Looking down the road, in addition to bringing you some more reviews as I get time (and more recipes if I ever find the energy to cook again), I’m also toying with the idea of doing a redesign of the look and layout of the entire blog.  As I’ve said before, I never thought anyone would ever find or enjoy my little contribution to the interwebs, but as some folks have and you all seem fucking crazy enough to keep coming back (boy do I wish you’d have a few words with this girl I know…), I want to keep things looking good!  For my fellow bloggers and writers out there, if there are any suggestions or favorite layouts that you would recommend, I’d greatly appreciate if you would leave them in the comments or find me on Facebook or Twitter.  Thanks in advance, and I’ll see you all again soon!  Unless that motherfucking maniacal mental midget masquerading as the US president manages to get us all killed by starting WWIII via Twitter somehow. – EWE

EWE’s Take On E3 2017 – Part 2

Greets, people!  After last time, when we took a look at individual publisher’s press presentations at E3, it’s now time for the Big 3 – Sony, Microsoft, and Nintendo.  However, unlike last time, and unlike many other places where you can find coverage of E3, I’m not going to go blow by blow with all the particular news, announcements, and other info from each conference.  This is primarily because it’s late, and I’m tired – but also because you don’t need me for that.  If you just want to know everything that happened, there are plenty of sources.  But instead, here are my general impressions of how each one fared in their particular event.

Sony

First up, we have Sony.  The purveyors of Playstation had quite the reputation to live up to this year, as their last few E3 press events have been absolutely stellar, culminating last year with having a FULL FUCKING SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA at their event and unveiling God of War 4.  Seriously – these weren’t just press events – they were epic live performance art.  So could Sony do it again this year?

So I think the best summation I’ve heard about Sony’s event this year in comparison to past years came from Kinda Funny’s Greg Miller, who said “I think of the last few years’ of Sony events as being grand slams, and this year they ‘just’ hit a home run.  So you see it and go, ‘oh, it’s just a home run’ because of all the grand slams but it’s STILL a home run!”  Look, at the end of the day, is some complacency likely settling in at Sony?  Sure, but they’ve kinda earned it.  The PS4 has won this generation of the console war, from an install base perspective.  They have an amazing string of first and third party exclusives behind them, and a number still to come.  So this year consisted almost entirely of additional footage and trailers of games that we’ve known about already.  The primary exception was a remake of Shadow of the Colossus.  That said, the principal complaint I hear about Sony’s event is essentially “hey, they had one or two things I liked, but the rest didn’t really do much for me.”  Except here’s the thing – those “one or two things” have varied from almost each person.  So essentially what Sony did is have something for everyone.  To me, that’s a damn good showing.  Special shout out to Monster Hunter World!

Xbox-One-X

I have an Xbox One.  I love my Xbox One.  I don’t think less of Microsoft because they are second in the install base behind Playstation.  But when your entire press conference is essentially “here is a $500 upgrade to your existing console, that is capable of 4K but will have no exclusive games, but some of your favorites will get 4K support like, um…Minecraft!” then you’ve fucking lost me.  I mean…I don’t have a 4K tv.  I’m sure I will one day…but that day isn’t today, or tomorrow, or, you know…soon.  So the only way you’re going to get me to give you $500 is to either have TREMENDOUS performance upgrades that I will actually notice, or games that I can’t play anywhere else.  This didn’t do either of those for me, and is far too expensive to warrant a mid-cycle upgrade for anyone without tremendous expendable income.  Lets assume I DON’T upgrade – that’s 8+ new games I can buy instead of a console.  I’m sorry – I know the hardware manufacturers are insisting that “it’s just like a cell phone!  Everyone buys the iterative upgrades!” but I’m just not going to support that in the console gaming market.  You want me to drop that kind of money?  Start the next console generation cycle.  Otherwise you’re going to have to do a lot more than handing out godawful t-shirts and talking about almost no games at your conference to get a passing grade from me.

Nintendo-Logo

I saved what was, in my less-than-humble opinion, the best for last.  Nintendo essentially split its big news between two presentations – but damn did they kill it.  Mario Odyssey is going to be fantastic – we all knew that.  But Mario+Rabbids: Kingdom Battle is going to bring XCOM style tactics to a whole new generation.  While the excitement of Monster Hunter World on PS4 took a hit by the announcement that as of now Monster Hunter XX for Switch isn’t coming West, I quickly didn’t care anymore because METROID IS BACK, BITCHES!  And not just Metroid Prime 4 on Switch – I mean, that’s great, but for me the killer news was a full 2.5D remake of Metroid 2 from the original GB is coming to 3DS in September.  I’ve been waiting for a 2D Metroid since before many of you were fucking born, and the end of that wait is finally in sight!  Nintendo essentially announced major Switch entries in every one of their front-line first-party franchises.  I love the Switch, its launch has been a tremendous success, and if this software lineup continues as strongly as it has begun, Nintendo is poised to leap back to the prominence that it lost with the Wii U.  Strong, strong showing for Nintendo.

