Cross-Up may be on hiatus, but the game is forever! Let's game with Kamen Rider Ex-Aid!


February 15, 2018

Hiatus Time is (Almost) Over!


*insert crickets chirping here*

Yeah, it’s getting close to that time, so I figured it’d be best if I make a quick housekeeping post to announce it.  I’ve been holding Cross-Up down this winter with one-a-week posts, compared to the usual two, as per the hiatus -- one that I went on to finish writing a novel.  The progress on that is…going to take some explaining, but to put it simply?  Assuming everything goes well, I’ll be done with the lion’s share of the work before the end of the month.  Or maybe by the end of the month.  That’s a big assumption, though.  I’ve had three separate IRL interruptions in this day alone, so anything (awful) could happen.

Some days I wonder if it’s because I’m secretly a font of chaos and calamity.  It’s possible.  Check back with me three Thursdays from now; those seem to be my unluckiest days.  Not Mondays, for whatever reason.

February 8, 2018

RE: Dragon Ball FighterZ

You know that dream where you’re suddenly thrown into a classroom and forced to take a test you didn’t study for?  Or that other dream where you’re late for school/work and you have to hurry to make it there on time?  Or that other (other) dream where you drastically underestimate the length of your commute and fritter away time with naps, snacks, and video games, only to get lost both along the way and at your destination because you didn’t think to write down any navigational details?

Okay, that last one might be specific to me.  But the point is that right now, that’s what Dragon Ball FighterZ feels like to me right now.  It’s kicking my ass…and that’s (mostly) okay.  So now I’ll have to explain why.

Before that, though?  A moment of silence for Marvel vs. Capcom: Infinite.  Granted it’s not dead yet, but…well…this is a deathblow dealt to a game that’s suffered plenty already.

February 1, 2018

Xenoblade Chronicles 2: A Very Special Post (Part 3)


Well…at least the gameplay is still good.

WE’RE STUCK ON A DIFFERENT SPOILERS!
A LOT MORE THAN WE CAN SPOIL!
BUT WE GOTTA KEEP ON SPOILING!  SPOILING!  SPOILING!

Wait, wrong game.   I’m sorry for wasting your time.

As an apology, please allow me to waste even more of your time.

January 25, 2018

Xenoblade Chronicles 2: A Very Special Post (Part 2)


I don’t normally do this, but in this case I have to come out swinging at the outset: Nia is the “best girl” in Xenoblade Chronicles 2.  No contest.

No.  Listen.  Shut up.  Listen.  It’s not even a contest.  I don’t care what the other characters are like.  I don’t care that there are Blades with less clothes or bigger chests.  None of that shit matters.  Nia is the best girl.  And I guess it’s up to me to explain why.

And I guess that’ll maybe -- just maybe -- help explain why Xenoblade Chronicles 2 let me down in the biggest way possible.  In a way I never even imagined was possible.

AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAIyah.  SPOILERS INCOMING.

January 18, 2018

Xenoblade Chronicles 2: A Very Special Post (Part 1)

Hey, Xenoblade Chronicles 2.  I have a question for you.  You know that old taunt “Well, if you love it so much, why don’t you marry it?”  Why aren’t you adapting and using that in your game?

Actually…why don’t any games really adapt and use it in their games?  

I don’t know.  That’s probably a question worth pondering from here on out, but it’d expand the scale of this little argument to something the size of a dissertation, so let’s focus on this game for now.  Otherwise, we'll be here for a million billion years -- and since I'm technically still on hiatus, I shouldn't even be bothering with this.  Yet here I am regardless.

Why?  I dunno.  Everyone needs an outlet for their rage.  I guess this is mine.

THINK YOU CAN TAKE ME?  
(And my spoilers.)
DON’T FORGET ME!  
(And these spoilers.)

January 11, 2018

The 6th Anniversary Post: Do Stories Matter Anymore?


So is this just gonna be a thing now?  Me wanting to write about Kamen Rider, but getting waylaid by cultural juggernauts and entertainment industry shifts of infinitely greater weight?  Probably, but that doesn’t mean I can’t be salty about it.  How can I get people to like the things I like if I can’t shill the things I like?

…I mean, granted, the next post on Ex-Aid would inevitably have me tearing it several new ones.  But it was gonna be so much fun.  Alas, now I have to do this first.  Just as well, though; it’s the blog’s sixth anniversary, so I should write something special instead of the same old, same old.

Blame the Porgs.

January 4, 2018

Let’s discuss Kamen Rider Ex-Aid (Part 1).


