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Review – PC – House MD (the Game)

Legacy Interactive | Released: 5.26.2011

NOTE: This review mostly concerns itself with Chapter 1, I plan to go through at least one more chapter and if there are significant game play changes I’ll note them but otherwise it can be assumed to be more of the same.  Also this review is image heavy because I had too many good shots to narrow it down.

Occasionally something that seems slightly ridiculous shows up on my radar and I just can’t help but give it a try.  House MD the Game falls into this category.  The company behind this isn’t one I’ve ever heard of but judging by their website they specialize in this sort of point and click mini game based adventure game.  They also have some games based on other popular prime time shows available.

I am a fan of the show, sort of.  I really enjoyed it up through the end of Season 3.  After they broke up the original team and started adding other subordinates things started slowly moving downhill.  I can’t say I’ve watched much past maybe halfway through Season 4.  This game features most of the more current characters so it is at least based on the what’s relevant now as far as the show goes.  Everyone is there, House, Wilson, Cuddy, Thirteen, Foreman, Cameron, Chase, and Taub.  The graphics on this are good enough that everyone is easily recognizable.  I won’t go so far as to say they are great though only because some of the facial expressions House gives are a little… odd…

The game itself does a decent job of replicating the general aspects of the show.  There are 5 Chapters or cases to solve which must be solved in order.  There is the basic set up, some inconspicuous situation leads to a person landing in the hospital.  House and his team brainstorm and test for various illnesses.  There’s even the “side patient” clinic side of House’s job that shows up.  Eventually after several failed diagnosis, House has an epiphany moment (through the use of a bouncing ball mini game) and the solution presents itself to the world more or less out of nowhere.

This plot aspect actually annoys me but it’s consistent with the show and much of modern television these days.  They throw so many Red Herrings at you that there isn’t any way to actually piece together the mystery even if you’re paying attention.  There is just an “ah-hah” moment and it’s done.  Not a complaint against the game mind you but that gimmick reeks of annoying writing.

The game play itself involves reading through the narrative and solving several tasks presented to you.  These tasks are timed mini games.  You do procedural tasks which are, slightly annoyingly, spelled out step by step, so no real challenge.  These involve things like “whip the area with  sponge, stick the needle in the arm, no slide up to insert the needle, put the vial on to the end of the needle”.

There are also search and find the clues games.  These involve panning around a scene looking for clues as to what may have caused the illness.  These are a little weak because you mostly pick up random objects, none of which end up having much to do with anything.  The third of the more common puzzles is the brainstorming sessions.  Several different diseases float around on the screen.  You must select the correct one to move on.  As you select answers, letters that match will be revealed helping you to sole the answer.  Also letters are revealed over time slowly.  Generally you’ll do 4 or 5 of these in a row as House tells you all the reasons you’re wrong.

The whole thing reminds me a lot of the Pet Care style games my kids play.  Basic mouse movement based tasks presented to the player with no true threat of loss.  This is a very casual game in that it’s meant to appeal to people who don’t really play games.  The type who don’t want to get a game over screen ever, they just want play a house episode.

Much of the game is very dialogue heavy.  I can’t really decide if it’s good or bad or just off.  I have not really paid attention to the show the last few seasons so maybe house has turned into a “Sex one liner every other sentence kinda guy” but I don’t remember him being quite this randomly nuts on the show.  The worst comes from the clinic patient.  House more or less mocks her the entire time telling her she needs to fatten up repeatedly only considerably more rudely.  House is an ass but he’s not really all that flat out MEAN.  I’ve included several choice selections in the screenshots, you’ll want to enlarge them to read it though.

The simplicity will probably turn off a lot of more hardcore gamer types.  It’ll likely turn off people who just like more action in their game.  It’s not real terrible for a mostly text based narrative style adventure game.

Here are some extra images I didn’t have room for….  Click to make them larger…

Review – Sentinel – Roll Caskett (AmiAmi Exclusive Ver)

I’m pretty picky anymore, so it’s not super often that I end up slightly disappointed with a figure, especially one that is expensive that I didn’t randomly pick up because it was marked down to nothing at Wal-Mart. Unfortunately, the 4 Inch Nel Roll Casket gets the pleasure of being slightly disappointing.

