Alright, this game is a pretty recent release, and I wanted to do a quick review on it. Probably will be shorter than some since I’ve only played it once. In Lucidity, you are playing as someone who can go through dreams. However, the dream […]
Back for another anime review. Kristen has her review of this anime on Twin Cities Geek, so I wanted to get mine up on here now.
The highest compliment that I can probably give an anime is that it didn’t feel like an anime, it honestly feels like a very good TV show. In fact, it doesn’t even feel like it’s an animated show, now, that doesn’t mean that the artwork is so hyper-realistic that it is mistaken for real life, aka. Grand Moff Tarkin in Rogue One, but that the story is so complex and well thought out that it doesn’t seem like something for kids, it doesn’t seem like a typical anime, it seems like something you’d see on a TV show with regular actors. There is none of this confusion where it is more on the fun scale or so on the fantastical scale that you know it’s anime like I’ve run into a lot, even with more serious anime like Berserk.
Steins;Gate is a story that follows a mad scientist who accidentally invents time travel and the organization that is trying to stop him and his fellow lab members. That is the single sentence version of the plot. It crafts an interesting story as the time travel machine is developed, as they look to over come problems with it, as people they thought they could trust, they find out they can’t, and many more troubles as they first race to see how the machine works and then race to try and figure out how to stop some things that they unintentionally started or caused. The story is paced wonderfully and always leaves you wanting to watch more.
Besides the fact it doesn’t feel that much like an anime, the other thing that I loved about it was the characters. The main mad scientist, Okabe (also who calls himself Hooin Kyoma – please forgive the lack of special characters in it), is a very enjoyable character to watch. He’s over the top, talks to himself, and always believes that he’s the best thing around. But it’s not a grating, I’m better than everyone else, it’s funny a lot, makes you feel for him at other times, and you see how much of it is actually him putting on a front as he’s just an eighteen year old first year college students. All of the other lab members have their own personalities as well, and there isn’t overlap. There’s Daru, who’s character is personable, but skeevy, Mayuri who is sweet and a bit spacy, and rounding out the biggest main characters, Kurisu who has smart, slow to trust, and doesn’t put up with Okabe’s crap. Even the other characters in the show have their own personalities, and everyone seems to have been thought out well. There isn’t much overlap on traits, but they all have something that sets them apart. It’s very cool to see that depth of character development worked naturally isn’t a show.
This is an anime that I would recommend to basically anyone. While Daru does make some sexual jokes (or have jokes made about his gaming dating life), there really isn’t anything offensive in this show related to sex. However, this show does deal with dark themes, there are things that happen that are tough to watch, many times very emotional. It isn’t very gory, but there are moments that do show some gore and some violence. Everything the show deals with, though, feels like a proper part of the story and I never felt that things were handled poorly in the story. It is paced so well and everything handled so well, it’s definitely worth a quick watch, which is another nice thing, it’s not too long.
Have you seen it? If so, what are your thoughts on it?
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First off, wasn’t it TableTopics before? Yes, it was, however, the guys who run The RPG Academy ran into a flimsy copyright attempt against them and their podcast called Table Topics. So preemptively we are going to be changing the name. The first try at […]
Welcome back, friends! A couple of weeks ago, Peder gave us a great overview of tabletop gaming. Today, I’m going to take us further down that rabbit hole and talk about one of my favorite games of all time: Pandemic!
As Peder mentioned in his post, Pandemic is one of the more well-known cooperative games, and with good reason. It’s a well-balanced, fast-paced, and challenging game that you just can’t help but get invested in whenever you play. In the world of Pandemic, there are four deadly diseases that are threatening to wipe out humanity, and it’s up to the players to stop that from happening. Apocalyptic scenario? Cooperative strategizing? Epic science? Sign me up!
To start the game, each player draws their role card (Medic, Operations Expert, Researcher, etc.), and everyone starts out from Atlanta (naturally, as this is where the real-life CDC is located). From there, everyone works as a team to figure out the best gameplan for taking out all four diseases before they outbreak and take over the map.
As with many of the best collaborative games, there is only one way to win Pandemic, but a bunch of ways to lose. The players have to clear every single disease cube off the board to beat the game, but lose conditions include having too many outbreaks, running out of disease cubes for any one disease, and running out of city cards (the last being the most common cause of a team’s downfall).
Because of this, the difficulty level always feels really high, but never so high that your prospects seem hopeless. In fact, what often happens is that you’re playing along, with everything going reasonably well and with the possibility of eradicating a couple of diseases on the horizon, when suddenly, one small thing goes wrong and sets off a chain reaction that there’s no coming back from. Rather than being discouraging, though, this common scenario only makes you more determined to play the game again and win this time, using what you learned from the last round to keep disaster from striking (at least in the same way twice).
One thing I like most about Pandemic is that it’s like it takes all the good parts of Risk and gets rid of the things that can make that game annoying (to me, at least). You’re trying to gain control of the world map, but you’re wiping out disease instead of spreading your soldiers too thin. You get to travel around the board mowing down enemies, but you aren’t trying to take down your friends in the process; you’re all working toward a common goal and putting your heads together to create a more effective strategy than someone could do alone. You don’t have to spend ages waiting for someone else to complete their turn, because all players are involved and engaged every step of the way. And most importantly, it doesn’t take hours and hours to play through — you can easily do two or three rounds in an evening, if you so choose. And you probably will, because it’s a ridiculously addicting game.
If you’re new to collaborative board gaming, this one is a great place to start. It’s high-stakes, gets everybody using their brains and working together, and has an exciting premise that keeps you coming back for more. Give this one a try; I hope you’ll love it as much as I do!
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