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

December 31, 2015

PS4nukkah: Dragon Quest Heroes

That awkward moment when you realize that you played the godawful Final Fantasy Type-0 to completion, but couldn’t be bothered to make it even halfway into the significantly-better Dragon Quest VIII.

Also, isn’t Hanukkah over?  Yes.  But on the other hand, shut up.

December 28, 2015

Star Wars: The Force Awakens: Unleashed: Revelations: Revengeance

So the other day, I had an epiphany.  Well, maybe not a pure epiphany, but at least the sudden insight needed to ask a certain question: “Do I actually hate Star Wars?”

It seems implausible, at a glance.  My understanding of Star Wars, even beyond its unshakable place in culture and history, is that it’s storytelling pared down to its most simple and effective form.  (That’s not so true of the prequels, I hear, but everybody would rather ignore those, so I will too for now).  So by that logic, hating Star Wars means hating the fundamentals -- if not the very concept -- of fiction.  That’s kind of a problem for a guy who’s trying to become a purveyor of fiction in his own right.  Obviously, I’m not that far off the deep end.

But I haven’t cared about Star Wars for a long time, if at all.  I know what’s in the movies, because -- cultural osmosis outside -- I’ve seen each of them once or twice.  And I’ve never had any real problems with them, even in the face of things like the Plinkett reviews.  They were just kind of…there.  I’m basically like, “Oh, Han Solo?  Yeah, he’s all right.”  And then I move on.  It’s not as if I’ve never been moved to tears by a fictional character, but even if the seven movies (to date) have their strong points, I can’t share the enthusiasm of others.  I’ll just shrug and say “Yeah, it’s all right.”  And then I’ll move on.

That’s the case with The Force Awakens, as well.  And I’ll explain why (with full spoilers) in a bit.

December 24, 2015

Star Wars: The Force Awakens: Unleashed: Revelations

I really want to call this movie The Force Unleashed, and I’ve already fought subconscious urges to type out Unleashed instead of Awakens on multiple occasions.  So if I start typing out TFU instead of TFA, that’s why.

It should go without saying, but there are going to be some spoilers.  As in, all of them.  Okay?  Good.

Now then.  Go ahead and read on -- because I have a couple of stories to tell.

December 21, 2015

PS4nukkah: The Witcher 3

All right, cards on the table: is The Witcher 3 a good game?  Yeah, obviously.

Really, you could leave it at that.  It’s a good game that’s both fun and intriguing; there are thrills to be had, but you only have to play for an hour or two (if that) to realize that this isn’t your standard-fare adventure.  That’s kind of a given, since I’m guessing that The Witcher 3 is one of 2015’s biggest games both in terms of popularity/hype and the actual scale of its world.  I had my doubts beforehand because open-world games have lost their pizazz in the wake of an industry that’s trying to run the subgenre into the ground (should we blame GTA5’s success for that?  Who knows?), but CD Projekt RED’s latest deserves whatever praise it gets…even if it’s not exactly ZOMG BESTEST GAEM EVAR material, but whatever.  You’re in good hands with it.

But you’re not here to see me give my blessing, are you?  So let’s get in deep with the game -- and try not to develop a Gwent addiction.  First off…

December 19, 2015

RE: Star Wars: The Force Awakens

First things first: Ryan and/or Rory, if you’re reading this, then this isn’t the ten-thousand-word post you’re looking for.  But it’s something for now -- with a Star Wars reference to boot -- and the real post will go up this coming Thursday.  Assuming that all goes well and there’s no major catastrophe, but you get the idea.

Just as well, though.  I’m sure that not everyone’s gotten a chance to go out and see the movie for themselves (as of this post), so the smart thing to do is to wait until a little time has passed.  Not only that, but it’s a good idea to let the movie sink in.  I personally prefer having time to digest a movie before talking about it in full, and in a lot of ways that’s preferable to spewing a bunch of words before everything settles in.  With that said, I’ll make a slight exception this time around.  Because A) I feel like I’ve done more than enough digesting at this point, and B) I might as well take part in this cultural event and do what everyone else is probably doing.  Because relevance.  Or peer pressure.  Or self-righteous vindication.  Take your pick.

So, this post is NOT a review.  It will NOT have spoilers (i.e. anything beyond what’s been in trailers and widely-released info online).  Granted some stuff might allude to events that happen, but I’ll try to keep things vague.  This post is more of a reaction, full of my opinions, thoughts, and biases -- as is my standard.  You know, in case anyone out there ever thought they should take me seriously.


December 17, 2015

The Birds and the Ps

Okay, if we’re being totally honest?  This post actually doesn’t have anything to do with birds.  But I wanted to have a cute and pun-filled title to start things off, so I figured I might as well.

Also, it still starts with a B.  And guess which recently-announced character for a certain magical fighting game also has a name starting with a B?  That’s right -- Billy Kane has been confirmed for King of Fighters XIV.  Get ready for some super-sticky shenanigans.

Right.  But seriously, though.  Bayonetta in Smash Bros.  That’s amazing.  When I saw her revealed, I actually had my breath taken away.  I guess that’s the power of an Umbran Witch.

