I just finished watching Annihilation. I watched it with my parents and my 14 year-old sister. We have a pretty snazzy home theatre, so it was as close to watching it at the theatres as you could in Australia.
Paramount was right. Annihilation would’ve bombed at the box office, as it did in the few countries which it did release in theatres.
Do you know how I know? Better yet, I’ll let you decide based on a series of quotes from my family when the movie finished.
“What did you think of that. I’d say a solid 6 out of 10.” Dad
“I can’t stand Natalie Portman. She’s always looking at the camera in long drawn out stares. It dragged way too long.” Mum
“If you thought that was better than The Hunger Games you’re crazy.” Sister.
I managed to control my rage, although I might have said “You are all literally too dumb to understand that movie,” which I think was pretty restrained.
I’m a writer. I’ve studied film, tv and writing for 5+ years at uni. I love genre stuff. Anything and everything, but the amount of quality genre stuff is incredibly low (outside of the literature sphere).
To say I was disappointed wouldn’t be quite right because I wasn’t expecting anything better. Although my mum loved the new Blade Runner when we saw it at the movies.
What happened to Annihilation makes me sad the same way that Blade Runner 2049 flopping made me feel bad. But it’s not to suggest that intelligent genre pieces are dying. No, it is to acknowledge the remarkability of them even being made in the first place.
Take for example the original Blade Runner film. It is based on the novel Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep by Philip K Dick – which is possibly the greatest title for anything ever. I recently read a biography on Dick and to say the fact that Blade Runner ever existed was a bona-fide miracle.
The amount of times Dick tried to kill himself, got admitted to a mental hospital, or the sheer lifelong ignorance of mainstream critics of his work…you get my point.
Intelligent sci-fi is never going to be mainstream because your average person either never thinks or is completely apathetic towards abstract metaphysical ideas.
Take my sisters comment for example. Yes, she is young and will most likely get there eventually, but her main criticism seemed to be that “nothing really happened”.
Are you kidding me? The sheer number of abstract ideas which were presented in interesting and original ways…argh I’m not going to get started on why the film was good.
This is what you should learn from this. Appreciate and respect smart genre works when they happen…because they hardly ever do.
The fact that Paramount spent 55 million dollars on the film and let Alex Garland have ultimate creative control over the script should be lauded.
Ultimately the film would’ve been great to see in the theatres. I would’ve gone to see it. The problem is: no one else would’ve.
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So I haven’t written on here in awhile and I was just keeping it in the hopes that I had some sort of inspiration and just had to write something down. The reality is I’ve been really busy with work, uni and actual fiction writing (which is what this was originally meant to be practice for haha).
Having seen that for whatever reason, this page is still getting a slow trickle of page views, I thought I’d just do a quick dot summary – ie. what’s good Miley – of Media/Pop Culture recommendations.
Also I’ve been in Japan for the past month and it was fucking awesome. Although I probably wouldn’t recommend going in summer if you don’t handle heat well because it gets bloody hot. A couple of pro tips: Buy the JR pass before you get there because you will use the subway way more than you think. Don’t get stuck in Tokyo, make sure you leave plenty of time for the other places (especially Kyoto). Not many people speak English, Taxi’s are expensive, mainly cash economy and you can sleep on the street quite well as I found out one night (I think my wallet actually had more money in it after I woke up lol).
As far as Netflix goes, I’m looking forward to season 2 of Stranger Things and Riverdale. The two trailers for season 2 of Stranger Things look phenomenal so I hope it avoids the trap of just making another season because it was successful.
Season 2 of Master of None was phenomenal. I have a deep love for that show. I bought the Mondo vinyl of the season two soundtrack – so I popped two cherries in buying my first vinyl and Mondo product.
Steven Universe continues to be pure joy.
Logan, Dunkirk, Baby Driver all great movies.
The Wolf Among Us season 2 frick yes!!! Also Fables continues to be amazing.
Also on the comic front, I’ve been reading Tokyo Ghost which has some of the best cyberpunk art I’ve seen in a comic.
Titanfall 2 has had the best post-release content. All free, substantial, no shitty-microtransactions and that game is as fun as the first game should’ve been.
Looking forward to starting The Handmaid’s Tale. Don’t know much about it which is always good.
Finished all of the Witcher books. Gosh they’re just the best. Have started the Name of the Wind to fill that Fantasy hole in my life.
