I am an aspiring writer working on one book, but also on a blog and short stories for my website. I like writing about horror, comedy, and fantasy, but I am not picky on a genre as long as it interests me. On my spare time, I like to read, play video games, watch anime and various shows and movies, and live life to the best of my ability.
I may have grown up with Pokemon, but I’ve always been a Digimon fan at heart. If I had to say which is my favorite, Digimon would be the clear winner. I may not have had games, but I’ve always loved the anime for its characters, actually depths within the plot (for some), and the Digimon themselves. Some sure are…questionably designed. Why do they give Digimon like Angewomon tits? It’s supposed to be a monster, not Jessica Alba. But some Digimon like Greymon and Machinedramon really sold me on the idea. Cool looking but not overly designed. Just enough to make me recognize them with awe and appreciation.
I’m more of an anime fan because I barely played any of the Digimon games that have come out. I’ve only played Digimon Dusk, which Pokemon totally stole the concept of, and Digimon Cyber Sleuth + Hackers Memory. They’re not bad games. I’d even say Cyber Sleuth is an amazing game. But Dusk left a lot to be desired and Hacker’s Memory was just a lot of lost potential. However, what I love about these games are the fact that they expand upon or change what the world of Digimon is. This is less of a critic on the games and more on what Digimon as a franchise is. For comparison, it always feels like Pokemon is safe with its franchise. Just do the same thing over and over again with changes that are more superficial than actually developing the franchise. Digimon barely does that. These games, and the anime, always experiments to make each adventure unique. So were great, and some were Digimon Tri. Dawn and Dusk took the formula of kids going into the Digital World and changed it so a bunch of them created their own society within it. Digimon Cyber Sleuth barely even goes to the Digital World, creating a version of the human world that created a digital paradise so close to the Digital World that leaks happened. Fundamentally, it’s still about Digital monsters and people creating connections with them. But none of them feel tired out or over-done. Except for Digimon Tri. That was a mess.
Digimon Survive is that concept but taking it to a completely different level. Developed by Hyde and published by Bandai Namco, Digimon Survive is a darker take on the original anime. Emphasis on the anime part; I’ll get to that later. We’ve got the main characters as campers but are much older, around middle to highschool. They’re sucked into a world full of monsters, except these Digimon are of ancient japanese folklore called the Kemonogami instead of a world in the internet. Probably. I haven’t finished the game yet. The biggest change is that any of the characters could truly die. Their only protection are ally monsters who have dedicated themselves to keeping them safe. They have to find a way out of this world with all their pieces intact, while learning what exactly the Kemonogami are.
This is one of the biggest changes to the Digimon formula, and one of the craziest interpretations on the original. I knew I wanted this game when it was first announced. That first trailer hooked me in. The tactical rpg elements were fairly new to me, as I’ve only played Fire Emblem Awakening, but I wanted to see this through. But, I didn’t see another trailer until I got it just 2 days ago and learned that it was a…visual novel?
Now, before you click off and think that I’m about to reviewbomb this game, just hear me out. People apparently didn’t watch the trailers, like me, and were disappointed with the fact that it’s a visual novel. So much so that people outright hate this game because of it. But not me. I was actually invested in the game because I learned of its genre on the spot. I don’t play many visual novel games because, from what I’ve seen, I thought I would have gotten bored of it. If I wanted to read a bunch of text with no other variety, I’d pick up a book. I read books to read and I play games to play. That’s the natural order of things! But, despite that, I kept an open mind. At least it gave me an excuse to try out a visual novel. What can I say except getting into it.
Now, this ain’t a full review. I ain’t finished yet, and I do not want to rush this game. I’m only discussing what I have played, which is about when you get to the school. Now, without out further adoooooo
This game is fucking amazing. I haven’t been this engaged in a game since Bioshock. Soooooo…2 months. The story is incredible. While you can tell which character is an archetype of one of the original kids, their character is so well-developed that you forget about it. I love all of the characters, especially Minomu. Dude’s got a vibe I can relate to. I also love that they went with Digimon partners that haven’t been used in the past…except Agumon. But at least Agumon has other evolutions besides the Greymon line, spicing up this roster a lot more. The mystery of the Kemonogami is really fascinating. I love how integral the Digimon have become in Japanese legend. Really lends to fantastic world building.
This game really is dark, but not because there’s a bunch of sex, or blood, or sex, or characters more emo than redditor, or sex. It’s a “mature” Digimon experience because it doesn’t cherry coat how much danger there is. I can’t wait to see my stupid my decisions lead to their deaths. Not only that, but everything is given this mysterious tone to it that keeps an air of tension as you play. I’m invested in the characters because all their worry, motivations, and decisions feel real. But it doesn’t dilute the soul that Digimon has. There are just enough light moments to remind you that this is a Digimon entry.
The battles are solid and my favorite part of the game. The best way to describe a tactical rpg is that it’s an rpg on a chess board. It may seem simple for a current gen game, if you’ve seen screenshots, but the character sprites are so well made that it does make up for the 60 dollar price point. Now, I’m very dumb. These games prove it. You gotta understand your units and place them in places in order to predict and prepare for what the enemy will do. I like the addition of how you face your Digimon at the end of the turn. You either predict well and the opponent attacks facing head on, or leave yourself defenseless when the enemy attacks from the side or back. God I hope Zanny plays this game. So many master flank jokes.
But, the recruitment method of getting Digimon is really funny. You talk to them and answer their questions based on their personality. If their vibe check goes off, you get a chance to recruit them, removing them from the battle entirely, or you get guaranteed items. I like this mechanic. the dialogue is unpredictable and genuinely funny at times. It’s very much like Undertale. Unfortunately, I’ve learned that Digimon are very linear with their questions. So the charm dies when you just click the same right answers. But, overall, a very solid rpg. Nothing too spectacular.
Unfortunately, all of that was almost ruined for me by the beginning of the game. Jesus Christ that went on for too damn long. It pretty much confirmed my fears that I’m just not into visual novels. Yes, the story got engaging once they get to the Digimon. And yes, I normally like the humble beginning before all hell breaks loose. But the visual novel aspect made what would have been a 5-minute moment in the story into a 2-hour snore. I remember leaning in the back of my couch, going through all the text thinking, “when are we getting to the Digimon?” I normally try to not have that kind of mindset, but this was the exception. I can’t deny how I felt.
This becomes the game’s detriment to me, because the first thing you do in the game is some visual novel and then a tutorial Digimon fight. It was an amazing moment that really set the tone, but the road to it again was boring. I knew the rpg mechanics were coming. I knew the Digimon were coming. But it takes too long to get to the point.
And when it finally gets to the point, when you finally get your first Digimon and get into the second fight, it’s more tutorials and hand holding. I understand the developers didn’t want the first 10 minutes being a tutorial of everything. RPGs have to be explained because of all its rules. Also, gamers are dumb. But for all of that waiting and dialogue, just be presented with that, really disappointed me. On top of that, every tutorial fight leads into long stretches of story. And then another tutorial fight. As my first verdict of a visual novel, this is padding. Great story, but the only break from it being a tutorial really sucks.
Of course, this could just be a first time thing. Maybe it’s not as bad when replaying since I won’t waste time checking everything. But as a first time into a visual novel, not the greatest impression.
I still love this game, I really do. I love the characters and the story about survival in a new world that may or may not be the Digital World. I wanna discover the deal with the Digimon, and why they’re so connected to this area of Japan. But without all of that, and had this not been a Digimon game or a good story, I would have dropped it. This is basically my first and last visual novel game because, quite frankly, I find this shit boring. At least the decisions are interesting and will apparently direct what evolution Digimon will have. I think. I’d research on that but then I’d risk spoilers. If you love visual novels, you’re gonna have a good time. I mean it. I’m not an authority of visual novels, but I think this one is worth it. Unless you despise RPGs. All in all, Digimon Survive is a tactical rpg visual novel that does its job well, and I appreciate how much it knows what it is. But I can’t say it’s for everyone. Which is a shame because this franchise could use a lot of love. Have you seen the new Bandai Vital Hero? The North American release barely has any Digimon on it. And I’ve seen news of Digimon Survive copies having shitty performances. Let me know in the comments. again, I’d search, but I’m really afraid of spoilers. It’s like Bandai’s ashamed of the franchise or something.
Even with my issues, Digimon Survive is a great step forward in the franchise and I hope Bandai gets out of this phase of self-hate so that it can flourish more. But hey, at least they didn’t turn Agumon into a bike. Insert Pokemon sucks meme. Insert into Agumon as-
I’ve been very negative with Kamen Rider lately that it’s time to be actually positive for a change. And very quickly because the topic of this post is getting vastly updated every day. I don’t want to get too much into Revice yet, since I’m not sure if I want it to make posts about it later on, but I’ve been enjoying the hell out of it. Amazing plot, complex characters, and familial love that is the heart of the show. I haven’t been this excited about Kamen Rider since Build. And what better way to crank out more excitement than with the newest rider for this year.
Kamen Rider Geats, because Shinobi was too good for us. Now, a lot of information has come out since the initial trademark. Far are we from the discussion that this would be based on Beowulf. But first, let me just say how hard this (original) poster slaps! Everything from Geats with that Faiz-like electricity around, to the neon lit buildings, to the fireworks like a parade going on, just pop out. For a first poster, it’s really gotten me interested.
And then the new one that just dropped, which is the same poster but with more riders edited in. And…we’re gonna get some weird looking rider heads this season. The more I look over this poster, the more this feels more like a typical live action-drama poster than a Kamen Rider one. Previous posters put more focus on the rider suits, so the background has little to no detail besides maybe a solid color. Look at Revice’s initial poster. It’s very abstract. Here, though Geats is front and center, there’s equal attention given to this street and the buildings surrounding the riders. The location is given more attention than usual, which makes me wonder why change the usual poster style.
After this, we got a story synopsis alongside the confirmation of his cameo in the Revice movie…plus some leaks. I could just give the synopsis for the show, but this is my blog! You can read the original synopsis on the Wiki page, so I’ll give my vastly superior version.
A Battle Royale Unlike Any Other Since Ryuki, Gaim, Ex-aid-
In a Japan, where the threat of the Jamato spreads, a game known as the “Desire Grand Prix” takes Korean poor people and masks them into “Kamen Riders” to protect the peace. Those who survive and win the game will have the ability to “create the ideal world they desire.” In other words, a world where the ATM is online 24/7 and young males stop going after lolis. In another other words, only true heroes will win.
One of these participants is Floating World Sound aka me getting canceled, a confident genius in Apex Legends and flossing who boldly states he’ll win at the end. As a participant, he becomes Kamen Rider Geats, the average american who uses a glock to get you to stop. For what ideal world he wants is yet to be seen, but hopefully it’s age appropriate..
The story of Geats is nothing the franchise hasn’t touched before. A rider war has become a staple by this point, and I wouldn’t be surprised if the only thing people know of this franchise is rider vs rider combat. I’m kind of tired of these. I feel like rider vs rider has become too formulaic at this point. The obvious cynical would say it’s to sell toys, and I agree. It comes across as an easy plot, so obvious in nature that no number of small changes fixes the same idea. I’m not saying rider wars are bad, but it’s become boring to me. According to an Oricon article, the concept behind Geats’ rider war was based on the popularity of Fortnite and Apex Legends. Now, I haven’t played the Fortnite cause the cringe prevented me. But, with the benefit of doubt, seeing how they take the mechanics of those games and applying it to Kamen Rider will be interesting to see. The prize also gives us so much potential for juicy character motivation. I can smell it.
Yuya Takashi returns as the head writer, who wrote Kamen Rider Ex-aid and Zero-One. I have my mixed feelings. I loved Ex-aid when it came out, even though most of this is just nostalgia cause I haven’t watched it in years. The goofiness was too much sometimes, but I remember it nailed the darker moments and managed to make how the riders work interesting while conforming to the typical toy formula. But, I did feel like Yuya and the writing team dropped the ball with Zero-One. The worldbuilding was all over the place, the tension was non-existent, and they really screwed the main character over. I’m excluding what happened in the last part since they did have covid to worry about, so a lot of this revolves around the first two arcs and the finale. I’m hoping Yuya and his team, whoever they are, have found their stride with the franchise.
Originally, I was only gonna talk about the one form announced, but so many magazine scans came out while writing this post that I have to constantly change it. We got a look at Geats as a whole and it’s a lot to take in. The most consistent feature is his kitsune mask, which is Geats’ defining feature among all the riders. I had to get used to it the first time I saw it. My main nitpick is that it looks too much like Revi’s mask. The fox ears are way to much like Revi’s exaggerated eyes. Geats didn’t look like our 2022 rider. He looked like a Revice movie rider. Hell, because he’s on one of the Revice movie posters, I thought he was gonna be a secret evil rider. But no. This is our main rider. Over the last few weeks, though, I’ve grown to accept it for what it is. Still not a fan but it’s a small problem.
The rest of Geats is absolutely weird. So, his base suit, called the Entry Form, is nothing. It’s a fully black jumpsuit with the only notable thing, besides the mask, is this silver cross section thing that splits his torso and legs where the belt, called the Desire Driver, is. This is where the gimmick comes in, called Raise Buckles. He’s like Double and Build where gimmick items are reflected in only one half of the body. However, Geats’ whole stick is that it’s the torso and legs that are split and not one half of the body vertically. He’s basically OOOs in that regard. For example, in the picture above, the silver body is “magnum” while the legs are “boost.” Unlike Build or Double, he doesn’t need both of them to transform. In leaked footage of his appearance in the movie, Geats only transformed into his Magnum form before adding Boost later. In new shots from a toy magazine, Geats is shown with a new form called “water,” that is shown only on his torso, and he’ll also get forms called “arrow” and “hammer”.
Before I talk about how the driver works, it looks too much like the Zero One Driver. I mean look at the two pictures, you can’t unsee it. But I’m not mad. At least they stole from a good driver. You know, from themselves. Sleek and badass looking, almost like the Tesla of drivers. The Desire Driver looks premium, really fitting with the futuristic look of the poster. Now, the information we got was how the hell the Desire Driver works. I read an earlier rumor that stated the driver will change plates similar to the Sengoku Driver. Well, that seems to be true. The rider symbol in the middle is a small chip that you can take out. We actually got a look at a new rider in the future, who looks to have a purple bull theme. The driver’s circle not being as complete as the Zero-One driver is because some raise buckles fill up the detail and are detachable. Strangely, only some buckles do this. Others like the hammer and water buckles are smaller. Finally, it was revealed that the entire front of the belt can rotate like the Ziku Driver. Which means, for the first time, one of the gimmick items that is one part of a whole isn’t limited to one side. Boost may have been shown for the legs, but newer pictures show it as torso armor. Jesus, this is one of most advanced Drivers in the franchise. I can’t wait for the budget to dip by episode 23.
