Not So Christmas 2: Paddington (2014) Review

Time for something a little more cheery than a murderous barber!

Paddington is a live action comedy film based on the Paddington Bear Character who was originally created by Michael Bond.

The original stories involve Paddington being a polite young bear trying to live a life in London and learning lessons while always having the best manners, in the stories he is living as an adopted son to the Brown family who give him the name Paddington Brown as his bear name is too difficult to pronounce, the 2014 film adaptation uses this story as its premise and expands upon it.

The movie opens with a family of bears in Darkest Peru, they live on a diet consisting of only Marmalade after an explorer gave them some during a visit.

This explorer told the bears that they would always be welcome in London if they were to ever visit and this message is remembered by Aunt Lucy who sends Paddington to London after their rainforest home is destroyed and his uncle is killed.

While Paddington stows away to London, Aunt Lucy chooses to live in the home for retired bears as she is too old to go along on the trip.

Similarly to the original story’s in the movie Paddington is adopted at the train station by the Brown family however there are some major differences to the characters helping to give them more personality.

Without including Paddington there are 5 members of Brown household, Mr Brown an overprotective and anxious father, Mrs Brown a very caring and nurturing woman, Jonathan Brown a young boy with a love of science and space, Judith Brown a teenage girl with an attitude and is easily embarrassed, finally there is Mrs Bird an elderly relative who lives with the Browns as a housekeeper.

The three adult family members are really great in this, the two younger actors do a good job as well but they are not very memorable compared to Mrs Bird and the two parents of the Browns house.

Mrs Bird portrayed by Julie Walters is great in this and is played as a very caring but over protective nanny, she is a bit of a bad ass and doesn’t take crap off of anyone.

My favourite performance in the movie though was a tough choice between Hugh Bonneville as Mr Brown and Sally Hawkins as Mrs Brown but I think Sally takes the cake for me.

She really does a grand job of portraying the character and has quite the important role in the film as she is the one who really fights to keep helping Paddington to find the explorer who will give him a home, this gives her character a little bit more screen time than the rest, Mr Brown also has his own scene which is very funny but I did prefer the more serious scene we had with Mrs Brown in the antique shop.

Scarlet Johansson plays the role of the films villain and quite the nasty character she is too, she is obsessed with taxidermy animals and goes as far as murdering endangered species if she needs too, she wants to add Paddington to the collection for personal reasons (which I wont go into as it would ruin the films twist), during this scene we see a vison of a dead Paddington posing on a tree which is a quite a horrifying sight and probably what gave the film its PG 13 rating.

The film is very funny and uses innocent humour that is not played for huge laughs but its the perfect timing that makes the jokes work so well, the hard stare is a classic and re-used in the sequel but probably my personal favourite comedy moment is the flashback to when Mr Brown used to be a free spirit and cool biker and was changed into the worrying dad the literal second his first child was born, its pretty silly humour but it works very well in this.

I think to me Paddington feels like a holiday film because of how innocent and sweet the story is, it reminds me of Christmas movies not necessarily in its theme but how it feels, it definitely has a slightly magical and whimsical feel to it and I always seem to stick it on around this time of the year.

Paddington is a wonderful movie and my favourite adaptation of the original storybooks, I think for a adaptation this is a great example of how to do it correctly because a lot of the time adapting something to screen fails to capture the same vibes as the original, however Director Paul King and the cast did a phenomenal job of bringing the Marmalade loving bear to life and sticking so closely to the original source material with only a few new additions being added on.

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Not So Christmas 2 – Sweeny Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street (2007) Review

In 2017 I wrote a series of unique December reviews of non Christmas movies that I personally feel are staples to watch every year around the holidays, last time we chose Chicken Run, Bridget Jones Diary and About a boy, last year I even discussed growing up with the Lord of the Rings movies so there are few exceptions to my Not So Christmas movies and I wanted to start this year off with one of my favourite movies of all time, the gory and gothic musical adaptation of Sweeny Todd from director Tim Burton.

The sad tale of Sweeny Todd is that of Barber Benjamin Barker who was wrongly convicted of a crime he didn’t commit, he managed to escape his prison in Australia and sneak back to London under the name Sweeny Todd.

It was the malicious Judge Turpin who sent Barker to prison in order to get close with his wife Lucy, after she denied his advances he sexually assaults her which causes her to attempt suicide by poison which she fails and ends up going insane instead. Judge Turpin adopts Benjamin Barkers daughter and raises her as his own with the sick plan to marry her when shes old enough. This is one of the reasons that Sweeny Todd comes back to London to seek revenge.

Sweeny Todd has revenge as its main theme and the movie does not shy away from how evil Judge Turpin is, so that that viewer is rooting for Todd even though he himself becomes a mass serial killer and villain throughout the movie.

Apart from Johnny Depp who plays Todd, we have a lot of big names in the movie, Timothy Spall as Beadle Bamford, Alan Rickman as Judge Turpin, Sasha Baron Cohen as Senior Pirelli and Helena Boham Carter as Mrs Lovett and many more.