I can’t see the Dark Tower movie being good (having read all the books and seen the trailers).
I’ve enjoyed a tonne of other stuff as well but can’t think of it atm. It’ll probably occur to me later and I’ll get annoyed at myself.
I’ve been keeping up to date with Riverdale – which I am continuing to enjoy despite its ups and downs – and I haven’t really seen anything that would further suggest that they are going to go down the Afterlife route which is what I said in the original article. It didn’t get a lot of traction at the time, in hindsight it was probably a bad time to post the article on reddit considering it was right after the third episode aired in the US and I’d only just finished the second one. However, overnight, for whatever reason, the article blew up and it has had over 1000 views in the last two days alone. Buzzfeed even linked to it in an article which was pretty nice.
With that in mind I would just like to do a quick update going over some new developments in relation to either supporting or disproving the theory that Riverdale will eventually go the Afterlife with Archie zombies route. I wasn’t going to do one of these before any more really strong evidence was suggested either way but there have been a few notable advancements which I’d like to sum up.
Going into episode 5, I kind of stopped thinking about the whole zombies thing because nothing really seemed to happen to support it and then this gem of a troll happened at the very start of the flippin episode. You can imagine my reaction right? Considering this turned out to be Cheryl dreaming, I initially thought that this actually disproved the idea that it would go down the Afterlife route, because it’s really on the nose and kind of just seems like a nod to the comics. However this seemed to give a few other people the idea that Riverdale would do the whole zombies thing, and now they’ve gone back and maybe that’s why my original article, which was published three weeks ago, started to get some traction. Anyway, I wouldn’t really look too much into this other than the fact that the creators are obviously thinking about the whole zombies thing. The first thing you learn as an English/media/film student is that 99% of the time, nothing is put in by accident.
So let’s break down the new things we learned, with the main one being the fact that showrunner Roberto Aguirre Sacasa has stated that Sabrina (the teenage witch) is going to appear in the last episode of the 13 episode series. The Sweetwater river, which is the side where everything occurs with Jason, splits the two towns of Riverdale and Greendale where the Sabrina universe is. The creator has specifically said that Sabrina, a character who is almost wholly defined by being a witch, exists in this universe and will only be appearing in the last episode – talk about setting up the next season. Plus the whole symbolism of Jason traveling from the non-magical to the magical side and then returning.
In Afterlife, Jughead’s dog Hot Dog is hit and killed by a car. It is Sabrina who resurrects Hot Dog who becomes patient zero in the outbreak. Isn’t it also funny how Archie’s dog, (I think it’s Spot?), is specifically shown at his house yet Jughead’s more famous dog Hot Dog is very specifically shown as not existing in Riverdale. There is a quite touching scene where Spot sacrifices himself for Archie in Afterlife as well. Dogs aside, it is not too much of a stretch to see that Sabrina will have something to do with Jason and resurrection, with the reveal being right at the end of the first season thus setting up the next as full blown weird voodoo magic Riverdale.
Considering that we’re nearly halfway through the season, and we’ve learned barely anything more about the killer since episode 2, it suggests that it’s not the traditional murder mystery type story that it is pretending to be. There are still huge questions relating to the scene with the coroner and Jason’s body. We know: his feet were frozen, he was bound with rope, he was shot in the head and he died a week after the 4th of July which is when Archie/Grundy heard the shot fired which everyone is assuming is the one which killed Jason. The couple of new posts on reddit I’ve seen have barely mentioned this. There’s no way he went missing a week before the 4th of July and then got killed on the day. He has to have been killed a week after the 4th of July.
Then there’s Dilton. No one really believes that Dilton is the one that killed Jason, yet he fired the only shot which was heard on the 4th of July, the day Jason went missing and a week before he was killed. I think in coming episodes, they’re going to have to go deeper into Dilton firing the gun because that shot couldn’t have been the shot which killed Jason because even if he’d been reanimated as a zombie, the headshot would’ve killed him (also the whole out of place thing with Dilton being a survival nut could very handily work out if Afterlife happens). I still think the most likely explanation, which was mentioned in the first article, is that someone out there (possibly Sabrina) had to tie up a zombie Jason or ended up with him after stuffing up some witchcraft and then was forced to kill him. Somewhere along the way, someone or something got bitten, which will eventually emerge from the woods, leading to the outbreak right at the end of the season, where Sabrina will reveal what happened and the next season will be full blown Afterlife.
