Ok, so it happened at last. Suicide Squad came out and it’s a little bit shit. Ok, it’s quite a lot of shit but that is sadly becoming par for the course with DC films these days ain’t it? A lot has been written about the failings of Warner Bros attempt at creating their own shared cinematic universe with some of the best-known characters in all of fiction. Perhaps it’s down to poor management from WB or directors and writers that either don’t get the source material or just don’t like it that much, to begin with (Looking at you, Snyder) but that’s for the scholars to decide. I’m just here to hurl my own ad-hoc reckons in the vast wastes of the internet (Also I’m about to start playing No Man’s Sky so I could be gone for a while)
WHO ARE THE SUICIDE SQUAD
Comprised of a lot of C/D/E list DC villains the Suicide Squad are a government tasked force sent on missions no one else can do, because if they get killed who cares?
The film’s chosen line up is:
Deadshot – A man with guns
Harley Quinn – A women with guns and a boyfriend whose a bit of a dick
Rick Flag – A man with guns. Not a villains, just a bit daft.
Captain Boomerang – An Australian
El Diablo – A character who ran away from the X-men and sold crystal meth for a bit
The Enchantress – A really crap villain (Spoilers)
Slipknot – A character whose main contribution to the plot is to punch a woman then die very quickly. Also, he climbs things.
Killer Croc – Because King Shark would have been too cool.
Katana – A women with a sword. Not a villain, just kinda there.
So that’s your line up for the movie. In terms of supervillains, most of them are just a bit crappy when it comes to the whole ‘super’ thing with only Enchantress and Diablo having any real super-powers (No Killer Croc does not count, he’s just got terrible skin.) So what that they have barely anyone with powers? Well, it’s indicative of the whole films premise being dreadfully squandered. The action scenes are dull gun battles for the most part with only a few brief moments where Diablo actually sets fire to stuff.
Even Captain Boomerang only seems to use his bloody boomerangs for hand to hand combat, which he isn’t that great since he gets stabbed but SPOILER lives because he had crammed some cash in his jacket because he can’t stop stealing. Also, he is Australian.
The goons they’re up against as well are perhaps some of the dullest I’ve seen in all of cinema. Black and grey goo goons with loads of tiny eyes on their heads, the image in your head maybe of some Lovecraftian Horrors that might be kinda frightening to behold, unfortunately, the film is so poorly lit that you never get a good look at them, so they just look like poorly rendered poo goons.
Deadshot, Rick Flag and Harley Quinn are the three who get the most screen time and character development, which isn’t saying much since Deadshot is just Will Smith, an actor with such a well-managed screen presence it’s hard to tell when he’s acting these days. Rick Flag is played by Joel Kinnaman, an actor I’ve been hard on in the past (I’m still getting court orders after my 3rd-year uni review of Robocop) here however Joel is somewhat watchable, even being the emotional core of the group by the time the third act rolls around.
Harley Quinn is of course played by Margot Robbie. Robbie does a decent impression of a Harley Quinn cosplayer, all “Hiya Puddin” and crazy for Mr J but she’s actually quite boring for much of the film. The worst Quinn stories focus on her relationship with the Joker, never exploring who she is when he’s not around and this film never lets us forget that Mr J is coming for her, giving her no chance to be more than just a girlfriend.
Well, now I’ve mentioned the Joker I suppose it’s time to address the egomaniac in the room.
JARED LETO IS A TERRIBLE JOKER
Do you have that friend who thinks they can do a good Heath Ledger Joker impression, and can’t resist doing it every time Batman is mentioned? Jared Leto is that friend and he fucking sucks.
I’ve been told the Leto is a good actor, don’t think I’ve ever sat through any of his other work and after SS I really won’t be trying to change that because he’s so very bad in SS that it’s almost like he was trying to break the film with his mere presence.
Joker has about three scene in the entire film and each one could have been cut from the film and would have made it a stronger film. Joker is looking to get Harley back from the government clutches so goes about harming people until he finds out how, then he rescues her in a helicopter but it gets shot down, he disappears. THE END. There is some origin story stuff for Harley of how she met him blah blah, read a comic book, they’re better written than this film.
Obviously, with a Batman in this shared universe, there needs to be a Joker, it’s the law. We all knew he’d show up sooner or later and thanks to Harley Quinn’s presence in the film we know that he exists somewhere. So why not leave it at that? Joker exists, let him be big bad off camera who Harley is on edge about.
There is a scene in one of the trailers for SS where the Joker laughs and Harley says “Say that’s not good”. That line gave me so much hope for what they’d do with Quinn in this film. Have her try and escape her awful boyfriend because she knows she can’t say no to him.
That would have been a great direction to take Harley for this incarnation of the character, and one that would have set-up for some great stuff further down the line with other Batman films and maybe a Harley Quinn solo film (Can’t be worse than Aquaman)
Anyway these have been some completely off the cuff thoughts on Suicide Squad I thought I’d share with you.
Now to go play No Man’s Sky and call everything Buttzilla.
Here, I’ve gone and made a really dumb dub video of a stupid advert for Call of Duty related burgers.
Enjoy! Or don’t, whatever.
2014’s Shadow of Mordor is one of my favorite games of this current console generation. I love the combat, the stealth and the setting (Although the story is poor) but what I really loved most of all was the game’s groundbreaking ‘Nemesis System’. Put simply, this system made certain in-game enemies have unique personalities, strengths, and weaknesses. You could manipulate this individual by killing them, sparing their lives or converting them to your cause. On your first playthrough of the game each Captain or Warchief you faced seemed unique to your story and so, you would take a personal interest in how they affected the game world. Of course over multiple playthroughs you’ll start to see repeating patterns in how these unique enemies were formed but that’s only because no developer on earth could create infinite personalities.
Since its release and the high praise that Shadow of Mordor received very little has been done with the games stand out feature. Maybe in the next few years we’ll start to see a slew of games use and abuse it but until then I’ve had a few ideas for games or franchises that could certainly benefit from having it.
Predator – It’s fair to say that video games haven’t really been kind to the galaxies most cunning hunter. He’s appeared in several games such as AvP, Mortal Kombat, and his PS2 era game, but none of those games have been particularly good at realizing what it is to be the Predator. A Predator is all about the hunt. Tracking targets, preparing traps and ambushes, before going in for the kill. Games that but an emphasis on this sort of thing are pretty common these days, from Assassin’s Creed, Shadow of Mordor to the Arkham games. Now in my mind a Predator game would most likely be similar to those games in how it plays from a 3rd person perspective, how you navigate the environment and how you’d go about killing folks.
So how could you implement NS into a Predator game? When you drop into the game world you’d be given a list of targets and how they relate to one another, how powerful they are and how much they know about the murderous alien that’s running about. When you confront one of these targets you can go in for the kill and claim whatever reward you get from killing, or you could show mercy, let them run away and recuperate from their experience with you. Each time you do this they would level up in some way, making them a harder target and so have a greater bounty on their head. Now in SoM you could convert the Uruks to your cause, but would that be necessary for a game about a lone alien assassin?
Warhammer 40k – The Warhammer licenses are going through an odd time in their lives at the moment. Seems like every other month we’re seeing a new game that uses either their fantasy or sci-fi IPs to create games no one was really asking for (Apart from Warhammer Total War, that I can dig) 2012 saw the release of the astoundingly mediocre brawler, shooter thing Warhammer 40k Space Marine which managed to bore the living shit out of me after about five minutes (Seriously, if you think that game was good, you’re wrong) So what would I do with the 40K world and how would it use the Nemesis System.
Like in my blog about games Telltale could do, I would go down the route of having the player be an Inquisitor, someone who goes to different worlds to fight the forces of chaos before it has the chance to spread. The people on the NS list you’d face would be agents of Chaos who are spreading corruption in the empire. The more powerful the agent the bigger the reward. But, where the game differs from SoM would be the chance of punishment the player faces if they don’t successful kill a target. If you let them get away once, you’re a fool. Let them get away 3 or 4 times and suddenly you’re allegiance to the emperor is called into question. Soon the situation could escalate where if you can’t take an out a certain target you’d be barred from certain high-level items or areas until your task was complete.
So there are two game worlds that could easily fit in the Nemesis System if they so wanted. What games or IPs would you like to see try their hand at doing their own version of the Nemesis System?
Quick announcement that Played Out Podcast is now on Itunes! How awesome is that?
So far I’ve done two episodes which are both available to download and I’ll be recording the next interview tomorrow for me to edit up ready for next week. Still not sure what day I want to set as the typical release day. Most likely it’ll be out normally for Friday or Saturday of each week depending on how long it took me to put the whole thing together.