So, the figure itself is pretty decent, and I really like the Classic Megaman that I have. The real insult of this figure is the price and the dual release. The version I have is the AmiAmi.com exclusive version. It includes a hatless head and a mini figure of Data, the little save monkey from Mega Man Legends (Rockman Dash). The regular version has a hand holding a wrench and a head with Roll’s giant hat. The thing is, this figure is roughly $70 USD, and there really isn’t any reason that these two figures shouldn’t have just been “one release”.

What makes this really stand out is that in the same order, I received Figma Widowmaker, which is like twice as much figure and a ton of extra parts, for less cost. I mean, I realize these are different companies, and Figma is a lot bigger than Sentinel in terms of everything, but it really makes it obvious how much Roll is really price gouging it.

The figure itself looks good, all of the colors are nice and the sculpt looks really great for the most part. She holds together pretty well, in fact, I had a little bit of trouble getting her head apart to swap the faces it holds together so well. The joints though are a little ugly. Sentinel’s joint system works great on robots where everything is hidden by armor, it works a little less well on Roll, who is more human looking in appearance. She also has a little trouble with balance, primarily due to her skinny body and huge head. There is a stand to help hold her up, but it’s the huge claw style and kind of looks rediculous when wrapped around her.

Aside from the previous complaint of “the second figure should have just been accessories”, she really is kind of anemic on accessories. She has open hands and fist hands, though the open hands are very straight fingered and look a little weird looking. There are two face plates, one smiling, and one winking, a few more would have been nice given the cost of this figure. Then of course there’s Data, who has an articulated neck but not a lot else to do.

I don’t have a lot else to say. I hope she does all right because I would love to get Tron Bonne eventually, but I hope they have the sense not to split her up needlessly across two expensive releases. Another unrelated side note, I kind of wish Megaman Volnut would get a re-release, he’s pretty expensive on the secondary market these days, so my Roll is a little lonely. I have an old as the hills model kid but it looks pretty awful.

Forza Horizon 4 (PC, Xbox One)

Microsoft – 2018

The Good

  • Stunning Visuals
  • Gameplay has a ton of variety and courses and cars
  • The car Livery system is pretty great

The Bad

  • The PC version is a pretty mediocre port of the console version
  • There are a lot of bugs.
  • The Online Scene isn’t great

Racing is a genre of games that I don’t really obsess over but I often come back to. It’s quite possibly my secret favorite genre. I bought an N64 so I could play Cruisin USA, I played a ton of Gran Turismo 2 on my Playstation, I played a bunch of Need for Speed games. the only X-Box 360 title I have played with any amount of play time was Forza Motorsport 4.

I’d been kind of looking at trying one of the Forza games in the Windows 10 store, though I was a little apprehensive early on because, well, it’s the Windows 10 store. I’ve used Windows 10 enough that I can say I’m ok with keeping it around some so I went ahead and decided to dive into Forza Horizon 4, which is the newest title in the series. It was on sale and I had a bunch of Bing Rewards credit so I picked up the Ultimate Edition for a steal and have been playing it pretty regularly since.

So, Forza consists of two core series. The Forza Motorsport Series is a more traditional “Pick a race and run it” style game, the Forza Horizon series is a more open world experience. Each of the Horizon games take place in an approximation of a different real world region, Forza Horizon 4 takes place in the countryside of the UK near Edinburgh. It centers around the Horizon Festival, which is a sort of gathering for racers to show off their skills in different types of racing. The point is, there is some sort of vague plot to this game, you meet with some of the organizers and they give little cut scenes occasionally. Each race type culminates in a longer showcase event, that one of the characters has been building up to. It’s not going to win any writing awards, but it’s there. There are sub stories as well, though it all amounts to an excuse to drive a car and win some sort of race.

For example, one of the sub stories is a series of events hosted by a Vlogger who is showing off cars that appeared in video games over the years. Like the Ferrari from Outrun or the
Lamborghini Countach from Test Drive. Another has you participating in a series of outlandish stunts as you work do some side work for a filmmaker as a Stunt Driver. There are a series of special event races which culminates in a Halo themed run driving a Warthog. Another has you race a massive hovercraft as it storms over the terrain.

These are all in addition to the more standard races that make up the core Horizon Festival series. The Horizon races are broken up into types you might expect, Off-road racing with trucks, Street races with lots of tight corners and turns, Road races which are a little more forgiving than street races and have a few more straightaways. You start off with only a handful of events available but unlock more as you level up your skill in each type of race. Eventually the entire map is essentially covered in events.

