Greetings all. This won't be a collegiate essay, rather a brief collection of thoughts on a new game. Its name is in the title. That's professionalism. I'll be a real blogger someday. I just know it.
So I bought Tomb Raider when it was on sale and hot dang I'm glad I did. It does for Lara Croft what the Nolan films did for Bruce Wayne and the writing is pretty great throughout. Its main hook is a JJ Abrams device where you and Lara try to figure out exactly what it is which keeps them from leaving the island.
Now we'll just skip the exposition because the word "spoilers" is also in the title and we've all played this game right? RIIIIGHT. So anyway, I thought they'd go with a more scientific explanation as to what caused the freak weather phenomena. The logs of Axis-era Japanese soldiers served to mislead, as they lent credence to the notion of a Tesla-esque device at the eye of the storm. However this wasn't the case, and it turned out to be a Japanese God Queen who intended to reincarnate herself through forcible possession of Lara's friend.
And somehow this makes more sense than thinking it was science. Because it explains why Lara would go from being a mostly average girl, albeit one with higher than usual intelligence, to a relentless discoverer of the unknown. The assorted traumas she had been through until then would have made anyone harder yet they were only a prelude to the necessary life-changing event: the realization that the world was fundamentally unlike what she had previously believed. Suddenly her worldview includes undead samurai and a ghost who could change the weather! If she had survived a mere combat situation she'd have been able to go home and get a book deal out of it. But there ain't no normal after you've met a Japanese Thunder Goddess. At that point life as you knew it is done; as Lara says on the boat in the end, "I'm not going home."
So yeah, it's more cinematic than cinema and I loves it very much. Especially subtle touches such as the dual gun scene. That was impressive...it seems inevitable knowing the character yet when it came time for that, it genuinely surprised me. And speaking of weapons the bow was my favorite. This is one of the best archery games I've seen to date. She has quite the arrangement of trick arrows once she levels up, including napalm, explosives, and rope with included high speed winch. That last one is especially great because her little rope bike turns her into Spider-man.
The only possible negative I can imagine is that it can be a little too cinematic. Older Tomb Raider games seemed much more thoughtful, in that they'd present you with series of puzzles so difficult that substantial thought was required to solve them. Here the most you have to do is pull something heavy into the right spot or time a jump precisely. It seems the more cerebral aspects were simplified in favor of large scale gun battles, which irked me ever so slightly. Shooting is fun but it's a little unrealistic near the end, for fifteen year old Lara to be out there mowing down hordes of maniacal cultists. Not a serious complaint by any stretch of the imagination however, like I said, just the only thing which made me raise a questioning eyebrow.
The multiplayer is kinda good but kinda unnecessary. It's just regular multiplayer far as I know, only played one quick team deathmatch. Very easy to pick up, my team got destroyed first round but I was able to pull it together and help us get the next two. Might experiment with it later to see if the devs included any unusual modes which would be appropriate for the franchise. You know, like Capture the Relic or something. Like I said I haven't really looked into that.
However I would recommend this for the singleplayer alone, especially if you're a fan and even if you're not. I got it when XBL had it for $20 a week or two ago, it's definitely worth that, and I probably would have paid full price with no regrets if it had been on my radar at the time.
I even thought it was worth writing a blog about, you guys. It's just that damn good.
11/10, on an arbitrary series of random numbers which is completely devoid of rational meaning
1. Shane 2399 up, 832 down
another term for "sexy beast"
Omg, I can't breathe! I think a shane just walked by.
sexy beast term for another
by NiniComiPoopi Jul 24, 2008 share this add a video
2. Shane 2067 up, 738 down
A word derived from a Greek "San" one of three of the modern day symbols considered obsolete in the Greek language. The name was given to the children of those who were considered "criminally genius". Also considered to be one of the few names that can effect the owner's personality over their lifetime in a aesthetically pleasing but deeply malicious way. Perceived by the Romans to be the only name "combining good and evil to create balance and perfection."
"Shane... it flows off the tongue like silk."
"When you scream "Shane!" it vibrates your body right down the middle... wow try it."
shane shaner shanes houdini mantastic
by Shizzle M. Jan 19, 2007 share this add a video
3. Shane 257 up, 100 down
A man with a sexy body, amazing hair and a large member. His eyes are kind yet unreadable. He isn't fake or friendly to people that he doesn't know or doesn't like. He has large hands and a contagious laugh. He loves sports and club soda and the upright bass. Unbelievably sexy. Animal in bed. Is delicious and unforgettable. If you find a Shane, hold onto him and make him the love of your life.
