Monthly Archives: March 2017

The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild Review

breath-of-the-wild-hinox

Allow me to first start by saying that if this review were to truly encompass every minute detail that I’ve traipsed by or discovered within Breath of the Wild, it would be much too long for you to ever finish it- much less to even want to read it in the first place. This is a game that pays close attention to detail and despite my fine-tuning of this review over the past few weeks that the game has been out, we are still discovering new gimmicks and tricks and tips as a community right and left. I’m not so sure we won’t still be discovering previously unknown gameplay elements in the coming months after its release.

At first I had resolved not to write a review about such an epic game, however I’ve since of course changed my mind and therefore here we are today. I will undoubtedly be writing more on the game in the coming weeks, as there’s plenty to discuss beyond a simple subjective/objective point and counterpoint argumentative narrative. The game is as near to perfection as any other that I’ve awarded the lauded score that I will be giving this one- in fact it may be the most compete package that I’ve played to date, at least as far as the past five years or so go. I will go ahead and state that the console of choice I’ve played the game on has been the Wii U and not the newly released Nintendo Switch hardware- therefore bear in mind that there can and most definitely will be slight differences between the two experiences at the least in terms of technical proficiency.

If I were to sum this game up in as spoiler-free a way as I possibly could, I would have to remark upon the lavish open world and the role-playing mechanics that have now revolutionized the series for the better. True, I would also have to do my best to impart as much as I could upon readers in regard to the breaking of new ground that is the game’s narrative itself, and yet I would also be bound by convention to avoid spoilers whilst discussing the thoroughly unconventional themes and elements of said narrative. Now that I’ve gotten my hypothetical musings out of the way, let’s actually get down to business.

Breath of the Wild is far from the first Legend of Zelda game to explore the concept of an open world- several others have done it to some extent and yet none so to the depth or with the level of commitment that Breath of the Wild has. My favorite (still at least for now) game in the series- Wind Waker, was one of the most impressive in terms of the size and scope of the world and island-hopping narrative. And yet for all of its amazing design work at the time, Breath of the Wild scoffs and dwarfs it forty times over- all the while still offering players the same sense of exploration and dutiful scavenging for interesting tidbits of narrative and progression of upgrades and collected materials.

It’s not necessarily that Breath of the Wild is a departure from the series in terms of its exploration and open-ended mentality, merely that it is a departure from a lot of the conventional elements we have grown accustomed to over the years. In many ways you could very well compare its very gameplay to that of Fallout and Far Cry 2 in that your very supplies and materials will decay and break down over time, giving rise to a more strategic approach to combat and puzzles rather than utilizing the same master sword and mirror shield over and over again. As with the game design itself, there is an air of openness and detachment even from your very inventory- from armor to weapons to items to mounts. All of this funnels the player into a fulfilling quest of both cultivation and exploration throughout the dozens of hours you’ll invest in the game.

zelda0004

No longer are you “level-locked” by a lack of special inventory items or particular gadgetry and weapons. Breath of the Wild embraces openness to the extent that you can enter virtually any dungeon and be able to make your way through- assuming you’re skilled enough to take down the hardiest of enemies with only a few hearts of your own to speak for. Nothing is impossible, but it’s definitely improbable in your lowliest of beginning stages that you’ll storm the desolate gates of Hyrule and conquer your darkest foes. The means are there, but you’re much better off exploring the world, leveling your gear, learning your skills, and adding to your inventory as you go- making for a truly deep experience like no other we’ve yet to experience in the Legend of Zelda series or the majority of role-playing games, for that matter.

So open and expansive are the narrative and exploration elements of the game in fact, that you can choose whether to embrace exploration entirely and abandon the main plot line or scour the world for all the key collectibles and story moments in order to first defeat your ultimate nemesis prior to focusing on open-ended exploration and side quests. There are a number of activities to be found in Breath of the Wild- as is critical within any respectable RPG, and for what it’s worth not a single activity feels needless or a waste of time and energy. Typically delving into dungeons or shrines will lead to special rewards and upgraded gear or equipment that will only benefit you in either your continued crusade to take back Hyrule or your quest to roam all the lands open to you.

