Wednesday, 31 December 2014

Tau's Top 5 Games of 2014

God damn!  It's finally 2015 and I think we have an exciting year ahead for us.  It's been really hard to put out any content recently since New Year is an extremely busy time.  However, I should have a significant increase to my free time in the 2015 so now is a good time to get started on producing all sorts of stuff! 

So let's kick things off with my top 5 games of 2014!  To clarify, I'm only picking off games featured on the list on the right hand side of the page.  There were a ton of great games this year and I'm aware that there are a lot of fantastic titles I didn't get to play due to restraints of time and money so don't freak out if YOUR favorite game isn't on the list.

5) Transistor

Made by the same dudes who gave us Bastion, Transistor was one of those games I had a lot of excitement for prior to release.  While I felt it wasn't quite as good as Bastion, Transistor was fun, stylish and rather challenging if you wanted it to be.

The gameplay was smooth, the music was awesome and it was just about the right length.  I had a few issues with it and the story didn't really pull me in all that well but I had a damn good time fighting the Process through Cloudbank.

4) Dark Souls 2

I loved Dark Souls 2, it was fucking fantastic.  It only comes in at number 4 since I didn't feel it was QUITE as good as Dark Souls for various reasons but it had me hooked really hard from start to finish nonetheless.

While Dark Souls 2 was extremely fun some of the changes made to the game play stripped away part of the challenge that I loved so much which soured me to it a little.  Also the world and over arching plot didn't feel as epic to me as the first game did.  That could be just me but I felt that DS1 had a lot more character than the sequel.

However, these are only little problems that I have and don't ruin the fun of a generally superb game.

3)  Hatsune Miku Project Diva F2nd

Yeah yeah, roll your eyes and call me a weaboo or whatever but I don't give a fuck because this game is AWESOME!  A great rhythm game with a really good selection of great Hatsune Miku (and others) songs.

If you aren't into poppy Japanese music then maybe this game isn't for you but if you don't mind it then there's a really fun game here.  It was also made considerably harder than the 1st one but I really enjoyed the fact that I'm not just breezing through all the songs on extreme like I did before.

It's the kind of game that I keep coming back to.  If I have a spare few minutes to kill I can just load it up and play a song or two then put it down again.  Would recommend for any Vita owner.

2) Shovel Knight

Shovel Knight was so fucking cool, it took ideas from a bunch of different games and just smashed them together and the result is magical.  There's not really all that much to say about Shovel Knight other than it's fucking good and you should go play it.  Fun, challenging, looks great and has a awesome soundtrack, it's the kind of game that everyone should at least try.

1)  South Park: The Stick of Truth

So here it is, my game of 2014.  While it was simplistic in its RPG elements, it made up for with it's character and humor.  The game is really fun to play and it's not just a weak excuse to re-run old South Park jokes for 8 to 10 hours.

While there are plenty of little nods to the show and its long history, Stick of Truth has so much to offer on its own.  I've not genuinely been this tickled by a video game in a long LOOONG time and some moments in the game had me hitting the pause button.

Even if you aren't familiar with South Park I still think you could get a lot out of it.  It's a really fun game with a ton of shit to do and if you go for 100% you'll be at it for a pretty fair amount of time.

I got it during a Steam sale but it's one of the only games I've experienced in a long time worthy of it's full asking price.


So that's my top 5 for the year.  There's a lot of games that I didn't get round to playing that may have made the list like This War of Mine and Grimrock 2 but I'm gonna be catching up with them pretty soon.

So while you're waiting for the 2015 releases to get going, go play these 5 games, you'll be more than entertained.

Monday, 29 December 2014

South Park: The Stick of Truth

This game got a lot of praise and was talked about rather highly upon its release.  This usually makes me far more harsh on a game and it's a bad habit because it can have a habit of ruining a title for me.  However, South Park is one of those games that easily lives up to all its praise and it's absolutely worth playing.

The game revolves around a "new kid" who comes to South Park and he is quickly swept up in some kind of LARP, Dungeons and Dragons type thing being run by the cast of the show.  While all this is going on, some kind of terrible government plot is happening and it is up to you and your friends to stop it.  The story to this game is essentially one big episode of the show converted into a simple RPG game so fans of the show will know what to expect from the game plot wise.

