Wednesday, 19 July 2017

Transformers: The Last Supper

A dinner date with Michael Bay:

The main course is a tiny nibble of broccoli. After that comes dessert. Four hours of him stuffing his face with pastries and chocolate bars. Just a swath of culinary destruction, chunks flying in every direction. In little flashes between consuming entire worlds, he actually says some interesting things that make you wish he would calm down, chew and elaborate. Or at least savor the meal, instead of becoming a black hole from which no sugar can escape.


You look at your watch, and 3 hours have passed. You check your watch again, and you've aged 50 years. Time gives up in his presence. You check your watch a third time, and it's only been five minutes since he said something vaguely racist.


After ogling the waitresses' breasts for a terrifying amount of time, he washes it all down by chugging Mountain Dew and Bud Light until he barfs.


So umm... "Transformers: The Last Knight" is a movie.


END OF LINE

~A.H.

Friday, 14 July 2017

Final Fantasy XV: Ardyn Izunia

Final Fantasy XV marks the first time in that franchise where I still don't know what the villain's plans were. It's easy to make fun of the antagonists in JRPGs for having goals that seem stupid or nonsensical. But I could not for the life of me tell you what the Big Bad was even trying to accomplish. I couldn't tell you if he was even close to accomplishing his goals, even during the final boss fight.

Did I miss something? The game is enormous, but most of it is roaming the country picking fights with beasts and driving around in a car. There are long stretches between story points, so I don't blame anyone else if they forget plot-critical details. But there are times where it seems like even the devs forgot about the game's antagonists too.


He's a snappy dresser, and thus concludes all of my knowledge on this character.


They're prominent in the trailers, and an early scene introduces them. So conventional wisdom would suggest that we'd fight them one at a time, and learn more about their motives and stuff as we'd get closer to the end and to the final boss. But almost all of them disappear from the game almost as soon as they're introduced. I think maybe you fight a mutated evil Emperor later, like he was turned into a monster? I don't know. You hear his voice over a fight against a random mook enemy. That could have just been a fuck-up with the closed-captions.

There's a Sephiroth-looking guy(because it's Final Fantasy, and of course there is) that's established about halfway through. The cutscene makes a big point of how much stronger he is than you are, so I figured would become an important antagonist. 60 hours later, you find his corpse in a location where he really had no reason to be in terms of the plot.


Does anyone else get the feeling this game went through some re-writes during it's decade-long production?

Also, at some point there were plans for the main villain to be named "Safay Roth". So there's THAT...


END OF LINE

~A.H.


Saturday, 1 July 2017

150 Years

I've never lived anywhere else besides Canada. The closest I've ever come to leaving the country was a trip to Niagara Falls in 2005. Nothing against other places, I've just never been anywhere else. Also, a fear of dying in a plane crash puts a damper on any travel plans.

I'm sure there are things that could be improved about Canada. But all things considered, I'm fairly comfortable living here.

Happy Canada Day! I don't give a shit how many flags you have, that's not the metric by which you must be judged.


END OF LINE

~A.H.


Friday, 30 June 2017

E3 2017

It occurred to me that Nintendo has a huge advantage during every E3, just due to nostalgia. All they really have to do to "win" an E3 is to announce games in franchises we recognize. Sony and Microsoft have a huge uphill battle, simply due to their properties not having been around as long. Announcing a new "Halo" or "Uncharted" will make some people happy, but not to the insane amount that happen when Nintendo goes up on stage and says the words "Zelda" or "Metroid".


Which might be why simply acknowledging the existence of a Metroid Prime 4 is more intriguing to me than something like "Anthem". It's not that it looks bad, it's just... I've never played Anthem. Well, I've played Destiny and Mass Effect, and it looks like it's just those two things combined. But I don't know who any of the characters in that game are. Even the trailer for Beyond Good and Evil 2 uses an all-new cast. Whereas a new Mario is like seeing an old buddy again, and I have to admit that does bias me toward the big N.

I'm just surprised it took me this long to realize it. This could explain why I got a big kick out of the Super Mario Odyssey trailer, as opposed to the cautious optimism I employed to just about everything else that was shown.


I'm sure you can deduce from this post which games I'm looking forward to. All things considered, at least I can't point to any one showing as being a laughingstock. That's bad news for memes, but if it means we get better games, then that's a sacrifice I can live with.


END OF LINE

~A.H.

Tuesday, 27 June 2017

Final Fantasy XV: First Impressions

Final Fantasy XV is a game I've been playing lately, which is something I thought I would be saying 9 or 10 years ago, or never. Back when it was announced as "Final Fantasy Versus XIII". For reference, George W. Bush was still the president of the united states when this game was announced. Then we went  through the ENTIRE Obama administration, in the time it took for this game to be developed and then released.

That's a long fucking time to be working on and funding a video game. Like "The Last Guardian", it was one of those "vaporware" projects that became a running joke about how it would never be released. Both games came out in 2016. Both of those games now exist in a finished state and are in my house, and I still don't quite have the words to describe what that feels like. It's as surreal as if Half-Life 3 got a trailer and was announced for release in october this year. Even if I saw it on store shelves, my brain would still resist it. It can't be real. It's been the Not Real thing for so long. Surely this must be some mistake.


But it's there. It's real. I'm about 40 hours into it. I don't remember a whole lot, most of the characters are pretty unmemorable, and the game is too in love with open-world game concepts, without working to mitigate the more annoying aspects of those games(such as vast, empty spaces of no engaging content, and too-long trips back and forth between areas to cash in on finished quests.)

But I don't hate it. I want to play more. If nothing else, it FEELS like Final Fantasy, even if through a very warped modern lense. If nothing else, I'm glad Final Fantasy games really try to experiment with the brand.


That said, fuck whoever thought there should be a fishing mini-game. Fuck everything about that. Those are the Water Levels of mini-games.


END OF LINE

~A.H.

Sunday, 18 June 2017

Logan

I saw "Logan". It was everything I expected it to be. Some days I think that's a bad thing, other days I think it's the best thing.

I imagine it's the kind of movie that's going to be become more relevant to me as I get older and my health fails. Even if it takes longer than I thought it would.

I wish I liked it more. I'm not sure why I don't LOVE it, because I think it deserves it. The problem must be with me. Maybe my expectations were too high. Maybe it was hyped up too much by those who saw it before me.

Or maybe it just hasn't quite sunk in yet.


END OF LINE

~A.H.

Thursday, 8 June 2017

What Could Possibly Go Wrong?

They're making another Bubsy game. 

No more Castlevania, Silent Hill, Metroid or Mega Man, and definitely no Half-Life 3. But Bubsy gets another shot.

That's the world we live in.


END OF LINE

~A.H.

Friday, 2 June 2017

Fave Things Of 2016: Part II



Here's the rest of my annual list of things that I thought were good.


=====

5. Trico



I love Trico, the fluffy cat gryphon thing from "The Last Guardian". I haven't even finished the game. I just like having it in my house, and knowing that it's real. After so many years of doubt, it exists.

And Trico makes my heart hurt, he's so precious.

...She? Whatever, 10/10, would recommend this Trico





Thursday, 1 June 2017

Fave Things Of 2016: Part 1


2016 was the longest year of my life. It's fair to say that worse things have happened in 2017, and yet I still don't feel as bad as I felt last year. I looked back at the other lists I've made, and they all start with: "Ugh, that was the worst year EVER! Nothing could be worse than that!"

...I would give almost anything to go back to days that happy and rewarding. I realize now I had more hope in me than I gave credit for. Because it all came out like blood from a wound.


Well, time to pick up my limbs, dust myself off and try to list the positives to a terminal illness:


=====

10. Captain America: Civil War



I have problems with Marvel comics. Most recently, they blamed lackluster comic sales on "diversity"(after a disgraceful attempt to turn Captain America into a literal nazi, written by a literal nazi). But for now, Marvel Studios movies are still a higher grade of popcorn entertainment than they need to be.

It's almost like there's an internal schism in that company. If only I had a suitable metaphor for the situation...



Tuesday, 23 May 2017

May 23, 2017

It’s my friend’s birfday today, but I haven’t been able to get into contact with them to figure out what to get ‘em. Then money kind of ran out this month after several family emergencies, so I figured I’d draw ‘em something. Maybe their pet. But I forget what their pet’s breed is. Then I forgot their address. Then I remembered that they might be on a camping trip this month anyway. Figures the one time I remember someone’s birthday, I forget every other fact about their existence…

 I don’t know if any of you know this, but I am the best at friending. I’ve got that shit locked down.


END OF LINE

~A.H.

Wednesday, 17 May 2017

May 17, 2017

I just got back from the hospital. My dad fell down the stairs and hit the back of his head. Luckily he's doing alright now, but we gotta keep an eye on him, and make sure he doesn't have a concussion or something else. Four staples. I'd heard of staples in a surgical sense before, but it didn't occur to me just how... inelegant it looks to have done. Stitches bring to mind a needle and thread, and a soft dexterity. Stapling a dude's head is about as direct as it sounds.

Also, my mom's favourite cat ever died on Mother's Day, so basically it's been a laugh-and-a-half.


END OF LINE

~A.H.

Thursday, 11 May 2017

"Dark Souls 3" Review

by Alex Hill


2.5/5



Dark Souls 3 is like "The Force Awakens"; It's the bare minimum of what it needed to be, a video game for the sake of a video game. It thinks fan-service, nods and references will carry it, because it offers little that's new or interesting enough to stand on its' own. It has more to offer than Bloodborne, but it's still a regression of the Souls formula. Someone shaved this wild, untamed thing, and whittled its' fangs down too far.



Friday, 28 April 2017

Dark Souls 3: Challenge Runs

Today I learned that I can beat every single boss encounter in Dark Souls 3 without dying.

It's everything in-between those that can go fuck off.





I've run into a problem: Once it sunk in that you can't really die(at least it's never permanent, there's no real GAME OVER situation), all of the tension of playing Dark Souls kind of... left.  Just vanished.  It can still be frustrating to lose, but I don't feel like there's anything at stake.

So I've tried doing No-Death runs.  To very limited success.  Maybe I should give myself a bit of leeway?



Wednesday, 26 April 2017

April 26, 2017

I am feeling particularly miserable today. Maybe it's the political shit happening. Maybe it's the fact that Spoiler Warning, one of the last LPs I still watched regularly has collapsed. Shamus Young's blog had a reputation for having a more civil, thoughtful comments section. The comments there got so putrid that pretty much everyone abandoned ship.


If the best-case scenario is total self-destruction, maybe Comments Sections shouldn't be a thing. Feel free to discuss in the comments below The only reason I don't disable mine is because nobody reads or comments on my shit anyway, except for the occasional spam bot.


Yesterday I got through all of the vanilla content in Dark Souls 3 without dying. It did not give me any pleasure, any satisfaction, any clarity or closure or any peace. I had no one to share that victory with. I can't even use the "tree falling in the woods and no one is around to hear it" metaphor, because even a squirrel or a bird would notice if I chopped down a tree. Even if it was a big tree, and I tried many times before to chop it down to no avail.


I don't have anyone I can hang out with. I don't have a lot of money at the moment to buy some new game to provide a momentary distraction. Not a whole lot of options vis-a-vis "comfort food". Not much of an appetite lately anyway. I don't like the dreams I've been having, so I don't look forward to going to sleep. I don't have the energy or willpower to do anything that MIGHT bring me some satisfaction.


