Ranking the Season Five Teen Titans Episodes From Worst to Best

Well, it’s finally here! It took me longer than expected, I’ll admit, but I’ve finally managed to rank the episodes of all five seasons! Season Five is wildly different from the other four seasons though. Despite this being Beast Boy’s season, more emphasis is put on heroes outside of the five main Titans meaning quite a few episodes don’t even have the Titans in at all. Some people liked this season, and as you might have guessed, some people hated it. What do I think? While I see where the people who dislike this season are coming from, I have a soft spot for this season. You have to admit, this season has some really good standalone episodes, and although the main story arc isn’t the best, it’s still pretty good. Like every season, Season Five has its fair share of both good and bad, and I think a lot of people judge this season for what it isn’t, not what it is. Anyway, I’ve blabbered on long enough. Let’s look at the final season of Teen Titans!

#13 Kole

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Kole was an easy choice for last place for me. It’s the most forgettable episode of the entire season, and possibly the entire series. I’m not saying the episode is bad, but it simply has nothing going for it. A new, superheroine with crystal powers is introduced as well as her caveman friend. Doctor Light, who’s probably the best part of the episode, shows up, and realises he can use her powers to power his machine. The Titans fight and stop him with the help of Kole’s caveman friend. The end. So much of this episode just feels unnecessary, like they were padding the episode out to fit a twenty minute time slot. A few of the scenes don’t even have any music over them, meaning there’s just an awkward silence at some points in the episode. I can’t even remember most of the episode, and if that isn’t proof that this Kole isn’t that great, then I don’t know what is. Thankfully, the rest of Season Five is much better.

#12 Homecoming Part Two

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Did you know, the writers actually thought of several names for this episode? Before they came up with ‘Homecoming’, the two-parter was actually called ‘The Doom Patrol be Unbearable Assholes for Forty Minutes’. Jokes aside, I can’t stand the Doom Patrol. They’re stubborn for the sake of being stubborn and honestly, I don’t understand how Beast Boy ever put up with their shit. I hated Mento more than I hate most villains on the show, Elasti-Girl just goes along with whatever he says, Robot Man is rude and thinks the Titans are ‘just kids, kids that saved the entire goddamn Earth… several times!”. Honestly, Negative Man is the only likeable one. They’re made out to be super-smart, super-skilled, top-notch superheroes yet their only plan is to just charge forward and leave their allies for dead if they fall slightly behind. I’m not saying this is a bad episode, I still thought it was decent as far as episodes of Teen Titans go, but I think there’s a reason the Doom Patrol never showed up again throughout the rest of the season.

#11 Homecoming Part One

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‘Homecoming Part One’ is better than the second part, mainly because most of the Doom Patrol aren’t there for half of the episode. This episode shows us a side of Beast Boy we’ve never seen before, a more serious side we haven’t even seen in the most dire of situations. The writing is decent and the action is great but there are better ways they could of introduced us to the Doom Patrol and the Brotherhood of Evil. Apart from that, there’s not much more I can say about this episode. It was a good start to the season, but not really a strong start, and that’s why it get’s so low on this list.

# 10 Things Change

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Probably the most controversial episode on this list. Was it a perfect ending to the series? Was it a horrible, ambiguous end that left too many loose strings? I’m not entirely sure, but what I do know is that this episode contains some serious feels. It was an interesting end to Beast Boy’s arc to say the least. After the Season Two finale, Terra pretty much disappeared completely from the show and I think the writers realised they couldn’t just ignore the character before the series’ end, especially in Beast Boy’s season! Although they finally addressed the character after over two seasons, it feels like we were left with more questions than answers by the end. Has Terra truly lost her memories? What is that element-absorbing robot thingy? Is Red X Jason Todd as many fans theorise, or someone else(I’m still sore he only showed up like two times in the entire series)? What the hell is in Robin’s briefcase?!?!? Sadly, we’ll most likely never get an answer to those questions. Whatever you think of the finale, you have to agree, there are worse, even more dissatisfying ways the series could have ended.

#9 Trust

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After the relatively underwhelming ‘Homecoming’, ‘Trust’ was the episode where this season really picked up. While it’s nowhere near the best episode of the season, ‘Trust’ managed to establish the Brotherhood of Evil as well, evil, as they had been hyped up to be in the previous two episodes. Madame Rogue is the most interesting member in my opinion and this episode showcases her mercilessness perfectly as she hunts down Hotspot in an attempt to hijack the Titan’s communication network. However, when you boil it down, this episode is just pure action and not really much else. It sets up the Brotherhood’s master plan for the finale but the episode is lacking in most other areas. Nevertheless, I enjoyed this episode greatly and it kept me tense in anticipation all the way through.

#8 Snowblind

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Snowblind is one of the most memorable episodes of the fifth season in my opinion, and that’s saying a lot. Season Five has its fair share of serious episodes, but this episode certainly takes the cake. While on a mission with the rest of the Titans, Starfire gets separated and overwhelmed by the cold-probably because she doesn’t know how to put some goddamn winter clothes on-only to be rescued by a mysterious Russian man named Red Star. The Titans later find out he was part of an experiment to make a perfect super soldier(because of course) and the radiation given off by his powers has created a powerful monster made of pure radioactive energy. Red Star uses his insane strength and power to defeat the monster but ends up releasing so much energy, that Starfire has to take him into space where he explodes into a supernova of pure energy presumably dying. It’s a touching episode, although not the best of the season, and Red Star has a much more fleshed-out character than most of the other heroes showcased in this season. My biggest problem however, is that he returns in ‘Titans Together’ seemingly unharmed completely dissipating the emotional impact of his sacrifice in this episode. Nevertheless, this is an excellent, feels-heavy episode.

# 7 Calling All Titans

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‘Calling All Titans’ is the first part of the season finale, and while it’s by no means bad, I was kind of expecting more. The Brain executes the plan we already knew he had formed back in ‘Trust’ so it wasn’t really a surprise as the Titans and honorary Titans get taken down one by one. At least it’s entertaining, but this doesn’t even happen until the second part of the episode. The first part is just the five main Titans taking communicators to their final allies. Some of them such as Jericho are important in the next episode but others such as Argent barely appear at all for the final battle. Don’t get me wrong, this episode was enjoyable to watch, but it mostly felt like setup for the next episode. Thankfully, it seems the setup in this episode was worth it, as the next episode, ‘Titans Together’ is much more interesting.

#6 Revved Up

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As I’ve said before, it seems like every season has an underrated episode that barely anyone talks about, yet alone praises, and it seems this trend hasn’t stopped for even one season. Revved Up is an awesome episode. It’s one of my personal favourites of the fifth season, and yet, I barely hear talk of this episode unless it’s about that goddamned suitcase(seriously, what the hell is in it?). This episode takes the wackiest of concepts, the aptly named ‘Wacky Races’ and put’s its own Teen Titans spin on things. Although it isn’t the best comedy episode of the season, it had me laughing non-stop at Cyborg, Beast Boy, Stafire, and especially Raven. Not to mention, this episode is significant for being the final episode of the series in which Red X makes an appearance! While not the main focus of the episode, he still makes this episode twice as good as it already was. As far as I’m concerned, one of the most underrated episodes in the entire series.

