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Darkly Dreaming Demographic.

Where weird shit hits bizarre fans.

She probably never thinks of you…

It’s so pathetic

I know, but it was so real

My heart was all yours

Could’ve been something.

We could’ve gone to prague or…

Anywhere with you.

So predictable

Now you never think of me

And I’m just adrift.

V

I think I dreamed you

You were always there but now…

you’re a part of me.

 

Lips I haven’t kissed

Your beauty is haunting and…

I feel things I hid.

 

When I close my eyes

Sometimes you’re smiling, sometimes

I think its for me.

 

 

Dr Sleep – Review

I went into this movie totally unbiased, I like the original shining, not a huge fan of Stephen King though, I think his writing is hacky, ok well that’s an understatement I think his face should be next to the definition of a hack writer. I don’t even really like most of the film adaptations of his work, I’m just aware of them but I can’t think of many that are very memorable other than as memes. Like Misery is an ok movie but I wouldn’t watch it more than once, same with Pet cemetery and silver bullet, they’re ok movies but they’re not something you keep coming back to. In a lot of ways once you’ve seen one King movie you’ve sort of seen them. And after some tepid reviews on youtube I thought this was movie was going to pass me by.

But that being said I have watched the shining quite a few times and I could see myself watching this again and again but it was just such a fun, cool movie. I really unironically enjoyed every minute of it. It was fun, interesting, heartfelt, sad at times, shocking at others but it constantly kept me engaged and interested and had some real ‘hell yes’ moments which were surprising. It succeeds not only in being a sequel to a great movie but also in being it’s own movie entirely. This is to the Shining what Aliens is to Alien. It’s not copying the previous movie, it evolved from it into something new and all together interesting in its own right and I really respect that.

So the movie is set after the shining and the main character is a grown up Danny Torrence played by Ewan Mcgregor. Danny is tormented by the spirits of the dead and the death of his own mother and thus driven to alcohol and substance abuse which seems like a logical response. But as fate would have it he gets a second chance and finds meaning and friendship working in hospice care helping the elderly come to terms with death and it’s both really sweet and heart rending. Me and my brother joked that this could also serve as a weird sequel to Sixth sense haha.

But at the same time this is happening you’re also following a gang of literal fucking vampires as they trek across america in camper vans like Near Dark recruiting and turning other people who shine and brutally torture and kill children to suck out their shine which they call ‘steam’. Basically how this idea has evolved in the sequel is that shine is like a literal substance and I know what you’re thinking, star wars and medicloreans and yeah I thought the same (that and it being Ewan Mcgregor again haha) but this goes in a much cooler direction with it. Because it turns out that people like Danny have existed for a long time and you can live a long time if you drain this power from others like you. So this group of basically psychic vampires seek out children to drain of their essence. The reason they target children is because the steam is pure and untainted and the first time they do it they sort of cut away but the next time you see them do it they literally slice this kid to pieces torturing him because pain and fear purifies the steam.

Now the first part of the movie just with Danny putting his life together could be a movie on it’s own, it’s sweet and interesting and sort of horrifying, it could’ve just been a nice supernatural drama oscar bait movie but you add this second layer with the psychic vampires and it almost becomes a bad ass Carpenter movie. It’s such a cool direction to take it in.

I really liked the villains because they seem almost like anime villains like the vampires in Near Dark but also really normal at the same time. They don’t seem or look like monsters, especially the main villain but she’s a fucking psycho who takes pleasure in cutting up kids basically. They’re all sort of believable and understandable, they see themselves almost as forces of nature, not as good or evil or monsters.

You have this great dichotomy between Danny’s story and the villains and you’re just waiting for them to collide. It makes me miss this type of film making, any other film maker would show you the villain once and then you wouldn’t see them again for an hour but in this you follow them almost as much as Danny which I love because you’re really getting to know all the vital characters.

The story is pretty simple in that Danny basically becomes psychic pen pals with this really powerful little girl during the eight years he’s putting his life back together. But during that time the little girl has come onto the radar of the vampires after she psychically witnesses one of their murders so now they want her because she has more steam than they’ve ever seen before. Because there’s a plot line basically where they haven’t been eating very well lately, the steam is drying up, they’ve been living on scraps so they’re sort of desperate for a big score.

The little girl called Abra reaches out to Danny to help her against the vampires so this is where the movie goes from interesting and fun to fucking awesome haha. It essentially becomes a really cool vampire movie with psychic powers and of all the ways this could’ve been done it happens in the best way possible. This could’ve been really silly like a stupid comic book movie, I wont spoil it but the confrontations with the actual vampires are really cool and grounded and awesome and hard hitting and clever. The end fight puts a nice capstone on the first movie without shitty sequel bait.

The movie very tastefully uses things from the original shining, it borrows from it and references in a way that is very respectful of the original. Sure they use new actors to play his mother and father and Dick Halorann but the performances are very subdued and they’ve picked actors that look a lot like them and they’re used sparingly.

Now a lot of people me included would be forgiven for saying “The shining doesn’t need a sequel” and you’d be totally right and there are lots of old movies that get sequels nobody asked for that serve just to squeeze money out of an old franchise manipulating people with nostalgia. This is probably 99% of the time but there is the 1% that is exception to the rule and this and maybe the Blade Runner sequel (which is hotly contested) are sequels that add to the original movie but are entirely their own movies and are good in their own right. Doctor Sleep is that in spades.