Helena as Mrs Lovett stands out because she really shows the pure evil side to the character that I feel a lot of the stage productions don’t do so well. She is a selfish person who convinces Todd to murder so she can make pies from human meat but not only that she has no heart and only cares for herself.

She loves Todd but he never feels that way back but she is so self centered that she doesn’t even notice this, she even lies to him and says that his wife is dead when she knows she isn’t and the worst thing she does in the movie that shows this pure lack of empathy is when the young boy she is using as free labour tells her about his worries of Todd and calls her mum, her response is to lock him in the pie house and get Todd to go down there and slit his throat.

I have a theory about the colours and lighting of this movie and it will be interesting to see if you agree.

I genuinely believe that in order to make the “protagonists” of the movie stand out brighter choices for clothes and the environments these characters inhabit were used so that we as an audience would be able to see what is considered Good over Bad, Sweeny Todd is a bad person no matter how sad his back story is but it is hard not to root for him since he is the main character, I’ve always noticed that everyone in this film bar the main protagonists use darker and grey tones, Jonathan still uses these but his dress colours do stand out a little bit more than the likes of Todd or Judge Turpin, Johanna’s dress colours are very positive and bursting off the screen and even her room is the most colourful area in the entire film apart from the flash backs.

Any flashbacks or day dreaming segments also use very bright and positive colours I feel this is again so that these stand out over the current events of the film, this is only time we ever see Mrs Lovett and Sweeny Todd in bright colours, we did see Benjamin Barker in bright colours before his imprisonment as this was before he got corrupted and the same can be said about his wife, she uses bright colours until she goes mad and joins the rest of the darker toned characters.

The music for the film is the same as the stage production, originally these songs were written by Stephen Sondheim who sadly passed away this year.

His music for Sweeny Todd is easily some of the best that has ever hit Broadway, it has a lot comedy in it but still manages to remain dark and twisted, all of the actors in this film sing very well in the movie and there isn’t any songs I really dislike but my favourites are “The Worst Pies in London” Pirelli’s miracle elixir” and ” Epiphany” but all of the songs are great and this is easily one of my top 5 musical soundtracks.

I don’t know why this movie reminds me of Christmas but for whatever reason it just seems like a holiday flick perhaps its all the blood, I mean red is a big colour of Christmas right?

In all seriousness Sweeny Todd is just a fantastic film, it has a great cast, one of the best soundtracks in musical theatre and is just bleeding that Tim Burton charm and visual style which myself and a lot of others cannot get enough of !

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Metroid Dread (2021) Review

Metroid Dread is the 5th game in the 2D Metroid videogame series, It was developed by MercurySteam for the Nintendo Switch. The game was a long time coming and was originally meant to release on the Nintendo DS, it was cancelled due to Hardware limitations of the system and now 15-20 years later it finally came out for Switch much to fans anticipation. But how does this new Metroid hold up?

After the events of Metroid Fusion, the federation has received video satellite showing that some of the X parasites had survived the desolation of the Planet SR388, The planet ZDR believed to be the location of the transmission is sent E.M.M.I robots to investigate but after they seem to go rogue Samus Aran is sent to the planet instead to make some investigations of her own which in turn becomes her toughest and most dangerous mission yet!.

As per usual with Metroid games we as players are thrown onto the planet with no idea where we are supposed to go, these games encourage exploration in order to find health and missile upgrades to help you survive.

Exploring in this game is particularly encouraged due to the the extreme difficulty of this entry but also because of how beautiful the art style and environments are, it shouldn’t surprise anyone that the most modern 2D Metroid game is better graphically than its predecessors but the detail and the realism that the team put into the environments is absolutely breathtaking, I almost wish this was 3D so I could appreciate the work of the art team so much more.

There are many returning upgrades to Samus’s Armour, series staples include the morph ball, the Super Bomb. The Gravity Suit, Ice Missile and Screw Attack amongst many others, a few were added to this game as new entries, the Flash Shift ability I found myself using constantly it allows Samus to quickly flash across the screen. This came in handy to get past obstacles and avoid boss attacks.

The Phantom Cloak allows Samus to turn herself invisible for very short periods of time before she takes serious damage to her energy tanks. This one I didn’t use too much although it did occasionally help me avoid detection by the corrupted E.M.M.I Robots.

If I have any complaints about this game it would definitely be how familiar the game begins to feel when it comes to the E.M.M.I, These robots are extremely high tech search bots which are built to find Metroid’s or Parasites and remove them, because Samus has Metroid DNA in her body they will kill her at any chance they get. The first two times these segments are fine but they are all pretty much the same, the E.M.M.I don’t behave differently to each other and even hide the same mini boss before getting the upgrade to defeat them.

This doesn’t get boring or anything but I really think they could have made the robots behave differently, for example one that crawls, one that flys, one that swims, one that does everything etc. This could have added more challenge and kept these segments more interesting than they were.

