Travis Touchdown: Newcomer to Forgotten Legend

As many already know, Travis Touchdown is my favorite video game character out there. It really does help that this character is created by Suda 51 a game maker that I heavily adore. Still this is not Suda’s first character so what makes Travis stick to the wall compared to other characters in general. Well the first thing for me that worked was how over the top Travis was and yet grounded in this interesting reality where he himself is not the craziest thing. There is an assassin that dresses like a superhero and he came back after being split in half as two different people. Travis just waving around his beam katana and jerking it off does not seem that crazy now does it? So, I want to look at all the instances Travis has popped up which I know many will just go “He only has three games” but just you wait I got a trump card or two.

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In the beginning for Travis Touchdown, we have the original No More Heroes (shocking I know). Still it is interesting to look back at when this game was called Heroes too. When Travis first appears, we don’t know who he is as of yet. Travis hides himself under a brown cloak similar to something a Jedi Knight would wear. The battle Travis has ends up being quicker than he thought and in the first moments of the game Travis just treats the fight like “Bada Bing.” This is the first thing about the man, he seems to be getting no satisfaction from these fights. Even the one with Death Metal left him feeling like this and even with other fights he just shrugs them off. Travis loves the build up for a fight and yet he always seems so calm when it is all over. Still back to the trailer where Sylvia tells Travis there is going to be more action heading in his direction and he loves the idea of that. Now to bring out a trump card we can also look at No More Loser, a short manga that came with No More Heroes 2 in Japan. In this we get to see the bit where Travis and Helter fight it out. Travis mentions that in the end all the assassins in a way are idiots and in the end all they got left to their job and that is to kill.

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Travis in the beginning always had this feeling of just wanting to get to the good part. The fight itself is great and the ending should feel like a great climax. In many ways it could be how a gamer would feel about any boss fight. We want to feel great for fighting a strong foe. Travis even has a big monologue to himself with the first boss fight of the game. He is simply eating up every moment and then he ends up acting calm when the fight is over while the cutscene starts to play. In many ways it is how we can feel after a big video game fight because we know it is safe when its over. Travis is already having these little connections to the actual player. Travis being a gamer is a huge part of his character and the road for him gets bumpy with that mentality.

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Is Travis a truly bad person? Yes! He certainly is and even when sparing someone he only did it for another fight in the future. One thing that people love is a challenge in their video games (at least that was the mentality back then before everything got called Dark Souls). Shinobu even ended up being a fan favorite and she has come back in the sequel and spin-off. It was like Travis had some odd sense of future sight did it not? Travis then has one moment with another assassin named Holly where he could not kill her. Holly even says that Travis simply could not kill a woman which could say something for Shinobu as well, after that though Travis had no trouble slicing a lady in half or stabbing them in the gut. The encounter with Holly is different because Holly was a big curveball in the league of assassins. Travis ends up wanting to get to the good parts though and while fighting her got to realize she has a lot going on. Holly waxed a whole lot of poetics and she had a great mind to pick at. Travis felt like many of us at this point and wanted to know more of her, but that could not be the case since this is a video game and the game has to get to the next fight. Travis finally feels remorse for once and ever since then he had no trouble with hesitating ever again, he saw the truth that is death.

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One fight to bring up would be the one Travis has with Harvey, the magician. Notice the empty audience and yet Travis still acts like he is putting on a grand show for a full crowd. Another idea to point at for the gamer persona because of how many people who play games alone still feel like they need to gloat. Now these days though we got people who stream and record their play sessions and it is still interesting to see how this mindset works. Along with that two other fights that fit with Travis’ personality would be Bad Girl and Jeane. When people see Bad Girl, she seems crazy and you are right to assume that and Travis even calls her out on it. This girl though pretty much says that her and Travis are the same, they are killing for pleasure. In reality many gamers are indeed killing virtual characters for the sake of a good time. This whole exchange is to give someone a sense of feeling like a hypocrite. Then the fight with Jeane has a funny fourth wall breaking moment that in reality shows the true nature of this. Jeane has a deep and dark backstory that was interesting to hear, but for that first time it was funny and awesome to skip a long explanation. There used to be a mentality for when games took a bit too long to get to the action and people complained so much about this. It’s funny that the gamer that is Travis points out Bad Girl’s problems, he ends up being that same problem at the next fight.

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For Travis’ last fight in the first game he has more fourth wall breaking moments and Henry exposing the truth. The use of Henry here is a fun one since he straight up says that he thought both Travis and the gamer would notice a twist of fate. This final fight for the first game has Travis and Henry going down on a long road talking about finding paradise. The scene ends with the two having both weapons at their necks and maybe this was the true paradise. Many fans of this game loved Henry’s fight and say it’s still one of the best of the series. In a way the paradise Travis was looking for and a satisfying end was with his one true rival. So, Travis in the first game is an arrogant gamer. He gets cocky and takes challenges by the horns. The connection he shares with the gamer is truly important and how that stays true for his overall process of a character.

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In the sequel for a game many was not even expecting, the grand return of Travis Touchdown was surely something to witness. The original director took a seat for the most part, but he still made sure things felt right with the overall presentation. The number one thing to feel with Travis in this game is that he has become a legend. In a short called No More Heroes 1.5 we see that Santa Destroy sees Travis as this legend. Travis even had a statue of himself! This is not only by the people in his world though. The first No More Heroes did become a cult hit and so to engage in this sequel many things got upscaled. So how would any gamer feel with going back into the previous world they already defeated? High chance they would feel like they are invincible and live up to the glory of a sequel. That is how Travis feels, he has now become the legend he wanted to fight for so long.

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While people have issues with how Travis ended up being portrayed I for one personally like the idea that this sequel did not repeat the same thing twice. Again, it would be silly for Travis to be fooled into the ranking fights again, this time they are real because of his previous battles. Sylvia does use her usual tricks to get him, but there was another driving force in action. The idea of revenge was used for this game so that the player can just be blindly killing foes without remorse again. This fits with Travis since he is now seeing some foes as being in the way and he needs to progress just like a gamer would. How bad would it have been if after defeat Charlie Macdonald it did only count as one kill and not jumping up to rank twenty-five? Even if this game has more bosses than the original, still going through more could have been a punishment or bore to some. There are gamers out there who aim for shorter pleasures.

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With Travis advancing the ranks for revenge he still does hit a moment of realization and unlike the use of one assassin like in the first game it takes more of them to get what he feels by the end of this game. It begins with Ryuji and this duel to Travis was once in a lifetime. I can even admit after the horrible bike fight; his actual fight is a great one. The sunset in the background and facing another modern samurai is just a great thematic to use against Travis. So, when things are over the gamer would normally expect the finisher to be the usual quick prompt to make you feel good. Well this time it only ends the duel with Ryuji alive the real finishing touch is done by Sylvia in a scene and not by the player. Travis feels grief for how his foe was taken down and the player would feel the same way since we did not do it ourselves.

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Travis then meets up with rank four and while I have talked about this just recently it is important to establish that she sings with blunt honesty. The whole idea that Travis fights for revenge in these ranking fights is dumb. There is no honor anymore to be had here which is funny because Travis still held onto his honor for Ryuji. Travis even ends up remembering the song being sung to him about his hypocritical ways as he whistles it in the night sky. This is an important factor since Travis already established that he does not fully remember every fight he had or at least his first one. As said before, Travis got full of himself and started to forget what made him a fighter in the first place. Travis was fed by the media to be the hero he wanted to be, but that was simply impossible for the disturbing world he lives in. No fantasy or fiction, this is his real life. Even if Travis was fed a code of honor from the violent media he watched and he actually lost it in the beginning of this sequel. He only started to gain it back in Travis Strikes Again.

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The fight that makes Travis break down the most though was Alice. It is funny to mention that many assassins here are afraid they cannot simply just leave the fights and yet the main character simply says to quit. For the main character it must be easy until that sequel comes around and another sequel and a spin off even! At this point while Travis was gaining his honor back, he gets to well talk again with these assassins and Alice and one other assassin have the longest moments to actually talk with him. That other assassin was Dr. Letz Shake, a fighter Travis missed out on from the first game. Of course, Travis would eat up every second with a fight he could not have before, the player would too. With Alice is really screams tones of Holly because we want to know more of her and yet that is not the purpose of a video game, these two are here to fight and kill.

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When Alice is killed, Travis just loses it. Travis has broken the fourth wall before and even at the beginning of this game. Here though it feels like he breaks a bond with his gamer personality for a moment. Travis shouts out saying that while he and other characters here are fictional, they are still alive. They have been given life by a creator and that hand also brings death. The creation came from the excitement of another story for Travis and the death comes from wanting to see that story in its full glory. This became more about Travis hating the fact he took someone’s life just for this meaningless pleasure and of course this had to be right before number one.

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Knowing what comes next which ends up being a disappointing last fight does really make that moment bigger in comparison. Travis came to fight number one just to end all of this madness, not only his revenge, but also for the ranking fights. Travis did have some ideas in this head of who this number one assassin would be, but it was never about how strong they were. Travis just kept thinking of how he will look and how that look will change when he dies. A bit funny that this was Travis’ last fight for many years to come, at least for the players. The game even ends with Travis just meeting back up with Sylvia and not wanting to return for fights or some glory of that kind, he just wanted to see her safe. I bet many players did not really worry about that and just saw that as a teaser for a third game (like I did in the past). So, did Travis end up losing his gamer personality at this point and what did that end up resulting into?

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Before getting to Travis Strikes Again, the otaku had one appearance before the new game. This was in a manga written by Suda 51 called Kurayami Dance. In this manga, the main character was given lessons from a professional assassin as a reward. Two masked figures then find this legendary assassin and all he is doing is playing video games in a trailer. It was obviously Travis Touchdown. Everything is on point with the hair, glasses, and when the two pop into his trailer he says the same line to anyone else looking for a fight. “Take one more step and you’re dead.” The two masked figures just stop in their tracks, Travis only sent out one threat while looking at his television screen and that causes the two to shutter. Travis even says some words about the main character saying that he became a monster because of his passion for revenge. Travis can actually relate to this and it might have been a moment of reflection for him. On top of that, Travis is just alone. He has his cat with him, but that is it, what happened with Sylvia? This was only a small taste of what comes later, but it is interesting that Travis was already in this trailer before any announcement of a new No More Heroes title.

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Now we get to Travis’ most recent debut back into the video game scene. Why does Travis pop up now of all times? Well as the title suggests, Travis has become a forgotten legend. People do know of his battles and his love for video games, but Travis has been gone for a long time in both our world and his own world. One thing to notice is that Travis’ outbursts go back to how he was in the original game. They are small outbursts and have a bit more random nature to them. One thing on top of it all is that Travis gets pissed off differently than usual. When he complains about one of the games he is in and even getting mad with other people in the visual novel scenes. He just seems bored for the most part, it feels like he would easily do something else. Travis has mentioned that he got tired of risking his life in the ranking fights. It seems Travis was still at a high point in his life with the ranking fights. He was probably number one for quite some time. Travis even had a wife and kid which we know who that wife is, but what about that kid? Is that nonsense ending in No More Heroes actually a canon thing now?

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Travis had to leave and seeing how he looked and acted when the two killers in Kurayami Dance and Badman approached him, he did seem tired. Sure, Travis was having some fun with Badman, but that fun was being pointed to us, the audience. This man got too absorbed into his video games and why is that? Well it all comes back to a big theme from the original game, paradise. Travis’ real life with the fights was not for him anymore. There was too much and was happening too many times from what he says. He got fed up with it and wanted to find his paradise which he has talked about in the beginning with Death Metal and at the end with Henry, it was even brought up when he was saved by Sylvia at the end of the second game. His real life just ended up having too much baggage for him, to be honest Travis’ and Sylvia’s relationship would end up being chaotic and who knows what people Travis has been forced to kill or just had to deal with. Badman was just another pain in his ass, especially when he was playing Hotline Miami!

