Unpopular Opinions: Why I Hate Binge Watching(and Binge Playing)

This Unpopular Opinions is going to be a bit different than all my previous Unpopular Opinion’s posts. So far, I’ve only really talked about games and topics surrounding the gaming community, but today I’m going to be looking at something mainly related to TV. It can apply to video games, but I’m sure pretty much all of you associate ‘binge watching’ with either TV shows, Netflix or both. Binge watching has become pretty commonplace in our current society, and I’ll be honest, I’ve done it too. But these days, I try to avoid doing it as much as possible for a multitude of reasons which I’m going to explain throughout this post.

So what is binge watching? I’m pretty sure 99% of you know what it is and around 98% of you have done it before but I’m going to give an explanation anyway for that innocent 1%. Basically, binge watching is where you watch a load of episodes of a show all at once with few pauses so you can get through shows with a crapton of episodes(such as One Piece) quickly. The term is relatively new, and if the recent changes to popular streaming services such as Netflix are any indication, it’s the preferred, or at least most popular way of watching a show. I suppose you could also apply the term to gaming with ‘Binge Playing’ which is another thing I’m going to talk about today. So, why do I hate it so much? Surely you can’t have too much of a good thing? Especially when you’re bordering on being an otaku.

Well, I wouldn’t say that’s the case. If anything, it can be a bad thing, and I don’t just mean health concerns. First of all, let’s use an example: Stranger Things Season Two. Don’t worry, I’ve finished bad mouthing it, it’s just an example. There was well over a year between the two seasons of Netflix’s hit show, and the second it was released, thousands of people took to binge watching the entire season in the space of a single day. I don’t know how that made those people feel, but if anything, I bet it made them feel empty inside. There’s nothing worse than finishing an amazing series, so why would you want to rush it? For me personally, savouring the show is a much better option. If you take your time with it then  the wait will be a lot less unbearable. I know it’s hard to put off a show after waiting so long just to be able to watch it, but I’d say it’s worth it in the end.

As well as that, waiting for the next episode can build anticipation and end up making watching it all the more entertaining. It’s why I greatly prefer shows that release episodes on a weekly basis, so long as they don’t go overboard on cliffhangers that is. It gives fans the chance to make predictions, come up with theories and generally get more involved with the show further building up hype. Don’t get me wrong, it can work the other way too. If an episode turns out to be disappointing then the build up to it could make it even more disappointing than it otherwise would have been. Hype is a double-edged blade, but personally, I’d say it more often pays off, at least when talking about shows and not video games.

Finally, if you take your time with something, it becomes more memorable, for me at least. If you get through everything like a marathon, everything melts into each other and causes you to forget the small details. Looking back on shows and games I binged, I was simply amazed at how much I forgot or merged into other parts of the show/game. I remembered a lot more digesting one or two episodes at a time, and to be honest with you, I enjoyed it a lot more as well.

For all these reasons, I prefer to work my way through a number of shows and games slowly. With so much entertainment readily available to us at this point in time, it’s easy to tear through everything without pause. However, I don’t think this is satisfying to do in the end and it can possibly worsen your experience. I hope I managed to do a good job of explaining why I believe this. Trust me, try watching a show slowly, and see if it improves your experience. Anyway, do you agree or disagree with me? I’m interested to hear what you think so feel free to share your opinion in the comments below and I’ll make sure to respond!

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Fire Emblem Birthright Review-Shipping Simulator 3000… oh, and also strategy I guess

Game Name: Fire Emblem Fates: Birthright

Platform: Nintendo 3DS, Nintendo 2DS

Developers: Intelligent Systems, Nintendo SPD

Publishers: Nintendo

Price: £39.99 or $39.99, £17.99 or $19.99 if you own one of the other Fates games

I’ve never been huge on the whole strategy genre. I simply don’t get much fun out of trying a hundred different strategies to get past a single level. Micromanaging every single aspect of an army is infinitely more stressful than making split-second decisions in an intense action game such as Enter the Gungeon. Despite this, it’s virtually impossible to avoid one of Nintendo’s flagship series: Fire Emblem. The turn-based, tactical role-playing game has been around almost as long as the likes of Super Mario and Legend of Zelda. Although it’s always been more popular in Japan, the series has not-too-long-ago become popular in the west and Europe as well. Recently, the series has pushed to try and accommodate newcomers to the series, so what better time for me to jump in and try out the series’ latest game, or rather ‘games’: Fates?

First, let me clear up a lot of the confusion surrounding Fire Emblem Fates because it’s not really well-explained by Nintendo. There are three games with the name of Fates: Birthright, Conquest and Revelations. You can buy one of them for £39.99 and get the other two at a discounted price of £17.99. Each one has the same gameplay, but follows a different story. After 5 introductory chapters, you’ll be given a choice in Chapter 6 to side with either Hoshido, Nohr or no-one which affects which game you play.  I own all three of them and I’m planning to review all three as well. Today, I’ll be reviewing Birthright. It’s considered the easiest and most beginner-friendly of the three games and follows the player after they’ve chosen to side with Hoshido. Please keep in mind that I’m not big on strategy games and I’ve never played a game in the Fire Emblem series before so I may not be all that knowledgeable. I’m going to approach the games as someone completely new to the series so if you’re looking for a veteran’s opinion, you’d probably be better off checking out another review.

At first glance Fire Emblem Fates’ gameplay is as simple as can be. You select your units and control them one by one, moving them to attack enemies, defend any other units on the battlefield and more. The gameplay relies heavily on using teamwork between your units to overpower the enemy. If you attack an enemy unit with another friendly unit adjacent then you’ll team up with them to deal extra damage. You can also pair units up as a more defensive manoeuvre. They won’t attack in tandem, but the supporting unit will increase the attacking units defensive capabilities and possibly even completely block enemy attacks. It’s a neat method of making you feel like you’re actually controlling an army rather than a collection of isolated units, pairing up your healers with your damage dealers so they’re safe and making the most of unit positions to outmanoeuvre the opposing army. Another feature that makes battles more interesting are dragon veins. These take the form of luminescent spots on the map, and can be activated by any unit with royal blood/a main character no matter what side they’re on, and have varying effects. Activating one might cause enemies in a certain area to be struck by lightning and damaged, activating another one could cause swampy water to flood an area and slow units, activating another one could simply open up a new path for your units to take. The capabilities are limitless and they keep the gameplay from getting old and boring.

