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Member Since 07 Apr 2008
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In Topic: Star Wars Movie Thread: Qi'ra? I barely even know'a!

Yesterday, 01:50 AM

Boba Fett's past has been well and truly delved into, as the second victim of Lucas' "What was this beloved character from the Original Trilogy like as a child, tho?" mania. If they do one day do a Boba Fett movie, it can only be up hill from Episode 2's depiction.

In Topic: What Are You Currently Playing?

13 February 2018 - 06:05 AM

also hi


suh dude?


I thought really hard about trying Monster Hunter World, but even hearing about how much more beginner-friendly they've made it, I still don't know if I can get into Monster Hunting. It's one of those series I've heard about for years and do intend to try at some point, but I keep putting it off and never getting around to it. It's right up there with stuff like Resident Evil, Starcraft, 2D Mario games, numbered Final Fantasies, Fire Emblem and any number of other series there just isn't enough time in a life to get around to :P


I've been playing the new Shadow of the Colossus remake, which is just sublime. I wouldn't call the original game one of my personal favourites, but I wouldn't argue with anyone who wanted to call it one of the greatest games of all time. I've played it exactly once in my life, right around its original release on the PS2 thirteen years ago, and it's left such an indelible mark on me that I still remember how to defeat all the beasts and exactly how all the music goes. It's undoubtedly one of the all-time greats.


It can also be an exquisitely frustrating game that makes me absolutely hate it sometimes, and this remake is faithful enough to the original that I've felt all the same rage follow me through time. There's nothing quite like the pit in your stomach that forms when you see your grip gauge is ticking down to nothing and you know you aren't going to be able to climb to a safe spot in time to save yourself, and you're just begging the Colossus to stop wriggling and Wander to stop flailing about because it was so hard to get on top of this giant bozo in the first place. Ooh, it's maddening.


But, to be fair, that's the whole point of the game; it's all about the utterly spectacular experience of climbing these giant beings, holding on by your very fingertips as they try desperately to shake you off, and ultimately just barely managing to bring them down. However, unlike Team Ico's newer game The Last Guardian, SotC actually does have the mechanical depth and control-ability to be played well. Wander handles floatily, but not so much that you can't be precise with him, unlike TLG's boy where controlling him is just a mushy nightmare. Having to hold a button to grab hold of things, everything from standard ledge-climbing to Colossus-scaling, keeps you safe in the knowledge that as long as you have juice in your grip gauge and something within arms' reach, you will grab on to something. TLG inexplicably got rid of the grab button and left you with a terrible auto-grab system that just doesn't work at all (ugh, I did not like The Last Guardian, if you hadn't guessed). Shadow of the Colossus is a game that people have been speed-running for years, and there are pretty reliable tactics for exploiting the Colossus AI and doing exactly what you need to do with minimal fuss. That kind of play is a world away from how a newcomer would actually play this game, of course, but it's nice to know that there is that mechanical depth for those who are willing to put the time in.


And it's only better in this remake. They've added a new control scheme with a much better button layout (the original option is there for those nutters who like jumping with Triangle, though), got rid of the oodles of input lag from the original so it feels much better to play, redone every texture and asset in the game to look gawrgeous, and finally locked down the framerate so you can actually play the game. The PS2 game was infamous for dropping down to like 10-15FPS and staying there for the entirety of a Colossus fight, which had a certain charm if you pretended the game was killing your console as you killed the Colossus, but wasn't much fun when it led to you falling off something you'd just spent the last twenty minutes trying to climb. This remake is a rock-solid 30 at all times, and if you're playing on a PS4 Pro like this cool customer, there's an optional SIXTY EFF PEE ESS mode that is just blowing my mind. SotC at 60 is a dream.