#5 Lightspeed

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Now this episode was unexpected. We knew we were going to get episodes focused on superheroes outside of the five main Teen Titans, but we never suspected that they’d also make an episode focused on a prominent villain in the series. Jinx was always the most interesting member of the Hive Five(six?) for me, yet for some reason, Gizmo seemed to be the member that got the most spotlight. Don’t get me wrong, Gizmo is funny, and he’s great in comedy episodes, but he’s not that great as a character. So after five seasons, Jinx finally got some development in one of the best episodes of the fifth season. Jinx wants to get into the Brotherhood of Evil and become a big-time villain by impressing Madame Rogue, one of the Brotherhood’s core members and her role model. But a run-in with the hero Kid Flash causes her to reconsider her life choices. Eventually, she becomes a hero, saves Kid Flash and even shows up in Titans Together to help fight the Brotherhood. This episode was great simply because it was nice to see a character outside of the Titans get some development, especially one who was there from almost the very start of the series.

#4 Hide and Seek

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You’d think that after an entire season dedicated to the character, the writers would have run out of episode ideas for Raven. Yet somehow, they still managed to make one more Raven episode for the final season. And fortunately, it doesn’t break the streak on the final hurdle. Hide and Seek is yet another brilliant episode focused on our favourite teenage sorceress. But it’s different from all the other Raven episodes. Rather than being dark and serious, Hide and Seek focuses on comedy. It’s a seemingly impossible task to write a lighthearted episode around Raven’s character but they still managed to pull it off. Raven is forced to escort some young, well, younger superheroes to safety before the Brotherhood of Evil gets to them. Suffice to say, they prove more than a handful, possibly even rivalling Trigon as Raven’s greatest threat. This episode is just a whole bunch of fun and I still greatly enjoy watching it. However, it isn’t the best comedy episode of the final season. That honour goes to…

#3 For Real

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Ah, Control Freak. The writers just couldn’t resist giving him another episode after the masterpiece in the fourth season that was “Don’t touch that Dial”. Our favourite couch potato and certified nerd isn’t facing the Teen Titans this time though, he’s facing their knockoffs: Titans East. There are just as many jokes as “Don’t Touch that Dial” and almost as many references. Some of the jokes in this episode are even more hilarious than the one’s in “Don’t Touch that Dial”. My favourite part of this episode has to be Control Freak’s chatroom chums. Almost everything they said had me gasping for air. As well as that, this episode has its fair share of action with Speedy’s challenge being one of the most epic. This episode represents everything great about the lighthearted, and fun half of Teen Titans, and for that, it get’s third place.

#2 Titans Together

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‘Titans Together’ is a really fun and entertaining episode. It isn’t anywhere near as serious as the other finales but that isn’t necessarily a bad thing. In fact, it’s a breath of fresh air. The episode starts with Beast Boy being an absolute badass, destroying some Brotherhood of Evil robots and finding shelter in a secret emergency base. The remnants of the Teen Titans appear: Pantha, Herald, Jericho and a distraught Mas. Despite the overwhelming odds, Beast Boy leads them on a rescue mission, and with the help of the five core Titans minus Robin, they manage to save the captured superheroes and defeat the Brotherhood. And that’s it. It certainly has the simplest plot of all the finales, but I still can’t help liking it. Watching all these different superheroes display their powers and use them to defeat the numerous villains the Titans have fought throughout the series is just epic. The giant battle at the end is action-packed and exciting but the stakes never really feel that high. It fits Beast Boy’s character perfectly, and that’s why it’s second on this list. Second only to…

#1 Go!

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It took a grand total of five seasons and sixty one episodes but we finally got an origin story for how the Teen Titans all met. And it was more than worth the wait. It is first place on this list after all. I end up liking this episode more a more the more I watch it. ‘Go!’ has the perfect blend of humour and action that the show is known for. The episode starts with Robin who recently moved to Jump City to fight crime when suddenly, an enraged Starfire lands on Earth and begins destroying the city. Eventually, Beast Boy and Cyborg show up to help fight her before Raven appears and shows them a more peaceful solution. They then decide to work as a team to thwart an alien invasion of massive magnitude. Every single one of the Titans are at their best in this episode and their performances made me feel nostalgic for when I watched the series for the first time. We even get the origin of Cyborg’s famous ‘booyah’! This episode is near flawless in my book, and so, it stands as the best episode of Season Five on this list.

And so, this saga has eventually come to its end. I’ve been wanting to make these lists for a long time, and this blog has finally allowed me to. It took a lot of work, but it was worth it in the end. This probably won’t be the last time I talk about Teen Titans, but it will probably be the last time I make a post about it that’s this big. I hope you all enjoyed reading these lists as much as I enjoyed writing them. Any and all opinions, criticisms and thoughts are welcome in the comments below. Thanks for all the support and feedback!

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Enter The Gungeon Review-Also Known As ‘Enter The Pungeon’

Game Name: Enter the Gungeon

Platform: Microsoft Windows, Mac, Linux, Playstation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch(not released yet)

Developer: Dodge Roll

Publisher: Devolver Digital

Price: £10.99 or $14.99

Indie games seem to have a thing for mashing the roguelike genre and another game genre together. We first saw it with Crypt of the Necrodancer which combined rhythm and roguelike into an enthralling concept for a game, Spelunky blended it with platforming, and now, Enter the Gungeon has an even more outlandish concoction: bullet hell and roguelike. The former two games were quite successful to say the least, going down as two of the greatest Indie games of all time. But has Enter the Gungeon also found a secret, winning formula? Or is it a recipe for disaster? Let’s take a look and find out!

A lot of people liken this game to the popular “Binding of Isaac” series, and while it is a roguelike with multiple floors which has shooter mechanics, it is wildly different in its core gameplay. You move around with WASD and shoot with the mouse. Simple enough right? You can also switch between your weapons with CTRL and kick over tables to use as cover but the biggest new mechanic that Enter the Gungeon employs is ‘rolling’. Right click causes you to roll in the direction you were moving making you invincible for a short while. Rolling is easy to learn and use, but hard to master. You’ll be using it constantly as the heart health system gives you little room for slipups and some bullet patterns are actually impossible to dodge without employing it. Each floor, you’ll also get two blanks though you can find or buy more. Pressing Q uses one up, but clears all the bullets on the screen giving you some much needed breathing room. Again, it’s an easy concept to grasp, but a hard one to use properly. Every time you die, it feels like it was your fault, rather than the game’s. It feels like there’s always more to learn. It reminded me very much of Super Meatboy’s learning curve.

That’s not to say that skill is the only factor in how well you do at the game. Like any good roguelike, Enter the Gungeon has tons and tons of items, weapons and loot to spice up the gameplay. I was honestly shocked by the sheer amount of detail put into this game. About 98% of the stuff in this game is a gun-related pun and it’s awesome. There are references and easter eggs galore and the guns themselves are incredibly creative. Bullets that fire guns that fire bullets. A gun based on Earthworm Jim’s plasma blaster that shoots invisible bullets. Megaman’s famous hand cannon. A BARREL THAT SHOOTS FISH(Get it?)! Even when a gun sucks in terms of firepower, I can’t help liking it because almost every single gun is wildly different from one another. Unfortunately, if you get bad RNG on the first couple of chambers, you’re going to have a hard time in the next few chambers. You can be skilled enough to defeat a difficult boss without getting hit once, but boss fights from Chamber Three are just soooo draaaaggggeeeed ouuuuuttt. The bosses just feel so unnecessarily tanky. Even if you get used to a bosses patterns, if you don’t get decent weapons then you’ll probably get hit anyway as you have to avoid the patterns over and over again for over five minutes as you slowly whittle the bosses health down. It makes the boss fights feel less intense and dull.

