The Infinite Zenith

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An Early-Access Preview of Gochuumon wa Usagi desu ka?- Dear My Sister

“Home, more than anything, means warmth and bed.” —Vivienne Westwood

Announced a year and a half ago, Gochuumon wa Usagi desu ka? (GochiUsa for brevity) was to receive special episode taking the form of an OVA, titled Dear My Sister. Originally intended to release back in May of this year, the OVA was delayed and at present, is set to screen in over forty Japanese theatres come November 11. The cast who performed in GochiUsa‘s earlier television anime will return to reprise their roles in this OVA, but rather than White Fox, who handled the animation of the first and second seasons, the studio Production doA will step up to the plate for Dear My Sister. A newcomer with no other titles underneath their belt, it will be interesting to see whether or not Production doA will execute Dear My Sister with the same warmth and sincerity that White Fox had successfully captured in the anime’s televised run. Besides the OVA itself, the theme song will also release on November 11, while a character album will release this month ahead of the screenings. The latest trend does appear to be that specials for Manga Time Kirara anime are to be screened theatrically before being sold as home releases at a later time – Kiniro Mosiac‘s special, Pretty Days, only became available four months after the theatrical release, and being of a similar ilk, it is not unreasonable to imagine that Dear My Sister will only accessible to the world at large come March 2018, a considerable distance away from the present. I remark here that this post is structured similarly to my earlier preview posts, and below the twenty screenshots below, there will be a bit of an outline (constituting as spoilers) for what Dear My Sister will entail.

Screenshots and Commentary

  • Two years ago, it was a pleasant Saturday morning, and I watched the opening episode to GochiUsa‘s second season before putting out a post about it in record time. I subsequently spent the rest of the day playing the Star Wars Battlefront open beta, and opened my journey in Crysis 3 after Thanksgiving Dinner. Four episodes into GochiUsa‘s second season, I did an episodic review, having decided that this was an anime that offered enough to talk about each and every episode. While not quite CLANNAD, GochiUsa has its own unique charms that make it an incredibly heartwarming anime to watch.

  • I have the internet’s first and most comprehensive set of high resolution screenshots with this post: the lower resolution images on Pintrest and Tumblr have nothing against the quality here. It goes without saying that the trailer and manga will give away the entire narrative to Dear My Sister, so this post is essentially one large spoiler. To take a page from Kylo Ren, if you do not already know that Dear My Sister is set in the summer and deals with fireworks, then you should leave right now. Here, Cocoa and Chiya share a tearful farewell: despite leaving for only a week, Cocoa remarks that she’ll never forget the time she’s spent with everyone. The emotional tenour of the moment leads Maya and Megu to assume that Cocoa’s leaving for good.

  • For long-time readers of this blog, it’s no secret that I am very fond of rabbits. For me, watching GochiUsa is functionally identical to watching videos of baby bunnies frolicking about, relaxing and otherwise, doing things that baby bunnies do best. Since the availability of the home release to Dear My Sister won’t be known for a while, I imagine that the videos I linked do will have to suffice for the present. Dear My Sister skips over the first and second chapters of volume five, which sees the girls work on summer uniforms to seek relief from the summer heat and attempt a test of courage.

  • In Cocoa’s absence, Rize decides to whip Maya, Chino and Megu into shape. Rize’s fiery spirit causes Chino to recall Rize’s first days at Rabbit House. Beyond her tough exterior, Chino learns that Rize is friendly and approacheable. The third chapter also reveals that, if people think I am big on Tom Clancy, Battlefield and the like, I remark that I’ve got nothing on Rize. Her character seems to be tailored towards folks like myself as far as interests go.

  • Because GochiUsa is known for scrambling the order of things, there are some scenes seen in the Dear My Sister trailer that I cannot immediately place. When I did the preview for season two based on the manga some years back, I hit some of the stories covered and missed the others. As a result, knowing the manga, while yielding spoilers, won’t mean that one won’t be pleasantly surprised when watching Dear My Sister for the first time.

  • Maya and Megu are two of Chino’s friends from middle school; after meeting out of a curiosity when Chino mentions her wish to be a barista, they’ve since grown close with one another. Maya and Megu perfectly complement one another in terms of personality, and while their presence in the first season is limited, they appear with a greater frequency in season two, joining Cocoa and the others in their adventures.

