06/12/2016

Some small changes

Going forward updates will happen Tuesdays due to real life getting in the way... And with that PSA.. On to the news... or well.... you know.



So while there have been a lot of news for games that i play and enjoy, i feel i need a bit more time to digest and reflect on these news.

One thing i do not need to reflect over is the news of a new Mechwarrior game, now i have been playing MechWarrior Online for a good long time and i am eagerly awaiting the strategy-ish game from HBS. But my first and most enduring encounter with the Battletech universe was Mechwarrior 2 back in ye olden days. Since then i have played most of the iterations of the Mechwarrior franchise, only missing out on some expansions here and there... Also Mechassault... Missed out on that... not very sad.

But now comes a brand new single player story driven MW game. But to add frosting to my delicious mech cake, it is Piranha Studios that are developing it, the same people who brought about MW:O. So MW5 will be sharing models with  MW:O, and this is good because no matter what one feel about how MW:O plays. They have done a great job turning the often fuggly line art of the old tabletop rulebooks in the awesome 3D models.

Anyway.. if you at this point is feeling a bit confused as to what i am talking about... Have a teaser trailer.


Updates as they will happen in the coming years.

28/11/2016

Misplaced stories and what to do with them. (Fantastic Beasts spoilers)



First off…

Spoilers ahead…

You have been warned…




So in my Fantastic beasts review I mentioned that there were some minor scenes that felt out of place… .. . These where any scene that contained the unmasked Gellert Grindelwald aka Graves. They literally bookend the story and have no impact at all. This is very much a done story being shoehorned in to a multi movie narrative. Now before someone says to them self “that filthy muggler has no clue of how important Grindelwald is to the story” This is partially true, it has been close to 10 years since I read the last in the core series and have not really revisited them since. Sure I did watch all the movies but they never stuck. So in many ways I had but the vaguest grasp of Grindelwald going in to this movie, add to that my active avoidance of spoilers and previews. I was as close to a blank state as I have ever been going in to a franchise movie. (compare with my encyclopedic knowledge of Marvel and DC lore that have me going in to any such movie with more knowledge than I care to think about.) So I did not really care about the opening scene and once the end scene comes rolling around it was more of a… dafuk… But I am aware of the importance of Grindelwald, I was just expecting them to push that in to the next movie.

And this is where my main gripe comes in, I think the people making the movie had the same idea until some focus group came in and had their say. The scenes with Grindelwald are sloppy and pointless. They serve no purpose at all in my mind and while I get that people new to the franchise need some anchoring for this character seeing how it is obscure to say the least, and that trying to launch an entire movie series built on him would be risky. They did not have to be so bleeding lazy about it.

I still love the movie that sits between these bookends and I think that a movie about Grindelwald will be interesting especially if they perhaps play up the by fans suggested romance between Grindelwald and Dumbledore. Mostly because it would explain a few things about ol´ Albus. It just pokes me the wrong way that this was the way we got introduced to the character.


It was also fun to see Ezra Miller seeing how he is the new Flash, trying to fill the place that Grant Gustin have in my heart… 

22/11/2016

Fantastic beasts: A spoiler free review

First off, sorry about the lateness of this post but i simply fell asleep before i could write it up. It is also good to digest a movie a bit before writing about it in my mind. 

Fantastic beasts and where to find them, for the people unfamiliar is the latest movie in the Harry Potter universe. It is a prequel of sorts and is set during the roaring 20´s. As the title suggest it is about the the author of the in universe book "Fantastic beasts and where to find them". This book has been presented as a end all be all source of best knowledge. I am going to leave the story of the movie at that and simply say that it is a very good story. 

Now the movie it self is well crafted, if one discount a handful of scenes, but these does not really impact the movie so that is something i am willing to overlook. Both the female and male lead are likeable and especially Redmayne have that perfect adrokable vibe. But as good as they are they are almost upstaged by the supporting cast, human and beast alike. It is also nice to see the movie break a few tropes that plagues most average blockbusters. 