In all of this opening explication I’ve surely managed to convince you that the world you are able to explore is expansive and impressive, however I cannot do it the justice it deserves without first allowing you to experience it for yourself. It is truly large and not only that but filled with lore, activities, and sheer worthwhile exploration and adventure- as any epic tale should contain. I’ve previously compared Breath of the Wild to The Witche 3: Wild Hunt and once you play the game for yourself you will probably be able to see why that is such a compelling comparison to make. While it is easy to view this world as a composite slate, you must also account for the fact that the sum of its individual parts add to the totality of the experience and truly make it a fascinating and exhilarating journey.

There is less of a sense of true direction than in previous Zelda tales, and yet the game does not lack for purpose or quality exploration and exposition. Everything is there for you to find however it won’t always be pointed out to you immediately- something that can also apply in terms of gameplay dynamics and overall mechanics. It only takes one glance at YouTube to see that players are still discovering new ways to explore certain areas or complete specific puzzles or tackle difficult bosses. It’s truly amazing the lengths to which Nintendo has gone to open up the world creatively and even add such an element of constant replayability to such simple things as locomotion and combat. Seriously- you can power rafts with magnetism, you can ride grizzly bears, you can launch felled trees into the sky, and you can sneak your way onto a Hinox and pickpocket treasures whilst it sleeps. The possibilities seem endless and will more than likely stay that way for a good long time.

While the opportunities and options available to you from the onset are nearly endless, that’s not to say you won’t quickly discover Link’s own limits which must be pushed past as you continue playing the game. Look no further than the stamina bar- which is about as competent in execution (climbing, defense, sprinting, attacks, etc) as the Cleveland Browns have been in securing a wining season within the past decade. Needless to say, all great adventurers must start somewhere and the few limiting factors that force you to think small-scale before you can truly venture out into the wide world and take the fight to your foes in your massive and ambitious quest only serve to improve the overall quality of the adventure itself. There is a level of exploration in Breath of the Wild that I’ve not seen in any game to date- meaning everything that is tangible is yours to collect, climb, scatter, or demolish, and this extends from simple locomotion through every other mechanical system inherently found in gameplay.

lozb

The level of attention to detail both on the grand scale and in the little details- lore, dialogue, weather cycles, and character memory itself, is truly ambitious and respectable. If you ever for a second think you’ve “broken the game” or otherwise discovered something that couldn’t possibly happen, you should probably consider the fact that this title has such quality that nearly everything has been thought of before you’re even remotely close to discovering its existence for yourself. For such a gigantic game world, it manages to pay attention to things on a minuscule level as well and compartmentalize dungeons and gameplay in hopes of being able to offer more and more of the things we’ve all come to respect over the years. For example, the dungeons themselves may seem smaller in scale, however there are plenty more of them spread across the landscape and each offers an inventive twist upon legacy puzzles and classic gimmicks all the while adding completely new elements as well.

The game world is so large that it wouldn’t be fair to traverse it without the help of fast travel locations. Thankfully Nintendo recognizes this and adds them in the guise of shrines- offering dungeon like puzzle experiences in a compact package that utilizes a few different inventory items and unique gameplay elements, loot and treasures beyond your wildest dreams, and the eventual ability to utilize explored shrines as fast travel waypoints. Each shrine is truly unique in the way it forces you to discover its secrets and unlock its puzzles. While the mechanics in each do get a tad bit repetitive with time (within singular shrines), the replayability factor remains in that some must be returned to upon unlocking or discovering certain items in order to complete them fully.

Breath of the Wild is perhaps both the most expansive and difficult of all Zelda games to date. It is not merely a quest for glory or to liberate your homeland, but rather a tale of exploration and survival against all odds. I found many elements to be strikingly similar to those of Fallout: New Vegas’s hardcore modes requiring players to manage their hunger and thirst alongside health, gear, and other aspects of their mission and person. There is a level of strategy to each combat encounter and even to exploration itself within the world and there isn’t often much explanation past the opening few minutes as to what you should be doing, how you should be doing it, or where you should look to for guidance. For better or worse, Breath of the Wild tosses players out of their comfort zone and forces them to become gritty survivors.

