Friday, 28 October 2016

The Walking Dead And Buried

If a television show is at least decent, but I don't like any of the characters, I'm less likely to watch it.

If a television show is bad, but I really like one or more of the characters, I might watch it.

If a television show kills off the only character I liked AND devotes itself to being brainless, godawful dreck, I write bitter articles about it, apparently.

There is nothing left for me in The Walking Dead. I've given it a chance in video games, in comics and on television, and in all three cases it quickly deteriorated my will to live. Not just because of the death and misery it gets off to, but because of how smugly self-assured this franchise is that it's Saying Something Important, or that it's smart and compelling drama.

Usually about five seconds before turning into a dumpster fire.

Wednesday, 28 September 2016

Dark Souls 2: No Deaths Playthrough Ending

A couple of days ago, I beat Dark Souls 2 without dying. It took 9 months of constant fuck-ups and swearing and resentment, blaming myself, my controller, the game(and to be fair, I'd say they were all valid targets of blame at different points). But it finally happened.

I set a goal for myself last year, and now I've achieved that goal.

Granted, I overleveled the fuck out of my character, and I wasn't going for some kind of insane world record or anything. The point wasn't to try and be the best person to ever play the game, just to see if I could beat every boss in the game without dying in a single playthrough.

Was it worth it? I mean, I didn't feel any different. I always knew I COULD do it, theoretically. I'm just surprised at how many bullshit deaths these games threw at me before I got this far. If nothing else, it provided a welcome distraction from the upcoming US election.

So umm... yeah. That's what I've been up to this year.



Monday, 4 July 2016

One: 2

Could someone explain what the hell happened to video game titles? What the fuck is a “Horizon: Zero Dawn” or a “Bravely Default”? Or “Kingdom Hearts: 218/2 Days > Destiny Divide = Fart” or whatever. Do they leave this up to a random number generator? What is the reason for this? How does this get past all of the people in corporate and all of the people who are paid to make sure you don't have a stupid-sounding brand?

Another one: Games in a long-running franchise that have the exact same title as the first game in the series, so talking about it is prefaced with confusion.

“Hey, have you played Doom?” 

“Yeah, I remember that game when I was a kid.” 

“No, not DOOM Doom. The new Doom. The one that’s also called Doom but came out more recently than the other game that’s called Doom.” 

Sonic the Hedgehog. Tomb Raider. Thief. Mortal Kombat. That’s like if the next big JRPG were called “Final Fantasy 2″. People get paid millions of dollars to come up with names for these products, and everyone apparently forgot that subtitles are a thing?

You know what the new Spider-Man reboot is called? “Spider-Man: Homecoming”. See, they put another word in there to distinguish it from the Sam Raimi Spider-Man movies, as a small courtesy to anyone who tries to talk about this shit. Especially in an age where word-of-mouth social media regurgitation-as-free advertising is so important.

This reminds me: there’s an old PSX-era EA game I played a demo of called “One”. And I always thought, man, what are they gonna call the sequel?



Saturday, 18 June 2016

"When Marnie Was There" Review

by Alex Hill


"Anna" (Hailee Steinfeld) lives in a fog. Her isolation is shown and told matter-of-factly. An asthma attack, puberty and self-worth issues all come to a tipping point. A lot of Ghibli protagonists seem to have everything figured out before the story begins, all the more convenient for them to save the day. Anna can barely stand being alive in this state. She doesn't even know how to save herself.

Tell me if you've heard this one before: A person with an illness is advised to go to the country for the "fresh air", which conveniently allows the animators to draw pastoral scenes. This is not exactly treading new ground. It's pretty much how "The Secret World of Arrietty" and "My Neighbor Totoro" begin. Maybe this would be more of a problem for me if it weren't so damned charming.

"When Marnie Was There" is a familiar story told with warmth and sincerity. It could have been told with more clarity, but I also think uncertainty is at the heart of it all.

Tuesday, 17 May 2016

Fave Things Of 2015: Part 2

Part 1 of my list of... things of 2015 can be found here.

Now, onto some of the stuff last year that DIDN'T make me want to commit suicide!

5. Furiosa

Image altered to be less orange.

I wasn't crazy about Mad Max: Fury Road. I think I just got bored with the ceaseless car-chasing. I'm not sure what I was expecting, but eventually it felt like I was watching the same 30 seconds of movie over and over again. It didn't feel like there was any tension, and the title character of the movie is so thinly characterized that they might as well have replaced Tom Hardy with a dog.

But Charlize Theron as Furiosa is all kinds of kick-ass. I think a part of me has been waiting for that character to show up on film for a long time.


Monday, 16 May 2016

...Things Of 2015: Part 1

How does it just get worse every year?


This is the first time I couldn't even think of 10 good things. Just 2 great things, 3 okay things and a bunch of problematic shit. Literally one of the only good things to come out of 2015 was that a nice lady took me to see a movie with dinosaurs in it. It took until May of 2016 to come up with even that much to say.