He rocks my socks in bed, he's a total Shane.
amazing unforgettable shanes animal bulge shane
by sevenL Jul 19, 2010 share this add a video
4. Shane 1123 up, 530 down
An English derivitive of the irish name sean, which is an Irish form of John meaning "God's gracious gift."
Shane is a very popular variant of the name Sean in Northern Ireland in memory of Shane O'Neill whose forces won notable victories over the armies of Queen Elizabeth 1st in the sixteenth century.
his name is Shane
Shane is God's gracious gift
shane sean shame shaun seamus
by sod1234 Aug 25, 2007 share this add a video
5. Shane 106 up, 41 down
Shane: A way of saying wanna share my penis?
Shanes have the biggest cocks in history.period.
shane penis biggest cocks share cuckhold
by SHARINGPENISONCAMPUS:( Oct 25, 2010 share this add a video
6. Shane 1231 up, 600 down
The single most amazing kid you will ever met. He is very funny and sweet. And I wish he was mine. He can always make you smile, and falls very easily for girls. Take him if you get the chance, because you will miss him if you don't. I love you Shane.
SHANE IS MY BESTFRIEND! :)
bestfriend love playa wonderful funny
by Trex120 Aug 24, 2008 share this add a video
7. Shane 208 up, 91 down
Shane is the most amazing man you will ever meet. When I met him, I knew he was going to be a significant person in my life. I think most people feel that way. The first time I saw his face, I thought I saw god. I was left speechless. He was the person I was looking for my whole life and I didn't even know I was looking for anyone. I'll never forget him, his smile or the moments I've shared with him. I've learned so much from this man. My whole world view has been altered for the better since I met him. He made me think in ways I never thought possible. He is the most honest man I have ever known and that is a true rarity. He is the overall best looking guy you will ever meet. The words "sexy beast" just don't cut it. Women want him and men want to be him. He's better looking than Johnny Depp and charm oozes out of every pore in his body. F*** it. Words just can't describe this man. He reminds me of everything and everything reminds me of him. Just thinking about Shane gives me the butterflies.. like your first day of school.. or your first date.. your first kiss.. or the first time you have sex..he's like when the sun inspires you to wake up and dance with your hands in the air, praising life and the awareness that lets you experience it from your point of view...he is pure ecstasy.. pure sunlight... the life that fills your bones...he is the most amazing ride you will ever find yourself on... the most beautiful experience that will ever come your way.
What just happened?
Shane just happened.
amazing om ecstasy ineffable life
by Iamthewalrus. Feb 4, 2010 share this add a video
That's only the first page, people. Copypasta'd with minimal formatting. I would post more but the local Freemason's Lodge called my mom, and they were crying because the moon just broke.
So this is actually pretty good. It took me a minute to pick up the controls after having played the older games, but the new thing is great once you get used to it. Basically it's the same as always with the right trigger as web swing and right shoulder as web zip. Except now you can hold the web zip button for a second and it slows time as you line up your shot.
The added precision comes in handy with the new camera perspective. You don't get as much peripheral vision but Spidey looks cool as hell in the closeups. I'm actually liking the new costume more than the original, now that I've had a chance to get used to seeing it move around in 3D.
Its influences are among the things I like the most. The whole thing has a Rocksteady vibe to it. As a matter of fact the opening feels like a tribute to Arkham Asylum. Peter Parker walks through a genetic testing facility instead of a mental hospital, he gets threatened by Rhino instead of Croc, then Scorpion breaks out in a similar fashion to Joker...the whole scene plays out more like an intentional nod than a lazy ripoff. It's rather impressive how well it all lines up when you make a serious comparison of the two.
I'm also picking up a bit of Island of Lost Souls, or as later versions are known, The Island of Dr. Moreau. It's a horror classic about science blurring the line between man and beast, and again the similarities are obvious. Rhino and Scorpion, two of Spidey's oldest adversaries, have had their origins rewritten around the aforementioned themes of genetic testing and cross-species hybridization. What's even more interesting is what they seem to have done with Black Cat. So far she appears to be a modern day version of the Panther Woman from the original film. This pleases me greatly, especially seeing as how she's been left out of most later reinterpretations.
And my favorite so far...the robots. I swear to God, the first twenty minutes of this game feature a better Reaper fight than anything in Mass Effect 3. It's almost ridiculous how well they did this. It looks exactly like a Reaper, makes the same loud noise and everything. For them to have made the similarity so obvious, in a game that came out on the same day as the controversial Extended Cut DLC...now you have to admit, that is truly amazing. It absolutely blows my mind just how genuinely lolzy that is.
Just look at this video, about one minute in. Just. Look. At. It.
