rainfall: (wink ;; never make that face again)
So, Marvel's Agents of SHIELD premiered this week, and... damn, it sure hit the spot. In just one episode, we felt the true power of the Marvel Cinematic Universe: there were references to Thor, references to The Incredible Hulk, so many references to The Avengers, and -- perhaps most satisfying of all -- references to Iron Man 3.

CAUTION: Falling opinions. )
rainfall: Light refracts through glasses on the grass. (rose colored glasses)
Reminded by this post on my dash the other day, I checked on Netflix and Grave Encounters and Grave Encounters 2 are both still available to stream. Awesome.

If you've got a Netflix account and you're a fan of found footage horror -- or at least open to seeing one done right -- then you should definitely check these out. What have you got to lose?!

There are some caveats. I'll try to avoid spoilers for the first part of this post, so feel free to read on down. I'll tell you when to stop!

Read more... )
rainfall: A pair of hands holding an ornate teacup. The red fingernails and green shirt match the teacup's design. (teacups)
Final Fantasy XIII-2 is a horrible game. You can read my dubious liveblogging of it here, at length. The truth is that this game does not deserve many words.

As someone who really enjoyed the combat in the first installment, I found it much less compelling this time around. From its first tutorial battle, the game puts you in paradigms that don't build the chain gauge very effectively, and that for me sets the tone for later in the game, when, without any power leveling I'm aware of, I suddenly found myself just killing all enemies very quickly, with the exception of a tiny handful of bosses I wasn't meant to be able to defeat yet and one Tonberry. (All of which killed me in one to two hits, so it's not like these harder battles were more fun; they were just impossible.)

The game didn't set me up to build the chain gauge because there is no longer any point to building the chain gauge. Things die before you get the chance.

I only changed out two monsters from my paradigm deck and I barely leveled them because I didn't buy any leveling items from Chocolina, just worked with what I found. I bought the most powerful weapons because I wasn't spending gil on anything else, and I leveled according to the advice of a walkthrough I found because the leveling system in this game is massively unintuitive and I didn't want to waste my CP.

That's it. I didn't use a Game Shark and I didn't really fiddle. I don't know how I broke the game so badly. But apparently I did, and as a result the combat sucked. Is it more effective in this game to use Tri-Disaster-->Relentless Assault or throw in some Synergists and Saboteurs? Oh, wait, everything is already dead, so there's literally no point to experimenting. You probably won't even have time to experiment on 99% of encounters, because everything will be dead before you've finished your second round of attacks, no matter what.

It was boring.

The story is gibberish, but it's also insulting gibberish. If I weren't so distracted by everything else being horrible, I could write a lengthy essay on all of the anti-feminism in this game, which is ridiculous considering its source material. How do you screw up that badly?

I really thought I was going to make it through the game anyway, but quite unexpectedly the game went from being groan-inducing and silly to being intolerably awful. If I strained myself, I could find kind things to say about the story, because there are one or two interesting ideas buried in this muck, but the execution is ridiculously bad. This is schlock.

I kind of want all the people in the Silent Hill fandom who can't stop complaining about everything to play this game, just to see what terrible looks like.


Seriously: Don't buy this game. Don't even rent it, because if you rent it it might fool you. It had us fooled for at least ten hours, thinking it was kind of charmingly awkward but still interesting. The beginning might even seem sort of like fun.

So just don't give it that chance.


I never say this. I never tell people not to buy games just because I didn't like them. But this game has no redeeming value and you will only be wasting your time and your money.



By the way? I know how the game ends. I spoiled myself after I knew I would never play another second of it. And the ending only makes everything a million times worse.
rainfall: A pair of hands holding an ornate teacup. The red fingernails and green shirt match the teacup's design. (teacups)
There was a review released in an Australian magazine yesterday that is apparently sending some fans into a tizzy. Let's reproduce the first portion of that review and dissect why I'm not worried.

