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#488268 moving Wicktures that you are watching

Posted by Ocelot on 10 February 2019 - 06:06 AM

I watched The Incredibles 2 and Venom, and I found them both surprisingly enjoyable!


I suppose I shouldn't be too surprised about liking The Incredibles 2, since I did like the first one and, y'know, Pixar doesn't really make bad movies. But I haven't actually watched any of them since Inside Out, and I haven't really liked one since Toy Story 3, so I guess I just fell off the Pixar bandwagon. I don't want to say that I've grown out of this kind of movie, because I still love them when they're good, but at this point I can't really sit through a mediocre one. I need a bit of groundswell to get me interested, I suppose. Or maybe I just need a recognisable brand, and I only watched this because it had the word "Incredibles" in the title and I'm a helpless slave to the marketing machine like everyone else is.


It was good. It was fine. I don't know, it was a little bit on the boring side but it had some fabulous action scenes carried the rest of the movie. Boy oh boy, kinetic thrills and inventive superpower usage and all that good stuff. If there's one thing I can't fault Pixar on, they know how to make stuff look real good when it moves. Elastigirl is the main focus here, and they have such great ideas about what she can do with her powers. She's half Spider-Man, half Mr Fantastic, and she has this amazing way of doing basically everything. They convey her elasticity so well through her animation, and she's just a joy to watch. There's a new character named Voyd who can make Portal-style portals appear whenever she likes, who's another highlight of the show, and then the rest... don't really make an impression. I was a little disappointed they didn't do anything with Dash, whose running-on-water scene in the first movie is still one of my favourite moments in cinema, but you can't win them all.


I'll be good and gosh darned if I can tell you what the moral of this story is, though, or if it has any kind of deeper message beyond "superheroes are good, though". It's a premise vague enough that you can project your choice of uplifting triumph-over-adversity story onto it, like "be proud of the things that make you different" or whatevs, but the movie itself doesn't really say anything specific. They didn't really do any character development or arcs or anything, either. I thought they were going to have Bob learn a lesson about stepping back and letting someone else do the hero-ing, but they don't. I thought they might address the whole catastrophic collateral damage thing that got superheroes outlawed in this universe in the first place, but they don't. It's this weird water-treading thing where all the characters more or less end up exactly where they were at the end of the first movie, only now superhero-ing is legal again. Violet even finishes the movie asking the same boy out on a date due to some memory wiping shenanigans. Dash doesn't really do anything. They didn't even catch The Underminer. It's an odd direction to go with a sequel fourteen years in the making.


I don't know where to begin with Venom. What a weird movie. It's this totally boilerplate superhero-origin-by-numbers movie, where the only thing they really did to disguise the off-the-rack story structure is replace the customary beam of light shooting up into the sky in the third act with... a space rocket shooting up into the sky. The trailers all looked terrible, and by all accounts this Venom movie without Spider-Man, made by Sony without Marvel's input was bound to fail. But then you actually watch it, and it's honestly a lot of fun. Tom Hardy puts in such a bizarre performance that you can't take your eyes off him, and every now and then it'll zig when you think it's going to zag in some really silly ways, and I had a good time with it.


Tom Hardy makes all the acting choices in this movie. He shouts, he whispers, he sweats bullets the entire time and drenches not only his shirt but the hoodie above it. He talks like he fell from the top of the accent tree and got hit by every branch on the way down. He sounds like a completely different person from scene to scene, sometimes shot to shot. Sometimes it even looks like he's lost a significant amount of weight between two scenes. He's one of those actors who's bounced between being normal-sized and juiced up on steroids so many times that his body is all screwed up and he's kind of skinny, kind of buff and kind of fat all at the same time, and all these things I'm mentioning take place BEFORE he gets infected with Venom and really starts getting weird. Tom Hardy is unintelligible at the best of times, but Tom Hardy playing a guy with alien goop inside him is a spectacle worth seeing.


