Wednesday, March 31, 2010
Once I got past that annoyance I met another one. Hermes. It's kind of funny. He acts youthful and the way he taunts you makes him sound like a punk. But if you ask me he looks a bit too old to be doing that. It was rather annoying. So I was pleased that he was the easiest boss fight yet and I got to kill him on the first try. But even then his death was disappointing and less spectacular than his fellow gods. Though no less ominous when one considers what it was probably inspired by. Still, felt a little like a waste of a boss fight.
The next famous person from the myths however wasn't a disappointment at all. In fact, she's stolen the show as the most entertaining character in the game. God of War Hera is freaking awesome. She's like this old actress that used to be really famous but now she's a has-been who looks down on the world because it doesn't recognise her greatness anymore. And she's just a little drunk. And she hates her husband, with good reason. Yeah, she's freaking awesome.
Then there's the guy that she gets to fight you since she's too drunk, lazy or smart to do it herself. Hercules is a mixed bag. He's probably one of the characters I wished most for when it came to boss fights for this game. Don't know why the felt that he needed shoulder guards or a helmet when the rest of his body was pretty much unprotected, especially when said items made him look a bit lame. And dude, you're Hercules. Why do you need undead legionairs to fight Kratos? Also, he's a bit whiney.
But on the other hand, he's voice by Kevin Sorbo. For those that don't know, Kevin Sorbo played Hercules on the live action show that took place in the same universe as Xena: Warrior Princess. That's some great casting, especially since I didn't recognise it until I looked it up on wikipedia. Also, while the first part on the fight is annoying due to the troops he uses, though it would be way easier without them there, the final part is awesome. It's basically a boxing match of superhuman porportions that leaves both Hercules and Kratos bloodsoaked as all hell before it's all finished off very brutally. Loved that part.
And hey, the weapon you steal from him is probably the most fun the game so far.
Short comments now before I leave for easter holidays.
Kratos is still an ass and I don't really sympathise with him yet.
Aphrodite is a mean person. To Hepheastus that is. To the player she's just the game's sex-mini-game that can spark very lovely debate about how chauvinistic this series actually is.
I don't want to hurt Hepheastus. Stupid meany game.
And on we go into the pits of tartarus, the real hell of greek mythology.
Monday, March 29, 2010
Johnny Depp is a fantastic actor.
Johnny Depp acting in a Tim Burton directed movie equals AWESOME movie.
At least that's usually the case. The combo of Burton and Depp have given us some great movies, my personal favourite being Corpse Bride. But in recent years the magic that seemed to appear whenever these two worked together appears to have faded away. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory was pretty dull and pointless and the most positive aspect was the visuals. Alice in Wonderland is better than that, but is still below par.
The plot is basically that for some reason Alice has forgotten all about Underland, why she's forgotten the place and everything about it is never explained, and on the day she is proposed to by some dull person she is lured into the rabbit hole once again because she is the chosen saviour of Underland. In short, it's basically Narnia dressed in Alice in Wonderland clothing. You can pretty much figure out the plot and everything about it from that.
It's not a bad plot really. It's just far from being as imaginative and original as the stuff Burton usually gives us. It's just sort of bland, but still entertaining enough.
There are some nice scenes here and there. Like when a giant-sized Alice meets the Red Queen for the first time or when the Jabberwocky is revealed. But yeah, nothing much stands out.
Acting is solid throughout the entire movie with Alan Rickman, Christopher Lee and Stephen Fry delivering the most entertaining performances. Depp does a nice mad Mad Hatter but the role doesn't have even half the charm of his more famous roles nor does he make any lasting impressions. Mia Wasikowska as Alice though is very enjoyable and she's not your usual adventure heroine, until the end where she basically becomes Jean d'Ark. But even that's actually a cool moment.
And... that's basically it really. It's a movie that entertains but doesn't stand out as anything special.
I'm thinking that mr. Burton and mr. Depp should go their seperate ways for a while before their next collaboration. Just so that they can make something really special instead of just giving us these so-and-so movies. It might do them good.
Until next time, peace out.
Saturday, March 27, 2010
First of all, I really enjoyed how the gods leapt into battle against the titans in the opening cinema. It sort of felt like they were some sort of comic book superteam dashing off to kick some ass. Also, they generally looked very cool while doing so.