Finally, the henshin sounds revealed by…leaks. I was never gonna escape them. What I heard was something I’ve been wanting for so long. Simplicity. No long as standbys, no long ass jingles that border on songs, and no exaggerated voices (although I do get it’s for the target audience: kids). After Saber, the fun of long henshin jingles died for me. I wanted something like the early heisei series. Henshins that got right to the point, sounds that actually make sense in universe, but were still had that Toku flair to not be border line “realistic.” God that phrase has lost meaning. Just enough of a grounded feel. And Geats delivers. The voices they got are robotic and threatening. The delivery of noises and phrases get to the point. All the henshin says is, “Magnum. Ready? Fight!” That’s it, and I love it. The driver sounds like fighting game announcers, which I guess makes sense for the theme of the show. Gives an in-universe reason for existing. Fans do love the longer, more exaggerated henshins the series is known for. But for me, Toei ran it to the ground. Seriously, Xross Saber is a fucking song. Geats’ driver noises fit the darker tone we’re getting with this series, and I appreciate that.
Jeez that’s a lot to take in. And I’m alright with a majority of it.
I love Magnum Boost, and I’m guessing every combo form, because it looks the most complete. I also love the bulky proportions. I like my riders thicc. Despite appearing to be another animal based rider, he’s more mechanical in design like Faiz or Drive. Diminishes the fox motif but I’m fine with that. We’ve had so many animals riders in the past 3 seasons that I’m fine with an abstract based rider. The colors are also striking. The white, or silver, mixed with the red gives off a vehicle look. Which makes sense since this form is based on a gun and a motorcycle. Dude got so mad at the restricted japanese laws on custom bikes that he decided to wear the thing. Also insert joke about using his second amendment right. Insert into monster’s cranium. This a really good looking base form. Very simple but executed in the right way. This guy leaves an impression.
Unfortunately, every other form sucks. We’ve had a lot of “blank” forms in the franchise. Their barely seen, only shown once on their own before being reduced to the midway to the real form. But Entry Form Geats is the worst one. Other blank forms like Gaim’s and Den-O’s are still bare bones, but they’re still recognizable and have their own identity. Entry form doesn’t have that. It looks like a Rider grunt, which are usually made to be as basic and forgettable as possible. These guys aren’t meant to last…unless you’re the Revice Demons Corps. Why are they a thing again? I understand why the Entry form was designed like this, as it’s easy for the suit designers to switch around the auxiliary form parts. But the Entry Form feels too basic that it makes forms like Leg Boost (the one where only the legs have armor) come across as cheap and lazy.
Because of the entry form’s lazy look, it makes the half forms also appear unfinished. Especially the recently revealed Water Form and Hammer Form. This seriously cannot be the finished product. Now, because it may come up in later retrospectives…possibly, I have no issue with auxiliary forms that are just add-ons. They aren’t fully different forms, so they have more uses without having to destroy the show’s budget. Fourze did this well, showing off all the ways the Astroswitches can be used and combined throughout the entire season rather than shoving them in the first 10 episodes and never bringing them back. Geats ain’t this. The astroswitches add on to an already finished design, while the raise buckles forms come across as trying to compensate for a half-finished figure.
Hell, the water form spraygun is just a retool from Kamen Rider Build’s firetruck form just painted from white to sky blue. WHAT!? Which leaves a lot of questions as to why they need to do a retool so early. I mean if they feel like that was the best aerial ladder prop they’ve made then I guess retooling it is fine. Not saying they shouldn’t use their previous assets since these shows don’t have the biggest of budgets. It doesn’t even look that bad by all means. But it does leave a bad impression when seasonal fans know retools and repaints are usually reserved for later in the season and in the movies.
Whatever the case, while I love Magnum Boost and the bulkier design aesthetic we’re presented, the entry forms and half forms leave a lot to be desired and almost border on cheap. Hopefully, watching the show may change my view. If this is Geats’ entry form, I can’t imagine-oh, I think every rider is gonna share it. Oh dear lord…
Geats is an exciting next step for Kamen Rider, even with my gripes. The early heisei call backs, the survival game’s potential for more darker moments, and the driver’s more serious tone makes me look forward to what’s to come. Hopefully, Bandai doesn’t lose their damn mind and make half of the belts premium bandai. Can we all agree that Bandai doing that to Revice’s drivers is one of the weirdest moves they’ve done. I mean, could you imagine being a kid and loving riders like Aguilera and Demons, only for their belts to be limited run on a website. Parents must have been annoyed at their kids raging on about the newest belt being a limited item around 47 bucks that has to be pre-ordered or else they wouldn’t get it. Bandai have a real sick sense of humor. Like sure you get a shit ton of money, but you don’t have to waggle that in our faces while you make us pay for barely repainted mobile suits or Kamen Rider items that should have been retail. That’s not even counting the shipping. I mean what kind of jackass does that-
I… got off topic. I’ll go now and watch more reveals age this post. Good bye and have a good day.
The Real Grade line, released in 2010 for the 30th anniversary of the franchise and to also celebrate how much plastic they’ve sold over that time. No wonder they’re going eggshell. The line is a combination of the main 3 grades of Gunpla: being 1/144 scale like high grades, having an inner frame like master grades, and impeccable detail like perfect grades. They’re meant to showcase what a Mobile Suit would look like in real life, and by Mobile Suit I mean Gundams…and maybe a Zgok. Don’t ever expect a real grade Gogg and don’t come back to this post 20 years later like, “they finally released the random Zeon or Zaft suit I like as a real grade. You’re dumb Samuel.” If they made a real grade of a Seed suit 20 years from now, that means they ran out of ideas. That’s not an honor, that’s a sad state of affairs.
Panels, barely any stickers, dedicated decals (sold separately), moving parts…everything to make you question how so much is in a small package. Unless you’re the Hi-Nu which is a behemoth. Nowadays, the line has expanded to other mecha anime such as Jobby’s favorite depression Evangelion and the Gaogaigar, scheduled to be released later this year. I’ve never watched the Brave series, but I will get this son of a bitch.
But who cares about the general shit, I want to talk about the kit! The Gundam Mk-2 RG came out in 2012, all 2 of them. The Titans Colors Version came out in April while the AEUG version came out a month later. I got the AEUG colors in February because it was the only one in the store at the time. It was my birthday and I was watching Zeta Gundam at the time, so I decided to treat myself to my first real grade. I love the Mk-2, being such an improvement over the RX-78 with a nice bulky form and a color scheme perfect for the franchise’s grounded tone.
The build of the figure was impressive and annoying at the same time. Building that pre-molded frame didn’t take too long, but the outer armor required a ton of clean up. Building on the armor up and seeing it go from a skeleton to a fully formed robot was a sight to behold. All the mechanical detail and the way parts move on their own from movement was magnificent. But fuck the pipes. This kit decided to add a bendy wire and a fabric tube to make some tubing that goes on the legs and backpack. Now, honestly, I’m really dumb. I tried cutting them to scale with my own ruler, but I was always either barely short or barely long. My dumb brain didn’t think to use the ruler on the instructions itself. Either way, many of the pipes are obscured anyway by outer armor, so you could just skip them honestly.
Besides the figure, you get a bunch of weapons. You get the beam rifle and the Hyper Bazooka, which both clip into both trigger finger hands. The Bazooka, being bigger than the rifle, rests over the shoulder. Just rests. It doesn’t clip in, which means it doesn’t restrict the arm possibility. You get shield, which can plug into the back of the arms. It can also collapse to make it smaller. There’s also the Vulcon pod, an external Vulcan attached to the head because they couldn’t fit the standard Gundam Vulcans due to an enlarged co-processor. I guess it really isn’t much of a MK-2. Finally, there’s the light- I mean beam sabers, which the hilts plug onto the backpack. You’re meant to plug the hilts into the included possible hands, but they’re bad. I’ll get into more detail later, but the trigger hands are more structurally sound for the hilts. Yes, it’ll look weird because one finger is away from the hilt, but least it’s manageable to work with. You also get extra ammo cartridges for both guns. When not in use, you can store all the weapons onto the figure for maximum weapon storage. The bazooka clips onto the butt by flipping out a panel. The bazooka cartridge and the beam rifle clip on the side waist panels. But, I must warn you that the beam rifle storage isn’t the best. The peg on the rifle is located too far down the back of the gun, so it’ll always get in the way of posing. It also limits the articulation of the side panel, so too much will pop it out.
The final accessory is a tiny figure. Now, the box and manual refer to it as Kamille, but it’s so generic looking that you can make it Emma Sheen if you want. Although it can’t plug into any of the hands, you can position it just enough for the Mk-2 to hold them. That’s cool in of itself, but the best part is that the cockpit section can open up so you can simulate the pilot about to get in. Unfortunately, you can’t actually put the figure in the cockpit. Which sucks since only the early rgs had a molded in cockpit, as they got rid of that for modern releases. I honestly suggest getting some kind of hangar set with railing so you have a more secure place for the figure. Anything else, even in the hand, and you may end up losing the figure. It’s also a smol boy, so I predict putting it in a bag make break it. So good luck with that.
Articulation is great, but not perfect. You get a head swivel on the ball joint, but the antenna of the Vulcan pod can get in the way. Also, because of gravity (I think?), the head has a hard time staying in position before moving back to facing forward. I ended up having to put a thin layer of super glue to give better friction. The arms can rotate a full 360 on a peg and move out, but there is no butterfly joint. Not bad, but it does limit holding the bazooka with the other arm. There is a limited waist swivel, which suffers the same problem as the head. Both issues may be just me and my building skills but get ready to customize to fix it. The legs have a beautiful…I was gonna say spread but that’s a Jobby thing. I think I’ll call it mansplaining. Both legs have two points of bend, which moves parts to reveal the internal frame. Finally, the feet are on a ball joint with a poor ankle tilt but does have a toe bend both ways.
Poseability is considerably solid for an early real grade. Yes, it’s time for the dreaded talk of early real grade syndrome. As mentioned, real grades used to have pre-molded inner frames until the release of the real grade Unicorn. And, just like a good set of cheeks on your face, they sag overtime. I’m not exactly sure what causes it; whether it be the out armor putting on weight or just the stability of the material. Whatever’s the cause, it leads to it having a hard time keeping a pose. Luckily, the Mk-2 is strangely the most stable out of the early real grades meaning that, as long as you’re careful, your mk-2 should not sag. I was not. The right arm and leg sag only a little, shifting in certain positions. The worst has to be the shield. Only Bandai can tell me why they thought making the whole skeleton of the shield a pre-molded frame would be a good idea. It causes the syndrome to happen faster since it’s an accessory you’ll be angling the most, so too much gravity will cause the shield to flip over. I have to have the shield laying on the chest because any other position will cause me to have a hernia. Although Mk-ii is hailed as the most stable real grade of its time, it’s best to limit posing for once a month to prevent it becoming wobbly.
Now, here is it next a bunch of figures because I don’t have a proper scaling system.
Here the Mk-2 is next to the legends-sorry, core class Iguanas. Now, you might be seeing this and proclaiming statements like, “Samuel, I can’t believe you didn’t take the opportunity to have the Gundam ride Iguanas’ bike mode! I can’t believe you didn’t think of the obvious joke!” Come on guys, the Mk-2 is clearly taller and bigger than him. It’ll look awkward. It’ll look stupid, and, most importantly, it falling onto my hard stone floor would be the worst mistake. Do you really want that from me-
I was not expecting the process of taking this photo to be as satisfying as I thought. I was expecting a bad time where it would fall too much, and I’d have to keep it stable long enough for the phone camera to take the pic. But the Gundam Mk-2 actually slid onto Iguanas with a weird feeling of fluidity. Like it was made to ride Iguanas. Plus, there wasn’t a lot of clearance issues for the legs to bend upwards. Best part was it stood up without much support besides the Gundam’s feet which I guess is due to how little heft the model kit has. This is adorable; I love it! If only the ball joint on my Iguanas didn’t break minutes before this shoot.
Here the Gundam is next to its AEUG brother HGUC Hyaku Shiki and the EG Nu Gundam. Not every 1/144 scale model is the same. Look at Shiki being the middle child.
Next to the Voyager Titans Return Megatron and Voyager Siege Optimus Prime, embodying their relationship.
Finally, next to the Leader Class Kingdom Beast Wars Megatron. Jesus, that was a long title.
The Real Grade Gundam Mk-ii, as you get from the box, is an impressive kit that’s fun to build and is the most solid out of its early real grade brethren. Great possibility, all the right accessories, and a presence that’ll stand out on your shelf. Unless you’re a veteran gunpla builder, where your entire shelf is filled with the tears of your wallet. But when you put the time to decal (or use the sticker decals), paint, and topcoat, it’ll go from a slight redesigned version of the animation look to heavily detailed real robot. Absolutely embodies the idea of a Gundam being in the real world. If any Gundam was gonna be made, I see the Mk-ii or an inspired design as the first. With everything I’ve said in this review, I highly recommend buying the Titans versions.
I don’t care if I just reviewed the AEUG color one. That Titan navy blue be bitchin.
The legendary entry in the Pokemon franchise. The game that refined the idea of a 3rd complete version. The game that introduced the mother fucking Battle Frontier!
I never played it.
Now now, just give me a break. This game is around 200 bucks on ebay…and that’s not even getting into it being fake. Be real with yourself. It’s a fake. You spent your rent on a fake game.
Coming out in 2004 as the final and refined addition to the 3rd generation of Pokemon, Gamefreak took Ruby and Sapphire and smushed them to sell them again…I mean make you pay for overpriced DLC…I mean sell you definitive version. Or an advanced Sapphire. I’ll prove that hot take later. This is a game that, in my opinion, deserves retreading, especially if you haven’t played an older style Pokemon game before. If you’re an older fan and played it before, I don’t know what to tell you. It’s your money. Or your stolen product. I’ll never tell.
Generation 3 stands in a weird place for me as a Pokemon fan. It was my introduction to the franchise, through the anime and playing my brother’s copies, but I never truly played through the games. Generation 4 would be where I started playing the games, with my first being Diamond. Generation 3 was actually the only generation where I haven’t played through a single game for years. I may have played Omega Ruby, but they don’t count as they are Generation 6 games. I was also watching Morbius, so you know I have no free time or maidens. To play Emerald after so many years feels like everything is coming full circle. Like the end of a character arc, where the main character comes home only much stronger. You know, an ego stroke. With two hands. Maybe a third…oooooohhhh.
With all the games I’ve played, how does Emerald hold up? Was it good? Was it bad? Was it ehh? This isn’t gonna be a deep dive like, say, KingK’s video or even my own Saber post. More a chill look at the past.
But first, I want to get into the team I made for this playthrough.
When it came to teambuilding, I always went with the designs I liked the most over actual strategy, with the only rule being no redos. But for Emerald, I took a page out of KingK and experiment with actual strategic thought through research and Pokemon Showdown. However, what I didn’t expect was how much thought I did have to put into it and how much reward I got from it.