December 14, 2015

PS4nukkah: Metal Gear Solid V

You know, there’s something that’s been on my mind recently.

If you’re reading this post, then you’re probably aware of the current trends in the game industry.  One of the biggies right now: open-world games, for better or worse.  It makes sense for the subgenre to gain some traction, though; setting aside graphical power, the best way to prove the evolution of the medium (technologically or otherwise) is to increase the scale.  We’re thirty years out from the left-to-right stages of Super Mario Bros., so the assumption is that a bigger world = a better game.  And I mean assumption.

By now, gamers have caught on to the issues.  Sure, worlds are getting bigger and players can explore more of them -- but so what?  On one hand, you’ve got the Assassin’s Creed franchise, which puts out these massive, lavishly-rendered, intensively-researched historical cities one year after another -- and instead of being playgrounds that sate the mind and soul, they’ve long since devolved into repetitive chore simulators and window dressing.  Meanwhile, the recent Batman games went from the tightly-knit and small-scale Arkham Asylum to the bank-busting and bloated Arkham Knight; it had a big world and sheer graphical horsepower, but at the cost of a good story, good gameplay, and a game that didn’t have to shoehorn the Batmobile into every situation.  (Again, WHY do you have to drag the Batmobile up a building when you have the Batplane?)

I guess what I’m getting at here is this: are video games getting too big?  And of course, MGSV is here to provide one possible answer.

December 10, 2015

So How Good is Tomb Raider, Really?

Hey, anybody remember PlayStation All-Stars: Battle Royale?  Anybody?

A lot of discussions have been had on the game’s roster, which is completely fair.  Not all of the choices made in/for that game were what I’d call good, and the lack of some key faces is proof of that.  Chief among them?  I’m pretty sure there were some people calling for Lara Croft (with Crash Bandicoot and Spyro the Dragon pretty much locked away in Activision’s dungeon), but were passionately denied the chance.  Why?  Who knows?  I mean, I’m not an expert on the franchise, but I thought that Tomb Raider was a mainstay of the PlayStation family until semi-recently.  Granted I’m guessing some installments and ports made it to the PC, but even if Lara’s jumped to other consoles, it’s a moot point when she would’ve shared a game with a Big Daddy and Isaac Clarke.

Anyway, Tomb Raider.  Thanks to the 2013 reboot and the recent game, the name’s seen a lot of traction.  Like plenty of properties these days, what’s old is new again; there’s a new Lara Croft and not one, but two brand new adventures, with a whole new style and the horsepower to make each new game the most extensive to date.  That’s not to undermine the successes and legacy of the earlier games, of course, but it’s a safe bet that the new stuff -- spearheaded by Crystal Dynamics -- is here to stay.

But is that a good thing?  Uhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh…

December 7, 2015

PS4nukkah: Bloodborne

I’m an idiot.

That should be blatantly obvious by now, because collectively I’ve blown about a hundred hours on the modern-day Final Fantasy games, and cleared one of its latest entries before I even touched Bloodborne.  I remedied that eventually, and while I’ve already said some stuff about the game already -- good things, no less -- I can’t emphasize it enough.  Bloodborne is a good-ass game.  If you haven’t played it and you have a PS4, go play it.  Especially now, since the DLC expansion The Old Hunters is out, AND there’s a game of the year edition that has it packed in.

But let’s get back to the matter at hand.  See, it’s been months -- literal months -- since the last time I booted up Bloodborne.  I pretty much forgot how to play, so I figured it’d be best if I started over with a new character and file.  As such, I made a new version of my old mainstay, Blackules; I just barely made it to the second boss (on accident) the first time around, but I hoped I’d do much better with a new hunter by my side.  And the initial run would have gone a lot better if I wasn’t a complete idiot.

I forgot how to heal -- and ended up assuming that I couldn’t heal until later in the game.

And you know what?  It might have actually made me -- if not the game in general -- even better.

December 3, 2015

Introducing: PS4nukkah!!

Get it?  It’s clever, because if you think of it as one word (with the 4 as an A), then it reads like “Psanukkah”.  And that sounds like Hanukkah.  Or pretty close to it, at least.

…It was either this or “PS4nzaa”.  Count your blessings.

Well, here we are.  After two full years on the market, the PS4 finally has a games library worth being excited about.  Granted that library is still full of holes, and it pales in comparison to what the Wii U’s been offering for much longer without a shred of fanfare, but for what it’s worth?  The PS4’s got some good games on it now, conclusively.  And with the holiday season encroaching upon us all, I see no better way to honor that dramatically-reduced rate of disappointment than by talking about some of those games.

Under normal circumstances, I’d be doing something like this for the Wii U.  But in order to not be such a biased fanboy, I’ve opted to switch gears and talk about what Sony’s latest has to offer.  It’s only fair, after all.  What games will I talk about?  I’m guessing that you already know the answer if you’ve read some of my other posts.  But for the sake of argument -- and a cohesive miniseries -- I’ll say that there’s going to be a certain theme attached to each of these four games.

What’s the theme?  Well…