Movies · Reviews · Spoilers

Logan – Movie Review/Thoughts (TINY Spoilers)

Please note: My game and movie reviews are formatted differently.

This is a little late, but I could care less. This is the tale of when Logan saw Logan, as in the film. Since this came out more than a month ago, yet some people still haven’t seen it yet, I’m just going to put this right here: This review contains slight spoilers, I won’t be telling you the majority of the story or how it ends, but I will be discussing minor things that you’ll have to have seen the movie to understand.  There.

I went into Logan anticipating a climax where EVERYONE dies, even the small child. I talked to buds of mine who were big enough dipshits to tell me this… they lied. The movie begins interestingly enough with a location I could have sworn I’d seen before: an appropriately dimmed down version of a (light) blue color that surrounded the scenery, a messed up road, and also a bit of a town. It took me less than a few seconds to remember that this was the teaser for Deadpool 2. As typical, funny stuff that knows what it is and what movie it’s playing before. This was great and one of the best pre-movie things I’ve seen in a while… too bad Hugh Jackman won’t be revisiting his fake silver claws for that film, though.

Then the movie begins. It hits you right off the bat, showing Wolverine (now using his other codename, Logan) having to cut into a bunch of assholes trying to disassemble his car for parts to sell. This was a great way to open this film mainly because it not only shows how violent the film is in comparison to all of its predecessors but also tells the audience about Logan’s weakened healing powers without ever needing to say a word about it. This describes why I loved Logan so much: it’s NOT the typical Super-Hero movie abusing the same formula for profit. There are no quick and cartoony gags or reckless behavior and acts that get unpunished. Like The Dark Knight before it, Logan is a Superhero film only in the sense that the main character has amazing powers and/or special abilities.

From here, the movie goes on to give a pretty awesome show. I’m not a psychopath, but I think the violence here was fitting, as this is what Logan’s powers could realistically do to someone if he used them on somebody. The practical and digital effects for the gore and visuals were also pretty well done, too. The story is one that gets more and more heartbreaking as it goes on, and the finale had me in tears – which is quite rare for me. The characters, for the most part, were decent, but some were obviously there to move along the story and get killed afterward – wouldn’t ya know it, they die. Probably the best part of this film are the performances from everyone involved. Obviously, Patrick Steward and Hugh Jackman fit their roles more than peanut butter fits jelly, but Dafne Keen as Laura, or Logan’s clone, was also amazing here as well and the things she was able to pull off here are outstanding things for any child actor, period.

And that basically describes it. Sorry if this feels rushed or incomplete – I’ve been wanting to do this for a long time, but haven’t gotten to. For anyone wondering – yes, when I get the chance to, I’ll do more than writing about Video Games and related items.

 

Miscellaneous · Video Games

Remembering the PlayStation TV

I bet you're wondering where the next Freebie Friday addition is - 
in which case, you're probably a mere figment of my imagination, 
but that's beside the point. Trust me, 
the next addition will come soon... just, not today. 
Instead, I'll be talking about the PlayStation TV: a short-lived, 
ill-fated companion to the already failing handheld system, 
the PlayStation Vita.

I remember there was a time when, while scrolling on YouTube, I saw a Japanese trailer for the PS TV. I thought it was ridiculous at the time, and in only a way Sony could handle things, they set it up to release alongside the PlayStation 4 – November 2013. Setting it up to release at this time was essentially a death wish for an add-on to an already dying platform. Again, Sony being Sony, they released it anyways. I think it’s safe to say: this quirky little device is on its death bed beneath the surface.

If you don’t know what a PlayStation TV is – and I wouldn’t blame for it – it’s essentially a PlayStation Vita that hooks up to your TV. It’s got it’s Operating System and some games I suppose. Though I never really tried it, I do believe you can stream things like Netflix and Hulu on here, but, just like the PS Vita, high quality of these services should NOT be expected. The real selling point of this was not just the ability to play PS Vita games on your TV, but also to stream PS4 games to another room. In my opinion, that selling point is rather weak considering the PS Vita can do the exact same thing, but not everybody knew that, so they used it as a selling point.

