Captain America: Civil War Review

Even though it has the title “Civil War”, it actually has very little to do with the comic storyline it takes the title from. There’s the core starting point: registration for all super-powered beings on earth. And like in the comics, Tony Stark sits on one side while Captain America sits on the other. But that’s about where the similarities start and end.

This version of Civil War deals with the search for the Winter Soldier after he supposedly blew up a political conference, killing several high profile people including the father of The Black Panther. This sets him on a quest for vengeance, Tony Stark wants to arrest the Winter Soldier, and naturally, Captain America wants to find his friend and keep him safe.

SRyYQZ.0.0You may be led to believe that the villain of this film is someone named Zemo. He has nothing to do with his comic book counterpart in this film and more or less meanders around the movie. His entire purpose exists to be a plot mechanic instead of an actual antagonist. He moves around the world, causing problems and setting up things in order for the movie to move along. But in the end he does very little, especially since his plan hinges on people being in a certain spot at a certain time, at the same time. It’s all very convenient and kind of damages the impact of certain scenes.

But the real action of the movie has to do with Cap and Stark. Their relationship has always been one of begrudged friendship and that’s been crumbling steadily since the opening of Avengers: Age of Ultron. Things go into overdrive over the course of the film, and thanks to a third act revelation, pretty much falls apart entirely. Civil War is a movie that – like other Marvel movies – you can more or less enjoy without having seen the others, but things wouldn’t have the same impact if you’ve been following the movies since the beginning. These characters have come super far since the original Iron Man movie and this movie feels like a culmination of that.

There are a few additional standouts. Black Panther is pretty amazing in this movie. Chadwick Boseman’s fits the role so well that the movie is immediately better when he’s on screen. I’m definitely excited to see how Black Panther’s solo movie turns out.

3058531-1280_captain_america_civil_war_black_pantherThe other is of course the one and only Spider-man. Spider-man is one of the best and worst things about Civil War. Tom Holland is great in the role, and Spider-man’s action scenes are great. But you can tell that Spider-man wasn’t meant to be in this movie originally. The plot literally stops for fifteen minutes in order to introduce Peter Parker and get him up to speed with the rest of the movie. It’s unfortunate, as the movie suffers from enough pacing problem as it is.

Of course the most important aspect of a mash up movie such as this is the action. What we really want is to see our favorite heroes knock each other around and boy does this movie live up to that. There’s a really good fight between both “teams” in the middle of the movie where everyone from Spider-man to Ant-man gets to show off their skills. The fight kind of suffers from a “why didn’t you open with that” mentality a bit, but otherwise it’s really exciting.

The fight towards the third act is not only way more brutal, but more tragic. It’s here that you realize the damage that’s been done by both people can’t be repaired easily and both are looking to spill blood. This one isn’t made for cheering and popcorn fluff, it rings more sad than fun.

captain-america-civil-war-still-1The movie also attempts to deal with some heavy themes, as most comic book movies do. In this case it’s the idea of a world police and the freedom to choose. It’s here that the movie feels almost too short, as the ideas aren’t nearly as explored as they could be. The movie takes more time dealing with the comic book-y aspects of the plot and sort of passes off the debates of these themes after the first act. By the time the movie finishes, you’ll forget entirely that the movie began because of a registration act.

Overall Captain America: Civil War is a great film. It isn’t as tight as Winter Soldier, or even Guardians of the Galaxy, but it ranks up there as one of Marvel’s top films. The implications of this film on the wider MCU are large and will no doubt take their toll on films to come (in a good, dramatic way that is). It’s worth remembering that this is the last time we’ll see most of these heroes – Black Panther and Spider-man not withstanding – for several years to come. So for things to end on a tragic note is bittersweet, but one that feels earned over the course of three Iron Man movies, two Avengers movies, and three Captain America movies.

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The Rising Tide of Popular Culture

Yesterday came news via The Hollywood Reporter that the Russo brothers – responsible for the last three Captain America movies – are opening a studio in China to help produce movies by Chinese filmmakers. This is due to the increase in China’s film market, where it’s quickly becoming larger than that of the United States.

This is on the heels of news that Chinese film The Mermaid will be released in the United States. It’s possible that soon we’ll be living in an age where we receive a great deal of our popular culture from China. Interestingly enough, this isn’t the first time that this has happened in the US.

