All My Friends Are Fictional Characters
I take all forms of entertainment (video games, films, books, TV shows, comics, etc.) and review it for the delight of the readers of this blog.
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo is a series I never actually got into. Then again, thinking back on my knowledge of the series at the time of it’s release, I really didn’t know what it was. I knew it was some sort of bizarre thriller and that was it. There was a girl with a dragon tattoo who was investigating some crime. That’s literally all I got. However, seeing the trailers to the movie and noticing that David Fincher was directing, helped buy my ticket. Fincher is easily one of my favorite directors with Seven and Fight Club being two of my favorite movies of all time, so seeing he was getting a series made me reassess my interest in this. Let me state one thing now, and that is the fact that I am going into this with absolutely NO knowledge of the books. I don’t know whether something was accurate to the book, I am reviewing this as a film and how it presented itself as such.
The plot to The Girl with The Dragon Tattoo is kind of what one might expect from a thriller. A disgraced journalist gets an invitation from a powerful Swedish businessman to visit him up on his family’s island complex. The man then explains that the journalist would be writing his memoirs but officially investigating a murder of his granddaughter that took place about 40 years ago. The narrative in the beginning cuts back and forth between these scenes and those of the eponymous girl with the dragon tattoo. She is an researcher for a security company and their expert computer hacker. She is a ward of the state and has generally had, what is implied, to be an extremely mentally scarring past. Her story runs parallel for a while before meeting up with the journalist and working as his research assistant.
The plot is well thought out and extremely interesting. The mystery itself is actually rather hard to solve and, being that you see most of the pieces of the puzzle itself, is shocking for a modern movie. Just to put it to the example of Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows (this is supremely unfair and I realize that), in game of shadows if you even had brain cells you could figure out Moriarty’s plan with ease, even without him monologuing about it. This movie however, you don’t know who the villain is until the end AND it’s all well constructed with enough red herrings to throw off the best investigators (my friends and I kept taking shots at it but missing). The characters are intriguing. You find yourself easily rooting for both, despite the girl’s more unsavory methods (but considering what you see happen to her…you don’t really care). They’re well fleshed out despite very little exposition. The two actors do fantastically well in their roles, with Daniel Craig as a very broken down but extremely intelligent journalist in the form of Mikael and Rooney Mara as the disturbing but Holmes-esque Lisbeth.
Really there isn’t much more I can say. There are no effects to speak off, the soundtrack (though fantastic) is much what I’ve come to expect from Fincher’s staff at this point, and the movie is generally contained upon one island in Sweden so I can’t really say much about set pieces. However, there is one thing remaining I can talk about and that’s the subject matter. Let me warn you first off this movie’s R rating is VERY deserved. Fincher is famous at this point for being more than happy to show you the more disturbing side of humanity and he does not disappoint. To some this is a good thing (myself included) but to some others, this movie might just be too much. I won’t give examples since…well spoilers but let me just say a full on rape scene does occur. You don’t actually see penetration of course (this movie isn’t X) but you see enough that it is more than a bit disturbing. If you are in any way squeamish towards blood, torture, rape, or violence of any sort this movie is definitely not for you. I am sorry to make that huge of a blanket statement but I’m serious. I found myself cringing a few times and scenes from Seven did even cause me to flinch.
This movie is exceptional. The characters are intriguing and deep, while still keeping themselves rather real and very human. The mystery itself is rather intriguing and exceptionally well crafted, with red herrings lining the path and more than a few twists which will easily shock you. The music is excellent and the movie is amazingly well shot showcasing the bleakness of the Swedish winter and the island itself. I enjoyed the disturbing elements of this movie although I an easily see why this would be a deal breaker as some people simply cannot stomach that, and I can respect that. Overall, despite this “flaw”, I’d give it a five out of five. Glad to see David Fincher has a franchise of his own now.
Let me just say this right now, I absolutely adore the holiday season. Some people look at the holidays and see materialism and greed but I see nothing more than joy. Love towards one’s fellow man is hard to come by and you must truly honor those times that manage to bring this emotion about. That reason is chief among the many reasons I happen to love the Christmas season. But now that I’ve at least introduced this slightly, let me get to the point, we all see this season in different ways and grow our own different forms of celebration and most of us have our own certain traditions. My family’s is for us to always ALWAYS watch at least two forms of the A Christmas Carol on Christmas eve AND Christmas Day. This mainly started because my dad has almost literally read every single book written by a certain Charles Dickens and he happens to love the film versions so we simply decided to continue this. I’m doing this in a different format because really, it’s A Christmas Carol. It’s getting a five out of five. There is no way it couldn’t. It is the greatest Christmas story one could possibly hear on the wonderful occasion. Nothing comes close. I’m going to cover the two versions we traditionally watch at my house: my favorite, and my dad’s favorite although trust me, both are absolutely fantastic.
