Month: July 2012

Tales of Xillia Localization Announced & Tales of Vesperia: The First Strike Now Available!

TALES OF XILLIA OFFICIAL ENGLISH TRANSLATION ANNOUNCED

So it looks like my instinct to avoid any and all character/plot spoilers for Tales of Xillia just in case Namco decided to localize it turned out to be right. This past week, the upcoming English localization for Tales of Xillia was announced by Hideo Baba. It was also said that if Xillia does well in its 2013 NA/Europe releases, they’ll be strongly considering giving us the upcoming Xillia 2 as well. So all in all, excellent news for English-speaking Tales fans!

Tales of Xillia allows you to choose between main characters – will you pick Milla or Jude?

Tales of Xillia is a deviation from the classic formula in that it allows you to choose which of the two lead characters you want to focus on – you’ll experience differences in the plot and certain enemies based on your choice. I’ll probably play both paths, of course, but I plan on going Jude’s route first – from watching his gameplay videos, he seems to be a martial artist with extremely high agility, which is basically my ideal Tales type. Or for more of a Tales reference-heavy way of saying it, he looks like the artes of Senel Coolidge (Tales of Legendia protagonist and one of my all-time favorite video game characters to control in battle) with the ability to run in, hit the enemy, and be across the field before said enemy can react (a trademark of high-agility types like Tales of the Abyss swordsman Guy Cecil, another of my favorites). He also gets a cute Leon Magnus costume, so, uh, yeah. I think they basically crawled into my brain to create my perfect Tales character when Jude was conceived – not that I’m complaining. At all.

I can foresee many amazing combo chains in our future together, Jude~ I can hardly wait!

Milla Maxwell, on the other hand, seems to be more of the classic Tales ‘Magic Swordsman’ type. Think Kratos Aurion and Zelos Wilder from Tales of Symphonia, Flynn Scifo from Tales of Vesperia, or really any of the Tales of Destiny characters that wielded Swordians in battle. These characters fight with a mix of flashy offensive sword attacks and equally impressive magical skills to allow them to exploit enemy’s elemental weaknesses – some even have healing abilities in their bag of tricks as well. These types tend to be incredibly versatile in battle, which may explain why Milla seems to generally be the more popular of the two leads – at least from what I’ve seen on YouTube.

It might also be because for spoilery plot reasons that I’m not privy too yet. Or maybe it’s just because fuck yeah, a female protagonist for once!

 

TALES OF VESPERIA – THE FIRST STRIKE DVD NOW AVAILABLE

Speaking of Flynn Scifo, if you were one of the many who played Tales of Vesperia and enjoyed it (or just read Mento’s review of it and thought it sounded interesting), you might be happy to know that the English dub of the Vesperia prequel movie has been released and its now available for purchase at Amazon.

Twin knights Hisca and Chastel Aiheap join Yuri and Flynn for their adventures prior to the game.

Tales of Vesperia ~The First Strike~ covers the incident that lead Vesperia main character Yuri Lowell to leave the Imperial Knights – an event that was briefly alluded to in the game a few times, but never really expanded upon. While the plot largely focuses on Flynn and Yuri (Flynn is actually given far more backstory here than he was in the game, so my fellow Flynn fangirls/boys should take note~) and some new characters, you’ll also see cameos from a few other familiar faces.

Yup, she was a blastia geek even back then.

Overall, the movie is very well-done and quite interesting if you found Vesperia’s characters and world even a little bit compelling. There are some voice acting changes for the recurring cameo characters – for example, Rita Mordio is no longer voiced by Michelle Ruff, but by Luci Christian instead – but Sam Riegel and Troy Baker do return as Flynn and Yuri, respectively, which is nice.

Considering that Sam Riegel is flawless as Flynn, this is nothing to be mad about.

So all in all, not a bad time to be an English-speaking Tales fan – let’s hope that NB keeps up with this streak of actually localizing things, because that dry period in between the original Vesperia (Dawn of the New World never happened, shut up) and Tales of Graces F was pretty sad for all of us non-Japanese speakers!

That’s why, in the interest of getting more things localized down the line, I hope that if any of this looks even remotely interesting to you, you’ll pre-order Xillia (whenever it becomes available to do so) and purchase (rather than torrent) the Vesperia movie. NB has basically said that money talks or they walk in this situation, so let’s do what we can!

Otherwise… Alvin will point his gun menacingly at you. Or something. I guess. Scary!

Gamer Fuel: Reviewing the Yummy & Yuck in the World of Geek Snacks

I’ve been in a strangely productive mood lately (read: not playing nearly as many video games as I usually do), which clearly means that something is deeply wrong with my brain. Unfortunately, this also means that I have zero game reviews to contribute here, which is why poor Mento’s been soldiering on alone in that department for the past few weeks.

But don’t mourn me just yet – I do still have something tangentially gamer-related that I can talk about!

Food.

Specifically, the snacks and energy drinks that are popping up as more and more advertising companies wake up and realize that the people who grew up playing the original Super Mario Brothers didn’t “grow out of” the video gaming world and are now their own demographic, full of disposable incomes and a love for things that reference – however gimmicky – their favorite hobby.

A quick visit to ThinkGeek.com can show you exactly what I’m talking about. Tear yourselves away from their latest venture into Star Wars home decor or Super Mario Brothers track jackets and steer your virtual cart into the Caffeine & Edibles aisle, and let’s settle ourselves in and take stock, okay? There’s a lot to look at, I know, but for today we’re only going to talk about the things I’ve actually tried.

I have a total weakness for gimmicky snacks and there have been quite a few times where, as I’m sure they hoped, I’ve been buying something completely unrelated at ThinkGeek and ended up popping a few weird snacks into my cart right before checkout. If you’re anything like me and are feeling the pull of curiosity’s temptation as you look at all those exotic edibles, I hope that my mini-reviews will actually help you decide whether or not to click ‘add to cart’ – or to run away screaming.


