Phaedrus' Street Crew
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Posts posted by Roderick

  1. Welcome to Marwen seemed like it could be an interesting movie,


    and though it's definitely 'weird', with all the CGI puppets, the film veers way too much into facile sentiment near the end to be effective. The juxtaposition of the idealized CGI puppet world and the real world where Mark has to deal with reality could've made for interesting stuff. There's one scene where his imagined proposal to his neighbor goes horribly wrong, which is also the best scene in the film for that reason. However, after that it feels the real world story becomes just as cartoony as the puppet world, and the two mesh together in a boring way.

    Also, it's at that point the film loses confidence in the viewer and starts over-explaining what's happening, again to its detriment. Particular low points were the puppet sequence where Mark points out that the Belgian witch is a symbol of his addiction (YEAH, NO, DUH), and the courtroom scene where the nazi convicts who beat him up are apparently crying over his passionate speech at the end. Which is just completely unlikely, for one, and doesn't ring true either because the speech is by no means that powerful, so as an audience it did little for me.

    I'm reminded of Suckerpunch (never a good thing). That film too asked us to become engaged with CGI scenes that we knew were in-film fantasies. It never works on that level, because there are literally no stakes. Whatever danger the characters or puppets are in, within the film itself they are imaginary or symbolic, so who cares who gets shots or stabbed or whatever'ed?


  2. Awesome! You should make it a point to learn new stuff. That's actually my new year's resolution too, to cut back on gaming (heresy!) to free up time to learn other stuff. Piano or Japanese have long been on my wish list.

  3. Yeah, a friend of mine has his PC hooked up next to the TV and reroutes the screen and everything - so he just sits on the sofa with his mouse and keyboard if necessary. That works fine, but if you don't have that setup it'll take more effort. I can't make the decision for you, but I struggled with the same thing: wanting to play Civ 6 but in a more relaxed environment. (It also helps here to know that I have a standing desk, so I can't really play games on the PC sitting down.)

  4. On 27-12-2018 at 7:10 PM, graddy said:

    Please let us know how the hardware holds up during the late game. I'm tempted since I skipped it on PC. 


    Civ 6 on Switch: further impressions!


    I've now played about 4 to 5 hours, knee-deep in my first skirmish, playing as Japanese. (Where are the Dutchies at?) I'll first gush a little about how much of an improvement this (Civ 6 base game) is over the Civ 5 base game, which as you'll remember is my only point of comparison. I love it! Building districts is fun and makes me feel like I have more interesting decisions I need to make in any turn. Gone are the days where I could ridiculously churn out twenty wonders in one city - I'll have to make good use of the spare tiles in my cities. It's too early to tell, but I get a feeling the game is also less about creating a sprawl of 100 cities and more about maximizing fewer metropoli.


    But you didn't need me to tell you the game is good.


    There are three areas the Switch version necessarily made compromises in to get it to work. The first is the controls. This took some getting used it and at some point earlier on I was afraid I wouldn't... but it absolutely happened. Granted, the lack of mouse and its pin-point immediacy is noticeable, but after a while you develop quite some skill in zooming around the map with the triggers and sticks. I also played handheld, which brings the fun bits of pinching to zoom, but at an additional risk of accidentally moving a unit when you wanted to scroll for options. I think I prefer playing on a tv for now. Control-wise, it works super fine.


    I'm currently playing on a normal-sized map with various civs I've met and discovered. There's no real framedrops or screen tearing to speak of. If you whip around real quick, sure, there's some stuttering, but nothing you won't encounter on a pc. It plays smoothly and, importantly, after the long-ish up front loading time, without interruption.


    The biggest grief, suprisingly, is the interface. To make it work on a handheld, they blew up all the menus and fonts used - basically everything about the UI is as big as it can be while still keeping the game playable. And I see why they had to do it, you're already squinting a bit at the screen as it is. To be fair, they succeeded handsomely; even the tooltips are easily readable. But it does come at the cost of overview. The UI is often a little in the way and as a result (and perhaps because they apparently cut out the strategic view, though I don't know exactly what it did) you need to work a little harder to get a feeling for what's going on and how all the civs click together. There are still times when it's nearly impossible to parse: try looking through the religion lens and you'll get a jumble of popup menus cluttering the screen, flipping in and out as you but move the analogue stick.


    All in all, this is a STELLAR port, looking fabulous, and playing it extremely fun once you get used to the controls and learn to handle the UI.

  5. Funny, at the time I felt they were rushing these Lego movies, but I see that the first one was released in 2014. Doesn't feel rushed that they're releasing a sequel now.


    I have reservations, though. Putting Beastie Boys in your trailers feels way too obvious - why not go with Who Let The Dogs Out and be done with it entirely? I like the Chris Pratt in-joke, though the big 'laughter -> I don't get it' zinger is again used before and not actually a joke. Eh, we'll see.

  6. They're shit. Though I've only seen the first and third one (I guess?), and it was the worst kind of chaos cinema. So there's your roaring recommendation: Bumblebee is an actually fun Transformers movie for people who dislike Transformers movies.

  7. I had very few complaints about Aquaman, probably because I went in with low expectations. It plays like an elaborate mix of Indiana Jones and Flash Gordon, though it doesn't veer too wildly into camp. Having said that, there's a lot of gaudy lights and aquatic wonders, which makes this easily the best DC film so far. It beat out Wonder Woman for me because of a superior ending that didn't feel out of place in the film.


    Was this a necessary film? Naw. But it was lots of fun.


    (Not quite as good as Bumblebee though. Bumblebee is legit recommended!)

  8. First impressions: started the tutorial to learn the differences with Civ 5. It looks great, though my tv could be a couple dozen inches bigger for my tastes. Handheld mode looks great.


    The controls take some getting used to. Not that they're difficult, not at all, but there's a tactile quality to having a mouse that you can use to hover, point, click, drag, etc, that isn't easily replaced by the L and R buttons and two analogue sticks. The lack of immediacy in terms of controls is felt, and I'm not sure yet if I'll be able to surmount it. I'll let you know. In the coming days I'm starting my first actual skirmish, so we'll see.


    (So far the loading times were very doable!)

  9. Venom was one of the big superhero movies I didn't see this year, and I'm not particularly miffed about it. Into the Spider-Verse is amazing, both as a Spider-Man film and an animated feature that'll appeal to adults as much as it will to kids.


    The villains were a liiiiittle to cartoony for my tastes, in their designs. The rectangular Kingpin was cool enough, but I could've done without a monstrous version of the Green Goblin.

  10. My favorite and biggest present received this year was a field guide to LICHENS. Lichens are pretty awesome and the book's full of pictures of the hundreds and hundreds of species of lichens, in various magnifications. I've determined two species already, on Christmas day, in my parents' yard.

  11. How did we do all this time without this topic?


    My own hoisting is a little less comical, perhaps. This past year I've been telling so many friends that I'd come visit them 'soon', but the year is almost over and I've made a complete liar of myself. I need to seriously come to terms with my own inability to travel long distances at a whim to visit friends. I should make it clear to them I'm like a shiny Pokémon: a rare catch and reason for celebration.

  12. Thanks! I'll be reading this today. It's really useful to have such an insider's look into the game.


    I'm still playing a lot with Inkling and have gotten to the point where I no longer am super nervous about what the hell to do. I still rely a bit much, I feel, on jumping on the enemy to be able to aim at them and get a tilt attack off (you do them with the smash analogue stick provided you're in the air). I should really get comfortable with blocking and evading, but that's so contrary to the excitement of a match that I have a hard time adjusting to it.

  13. Yeah, I have no appetite for that kind of humor. Dicknanigans.


    Tex Murphy Tesla Effect's gameplay was just kind of odd, I guess! You had these 3D levels to explore and find stuff in, but it was all vaguely empty and ugly. The best part is all the FMV NPCs and the way they're over-acted. "HIYA MUYPH!" And figuring out how the story arcs could branch. It had a half-decent story  too, though shoot me if I can remember a third of it at this point.

  14. Oh, if the Tex Murphy kickstarter became Tesla Effect, I played it too, and liked it quite a bit! Like Henke, it was my first Tex Murphy game, and I loved its weird idiosyncracies. (And terrrrible gameplay.)

  15. I believe I read that if anyone's connection in the online game isn't up to snuff, everyone experiences lag. I can see how that's super annoying.


    Gotten a little better at Smash (still suck). One of the things I have difficulties with is that though there are tons of resources online that tell you what every button does in Smash, it's harder to get a feel for the right way to play it. For instance, when I asked a friend how to play, he told me something I hadn't read online anywhere: that using specials is usually a waste of time and you're better off using online fast A-attacks and smashing as soon as the percentage is high enough. Sure, that's kind of meta, but I'm surprised it's so hard to find. It feels like that's valuable information.


    Also, I have a single big gripe with the controls! I can't dependably pull off a tilt attack with the A-button, because if you overshoot the stick-press with just a fraction, you're already doing a smash attack. That's REALLY TOUGH, because in the heat of battle there's no way I have the skill or reserve to gently flick the stick - there's just too much adrenaline pumping. Now the game does support an alternative, which is putting the tilt attacks on the right stick, where normally you'd operate the smash attacks. But that doesn't feel right at all. Now I can do tilt attacks, but the all-important smash attacks have gotten way more difficult to pull off.


    The obvious answer is to switch off the ability to do smash attacks with the A-button, but that's nowhere to be found. People online have been asking for this feature since 2015 as far as I can see (on the Wii U), but no response.

  16. I'd say Civ has so many systems running under the hood, that it's OK if you just get a feel for the flow and improvise as you go on. Sure, you could read up and become an allstar Civ player, but for me part of the fun is being surprised by the game and simply enjoying the basic pleasures of it.


    Same goes for Smash Bros Ultimate. I haven't yet played online, but will as soon as I feel I have a handle on the basics. Currently I'm enjoying watching my partner play, and playing mostly the singleplayer World of Light mode. It's enjoyable, because you get hundreds of battles where they've tried to finagle existing fighters into resembling other characters from other games. The end result is delightfully weird chaos. For instance, one of the character is the Queen Bee from Mario Galaxy. To recreate her, they've commissioned a giant Pikachu with brown eyes, and th level is filled with honeycombs emitting bees.


    So far I've taken a liking to the new Inkling character. I like her specials, which resemble Splatoon 2's. There's something fun about flinging around ink and splatting folks.

  17. Dosed, is it almost Civ 6 time? I didn't buy it in the end, because I mightily suspect it to arrive under the Christmas tree.


    What I do plan on gettign today is Smash. It's Smash day! Anyone excited? It's tremendously really not my genre, and I expect it to be no more than a fun diversion for a while (I'm reviewing it for a magazine). Still, I've always entertained the idea of some day finally getting halfway decent at Smash, and this might be my opportunity.


    In the past the game never really clicked for me. I found that my platforming instincts would always kick in and expect Mario-level responsiveness and jumpability. From that perspective, everything plays incredibly sluggish. Perhaps now I'll be able to prick through that perception, just like Splatoon 2 luckily clicked for me after digging into it.

  18. It is THAT time again, the time we all not change our avatars, because we've been keeping 'em christmassy all year, for years, and for years to come.


    Let me introduce you to Christmas 2018 with the traditional Christmas Video: