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The Bag

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  1. Doomed 4/5 A documentary about the Roger Corman produced Fantastic Four film. I found it absolutely fascinating. The Report 4/5 Kylo Ren writes a report to expose the CIA’s torture programme. I though it made good use of the flashbacks/timeline to give the view a good understanding of how it all fitter together and unfolded. It also did a good job showing the political manoeuvrings around the report.
  2. 2010 1. Inception (bwaaap) 2. Toy Story 3 3. The Social Network 2011 1. Tinker Taylor Solider Spy 2. Moneyball 3. Warrior 4. The Raid, I so want to put it in but I can’t remove any of the others! Fuck this top 3 bullshit 2012 1. Dredd 2. 21 Jump Street 3. Avengers 2013 1. Jodorowsky's Dune 2. Gravity 3. Rush 2014 1. Nightcrawler 2. The Grand Budapest Hotel 3. The Lego Movie 2014 is such a strong year, the first two are locked in but third place could have been Whiplash, Edge of Tomorrow, Birdman, Interstellar, Calvary, The Admiral (Myeong-ryang), The RAID 2, etc etc
  3. Woo, two of my games made this list! Heaven’s Vault My game of the year, and before I start my rubbish I’ll point you at a review that can talk about it way better than I can: https://www.eurogamer.net/articles/2019-04-16-heavens-vault-review-a-rich-web-of-possibility Wikipedia have it as an archeological sci-fi adventure game, which seems like a good a genre summary as anything. You’re an archaeologist, Aliya, travelling between the rocks & planets in the system trying to learn about the past. The game starts with you being sent out by a professor at the university you ostensibly work for to find a missing colleague. But what do you do in this game, you explore, you talk to people, and you translate ancient writings. That’s right, you find fragments of writing around the system which you have to determine the meaning of. As the game continues your knowledge of the language grows, you recognise symbols, you learn groups and modifiers (eg a small x at the start of a symbol inverts or negates the meaning). In translating the fragments of text you piece together the history of the system. But there aren’t really that many solid answers, you have to infer what happened and in many cases come to your own conclusions. The orthodoxy of the time is that time is a loop thus by studying the past you’re studying the future. Aliya, however, doesn’t buy into this having found evidence of old civilisations before the loop. What happened to them, what was the cataclysm, why did they bury all the robots? It’s a game about exploring and discovery, about identity, and colonisation. It’s a game that’s make me feel more uncomfortable about being in a place than any other game ever, just from what I am working out happened there. I’m probably not doing a good job of selling this since I’m trying to talk around it without giving anything away. Inkle are known for great writing, like the great 80 Days on mobile, this continues that. They embrace their resource limitations on console & PC to give the gave a pretty unique style. It does have a good deal of branching within the story depending on how you approach things or what you decide to do. After finishing it I immediately started a second play through making different decisions along the way. New Game + carries your dictionary of known words across (once you’re sure of a word it gets added to your dictionary, although it can later get changed) and the bit of text you find in subsequent play throughs are longer and more complex than those in the first. It’s a great story and discovering dead civilisations and translating their language is a compelling experience. (read the review) Eastshade It’s a open world RPG where you’re a painter. You travel to Eastshade to paint a series of pictures for your dying mother, sights she saw in her younger years and wants to see again. Painting is a nice mechanic where you frame up your picture and it paints it - I do wish there was a bit more to producing the painting itself. Since you’re a travelling painter NPCs ask you to produce paintings, there’s no kill a bunch of rats in a cellar, it’s I want a painting of this thing/view. Very much Morrowind, Oblivion, Fable vibes - especially Morrowind in the architecture is pretty unusual & otherworldly. It’s fairly unguided (and relaxing) talk to NPCs to get mini-quests and read books to add new subjects to the dialog options you can ask about.
  4. It was one of the early Forge World products, 2001 I believe (that’s the copyright on it anyway), when they were still doing things like statues & busts. I wanted one when they were released but being a student couldn’t afford it & fell out the hobby shortly afterwards. I bought it on a whim from eBay for around £100 about 12 years ago, way before I got back into painting. It’s sat in a box in the back of my cupboard ever since as I considered maybe commissioning someone to paint it, then when I got back into painting seriously (2.5 years ago) it’s been there as a “one day when I might be able to do it some justice”.
  5. Started my giant Abaddon, this thing weighs a ton.
  6. I have a vague memory of the director being interview and saying they ran out of time & basically didn’t film a third of the script, which would explain a lot.
  7. The costume designer for the series has posted a load of images on his website. http://www.timaslam.com/the-witcher/the-witcher-gallery/
  8. And acting is far more that just saying lines. So saying she only got a couple is kind of a weird thing to point out. It’s a small but important role. One thing not mentioned so far is I was glad to see it was edited by Thelma Schoonmaker, just thought I’d mention as it was her 80th birthday yesterday.
