Star Wars: Episode VIII — The Last Jedi (Spoiler-free)

I’ll keep this spoiler-free, promise. However, if you want to go in without anyone influencing your opinion of the movie beforehand, click away. I positively gush. 

I saw Star Wars: The Last Jedi last night. So, these are my impressions.

Firstly: the movie was phenomenal. I’m convinced that this might be my favourite Star Wars film. I’ll need time to watch it repeatedly and process some more, but at the very least it’s right at the top there. I almost anticipate the internet to love it and turn against it at some point, when some snarky person nit-picks at it, but I will always love this film.

I absolutely did not trust Rian Johnson before this movie. He made Looper, which I found to be mediocre, and Brothers Bloom, which was enjoyable but also more on the side of slightly less mediocre. He was unproven, and the risk that entails was uncomfortable for me. Star Wars means a lot to me. I’m not one of those über-fans when it comes to the franchise, but it’s special to me. I still get giddily excited, even though this is the third year in a row that we’ve had a Star Wars film coming out.

That said, Rian Johnson, you can make another Star Wars film with my blessing. Unless you were a one-hit wonder.

The movie was excellent from star to finish. The pacing was brilliant, the story captivating, the humour frequent and refreshing. The movie carried a wit about it, that I would love to discuss in a spoiler-rich version of my impressions at some point. Where Force Awakens bridged the gap between an old generation and the new, The Last Jedi was something new built on the legacy of the past. The original trilogy have their own tone, the prequels too have a certain idiosyncrasy, and the tone of the sequels might be set with this film.

From beginning to end I found this film profoundly emotional, while not afraid of being funny when the opportunity arose. It was honest like a Star Wars film tends to be. It just brought a new flavour to that honesty. So many of the themes present here were expertly handled.

Staying spoiler-free at this point becomes more challenging. So I’ll leave with this:

I can’t wait to see The Last Jedi again. It’s an instant classic in my opinion. Not only does it hold up as a great Star Wars film, but it’s a great film (Star Wars fans know what I mean, hopefully).

Until the next entry: May the Force be with you, always.

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Game Awards 2017 Impressions

It’s been an eventful few days since Thursday in the gaming community. The Game Awards took place, and PSX has been underway this weekend. Along with these have come some interesting announcements, trailers, and updates about up-coming games. Today we’ll look at the Game Awards, and tomorrow I’ll deliver my impressions on what PSX produced.

I missed the live stream of the Game Awards. It was on at 03:30 in the morning here, and I honestly didn’t care enough to tune in like I do with E3. Still, some exciting trailers came out of the show. Before that, however, let’s talk about the award winners.

Horizon Zero Dawn walked away from the Game Awards without a single win in any category. This is a disappointment to say the least, but it also demonstrates the smorgasbord of quality games we got in 2017. It’s been a banger of a year, and probably won’t be equalled any time soon. This is in terms of the quantity of quality on offer alone.

Yet, I do find myself thinking: what does it matter? A lot of those games deserve to be up there, plus an awards ceremony doesn’t invalidate or validate my own enjoyment and love of a game. Still, I’m happy that Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice got the recognition it deserved. That game is phenomenal, and is probably the second best or even tied best game I’ve played this year. But I think I’ll do my own post on my personal GOTY list another time.

Now, let’s talk trailers.
The award show itself had quite a few appearances, but I’m only going to mention those that stood out to me.

Of course, Kojima showed up with a lengthy and utterly bizarre cinematic for Death Stranding.

I don’t understand it. It didn’t excite me for the game in any way. However, it is strange enough to mention.

Next, a small but significant mention in my opinion: Accounting Plus. The original Accounting is a free VR game/experience on Steam for the Oculus Rift and the Vive. It was created by Justin Roiland (Rick and Morty creator) and the guy behind The Stanley Parable, William Pugh. It’s foul, it’s funny, and it’s a tonne of fun. Now, it’s coming to PSVR, and I’m sorry I don’t have one of those headsets. They’ve expanded the game itself, and I can’t wait to try it for myself one day.