The titans on the other hand look sort of wimpy despite their skyscraper+ sized bodies towering over the gods. So far the gods have been smacking the titans down without much difficulty. No wonder these behemoths need help from a teeny tiny, from their perspectives at least, demi-god. Losers.
Seriously, without Kratos/my helping them out the titans would be totally screwed. While they were getting their asses kicked I managed to kill three gods in the gratuitously brutal fashion that is the hallmark of the God of War series. However, bad things seem to happen (in the game's world) whenever I commit deicide. And by bad I mean "seems-to-be-moving-towards-the-apocalypse-step-by-step-bad".
I read somewhere that they wanted to make Kratos a bit more sympathetic instead of just being a revenge-obssessed killer. Considering that he seems to be dooming the world just to get his revenge fix I don't think that they've done a very good job so far. But hey, there might be a twist later on.
What else? What else? Oh right, Hades!
I finally got to kill that ugly SOB. Now, while he doesn't look the way I imagine Hades to look he was actually rather entertaining as he taunted Kratos from the shadows before having a big show-down with him. You could really hear that he wanted Kratos to suffer painfully. As God of War players know Kratos has escaped from the underworld like 3-4 times in his existence. So you sort of assume that's why Hades hates him so. But a great scene right before their big fight reveals that Hades has a valid grudge against Kratos. So he had my sympathy but I still laughed while kicking his ass.
Nobody makes references to God of War games I haven't played and live to tell the tale while I'm still kicking.
A few more things.
Hephastus and his daughter are the most sympathetic characters in this game. Not hard to do really.
I totally don't trust Kratos' new guide. There's something suspicious about this person.
If the character I think is Hercules is Hercules I'm a bit disappointed in his appearance.
They still can't do a good Kerberos design for these games.
All in all. I'm having a freaking ball.
Until next time, peace out.
Thursday, March 25, 2010
Last week I bought my most coveted game of the year, God of War 3, and I've been hyped to play it all week. Today I got behind my PS3 controller and started slaughtering my favorite characters from greek mythology.
The reason I haven't played it until now is simply because I felt that I needed to focus on an essay for my current course. Simple as that. I had enough fortitude to avoid the game and stay focused on the essay and today I got my reward of playing the game.
I made two misstakes that sort of lowered my enjoyment of it.
The game itself is absolutely fucking brilliant. Even the most grotesque and imaginative creatures have a strange realism to them. The scenes (both in gameplay and in-game cinemas) are nothing short of epic. The fighting system tight and responsive. Go to any professional game critic and they can tell you the same thing with better words, I'm personally looking forward to Yahtzee's review of the game.
The misstakes I made are completely my own.
Misstake #1: My tv is sort of small, a bit too small almost for a game this epic. It's nothing serious enough that the right distance between me and the tv can't fix. Unfortuantely I tried to take it easy and lounge in my bed while playing. It created certain perspective problem and probably led to me taking more hits than if I had been seated at a more strategic position. Easily fixed.
Misstake #2: Here's the real problem that might be a bit embarrassing in gaming circuits.
See, in the review on gametrailers.com they thought that normal was a little too easy and recommended that veterans of the franchise begin playing on hard. I felt cocky and took that advice. I should probably have known better considering that I've only played the previous game once and that was like 3-4 years ago.
Before I had gotten half-way through today's challenges I had died 47 times.
Tomorrow I'm lowering the difficulty to normal. Even if that means replaying the parts I had gotten through today.
It not because I can't ever get through the game on hard difficulty. I would probably be able to do it. Eventually. It's because it's really frustrating me and I don't want to be frustrated when playing this game. I mainly want to enjoy it and kick some ass while doing it.
If I was a gamer I might be inclinded to feel some shame about it. Luckily enough I'm sort of a crappy gamer and I'm not out for bragging rights. I'm mainly after the interactive story the game is telling.
So that's my confession about my gaming patience and skills. Expect more updates about my battle against GoW3 in the coming days. It'll be an interesting experiment for me.
Now, to prepare myself for the possible mockery from my country friends.
Until next time, peace out.