First, my dad’s favorite. My Dad’s favorite variation on this classic story is the 1951 Alistair Sim version. His reasoning behind this is pretty simple, the acting is fantastic, it’s decently short compared to some other versions, and yet it also manages to be the most accurate to the original Dickens’ novel. And I can see his points. Alistair Sim is quite easily, without a single doubt in my mind, the greatest Ebenezer Scrooge that has ever existed in cinema. He manages to be completely cruel while still keeping a straight face, have a clear sense of manic fear when he’s near the spirits, and yet still go completely bonkers when he wakes up. He portrays everything you could possibly want in a Scrooge and more. Every single character is portrayed so wonderfully that it’s hard to imagine anyone but these actors when you think of this story. As far as length, and that can be quite key when you try to watch a version of this before going to visit relatives, this movie runs at a shockingly short 86 minutes. Yeah, I don’t understand it either. Somehow they manage to cram every scene from the book into only 86 minutes of pure wonder. They don’t even change that much of the dialogue and each scene is basically what was shown in the book. The acting’s fantastic, the length is perfect, its astonishingly accurate as far as the book goes…it’s the perfect version of A Christmas Carol.
However, despite the fact that I love the 1951 Sim version and it’s still a truly wonderful movie, a different version stands as my favorite, and that is the 1970 musical called Scrooge. Now my reasoning really doesn’t hold much water compared to my dad’s, it’s not very accurate, it’s actually quite funny while the other versions have been very serious (especially the Sim version which has a few moments which scarred me as a very young child), and…well songs. However, those are the exact reasons I happen to like it. True the Sim version is far more accurate and concise and yet still absolutely amazing but this version just adds a brilliant sense of grandiosity to it all. While at the end of the Sim version, he goes a little bit nuts and throws some money around to help his family and his employees, it’s all done very quietly and solemnly. Scrooge knows he’s been horribly wrong and goes out into the world slowly, seeking it’s returned affection. And he receives it. But Scrooge? My god do they go overboard. Scrooge wakes up and sings, buys everything in a toy shop and runs around town like a new man with a very large band of children following him, dresses up like Santa and throws toys around and then the ENTIRE town sings. And no I’m not adding a *spoiler alert*. It’s A Christmas Carol people. I know you all know the plot. The thing is it’s all done so wonderfully that the story doesn’t lose any of those qualities that make it so wonderful. It’s the same story, just taken to 11. The songs are catchy and entertaining and you’ll find yourself randomly humming more than a few (personal favorites are “I Like Life” and “Thank You Very Much Part II”), the acting is campy but extremely entertaining, and the few additions they have to the story just add to it in my opinion. It’s, in my opinion, the best interpretation of A Christmas Carol.
And that’s where this article ends ladies and gentlemen. To all of you who have been reading my articles over the past couple months, I thank you for the support. From here I quote a favorite Christmas song of mine, “Although it has been said, many times, many ways, Merry Christmas to you.”
Merry Christmas everyone.
Sherlock Holmes is, oddly enough, one of those intellectual properties that actually isn’t know amazingly well. I was talking to someone about this movie and they had no idea who Moriarty was, which shocked me more than a bit. Holmes is known as being the greatest detective that fiction has ever produced and his partnership with a certain Dr. Watson is very well known, but not a lot of the details of his stories are common knowledge to the public. This, being the Holmes fan that I am, angers me greatly. I actually did enjoy the first Sherlock Holmes film. True it was more than a bit action filled compared to the actual stories but the case was solid, the use of the one-shot Irene Adler as a foil to Holmes was interesting and the interaction between Downey Jr.’s Holmes and Law’s Watson was absolutely amazing. They played off each other wonderfully and acted much like I imagine the two characters would. And after seeing this, I was really looking forward to Guy Ritchie’s effort in the sequel. I was one of the few in the crowd of the original squealing like the fanboy I am when they even so much as mentioned a certain Professor Moriarty. After hearing this, I knew there would be a sequel and I knew he would be the villain and I could not wait. Let’s actually start.
The plot starts off much like a Bond movie, with the movie actually beginning with Holmes already on a case. I’ve always liked this way of jumping right into the action, especially in a sequel. No introductions necessary. But yeah, it begins with Irene Adler being followed by Holmes and the shenanigans that go from there, ending with the assassination of a doctor by an agent of the brilliant Professor Moriarty. From this point on the story goes into a tour around europe in an attempt to stop the schemes of the Professor. This actually works amazingly well, dragging you in as the professor’s plot is covered in shadows for a very large part of the movie, as it should be. The plot is intriguing and very large in it’s reach. I actually don’t want to say much on this, except that it’s fantastic, mainly because the story is a very classic Holmes style detective case and if I say that much…well it’s completely ruined and I really don’t want to do that to everyone reading this BAHAHAH like I have readers.