Apologies for the long-windedness of this but I haven’t seen a very clear summary of the theory as yet. I’ll be keeping up to to date with the show and will update with any new info. As always, let me know what you think and have a good one.
Steven Universe is an utterly fantastic show that has no right to be as good as it is. It’s like ingesting pure joy. The characters are complex and flawed, yet likeable and endearing. The show is funny, the art and voice acting is amazing and the songs are some of the best I’ve ever seen in a TV show. I usually hate it when they do the singing episode but the songs in this are so good that they often make the best episodes. It must be said that order is important in the show because there is a heck of a lot of continuity, more so than a similar show like Adventure Time. With that paragraph of gushing out the way, I thought I’d do a quick Steven Universe skippable episodes guide to help those on the fence about getting into the show.
I remember when I first started out, I actually looked up a guide like this and found a couple of okay ones. I’m hoping this one is a bit more comprehensive. I’m gonna keep it spoiler free and only comment on the episodes where my decision may need justifying or it’s a give or take episode. With the exception of one or two very noticeable episodes which I will mention, every episode is generally worth it and even if it isn’t, so what, you wasted 10 minutes of your life – big deal. I’m gonna be focusing mainly on Season 1 because I’m going to assume that if you’ve got to the end of a 52 episode season that you like it enough to watch every episode and also because there are very few skippable episodes after season 1 apart from one very notable exception which I will mention later.
Without further adieu, this is JK Pimento’s very personal and very subjective skippable episode guide for Steven Universe.
Pilot: The pilot is entirely skippable. I never even watched it until today where I decided to youtube it. It’s a fun little 7 min thing and is probably only worth watching for fans because the difference in art style and character designs for the gems is interesting. The designs are actually a little more elaborate than they are in the final show, Pearl looks way more punkier and hip and Garnet looks like Rick James or Milli Vanili which is hilarious.
Gem Glow: This one’s really only required coz it’s the first.
Laser Light Cannon
Cheeseburger Backpack: Cheeseburger backpack is an overall fun episode which sheds some light on gem history. This specific episode links to another near the end of the season and is very almost a must watch.
Frybo: Introduces the character of Peedee and the Fryman family who are one of the core families in Beach City. A fun episode but entirely skippable.
Cat Fingers: Establishes the limits of the gem’s and Steven’s shapeshifting powers.
Tiger Millionaire: A really fun episode which you’ll love if you’re a wrestling fan. Really only not entirely passable because of Amethyst’s character development.
Arcade Mania: Mentionable because it’s the first time Garnet is seen without her shades which is important to her character later on.
So Many Birthdays: Almost must watch episode which deals with how long the gems live and how this works in regards to Steven.
Lars and the Cool Kids: Introduces a few notable supporting characters and expands on Rose’s personality a bit.
Onion Trade: Similar to the last episode but really only introduces one character. I would recommend watching it only because Onion is one of the best side characters because he’s such a shitbag and his episodes are always really funny.
Steven the Sword Fighter
Lion 2: The Movie
Beach Party: Essentially introduces the Pizza family, one of the key families of beach city. A pretty fun episode, making fun of the ‘beach episode’ trope as the gems get into costume, also Nanefua gets some airplay here and is one of the funniest characters on the show.
Joking Victim: Really one of the sweetest episodes in the season. Deals with Sadie and Lars’ relationship and is only skippable plot wise as they are two of the more important supporting characters.
Steven and the Stevens:Not a bad episode, just entirely skippable, although there are some throwbacks to past episodes and sneaky looks into the future. (*UPDATED)
An Indirect Kiss
Mirror Gem (Part 1)
Ocean Gem (Part 2)
House Guest: Expands on Steven and Greg’s relationship but little else.
Secret Team: Explores the dynamics of the gems and is only really not skippable because it explores parts of the temple and how it works which is cool.
Island Adventure: Continuation of Joking Victim, watch if you’re invested in Sadie and Lars’ relationship.
Keep Beach City Weird: Introduces Ronaldo and actually prophecises a little.
Garnet’s Universe: Super skippable unless you’re particularly attached to Garnet or are an old school RPG fan (like Zelda 1/Square Enix era rpg’s).
Watermelon Steven: Steven gets a new power, plus a location and it’s inhabitants wont make sense for an important episode later on.
Lion 3: Straight to Video
The Test: A strong episode which deals with how the Gems treat Steven and connects up with an earlier episode.