I promise the second-half of this article will be more positive, but yeesh. I'm not sure how any of us survived 2015.


...Maybe? I think it was okay...

I dunno, I was pretty sick when I watched it. So I don't know if I actually liked it, or if I hallucinated a better movie.

I do remember a T-Rex and a raptor teaming up to fight a Super Dinosaur though. It was basically the "Bigger Jaws" scene from Family Guy but played straight. Maybe I just don't ask for a lot in a movie about dinosaurs.


Friday, 6 May 2016

Dark Souls 3: "Soul Of Cinder"

You guys, I just had a really good idea:

The final boss of Dark Souls 3 should have been SOLAIRE. 

You go in expecting Gwyn or some shit, you steel yourself for the final battle, and you walk through the fog gate… and there he is, just sitting by the fire.

You walk up to him, maybe have a friendly chat. Maybe he thinks you look familiar. Maybe you can tell him you’ve met before, in a past life/cycle. Like how you can tell the darkmoon lady that you’re a bird. It can just be to fuck around, or it can be to cement your own headcanon that your character is the same as from the first game. Maybe share some Siegbrau if you have any left. One last toast, especially to those who couldn't make it that far.

And THEN the fight begins.

Same moveset.

Same music. 

Praise the fuckin’ sun. 

I am retroactively pissed they didn’t go with that. Hindsight is 20/20 I guess. I need to go draw that shit…



Thursday, 28 April 2016

Kung Fu Panda 3: "Kai Leng"

Kung Fu Panda 3 is not a great film, but it's satisfying enough a conclusion to the franchise. A "Return of the Jedi", if you will. But there are problems. Relationships that should have been explored are still only after-thoughts(the Furious Five, Shifu, Oogway's motives, etc...) There are characters and setups introduced that seem like they were supposed to have more presence and purpose, but were quickly forgotten about. You know in the trailer where it looks like Po will finally meet a panda love-interest? Yeah, nothing happens there. And not in a way that expresses the love of friendship as being just as valid as romance, I mean that character really should have just been cut from the movie altogether. She doesn't add anything the film needed, and just kind of fades into the background gags by the end.

But the biggest disappointment with Kung Fu Panda 3 is with its' villain: "Kai", played by JK Simmons doing his best George Takei impression. Normally I'd ask why they didn't just get George, but this role would be a waste of his time too.

Friday, 8 April 2016

it gets worse

I used to do things in the hopes of some day catching the attention of a few specific people. I've wanted to follow others. I wanted a cause. A flag to hoist into battle, or at least heated conversations in a forum. I knew I would never be King of anything. I have no authority over my own life. But assisting others is a noble endeavour, I think.

Now that most of the people I looked up to are dead or turned into complete douchebags, I'm really not sure what to do with myself. Masterless, directionless. Religion didn't work. Humanism didn't pan out. Even the artificial pop trash I once looked to for distraction have left me behind. I am useless and adrift, like the world's shittiest ronin.

Even if I were right about everything, even if I had what it takes to make this world a little better, nobody wants solutions from me. Nobody needs or wants me. So I can't even take this as a sign that I should be leading instead of following, because you can't sell what you can't even give away.

I want to care. I want to help. I want to look forward to anything. I want to be given a chance by the people I think should give me a chance, and not just out of pity or charity. I want to prove that I deserve to be here. I want to feel like I'm actually doing something with some positive results, that is actually noticed and appreciated.

That will never, ever happen. Nothing I do has any affect on any person. I'm a fuckin' ghost. Except when it comes time for people to tell me I'm wrong and an idiot.

I turn 29 this month. 29 years of this poison. Fucking hell. When does it STOP?



Saturday, 12 March 2016

Bloodborne: "Bronze Medal"

Alright, so it turns out it is at least theoretically possible for me to beat vanilla Bloodborne without dying. But throw in the DLC, and any ideas of survivability go completely to shit.

Why do I keep trying to beat one of the Souls games without dying, you might ask?

It keeps my mind off of the election.



Wednesday, 9 March 2016

Bloodborne: "Iron Woman"

Two months ago, I tried to beat Dark Souls 2 without dying. I failed several times.

Last month, I tried to beat Dark Souls 1 with as few mandatory deaths as possible(there are parts in the game where it's unavoidable). I failed many times.

This month, I almost beat Bloodborne without dying. I was only 7 bosses away from completing my goal. On my 27th attempt, a random human enemy in the DLC killed me. He staggered me from behind while I was healing. He shot me with this gun, which in this game does little damage but can stun enemies while they're in the middle of an attack animation.

The problem is that this enemy is supposed to have abilities and equipment and attacks that you, the player also have. But you cannot stagger enemies from behind just by shooting them. I've tried. It's not a feature.

Turns out, you can stagger enemies that use the same healing items as you, while they're healing. I learned this the hardest way possible. And this guy was rushing me, so I needed to heal or else his next attack was going to kill me anyway. So it was hopeless.