Friday, March 19, 2010
By Brian Michael Bendis (Writer), Olivier Copiel (Penciler), Mark Morales (Inker), Laura Martin (Colorist) and Chris Eliopoulos (Letterer)
Review: For me this issue was an improvement over the previous one which felt a bit too short and the writing didn't engage me. Issue #2 of this limited series delivers a better comic with more memorable moments. A few personal favorites are Maria Hill saving Thor by blasting Norman Osborn with a rocket launcher, Thor sending Daken with a lightning bolt and the last page actually made me laugh.
That said, the issue as a whole still felt sort of hollow to me writing wise. Nothing really surprising happen, except for a pointless death which I'll get to soon. There's fighting, Captain America makes a grand speech to the heroes he's gathered to beat up on Norman's forces (kind of pointless speech since the heroes would love to that even without a rousing speech) and more of the same. Heroes are heroes and villains are villains. Standard stuff.
There is a nice plot-thread concerning Norman's declining sanity, and the Sentry seems to be less whiney and talkative as well. So, hopefully those'll make the last two issues stand out more.
As for the pointless death. It's a pointless death with a gore rating that doesn't fit in with the rest of the story. It's either a part of an already planned story that will make it even more pointless or it's actually intended to shock me. Instead I role my eyes at it and get bored.
For all the ups and down that the writing has the art is solid throughout the entire thing. Copiel is a brilliant superhero comic artist. Everything looks dynamic and epic. The gorey death is however rather awkward, but that's not Copiel's fault. He did his best with what he was told to draw.
Overall, an entertaining issue. The writing is a bit uneven but still pretty good and the art is just great.
Overall Score: 6/10.
AVENGERS: THE INITIATIVE #33
By Christos Gage (Writer), Jorge Molina (Penciler), Victor Olazaba (Inker) and Edgar Delgado (Letterer)
Review: This issue, which was a tie-in comic to the Siege issue reviewed above, felt rather disjointed. It jumped back and forth between the large battle from Siege, only here from two other perspectives, and the Avengers Resistance attacking Camp Hammer.
Both of the stories get roughly the same amount of pages dedicated to each other and have little to no impact on one another so it feels a little like reading two different stories that are only half-finished. They're still tied together because of the events they're tied into. But nothing more.
What's here IS good. In fact, it's VERY good. Christos Gage excells at writing the type of character introspective stories that we get here while adding exciting action scenes to it all. The look into Taskmaster's, one of my favourite Marvel villains, mind as he's trying to decide whether or not aiming for life as a big time supervillain is worth it and Diamondback analysing her relationship with Constrictor gives us some great insight to both characters. I do love Taskmaster being a voice of reason, commenting on all the insane shit going on around him.
The assult on Camp Hammond is the weaker of the two storylines. At least to me as there are few characters here that I care that much about. It also feels like things are being set up for a big finale despite it being in the middle of big ass fight. Like I said, the action is welldone but I just wish that more time would be spent on Taskmaster and Diamondback.
The art is good. Molina is great at drawing large and crowded fight scenes with a surprising amount of detail. So yeah, it's good.
So the story felt disjointed but what we got was great stuff and the art was good. A solid issue in most regards, but not perfect.
Overall Score: 7/10.
By Jeff Parker (Writer), Miguel Sepulveda (Artist), Frank Martin (Colorist) and Comicraft's Albert Deschesne (Letterer)
Review: Another tie-in comic to Siege. Only this one stays away from the main action of the large battle and focuses more on Norman's specially chosen taskforce the Thunderbolts, as one could guess from the title. This allows the comic to tell it's own story and only being marginally dependent of the events in Siege. So this one reads better as a stand alone comic.
The interaction between the Thunderbolts is the main plus if you ask me. These people are not heroes, some of them are in fact asshole supervillains, and they don't like each other at all. So naturally the interaction between them should be somewhat... tense. Jeff Parker manages very well with portraying the team as such. There's some seriously fun, yet dark, dialogue here as the team make their way into the Asgardian armory. Even Norman's reccorded hologram gives us a memorable moment that shows how little he actually cares about the team.
Even though I think that he's a horrible monster Mr. X gets the best moment in the issue when he reaches a new career highlight in killing a god. A nameless mook god mind you, but still a god.