  • A joke from GochiUsa‘s first season (corresponding with the manga’s third volume) makes a return: immediately after Cocoa leaves, Chino finds herself making iced cocoas, a nod to when Chino similarly became “Cocoa-sick” after Cocoa left to study with Chiya and Sharo, Chino similarly made a bunch of milk cocoas. It’s something that Chino is likely unwilling to openly to admit to the others, that in the absence of Cocoa, she misses the warmth and energy that Cocoa brings in.

  • Located deep in the mountains, the Hot Bakery is also Cocoa’s home. There is something particularly charming, even romantic, about a good eatery in a rural or small town setting, and one of the directions that GochiUsa has yet to take in its manga is to have Chino and the others visit the Hot Bakery.

  • Back home, Cocoa’s mother and Mocha both notice a degree of change in Cocoa; this stems from her spending time with the disciplined and focused Rize, Sharo’s unparalleled eye for sales in the name of saving money, and Chiya’s uncommon way of thinking. Friends certainly can have an impact on one another, bringing to mind cases where couples begin resembling one another in terms of facial expressions over time, and when dogs look like their owner.

  • In Chinese, bread is given as “麵包” (pinyin “miàn bāo”), which translates literally to “flour package”, describing the fact that bread minimally is a small parcel of flour and water cooked together to form a cohesive unit. The Japanese word for bread is “パン” (romanised “pan”) after the French pain. In English, “bread” is derived from Germanic languages, referring to the shape of baked bread as a unit or morsel, similar to the Chinese descriptor.

  • Mocha was a welcome addition to the cast in the second season, creating new dynamics amongst the existing characters that proved most enjoyable to watch. Some folks feel Mocha’s presence to overshadow the other characters, and while this is perhaps an exaggeration, the anime became noticeably quieter after Mocha returns home. I vividly recall the seventh episode of GochiUsa, released the same date that Girls und Panzer: Der Film premiered in Japanese theatres. The weather was pleasant, and I spent the morning shopping for deals at a nearby M&M Food Market.

  • If the trailers were indeed produced by Production doA, the art style has remained quite consistent from White Fox’s: here, Chino is not particularly enjoying the protracted farewells and asks Cocoa to set off with more expedience when Cocoa delays, asking the others to look after Chino for her. This frame is almost identical to the original manga, and having seen the trailer, I’m reasonably confident of Production doA’s ability to execute. One of the possible reasons why Dear My Sister was delayed could be the unexpected change in studios.

  • After recieving a request to make a delivery, Cocoa decides to take her bike, as town is a ways away. However, while Cocoa’s learned to ride a bike, Mocha’s taken things one step further and has gotten her introductory operator’s license, allowing her to drive a moped around. Essentially bikes with small engines, the requirements to operate one are not steep. Apparently, the naming is a portmanteau of “motor velocipede”, although I somehow always read it as the past tense of “mope”.

  • I don’t think Megu and Maya sharing a bath with Chino occurs within the same chapter, but the animated adaptation of GochiUsa has always presented a coherent, enjoyable flow of events despite the liberties it takes. The page quote deals with home this time: while the official GochiUsa website gives the plot as dealing with Chino asking her friends to watch the summer fireworks with her, the trailer suggests that Dear My Sister is going to be about more than just the fireworks, rather similar to how Pretty Days ended up being about more than Shinobu working hard to finish all of her tasks ahead of their class play at the school cultural festival.

  • The manga reveals that everyone’s gotten Cocoa-sick to some extent: Sharo starts speaking in a highly flowery, optimistic manner while meeting up with Rize, Chiya begins naming various food items after Cocoa, and Rize herself loses her cool after smiling the warmest smile ever, outright begging Cocoa to come back. One of the main themes of the second season was just how much of an impact Cocoa’s had on those around her, and even if it’s not quite the same as Yoshino Koharu had on Manoyama in Sakura, the second season’s strength really lay in illustrating the magic that a single individual can have.

  • In light of troubling events around the world as of late, I think that it’s important that people never lose sight of what’s important, doing what’s right for others and taking the time to step back and relax in a manner appropriate for them. This is the reason that I am particularly fond of GochiUsa and anime of its class: it helps me relax and take my mind off challenges from the real world: anime that engages too many neurons are not my cup of tea despite their narrative and technical excellence, and I further consider it a folly to take relaxing anime such as these too seriously.