Read more... )

Seriously, guys. This kind of tripe should not be all it takes to deflate our happy feelings. The community has been brimming with uneasy excitement over this title, so it's easy to see why some people would be breaking under the strain and overreacting. (The forum where this article was reproduced called it the "final nail" in the series' coffin.) But this review ain't nothin' to be worried about.

Promise.
rainfall: A girl stands in the midst of fallen leaves. You can't see her face. (Default)
I HAVEN'T SEEN IT BEFORE THIS MOMENT, so no spoilers please!

There will, however, be spoilers in the comments on this post. You are warned. 8D
rainfall: A chaotic pile of generic crayons. All the colors of a child's rainbow. (crayons)
Disclaimer: I am a fan of Sonic the Hedgehog as a whole. For the record, I also love Silent Hill as a whole. I'm... eclectic, okay? :(

Upfront Confessions

Sonic the Hedgehog 3 was my favorite 2D Sonic game. I enjoyed Sonic Adventure more than Sonic Adventure 2, I hated and never finished Sonic Heroes, and I haven't played a Sonic game since, because I've heard nothing but terrible things! Until Sonic Colors.

Sonic Colors: 9/10 )
rainfall: A girl stands in the midst of fallen leaves. You can't see her face. (Default)
Extremely pretty. Just, extremely, extremely pretty.

Quick confession: I've got a torrid history with Mickey Mouse games. I've played three, all sidescrolling platformers -- The Magical Quest, Starring Mickey Mouse (two-player competitive, with players taking turns with identical Mickeys in a Mario-and-Luigi fashion), Disney's Magical Quest (two-player cooperative with Minnie Mouse as the second player, in the version I played), and Mickey Mania: The Timeless Adventures of Mickey Mouse. I remember the second two games as being MUCH shorter than the first one, but I enjoyed all three, and that's what I've got under my belt to vaguely compare Mickey experiences.

We start out in Epic Mickey with the villain from The Mad Doctor, a fantastically-creepy Mickey Mouse cartoon that was also made into the second level of Mickey Mania. I was actually a little bit disappointed that it was in color because I thought I remembered the Mickey Mania level as being in black and white but uh yeah. I checked out a YouTube video and it turns out my memories of SEGA Genesis-era platformers are a lot kinder than they should be. SOME of Mickey Mania's levels were in black and white, but The Mad Doctor was not one of them, nor was it particularly creatively-handled.

So far, my favorite parts of the game are its "cut scene" story segments. They're -- kind of like watercolor...? plus collage...? Like you might expect of a children's storybook, almost. Kind of hard to describe. And all the characters have "voices", but these voices are limited to expressive noises. It's not Zelda-like noises, or Okami-like noises, just... noises.

Also: we found a projector and went into it and Mickey found himself in the "Mickey and the Beanstalk" cartoon, sort of. This level is 2D, unlike the Mad Doctor sequence, and it has cute projector film animated at the edges. I'm watching Kay bounce around on springy lamps and ride beds being lifted around by vines to get to higher areas. Looks like the platforming is a wee bit imprecise, but she's also new at the game. (She's reached another projector at the top of the area now that is taking her to "Slalom". Back in a 3D area again.) ...This is weird!

If that's all we see of Mickey and the Beanstalk, it was still kind of an interesting little visual excursion, and I was thinking, probably more faithful to the cartoon than the Mickey Mania version I barely remember. (See, I can be taught!)

One other item of weirdness for me at least is the Gremlins. I vaguuurely remember characters that look like them but I thought they were from, like. Bugs Bunny cartoons. (They also look like taller cousins to the alien that showed up in late seasons of the Flintstones.)

The paint mechanic is interesting; I'll admit I was hoping we'd be able to paint EVERYTHING and get a reaction, bu t that's never how videogames work. And the wiimote is always a little bit frustratingly imprecise. (I wonder if Wii motion plus would help -- we don't have it.) I kind of love the way you can either defeat enemies with the "Thinner" or befriend them with the "Paint". Both options require equal skill, but befriended enemies will defend you until they take enough damage. (It's a visually-interesting thing to watch, where the paint you sprayed on them comes off with each hit they take.) And, of course, you can also spin attack or bounce on them repeatedly to squash them that way.

