15/12/2014

Taking the Suicide squad to the task.




So in this day and age news move with a speed that would have the Flash lagging behind. Since I do not run a daily blog it sometimes feel like I am the last on the puck so to speak. That is why most of my postings are fluff or opinions. But it also leaves me somewhat frustrated once in a while.
Today I am going to talk about a pair of news items that are not really new anymore.

First up we have the casting of the next movie in the DC cinematic universe that started with Man of steel and will be followed by the Batman/Superman movie. Coming up is the movie based on Taskforce X, better known as the suicide squad. If you have kept tabs on CW´s Arrow you will be familiar with some of the name. It is the clandestine government black-ops unit that use convicts with special skills to do that what ordinary forces cannot.

In most incarnations of the task force the people who “volunteer” is told that each mission take some time of the sentence (and seeing as a lot of them serve several life sentences… ) but they are also fitted with a micro explosive attached to their spine at the base of the neck. Should one of the operatives get out of line… tick, tick, boom. The Suicide squad is usually a good way in the comics to retire minor or less popular villains should the need arise. Mortality rates are very high, hence the nickname. But you usually find some high profile names rotating in and out of the squad such as Deadshot and Harley Quinn. So who are in the squad this time around.?

Let us kick it of at the top with


Amanda Waller: It is unclear exactly what role Waller will play (or who will play her) but she is the typical tough as nails director. The kind that would stare the Joker in to submission and call Batman a pansy richboy.  There are in essence two versions of her. The classic and in my mind best version is a middle-aged heavyset woman. Built like a brick in a suite she is both a harsh taskmaster but also one to have a motherly side to the nutcases she “care” for. The other is a “vitalized” version of her, 30-ish and a much more fit and active player who are not afraid to get hands on when the situation need it. This version is seen in the Arrow show and DC´s new 52 universe reboot. Rumors have it that WB is looking for a slightly older woman to play the role but nothing is confirmed as of yet. But there cannot be a Taskforce X without Amanda Waller.


The Joker (played by Jared Leto): The clownprince of crime should not need much of a introduction and is this films odd man out seeing as he is not a Taskforce X regular due to being… Well.. Fucking nuts … More so then most other psychopaths in TF:X. What role he will have in the movie… I´d guess he will be “the brain” and make the plans, seeing as he is a brilliant strategist and highly intelligent. As for Jared Leto, I had not seen him in much I could remember so I had to turn to google and I have to say he has the looks for a younger more energetic Joker. Perhaps along the lines of Bruce TImms Joker from Batman TAS and Justice League TAS(voiced brilliantly by Mark Hamill). I am very intrigued to see how he will tackle the role.


Harley Quinn (played by Margot Robbie): The Jokers constant shadow/lover/partner/enemy who originated in the Batmna Animated series by Bruce Timm.  Harley Quinnsel was an Arkham Asylum psychiatrist who tried to do a Clarice Starling but was played and pushed over the edge by the manipulative and charismatic Joker. Once she snapped she fully embraced the insanity. At first glance Harley Quinn look like nothing more than eye candy for the Joker, but is a competent psychiatrist and well versed in psychoanalysis. She is also a fairly competent fighter. The actor playing her is Margot Robbie and just like the Joker this girl as a blank for me. But having seen her in a few YouTube clips I think she can nail the seductive and dominant but also bat shit crazy Harley Quinn. Perhaps not my top pick but I think it will work out well.


Boomerang (played by Jai Courtney(: Better known as Captain Boomerang this Flash villain and all-round unpleasant fellow is an assassin for hire that uses different trick-boomerangs… Yes… He is also Australian… Who would have thought?  He is also a reoccurring TF:X member even if his main association is the villain group “ the rogues” from the Flash comics and the CW TV series. A fairly competent fighter with a good eye for angles and thinking three steps ahead. In the comics there have been two or three different villains carrying the name of Boomerang and it is a bit unclear what version this will be based on. He is going to be played by Jai Courtney and form what I have seen from him he will be a good fit in the looks department and while Boomerang tends to be the somewhat surly and even a bit whiney in the comics I have no doubt that Jai can pull that off if they go that way. I personally hope they make him a bit more towards the angry and suspicious side of things.


