I Don’t Want to Live In Your Game

Recently, I’ve had two very similar experiences with two very different games: Pokemon Go, and No Man’s Sky. And, as different as the two games are, my problems with them are incredibly similar. After only a short play-session, I found both games incredibly boring. And while each has its own mechanical deficits that contribute to my boredom, both share a pretty big conceit that lies at the heart of my issue with them – both Pokemon Go and No Man’s Sky aim to be entire alternate lives.

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Watch_Dogs 2 is more Interesting because of a Black Protagonist

I think we can all agree now that first Watch_Dogs never lived up to that first trailer, and a big part of that had to do with its main character, Aiden Pearce. Even with his “iconic hat,” Aiden didn’t manage to pop out from the countless other angry, white, grizzly-voiced game protagonists.  So, nobody was really excited when news that Ubisoft was working on a sequel leaked.

But today, after a steady stream of leaks, Watch_Dogs 2 was finally announced, and the one thing that popped out at me through the talk of free-running mechanics, improved hacking, or the ability to play non-lethally was the game’s new protagonist. Replacing milquetoast Aiden Pearce is Marcus Holloway, a black man wrongly profiled by ctOS – the game’s Orwellian surveillance system that runs everything – who now leads a hacker revolution. And given the game’s setting and focuses, Marcus being black is way more than skin deep.

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Warcraft (2016) Review

Warcraft is the latest adaptation of a video game to film; and, if I’m not mistaken, the first multiplayer-only game to make the transition. That means, rather than a set story that the game provides, Warcraft’s job is to bring the actual “world” of Warcraft to life, and then make its own plot using the game’s existing lore and characters. This isn’t the journey of what would otherwise be the player’s character through the world, it’s a story of the world itself. And while the world is full and rich, the story feels lacking.

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This post marks the end of the content I made first for my youtube channel. Every post after this one is made after the creation of this blog. That doesn’t mean the end of videos, just don’t expect as many. I am considering keeping Storytelling 101 as an ongoing video series, because I do like the more casual, conversational tone I think video has, but I might experiment with some written posts in that series from time-to-time. I’ll still be pumping out a lot of the same content: movie and comic reviews and the like, but expect a whole bunch … Continue reading FROM HERE ON OUT! NEW STUFF!

Batman: Arkham Knight (2015) Review

(Originally written for Youtube Jul 1 2015)

Besides just being the best video game adaptation of a comic book superhero, Rocksteady’s Arkham franchise have been some of my more favorite games of the past generation. The original Arkham Asylum was the game that finally convinced me to pick up the Xbox 360, and likewise, I bought a PS4 so I could play the finale to Rocksteady’s Batman trilogy. Do I think it was worth it?

If I were asked to describe Arkham Knight in a word, it would be overambitious. It’s clear that Rocksteady wanted to close their trilogy with a bang, and they pulled out all the stops. The Gotham City in this game is 5 times larger than the one in Arkham City; Batman is equipped with a handful of new gadgets and fighting techniques; there are over a dozen side-quests, some of which introduce fresh villains to the Arkham franchise; and the main story goes darker than it’s been in previous games.

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Kirby and the Rainbow Curse (2015) Review

(Originally written for Youtube Mar 6 2015)

The spiritual successor to Kirby’s Canvas Curse, a very early title for the original Nintendo DS, Kirby and the Rainbow Curse updates the same draw-to-platform mechanics of that game to the Wii U, and brings with it an entirely new aesthetic.

The story, like those in most Kirby games is entirely unimportant. Something bad happens in dreamland, and Kirby, with his new paint-brush friend, and some Waddle Dee’s, if you’re playing Co-op, are the only ones who can restore everything to normal. What’s important to get from this story is that, for some unexplained reason, the entire Kirby universe is made up entirely of clay, and that Kirby is entirely too lazy to do any work what-so-ever, which is why instead of normal run-and-jump platforming, it’s up to you to guide the rolling ball of a protagonist to the goal.

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Hyrule Warriors (2014) Review

(Originally written for Youtube Oct 18 2014)

Hyrule Warriors, the fusion of The Legend of Zelda and Koei-Tecmo’s Warriors franchises is one of those combinations that nobody saw coming, but will seem obvious in retrospect.

Hyrule Warriors is mechanically a Warriors game dressed up in a very pretty LoZ skin, with the main objectives of each mission being a combination of taking enemy strongholds, defeating their highest ranking members, and otherwise cutting through their armies like a chainsaw through styrofoam. But this time, instead of playing as Lui Bei obliterating Cao Cao’s forces at Red Cliff, you’re Link, plowing through Moblins in Hyrule Field. It’s a simple premise held up by solid gameplay and lots of fan-service as players indulge in the more action elements of one of gaming’s most revered action-adventure series.

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