Game play wise, I find Stick of Truth to be a little lacking.  It's an extremely simple RPG with some Mario RPG esque timing things attached to the various attacks to make them hit harder or apply an effect.  I played as a Mage and found all the combat to be stupidly easy to the point where my buddy character was completely pointless.

That said though, while Stick's game play is very simplistic it makes up for by having tons of character and being genuinely funny.  There are many little nods to old episodes of the show while also having a ton of it's own humor.  It has been a long time since I genuinely laughed out loud playing a video game but a few of the moments had me hitting the pause button so I could get my shit together.

There's also a hell of a lot to do in this game.  There are tons of side quests and things to collect.  If you are a perfectionist then you will definitely get quite a significant amount of play time out of this game.  Not to mention that there are 4 playable classes (warrior, mage, thief and Jew) that all have their own unique skill sets.  The animations on some of the attacks alone warrant multiple playthroughs and have a pretty big effect on how you tackle certain situations.

I could talk for fucking ages about how good the game is and why you'd probably love it but I'd be here all day if I did that.  It would be easier to say that if you are a fan of South Park then you absolutely WILL like this game.  If you're not familiar with South Park then this isn't a good place to start but there is enough for a newcomer to enjoy too.  If you don't like South Park or you're looking for a deeper RPG experience, then you're clearly an idiot looking in the wrong place. 

Wednesday, 24 December 2014

Hopes For Next Year

With Christmas happening tomorrow and new year right around the corner, I thought I'd express a couple of my hopes for gaming in the year 2015.

1)  Next Gen Gets Interesting

The PS4 and Xbox One have been out for a good while now and I still have very little interest in either.  With Ys8 and Persona 5 along with a couple of others being announced I have some reason to be at least a little bit interested in PS4 but I'm really hoping that there will be more than just big name sequels in the near future.  I'm really looking forward to some new IP and I'm crossing my fingers that something will get released that's going to blow my goddamn mind.

2)  Less Bullshit

This one probably won't happen because bullshit makes money for publishers but I can dream.  Less crappy DLC, less day 1 drama, less glitchy and unfinished bullshit.  I'm hoping that at some point in the next year publishers will have some kind of epiphany and think "oh, maybe we should stop fucking customers up the asshole all the time" and there will be a lot less to be angry about.

3) Less Drama

There was a lot of drama this year.  Gamergate is still ongoing and people can't seem to shut up about misogyny, harassment, doxing and all sorts of other stupid bullshit.  I'm glad something like Gamergate exists to put shitty journalists on the spot but I think everyone would be better off if the drama in general just stopped.

I'd say that about sums up my top 3 wishes for gaming in 2015.  Let's hope it'll be fun! 

Monday, 22 December 2014

Euro Truck Simulator 2 Roundup

The 24 hour marathon of Euro Truck Simulator 2 was completed last weekend so I thought I'd say some stuff about what went down.  The marathon was both a great success and a huge failure but that aside it was a surprisingly good time.

First I want to say a couple of things about the game itself.  I found Euro Truck Simulator 2 to be a surprisingly good game.  I thought it would be nothing but driving round Europe in a truck and while that does make up about 90% of the game there's a bunch of other stuff about running a delivery business.  You can buy your own trucks, hire people, set up garages round Europe and all sorts of other cool stuff that make the game quite enjoyable.  To be brutally honest, if I wasn't playing it for such a long period of time, it would be the kind of game that would be fun to play on a lazy Sunday afternoon or something.

OK! Now to talk about the marathon.  I mentioned that it was a huge failure so I'll get the negative stuff out of the way first.  The only reason I say it was a huge failure is because I didn't make it to the end of the 24 hour period.  This was mainly due to the fact that I put up an incentive to start boozing while playing and do a bit of virtual drunk driving (don't ever do it for real folks!).  I've done two 24 hour marathons before this and made it to the end just fine but this marathon taught me that going 24 hours while drunk is basically impossible, at least for me.  A combination of being drunk, tired and pissed off with my constant failure at the game itself caused me to throw in the towel.  Luckily I struck up a deal with the original donator for the incentive and paid a punishment donation for each missing hour (£50)

Which then leads me nicely into the huge success part of the marathon.  First I'd like to give a big thank you to everyone who watched and an even bigger thank you to everyone who donated.  If it wasn't for the support of all the viewers it would have been unbearable torture.  The marathon raised £330 for the Alzheimer's Society which makes it, if memory serves, the most donated for marathon yet!