Like I could watch Doctor Sleep never having watched the shining and still enjoy it. You could show someone who’s never read King or watched a single one of his movie adaptations and they will enjoy this movie. The acting is great, the story and premise are fun, the action is surprisingly good, the effects are decent. Now I’m not gonna bullshit you and say the camera work and cinematography are on the level of Kubrick but they emulate him slightly and are competent. It’s not trying to copy the original, only call back to it for context.

In summary there’s no reason you shouldn’t see this movie, if you like supernatural thrillers, if you’re a King fan or just like the Shining or even if you like Near Dark or Scanners and weird fun movies like that. Hell if you just like Ewan McGregor go see this movie, I can’t think of a single bad thing to say about, I kinda wish it was a tv show just so we could have more of it, it’s such a cool premise. But as a movie it’s a perfect package, made by people who know how to make movies.
To a lot of people this will feel like an older movie because it follows a proper formula, film makers today try to subvert story telling conventions thinking they’re above them but they can’t see those conventions are there for a reason and without them movies just feel like a sloppy unsatisfying mess. You will come out of this movie satisfied you watched a real movie. This is without a doubt my movie of 2019, go see it.

Once upon a time in Hollywood – review

First thing I have to say about this movie is that it’s basically not reviewable, it’s not reviewable because it’s basically not a movie.

So you know this is gonna be a short review haha.

Movies generally have a beginning middle and an end and this movie has none of those. It’s like a weird documentary slice of life of a made up person. It’s a what if history moment that asks this odd questions that is basically along the lines of ‘What if the manson family went to the wrong damn house’ haha. An interesting question but evidently not enough to make a movie on. Because the movie is like 99% unrelated filler garbage that has nothing to do with anything other than just Tarantino jacking off his love for movies and like 1% the actual idea the movie was based on.

You don’t even get a lot of time with the manson family because it’s not really about them, they’re just sort of there.

So what is the movie about? Nothing, it’s sort of about this ageing movie cowboy and his life but there’s no message or theme with that, it’s just filler. It’s just like one unrelated scene after the other until the ending. And there’s so much in it that is just pointless and boring and I’m watching this movie and I’m thinking ‘Why does this have to be like two hours forty minutes? Why am I watching Margot Robbie go see a movie she’s in? What is this adding to the movie?’ The answer is nothing, it’s just filler. It’s just stuff that Tarantino put in his movie and an editor didn’t have the balls to tell him to cut it. Because this movie is just peak Tarantino self indulgence and he’s reached a peak in his fame where no one can give him advice so boring scenes that add nothing will stay in whereas in his earlier movies they would’ve been cut and improved the film significantly. But this movie is just 99% fluff, if someone was allowed to cut this movie you’d probably just be left with the last ten minutes and maybe the Bruce Lee fight and that would be it.

But that’s pretty much how this movie works, because I was cheering at the end of the movie like most people but most people wont stop and analyse why they were cheering. Most people will just cheer and then assume that the other two hours and thirty minutes that lead up to this point were building up to this so it was good and worth it. I don’t think that, I think the movie is almost intentionally boring us to make the last ten minutes seem better out of relief. We’re so desperate at that point for something to happen and we know it’s been building to this point so when something eventually does happen we’re hit with a wave of euphoria and relief that colours our opinion on the film overall when really it’s only the last ten minutes that are getting this response.
This is less a movie and more a hostage situation where a creepy foot fetishist film nerd is holding us hostage boring us with movie trivia and then at the end he lets us watch ten minutes of a cool movie and lets us go.

We’re not actually enjoying the movie or the ending we’re just relieved that the torture is over, we’re relieved that we’re no longer bored. It’s like literal torture, when torture is over you feel euphoria, when pain ceases you feel good, not because you actually feel good but because you’ve stopped feeling bad. This movie doesn’t entertain you, it just bores you so much that when something does happen it’s like the best thing ever. It doesn’t entertain as much as it ceases to bore, as much as a torturer doesn’t give you pleasure as much as he ceases to cause you pain.

Notice I haven’t mentioned anything actually about this movie, I can’t comment on it’s story because it doesn’t have one, I can’t really comment on the characters because there really aren’t any. I mean it was an ok movie, the ending was fun but is it worth the two hours forty minutes of your life it’s asking, not really.

I mean it’s a Tarantino movie where no one was able to tell him ‘No’ so it’s just self indulgent to the point where you question what you’re even watching and by the time the movie is over you’ve forgotten most of the film. I can maybe describe like three scenes including the ending in that.

It’s a tough recommend for sure haha. If you’re a Tarantino cultist you’re going to see it regardless but is it a good movie? On every technical level it’s a no because it literally isn’t one but is it enjoyable, I mean sure, some of it is, but not really enough to justify your time and money.

Those are the big stinkers I watched over christmas I also watched Zombieland 2 but it’s pretty unremarkable, not really worth a review it was just ok.

 

Joker – Review

If you’re friends with me on facebook you’re probably well aware of my feelings on this movie. Been really busy over christmas but my brother hooked us up with his usual piracy and we watch Joker and a few other movies only one other I want to review the others were just ok, not worth reviewing. I only review stuff I really love or really loathe.