Following that, we have a game from a genre I’m not usually interested in. GTFO appears to be a co-op horde mode kind of shooter. It looks fantastic, and from a relatively unknown studio (at least unknown to me). The visual style also seems to be quite retro action movie-esque.

Before we get to my favourite announcement trailer, let’s have one or two honourable mentions:

Shadow of the Colossus appears to be on track, and quite gorgeous. I was almost morose to have missed it on PS2 and PS3. Yet, with the passing of time I’ve had the game spoiled to me, without the basic nostalgia of having played it myself. I’ll probably pick it up after launch, but I’m not going to lose sleep from any excitement.

There seems to be a World War Z game in the works too. I’m not the biggest fan of the zombie trend over the last decade or so, in games or films, but this does look like it’s could either be great or utter rubbish. Worth keeping an eye on at the very least.

My last honourable mention goes to Soul Calibur VI. I’ve played bits and pieces of the series, having spent quite a bit of time with Soul Calibur III on PS2. I have a soft spot for the franchise, but I’ve also gone off fighting games almost completely. It might be the first one to tempt me back though, we’ll have to wait and see.

And finally, the game that has me the most excited from a trailer alone from the Game Awards 2017: In the Valley of Gods.

This game is only coming in 2019, and I know nothing about it other than what appears in the trailer above. It’s made by Campo Santo, the people who brought us Firewatch. While I didn’t enjoy the conclusion to the story of that game, it was a quality product and I’m excited to see what else that studio produces. Especially with this trailer. The setting seems to be early 20th Century Egypt. The pair of people in the trailer seem to be archaeologists, but I’m not going to make too many snap judgements.

What I do know is this looks like it’s going to be another narrative-driven experience. I anticipate that it will be relatively short, like two indie films stuck together. The musical choice for the trailer, compared with the art direction are beautifully combined. I’m genuinely excited for this game, and thankfully we only have the entirety of 2018 and probably a chunk of 2019 before we get to play it.

Overall, the Game Awards 2017 announcements and trailers have offered up some quality fare. Sprinkled with some triple-A games, the combination is exciting. While 2017 has been a great year for games, while also controversial in some aspects with some major flops, scandals, and disappointments, it does seem that there are developers and publishers out there who just want to make great games.

Until tomorrow, stay classy.

Disclaimer: any and all typos and errors are purely there out of laziness. 

Retro-Grade

This has been an eventful year. Personally, especially.

In May, after quitting my position as an editor, I sort of jump-started my blog. It sputtered along, I’ve hardly posted anything worthwhile.
It’s also been a hard year in some ways.

I have a mild desire to start blogging daily, and maybe I can maintain something for December. It is, after all, the time of year when people look back on the previous 11 months.

An eventful year indeed.

My M.O. is still supposedly about the three biggest things in my life: gaming, football, and reading. Now, it’s time to see if I can write anything worthwhile.

This is, tentatively, what I plan to cover:

The books I’ve been reading.

Ever since my preteen years, I’ve let my love of books and reading lapse. Other distractions have come along. Yes, I’ve read some books over the last few years, but I’m hardly a bookworm anymore. I want that to change.

I’ve read 3 of my goal of 12 books so far for 2017 (shocking, I know). December will be the month I try to reach as close to 12 as I can (no pressure though). I’ll drop reviews on each one I read, and hopefully I can share some of the excitement that they’ve elicited in me.

The games I’ve been playing.

I’ve played more games this year than books I’ve read. And I’ve only ever put drafts and empty promises of my “reviews” on here. That’ll change too. I’ll be reaching into the sparse depths of my memory, and share my mercurial opinion on the titles I’ve played this year.

The things I’ve watched.

While my love and patience for television shows has sharply declined, I’ve watched one or two of those this year. I’ve even seen a few films. Those are the only full-on reviews I have on here, so I’ll be sharing some more of those too. Most notable will be my first impression of Star Wars: The Last Jedi next week.

General opinions.

Lots of things have happened in my various spheres of interest this year, and I have opinions on those. Many are topical and the time to discussed them has passed, but some are pervasive. So maybe you’ll endure some of my waffling there.

Overall, my purpose is to find my own idiosyncratic rhythm with this blog. I’ve let my writing die off. That’s got to change.
Maybe we could even change that single view I get from some far-off country every month or so into two views, every week or so. We’ll see.

