Movies

Lightyear

What a colossal waste of time. I thought maybe the other reviews were wrong, but no, no, they were right on the money. And it has nothing to do with the shoehorned in lesbian commander and her kiss. It’d be great if maybe characters were allowed time to be fleshed out, to be more than walking, talking caricatures. But none of that happened. Disney is here to sell merchandise, and that’s the only reason for these characters to be the way they are. Gotta hit all the demographics across the board. You might think that the suits interfered with the story, but no, that blame is solely at the feet of the two writers: Angus MacLane, and Jason Headley. The former is also the director of the movie, and a known animator. These two somehow managed to create an entire story devoid of any emotions, entirely dumbed down characters, and plot events that happen because our heroes are inept idiots that cause their own trouble. That last bit feels like a bit of a projection on behalf of the writers. Thank you both for confirming you are idiots.

The plot is that Buzz Lightyear maroons 1200 people on a desolate planet because his ego is too much, and he’s too full of himself. To rectify his mistake, he volunteers to test out the proprietary fuel supply which is unstable that results in time dilation and everyone around him aging. All his friends and everyone he’s ever known gets old, and eventually passes away. Tragic, right? Surely, there’d be some sort of plot element to address this, right? Surely, Buzz will get a chance to process some emotions… oh wait, never mind, onto the next plot element. Because Buzz ain’t a fleshed out character resembling a human being, no, he’s a piece of franchise material: nothing but merchandise. And then the evil Zurg is explained away with the dumbest twist possible because Pixar are too cowardly to admit that the Buzz Lightyear cartoon is much better than any drivel they can come up with (they actually straight up copied themselves for the villain).

Each of the supporting characters is a total nitwit that constantly causes more problems and do nothing but make quips. They’re all supposedly 20+ years old and yet inexplicably act like children. Yes, it is a children’s movie and yet much of the plot is aimed at adults while simultaneously dumbing everything down that the end result is neither for adults or kids. Good job, Angus, keep proving to the world that animators should just stick to animating and leave writing to actual writers. Perhaps if Jason was in charge of all the writing, it might have turned out decent.

It’s a damn shame really. Pixar did a great job animating, as usual. But, other than the animation, it squarely belongs in the trash. The two writers proving that their ability to type is akin to monkeys on a typewriter, and after having seen this travesty, I wonder how they live with nothing but air between their ears.

Do not pass go, do not watch this garbage. I do not recommend it to anyone. Hug your kids, and have a family night instead of this. Show them Buzz Lightyear of Star Command if you want a proper Buzz story.

Games

Halo Infinite

The last time I played Halo, was the third game in the series, all the way back on the xbox360. Then I had the chance to play the master chief collection, which was well done. Now this version comes out, and what a pile of steaming trash (there’s only one redeeming quality – the grappleshot). Everybody associated with it should be ashamed. I’m not going to comment on the garbage dump that’s the multiplayer – those that decided to charge 20 bucks for a single cosmetic should be named, shamed, and blacklisted from the industry.

I’m going to address my first complaint. Who the fuck decided that bosses should be massive bullet sponges with no strategy involved other than running away while pumping ammo into them until dead? Secondly, who decided that bosses should kill you in one hit and then, surprise, gotta do it all over again? Fact check, this isn’t Dark Souls, this is Halo. Oh, if you try to use any other equipment than the grappleshot, you’re gonna have a bad time. See, every single enemy runs much faster than you, so in tiny boss arenas, they run you down like nothing, you have to keep moving about, swinging about. If you pause to try and switch equipment (another absolutely idiotic design), you get dead. To switch on a controller, I have to press right on the d-pad and then try and remember which direction is which equipment. I’m not a game designer, but even I know that pressing right on the d-pad to switch between all of the kinds would have been an infinitely (get it) better design option.

My second complaint is the difficulty and awareness of the AI. It is ridiculous that they have flawless aim, never missing any shots, and always know exactly where I am once combat initiates. Using a wasp or any other flying vehicle is instant death, because as soon as they see you, not a single round misses. Such fun! I’m playing on NORMAL, which means, it shouldn’t be this hard, except I’m fairly sure nobody at 343 Industries ever picked up a dictionary to learn what normal means. I won’t even bother seeing what Heroic or Legendary is like, to those that play on that, you’ve got serious masochistic tendencies.