I loved the attention to detail in the environments and their environmental effects upon Link as you traverse them. Take note of scorching hot lava floes and chilly northern climates, as the hottest of areas and the coldest of areas can and will affect you severely if you traipse through them unprepared and unequipped. Breath of the Wild is no walk in the park but it is also created with accessibility in mind enough so that it is no Souls game, merely a hardy experience that forces you to adapt as you go. You will undoubtedly die many times over and yet as you play and learn and find better equipment, you will begin to realize what it takes to succeed and the game will become less and less of a struggle to survive and even more exciting of an adventure to embark upon.

Discovery and exploration extends to every key element of the game- crafting potions and finding food recipes, equipping new weapons, wearing powerful armor, and ultimately figuring out which pieces of your very enemies could come in handy for recipes and schematics. Beyond that, there is of course the obviously imbued exploration leading to the discovery of new areas and characters over time- specifically many throwbacks to names of places and people from previous Zelda experiences and lore. Without ruining the majority of the surprise, you will definitely be able to speculate as to where exactly Breath of the Wild fits into the famously confusing Zelda timeline considering the fact that a ruined version of Ocarina’s Lon Lon Ranch can be found in-game as well.

daily1

Having talked about nearly every other available aspect of the game, I feel it is only fair to touch upon the narrative itself as briefly as I possibly can without ruining it for prospective players. It’s no real secret that your ultimate goal in Breath of the Wild is to topple the legendary evil that is Ganon. The calamity that he has wrought in the world is telling in terms of its physical manifestation and the psychological effects it has wrought on the characters themselves. From the earliest moments of the game it becomes obvious that you must eventually face this evil, yet the time and preparation it takes for you to get there is entirely up to you. There is no three day clock counting down to catastrophe here- merely your own expectations and your own preparations culminating in one epic and final confrontation. Of course, as the game itself is so massive, you’re free to go and explore the rest of the world in the aftermath of the narrative finale.

What truly does amaze me and must be spoken about to some degree is the way in which Nintendo handles Link and Zelda this time around- from their interaction to their tied fates and thoughts and mannerisms. There is a definite vibe that Zelda would be channeling her inner twenty-first century feminine empowerment if she knew of such things, and I love that element to the narrative. There’s no sense in her playing the often helpless role she has in the past and even she is aware of this and sick of the sameness of her destiny- so much so that she goes out of her way to do all she can to assist Link throughout his journey rather than only standing in to assist him in his final struggle against Ganon (I’m looking at you Wind Waker). While the characters are familiar variations on the same theme we’ve always seen, they’re different and mature enough that it never gets old.

For such an impressive and massive exploration of game design and creation, The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild is truly a testament to Nintendo’s commitment to quality experiences in perhaps what is their greatest series ever. There are a few technical issues at times and yet for the life of me I can think of no other detriments to the overall experience that Breath of the Wild offers- which is truly astounding in such a large game, as the majority of even the most finely tuned experiences such as The Witcher 3 have had their fair share of dramatic bugs and glitches over the years. All things said and done, where you’re a long-time fan of the series or a newcomer altogether, if you have a Wii U or perhaps the Nintendo Switch, I implore you to give this game a whirl as it’s a truly unforgettable and worthwhile experience like none other. It’s way too soon to tell for certain, but compared to even the greatest iterations of the series, Breath of the Wild will be remembered fondly.

Concept: Meld traditional elements of The Legend of Zelda series into a truly open world design that tasks players not only with survival but exploration for the sake of progressing through the experience.

Graphics: It is not the gritty experience that Twilight Princess was in its more realistic art direction and yet Breath of the Wild’s design is flawless and fits perfectly with the tones present throughout the narrative.

Sound: From nature’s call to the subtle yet fitting melodies that ramp up with each new discovery and encounter, the themes are slightly different from past soundtracks in the series and yet they work just as well.

Playability: Forget past issues with motion control and sometimes finicky elements on the Wii and Wii U, as far as I am concerned the mechanics and controls handle better than they ever have before.