Deadshot (Played by Will Smith): Probably the biggest casting WTF for me. Deadshot is a TF:X mainstay that have been in most of the versions I have come across. The world’s deadliest assassin and rumored to never miss a target (unless it is wearing bright spandex and has its own comic book title) Deadshot is a broken man, suicidal and homicidal he is often portrayed as having very little care for the life of others, this goes double for his team. But he live by a strict code of conduct that stipulates that every job should be completed. He is usually portrayed as a fairly smart and competent leader. A above average strategist and a master of ballistic weapons…. All of them… But especially a pair of wrist mounted guns linked to a HUD. He is played by Will Smith, whom I have a hard time seeing as the gruff and downright unlikeable Deadshot. He did show a little bit of that in among other Hancock… I have my doubts about this but he is at least a seasoned actor. Perhaps a bit to seasoned as I fear they will tweak the character to fit Will rather than the other way around.


Rick Flagg (played by Tom Hardy): A fairly unknown name outside of comic’s geeks. Flagg is the no nonsense leader of Taskforce X and Amanda’s representative once the team leaves the “nest” so to speak. A fanatical patriot Flagg is the sort of man that think that the ends always justifies the means.  He does not have much personality or motivation beyond that most of the time. He will be played by Tom Hardy who we last time saw as Bane in the third Nolan Batman movie… .. . The less we say about that one the better. While I hated the take on Bane he did I have no problem seeing him playing a stern and no bullshit military man that put his mission before his “men”.


Enchantress (played by Cara Delevigne): The only person with real superpowers in this lineup as she is a spell-caster and wilder of magic. I know very little about this character beyond that she have at times flip-flop between hero and villain due to her magic corrupting her from time to time. No clue if they will stick with the magic angle or explain it some other way. The same goes for the actor playing her. A utter unknown but she at least has the look.

There is also a rumor that Lex Luthor will be involved and played by Jesse Eisenberg. I think that will be good.

Now this lineup to me sounds pretty solid apart from two things, both tied to the same problem. Both the character of the Joker and Will Smith as an actor feel a lot to me like “poster names” to pull in the “normal” person on the street who will be unfamiliar with who both the characters and the actors are. But I hope I am wrong and that they both fill a purpose beyond the obvious name recognition.


Now I am not dissing this movie and I was one of the people who did not outright hate Man of Steel, I think it was an interesting take on the mythos that had some small but important flaws… And the solution to Zod was not one of them. But the thing is that DC have not had a good solid run with their movies and the choice to split the movie and TV universe is understandable but sad as this is one of the things I really like with Marvel´s cinematic universe, it is all connected more or less. Dc not doing this is something I think will come back and bite them in the arse later. Also beyond the stuff that CW is doing their live action TV stuff have been less than a smash hit for me. Time will tell I guess but no matter what there has never been a time like now to be a comic´s geek.

So leaving that I just like to give my reaction to the rumour that Occulus acquired hand reading sensor tech in development.

My reactions is… .. . SQUIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII….

More on this as it develops. Literally =P

That was that... Cheers =)

12/12/2014

I run with The Crew again.






So as some people know the Crew from Ubisoft have been released and despite losing out on some sweet pre-order loot (who can say no to free cars in a car game) I did not do the whole dance and song of buying a game sight unseen. Especially as my experience during the beta was less than stellar in the driving department and lacked some serious online presence… Not very good thing for an online racing game… Add to that the whole embargo on reviews until the game was released and it was pretty much impossible for me to dip before.


But at its core the game was still fun and the PC beta was some good months before release. Much did happen. Especially the improvements to the early cars and how they handle. So I picked it up as my early Christmas gift to myself (ain´t being adult grand) and have sunk a few hours, getting myself up to level ten and finding my first hidden car. Now the game still lack a bunch in the online department and calling it a MMO is using the widest definition of the term as it is very limited in the amount of people you can see and interact with. It also have bugs… But what the fuck does not these days so I am not going to bother with that. If they are not fixed in a month I might consider climbing the barricade.
 
still very much carporn
Now most of what I said in my preview post  about The Crew still stands, the game is still very nice looking and the relaxed feeling of taking your favorite car on a cross country trip with no other goal then to drive is... relaxing and well perhaps not fun in the traditional sense but it give you a sense of freedom that few other racing games do. It is also very fun in its blatant disregard for realism and well often laws of physics. Taking your car and parking it at the top of Pikes Peak… Taking in the scenery… And then put the pedal to the medal down the Cliffside with no other goal then to see how fast you get to the bottom if liberating. The music range from great to passable depending on your taste in music buuut on does miss the talk shows from the GTA series. A minor nitpick in the grand scheme of things.

