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!

Advertisements

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.

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!

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.

Dead Men Don’t Wear Plaid (1982) Review:

[This review contains spoilers]

I didn’t enjoy this film. There, I said it.

It’s far too slow, it doesn’t really go anywhere and Nazis appear randomly at the end. That probably sounds funny, depending on your sense of humour. At least, it’s supposed to be. Noir and Comedy are rarely two genres that cross paths. Yet that’s the very crux of this film.

Steve Martin plays Rigby Reardonm whose very motto is to stay away from women. He can screw them, but heaven forbid he cares for one. Then walks in Juliet Forrest (played by Rachel Ward), a beautiful woman that happens to faint in their first meeting.

Rigby catches her, but don’t mistake him for a gentleman, he is anything but. Kissing a woman whilst she’s unconscious is hardly romantic, but this film plays it off as a gag.

Everything is too serious in this film. They try to be funny, but without ever winking at the camera. The plot is a mess, jumping from one story to the next. Rigby gets shot several times, only to have Juliet pull a bullet out with her teeth like some sort of magician.

This happens several times throughout the film. Rigby gets drugged by women, several times as well. The romantic aspect is stale. There is very little truly exciting that ever gets this film going. Even the climax is underwhelming, with a halfhearted chase scene.

Only thing that saves this film is the way they integrate a whole bunch of older films throughout its run. It cuts back and forth between actors that today are long since dead in an interesting and sometimes funny way. I get the feeling if you’ve seen all those other older films, this one might be funnier. Without those references, it’s hard to say. I haven’t watched the majority of those 1940s and 50s films shown to know.

I think it’s an interesting gimmick that this film does, but it’s too bad it isn’t enough.

The thing is, Steve Martin is a good actor and in other roles, has been very funny. Just not in this film.

This is one you can miss, it’s stale, and with a barely noteworthy trick.

I Fantasise about a Fantasy Game

Witcher 3 was, and is, one of my favourite video games. I’ve played it twice, finished the expansions. I love this game. I also adore Dragon Age: Inquisition. Finished it twice. I thought it was a fun time.

I’ve essentially been waiting for two years for the next big fantasy game to come out and it hasn’t happened yet.

Yes, I could play Final Fantasy XV, but it isn’t a traditional swords and sorcery type games. It’s far more Japanese. There’s nothing wrong with that, but it isn’t exactly what I’m looking for. It also technically won’t fully update for awhile, so I want to wait for it to finish. I want to play the best version of that game.

I want to play a video game where I have sword and slay magical creatures. I want a game with a great story, where I’m the hero. Where I can get the girl. Where I save the day.

This is one of the reasons why I loved Skyrim. That game was great, even if it was thin on the story front. I’ll never get over the killing butterfly mechanic. A strangely fun aspect of the game. The vampire expansion was fun too.

Other than Dragon Age 4, I can’t think of another traditional fantasy game on the horizon; and you know, that really sucks. I really want to play another one of those games.

I want meaningful choices. I want an expansive world with it’s own unique lore and intricate cultures, I want to see different people from different places unused to each others customs. I want to feel uncomfortable in certain situations because I’m not sure how to react to these other ways of life.

I want to see frictions between people because their nations are at war.

I want a world that just breathes with life. Political intrigue. Fascinating twist and turns. So on and so forth.

I just don’t see a game that’s anything like that coming out.

It’s probably a miracle that video games like this are ever made, because it’s a tall order. Yet when they are made, it really is a beautiful miracle.

The closest game that I think of that might be like this is God of War. We’ll have to sit on that to see if it really will be that kind of game.

I should probably pick up Dragon Age: Origins. I played it once but never finished it. I might have to give it another go because I have an itch that needs to be scratched. I also am waiting on the Switch, so it’ll be awhile before I can give The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild a proper play. Even then I’m still unsure if it’ll scratch the itch.

So Fantasy games, where are you? I’m getting a weird rash without you.

Atomic Blonde Review:

[This review contains spoilers]

This film has pacing issues. The thriller aspect lack intrigue and explains so little that it isn’t always clear who’s on whose side. That wouldn’t be a problem if was well written and not boring during the slow moments. But it was and as a result became a bit confusing. Especially since you’re not always sure why everyone is dying for the list to begin with.

They say it has important information that will prolong the cold war, but you have no idea why that is. So it leaves the struggle for it rather lacklustre.

It’s a good thing that this isn’t the only aspect of the film otherwise it’d be incredibly dull.

The action saves this film. It’s face paced, brilliantly choreographed and shot very well. It’s a thrill to watch and keeps you on your toes. The fights are unrealistic, but if you wanted that you wouldn’t be watching this film. They’re also fabulously brutal. The only criticism I have is that the hits didn’t quite land. When a punch was thrown, sometimes they didn’t connect, and thus impact wasn’t felt.

It’s a small complaint, but I think it would’ve made the action that much more hard to watch; and all the more exciting.

I also liked that Lorraine (played by Charlize Theron) was properly bruised up. It made her feel real and that much more of a badass. Also her outfits were great, very stylish.

Charlize Theron also did some nice acting, very believable as cool heroine with a gun.

The ending was the one bit of strong writing in the whole film. When all the plot threads come together very neatly with some great plot twists.

The music was good and very 80s; however I felt like this film wasn’t as much of a time piece as it tried to be. People’s hair were too normal and the fashion was too toned down for that time period.

It’s also just a good looking film, with thoughtful composition and great lighting choices.

Overall this was a fun and intriguing movie. It’s ashame that it had those pacing issues, because it was very close to being better than it was. I liked it, and it’s a recommendation from me.

A Star Is Born (1954) Review:

[This review contains spoilers]

There are three different versions of this film, soon to be four by next year. I think that’s interesting given the heavy nature of this picture. A Star Is Born is about a young woman that becomes a ‘somebody’, and even more so, it’s about her alcoholic husband.

Judy Garland plays Esther Blodgett, renamed as Vikki Lester. It’s what they did back then, to give you a more ‘Hollywood’ name. I find it interesting that this film in someways peels back the curtain. That the stars people idealise really are just like them, with their own flawed little lives. Norman Maine, her husband, is a drunk. He tries to go clean for her, but constantly makes a fool of himself.

He knows he has a problem, yet he can’t help himself. It leads to his wife, Esther, to wither. He inspired her to be a star, to really appreciate and share her talent, yet without him it isn’t worth anything to her.

It’s when he realises that he’s ruining her life as well as his own that he takes his life. The thing is, in this film we see him cry. I think that’s really interesting, because films now rarely show that. It also was in Cat on a Hot Tin Roof.

A Street Car Named Desire had a man wailing with raw emotion.

I find this fascinating, because I rarely find modern Hollywood films trying to hit these types of heavy emotions. Films like that are still being made, but you have to look elsewhere to find them and I think that’s ashame. Because these films are really trying to be about something, and they were mainstream.

They weren’t indie darling, these were intended for general audiences. I wonder why Hollywood doesn’t trust the average cinema goer with this type of art any more?

A Star is Born is flawed. It has too much time spent away from the main plot, making the pace inconsistent and the film far too long. There are parts that are just a bit boring. Yet Judy Garland acts splendidly in this film and sings beautifully with some real stand out songs. The Man That Got Away is a particular highlight.

You also believe their relationship. They really did fall in love and it shows. He worked hard to make her a star. She worked just as hard to save him…but some people can’t be.

When she’s grief stricken and still able to march on. You feel it.

Life is hard, but that doesn’t mean you have to be on your knees when it tries to cut you down.

I enjoyed this film, it isn’t the best of that era, All About Eve is better. Regardless this is still a good film, it’s just not perfect.