There’s just as large a variety in enemies as well which keeps things from becoming too dull, even over fifty hours of playtime. You have your standard handgun and shotgun wielding enemies but they become increasingly more complex as you descend the game’s five main chambers/floors. Wizards that can catch your bullets and throw them back at you, Cthulhu-esque monsters that can duplicate themselves and spawn bullets from nothing, walking iron maidens that fire spiky bullets all around the room. You could fill a book with all the enemies in the game. Thankfully, Dodge Roll already have. The ‘Ammonomicon’ contains everything you need to know about every enemy, item and boss in the game in one handy place. I felt a thrill every time I picked up a new item or defeated a new enemy and opened the Ammonomicon to learn more about them. I have around seventy hours of playtime and I’m still a long way away from filling in the entire bestiary.

Enter the Gungeon also has just as much replayability as it has content. There are five chambers in total for you to conquer as well as a few extra, secret ones with each one getting progressively harder. You can pick from four characters, each with their own special abilities, items and starting weapons, and two more characters can be unlocked through side tasks. The end of the game, and final boss is also changed based on which character you’re playing so you’re incentivized to beat the game with all of them. And what a challenge it is! It took me a total of fifty hours to beat the game with just one of the characters. So, yeah, you’re going to be playing this game for a while if you intend to 100% it.

Enter the Gungeon has a big flaw in the form of repetitiveness, though this is mainly the fault of the genre itself rather than the game. Like any roguelike, it’s levels are randomly generated. This means you’ll be seeing the same room layouts a lot. While it isn’t too noticeable at first, after around twenty hours, the most common rooms will start to stick out like a sore thumb. Some of them even have the same enemies! If you’ve played roguelikes before and enjoyed them though, it probably won’t be too much of an issue for you. Another flaw with the game is the multiplayer, or lack thereof. There’s local co-op which you can play with a friend, but for some reason, online co-op is an absent feature that a lot of people, myself included, would be willing to welcome.

Overall, Enter the Gungeon is a kickass roguelike with some awesome fast-paced gameplay and a cavalcade of quality content. It has me absolutely gripped and with seventy hours of playtime, I still don’t want to put it down. Sure, the game has a few problems, but most of them are so minor that they’re barely worth mentioning. As well as all of that, the game is still being updated, with a massive ‘Gungeons and Draguns’ update coming soon. For a mere £10.99, it’s an absolute steal! If you’ve logged hundred of hours into Binding of Isaac and are looking for a similar roguelike to sate your appetite, then Enter the Gungeon is sure to please.

Verdict: 8.5/10

Pros:

  • Cheap for what it is
  • Skill-based gameplay
  • Bursting with content
  • Massive replayability
  • Hundreds of items, guns and gun-related puns
  • Epic bosses
  • Large variety of enemies
  • Neat graphical style
  • Plenty of achievements and challenges
  • Several characters with different playstyles
  • Upgrades outside of the Gungeon will take you a long time to obtain unlike Crypt of the Necrodancer
  • Unique concept
  • Still being updated
  • Teleporters make traversing the Gungeon quick and easy

Cons:

  • Bosses are waaaaaaay too tanky from Chamber 3 onwards
  • Game is a lot harder if you don’t get decent weapons or items
  • You’ll see the same room layouts a lot
  • No online Co-op
  • Can get repetitive

Nitpicks:

  • Personally, I don’t like the weapon changing system
  • Some item/weapon combos are overpowered
  • You need way too many materials to get access to shortcuts and not being able to get hegemony credits means it’s not really worth it

Buy the game on Steam here: http://store.steampowered.com/app/311690/Enter_the_Gungeon/

Gotham Season Two Episode Three: The Last Laugh Review

It’s safe to say that the second season of Gotham started with quite the bang. Knock, Knock was an unexpected masterpiece that none of us saw coming. I’d even go as far as saying that it’s the best episode of the series to date. So then, it’s also safe to say that the third episode of this season, ‘The Last Laugh’, has a tough act to follow. Now that the Maniax and Galavan have hit the ball out of the park in the villain department and established themselves as a significant threat, they have quite the challenge in maintaining this throughout the season. Was ‘Knock, Knock’ a fluke? Or was it the beginning of a new, much more well-written and well-produced Gotham? Let’s take a look at the subsequent episode, and see if we can find an answer to that question!

***SPOILERS START***

Although Galavan has been the mastermind so far this season, Jerome has been the much more confrontational antagonist by far, stealing the show on a multitude of occasions. But this episode is where he really shines, and this episode is also where he’s snuffed out. After sabotaging a magic show at a charity event with *sigh* Barbara, he is decisively murdered by his own employer. I have mixed feelings about this. On the one hand, it establishes Galavan as the major, manipulative menace he’s been made out to be so far. Especially since now everyone else see’s him as a hero after his action saved Bruce’s life. On the other hand, Jerome was the best part of the Maniax, and to see him get killed off like a minor character while Barbara get’s the honour of being the only surviving member is… displeasing to say the least.

***SPOILERS END***

The season has been pretty hard on Gordon so far, and it doesn’t seem to be letting up. It’s one crushing defeat after the other and even though he managed to scrape a small victory, it wasn’t without sacrifice. He was unable to stop Jerome from killing his father and planting evidence and Harvey was hit pretty hard by some bad knockout gas. Speaking of Harvey, he’s back in full force and he’s just as badass as ever. So badass that he threatens Penguin, the current king of Gotham, and warns him to leave Jim alone without so much as a single sign of being intimidated. I’m so glad he’s back as Jim’s partner, but it sucks that he was sidelined for 90% of the episode.

Bruce and Alfred also had a major part in this episode, also attending the charity event as Bruce’s father did before him. Bruce was a pretty good part of this episode, talking to Selina again and risking his life to save Alfred, but the Wayne’s butler almost completely overshadows him. Flirting with Leslie without knowing she was engaged to Jim made for some hilarious moments and Alfred has just always been an entertaining character to watch. I’m glad to see that Bruce is starting to develop and become more social like the adult character is in the comics as there’s only so far they can take the Bruce-Alfred dynamic, especially with the entirety of the previous season being dedicated to just that. It’s just too bad Lucius didn’t make an appearance.

With the serious and dark tone overshadowing Season Two, there hasn’t been much room for comedy. Thankfully, this episode is chock full of comedic moments. Mainly a certain running gag pertaining as to whether there will or will not be a magician. Despite this episode having plenty of tense, high-stakes moments, the comedy doesn’t feel jarring or forced when it’s thrown into the mix. This episode had me laughing just as much as it had me chewing my fingernails out of anticipation for what was going to happen next. It certainly wasn’t joking about the ‘laughing’ part of the title.

Overall, “The Last Laugh” is a pretty good follow-up to “Knock, Knock”. While it isn’t as good as its preceding episode, pretty much any episode would be underwhelming compared to “Knock, Knock”. The twist is handled well and the villain is more threatening than ever, but with how fast the show is going through these antagonists and Galavan’s master plan, it feels like he’s not going to play the role of villain for the entire season. Nevertheless, the episode brings the show’s main characters together for a well-written plot. Selina even makes an appearance, though at this point, they feel like they are including her for the sake of including her, despite her contributions to the plot. If this much can happen in just three episodes, then I’m looking forward to see how much happens in this entire season. So far, season two is miles above season one in terms of quality.