This also ties into a mechanic that I believe is relatively new to the series: the Support system. Every time your units team up, their relationship will improve, and once it reaches a certain point, they can have a support conversation. These are small bites of character development with the characters talking and interacting with each other before improving their support rank. There are four ranks, C, B, A and S, but each unit can only reach Rank S with one other character as they’ll marry and have children(more on that later). Almost any unit can do this, including your own character.  While I think the support system is a great idea and it reminded me of Persona’s social links, I think the developers were going for quantity more than quality. It’s great that any unit can interact with any other unit(with a few exceptions) but I’d prefer fewer, more meaningful support conversations. Very few of the interactions are memorable or feel important in the slightest. Pretty much every collection of support conversations goes like this: C: I have a problem with you. B: I still have a problem with you. A: I no longer have a problem with you. S: LET’S HAVE BABIES TOGETHER.

The best part of the support system however is the reward for getting two units to S Rank. Once they get to this rank, they will marry and have one or more children. This gives you access to a side mission of sorts called a paralogue. These missions involve the children your units have produced in some way and if you manage to beat them, you can recruit their children to your army. That’s just awesome! Unfortunately, a lot of these paralogues seem downright unfair in difficulty. They’re obviously meant for endgame as the enemies are a ridiculously high level. Several times I attempted a paralogue only to realise I stood no chance because even my strongest units dealt about 5 damage to 40 health enemies. Your units being underlevelled is a consistent problem with the game, but fortunately, it isn’t as much of an issue in the story chapters.

Speaking of the story, how is it? Well, personally, I’d say it’s one of the worst aspects of the game. It certainly had a lot of potential. Your character was born as a Hoshidian, but kidnapped as a baby and raised in Nohr. This seems like it could make for some great conflict between a family of blood and a family you grew up with and force you to make some hard choices… but nope! Hoshido are the de facto good guys and Nohrian are the de facto bad guys. Nothing the bad guys/Nohrians do seems to have a motive behind it and the Hosidians are so ‘goody two-shoes’ that they can be downright sickening. There’s literally no reason for you to choose Nohr other than Camilla’s boobs which just goes to show how poor the story is. The Hoshidian story isn’t too bad, it’s more typical than anything, but you have to wonder: what was the writer thinking?

Finally, I’d like to talk about my favourite part of the game: building your own castle! After every battle, you’ll go back to your home base, a giant castle where you can chill and prepare for the next one. Your castle is highly customizable. First, you can choose from multiple themes which determine the base design of your castle. Then, every time you win a battle, you’ll receive 2 Dragon Vein Points. These allow you to build new structures such as shops, decorations and defences or upgrade existing ones. Finally, you can take part in optional castle defence missions, either against the AI or other players, where you defend your castle’s throne from enemy forces. Throughout the course of the game, I got pretty attached to my little fort, however, like everything, it’s not perfect. A lot of castle features feel downright useless, at least to me. I never bought anything from the weapon shops except seals to upgrade my units, I never once used the prison and I don’t think I even built a lottery shop. It didn’t reduce my love for my badass base but it would still be nice if certain features had more usefulness.

Overall, I actually enjoyed Fire Emblem Birthright more than I expected. Although it has no shortage of problems from the horrible story, to the character imbalance, to the lack of uses for a lot of castle features, it has no shortage of good points either. Some interesting, good-old strategic turn-based gameplay, the compelling castle building feature, the awesome support conversations and paralogues, the phenomenal soundtrack. You series veterans will probably hate me for this, but I didn’t play on Classic as I wasn’t sure how difficult the game would be. However, I definitely think I’ll be trying it out for the next Fates game now I’ve got my footing. Fire Emblem Birthright wasn’t ‘amazing’ in my opinion, but I think I’ll certainly be checking out more Fire Emblem games from now on.

Pros:

  • Strategic turn-based gameplay is easy to learn but hard to master
  • Plenty of opportunities for players new to the series to grind
  • Building your own castle and then defending it is awesome. I got way too attached to mine.
  • The ability to ship and form tight bonds between any of your army members is pretty cool, albeit pretty funny as well
  • Dragon veins spice up the gameplay and keep it from getting too boring
  • Options to speed up or slow down the gameplay to your liking
  • Great soundtrack
  • Some of the characters are pretty interesting and I loved spending time with them through the Support system
  • Cutscenes look absolutely beautiful for 3DS
  • Paralogues and the ability to recruit your children to your army are pretty cool

Cons:

  • Castle mechanics and other stuff outside of the main gameplay isn’t explained well enough
  • The story is meh at best, plain bad at worst.
  • Support conversations are more quantity than quality
  • Why the hell would you pick Nohr… apart from Camilla’s boobs.
  • Quite a few of the characters are just boring and are more like living cliches than actual people
  • I never once bought anything from the shops with the exception of seals to ‘evolve’ my units
  • Now I think about it, I didn’t feel the need to use over half the features available in my castle
  • There’s a lot of character imbalance. Some characters are so good I could win pretty much just using them while other characters are so weak they get owned by a single enemy unit.

