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Below are the 20 most recent journal entries recorded in Starza's LiveJournal:

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Tuesday, January 1st, 2030
3:11 pm
Fanfiction recommendations
Instead of doing the usual, I'm going to put up a list of recommended fanfiction from various fandoms with various pairings. Some of them will be based on fics that I reviewed (I'll link the review too). I'm also pinning this to the top incase anyone actually reads this damn blog.

Most of the fics listed here will be from Video games, ranging from het to slash pairings. Most fics will probably be romance in nature, but you may see a general fanfic here and there. I'll also put warnings/rating based on Ao3's system, since most fics will be on Ao3. Also, most fics will be full of spoilers, so keep that in mind.

I'll also be adding to this over time. I may review a few of these fics in the future (More so Fire Emblem since that's the fandom I actively read for now).

Dramatical: MurderCollapse )

HakuokiCollapse )

Final Fantasy 7Collapse )

Persona 4Collapse )

Fire Emblem: AwakeningCollapse )

Fire Emblem: FatesCollapse )
Tuesday, March 21st, 2017
2:38 pm
Okay, let's cover an actual AU that is pretty good, Fire Emblem: Fates
I'm going to admit, I think this series falls a little too much to your typical 'seme/uke' set up, moreso if you just read part 1. Part 2 changed my mind a bit, and while I prefer Takumi angst over Leo, the few fics I find that focus on Leo angst are really well written. I am still going to recommend part 1, because you really should know what is going through both character's heads, but part 2 is really the superior version.

This author tends to be hit and miss with me, but her ideas are so good that I can forgive the 'seme/uke' setup. And fuck me, I do like to see Takumi happy in the end. >.>

Series: Fire Emblem: Fates
Title: i am too alone in the world, and yet not alone enough
Author: CarbonFootprint
Genre: AU on Conquest timeline/Drama/Romance/Flangst, though swings more to angst than fluff
Rating: T
Warning: Massive amounts of angst from Leo and Takumi, end spoilers for Conquest, spoilers for Revelations conversation
Couple (if applicable): Leo/Takumi

Plot: 9/10 - I'm going to admit, this is the sort of AU I like, where one event changes and basically a butterfly effect follows. I'm putting this under a cut, because the plot basically spoils the end of Conquest. Conquest spoilers!Collapse )

And depending on what part you're reading, you'll see different things. Takumi's part focuses on his comatose state dreams, and you once again, get a rehash of their damn in game supports. I really wish people would just add their own damn flare instead of cooking 'copy pasta' of the whole thing. When he finally wakes up, he realizes the boy from his dream was that, a dream, and he has to deal with that and his own issues. You can kind of guess what the spell did to Takumi, and reading part 1, I didn't really understand why Leo was flipping out so badly.

Part 2 actually cleared up my big problem with part 1. And it makes a lot of sense. It's also really well written, and it satisfied my angst itch along with clearing up the problem I had with part 1. Basically, part 2 is from Leo's point of view and parallels part 1. And it does so really well. Part 2 also has an epilogue and there was supposed to be a part 3 (Never happened, the author kind of dropped out of fandom for some reason?), but part 2 ends in a satisfying enough way to not need anything after.

Basically, out of all the stories that cover 'soulmates' and Conquest AU endings, this one is probably the best well written.

Writing: 7/10 - The writing is just okay in part 1, though the interactions that Takumi has with his siblings save it a lot. Part 2's writing is far superior, and we get into Leo's head and the big problem I had with him from part 1 makes a ton of sense.

Though, to be honest, the writing is just okay, though it does greatly improve as the story moves on. The flow and the ideas of the piece, as a whole, are what make this two parter stand out from the rest of the stories I find on Ao3. This would be a great example of a really good and creative idea boasting the writing quality in general. I say boast, because the writing isn't bad, and is above quality work. It's just that the ideas and the conversations between the family members are really well done and stand out way more than the quality of writing.

I think the only thing that suffers is that Leo and Takumi sort of suffer from your typical 'yaoi seme/uke' setup. I say it's mostly on Takumi rather than Leo, but I'll get into that later.

Overall, it's a really good read. Despite the 'copy pasta' of the support conversations. Though I will admit, part 2 does sort of give it a flare of it's own compared to part 1.

Characterization: 8/10 - I would've given this score a 5 or a 6 if I was just basing it on Takumi and Leo's relationship to each other. There's too many tears and Takumi suffers more from the 'uke' syndrome that I see commonly in nearly every fanfic. It's a bit more excusable to some degree with him because of all his emotional baggage, especially in the conquest timeline.

Leo is somewhat excused from it in part 2 to some degree. Story spoilersCollapse )

However, they way the Royals are written is what saves it and allows me to excuse the typical yaoi dynamic. I freaking loved that the most in part 1, when Takumi finally wakes up and the way his siblings react to his awakening and recovery, because it's realistic and touching. I also like the interactions with Leo and the other siblings, how he keeps going to Corrin and asking her on Takumi's condition and the conversation he has with Xander.

Despite the small seme/uke hiccup, the rest of the cast is remarkably IC, and while Leo and Takumi dance near the OOC boarder, they never come too close to it to hurt the story.

Negatives: Somewhat cliche seme/uke setup, part 1 is somewhat inferior to part 2

Summary: An AU to the Fates Conquest timeline. During the final battle of the Conquest timeline, Leo notices the small spark of life behind the possessed Hoshido's Second Prince's eyes. Instead of killing him, he then decides to take a gamble on a untranslated spell from his Divine Weapon, Brynhilder...

Overall: 8/10 - A story that has a few hiccups, but is definitely worth the read. I recommend reading both parts in order. I wouldn't recommend it if you're not a fan of the pairing already, but if you are, this fic will satisfy you greatly, more so if you want an AU done right.

Anyways, I think it's break time again (I think I had my fill of Leo/Takumi for the moment) since Persona 5 is coming out real soon. MAYBE I'll find another Persona 4 fanfic in the meantime. >.>
Sunday, March 19th, 2017
1:30 pm
Fire Emblem: Fates - Another example of good ideas wrecked by bad writing and OOCness
I know, I did promise I'd bring a good AU fic next, but the only fics I'm keeping an eye out on for that aren't finished, and I rarely, if ever, review unfinished fics, mostly because you don't know how it's going to end up. So that's going to wait. Though technically, this fic is sort of AU?

This is also the kind of AU plots I prefer. Where the characters are still in the same world, but things are different.

But sadly, like the last fic, it isn't really that good. And it really saddens me, because this fic does have some good ideas, unlike the last fic, which was just cliche boredom.

I don't know why, but seeing fics that have some really good ideas, but not working because of the writing or because the ideas don't flow together or whatnot really makes me sad (Even more so since I love me some well written Takumi angst), more so than finding a fic that's just downright terrible.

Series: Fire Emblem: Fates
Title: Fear of the Truth
Author: Hao
Genre: Flangst/AUish
Rating: E
Warning: Massive Takumi angst (Do I even need to warn for this, it's freaking Takumi...), very AUish, OOC Leo, typical seme/uke setup, OOCness, slight dom/sub understones
Couple (if applicable): Leo/Takumi, mentions of Xander/Ryoma and one sided Leo/Niles

Plot: 7/10 - It's kinda hard to explain the plot without massively spoiling the fic. But let's just say that I'm okay with this kind of AU, mostly because it still takes place in the same setting, but events are different. Like Nohr and Hoshido aren't at war here, and Garon is already dead. Basically, the Nohr siblings have found something that belongs to the Hoshido Royality and wish to return it to it's rightful owner. Oh, and of course, there's talk of soulmates. And shameless smut.

There are some really good ideas floating around in this fic. Like the daily life of Takumi I found interesting. I found his conversations and how the other characters from the game interact with him. I also like how he's taking painting lessons with Kagero (I'm not sure if it's canon or not, but I like this idea, in general).

SpoilersCollapse )

But sadly, that's where it ends for the positives, because it falls to your typical seme/uke dynamic (Especially when Leo just starts to randomly flirt with Takumi just after they met). Which don't really fit these two characters personalities. I'll cover this more later with characterization.

Also, the relationship comes on WAY too fast, despite the whole 'soul mates' thing (That's pretty much the second half of this fic, though mostly, it's about 75% smut in the second half). In fact, to be honest, the talk they have after flyby smut in the hallway scene should've happened BEFORE said smut. Again, I'll cover this in characterization.

Writing: 3/10 - This is where the story suffers the most. The story has a ton of typos and grammar mistakes all over the place. It's so bad that it really took me out of the story several times (Your and you're being the most common one, along with They're and Their). I don't think the author had a beta to this fic either, because there are typos that a spelling/grammar checker could pick up on easily. Maybe English isn't their first language (Which is no excuse, get an English speaker to beta for you)? Either way, this story would've really benefited from a beta.

The writing can be rather bland at times, and the story can get a bit draggy as well. Like there were some points where I just wanted to get to the point of the story, or random smut followed by a 'oh reasons' and going right back into smut, with little to no build up.

I have no real problem with the first half of the story besides the many typos and grammar fails. The second half is just where the story falls apart, due to an OOC Leo. Which I'll cover right now.

Characterization: 5/10 - Honestly, if it wasn't for Takumi's character in the first half of the story and the other characters, this score would've been sitting at a 2. Takumi's character is pretty spot on, along with his internal angst in the non-smut scenes. And like I said, I really like the interactions with Takumi and the other minor characters, like Kagero and Oboro, and his siblings.

And then Leo comes into the picture, and it all pretty much goes downhill from there. Leo is pretty much OOC to the max in the story. I mean, when he started calling Takumi, 'baby', I pretty much blanched. That took me right out of the story.

I mean, I have read fics where Leo and Takumi are in a more dom/sub role than I want them to be. And I can accept it if the writing is there. It's just... not here. And I think part of it is there's no buildup and we're supposed to just accept this because 'oh, they're perfect soulmates and Takumi wants to be submissive just because!' I highly doubt Takumi would be okay with Leo basically sexing him up in the MIDDLE of a hallway, considering how stubborn and prideful he is.

My personal opinon on this? I see both of them as switching out. I'm okay with either one being on top or bottom (Though not gonna lie, I honestly prefer Leo being more on top, just because I think he would need to play the more 'emotional support' role to Takumi, and being the top would allow him to do so). In a dom/sub relationship though, I'd definitely say Leo being the dom, but it'd have to be written well for me to believe it. It's totally not here.

I also realized there's a total of 4 smut scenes, all of them nearly back to back to each other. I think this is the first story where I've gotten a sudden overload of smut, back to back to back too, with almost no build up. It could be because Leo comes off WAY too strong and he outright flirts with Takumi right away, which I really can't see him doing. Oh, and 'baby'. Gag.

It's not that the smut scenes are badly written, believe me, I've read a lot worse. But due to the numerous typos and an OOC Leo, it doesn't... flow well. And again, I blame an OOC Leo and little to no build up. I mean, Takumi himself even protests that they only just met and shouldn't do this, but he gives in, cause... Just cause!

Negatives: Cliche seme/uke setup, OOC Leo, many typos, many spelling/grammar errors

Summary: An AU to the Fates timeline. Takumi's life is about to turn upside down when the Royals of Nohr come to visit, returning something that once belonged to the Hoshido Royal family. He's not exactly pleased about it, moreso when the Second Prince of Nohr looks exactly like the blond haired boy that has been invading his dreams the last few days...

Overall: 5/10 - It saddens me greatly when I see a story with a great idea gone to pot. This is just another example of a bunch of great ideas that don't mesh because of writing and OOCness. I really want to recommend this, but I just can't because OOC Leo and the massive amount of typos ruins what could be a really good story.

Now I promise I WILL review a good fic next time.
Tuesday, March 14th, 2017
12:16 am
Back to fanfiction, Fire Emblem style!
Well, let's get away from BL Visual Novels for the moment and go back to what this journal originally was for, reviewing fanfics! Today, I'm going to cover a fandom that I surprisingly didn't expect myself to fall into.

I have a soft fondness for Fire Emblem series. My first game was on the GBA and I never finished it due to me not wanting ANY unit to die. I originally bought my 3DS for other games, and one of them was for Awakening. Luckily, the game allowed you to choose if you wanted to go the 'normal FE' style route or make it where a unit dies, they're just out for that particular map. I may cover some Awakening fanfics in the future, but for right now, we're going to talk about Fates instead.

Believe it or not, most of the fanfic I come across for Fates (That doesn't have obviously troll summaries at least) is pretty high quality stuff. At least in the slash department. When it comes to het, I get a lot more misses than hits, and considering that the amount of slash is nearly triple as the amount of het, it's kind of disappointing.

For the most part, I'm a Royal fan, and I'm very fond of Takumi most of all. Followed by Leo and Xander. And finding fics featuring them with Corrin... is rare. Like I think I can count less than 10 fanfics featuring EITHER one of these pairings that was worth the read. While finding fics for Takumi and Leo, on the other hand, are a dime a freaking dozen, and I found WAY more quality works. Luckily, I like this ship as well, so I win either way. >.>

But here's a thing I noticed a LOT with this fandom: fucking modern AUs. Why the fuck do you want to put characters in obvious fantasy settings in our own universe!? It just really floors me how people want to throw every sort of fandom into our world!

Sometimes, shock and surprise, it does work. Though, with my taste, I prefer AUs, as in one change setting up a butterfly effect (Or in the game's case, an AU happening in the Conquest or Birthright timeline changing things). This... is not one of them. The writing isn't too terrible, but the fic is just so meh in of itself...

Series: Fire Emblem: Fates
Title: Totally Not Friends
Author: Novaluna
Genre: Fluff/humor/slow build (aka relationship building)
Rating: T
Warning: Recycled support dialogue, meh attempt at humor, though it tries, sisters acting like shipping brats?
Couple (if applicable): Leo/Takumi, background Corrin/Silas and Kamui/Oboro

Plot: 5/10 - This scores pretty low only because it's just so meh. Basically, Corrin and Kamui (aka, female and male avatar) take their siblings to a beach house to spend one month of their summer vacation. Takumi and Leo have to share the same bedroom and... you can pretty much guess what happens there.

It's boring, it's predictable, it's... very meh. I really have nothing else to say, because it barely runs as a Fire Emblem fanfic, and I can barely recognize the characters from their canon counterparts.

Writing: 5/10 - The quality of the writing seems to dip in places, but not to the point of some other works I covered on here. The first few chapters are eye roll worthy because it's just another 'Let's copy and paste Takumi and Leo's C and B support right from the game!' Seriously, I don't mind if people want to add their support conversations into their stories, but add some flare or originality to it instead of a pure copy pasta that stands out from your writing!

While the writing does pick up in the next chapter, the quality dips later on, then improves and then dips again. I almost wonder if the same person is doing it or maybe the author was distracted while writing this.

Probably the worst example of instantly taking me out of a heart warming scene is the start of this paragraph in chapter 11, when Leo is comforting Takumi out of a nightmare and Leo ends up kissing him and the following is written right after:

"It wasn't exceedingly amorous -nobody stuck their tongue in anyone's mouth, or -gods forbid- ripped someones clothes off- and it was very chaste kiss, but it was a kiss, and it was passionate nonetheless."

That would be fine and dandy if this scene was coming off as humor, but it's not. Not to mention the sentence itself is very bland and really out of place, moreso the sentence in between the hyphens. It comes off as author's notes and is the wrong way to use them too. I mean, you don't need to go the purple prose route, but have some more description besides 'it was chaste and passionate'. Or basically, show, don't tell.

And what's funny, is it still tries to be heart warming to some degree. It's like the story sometimes can't decide if it wants to be heart warming or 'TEEHEE!' type of humor.

Characterization: 4/10 - Like I said above, you can barely recognize the characters. In fact, you can basically slap other names over the proper names and barely tell it was a Fire Emblem fanfic. But is that because they're written OOC? Or is it because of the boring cliche plotline? Probably a mixture of both. I feel like the featured characters, Leo and Takumi, suffer less from the OOCness than the others, who are basically along for the ride to 'get their brothers together'.

Just... oi...

Corrin and Kamui have been basically reduced to 'shipper' brats, which just basically makes me facepalm. I mean, do people forget that your avatar DOES have a personality in the game to some degree!? Everyone suffers from OOCness, and that seems to be a trend with modern AUs in general. Though to be fair, there are a few that do work, it doesn't in this story.

Negatives: Cliche, quality dips in the writing, other characters reduced to shipper brats, copy pasta support conversation
Summary: Corrin and Kamui take their respective siblings to the beach for the summer. Stuff happens. Mostly revolving around their younger brothers hooking up.

Overall: 4.6/10 - Do yourself a favor and read this work instead by the same author, the quality and writing is WAY better than this story. It's not really a Takumi/Leo shipper fic, but it is evidence that this writer can produce good quality stuff.

I also need to stop writing these reviews at like 12-1 in the morning, so many typos I found in my own review (That, and I think my keyboard is dying on me, because hitting the backspace button isn't working half the time anymore). Next, maybe I'll grab one of the AU fics that I found that did work for the fandom.
Monday, January 2nd, 2017
7:53 pm
Video game, Final Fantasy 15
Well, it's time to do a real video game review for once and we're reviewing the big one, Final Fantasy XV. Now, lemme say a few things:

1. I haven't played a single player based FF game since 12. I completely skipped 13 despite having a PS3. Weird huh? But that's how it is. I played FF14, and I have a review of it too. Let's say that it didn't live up to my standards. I did enjoy it more when I picked a dps class and I feel it does the FF theme a lot more than this game, but it's just not for me. Mostly, my crappy internet connection, but still... >.>

2. I avoided mostly everything about this title. Meaning I watched no trailers, played no demos, didn't want the movie/anime, or anything. The MOST I saw was when Angry Joe played FF15 demo on his stream one night about a year ago? I barely remember it (The only fight I remember is the deadeye fight and it was a bit different when he played it) and I can't even remember the combat. Other than that, I went into this game expecting nothing. Or at least expecting a decent story. Sigh... :/

Title: Final Fantasy XV
Rating: T
Genre: JRPG, Fantasy

Graphics: 9/10 - This is probably the best part of this entire game, the graphics. They're visually stunning. Some of the pictures that Prompto took for me, it looked like cutscene graphics. I also like when it's raining, the characters clothes will get wet and stay wet in the main menu. They get dirty after traveling and not camping out. The food that Ignis makes is so freaking detailed, that it looks freaking real.

This is even prettier than FF14. There's a few clipping issues here and there, but overall, this game is just pure eyecandy. And that's sadly, the only real postitive thing I can say about it. ~_~

Plot: 3/10 - The ONLY reason this score is so low is while the game does have a plot that feels sort of FFish, the way it's presented to the player is a garbled mess. Like holy shit. Look at it this way, they needed a movie and an animated series to explain stuff that happens. When you need a movie AND an anime to explain stuff that happens in a game... Why the fuck didn't you put it IN the fucking game!? Movies and animes are supposed to add on to what was already there, NOT explain to us the stuff that is NOT there.

Basically, you start out as playing Noctis, a Prince of some Kingdom. You're being sent out to meet up with your Fiancee, Lunafreya, along with your 3 bodyguards, Gladiolus, Ignis, and Prompto. And I swear this is real, the game starts out with you 4 pushing a freaking car down the road, bickering to each other, while the song, 'Stand by Me' is playing in the background. I blinked and said, 'Are... we for real!?'

But anyways, you find out that your castle (?) was invaded by the Imperial Empire while youre trying to hitch a boatride and your father was killed. Supposedly, before 1.03, this was ALL OFF SCREEN! But the added in patch added in cutscenes from the movie (Which REALLY stand out, and I didn't know they were cutscenes from the movie till I saw about it on a message board. I just thought they were unusual cutscenes, but didn't think anything of it). Yeah, do I even need to say anything more than that? That is piss poor story telling, and we're only at the beginning.

First off, we can't even feel for Noctis, because we never felt attached to his father, not to mentioned this happened off screen!? How are we supposed to feel anything for characters when the game just blazes through the way it does? The second example would be Jared. The old d00d from the 1 big town on the main map. When we come back and find out he's dead, I'm like, 'wait, who was that? Oh, the old guy! And I'm supposed to feel bad/sad, why now? Was this guy a friend of Noctis or a mentor of some kind? Who was he in relation to the characters?' All he told us was where to find a weapon and that's all. And when Noctis and his gang want to crash an Imperial Garrison to avenge him, I'm like, 'Uh, guys, we got better things to do than trash one Imperial site... We should be going to our destination so we can get rid of them for good instead of... You're just going to go anyways? Right...' Another example is Ravus (aka, Cecil-clone!), and I can't say why without spoilers, but when I saw what happened to him, I felt nothing. Why? Because the fucking character is on screen for 5 minutes! I heard he has more backstory in the movie, but fuck that noise.

And I'm not going to spoil the rest, but after Chapter 9 launches, it's like the story goes into overdrive and so much shit is thrown in your face with almost no time to take a breath and take it in. Basically, it's like I blinked and during that short time, something really important happened, and when I opened my eyes again, I just look at the outcome and scatch my head. And chapter 13 will make you hate everything about the game, but I'll get to that one in the gameplay section.

Throughout the entire game, I felt emotlonally distant from just about everything that happens and that's because the game presents the story so piss poorly. From it's very bizarre beginning to it's 'bitter sweet' ending. In fact, if you do the math of my playthrough, maybe 10-15 hours were with the main story. In fact, it took me less than 1 hour to go from Chapter 3 to Chapter 5. Why EVEN have chapters when some of them are done within 30 minutes!? Did they think if they divided them into 14 chapters, no one would bitcn about the length!?

The sidequests are basically water down versions of any MMO quests, look for this item, go collect this thing, go get me this thing. They add NOTHING to the story or the characters, with the exception of a few, like helping Ignis find his glasses or when you talk to Prompto after staying at a Hotel.

Anyways, let's talk about the cast. Or... really, there's not that much to talk about. Noctis is your snarky grumpy protag. Gladio is your big buff guy that kind of acts like your mentor? Prompto is the happy-go-lucky guy that you know has a deep dark angsty past (This cliche is way overdone nowadays) who likes taking pictures of just about anything. And Ignis, well, I'll call him 'Bulter-san', because that's exactly what he is. He's the 'nerdy intellectual guy' who supposedly comes up with the strats, does quite a bit of work (And by that, I mean cook, drive the car, and mend Noctis' shirt? He totally is a Bulter!).

I guess these guys are all friends. I get that more between Prompto and Noctis, since they went to High School together. And what the fuck, the FF characters going to High School!? FANFICTION NIGHTMARE FOR ME! Not to mention but the PRINCE going to high school??? Cause that's not going to draw a lot of attention! But... I can't really tell, because the game doesn't present it well. And the only way I get that feel is because Prompto loves to take selfies of him and Noctis in my playthrough a lot.

The whole game is supposed to be a kind of 'bro trip' type of thing, and I wouldn't really mind that at all (Fuck, I'll admit, the idea appeals to me because the 4 guys are pure eye candy material and I'll admit, I'd like to see 4 guys who start as strangers, but end up as, well, brothers in arms at the end)... Except it's not executed well here at all. It feels forced and I sometimes feel that this is just Noctis and his bodyguards trying to get to a destination with 'silly moments' demostrated by Prompto's pictures, not 4 guys randomly bonding with one another. Outside of combat, they make banter with one another, but I don't feel this closeness that the game should be aiming for. A better example of developing characters would be skits that the Tales of series is famous for.

Let's talk a little about the main pairing in the game, Noctis and Luna. Or... not? This is the most bland couple I've ever seen in a FF series, if any JRPG ever. Mostly because Luna spends maybe 10 minutes of screentime in the entire game. She's not a party member, so you don't see any interaction between her and Noctis. You get short flashbacks of them talking about stuff and you are told they communicate to each other through some magical notebook. And... that's it. You get the sense that these two are childhood friends. But lovers??? I barely get the sense that they are even close friends. Hell, you could give very cold answers to her via the notebook if you wanted. There's more chemistry between Noctis and Iris (Gladios' sister), mostly because Iris is on the scene more than freaking Luna!

Seriously, I don't want to hear any fucking Final Fantasy fan tell me about how piss poor Squall and Rinoa's relationship from FF8 is after seeing Noctis and Luna.

There's other characters that show up, like your Cid, his daughter Cindy (Urgh), Iris, some general guy named Cor, some messenger that I won't say for spoiler sake, your Biggs and Wedge, and the badass Highwind of the game, Aranea, but they are pretty much forgetable. Except Aranea, but I've always been a fan of the 'Dragoon' characters of the game (Hello, my favorite character from FF4 is Kain Highwind!), so... Nah, I think Aranea is a kick ass character and I heard she may be playable in DLC, so here's hoping!

This game is a perfect example of good ideas, but executed in the worse possible way. In fact, a lot of fanfiction in the past that I've read would qualify around this, good ideas that aren't presented well. What we have is a good idea: A prince losing his kingdom and has to go on a journey of self discovery with his 3 bodyguards that end up being like a second family to him. Along the way, he has to make tough choices and decisions that turn him from a sheltered prince into a worthy King. That's what I think they were going for.

But it's not executed well at all, and it's due to how it's presented to the players. Stuff that's supposed to make you sad only leaves you empty because you can't get on the wavelength or identify with the characters. Massive spoiler for chapter 9!Collapse )

What's worse, after you get into the meat of Chapter 9, the game goes pretty much linear, completely abandoning the idea of a 'brotrip' and open world all together. Wasn't that one of the biggest complaints about FFXIII, that it was too linear?? Why the hell would you think of doing that in FFXV!? I feel like they put too much into the open world aspect of the game and put the story later. And it's funny, because in order to access that open world aspect, you have to travel through time. Yeah, leave the time travel shit to Chrono Trigger, SquareEnix.

I also feel like SquareEnix wanted to make this a 'darker' type of story, kind of like Type 0. But it doesn't work, because the game's starter tone is more light at the beginning and then just suddenly goes 180 and turns dark, and some of the stuff that happens, specifically to Ignis and Prompto, just seems to be thrown in just cause FF games need angst. Sorry to say, but if you want a more darker FF story, just go play Final Fantasy Tactics. Or just play the Shin Megami Tensei/Persona series if you want darker plots.

This could be a really good setup for a game. Actually, it IS a really good setup for a game. But that's all it seems to me, a setup. We have the bare bone basics, SquareEnix decided we didn't need the meat and stripped it off the bone, leaving us with a bare basic story with little to no substance.

Music/sound: 5/10 - This is where I'm going to say nostalgia plays against this game. While you're in the car or the field and not on a chocobo, you can actually play music from previous Final Fantasies. Which sounds awesome in concept. But in practice, it works AGAINST the game, because besides the Chocobo music and generic pit stop theme, I cannot remember any music from this game at all. Why? Because half the time I'm listening to FF4/FF5/FF6 music that I forgot that this game has it's own freaking soundtrack. Yeah, ask me about a single tune in this game and all I can tell you is the chocobo music and only because I can't play my recorder on a chocobo. And the chocobo music is good, but it's the freaking chocobo theme, you can't really mess that up.

Beyond that, I cannot recall any music from this game, cept maybe for the battle music, and even that is forgetable. I don't get it. Even the FF11 and FF14 battle themes are memorable in my mind and I barely played much of FF11!

Though I really wish I could forget the 'Stand by Me' song played at the beginning and ending of this game. I mean, seriously, why that song? In the 80's and 90's, that song was used in a phone commercial and that's all I can remember it from. Not to mention, isn't Stand by Me a romantic song? Doesn't really fit a 'brotrip' theme. MAYBE it's supposed to represent Noctis and Luna (Though I'm sure it's supposed to represent the bonds between the 4 main guys, but reading the lyrics to the song, it's clearly a LOVE SONG), but like I said above, the game doesn't present that well at all.

Gameplay: 6/10 - I don't know why SE keeps going with a more action type combat. They simply aren't good at it, end of story. This game can be done just button mashing the O button. And dodging when the box pops up. And oh, it will a lot, because you'll be doing the tanking. And the dpsing. And the healing. You'll be doing just about everything while your bros will stand around and do nothing. Sure, maybe Gladio will help out sometimes, but Prompto and Ignis will probably stand around and die (Well, Ignis made himself useful with his 'regroup' skill, which basically, you run to him and heal). Like a lot. Unless you overleveled like I did and did every single bloody sidquest you see on your map.

I mean, it's not like SE is incapable of making a good action RPG. See Secret of Mana/Seiken Densetsu series. Or Brave Fencer. Or Dewprism/Threads of Fate. But it seems like they just want to copy Western games at this point, like Skyrim and Witcher. It works with those two games because you are only controlling one character usually. When you have 2 or more party members, that kind of combat doesn't work, moreso when the AI is bad. It works in the Tales of Games because you can change the AI's behavior and change what character you are controlling, but it's not 100% flawless.

I also forgot to mention this, so I'm going to now. The camera sucks in this game, it kills what could be a good battle system. And targetting sucks. When you're trying to land blows on a specific part of a monster to weaken it or maybe get an item (Good idea), you have to angle your camera so that it targets the part and try to lock onto it. The problem? It's very hard to angle the camera in the right position and can take some time. It's hard to do this when in real time combat, maybe this is where Wait mode would come into play? I tried playing Wait mode, but it wasn't for me.

Worse, you have to keep the R1 button down to keep your target. AND EVEN THEN, if you land a link strike, sometimes, you lose the target!

Not to mention, half the time I feel like I'm fighting monsters AND the Camera. A lot of the times, I have to readjust the camera because Noctis is flying all over and sometimes, a fucking bush gets in my way and I can't see him or what direction he is facing or if I'm hitting anything, period! This was a big issue I had in Kingdom Hearts series, it seems it has yet to be fixed.

Speaking of that, this game feels like in the same vein of Kingdom Hearts, only a little bit more complex, since Noctis can change weapons on the fly, but even then, it has it's limits and it gets frustrating when there's 8 mobs on the screen and they all come after you while your 3 buddies look on and just stand around or better, run right into a fucking AoE attack, getting themselves blown to bits.

The characters have different 'pass times' they like to do. Ignis does the cooking, but cooking actually has a point, as in you get some useful buffs. But you can only do it when you camp outside. But you kind of want to use a motel/hotel because experience boast and you can only do experience at rest points (Yeah, basically experience piles up from doing quests or fighting and the only way to distribute the points is via camping. Or finishing a chapter, so don't rush the main story!). Prompto likes taking pictures. That's about it for him, yay? If you're a Screenshot fan, you'll like this feature. Gladio picks up random items from the ground after a fight, which can save money. Noctis likes to fish? I hate the fishing mini game, but you need some of the fish for cooking, so meh. It's there to use and kill time when you're waiting for daylight to break.

Speaking of that, there's day to night in the game. And it's really frustrating, more so near the beginning when freaking bombs and Iron Giants come out and you see that they're level 30. Later on, it's just annoying, more so when you're trying to drive to your destination and they appear on the road. And then Magitek armor guys pop down after. And then the monsters decide they want to respawn... Like holy shit, I just want to get to the fucking gas station that's like only 1000 feet away from me, go fuck yourself monsters!

Again, a good idea, but executed poorly. Cut the freaking respawn rate. Or at least make it so the magitek can't see you at night because, well, it's fucking dark, you don't know if that's Noctis and his gang down there, what if it's just a random passerby?

Oh, let's not forget the car! Yeah, you can choose to drive or have Ignis drive. And lord all mightly, unless you're looking for pitstops, have Ignis drive. Driving is very limited, meaning, you can't go off the main and side roads to explore. I guess if you could, there would be no reason to have Chocobos, so they had to limit the car. You can drive to your destination or teleport there for 10 gil. It reminded me of traveling in FF14, which was a pain in itself. And near the beginning of the game, you can't teleport at night, because Ignis is a wuss. Later on, he'll drive at night, and you can teleport. Also, do we REALLY need to see them getting out of the car EVERY SINGLE time. Also, put some seatbelts in that damn car, and Noct, stop climbing to sit on the back part of the car while Ignis is driving! I actually did brake once, hoping to see Noctis fly like 30 feet in front of the Car, but alas!

I'll be honest, most of the time, I let Ignis drive, turned on the FF6 tracklist and went to go make a snack, use the bathroom, play on my phone (Irony was playing FF Record Keeper), or go browse the net until I got to my destination. That's not a good thing for a game to do, but I get free AP and exp for doing nothing. And you're going to need the AP to boast your shit.

Speaking of AP, the game has something called 'Ascension' in it. Basically, for using your points, you get different stuff. Like maybe you like driving the car a lot like me, so you pick the get AP and Exp skill while driving. Or maybe you want to improve stats? Go for the every level stat tree. Or you want to unlock your chain combos with the other guys? Or unlock more stuff for Noctis? This is a good idea, and it allows for really good customization. The bad thing? Getting AP is a grindfeast, some AP shit costing 333 AP or even 999 AP. ~_~;;;

Oh and magic and summoning? Magic is friendly fire. Yeah, that means, you use a spell and your bros are near the monster? They're more than likely gonna get hit with it. And take damage. So unless you cannot find a weapon weakness off a monster, you're gonna want to lay off using magic. And summons? I barely used them, because they basically come out when they want to, mostly when you're in danger of dying. The only time I remember using it was when I went to a underground sewer level and got ambushed by Yojimbo and got stabbed a bit. Then Ramuh decided he HAD to come out. It's pretty epic to see at first, and summons are basically instant KO for your enemies. But it's so random, and honestly? If I wasn't being stupid, I didn't even need to summon him to begin with! Yeah, worst summoning system ever.

Load times. I cannot believe how bad the load times in this game are. There's a load time for everything, it's really bad when you start your game up from your saved data or going back to the open world. Like holy hell, they make some of the PSX load times seem fast!

Also, I'm not going to spoiler this cut, because everyone should be warned about Chapter 13. Part of chapter 13 is basically Noctis with only one weapon walking down a bunch of narrow hallways. You have two choices, fight it out or stealth your way through. And trust me, it's faster to brute force your way through instead of stealth. This is, beyond a doubt, the worse gameplay I've seen in ANY FF game, it tries to be a survival horror game, which FF is not that.

And didn't SquareEnix want to avoid this type of play, walking down a very linear path to your destination??? Wasn't this a problem with FFXIII that a lot of people complained about??? WHY the FUCK would you put something that people clearly hated INTO a future installment!? And... this is the longest chapter of the game, because of this shitty gameplay mechanic. No joke.

Ignoring the cesspool that is Chapter 13, overall, the combat is a bit more polished than it's KH sister counterpart, but there's still a lot of room for improvement.

All in all, like the combat, the gameplay isn't really bad, but there's a lot of room for improvement.

Overall 5.75/10 - Eyecandy cannot save a horribly presented story, forgetable music, and below average gameplay. FF15 has the potential to be something really good, but falls flat, mostly due to it's piss poor story presentation. This game was in development hell for 10 years and it honestly shows, because it seems like a game that doesn't really know what it wants to show or how to present itself.

This doesn't even feel like a JRPG, it feels like a WRPG with a Final Fantasy twist. I can see why this game did so poorly in Japan, because it doesn't have the 'spark' of what makes it a JRPG. And sadly, WRPGs aren't to my liking.

Honestly, pass on this game or wait till the price drops. It's worth it for maybe the eyecandy and some of the pictures that Prompto takes are fantastic. But as a JRPG to a once popular and well known series? Yeah, I don't think I'm going to be really following the Final Fantasy series anymore, moreso if they want to go the WRPG route.

If you want a game that is sort of like a WRPG that was made in Japan? Check out Xenoblade Chronicles instead.
Friday, December 9th, 2016
10:31 pm
Visual Novel, DRAMAtical: Murder
Okay, I'm going to actual put the review up that I kept going on about. Yes, DRAMAtical: Murder.

And I'm surprised that there's people who rank this game lower than Lamento and Togainu no Chi. Like wtf? Is it because the game has a more 'ligher' plot???? Or am I missing something???

Like, look, I get it, TnC had a dark plot. A lot of Nitro games in general lean more to dark plots. Chaos; Head was my first official Nitro game and I was not disappointed. I read summaries of Sweet Pool, and I will read it when it comes out (Though the meat monster thing is.. um, barf?). I also played Saya no Uta as well (I do NOT recommend it at all though, I can see some people liking it, it was not up my alley of dark stories). I love dark plots in my fiction, I mean fuck, I was part of Yami no Matsuei fandom for a long time. But the problem with TnC is that the routes themselves were terribly done and full of rape. Rape =! good dark story.

Anyways, enough with ranting and on to the review! Sadly, this review is full of damn spoilers. I tried hard to avoid spoilers for the main plotline, but I do somewhat spoil the other routes, so be warned.

Title: DRAMAtical: Murder
Company: Nitro+Chiral
Translation done by: Kick ass people from Aarinfantasy
Rating: E
Genre: Future Earth/Cyberpunk/Yaoi
Warnings: Violence, angst, dark themes, drug use, rape, gore, physical abuse, incest?, cannibalism, Amputation, beastility, sadism (Quite a few of these warnings only apply to the bad ends and a certain bad end)

Graphics: 10/10 - I absolutely love the artwork in this game. It's colorful and bright when it needs to be. And it can be dark and edgy too. I love all the character's art design. Aoba himself is cute to look at. All the love interests I liked their character design. I love the different expressions that Aoba makes and the other characters as well. And I love Ren to mother fucking pieces, that cute little puppy!

When you first start the game too, you'll notice a little 8 bit Aoba sprite walking across the game. As you finish people's paths, the sprites that come on the screen are 8 bit characters of the pathes you finished. I thought that was a small but really nice touch.

Also, don't rush the text. Because sometimes, the characters change their expressions while they're talking! Yeah, sometimes while you're reading, the face changes depending on the text. It's not totally important or mind blowing, but it does add some flavor to the story, like the characters are reacting to what they say.

Plot: 7.5/10 - Ho boy, I'm going to try my hardest to avoid major spoilers. And like the last VN, I'm going to cover the routes because the routes are so different from each other and one of them is VERY story heavy to the main overall plot. All together, there are 5 routes. Including a 'bad end', there's 6.

Basically, the game takes place WAY in the future. Our main protag, Aoba, lives on the island of Midorijima with his Grandmother and his cute All-Mate, Ren (machines that people own that act like a cellphone/laptop/GPS/anything you want. They come in many different shapes and models). He works in a 'Junk shop', just living his life the best he can. He seems to show no interest in 'Rib' (Basically street gangs) or 'Rhyme' (A virtual fighting game). It's more along the lines of pokemon since people use their All-Mates to do battle.

I just realized there's a ton of fucking jargon in this game, but Aoba does a damn well good job explaining in game.

Anyways, one day while working, he receives a weird email that downloads a game to his Coil system (Coils are sort of like portable laptops that fit on your wrist). The game is very Dragon Quest 8 bit style (In fact, the cave part I'm pretty sure is ripped right from DQ1, lmfao). The next day, he gets a headache while working, which apparently, he's had for most of his life. We also find out about people mysteriously disappearing (Rumor has it that Morphine, a legendary team, is behind it). Turns out that this isn't just a rumor and one day, Aoba finds out that Dry Juice is completely wiped out and Morphine's 'logo' is plastered all over their hideout. He's rightfully pissed and now he's out to find out the 'who, what, where, when, why' of what happened.

To sum it up, shit happens to Aoba's friend, and he decides to go find out why with his merry band of LIs. Honestly, I really can't say anymore because the game would be spoiled. Some people that show up:

Ren - Aoba's All-Mate, he's a cute blue puppy dog. Aoba deeply cares for him, despite him being a very out-dated model.

Koujaku - Aoba's childhood friend, he's a hairdresser and a huge Lady's man. He's really obsessed with Aoba's hair. He owns a red bird All-Mate named Beni.

Mizuki - A friend of Aoba's who is part of the Rib gang called Dry Juice. He's into tattoos.

Virus and Trip - The 'Not Twins' that work for the Yakuza that were aquainted with Aoba back in his 'teenage punk' stage. They call themselves Aoba's 'fans'. They also have their own All Mates but you don't see them until a certain point later on.

Tae - Aoba's Grandmother, who won't hesitate to lay the verbal and physical smackdown on people who deserve it. XD Aoba deeply cares for her.

Noiz - The 'Tsundere' teaser guy who is pretty obsessed with Rhyme. And Aoba for some reason. He has a shit ton of body piercngs and a cube rabbit-like All-Mate.

Clear - A very weird bubbly guy who is always wearing a gas mask and calling Aoba 'Master'. Like wtf, a gas mask!? He also likes Jellyfish (I don't get it but meh).

Mink - The Leader of a gang called 'Scratch' (Which consists of mostly criminals, joy), his first order of biz being his gang thugs to rape Aoba. ~_~ He throws off 'GOAWAYOMG!' vibes. His All-Mate is a pink Parrot. Like da fark?

There's more characters like Toue, a mysterious dark haired boy, the brat brigade, Aoba's boss, the crazy cop guy who abuses his powers, the big lady who has an all mate that has a crush on Ren, the crazy chick but actually a d00d all mate (Least his voice is) that looks over the Rhyme battles, and other characters that show up on other routes, but I'll try to cover them later on.

Holy shit, I realize there's a TON of characters in this story on top of a lot of Jargon. Like a lot to even keep track of. I don't think I can even name a game that has as many characters as this one has. It kind of blows my mind now that I think about it. Also, when the characters are introduced, the game says their name, gives their b-days, hobbies, positions, etc (I can't tell what else, because it flashes by so fucking fast). It's kind of funny how detailed this game is.

There's not much to say about the plot, because the plot is really this game's biggest weakness. The overall plot being who Aoba is and where he came from, isn't covered until Ren's route. The other routes focus on Aoba's Love interest rather than him. Which isn't a bad thing, but it does hurt the overall story itself.

I think one good thing about this game is that it's in First person PoV for the most part. Most VNs usually go the third person pov, so we can flipflip between the Main protag and the LI or other characters. Here though, we get in Aoba's head and we can get a clear feel on his thoughts and emotions. So we can connect to Aoba a lot better than we could with Akira and Konoe. The ONLY bad thing is we can't get into the minds of the LIs, and honestly, I don't even think that's a bad thing, because the focus of the routes is on the LIs from Aoba's PoV. It works really well here, believe it or not.

I also think the characters make up for the so-so plot. The characters are what really bring this game to life, and you feel drawn to them. They're all different and complex from one another. Aoba is probably the most likable main male lead for a BL game. And he's easily in my top 5 for most likable main protag of all VNs I read. For the others, I was drawn to Koujaku and Noiz pretty strongly. I was really curious about Clear as well (Mostly wondering how he knows Aoba. And why a gas mask!?). As for Mink, urgh. We'll get to this route.

Anyways, I would highly suggest you do the routes in the order I review them: Koujaku > Mink > Noiz > Clear > Ren. You can't do Ren's till the end regardless because he's the 'true route'. Yes, Aoba's All-Mate gets his own route too! I'd suggest doing Mink's route second because of all the routes, it's one of the more controversal routes (aka rapey and abusive route) and you should get it out of the way asap. I recommend doing it second though, because I feel doing Koujaku's route first is the better one to start out (It's not full of feels, but it's not controversal. It's the perfect 'in the middle' route). Also, take the warnings I give to that route seriously too.

Koujaku, spoilers!Collapse )

Mink spoilersCollapse )

Noiz spoilersCollapse )

Clear, massive spoilersCollapse )

Ren, massive spoilersCollapse )

Bad Ends/Virus and Trip EndingCollapse )

Overall 8.8/10 - Cept for one route, every route was solid and kept my interest to the very end. The story itself was so-so, but the characters FAR make up for it and Aoba is super likable.

Of all the routes, Noiz's is my favorite. I really thought Clear would grab me, but the big problem was the tone of the route took a 180 just randomly. Noiz's route could get angsty at points, but it was balanced, while with Clear's, I felt it went down a slope more and didn't go back to being fluffy till the end. In the end, it comes down to my personal taste. Though to be really honest, it's sort of hard for me to choose. >.> But if you're not a completionist, those are the two routes that MUST be played.

Music/sound 9/10 - Again, I loved every track in this game and all the characters have their own theme songs when you finish their routes. I think if I had to pick one, Clear's song would be the best. And a certain 8 bit song to a certain 8 bit ending. >.> Actually, I liked most of the tunes and I kept humming the main theme to myself a lot.

Gameplay NA - Again, visual novel. You have choices to get to people's routes, you have choices along the way that decide what ends you get. Again, warning, choose wisely, the Bad Ends are seriously no fucking joke.

Overall 9.3/10 - A VN that needs to be played. It has a couple of kinks in it, but it's a must play, moreso if you're looking for a BL game with an above average plot and complex characters. It's a little bit lighter compared to Lamento and Togainu, but it's much more polished and well written.

Also, I'm not going to review Re: Connect, there's no point to, because if you enjoyed the original and want an 'epilogue' to all the routes, you should go pick up Re: Connect. Yes, Dramatical spawned a sequel, but it's really just expands on the endings, and adds in a side story to Mizuki and Aoba's parents. The bad ends are expanded on and like I said in the review, the only one worth reading of that mess is Clear's, the others are there for shock/gore/rape torture. The good endings for the others are just pure kinky fap material. Even with that in mind, if you wanna see what Aoba and whatever LI is doing post game, it's a must read.

As for the anime, I didn't finish it, but really, pick up the VN before the anime, regardless. 99% of all animes based on VNs, the VN is almost always the better choice. Seriously, go read this!

