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Archive for May, 2010

New Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World Trailer! – Bob-bombastic!

I simply cannot express the excitement I have for this movie.  The development and creativity funding this project is spectacular.  Edgar Wright is breathing life into Bryan O’Malley’s masterpiece.  Just phenomenal.

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The Switch

Because i’m a sucker for all forms of animation.

Alan Wake – Review – Survival Borer

This game should be put back to bed.

When I first heard of Alan Wake years ago, I was pretty excited at the thought of a new series of survival horror.  Then Alan Wake was thrown into development darkness.  It’s taken quite a while to get here, but we finally have the game, and honestly I can’t really say it was worth the wait.

Let’s take a look at what the game did right.  The story itself is really interesting and is about a horror writer that has basically been sucked into one of his own stories.  In particular, it’s a story that he hasn’t even written yet.  Along with this you have the sub plot as he tries to figure out what happened to his wife before he got sucked into the story.  Here is part of the issue I have with the game, the idea of a horror writer being sucked into his own story has been done before many times.  There are horror cliches throughout the game, but none of them particularly have their own uniqueness or spin on them.  On top of that, they are spread out so much that the game doesn’t feel like an homage to anything really.  Overall the only thing that really stands out about the story and ideas presented in the game is the way Alan narrates the events you see in the game as if you were reading a description on the page.  This idea helps bring to life some of the visuals you see as well as gives you a look into Wake’s psyche as the game progresses.

Now we can look at the flaws the game brought to the table.  The first key flaw being…

THE GAME IS NOT SCARY.

There. That “surprise” all caps sentence was scarier than the entirety of the Alan Wake game.  The first half hour of the game had more fear driving elements in it simply because you didn’t know what to expect, but everything after that is so repetitive that nothing is startling in the slightest.  I was so excited for this game as a possible revitalization of the survival horror genre, but instead it’s more of a survival suspense or perhaps a survival ‘oh that’s a little weird.’  Alan Wake has six episodes in the game and episodes one through four are as follows. (spoilers)

You’re in the woods. It’s dark, but not really that dark as you can still clearly see every tree and bush in the ambient moonlight. A shadow man sneaks up behind you. The camera slows down and pans back to show you what would have been surprising and a little scary and is instead spoiled by a “heads up.” You shine flashlight on shadow man.  You kill shadow man. You run to cabin.  Nothing scary in the cabin, it’s just a boring normal cabin. You restock supplies.  You move on.  You find a page of the book you’re in that warns you about EVERY SINGLE surprise that is coming up before it happens ruining the surprise.  It’s now daytime so the game finds some excuse to make you sit around and do nothing until it’s night time.  You’re in the woods.  It’s dark…

It just repeats like this for the first eight hours or so.  That is the biggest issue with the game really.  It’s hard to be scared by something that’s just so formulaic.  I understand its hard to really break away from repetition in a video game, but there just needs to be more variety.  This rings especially true in a horror themed game.  All these places you visit are just so boring.  There’s nothing scary about any of them.  Perhaps the most unsettling scene is a fresh deer carcass that was in someones basement, but unless it got up and started attacking me there’s just nothing at all intimidating about it.

The enemies you fight in the game are just as boring.  They are just guys with weapons and shadows on them.  You shine a flashlight on them and the shadows go away and you kill them.  There really isn’t anything horrific about guys with axes when you have guns.  The other enemy is flying tractor parts and bulldozers that drive themselves.  I guess that might be scary if I was a farmer or a construction worker.

The other issue I have is that the game gives you a comedic sidekick through most of the game.  If there’s one trope I despise in horror stories, it’s the funny guy.  The purpose of them is always to lighten the mood from the darker elements and make you feel safe, primarily so they can scare you later from that safety.  I prefer my horror to always be dangerous and have the idea of safety come from the actual ideas that the person might make it and the like.  I think humor is a bad way to make the audience feel safe.  In the game its even worse though because it takes such a focus to the forefront that it belittles the drama of the story.  One part in particular just infuriated me at the stupidity of it.  *Spoiler* There is a scene near the end of the third episode I think where Alan Wake and his agent Barry escape to a house while being chased by the darkness that creates the monsters and such.  There they decide it’s safe and choose to get plastered on moonshine.  What the hell!? You’re in a life threatening situation and something is STILL after you and you decide to get drunk!?  Part of me wants to think that they are making fun of horror cliches by doing this, but I don’t think the game is that smart. *end spoiler*

One more problem are the TV’s you find throughout the game.  When you find them they will either automatically activate and a scene will play out involving the live action actor Alan Wake is designed off of as he rambles madly about writing.  These are jarring when you have the virtual world of the game.  They are even more jarring than having a CG character mixed with live action.  Other times they will play clips from a fake show called Night Springs which is a Twilight Zone style show.  This is also done in live action and prove to be more parodies than anything too interesting.  Two TV’s in particular actually played advertisements for real products that were involved in product placement in the game.  That made me pretty mad because you actually got achievements for finding them.  So you were rewarded and almost forced to watch advertising if you want to complete the game 100%.

All in all the game was interesting at times, but just fell on its face in all things horror related.  The game talks about being a psychological action thriller, but it just really doesn’t deliver on that market either.  The game never tries to mess with your head, the action is spotty and repetitive, and the only thrilling part about it is the fact that the enemies are as fast as you most of the time.  The game looks great and the sound is really well done, but for all the time it had in development I was hoping for so much more.