I'm tempted to recommend this for the ME3 thing alone, to be honest. But really, I haven't played through enough of the game to tell you that it's worth your sixty bucks. I'm pretty happy with it though. If my writing seems a bit off at the moment, it's because I've been up most of the night swinging about Manhattan. So don't go mistaking this for a professional review. Originally this was meant to be a forum post but...there are so many of these words now! Might as well make a blog of it.
In closing, yes, this game is good. And yes, I decided to write about it rather than foist YET ANOTHER opinion about dem ME3 endings on you poor, poor people. Seriously, you don't know true gamer joy until you web one of those big red lasers right back down the metallic throat it came from.
You know what? I'm not even giving you people any context for this. Just read and enjoy.
Sean Ulrich - The Devil of Lost England
Sean Ulrich is unlike most threats encountered by MI6, in that he has no fortune to bankroll his schemes. There is no secret lair built into the depths of a volcano, no suborbital spacecraft capable of vandalizing national programs. What he is known for, however, is an observable ability to win others over to his cause, accompanied by a streak of luck that some call preternatural if not seemingly diabolical in nature. His sojourns into cyberterrorism seem to be financed solely by his winnings at the casino; stranger yet, his only observable pattern in gambling is that the projected costs of his endeavors have been noted to match his cash out at the exact moment he chose to leave the table.
His modus operandi is to target religious organizations or connected individuals, specifically those known to invest in, accept money from, or even socialize with royal interests. He is suspected to have been the mastermind behind plots ranging from church burnings in Norway to the attempted assassination of the Archbishop of Westminster.
It's been very nearly impossible to trace his involvement in these international crimes, due to the nature of their planning. Typically (if anything about his actions can be thought of as such), he posts meticulously arranged blogs, speaking out against the church's involvement in affairs of state. These seemingly innocuous internet postings, however, contain a hidden code in the characters used to type them. When deciphered by his loosely affiliated followers across the globe, this code can reveal anything from coordinates to times to close relations of his chosen targets. The cypher itself has been cracked a number of times, yet is consistently adapted to a newer, unknown version soon thereafter.
It has been speculated that Ulrich has sympathizers within the highest levels of the global military and law enforcement community. Other, lower level operatives have been known to speak of him as "Big Brother"...not in the pejorative sense used in Orwell's dystopian novel, but with genuine affection, as any proper citizen would refer to an immediate family member. His real name is virtually unconnected to the ones used on the internet forums which he frequents. To the general public he is an urban legend.
Several message boards have been dedicated to this "Devil of Lost England". The most popular of these bears said name, and is a collection of fictional accounts which chronicle this "Devil's" work to remove any and all religious influence from the business of governing the world. Also notable is the online comic, in which the partially autobiographical character operates as a pimp and gang leader by day, while becoming something of a pagan superhero by night. The most recent release details his fight against "The Eye of All", a shadow government council which works in secret to resume the Salem Witch Trials.
As ridiculous as these tales may appear on the surface, they've done quite the job of winning hearts and minds to his overall strategy, especially within the states. It's become something of a badge of honor among America's young social elite to have brushed shoulders with this invisible everyman, who seems to alternately bless and damn every single one of them he touches. Most controversial of these accounts hint at his uncredited work as an acting coach to Keith Edger, who died under suspicious circumstances while appearing as the villain in his last film. Edger was posthumously awarded an Oscar for his part.
Ulrich has not been known to directly commit any crime, aside from an infamous 2004 knife fight outside of a cafe in Los Angeles. He was cleared on grounds of self-defense; his alleged attacker was found dead of an overdose less than a year later. Writings attributable to him imply a deep dislike of firearms, and in light of his less than optimal physical conditioning and lack of combat expertise, he is not considered a serious physical threat to any MI6 agent who may attempt to approach him.
I don't always care about the morality of my decisions but it is nice to see them reflected in certain games.
Take New Vegas, for example. I didn't find myself helping the NCR promote democracy because it was "the right thing to do". I did it because I liked democracy just as much as they did. Helping an alpha male warlord like Caesar take over didn't line up with my preferences. Plus Howard Hughes (or whatever his name was, I forget) had all those cool robots. Of course they wound up under the control of Yes Man soon thereafter but...anyway.
I think you see my point. Morality doesn't necessarily have to be a factor in the decision making process. As a matter of fact, it would be completely fair to say that some of us do shit almost purely for the lulz.
To be completely honest, I have to admit that my way of thinking isn't necessarily dependent on traditional concepts of good and/or evil. Sometimes I like to maim bad guys simply because fuck bad guys, that's why. On the other hand, becoming the bad guy is...well, it's just kind of boring, really. Why go after civilians, for example? There's no sport in it. They can't fight back and it's not like you get points for them. Taking over the world? Ha! Why would any sane man want to be cursed with such a responsibility? The surest way to make yourself a slave to everyone, is to let them think of you as their master. After that they'll blame you for every shortcoming their lives may have, be they real or imagined.