Anyways, I think I'm going to take a long deserved break from VNs, replaying this one took a lot out of me. Maybe back to fanfiction. And holy shit, this review is long as hell. X_X
Thursday, December 1st, 2016
3:01 pm
More BL VN, Lamento: Beyond the Void
Well, trying to purge the shitness of TnC out of my system, I moved to Nitro+'s next game, Lamento. Which... revolves around Cat boys. I'm sorry, but Cat boys are just not my thing at all. However, a good story and good characters can actually convince me to give it a chance. And I'm actually REALLY glad I did so.

I'm also shocked I'm in the minority, a lot of people think Togainu no Chi is better than Lamento. Like, uh? I can understand not being into Cat boys, but you come up to me and tell me that Togainu no Chi is better than this one, I'm going to laugh right in your face. And if it's because of the 'draggy plot'? May I remind you of the FUCKING SCREWDRIVER SCENE!? Or almost EVERY fucking route in TnC has rape in it. God, I will not let that go, will I?

If you're gonna bitch about it not being dark enough, go with Chaos; Head or wait for the translation of Sweet Pool if you want a darker yaoi story. This story can get dark in it's own way, but not to the levels of say, Corpse Party.

Also, again, I had a lot of problems running this game. Mostly the save/load function constantly freezing the game (Usually after a minute, we were back in business, but I had to reset it during Rai's route twice cause it wouldn't unfreeze); I had to run this as admin and even then, sometimes, it still freezes when saving. These games do not like Windows 7 and beyond at all.

Title: Lamento -Beyong the Void-
Company: Nitro+Chiral
Translation done by: Kick ass people from Aarinfantasy I linked them again, cause I can't find if they have a team name!
Rating: E
Genre: Dark/Fantasy/Alternate Earth setting/Cat people/Yaoi
Warnings: Gore, violence, angst, dark themes, light bondage, cannibalism, rape

Graphics: 9/10 - I'm going to admit, the artstyle in this game actually appealed to me, despite the game being about humanoid cats. I like every character's looks; from the cats to the devils to the backgrounds and just about everything. It ranges from being colorful to dark and then goes right for the middle. I also love how the characters move around on the scene and they have full body sprites and face sprites too, and I have to admit, I giggled when I saw their tails swish across the screen as they were darting away in some scenes. Very well done.

Plot: 7/10 - Again, like Togainu, gonna split this between overall plot and the routes. You're introduced to the world of Sisa. All human life is basically non existant and the race called Ribika (They're basically humans with cat ears, tails and claw-like fingers and hands, aka humanoid fucking cats!) live peaceful lives. Until some 'evil voodoo' thing called the Void shows up. It reminded me of the 'Nothing' from Neverending Story to some degree. Anyways, the Void makes it where plants and even animals cause great pain to the Ribika if they're touched. So something as simple as grass can cause cuts and even kill the cat people.

On top of that, a disease called 'Sickness' is going around, basically causing body parts to just vanish out of thin air (No joke, one day you're fine, and the next day, finding your arm just suddenly gone, scary as shit). Sadly, the Sickness is more commonly caught by females rather than males. So basically, the kitties are on the verge of going extinct. And some villages, the Void is so bad (Cause they can't gather and hunt), that they resort to eating each other.

So enter our main character, Konoe. He lives in Karou, well, not exactly, he basically lives by himself in a secluded area away from the village. One day, he starts having really vivid and dark nightmares (I won't spoil it, but it's really cringy near the end moreso), and one day, he wakes up with his ears and tail now black and weird markings on his arm. Which happens to fit the markings of a 'legendary curse' passed down. So pretty much, he's done fucked and now he sets off to find out why he's been cursed.

Along the way, he meets a bounty hunter named Rai, another loner cat named Asato, and a tiger cat innkeeper named Bardo, who seems to know about Rai's 'dark and angsty past'. There's other characters that show up, like the 4 devils, Konoe's BFF that like gets forgotten later on (I almost thought he was going to be a LI), Firi (Is it EVER explained why he has a lizard tail!?), our main baddie, a poet who likes playing the lute...

Holy shit, lemme say, this story is fucking LONG. Rai's route, which is the longest route, took me a good 20+ hours, and I'm underestimating it. Also, consider the fact that I can plow through 700+ length novels in a day if I want to. Basically, if you're a medium to slow reader, this game is going to take you maybe a week, if not more, of constantly reading it.

You cannot read a route in one sitting, end of story. To be honest, this part lost points because it really drags a lot and I ended up taking so many breaks due to the overall length of the game. I feel like the game could've ended sooner, but I also think some of the scenes are needed, because it creates some nice quiet and tender moments between Konoe and whoever you choose.

Rai, minor spoilersCollapse )

Bardo, spoilersCollapse )

Asato, minor spoilersCollapse )

Bad EndsCollapse )

Overall 8.4/10 - Besides the actual story being really draggy, the routes themselves were wonderfully done. It's very rare for me to like every love interest in a VN. I ended up liking them all.

I will also say, the overall climax of the game was... rather weak. The villian's motives were really weak themselves, and to be honest, I was really disappointed. SPOILER MAJOR!Collapse ) Despite the weak ass ending to the overall story, the routes and characters make up for this little blunder.

I think my overall favorite would flip flop between Asato and Rai. I feel like Rai and Konoe really belong with each other, the whole Touga/Sanga deal (Also, from a story perspective, it makes the most sense). But I also love Asato's route and how just well done it was (Probably the route that actually gave me the most mixed emotional feelings, from being really happy to shockingly sad). When I want to see Konoe being teased a lot and want more fun times, I'd go for Bardo's route, for sure (Though this route has it's darker moments).

Music/sound: 9/10 - I loved pretty much every track in this game and found myself humming it randomly. Since 'songs' are a theme in this game, the music is going to play a big factor and it works wonderfully here, fitting the tone of the scene, whether it's a fight scene, the devils making an appearance, goofiness just happening, or 'shit is gonna go down!' type of situation. I think my favorite song would actually be the one near the end with the final confrontation in Rai's route. And the song that plays when the Devils are on the scene too.

Gameplay NA - Again, a visual novel. There are some choices that affect the bad ends, but there's not too many of them and most will affect the route you're gonna go on. There's a few that actually change some dialogue, but it's flavor mostly. At least I get some choices in the damn routes though, unlike freaking Togainu. And all the routes too have their own bad ends.

Overall: 8.8/10 - Overall, a huge improvement over freaking Togainu no Chi. The only bad thing I can say about this game is that the story REALLY fucking drags to where you just want to get it over and done with. The good thing is that the story is actually really good. If you can handle a long length VN and can tolerate Cat boys, I'd highly recommend this over Togainu no Chi.

Next up, maybe DRAMAitcal: Murder. Or maybe back to fanfiction. Or maybe I get sucked back into the pit of death known as Warcraft, who knows? >.>
Monday, November 14th, 2016
7:33 pm
Visual Novel, Togainu no Chi
Let's take a break from fanfiction for once and talk about Visual Novels. Togainu no Chi, I actually picked up around the time WoD came out back in 2014 and started reading it because 6 hour queues, at the time for WoW, sucked monkey balls. I never got really into it and when the queues vanished, so did my interest in reading further. However, since WoW is yet again becoming boring to me, I decided to pick it back up.

I really expected better from the people who made DRAMAtical Murder and Chaos; Head. But then again, it's a really old game. Unlike my other reviews, I'm going to cover my feelings on the routes in the Plot section, mostly because the main character is very different in each of them and really, I should do this with VNs from now on.

Also, I had a lot of problems getting this fucking thing to run. I had to redownload something because of a Windows 7 update not being compatible with the game. And save/load freezing the game too, I found a fix for it, but it's really annoying to do when you want to use saves to go back and get bad ends and whatnot. This game does not like Windows 7 and above.

Title: Togainu no Chi
Company: Nitro+Chiral
Translation done by: Kick ass people from Aarinfantasy Seriously, I just linked the forum patch. I don't know if the people went by an original team name, will update if I find the info
Rating: E
Genre: Dark/Post WW3 Japan/Yaoi/angst
Warnings: Gore, violence, sexual violence, sadism, rape (PLEASED take note of these warnings!)

Graphics: 7/10 - The art is pretty hit and miss in this. Sometimes the art is perfectly okay, and sometimes, in some of the CGs, it looks like Akira's hair is a different color than what it should be or sometimes, the characters look very different from the previous CG. It's an older game, so I'm giving it a pass to some degree. The artwork is definitely pretty to look at and Akira is definitely a pretty boy when you come down to it.

Plot: Unlike what I normally do, I'm going to give a basic run down of the overall plot, score that, and score the average of all the routes together. Which will work against the game.

Overall - 7/10 - The overall story is really interesting. Basically, we're thrown post WW3 Japan. During the war, children were basically taught how to fight and survive in combat instead of a proper education. When the war ended, those children, who knew nothing but fighting and surivival techniques, were thrown back into society and expected to just 'adapt'. Yeah, of course that doesn't go well...

Enter Akira, our protagonist. He is, sadly, one of those children who only skills are fighting and surviving. So no wonder why he's drawn to a fighting competition called 'Bl@ster' (Yes, that is how it is spelt) and he ends up at the top. However, it's not long lived, as he's falsely accused of murder. Enter two mysterious figures named Emma and Gwen, who basically make a deal with him: face life imprisonment, or travel to Toshima (Formally Tokyo) to take part in a 'life or death' game of survival, Igura, to defeat the strongest man, Il re.

Sadly, the backstory is probably more interesting than the actual plot, which is Akira's travels through Toshima. Which is why the overall story gets high marks. The story has a lot of potential, but it never really realizes it's potential.

It's also kind of hard to nail down Akira's personality, because it changes depending on what route you choose. He comes off cold and aloof in some routes, and in others, you see he has some really deep issues and why he's the way he is. He reminds me of Squall from Final Fantasy 8 (And what a shock, they actually look alike too!). So I'm going to cover him in the routes.

Dead end/bad routesCollapse )

KeisukeCollapse )

MotomiCollapse )

RinCollapse )

ShikiCollapse )

True Route, no spoilersCollapse )

Overall score: 6.5/10 - While some routes are saved by story, you can't really ignore the flaws of all of them. Out of the routes, I'd go with Motomi, only because it's one of the few routes that's non-rapey. I shouldn't be picking a favorite route because of it's non-rapey elements. ~_~;; Ignoring the rape, True End was probably the best of them all.

Music/sound: 6/10 - Most of the themes are forgetable and while I did enjoy 1-2 tracks, I didn't care much for it. It fits the theme of the story, and does it's job.
Gameplay: N/A - It's a typical VN. It does suck that of the routes, only 2 have bad ends, which means when you're on a route, you're on it till the end, and you only have control over the Common route. Yeah, age isn't kind to some VNs, and that's this one right here.

Overall: 6.5/10 - This isn't a VN I would really recommend, more so if you have issues with any warnings I said at the beginning. It's a shame that of all the Yaoi VNs to get translated, it's one of the more mediorc ones. The fact of the matter is this: the game has great potential to be something really good and dark, but it falls flat. Having your main protag being raped constantly does not make a good dark story, it just makes us feel uncomfortable and unclean, more so when it goes the 'oh, he was resisting at first, but now he likes it!' route. My suggestion? Go read DRAMAtical Murder instead of this. While there's rape in that one too, the story, characters, and theme well make up for it.

I MAY do a review of DRAMAtical Murder but I'd have to replay the game to give it a fair review (I forgot a lot of what happens), so we'll see. Up next, maybe back to fanfiction. Who knows? I make these promises and I end up getting swept up in WoW. >.>
Tuesday, August 23rd, 2016
10:22 pm
Conclusion to the YnM trilogy 2.0!
Again, I'm going to be honest. Just fucking skip part 1 and 2 and read this part. Unlike the other trilogy that I reviewed where you really had to read previous parts to know what's going on in the part you may be reading, this part can stand alone. In fact, the title to this part is the title to the entire trilogy, so that should tell you something. >.>

Again, this story gets a lot of praise, and while I do think it's one of the better works I've read, I think it's a tad over-rated...

Series: Yami no Matsuei
Title: Mercy of the Fallen
Author: gaudior
Genre: Angst, general, casefic
Rating: E (Author didn't rate this? Dunno why...)
Warnings: Mentions of rape (Actually, lots of mentions, holy shit), boarderline OOCness
Couple (if applicable): Tsuzuki/Hisoka, mentions of past Muraki/Hisoka and Muraki/Tsuzuki

Plot: 6.5/10 - There are two reasons why I decided to score this how I did. I was going to give this story a lower rating for plot for one reason and one reason only: It's beyond predictable. The entire casefic? I knew what happened from the moment it hit the table. The minor character in the story that gets briefly mentioned? You know she's actually someone REALLY important. The way the case is solved? Knew it was going to happen. The ending of the fic? Called that too.

Major spoilers for the story!Collapse )

That is my biggest complaint about the plot. Maybe it's because I've read WAY too much in general that I can predict things before they happen, but I predicted pretty much everything that happened in this story.

The saving grace of this? The ideas, unlike the last story, are executed fairly well and they're all very creative (Though this author has a lot of creative ideas imo). And btw, authors? THIS story is how you fucking do cliffnotes. The info is there to tell you that it does have a reference, but we don't need to know it in order to understand the story. Cliffnotes should just be a 'oh, for your info, readers...' not a 'I kept things in fanpoodle japanese, here's your translation!' And the pun on Hisoka's name in the story is the only acceptable boarderline 'fanpoodle japanese' I'd accept, mostly because that's not something that's easily translated into English.

The ONLY other beef I have is the boarderline 'Gary Stu'!Muraki, and I'll get into that in characterization in more detail. Though unlike most fics, the author did actually explain about Muraki's actions and why he gets away with what he does and had a really creative idea for it. Again, Muraki gets away with a lot of shit in canon, so I think it would've been unfair for me to lower it because of canon.

Basically, this is a mixed opinion here for me. I think most people though will really enjoy the plot in this fic. Me, I just thought it was way too predictable and I shouldn't be able to predict the entire casefic from chapter 1 onward.

Also, this part doesn't really link to 1 and 2, hence my advice for reading THIS part only and ignoring 1 and 2.

Also be warned, there is a lot of mentions of rape in this fic. And it's not just canon here too and not just the mentions from previous parts either. Just a warning.

Writing: 9/10 - Nothing wrong with the writing, yet again. In fact, it's gotten better. The prologue at the beginning of the piece was really well done. The best written of the three parts.

Characterization: 6/10 - I still have a big problem with the characterization of Hisoka in this story, but it's not that bad as compared to the previous parts. Mostly because there's more characters in this story than the last 2, where it was just Tsuzuki and Hisoka and the minor OCs.

I really love Tsuzuki's character in this story too. Very painful and we actually focus around his angst for a change than let the focus be on Hisoka. Very rarely do I find a story with Tsuzuki angst, most of the angst is centered on Hisoka. As a big Tsuzuki fangirl, this was a good surprise.

Also, thank fucking God Oriya isn't a goddamn doormat for Muraki here. He is perfectly IC, so you Oriya fans out there are in for a treat. TOO many fanfics treat him like Muraki's doormat.

However, my mixed feelings are on Muraki here. I'm sorry, but he is very Gary Stuish in this story. Spoilers for the story!Collapse )

There's also less OOCness from Hisoka in this story as well. I think most of it has to do with part 3 being able to stand out on it's own and part 1 and part 2 having little to almost nothing to do with part 3. The only downside I have is that the sex comes WAY too early after part 2. It goes from Hisoka not knowing when he'll be ready to 'okay, it's 4 months post-Kyoto, he's ready!' and there's little to no lead in.

