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Messages - Crudblud

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Philosophy, Religion & Society / Re: Trump
« on: July 14, 2024, 03:11:32 PM »
Damn it, just a little better aim and we'd have had great news.

I dunno, I mean... What would his raving supporters do if their leader was murdered by the only one with motive(they think): Biden and liberals?
Lots and lots of violence. 

It'd be worth it.
The last thing you should be hoping for if you want to see the end of MAGA is Trump as a martyr.

idk if you're trolling or you legitimately think accelerationism is a good idea but you need to stop lmao

Philosophy, Religion & Society / Re: UK General Election, 4 July 2024
« on: July 07, 2024, 08:17:28 PM »
It's a Catch-22, the only way to get rid of the big parties is through PR, the only way to get PR is to get rid of the big parties.
I mean, we could have a referen—
wait no
let's not do that

In five years' time it could even be feasible to do it that way, although not preferable to a government with a mandate and an actual plan.

Philosophy, Religion & Society / Re: UK General Election, 4 July 2024
« on: July 07, 2024, 11:04:31 AM »
The case for PR becomes stronger with each election. But will either of these dementia patient dinosaur parties let go of power? I doubt it. It's a Catch-22, the only way to get rid of the big parties is through PR, the only way to get PR is to get rid of the big parties.

Arts & Entertainment / Re: Just Watched
« on: July 06, 2024, 02:07:32 PM »
Justice League (dir. Zack Snyder / Joss Whedon)

As promised by Dawn of Justice, the Justice League get their own feature length outing in the appropriately titled Justice League. This film is perhaps better known for its production difficulties, and its being a precursor to a fan campaign for the release of Zack Snyder’s four hour cut, which was put out by HBO in 2021, than it is for anything that actually happens in it. Zack Snyder was forced to step down from the director’s chair by a family tragedy, and perennial hack Joss Whedon was brought in to attempt to smooth things over with rewrites and reshoots. It didn’t work. While Whedon’s helming of the first big MCU team-up movie The Avengers—released in the UK as Avengers Assemble, in order to avoid confusion with the very relevant and current British TV show The Avengers, which is about a man named Steed who wears a bowler hat and has a cane sword—which now that I think about it is definitely cooler than the actual movie——was undoubtedly a major success, his quippy levity here sits ungainly alongside Snyder’s empty portent.

The story is as complicated or as basic as you want it to be by virtue of a lot of stuff happening to no real significance. There is an alien called Steppenwolf, and he was born to be wild! No, in fact he was born to be a space terrorist or something. He hops through dimensional portals looking for the infinity stones mother boxes which when combined will make everything go a bit Color Out of Space in order to resemble his homeworld for some reason. At one point Steppy mentions Darkseid, with the implication that Step-To-the-Beat is working for him, but Darkseid never shows up or does anything, so it’s unknown what the master plan is there. A long time ago Steppenwolf was banished from Earth by a coalition of Amazonian and Atlantean forces, and the mother boxes were scattered and hidden away. However, Step-On-Up has no difficulty finding these in the present day and is also basically impervious to everyone. That is until the Justice League uses one of the boxes to resurrect Superman, who is so amazing and perfect that Steppenwolf actively begins to lose power as a result, to the point that even Aquaman, who spends most of the movie being completely useless, even in situations where his powers should be at their most potent, can beat him. Steppenwolf gets scared, and his army of fear feeding fly fiends descends upon him, forcing him to retreat. And that’s it.

To call this film bad is to invite some comparison to previous DCEU outings. Is it as bad as Man of Steel or Dawn of Justice? In some ways it is, while in others it manages to be just bland and forgettable enough not to be. The most obvious problem that develops as the film goes on is its cast of heroes, there are simply too many to do justice (ha ha) to, and while three of them are semi-known entities from previous films, the rest are just sort of there to the point that their existences, powers, and purposes are mostly known through exposition. My favourite part might be when Wonder Woman tells Cyborg that she had a common life experience and that she had to deal with it. It’s not just that the dialogue and delivery are stunningly ham-fisted, but that this exchange somehow convinces Cyborg that being alive is good actually. As much as I make fun of the pretence towards depth in Snyder’s previous films, this film is particularly brazen in not even attempting to veil the fact that its drama is a literal flat 2D plane. I don’t actually know how much of what we see in this film is Snyder’s or Whedon’s ‘vision’, but my conclusion from this and from previous experiences is that both of them need to stop, and possibly see a therapist.

