Monday, November 11, 2019

Anime Monday - Wolf Children

Okay, I'm just going to flat out say it. Wolf Children is not something I would normally watch. It really isn't. If I would've come across the movie on my own, I wouldn't just skipped over it and went onto something I'd think is better. So, why did I watch it? Well...

The first time I had even heard of the movie was when fellow NGR writer GlacialLeaf mentioned it to me. In fact it's actually one of his favorite movies of all time, so he explained quite a bit of it to me in great detail. From what he told me it didn't seem like a bad movie or anything, but it still wasn't something I felt I should watch. The idea seemed interesting and all, but whatever, it just wasn't my thing. So years went by, and not once did I watch it -- until about a month ago that is.

"GO WATCH GUNDAM 00!" I had been trying to get GlacialLeaf to watch it for quite awhile, but he was too stubborn and would always do something else. So we struck a deal. He'd watch some of 00, if I watched Wolf Children -- and that's exactly what I did. That night I sat down with the movie and watched the whole thing from start to finish. Honestly I didn't think I'd be going back to the movie after that, but this week's RNG chose it, and now here I am once again. Now with all of that being said, how is the movie?

First of all Wolf Children is a film co-directed by Mamoru Hosoda -- a man known for directing other movies like "The Girl Who Leapt Through Time," and has worked as a key animator on quite a few projects as well. His movies do have cult followings though, and Wolf Children is no different. His movies are highly praised, and considered "must watch" films by fans and critics alike. But why is that? What is Wolf Children about, and why do people love it so much? Well...

Wolf Children follows the story of a young woman named Hana. At the start of the story she's living a normal life, with no real plans for her future. She gets up in the morning, goes to school, and then comes back home only to do it allover again. It's an everyday existence many people can relate to, but soon all of that is changed. One day at school Hana notices a strange guy in one of her classes. She's not sure what it is that draws her to him, but eventually she works up the courage to talk to him. The two hit it off, and before long they start dating; however soon she discovers that the man has a secret. He is a werewolf.

Shockingly this doesn't scare Hana. She accepts the man for who he is, and the two spend the night together. Eventually Hana discovers she is pregnant, and decides to spend the rest of her life with the wolf. The two move in together, and once the baby is born they decide to continue building their new family -- that's when Hana gets pregnant for a second time. Although both children ended up being born without issues, what happens next will rock Hana's world forever.

One day after their second child was born, the wolf followed his animal instincts and went out to find food for the little one. After he leaves the house a lot of time started to pass though, and he never returns home. So after waiting as long as she can, the worried Hana sets off along with her two children in hopes of finding him -- and that's exactly what she does. As she searches the city, her eyes are eventually drawn to a group of men on the edge of the water way. Apparently a dead dog was reported being seen in the water, and they were there to fish it out and throw it away in the trash. That's when Hana realizes it. This dead "dog" is in fact her husband.

Losing him is hard, but Hana has no choice but to go on. She has two babies to take care of, and she's the only one who can do it. So that's what she does. She completely dedicates her life to her children, and we get to see her story unfold over the next ten or so years.

The main plot of Wolf Children focuses on Hana and the challenges she faces being a single mother, but it's also a bit more than that. While the children seem to be normal at first glance, the reality is they have inherited their father's ability to transform into a wolf. This makes things especially difficulty for Hana as she has to keep what they are a secret, but the kids themselves don't seem to understand that. Her daughter (their first child) will throw tantrums like a normal kid, but in the process she'll also transform into a wolf and run around the house causing chaos. As they walk in the park and meet other dogs they'll grow and bark at them, and sometimes they'll even transform as someone is walking up to their stroller to say hi to them. Eventually Hana realizes that keeping the two in the city would be hard, so she packs up and moves far out into the country. With little money at her disposal, she buys an old run down house, and begins her new life as a farmer.

Overall the movie is pretty interesting. It's not your average "slice of life" show, and the kids are both drastically different. Young Yuki is an energetic girl who enjoys being with other kids and going to school, while her little brother Ame seems to have more wolf like tendencies. He's reserved, and doesn't get along with other kids. It's a challenge for Hana to take care of these two, and there's a lot she has to learn in order for them to survive.

Although I didn't want to watch this movie to begin with, I'll admit that it was pretty good. I do have my own issues with it, but they mainly come from the ending (something I wont be spoiling here). It is a fun movie though, and could be worth checking out if you haven't already. It's definitely not a movie for everyone though, so keep that in mind before you check it out. As for me? I am glad I gave it a chance.
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Sunday, November 10, 2019

Ben's Beginnings: First Kojima Game

Yeah I know, I'm breaking my own rules here. It's been basically two years since I last posted an entry in my "Ben's Beginnings" series (a series created for Friday and not Sunday), but Death Stranding is making me feel pretty nostalgic. So I figured "why not write a post about my first Kojima game?" Well, that's exactly what I'm going to do. Here's how I became a fan of Hideo Kojima.

The first time I had even heard of Kojima was when I was about 6 or 7 years old. I got a brand new PlayStation 1 for Christmas, and along with it was what was known as a "demo disc." Yep, back before you downloaded your games, this was your main way of trying out what was on the market. Now days these things are pretty much gone (with rare exceptions like the PlayStation VR disc), but back then they were pretty great. Anyway on this demo disc was a game called "Metal Gear Solid" and I seriously didn't care! Yep I only wanted to play Spyro and that Rugrats game. Metal Gear? Looked like some stupid adult game to me. Why would I spend time playing such trash? Yeah, that's how I'd continue thinking for quite some time.

The next time I even heard Metal Gear being mentioned was when my friend Ryan at school went out and bought the Twin Snakes on Nintendo GameCube. He hyped the game non stop, told me all about Solid Snake and his fight against his brother Liquid, and I'll admit it did seem pretty cool. However I still didn't think it was a series for me, and ended up putting it off once again. Then Snake appeared in Smash Bros Brawl, and eventually I started seeing advertisements for MGS4 which looked pretty cool. I especially liked the idea of there of Raiden (who confused me when I saw Ryan playing MGS2 one time) turning into a cyborg. It seemed pretty cool, but I didn't have a PS3 nor past experience with the series. And then I graduated high school, went to college, and bought one.

Although I still wasn't playing MGS4, the PS3 opened me up to a wide verity of new series, and I was really enjoying my time with it. Games like Infamous and Uncharted kept me coming back for more, and when I finished them I instantly went looking for what else I could play. Really it didn't take long for me to go through most of the "must plays" on the console, and because of that I eventually made my way to MGS. The only problem was I hadn't played 1-3 yet, so I set out to fix that.

I still remember that day. GameStop was having a massive sale on their used games, and you got even more off if you signed up for their Power Up Card. So I went in there, grabbed a copy of Twin Snakes, and MGS2, and walked out of there paying some crazy low price like 20 bucks. (It wasn't until later I learned just how rare Twin Snakes actually was.) After that I went home, popped Twin Snakes in, and spent the next day and a half playing it. Yep, that's all it took for me to finish it, and I loved nearly every second. Although, that technically wasn't my first "Kojima" game, as Kojima didn't handle that one.

While Twin Snakes was in fact a remake of MGS1, it was developed by Silicon Knights, and directed by Ryuhei Kitamura. This remake included new elements first introduced in MGS2, and had completely new cutscenes and dialogue not seen in the original. In a way it was a re-imagining of the game, rather than a simple remake. So yeah, although this was technically my first, it wasn't until I started up Metal Gear Solid 2 that I truly got to experience Kojima's work.