Thor: Ragnarok

Thor: Ragnarok might be my favourite Marvel movie to date.

There, I said it. It’s only been a few hours since I went to see it, and I still need to internalise and process most of what I saw, but I can say that it’s a contender for sure.

Unfortunately, because I’ve been so heavily neglecting this blog, I didn’t have any critical part of my brain switched on. And I’m certain that if I had tried to, the movie would have shut it down anyway. So, here goes what I remember from my experience.

Immediately, the movie smacks you in the face. We’ve all seen the bright and colourful trailers, but this starts off in a dark, demonic underworld, quite reminiscent of that in DOOM (2016). Despite the initial setting, the tone of the movie is firmly established. This is going to be an epic tale, one that doesn’t take itself or its protagonist too seriously

Personally, this is a welcome change. I didn’t hate the first two Thor flicks, but they left little impression on me. While I think Thor has shown some silliness in his personality before, I always felt like he took himself quite seriously. Now, they’ve rolled with the personality he showed in those hilarious roommate skits. It’s like a whimsical evolution of his character. During the intro, Thor sits in a cage, narrating to a skeleton. The sequence that follows is witty, whimsical, and hilarious. At this point I knew I had fallen in love with this film.

I won’t go into further detail, because of spoiler culture (and just plain old consideration) , but I do want to touch on some of my general impressions.

Firstly, the movie is chock full of unexpected cameos (I’ll let you play the cameo bingo yourself), along with a truly stellar cast. I’m sure I may have missed few of the more obscure cameos, because I didn’t know much about the film at first. The one I will mention is that the director, Taika Waititi, plays a character that turns out to be more prominent than a mere cameo, but still is little more than comic relief in terms of narrative weight. He’s witty and hilarious, giving insight into where the film got its tone. Also, it’s worth mentioning that he’s directed some Flight of the Concord stuff, which might explain a bit.

Next, I adored the overall design scheme. Many have compared the garish colours to the type of thing we saw in both Guardians of the Galaxy movies. I’d say that’s a fair assessment at first glance, but the movie established its own tone and executed the bright and enjoyably garish colours in a way that suited the overall proceedings. It fits in with what we expect is the wider universe in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and is reminiscent of some 80s comic panels in many ways.

The music was great, but I felt they could have explored the synth-pop side of things more. Along with the visual aspects, this movie presented a great amalgamation of Norse Mythology and sci-fi, in the way only Marvel can provide. And when you bring 80s-inspired colour palettes, sci-fi, and literally anything else together these days, you need your synth-pop. There are touches throughout, as if a keyboard player from that era lightly caressed the film’s score, but nothing that resembles a major theme. (When it comes to this genre, I am extremely biased, as if you hadn’t noticed.)

Another observation I have is that this isn’t titled Thor 3 anywhere. I may be wrong, and this might be my poor opinion against the previous two entries in the series, but I suspect this movie serves as a soft reboot for Thor‘s corner of the MCU. It remains consistent with the story up until now, both the main threads of the first two movies and the Avenger‘s flicks, but it’s refreshed Thor himself in a way that I just didn’t see coming. He’s far more interesting now, he’s funnier, and most of all: this was more of an adult entry than I expected.

Now: light spoilers about character development for a moment. Skip to the non-italics if you want. 

Thor himself appears to keep developing as a character, but I feel like one area we need him to find his footing on is his god-of-thunder[-and-lightning-technically] powers as separate from his hammer. I get it when we see teenage Peter Parker discovering more about his powers in Spider-Man Homecoming. What I don’t understand is that this is the 5th (I stand under correction if I’m wrong) feature-film that Thor appears in, so why is he still unaware that he’s more than his hammer? Odin has a great quote in the film: “Are you Thor, god of hammers?” No mofo, you’re Thor god of thunder [and technically lightning]. 

Spoilers have ended. 