I have no centre. And thus, no foundation to build a life or personality off of. I could see myself putting in the effort to be better, to be ANYTHING if there was someone who depended on me, someone I wanted to impress. But everyone is married and busy, and they wouldn't want to be with me anyway.


Things feel pretty fucking grim right now.


END OF LINE

~A.H.

Friday, 21 April 2017

I Am Now 30 Years old

At about midnight, I had the most acid-ey puke-burp ever. I really hope that's not a portent of things to come.

END OF LINE

~A.H.

Tuesday, 4 April 2017

Grand Jury Prize: 2015

The Grand Jury Prize(an alternative for first place in my annual Fave Things Lists) for 2015 is a tie:

The movie "Creed"(which I wrote about earlier), and "Sonic Dreams Collection".

Which is also a contender for Game of the Century.


END OF LINE

~A.H.

Monday, 20 March 2017

Dark Souls 3: "Darkmoon Blade"

I just got the platinum trophy in Dark Souls 3.

I've been playing this game since the day it was released. It took over 400 hours to get one achievement. Which is 397 hours longer than I consider reasonable.




The last achievement/trophy I needed was to get all of the games "Miracles", a type of magic spell. The most time-consuming spell to obtain is called "Darkmoon Blade". The only way to get this Miracle is to offer 30 of a specific item to a dragon lady in a tower.


The items in question are white ears, human ears called "Proof of a Concord Kept". The only way to get these are:


a.) Killing "Silver Knight" enemies

or

b.) Defeating an invading player in someone else's game after you're summoned to help them.


The greatest foe in Dark Souls 3.





Sunday, 12 March 2017

Transformers Devastation



I'm surprised by how much I was impressed with Transformers Devastation. I got it for free during a Playstation Plus "free games" thing and it kind of languished on my PS4 hard-drive for a while. I only got around to trying it out a few days ago, thinking I'd just get a few Trophies and then delete it to make room for other games.


It's by Platinum Games, and it shows. It's not a million miles removed from stuff like Bayonetta, fast-paced melee combat against multiple opponents, end-of-level grading, etc. I'm not sure why that made me hesitant to try it out. In any case, I became a bit obsessed with getting better and better at it. It's not a long game, and that might be why I wanted to play it again. If it were some obnoxiously long, open-world game like Skyrim or The Witcher I'd likely have gotten bored early on and never come back to it. I certainly wouldn't have leveled up my character as high as possible and beat the game on the highest difficulty setting. And I certainly wouldn't have wanted to keep playing it after that.




Sunday, 26 February 2017

Character Showcase: "Glenn"



For me, "Glenn" was the heart of The Walking Dead.  Not Rick.  Not Darryl. Not Corral Coral Corrin Krull  Katojin  Quetzlcoatl Carl.




Glenn.  Incorruptible, intelligent, dependable Glenn.  Affected by the carnage and ruin around him, but not ruined himself.  Physically young, but wiser than some two or three times his age.  Sensitive, and on occasion smarmy.  Focused and certain in situations where bigger, stronger characters struggle with what's right or wrong.  Hard to ignore.  Easy to take for granted.  More concerned with what's right than what he can get out of a situation, but what's right includes the people closest to him. Devoted not just to the idea of survival, but surviving the right way.


Not the kind of person people write stories about in zombie apocalypse scenarios.  Too often we're subjected to someone the author thinks is "badass".  Give them a signature weapon.  That'll make up for the lack of personality or a character arc.  Maybe give their stupid weapon a name, and thus more character than the person wielding it.


Give Rick the magnum.  Give Darryl the crossbow.  Give Michonne the katana.


What is Glenn's signature weapon? Who fucking cares, that's what.  His identity isn't dependent on a stupid surrogate penis.


MORE BELOW THE BREAK



Wednesday, 8 February 2017

Dark Souls III: The Ringed City DLC Gameplay





This is what I think is great about Dark Souls games.

Think of how long it must have taken to figure out exactly how to fuck with the player's ingrained habits and routines for how they interact with these environments. 3 games in this series, and still they find new ways to catch people off-guard. It's cheeky and I love it.

I kind of wish the main game had content this clever.


END OF LINE

~A.H.

Tuesday, 7 February 2017

Feb 06, 2017

This morning I woke up full of affection and a need to shower love on... something. Anything, really.

Then I dropped hard. Now I can't sleep because I'm so uncertain about who I am or where I should be or where I can go, or what I should do, or even what I WANT to do.

I never thought I'd have an identity crisis. I don't like it. I REALLY don't like being lost. I hate being without answers and knowing no one can help me, and I can't help me.

----

The Last Guardian plays like a Fumito Ueda game. You do have to fight the controls and the camera quite a bit. But his games aren't meant to be loose, smooth, fast-paced arcadey experiences. I'd say they're much more focused on mood and setting than being "fun". In that sense, it's kind of the opposite of an action game, where the gameplay is the primary focus and the story is an afterthought.

And oh my fucking God, Trico is so precious I can't stand it. I'll bet the years and years it took for this game to be developed were spent just figuring out how animals behave and trying to make that work in a fictional creature's animations. I think I have a stronger stomach for animals in media portrayed in danger, but even when this thing is mildly sad or whatever it hurts my heart. I don't think I could recommend this game to someone who loves animals.

I don't know what happens past the first couple of hours, but I wouldn't be surprised if there's a Tragic Circumstance later. There was a part like that in Shadow of the Colossus, Ueda's previous game... But then again, they did go back on that during the credits, so... *shrug*.

----

I've heard a good way to make money as an artist is to learn how to draw anthropomorphic characters. Apparently furries are rolling in the fat stacks of cash.

I tried doing some sketches, and it didn't feel right to me. I don't know if it's because I'm not good enough at it yet, or if I just don't want the association of being a "furry artist" or whatever.

I admit that is a prejudice on my part. I've known people who despise furries, and I think that's silly, but I do feel some apprehension about drawing this stuff. But if I learn how, I might be able to make some money which I can put towards good causes as well as selfish bullshit. So maybe I should just suck it up and learn to draw?


END OF LINE

~A.H.

Thursday, 2 February 2017

Light Up The Night

I got the platinum trophy in Fallout 4. Makes it the 3rd game I've been able to do that in(besides Dark Souls 2 and Bloodborne).

I bought The Last Guardian. I probably should not have splurged this month. I plan to donate to stuff like the ACLU, and I want to send something to Flint, Michigan, since I hear they still don't have clean drinking water because of their scumbag government.

...I mean, I guess this will be a monthly thing, so I guess it doesn't matter which month I splurge on something for myself.

...God, I really hope the resistance going on right now isn't a fad. I've depended on the United States to be stronger than I am, in the event of a global catastrophe. I really don't want that to be another thing I regretted believing in.


I'm also only just now getting acquainted with the work of The Protomen. I regret not listening to their stuff sooner.


END OF LINE

~A.H.

Tuesday, 17 January 2017

Every Empire Falls

You know what the worst part of this election was?

The fact that we have to see and hear Donald Trump every day for the next 8 years.


But the second worst part?

It was being left out of the conversation by the Democratic Party, who ignored the candidate people wanted, in order to back someone that would be easier to control. A person they knew people hated.


But the third worst part?

Finding out that there are way more monsters in the United States than I once thought. And now they have all of the power for the next few decades(remember: Donald gets to pick the replacement for Scalia on the Supreme Court. That shit is going to haunt you for the rest of your natural lives, at the very least).


But the fourth worst part?

It was totally preventable. And no, I don't mean in any kind of fantasy about assassinations, I'm talking within the systems we were given. They had all of the time in the world to prepare for this. They had the whole world, and Donald himself displaying exactly why they should not have let him win. They had everything they needed to win fair and square, and they fucked everything up.

The system did not fail. The people did. The people failed to understand the most important part of a presidential election in the U.S.