  9. Very nice. I wonder if they’re redoing other Phoenix Lords too.
  10. Game of the Year A1. Heaven’s Vault A2. Fire Emblem: Three Houses A3. Untitled Goose Game A4. Baba Is You A5. Eastshade Biggest Disappointment of the Year (game, hardware, or anything else) Z1. Me for not playing more this year, like Judgement I’ve had since launch & not got round to yet Z2. Blizzard Z3. Z4. Z5. Sound Design of the Year S1. Ape Out S2. Heaven’s Vault S3. Visual Design of the Year V1. Heaven’s Vault V2. The Outer Worlds V3. Untitled Goose Game Writing of the Year W1. Fire Emblem: Three Houses W2. Heaven’s Vault W3. Gaming Format (System) of the Year F1. Switch Publisher or Developer of the Year P1. Best Supported Game (released pre 2019) of the Year B1. No Mans Sky Your game of the year that didn't come out this year (basically what is your favourite game you played this year that came out in 2018 or earlier) X1. Detroit: Become Human - only game from previous years I played, probably David Cage’s best but come with all the usual David Cage problems. Best game character of the year C1. Bernadetta (Fire Emblem) C2. Edelgard (Fire Emblem) C3. Parvati (Outer Worlds) And the big one: Game of the Decade D1. Dark Souls D2. Breath of the Wild D4. Life is Strange D3. Witcher 3 D5. Nier Automata D6. Dragons Dogma D7. Yakuza 0 D8. Deus Ex Human Revolution D9. Persona 5 D10. Mass Effect 2 Man, that’s a hard list to compile. I’ve got about forty games written down I’m trying to compress into that top 10. Not sure I agree with it minutes after writing it
  11. Killed by Contrast paints. RIP two thin coats.
  12. I like the ease of pre-cut paper but after almost a year I’m still having issues with how wet to make it - I either end up with flooded paints when I come back or dry paints. Also I think paint dries out quicker on the palette while using than my old palette, eg my S75 white develops a skin, it’s fine inside but I don’t remember that before.
  13. Well, Dragon’s Dogma will be on of my top ten games of the decade and Greedfall won’t make my top 10 of this year. I played Dragon’s Dogma at launch on the 360 and for me it’s got one of the best melee combat systems ever in a game. The reason for that is physicality, the ability to grab, grapple, and hold enemies humanoid & smaller, and to climb larger enemies brought a new dimension to the combat that has yet to be replicated (that I can think of) let alone bettered. Climbing a cyclops to try and blind it as it tries to knock you off or grab you is exhilarating. It’s a sparsely populated world with few human settlements which are separated wilderness which only gets more dangerous once the sun goes down. It’s genuinely dark except for the light from your lantern, and the world becomes more hostile at night with large creatures lurking off the road - sometimes even jumping you on the road. In the original release fast travel was only available to certain items, one was in the main city & half way through you got a second to place where you wanted in the world. So journeys had to be planned, but you were never alone. The pawns were a great addition, an NPC companion you created, classed, and levelled up. My character was melee based, my pawn (Quorra) was a magic user (the basic classes had a single focus, the advanced classes mixed as well, eg magic archer). You could also hire another 2 pawns from other players or the dev created ones. If your pawn was hired by someone they would earn XP & gifts would be sent back with your pawn. The big trick with pawns, which again I’m surprised no one has copied as it’s quite simple, is they have knowledge of the world & enemies. So if you’re somewhere new and a pawn has been there before in someone else’s game they might point out a hidden chest the other player found. Or suggest a tactic to use against an enemy or a weakness. As I said, pretty simple, but it goes a long way towards selling the pawn fiction. The story the game tells us absolutely batshit, and gets even more so after the credits roll & you stumble into the second half of the game. And I’m totally there for it. Greedfall has an interesting premise, an RPG with an explicitly colonial theme. I’ve seen reviews say it doesn’t address this and the developers say it’s just a theme, but it absolutely does revolve around this. There are so many quests in the game, especially when dealing with other factions, which are explicitly about the effect or attitudes of colonialism. I can’t even say it’s allegory, it’s straight up text, if anything is allegory the main quest line becomes allegory for environmental issues. The game is at its best when dealing with the colonialism angle with how it directly affects your character and certain members of your party. A lot of the voice acting is good, especially the female PC (she’s much of the reason I finished it), unfortunately a lot of what they get to say is bollocks. There are some nice touches like the disguise system - using faction specific outfits to get into faction specific areas. Not utilised enough imo. The loading screen has a little camp level where you can converse with your arty members, swap them out, craft, & re-supply. You get to wear a great tri-corner hat. The combat isn’t up to much. Regions are large with few points of interest, there is little variety in creatures and nothing much to find so once you’ve found a fast travel spot near somewhere you want to go you’ll never walk there again. I think the dev team acknowledges how little of interest there is to do in the regions as every settlement has a fast travel spot in it. This then has the added down side of a number of quests become talk to NPC, load, talk to NPC, load, talk to NPC etc. They go too far with the it’s a world of greys & every faction has bad points as well as good points, so much so I didn’t like any faction really. I liked some of the tribes but I did nothing beyond the first faction quest for both your main allies cause fuck those guys. Overall I think they created an interesting world and had a good premised but absolutely squandered it. This will sound odd but as a game dev I’m glad I played it, but I couldn’t recommend it to anyone.
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