Those of us that grew up in the 90’s have to remember that pretty much everything we were obsessed with came from Japan. The SEGA Genesis was released early in the decade, and then the N64 and PlayStation followed closely behind. There was Pokemon in all forms, Digimon, and several popular anime’s like Sailor Moon and Dragon Ball Z. Basically, if it came from Japan, we wanted to consume it. This lasted roughly the entirety of the 90’s and began to taper off in the early 2000’s. There are those who still love Japanese culture, but it isn’t as pervasive in our popular culture as it once was.

During the early 2000’s to about now, the United States has been the one delivering popular culture. Dumb action movies were huge hits overseas and brought in the big bucks. Hell, even Twilight came from the US. There were exceptions like Harry Potter obviously.

Over the past five years though, there’s been a slow shift. Since China began loosening its censorship restrictions, everyone has begun looking to China as the new market. Films like Transformers 4 and Iron Man 3 have included several Chinese specific things just to attract audiences. They don’t always work, but at least they’re giving it a shot.

Now we’re getting movies that are big hits in China over here and producers are looking to invest in the output of Chinese films. So a lot of money is about to flow into the Chinese market, through which we could see a huge boom of interesting films and products.

So it’s hard not to wonder how the idea of popular culture will change in the next five to ten years. Ultimately this is nothing but speculation, but we could be on precipice of a large change.

 

 

The Fantastic Four (My Version)

You know whenever there’s a horrid comic book movie most people say they could write a better movie? Well, that’s what I said when the latest Fantastic Four movie was released last August. I didn’t even see the movie, the reviews were so terrible. But I knew as someone who understood basic storytelling, that I could write a better movie than what was being put on screens.

So I did! It took a long time, mostly because I took about a three month break to finish school but in the past few days I went from 52 pages to 91. It’s probably shorter than it should be, but I don’t really have a clear idea on how to write action scenes. So those are probably much shorter than they would be on screen.

(For those curious, the script will be linked at the bottom of the post and in the screenplays section of the blog)

So when coming up with the plot for this movie, I decided that I would ignore licensing issues and write this movie as if it were being included in phase three or phase four of the MCU. The Fantastic Four desperately needs the support of the universe and other movies. Without it, it doesn’t make their conflicts seem threatening. The added weight of what’s come before is extremely helpful.

It also helps with certain characters. One of Doctor Doom’s strongest abilities is his magic. In fact he was the Sorcerer Supreme after Doctor Strange. So instead of giving him nonsensical telekenesis or whatever else he gets assigned in older movies, he has something that ties into the larger universe. When the cosmic radiation hits, his magical powers are enhanced ten fold.

I was also able to layer in a few hints to additional Fantastic Four mythology. Characters like Maria Hill and Nick Fury opened up several opportunities for such things.

Reed Richards and Ben Grimm remain mostly untouched in terms of powers and abilities. I made it so Ben evolves over time due to the level of radiation he receives. So he’ll start out kind of small and grow larger over the course of the movie.

Reed has more personality changes than anything else. He’s definitely as arrogant as always, but it hides a larger weakness in which he’s actually more cowardly than he seems.

Sue and Johnny are the ones I changed the most. I made them twins for starters. I did this so they I could make their powers intertwined. This allowed Sue to be more active in action scenes and for some really fun power combinations.

The basis of the plot involves the usual origin, they group goes to space and gets hit by cosmic radiation that gives them various powers. Only because this film is set in the MCU, it has additional context. They’re going up there to study alien signals and figure out where the portals from the first Avengers came from (and if they could detect others before they happen).

The cosmic radiation is from the Silver Surfer, who is going to earth to prepare it for Galactus. He serves as the main antagonist of the movie. But as I list below, he isn’t featured super heavily in the movie and that’s something I would need to fix in a second draft.

The script isn’t perfect, far from it. It’s only a first draft though. I’ll go back one day and fix the various errors within. But for now here’s a basic list of what’s wrong:

  • Script is very plot driven
  • The rule of threes isn’t as obeyed as it needs to be
  • Not enough conflict between some of the characters
  • Certain motivations need more explaining
  • Characterization needs to be carried throughout the entire film
  • Probably need to drop more hints about Dr. Doom being an actual villain
  • Silver Surfer has…. four scenes? Probably should include more
  • Various dialogue/formatting touchups

These are the eight that I can list off the top of my head.