The main thing I had to consider was how types worked. Back in the day, if you didn’t know, Pokemon moves weren’t as complex as they are now. From generation 1 to 3, attack moves were either special or physical based on their type. For example, all normal, bug, and ghost moves were physical while all water, fire, and grass moves were special. This would be changed in Generation 4, where the physical special split occurred. Now any move of any type could be either or. I’m used to it since I played Red, Blue, and Yellow twice (don’t ask why), but I still have to remind myself when returning to these older games.
With the lack of the physical special split in this case, teambuilding wasn’t as easy. A lot of Pokemon back then sucked because of this, like Sneasal and Rapidash, so making a balanced team means researching their stats and deciding which is the most optimized for their type. In a way, it goes against the mantra of “using your favorite Pokémon.” Then again, breeding Pokémon for perfect ivs is just a naturally fucked up message that’s still a mechanic today so who cares. I actually liked the challenge of meticulously choosing what Pokémon I wanted to use for my team. I personally liked the challenge presented here because I could better connect with the team I put thought into. However, I understand the flaws of making some Pokémon inherently obsolete. It causes dissonance with the anime’s message of “use your favorite” and it makes it hard for people to use their favorite Pokemon if its stats don’t agree with its type.
Anyway, this was the team that I went with. My focus was a rain team in honor of the mechanics introduction here. Plus, I like water types over fire types.
Skipper The Swampert
Do you like Mudkip? Axelotctl are in style right now, and I’m a trend seeker. I had used Sceptile in Omega Ruby but I wasn’t very interested in Blaziken, so I chose Swampert because it was my second favorite designed starter evolution. I named him Skipper for two reasons. One, skipper is a common nickname of ship captains on the sea and, two, Generation 3 was a generation of games I skipped.
As a Quirky water and ground type, Skipper served as my bulky rain dance setter. With only grass as a 2x weakness, and a decent amount of bulk, Swampert tanked a lot of hits. Strangely more than my actually dedicated tanks. Crappy part is that he didn’t get Rain Dance until after the 7th gym so my rain team barely got to be a rain team. I gave him Protect to scout out opponents moves, though I didn’t really use it that much. I basically overestimated the difficulty of a Pokémon game. Despite his defenses, Skipper was also a powerhouse. With rain dance and a sea incense, Skipper dealt huge water damage with his great special attack. Which is why I chose Waterfall over Hydro Pump. With 130 physical attack, Skipper also dealt huge Ground damage with moves like Mud Shot and Earthquake. Although he didn’t have a lot of good type coverage and didn’t get a lot of chances to sing in the rain, Skipper was an amazing team member and one of my favorite starters in 13 years.
Esmerelda the Ludicolo
When it came to a rain dance team, a Pokemon with an ability that benefits from it is necessary. Abilities exist like Rain Dish, but I wanted Swift Swin to utilize its speed boost. Problem was who to choose, as many are pure water. The best one I found was Ludicolo, who’s Grass typing helped with type coverage and benefited from the reduced fire damage. She also gave some choice when it comes to building her, as she can either be a wall or a cannon. With Rain Dish and Swift Swim at her disposal, and based on the Kappa of Japanese culture, Ludicolo was a fantastic member for a rain team. I ended up focusing on making this Gentle soul a special attacking cannon while finding a nature best suited for its high special defense. Basically, a mix of both her options.
All of Esmerelda’s moves focused on high damage and type coverage. Ice beam for dragon and flying types, Giga drain for other water types with a little health recovery, and Surf for rock, fire, and ground types. Also surf because I needed to traverse the water routes. The final move was Toxic, so that I could deal chip damage in case Esmerald went down. Honestly, Toxic wasn’t that useful and there wasn’t a lot of times when I needed it. Swift Swim’s speed boost made up for her slow speed, so she would hit hard and fast. Esmeralda did have Fake Out at one point, but I ended up replacing it with Ice beam because my Dragon type sucks at defeating Dragon types. Although I didn’t have Rain Dance for a long while, Esmerelda was an irreplaceable member of the team.
On a side note, while Esmerelda was fantastic as a Ludicolo… fucking hell, good luck with raising one. You don’t get a water stone till you get access to surf, so you’re stuck with a Lombre until after the 5th gym. This wouldn’t have been so bad if Lombre had water attacks to use…but to my surprise, that’s asking for a lot. Lombre learns no water moves until lv 47, being Hydro Pump (which Ludicolo can’t learn for some reason), and the only grass move it gets is Absorb. So, it’s okay for the rock gym, useless for the fighting gym, useless for the electric gym, and useless for the fire gym. Great job Gamefreak, you made a water type useless against a fire type. I had a hard time with Esmerelda because of her lack of good moves besides Secret Power and Fake Out. I love her. I respect her. But never again.
Isekai the Slaking
Roses are red, better get some luck, because this sloth hits like a truck. And where you’re going ain’t filled with big titty women, but the glutes of Valkryie women which will only turn on half of you. I chose Slaking because I wanted a powerhouse and was inspired by Chuggaconroy to use him. Slaking is a very gimmicky Pokémon because, in its base and final form, it can only use moves every other turn due to its ability Truant. Vigoroth doesn’t suffer this, but don’t get used to it. And you don’t want to.
Isekai, despite this set back, was a Jolly nuke with raw power. A powerful physical attacker with a scary base attack of 160 and all the type coverage he needs to put other mons on the extinction list! Earthquake for the bulky types like Rock and Steel. Shadow Ball to join Godzilla in his crusade through hell. Brick Break for other normal types. Finally, Hyper Beam. A normal move that takes advantage of the Truant ability to commit war crimes. With this move, I actually used Slaking sparingly because I wanted to use him on the bulkiest Pokémon of the bosses. Isekai just one shot everything if given the chance. An absolutely broken mon when used right. How is he based of a Sloth?
Zaku the Dusclops
What’s a bulky girl without being named after cannon fodder? So, Dusclops was a very different Pokemon for me, and I want to do it again. I chose Dusclops because I’ve always to use one in a team, but also because of its balanced defenses. Originally, it was gonna be a Substitute tank that would use Will-o-Wisp to cripple physical attackers and use set damage moves like Night Shade to deal damage based on her level. For a while, that was the plan.
And then this happened.
Curse was an absolute unit of a move! Zaku went from being a substitute tank to a tank that’ll curse at you. To those who haven’t used it, Curse is a weird move as it was a ??? type back then. Any mon that uses it and isn’t a ghost type would get a boost in attack and defense but would lower speed. For ghost types, they…hurt themselves to afflict a status ailment? Okay.
You might think Curse on a non-ghost type is the better option, and I thought that for so many years. But Curse is a gimmick that’s a really good one. The reason I barely used Esemeralda’s Toxic was because of Curse. Sure, it doesn’t increase in chip damage, but it can hit every Pokemon type. Curse is also not healed by opponents using full restores, so the elite four and champion can’t remove it with their spamming bullshit. The other thing made Dusclops my favorite little Impish mon was the synergy I found with the team. When the opponent sent their strongest Pokémon, I had Zaku use Curse. Then I send in the others to either take the chip damage as an opportunity to take them down in one swoop to avoid them being healed or set up status moves to benefit the team or themselves. With Zaku’s curse, Champion Wallace didn’t get to use any of his full restores because all his Pokémon were either one shot by Slaking, had lost enough health for one of my other mons to faint them, or survived at the red but Curse finished them off. He almost did with Whishcash, but he wasted a move because he previously used Hyper Beam.
At the end of the playthrough, Zaku ended being my favorite mon in a long while. It’s the beauty of Pokemon. Just because a strategy looks stupid doesn’t mean it doesn’t have value. Watch Tempt on YouTube, who’s a master at this kind of strategy. What surprised me was that Dusclops is considered amazing because of the eviolite from Gen 5, so to love it before that was available is an incredible feeling. If I had a personal Pokemon hall of fame, she deserved to be in it the most.
Naydra the Altaria
A beautiful, majestic mon who ended up being my weak link. Admittedly, through every team revision and battle in Showdown, Altaria never fit the team well. Although Altaria should work as a mixed attacker, with the physical flying and special dragon type, it honestly works better as a physical sweeper since it has access to Dragon Dance. It’s made worse when many of the moves/TMs that would make it great, like Earthquake, were to be given to my other mons in the game. I tried a heal bell set, but I learned Altaria only learns Heal Bell through the side game Pokemon XD. After a while, it just became a hassle. You may say I should have gone for Salamence, but I already used one in Omega Ruby and I try to use different mons every playthrough. Flygon might have worked, but I feel as though that mon fits with a Sand Team better. At the end of the day, Altaria was a hard fit.
In game, Altaria didn’t fare any better. Aerial Ace and Dragon Breath work as good attacks, but Dragon Dance only benefitted one. It’s hard to describe, but it didn’t feel fluid in every battle. The other team members had this fluidity with their moves, where no move compromised the other in any way. It was like being in a zone. Altaria’s move set was It makes me not want to use Dragon Breath since it doesn’t utilize the boosted attack. But so many moments call for it rather than Aerial Ace. The final move was Sing, which ended up being a double edge sword. Although sleep is a useful status effect in general, the move’s low accuracy meant Naydra was left off-guard a lot. Sleep is also random as the Pokemon could wake up at the very next turn, so it felt very useless compared to Curse or Paralysis. Worst of all, Naydra doesn’t have great defenses, so being off-guard with a powerful boss mon that I really wanted to sleep could potentially become an unnecessary sacrifice.
I really should have switched up movesets and not have forced this, but with TMs not reusable it was hard to experiment with something new. That’s a small issue I have with the game; TMs are breakable. It’s why Pokemon Showdown was rewarding, since I knew what TMs I was going to use before starting up the game. But when something didn’t work, I hesistated because using any TM meant it was gone forever and many were either hard to get multiples of or no multiples existed in the game. I thought that having limited TMs would have made the game harder, but it ended up making it more frustrating. All in all, a mixed attacker just didn’t work at the end, and Naydra’s use during the elite four was minimal. Cannon Fodder in some moments. It’s sad to say, but this majestic but Lonely chicken dragon ended up being an outlier to the team’s synergy. Every occasion just wasn’t an opportunity to switch into Naydra because every other mon was a better switch in. That’s the worst thing to happen with a team member.
Amateratsu the Manectric
Yes, I named the electric type of my rain team after a Sun god. Amateratsu was something different for me, as it was the first time I ever bred for a permanent party member. Manectric is a good mon, but its main drawback is poor type coverage. They have not improved this…(checks Serebii) oh, okay it’s improved a little better. As a shitty competitive veteran, I would classify Manetric as a “hidden power cripple,” as its type coverage is so bad that it needs Hidden Power to make up for it. Some mons could have Hidden Power, like I’ve seen on some Celebi sets from this generation, but Manetric NEEDS it. Unfortunately, Hidden Power requires precise breeding as Hidden Power is tied to IVs. I can go on about how ridiculously tedious and dumb this mechanic is, but we’d be here for longer than necessary.
So, what did I breed for? Well, although Manetric learns bite, it can’t learn Crunch naturally. Yes, this dog needed to be bred to know how to bite down harder…ladies?
So, I caught and raised a Poocheyena to level 40 so that it could learn Crunch, then have it do the giggity giggity with a caught Eletrike. Now, by raise, I mean I dropped it at the daycare…like a…responsible parent who can’t raise their child? Yeah, let’s go with that. It may seem tedious to do all of this for one move, but it really made the difference. It felt like a necessary move for a mon with such low type coverage.
Besides Crunch, I gave Amateratsu Thunder so it had a benefit from rain turning it into a 100% accurate move. Funnily enough, despite not always using rain dance, Thunder’s hit rate was surprisingly consistent for a 70% accurate move. Not a focus miss at all. The next move was Thunder Wave for 100% paralysis. Fun fact, back before Generation 4, Thunder Wave could hit electric types no problem so they weren’t immune to paralysis. Combined with Static, as Lightening Rod wasn’t as effective in gen 3, Amateratsu paralyzed a lot of opponents frequently. Finally, because I wasn’t bothering with Hidden Power, I gave it Quick Attack as a priority move in case the opponent lived and was faster. Not the most used, but it fit its situational role well when given the chance. Amateratsu was a decent but viable member of the team, making use of what she had despite the setbacks.
Overall, I really liked this team. Balanced with the benefit of rain, checking for each encounter I could come against, they definitely one of my favorites due to how much work I put into it. A lot more than teams in the past. Maybe I could have used the mons I wanted the most, like Flygon or Aggron. But these mons pulled their own and delivered some of my favorite moments in Pokémon.
The Story: You’re Parents During Divorce
The A story of Emerald is about as simple as you can get. Not bad, but there is some mud in the waters. You play as <INSERT NAME> moving from <INSERT REGION> to the lush environment of Hoenn due to your father, Norman Dafoe, becoming a local gym leader. You meet your neighbor, May beline or Brendan Mahire, and you watch the local professor get harassed by a walking prostate exam. Look at Zigzagoon. So, to save his ass, you gotta pick from 3 starter Pokémon. Treeko Opeko, the green one known for confusing Ash on its type, Mudkip Pie, the blue one that will point a gun at you while asking if you love him (so a typical Gen-Z kid), and White Torchic, the red one that’ll visit Buffalo Wild Wings soon. With your buddy by your side, you travel around the Hoenn region catching, battling, and winning your way to the top. Emphasis on winning.
I thought this A story was the height of the game. Traveling around the really beautiful sprite work of the Hoenn region was an amazing experience. Although not every trainer fight was difficult or fun, I still had a few surprises. The bosses were where it’s at. Flannery’s Torkoal surprisingly took me off guard. Before, I thought nothing of Torkoal. It was just one of “those Pokémon;” the kind you don’t find too interesting so anyone who asks you about it you usually respond with “oh yeah, that was a Pokemon.” How naïve I was. Anyone who’s a Torkoal fan, I have respect for your favorite mon. I must also ask if your into women like Revy from Black Lagoon or Lady Dimitri from Resident Evil 8?
The issue I had with A story was the characters. This was early Pokémon, so I didn’t know what to expect. A lot of the characters are, what I’ll term, a “consistent dopamine rush.” Barely any of the major challenges you on a character level. You’re barely faced by someone who questions you, who challenges you, or anyone grounded enough to ask if you’re ready. Everyone just believes you’re a great trainer who’ll beat the champion. Steven, your rival, the gym leaders, the professor, and even the damn champion himself. It’s overly nice. The only people who even bring you downs are some random trainers, but they’re so far between. You’re basically the second coming of Christ. Everyone complains about the new game’s rivals being bottom beds. This whole game is a bottom bed.
