Shogun’s Blade PS2 [REVIEW] | #musoumay

Ah yes, one of the very first istances of “we have Dynasty Warriors at home”.

Obviously done on a budget and part of the Simple Series (this one titled simply The Kessen Sekigahara, quite to the point as these games’ titles often are), hence once could just assume this was developed by one of D3’s regulars, and if you guessed Tamsoft get yourself a big pint of beer, you know your stuff indeed.

Of course if there’s a cheap hack n slash from D3 the chances of being handled by Tamsoft are pretty high, which in hindsight makes it extra funny to me they went from Onechanbara, then Senran Kagura, to being given the reins of a Bandai Namco published Captain Tsubasa game.

But we’re getting off track, again.

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Touken Ranbu Warriors NSWITCH [REVIEW] | #musoumay

As i previously said while discussing the demo for it, i eventually did get the pricey ass retail North American version, since i wasn’t paying full price for digital, or 100 bucks for the game and one of the most desperate and worthless example of season pass content ever devised by a publisher.

Due to import taxes i paid the same anyway, but we’ll talk about that later in the review.

FIY the game is also available worlwide digitally on Steam.

Touken Ranbu Warriors story is set in 2205, about a group of Touken Danshi sent back in the Sengoku period in order to avoid timeline alterations by the History Retrograde Army.

What are Touken Danshi? But beatiful boys with the souls of legendary japanese swords (often as iconic and famed as their possessors/wielders) bestowed upon them, because nothing else aside “bishounen sword boys” would strike fear in those dastardly time travelling history revisionists.

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Musou May and the State Of Musou as of May 2023?

As per what is now tradition, this year too we’ll have Musoy May, with a picked review of a musou/Warriors game every sunday of May.

Here’s where i usually make a general ramble about the state of the genre as of late, but…. there isn’t really much to say or even get unreasonably hyped about, as we neither got any new contender/challenger from some small or medium sized developer & publisher nor does TK really revealed, teased or announced anything.

Samurai Warriors 5 came out in 2021, but aside from a Season Pass TK didn’t either put out a XL or Empires version, Dynasty Warriors 9 Empires needed a lot of shit to be added or patched in, but again, aside a tepid Season Pass that wasn’t really worth paying (for the most part), there was no post-launch support, and since how barebones the modes on offering were… it would have needed.

Touken Ranbu Warriors was also released, but for whatever reason TK decided to launch it digital only on both Switch and PC (via Steam), and i’m gonna save the lamentations about that for its review.

Fire Emblem Warriors Three Hopes was almost perfect but was curiously devoid of expansion content (which is fine since it’s an already massive offering to begin with), so that’s odd.

All we got since June 2022 was simply a teaser trailer for Fate Samurai/Remnant that should release sometime this year, no actual gameplay footage or any real info aside from what could be seen in that short teaser trailer. Surprised it took them this long and actually Marvelous already did developed 2 Fate musou games, but still, it has been months devoid of any news about it or anything else Warriors or Warriors related.

Maybe TK is holding out for what was “E3 time” or for the TGS to drop the existence of Dynasty Warriors 10 (which they teased in interviews before), but at this point there’s just nothing to talk about of substance, and this behaviour kinda speaks volume for how Koei considers his musou output.

I mean, when the best news is them re-releasing WO3 Ultimate in a definitive edition package…. you can tell there’s a drought and no signs of the main gardener being interested in watering the cacti.

I mean, unless they do a 180 ° with Dynasty Warriors 10, Koei shouldn’t complain of losing even more customers, after DW 9 they deserve every critique and negativity coming their way.

[EXPRESSO] John Wick 4 (2023) | Knights Of The High Table

Wasn’t sure if to review this one, but i eventually watched the first John Wick on Netflix for the first time, so yeah, whatever, gonna marathon this series days before seeing the new one in theathers.

So apparently the series as a whole has people kinda divided, but honestly i’m not quite getting the confusion as even the first movie was chock full of ultra stylish ultra violent revengeance that drew from many influences, indeed was a revitalizing kick in the ghoulies for the action genre, and already seemed like it was the best adaptation of a violent cult comic book that never was.

For the 4th outing, it’s no surprise we get even more focus on the mythology of the assassins’ codes and the rules of this world that invites the same questions as WH40K does (“who cooks the meals without being bound via a blood pact to some finger collecting mob boss, etc.”), as we continue to see John Wick take on the High Table itself, after basically declaring war against it before.