Future Vision: Details a specific power of a Gem but not much else.
On the Run
Horror Club: A pretty good episode with a lot of horror references but little connection to overall plot.
Winter Forecast: I would almost say that any episode with Connie is a must watch and this one is no different.
Maximum Capacity: A really memorable episode which is all round funny, sad, and complex. Explores the relationship between Greg and Amethyst.
Open Book: Another required Connie episode, explores Rose’s room some more.
Shirt Club: Fun, sweet episode about the Dewey’s, another important family, and father-son relationships.
Story for Steven
The Return (Part 1)
Jail Break (Part 2)
Must Watch: 1,2,4,7,8,10,12,16,17,19,20,23,24,25,26,28,32,35,36,37,40,44,45,48,49,50,51,52
Out of 52 episodes we’ve got 24 somewhat/entirely skippable episodes and 28 must watch, not bad for a first season. Let me know if you agree or disagree and why. If this gets some traction then I’ll do another one for season 2/3. If not just a heads up, the “Uncle Grandpa” episode which is number 3 of season 2 is godawful terrible. It’s so bad that Pearl says at the start of the episode “don’t worry, this isn’t canon” as if the show’s creators knew how bad it was and were acknowledging how cartoon network forced them to promote their new show. If for some reason you like Uncle Grandpa…you know…for whatever reason…then you’ll love this episode. For everyone else however, steer way clear, it almost hurts the show overall it’s that bad.
On that pleasant note, have an awesome day and let me know what you think.
I just finished watching the second episode of Riverdale on Netflix and it is phenomenal so far. I had this idea that the show will actually be turning into a loose adaptation of the super popular and widely praised graphic novel Afterlife With Archie which just so happens to be written by Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa who is also the showrunner and chief writer on Riverdale. So I thought I saw some obvious things in the show which hint at this so I assumed considering how the internet works, there should be some theories of this nature already floating around. However after a quick search, I couldn’t find anything. Very interesting I thought, below I will outline some of the reasons why I think Riverdale may be going the zombies route.
First of all the characters are very similarly based on how they are written in Afterlife (which I own and absolutely love if it needs mentioning). Afterlife was the most successful Archie run in years and kickstarted the company down the more mature story lines it has since started. Aguirre-Sacasa has obviously translated his takes on the characters from Afterlife, the way he can make these characters complex, modernise them, give them contemporary problems and generally make the characters more complex and genuine and thus the relationships between the characters are more interesting – whilst still alluding to many of the old aspects of the comics.
Secondly and I think this is the biggest point, is the character of Cheryl Blossom and the importance of the twins. They played no small part in Afterlife, and were portrayed as having a really weird and troubled semi-incestuous relationship which really set the tone for the rest of Afterlife. Considering their central role in Riverdale, Aguirre-Sacasa is clearly intrigued by these characters. At the end of episode two, Cheryl says that she’s “guilty”. She doesn’t specifically say what but we can assume it’s murdering Jason. Now the weird thing is, we kind of suspect this at first because of how creepy they are and how apparently remorseless she is about the whole thing HOWEVER when the body washes up at the end of the first episode, Cheryl is genuinely cut up after that.
The two biggest examples are when she blows up at Betty about possibly her sister shooting Jason and the other is her breakdown after realizing that he is “never coming back”. Now here’s the real kicker and what set me along this train of thought in the first place. I don’t remember when she says it exactly but I remember the words perfectly. I think it’s in the scene in the change rooms when Veronica is comforting her but she explicitly says, “You don’t understand, he was supposed to come back!” to which Veronica kind of offers a puzzled expression and brushes it off.
Now think about this, it seems clear to me what happened. Considering that Cheryl is genuinely cut up about Jason “not coming back” and also she really seems like she doesn’t know who shot him, plus what kind of sick maniac would kill their twin? So we can assume that Cheryl and Jason for whatever reason (with Jason’s consent as evidenced by the “are you ready” quote at the very start of the show) have entered into some voodoo ritual which was either meant to or ended up in Jason becoming a zombie. Something goes wrong during the process, maybe Cheryl kills him or gets him killed another way but Jason gets loose. His body shows up much later with a bullet through the brain (how else do you kill a zombie?) and frozen feet and rope marks also on the body.