The map itself is pretty good size. It can take a pretty good while to circle the entire area, and even just traveling across it can take five to ten minutes, depending on how much you go off road or what car you’re driving. In addition to race events, there are all sorts of activities on the map itself. Speed Trap challenges to achieve a high speed at a certain point, Drift Zones where you accumulate points by drifting around a series of turns, or Danger Signs where the object is to see how far you can jump your car. Like regular races and mini stories, doing these activities, unlocks other activities.

When all of this gets old, there’s also the hourly Forzathon events, which are sort of impromptu gatherings of players who all work to do the world activities for accumulated points. These, admittedly, get a little old, they last 10-15 minutes and it involves doing the same speed trap or danger sign jump over and over and over and over while a meter inches upwards for the group. It really feels like these could be given some more variety, maybe a series of checkpoints for everyone to race through that span the map or something. These events give special Forzathon Points which can be used to buy special weekly exclusive items.

Thinking of buying, the game’s other progression system is through accumulating cars and player outfits. You can’t exit your vehicle but your avatar appears on race start and completion screens and shows up in your car driving. You earn clothes and cars through a variety of methods, winning races and leveling up the different race types is one. You can outright buy cars with your winnings. You can also win prizes through Wheelspins which are earned from victories and leveling up your character. These are pretty much what they sound like. A big prize wheel spins and you get an item afterwards.

It’s notable to add that there is no real world cash shop. You buy the game, and that’s it. The Wheelspins especially feel like something that would normally be a “pay $1.99 and get a wheelspin” item but there is no way to buy extra wheelspins. They must be earned by racing. This is good because frankly, micro transactions are kind of hurting the game industry. It’s a little frustrating since it means you get a loot box that you can’t control and may get some garbage emote out of it instead of that rare car that happened to show up as an option. Fortunately the game pretty much showers you with Wheelspins.

So, while there aren’t any micro transactions, this does lead into my first complaint. I purchased the Ultimate Edition on sale, so it didn’t seem too bad, but the game kind of feels like it almost needs the $99 Ultimate Edition package, for anyone who has any intention of seriously playing the game and the expansions. In addition to including the current (Fortune Island) and unknown second expansion, the Ultimate Edition comes with a ton of cars and the VIP Pass, which includes a bunch of perks like double experience and free wheelspins and whatnot, all things that make the progression of the game fly by.

My other major problem comes from how shoddy the PC port itself feels. The game itself plays well and looks great and on the whole, I am happy, but it has a lot of weird quirks and a lot of bugs that feels like they stem from the whole “Windows 10 Cross Play Xbox experience” or whatever it’s called. For example, there is an elaborate and nice Photo Mode in the game, but the only way to get the photos into a useful sharable format is to first share them to your Forza Profile on the Forza website. I mean you can print screen them, but the actual export produces a much nicer quality image.

I also feel like the lack of a user defined radio stems from this weird Xbox wrapper. The in game radio is all right but gets a little old after a while, having the ability to point a user radio station to a folder of MP3s would be amazing. You can play whatever music you want of course on something else, but the game is really bad about auto turning to a new radio station during races and the console version apparently doesn’t have a way to permanently mute the radio at all on the volume slider. Between this missing feature and the lack of screen shots saving to the drive, it’s like the game just doesn’t have access to the file system. It’s more of a Windows 10 problem than a Game problem, but it’s kind of a problem.

On Windows 10 problems, I have also had problems getting updates to take and the game to launch, a problem others have had as well. Sometimes it just doesn’t launch with no helpful errors. I also had to do a complete reinstall to get the Fortune Island DLC to take.

I also kind of hate the complete lack of in game chat, which i understand is also a side effect of the cross play aspects with the Xbox One. The text chat is all done via these little emote meme phrases and you can only “equip” 4 at a time.

Most of these problems, aside from the literal game breaking updating issue, aren’t game breaking. The pluses really outweigh those negatives. Racing games aren’t for everyone, but this one is pretty awesome. It’s visually amazing and the lack of micro transactions despite how easy it would have been to add them is really great. I’d definitely recommend the game, especially if it’s on sale.

Review – The Binding of Isaac (PC)

So, the makers of Super Meat Boy, Team Meat, apparently have an old school Nintendo Fetish of the worst kind.  First you have Super Meat Boy, which has vague connotations of Super Mario Brothers.  Though the reality is the name is all it really has in common with Super Mario Brothers, that and being a side scrolling platform game.  The Binding of Isaac is sort of like this, only with The Legend of Zelda.  It sort of has the same cadence and style in name and shares a lot of game play style.