So yeah guess which one Joker falls into.. ah… I fucking hated it haha.

Kinda surprising because this should’ve been right up my alley, I love the character, I love the movies it’s basically copying/pastiching. This should’ve been another Logan here and honestly it could’ve been and that’s what really pisses me off about this movie. All the elements are there for this movie to have been the next Logan or even the next Falling Down or Taxi Driver/King of comedy but the writing and the direction and maybe just the editing are so weak it can’t pull it together.

All anyone talks about is Phoenix’s performance and yeah it’s pretty good but is it good enough to carry a really weak pathetic script and the director of the fucking hang over movies? No it is not. He’s almost the only character in this movie, or the only one that’s trying, every other person in the movie seems to be barely there, they have almost no development, not even Robert Deniro’s character who is supposed to be sort of the titular antagonist. He barely gets any screen time for the audience to decide if he’s a hero or a villain.

Honestly that’s kind of how I feel about the Joker in general. I feel like the entire movie is walking this line with his character where it wants him to be this pathetic character who then becomes a strong anti-hero in his mind but really he’s a villain. And the trap there is if you do that wrong he’ll just become a hero and then you’ve fucked up and made batman’s greatest villain an anti-hero instead and lost everything that made his character fun. But the script is so fucking juvenile it’s like he’s not likeable/relatable enough to be an anti-hero like D-fens in Falling down or Travis in Taxi and he’s not really evil enough to be a straight up villain like the actual Joker. He just wallows in this pathetic obese of nothingness the whole movie punctuated by a pretty weak speech at the end which boils down to “People are mean” basically a fucking tumblr post before he throws a ballistic tantrum. If you compare that to the scene it’s copying from the dark knight returns comic you can see everything that’s wrong with this depiction of the joker.

He’s kind of pathetic and not smart or calculating or amoral at all. He basically puts on this cool evil Joker persona at the end but it’s just guise, it’s not really him and it kind of comes out of nowhere. I didn’t feel invested in his downfall, it doesn’t feel very organic or interesting and every.
This is not a Joker that could ever be a threat to Batman, they basically turned the joker into an impotent pathetic school shooter and it’s not a good look. I just never liked this Joker, I never felt invested in him and I felt like I was watching a movie, it never sucked me in. It’s not gritty or intriguing, it’s just maudlin and sort of boring. Like there’s so much in this movie that just feels like padding that could’ve been about another character like I dunno… Batman. There’s a shocking idea, put Batman in a Batman movie haha. But obviously the way this movie is written and the time its set wont allow for that but there’s just so much dead air in this movie it only ever feels like it starts when he becomes this movies idea of the joker and then it ends.

I kinda could’ve seen this movie working if it was part of another movie but on it’s own it’s fucking boring. The story of the movie is just ‘he sad goes mad’ it’s not a story, its just a bunch of stuff happening, stuff mostly stolen from older better movies. It just doesn’t feel like it goes anywhere or does anything with it’s time and it pretends like it has something to say but it’s like some kid trying to make a speech just falling over itself having no idea what to say and how to say it. The message in this movie is so weak, it’s so noncommittal and safe, it’s like “err, fuck rich people, I guess, people are mean!” and it’s almost like the director knew it was being too safe and just threw in random acts of violence and the ending to spice it up and it seems to have won over most people but to me this movie was just garbage wrapped in tinfoil.

The themes of the movie are sort of shitty and uninteresting because what basically happens that starts this weird like faux 99%er rally is he *spoilers* shoots and kills these white wallstreet guys who are drunk riding the subway just being generally annoying. I mean yeah you know how it is, you get off your job on the wallstreet and then you get drunk and harass random people on the subway for kicks, I mean it’s like the purge kind of except not interesting or realistic.

I feel like the main premise of the movie is apologising for the start of the movie where he basically gets beaten up by a group of ethnic children. That was their only source of edginess and they used it up in like the first ten minutes. And then the rest of the movie is him taking revenge on white rich people to apologise for being beaten up by poor ethnically diverse people haha. I mean if he was really a villain he would’ve gone after those children, just saying haha.

I can’t really get into more without going into major spoilers but the movie is just not very good, there’s nothing really in that makes it stand out in any way. I didn’t feel anything while watching it except sad and bored.

I really think the hype behind this movie is just because it’s the Joker and it’s Jaquin Phoenix playing him. I think if this movie was called “The Jester” and it was played by some no name actor no one would give a shit, this movie would hit some streaming service and no one would even know it existed. It’s being carried by memes and the title and a strong performance and nothing else, it’s emperor’s new clothes shit. Literally because I got people on my facebook saying “Bro you just don’t get it bro” to which I obviously asked “Ok bro, well explain it to me, what don’t I get” which of course either doesn’t get a response or gets a response like “Ok bro you’re just too retarded to get it”. People don’t know what this movies about because it’s not about anything, it’s made by the guy who made the hang over movies, this isn’t David Lynch, this is a stupid comic book movie edgy enough to impress fourteen year old boys and idiots but it’s not entertaining in any way. I don’t even really like comic book movies but I would much rather watch any other comic book movie than watch this ever again.
I think the last comic book movie I watched was Spiderman far from home and that movie wasn’t amazing but it was fun, it’s what you expect, it wasn’t this pretentious mess, it knew what it was.