The main boss fights here are some of the best in the series and definitely the most challenging, I often had to take day long breaks between them just so that I could refresh my mind enough to focus on the quick reactions I needed to survive.

The return of Kraid was a welcome sight, I always found him the least interesting of the original Mother Brain crew but he was more fleshed out in this but it was weird seeing him chained up, I’m assuming he was being kept prisoner and experimented on without Samus knowing since he definitely seemed dead after his battle in Super Metroid.

My favourite boss of Dread was Drogyga an underwater sea monster who proved very difficult but could be defeated with a lot of patience and good timing, although this could be said for all the bosses I just really liked the design of Drogyga and it being underwater Samus’s jumping and movements are slowed down adding more challenge to the battle.

The music in Dread is of course just amazingly immersive and creepy as it has been for more than 30 years but there is something a little different this time around, for the first time this game in the series has a heavy use of robotic enemies over the usual aliens, a lot of the music here feels very different to the past as it matches the robotic vibes, it is still quite chilling but you can listen to this and imagine killer robots chasing you down for the kill. It might be my second favourite OST only being beaten by Super Metroid which is also my favourite game in the series.

Metroid Dread is one of the best video games Nintendo has released in years, this very much feels like a reboot of the Metroid franchise an introduction for new gamers, for a lot of switch owners this was their Metroid game and watching them complain about how hard the game is on forums and group chats definitely goes to show how easy video games have become.

You really should take your hat off to Nintendo because they gave zero help with this one and in fact I would say Dread is the hardest game in the series so far or at least the 2D games. It is a satisfying game to progress through and after I beat it I was smiling with satisfaction, I cannot wait for the next 2D Metroid game after Dread but in the mean time I think a remake of Super Metroid with the this new art style would be a nice addition.

And with that all said and done I reward Metroid Dread a very nice score of 9.6/10

See you next mission.

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Pokemon Gen 1 – Red,Blue,Yellow (1996/1998) Review

Pokemon its officially the best selling videogame franchise of all time and one of my personal favourites to sit down and play, I have only ever covered spin off’s on this website so far but I feel that we should start deep diving the main series, starting with Generation 1 and covering Pokemon Red, Pokemon Blue and Pokemon Yellow (Green never left Japan so I wont be discussing that one here)

If you are new to this series you may be a little confused as to why we are covering three games today, to makes things even more complicated all three are the same game with just minor differences. The reason for this is because Pokemon games are made with the idea of trading with friends as its main feature, in order to make it impossible to catch all 151 Pokemon on one cartridge developers split the Pokemon into two packages, the basics are in both but certain Pokemon were only either in Red or Blue meaning that in order to catch them all you needed a friend with the other copy and a Gameboy link Cable. Yellow was released two years later in 1998 and changed some dialogues, sprites and gym battles to better represent to anime television series.

I will be covering as many differences as I can throughout this review and will try to give Gen 1 as much justice as I can.

After your initial set up and introduction to the Kanto Region by Professor Oak you soon find yourself at his Laboratory where he will offer yourself and your rival one of three of Pokemon, you get to pick first first from either Charmander a fire type, Squirtle a water type or Bulbasaur a grass type. I always choose Grass as it is strong against Rock and Water types which just so happen to be the first two gyms of the game.

In Pokemon Yellow, you dont get to choose instead you are given a Pikachu, your Rival who most name Gary would then be given an Eevee.

Either way after choosing your first Pokemon you take part in your first battle, at this point your level 5 Pokemon will only have a few moves, normally scratch and growl, Scratch an offensive type will damage your opponent and growl will weaken their attack.

As you level up by battling you will earn money to buy moves but with patience Pokemon will learn most of the best moves when they reach certain levels or evolutions.

In the games there is a total of 151 Pokemon and players can build a small team using Pokemon that they trap in Pokeballs, their are different types of Pokemon who will have advantages and disadvantages against others. In Gen 1 there are 15 types you can get Normal, Fire, Water, Electric, Grass, Ice, Fighting, Poison, Ground, Flying, Psychic, Bug, Rock, Ghost, Dragon, Dark and Steel.

As you progress through the game these encounters become more challenging and better Pokeballs such as Ultraballs are needed to ensure capture.

There are specials moves you find throughout your adventure which allows certain Pokemon to interact with the environment, these HM moves are generally very useful for example cut allows you cut down certain trees, flash can light dark areas, surf means you cross water, strength can move heavy boulders and finally fly allows you to fast travel back to areas you have already visited.

As Pokemon level up they may start to evolve this will change their form and ultimately make them stronger, it will also count as a completely new Pokemon which helps you on your quest to get all 151 (if you decide to actually do that) some however cannot exist or evolve without help from an item, early on in the game you get to choose between two fossils and which one you choose can resurrect an extinct Pokemon later on in the game. Items such as elemental stones or moon stones can help evolve Pokemons for example I used a moon stone on my Nidorino to get a Nidoking and then I used a thunderstone on the secret Eevee you can find to get my Jolteon.

