Tuesday, December 30, 2014

A Whole Bunch of Reviews:

The Hobbit: The Battle of Five Armies Review:
Peter Jackson did not deviate much in The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, but we did begin to see him shift more to the appendixes and such in The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug. Everything truly changes in The Hobbit: The Battle of Five Armies and I keep on accidentally writing armeis instead of armies. I'm very angry right now while writing this review, I am so, so, so angry and I feel I've only been getting angrier. I liked, this movie, however, and writing this review will hopefully alleviate some of that rage.

The biggest deviation that is in the film... and it took me so long to finish this sentence because I tried to pull my USB out of my tower and half the USB stayed stuck in there. The Five Armies is where it deviates, there never really are five armies. The human army isn't really an army, it's more of a militia. The elven and dwarven and orcish armies are still present, yes. Still that's only three and if we consider the humans as an army, it's four. Where's five? Apparently Azog and Bolg are leading two different orcish armies. There is no army of wargs, Beorn does not kill Bolg and I could list the differences, but I'd rather not. It's very trivial because The Hobbit as a novel does not work as a live action film, an animated film is different, you see, because Tolkien supported this idea. I personally do not like the idea of there being two Orc armies, because, really? It's technically just one army with two large garrisons. I'm willing to abide by it, however, because of how it is executed.

Smaug is vanquished at the very beginning in a fashion different to that in the novel. It works, however, because it establishes Bard the Bowman as a legitimate hero. Smaug is terrifying. He was not that terrifying, more amazing, in the second film, but he is terrifying in this film. Why? It's different seeing dungeons where there are massive dragons than it is seeing the terrible lizards roaming out in open land. Seeing him relative to an actual human civilization was wonderfully crafted and what little dialogue he had was handled well. On to Bard the Bowman, Luke Evans perfectly stole the show. Honestly, I have no doubt that if he does stick with it, The Crow, will be a success just because of him. Fast and Furious 6 established him, but this film has made him prominent. If Dracula Untold had it's release date delayed, it would've gotten better reviews and higher sales no doubt. What makes Bard the Bowman the film's standout character is his portrayal, Evans shows him as a troubled man of self-doubt and unlike Aragorn, the film does not need to explicitly show that for you to believe it. You believe it when you see him choosing peace over war because he does not know if he will be able to lead his people to victory... but he does it anyways when Azog and Bolg arrive.

Now, time to talk about the other performances. Bilbo sort of fades into the background during the final fight sequences, but what we see in Bilbo thrusts him into a Samwise Gamgee role in consideration towards Thorin. Unfortunately, even though Martin Freeman's performance is as strong as ever, Richard Armitage's is what is lacking. It feels like there should be so much more and the problem is not that it's bad, it's that it is too good but after shining two times, he can't use the hammer to strike thunder a third time. Evangeline Lily's character is the one you start to hate, because everybody liked Kili and for him to die for her is just sort of disappointing, based off of her portrayal. The entire crew does do a good job, however:


inFamous: Second Son Review:

Now this is a game that knows what it's about and tries to make you strive to do it, and it accomplishes that goal, because you as the player want to do it. The game follows a canonical heroic choice actions from both inFamous and inFamous 2. The thing is, that the developers want to push us to do the right thing but with Cole MacGrath, I never wanted to do the right thing. Look at Star Wars, lightning is a seductive power of danger. With Cole I wanted to be the bad guy, the tyrant of New Marias. With Delsin Rowe, I don't. The character of Delsin is a much better character and he makes the game. He is far more fleshed out and it is a joy playing as him, in fact, I feel bad when I make the villainous decisions wit him.

However, that faults the morality system, does it not? Providing us with a character whom first, we wanted to do something bad with and now, a character whom we want to do the right thing with? It is skewed, is it not? Karmic systems, and I hate to call them that because it is not a proper representation of Karma at all, are faulted in video games. The Fallout series does it best, but giving inFamous a blank face would go against the series.

Gameplay is the most important aspect. At first we gain smoke powers, then neon, then video (?) and then concrete. Out of all of those, I hated video. It was poorly handled and seemed to be just thrust in there for sake of having enough powers. Smoke was my favorite, but that may just be because I liked smoking around the place like I was a demon from Supernatural. Neon was handled so well, however, that a video game based off of the Flash could work. Concrete was just badass, did it add anything and sort of ruin the final boss battle? Yes, it did, very much... but I mean, it was fun to play as and after the main storyline finished, was all I'd use. I have two gameplay test videos coming, both which will be different.


Middle-Earth: Shadow of Mordor Review:

The second review based off of a property made by Warner Bros off of their The Lord of the Rings license. Imagine Batman: Arkham Asylum being made now, this is what you would get. Honestly, it is. The counter system is sort of flawed, gameplay does get repetitive and despite the open world environment and attempts to make travel faster, you sort of don't always want to go around. Also, like Batman: Arkham Asylum, this game is very, very, very awesome. Combat is amazing and very well done, where repetition is concerned, it's in the sidequests, so complaining about it really should not matter and the open world environment is the most beautiful thing seen so far in a PS4 game so who cares if you have to tame a caragor?

Caragors and Graugs. From what I have done the game so far I have heard of Wargs but no mention of Trolls. I understand Wargs not being in Mordor, they never were if I am right, but Trolls were always in their army, or was that Angmar? Nonetheless, it is probably a licensing issue, if anything. Caragors and Graugs are very well done enemies, as are most of the Orcs. The system given for the Orcs, the Nemesis System is well done and I am sure it will only improve in sequels. I don't want to go into too much depth, but battling different Orcs, each with their own attributes and weaknesses makes for a much more enjoyable game.

This review isn't going to be too long because the game quite frankly is very very amazing and I can't praise it enough. The story is the one thing that gets me. Made entirely of references and mentions in the appendices of The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings, Monolith have made the most in depth story of a video game set in this universe yet. I haven't played The Lord of the Rings: War in the North yet, I do intend to, so take my comment with caution. It is personal and moving, especially Talion's conflict, but we see how that ends up. A key theme of The Lord of the Rings is becoming the enemy. Sauron's Ring, the Ring of Mordor, the One Ring or whatever you call it is the weapon of the enemy. If you brandish the bayonet of the opposing army, you are supporting their weaponry and in a way, supporting the enemy. Talion is using his powers of fear, powers of evil, to try and fight evil? It is possible to fight fire with fire, but evil and good are abstract concepts that have deep meanings; it is not a wise idea. I have not yet recorded any gameplay of this, maybe later.


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