Yakuza 0 (First Impressions):

[This first impression contains spoilers]

I played about two hours of this game today. It was wacky and over the top in every way you’d expect of a Japanese melodrama. Yet, its core it had something I wasn’t expecting, a mafia story.

I haven’t played heaps of the game, in fact, I’ve barely scratched the surface. Yet the game very proudly tells me spraying stuff in people’s face while brawling somehow ‘sobers’ them up. Karaoke is a real rhythm mini-game. The combat is bombastic and fun. In fact, the combat in someways feel like a rhythm game of their own.

The voice acting, so far, is really good. It has just the right amount of dramatic yelling, filled with a good amount of pauses.

So far, I’m intrigued. Awesome!

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God of War: The Throwing Axe Simulator

[This review contains spoilers]

When I first started the game, I thought it was perfect. That feeling carried for the first 5 or so hours before cracks started to show. Enemies soon lost their initial feeling of variety, the word opens up, which can break the pacing of the game and the over the shoulder camera can get in the way, making you unable to readily see where attacks are coming from.

Yet that same camera provided the game with such a feeling of immersion, in someways it was worth the issues of combat, for just the feeling of intimacy that it provided to the game.

I really enjoyed the story, a man trying to atone and escape his sins. Trying to raise a son, and causing his illness, by denying the truth to him. I thought for the most part, it was very well done. Except for when ‘Boy’, also known as Atreus, starts to think he’s better than everyone else because he’s a God. I found it to be a moment of tonal whiplash that came out of nowhere, though its resolution was satisfactory. Why did he begin acting like that to begin with? It was rather out of personality.

The mythology of the world truly is what pulls you in, with Kratos interacting with these foreign Gods with a certain disdain. Mirir is truly a highlight, explaining the world around you in a truly organic way.

Kratos’ relationship with his son is also a strong aspect, he obviously loves his son, but doesn’t know how to express it. It’s touching watching him learn how to truly be a father. Also, with his wife’s death hanging over both their heads, it’s touching watching them both mourn her.

The gameplay is also fun. To me this game has good combat, but it can be repetitive. Despite that, it’s satisfying upgrading your character and son. Becoming stronger is noticeable and a welcome aspect to the game.

An easy criticism would be to say God of War is a ‘throwing axe simulator, also known as the land of invisible walls’. Yet that’s be simplifying it. Yes, a lot of the combat can just be throwing the axe, yes, the invisible walls can be immersion breaking, but these are small complaints.

The set-pieces in this game truly are breathtaking, the art direction creates a beautiful and fully realised world. I recommend this game to anyone.

Does Anyone Care About My Blog?

I know for a fact that it’s a dumb question. I care about my blog, and that’s all that really matters.

But I get the feeling it’s a question a lot of people ask. What do you have to do to feel important? To be noticed, to be read. I know my thoughts are interesting, but does anyone else know that?

I know that seems silly, because it is.

At the end of the day, who cares, for the vast majority of people, this is a hobby, one they’ll probably eventually stop, and there isn’t anything wrong with that.

The fact of the matter is, we’re writers, we may not be paid to write, but we are publishing content that is just as important as a best selling novel. I really mean that. Not everything has to be noticed to mean something.

There are ways though, to try and ‘beat the trend’. Tags are your friend, use them. Social media is something to invest in. Be active in updating your blog.

Yet, if this is just a hobby, don’t stress.

This really could be its own job. You have to be your own marketing team, manager, writer, graphic design artist, ect. Each one on their own is a job. So don’t feel bad, if you’re not doing that.

You can get bogged down in all that stuff. If this is a hobby, just focus on your website. Unfortunately the internet isn’t what it was. Everyone used to have their own website, now people have a Facebook page. The internet changed, it most likely will again. It’s such a changing environment, I don’t see the internet of today staying the way it is forever.

If you look at your stats sheet and you feel discouraged, don’t. That’s not what matters, all that matters, is that you did something.

Failure is never in trying, it’s the absence of action, then you’ve truly lost.

Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again (2018) Review

[This review contains spoilers]

This film is both a squeal and prequel of the original. It’s literally a cerebration Donna’s life. She died in the sequel, but the prequel is all about her journey to Greece and the three men she slept with.

I found the modern day, surrounded by Sophie’s mourning for the mother, Donna, to be rather touching. I enjoyed that life went on, she wanted to continue with her mothers hotel, she wanted to make her proud.

However her relationship with Sky is strained. He wants to remain in New York for career opportunities, she wants to stay on the island. The line is brought up, she should tell him that she loves him more than this fight.

Donna in her youth is wild, fun and is looking for something in life. Honestly, the prequel had the type of youthful energy this movie needed.

The shifts between the present and the past were a little sloppy and not always a smooth transition, but at least the film tried to be different. I’ll give it credit there.

The musical numbers are well done, and shot nicely. No as good as West Side Story, but that isn’t a fair comparison.