Part one goes to, 'I like you, Tsuzuki, but not like that', to part two going, 'I love Tsuzuki, but I'm not ready to sleep with him', and part three swinging to, 'I love Tsuzuki, and I'm ready!' The problem is that there's no build up from part 1 to 2, and going to part 2's ending right on into part 3 with no build up... Yeah. We got Point A to Point B to Point C, but we're missing the filler in between those points!

Again, why have a trilogy if none of your parts are going to link to each other and basically stand out from one another?

So really, this shouldn't even be a trilogy, this should be just a multi-chapter story. That's really a big fatal flaw to this story and the trilogy as a whole. This is... not really a trilogy, unlike Kouri's Live Through trilogy, where the plots of each part connect with the next work.

Negatives: Very predictable plot, boarderline Gary Stu!Muraki
Summary: A case comes in that ultimately leads to Hisoka making one of the hardest choices he ever has to make...
Overall: 7.1/10 - This really is the part that you should read, and skip part 1 and 2. I'd actually still recommend part 1 because the case fic is really good, but skip part 2 and go to part 3. The fic is predictable and a boarderline Gary Stu!Muraki may get on your nerves, but worth a read.

Is this the best YnM fic I've read? No. Not even case fic wise. While it's creative and I can understand a lot of people enjoying it, I think it goes right on the line of being 'okay' for me. It's definitely worth a read if you're craving fics that do justice to Muraki and Oriya's characters to some degree. Unlike the previous parts, the ideas are executed very well too.

Next up... Not sure yet! Maybe another YnM fic or maybe I'll take a break from fic hopping and cover a Visual Novel that I recently read. I've been reading a lot of otome Visual Novels lately, so maybe it's about time I covered them.
Sunday, August 21st, 2016
7:07 pm
YnM trilogy fic, part 2
I'm going to be really honest here, I think anyone reading this series should skip this part and go to part three. Reading this part almost killed the series for me, and if it wasn't for me being stubborn, I'd probably would have given up on this series.

I already said Hisoka's characterization was really bad in part 1. In part 2? It's really fucking painful.

Series: Yami no Matsuei
Title: Surpassing
Author: gaudior
Genre: Angst, getting over fic (Is that even a genre!?), build up fic?
Rating: M
Warnings: Lots of mentions of rape, possible squick moments, OOC Hisoka
Couple (if applicable): Tsuzuki/Hisoka, mentions of past Muraki/Hisoka and Muraki/Tsuzuki

Plot: 5/10 - There's kind of no real plot, it's basically Hisoka coming to terms to his feelings to Tsuzuki and trying to deal with the aftermath of 'that famous night under the Sakura Trees'.

But it's not written well here. And it's really hard to explain it because it has nothing to do with the writing itself. I think part of the problem is that in part 1, Hisoka was desperate to have 'alone time' to figure things out and in part 2, he's hanging out and staring at Tsuzuki and is like 'oh, I love him', even though in part 1, he basically said, 'I like you, but not like that'. Like boy, make up your mind already!

Also, I highly doubt that after being possessed by a ghost is going to magically change Hisoka's views on everything. I actually like the idea of Hisoka starting to appreciate stuff he never seemed to appreciate. Like food. Or seeing places he's familiar with in a new light. Or deciding to spend time with Tsuzuki, which he seemed to have a BIG problem with in the previous part and in this part, he's suddenly a-okay with it. And touching him, even though the previous part, he obviously had a problem with! Or reading a book on sex (That blows my mind between 'holy shit, that's a creative idea!, 'wtf am I reading!?', and 'omg, I am rotflmao land!').

The problem is this story has a lot of good ideas, but they're not executed well. Being possessed by a ghost isn't suddenly going to change Hisoka's tastebuds or is going to improve any of his senses in such detail (A demon, quite possibly, but a human ghost? Probably not). Or realizing that he suddenly is in love with Tsuzuki isn't going to make him appreciate the taste of food or make the color and shapes around him stand out more. And if it did, I'm assuming he'd go to Watari about it, cause he's a doctor after all.

Him wanting to spend time with Tsuzuki all of a sudden should happen later in the fic instead of near the beginning, especially since the point of part 1 was more focused around, 'I need some me time!' and this takes a 180 direction to 'I need to spend time with him!'

Also, Hisoka randomly punching Tsuzuki because 'I felt like it', while amusing, doesn't he already kind of do that in the manga at least? Well, not like punch, but hitting Tsuzuki, yeah. So it's sort of doesn't make any sense (But you can say this is based on the anime, but doesn't he slap Tsuzuki around in the anime too)?

Though I will admit, I do like the fact that he thinks he's still possessed and when he tries to exorcise himself... yeah, things aren't going to go well here. And then he realizes that yes, those are his feelings, not the remains of a ghost. Again, that's a brilliant idea. But the lead in to get to that part, it's not executed well.

And then there's the whole 'I'm going to study about sex!' thing. Which I can totally see Hisoka doing. But something seems wrong. And then him coming to the conclusion that Muraki raped Tsuzuki and... yeah, this actually made me REALLY uncomfortable, and I'll talk about it in the characterization part.

A perfect example of a story that has some really great ideas, but they're not done exactly right.

Writing: 8/10 - This is where the story shines. The descritpions and the overall writing flow is much better in this part.

This was one of my favorite lines of Hisoka describing what he's feeling from Tsuzuki:

"How often did Tsuzuki feel really delighted, after all? Not just the passing pleasure of a dessert or a sunny day, but this sort of ringing bone-deep rejoicing? It blended with the physical sensation of Tsuzuki’s side against his shoulder, of his shoulder against Tsuzuki’s side, so that the touch seemed to vibrate colors almost too intense to handle. Hisoka sighed and realized that some of the pleasure he was feeling was his own. This... this is okay, he thought. This is all right. "

Basically, the writing is about the same, if not, better, than the last part.

Characteriztion 3/10 - Again, this story focuses on mostly just Tsuzuki and Hisoka. And while I think Tsuzuki is perfectly in character, the same can't be said about Hisoka.

Again, when the focus is on Hisoka and just Hisoka alone (Usually with his feelings towards Tsuzuki mixed in), it's boarderline OOC. Part of it has to do with the plot this time. This part is a perfect example of a bunch of really great ideas not executed correctly. Hisoka makes a lot of dumb decisions in this story, and the boarderline OOC does not help.

An example is Hisoka figuring he's still possessed and that he's not. His reasoning isn't off either, his views of the world has changed, and it started happening after he was possessed. But instead of, I don't know, talking to the DOCTOR about how his sense of taste and sight had changed, he keeps it to himself. I'd kind of think that if Hisoka's senses were off, he'd go to Watari about it, because that's kind of what doctors are for. And the explaination of his senses changing doesn't really make much sense. Love isn't going to magically make food taste better to me, that's for damn sure.

Hisoka also goes from one extreme to another way too fast too. Basically, part 1 doesn't really mesh too well with part 2. Part 1, Hisoka seemed too cold and distant. In this part, he seems a bit too emotional and accepting that he's in love with Tsuzuki.

And then there's the part I really didn't want to get into but I have to: The famous night. I could totally see Hisoka trying to find a book about sex and logically reasoning it out.

But the problem here, is that Hisoka sort of already knows what 'sleeping with another person' is, and at other times, he's ignorant of it. Not to mention, he's a rape victim, so...

I've read a lot of fics of Hisoka trying to get over this issue, from trying to logically analyzing it out, to the 'bathing in the light of the cock' type of scenario (GAG), to 'dark route' scenario, to just about every type of scenario. I personally enjoy Hisoka going the logical route, because Hisoka strikes me as a very intelligent individual. This fic tries to go to a more logical standpoint.

Oh, how I regret what I wished for...

It's almost painful for me to read, not because it's emotional or angsty or tragic, but... it feels really really off. It's really hard to explain why it doesn't work in the context of this story. Maybe it's because Hisoka seems too knowledgable one second and the next, he's completely ignorant.

And then I realized something that made me really uncomfortable: In this story, when Hisoka realizes that Muraki raped Tsuzuki (Urgh, I'll get into that), and realizing Tsuzuki still wants to sleep with him, even though he's a rape victim himself... THAT didn't sit too well with me, especially since the story takes place almost a month after they save Tsuzuki. It's like driving by a horrible automobile accident and not being able to look away.

Not to mention, some people think Muraki raped Tsuzuki when he kidnapped him during the Kyoto arc (Again, rapist!Muraki ~_~;;;;;;;). Is it possible? Canon-wise, I honestly don't think so. Muraki was only after Tsuzuki because of his self healing and his revenge on Saki. Could it have happened? I'm going to say no, but you could make a case for it, in the anime at least.

I think that's my overall problem. We have Hisoka, a rape victim, trying to deal with his feelings toward Tsuzuki, who is also a rape victim, but his feelings toward Hisoka are pretty damn clear, regardless of what happened to him. Not only were both raped, but they were raped by the same person, Muraki. Two people raped by the same person coming together... For some reason, I find the whole thing REALLY unsettling and I can see people being squicked out by it. Not to mention, I think part of me was angry that we reduced Muraki down to a one dimensional villian yet again.

Like, can we have a single YnM story without rapist!Muraki!? Or are we gonna forget the whole 'I wanna put my brother's head on Tsuzuki's self healing body!' scheme??? Isn't the fact that he probably messed Tsuzuki up both physically and mentally just as bad??? Couldn't we use a plot device more on the lines of mind rape and not physical rape!? And my question after reading part 3 is that no, we're not going to forget that, but I'll go into that next time.

Does this make it a negative to the story? No. Is it an unrealistic scenario? Not really. Can I see people feeling uncomfortable reading this? Yeah, I really can. Not to mention, I absolutely hate stories that use Muraki as a rape device, and while this is fixed and has it's reason in part 3, it doesn't make me any less annoyed about it here. And maybe that's why I dislike this part the most out of all three.

Overall, the characterization of Hisoka is off, and this time, it has to do with the plot. Which is a shame, there's not a lot of build-up fics for this pairing. Yeah, not enough build-up fics for Tsuzuki/Hisoka, I just said that. There's random drive by fluff/angst and there's your PwP fics, but actual build up relationship fics? You'll be lucky to find more than 10 and that's me being REALLY generous.

This part tries it, and has the ideas for it. But again, not executed well.

Negatives: OOC Hisoka, very squicky moments
Summary: Hisoka comes to terms to his feelings toward Tsuzuki alongside getting over past issues.
Overall: 5.3/10 - Honestly, skip this part. It's painful to read and if you're easily squicked by rape issues, definitely skip it. This part isn't needed to enjoy the last part of the series anyways. In fact, I'd say skip both part 1 and 2 and just go to part 3.

Next up, the conclusion to the series. And lemme say, honestly, it can serve as a stand alone story if you really don't want to read part 1 and 2. You'll see why.
Wednesday, August 17th, 2016
3:00 pm
More YnM fic, trilogy fic
And here we go on the promised fic series I wanted to cover. And boy, this is going to be a very unpopular opinion from me, because this story gets a lot of praise, as in 'Best YnM fic ever!' type of praise. And I'm like, 'yeah, it's okay, but that's it, it's just... okay.'

A friend of mine recommended me this fic WAY back when it was being written. I recently gave it a reread and I'm going to say this about it:

The first two parts of this story almost made me give up on reading part three. Moreso on part 2, which I'll eventually cover. That's... not a good thing. Like at all. But I did continue and unlike the other trilogy that I covered on here, part three is vastly superior to the first two. I'm also not going to count the fourth story in this, because it doesn't need to be read and can stand out on it's own.

And here we go. The Mercy of the Fallen series!

Series: Yami no Matsuei
Title: Exorcism
Author: gaudior
Genre: Angst, general, casefic
Rating: M
Warnings: Boarderline OOC Hisoka, mentions of sex, mentions of rape
Couple (if applicable): Tsuzuki/Hisoka one sided (!!!), it's more Tsuzuki + Hisoka

Plot: 7/10 - Okay, I'll say this on the plot. The casefic itself? Fits the YnM universe perfectly. Wonderfully researched as well, and a better example of how to use fucking cliffnotes. We don't need the background info, but it's there incase the reader wants to see how it ties into the story. This won't be the only example in this series.

However, the problem isn't the plot itself, it's really Hisoka's character, and it somewhat drags the plot down with it. Like I can understand him wanting to be alone with his own thoughts and emotions, more so because he's an Empath. But leaving RIGHT after the Touda incident? Yeah, no. Hisoka would damn well know better than that, even if you claim ignorance on his behalf. And then debating to send Tsuzuki back? At least he caught on that would not be a good thing.

Also, if Hisoka could feel anything coming from Tsuzuki, it's a wonder he survived with him up to this point. Maybe I haven't read the manga/watched the anime in a while, but couldn't Hisoka only pick up strong emotions only if he was touching Tsuzuki, at least pre-Kyoto arc? I remember him picking up some of Tsuzuki's emotions, but near the beginning of the manga/anime. I'm assuming he got better as using his powers over time, and I'm pretty sure Konoe was training him in the use of his powers.

Again, don't know if it's a fanon thing about Hisoka's powers or derivived from canon. I decided not to dock any points for that, because I really can't remember if it's a canon or fanon thing.

Not to mention, Hisoka is down right cold to Tsuzuki. I'm going to cover this in the characterization part more deeply.

Overall plot is okay, but the lead in to get there? Not so okay.

Writing: 7/10 - There's nothing wrong with the writing besides maybe an awkward sentence here and there. It doesn't derive from the story and that's what's good about this series. The writing only seems to improve more as the series continues and that's how it should.

Characterization: 3/10 - This is where the story suffers in my opinion and it's all on Hisoka here. I don't like the characterization of Hisoka in this series at all. I dislike it a lot in this part, and moreso in the next part, but we'll get to that later.

Like I said before, Hisoka is down right cold to Tsuzuki. I mean, like I said, I can see him wanting to be alone to get his thoughts and emotions in order. But even I know that just up and going and not telling Tsuzuki where he's going directly AFTER the Kyoto Arc??? No, not going to happen, sorry. This story would've benefitted more if it took place a week or two AFTER the Kyoto Arc, but it doesn't. And Hisoka would probably either tell Tsuzuki about needing alone time to think, and maybe put an empathsis on his powers as the reason why (And it would actually be truthful too), or be really sneaky and take time off when they're allowed to work again, because he knows Tsuzuki has little to no vacation time due to him blowing up the library again and having to pay it back.

Also, Tsuzuki comes on WAY too strongly, but in a way, I can see why. Hisoka basically tells him to live for him and then RIGHT after, up and walks away. So Tsuzuki's character is believable. I could also see Tsuzuki guilt tripping and hiding as well. So Tsuzuki's character isn't really the problem.

This is just... really uncomfortable to read sometimes, and it's mostly because I feel like Hisoka is on the cusp of being OOC to remaining somewhat IC. Basically, when the focus of the story is the case fic itself, Hisoka's perfectly IC. The only time is when they want to sync up to each other (aka, Hisoka is being stupid and illogical, when he's usually the logical one), but the reason behind it, I can let it pass, for plot's sake. When it comes to focus on Tsuzuki, it's cold and clinical.

Negatives: Boarderline OOC Hisoka, rape mentions
Summary: Post Kyoto Arc, Hisoka wants time to think and reflect. Surely a deserted mountain is the perfect place for that? Too bad life (or afterlife) doesn't work that way...
Overall: 5.6/10 - Not a good start to the series. If you're looking for casefic and don't care about pairings at all, this actually is probably one of the better ones. I'd recommend it only because the casefic itself is very well written.