May, I will say, is a bit arguable because she’s kind of a passive aggressive asshole. Blue was at least open about it, and even proved he was better. And Silver was just a poorly written jerk, but at least he was open about it. May won’t say it, but she knows she’s better. This girl, despite getting her ass handed to her, had the gall to say you’re doing all of this preparation and battling because you’re afraid of her. She even ended the conversation by challenging your dad, as if you ain’t on her level. This bitch even beat the entire elite four just to give me advice on how to beat the Champion. Gotta say, we need more rivals like this. Passive aggressive dicks who act like they care but really think they’re superior.
Even then, that’s my interpretation of the rival. People could also take them as a caring person who wants the best for them. In that perspective, they’re a friendly rival in a game that’s overall friendly. Besides the evil team, this story was very anti-conflict and got really boring.
B story is the one involving gods, realized legends, political arrest, and the awakening of Jesus Christ the Dragon. The evil team, this time, came in a bundle of two as Ruby and Sapphire really wanted to expand on the idea of two versions. Team Magma and Team Aqua, who try to summon the Legendary Pokémon of their choosing, Groudon and Kyorge, to expand the land and rise the seas. All of this for the benefit of Humans and Pokémon, making them more as antagonists with well intentions. Man, imagine being a fan since Gen 1 or Gen 2 around the beginning of Gen 3. Going from evil teams who caught and stole Pokémon for profit to “evil” teams trying to summon deities in order to progress climate change for our benefit. Everything ends when you, the independent, finding the the 3rd Titan, Rayquaza, in order to quell both beasts when they go on a rampage.
Team Magma and Team Aqua were perfect antagonists for this story…in concept. Hoenn took the harmony of Pokémon and People to its fullest, creating an ecological masterpiece that we, today, are still trying to achieve. People protecting the land for Pokémon’s benefit, which in turn protect us. Both teams wanted to protect and expand this world, with no intention of disrupting it. But they do. Magma’s extreme view that land is most required and Aqua’s view that the sea is most required ended up disrupting the balance established. They wanted to destroy in order to create. But both the land and sea are needed, but they were so blind to their ideology that they unintentionally caused ultimate destruction where no creation is left. Their self-righteousness’ will end up destroying both Pokémon and People. A hard lesson that we, unfortunately, haven’t learned.
Unfortunately, both teams were not treated equally in the story. The reason I called Emerald an updated Sapphire is because Team Aqua was made into a more threatening antagonist for eco-terrorists, story wise. Despite their inclusion, Team Magama felt like a secondary antagonist due to how many more times you stop Magma’s boss over Aqua’s. Maxie and his team are made an absolute joke. Despite being the big boss of eco-terrorists, Maxie’s beaten 3 times over the course of the game. I get level scaling, so you’re not curb stomped, but it made no sense for a Pokémon team boss to have a level 25 Camurupt? Like why stoop to a twelve-year old’s level; you’re trying to blow up a fucking volcano. His plans are stopped twice before Aqua.
The part that made me think Magma was more of an afterthought is what happens when they failed at controlling Groudon. After the beast escapes them, you’d think they would go and find it. But, instead, they decided to go to a random space center to steal some rocket fuel so they can use it to erupt the volcano. You know, cause the best way to expand the land for people and Pokémon’s benefit is to erupt a volcano that’ll kill the surrounding people and Pokémon. Great consistency. I mean, how the hell do you lose a Pokémon the size of Godzilla!? And then, when Maxie’s plan failed again, he was all like, “oh maybe I’m wrong. Okay I’m good.” As someone who’s played Omega Ruby, they really dumbified Team Magma in this game.
But all that SHIT can go because Team Aqua is the bomb. They got the good end of the stick. Not only does Team Aqua succeed more, stealing a completed submarine even if the subplot for that was a bit stupid, but also Archie is only fought right before he summons Kyorge. Basically, at the end. Archie, to me, was the true antagonist of the game. Unlike Maxie, who’s immediately hostile to you, Archie questions whose side are you on with a gentler tone. Now, this is my interpretation, but I think the player unintentionally help Archie by taking down Team Magma, which allowed him to succeed with his plan. Archie’s placement as the “final” boss of this story had greater build up, which made his fight all the more satisfying, even if his Pokémon team sucked. Seriously, although my own post is invalidated due to my flawed interpretation of the character, you can’t deny his team is terrible. It’s only 3 Pokémon and there’s no strategy to it. Great antagonist, terrible fight.
Unfortunately, the story took a nosedive right when the beasts get released. After summoning Kyorge, Archie became distressed because, and I’m not kidding, it was raining too much.
It’s raining too much…it’s raining too much…
Oh yeah, sure. Let’s ignore the fact that the sky is both stormy and blazing hot at the same time. Glad we’re seeing it your way! I understand the message that they’re meant to realize they’ve taken things too far, but hinging that on too much rain makes Archie look dumb. Witnessing it first hand, it felt like the dumbest choice they could have gone for.
The actual change to the overworld was at least pretty sweet. Seeing the environment change between too much rain and too much sun back-to-back really sold the crisis of the situation. One of the coolest things about early legendaries was that you weren’t given everything about the legends. Were just creating the land and sea the only power Groudon and Kyorge held, or was there more? Were they nothing but doomsday Pokémon that had to be quelled by Rayquaza? Maybe the legends were true? That sense of mystery really sold the threat Groudon and Kyorge present. No one knows if the legends really are accurate so, as the first Pokémon in the series like this, to see it before their very eyes brings a level of dread that we don’t see often in Pokémon anymore.
Now, one issue that’s just inherit to the Pokémon franchise is why aren’t any of the Gym Leaders, police, or Elite four stopping the teams from summoning ancient deities? It’s really stupid, especially here. The Space Facility was specifically sent a warning by Team Magma that they were coming. Yet there were no police, no guards or even the town’s gym leaders come in to protect them. Most of the time I just suspend my disbelief because this is just a Pokémon thing, but this game’s finale really shines how poorly written it gets. Everyone is apparently on holiday because the player, a 10-year-old who just became a trainer (depending on when you started), are the ONLY one on standby to help Steven and the champion. Not the other gym leaders or the elite four. Not the gym leader who’s at the LITERAL epicenter of the titan fight. I get the reason why, to make the player the main protagonist of the story, but the set up just came across as the bare minimum. With my compliant of the player being a Jesus figure, it doesn’t help.
Getting to Rayquaza was an amazing feeling. Discovering where it lived instead of the game forcing you to on the path felt like a good compromise to what comes later in the series. A lot of the modern games just tell where the box legendary is or just give it for the story, while Gen 1 and 2 were vague about their whereabouts since those legends had nothing to do with the story. Emerald combines both well, where they push the player to the legendary while giving the player freedom to find the location themselves. Plus, his crib is this ruined tower with no explanation. My one nitpick was how you meet Rayquaza. As in, there’s not fight with the beast. I think it would have helped the tension if Rayquaza could have been fought ala Kyurem in Black and White 2. Just seeing it fly away was cool, but not very epic. It would have been a funny series gag where Rayquaza, despite a literal disaster around it requiring it stop the disaster, fights anyone who disturb it.
Finally, the scene. THE first cutscene in the series. Where Rayquaza flew down from the heavens, diving in between Kyorge and Groudon, and roared… EPICALLY. As someone’s who’s watched it on YouTube and spoiling myself, actually getting to the scene on my own was still worth it. Unfortunately, it ended up turning the finale into an anti-climactic disappointment for me. The cheery music afterwards didn’t help. Seeing Rayquaza descend was incredible, but for all that buildup just to end with a single roar was downright insulting. It’s why I wish Rayquaza could be fought before. Would have it padded out the pacing a little? Maybe. But anything to not have this void that was created. Afterwards, everyone just goes back to normal as if that was a regular Tuesday. Even Maxie and Archie escaped un-arrested, so the two dick heads who caused all this got away scott free with a lesson learned. Hurrrrraaaaayyyy. It fell flat and left me unsatisfied. Overall, the B story had its moments, but it was a lot of ideas that get half-assed with an execution that’s just pitiful.
The theme of Generation 3 was environmentalism and nature, with more cities attuned to nature than large technological areas. I guess Wattson in the remakes didn’t get the memo. Anything resembling high tech, like Lilycove and Mossdeep, is small compared to how much nature surrounds it. Such places that fit this theme are Fortree City, where every home is a treehouse, Lavaridge Town, which situates itself near the major volcano, and Pacifilog Town, which is primarily log houses floating on top of a Corsola reef. With legendaries represented by the 3 main elements of the Earth, Hoenn is a natural paradise in the Pokémon World only rivaled by Alola.
Everyone in the region wants to protect nature and the Pokémon. Respect is the big word here…like my pee-I’m very lonely. An example includes the Rock Tunnel, where they stopped drilling due to the Pokémon not being able to handle the noise. Not everything is perfect, as it seems the “air” is polluted. Most of this is from Wally’s character arc, who’s illness is suspected to be due to the “air,” which is why they send him to the cleaner Verdant Town.
While a good message, I found it to be as half-baked like the B-Story. The game never gave an answer to who’s causing this polluted air that caused Wally to have anthrax. I can’t say Team Magma or Team Aqua are causing the problem. They may have unleashed Ragnarök, but they never littered. The only thing I can think of is Magma’s involvement with the volcano, especially when they drill into it to find Groudon. Yet, there was no explicit mention of that causing any air pollution. It was never implied that any of the major corporations are causing any trouble. The president from Devon Corp. was so nice and kind that it didn’t seem like he’d do anything…okay bad example. The point is, despite there being some kind of environmentalist issue, there was no real logical origin in-universe, and it had no real baring to the plot. It felt like a thrown-in theme with no real thought put into its inclusion.
With the story out of the way, the battles were a mix of hard and very simple. One of my biggest complaints with modern games is how easy it is, and I think that has to do with a combination of the team set up of bosses and the inclusion of gimmicks like dynamax or z-moves. There’s no real strategy to them. Totally call me out if you disagree, but modern gym leaders come across as if they don’t have checks for the type matching these games are known for. Plus, the game goes out of the way to give you enough garbage like the Rotomdex lottery or EXP candies to take away any challenge. Of course, there are some exceptions like Raiden from Sword and Shield and, also, I am not the target audience anymore. But Gyms suffer from the type matchups, with barely ever using stat buffs or ailments, and the game hands you so much that they become laughable. I think there’s a linear easiness to them, which comes across as no thought was put into making a boss that scales with you as you get stronger. It feels backwards.
Emerald, on the other hand, had various bosses that were either easy or hard depending on the teams you use. Winnona is generally regarded as the hardest due to her Altaria knowing Dragon Dance, yet I didn’t find her that difficult even without an ice type. I pretty much used paralysis as my wing man. But, as I said before, Flannery ended up being the most nerve wracking due to her Torkoal, but I also struggled with Tate and Liza’s stat buffing moves. While it wasn’t the scaling I prefer, with each boss getting progressively harder, I don’t mind the challenge being based on your team choice. There’s enough difficulty to make every playthrough different. It creates stories. I may tell you I had no difficulty with Winnona, but you may tell a different tale. Every type-based gym battle, every boss, and even every forced Pokémon fight should have this level of thought. Even some trainer battles have some thought put into them, making them some of my favorite because they broke the slog. I would rather have a difficulty system that creates stories rather than being hard for no reason or easy for inexcusable reasons. If you feel like the modern games are too easy, give Emerald a shot.
The Overworld was absolutely my favorite part of the game. Especially when it’s not a hallway. I’m not apologizing for my Sword and Shield hate. I know I should be past this, but my god is it awful. The vibrant sprite work here is amazing. Gamefreak really knew how to do pixel art back in the day, making something that looks primitive pop enough to have felt like a real world. The colors come at you, creating fascinating areas like Route 113, which is covered in soot, or Meteor Cave, which has a subtle purple to it that really focuses on the astral vibe of the area. This may be more subjective, but I love the look more than Omega Ruby. The look of the 3ds games feel desaturated, making the region boring than it actually is. Emerald’s sprite work makes traveling so much more eye appealing.
Unfortunately, while the best areas are on land, the water routes sucked. Water routes have sucked in every generation from 1-4. It all looked the same. It’s all blue. It’s all rocks. There’s barely any variety in it. They took the fun of exploration and turned it into a tedious ass maze. Some are pretty simple, like the Gen 1 and 2 routes from and to Cinnabar where it’s just down or up. And then there’s Emerald. Imagine me, a fat little baby, who liked trying to discover everything a route has to offer. I loved finding stuff in Pokémon because it’s rewarding. So, imagine that in an area where everything was identical and there are several branching paths. It’s not even fun since all the trainers and Pokémon are typically water types, unless it’s on a small island. The only change was diving into the underwater routes, which was and is still a cool gimmick. But it doesn’t remove the fact that Hoenn’s sea routes are way too long and way too confusing.
Minigames (Pre-Post Game)
Oh my god, actual meaningful content in a Pokémon game! And a majority sucked! Let’s just get them over with. I’m only talking about the main story side content. I’ll get into the Battle Frontier in a part two post.
The first is the Game Corner, because nothing screams children’s game than slots and pool. Does it ever occur to Japan that kids are not adults? Anyway, Game Corners were prevalent back in the older generations until parents around Gen 5 were like, “huh, this kids game has gambling.” So, they’re now a dead breed since the Pokémon Company wants to make sure the Europeans allow their children to play a cock fighting simulator. There are so many ways around this so they can bring it back, such as minigames based on certain Pokémon in a similar vein the Pikachu Surfing minigame back in Yellow version.
Now, I’m not saying bring back the gambling because the gambling was BS. Why? Cause it was gambling. That’s it. There is no thought into it because gambling is all luck based. Slots was just mashing A so you can get points, and roulette was…roulette. Place a bet now and probably win something in 2 hours! These weren’t fun. And it’s not like real gambling where the sucker wins money, so it’s not as addictive. Also, the rewards suck, like getting the TMS Ice beam and…. flamethrower, never mind. Even with those prizes, imagine a player wanting to build a team for competitive but the most valuable TMS are behind an unwinnable mess. This is one of those aspects of Pokémon that haven’t aged well. But, again, make it an arcade with games not based on luck and having the Game Corner back might be possible.
One of Hoenn’s most famous mechanic. Wanna play with your friend, but you really don’t have the energy to actually be together? Just send them your records and they’ll see your secret base in their world. Be happy knowing your AI version talks to your friend more than you do.
Because I played on emulator, and it’s been 19 years since Gen 3 came out, I can’t say anything about other people’s secret bases. The most you got out of it is battles, but that’s unlocked after beating the E4. What you can do in the game is make them. In every route, special looking textures are scattered, whether it be a small square in the wall or a special tree. Using Secret Power opens it and makes it the player’s secret base, with decorations like plushies, tables, and chairs to make it personal. Annnnnddd that’s it. It’s like Minecraft, where people make these elaborate creations on single player survival mode. At least ORAS and the Gen 4 remakes allow new fans to experience and share bases, preventing it from being a product of its time.