Here’s something else that I only just remembered, the coroner specifically states that he died a week after the boat incident where he was meant to have drowned. So here’s what I think happened, Cheryl and Jason go to the river to perform this ritual, perhaps meeting up with someone else or perhaps not, it goes wrong or right and Jason turns into a zombie but Cheryl doesn’t know whether it worked or not. Somebody encounters zombie Jason, they try to kill him somehow, he ends up with a bullet to the head and back in the river. Perhaps the person who killed him got bit but freaked out about killing somebody, dumped the body in the river and didn’t tell anybody. The bit person will lead to the outbreak.
Now you can see what I’m getting at and I would absolutely love, love, love this to happen but at this stage it’s just a theory…but a pretty convincing one huh? I probably won’t be disappointed if the show doesn’t go this way because it’s been pretty awesome so far but I just needed to get this out there. Let me know what you think in the comments and share with friends if you agree. We might know tomorrow with the new episode anyway!
Quick update: Just finished watching Samurai Champloo and it was simply amazing. Shinichiro Watanabe does it again. I’ve mentioned him before here with Kids on the Slope and he is fast becoming one of my favorite directors. Champloo has one of the best soundtracks of anything and I watch the opening and closing themes every time because they are so damn good. Certainly the best anime OP’s I’ve ever seen.
I’ve continued reading Fables and it continues to be fantastic. I got two tpb’s for xmas (I think vol. 7 & 8 or thereabouts) and I read them both in single sessions. I think Fables would make a fantastic tv show, however it would be difficult to get the tone right. It goes from being really fun and whimsical to really dark and dire so that would be the main issue.
– Also I finished Metro 2033 redux and am about half way through Metro: Last Light now. I have finished both games before but wanted to play them again and the redux versions are perfect for this. They’re both really fantastic games, the type of which don’t really exist these days. You would probably call them AA games, but apart from some minor polish issues, they feel like AAA games. Also they are completely single player FPS’s and the way the story is delivered is really effective.
I’m playing Last Light on Hardcore Ranger mode which means you take more damage but deal more damage, no HUD, no hints and much less resources. I would definitely recommend playing on the harder difficulty for Last Light, far more context appropriate and challenging. Last Light I think is a lot easier than 2033 as well. I heard 4A games is working on a new Metro game and I will eagerly look forward to it as long as there’s no multiplayer, but I don’t think there would be.
– I finally finished a proper first draft of the novella I wrote. I wrote most of it about a year ago and I’ve just been editing it since then. I’ve sent it out to some friends for some feedback and semi-professional editing so I’ll keep this blog updated to see how that goes.
I just finished watching Hail, Caesar! the latest film to be written, directed and produced by the Coen Brothers. For some reason, I PAID for this film on blu-ray and when it finished all I could think was ‘I got nothing out of this’. Now I don’t know why I bought the film, I think for some reason I thought it was a Wes Anderson film. Considering that The Grand Budapest Hotel is one of my most favourite films of recent years, I was looking forward to a new Anderson film. But no, just another Coen brothers affair and I’m left dissapointed.
Hail, Caesar! is a day in the life of a big shot producer, Josh Brolin, at a big movie studio in the Golden Age of Cinema, 1950’s Hollywood. Now I’m no schmuck, I’ve studied film and what the Golden Age was like, so I’m not one to miss the references and all that. Also many of the actors in the film I really enjoy, but for the most part, there are so many shoved in that many only have a single scene or two, so there is limited character development or even room for comedy. This has the added overall effect of taking time away from the main plot lines. In the end, I was left feeling like Hail, Caesar! was a fun, kinda quirky historical piece and that was it. I’ll probably never think about it again.
Don’t get me wrong, for all intents and purposes it’s a very well crafted and executed film but there’s so little substance, and I know the Coen Brothers films are more about characters than plot, but come on give me something to follow, someone to root for. I think that’s the problem with Coen Brother’s films, they are well made and unique movies with lots of star power so they’re really hard to criticize. I like the fact that they’re meant to be for an audience of a certain educational level and you get more out of them the more you watch them. However, this is meant to be a comedy and I barely laughed a single time. I like the actors in the movie, appreciate the characters, understand (most) of the movie industry references and yet I have no reason to watch it again and have no idea who I would recommend this to.