So what does the campaign offer that’s worth 80 bucks? Honestly, fuck all. I’m glad I got the game through gamepass because I would never drop money on this. Unfortunately, the whales of the world are going to ruin every single franchise because they don’t care, that’s why they whale. Higher-ups will see that they’re raking in money, and will continue with their morally corrupt ways, milking and ruining longstanding fan franchises. Fans will get it because they love the game, and that will bite us in the butt because we can’t shove it in their faces that we don’t want things this way. All I can do is write a review showcasing my severe displeasure, anger, and annoyance.

The only enjoyable parts of the game are when you’re in the semi-open world, grappling about like a poor man’s spiderman. There is a real sense of speed, and power in that, and it makes it fun to go around killing the enemy. It gives you mobility and access to areas you couldn’t normally reach. It grants verticality. Unfortunately, the base combat is such a chore that you rarely get to experience true fun. Almost every fight is you vs overwhelming odds so you can only shoot a couple times before you have to cower and wait for your shields to regenerate. This slows down gameplay to a crawl. And with the abysmal checkpoint system, sometimes you’d lose upwards of an hour of combat, because I have no idea what triggers it. It seems to be pure luck and randomness to when the game will save.

With such vast empty spaces on this Halo ring, it makes me wonder what sort of content they cut out, because it is such a shallow experience to play. Besides a handful of side content, the world seems to only exist for you to traverse it. But why would you? There’s no reward for it, and the forest biome gets boring quick. I don’t care to explore a random corner, because what would be there? Some random weapon I can find anywhere? Oh, a useless doll that adds nothing but an Easter egg that I won’t even recognize because I don’t know who the doll is of. I only recognized the Arbiter doll from Halo 2. You can save some marines (which doesn’t do anything impactful overall, just gives you some valor points), by fighting waves of enemies. You can try and take out bounty targets by fighting the waves of enemies under their control, and then killing the mini-boss. You can capture a fast travel point that reveals the surrounding area (I didn’t realize I was playing Far Cry) by fighting waves of enemies. You can capture banished outposts by doing specific objectives meanwhile fighting waves of enemies. In short, all you do is fight wave after wave of enemies on a semi-open map. Then there’s upgrade points you can find hidden about, random audio logs for lore, and killing communication towers.

There’s also skulls hidden in the world but for the most part, they are in semi-obvious locations because you look at the spot, and you can’t help but think, they probably hid it there. And you’d be right! The skulls hidden inside of missions however, are nearly impossible to find yourself. And I wouldn’t be surprised if 343i leaked the methods how to do so because there’s no way you’d figure it out on your own, especially in the final series of missions.

I was about to write that not all boss battles are that bad as I reached the final boss. I almost spoke out of hand because nope, just as stupid and terribly designed as the rest. Have to fight it in 3 stages, with waves of enemies between each stage and checkpoints only exist for the first two stages. So when you die against the boss on the third stage, you have to clear an entire wave again before being able to square off against just the boss. I also fell off the map, not just once, but several times. Talk about triple A gaming. If I was shooting the gravity hammer enemy with my sentinel beam, and he hit me, off the map I went. “Wait, there’s something else here… Something’s helping me.” The greatest cardinal sin of all, being forced to hear the same dialogue over and over and over. So fun! The boss teleports around the arena, standing still for a millisecond, before going off to a new spot, good luck shooting her! Oh, and she also shoots beams of death that take out 1/4 of your shields/health, good luck!

Honestly, this game should never have been made. Or rather, whoever they brought on to scrap their previous efforts should never be allowed to work on a game again. I would have much more enjoyed a game similar to BOTW but Halo rings with dungeons, and other new ideas. This is just a rehash of old games to greedily cash in on fan’s nostalgia – seems to be a pattern as of late, fuck originality. Either make it fully open world with no linear corridors, or take out the open world and make it only linear. Why? I absolutely hated being forced into linear areas just to advance the plot so I could get back out into the semi-open world.