Ok well to stop me going around in circles I’m just gonna leave it there haha.

All I can say is I know they’ll probably do a sequel of this and I can’t wait to see how they fuck it up haha.

This is the police 2 – review

Hey, still not dead, just been working a lot because christmas sucks haha.

I was definitely looking forward to playing this, I’d been waiting for it to go on sale for under a tenner since I got the first game for a couple of quid and it is an indie game I guess so that’s a fair price in my opinion. But the first is a lot of game for not a lot of money, the story, characters and game are really great and well done, so I was looking forward to this. Needless to say I was a little bit hyped. These niche little management sims are sort of my jam between big sprawling rpgs and stuff add in turned based xcom turned based strategy combat and I’m hooked.
I actually only wanted to play the first because I saw someone playing the second one and it looked right up my alley and it was.

The first game is pretty much perfect and the second adds in xcom style turned based combat and your cops have stats that are important in regular call outs and these new tactical missions where you actually control the cops as they stealth or blast their way to catching criminals.

Yeah well I already said ‘but’ but there are more buts coming because this game is great but I can’t help feeling like it just has more content for the sake of content. In the first game it felt like it was constantly evolving, you never felt like you were doing the same thing over and over, every day the gameplay evolved in some way. One minute you’re in an election and have to manage shifts so people work well together, the next you’re tracking a serial killer, or taking down a crime family but that never really happens in the second game.

Yeah sure you can take down crime families but there are only like three and it feels like it’s been really dumbed down but on the bright side you actually get to do a tactical mission to capture the gang’s leader which is really fun and satisfying. Another great change which is actually something I said in the first game review is that they added a description on the polaroids in the investigation missions so now you know what the fuck is going on in each slide and don’t just have to just guess what the expressionist art is trying to depict. It just tells you, so I didn’t need a guide for any of the cases in this game because I could actually tell what the pictures were showing me and put them in the right order. Just a little thing but it’s such an improvement, when you can spend ages trying to tell if a person is getting out of or getting into a car in a badly drawn still image.
But I dunno, the investigations don’t seem as interesting for some reason, they’re just kind of annoying and you don’t have detectives in this game so you have to commit officers from your main force to investigate them which is just dumb. Do small town sheriffs not have detectives? I guess not.

Oh yeah forgot to even talk about this game, it’s basically a direct sequel to the previous game where Jack Boyd is in hiding as he’s being used as a scapegoat for a lot of crimes for some reason. It’s kind of thin honestly because it’s never really explained how all this happened, it’s kept really vague because there’s no way for the game to know what you actually did in the previous game because it doesn’t follow on from your save file, it’s not that type of game with branching story choices. Which just begs the question why they didn’t just go for a new character, it’s probably because they wanted to keep John St.John (Duke Nukem) as their main voiced character. Which is understandable. But there’s no reason they couldn’t have worked him in just not as the main character.

So in terms of story you just need to accept that Jack Boyd has a cool mullet and a beard and is now wanted for some reason and he has to pay this random guy who may have been in the last game but I can’t remember or he’ll rat you out to the feds. And you’re hiding out in this little mountain town that I hoped would be a lot like twin peaks but kind of wasn’t at all but I’ll get into that later on. So of course you get back into basically doing criminal shit and favours to make money to pay this guy off and this is kind of where you run into the first flaw of the game. Money, you don’t really need it. In the first game the goal was to make half a million so in that the reason you got money was just because you were saving for retirement but *spoilers* it doesn’t even matter at the end anyway.

But you could also spend money on various services in game that were pretty useful like setting up a hit on a cop that was going to turn on you or something like that. But in this game you only need money to pay off this guy and buy more equipment.

And here’s where you get into my second gripe, the equipment, and my complaint with this is sort of two fold, it’s not interesting equipping your officers at the start of each day, it’s just annoying and time consuming, yeah there’s an auto-assign but it’s retarded and it never equips them with the stuff I want. The second reason this is annoying is because every call can be solved by an item. It’s just the instant win button, you can solve most cases with the tazer or the shocker/pepper spray/baton. They’re just instant win buttons and all the thought is basically taken out of the calls. In the previous game you really needed to think about how to handle the situation. In this you don’t even have to read the description you just click ‘use baton’ and the case is done. You could basically speed run this game with this.
On top of this your officers have skills and some of the options are skill related and they’re basically instant wins too, so if your officers have high negotiation they can end the call with a command, or if they’re high stealth they can sneak it and so on and so on. So all that really happens at the end is all your cops become jack of all trades and can just do everything and the difficulty just artificially spikes.
You see you need a certain level of professionalism which is like their xp to complete a mission and by the end of the game every mission is just over 2k professionalism nomatter what it is. Like you’ll need the same level of professionalism to take down a bank robbery as you’ll need to catch a guy that pinches a waitresses ass. It’s dumb, It’s not a realistic difficulty curve.

Another thing I found annoying was the crank calls were too subtle in this game and the humor is such that the real calls sounded like cranks some time. In the previous game you get some calls that are fake, just some idiot with a false alarm like in real life and you have to avoid them otherwise you can’t use those officers for a real case until they come back. Which you know isn’t how police work because they have radios and can go to calls if they’re in the vicinity. Imagine if cops had to go back to the station every time to pick up a new call. That would be retarded. They haven’t had to do that since the invention of the radio.