So once again, huge thank yous to all you wonderful people who dropped in and supported.  Big shout outs to my buddy who sat behind me for a significant part of the marathon to keep my sane.  I hope you all continue to support Identity Gaming and the Alzheimer's Society! 

I'm planning a little mini marathon to make up for the lost time and I'm thinking of an idea for the next 24 hour marathon, this time with no booze.

Tuesday, 16 December 2014

Removing Hatred is Dumb

A while ago a did a post about the game Hatred, which can be found here.  If you don't want to read it, then it basically says that while I didn't like the look of it, it didn't deserve to be banned or changed just because you are "offended" by it.

So the story is that Hatred was on Steam Greenlight and it had a bunch of thumbs up before Valve came along and pulled the plug.  They said they didn't want that shit on their store and it will not be made available on Steam.  Since then people have been getting all uppity about it and I wanted to address 3 things.

1)  It's not Censorship

This is a word that has been flying around my twitter and other places regarding the topic of the game being pulled and I can't help but feel some people have forgotten what the word censorship means.  Censorship is the SUPPRESSION of speech, public communication or what have you by people in authority.

Steam and Valve are not some major authority figure in gaming that decide what does and does not get released, they are a business.  That business has decided that a game like Hatred is not something they want in their store and have decided not to make it available as a result.  They are well within their rights to do that.  Now, weather or not they are buckling to pressure from a vocal minority of Social Justice retards is another discussion entirely but Hatred isn't being censored.

Just because it's not available on Steam doesn't mean it won't be available somewhere else.  Nobody (that I have seen) at the time writing this article is attempting to stop the production and sale of Hatred, they just want people to ignore it.

Censorship is the outright banning of a game like Rule of Rose in Europe, this is just business people making decisions and whiny idiots on the internet.

2) Removing the game is actually a dumb move

I never gave a flying fuck about Hatred really.  I saw the trailer and saw how 2Edgy4Me it was and how shit  the game play looked and decided just just ignore it and not think about it.  If Steam had let it get released to their store, the interested parties would have bought it and then everyone else would have ignored it or not known about it.

But no, you couldn't leave it alone could you?  Now you've made a big deal about it and given the game a lot of publicity but on top of that you've made it all taboo too.  It's like if someone puts a big fat flashing red button in front of you that says "DO NOT TOUCH" and nothing else.  Of COURSE a little part of you is going to want to touch it and see what the fuck happens, that's just human goddamn nature.

Hell, even I'm now more interested in purchasing hatred because of this event.  In my head it's like "Jesus, if it's too bad for Steam, a platform with games like Postal and Hotline Miami I just gotta see it now".  Thanks to Steam pulling the game off Greenlight I'm now filled with this perverse sense of curiosity and providing that it doesn't cost too much I could totally see myself buying it now.

3)  Hatred is nothing new

Why are people so bothered?  I mentioned Postal in the above section and that is a similar kind of game that got a similar kind of reaction.  But look at Postal now, it's pretty obscure and your average gamer probably won't know anything about it.  It's got infamy, sure, but there is a HUGE group of people who just know it as "that violent game that stirred some shit back in the day" and nothing more.

Let's not forget that a lot of people like to kill lazy afternoons with games like GTA.  But these lazy afternoons are not usually spent doing missions, oh no, they are spent putting in a cheat for all the guns and then murdering every single person in sight.  Man, woman, police officer, faceless tosser behind a car wheel, it doesn't matter, they are going to die for your entertainment.  I've done it, you've probably done it and a lot of people that I know have done it.  Getting pleasure from watching little pixel people die on a TV does not make you a terrible person and if you believe the opposite then you are a fucking idiot.

But I know why people are offended, it's because people WANT to be offended.  They want an excuse to have a nice little rage and get on their high horse about how good a person they are and how shitty a person the creators of Hatred are.  Being offended at a game like Hatred makes people feel good because they don't have to worry about dissenting opinions.  If someone says "well I quite like the look of that", you have an excuse to call them a shitty person, act holier-than-thou and have a majority of people agree with you.  These people are fucking morons and if I could slap you through my internet connection, I would.


Hatred still looks shit but I guarantee there's a lot more people looking forward to seeing what the fuss is about now that you've hyped it up this much.  Just leave it alone, let it fall into obscurity and go find something that makes you happy.  It's not hard, for fucks sake.


