Jul 12, 2015

Video Game Reviews

Dark Souls – I tried. I really tried. In fact, I tried an extra couple of nights just out of stubbornness, because I knew it has such a reputation for being impossible. But, it wasn’t that it was impossible, or at least I hadn’t gotten to the impossible part yet. It was pretty hard, and there are basically no instructions, which is just stupid and frustrating, not fun and discoverable. But anyway, it was just SO GRINDY. As often as I die, that’s hard, but having to kill the same 10 guys over and over and over to level up or to buy equipment. There’s a god damn crest that requires 20k darksoulsbucks. That’s like 10 grinding outings. I don’t have the patience for that. I’m 14 hours in to the game and probably less than 1/5, judging by the gamefaqs. If we assume linearity, this is not 50-hours-worth fun, so, I gave up. Bummer.

The Bureau: XCom Declassified – So this is the much maligned FPS version of XCom. A travesty on the face of it (turning a classic game with a classic gameplay to just another squad based shooter). It’s not actually all that bad. In terms of story, I like it. It’s simple, and doesn’t overstay its welcome. The revelation, choice, and fallout toward the end are pretty neat. It is very much in the style of XCom, with a team of rando soldiers, except your main guy, going off on missions. It’s not nearly so expansive, but it has that feel. Sadly, the soliders are terrible. It really kind of defeats the point of your squad based shooter if your sqaud will not STAND THE FUCK STILL instead of running into enemy arms every 5 minutes. It wasn’t a problem until the end, but the last couple levels when it gets more difficult it’s damn annoying for them to repeatedly ignore your stay put orders. But still, I was expecting little, and I got a bit more than that, not bad.

Ride ‘Em Low – Nah. I played for about 5 minutes. I must have gotten this in a bundle? I have no idea. The menus are too slow to navigate, you can’t use a controller, it all feels clunky. Only took a race for me to stop.

Dungeons and Dragons: Chronicles of Mystara – This was the remake from a few years ago of the old arcade D&D game. I have fond memories of the game. Unfortunately, it’s pretty boring by yourself. It’s got online coop, but it didn’t connect to any games. Maybe no one is playing anymore. Maybe it was broke for some reason. I played through the Mystara campaign, it was kind of fun, but not nearly as much as with people. It also comes with an older version, which I switched to but got bored with. Kind of a waste of 5 bucks :/

Miasmata – This is a game made by a couple of guys, small in scope but pretty cool. It’s first person, you wake up on an island with a disease. Your goal is to cobble together the ingredients for the cure. You find out what they are by finding journals from dead scientists around the island, you also find ingredients for other medicines to keep you going. It’s kind of a survival game, you are just wandering around finding ingredients, water, sleep, and avoiding a beast that I’m pretty sure you can’t fight against (even though you can throw things and there’s knives and axes). You have to figure it out cold, which I usually don’t have the patience for, but it’s not super complicated, so I did this time. You can find maps that fill out your world map, but otherwise you have to triangulate off of known landmarks to find where you are, to expose new parts of the map, and to mark the location of unfound (but visible) landmarks on the map without finding them. It’s a little finnicky and leads to some cheating (scanning the tree line until your cursor changes), but it’s pretty neat. There’s a lot of dying at first, but once you get the framework it’s okay. Eventually it gets a bit boring, because you are just doing the same thing over and over on a different part of the island. But it mostly works, and I pushed through to the end. Pretty cool.

Magic 2014 – Ah magic. Same ole same ole. Fun for all the same reasons, kind of boring for all the same reasons. I played through the main campaign. I got really really stuck on one fight, with some rats. I resorted to googling, but it didn’t tell me any different than i was already trying. It gave me a reason to keep trying (that it would eventually work), but at that point I was just restarting the duel over and over until I got one of a very small subset of draws that would set me up to win. That’s not fun, that’s just dumb. The rest of the battles were good. The last one was fun because it was 2 on 1 and I did pretty well on the first try, which was probably a good draw too. Didn’t have the energy to do any of the bonus stuff, re-battles and such. But it was a fun distraction.

Survivor Squad – This game is pretty fun, but it’s actually just too hard for me, or I’m too impatient. It’s a top down squad game, you move 4 little people around and survive zombies. You run around and search for supplies. Supplies are actually in really short supply, that’s the hard part. Some of the levels are do-able, but the ones with infinite zombies until you kill a source are pretty hard when there’s multiple sources. It’s fun, I just got sick of dying, oh well.

7 Grand Steps Step 1 – This is kind of a board game. You move characters along an arc with tokens, picking up jewels or whatever to advance the game. It’s generational, so at some point on the board they die and you have to have had kids and given them tokens to get them good at… getting more tokens. It’s pretty repetitive after a while. By the time I got to the last ring I was pretty bored. You can fail at the last ring and drop a level, then earn your way back up and try again. After twice at that I didn’t have the patience to do it again, so, I guess I lose.

Jamestown – Rando little Gladius type game. Nice pixel style art, some attempt at a story but I don’t know why. Game is very short, just a few base levels, with the intention for a lot of replayability, re-doing the levels at harder levels, unlocking bonus levels and such. But that would require a lot more time to get good, so nah.

Defense Technica – Pretty blatant Defense Grid ripoff. I think I was the only person who didn’t think Defense Grid was awesome. And this is just a ripoff, so… It was okay for a few levels, but I got bored super quick.