This film is sappy, made to make you cry and kick back and forget about life for a few hours. The acting is fine, the singing is good, with a few standout moments. It was nice listening to Abba songs that weren’t as popular.

The tensions happened naturally enough. The ending had a nice poignant moment where Sophie baptises her child, while Donna does the same for her. In that same small church on that lonely Greek island.

Yet that’s the main crux of the film, you’re never really alone. Yes, drama will happen, you won’t always get along with people. Maybe those boys you left, would come back, and decide that all three of them will be your daughters father.

You never know. Life is odd and mysterious, but there will always be people there to take care of you. That’s the overall message of the film, and I approve.

Dragon Age 4: The Hype is Real

I just can’t wait for this game, current speculation is for it to come out in 2021, and I’m like, WHY?!?!

I’ve already waited four years, I mean, I have to wait another three?

That’s too long. I’m still looking forward to it, the hype is still very real.

It’s just, why?

Also, Solas, you betrayer! I will fight you in combat, you’ll be the greatest Shakespearean villain in gaming, if done right.

I’m hoping this game isn’t another Mass Effect: Amdromeda. Don’t get me wrong, I like that game. But please don’t let Dragon Age 4 be a buggy mess, please just let it be awesome.

I’m ready for the game, just, don’t disappoint me BioWare!

Cliffhanger (1993) Review

[Disclaimer: This review contains spoilers.]

If any film lives up to its name, it’s this one. I can’t count the times people were literally hanging from cliffs, falling from cliffs, the tension from clinging to cliffs. There are a lot of cliffs in this movie.

I actually quite enjoyed this movie, it had me on edge.

Sylvester Stallone plays Gabe Walker, a man suffering from PTSD after a rescue went wrong. Later an eight month subtitle comes on screen, and in that same day he’s been tricked into helping international thieves. It’s either the money or his life.

Money that they lost, you guessed it, on a mountain, near many, many, cliffs.

The action surrounding this set piece was really good, and I did quite like the special effects.

Yet this film isn’t really what the trailer implies. It isn’t a non-stop action film, it’s much slower and deliberate. It’s a tension filled movie between some gun wielding maniacs and a group of rangers. There is some suspension of disbelief in this movie, you have to buy that Gabe has perfect memory and knows exactly where every case of money is.

That he can outsmart this world class villain. That he can not only struggle against, but survives the odds multiple times. That everyone dies, but our main heroes, and a woman that might as well be a damsel in distress.

Now, don’t get me wrong. I liked this film, I thought it was good, but don’t go into it expecting anything more than a beautifully shot, silly, thriller.

West Side Story (1961) Review

[This review contains spoilers]

I didn’t expect what I got out of this film. I thought it’d be a fun romance, what I got was far more. It’s a very nuanced and mature film. The way it was shot is almost poetic. I didn’t expect for it to start with an aerial view of the city. Something that almost every TV show and movie does now, but something I almost never see from movies of that era.

It was lovely seeing New York in the 1960s, it really drew me into that time period, firmly establishing the mood of the film.

The dancing was excellent and very masculine, not something I can often say about a musical. The way the camera moved with the dancers, as if it was apart of the choreography, it reminded me of Gene Kelly.

This film is definitely a really good version of Romeo and Juliet, even better than the original in my mind. There are things that are done that I just think overall makes the story stronger. For example, Maria and Tony never marry like Romeo and Juliet, but they imagine what it would be like; saying their vows. It’s more realistic, but shows their commitment to each other, yes they basically just met yesterday, but they are madly in love.

The thing that really sets this film apart, besides the great music and dancing (and I don’t say that flippantly, the music really is great). It’s the racial tensions. Maria is Puerto Rican, and so is her friends and family. Her brother is in a Puerto Rican gang, that fight an American gang.

Both sides are young, and both are stupid. The film doesn’t take sides, it shows that the Puerto Rican gang feel alienated by American society and, to some extent, feel the weigh of racism on their backs. Yet the Puerto Rican immigrants argue amongst themselves, stating how America is a land of opportunity, yet they some of them spit back, sure if you’re ‘white’.

Yet, to counter these arguments is the American gang, this ‘land of opportunity’ produced them. Kids that are on the bad side of the law, from broken homes, that only feel at home on the streets fighting for their one bit of road. They only have each other as family, and they’re not going to give that up for anything.

These racial tensions in the film aren’t just between the Americans and the Puerto Ricans, it’s amongst the immigrants themselves. That’s what makes this film so nuanced, and just poignant.

Both sides are idiotic in the end, because that violence ends up with death on both sides. It shows that if you allow for that kind of hate and anger fill you up, nothing good will come if it. There is no winning in a war they literally created.

I did think there were some weaknesses in the film, like Maria just forgiving Tony after killing her brother almost instantly, but moments like that were few and far in-between. The film mostly overcomes them with just how good everything else is.

This film is easily recommended for anyone. Check it out, if you want a serious film that actually means something.

Horizon Zero Dawn: The Frozen Wilds (2017) Review

[This review contains spoilers]

More of the same is best way to describe this expansion.

Now, that’s not necessarily a bad thing. I liked Horizon Zero Dawn, I thought it was a good game, and I think this is a good expansion. What I liked most about it was the amount of content you get with it.

This is very similar to amount of extra content that Witch 3 and Oblivion gave you. Most modern games don’t go out of there way to give you this much content anymore. A lot of DLC is throwaway nowadays, so its nice to see something that really does feel like an expansion.

Now one of the biggest issue I had with The Frozen Wilds was the difficulty curb was too hard in my opinion. It also taught me something else, that once you play the ‘new game plus’ mode, you can’t change the difficulty, which is in a word: Bullshit.

It hampered my overall enjoyment, despite it being a well made game.

The Frozen Wilds really did make me appreciate one thing though, Horizon Zero Dawn was, and is, beautiful. The visuals are still stunning, even when compared to new game releases.

Another issue I had with the game is that it felt like a rehash, like they didn’t know what to do with the plot; so they just rinsed and repeated what they had before, which just came across as lazy to me.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s competently written, and there is nothing wrong with it. This game just could’ve been better.

I mean I liked the characters introduced, like Ourea, that worships an AI like a God, but somehow still befriends her. I always liked how Horizon handled these tribes people explanation of technology as something magical, it’s the contrast between the future and the primitive that’s just so interesting.

However outside that, don’t expect much, like I stated before it’s more of the same. While that isn’t bad, that isn’t a great thing either.

Demolition Man (1993) Review

[This review contains spoilers]

Fun is the definition of this film.

If you want cheesy one liners, a dumb plot, silliness with every breath. Then this is the film for you. It was exactly what I wanted from it.

Hell I even got more. It was surprisingly prescient, I mean, it obviously ripped off better Sci-Fi, with implants and the type of fascism that it entails. I liked that it mentioned thought provoking things like that. I mean there were people that were known as the ‘leftovers’ that lived underground. They resisted those that were both metaphorically and literally above them.

I loved that it wasn’t afraid to even mention how a utopia of peace, can be twisted.

Please keep in mind, this film isn’t deep. There isn’t a problem in this film that can’t be punched better, yet it is deceptively complex.

Is it okay to have peace when it’s against the law to have salt, or to swear? Where words like fuck are banned?

Where people make up dumb words to ‘curse’ appropriately within the law?

The underground people are literally starving, because they choose not to be apart of the ‘utopia’, but as a result have to fight for food. There is a social commentary there. Is freedom worth it?

Again, the film doesn’t ask too many hard questions, but the context of the film’s setting is surprisingly interesting and comedic.

The main character John Spartan (a great name) is played wonderfully straight by Sylvester Stallone. Yet Wesley Snipes is the real star of the film, he has the best delivery of perfectly cheesy dialogue. He added so much to what could’ve been a boring villain. He was charismatic, goofy, and just plain evil.

I mean, he stole guns from a museum.

If that doesn’t explain what kind of film this is, then this film definitely isn’t for you.

Disenchantment Season 1 Review (2018)

[This review will contain spoilers]

This show is the very definition of ‘okay’.

It was created by Matt Groening, who also created the Simpsons and Futurama. Two shows that had some of the best animated comedy you’ll see. They’ve both got their weak points. Simpsons became a victim of its own success by lasting far beyond the point of being good anymore, and Futurama was at it’s best in its earlier seasons.

Disenchantment on the other hand is a different fairy tale (I know, bad joke).

It’s unique, despite its art style being reminiscent of the previous shows mentioned. It most certainly not the type of show that you should take seriously, which in some ways is a step back from the Simpsons, which was surprisingly mature. One episode that springs to mind is when Homer is guilt ridden over the idea of cheating on his wife, so he doesn’t.

Don’t expect anything like that in this show, it’s silly, and sometimes a little forced, like the last few seasons of Futurama.

Elfo is an annoying as hell character, that I’m more than happy was killed off (please don’t bring him back). Luci, a demon, is the ‘other’ sidekick, that has funny and witty one liners that’s a much better character when he’s left in that role.

Princess Bean in the main character, and she’s a bit dumb, but a capable fighter and loyal friend. Her morality seems to change with the wind, which can be surprisingly funny. It’s unfortunate however, that many of the jokes in this show falls flat. A lot of it feels forced.

Yet this show had a great ending.

Why? Because it took a risk.

Bean saved her mother, instead of Elfo. Normally when a choice comes up like that, the main character makes the hard but ‘right’ choice and saves their friend, the character that the audience grew to love.

This show chooses otherwise, and I love that. I even loved that the mother is villain manipulating her daughter to the ‘dark side’. It’s very fresh, and new, and different in all the right ways. It’s just a shame it took the whole show to get there.

I look forward to the next season, just please keep up the momentum, don’t stall and become just ‘okay’ again.