EDIT 17/12/2014:  I've discovered that Hatred has been brought back to Steam Greenlight.  That's cool and all but people are still moaning about it.  They still don't realise that talking about it so much is what's getting people interested.  Just shut the fuck up already!

Monday, 15 December 2014

Bloody Christmas

I like Christmas, it's a fun time.  It doesn't matter if you're spending time with your family or shopping around for gifts, there's just a nice atmosphere around during this time of year that makes you all warm and fuzzy inside.

Despite that however, there's one part of Christmas that makes me want to just give the middle finger right into Santa Clauses big fat fucking face. 

First comes the sales.  Sales are great because it means I can buy all that shit I wanted earlier in the year for considerably less money.  All those games that I didn't get a chance to play because I had to pay bills or do real life shit with I can now afford without feeling guilty about it.  This is a good thing but because I'm an idiot I buy way too much and all I end up doing is adding a great number of titles to my backlog.

Of course, I'm not just buying video games for myself, I'm buying my family gifts too because I can't just selfishly spend all my money on myself, right?  That's fine, I enjoy putting a smile on people's faces but this leads to a post Christmas broke-as-fuck period.  This means that all the games that come out in January I now can't afford because I'm re-building my fortunes after the Christmas gift rush, so I end up on just missing more shit.

Then to put the icing on the cake, I spend all my time playing games like Isaac and DotA so all those games that I so hastily bought in the sale don't get played anyway.  A few years of this has been part of the reason my backlog is so mind numbingly huge.

Let's be honest though, I wouldn't have it any other way

Thursday, 11 December 2014

Silent Hill

It's kind of criminal that I've not made this post sooner.  All the speed runs I do, all the time I've spent talking about the latest entries in the series and how shit they are.  Hell, I've even talked about the fucking PLAY NOVEL more than I have the actual game, so it's about time Silent Hill got some love.

I picked the PAL box art for the post picture because the American box art is shit.  Even the Japanese box art is better and that's just a tile wall with a little bit of blood on it.

Silent Hill is one of those games that basically everyone with even a passing interest in the medium of video games is aware of.  It's one of the big grand daddies of the horror genre and is famous for being WAY scarier than any of the other survival horror games.  Resident Evil, Alone in the Dark and all that stuff were kind of scary, but Silent Hill was the first instance I ever saw anyone put down a controller and be like "whoa man, this shit..."

The plot involves Harry Mason on his quest through Silent Hill to rescue his daughter.  Not too long after the game starts you get caught up in all sorts of shit involving demons, shifts into a nightmare and a satanic cult.  I'm not going to go into any length about the story because there are people who have dedicated significant amount of time picking apart this games wonderful plot and if I did it in this post it would be way WAYYYYY too fucking long.

The game uses the old tank control scheme that games like Resident Evil used, except it was a little more developed.  For example, readying your weapon didn't lock you to the floor and you were free to maneuver with your gun drawn or big fuck off pipe ready to swing.  This made melee combat an actual option whereas other games in the genre, locking yourself in place to slice at something was guaranteed death for the player.

The game also had a ton of replay value since there was a few secret weapons to unlock and an extra ending to be acquired upon fulfilling certain conditions in a New Game +.  The game also had 4 normal endings so that's at least 5 playthroughs where you will end up with something different after the final boss has been toppled. 

I mean, I could talk about this game for fucking hours, it's just that good.  If I tried to go through every single goddamn thing that I enjoyed about Silent Hill then this post would be really goddamn long and I don't think anyone wants to read thousands of words of gush.   So instead, just go and play the fucking thing.  Dig it out of a closet, borrow it off a friend, buy it off PSN, I don't care how you play it just fucking play it.  The new Silent Hill games are all shit so if you've never experienced it before and you want to see just how strong a start this series had, get on it ASAP.

Silent Hill's 1,2 and 3 are THE BEST horror games to date, bar none, fight me.

Just in case, if you're interested in seeing my current fastest speed run (39:39 IGT) then the video is below.

Tuesday, 9 December 2014

Costume Quest

Costume Quest is one of those games that has been sat in my Steam library for a long LONG time.  I have no idea when it was added and I don't even remember buying it.  Recently I decided to actually try out the damn thing and while it was fun at first, the game wasn't all that good.

