Asterix & Obelix XXL: Romastered PS4 [REVIEW] | For Toutatis!

Oddly, this was the last of the Asterix XXL series to get the remaster treament, the first being XXL 2 in 2018, then we had the brand new XXL 3 in 2019, then the “romastered” version of the first game in 2020, the one we’re talking about today, to celebrate the release of a new Asterix & Obelix movie in theathers.

One of the live-action ones, but still, it’s new Asterix & Obelix material!

Originally developed for PS2, Gamecube and PC (with a GBA version that’s basically another game entirely) by defunct french studio Etranges Libellules and published by Atari Europe, this remaster was instead published by Microids (which pretty much took the place Infogrames had back then) and developed by the quite non-defunct (at the time of writing, anyway) french Osome Studios.

The plot sees the titular duo wander off of their little Gaul village to the ol’ boar hunt only to come back and find out Ceasar (yes, Julius Caius Ceasar from Caligula, exactly) has somehow managed to storm the village, capturing most people and sending them off to various distant ends of the Roman empire in order to have locked out sight and mind, hopefully for good.

But with the help of a fired roman spy, you find out that most of the imprisoned gauls most likely managed to get a piece of the map indicating their location, as Ceasar took the extra step – just in case – of ripping the map in pieces and scattering them in various locations.

Good enough as an excuse in terms of videogame logic to have Asterix & Obelix travel to various places like Egypt, Normandy, Greece and Helvetia, freeing their fellow gaul citizens and getting more pieces of the map along the way.

Continua a leggere “Asterix & Obelix XXL: Romastered PS4 [REVIEW] | For Toutatis!”

[EXPRESSO] Burning Fight (Arcade Classic Archives Neo Geo) NSWITCH DDL | Streets Of Mid

I’m a simple man, i see some Arcade Classics Archives games on sale on the Switch eShop, i usually buy them, especially if it’s early Neo Geo beat em up i’ve never even seen mentioned before.

With 3 bucks less to my wallet, i realized why exactly.

I mean, it was the age of the beat em up, and while it’s not often fair to just call them knock-offs…. Burning Fight really can’t be called anything else than a “knock-off” of Final Fight, Streets Of Rage, heck even Double Dragon, and one that embodies the definition of “one of those”, since it’s so predictable and derivative to have even the special health-draining moves feel like “legally distinct” imitations of Capcom’s other big series about punching people.

The only distinctive feature is that you can enter some of the shops/facilities and smash some furniture to find health and point pickups, but even these diversions last 4 seconds tops, though there’s some attempts at doing something new with some stages where you move on a conveyer belt while thugs throw explosive at you from the background, but it’s very small stuff.

This is as straightforward, simple and generic as a beat ‘em up could be in that era.

Originality aside, the problem with Burning Fight is that it’s indeed a cheap, brazen and almost sub-par knock off, not unplayable or anything, but the kind it inevitably just makes you wish you were playing the older titles on SNES and Genesis it’s clearly aping, since they’re better in every regard.

So ironically the only way i can justify bothering with this one it’s if you’re a beat em up buff that has already played all the popular ones and are searching for a fix, something that “will do”, and not really anything else.


Pinocchi-O-Rama: the 2022 “Pinocchio frenzy” and celebrating the 140th Anniversary of Collodi’s classic

No review today, sorry, but we’re doing something a bit special.

If you remember, last year was surprisingly full of Pinocchio adaptations, from the resurfacing of Guillermo Del Toro’s project, that cheap russian retelling/reworking with the infamous Paulie Shorie english dub (called Pinocchio – A True Story, FIY), and Disney continuining with their crusade of shitty live-action remakes of their classic animated films.

And italian audiences were also treated with a live-action Pinocchio movie in 2019, directed by acclaimed italian director Matteo Garrone (Dogman, The Tale Of Tales), and starring beloved italian actor Roberto Benigni, which already was world famous for playing the titular character in the 2002 Pinocchio movie.

If you’re like me, as in italian and pretty much hailing from Tuscany, living nearby Florence, hence more than familiar with the original book by Luigi Collodi, you’d be wondering why now, as it seemed random to see a resurgence of Pinocchio adaptations out of the blue. I mean, the book was already in the public domain in the U.S. since 1940, so i wondered if there was some anniversary relating some of the more famous adaptations…. but nothing that made sense.