  • One of the questions I’ve seen floating around on Reddit is the unusual syntax of “Dear My Sister”: in English, referring to one’s beloved takes the form “My Dear Sister”, but in this case, the title is intended to denote “Dear, My Sister”: the OVA is intended to act as a letter of sorts, and while the trailers do not show this, it is possible that the OVA could be presented in such a format. Armed with the manga and using Pretty Days as a precedent,

  • While modelled after Colmar, France, the town in GochiUsa also derives elements from Hungary from an architectural perspective, while elements of Japanese and German culture are quite prevalent, as well. To the best of my knowledge, Colmar does have a summer music festival, Festival international de musique classique de Colmar, but it’s not structured in the same manner as Japanese summer festivals – as per its name, the Colmar festival is a classical music festival. The town in GochiUsa is the ultimate combination of cultures, and it is with a mark of pride that I can say that I live somewhere where such cultural diversity is a given.

  • In Japan, I saw folks wearing yukata while visiting the Kinkakuji. Being modelled after the Japanese Yamato Nadeshiko, Chiya is seen wearing a yukata in the Deak My Sister trailer, and it is only in the likes of something like GochiUsa where one can have a Japanese-style summer festival amidst the Alsace area. In the manga, the summer festival ended up being quite short, but the biggest advantage about the animated medium is that things like fireworks and visuals of the town under festival lighting can be rendered in exceptional detail.

  • Like the quiet Saturday morning two years ago, the weather today is looking quite pleasant, although I’ve heard reports that things could darken later on. However, unlike last time, there are several differences: first, I will be heading off to lift weights in a few moments. Further, Thanksgiving dinner will be tomorrow evening. It goes without saying that I’m absolutely excited about Dear My Sister, but unless there’s an ARIA-level miracle, I won’t be watching or writing about this for quite some time. Thus, for the present, it’s time to get this day started, and here’s to hoping I can get some good experiences out of the beta today.

Dear My Sister will cover the third to sixth chapters from the fifth volume of GochiUsa: Cocoa is leaving town and spending a week with her family out in the mountains. While Chino appears unperturbed by Cocoa’s absence, in contrast with Chiya, who visibly misses her already, Chino unconsciously expresses her longing for Cocoa. To take their mind off things, Rize tasks Chino, Maya and Megu with cleaning up Rabbit House. Chino begins reminiscing when she first met Rize, and later, they work to patch up a stuffed rabbit that Rize had given to Chino when they’d first met. Back in the mountains, Cocoa is spending quality time with her mother and older sister, Mocha. She returns to find Rabbit House a very lively place, and later, Chino asks everyone to attend the summer festival with her. Before they can do so, they must help Aoyama finish her manuscript ahead of a deadline, only for her to accidentally spill coffee on it. Even though Cocoa’s forgotten to finish her summer assignments, the girls enjoy the summer festival to their fullest, culminating with the fireworks that Chino’s wished to bring everyone together to see. This is about the scope of what I imagine Dear My Sister will cover. There are other chapters in the fifth volume that remained uncovered, and a third season is not outside the realm of possibility, as well. However, before we reach that bridge, there is quite a distance separating the present from the point where I will have an opportunity to write about Dear My Sister. As such, it is appropriate for me to step off and enjoy this Thanksgiving Long Weekend – while Thanksgiving dinner might be happening tomorrow, this time, there’s going to be cheesecake.

Deus Ex: Mankind Divided- Late Impressions from the E3 Reveal

“The promise of a golden age is over!” — Viktor Marchenko

I might be late to the party, but I’m still the life of it- the E3 Electronic Entertainment Expo was back in June, and has been one of the more solid ones in recent history, showcasing titles such as Star Wars Battlefront and DOOM. However, for me, the pièce de résistance was easily Edios Montreal’s Deus Ex: Mankind Divided, the sequel to 2011’s Deus Ex: Human Revolutions. When I completed it last summer, Human Revolutions took the spot as my favourite game of all time. Here was a title that had a very compelling story about the implications of technology, a richly developed world and abundance of choice. Players were free to complete the game in any manner of their choosing without penalty, and the game rewarded players for exploration. These elements together formed a title that was superbly memorable and entertaining. The ending I received for completing Human Revolutions was satisfying, so it did surprise me to learn that there was a direct sequel in development. Set after Human Revolutions, Mankind Divided deals with a world where augmentations have been viewed as harmful, and augmented individuals have been segregated from the remainder of society. Adam Jensen returns as the protagonist, assigned with stopping terrorist attacks and all the while, confront the individuals responsible for guiding the world into its present state from the shadows.