Nitpicks:

  • Ryoma and Takumi are ridiculously OP. Don’t use them if you want a challenge.
  • Hana is the epitome of uselessness
  • Veterans may find it too easy, even on higher difficulties
  • Levelling up certain units is a pain and I often abandoned any strategies I had to give some experience to my weaker units
  • If you want to change the gameplay to classic or another difficulty mode for a new game, you have to replay the entirety of the introduction again

Verdict: 7.5/10

Buy the game on the Nintendo Store here: https://www.nintendo.co.uk/Games/Nintendo-3DS/Fire-Emblem-Fates-1026071.html

Top Six Black Mirror Season 4 Episodes I’m Most Excited For

There’s not a single show out there quite like Black Mirror. Often described as ‘modern day Twilight Zone’, the show revels in the dark, gritty and terrifying potential of present day and future technology. It started off on Channel 4 but moved to Netflix for its third and upcoming fourth season, and it. Is. Awesome. I don’t spend nearly as much time watching Netflix as most people due to my hate for binge watching(more on that in a future post) but after I saw my first episode of the series(Playtest), it physically hurt to put off watching it. It’s also been excruciatingly painful waiting for the next season, and now we’ve FINALLY been blessed with a release date(although it isn’t as soon as we wanted) I thought it would be a good time to count down the episodes I’m most interested in seeing, from least interested to most interested. So, without further ado, let’s get right into it!

#6 Crocodile

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Crocodile is going to be about technologies’ affect on human memory. It’s based in a world where your memories aren’t private and can be manipulated and… hold on. Haven’t we heard all this before? Wasn’t “The Entire History of You” based upon an exact, or at least similar concept? Other episodes such as White Bear and Men Against Fire have touched on it as well. We get it. Messing with human memory is bad. Sorry if I came off particularly ranty, but Crocodile is the only episode in this new season that hasn’t even remotely gotten my interest. At least Hang the DJ seems to have a unique concept. So far, it seems be the least original and most predictable of the new season. Heck, I think I already have a pretty good idea of how this episode is going to go. Despite this, I’m still willing to give it a chance. I mean, it’s Black Mirror, a show known for surprising us and surpassing our expectations. But until it’s out, I don’t like the look of this episode at all.

#5 Hang the DJ

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This episode doesn’t look interesting at all. When talking about the individual episodes of Season Four, Black Mirror’s co-creator Annabel Jones said “There’s quite a lot of sex in it.”. Seriously? That’s the most interesting thing you can say about this episode? I don’t know about everyone else, but I don’t think I want to see any remotely intimate scenes after the weird wet dream scene in Men Against Fire. Even after seeing the episode trailer, it doesn’t look any more intriguing an episode. It seems to be going for a more comedic approach, which is… fine, I guess? I’d say it’s probably the least Black Mirrory Black Mirror episode I’ve seen so far. Well, the episode isn’t out yet so I’m going to reserve my judgement until then. Knowing Black Mirror, this episode could easily surprise me and turn out to be one of the best episodes of Season Four.

#4 Black Museum

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I’m not sure whether I should have put Black Museum low or high on this list. I’d personally say it’s the most mysterious episode; the one we know the least about. Even the episode trailer is incredibly vague: “You can inflict pain on yourself… but not terror”. What the hell is that supposed to mean? It doesn’t exactly sound very appealing, but we see what appears to be a group of college students gleefully running into the ‘Black Museum’ like it’s Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory. This episode hasn’t really given much away at all(even by Black Mirror standards), so I can’t really say how I feel about this episode. Nevertheless, if Black Mirror has taught me anything, it’s that the vaguest episodes are usually the most captivating.

#3 USS Callister

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Back when I finished Season Three of Black Mirror last December, I had a number of ideas of what Season Four would be like. None of them were anything like USS Callister. This episode was pretty unexpected and seemed to come out of almost nowhere, however, that makes it all the more enigmatic. Like Black Museum, it’s hard to tell exactly what the story of this episode is. Maybe they’re in some kind of simulation that also doubles as a prison? Maybe the ship is controlled by an incredibly smart AI that will turn against the crew and try to kill them? Honestly, just thinking about this episode get’s me more and more excited for the new season. Apparently, it’s going to be some kind of space opera, which is certainly a first for the show. One thing is clear though: my anticipation of this episode has made the wait for Season Four all that more unbearable.

#2 Arkangel

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Why Black Mirror? Why did you have to bring a child into this? You were twisted and messed up even before you brought a little kid into this. If the past three seasons were incredibly depressing, then I can only imagine how horrible it will be to watch technology destroy a little kid. The little story that has been revealed so far is easily one of the most intriguing. It seems to be set much further in the future than all the other episodes. It’s set “in a world in which you can be all-powerful and omnipresent” according to co-creator Annabel Jones, and the trailer for the episode seems to make this clear as well. One character in the trailer casually mentions how he’s over 2,000 years old despite not looking a year over 60. Arkangel seems like the kind of episode that I’ll still be getting over a decade from now, and those usually tend to be the best episodes of Black Mirror.

#1 Metalhead

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In my opinion, Metalhead has the most personality out of all the six episodes of Season Four. And that’s saying a lot considering the likes of USS Callister. One of the most interesting parts of this episode is that everything is going to be in black and white. It’s a compelling filming choice, and it fortunately doesn’t take away from what little we’ve seen of the episode so far. Everything still looks crisp and clean. It’s quite amazing how the least colourful episode of the upcoming season stands out the most. From what we’ve seen, it seems the episode is going to revolve around a woman who is being stalked by some kind of robot dog. In the recent episode trailer, we see it sprinting across a large field at an incredibly high speed in pursuit of its prey. If this doesn’t make for one intense episode then I’m going to be seriously surprised!

Well, those are the episodes I’m most excited for in Black Mirror’s fourth season! What do you think? Which episodes are you looking forward to the most? I’m sure we all have our favourites, and I’m interested to hear which episodes other people think will be the most captivating so feel free to share your opinion below!

Thank you for a year of GamersGuild!

Wow!