Verdict: B

Ranking the Season Four Teen Titans Episodes From Worst To Best

Here we are at Season Four! Out of all the seasons of Teen Titans, this season is probably the most talked about and celebrated for one simple reason: Raven. Each season of the show focuses on one of the Titans and it was all but assured that there’d be plenty of fanfare when it was revealed that this season would focus on the most popular Titan. After all, Raven doesn’t have so much as a single bad episode in the entire series(at least in my opinion). Many consider this to be the best season, but is that really the case? Although Raven’s arc is easily the best in the entire series, Season four is also responsible for some of the most infamously average and boring episodes in the series as well. Cyborg the Barbarian. Troq. If you’ve watched the series at least once then those names will probably bring back more than a few dissatisfying memories. Anyway, let’s take a look at the penultimate season of Teen Titans!

#13 Cyborg the Barbarian

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Cyborg the Barbarian. One of the most underwhelming and dull episodes of the season and the series as a whole. I’m not even sure what the point of this episode is. There was no real development for Cyborg’s character. Cyborg gets sent back in time and helps some ancient barbarians fight off an army of green alien monster things. It feels like the writers were trying to do something without having much of an idea what that something is. Cyborg keeps referring to the tribe and their primal level of technology as outdated and ancient, and that’s… bad somehow? The technology that saved Cyborg and allowed him to carry on living is the worst! He should replace his futuristic ‘armour’ with peg-legs and hooks! As well as this, the most forgettable villain in the series and the boring relationship Cyborg has with one of these barbarians(I can’t even remember her name) doesn’t do this episode any favours. At least the action is decent.

#12 Troq

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Right after Cyborg the Barbarian in terms of episode quality is Troq. Another one of the most well-known ‘bad’ episodes of Teen Titans. It’s a teeny tiny step above Cyborg’s meander in time because its moral and message actually makes sense; and it’s a serious message as well. At least there’s a point to this episode. At least you can see what was intended when it was written. Apart from that, there’s not much more to say. Boring, nameless villains. A two-dimensional, racist character in the form of Val Yor. Troq is just a rather uninteresting episode made to check a box given by management to make sure the kiddies are learning something in the most blunt and shallow way possible.

#11 Overdrive

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Cyborg really got the short end of the stick in Season Four. Apart from Cyborg the Barbarian, there’s Overdrive, and it’s not that much better to be honest. This episode seems to be some sort of PSA about steroids, which I suppose is fitting considering Cyborg used to be an athlete. He orders the ‘Max-7’, a computer chip that is supposed to severely improve a computer’s performance, and put’s it in his circuitry so he can get more done in a day. Unfortunately, when the Titans are outnumbered and defeated by a new-admittedly funny-villain, Cyborg starts sacrificing parts of his humanity to increase his power and stop Billy. You know, sleep, fun, hung-wait, what the heck? You’re telling me that this chip somehow has the ability to get ready of Cyborg’s need to sleep and eat as well as his emotions, even though he’s a one-of-a-kind machine and half of his brain is still human? It makes no sense. I guess Cyborg didn’t really listen to Sarasim’s nonsensical warnings about technology. The only reason it’s at Number 11 is because the moral kinda makes sense this tine, and Billy saves this episode from being complete garbage.

#10 Mother Mae-Eye

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Mother Mae-Eye is another one of those ‘like it or hate it’ episodes that causes a split between fans. Personally, I like this episode. It’s not as obnoxious or as stupid as Fractured though it doesn’t manage to attain that god-like level of organised chaos present in Mad Mod’s two episodes. The episode is pretty funny and creative which is what a comedy episode should strive to be but the pacing is slow overall. All of the Titans, with the exception of Starfire, are mindless husks for the majority of the episode. While I enjoyed the episode, the omission of Beast Boy’s immature jokes, Cyborg’s booyah, Robin’s serious determination and Raven’s quiet sarcasm was very noticeable to me and keeps this episode from getting any higher on the list.

#9 Stranded

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Also known as the Robin x Starfire episode, Stranded has a lot more to offer than just fanservice. Although the episode mainly focuses on the ‘relationship’ Starfire and Robin have with each other, it doesn’t take away from what is otherwise a fairly solid comedy episode. Robin and Starfire’s moments are simultaneously serious and whimsical, broken up with the odd bit of action. Raven’s scenes are few and far between but amusing to watch though my favourite part of this episode is Beast Boy and Cyborg. The dynamic duo are pushed to their limits when Beast Boy is forced to rebuild both Cyborg and their crashed ship so they can get back to Earth. Stranded isn’t really anything special apart from the whole Robin and Starfire dynamic, but it still manages to be memorable and an entertaining watch.

#8 Employee of the Month

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Okay, I’ll admit it. When I first saw this episode, I hated it. And I still do, to an extent. The villain is annoying, the story makes no sense and the little action there is involves boring, faceless UFO’s and weird newfu monsters. However, I’ve grown to like this episode much more over the last few years. Employee of the Month is one of the episodes of Teen Titans that I’ve consistently laughed at the most. Beast Boy is a humorous character at the best of times, but here, he’s never been better. This episode is the polar opposite of ‘The Beast Within’ and that isn’t necessarily a bad thing. If you can look past this episode’s numerous flaws, its lighthearted and cheerful atmosphere is a welcome break from the mostly serious tone of Season Four.

#7 The Quest

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‘The Quest’ is a unique episode thanks to the fact that it’s the only Robin-focused episode in the entire series that doesn’t focus on Slade. Don’t get me wrong, I love Slade and all the episodes he’s in but it makes a nice change. After Robin is defeated by a master of Kung Fu, he decides training under the Dark Knight himself isn’t enough and sets out on a quest to train under the ‘True Master’. He’s tasked with beating three trials. Simple enough right? But there’s a catch. He’s not allowed to use any of his gadgets meaning hand-to-hand combat is his one and only option. The action scenes are pretty cool, but then, Robin is always cool to watch while he’s fighting. Meanwhile, the other Titans participate in a comedic side-plot where they all try out Robin’s clothes and gadgets. It’s a memorable episode and, in my opinion, the best singular episode in Season Four second only to one.

#6 Birthmark

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Here’s where Raven’s arc starts, with the chilling return of Slade. After being absent for an entire season(well, physically), Slade’s entrance back into the show is terrifying and awesome at the same time. A formerly formidable foe is made even more menacing thanks to some special powers, and now he’s interested in Raven, the only one who seems to know what’s going on. What starts as a seemingly normal episode is quickly turned on its head, becoming dark and serious very quickly. We were waiting three seasons for Raven to get her own arc and, for me at least, it was exactly what I expected. Suffice to say, I wasn’t disappointed.

#5 Don’t touch that Dial

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Ah, Control Freak. Formerly a throwaway villain made into as memorable a villain as Mad Mod and Mumbo Jumbo through this brilliant episode. Control Freak somehow manages to make a device that allows him to jump into televisions and go between the various channels at will. Hot on his tail, the Titans jump in after him, but find themselves lost in the chaotic cliches of modern-day TV. What follows is a cavalcade of references from James Bond to Dr. Seuss to Barney the Dinosaur to Star Wars. Every single one of the jokes are well-executed and are fired at you with the speed of a gatling gun. The transitions between the channels are so damn smooth and it’s hilarious to see the Titans respond to the situations they are unceremoniously thrown into. In the end, it’s only Beast Boy’s equal TV nerdery and geekiness that is able to stop Control Freak. And even after that, the episode ends near flawlessly in sitcom fashion. An amazing start to a season with otherwise unimpressive singular episodes.