From the E3 gameplay alone, I’m already anticipating Mankind Divided. The developers explain that, as with Human Revolutions, their game can be approached from a multi-path, multi-solution perspective. This allows players to approach a situation in the manner of their choosing without penalty, and also encourages exploration. The footage also shows Mankind Divided as having superb graphics. While the new graphics are a bonus, they also enhance the sense of immersion: clutter in the environment and subtle details, such as the items in a room, really give the sense that Jensen is moving through a ghetto for augmented individuals. Features to gameplay not present in Human Revolutions include improved hacking, and all-new augmentations that allow for new approaches towards a problem. Adam Jensen can now lock onto and stun four individuals using stun darts, knock electronic enemies out of the air with a hand-mounted PEPS, and even fire explosive nanoblades to engage enemies behind cover. Hacking also appears to be given an upgrade; it feels familiar enough, but there are nuances that will make it a more engaging, challenging experience. In showcasing some of these new features, the E3 demonstration does much to build my anticipation for Mankind Divided, which is set for a release somewhere in “early 2016”.

Screenshots and Commentary

  • The first bit of gamplay shows that the UI’s been given a complete overhaul. It’s much cleaner and simpler than before, with key augmentations being accessible by shortcuts. There is a trove of information about Mankind Divided: it’s to be set in 2029, two years after Mankind Divided, and apparently, Adam Jensen’s found a new employer: he’s a part of Task Force 29, an Interpol Department that specialises in counterterrorism. However, Jensen does not fully trust them and occasionally leaks information to the Juggernaut Collective.

  • We recall that in Human Revolutions, combat was underwhelming in comparison to stealth. The developers state that combat’s been improved, so hopefully, that means firefights will be much more enjoyable. Similar to Crysis, it is now possible to customise weapons on the fly, and here, the developers switch to EMP pistol rounds to quietly disable a security camera.

  • Similar to the original Deus Ex, players can now receive conflicting missions and will be forced to make their decisions as to whom to trust. Boss fights will see improvements, which hopefully means that under some cases, there will be opportunities to negotiate with bosses, rather than forcing players to kill them in a straight-up fight. This was one of the few limitations in Human Revolutions, and was somewhat remedied in Director’s Cut, but it will be nice to have the full spectrum of options.

  • Several new augmentations were shown in the E3 demo: these are tesla darts that can lock onto up to four targets at once to silently stun them. Because augmentation abilities now figure greatly in the game, the notion of batteries have been dispensed with. Instead, there is a single bar for energy that gradually refills to a certain level, and consumption of certain resources can allow for the battery to recharge fully.

  • Improved spatial options are also available, allowing players to rapidly profile their environment for threats, pathways and resources. This tool could be especially useful for full stealth runs, allowing players to immediately figure out where enemies are and plot a path accordingly. However, Edios Montreal also states that a full-on combat approach will be a possibility, as well.

  • Remote hacking was one of the coolest new features to be implemented: with it, it’s possible to take control of and override elements from a distance. Successfully hacking something remotely will be intended to unlock shortcuts, allowing for stealth as Jensen bypasses heavily patrolled areas to minimise combat.

  • The ICARUS system makes a welcome return, and as with before, can be used to produce a hard landing that stuns everyone within a certain radius. It was one of the most useful augmentations in Human Revolutions, allowing Jensen to drop from heights without fear of death.

  • While there’s remote hacking, traditional hacking also makes a much welcome (and necessary) return. The new and improved hacking system sports visual improvements, but also is said to have additional tricks that make hacking more engaging and challenging. In Human Revolutions, hacking alone yielded substantial experience bonuses that made it easier to purchase praxis points for unlocking new augmentations. I wonder what augmentations will be available in Mankind Divided right off the bat, and which ones will need to be unlocked.

