Saturday, 21 April 2018

Asylum Reviews; A Quiet Place.

We’ve always been big fans of John Krasinski. Loved him in The Office, and were very glad when he started to break out from the comedic roles as we would get to see this whole other side of him. When we saw the first trailer for A Quiet Place, we were really intrigued and excited to see the film as not only is he in it, but he has directed it (and done work on the Screenplay too).

A Quiet Place focuses on a family surviving in the aftermath of strange creatures basically wiping out most of humanity. They have to scour abandoned shops and buildings for supplies, whilst remaining silent, as these creatures hunt based on sound. This can prove to be quite a challenge for them since they have young children – we’ve got kids ourselves and suffice to say we’d be totally fucked in this situation as they have no concept of quiet, at all.

The threat of these creatures is very real, and you honestly are completely on edge throughout the entire movie, waiting for something bad to happen. You see these parents, Lee (John Krasinski) and Evelyn (Emily Blunt) being taken to their absolute limit in trying to protect their children, and how they would do anything in their power to do so.

The raw emotion displayed, as well as the bond between all of the characters as a family feels very true to life, and gives a lot of credibility to everything they do. The tiny little changes they've had to make in their life (alongside the big ones) in order to survive, is very believable - a lot of work definitely went to the planning of every minute detail.

This movie has a lot of quiet moments. Yes, that should be obvious to most that have either seen the trailer, or read anything about the movie at all, but evidently it wasn’t obvious to those in the audience with us. Within minutes of the movie starting, the sound of people ripping open packets of crisps, and rummaging through their popcorn was deafening. It was like they weren’t even trying to be quiet. I think everyone must have glared at the offenders though, as they all quickly stopped and I don’t remember hearing it much afterwards, haha. There are a few fairly loud moments in the movie (such as when they are near running water), so most people took advantage of these parts to quickly open things or cough – both me and Allan were suffering from a pretty bad cough/chest infection when we went to see it and had to desperately hold our coughing till the loud parts – which we somehow managed successfully. Regardless of the slight irritation of these noises going on directly behind us, I would still recommend seeing A Quiet Place in cinema, as we both agreed that the cinematic experience really adds to the movie, as the noises completely envelop you, as does the silence. If you’re reading this by the time it is no longer available in cinemas, then go grab yourself a copy of the movie on Bluray and watch it in a dark room, with the sound up and no distractions.

The movie truly was phenomenal. The cast worked brilliantly together, and were very believable in their respective roles. With Krasinski and Blunt being married in real life, this probably helped contribute to the chemistry of their characters. Their relationships to their kids in the movie was so genuine, you could really feel the maternal/paternal instincts in everything they did. Without going into too much detail, as I really, really don’t want to spoil the movie (and instead highly recommend that you go see it ASAP!), we thoroughly enjoyed it and it hit all the right notes in terms of tense-ness, as well as the emotion. The sound (and lack thereof) was fantastic, and really made you aware of how quiet things have to be to stay hidden from these creepy things hunting you.

In the end, this gets the Collecting Asylum rating of:

It’s a Belter!

Have you seen A Quiet Place? What did you think of it?
Let us know in the comments below!

 -V x

Sunday, 15 April 2018

Entries to the Asylum; Monday 9th April 2018 - Sunday 15th April 2018 [Week 15].

Quite a few new movie releases this week, as well as The Adventure Pals for Xbox One - which is fantastic, might I add - and some merch from Captain Disillusion!

Monday 9th April 2018

- Assault on Precinct 13 Steelbook [Bluray].
- Prince of Darkness Steelbook [Bluray].
- The Adventure Pals [Xbox One][Digital].

Wednesday 11th April 2018

- The Villainess Steelbook Edition [Bluray].

Friday 13th April 2018

- Friday the 13th: the Game Signed Slipcover [Xbox One].
This finally arrived! And we got number 043/100! :)
- Captain Disillusion T-Shirt [Merch].
(another one on the way for Allan)
- Captain Disillusion: Fame Curve Collection [DVD].
- Captain Disillusion Pin [Merch].

Saturday 14th April 2018

- Killer Klowns from Outer Space Limited Edition [Bluray].