The villain this time is a California tech billionaire who brought a bunch of Symbiotes down to Earth for some reason I didn't catch, and wants to goop people up with them, and generally does a bunch of stuff you've seen movie villains do a dozen times before. The most interesting thing about him is that his assistant is named Dora Skirth, which is just so bizarre a name that I can't imagine how anyone thought it up. The first time she introduced herself I heard it as "Doris Girth", and then when they showed a close-up of the spelling on her business card I wasn't sure which name I liked better. Dora Skirth. Amazing.


So it pretty much goes the way you'd expect, but Venom living inside Tom Hardy's head makes for some nice scenes along the way. Michelle Williams is there in a pretty thankless role, and her boyfriend is Dan from Veep. The action ranges from reasonably OK to laughably bad, with these teeeerrible reaction shots from Tom Hardy during an awful motorbike chase. The idea of an action scene where the main guy's body is being controlled by another entity was done much better in Upgrade, which just so happens to star that guy who looks exactly like Tom Hardy:



Anyway, two movies that I liked. How about that?

#488265 The New! HALO Thread - Hosted by Spark

Posted by Ocelot on 09 February 2019 - 05:32 PM

Hoo BOY if you were feeling lost story-wise in Halo 3, you are in for a... whatever the opposite of a treat is in Halo 4. An untreat? 


A fellow in a Power Ranger suit just telekinesised Chief into a wall and then flew away in a giant bowling ball with an angry face on the front.

#488264 Star Wars Movies and Disney Fanfiction Thread

Posted by Ocelot on 09 February 2019 - 03:57 PM



Maybe? Apparently people are saying these are legit, and that they line up with some other leaks I haven't seen. They do look pretty believable, so I'm spoilerising it if anyone doesn't want to look. SPOILERS!



#488255 The New! HALO Thread - Hosted by Spark

Posted by Ocelot on 08 February 2019 - 05:55 AM

Hey, remember when I was playing these Halos? Sorry to keep you waiting, but I have now FINISHED THE FIGHT.


Spark, you read me like a book, I did like Halo 3 more than 2. That was a really fun game, and I just blazed through it in a couple of sittings again. I feel like they must have made a conscious effort to un-expand the scope of Halo here after the explosion of Halo-ness that was Halo 2. Whereas 2 had more playable characters, more enemy types in every colour of the rainbow, more lore, more factions, more bossfights, more everything, Halo 3 feels like they hewed it all back down to what worked in the original game, with a much more manageable menagerie of dudes to shoot, and a story that... well, probably could have been easier to understand if I could actually hear it (we'll get to that later). We're back to another single character, single objective story with a pretty clear goal in mind at any given point in the game. Truth wants to kill everything with a Halo or something: don't let him. Run from this side of the level to that side, shoot everyone you meet on the way, jump in a Warthog whenever you see one and generally have a fun time blowing up an entire army single-handedly.


Halo 3 has these great setpieces where they'll bring out the vehicles and the big guns, and the music will kick up to full volume, and it just feels AMAZING. There's a bit where you clear a landing zone (90% of this game is clearing LZs  :P) for what turns out to be a giant space frigate, and when you realise what's coming you hear the marines around you saying "Is it even rated for atmo?", and then all of a sudden this giGANtic ship roars in right above you and the windblast literally blows you right out of the vehicle you were in. I love it. There's a wonderful sense of escalation to the spectacle over the course of the game. Guess what, Chief, a Covenant Metal Gear just clomped onto the battlefield and it's up to you to take it out; here's a laser, bet you didn't know we had those. Oh, by the way? Next time it's going to be two Metal Gears. And we've got attack jet things now. Oh and also you're going to blow up this entire Halo and have to drive out with the explosion nipping at your heels the whole time. We brought the entire orchestra in to just SHRED. The Arbiter is going to be shooting stuff the whole time, btw.