The premise is very simple.  There are two children who have just moved to a new neighbourhood and it's Halloween.  When you go out trick or treating, you stumble across monsters stealing candy and your sibling is kidnapped by an evil witch.  Deciding that you don't take too kindly to your brother or sister being taken away and worrying for the future of everyone's candy, you take it upon yourself to stop the evil witch and her army of Grubbins.

Game play wise, Costume Quest is baby's first RPG.  Everything is super simple with small maps and easy enemies.  At first the game looks impressive because upon entering combat you transform into a much more impressive version of whatever shitty kids costume you have on but once the visual novelty dies off the game becomes boring.  Each level, of which there are only 3, has you wandering around trick or treating houses.  When you finish trick or treating a gate opens, you fight a boss and then move on.  There are some other side quests but they don't vary from area to area and the rewards usually aren't worth it.

The game is also stupidly unbalanced.  For the whole game I used the same 3 costumes and never once considered changing.  The enemies don't ever vary themselves and blocking their attacks Paper Mario style is stupidly easy.  The bosses are actually easier than the regular encounters because in a normal fight it's your team vs 2 or 3 while for a boss its 3v1.  The bosses aren't strong enough on their own to be any kind of threat and the first costume you get has a stupidly strong area attack that does a damage over time that makes short work of everything else.

Luckily, the game isn't very long and you could polish it off in 2 or 3 short sessions.  For me, that was 2 sessions too long.  The game also has some other story called Grubbins on Ice except I was so bored by the end of the original I think it'll be a long time before I ever muster enough motivation to play through more of this boring, uninspired crap.

Sunday, 7 December 2014

Bug Princess Duel

So one night I was looking through the app store for weird shit to try out when I came across this thing for FREE! It blew my goddamn mind.

For those who aren't in the know, Bug Princess became fairly notorious on the internet for having "the hardest boss in all of video games" in this video.

The game featured in this video is a Japanese shmup called Mushihime Sama (or Bug Princess in English) and recently a phone version of the game was released for free.

The phone version is basically the first game scaled down to work on a mobile device.  It also comes with all these weird leveling systems that are a bit shit but it doesn't really tarnish the overall experience.  There's also a multiplayer mode where you can connect with a friend or random to compete for score and whoever has the highest score at the end steals the other persons rewards, it's pretty cool.  The leader boards also offer prizes for people who rank high up at the end of every week so there are lots of chances to get the games various currencies without actually spending a penny.

Last time I played a shmup on a mobile device it controlled like complete bollocks but this one actually plays pretty well.  There's a dedicated area at the bottom of the screen for moving yourself around but moving out of it doesn't prevent you from controlling your character.  There are two transparent buttons on the side that let you switch between the shot mode and beam mode for you ship as well as use your bombs.  Each character also has a unique skill that can be used by double tapping the screen which is a nice little touch since the ability comes online quite often.

It's not exactly what I'd call a perfect shmup and I imagine a lot of people who are hardcore on the genre may turn their nose up at something like this.  However, for me and my long train commutes to work, Bug Princess Duel is a nice little change from all the match 3/monster breeding puzzle games on the app store.  If you're looking for a quick dose of shmuppy goodness for your train rides or to kill time with, the Bug Princess is pretty good considering it costs 0 money.

Wednesday, 3 December 2014

Big Collections Can Be A Problem

I love going video game shopping, it's great.  Doesn't matter if it's for the latest titles or retro stuff, I could spend hours perusing games, admiring their box/cartridge art and discovering new things. 

So not only do I love playing video games but I also love collecting them and because I've been gaming since the age of 4, my collection has grown to a pretty sizable number.  This is great because I now have so much to choose from.  When I want to play a game I have a great deal of genres and games from across the ages to pick from.  However, a big collection does come with a few problems.

The first is having TOO much choice.  If I'm not feeling anything specific, let's say I just want to play AN RPG, then it sometimes becomes stupidly hard to pick.  I can spend hours looking through all my games or scrolling up and down my steam list and have a really hard time just finding one to settle on.  I've had quite a fair few lazy weekends or days off work consumed by just scanning my collection looking for that one thing to play.  Then eventually when I do find the game I want to play, I've spent so much time deciding that I don't have all that much time left in my day to actually play it.  It's a terrible feeling and I've had to make a habit out of planning what to play next in advance.

The second problem is repeat buying.  I've had a few times where I've come back from the game shop with a "new" game only to find that I already owned it.  I did this about 3 or 4 times in the UK with Diablo and I nearly did it the other day with Arc the Lad on PS1.  I buy things, shelf them and then forget that I own them.

