Sword Art Online: Well that was mostly fun

Hope everyone had a good holiday season

On a whim I decided to watch the anime Sword Art Online and for the most part I was if nothing else entertained. The premise of a newly launched MMO has trapped its players in it and if they die then they die in real life is highly reminiscent of .hack and the Matrix; although in comparison to those two this show is very straightforward. The players are trapped, they know how to get out, try to get out but are human so have human problems along the way. While I found the series to be entertaining and do reccomend it for some light fun I also had some problems with it. So let’s take a look at the series in more detail. Beware of Spoilers ye who read on

It could’ve been longer: while SA:O has plenty of good ideas the author doesn’t spend much time developing them and using them to their full potential. By extension this creates a similar problem in regards to recurring characters in that they could have easily been given more development. You can always make the argument that this a good thing since it didn’t get drawn out, but that doesn’t mean what we have is totally satisfactory either.  Considering that its called Sword Art Online staying with that game wouldn’t have been a problem.

The female characters: On one hand, I can’t really see anyone watching this past about episode 10 if they don’t care about the Kirito/Asuna relationship, so the female characters are kinda unavoidable. On the other hand, if the female characters weren’t by and large damsels in distress, and more dynamic it could only be an improvement.

You forgot to give the villain a motive: Some kind of reason for why Kayaba did what he did would’ve been nice compared to “I forgot and some kind of wish fulfillment” well the latter was only bad cause its tacked on.

While all three of the above problems are present in the show from the beginning, they all get much worse with the second arc. The first arc ended for the second,most of the characters are forgotten until the epilogue, Asuna is reduced to a damsel in distress, and the villain is somewhat all over the place. Also the first arc didn’t have things like “incest” that’s not really incest cause they aren’t related and attempted tentacle rape; or the kind of stuff that just makes anime painful for me to watch now.  Despite that fact the second arc isn’t terrible, what the story is trying to do isn’t necessarily a bad idea, it just lacks enough time to do it well.

Of course the show has its good parts: the relationship between Asuna and Kirito is touching, the music is what you’d expect of Yuki Kajiura, which is to say awesome. The animation is good and aside from what I’ve made a point of complaining about the rest of it is at worst okay. It’s simple and fun, sometimes that’s all you want from a series.

All in all I’d give the series a 7/10, it’s not bad and at times it can be good and entertaining. Its just that taken as a whole its decent. It would be nice if it got a second season and/or an English dub.

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Review: Ascension Chronicle of the Godslayer

 

What is it: You try to gather enough allies and constructs on a ever changing battlefield in order to destroy the dark god, Sameal, who has just awakened and be known as the Godslayer.

Great what does that mean: It’s a a deck building with three types of cards: allies, constructs and monsters. You start out with a deck of the weakest allies and have six random cards in front of you, as well as the weakest monster and better versions of your starting heroes to the side always available. You buy heroes and constructs using runes, the game’s money with the end goal of gaining more honor than any other opponent. The two ways to gain honor are from the honor value that every card has and through card effects that let you gain honor chips. Once the honor chips run out, the game is over and scores are tallied.

Scaling: 1-4. Solo play is a good way to pass the time. 2 is the best, 3 is still good. 4 gets miserable due to how long turns take. Important to keep in mind that the amount of Honor used in 3 and 4 players was changed in expansions to be 30 per player, it is universally recommended to follow this even with just the base game.

Production Quality: High, the cards are good quantity, the honor tokens are good quality the board is starting to show some wear after 15+ plays but it is minimal. My biggest gripe is that the storage in the box isn’t as good as it could be, but it is still functional.

What’s Good: It is a deck building game but it is very much not a derivative of Dominion. In Dominion you figure out a plan and execute it with little variation assuming that the plan in question was good. in Ascension the ever changing nature of the board means that you can’t plan out the whole game at the beginning and it keeps the game fresh time after time. If Dominion is Constructed Magic then Ascension is Limited. Stone Blade Entertainment is leaving no design space unturned and has a healthy release schedule of expansions.

What;s not so Good: Variance can be much more of a killer in this compared to Dominion. The Void deck is huge and my copy is never going to be properly shuffled in the sense of being truly random which means that clumps of monsters are likely and that tends to clog up the board and slow down the game. 

Overall: 5/5*. It plays fast, no two games are the same with the cards having fun synergies with one another. It takes the basics of the deck building genre and very much does its own thing with them.

*For the purposes of being accurate I’m noting that this is a revised score, originally it was a 4/5 but having played more of it I’m

Ascension Chronicle of the Godslayer at BGG

Ascension Chronicle Of The Godslayer at Amazon