#4 The Prophecy

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You thought Birthmark was dark? Well, you haven’t seen nothing yet. ‘The Prophecy’ is just as heavy-hitting and finally explains Raven’s origin. When Slade is once again at the head of an attack on the city, the Titans rush to stop him, but only end up finding more questions. A strange mark seems to follow them wherever they go, the old city library is unearthed, and Raven is more than hesitant to look for answers. While the rest of the Titans run headfirst into danger, Raven attempts to fight her destiny to no avail. Eventually, she comes to accept her fate and demonstrates her true power on a seemingly invincible Slade. Very little can top this episode in terms of pure quality, except the main event of this Season: The End.

#3 The End: Part Three

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Let’s be honest here. It’s virtually impossible to rank the three parts of ‘The End’. Each one of them is the best the show has to offer and each one is both excellent in execution and story. As such, although I’ve pushed myself to put them into separate numbered spots, don’t take this as a definitive ranking of the three parts. All of them are equally awesome and the tiny differences in quality between them are barely worth mentioning. Anyway, Part Three is the epic conclusion to the trilogy and it picks up right where Part Two left off. The Titans continue to fight their Nega selves, Robin finds Raven and tries to save her, and Slade, being the  badass villain that he is, fights what is possibly Death itself to get his body back. And all the mini-plotlines end up leading to one of the most magnificent story climaxes to ever grace cartoons. What more is there to say? Go watch the finale already!

#2 The End: Part One

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Part One gets extra points simply for being the part that kicks it all off. Tensions are high as Raven tries to make the last day with her friends special but the Titans quickly notice something is up. What follows is one of the single most epic battles in the entire series. The Titans defend Raven and Titan’s Tower from an endless army of demons and a superpowered Slade. Each Titan fights at their absolute best. Robin impressively manages to keep up with Slade in single combat despite his satanic powers giving him the immediate advantage. Starfire takes out hordes of demons with her biggest starbolts to date. Cyborg drains the entire tower’s power source and converts it into a massive laser beam. Beast Boy even uses his werewolf form, which he never uses again in the entire series(save for the episode where it debuted). And in the end, it’s not enough. Part One did a magnificent job of setting the finale’s tone and establishing Trigon as the Titan’s single biggest threat to date. After this episode, my anticipation for the next two parts was monumental.

#1 The End: Part Two

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Part two. How did they pack so much into one 20 minute episode? The world is now destroyed and only four Titans remain. Four Titans against the DC Universe’s version of Satan. It doesn’t look good but there’s still hope. Robin and Slade reluctantly team up to fight their way through the underworld and an army of demons to get to Raven, the only one who has a chance of stopping Trigon. Yes, Robin and Slade. The two most badass characters with the biggest beef are forced to work together… and it is fucking awe-inspiring. Even without the action scenes, the dialogue between them was enough to send chills down my spine. And then you have Beast Boy, Starfire and Cyborg. Trigon turns their bad side into a physical entity, an entity out for their blood. Their fight against themselves has to be one of the best in the series and goes on so long that it even goes into the third part. Need I say more? There’s a reason fans call this the best season.

Season Four of the Teen Titans is the polar opposite of Season Three. While most of the single episodes are disappointing, the arc episodes are easily the best in the entire series; and that’s quite an achievement looking back at ‘Aftershock’ and ‘Apprentice’. Raven is the most popular Titan for many reasons but her arc in this season is probably the most prominent one. ‘Birthmark’, ‘The Prophecy’, ‘The End’. Every single one of these episodes was phenomenal and yet they somehow managed to surpass one another. It’s easy to forgive this season’s flaws when you look at the insane level of quality of Raven’s arc. There’s only one season left but its arc is already at a severe disadvantage having to follow an act as good as ‘The End’. Nevertheless, I’m sure it won’t disappoint when it comes to providing another excellent season.

It(2017) Movie Review

Let me start this review off my saying that I’ve never read the novel, nor seen the miniseries from the 1990’s. However, I have done some research, seen some clips, and heard numerous things about the miniseries from my friend who I went to see the movie with. So, if I make some kind of reference or comparison to the miniseries that is inaccurate, feel free to tell me in the comments below. Okay, with that out of the way, is ‘It’ a good remake of the miniseries, and more importantly, is it a good movie? If you’d asked me when it was first announced, I’d probably give you a negative response. After all, Hollywood has been churning out these cheap, uninspired remakes like sequels in a Triple A franchise. However, after seeing it on Saturday, I can safely say that ‘It’ is good, like, really damn good, at least in my opinion.

Let’s start with the main focus of It: the horror. Is It scary? In my opinion, yes. There’s some really messed up stuff in the remake. One of the best things about Pennywise is that he can alter reality to such a degree that there are very few limitations to what the writers can do, and I’m glad the writers decided to make use of this. It takes the form of the character’s worst fears and exploits them to make them vulnerable. I’m not going to spoil too much but one of my favourite parts is when Pennywise takes the form of a Mona Lisa-esque lady with a flute in a painting. The tall, disproportionate, yet smooth figure is enough to send a sinister chill down anyone’s spine.

Another thing I like about the movie is that Pennywise is made out to be much more of a threat. Rather than playing with the protagonists and just screwing with them, he physically attacks the characters on multiple occasions. He even indirectly breaks a character’s arm about halfway through the movie. This rendition of Pennywise seems to be much more animalistic than his counterparts in the novel and miniseries. Despite his intelligence and terrifying powers, when you boil it down, he’s just an animal trying to survive. Personally, I’m a fan of this interpretation and Bill Skarsgard’s acting only enforces this point. The horror isn’t perfect though. Jumpscares are prevalent and although they’re handled quite well most of the time, they still feel cheap. As well as that, the character’s are downright stupid at numerous points in the movie. They all talk about sticking together, but five seconds later, they’ll just randomly wander away from the group for no reason like they want this demonic clown to attack them. I know they’re kids, but that doesn’t mean they’re automatically idiots.

Pennywise isn’t the only threat however. The bullies that were in both the novel and miniseries are given their fair share of limelight, specifically, Henry. It is not afraid to show humans as monsters as well as Pennywise and Henry is as monstrous a human as you can get. Early on in the movie, he carves a capital ‘H’ onto one of the main character’s stomach; an action that even his lackeys are disgusted by. His madness only get’s deeper as the movie goes on. However, I feel like they could of shown more of the town ignoring the strange disappearances out of fear like I hear they did in the original. There’s a single occasion where this is shown and it has nothing whatsoever to do with Pennywise. Some of the character’s parents are shown to be dismissive assholes, but most of them are never really fleshed out and some of their parents are never even shown. The start makes it seem like there’s going to be a side plot with Stan’s parents but they never even appear again. The movie is quite long as it is(2 hours and fifteen minutes) so I understand why, but still, it would have been a nice bit of world building and characterisation.

‘It’ isn’t only a horror movie though. I’ve heard people describe the novel as part horror, part ‘Stand By Me’ and ‘It’ certainly doesn’t neglect its other half. The more lighthearted scenes are handled pretty well, though they are a bit cheesy. They’re a welcome break from the constant onslaught on my nerves though they’re also far from perfect. When these scenes do happen, it’s seemingly out of nowhere. One of the characters will be running in terror from some twisted monster before it’ll suddenly cut to the same character jumping into a lake with his friends, or taking part in an epic rock war. It’s quite jarring, and the whole story feels a bit disorganised because of it.

Overall, I’d say the new ‘It’ is one of the few classic movie remakes that’s actually pretty good. Lately, Hollywood seem to be reeboting everything for a quick cash grab, but ‘It’ feels like it has passion put into it as well as money. Yes, it has it’s problems, but the amazing child actors manage to quickly draw your attention away from most of them when their characters aren’t being idiotic. Whether you’re watching it for the horror, to see how it compares to the miniseries, or even just because Finn Wolfhard from Stranger Things is in it, ‘It’ is one of the most entertaining and genuinely frightening movies I’ve seen in a while.