The reality is, other than the basic interface design, The Binding of Isaac shares very little with The Legend of Zelda.  The presentation is similar but the game itself is a rogue-like.   This game’s primary gimmick, and the source of it’s possible lone flaw, is it’s randomness.  It can be extremely cruel at times.  The ability to complete the higher levels tends to be closely associated with the items and upgrades you find.  These upgrades tend to be pretty random and are also often dependent on if you have enough coins to buy them.  This can lead to some rounds where you manage to become an overpowered juggernaut and others where you’re essentially the same guy on Level 3 as you started out.

Assuming you can even make it to level 3 without upgrades.  There is also the problem of keeping yourself alive in this random mess.  Some rounds, enemies will almost always drop hearts and coins, others you’ll get nothing.  There does seem to be some level of algorithm in place to keep things fair, it just could use a bit of tweaking.  The game does do a pretty good job of keeping the earlier enemies easier and the later enemies more difficult.

It also is surprisingly not as frustrating as it seems like it should be.  This was a trait shared by Super Meat Boy.  It also becomes easier as you become accustomed to how the enemies act and move.  Now, granted it does start to shove curveballs at you like nobody’s business later in the game, like having the laser blasting aliens with small corridors to navigate, and swarms of flying spitting creatures in a room full or rocks.

Despite the frustration, the gameplay is pretty solid, and decent.

The real likely turn off to some people is the game’s somewhat grotesque nature and it’s somewhat mocking of religion gameplay.  The Binding of Isaac is a story from the Bible where God asks Abraham to sacrifice his son Isaac.  The basic plot of the story is that Isaac’s mother is told by a mysterious voice that her son has become corrupted and he must be taught humility, or something along those lines.  There are numerous references to biblical elements.  This is mixed in with what is essentially a horror house of bloody enemies often based on bodily organs.  Often enemies spew blood pellets or drop piles of shit on the floor.  It’s generally something that people who have a more sensitive disposition will probably find offensive.

This game has one final really great point going for it, it’s cheap.  It’s almost like some sort of experiment in marketing but the game is only $5, which is hard to pass up.  It’s frustrating as hell but it’s fun enough that it’ll keep you coming back, assuming you’re not turned off by the slightly disturbing imagery involved.

The Binding of Isaac is available on Steam here.

Transformers – Studio Series – Bumblebee (VW)

The latest Transformers Movie, Bumblebee, takes things back more to the original roots of Transformers.  It features G1 versions of a lot of the characters and the main character, Bumblebee, takes the form of a Volkswagen Beetle like he had in the original 80s cartoon.  The movie isn’t getting it’s own toyline but is instead being looped in with the Studio Series line.  The first figure from the new films is Bumblebee himself though in many cases, Dropkick from the followup wave is also showing up with him.

The new Bee reminds me a lot of Studio Series Jazz in that he is really tiny in both modes.  This feels a lot more appropriate given it’s Bumblebee, who was one of the smallest Autobots in the original G1 series.  It does make the $20 price point for deluxe Transformers a little hard to swallow but he has a few little parts that help make it feel more worthwhile.  The robot is pretty nice, though he has a huge backpack that feels like it should collapse on itself a bit more, but doesn’t really seem to without pushing the plastic beyond what feels comfortable.  The legs also are a little funny in that they feel like they should peg together better but don’t seem to. 

The design itself is very reminiscent of the old Camero Bumblebee design from the last few Michael Bay Transformers movies.  The way the layered chest lays and the panels fall on his legs and the door wings sit on his back, these elements are all very Movie Bumblebee.  The Door wings aren’t very accurate to the film though, where the doors seem to do some mass shifting and point downward instead of becoming wings. 

I mentioned he comes with some extras to help offset his cost.  Specifically, he has an alternative face plate for his “Battle Mask” look and a swap-able arm piece for his arm cannon.  There’s also a blade weapon which can attach to the side of any of the three forearm pieces.  These sort of swap out parts aren’t a real common things for Transformers.  Having them, it’s kind of clear why.  The canon arm falls off a lot more easily than the standard hand arm and the Mask face falls off if you look at it funny.  These are definitely parts which will become lost over time by some.

The transformation is pretty straightforward in it’s execution, though fairly complex.  Its a pain to get everything to massage together properly, partially I think because it’s such a small figure.  The legs and back piece are particularly problematic and I can’t see anything obviously out of place like the hidden peg on the underside of Jazz’s roof that just made everything sit right in place once engaged.

