Archive Page 2

28
Jun
14

Red Steel 2, Muramasa: The Demon Blade

Red Steel 2

The medieval Japanese/Old West Tommy gun is my favorite piece of historical weaponry.

This game includes a Wii gimmick in which it promises 1:1 movement, and all you have to do is attach a pricey peripheral device to your Wiimote. If you didn’t think the Wii was gimmicky enough, well, this just takes it to a whole new level. But to be honest, the Wii Motion Plus device does improve the function of the Wiimote quite a bit. The original Red Steel was a train wreck of massive proportions. The biggest problem with it was that the sword fighting sequences were clunky and unresponsive. They made the game frustrating and unnecessarily difficult. This issue is completely gone thanks to the Wii Motion Plus. The sword fighting works quite well, and it is responsive to the angle and velocity of your movements. That translates to the screen, where you can make diagonal, horizontal, or vertical cuts, and the power of your attack corresponds to how hard you swing the Wiimote. All in all, this worked out well. But what about the actual game?
Red Steel 2 is a first person shooter where you take control of a samurai/gunslinger in a fictional setting that is a combination of Future Old West and Feudal Japan. You traipse the desert with your six shooter and rifle, but go in for sword fights when enemies get too close for comfort. The graphics taken on a cartoony, cel-shaded quality, that mostly works given the ludicrous setting. The game is mostly fun. It has numerous objectives for you to complete, many of which are optional. The bad guys offer an appropriate level of difficulty, although a couple of enemy types were a bit too hard. There is a big variety of combat moves you can learn, which add to the fun, and also offers a level of strategy in the sword fights. You don’t have to slash away wildly if you don’t want to, although that’s what I usually ended up doing.  My biggest complaints were these: first, the setting is monotonous (the desert) and gets boring after the first few hours of gameplay, second, apart from the new moves you can learn there isn’t a lot of depth or replay value. Overall, though, Red Steel 2 was a win for the Wii. It won’t be added to the pantheon of greatest games of all time, but it is certainly worth playing at least once.
Verdict: Average
Muramasa: The Demon Blade

Tentacle rape!

Time for another Wii game review, and this one has a few superficial similarities to the one I reviewed above. This also features heavy doses of sword combat and takes place in feudal Japan. Apart from that, these games don’t really have all that much in common. Muramasa is a side-scrolling action/adventure game that is light on strategy and heavy on button mashing. There are two storylines, one belonging to a male and a female character. The characters cross paths a couple of times, but for the most part each story is self-contained. With each character you start out weak, fight through hordes of bad guys, get stronger, level up, and buy new and more powerful swords. You keep three swords on you at all times. There is actually some strategy involved in knowing which swords to carry. You can switch between swords at any point during a battle, but some swords are better for certain things than others. Some are slow but powerful, some weak but quick, and each has a special move associated with it. The swords have “life meters” too, so overuse will lead to them breaking. There is a huge sinking feeling when you are in the midst of a hellacious battle with three broken swords. Muramasa is a hell of a lot of fun. You travel through various regions of ancient Japan, each more beautifully rendered than the last. The graphics are animated, and made to vaguely resemble the artwork of ancient Japan. Enemies come from Japanese folklore, as well. Honestly, though, the story is more of an afterthought. The fun really comes from exploring the different areas, killing bad guys, and crafting new swords. While it is a button-masher, the game’s fighting system is intuitive and fluid. The game never becomes bogged down in repetition. It is blast from beginning to end.
Verdict: Good
21
Jun
14

Edge of Tom Cruise

Live. Die. Repeat. Live. Die. Repeat. Live. Die. Repeat. You get the idea.

Edge of Tomorrow is the newest vanity project from Tom Cruise. It’s based on the bizarrely titled Japanese novel All You Need is Kill. With a Scientologist lead actor, a sci-fi premise, Japanese source material, and a less than stellar trailer, this had all the makings of a disaster. Surprisingly, it wasn’t a disaster. Even more surprising, Edge of Tomorrow was pretty damn good.

I can’t say how faithful the film is to the source material, but it doesn’t really matter. The movie needs to be able to stand on its own in order to be successful. Fortunately, the story put forth by the filmmakers was compelling. Cruise plays Major William Cage, the military’s slimy PR guy who has never once stepped on the battlefield. He’s a weasel, for sure, and Cruise plays him with a smarmy attitude. We immediately dislike him, and we should, since he’s such a jerk. Cruise actually plays against type here, as a cowardly weakling who isn’t immediately the savior of the human race. His playing against type is a huge advantage for the movie, because if he played his usual hero-type, the movie would have fallen flat on its face.

Continue reading ‘Edge of Tom Cruise’

13
Jun
14

X-Men: Dayz of Futurez Pazt

Cool poster, X-dudes.

The newest X-Men film combines the casts of the original trilogy and the prequel film, X-Men: First Class. Wolverine’s consciousness is sent back in time from the distant future to 1973 where he must help Professor X and Magneto stop an event that will ultimately lead to the genocide of all mutants. I watched the original trilogy as a lead-in to this movie, mostly because I hadn’t seen them in ages, and I wasn’t sure if I’d be totally lost without a recap. Fortunately, you don’t really need to have seen the previous movies to enjoy Days of Future Past.
With that being said, I would still recommend watching First Class and the original trilogy just to get a sense of who the characters are, and to better understand their relationships and what drives them. Days of Future Past can be viewed as a standalone, and it holds up surprisingly well, but for maximum enjoyment, you’ll want to be versed in as much X-Men movie knowledge as possible.
First, the good.
1.) The movie is tightly plotted, and the story moves along at a good pace. While there are plenty of moments for dialog and reflection amongst the characters, there is never a dull moment.
2.) The acting is top-notch, with good performances on both sides of the temporal schism. All the older actors like Patrick Stewart, Ian McKellan, and Hugh Jackman fit comfortably into their well worn characters. McKellan is, sadly, given very little to do in this film, and it seems like a waste of his talents. But hey, he’s a part of this franchise and he and Stewart are SUPER BEST FRIENDS, so he might as well be in it. The younger actors turn in better performances, and James McAvoy, whom I usually find to be mediocre, actually surprised me. Professor X’s grief is dramatic and convincing. Of course, Michael F. Assbender is fantastic as the villainous Magneto. Jackman is present with both casts, and, once again, he is perfect as Wolverine.