Also Halo 3 is a really nice-looking game that holds up really well in the Master Chief Collection. The specific shaders they use on the various metallic surfaces have a great look to them, and the absurd levels of early-360-gen bloom work really well. At least until you see one of the human characters. They all have these terrifying monster faces that glow like they're made of lightbulbs, and are the easiest way of telling that the game came out in 2007 :P


But, honestly... I just can't hear anything in these games! I think Bungie has problems with storytelling at the best of times, in terms of the noun salad I've mentioned before and the breathless pace that leaves no time for establishing shots or character development or even just simply re-explaining some of the names from Halo 2 (could you imagine playing 3 without having played 2? You wouldn't stand a chance), but my number one problem here is that I JUST CANNOT HEAR WHAT ANYONE IS SAYING. There are no subtitles during gameplay, and there are no audio sliders to crank up the dialogue volume and lower the music and sound effects, so I just can't hear the vast majority of the radio chatter during gameplay. It seems like an absurd problem to have in such a high-profile series, but... there it is. I miss so much of the story because I literally can't hear the people talking to me because the shootybangs are too loud. So don't ask me why the Hunters are back to being enemies, or where the Brutes got their new armour, or what planet the second half of the game takes place on, or what exactly was happening with Cortana and the Gravemind, or what the Gravemind was trying to do... Shouldn't the Gravemind have had a big dramatic scene showing him get blown up? The ending Warthog run is incredible, but the last few cutscenes feel so hurried and slight. Also Miranda Keyes' death was so underplayed I kept expecting her to wake up.


Anyway, I played Halo you guise and I thought it was pretty good. I think I enjoyed the first game the most, now that all's said and done. Something about the gameplay balance, the way the guns felt, the general 'new'ness of fighting all the Covenant enemies for the first time just spoke to me. 1 > 3 > 2 for me. 


I also loaded up Halo 4 and played the first couple of missions, and it seems cool so far. I don't know how they justify giving Chief a completely new suit if he's supposed to have been in a cryogenic chamber for four years between 3 and 4, though, and I definitely don't know how a bunch of grown adults all OKed that Cortana design. She's just a sexy naked woman without nipples now. You can see both butt cheeks. Like, what are we doing here? Have enough respect for yourselves not to just throw your naked dream waifu into a commercial product, y'know? At least it's got gameplay subtitles this time, though!

#488253 Devil May Cry 5 Thread: PS4 and XB1 DEMO AVAILABLE NOW!

Posted by Ocelot on 06 February 2019 - 04:37 PM



THE DMC5 DEMO IS OUT! Sorry, PC players, because it's only on PS4 and XB1 (presumably so people don't datamine the game and crack the DRM before the game's out). Check here for links to the PS4 and XB1 stores in various regions.


And you know what this means? The full game is out in one month. One measly month until DEVIL. MAY. CRY. 5. I will be accepting written apologies from everyone who doubted me over the last few years.

#488250 moving Wicktures that you are watching

Posted by Ocelot on 05 February 2019 - 11:10 PM

Let it never be said that I don't have my finger on the pulse, because I just watched that hot new movie that everyone's talking about and definitely hasn't forgotten even came out: Ready Player One. And I kind of hated it, but not really as much as I expected to. I don't know, it was fine.


Much has been made of the basic premise, i.e. "What if you, a useless white guy who has nothing to offer the world except a tiresome, pedantic knowledge of pop culture touchstones, were actually the coolest guy around and will save the world through a series of plot-convenient epiphanies helping you solve puzzles at just the right moment?" and, yeah, that's exactly what this movie is. I feel like this movie is the spearhead of the nerd glorification trend we've been seeing as movie studios realise that comicbook movies are where all the money is, so they're just starting to make movies about dorky losers so audiences can self-insert and pat themselves on the back. And, worse, I feel I am probably this movie's target audience, because I have wasted my life consuming all this stuff and I do get all the references. Ready Player One wants me to sit up and clap by showing me a lousy, worthless internet person (just like meeee) saving the world. Take that, everyone who bullied me in high school!