Thor: Ragnarok holds its own in a year replete with excellent films, both released and upcoming. Logan might be one of the best non-comic book comic book movies out there, but I reckon Ragnarok is the best full-out comic book movie. It stands just above others like Guardians of the Galaxy, and Deadpool. In a year where I’m almost convinced where the only thing I will remember 2017 for is Star Wars: The Last JediRagnarok has left a remarkable impression on me. (Just saying that reminds me how many pies Disney have their fingers in.)

My rating is a solid three thumbs up, five stars.

👍👍👍 ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

 

Courage

You know, I think courage is quite an interesting topic. I think there are various flavours and levels of courage. The kind I have in mind right now is rather specific.

Any arachnophobics in the house?
Well, I am. When I was a kid it was almost debilitating. I do look back and realise that I was simply dramatic in the worst moments, but it’s difficult to just dismiss it all the time. A genuine phobia does a strange thing to the mind. It’s ever-present.

It’s like a highly focused paranoia. It’s natural for me to check the corners of a room casually, especially in the summer and immediately after heavy rain. Any movements out of the corner of my eye, especially that perceived to be small and darting, inspires professional athlete-level reflexes in me. I’m well-practiced at instantly counting to eight, especially when the things I’m counting are spindly and arranged radially around a central and evil point.

Of course, I’m an adult now. With that comes various responsibilities, things you simply have to do. Like taking out the trash. You just have to. You can’t avoid it, wishing it away, hoping a random stranger will enter your home and take care of it for you.

Anyway, adults are expected to just do things. In fact, it’s not even an expectation. You just go about life. It doesn’t stand still, especially for silly little phobias.

So, when I get home and see an alarmingly familiar, and most importantly: extremely large shadow between the two wheely-bins, then you can imagine my sudden dread for trash day.

Yes. It was a rather large rain spider. For any non-South Africans, these are large (and allegedly relatively harmless) spiders that emerge during the rainy season. Google it if you need a dossier. I just did. What a mistake.

Well, I got home, and I saw it on the wall between the two bins. It nighttime, and the outside light cast a sinister shadow of each of the creature’s demonic finger legs. As if the basic silhouette of an arachnid isn’t terrifying enough, their shadows have to be particularly nightmarish when looping unnaturally around the subject. I did the only thing any sane adult does: I glanced, processed, and almost instantly ignored it. It’s not a threat if you completely ignore it. Yes, I’m aware of the irony of that attitude after what I said about earlier.

The human mind is remarkable in that way. If you will a thing away, it just goes away. Out of your mind at least.

Come Tuesday, and it’s time to take out the trash.

The only thing more horrifying than seeing a spider is not seeing spider that you know is there (or there, or here, or anywhere).

Back to courage.

Courage is sometimes as simple as taking out the trash when you can’t account for where the spider is.

IT

Warning: This probably contains mild-ish spoilers. Maybe it doesn’t. Either way, it’s just a discussion of my impressions of a movie. 

I went and saw the latest film version of Stephen King’s IT over the weekend.

It’s (Heh. Okay, I won’t do that again.) quite literally haunted my subconscious. Which is a pleasant surprise.

I went in with relatively mild expectations. I’m of the opinion that today’s film industry has major potential when it comes to remakes, reboots, re-imaginings, reinterpretations, and the odd sequel. That potential isn’t always delivered on, but it’s there. For example, I thought that Disney should have left their animated classics well alone, until I watched 2016’s The Jungle Book. That film was quite the shock. It left the original intact, while presenting an amazing re-imagining that can appeal to both the older generation who grew up with the original and a new generation who never knew it.

I’ve never read a King book, but I’ve watched many of the movies based on his culture-defining works. I watched the original IT movie-cum-miniseries featuring the legendary Tim Curry when I was a teen. At the time it was not only underwhelming, it was the subject of ridicule in our group. Never-mind that we watched the two-sided DVD the wrong way ’round, we thought it was utterly rubbish.

No such accusation can be levelled at 2017’s IT. My, what a film. I’m going to be bold: this is the best movie I’ve seen in theatres this year, and a strong contender for my personal MOTY (why is that not a thing? Damn your Oscars and Globe things, let’s have more MOTY lists).

