Thing People Misunderstand About Star Trek

Recently there was the unveiling of the utility uniforms for the new Space Force that Trump has cooked up.  And I was with everyone else thinking that they look butt ugly and stupid as fuck.  I mean, camo?  For space?  What are you blending in with?  Part of me was thinking that since they got rid of the blueberries with the Navy, you might as well export that with the Space Force.  Why not?  Would save on uniform design.  Hell, given how much of those uniforms are probably in storage, they probably wouldn’t have to make much more.  Just do some alterations.

But one of the biggest comments I saw was all the people lamenting that this Space Force is awful because it spits in the face of Star Trek and what that was meant to signify.  Which got me to thinking that these people really don’t seem to get exactly what Starfleet was.  In all the high-brow ideas that get addressed, perhaps it got lost the true nature of what this force is.  See, here’s the thing – Starfleet is just that – a fleet.  It’s the military apparatus of the United Federation of Planets.  Sure, there are those who are part of the exploration and diplomacy parts, but then you have the ships made for combat.  Did no one watch Deep Space Nine?  Did they not get that this is a force that can go to war with other alien races?

It’s always kind of baffled me that ignorant criticism of Trump’s Space Force and making the comparison to Star Trek.  I love me some TNG and Voyager, but I also recognize that Starfleet as it was in this series was an actual military arm.  They had chain of command, protocols, and were prepared to do battle where necessary.  Which got me to thinking – why is this something that people forgot about?  Perhaps Roddenberry was too good making a future where the ideas that we have today seem distant, but at the same time he understood that no Federation is going to survive without a force to protect it.  A Space Force, if you will.

Look, it’s a simple reality that all human expansion starts first with the military and then moves to the civilian sector.  Check out Neil deGrasse Tyson’s book “Accessory to War: The Unspoken Alliance Between Astrophysics and the Military.”  It lays out pretty well how science and the growth of military power throughout history really have been hand-in-hand.  We all like to think that there will be a point that humanity will get past that.  Where highfalutin ideas will trump humanity’s need to find better ways to kill each other.  But that’s pie-in-the-sky levels of ignorance of the world in which we live.

To prove my point, look no further than the fact that we haven’t reached Mars yet.  After we reached the Moon, people were certain that we’d be to Mars in another ten years.  But then the Cold War ended, and the desire to go to space stopped.  Now, we see the cold war is back, with China and Russia.  Now we have everyone talking about space again.  All the sudden, expanding to the stars is a huge thing that needs attention.  For my purposes, I’m fine with that.  Fuck, however we get to space to do cool shit, I’m down.  If it takes humanity pointing a gun at itself and saying that we’ll pull the trigger, great.  Maybe that can have us wrangling asteroids, building space colonies, a space elevator, and finally moving our species past our intellectual adolescence and into a future where a new world can be made.  If humanity’s need to murder our fellow humans is what it takes to get us there, so be it.  Hell, let’s make this cold war a little warmer, just so we can get this moving faster.

Having recently gotten back into DS9, it feels strange to me how many Trekkies are blind to the reality that the show they like was centered around a naval force in space.  It didn’t have all the military mumbo-jumbo, but it was still a genuine military apparatus.  Because the Federation wouldn’t be able to maintain its existence without such a thing.  Otherwise the Klingons or whoever would have destroyed us long ago.  So maybe, instead of laughing at Trump’s Space Force, you should recognize that we start somewhere, and hope that this can get us closer to achieving real greatness as a species.  Not this bullshit one that the people with those stupid MAGA hats claim to want but can never properly define.

But for real, those uniforms looked awful.  We can do better.

Until next time, a quote,

“When Garth presented his plan to battle the Klingons at Axanar, my first thought was – how far he’d come.  I mean, he was always an extraordinary explorer before the war, but I know, in his heart, he was first a soldier.” – Adm. Ramirez, Prelude to Axanar

Peace out,

Maverick

Lucien’s Review: Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order

What an absolute marvel this game is.  To think that game in this franchise with EA’s name on it is so fucking good!  It blows my mind how this game feels more like Star Wars to me than anything since Revenge of the Sith.  So much of what has been missing from Disney’s absolute abortion of this franchise was in this game, and it’s amazing.  The story simple, with likeable characters, good gameplay, fun set-pieces, and that visceral feeling that I have been so missing from this franchise’s films.  I have so much to talk about with this game, so let’s not keep you all waiting.

The plot goes that Cal Cestus is a lone Jedi hiding after the purge following Revenge of the Sith.  Burdened by guilt he feels, and fear of those hunting him, he makes a living as a scrapper.  However, after using the Force to save a friend, the Inquisitors are on to him and a new potential ally emerges to help him.  It’s a plot that actually feels like something from Star Wars, and that’s only the beginning.