If you’re curious about a cast, well, do I have a list for you. Though it lacks any explanations because those are boring. This is simply to give you someone to visualize when you read it! You’re free to ignore it 🙂

Doctor Doom

Reed Richards

Sue Storm

Johnny Storm

Ben Grimm

And here’s the script! If for whatever you reason you lose this post you can find the script up in the top right corner area that says “Screenplays”.

Fantastic Four

Comfort Gaming

We all have things we do for comfort. I mean, there’s a whole category of food called “comfort food”. Every once in awhile (or more often) we need something to just make us feel “good” and give us that invisible security we so desperately want. Some people get it from books, or a certain movie, an album, and so on. For me, it’s usually television or YouTube videos. There are certain people I love to watch and it makes it easy to turn my brain off so I don’t have to think about things.

But occasionally I also seek comfort in certain video games. Most times video games require too much brain activity for me to use them as comfort. But there are certain games require just enough thought to be fun, but also allow for me to zone out.

Silent Hill 3 is a game like that. Alongside Resident Evil 4, they’re both games I’ve played so many times they no longer cause any fear, and the puzzles are easy enough to let me through almost instantly. So I imagine the comfort is in the familiarity. It’s something I know like the back of my hand.

But the game I’ve found the most comfort in is Risk of Rain. It’s a game I wrote about a few years ago and is easily one of my all time favorites. I discovered in on ManVSGame’s Twitch live stream and immediately wanted to play it. It’s a rogue-like, similar to games like Spelunky, Binding of Isaac, and FTL. So you play through the whole game at once, collecting items and making your character stronger. Lose and you start back over. An entire run through the game is maybe an hour at most? So it isn’t all that awful if you have to start over.

More than the genre of game though, Risk of Rain is filled with this melancholy style. The music is easily the game’s greatest asset in terms of that style. But the visuals help a lot too. It’s all pixel based art, but everything is small and neatly defined.

Because of that, it easily lulls you into a zone of sorts. So even though I’ve unlocked all the achievements in the game and have nothing more to “accomplish” the game’s calming effect it has on me is still enough to pull me back in. (Though I’ll admit that it helps kinda that it doesn’t have Steam Cloud integration, meaning my progress was reset after rebuilding my machine. So I can unlock everything again if I really want to)

Witcher 3 is another game that I find myself falling back to when in need of a distraction or something to make my mind off things. In this case it’s the exact opposite reason than Risk of Rain. Here, it’s the writing, the world, the people, and so on that make Witcher worth returning to.

There’s a reason I chose it as my second favorite game of the year (almost #1, it was a fight with myself for sure). But the writing and acting is so good that it’s probably the most realistic a game has been in a long time. There’s something about that, that I can’t help but feel drawn to. Especially when I can’t deal with the real world.

There’s probably a lot more one could say about why certain games are appealing to a particular person in terms of comfort, but I’m not qualified to discuss those. All I can do is give what I think is the reason I enjoy those games “in times of need”. Does the same apply to you guys?

Fallout 4 Review (PC)

**Fallout 4 Spoilers Ahead**

Expectations are a funny thing. They can turn even the most perfect game into something disappointing. When you think you’re getting one thing and then you get another, there’s going to be some questions there. That’s kind of the mindset I had after playing Fallout 4 for a few hours. By the end of my time with Fallout 4, nearing thirty hours or so, I realized that Fallout 4 was a really good open world shooter, and a terrible role-playing game.

The last time we got a Fallout game from Bethesda was in 2008. In the time since though games have changed a lot. It’s natural to think that Fallout 4 wouldn’t just be Fallout 3 with a shiny new coat of paint on it. But instead of an evolution of the systems and the gameplay, we got some add-ons and bunch of systems simply stripped out from the game.

Fallout 4’s story begins just before the bombs fall. It’s interesting to get a look at what pre-war life looked like, but in the end it doesn’t do much in terms of influencing the rest of the game. The best part of the opening is the character designer, which is easily the most welcome addition to Fallout 4. No longer do you have the most basic of character tile sets. Now there’s a highly customizable creation tool that lets you make whoever you want – male or female. It’s something I hope that other games will steal because its easily the best part of the whole game.