The film’s visuals are no delight either. From its chained sequences of establishing shots to its often shockingly poor special effects, the film is neither artistically nor technically compelling. It is marred by uncontrolled and purposeless excess in all elements, from the number of shots it takes to do something extremely basic, to the near constant movement of the camera. Its shots, which are almost entirely mock epic in scope and minuscule in impact, do nothing to help the storytelling. It is a film made by someone who, per the credits, wrote the script but did not read it. I suppose this is a roundabout way of saying that the film is boring, like stupefyingly boring. Where previous DCEU films were often hilariously bad, there is barely anything to make fun of here, or rather it makes fun of itself simply by existing in the form that it does. Whoever signed off on this at Warner Bros. was a fucking idiot. Forget Snyder, forget Whedon, forget whoever edited it, the fault here ultimately lies with execs who were too stupid to say ‘no’. You put up a budget of $300 million and not only is this what you get back, not only that, but you’re happy with it? Are you kidding? Are you pranking me bro? Fucking what. It didn’t even do that well, just barely making back double its budget. Who thought it was a good idea to put it out this way? I’m not saying you could have gotten a much better movie with more time, but it could have been a little bit less… whatever you want to call this. It’s so bland that my vocabulary fails me.
A quick note on the music, which kept pissing me right off, and while for the most part is as nondescript as that which it accompanies, does actually speak somewhat to the inability of DC to really let go of its cinematic past. Quotes from Danny Elfman’s Batman and John Williams’s Superman scores litter the soundscape here, and every time they pop up I feel a certain ire well up within me like stomach acid into my oesophagus. You failed to do justice (ha ha ×2) to them in the first place, laying waste to and burying Tim Burton’s expressionist fairy-tale Batman outings under Joel Schumacher’s insulting cack, and making worse and worse sequels to Richard Donner’s lovably silly Superman. Don’t extend them now as olive branches to people who expect a bare minimum of competence from writers and directors, please. The return of Michael Keaton’s Batman in the final Snyder-verse movie The Flash was a welcome enough piece of fanservice, but he undoubtedly didn’t really fit into that world. Similarly, trying to inject the swashbuckling triumph of those Elfman and Williams themes into this dour, miserable, barely-registering-as-a-movie movie is not merely an insulting reminder of better times and better movies for DC heroes, it’s also just plain incongruous.

Justice League is a bad movie that seems less bad than it is when taken in the context of its predecessors. Its characters, plot, action, pacing, cinematography and special effects are all dismal, and its one saving grace may be—with its first set of credits (the funniest thing about Justice League may be its confident teasing of sequels that will never happen) appearing under the one hour and fifty minute mark—that it farts along and runs out of gas quickly compared to Snyder’s previous efforts. Some time after its release, Snyder was content to start talking up his alleged original allegedly a vision for the film, which engendered a massive fan campaign that was actually successful. I’m always amazed when something that seems primarily to exist on Twitter and Reddit manifests in the form of something actually happening. Cue the four hour long Zack Snyder’s Justice League, a torturous task as daunting and dreadful as any I can think of in the cinematic world. The best thing I can say about this theatrical cut is that it didn’t make me want to scream, if only because it didn’t really make much of an impression at all. And with that I say justice has been done!

Philosophy, Religion & Society / Re: UK General Election, 4 July 2024
« on: July 04, 2024, 11:15:43 PM »
Sad news, Hamas apologist troll and grifter George Galloway is projected to lose his seat. The entertainment we'll be missing out on is immeasurable.

Philosophy, Religion & Society / Re: UK General Election, 4 July 2024
« on: July 04, 2024, 10:33:06 PM »
It's clear that Labour will win.
But there's not the optimism there was when they won in 1997. They'll win because of how much people hate the Tories, not because they like Labour or Starmer. The latter just happens to be the only credible alternative.
Yep, it's a vote against, not a vote for. Just like Brexit, come to think of it.

Arts & Entertainment / Re: Just Watched
« on: July 03, 2024, 11:26:39 AM »
After a long—some might say too long—wait, the Odyssey continues!

Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice (dir. Zack Snyder)

Sometimes you just don’t know where to begin. Films are made up of so many different elements, plot, screenplay, cinematography, acting, editing, music, yet none of these is an adequate place to begin talking about Dawn of Justice, one of the most bafflingly inept and artistically bankrupt films I have ever seen. There may even be nothing I can say about it that isn’t both true and yet wholly insufficient to capture the depth of its stupidity, the shallowness of its ethos, the absurdity of its drama, or the banality of its action. I am therefore presenting this review as an admission of defeat. This is not the exhaustive catalogue of faults that I wanted it to be when I started writing, nor is it really a good summation of the film’s themes and concepts. It is perhaps better understood as a cry for help. I still haven’t seen the four hour cut of Justice League, but based on the state of my brain after three hours of Dawn of Justice I think that review will be even worse than this one. Nonetheless I have to begin somewhere, and I suppose a reasonable enough starting place, by which we may find our bearings out in the barren wilds of rural Snyder country, is its direct predecessor Man of Steel. In that film we witness the origin of Superman, which more or less amounts to things exploding and people being killed to little purpose, but what I’d like to draw your attention to, because it will be crucial to our understanding of Dawn of Justice, is its philosophy of drama. From Kevin Costner’s gusty goodbye to Zod’s sleeve-singeing swansong, so many moments in Man of Steel were contrived purely to yell ‘this is dramatic!’ at the audience without ever actually earning that impression. In Dawn of Justice this contrivance of the dramatic is amplified by orders of magnitude. There isn’t a single ‘dramatic moment’ that doesn’t exist purely to fulfil Snyder’s ends without means approach to drama; logic, significance, pacing, and character development be damned. If you thought the neck-snapping finale of Man of Steel was outrageously stupid, you know exactly what kind of idiocy awaits here.

The film opens with a flashback to a thing that has never been shown in a film before—that’s right, never!—Bruce Wayne’s parents being killed. Maybe this works for people who have never seen a Batman movie before but good god, in this version it is particularly silly. Adult Bruce monologues about things falling and having fallen in the falling fall of the fall that falls as Martha Wayne’s pearls, which are inexplicably wrapped around her attacker’s gun, fall (geddit? geddit? eh? eh?) to the ground in excruciating slow motion. This is the first of many, many ‘dramatic moments’ in the film which exist only for themselves. It would perhaps be not completely different, but significantly dissimilar nonetheless, if these were aesthetic moments which existed for themselves; many great and not-so-great films from all over the world feature moments in which they extrapolate and disentangle aesthetic beauty from their own drama for the simple purpose of expressing something beautiful. No, in Snyder’s filmworld the aesthetic is the body, the dramatic a sudden stabbing interpolation, inserted arbitrarily and retracted in much the same way; he puts the cart before the horse, the super before the hero. After all, a hero is so with or without powers, but a superhuman has yet to define themselves one way or the other. Appropriately then Snyder cuts from Bruce’s memories of mum, dad, and a hole full of bats, to adult Bruce, modelled on the apparently omnipresent spectre of Frank Miller’s middle-aged Batman, bearing witness to the events of Man of Steel so that we can see those awfully thrilling scenes in which Superman destroys local infrastructure to the tune of billions of dollars for no apparent reason in soft focus and from a different angle. Anyway, while in the distance a blue-and-red blob throws a dark grey blob around—or rather through—Metropolis, Bruce drives around in an SUV, also for no apparent reason, and then stumbles upon a handful of injured survivors, most of whom will never be seen or heard from again.

One of the major exceptions to the vanishing victims of Superman, and who even reappears a whole two times, is Guy With No Legs, hereafter referred to as ‘Guy’, a moniker which I’m sure will not become confusing at all. Guy is one of several people determined to wage war on Superman, and also the least well placed to do it. He has no powers, no gadgets, no weapons, no money, indeed he is just a guy with no legs, hence the name. If his wheelchair were a rocket-powered death machine with lasers and missiles then maybe, just maybe, he could cause Superman some small amount of pain and pause for thought, but alas. Guy has however mastered the art of parkour without legs, and so he climbs a monument to Superman and defaces it with graffiti. He is promptly arrested. Later he appears before a tribunal to testify against Superman, and then he, or someone else, literally explodes. It’s somewhat confusing, Senator Holly Hunter realises she has been drinking from a jar of piss, and then the room explodes. Said jar of piss was placed there somehow by Lex Luthor, who also spoke to Guy some time before the hearing. Was it Holly’s magical piss jar or was Guy’s wheelchair full of missiles after all? Well, that’s just one of those mysteries. Nothing in the film moves by some logic of human interactions, developments, whatever, only by the very much visible hand of the director moving his dolls about the scene on a whim. Yes, it has been a moment since something ‘dramatic’ happened, thus therefore ergo: an exploding jar of piss courtesy of Lex Luthor and the most lax government security known to mankind.