Entertainment: Whether you choose to mix story and side elements or pursue one solely over the other, Breath of the Wild is a thrilling and compelling experience and one that you will surely remember for a long time to come.

Replay Value: High.

Overall Score: 9.75

Advertisements
Tagged , , , ,

Gaming March Madness Round 5

ncaa_march_madness_logo_2016

I’ve purposely waited several days before posting the most up to date bracketology kind of information on the results of the previous round- mainly so that it will somewhat coincide with the soon to follow Final Four round and ensuing championship in the next week or so. I want you to bear in mind that I am not the one selecting which games move onto the next round, rather fate itself is decreeing these moves as I have based the winners upon the winners at that position and seed in real life. As for the seeding process itself, I merely took a look at random at some of the most influential and popular titles of noted quality in the past decade or so and assigned them a number. So again, I’m doing my best to remain unbiased here.

Following this round, I will be doing my best to do a complete playthrough of both titles that end up primed for the championship game. It’s all sort of boiled down to this at this point, and I want there to be some sort of payoff for everyone involved as well. Whether that replay runthrough is documented in a video format for your amusement or whether I simply write several blogs pertaining to it over the course of the next few weeks really remains to be seen. I’ve done something of the sort before and I also don’t particularly enjoy the painstaking effort that comes with video documentation, but we shall see.

Without further ado, I guess we should go ahead and alleviate some of your concerns over who may or may not come out on top in this particular round.

ROUND FOUR RESULTS:

7 THE WITCHER 2 WINS (OVER DRAGON AGE ORIGINS)

1 MASS EFFECT 2 WINS (OVER MIDDLE EARTH SHADOW OF MORDOR)

3 LEFT 4 DEAD WINS (OVER UNCHARTED 2)

1 BORDERLANDS 2 WINS (OVER PORTAL)

Allow me to add in some commentary on this particular round and its results as well, if you please. I think it is particularly interesting how well the results here actually fall in line with how such a competition might go in real life. The Witcher series has a huge following, as does Dragon Age- not to mention they’re highly comparable in terms of direction and genre at times. So that’s an excellent matchup. Likewise, Mass Effect 2’s NCAA counterpart absolutely blew the seed that Shadow of Mordor is stepping in for out of the water- as I imagine could realistically be expected.

When it comes to Uncharted as a series versus Valve’s collective of quality games set within a same or similar universe (in terms of relation between their standalone series), I’m not sure anyone expected Left 4 Dead to trump arguably the best Uncharted title and yet it still happened. Not to be outdone, Valve’s other title of note on this list- Portal, only lost by a meager three points to the equally exceptional and impressive Borderlands 2. Either way with that matchup, I would’ve been happy.

As with the majority of the games in this tournament and on this list, I thankfully own and have already played or experienced each of the final four titles. So no matter who it comes down to in the final game, I can easily blaze through them on repeat for your viewing or reading pleasure. That having been said, three of the four are role-playing games which seems to mean fate has it out for me and I’ll be invested up to my neck in gameplay for roughly a month at this rate.

Moving right on along, let’s take a look at the penultimate matchups of the tournament for this nearly-final round. I’ve also taken the liberty of showing each game’s path to this moment thus far.

7 THE WITCHER 2 V 1 MASS EFFECT 2

3 LEFT 4 DEAD V 1 BORDERLANDS 2

THE WITCHER 2 HAS DEFEATED: THE LAST OF US, BATMAN ARKHAM ASYLUM, MASS EFFECT.

MASS EFFECT 2 HAS DEFEATED: BATMAN ARKHAM CITY, FAR CRY 3, MIRROR’S EDGE.

LEFT 4 DEAD HAS DEFEATED: DIRT 3, DESTINY, MORTAL KOMBAT X.

BORDERLANDS 2 HAS DEFEATED: STARCRAFT II, SLEEPING DOGS, ROCK BAND 2.

Tagged , , ,

The Promise of Oasis

ykapggcpc9wj1oawnhkq

The best thing I’ve read regarding the pilot of 2017’s Oasis is that it features Game of Thrones alum Richard Madden as a Scottish space priest- yes you read that correctly. And in a weird sort of way that’s exactly what the premise is here and why the Amazon original show has such promise and I hope that it can find its way into a full series.