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The use of Hotline Miami is a big showcase here because if you know anything about Suda 51 recently, he loves that game. This is an easy way to see what Suda was planning to do with Travis, the forgotten legend who has been gone from the scene for too long. It sounds a bit too familiar right? Suda came back to direct this title personally and the last time this happened was with Travis’ introduction. Not only is this the return of these two, Travis got his head to be the logo of the company and Suda is back in game development. Both have gotten a bit in their age, Suda literally being fifty-one years old right now. Travis is even nearing his forties! So, a big showcase is that Travis ends up getting his passion back, but how?

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Follow Corndog on Twitter, also kudos for meeting Suda as Travis.

Well through video games of course! Travis and Badman fight video game characters and while their adventures in the Death Drive had flaws and filled with bugs, there was tons of creative input put into them. Something that Travis as an avid gamer saw. Travis even had to fight a hero that he looked up to and hasn’t seen a new adventure for this character in years. He had to kill someone that Travis molded his life around. Travis even had to kill the glorious game creator that he also got to look up to. There are even other bosses that Travis had many interesting lines with. With Doppelganger, Travis pointed out that this killer had no real motivation, he just became insane. Travis got to see how one has to man up and live till their life has no real purpose anymore with Brian Buster Jr. Smoking King got a lot of respect from Travis and he tells the king to race again and see how that feels, similarly with how Travis is fighting again in a video game. Travis got to feel like a fan boy again when fighting Johnson… I mean Eight Hearts. Along with the Shadows of the Damned section, Travis really saw how Dr. Juvenile was forced into these situations when all she wanted to do was create lovely works of fiction. Then with Juvenile herself, Travis tells her that while life was hard on her, she can get through it and in the end, she can achieve what she wanted in the end. Travis got to see how it feels to be away because he left a lot behind.

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The final moment for Travis is when he gets to Mars, yes this actually happens. There Travis sees another person of interest in his life. The father of the doctor and the creator of the original Death Drive console, John Winters. This scene was big for Travis as this was it, paradise! Travis found himself in a world where pleasures are no real worries and he can satisfy his basic needs while not worrying about his life on the line. Winters tells Travis all of this and even asks him to stay. Travis ends up denying it though. While life has its baggage, some of it is fully part of his life and he has to own up to them. Travis cannot be gone forever, people need him, like a wife and kid. Travis has affected the world around him more than he thought and now he needs to get back into the scene. At this moment too, Travis even got to experience the one pleasure he never gotten before, death. The only way out of paradise was by getting murdered. Travis finally dies once in his life and feels the cold embrace. It was a wakeup call to Travis and now he knows this feeling that will push him forward to living a grand life.

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The last thing to bring up then is how Travis is at the end of Travis Strikes Again. At the beginning when Badman first approaches him he gives him a warning because Travis just wants to play video games. Sure, he fought Badman when the warning was ignored, but Travis did not give Badman much notice in a strange way. Travis was still trying to steal the spotlight and when the Death Drive mk2 booted up, he responded with being annoyed. Then at the credit scene for this game when Badman goes and tries to beat Travis for calling his daughter a “fucking mutt” we can hear Travis laughing. Before that too, Travis even says that bloodshed sounds nice right about now. He found his inner desire to let loose again and that could have been done with that experience of death he had.

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Travis Touchdown really goes through a huge roller coaster in the span of three games and some side stories. He started out as a young assassin just wanting sex and finds himself killing his past later on. Later on, he has to deal with his past again with someone wanting revenge on him which caused him to want revenge as well. Then to where Travis got tired of the whole ordeal and tried to escape from it all. Through self-reflection and seeing how others tried to leave their pasts behind them just ended up ruining them. Dr. Juvenile felt too strong with her ambitions and tried to kill the world that gotten rid of her father. That father in question escaped life itself and lives in paradise. So how will Travis appear in his third game? We will only know when it happens. From this point onward though, Travis is no longer afraid and is going to live life to how he wants to. He will be back to experience the bloodshed one more time even if there will be hurdles on that road. Travis I just got one thing to tell you. Just press that “A” button and let the bloodshed begin, its game time!

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What Makes Devil May Cry Cool: Devil May Cry 4

Almost completely finished with this look of the Devil May Cry series and the last post was looking into the highest point of the series to many eyes. This next game though still has that same thing though from many other fans. While the fourth game easily has some problems for sure, a whole new look on the combat system really took this one to new heights. Capcom even took another bold move with this franchise and introduce a new main character, Capcom does this a whole lot to be honest. Street Fighter 3 originally had Alex be the new main character and even Ace Attorney tried to get a new face with Apollo Justice. How did fans respond though? With Street Fighter 3 The New Generation, the loss of characters like Ryu, Ken, and Chun-Li did not stick well. Ryu and Ken were put in the original version of the third game quickly after the initial reactions. Even then we got characters like Chun-Li and Akuma in later versions. Ace Attorney still did major focus for Apollo Justice, but in the next two games after his, he had to share the spotlight. So how did the new son of Sparda turn out, was he loved or hated and is it smart to stick with Nero for Devil May Cry 5? 

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To clear one thing up first is that Nero does come from Dante originally. When the first teaser for the next Devil May Cry game was out, it still stuck with a young Dante. High chance it would have been directly after Devil May Cry 3 and before the original game in regards to the timeline. With the finished version it placed after the first game and many fans still pushed Devil May Cry 2 to the end to pretend it does not exist. The truth is that this fourth game with its story is placed after the original sequel. Which is mind boggling to admit. So, with all that in mind what ended up happening with the story? I do not doubt that most of the story from the early drafts still stuck because we do have focus for Vergil and his weapon, Yamato. Replace young Dante with a new rebellious youthful character and relations with Vergil too and things can still work out the same. This does bring one of the biggest gripes with Nero that he acts a bit too similarly to Dante, especially young Dante. This easily could have been keeping most of the original script, but Nero still has many of his own quirks that fans still love to this day and I think the fifth game is going to heavily focus on. 

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Nero’s version of cool is the rebellious punk. Nero has a bit more tendency to swear and loses his anger quite often. Nero’s taunts are extremely aggressive and insulting and can be completely full of himself with his love for rock and heavy metal. The best taunt that still continues is when Nero is literally rocking out on an air guitar. Along with his attitude being on the high spectrum, a focus for his style is aggression. Nero has many charge moves which sure Dante and his share of those too, but with Nero he really focuses on the big hits. Nero’s gun the Blue Rose is a huge hand cannon of a pistol with charge shots that does much better than Dante’s Ebony and Ivory. He also has the Red Queen a sword that can charge up through revving it like an engine. This is still what fans love of Nero’s combat the most because getting those charges up and into full blast makes a lovely display of flames! On top of that Nero might not have different styles, but he brings an incredibly powerful arm to make up for that. 

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Nero’s Devil Bringer brings an incredibly new technique for the series. While Dante always needs to worry about moving to his foes to keep style up, luckily Dante can have a move with Trickster that just makes him teleport in front of people. On top of that Dante has many moves that move him forward, like the classic Stinger. Nero’s arm makes enemies come to him because he can grab you from nearly anywhere! The reach of this move call Buster can get silly and on top of that you can combo a short grab into a big grab. This is the biggest thing with Nero and Itsuno knew how to makes this important. Every boss that Nero fights, has a unique animation for when he gets a big grab in for all foes, including bosses. The amount of excitement you can get from simply getting those big grabs on a boss is probably the best thing of this entire game. 

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Another thing to mention with Nero is his actor, Johnny Young Bosch. Another Power Ranger actor comes into the Devil May Cry cast since the last one did so well for them with portraying Vergil. They decided to get another one and we all know the Bosh is one of the top voice actors of the chain. Johnny really brought that badass attitude well for Nero and knowing his did motion capturing as well makes it a whole lot better too. Again, this man knows his physical acting too since he does know martial arts and even did stunt work for his time on Power Rangers and for other projects. It was another good pick to have this type of actor be with the Devil May Cry series. 

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Nero really stood out with his style of fighting while his character was not fully fleshed out, I do feel his next game is really going to highlight his reckless behavior and I bet he will learn and grow from that as well. One thing that people got to love early for him though was his connection to Vergil. We all know that Nero is the son of Vergil which still blows my mind that Vergil was the first one to have canon sex, especially for how Vergil was. The team easily knew that Vergil was still excited for and in a Special Edition we ended up getting him in this game, but during the initial run, Nero held the Yamato and his Devil Trigger was a different one with it. Nero already had a fully transformed arm, but his whole body does not change while in Devil Trigger, he summons a spirit that stands behind him (insert Jojo references here) and the best sword of the series is for Nero to use. Then remember the Buster? Well there are even more unique grab animations with Nero’s spirit. Nero’s use of the Devil Trigger is fun when you know how to stun foes and get in a grab while in Devil Trigger. With Dante and Vergil, you wanted Devil Trigger to not only get health, but also an edge in battle. You wanted to save the transformation with Nero and it does not hurt because Nero has many great tools to keep the fighting going without it. 

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Even with a new main character, the original guy had to stay around and he is your first fight in this game, what?! While a tutorial fight for the most part, it is crazy to think you had to actually fight Dante and there is a legit boss fight later on. Dante does go through the curse of “What old weapons?” and only keeps his trusty Rebellion, Ebony and Ivory, and Coyote. When you do play as Dante one big change for him though was the style switch on the fly. In the third game, you had to stick with one style until the next mission screen or whenever you get to a statue. This fourth game decides to have Dante switch freely with them. Dante has five styles in this game which are; Trickster, Swordmaster, Gunslinger, Royalguard, and Dark Slayer. This idea really opens up the combo potential with Dante since the ability of switching with ease is amazing. Dante’s new weapons also really work with this. A fan favorite is the Lucifer and Trickster combinations since you can teleport around and keep throwing or setting projectiles. A new gun is given to Dante with the Pandora and Gunslinger really opens the possibilities with that one. Dante keeps a gauntlet weapon with Gilgamesh because of course he does. Then even Dante has Yamato which is why he has Dark Slayer. Just look up combo videos on Dante because this game is insane with them! 

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On top of that, how did Dante act in this game? It was stated that Nero could have been placed in while a younger Dante was originally planned for this game. Now we got Dante older than the original game. I will say they get a perfect mix of what makes Dante himself over the series. The only one that is not around would be Devil May Cry 2, for obvious reasons. Still he has the cool vibes of him from the original title and his silly antics from his youthful days. One cool thing to add is that Ruben had a lot more to do with this title and helped out with many hurdles the team was going through, especially with Dante. When Dante got Lucifer, the team had trouble thinking of how to show it off, so Ruben had a brilliant idea. This scene is a fan favorite for sure has Dante makes many sexual implications as he is thrusting many of his spikes into the slate, yes, it is glorious. One thing to note is that Dante is straight up untouchable in this game! We got to remember this is after Mundus and no one is still getting close to him yet. 

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While Dante could easily just destroy everyone in sight there is far more to be done for his character. Dante gets to act like a mentor character for Nero which considering his has the blood of Sparda in his veins, it feels right. While his relation to Dante is obvious and I bet Dante actually knows. Having these two fights it out was a great way to not only establish Nero that he can take more than expected, but also show that Dante’s being overzealous can get the better of him. Then it’s fun to see their styles of cool clash with seeing how Dante and Nero taunt each other. Nero is far more aggressive and then Dante is just so playful (that little moment where Dante tries revving up his sword is the best!). Nero even gives him the bird when talking about Yamato. The mixture of having these two being playable was a smart move, but sadly that also brings a problem with this game. 

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No matter how many characters were added to this game, what does not help that there are really only like one or two unique bosses. Dante ends up fighting many of the same bosses that Nero does. Then if you play as Vergil you just got to do the whole campaign as him only and repeat all the boss encounters. In the whole campaign you got to fight the first three bosses like three times! Sure, you get one each with Dante and then when playing as Nero if you did not replay missions you can see how Nero fights these bosses with his Devil Trigger. Then you even repeat the same areas and sure some get a bit of a change or two and it makes it easier on repeat visits. Then it also gets old real fast when you have to repeat areas. At least with the third game you exploring and going back to old places felt better and that is thanks to how missions flowed in that game. This fourth game really drags things out. 