Now, you might be wondering why in the world I would devote so much time to a character whose defining feature is that he doesn’t have legs when the film has ‘Batman v Superman’ in the title, which on the surface at least promises far more interesting discussion. The reason is that, while Batman and Superman are undoubtedly more important characters in the narrative, Guy is a perfect example of the film’s and by extension Snyder’s dramatic philosophy. There’s no point talking about Batman or Superman or even Lex Luthor until you get your head around that basic problem. Guy did not appear in Man of Steel, and perhaps if we had had a scene in that film in which Guy suffers his terrible injury while Superman ignores his cries for help, we may have had some real dramatically compelling material. Instead he is only here now, and seemingly for the sole purpose of being found by Bruce. His later appearances hint at something more interesting than anything in the actual film, but we never get to see it, we are only told about it. And then he explodes and dies. Luthor exploits Guy’s anger and pain, which again we never really see the cause of, his plan with the explosive death by jar of piss seemingly to be to add to the growing public understanding that destruction inescapably follows in Superman’s wake, and to foment anti-superhuman sentiment more generally. It’s hard to believe, like The Dark Knight’s Harvey Dent falling for the edgy teen anarchism of the Joker, Guy taking Luthor’s bait, but once again we can perhaps assume that Snyder thought it best not to show the parts that establish why characters do stuff, after all that would only get in the way of the drama. Luthor speaks in outwardly pithy but typically meaningless soundbites—and okay, to be fair, so does basically everyone else in this movie—one of which is ‘[the oldest American lie] is that power can be innocent’. Now, you might be thinking this is an insightful comment on America as the world’s policeman, America the Superman to the common men of other nations, but no, that’s it, it ends there, and nothing else comes of it. Luthor, like so many characters in the film, constantly sidles up to some promised profoundity but never actually makes it all the way there, the plethora of platitudes thrown like confetti only serving to lay bare the meagreness of his, and by extension the film’s philosophy.

Lex Luthor truly is one of the worst portrayals of any character in a comic book movie, maybe even as bad as Jim Carrey in Batman Forever if not worse. It’s hard to tell if a bad serious performance is worse than a bad comedic performance. (By the way, why is it that it’s always a Batman movie?) It’s like Snyder handed Jesse Eisenberg a beer-stained napkin bearing only the words ‘eccentric billionaire’, winked, and then left without explaining anything, pretending on all subsequent meetings that he couldn’t hear Jesse asking questions because of a series of increasingly incredible obstructions to the ear. Eisenberg, who had previously portrayed Mark ‘Smoking These Meats’ Zuckerberg in The Social Network, could perhaps have stood to take some examples from actual eccentric billionaire behaviour, although I have to wonder how much of it was left up to him and how much of it was Snyder thinking that random noises, mythological references, and classical literary quotations made his version of Luthor appear sophisticated. In either case, Eisenberg learned a powerful lesson, I hope, which is that when life gives you lemons covered in shit, you’re going to make shit-flavoured lemonade. Nonetheless Eisenberg can’t be fully let off the hook, he did after all do everything necessary to make what ended up on screen happen with his performance. Snyder, since he somehow keeps getting work, needs to be surrounded at all times by people who are willing to tell him ‘no’, Eisenberg’s failure to do so here made the film even worse than it otherwise would have been. Granted, that’s not saying much, and to restate the point: Luthor’s lemonade, dark brown and pungent though it may be, is really only as bad as the lemons it’s made from.