What really killed this device, however, was a total lack of support. To give you an example of this, one of the more recent games to be compatible with this device is Hotline Miami 2: Wrong Number… a game released in 2015. It also supports the complete first season of Telltale Games’s ‘The Walking Dead’… but you’re shit outta luck if you want to continue Clementine’s journey, as the only piece of that game (Season 2) available is the very first episode – as someone who owns a physical copy of TWD:S2 on Vita, I can confirm this. The PlayStation TV failed even harder than it’s predecessor – and even that still has small doses of Indie Titles releasing on it. Why Sony decided to pit it up against the powerhouse of the PlayStation 4 is beyond me, but this is coming from a business that created a powerhouse of a handheld device and forgot about its existence in much less than a few years time, so it really doesn’t surprise me.

As a system… it’s okay. Though some games do have touch controls not available if you have the standard PS3 controller, they do make up for this with the ability to switch the device into a touchscreen mode. It’s a little clunky, but considering what they had to work with, it was the best effort they could do. As for the games – they run just like they did on the Vita. If you’re looking for an affordable games system with more than just a couple of games on it, this shouldn’t bother you, but if you want to play Borderlands 2 with 2 more people and a consistent framerate, you’re better off finding another solution.

In general, it’s sad that the PS TV died so quickly. Maybe it wasn’t the best of ideas, but it sure was intriguing. I’d say I’m disappointed, but Sony is notorious for this type of thing. I never expected it to be a smash hit – but at least some recognition for it would have been nice. Maybe if you’ve got a ton of Vita downloads that are compatible with it and don’t want to buy the games again, it’s worth a look, but despite how soft I am towards it, I really would recommend you steer clear of this dead deer.

Thank you, Amazon.com, for the featured image on display.
Rants · Video Games

Rant: Why I think Breath of the Wild’s story sucks

2017 has been spectacular for games so far, with instant-masterpieces like Nier: Automata, Nioh, Resident Evil 7, and so many more. Well fuck those because Zelda. Yes, if you have any mild interest in Video Games, you’d know what a smash hit Breath of the Wild is, getting more than enough 10/10s’, and a fanbase that will temporarily shut down your website if you don’t say super nice things about it (see Jim Sterling as a prime example of this). After playing it myself, I can agree that it’s a fun, but flawed, game… with a bad plot. I don’t get what convinced the world that the typical “Save this shit, you lazy cunt”  reasoning in a game’s story to get you to do something is new and fresh, something that you should beat people to shit over should you spoil it. Spoilers: it’s nothing new. “But,” I hear some overly-defensive soul say, “it’s all about the journey!”. That’s where I laugh in the face of those naive enough to think that the supposed ‘journey’ is enough to excuse a shitty, cliche story.

The journey, in my opinion, is a valid excuse when talking about a story that, while not perfect, is somewhat new in some regards, yet still decent in it’s own right despite the creativity it may lack. Think Indiana Jones, for example. This movies rely on this feeling that the journey overcomes the overall arching plot, but beneath that surface, decent stories await. Yes, their ideas may not be new, but the writers (I’m just going to forget about that Indiana Jones movie for now) damn-well know how to twist new ideas out of it. By the end, it doesn’t matter if the plot is new or old, the journey intensifies that feeling that what is happening is important. Meanwhile in Zeldaland, Gannon has taken over Hyrule! The idea of a villain winning isn’t ol- wait no it is. The Usual Suspects, Se7en, hell, even The Empire Strikes Back are all examples of this. You can use the excuse that Gannon isn’t himself, but that doesn’t fix the fact that, whether or not the villains won previously according to the lore, it’s a story where a young man sets on a quest to kick evil in it’s ass and prevails. Breath of the Wild, for all I know, might as well be a season of any listing of terrible recent shows, like Lethal Weapon, as it brings nothing new to the table, but acts smirk in lying that it did.

Zelda isn’t in a league of it’s own, either. It’s tri-hards (hehe) deserve to called out for their terrible actions (insulting + threatening someone over an opinion you don’t share and taking down their website as a tantrum will NEVER fall under ‘questionable’), but to say that Zelda is the ONLY one to pull this bullshit is wrong. An example of a game that does this right is 2012’s Journey, another one would be Earthbound, the rest that get it wrong are the countless RPG/JRPGs’ in which the world is in ruin because of some evil force and needs 1, or more, hero(es) to save it… does that sound familiar to you at all?