When I first started up MGS2 I was lucky enough to go in expecting the plot twist. I knew from the get go that Raiden would become the main character, and that Snake would only be playable in the intro. So that didn't bother me. What did bother me however was the fact that I got lost for a few hours! The ship was confusing for me, and I spent more time running back and forth than I spent with the rest of the game -- or at least that's what it feels like. I guess I just wanted to get to the main part of the game as fast as possible, and getting turned around in the tanker didn't help that. Eventually I did make my way through it though, and the moment I saw the ending cutscene that would set up the rest of the game, I was hooked. A part of me was sad to see Snake go, but at the same time I was excited to start Raiden's story and see exactly who he was for myself. Then when I finally stepped off that elevator and I saw Raiden pull off his mask, the rest of my time with the game just flew by.

Metal Gear Solid 2 ended up becoming one of my favorite games of all time. The story seemed pretty straight forward at first, but the more I got into it, the more I started noticing things changing. I would stop and call my teammates every chance I got just to hear the new dialogue, and I spent way more time than I should've searching every inch of the plant. Unlike many other PS2 games, MGS2 put a lot of detail in it's world, and I wanted to see as much of it as I could. There were random objects sitting around the place you could shoot or knock down, and there were quite a few eastereggs too. In a way it was pretty impressive for a game released in the early 2000s, and I enjoyed every minute of it. And then I got to the story's plot twist.

I won't ruin it here, but this was the first time I really saw Kojima's work. Everything you once thought you knew about the game did a complete 180, and completely changed your perspective of it. The truth about the characters especially got to me, and I loved seeing how they developed over time. Sure MGS1 had some twists as well, but nothing in that game got to me as much as MGS2. Everything about it was perfect for me, and made me excited to see what else Kojima had in store.

Although I do consider myself a fan of Kojima's, that doesn't mean I like everything he's done. MGS2 became one of my favorites, MGS3 completely blew me away, and I did enjoy MGS4's overall story and ending as well. Peace Walker was pretty cool, and I did like Zone of the Enders 2. Can't say the same for ZOE1 though (despite 100%ing it and getting the platinum on PSN), or even MGS5. Something about those games just didn't click with me, but that's fine. You don't have to always like everything someone does, and honestly the same goes for Death Stranding. I'm having a lot of fun with it at the moment, but that's all I can say until I finish it for myself. Either way it's because of MGS2 I'm even playing this game at the moment, and for that I'll always be thankful to my friend for pushing me to get into the series to begin with. I've had a lot of fun over the years because of MGS, and I still look forward to seeing what Kojima does from here on out.
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Friday, November 8, 2019

Death Stranding Out Now on PS4!

It's finally here everyone! After a long, LONG, wait, Death Stranding has officially been released for PlayStation 4. That being said, my current plans are to play the heck out of it, and then get a review published on the blog. I won't be rushing the game so I can't say for sure when the review will be up, but expect it to be in the near future.

Until then, feel free to check out the game for yourself! It looks like it'll be an interesting one, that's for sure.

In other news, the game is also now up for preorder on the Steam Store, but you PC gamers will have to wait until next year to play it. Sorry about that...
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Thursday, November 7, 2019

Mega Man Zero/ZX Legacy Collection - eReader Cards and DS Features

I know I'm behind on talking about this, but a couple of weeks ago Kellen over at Capcom-Unity (our old home) shared some news about how the upcoming Mega Man Zero/ZX collection will work, and thankfully it's as many of us had hoped.

For those of you who do not know, when Mega Man Zero 3 came out, things were a little different for it's western release. Putting aside the blood, the US version had all eReader features removed, which left us with an "incomplete" version of the game. Now this didn't stop us from finishing the game, but it did lock us out of a lot of cool extra features, that would've been nice to have back in the day. So, exactly what was this "eReader" and how did it work? Well....

While not everyone may remember it, the eReader was an add on for the Nintendo Game Boy Advance that many GBA and Nintendo GameCube games supported. It was a little scanner that had a slot to swipe cards, and different types of card packs were sold for the thing. Some card packs were NES games you could play, while others were used to unlock extra features like costumes in Animal Crossing. Heck even Pokemon Cards switched over to eReader for awhile, but this didn't last long. At least not in the west.