Favourite Character: Eddie. One of the nicest characters, and pretty damn brave too considering his friends are massive dicks to him all the time.

Favourite Quote: Richie-“I told you Bill. I fucking told you. I don’t wanna die. It’s your fault. You punched me in the face, you made me walk through shitty water, you brought me to a crackhouse, and now… I’m gonna have to kill this fucking clown. WELCOME TO THE LOSER’S CLUB ASSHOLE!!!

Verdict: B

Kid Icarus: Uprising Review-A Heavenly Game With Hellish Controls

Game Name: Kid Icarus: Uprising

Platform: 3DS(and 2DS)

Developer: Project Sora

Publisher: Nintendo

Price: £29.99 or $34.99

Twenty one years. That’s the length of time the Kid Icarus series went without a game after 1991’s “Kid Icarus: Of Myths and Monsters”. Not many even knew of the series until the game’s main character, Pit, featured as a fighter in the third entry of Nintendo’s highly acclaimed Super Smash Bros. series. After the character gained some attention, Nintendo got to working on a long-awaited sequel. This game was called Kid Icarus: Uprising and it’s the game I’m going to be reviewing today! Two decades is a long time, and changes needed to be made to ensure the series fit in the modern day gaming market. Were these changes good, or did the developers take a step in the wrong direction? Let’s find out!

One of the first things you’ll notice about Kid Icarus Uprising is the atrocious controls. It sounds simple. Hold the left trigger to shoot, move with the left analog stick and move the camera with the stylus. And in the game’s air battles, this isn’t that bad. Sure, it’s a little jarring at first, but you don’t need to move the camera and it plays much like a rail shooter so you’ll quickly get used to it. But once you get to the game’s first land battle, you’ll fight more with the camera than the game’s actual enemies. Moving in a 3D plane while spinning the camera with the stylus isn’t something you’ll pick up straight away. Hell, it’s probably something you won’t pick up until you’ve almost finished the base game. However, the game’s controls are at their worst during the moments where the game forces you to do some simple platforming. Tasks that would be simple in other games such as staying on a moving platform are transformed into endurance tests where the challenge is to reach the end without rage-quitting as Pit flails around like a lizard on rollerskates. The movement is way too sensitive and the game is not built for platforming at all. Thankfully, these moments are few and far between.

Even with this massive flaw, the game still manages to be fun. Most levels are split into three different parts: an air battle, where your path is controlled by the goddess Palutena and you shoot enemies while dodging the projectiles they send back in retaliation, a land battle which plays like a third-person shooter without a cover system and a boss battle.  Flying sections are epic and the excellent soundtrack only makes them even better. Land battles are hindered by the controls but are still enjoyable thanks to the intensity meter providing around ninety different levels of difficulty so you never feel out of your depth. Boss battles are also great and rewarding to beat though they go down a little too fast in my opinion. Some I even defeated in less than thirty seconds on my first playthrough. All in all, there is a massive total of twenty five chapters which will take you around 9-12 hours to complete depending on how much you explore so there’s still plenty of bang for your buck even if you don’t decide to 100% it.

Speaking of replayability, the game has plenty of it. There are a total of 108 different weapons to choose from into the game which fall into nine different types. You have your all-around balanced blade(which is my favourite weapon), a staff sniper rifle, the heavy, slow but brutal clubs and cannons and more. Certain modifiers such as auto-dodge and increased dash damage make your weapon feel unique. Weapons can be obtained through opening treasure chests, redeeming hearts(the game’s currency) or fusing two weapons together.  Fifty hours in, I still have yet to collect every weapon.

There are also powers, unique abilities that can get you out of tricky situations by summoning massive lasers, black holes or just simply healing you. Currently, I’ve collected 90% of them. Then there’s the task of completing each chapter on intensity 9.0(which is absolute hell) and exploring every nook and cranny to get a golden laurel. Finally, there are the treasure hunts. By the end of the game, you’ll have three to complete, each with 120 panels to fill in. These panels act as achievements which form a large, neat picture when all of them have been obtained. They may require you to do anything from completing a chapter within a certain time, completing a chapter with a certain weapon to more complex stuff such as chapter-specific challenges and getting a certain amount of kills with a vehicle. As I said, I’m fifty hours in, and there’s no end in sight.

Easily one of the best parts of the game though, is the story. It’s not exactly mindblowing. Go defeat Medusa and save the world with the aid of the goddess Palutena. But the game’s dialogue is some of the most well-written I’ve ever seen. Each of the game’s characters have some great voice actors behind them who speak the lines excellently. Pit and Palutena themselves are the source of many great moments but other characters such as the badass anti-hero doppelganger Dark Pit, the goofy Thanatos and the extremely popular, sarcastic villain which I’m not going to mention because of spoilers. My favourite character however, has to be the goddess of nature, Viridi. Maybe I’m biased because her voice actor, Hynden Walch, is also the voice actor for Starfire in Teen Titans, but I found her character to be one of the most complex and entertaining in the game.

Finally, there’s the multiplayer, and surprisingly, it doesn’t feel tacked on. There are two modes: Light vs Dark and Free-For-All. The latter is exactly what you’d expect but the former is quite unique. It plays similar to a Team Deathmatch, but the objective isn’t to help your team get the most kills. Every time a team member dies, the team’s life gauge is decreased. When it runs out, the last team member to die becomes an angel. Angels have much better stats than normal fighters making them much harder to kill, but as soon as a team’s angel dies, they’ve lost. What’s even better is that you can use any weapons you have, along with any powers you wish to use with them. This seems like a recipe for serious imbalance, but the way Project Sora solve this issue is so simple and straightforward that I’m amazed no-one else has tried it yet. Your weapon has a value based on its power, and the life gauge is reduced more depending on how high this value is. You might have an easier time getting kills with a powerful weapon, but the second you die, your team is going to take a serious hit to the life gauge. This also carries over to Free-For-All, but with score instead.

Granted, the multiplayer isn’t perfect. Some of these are probably due to the game being five years old and having a declining fanbase, but I had issues with AFK players, lag, being kicked from games for connectivity issues that weren’t there and even what I think were a couple of hackers at one point. Apart from this though, the multiplayer is some, fast-paced, frantic fun. Overall, Kid Icarus Uprising is a game that is more than worth your time. While, it may not give the best first impression with its awkward controls and intimidating, impossible-to-find-what-you-need weapon fusion screen, if you stick around for a few hours, you’re in for a real treat. Kid Icarus Uprising is easily one of the best video game revivals I’ve ever played. Now, Pit will go down in video game history as more than just that guy who was in Super Smash Bros. Brawl.

Pros:

  • Lot’s of replayability thanks to achievements
  • 108 different weapons and 9 different weapon types
  • Great story length(around 9-12 hours)
  • Plenty of idols, weapons and powers to collect
  • Multiplayer mode is frantic, fast and surprisingly well-balanced
  • Hilarious writing
  • Humorous characters
  • Highly customisable difficulty
  • Air battles are utterly outstanding and the routes you take are creative and action-packed
  • Memorable soundtrack

Cons:

  • Controls are horrible and it takes a long, long while to get used to them
  • Platforming sections are frustrating as fuck
  • It’s shouldn’t be a challenge to find what you need on the weapon fusion screen
  • I had a few issues with multiplayer: AFK players, lag, a few hackers and getting suddenly kicked from a game for connection issues when I wasn’t lagging at all

Nitpicks:

  • While it encourages trying out different weapon types, I find it unfair that the weapon you receive when you become an angel in multiplayer is randomised
  • It’s way too easy to be knocked down into a pit and insta-killed on some Multiplayer maps
  • Streetpass feature feels tacked on and pointless
  • A lot of the bosses go down way too fast in my opinion
  • I experienced a few FPS drops at certain points in the game though I personally wasn’t that bothered by them.
  • It would help with some of the achievements greatly if there was more on the bottom screen such as a timer and a boss health bar.