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Overall, Devil May Cry 4 is an amazing game and has the best combat of the entire series. The insane combo videos that are still being made for this game will live on. While it took a while to get a proper sequel for this series, DMC4 and its Special Edition had tons of fan support that get this game around. The name Devil May Cry never died and when games like Bayonetta came out it only got more support. Sadly, the next Devil May Cry we end up getting was different so to say, but in the end, I will have to cover it at some point. For now, though I want to get ready for the real fifth entry of the franchise which I already played the demo and loved it, Nero feels like his old self, but his new arm really brings some amazing new and dumb things for him. These devils will never surrender. 

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No More Heroes 2 Desperate Struggle: Another Look Into Violent Media Part Four

Alright here we are at the end of this long analysis trip. In the beginning we got to some crazy stuff like revenge, Shakespeare, and even weapon mayhem. Then we got into the strange and kinky with tsundre, horror, and bondage. For the last time we had huge blasts of the past and a reflection of media on our playable characters. For the end we got Travis noticing who he is as a fighter, but will that really lead to his correct path? Travis will be fighting people who question his logic a whole lot more than the usual bosses so be prepared gamers because this one could be about us in general. 

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To begin the final part, I needed my all-time favorite boss in video games here. The female reaper known as Margaret in the night that signs to her foes has a whole lot to say about Travis. To start off we should focus on her style of clothing. She is obviously being a Gothic Lolita which is not the first time No More Heroes had a character in this style. Bad Girl wore this outfit, but Margaret Moonlight clearly wears it to show off an idol like image. While idols are not big in the States, they are certainly big in Japan and in America we got singers that people go crazy for too. Idol culture is still something of a different beast though and having Moonlight representing it is an interesting choice. The first thing that Margret asks Travis if he knows the song she is whistling. Of course, Travis says no and now she needs to teach him it. This easily could be a joke on how certain fans nearly treat these idols as goddesses, the woman even calls herself a pure girl and how boys drool over that. It gets even worse for idols since they cannot even have relationships like normal people because it could ruin their pure image. They are like heavenly messengers to their fans and yet can be brutal on the girls themselves. 

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We have Zombie Land Saga to look at for some idol horrors since its insane how these singers go through all of this for simple entertainment purposes. This is probably why our boss is represented as a reaper because the ones who send death out feel it themselves. As for her song it mocks the concept of revenge which is something that feels familiar for anyone who picked around at No More Heroes one story about how pointless revenge is (like me!). The whole idea of being a philistine is “a person who is hostile or indifferent to culture and the arts, or who has no understanding of them.” If Margret is a singer which is in the entertainment arts, she could be mocking Travis since he does not know her song. With added context about how she says “You act as though payback will make you a nobleman…” it sounds like she is questioning Travis’ reason for fighting. Similar to Holly Summers where she questions Travis on why he is an assassin, we got it again, but with the concept of revenge. Travis has no real meaning in his battles right now and he even treated some like nothing which is true since Travis barely gave many to talk as much compared to his previous adventure. 

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When Travis started as an assassin, he had a simple goal of wanting to get laid which ended up about being revenge for the death of his parents. Even in the end with Jeane he felt like he ended her nightmares. Travis had some purpose in his fights. Right now, he is just out for revenge for Bishop a character who does not seem all that important. Travis easily has his bloodlust still and has become more straight forward, but he has been building a sense of respect for foes lately. He wanted to give Ryuji a meaningful death and with Margaret he gave her a nice farewell. He said he remembered the song “One hundred percent.” With what happened with Ryuji recently, Travis could have gotten another kick into his logic about why he is fighting. So, Travis seems to be moving on ahead and yet the gamer will still just be expecting the same thing after this, another fight. 

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The man of the space age is upon us and Captain Vladimir is easily a huge take on early science fiction media. He is a man who still knows of the Soviet Union, like how long has he been like this? Vladimir is brainwashed at this point and just kills anyone that seems to be a threat to his plan of space travel. Early science fiction plots and even today love mind control plots, I remember early superhero shows loved to use this as well. When Travis finally cracks the shell and releases Vladimir, he only views the beauty of the Earth which is something he missed seeing. Travis held respect for this man and told Sylvia off when she tried to get rid of his body. With what Travis just learned about having a purpose in fighting and understanding the meaning of killing once more, he saw the astronaut as a lost soul with a purpose that was gone long ago, similar to his goal of revenge. Not too much here, but this character still left an impression on Travis none the less. 

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The final fight before rank number one and Travis is ready for one duel that will change his life. Alice Twilight who is actually known as Alice Moonlight, yup we got a sister here. I am going to guess Alice is the elder sister just by how she acts. Now there are many behind the scenes with Alice as two big character traits for her are hidden with the pictures she is burning. They are modeled and they show her with Margaret which just further establishes that they are sisters or related in some way. The other one was a family she had in her past. Fun to note she is burning these memories just as of now, she obviously already lost her husband and child so why was she holding onto these memories up to now? With the death of her sister, she lost everything in this cycle of violence and she is stuck. Travis is confused on why people are stuck, but he quickly finds out quitting is never an easy thing. Travis finds himself back in the bloodshed once more and for a gamer that only means more fun, but for the characters it can mean more. 

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Alice’s character and setting says a whole lot to what the game is establishing. Fight for a real purpose. Alice lost the ones close to her and now has this final fight to live for. Fighting Travis Touchdown, the No More Hero is what she wanted. Alice wanted to learn how Travis got out before to see if she can truly escape. The sunset on the roof of the building is quite similar to her sister as Travis fought her on the starry night on a roof. This is a real battle like many superhero shows and samurai films can showcase. The sunset is truly important to the dueling arts. Travis is victorious once more, but this duel under the sun left him more pissed off than ever. 

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The death of Alice finally got Travis to break. Ryuji, Margaret, Vladimir, and now Alice have set him over the edge. Respectable warriors who gave their all in their fight with him and what he is showing up for all of this, a rank. In the life of a gamer the virtual lives mean barely anything to them and they even get sweet bonuses and ranks like on online matches. Travis has been having satisfying battles and yet he is doing it for no real reason. He cannot be happy about these battles since it is just being a spectator sport now. Travis wants all of this to end now! Travis wants these assassins to be free and fight for their real purposes just like Alice. This man even breaks the fourth wall in this scene saying that even if him and other assassins are just fictional characters they are living. Suda 51 loves to explore the concept of death in his titles, I mean he usually focuses on assassins in his stories for a reason. 

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I do feel that this is Travis finally realizing what Skelter Helter told him about what it really means to take a life. Travis had it easy while he has killed a loved one before and saw a woman, he had actual feelings for blow up right in his face. Travis only learned the fear of death from those experiences. Knowing that this is a sequel this is a large moment of reflection considering fans from the first game. Along with the previous ranked assassins, Travis killed many other people during his time grinding for cash. This is even a big point to bring up because this is what the main villain’s whole motivation is in this title. Travis killed tons of people who was associated with Pizza Butt in the past for money. Travis never considered what their reason for living was and so didn’t the player. All the player and Travis knew is who they were and that their targets for money. In the original game you had to grind for money and people usually preferred the assassination missions because you get to feel the joy of the action game. While in reality for Travis’ reality, he kept piling up the bodies. So, who is the number one assassin that has been holding a grudge on Travis for killing not only business associates, but also family?

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The pizza king is here and yes, he is a pizza man for sure. This boy got a pizza tattoo on his face and acts like a millionaire. For a young boy he sure has a whole lot going for him and he pretty much has control over the city. Yet he is so focused on revenge for the whole time! Jasper was building Santa Destroy to be a better city, making this middle of nowhere look like something for once. New establishments like a college and hotels where the rich can just get richer. Jasper in a way looks like a hero for this city and his business started with a simple pizza chain. Many people do underestimate the fast food industry at times and yet they are everywhere and making so much money. For a while there also was the term “Starbucking” having everything looking the same to convey the same image that has been working for someone else. For a man like Suda who loves his local areas like a bar he actually put into No More Heroes, I bet he can get quite sick of the big chains. They repeat the same thing over and over again and copying each other just for a quick buck. The overall industry for about everything can have this bad habit and video games are not innocent as well. 

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Jasper is an interesting character to talk about in the No More Heroes franchise. He is always considered the worst boss of the series for really bringing three bad fights at the end of the game. This is a big reason why the sequel felt inferior to the original game for me in the past many times. Which could have been the whole point of his fights and overall character. The idea of revenge is never a satisfying one and Suda put another spin on that one. Again, while he was not the director, he still had some says about what needs to be done for this game. For the most part, Mr. 51 made sure that the characters still felt correct in the story. Seeing this little brat with a pizza logo on his face and bat imagery is odd to say the least. Originally the pizza chain was known as Pizza Butt as established just before. Was the original design for Batt or even his name, Butt? Would Jasper literally be an ass of a character? Was all of this just a joke, was the adventure for Travis not worth all of this? 

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Travis still talks about Bishop for sure since that is what started this quest for revenge, but he gets fueled more by a trick of showing the deaths of Sylvia, Shinobu, and Henry. Those three are far more important to Travis for sure and after that, there is no more mention of Bishop. It’s good to note though that Travis found a new reason to fight which is to shut down the ranking fights. What is this saying about revenge? One can start their journey on it, but they cannot be absorbed by it. Jasper a boy fueled by revenge just throws away all the luxury he had for one fight with the man who took away so much from him. A boy fueled by revenge, I think we heard that story before with Matt Helms. Then with the fight itself being a joke at first to something that had players get mad and then just end with a giant parade balloon just shows you that revenge sucks! Not only did it ruin one boy’s life, it ruined his image too. Travis acts all good in the end, but for the player they felt cheap out. Jasper was built from the very beginning and even before if you count No More Heroes 1.5. Revenge in fiction always has something satisfying at the end and even No More Heroes did that. Jeane’s backstory was skipped and when knowing it, it actually ruins the fact that you killed a girl like her. Jasper got people mad at him, but that was his purpose. 

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The final boss was a joke and you should feel bad that you did not get the great final bout for Travis Touchdown. Originally this was considered as Travis’ end. Suda considered back in the days that a new character could take Travis’ main character role which clearly did not happen because Travis is Suda’s favorite character to this day. Still considering that the giant mascot character was Travis’ last fight is shocking. No final fight with Henry or even with Shinobu, what a weak ending. Sure, Travis teases at something at the end, but it’s so vague that it does not really matter. What you got as the final fight was not what you were expecting and Suda pretty much had the idea of deal with it, that is life and you should have not placed just a petty reason to expect great things in the future. We bond with Travis Touchdown so well because he shows that dark side of us that can rarely come out. The joy of a bloodbath and pleasures that people would deem as disturbing. Then knowing how Travis even got tired of the whole thing by the time of Travis Strikes Again shows that even he hit his point and what gave him joy soon became his stress. 

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With all of that said, which sorry this is probably the longest post ever, but No More Heroes 2 still has a lot to say. Sure, the focus was a bit all over the place this time around with violent media. The overall focus did stick to revenge and even some bosses have connections to each other. Still the future is looking great for No More Heroes and what Suda can be bringing back for this franchise. Travis has to strike back someday in this modern age and with him comes some hatred, but in the end a strong love for his life as a video game character which of course is video games. 

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Why You Should Play Killer7

From last year when Killer7 got its amazing Steam port, some people were picking it up and I convinced others to go get this as well. As a man who loves games from Grasshopper and Suda 51 of course I would be pushing for that. There was even the recent new introduction scene in Travis Strikes Again that has Dan Smith popping up with his original voice actor too. For this post I want to express why a game like Killer7 needs to be played, to me it’s one of the games that still holds up even to today’s games. 

