27/06/2016

The game is afoot... Game of thrones season 6... Spoilers


So... We can all agree that a lot of things went sideways in the most literal of way this season. And I know there is much complaining about how the season had less time continuity than Dr Who. But that is one of these things you either learn to let go or become forever stuck on. 

Me I just do not have enough fucks to give. 

This season saw the show wrap up a lot of loose threads and try to neatly wrap a bunch of rather lively scorpions. As expected it was messy and and well.. frankly.. sloppy. But I am sure that HBO have a very firm point of "wrap this shit up" because it is a very expensive show to make. Taking things at book pace and I am sure that they would have to release the final episode some time after the end of time. We... as the general population would not like that I am sure. 

Now things ofc kicked off with the least twisty twist in the history of the series. Jon Snow was not dead.. or well he was dead but he got better. As people are inclined to do. It would set the tone for some serious cases of "walking it off". Also just to get that out of the way "R+L=J" = True. For the people not in the loop, Jon is the bastard of Rhegar Taygarian and Lianna Stark. Ned only took him as his to keep him safe from Robert who probably did not like the idea of contending with a legitimate heir to the throne... Well as legitimate as any conquer can be. I guess that will be a fun thing for him to learn in the future. For now only Bran knows. Bran is now the greenest of seers and still bloody annoying. Beyond that he really did not serve as much beyond a plot device. But we got to know that he was the one who messed up Hodor. That was a nice twist. "Hold the door" indeed. Arya does her Daredevil thing this season and while it was sort of boring it was never really that good in the books either. She then decides to go home and straight up murder people, Walder Frey being at the top of the list. Nice touch how she baked a Frey pie... It is like a humble pie, but with the children of Walder Frey as the main ingredient. 

This does generally not bode very well for Cersei but since she spent this entire season working her way from crazy to nuttier than Nutella i think she will be to busy to notice when Arya kille her. On the bright side we do have a less Wild Fire in Kings Landing (and a lot less Sept of Baelor) but i felt it was a tad bit heavy handed and not a very good buildup. Tomen´s reaction to the entire thing was very human. Having lost his love Margaery and any chance of ever ruling the land by any other mean than fear he simply steps out from his balcony and falls to his death. Nothing grand or spectacular about it. No real drama. He simply takes his crown from his head and calmly place it by the side. Then he just take a casual stroll out the window. And with that he fulfills the fate that was told to young Cersei. She has now lost all her children. My bet is that it will be Jamie who will wrap up the prophecy seeing how she is going in to insane territory. Combining that with her crowning her self queen and i fear Jamie will be forced to add another regent to his name. 

As for Danny, this season has pretty much just been a bunch of sizzle moments. Some more than other as she once again put the Dothraki people under her control, took back Mereen... again... and now sail for Westeros. She got to be bad ass but nothing of real consequences came to pass.  

Now the big question mark for me this season was going to be Sansa. After last season she was pretty much robbed of any momentum and left as a plot device. While she still serves this role in this season she does retake some of the momentum and show that she has been taught by some of the biggest arseholes in Westeros. Sure Jon might have been crowned king in the north but since he has the diplomatic ability of grape (as per all male Stark´s) my guess is that she will carry the brunt of that work.

Anyway... For what it is worth and to answer my question that I stated at the start of the season. Yes it was worth it if you enjoy the show for what it is. But if you are looking for solid and logical TV... 

This is not your show. 

24/06/2016

So... Brexit. (and a midsummer greeting)

And this is what happen when you put your faith in the general masses. You end up with a coin toss that splits the nation and leaves nobody satisfied. 

I guess the Cameron office felt it was political suicide to put in a clause that a clear majority was needed... Instead betting on people to do what is best for business. Somehow forgetting that a big chunk the voters are to young to remember a world before the EU but for sure remembering how things have pretty much been shit since... EU making a good scapegoat. The other half balls deep in nostalgia for "how much better the days gone past where". 

That was... Stupid. Especially as it ended up costing the Cameron office their office anyway. 


So... Go forth and conquer I guess. Let´s hope that our own SEK manages to stay afloat.. making those UK vacations a lot cheaper. Also i am looking forward to seeing where this leads since this is a unprecedented scenario. GG on the old commonwealth for taking one for the team i guess. 