Although the eReader flopped here, the thing was a success in Japan, and many games continued to support it (especially games by Capcom). In Mega Man Zero 3's case, card packs were sold with nearly 100 types of cards to be collected from them. While some of these cards were only for collection purposes, around 80 of them were used to alter Zero 3. These alterations ranged from simple game modifications like changing the title screen, to changing the color of menus, to actual in game upgrades for Zero. Putting these aside though, many of the cards added new characters to the home base, or even altered existing characters to change their appearance and dialogue. There were also cards that added call backs to earlier Mega Man titles, and others that added smaller cameos to the game. In short these cards were a fun addition to the game, and gave fans a reason to seek out different ones. But again, this was only in Japan. (Unless you used an Action Replay.)

Thankfully with the release of the previous Zero Collection on the DS, these features were finally brought over to the US release as well in the form of unlockables, and it's this system that remains for the upcoming collection as well. But that's not all! As this collection also includes the two ZX games, the Mega Man Zero 3 and 4 features have been added for the original ZX as well. Back when this game first came out the Nintendo DS and DS Lite were the main models on the market, and both of them featured a GBA slot to play GBA games as well. While that was the main use of this slot, some DS games did offer bonuses when specific GBA games were inserted. Just like with the eReader, Capcom was one of the few companies that liked to support this feature, so of course Mega Man ZX used it as well. In this case by having either Zero 3 or Zero 4 in the GBA slot you could actually fight the bosses from said game. These bosses would appear in a special area of the game, and could be challenged once you gained access to it. On top of fighting these bosses, you could also unlock "Model O" which allowed you to transform into an alternate version of Zero. While it wasn't a huge addition to the game, it was still a fun extra feature, and playing as "Zero" was a lot of fun.

So yeah, if you haven't played these games before, I strongly recommend checking them out! This collection is a great way to get into the series, and it is packed full of content. As for those of you who have already played the games, then it still may be worth picking it up a second time. If not just to have all of these amazing games in one place, then do it for the extras you may have missed out on before.

The Mega Man Zero/ZX Legacy Collection will release on 1/21/20 for all major platforms.
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Wednesday, November 6, 2019

Terry Added to Super Smash Bros Ultimate

It's finally happened, the latest Super Smash Bros Ultimate DLC character is here! This morning Terry from Fatal Fury/King of Fighters was added to the game. We've known this character was coming for quite awhile, but we just didn't know when. (Well, now we do.) With that being said, Nintendo has also released a full overview video covering everything about the character. If you want to know more, feel free to check it out below. As for those of you who already own the character, what are you waiting for? Go try him out!

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Tuesday, November 5, 2019

PlayStation Plus - November 2019

The new PlayStation Plus titles are now up for download. Check out the Official PlayStation Store now! As for what's free this month, we have two games.

Nioh -

Team Ninja's latest action RPG. This game originally released back in early 2017, after a very lengthy development period. Originally teased back in 2004 (only to be revised countless times), Nioh is a game that takes Team Ninja's iconic Ninja Gaiden series, and mixes it up with the style of games like Dark Souls. Rather than pulling off crazy combos as a ninja, Nioh is a much more grounded experience, where death is around every corner. As many would expect from a souls like, the game uses an energy system to limit your attacks and movements, and most enemies can finish you off in a few hits. However that's not to say that Nioh doesn't have ideas of it's own.

Rather than being a connected world, Nioh takes place over multiple stages, and has more of a focus on loot drops and building your character the way you want him. There are multiple weapon types to use, and most enemies drop at least some sort of material or item that you can use. There are many armor sets to collect, a massive skill and upgrade system, and a unique "Ki Pulse" system which lets you recover energy by hitting R1 with the correct timing after completing a combo. On top of this there is also a stance system, where either holding a weapon low, high, or at medium height will effect it's strength, speed, and combos. It's a fun system and really helps Nioh stand out from other similar games.