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A big reason why Killer7 was a big deal even when being first released was that this was Suda’s first international released game. The first game that Grasshopper got out of Japan was the Playstation 2 game, Michigan Report which got to Europe and not America. So Killer7 was going to be the first Grasshopper title in the good USA… and Canada. On top of that this title was part of the Capcom Five which ended up being the Capcom Four and in the end only one of those games stayed as a Gamecube exclusive. While this plan did not fully achieve greatness that both Capcom and Nintendo wanted, it’s still important to note that for Grasshopper this was going to be on the Gamecube, the first time this company got to work on a Nintendo console. We now know how Suda and his company love to work with Nintendo as seen with the No More Heroes series. Also, before you ask, while the Steam port is amazing if you want the console experience, go with the Gamecube version, the Playstation 2 port has bad frame rates and again the look of the game does better with Nintendo and plays better, which is not the last time this happens. 

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The biggest reason to support a game like Killer7 is a reason why I would push No More Heroes and even the recent Travis Strikes Again. There is simply nothing else like it. While No More Heroes is an action game that takes creative turns with how to present itself. The game of seven killers has a mixture of variety. The big focus is the shooting of the game so it must be a first-person shooter, yes and no. You actually begin this game with the third person view, you can clearly see your character. The character even explores around the area and interacts with the environment like it is a Resident Evil mansion full of puzzles. There is exploration that plays like an adventure game at times that follows some sequencing too. It is fun to note the previous Suda title was Flower, Sun, and Rain a puzzle and mystery game. 

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Wait, what about the shooting? Well you got foes that are invisible to you until you enter a first-person camera view and then scan the area. The only way you can tell these foes around called the Heaven Smiles is by the laugh they give off. I have talked about these laughs and man they can get creepy. For the first time hearing it, it’s not the worst, but when you think you are safe that laugh just gets under your skin right away. The worst part is when they get closer to you and try to hug you to death! Yes hugs! These things will explode on contact and the scream they give off in death just feels like you lost regardless if they got shot to death or exploded in your face. There will even be some foes that a certain character is useless against and these things just get closer and closer! The way you move is even unique since the character is on rails and the only way to change directions is by getting to cross paths or simply hitting a button to turn around. In the end, your character is going to walk forward.

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The overall exploration is on rails, but again with the adventure game logic in consideration you can get lost if you do not figure out what to do in a previous area. There are many little secrets to be found and they help your progress. There are elemental rings, emblems or figures that act like keys, and even power-ups! Along with those power-ups you can find there is even a progression on the characters themselves. From killing the Heaven Smiles in their weak points, they spill out red blood which is better than white blood. There are even different colors of blood to be found and the weak point system can get whacky with differing creatures. There can even be a monster that takes no damage if you are too weak. Not only do you increase their power, you also increase their speed, aiming, and skills. Yes, the more you level these killers up, the more skills they will have at their disposal. The most basic one is being able to kill a foe while it’s on the ground close to you, because aiming at them is a pain to do when they are right at your feet. 

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There is a lot of thought being put into a simple shooting mechanic, along with that skill certain characters even have charge attacks and one has a scope. Other ones can have a bit more power than other, but will be needed to reload more or is generally a bit hard to aim with. You got a weak little guy, but he can really send those bullets out fast! Dan Smith who I mentioned before is your good old basic man and has the best charge shot of the entire game with being able to hit three levels with it. Other characters can possibly hit two levels of a charge shot. Then you got one that throws knives with no reload worries, pretty fast, and has good ways of sneaking around foes. The big thing I am saying is that while this game is a shooter with its main combat, the genre gets completely flipped around and that was only with the mechanics so far, the fights themselves really turn the concept around even further. 

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This is probably another reason why Killer7 stands so strong to this day. The detail and confusion this game can have. You got a shooting game with adventure game logic so even some of the fights work with both in mind. One fight in particular is always fun to watch people have a first go with it because of how different it actually is. The overall experience with this game is still like nothing else and Suda 51 always had that level of creativity in his titles. While I bet comparisons can be made to Killer7 in the end I bet those are small and really just stop because this game is off the walls. One thing that this game has is a well-crafted story and knowing that content was cut out of that and it still remains such a big topic says something. The level of directing this game has is so shocking, to me this is probably one of the most artsy feeling games. It’s not only the cut scenes that do that though, the game itself does it. 

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Exploring the levels and experiencing what is all in them gets a great feel of everything. It’s one of the reasons why I can always like it. While the game is constantly going, I still feel that movie magic happening. The level of detail these areas have always stick out and what you do in them stick out as well. I cannot recall any game that has made everything single frame, level, fight so unique from each other. It was said that when Shinji Mikami was working with Suda on this title, Suda got put to the grindstone on this one. Mikami would have gotten mad at Suda if he tried pushing some of his work to other employees. It must have been hard on Suda, but he clearly did not hold any harsh feelings since the two still wanted to work together and then we got Shadows of the Damned afterwards as well. So Suda was let loose on this project and it really shows. Now seeing Travis Strikes Again and comparing that to the previous two game, yea this really has more of what Suda is known for. The raw creativity and expressive levels that only he can make. His games leave an impact on you, they are not perfect by any means and yet that hard journey and knowing the little nitpicks just makes it more memorable for the player. 

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So, the big thing here is not only to just play Killer7, but Suda 51 games in general. I can even say that for the titles he only wrote for too. The Silver Case series is still one of the most shocking visual novels out there with bits that do not hold back. Flower, Sun, and Rain is still a puzzle game with an idea I wish more can work with. Killer7 is this huge genre mixture that still ends up working in masterful taste. No More Heroes is still one of the best action games for me thanks to variety and style. The sequel for No More Heroes while it lacked some of the charm of the original it still continued the bizarre action filled story for Travis and still has high points over the original while being its own product. Shadows of the Damned is probably one of the few third person shooters that while many can draw connections to Resident Evil 4, I still feel like is one of the better clones of that area. It also helps that Garcia and Johnson are extremely likeable characters and their journey still has spins that many rather not tackle. Lollipop Chainsaw was made because someone told Suda that females don’t work as the main lead and we got a piece of zombie fiction where the undead talk and spew rainbows. Killer is Dead feels like a great progression for Grasshopper action games and has most of Suda’s story aspects intact. Finally, we have Travis Strikes Again a huge love letter to gaming, but most importantly to Suda himself and showing that he still has the bite and edge that he is known for. 

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No More Heroes 2 Desperate Struggle: Another Look Into Violent Media Part Three

Part three took some time for sure. There have been many things to write about in the past and well I did have like nine posts on No More Heroes last year, so yea… I needed to flush things out here and there. Then here I am doing a post on No More Heroes again. This is not even about Travis Strikes Again yet and I bet there will be tons of material coming from that. This part of this reflection on No More Heroes 2 will be looking back on the first game a whole lot since we are getting many returning faces. At the same time though many of these old characters bring some new faces to go along with them. 

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To start out we got Dr. Letz Shake and hey Travis actually remembers this guy. Remember how Travis forgot Helter Skelter and insulted Skelter Helter? Well Travis remembers the fight he could not get, says something doesn’t it? While the original Letz Shake was just a throw away character in great effect, he is not the one who survived, it was the machine. Somehow that giant brain survived the explosion and was implanted into a new brain. A big change is that Dr. Letz Shake is in control of himself fully with no aid. The doctor easily talks a whole lot more and he actually has an interaction with Travis this time. Now the obvious type of character the machine is well, exactly that, a machine. There are tons of fictional heroes that are robots, cyborgs, androids, and so much more. A big thing is that robot kind cannot hurt mankind, a rule of robotics. How does that break though? 

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Dr Lets Shake has one unique thing compared to the usual robot, a brain. It’s interesting to note that him having the human brain is a curse in his own words. He lists things off like pride and determination and how they were illogical and yet that human brain made those things go against his programming. High chance this could do with the idea of how no one can really follow concepts of perfect law and neutrality. Suda has always looked into the mind of a criminal ever since The Silver Case. Some criminals only exist because of its a new thing in their lives. A machine would normally just say no to bringing harm to others, but since the brain has commands on its own it gives desires and needs a robot would usually not have. The doctor wants some chaos in his life and he even got revenge on Henry with that logic. Again, revenge is a big theme for this game and with a machine hardwired with revenge and then gets it, what is left? Obviously, the programming would just be to get more results of that same nature, so of course fighting Travis would make sense. They both share a need of finally dueling each other. This does bring me back to Matt Helms, a spirit from Hell getting revenge for who knows how long by now. The machine is simply following this madness since all he left to do is to kill, his programming and human brain do not merge well. We get a well running machine with a terrible sense of logic, just the perfect killing machine a phrase used for many criminal characters. 

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After a brief shot of the past we get a much bigger blast from the past comes back with Shinobu, the second playable character. Shinobu in the first game was a high school girl who wanted revenge for her father’s death. She was spared by Travis and now she has become a much stronger assassin. Shinobu seems to have moved on from her past and with how she sees Travis as her master means she made herself a pupil. Travis keeps telling Shinobu that he is not her master which is much more than one would think. The title of this game is called No More Heroes and it is meant literally. Many of these people fought for selfish reasons and Shinobu fought for revenge in the past and Travis did as well and is doing that again. So, while Travis is just not wanting any students, the story could be showing to not follow the footsteps of revenge. She even fell in love with Travis as the two seem to know each other better now, again it has been three years. Travis ends up rejecting her and it could be of something in the past again. Travis probably forgot about killing her in general like he said he would before. Still he simply had no affection for Shinobu which could because of he did not win this reward. 

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In the first game, Travis wanted sex as a reward from Slyvia and before his revenge kicked in, it happened again. Travis wants the unmelt able ice queen, something that seems impossible to win against. Just like how Travis looked into his fights from the past, he wanted to fight someone stronger than him. While he has become that icon and now others are becoming Travis like Nathan Copland and Shinobu. Travis did not mean to hurt Shinobu, but after he victories over three assassins, she did not get her reward. This could have been a big shock of reality for her as when she leaves, she felt nothing. There was even some concept art for what many thoughts would be a new game for Shinobu. Which was concept art for Lily Bergamo, Shinobu is in a scene with fain. She hides her eyes with a red umbrella and seems that she has won a fight with the main character and she has no reaction towards it. Shinobu could have become an emotionless fighter with no real purpose anymore all because both her reasons for fighting lead her to nowhere. I am really interested in what Travis Strikes Again has for her now. 

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Now while I will skip Million Gunman because of how useless he is, but maybe he is a joke on money means nothing. This character was nothing in the end and all he had was money, probably even showing that your rewards can lead to little in life. The bigger focus of this though is New Destroyman, yup Destroyman is back. The previous Destroyman was a huge parody on superheroes and their identities. It was naturally obvious that he considers himself Destroyman before his actual real-life identity. This time however, he has both those personalities since there are two of him. One acts like the noble man and the other is highly perverted and rude, Travis looks nice compared to him. Even if these two have some different views in the end they work together. You got to remember that Destroyman already worked with these differences before. He hid himself with a fake sense of honor. Now we just see one showing the true colors all the time. Even if separated they cannot work without each other, somehow poetic, I guess. The “hero” and the “psycho” both want a win in the end so they do just that, pull the same old dirty tricks as before. No matter how much you change on the outside you still get the same results. Could even be a joke on superhero duos and how having an accomplice makes things look worse. Like no side has any objections and neither of them fight each other. They work well like a well-oiled machine (see what I did there). 

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Onto a rather silent boss of this game, but he actually still holds a whole lot. Hell, his death is probably one of the best in this game with how disappointing it is. Ryuji the lone samurai faces Travis who is also considered a samurai. One with the dragon and the other with the tiger, its ying and yang. I even love that Ryuji is wearing white while Travis wears red. This was a fight that Travis wanted to remember and how he felt for winning was great. Travis did not send a killing blow right away, he yelled victoriously. Travis seems to be acknowledging his fellow combatants for once and this will not be the last time. The big joke with Ryuji though is that he is no modern samurai unlike Travis. Ryuji really sticks to the basics and Travis still feels his own person even with the samurai motif. Ryuji is silent as noted before and only fights, it his way of bushido and he expresses that solely with his actions. Sylvia gunning Ryuji down in the end really showcases how just following the code of bushido without a real sense of purpose can lead you down a bad path. It even feels like a callback to the original ending planned for No More Heroes where Travis gets gunned down by Slyvia. Another modern samurai being gunned down with no real sense of fashion, just a cold and quick death. 

