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Posts posted by DoomMunky

  1. Welcome back, thread!


    I keep wanting to play this again, but am waiting for the Remastered release in May. I have the Switch version pre-ordered thru Amazon (you get some % off if you're a Prime member), and I've heard there's a planned 'loyalty discount' for the Steam version if you've got the Prepare to Die Edition in your library.


    I just beat the game for the first time recently, and I've never played any of the DLC. I'll probably try a Dex oriented Pyro. I like the idea of having Pyromancy for the big damage output, and otherwise ripping it up with little quick weapons like rapiers. I did just do a bleed-oriented build in DS3 (SUPER FUN), and may try the same thing here.


    Hurry up, May!

  2. Cordeos is on to something - while it's easy for me (and this kind of thread) to focus on negativity around the frustrating thing that made me give up a game, being grateful for all the fun time I did have with a game is a lot more rewarding to focus on than the part that didn't work. Disappointment is real, but gratitude is a powerful force. :)

  3. As I think about this further, and process other's reactions to this movie, I remember this is much more than just a movie; it's the foremost element of an aforementioned "transmedia brand experience", it's a movie, and it adds more to our understanding of the Star Wars universe.


    And to me, at least, it's objectively not a very good movie. There's hardly any coherence to the structure, the character threads are all over the place, many characters' stories are explored halfheartedly, and the relation to the overall 'Star Wars' world is muddled, both too-reverent and putatively rebellious at once.


    But interesting character questions get raised, some questions and suggestions about the overall Star Wars world are posed, and some long-standing assumptions are persuasively challenged. In that way, I think it is a hell of an entry in our understanding of the world, and as the internet is showing, people loooooove to talk about Star Wars. There's the 'rebellious' anti-Star Wars stuff that many are giving Johnson credit for. Luke throws the Jedi under the bus, Kylo Ren says "throw away the past", Rose shows Finn what the glitz of the casino is built on, and so on. That's all catnip to fans.


    But then some of the reasons this doesn't work as a film for me can be traced to its function as a franchise element. Finn's hero moment with Phazma is the most egregious, but there's a lot that's in here that felt scattershot, empty, and/or unjustified. Fanservice and in-jokes like the blue milk, empty formalism like Laura Dern's lame "rousing" speech, "homages" or "echoes" like the Hoth-alike setting at the end.

    And this is where I try to critique that without saying that people are dumb for liking those things. <deep breath> Here goes: To me it seems many are latching on to the elements that hook into the old Star Wars they know and love, are stroked and gratified by the fan service, and/or are just grateful it's not a purely cynical rehash like The Force Awakens. And those are perfectly good reasons for liking something. But they relate to what Film Crit Hulk calls the "tangible details" theory of movie criticism; specific elements that work (or don't) are chosen as the "reason" a film succeeds or fails, while ignoring or disregarding structure, theme, and other more analytical or formal elements. For me, The Last Jedi fails as a film because of structural problems and storytelling confusion, and while it raises interesting questions about the world, characters, and themes of Star Wars, it doesn't explore them particularly well as a film. (Others obviously find it very satisfying and that takes us into what we want from these things, and that's a whole other discussion.)

  4. So I'm suffering from Blockbuster Exhaustion in general, so I'm not predisposed to forgive the various issues inherent in blockbuster storytelling, but I was excited for this as the lights went down. We whooped (as is required) at the opening fanfare, and then I settled in to enjoy, but found myself annoyed, bored, and frustrated by the first half, then more interested as the various threads wound their way to the (for now) conclusion.

