Let's discuss Avengers: Infinity War -- a movie BOUND to make you feel so good!

December 27, 2013

As Black as Lightning (Part 1)

(Cross-Up is on hiatus, but not really, sort of!  In the meantime, please enjoy this high-quality filler!)

You know, I have a sneaking suspicion that it was (the great) Jim Sterling’s review of Final Fantasy XIII that led me to discover Destructoid one fateful day.  In a universe where eights, nines, and the occasional perfect score orbited the game like Saturn’s rings, that one glorious 4.0 shone brighter than the sun, and to this day stands as proof -- a totem of fans’ and gamers’ outrage, and in more than a few cases outright disappointment.  That game has come and gone, and for those who felt wronged -- myself included, obviously -- there have been plenty of titles that have helped heal the wound…and then the wound got torn wide open with a rusty shovel by Final Fantasy XIII-2.  And the mere existence of Lightning Returns is enough to turn my body into a living, blood-spewing gash.  But with that game looming large on the horizon and Square-Enix in dire straits -- and news of Lightning getting a bunny suit, because of course she gets a bunny suit -- I think it’s time for me to make an assertion I’ve had in mind for a while.

That famous review started with this line: “If you're a hardcore Final Fantasy XIII fan, prone to emotional outbursts and so defensive of Square Enix's latest effort that you'll get upset by harsh criticism, then you're advised to not read this review.”  The same applies here...to some extent, at least, considering that this isn’t a review.  In fact, you can almost consider this a refutation.

December 26, 2013

47 Ronin -- An Emergency PSA

I like how as soon as I try to put the blog on hiatus, I end up seeing a movie so bad that it drags me back in.  I feel like one of those guys in an action movie who gets pulled in for “one last job” and it ends with a death toll in the dozens.  Still, that’d make for a better movie than this.  When the most interesting part of the movie is when the theater has technical difficulties and the film starts glitching out like a sputtering GameCube disk, you know your time has been well spent.

So yes, the movie’s pretty terrible and I hate it, so let’s talk about why.  But quickly.  Because I want to do something fun, like not think about this movie.  Also, because I’m dumb.

Also, don’t see this movie.

Spoilers incoming, but…look, just do what I didn’t and go see Frozen or something.

December 24, 2013

2013: Endless Possibilities

This year’s just about over.  Let’s have a special end-of-year post, shall we?  It’ll be fun.

At least, I hope it will.

*reads first 2 ¾ pages of Word document*

…Let’s just get through this.  I promise there’s a glimmer of hope in here.  A Christmas miracle, I know.  And on that note, HAPPY HOLIDAYS.

Now let’s get the despair party going.

December 20, 2013

Season's Wii-tings: The Wonderful 101

Let me be upfront about The Wonderful 101, before I get too swept up in the words to come.

The Wonderful 101 is not -- I repeat -- is NOT the greatest game ever created.  It is not the be-all and end-all of video game potential.  It is not the automatic winner of Game of the Year, merely because it exists.

It is not a perfect game.  In fact, at times it can be surprisingly frustrating.  I don’t agree with its detractors -- and I know there are some out there -- but I respect their opinions.  I know what they’re talking about.

But with all that in mind, let me say, conclusively, from the start, that The Wonderful 101 is a good, good, good, good, DAMN GOOD GAME.  

So much so that I’m going to do something I don’t do very often.

*deep breath* The time has come.

December 17, 2013

Beyond: Two Souls (feat. Kamen Rider Fourze)

So.  Not too long ago, the Two Best Friends -- or technically the Super Best Friends, since Matt and Pat brought Woolie along for the "Sadness" -- finished their LP of Beyond: Two Souls.  I’m on record of saying that I would sacrifice a goat for the gang to play the game from start to finish, and my prayers were indeed answered.  It certainly saved me the trouble of playing the game beyond the demo.  And as it turns out, the Best Friends did me (and our species) a greater service than they could have ever imagined.

Yikesy mikesy.  I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: if I had played Two Souls for myself, from start to finish, it would easily be the WORST game I’ve played all year.

It’s like a thirty-car pileup on top of a train wreck on top of an oil spill on top of a forest fire, with a ruined birthday party thrown in for good measure.  This game -- and I can’t even use the word “game” properly -- gets so much wrong it’s almost fascinatingly terrible.  Almost.  I’m pretty sure I never bore David Cage and his crew at Quantic Dream any ill will before; that’s true even now, but after seeing them at their “best” I can’t say I have even an eighth of the good will I had beforehand.  Whatever they’re cooking up next, if it’s anything like Two Souls they need to start over. 

A part of me was willing to start this post by asking “Has David Cage ever played a video game?”  It was going to segue into how you could use the medium to tell or enhance a story, given that his game has been done, and done better.  But the more I thought about it, the more I realized that wasn’t the right question to ask.  There isn’t even a question I need to ask.  Why?  Because I have a theory.