Anyway...

Swedish midsummer time so drink smart, fuck safe and do fucking try to not kill each other.

20/06/2016

My watch is over.. Overwatch.


So I... Like pretty much all of humanity it seems. Have now had some solid time with Overwatch, Blizzards new hero shooter is about as solid as one would expect. But for me it ticks a much more important box.

Ain´t he the most adorable little crazy mercenary you ever seen.

You see... I suck at shooter games. Used to be fairly good back in the old days of BF 1942... Then things just kept getting faster and I kept getting slower, Then came the era of the sniper and i pretty much said... Fuck this... 

Now this is where the gameplay of OverWatch is so bloody brilliant. It is the epitome of the Blizzard idea of having something for everyone. No longer do I need to fear being useless to my team because i can not hit the broad side of Roadhog. I can go in and tank the living crap out of things as a over sized German knight with a power-armor and a freaking energy shield... As in a honest to god, carried on your arm shield. Simply put i can feel useful.


Now the game is at it´s core a fairly standard online arena shooter. You are part of as team and try to shoot the face of the opposing team. The maps are well designed but the game lacks game modes and while the ones we get a point capture mode and a escort mode that is very well designed and offer a ton of fun and action. They are also all we get. And it does get a bit repetitive after a while.

Now the core of OverWatch is the heroes, taking ideas from the moba space and giving us 21 (at the moment) unique heroes that as I mentioned before has something for everyone but without it feeling forced. We will see more heroes added as time goes by. But for now we have a good solid mix of wonderfully colorful and cheesy.

And that i think is the games strongest point. The art style is just so vibrant and lively. It is like a Pixar movie dialed up to 11.

Now this game is not for everybody, if you do not like shooters it has noting to offer gameplay wise. Aaaaand it has some micro transactions for stuff like skins and icons. While it does not bother me all to much I know it is a deal breaker for some people. More power to you. That will not change either but compared to EA´s pants-on-head stupid system of locking maps behind paywalls and splitting the player base i feel inclined to urge everyone to at least give Blizzard a pat on the head for not fucking their players over completely. So if you like arena shooters, give this one a try. I am willing to bet you will at least get your 40/60 bucks worth of entertainment out of it.

02/05/2016

Civil War – Marvel style. Captain America 3 Spoiler version



Captain America: Civil War is the latest offering form the house of the mouse´s super hero division. And as usual when it comes to the Cap movies it is not so much a super hero movie as a movie with super heroes in it. In this case a political thriller mixed with a psychological drama… Is said genres where raised on Rice Krispies.  But seeing how it is an ensemble film following in the messy footsteps of Avengers 2 I had my doubts that it would not turn in to a horrid convoluted mess.

It is my great pleasure to inform you all that it in fact was not a horrid convoluted mess.

But I get ahead of myself. The story goes thusly.
In the aftermath of Age of Ultron the world in general and Sokovia in particular are not all that hyped about the Avengers any more. Sure they did save the world.. or at least New York from giant armored space whales, but since they have not had much in the way of wins… Between Iron Man getting his house blown up and thrash a commercial dock, SHEILD trying to take over the world by the way of Hydra (or the other way around depending on point of view). Captain America dropping three very expensive experimental aircrafts on a fairly populated area and no to mention the rogue AI trying to annihilate an entire country… An AI created in part by Tony Stark. And as the movie opens they manage to explode a building when trying to capture a terrorist. To say it has been a couple of rough years is a mild understatement.

So the plan is to turn the Avengers in to a UN/Nato attack dog. This is done by the way of equal amounts of guilt and threats and for ol Steve Rogers this does not really mesh with the idea of them being a global force for good. So there you have the schism. But most people agree it could perhaps be a good idea to at least appear to fall in line. As this debate is going on Steve is informed that his almost dame and favorite British spy Peggy Carter has passed away and while visiting her funeral gets some words of “wisdom” from Peggy’s niece Sharon aka agent 13 aka Steve’s old neighbor. So while Cap and Falcon goes on a buddy road trip the rest of the Avengers gear up to attend the signing of the so called Sokovia Accord.

