The Scrap Yard · Video Games

Sekiro, and Why From Software Should Eliminate Difficulty In Its Games

There’s been a lot of discussion online lately about how polarizing Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice’s difficulty is.

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Certified game journalists and industry experts have taken up one side of the topic, arguing that From Software should include an easier difficulty option so that they, average consumers, and disabled gamers can enjoy Sekiro to its fullest.

On the other side of the fence is From Software’s diehard fanbase, who feels that by offering an easy mode, From would be allowing players to experience an inferior version of the game that is plagued by ludonarrative dissonance, as it would no longer convey the game’s thematic emphasis on hardship and defeat.
Continue reading “Sekiro, and Why From Software Should Eliminate Difficulty In Its Games”

Movies/TV

Spider-Man: Far From Home Review: A Perfect Parody of a Marvel Film

 

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Credit: Marvel Studios

Spider-Man: Far From Home is the greatest prank of director Jon Watts’ career. To hammer (far from) home what I’m trying to say, there’s a scene in this movie where Peter Parker strips for a Slav dressed in latex, and when he and Svetlana get caught by a fellow classmate who takes their picture, Peter orders an orbital drone strike on his peer via a pair of magical reading glasses.

I can’t make this shit up.

This movie, unlike the original Phase 1 MCU movies, doesn’t even try to pretend it exists in the real world. Far From Home resides solely in a universe comprised of jokes, slightly sloppy CGI (which the film actually gives a reason for, in another great meta-twist by Watts as he continues to mock Marvel flicks), cartoonish villains, teenage awkwardness, and all the other makings of a stellar Disney Channel Original Movie (TM). It’s a hoot. G-Force better move over because we have a new world-class international spy thriller from the house of the mouse.

It’s clear the days of Iron Man 1‘s subtle, nuanced semi-realism are far, far (from home) behind us, and this movie officially puts the nail in that coffin. While other MCU franchises like Ant-Man and Guardians of the Galaxy heavily hinted at Marvel’s long-term trajectory, this Spidey film locks it in for good–right in time for Phase 4, also known as the phase a lot of fans aren’t planning on seeing or investing in now that the Infinity Saga has wrapped. Fare thee well, Holland, the squeakiest spider-boy/full-time Stark acolyte we ever knew. And adieu, Feige; thanks for everything up to 2012.

Also, snapshot reviews of other recent movies!

John Wick: Chapter 3 — Parabellum — the effects are cheaper and lazier than the first two films (so many crappy Photoshop blood-splats), and the movie is way more of a plotless cartoon than previous installments (both of which I sort of liked). Booo. Also, stuntmen literally lie on the ground awkwardly squirming and waiting for Keanu Reeves to “kill” them, and it really sucks the tension out of a lot of the action.

Godzilla: King of the Monsters — the story is cleverly topical, feel-good, and though every single Goddamn character speaks exclusively in exposition and certain plot devices are beyond ridiculous (a young girl sneaks a giant boombox out of an inexplicably incompetently guarded terrorist base all by herself), the movie, on the whole, is fun. The camerawork and shot composition are drop-dead gorgeous, the majesty of the monsters is more or less maintained from Godzilla (2014), and the whole thing is a visual treat. Also, the sound design of the monsters is excellent.

Thanks for reading. Follow me on Twitter for more hot-off-the-press (or mildly warm-off-the-press) movie coverage.

Blog · Video Games

Team Sonic Racing Review/End of the Weekly Cycle

Well, I managed it for a few months, but at this point, it’s time for me to come to terms with the fact that the weekly posting schedule ain’t happening. Alas. Besides, there’s not enough worthwhile news for me to keep up a good output of parody articles like the Batwoman one. The world is simultaneously too cringe inducing and, yet, not cringe-inducing enough!

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As I cope with these shocking revelations, enjoy this fantastic review of Team Sonic Racing, which happens to closely align with my views on the game. Hell, the reviewer even mentioned the Babylon Rogues. Funny, I thought I was the only one who remembered them.

Anywho, thanks for reading, and I hope you’ll follow me on Twitter for more hot-off-the-press blogging and game coverage.

