[Game] Guacamelee! 2

Guacamelee 2.jpg

Game

For better or worse, Guacamelee! 2 is just like its prequel. It offers the same kind of pleasant experience, but it feels a lot less fresh the second time around.

Positive:
Negative:
Attractive, colorful 2D visuals
The story’s pretty generic
Pleasant, unique music
Combat mechanics are a bit repetitive and can get dull
Cool Mexican setting
Some of the levels drag on for too long
Well-written, genuinely funny dialogue
Plays a lot like the previous game, making for a less memorable experience
Good boss fights
Good platforming with lots of gimmicks to keep things fresh

[Novel] Money (Martin Amis)

Money

Book

Money feels a bit all over the place and is a bit hard to follow, but it’s thoroughly entertaining sarcastic protagonist makes every line in this story simply a pleasure to read.

It kind of reminded me of The Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas.

Positive:
Negative:
Satyrical, thoroughly entertaining prose
Feels a bit all over the place at times
Interesting, likable, profound characters, especially the protagonist
So many characters it’s easy to lose track of who is who
Relatively enthralling plot
Solid, poignant story
Thought-provoking on capitalistic values and human nature

[Game] Kingdom Hearts: Birth by Sleep

Kingdom Hearts Birth by Sleep

Game

I was never a huge fan of Disney, so I’ve got to admit, when I first heard of Kingdom Hearts it sounded like a pretty stupid idea to me, but the first and especially the second game of the series ended up growing on me as they had just enough of the Final Fantasy flavor to keep me interested… and the Disney worlds were surprisingly fun to explore as they still were something I experienced and enjoyed as a kid.

Birth by Sleep, though a prequel and not as grand as the two flagship titles, still offers a pretty genuine Kingdom Hearts experience and is definitely worth checking out if you’re a fan of the series.

It’s just too bad that the convoluted naming and ever-changing platforms of Kingdom Heart game releases have made it so aggravating to even figure out what order they are supposed to be played in.

Positive:
Negative:
Fascinating setting that combines Final Fantasy with Disney
The story has a lot of parts that are hard to take seriously
Interesting, likable characters
The convoluted nature of the overarching story will turn many people off
An interesting story with lots and lots of lore
An odd delay before blocking makes the gameplay feel clunky on higher difficulties
Surprisingly interesting plot that you explore from multiple angles
It’s nostalgic and nice to visit the worlds from your childhood movies
Challenging, fun action game-play

[Novel] The Snow Queen (Joan D. Vinge)

The Snow Queen

Book

Joan D. Vinge tells an interesting story in a fairly fascinating setting that mixes science fiction and fantasy, but while well-written, it never really rises to something particularly mind-blowing or memorable.

Positive:
Negative:
Fascinating, imaginative, and well thought-out setting
Doesn’t offer anything particularly mind-blowing
Interesting, likable characters
Some of the parts can feel a bit slow
Relatively engaging plot

[Game] Soul Calibur VI

Soul Calibur VI

Game

Soul Calibur VI offers the same awesome and flashy fighter game-play as its many prequels, but it barely feels like a new game at this point. It being a reboot not only takes you backward in the story, it means you have a smaller roster of characters to select from (as it takes place before they’re introduced).

It feels more like a step backward than forward, and I don’t think I’d be able to tell the difference between it and V or even IV if I was looking at the screen from a distance.

Positive:
Negative:
Beautiful visuals
Underwhelming story that alternates between dull and cringeworthy
A large cast of interesting and memorable characters
Barely feels like a different game from the previous installments in the series
An actual story mode (though it’s not very good)
Actually offers a smaller roster of characters than the prequels
Top-notch 3D fighting mechanics
Subpar localization

[Novel] Hawaii (James. A. Michener)

Hawaii

Book

So far my favorite Michener’s book, Hawaii is a fantastic recounting of Hawaii’s history that spans generations of interesting and likable characters, almost every one of whom have a poignant and dramatic story to tell.

Positive:
Negative:
Simple but pleasant and easily-digestible prose
Might feel a bit slow at times
Profound, interesting, likable characters
Enthralling plot
Epic story that spans generations
Multiple genuinely dramatic and touching moments
Enlightening on Hawaii’s history
Thought-provoking on life

[Game] King’s Bounty – The Legend

King's Bounty

Game

An interesting strategy and computer role-playing hybrid that plays like an RPG version of Heroes of Might & Magic. It’s just too bad that its story reads like bad fanfiction.

Positive:
Negative:
Satisfying strategy game-play
The story reads like bad fanfiction
A well-designed world that’s fun to explore
Long battles start getting tedious towards the end