I urge all of you science fiction geeks and thought-provoking television fiends to delve deeper into the details regarding the show because I do not think you’ll be easily disappointed. Not to be confused with a 1993 series of the same name but revolving around a completely different genre of television, Oasis does indeed follow a space-faring priest as he makes his way to a remote colony. If you’re interested in the source material itself, look no further than Michel Faber’s writing.

In many ways, the sense of exploration and wonder the pilot alone has wrought within me reminds me of something akin to my time with Mass Effect and of course other science fiction materials that I’ve read in the past- notably Robert Heinlein and Spider Robinson’s Variable Star. There are several moments where the camera pans to show the awe-inspiring desert that surrounds the exoplanet settlement, or as it is in real life, the desert regions in which the show is shot. For an original film that probably doesn’t boast the largest of budgets, I’m really excited to see an emphasis on story and dynamic character contrast if it kicks off for good.

Besides its obvious messages on the human condition and themes revolving around the inevitable environmental calamity facing our planet even now, what most excites me regarding the story is the scribe behind it. The pilot itself is written by Mat Charman- of Bridge of Spies nomination fame, and directed by Kevin Macdonald- of The Last King of Scotland and 11.22.63 renown. If you want to get into talent within the show itself, look no further than Richard Madden (Robb Stark of Game of Thrones) and Aislin McGuckin (of Outlander).

From my own viewing experience last week and combined with what general sentiments I’ve heard from others who’ve watched and/or reviewed the pilot, Oasis draws many similarities and comparisons with classics such as Dune and contemporary televisions shows and films like Interstellar and The Expanse. Having heard of but not read the novel it is based upon, I’m interested to see where the show itself could go if it is given the promising funding it deserves. I am not aware of the current state of Amazon’s ‘originals’ program in comparison to networks such as Netflix, however I do think the pilot has made a strong enough showing for why the show deserves a chance. And it probably doesn’t hurt that it’s received good reviews.

I definitely think it is important to search the web for some of the behind the scenes flicks and videos that explain sort of what vision the show is going for and some of the mystery and world-building it is attempting to pull off as well. There are some gorgeous shots and also some themes that in a way remind me of amazing space epics such as Joss Wheedon’s Firefly as well. In fact, many tropes sort of emerged that reminded me in a way of the misadventures of Captain Reynolds and his crew, albeit without much of the spacefaring adventuring and privateer lifestyle.

Especially in light of some of the projects that have been given life on subscription based media outlets such as Netflix or Hulu in the past, I think Oasis could be a very strong and unique showing for Amazon and its ‘originals’ programing. I’m really interested to see how this series progresses in the future and whether or not we get to see the continuation of Peter Leigh as a character as well.

Tagged ,

How Wild Hunt and Breath of the Wild are Highly Comparable

the-witcher-3-wild-hunt-download-pc-free-full-version-crack-10-1

It is no small secret that I’ve praised and lauded CD Projekt’s Witcher series and most recently the third (and probably final) adventure that Geralt of Rivia embarked upon. It is very much a dark fantasy universe in every sense of the genre and quite possibly the closest we will ever come to a truly spectacular Game of Thrones adaptation as well. So how exactly does a dark and gritty fantasy game match up with a more childhood friendly (and less-nightmare inducing) fantasy title? You’d be surprised just how well they fit together when taken apart and looked at side by side. Each finds their major strength in the most expansive element of all- open world roaming.

Breath of the Wild isn’t just another game in a decade-spanning series, excellent though the majority of the games in that series have been. In its own right, taken away from The Legend of Zelda, Breath of the Wild would stand on its own as an even more impressive statement in an otherwise over-saturated open world market. Ubisoft, god bless ’em, churns out semi-open world shooters and third-person action titles multiple times a year. Open-world had sort of plateaued a bit until The Witcher 3 came along. And now with Breath of the Wild here to push the bounds of credibility and monumental achievement in virtual fictions ever further, there’s certainly a new benchmark that games will have to meet in order to be impressive.