But in the last game the crank calls were pretty obvious and eventually you could spot them and avoid them rather easily but in this game there’s almost no way to tell them apart. I think it’s a lot to do with how wacky they’re trying to make the setting for this game.

I thought this game would reference twin peaks what with it’s setting in a kooky little mountain town or maybe it’s fargo but I’ve never seen that movie. But it’s not really like twin peaks at all, there are like weird cultists who worship strange forest gods but that’s always off to the side, it’s not really that relevant to the main plot, it doesn’t really go anywhere. The main ‘villain’ if you can call him that is just this retired military colonel, but he’s not really a villain as much as he’s just someone in your way, kind of, that goes for pretty much every ‘villain’ in this game. I dunno the characters in this game just felt a little flat and generic and the story doesn’t do much with them, they don’t have arcs or move on from the story of the first game as much as they just wallow it. The story almost just feels like an add on or a dlc despite how much it clearly improves upon the game.

But for all it’s improvements and addons some are just irritating like managing each cops inventory and there’s this fucking irritating part where the cook for the station goes on her honeymoon and you have to pick food for everyone matching their specific requirements and it’s just annoying. There’s nothing fun or interesting about picking what food they eat and you can lose their respect if you choose food they don’t like, it’s not a fun gameplay addition, it’s just an annoying hurdle to waste your time. There’s a line between fun and challenging and annoying time wasting.

That’s something I forgot to mention, there’s a respect system in this game where basically if you get the cops to like you they dress properly and they’ll listen to you. If they don’t respect you they dress sloppily, they refuse to work consecutive days and they out right do whatever the hell they want on tactical missions so for the love of fuck don’t ever use them for that. They also won’t go out on calls if you send them with another cop that doesn’t respect you. So getting their respect is really important.

This sounds interesting but they can lose respect for you for the most asinine reasons like you don’t let them take off work to scratch their balls. I had this one quit because I hired a masseuse for the station which I thought everyone would like but this guy was like “that masseuse touched my cock, I didn’t know this station was home to rampant faggotry” or something nuts like that and he just fucking quit. How was I supposed to foresee that outcome?? How would I ever know that was a possibility? It’s just fucking bullshit there solely to trip you up. The game is kind of full of moments like that, situations that happen that you would need fucking psychic powers to predict and just becomes frustrating.

I really liked the gameplay though, I’m a big fan of xcom and it really steps up in that respect. The combat and the guns feel nice(feel might not be the right word since I’m not handling them, they sound good), although you only get to use their revolvers but I like how they work. Basically they’re one shot kills but you can choose whether to hit them in the hand and try to disarm them so you can arrest them, shoot them in the head and kill them, in the leg and hobble them, or as I always go centre mass, because that downs them but it takes them a while to die so if you finish the stage before their life timer runs out they live. The game rewards you for suspects you take alive, so you’re encouraged to and I prefer to go quiet and use batons and tazers to stun and cuff them and then shoot to wound them and take them alive. But you can just literally stab them all to death which is quicker and easier but feels less immersive to me having cops going Sam fischer on a guy and it lowers your score which is in can ring pulls (I guess bottlecaps would’ve been derivative) and you trade these pulls for more cops and equipment.

Because the premise of the game is basically you’re working for the real sheriff who’s really inexperienced and she is trading equipment and men for how well you perform.

Overall the gameplay is good, I would’ve liked it to be a little more like xcom where you can unlock more equipment instead of just skills and perks and the stealth is a little bare bones, if one guy sees you that’s pretty much done for the stealth portion, now every enemy knows where you are haha. Also weirdly when you play xcom there are basically infinite tactical missions you can do randomly generated to a point where it gets sort of tedious but in this game there feels like there aren’t enough. Because they’re really fun and tense and brutal because you can’t save scum so you’re basically permanently on iron man mode unless you want to redo the whole day because these missions usually pop up at the end of the day. And your cops aren’t armoured, they have the same health as the enemies so one shot and you’re done, if it’s in the leg you can’t move, in the hand you can’t shoot, centre mass and you’re bleeding out, headshot and it’s goodnight. And on top of that if they’re injured in the mission they’ll be out of commission for a couple of days. And for some reason when one of your cops is shot there’s no like medic mechanic, not one of your cops knows first aid, so that person just has to limp away and hide and bleed until the end of the match. So it’s tense, but there aren’t really enough of them and there’s this one later on that almost made me fucking rage quit.
Basically I think it’s the second to last tactical mission in the game, you had to take down this whole camp of guys without being spotted once, because if you got spotted it was an instant fail state and you had to start right from the beginning. And once you’ve chosen the guys to go on the mission you can’t change them unless you want to restart the day. Just stuff like that is really annoying and I don’t see why the mission couldn’t have just carried on or you could get another chance of taking down the person who saw you before they raise the alarm. Bare in mind all my guys are like max rank with top stealth and stuff, but no if they get spotted or someone finds a body it’s done and I don’t think you can hide bodies, despite the fact there’s a perk where you can pick up injured people and carry them. So why can’t they move bodies or hide them?