Outlast II -

Outlast II is the follow up to the popular horror game Outlast (obviously). What makes these games so unique compared to other horror games is the fact that the main character is only armed with a camera. Rather than being a game about finding weapons and resources to protect yourself, Outlast is all about running away. The areas are dark, the monsters are horrifying, and often you come across sights that are just hard to explain. It's not a game for the faint of heart, as it can be extremely graphic, and stressful. Batteries must be found for your camera to use it's night vision mode to see, and many enemy encounters are puzzles you must overcome if you want to continue (with instant death for failing them). It's a horrific experience from start to finish, and a great game for Halloween. (Or the week after.)
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Monday, November 4, 2019

Anime Monday - Angel Beats

Oh man, Angel Beats. The first time I had ever heard of this series was actually from a friend at school. She was all "Hey! You should watch Angel Beats!" and then she proceeded to send me videos of Yui on MSN. I didn't listen to her though. Actually when I researched the series a little bit I honestly didn't like the idea of it. "A group of students fighting against God." Yeah, well, turns out that wasn't the case. (But how was I supposed to know that!?) Anyway despite liking series like Clannad, I put this one off and never expected to watch it. I'm sure I don't need to say this, but eventually I did change my mind.

About three to four years later I was finishing up my final year of college, and I needed something to do between classes. I had a lot of free time between each class, so I would often watch TV series on Netflix, Hulu, and even YouTube TV. I had gone through quite a few "must watch" shows that way (including AMC's Breaking Bad), but for whatever reason one day I wanted something different. So I started looking through some of the anime out at the time, and that's when I saw Angel Beats on the list of available shows. "Eh, what the heck, let's try it." Pretty sure my thoughts were somewhere along those lines. So I started it up, and before I knew it I was hooked.

The Story of Angels:

When the series first opens we find our young hero, a man named Yuzuru Otonashi, waking up in the middle of what seems to be a battle. A young woman is close by aiming a sniper rifle at another girl, whom is referred to as an angel. Otonashi has no idea what is going on, nor does he even remember his past, but he refuses to accept the fact that this "angel" needs to die. So rather than joining the sniper riffle girl, he walks over and talks to the angel instead, and is then "killed" by her. It's at this moment he's forced to realize the truth about his situation -- he is already dead. After waking up in the nurse's office at what appears to be a school, Otonashi is once again asked to join the group lead by Yuri (the girl who was holding the sniper rifle) in order to fight against God. Although he's not fully on board with the idea, he decides to accept.

Once Otonashi joins the group he starts to learn more about the situation he's found himself in. He is in fact dead, and so are all of the other "students" at this school, but not everyone is actually alive. NPCs (yes, just like in a video game) take the form of teachers and other students, and are only programmed to do their job. According to Yuri, if you go along with these NPCs and act like a good student you will disappear forever, so she advises Otonashi to slack off and do anything to remain and not fade away. Yuri also believes that the angel's goal is to take people away, which is why she's at war with her and God. So Otonashi follows her advice, and proceeds to slack off in school, while also trying to find out more about what is really going on. Is the angel really so bad? He doesn't think so.

A Humanity Driven Story:

While the initial premise of Angel Beats makes you think it'll be a war on God, the truth is it is anything but that. In fact it's possible the entire story was a gift from God. Although at first Otonashi does fear fading away, he soon starts to realize that maybe this isn't a bad thing. This world they are living in is somewhere between life and death, and it's giving people a chance to fulfill their unfinished dreams. So as Otonashi gets to know each of the other main characters, he also learns exactly what it was that brought them there. And that's where things get pretty tragic.