Astronaut Ice Cream

Quite frankly, if you’ve never experienced the sheer perfection of freeze-dried ice cream, you probably didn’t go to science museums much as a child and you have my deepest sympathy. If you have any sort of sweet tooth, you pretty much owe it to yourself to try this stuff at least once. Somehow the freeze-drying process manages to make the flavors even smoother and creamier than actual ice cream, and the texture is awesome. My all-time favorite would probably have to be the ice cream sandwich variety, just because that’s the one I remember always begging my parents to buy me whenever we went to a museum, but the Neopolitan flavor is a very close second. On the other hand, Mint Chocolate Chip and Chocolate Chocolate Chip are also excellent… it’s probably a good thing that this stuff is on the pricey side, because otherwise I’d probably gain about five million pounds from too much space deliciousness.

RATING: YUM


BaconPop – Bacon Flavored Popcorn

There is a serious glut of bacon-flavored, bacon-scented, bacon-shaped, bacon-themed, baconbaconbacon products in the geek-oriented market lately. Yeah, Bacon is delicious, but do I really need bacon-flavored lip balm or a bacon-scented candle? I’m leaning towards no, personally. However, when it comes to bacon in actual foodstuffs… I’ll try it.

I love popcorn – it’s pretty much my favorite salty snack – so I may have already been biased towards liking this product, but honestly… it’s pretty good. The bacon flavor leans more towards super crispy, almost-burnt bacon, but it actually goes pretty well with the salty/buttery taste of the popcorn. Not a bad thing to reach for if you’re craving a quick, salty fix. The only downside is the price – even with it currently on sale, $3.99 for ┬áthree bags is undeniably steep.

RATING: YUM


Fizzy Cupcake Drink Tablets

Okay, these sound questionable right off the bat, I know. They’re tablets that you put into water that fizz up like an Alka-Seltzer to give you… cupcake flavored water. Yes, it sounds gross, so why the hell did I buy these? Well, at the time I was dating a guy who basically flat-out REFUSED to drink water – so much so that he kept getting kidney stones. So I was buying all sorts of drink mixes in a quest to find something that would make water palatable enough for him that he’d actually drink it regularly. He had a massive sweet tooth, so I thought these might be a workable solution…

Nope. Even for the weirdo with a gigantic sweet tooth (and we’re talking, he loved things that were so sickly sweet that it made my stomach turn), this was just too much. They sat, unused, for months, and soon became a joke – we couldn’t even give them away to anyone. So unless you’re a fan of ruining perfectly good water… I’d avoid.

RATING: YUCK


Cupcake Mints

On the other hand, these are basically cupcake-flavored crack. They may be called mints, but rest assured there’s not actually any mint flavoring involved. It’s just pure sugary, vanilla frosting-flavored goodness. They don’t freshen your breath or do anything but taste delicious, and they won’t last long, I promise. Buy the three-pack, considering that the single pack is $2.49 as opposed to the triple pack’s $5.99 – plus, trust me, if you like sweets, you’ll want all three packs.

RATING: YUM


Caffeinated Fruity Lollipops

Okay, I’m sort of cheating with this one. I’ve tried the caffeinated lollipops before, but I got the various coffee-flavored ones – which they sadly don’t seem to stock anymore. But the basic premise is the same: huge lollipops with a shot of caffeine, with the idea that you’ll snack on these while staying up all night to game / code / study / do occult rituals / whatever else you need to stay up all night for.

Personally, I have sort of natural insomniac tendencies – if I’m really involved in something, it’s easy for me to forget about sleep. I also tend to have a pretty high tolerance level for caffeine, given that my mother started letting me drink tea when I was still a toddler. So while I personally can’t vouch for the effectiveness of the caffeine in these sweets, my ex seemed to think they worked pretty well – he’d grab one to have on the way to work if he was having a sluggish morning. The ones we had also tasted absolutely awesome, and I hope they stock those again – Irish Creme lollipops are badass. The only downside to these is that they’re absolutely GIGANTIC. I wasn’t always able to finish mine, just because that’s a whole lotta sweet in one sitting. And lollipops don’t exactly keep well, so… that’s something to consider.

If your high school had their sports teams go around selling those big lollipops during lunch period, that’s roughly the same size as these. So if you could handle those without any leftover, these won’t be a problem for you, and vice versa.

RATING: YUM (at least for the coffee-flavored variety)


Bacon Salt

Hey, more bacon! This product is relatively well-known on the internet already, and I wouldn’t be surprised if many of you reading this have actually tried it already. That said, if you haven’t, it’s actually not a bad thing to have in your spice rack. I’m a fan of using a couple shakes to flavor cheddar mac & cheese, or cooking a bunch of veggies with just a little butter and this salt. I actually just used the Hickory flavored Bacon Salt earlier today – I rubbed it on some pork loin and cooked the loin and some peas, green beans, and yellow corn together in a pot with a tiny bit of butter and it actually came out really nicely. It has the same sort of “crispy-almost-burnt” as most faux Bacon flavoring, but it’s surprisingly versatile. For someone like me, who likes to constantly rotate out various seasonings in my day-to-day cooking, I enjoy having it around.

It occurs to me that I should try putting this on some normal popcorn and seeing if it tastes as good as the above-mentioned Bacon Pop – goodness knows it’d be more cost effective D=

RATING: YUM

 

That’s it for this batch of geek-foodie reviews. Clearly, I need to try more of this type of thing if this is all I have to review, huh? After browsing the Caffeine & Edibles section, a few other things have already caught my eye =X I have poor impulse control, okay?