I still can’t believe it’s been an entire year since I started up this small Gaming blog in the hopes of providing quality gaming-related content and finding some common ground with the gaming community! It’s been quite the year! I’ve reviewed a vast array of games, shared some unpopular opinions of mine, tried out some new ideas and even made a number of posts on things outside of gaming.

Although I feel overly pessimistic saying it, I honestly didn’t expect my blog to last this long. The only reason I’m typing this up now is thanks to everyone who has shown me support over the past year. I’m eternally thankful to anyone who has liked one of my posts, shared their thoughts in a comment, followed me or even just simply read one of my posts. It’s insanely gratifying to think that there’s even a single person out there who cares about what I have to say. And I certainly wasn’t expecting to receive an award of all things!

I haven’t really planned anything for this blog’s first anniversary because I’m very, very busy lazy but I nevertheless decided that I couldn’t let this date go by without at least an acknowledgement. Again, thank you to anyone who has taken time out of their day to listen to me ramble on about games and the like. I have no plans to slow down and I hope you’ll join me for another amazing year!

Thank you.

George Dutton

Creator of GamersGuild

Well this was certainly unexpected…

So last night I visited my blog one more time before I went to bed to see if there were any new comments or the like. I discovered there was indeed one; apparently I’ve been nominated for some kind of Unique Blogger Award! It’s safe to say I was surprised. My blog is only just becoming a year old tomorrow so I had no idea awards like this were held every year! I’m eternally grateful to Yahari Bento for nominating me(if you’re into anime, go check his blog out. It’s awesome!) although the last thing I would call my blog is ‘unique’. Personally, I feel that my blog has been quite typical throughout the year and was missing that unique flourish which is why I’ve been creating new series like “How Powerful Is/Are” and “First Impressions”. Nevertheless, I’m flattered that someone thought my blog was good enough to be worthy of a prestigious award!

Anyway, here are the rules I need to follow:

The Rules

  1. Display the Unique Blogger Award logo.
  2. Thank the person who nominated you and link their blog in your post.
  3. Answer three questions chosen by the person who nominated you.
  4. Nominate 8-13 other bloggers you think are worthy of the award to share the love and ask them three questions.

I guess I better start by answering the three questions posed to me by Yahari Bento! Let’s get to it shall we?

Q: If you reincarnate as a spider that you need to survive in the cruel fantasy world and poisonous monsters are everywhere, when you level up and there are two choices for you to choose (Poison Skill or Poison Resist), which one you want to pick?

A: Definitely Poison Resist. Poison Skill is all well and good, but if the world is full of poisonous monsters then they most likely have Poison Resist as well meaning you’d be much better off putting your skill points into either defence, or other elemental types that might give you the offensive advantage against these creatures.

Q: If you are a spider, you want to befriend with other monsters (social) or want to hunt them (savage)? (You can choose one only.)

A: I’d say befriend. Strength in numbers. Plus, it’d be cool to wander around in a gang of monsters that you could command to do your bidding. It’d be like Overlord, if you’ve ever played that game.

Q: Assume that you can choose color for your body (of course you are spider again), which color you want to paint? (You can choose more than one color.)

A: Green and Black. Not much to this choice. Green because it’s my favourite colour and black because it goes well with green and pretty much all spiders are part-black anyway.

Now it’s my turn! Here are the blogs I nominate for the Unique Blogger Award:

Guardian Acorn: This one was quite easy to choose as it’s one of the few blogs I actively check every now and then. I don’t personally read too many blogs myself but Guardian Acorn is one of the few that caught my eye. She writes posts mainly on video games and anime and video game anime so what’s not to love? I also respect her for not being afraid to speak her mind about difficult topics.

River Moose Books: Although I don’t really show it, I’m a big fan of books and there are some great book reviews and other book-related posts on this site.

TV and City: A great blog if you’re a TV enthusiast and like reading reliable reviews of the latest shows!

Video Game Critic: I’ve only recently discovered this blog but the retro and modern reviews are amazing!

I Played The Game: Another great gaming-related blog! What else can I say?

D-pad Joy: All these creative blog names are seriously putting my own blog name to shame. There are so many great gaming blogs!

The Ancient Gaming Noob: Yet another great gaming blog! Sorry if I’m repeating myself. As I said, I don’t follow too many other blogs myself.

The VR Shop: There are plenty of great gaming blogs out there (if my nominations are anything to go by), but very few focus on the recent advancements in virtual reality which is why they get my nomination!

Here are my questions:

  1. Two paths lie ahead of you. One leads through a barren, lifeless desert. The other leads through a putrid swamp containing all manner of dangerous creatures. Which path do you go down?
  2. Where would you say you lie on the alignment chart? If you don’t know what that is, it’s a measure of where a person lies in regards to the law and morals. Here’s an example: alignment_chart_by_4thehorde-d37w8l2
  3. I suppose this question is somewhat related to the last one: Would you rather be the hero, or the villain of a story?

Well, I suppose that’s it! I don’t really know what else to say. Thanks once again to Yahari Bento for nominating me and good luck to everyone else who has been nominated! And with that, my post is over!

First Impressions: Cowboy Bebop

Cowboy Bebop. You can’t go anywhere near anime without hearing without hearing a thousand claims that it’s one of the best anime ever made. The critically acclaimed science fiction, comedy anime is famous for a multitude of reasons. Reasons I can’t really understand. Well, I didn’t understand it at first because I’d never even seen the series. But now, seven episodes in, I don’t understand it for a different reason. Cowboy Bebop is a great anime. It’s certainly unique. But so far, I just don’t understand why it’s one of the best. Today, I want to start yet another new series: First Impressions! In this series, I’ll talk about something new that I’ve recently been getting into; whether it be a video game, TV show, or in this case, an anime. I’ll cover all my thoughts, both positive and negative, in the hopes of explaining exactly what I think of the subject matter. So without further ado, let’s get into the first thing I want to talk about: Cowboy Bebop.

