Monthly Archives: April 2013

VaderFan at the Movies – Oblivion

Oblivion-Movie-Poster-Tom-Cruise

I’ll tell you right now, this movie is hard to talk about without spoiling anything at all. I’m going to try my best to talk about it, but I’m not going to promise that it will be spoiler free. This movie is another great example of a pure sci-fi film. It’s smart, beautifully shot, and tends to be vague in so many ways, that it makes the audience think. If you’re a sci-fi enthusiast and plan to watch the movie, then stop reading and go watch it. It’s really that good. This is your last warning before I ruin anything for you.

The movie stars Tom Cruise as Jack, not Reacher, who is a drone repairman in a post-apocalyptic ruined Earth. He is accompanied by Victoria, played by Andrea Riseborough, who is his communications officer/lover. The movie starts off with Jack narrating the background of the world, which is that a bunch of aliens invaded Earth, we used nukes to wipe them out, thus destroying the planet, and moving all of humanity to Titan, one of Saturn’s moons. Jack has to repair these drones that are being destroyed by the alien remnants, since they defend these giant rigs that suck up the Earth’s water supply, and at the same time, fight the alien remnants, called Scavs. Soon, Jack finds a crashed pod that relates to a Scav beacon, where he discovers some humans, and the drones start killing them. He manages to rescue one human Julia, played by Olga Kurylenko, who seems to be in Jack’s dreams. He is then captured by the Scavs, where the Morpheus character Beech, played by the enigmatic Morgan Freeman, reveals to be the leader of these remnants, and told Jack that nothing is what it seems. From there, plot twists are revealed, and cool action scenes ensue.

I felt like the twist was a bit too predictable, since I had a feeling it was something like that just by watching the trailers. However, the journey up to it is what made it enjoyable. Jack has some sort of relation to Julia, and he tries to fight against everything he knows to find out what that connection really is. The movie also hints that there is something wrong with the situation, since the headquarters called the Tet floats around in space like some sort of emotionless angel, watching over the Earth. Then the drones give off a very scary monster aura, which made me question if man really made these machines or not. Then we get the subtle appearances of the Scavs, where they first look like robotic dogs, then turned into a Tusken Raider and Predator infusion. However, the Scavs look a lot less scary than the drones. The film messes with the audience mind by telling us that the drones are good, but the way they are shot along with the sound effects tells us something different. In a way, it asks us what you should really believe: what people tell you, or what you really see and feel. We also get the theme of the film from Stanza XXVII of “Horatius” from “Lay of Rome”, which is “To every man upon this earth, Death cometh soon or late. And how can man die better, Than facing fearful odds, For the ashes of his fathers, And the temples of his gods.” This is the theme of the whole film, which came in full circle at the end in such a genius and brilliant way, it puts a tear into my eye.

The best way to describe the way the film is shot is beauty. Despite how ruined the Earth is, with every monument that showcase the civilization of humanity ruined and buried, there is a sense of beauty built into it. It’s like a painting that one can stare at, and appreciate the beauty and wonder of the planet. In many ways, it’s like the aliens became the second god of the earth, recreating it in a way that is similar to the beauty of nature. Another deep symbol built into the movie. The action sequences are also cool to watch, since they’re not really super fast paced or confusing. It shows everything that is going on, and it starts off slow, and eventually builds up to giant explosions. We even get a mini-video game sequence on the ship Jack pilots. Jack also runs a lot, which seems to be in Tom Cruise’s contract, since every movie that guy has been in involves him running.

The acting is a bit subpar, since each actor didn’t go all the way with it. Tom Cruise did a good job in having the audience relate to him a bit, but some of the emotional seem to fall short with him. Andrea Riseborough does a good job in making me hate her since her character is a stickler for rules, but one scene of her crying is a bit laughable. Morgan Freeman is Morgan Freeman, not much to argue there. Then there’s Olga Kurylenko, whose only job is to look worry and be a dramatic push to the main plot. Oh yeah, Jamie Lanaster made a short appearance as a sniper expert/scruffy-looking-man-who-hates-the-main-character guy. He even gets a cheesy 80’s action movie moment near the end, which is always something I love to see.