  • The updated graphics in Mankind Divided look amazing, featuring dynamic lighting, better textures and reflections. Human Revolutions excelled in its gameplay, so when I went through the game, the slightly older graphics were not a concern, but if Mankind Divided is able to match or surpass the story and gameplay of Human Revolution, this is going to be a title that will be remembered. Of course, if the graphics prove too much for my aging GPU, it might be time for an upgrade.

  • Most of the enemies featured in the E3 demo were themselves augmented, contrasting the unaugmented guards and soldiers that comprised much of Human Revolution‘s enemies. The presence of augmented enemies means that the possibility for combat diversity will be much greater. Some enemies have exo-skeletons, exotic weapons and unique abilities that is sure to liven up direct engagements. Given that Jensen has upgrades of his own, this could make fights more interesting, and here, the demo shows off the explosive nano-blade, which provides a means of engaging enemies behind cover.

  • According to some sources, all of the setpiece events in Mankind Divided will occur dynamically in response to the different decisions and choices that Jensen makes; nothing is scripted. Here, Jensen is using a shield that protects him from all harm for a short period: it was first showcased back during the March reveal trailer.

  • If the E3 demo is to be believed, combat will handle like a proper first person shooter now: besides the boss fights, I always felt that the combat rifle and shotgun in Human Revolutions were woefully underpowered, taking entire magazines to down a basic guard.

  • Remote turrets also make a return: here, Jensen makes use of an EMP grenade to disable it, before finishing it off with AP rounds from the combat rifle. I never did bother with the augmentation that allowed me to take control of turrets and robots, preferring to either sneak by them or using EMP grenades to stop them.

  • Being able to switch up a weapon’s attachments on the fly is going to be an immeasurably useful ability, allowing players to immediately react to different events and threats on the battlefield. Weapons customisation could very well be a large part of the game, enabling players to tailor a weapon towards their combat style, and admittedly, it will be nice to be able to swap between different sights and attachments for the different weapons.

  • Edios Montreal has stated that while the events of Human Revolution might not be entirely canon, they are planning to continue expanding this universe. There are no plans to make an MMORPG out of the franchise, but truth be told, that’s for the better. The Deus Ex franchise excelled in giving players choice and a highly immersive story, so an MMO with fetch-quests and mundane side missions could undermine the immersion.

  • While I’m ordinarily a somewhat impatient gamer and skip cutscenes, the conversation and social system in Human Revolutions marked the first time I was interested in listening carefully before making a choice. Whenever these conversations occurred, I strove to deliver responses closest to how I would personally react. Such an element contributed to Human Revolution‘s immersion, allowing me to project myself into Adam Jensen’s character, and it looks to make a return in Mankind Divided.

  • The HUD in Mankind Divided no longer has a golden-yellow finish, and also dispenses with the MMO-style inventory displays. While the weapon status and health/energy displays are still in their usual sports, the mini-map’s been moved into the upper right hand corner, and the lower left hand corner is now dominated by a display for augmentation shortcuts. It appears that augmentations will replace items as the elements in the game, although one would imagine that collecting things could still be important.

  • The amount of detail in the environments is quite stunning, and it’s sections like these that lead me to wonder whether or not my aging rig can still run it. As the demo showcases what would happen should Jensen fail the conversation, much combat ensues. The weapons sound much more powerful, and feel like they could actually cause some damage now. If this is indeed the case, then Mankind Divided will merit at minimum two playthroughs, one each for the combat and stealth.

  • This short demo has not given too much of the story away, but in the trailers, several characters make an appearance, including Victor Marchenko and a mysterious augmented youth responsible for a terrorist attack. The story is set in the Czech Republic, and much of the E3 demo is set in a decrepit area reminiscent of the Kowloon Walled City, a lawless settlement in Hong Kong that neither Britain nor China wanted to claim responsibility for. The ghetto showcased in Mankind Divided is composed of shops lining the streets and temporary housing units are stacked on one another, reaching upwards toward the sky to create a very claustrophobic atmosphere similar to that of the Kowloon Walled City.

  • Michael McCann will return to compose Mankind Divided‘s music: the trailer already features a fantastic piece that captures the dark, brooding feel of the Human Revolutions universe, and with the game set to come out in early 2016, I’m über-excited about this title’s release. In the meantime, there’s still plenty to do (read “Metro 2033 ReduxDead Core and Sakura Angels still need to be completed”), so for the present, my initial impressions of Mankind Divided have come to an end.