It's not a lie to say that Angel Beats is part comedy, but the harsh reality is that these characters are dead, and how they died is not a pretty story. Each episode tends to focus on a different member of Yuri's group, and by doing so we get to see most of their stories from start to finish. One of the first few episodes especially really pulls on the heart strings, and leaves you with feelings that are just hard to explain. The show isn't afraid to go to very dark places while telling these stories, and it becomes painfully obvious just how far they are willing to go pretty quick. One moment you'll see a character living out their dreams, and then the next you'll see them in a hospital bed as their life fades to nothing. But even so it's stories like these that will hook you and make you want to see the story to it's conclusion. You'll want to know who these characters are, and you'll want to know why they ended up at the school. It can be hard to watch at times, but the payoff is worth sticking it out. These are stories you'll never forget.

The Music Beats:

What's a good heart breaking story without some great music? Well, that's just another area Angel Beats excels in. The show is filled with music by both LiSA  and Marina, and both of them are great. LiSA has since done songs that were featured in series like Fate/Zero and even the recent Demon Slayer, and Marina has had quite a few songs featured in the Neptunia series. They are both amazing, and their style fits Angel Beats perfectly. Of course that also makes it even harder to watch at times.

The way Angel Beats uses it's music really helps the series stand out. You have different versions of the opening theme that changes based on the current story events, you have the ending theme which will make even new fans feel nostalgic, and then you have the insert songs that will punch you in the gut and make you want to cry. It's all handled really well, and is easily one of the best parts of the show. Even if you can't understand Japanese, the songs themselves can still easily get to you, and might possibly become some of your all time favorites. It's perfect.

The Downside, and the Future:

As good as Angel Beats is, sadly there is one down side. There aren't enough episodes to cover every single main character, so not all of them get a proper conclusion to their stories. It's a bit of a let down, but thankfully the series doesn't actually end there. For the past few years an Angel Beats visual novel has been in development. It's going to be a multipart release, with the first part already being out in Japan. This version of the story is said to include a full retelling of the anime, include new story arcs, and bring closure to the previously mentioned characters. However this project has been in the works for years now, with a full release still nowhere in sight. But at least there is hope.

Should You Watch It:

Yes! But only if this is your thing. While the series is a "slice of life" story focusing on students, it's not your typical run of the mill story (considering everyone is dead and all). The characters themselves are very likable, there are some genuine funny moments throughout the series, and the dramatic plot points hit hard. It's just a great story, and there's really nothing else like it. Even if you're typically not a fan of anime, this one could be an exception for you. Although just be warned that the character named Yui can be a bit much at times... But I think by the end of it you'll change how you feel towards her. Trust me.

So yeah, what are you waiting for? Go check it out!

Where to Watch:

At this original time of posting, Angel Beats can be watched at the following locations:

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Saturday, November 2, 2019

Looking back at Mega Man and the "Real" Advanced PET

If you're not a Mega Man fan from back in the early 2000s, then the Mega Man Battle Network series may be unfamiliar to you. It was an RPG series on the Nintendo GBA, where the modern world has advanced to the point where nearly everyone is depended on handheld computers. They send email with them, constantly chat with friends, shop online, watch videos, set reminders and use day planners, and even use it as a credit card when buying things in person. The whole idea was pretty crazy, and something that we would most likely not see in our real world. Heck, in this world even people's TVs connected to the internet, and some had internet access in their car! I mean, really? Some modern world that was. And besides, why would anyone become that depended on a handheld device like that!? Yeah... I know... The only thing about these PETs that hasn't fully come true is the fact that each one holds an advanced AI. We're not talking Siri or Alexa style AI, but full on virtual intelligence that has a virtual body, and can think and act on it's own. They also have the ability to fight other "Net Navis" (as they are called), and delete viruses that have also taken on physical form. Overall it was a pretty cool idea, and it's no wonder it became so popular. "Wait, popular?" you might ask? Well, yeah.

Believe it or not, Mega Man Battle Network was actually a pretty big deal back then. The games had a pretty good story that spanned six mainline games total, but one thing that really drew people to it was it's competitive aspect. In the game you got to collect items called "Battle Chips" that could be then put into a "Chip Folder" and used in battle. These chips would then be drawn at random as you fought your friends, and whoever was able to kill the other first was the winner of the fight. Mix in the fact that each person's Mega Man would transform and take on different forms based on their own unique fighting style (and add in the pretty in depth Navi Customizer), and you have a PvP system that is unpredictable and constantly changing with each battle. It was just a lot of fun, and each game always improved upon this system, and added new features. That is until they started taking away features to replace them with others. But all of that's besides the point.

After the games took off Capcom didn't stop there. It wasn't long after their success that the Rockman.EXE (what it's called in Japan) anime was released. This anime series lasted over 200 episodes, and even had a full length movie. It was also brought over to the US to air on Kids WB, but of course this version was heavily censored with even full episodes being removed. Even so, this didn't stop the series from being popular in the US as well, which is eventually what lead to the release of the Mega Man Battle Network toy series. Although, these toys were also released for another reason -- a reason we never got.

When the toys started coming out it was during Mega Man's 15th anniversary. During this time Mega Man was cranking out game after game (such as the popular Zero series), and Mega Man Battle Network just happened to be a part of it. So we had the popular anime series going on, the Battle Network series was going strong, the X and Zero series were getting new releases, and you could find toys for not only Battle Network, but for the Classic Mega Man and X series as well. Model kits, action figures of all sizes, a Dr. Wily's lab play set (which I actually owned), and just so much more. These toys were in nearly every major store in the US, and for basically the first time we really saw a video game series being marketed in full force. It was pretty great, but sadly the "final" part of this whole marketing campaign never came to light for us.

(Yep, I've kept mine all these years. They don't call me "Netto" for nothing!)
With the release of these BN toys and Mega Man Battle Network 4 came the "real" Battle Chips, and the real PET. Every BN related toy would come with one of these real Battle Chips, but they also sold chip packs with random ones inside. These could then be used in the real PET to help your Mega Man fight off viruses or other players. This PET really wasn't that advanced (it was just your basic LCD electronic game), but it was pretty cool for what it was. You started it up, you met Mega Man, and then as you walked around he had a chance of encountering viruses to fight. You then gave Mega Man basic orders, or sent him Battle Chips to quickly finish off the enemies. Once the enemy was dead Mega Man would get slightly stronger, and eventually you could upgrade him which would allow him to use stronger attacks and Battle Chips. So yeah, it was a cool idea, but it's battery didn't last long. And to make things worse, if you didn't change the battery correctly (or fast enough), then you lost your progress and Mega Man went back to level 1. (Happened to me constantly.) As for the PET models, it did come in a Red and Black/Purple version for Protoman and Bass respectively, but Mega Man was the only character you could actually play as. (Which was a bit of a let down.) That wouldn't have been a problem though if we would've received the Battle Gate...

Besides the toy version of the Advanced PET, a second "PET" was being advertised along with these Battle Chips and games. The Battle Gate was a device that would plug into the Game Boy Advance, and it would work with Mega Man Battle Network 4, and the "upcoming" 4.5. In Battle Network 4 you could use it to physically send your real Battle Chips to Mega Man to help him fight, but in 4.5 it would've served a much larger purpose. You see this 4.5 game was actually made to be a Navi Simulator. You would start the game up, choose which Navi you'd like as your own (Mega Man, Roll, Gutsman, Numberman, Protoman, Bass, Junkman, Fireman, Aquaman, etc), and then you'd use them to fight viruses and navigate the net. These Navis would ask you daily questions to get to know you, help you plan out your day, and help you fight in tournaments. The game also ran on a real time clock, so you had to physically be at different locations in the game in real time if you wanted to progress through the story and complete different activities. Also like a real Navi, these Navis would control themselves in battle, and rely on you to command them and to send them Battle Chips. This was the real use for these physical Battle Chips that had been coming out throughout the year, but sadly none of this was ever officially released outside of Japan.

So here we are today, and nearly all of it was for nothing. While the real PET was fun for what it was, it came nowhere near being as good as Mega Man Battle Network 4.5 -- a real GBA game. Then shortly after all of this happened, the toys were discontinued, the anime was pulled from US TV after a cliffhanger at the end of the second series, and Battle Network 5 released to seemingly less success. The series popularity was slowly dying, and eventually it all came to an end after the release of BN6. Sure Mega Man Star Force followed it up during the DS days, but it too only lasted for three games, and was nowhere near as popular as BN was before. And then the series completely faded away, and was forgotten by many. (This event is what would eventually lead to the creation of this blog, but that's aside the point.)

Anyway, now here we are today and the real PET and Battle Chip Gate are nothing but relics from the past. On the bright side a fan translation of Battle Network 4.5 was finally released last week, but if you want to use the physical Battle Chips with it, that'll take a lot of extra work. Not to mention you'll need to track down a Battle Gate if you don't already have one. Still, it's nice that English speakers finally have a way to play it, but it'd be better if Capcom themselves would finally release it for real. But oh well, we can always dream right?

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Friday, November 1, 2019

Overwatch 2 Announced

Blizzard has officially announced Overwatch 2, the sequel to the popular hero shooter. But what does that mean exactly? Well...

Unlike most game sequels, Overwatch 2 is a bit of a special case. While it is in fact a new game with a lot of new features (more on this in a bit), the original Overwatch is not being forgotten. Instead Overwatch 2 is sorta an upgraded version of Overwatch, where you can continue your progress. If you don't want to switch however, you can stick with the original Overwatch and play with Overwatch 2 players using the new characters and maps. This means the community will stay together even across different games in the series. Although, you may want to consider upgrading.

New Features of Overwatch 2:

Instead of going into each in detail, here's a quick overview of what's new.
  • New characters (of course)
  • New maps (again, obvious)
  • Upgraded engine
  • Enhanced graphics (and new looks for each character)
  • Brand new co-op story mode
  • New Hero Mission mode
  • The ability to level up characters to unlock new abilities
  • The ability to switch out abilities to suit your style
  • New game mode called Push, where teams take control of a robot to "push" it into the enemy's territory.
  • and as expected Blizzard announced their continued support for the series with free updates.
Again most of these features will be exclusive to Overwatch 2, but Overwatch 1 players will be getting the new characters and maps.


So far two trailers have been released. Check them out below:

Official Website:

And finally we have the official website where you can sign up for news updates, learn about the game, and check out the new character styles.

Overwatch 2 will be released on PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and the Nintendo Switch.
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Thursday, October 31, 2019

Don't Miss Out - Halloween Sales 2019

There are currently thousands of games on sale, and you could be missing out! (Sorry for the sales pitch...) Anyway, just as every year before, most of the major online stores are running their Halloween sales. However since many of these sales only last for a few days, I figured it would be a good idea to give everyone a heads up before it's too late. So if you're interested, check out these links below:

Nintendo's Halloween Sale -
Nintendo often has sales on it's digital games, but currently most of these games are horror based. (Note: This link will work for future sales as well.)

PlayStation's Halloween Sale -

Close to 300 games included in this one. While some are in fact horror games, that's not the case for the vast majority of them. Just check it out and see what you might like, you may be surprised at what you find.

Xbox's Shocktober Sale -

Similar to the PlayStation sale, this one has a little over 150 games up for grabs, and cover a wide verity of genres. Although there does seem to be much more of a focus on horror with this one.

The Steam Halloween Sale plus Events -

This year's Steam Halloween event. While it's main focus is on horror games, according to the search results there are over "25,658" items discounted. Chances are this will include most games that are in your wish list, so it's well worth checking out.

GOG's Halloween Sale -

If steam isn't your thing, GOG has a pretty nice sale going on as well. Games are discounted at 75% off, so now might be the time to grab some of the ones you've had your eye on.

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