Next up, is probably the weakest part of this series. And if you thought Hisoka's character was bad here? Nope. Part 2 is what almost made me give up on reading part 3.
12:10 pm
I'm breaking a promise, but this... needs to be seen...
Warning for bitchiness ahead. This also almost became a rant, so beware on that.

Actually, I take back about the series I was going to cover, because this... needs to be seen and said. Why? Well, I found a fic recently on Ao3 and recent YnM works? VERY rare nowadays.

I was also boggled by the amount of comments on this work. Skimming through the YnM section on Ao3, very few stories had more than 4 comments (This is discounting author replies btw) unless it was multi-chapter, multi-fandom, or older than a year. And this story was less than a month old! So curiosity compelled me to take a look at it.

I am FLOORED that this fic got as many comments as it did and NOT ONE FUCKING PERSON pointed out a GLARING mistake in this fic.

Series: Yami no Matsuei
Title: Closer to Me
Author: Veleda_k
Genre: Flangst
Rating: T
Warnings: A good idea that falls flat (Is that even a warning?), bland writing, Misspelling the MAIN CHARACTER'S name
Couple (if applicable): Tsuzuki/Hisoka

Plot: 7/10 - Okay, I'm going to give the author credit here. Basically, we see flashbacks of Tsuzuki and Hisoka interaction covering each of the anime arcs where one character visits the other. I thought it was creative idea and showing the reader how their relationship changes over the course of the anime. A perfect set up for build up fic or just random drive by fluff.

Now, if it was well written, this actually would be a better example of how to write fluff than the previous story I reviewed.

Le sigh...

Writing: 2/10 - The biggest mistake an author can make, and that instantly takes me out of a story isn't boring writing. Not common word spelling errors. Not period misplacements or comma splices. Not bad characterization.

It's spelling the canon character's name wrong. Worse, the main fucking protagonist. And yes, 'Clean Kill', I am ESPECIALLY looking at fucking you.

I counted a total of THREE times that this fic spelled Tsuzuki as 'Tsuzki' (2 times) and 'Tszuki'. And two of these are near the end of the story and one of them is the LAST FUCKING PARAGRAPH of the GODDAMN FIC! There is no excuse for this, like none. It's like the author just threw this up and didn't either read it herself or get someone to read it over for her.

Shame on you readers who left comments and failed to point this out. Because if this was my story? I'd be beyond embarrassed and would fix it asap!

This isn't going into how bad some sentences sound, how flat the story runs, too much 'noun verb' sentences, Surgatanus (It's Sarganatas and I looked it up on anime news network to make sure it's correct) and just... how overall bland this fic runs.

A few examples:

"(Hisoka had never used a computer before the Shokan division, but he was learning just fine. He wasn't an idiot. Unlike some people.)"

For some reason, the first sentence didn't translate properly into my head, and I realized it was because my mind kept trying to put a verb inbetween 'before' and 'the Shokan division'. It is grammarly correct, but it just... doesn't sound right. Also, this doesn't need to be in parenthesis, mostly because it doesn't add anything to the sentence before it. It wrecks the overall flow of the story.

And this isn't the first time this story has interrupted/overall bad flow, trust me.

"Tsuzuki's joking tone and expression faded. “Sorry. I wanted to talk to you,” he said again"

A period is missing at the end of 'he said again'. Not to mention, you don't even need it, because we already know who is speaking thanks to the beginning part of this.

"Tsuzuki needed comfort, that was clear. The problem was that Hisoka was terrible at comfort. It wasn't that he never looked out for Tsuzuki, but he did it by shoving antacids in his hands when he was hungover (or by nearly killing him to prevent the demon possessing him from killing everyone Tsuzuki loved, but Hisoka was trying not to think too much about that), not by saying the right things. For a mind reader, Hisoka was shit at knowing the right thing to say."

I'm going to admit right here, I had to reread this entire paragraph several times before it finally translated into my head. And then it took another read for me to understand just WHY it wasn't catching with me. And I found the answer: the parenthesis sentence interrupted the flow of the original sentence.

The sentence in the parenthesis doesn't even need to be in parenthesis yet again. It could exist outside of it. The sentence flow is way off, it almost feels like a really bad run-on sentence and I blame the sentence in parenthesis for that. This story has a pattern of interrupted flow thanks to the parenthesis that doesn't even need to be there.

Also, Hisoka isn't a mind reader, he's an Empath. While Telepathy and Empathy can co-exist with each other and there's canon evidence that Hisoka does have a bit of telepathy, his powers lean to reading emotions.

And really, did we use 'shit' as a description? Not to mention, that last sentence sounds really awkward.

"But he knew that if he had called in advance, Tsuzuki would have insisted he was fine. (It was what Hisoka would have done if Tsuzuki had ever called him before showing up.) Luckily, Tsuzuki was home, which meant Hisoka didn't have to feel any stupider than he did already."

An example again of a parenthesis that isn't needed. And again, another paragraph I had to read a few times before it made sense in my mind, because a lot of the sentences in the parenthesis? Really badly interrupt the flow of the story.

I'm going to stop because if I had to point out every goddamn nitpick at this story, this would turn into a beta read. And I'd be repeating the same problem over and over again. Basically, the writing flow is a complete mess.

Characterization: 5/10 - The characters are flat as pancakes and this is more tied into the flat writing rather than characters acting OOC. For the most part, the author was on par with the characters, but the writing makes them... flat. I also think part of the problem was me having to reread parts of the story because it didn't seem to translate right in my head. And having to reread the same paragraph 3 times or more totally threw my mind out of the story.

It's a shame, because I find a lot of fics that are decently written are wildly OOC. I don't come across too many fics where the characters are IC, but it doesn't feel like them because of the writing.

Negatives: Flat writing, canon names are misspelt
Summary: Sniplits of Tsuzuki and Hisoka, covering each anime arc, and how they fall into each other
Overall: 4.6/10 - Flat writing can destroy a really good idea. This fic is a perfect example of this.

Again, shame on you commenters who didn't point out Tsuzuki's name being misspelled. We constantly complain about quality of fanfiction. Well, how are we going to improve the quality of fanfiction when we can't point out obvious errors like this and not be called a 'troll' or whatnot??? Yeah, it's a hobby and what not, but have some mother fucking PRIDE in what you post up!

Anyways, I'm going to stop before this becomes a rant. NOW next time, I'm really going to do a series I promised last time!
Wednesday, August 10th, 2016
9:00 pm
Ho man...
Trying to find good fanfic on FF.net is a rarity. More so with YnM being as old as it is. I also tend to avoid the communties on FF.net because:

1. They're for old fic. Like 'back in my day!' old.

2. The community owners tend to have very different tastes from mine. Aka, seme!Hisoka. Like people still have this seme/uke mindset even today!? GET LAID ALREADY!

3. They tend to recommend one author like 20 different times. So if you don't like said author's works... yeah, you're screwed. ~_~;;

So yeah... That means I have to comb FF.net on my own. Granted, YnM is a small fandom (On Ao3, FF.net, it's still a pretty decent number), and it's not very active anymore. Though the last time I read fic for the fandom was at the end of 2004 before I got heavily involved with World of Warcraft, so a lot of it is newish to me still.

Combing through FF.net... is never fun. I do find a few gems here and there. But not in this case!

Also, it seems FF.net doesn't take it's 'no lemon' policy seriously anymore because finding E rated material is pretty damn easy to find on FF.net. Though, really, this story can get away with the T rating, it barely counts as a M fic.

Title: Stay With Me
Author: lil'hp fan124
Genre: Flangst
Rating: Auther rated it M, but it can get away with a T
Warnings: Boring ass fluff, out of nowhere angst, fanpoodle japanese
Couple (if applicable): Tsuzuki/Hisoka

Plot: 5/10 - Basically, Tsuzuki randomly comes over Hisoka's house, silliness occurs, fandom cliches up the bumhole, makeout session, OMG TRAUMA, happy end. It's cliche, it's littered with fanpoodle japanese, there's translation notes at the beginning of the fic, it's... honestly not even worth the read. Not because it's cliche or even boring, but because freaking translation notes at the beginning of a story ALWAYS makes me cringe.

I mean, there's not much else to say about the plot, because there really kind of isn't? It's perfect if you want a sort of pick-me-up random fluff fic. If it was better written, then it would be a good choice. Obviously...

Writing 3/10 - I'm going to keep saying this until I die, aren't I? STOP WITH THE FUCKING FANGIRL JAPANESE! Like holy fucking shit. Either fucking translate everything or write the mother fucking thing in japanese! Like EVERY phrase (With the exception of 'Ne') can be perfectly translated into English. And even 'Ne' can be translated. The only exception I'll let is 'san', 'chan', 'kun', 'senpai', 'sensei'. And even then, those COULD be translated. And I'll only accept it if the canon takes place in Japan. In something like a Final Fantasy fic, it takes me out of the story. More so when I have to refer to cliffnotes.

Your fanfic isn't a fucking research paper. The ONLY time cliffnotes are acceptable is at the end of the story and should only be used to explain something to your readers. The next story series I cover on here will be a perfect example of HOW to use cliffnotes to your advantage.

Also, too much 'noun verb' sentences yet again. ~_~;;

The only reason it doesn't go lower is beause no glaring spelling/grammar errors.

Characterization: 5/10 - Same old fandom cliches, same old 'SOKA!' parade, same old flirty!Tsuzuki, same old Hisoka freaking out because 'omg, that night!' You read it a thousand times before. And how did they go from waking up from a nap to making out? And Hisoka's perfectly okay being with it to freaking out? There's like... no emotions behind this fic? It's kind of hard to explain. It's like the fluff in this fic got run over by a steamroller. It might be because we don't really get a clear picture into Hisoka's head, and the irony of it is this is a first person PoV, so we should be inside his head!

It's also bad we go from a make out session that Hisoka is perfectly okay with to 'omg TRAUMA!' because 'WE NEED ANGST, STAT!' or because 'OMG THAT NIGHT!' with like no build up. Yeah, if you want to play the 'omg, TRAUMA!' card, you need BUILD UP! I feel like I started at Point A and went to Point C, and I'm left wondering wtf happened to Point B.

Negatives: Cliche, fangirl japanese with cliffnotes, very flat flangst
Summary: Hisoka gets a late night visit from an obviously drunk Tsuzuki. And... stuff happens?
Overall: 4.3/10 - Pretty mediorc flangst fic. If you're desperate for flangst, I'd still say look elsewhere.

Next up, a series that I want to cover. And this series... is probably going to be an unpopular opinion type of thing, so be warned!
Thursday, August 4th, 2016
1:59 pm
Time to go back to the past... GASP Yami no Matsuei fic!
It's been a while, hasn't it? As per usual.

This time, I'm going back to a fandom that I actually participated in over a decade ago. So be warned, you're going to see a lot of older writing on here, mostly. And I'm also going to try to go into these fics with a more open mind rather than a 'omg, grate story, writmoarplz!' phase. So you may see 'unpopular opinion' type of thing depending on the author. And I'm also going to try to post 'fic that I liked, fic that's bad fic' type of thing, aka, I try to find a good fic in my opinion and not rant/rave on just badfics.

As a warning, I'm a Tsuzuki/Hisoka shipper, so the majority of these fics are going to be on that pairing.

Let's start on a positive note! I found this fic totally by accident, and I am so glad of that accident too! And how can I resist a seme!Hisoka piece?

Series: Yami no Matsuei
Title: Worker's Compensation
Author: ladysisyphus
Genre: PwP (Is that it's own genre!?)/angst
Rating: AO
Warnings: Very PwPish, though technically has a case, some angst, seme!Hisoka
Couple (if applicable): Hisoka/Tsuzuki

Plot: 9/10 - Um, there's kind of no plot to this, so I'm not going to score here on plot, but more the idea. Why the fuck out of the many YnM fics I've read, barely ANY of them involve demons (Save the one from the Devil's Trill Arc), more so, in this case, an incubus!? It's like the perfect set up for some perfect PwP fic! This not only tickled my 'holy shit, why didn't anyone think of this till now!?' side, but it also tickled my Shin Megami Tensei/Persona side, as those games involve demons and yes, you can get a incubus as a demon in both series. This author also did write for Persona so... >.>

Basically, this story has the perfect setup for this series that you can write a PwP fic on it easily. And you'd think you wouldn't find any character building or angst and just get porn? Think again. Well, not so much character building, but angst... There's quite a bit of understated angst in this fic along with a ton of sexual tension. And it all basically boils to a head due to the case.

Writing: 10/10 - The writing to this piece? Brilliant. That's all I could say. You can feel the sexual tension from the beginning of this fic right to the very end. There's a lot of telling in this fic, which would probably be the only nitpick I have about it. But you can still feel the emotions and the angst behind it through the character's actions.

Characterization: 8/10 - This fic manages to keep Tsuzuki and Hisoka in character fairly well. Now granted, there's not a lot of character building here, and the story doesn't cover the typical 'fandom' heavy issues, like Muraki, the 'famous night', etc etc. It... really doesn't need to, in the case of the story. It does have angst in it that you typically find, but it meshes so damn well with this fic, and it's just the right amount of angst you'll be satisfied with. It also leaves on a 'yeah, we have to talk' note, but in a positive kind of light.

Negativities: None, unless you don't care much for PwP fics in general

Summary: A case goes... in a completely unexpected direction. And brings hidden supressed tensions to a boil.

Overall: 9/10 - Perfect fic to read if you want a one shot with sweet porn with a dash of angst.
Tuesday, October 14th, 2014
12:30 am
More Persona 4 Fanfic
I really wish I had involved myself in the Persona 4 fandom really, because this fandom produces a lot of good fics, even to this day. Granted, I haven't gotten to the FF.net section of P4, but most fanfics I read on badbadbathhouse, and Ao3 have all been for the most part good. I can't really find my prefered pairing, but I can settle with fandoms preferred pairing.

This next story not only explores the possibility of a female protagonist, but also a protagonist who actually is really a blank slate.

Series: Persona 4: Golden
Title: Still Waters
Author: futuresoon
Genre: General/angst
Rating: AO
Warnings: Teenage sex, genderswapped MC, Yuri implications, based on P4G
Couple (if applicable): F!Souji/Yousuke, multiple one sided pairings with F!Souji

Plot: 9/10 - While the plot is basically the same with a gender swapped MC, it explores something new that the game kinda doesn't do, which is the MC is a blank state, in a literal sense. Meaning all those times she was doing the social links? It wasn't because she wanted to make friends, but because of the 'mission' she was sent to do. In fact, she herself doesn't even know what she wants and doesn't want. It was an interesting concept to add in along with the gender bending.

Just be warned, this is based on P4G, so there will be spoilers for the new characters and some new social links.

Writing: 9/10 - Nothing wrong here, though be warned, it is written in second person and I know that's not everyone's cup of tea when it comes to PoVs. But it works extremely well in this story.

Characterization: 9/10 - Pretty much everyone is in character here. It was interesting to see the different reactions from the characters. I only wish we had seen more of the other social links, we only really see Kou and Ai's social links along with the main cast.

Negativities: None unless you don't like genderswapped MC fic

Summary: Yui Narukami isn't exactly your normal teenage girl. But she discovers a role that she is well suited for.