A point that I think needs to be further emphasized is that I don't 
hate BotW. It has solid gameplay, and I'd be damned if I didn't mention
it's fun Open World. Thing is: this shit has been said time and time again,
both by it's supportive (and in some cases, like the tri-hards,
overly-supportive) fanbase, people who aren't in that fanbase but like
BotW anyway, and critics alike. If you're silly enough to think that
I needed to point out what everybody else has already pointed out
for what I say to be valid, then you're quite the funny little goose.
-Logan
Reviews · Video Games

Review: Lone Survivor (PC, PS Vita and PS3)

What is it?

Lone Survivor is a 2012 2D Survival Horror game in the same vein as the Silent Hill series. Developed only by one man, Jasper Byrne, the game has been ported from the PC all the way to the Wii U and PS4. It follows 1 man, only referred to as ‘You’, who’s a ‘Lone Survivor’ (just like the name), as he attempts to escape his Apartment complex, which has been invaded by some unnerving monsters, to say the least. Along the way, some interesting things happen, and the main characters meets intriguing, albeit minor, figures. It really is a game that should be experienced without much knowledge, so sorry if I’m cutting far more information than I should off.

The Port Report

So, I played this on my PS Vita, PS3, and PC. I have only managed to finish the game on the latter, but I’ve played enough on all 3 to say that the differences are VERY minor. All 3 run practically the same, without missing a track of music, sound effects, or even performance issues. The only real difference is in the controls, which are simple enough for this to be translated to basically any platform it was ported to without a major difference in that regard. If you’re struggling to guess which platform you should get it on, just know that there are no real major, game-changing differences between them.

The Director’s Cut does add a few new endings, but since it’s release, essentially all versions are The Director’s Cut, without needing to re-buy what was previously purchased on PC.

The High Points (Pros)

Right off the bat, Lone Survivor has a brilliant, distinctive art style. Yes, it’s all pixel art, but the way it’s done is jaw dropping. Environments feel alive without ever needing to resort to an art style that would do that instantly. When it comes to the sound department, that’s amazing, too. Despite only being 30 minutes-or-so long, the soundtrack here is amazingly done, adding to the already fantastic atmosphere. Sound effects, like those from Monsters, are also amazingly done, too. All of it really adds up to an unnerving atmosphere that did crawl under my skin at moments. What should really be commended, however, is the story, writing, and choices. All 3 tie together expertly, adding a real sense of urgency to the actions players take in Lone Survivor. This game is perfectly ambiguous to make you think a little, but not too much, about what’s happening or happened. The controls are also incredibly simple, without ever having something that feels clunky across all platforms.

In Summary:
+ Beautiful art style
+ Amazingly atmospheric
+ Excellent sound design – from music to sound effects
+ Great story, Choice-Based Gameplay, and writing – all tie together perfectly
+ Good, simplistic controls

The Low Points (cons)

There are only 2 things I can think of here, but both do get annoying. The mapping scheme, and an annoying chase sequence. The game is presented in 2 dimensions, but the maps you’ll use to help you get around are crafted from a top-down perspective of the building, or part of the building, you’re in. While I did eventually get used to this, it took me nearly forever to do so. Then there’s a late-game chase sequence. Again, I won’t be spoiling anything, but it was far more frustrating than anything else. It was a real game of trial and error whether or not I could progress there, and that’s what actually stopped me from progressing for quite some time. That said, you can certainly beat it, and it’s something that only really happens once.

In Summary:
– Awkward, mind-boggling maps
– An annoying late-game trial-n-error chase sequence

Conclusion

Despite it’s awkwardly confusing maps, and that one crappy chase sequence, Lone Survivor is well worth trying. It’s beautifully atmospheric visuals, excellent sound design, simplistic controls, and excellent mixing of choices, story, and dialog make it a strong contender for one of the better indie games out there. I get that what I’m saying here has been said before, but trust me: this one’s worth it.

Verdict: A-

Image used taken from: TVtropes.com
Freebie Fridays · Video Games

Freebie Friday’s: Totally Accurate Zombielator

I have over 50 games on Steam redeemed via a key from Giveways. Allot of them suck, and this is just one of them.

I don’t usually like to jump on the bandwagon when it comes to popular games. When Five Nights at Freddie’s was hitting it’s abnormally massive peak in popularity, the most I’d played of the series was less than 4 minutes of the first game on a tablet – the games just don’t resonate with me. Totally Accurate Battle Simulator is one of the newer crazes when it’s comes to the indie scene… and I’ve yet to play anymore of it than I already have. Truth be told, it’s a silly joke stretched out way past it’s prime, a semi-solid premise with ho-hum execution – but that shouldn’t stop you from trying it, especially when you can get it for free right now. When April Fools rolled around, the developers decided it would be funny if they made a satirical piece about all the Open-World-Online-Zombie-Survival Games clogging up the release charts, with the majority of them not even finished yet.