David Cage doesn’t need to play more video games.  He needs to watch something dumb.

WARNING: Spoilers for Beyond: Two Souls AND Kamen Rider Fourze coming your way.  One of those is worth caring about.  The other isn’t.  Guess which one.

December 13, 2013

Season's Wii-tings: Wind Waker HD

A funny thing happened the other day.

There was a pretty big snowstorm the other day -- and by “snowstorm” I mean “here’s lots of ice, so screw you if you want to make a snowman” -- so me, my brother, and my buddy piled in to play video games.  In the midst of the two of them taking turns playing Resident Evil 4, my buddy made a proposition: if my brother gave him a ride to the nearby Wal-Mart to pick up some sour cream (seeing as how said buddy had to walk to game with us), then he’d offer us some tacos at his place.  Said brother wasn’t on board, but when he heard that he’d be able to snag Resident Evil 6 on the cheap, he figured it was worth braving the elements.  Anything for his beloved “great game, great experience.”

It turned out that with all the ice, his car was useless.  So if we wanted to get to Wal-Mart, we’d have to go there on our feet.  In the ice.  With night falling.  And that’s exactly what we did, against ALL of our better judgment.  It was a journey made in the name of tacos and terrible video games -- one that I just happened to go on by virtue of “going with the flow”, but one that I stayed annoyingly optimistic about all the way through…to the obvious displeasure of a brother who complained all the way there and back.  The trip took about an hour, and we slipped and tripped a little, but I had fun.  It would have been more fun if not for that miserable cold, but it’s not something I’ll forget for a while.

I get the sneaking suspicion that a lot of adventures are sparked by stupid decisions -- but once they’re done and everyone’s in their safe haven, what was once just stupid becomes something precious.  Something necessary.  We need adventure.

Which brings me (as circuitously as possible) to The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker HD.

December 10, 2013

What Does Disney Mean to You?

Has anybody reading this seen that movie Frozen yet?

The most I’ve seen of it outside of a couple of commercials (I only paid half my attention to, a poster, and maybe an online ad is Bob “MovieBob” Chipman’s review -- and the way he talked about it, it’s very nearly a revelation.  Obviously, reviews are only a suggestion of quality and not a confirmation of it, but I tend to take MovieBob’s words very seriously. 

Even if I didn’t, I have to admit I’m kind of interested in the movie.  I didn’t go see Tangled in theaters, but when I watched it on TV sometime later, I asked myself if I’d made a mistake in missing out.  Though I find it odd that they didn’t just call it Rapunzel instead of Tangled.  And why the poster has the Dreamworks Face in full force.  And now that I think about it, I wonder why promos for Frozen -- which could/should have been called The Snow Queen -- are more eager to show off a cloying mascot character instead of giving any indication as to the real meat of the movie, i.e. the depth that’s apparently a major part of what makes it actually…you know, good.   But what do I know?  I’m no Walt Disney.  Then again, I don’t have to be.   

It’s been a while -- no, this is probably the first time I’ve ever put any thought into Disney as a whole, but this is as good a time as any to challenge my perspective.

December 6, 2013

Season's Wii-tings: Super Mario 3D World

Time for a little positive thinking.  (I deserve this after a month of Family Guy posts.  Just let me have this.)

With November 22nd now past us, the big three have all released their eighth-generation consoles.  Notably, November saw the release of two of those three consoles within a week of one another, and both have reportedly broken the “million units sold” mark.  Which console won the first fight in the latest and greatest war yet?  Which one will go on to claim true victory over all others? 

Frankly, I could care less.  Right now the Wii U’s the winner in my book.

That’s not to say that the PS4 or Xbox One are worthless or useless.  And that’s not to say that the Wii U’s flawless, or that it’ll suddenly overwhelm the competition to become a financial juggernaut (though that’d be totally awesome and I kind of hope it happens).  But when I look at the games for the “real” consoles and see games that are getting browner, grayer, duller, shootier, stabbier, and microtransactionier…well, I hope you’ll forgive me for not exploding with hype.  (Seriously, you know your console’s messed up when new technology makes it HARDER to do colors.)  Comparatively, Nintendo’s first real step into the HD generation has given us colors, aesthetics, imagination, and a level of splendor that almost heals the wounds left by DmCAlmost.

So you know what?  It’s almost Christmas.  Let’s make it a special one, and gab about Wii U games -- starting with the kinda-sorta fantastic Super Mario 3D World.  Because as it turns out, it’s fantastic in a way you’ll never see coming.

December 3, 2013

On NaNoWriMo (AKA Voltech the Liar)

Don’t worry, your pies are safe.  But I guess it’s about time for me to come clean.

With any luck, the truth will set me free.  Either that, or make some people very, very cross with me.