Author Archives: solidbatman

Coming Back?

Perhaps. I am getting the urge to start writing again for this blog, so maybe, just maybe I’ll be back to doing it. 

Merry Christmas from Sometimes Clever

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From all of us here at Sometimes Clever, have a Merry Christmas and a Happy Holidays! Over on the Fuwanovel forums, I’ve been holding a competition. Part of the competition was to draw a Christmas image with favorite characters. People received bonus points for Hachikuji Mayoi images. Here are a few of my favorites.

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Zakamutt: Pfft, my pic was clearly the best.

My glorious, glorious entry for solidbatman's forum contest.

For context, click picture. For explanation of troublesome elements, hover.

In random uninteresting news, blog tags have been cleaned up somewhat. Nobody will care about this.

Little Busters! Early VN Impressions

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I don’t read very many Key visual novels. Of the translated ones, I’ve read Clannad, and Planetarian.  I absolutely loved both of them and can’t speak highly enough of them. I’ve been wanting to read another Key visual novel for a while now, and as luck would have it, I got time off work to do so. I chose to read Little Busters! and  I ended up deciding to livestream my reading of it for 24 straight hours. Why? Long story short, it was a challenge issued by a member of the Fuwanovel forums. So my impressions are solely based off 24 hours of straight reading, and do not necessarily represent my final opinion of this VN.  Read the rest of this entry

Dysfunctional Systems Episode 1: Learning to Manage Chaos Review

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If you had the opportunity to prevent illness and end chaos, would you do it? Even if the methods for doing so went against your morals? Welcome to Dysfunctional Systems Episode 1: Learning to Manage Chaos. Written and developed by Dischan, it is the first in what is to become a series of visual novels. Dischan has already built a solid reputation with the release of their free VN, Juniper’s Knot (which I urge everyone to read), so I went into Dysfunctional Systems with high hopes for a fun read. I was not disappointed.

In Dysfunctional Systems, you assume the role of Winter Harrison, a 14-year-old girl who lives on a Utopian Earth. She one day, learns of other worlds, and is chosen to become a mediator, a person who travels to these other worlds to resolve chaotic situations. Before she can become a full fledged mediator, she must first undergo training. Dysfunctional Systems Episode 1 follows her second mission, to the world of Sule, in the small nation of Brighton. Her mentor for this mission is Cyrus, a notorious mediator known for his philosophy of “the ends justify the means.” Together, Winter and Cyrus must learn about Sule, Brighton, and the reason behind the chaos on the planet.

Winter and Cyrus

From the get-go, the reader gets a good gauge on Winter’s personality. She still has trouble believing that other worlds exist, and is also surprised by their variety. Sule mirrors her Earth in certain ways, yet the existence of poverty is in stark contrast with the utopian society in which she was raised. This makes her uncomfortable and unsure in certain situations. Her relationship with Cyrus is something of a test for Winter as well. As I said earlier, Cyrus will take the easiest route to ending the chaos of his mission, regardless of the morality of the method. Winter on the other hand has a very strong set of morals (even arguing with Cyrus over drinking beer). The two stand in opposite of each other, frustrating Winter, who is supposed to be learning from Cyrus.

The dynamic between Winter and Cyrus is very well done, as is the dynamic between Winter and the world of Sule. Sadly, not many other characters are in this particular chapter of the VN for them to interact with. Winter’s roommate at the school gets some screen time towards the end, but her appearance and actions act more as an introduction to her character more than anything. This leads into one of the flaws for Dysfunctional Systems.

It’s short. Very very short. In total, it’s maybe 2 hours long (longer if you go for all the Steam Achievements), but completing all the endings only takes about 2 hours’ time. Then again, for $5, I felt it was worth it. It will, however, leave you wanting for more in a good way. Hopefully Episode 2 is longer and filled with more detail about this universe and the reason chaos affects Earth.

If you’ve ever read a Dischan novel, you know that the art in their novels is great. Doomfest heads up the art, and it is very pleasing to the eye. All of the character designs and backgrounds have their own unique feel, avoiding a mistake found in many English-developed visual novels. Rather than trying to imitate Japan, Doomfest uses his own style to benefit the feel and atmosphere of the novel. The music, from CombatPlayer also works to perfection with well composed mood-setting pieces.

The story of Dysfunctional Systems is decently written. Winter and Cyrus travel to a small nation on the world of Sule called Brighton. Brighton has recently gained its independence from the large, powerful nation of Gabrea. While still a colony of Gabrea, Brighton was the subject of many wars between Gabrea and the nation of Fehrdia. Gabrea still maintains a strong grip over Brighton and its people causing the people of Brighton to think of themselves as little worker ants. When Winter and Cyrus visit, the President of Brighton is working hard to establish more freedoms for his country, and is growing increasingly frustrated with Gabrea.

Economics

I loved the setting of this story for the same reason I loved novels and games like Analogue: A Hate Story and Bioshock Infinite. It’s historical fiction meshed with sci-fi elements. You learn of the history of Sule through various futuristic technologies. I felt like a student all over again, learning the culture and ways of a newly discovered nation, just like what Winter has to go through. That said, there isn’t much mystery, or detective work, in Dysfunctional Systems Episode 1, as the developments of the novel are kind of thrown into your lap. But then again, that is not the focus of the novel. How Winter and Cyrus react differently to situations seems to be the novel’s main subject. Again, this is something I look forward to seeing more of in Episode 2, especially since your choices this episode change the way Winter will see Cyrus in Episode 2.