I have to give a lot of credit to the director, Joseph Kosinski. Not only did he co-write this movie, he also wrote the graphic novel the movie is based off of. He knew how this movie was going to be like before it even started, and he really pulls it off. The beautiful artful sceneries, the great stories, and a great direction really made this movie a pure sci-fi film. If you’re still not convinced in watching this movie, it pays great homage to many sci-fi films in the past such as Moon, Planet of the Apes, 2001: A Space Odyssey, and some of Phillip K. Dick’s stories.

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1K Crew Episode 61: Be Jewish or Be Angry

1K Crew Episode 61: Be Jewish or Be Angry

In this cast, we learn a few things about life.

Topics:

Soccer

Injustice

King Of Fighters XIII

Deadpool

Star Wars

Perspective

Slender: The Arrival

Samifish

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The Underwater Indie-cade: Risk of Rain

The Underwater Indie-cade: Risk of Rain  

I was stumbling along Kickstarter looking at games when I should be picking up games like FTL or The Bridge to play and I saw a nice little picture of a game called Risk of Rain, which had JUST started its funding campaign. Curious, I jumped in and looked at what they had to offer. “An action platformer, huh? Haven’t played one of those in quite a bit…”. I was attracted by the 8-bit cover art, the interesting title, and one of the pictures on the Kickstarter campaign webpage that had about 700 enemies or bosses or whatever. Being the gaming masochist that I am, I assumed this game to be challenging. Next thing that caught my attention– free demo. “Why not? Can’t hurt, right?”

When I started up the demo, I instantly went into controls, as I normally do with any game. To see controller support on a demo of a game that just started its Kickstarter was a good sign. It definitely brought the impression that these guys really want this game to be as accessible and fun as possible. I don’t necessarily like using the arrows on the keyboard, as I’ve gotten so used to the WASD controls from all the Counter Strike: Source and Team Fortress 2 that I’ve played that any alternative sounded barbaric to me. I hooked up my Xbox controller and started mapping. It took a bit of fussing, but I think I found the best solution. If you would like my layout or if you are having problem finding a suitable layout yourself, just leave a comment or tweet me and I’ll find a way to distribute it, as I do believe I found the best solution for an Xbox-style controller. The reason I bring up the controls first is because I instantly felt the tightness of the controls in this game. I almost couldn’t believe that this was a demo build. The game does exactly what you want and is very easy to get use to, as this is a different-ish feeling game. With four abilities and a jump, there wasn’t much to learn or keep track of, and that helped getting into the fun.

Taken a few steps back, when you hit the start game button, there is a choice of two different playing characters for the demo and three difficulties to play with. There is a nice little summary of the character’s four abilities, as each character has different moves to have different play styles. There is also a hint on how to play each character, giving you a baseline if you have no clue on what to do. Honestly, I have only played the first of the two, commando, because I wanted to get a strong feel for the game and learn how to play the game before I started the other character. Understanding how the commando played, I assume that the same will go for the miner — you need to develop a play style for the character in order to progress. I rather enjoyed this with the commando, as it can be seen that the character can be played a few different ways.  The best part is that the character select screen has about eight empty seats, which hopefully hints at the ability to play this game a substantial amount of ways.

Enough dawdling, on to the gameplay! The game gives each character four different abilities that all have different effects on the enemy. One of the abilities is a basic attack, basically your go-to move which has no cooldown. Other moves, like the Full Metal Jacket or Suppressive Fire have different properties but require a cooldown and therefore should be used sparingly or in certain situations. To top it off, there is a dodge move that will help you get out of bad situations or help you in the platforming aspect. The idea of the game– find the teleporter. Simple enough, right? However, the levels that are produced are a fair size, both vertically and horizontally. Enemies are randomly spawned throughout the level in a certain radius from where you are, ensuring there are always baddies for you to fight. The mass array for mobs is also surprising, another thing that really made this game feel complete. Everything from fat, strong hitting mobs to quick, nimble mobs are included in the game, along with mobs that are a different tier level than most of the others that increase the difficulty of the game instantly. The difference of mobs is very enjoyable, which is a great addition to the uniqueness they deliver. Also added to the list of baddies is the main level boss, which is randomly selected when the teleporter is triggered for use. Unfortunately, after the teleporter is activated, you have about ninety seconds of a mass amount of mobs of all different levels spawning around you and making your life hell as you wait for the teleporter to power up. Thankfully, once the ninety seconds is over, the spawning stops, and you must commence exterminating the stage of mobs, including the boss mob. You will spend a great amount of time trying to deal with getting rid of the mobs, but the boss will just make your life hell. Amazing fun for a game masochist such as myself.