Your journey takes you through many trials and landscapes, the main goal is to beat the gyms these are buildings with trainers and a leader focusing on one specific Pokemon type, gaining badges allows you further access to use HM’s and in turn further progress through the game.

For me the best part is actually exploring the different areas throughout the world, the SS Anne is a ship that is filled to the brim with Pokemon battles, its a great place to level up early in the game, Pokemon Tower a grave site for deceased Pokemon’s while pretty creepy its a fun place to catch the few ghost Pokemon of the game and my absolute favourite thing to do is find and catch the four legendary Pokemon Articuno, Moltres, Zapdos and Mewtwo (Mewtwo is only obtainable after beating the elite four)

A casino area in Celadon City is available in all three games, here you can play slots to earn or lose money, once you get high amounts of casino coins you can trade for rarer Pokémon’s, in Yellow a surfing minigame was added as one of the new features, it is a pretty fun game and is one of most memorable parts of Pokemon Yellow.

The Safari Zone might also be considered a type of minigame, you need to complete this to get Fly but its main purpose is as giant wild area filled with easier to catch Pokemon’s, you cant battle these but can make them angry or bait them in hopes of having a better chance of catching them, you only get 30 balls and can take 500 steps so try to finish the area and get Fly before you are forced to pay and start again.

As you slowly progress towards Victory Road and the Elite Four you will be catching and training many different Pokemons, its up to you to decide who will be your main team but you want strong Pokemon with a good balance of status and offensive attacks to win, this final stretch has you fighting 5 battles in a row with no chance to heal at a Poke Center so taking all of the potions and healing items you need is completely necessary.

This time around my final team was Venosaur, Ninetails, Snorlax, Nidoking, Jolteon and Lapras.

The soundtrack is one of my favourite videogame soundtracks of all time, there is not a single song that I dislike, I feel they all suit the game extremely well, the opening gets you so pumped for the adventure your about to go on and from there it just gets better and better, the creepy music from lavender town always comes to mind as quite unsettling, the silph co music is ton of fun and of course that battle music is insanely good. It could be nostalgia talking but this particular soundtrack really does mean an awful lot to me.

The first generation of Pokemon is what made up a lot of people’s childhoods, many a day was spent trading Pokémon’s and battling our friends using the link cable and today it holds up very well, there are not many people to trade with these days but the actual main campaign is a lot of fun, it has a great story, memorable characters and really fun areas to explore. The game can be very challenging because the difficulty does increase vastly as you progress so some grinding and strategy is required to beat the game.

The only issue I had with the game was that the item storage system was badly organised and I had to rearrange it and empty it a lot, the PC storage system has a limit so that filled up quickly as well, one final slight annoyance was that status effects happened far too often, I would get poisoned or burned then use the item to get rid of it but the opposing Pokemon would just reapply the status effect almost immediately, this happened a lot and while I know it is part of the game I feel maybe the developers could have made these effects happen just a little less often than they did.

Apart from these tiny set backs Gen 1 is a really a great set of games, obviously Yellow is slightly better than Red and Blue because you can get all of the starters in that game and that extra minigame is a bonus but these are pretty solid titles that even today I would give Red/Blue 9.0/10 and Yellow 9.3/10.

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Book Reviews: The Island of Dr Moreau by H.G Wells

The Island of Dr Moreau is 1896 Sci-fi novel by H.G Wells (War of the worlds, The time traveller)

The story of the book follows the journey of Edward Prendick, a sailor who shipwrecks on a small civilized island, he wakes up in a hospital bed and is being treated by the Islands surgeon and scientist Dr Moreau.

Later on in the book Prendick begins to investigate the island after hearing strange noises and finding an animal that has been completely mauled by a large creature. It isn’t until a little further on that he discovers the true horrors of the Island, Dr Moreau has been inserting animal embryos into human captives and turning them into Human/Animal hybrid beasts known as the beastmen.

He soon realises that Moreau is not going to let him go home and likely wants him to join his creations leaving Predick having to fend for himself if he wants to survive and escape.

There are a lot of themes in this book and while it is very dark and quite scary the themes of anxiety, abuse, depression, changes and fear unfortunately mirror what a lot of people go through in real life and I think that’s what makes this story have such a big impact on its readers.

The story and its themes are also very scary, I cannot imagine what it would be like being trapped in such a horrifying place and being the lesser man, you see in this story Moreau is on top, the beastmen below him and regular man and animals are at the bottom of the food chain which makes Prendick the hunted and while he is not a beastman his natural animal instincts come into play during the story’s climax and while I won’t spoil that here I will say that from beginning to end this tale is chilling and captivating.

This is my first H.G Wells book and I have read it twice now because it is really good, I’ve never read a story like this before but I will be checking out more of H.G Wells works in the future as this has quickly become one of my favourite books in my collection,

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Pet Sematary 1989 Review

Spooky Season is finally here and this year I have no theme, instead I am going to be discussing various horror movies and if I get time a game or two, the first film I want to take a look at is the 1989 film Pet Sematary.