Here we meet T'Chaka, the current king of Wakanda and his son T´Challa. He seems like a nice guy and as such T'Chaka very quickly get an explosion in the back making T´Challa the effective king. Fortunately for him he does not only get the throne of one of the most technologically advanced countries in the world but he also get a super suit and the alias of Black Panther. This is good as he seek to avenge his father. Go him.

Our buddy cop team of Cap and Falcon get involved in this when it looks like the Winter Solider was the one pulling the “trigger” and Cap want to save his old buddy seeing how pretty much everyone else he knew is dead. We do have to remember that Cap might be closer to 100 years chronologically but he is still a 25-ish year old nerd. This will also be important to remember once we get to Caps romantic sub-plot… if you like to call it that.
So with the issue and the motivation set up for this “civil war” the avengers set out to beat the ever living crap out of each other. As the story unravel we see that much of this fuzz was for a former Hydra agent by the name of Zemo to get access to the Winter Solider so he could find information on a very special mission that the Winter Soldier did back in the days. Turns out that Bucky was not the only Russian super soldier and that he did in fact kill Howard Stark. The plan here seems to be to drive a permanent wedge between Tony and Steve and in turn split the Avengers.

So Cap and Tony kick the snot out of each other and then Cap and Bucky makes off to Wakanda where they put Bucky on ice until they can figure out a way to break his brainwashing.

So… The movie is good in fact I would say it beats A2 by a mile and does so with about the same size of cast. Maybe it is because the story is much more personal and the conflict more anchored in… Well… Reality if that is the word to use. Sure we have to play with a lot of plot convenience and among other things I feel that Cap´s motivations are forced. But at the same time as I said we have to keep in mind that Steve is a young man who has one person left in the world that can relate to him and see him as the person he was before he became Cap. I would go pretty far for a person like that. Same goes for his rather hasty romantic sub-plot with Sharon Carter, forced but not entirely out of character. Sure it is a bit weird but she is the closest he will ever get to the love of his life. Not a healthy basis for a relationship but again he is a young (and in some way emotionally underdeveloped) man on the rebound from a lot of shit. To seek solace in familiarity is not unheard of.

Now I of course have to link back to the comics arch that provided name and over all story to this film… As expected they share very little beyond the name but the movie still do a very good job at hitting key points from the comics. The Stamford incident (one of the most emotional gut punches in modern comics history in my mind) where a villain out of hand blows up a good chunk of a town called Stamford including a school full of children. The super-person superMAX iirc called sector 42 or some such, Spiderman (did not do much in the movie but is kind of important in the comics) and the whole bit with Cap realizing that he is in fact going out of control. These moments all translated in to the film in one way or the other.

So it was a worthy end to the Captain America saga and a way to redeem Avengers age of Ultron for being a messy messy thing. It is with confidence I now turn my eyes towards the future of the Marvel cinematic universe.


//T

25/04/2016

Game of thrones is back, but is it worth it?


Just a quick reflection on the first episode of season six. This will be spoiler free and not very in depth for reasons we will get to.

Now the unofficial tag-line for this season is "off the books" as in they no longer have fully formed books to use as a basis for the plot line, This will offer more freedom i guess and give the producers a chance to tell their own story. Time will tell if they are up to the task because like it or not, Martin is a good writer, not outstanding perhaps but good.

Now of course some plot threads will carry over from the books while others, as set up in the previous season have taken a hard left in to fan fic territory. what this means is that for once the book readers do not have a uncut advantage and we can not lean on our snark to end discussions about the ins and outs of the HBO juggernaut. I guess we instead will see rant and ravings on what version is superior.

Now the first episode it self is more or less a update on where all the people are and a quick reminder of in what state we left them last season. Or well.. Most at least. It seems that episode two will do the same with the characters not in this episode. We get some plot development and some minor twists. For a first episode of a season it did feel a bit plodding and the pace is not all that exciting. And that kind of goes for the entire thing, some of the glow has faded and unless episode two and three pick up significantly i fear this will be  a season that will be on fast forward.

Maybe it is a general fatigue that is setting in. But i have high hopes and low expectations for this season. I will check back once we reach the half-way mark.

Stay safe.


21/03/2016

Daredevil season 2 – The good the bad and the ugly.