Our two superlemons, Batman and Superman, are seemingly defined for Snyder by one thing: their mothers are both named Martha. The first time we hear the name is in the very beginning, as Thomas Wayne has some kind of a Rosebud moment after being shot. Later on Lex Luthor says ‘Martha Martha Martha’ and reveals to Superman that yes, he knows all his secrets, and is holding his mother hostage in a secret location! Worse yet, the location will only be revealed if Superman finds and kills Batman! If only there were some kind of superhero with super hearing who can move at supersonic speeds and who could locate Martha from many miles away and save her. Well, no such hero exists, and so Superman goes to find and kill Batman, who is intent on finding and killing Superman, because there was once a guy who had legs, and his name was Guy, and Guy has no legs now, and that means people with superpowers are evil. After having an idiot contest for what feels like an hour, Batman and Superman decide to try talking, discovering within seconds that it is a much better way of learning about and understanding each other. Thus a truce is arrived at, and Batman flies off to rescue Superman’s mum. For the life of me I can’t understand why. In the time it takes Batman to get into his plane, Superman could have flown in, taken her, and flown back. But I guess Bats has to do something. It’s perplexing that this is the thing Snyder has Batman do on screen when we see the aftermath of his one-man raid on LexCorp, which would undoubtedly have been far more entertaining to actually witness in full. Regardless, we do get to see Batman hit a thug into a wall so hard that a bloody smear trails the back of his head, and I think we can all agree that that’s what Batman is all about.

So Superman’s an idiot, and Batman’s a killer, is there anyone else who can maybe come to our aid? The Batcomputer saves the day with trailers for other DC heroes for some reason. It’s sort of like back in the old days when you’d get a free demo disc with your PlayStation game, except nothing on it is good. Credit where credit’s due though, Snyder was the best part of a decade ahead of Netflix’s free with ads subscription model. I’m not sure who in-universe put these videos together but their choice of footage needs some work. First off we get a few pictures of Wonder Woman, one of which is actually a pretty good looking facsimile of a photo from 1918, so props to whoever made that, you were a shining light in the darkness of this production. For some reason this one is on its own, while the other three, for Flash, Aquaman, and Cyborg respectively, are played together in one sequence. Even more confusingly, these three are shown from Wonder Woman’s perspective, who decides, as Lex Luthor’s Kryptonian monster maker machine knocks out Metropolis’s power grid, that now is the perfect time to watch videos with dramatic music on her laptop. Cut to Ezra Miller flashing (no, not like that, although I can see why you would think so) an armed robber while purchasing groceries; Aquaman veeeeery slooooowly destroying a camera; and Cyborg without legs pinned to a wall—more like Guyborg, ha ha ha. So they’ve got it all, a fast guy, a slow guy, a Guy guy, and add to that a gadget guy, an alien guy, and an Amazon guyrl. Only the last of these will actually make a real appearance here, but that’s fine because Justice League is next, yay! We also get an ad for an Injustice type storyline in which Lois Lane’s murder turns Superman into literally Hitler and Batman wears a trenchcoat over his Batsuit. I’m honestly not sure who’s worse between them in that scenario. Of course, the answer is always Zack Snyder, a man with the storytelling instinct of a ten year old playing with action figures and making boom zoom nyowww kapowww noises.

Throughout the film Superman is depicted as a Christ-like figure. Hordes of commoners reach out to touch him as if his glory will rub off on them and cure whatever malady—being human, perhaps—afflicts them, while authorities and systems of power view and treat him with suspicion at best and contempt at worst. Naturally the film ends with his death, a sacrifice to stop a much bigger threat, Doomsday, made by mixing Zod’s immaculately preserved corpse with Lex Luthor’s own blood in a giant bath filled with that sweet sweet lemonade in the aforementioned Kryptonian monster maker machine. Doomsday is basically Abomination from Marvel’s The Incredible Hulk, but I guess considerably more powerful since Superman can’t beat him alone. For some reason Wonder Woman, who has been lurking around disguised as a mere human lady for most of the movie, decides that now is the time to do something about stuff, and decides that a good way to do something about stuff is to barely use her powers. Ultimately a Kryptonite-tipped spear fashioned by Batman saves the day, but Superman must be pierced by it also. There was no way anyone could have just circled around a bit and pierced Doomsday through the side or something. Well of course not, you mocker, you naysayer, you clown, you doofus! If they did that then it wouldn’t be a patented Snyder ‘dramatic moment’™! And really what are we all here for if not unearned pathos and pseudo-poetic ramblings to no purpose? Regardless, we discover in the final shot that Superman isn’t actually dead so none of that mattered anyway. And that’s the Snyder philosophy of drama, baby. If you don’t like it you can leave!