Directed by Mary Lambert and with a screenplay by the books original author Stephen King, Pet Semetary is a movie that after watching I can’t seem to keep off my mind due to its creepy nature.

The Creed family Louis, his wife Rachel and their two children Ellie and Gage are moving to Maine so that Louis can accept his new job as a Physician in the local university.

Upon arriving the dangerous main road with fast lorry drivers passing regularly is shown to be a serious issue, the one neighbour Jud, a kind old man from across the street warns the Creed family to keep an eye on the cat Church as many animals have been killed in the road causing a massive Pet Sematary to built just behind their new home.

Jud takes the family to this sematary and begins explaining to Ellie about death but Rachel reacts negatively to this due to how she witnessed her disabled sister Zelda choking to death after Rachel decided to not help her, Rachel still has PTSD for this and feels guilty for letting her sister die.

When the family cat Church is hit by a truck and dies, Jud takes Louis to bury the cat in an ancient Indian burial ground, everything that is buried here comes back to life which is proven true when Church walks back to the house although seeming a little bit grumpier.

With the burial ground being the main cause of misery in this film then you can technically call this a zombie flick and its one not to disappoint in its creepiness.

The comic relief of the film is the spirit of a young man named Victor Pascal, Louis was a jogger who was killed during his run, before he dies he warns Louis about the pet sematary and even calls him by name even though they have never met.

Throughout the film his ghost comes to Louis and his family multiple times to try and prevent the inevitable but his efforts end up being in vain.

If you thought the death of a cat would be the only major loss in this film then I am afraid that what comes next is truly bone chilling. The family toddler Gage is eventually the next victim of the busy road and after Jud’s many warnings that humans should never be buried in the Pet Sematary and even telling a horrifying tale of a young man who was brought back as a monster, Louis lets his grief get the better of him and he buries Gage hoping to see his son again.

Gage is the second antagonist of the movie after Church the cat although he is most definitely much more dangerous, he is the part of the movie that has stuck with me for so long, I think its the creepy taunts in his childlike voice and the part where he walks with the cane while giggling just gives me the shivers every time I see it ! This is probably the most memorable part of the film but I think that it is also in part that the majority of cast performances are not really that great, its not bad or anything but the main family is quite boring to watch but Brad Greenquist and Fred Gwynne who played Pascal and Jud were very good in their respective roles. Brad was a lot of fun as the comic relief and took a little bit of the edge away from this very dark tale, Fred Gwynne has a very grandfatherly nature to him in this and I very quickly recognised him from his work on the Munster’s playing Herman Munster.

Worth mentioning is the opening of the film, it perfectly sets up the film that comes after it, with the chilling child choir mixed in with the final words children said to their dead pets is actually a good message that saying goodbye should be goodbye, a lesson clearly not learned by Louis Creed who eventually sets up his own demise by not following the rules of life.

Pet Sematary is a pretty messed up movie with an extremely dark premise that I think some people will find a little bit too much at times. I would however recommend it if you enjoy movies with a creepy atmosphere or if you want to see a Stephen King movie as this is one of the better ones in my opinion.

After seeing this I do want to check out the book one day just see if it is just as eerie on paper.

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The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword (2011/2021) Review

The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword is the sixteenth main entry in Nintendo’s popular action-adventure videogame series, it is easily the second most controversial game in the series due to its emphasis on motion controls a feature many players dislike, A HD version of the game released in 2021 which promised to fix these issues. I have had experience with both versions of the game and I have a lot of opinions on this so called HD improvement so without further ado lets get straight into it.

Taking place at the very beginning of the timeline the three goddesses Farore, Din and Nayru created the triforce (a magical artifact able to grant the wishes of who ever possesses it. The Demon King Demise causes destruction and wrath in a desperate search for such power eventually being defeated by the great goddess Hylia and the few survivors of the world.

Many years later, the survivors future kin live on an island of the sky name Skyloft, here a young knight name Link has just passed his final exam to become a knight, at the same time as passing the test the Princess Zelda is taken into the skies by Dark clouds leaving Link to leave Skyloft to rescue her not yet realising the massive quest that he has coming his way.

Before discussing the gameplay I want it clear that most of the images I am using from this point forward are from the HD version due to how much cleaner they look compared to the original (see the image above). Although both are very impressive for the hardware they are played on the HD is generally better for seeing the finer details.

The main new mechanic of this game is how to traverse the skies, you are given a bird which you can use to fly to the different islands of the skies and to access the different parts of the world beneath the clouds. The motion controls for flying while not great do work well enough that once you get the hang of things you can eventually travel with ease. I thought the idea of flying was really ambitious but the lack of real areas to explore outside of the main quest doesn’t give players much incentive to try and find secrets which is a shame as that was originally the whole point of the series. There are some fun minigames to play and chests to find but apart from this there is nothing much here.