Maybe my expectations were too high, but if someone like me found the film forgettable then who is it for? 1950’s cinema historians, the George Clooney Josh Brolin fan club, anyone still alive today who worked in the Golden Age of Cinema? The Coen Brother’s could take a lesson out of Anderson’s book in that The Grand Budapest Hotel featured a tonne of actors playing oddball characters, yet each was given appropriate screen time for their role, the narrative was charming and engaging and we had likeable characters to root for, oddball characters to laugh at and villainous characters to despise.
Just like Anchorman 2 was criticized for straying into the self-indulgent at times, I feel as though the Coen Brothers are at risk of the same here. Fargo was a fine film, I enjoyed it much more the second time when I understood more about the subverting of cinema conventions in the narrative. The Big Lebowski is a cult classic that I have to watch again, No Country for Old Men was a great film with a strong central plot and Inside Llewyn Davis was a critically lauded film that I’m yet to see. The Coen Brothers make well crafted movies…when they focus on the narrative.
Once again the problem remains, who is Hail, Caesar! for?
I finally got around to watching Stranger Things on Netflix and boy was the hype justified for that show. It just nails that 80’s vibe, without seeming too on the nose or hokey. The characters are instantly likeable, the premise is pretty original for the genre that it is and there’s a tonne of awesome references to other stuff from the 80’s as well as some modern stuff.
The music is great as well, its decently budgeted in terms of visual effects and this honestly seems like what would happen if Steven Spielberg directed a tv show during the 80’s. Stranger Things is great, definitely worth watching even if you’re not a fan of the 80’s or genre stuff, just an all round great show and I’m looking forward to the next season mid-way though 2017 where the story is apparently going to continue from where the first season ended.
A few years back, whilst procrastinating from uni work, I decided it would be fun to try some video editing. I didn’t really have any experience in the area but I decided it would be a handy skill to possess. So I made a montage video about the best games of the xbox360/PS3 generation as that generation was winding down at the time in late 2013. The result is the video below. I’ve only showed it to a couple of close friends because it’s probably the nerdiest thing I’d ever done up until that point in my life – well maybe apart from spending $200 on a pro lightsaber but that’s a story for another time.
I actually think the video holds up pretty well watching it now but anyway I hope you enjoy it. (Flume incoming warning)
*WordPress won’t let me upload videos unless I pay a bunch of money every month (Boo!), so you can find it here.
In the course of a very productive weekend, my days went like this: Wake up, start watching Kids on the Slope (Sakamichi no Apollon) on Netflix, go to work around 5 in the arvo, work till 10-11, come home, play Dishonored 2, go to bed and repeat. Not a bad few days if I say so myself.
Kids on the Slope is a 12 episode anime series directed by Shinichiro Watanabe, he of Cowboy Bebop and Samurai Champloo fame, with music by noted composer Yoko Kanno. It’s a coming of age story set over a few years from 1966 onwards. The protagonist, Kauro, is a freshman high schooler who’s on the honour role and a gifted pianist. He ends up befriending the school bad boy, Sentaro and his childhood friend Ritsuko, forming the core group of oddball characters the series follows as they go through high school.
Don’t worry about all those anime tropes, this series is real quality. The portrayal of domestic problems, societal stresses and teen romance is spot on. The characters end up bonding over jazz, so if you’re a jazz lover then you’re in for a real treat here. The animation is so on point here, particularly the animation when Sentaro is drumming is so damn good. The music as well is amazing. The OP is so damn good, normally I don’t really care about anime OP’s, especially the ones with generic Asian pop songs, that I usually skip them, but I watched the opening damn near every time.
I was really surprised with Kids on the Slope. I rarely watch this type of show, let alone anime’s of this genre but I’m so glad I did because it was really amazing. The whole series is on Netflix and it’s only 12 episodes so I definitely recommend it. Also it’s a very Japanese anime, if that makes any sense, so I ended up watching it subbed just because the voice acting is really good and it felt more appropriate to the story.
I’m probably close to the end of Dishonored 2, so my thoughts here will most likely be the final ones. I really enjoyed the first Dishonored as something new, the art design was phenomenal and you really had a tonne of options. So I was really looking forward to the sequel, I’ve been craving a really good single player experience after mainly playing the Modern Warfare: remastered and Battlefield 1 multiplayers.
To be honest, I was a bit let down initially. The visuals are noticeably dated, as in this looks far more like a good looking 360 game than an xbox one game. Also, the controls felt a bit clunky and it took me a while to get used to the sensitivity. It was like the look acceleration setting was off but there was no option for me to change it.