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Finally, for this part we get back to the man known as Henry Cooldown. The modern knight so to speak. Sadly, his code of chivalry is not really the focus point here. Henry is simply stuck in an odd dream like reality. The girl Mimmy appears before him and seeing how cute she is with robot parts it’s obvious where she came from, Travis Touchdown. The form Mimmy has is simply because of Henry’s brother. Travis even had a mech in this game and we know his love for Moe~ anime. Note that Mimmy has the number forty-two on her swimsuit, school swimsuit I might add (a popular fetish). The number is a reference to the Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy where forty-two is used to answer the ultimate question to life itself. For Travis this is still his life even with revenge in his blood and even after the events of the first game. Travis is still living with what entertains him and even more now with Travis Strikes Again, he just sticks to playing video games. Travis is so absorbed into this lifestyle that it can be seen as ruining his life. 

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It is also funny to note that this is Henry’s fight and a return for his character. Henry is fighting the personification of what Travis lives for. Henry clearly had different things in his life. He was married before and sought out to live like a good honest husband. Henry has no time for this and wants out. What is funny though is that the boss character that shows more of Travis than anything while Henry is given nothing. At least this shows that Henry is still ready to fight Travis, he is literally fighting his way of life. These two are rivals and they respect each other for that. Henry probably really hates what Travis loves which I would love to look back to what Henry said in the first game. “You are a disgrace to yourself and all those you killed.” People say that it’s a line noted to the man he killed in that scene who is Garcian Smith in spirit, but it could have been pointed to Travis. The previous time Henry met Travis was in an open wasteland and then he sees Travis in his home on the toilet. He got to learn what Travis really is. So, this is simply a really elaborate way to refresh that idea. 

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While not a big look into violent media this time around, the overall view of what it does to people is important. Again, Travis is a victim to the media he loves and the same could be said for Shinobu and Henry. Shinobu was the femme fatale and she still show that attitude without the need for revenge. Now judging by her in concept art she became hollowness. Henry is a victim to chivalry which has been showcased in media time and time again. Dr. Letz Shake, a machine with a robot brain fueled by revenge and full of inconstancies to robotic logic. Destroyman the image of being led by the false pretense of ends justify the means. Then Travis, the man who still dawns a beam katana an obvious Star Wars reference and in love with anime and wrestling. These characters really showcase what it means to be the victim to the media. 

Just one more left to go as it will be a big one for sure. Of course, I am leaving my favorite boss for last, but we have seen Travis learn what it means to feel bad about another man’s death again, similar to Holly Summers from the first game. This is going to lead to more bosses showing him what it means to truly fight for and learn what vengeance is really brining you to. We got a singer, a man from space, a lost soul, and a juggernaut of franchising.

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My Top Ten Games For 2018

Another year has passed on by and man oh man what amazing games we had this year. Again, it felt like everything has been bring their best games as of lately. I hear FPS fans, fighting game fans, RPG fans, and even platformer fans being happy with what we got this year. Now of course I cannot play everything which is why I always do some honorable mentions like usual. 

Honorable Mentions 

Octopath Travler 

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Sqaure Enix can be a hit or miss company for me now these days. At least I can say there are some hits though. Last year was Nier Automata and now this year I was quite content with Octopath Traveler. Never got around to finishing this game, but I did get through a large portion of it. For me personally this does well to tickle my old school love for some RPG’s. The sprite animation along with a detailed art style for monsters and foes and the great background art. The voice acting has some top actors like an all-time favorite of mine, Patrick Setiz, but even has the Parody Rangers creator, Kirbopher doing the voice of the thief. I really enjoy the multiple stories being done, but I would have loved to see more interaction between characters there are little bits of that at the least. The game provides a fun challenge with a great system of breaking down the enemy’s defenses and even preventing them from unleashing big attacks. On top of that the system spices itself up thanks to bosses that protect themselves with goons. Your cast of characters have a large array of skills both in battle and with exploring which I love. Interaction with the NPC characters make them feel more important and knowing you can have them battle is both awesome and funny. This was a nice surprise to get for an old school feeling RPG and I would easily welcome this over whatever Final Fantasy is now these days. 

Xenoblade Chronicles 2 Torna The Golden Country 

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Speaking of RPG’s, I love Xenoblade. I have talked about Xenoblade 2 is probably my least favorite of the three games, but for me the other two are just really great games. While Xenoblade 2 is a bit lacking the content is not. Nintendo and Monolith Soft are doing great work to keep this game alive with content. New challenge modes and allies you can get like Shulk and Elsa from the previous games. Then there is a whole second campaign to play which is a prologue to the main game. I did not dabble to much with it yet since I am still going through the main game as of now, but I will easily get to it this year for sure. I really just wanted to express my love and glee for Xenoblade as a whole and seeing it continue to live is great. 

Spyro Reignited Trilogy 

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Last year we had Crash Bandicoot come back from the grave and now it is Spyro’s turn. I bet debates are going around of which remake trilogy is better just like the good old days these two had. In the end, both franchises are great and their remakes show why people loved them and why they can still be in the current market. I do love that Spyro got many new design aspects added to it and made the world a bit more colorful and unique this time around. The dragons in the old games were pretty much the same, but it was a PlayStation original game so that is fine. I simply love that this team went a mile ahead to add this extra flair to give Spyro more life than just completely remaking the game. While I have no big personal background with the franchise, it is nice to see how refreshing dusting off a classic can still feel good in this era of gaming. Again, the best of luck to Crash and Spyro and we are getting Crash Team Racing back too. 

Valkyria Chronicles 4 

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The original Valkyria Chronicles is a big personal favorite game of mine. It was one of my first games on the PS3 along with Blazblue and Nier. What always got me invested in this game was the lovely art style it had. Sadly, the franchise decided to take an odd path with the PSP, but now we got a console game again! The art style is back and I do feel new things added to this game feel as great as the original one did. I never played the third one for obvious reasons and the sequel never got me too interested like the original game did. This fourth entry brings back the love the first game had. The difficulty feels right with adding new things that can both be beneficial, but when the enemy has it, it becomes a whole new game of strategy. So far, I have only played the demo which is a large one! I cannot wait to get fully into this game this year as well. 

10. Fighting EX Layer

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Alright time for the actual top ten and we start off with a fighting game. For those who do not know there was a spin off Street Fighter series called Street Fighter EX. Capcom and Arika made this spin off game and with that came original characters for that series. The series became dormant for a long time and then came along Fighting Layer a fighting game made by Arika with even more original characters. Then what started as an April Fool’s joke ended up becoming a real game and while this is not a big budget fighting game like Street Fighter or Tekken it came with a whole lot of heart. The Gougi system is a fun way to spice up a traditional fighting game with effects being added on how well you do in a battle. Along with that it just brought so many fan favorites back like Skullomania and Blair Dame to name two of my personal favorites. For this year we are even getting three more characters with only one being a purchase because a guest character like Terry Bogard was not going to be free. Still it is great to see another fighting game IP get revived and breath once more. 

9. Mario Tennis Aces

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The Mario sports game have been the type of game that I do not get excited for now these days. This one though brought back the high point that was Camelot games. These guys did amazing with Mario sport titles like the original Tennis games all the way till Power Tennis on Gamecube. They even did great baseball and soccer games as well. For a while though the Mario sports games did not have this company and they felt plainer and more basic than anything else. Mario Tennis Aces brings back this great company and it brought back nearly everything I loved about the Gamecube title. The mechanics feel tight and oddly enough add a fighting game sense of logic to it. The idea that you can win via KO is crazy to hear for a tennis game, yet it works. The story mode was a fun addition and not as great as previous ones it was challenging for sure which is great to have a game that makes you learn it to actually win. This game already had some free add-ons for it and there is still more coming, so keep breaking those rackets! 

8. Megaman11/ Street Fighter V Arcade Edition 

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Welcome to the beginning of the Capcom redemption era. When people saw a new Megaman title everyone lost their minds. People had some worries because of the price being lower than the usual cost, but to me that was a good sign. A lower budget game does not mean it will be a bad game. To be honest this was a company making sure they can do this without a great loss in the end. Along with that the lower price tag can convince people to buy a game. Then with seeing how this game plays and feels, Capcom knew this would sell and decided to still spare our wallets. The classic Megaman series got a nice kick back into the gears thanks with the new mechanics of being able to power yourself up or slow down time around you. The level design works great with this new feature and even boss fights work along with it. Sure, it still has some of the annoyances of the old school Megaman and that is completely fine. I am just happy to see Megaman still being able to do well. Along with that Street Fighter V saved itself with this Arcade version. The season three characters were all amazing with fan favorites like Sakura and Sagat returning, but even some new characters got tons of excitement like G who could be a new favorite of mine for the entire series. The new mechanics for SFV felt great and give variety in nice ways and some characters new tools to work with. So, Capcom did great this year along with Monster Hunter as well and we even got more things to come like Resident Evil and Devil May Cry, thank you Capcom. 

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7. Kirby Star Allies

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I have talked about this new Kirby game already and while the base game was good, I do feel the free add-ons really saved it. The amount of play time you can have with a platformer like Kirby just skyrocketed thanks to new characters, levels, bosses, and even new modes. The big thing with Star Allies was having fun with friends and that ended up making the base game easier than previous titles which is saying something. The content that got added later on though, wow this actually got a bit tricky. On top of that the fan service this game got was amazing. Not only did returning faces help that the overall love Nintendo have Kirby’s universe as of lately feels so vast. Never would I have thought we can see the original Kirby design again or even the rejected Meta Knight design be used for a new boss called Morpho Knight. Kirby is always about the fun which is important for new players and on top of that the love this game had for the overall franchise felt great for someone who started with Kirby 64 and explored the entire franchise after that. I feel like this is a great end point for this era of Kirby and I wonder what will be next for Kirby. 

6. Yakuza 6/Kiwami 2

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Here we are again talking about Yakuza. In the year 2017, we had Yakuza 0 a great prequel game that gave Majima his time to shine and even got more time to shine thanks to the remake of the first title. Yakuza got a great kick into the mainstream thanks to these titles and 2018 just added more for this franchise. A brand-new game and a farewell to Kiryu’s tale and then a remake for the original sequel of the franchise. What is important to note is that the team brought a new engine to work with and while I had some doubt, I would love it as much as the old one, it really blew me away. The game got even sillier thanks to it and way more interactive than I have thought. Kiryu just blasting his foes into anything possible and how fluid it all feels is so impressive. I even had big doubts doing into Kiwami 2 because the original second game to me felt so underwhelming and yet the team found great ways to bring new life to it. Massive story improvements and even working some of the minigames Yakuza 6 and improving them even. Now while for this year there is no new Yakuza game, the team is bringing a new game with this new engine and man it looks insane. Really happy for this team and they even did a Fist of the North Star game in 2018 (sadly never got to playing it yet) as well, hot damn they are on fire! 

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5. Soul Calibur 6

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Fighting EX Layer was a nice surprise, but an even bigger surprise was hearing that Soul Calibur was returning. This franchise was in bit of a dark era with titles like 4 and 5 being lackluster at best and we even had terrible things like Lost Swords. This sixth installment reworked some of the past things that made Soul Calibur work and reintroduce it to give it new life. The story came back in much better ways as it retells the first two games and even makes major changes so that whatever comes afterwards will be new. Even some Soul Calibur 3 material got new introductions like the character Tira. The two guest characters so far felt amazing and for a guy who never dabbled with the Witcher series, SC6 does a great job of showing him off. 2B is by far my personal favorite for many obvious reasons, but I am just happy to see this franchise really bring back its “A” game. The game flows so well and makes me feel SC2 vibes and the way meter is handled is far better than whatever 4 and 5 tried to do. There is still more coming and there is still more to cover for Namco Bandai. 