My only complaint with this remake is that it is ultimately the same game, and I'll just never have that experience of discovering it for the first time again. I've ploughed through the first eight Colossi (of sixteen) in about two hours. This game is so unforgettable that I literally can't forget how to play the damn thing, and I know all the puzzle solutions to take these bad boys down all too well. I know I'm about to come up against the sand snake next, and I know exactly how it's going to go. But, hey, that's hardly something I can blame Bluepoint Games for. This is yet another budget-price no-brainer that I'd feel comfortable recommending to basically anyone who owns a PS4, right alongside Ratchet & Clank, Uncharted: The Lost Legacy, and maybe that Crash Bandicoot remake if you like that kind of thing. Shadow of the Colossus is, rightfully, regarded as one of the best, most importantest games of all time, and now you can get a beautifully-remade version for forty American bones for your PS4.


I also played through the 2016 Hitman game, and I quite enjoyed it. I've only played just a little sniff of a Hitman game before this one (pretty much just the tutorial of Blood Money), so I think I can call this my first real Hitman game. I always had these games pegged as stealth games, but they really aren't at all, at least not in the traditional sense. They're much closer to the Deus Ex/Dishonored paradigm, but even Hitman has its own distinct flavour. It's a really interesting experience of just walking about a big ol' area, taking in your surroundings, keeping an eye out for any kind of equipment, costume or opportunity you might be able to use, and then being able to execute your plan when the moment comes. It kind of stresses me out, but I also think it's really neat.


I appreciate any game with a relatively robust shooting system that I can play through the entire game without ever using, and this game is one of those. The only time I ever actually used a gun was when I was posing as a special ops soldier and I had to run through a training exercise in order to get my assassination target into a vulnerable position. I did my best to get through every mission without a trace, killing only my targets, and even then trying to make it look like an accident, and I botched it a few times but it just made me want to try all over again. This game has that wonderful thing where you can just wander through a level and come across like eight different ways of getting close to your target or through a security checkpoint, or setting some kind of trap for them that'll make you feel amazing when you just casually walk away from their corpse without looking.


I was skeptical about this game at its original release, because they put the game out level by level, adding a new playable space every month or so. I think I missed out on an awful lot by just playing through it as a regular, complete game on a disc, though, because I know the devs got huuuuge mileage out of sending out bespoke challenges that task you with playing through a familiar level with a new spin on it each time. Merely putting the target in a different spot changes your mission completely, and I know the devs went much further than that with things like challenging you to kill them in specific ways, with specific weapons, or even wearing specific costumes. I don't know if they're going to be able to make a Hitman Season 2 after Square-Enix sold them, but if they do I think I'm going to be there day one.


And, finally, I've been pottering away in The Book of Unwritten Tales 2, a big ol' point and click adventure game. I'm playing on the PS4 because I got this game for a buck in a Humble Bundle, and I was anxious about how it'd play with a controller. It's not great, but it is at least perfectly playable. You walk your character around with the left stick, decide which thing you want to interact with using the right stick, hit X to interact or Circle to just look at a thing. Alternatively, you can hit Square to highlight every interactable thing on screen, then select one from the other side of the room and have your character automatically walk towards it, which is nice. I quite liked the original game (it's got a totally unrecognisable performance from Doug Cockle not doing his Geralt voice), and this one seems like more of the same, so I'll keep puzzling my way through it.


EDIT - I also played a tiny little bit of ZombiU, which I bought ages ago and never touched. I'm getting out of the Wii U life, so I'm finishing (or at least trying) the very few games I'm not yet done with and getting this bad boy gone. According to my Activity Log I played exactly 23 minutes of ZombiU, enough to get a little sniff of how the game works and then die in a hilarious mixup where I tried to close a door on a horde of bloodthirsties zambies but ended up locking myself on the outside with the zombers. ZombiU is a permadeath game, where any time you die you have to start over again with an entirely new character, and I imagine go and chase down the zombie of your old character to get your gear back, but I just couldn't be bothered. This really isn't my kind of game, and I was dumb to have bought it in the first place, and trying to play this mid-360-generation-looking FPS on the Wii U at 720p/30ishFPS with long load times to boot was never going to endear me to it. It seems like a fine game if you're into that kind of thing, though.