By far the best area of the game is Skyloft because not only is it the most diverse and interesting but almost all of the side quests start here. The three areas you can visit beneath the clouds are all very visually appealing and creative but they are linear and again do not really encourage players to explore freely.

Taking a positive spin I actually really like the temples in this game, Zelda games are known for themed dungeons which are packed full of puzzles and challenges, this is no exception and to top it off not only are only are these some of the most creative in the series and on par with Twilight Princesses but they are the most visually appealing as well.

The are only a few in the game but they are very large and again very creative, one dungeon takes place inside of an active Volcano, another on top of an invisible pirate ship, the final dungeon has you rotating the rooms and even the water dungeon is really fun and was actually one my favourites which is saying a lot considering how much I disliked the water dungeons in Ocarina and Twilight.

Apart from its characters and puzzle, one of the best of a parts of a Zelda game is the combat, unfortunately the motion control issues I never saw any improvement in the HD version but thankfully a new control method was optionable allowing you to flick the joysticks to imitate motion swings and this did work much better, its still has some issues with pulling off finisher moves and some times it is difficult to get the perfect angle for an attack but it is doable and a good addition to the new version.

A character named Fi is introduced here as the spirit of the goddess sword or the master sword as it is more commonly known, this is its origin story and explains how the sword has its godly powers in all future installments, the character is fine but interrupts the player with hints far too often in the original version, in the HD version these hints were optional and is another point in the remakes favour.

The music for the game does not disappoint, it uses a mix of new music which can be calming in most areas but in the more adventurous sections the tracks really pick up and get you in the mood for a really epic time, older Zelda tracks are also remixed into this game played using different instruments and music styles to make these recognisable tracks feel fresh and fit into Skyward Sword very nicely.

Skyward Sword is a game that I do actually really like but I just cant look past the issues with its controls and linear gameplay. Its really hard for me to judge it to harshly because I really like the dungeons, the music, visuals and the story but its lack of really memorable side content does make it feel a little lackluster compared to what came before it and while this is a really fun game it just really needed more explorable areas, they could have had larger sky area with lots of little secrets and islands, similar to the ocean in Wind Waker instead of the empty rocks you can land on here often only holding one or two chests.

So thats my opinion of Skyward Sword it is a really weird one for me to rank because from a gameplay perspective I really like this but I just don’t get excited to replay it again, it fails to have that feel of adventure that you get from games such as a Link to the Past, Ocarina of time, Majoras Mask and Windwaker but as controversial as this may be I do think its better than Twilight Princess as the world is less boring and I do really like the vibrant colours and visuals here much more as well as its plot and characters so I think the fairest scores I can give these games are

Skyward Sword 6.2/10

Skywards Sword HD 6.5/10 (mostly due to more control options and less Fi interruptions!)

I skipped a few games to cover this one since the remake just released however I do plan of finishing and reviewing those last few games so next time we do Zelda it will be Phantom Hourglass.

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Shadow of the Tomb Raider 2018 Review

Shadow of the Tomb Raider is a 2018 action-adventure game developed by Eidos-Monteral and published by Square Enix.

The game is technically the twelfth entry to the series but is only the third game in the reboot franchise, from what I understand this is also the game that is meant to catch us up to the plot of the original tomb raider from 1996.

Two months after the events of Rise of the Tomb Raider, Lara Croft and her best friend Jonah have dedicated them selves to destroying the terrorist organisation Trinity.

They head to Mexico to track Trinity’s high council leader Pedro Dominguez, while in Mexico Lara finds a temple which holds the Dagger of Chak Chel as well as hints of a hidden city within the country.

There are also warnings of a silver box of Ix Chel which is used to perform a ritual called the cleansing which is a Mayan apocalypse which will cause a permanent solar eclipse.

On top of stopping Dominquez Lara wants to find this box for studying momentarily unaware that Dominquez wants the box for much more sinister reasons.

The main gameplay style of the new trilogy is very similar in style to the older Assassin’s creed games and of course Uncharted, you will have to figure out how to traverse environments and sometimes this can be really tricky because there isn’t many visual evidence of the best way to do something but if you do get stuck you can activate a vision mode which does highlight clues to help you on your way through out these areas.

The same can be done in tombs which are handled differently in this trilogy because in all of the games they are more side content than something which needs to be done. I did all of the challenge tombs in the game and not once did they feel like they were getting stale and each of them had a different theme and various challenges for players to figure out.

There was a lot of moments in this game that were on rails stealth segments normally it was either flooding water or Lara running away from something, These were developed very well and I had no issue with the controls but I do feel there was just a few too many of them.

This game is gorgeous graphically with vast and beautiful environments, due to the locations and theme of the game a lot of the areas you explore are very old fashioned there is a village in the game that still looks the same way it did thousands of years ago its very captivating and generally feels like something out of a documentary due to how realistic it is portrayed.

Other styles in the game are pretty rare but one that stands out and I really wish we could have seen more of is Day of the Dead in Mexico.