Most of what I have to talk about is how much I love how great this story is and how well it’s told.  But to talk about some other stuff before I gush, the gameplay here is challenging.  This game is basically Dark Souls mixed with Star Wars.  It’s challenging, to say the least.  But for those who like that style of gameplay, it’s good stuff.  Mixed in with that is a lot of puzzle seeking.  This is a metroidvania style game, in the purest sense.  Back-tracking and revisiting world with new powers to find secrets is fun.

It’s worth mentioning that this game has NONE of the EA bullshit staples.  NO microtransactions.  None.  Nothing blocked off behind paywalls.  It’s a complete game, from start to finish with no nonsense.  What a magical thing.  To say that about an EA game just blows my mind.

Another fantastic thing is the visuals.  Every world in this game is unique, and they all have their own visual style.  Sometimes you just sit back and take in the scenery.  It was a wise decision for them to use the Unreal Engine.  Plus, for some truly fantastic boss fights, you can get sucked into the set-pieces.  My favorite was with the AT-AT walker.  It was in the E3 demo, but so what?  Fantastic stuff even without it.

Then there’s the music.  At times, it can seem a little standard for a video game, but then there is some of the FANTASTIC uses of original film score, and set-piece music that makes everything pop.  Which is where we get into the gushing.

Where has this kind of story been in this franchise?!  Oh my Groj!  A simple premise about a tortured hero being called to adventure, with companions who all have their flaws.  The group of them gradually overcoming them over the course of the adventure.  This is what a good Star Wars film should have. And it’s something that ALL of Disney’s films have lacked!  Rogue One came the closest, and what do you know, it’s my favorite of the Disneyverse films.  This feels like it belongs in this franchise so much.  I’ve missed having a story that hits this close to home in the Star Wars universe.  Cal is a likeable protagonist who grows over the course of his journey.  Cere is a tortured companion who overcomes her pain in a believable and likeable way.  She doesn’t feel like some token black character the way Finn does.  Mirrin is a cute and likeable obvious love interest for future games, but you are okay with that because her and Cal have good chemistry.  Greez is kind of an asshole but you like him because of it.  And BD-1 is fun and cute.

But one thing that this game has that the films have been missing for so long is the visceral feeling!  When you are fighting some of the bosses, like the Second Sister or a secret boss that I won’t DARE spoil if you haven’t played it, and you see these character attacking each other, you can feel the emotion.  Sure, the pacing is fast, but it doesn’t have the cheap choreographed feel the prequel trilogy had so much.  When characters are going at it, you feel their passion.  When they are afraid, you can see it.  Where was that in ANY of the fights in the Disneyverse trilogy?  No-fucking-where!  Those movies suck.

I remember when this game was first announced, how skeptical everyone was.  The SJWs being all butthurt that the protagonist is a white guy.  Well, having played the game, I can say that they can all shut the fuck up.  This was a great game.  If there was something I’d say as a detraction, it’s that it’s a little short, and there could have been some more enemy variety.  Still, those are nit-picks.

Overall, this is a fantastic game.  It is the first time, in years, that I’ve felt like I’m playing an actual Star Wars game and seeing a real story in this franchise play out in front of me.  If you are like me, and so dejected by this franchise’s films, you owe it to yourself to pick this title up.  I really did feel like a Jedi Knight.

Final Verdict
8 out of 10

Peace out,

Maverick

The Ultimate Legacy of Disney’s Star Wars Trilogy

It’s finally done.  Only a few years since The Force Awakens, and now the saga is done.  The final end to a series of films started 40 years ago.  I myself refused and still do refuse to spend my money to go to theaters and see Rise of Skywalker.  The reviews have told me all I need to know.  The first half is a massive exposition dump to fill in the plot for two films, broken up by boring and wrote action set-pieces that have no bearing on anything because you don’t care about any of the characters at all.  And the second half is a plot so stupid that it reads like horrifically bad fan-fiction.  All to bring the Skywalker saga to an unceremonious ending that was a bitter taste in everyone who I’ve heard talk about it’s mouth.

Years later, all of the fighting, fracturing of the fanbase because this new franchise saw fit to inject current year political dynamics into a franchise that was once timeless.  The last two entries of which were so bad that they actually made the prequels look good by comparison.  One criticism I’ve heard is that, as bad as the prequels are, at the very least they had a consistent vision that they stuck to.  A cohesive narrative that started from point A and ended at Point C.  This trilogy had no such luck.

It genuinely blows my mind that Disney genuinely did not have any sort of direction to this.  They spent $4 billion to acquire this IP, and then just let fly with whatever director being able to do whatever they want.  No planned direction, no narrative they made.  No expanded universe that they were looking to sort out.  Just Kathleen Kennedy sitting back and letting people go nuts.  Well, at least the ones who injected enough current year politics into their films.  Word is that the reason that Rian Johnson was given so much more freedom to create the film narrative he wanted is because he did so much social justice integration into his film.  Other films that had directors who were unwilling or just didn’t see the purpose typically got axed.  Not to mention Disney’s corporate office getting involved.