...Cannot really get over the concept of Mickey Mouse having a "spin attack"...

Also, you can apparently use "guardian wisps" in combat too, and... idk. Requires more thinking on, later. We bought our copy but I'd say it's at least worth a rent. See what you think!
rainfall: A chaotic pile of generic crayons. All the colors of a child's rainbow. (crayons)
Finally posting this, zomg. I beat this game like two months ago and this has been sitting on my harddrive ever since. Since I'm picking up my dreamwidth journals and dusting them off, I thought I'd go ahead post it.)


Yes, I know it's not technically called that, not having received a States-side release. The name is Zero~Mask of the Lunar Eclipse~. (And not Project Zero. That is the development team and for some reason the European name! In Japan, it's just Zero. ...Anyway.)

--As an aside, they also don't have numbers in Japan. It's not Zero, Zero 2: Crimson Butterfly, etc. Just Zero, Zero~Crimson Butterfly~, Zero~Call of the Tattoo~...

BUT ABOUT THE GAME. Thoughts to follow.

I tried to avoid spoilers, but I do refer to the final boss by name, and make a couple of very vague references to past Fatal Frame games; read at your own risk, this is a comprehensive review! )
rainfall: The words "Do I dare disturb the universe" written with a fingertip on a foggy windowpane. (dare disturb?)
A warning: This post is about "Epitaph One", the largely-unaired final episode, not "Omega", the one that was last broadcast in most areas.

A second warning: If you're like me, reading this post might dampen you're enthusiasm for the series.

Read more... )
rainfall: A girl stands in the midst of fallen leaves. You can't see her face. ([aizen+gin] caramel dansen - dooork)
SILENT HILL: HOMECOMING
a recommendation

I really, really enjoyed this game. I was thrilled to play it, and, with the exception of some brutally difficult pieces sprinkled throughout, I continued to be thrilled by it until the credits rolled. I have noticed that many of the people reviewing the game do not seem to agree with this estimation, but, while some of their criticisms are not totally without merit, the vast majority of them are -- I would venture to say -- unfair.

In this review, I would like to repudiate those criticisms.

WARNING: I've tried my best to avoid it with HOMECOMING, but there are several spoilers for previous SILENT HILL games sprinkled throughout, especially SILENT HILL 2.

A response to other reviews -- most specifically, the one on Zero Punctuation. )

I think that about covers it. ♥

Basically: Play the game. But if you really have complaints -- if you seriously think this is anything but a step forward from past efforts, or that the series producers did anything but serve up a slightly flawed* masterpiece with a lot of potential for future SILENT HILLs -- then I don't think you've been paying attention to the series. End of story.

*There's an enormous amount of detail and thought put into things up until about three fourths of the way through the game, at which point you pretty much stop getting non-combat Quick Time Events and other little details similarly fall off, but it's an amazing game for first-time developers.
rainfall: A girl stands in the midst of fallen leaves. You can't see her face. ([chad] he believes in me)
No, that's not a judgment call -- that's the name: World's Best Cat Litter. But I agree wholeheartedly. Buy it! Buy it now!

Only cat lovers need apply. Unless you want the details about kitty bathroom habits, I guess. )
rainfall: A girl stands in the midst of fallen leaves. You can't see her face. ([gin] trick (v.))
A movie like this, you think, it can't be as good as everyone's saying.

It was.

SO MANY SPOILERZ )

Ending thought: Purrpurrpurrpurr.

I am one happy little Batman fangirl.
rainfall: A girl stands in the midst of fallen leaves. You can't see her face. ([sora] reckless abandon)
Corpse Bride

This movie is very quiet and understated, and I feel like an awful person confessing this, but the first time I watched it it was with someone else underwhelmed by the movie, and I think his reaction was catching.