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The main characters are also fully voiced. It’s nice that has been upgraded for the modern days. Unfortunately Bethesda decided to change the dialogue system to something similar to Mass Effect’s. It’s not a wheel so much as it is just four choices where one is almost always “sarcasm” and the others are a random assortment of emotions. Not only does it make it tough to know exactly what your character will say, but it’s impossible to actually be “evil” in the game. You can do horrible things occasionally, but there’s a lack diversity in terms of morality.

Like all Bethesda stories, the main quest is lackluster. I won’t go into details on it but let’s just say it’s somewhat similar to Fallout 3 for the first half of the game. There then becomes a point where you can choose between one of four factions and doing so will net you a different ending. The issue is that with the way the quests unfold, you’re driven down one path without ever knowing that the others are available. The game does very little to communicate this to you. I had to look at a guide to find out myself.

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The inability to communicate is a theme that runs throughout the core of Fallout 4. The game does very little in the way of teaching you how to play the game. After the tutorial teaches you the absolute basics, you’re turned out into the world and left to your own devices. The issue is that the game doesn’t tell you how to use important things like VATS, or how to use the settlement system whatsoever.

The settlement system, which is ultimately pointless and has very little impact on the rest of the game, is full of complexities and little intricacies that the game almost goes out of its way to avoid telling you. It’s sad because it can actually be kind of fun to build your own base, even if it means nothing in the end.

Moving along, one of the improvements Bethesda made to the Fallout series are the companions. They’re no longer lifeless entities that are designed to hold stuff for you and shoot things. They have personalities and opinions, and are actual characters. You even have the option of romancing them, which typically results in a very sweet exchange of words, and then an extra perk. It isn’t much, but it’s a step in the right direction (for those wondering, I chose Piper. Because she’s the best).

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The best.

Much of Fallout 4’s world is lifeless and that isn’t because of nuclear fallout. It’s a world that doesn’t feel very lived in. More to the point, many of the quests are super boring. The writing is simple and they all end up in a shoot out. The number of side quests that can be resolved without violence can be counted on one hand. It’s sad because Betheda games are supposed to be about letting you play the game you way you want to. But this game feels like they built a shooter, so they needed people to shoot things as much as possible.

That isn’t to say the shooting is awful. It’s actually miles better than both Fallout 3 and New Vegas. But that’s about the only thing. The skills system has been completing stripped out and now the perk system has been reworked to include some of that stuff. In the end it waters down the ways people can customize their character. And even though the game offers to ability to spec for different types of playthroughs, the game itself really only wants you to take things that make it easier to kill stuff and harder for you to die.

Fallout 4 also comes with the “expected” set of glitches that Bethesda games usually do. The game crashes, doors don’t open, quests don’t end, and so on and so forth. For me the biggest issue was when I couldn’t actually get the ending I wanted because the next Minutemen quest I needed refused to trigger. So I had to take another route just to see what the end game was like.

In the end I felt like I had kind of wasted my money. I came into Fallout 4 expecting a game full of interesting RPG systems that would help me build the character I wanted and experience the world of the game in a unique way. Instead I got a game that felt like Borderlands set in the apocalypse and the shooting wasn’t as good. Considering how excited I was after waiting seven years for a sequel to Fallout 4, getting something like this was crushing.

Fallout 4 has some redeeming qualities to it. It looks great, the companions are improved, and the character creator is the best in existence (sans maybe Black Desert?). But those don’t outweigh the fact that the game isn’t really a role playing game anymore. It’s a shooter set in an open world with RPG like elements. Ultimately, that’s a bit of a bummer.

2015 Game of the Year Awards Day “3”

Alright let’s finish this! Here are the final five games of my top ten list! There are spoilers buried in there somewhere. So read carefully if that bothers you.

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5. Rocket League – When I first saw footage of Rocket League, I was hooked. I hadn’t even played the game and I wanted it to consume my life. Talk about a game that’s designed its physics to perfection. Despite being endlessly frustrating, Rocket League is one of the games I’ve had the most fun this year. The only reason it’s so frustrating is because I’m actually really bad at it. Rocket League is that game where everything is your fault. It’s a game made up of skill and rarely random chance.