To be a fly on the wall when Kathleen Kennedy is or was told by Bob Iger that her time helming this franchise is being unceremoniously ended.  I cannot imagine how utterly furious Disney is with this woman.  This IP was believed to generate money by virtue of its existence.  Plenty of people still think it does.  But the reality is that Disney’s plan to make films that were guaranteed to rake in billions of dollars along with having a ton of merchandise that would go along with it and a theme park attraction have all gone to shit.  The merch for The Last Jedi was on clearance before the first couple weeks of the film’s opening.  It’s a virtual guarantee that the same thing will happen again.  The Star Wars Experience has been a ghost town, if the Bloomberg article is to be believed.  Disney lost hundreds of millions of dollars on Solo: A Star Wars Story.  This was supposed to be a cash cow, and they are losing money on it.  I cannot imagine the reaming that Kennedy has gotten from the Disney executives.  Word is that she’s basically being sidelined in the extreme while Jon Favreau and some other guy are basically stepping in.

Rise of Skywalker was sent out to die.  If the leaks are to be believed (and given how many of them the film proved right, I’m comfortable doing that), Disney was constantly pushing to have this film be the one that got everyone back into the franchise.  To have people demanding more films, more merch.  Instead, it whimpers and dies.  It’s apparently clear where the reshoots are, as every time there is a plotline that involves some major character dying, it never leads anywhere as they are always just fine.  Every chance they have to give Rey depth, it’s taken away.  No character has depth.  Lots of people blame JJ Abrams for this disaster, but it’s not his fault.  What else could it have been?  Disney had no possible way of making this franchise work.  After how poorly The Last Jedi was received, and how fractured the fanbase has become because of the new franchise as a whole, the idea that they were going to please everyone was a pipe dream.  They should have just chosen a group to please and said “fuck it” to the rest.  Might have made things less awful.

So that begs the question – where does this leave us?  What happens to the franchise now that Disney has effectively shit on it and everything it stood for.  The timeless story of good and evil?  Shit on by unnecessary and forced injections of current year politics.  A tale of Luke Skywalker and his hero’s journey?  Definitely shit on when The Last Jedi turned him into an unpleasant turd.  Making a new generation of characters who would be remembered by a generation of children?  Definitely shit on because not ONE of the characters was memorable.  Who is going to remember Rey, Finn, Po, or Kylo Ren, 40 years from now?  Hell, 20?  10?  5?  I keep forgetting Po’s name until I see something that reminds me.  That’s how little an impact he leaves.  No character leaves any impact, other than Kylo Ren for being the blandest and most uninteresting villain in the franchise.  Not to mention the massive Dumbo ears.  Just like the 2016 reboot of Ghostbusters, in five years, the name Star Wars will only refer to the originals.

What happens now?  Disney has said that they’re done with numbered films.  For the moment, I believe them.  This franchise has lost them a ton of money.  Just like The Last Jedi, this movie looks to be setting up for a quick drop-off in viewership attendance.  Hell, it already hasn’t reached the last film’s numbers in terms of an opening weekend.  So yeah, Disney is probably gonna try and make films that are independent of a numbered sequel with directors who can make them money.  They’ll probably model them after shows like The Mandalorian, which I hear is pretty good but will never see because I refuse to give Disney my money for their shitty streaming service.  Fuck modern Disney.

Part of me wonders if it was worth it for Disney.  If they feel that it was worth it.  Spending so much money, only for the cash cow to be giving them nothing back.  Or at least not nearly the amount they were expecting.  Not even close.  All the political battles, dividing the fanbase, making movies that are bland or terrible, losing an entire generation of kids who bonded with Marvel but haven’t bonded with Star Wars.  Was that worth all this?  To have a final act of a saga that just burns like that promotional holiday video for The Last of Us: Part II that is the burning car.  I suspect no one will ever know.  Disney is too proud to admit fault.  Too proud to admit that they screwed this potential franchise so hard by not having anything approaching a guiding hand on the wheel.  Would be neat to find out.

What it tells me is that I have to give it to George Lucas for this much – 40 years ago, on a much more primitive level of filmmaking, he was able to create a franchise that has a legacy that Disney’s trash EVER will.  I bet George is pleased with himself right about now.  I would be.