Where the game really elevates its gameplay is the power-ups. No 8-bit action game is getting away without power-ups, and Risk of Rain have a ton of them. I have played this game for about a total of six hours now and I am fairly certain that I haven’t seen all of them. Simple power-ups such as a speed boost or increased health regeneration to crazy ideas such as making attacks explode or lighting the ground on fire as you walk by exist in the game and with fair balancing on the game, it makes the game centered around acquiring these power-ups in order to compete with the increasing strength of the mobs. This is done by either leveling up, which gives you a boost in max health and increased damage, or currency, which is acquired through killing mobs. Both currency and experience are dropped through killing mobs or opening canisters, which are randomly spawned in when the level is loaded. The money is spent on opening chests or interacting with relics(or what I assume to be relics) to acquire power-ups. These are also randomly spawned on the level template, making sure that looking for these chests are a priority in order to survive. This also adds a variance of different play styles, as the only goal given to use is to find the teleporter. Whether you decide to power up first or find the teleporter first is up to you, but both come with benefits  or consequences.  Why is this important? Because mobs get stronger as the time progresses. Even when you get to the next level, which include different mobs from the previous, they keep that same strength, making your play style also a race against the clock. Also, the beginning level is randomized, which is another way to keep you on edge.  There are other things that also add to the gameplay, such as reusable items, but I don’t believe they have been fully explored in the current build I am playing.

A small article, I wrote this thing for a few reason, with the first being to get my writing juices going. The second reason is to attract attention to this title. I do believe that this game is worth being made, and I would love if the indie community would get behind it as well. Personally, I backed this game enough to get into the closed beta after the Kickstarter is finished I am interested on where this game is headed.  I was a massive fan of Minecraft because of Mojang allowing people in on the early builds of the game to watch the game being built from the ground up. It made me feel like I directly contributed with the game, and it was an interesting experience even if it really didn’t. Nonetheless,  I would pay for an opportunity of similar proportions, and I look forward to doing the same with this game. Lastly, as a massive fan of independent games because of the unique design and strong ideas, I feel like it is my duty to be a part of the community in some sort of way, whether it be a direct line to the people on which games to check out or to merely extend my thoughts on the game and to share it with the internet or people looking for fantastic indie games like myself.

Currently, Risk of Rain is doing their Kickstarter campaign now. On the Kickstarter, I suggest reading the summary of the game, watching the video, and downloading and playing the FREE DEMO that the Hopoo guys have provided.  Make a decision on the game, and tell a friend or colleague to do the same if you enjoyed the game. If you don’t have the means to back it, the word of mouth go farther than you would expect and it doesn’t cost a dime.

Link to Kickstarter “Here

To sum up in a few words, this is a fun, exciting game that seems to be complete, minus the few bugs. I cannot wait to see the final product.

Written By Samifish. Follow him on Twitter @1KSamifish

 

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1K Crew Episode 60: We’re Not Koshr Enough

1K Crew Episode 60: We’re Not Koshr Enough

In this cast, Samifish and Vaderfan learn that they’re not funny.

Topics:

Sports

Bioshock: Infinite

10000000

Risk of Rain

Zillian fraud

Batman: Arkham Origins

Transistor

Sony vs Microsoft

Skullgirls fundraiser

Capcom’s Balance Changes

Samifish

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1K Crew Episode 59: The Bioshock Infinite Spoiler Cast Part 2

1K Crew Episode 59: The Bioshock Infinite Spoiler Cast Part 2

In this cast, we have Koshr join us this time to round out most of the talk about Bioshock Infinite.

**SPOILER WARNING ** IF YOU PLAN ON PLAYING THIS GAME, DO NOT LISTEN TO THIS CAST! YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED!! **SPOILER WARNING **

Topics:

Bioshock Infinite

Samifish

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1K Crew Episode 58: The Bioshock Infinite Spoliler Cast

1K Crew Episode 58: The Bioshock Infinite Spoliler Cast

In this cast, a whole lotta spoilers.

**SPOILER WARNING ** IF YOU PLAN ON PLAYING THIS GAME, DO NOT LISTEN TO THIS CAST! YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED!! **SPOILER WARNING **

Topics:

Bioshock Infinite

Samifish

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VaderFan at the Movies – The Summer of Nerds Part II

It’s that time again, and it’s bigger than ever. Anyone who’s been keeping up with movies knows that nerd movies are taking over! I thought it was going to be a one time thing, since I wrote a blog last year about it, but after seeing some of the summer releases this year, it is going to be better than last year. A lot more movies that are based on some sort of comic, sci-fi series, or some old series that only nerds know are coming out this year, and here I am writing about it. So, here we are:

 

Evil Dead – The remake of the campy, cult classic comes in April. I know, it’s actually a spring month, but it’s something that every nerd will have to see. The trailers sell it as an actual hardcore horror movie, so it’ll miss some of the campiness the fans grew to love of the original, which might prevent from watching it, but it has some of the same elements such as the necronomicon, the girl in the attic, and the rape tree. Now, what I’m hoping for is that the trailer just wants to sell it as a horror flick to bring in a bigger audience, and it’ll still be a cheesy movie. Either way, it might still be a good horror flick.

 

Oblivion – The epic sci-fi, post-apocolyptic original starring Tom Cruise is also an April release, but by this time it’ll be so hot it’s summer. This film looks interesting, and I wonder where it goes. We got the cool effects in it, but then there’s the plot of “nothing seems what it seems, and you’ve been lied to”. Hopefully we get a crazy twist, and some hidden symbol built into it.

 

Iron Man 3 – Robert Downing Jr. returns as Tony Stark in another adventure, only this time the stakes are higher. Not really, it’s hard to beat a bunch of aliens invading New York, but this time, we finally get Iron Man’s comic book number one nemesis, The Mandarin played by Ben Kingsley. The trailers show how great Kingsley can play as a media terrorist that has a confident, cool persona, making him a great threat to the tech genius of Stark. Not only that, it seems we get a combination of story arcs of Armored Wars and Extremis from the comics, which are some of the best Iron Man stories. Then we get all the armors teased in the trailer, which includes the Silver Centurion, Hulkbuster, and Iron Patriot. The plot is definitely darker, with a ton of action, and I’m pretty sure it’ll please both comic fans and just plain moviegoers. It comes out in May, so it’ll be the official start of summer, and the start of Marvel’s Phase Two.

 

Star Trek: Into Darkness – The sequel to J.J. Abrams successful reboot of the series. I never liked Star Trek until I saw the last movie, and now I’m a fan. This movie will bring more of the relationship between Capt. Kirk and Spock, and some dramatic action that might result the end of the Earth. The trailers are pretty vague in what the whole movie is about, but Abrams never really made a bad movie. He’ll make this film better than the last, and at the end we’ll all be yelling KHAN!!!!!! Once again.

 

After Earth – M. Night Shyamalan returns as a director in this other sci-fi post-apocalyptic movie. He also has Will Smith starring with his son, Jaden. The movie seems to focus on the relationship between father and son, since Will Smith is a cold soldier, commanding his son who is a cadet, training to be a soldier. The trailer revealed the twist already that the planet they land in is Earth, and now they have to escape it. It looks cool in some ways, but Shyamalan has been losing his skills in the past few movies he made. I’m willing to give him the doubt by watching this movie, but what will make this movie awesome if Will Smith just yells, “Welcome to Earth!”