Okay, I know this is a post about Kamen Rider Ex-Aid, but I’m seriously just biding my time until I can start watching Kamen Rider Build.

Setting aside the main Rider’s design (which, as a reminder, is infinitely superior to Ex-Aid’s), I had a hunch that it would turn out to be pretty interesting.  I mean, come on.  How often do you get a genius scientist as a lead hero?  That’s worth some brownie points right there.  At most I’ve only seen a handful of clips and previews, but apparently the story’s about to take a turn into some bold new territory I can’t wait to get the context behind.  Also, they’re bringing back a Kamen Rider alum for a new role, and that’s got me pretty hyped.  “Oh!  It’s that guy!” I cheered.  “Wait, who’s that guy again?  Let me check…OH!  IT’S THAT GUY!”

I guess if KR has taught me anything, it’s that I should trust my instincts a bit more.  It’s optimal to act on solid evidence and knowledge, but there are times when it’s fine to listen to your gut.  I say as much, because prior to Ex-Aid’s release I had a hunch that it was going to be good.  Lo and behold, I was right.  More importantly, I was right in the best way possible.  Ex-Aid had the perfect setup for the most impactful, in-depth exploration of its themes in a KR installment yet, so they just needed to pounce on the chance.  They did exactly that.

…Well, mostly.  But “mostly” is better than “not at all”.  So let’s get to it.

LET’S GAME!  MECTHA GAME!  MUTCHA GAME!  WHAT’S YOUR NAME?!
I’M A MAJOR SPOILER(S)!

December 21, 2017

Ho, Ho, Ho! Merry Switch-mas!


I mean, granted it’s not Christmas yet -- assuming you’re reading this on upload day instead of that hallowed holiday -- but it’s close enough.  It’s the highest without going over.  Also, we’ve apparently been in Christmas Mode since…I don’t know, before Halloween.  So it’s fine.

Anyway, 2017.  What a year.  Not what I’d call the best year in terms of politics and global events (and let’s leave it at that), but man.  Games on games on games.  Remember that borderline-lethal deluge of games in the first third of the year?  And I say borderline, but it wouldn’t surprise me if people actually bit the dust because of what dropped.  Persona 5, Nier Automata, Yakuza 0, Nioh, Resident Evil 7, and more -- with personal props going to Tales of Berseria, the secret top-tier RPG I’m only mildly butthurt about vis a vis its inevitable overshadowing by higher-profile titles.  But part of the reason we had this deluge is because Nintendo chose to release the Switch in March.  And boy, is it a doozy.

I’m not going to spend any time raving about Breath of the Wild because of course it’s the GOTY.  Instead, I’m going to focus on four other Switch games I’ve put some time into -- and I hope you do, too.  Make yourself or some friend or relative happy…which to be clear can be done just by giving them a copy of ARMS.

Don’t worry.  I won’t talk about ARMS any more in this post.

December 14, 2017

RE: Kamen Rider Ex-Aid

“We Madoka now.”

I remember using that line to describe Kamen Rider Gaim a few years back, and with good reason.  For those unaware, Gaim -- a tokusatsu series carrying the Kamen Rider torch -- was spearheaded by Gen “The Butcher” Urobuchi, who by then had long since stolen the spotlight with his now-infamous magical girl anime, Puella Magi Madoka Magica.  Confession time: I haven’t seen the latter series, but I have seen the former.  And cultural osmosis has made me suspect that there are more than a few parallels between Gaim and Madoka…which I’ll spare you of here, because spoilers are involved.

Parallels or not, Gaim went on to become a fan favorite with plenty of spinoffs to its name.  I’m mostly okay with that; I like Gaim, and I can see why people would absolutely love it, but to me it’s not the be-all and end-all.  Good, but not outstanding; strong, but not without flaw.  It did give us Micchy, one of KR’s best characters (IMO), but it also gave us Kaito, one of KR’s worst characters (IMO).  My thoughts aside, it’s not hard to imagine the showrunners wanting to reproduce the success and fame that Gaim brought in -- especially as a follow-up to the less-than-stellar KR Ghost.

Enter Kamen Rider Ex-Aid -- which at a base level is “We Madoka Now: Revengeance.”  But if you cut even an inch deeper, it’s Gaim 2.0.  But if you cut two inches deeper, then you might have the same opinion I do: Ex-Aid is the bizarro-Gaim.  It’s good for the reasons that Gaim was bad…and bad for the reasons that Gaim was good.

…In my humble opinion, of course.