That covers the major news from E3, but before I go, I’ll quickly address this being the “first” E3 that is open to the public.  I say that somewhat sarcastically because since I’ve been a young EWE, fans have been finding ways to attend the “industry only” show, but this year marked the first year that they were officially invited.  While I am sure this was a dream come true for many, I think it could have been handled FAR better by the ESA based upon what I have heard from my friends in the game journalism industry.  Those folks work far beyond hard enough as it is in covering E3 every year – essentially it is the largest undertaking they have each year.  To a man and woman, each said that it was far more difficult this year due to the unchecked crowding and lines clogging the show floor and making getting to appointments and meetings incredibly difficult.  I’m not saying that the public shouldn’t be let in – and even if I did, who the fuck cares what I think – but the ESA needs to contact its friends at events like PAX and get tips on how to properly handle such a mass of humanity for next year.

Until next time, humans! – EWE

EWE’s Take On E3 2017 – Part 1

Hello again, humans!  Good to see you all – except the ones I hate, in which case, less so.  But even the worst among you can’t bring me down now – no, because it’s that magical time of year, that Christmas-in-June for gamers called E3 season!  That’s right, this past week was the annual Electronic Entertainment Expo in sunny Los Angeles, CA.  Per usual, there was a veritable smorgasbord of gaming news, announcements, and conferences – and now you can find all my wicked thoughts on the E3 events right here!  Aren’t you lucky?!  In Part 1, I’ll focus on the conferences from the non-hardware-producing developers and publishers.  Part 2 will feature the Big 3.

Logo

So the news kicked off with the EA press conference.  Now, I’m not going to go blow-by-blow here – if you want that kind of in-depth coverage, well, you can easily watch all the press conferences at places like IGN or GameSpot.  I’m just going to go over my impressions.  And when it comes to impressions, well…EA just didn’t really make one for me.  I mean, you got your requisite sports franchises – Madden, NBA Live, FIFA – and if the yearly iterations on those games is your thing, you already know when they are coming out and have already planned on getting them.  Battlefield 1 is also slated to get new DLC, but as I don’t play Battlefield 1, this didn’t do much for me either.

Battlefront II

That’s not to say that there wasn’t anything in the EA event that caught my attention. Having played Star Wars: Battlefront and finding it enjoyable but sorely missing the lack of a single player campaign, I was quite happy to find out earlier this year that Battlefront II would now include a full story mode.  Well, not only will I get to enjoy that when it releases this fall, but EA revealed during their conference that there would be no season pass for Battlefront II – all of its DLC will be free of charge for all players.  While the game will feature microtransactions, EA has insisted that these will be cosmetic and quality of life in nature only – they will confer no advantage over other players.  Time will tell if this claim holds true, but for now, the concept of not having to shell out money beyond the initial purchase price in order to experience the full game is quite nice!

anthem

The other major announcement at the EA conference from my perspective was the unveiling of the new IP from Mass Effect and Dragon Age developer BioWare – Anthem.  This was the first look at this game, and I am thus far intrigued.  If I could sum up what I’ve seen of it in one phrase it would be “third person Destiny.”  This actually excites me quite a bit – as the biggest issue I had with Destiny was it’s first person perspective.  With BioWare’s impressive pedigree behind it, I am anxiously looking forward to what this title has in store.

Another publisher hosting their own conference at E3 was Ubisoft – and boy oh boy, did they hit it out of the park with their conference.  There was a lot of news, but since I’m kind enough to parse through all this shit and bring only the best of the best, here is what you need to know!

Mario & Rabbids

Ok, this is going to sound insane, or like some kind of joke, but it’s some kind of peanut butter and chocolate dream – Mario & Rabbids: Kingdom Battle is a crossover between the Big N’s plumber-in-chief and the batshit crazy Rabbids of Ubisoft in an XCOM style turn-based tactics game for the Nintendo Switch.  Let that sink the fuck in.  Then once it does – go preorder that shit.  Right now.

AC Origins

Another game I’m quite intrigued by is Assassin’s Creed: Origins.  The AC series has been on a bit of a hiatus from its previous annual release schedule, and it looks to be returning in a strong way.  Of particular note here is that while the previous entries have been action experiences with some light character building systems, Origins has much more firmly embraced role-playing elements and it shows in its much more deliberate, tactical approach to leveling your character and equipment as well as planning battles.  Keep an eye out as this title comes along.

