Tag Archives: Art

Haven Review: Stella Glow

First up is our disclaimer. We received this game for review purposes only, and as such all opinions in this review are our own. No money has been exchanged for this review.

SGCoverRGBStella Glow is yet another title from the Atlus game company, and being honest the last few titles from them have been less than enjoyable. These include Legend of Legacy and Etrian Odyssey II, so I go into this with low expectations.

However right from the start, I noticed another company had a hand in making this title; my old friend SEGA. The game started and I was instantly taken to a screen where apparently a previous protagonist is being engulfed in some type of fire; he is dying as his teammates look on. So now I’m intrigued as I try to struggle with looking past the flames that are burning and engulfing me, and a promise is made so that no one else will have to suffer the same way.

The game soon cuts to a girl named Lisette in the village of Mithra, talking about a previous hero who stopped God’s wrath by sacrificing himself.Stella-Glow-Hilda_11-04-15 I assume this to be the previous protagonist from the cut-scene. Before long she learns that her adopted brother is off in the forest hunting, and she runs after him. As soon as they meet they’re tossed into the first battle of the game!

Combat is in the form of a Final Fantasy style tactic, with the twist that players are allowed to move around the board only a certain number of steps. When he gets close to an enemy he can attack. The game instructs the player to attack rear flanks, as enemies are weaker there. Upon attacking you are treated to a nice cut-scene of the player battling with the monster. It was a nice change from what I’ve seen in other game titles. It also gives a nice look at character appearance, in an in-depth…albeit chibi design. After the battle ends and you continue on with the story, you are treated to some spectacular voice acting that made me just want to play the game even more. The voices felt like they belonged with the characters. I also noticed that the voice actors never once went off script, where as in other games the text would say one thing and the voices another. Everything was precise and to the point, explaining the story so I wouldn’t get lost.2954587-harbingers+2

As I continued on with the game, Lisette soon became a witch and I was told to tune her soul, which played out as you would expect. No hidden mini-game, no random hidden feature, just a small story cut-scene again where I talk to her and am given some “yes” or “no” options. I was a little confused when the prologue was over. It said the story is now mine to tell, but through playing the game there was very little room for customization (outside of character creation).

The game itself is very limiting as well, as to what the player can actually do. Through my entire time playing, it felt as if the story was just advancing without much of my input. At times I felt forced to grind away.Stella-Glow-Dated-JP_03-09-15 I get that a role-playing game wants to tell a story, but it felt more like a Telltale game where I don’t get a choice between going to point A or to point B. I was just forced to do it.

Overall though, despite that one flaw with the game, I have been having a good time playing through and I wish there was more I could do. But I suppose some things are just not meant to be. I recommend picking up Stella Glow if you have the money laying around, as it’s a fun title and the story to me at least is fairly good; even with its blatant attempt at a materia-like setup for its weapons.

-Daniel Clatworthy-
Stella

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Haven Review: Mortal Kombat XL

Mortal-Kombat-XLFirst up is our disclaimer. We received this game for review purposes only, and as such all opinions in this review are our own. No money has been exchanged for this review.

Now I know a lot of people grew up with Mortal Kombat. I for one mainly played it at my local pizza joint growing up…that and Street Fighter. I never really did get into the former; not because of how gruesome the games are and not that I have a issue with blood, it’s just not my thing in general. I prefer more vibrant games, like the latter.

However going into this version of Mortal Kombat, I knew it wouldn’t be the game I played as a child. I loaded it up and started playing.mkxl_launchscreenshot_alien Right from the start my ears were almost blown out by how loud the game was, even on low settings! But I was impressed at what came next with the clans, and how players can increase how far their clans can progress on a global basis. I haven’t noticed anything like this so far in this game’s primary competitor, Street Fighter V, and so I really enjoyed it. I even picked the White Lotus, not because of Raiden, but because the same group exists in Avatar: The Last Airbender. So I figured why not, right?

Afterwards, I wanted to try out the mechanics and how the game handled. I saw the selection of characters, including Alien, Predator, Jason Voorhees and Johnny Cage. Now keep in mind, I know almost nothing about the plot and the characters, outside of the fact that I know Johnny Cage is hilarity incarnate. I was also really happy to see characters I know, not only from other game series but also from movies; Predator and Alien at the forefront. That gave me something to take the game a bit more seriously.neon_0001_540h

So I picked Alien, loaded up the game and gave it a try. I was amazed at just how smooth and fine-tuned the mechanics are. They’re infinitely better than the issues I faced in Street Fighter V, and after talking with a friend who happens to own both, he agreed. I found the visuals of the game stunning as well, even more so with the fatalities and the amount of detail that went to traditional Mortal Kombat animations. All that work just stood out to me and I loved playing it.

