NBC’s Constantine: Save Ourselves

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A look at Matt Ryan as John Constantine

Based on the Hellblazer comic from Vertigo/DC Comics, NBC’s Constantine follows magician and con-artist, John Constantine (Matt Ryan). He is abrasive and not overtly heroic, but he will do whatever it takes to set things right. His life has been dedicated to the occult and it brings him all kinds of trouble. So, let’s talk about our show.


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Here is Liv… er Zed… you know what, does it really matter?

The pilot was a mess and was compacted by the fact that the second episode wasn’t much better. In the first episode we are driven to find our psychic, Liv (Lucy Griffiths). Seeing as how the original character was written off, we pick up our new psychic in episode two. Zed (Angélica Celaya) is more appealing than Liv, but not by much. The best thing she has going for her is that she is comic canon. I was hoping that the chemistry between her and Constantine would improve. There was also the boring story of the week. It just wasn’t worth sitting through.

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Do not expect this to be the last time we see Midnite… assuming there is still a show to see in the future

The third episode is where we start seeing changes. We go from our ghostly murder mystery into finding a record that plays the voice of the devil. Not only that but we also get to meet Papa Midnite (Michael James Shaw) for the first time. This Voodoo priest has so much personality that he makes the show interesting. The writing was better and the story more interesting. The exchanges between Constantine and Midnite were some of the best.

I gave it one last chance and I was surprised. In the fourth episode we get to see more of John’s personality. We learn more about the incident from his past that pushes him to do what he does. A friend comes out of the shadows to ask for help and we get into demon territory. The effects were believable, making it creepy and interesting. I just wish it would continue to follow this trend. Give us the best of what the source material has to offer.


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If nothing else, it does deliver on the creep out factor

Verdict: Even though the series is new and still struggles, it isn’t 2all bad. I think it’s really important for the unique and darker aspects of the Hellblazer stories to jump out and bite the viewers. Some of the elements we have been shown so far can also be found in series that are already running. If Constantine doesn’t take root with its audience it risks getting lost in the primetime race and facing cancellation. We need more than a quirky spook show or another series based on comics. For anyone who is going to start watching this show, please start from the third or fourth episode. Please.

 NBC’s Constantine gets a 3 out of 5

+ Matt Ryan as John Constantine

+ Series has potential and does get better

+ Papa Midnite

– Zed is just okay

– Doesn’t really pick up until episode 4

– Doesn’t stand out against similar shows (Grimm, Supernatural, etc.)

See NBC’s Constantine, Fridays at 10PM Eastern/9PM Central

Theatrhythm Final Fantasy: Curtain Call (3DS)

Released September 16, 2014, the sequel to Theatrhythm Final Fantasy (2012) has arrived it brings a host of new and improved features to an already exceptional game. All of the songs and DLC from the first game are included. The plot that holds it all together is just a repeat of the first; Chaos is disrupting the harmony of the Music Crystal and the Heroes of Light must collect Rhythmia to restore its balance. But that’s not important, let’s talk about our rhythm game.

This time you get an even larger assortment of characters to choose from in addition to the mass of content to find. The scores available include many of the sequels and spinoffs of the Final Fantasy series like, Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles and Crisis Core: Final Fantasy VII. I expected to see DLC although it didn’t seem very necessary to also have downloadable characters. The one and only song I was interested in purchasing was “KUON ~Memories of Waves and Light~” from Final Fantasy X-2. That being said, I might feel more inclined to purchase songs if I could preview them first. It would be nice to have the option. It is worth mentioning, however, that songs from Romancing SaGa (a once top-selling game in Japan) are available in the shop.

There are three main modes. The Music Stages are for playing individual songs in three difficulties. The Versus mode is for local or online play versus another player. This is something brand new for the game. You can challenge other players or play against AI. You battle against one another and randomly activate obstacles throughout the song. Rotating arrows and off-tempo triggers are two examples of mischief you can throw their way. The winner gets to pick two out of three collect-a-cards and increases their rank. The profi-cards from the first game return and are exchanged after a battle. They may contain Chaos Maps. The Quest Medleys are like an adventure mode and come in short, medium, or long. Each map has a wacky title that resembles the Dark Notes from the first game’s Chaos Shrine. They combine different songs to make a stages specked with keys, crystals, bosses, and rewards.

The rewards for collecting Rhythmia are given with enough frequency to keep the game interesting. The Collect-a-Cards play a bigger role this time. In addition to collecting the cards, you can now synthesize them into perks and abilities for your characters. This allows further customization of each specific character. The new scoring system is also something to get used to. The highest letter grade is now a SSS. Some songs may feel easy at first but the difference between basic, expert, and ultimate mode is more noticeable than in the previous game.

There are two new play styles in addition to using the stylus. You can now play by using the buttons on the 3DS. If you want, you can use a combination of both. Although the hybrid style feels less efficient than the other two it’s still a cool idea and fun to try out. Another neat little feature that I’ve been using more than I thought I would is snapshot. You can record your scores or party line-up by using the camera on your 3DS.

So is this game worth the money? Absolutely. All of the little things that have been tweaked and refined, some of the new features that add to the fun, they all come together to make for a really solid gaming experience that is both enjoyable and challenging. It gets a 5 out of 5 from me so go, collect Rhythmia and restore the crystal’s balance once again!

Free! Eternal Summer

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Free! Eternal Summer

The second season of Free! ended with the summer season of anime. Not only do we get a few new characters but we also get to go deeper into our main five. For an anime that started out as a commercial for an animation studio, it has turned into something extraordinary and memorable. Even better than the obvious fan service, is the actual story and character development underneath it all.

The last time we saw Haru, Makoto, Nagisa, Rei, and Rin, they had settled their differences over a relay race at the regional preliminaries but were disqualified. This season takes a look at how Rin has changed, the forming of his own team at Samezuka Academy and how the Iwatobi boys handle the coming graduation of their third years. The Iwatobi Swim Club is still looking to recruit new members. Meanwhile, the boys are training to make it all the way to nationals.


 

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Another look at the season two cast

free2aTwo new boys are introduced to fill in Rin’s side of the story. Sousuke, his childhood friend, comes to Samezuka and stirs things up with Haru while facing his own demons. The former swim team captain’s younger brother comes in as a freshman. Ai, from the first season, has a stronger presence and a better relationship with Rin. There is a healthy rivalry between the two the teams that leads them to inspire each other.

The boys’ struggle to find their dreams and make their way out of adolescence and into adulthood is just as important as swimming itself. There is fun, life, laughs, and tears this season.


 

Verdict: Free! Eternal Summer still maintains that beautiful Kyoto Animation quality and the music continues to be catchy. Even with all of the fanservice, there is still good stories held up by a developing cast of characters. It gets a 4.5 out of 5 from me so go check it out.

Free! Eternal Summer gets a 4.5 out of 5

+ High quality animation

+ Stronger cast of characters and stronger character development

+ Good complementary soundtrack