The issues ends with a cliff-hanger as the Mighty Avengers, or what's left of them, show up for a good old-fashioned throw down. If the M. A. had been at full force the Thunderbolts would've lost pretty quickly. With the depleted ranks of the M. A. however things are a bit more evened out and I look forward to the next issue.
Overall Score: 7,5/10.
GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY #23
By Dan Abnett & Andy Lanning (Writers), Wes Craig Penciller, Serge Lapointe (Inker), Nathan Fairbairn (Colorist) and VC's Joe Caramagna (Letterer)
Review: A comic that has NOTHING to do with Siege. Hooray! Instead this comic tells the story of how the half of the team readers thought had died during the devastating battle against the powerful madman Magus actually survived. The problem is that Magus is the one behind this little miracle and he's planning on turning them over to his side.
The main focus of this issue lies on Phyla-Vell, a lady with way too many legacies on her shoulder. I appreciate that very much as I feel that she hasn't been explored enough during the series' run. Here we finally get some insight into her feelings for her fellow teammates and her reasons for becoming death's avatar, though it was fairly obvious it was still nice to read her thoughts on the matter.
But fleshing Phyla out isn't the only thing that the comic does. It also gives us lots of Magus being deliciously evil, in the special kind of madman/tyrant despot way that is always fun to read. He's just a delight to read while still being menacing and cringe worthy in his saddism. A great villain for a great book.
In a sub-plot the Guardians that aren't captured are on security duty for what could be seen as a galatic U.N. meeting. Abett and Lanning (DnA) uses this to gives us a few guest cameos, which includes an almost show stealing appearance from Blastaar. This interlude gives a nice, but brief, update about how things are progressing in the larger part of space. It also gives us some nice foreshadowing as Moondragon freaks out right before a strange attacked is launched.
The issue ends with a good cliffhanger that has me pumped for the next issue.
Then there's the art. Which is a difficult case. Wes Craig is a talented artists, if somewhat stylised, but there are questions whether he fits for this series or not. Personally I think he needs another colourist. The one from issues #12-13 worked out perfectly in my opinion. As it stands the art is good but might not really fit the series due to the way it is coloured.
I do love this series so much. The writing is always top-notch and while the art may not be perfect it still does it job good enough. Why more people aren't buying this series is beyond me and makes me want to slam my face against a wall.
Overall Score: 9/10
Saturday, March 13, 2010
It's always cold and hard and the reactions I, and everybody else get, vary from being looked down on to almost threatened.
Three times I've done and only twice was it worth it, mostly because the third time was just a favor but still.
It's at this time that I dramatically reveal what I'm talking about. The subject of this post is... queuing.
I'm talking about the kind of queuing where you stand/sleep on the street for days while waiting for the chance to get to buy something that you've been waiting for for a long time. I'd imagine that the phenomenon is mostly associated with forming long lines for concert tickets. But in all honesty that's been ruined by everybody buying them online the second they come out. But there's loads of other stuff that you can que for. The three times I've mentioned are as follows.
#1: Waiting in a line for days on end to buy tickets to Star Wars: Episode III - Revenge of the Sith.
Conditions: Me and my friend Hassanbot had to be in that line for like 2 - 3 days. We where under a bridge where the sound of cars and motorbikes going under it echoed loudly every day. We where also very close to a nightclub whose regular visitors very often mocked us (we were even called whores by on of them). And top it all off some of the guys in the que had found sort of hidden stairwell and started using that as a place to pee. It did not smell nice to walk by it. At least I had a friend with me and the people I met where all very nice.
Results: Actually worth it since the expereince of buying the tickets while a dude dressed as Darth Vader directed a small orchestra was pretty awesome. And the experience of watching the thing on opening night with so many hardcore fans totally overshadowed the fact that the movie wasn't all that good.
#2: Sat down in line for when they would sell Harry Potter & The Deathly Hallows.
Conditions: I came alone with a fold-out chair and sat there for about a day. I knew some of the other people in the line so it wasn't very lonely. There also weren't any loud or stinking annoyances and the people walking by where a lot more friendly towards us. It did get cold at some point abut luckily my sister came over with my jacket at that point. There was also a festive mood and it felt safe enough for me to leave my stuff a few times and go buy fastfood to eat.
