TV Review: Stranger Things

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Stranger Things is an American Netflix Original TV series, written and directed by the Duffer Brothers. The first season was released in July 2016, and the third was just released in July this year.

Set in the fall of 1984, about a year after missing child Will Byers was found again, he is plagued by visions of the ‘Upside Down’ – the evil supernatural world where Will was lost. A dangerous monster features in the visions which leads the characters – a group of school friends who take a keen interest in science – into deeper troubles.

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I really love Stranger Things because it has an amazing storyline which continues to build up throughout all three of the series. It is also a little bit scary, which adds to what makes Stranger Things so great and fun.

I would definitely recommend Stranger Things to teenagers and adults because it is so addictive and enjoyable to watch. The characters also make you feel welcome when watching the series, and all the actors, especially Millie Bobby Brown as Eleven, are so fun and great at their job.

By Courtney S, Year 9, St Thomas More Catholic School

In Defence of KH 3D

Kingdom hearts’s 2012 installation was greeted with mixed reviews when it was released, with some saying it was a huge disappointment and some saying it was the best installation to date. I feel as if the people who criticised the game played for five minutes and then made their conclusion almost instantly. As behind the ‘I don’t care if you don’t understand, deal with it!’ start there is surprisingly deep gameplay and a great story, even if it’s a little poorly told at times. Upgrading the characters and their spirits feels purposeful and satisfying at the same time, and the roughly 10 hour campaign is extended by the numerous side quests and mini-games that cleverly reward you in the main story. The worlds feel representative of the Disney worlds even if they are occasionally repetitive, but somehow never lose interest. Mini boss battles keep you on your toes, and trying out a new spirit or magic attack that you crafted yourself or unlocked during the addictive mini-game flick rush is great fun.

Let’s talk about flowmotion. This was a highly criticised new feature that allowed Sora and Riku to utilise their surroundings and zip between locations. Whilst fun and useful, its battle uses were easy to abuse and for the most part felt overly powerful. The dropping system, which also received criticism, is a way to transfer between Sora and Riku in story mode. I honestly found it enjoyable for the most part unless the Drop Gauge ran out during a boss battle, which was annoying but never ruined gameplay. The keyblades were some of the best in the series in my opinion, with my favourite being the Ferris gear (from prankster’s paradise.)

Kingdom hearts Dream Drop Distance is a great game and easily the best RPG on the 3ds. A game truly for the fans.

VERDICT

+Some of the best worlds we’ve ever visited in the franchise

+New and fresh ideas

+ Solid gameplay

– A poorly told story

4/5

Kirby Planet Robobot Has Landed!

Nintendo’s little pink gumball is back for a new adventure. He seems to have moved to a new planet (Planet Popstar) at the worst possible time: The evil Haltmann works Inc. is  stealing it’s resources so Kirby returns the favour, steals the prototype robobot armour, and sets of to beat the stuffing out of the army of enemies on the way (or has the stuffing beaten out of him, depending on the player).

The new gimmick for this game is the high-tech robobot armour, which has 13 different modes (plus one final secret mode), meaning not all of Kirby’s 27 copy abilities are represented in cybernetic form. It’s immensely powerful and has screwdriver and wrench attachments (like a Swiss army knife with flamethrowers and chainsaws).

The gameplay itself is classic Ninty: always challenging, but never so hard you want to give up and perfectly polished. However, the two mini games are a bit less amazing. Kirby Team Clash, where up to four players team up to defeat bosses is OK but when you defeat all 6, there’s no replay value. Kirby 3D Rumble would make a great full game, with a bit of work. The principle is fine but there are no copy abilities and only 3 levels, the bosses are all the same and the terrain is good for a battle arena, not a platformer. If we’re lucky, Nintendo will rework them into solo games, as with Kirby fighters deluxe and Dedede’s drum dash deluxe.

Altogether, the game is great, although the mini-games are a bit of a nightmare in dreamland (Kirby pun intended). And I’d definitely recommend it.

 

New Pokemon Confirmed

Pokemon Sun and Moon is the home of  gen VII Pokémon . The game, which is out on the 23rd boasts Pokémon ranging from the weird (Exeggcute, I’m talking to you. And don’t even mention Yungoos) to the cool (Litten, Alola Marrowak and Salandit) to the ones which make you wonder whether Game Freak has gone mad (Digglet, you used to be cool but now you’re a blonde bombshell). So which is better: Gen 1 overhauls or brand new designs?

The “Alola Formes” of classic Pokémon are a bit hit and miss. The Pokémon Company nailed Ninetails (who I prefer to the original) and an adorable Raichu, but that’s only half the story. Exeggcute and Digglet have both been ruined and I’m on the fence about Geodude’s evolution chain and Rattata (or Raticate) is a bit hazy.

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Sassy.

And then there are the brand new pocket monsters. About 800 of them. Most haven’t been formally released yet but hackers have managed to obtain sprites and names for most of them and they are more consistently good than Alolan Forms (with the possible exception of the positively ludicrous Drampa).

Gen 7 also introduces 8 “ultra beasts”- super powerful Pokemon that transcend mythics (which transcend legendaries, who transcend normal Pokemon) The only name found so far is UB-01, a jellyfish-like alien which bears a strange resemblance to one of the main characters, but the sprites of the other 7 are great. (Four more human counterparts for the beasts have been found – the gym leaders from the four islands.)

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How on Earth is that thing a Dragon Type?

Overall, I’d say that the Gen 7 are the best of the bunch when it comes to new Pokemon, and despite all the weird new additions, the leaked and hacked Pokemon have only made me want the new games even more. I can’t wait for the 23rd!

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