The characters are a lot more of what you have come to expect after the first movie. As far as returning characters, Holmes and Watson return (obviously), Amy Adams’ Irene Adler returns, along with the primary villain of Moriarty. However new characters include a gypsy woman who helps the partners cross all of euprope without having to bother with borders, Watson’s wife Mary, and also a very out of nowhere Stephen Fry as Mycroft Holmes. There is actually one absolutely amazing scene involving a very casually naked Mycroft Holmes and Mary that is absolutely hilarious. But the characters are brilliant and witty and the back and forth between Holmes and Watson is as hilarious as ever. However, you combine that with new scenes of dialogue featuring the intellectual workings of both Moriarty and Holmes and things get even more interesting. The two men are evenly matched and it makes the conversations between them intriguing as you can almost see the gears working in their heads (and can see the inner workings more than a few times).
This is where things drastically differ from the last one though: the action scenes. There were a few very vital action scenes in the first scenes in the first one but they weren’t nearly as essential as they are in this movie. However, this time the hits come hard which, considering this is a Holmes movie, seems a little out of place. Let me put this in context though, there aren’t enough explosions to fuel a Michael Bay movie but there are still an odd amount for a detective movie. I know that Moriarty’s plot revolves around this sort of thing but it still seems out of place. Once again, don’t want to reveal much, just trust me on this one. However, the whole slow motion for Holmes’ mind is back and just as awesome as before which was definitely nice to see. There is an AMAZINGLY awesome twist on this at the end but I’ll save that for you to enjoy.
Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows is actually a pretty fantastic movie. Much like the first, the cast is solid and the returning characters are excellent with some new amazing additions. The action seems a little bit out of nowhere for a detective movie, although it is well done and extremely entertaining. The ending…actually pissed me off a little bit due to…well circumstances in a certain Sherlock Holmes story that I choose to not mention as it reveals aforementioned ending. But yeah, ending annoyed me. Besides that I gotta say, a definite four out of five stars from me. It was thoroughly entertaining and if you liked the first one you HAVE to see this one.
Here’s the thing I never actually played the original Deus Ex until a few years ago. I knew just vaguely about it as being some amazing game that helped define the genre known as the action RPG. I finally got around to playing it and absolutely loved it despite the steep difficulty curve. It was a fantastic game with an amazingly intricate plot, well-rounded and interesting characters, and gameplay that offered any and all options to complete your objectives. I was actually really psyched for Human Revolution. The trailers all looked absolutely amazing, the gameplay videos looked even better, and the plot sounded extremely intriguing. After a steam sale, which cut the price to 25 bucks, I opted to buy it and started playing that same night. So let’s start the review shall we?
The plot to Deus Ex is extremely intriguing, as one might expect. It’s actually a prequel to the original Deus Ex and takes place during the year 2027, where the world is now embroiled in the politics of human augmentation (essentially augmenting the human body with mechanical parts to increase it’s effectiveness). You play Adam Jensen who works as head of security for Sarif Industries, an up and coming biotech company specializing in human augmentation. After a terrorist break-in that ends with Adam severely injured and a rather important group of scientists kidnapped, Adam gets surgery which ends with him augmented in basically every possible way. This now leads to him becoming top security officer and, basically, secret agent for the company. However, Jensen also slowly becomes involved in the politics regarding augmentation which gives this story far more depth than a simple hunt/revenge tale. The cyberpunk setting is also brilliantly fleshed out which gives the game so much more life and emotion. You see all these cities ravaged by the problems that the Purity First movement uses as their talking points. Also, I’m a sucker for cyberpunk, I really am. The plot is enthralling from beginning to end.
The gameplay is fantastic. It takes the original’s concept of branching paths uses it wonderfully. You want to run in with a heavy rifle and pound the entire building into dust? You can do that. You want to kill no one and simply sneak around using a cloaking deive? You can do that. You want to carpet bomb the area with hand grenades and rockets? Once again, completely possible. If you want to do it, it’s probably possible. My choice of play was a cyber ninja. Essentially, lethal, with crazy good sneaking skills, and increased takedown skills. If you spot me, you’ll probably get a silenced pistol shoved into your throat, which I nicknamed “God Gun” because it kills anything and everything, or have your throat ripped out. However, chances of seeing me are pretty minimal, mainly because I hacked your cameras, disabled them and suck your own robots on you. The inventory system is very similar to Resident Evil 4′s attache case system, except upgrades only happen when you upgrade your arm augmentations. Another thing I forgot to mention until now, killing enemies and accomplishing missions lead to exp which you can use to upgrade you augmentations to add extra features. These range from being able to punch through walls (with an arm upgrade), walk silently (leg upgrade), see through walls superman style (eye upgrades) and so on. One of the coolest things in my opinion is you get more exp for finding secret areas. These areas include using paths that aren’t the main entrance as well as random weapon caches which are usually more than a bit helpful. The game is ridiculously deep in possible playstyles which can lead to more than a few playthroughs, hell I’m already premaking my second character in my head right now.