The VW Beetle looks alright aside from things not quite sitting together properly.  The vehicle does feel a little funny because the G1 Bumblebee, was very much a stylized chibified VW.  This Bee feels too long, though I’m sure he’s not for a real Beetle.

Cutting to the chase here, I think that Studio Series Bumblebee is alright, but I kind of wonder what the wider audience is for him.  He’s too complex and finicky for kids, and there are plenty of simpler options out there.  He doesn’t really mesh well for collectors.  I don’t have it but I suspect the pricier Masterpiece Movie Bee does everything slightly better and he probably looks better.  I suppose if you’re in the middle like me and don’t really need a super classy Bee but don’t want something overly simplified this version does the job, but if you want a perfect VW Movie Bee, you’re probably better off looking elsewhere.


Review – Marvel Legends – First Ten Years – Infinity War (Dr. Strange, Thanos, Iron Man Mark L)

It seems a little weird that the latest film Infinity War is included in the First Ten Years line of Marvel Legends, but I guess it is part of the legacy.  I guess it’s more strange to me because it includes a complete version of a Build a Figure that’s currently on the pegs still and an Iron Man that’s part of that same Build a Figure Wave.  In terms of figure reuse, this set is essentially 100% reuse of past releases, and it’s one of the more expensive sets, which pretty much makes it the worst offender of the line for being a decent value.  Fortunately it’s starting to get marked down.  And not everything here is a bad deal, though it’s not all good.  This set basically consists of one really great figure, and two mediocre figures, and all of that depends on how much you’ve already invested in previous versions of these characters.

So, I’m going to start off with the Iron Man Mark L (50) armor.  This is Iron Man as he appears in the Infinity War movie, sometimes referred to as the Bleeding Edge armor.  It’s a pretty standard Iron Man save for one new feature that wasn’t int he mainline release, and one I didn’t even know the figure had until I opened the shipping box and pulled this set out.  The chest has a light up feature for the Arc Reactor.  Press a button and it glows, very brightly.  It’s a neat effect though it limits his torso pose-ability completely.  Honestly, most Iron Man figures aren’t super poseable int he torso anyway, so it’s not a huge loss.  It also helps the figure stand out a bit from all of the other armors.

Unfortunately, he doesn’t have any sort of add on bits like Tony Stark uses int he movie, which would have made for a great set of accessories.  This armor basically consists of a bunch of nano machines that reconfigure into shields and laser pylons and extra jets as needed.  This toy is just a human shaped suit of armor.  He does have a nice set of repulsor hands, they don’t have joints but they are sculpted to be fully “up” in blaster configuration.  Also included are a pair of replusor blast effect parts, though it’s the same part we’ve gotten in the past several Iron Man releases.  As far as Armors go, it’s also not the most exciting design.  Personally, I dislike how sleek and rounded it is and of all of the suits I own figures of, this is probably one of my least favorite designs.

Next up, Doctor Strange.  This is such a hit and miss figure on several levels, and sometimes on the same level.  If you own the previous release of this figure from the Doctor Strange movie, it actually really helps this figure out a lot.  This is despite that from the neck down, they are identical figures.

So what’s good here.  For starters, the head is great, really great.  It’s got that current gen Hasbro better paint detail thing going on and really captures Cumberbach’s Strange.  It’s different from the previous Doctor Strange head as well, with a little smirk going on.  So many heads lately on these figures have smirks, I guess it’s the new thing for Marvel Legends or something.  He also gets better paint apps on the Eye of Agamotto amulet he wears, the green Time Stone inside is actually painted this time, though the accessory itself is the same.  There is a new cape as well, which is better…. ish.  It looks nicer and has more texture detail, but the previous cape was also designed to stand up on it’s own, since in the films it has it’s own personality.  The new cape is rounded along the bottom and doesn’t stand.  The body isn’t entirely identical tot he previous release either, since one arm includes sculpted “Time Effect” parts.  When Strange does some Time Magic, he gets these little green rings around his arms, the figure has this effect sculpted on one arm.