So Daredevil season 2 just dropped and like any Netflix series I watched the entire thing in one single sitting. This is in itself not a good idea as the series weigh in at a decent 13 episodes. But it also tend to make one a tad bit more critical as the series goes on.

Now the story so far goes thusly. (Spoilers… And more spoilers)

Matt Murdoc is a bland lawyer that run a kind of pro-bono practice with his law school buddy Foggy Nelson. Unbeknownst to Foggy Matt has super senses that he gained as a child after being splashed with chemicals… because that is a thing… when he saved an elderly man. Now as an adult he put these special skills to use to meet out vigilante justice on the people who the legal system cannot. During the first season we get to know Matt, Foggy and their first customer turned secretary Karen Page as they protect New York´s Hell´s Kitchen both in court and on the streets. The conflict focuses as the criminal and political power player Wilson Fisk makes his presence known putting him and Matt on a collision course. This whole affair resolves with Matt exposing his second life to Foggy and Fisk ending up behind bars. Setting the stage for season two.

In season two we find Matt and the gang pretty much where we left them last time… Just about a year later. With Matt doing his dance of being a sort of lawyer at day and fearless vigilante at night a new player enters the vigilante scene by turning several gang in the city in to Swiss cheese. And while Foggy and Karen go to war against the district attorney over first a survivor of the gang massacre and then later the Punisher aka Frank Castle as his repeated murders brought him in to conflict with Daredevil. Then the story goes completely off the rail... In short order we find out that Castle was a victim of a failed drug bust that caused his family to be gunned down, the DA office covered it up for political reasons, his former CO being a drug lord and that his entire war was based on a misunderstanding. All in all he had a very bad time. Add to this mess that Matt is cutting out on his duties as lawyer to run around with his ex-girlfriend who just happen to be an assassin as she try to take down a bunch of honest to god ninjas. In the end nothing get resolved and anyone familiar with Electra and her story from the comics should know how that storyline ends.

This season of Daredevil seems rushed, like they had a handful of episodes planned but then had to fill in the rest of the story… Maybe not as they went but it felt rushed. The Frank Castle storyline feels solid and apart from the weird twist on the end was well paced. The Electra story otoh felt slapped on and had some serious pacing issues. Now with that said the overall impression is that Daredevil season 2 still make for some really good TV but that it does not really live up to the previous season or Jessica Jones. We will have to see how the Netflix marvel series holds up as we move forward in to Luke Cage and beyond.


So my final recommendation is to watch it but make sure to spread it out over some time to counteract the dip in the middle of the season. 

14/03/2016

They killed it. Hitman chapter 1.


First off… the royal we have given up on regular updates. Too much going on right now with trying to find a new job and some other side projects. Mondays will remain the day for updates. We will keep you updated…. Now on to the topic of the week.

As someone who tend to lean on the side of click bait…. This was perhaps the most click baited title I have done so far.

But I feel it is ok, especially as I more or less predicted doom and gloom for the Hitman series with them going episodic. Seems like I will have to eat crow. The first episode is really solid and a nice nod back to the classic hitman formula of sandbox playground. An open level and you are left to your own devices as to how you like to solve the mission. A fantastic tangle of AI interactions and triggers that if left to their own might seem predictable but once you start poking around your actions causes a ripple effect that in turn change the playing field.

Now this is just the first episode. The one that one can assume have been in development for the longest time but it also set a good bar for the following maps to hit. Should they reach said bar the game will most likely land on many GoTY lists as an example of how to do episodic content the right way outside of a TellTale game. Should they not… At least the starter pack will be worth the 15 bucks it cost and you can keep on replaying that trying to find the most creative ways of breaking the game.

So the game… It is for all intents and purposes a Hitman game, you are bald, people need to be stuffed in to boxes, carrying a gun in the open is bad and so on. New or at least new-ish is the soft version of your super-assassin sense. The game has a mode you can use that track information you see and hear and paint you guideline to follow. This can ofc be turned off if you like to go in old school. This way the game remains open to veterans and newcomers alike.


But that is all there is right now. I will return and make a more in-depth review of the game once all the parts are out and we can see how it meshed together. But for now I can absolutely recommend the starter edition as it stands on its own very well.