Death Note - Anime & Manga - Review

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Well I had heard mixed reviews about Assassin’s Creed, very strange for a game actually… One review i read in gamesmaster gave it 5/5, one review in official 360 magazine 98% and then there was 360 gamer which gave it 2/5 and Edge 3/5… so very mixed and confusing reviews. So much so infact I almost didn’t buy the game, however after hearing from friends it was worth playing and the adverts looking so exceptionally good I thought I’d give it a go… and damned am I glad i did.

First off, Assassin’s Creed is actually set in the future… supprised? Me too! You are actually just a normal citizen who unfortunetly for yourself have an ancestor who was an assassin. The game begins with you being held hostage slightly in the future by a doctor who tells you that he can read your ancestors memories through your DNA… All you need to do is relive them through his machine so he can see them. By playing the game you are giving him a window into the Assassin’s mind… obviously he is looking for something locked within these memories… something he tells us to be very important to modern day and the future exsitence of man-kind.

The story although unbelievable at first really works, the link between the two worlds is sound. You will spend 90% of your time in the times just after jesus’ death. You have been stripped of your rank as a master assassin and told you must begin once again as a novice. Your mission was of great importance and by failing you have brough great shame to your name and brothers, and the only way to regain respect is to kill 9 high priority targets, each leaders who are in your masters opinion corrupting their people… However all is not what it seems, because as you kill your targets they give you cryptic messages in the moments of their deaths telling you that they were doing this for the good of man kind… and that you are doing the world in-justice… You begin to question why these 9 must die, however in doing that do you wish loosing your rank and perhaps life… once and for all?

Enough of the story, that is not what is important… The gameplay for this game is nothing short of magnificant, beautiful and a breakthrough in modern day gaming. The gameplay in my opinion is broken into three elements - general, movement and fighting. Lets start with general, the general gameplay is very ’stealth’ like. Very simular to metal gear solid, you move throughout cities of hundreds of people, acting like a normal cizilian. If you raise suspician by hitting an innocent, climbing the side of a building or even looking at a guard funny guards will start to notice you and your profile will raise. If your profile goes to high they will chase you and you’ll either have to hide or have to fight. This sytem really works and the game is made very complicated… certain missions you need to stay hidden and that will mean blending with the croud… other missions you will need to go all out attack but then hide until your profile drops so you can return to base without being caught or leading them directly to the assassins base.

In terms of the world… never before has a game let you run so freely, imagine Spiderman, Grand Theft Auto and Tomb Rainder all thrown into one… that will give you an idea of the scope the world has. You can run through streets, climb buildings, but the beauty comes with how fluent this is… in GTA I always found the jumping and movement too computer game like, My first Manga in over 18 months… I had heard a lot about Death Note, how great it was and how it had won Manga of the year in 2005/2006, I was therefore concerned that the experience wouldn’t live up to the hype! The art looked OK, the story sounded interesting, but not exactly ‘unique’ and I thought I’d stumble into another ‘Naruto’ situation… where everyone seems to love it on forums / blogs, however when you ask people they all seem to hate it.

Death Note - Death Note starts out with a group of monsters huddled together gambling in another realm. One of them mentions he has lost his ‘Death Note’ in the human realm.. We are taken to modern day and introduced to a high school student name ‘Light Yagami’, walking home from class he stumbles across an interesting Black Note Pad. Light Yagami is a very intelligent young man and is shocked to find the note book is full of sick ramblings and a range of instructions, which claim that if a human’s name is written within it, that person shall die. Obviously sceptical Light Yagami decides to try it on the worst human imagineable, a serial murder… He is sure it won’t work, but what would it matter if he did die?Shortly after writing his name in the book a news article pops up on the television stating that the killer has died of a heart attack. Light Yagami is in shock, but keeps telling himself it could have been a coinsidence, so of course tries again, this time there is a hostage situation in town, the kidnappers name is written in the book and moments later the hostages begin to exit the building stating that they have just witnessed the killer colapse and die…

Eventually the original owner of the book a ’shinigami’ (Demon) named Ryuk visits Light and tells him he can keep the note book because he thinks it will be fun to watch what he does with it… Light is granted power and it is up to him how he uses that power… He can kill anyone who commits an evil act, but what is an evil act? Where is the line drawn? Is death really the best option? Does this make him a murderer… Will he go to hell? All these questions hit Light and his conclusion is that he is “The God of The New World”, and he shall rule it by passing his judgment on those he deems to be evil or get in his way.

Eventually the number of unexplainable and sudden deaths to those commiting evil acts catches up with Light in the form of a detective named ‘L’. L does not believe anyone other than the justice system should choose how evil is judged and punished and he knows the person killing these people (Light) is based in Japan and sets about his own mission to find him… and stop him…

I have read the first chapter of the series and I must say I am majorly impressed with it!!! I was really expecting it to be ‘too’ dark to enjoy, but there are comical moments in it and the style of art being the tone down slightly. I won’t cover it up, this is a graphic novel about serial killers being killed one by one in nasty ways, but there is more to it than blood, guts and gore… it is about the fast paced action and inner struggle Light has within himself as to whether this is really the right way forward and whether he can really make a difference for the greater good of mankind.

Art 9/10 - The Art is beautifully drawn, full of tone and detail
Story 10/10 - The story is well thought out and moves at rapid pace
Characters  8/10 - So far there is only a couple characters

I would recommend this Manga to anyone who wants a ‘change’ from your average romance, fantasy or fighting anime and is ready to give something a bit darker and more thought provoking a go… really good stuff!!!

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