But joke's on them, baby, because they're about fifteen years too late to catch me in my "Yeah, I am pretty great" phase. These days it's all about self hatred and regret over having wasted so much of my finite time on memorising the names of fictional spaceships instead of talking to people, and the idea of seeing someone like me in a movie makes me want to run. At least someone like me as the hero. Casting a socially-awkward doofus as someone who isn't glorified in any way? As, say, the bad guy? As, say, perhaps, just for example, hypothetically, the main villain of a new series of followups to a beloved trilogy of the very same movies that Ready Player One encourages idolizing? Now we're getting somewhere...


Anyway, Ready Player One is a movie about overly-busy CGI setpieces so stuffed with recognisable characters that you'll miss seven of them in the time it takes you to say "Oh that's Robocop". There's a laughably self-congratulatory bit where our hero meets his cyber-crush in real life and finds that, HORROR OF HORRORS, she's a perfectly made-up, traditionally beautiful young woman with red hair... with a cool-looking facial birthmark, and he assures her that he is open-minded and magnanimous enough to accept her as she is. What a guy. But, whatever, it's OK. Spielberg knows how to put a movie together, so even if it is too long and a bit boring it's still totally watchable.

#488241 The Movie News and John Wick Appreciation Thread

Posted by Ocelot on 03 February 2019 - 04:49 PM

It looks like Marvel personally read my complaints about there not being enough Cap in Infinity War, because he's all over this new Endgame commercial:




And one for Captain Marvel, which I still can't really get excited about but I'm sure it'll be fine or whatever:



#488238 The Movie News and John Wick Appreciation Thread

Posted by Ocelot on 01 February 2019 - 04:52 PM

I hope you've got your funderwear on, because the trailer for Hobbes & Shaw, the Fast & Furious spinoff starring Jason Statham and The Rock is here:



They're straight up doing superheroes now. Idris Elba is a superman and they're going to fight him, and the White Widow from Mission Impossible Fallout is there doing that thing with her eyes where I fall in love with her.


And we have a trailer for The Dragon Prince season 2 (the Netflix show from some of the people behind Avatar):



Season 1 ended really suddenly, so this is more like a Book 1 Part 2 than a real Season 2, hence why it's coming only a few months after the first bit came out. I really liked the show, but it didn't really go anywhere in its first chunk of episodes, so hopefully it'll start heating up here.

#488193 The Movie News and John Wick Appreciation Thread

Posted by Ocelot on 17 January 2019 - 04:26 PM

I love John Wick, you guys. That trailer alone was more visually exciting than most entire action movies. The way he and Halle Berry are FULL-ON RUNNING AT DUDES to shoot them harder, the way he never fires a gun once but goes BAMBAMBAMBAMBAM instead. It can't be overstated just how much energy you bring to an action scene by GOING FOR IT AS HARD AS YOU CAN UNG UNG UNGGGGG.


That motorbike/sword scene seems like they might be doing a cheeky little homage to The Villainess, too:



Also tell me this isn't the coolest movie poster:






I need a 10 minute supercut of John Wick throwing empty guns at people.

#488189 The Video Game News Thread

Posted by Ocelot on 16 January 2019 - 11:33 PM

Honestly, even EA themselves were still making interesting games back in that period. That was the era of stuff like Mirror's Edge, Dead Space, Syndicate, SSX, Alice, Spore; EA actually published video games back then. If they'd had the Star Wars licence back then we might have had some good stuff.


Instead, their getting the licence coincided with this move of theirs to the model of trying to establish microtransaction platforms instead of making video games, while publishing one or two indie games a year to maintain the illusion that they aren't all bad. They've chased profits so doggedly that they're now in this corner where the shareholders will revolt if they make anything other than sports games and shooters because that's where all the money is. And because you can't make a Star Wars soccer game, and apparently they can't make an open world game either, that only leaves Star Wars shooters.


Because if there's one thing I think of when I think of Star Wars, it's mindlessly shooting dozens upon dozens of people in the face!

#488185 The Video Game News Thread

Posted by Ocelot on 15 January 2019 - 11:45 PM

I don't know if anyone has any energy left for the latest twist in the tale of what was once Amy Hennig's very own Star Wars game, but here goes:


They cancelled it again.