The package I received on Friday with the Captain Disillusion merch was missing Allan's t-shirt. I've had quite a few packages (from various retailers) arrive recently with an item or two missing, that of which I've had to chase up myself, so was a little gutted that this was another to add to the list, until I spotted the little handwritten note on the order receipt explaining that the t-shirt will be following soon, from Captain D himself :)

So what new things have you picked up this week?
Let us know in the comments below!

- V x

Saturday, 14 April 2018

Shenmue I & II Announcement.

So Sega have announced the upcoming release of Shenmue I & II for Xbox One, PS4 and PC, with a an expected 2018 release. Whilst not a full "from the ground up" remaster, Sega have implemented a few new things to keep the series fresh, and keep us going until the release of Shenmue III.

In Shenmue, you play as a character called Ryo Hazuki, a young martial artist seeking revenge for the murder of his father. It was released back in 1999/2000 for Sega Dreamcast, and while the sequel eventually received an Xbox release, this marks the first time that people can play the full series on a non-Dreamcast console. We've still got a Dreamcast, but sadly no longer have our original copies of Shenmue or Shenmue II, and Allan had been desperate to replay them before III comes out, so we're so glad that this is coming out.

Releasing as an all in one package, this will be the perfect chance for players old and new to work their way through both titles before Shenmue III is released. The slight changes incorporated are an updated user interface (UI), the ability to switch between modern and classic control schemes, scalable screen resolutions as well as being able to choose between English or Japanese voiceovers for the characters.

The Shenmue I & II collection will be available both digitally, and in physical form, which we're really happy about. Currently we don't have an official release date locked down, but with Shenmue III expected to drop in Q3/Q4 of this year, it will need to be fairly soon in order to give people time to complete before then.

Allan is a massive fan of Shenmue, and has been dreaming of a current-gen re-release for years. With the announcement (and Kickstarter) of Shenmue III, he really hoped we'd see this happen, so he's over the moon that it is finally confirmed. Definitely think we're going to have to organise a space on a shelf for Shenmue stuff, as currently our Ryo Hazuki Exclusive statue from First4Figures is just on our Dreamcast shelf, but with the Shenmue III Kickstarter rewards for the tier we backed, Shenmue definitely deserves a shelf of its own.

I expect we will hear more details at E3 regarding both this and the release of Shenmue III - I am betting that they'll show this at E3 and do the whole "available now!" shtick, and then confirm a December release date for III, giving everyone a few months to fire through these, or they'll give us a date for this and announce a delay on III.

During the 2015 Kickstarter, we pledged for the $600 tier:

Which includes: 
- "Put your name and a 140 character message in the guestbook of a Choubu Inn. Write your witticism/aphorism/Shenmue-ism for all to see!"
We haven't yet decided what we want in the guestbook, but surveys haven't been done yet anyway, so no worries on that!
- Get all four figures: Ryo, Shenhua, Chai and the Forklift
- Illustration signed by Yu Suzuki
- Signed Collector’s Edition
- Backer-only Arcane Technique Scroll (in-game item)
- Skin-change feature for Ryo’s Jacket (in-game item)
- Physical CD Soundtrack
- Printed Artbook curated by Yu Suzuki
- 20 Capsule Toy Tickets (in-game item)
- MP3 download of original soundtrack with unreleased tracks
- Digital artbook
- Shenmue 3 T-shirt
- International phone card (in-game item) to call Nozomi, Guizhang Chen, Ine-san, Joy, Fuku-san or other characters from Shenmue 1 & 2 (item will unlock phone conversations and flashbacks, exclusive to Kickstarter backers).
- Physical Copy in an exclusive backer-only case
- Your name in the credits

So the physical stuff included will look great on a shelf alongside our Ryo statue, and we will then need to track down the UK Dreamcast copies to join them all. 

Are you excited about Shenmue I & II being released?
Let us know in the comments below!

- V x

Friday, 13 April 2018

Asylum Unboxing; J.T Studio Wang Deluxe Version & Jians Valentine Exclusive [Figure].