The other most recognized feature from Ruby and Sapphire, and it sucked. There are those who do like this feature and want it to come back somehow besides just remakes. I respect their opinion, but I’ve always cared very little for contests because it always came across that the game doesn’t care about it. The idea is definitely creative. A mode with no fighting. It’s an appreciation of the beauty of Pokémon and seeing how beautiful a move can be made. So, a glorified dog contest.
My issue with the mode is that none of what makes it good as a concept is in the game. The actual mode was really boring. For the most part, it was just battles except there is no opponent. Unlike regular battle, moves are categorized by how they “look” to the audience rather than elemental types. There’s Cool, Tough, Smart, Cute, and Beautiful. Every Pokémon can be fed blocks to be optimal for these categories, primed and fattened to be the best in the contests specific in one category.
All of that amounts to nothing more than a boring version of battles. You and 3 others performers perform moves in front of a judge to get style points. I understand that this was a Gameboy advanced game and would never be like how the anime portrayed Contests. But these battles lost the magic that Pokémon battles brought. To see these moves brought to life through the burning of the enemy. When these moves are hitting nothing, it loses that. It’s like a punchline but no one’s laughing. Winning also had no investing. Each contestant has an order in which they go, and that changed every time everyone goes. I could go first one turn but then 3rd the next. Moves gain a set number of affection. The more a move gained affection, the more points earned in order to win. When using a move in the category of the contest, like a cool move in a cool contest, then additional affection is earned. When every contestant uses enough moves of that category, one of them lucky enough will excite the audience enough to get a bombardment of affection. There was a randomness to it that can be fun since it was anyone’s game, but the luck factor of it made it a chore to win.
The biggest problem with Contests was there’s no investment in the mode entirely. It sounds like an alternative path to Gyms. No fighting. No gym badges. A “pacifist” route in a sense. But it could never work as replacement with the story formula of Pokémon. Contests sound like an interesting route, but it would have none of the excitement as the regular route. What sounds more fun? A route where you do no fighting, where you go to each town performing to get attraction points? Or the route where you fight everyone, beat gym leaders, and fight an evil team trying to summon an ancient deity. For the target audience, they would choose the gym route because it’s the exciting sounding one. Even then, with the way Contests are, getting through the game where the main mechanic relies on luck sounds like a chore. Some may say to have the legendary Pokémon in the contest route, but how? You won’t fight it and you really have no reason to get a powerful fighter in a game mode about beauty. Maybe today, it could have worked if they adapted the game around it. Look at Undertale, a beloved game with a Pacifist and Genocide route. But, looking at the various Pokémon generations, nothing about contests has any merit over the gym route.
Even in the game, the mode was treated like an afterthought. Instead of being spread throughout like it was in Ruby and Sapphire, it was in one area with no benefit of learning the mechanics. There’s no other place that used blocks or “cool type” moves and the story never even directed me to it. Worst of all, there was no reward for it. Nothing from contests benefit the real journey except for evolving Feebas, which needs a max Beauty Stat. At the end of the day, Contests were an amazing idea unfortunately in the wrong games. It was too big an idea for the Pokémon formula, but it couldn’t be shrunk down enough to be accommodated into it. It needed to be its own thing, its own spin, instead of a side mode where it’s completely out of place. The fact that it hasn’t returned until a Gen 4 remake, which it already was in Gen 4, is a sign that this mode was never a perfect fit.
The final minigame of the main story, replacing the Contest Halls, is the Battle Tents. Each tent held a special format, with 5 battles in a row with your Pokémon reduced to level 30. What I adored about the Battle Tents was that they actually teach and build the player up to a future mechanic in a very linear but satisfying way. In this case, the Battle Tents were meant to be an introduction to the Battle Frontier, getting the player accustomed to their rules while not revealing about the location. I love this. The fact that it’s building up to the most remembered feature in the game was incredible. Plus, it was better at foreshadowing the Frontier than Scott, an NPC who just appears out of nowhere with the huge sign saying, “Hey, there’s a Battle Frontier but I’ll be vague for absolutely no reason. Okay bye, love you.” It’s not as intrusive as the Contest Halls. The Battle Tents fit well into the game while offering something different than the battles we’re used to.
To go in-depth into the Battle Tents would get into the Battle Frontier, which would make my post game retrospective redundant. What I will mention is that some modes were better than others. Some were a fun spin of the battle mechanics, and others left me screaming at a jumble of code to use Mud Shot…for fuck sake Skipper, hit the damn Wailmer with anything other than Water Gun. Jesus Christ, are you blind!? We’re gonna lose because you think spamming water gun and protect is an effective method, you stupid FU-
If you have trompetaphobia, get your corner ready because Gamefreak was not about diversity back then. If it’s not trumpets, it’s not Gen 3. The music in Emerald isn’t my favorite per say. It’s hard to describe, but not a lot of the tracks really vibe to me. It’s more of a feeling than a logical reasoning. Despite that, the music is still really good. The trumpets gave routes this larger than life adventure feel, while giving caves this mystical ancient feel. The battle music is also incredible, with the best being the Team Boss themes and the Elite 4. There isn’t much for me to say, other than the soundtrack is good.
Overall, the game had its ups and down. It’s aged well as a game in terms of presentation and the battle mechanics, but the story and various minigames were pretty bad. Anyone coming in will basically go into the barest bones of a Pokémon game, but there is still some substance to it that doesn’t turn into Sword and Shield.
And now, for an old man talking about Nostalgia
This is gonna be a huge subjective rant about the feeling of playing Emerald after so many years. Generation 3, and Generation 1-4 as a whole, is a simple but magical experience. I think Gamefreak really knew how to use simplicity back in the day. Despite the flawed story, this game brought back the joy I felt watching the anime, collecting the cards, and discussing it on the playground. And, yes, I had a huge crush on May back then. Who didn’t? Hoenn’s vibe, in a few words, is exotic. Kanto felt modern, a lot like Earthbound, while Johto had a traditional Japanese mood. Hoenn felt like a summer vacation at the Bahamas, which makes for a cozy summer vacation game.
Being able to explore the region in Emerald helped me traverse a well-known region with fresh eyes. There are some things in here that were new to me, like Team Magma’s base being in the volcano or Scott being a stalker. I knew Emerald would be a different ride, but to have actually played it showed a different side to the region that started it all for me.
Looking back, Hoenn, Johto, Kanto, and Sinnoh all felt like a connected vision. Despite being vastly different versions of Japan, they have a unified look which, yes, is what Japan is. But also, because it’s due to the formula they created. The remakes of the first two gens within 3 and 4 help with this feeling, and the anime back then built upon each other with characters and Ash’s Pokémon frequently coming back. As much as Generation 5 is my favorite, it’s vision to reboot the franchise ultimately made the future generations less unified within each other. Sometimes I think it was for the better as it helped differentiate Alola or Galar, but I can’t help but reminisce the old simplicity of the older generations. In an ironic twist, the unified vision made gen 1-4 all the more special.
At the end of the day, I enjoyed my time with Emerald. It was a fun kids game with strong gameplay but a terrible plot. But it still brought back that spark I’ve had for the franchise since I first popped in Diamond and forgot to delete the previous person’s save file before putting 30 minutes of my life into it. If you started out with generation 7 or 8, I definitely recommend playing it. It won’t make you feel like an old man like me, but it’ll give you a textured look into how the past was. You may also miss what the current generation spoiled you with. Back in my day, we had to train our Pokémon individually with the Victory Road like a bunch of starving drug addicts. Just one more level today, I said, I’ll be done with the session. Trust me, you will appreciate your end of the stories from Generation 7 a lot more after seeing their first attempt. And, if you’re a veteran that’s either jaded or peachy, I still say give this game another chance. With Scarlet Violet seemingly pushing the franchise away from the dead cigarette and into a brighter future, it’d be a good idea to relive where the franchise used to be.
Anyway, that’ll do it with this look back on my childhood. Tune in next time in about a month. See ya!
Since I was back home and had access to ma baby car, I took the opportunity to buy and complete an EG American RX-78 Gundam. If it says exclusive, you’re d@mn right I’m gonna get it.
This is actually my first RX-78, albeit a repaint from Breaker Battalogue. Until I get my hands on the Origin, RG, or Revive version, this’ll do. Since it was non-canon, I decided to do my own custom job. It’s nothing too complicated like others (I’m still stuck on my first paint job); just used decals. The idea needs some explaining, so sit back and listen to my ramble. I’m about to spoil Gundam 0083: Stardust Memory, so go watch that.
At the end of the OVA, a remnant of Zeon, who were the antagonists of the first Gundam Show launched Operation Stardust, a colony that hit central North America to deplete the Earth Federation Forces’ food supply. This event led to the rise of the Titans, an elite EFF force who manipulated the events to get backing so that they can rule over the Earth and Space Colonies. They become the main antagonist of Zeta Gundam 5 years after this event.
My custom job was decaling the American Gramps to be a sort of propaganda tool by the Titans to get support from North America after the event. Although, the operation was apparently kept secret, so I guess I’m a fake fan! Either way, I stuck with it, I did it, and no one can stop me.
Gonna get right into the pictures before giving my thoughts on the kit itself.
The Entry Grade Experience
The title tells it all. Want to get into the hobby? Get an Entry Grade RX-78, Strike, or Nu Gundam. The best part is that nippers are necessary (unless you care about artistic integrity). Just go monkee on the runner with your bare hands. Seriously, the plastic was made to handle the force of your greasy, thicc fingers. At the fastest time, an Entry Grade takes 10-20 minutes to complete. Pretty good compared to the days a HG takes.
Admittedly, I wasn’t into the Entry Grades due to the EG Kamen Rider Zero One. That thing’s a statue. But not the Gramps! Old man’s got moves! While they aren’t as articulated as, say, the HG Zaku 2, it can still do a lot of poses. The only issue I found was the arms and elbows, which can’t do complicated arm movements, and the waist, which can’t do a full 360. Either the peg is too tight or there is no peg. I have no part separator, sooooo…
For about $10, the American Gramps isn’t bad. You get the figure, a Beam Rifle, and a Shield. Plus, you get an interesting color of the OG Gundam and stickers that are matt flat so they don’t look gawdy on them. But, unfortunately, it’s not the full weapons EG Gramp set that comes with much more so it’s not the best EG Gramp experience. However, I enjoyed it and it, and every EG, makes for a great template to start and learn how to detail model kits.
Probably should have taken pictures of it before I transformed it from the source material, but you live and learn. Let me know in the comments what you think of the EG RX-78 Gundam, and what your first Model Kit was? Hope to read your comments and really comment when I can. See you then when I finally finish the dang RG Mk-2 Gundam!
I took a more casual approach to gaming this spring and see what I wanted to review rather than pressure myself into one. Which is why I got into playing Pokémon Emerald alongside Mother 3. One for casual play, and the other to cry like a little baby. I plan to have a personal retrospective on Emerald when I finish, but, until then, I decided to share my pain when I decided to fix Maxie and Archie’s team.
For those of you who are boomers, the 3rd generation had two evil teams instead of one, split into both versions. Team Magma, run by Maxie, were the land raising team of Ruby (or Omega Ruby) trying to revive Groudon. Archie, on the other hand, ran the sea-faring Team Aqua of Sapphire (or Alpha Sapphire) trying to revive Kyorge. Emerald brought the two teams together in the same game, both now the antagonist now fighting each other as they both revive the legendary Pokémon.
For those who do know, you might be asking, why did I bother fixing their teams? Pokemon is meant to be an easy game and they’re just a part of it. What’s wrong with both of them having a Mightyena and Crobat while Maxie has a Camerupt while Archie has Sharpedo? Yes, them having that kind of team fits with the casual play of Pokémon.
What Gamefreak got wrong with Maxie and Archie’s teams, extending to their grunts, is how much their Pokémon choice represent nothing relating to them or their plans. When I think of Magma and Aqua, I think of teams who use Ground, Fire, and Water types. The problem is, although the grunts use mons like Carvahna and Numel, many of them use Poocheyenas and Zubats, which becomes very tedious quick as you make your way through Emerald. I don’t understand why Gamefreak relied on those two. Although Hoenn is in short supply of original fire types, with only 3 lines including the start, but there are still 6 lined with the Slugma and Vulpix line. Ground types have a solid amount, with such new lines as Trapinch and Baltoy with a return of many such as Geodude and Sandrew. In fact, keeping with the theme, Maxie and Team Magma could even use Rock types like Solrock, although I didn’t give Maxie any rock Pokémon, and Grass types such as Seedot and Oddish.
This sin is more headache inducing with Team Aqua, who operate in a region criticized by IGN for having too much water yet barely use any of the water types in that water. Hell, in Emerald, there are so many water types that the game, if you count Archie, has 3 water type bosses. Yet a pirate themed team only uses one Carvahna with one dude using a Wailmer. What the hell are they gonna do with their Poocheyena’s when they flood the world? No wonder Psyduck gets headaches in this universe. Gamefreak ended up turning both teams into discount Team Rocket, which is a disappointment. We could have had something unique with the teams, at least with Magma. I’m gonna have to move to a 3rd world country when I say that IGN was right in a sense.
But I got a bit off track. There is a huge missed opportunity that lays hidden between Maxie and Archie. Gen 3 introduced weather effects such as sun and rain, which Gamefreak would use the box legends to embody this new mechanic. Yet, only two bosses in the Elite Four utilize weather. Pretty good that Gamefreak actually decided to utilize on of their team strats through a trainer. But the Team bosses, who you’d think would showcase this mechanic based on their goals to revive the weather legends, never utilize this mechanic. Although Pokémon is a casual experience, I would expect the bosses of the teams to be some kind of challenge instead of “durr Crobat. durr I lost!” The problem with their team is that it ends up making them forgettable among the various Team bosses. It sucks because there was a simple solution. But nah, Gamefreak. Instead of doing something in ORAS, just give them a Weezing and a Muk. And don’t worry about giving Muk to the sea dude. Sure do love the mental image of Archie achieving his goals and Muk giving him the finger as he melts into the sea.
Because this sh!t bothered me so much, I straight up sacrificed a night of studying to go on Showdown and make a better team for the two. One that represents them as characters, represents their goals, and represents the weather brought into this Generation. I took this as a damn challenge. Now, although I say that I “fixed” their teams, this is my opinion. If you have any problem with the choices that I went, or have your own changes, let me know in the comments. I am but a Hispanic college student who just found out the hood is just slang for neighborhood. I am the farthest thing from being an authority.
The Ground Rules
Now to the meat of things. When it came to changing their teams, I placed a few rules onto myself that range vastly. This includes the games I used as the basis since both of them appear in gen 3 and gen 6, the changes based on both of them together, finally the changes based on both of them individually.
For the game related rules, I used the gen 3 mechanics as the basis for how I structured their teams. This means that I could only use Pokémon found within Hoenn during the 3rd generation, no other Pokémon past that, and I had to consider the lack of the physical-special split. Now, while there were some decisions made based on the remakes, I primarily stuck with gen 3 because I’m playing Emerald. Emerald is, to me, the definitive version of the story, even if ORAS are better mechanically, so I wanted to use the 3rd version as the foundation for the team.
