2020 challenges, Challenges

2020 Challenges: Year in Recap

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Let’s not dwell too much on what a shit show 2020 was, and just… leave it in the past. Here’s to a better 2021!

Now we’re into 2021, it’s time to have a look back on how I did with my challenges. I obviously had a lot of obstacles, and as a result some challanges went better than others.

Watch 40 anime

2020 end total: 40

With some last minute additions, which were technically after midnight on New Year’s Eve (my mum assured me that if I hadn’t slept then it still counted for my 2020 challenges, and who am I to argue with my mum?), I actually achieved this goal! Hooray! I’ve watched some really great shows in 2020 (and some garbage). For 2021 I definitely want to review more shows, which was an aim for 2020 that I really failed on.

Watch 40 movies in the cinema

2020 end total: 5

2020 really wasn’t the year to try and get back into cinema for me. I managed 5 movies in the cinema before the pandemic fully hit and I had to start staying home. My repeated failure at this challenge is really making me reconsider a lot of things. I’ll always love films, but in recent years, a lot has changed with my cinema-going habits and it’s just not so much of a priority for me anymore as it might have been a few years ago.

Platinum 20 games

2020 end total: 22

Another big tick for this one! I feel like I played a lot of great games in 2020. I did boost a lot of my platinum numbers with cheap indie games from the PlayStation Store, but some of these were actually really good. Some were My Name Is Mayo, so you can’t win them all. I feel like I really got back into platinum trophy hunting in 2020, and hope to continue it forward in 2021.

Read 15 books

2020 end total: 8

I got a little over halfway on this challenge. Towards the middle of the year I got really into the swing of reading, but on the tail ends of the year I felt really unmotivated to read. I do still really love to read, and I want to get back into a more regular reading cycle.

Finish 100 best movies

2020 end total: 2

I haven’t done so well on this challenge the last few years. I think perhaps partly because as I said earlier in this post, my film-watching habits have changed a lot, but a lot of the movies on the poster for this challenge are really heavy going, and I don’t often feel like watching a super serious film. Like, how often do you have an evening spare and think, “Hmm, I really fancy watching The Godfather.“? Not often, let me tell you.

Finish Naruto

2020 end total: 4 episodes

Oh Naruto, will I ever crack you? It’s just such a large undertaking. I could watch all of Naruto, or I could watch like, 10+ other shows in the same amount of episodes. I do still really want to watch it all, but I’m just going to take it easy, so don’t expect to see this challenge on my 2021 challenges!

That’s it for 2020! Thank God, amirite? I’ve already got my 2021 challenges pencilled in, but still down to take suggestions if you have any! Let me know in the comments!

2020 challenges, Challenges

2020 Challenges: November Recap

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Watch 40 anime

November end total: 29

I only added one more show for November; season 2 of Fruits Basket. I’m a little way off this total, but I’m also watching a lot of seasonal shows most of which, by my calculations, end before the end of the year which will boost my totals. I also plan to go HARD on anime for December to achieve this one!

Watch 40 movies in the cinema

November end total: 5

Platinum 20 games

November end total: 22

Challenge met! Since getting my PS5, I have played three games on it, and got the platinum in each of them, which is quite the achievement and probably not a rate that can continue much longer, let’s be honest! Anyway, at least I’ve completed one of my challenges this year, and with a month to spare too!

Read 15 books

November end total: 8

I haven’t read anything in so long, I’m falling behind! The likelihood of me reading 7 books in a month is extremely slim, but I hope to add at least 1 or 2 more to this total!

Finish 100 best movies

November end total: 2

Finish Naruto

November end total: 4 episodes

Now we’re into December, it’s time to start thinking about 2021 Challenges. I have nothing planned yet, so am open to suggestions! Leave them in the comments!

2020 challenges, Challenges

2020 Challenges: October Recap

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Watch 40 anime

October end total: 28

A very slow month again for anime – I actually added two to my list, but I counted one (Sing Yesterday For Me) as September in the last update post for some reason. The other new show I finished was Beyond the Boundary. 

Watch 40 movies in the cinema

October end total: 5

Platinum 20 games

October end total: 19

I had quite the month for platinum trophies, and just knuckled down and got stuff DONE. The seven (!!) platinums I got in October were:

  • Trails Of Cold Steel 3
  • Iron Snout
  • Donut County
  • Drowning
  • Storm Boy
  • The LEGO Movie Videogame
  • A Summer with the Shiba Inu

Some of these games were certainly better than others, but mostly they were all enjoyable to play. They’re all very different games, so I had a lot of variety at least!

Read 15 books

October end total: 8

In October, I read We Set Fire To The Dark, which was… fine. It’s the first in a series, and I don’t think I’ll be carrying it on, but it was mostly an enjoyable read and I read it pretty quickly, taking me over the halfway line for this challenge!

Finish 100 best movies

October end total: 2

Finish Naruto

October end total: 4 episodes

Games, Platinum Review

Platinum Review: Distraint

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Cast your mind back to my little platinum run of games, when I played Distraint Deluxe EditionThe reason for my choosing Distraint to play in the first place was because it was listed on Playstation Trophies as an easy platinum.

Distraint isn’t difficult, it’s mostly a point and click sidescroller, so there’s nothing too challenging about the gameplay. There are a few puzzles which might take some more thinking than others, but if you really don’t want to do too much thinking then there are plenty of walkthroughs online that you can follow.

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There’s a lot to be enjoyed with Distraint, and as said in my review, the story is an interesting one and pretty compelling, so playing it blind is probably the best option, in my opinion! It took me around 45 minutes to get the platinum with a guide, and I think I would have gotten a lot more enjoyment out of the game had I not used a guide.

Playstationtrophies.org lists Distraint as a difficulty rating of a 1 or 2, and timewise it lies in 0-5 hours on votes with most commentors stating that it took around an hour.

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September Purchases

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I’m on a bit of a manga trip lately, which is evident from this post. The idea was that I wanted to read a bunch of newer stuff to practice writing manga reviews. I’ve done one so far, and I did enjoy writing it, but have hit a stumbling block with writing, but I’m hoping to have more stuff up soon. I think this month was a fairly light month as I was very aware that the PS5 comes out in November so I need to be saving some money.

IMG_8164My first lot of manga was me continuing existing collections. I bought all three copies I had left to get of That Wolf-Boy Is Mine, but only two arrived in September. Typical. I also bought volume 40 of Haikyuu!!, which is kind of bittersweet because it means that there are only 5 volumes left, boo! I also bought the next volume of My Dress Up Darling because I really enjoyed the first volume (review to come!).

 

IMG_8165As is customary, I also bought a lot of BL this month. In fact, I might have got carried away. My problem with having incomplete collections once again reared its ugly head and I felt compelled to buy all the volumes of Don’t Be Cruel that I didn’t already have, as well as The Cornered Mouse Dreams of Cheese and The Carp On The Chopping Block Jumps Twice (collection complete), and the new volume of given. 

 

IMG_8162I bought a couple of blu-ray this month to add to the collection too. Firstly, Weathering With You, which I got to see at Scotland Loves Anime last year and I already know that I love, and secondly Bartender, that I’ve never seen before, but the concept seemed interesting and the special edition looked really cool.

 

 

IMG_8163Finally for this month, I bought some games! I was recommended Nelke and The Legendary Alchemist as I wanted something that was like a world building simulation. I haven’t started it yet, but I’m excited to! I also bought 13 Sentinels: Aegis Rim, which I also haven’t started, but I’ve heard nothing but good things about it!

 

That’s all for this month, I’m SO excited for October’s post because it’ll have Trails of Cold Steel IV in! Hooray!

Games, Platinum Review

Platinum Review: One Night Stand

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Back when I decided to do a little platinum trophy number boost, I bought One Night Stand in the PSN sale for relatively cheap, you may remember I wrote a review on it. I had chosen One Night Stand, among a few others, as it was reported to be a quick platinum, and when I say quick, I mean quick. I managed to get the platinum trophy for One Night Stand in around 45 minutes.

There are guides for One Night Stand out there, but essentially what you’re aiming to do is get all the available endings and fill out all the pictures on the phone that appears at the end of each route. The game gives you clues about how to get each picture, so you’re not flying totally blind.

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From memory, there’s one other trophy which isn’t tied into an ending and relates to a decision that you have to make in the game, but it is kind of a spoiler, so I won’t say!

I would recommend anyone playing One Night Stand to play through a normal route first, and attempting to fill in the blanks themselves, but if you don’t want to do this then there are a lot of guides out there. This is the one I used, or you can find your own with a simple Google search – just make sure you add ‘game’ at the end of ‘One Night Stand’, or you could end up with some interesting search results!

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Over at Playstationtrophies.org One Night Stand is rated with 1/10 difficulty and a 1-2 hour time estimate. I agree with the difficulty rating; nothing in this game is a challenge, and even without guides everything is quite straightforward and easily figured out. The 1-2 hours estimated platinum time is probably fair. Like I said, I got it in 45 minutes, but I used a guide for the most part, so without a guide 1-2 hours is pretty reasonable.

Game Reviews, Games

Review: Buried Stars

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Visual novel Buried Stars is an interesting one. With many saying online that the game has come from nowhere, its sudden release has surprised, and delighted, a lot of people. From Korean Studio Largo, Buried Stars follows the events of the titular reality show, which is set in the final stages of a K-pop talent contest. Unfortunately for our characters, tragedy befalls the event, and the building that it’s filmed in collapses, trapping the five remaining contestants and members of the production staff. Playing as Do-Yoon Han, one of the contestants, it’s down to you to unravel what has happened, and survive until the rescue squad arrives.