In Topic: moving Wicktures that you are watching

12 February 2018 - 08:46 AM

You guys, I just don't know any more. I think I have to do something different. I think I have to go and be a monk in the Himalayas or something. Do you think they take white guys from Australia? What is there to being a monk, anyway? I just feel like I need to get away from all this... everyday life in the Western world stuff, y'know? Hmm? What's brought all this on? Oh, I don't know. Probably a bunch of stuff. Oh, but I did just watch Justice League, though. Maybe that has something to do with it...


So a lot has been made of this movie's troubled production, how they were forced to switch directors halfway through from Zack Snyder to Joss Whedon (more or less polar opposites in style), how Henry Cavill had to come back and have his Mission Impossible moustache CGI'd away for reshoots, how the overall DC cinematic universe hasn't really been going great so far outside of Wonder Woman... You might worry whether that kind of chequered past would leave a lasting effect on the movie itself, but I'm here to tell you that, through the hard work and professionalism of everyone involved, it is 100% SUPER NOTICEABLE AND THIS MOVIE IS A STRAIGHT UP TRAINWRECK. Oh my GOD, this movie genuinely made me with I was watching Batman v Superman again, and I say that without a shred of hyperbole. Let's get into this.


Alright, so we open on an inexplicable scene of cellphone camera footage of Superman, back before Zack Snyder meaninglessly killed him off in the last movie, only something about it immediately feels off. For one thing, he's just standing around after saving people from a housefire, making polite small talk with emergency workers, when we know that this universe's Superman prefers to hover ominously in slow motion above screaming disaster victims, but that's not the big issue. No, much more distracting is his TERRIBLE CGI MOUTH that makes him look like God's horrific mistake or a half-built cyborg killbot or something equally terrifying. It's front and centre in the frame for the first full minute of the movie, and it might actually be the worst opening to a movie I've ever seen in my life. It looks so bad; you absolutely cannot concentrate on anything but Henry Cavill's CGI mouth. It would honestly be less distracting if they'd just let him keep his moustache in every reshoot scene and never explained it. It would be less distracting if they'd just painted his beard flesh-coloured. Hell, it'd be less distracting if they'd filmed all his scenes with Henry Cavill's stunt double, or just hired that guy from the 50 Shades of Grey movies to double him here and there because those two dudes look amazingly similar. Literally anything but painting a CGI mouth over Henry Cavill's actual mouth would have been better. It looks so bad. Did I mention how bad it looks?






Cut to Gotham City, where Batman is accosting a random thug on a rooftop in an action scene so poorly executed it made me wonder if Joss Whedon had directed this bit, too. It's also where we learn that the movie is going to be 16:9 rather than widescreen, which is... well, an interesting choice, I suppose. Definitely the wrong one, though; I don't know whether Joss Whedon went in and played around with all Zack Snyder's colour-grading and slow-mo moments, but this movie looks bad and the TV aspect ratio doesn't help. Whether you like it or not, that desaturated Zack Snyder look is at least a look. It's consistent. You feel like there's intent behind it, you know Snyder does it on purpose because that's the way he wants his superheroes to look. This movie has some of it, but then it'll just be completely gone in other scenes, and to be honest I actually miss it. Without that Snyder sheen you can see the seams of everything all too clearly. There are so many moments that look like behind the scenes footage of the actors in costume, rather than a bunch of superheroes, y'know? Like when Chris Evans and Chris Pratt go to visit sick kids in hospital dressed up as their characters, but without all the Hollywood makeup and the digital colour stuff that makes movies look like movies.


This movie's story is that a forgettable CGI bad guy I've never heard of, Steppenwolf, has come to Earth to gather three magic boxes that will allow him to conquer Earth. Diana huskily voiceovers some exposition about the three boxes having been hidden by the ancient races of Middle Earth the last time he was here: one by the Amazonians in a fortress on their hidden island, one by the Atlanteans in a fortress under the sea, and one by men in a small hole they dug in the forest I guess. If Steppenwolf brings the three boxes together, Earth turns into Mustafar and everyone who dies turns into Parademons, and then I guess Steppenwolf moves on to the next planet? I think he mentioned Darkseid at one point, and he keeps talking about 'Mother', but I don't know who that is and this movie makes no effort to explain it so whatevs. I've seen every episode of the Justice League cartoon and I don't know any of this stuff, so I can't imagine how meaningless this all is to Johnny Randommoviewatcher. I guess all you need to know is that Steppenwolf is the CGI man they have to punch, and the boxes are this movie's equivalent of the giant beam of light blasting into the sky that they have to disable. You know: superhero movies.