For both of them together, the first decision was keeping their signature Pokémon. Although Camerupt and Sharpedo (especially Sharpedo) are terrible in gen 3 due to the lack of the physical-special split, and I really wanted to get rid of them, I wanted to respect the decision Gamefreak made when making them the signature. The second was only allowing them to use 5 Pokémon, as this is the team you would fight before the last gym. Also, they ain’t the champion. The third was structuring their teams around weather, and I’m sure you know which weather strategy is going to whom. This is to better reflect their goals of reviving Groudon and Kyorge and make them stand out amongst the other bosses in the game.
The fourth will be expanded upon in the section about them individually, but I wanted their character to be the defining choices of their Pokémon choice. Pokémon teams have the power to tell a story without words, as a person’s choice of mons and moves can say more about their character than simple dialogue. Finally, although Emerald is the basis for their team, I decided to use ORAS for their character. Maxie and Archie barely differentiate from each other in Emerald due to the fact that, in Ruby and Sapphire, they were characterized to be interchangeable. ORAS expanded upon their characters, making one a champion for humans and the other a champion of Pokémon. This was not in the original Emerald. However, I feel it best to use the improvements ORAS brought to them to better fix their teams.
With that, let’s get into both leaders individually.
Maxie: Leader of Team Magma
For Maxie, based on his goals, I decided to go for a stall team consisting of only land Pokémon. Basically, no water types. As a man who wants to expand the land to further expand human civilization, and who is seemingly a scientist, I saw Maxie as the cold and calculated type who would see Pokémon as nothing more than tools. This is also why I made his team a lot more competitively viable, where the EVs are at their most perfect for each Mon. I thought perfect IVs would be too much for his boss fight. This culminates in a team with the best stall strategies, where they wear you down slowly while barely taking any hits. Maxie’s team is a team given to him.
His signature Pokémon that, admittedly, was difficult to fit well with the team structure that I went with. It does have a decent amount of bulk, mostly in hp, with an attack and special attack to hit back hard. As a fire/ground type, however, it dies the moment water even grazes its feet. Not only that, but its own secondary typing kicks its ass. Since I had to keep Maxie’s signature, I decided the best thing to do was a HP special defense tank combining with a resto-chesto set. Just to note, I highly doubt only the player character uses TMs, so I have no qualm using them for Maxie’s Pokémon. Resto-Chesto, for those who don’t know, is a combination of the move Rest, which induces the sleep status, with the sleep healing Chesto Berry. That way, if in a pickle, Camerupt can heal and wake up with no problem. However, in the likelihood of being in another pickle jar again, I gave it Sleep Talk, which allows the Pokemon to use any random move while asleep. Although risky, this allows Camerupt to fight back with either Earthquake, a stab 100 base move, or the deadly Eruption, which its power does decrease based on the Pokémon’s Hp. It ain’t much, but I think it’s something to make it a threat.
Maxie’s sunny day setter and one of his all-around tanks. With use of Cosmic Power, this thing will set up and take hits all while dealing damage with Earthquake and Solar Beam, the latter using the Sun against those pesky water types. Alternatively, there is also Explosion but, by the time you fight Maxie, his Claydol shouldn’t have it since it learns the move at lv 55. Yes, you do fight a level 25 Camerupt in the game when Numel evolves at lv 33, but I don’t want this team to be way too unbeatable. There’s also Toxic like Vileplume, to deal continious damage, and Refresh to heal status effects, which Maxie would replace Sunny Day with once he gets Groudon.
That’s the thing with Claydol. Although it’s the Sunny Day setter, it can do much more without it’s praising of the sun hindering it’s moveset. Since the weather rocks don’t exist yet, weather only lasts for 5 turns. The exception is Groudon, who’s ability, Drought, creates an endless burning sun just waiting to melt the Artic caps. I could have given every mon Sunny Day, which is an option since trainer A.I doesn’t understand the concept of switching. But then every mon has one move slot wasted for Sunny Day and one wasted turn to make the democrats angry. So, Claydol requires Maxie to use his actual brain. This team benefits a lot more once Groudon is awakened.
There’s also another reason for Claydol’s position. Trainers, in Omega Ruby, describe Route 11’s desert, where Baltoy are found, to have possibly been a bay. Okay, a lot of this is based on that exhaustive video on Omega Ruby by ShayMay, but I loved his interpretation of what this area signifies. It symbolizes Maxie’s dream to dry the sea for more land, yet this area is such a desert wasteland that it makes you wonder if Maxie’s paradise will never come.
I didn’t Crobat, a Pokémon that evolves from friendship, to really fit well with a cold and calculated type of person. Instead, I thought, “why not give him Skarmory, a Physical tank found in the volcanic ash section of the region.” This also happens to be a place near Mt Chimney, the location of Team Magma’s base. Why Skarmory? Because Skarmory is an annoying tank so overused I’ve lost several times in Gen 3 OU battles on Showdown because of it. What makes Skarmory a threat is its combination of Roar and Spikes. Spikes is the only move I gave Skarmory that deals any damage because, if it gets 3 spikes up, Roar allows it to give continuous damage by singing Fnaf songs so cringy your Pokémon will physically leave the battle. If the opposing Pokémon isn’t fast enough, it’s back in the ball for the others to get spikes damage. Now, it’s not as perfect as I write, as Skarmory’s checks are other flying types and Pokémon faster than it. I actually learned Stealth Rocks wasn’t in the game, which surprised me. Like Camerupt, I also gave it the rest sleep talk strat for recovery except I gave it Leftovers for continuous healing. I’ve seen Smogon do toxic and taunt, which I think is a good strategy as well. All of these work in the end. Skarmory’s role is support, to give the enemy continuous damage with each switch in.
What’s a sunny day team without a grass type? And I thought Vileplume fit that need very well despite being found in a route full of rain. Vileplume acts as the toxic setter and team healer. God job Gamefreak, you completely invalidated Oddish’s own existence in this region. Thought of putting status effects on Maxie’s Pokémon? Vileplume’s aromatherapy will quickly get rid of that. And then itshows you it’s twitter page to induce Toxic. For this mon, however, I made two movesets instead of one just because I wasn’t sure on which to go with. The first has leech seed and Giga Drain for more continuous recovery, while the second has Solar Beam and Synthesis to fully utilize the Sun. I think either one is fine, though let me know in the comments which one you think is better.
I thought it best to use Vileplume for the role of a bulky Grass type because of its secondary poison typing, allowing for them to not get poisoned themselves. Vileplume does take a lot of hits from different types, and doesn’t have a lot of attacking options besides Solar Beam or Giga Drain lest it be given evs for its attack stat to use Poison moves. However, Chlorophyll gives it the speed boost it needs to do what it needs to do.
Found in Mt. Pyre, and is Maxie’s last team member, Dusclops is another overall bulky Pokémon like Claydol. However, rather than Claydol using Cosmic Power to raise both defenses, Dusclops role is to use Substitute to take more hits. This is combined with the dreaded Focus Punch, a powerful fighting move that needs to be charged without the mon getting hit. So, you can see where the combo’s strength is. Besides that, Dusclops has Night Shade to give set damage based on it’s level, so about 43-45 fixed damage, and then Will-o-Wisp to cripple you’re physical attackers. Because of Dusclops’ ghost typing, it’s a good switch in for fools who try to remove Skarmory’s spikes with rapid spin.
Another reason for Dusclops’ position is where it’s found. Mt Pyre is the Lavender Tower of Hoenn, where the graves are found, and is where Maxie gets the orb to revive Groudon. But the graves are the significant part for Dusclops inclusion. Basically, it’s the edgy visual that Maxie is gonna kill a bunch of people in the process of reviving Groudon.
Archie, on the contrary, I decided to go for a hard-hitting team consisting of only Pokémon found within or near the sea. So, one of the things that made Archie hard to figure out a team for was how redundant he was. Gamefreak decided to have one of their evil teams be based around Water, only to then decide to make the final gym, Juan, and the Champion, Wallace, also water based. All three of these wet boys are also surrounded by water routes. At this point, I think IGN had a point and I never thought that’d be possible.
As a man who wants to expand the sea for Pokémon’s sake, and as someone who seemingly lived along the depths with his hardy crew, I saw Archie as the passionate but misguided type who sees his team as almost a part of him. This is also why, when using Showdown for this team building, I randomized the evs and ivs for his team. He doesn’t care about their stats (although he would care for their moveset). This is a man who caught and befriended his Pokémon, and damn it all if he isn’t gonna use them. This all culminates in a team that benefits from the rain so that they can hit hard and cripple you long enough to not stop them in their tracks.
If Camerupt was a headache, then Sharpedo was an aneurism. Now, in my actual retrospective on Emerald, I will probably say that I liked the lack of physical special split because it made choosing a team much harder and required some more thought than other team building I’ve done in other games. However, in practice, the game really is the rock, paper scissor game we joke about it being with little to no thought with each battle. Every rock is physical, and every dragon is special. What I thought would be a fun dive back into the past actually revealed its glaring problems.
Sharpedo is the embodiment of why the physical-special split needed to happen. The Pokémon is a physical attacker, yet Water and Dark moves are all special in this game. Meaning its best stat can’t be used to use its actual typing. It is Archie’s worst mon, but I gotta keep it because it’s his signature.
So, what did I do with this meat sack? I went with a Subtitute strategy where it sets up agility in order to get a similar speed boost alongside its Swift Swim brethren. I gave Hydro Pump, but Crunch is also a good option as well. Finally, rather than go for Slash, I actually decided to give it Return in order to exemplify how I see Archie as the one who loves his Pokemon. And…that’s the best that I could.
Originally, I wanted to go for a Walrein because of its bulk as a Rain Dance setter and good coverage. However, Juan uses a Sealeo, while Glacia uses two and a Walrein. I thought giving Archie would cement his role as redundant further. So, I decided to go for Gyarados.
Gyarados, although it doesn’t get Dragon Dance due to it being learned at level 50, is still a harsh threat. It gets options like Earthquake for Electric Types and Hydro Pump for stab. Combined with it being one of the Rain Dance setters for the team, Hydro Pump will hit harder than Will Smith on Oscar night. It also has the ability Intimidate to cripple physical attackers. Finally, in case you put a status effect on it, I gave it Facade to double the base power.
So, why Gyarados over other water types or even Pelipper? The reason is because I would see my interpretation of Archie raising a Magikarp up into a Gyarados. Magikarps are known for being terrible Pokémon that evolve into an amazing one, if someone puts the time and effort. I think having one would tell a lot about Archie’s character more than dialogue.
In case you think of one shotting everything with an electric type, this Pokémon can come in and absorb it like the Thing to the crew in Antartica. While another Rain Dance setter, I also gave it Thunder Wave to cause guaranteed paralysis to slow your team down. I gave it Hydro Pump for stab, but Lanturn’s greatest strength is using rain for a 100% accurate Thunder which will slap foes harder than Will Smith on Oscar night. I originally thought of giving Archie only tough and fierce looking Pokémon, but I thought the adorable Lanturn represents his softer side. With Kyorge’s awakening, Rain Dance would be replaced with Ice Beam for more coverage.
Found within the depths, a mon that represents the ancient world that Archie longs to bring back, is a Relicanth. I can only imagine his face when he reels one in, as it’s one of the rarer mons in the area. Unfortunately, Relicanth’s only benefit in the rain is swift swim as its low special attack means its water type moves are virtually useless. Thankfully, it’s got the attack stat to use Ancient Power, which has a chance of raising all of its stats, and Earthquake as another Electric check. I also gave it the good old chesto-resto strat and even Toxic to cripple mons. A fast little rock that symbolizes the world Archie wishes for.
What I thought would be Archie’s sweeper until I realized Dragon Dance does absolutely nothing for it since it’s a primarily special user. The physical special split really hinders Archie’s team alot. So, instead, I went with a substitute strat where it can dish out Hydro Pumps and Dragon Breathes to paralyze the foe once again. I thought a Water/Dragon type would be an interesting challenge for the player and an interesting addition to his team. Like Relicanth, it’s ability swift swim boosts its speed to hit fast and hard. Also, it’s a rain dance setter, but with Kyorge it’d be replaced with Disable to hinder an opponent’s move. With Dragon giving it some good resistances and a decent offense, I saw Kingdra a good addition to the team.
Honestly, a lot of Pokémon fit Archie’s team well. From Tentacruel to Gorebyss, the sea is full of mons that could have made it onto the final team I made for him.
And that just about wraps it up. I hope you enjoyed reading my thoughts on how I would fix Maxie and Archie’s team. This was a weird post, but I was really invested in seeing how I could change up their Pokémon. Thank you for reading and, like I said, let me know in the comments how you would change Archie and Maxie’s team. Welp, see you again next time~
Welp, I gave the series a chance and now my wallet is crying. I also have my eyes on the RG Tallgeese EW Ver sooooo hurray to being in debt!
Anyway, with the release of the second Saber post, I decided to do a quick Quikee about the Zaku 2 I finished. I absolutely love this thing (except for its loose hands), and I love the character so dang much. The Zaku 2 is such an iconic look. One of the best designed Mobile Suits in the franchise. Compared to the Wing Zero and Unicorn, this kit is incredibly solid and articulation that I’ve never seen in a figure. It makes me question how a 20-dollar HG kit can have a wider range of articulation than the $35 Wreck-Gar and the somewhat $40 WFC Beast Wars Megatron? I can hold it in my hand and shake it like a mad man, and it doesn’t feel fragile at all.
I will say, I have not painted this kit, I barely got rid of the nubs, and my lighting isn’t the best. I’m so invested in finishing painting my Unicorn that it’s made the look of the Zaku 2 compromised. I’ll be sanding sometime, so don’t worry. I’m planning to paint it as if it’s pristine propaganda in a museum, rather than the war-torn realism I’m trying to accomplish with the Unicorn. Though this kit was designed to be animation accurate to the 0079 show, I’m gonna replace the redish-pink with pure red (maybe metallic or some kind of candy-toy look) to get that Origins look. Something that appears to have stayed in mint condition. Nothing wrong with the OG colors, but I rather have something that looks perfect for the “Red Comet.” For the first time, I’m gonna use decals which I’m excited for. If anyone has any suggestions for paint, leave them in comment and I’ll take a look.
With that, enjoy the gallery of pictures!
Hoped you enjoyed! Like I said, I’m planning to get the RG Tallgeese but I may get the Gouf Crimson first. The first one is because I love the Tallgeese in general, since its such a simple yet sophisticated Mobile Suit. But the second one is because I plan to make it my next painting project, since I wanna make it into the OG version from 8th MS Team. Come on, who doesn’t love Norris? Anyway, that’ll be the next gallery…soon. See you next time!