Thankfully, the game improves dramatically after the first couple of levels. The art design is still top notch and it feels like there are more options to how you approach things. You can play as either Corvo (royal protector and protagonist from the first game) or Empress Emily Kaldwin. I chose Emily with the plan to do a low chaos run and then a Corvo high chaos run. There are a lot of new powers but the overall number doesn’t seem that much higher than in the first game which is a bit of a shame. Apparently Corvo has different powers, so I hope they’re not just the same one’s he had in the first game.
The premise is basically this: there’s a coup involving a witch who may or may not be your sister, you get ousted, whichever character you don’t choose gets turned to stone and you have to take it all back. The story is pretty basic but it’s more about the world building and the little stories that inhabit the environment which are special.
Overall, I’m pretty happy with Dishonored 2, but I was let down by the visuals and initial clunky controls. It almost feels like this game deserved a bigger budget which it didn’t quite get. I remember liking the first game more after I finished it the second time because I discovered a bunch of things I’d missed, so I’m hoping that’s the case with this game as well.
*Also, Vincent D’Onofrio and Rosario Dawson voice characters in the game, plus Emily is voiced by the same person who voices Sapphire in Steven Universe!
You may be familiar with The Witcher series of video games by Polish studio CD Projekt. The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt is probably one of my favourite games of all time. The series is inspired by the books of Andrzej Sapkowski, chronicling the adventures of the witcher, Geralt of Rivia.
I picked up the first book in the series, The Last Wish in a fury of witcher love after finishing The Witcher 3. I was surprised to find that it is actually a collection of short stories, each one being a different contract that Geralt undertakes and what we learn about him and the world through those journeys. I knew that the books were popular in Poland but I kind of assumed they may not be that good because when you translate books into English, you usually lose some of the nuances of the original language because rarely do different languages translate word for word. However the language used is actually amazing, really descriptive and evocative and if you didn’t know, it would be extremely hard to figure out that the books had been translated into English.
I’m currently reading the second book Sword of Destiny (terrible name I know), which is also a collection of short stories. I just finished one of the stories called A Little Sacrifice, which is about halfway through the book. The contract in this story is not really that important because it mainly focuses on a romance between Geralt and a poet called Little Eye, one of Dandelion’s friends who he sees as a little sister. The complexity of Geralt’s relationship with Yennefer and the differences between who they are and what they do make it hard for them to be together. It’s really refreshing to see such complex characters within dark fantasy, where it is all too easy to be shoehorned into stereotypes.
I thought I’d post here, the last part of the story because I thought it was really beautiful and sad. Minor Spoilers I guess if you’re set on reading, it but the ending isn’t the important part of the story. If you like the excerpt below, consider getting into the books and once again, props to Andrzej Sapkowski and translator David French.
Then Little Eye, smelling of verbena, lay down beside him, squeezed in under his arm, wriggled her head onto his chest, sighed maybe once or twice and fell peacefully asleep. The Witcher fell asleep, much, much later.
Dandelion, staring into the dying embers, sat much longer, alone, quietly strumming his lute.
It began with a few bars, from which an elegant, soothing melody emerged. The lyric suited the melody, and came into being simultaneously with it, the words blending into the music, becoming set in it like insects in translucent, golden lumps of amber.
The ballad told of a certain witcher and a certain poet. About how the witcher and the poet met on the seashore, among the crying of the seagulls, and how they fell in love at first sight. About how beautiful and powerful was their love. About how nothing – not even death – was able to destroy that love and part them.
Dandelion knew that few would believe the story told by the ballad, but he was not concerned. He knew ballads were not written to be believed, but to move their audience.
Several years later, Dandelion could have changed the contents of the ballad and written about what had really occurred. He did not. For the true story would not have moved anyone. Who would have wanted to hear that the Witcher and Little Eye parted and never, ever, saw each other again? About how four years later Little Eye died of the smallpox during an epidemic raging in Vizima? About how he, Dandelion, had carried her out in his arms between corpses being cremated on funeral pyres and had buried her far from the city, in the forest, alone and peaceful, and, as she had asked, buried two things with her: her lute and her sky blue pearl. The pearl from which she was never parted.
No, Dandelion stuck with his first version. And he never sang it. Never. To no one.
Right before the dawn, while it was still dark, a hungry, vicious werewolf crept up to their camp, but saw that it was Dandelion, so he listened for a moment and then went on his way.