However, as with most games this game does have it’s flaws. But this time there is only one real flaw: the motherf#*king boss fights. This is easily the most frustrating part of the game because if it didn’t have this one problem it would be a perfect game. The main problem is, unlike the first game, there is only one way to win: combat. This is INCREDIBLY frustrating especially when your character does not have combat augmentations (increased armor, lower recoil, etc.) which makes Adam a walking tank. I have died more times on these bosses than on ALL of the Mega Man games COMBINED. And I have played every Mega Man game on the NES and 9-10 on the Wii. Trust me. I’ve died a lot but these bosses are indestructible. It’s just…so sad to see such a great game tainted with horrible boss fights. The worst part is that you can see how this could have been so much better. If they had just offered more paths to victory it would have made the game so much better.
Overall, the game is still pretty damn good. Sure the boss fights are terrible and they’ll make you walk away from the game for a bit and search online for any exploits (and there are some) which you can use to win, but you’ll come back after realizing that you miss the world of Deus Ex. You miss being a cybertech ninja, running around in the shadows, shoving your armblades into those who deserve it, completely shattering security systems, stealing every last credit from the bank and…*sniff* WHY CAN’T I HAVE CYBERNETIC AUGMENTATIONS TO MY BODY?!?! Anyway, It’s a great game despite the one massive flaw. I give it a four out of five.
There are very few game genres I will always be biased to. These are mainly games in the turn based strategy genre (I played chess far too much in my younger years and now I’m programmed to enjoy turn based strategy), hack n’ slash (just love the old brutal arcade style fighters), action RPGs (your Deus Ex’s, Mass Effects, and such fall under here), and dungeon crawlers. The best way to explain what these games are is to use examples, the best example being the Gauntlet series. Basically wander through dungeons, slaughtering massive hordes of enemies, gathering tons of gold, using that to get new weapons, random upgrades, etc. Most of these times these games offer couch cooperative play which makes it even more awesome as there is nothing better in gaming than to gather a bunch of friends over and throw of an alien menace, diabolic supervillian, russians, etc. This game genre has sadly waned a bit over the years, with the only good ones in the genre that come to mind that have been made recently being the X-Men legends series, at least from my experience (Marvel Ultimate Alliance is utterly terrible). However, a friend of mine was determined to prove me wrong. And I am really glad he did.
Crimson Alliance deals with the story of Direwolf, Moonblade, and Gnox and their journey across the devastated lands of the empire to confront the evil Soul Siren for the sake of their empress. They also obviously have their own problems to deal with, and also generally hate each other which adds a nice sense of personality to the characters and the game in general. The game’s cutscenes actually have fantastic voice actors and when combined with the incredibly comic-ish style of artwork, and the fact that the cutscenes are stills, it makes you actually want to watch them which is SHOCKING for a game on the xbox live arcade. The plot get’s incredibly intriguing once the game gets going and it truly stays that way which is once again shocking for a dungeon crawler, which really don’t have much characterization besides “I MUST SMASH TINGS” and plot besides “EVIL THING DIES”.
Does the gameplay match this however? Yeah it really does actually. It’s dungeon crawling at it’s simplest, run around kill hordes of enemies, gather as much gold as possible, upgrade your weapon, secondary weapon and armor, and proceed to use said upgrades to kill even more stuff. One of the best parts is how truly unique each of the heroes feel. Each one has four moves which are a different depending on the characters. For example, the caster can throw fireballs, summon pillars of ice, blast the area with electricity and teleport while the mercenary has a slash attack, heavy attack, shield bash, and his dash. Each one of the characters moves is available at the start (with the exception of the ultimate move which you earn by gathering amulets), but each of the three offensive moves can be upgraded by five levels by using your equipment. See your equipment gives a certain number of points in each stat and as long as you are wearing aforementioned equipment you get your stats upgraded. A higher stat will give more reach, more damage and make the move faster. This means that an assassin with a level one slash skill will likely not do all that much against higher level monsters. It’s a very simple way of managing stats and very easy to get used to. The levels are sadly not very diverse but they all do have a massive number of secret areas which will give more weapons, gold, etc. to the party. That’s another thing I forgot to mention: you gain gold as a party. You don’t spend as a party, but you gain it equally. This is an incredibly useful upgrade as in games like Gauntlet it was infuriating as the gold went to whoever found it and in X-Men Legends you had a massive pool of tech bits (the game’s currency) which made purchases a party decision. Continuing onwards though, the game is actually incredibly difficult, when put to the higher difficulties of course. A friend of mine and I opted to start the game on normal and we started out thinking the game was far too easy. Then we upped the difficulty and got COMPLETELY DESTROYED. The difficulty levels are miles apart and I would suggest you get used to normal before going anywhere near hard mode.