I was expecting The Nightmare Before Christmas REDUX or something, I think, and this movie isn't it -- the musical numbers, and indeed most of the rest of it, is much more subdued. And without that raucous energy, I just... stopped really watching.

I rented it only on [livejournal.com profile] kay_willow's urging, because she'd never seen it, and part of me wanted to see the ending, which I'd totally missed.

Anyway, enough confessing my dark sins (seriously, not having loved this movie feels like one): So. awesome.

Corpse Bride > Enchanted. It is fact. )

This is so awesome. I can't even express it really. Main Guy did not get Main Girl. Hollywood so very, very rarely does that. (And it would have been so easy to make Victor's new suitor somehow perfect for her and tie her off that way.) They touched and changed each other, he helped her and she helped him (before her, I don't think he would've been able to articulate his feelings for Victoria), but they didn't end up in bed together.

Omg, seriously.

*sniffle*

Dec. 20th, 2007 08:47 pm
rainfall: A girl stands in the midst of fallen leaves. You can't see her face. ([gin] crooked smile)
Go on, little boy. Touch NiGHTS. You know you want to.

More seriously, why did they have to give him a voice? (If you had to do it, it's kind of an appropriate voice -- androgynously pitched, vaguely exotic accent [Britishish, I think]. But you really didn't have to do it. Everyone else could have done the talking while NiGHTS stayed blissfully silent.)

Also, Owl. Owl is not... I don't know. We're definitely getting more of a definite "plot" here (in much the way that the Sonic Adventure games had more plot than the original Sonic games), which is interesting, but also a little disorienting. Owl doesn't look like a typical Nightopian to me. Strangely enough, he just doesn't look fantastical enough.

(It doesn't help that "wise owl character" is such a cliche. I didn't even like it Ocarina of Time, and at least there it seemed less out of place.)
rainfall: A girl stands in the midst of fallen leaves. You can't see her face. (Default)
The most recent Dr. Pepper spots on TV have been claiming that drinking a Dr. Pepper is somehow the same as jamming a straw into a piece of chocolate cake and sucking it down. (I'm pretty sure this isn't meant to make me nauseous, but I'm just not as big a fan of sweet things as their target audience.)

The idea behind this commercial appears to be that people actually drink diet soda as part of a real diet, and not because they're diabetic. I mean, soda doesn't really have that many calories in it; if you're overweight, you're probably overweight because of all that other food you eat, or the way you never exercise. Diet Dr. Pepper is not going to solve your problem, and it's frankly cruel of them to advertise saying otherwise.

There's also something a little bit insidious about the food they show people eating when they're "really" drinking Dr. Pepper. Like the guy chugging a glass full of jelly beans. Any dieter really looking at jelly beans and thinking "Oh, how I miss eating you by the pint" is -- face it, there are no dieters doing that. It takes a serious weight issue in this country (in my opinion, more caused by unhealthy meals than unhealthy desserts) and really trivializes it.

I'm probably overthinking things here, only seconds away from pronouncing Diet Dr. Pepper the ringleader in a secret cabal of Bad American Eating Habits -- but something about these commercials just bothers me.
rainfall: A girl stands in the midst of fallen leaves. You can't see her face. (Default)
Just a quick note, while I'm watching things from years ago. What is it with the names they give the kids in these episodes? It seems like there's always one normal name, and one gimp name.

Examples:

Danny, and "Buzz"
Amanda, and "Bethy"
Josh, and "Ouija" (like the board game, pronounced "Wiji")
Kevin, and "Dougie"

Admittedly, though, "Ouija" takes the cake. Who names their kid Ouija?
rainfall: A girl stands in the midst of fallen leaves. You can't see her face. (Default)
(Warning: Very long. I wasted 6000 words on this show.)