Because of my overwhelmingly positive experience with Human Revolutions, I am considering pre-ordering Mankind Divided. The decision to pre-order a title does not come lightly, and my typical modus operandi is to wait until a sale before picking up a new title. This way, I have time to determine whether a title is worth my while, and the savings are quite good. However, Mankind Divided appears to be a completely different beast: if the E3 demo is anything to go by, Edios Montreal has shown that Mankind Divided will be the a finely-crafted combination of story, gameplay and visuals. Most titles in the present age excel with two elements at the expense of a third, but Mankind Divided appears to have all three in abundance. These elements mean that the cost of pre-ordering would be offset by a title whose value justifies the launch price: fully exploring this game’s areas and playing through twice (once for stealth and once for combat) could yield some 70 hours of gameplay if the campaign was as long as that of Human Revolutions, a reasonable amount of gametime for a title costing an anticipated 70 CAD. Of course, it’ll be on me to finish my not-impossible Steam backlog before Mankind Divided‘s launch date is announced, before I’ll make a concrete decision.

A Trip to London, England, K-On! Style! Preview

It has been precisely a year since the K-On! Movie first premièred in Japanese theatres, and although discussions concerning the movie (and the corresponding genre) has cooled down considerably, the movie’s design and nature has lent itself to a diverse range of topics, including the planning of a hypothetical trip to London from curious fans. This was certainly the case on an anime forum, where an inquisitive member began a thread that would focus on the planning and logistics behind such a trip. Unfortunately, discussions ceased before the thread could pick up momentum, and presently, we are left with a mere 12 posts of information.

  • I’ve noted my disappointment, numerous times, that the MI6 Headquarters (the SIS building), was absent in the K-On! Movie. That said, it will be a location that I will include into the simulated trip. Casually note that this post is about the real world and thus, has dispensed with any images related to the K-On!

In the spirit of that thread (and perhaps out of curiosity), I have decided to undertake a thought experiments of sorts and design a hypothetical trip to London, England. I will direct my focus at recreating a trip that approximates some of the destinations the Houkago Tea Time girls visit to the best of my ability. The post will consider all logistical elements, but will also make certain assumptions to ensure that such a trip is feasible within the outlined parameters, primarily, budget and time. These will be important to ensure that this thought experiment remains plausible.

  • These skyscrapers belong to the Canary Wharf, a major business district located in Tower Hamlets, London, United Kingdom. It is one of London’s two main financial centres – along with the traditional City of London – and contains many of the UK’s tallest buildings, including the second-tallest, One Canada Square. These locations were not visited or depicted in the K-On! Movie.

Owing to time constraints, I will aim to prepare the posts for a simultaneous release somewhere near the end of December, before the new year is upon us. This mini-series will be broken up into six different categories for ease-of-access. I will first discuss preliminary considerations concerning the trip’s logistics, such as budget, duration and assumptions that will be made for calculation purposes. The next part will focus on transportation and accommodations, two essential elements to travelling abroad. The subsequent three parts will represent the three days spent in London (directly reflecting the amount of time spent by the girls), and at the end, I will have a post game report of sorts discussing my own opinions of the hypothetical trip I’ve assembled, as well as its feasibility. Finally, comments have been left open to allow for suggestions and feedback.

Sim City 2013 Screenshots

Way back in April, I caught wind of the latest incarnation of Sim City. Simply called Sim City, it will be released in March 2013 and carry on its predecessor’s tradition of being a city-building/urban planning simulation computer game. Maxis is developing the game using a new simulation engine called GlassBox, which takes a different approach from previous simulation games. Those games first simulated high-level statistics and then created graphic animations to represent that data. The GlassBox Engine replaces those statistics with agents, simulation units that represent objects and have the potential to exhibit some emergent behaviours in a sufficiently complex city. I’ve exhibited eight screenshots here depicting various parts of the game.

  • Unlike Sim City Societies, Sim City appears to have superior graphics, and more importantly, a return to the traditional paradigm of the older games in the form of zoning. The inclusion of curved roads is a much-welcome one, allowing for players to finally begin building cities resembling real ones.

