Follow @Mr_McCrackelz

Friday, February 28, 2014

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Bill Watterson's First Original Cartoon in over 19 Years.

See that? Gives me chills. I don't feel like I have to explain just how a big a deal this is for C&H fans and cartoon lovers alike. Watterson quit while he was ahead nearly two decades ago and never looked back. So not only did a documentary about the end of newspaper comics snag an interview, but he liked it so much he drew the damn poster!

It bears mentioning that the kickstarted film Dear Mr. Watterson, which did little else except talk about how great he is... which he is, couldn't even get a proverbial autograph. So this is a big deal even for the documentary crowd. It's own list of credits can't seem to believe it. But I do! I'm gonna camp out near my local indie theater with bells on... what's that? You're only screening in Southern California?

Well would you look at that? Bill Watterson found a way to break my heart a second time. But this time by proxy.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

So Thief isn't... AMAZING, but I like it well enough.

So you've probably heard the Thief reboot is pretty mediocre, and it is. The mission design is narrow, it's attempt at an open world is more tedious than engrossing, and the fact there are only 8 main story heists feels pretty light. But I like it. The acting is solid, the animation fluid and professional, and grabbing all those shiny, shiny, letter openers doesn't get old. At least not yet. Hitman Absolution had turned me off twice as much as Thief has in 4 hours. I don't know why, but there it is. I'm pretty confidant I'm gonna finish it and possibly tool around with some custom difficulty options. Which, considering the lack of free time I have these days, is an endorsement in of itself.   

Monday, February 24, 2014

Is the Thief reboot really that bad?

Because the word on the street is that all it will steal is your money... not your heart, sadly.
I've had my eye on this little number for some time. I've been dying for a pseudo "next-gen" game to give my shiny new evga 780 a workout. AC IV was not that game. The frame rates were all over the damn place. Constantly fluctuating and frequently cut in half. It didn't help that the game itself was a plodding, grindy, affair with just enough flashes of inspiration to make me believe it could have been the best Creed yet. It takes a supernaturally powerful kind of boredom to make me uninstall a 20 gig game before I even finished it. But I swear if I heard Derby Ram one more time, I was going to vomit.

...and I really liked that song too.

So I looked to EIDOS to give me what I wanted. Thief looked to be exactly that. Lord knows I loved Dishonored, and played the ever loving crap out of it. But it didn't take long for a snooty PC gamer like me to take in it's graphical bouquet like an asshole party guest that scoffs at your taste in wine a little too loudly. Dishonored began to look worse and worse. It was clearly made on a budget and for the xbox from the ground up. In other words, a game from 2009 that found it's way into 2012, an eternity in game years. I realized I didn't like Dishonored half as much as I wanted Dishonored 2. Sooner rather than later. Thief would hopefully scratch that itch.

But the sky's gone dark on the critical front. Mostly 7's and 6's on the consoles (a death-knell essentially) but the PC is fairing a little better. A smooth 60 fps can do wonders for the critical eye, but even then, the nay's far out number the halfhearted aye's.

I've per-ordered the sucker anyway. The fact Lords of Shadow 2 doesn't have any published reviews yet, reinforces those nasty rumors I talked about earlier. And there hasn't been a substantial AAA release in months. I'll take Thief's port in this particular storm... and it's not as if I haven't gone on to genuinely love critical punching bags before. 

Saturday, February 22, 2014

A Most Serious Post.

I wanted to wax poetic about the proletarian plight of the Ukraine's underclass that could very well boil over into civil war.

But then I saw Benedict Cumberbatch crawling around the floor in poka-dot jammies.

I'm only human. So here's a "making of" from the last Hobbit movie. Chew on that while I try to stop laughing so hard. It's just... I can't... The facial capture pictures alone...

Well THR isn't gonna let me embed. So hop over there, giving their advertisers some love, and I'll leave you with this:

There are no words for how this makes me feel.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Rumors of the first Lords of Shadow 2 review are out... and they are NOT positive.

Well... damn.

 LOS was the rare action adventure in the vein of God of War and Devil May Cry that was actually too long. That used to be the biggest problem I had with those games. Just when you thought you were warming up, Boom! it's over. But did LOS wear out it's welcome and then some. Whatever good there was in that game (and there was a fair piece) was choked to death by all the padding and fat.

But I couldn't wait to see what game Mercurysteam would make next, because for all my problems with the game as a whole, the individual pieces of it were undeniably well crafted. But now we come to the rumors of GI's as of yet, unpublished, review. The gist of it is withering. Directionless, overproduced, sound and fury type stuff.

While I'd wait until an aggregate viewpoint to really make a decision on a purchase... I'm sure as hell not pre-ordering.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Risk of Rain Review: It's quietly spectacular.

I am a glutton for digital punishment. I just can't seem to get enough of dem' rouge-likes. The way I see it, it's a slightly cheaper way to mainline my risk-reward endorphins than video poker. The genre has absolutely busted out on the indie scene these last few years. From Dungeons of Dredmor's ability to make every single line of text at least kind of funny (seriously, their listed system requirements used to demand you duct tape tin foil around your processor and pray to your chosen higher power. Steam used to be cool about that.), to The Binding of Issac's artistic fine line of being simultaneously adorable as well as creepy as all f#4k. There is so much more to RLs these days than simply perma-death and procedural generation. In other words, even in the indie scene, you'd really have to raise your game to stand out.

Confused? Good. Now read the difficulty setting in the top corner.

A two man student dev team (Paul Morse and Duncan Drummond) should not be able to raise that game. But I'm here to say that not only did they raise it right, that sucker graduated with honors. But to be fair, it takes a good while to see what makes RoR so special, not to mention at least 2 dozen deaths. The game play first appears to be a jumbled mess. You find power ups, enemies pop in, you shoot them, boss fight. There doesn't seem to be much to it. And if that's the opinion you walk away with from this game, you just weren't playing it right. There's a lot more depth to running and gunning then it seems.

You have 4 abilities with which to kill. Some are evasive, some are for crowd control, some don't seem to have much use at all. But the trick to figuring out the right moments to use them, is the trick to how the whole game works. Because once RoR clicks? It. Clicks. Hard. You will fall as madly in love with it as I have. Figured out how the commando works? Well you just unlocked 3 different characters on your last run and you are going to spend hours getting to know those characters just as well.

The depth of the character classes is mirrored by it's loot and bestiary. Where the Binding of Issac's power ups were unbalanced or pointless, all the loot in RoR feels at least like a small step forward. Because everything you come across, a vial that gives you an permanent extra hit point for every enemy you kill, or a can of gasoline that leaves a trail of fire behind you, or a ukelele that gives your bullets electric damage, stacks. If you find that power up again, that effect gets stronger. Suffice it to say, the only feeling better than finding your favorite power up, is finding it twice.

The monsters you mow down seem dull at first. Small, pixel-y, and repetitive. But when you start breaking out of the first couple of levels, the wide world of RoR's monsters opens up, and it is sub-stantial.  I also started to notice more nuance in the pixel art and more personality in the animation the longer I spent mowing them down. But this sure as hell isn't an art show, they are trying to kill you... and they are very, very, good at it.

I haven't even brought up the soundtrack yet. I godamn love it. I bought it off of band camp after only playing for 2 hours. It's a killer pot sweetener in a deal that already had me where it wanted me. It strikes a sense of mood and foreboding without sacrificing theme construction or sick nasty base solos.

Mr. Christodoulou? I'm sorry for copy/pasting your name.

So Risk of Rain is my new fix. If you love peeling back layer after layer of a hostile alien world with a "I just died and lost everything, but I'm totally going back in there" can-do spirit, Risk of Rain will send you over the moon.