    I was annoyed by a number of things -



    the absurdity of the opening space fight sequence (the lack of fighters) and the overblown WWII-imagery and borrowed heroism it lended to the bomber pilots' final moments. The fact she can use the Force in extremis is interesting, but doesn't justify any of that. (and having that bomb-dropping imagery echo actual US imperialist bombing footage gave me a shudder - we're subtlely being primed to approve of militarism from many sides) The humor mostly felt forced and modern. The "Godspeed" line felt wildly out of place. In general lots of stuff happened that had the shape of something worthwhile and important, but no actual substance. The clearest instance of this was Laura Dern's post-Leia-injury speech to the assembled officers. "We are the remaining spark, we can't let it go out, we've gotta keep fighting." That thing. It was functional (especially in that it served up some of the verbiage and Themic Elements that would be clumsily delivered on at the end), and of course it was a familiar Star Wars scene ("many Bothans" and all that), but it was bad, you guys, it was really, really bad! Dern sucked – she was all limpid and swooshy, missing any passion or gravitas – and the writing was as cliched as it gets. It had the shape of the familiar and the important but it didn't earn that importance in any way. It was empty. Just like lots of the scenes between Luke and Rey were empty. There's a lot of back-and-forth but no actual dyamism – several of the scenes accomplished the same exact function and added no new information. There wasn't a sense of development; they were empty scenes: "Conflict" without any meat on its bones.


    So eventually Ren and Rey are trying to recruit each other and things are getting interesting. Two people with opposing motives are working against each other, and we're actually interested, because there's ambiguity and uncertainty – we don't know what Rey's thinking all the time, and how deeply Ren's seductions are hitting her, and the same goes in the other direction. They each get to impact each other, and the stakes are high. This culminates in the well-done drama of the Snoke-room, and all the attendant surprises and revelations, most of which are satisfying.



    The main issue

    For me the main problem is that Rey is pretty uninteresting in this movie, when hers should be the struggle we can't look away from.



    Functionally in the movie all she does with Luke is batter against his disdain for a while, get a little bummed, then resume her battering, then change her plan to go convince Ren to be a good guy. She doesn't have a lot of character, and she sure doesn't seem tested or changed by the events in the film. Functionally, she's just an optimist believer in goodness and the rightness of her cause, and that doesn't seem changed.


    Here's what Could Have Been (and I know this is a dangerous, perhaps stupid game): Let's say Rey is fundamentally optimistic, full of grit and determination, and is creative in the face of adversity. That's who she is. How do we learn it? Because we SEE it. So she beats against Luke for a while, getting more and more frantic and disbelieving. After being on the island for a day or two, her whole sense of the world is tested, and we see her rage, or despair, or whatever is most appropriate, and then finally she says, "Listen. I know now you're not going to come and fight. I can't believe it, and I'm sorely disappointed and for a while my faith in the whole enterprise was tested, but you know what? I'm still going to go and fight for what's right, and for my friends. I have to. I couldn't live with myself if I didn't. And you don't have to come. But here's the thing; I am incredibly powerful and think I can do a good job but at the end of the day I have no teacher, and without your help I am going to go and get myself killed. So. You're devastated by the chance you had to avert a tragedy, by your failure to represent and live by the code of the light side of the Force? This is your chance to make it right. Teach me, and guide me past the pitfalls. Help me make the right choices, so that I can do the thing you originally inspired us all to do, to believe in and fight for what's good in the world, and in the people around us, no matter how far they have fallen. You believed in your father's humanity, and I believe in Ben's. He can be saved, and I'm going to try, and I need your help to win." Her character is such that she finds a way to make goodness and faith work, she finds a way to inspire, to reach for the best in people. It takes her a while to find it, but this quality is precisely why she makes a good Jedi. (I also like the idea of her saying "I don't know who my parents were, so I have to choose my mentors, my teachers, my family; and I choose you." That shows us her emotional intelligence, and her understanding of her own limitations.)


    Luke is inspired and takes her on despite his fear of fucking up again, and his struggle is to believe he can guide her past the seductions of the dark side, and when she has the vision of the dark hole and is interested, he's terrified all over again, and filled with doubt, and they fight again, and she wins, but he's now really scared, and when the time comes for her to face Ren his act of faith is to let her go – despite his worries about his ability to protect her from the dark side, he has to believe (and she convinces him to believe) that it's worth it to try. And eventually, of course, he comes to believe this about himself.


    That's MY new headcanon.


    * Phasma vs Finn = stupid and boring. Him rising up after falling in the hole? Cheap and unearned heroism. It just 'happens'. He doesn't have to earn anything or overcome anything.

    * Casino dog chase = pretty and monumentally vapid. I did chuckle at the little goblin rolling in the coins.

    * BB8 was too competent. Yeah yeah, he's different than R2D2, but it was a little much.

    * There was no sense of the massive loss of life they'd suffered at the end. It's nice to have Leia say "We have everything we need" and offer that voice of hope and reassurance, but it felt pat and too-sunny. It was jarring and confusing when combined with the tableau from the end of Empire – that was full of a wounded, distant hope that this was striving for and flubbed. (I think it may have worked better if it didn't try to reuse the same shot – too many elements banging against each other.)



    I fully agree that when we like something, we give lots of little things a pass - this post is my demonstration that the reverse is true, as well. :)

  5. This game is amazing, ignore the haters. Tips:

    • Skip every cutscene. Every one of them. Every second of one that I've caught I've been bored crazy by, so I've skipped every second possible. I've played for 7 hours and ALL of it has been orc-blenderizing madness.
    • Try out Nemesis difficulty. It makes things feel dangerous. I also do a lot more hits-and-runs, and victories feel great.
    • Leave on the combat prompts, if you're on Nemesis, especially if you're like me and don't know the PS4 controller well enough yet. : (
    • Turn OFF the combat prompts on Easy or Normal if you're at all good at the game. Then pay close attention. It works!

    Try to stop playing, I dare you. I haven't even unlocked the Dominate ability, and I can't stop running around trying to cut off Captain's arms. And the relationships I've formed with some of them! I love them!

  6. Woops, title has been changed and a correction has been offered: " Correction, 11:30 p.m. An earlier version of this post incorrectly reported the game would be available on Android as well as iOS."


    Who is the dumb now?! 

  7. First time watcher and holy cow this show is great. Cooper made me laugh out loud twice: when he returns to his hotel room and is just so excited and then again when ... I forgot. 


    Every. Single. Scene. Has something interesting going on in it. 


    I'm honestly surprised by this show. I haven't been surprised by anything in ages, and this 25 year old TV program is just knocking me out. Great stuff. 

  8. I don't know if this has been addressed yet, but why isn't the show addressing this further? Throw up their hands? Said everything they want to? Provide a tiny window of sanity in the gaming sphere? Sparing Danielle what's probably the thing she's dealing with more than any other single thing? 

  9. This was awesome! I've never had an interest in seeing this, but wow, what a great, weird, interesting and generally compelling pilot. 


    "It fell." 


    "Do you have records?" 

    "We have lots of paperwork." 

    "...that will be fine."


    Unconnected thoughts: The stuff immediately preceeding the first commercial break is effing intense. Heavy stuff for a network in 1990. > I've never liked Kyle Maclaughlin before, but he's great here. Great character, great performance. > The flat TV lighting and sceneography really help with establishing the odd tone. It's all so flat and stilted and TV normal, it seems really standard, then is just...not. > The doctor! Holy crap, the doctor with the Hawaiian luau-girl tie! WEIRDO. > I love how simple and normal a lot of the people are. Lucy is obviously 'funny', but Ed is great. I like the small-town setting. 


    Thanks for starting this. 

  10. Far Cry 3 was a horribly shit game in an amazing and gorgeous world filled with interesting systems and wonderful physical instantiation. Inside of missions it was basically anti-open-world, and about as fun as sitting down at a banquet and being told you can eat the spagetti and the spam, but only inside the mission area. 


    You are leaving the mission area. 


    In an open world game. 


    Far Cry 4 will be more of that, and if it's not I will have its babies.