It’s early days of course for the podcast but I’m incredibly happy with how each episode has turned out in its own way. So please subscribe on Itunes or Soundcloud.
Anyway, enough gushing here is a video of some pandas on a slide.
So E3 isn’t over but I think it’s safe to start wrapping up this blogs coverage of it. I’m not going to do a generic “Who won E3” because it’s a stupid question. We all won, fans got to see new games, devs get to show their games and publishers take a small hit so that they can make some money down the line (No one leaves E3 making a profit). Instead, I’d like to talk about the games that E3 put on my radar as games I’m looking forward to playing now I’ve seen them. Some are games I’ve only just heard of, others are games I’ve known about for a while but was skeptical about (Which I still am) But have more of an interest in now we’ve seen more of them. So lets start with one of the big new reveals
Horizon: Zero Dawn
Apart from some of the Nintendo stuff that happened, the announcement of Horizon: Zero Dawn was perhaps the one that really raised some eyebrows. A weird mix of Monster Hunter, Enslaved: Odyssey to the West and a few other games, forming some sort of fascinating hybrid which seemed to have everyone chomping at the bit for more. I am one of those wanting more. Developed for the PS4 (FUCK YOU TOMB RAIDER, WE DON’T NEED YOU ANYMORE, Totes not bitter about that) Horizon: Zero Dawn looks to be a sort of survival game, with an emphasis on crafting gear from fallen robotic animals, in world that was clearly once full of humans but now is more tribal in nature. As eleavtor pitches go, that’s a dam fine one and I’m looking forward to.
Now this may come as a shock to some of you, but I have yet to see Fury Road, don’t ask me why, I just never got round to it (For Shame, I know) But the whole “OMG Mad Max is fucking awesome” vibe of late has certainly got my attention, so it’s a dam good thing then that a Mad Max game is coming out in a few months and honestly looks quiet awesome. Here’s a some footage from Gamespot
I’m down for a slice of that. Do you remember Jak & Daxter 3? That footage reminds me of that PS2 classic and that’s honestly all I need to sell me on it. As I look through the pile of PS4 games I have, there is quiet a distinict lack of car combat games, and this looks to fill that gap pretty nicely. From further researching, the grown combat will be a mix of 3rd person shooting but also Arkham-Style Melee combat. All of which is tied up with a nice bow of post-apocalyptic Australia (What’s the difference between that and pre-apocalyptic Australia?)
Talked a bit about this before with my Ubisoft Wrap up so I won’t rehash old ground, just going to say I need a game where a viking gets to bring the hurt to a load of knights and samurai!
Just Cause 3
Just Cause as a series is the logical end point of all video games ever, it’s big, brash and bonkers. With infinite parachutes flying out your ass and a grappling hook that can pull statues down, it’s an anarchic cluster fuck of a game, and it’s one that just get’s me excited. Imagine then the child-like glee I feel then when I get to see Just Cause 3 and how batshit insane it is, with explosions that would make Micheal Bay pass out and a staggering disregard for the laws of physics, Just Cause 3 won’t be a game that has me question what it means to take a life or how I view my existance. Instead It’ll have me look an oil rig and have me think “I need to blow this up, but how?”
Fallout 4 – Do I really need to repeat myself?
Seriously? Just read this to know why I’m looking forward. Also All hail our lord and Savior Todd Howard!
Star Wars Battlefront
Same Deal, talked about it before here. I will say however that I doubt I’ll be getting this day one, it’s a shooter by EA/Dice, they’ve been known to have crap support for online play, and unless the single player is great (Which doubt) I’ll probs be looking at this one a few months after launch if the game is still popular.
South park Fractured but Whole – If only for the name
One of the most pleasant surprises of last year was South Park: The Stick of Truth. It was a simple turn based RPG with some of the funniest writing we’ve seen in a game and was perhaps the most faithful recreation of a licensed property ever made. Can lightening strike twice then for South Park? well if the trailers anything to go by (And that’s all we have) the sequel looks to be pretty dam funny as well. It looks like they’ll be dropping the D&D larping experience for superheros this time round, which as fans of the show know, this means we’ll be seeing Eric Cartman as the Coon as he rides Cthulhu. Can’t wait.