Now no movie is flawless, and in the case of this movie, outside of those errant scenes most problems in this movie have to do with how the action scenes are cut, they are messy and the use of a first person view in some of them really does not work. Add a rather lackluster use of 3D and you have what sometimes feel almost Michael Bay-ish. I´l go in more detail about my thoughts regarding what worked and not in my spoiler review. 

To sum things up i think Fantastic beasts and where to find them is a great movie and i felt my money was welt spent. But it does touch on some subjects that will leave people who have just read the books or even more just seen the other movies a tad bit confused. Go watch Fantastic beasts and where to find them, you will not be disappointed. 

/T

14/11/2016

Trailers... Trailers everywhere.


So... 

This weekend-ish i caught two new trailers, both live action remakes of animated movies and both really good. First was the Ghost in the shell trailer. As someone who have not really read the manga, just watched the animated movie and the series. That trailer is looking really good and it seems to be doing a good job in capturing the feel and look of the source material. There have been accusations of white washing and i am sure they are not uncalled for. But there have been some fairly angry voices raised against the casting of Scarlett Johansson as major Motoko. 

Pisswash... That is what i say about that. Sure the character have a Japanese name but her design have always been "race" agnostic in that way that many anime and manga characters are. In fact i´d say the casting is eerily close to the source material. 

There seem to be a tad bit less nudity than in the original anime, but to be fair that was a smart choice as it did not really fill any real purpose beyond "boobies"... Well the in-universe logic was solid, but while you might need to be naked for the optic camo to work.. there is no need to create a universe where you need to be naked for optic camo to work. Especially when the same universe have  full body prosthetic. 

Now in way this is Ghost in the shell coming full circle, at least in Swden as there at one point was plans for the animated Ghost in the shell to go up on the silver screen. That never came to be, and here we are. 


Anyway.. go look up the trailer and if you have the time give the original animated movie a look.  


Next up is the answer to the question, what will Disney do when they run out of formats to re-release their movies on. Live action remakes seems to be the next thing. With Maleficent, Cinderella and the Jungle Book doing a more or less good job of masking this idea... Beauty and the Beast looks to be a more or less scene by scene recreation with some minor alterations to (i would assume) get away from some of the worst legacy sins of the original one. After all once one peeled back even the thinnest of layers in that movie, shit got dark.. quick. All in all things look good from the trailer and while i think the animated Beast look about... 10 times better, he ofc did not have to contend with reality in any shape. For what it is a like it. Will be interesting to see what they do (if anything) to adress the shortcomings of the old movie. After all you only need some very small tona shifts to have huge impact in that movie, Toss in some extra lines of dialogue and you might create a entirely new story.  Will also be interesting to see Emma Watson break away from her previous character of a witty and strong book-smart girl that sets her own path.... Yeah... Never mind. 

Still again watch the trailer for the nostalgia kick if nothing else. Just avoid the commentary field... It is... sad. 

Until next time, be safe and play fair. 

/T

08/11/2016

Blizzcon 2016 my take

                          



So Blizzcon have come and gone. This was as expected a sort of off-year with no really big reveals on the horizon. I would assume that people who care by now have digested the recaps and info dumps sp i am not going to go through it all. I will mainly focus on WoW and Overwatch as these are the Blizzard games that i currently play but i will touch on things i found interesting for other games and beyond. 


Let me first touch upon what might have been the biggest reveal, Overwatch League, a bit like Premier league just way smaller and for a digital shooter game. So Blizzard just slapped a foot of prime meat on the table and asked the rest of the esports scene what they have done so far to advance the.., well.. sport. In short it is a organized league that if it actually reaches what it set out to do will have proper teams and formal contracts, making it look more legit. In reality it will not be much different from how it is today but appearance as we know is key. If people feel a connection to the event they will be more invested, and Blizzards idea to have local teams tied to towns and regions  (not only on a national level) fits very nice in to this. After all i´d love to see the Gothenburg Guthooks take on Kiruna Pickaxes for a spot in the regionals. Time will tell what this will pan out in too and how many teams it can support. But the idea i feel is really fresh and interesting. 



