I never really jumped on the Kingdom Hearts bandwagon like a lot of gamers did. I utter the phrase “bandwagon,” not in derogatory fashion. In-fact, had I known more about the series when its initial installment came out in 2002, I would've likely been on-board with the rest of them. Unfortunately, I was six-years old, and it was never a franchise that made its presence known in my household. The concept holds a definite appeal that can't be underestimated, after all. An action role-playing video-game developed and published by Square, Kingdom Hearts tries its hand at blending the settings and characters from Disney series' with those from their own Final Fantasy series, and even better than that, its attempt is done on a very grandiose and epic-scale. Whether or not it was a success is not something I can really decide, per si. The series was a financial success and has spawned several main-entry sequels, spin-offs, and remasters, which speaks volumes about how coveted it is amongst many gamers, it was clearly a success. But – is the series the high-stakes, in-depth, and high-quality franchise it often feels presented as? Here are my thoughts …
After finishing my play-through of Rayman: Legends and discovering a new-found interest in the series, rewarding it a rare “Perfect” score in a review, a rating I've only given to three other video-games in the nearly eighty video-game reviews I've done, I realized I hadn't given the rest of the Rayman series the proper time of day. The first step to remedy has proven decidedly unorthodox. Although it might seem more logical to start from the very beginning, playing the first Rayman on the Original PlayStation and working my way up, I've decided to go straight to Rayman 3: Hoodlum Havoc, or Rayman 3 HD as I will be reviewing the remastered version released on the Xbox Live Arcade (available at a reasonable $4.99 and backwards compatible with the Xbox One). If you haven't already experienced Rayman 3: Hoodlum Havoc for yourself, maybe you're wondering if it's an entry in the Ubisoft series worth checking out. Here are my thoughts...
I've always had a “love-hate” relationship with the Tomb Raider franchise, in that, although I adore the plat-forming and puzzle-solving adventures very much, the series can't resist its urge to repeatedly kick me in the teeth. Skipping over the mere minutes I spent on the Original PlayStation games, where I can only recall vague memories of locking the butler in the freezer, a memory so common I'm not even entirely certain it's my own, my first experience was with Tomb Raider: Underworld. I had fun with it, having played some of the Uncharted series beforehand, and being a long-time fan of Prince of Persia, hanging out with Lara Croft scratched a similar itch. Underworld was a good game. Unfortunately, I encountered a game-breaking glitch more than halfway through that kept me from ever finishing it. Tomb Raider: Legend was fantastic, but the less said about my time with Tomb Raider: The Angel of Darkness, the better. In early-2013, Crystal Dynamics hit the reset-button, rebooting the series and restructuring Lara Croft's origins, opting for a darker, more cinematic approach. Although it was adored by many, and I certainly enjoyed it, it wasn't until Rise of the Tomb Raider I felt we were back in peak form, except for one small mishap – in my first play-through of Rise of the Tomb Raider, near the end, I encountered a game-breaking glitch, forcing me to re-play the campaign of what was, other-wise, a very good game. Developed by Eidos Montreal (in-conjunction with Crystal Dynamics), Shadow of the Tomb Raider marks the end of this re-imagining Tomb Raider trilogy, does it kick the curse? And, better yet, is the new developer at the helm able to properly stick the landing? Here are my thoughts …
Although many moviegoers are likely still riding the high that is being able to see our favorite web-crawler in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, whether it be his most recent showing in Avengers: Infinity War or awaiting Spider-Man: Far From Home, however, with that said, Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse is a film worth seeing for all true believers, as well as fans of animation alike. Even if it may not be blowing up the box-office the same way as its live-action counterpart, a better way to look at the film is to compare it with the rest of the Sony Pictures Animation catalog, which includes the highly successful Hotel Transylvania and Smurf franchises. Say what you will about those films, Hotel Transylvania has managed to improve on itself with each installment, starting out with a 358 million worldwide gross for its first film, and surpassing half a billion-dollars in its third. A 350 million worldwide total appears to be in reach for Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, and with that, I have no doubt we'll be seeing more animated superhero fare in the near future. This also builds credibility for the Sony Pictures Animation, which hasn't had a truly well-received film since Arthur Christmas, usually appealing strictly to a young-audience and adhering to a very conventional formula. Critics have raved about Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, I've even heard some refer to it as the best Spider-Man film ever made. Is this an example of overzealous enthusiasm (which isn't a bad thing!), for instance, I heard the same thing about Spider-Man: Homecoming, and while it was a fun film, I didn't think it was better than the first couple of Sam Raimi films, or is Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse truly up to snuff?
The DC Extended Universe has been ripe with debate and disillusion. Whether it be the stigma it has as badly trying to imitate what was established with Nolans' Dark Knight Trilogy or the sentiment that it's high-scale, low-logic. In my opinion, while I don't necessarily hate the DC Extended Universe altogether, nor do I necessarily want it to approach all of its subject-matter with a light-heart nature akin to the Marvel Cinematic Universe, I definitely think it has a lot of flaws that keep it from being as good of a representation for DC Comics as the Marvel Cinematic Universe is for Marvel Comics. Unless it's a rendition of Adam West's Batman, I think the Caped Crusader is best-suited with a more mature, jaw-clenched approach, whereas I think The Flash is better off with a more light-heart, vibrantly enthused approach. Instead of having every film carry an inherent tone, I think each film should play it out in whichever way best plays to the strength of their characters. As far as what the approach should be for a film like AquaMan, I would say, what I wanted from the film was a charming, action film, that would focus less on exposition and being a high-stake, grandiose epic, and more on energetic, ludicrous fun. That said, here are my thoughts on DC's splashing new fish-into-water story Aquaman.
It seems appropriate we'd segue from my review of Rayman Legends, discussing my criticisms in-regards to the present decline of local co-op gaming in-favor of online multiplayer, to a review of the action role-playing game Ashen. Developed by New Zealand studio A44 and published by Annapurna Interactive, I was excited for Ashen when it was first announced for Microsoft Windows and Xbox One (and even more thrilled when it was made available on Xbox's Game Pass subscription service on-launch), enticed by the suggestion of a video-game mixing multi-player with a low-fantasy environment. Unfortunately, I was disappointed to discover Ashen as more of a traditional dungeon-crawler heavily-inspired by Dark Souls, that incorporated online multi-player, which simply isn't what I'm interested in. I think it'd be fair to say that realization deflated by enthusiasm, but, in the end, is Ashen worth experiencing, are the positive-reviews representative of its actual merit, or does its sudden, unannounced release, coupled with its on-launch inclusion with Game Pass suggest it something worth sweeping under the rug? Here are my thoughts …
What is Mishmashers (dot) com?
Started in late-2017, Mishmashers.com is a website by brothers Scott Moore and McConnaughay as a way to share their opinion on an array of different topics, as well as shine a light on their written works. Both brothers are passionate about their work and have dedicated a significant amount of time and resources to their respected works.
- Perfect (10 outta 10)
- Great (9 outta 10)
- Very Good (8 outta 10)
- Good (7 outta 10)
- Above Average (6 outta 10)
- Decent (5 outta 10)
- Below Average (4 outta 10)
- Bad (3 outta 10)
- Very Bad (2 outta 10)
- Horrible (1 outta 10)
- Godawful (0 outta 10)