I really enjoyed the colours they used here and how they genuinely set up the atmosphere with the music, it was fun to do the first mission here but I wish we could have explored the festival a little bit more as it really was the most interesting part of the game in my opinion.

A nice arsenal of weapons are back for this game and none of them were new but I don’t feel they needed to add anything else to what we already had in Rise. Very similarly I mostly used the bow and arrow and pistol in this one trying to get as many headshots as I could. The Bow and Arrow is by far the best weapon in all of these games because it has multiple uses, It can be used to kill people but it can also use fire arrows and poison arrows, another great use is the rope arrow that can bring down small barricades and of course help you get across wide gaps or get to lower areas very quickly.

The soundtrack composed by Brian D’Oliveira is breathtaking and that can be said for the music in the entire trilogy, while playing these games it often surprises me that me that the music is videogame music and not from a motion picture because as I have stated before it is so well composed that it rivals work from major composers like John Williams or Danny Elfman. The music here is perfect and is probably the best part of the game and that is not to put the rest of the experience down but a perfect soundtrack is hard to come by and this entire trilogy pulls it off extremely well.

Shadow of the Tomb Raider is often considered the worst of the reboot series but I disagree this game is so close to being as good as Rise and it wouldn’t surprise me if for some people they like it more.

This game explores Lara’s childhood and her becoming more mature, in the game we actually see a lot of flaws in her character which are often confronted by Jonah this is never in a malicious way but more out of care.

I thought it was good that we got see problems in her character for her to work on because I don’t feel the two previous games explored these aspects enough.

I really enjoyed the areas of the game and I genuinely found the mystery very interesting. I thought the characters were some of the best we have had yet, the moments that happen in the hidden village were specifically effective due to how well they wrote the characters and their relationships.

I don’t really understand why people thinks this is a weaker game than the first one, I thought it was outstanding, I feel they did the story well, the environments were gorgeous, the soundtrack is phenomenal and the side content was just as good as the main game. Personally I do prefer Rise for reasons I explain in that review but I think a solid 9/10 is a really fair score for this one.

I don’t know if we will get another one after this but if this is all we get for the Tomb Raider Reboots this is one of the best trilogy’s I think gaming has ever had.

Check out my reviews for the first Reboot game and Rise using the links below

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The Promised Neverland (Anime) Review

The promised neverland is an anime adaptation of a popular Japanese Manga series, the original books were extremely successful and won numerous awards, the anime was first announced in 2018 from a company called CloverWorks. I have never read Manga so my experience is purely through this adaptation and I have quite a few mixed feelings about it so without further ado lets jump straight in

I also want to put a spoiler warning, I am not going to hold back in this review so if you want to watch the show, you have been warned.

The first season takes place in an orphanage ran by a seemingly kind young woman who goes by the name mom. The orphanage is ran with strange rules and very heavily controlled in a way that seems innocent.

These rules are not exactly shown as they are more things viewers will pick up on as the show progresses, I knew something was up as soon I began the show because it was odd that all of the children were dressed in the same white clothes and each had similar smart hair styles.

Also it is implied early into the season that none of the children had ever left the Orphanage, they hadn’t left the walls of the children’s home once in their entire lives, even the children who were older, it was really weird and just left me feeling uneasy.

In the first episode their is a very sweet 6 year old girl named Connie and at the end of her story she is “adopted”. Mom walks her to gate and she is seemingly taken to her new family.

An older boy named Ray notices that Connie left behind her favourite toy and asks his friends Emma and Norman to take the Bunny to Connie before she leaves. Both of the children know they are not allowed near the gate but decide that returning the bunny is good enough reason to break the rule.

When they arrive they cant find Connie and check in the moving truck where they discover her corpse. The children hide when they hear voices behind a door describing their dissatisfaction with the specimen and how it will not be a good meal due to its age and lack of intelligence.

These are demons and they feed on the flesh humans to survive, the brain is the best part of a human being and is the most delicious.

After this discovery the first season primarily takes place in the orphanage and has the three friends Emma, Ray and Norman trying to come up with an elaborate plan to escape from the facility. This often leads to disagreements with Emma wanting to save all of the children and the other two trying to be more realistic with either just saving themselves and maybe the older children.

There is a lot of elements of mystery in this season, on top of trying to find out more information about the demons, who mom really is and which children are selected to be eaten, there is also a spy in the orphanage who is whispering information back to mom. This plot gets really interesting and multiple children are suspected before Norman figures out its Ray.

So Ray is very interesting character because he is the birth child of mom, in flashbacks we learn that mom’s are females who are chosen to run the human farms in exchange of not being eaten by the demons. Because Ray is super intelligent he is top priority to be eaten, to save her son mom got Ray to be a spy who would help mom pick the best children to serve as well as report to her everything and anything that goes on behind her back. Ray is obviously only doing this to save his own skin but it does show a selfishness to his character and even though in the end he does go against mom and help the children I could never forget that at one point he was helping the demons for his own benefit.