This game is currently selling at only 1200 points which in my opinion is an absolute steal. Couch co-op games are extraordinarily rare in the modern internet era, with everyone wanting you to play on xbox live instead of socializing with friends of yours on your own couch. As far as things go though, this game is a huge throwback to all the old dungeon crawlers like Gauntlet and it’s nostalgic and amazingly fun. I give it a solid four out of five stars.
I was actually kind of excited for War in the North. It seemed like those old Lord of the Rings games for the gamecube that were absolutely awesome hack n’ slashers. True, they got pretty simple at the end considering how easy it was to gain massive points and get all the upgrades, which essentially made you indestructible. They were fun though, with that primal joy of epic annihilation that you get whenever you play Dynasty Warriors. War in the North actually sounded pretty cool, a throwback to those games combined with more RPG elements (as if you spliced Dragon Age with the Lord of the Rings games). So let’s get into it shall we?
The plot…is actually annoyingly simple. I was pretty pissed at this. Look I know we all know Middle Earth BECAUSE of the War of the Ring but really people…there is more stuff. I don’t need to increasingly see new angles to the War of Ring. I saw that in the Third Age, I saw that in Battle for Middle Earth, I saw it in Battle for Middle Earth II, I saw it in the movie licensed games AND I saw it in the movies. I DON’T NEED MORE WAR OF THE RING. I want a game that has to deal with something else. Please. But yeah it’s really simple. There’s a war in the north and the three people who you really know nothing about (the traditional elf, dwarf, human combo) head out to stop it while the rest of the war rages. URGH. So much potential lost.
The gameplay is a HUGE step up from the plot. It’s as described above just basically chaotic slaughtering of endless hordes of orcs, human and the undead in a hack n’ slash atmosphere. The RPG elements come in with the inventory and the skill trees which makes me think that the elder scrolls and borderlands had some child. The borderlands element comes in through the skill trees, being that there are only three and that you really have to specialize in just one tree to be in any way effective. As far as oblivion, well you collect a massive amount of pointless weapons which you end up selling for profiit and have to try desperately to stpo your shit from losing all its durability. Okay so my bad, less oblivion, more EVERY WESTERN RPG IN EXISTENCE. Not that this its a bad thing, it’s just frustrating to run to a shop and to buy everything they own, only to find out that everything you just bought has been completely outdated. Also, it takes elements from the original games in the forms of absolutely brutal combos. You start a combo with each hit and you can just keep chaining from there, gaining extra exp with each hit. Which is more than a bit badass. Also critical hit chances come up often, which are essentially just massive hits which slow down time slightly and usually take off an opponents limb, and it’s a really nice touch. It’s awesome to just say “f(# this” and slice an orc’s head off to get him to stop bugging you so you can pay attention to his other 40 brothers and a troll. I mean sure it’s brain-dead fighting that usually involves crazy button mashing but it’s fun despite it’s repetitive nature.
However, here’s the killer though. After playing on co-op for about 2.5 hours I noticed something: I had stopped doing combos. I have no idea what caused it but my mage just suddenly couldn’t do combos anymore and the thing is this isn’t just some little touch, you do WAY more damage and get more exp when you combo so I was underleveled and basically doing nothing. And the sad thing was that my spells weren’t really doing much either. I mean I was a mage and this is a universe where mages can actually do stuff (*cough* harry potter *cough*) so I was a little pissed. We tried everything possible but the game just was not working. So we looked up a fix online. Turns out there was a patch for it. Problem. NO INTERNET CONNECTION. Well…crap. So we kept trying at it and then I came to a brilliant solution: since we were both saved in the same campaign (as in our save files were both for the same campaign) what if we just selected the opposite characters, then swapped controllers? Turns out I was right and this worked. One huge problem, we lost all our gear. This sucked but hell at least I could combo again. So we started destroying the undead hordes, beat the boss we had wanted to beat, head back to town, grabbed some new gear, our spirits were high and then…game froze. After spending an hour or so trying to get the combo system to not hate me again this was more than a bit frustrating, we called it quits.
Look, the game itself is pretty good. It’s a genuinely fun, old school hack n’ slasher with some new RPG stuff thrown in to mix it up. Add in a pretty epic universe and the idea is pretty awesome. Sure it fails on the story part, being another generic War of Ring campaign and the characters are the epitome of bland, but it’s got this nostalgic, primal joy of simply killing everything in sight. However, I gotta say the glitches just broke me. If you have an available internet connection then yeah, that glitch’ll be fixed in no time. However, for the combined reason of the glitches, the generic story and the bland characters, I gotta give it a three out of five. I really wanted to enjoy this game more but it really just did not like me.