Movie Reviews

Avengers 2 – Well, it’s pretty good. Like, 80% of the movie is pretty great. Fun fights, pretty funny, engaging, all that stuff. The amazingness of seeing comics coming to life is wearing off, which means you really gotta be good now. And jokes about Banner’s face falling into Black Widows cleavage… aren’t. There were at least a handful of really low brow stupid jokes in here. It felt very sitcomey and lame and my biggest fear for what will become of the Marvel movies. Lame jokes, flat characters, interspersed with bad ass fights. You know, Transformers. The first Avengers movie, plot wise, was boring, I don’t care about Loki or alien invasions. But it was the biggest most successful (in every way) comic book movie ever, so it got a pass. I don’t care about Ultron either, honestly I’m not that much of an avengers person at all. But since the X comics have been relegated to the fox ghetto, and those movies aren’t nearly as good, I’ll takes what I can gets. Still, don’t care about Ultron, so this is just filler to me. I really need them to make Infinity Gauntlet before all this goes to shit. And I’m sure it will, you just can’t put out as many movies as they are planning to put out and not have them go to shit, it’s some sort of fundamental law. So, please, please, get to Dr. Strange, and get to the Infinity movies. Make them amazing, and then the rest can blow, and I will feel happy.

The Imitation Game – This is quite good. This is the one about Turing cracking Enigma. I really like pretty much everyone’s performance. I don’t know how it matches to reality. I know, on a technical level, some of the things they threw out like Heil Hitler and the problem of Enigma are accurate. But historically I don’t really know. Aspergers/Autism is the new… I don’t know, thing that was popular a little bit ago. So this emphasizes that quite a bit, but I’m sure it’s accurate. The gay aspect is horrendous and I’m glad they didn’t shy away from addressing it, it’s sad and depressing and it happened and you should face it. He won’t be the last important person or genius to be destroyed by people being despicable.

Big Hero 6 – This is a lot of fun. I didn’t realize it was a super hero comic, I thought it was a robot comic. I guess it’s both, but I like both parts. It’s very funny, sweet. Not sure if I’d go read the comic, I think the movie is enough, but it’s cool.

Expendables 3 – I guess. I liked the first one, as stupid as it was. The second one was just too much, too stupid. This one they seemed to learn that they aren’t very good writers or funny or anything except explosions. But that’s good news. The fights are over the top and ridiculous, but entertaining. I like how in the end when everyone is fighting, they don’t even pretend to have the good guys start to lose each battle and then come back and win. They just beat the living shit out of everyone from beginning to end, fun stuff. They few times they try to be funny it’s horrible, but the rest of the time it’s fine.

Top Five – This isn’t as bad as I thought it would be, I had a strong sandler feeling going in. It opens with Rock literally just doing stand-up, pretending it’s a conversation. That happens many times, and it’s terrible (it’s pretty bad comedy, but it’s terrible shoehorned into a movie). The plot is… meh, pretty boring, pretty standard romance underneath a layer of realty show parodying. There are some funny parts, more than I expected, but still not great.

Lucy – No. Just, no no no. For fuck’s sake no. This movie is shockingly dumb, astonishingly dumb. When will people learn. If you want to have super powers, make some bullshit up. Call it an x-gene, call it midichlorians, call it a heisenberg compensator. Do not propagate a bullshit myth about our brain capacity and act like even if it was true you could somehow see wavelengths our eye is not capable of seeing, or interact with electromagnetic waves (even “simple” ones, whatever the fuck that means), or make computers work faster just because your HANDS FLOP ON THE KEYBOARD REAL FAST. Jesus christ. Literally the worst movie I’ve seen in a very long time.

Storage 24 – Rando monster movie. People trapped in a storage facility. Crazy monster starts killing. Nothing much to say about it. Feels kind of like a TV movie, but it’s not bad, it just doesn’t have anything different.

4:44: Last Day on Earth – So, through the king of all mcguffins, the word is going to end in a few hours, due to global warming, at exactly 4:44. That’s pretty dumb, on many levels, but it’s a setup for what would people do with their last day. Turns out, not much. They do it a little, they cry, they yell at each other a lot. They don’t act very well or have very good scripts, apparently. It feels kind of like a play, very localized, meant to be a character study, except the characters are kinda obnoxious so who gives a shit.

The Book Of Life – This is an animation based on Mexican cultural stuff surrounding death. I’m not sure how much it’s based on real stuff, except that there is a day of the dead. It sounds like La Muerta is kind of real, but is more of a grim reaper. And Xibalba is a place, not so much a dude, so…. But anyway, it’s loosely based on all that. I thought it was pretty great. It has a handful of faults, chief among them the very gendered character design of the main people, both men and women. That’s frustrating. But the character design everywhere else is actually awesome. The whole look of the movie is fantastic. The story is nothing fancy, kind of standard cartoon story in mexican clothing, but still good enough. I thought it was pretty funny too. All in all, pretty good.

Dracula Untold – Meh. Not bad, I guess, but really uninteresting. I guess it’s kind of cool, the way they motivate Dracula’s origin. But that’s only kind of cool, and the rest of the movie is pretty plain. There’s some neat fighting with this dracula powers, but not too much.

John Carter – Also meh. I guess it could have been ok? There are some creative stuffs in there. I like the idea that he’s badass because of gravity or whatever, but it doesn’t hold together in any logical sense. I like the alien design and factions, but it doesn’t end up mattering a lot. In the end is a pretty average scifi action movie. If it didn’t have the notoriety of being a flop, I’d think it was just random.

Into The Woods – Not good! What the crap, why does everyone love this? There’s, like, one good song in this entire movie. Literally, when it happened I said “Hey, I actually like this song”, because it was the ONLY TIME! I like the idea behind the movie, and the structure is fine enough, though I’m not so sure about the last 30 minutes. But it’s a musical, and a musical full of songs that suck…. sucks.

Whiplash – Pretty good movie. Kind of insane, especially because I’m told it’s not so crazy off of real life. Can’t imagine people being so nuts, but I guess it happens. Besides that, it’s really well done. It’s mostly about the two guys just acting at each other the whole time, and they do a pretty good damn job. No complaints.