Blog

How Dare There Be Ads on My Free Blog

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Credit: Some crafty memester on the deep web

I recently became aware that WordPress has been displaying the most unsightly, disgusting ads imaginable on my site. I’m talking the “doctors hate this 1 quick trick” ads with pulsating, moving images of pimples; stuff of that variety. Viagra ads. Ads advertising other ads. You name it.

But as much as the raw imagery of these advertisements appalls me, I’m far more perturbed by the simple fact that they even exist. How dare WordPress have the gall, the unfettered gall, to display promotional content on my site. My site, which is entirely possible due to their free service. My site, which owes its layout and web hosting status thanks to WordPress’ generosity. My site, which would not exist without their multitudinous free offerings.

In short, I’m sorry, non-Wordpress readers, for your having to suffer through some nasty ads. And as for you, WordPress, I hate you. Thank you for your free service.

Movies/TV

Avengers: Endgame Review

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MASSIVE SPOILERS AHEAD:

This review’s definitely not a day late, because I’m setting it to have been posted yesterday. And just like the movie, I don’t care if that’s cheating, because the entire film is made up of time travel tomfoolery like that.

Here’s the scoop: Endgame is just three hours of fun and genuine excitement, and definitely feels like an “event” more than any other movie before it. However, that’s all it is. An event. A trip to the carnival. Heart-stoppingly intense? Yes. Much less of a shitty comedy and more of a proper drama than previous Marvel flicks? Thank God, it is. A fitting conclusion to the MCU as we know it? Give (Captain Marvel) or take, sure.

Minus one cringe-inducing girl-power scene where a crying, weak little Spider-Man hands a plot McGuffin over to the hyper-masculine, stoic, and emotionless Carl Manvers, followed by a funny group shot of the women banding together to accomplish nothing for a hot sec while the guys kick back and let their female counterparts feel good about themselves, the movie was pretty good when it wasn’t defining heroes’ worth by their genitals.

But you already know all of this. You’ve read the reviews. “Fan-service” this and “I love you 3000” that. All the normie takes have already been made. So here’s my brilliant, totally original take: The Russo Bros. are lackluster directors. It’s been this way forever, they just happened to fool me with Winter Soldier. Their scene direction (and its accompanying editing style) is choppy and custom-built for Instagram posts, and I can smell their television roots in every scene.

Their style lacks grandiose. This sad phenomenon is especially visible during action scenes, when the Russo Bros. fail to capitalize on the epic nature of the heroes they’re in charge of.

Take, for example, a bad-ass moment when Pepper Potts teams up with her husband to kill some aliens. Both of them are in Iron Man suits and it looks awesome. Her armor is flared out like a purple phoenix, and Tony’s is doing that badass unibeam attack that deserved to crop up way more often in the MCU. The camera circles around them super-duper fast, showing them doing these epic maneuvers back to back with each other. It’s great. The pacing is electric, the choreography is fluid, everything about that shot is fantastic–except for the fact that it’s over in three seconds (the link to the clip will probably get taken down by YT, but I’m being literal when I say three damn seconds).

That kind of moment deserves, hell, at least ten seconds, just so the audience can process it, digest it, and then revel in it. The issue is, Team Russo (TM) only cares that audiences process it, then they move right along without giving anyone the time to savor it. It feels lazy, like they didn’t want to properly manufacture tension and think out genuine ways to extend the choreography to reach peak potential, so they cut away the second they’ve done just barely enough to “satisfy” the masses.

Think back to the stunning action sequences in The Amazing Spider-Man 2 for a moment: every one of those featured a kinetic flow and sense of effortless endurance that puts each and every Endgame action scene to shame. Also think about other superhero films, like those directed by Christopher Nolan. Nolan never shirked away from challenges like the ones mentioned above, which is why his stellar Batman trilogy will be remembered long after this film and the majority of other MCU flicks.

That last line sums up my feelings on this movie: great, but not memorable. The Russo Bros. just aren’t in the business of making films that leave a lasting impression, beyond their utilization of superficial narrative parlor tricks like the ending of Infinity War. As another reviewer stated, this movie is clear-cut pro-forma storytelling. I’m inclined to agree.