So those are the games that left me giddy and excited (as we should all try to be about games). Does this mean I don’t rate many of the other games on show? Certainly not. I’m forever anticipating No Man’s Sky, Everybody’s gone to the Rapture and a bunch of others too numerous to list here. Was it a good E3? Yes, a very good one for almost everyone involved. Sony showed off some good stuff, as did Microsoft and Nintendo. EA, Bethesda and Ubisoft did well, with the only bad part being the PC gamer conference which went down as well as a cup of cold piss.
Last weekend I went to a really great party, we’re talking top notch partying. There was booze, pizza, video games and debauchery with a load of Microsoft employees. It was a great time. But I’m not here to boast about my excellent social life (That’s what my other blog Bourbonandshame.wordpress is for) instead I’ll be talking about my experience with one of the gadgets my gracious host (and all round top bloke) had to share, an Oculus Rift. Now be warned, much of my following thoughts and judgement I made on about the rift were made under the influence of alcohol, so take everything with a pinch of salt.
After seeing a few of my friends give the rift a go I was excited. Each had sat calmly with the head set on, before having their mind promptly blown. They were amazed at how the camera followed their movements in a realistic fashion, how in the demos we could play they were able to they could tilt their heads and have the rift react accordingly. The first game we played was called Baskhead was one that had the player take the role of a basket ball hoop who had to steer their head in such a way to catch the in coming balls. For each of us drunk party goes it took a few moments to grasp the game, but once we got it we were catching balls in our face like a pro.
Next up we was a game about punching things. This didn’t go so well, as one of the more intoxicated party goers really got into the game and had to be restrained when she started punching the actual monitors.
When i first got my head in the rift I decided I wanted to try something a little more advanc than taking balls to the face and punching screens. So I asked for Half-Life 2. My host looked shocked, he’d never tried Half-Life 2 with the rift. I was to be the first to give it a go. It didn’t work. This is where the ‘Still in development’ caveat must come up. We tried in vain for upwards of five minutes to get the dam game to work and to immerse me in Gordon Freeman’s early morning commute, but alas no.
Filled with rage I asked to be allowed to blow shit up and was given such a chance with Vox Machinae, a mech game like they used to make in the old days and made some what of a comeback in the last few years with games like Hawken and Titanfall. This was where I had issues. The game was incredibly blurry for me. This is mostly due to how drunk I was at the time, but also thanks to the fact I have one eye that is ever so slightly weaker than the other. As such I regularly see things in double for a brief moment before my eyes line up. Apart from that my vision has been pretty much perfect for most of my life, so seeing so much blur was troubling to. Powering through the blur the game itself was decent enough, it’s still in beta so i’ll refrain from passing judgement.
After getting blown up in a mech I decided to give another game a chance, one that would be a bit more relaxing. So I gave the Apollo 11 simulator ago. Calling it a simulator is a bit kind. What it really is a documentary segment with JFK’s famous speech, before having you sit in a virtual Apollo 11 cockpit as you lift off. I must admit that here was where the rift kinda shone for me, part of my brain really felt like it was lifting off, and while this feeling only lasted a few seconds it was still a remarkable feeling to have.
Overall my feelings of the rift are still skeptically optimistic. While I’m not sure it’ll ever be the primary way we game (At least in my life time) I do think that the Rift is certainly an fine first step on the way for VR to being part of every day life.
English television is an odd beast. Filled with quality shows such as Broadchurch, Top Gear and Have I got News for You. It’s also filled with complete shite such as the X Factor and the One Show that make me genuinely ashamed to be human. Between the good and the bad lives some really weird stuff, the stuff that makes you question the makers sanity and how they ever managed to reach the position in life to do these things. Time Commanders is one of these shows.
For those of you who didn’t grow up in the early noughties (Do we call them that) allow me to explain what Time Commanders was. It was Rome: Total War. No i’m not joking, just watch.
Some producer in 2003 thought it would be a neat idea for a show if they took the game engine of Rome Total War (made by English developers Creative Assembly) and made a show around it, where by four people would have to play and win a historical battle to win prize money.
If you’re confused then that means you’re perfectly rational human being. The concept of the show is odd now, but at the time it was down right bizarre. You see Video Games and TV have never really seen eye to eye. For years, news media have blamed video games on various school shootings and the like out of some reactionary dislike for anything new. So when other parts of TV cover games it’s usually one of those “How insulting are they going to be” kinda deals.
Time Commanders manged to get past this issue by never once referring to what they were doing as playing a video game. Instead they tried their best to focus on the historical side of the battle, with two on-site historians who must have left each recording questioning their career in academia.
The thing is… It was a fucking awesome show. When I was younger I loved history, particularly historical battles. My love of history and the battles of it are what brought me to playing RTS games such as the Total War and Age of Empires series. I of course also loved Video Games, and here we had a show that combined my two greatest loves in the world (I had yet to discover writing or blow jobs at this age). I used to sit down and watch, eyes glued to the screen as this great battle would play out.
The best part was that my Dad liked the show as well, he would get into it, calling the contestants idiots and saying how he would have done it. To me this was the closest I’ve ever got to bond with my dad over video games. During my youth, he hated games, I mean really hated them. It was only thanks to my mum that I ever got a console of my own, and every time there was an argument about my grades, the issue of games would come up. There even came a time when all games where banned in the house (A ban that I got around pretty easily). As time went on he began to mellow and as It became apparent they I was looking for a career in games that he tried to engage with the subject more positively, mentioning bits of gaming news he’d heard and ask me about them. When ever he does it always makes me smile.
So yeah, that’s how great this show was, for an hour a week it managed to form a bond between a father and son who had nothing in common.
As someone with almost no personal life of my own, I tend to follow more the development of more games than your typical man on the street. I watch trailers, set up Google alerts for certain games that take my fancy, be it through a excellent trailer (Which we of course can’t always trust, *Ahem* Dead Island) or from game play i’ve seen that looks pretty awesome. So allow me to share a few games I you may not have heard of but which you should definitely keep track of .
We Happy Few
Now I’ve already written at surprising length about how excited I am about We Happy Few. From the one trailer they’ve shown the game looks so delicously dark in a 60s Sci-fi sort of way which we just don’t see these days. It’s a setting that looks as though it could be pulled from some of the best episodes of Doctor Who or the Prisoner, with creepy drone like humans being whipped up into a frenzy by Mr Rogers on smack. Seriously keep track of this one, I could be a corker.
Did you like Gone Home but like me felt it was a bit impersonal for what was meant to be a very personal tale? Well then Fire Watch could be for you. As a park ranger you’ll be traversing a large national park trying to stop idiots setting fire to stuff. While this may sound like one of circles of hell it’s made incredibly engaging by the constant communication between the player and the voice of another ranger in the distance. The writing is incredibly human and naturalistic which is what really gets me going (That and thick rimmed glasses because I am nothing if not a cliche)
Darkest Dungeon (complete edition)
Now if you’ve been a loyal reader (and I demand no other) you’ll know i’ve been some what infatuated with Darkest Dungeon, having both written about it and even started my own video series of it (Which none of you are watching about btw, just saying) Now having played it I was unsure if I should add it to the list but thought “Fuck it, it’s my blog” so I added it for good measure. If you haven’t yet picked it up I’d advise you do. It’s deliciously Gothic and creepy, with a narrator whose clearly Vincent Price’s love child with the concept of evil. If buying an early access game isn’t your thing I understand but advise you to pick it up once it’s out and feature complete.
Also Holy Shit this is the 100th post i’ve done on this blog! Go out into the streets and party my children!
I don’t know if you’ve noticed but in recent weeks two Borderlands games have been released. One is Tales from the Borderlands, a rather good comedy game made by the always wonderful Telltale, and the other is…… Well it’s the winner of “The Who Was asking for this game? Seriously whats the point of it?” Award.
Yes it’s Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel a game whose existence baffles me. Now I can understand the popularity of the Borderlands series, it’s got decent gun-play, fun looting and a sense of humor which is certainly an acquired taste (Claptrap is not funny). With the popularity of the first two games in the series it was inevitable that another game was going to come along for the new generation of consoles. But then we get this, a carbon copy of Borderlands 2, for last gen and PC only.
Developed by 2K Australia it’s clear that the Pre-Sequel is simply there to soak up what last gen money Gearbox can before making the inevitable Borderlands 3. It’s also not hard feel that this game was made to help pay for Gearbox’s recent cock ups of Aliens: Colonial Marines and Duke Nukem (The gaming equivalent of shitting the bed then asking people to buy it, because they once had emotional attachment to the duvet)
Nothing more than a glorified expansion pack that believes itself to be a real game, Borderlands the Pre-Sequel is the proud winner of the “Who Was asking for this game? Seriously whats the point of it?” Award, come up Randy Pitchford and take a bow, then sit down and rethink your business strategy