I believe it is about time we walk into the wonderful worlds of Final Fantasy. This franchise has become one of the most famous franchises in all of gaming because of how it helped to bring about the acceptance of the RPG into American gaming culture. True it was mostly FFVII that brought it into the mainstream but that’s an article for a different day. For this one we’re going to start with the opening of the series, with the one that started my love for fantasy in general, the one the only, the original Final Fantasy.
Once again I have a story to go along with this review. A LOOOONG while back I was over at my cousin’s place, my family happened to be visiting them, and my oldest cousin had booted up the game. He explained to us that it was single player game BUT that since there were four characters, that we could all choose one and make the decisions for that character each turn. Scanning through the character roster, my oldest cousin chose the warrior, his sister chose the white mage, my brother chose the black belt, and I started sifting through. I didn’t like the thief, I didn’t really like the red mage but then I saw the black mage. The blue robes, the awesome hat, the glowing yellow eyes, and an outright master of destructive magic. The choice was obvious. We didn’t really get that far that day (all I really remember is tossing fire spells at goblins, spiders and Garland) but it left a permanent imprint on me. And years later, when they rereleased the game on the GBA I pounced.
Let’s get started though shall we? The plot is extremely basic but then again, remember this the NES and all things are forgiven. You play as the four light warriors who have appeared outside Coneria and your job is to kill the four elemental fiends who have ravaged the world. Yeah…pretty basic straightforward plot. However, the set up does lead you to wonderful lands and interesting characters and blah blah blah blah blah. I’m not going to go any further, it’s exactly what you’d expect from an NES RPG. Gather the mystical rocks, kill the big bads, just to fight the REAL big bad at the end. Simple.
Ah gameplay. Final Fantasy I is exactly what you think of when you think turn based strategy. Each of your characters take turns, based on speed ratings, and take their attacks. This also obviously applies to opponents who also take their turns, based on their speed as well, and try to kill you horribly. You go back and forth until your opponents die, listen to the glorious victory theme, get your loot and continue onwards. I mean really how much more do you want me to explain this? This is one of the simplest combat formats imaginable. I suppose you also journey on the world map as well, but once again, is there any reason to explain the map screen? You know exactly what it does and why it’s useful and this review is just getting more incredibly pointless with each passing sentence.
As far as thing’s go, how has the game held up? Quite well. I would however, suggest you get one of the upgraded editions simply because the games looks better, plays better and is pretty much better on all fronts. I mean if you opt to go completely nostalgic then grab an NES cartridge but my preference is definitely in the realm of the GBA remake. I would give it a four out of five stars.
Oh god…Let it be known that I’m generally a very positive person when it comes to cinema. Even after seeing a movie that I despise, I can try and think of things that were good about it. For example, when I walked out of The Last Airbender I thought to myself “Well at least M. Night Shyamalan’s career is over.” However, there is nothing positive I can say about this movie.
The Room is the personal pet project of a one Tommy Wiseau. The story is very very basic. Basically, a relatively successful businessman’s wife decides that she’s bored and cheats on him with his best friend. The story is the resulting “drama” (those quotation marks are in fact intentional) of that incident. The plot sounds like something you really have to try to screw up because of how absolutely easy it is to write a story like that. Just make it character focused (just have those three and maybe some side characters), give some back story (flashbacks here and there), throw in some violence (maybe a fist fight at the end), decent actors, decent camera work and minimalistic settings and BAM pretty good film. BUT NO. Tommy Wiseau had to take this idea and just completely destroy it. But once again, I’ve been sidetracked. Let’s bring the focus back.
The dialogue may be the most horrendous combination of syllables that I have ever heard leave the human mouth. No seriously, I’m not joking. I’VE WRITTEN BETTER DIALOGUE THAN THIS. It’s all so…inhuman. Almost as if it were written by some alien trying desperately to mimic human speech patterns so that it won’t be found out and deported by the Men in Black. None of them talk like real people. The inflections are wrong, the sentences are wrong and none of the conversations seem remotely realistic. There are more than a few gems in here but the classic “You’re tearing me APART Lisa!” still has a special place in my heart. There really isn’t much I can say about this. The dialogue is so amazingly bad that it’s just shocking.