About halfway through the season a helper for mom is hired to help look after the children, her name is Krone and to be honest she was probably the worst part about the season for me. It felt like she was mainly added just to be another obstacle for the children. She’s very loud and erratic and to be honest feels really out of place although I will admit it did make her presence feel a little more uneasy than others.

The first season has a very surprising ending, mom breaks Emma’s leg to prevent her escaping before she is meant to be shipped, luckily she recovers in time but Norman is shipped early and assumed dead. With just her and Ray left, Ray fakes burning himself alive using sausages, human hair and his own ear with his tracking device in order give off the effect of burning flesh, this distracts mom long enough that himself, Emma and all of the children aged 6 and older (6 is the minimum age they can be eaten) to escape over the wall and into the surrounding woods.

So season 1 was very nicely paced and had some good plots and mystery to keep it entertaining without it feeling it dragged on too long or too little.

Season 2 played an Uno reverse card because they went from this really nicely paced show to the world record speed run for quickest ending anime.

So a lot of plot is crammed into 11 episodes here a lot of people do not like this season, I enjoyed it but it definitely felt rushed there are some important plots here and I will go over them briefly but If you want a real analysis why this is a bad anime season, Youtube will give you a better explanation than I can give, this is purely just my opinion.

The children are now in the Demon World, they are barely surviving until they find a bunker which they hide inside of, here is a phone and they are contacted by Mr Minerva who left clues in books previously to help the children escape (He is never seen and he doesn’t really show up again after this.)

After the bunker is raided the children befriend two vegetarian Demons who want to help them escape, there is a weird part later on where the male demon hints that he wants to eat the children (but this is never addressed again and doesn’t happen)

Later on in the season we find out that Norman is alive and wants to kill all the demons because they tortured and experimented on him, he becomes the leader of a gang of demon slayers who have all been through what he has, he vows to slaughter all Demons and become either a god or a devil in their eyes if he has too (This plot ends in the next episode and now he just wants to escape again !)

Look I know I keep pointing out how badly rushed this all is but it’s important I do in order for someone who hasn’t seen it to fully understand how bad it is and why people are pissed off.

At the end of the season, Emma, Norman and Ray free the other children from all the orphanages and the main villain behind the operations is killed. They forgive mom and let her come with them to the human world (this is same woman who murdered them, the same who broke Emma’s leg and lied to them their entire lives), Emma, Ray and Norman decide to stay in the demon world to help them survive without humans, Emma vows to make a new promise in the demons benefit (we never find out what this is) a two minute slide of what happens next plays and Emma, Norman and Ray go to the human world ending the entire anime !

The Promised Neverland is half excellent and half mediocre, that first season is one of the best anime’s I have sat down and watched and I was so excited for that second season that when it was so disappointing I was genuinely upset about it. What I don’t understand is why they rushed that second season and ended it there, they could have paced it better and we could have had at least three really good seasons. I think maybe the writers didn’t enjoy the more action based plot compared to the horror and mystery of season 1 so wanted to end it while they had the chance, of course I have no evidence of this so don’t take that as fact but it’s about all I can come up with.

Apart from the second half the show is animated very well and actually has really good dub work which is something a lot of anime’s struggle with so I can give it props for that. The music for both season openings is also very catchy and highly enjoyable, the theme from the first season got me pumped everytime it played and the second’s theme was a lot of fun too.

That’s all I can really say about this series, I enjoyed all of it but the second season really takes away from it’s quality and its quite sad because we could have had another outstanding anime on our hands, If you want to see this I would recommend only the first season and maybe just see the ending of season 2 because that’s probably all you really need to see and like I said before I have gone over most of the plot here, so until next time

Thanks for reading this review of The Promised Neverland (Anime)

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Froot Loops: Tropical Review

Now I know I haven’t reviewed regular Froot Loops yet but I couldn’t resist grabbing these are they are limited edition

Froot Loops Tropical is a limited edition varient of Froot Loops Cereal from Kellogs. In the UK we got a version of Froot Loops with a lot of flavour taken out of it due to our sugar laws, our version is quite depressing and is not very popular. I haven’t eaten the USA version of Froot Loops in over 20 years so I cant remember what its like, I will be reviewing this version as a stand alone product as I am unable to compare it to the original.

The back of this box is really fun, it is very colourful and full of activities for children to enjoy

One serving of the cereal is 3/4 of a cup which is approximately 96 grams in UK measurement.

One serving of Froot Loops Tropical has

1g of fat

75mg of sodium

34g Carbohydrates

12g Sugar

2g of protein

Upon opening the box the smell is very strong, it has a scent similar to a tropical squash which I suppose is to be expected

These are pretty tasty dry, not many people realise this but all the colours are the same flavour, I think the cereal tastes like dried banana which is one of my favourite snacks, the flavour is not as strong as the smell which is a tad disappointing though

Adding milk only enhanced the smell and taste, this is much better with milk added but it still just tastes like a banana cereal, its not as tropical as it advertises so if you want really tropical I would probably skip this otherwise if you love banana’s this is will be a great cereal for you to try.

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