So beyond that Overwatch saw mostly tweaks and QoL stuff beyond the new hero Sombra. Now i had the chance to play as and against Sombra on the PTR today and i think she will be very fun and Tracer levels of irritating in the right hands. But she also seems to have a very high skill bar, being both squishy and fairly low on damage DPS hero. Her strengths ofc lies in  her ability to control the field of battle. Also i like to see that Blizzard continue it´s new path of making female heroes that look badass and kick arse without needing to dip in to the "battle dental floss" outfit category. She will most likely see some serious rounds of nerfing and buffing in the coming weeks. Personally i was more happy to see Torbjörns scrap resource now having a slow auto generation to accompany the usual kill drop way, that way one does not have to suicide dive in to the enemy team to get some packs made. 


I also love and adore the new hero "limit" in quick play. Only one version of each hero per side stops the *insert very foul words here* cheesing that is a two Torbjörn and two Bastion with a tank and a healer point capture or any of the other insane troll builds. I was for a very long time a strong opponent to the limit and had a live and let live attitude. But at this point i have had enough with humanity and its so called right to free will. It will be a joy to play once this patch drops live. 

But no big expansions planned for Overwatch.. Or any other game in reality. 


As for WoW, well we will be taking the fight to the *more bad words* Eredar in their own back yard and trust me you that i will be very happy about that. Because i am so sick of the burning legion that i will even put up with Illidan to get the job done I wish we will get to shot them up once and for all. This would also set up for a new and final expansion next where we shut the door on the last remnants of old gods and titans. A worthy end to the story so to speak. I also like the idea of class mounts. 


Beyond that not much to report, this Blizzcon was mostly a retrospect on Legion. 

Now it was a bit sad to not have Chris Metzen there as he retired before the con, but all in all the quality was as high as it used to be and it was nice to see that games like Overwatch  have gained some real traction now. 

Not sure it is a good idea to teach a AI to play StarCraft... Once it get a taste of the sort of smack talk that accompanies competitive games have it will be ready to go SkyNet on us... But at least it will have a brilliant comeback to the claim that it is botting =P 

But looking forward there are a ton of fun things to enjoy if you like Blizzard games. 

31/10/2016

Stranger days. A Dr Strange review. (spoilers...)

Smolder smolder smolder
So i spent last night watching the latest offering Doctor Strange, based on the comic character by the same name,and right of the bat Marvel wastes no time reminding us that they have a interconnected cinematic universe as the logo now sports more movie clips than comic pages. 

But i get ahead of my self, in case you are not familiar with Dr Stephen Strange, he starts out as the less charming Tony Stark, both in this movie but also in his comic. A superstar surgeon with a ego that make Dr House look humble and a nurturing a budding god complex as he fancies him self one who holds life and death in his hands, and only the ones with a case big or difficult enough (but with a safe margin for success)get his care. It goes without saying that Dr Strange treats anyone not him self as shit. 

But fate, as it usually does in origins stories... Has other plans and send dear Stephen on a one way trip off a cliff and in to the caring arms of irony. The car accident destroys his hands 

Now with his entire life literary shattered and with no one really to blame but him self he reacts very human and lashes out at everyone. He spends his wealth on experimental surgery and consultations. But to no avail. He then hears about a mystic called the ancient one. Taking a desperate last stab Stephen seeks out this mystic. The rest is as they say history, Strange learns that there is a much bigger world beyond his science and in time ends up as the Sorcerer Supreme, the guardian of all magic.  

The movie follows this story to a beat, it is one of the most faithful translations Marvel Studios have done, Keeping strides with Captain  America. In the movie the car is a Italian supercar and it is hinted that if he was not such a huge arsehole people might have gone looking for him sooner and thus saved his hands, but beyond that the transition from surgeon Dr Strange to mystic Dr Strange follows the comics without any deviation. 

Now in the movie Strange have to find a group of mystics after learning of a man who regained the use of his destroyed spine after having studied with the Ancient one, After getting the acid trip of his life by the way of mind magic, giving a entirely new meaning to the phrase "tripping balls". Strange is unceremoniously tossed out on the street again having been deemed to vain and arrogant to handle the power the Ancient one could teach. 