But this is a review, so I can’t just focus on only combat. Stepping away from that I decided to take a look into the “Krypt”, as it’s called. It seems like turning “Cs” into “Ks” hasn’t lost its charm. Once I loaded up the Krypt I was given some Koins…yep, charm.mkx_kombat_pack_2.0.0

However while I was there, I noticed the game changes things up. Instead of being a fighting game, I was given this dungeon explorer feel where I could venture around and break statues. You can unlock extra content by spending Koins (like making fatalities easier to pull off). I found it an interesting concept but remained unimpressed by its implications. Nothing about it made it really stand out to me and I found it kind of boring. Their current setup has me walking around, not knowing how much each statue will cost to break open. It wound up being more confusing than it should have been. However I must say, that in the “extras” they not only give tribute to the concept art drawn for the game, but they also included fan-art. This includes a cosplay picture or two, and a few other tidbits. I honestly think this is really cool.7600eb53-741b-42ba-bcb3-b04e39d84819._CB327985138_

The fact that a game company would go out of their way to show some level of appreciation to fans of their franchise is something you don’t really see that often. In the end though, I actually had a great time playing Mortal Combat XL; more so than I had with Street Fighter V. It runs smoother, controls great and the announcer is as loud as ever…just as he was back on the classic arcade machines!

If you can stomach the levels of gore, I recommend picking it up and playing it. White Lotus for the win all the way!

-Daniel Clatworthy-
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Nerd Editorial: Fan creates Batman Vs. Superman animated Trailer

A recent image has been circulating the internet, a picture showing a scene from the upcoming Batman Vs. Superman film recreated to look like something out of Batman: The Animated Series, Drawn by Bruce Timm.

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This, However isn’t anything out of the show, rather it’s drawn by an amazing fan of both the new DC movies coming out as well as Artist and Animator Bruce Timm. James Strecker, has been working on a series of Artworks turning scenes from Batman Vs. Superman and Suicide Squad into works stylized after Bruce Timm.

Timm, the lead artist for Batman: TAS, has given many of us a particular mental image of Batman, and his associated characters with his unique art style. Especially for fans, including myself, who grew up during the show’s running. This unique art style has inspired many artists to pick up the pen and follow in Timm’s path. Strecker is one such artist who has gone on to create some truly awesome pieces of art.

Now that two new DC movies featuring batman, and his gallery of rogues, Strecker has decided it’s time to turn memorable scenes from the trailers for those movies into Bruce Timm Inspired Drawings.

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Here is a fantastic look at the three main heroes featured in Batman vs. Superman: Dawn of Justice, as if they were drawn by Timm Himself. Featured are Ben Affleck’s Batman, Henry Cavill’s Superman, and Gal Gadot’s Wonder Woman. The drawing does a great job of combining the new look of the heroes with the style and detail reminiscent to Timm’s heroes.

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In Streckers Recreation of the Suicide Squad group photo, instead of adding any influence from the movie he takes Timm’s characters and brings them together to show what it would have looked like if Bruce Timm were to have done an animated Suicide Squad. Featured here are Slipknot, captain boomerang, enchantress, Katana, Rick Flagg, Harley Quinn, Deadshot, Killer Croc, And El Diablo. Although El Diablo was never featured in the DC animated Universe, and Killer Croc doesn’t quite look like his TAS self they both blend in nicely with the classic looks of the other rogues. Too bad Captain Boomerang wont look quite this awesome in the actual movie.

The trailer isn’t a recreation of the current BVS trailer, but rather something of Strecker’s own design. Using footage from the DCAU cartoons as well as some of his own work and Audio Design, he creates a great trailer, that is almost on par with the live action one. Everything flows seamlessly together to create the mood and anticipation brought out by the actual trailer. Had I seen this out of context, I would have assumed it to be for some new Animated film to go along with the hype of the Live Action one, and I would have been way excited for it. Although that’s not the case, this is still a great little piece of art that definitely adds some excitement to the upcoming release.

James your Art and passion for Bruce Timm’s style are truly amazing. I can’t wait to see more of your awesome work in the future.

-Jordan Kamm-

all images and video posted are the work of James Strecker

If you are interested in more of Strecker’s work Please follow the links below:

http://www.jtsent.com/index.html

https://www.youtube.com/user/JTSEntertainment

http://jtsentertainment.deviantart.com/gallery/