But then, why did he fire his gun if he was close enough to use his melee weapon?

My point is fuck this game.

Wednesday, 24 February 2016

Dark Souls 3: "True Colors"

So, remember that post I made complaining that Dark Souls III looked too monochromatic? Where at the end I suggested that maybe we only saw a very bland-looking area, and that maybe the rest of the game was more visually interesting?

Damn it.

Also, whose idea was it to use the song “True Colours” for a game that doesn’t have more than two?

It’s like they looked at Skyrim and Gears of War and said: “Ugh, these games are just too vibrant! What is this, My Little Pony?!”. I was really hoping Bloodborne was just a game with monotonous art-direction, but it looks like that blandness and de-saturation is built right into the engine.



Tuesday, 23 February 2016

Colours And Contrast

I know this is just as annoying as that guy who was mad that Diablo III had TOO MUCH colour. As far as problems with video games go, it’s not the end of the world or anything, but it still bugs me when modern games do this. Especially when they rely on BS excuses like “it’s supposed to be dark and edgy and dark and gritty and dark and dark”. When in practice, it just makes everything look flat and uninteresting.

And yes, Dark Souls III in particular does have screenshots you can find with some colour and contrast. But I’d argue that in order to be a part of the franchise, it should really look closer to something like this:

But hey, what do I know? Maybe they’re only showing us the really bland, gray, flat-looking areas before we get to see the REAL art design… or something. But there's a reason why Fallout 4 was so colourful and had such high contrast and saturation: because Skyrim and Fallout 3 looks like a black and white picture of a turd. If people have to mod your game to make it look good, then your game's art design sucks. I don't care how many polygons you have to work with.

I was really hoping that video games had finally gotten out of its' "Gears of War, gray and gray and more gray" phase.



Saturday, 20 February 2016

Gears Of War 2

I have been stuck on this one part of Gears of War 2 for an hour. I have had to restart from the last checkpoint well over 15 times. It is a giant, confusing battle where you just explode sometimes, where enemies randomly become invincible and you sometimes have less health than you actually are supposed to have. No matter what weapons you have, you run out of ammo and it's never good enough anyway.

Meanwhile, your dipshit AI companion just sits behind cover not doing anything. No, you just sit tight, Dom. Let me handle the entire fucking game in what was clearly designed to be a co-operative experience. Whatever's most convenient for you. I mean, none of the enemies attack you anyway, so it's not like you matter.

The battle comes in waves. You finish off some, and then there's a pause, and then more enemies just show up... but there are no checkpoints. So when the game cheats to make you lose, you have to do it all over again. I'm surprised they don't just start you off back at the tutorial again.

Sometimes enemies don't spawn when the game tells you to kill a specific number of them. So you just lose. The game just brute forces a GAME OVER screen because it knows it fucked up, and you have to do the whole thing over again, and then fail through no fault of your own.

Oh my fucking god you guys, it is so hard to put into words just how unfair and awful this is. I've beaten Sonic 06, okay? I finished that shit. And that was less broken than Gears of War 2. This game is like fighting that bullshit Silver the Hedgehog boss fight where he can just catch you in an infinite loop without ever actually killing you, but every five minutes. There are parts where the game wants you to do a specific thing, or shoot at a specific part of a monster, and it does not fucking tell you. So you just die over and over again, making no progress at all. It offers no hints or context through any of its' visuals, it's audio or its' gameplay mechanics, and then it acts like you're the one fucking around.

It's as if they designed a campaign and enemy encounters as if you have four human players at all times, and then didn't bother to scale that down or even bother playing the single-player mode. To see if it even works. This is worse than any Halo game I've ever made fun of on this blog. This is the kind of game that deserves a Mr. Plinkett tear-down.

I think Cliffy B owes me an apology for this.



Wednesday, 17 February 2016

The Walking Dead: "No Way Out"

I don't talk about individual episodes of tv shows here.  Hell, I don't really talk about much of anything here anymore.  But I really need to get this off of my chest.  I know I'm not breaking new ground by saying this, but the latest episode of The Walking Dead was really, really dumb.

Needless to say, there are spoilers ahead. But I honestly don't see how I could "ruin" something that already sucks.  I know you might think you understand how stupid this was. But I really need you to appreciate just how much more stupid this was than anyone thought it could be.

This wasn't just bad for a Walking Dead episode. This was such idiotic misery, I'd swear I was watching 2 Broke Girls.

Sunday, 24 January 2016

"Creed" Review

by Alex Hill


"Your legacy is more than a name."

“Creed” is perfect.  It is everything it needed to be.  It’s not the shameless, lazy hollywood cash-in on a respected legacy that it could have been.  It’s raw while still being a fable.  The people in this movie make sense, what they do comes naturally, if unavoidably from themselves and not simply from the demands of a script.  It's about the fight for a sense of self.