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From the off, the concepts within the game are well explained. Each contestant has been given a smartwatch by the show’s sponsors, though some have more features than others. The smartwatch functions as normal, with access to call contacts, voice notes, photos, and the in-game social media network, Phater. All of these are mechanics which will become integral as the game progresses.

Read my full review at Push Square.

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July Purchases

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True to my word in my last purchases post, I think I did pretty well in July! I see a lot of memes at the moment equating online shopping to the only bit of happiness available during lockdown, and whilst it is funny, it’s also true.

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My first category of purchases this month is games. I did go a little heavy on the games this month, I will say that. Catherine and Fire Emblem Fates: Conquest I picked up preowned for a pretty decent price each, so I couldn’t really say no. Langrisser 1 & 2 was a really spontaneous purchase as I’ve never heard of the series before, or considered it in any way, but it was on sale and I thought, why not? I also bought AI The Somnium Files after it having been on my wishlist for many months. I’ve only heard good things about it!

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Next up, blu-rays. Or should I say, blu-ray? That’s right, this month I only bought one! That’s practically unheard of! I added to my Studio Ghibli collection and bought Tales from Earthsea.  

 

 

 

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And finally, what would a month be without buying some manga? I think this month I’ve actually only bought BL (no surprise there). I finished my collection of Ten Count (finally), and bought the new given volume, but I also bought Replay and Blue Flag, which I haven’t read yet but I’m excited to get stuck into!

 

 

That wraps up July! I think I’m going to try and have another pared back month in August, but we’ll see! I have to go on full lockdown, not even leaving the house for supermarket shopping, as my nan is having an operation, so little deliveries might be the only thing that gets me through!

Game Reviews, Games

Review: Fairy Tail

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Fairy Tail follows the plot of the anime, set from around the end of the Tenrou Island arc to approximately the end of the Avatar arc. For the uninitiated, that spans around 160 episodes from about 122 onwards. You’re therefore much better off going into Fairy Tail with some knowledge of the property already, but there is an in-game encyclopaedia with plot reminders and a glossary of terms which will help familiarise the unversed. Though Fairy Tail does retread old ground, and for the most part does it very well, some points are skipped over for brevity and emotional depth is often lost as a result.

Read my full review at Push Square.

Game Reviews, Games

Review: Distraint Deluxe Edition

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Available on: PS4, PS Vita, Nintendo Switch, Xbox One, Android, Microsoft Windows, iOS
Played on: PS4

In Distraint you play as Price, a man who has the job of foreclosing on properties with overdue debts, and evicting tenants. Price’s dream is to become partner of the firm he works for, but as the events of Distraint show, that comes at a price (heh). Our protagonist is visited by the ghosts of his parents who beg him to change his ways before it is too late, and throughout the game Price is subjected to hauntings and various disturbing imagery to persuade him to change.

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Distraint is a 2D horror adventure game, where you progress by solving puzzles. Though relatively short at around the hour mark, Distraint tells a compelling story, and you get to witness Price change from ruthless to someone who feels remorse for their actions, and appears to genuinely change. The puzzles throughout are interesting and engaging, and though some can be hard to figure out, it’s not in a way that ever seems frustrating or like the game is trying to trip you up on purpose. There can be a lot of back and forth, however, as you need to take one item from one area to another, or trigger something in one part of a room and dash to another in a time limit. Sometimes this element gets a bit monotonous, but the game isn’t long enough to dwell on this issue for too long.

Distraint‘s sound design is pivotal to the whole game. Where its simplistic 2D art style don’t necessarily create a horror vibe on their own, paired with the game’s soundtrack you’re given something that feels eerie and creepy throughout. The music was what really got my heart racing, as at certain moments you’ll hear the screeching of violins or a high pitched noise, and it really creates tension and puts you on edge throughout.

The whole set-up of Distraint is one that makes you feel uncomfortable, from the walls dripping with blood, to the residents of a care home who are living in less than ideal conditions. Distraint makes you feel at one with Price’s moral dilemma and makes you live his pain, even if for the short time you’re playing it.

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Distraint can be played as a commentary on capitalism; Price spends his days reclaiming properties from those his higher ups send him to, but it is only his employers who benefit from this. Price himself lives in a run down apartment every bit as dreary and dilapidated as the ones he is reclaiming, another cog in the system working only to benefit the bigwigs above him. It’s definitely a game to give you something to think about, and stays with you long after you’ve finished.

There didn’t seem to be enough to Distraint to get me fully on board. The puzzles are fun, and the development of the main character is interesting, but somehow it felt it lacked depth and perhaps would have benefitted from being a longer game to flex this. The price tag makes this almost a non-issue; I paid £1.99 for the game, and with that you can’t really go wrong.

7 stars