Overall, this was an exercise in frustration. This is not my Halo, this is a bastardization created solely by greedy entities wishing to cash in on 20 years of nostalgia. I do not recommend this game.

Games

Apex Legends Revisited

Last I wrote, I compared Respawn Entertainment to an owner that gives their dog all the best toys, and food, but it doesn’t matter because the dog lives in a state of absolute squalor. Absolutely nothing has changed. In fact, they’ve managed to make things much worse. They’re like an ostrich sticking their head in the sand, indifferent to any constructive feedback, but they don’t care because the idiotic masses will continue to toss bills at them as if they were a stripper.

Since day one, people have requested en masse, to upgrade to a better server to handle the load. Since day two, people have demanded a fix to the numerous bugs. It’s a simple request. Fix. The. Bugs. Now you may have read that as “fix the bugs” but Respawn read it as “more shiny cosmetics”. Why bother with talented software developers and programming when we can hire an infamous incompetent dev only to fire them later? Yes, Daniel Z. Klein I speak of.

Old man screams at cloud. That’s what bothering to write anything about Apex Legends feels like. Remember the ancient days, when peasants would storm the despot’s castle and throw their entire family to the streets as a reminder of “maybe you should try being a good human being”? Yea, that’s never going to happen. The old times are gone. Now you’re a slave to corporate greed.

The problem I have is I love the game but every decision made since season one has been questionable. Their latest hero, Seer is absolutely broken and breaks the game. Casual players won’t find problems but higher up, having free wall hack, plus an interrupt plus knowledge of HP/Shields, no point in bothering to play. Just quit the game.

Games

Archero (Mobile game)

Occasionally I like to play mobile games. Problem with that is most games are idle games that require no skill or need to play. You just boot the “game” up and everything is done automatically. You only need to make a few taps here and there, but other than that, you have no agency. Then I saw this game which came recommended by the Google Play store editor and after spending a few days on it, it’s become clear that app developers pay off the Google Play store editor to write praise about their game. This game deserves no praise, it is predatory at its best and downright thievery at its worst. Oh, and if you call them out for problems with the game, they’ll cry wolf to Google and have your review on the Play store deleted.

The game in question, Achero, is essentially that you control a character that shoots projectiles but only if you’re standing still. You have to move to avoid enemy projectiles, and during this time, you can’t harm them. You can acquire better gear but the item drops are incredibly rare. Instead you’re forced to spend gems to get chests which have a slight chance at giving you good gear. More often than not, the chest will contain useless items. Gems are very hard to acquire but are very easily paid for. In fact, all the currency earned in game is miniscule compared to the amounts that you can get with real money. This is pure predation.

When you start a round, you get to choose one ability out of a pool of abilities to accentuate your strength, but alas, most times these abilities are completely useless. When you level up, you can choose a new ability to add to your growing pool of abilities. The game is roguelite and so you’re forced to play repeatedly hoping for a good run. This takes all agency away from the player and you’re left at the mercy of the game. Secondly, the game is a bullet hell and often times you can’t see the enemy projectiles because your own projectiles are covering them. Also the enemy projectiles will damage you retroactively, meaning that you can avoid the initial projectile but should you quickly move behind it, it’ll magically damage you despite flying away from you.

To unlock more options of gameplay, you have to advance through the stages. And as typical of these games, the first few stages are easy as to lure you in. As soon as you reach stage 4 and then stage 5, the game becomes drastically more difficult in an attempt to force you to spend money so your character can be viable. There is a stage called expedition and it is insanely difficult with enemies that are bullet sponges and take forever to kill. Meanwhile, you die in two hits. Again, it’s made to push you towards spending real money.

I have no nice words for these kinds of developers, and as such, I will not be spending anymore energy or time discussing them. These kinds of games give all game developers a bad name and taste. And because the market is saturated with them, mobile gaming has a bad name. In fact, it’s not even considered as a gaming platform unless you have a Nvidia Shield. The only good mobile games are ports of console or PC games.