When people complain about DC trying to run before they can walk, and having the big teamup movie before ever introducing the team, I don't think you necessarily can't do it that way. I don't think it's completely impossible to have a large cast of interesting characters all introduced in the same movie; plenty of non-franchise movies manage it. It's just that DC's ones don't. Gal Gadot's Wonder Woman is still the life of the party, while Batman, Aquaman and Cyborg are all just the same gruff, miserable dude in different colours. There's this teeeerrible scene where Aquaman arrives at Atlantis for a dumb underwater fight and then he and Amber Heard have a huge exposition dump 'conversation' about his whole life up to that point. Cyborg just talks about having been in an explosion, and that's that, like it's taken for granted that we all already know the story of this D-lister who looks like a tacky gamer PC with LEDs all over his face. Flash is the same autistic-but-played-for-laughs character from every movie and TV show of the modern era, and I couldn't tell you about Superman because I was just staring at his ghastly mouth the whole time. I guess he does have a couple of moments where he feels like a real Superman, but he also goes crazy and tries to kill the whole team so I feel like that might cancel it out.


Superman is revived by one of the magic boxes, btw. This movie tries really hard to retcon the fact that Batman and Superman have only said like five words to eachother in DC movie canon; they tried to kill eachother, then Martha, then they barely spoke again in that movie until Superman died. Now we're expected to buy that Bruce feels super conflicted and guilty about it, that he considers Clark Kent a good man who was "more human than he is", which is just the worst. I didn't ask you to kill Superman in the second movie, Zack Snyder, but you made that bed and you've gotta sleep in it. This movie is basically a soft-reboot in all but name. They have a very low energy scene where the team half-heartedly argues over whether they should resurrect Superman (WW doesn't approve but doesn't offer any meaningful objection and just goes along with it anyway), and then they get down to business. Apparently resurrecting Superman involves dunking him in the goo of the crashed Kryptonian ship in Metropolis (which is still sitting there, unmoved, since Man of Steel), dropping the box into the goo, then blasting it with Flash's lightning at the instant it splashes down. Superman wakes up and immediately fights them all, and it's just a bunch of CGI slo-mo rubbish. There's one cool bit where Flash comes running in and is stunned to find Superman can follow him in super speed, but other than that there is nothing memorable about evil Superman fighting the Justice League. Honestly, how do you screw that up?


All the action in this movie is rubbish. It's all super-strength characters punching eachother for miles, and there's no way they can depict that with anything but CGI, and the CGI looks really bad, so it's just all around trash. And there's so much slo-mo! Remember when we thought Zack Snyder might be done with slo-mo when we saw Man of Steel? Here everything's slo-mo, and paradoxically it's never slower than when we're watching the Flash do something in super-speed. There's no memorable choreography, because every fight is just "character A punches character B, B crashes through seven concrete walls" ad nauseam. Batman has nothing to do in the action scenes but drive vehicles, and then at the end he gets one of the bad guys' laser rifles and just perches up on a catwalk shooting demons until his gun goes dry. You know, Batman stuff. "What should fan-favourite character Batman, noted martial artist, do in this fight, guys? Oh, shoot guys with the weapon he swears not to use? Just like he did in the last movie, too? Great idea!"


I honestly think this movie is worse than Batman v Superman, and I think that movie's like shockingly poor. I mean, at least you had some things to hold onto with BvS, y'know? The titular fight scene was pretty good until Martha, and then you had that great Batman vs. goons fight scene right after. Bruce had that shirtless scene where he was doing his powerlifting workout; that was pretty cool. I still think "Do you bleed" is a cool line, though evidently Joss Whedon does, too, because he brings it back in this movie in a reshoot scene only coming out of Superman's horrible CGI mouth this time. BvS was an awful movie, but it was... I don't know, confidently awful? Like, awful, but in a way that made you think that Zack Snyder had made it that way because he thought he was making his magnum opus or something and he just went too far down the rabbit hole. It was the kind of movie you felt like you had to see, because you just couldn't imagine how someone could botch a movie about two of the most popular fictional characters in history so badly. I don't think anyone needs to see Justice League, though. It's just the kind of innocuous bad that'll leave you feeling like you wasted two hours of your life.