So, for those of you playing along at home, this is the game that has its roots way back in the first version of Uncharted 4 back when Amy Hennig was at Naughty Dog. Some kind of thing went down and Amy Hennig ended up leaving/being forced out of Naughty Dog under circumstances that have never been revealed, and she and her writing partner Todd Stashwick found themselves at E3 working with Visceral Games on what basically seemed like the original Uncharted 4 draft transplanted into Star Wars. We saw exactly this much footage of it back at E3 2016:




Following that, the game was conspicuously absent at E3 2017, and later that year we found out that EA had apparently half-cancelled the game, fired poor Amy Hennig again, shut down Visceral Games and fired everyone of them, too, and handed the game off to EA Vancouver to retool it as some kind of open world thing.


Of course, we didn't see it at E3 2018, either, and now today we get the news that it's been cancelled for good. From the Kotaku article:


Since the publication of this article, I’ve talked to several more people familiar with EA Vancouver’s now-cancelled open-world Star Wars game. This project, which was code-named Orca, was very early in development but would involve playing as a scoundrel or bounty hunter who could explore various open-world planets and work with different factions across the Star Wars universe.



Welp. Hopefully this leads to EA losing the Star Wars licence sooner rather than later. I really can't imagine Disney is happy with this; they've had it since 2013 and have still only managed to put out two widely-disliked first person shooters.

#488184 The Movie News and John Wick Appreciation Thread

Posted by Ocelot on 15 January 2019 - 09:58 PM

Spider-Man vs. Jake Gyllenhaal looks pretty cool and I'm into it, but I would push Jake Gyllenhaal's handsome face out a window to get to that John Wick 3 trailer. Did you see those guys on motorbikes with SWORDS? Did you see Laurence Fishburne about to go Morpheus on some bad guys? DO YOU THINK HE'LL HAVE A SWORD, TOO?



In other excellent news for Ocelot, Christopher McQuarrie has just closed a deal to direct TWO BACK-TO-BACK MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE MOVIES. We are in a golden age of Mission: Impossible, and for my money Christopher McQuarrie gets it better than any of the other M:I directors so far, so I'm delighted that they're going to be cranking out as many as they can while Tom Cruise still has some cartilage left in his knees. The day Cruise Missile can't do the Cruise Run is the day Mission: Impossible dies, so let's strike while the iron is hot, baby. The current schedule is for M:I 7 and 8 to come out in 2020 and 2021, respectively.


And finally, on this Excellent Ocelot News day, the Criterion Collection releases for April include FULL 4K RESTORATIONS OF JACKIE CHAN'S POLICE STORY 1 & 2! This is something I never even dared dream about, but it's happening. Two of my absolute favourite movies ever, and look at these incredible cover arts they've chosen:



#488172 What Are You Currently Playing?

Posted by Ocelot on 07 January 2019 - 07:52 PM

Shadow of the Tomb Raider: At least I think that's the right title. Can't keep them straight. How come no one uses numbers anymore? Anyway, I still vastly prefer sexy stone-cold badass Lara Croft from the old games to the little (literally - she's so small!) girl-next-door reboot version, but what can you do. Game seems alright so far - at least it's not set in the snow like the last one. Jungle > snow. Also, I always thought they were turning Lara into Katniss from Hunger Games, but it turns out they were actually turning her into straight-up John Rambo this whole time. In addition to self-treating horrible wounds, she gets covered in mud and stabs people in the throat with ruthless violence. There's even a trophy that references First Blood. But I just have one question: can we please get a game without Jonah in it? He's the most boring block-of-wood "character" of all time and a terrible sidekick. Lara shouldn't have a recurring sidekick anyway. She's a solo act.