Continue reading ‘X-Men: Dayz of Futurez Pazt’

24
May
14

X-Men Trilogy

X-Men

We love to wear black leather.

The first X-Men film is often credited with starting the resurgence of the superhero film genre, that is to say, treating the source material with respect and still crafting a great movie. I’d say it was Blade, two years earlier, but apparently I’m the only person who saw that one. Looking back on the original X-Men, it hasn’t aged well. Sure, there are many good points about it, but overall it’s pretty damn weak. The cast is probably the strongest aspect: Patrick Stewart looks like he came right off the pages of the comic as Professor X, Hugh Jackman is pitch-perfect as Wolverine, and Ian McKellan has the right amount of charm and menace to pull off Magneto. The rest of the cast also turns in good performances, like Sookie Stackhouse playing Rogue and Famke Janssen as Jean Grey.
The problems of the movie come with the story. There is a ton of groundwork to be laid, introducing the audience to the intricacies of the X-Men universe. Mutants are explained, anti-mutant governmental factions are explained, Professor X’s school is explained, Magneto and Professor X’s rift is explained, hell, the entire movie is a huge chunk of exposition. The story is told to the audience through the eyes of two newcomers, Rogue and Wolverine. While this was good to explain things, they spend too much time explaining. By the time everything is explained, the movie is in the final act. It almost seems like the setup to the X-Men movie rather than the actual movie itself. The plot, with Magneto trying to convert every human to a mutant is a little ridiculous, and seemingly not something you’d expect the first time out. It seems like this should have been used in a later story (like a subsequent film); it feels intangibly out of place here.
17
May
14

Attack on Titan Restored My Faith in Anime

“I can take him, no problem.”

My faith in anime was at an all-time low. I had thought about completely giving it up more than once. The last show I really enjoyed was Gurren Lagann and before that, Akagi. Those series came out in 2007 and 2005, respectively. Since this is 2014, that means there had only been two great shows in the last seven years. That’s pathetic. Nobody in Japan seemed interested in creating a good series any more. All they care about is selling moeblob merchandise which cater to the lowest pedophilic denominator.

And then I watched Attack on Titan.

I’m not going to say this series is perfect. It’s not. It isn’t the next Cowboy Bebop or Haibane Renmei. It has flaws. But it is a huge step in the right direction. It tones down the moe factor, ramps up the action, and even took the time to include a plot. These are the only things I ask for in an anime. Unfortunately, most anime are incapable of meeting these three criteria. Attack on Titan, however, made all the right moves.

Continue reading ‘Attack on Titan Restored My Faith in Anime’

08
May
14

Classically Shitty: Lawrence of Arabia

Some guys you’ve never heard of present this movie.

Just because a movie has excellent cinematography and a rousing soundtrack, it should not automatically be heralded as a classic. Lawrence of Arabia has been considered a triumph of film-making since its release, and it is still widely regarded as a masterpiece of cinema. Unfortunately, people forget that a movie has to exceed on all levels: acting, storytelling, directing, etc. for it to be a timeless classic. This movie in particular fails hard in several areas, and there is no way in hell it should be considered a masterpiece.
Lawrence of Arabia tells the true story of T.E. Lawrence, a British megalomaniac who tries to single-handedly win independence for the Arab people in World War I. Yeah, that’s right, the main character is one of the most self-centered characters in the history of film. He’s a product of his time, that’s for sure. Being a white, British male, he believes wholeheartedly in the superiority of his race and culture over all others. The British were the masters of colonialism, and Lawrence falls in line with this attitude hook, line, and sinker.
I know what you’re thinking, all three of you who have seen this movie: LOL BUT BRIK IVE SEEN TIHS MOVEE AND LAWRNCE WANTS ARABS TO BE EQUAL TO TEH BRITISH LOL! Well, sure, you’re partially right. Lawrence spends a considerable amount of time helping the Arabs and spouting dialogue proclaiming he wants the Arabs to be independent. He lives with them, dresses like them, eats their food, and they consider him to be one of their own. But that absolutely does not mean he feels like he has become one of them. Oh, no, he still believes, absolutely, in his superiority.
27
Apr
14

The Lego Movie

Hey, kids, be sure to buy all the toys!

Let’s just get this out of the way: The Lego Movie is not good. Everyone thinks it’s good, but it’s not. At best it’s average. People have become so blinded by the horrible garbage runoff that Hollywood incessantly churns out, that anything that isn’t remotely putrid is lauded as a masterpiece of cinema. That’s what happened with The Lego Movie. It wasn’t terrible, therefore, everyone thought it was amazing.
The Lego Movie starts out promising as it immediately critiques the homogenization of our culture, where everyone watches the same shitty TV show, drinks the same overpriced coffee, and listens to the same terrible pop music. “The Special” is the one person who will break the mold and revolutionize the Lego world. Unfortunately, this is where the film falls back in line with every trope you’ve seen before.

Continue reading ‘The Lego Movie’




September 2014
M T W T F S S
« Aug    
1234567
891011121314
15161718192021
22232425262728
2930  

Archives

BrikHaus - Find me on Bloggers.com

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 263 other followers


Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 263 other followers