Until next time, a quote,

“That boy is our last hope.” – Obi-Wan Kenobi, Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back

Peace out,

Maverick

I’m Not Gonna See Something Just Because It’s X Thing

I was watching the Deep Fat Fried Podcast’s review of Rise of Skywalker, and it’s pretty good stuff.  From the very first trailer, I knew that I would NEVER be going to see this film in theaters.  Got a coworker who kept trying to brow-beat me into seeing it with him, on the pretense that it’s Star Wars.  Um…so what?  With how bad this franchise has become, and with the trailer and initial reviews savaging it, why would I pay my money to go to a theater filled with neckbeard fanboys and sad fangirls to see the next iteration of this franchise?  I wouldn’t, and I won’t.  Knowing that my foresight was correct and seeing reviewer after reviewer savage it and rip all its flaws to pieces is more fun than this piece of shit film could ever hope to be.

On the podcast, Paul said something that stuck in my craw – you know that you’ll see the next film.  You’ll be there opening night because it’s Star Wars.  I hate this mentality.  Now, I will give him that such people exist.  And there are a lot of them.  Fanboys/girls are some of the most die-hard people you’ll ever meet.  It’s why you can’t tell people that Nintendo just makes the same game over and over again with cursory changes.  Because they don’t care.  It has the license on it, so they get it.

Here’s the thing – I’ve never subscribed to a fandom before.  If there is something I’m interested in, I learn as much about it as I can before partaking in it.  Since gaming is my hobby of choice, I spend a lot of time looking at a game and the promotional material and see if it’s something that I want to devote my limited income to.  Sure, I do pre-orders, but only of stuff that I have good reason to assume will be fantastic.  There’s a reason I didn’t pre-order Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order. But the reviews have been stellar, so I put it on my Christmas list.  Here’s hoping I get it.  Would be nice to actually take in some Star Wars media that doesn’t suck.  It’s been such a long-ass time.  Still, I only put pre-order money down when it’s a game that is coming from a company I trust.  It’s why I will be pre-ordering Cyberpunk 2077, The Last of Us: Part II, and Persona 5: Royal.  I know this is coming from companies with a pedigree with quality, or in the last one’s case, it’s an expansion of a game I already know is perfect.

I do agree that Rise of Skywalker is probably gonna make a lot of money.  But I couldn’t help being with TJ thinking that the law of diminishing returns is hitting this franchise hard.  It’s gonna hit Marvel pretty hard too pretty soon.  Everyone seems to forget that Solo list Disney hundreds of millions of dollars, when you factor in the development cost, reshoot cost, advertising cost, and the theater chain’s take.  Not to mention the fact that The Star Wars Experience apparently is a complete ghost town.  As an article in Bloomberg detailed, the franchise isn’t reaching kids the way that Marvel has.  It’s why Disney was so desperate for this film to be a smash, even though it’s clear that the audience isn’t as for this as much as the last two numbered films in the franchise.

This idea that this unending mass of people are going to just go to every film in a franchise, regardless of quality just doesn’t jive with me.  I sure as Hell didn’t go to every Marvel film.  I went to the ones that looked good, with characters I liked.  It was a good run.  Still, I don’t partake of anything if I don’t think it’s gonna be worth my time.  I especially don’t pay money for it.  I might partake of The Mandalorian once it has finished its run, get the three week trial of Disney’s service, then watch it and ditch.  I won’t give that greedy scum-sucking company my money.  It’s on principal for me at this point.  They have fucked over my childhood enough with their live-action remakes.  What they are doing to A Night on Bald Mountain is just spiteful.  Blows my mind that they think they can take a segment from Fantasia and make it into a full-length movie/series on their streaming service.  Where the hubris from this comes from, I’ll never know.

The point of all this rambling (admittedly something I do a lot.  Digressions ahoy!) is that the idea that I’m going to spend my money and go into a theater (an experience that I already hate) just to see a movie that I know I won’t like is laughable.  No.  If I’ve learned anything, it’s that if you vote with your wallet, things could actually change.  It’s why I am hopeful that this franchise will die.  A small, desperate hope.  Creativity and risk taking with films could have a day in the sun.

Until next time, a quote,

“Only a fool’s hope.” – Lord of the Rings: Return of the King

Peace out,

Maverick

The Cheap “Woke” Ploy

Hey, did you know that the latest Star Wars film has the first same-sex kiss in any film ever?!  The Hollywood Reporter said as much in their click-bait-y headline says as much, along with other equally-stupid media outlets.  Much like how Star Trek: Discovery had the first black Captain.  Or the first black female Captain.  Both of which were equally wrong, and bless the Internet for being the most potent fact-checker in the universe.  To the Rise of Skywalker, what is the context they’re talking about?  Definitely not the first film to have a same-sex kiss.  Not the first film this year, or this decade, or certainly ever.  Maybe the first science fiction film?  Oh man, not even close.  The first big blockbuster?  Nope, I’ve seen it in those too.  Not often, mind you, but there’s a reason for that which we’ll come to.  So why is this such a huge deal?

I’ll tell you why – because it gets cheap points for a film that is being panned so hard right now.  It makes it so that Disney can try and re-frame this terrible movie as being pro-LGBT, so if you don’t like it, you hate gays!  Or lesbians, in the case of this film, as it’s two women kissing.  This happens all the fucking time, and every time it does, I roll my eyes because I see stuff like this for EXACTLY what it is – a cheap ploy to get “woke” points.  And the big thing that gets to me when I think about this is – why does no one in the media see it too?

On the one hand, it’s obvious – because they are being paid not to.  Disney owns a massive chunk of entertainment media, and the Hollywood machine in general owns pretty much all the rest, and they all have a vested interest in this stuff.  But on the other hand, with how every media outlet that isn’t some conservative gossip rag like Ben the prolapsed donkey anus Shaprio’s site is so about the social justice narrative, part of me wonders if they all have this huge blindness to stuff.

Whatever the case, the simple truth is that it’s a play.  One that always makes my eyes roll every time I see it.  After Blizzard was rightfully being brutalized for what they did to a Hearthstone player who championed the Hong Kong protests, and you saw them in full damage control mode, there was this popular talking point online – which Overwatch character are they going to have be gay next?  It’s an easy dodge.  “What’s that?  You’re mad at us for basically kowtowing to the Chinese government and making ourselves look like their bitch?  Look over here, this character’s gay now!”  Easy dodge, and they’ve done it before.

Now we have a Star Wars film that has two women kissing for two whole seconds of screen-time.  Two characters who we don’t know or care even the slightest bit about.  For a kiss that will be easily edited out of China’s version because Disney wouldn’t DARE risk losing out on that sweet China cheddar.  It all reeks of bullshit to me.  It all reeks of trying to find an easy way to dodge this film’s criticism.  To try and get people arguing about something inconsequential in order to detract from the fact that every major reviewer I’ve watched has done nothing but shit all over the film for being worse than The Last Jedi.  The review I’m waiting for most is Red Letter Media.  That should be amazing.  Jay and Mike having a cynical tear-down of a film that is nothing but massive exposition bombs, no character development, no atmosphere, horrific pacing, an an ending that is absolute bullshit.  It will be nothing short of incredible.

How much longer can films do this, I wonder?  I mean, you can’t argue that this is female empowerment, or lesbian empowerment.  Two women we don’t know or care about kissing!  Yay…feminism?  Remember when they were talking about Po and Finn being the first gay couple in a Star Wars film?  Yeah, I get the feeling that Bob Iger came down personally and said that’s out.  Can’t have two central characters in a franchise be gay together, otherwise you couldn’t edit it out for China.  It has to be characters who have absolutely no significance to the plot at all.

Are there any detractors for my point of view on this?  Who can defend this and not see it for what it is?  Do you like getting cheap points?  Do you think that your side is winning by having two women kiss for two seconds at the end of a film?  Two characters we known nothing about and care even less?  That’s just dandy for you?  Doesn’t it bother you that a major company who claims up and down to be all about the rainbow flag represents you in a way where they take no actual risk doing so?  Not to mention, let’s have two dudes kiss.  Why?  Because then people might actually get upset.  See, two girls kissing is seen as hot by the culture at large.  Two dudes kissing is seen as awkward.  Oh wait, that’s also a risk.  Disney can’t do that.  Modern Disney isn’t about risk at all.

I’ve talked about this quite a bit over the last couple years or so.  It just bugs me every time I see stuff like this and the news just fawning all over what seems to me to be the most obvious feeding of a line thing ever.  I suppose it probably is just corporate media parroting a narrative because they are told to.  But they have dumbass readers who buy into their narrative.  Who don’t think for themselves.  And so they are looking at the forest and missing the trees.  That leaves a bitter taste in my mouth.  Maybe it’s my old journalism passion flaring up again and making me hate that all modern news is just infotainment.

Kind of a bummer, really.

Until next time, a quote,

“They fly now!” – Terrible line from Rise of Skywalker that they felt the need to repeat three times

Peace out,

Maverick

Top 10 Most Anticipated Games of 2020

It’s so weird to think that it’s going to be 2020.  I recently found out that this blog has been going for over 10 years.  I started this back in 2009, when I was 20 years old.  Over the years, my tastes in gaming have changed.  No longer does the spectacle interest me, so much as the human aspect.  My favorite games now are the ones with characters that I can get into, who feel like people I could know and like.  I could have a drink with Chloe Price, or Ryoji Sakamoto, or Garrus Vakarian.  2019 was a pretty ho-hum year for gaming, with some surprise sleeper hits and some games that were built up and fell pretty flat in places where it mattered.  However, as next year heralds a new console generation, there is some truly spectacular stuff on the horizon.  Everything I’ve seen about what’s coming next year tells me that I’m in for some amazing stuff.  Here is my list of games that I’m most excited for next year.