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4. Blazblue Cross Tag Battle 

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As mentioned before Blazblue was an important fighting game franchise for me. It got me to explore the genre way more to the point where I even know of the Street Fighter EX characters. So, when a new Blazblue got announced I was surprised because of Central Fiction and then seeing the crossover aspects made me lose my mind. This looked like a Marvel VS Capcom 2 for Arc System Works and while I still want to see Guilty Gear added to this battle, I have high doubts it will happen. Still this roster has many great things from Blazblue, Persona, and Under Night In-Birth. I am not a fan of RWBY at all, but I will say this game does well in using them as I do love their designs and can see them being awesome fighters. The fan service is high with unique interactions between characters and the DLC while a bit much is still fun to have. There will be a fifth franchise added to this game and I am both excited and worried on what it might be. Now the story mode for this game was short and simple and I was fine with that, the voice actors do great with doing their roles and hearing English for Under Night In-Birth characters was really awesome. They got really good ones too which helps. The mechanics in this game are smooth and crazy. You can tag and switch with ease and even do a full-on co-op attack. They even have the Astral Finishers in this game! This game is crazy and the overall flow is just great again it really feels like MvC2 in terms of flow and fun. I am really curious of what Arc Sys will have for 2019. 

3. The Missing J.J. Macfield and the Island of Memories

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Swery 65 is not your usual creator. Like Suda 51, he aims to do things that people will not expect. While this can sound like a bad idea, for his first game under his new company he made a small project called The Missing. A game that took some inspiration from Limbo in terms of exploring and add Swery’s crazy mind to it. The idea that you have to hurt yourself to such extreme lengths like severing body parts to the point you are just a rolling head to proceed further is insane. It never comes off as bad taste either, Swery really new how to present all of this material with a dark sense of humor that never ruins the overall emotional tones it is going for. The game oozes with personality and thanks to a unique play style it feels fresh and rewarding to see this. While a smaller game it hits home pretty well. The story this game has could not be for everyone and I bet some might be a little bothered by what is presented, but the ending really warms everything up. While brutal and unsettling this game can get, continuing onward and finishing this game is rewarding. This is a great first game and with The Good Life on its way, things are looking good for Swery 65. 

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2. Dragon Ball Fighterz

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Dreams can come true, we finally got an amazing Dragon Ball fighting game! While I bet some will tell me some other games are still amazing, to me Fighterz feels like the first grand slam. The 3v3 fighting game came back strong with Dragon Ball Fighterz and even the fan appeal for this game was insane! Having Arc System Works make this game was the best idea with how much detail they put into their animations. Guilty Gear has always been my personal favorite fighting game franchise and seeing this team making a Dragon Ball fighting game was simply perfection. The first footage we got to see blew away so many minds! The visuals are probably the best of any anime fighter to this day and while this game did come to some problems like Toei messing with the competitive scene and the overall usage of certain characters, this game really comes across as a great love letter to Dragon Ball. Even the story mode for being a bit longer than I was expecting still had great moments to it and make Android 21 canon! The idea of bringing a new character into this game was insane and it worked so well! Android 21 is easily one of my favorite characters of 2018, for fighting games, and even for Dragon Ball. You want something flashy and intense? Dragon Ball Fighterz is where it is at! 

1. Super Smash Bros Ultimate

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Of course, we were going to end things with Smash Bros. Now as of recently I do have some worried for the future of this game, but I will not talk about that as of now. The game we got as of right now is probably the best Smash game ever. I know I said this with Smash 4 being my favorite back in the days, but Ultimate not only brings the best of 4, but just Smash in general. The whole “Everyone is Here” aspect is not only the most insane thing to do in a fighting game, but for just a video game in general. On top of that the Adventure Mode with World of Light while a bit excessive feels grand and fun. I think it does not have the bothersome aspect of what Brawl’s Subspace had with some extremely long levels and just gets right to varied fights. The new mechanics really ended up balancing way more than expected. Heavy weights feel like they got more to work with in this game and for a man who loves his Dedede, it feels great. All stages are here and so many new modes and ideas like Final Smash Meters, Stage Morph, and no hazards just expand on how much you do in Smash Bros! A roster filled with fan favorites of both old and new with the characters and stages and just an overall packed package, makes this a Smash game to last for a long time, curious to see if the DLC run will continue after this first run. 

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Well that is it for 2018 again there were many games and I bet I will get around to playing some I missed out on. For the next year I already got a lot to look forward too. Fighting games are still going to be strong with Samurai Shodown, Dead or Alive 6, Mortal Kombat 11, and tons of more new content for existing fighting games like Dragon Ball, Street Fighter, Tekken, and Smash. The Yakuza team has Judgement coming out which has the Yakuza combat mixed with Ace Attorney law. Devil May Cry 5 is coming soon and hopefully Bayoneta 3 can be as well. Luigi’s Mansion 3, Fire Emblem Three Houses, a new Pokemon game (hopefully this one can grab me in), Animal Crossing, Yoshi Crafted World, and even Metroid Prime 4. I got a game I helped on Kickstarter called The Good Life developed by Swery 65. Streets of Rage 4 is a thing for this year folks! This first month has Resident Evil 2 Remake and of course my number one thing I have been aiming for since 2017, Travis Strikes Again No More Heroes! Like what the hell is this year going to do to me! I already named over ten games right here! 

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What Makes Devil May Cry Cool: Devil May Cry 3

Alright here we are, we get to some great material here. This was a redemption for Hideki Itsuno where his first work was Devil May Cry 2, but that game was not his fault at all. Again being put on the team late in development meant he had to try his best to salvage something. His next appearance with the franchise will be with being the director once more for the third game in the series. Many consider this to be the highest peak of the franchise, sure not in the sales department, but for just being one of the best games not only for Capcom. This is considered the game that started the Character Action genre thanks to many new mechanics for the series. There is going to be a whole lot to cover with this game so I guess we should start with the man himself, Dante.

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Dante in this game is completely different from his last two appearances. The first Dante acted like a smug superhero and in the sequel he was nearly silent. For the third game; with this being a prequel its the youngest Dante around and man he is a goofball. This started the trend of Dante being the lovable oaf and boy do we love him. Dante keeps the red coat of course and yet he decides to wear no shirt, at least he got pants on. Dante is a reckless youth for sure and with that comes a whole ton of style. Many of Dante’s actions can be seen as less efficient because he loves to drag a fight out and do something cool all the time. The introduction scene proves this since Dante has many foes stab him with their scythes and then he walks off like nothing happened. He proceeds to bust his jukebox to get one track to get him going. Dante eats pizza, slides on his enemies, and even does a Matrix stylized moment with billiard balls. This is one of the best tone establishments for any game around. Dante is no superhero or quiet type, he is loud and destructive!

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This is also where the style goes all out here because there are many ways to be stylish. Dante starts out with four possible styles to play as. There is Trickster where you can dodge attacks with ease, Swordmaster gives you extra moves to use, Gunslinger gives you Devil May Cry 2’s gun mechanics with some extra flair, and Royalguard gives you a parry move that can also be used as an attack. The amount of options you got here is insane and sadly you can only be one at a time until you get to a new level or to the statues where you can change everything. The additions of new weapons are back and extremely varied. Of course Dante as his Rebellion which actually started in DMC2, the design here though is the one we know and love. Cerberus is the triple ice nunchuck that gets many hits in. Agni and Rudra are dual swords with elemental properties of fire and wind that gives you tons of movement attacks. Nevan an electric guitar weapon that can shoot projectiles and pillars of volts! Finally, we get to Beowolf a weapon with light properties that are the usual gauntlet weapons. The weapon selection is diverse here and with having two at all times to freely switch to, the experimentation is large. On top of that this is the game where the Devil Triggers became extremely popular. With help from the lead designer from the Shin Megami Tensei series we got amazing demonic looks for both Dante and his rival for this game.

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So with Dante we easily got more fluid controls and freedom to do whatever you want and there are still two styles to use later on. The amount of things Dante got in this game is insane. For the most of his journey in this game, Dante is not a good person, like at all. We still end up loving him though because we see the tragedy he is living and it only gets worse later on. In the end though, Dante keep his smile and finds a true path to follow which we soon get to how he is like in the first game and his next appearance in the fourth game. Dante might be doing the unthinkable and yet still comes off an understandable character with flaws we can relate to. He deals with the death of his mother in an uncontrollable manner. He is only eighteen and who knows what he has been doing before those years. Taking revenge in the fun way was the best option for Dante since he needed to cope. With the first Dante, we loved him for being a silly hero. While still silly he became more relatable and those moments when he starts to become the hero feels enlightening and rewarding, since his biggest challenge is no joke in this game.

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Well time to gush about one of gaming’s greatest rival characters around. Like the hell with Gary Oak, it’s all about Vergil! Vergil has been shown in the series before when he was Nelo Angelo. We did not get a whole lot from him in that since he was being used by Mundus. This is Vergil’s true introduction to the series and it was a strong one, so strong that the reboot had to cash on this by making their own Vergil. It’s insane that he got this much love simply from one game, I’m not kidding. Sure Vergil got to be playable later on in DMC 3’s and 4’s special editions, but those happened later. The reason why Vergil worked so well was his relation to Dante and how similar they were and yet so different.

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The first thing to notice with Vergil is his first scene where he kills the big reaper monster with one slice. This was technically the first boss in the game and many people had trouble with him when DMC3 first launched in the States since the difficulties were lying to them. The normal mode was actually on hard which I bet got people angry and getting good really fast. Dante wastes so much time with attacking demons and Vergil does the complete opposite. So high chance people will think Vergil is silent with his quick fighting style. Quite the different actually, he is stoic for sure, but not quiet. Hell, Vergil even has his own funny lines, he is just rather dry with his approach. On top of that both Dante and Vergil are young and still act like kids in many ways. They did not grow up properly as mentioned before.

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Dante and Vergil lost their mother at a young age and with both of them, they wanted revenge. Dante made his business to hopefully find the demon one day, but in the end he soon made his business more about the people. Dante got to see what his father’s (Sparda) legacy does to other people and Dante felt responsible for that. With Vergil he focused on his revenge only and while selfish for sure, Vergil had a true purpose to fight unlike Dante in the beginning. Vergil made sure he did not want to feel that pain again and to do that he needed to become more powerful. Vergil aimed for his father’s legacy to make himself stronger so that he can prevent the pain he felt as a child. I feel many people ignore this side of Vergil and think of him as a bland character and yet that is not the case. Vergil is deeply wounded inside and while Dante hides it with silly antics, Vergil hides it with a stone cold face. These are two brothers fighting not only themselves, but are even fighting the pain in their hearts.

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So with these two clashing not only in battle, but personalities this got to make a very amazing set of boss fights for Vergil. Oddly enough just like with Nelo Angelo you fought him three times. The third game repeats this and the scaling to them are amazing. Dante with no purpose loses the fight, when awakened with new powers he can stay toe to toe with Vergil, and then with a purpose in his heart he finally defeats Vergil. All three fights are huge stables for the franchise, especially the second fight because still to this day that second theme for Vergil is being remixed as we speak. The interactions of the protagonist and his foil are so important to any story. It’s amazing how in the early days people just knocked on Devil May Cry’s story and yet there is true structure here and gripping characters, which reminds me of a certain… Lady.

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Mary who soon goes with the name Lady after she moves on from her past, is another big fan favorite in the series. With how Lady was used in this game was important since she is the sole reason why Dante got to see what trouble has been brewing up. Lady herself comes with family issues where her father wanted Sparda’s powers and did everything he could for that. This lead to the death of Lady’s mother and soon getting Lady packing heat for revenge. The comparisons to Lady and Trish are easy to note since they are female characters that help our main character. Trish reminded Dante of his mother and got Dante to express mercy after who knows how many years of demon slaying. Lady got to show Dante how important finding a purpose is and to defend people from the true horrors caused by his family. Lady with her lovely assortment of guns really showcases the first time a pure human can really fight in the hard task of demon slaying. Her best weapon the Kaliana Ann is a fan favorite weapon and even has a new version of it the upcoming fifth game. The giant rocket launcher is durable and explosive. This become more important later on in the fourth game as well since she was not all that present in the original version, Lady got to be playable later on.