Make that the RG Gundam Mk-ii (AEUG Color). I actually watched and enjoyed Zeta Gundam, and have more personal attachment to the character. Seriously, watch Zeta Gundam. Not the compilation! Do not watch the compilation movies.
If you read through my post about Kamen Rider Saber, you’ll know how much I hated yet appreciated the first part. Although I was angrier than usual in that post, I kept going because I wonder if the rest of the show will improve. Also, I already promised it and I’m going to finish it unlike my Mother 3 post. But we’re not here to continue the adventure. We’re here to talk about the sidequest that’s almost important to the adventure.
This show came out during the height of the pandemic, when the actor who played the Red Ranger in Kirameiger (the Sentai of 2020) contracted it. That moment was not only frightening because of how young he was, but also halted much of what Toei was doing. The sets were shut down for a while, meaning Kirameiger and Kamen Rider Zero-One was postponed until further notice. Kamen Rider suffered the most, as Zero-One lost 4 episodes from its 49 episode run and the summer movie was pushed back to December. This would not only be one of the few shows of this current generation to not have a summer movie, but also the first time there wouldn’t be a crossover movie known as a VS movie. Or the Generation series; it’s kind of complicated.
All this meant that Saber, in the long run, would not get a standalone, non-V-cinema film in the summer since Super Hero Senki, the crossover, was pushed to the summer. Although part of me was happy, it also felt strange and sad. But, Toei came in and rectified it by making a short film rather a feature length one. One billed next to Zero-One…which also meant no Super Sentai film. Jeez, this was a strange time. This film, the first ever gekijo-taban in the franchise, would be called Kamen Rider Saber: The Phoenix Swordsman and the Book of Ruin. A poster was released to showcase Saber, a book, and a floating ghost to act as our antagonist.
Coming back to be our villain, Kamen Rider Falchion, was veteran Tokusatsu actor Masashi Taniguchi, the blue ranger from GoGoV (Power Rangers Lightspeed Rescue in America) and Amazonz Alpha in Kamen Rider Amazonz. A movie form would also come as well. Although not the same as a feature length film, this movie became a replacement as if the pandemic never happened.
I haven’t watched it for the obvious reason. Why watch a movie from a show you despise? But, this film would continue providing many firsts since Falchion, because of a later plot point about the Seiken, has a Seiken, meaning he would become important to the show. So, I thought it’d be good to watch it for the overall review in order to have the context for later. And…this movie sucked. Not bad, yet far from good.
Side Chapter: The Immortal Swordsman Sends All to the Void
We start with a loser kid watching a game of soccer like how I stalk my neighbor. Intense, with hands covered in Dorito chips. Just then, a mysterious stranger sits down next to him. Nothing bad happens. The guy just tells him to put the chip bag down and get a life.
Back in Wonder World, a man named Bahatobama steps off a cliff. Like a teenager who just discovered nihilism, he opens up a butthole into the sky and starts sucking out the life out of everything. Tassel opens up his window and smells the cringe like, “ooooh, that funky.” The shithole was created by the Book of Ruin, which came frooooo-well, it’ll destroy both worlds.
The hole opens up in the sky, sucking up Japan like a political talk in a party. Everyone runs away while Tou Mama Caught Me Yankin and his band of bitches walk through the crowd, swords in hand. They appear before the portal, promising to keep to their abstinence and also to survive. They scream at Bahato that his twitter comments are cringe and unproductive. Bahato laughs at their ideals, before revealing his Wonder Ride Book: Eternal Phoenix. With the power of a poor understanding of nihilism he watched from anime, he unsheathes his sword, Kyomu, and becomes Falchion: The Void/Immortal Swordsman.
Touma and the gang transform and enter Wonder World with the power of abstinence and friendship. While the non-protagonists fight a horde of Shimi and Megid, Bahato takes Touma head on. Touma spouts about how fighting is wrong, while Bahato spouts how humanity is always set on obtaining power and will betray each other for it. Touma becomes Crimson Dragon and slashes Bahato so hard the explosive cells in his body activate.
However, as Touma lowers his guard, a single orange feather falls. Gas Money base boosts as Bahato returns. Touma’s gets stunned by the sick beat (seriously, listen to Gas Money by Xavy Rusan) that Bahato gets the hit on him. Touma falls down the cliff.
Meanwhile, back on the homeworld of Albert Einstein and Hentai, citizens watch in awe as the world is close to being destroyed. However, Meiby it’s Meibaline tells them that the Kamen Riders will win. From their combined will of literally 3 bystanders, Jake the American Dragon leaves Touma and flies up to the butthole to bring out Toothless and that dragon from Shang-Chi. They all combine with the others to become a new book for him: Emotional Dragon. With this new power of wholesome youtubers, he becomes Emotional Dragon and faces Falchion one last time.
Swords clash and bodies fall as the others destroy their targets. Falchion and Saber fight until Saber gets the upper hand. With Falchion shown videos like Girlfriend Reviews before Rekka slaps him in the face, he becomes immobilized. Tootless and the Shang-Chi dragon deform Touma as they drag Falchion into the butthole. Falchion vows to return.
With life returned to both worlds, everyone has a happy ending. The boy takes all that trauma and plays soccer with the kids who managed to survive. Our heroes watch when Mei suddenly whips out four black cocks. Rintaro gets excited and tries to take them to eat the cre-okay, I’m done. Hahaha…I’m sorry.
The Entire Plot
Since this is a 23-minute movie, I’m basically combining a bunch of sections. Anyway, what plot? This movie is basically a distilled version of every standalone Kamen Rider film. A dark rider appears to face our main team, they threaten the world, the good guy gets a movie form, they beat up the dude, and the day is saved. It’s very by the numbers with nothing making it stand out amongst the many others out there.
Bahato’s character gets expanded in the show, but here he just comes out of nowhere. None of the riders question why there’s a random dude with a freaking Seiken, even though up to this point everyone with one has been a member of the Sword of Logos. Sure, the fate of the world is at stake, but at least indicate something to the audience. The Book of Ruin comes out of nowhere, with no time to explain what the heck it is. Touma’s Brave Dragon flies into the butthole and pulls out 2 random dragons. Granted, most movie forms come out of nowhere anyway, but this one aggrieves me more than usual. There’s no time to explain anything in this movie, so it just jumps right into a fight for the rest of the screen time.
The rest of the movie puts focus on these 3 civilians because the theme of the film is that “we live our lives normally while there are those fighting in the background to keep our lives in peace.” There’s a kid, a high school student, and a dad. However, it is so forced and blatant that it hurts. Understandably, the kid would stay with Mei since she’s an adult, but then she just makes him watch the Rider fight while parts of the city are getting sucked up. It might be a cultural thing, but wouldn’t this kid want to go to his parents or something? I love how they show his face, inspired, as Mei tells him about the theme of the story. It’s exactly like when Sophia ranted about how powerful books are to Touma. It’s so obvious.
When Mei helps the kid and tells him that her friends will help, the student just stops running away from the apocalyptic event to listen. Also, conveniently on center stage for the camera. Then, as Mei’s explaining the theme, the same student and the dad are just conveniently there, and the movie puts more focus on them than any other civilian. One, why are none of them running away and hiding in a bunker? Second, although there’s an apocalypse threatening the world, there’s nothing here to get invested in these random people. The kid? Yeah cause we had a scene establishing him. But the rest are these cardboard cut outs meant to be the beacon for the theme. I didn’t care when they go back to their normal lives at the end of the movie. Who were these people?
The movie relies on two sets of cliches, both embedded in the franchise and within superhero movies in general. All the dialogue is non-stop exposition about good and bad, faith in humanity, and the friendship. Nothing about it is organic. Everyone talks like they’re in a TED Talk. When the beliefs of the 3 random civilians go into Touma as he gets Emotional Dragon, ironically, I felt no emotions from it. Nothing has weight in this film. This movie tried to be ambitious like the show but, also like the show, it falls hard on its face
Alright, here’s the cosmetic stuff. Falchion is one of the best-looking riders in this show. Seriously, he got the good end of the stick. The orange and black contrast well, becoming uniform with his sword and belt. Something I forgot to talk about in the first review was how every rider’s mask are based on a sword swing. Saber’s is a cross slash, Blades’ is a vertical slash, Espada’s is a horizontal slash, Buster’s is a downward crash splitting a mountain, Kenzan’s is a cross but in the shape of a shuriken, and Slash is a thrust that resembles both the impact of the sword and the cartoonish bang used in cartoons to signal gunfire. Calibur does a downward slash as well, but his mask is more like a standard knight. Falchion follows this trend by having his eyes resembling explosions, which are things that reduce things to nothing. It’s one of the few consistent things with this series.
There’s also his main suit, which is just gorgeous. I love how inverted his armor is, with the phoenix head on his right shoulder, while the tails act as a skirt for the left side unlike the other Seiken Swordriver users work. It’s like a phoenix resting on him. I also love how the tails go around his base suit like chains or cracks. It’s visually pleasing, as if his own existence is breaking apart. As if he was corrupted to his core.
On a side note, Falchion is an example of a rider suit reusing parts from previous suits, albeit very subtle. This is standard within the franchise, since it seems they don’t have the budget to always have new parts all the time. Not sure about that, since it’s not readily available information. For Falchion, his left side shoulder pad is taken from Kamen Rider Build’s TakaGatling form. Yes, there is a form where it’s a Hawk with a Gatling gun. Don’t question it, it gets explained in the show. The entire base suit was taken from Ghost’s, which painted over the translucent parts. It’s not very noticeable, and I only learned that from the wiki page pointing it out. A more obvious one is Emotional Dragon, which reuses the Hedgehog mask from Espada to be the white dragon head. The Brave Dragon shoulder pad from said form is mirrored to become the black dragon on the left side. The cape is taken from Kamen Rider Tsukuyomi from Kamen Rider Zi-O, while the shield was taken from the Shield Module from Kamen Rider Fourze.
While it may seem lazy, the best part of reusing parts is seeing how creative the team can be went retooling it for another rider…sparingly. It’s okay for them to reuse stuff for movies and specials. For the main show, it can be pretty abhorrent. Trust me…we’re gonna get to that soon.
I’ve always enjoyed the CGI backgrounds of Saber. Sure, it’s Tokusatsu CGI, meaning it looks like garbage, but it at least varies the locals that’s typical of these shows. Even if the concept was too ambitious for Kamen Rider, the CGI allows Wonder World to be fully realized as if it actually exists. This movie takes place primarily in Wonder World, where Touma fights Bahato onto of a tall mountain from day to night. While it does transition back to the same cliff area in every Tokusatsu show ever, it blends with the CGI. Nothing feels jarring, and, if you accept the CGI, the finale is an amazing spectacle. Seeing Saber fight Falchion under the night sky as a large portal is sucking up everything made the movie bearable. I wish the rest of the show was more like this, sparingly, since CGI be expensive, because this is really one of the last times Wonder World is explored.
The credits are pretty charming. Not because it’s the end, but because it’s cute. It has scenes of each character doing something as a picture book, with each scene being transitioned by the book turning the page. Ryo cutting down boulder after boulder, Kento flying in the sky, Daishinji testing out the gun mode of his sword, and other brief moments that give character. It’s visually appealing, fitting the book theme, and it’s one of the very few times I enjoy these characters. If the whole show was like this, I’d enjoy the hell out of it more.
This movie is a hard pass for anyone who’s a veteran Toku fan or even a newcomer. There is no substance whatsoever, the plot is nonexistent, and it relies on cliches so much despite not doing anything different with them. I would even say I made a mistake. Though this story introduces Falchion, his introduction here is about as random as someone watching the show without watching the movie seeing Falchion come out of nowhere. I don’t think you need to watch this film to enjoy the show. It’s best left untouched.
At first, I thought of making an argument that this movie would be a good start for newcomers to Tokusatsu. I wouldn’t say it would make for a good Kamen Rider introduction, as the franchise is more story based than Power Rangers or Super Sentai. But, as an introduction to Toku, I think it may work. It has a villain who wants to end the world, as many Toku villains are. It showcases the toys that do plague modern Toku but isn’t so much that it’s overwhelming. It has all the themes of these shows, albeit cliché. And the main rider gets an upgrade form, which is something to be expected. Plus, it’s a short film, so they have all the time to watch and finish it. But what do you think? If you’re an expert of Toku, or have watched this movie, would you show this to someone looking to get into the genre as an introduction? Let me know in the comments.
Anyway, next time, we return to Touma’s adventure as he tries to discover who the traitor is; the person who’s caused all the events in this series. However, he’ll learn that such a quest won’t bide well with his companions, so he’ll need an ancient one to survive.
Kamen Rider is owned by Toei and Bandai. Please support the official release.
December came and I was doing my rounds when I was recommended the X Box GamePass. It was a dollar for a month, so I was like, “hell yeah!” Now I was late for so much because it was just so good!
You might be thinking, “and? What’s so exciting? It’s Xbox.” Let me explain. I am a Nintendo person. Over the years, I’ve only played consoles from their lineup. Gameboy Advance, DSI, 3ds, Gamecube, Wii U, and the Switch. I have played Steam, which was my first outing outside of Nintendo, but I’ve never played anything from the other two big boys in the gaming world. So, to be able to play the big lineup from X Box was an exciting juncture.
Admittedly, I accidently played for the next month. That gave me 2 months of full access to a slew of games I never thought I’d ever play. This post is going over the top 10 I played over the course of that period.
This is based on how much I played them and enjoyed them. This isn’t to say that one game is better than the other. So, please don’t get mad at me. Leave down in the comments what games you liked on the service or any recommendations for when I inevitably get it back.
Ark: Ultimate Survivor-I guess you’re in this list
Truth be told, I only played about 12 games. You’ll see by like number 2 why. So…Ark. I wasn’t a big fan of it. I played about a night of it because I saw dinosaurs on the cover and I was like, “sweet. I’ll try it.” Yes, it’s that simple for me to just play a game.
I haven’t played an MMO since Cartoon Network’s Fusionfall, and it showed. So many menus to keep track of, the leveling system, and the pretty okay graphics. Not all bad points, but a lot to get back into. If I had one big issue, it was the weight system where too much inventory slows you down. That’s not bad, but the game gave me a bunch of special sh!t I couldn’t use as some kind of event, but I didn’t want get rid of it. So, I couldn’t get a lot of materials because then it would weigh me down.
Then, and I probably could have gotten used to it, but the menus were a mess. Like, you have a menu for crafting, but you can only craft when it’s on the hotbar (just learned what that i)?
Finally, didn’t really find a lot of Dinos. That’s it, that’s the con.
Maybe it’s because I haven’t played an MMO since I was like 10, but I don’t think this was a good re-introduction to it. (I do regret not taking a screenshot of it).
Destroy All Humans
Wanna live out your dreams of being an alien from “Mars Attack!” Well, I’ve got for you today Destroy All Humans, where you can just conquer the world by destroying everything! Just commit war crimes all over the place in your conquest.