It’s a funny premise, so I gave it a try. 6 minutes later, I left wondering why I’d spent my time with it at all. Surprisingly enough, when you have a First Person game where your character moves around by ragdolling in unexpected ways, the results are going to come across far lower than should be expected. The short time I played with TABZ was infuriatingly slow, and this is coming from someone who can watch 2016’s Arrival without complaining about the snail’s pacing. This is to say nothing about the games zombies, which are also infuriating to deal with. Since this is mocking a survival game, guns are supposed to be rare, with melee weapons lying around like everybody had a new year’s party by directly murdering the person next to them. The combat in this game is clunky as all hell, and I got into far more of it than I should have within the time I played it. Considering how unabashedly slow and bizarre the movement is, whether I hit an enemy or not with the Fire Axe I picked up was a total gamble, and not a fun one at that. To credit this joke-game, however, the world is quite pretty, giving off a beautiful atmosphere despite the whole thing being done as a quick gag.

And that pretty much describes it. It was made to be a quick gag, and it clearly shows. The gameplay is nothing short of abysmal, but the visual style these developers have really is something to behold. Despite it being a gag, I find it funny that this was distributed through Steam Keys, as if the devs are hoping to revisit it one day. Maybe one day, if the player base isn’t as extinct as the Dinosaurs in the coming months, I’ll revisit it and get different impressions, but for now, I dread the thought of spending another second with this.

Reviews · Video Games

Review: Grand Theft Auto IV (PC & PS3)

What is it?

No doubt, if you know anything about Video Games, you’ve heard of Grand Theft Auto. It’s constantly in the media, both in a negative and positive light, and is often times referred to as one of, if not the, most controversial game series of all time. Gameplay consists of more than stealing cars, however, as the player can explore the city at their leisure in between missions, and even do side activities around the city.

Grand Theft Auto IV is the 2008 incarnation of this formula, best known as the first modern addition to the series. This addition stars Niko Bellic, an immigrant who arrives to his cousin, Roman, in America as they fight for money and fame in a place where those 2 variables rule the streets.  The game also has a multiplayer mode, which can go from exploring the city with a friend, to a rather simplistic deathmatch, to races and so many more modes.

The Port Report

Before I can review the game, I’m going to address subtle differences between the 2 versions of this game I played: The ‘Complete’ Edition on the PlayStation 3, and the standard edition on the PC. First up is the PS3.

For a PS3 port, I barely noticed any stutters, downgrades, or any other negative that would detract from the experience on this specific platform. That said, the framerate did drop every now a then, but that seems to be an issue with the game itself and not the port. As with the console versions of GTAIV, the brightness is an issue. To say this game is dark on consoles is an understatement, as I had to fiddle with my TV’s brightness settings just to get a bare resemblance of what goes on during the night time. This becomes especially bad during missions, where seeing subtle objects like ladders can become much more difficult when everything is almost pitch black.

My main issue with the PS3 port is the controls. The triggers (R2 and L2) on the Dualshock 3 aren’t very good, and tend to wear and break after some time using them. This became such a big issue for me that I’ve resorted to using my Wireless Speedlink controllers instead of the standard ones. GTA IV is one of those games, but where it faults is a lack of options in the controls department. Games like Just Cause 2 let you fiddle with their controls in a way that you’re comfortable with, while other games give you presets that might make the game a little more playable. GTA IV chooses the latter route, but packs a very small number of presets that barely meets the concern most players would have should they ever wander into those settings. It also has long loading screens and a long wait to install the content for each piece of The ‘Complete’ Edition.

The ‘Complete’ Edition adds in 2 additional content packs: The Lost and The Damned and The Ballad of Gay Tony. I’ve yet to play these 2 a whole lot, but from the small amounts of time I’ve put into both, it seems that The Lost deals with driving around, while Gay Tony adds in a whole new club-life mechanic that’s really hit or miss.