For long periods of my life, I’ve avoided scary films. I had an over-active imagination as an only child, and I really didn’t need the stress, especially not as a result from an escapism activity. As an adult, having come to terms with most of my ethereal demons, I’ve started seeking out some good thrills in the form of the odd scary movie. And yet, this rendition of IT, while containing the scares you would expect, transcended a mere horror movie with tropes and jump scares. This was a complex, multi-layered story with actual character development, a compelling story, and a mixture of clear and subtle themes all centred around the menagerie of main characters.

Of course, I’m no film critic, so I won’t dive deep into the themes and such. However, I appreciated that through a mixture of stellar casting, phenomenal acting, inspired direction, fantastic writing, and astounding cinematography, IT held me firmly glued to the screen. There was a main story thread, supported by a spectacular balance and combination of secondary and tertiary narratives. They came together simultaneously without overwhelming or speaking down to the viewer.

The group of young actors, along with their supporting adults, was an ensemble that I imagine will be hard to top any time soon. The individual talent on display, and the collective effort to bring the relationships to the fore in a realistic and meaningful way, left a deep impression on me.

The movie had its share of scary moments, but I found myself only jumping once. Most of the time the pre-scare cues were fairly obvious, so you could at least steel yourself. Despite that, the tension that was built was often palpable, and would get my pulse racing. I had the odd moment where I was ripped out of my immersion by the inherent silliness in an attempt at a scare here and there, but for the most part I was held in my seat by a strong sense of impending doom.

It’s my understanding that this version of IT, the first of two parts, is so far the most faithful in capturing the spirit of the book. Even though they’ve changed the time period from the 1950s to the 1980s, and taken other creative liberties necessary when translating from one artistic medium to another. While I can’t comment yet on the faithfulness to the book, the movie has inspired me to read my first King novel. So, I’ll be able to provide feedback on that front in the future.

There was something about this film that resonated with me, and has left it hooked in my brain like a prion. Even with films like Dunkirk and Logan having released this year, IT has stayed more closely with me. While the aforementioned titles, and others, have been great, there’s something about IT. I even anticipate that with Kingsman: The Golden Circle and Star Wars: The Last Jedi, I won’t forget this movie any time soon.

It’s probably the fact that we got a movie that presented a near-perfect blend of incredibly grounded human characters and fantastical horror monster. The gritty humanity of this film was often the most engaging, compelling you to care about the characters and their situation. I’m awaiting part 2 while a great deal of anticipation.

It gets a solid three thumbs up from me, with a hearty high-five.

World-Eater

Every now and then a thing comes along and entirely consumes your life for a bit. I guess that’s an obsession, even if it’s temporary or seasonal.

The latest obsession I have is Destiny 2. This might be somewhat surprising if you’ve read my impressions of the beta, but I’m happy to admit that I was wrong — this time. The game has been out for a week, and I’ve already lost sleep on every single one of those days because of it. When I’m not playing Destiny 2 I’m thinking about it, reading about it, watching videos about it, talking about it, or purposefully ignoring it. You know that type of ignoring, like the kind that takes energy where you’re actually thinking about the act of ignoring the thing you’re ignoring.

Yeah, it’s gotten bad. I have briefly come up for air, and I’m happy to find the world hasn’t entirely crumbled to bits (debatable).

I finished the story, and it was excellent. Especially in light of the first game, and even standing on its own legs.

But I’ll chat about that in future posts. Last week Destiny 2 took over my life, the week before I swear I was dying of flu or something. So, I think I’m here to stay for a few days of writing.

Up next: my impressions of the Destiny 2 campaign and follow-up posts about the end-game stuff, impressions of Battlefield 1‘s DLC, In the Name of the Tsar, and various other bits surrounding my multiple obsessions.

For now: adieu.

A Sullen Sunday

The football season is barely underway, and things already feel like they’re falling apart.

Usually I have a few things to say about gaming and movies, but I’d like to express some thoughts around one of my other obsessions: Arsenal.

Today Arsenal lost to Liverpool away 4-0. It was by no means a unicorn moment, it was not an aberration, even though it was utterly abhorrent. Honestly, I was expecting a loss. I was hoping it wouldn’t be this devastating, but it was. I thought maybe it would reflect last season’s 3-4 or something. Not this.