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Which comes to probably the most important part of why Devil May Cry 3 is so awesome, the beginning of an amazing cast. Ruben Lagden comes to play as Dante and fans loved his performance. The same for Daniel Southworth playing Vergil. When the motion capturing became a big thing for this game, they had to make sure to get actors that are ready for some stunts. Ruben even made sure to get someone like Southworth since he has experience with stunt acting before during his times with Power Rangers. The motion capturing really brought these characters to life and the scene directing was top-notch too. A big thing that ends up happening is that many moves end up coming from the scenes. Dante sliding on foes, Lady and Dante shooting each other’s bullets, and Vergil deflecting bullets with his sword. This game established the idea of making sure to make a scene with a move that can be done in the game. Hell you can even see Dante use Lady’s motorcycle as a weapon which is now a thing in the fifth game! So this mindset is still living on to this day.

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This game even comes with many secrets that would be unable to pull off in today’s gaming age. One of Dante’s styles is the Doppleganger where he can summon a copy of himself to fight with. If you had a second controller plugged in and activate this mode, a second player can control the clone. The same even happens when Vergil fights alongside Dante which is funny to see Vergil being playable come in a later edition of the game since he could be used in the base game for a short moment. Devil May Cry 3 even continued the secret missions and a whole lot better this time around and did it in the original game’s fashion. Challenges that vary between fighting and knowing the game. This game also has a boss rush stage and its rewarding to fight bosses with all you got and you can do this whenever too. The game comes with a stage select as soon as you beat level one. You can easily grind and train on level one as long as you need to. The game while being challenging is never unforgiving since it gives you so many options to not only go back and play again and find new secrets and methods to fight hard bosses or simply kill enemies in more stylish flair.

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Overall it is no wonder why Devil May Cry 3 is a special game. Things could only get higher after the sequel and while it did not sell as well, the legacy this game has lived on longer for sure. This started a trend of Character Action games including the fourth game of the series. Also this was the era where Capcom had everybody following them. When Resident Evil 4 happened, everyone was doing the third person shooter. Then with Devil May Cry 3, everyone wanted to make an awesome action game. Devil May Cry 3 holds a big image with its Dante being a reckless youth being challenged by his twin brother who easily set himself forward more than Dante. Along with them was a feisty lady that got to show the strength of humans. The production on this game is special thanks to memorable performances and insane action pieces. Things should only get better after this since Devil May Cry finally gets to be on more than one platform with its fourth game and with it comes a new face.

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Travis Strikes Again No More Heroes: The Return Of Many

There has been a recent wave of information for the new No More Heroes game. Not only were there many interviews before this there was also a new look into the game with a lovely trailer. I got to love the fact that the demo will not be in the game technically because it’s called Electric Thunder Tiger II. Still lots was left to be a mystery and Suda saying Travis is not going to be in Smash is not the best thing to hear. Many know I pushed for Travis in Smash, but it was not my entire life. My focus has been on Travis Strikes Again for a long time and the previous eight No More Heroes posts can prove that. This franchise has just become a favorite of mine, the two games probably have the most time I ever put into a game. Not only because of my play time, but along with all the research I do to make these posts. I adore every single thing about the franchise even if I cannot fully enjoy them. The overall products show so much for gaming in general. So, what all got shown off for Travis Strikes Again? Well the big thing would be the return of some classic characters. 

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A season pass has been confirmed for this game for quite some time and people had no idea on what to expect. Suda seems to be following on what Breath of the Wild did for its DLC run which is a game Suda had tons of fun with, he literally got all nine hundred of those seeds. Suda knew how much love certain characters had in the franchise so he decided to bring them back, well at least two of them. I feel like there could be more down the line. Still the two characters we got are Shinobu Jacobs and Bad Girl, yes you heard that right Bad Girl. Suda said we would have to play the overall game first to understand why Bad Girl is back. I already know because of Bad Man being a playable character, he wanted to bring her back to life. Along with these characters comes new stages to play and even new adventure game sequences for both Travis and Bad Man. So what kind of game play can they bring? 

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Looking in the background of Shinobu’s banner, I get the feeling of Flower Sun and Rain from it. The nature in the background along with machinery, also the nature reminds me of an island. I would not doubt Suda will drop references from his previous games because I have already seen that with Kamui popping up in the adventure mode. Still with Shinobu’s game or levels, I bet she will focus on some mix platforming and action sequences. When Shinobu was first playable she could actually jump which was new for the franchise. I bet her signature move of the sword projectile is coming back and I think Suda mentioned that she will have a new move or two as well. With Bad Girl she is coming with a new stage for the Killer Marathon which is the sports game in Travis Strikes Again. I would not be surprised if Killer Marathon would be similar to Diabolical Pitch. Since Bad Girl is coming with a new level for the sports level, she will have some baseball fun, homerun! I would love to see if she can set her bat on fire like in her boss fight. 

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Before this there was footage for two of the other games which are called Golden Dragon GP and Life is Destroy. Golden Dragon is the racing game and Life is Destroy is the mystery game. In Golden Dragon Travis enters the game to play a virtual reality game. Yes, you heard that right. We play a video game where our character is being sucked into video games just so he can play another video game while in one, WHAT?! The game focuses on a straight race, no turns or anything like that. The big thing though is how to get faster and make your foe eat your dust. The use of the stick drive to increase speed is simple, but sounds hard for people who never used it. On top of that it’s not all that easy, there will be times you cannot just win. Travis need to upgrade his gaming machine in this game to keep up which sends you down a gauntlet of enemies. Also, I will not be surprised if in further level there will be new things to do, we saw Smoke King shooting a gun on his bike to blast walls, so I bet Travis could be doing something similar. Like if you do not blow a wall down and just bash through it, it will slow you down style of punishment. Overall it looks nice and simple to play and that art style resembling old arcade games is fantastic. 

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The next game is Life is Destroy and man the opening scene for this game is fantastic! The live action scene is shown off here with the Doppelganger boss. I already love that one screenshot with him and his victim and now I get to see his method of killing. Doppelganger loves to play a game, the game of death! He takes out cards and makes his victim pick their method of death. The victim’s three options were dynamite, gun shot, or knives. To me this could be showing his set of weaponry which this really reminds me of a boss idea I had for No More Heroes. A well-trained assassin that looks more normal looking compared to rest of the cast. His methods are simple and weapons are simple. Doppelganger gets to show off his two trust knives and slice the man’s head off, unsure if the American version will have a difference in that scene then. I know gore and No More Heroes has always been an interesting story when it’s not the American versions so we shall see. 

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Man, one scene got me talking way more than I thought. For the most part this game keeps building up by the looks of it. Travis starts outside in a big neighborhood and you have to reach the houses of Doppelganger’s victims. The problem is that the road is contorted and you have to set the path for yourself. Foes seem like they can glitch through walls, especially one giant ghost enemy that will probably pop up in further levels or if you are wasting too much time outside. Every time you exit one house, you got to get further into the area. The idea that foes can always appear outside adds surprises in this area. The bird’s eye view is perfect for this mode since you can make the path as you explore. When you are inside houses you got to explore the house and fight foes which feels like a way of collecting clues. So far people who have played this have not talked too much about the whole thing, but they did say it clicks in naturally. There was even a mini-boss with a giant goat creature with green masks around its body. Have to say the difficulty got boosted for sure since I have seen game overs for this battle and people getting wasted by the hordes of foes. The damage got scaled up for sure. Overall, this is the mode I want to play the most since Doppelganger is going to be one of my new favorite characters. 

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It is still crazy that there is much more to be seen for this game. I would love to see a Nintendo Direct for this game in particular. To quickly show off small sections of all the games in this game. Except for the last one because we still do not know the genre for that one. One of the biggest things was the voice cast for this game. Robin Atkin Downes the man who gets to play Travis Touchdown in the first game is back! I was so excited to hear this new a while back and knowing that Downes simply wanted to do it again made my heart fly with glee. Even Steve Blum is back in another Grasshopper game as the second playable character, Bad Man. Kimberly Brooks is coming back to play as Shinobu which I want to thank her personally because since she met Suda at Momocon got Suda to put her in the game. I would also not be surprised if this simple decision ended up getting to the overall season pass and new content for the game. Kathryn Fiore came back for Bad Girl and she is actually supposed to be retired which hearing that was shocking to know her doing work again. Greg Ellis the voice of Johnson from Shadows of the Damned is one of the new boss characters, Brian Buster. Even the voice director, Kris Zimmerman Salter returned to help with the voice acting.  The return of these Grasshopper veterans is so awesome! It really shows how much No More Heroes meant to not only the fans, but the actors themselves, Kimberly loves using Shinobu as a reference for her work. 

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On top of all of this, Suda 51 says No More Heroes 3 is in a planning stage as of now. Sure, nothing is set in stone, but with how much love No More Heroes is getting right now, I think it’s safe to say that its coming. Suda even mentioned that this spin-off will be extremely important to the third game since it will start right after it. Travis is supposedly getting back into his game thanks to Travis Strikes Again. The big reason is that Travis is going to be facing villains on higher proportions. Travis will be dueling and killing the likes of gods by the sounds of it because Suda made a comparison to Thanos from the Marvel universe. 

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No More Heroes is still a favorite of mine and seeing Suda 51 back in the director’s chair and seeing what he has been making feels so great! This is Suda back to true form and the idea of going small for this was what he needed. This goes back to his early days of game design and really calls back to what he said what he would do with Travis. With such a long wait for Travis’ return he got stale and the same for Suda. The both of them needed to get back into the scene and they are back in a smaller scale to only to bring it back in full force afterwards. I simply cannot wait to see what the future for Grasshopper Manufacture, Suda 51, and No More Heroes will have. Kill or be killed fellow assassin, Travis Strikes Again comes out January 18th! 

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It all started with this one image.

Super Best Friends: The LP That Got Me To Play More Games

The Super Best Friends which originally was just the Two Best Friends started by Matt and Pat on Machinima and ended up doing their own Let’s Play channel that grew to add members like Woolie and Liam has sadly ended today. Their content started about a decade ago and these were the guys I would watch the most. I remember watching their short videos on the Machinima website and loving the absurd games they would play. Not only were these guys entertaining, they got me to play way more video games then I did back then. For me video games kept growing stronger and stronger as my favorite medium and the Let’s Play community really got me to make that my favorite. I loved watching their content during my days of high school, college, and even right now. These guys were big entertainers in my life and to honor them I want to simply talk about the games, franchises, and even genres they got me into. Their range was huge and now even to this day these are games and franchises I tell people to get into. Let us shine on and look back on some old LP days. 

Silent Hill 

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For the Silent Hill franchise, I knew very little of it. Survival Horror in general was not a big place for me, except for some Resident Evil games which of course that franchise was slipping too with titles like 5 and 6. So learning of Silent Hill through the game known as Downpour seems like an odd start because it’s not a terrible game by any means, but it is a confusing one. The first LP I watched was Final Fight Streetwise with the Best Friends and I simply looked back and found Downpour. The love Pat had for this franchise was strong and most of the good stuff I heard of Silent Hill started with him. It also helped that they started to play many Silent Hill games in the future for full series or a one off during their Shitstorm videos. Horror games for me were not all that great because again things like Resident Evil have been pretty poor. The past Silent Hill had though was huge and titles like Silent Hill 3 became a near all-time favorite for me. I even love the reimagining of the original game called Silent Hill Shattered Memories. Good Silent Hill games really focused on getting under your skin and while Downpour did not do that, it did open my view to the franchise. So, cheers to drunken train guys and tour guide Nixon! 

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This was then my first introduction to Plague of Cripes, a great animator.

David Cage Games 

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Now this might be shocking to some of you guys, but do not worry I am not going to say good things here. When I saw a Heavy Rain series starting on the channel, I was a bit worried going in. Luckily though both Matt and Pat made the game look like a laughing stock. While Heavy Rain is the least of the evils, this continued a big legacy of David Cage let’s play series on their channel. Soon Beyond Two Souls and Indigo Prophecy got on the chopping block as well. Then we got whatever the hell Omikron was and finally the recent release of Detroit Become Human. Finally finding a group where David Cage hate was real was so appealing to me. Something like Heavy Rain really bothered me in my early years of gaming. It never appealed to me and I was told to be wrong with having that opinion. It was really soul crushing during the time for a young kid like me. So, finding that group meant a lot to me since it got me to voice my opinions back into action about David Cage and his horrible titles. From terrible scripts, acting, directing, and of course quick time events easily made some of the best moments for the Best Friends. 