Let me sidestep for a second to express my love and attachment to a third open-world title here before I move on to bigger and better points that must be made. Horizon: Zero Dawn is a phenomenal action-adventure game with constant role-playing elements littered in between its mechanics. Guerilla Games has an astonishing level of quality on most of their projects- certainly with the Killzone series, and it goes to show that they aren’t limited in scope to first-person shooters in the slightest. However, that having been said- Zero Dawn very much utilizes the same well-trodden tropes that Ubisoft and Bethsoft and virtually everybody else has and does in order to play it safe with open-world titles. Now, admittedly this works for Horizon, but it doesn’t push much past the plateau.

Hustling back to our previous sentiments, two titles on the open-world radar have piqued my interest in the past few years- The Witcher 3 and Breath of the Wild. That’s not to say I haven’t enjoyed plenty of other games in the genre- we’ve seen The Elder Scrolls V, Far Cry 3, 4, and Primal, and plenty of other quality games as well. But none of those have done things with the same level of attention to detail or attention to the simple things that CD Projekt Red and Nintendo have done. Really, I wasn’t at all surprised that Breath of the Wild was a good game- the Zelda series typically has been, especially on consoles. However, I was thoroughly surprised and impressed by its attention to the overall mythos as well as its ability to both connect back to that and also start things relatively anew. There are plenty of shout-outs to previous iterations and yet there are also plenty of things we’ve never seen before.

To give you the barest of glimpses at the level of creative detail that both teams have exercised with these two projects, allow me to blow your mind with some interesting information. Wild Hunt is so varied in its narrative exposition and exploration that it has roughly forty possibly ending combinations- that alone is impressive to say the least. But let’s steer clear of story and focus on gameplay shall we? As a Witcher, Geralt can utilize so-called signs which generally perform a variety of functions from shielding him in combat to blasting flames from his palm- essentially for those of you Bioshock fans out there, think plasmids. There is a depth to the upgrading of these various genetic mutations that should be similar to any role-playing fans used to a couple of skills trees a la Borderlands or any notable RPG. However, what isn’t well-known or old at all is the level to which the combination of these signs can impact enemies, allies, and the world itself. For example- casting a Fus Roh Da kind of force-punch will not only bowl enemies over but put out environmental hazards such as flames licking at their skin. So theoretically in combat you could engulf your opponent in flames, put them out, knock them over, and then coup de grace them as well. And that’s just the tip of the veritable iceberg.

So we get it- The Witcher 3’s attention to detail is pretty much unparalleled in many ways. Now let’s talk about where Breath of the Wild comes into play, shall we? You could very well compare the newest Zelda game to the post-apocalyptic stories of the Fallout universe- the degrading weaponry, immense customization options, and varied enemy types are all there, excluding the actual post-apocalyptic narrative elements that are also present. So while this is an impressive change for the series in and of itself, it is exactly how every system fits together in the well-oiled machine that is Breath of the Wild that further impresses me. Like CD Projekt, Nintendo has more than likely put there hands on every minuscule detail in the game- so if you find something that seems like it shouldn’t be possible or seems really odd then you’ve more than likely stumbled upon yet another intricate detail they’ve added into the game.

If you’ve been around long enough and paid enough attention, you’ll more than likely have already seen the multitude of ‘Mythbusters’ sort of videos regarding Breath of the Wild. I urge you to check them out on YouTube or elsewhere if you haven’t already, as it’ll really open your eyes to the possibility that this may be the one game we’ve yet to see in our lifetime that offers virtually everything you can think of, and then some. For example, you can utilize the environment in nearly every way thinkable- even going so far as to climbing onto sleeping Hinoxes by riding their hand up after essentially tickling it with your touch. I mean, literally the lengths to which you can go to even just explore the world is incredible- you can move boats with magnetism, power a felled tree into low-flying orbit thanks to explosive powers, and much more.