Cowboy Bebop focuses on a group of outcast bounty hunters as they cruise through the stars on their spaceship: the aptly named Bebop. They hunt down intergalactic criminals so they can afford to have their bell peppers and beef with actual beef. And that’s pretty much it. We’re introduced to the main character, Spike Spiegel, and his partner Jet Black in the first episode and the other characters join throughout the course of the series. It’s a great concept and I can definitely see the appeal. Despite it being a relatively simple idea, it has lot’s of potential for exploring numerous themes.

As far as I can tell(I’m on Episode 7), Cowboy Bebop has no overarching plot. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, the “story of the week” idea isn’t inherently bad. Some of my favourite shows such as Code Lyoko and Teen Titans handle this very well. However, those shows still have one, centralised goal for the protagonists to achieve and a main arc weaved in between these episodes. I’m well into the series now, and I still have no idea what the purpose of the series is, what all these episodes are building up to. If it wasn’t for the introduction of new characters I’d think there was no continuity at all and each episode was in its own self-contained universe. The only episode that has shown some semblance of an overarching plot so far-and is coincidentally the best episode so far in my opinion- is Episode 5: Ballad of Fallen Angels. But even after that episode, the show just instantly goes back to normal again as if nothing happened. None of the characters ever feel changed by an episode’s end, even when the story of the episode would suggest otherwise.

That’s not to say this show is horrible, I’ve enjoyed watching it so far. By far the best part of this show is the comedy. All the jokes are smart and made me burst out laughing at the sheer hilarity. Even the episodes with much more serious overtones have plenty of jokes, though they never really detract from the moment. There’s a reason Youtube is overrun with hundreds of “Cowboy Bebop Best/Funniest Moments” videos. So many of the lines in this show are just pure comedy gold.

When a lot of people talk about Cowboy Bebop and what makes it so good, lot’s of people point to the outstanding English dub. I’ve heard plenty of talk about how the amazing quality of the dub helped introduce thousands of people to the world of anime and set a precedent for future English dubs. And looking at it from the point of view of someone who watched anime before it became more mainstream, I can see that. The main characters are incredibly well voiced from the cocky, confident Spike to the cunning, flirtatious Faye. Quite a few of the side characters have great voices as well, however some of the more minor characters sound off and overly exaggerated in the worst possible way. Compared to the astounding performances of the rest of the cast, their voices are… jarring to say the least. So would I call Cowboy Bebop’s dub excellent? Yes! But one of the best dubs of all time? Not really.

Personally, I think Cowboy Bebop is a great anime so far. The comedy is brilliant, the characters are intriguing and the music is really good. However, I feel that it isn’t anywhere near as good as the Internet has made it out to be. Cowboy Bebop has plenty of flaws such as the lack of an overarching story and the quality of an episode’s plot being quite mixed from episode to episode. Nevertheless, I’m looking forward to watching more. Who knows, maybe it’ll get even better in future episodes? Feel free to share your thoughts and opinions below as I’m interested to hear what you think!

Top Five Enter the Gungeon Pasts

Enter the Gungeon is a hard game. I think that goes without saying. You can log dozens of hours of playtime and still be far from completing the game a single time. The game asks a lot of you, and thus, there has to be a more than substantial reward waiting at the end for you. Despite the game not being all that story-focused, it offers a reward in the form of backstory for your chosen character. There are six characters in total, and all of them have their own unique ending, or past, waiting for you if you can pilot them through five floors of bullet brutality. It’s a neat way of encouraging replayability, but as with all things, some you’ll like better than others. So today, I’ll be counting down my five favourite character pasts in the game! Keep in mind that this isn’t a definitive list, and it’s completely fine to disagree with me!

#5 The Robot’s Past

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Every single one of the pasts seems to reference and take inspiration from something. Whether it be the Legend of Zelda, Doom, or the Bullet Hell genre itself, they always tend to be respectably handled tributes. Case in point: The Robot’s Past. Once you fire the Bullet That Can Kill The Past as the Robot, you’re sent back to a world not all that different from Terminator, except you’re on the side of the Robot’s(well duh, obviously)! “The Last Human” is a fun boss and probably the only boss that has you make use of your actual character’s abilities. One of the bosses’ attacks fills almost the entire arena with poison. Thankfully, the Robot has an item that can release water to clean up the poison so you have a little more room to manoeuvre. I greatly enjoyed the Robot’s Past, but not as much as these next four…

#4 The Convict’s Past

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I have a bit of a soft spot for the Convict’s Past. It was the first Past in the game that I managed to beat, and it was one of the most intense video game boss battles in my life. I had no idea what to expect when I fired the Gun That Can Kill The Past for the first time. I had high expectations, and it’s safe to say that they were more than exceeded. When I noticed that all my items and guns were gone, I had a minor freakout. I had to beat the boss with just the Convict’s starting equipment and a Tommy Gun? Black Stache(and all the other Past bosses) is nowhere near the hardest boss in the game, but you can’t exploit him with overpowered weapons, you need to use all the skills you’ve learned up to that point to defeat him. He’s more than fair, he doesn’t throw ridiculous, impossible-to-dodge patterns of bullets at you, but you can’t be careless either. This fight set my expectations for all the other Past boss fights, but I decided to put it at Number 4. because it simply pales in comparison to some of the other Pasts.

#3 The Bullet’s Past

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It took a while to unlock him, but personally, I think the Bullet is my favourite character to play in the game. He has a nice high-risk, high-reward playstyle with his starting weapon which is extremely powerful as long as he’s on full health. There’s also the fact that he’s a bullet using a sword to fight other bullets wielding guns. Fortunately, his past didn’t disappoint at all. It’s one massive Legend of Zelda: Link to the Past reference and it’s awesome. As soon as I received the sword from a dying elderly bullet I knew I was in for one heck of a ride. The past as a whole is an amazing tribute to a classic game and it’s makes for a nice change of pace as you fight TWO bosses in your past rather than just one. Despite this, they’re quite easy… so long as you’re patient that is. I hate to say it, but although both bosses are interesting, the second one is a drag to fight. Cannon constantly spawns bats that are incredibly easy to dodge, but move so close to him that it’s basically impossible to get a hit in on the boss without getting hit yourself. The only chance you get is when he moves to somewhere else in the room, which he rarely ever does. Combine this with his high health pool and this fight gets old fast. Nevertheless, the Bullet’s past is a wonderfully creative reference and it’s still plenty of fun to play through.