Overall: 9/10 Definitely worth a read if you wanted to see the P4 story from a female blank slate perspective.
Saturday, October 5th, 2013
10:42 pm
Persona 4 Fanfic: BEWARE OF WARNINGS!
And I realized I haven't reviewed a single Persona 4 fanfic yet! This fandom can produce a lot of twisted shit, lemme tell you. A lot of it is, thank god, good. I'm pretty open minded with pairings in general, even though I still really like the bromance of the main character and Yosuke rather than being for each other. But I guess the game throws too much hintings (You have to purposely go for it, they're still there though, mostly for the lulz) that I caved in and read for them. Didn't regret it, thankfully.

But then I saw the main pairing for this fic and I said 'fuck it, let's read it anyways!' Now, I've been reading fanfiction for close to two decades. I've never been disturbed by anything I've read, even the worst fanfiction I've gotten through fine. That ended when I read this monster fic.

Please be warned, I do spoil the game here, so if you haven't played the game yet, go do so right now, because Persona 4 is probably one of the best RPGs you'll ever play.

Series: Persona 4
Title: Sympathy Crime
Edit: For some reason the fic disappeared on Ao3. Hum, not a good sign. But you can still find the fic here.

Author: Sodomquake
Genre: Darkfic, drama/angst
Rating: AO
Warnings: Boarderlining non-con, graphic violence, mindfuckage, underage sex with a minor
Couple (if applicable): Adachi/Yosuke (!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!), Souji(MC)/Yosuke

Plot: 10/10 - This is... probably one of the most disturbing fanfics I've ever read. But in the good way. I... really cannot say what goes on without spoiling the fuck out of it, but basically, Adachi and Yosuke end up in a relationship that is beyond unhealthy and even boarderline consenual, not to mention, an underage minor sleeping with an adult. There is tons of mindfuck moments, moments where you laugh, moments where you cry, moments where you feel so hurt that you have to take a break because of it all. I mean, the fic starts off pretty normal, with Yosuke feeling a little down because Souji is juggling social links up the bumhole, Adachi being a sick-fuck, wants to mess with the team, and a plan forms. It then... just spirals out of control from there.

The thing of it is that it does so so naturally and if you didn't already hate Adachi after you find out about him, you will hate him a hell of a lot more here. What's worse, is when you start to feel sympathy for Adachi at some parts later on and you feel like your mind is about to explode because you're supposed to be angry as fuck at him and... Jesus...

This fic is sort of AU to the game, but it could actually fit very well in the game and it doesn't derive too much from the game's general plot in general.

Writing: 10/10 - Nothing wrong with this fic here. I love how the fic changes to first person and we get to see what Adachi is thinking, because holy shit, I wanted to stab him many times with a meat cleaver. But it also feels natural, and the reader needs to know what Adachi is thinking and plotting. And then after you find out what he's plotting... I think I had my stomach twist in knots a few times because of it.

Overall, there's like nothing wrong with it at all.

Characterization: 10/10 - The characters feel like themselves from the game. I know Adachi was mentally disturbed after finding out he's the 'real' culprit of the murder case, but this story takes it to another level. And it feels like something Adachi would do, considering how bitter he is at life in general, and he probably hates the Investigation Team a hell of a lot because they were "spoiling his fun". What better way to get back at him than this?

Yosuke here... man, he is thrown through the angst wagon and beyond here. The way he falls, and how everything just spirals out of control for him... Jesus. And then we have Souji trying to play the adult, only to have that break down eventually, and it's just... so heartbreaking. Especially seeing his best friend rapidly change and how he just can't handle it...

I really can't say anymore without spoiling it, so I'll leave it at that.

Negativities: LOTS OF MINDFUCK!, non-con with a minor, dumptrucks full of angst
Summary: Yosuke starts feeling depressed, it's also not helping that his best friend keeps blowing him off. Adachi notices, plots, and takes complete advantage of it...
Overall: 10/10 - If you can stomach the mindfuckery and handle the warnings, this is a MUST READ fic. Just.... don't read this story in one sitting.
Saturday, September 21st, 2013
10:16 pm
Final Fantasy XIV: The Middle Road
Okay, we're back with a full review of this game. Now take this with a grain of salt. I leveled a CON/WHM with THM/BLM secondary, because I played THM in 1.0, so it was starting out fairly high level.

Title: Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn
Rating: T, rating changes in game

Graphics: 7/10 - I'm just gonna repeat what I said under beta impressions: Probably the most beautiful game I've ever played. There's really nothing else to say about this, because it's the god to honest truth. It's also a number on graphic cards, because it basically means you need a high end graphic card to play this game.

Also, I discovered, this game doesn't have very good optionization. Meaning when you turn down something, you experience no increase or decrease in FPS and you barely notice the difference in game on top of it. This basically forces you to have a high end computer.

Plot: 7/10 - This gets a little bit of a lower score because while it does feel like Final Fantasy, it's really predictable. And granted, while the other jobs have their own little subplot, the two I did were.... okay. I wasn't really 'wowed' at the end of the story, because it basically continues into your relic weapon quest, and at that point I stopped. Why? Because the part I stopped at, to me, was where the credits rolled and that's it for me.

Music/sound: 9/10 - Again, just gonna repat what I said before: Familiar themes and new themes. I liked the original soundtrack to the game, and I like the newer music, especially the battle theme. And of course, epic fucking Chocobo music when you ride one. You're just riding a chocobo, but they manage to make it sound epic. :D

The one flaw is that the music sometimes doesn't play in certain zones, but I'm guessing that's a bug.

Gameplay: This is divided into 6 sub-categories since MMOs are different.

Combat 5/10 - The combat is slow, period. When you play a game with mechanics that require you to get out of crap fast, the last thing you want is slow combat. It doesn't help the global cooldown is 2.5 seconds. Also, instant spells/skills aren't exactly instant. Basically, you'll be mashing buttons, praying that your skill fires off.

There is some lag between special attacks firing off and movement too. I'm gonna leave this here, because this thread demostrates the problem far better than I can.

Dungeons start out easy and then start to get harder. On top of the combat and it's problems, it really makes the game stressful on tanks and healers. Which is a big no-no. Mechanics are basic if you raided in WoW, but due to the slow combat and the problems highlighted in the thread, it makes the game a lot more difficult than it should be.

Crafting 6/10 - Crafting is beyond boring and tedious, it feels like a class all on it's own, but not very fun, time consuming, and not very rewarding in the end. Granted, I did only get 28 of alchemy up, but it felt like a chore and it didn't help I was always having to stop and go gathering. Not to mention, a lot of mats you need are cross class. For example, you'll be leveling weaving and opps, you now need leather for something. So it's either level up leatherworking or go buy stuff.

Did I mention money is a problem in the game? Yes, money is easy to come by while leveling, but when you have a 50 and those repair bills and teleport bills start to pile up, you'll find your money going down the drain.

PvE (Questing, exploring) 5/10 - Again, your options for leveling are as follows:

1. Killing monsters. Tedious, I don't advice doing it unless you're farming for something.
2. Killing monsters via your class 'hunt' quest. You get bonus exp for killing a certain amount and the game will put something over a monster's head if you need to kill it if you're the right class.
3. Story quest. You need to progress through the 'main' story regardless, so always keep up to date on this. It unlocks different things in the game as well, so you have to do it.
4. Class Quests. EVERY class has class quests, which all have their own story. While they can be tedious at times, the story makes up for it.
5. Regular Quests. There's NPCs all over the place that offer quests. You can also skip them and come back to them with another class later, which I think is good.
6. Leves. This was the main method of leveling in 1.0, but now, it's basically optional. I only really did them when I felt myself getting behind. A good method of catch up if you run out of regular quests!
7. Fate. This is like Guild Wars 2 random events. Basically, random events happen around the world and the objective is different for every one, like collect items and give to a NPC, kill a boss mob, kill an army of invading mobs, etc etc. Nice way to pick up some quick exp while going to different places.
8. Duty Finder/Dungeon Finder. I have to say I'm not impressed with this so far, but it makes for really easy and quick exp. They don't even have to be dungeons, it could be a quick monster survival type of deal or just killing. Hoping the later Dungeons get harder or a 'heroic' mode for those of us who like challenges.
9. Exploration. Like WoW and most games, you find a new area, you get some exp. It's minor, but it does encourage to look and explore the entire map.

So why did I lower this? Because after you hit 50 on your main and want to level another class, your choices suddenly become very limited. Heck, you'll start to see that in your 40's, when your story requires you to be a certain level and you suddenly are out of quests and leve allowances. Your only options are doing dungeons, Fates, or grinding on mobs. And lemme say, the dungeons in this game are very unforgiving. Unforgiving dungeons + PuGs = terrible combination

The game has a duty finder, or basically a system that will auto sort you into a group automatically. The main dungeons consist of 4 people. Later, you'll see 8 man groups too. The queue times for dps are awful, ranging from 30 minutes to well over a hour. And later on down the line, especially the level 50 dungeons, Square decided to make limits on how many instanced dungeons can be open. So that means you can have a group of 4 actual people queueing up, but waiting over a hour because there's too many people queueing for this place. Did I also mention this is the best dungeon to farm end game tomes?

The bosses in this game are very unforgiving, and like I said with the combat system, you really don't want to mix unforgiving mechanics with pick-up groups. Story dungeons should be easier and there needs to be less trash in them, especially since you're on a time limit. Yep, dungeons in this game have a time limit, and while I've never failed to meet a time limit (I did come close in Cutter's, had a minute left), it's beyond stupid to have one. Raids even have one, which blows my mind!

PvP NA - No pvp yet, but if the combat doesn't improve, I don't see pvp happening in this game.

End game (50 only content) N/A - I'm not going to score end game because I didn't try hardmodes or the raids, but I will say farming tomes is not what I want to do. I did enough of that crap in wow, I really don't want to do it again on top of people being nasty in the duty finder, which I'll get to below.

Misc (Latency. bugs, configuration, community) 2/10 - Let me say this game had one of the worst launches I've ever seen. This includes vanilla WoW. The servers were so boggled down, that it fucked with the duty finder the first few days, mostly because everyone was trying to do the story quest and it required you to use the duty finder (Which is a VERY BIG NO NO! Lesson: Don't do a single player story mode alongside something like a Looking for Dungeon type feature). Then we had limited log ins and the dreaded 1017 issues. Basically, for a time, Square limited how many people could get onto a server. The only problem is there was no active working queue finder (Some people say the queue could only support 250 people at a time, who knows). So the only way to get into the game was spamming the 0 key on your number pad. What freaking game does NOT have a queue system in place!?

Now this was cleared up after 2-3 weeks, but it's still unacceptable. Not to mention Fates like Odin and Behemut would crash servers because everyone and their mom would go to them.

The community in this game is probably the worst I've ever seen it, coming close to how people are in LFR in WoW. From people yelling and screaming at each other and calling people newbs (Don't people realize that most people playing this freaking game are new at it!?) from racist and disgusting remarks in shout chat to people screaming and yelling at people to skip the cutscenes in a story dungeon... Not to mention gold spammers on top of it. And if you say one negative thing about the game, people will call for your head to be chopped off on top of it...

This does not bode well for this game.

Final Score 4.5/10 - Not off to a very smooth start at all.

Overall: 6.8/10 - An average MMO that's in a very rocky place and greatly hindered by it's slow combat and bad community. If you like pretty MMOs and your machine can handle it, try it out. Though imo, there's better options out there that won't cost you 15 bucks a month.
Sunday, August 18th, 2013
5:32 pm
FF14 2.0, is it really that great?
Beta impressions. It is much improved compared to 1.0. But to be quite honest, that's not saying much, since 1.0 was a huge pile of poop.

For those who don't know the story, a couple of years ago, FFXIV was released, and it was one of the worst MMOs I've played at the time, and the biggest flop in the MMO genre ever. The game was unplayable, the combat was delayed, you had a system that basically forces you at a certain point that you cannot gain exp because you played too much, as a PAY TO PLAY game. But the game was pretty!

Needless to say, the entire team of the original game was fired and taken off. Square/Enix basically came out and said 'We done fucked up!' and bam, a rerelease of the game. The good news? It feels like a FF game now, and the gameplay is much improved. The bad news? There's so many games out there now that are just, well, better, and some are F2P.

I might as well go through it since I can't even log onto the beta atm, so... Also, there's no spoilers for the plot. Most of this info can be found on other websites too.

Title: Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn
Rating: T, rating changes in game

Graphics: 9/10 - Probably the most beautiful game I've ever played. There's really nothing else to say about this, because it's the god to honest truth. It's also a number on graphic cards, because it basically means you need a high end graphic card to play this game. Which means you need a high end computer to play.

Plot: 8/10 - Now this feels like Final Fantasy. From the opening to where you finally have control of your character, you feel like you're in a Final Fantasy world. This is what the game should've been at the start.

You can start in the three familiar towns (Which you can choose to start where) and while some of them got a bit of a facelift, if you played in 1.0, they're easily regonizable.

I won't spoil the story (And tbh, I think the story so far is more interesting than the story in SW: TOR), but even then, I think the story is different depending on where you start. In 1.0, I started in Ul'dah, and I chose to start there again. I can say I'm glad I made that choice.

You'll also see the staples of the FF series along the way, like chocobos and Moggles deliver your mail. And for older fans... you'll see! So it does have a Final Fantasy theme to it.

Music/sound: 9/10 - Familiar themes and new themes. I liked the original soundtrack to the game, and I like the newer music, especially the battle theme. And of course, epic fucking Chocobo music when you ride one. You're just riding a chocobo, but they manage to make it sound epic. :D

The one flaw is that the music sometimes doesn't play in certain zones, but I'm guessing that's a bug.

Gameplay: This is divided into 6 sub-categories since MMOs are different.

Combat 7/10 - The combat... is something to be desired. It's boring, to put it mildly. It doesn't feel as fluid and responsive as WoW's combat system, and again, like some other games, it looks like I've dodged something, and I still get hit with it regardless. It's not as terrible as SW: TOR (Which felt I was fighting with the controls 90% of the damn time!), but... it's just not as good as WoW's.

Like 1.0, you can switch to a different class, which makes having alts pointless. I think this is a good thing, cause if you're in need of something and someone in your group leveled it up, bam, switch, and the group can go!

I haven't played all the classes, but the 2 classes (Thaumaturge and Conjurer) I really played much of were about the same when I played them deep into 1.0. So thankfully, I didn't have to relearn a whole class. If you were a really early 1.0 player, Thaum might be a bit different, it plays more like a Black Mage.

I heard later on, the starter classes branch out into more Final Fantasy-ish classes like Black Mage, White Mage, Dragoon, Paladin, etc etc. I haven't gotten that far, my highest level was 31 back in 1.0.

Crafting 7/10 - Crafting is still crap, but much more improved than 1.0. You basically gather the mats or buy them, change your 'class' to your desired crafter, and go for it. You also have the chance to make the item much better than if you made it the normal way, but I have no idea about it, since I didn't play with the crafting system too much.

You can also level crafting the normal way or through leves, which most people recommend anyways. I'll talk about leves in the pve section.

I didn't work on any gathering professions this time around, so no comment on that yet.