This is one of those stress relief games because all you do is throw cows around and blow up buildings with a giant UFO. I only got to the 2nd level by the end of my session, but that starting level is just peak fun. You really feel like a space invader by the end.
Can we bring back grey aliens again? They’re such a classic but perfect design.
Close your eyes. Let me throw some imagery at you. You’re in a pastoral city. You’re a deer. A normal, peaceful deer. Now hook shot onto buildings with your head. Walk over to victims like a macho 80s film character. Shoot down building with guns strapped to your horns. Okay, now you’re being tracked down by cops throughout the city. The cops are sheep, the cars have pandas under them, and their boss is a giant freakin dog. Now open your eyes. How do you feel? Good? Bad? Well, however you feel, I’d like you to get of my house now.
Very much like Destroy All Humans, you’re basically throwing yourself around the city to cause as much damage as possible. It’s very much about insanity and fun. I got a little chuckle every time I just wobble around the map. I love the complete madness of just attaching weapons all over my face to fire everything like a monster movie general losing his mind. The whole map can be destroyed, so it’s your own little sandbox of destruction.
I stopped around the first boss, but I won’t spoil it so you can experience the goofiness yourself.
Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare?
Okay, I played this one with a friend before I had my own game pass, but he had it so I’m counting it. Out of the shooters on this list, this is my least favorite. Only because the other 2 were more of my style.
With this game, I wasn’t expecting a lot since COD gets so much slack. I’ve seen people call it mindless, some kind of generic shooter, and all kinds of negative comments. I will say, I don’t remember which one it was. I swear to god, I didn’t do this on purpose for a bit. I legit don’t remember which one it is. I looked up a list, and they all look the same! I can’t use my memory because they all-
Anyway, from what my blanked memory is remembering, one of my favorite things was how balanced the maps are (please forgive me if they aren’t. I’m a noob). It introduced me to how there is no safe place to camp out in modern shooters. Yes, you can camp out, but it’s not like an invincible area where your safe forever. Yes, this seems bare bones and basic, but as someone who’s played the OG Star Wars Battlefront 2 by myself due to poor internet this was my breakthrough into the online scene.
Dragon Quest 11: Playin as Android 17
As someone who loves RPGs. Dragon Quest was a foreign land to. Like, I’ve heard more about Final Fantasy than Dragon Quest. All I knew was that the art style was made by Toriyama, and there are slimes. Other than that, nothing else. That actually made me more excited to play this game when I found it.
This one is more complicated to me. The game drew me in with its high fantasy, which has been my trend with RPGs, and I really liked the environments due to Toriyama’s art style. Made me realize how much I loved the locals of Dragon Ball, and I hope it gets as much love as the fight scenes. The first area was gorgeous, and it made me want to run around even if I was on bare time.
Two problems, however, ruined the experience. I never got into the combat. So, it’s the standard RPG battles I’ve done several times before. Basic attack, magic, run; the usual. However, they added the ability to run around while performing actions. But what rubbed me the wrong way was how, from the first few battles, this mechanic didn’t change anything. I could run around the enemies, so I thought that being too far away would not allow me to use basic attacks and I had to utilize magic, and vice versa. But that’s not how it went. It’s the same turned based action of FF and Pokemon. IT doesn’t matter how far you move away from the enemy; they still land direct hits. So, what was the point of moving around if it didn’t affect anything? It felt like a cop out.
Secondly, and this is more so towards what I played it with, the game would not run properly. This is because I was using my work laptop for all of these games, so it had trouble running anything super modern. Especially when it was on a browser using campus internet. So, I didn’t continue because I didn’t know if it would run or not.
Does that mean I won’t play Dragon Quest ever again? Not really. But I will say that, even if I did get the pass again, I don’t really have interest in this one.
Doom: Rip and Tear, Until It Is Done-oh wait that’s the sequel
Basically a transcription of me playing the game:
Oh sh!t I died…
*Goes back to laughing madly as I rip and tear the demons of hell*
This is the most Christian game ever made! I’m making my crusader ancestors proud!
Halo Infinite: A Title That’s a Declaration
Yep, this is the first Halo game I’ve ever played, and it’s a pretty good introduction to the multiplayer…I think. This is coming from the most casual perspective ever, so take that with a grain of salt. I’m a Nintendo Gamer who’s bever touched this stuff, so I’m trekking into unknown territory.
The multiplayer is really good, but there are some meh areas. I like the standard game mode, 4 vs 4, but it got really repetitive after a few matches. I like having a large team pool between each side since it unlocks the bigger maps. The maps that I had played in 4 v 4 were so small that they ended up becoming boring. I’ve seen a few videos, such as the Act Man, talking about a lot more major issues like low map count for each mode. When I played, I just found the normal multiplayer repetitive.
I’ll admit, it took a while for me to realize that enemies will have a red aura as an indication instead of being completely red. It’s still a bit confusing because other shooters like Splatoon and Battlefront have a clearer indication based on color coding, but I did eventually get over it.
I remember trying my best to be a lot better at this game. At least, in my own weird and flawed way. I remember feeling like a complete loser, getting t-boned every second, so I tried my best to understand the basic controls rather than letting it get to me. Sure, I found moving the camera janky compared to Battlefront 2, but I ended up getting used to it. I learned to rely of smacking people during close combat, I almost getting good aiming with the controller (not gonna lie, I can’t aim with an X-box controller to save my life), and using the event I at the time to learn how good the other weapons work. I never truly mastered it, I would even admit that mastering multiplayer isn’t something that I can get fully invested in, but I did really enjoy getting just as good enough to not feel like a hassle to my companions.
Can I just gush about how effective smacking people with the gun is. Destroying their shield and bam! Turn your enemy into a ragdoll. It’s so fun when you take the chance.
Star Wars: Jedi Fallen Order- It’s so beautiful!
I’m a Star Wars nerd. My Republic Commando post goes a little more into it, but I’ve loved the franchise since I was kid. But, the sequel trilogy left me disappointed and left a hollow piece in my ehart. It didn’t have the same intrigue and storytelling that hooked me, and they’re not good movies in general. It’s why I loved Dark Forces 1 and 2 because it was the OG expanded universe, territory I never trekked before that actually capture the spirit of the franchise.
Fallen Order is not in the OG Expanded Universe, it’s a new game with a new story between Ep 3 and 4, but it radiated the same giddy from me. The combat system is basically “parry, parry, force slow, slash, watch the attacks, and rinse and repeat.” It’s easy to understand but fun to master, though the game will kick your ass if your not good. My one complaint with it is none of the Stormtroopers being cut into pieces after dying. It bother me to no end when all they’re left with are pathetic little slashes. Dark Forces had that and that game is old.
For example, the first giant toad fight (called a Oggdo Bogdo. Really broke out all the word bank for that one), I remember rushing in and getting my a$$ handed to it. Then, after coming back, I took my time and finally beat it. I loved how my brain decided to win right after I fell into the boss pit when I gave up. This may seem basic like “oh wow, you beat the toad.” But that feeling of accomplishment kept me going. I love that it was intentionally made harder but optional if you really wanted to get good.
Like with Dragon Quest, the only reason why I ended up not continuing was because of my set up. Especially during Dathomir, where one session ended up slowing down my input with the controls due to poor internet (I blame the night sisters). Anyone looking into PC gaming, do not do what I do. I have to rely on what I have, but if you have the spending cash buy a better computer.
You think after this game, the main character joined Disney Channel to star in the hit movie, “Zombies 3?” I didn’t even need to joke about him being in a 4th one. There are apparently gonna be aliens in the 3rd movie. Yo, can we get our main boy in Zombies 3?
Dead Space: Covid Omega
It’s The Thing meets Alien. This was made for me.
One of the best aspects of the game is its sound design. Being in this hostile mining ship with the Necromorphs, hearing the whispers, the ambience, and the distant roars helped aggravate my anxiety. Despite the point being to be afraid, I was mesmerized and drawn to how everything was crafted to create this perfect horror experience.
By far, my favorite mechanic is stomping the monsters after they’re dead. Just taking it all out on them too be able to release the anger after being jump scared and attacked. Best decision made. Best part is when our mute protag vents out his frustration. The way he grr’s is such a mood. Having a relatable mechanic made me want to play the game more since I had a break in between the scares to let it all out. The story too, but the gameplay really kept me going.
So, why is this not number 1? Well, it’s because I found this gem around the last 2 weeks of my membership. Had I played early, this would have easily been number 1.
Also, Zombies 3 should totally include the Necromorphs. That would easily get me back into Disney Channel.
Star Wars Battlefront 2: EA addition
Growing up, I used to play the original Star Wars Battlefront 2 (which was my brother’s) on our old computer. Though I could never play multiplayer, I had a blast going to all the Star Wars planets I knew and absolutely recking the enemy army. Though the dumb AI made things easy, I still managed to make a lot of memories
Admittedly, I was one of the guys who hated the remakes without ever playing them. In my defense, when I heard all the controversies on the lootcrates, it made me think they messed up what could have been a great remake. But, playing it in December, any fears or biases I had were blown away.
This became one of my favorite Star Wars games of all time. The look of the game is gorgeous (especially each character model), the maps are expansive and recreate everything from the movies, I love dying to Darth Maul every few seconds, and the points system made learning the base classes viable. I love how much variety there is as well. There’s Conquest, Galactic Assault, Heroes vs Villains, Blast, Space Assault, and Ewok Hunt. Surrpisingly, the lootcrates that were left didn’t really affect my enjoyability with the game at all since I felt I was on the same level as everyone else playing, even if veterans were on the field. It’s a really good casual experience, but there is something veteran shooters will love.
Now, the question might be: did I like this more than the original. Now, before you shout at me like Kylo Ren to choose which ever one you like more, here’s my take. A comparison is not fair. I only had single player in the original. What I love about the new one is that I can actually do multiplayer. I’m not gonna say I had more fun on one over the other because of that. I love both for different reasons. They both have a special place in my heart as being amazing Star Wars games.
Yes, I did come at the end of its life. There are apparently no more updates. But, what I experienced was something amazing, and I hope a Battlefront 3 happens. One that doesn’t include the First Order.
Can we just get Legends content? Ea, you gave the sequels enough love. It’s time to give the real sequels a spot in the spotlight. I want Mara Jade, Omega Squad, the real Ben Solo, and whatever else happened after ep 6.
*Here is me reliving two of my favorite moments.
My remember when me and a random person just got together and just stood at an enemy spawn point to decimate them with the gatling gun. I know that sounds like an asshole move, and I did try to leave. But when we looked at each other, he nudged me with some shots, and we just turned back to continue, I knew we became bros that day. Or they were a girl. Idk.
Another was when, in Kashyyk, I was with a whole squad in one of the Turbo Tanks just defending it from droids. There was so much to do in that map, yet we all banded together to protect this one spot. There was so much tension, so many times I died, yet we did it…I think. I can’t remember it well.
I’m very sorry that most of these screenshots are the menus on the game pass, but I want to save up some money before I get the pass again. If I do get it again, and I remember, I’ll try to replace these screenshots with actual gameplay.
And that’s it for my list of reasons that kept me from actually doing my job. Next time, I go back to Kamen Rider to talk about what in the world the Saber movie was. See you next time.
Kamen Rider Saber came out during the 2020-2021 period, during the 50th anniversary of the series just 3 years after the 20th anniversary of the Heisei Era. However, while Super Hero Senki is tied to Saber as a commeroation of the franchise, Revice would be the official anniversary series. So, technically Saber is an anniversary series but only in year.
Since this is the first Kamen Rider series I’m covering, I’ll quickly go over the basics. I would advise to go to my blog post covering Kamen Rider in general. Like every season, Saber has a weird ass gimmick that leads to a lot of genius, physical puns. This time, it’s a combination of books and knights. Many seasons before, especially in the last 6 years, lean heavily into science fiction as a homage to the Showa era. Saber, on the other hand, stands out as a high fantasy show with its own lore and alternate dimension, making it more of a homage to a lot of earlier Heisei like Kuuga and Blade.
When the first scans of the show were released, I had a mixed response. I loved that we were returning to the mystical side of rider, since it was what got me into Kuuga back in the day. While I still love the science fiction aspect, it was getting pretty stale by Zero One. The books looked interesting, considering how small the toys were, and the sword and knight aesthetic had the potential for more sword-based combat that would make Saber stand out. However, Saber’s Base suit was, and still is, not impressive. Not only did it lean more towards the design aesthetic of Build, but the idea that all of the dragon armor was on one side made it look incomplete. It also made the belt an eye sore. Drivers with multiple items in it to initiate a combo have all its slots filled most of the time, but the Seiken Swordriver allowed only one book to initiate the transformation. With just one, it just didn’t look right.
But I kept an open mind when the first trailer hit, which revealed that the show would be utilizing full CGI scenes. A new world, called Wonder World, with a rider possibly from it fighting monsters made of books while an indigo knight waited in the shadow. This show had promise. They may not have gotten through it all, but the world building they can do with the knights and this alternate dimension couldhave been it one of the most unique rider seasons in a while. After a year and 36 episodes…
I wanted to buy the hardest liquor.
To spoil a little of the overview post, Kamen Rider Saber became one of the worst seasons in the franchise (consider I haven’t watched every season yet), and a fundamental lesson in how to not write a story or create a tokusatsu show, in my opinion. Poorly executed characters, repulsive inconsistencies all around, and a mess of a plot from start to finish. Revice’s bare minimum, just the bare minimum, was enough to reinvigorate me back into the franchise. In my initial week-to-week viewing, I quit entirely because it was hard to get through.
So, why the hell am I even reviewing it if I hated it so much? Well, because it’s still minty fresh in the mind factory. Before I came into this review, I wanted to trash the absolute hell out of this stink pile. It wasn’t until I sat down to plan this post that, instead, I wanted to not only finish it, but re-watch it in its entirety. I had the thought that maybe, in my numbness, I missed something that might have actually been good. I wanted to review the whole show bit by bit to understand why I didn’t like or what I might appreciate more. Something to make it more analytical and fairer rather than 10 pages of pure anger. Was I wrong, or was I right?
I’ll be splitting this review into different parts based on the 4 arcs of the show, including the short film with Falchion, before the overall finale. For those who have watched it, I will not include the swordsman chronicles series in the overall show synopsis, or the Sword of Logos saga for now, but I will use info within for clarification and character insight when needed. You do not have to watch the swordsman chronicles (due to it containing 2 new scenes and a bunch of repeat scenes) and you cannot watch the Sword of Logos saga until you’ve finished the second arc (due to spoiling said arc).
The next page will be a full story review for those who need a refresher before I give my thoughts or if you don’t want to watch the show. I will then split the rest, from characters to worldbuilding, into their own pages from pros to cons. Saber does have a lot, even in just one chapter, so I want it to be digested as easily as possible.