#2 The Pilot’s Past

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It’s been a long time since I played a traditional Bullet Hell game. I haven’t booted up a single one since I ragequit Bullet Heaven 2’s final boss on Heavenly difficulty after about a thousand attempts. You’d think then, that I’d be out-of-practice and doomed when I was faced with the Pilot’s past, but that simply wasn’t the case. Enter the Gungeon does a great job of of adapting the traditional style of Bullet Hell games into its own gameplay, and boy does it make for an epic boss fight. The fight with the HM Absolution, is absolutely insane and awe-inspiring. As you and our tiny ship attempt to take down a hulking battleship, dozens of pretty patterns of bullets are fired at you in a way that requires you to stay sharp but also doesn’t completely drive you over the edge. Never have I fought a boss that made me feel so badass before. There’s only one more Past boss in this game that I like more…

#1 Bullet Hell

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So here it is. The final challenge. You’ve played dozens of hours of this intense bullet hell roguelike, you’ve defeated the deadly Dragun a number of times and you’ve probably caused a few paradoxes with all the pasts you have killed. Only one place is left for you to conquer now: Bullet Hell. You thought the first five floors were hard? You thought the Dragun was hard? Well, you ain’t seen nothing yet. Just getting through the floor is as hard as defeating the boss that lies at the end of it: The Lich. When you finally crawl your way to the boss door, you have three forms of pure cartridge carnage awaiting you. With over 100 hours of playtime and experience, I still can’t beat this boss. Yet I keep coming back for more. Maybe I’m stretching the definition of “Past” but I just couldn’t ignore this one. Bullet Hell is just that good. Just don’t expect to beat it in less than a hundred attempts.

Enter the Gungeon is a game I’ve invested many hours into, but it’s also a game that I keep coming back to for more. The gameplay is just so satisfying and rewarding that I just can’t put it down, and the various character’s pasts are a culmination of that. Whether you agree or disagree with me, feel free to share your thoughts, feedback and opinions below.

Unpopular Opinions: Sonic Forces is Overhated

I’ll be honest: I’ve never really been a massive fan of Sonic. I’ve played only a few of the games and completed even less of them. Nevertheless, I have plenty of respect for the blue blur. Despite Sega’s numerous missteps, they always seemed committed and passionate to me, even if they didn’t always do a good job. What other companies have literally hired their fans to make their own new Sonic Game? What other companies have allowed their voice actors to hold a hilarious Twitter Takeover AMA? What other company Youtube channels are so active in commenting on videos and interacting with the fans? That’s why I feel I have to talk about these recent events. About the recent, as much as I despise using the word, “hate” towards Sonic Forces, and why it’s so unwarranted.

I can’t help thinking Sonic Forces was doomed from the start. It never got a chance. From the second it was revealed with a short debut trailer, people were already ripping it apart despite there being no gameplay whatsoever. Videos were uploaded talking about how Sonic Forces would be “another bad Modern Sonic game”, countless forum posts were made talking about how it was going to be horrible, some were even saying we might have another Sonic 06 or Boom. Don’t get me wrong, I’m quite the pessimist myself, and due to the lies of the Triple A industry, I can never get excited for a game anymore. But it’s a completely different thing to condemn a game before we’ve so much as had a gameplay trailer or demo. I understand Sonic fans have been burned many times before, but I can’t help feel people looked on the game unfairly.

And when they revealed the custom character, it got even worse. Personally, I thought it was a great idea, Deviantart OC fantasies aside. As well as this, it spawned a bunch of memes and jokes, and that was great! But then, people started to spin this neat mechanic on its head and use it to insult the game further. It was just Sega trying to use fanservice to sell their next bad game. They were trying to do damage control by appealing to the most ridiculed part of their fanbase. How dare Sega try to please the fans by trying something new!

But the weeks leading up to the game’s release were the worst. A whole bunch of levels were shown off, and of course, the fans couldn’t help utterly destroying the game. The main complaint was that the game was “too linear”. People treated the word “linear” like it was an idea straight from the pits of hell. Anyone who even suggested that the ‘boost-to-win’ gameplay might not be so bad was slammed and insulted as “a member of the Sonic Forces Defence Squad”. Linear isn’t always a bad thing as people seem to think, and if you don’t like it, that’s fine! But don’t treat the word like it’s objectively bad. As well as that, the same fans who were criticising it for being too linear constantly referred back to Generations and Colours as much better games which is just hypocritical. Some guy uploaded a video to Youtube of him beating a level without moving Sonic at all, and of course, people pounced on the opportunity to further prove their point. But, if they checked the user’s channel, they’d see that he also has multiple videos of him beating Sonic Generations levels in the same way.

Finally, the game was released. And it was just good. It wasn’t amazing, especially compared to the much more well-received Sonic Mania, but it wasn’t downright bad. Although the story wasn’t great, it was creative and different. As much as I hate to say it, it was dark, edgy Sonic done sorta right. It still managed to be lighthearted and serious at the same time though all the hype for Infinite resulted in nothing. The music was amazing, seriously, why does no-one like the soundtrack?!?! Just listen to a bit of Fist Bump, Light of Hope or Luminous Forest. Sure, there wasn’t much variety, but that doesn’t automatically make the soundtrack bad. And believe it or not, some people actually enjoyed the gameplay. I know, shocking right? Must be part of that stupid Sonic Forces Defense Squad!

Look, I’m not saying Sonic Forces cannot be criticised. I’m not saying it’s some godly game that needs to be put on a pedestal and praised endlessly. I’m just saying that I think the game never had a chance and people are being overly harsh on it when it doesn’t deserve all the hate. Even some of my favourite reviewers such as ‘SomeCallMeJohnny” and “videogamedunkey” didn’t really give it a chance. I get that Sonic Mania was amazing and Sonic Forces being released just after made it comparatively worse. I get that there are legitimate criticisms and some people dislike the boost formula. But comparing it to the likes of Sonic 06 or Sonic Boom? That’s just completely unfair.

Anyway, I’m interested to hear what you think! Do you agree with me, disagree, or are you somewhere inbetween? Do you think I’m overreacting or do you see where I’m coming from? Comment your opinion below! I’m willing to hear you out so long as you’re respectful of my opinion as well as the opinion of others.

How Powerful Are… Viridi and the Forces of Nature?

One of the best parts about video game, TV, and really any form of media characters is the large amount of discussion they cause. A character’s “power level” is one of the most hotly debated aspects in discussions. There’s just something intriguing about looking at a characters strength and seeing how strong or weak they are compared to other characters in the medium. I am one of those people, obsessed with finding out which characters are the strongest and which are the weakest. I can’t really explain why; it’s just fascinating to me. And that’s why I’ve decided to start this new series: How Powerful Are…/How Powerful Is. In this series I’ll look at various characters from all forms of media, and try to figure out just how powerful they are. Once I have enough characters I may even form a tier list containing all the characters I’ve covered! I’m stating today with Viridi, and her army, “The Forces of Nature”, from Kid Icarus Uprising. I still haven’t broken the trance this game has on me, so what better time to look at one of its pivotal characters? Anyway, let’s see just how powerful the Goddess of Nature really is…

First of all, let’s talk about Viridi herself. Unfortunately, it’s not all that easy to gauge her individual strength as she’s the only god/goddess in the game you don’t fight directly. However, she is a goddess, so it can be assumed right of the bat that she has tremendous power. As well as that, she’s the ‘Goddess of Nature’ and considering the Kid Icarus universe is loosely based upon Greek mythology, it’s possible she is based upon Gaia, “mother of all living things”, Viridi is given a similar name in the chapter she’s introduced in: “ruler of all living things”. “Ruler of all living things” is no weak title, and Gaia was considered extremely powerful considering she gave birth to Zeus and all the other main Olympians. Of course, this is all conjecture, and without any real showing of Viridi’s individual power in the game, all I can do is consider her at least equal in terms of power with the other God’s in the game.

Next, let’s look at her forces. Viridi has quite the expansive army at her disposal with units numbering in the thousands(at least) at her disposal. Palutena mentions that her troops are made out of natural materials, which gives a good idea of just how big her army can get. Although her supply isn’t unlimited like the souls Hades uses to make his troops, it’s safe to say she won’t run out for a looooooonnng time. Another powerful weapon Viridi has at her disposal are reset bombs, nature’s equivalent of a nuclear bomb. These remarkably powerful bombs can obliterate anything not natural in a huge radius. We can gauge just how powerful they are from something Pit says in Chapter 15: “And I think you’re forgetting the massive reset bombs visible from space!”. Assuming Pit isn’t simply exaggerating, we can deduce that Viridi’s reset bombs are packing at least 84 terajoules of energy or the equivalent to 20,000 tons of TNT based on the first atomic bomb test. And before Pit destroyed her depot where these reset bombs were being made, she had an unlimited supply.

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Reset bombs are almost as explosive as Viridi herself!

Finally, let’s look at the most notable members of Viridi’s army: her three commanders. Pit manages to defeat all three of them throughout the course of the game, but what’s interesting is that every single one of them didn’t fight Pit at their full power and still gave him a difficult fight. The first commander Pit fights, Cragalanche, is a living boulder. He’s incredibly resilient, with Pit’s attacks doing a minuscule amount of damage thanks to his armoured body. So, how does Pit defeat him? Cragalanche has a weak spot on his back, which although hard to reach, is vulnerable to attacks. In the fight however, Virdi says that “he was supposed to get that fixed”. This means that it’s possible for Cragalanche to be even more formidable and difficult to beat. On top of this, despite his stout and heavy body, Cragalanche has been shown to be extremely fast in both his boss battle, and when he knocks Pit(a really fast flyer by the way) out of the air by rolling into him at the end of the Air Battle portion of Chapter 11. In fact, Cragalanche is on fire when this happens, so unless something else set him alight, he’d have to be travelling at a speed of at least Mach 5. That’s FIVE TIMES the speed of sound. Pretty impressive for a lump of rock.

But it’s nothing compared to her next commander: Arlon the Serene. Sure, he seems fairly powerful when you fight him, but nothing special. However, Arlon says this in Chapter 13: “I cannot tell you the reasons WHY this sanctum was built. But I can say that it runs on my powers. Without me, it’s just a husk, an empty shell, an orbiting house of cards.“. That means the Lunar Sanctum, a weapon so powerful that Palutena stated “makes reset bombs look like firecrackers” was run on Arlon’s powers. So he was able to control the Kid Icarus’ universe’s version of a Death Star and still greatly challenge Pit in battle. Arlon is someone you really don’t want to mess with. Finally, Phosphora’s power is probably the most obvious out of the three commanders. She can manipulate lightning in a variety of ways for both offensive and defensive purposes as well as turn into a lightning bolt herself. This allows her to move at speeds of at least 27,800 km/h. Over four times the speed of Cragalanche! The only reason Pit was able to beat her was because she was weakened from her fight with Thanatos, the GOD OF DEATH, a fight she actually managed to win.

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See that huge Death Star Laser? That’s all Arlon.