Overall all these missions are pretty great which makes it sting even more that the last mission is this really boring easy tower defence mission. I mean the last mission in the first game was more interesting and you didn’t even get to play it, you could only play it out in your imagination as you set it up.

Also I would’ve liked more control over planning the raids like the assault in the first game. You could decide what men to put where, in this game you can only decide who to place you can’t decide where to place them. You just gather intel and fill slots, there’s little to no strategy in planning the assaults. But the level design, I just feel like they could’ve done more with it, there could’ve been more going on with the story in these missions. They could’ve been more dynamic and worked into the plot like you find a weird altar with human sacrifices or you stumble upon a conspiracy or another serial killer.

It gets into my whole feeling towards this game, it feels shorter and less developed than the first despite having more content. It’s like they put more effort into nuts and bolts gameplay than the story and the world than they did in the first. The ending left me just totally cold, zero emotional resonance, it was just kind of meh and it didn’t fit and I constantly felt like I was on the outside of the story. It also didn’t really resolve what happened with Jack’s wife in the first game which really pissed me off. It just feels unfinished and like they were trying to be mysterious or ambiguous with the plot but it just didn’t suck me in enough for me to give a shit. They don’t do much with the pagan cults and forest spirits, I really thought that was going to be core to the plot like twin peaks but it’s really not, it’s just a fun side thing which is fine. I just wanted a deeper, weirder experience. I feel like this game kind of played it safe and just added gameplay but took no real risks with the story or world building.

Also I’m lead to believe there was a good ending and a bad ending which I fucking hate in games. I much preferred the ending of the first where it wasn’t a moral choice as much as it was between two people. You chose whoever you thought would fuck you over the least but *spoilers* they both fuck you over haha.

What bugs me is this game is so niche I can’t even really find accurate guides or people talking about the endings. I’m gonna have to dig to even find the good ending. Which I think I read somewhere you can only get if you do zero illegal shit which I’m not sure is even possible or what this game even counts as illegal stuff because this game is never really black and white with it’s moral choices. I can’t see how you’d make any money in this game without cutting corners and committing crimes, I made most of my money selling drugs and evidence. In the previous game you actually had a salary that I don’t think you get in this game so I don’t see how else you’re going to get the money in time to pay for the silence of the asshole leaning on you. I mean that’s the justification for taking the short cuts in the first place. The reason you do illegal stuff in the first game is because it makes you money which you need for retirement but also because if you don’t and you piss off the mafia they’ll just kill you.

But in this game if it wasn’t for the blackmailer you could probably just not be a dirty cop haha. But I guess him turning you over to the feds is the equivalence in this game for the mob killing you.

Ok a lot of waffling there, I really liked the game, I had a lot of fun with it. I really liked the new combat system but I feel they kind of slipped up on a lot of things they did right in the first game. So in all honesty, I think as a whole I preferred the first game. But maybe it’s because I didn’t expect much from the first game and I had higher expectations from the sequel.

Minor niggles I thought the writing was verbose to the point of hair pulling. Characters in this game will take ten times the amount of words to say something as is necessary. Were the writers in this game paid by the word? I mean even the text is too long, you get these fucking text crawls, short essays that are small even to read on a big screen tv and all they’re basically saying is “I need a strong cop to move some boxes”. Why the fuck couldn’t you have just said that? Why did it take like 500 words to get to “I need cop with strong stat”. I get it’s world/character building but some of these characters are just random one offs. It just feels like a needless waste of time and an editor could have cut this down. I mean again there’s a line between interesting world building and annoying time wasting. Eventually I’m going to stop giving a shit and just scan what they’re saying to get to what they want.

I have ranted enough and despite all this bitching I would still definitely recommend it, it’s a great game, if you like xcom and mutant year zero and games like that, definitely pick it up, for the price you can’t go wrong.

Something to hold onto…

How could I forget?

When I held your hand in mine

If I could go back

Jump across the sea

Just for one more smile from you

Turn back time and stop

A perfect moment

Someday soon I’ll touch your cheek

I’ve waited so long…

Rage 2 review

I’d kind of blown my load when it came to whats on offer on gamepass after the thoroughly disappointing Outer Worlds, a game I wasn’t even that hyped for so what could’ve been a pleasant surprise was just a shallow passionless borefest. After that I went back to rage quit Shadow of War which is an ok game, I really love the nemesis system, which is like this cool orc hierarchy where you can pit orcs against each and engage in a rudimentary form of politics at the end of a sword.

It’s a fun and really innovative system that I wish was in a more interesting game because aside from the nemesis system the game really doesn’t have much to offer. It’s basically discount assassin’s creed in a universe I don’t care about. The characters story and gameplay are just meh and they made the sequel more grindy so unless you have a good narrative hook or really enjoy the combat the grind doesn’t feel worth it. Especially when the loot is different skins for the same armour and weapons which only change the number next to the name.

I was kinda tempted to do another stellaris run but that’s kinda the same situation, it’s fun but I suck at it and the amount of time I spend on it just seems like a losing battle. I tried to play Planetfall that game that has the longest name ever but I just couldn’t get into it. I just hate the art style, I can’t describe it, it just feels like stellaris lite. It has settlement management but it doesn’t feel as in depth, it feels more casual and I didn’t really like the combat, it’s like a mix of xcom and stellaris but it lacks all the punch of either. I love how in xcom all your men have names and specific skills and nicknames. Which is why I’m playing This is the police 2 right now which is excellent and there’s a review in the works for that.