Results: Totally worth it! This experinece was much more enjoyable and the book kicked so much ass. The only downside was that the shop didn't handle the release with the same amount of spectacle as in the previous example. But still, a fun experience.
#3: Held a place in line for Hassanbot so that he could get to Halo 3 quickly.
Conditions: Nothing special really. Me and Sharkazzz stood there along with lots of other guys just holding a place for Hassanbot who showed up eventually. It was sort of cold.
Results: Not worth it. In the end the que was relatively short and as far as I could tell it didn't matter when you came. Pretty much everybody got a copy of the game as long as they had their pre-order slip with them. And if there was any spectacle there I missed it.
Why do I bring this up you may ask. Well, I'm gonna go for my fourth que this Tuesday when God of War 3 gets released. I'm well aware that I can just come in one day later with my pre-order slip and buy the game then so I won't have to stand there and sort of freeze in these cold post-winter but pre-spring days. But I'm gonna do it anyway. It's an experience and I'll rest slightly easier knowing that I'll get my hands on the game fast enough.
Though I wonder if the most stupid thing that seems to befall all ques will show up this time as well. In all three example I mentioned above some random dude would at one point run past and shout how the main character Anakin Skywalker/Harry Potter/Master Chief would die. That's just so stupid and pointless that I'm not gonna talk about it anymore.
Wish me luck on Tuesday.
Friday, March 12, 2010
There are however instances when I think that people should just put that fear on the shelf and embrace that possibility that they might suck.
Really, it could be a minor detail in an otherwise enjoyable time. The only things required is a good sense of humor and some good company. Allow me to use two examples with myself as the main player.
Story 1: I was visiting some friends in Great Britain and one day they had some kind of church meeting at their home. Beliving that it would be best for me to miss the meeting they set it up so that one of their friends, a guy that I just met days earlier, took me to play some billiard at some local place.
Since badminton is the only sport that I'm able to play skillfully I assumed that I would just suck at billiard. I was right, I wasn't able to put a single ball into the pockets/holes/whatever they're called. But it was alright because I just accepted that it was bound to happen and snickered every time I missed a shot. It was made all the more easier to accept that I just wasn't playing well because the guy I was playing with was very genial during the whole thing. He encouraged me, didn't mock beyond some good-natured ribbing and was just nice to hang out with.
So what could've been a very embarrasing experience turned out to be a enjoyable afternoon simply because I was able to laugh at my inability to play the game properly and my companions friendly nature.
Story 2: This is more of a common occurence for me really than just one incident. But I can specify with an example that happened this very afternoon.
I have these two really good friends whom have asked to be called by their XBOX-live names, Hassanbot and Sharkazzz (that last one was totally cribbed from me BTW, but I'm not petty). When we hang out one of the main things we like to do is to play video games, and one of the video games we like to play the most is basically anything from the Halo franchise. A video game series that I am woefully unskilled at.
Usually when we play I get my ass kicked utterly and completely unless I'm having a good day or we're playing with somebody who sucks at the game even more than me. But most of the time that's ok because the mood is seldom serious. This is just us playing around with a really advanced toy and the mood shows this. We scream leet-speak, the little that we know, abrassively mock each other (both for our gameplay and our general mannerisms and some other stupid non-sensical ramblings) and just a good time.
Both of them still kick my ass and between the three of us there's a general totem-pole when it comes to our Halo skills. At the bottom is me and then there's Sharkazzz and at the top is Hassanbot. Hassanbot is so superior to us other two that Sharkazzz really wanted me to tell y'all that if we were to combine mine and Sharkazzz Halo playing prowess Hassanbot would still be four times better than that.
I am well aware of this and have long since accepted my role in ur matches. I annoy the crap out of the other two, kill-steal and just provide an obstacle for the two of them. If I'm having a good enough day I can do more than that. Either way I don't let it bother me and just enjoy our guy evenings greatly.
In conclusion: I understand how terrifying it is to perform badly at something. But I suggest that everybody take it easier and don't bother with it so much during at least some activities. Suggestively some lighter and less serious activity. Just make sure that you're with good company and have a good sense of humor about you sucking. Then you can have an enjoyable time of performing badly at something.
That said, I will never ever ever ever ever ever ever ever ever ever ever ever ever ever ever ever ever play Sing-Star again. EVER!