In conclusion, the power of Viridi and her army is certainly nothing to be scoffed at. It’s questionable whether Pit would even be able to beat her army if Viridi wasn’t also busy fighting Hades, and her commanders, if not for the weakened states they were in when Pit fought them. While her powers are nowhere near a universal threat, they are definitely great enough to threaten the entire planet; no small feat. Therefore, she gets a high power level in her own universe and an impressive overall power level. I hope you enjoyed reading the first post of this new series! If you enjoyed it or have any feedback or criticisms, then feel free to comment below so I can improve and make better quality posts.

Power Level: 60/100

Power Level in Own Universe: 90/100

Top Five Favourite Awesomenauts

I’ve had lot’s of fun with Awesomenauts over the years. Seeing its ever-expanding roster get bigger with new, creative characters was one of the reasons I kept coming back to it. Sure, it may not have as many characters to choose from as other MOBA’s out there, but the characters it does have are so good that it doesn’t really matter. 32 different heroes is still quite impressive, especially for an Indie company! Yet despite its by-no-means-small amount of characters to pick from, people are still going to prefer some over others. Whether it’s for their abilities, their playstyle, or even their personality, I think it’s safe to say everyone has their favourites; including me! I’ve managed to narrow it down to five of the game’s playable intergalactic mercenaries. So, without further ado, let’s get on with it!

#5 Sentry X-58

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Sentry is feared in the Awesomenauts community for a reason. A multitude of reasons actually. His teleport is a great utility ability, allowing him to teleport to the battleground immediately for a surprise attack or to help save an ally in the nick of time. His proton mines are great for area denial, and dissuading even the tankiest of nauts from taking him head on. But most of all, it’s his brutal black hole that makes him a force to be reckoned with. Sentry can take in a portion of the damage done to him and convert it to power for his main weapon. Then, after firing it, it sucks any enemies, nauts and droids alike, towards its centre before exploding and dealing an insane amount of burst damage. In the right hands, Sentry is an unstoppable monster of a machine. The only reason I haven’t put him higher on this list is because, although strong, Sentry relies on his teammates to finish the enemies he traps in his black hole, and without a good team, there’s not really much he can do.

#4 Skree

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Skree. It’s hard to find a team composition he doesn’t work well with. No matter the situation, his abilities are always useful. He’s an interesting blend of mobility and area denial that’s just plain fun to use. His totem pole is just as useful for pushing enemy turrets as defending your own. His sawblade is an unforgiving weapon of destruction when used at the right time. His homing lightning rod couple with his seemingly trivial ability to float in the air makes him a fearsome chaser indeed on top of all this. Skree is easy to learn, but hard to truly master. There’s only one bad thing I can think of about him, and that’s the fact that his theme is sort of boring and doesn’t stand out much compared to the rest of the character themes in the game.

#3 Admiral Swiggins

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Ah, Swiggins! A true gentleman… or is it gentlesquid? This British space Admiral already got a lot of points for me for his love of tea, his hilariously bad puns and his gloriously British theme. But that’s not all there is to love about him! He has to be one of the most brutal and unforgiving supports in the game. Before you can even react, he’s hooked onto you and anchored you to the ground leaving you to be finished off by the rest of his team. Even without allies backing him up, he’s a force to be reckoned with thanks to his powerful anchor swing and rapid fire ink spray. This many-tentacled sentient squid is one of the single most fun and satisfying nauts to play in the game, and that’s why he gets the third spot on this list!

#2 Clunk

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Clunk is one of the least-played nauts in the game. Many are put off by his incredibly slow speed, the worst in the game, which makes it hard to get out of a bad situation. Or his painfully slow missiles. Or the fact that his explosion deals damage to him as well as his enemies. But I like Clunk. I like him a lot(why else would he be this high on the list?). Despite moving at the speed of a dead snail, he’s the tankiest naut in the game, with the highest health by far. His missiles can be as destructive as their real-life equivalent with the aid of some homing and speed upgrades. His explosion is one of the most damaging burst abilities in the game and no matter who you’re playing, you do not want to get caught in its radius. If that wasn’t enough, his lifestealing bite gives him massive sustain meaning he’s a constant, feared presence on the battlefield. Looking at Clunk, it’s easy to see why many are put off by his abilities and stats and consider him ‘weak’ compared to the rest of the game’s roster. But when you actually play him, when you apply tactics and use the environment like another one of his abilities, he’s nigh invincible. Unfortunately, he doesn’t have much of a personality or a good theme, which is why he’s second on this list. There’s only one naut I like more…

#1 Max Focus

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Why is Max Focus my favourite naut in the game. Because he’s just so much damn fun to play as, and in the end, that’s what matters! He’s a fast paced character, relying on your ability to judge the best time to attack while also simultaneously keeping the pressure on your opponents. His two abilities, Scene Illumination and Slow-Mo Shot are easily dodged unless you catch the enemy off-guard, yet it’s never dissatisfying to fire them off. And when you manage to time it just right and obliterate the enemy team in one fell swoop, the satisfaction is overwhelming. As well as this, he’s also one of the fastest flyers with an insane amount of mobility. His extra verticality can be lifesaving when you need to get out of a bad situation quickly. It can also be used offensively too in conjunction with his floodlight which is the perfect basic attack for chasing enemy nauts. But the best part about him is easily his jovial personality and news reporter voice which is infinitely pleasing to my ears. And once you’ve heard his theme once, you won’t stop coming back for more. I never have a bad game with Max, not because I never lose, but because I never get tired of playing him and listening to his witty, rapid-fire quips.

Honourable Mentions

Derpl

Ayla

Genji

Smiles

Nibbs

So that was my Top Five Favourite Awesomenauts! It was no easy task to compose with over 30 nauts to choose from. I’m sure not everyone will agree with my list, so feel free to share your opinion in the comments below! I’m interested to hear what nauts everyone else seems to like!