We first discovered J.T Studio back in 2015/16 after seeing a photo of the Monkey King figure. Allan, in particular, is a huge fan of all Journey to the West related property and was eager to track down one of these figures for our collection. Based on the information we'd gathered - J.T Studio was based in Taiwan, and the online store no longer had any of Monkey King still in stock. We were gutted, but weren't going to let that stop us. We decided to look around online, to no avail. 

I took a chance and emailed J.T Studio through the website, and luckily enough the owner: Jei Tseng, got back in touch with me. He had a small number of figures left, that just weren't currently listed on the site. I quickly arranged to purchase the Monkey King W figure to put away for Allan's Christmas that year. 

Since then, we've been glad to keep on supporting Jei's releases and are always eagerly awaiting new announcements. When Wang was revealed to be the next release in the Street Mask line, and subsequently put up for preorder, we had to add him (and Jians, which comes as part of the Deluxe Version) to our collection. You can still find him avalilable here.

First off, the packaging is phenomenal. All of the boxes in the Street Mask line match up beautifully, and look gorgeous as a backdrop for the figures. I desperately need to get more shelves ASAP as I want a dedicated J.T Studio shelf now that we have so many figures.

Limited to 399, and individually numbered - ours is number 192/399. All of the inner artwork is all done by Jei Tseng also, and really adds to how gorgeous the overall package is.

Even the shipping boxes are identifiably from J.T Studio, which I love - custom shipping boxes just add another layer of "premium" in my eyes.

Inside, we have Wang as well as a bunch of different accessories. Wang's body is fully "tattooed" and he has a bunch of clothing on (all real material) that you can swap about to customise how you want him to look (ie, wear the hoodie without the jacket, or go fully topless, your call!). He also has a Jians head mask, which is awesome as this can be swapped around with the standalone Jians figures. He also has 3 different pairs of hands, to change out for different poses, as well as a cap and backpack, 3x Kendamas (which are a type of Japanese toy, but that he has as a kind of weapon) and two holsters for the chunkier ones and of course, the stand.

Wang can be displayed as he is in the box, without the mask - or as shown below - with it. The kendama can be a little fidgety to place between the teeth and his face, but looks really nice when done properly. You can also clearly see the different textures in the fabrics used, between the satiny material of the jacket, to the stretchier cottony material of the hoodie.

So much time and effort has clearly gone into the production of these figures, from all of the individual pieces right down to the meticulous clothing (with working zippers!) and tattoos right across his full body,. Everything is to an extremely high standard.

The stand is made up of a few separate layers, in order to get this stunning effect. And the post for Wang to rest against slots through to hold them all together. Unfortunately, before taking these pictures I failed to notice that I did not line all of the base pieces up properly so there is a slight overlap at the edge (which I promise isn't there if you line them up correctly haha!)

There is just so much unbelievable detail in Jei Tseng's work, and I am thrilled to have found J.T Studio when I did as I definitely would not have wanted to miss any of these gorgeous figures.

Jians, which although part of the Deluxe Version, comes in a separate box (but contained within the custom shipping box together) is really intricately detailed. He has a sword which can be placed in his mouth (or have this separate if you prefer).

His head is removable as mentioned above, and can be swapped out with the head inside the Wang box, which is used as a mask.

As a separate purchase, I also bought the Valentine Exclusive version of Jians, which is a different colourway of the above. This one has pink detailing, instead of blue, but together they go really well with Wang as his mask is a mixture of both.

And same again, the head can be removed to swap out with either Wang's mask, or another Jians head.

Here's Wang alongside his two Jians.

Overexposed his face a little here, whoops.

I feel like this could be a candid shot from some trap music rapper's Insta., haha.

And of course, the Jians with their heads swapped over. Couldn't exactly tell you about it without following through!

Here's our J.T Studio collection at present. There's a few more on the way/preordered, and definitely plan on keeping this going. More unboxing posts to follow soon, as can't wait to show you everything that Jei has to offer!

Do you own any J.T Studio pieces? What do you think about them?
Let us know in the comments below!

- V x

Tuesday, 10 April 2018

Asylum Reviews; Extinction [Xbox One].