A lot of people are baying for Wenger’s blood. “Wenger Out” is trending again.
Let’s be realistic. That’s not going to happen any time soon. I think things would have to get extremely awful for him to get fired before his brand-spanking new contract until 2019 expires. Look at how things got toward the end of last season, at the worst period in Arsenal’s recent history. The owner didn’t care then, and he won’t now.

I love Arsene Wenger. He is simply no longer the right man for the job, and the current evidence suggests that he hasn’t been for some time. He has done a lot for this club, but to be a bit trite: “you either die a hero or you live long enough to see yourself become the villain“. The expiry date is off, and we all know the board and owner will do nothing as things currently stand.

Today’s selection was indicative of the shitstorm to come. Once again Wenger “indulged” Ox, playing him at right wing-back, putting Bellerin and left wing-back. Lacazette and Kolasinac were both left on the bench, in a decision that will haunt my nightmares this week. Welbeck was started behind Sanchez, boggling the mind as to what was going on. The partnership of Ramsey and Xhaka continued, unabated. The only morsel of positive team selection was the inclusion of two actual, bona fide centre-backs. So much for that, right?

Let’s start at the top. Why the hell is the manager accommodating a player who has rejected the latest contract offer. Sell him, it’s okay. It’s clear now that Ox and Arsenal’s paths are splitting, and the manager needs to accept this. We can live without him, and I wish him the best wherever he goes. Why was he started? Anyone could have told you that selecting Bellerin at right wing-back and Kolasinac at left would have been preferable. Why was Sead left out? We needed our tank today.

Honestly, it feels like Wenger is sabotaging the 3 at the back formation. His selection lately has been all wrong, non-centrebacks playing in that position, right-sided players played on the left. It’s as if he’s engineering the moment he can change back to 4 at the back and say: but see, that formation wasn’t working. Of course, I think I might be slightly paranoid. And I’m not as concerned about our formation as I am by our ability to perform at the highest level anymore.

Why would a manager self-sabotage like this? The post-match fallout included the usual contrite messages from the club and player. The quotes from Wenger enraged me somewhat. He says our performance wasn’t to standard. No shit Sherlock. When your team selection is that poor, on a team already lacking form and confidence, what could you possibly expect?

I by no means want to sound like I think our problems are as easily fixable as the change of a formation and playing the right players in their correct positions, although that wouldn’t hurt.

As an Arsenal fan I’m vacillating violently between apoplectic anger and morose depression. This was one match, but it’s indicative of the deep-seated issues at Arsenal at the moment. This isn’t “more of the same”. This isn’t a cycle. This is a downward spiral.

We won’t fix this in the transfer window, what there is left of it. I don’t know how we’ll fix it. I’m sure there will be some kind of upward swing. The players will rally, the manager will put another band-aid over the continental rift, and things will be fine for the 10 matches needed to finish in the top 10 at the end of the season. There are familiar elements, but this is like walking down the hallway in P.T. Things get progressively grubbier and scarier every time you walk down the hallway. When will we turn the corner and see the scary dead lady? Who knows.

As an Arsenal fan I will stick by my club, but I’m also going to wait this out. I’m going to have to accept that things are simply shit now. Maybe the next manager, when (if) he comes along in 2019, will be able to pick up the pieces and start the process of rebuilding. Hopefully we’re not too far-gone by then. I would really like to see Arsenal win the league before I turn 40. I don’t see it happening before my 30th, that’s for sure.

The facts are before us gentlemen: we are a formerly big club. We are no longer. A big club would have a new manager by now. A big club would have been decisive in the market and would have tied down their star players before the last 12 months of their contracts started. That, or sold them and replaced them as needed. One day I hope Arsenal can be a big club once again, but until then I will accept where we are. I’m not happy with it, but I do want to stay sane.

I expect we’ll all wake up tomorrow, and maybe it won’t sting as much. Maybe I will look back on this post as a strong reaction to a single game, but I don’t know anymore. How many times will be allow ourselves as fans to be burnt without learning?

One last thing: don’t see this in anyway an attempt to take away from Liverpool what was a great performance. I look at that team this season with envy. Blistering atatcks, high-octane football. Are they perfect? No, but they’re worlds better than we are.