The ready availability of TV episodes to download means it's easy to get caught up on just about any show you had a passing interest in seeing five years ago. For me, "Enterprise" is one such show.

Let me begin by asking how in the world this show has lasted four years when "Firefly" was canceled midway through its first season. The dialogue is leaden, bad even for a "Star Trek," and the appearance of the Vulcans -- which bear a distinct resemblance to "classic" Vulcans from the original show (where a bowl haircut and pointy ears meant you were from another planet) -- only served to remind me how similar they are to Romulans. As in, I had to stop and wonder which theoretically-distinct species I was looking at.

The first three minutes of dialogue, literally:

Small Boy: *hint of drama* "Where no man has gone before..."
Father: Dr. Cocrin would be proud of you.
Small Boy: I know the whole speech by heart. When's it gonna be ready to fly?
Father: Let the paint dry first.
Small Boy: No, I mean your ship.
Father: Not for a while. It's not even built yet. You know that.
Small Boy: How big will it be?
Father: Pretty big.
Small Boy: Bigger than Ambassador Pointy's ship?
Father: His name is Suval, and he's been very helpful, and I told you not to call him that, Johnathan.
Small Boy ("Johnathan"): Well, Billy Cook says we'd be flying at Warp Five by now if the Vulcans hadn't kept things from us.
Father: Well, they have their reasons. *shakes head* God knows what they are...

Who talks like this?

And it only gets worse. )

Yeah. I think I'll go back to watching "Deep Space Nine" now. I'm sure "Enterprise" gets better, but I'm equally sure I don't have the patience to find out.

[Edit: Apparently, "Enterprise" does not get any better. That's what I get for giving the benefit of a doubt.]
rainfall: A girl stands in the midst of fallen leaves. You can't see her face. ([axel] traitor)
We appreciate you not being Axe(l) Body Spray and trying to convince us that women will come in smothering herds to rub off on the body of whatever unkempt slob just happened to locate "body spray" when he stumbled past the shower he's never used in his life. Really, we love you for that.

But you're using up that love, and rapidly. It's only mildly less offensive to claim that your one poor supermodel will sleep with every single man who buys your product.

Additionally: Having her mouth "just be yourself" and "don't overwhelm me [with your body spray]" does very little to disguise the fact that the real words coming out of her mouth are "You want to have sex with me, don't you? You want to kiss me and touch me and unclasp my push-up bra, right? Allllll you have to do is buy a case or three of our product."

It's like Girl Scout Cookies: the Unrated Version. And on that level, it's really kind of disturbing.
rainfall: A girl stands in the midst of fallen leaves. You can't see her face. (Default)
This ad keeps telling me that there are "some scenes [in every movie] that can't be previewed" and that "this movie has them all."

Then it shows Rose McGowan with an amputated leg, having an automatic rifle of some sort shoved into the stump and limping along on it.

I know the idea is to make me wonder what scenes would be "un-preview-able" if it can show an amputee with a prosthetic AK-47, but I'm not especially impressed. I don't want to see those scenes. The only thing going through my mind right now, in fact, seems to be "Boy, Rose McGowan sure knows how to pick roles that take advantage of her mysteriously-limited capacity for facial expressions." Who the hell cares if you can act when you're firing a stream of bullets from your stump?

In order to review this preview properly, I actually had to check IMDB to get the name of the movie. The only memorable thing about the ad was how much it didn't make me want go head for the theater.

P.S.
Possessing ovaries, I realize I'm not the target audience of a movie with this many explosions in five seconds of footage. In this case, however, I think Hollywood might be confusing "ovaries" with "brains."
rainfall: A girl stands in the midst of fallen leaves. You can't see her face. ([axel] never forget you)
Are you watching Heroes? You should be.

Because you don't want this spoiled. Seriously. )

Sadly, "Heroes" is also one of those shows you really have to watch from the beginning to watch at all, but no fear -- NBC has all the episodes to date up on their website to stream. If you've got broadband, you're all set.

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