At least it isn't three wasted hours, I suppose.

In Topic: Star Wars Movie Thread: Qi'ra? I barely even know'a!

09 February 2018 - 08:29 PM

It's the difference between good filmmakers and... well, George Lucas. He's bad at making movies, kids. Give him no credit for all the best parts of Star Wars, because he was not responsible for them.


You might want to sit down for this one:


That brief set visit became a longer one. And a longer one.
“He had intended to just kind of stop by and say hi, and he stayed five hours,” Kennedy says. “There’s even one little moment in a scene that — I can’t tell you what, sorry — but in the scene on the Millennium Falcon where George said, ‘Why doesn’t Han just do this.’”
In other words, George Lucas helped direct a small part of Solo.


Shut it down. It's all over. Han to take baby steps down a CGI hallway while delivering boring exposition confirmed.

In Topic: Star Wars Movie Thread: Qi'ra? I barely even know'a!

09 February 2018 - 05:17 AM

Honestly, I love that her parents were just random people, and I'll be devastated of that gets undone.

Rey is defined by what she does, not who her family is.


100% agreed. I was so happy when Kylo spilled the beans. Honestly that whole chunk of the movie from Rey mailing herself to Kylo in a box, through the throne room scene, all the way up to the big revelation and Kylo and Rey splitting apart (splitting apart along with the entire First Order fleet, hurr hurr hurr) is some of my absolute favourite... movie stuff. I really like it. Two years of speculation since The Force Awakens and I'd always hoped Rey would end up being a nobody, because I think that's a much more interesting idea for a story than her being a long lost Kenobi or whatevs, and they did it.


Oh hey, one more thing I remembered I'd like to say about this whole Star Wars thing: I complained a lot about the editing when I was chronicling my self-imposed punishment of rewatching the Prequels. They're cut together like George Lucas had a timer to remind him when he should switch to another character's perspective, rather than switching between all the story threads at dramatically appropriate moments. When it's time to check in with Obi Wan, it's time to check in with Obi Wan, no matter whether what you're watching right now is more important or interesting. Every movie has to finish with at least three simultaneous giant battles, and you never stick with one long enough for it to pick up any kind of flow. I think I've mentioned before that I was really happy when The Force Awakens didn't do that; it finishes with a lightsabre fight and an aerial battle, but it sticks with Finn vs. Kylo until that's done, then stays with Poe during his trench run until he's done his thing, then it's back to Rey vs. Kylo until that's finished. No constant chopping and changing between the two.


Well, The Last Jedi does something different again, and I think it's really cool. TLJ has Rey and Kylo's throne room scene happening concurrently with Finn and Rose on the Supremacy and Poe and co.'s mutiny on the Resistance ship. All three subplots steadily move along in unison towards what we assume are going to be their established end goals: Rey's going to turn Kylo, Finn and Rose are going to shut off the thing, Poe's going to save the Resistance from this untrustworthy Holdo character. Of course, none of them end up going as expected, but what I really like is that all three build in intensity simultaneously. Kylo kills Snoke (holy crap!), Finn and Rose get captured (what? That's not how movies go!), Poe turns out to have been completely wrong the whole time (Poe wrong? In my Star Wars?). And then, as each subplot reaches fever pitch (Reylo tug'o'war, Finn and Rose under the executioners' axes, the Resistance life rafts being picked off), all three of them are simultaneously interrupted in one fell swoop by Holdo's lightspeed ram. And the best thing is that it's timed exactly to Phasma saying the word 'Execute'. 


Ooh it's so well done and I love it. I need this movie out on Blu Ray already.