In the end, I know this is just football. But I am a fan after all. I’m a Gooner for life.
Wow. That’s quite depressing.

Saturated Dreams

Good golly! I really am terrible at maintaining an allegedly daily blog! What am I to do about my lax attitude?
Probably not much. Prepare for more of the same, if you happen to stop by here.

I’ve had a lot on my mind lately, especially about Lawbreakers. I think I should give some feedback about that imminently. For now, my concerns are about the game’s longevity.

The media has become a powerful influence on public opinion. The games media is no different. And they don’t seem to be favouring Lawbreakers and its chances.
I can understand why.
It’s  saturated market for shooters. With the likes of Overwatch dominating the “hero shooter” space in the public consciousness, it’s difficult to tell people that Lawbreakers is in any way unique or worthwhile. Not because it isn’t, but because it’s difficult to change such a wide perception once it takes root. Which, of course, is a crying shame.

The game is excellent by the way. It marries the class-based concept of a hero shooter, with the classic fast-paced setting and mechanics of an arena shooter. The feedback loop is incredibly gratifying, but I’ll leave my full impressions for another post.

I anticipate that I will be more active on this blog in the next few days, purely because I intend to take a week off from gaming.

Speaking of oversaturation, my life has been dominated by Battlefield 1 since its release in October last year. Especially during the first portion of this year, acting as a coping mechanism when getting home from my previous job. Of course, I have no regrets. I adore this game. However, after almost 450 hours of playing it, attempting to play a casual league with my platoon buddies, and just not getting away from it, I need a break. I’ve already achieved a week of no Battlefield 1, so here’s to another without any games.

I finished Hellblade some time last week, in between enjoying my time with Lawbreakers and actively avoiding Battlefield. I should have a post relatively soon on my impressions on that too.

Now, enough of this show and tell section. Next week I’ll be writing and reading and watching and who knows what.

I’ll leave you with this to keep you company before my next post.

Terrific Tuesday

This weekend ended on a great note, with Arsenal beating Chelsea in the Community Shield. I could go on at length about that, but today’s post is about something else.

Continuing the theme of happiness, today is a great gaming day! Both Hellblade and Lawbreakers released today. I’ve spent a small amount of time with both, and I’m extremely happy with what’s on offer here.

First, Lawbreakers. I played the open beta, and the game impressed me. The gameplay is extremely rewarding, the skill curve is demanding and challenging while not being inaccessible. And one of my favourite features is that it has a functional netcode.

Thanks to there being no African servers (I honestly don’t expect any, so don’t read any bitterness there), my ping sits at a jittery 200 on a good match and 300 on a bad one. Despite this, the game isn’t unplayable, and I find myself still able to keep up with what’s happening. Judging by my average KD and objective score, I don’t think my ping affects my opponents negatively either, so that’s another relief.

The gameplay is so satisfying, that I often don’t get too hot in the face when losing or being killed. The game has an air of pure fun about it, and that’s one of the biggest pros in its favour. I’ll be playing some more, and putting more in-depth thoughts down in a week or so.

Next, Hellblade. I’ve been looking forward to this game since I first saw the trailer during E3 2015. When I briefly delved into reviewing games, I viciously fought for the right to review it (haha, oh well). This and Horizon Zero Dawn are probably my two most anticipated PS4 exclusives of this generation, and they’re both out now.

I’ve also been following Ninja Theory’s Developer Diary for Hellblade almost religiously. It’s been amazing following the transformation of this game as it has taken shape, seeing the studio’s approach to making a “AAA game on an indie budget”.

I’ve played the intro, and I’ve not gotten far at all. I wanted to go to sleep and be rested for the playthrough, so that’s also going to take place over the next few days.

However, my first impressions are quite positive. The game is gorgeous, as advertised. It’s best played with headphones, the better to hear the voices in your head with. I spent about 15 minutes playing as soon as the game unlocked after midnight, and the glorious views on offer made me spend most of my time in the photomode. Of course, I’ll be savouring the game’s story as much as the vistas.

There’s a lot to look forward to, with two excellent offerings during an otherwise quiet August. I’ll have more tomorrow.