PvE (Questing, exploring) 9/10 - I have to say, this is greatly improved from the original. To break it down, you can gain exp by:

1. Killing monsters. Tedious, I don't advice doing it unless you're farming for something.
2. Killing monsters via your class 'hunt' quest. You get bonus exp for killing a certain amount and the game will put something over a monster's head if you need to kill it if you're the right class.
3. Story quest. You need to progress through the 'main' story regardless, so always keep up to date on this. It unlocks different things in the game as well, so you have to do it.
4. Class Quests. EVERY class has class quests, which all have their own story. While they can be tedious at times, the story makes up for it.
5. Regular Quests. There's NPCs all over the place that offer quests. You can also skip them and come back to them with another class later, which I think is good.
6. Leves. This was the main method of leveling in 1.0, but now, it's basically optional. I only really did them when I felt myself getting behind. A good method of catch up if you run out of regular quests!
7. Fate. This is like Guild Wars 2 random events. Basically, random events happen around the world and the objective is different for every one, like collect items and give to a NPC, kill a boss mob, kill an army of invading mobs, etc etc. Nice way to pick up some quick exp while going to different places.
8. Duty Finder/Dungeon Finder. I have to say I'm not impressed with this so far, but it makes for really easy and quick exp. They don't even have to be dungeons, it could be a quick monster survival type of deal or just killing. Hoping the later Dungeons get harder or a 'heroic' mode for those of us who like challenges.
9. Exploration. Like WoW and most games, you find a new area, you get some exp. It's minor, but it does encourage to look and explore the entire map.

So there's a LOT of ways to get exp in this game, and you don't run out of things to do. There are a few annoying things like having to hand in items to the NPCs, and if it's more than 1, it's really annoying.

You also have an inventory for gear and inventory for your items and crafting crap, which is nice and gives you plenty of space. Of course, hoarders like me will most likely run out of room regardless. >.>

The 'flight path' is chocobos, and yes, you do ride on an airship too at some point, which are staples to FF games. However, I don't see a need for the chocobo paths if you own a mount. Currently, I could not ride my Goodbue mount due to an error/bug, so I can't really say.

Overall, the PvE is fun and you'll always have something to do.

PvP NA - I haven't played any PvP games and am not sure if PvP will be put in the game!

End game (50 only content) N/A - The beta only went up to level 20, so no clue on end game.

Misc (Latency. bugs, configuration, community) N/A - I'm not giving a score since it's still a beta, but I'm greatly disappointed at Square/Enix. Mostly for their lack of communication. There's a serious bug going out on some characters, who are stuck in the game, and when a player tries to log that character, they cannot log in. And there's no word from Square/Enix about it at all. Even a 'We're working on the issue' would be better than nothing.

Also, who thought that having very few NA servers and an overabudance of Japanese servers was good? Believe it or not, Final Fantasy is popular in the US and Canada. The fact that EVERY SINGLE NA server was locked for new characters is not a good sign. So people who want to play with their friends? Nope, not happening! This wouldn't be an issue if beta stuff wasn't going over to live play, but it is. I think it's a mistake to do, but it's not my choice, so meh... I think this was a stupid move and if the servers couldn't handle the load, you should have queues. I think queues would be better than not being able to play at all!

Also, who thought that not having any sort of fucking queue system was a good idea? Because IT IS NOT! Hence why I'm not playing, my server is full and there's no queue system. And I'm not about to sit around and keep hitting refresh.

The UI seems kind of sloppy with a lot of buttons on one side. Granted, this game is designed around to accomadate the PS3 console, but still. I didn't fiddle with the UI too much, so hopefully you can change it to how you want it to be.

Hopefully, things get figured out within the week.

Final Score 7.6/10 - Above average, but if I had to factor in the last part, this score would be much lower!

Overall: 8.4/10 - A game you should try, especially if you're a Final Fantasy fan. A good re-impression that has some problems here and there. Hopefully, Square/Enix will fix them before launch. If you're a Final Fantasy fan and don't get plagued by the game-breaking bugs currently in this build, give it a try. I'd recommend trying it out for the first month and seeing if it's for you.
Saturday, July 27th, 2013
9:59 pm
Worst fic ever? FUCK YES! Final Fantasy 7 style!
Now we bring the pain! Also, High School AUs, more so in a fandom where all the characters are above the age of 18, is even worse. This is no exception.

Also, I think this fic physically hurt me, to the point where I can't even spell right anymore. I think this fanfic outtops that Watari/Tatsumi fic I read so long ago.

Series: Final Fantasy 7
Title: Some Where I Belong
Author: Ballerama-Beauty
Genre: Melodrama Angst/Romance
Rating: T, though it should get a M rating for language
Warnings: High School AU (This has it's own warning now!), verbal abuse, WHERE THE FUCK ARE THE ADULTS!?, violence, suicide, rape, WHERE ARE THE FUCKING ADULTS!?, this town needs to be wiped off the face of the earth
Couple (if applicable): Zack/Cloud, Zack/Aerith, Sephiroth/Angeal/Genesis, Vincent/Yazoo

Plot: 1/10 - Uh, what plot? A bunch of overdramatic angst in a teeny bop world. But it's to the point where it isn't even realistic!

Again, I cannot stress this enough: WHERE. THE. FUCK. ARE. THE. ADULTS!? No seriously, we got people being beat to a BLOODY mess, and not one teacher around!? And none of the teachers THINK about calling the parents of the kids involved OR calling the police!? And the people fighting aren't even suspended!? You know, back when I went to school, if kids fought like this, they'd be lucky to not only be expelled, but put in Juvinile Detention! This doesn't happen until much later in the story, and it only happens to ONE person instead of everyone involved!

Also, apparently, NO ONE calls the houses of any of the families in these things, because they would find out that an 18 year old is basically acting like the care-giver of 4 younger siblings. And the excuse? 'Well, the neighbors are afraid Sephiroth will kill them!' Maybe Sephiroth killed the police long before, because at least that would make sense why they are absent in this story!

Basically, Cloud angsts like a monkey and it's Zack's job to play hero. Oh, and everyone apparent drank the 'asshole' koolaid, because everyone acts like a total fucking prick, even people who are supposed to be friends. There's suicide attempts, which are always lovely. Oh, and there's violence and rape, ain't that nice to add to the blender of fuckness?

Look, I know people can be prejudice assholes, but 90% of everyone!? I don't think so. Even worse is that Zack's supposed 'friends' turn against him in a heartbeat. And the suicide attempts? Urgh...

Also, if you played a drinking game, where every time someone says 'Bitch' in this story, you take one shot, you'd probably be dead of acholol poisoning before getting to chapter 3. ~_~;;;;;

Also, the so called doctor that comes in and talks to Cloud. Holy fucking shit, you DO NOT tell someone who is suicidal that it is their own fucking fault. I'm not a fucking doctor and even I know that! I don't care if you were being "more analytical", you do NOT tell someone who wants to kill themselves to suck it up, you're creating all these problems! WHY did they let him out of the hospital??? HOW could they let him out!? He's a fucking minor and nobody has a clue that something serious is going on here!?

And then we got the 'child protection' coming in and playing the 'religion' card. ~_~;;;; Also, instead of taking everyone into their care, they only take ONE of them away. Are you for fucking real!? You couldn't see the kid with the scars RIGHT ON HIS FACE needs the help!?

This is just... really bad. Bad doesn't even begin to describe this turd of a fic.

Writing: 4/10 - Believe it or not, the writing itself isn't too terribly bad. There's a few big paragraphs that should've been chopped up and some dialogue that should've been divided up into other paragraphs, but other than that, the writing isn't half bad.

The flashbacks can be really annoying since it's basically copy/pasted from where it originally happened most of the time.

So it's not terrible, it's readable. But I wouldn't recommend anyone reading it, even if it was all in chicken scratch!

Characterization: 0/10 - Probably the first fanfic where I give NO points to characterization. NONE of the characters are in character at freaking all. You can change EVERY name in this story to something else and not have any idea that this was a FF7 fic at one point.

Cloud is annoying, period. He started out as a loner in the beginning and then became an emo whiny clingy idiot. If adults actually existed in this universe, he would've gotten the help he needed a while ago, and maybe Zack and Cloud could've had a more normal relationship. But nope, and it doesn't help that Zack is really confused and Cloud basically guilt trips/threatens Zack into liking him and giving him a chance. It also doesn't help that he has an obsessive bully following Cloud and his 'brothers' around and beating the shit out of them. Oh, and a stalker rapist, cause this story didn't have enough angst as it is with the bullying and wanting to kill himself!

Like I said above, Cloud eventually goes into a hospital, but instead of getting help, he's even MORE verbally abused. I mean, is the 'prick koolaid' in the water that these assholes drink!?

Also, Zack acts like a real asshole too. I mean, Cloud is in the hospital, and he doesn't visit because 'I'm busy with school and sports'. Are you fucking shitting me!? Even if it was a friend of mine who was in the hospital, I'd drop all my shit in a heartbeat and go to the fucking hospital and see them! Hell, I think Canon!Zack would have a spaz attack and go see Cloud, even if all he had gotten was a fucking paper cut, cause that's who Zack is!

And of course, what bad yaoi fanfic would it be without indirect female bashing? I mean, really? Aerith isn't the type of girl to be mean, period. I don't even think she has a mean bone in her body. If she knew Zack and Cloud hooked up, she'd ask for Zack for pictures and probably be their official fangirl. This is the SAME girl who convinced Cloud to cross-dress, for christ's sake!

In fact, NONE of the original cast members are even remotely friendly to Cloud. Which again, WHY write Final Fantasy 7 fanfiction when you can't even adher to even having these characters acting like their canon parts!? Even in AUs, most of the time, the characters retain their core personalities to some degree. WHY is Rufus stalking Vincent, I don't even get it!

AND STOP INCLUDING SQUALL NOT FUCKING LEON IN YOUR FANFICS! God, every fucking time I see Squall being called 'Leon' in fanfics, I want to take my copy of Kingdom Hearts and shove it up Square's ass.

Negativities: Bad fanfic, rape, violence, bullying, no sane adults, fanfic will make your brain leak out your ears.
Summary: Cloud's life sucks. Can Zack help him out? Not in this story!
Overall: 1.6/10 - One of the worst fanfics I've read in my entire life. I mean, this takes the cake, folks. I can deal with Mary Sues, I can deal with bad grammar and spelling, I can deal with OOC to a point. What I can't deal with is all the worst kind of angst plot devices, with a dash of yaoi, thrown all together into a blender alongside a mountain's worth of cow chips. If you want your dose of stupid forever, read this fic. Otherwise, do your brain a favor and stay FAR away from it.
2:35 am
Back with more FF7 fic! ~_~;;
Thanks to my butthead friends for getting me back on this craz train again! I bring good fic, but.... It's a mixed bag, at least for me.

Series: Final Fantasy 7
Title: Shards of Glass
Author: Soranokumo
Genre: General/Drama/Psychological
Rating: MA
Warnings: Violence, Dark, Psychological mindfuck, lemon and lime content, fanpoodle japanese (Seriously wtf), walking the fine line of non-con, game canon only
Couple (if applicable): Sephiroth/Cloud, Zack/Cloud, Vincent/Cloud, Rufus/Cloud, one sided Cloud/Tifa, faint Cloud/Aerith references (Yeah, Cloud kinda gets around in this fic. X_x)

Plot: 8/10 - The summary managed to get my attention, mostly because I love Zack fics. Also note, this goes by game canon only, since this was started in 2001 and finished in 2004, pre-dating even Advent Children. So yeah, his last name is the name that was popular in fandom before it officially became 'Fair'.

So basically, Zack wakes up in a hospital post-game. Of course, the first thing he does is to go search for our little chocobo-head (Really fandom?) ray of sunshine. Only... things are not good. Like at all.

Seriously, this story deals with some really dark issues and a lot of psychological issues. The first thing you find out is that Cloud was in a Mental Institution for a year after attacking some of his friends from Avalanche. Yikes... Not to mention, Cloud's behavior is very odd and sometimes downright disturbing in the story. As the story goes on, you discover the reason behind this behavior and it's... not good.

Not to mention, we have Sephiroth in the mix, but... it's not in the way you normally expect it. And you can kinda guess from the pairing listed above. This story can get boarderline squick between consensual and non-con too, so if you have issues with that, I wouldn't recommend reading this. I don't know if I would consider this under-age either, so be warned about skimming that line too.

I also don't really see the Cloud/Vincent pairing, like at all. They never struck me close in canon, and it seems Vincent takes a liking to Cloud in a more than friends way not too long after the game ends, which bugs me. It would make more sense if it was later down the line, and even then, I don't really see the pairing still. I think that partly tainted my view on it. I can let Sephiroth/Cloud slide to some degree, but not Vincent/Cloud.

The only problem I have with the story is the last few chapters are REALLY confusing and I got a little lost. It is kinda predictable what Cloud was hiding, it kinda boarderlines canon itself, in my opinion, but it doesn't destroy the story.

I do NOT want to spoil the end, but the story does end with a satisfying conclusion.

Writing: 6/10 - This got docked BIG points from me because of one thing: Fangirl Japanese. There is NO FUCKING REASON to have fangirl Japanese in a fanfic that does not take place in Japan, PERIOD. I let it slide with animes that take place in Japan, or have a setting like Japan (Which I was almost ready to give the benefit of the doubt with Yuffie, since Wutai has very heavy Japan influences), but it's really unacceptable here. And it's annoying, especially when you don't understand what she's saying sometimes.

This will continue to piss me off. There is NO NEED to have your fanfic with fangirl Japanese when you can translate it into perfect English and not lose the meaning of it.

Other than that, the writing is done well, and if the fangirl Japanese was gone, it'd probably would've gotten a 9/10.

Characterization: 7/10 - Meh, again, this is a mixed bag, especially how you view the pairings. I really only think Cloud looked up to Sephiroth as a 'hero' figure, and I don't think Sephiroth was really interested in any kind of relationship with anyone. If only going by game canon, I do see maybe Sephiroth and Zack being close (Even if you count CC, they do seem friendly to each other and get along fairly well), but I certainly don't see Sephiroth abusing his powers the way he did on Cloud in this story.

Zack is pretty much how I expected him to be, and the others of Avalanche are how I expected them to be. Except for Vincent and Yuffie to some degree.

I covered the Vincent/Cloud thing above, so I'm not going to go into much detail. Other than that, Vincent is for the most part in character. Yuffie is kinda clingly to Cloud and it kinda skims the boarderline of her being OOC, but I think given the story flow, she remains IC for the most part.

Cloud is how I expected him to be as well, given what he's going through. Though I do wonder why he isn't more screwed up than is.

Reno and Rude are funny as always. The Rufus/Cloud moments are more 'mindfuckery' than anything, so I can let that pairing slide. But again, what's with everyone wanting in Cloud's pants? It works in the guidelines of the story, but I did actually sit back and say 'Why does everyone want into Cloud's pants!?'

For the most part, the characters retain themselves and the little OOC you may see can be made up for it because of the story itself. The only problem I see people having is the pairing issue.

Negativities: Dark issues, squick, Fangirl Japanese (STOP FANDOM!), Cloud needing to start his own Harem (~_~)
Summary: Zack's been asleep for a very long time and finally wakes up... to a very different world. Regardless, he searches for the one he tried so hard to protect... Only to find things are never easy.
Overall: 7/10 - A fic that has some problems, but still definitely readable. Please note the warnings and the pairings, cause this fic is definitely not for everyone. I'd still recommend it, more for the issues the story handles, but if you have a hard time accepting the first 3 pairings, you might want to stay away from it.
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