Saturday, March 6, 2010
In this post I am going to celebrate villains everywhere by listing my top ten villains in all of fiction. To make this list the villain has to be, like I said above, interesting, entertaining and/or cool. But not just that. They also have freaking villains that do villainous stuff. So all those dark anti-heroes can just take a hike. And of course, this list is based on my personal preferences. So nobody bite my head off.
Let's get started.
7. Hans Landa from Inglourious Basterds
Villainous Highlight: When faced with Kurosaki Ichigo in battle for the first time Ulquiorra allows himself to get struck down by an attack that's empowered by Ichigo's rage over the fact that Ulquiorra has kidnapped Orihime. The attack is the most powerful one Ichigo has pulled off at that point and covers an entire room and it only messes up Ulquiorra's clothes somewhat. Ulquiorra then proceeds to beat the shit out of Ichigo. Even then the hero boldly tries to fight, believeing that Ulquiorra is the most powerful espada, reasoning that if Ulquiorra is defeated then the war might as well be over. It is at this point that Ulquiorra calmly reveals that he is actually the fourth. With Ichigo stunned by this fact Ulquiorra proceeds to stab him through the chest and leaves him to die while telling him how pointless it is for him to fight anymore.
1. Xykon from Order of the Stick
Who is he?: Once there was a boy born a sorcerer, a person that possess natural magical abilities. Once he became a young man he was approached and offered guidance to control these abilities. Not really feeling for it the boy lashed out and decided to become a villain. Over the years the young man would grow more powerful and cruel towards the world. Never once regretting the evil deeds he was doing. When he was an old man he made a deal with a group of goblins that would make them rulers of the world. But as I said, he was getting old and probably didn't have much longer to go. One of the goblins had a suggestion that would not only get rid of the age problem but also make him more powerful than ever before. It would however come at the cost of the old sorcerer's humanity as he would become an undead being known as a lich. The old sorcerer accepted the offer without thinking twice, he did however joke about it. Now the old man is a lich sorcerer with an army of hobgoblins backing him up on his quest to take over the world. The name that this individual was given by his parents hasn't been revealed. It is long lost, along with his humanity. For the longest time he has been known as the lich sorcerer Xykon.
Why he's #1: There are really two things that make Xykon the greatest villain in my eyes. They can be summed up like with these words. Power and evil.
Xykon is powerful, very powerful. But he isn't very smart. Unlike most of the other villains on this list Xykon prefers to just smash through the wall and blast the holy hell out of everybody that might just happen to be in the vicinity. It's not that he's stupid, because he has shown himself to be a very adept at manipulation and he knows how people work. It's that he's lazy, easily bored and prefers to power his way through life rather than bothering with well-planned strategies. That's where his power comes in. Xykon is a firm believer that there's a level of power that no amount of intelligence or strategic thinking can match up against. So he has oodles upon oodles of power and uses that to crush his foes. More than that, Xykon truly understands what true power is. It's not just the ability to throw around high level magic. He could run out of power and then he be in a big mess unless he had any back-up power. There's more to it than that, but believe me. Xykon understands power.
Then there's the evil. More than any other villain on this list, Xykon is evil. And it's not out of hatered against the world or the need for revenge or because his mommy didn't love him when he was a kid. Xykon is evil because he just likes being evil. I mentioned before that many great villains don't agree that they're evil. Xykon is the opposite of that. He will very freely admit that he is evil. He revels in it and then goes of to do the most horrible things you can imagine. Because not only is Xykon evil, he's pretty much a jerk as well. The things this guy does are simply horrible and people will cheer when he goes down. But also groan a little because such a great villain has been lost to the world.
Villainous Highlight: The end of the graphic novel Start of darkness which depicts Xykon's origin story along with the other villains of the Order of the Stick series. That's all I'm saying because it's a freaking doozy and I don't want to spoil it.
And that's that. Wow, that took way too long for me. Now you might wonder why I didn't include great villains like Darth Vader, Heath Ledger's Joker, Sephiroth, Voldemort and many many others. I did consider all of them, except for Sephiroth (he's really freaking overrated), but at the end of the day this is the list of villains that felt right for me.
Until next time. Peace out.