Dysfunctional Systems Episode 1 is a very good visual novel. The character interactions are very well written, the story engaging & well paced, and the audio/visual aspect is top notch. If you don’t want to pay $5 for such a short visual novel, then wait for the full set of episodes to be released (no word on when that will be). Dysfunctional systems Episode 1 is a great read, and I highly recommend it.

Overall: 8/10

Bioshock Infinite: Burial at Sea Episode 1 Review

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I loved Bioshock Infinite. The rich atmosphere, deep story, and solid game play all worked in unison to deliver a strong contender for  Game of the Year. Naturally, when Irrational Games announced the “Burial at Sea” DLC would return the game to Rapture, the locale of the first two games, I was very excited. I loved the setting of Rapture in the first Bioshock game, and the thought of seeing the city in all of its glory before the fall was a major reason I bought up this DLC. How well did it live up to the Bioshock Infinite name?

Read the rest of this entry

Review Schedule

The inside look into my procrastination!

11/14/2013: Dysfunctional Systems Ep.1 Review

11/21/2013: Saints Row IV Review

11/28/2013: Papers, Please Review

12/??/2013: Swan Song VN Review

12/??/2013: Junipers Knot Review

 

So there you have it. The short list of my upcoming review I plan to put together. Will I actually get these things out on time? What’s the line in Vegas on that?

Adventures with Crappy Games I

Listen children and gather round, for I, solidbatman, have a story to tell. You see, I was once a big Call of Duty fan. The first 3 PS2 titles were fun and usually tougher than Medal of Honor, which was also a lot of fun for me. However, one fateful day, I bought Call of Duty World at War: Final Fronts. I was excited. I was pumped. I was ready to torch some poor enemy soldier’s face off with a flamethrower.

Sadly, it was not to be. I admit it, I made a mistake in buying a game. I know all of you thought me all knowing and powerful; I still am, but my pride was wounded by this game. You see, the flamethrower was a major let down because I ended up not killing anyone with it. It was basically useless.

Now that wouldn’t have been a huge issue had a certain bug not happened. That bug is technically called, “my squad mate thought he was a god and tried to walk through a tree but instead got stuck in said tree for eternity”. I suppose in that case he is a tree god of some sorts. I did what any solider not played by Tom Hanks would do, I left him in his new found tree (I think a tree elf baking cookies joke should be inserted but no, I wont). I continued the level laying waste to my enemies and then IT happened.

A door needed to be opened. Not a problem, for I am solidbatman, a super solider that can open doo… oh wait. A squad member needs to do it? Ok, ummmm, wait. Isn’t he stuck in a tree at the beginning of the level? Oh crap… I should go get him. Well, I walked all the way back to the beginning of the level to my squad mate’s tree. Sure enough, the poor guy was still stuck in the tree, and not even all 3 of my grenades could get him unstuck. Maybe he was a tree god. Well, that was a fun hour I wasted. I took the game out of the disc tray in anger, placed it back in it’s sleeve in my Big Book of Games, and to this day, have not touched it. The moral of the story kids? Friends don’t let friends mess with trees.

-Yours truly, solidbatman

PS- This series is going to be fun. My stress levels will love it.

I’M ALIVE!

New Reviews, Impressions, and Ramblings starting very very soon. This time, I’ll actually keep up with it? Tune in to find out!

Live Streams!

I’ve decided to dive into the scary world of live streaming. When  streaming, I’ll be playing a large variety of games. From retro- jrpgs, to FPS to visual novels, I plan on playing everything I can. There won’t be any set schedule as to when I stream, but be sure to follow me on Twitter @solidbatman1 to receive updates as to when and what I’m streaming. You can also follow my twitch channel to receive an email every time I go live with a stream.

Check out my channel here, and I hope to see you there!

Atelier Rorona Review

With everyone out of town, and no easy way to do any image editing for this review, I sort of proudly present this review! (Images to come)

Atelier Rorona is the 11th installment in the long running Atelier series (although if you live in the US, it’s the 6th installment). As far as I’m concerned, it’s the first Atelier game seeing as how it is the first one that I have completed. The Atelier games are JRPGs developed by Gust that focus on alchemy and item synthesis. Atelier Rorona is no exception to this.

The game opens with a brief explanation of the city of Arland, a city that is being industrialized, but holds the technology possessed by an ancient civilization. Rorolina Fixwell (Rorona for short) is a young alchemist being trained by her master, Astrid Zexis. Astrid isn’t very interested in running the alchemy shop she owns so business isn’t very good for her and Rorona. One day, however, a Knight of Arland, Sterkenburg Cranach, visits the shop and informs Rorona that the alchemy shop will be closed if it cannot prove that it can function properly and aid Arland. He sets up a series of 12 assignments over the course of 3 years for Astrid and Rorona to pass in order to keep the shop open. Astrid, being uninterested in the shop, decides to use it as a test for Rorona and renames the alchemy shop Atelier Rorona and has Rorona take care of all the assignments.  Read the rest of this entry