The final problem is the never ending backlog but I've touched on this a few times already so I don't think I need to say much more about that one.

The good news is that my stupid purchasing habits means I'm about to update the prize page! Hooray!

Tuesday, 2 December 2014

November Retro Haul

I've mentioned it a few times on this blog already but I have just moved into a new job and because of this the money I had last month was rather limited so I didn't have a lot of dosh to do retro shopping with.  I did do a little bit but not enough to warrant a video so the November retro haul will be done as a written post with a few pretty pictures.

The first game I purchased last month was Brain Lord on Super Famicom.  I have no idea wtf this is since, according to Wikipedia, it was never released in the EU.  I've not had a chance to play it yet but judging from a quick Google search and look at the back of the box it's some kind of action RPG that bears some similarities to Zelda.  Once I get round to playing I'll be sure to talk a little more about it but until then it'll just be another one of those obscure boxed games I bought for next to no money.

The second game I bought this month was Baroque on the Sega Saturn.  It was a little annoying to get this home and then remember that I hadn't changed the watch battery in the system so I can't fucking save.  Anyway Baroque is a rougelike for the Sega Saturn that was remade for the PS2 and Wii in 2008.  The idea is that each time you die various things change and you have to meet various conditions before each death in order to advance the plot.  It's an interesting game but a total pain in the arse to play in Japanese thanks to dialogue that's hard for even native Japanese speakers to understand.  It's one of those games I'm going to spend a long winter afternoon off work with slowly plodding through and translating all the weird shit.

I've never played Chocobo Mysterious Dungeon 2 so there isn't an awful lot I know about it.  I remember playing one quite a while ago on the Wii that was a rougelike but I'm not sure if this one is the same kind of thing.  The older Chocobo dungeon games have always interested me since as far as I know they weren't released in Europe and I've never really had a chance to play them. 

So that's it for this month and with Christmas right round the corner I don't think I'm going to have all that much money to do a lot of shopping in December either.  Once the holiday season is over though I'm going to be trawling the retro shops hard so expect some big hauls in the new year!

Monday, 1 December 2014

As The Gods Say (神さまの言うとおり)

Damn, I've not made a post in a few days thanks to quite a busy weekend of doing stuff with the wife and streaming.  One of the things that I did with the wife that kept me away from making posts was popping down to a cinema to see a new movie!

神さまの言うとおり or "As the Gods Say" for those of you who don't read Japanese is a "horror" movie directed by Takeshi Miike and based off a Manga of the same name.  I put the word horror in inverted commas because it's not so much a horror movie and it's more of a Death Game movie, but I'm not sure if I said "Death Game" movie people would know what I'm on about.  If you're unsure what I mean by "Death Game", just think about Battle Royale and you'll probably understand what I mean.

The story is about a group of high school students who get caught up in a number of deadly games conducted by Gods taking the form of fairly innocent icons of Japanese culture.  For example, the movie opens up with the scene in the above picture where a group of students have to play "Red Light, Green Light" with a Daruma (traditionally a symbol of good luck) sat on the front desk.  If you're unfamiliar with "Red Light, Green Light" the idea is that the person who is "it" turns round during a green light and can turn at any time and exclaim "Red Light!".  If you are caught moving during a red light, then you lose and have to start over.  In this movie however, if the Daruma catches you moving then your head explodes and you die.

A small group of students survive this opening scene and move on to play a variety of other children's games each with their own deadly twist.  Each game is quite gripping because the solution for the characters to win and move on isn't immediately obvious and you never know what dirty trick the enemies are going to play next to kill off a few more members of the cast.

I greatly enjoyed this movie but I have to say that I've not read the manga so I'm not entirely sure about how it stacks up to the original story.  A long time ago I saw a movie adaptation of another manga called Gantz that was changed so drastically it just pissed me off more than anything else.  Maybe fans of the manga wouldn't enjoy the movie as much as someone going in with no prior knowledge of the source material.

I had a number of nitpicks with the film but it didn't ruin the overall experience and I would totally recommend this movie.  I'm hunting down the manga to see how it compares (which can be read in English if you know where to look) and I'm sure one day a version with subtitles will be uploaded somewhere for all you non-Japanese speakers.  

When that day comes, watch this movie.  It's bloody good fun.