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4. Life is Strange – When I started Life is Strange, I had no idea it would take me on the emotional roller coaster that it did. The journey of Max Caulfield is one to remember. The game is stressful, not only for the moments designed to be so, but it also showcases the loneliness of being an awkward college student. It was a game that reminded me of my own past in more ways than one. I was able to connect to it on a fundamental level. It’s probably the closest I’ve come to crying over a game.

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3. Tales from the Borderlands – While Life is Strange was an emotional journey in terms of sadness and loneliness, Tales from the Borderlands made me laugh more than any game this year. The writing is so good, throughout all five episodes. I was glad that I waited until all five were out before buying the set. Because playing one right after the other made it so easy to stay on the high each game left me in. The game isn’t perfect, there are some weird plot things, but the characters are amazing. Fiona is one of my all-time favorites.

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2. The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt – This was so tough. It took me so long to choose between this and the next game. Witcher 3 is a wonderful game. It’s world is full of life and feels like a place that people exist in. Unlike something like Fallout or Batman, they don’t shy away from putting people in their world that aren’t meant to be your enemy. The world is just as dark though. This is not a good time for the people involved.

The writing spectacular, some of the best I’ve seen in gaming. The story takes you all over the world, each place feeling completely unique with its own culture. The characters – especially Ciri and Yennifer – are fantastic and are easily two of my favorite characters in the game. Ciri especially is such a great character. Not only is she different from Geralt in terms of personality, she also plays very differently (and is way more fun in my opinion). I liked Witcher 3 so much that after playing it on the PS4, I rebought it again on PC just to replay it with mods and grab the expansion packs.

1. Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain – Alright, here we are. In the end I chose MGS V because of what was going on behind the scenes as well as the game itself. Ignoring the Konami nonsense for a moment, this was billed as the final MGS game. Now whether or not that meant to be the case, it is now. This is the last true MGS game we’ll ever see. So knowing that as I went in, there was a bittersweet sense of this being the grand finale.

And boy was it a finale. The game spreads it story thinner than previous Metal Gear games and I was okay with that. It made me super excited to see what was at the end of each mission. The cast of characters is as eclectic as ever. You have Kaz, who’s the grumpiest person in the world. Ocelot is a cowboy, Huey is a bastard, and Quiet is a psychopath. Then there’s Big Boss.

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Or is it? Not really, as we find out. Instead he’s Venom Snake, a soldier brainwashed into thinking he was Big Boss in order to draw heat off the Big Boss. It’s an insane, Kojima level twist. Personally, I loved it. There were many other moments like that I loved even more.

Despite the grossness that surrounds Quiet physically, her character is easily one of the best in the game. She says next to nothing for the entire game and yet she has more development than most of the cast. Because of that, it makes her ending of the game even more potent. There was certainly a hole left in my heart when her ending came along.

Lastly, the greatest moment in the game comes when there’s a viral breakout in the quarantine base. Big Boss is forced to go in and take out his soldiers lest they spread the plague to the rest of his men. It’s a morbid level, one where your own men scream out for mercy as you execute them. But that’s not even the most haunting part. That comes later, before you leave. You come upon a section of soldiers who were waiting for you. They knew what was going on. They understood. So you know what they do? They don’t scream, they don’t beg for mercy. Instead they stand and salute you. And they tell you it’s okay.

2015 Game of the Year Awards Day “2”

Here are the first five games on my top 10 list! D:

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10. Super Mario Maker – It’s not often that Nintendo actually hits the mark on something people are excited for. There’s a very large change that Nintendo would screw this one up. After all, it involves the internet. But instead Super Mario Maker has become something of a singularity in terms of Nintendo content. It’s so inspired and simple, yet filled with complexities should you choose to look for them. As examples of prime content, look no further than the “feud” between Kotaku’s Patrick Klepek and Giant Bomb’s Dan Ryckert.

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9. Ori and the Blind Forest – There’s a lot about this game that screams pretentious hipster. The hand painted visuals, the somewhat solemn tone, the paint by numbers pretty music, all contrasted by extremely hard gameplay. That said, it’s that gameplay that made Ori worth coming back to. Though it made me more frustrated than any other game on this list, there was nothing quite as satisfying than pulling off three minute’s worth of movement combos while freaking out that certain death is right behind you. Gaining new abilities and being able to go back to areas that have been made easier is such an amazing feeling.