Verdict: 8.5/10

Buy the game on Nintendo Eshop here: http://www.nintendo.com/games/detail/leoRNk4z_ui0yblzMlCVz6Wy9jGb5qSq

Unpopular Opinions: Dean Takahashi Doesn’t Deserve the Cuphead Backlash

Let’s talk about the Cuphead breakdown of late August and early September. I’ve actually been planning to talk about it for a while now but I didn’t want to make it back when it was causing incredibly heated discussion around the Internet as I didn’t want it to seem like I was just ‘riding the wave’ of a popular story to get more views. But now, the discussion has died down to not much more than a few ashes. I’ve found very few people share my opinion which is why I’m writing this. It’s not called ‘Unpopular Opinions’ for nothing. Nevertheless, I’m happy to hear what you think, whether you agree with me or not. Anyway, let’s get right into it!

Summary of the Situation

This story exploded all over the Internet to the point where it was as impossible to avoid as Undertale and Five Nights at Freddy’s. Despite this, there’s always that small group of people that have somehow avoided this inescapable bit of news so I feel it necessary to give a quick summary.

Basically, a games journalist for the news website ‘Venturebeat’ called Dean Takahashi was the subject of a neverending debate about how game journalists should be good at games after he recorded some… ‘infuriating’ footage of him playing the upcoming run-and-gun platformer Cuphead. The twenty six minutes of gameplay showcases Dean failing to pull off seemingly simple platforming manoeuvres such as jumping and dashing over objects and generally being very, very bad at the game. A large number of online users and well-known Youtube personalities such as AlphaOmegaSin pounced on the video after another popular games journalist shared the worst parts of the video on his Twitter. From there, it only blew up more and more before eventually dying down and fading from the Internet. Okay, now I’ve got that out of the way, time to go onto the actual opinion part! Let’s address some of the most widely-used arguments against Dean and Venturebeat.

“Game Journalists Need To Be At Least Competent At Video Games”

Okay, that’s a fair point. Even I found Dean’s gameplay hard to watch. But not all gamers are good at every genre of game. Some gamers like to stick to a select few genres and game journalists are the same. Looking through Dean’s articles on VentureBeat, he seems to mostly write about the technological side of video games, which is completely fine! I’m one of those gamers who plays literally anything and everything but even I have genres I’m laughably and face-palmingly bad at. My point is that Dean could simply have a lack of experience with platformers. There’s this really good example I found in the comments of one of the countless Cuphead videos that have flooded Youtube. You wouldn’t expect a football player such as David Beckham to be able to shoot multiple hoops in a game of basketball. You wouldn’t expect a Cricket player to be able to play hockey well. So why do we expect video game journalists to be able to instantly grasp a completely different genre that they’re not used to?

“It’s Unfair to Review the Game as Being Bad Because He Sucked At It”

This would be a good argument… if he actually reviewed the damn game! I’ve seen countless people commenting against Dean as if he reviewed the game and every single time they refer back to the same goddamn review of Mass Effect he did almost a decade ago. Don’t get me wrong, not assigning talent points and then complaining about the game’s difficulty is pretty damn stupid. But he amended this and publicly apologised for his mistake. Not a single other comment mentioned another example and after doing some research, I couldn’t find another example either. Dean has covered games for a total of eighteen years, and when you think about it, it’s actually pretty impressive that he only had one famous fuck-up prior to Cuphead during that time. Anyway, the footage in question was just some simple preview gameplay, not a review. It’s already been confirmed that another one of VentureBeat’s game journalists, Mike Minotti, who is much more versed in the art of platformers, will be reviewing it. So why people keep acting like the video was a review is beyond me.

“Why Didn’t They Just Get Another Employee To Record The Footage?”

Well, this is actually explained in the description of the infamous video itself. Dean is bad at platformers; they admit that. Unfortunately, he was the only member of their staff in Germany during Gamescom so only he could get the footage. Although he knew he was bad, he agreed to get the footage anyway and even explained this to the rest of the staff. They all had a good laugh at how horrible he was at the game and decided to share it with the rest of the world as a joke. Sadly, they didn’t know they were going to get so much hate for the simple act of uploading some hilariously bad gameplay. We know very little about the conditions in which Dean got the gameplay and how it affected his skill at the game but it’s certainly possible something could of worsened his ability. I feel like people arguing against Dean are just looking at it from a surface level and are not really looking at what lies underneath.

Anyway, that’s just what I think. I’m sorry if I came off as overly accusing and aggressive in this post but I feel that Dean does not deserve the overwhelming amount of hate he got. People took to Twitter, VentureBeat, Youtube and other places to ridicule him and use him almost as a martyr to propel the old argument that game journalists should be good at games that has been brewing in the depths of the Internet for a while now. I think the message I’m trying to get across is that those against Dean have some good points, but the way they’re treating him online is just incredibly mean-spirited. I’m open to any and all discussion about this subject in the comments below; just keep it civil. I’m interested to hear what you all think.

The Cuphead video in question: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=848Y1Uu5Htk&t=1s

Why I haven’t posted in a while

Hey everyone!

This is just a quick post to tell you what I’ve been up to and why I haven’t made a post in an entire week. Summer recently ended for me and being sixteen years old, I’ve started going to college. It’s a bit jarring to go from having so much free time to being in education for the best part of three days a week in an unfamiliar place, so I’ve just been adapting to a new schedule. Throw in me deciding to take part in a game jam every month and I’ve had quite a bit less time to allocate to this blog.

As well as this, I’ve been working on my next Teen Titans Season Episode Ranking which isn’t exactly a small post. I’m not sure whether my blog has any dedicated followers who wait for my next post with bated breath, but I just wanted to make this because if you’re inactive for a week on the Internet, you’re pretty much dead, and I don’t want my blog to join the mountain of abandoned WordPress blogs that haven’t seen a post in three years. I’m not ready to give up on it, at least not yet.

So, you can expect a new post in the next couple of days. I’m determined to carry on with this literary endeavour whether anyone cares or not.

Thanks, and I hope you can understand!

Gotham Season Two Episode Two: Knock, Knock Review

The first episode of this season of Gotham was good, but not great. It was a passable introduction to the new season but it could have been handled a lot better, both in the writing and production departments. Fortunately, I’m happy to report that Knock, Knock is a lot better in terms of overall quality. If Damned If You Do was a simple warm up, this episode was an intense workout, challenging the viewer with both amazing writing and production values that launch this episode into the stratosphere. While it’s not the best episode of a show I’ve ever seen, it’s easily one of the best of the series. Let me go into just what made this episode so great, as well as showing you the little bad there is.