  • The agent-based models used in the game appear to allow for a richer in-game experience, depicting everything as autonomous entities that react to events in the simulation environment and approximating real-world events more effectively than the mathematical models used in older games.

  • Terraforming in Sim City is restricted to what can be realistically done by engineering crews, contrasting the all-powerful God Modes of the previous games that allowed players to raise mountains and sculpt valleys.

  • I believe this is an earlier concept screenshot depicting the kind of architecture available within the game. From the looks of it, landmarks will make a return in the game and add character to cities with a particular architectural style.

  • Much like Sim City 4, it will be feasible to build small towns in Sim City. The night visuals look impressive: the idea of a night mode was first introduced in Sim City 4.

  • Players can specialise cities for specific industries, such as manufacturing, tourism, education, or others. Each of which have distinct appearances, simulation behaviour, and economic strategies. Players have the option to heavily specialize on one or build multiple specializations in any given city for diversity: with resources in mind, it is probably prudent to have some diversity to prevent a city from dying once a resource is depleted.

  • For instance, cities specialising in tourism and gambling will require a large amount of public safety and law enforcement in order to maintain order.

  • Disasters will return in style for Sim City, including tornadoes, meteor impacts and earthquakes. The meteor impact appear to be my favourite in visual terms for now, and in this screenshot, out-do even the impacts from Sim City 4. They were first introduced in Sim City 3000 as “space junk”.

  • The opportunity to build a thriving coastal city was something I thoroughly enjoyed in Sim City 4. If the graphics in the actual game are anywhere near as nice as those depicted in these screenshots, the game will be a true update to the franchise. I’ll also need a new machine to run it.

  • Get a load of those graphics. Sim City 4 came with two stadiums: one for soccer and one for baseball. They looked spectacular and were unlocked after meeting certain in-game criteria. In Sim City 2000, players could build as many stadiums as they desired, while the ever-awesome domed stadiums appeared in Sim City for SNES.

Along with many of the cosmetic changes (such as up-to-date 3D graphics), SimCity will use the new GlassBox engine. Two other new features are a multiplayer component and finite resources. Unlike previous games in the series, the game will have non-linear curved roads and zoning areas that can conform to different road types. Types of zones will include residential, commercial and industrial. The density will be driven by the types of roads and general traffic around these zones. Cities in a region are connected to each other via predefined regional networks such as highways, railways, and waterways. Elements such as traffic and air pollution will be visible flowing between cities; coupled with resources, Sim City will reintroduce multiplayer from SimCity 2000 Gold/Network Edition, and allowing for regions to house multiple cities from different players. Regions can alternatively be set to private for solo play, although both game modes require login to EA Origin to function.

Tari Tari will be released on July 1

Tari Tari is an upcoming Japanese anime series that will premiere on July 1, 2012. It will be animated by PA Studios, the same geniuses who worked on Hanasaku Iroha and feature “Shiokaze no Harmony” (by Shirahamazaka High School Chorus Club) as the opening song, while “Dreamer” (by AiRI) will be the ending song. The show will star Ayahi Takagaki (Heaven’s Lost Property’s Mikako, Durarara!!’s Erika), Asami Seto (Chihayafuru’s Chihaya, Lagrange – The Flower of Rin-ne’s Lan), Saori Hayami (Eden of the East’s Saki, Bakuman.’s Miho), Nobunaga Shimazaki (Ano Natsu de Matteru’s Kaito, Shakugan no Shana III (Final)’s Orobas), and Natsuki Hanae (Ben-To, Kimi to Boku.).

  • This is probably the number one anime I’m going to watch this summer. A quick glance at the artwork indicates that the characters greatly resemble those in Hanasaku Iroha, and moreover, as per Hanasaku Iroha, the music is warm and friendly.

The story centers around five Japanese high school students who are too young to be called adults, but who no longer think of themselves as children. Wakana Sakai once took music lessons, but she withdrew from music after losing her mother. Konatsu Miyamoto is a positive-thinking girl who loves singing and spends time after school at the vocal music club. Sawa Okita is a spirited archery club member who dreams of becoming a horse rider. Daichi Tanaka is a chronically late badminton team member who lives with his college student sister. “Wiin” just transfered into Wakana’s class after 12 years abroad in Australia. Music brings Wakana, Konatsu, Sawa and the others together into an ensemble during their last summer in high school.