Now the game is not without flaws, the controls are still a bit squirrely and it is easy to overcorrect. Also this game is a console port… Do not event think of trying to play the game without at least a controller. It is simply not doable in my opinion. The content is also a problem, as varied as it is both in task and difficulty… It gets old fast. Now this is not much the games fault, it is a competent arcade racer and had it not tried to be something more I would not even bring it up here. But with the overarching goal of being a MMO of some type it would have needed something more, maybe some more wacky or instanced “cinematic“ sets?


Then it is the “story”… The legacy the games carry from more traditional racers. Not only are we hard locked in to the whitest dude since sliced toast. Thik what would happen if Freeman from Half-Life had a lovechild with Walter White from Breaking Bad… Now feed that child a steady diet of the Fast n Furious… Presto… It is so predictable I expect Michelle Rodrigues to pop up and try to screw me over. But I guess it does a passable to job to explain what could have been done with a normal tutorial. This does sort of lead me to the in my mind biggest flaw.

Customization.

Not only can you not change who you “are”… Because no matter how muc I like to I am not going to see myself as a car… I leave the up to Pixar.  But the car itself seriously lack in the customization department. Certain looks are tied to the games “class” system and other are simply not there for one arbitrary reason or other such as some paints and decals. For a game that says the car will be a reflection of me… They lock a good amount behind weird walls, I can understand that my dune racer need beefier suspension and wheels… but why not let me go a bit crazy with what I put on it...? The cynic in me say that it is because they need to put something in the cash shop.

Now one nice thing was that if one have 100 UPlay points you get a free Dodge Viper... that unlike 99% of Dodge Vipers in games do not suck. It is actually really fun. But the down side is ofc that you need UPlay to play the game. Ubisofts own little game platform still need some love and is not the most efficient snippet of code. But it is getting better.


So to sum things up. Ubisoft do have a really good core with The Crew but now it is up to task if they manages to keep the game updated on a regular basis and can keep the content flowing. If not this will be a very sad and short-lived attempt by Ubisoft to muscle in on the online scene.

08/12/2014

GameMaster of puppets.



Modern Eon


Classic Eon
So since i received a pen and paper RPG I helped crowdfund. I have been putting together a new campaign. I have not done a proper campaign of my own in many years. The game in question is EON a sort of classic Swedish RPG from the early 90´s that was known for being fairly complex and using a unlimited D6 system (you rerolled any 6 on a D6 and added it to your roll.) It is also known for having a very deep character creation system where you not only roll your stats but you also roll several times on backgrounds and events that shape your character and actually help building a backstory as you go. Now I know there are some people who do not like that.. Yeah… I am talking to you WoD and DnD players… Imagine having only the bare minimum control over your character… Scary is it not. I personally love it. It creates very organic and interesting characters. Even two characters with the same background and profession will end up very different.

Now I am a fairly strict GM, not cruel but if you do stupid shit you will pay the price. But I do reward good roleplaying and I do very much reward creative problem solving. Another thing I do to promote my players to not play too safe. I always have a house rule called “a heroes last act” in which a character can take this action and will for one turn act as if fully rested and unhurt and might even get a bonus (depending in game) but with the caveat that they fall to the ground dead once the turn I over and cannot be raised back from the dead. This gives my players a chance to make a mark even if the dices completely fuck them over. I have had some really epic situations arising from this as a player who is in essence dead on their feet in the most literal meaning of the phrase get up and holds the door so the rest of the group can escape or put them self in the way of the charging monster. I find it also lessen the blow of dying when you can do so with a bit of flair and style.
 
The world of Mundana or well.. parts of it.
Now I know this is not something all GM´s do but I feel it is a good way to ease tensions and take some of the min/maxing out of things. Especially as I REALLY does not like people Min/Max-ing, partially thanks to an old friend who in his youth made it a literal art-form pulling one over on the system. He was not a bad role-player... Just really good at breaking the system. Since then I get a little bit of a twitch on the right side of my face when someone tries to min/max.

So now I am trying to figure out a good way to kick things off, I have a decent middle and an end-ish to the first arch (experience have taught me not to plan too much… Nothing goes as horrible wrong as expecting players to follow a plot and respect your deep storytelling. So the more doors you close the quicker the campaign goes off track. But I do not really have a start but I think some decent plot points will emerge as characters are rolled up… That is usually how it goes with EON. Now that being said I do not have all players in place yet either so I still have time. No point in getting too much rolling before Christmas and new year’s.


I might try and run a sort of “director’s commentary” on it here as we get moving. Or I will do it as a VLog.. Who knows?


Any way that is it for today. Take care and be safe.