Posted by: Junahu | January 27, 2010

The Reaper Review: Sho Minamimoto

Crunch! I'll add it to the heap

It’s like I’m fated to review The-World-Ends-With-You movesets. And that’s a pretty neat fate, because it means I get to pore over good movesets for a good game.

Disclaimer: Going to give my reviews a score/grade from now on. These are obviously subjective, and a good set one MYM might be a bad set in the next. But I’ve aways wanted to do it this way, it gives the reader a clear indication of the reviewer’s opinion.

Visual Impact 8/9

Sho manages to stun and awe, right from the getgo. It is visually sharp and grungey. There’s the perfect balance of colour and style, which manages to complement the dark themes exuded by Sho himself. The huge, daring fonts, give the set a kind of messy elegance, as if the set were a pile of notes scribed by a tortured genius.

As the set drags on though, visual stimulus takes a downturn. Not only do the frequent pictures dry up for half the set but the format becomes dissapointingly static, with no big switchup in form or highlighting to regain my attention. The Body text is also a little messier to stare at than I would have preferred. The lumpiness is neat in moderation, but I kept finding my eyes snapping back to previous sentences for no real reason. Finally, it was pretty unfortunate that there was no picture of Sho’s reaper wings (of course, that’s a relevancey issue I’ll cover later) as using a picture of someone else’s reaper wings really draws away from the awesome selfishness of the set.

The hitbox is almost the size of a semi-circle! 

Writing & Style 7/9

Other than what style the game’s art and quotes give you for free, there is little in the writing to make Sho’s moveset personalised. It feels like business as usual Ocon writing, which is startlingly unsympathetic in its frankness, and occasionally presumes too much of an investment from the reader. And still, more than any other MYMer I’ve met, Ocon’s writing style is staunchly authorative. The reader can have confidence in reading, as what Ocon writes feels like law. It’s like a sturdy textbook, dry to read yet reassuringly informative. It does its job and moves on.

so, moving on…

Detail 8/9

As can be expected from Ocon, Sho goes full throttle when it comes to documenting the little details. It eases off occasionally into straight comparisons and “imagine it like this” similies, but for the most part the reader’s full attention is expected. Ocon seems uniquely capable of pulling off this level of detail while keeping it relevant and organised, but there is plenty that could have been done to compact it down into a more accessable form. Very few details are implied by the writing alone, and on the occasions they are, those details tend to be blankly stated later in the description anyway.

Brawl Relevancy 5/9

 The big problems that the best sets tend to have, is that they would simply be too unintuitive for people to get into. And even Sho is no exception on occasion. After summoning a sigil with Up-B, Sho summons noise via both his Side-B and Down-B… that’s three specials tied up for a single simple task. The sigil itself acts as nothing other than a padding to explain the summoning mechanics. And splitting the actual summoning into two identical specials (which do nothing unless Up-B is used first on the ground) is criminal.

This move functions exactly like the Side Special! 

Luckily, Sho demonstrates a careful balance between controlling his summons and letting them run wild. Particularly well handled is Sho’s Neutral Special, which functions well as an attack on its own, and seems reasonably obvious in its other purposes too. The summons zone jumping to alter Sho’s attacks where applicable is another aspect of the moveset where the noise’s relative automacy was appreciated. 

Smaller Brawl related problems with the set include; Horizontally moving Projectiles on an Up-tilt, “Hold Any-direction” properties on a Foreward-Smash, and the effect of Sho’s Neutral Special being “tagged onto” a throw.

Game Relevancy 7/9

 This moveset manages to take many of Sho’s themes, motions, and mannerisms and adapt them almost losslessly. His relationship with taboo noise is particularly well explored, as is his arithmetic complex. The attacks all convey Sho’s unique character in both appearance and purpose, and even his overarching playstyle (both 1v1 and FreeForAll) fits him like a glove.

One noticable ommission though, is his garbage heaps. It’s a pretty key focus on Sho’s skewed and obsessive mentality, so not including it robs the set of a lot of Sho’s character and charm.

Conversely, Sho’s noise form is considered a corruption, it isn’t supposed to be something he can simply switch in and out of for the purposes of a single attack. And it certainly can’t be used in tandem with his reaper wings, which are destroyed by the transformation.

Attack Flow 7/9

 Every attack manages to create itself some relevance to Sho’s style, from an extended stall then fall to four seperate “lunges forewards” attacks. All the moves  flow together in a non-intrusive way, keeping their individual advantages as their own attacks whilst also allowing Sho to compound them to greater ends.

The one, and only jarring aspect of Sho’s attack flow, are the attacks which change when certain noise are summoned. Perhaps it’s simply the limitations of the linear medium of movesets in general, but anytime an attack branches out, it merely reads as something scattered and disjointed, hopping between various pockets of specialisation and overapologetic creativity.

Playing Style 7/9

 Congratulations to the author for not making the summons an absolute requirement. Plenty of people forget that they are designing movesets for people other than themselves. Sho holds his own, on his own, with his three tiers of summons filling out mundane stage controlling roles, joining in attacks at predescribed moments, or launching a KO attack while Sho keeps the foe still. For its purpose, Sho works perfectly, and is accessable on a number of skill levels, a true rarity in MYM sets.

The biggest issue this brings though, is barely addressed; if Sho can truly hold out without summons, then surely his summons, as the focal point of the set, would make him overpowered. With previous stage controller, Wallmaster, Ocon displayed a profound knowledge of how even a single trap can drastically turn a match around, regardless of how ineffective the trap, or how flawed the fighter is. With Sho however, the significance of the summons are glazed over to make room for Sho’s own competance, to the point where their biggest touted use is as “ammo” for various attacks.

Sets such as this and Kel seem to misunderstand that minions are roaming defensive entities by default, and tweaking them to fulfill any other role simply transforms them to ammo, trap, or projectile status. An offensive summoner undermines the summons themselves.

these soon spred out fo form a semi-barrier

Additional Work 5/9

 A huge consistant failing in Ocon’s work, is to omit any work outside of the moveset itself as “extrenuous”. This bewilderingly includes the Final Smash. Considering how Sho manages to fit in well with any player, a final smash should be considered a mandatory aspect rather than something to slink in after the initial posting. Other, widely accepted staples of movesets, such as matchups, are simply AWOL. Putting a set into the context of an actual fight is downright neccessary nowadays, and a set without at least one matchup sticks out rather sorely

That said, there is a comparatively large amount of work put into the actual visual appeal and style of the set itself. Weaving quotes and pictures into the experience as contextual clues to Sho’s character is far more effective to me than some limp Taunts or Poses slapped onto the tail end of the set.

 

Total 54/72

Overall, Sho and Ocon prove to be a perfect pairing for eachother. Deliberate and Calculated and various other big words..

And that’s my token review for this MYM. Enjoy

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Responses

  1. I thought you weren’t a fan of matchups either, Junahu. Didn’t you say they took too much conjecture?

  2. I’m not a fan of how matchups are currently handled, yeah. But omitting them altogether is awkward, especially in the cases of complicated movesets where a solid starting point would be appreciated

    I never specifically stated in this review that the lack of matchups personally bothered me. I was very careful to avoid contradicting myself like that.

    But, do you keep a personal logbook of every opinion I have ever made? Should I be worried?

  3. Be VERY worried. (smirk)

  4. Oh my, a review appeared. No way!


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