These new Tomb Raiders are like the ultimate realisation of the weird trope with reboots where they go back before the original thing started, make a big song and dance about doing it differently this time, but then awkwardly transform themselves right back into the status quo right before the end. I don't know why they do this but it happens like clockwork. Fant4stic ends on a bad comedy skit about the team coming up with the name 'Fantastic 4' right before a smash cut to credits. DmC Devil May Cry begins with a joke about old Dante's white hair, then ends with Nu Dante getting white hair and having a bossfight with Nu Vergil over an ideological argument that literally pops up in the final mission. Apparently that new Guy Ritchie Robin Hood movie ends on a dramatic post-credits stinger of the real Sheriff of Nottingham accepting his title. Tomb Raider 2013 ended with Lara picking up a second pistol to become... THE TOMB RAIDER.


Except she didn't, though, because she went back to the bow and they basically just did the same story all over again in Rise of the Tomb Raider. And now we're up to Shadow of the Tomb Raider, and they did it all again! Poor old Nu Lara is stuck in this Groundhog Day loop of eking out the tiniest little shreds of character development in each game, ending on a tease of her becoming the thing we used to like about her, only to have it all reset to zero as soon as the new one comes around. I've played all three of these games and, I am being 100% honest with you, I don't know if she's supposed to be 'The Tomb Raider' yet. Like, genuinely, no idea. I absolutely do not understand what the writers are doing with this series. Three games in, a full trilogy of cinematic, story-driven games, and they just haven't gone anywhere!


I don't mind them trying to give Lara a new support crew, but, yeah, Jonah ain't it. I mean he'd be fine if he was just one part of a squad, but, again, we're three games in to this baffling continuity that keeps resetting itself and he's the only recurring character other than Lara herself. There's nowhere to go when you just have two people who are, polite, platonic friends at best. I'm not saying they need to give Lara a love interest, but jeez do something with it. This is why the Uncharted games kept introducing every new character as an old friend/enemy from Nate's past with ambiguous morals, because that's just such fertile ground for interesting storytelling. In Nu Tomb Raider every character is someone Lara literally just met that day... or Jonah.


So at this point I don't know if they're even going to make a fourth "____ of the Tomb Raider", because it seems like Shadow bombed pretty thoroughly. I feel like it's time for Tomb Raider Reboot #3.




Anyway, I'm still playing Judge Eyes, and I'm still absolutely loving it. The Yakuza games are all really enjoyable games about brawling, finding side missions, ticking off enormous checklists of open-world content, but I think their greatest strength is in their storytelling, and particularly the command the writers have over characterization. Whether they're introducing a new character or taking an established one to a new place, whether it's a shorter vignette or a long, game-spanning story, they excel at writing these immediately well-realized, compelling characters. I honestly think they're some of the best in the industry, right up there with Naughty Dog and Rockstar. They'll introduce you to a dude and within like five minutes you'll have the measure of him; you'll know his motivations, you'll know what kind of a person he is, you'll know whether you like him or not, and you'll fall right into the writers' trap when a few hours later he turns out to be something completely different because they were playing you like a fiddle the whole time. Character arcs for days, baby. It's so good.


But, much as I love Yakuza, there's only so far the writers can go with the kinds of characters that fit in a story about organized crime. It's a lot of father figures, sworn brothers, traitorous second-in-commands making power plays, initially hostile dudes who come around at the pivotal moment. That's why Judge Eyes is so exciting, because we've stepped outside the bounds of yakuza business, and the writers are getting to try their hands at all new kinds of characters and relationships between them. And, you guys? They're nailing it. Judge Eyes is basically a season of a TV legal drama in video game form, complete with a cast of regulars, a compelling over-arching story and smaller subplots that wrap up within an episode or two, even a cheeky little flashback episode. It's so GOOD! I love it.




So, yeah, when this game comes out in English next year I really recommend you all check it out. I can understand being reluctant to get into the Yakuza series when there are just so many games, but with Judgment I'm not accepting any excuses. This is an entirely new story, no lore or continuity baggage, just an absolutely wonderful game that you can pick up and play and love as much as I do.

#488147 The New! HALO Thread - Hosted by Spark

Posted by Ocelot on 25 December 2018 - 09:43 PM

Oh I used to love RvB back in High School. I was watching it loooooong before I ever even had an Xbox to play Halo on, in fact. I think I lost track of it at some point right around the start of their foray into awesome fight scenes, and then I couldn't remember which season was the last one I saw, so I picked a point at random and I was way off and had no idea what was going on. But now that you've reminded me I'll definitely (hopefully) try and get back into it for real.