We got interested in Extinction fairly late on in the pre-release stage, with just a few weeks to go. The cinematic trailer was what pulled us in; the clear reference to Attack on Titan shown within the game had us intrigued. The Attack on Titan games (whilst the anime is amazing) were definitely lackluster, so Extinction could finally be the game that gives us what had hoped for... but it wasn't.

Upon first playing the game, it was enjoyable, if a little bare. The travel was quick, albeit a bit uncontrollable, but flailing wildly through the air did have its moments. As time went on though, we got tired of the game, real fast. The procedurally generated levels were sparse and samey, and the mission objectives dull and repetitive. The giants looked fierce: brutish and intimidating, and could frustratingly kill you in a single hit, but they again were boring, with few variations, and not very challenging.

To defeat a giant, this requires you to slice the back of their necks (harking back to AoT, again), after destroying their armour and often dismembering them. Your sword has the amazing strength and power to slice cleanly through arms, legs and necks on these humongous Ravenii but somehow take multiple hits to down the smaller enemies - something which massively infuriated me. 

There are four general mission types: rescue missions where you have to rescue x number of civilians, defend missions where you must protect and defend the watch towers for x amount of time, or Ravenii/Jackal killing missions where you have to kill x number of Ravenii/Jackal to complete the mission. It's a horrible boring structure to have with these missions, as it means that regardless of where you are in the story, there is never anything more complex to be dealing with (other than maybe an increased number of whatever you are doing).

A lot of the logic of the game is highly flawed. If you are defeated in a mission, you are often flung right back to the starting point which often leads to further issues, as the long travel back to where the Ravenii are gives them ample time to flatten most buildings. Protecting the towers, we have seen the giants respawn directly next to the towers milliseconds after defeating others, leaving us panicked and trying to get over to distract them away from the towers. It's not done in a way that makes you think that it's done to be challenging, but instead in an illogical frustrating mess.

As much as we wanted to like Extinction, it is just far too repetitive for us to enjoy properly. With a AAA digital price point of £54.99 for the standard copy, and £64.99 for the Deluxe Edition, you'd certainly expect more out of this. Despite the price it commands, it looks and feels like a low-level indie, and is definitely more suited to a far lower pricing structure. I can honestly say I don't know what was going through the developers' minds when deciding to price it in such a way.

There's a few other game modes, such as Skirmishes and Trials, but these again are pretty much more of the same, and have no benefit to you for completing (aside from achievements). There are a few simple things that could have been implemented to give the game a tiny bit more depth, such as customisation of your character (or at least upgrading his armour), or collecting certain things dotted around the map, down to even the most obvious things like switching up the Trials a bit more instead of yet again just more civilian rescue (just timed).

We've come across a few bugs that have almost ended things for us, such as the Ravenii just glitching out and stopping everything they're doing - so wouldn't put out the fire in their armour, preventing any attacks. Had to quit out the game and go back on to fix it, which definitely proved frustrating since it was right at the end of a chapter. Another one was late on in the game, during a watchtower defense mission - two Ravenii just glitched and stood doing nothing, stopping any others from spawning but still allowing the timer to count down (so the mission still completed without much effort by this point!).

In the end, Extinction gets the Collecting Asylum rating of:

Boring as Baws!

Have you played Extinction? What did you think about it?
Let us know in the comments below!

- V x

Monday, 9 April 2018

Entries to the Asylum; Monday 2nd April 2018 - Sunday 8th April 2018 [Week 14].

Quite a few new arrivals this week. Detective Pikachu amiibo was a quick impulse purchase after seeing how big it was from some other collectors online. Fairly building up our J.T Studio collection too, so have been busy taking photos of all of those :)

Tuesday 3rd April 2018

- Blade of the Immortal Steelbook [Bluray].

Wednesday 4th April 2018

- Detective Pikachu Amiibo [Accessories].
- Tales from the Sea of Thieves [Book].

Thursday 5th April 2018

- Jojo's Bizarre Adventure Season One [Bluray].
- Sea of Thieves Limited Edition Antique Coin [Merch].
- Sea of Thieves Limited Edition Gold Coin [Merch].
- Sea of Thieves Karnath Cards [Merch].
- Extinction [Xbox One][Digital].