***SPOILERS START***

Galavan and the Maniax prove to be the most formidable foes Gordon has faced yet. Jim has lost a fight before, either being outsmarted or overpowered by a villain, it’s nothing new. But this time, the consequences are much more dire than they’ve ever been. You’d think he’d be much more used to tricks and traps but his enemies know exactly which buttons to press. At first, Gordon is victorious, preventing the Maniax from burning bus full of cheerleaders but it’s a small victory compared to the massive loss he suffers in this episode. He’s lured away from the police station by Barbara and beaten up badly. While this is happening, the Maniax massacre almost the entire police station including Commissioner Essen. It’s such a shocking moment, I was honestly left speechless during the entire the scene. Never has there been such a monumental change in the series. What’s even worse is when you realise that if Gordon hadn’t caused Loeb to step down, he would of been the Commissioner and he would have been killed by the Maniax. Essen could have survived. Gordon’s choices have never had such a profound impact.

***SPOILERS END***

Unfortunately, there’s a lack of personality change in Gordon after the previous episode. He’s the same as he’s ever been, it’s like he never killed a (sorta) innocent guy to get his job back at all. I found this particularly noticeable and it reduced how much I enjoyed the episode personally. At this rate, Gordon’s going to be the same character he was at the start of the series by the end of it. Nevertheless, the main arc of this episode was thrilling and overall, it was very well-written. Galavan and his collection of criminal prodigy’s have quickly established themselves as a huge threat to Gordon, everyone he knows and Gotham as a whole. Galavan’s master plan has yet to be unveiled and I’m really hoping it doesn’t turn out to be a disappointment.  The episode ends on an extremely high note with Harvey making a glorious return. It’s only been two episodes and I was already severely missing him.

Apart from Gordon and the Maniax however, the episode doesn’t really focus on anyone else except Bruce. Fortunately, his part in this episode is just as good as Gordon’s. Alfred destroys one of Thomas Wayne’s old computers after Bruce tries to unearth its secrets, greatly angering him. In a fit of rage, he fires Alfred in a heartbreaking scene. Of course, Bruce eventually hires him again. Alfred isn’t just his butler, he’s his closest friend and one of the few people he can trust in the forsaken fortress of villainy that is Gotham. They eventually come to an agreement, a pact. Alfred will train Bruce and make sure he’s ready for the dark secrets that reside on the destroyed computer, and meanwhile Alfred, or rather, Lucius will fix it. That’s right, after a brief appearance in a single season one episode, Lucius is now an integral part of Bruce’s story. The talk Alfred has with him is tense and interesting to watch and I was elated when he agreed to help. We’ll just have to wait and see to find out whether the writers treat him and his comic counterpart with respect in the coming episodes.

Finally, Nygma had a small, but important part in the episode. After the end of season one, Ed has developed a dual personality that could be considered his ‘bad side’. He asks Kristin Kringle out on a date and when he fails, his ‘bad side’ jumps on the opportunity, saying she’d like him if he was ‘more confident’. I’m glad they’re handling Nygma’s transformation into the Riddler more as a descent into madness than a plummet. He’s even pretty heroic at the end, saving Kringle during the police station massacre and getting injured in the process. Ed is one of my favourite characters on the show and I’m happy they haven’t just forgot about him and are handling his arc well.

Overall, Knock, Knock is several steps above the season’s opening episode. Not a single scene feels unnecessary. The villains are established as a major threat, Bruce and Alfred have an argument that leads to the introduction of Lucius to Bruce’s arc and Gordon is forced to face the effects of his decision. Granted, this episode isn’t perfect. Gordon’s decision in the previous episode seems to be all but forgotten and there was no Penguin at all which seems strange considering he now basically runs Gotham. Nevertheless, this episode feels like the grand return of the real Gotham, the Gotham that got me interested in the series so long ago. Let’s just hope it doesn’t go on a hiatus once again, and remains for a long time.

Verdict: A-

Flash Friday: SuperHOTline Miami

Ever look at a scene in an action movie, say, Die Hard, where the main character is pulling off incredible, yet impossible stunts, somehow weaving in between each individual bullet being fired at them and think, “wouldn’t that make a great game?”. Well, there are already two games that manage to do that in their own unique ways: SuperHOT, and Hotline Miami. But what if you’re broke, penniless and you’re not able to afford these games? As shown through games like Portal: Flash Edition, it’s still possible for the concept to be executed in a minimalist style, and there’s a game that mashes together two of those aforementioned action-hero games. This game is: SuperHOTline Miami.

SuperHOTline Miami combines two well-known shooter games, SuperHOT and Hotline Miami, into a smooth blend of somehow fast-slow-paced action. It weaves together the top-down, extreme violence of Hotline Miami with the surreal time-warping of SuperHOT. Time only moves when you do(well, really slowly) meaning you have as much time as you need to strategize and figure out the best way to take down the enemies while making sure not to get hit. Although having access to permanent bullet-time sounds like a concept that would make the game too easy, that’s far from the truth. One hit is all it takes to end your life and send you back to the beginning of the level and attacking speeds time up greatly. This makes for an intense, fast-paced experience despite the sluggish look of the game.

Apart from using the arrow keys for movement, the game only has two other controls. Left click to attack, and right click to pick up/throw a weapon. On most of the levels, you’ll start unarmed. You can punch enemies to death and then pick up the weapons they drop. There are various weapons you can use to fulfil your kill quota. You have your simple simple pistol, a wide-range shotgun and a multiple-shot assault rifle. Enemies can also use these weapons, hence why they drop them upon death. Shotguns are dangerous at close-range, though it’s epic when you manage to dodge between the pellets fired from the weapon. Assault rifles can keep the pressure on you from afar and are dangerous at both long and close range.

Pressing right click while holding a weapon will have you discard it through throwing it in the direction your facing. If the thrown weapon hits an enemy, it will stun them, giving you a chance to get in close and dispatch them. However, I never really found much use for this feature. Enemies are often so closely grouped together that stunning an enemy will only stop a tiny amount of the firepower being sent your way. Just using the weapons is also a heck of a lot more reliable and it’s not like there’s a shortage of them. Weapons only disappear when they run out of ammo and every single enemy drops a weapon meaning there’s often more than you even need. One of the game’s Kongregate badges actually tasks you with beating the first level only using punches and weapon throwing. When it’s a challenge to use one of the game’s features to attain victory, it’s simply not that well-designed.

The game’s seven levels are fun to play through, but the game doesn’t have much in the way of replayability. It took me around half an hour to beat the game and after that, there’s not much else to do. An extra hard mode gives a bit of incentive to replay the game but the levels are the same so I didn’t really find myself wanting to replay it all that much. There are no achievements to speak of, but there are three Kongregate badges. Two of them can be unlocked just by beating the game but I don’t recommend going for the last one. It’s the aforementioned badge that asks you to beat the first level without firing a single bullet and it is so hard, that it took me another half an hour to earn.

In conclusion, SuperHOTline Miami is a decently-crafted combination of SuperHOT and Hotline Miami. The idea is executed well enough and the game is certainly fun to play through, though the game as a whole is overly short. Level design and the addition of several different weapons keeps the gameplay interesting but I wish you could watch a replay of you completing a level at normal speed like in SuperHOT. While SuperHOTline Miami is a great game, it feels like an idea that could be expanded upon a lot more. Nevertheless, it’s sure to satiate your thirst for action if you loved the two games it was based off and want a bit more of it.

Pros:

  • Free
  • Simple, easy to understand and satisfying gameplay
  • Skill-based
  • Multiple weapons
  • Unique mish-mash of game concepts
  • Extra, hard mode

Cons: 

  • Short
  • Throwing guns seems near pointless
  • Not much replayability
  • No gameplay replay

Masterpiece   Amazing   Worth your time   Average   Meh   Waste of time   Kill it with fire