 

Man of Steel – Superman returns in a reboot helmed by Zack Snyder and Christopher Nolan. I’ve never been excited about a Superman movie until I saw the latest trailer. From what I can judge, the story is roughly based on the comic Superman: Earth One, which is written by one of my favorite writers, J. Michael Stracynski. The story is about Clark finding his place in Metropolis, going to places to use his skills until an alien invasion put him to wear the red and blue tights, and reveal himself to save Metropolis. This movie roughly follows the same plot, but it may be deeper since there was a scene in the trailer where Pa Kent told Clark that he shouldn’t have saved the bus, where Clark said, “Should I have just left them,” and Pa replied, “Maybe.” It’s a really dark moment between father and son, and it also sets the tone of the movie. This will be an excellent reboot, and if it does well, it might set up for a Justice League movie. I’m going to like the movie anyways, since I’m a sucker for Zack Snyder.

 

World War Z – The hit novel gets its movie adaptation with Brad Pitt as the lead role. The plot is about the start of the zombie infestation, the chaos that it ensues, and it’s up to Brad Pitt to find the cause of the outbreak to find the cure. The trailer shows a ton of action, with fast zombies leaping high above to capture its prey, and climbing on top of each other to reach a helicopter. From what I understand, the novel doesn’t really have much action in it, so maybe this is another way to sell the movie to a larger audience, but I doubt it. It may be fun to watch, but I’m pretty sure it’ll never be as good as the book.

 

Lone Ranger – The radio drama gets its movie adaptation this summer starring Armie Hammer and Johnny Depp. The Lone Ranger wears a mask, and is revived from the dead, giving it a combination of superhero and mystical elements, some stuff that nerds would be into. The movie looks fun, since Depp seems to provide his quirky comedy along with some great action sequences. It’ll probably play out like Pirates of the Caribbean since they’re both produced by Jerry Bruckheimer. I might be neutral about this movie, mainly because of Bruckheimer.

 

Pacific Rim – It’s been five years since Guillermo del Toro last directed a film (Hellboy II), but now he’s making a return that makes all nerds cream their pants. He’s doing the impossible and is making a giant mecha movie! It’s about giant robots fighting against giant monsters, an homage to the early mecha animes. Del Toro has yet made a bad movie, so there will be no upset in this one. I mean, giant robots, where can you go wrong?

 

Red 2 – The sequel to the last comic book movie with the entire original cast returning. I can’t say much about this film, other than it looks funny, but at the same time, uninteresting. The last movie wasn’t that bad, but it wasn’t in need of a sequel. I might forget about this movie when it actually comes out.

 

The Wolverine – Hugh Jackman is back as the legendary X-Man, only this time… It looks good. The last wolverine movie wasn’t that great with a stale plot, and not so awesome action sequences. However, this movie is taken right after the abysmal X-Men 3, where Logan travels the land of Japan, and is offered the chance to be mortal. The stakes will grow if he does take the offer, becoming a man, realizing he needs his healing powers, and fight a ton of ninjas on top of a bullet train. This movie brings much more excitement than the first one, and a much better plot. I think Fox will get this one right.

 

Kick-Ass 2 – The sequel to the hit comic book movie, and this time it’ll definitely kick ass. Get it? Because the movie is called… Forget it. If anyone like the first one, they won’t be disappointed with the second. We get Hit Girl’s cursing mouth, Kick Ass’ clumsy comedy, a new batch of heroes led by the man himself, Jim Carey, and much more comedic hero awesomeness. This is definitely a great way to end the summer of nerds.

 

So, there it is, a much bigger summer than last time. The ones I’m most excited about are Man of Steel and Pacific Rim. I would put in Iron Man 3, but I already know that movie is going to be good. We have a reboot, which might set the precedence for all DC movies, and an original that hasn’t been done before. I could go more in depth about these films, but my fingers are getting tired from all the typing. This summer is big, but maybe the next one will be bigger. It’s finally happening my fellow nerds, we are taking over, and in a good way.

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