Friday 6th April 2018

- J.T Studio Wang Deluxe Version [Figure].

Sunday 8th April 2018

- J.T Studio Jians Valentine Exclusive [Figure].

We're fairly building up our J.T Studio collection - will do a full unboxing and review of all of the ones we have currently ASAP. Starting with the above mentioned Wang Deluxe and Jians Valentine Exclusive later tonight! 

Also coming later tonight/early tomorrow - J.T Studio unboxing/reviews! So make sure to check back later for all this new shiz :)

What new things have you gotten recently?
Let us know in the comments below!

- V x

Asylum Reviews; Immortal Redneck [Xbox One].

Released at the end of February of this year, Immortal Redneck took us by surprise. A roguelite first person shooter, set in Egypt, you play as a redneck tourist who crashed here and ended up mummified. Remnants of your dune buggy/go-kart can be found on the outskirts of the map, that of which brought your redneck ass to the land of the pyramids. You can't walk too far out on the map, as there's a "dark zone" on the map with an invisible wall blocking you (but nabs you an achievement for trying). There's some pretty huge intimidating figures off in the distance though, so I'm kinda glad you can't go any further, haha.

 Procedurally generated dungeons within each of the three pyramids leave you wondering what's to come as you progress through the levels, and with permadeath meaning that you'll drop all the way back to the beginning, the gameplay sure can turn frantic as you dodge and dive out of the way of enemy projectiles. The movement feels great: it's fast, and having the ability to jump multiple times (depending on character) is brilliant for being able to scale upwards on the multi-layered levels. 

With nine different character classes, each with their own pros and cons. Some are more preferable than others, but this will depend entirely on your play-style. Allan's preference was definitely Apis (shown third in the image below) due to his increased health and extra weapon slot, but for these improvements, comes the disadvantage of only being able to single jump. It's a case of trial and error when deciding who you like and who you don't.

Scrolls can make or break a run for you. Similar to The Binding of Isaac, these pick-ups have various improvements or handicaps, however the difficult thing about them is that they all look the same - just a standard scroll - so you don't know what you've got until you've picked it up, whereas Isaac has different sprites for each item (taking out a little of the guesswork once you get used to what each item does). If you start a run and end up with three relatively good scrolls early on, by all means you can choose to avoid the rest out of fear for ruining what you have going on, but sometimes the difficulties can be what makes a level challenging and fun. 

There are three pyramids with seven floors, each housing three mini-bosses and three actual bosses (mini-boss fight on level three and main boss on level 7), but aside from these - and that's only one of each per pyramid - there's not a whole lot other than the normal enemies. After these have been defeated once, you pretty much know the formula for how to defeat them every time; they no longer pose a threat. Definitely wish there was a bit more variety in the bosses, as well as there being more of them instead of just three. 

At the end of each pyramid when the boss is defeated, or if you kick the bucket beforehand, you are brought back to the Pyramid hub world. The gold you gained in that run can be used for upgrades on the Skill Tree (or to unlock Scrolls for the following run). Any gold left unused when you make your way back into the pyramids is lost, so you're best to spend as much as you can before then!

It reminds us of a roguelite Serious Sam game, and when is that ever a bad thing!? The game looks and feels great and the music is pretty cool. However, the game lacks the meatiness of games such as The Binding of Isaac, and we'd have liked to seen the developers dive deeper in the making of it. Whilst it is a fun game, it's relatively short once you get into the swing of things, and once you're done you're unlikely to go back to it, whereas The Binding of Isaac still has us playing years later.

Available in the UK for £15.99 on Xbox One and PS4 (and slightly cheaper on Steam), we would probably recommend picking it up if you're a massive fan of dungeon crawler roguelites, otherwise it's just not going to be for you. It's not got a great deal of substance that makes us want to keep going back to it now that it's completed, but it did make us want to see it through to completion. In the end, we give it the Collecting Asylum rating of:

Gie it a Go!

Have you played Immortal Redneck? How did you feel about it?
Let us know in the comments below!

- V x

Asylum Reviews; A Quiet Place.

We’ve always been big fans of John Krasinski. Loved him in The Office, and were very glad when he started to break out from the comedi...