I guess what I'm trying to say is, the more I think about it, the more I realize that I simply enjoy playing the good guy. Not out of a sense of responsiblity or honor, but because it's more fun that way. Plus I'm less than forty-eight hours away from opening up Arkham City and I'm thinking, would it really add anything to the experience to be able to play Batman as "evil"? What would he do then, carjack people? HA! He can basically fly already. So why bother? And who's to say that he's not evil already? Doesn't he operate from mostly selfish motivations to begin with?
Think about it. Let's say you're Tommy Vercetti, and you've already won what you wanted from Vice City. The nicest cars, the biggest mansion, any woman you meet. What then? Would you just sit back and wallow in the decadence of it all? You'd eventually get bored, you know...then one night, you might find yourself thinking.
About how you miss the challenge of the good old days, when you had to fight to survive on the street. Next thing you know, you're out there in highly modified body armor beating the raw shit out of dangerous criminals simply because you can. Just for the thrill of it all, the "lulz" as they say.
And really...that's not such a bad thing, now is it.
Last night I collected a few things I had become bored with and traded them in towards this. I also...um, borrowed a digital file of the film from some friendly internet stranger as well. Wound up getting the movie and the game for less than a pack of cigarettes. Awesome!
Before watching the film, I played through an hour or two of the game and enjoyed it immensely. As the official Destructoid review points out, it borrows heavily from Arkham Asylum. It has Zemo's diaries instead of patient files, similar challenge modes, fighting mechanics, etc. This could be taken as a criticism; however, I see it as a good thing. Not only does it take what worked from AA, it manages to improve on its design in a few key areas.
First of all, the boss battles are quite a bit more fun. The "fight lots of little guys...oh look here's a big guy" formula that Batman has to deal with becomes genuinely boring, especially after several playthroughs. I've often found myself wishing that he could fight boss battles that challenge him on some other level than pure strength. Cap's game design evolves its influence nicely by matching him against enemies that challenge him with skills and techniques all their own. His battles against classic villains such as Baron Von Strucker and Madame Hydra are played out with special moves and close-up camera angles that add a sense of uniqueness to each fight.
For example, using Cap's Weaponize ability against Madame Hydra causes him to lock her arms behind his and spin her around, making her shoot her own henchmen. The contextual attacks make every encounter an experience of its own, which is a lot more fun than having to fight the same giant guy every time you turn a corner.
I also love how playing as Cap frequently provides a visceral sense of having knocked someone right the hell out. Batman has that slow motion thing he does when striking down the last enemy of a group, but it pales in the shadow of Cap's "I just broke your whole damn face" power strikes. You can use these at any time, provided you have the meter charged, and when you do it's like seeing someone get hit by a red white and blue truck. He gets the slo-mo effect from AA, along with damage effects such as seeing parts of the other guy's mask and helmet go flying across the room. It's also really loud and sounds like a car wreck. Good, good stuff.
Also noteworthy is his shield throwing. Good Guy Steve has a variety of ways to put this thing upside yo' head. There's the usual aim and throw of course, but the move that made me giggle like a child first time I saw it was the focus aiming. Remember how you could line up your shots in Red Dead Redemption? You could tag a number of targets, then press fire to hit them all at once? Cap's version is much more impressive. He does basically the same thing, only the camera follows the shield in flight as it bounces from skull to skull to skull. SQUEE!
Plus you can throw the thing without even aiming it and it'll ricochet off half the guys in the room anyway. This is a hell of a lot of fun in the timed challenge areas, because once you've upgraded it you can take out a dozen enemies in like, ten seconds. Just chuck the shield at the rank and file generic enemies and by the time you've crippled the most dangerous enemy present, everyone else will be down. Just like the comics!
To sum up - Nick Chester gave this a 6.5, but I bump it up two full points for face-smashing patriotic glory; also, because this is my blog and I can do that! Feel free to call me unprofessional if you want but I'll probably just laugh at you because I don't even work here.
Also, a few brief thoughts on the film. Chris Evans nailed it. Dude, I haven't been that moved by a guy playing a superhero since Christopher Reeve. Hugo Weaving was gloriously inhuman as the Red Skull, and I like how they adapted Bucky's role because it would've been weird to see Cap fighting Nazis alongside a preadolescent boy. Most of all, I'm really glad they changed the costume. I never realized how wrong the original would look on film until I unlocked this after finishing the game:
inb4 lol sir your cell phone camera sucks
That might have worked for the celebrity sequence where he's throwing fake punches at an actor playing Hitler, but as far as the "for real" version? Er...hell no. It's pretty cool for an unlockable though.