As in, the original book was first published (in full, after it was published in a weekly children’s magazine starting 1881, then stopped and eventually resumed with the second part) in 1883, so the following year would mark the 140th anniversary, notable but not the kind of number that publisher choose to publicize some new edition of a popular book.

Doesn’t have quite that ring, but somehow 2022 was the “Year Of Pinocchio” regardless, so irked by this i’m gonna do “sumethin about it” and actually spotlight a noteworthy or overlooked Pinocchio adaptation or “heavily inspired by ” work each month of 2023, with special reviews, starting with a post/review at the very end of January.

There will be no precise release windows for each piece, just each a month for the entirety of 2023.

[EXPRESSO] Alice In Borderland (Season Two) (2022) | Fallen Figures

After a good year plus of waiting, the second season of Alice In Borderland is here (again, as a Netflix exclusive show), picking up where the cliffhanger finale left our protagonists, who now are pretty much forced to confront the new games held by the high ranking card figures, with teams of “inhabitants” that challenge the players directly, in the hope of figuring out a way to come back home, or if there’s even a way out to begin with..

There are some surprise comebacks, new faces, and the various games are quite entertaining and creative, the returning characters get more characterization, and ultimately we also learn a lot more about this “Borderland” world, even though we don’t get many answers because we’d lose that vague mystique and there’s technically enough source material for a third season.

Speaking of which, while i’m personally kinda tempted to lower the overall score/vote for the ending alone – that and some really cliched and basic philosophical wafflings – … i will give it credit since it could work as a proper conclusion for the series overall.

As i said before, you can clearly tell it’s adapted from a manga series, one that draw easily into the popular branch of suspense/supernatural death games (very akin to The World Ends With You crossed with stuff like As The Gods Will) and also belongs to the battle royale subgenre, though this live-action adaptation had the accidental luxury of releasing worlwide just before Squid Game – and its craze that re-popularized the battle royale – came into existence.

Overall, i’ve enjoyed this one more than the first season, it’s just more compelling in terms of characters, death games and stakes, making me surprisingly glad i gave it a chance, even if it’s a bit flawed at times.

Taking the post-Christmas break now instead of never

Since i couldn’t take the break post-12 Days Of Dino Dicember as usual (due to some releases i wanted to cover before they could be “forgotten” or whatever), i’m… taking it now before the chance slips aways entirely.

From today until (and including) the 20th of January , the blog will take a complete break, with even EXPRESSO going on a hiatus in the meantime.

[EXPRESSO] Warriors Of Future (2022) | Robosuits vs Plant Alien Necrobugs

Dipping once again into Netflix exclusive selection of Hong Kong and mainland China by testing my luck on sci-fi action alien shoot em up Warriors Of Future.

Plot rolls the common “meteorite smashes into Earth” situation, and no, there’s nobody fashioning the meteorite pieces into arrows thousands of years later for cool superpowers, nope, this meteorite just had a lot of “grass alien invaders” in it launching a massive offensive.

The elite human forces (escorted by advanced war robots) are almost wiped out, minus a suicide squad with just a few hours left before mankind it’s completely eradicated…

There is a bit more to it, as the invasive plantlife ironically also happens to be beneficial to this dystopic cyberpunk world by converting the polluted air into breathable oxygen, so the evil government guy that dedicated his entire life into machines that do the same very thing isn’t too pleased and tries to sabotage the team, because he’s evil and that’s about it as “motivations”.

Not really a spoiler as he makes it clear he’s gonna do that, nor the heroes (say “hi” to the eyepatch guy) fare much better, like the plot they’re pretty much constructed with stock action sci-fi movie building blocks, heck, even the robosuits they don at some points feel like the result of a confusing laundry day with Iron Man, Isaac Clark from Dead Space and Oshii’s Kerberos Corps.

I do mention videogames because while the production values are indeed high, big screen high, the action scenes and the CG (especially for the feral plant monsters) feels very “videogamey”, a lot like high budget cutscenes, BUT even so i can’t deny Warriors Of Future it’s a very entertaining, quick moving, belly-filling serving of action sci-fi dish that delivers some decent fun.

And sequelbaits to the stars.

Pokemon Scarlet/Violet NSWITCH [REVIEW] | Out Of The Pokéoven

My first review of a new Pokemon mainline title here, yay!

Felt like i had to since i didn’t do so for Legends: Arceus or the Diamond/Pearl remake (as i previously explained), and we do need to talk about this one. Sternly, too.