So on some base level, even once you’ve moved past the obvious comparisons- they both have ‘wild’ in their titles, they are both fantasy adventures in expansive worlds, so on and so forth, Breath of the Wild and Wild Hunt are immensely comparable games and experiences. And the most dramatic irony of all is that in this comparative greatness, no two games could be any more different than them as well. They are highly comparable in the fact that they do many important things right that few games have ever done before, as well as the fact that they accomplish an untold number of even greater, minuscule things as well- the extent to which we may never find out. At the end of the day, despite any small amount of glitches or rough patches they may show as they age, it seems a no-brainer to me that The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild and The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt are destined to be included on plenty of lists of ‘greatest games’ both in their genre and in the industry as a whole.

Tagged ,

Gaming March Madness Round 4

ncaa_march_madness_logo_2016

Now that the real-life Final Four has been set in terms of Men’s Basketball March Madness, it’s time for us to move onto our next stage in the virtual world. Who will come out on top and who will be upset? Well, you’re about to find out as a matter of fact. Here are the results from the third round:

EAST BRACKET

4 DRAGON AGE ORIGINS WIN (OVER FABLE II)

7 THE WITCHER 2 WIN (OVER MASS EFFECT)

WEST BRACKET

1 MASS EFFECT 2 WIN (OVER MIRROR’S EDGE)

11 MIDDLE EARTH SHADOW OF MORDOR WIN (OVER DEAD SPACE)

MIDWEST BRACKET

1 UNCHARTED 2 WIN (OVER UNCHARTED)

3 LEFT 4 DEAD WIN (OVER MORTAL KOMBAT X)

SOUTH BRACKET

1 BORDERLANDS 2 WIN (OVER ROCK BAND 2)

2 PORTAL WIN (OVER LITTLEBIGPLANET 2)

ROUND FOUR:

4 DRAGON AGE ORIGINS V 7 THE WITCHER 2

1 MASS EFFECT 2 V 11 MIDDLE EARTH SHADOW OF MORDOR

1 UNCHARTED 2 V 3 LEFT 4 DEAD

1 BORDERLANDS 2 V 2 PORTAL

Tagged , , ,

Broadchurch Series One- A Retrospective

broadchurch-season-1-finale

By now I have no doubt that many of my closest friends and companions know I am a huge fan of British television shows and all things of similar status. That’s not to say I don’t enjoy television shows from every nook and cranny, just that I happen to have acquired a particular fondness for many of the recurring actors between BBC network dramas and typical British soaps. The subject of course of this particular blog post is none other than the first of the would-be and will-be trilogy, Broadchurch. It is not in fact about either a big church or even a church at all, but rather the name of a quaint Wessex town where devious cases are brought to life.

If you’ve seen or know anything about Doctor Who then no doubt you’ll see several familiar faces in both the Tenth Doctor and Rory Pond (I jest of course, it’s Williams), or rather David Tennant and Arthur Darvill. This is no Hamlet and certainly no Legends of Tomorrow, and yet both of these high caliber actors find themselves similarly in specific and terrific roles alongside many other talent castmates- look no further than Olivia Colman. You may be wondering why it is I am just now bringing up the series, and it’s actually quite timely I’ll have you know. The third series of Broadchurch started a little bit shy of a month ago and I’ve been rewatching the first two as both preparation and penance for when the third is finally available to me.

First things first, allow me to tell you several of my favorite items and themes from the show- they’re probably not quite what you would expect. The first series has some amazingly emotional and believable moments and none have been hammered home more vividly than anytime the scene just sort of pans out and allows the sweeping musical score to roll in. It is in these moments that silent revelations take place, new clues develop, and all sorts of emotional deliveries are given without a single word having to be spoken. In essence, it’s genius. Musical scores have always been and will always continue to be some of the best ways to convey ironically silent messages through sights and sounds.

My second point of interest is the scenery and vivid imagery presented throughout the series- it honestly helps sell the story and plot lines more than even the best deliveries on the part of Tennant or Colman. You cannot develop a good story or film or television piece without apt usage of scenery in conjunction with metaphor and imagery. Many things are as unspoken as with musical scores and evidently people do like to see aesthetically enthralling or pleasurable images as well- who would’ve thunk it. There are countless moments- some of which take place in conjunction with sweeping musical melodies or melancholy camera panning, where the show just pans to something that offers the viewer their own off-screen revelations or makes something equally exciting known. Those are the moments we live for.

