Tuesday, September 28, 2010

How about that Anime?



It's update time! Update Phoenix GO!

While my chin currently resides on the floor due to the weight of assignments on my shoulders, I figured it would be best to slide in a quick note on how things are going and show that I'm very much alive.

Some may have noticed that I sorta, kinda, maybe, possibly stopped working on Anime reviews for this season. The thing is, it's just too much to keep up with right now to try and write week by week posts for every episode. However! Anime will not be neglected on the site as I shall return to what I started doing: Full series reviews for different Anime you might not have known existed. I'm about to make you Anime curious! Which I realize in hindsight sounds dirtier than I intended.

Be prepared for some actual articles and posts. We're talking the whole spectrum (D&D, MTG, Video Games, Videos, Movies, Anime, etc. etc.) because you guys deserve it. If you have any suggestions for anything then don't be afraid to shoot me an email.

This is Kylak signing out and losing freetime by the hour.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Duel Decks: Elspeth VS Tezzeret Review




After playtesting the Elspeth VS Tezzeret Duel Decks for an entire weekend, I decided I might as well review it. Let's dive right in shall we?

The first thing you should know is that I'm honestly not that excited about artifact or solider decks and to make things even funnier for my perspective is that I'm not all that interested in Elspy or Tezz as characters. You're probably thinking I'm the last person that should review this but I'm here to surprise you. I love this product and I honestly think it's the greatest Duel Deck to be released for Magic the Gathering.

If you're a collector then you've probably already bought four due to the alternate art and the fact you're getting a huge investment for the little you are paying for these. The regular Elspeth card costs more than the MSRP of this product by herself. This box set not only comes with an alternate art version of Elspeth and Tezzeret but two full decks with multiple rares in each.

If you're a vorthos (storyline lover) then you have to get excited over the thought of taking sides with either Elspeth or Tezzeret. Whether you want to summon an army of soldiers to serve and protect or you prefer to create machines to gain power and knowledge, either way, it's going to be very metal. Throw up the horns and crank it to eleven!

If you're teaching anyone to play Magic then this is one of the greatest teaching tools I've ever found in a stand alone product. That's how I've been playtesting this actually. I let a beginner run the Elspeth deck while I controlled Tezzeret's. The decks are surprisingly balanced and each deck provides just the right amount of variety and consistency for someone new to the game of Magic (or for someone with ADHD).

There are plenty of other reasons to grab a box but these are a few I imagine most reviews online won't cover.

This is Kylak signing out and giving this product the heavy metal award and an eleven out of ten stars because our amplifiers go up to eleven!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Leak Sauce #6 Devil May Cry Reboot



Leaking info to you and bringing the discussion.

It would appear that Ninja Theory (AKA the people who made a sub-par God of War clone called Heavenly Sword) is teaming up with Capcom for a reboot of the Devil May Cry franchise.

I personally don't know what to think about the trailer. On one hand, if the trailer is to give any indication of the gameplay then this looks like the logical progression the game should have been going through back when DMC 4 came out (which was basically DMC 3.5 for those who haven't been following the series). On the other hand, the trailer shows off a character that not only doesn't resemble Dante in the slightest but appears to be the opposite of what he used to represent.

The original statement about Dante from DMC 1 through 4 was that he was meant to be the kind of badass that doesn't have to smoke to look cool. He was a cocky, gung-ho anti-hero that tended to act cool even in worst case scenarios. The reboot has changed him into a tormented teenager who could be mistaken for a drug addict that is rarely seen without a cigarette. His platinum hair from the originals (to signify him being a half-demon) is also gone as he now sports a black emo style with traces of platinum near the top.

My own theory: This isn't Dante.
We are shown at the beginning that he's undergoing psycho-evaluation treatment for a rehabilitation program and that he's asked multiple times what his name is. My guess is that he's made to "believe" he is Dante for some reason or another as a way to give more insight into Dante's memories by force-feeding them into someone else. That's what I'm hoping for at least.

We'll have to wait to find out what is really going on as more information falls through the filters.

This is Kylak signing out and wondering where things will go from here.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Video Spotlight #16 Llamas with Hats 1, 2, and 3







Sharing videos I managed to find scattered across the Internet.

Welcome back true believers. I'm sure everyone has seen Llamas with Hats 1 and 2 by now but 3 is a whole other ball game. A ball game that Carl would interrupt with the fury of a tactical nuke. Bodies would lay scattered across the field in obscure and humorous ways. That's why we love him right? So let's watch all three in a row to celebrate Caaaarrrl.

About the author:
Jason Steele is probably best known for his Charlie the Unicorn series but the Llamas with Hats shorts are my personal favorites. You can find his site right over here: http://www.filmcow.com/index.html

This is Kylak signing out and creating a Carl proof shelter in case things go south.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Vorthos Train Wreck #1 Mirari Saga (and Mirrodin)


For every Vorthos out there. Magic the Gathering stories abridged.

What is a Vorthos you may ask? I decided to quote Matt Cavotta himself:
"Vorthos (His name is actually John, but since there's already a “Johnny” in the mix, he opted to go with the name of his 16th level half-elven ranger/warmage.) is the guy who never puts more than one of any legend card in his deck because “it just wouldn't be right.” He's the guy who will only play with the Icy Manipulator from Ice Age because it's the one they call the “Bone Crank.” He won't play with the Fallen Empires cards with the stinky alternate art. Vorthos is the guy who started collecting cards because he liked the art, then read some Magic novels, then saw his favorite characters appear on some cards and decided to learn to play. There are a lot of Vorthoses out there. Some collect cards, but might not even play. Some have a hoot getting artists to sign their cards. Some don't read flavor text 'til after they finish the novel in case it might spoil the ending. Vorthos understands that Magic can be fun even when you're not playing the game."

So I decided that the best way to start this new set of articles off would be to bring you something familiar. We're going to time travel all the way back to my first article (second post). It's all the time travel you love without the plot inconveniences and time paradoxes. Before we jump into quotation marks, let me introduce the cast of the Mirari storyline to make things easier to understand.


Karn

A gentle giant with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (diagnosed by me).


The Mirari/Memnarch
The Mirari can be seen at the top of the post. It later gets turned into a sentient being by Karn and then left behind because Karn is full of brilliant ideas like abandoning children.


Karona
Because it makes perfect sense for a sword infused with Mirari's power to not slice someone in half but combine all surrounding females into one psuedo-god. Three ladies combine to form this Voltron. See below for added details.


Now it's time for a flashback from the earlier article I mentioned (You can put your time traveling goggles on at home folks but I will warn that they do nothing):

"And now it's story time! So let's all squat down in a circle. The story of Mirrodin (and bonus story of the entire Odyssey and Onslaught saga in a nutshell) in under five minutes:
Karn was created long ago by Urza as a probe. We're skipping the probe jokes by the way. After the events of the early storyline of Magic, Karn went off somewhere in the multiverse, created Argentum (no relation to Argentina), and probably said, "it was good." He created probes to monitor Dominaria (his homeworld and the one where all original events in the storyline took place) but one of the probes became corrupted and turned into the Mirari. These things happen. We all know how that turned out... wait... you don't? It turned out to be a giant shit pile! The Mirari twisted minds into desiring its abilities to make wishes a reality. An entire war was started and eventually led to the creation and death of a false god named Karona.

After Karona was killed, Karn swept in to grab her, said excuse me, and planeswalked to Argentum. He removed the Mirari sword (yeah... forgot to mention it got turned into a sword later) from her chest and she split apart into the original beings that formed her (Akroma Angel of Wrath, Phage the Untouchable, and technically Zagorka but no one cares about her). After Akroma and Zagorka's bodies turned to fairy dust, Phage turned back into her original self: Jeska (Kamahl's sister. He was kind of the main character of the other storyline but he's a Mary Sue and should be forgotten). With all of this identity swapping it's like we're in a Shakespeare play made by a fanfiction writer.

So Karn turned the Mirari into the golem Memnarch because he can. Does the guy need another reason? I'm sure only good things can come of this. Memnarch held the title of most cheerful fellow on Argentum (awarded by me). Because Karn is such a good parent, he took Jeska and figured it would be a great idea to just planeswalk around a bit with her and left Memnarch all to his lonesome. Well shit, we all know how abandoned children turn out. Those good things I was talking about? Yeah... I was wrong. It didn't take long before Memnarch wanted to be a Planeswalker just like daddy. He was corrupted by a strange black substance (Phyrexian Oil or the Venom symbiote? You decide.) and devised a plan to create a spark to become a Planeswalker.

You see, Memnarch wasn't a real boy. He couldn't create a spark. A living being had to make one. So Memnarch turned Argentum into Mirrodin, the ultimate child labor sweatshop. He stole some kids from other planes (thanks to some child grabbing classes he took) and they populated the world. Different races chilled there for a bit and eventually melded with machine. It was honestly kind of itchy to have metal plates integrated with the skin and there were all kinds of rashes we don't need to discuss. Skipping ahead, Glissa gets a Planeswalker spark. How nifty is that? Oh wait... it's not nifty at all! The planet sucks it up and spits it out to Memnarch as he planned. But wait! He couldn't get the spark because he only knew how to grab children. So the spark randomly went to one of the only other important named characters in the novel instead: Slobad. He was so lucky to be a main character.

Skipping ahead even further, Memnarch gets deactivated and Karn shows up out of plot convenience to bitch slap his deactivated son that he took such great care of. Best parent of the year (awarded by me). So after Karn learned from his mistakes, he immediately forgot what he had learned and decided it would be a brilliant idea to leave the Mirari to be guarded by Glissa, Slobad, and Geth. Geth is the severed head of a lich by the way so I'm sure he would make the best out of the three to guard the blasted thing. Oh and Slobad gave up his Planeswalker spark to revive those who were killed on Mirrodin and have them all returned to their respective homeworlds. He's a swell guy.

So wait... Karn left again? I didn't think golems could have ADHD. The guy's got the attention span of a gnat. So that was the end of the Mirari saga. Time for potty breaks."

It's only fitting that we take a look at the Mirari storyline (Odyssey, Onslaught, and Mirrodin blocks) to get ourselves up to speed for Scars of Mirrodin coming out in October. If you want any additional information on the Mirari storyline then just ask below in the comments and I'll be glad to attempt an answer.

Which Magic the Gathering storyline would you like me to abridge for the next Vorthos Trainwreck?
A) Kamigawa
B) Ravnica
C) Time Spiral
D) Lorwyn/Shadowmoor
E) Alara

Vote in the comments below! If you don't have a google account (google, gmail, youtube, whatever) then grab one and sign in to follow and comment immediately!

This is Kylak signing out and tasting a lot of deja vu.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Play It! Pure and Simple #3 Blazblue: Continuum Shift



Games to get out and play! New and old.

The basics:
An Anime stylized fighting game where each character has a very distinct play style. Beginners can jump in with ease and yet it could take months to years to master the gameplay.

The characters:
A darkness wielding, soul draining grim reaper with a bounty on his head.
A schizophrenic, crystal ice creating major of a task force unit.
A lolita vampire that manipulates elements as often as she sips tea.
Also: A cat girl, ninja, puppeteer, blob, and a cyborg all walk into a bar... stop me if you've heard this one.

The gameplay:
Every character plays by their own rules. Hakumen for example is based heavily on timing counter attacks against your opponent while Carl requires you to control two separate characters simultaneously (Carl and his puppet sister Nirvana). Ragna drains health with his soul eater techniques while Jin freezes enemies and manipulates ice on the battlefield. The variety in play styles lends itself to higher replay value.

The story:
I don't want to spoil anything but I'm going to state that I personally think this has the most developed and complex storyline of any fighting game I've ever seen. The story mode for this sequel adds even more layers of depth to the ongoing storyline of Blazblue and many secrets are revealed.

The modes:
There are copious amounts of noteworthy modes to dive into but the one that sticks out the most for this sequel is the Tutorial Mode. This is the only in-depth fighting game that I know of that offers something like this. It literally takes you by the hand and teaches you movement, counters, cancels, combos, and more.

If you're into fighting games and Anime then this is a must have title. If you aren't into those things normally, you might want to check this one out thanks to the tutorial modes and easy to use control layout. There's plenty to enjoy that I haven't even touched on but this isn't a full review. I am merely attempting to entice.

This is Kylak signing out and rapid canceling into a distortion drive.

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