I only wanna preface i won’t be considering the competitive aspect or balance there of as i honestly never cared too much for that even decades ago, less so today, meaning i can’t and won’t be giving a throughout evisceration of the meta, so to speak.

Fair warned be thee.

The first titles of Pokemon 9th generation, Scarlet/Violet take place in the Paldea region, heavily inspired by the Iberian peninsula, so if you felt the spanish and portoguese vibes from the trailers, you were correct. The story starts off with you reaching the school’s annual Treasure Hunt event in time to encounter your rival/friend (aka the pokemon rival equivalent of Son Goku from Dragon Ball), but interestingly (and as advertised) this lead to three story routes you can follow, which also include the regular old fashioned fights against Gym Leaders for badges leading to fight that region’s Elite Four equivalent and then the Champion.

The other ones involve a region-wide quest for mystics herbs protected by giant Pokemons, and the storyline that pits against an antagonistic team of trainers, in this case rebellious students that form a gang called Team Star, spread in various bases with a respective Leader ruling it.

Continua a leggere “Pokemon Scarlet/Violet NSWITCH [REVIEW] | Out Of The Pokéoven”

Review of Pokemon Scarlet/Violet delayed by a couple of days + the “Dino Dicember” priority rule

So yeah, it took me more time to get around and finish the game, so i need to finalize the review, revise it and shit, so it will be posted on the 23th, instead of… today.

I considered postponing it even further, like next year, but since the 12 Days Of Dino Dicember are a-coming again and i’m not skipping on them, i’m not going to.

Oh, also, because of that some planned reviews of movies that coincidentally release in the same period here (like The Fablemans) will come out in January after the “dino stuff”.

That’s it, that the post.

Bye!

Bleach: Soul Resurreccion/Ignition PS3 [REVIEW] | Hollow Warriors

Yep, going to try and get that “SEO synch energy” going… or so i planned, only to forget, but regardless, it’s still worth pointing out that somehow Bleach is back, with the anime getting new episodes to continue where they stopped years ago, the manga resurrected itself on its 20th anniversay with an one-shot chapter to set up either a new arc or a “Boruto” style follow-up series about Ichigo’s kid, so i guess it’s time to talk about this forgotten Bleach game.

You might argue that this isn’t a “proper” musou but i feel it deserves to be called at least a “musou-like”, and one that nowadays it’s hard to own in any legal sense, as it was released exclusively on PS3 in 2011 and there still remains, most likely due to being an anime licensed videogame, or being co-developed by Racjin and Sony’s Japan Studio.

One that nowadays it’s hard to find and commands some “interesting prices”, FIY.

So yeah, Soul Resurreccion (or Soul Ignition, if you wanna use its japanese title) is the closest thing we have to a “Bleach musou”, and as most avid Shonen Jump readers could guess, it’s mostly based on the Hueco Mundo section in the Arrancar story arc of the Bleach manga-anime, which makes sense since there’s nothing but sand, monsters and bigger monsters in this desert world, so let’s mostly adapt that part of the arc, since it’s very videogamey anyway, with the various encounters against the Espada and then the final confrontation again the big bad Aizen.

Continua a leggere “Bleach: Soul Resurreccion/Ignition PS3 [REVIEW] | Hollow Warriors”

Dead Island Riptide (Definitive Edition) PS4 [REVIEW] | #deadislandretrospective

Aka the “actual” Dead Island 2, as time would eventually tell.

Technically not, but actually yes, since it’s developed by Techland and in terms of story it’s a direct sequel, following up immediatly (after a brief recap) where we left off that unremarkable (to be kind) narrative, which means the group of survivors gets aid by an american Navy ship but it’s immediatly captured by one of the side villains from the previous game, Serpo (guess Betraldo didn’t have the same ring to it), intenting of using their immune blood to concoct a cure and a weaponized bio weapon, or something. Doesn’t matter much, as you shipwreck into a nearby island in the archipelago, where the zombie epidemic has also spread after the incident in Banoi, and learn that they plan to nuke the entire island in order to contain the zombie plague.

Yeah, the story it’s about as crappy and easy to completely not give a shit about, with the obvious twists seen coming miles and miles away, but i’d argue it’s actually, objectively worse since there is barely a plot in Riptide, like, at all, aside from the beginning and ending, where a side character in the first game becomes the main antagonist… barely, so you can say this game does recycle too much from the first, even in this regard.

Continua a leggere “Dead Island Riptide (Definitive Edition) PS4 [REVIEW] | #deadislandretrospective”