10. Carrion
Have you ever wanted to take the role of the Xenomorph in Alien?  Or the monster from John Carpenter’s horror masterpiece The Thing?  Well, we have a Metroidvania game that is doing just that!  And holy shit.  After an incredible, but flawed demo that shows there are things for them to work out, this game is not making the waves it should be.  Playing as a Lovecraftian monster that is basically just a massive pile of gore and claws and teeth, you get to be the creature enacting hell and death on the humans.  I loved this game from the first trailer, and I cannot wait to play it in all it’s disgusting glory next year.

9. Resident Evil 3 (Remake)
Capcom really stuck gold when they did the absolutely incredible and visually breath-taking remake of Resident Evil 2 this year.  Now that a trailer has officially dropped, we’ve gotten to see their next foray into remaking an old classic, and let me tell you, I am hooked!  Jill Valentine has never looked better.  Some people were annoyed that they put her in pants, but whatever.  Those are the same people who don’t like Daniel Craig as James Bond just because he wasn’t upbeat and suave enough for them like the Bond they knew growing up.  So long as they are true to the spirit of the original, some creative license is just fine.  And Valentine clearly hasn’t let her situation slow her down one bit.  The trailer that dropped made me think of when you were running from the Dhaka in Prince of Persia: The Warrior Within.  Nemesis looks terrifying, and I cannot wait to see how this game plays.

8. The Wolf Among Us 2
Man, speaking of games that snuck up on us, I was genuinely surprised when this trailer dropped at the Game Awards the other day.  I mean, Telltale has gone under, so where is this game coming from?  Still, I am really hopeful for it.  After all, I LOVED the first iteration of this game.  The story of Bigby Wolf and the who-dun-it mystery of the original was fantastic.  Sure, it had flaws, but the story was great, the characters were fun, and the noir art style was incredible.  Maybe if a new studio has taken this license and is making it their own, they can clean up some of the rougher things inherent in Telltale games’ engine that made some of the fighting stuff awkward.  Not sure where it’s coming from, but if we can pick up where I left off in the tale of Bigby, I’m more than happy to go down that road again.

7: DOOM: Eternal
You know what was awesome?  The 2016 remake of DOOM.  That game took everything we loved about the original and made it even better.  Arena shooters are coming back, and I have no problem with this.  Where DOOM 3 unsuccessfully tried to capitalize on the horror aspect of the franchise, the 2016 iteration took a much smarter tactic and took advantage of the fast pacing of the original, except with more verticality.  A game where you constantly have to keep in motion, because if you stop moving, you die.  A game where you have to take risks to do well, or be a total boss who can strafe around fire and never take a hit.  However you play, it’s all about blowing up demons and never stopping.  Every piece of gameplay for this title just makes me more excited to see what comes next.  The story trailer hints of everything going to shit, and even the hint that angels might get into the mix.  I’m stoked, and nothing I’ve seen has given me cause not to be.

6. Tales of Arise
For those who didn’t know, I love the Tales franchise.  Not every game is a masterpiece, but the ones that hit the mark for me hit it so damn well.  My personal favorite is Tales of the Abyss, so when I saw a new game was coming out where they are taking the old visual style and taking a big step further, you can imagine how excited I was.  It looks amazing.  The plot seems smaller than usual, focusing on just two people.  There also appears to be some changes with combat, but this franchise was in need of something to shake things up, and I think we may have found just the thing.  There’s more to learn, but it’s still exciting all the same.

5. Ghost of Tsushima
Here’s a game that came out big, had an AMAZING gameplay trailer back in 2018, but then kind of disappeared for a while.  However, they just had a big trailer that dropped, showing that not only is it still here, but it’s coming in 2020.  This game looks amazing.  Taking some actual Japanese history, combining it with action that looks right out of Assassin’s Creed, with a healthy dose of the Arkham games focus on stealth.  Everything I’ve seen says that this game is gonna be a visual marvel, a cultural piece, and so much fun!  I loves me some stealth games, and having one in the vein of Sekiro, minus the absolutely punishing difficulty sounds like just what the doctor ordered.  It’s a new IP, and one that seems to be in good hands with Sucker Punch.

4. Final Fantasy VII Remake
Boy howdy, I love what I’ve seen about this game, but part of me does have some major reservations.  The person who worked on this is the same guy who did Final Fantasy XV and Kingdom Hearts III.  And both of those games has a SERIOUS flaw of feeling rushed and half-done.  If it’s true that this game is releasing episodically, then I am absolutely going to wait until the complete version is released before buying it.  However, even with all those misgivings, it still looks amazing, and it’s a remake of one of my favorite games.  Cloud has never looked better, and the combat does seem fun.  From what I’ve heard from those who played the demo, there is real strategy involved, and that’s pretty rad.  It’s a bit of a wait and see thing, but assuming that it isn’t a mess, I will eventually be all over it.

3. The Last of Us: Part II
Naughty Dog certainly does seem to have a pedigree for creating some of the most visually impressive, detail-rich, and narratively compelling games of all time.  When The Last of Us came out, I was in love with it.  I still am.  It was a masterful game that had two characters I loved with a growing relationship through it’s campaign.  There was some amazing stealth action which filled me with an immense sense of joy being able to cleverly sneak around and kill my foes, along with occasionally find ways to use one group against another.  Really hoping they expand on that.  I’d love it if I could use the infected against the human enemies in this next iteration.  Picking up years from where the previous version left off, we have Ellie now as a young woman, with a serious bone to pick with a group who seems to have murdered her girlfriend.  Out for blood, it’s only natural that Joel would wind up back with her.  I’m hearing rumors about him being much more nefarious, and part of me hopes that is false.  Granted, he isn’t a good person, but given where their relationship left off, I’m REALLY hoping this game doesn’t just fuck with us and having him be unnecessarily evil.  Or at least evil without a motivation.  Neil Druckmann has shown that having an axe to grind with social justice doesn’t preclude you from writing good stories.  Eager to see what this game is.  It got delayed, which makes me even happier.  I want a game that is ready, not rushed.  Let Square Enix have that mantel.  Something that stood out for me is that Ellie isn’t the open and honest girl some might hope.  After all, she’s wearing a gas mask in a building infested with spores.  We all know she doesn’t have to.  So she’s hiding her immunity still.  From her girlfriend.  The plot thickens.  Cannot wait to see where this goes.

2. Persona 5: Royal
Oh man, I cannot tell you all how excited I am.  Persona 5 is EASILY the most perfect JRPG ever made.  The characters are all amazing.  I could be friends with each and every one of them.  My favorite thing in the original game was spending time with my peeps, whether it was studying for exams, or going on adventures, or just having great conversations.  It felt like having an amazing relationship with character who all could be friends.  Forming relationships with them as well.  Makoto is my favorite to form a bond with.  She’s the kind of woman I find myself most drawn to.  Socially isolated, uncomfortable in new scenarios, but wicked smart and trying to better herself.  Say that I think of her as a waifu, but the reality is that that’s the kind of woman I like.  I see a LOT of myself in her.  Now we have a new version of the game coming out.  One that takes the original amazing game, adding more of it.  They are putting in the third semester that was cut from the first game, adding in a new playable character, and giving you a new stomping ground to explore.  Hearing all of that just made me turn into a complete little girl.  Taking something that’s perfect and giving me more of it is everything I could ask for.  The contender for best game this year is gonna be heated.

And the game I’m most excited for this year is…

1. Cyberpunk 2077
Finally!  After all these years of waiting, it’s finally happening!  I cannot being to explain how excited I am to get my hands on this game.  While I wasn’t all that able to get into The Witcher 3 due to the endless amount of backstory of two games that I found too verbose, here we have a new game that is its own thing.  Sure, there is the tabletop game that preceded it, but no video games who I have to be somewhat familiar with to have a grasp of this one.  The setting is amazing.  Everything I’m seeing says that this game is gonna be like nothing else I’ve played.  With shooting mechanics that borrow their damage style from Borderlands 2, some looting mechanics, a deep story, and relationships that you foster, I’m stoked.  There is one thing that does give me pause – the romance stuff.  Everything in this game is in first-person.  So…this is gonna be awkward.  Really, really fucking awkward.  Genuinely trying to figure out how this would work.  But it’s one of those things that I will have to wait and see.  It’s been over five years since it was announced, now we got a release date.  I’m stoked.  Unimaginably stoked.

What about you?  What games are you most excited for in 2020?  Let me know down in the Comments.

Until next time, a quote,

“You really think they give a rat’s dick what you look like?” – Johnny Silverhand, Cyberpunk 2077

Peace out,

Maverick

Lucien’s Worst Game of 2019

I sometimes don’t have a lot to say in a worst of the year post, because the fact that my finances are always pretty stunted, I am always having to measure what games I buy.  As such, unless something looks pretty awesome, I don’t buy it.  However, this year had one that really stuck in my craw.  A game that could have been something amazing, that SHOULD have been something amazing, but turned out to be a giant pile of trash that spit on its legacy.  For those who are salivating thinking I’m talking about Death Stranding, don’t.  While that game does have a ton of problems, I don’t hate it.  Some of you who read my site regularly will probably know which game I’m actually talking about.