The characters. Oh good god. So many unnecessary characters. I don’t even understand why most of them are here, what do they add? Why did Tommy Wiseau think it was in any necessary to have all these people here and especially considering they add absolutely NOTHING to the plot. Sure using the mother of the the main character’s fiancee is probably a decent idea but why are they taking care of a really creepy college student who happens to live next to them? Also, why do the fiancee’s friends show up only to say three lines and have an incredibly pointless 10 seconds of fake sex? Also why does the psychologist friend show up and who was that guy who shows up at the last party and WHY CAN NONE OF THESE PEOPLE ACT?! Alright calming myself down now.
But here’s the worst part. It’s not the dialogue (I’ve coped with worse. Just watch birdemic and you’ll know what I’m talking about). The characters are bad BUT you at least know, if they had been utilized well, they could have been good. No, it’s the sheer pointlessness of half the scenes in this movie. Most of these scenes don’t have dialogue or just add absolutely nothing, no character development, no plot development, nothing! These include the annoyingly gratuitous sex scenes (of which I can remember there being 5-ish), the pointless football catch scenes (of which there are FAR too many), the stupid transition scenes (like this movie is a sitcom. Yeah just think of that. Tommy Wiseau with a sitcom. Thank me later for the recurring nightmares) and the constant use of the same pointless scene between the fiancee (Lisa) and her mother. The first time it’s actually important, adding that Lisa is bored of Johnny (main character) but they repeat this scene 6…freaking…times. All of these scenes commit the cardinal sin of cinema, in that they add NOTHING to the film as a whole.
Look I’ve ranted incoherently enough to the point where you probably get the point. This movie is offensively bad. The writing hurts, the characters make you want to destroy the TV and a decent chunk of the movie is completely useless. However, I have to say, you should watch it. Why? So that way you understand what a good movie. It’s one of those movies that has no effect except anger, until you watch a decent movie and appreciate it all the more. You realize just how bad cinema can truly be. However, this does not change my score for this one bit. It’s getting a one out of five stars. Not even a question. Anyway, updates will be more frequent now that finals are done with, so I’ll be back for an article tomorrow everyone.
Now let me explain something rather quickly. Ocarina of time caused a sensation, and rightfully so. Majora’s mask was made as a direct sequel to Ocarina of time, following the once again young Link after he crushed the forces of Ganondorf. I never actually got around to playing this game (yes, yes I know. I’m a horrible person) but I’ve heard it’s absolutely amazing. The next Zelda game I played was The Wind Waker. I don’t really have much of a story for this one all I know is I was lucky to own it. My brother ended up getting it for part of a deal when he was tutoring a kid in math. The kid was really thankful for his help and my brother happened to notice the game sitting around. He asked the kid if he could borrow the game and the kid let him simply take it, saying he beat it. My brother brought it home and I would bet good money that this game changed my life. The Wind Waker was originally marketed as a rather realistic looking game (or as real as the gamecube could manage) and the test footage showed Link fighting Ganondorf in mortal combat. Now this was switched years later to a cel-shaded model and I have to say I was one of many who was completely against it. It just didn’t look what I imagined as Zelda (I realize now I was kind of an idiot to think that).
The story is what you expect from a Zelda game. It’s Link’s birthday and all boys of his age dress up as the famous Hero of Time in the hope to instill courage to him. From there he meets up with his sister and spots a giant bird hauling a girl into a nearby forest. After rescuing her, his sister is then taken by the bird. Link seeks out the bird with a group of pirates (he had saved their leader) and so begins the epic journey of The Wind Waker. However, the setting is what really sets it apart from other Zelda games. The setting is a place known as the Great Sea which is exactly what you might think of: it’s a giant sea. Rather self explanatory. That’s what sets it apart though, there is so much to do! Other Zelda games before this point had secrets and certain things to find and other interesting things but you could entertain yourself for days simply discovering all the islands of The Great Sea.
The gameplay mimics the other two Zelda games before it, Ocarina and Majora. It’s the same hack, slash, solve puzzle, gain weapon, kill boss, complete dungeon, rinse, repeat format that keeps the Zelda series so simple and yet so good. The dungeons are well made with the enemies and bosses original and keeping things interesting and entertaining. The weapons have gotten a slight upgrade with certain weapons gaining new features but the main think is the boat. Oh yeah, you get a boat. The King of Red Lion’s may be the greatest “item” that has ever existed in a Zelda game. He’s a very wise, lively and talking boat that helps transport you across the Great Sea. Also because of this, a lot of your weapons gain secondary features to allow their use on the King. For example, your bombs become a cannon, your grappling hook becomes a claw that can help you dredge treasure, etc. Once again, the best thing about this game is how open the world is. You can really do whatever you want. Sure you have a constantly marked main quest, but you always have things to do sea monsters to kill, treasures to find, mythical creatures to free and so on. It will always keep you entertained.