The third and perhaps most obvious and equally important aspect of the show is that the acting is phenomenally handled and sold whether it be simple investigative scenes or brilliantly heartbreaking revelations regarding murder. The first and even second series follow along the same familiar narrative lines, and yet there is still so much room for the injection of ample amounts of backstory and tragic character development outside of those two well-tread case lines. I never got tired of progressing the plot of the first series particularly, nor did the slight deviations into side characters or the main scenes steal any of the drama or tension away from the murder investigation processes themselves. Truly, I echo many viewers’ and critics’ sentiment that this could be many of the involved actors’ finest work to date.

I’ve been meaning to write on a more regular basis, and in some ways I’ve met that goal while in others I’ve noticeably lacked and lagged behind. Hopefully these tidbits here and there are enough to keep what fans I have satiated and my varying topics prove to be both engaging and interesting enough as well. I’ll do my best to be back when I can with more content in the future, and of course to write my own vivid opinions about things that crop up over time- as is all one can hope to do as a writer, pleasing both their own frantic heart and the minds of the reader. Cheers, all.

Tagged , ,

Gaming March Madness Round 3

ncaa_march_madness_logo_2016

Not so long ago, I posted an update to my ‘gaming bracket’ of March Madness-style games. Today I come bearing more updates to the bracket just a couple of days before actual March Madness play resumes. It’s been interesting to note the road so far in both tournaments and I’m curious to see where these games end up when all is said and done. Here are the results of the second round:

EAST BRACKET

8 FABLE II WIN (OVER BIOSHOCK)

4 DRAGON AGE ORIGINS WIN (OVER ASSASSIN’S CREED II)

3 MASS EFFECT WIN (OVER SUNSET OVERDRIVE)

7 THE WITCHER 2 WIN (OVER BATMAN ARKHAM ASYLUM)

WEST BRACKET

1 MASS EFFECT 2 WIN (OVER FAR CRY 3)

4 MIRROR’S EDGE WIN (OVER MODERN WARFARE 2)

11 MIDDLE EARTH SHADOW OF MORDOR WIN (OVER PORTAL 2)

2 DEAD SPACE WIN (OVER SKYRIM)

MIDWEST BRACKET

1 UNCHARTED 2 WIN (OVER DMC DEVIL MAY CRY)

4 UNCHARTED WIN (OVER GOD OF WAR 3)

3 LEFT 4 DEAD WIN (OVER DESTINY)

7 MORTAL KOMBAT X WIN (OVER MASS EFFECT 3)

SOUTH BRACKET

1 BORDERLANDS 2 WIN (OVER SLEEPING DOGS)

4 ROCK BAND 2 WIN (OVER METAL GEAR SOLID V)

3 LITTLEBIGPLANET 2 WIN (OVER KILLZONE 3)

2 PORTAL WIN (OVER SNIPER ELITE V2)

ROUND THREE:

EAST BRACKET

8 FABLE II V 4 DRAGON AGE ORIGINS

3 MASS EFFECT V 7 THE WITCHER 2

WEST BRACKET

1 MASS EFFECT 2 V 4 MIRROR’S EDGE

11 MIDDLE EARTH SHADOW OF MORDOR V 2 DEAD SPACE

MIDWEST BRACKET

1 UNCHARTED 2 V 4 UNCHARTED

3 LEFT 4 DEAD V 7 MORTAL KOMBAT X

SOUTH BRACKET

1 BORDERLANDS 2 V 4 ROCK BAND 2

3 LITTLEBIGPLANET 2 V 2 PORTAL

Tagged , , ,
Milly Schmidt

The Cat's Write

Mr. Miniike's Tea-Sipping Reviews

Album reviews and pop culture nothings by a Christian INFP New Yorker turboplebe with no musical talent. Mostly empty gushing. How can you resist?

ultimatemindsettoday

A great WordPress.com site

Selected Essays and Squibs by Joseph Suglia

The Web log of Dr. Joseph Suglia

The Ninth Life

It's time to be inspired, become encouraged, and get uplifted!

Elan Mudrow

The Ridges of Intertextuallity

Storyshucker

A blog full of humorous and poignant observations.

%d bloggers like this: