Thursday, June 23, 2011

30 Day Anime Photo Challenge: Day 1

Yes, it's as fucked up as it looks.
Day 1
Your first anime

Instead of my first anime being the obligatory Sailor Moon, DBZ, or Pokemon, my first experience with the wonderful animation from Japan was actually Little Nemo Adventures in Slumberland. Although if it's asking for anime SERIES, it's probably an equally obscure answer...

Suddenly my childhood is making more and more sense.
Of course, this is during my childhood where all cartoons were "OH PRETTY COLORS" so I wasn't really aware that Japan itself was a country, much less producing these cartoons. So I guess in all reality, the first series that was produced where I was actually aware that it was an "anime" was...

yeah my childhood makes so much sense

Evil Robotic Potato Review (Portal 2 Review)

Okay, I finally caved and rented Portal 2. It didn't have to do with how AWESOME EVERYONE THINKS IT IS, but mostly because of my 12 year old cousin. He touted the fact that he beat the game in a mere 12 hours. When I said "Oh, that's pretty good. I haven't played it yet, but I love those games," he replied, "Yeah, but I think it's a little above your level. It was REALLY hard."


"Of course you realize, this means war."
 Well, for whatever reason I got it, I'm glad it did. It actually beat all expectations. Not to be a hipster, but I figured it was one of those things that everyone loved because... well, everyone loved it. But no, this was one of those rare occasions society picked out a game because it was good! (I also beat it in nine hours.) So let's quit beating around the bush and get to it. Hopefully the internet won't hate me for giving its darling a fair look... This is Portal 2.

"I think we can put our differences behind us, for science... you monster."

Plot Summary
For someone who's never played the first game, I was delighted to know this is one of those sequels where you don't have to know too much about the first in order to play the second. And if there are any questions you might have, they pretty much address it in the first chapter. For those of you unfamiliar with the series, the original Portal was about the playable character, Chell, caught up in a testing facility that would make any lab rat look like it lived the good life. In the end, you have to kill an evil AI robot called GLaDOS (she calls you names, too :<). All is well for a while, until Portal 2 starts up and then... you meet him.

He's not just a regular moron. He was DESIGNED to be a moron.
This little guy named Wheatley, in his attempt to escape from the facility with you, sets off a chain of reactions that inevitably wakes GLaDOS back up. And let's say she's not happy. But in Portal 2, you begin to learn that sometimes stupidity is a much more dangerous thing than just being an evil genius. As you try to escape GLaDOS' clutches and perform a series of tests and solve numerous puzzles, Wheatley once again makes everything worse by taking over the facility himself. You then promptly learn that his endearingly cute stupidity is going to kill you, GLaDOS, himself, and everything else in the facility if you can't stop the lab from self-destructing. Which is ultimately easier said than done... because Wheatley is an idiot, and GLaDOS... well...

"How are you doing? Because I'M a potato."
The rest of the game is a race against the clock where you must defeat Wheatley (who has convinced himself that all is well) and unfortunately put GLaDOS back into power. And of course, there's the big question of what she'll do with you if you both manage to not kill yourselves in the end.

Overall, the plot is exciting, and pretty well done for your standard puzzle game. Even though GLaDOS is a chick to be hated, the more you learn about her, the more you want to feel sympathetic for her. And even though Wheatley's stupidity tries to kill you on several occasions, his stupidity is both comedic and endearing. In the end, you actually care about what happens instead of just caring about the answer to the next puzzle.

Grade: A

The script is ultimately the part that gets everyone to fall in love with Portal 2. My friends and I have beaten it a while ago but we all still continue to quote GLaDOS' little insults (apparently I sound just like her). For a cast made up almost entirely of robots, the delivery of the the quips (either genius or pathetic in nature) is always perfect and will have you giggling to yourself while you're trying to solve the puzzles. It's a perfect blend of smart humor and pure stupidity (which makes sense given the characters).

Well, before I start gushing, I suppose I should just get on with the grade. The only criticism I have is that I hate when the main character doesn't speak, but that's terribly common in video games.

Grade: A

Oh, right. This IS a puzzle game afterall. Well, essentially the puzzles play like a giant temple ala Legend of Zelda. Step on this, move that, except with a bit more difficulty. The controls are graceful,  and the physics seemlessly push you from one portal to the next. I almost got motion sickness from one level where you jump and bound around; but that was mostly my fault because I opened a few portals upside-down and did a lot of spinning. Apparently I'm the only one that felt that way though...

"I'm going to die, aren't I?"
It WAS a little awkward at times just barely missing the portal if you land half way on it. You'd think that'd just mean you'd slide into it, but no, apparently you can stand on the portal half-way. This quickly becomes frustrating if you need to propell yourself through the air "like an eagle... piloting a blimp." Aside from that, the actual gameplay was unlike any other first person game I've ever played and was immensely enjoyable.

Grade: A

. . .

Okay, I think it's easy to see where this is going. Part of me gets sick whenever I gush about a game but don't have a whole lot to critique about it. I mean, that's obviously great for Portal 2, but I don't know, I just don't like to do it.

So I'm going to save both of us some time and just flat-out say that this is probably in my top three favorite puzzle games. Overall, I'd give it an A. If you don't buy it, at least rent it. It'll be the best five dollars you've spent. But don't pass this up by any means.

Til next review, see you later!