Now onto the PC Port. The game itself plays great on PC, and, as with GTA tradition, moving around with mouse and keyboard is done expertly, with no limits to mouse movement to make me feel sick or gives me a headache after more or less than an hour of playing. That said, the driving controls aren’t very good. Since keyboard keys lack the ability to tell how hard you’re pressing them like triggers on a controller do, driving is much more of a hassle at higher speeds, which the game is more than happy to throw at you. Of course, modding is the main reason you’d want to get this game on PC… well, it was until the newest patch. If you want steady performance and great compatibility with newer systems plus mods, you’re shit out of luck. That said, there is a way to revert to the previous patch… but excellent results shouldn’t be expected.

On top of this, there’s Games for Windows Live. This is required to not only play the game on PC, but save. You can get an offline account, but there’s no way to switch online should you want to play multiplayer after doing that. The User-Interface is clunky and terrible, and reeks of Microsoft’s desire to be like Steam. This said, even with GFWL, the game is still playable. Annoying and much more of a nuisance to deal with, but playable nonetheless. Performance issues still reside, but tend to vary.

If I were to pick a platform to play GTA IV on, I’d go for the PC despite the bloatware you need in order to play it, plus the lack of modding support.

In Summary:
PS3 Port Pros/Cons:
+ Great preformace
+ (With Complete Edition) Loads of content
– Too dark at night time
– Controls aren’t very good
– Long loading times
– Has to install each piece of content before playing

PC Port Pros/Cons
+ Mouse and Keyboard Controls work very well
+ Easy to start-up
+ New Patch fixes compatibility issues
– Games for Windows Live in general
– Lack of modding support in new patch
– Driving controls suck on keyboard
– Performance issues

 

The High Points (Pros)

When going into GTA IV, the first thing that becomes evident is the world. Liberty City is just as fun as it was to explore back in 2008,  with a unique coloring scheme that, though flawed (some places can be more brown than others), does give the city a beautiful look and feel. The world feels alive in a quite atmospheric way, and there’s quite allot to do when you’re not doing a mission. The writing here is sharp, and, as series-tradition goes, even greatly satirical at points. A chunk of the characters are pretty well written, and the same goes for the story, too. Some activities, like bowling, are quite fun, and a nice addition to the game. The guns in this game look and sound nice, which is a great addition. Multiplayer, while not perfect, is also fun despite no longer having a strong, thriving player base… Co-Op especially. The Voice acting in this game, with a few exceptions, is very well done, and the music, as with Series-Tradition (again) is also pretty great, too.

In Summary:
+ Excellent, atmospheric world design
+ Great writing with a satirical edge
+ Decent characters
+ Good plot
+ Great Gunplay
+ Fun activities
+ Multiplayer isn’t that bad
+ Good Voice Acting
+ Nice selection of music

The Low Points (Cons)

Here’s where things get interesting. Despite the game’s astounding world, the missions that surround it are quite linear. It’s easy to know when a scripted car chase is going to happen and when it will end. The driving in this game is terrible at fast speeds, especially with turning. I often times found myself ramming into just about everything without even wanting to, and in some cases, failed a mission because my car was so wild it landed itself in a lake. That happened to me more times than you’d think, with each one of them being just as frustrating as the last. While some characters are pretty well done, others are simply annoying. I had to put subtitles on to understand what one person was saying, because other than that, I could only tell that they were slurring their words and that was it.

While some activities, like bowling, are fun, there are terribly boring activities like Darts. Darts, in particular, is more of a chore to play than anything else, and without a button that lets me quit a round once I’ve accidentally started another one, I often times found myself quitting more than carrying on and playing the round. I also hate how you can’t restart a mission, or quit one, without failing it.

In Summary:
– Linear, scripted missions, that don’t mix well with the Open World design
– Terrible handling (driving controls)
– Frustrating chase sequences
– Annoying characters
– Darts. Yeah, Darts…
– You have to die to quit or restart a mission

Conclusion

Do I recommend GTA IV? Maybe. It’s Open World is amazing, as with it’s Story, Characters, and so many more things… but I struggle to want to revisit all of that when I have to go through mediocre missions and terrible chase sequences with some of the worst driving controls I’ve ever experienced just to see a glimmer of it. However, despite that glaring issue, it’s still a landmark title that’s still fun, despite it’s age. Is it my favorite GTA game? No. That’s an uphill battle between San Andreas and V for me, but it’s still damned fine. Just, don’t buy it for your 8 year-old. Maybe it’s a little late to say that, but these games really aren’t meant for small children.

Verdict: B-