This ties back in to the opening of the movie where a very angry and former student of the Ancient one Mads Mikkelsen compartmentalize the librarian of the mystic order and then steals "insert object of DOOM... (not that Doom)" and sets out to enable the overtaking of the world. Strange it would seem reminds the Ancient one of this failed pupil. 

At this point it should be obvious that the movie is not exactly breaking new ground, but it is ok, it would feel very out of place and the last time we really had a Superhero movie trying to break new ground we got Ang Lee´s Hulk movie... Not a fan. 

So the story from here on is pretty textbook, Strange get accepted, trains and fails only to triumph at the critical moment. what saves the movie is the excellent acting and comedic timing. It is a funny movie that delivers on the action and Benedict Cumberbatch get to channel some of the same sides he showed in Sherlock. 


The supporting cast is as good, starting with Mads character who manages to do surprisingly much with a script that is just a hair longer than the one for Boba Fett. He is more a catalyst for future events than an actual villain, a problem many of Marvels movie villains have had. But he is just the right amount of smug zealot that you feel very good when he gets his comeuppances. 

Tilda Swinton as the Ancient one did cause some commotion for all about... five seconds... Some allegations of whitewashing was leveled...   But seeing that this is what the Ancient one used to look like. Switching the gender and nationality was not that big of an issue, dude was not very Asian to begin with. Swinton does a really good job of playing this odd and peculiar mystic who defends the reality as it is.  


Mordo also plays a big role in this and while he is set up as the counterbalance for Strange it is not too hard to see what path he will take, and by the end of the movie he has gone full on magic fascist. But i like how they portray him and his motivations does make sense.  

Last but not least i have to mention Wong... Played by Benedict Wong... (i just fond that a little funny.) In the original portrayed as Strange´s manservant in a very stereotypical outfit. Here he is the ever important wall whom Strange can bounce jokes off. He also serves as the head librarian after the old one lost his.. well... head. 


The big-ish bad  is Dormammu and while he got a Galactus/Phalanx treatment and just becomes mostly a big head... It could have been way worse. He is the lord of a place called the dark dimention that lies outside of time and he wants to take over the world... How he is defeated i will not reveal here... But it is simply awesome. The second big thing is of course the time gem hidden inside of a relic that Strange picks up along the way. It serves a very important plot point and will be very important in the next Avenger movie. 

Verdict: I really enjoyed this movie and for what it is worth i would rank it on the same level as GotG, it is a fun and wild popcorn movie that have some really insane special effects but is a tiny bit hampered by the very classic narrative used. I say that you should go and see it while it is in theaters as it will lose some of its visual impact once it is on TV´s and monitors (unless you have a Gear.. then i would thing it is smart thing to wait. =P)

Also there is a brilliant end credit scene with Thor and a stein of beer. It also hints at the probability of Hemsworth, Hiddelston and Cumberbatch in the same scene... How they will contain that... who knows.

24/10/2016

Nintendo Switch, nice bait.

So the new Nintendo Switch looks like a really nice slab of consumer electronics. But as usual i am very cautious about what it actually can deliver, you see i get annoyed at the battery life of my iPhone and i feel that the weight of my old iPad was a bit to high to casually lug around. The Switch looks like it could clock in at the same, if not more. And while i would enjoy being able to play more substantial games, as opposed to most mobile games... bless their souls. I am still not sure the ups outweighs the downs.

Among the rumors we have a 3 hour mobile battery life, that is a problem, but even 5 or even 6 hours would be on the short side. I have also seen a few people complaining about the lackluster backwards compatibility. This does not bother me because my last Nintendo console was a Super Nintendo. But i can see how some people would find it irritating. Also i look forward to the wear and tear of the docking station and the unavoidable day when your Switch switches to carry along only due to a dead base station. I also predict a lot of glitchy controllers and shit simply dying.

Now i also hope that nintendo have a stronger lineup of games than the WiiU... I am seriously down for a new Mario Kart (and the new Zelda game looks really cool) but that has never and will never be enough to sell me a new console.

All in all time will tell and i will remain cautiously optimistic at this point, it looks fun and whimsical... And that is all yuo can hope for with Nintendo these days.