#488143 SSLF's 2018 GOATest of all Year Awards, featuring Dante from the Devil Ma...

Posted by Ocelot on 22 December 2018 - 07:40 PM

Some slightly expanded thoughts about various GOTY contenders:


God of War: This game was excellent, and I really don't have too many complaints, but it just didn't quite hit me in the way a true GOTY does, y'know? But I really liked it, enjoyed playing the whole damn thing and getting the Platinum, and I'm looking forward to seeing where they take Bearded Kratos and Boi from here. While the story of Baldur, Freya and Magni/Modi is pretty forgettable, the characterisation is extremely strong and the relationship between angry man and son is where the real meat is (and Mimir was great, too). I had far more fun with the combat than I ever did in any of the old GOWs, so that's a plus, too. Another two or three really good bossfights and some more variety to the enemies would have gone a long way; I think the sequel on the PS5 is really going to blow minds, once a certain fellow with a certain hammer shows up.


Assassin's Creed Odyssey: This is my favourite Assassin's Creed game, and I never thought this series would get its hooks into me again after such a long slump post-Revelations. They've totally overhauled the game from top to bottom, ditching the excruciating control scheme of old for a setup that's light, fun and easy, and turning the bloated action/adventure/stealth design into a pretty respectable attempt at an RPG (admittedly still a bloated one). Odyssey is a gorgeous Ancient Greek world full of memorable characters and wonderful accents, headed by the best lead character in the entire series, Kassandra, a big muscly woman with a husky voice who I had so much fun getting into all sorts of questing trouble with. They even manage to take the tortuous First Civilization story in interesting new directions, positing that First Civilization mad scientists used Ancient Greek times as a testing ground for their unethical experiments and essentially declaring that all Greek Mythology is 'real' in the canon of Assassin's Creed. It's long, the world is too big, and if we're being honest Ubisoft has a long way to go before they're rubbing shoulders with the greats of the RPG genre, but I loved this game to bits.


Spider-Man: Young Ocelot would never have imagined that one day Sony would be funding a big budget blockbuster Spider-Man game. Superheroes were once exclusively the domain of quick and nasty movie tie-in games, but times have changed, and here we are with the madmen signing cheques at Sony having approved this masterpiece of Spider-Man-ery. God it's good. I never expected anything more than a nice-looking New York to swing through, but this game went above and beyond with excellent swinging, fantastic DMC-inspired combat, a genuinely wonderful story, and somehow this open world that you swing through at a hundred miles an hour is also one of the best-looking games I've ever seen. I've seen people complain about the stealth sections and parts where you play as Mary Jane or Miles, but I actually really liked those, too. The bossfights are excellent, the side content is repetitive but so fun to play that I happily cleaned up the whole map; I've seen people complain about the Mary Jane and Miles segments, but I really liked those, too. This game is just pure joy under the thumbs.


Vampyr: On paper, this game is janky, unattractive, and middling at best quality-wise. But once you play it... well, it's still all those things. I don't think Vampyr is really a great game, but it has a series of ideas about RPGing that I found fascinating and that fire it lit inside me kept me pushing through all the mediocre combat and terribly lacking quality of life features it could throw at me. This game is just so clever about meshing traditional RPG morality systems and video game difficulty curves with the actual moral quandaries inherent in being a newly-turned vampire who needs to feed on humans to survive. Feeding gives you huge XP gains, but will lock you out of sidequests and story content because you're eating the quest-givers. Not feeding might seem like the moral high ground, but you actively make the game more difficult by not getting that XP you need to level up. Some NPCs are evil enough that killing them might seem like the right thing to do, but once you start down that road you need to confront your own sense of morality to decide when to stop. It isn't all perfectly executed, but I just thought the game had such excellent ideas to keep you paralyzed by the kinds of excruciating shades-of-grey choices that all the best RPGs force on you.