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8. Binding of Isaac: Rebirth/Afterbirth – I’m a huge fan of rogue-likes. Games like FTL, Rogue Legacy, Risk of Rain, and others are something special. Binding of Isaac’s remake – and then expansion – was this year’s highlight in rogue-like gaming for me. The addition of new modes, new characters, items, bosses, and more continue to make playing this game a fresh experience. Even though I’m legitimately terrible at it, there’s something to be said for that moment when you take a character that starts out with one health and run him through the entire set of levels – and through some of the secret ones too. I can only hope that they keep adding on more and more content to this game, giving me even more reasons to return to it.

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7. Until Dawn – I love horror games. So it shouldn’t surprise you to see at least two of them on this list. I was unsure about Until Dawn in a lot of ways before I finally played it. It isn’t actually very scary, but the fact that it harkens back to the era of PS1 and PS2 horror games. It has fixed camera angles! That alone is enough to land it on my list. But the idea that any character can die at a given time amps up the stress about each individual choice. The game’s central concepts rests on the idea of the butterfly effect and it actually worked out in unexpected ways. I’m really excited to see what Supermassive Games does with a sequel. Also Peter Stormare.

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6. SOMA – Well, I said I liked horror games right? SOMA is right up my alley with sci-fi horror. I’m also completely terrified of the deep sea. Like, unreasonably so, so I had to play this game with a guide on my iPad because I’m a pansy. Even so, the guide LIED TO ME AND SAID THERE WERE NO ENEMIES IN THE OCEAN SECTIONS WHEN THERE TOTALLY WERE! Anyways, the more important thing about SOMA was its story and it totally came through on everything it promised. There are a few moments that don’t fit into the rest of the grand design, but by the end of it you’ll be left feeling a little gross inside. And that’s totally the idea.

The last half will be put up tomorrow!

Pandemic Legacy

The title is literally that simple. We’ll be taking a break from game of the year awards for a moment. Mostly because I was lazy and haven’t written anything about the first half of my top ten list.

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Our board state by the end of the game.

Six months ago, or more – I can’t remember and I’m too lazy to check – I wrote about an awesome board game called Risk Legacy. It played like Risk but the game built on itself over the course of fifteen games. When you met certain conditions you would open up packs of cards or new board pieces. I played with the same four people over several months and in that time we changed the “world”… for worse. The planet in that game became a living nightmare.

But on last Tuesday, my friends and I started up another legacy game: Pandemic.

For those not in the know, Pandemic is a cooperative game where four players work together to cure the world of four diseases. The more they spread, the worse things get, and if there are too many outbreaks then you lose. It’s a little more complicated than that, but that’s the bare bones explanation.

The biggest difference between this game and Risk Legacy – besides being cooperative over competitive – is that no matter what you’ll always be unlocking new things. The game plays out over the course of an in game year. Each month could contain up to two games – depending on if you win the first game in the month. If you do, jump to the next one. If not, you get a second chance to repair the damage.

We were on a hot streak for the first three games and in the end that made us a little cocky. We got brutalized in April and that taught us a harsh lesson. One we wound up learning several times over in the course of the summer months and a few of the fall ones.

The game had reached a point where one of the viruses had mutated and calling containing that a struggle would be an understatement. But we trucked along nonetheless. This was made easier by the fact that whether we won or lost, we got to upgrade the board and continue to unlock new content.

This helped a lot on our second day of playing, in which we spent at least twelve hours finishing the last eight months of the year. It was easy to keep going when each game held the chance to unlock new mechanics and cards for us to play with. More than Risk Legacy, Pandemic wanted to tell a story. So win or lose, we would be along for the ride.

By the end of the game, we’d sussed out a traitor, became resistance members against a military dictatorship, cured a zombie epidemic, and saved the world. At the end of the game you’re given a card to read and depending on your end game score, you get a certain ending.

There are five endings that range from “the world is over” to “you saved the world with ease!”. We landed just below the very best ending. We didn’t solve all the world’s problems swiftly and with ease, but we kicked ass and made sure that “our faces would be on money for centuries to come”. Or something like that.