Skull & Bones

Anyone that knows me knows that I would chuck this entire world to go pirating in a second if it were feasible and not likely to lead to death by scurvy.  So it’s no surprise that the persistent world pirate simulator Skull & Bones is firmly on my radar.  Between this and Sea of Thieves, I’ll be even more soaked in rum than I normally am – and that’s saying something.

South Park

I feel obligated to include this because of how much I adored the Stick of Truth.  South Park: The Fractured But Whole was given (yet another) official release date of October 17.  It isn’t that I don’t think this game looks hilarious and fantastic…but since it’s been supposed to come out several times already, I’m firmly in “I’ll believe it when I see it” mode on this one.

Beyond-Good-and-Evil-2-

Oh yeah…and a little game called Beyond Good and Evil 2 was given a trailer.  Now, this will effect you in one of two ways.  Either you are asking “So?  I don’t remember a Beyond Good and Evil 1.”  If that’s the case, stop right now and go buy and download the Beyond Good and Evil HD remake from the PS or Xbox store.  Go.  Now.  If you’re in the second group, with me, you’re still wiping tears of joy away after reading the first sentence in this paragraph.

Wrapping up Part 1 of my take on E3 is the conference by Bethesda Studios.  Would this finally be where we get some inkling of Elder Scrolls VI?!  Short answer: HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA.

skyrim_switch_e3_2017-5

Hope you’re ready to spend more of your time (and money…again) on the fifth entry in the venerable Elder Scrolls franchise, because as far as Bethesda is concerned it’s all Skyrim, all the time.  As we already knew, the complete edition of Skyrim is on its way to Switch this fall – and now we know that it will feature Amiibo support.  As you can see above, this means that you can roleplay a disturbingly realistic version of Link in your own Hylian tunic, shield, and wielding the Master Sword…if that’s your thing.  From my perspective, they could have added absolutely nothing to Skyrim and just brought it to the Switch as-is and I’d have gladly paid for it…again…to be able to play it on the go.  Hiding in the corner at a family reunion to play Skyrim?  Uh, yes please.

The_Evil_within_2_E3_01_legal

A bit of a surprise, but a pleasant one for horror fans, underrated survival horror game The Evil Within is set to received a sequel.  It definitely looks creepy as all fuck, and it’s set for release on Friday the 13th (of October), so all the signs point to a pants-wetting experience!

Wolfenstein-2-The-New-Colossus-key-art

More up my alley, after several teases recently, Bethesda officially unveiled Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus.  Wolfenstein was one of my favorite FPS games of the past few years, and the sequel sees longtime series lead BJ Blazkowicz battling in the United States after it has been overrun by Nazi forces.  As we all know, killing Nazi’s is the only socially acceptable form of murder, so get those trigger fingers ready to go!

Dishonored 2 DLC

Last but not least, Dishonored 2 is seeing a new DLC pack released this fall.  This new story focuses on Meagan Foster, the popular NPC from the main game.  She seems set to try and take down The Outsider, who is the one that granted powers to the previous protagonists in the series.

And that brings us to the end of Part 1!  Next up – the conferences of the Big 3: Nintendo, Microsoft, and Sony!  Look forward to it, mortals! – EWE

Disgaea 5 Complete Review and EWE’s New Companion

Greets, people, non-people, literate farm animals – anyone reading this, really.  It’s good to see you all again, and for a change, I have some good news!  First and foremost, the Ominous Dark Tower has a new resident!  After engaging in a dark and arcane summoning ritual – or, you know, contacting my friend and fellow attorney Heidi – I have successfully gained a new familiar.  Now all shall kneel before the might of EWE and Zero!

18765952_1918394474852750_6495860638131347707_n
He plots your doom, mortals.
And as if that wasn’t enough, Z and I have recently gained access to a Nintendo Wii U – thus we can soon enjoy and bring you our thoughts on some of the exclusive titles for that innovative, but ill-fated system.  But before we get to the Wii U, let’s discuss the latest title for its successor that has been sucking up all of my free time.  If you like any combination of SRPGs, wacky anime-style slapstick, and penguins, then boy does NIS America have a treat for you!

maxresdefault

So, let’s get this out of the way – if you’ve previously played a game in the Disgaea series and did not care for it, this game isn’t going to change your mind.  NIS has recognized their target audience and steered firmly toward it, and while there are some basic quality of life improvements to this compilation of the previous PS4 release of Disgaea 5 coupled with all of its previously released DLC, those who have been put off in the past by this series’ quirks will only find more of the same here.  In fact, if anything, there are even MORE stats to build, subsystems to master, and over-the-top zany jokes to roll your eyes at than ever before.