Honestly i like these movies and how they try to up the ante every time, but if John Wick 3 seemed a little longer than necessary, Chapter 4 might result as downright bloated, as it pushes for a nearly 3 hours runtime, and could have benefitted to trim some of its many spectacular fights that sometimes go on so long they kinda start to grate on the audience a bit.

But i can forgive the excess as there’s plenty of very good action, and the pretty satisfying ending making it clear this is the intended end of the franchise, so hoping they will just stick with the already planned spin-offs, i’d say John Wick 4 it’s indeed quite “the blast” to end the series with.

[EXPRESSO] Demon Slayer: Prelude To The Swordsmith Village (2023) | Stock Breathing Style (UPDATED)

Okay, i’m not gonna sugarcoat it, this feels a bad joke to pull on the audience.

Sure, this was billed as a compilation film of the second season with the juicy carrot being the inclusion of the first episode from Season 3 of the Demon Slayer anime (covering the Swordsmith Village Arc), which will be airing normally this April, i’m not complaining about that.

But it’s not a compilation of the second season, it’s actually the final 3 episodes of Season 2 plus the never seen before episode 1 of the upcoming third season, and i would question it even being a compilation film, since they did slap the aforementioned episodes together, didn’t even bother to cut out endings, title cards, eyecatches or do any noticeable edits for better narrative flow.

I can kinda understand why only these episodes, as they sports movie level quality animation and are even better to see on the big screen, but this is supposed to be a compilation movie, so it’s a matter of editing… and even then i struggle to use that word, as they mostly added a brief gist of what the series it’s about in form of text over reused footage, and recycled the opening songs over very brief montages of battles and events leading to the action packed finale of the Entertaiment District arc, which you’re thrown upon.

Could have added some voice over narration here and there to give more context than zero or actually summarize the events leading to that, insteading of bugger all.

At least it’s not an extra pricey theathrical release, but still, this is lazy and bad even for a compilation film, complete cashgrab.

Even if episode 1 of Season 3 is quite good, just wait for the season to air regularly as it will.

EDIT 14/03/2022: i was made aware that the original trailer for the movie DID specify the contents as the movie just being the last 2 episodes of Season 2 plus the first one of Season 3, i didn’t know that since why bother seeing the trailer for a recap movie, and many news outlets didn’t quite specify what exactly was in the movie (the ones here in Italy just advertisedit as “recap movie of the Entertaiment District Arc” or something generic and non-descriptive, for once).

So i upgraded my rating to Americano to refelect, as in, it’s at least what they advertised, though this doesn’t fix the fact it was clearly marketed in a vague way by many news outlets (by choice, a malicious person might suggest), nor my complains about it lacking any kind of basic edit of the reused footage,

10 Hours-ish Into One Piece Odyssey

While i’m overburdened to even conceive putting out a full review for the game (since i’m still early into it, as the title may suggests, since it’s a JRPG we’re talking about) before Spring hits, i do wanna talk about it since i have been looking forward to it since the announcement, and i pre-ordered the collector’s edition with the figure and season pass and shit.

I mean, i have been expecting a proper One Piece RPG to wash the horrid taste Romance Dawn on the PSP/3DS left in me mouth for years, and i’m not feeling like digging out emulated and/or translated roms of those very old and very “Japan-only” One Piece RPGS on the Wonderswan and Game Boy. I do have some of those imported, but whatever, i do want to play something modern once in a while, you know?

Btw, these first impressions are based on the PS4 version running on a PS4 Pro (and there’s also a demo version available), so you know.

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[EXPRESSO] Bullet Train (2022) | Assassins Pastiche Express

Better late than never, but as promised here it is, after months of waiting.

And honestly i don’t quite get its mixed reception (at least by the american or english speaking press as a whole)… well, i kinda do, but it’s not like it was deceptively advertised, at all.

Bullet Train it’s indeed the kind of movie you would expect to see from the director of Deadpool 2, just declined into a Tarantino-esque genre pastiche, throwing in deliberate cliches from yakuza movies as it all takes place during what starts as a normal voyage in one of Japan’s high velocity trains… aside from the protagonists being a collection of professional assassins/hitmen with a job to do while on the train, including a “recovering & recalcitrant” assassin (played by Brad Pitt) that would rather try to obtain some inner peace and signed up only to steal a briefcase from the train, but finds out everyone on board is after the very same thing…

The mesh of Deapool style comedy (minus the 4th wall brutalization) with the obviously Tarantino inspired style of dialogues (one of the assassins has a thing for profiling people via Thomas The Tank Engine comparisons, for example) and taste for ultraviolence so over the top it’s outright funny at times… works extremely well, as the narrative using flashbacks to quickly characterize the various assassins. Great cast too.