WarCraft and You: The Bad PuG Sickness

May 26, 2010 2 comments

We’ve all been there:  The Bad Pick-Up Group.

This video shall help you in learning to dissect where you are in the scale.

Which one are you?  And if you don’t know which one, ask your guildmates, they’ll tell ya.

I know what I am:  The Slow Tank… Pray for my soul.

I am at a lost at the Lost Final.

Spoiler alert ++++++++++++++++

Lost is done, and for the most part I hated the last episode. The island story was fine, exciting, riveting, a little heart warming and overall a good end.

The flash side ways which everyone was thinking was a waste of time turned out to be a waste of time. Everything about them were junk, it was like the filler in family guy it offered nothing to advance the story. The writers tried to pull one last surprise twist, that not only fell short, but did nothing for me and actually took away from the show.

It turned lost into the “10 people I meet in Heaven”. So basically this alternate reality was made up of lost people so what about everyone else there, computer programs AI, some sort of dummy plugs. Other souls that don’t know they are in some sort of limbo, heaven 1.0 and the Lost characters get to move onto heaven 2.0.

Seriously, the writers took the everyone died and the “island is limbo” scenario from way back in the begging of theories, and used this to mess with everyone. Actually the island Limbo would have made more sense.

If the flash sideways weren’t in it would we still get the same feeling ending just cut down with less junk in episodes and maybe more time to explore and answers questions, yes. The Flashes always were a great part of the show and they did some memorable things with them, but these flashes actually worsened the show for me.

What about all the rest of the Lost group that weren’t stars did they get to go to heaven or was it only the popular people on the island. Why did Micheal’s soul get stuck on the island and not got to Flash sideways world, he wasn’t evil enough to be there and didn’t even die on the island or in any vaccinate of it. Jack’s son doesn’t exist, so what the hell is he, was jack’s mom real there why wasn’t she with her husband. Locke was married to his dream wife so he leaves her, to what go with a bunch of people, for the most part tolerated, but never really liked and fought with all the time.

Ana Lucia didn’t come with them nor did Widmore’s wife, so are they stuck in this limbo world than. What about Jin and Sun they know they have a kid now, you think you would want to see her in heaven since you know Jin never even got to see her when he was alive.

Jack’s son, does he just disappear or does he think his parents left him to run off with other spouses. What makes this worse is they have an entire episode dedicated about Jack being a better father and getting to know the kid, which this ends negates all of the heart warming crap for nothing. I felt emotions for nothing.

What about Walt guess he wasn’t special enough to go to heaven.

Would Benjamin live a life as the father he wanted to be for his now dead daughter. She goes to college than realizes her entire life has been one big lie. Seriously why would I want to live in a heaven where I need to go to school to study crap seems annoying to say the least. Does his father realize his son was the one who killed him and get mad.

All I am saying is the Flash Limbo heaven was a waste of time and did nothing to evolve to story or give a proper ending. They never even explained how, they made up their version of heaven, did they collecting just decided to come to place their all familiar with. Wouldn’t Desmond want to see his son, shouldn’t his son be their too. If time has no meaning than they all should be there including Jin and Suns kid, and not some stupid baby in her womb but an adult. Seriously do you want to go to heaven by being a baby all your life.

To top it off Jack dies in the same place he was laying in when he crashed so it could be his entire imagination and dreamed up the entire scenario, although he doesn’t seem to be the imagination type. This is confounded with the last scene with the wreckage of the plane basically hinting at no one survived and you just wasted 6 years of you life watching this.

I take comforting though knowing I watched everything on DVD last year and only watched this season on a weekly basis so I wasn’t so heavily invested in it.

The show for the most part was very good. This final though was just terrible and too damn goofy even for a sci fi type of show. One thing writers should never do is go the spiritual route and try to explain God or religion you end up with no answers, look at Battle Star Galactica.

No More (Sexy) Heroes

I am not shocked that Japan took a video game property and turned it into something perverse. Hell that’s their national motto. It’s the fact that they took a relatively low key game, that didn’t sell well in Japan or as good as Suda 51 would have liked and did this.

ADVENTURE TIME

May 21, 2010 4 comments

Adventure Time is Cartoon Networks newest show taking chowder’s place in the line up.

I waited for a bit to post anything on this, since I can never tell if a new show will be any good in the beginning. It’s up to their 6th episode and they just introduced Marceline the Vampire Queen. This show is just awesome. It’s has a bit of adult humor mixed into the children show, not so much that would ever offend parents, but enough things popped out to me that made it feel like it was a bit more than a typical children show.

Everything is surreal and usually episodes either start at the end of one adventure, end with the beginning of a new adventure, or both. It’s like the inner child of the creator was released with full force.  Usually shows that try this route end badly, since a nonsensical show could leave the audience with a gaping void to connect with.

This show doesn’t take it serious enough and it’s more character based.  Jake is a lovable dog with magic powers, dating a rainbow unicorn that speaks Korean and gets power from light. Finn is a human who loves to adventure, fight, doing the right thing, and has a crush on a bubblegum princess that is has half human half gum, DNA that does science.

Where many other shows were limited to a certain surrounding, Chowder has a food based world, Flapjack has pirates, Spongebob has the ocean theme and Grim Adventures of Billy and Mandy have everything spooky.
This show’s setting has all of that and more. The land of Ooo is just about everything you can imagine and if you can’t imagine it the creators can.

Words can’t describe this show too well I will let these videos do that for me.


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