Which brings up the downsides, the Time Effects are not removable, so he is always casting a time spell, so to speak.  There isn’t an alternate arm or anything to swap out, which is something they have done previously, in the Doctor Strange wave actually, with Nico Minoru.  Considering they even HAVE a clean arm for this mold already designed, it’s a shame one isn’t included.  I suppose the mold probably isn’t designed for easily removed arms.  There is an alternate hand accessory to hold the energy shield effect but it’s not for the arm that the Time Effect uses, so you can’t even swap the most obvious green energy hand out.  The body itself also isn’t quite as nice as the previous one with the paint details, which is surprising given recent trends of Marvel Legends as a whole and the head of this very figure.

There is a great plus here though if you have the old Doctor Strange, the parts are cross compatible.  So the new, nicer head can be put on the old, more nicely painted, Time Effectless body to make a good Doctor Strange figure.  The Eye of Agamotto just hands around the neck, so that’s easily swapped.  The cap is the only iffy part, since the new cape has a peg that slips into a hole on the back of New Strange, a hole that doesn’t exist on Old Strange.  So to use the new cape, you would either need to cut the peg off, which may cause the cape to attach in an unstable way, or drill a hole in the back of Old Strange, which is doable, but could be tricky to get just right.  Or just use the old cape, since it still looks decent.

So lastly Thanos.  I didn’t like the Movie Thanos design a lot but it’s grown on me over time.  He looks like a Space Farmer.  I guess it helps that he’s such a great character in the film that I can forgive his design some.  Still, I never bothered finishing up the Build a Figure.  The wave consisted of several characters I don’t need more of or didn’t like the design of (IM MK 50, Ugly Cap, Iron spider without tentacle arms) so I mostly opted to skip the Thanos BAF.  This makes Thanos here kind of the jewel of this set, since it’s a great way to get a good character without blowing a bunch of money on other figures I don’t want.  That said this set came out quite a while after the Thanos BAF wave, so anyone who really cares about Thanos probably already has the last release.

I will say, from what I have seen, this release is superior to the BAF release.  The colors are much more vibrant overall for starters.  He also includes two heads, both of which feel like better designs than mainline head, though having all three would be a nice bonus.  The mainline head, which I don’t have is sort of slightly smiling and a little goofy looking, the heads in this release are the more sullen standard head and a grimacing angry head.  Both are excellent representations of how Thanos looks in Infinity War.  The gauntlet itself is also open fisted.  Which feels more appropriate given that there was an entire battle about preventing him from closing his fist.  Unfortunately the gauntlet isn’t easily removed and swapped with the closed fist gauntlet of the mainline release.  I am sure it could be swapped using the Boil and Pop method, but it’s not something that just pops on and off quickly.  I imagine, like Strange’s arm, this is a limitation of the mold not originally being intended for a swapping gimmick.  Nitpicky pipe dreams aside, Thanos is a really great looking figure that really captures the character well.  If you’re looking for a Thanos and don’t want to be bothered with the Build a Figure, this one is probably better anyway.

So on the set as a whole.  It’s a decent set, despite being a set of re-released figures.  Granted my opinion is tilted a bit since I didn’t already have the previous Mark 50 or Thanos figures.  Even having them though, the light up chest on Iron Man is decent, the improved Strange is worthwhile and the the better Thanos is definitely worthwhile.  Maybe not for the original MSRP but at a discount it’s a worthwile set for an upgraded Strange and some alternative Thanos accessories with better paint.

 

Review – Marvel Legends – First Ten Years – Ant-Man (Ant-Man and Yellowjacket)

Unlike Thor, Ant-Man did get a dedicated wave during the time of his movie.  It just, only had one movie figure in it, Ant-Man, and the rest of the wave was Ant-Man themed comic characters, sort of, the 3 villains of the wave weren’s Ant-Man villains.  the Build a Figure was AoE Ultron, though in the comics Hank Pym built Ultron, not Tony Stark.  Anyway, the point is, there wasn’t a Yellowjacket figure, comic or otherwise.  Marvel has seriously shied away from doing figures of the movie villains for whatever reason.  This set remedies that problem.

It also remedies another problem.  The MCU Ant-Man figure we got for the first movie had a horribly inaccurate head.  It was based on some pre-production art or something, because the head had a visible human mouth and the breather unit was attached to the chin.  In the movie, Paul Rudd’s face isn’t visible while he is in the suit.  The head for this set is more accurate to the movie’s design.  There is also an unmasked Paul Rudd head as well.  It’s different than the one from the recent Ant-Man and the Wasp version, with the goofy smirk.  Unfortunately, the heads are not cross compatible, they use entirely different pegs.  I have no idea why Hasbro hasn’t standardized the head pegs.  It seems like it could only be a win for the on the production side, since it would mean easier parts reuse, and it would mean for easier head swaps for people who buy the figures.

Aside from the heads, the An-Man is essentially identical to the original release.  The red parts have a bit of extra texturing to them, but it’s the same sculpt otherwise.  Including the slightly weird hands.  The better Ant-Man is nice, but the real winner of this set is Yellowjacket.  It’s nice to see Hasbro finally pushing a lot of the villains from the MCU out, because they all had some really nice designs and having someone for the hero to fight is always good.

The figure itself is pretty much what you’d expect.  It’s similar to the Ant-Man in that it’s a little stiff and clunky in design, but a lot of the MCU figures fall into this bucket, it fits with the “realistic” look and style though, so it’s not a huge problem.  The fun part is his backpack and the pair of stingers hanging off of it.  There are several extra joints to let them pose in several different ways, though it kind of feels like there could be a few more joints to make it perfect.  It holds to his back well though and does the job.  He generally looks pretty menacing and matches the movie design well.  The upper stinger pylon things don’t have any joints though, which is kind of a bummer.  He also doesn’t have an unmasked Corey Stoll head, which is kind of a bummer, though I don’t recall him ever wearing the suit without the helmet either.

The set also includes a set of micro sized Ant-Man and Yellowjacket figures.  They are the same ones included with the original Ant-Man release with marginally better paint.  It’s a nice extra bit but nothing super amazing.  The mini figures don’t even really stand on their own or anything.

So, unlike the Thor and Sif set, this set has a much broader appeal.  Ant-Man is a much more well received film than the Thor movies and the re-release figure is a definite improvement over it’s original release, so it feels like less of toss aside item than the Thor.  Yellowjacket is also a nice figure with a little more play value than Sif.  It’s a good set overall.

Review – DX-9 K1 Freeman (Overwatch Bastion)

So, even before Goodsmile announced they were doing Overwatch figures of any kind, a company known for 3rd party Transformers, DX-9 put out a transforming 3rd Party Bastion.  Or as it’s officially know, K1 Freeman.  So, a little background, “3rd Party” is a term used often in the Transformers community to refer to a slew of toys and companies that produce unofficial, unlicensed Transformers figures.  There are, I believe, similar operations in other toylines, but Transformers is definitely the biggest market for these toys.  They aren’t straight bootlegs, like you might find at a flee market, where some company produces a replica of of an official toy and sells it for cheap.  These are heavily engineered and often expensive figures, released without the official sanction of the company holding the IP.  They also often get goofy names like “K1 Freeman”.  Bastion, being sort of a Transformer, got the 3rd Party treatment.

I waited on picking this one up for a while, until the official Figma figures were announced.  I seriously doubt Figma ever puts out any of the larger characters, though I’d be happy to be wrong.  I have even less faith that Figma will ever put out a transforming Bastion.  So Freeman is the next best thing.  The main thing that feels off about him is the default skin, which I had honestly forgot what it even looked like, because no one uses it in game.

He does the job pretty dang well.  There is some limitation on the articulation, especially on the gun arm, but it’s mostly pretty good.  Bastion isn’t exactly a ninja or anything, he’s a big heavy military robot that turns into a tank.  Being the product of a 3rd Party Transformers company, he also has all three of Bastion’s modes.  Granted, none of Bastion’s transformations are particularly complex.  For the turret, he pretty much drops to his knees, fold up the arms, and extend the barrel on the back.

The tank involves some parts swapping, though there isn’t really any other way to handle those giant treads.  The Gatling turret swaps for a tank barrel and the legs slide off and get replaced by the tank treads.  The treads are actually functional, which is cool, but rubber on toys tends to not really last, so I imagine over time, they will likely end up falling apart.  The parts forming kind of sucks, but it’s slick and easy so it works.

The best part, Freeman scales very nicely with the official Figma characters.  He might be a tad oversized, but it works, and it’s not a lot if he is.  He also includes a little version of Ganymede, his little parrot friend.  Ganymede has a little peg that lets him peg onto a fee places on the figure.

Overall, Freeman is a pretty nice representation of Bastion.  He’s gotten pretty affordable on eBay as well.  The whole thing is very solidly built and has some nice heft to it as well, nothing flimsy here.  The real X factor is what Hasbro does with it’s recently announced Overwatch line.  They are more likely to release Bastion than Figma, but who knows if it will transform at all.  I suspect it would at best turn into a turret and not a tank.