But yeah what was this post about again… oh yeah Rage 2, it’s pretty good. The end.

Ok no so this game wasn’t that interesting to me when I saw it announced, I liked the first kinda but I really didn’t see the need for a sequel, especially after doom and the underrated mad max game, I see even less reason for this to exist. And according to the reviews it had a disastrous launch, the reviews savage it for being totally bug ridden and unplayable but as it stands on gamepass right now I ran into minimal bugs and the game is totally fine now. The first Rage was the first time I realised how much dlc was total bullshit and literally just hacked a part out of your full game and sold it back to you and that really pissed me off. Because in Rage 1 there was literally an area in game I couldn’t enter because it was dlc, like it was right there but it was asking me for money to enter it in the full game I purchased with my money. That’s like buying admission to a waterpark and then getting charged to go down a waterslide, or no paying for penis enlargement and then being charged each time you jerk off haha. It was total bullshit then and it’s total bullshit now. Dlc should be an extra thing made after the base game, not just a part of the base game they stole.

Ok rant over.

So I wasn’t that hyped for this game but I thought Doom 2016 was ok and this has the same engine I think, so yeah it’s basically Doom 2016 meets mad max which is pretty cool.

The start of the game is pretty fucking generic honestly, don’t go expecting an enthralling immersive world or story even close to something like fallout or mass effect, the story is really campy nonsense (I mean tbf so was doom 2016) but thankfully it does an ok job of staying out of the way. But I much prefer the tone of games like Elite and mad max where it takes itself seriously but the story is either non existent or just serves to drive the game forward.

The tone in Rage is like a loose comedic style, like borderlands but with a less cringy art style and it takes itself a little more seriously. But the world is sort of cartoony with very little interaction. Don’t go into this game expecting Metro levels of immersion and story telling or Fallout levels of quests and quest givers. I ignored most of the side quests as all they really do is highlight a spot on the map you were going to fuck up anyway haha.

But in all honesty the loot system is pretty good, ten times better than Outer Worlds where all you ever find is money and more lockpicks to pick doors that hide money and more lockpicks. The loot is actually stuff you need, mainly feltrite which you use to upgrade your guns and powers and money you use to buy more mods for your guns and powers. Also how you progress and get new weapons and powers is really good and fun and works really well so you’re not getting too over powered too quickly but you want to track this stuff down. It also makes sure that the weapons are all unique and interesting and satisfying. This isn’t like outer worlds or borderlands where you’ll be tossing out guns every ten minutes because you found one with a slightly higher number next to it’s name, this is a hybrid shooter. When you pick up a gun you’ve basically got a whole new playstyle and they all feel really distinct and unique. Which is the same with the powers, which I’ll get into later.

So guns, it’s a shooter, how do the guns feel? They feel fucking amazing ok, I judge all shooters by their shotgun and when I picked up the shotgun in this game I didn’t want to use any other weapon and I didn’t for most of the game because that shotgun is so satisfying to use. It feels and sounds really powerful and it looks super cool, I can’t really say if I liked the Doom 2016 one more or not, it’s been a while since I played it. But the weapons feel great in this game. Also biggest thing for me is it has an upgrade system but you can’t upgrade the power of the weapon which is just how it should be, you can only upgrade the capacity/reload speed stuff like that. What does that mean? Well that means when you pick up the shotgun it doesn’t fire bunny farts, you pick up a shotgun and it’s a shotgun upgrades or not, you fire it, the thing on the loud end is gonna be dead.

The powers are pretty nice and I found myself wanting to upgrade them and use them all and they’re really nicely mapped on the controller so you don’t need to cycle through them. So you want to use them and they’re very intuitive in how you use them, there was never a power that I was like “that’s fucking useless”. I used them all and the great thing is there’s no lame mana bar, there’s just a cooldown on each ability and you can upgrade them to shrink the cooldown which is perfect for me. I really hate games that have mana pools where you have to like chug magic potions or eat energy bars to use your abilities, a cool down is much better (or you could just use both like Prey 2017 for some fucking reason) it stops you from spamming them and makes you think more tactically about using them but you get a feel for them and you don’t have to keep topping your power up. Some of the powers are freaking cool too, my favourite is like something straight out of crank, it’s basically a power where if you die you get to do this little qte and your power suit will shock your heart basically bringing you back to life, which is just totally cool. But it has a cool down so if you die again in like the next couple of minutes you’re toast. It just gives you a second change to get back into the game, activate your rage mode and fuck things up haha. It all just works really well and the powers are fun and fit into the world and they make you feel powerful.