Recently, I talked about how I am kind of done with nostalgia culture.  Well, there are things that I am genuinely nostalgic for.  So many people talk about this thing or that thing ruining their childhood.  I have that thought when I saw the post talking about how Disney is going to do a live-action version of A Night on Bald Mountain from my favorite film of all time – Fantasia.  The game that I hated most this year actually did shit on my childhood a little.  It hurt me as I got to the end and there was one thought in my mind – that’s it?!  Seriously?!  Got a lot of rage to unload here, so let’s get to it.  The game I HATED most in 2019 is…

Kingdom Hearts III

It kinda blows my mind how bad this game is.  How it can take a formula that has been done so well before, even in some of the more cash-grab games, and take such a dump on it is kind of impressive.  How do you fuck up a formula where it’s been done so well in two mainline entries?!  Was this a deliberate choice?!  Did Tetsuya Nomura just think to himself, “fuck Square Enix, I’m just gonna shit this out and give it to the fans because they wouldn’t let me make the Final Fantasy versus XIII game I wanted to do.”  By the way, that’s the truth.  They didn’t let him do that.  Why?  Because Square Enix wanted to market the game in china, and they didn’t like the focus on a god of death.  So they had to dumb it down in order to make the game sell in the place that now more and more companies are bending the knee to.  But I digress.

Every single part of this game feels rushed.  All of it feels like things were just being done in order to be finished with it.  Like nobody wanted to be working on this game, but were obligated to do it.  Maybe it’s because more and more games are coming in below projected estimates for this entertainment giant, and they figured that they needed something to just rake in the cash.  If nothing else, Kingdom Hearts fanboys/girls are pretty die-hard.  Still, while playing it, I could never escape this feeling that they were just looking to be finished with it.

I can guess why.  Part of me feels like Disney got their grubby fingers into this and were forcing the company to pimp their biggest stuff in order to get the licenses to work with.  Fan favorite worlds?  Nope!  That would detract from Disney’s marketing their newest and biggest stuff to the gamers.  Actually having Final Fantasy character?  Fuck that!  That will detract even more from it.  Even though they could EASILY have just taken characters from their library and integrated them into Disney worlds, that would also have detracted.  I don’t know where the fault lies for how rushed and poorly paced this game was, but I want to call out the person responsible.

Nothing in this game feels engaging.  Sure, we had all the fan callbacks with every fan favorite character getting screen time.  But we don’t care about any of them.  After this many years with the franchise basically being on ice, nobody gives a fuck about anything that happens here.  It looks very pretty, but feels unbelievably hollow.  Just a lot of spectacle.  The plot felt like it was going nowhere.  The characters had no investment.  It was all just playing out a string.

Why did they not let us visit ANY of the worlds we loved?  Hell, your time in 100 Acre Wood felt like something tacked on just to make fans happy.  Why?  Just another rushed world where you are in and out before you even know that something happened.  I don’t get it!  For everything they got right, like putting tons of people in worlds that were supposed to have them, they made the areas with people just afterthoughts.  Nomura’s last project, Final Fantasy XV, feels like it was half-done.  This was feels like even less than that.  And I hear that his next one, the remake of Final Fantasy VII is STILL being released episodically, with each one basically being the size of a AAA game by itself.  Screw that!  Is that the future now?  Don’t have your game done, you can just release a full-priced game that is a third complete and then release two other full-priced expansions?!  I’m not doing that!  I want to be excited for that game, but the more I hear about how they are releasing it, the more I realize that I’m just not.  It looks beautiful, but it’s coming out one third done.

This game’s biggest failing to me was that it was boring.  With the exception of the Toy Story world, which got me invested just because it had that iconic music and characters I grew up loving.  I’m surprised they couldn’t have at least gotten Tim Allen to do the voicework for Buzz.  I mean, how much is that guy’s cost really at these days?  He ain’t that high on the hog anymore.  Still, there were worlds where I should have been invested, and I just wasn’t.  Like the world from Big Hero 6, though admittedly, that one got the closest.  And Pirates of the Caribbean world was fun to return to.  The part of that level where Jack is teaching Sora how to be a pirate, and you find out it wasn’t really him was pretty great stuff.

When trailers for this game came out, everyone thought this was going to be a tour de force for the franchise.  Instead, it was a game where everyone involved just wanted to be done.  You can feel it in every second of rushed dialogue.  And you know what, that bums me out a little.  So much more could have and rightly should have been done.  Let the creative energy flow.  But then Square Enix wouldn’t have gotten the easy money.  It breaks my heart.  I was hoping for more, and instead I got less.  Then we find out that more games are coming out in the franchise.  Nope!  I’m done.  Just fucking done.

Until next time, a quote,

“This sucks.” – Beevis, Beevis and Butthead

Peace out,

Maverick