Disgaea5Complete_Screens__7
You want stats?  You got stats!
Like previous games in the series, the main gameplay here consists of turn-based, tactical RPG battles on grid maps between up to ten of your units and armies of enemy units.  Your army will not lack for diversity – as there are an absolute TON of different humanoid and monster classes to be unlocked, in addition to the plot-based characters and their own unique classes.   Each class has its own unique skills as well as the ability to learn weapon based skills for any weapon that they gain sufficient proficiency in.  Between battles, you can wander through your hub world, conversing with party members, buying weapons and items, powering up skills, and as is tradition for the series, journeying into each and every one of your items in order to level them up.  As before, every character, weapon, and item in the game can be raised to Level 9999, and while this is not in any way necessary to complete the main plot, you will be doing an incredible amount of grinding in order to complete the challenging post-game content.  And honestly, if you came into Disgaea 5 without a desire to grind…what are you doing here?

DDDD-noscale
If penguins with bazookas aren’t solving all your problems, you aren’t using enough of them.
Likewise, the trademark wacky demon humor of the series has been ratcheted up to 11 here – and while I still appreciate it for what it is, I can easily see how it is beginning to wear thin for many.  You can only tell the same joke, or do the same slapstick, so many times before the audience becomes numb to it, no matter how funny it originally was.  But while some SRPGs are heavily focused on plot (hello, Final Fantasy Tactics), the plot in Disgaea has always been there as an excuse to facilitate the leveling treadmill.  The real draw of this series has always been for that OCD impulse in many gamers to create a party of living gods that can inflict damage in the billions of points of HP, and on that front, Disgaea 5 on the Switch allows you to scratch that itch literally anywhere you go.

Disgaea 5: Alliance of Vengeance_20150903205338
How saving someone’s life leads to indentured servitude.
If you are a fan of the series, then this game is the ultimate way to experience everything great about Disgaea.  The DLC chapters give you access to a plethora of bonus characters for your party drawn from across the other games in the franchise, as well as from other NIS SRPGs.  And the Switch’s blessed portability is the absolute best way to play a Disgaea title.  I have owned and played every entry in the series on every platform it released on, and I have always enjoyed the PSP and Vita ports of the prior Disgaea titles – a game so dependent on jumping in, grinding a few maps, and jumping back out before it gets tiresome is absolutely MADE for a portable platform.  I honestly can’t say enough about how at home this game is on the Switch, and the beautiful screen is perfect for the hi-res sprites and beautiful 2D cutscenes.  The voice acting is a mixed bag – Killia has a cool, calm voice perfectly suited to an aloof anti-hero, Red Magnus is a hilariously obnoxious knock-off of the Rock…but word of warning: Seraphina’s voice, laugh, really any sound she makes is tooth-grindingly aggravating.

Disgaea 5: Alliance of Vengeance_20150919211910
Goddammit, don’t you people know how shonen anime works?!  It’s the 5th game in the series!
Bottom line is this – if you weren’t a Disgaea fan already, this game isn’t going to change your mind.  But if you’ve liked the series at all in the past, even just a little, then this is probably the best game it’s produced so far, and this is the ideal, definitive version of it to play.

EWE Says:

EWE Says Dood

That’s it for now, doods and doodettes!  See you again soon – and that’s not a promise, it’s a threat! – EWE

What EWE and Editor Have Learned From Blogging

Hello, mortals!  Well, are we in for a treat today.  You see, my fellow spell-slinger, The Well-Red Mage posted a query to our blogging community, wanting to know the answer to the following:

https://thewellredmage.files.wordpress.com/2017/05/background-typewriter-keys1.jpg?w=399&h=266

Me?  You want to ask me, the living embodiment of snark and cynicism what I’ve learned since I started communicating with you feeble humans?  Oh, now you’re…in for…what’s that sound?  Music?

………

Hello, friends – Editor here.  I thought that the Well-Red Mage’s question deserved some thoughtfulness and introspection, and well…I think we all know that those aren’t the first things that EWE goes to when a query is posed to him.  So, I decided that I would be a better fit to respond for the both of us.  Don’t worry – he’ll be ok.  See, he doesn’t know it, but all I have to do is put on something relatively sad and/or sappy (in this case, “After All” by Cher and Peter Cetera) and he goes completely catatonic.  It’s like rolling a shark over onto it’s back – and since I’ve compiled an entire Spotify playlist of them, he’ll be locked up for hours.  Don’t tell him though – typically he has no memory of it once he snaps out of it, and his denial is rather amusing.

EWE and Editor After All

So…what have we learned since our first blog post?  My goodness – it’s been a little less than a year, but it almost seems like forever.  As those of you who have been following this little literary lark for a while know, this blog began as a coping mechanism.  A short time before, our world had come crashing down at the hands of the person we trusted most.  The resulting depression was very, VERY deep – and but for the intervention of our eternal bestie, Malevolent Moogle, as well as some unexpected kindness from some fantastic folks at IGN, it might have been permanent.  But they brought us back from the edge of that abyss, and then the question became what to do in order to begin to heal the wounds and be able to connect with people again.  Having always enjoyed writing, the decision to try blogging seemed somewhat obvious.

As anyone that looks back at those first few entries can attest to, EWE was firmly in control of our little endeavor – I was only able to prevent him from making any truly horrific mistakes.  And that was a direct reflection of the place we were in – hurt, angry, and alone.  But then something completely unexpected happened, and it leads into what I’ve learned.  As trite as it may sound, I learned that I wasn’t alone.  I was welcomed into the blogging community by so many other amazing, talented writers.  I developed friendships with fantastic people from all over the world, whom I’ve never seen, but who have been there to listen to me and share in my journey back from the place I was in.  And slowly, but surely, they helped to draw the scattered pieces of me back together so that EWE and myself could start to reassemble them.

Hollow
This is actually an incredibly accurate depiction of EWE and Editor – which can’t possibly be healthy.

Along the way, as I found myself again, this blog found its voice as well.  In the beginning, I honestly didn’t know what this would be – other than a place for EWE to vent and melt down without resorting to screaming at stuffed animals like a COMPLETE lunatic.  But as my friendships with so many talented people in the games and entertainment community grew, I found a niche in offering my thoughts on all sorts of offerings in my hobbies of choice.  As someone who has often sought escape from my world into those of others, I’ve always loved books, movies, comics, manga, anime – anything that I could get lost in, with characters I could grow attached to.  And then there was my day job as an attorney – one of the few things that I can claim without feeling arrogant to be fairly good at.  There are my posts about cooking, which grew from something I only liked doing when I could do it for someone else into something I get to share with all of you.  And so, while it may seem like a fairly eclectic hodgepodge of subject matter, it is me.  In sharing all of these things with others, I found that I was opening up more to all of you than I had to almost anyone else, ever.  And while EWE would likely kill me for telling you all this – I’ve been grateful for the acceptance I’ve found in doing so.

Have there been setbacks?  Of course there have.  I’ve been called pathetic some whom I hold very dear; I’ve been mocked by some that don’t see why I even bother with this blog as an outlet.  But instead of letting those define me, I have instead focused on the support I have continued to have from my friends and loved ones, both in my daily life and in the wider Internet community.  It’s a process, and one that I keep working at each and every day.  So in a way, what I’ve learned since first starting my blog is something that I’m still continuing to learn each day.  As Tolkien put it:

Road

And so, I’ll keep following the road, wherever it leads.  And I’ll continue to be grateful for each of you that is beside me along the way.

Now, it would appear that EWE appears to coming out of his daze, which is my queue to quietly step aside.  Thanks to you all for indulging in a little introspection with me!  And remember – don’t tell EWE about our little trick.  First, it’s unlikely to keep working if he were to catch on.  And also, there’s a decent chance he’d be so humiliated that he’d burn the entire globe to a cinder. – Editor

EWE and Editor After After All

Did Trump admit to felony obstruction of justice on NBC?

A bit of a break from some of the normal fun fare – remember the “Esq.” part of the name, too. This is a tremendous post regarding a substantive criminal act by a sitting president. Once I have had time to do some research of my own, I will share my personal thoughts on the issue, but in the meantime – you should read this, kiddos.

SHUGERBLOG

We are in unprecedented territory, but one can make an argument that in tonight’s NBC interview, Trump just confessed to the high crime of obstruction of justice in violation of 18 U.S.C. Sections 1503 and 1505.

You can find the text of the interview with Lester Holt here.  This is Trump’s key admission: “And in fact when I decided to just do it [fire Comey,] I said to myself, I said, ‘You know, this Russia thing with Trump and Russia is a made up story, it’s an excuse by the Democrats for having lost an election that they should’ve won.’”  

This is a direct admission that he fired Comey because he wanted to end the Russian investigation. Of course, it is possible for a Trump defender to play semantics, but Trump is making the causal link here himself: When I decided to fire Comey, I was focused on stopping…

View original post 941 more words