Vehicles were ok, but it’s hard to put this up against a game like mad max where so much effort was put into a game about vehicles, compared to that they’re just ok and the vehicle combat is kind of easy because you have mounted gun on the first car you get and it’s not in first person, it switches to 3rd person camera when you get in a vehicle which I hate honestly. I prefer 1st person camera at all times because it’s more immersive. I like to feel like I’m in a vehicle, see the steering wheel and dash like metro and elite and far cry. The vehicles are kind of where this game loses a step because there are a bunch of vehicles in this game but you can only upgrade the first one you get and vehicle combat isn’t that necessary for the story or progression at all. And you get this sick hoverbike really early in the game that basically breaks the game and makes all other vehicles pointless because you can get anywhere twice as fast on the hoverbike because it’s basically a helicopter, all obstacles and enemies btfo, I can just fly over you. There are like road blocks set up by bandits trying to kill and rob people, I can just fly over them giving them the finger if I want.

But this is a game where you do want to go these bases and kill enemies, one; because you need the loot to upgrade your guns and powers and two; because the combat is fun as fuck.

I just wanna compare the gameplay loop of this to Outer Worlds. So in Outer worlds you leave a city and you walk around with your generic snarky companions with millenial haircuts and you walk along a road where there are some bandits waiting with their back turned. Then you snipe them and your companions have cringey animations where they use their ‘skill’ but basically you just stand there firing until they die, maybe use the time slow, probably not haha. Loot their corpses, no blood, just lame sparks and you can’t even loot everything. And then you go back to the town to talk to a bunch of boring npcs who never move from the spot.

Ok so what’s the gameplay loop in Rage 2 like? You get on your sick ass hoverbike until you see a bandit base that has some cool shit you want, you land and park your sick hoverbike haha. You walk over to the front gate of their compound then you burst into a full sprint turning invisible as you do it to barrel into the first enemy you see and kick them in the face so hard they’re turned into chunks and red mist. You then spin around to systematically dismember their friends and colleagues with your meaty shotgun. I mean cutting people in half, blowing legs off and then stomping on their heads. A heavy armored enemy is lumbering towards you and the shotgun is stripping armor that’s visibly flying off with each blast, so you use your blast power to knock them into next week. Then some crazy bitch hits a grenade at you like a baseball with a baseball bat so you take your shotgun and hit it straight back to her and her friends and it blows up in her face turning her into chunks. Then someone is firing missiles at you from a higher level so you run up the stairs firing your machine pistol as you dodge rockets. You throw up a barrier and shoot around it until you’re close enough to rush them and boot them off the tower. But then more fire comes from below so you jump off the tower and slam into them turning them into a smear. But then there’s a boss with a handful of back up so you throw a vortex down which sucks all the smaller ones off their feet and out comes the rocket launcher, you switch to secondary fire and target all of them individually and fire a handful of mini rockets locked onto them which turn them into red mist. Then when everyone is chunks you loot the chests.

I saw yahtze complaining about how looking for the chests slows down the pacing too much but you actually get a skill where you can just see them through walls so it makes it ridiculously easy to find them. But you know fps games have never had secrets or easter eggs that took time and effort to find haha.

The world is also richly detailed, there’s like desert part and a jungle/forest area, a swamp area and another slightly more deserty desert area haha. But the beauty of the game and it’s vistas is all kind of lost when you can just zip over them at break neck speeds on a helicopter bike haha. Yeah that sort of does break the game because all other vehicles even the mech you get is sort of useless by the end of the game because I can kill faster out of the mech with powers and I can get places faster with the bike so all other vehicles are rendered pointless.

There is some exploration as you find new locations on your map, not every enemy base is located on your map until you buy/find some info on the location of one or just stumble upon/fly over it haha. And I did end up cheating and just looking up all the arc locations so I could get all the weapons and powers.

The story missions are also mercifully short and it lets you carry on wrecking bandits after it’s done which is good. It’s kinda like Doom if you added vehicles and an open world with fun little locations and enemies dotted around. The open world aspect doesn’t feel tacked on like in Gears 5 where it only serves to pad out sections of action and break up linear levels and fighting set pieces. There is vehicle combat and there are enemies everywhere not just at the bases, there are great big convoys like in mad max of like war trucks which is cool but it’s not as close to as cool as mad max. And the car customisation isn’t nearly as in depth as that, you really feel like the car is part of you when you play mad max, which is why the ending is so fucking heart breaking haha. I really want a mad max sequel can you tell?

Overall the game is pretty fun, it kinda drags at the end but that was mostly my fault because I just decided to grind all the bases and the combat doesn’t really evolve much. To be honest this game compared to outer worlds has too much content. Like it has a crafting system I never used where you can make better grenades and wing stick, wing sticks are those things you never use haha. Wing sticks are like xena ninja stars you throw that kill people but it doesn’t come back so what other thing do you have that you throw at enemies that kill them and don’t come back, oh yeah bullets. Why do wingsticks exist? Would someone explain this to me haha?

But overall the game is solid and if you’re bummed out about outer worlds and just want to play a fun mindless shooter then give it a shot, what do you have to lose. Honestly though it’s kinda just a meh tier version of metro exodus where you play a generic badass in pseudo power armor haha.

So if you get gamepass for outer worlds you can use rage 2 as a chaser to clean your pallet and then play Metro Exodus to restore your faith in humanity haha.

Rage 2 is not amazing but it’s not garbage, it’s a solid fun shooter.

See you.

 

Friendly Echos

It feels long ago

When you stood in front of me

You’re just an echo

 

I’m lying awake

Thinking of what could have been

Time passing so fast

 

I’m feeling so old

But also I feel nothing

As you drift away.

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