The picture you’ll see at the top of this post is our board state at the end of the very last game. One day I’ll remember to take a snapshot at the end of each game so there’s a slideshow of progression. But for now enjoy the picture of the planet after fighting a year’s worth of battles against zombies.

And for god’s sake we need to build some better ways to get from Africa to South America >_> Oh and split up East Asia into a peninsula or something because our zombie plague spread like wild fire over there. Just look at Shanghai as a prime example.

This version of Pandemic Legacy was also billed as “Season One”. What that will mean in the grand scheme of things, I have no idea. But I’m excited for the potential!

2015 Game of the Year Awards Day “1”

So it’s that time of the year where people who fans of video games put together top ten lists and the like. Since I have nothing better to do with my time, I’ll be doing a list as well. The issue is that I haven’t finished writing it up yet!

Shocking, I know.

So in the mean time, here are three additional “awards” that I came up with so I could talk about certain games. I’ll also post a list of all the games I played and finished throughout the year*.

  1. Ori and the Blind Forest
  2. Life is Strange
  3. Shadow of Mordor
  4. Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon
  5. The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt
  6. Fallout Shelter
  7. Hearthstone
  8. Mirror’s Edge
  9. Dishonored
  10. Rocket League
  11. Rising Thunder
  12. Hitman Absolution
  13. To the Moon
  14. Batman Arkham Knight
  15. Specimen: A Game About Color
  16. The Old Man’s Club
  17. The Last of Us: Left Behind
  18. Until Dawn
  19. Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain
  20. Diablo 3
  21. Spec Ops: The Line
  22. SOMA
  23. Tales from the Borderlands
  24. Super Mario Maker
  25. Fallout 4
  26. Emily is Away
  27. Binding of Isaac: Afterbirth
  28. DmC

*As finished as certain games could be. For example games like Rocket League and Hearthstone don’t hand endings to them.

And now for the “awards”.

Most Disappointing Game of 2015: Batman Arkham Knight

I’ll start by saying that I played this game on the PlayStation 4. So I never experienced the whole fiasco everyone the PC did. Despite all that, it should say something that this game is still one of the disappointing of the year. At first I thought about putting Fallout 4 here instead of Batman. But in the end the things that went wrong with Batman far exceed everything else this year. The fact that most of the game was taken over by what is probably the worst controlling vehicle in all of gaming is probably the most glaring issue. But then there’s the predictable story, filled with plot threads that just get dropped, and big moments that turn out to be complete fake outs. The entire thing feels like a sad attempt at finality, but written by people were too afraid to go all the way. Overall I hope this is the last of the Arkham games. I believe it’s time to give Batman a break.

Game That Used to be Fun But Isn’t Anymore: Hearthstone 

I could go on and on about the numerous issues that are plaguing Hearthstone nowadays. But in the end it boils down to the staleness of the meta. The Grand Tournament expansion did little to shake things up and that set was filled with over a hundred and fifty cards. It wasn’t until the latest single player expansion: The League of Explorers that things began to change, albeit very slowly. Unfortunately the expansion continued to highlight long time problems of Hearthstone, such as the entire Shaman class, and the fact that very few new cards from each set penetrate the main game. With occasional exception, you see the same decks run in and out and that’s made the game a bit boring. My hope is that with further tweaking and perhaps the removal of some cards that are used as crutches, the game will become fresh once again.

Most Anticipated Game of 2016 (So Far): Uncharted 4

As of this writing, I’m not hugely excited for a ton of games coming out next year. Gone are the days where I would pine for months on end waiting for a game to hit release. Instead I more or less meander until I remember that a game I want is coming out in two months (or weeks… or days). But if I had to pick a game that I’m looking forward to grabbing, it would be Uncharted 4, at least right now. God only knows what might be announced in the next few months. But I’ve always been a fan of the Uncharted series (2 is way better than 3!) and so I see no reason to not be excited for what will hopefully be the last entry in the series. Plus I’m a sucker for aging heroes who are ready to hang up the cowl. My only hope is that this is a true ending, and not something that will be passed off to another studio where they can continue to make “Uncharted games” that no one really pays attention to and doesn’t count among the real series (remember Golden Abyss? I didn’t think so). Now if only they’d stop delaying the damned thing.

So yeah, that’s day one. If I’m not super lazy, day two should be up tomorrow and will be the first half of my top ten list.

Happy holidays!

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