Now here’s the controversial part: the graphics. Now let me be blunt, I love the style of graphics presented in this game. I love them. They’re the perfect style for this game. This is a qualm that I carry with Twilight Princess, Zelda as a series has no need for dark graphic or realism. Zelda just isn’t built to have a dark plot. It’s always been a pretty light-hearted adventure. Sure bad things happen (people die, Zelda gets kidnapped and so on) but nothing worthy of the style presented in Twilight Princess. And this is where I love The Wind Waker. The graphics fit the game perfectly. It can pull off dark and creepy when the need presents itself but it’s generally a pretty nice and enjoyable adventure so the graphics fit that. But now my favorite part of the game: the sound track. This is, in this reviewers humble opinion, the greatest soundtrack in the entire Zelda series. I love every part of this soundtrack, from the extremely catchy sage tracks to the Great Sea theme’s ability to give you this wonderful feeling of being on a grand adventure. It’s just an amazing soundtrack.
Let me get this out of the way now that I’ve given a thorough review. I’m getting to get ragged on for it but I have to say it: This is one of my favorite games of all time and my favorite game in the series. This game is such an amazing experience. It’s everything Zelda should be. Don’t get me wrong, Ocarina of Time was easily one of the greatest games of all time but this game is my favorite. The Great Sea, the plot, the items, the combat, the bosses, the music, the characters just everything is so amazing and perfect in my opinion. It’s the best of the series to me and considering the pedigree, that’s saying a whole lot. It’s an easy 5 out of 5. I’ll be back tomorrow with Twilight Princess.
Oh yes. This game. We are going to be reviewing what is considered the Final Fantasy VII of the Zelda franchise, in that it brought in a bunch of people who had never before played a game in the series. Also, to some people this was their first game period. I can’t really don an introduction that would do justice to this game but I’ll try I suppose. Ocarina was made to be the first 3d Zelda game in the franchise and they pulled out all the stops to make it as impressive as possible. So let’s not waste any time then.
The plot of Ocarina of Time starts with a young Link awakening from a nightmare through the help of a fairy Navi (no the jokes against her won’t happen. I’m better than that). Link awakens and the story begins with him first visiting the Great Deku Tree, guardian of the Kokiri Tribe. The Tree tells the young Link that his is cursed and that Link must break this curse to save him. And blah blah blah obtain the three jewels of the tribes blah blah blah temple of time blah blah blah elemental temples blah blah blah releasing sages blah blah blah Ganondorf blah. Some of you may be asking why I just did that. Well the reason is that there is really just too much plot to explain in a simple paragraph, also summarizing this game feels like an insult. It just strikes me as not doing the fantastic story of this game justice. So yeah, you want to know it? Play the game.
Let’s get into the actual gameplay then. Ocarina of Time is a very classical action-adventure style game. You wander around completing your journey to rescue the land of Hyrule from the evil Ganondorf. To do this you must obtain various different seals and jewels and to obtain these you must complete dungeons. The dungeons in this game are truly amazing. Each of them offers an amazingly different experience with head-scratching puzzles and intense action (much the games before it in the series). Some of these have become infamous for their ridiculous nature (you at one point end up inside the stomach of a giant whale) or outright stupid difficulty (the. F*#KING. water. temple) but all of them are original and exceptionally interesting. In these dungeons you find the classic weapons of the Zelda series but with new additions of course. All the weapons are well executed and exactly what you would expect in a Zelda game.
As far as graphics and sound design go, this game is an interesting case. The graphics have, in this reviewer’s opinion, not aged very well. The polygons are clearly visible and it generally does not look that amazing. It’s not horrible but it’s certainly not something that can still be held up today. As far as when it was released though, these were generally considered fantastic graphics. The sound design on the other hand is a completely different story. The music is amazing. There’s really nothing more to say. It’s a Zelda game, it’s bound to have the best music you can possibly manage out of the N64′s sound chip. The creatures sounds are, once again, well made and sound what you might imagine them to sound like. The scenes of Link learning the songs on the Ocarina are utterly amazing and playing them sounds fantastic. Considering what a huge part music plays in this game it just makes sense that the sound design had to be absolutely perfect.
What else is there to say? It’s a game that defined a generation of gamers. If you were to walk up to someone who plays games and ask them if they’ve played Ocarina of Time, I would bet good money they’d say that they have. It’s a brilliantly made, incredibly interesting and entertaining game. There really are no flaws to nitpick, I’m not even kidding. The only thing I can think of is Navi but I read an interesting article on The Escapist while doing some extra research and saw someone calling Navi the best sidekick of all time. Why? Well because she…no. Read the article. It’s better. Anyway, there is nothing to nitpick here, if you haven’t played it go play it. Play the 3ds variant or the original or some other version I don’t know about that somehow makes it a virtual reality game. Just go out and play. Oh…you want a score? It’s a 5 out of 5. Now leave me be. I’ve got articles to catch up on.