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Chrono Trigger 

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Before my days of action and fighting games, I was pretty big on RPG’s oddly enough. A game like Tales of Symphonia really got me to focus on this genre. Chrono Trigger was a game I always heard in passing, but never was sure to play it or not. I ended up playing it and sadly never got around to finishing it. Then soon enough a Let’s Play started on that game and it motivated me to finish it. Mostly because I did not want to be spoiled on the game since I wanted to watch their content. Chrono Trigger was a big game for its time and still is to this day. It had a sequel which… yea I do not want to talk about, but the original game is a classic. The sprites were lively and helped the world look so cheerful and even sorrowful. I still love the time when you get judged and sent to prison and for the longest time, I never truly understood how that worked. Seeing Pat played helped me learn a bit more techniques since I would try things on my own for the most part. I got to learn the game better thanks to Pat so hail to the ginger warriors! 

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Even more good stuff from Plague came from that.

Metal Gear Rising 

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Now this is a big one right here. This is the start of me getting into the Character Action game genre. For the most part the only action game I would play a whole lot of was No More Heroes 1 and 2. Hell I did not even play a Metal Gear game by this point in my time. Still seeing Metal Gear Rising and hearing the yelling and excitement motivated me to play this game. Slicing everything up, the amazing boss fights, and that overall soundtrack won me over so quickly. Then it just keeps piling up right there. Seeing the Platinum Games logo made me play Bayonetta, sadly on the PS3 though, still loved the game though. Then of course it led to me finding out about Devil May Cry with the fourth game being my first one. We all know how big Devil May Cry is for me as of right now I am doing retrospectives of those games on how they are the cool games. Metal Gear Rising I can tell you for sure is an awesome game of itself and I will probably do a whole analyzing post on that in the near future. It’s an amazing game that not only started love for one of my favorite characters, but for a growing genre as well. 

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Deadly Premonition

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I really had no idea who Swery 65 was before. It’s so odd for a man who knew of Suda 51 and loved his insane styling not knowing of a man with a similar passion. The only thing I knew of Deadly P was the short video that Matt and Pat did and then seeing the full LP made me love it so much. I bought my own copy of the PS3 version which is the best one unless if you mess around with the PC version so that it does not have horrible loading times. This game is insane to a fine point. The story is a huge parody of Twin Peaks and the gameplay itself is not even that good. This became a huge guilty pleasure for my gaming days and many friends know why I love it. I eat Sinner Sandwiches every year in honor for this game. This game also got me to love a “bad” game and started me to separate what I just like compared to what I think is good. This was a huge important stepping stone for me. Knowing of when something is good and when something is fun is extremely important. I can say there are games that are good, but are not fun for me personally. It finally got me to stop forcing myself to say I like certain titles because of them being “good.” A game that works fine is different from a game that is fun to you, remember that. 

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Yakuza 4 

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The Yakuza franchise is awesome and for those who remember I put Akiyama as one of my favorite video game characters. I am still debating if I want to replace him with Majima because of Yakuza 0, but that is so hard! Either way my beginning of Yakuza was with the Best Friends. Pat did a great job of showing this franchise off to his fans. Man, what a crazy ride this series can be. There are so many things to do in Yakuza that it got me to want to see everything in it. The whole idea of four playable characters with all of their own side quests, mini games, and fights was so appealing to me. Already getting into action games this came at a great time too. The combat feels so great when you can bash people into anything your heart wants to. Random encounters never got boring thanks to so much variety in how you can beat one person up. Scripted fights felt great thanks to amazing little breaks of visual greatness and spicing up the level layout. While the franchise had some dark times, look at it now! Yakuza remade their first two games and a game like Yakuza 0 got even more people into the franchise, including a friend of mine. So, let’s dress up some girls, break out of jail, arrest all that we can, and become the legendary dragon of the Zaibatsu! 

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Fighting Games 

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Now this was an extremely big one for me. Sure, I was already playing Blazblue before watching any of these guys, but I ended up sticking to only Blazblue at this time. The Best Friends played so many fighting games that I want to thank them all for opening my eyes up to all of them. There are great titles out there that everyone knows of like Street Fighter and Tekken, to a bit more obscure products like Guilty Gear and King of Fighters, to fighting games that need to be back like Darkstalkers and Rival Schools, and of course the insane fighting games like Dong Dong Never Dies and Battle Construction Vehicles. Seeing the video of Woolie’s love for Marvel vs Capcom got me to tip my toes into Marvel VS Capcom 3 of all things. This even got to find Tatsunoko vs Capcom and then my favorite of the Versus series, Capcom VS SNK 2. Not only that I even got to learn better understanding of fighting games through them just from seeing them do it on their videos. I always do my best to find fighting games as much as I can thanks to these guys and I will never forget that. 

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For this last section I just want to thank all the members for what they contributed and what they shown me. For Matt he got me to really honor Capcom’s glory days and love the classic Beat’em ups which got to play Final Fight and Double Dragon games for the first time and really honor the Capcom golden days. Pat’s love for RPG’s and many Japanese franchises clicked with me well since stuff like Yakuza fits right up my alley. Woolie really demonstrated fighting game love to me the most and he really has an awesome taste in characters, Vergil and Kamen Rider Skull are some of the best badasses around. Liam got me to check back into Nier which was a game I watched my brother play for the most part. Liam also had tons of expertise in many games which got me to try out harder games and just difficulty options in general. Then all of their love for Character Action games and fighting games did so much for me. Both genres are where I feel really strong in and love the communities they have. I will always be watching these guys regardless if their group channel is gone. These are even guys I went to conventions for which of course I love doing that so much now! I love Matt’s solo channel and his countless series he starts there, Pat playing with Paige is great to watch for the chaos. Woolie keeps up with great content as his Nier Automata LP got me to play that game like three times more. Liam already went on his own a while ago and of course I adore him with his long stream sessions of many games even I grew up with. These guys are the LP heroes for me, so SHINE ON!

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These guys were also got me to watch Max and his fighting game doods! Again SHINE ON!

What Makes Devil May Cry Cool: Devil May Cry 2

This is not going to be an easy one. With the beginning of Devil May Cry, it is easy to define what makes it cool thanks to Hideki Kamiya putting his ideal of cool into the game. This sequel right here is an interesting one to look at. Sadly, Hideki Kamiya did not work on this title even though he was still working with Capcom. High chance Viewtiful Joe was taking his time. So, for this second game featuring the demon hunter Dante was handled by a new team. Development was not going well though and this was Hideki Itsuno’s first DMC title under his belt when he was thrown onto this project as the director. Poor Itsuno was tossed into a bad game from the start because knowing that the game was still slated for its original release date and have to get a full game done at the halfway mark already gone, there was no way of saving this game. Itsuno has talked about how when he was thrown into the project one of the few things that was fully done was the move Stinger. Still a big thing with this game is that the developers took notes from the fans’ responses to the first game and used it for number 2. What did people want and did they get it?

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For the character Dante, fans grown to love his silly behavior that started from the first game. Now what we got in Devil May Cry 3 and 4 is still different from the original Dante. The original Dante as mentioned before acts like a Toksatsu hero which is something Kamiya has a soft spot for. Let us bring up one of the glaring problems of the original Dante though, his lines. Now this could have been because of translation errors or being translated too accurately and not changing them to fit English better, but who really knows. All I know the light about darkness reaching someone’s heart is up there with Zero’s “What am I fighting for?!” for one of the funniest moments in a Capcom game. Maybe some people had issues with that line or other lines possibly. The reason I bring this up is because Dante is mostly silent in the sequel. While this is a drastic change to the character can a silent protagonist be cool? The answer to that is yes, there have been many famous characters that barely speak a line, especially in video games. To be honest though I feel like Dante is tapping into a different type of media hero for this game and a good way to find that out is to look at some certain weapons.

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Those weapons are sadly not the swords because well there are just swords for new weapons, but there are many different types of guns still around and these things are broken. A big problem people had with the original game was that the guns were too weak. The sequel decided to make the guns stronger and they got some major steroids injected into them. This game also added some free aiming functions which oddly enough still continues to this day. Dante can shoot in all directions and he has some insane things with his guns in both gameplay and cutscenes. With this focus on the guns, could Dante be more focused on a Western hero, like cowboys and gunslingers? One character that comes to mind for me with this mentality of not talking all that much, but has some insane gun play would be The Man with No Name. Again, this is proving that having a character being silent is not impossible and conveying greatness can simply come from body language. DMC 2 simply tried to make Dante a different type of cool and while it did not work, people still love this design for Dante to this day. This design even got into Shin Megami Tensei 3. So, what is the reason why a silent Dante does not work? 

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A big reason to bring up is that this game try to make lightning strike twice. Trish was a popular character and had high demand to be playable. There is a Trish option in the game, but in reality, her spotlight gets taken by a new female character, Lucia. With Lucia she happens to be a created being made by the villain of this game. If this sound familiar well that is because Trish was created by Mundus to lure Dante. While Trish had reason to be a created creature was that Dante still had trouble striking her down and had hope for her. Trish ends up becoming a better person and not a devil, because “Devils never cry.” This line is even repeated with Lucia when she tells Dante to kill her and she sheds a tear. So not only does it feel that Dante is not giving his all, the overall game’s presentation isn’t either. Everything just comes across as boring.

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While a new character is playable her effect on the series was not a strong one. I get that the idea of twin swords and throwing weapons such as knives and grenades fits Devil May Cry well enough, but again DMC 2 just fails at the concept. I mean you can even look at Lucia’s design and see she has a reverse color palette compared to Dante. Dante with white hair and a red outfit compared to the red haired, Lucia wearing a white outfit. I see the parallel here and I think they wanted to try and make a new female be more comparable to Dante this time around. Sadly, Dante in this game is near mute and Lucia comes off as a half-baked character. The lack of lines does not help at all too. So, can Lucia be considered cool? She has her own version of a Devil Trigger which has a nice design being an angelic looking demon. Another interesting concept to work with, but again just never comes to full fruition. At least Bayonetta gave us the female Dante we needed. 

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For weapons… yea the variety is gone this time for something a bit simpler to wrap around. I am not sure if this was an asked for thing, but high chance this was just because of time restraints more than anything else. Dante gets three swords and five guns, Lucia gets three sets of swords and five throwable weapons, and Trish has Sparda. Yes, oddly enough Trish using Sparda started here and she can do her famous toss with that weapon here too. This is going to be a point I will bring up when we get to another game in the series about making things easier. While being easy can be good for new players sometimes it gets rid of some flashy aspects. Back in the days people could not making everything a quick time event. The original DMC had so much charm because it had flair that even I am still amazed could have been done on the Playstation 2. So, making things easier this time around really ends up making the sequel shallower than anything. Sword combos were too simple and guns just broke the game where Dante can just stand still most of the time. The whole idea of Dante moving around constantly and changing into a completely different weapon is gone. Now these days we have easy combat that looks flashy and people will praise that even if it’s the same thing as just pressing one button over and over again with no variety.

 

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I am going to make some enemies here.

What is there left to say for Devil May Cry 2, it was a train wreck from the start with the idea of having a different team work on this. I feel like if this project was just given to Kamiya and his team, this sequel would have been better. In the end though, this game ended up leading to much more than any would think. Future games in this series took notes from it and even expanding on the gun mechanics. There are even rumors among fans that the second game is going to be canon thanks to Devil May Cry 5. Hideki Itsuno did start out with a dud game, but he never fully forgot it. He ended up taking ideas and using them for other sequels which leads us to the third game of the series. Devil May Cry 3, the game that started the Character Action genre as we know it and is arguably not only the best Devil May Cry game, but another one of Capcom’s royal pieces of treasure. 

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I am also going through DMC2 right now on my LP channel.

DMC2 Playlist