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Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Arkham Knight Trailer: Jumping, John Nobles, Batman!

The Arkham games have made me an unofficial batman fan through sheer force of awesomeness. I have sunk absolutely ridiculous amounts of time into all three. I bought Arkham City twice. I even think, given a few more months, Origins could have been the best of them all.

To say the least, Arkham Night, you had me before John Noble as Scarecrow. Good god, damn, do I love John Noble. As long as there isn't a bait and switch like in Origins (I.E. Black Mask is the big bad until, SURPRISE! it's really the joker) and he gets equal screen time with the eponymous "Arkham Knight" This could be an all timer. Even more than "City" already is.

Monday, February 23, 2015

Tomorrow, Vote Knope.

Parks and Rec is leaving us tomorrow and I'm sad. Not just because P&R writer and bit player Harris Whittles was found dead recently, but because this is also the end of a show I've loved to no end. Seriously, I've re-watched it on Netflix countless times. The whole way through at least 4 times.

While The Office chose to laugh at it's band of weirdos, P&R laughed with them. It was a heightened reality leavened with just enough tragedy and set backs to feel real. Each character was sharply drawn and made sensible seasonal arcs. In the end, each is almost a completely different person, yet it earned those dramatic transformations while simultaneously getting funnier.

Years from now I bet you money we'll still be talking about this show. While I love both 30 Rock and Community neither were a fraction as consistent, and if I'm being brutally honest, as lovable. This has been one of the all time greats, even if this past season hasn't been as good as I hoped. It still told a good story and already closed long time character arcs in spectacular fashion.

I'm going to miss this show like an old friend and I've never really felt that way about a bunch of episodes of TV before.

Saturday, February 21, 2015

What's going on at The Escapist?

First Jim Sterling and his wonderful Jimqusition web series jumped ship some months ago. A crushing blow to their site, seeing as there was nearly always an ad for it on the sidebar. It seemed amicable at first. Jim seemed like he didn't like the direction the site was going, ad revenue wise, and drummed up a juicy patreon stipend to keep his site up.

Now "Movie" Bob Chipman is out, another third of the only reason I go to the Escapist. And this time, from the tenor of his words, it sounds like he was straight up fired. You can read all about his thoughts though his blog in my side bar.

According to some decently researched forum posts, it may just be budgetary layoffs. But I've dove through the comments on both Jim and Bob and I'm not entirely sure it isn't based off of market research. Both of these men came out against Gamer Gate. Thunderously so. And many commenters were more than happy to see them go. A lot of "sad you got fired, but your screeds on how we shouldn't make female game developers feel like prisoners in their homes was beyond hitler-ific."

...In so many words.

I may be grasping at straws, I may also see Yahtzee on youtube soon. Very soon indeed.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Citizens of Earth: This got a 70 on metacritic because... why now?

I don't just like this game, I may be falling madly in love with it. The combat is deep and counter intuitive. Any rpg that wipes out my party when I'm not giving it my full attention has my respect. You MAKE me pay attention COE! You make me scrounge around town for clues on how to get another party member so I can kick the opposition leader's ass! Because now I respect you. Now I can get into your delightfully childlike views of how political power works. Like recruiting bakers, police women, school teachers, and conspiracy nuts to beat the physical crap out of the opposition leader! I am all about that madness.

Just turn off the voices. The acting quality bats 300.

I don't know why this is brilliant, and yet it is so.

Monday, February 16, 2015

Better Call Saul Review: The Ballad of Slippin' Jimmy.

BCS is... good. Better than I feared, but worse than I'd hoped. When everything clicks, it's not as good as Breaking Bad, because it's finally doing it's own thing. It's black and white opener in the present captures his new personal hell brilliantly. And being a general manager at a random mid-west Cinnabon is exactly that. There is beauty in making mass produced cinnamon rolls and the only reason I know that is because High Bridge's (Gilligan's company) photography is still the best in the biz.

From there we flash back to 2001 and we see a younger Saul in a different, somehow more depressing, suit. He tries his damndest to win an  unwinable case only to wind up with a third of what he expected to take home on his check. But that's just misdirection. This is not going to be about building a vast, profitable, empire. This going to be about a shell of a man finding his mojo.

Saul's life is beyond pitiful. His office is a storage closet in the back of a nail salon (wink and\or nod) He pretends to be his own receptionist, his public defense work is slowly killing him, and his brother's agoraphobic fear of electromagnetic waves means Saul's his unofficial nurse. Also the only prospective clients he's had in weeks went behind his back and signed with a much more successful firm.

The set up is decently entertaining but it feels like that's all it is. The new universe it created was fine but it took forever for the show to start telling a story with it. Thankfully, once Saul comes across a pair of competent, but short sighted, con artists I got what I wanted. A glimpse at the oily professional I came to see. From there we get to the "con gone wrong" story carried into episode 2, but I'll stop there.

What's here is good, with the potential for greatness. The handful of musical montages throughout the first two episodes remain brilliant. Instead of an incessant, irritating, motif. I mean, I'm just... done with American Horror Story.

 Odenkirk found the extra layer of humanity for Saul that the show desperately needed. The anticipation and release on his face every time he checked his empty voice mail were achingly perfect. His reaction to another lawyer walking into the courthouse bathroom while he was in the middle of his psyche-up speech "It... it's from a movie." actually got me to laugh out loud. Something I never do while wearing my serious show serious pants.