Sure, the humour at times it’s a bit too much “Deadpool-ish”, but it’s quite tolerable and i was honestly surprised by how funny the movie turned out to be, though i understand that the combo of direction and writing could result irritating to some. Still, i had a really good time with Bullet Train, not gonna lie to appease anyone or crap like that.

Dumb as hell, but a blast nonetheless.

[One Piece Film Retrospective] #5: The Cursed Holy Sword (2004)

When preparing to do this new One Piece films retrospective, there was one in particular i was dreading to cover again, that i istantly knew i wasn’t gonna like having to watch another time for review purposes. Yes, i didn’t particularly care for the first official One Piece movie, but i always had “beef” with The Cursed Holy Sword, even on a conceptual level it irked me greatly.

But i’m a man fond of redemption tale, and giving this movie a second chance after all was just professional courtesy as a critic, after all it’s a “re-view” in name, fact and spirit.

I will recognize that one could see this movie in particular as an attempt to offer something a bit different from before in terms of movie outings, i can’t fault that mindset, but i still feel like this was a previous script for another shonen series that was repurposed for another, more popular IP, regardless if was a good fit or not.

And yes, i would argue the fantasy-heavy storyline doesn’t really fit the world of One Piece much, usually the weird stuff it’s all due to some Devil Fruit ability or something that is treated akin to science, something that its grounded in its own reality, see the Skypiea arc treatment of the “gods in the sky” kerfuffle. Put another way, 99 % is just stuff that it’s explained in-universe sooner or later, i mean, it fits with the underlying “age of discovery” angle the pirate theme often brings.

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[One Piece Film Retrospective] #1: One Piece The Movie

Using the cover of the Japanese Blu-Ray release because the movie itself doesn’t even have a title card or a proper title. Just the default “One Piece” title card the TV series used at the times.

After the One Piece TV series started airing and proved to be successful, a movie was bound to be made sooner or later.

And this is… sure it’s called a movie, and i’m willing to call it as such, but it was clearly early in the series’ history, as Toei’s anime adaptation only started airing in 1999 (an year after Production IG’s One Piece OVA: Defeat The Pirate Ganzack), so i guess they figured out it was better to not go all the way immediatly, and made this medium-lenght, so it could be released alongside the even shorter Digimon film “Digimon Adventure: Our War Game” during the 2000’s Toei Anime fair.

Those are a lot of words to say that Toei kinda cheaped out and compromised, and honestly i can’t really say that’s unfair, as this movie feels less like a movie and more like two episodes of the TV series superglued together.

And not interesting episodes either, but first, the plot.

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Fire Emblem Warriors NSWITCH & NEW3DS [REVIEW] | Tactics Of The Emblem

To celebrate a new Fire Emblem crossover game with the Warriors formula, this time based on Three Houses in the same fashion as Age Of Calamity was from Zelda Breath Of Wild, let’s rivisit the older (and first) title, simply titled Fire Emblem Warriors, released back in 2017 for the Nintendo Switch and the 3DS… as in, only the New 3DS models, yep, it was one of those very few exclusive titles for that 3DS revision-upgraded restyling, arguably the only title of notice alongside Xenoblade Chronicles 3D in terms of New 3DS Only packaged retail releases.

I’m gonna review both versions as i first sunk 50+ hours on the New 3DS release (i didn’t had a Switch at the time) and then a little less once i got hold of a Switch and that version, and by that i mean i will just make a specific comparison in terms of performance and overall looks between the two versions, no need to review both separately, as in terms of contents they are 99 % identical.

Aside from that, prepare from a lot of comparison to Hyrule Warriors, it can’t be helped.

Also (as already explained in the hands-on on the demo for Three Hopes), don’t expect a review of Fire Emblem Warriors: Three Hopes anytime soon, for the same reason of Persona 5 Strikers, i gotta play the main game, Three Houses, first, even though this is described as an alternate story in that world. And i’m never gonna finish that game and then start, finish and have a review of that out in any timely fashion.

Time is not on my side. 😦

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