But it has to shake off those first season yips. It needs to double down on the lawyering/con artist angle and not re-tread the "in over his head with the cartel" storyline it's already set up. If it can do that, I'll be first in line every week. If it does the other thing... well, it's still a damn good show anyway. I just won't stay up to date every week.

And then I remembered I was out of pastel collared shirts...

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Thank you You say what I'm thinking.

They call them "chocolate" so you can't smell the bullsh*t.

You ever shopped for jewelry for that special someone and you look at the tags for the cheap stuff and a shooting pain runs through your arm? And after the paramedics leave you contemplate the very idea of  currency you can't literally use or eat?

I have! And made a hell of a video illustrating my point.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

The Man from UNCLE looks like too much fun.

In a world that takes all the wrong lessons from the success of Christopher Nolan, Guy Ritchie shines as a beacon of agenda-less fun. His Sherlock's were fun. All his movies are, more or less. TMFU could have been a grumpy, remember this show?, paint by numbers meal ticket. It's not. There's no way this trailer is selling a facade. It's got campy 60's thriller in it's bones and I want it. I want it right fuggin' now.

When's the Kingsmen come out?

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

The Vanishing of Ethan Carter? Yeah... it's pretty damn great.

It's somehow more beautiful than a picture. How the hell did they do that?
I'm just 1 hour and 2 puzzles in and I'm hooked. Sure it's beautiful, a lot of games are beautiful. Sure, the game cribs a lot from Lovecraft, that's going around these days. This game is what I wish a lot of what I've played lately were, compelling.  The acting is good, the story is better and I could go on an uneventful walk in this virtual wood for hours. I wouldn't even have to stumble on a failed ritual sacrifice to stay interested.

But I've said too much. It's $10 on steam right now. Get your otherworldly murder mystery fix.

Step into my office.

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Work's been hell.

I chose to take up an unreasonable amount of shifts at the restaurant during a week everyone and their mother was in town for one of multiple conventions. In other words, I've spent the last 4 days running around a mosh pit screaming at the top of my lungs.

I... need a minute.

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

The rebooted, slightly longer, and astonishingly even bloodier history of the Whalfast Estate.

I like Darkest Dungeon, I like it lots. But I also like things that hurt me often and needlessly, read into that as much as you want. I'm getting better at it... or at least I think I'm getting better at it. I'm becoming concerned I'm not improving as much as I'm getting lucky.

While the cruel wheel of fate that is this game's turn by turn dice roll makes every second absorbing, one bad fight can positively ruin an entire party. Erasing the majority of your progress, and leaving you with nobody but rookies to tackle the over leveled missions that remain.

When DD decides to stack the deck against you, it practically seals you in a wine cellar. In other words, I don't think this game's being as fair as say, XCOM, or Dark Souls. Maybe it shouldn't be. But I live for rougelikes like this and I've never felt so blatantly abused before. What I mean is, it's hard to develop a strategy when a couple missed strikes and one enemy critical hit make them all moot.

I hope DD learns to play with it's food more in the future.

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

The short and bloody history of the Whalfast Estate.

My family, my legacy, my decades old meticulously curated/alphabetized porn stash... all gone.

Well... damn. Darkest Dungeon has pimp slapped me harder than I'd dared hope. I had a man down in the tutorial.

The tutorial!

I've never started a game over in less than 5 minutes before. After an hour in, I'd lost my original crew, thankfully I never liked my plague doctor (who can't actually heal you) and my leper proved to be more badass than a man with a terminal degenerative condition has any right to be. Seriously, he shouldn't be able to walk straight.

This game is designed to humble. Programed from the ground up to break your heart. I say it has done so. For an "early access" game this sure feels like a full release. I I bet it falls apart in the end game, though.

So if you feel like chipping in 20 bones to be part of the tester army... and it looks like it's already Steam's top seller, do it. It's a steal at twice the price. Seriously, I'd happily pay $40 for this kind of strategical turn based agony.

Happy 5th, Nerdist!

I've been a huge Chis Hardwick fan since at least 2010. And since 2010, I've also become a fan of Matt Mira and Jonah Ray. Comradery is a fickle, frustrating, chemistry that a lot of podcasts out there don't pull off half as well. The Nerdist is about these three dudes as much as it's about Paul McCartney, or Bill Gates, or Tom Hanks those two times. Oh, and that Mel Brooks one is an all timer.

They can get prickly sometimes. Vaguely antagonistic, in a way most shows or podcasts would edit out. But they leave it all in, or a lot more than a PR rep would be comfortable allowing. In that way it's the most honest podcast I've ever listened to, as well as the most fun.

They deserve all the success they have, I'd even go as far to say @midnight is the best late night show since the Colbert Report.

I mean, look at this! This is culturally significant:

So happy birthday!

Sunday, February 1, 2015

So... Darkest Dungeon looks good. I'm having a rough week.

I just can't seem to get myself to bloggin'. I dunno why. Whiplash broke my heart, I had expected more from it. Mostly, I don't understand how Miles Teller keeps getting work. He held back "The Spectacular Now" (another movie where the female lead is inexplicably attracted to... you know what? I shouldn't.) and was just ok in Whiplash. He wasn't bad.

Also the second episode of Tales from the Borderlands should be out, now I remember why I always waited for the majority of their episodes to release. Because they lie. All the damn time. They're no George RR Martin... but still, "around" January 27th today ain't.

But Darkest Dungeon! It's in early access, but I can still see me enjoying the crap out of those bare bones. Yeah, maybe that'll get me out of my funk.