Reviewing the extended cut of this film, having to actually acknowledge it as an experience that I had, to think and write about it, has been one of the most unpleasant passages of time in my life, I’m quite sure. And I’m only employing trace amounts of hyperbole when I say that. Three hours of morons reciting terrible dialogue that manages somehow to be both platitudinous and vague at the same time. A foetid smorgasbord of almost random and very much pointless scenes half of which could very easily be cut down for a 90 minute experience that, while still mind-boggling in its stupidity, would at least be over much faster. Last but not least, iconic characters who basically perform the function of action figures to be posed to little or no purpose. And I suppose that’s really the problem. There is no point. You could make the case that maybe that’s the film’s argument, that we are doomed to misunderstand and quarrel with each other over stupid things and that even superbeings from other worlds who possess the power of gods are marked by this frailty as well, but my point is not that Bats ‘n’ Supes should have realised that the real Dawn of Justice was the friends we made along the way, but that Snyder should have had some artistic point that he was aiming at, around which the characters and plots coalesced into some unified vision. It simply doesn’t happen, it’s not there. I’ve seen this film twice in different cuts and neither time did I recognise any sort of understanding on the part of the director of what he thought he was doing. His ad hoc justifications after the fact can only be a balm to those who are already predisposed to agree with him, children in adult bodies for whom action figures are not toys but symbols of something deeper which they are tragically and perfectly incapable of articulating. Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice was made by an idiot for idiots. It is a gigantic, steaming, reeking pile of shit, full of lemons.

Philosophy, Religion & Society / Re: UK General Election, 4 July 2024
« on: July 03, 2024, 11:12:02 AM »
An estimated couple of days left until Rishi packs his bags and buggers off to California.

Things to look forward to:
  • George Galloway and Nigel Farage trolling the Commons and each other
  • Most Tory bigwigs losing their seats
  • The most complacent Labour government in history
  • The impending failure of Labour leading to a Tory-like decline and the rise of smaller left parties five years from now???

Philosophy, Religion & Society / UK General Election, 4 July 2024
« on: May 22, 2024, 06:24:15 PM »
He could have waited out the year to see what, if anything, would happen that might make the Tories' inevitable defeat less absolute, but he decided the kamikaze option was the right one for whatever reason. Possibly he's looking forward to an early retirement in the US.

My biggest concern for some time now has been a Labour government without an effective opposition. If the polling is accurate then complacency will be the defining characteristic of Starmer's time in No 10.

Lastly I'm not sure if the date is supposed to be some sort of stunt because muh independence but it certainly seems a touch Boris.

Philosophy, Religion & Society / Re: Man or bear?
« on: May 10, 2024, 11:55:35 PM »
I'd prefer it to be a moose. I feel like a moose and I could just let each other be. There would be an unspoken understanding between us that its mooseness and my humanness present no legitimate potential for conflict. Thus harmony prevails.

Praise the moose.

Arts & Entertainment / Re: Now Playing (the Video Game Version)
« on: March 31, 2024, 06:25:29 PM »
Cyberpunk 2077 is presentationally fantastic but kind of boring to actually play. For the first few hours I approached it as an FPS, but it became obvious when I decided to try using my PS5 controller that it's a console action game that just happens to be played primarily in first person perspective. I've been warming to it since then, although the generous aimbot assist only really serves to make the garbage gunplay tolerable rather than fun. One thing I will say is just moving around the city feels nice, especially with the adaptive triggers and finer steering control making the driving much smoother and more responsive, although the experience is kind of barren in terms of non-mission content, even compared to now-ancient games like San Andreas.

Arts & Entertainment / Re: Now Playing (the Video Game Version)
« on: March 18, 2024, 03:38:35 PM »
I've been playing Insomniac's Spider-Man game and it's mostly quite good, please enjoy some fragmented and poorly organised complaints. My excuse is I have a really bad cold and my head feels like it's stuck in a vice.

They really nailed the fluidity of the movement, though sometimes combat feels a bit unwieldy compared especially to the two major Arkham sequels, which have a more intuitive combat flow, especially with the quick gadgets button combos. Spidey will often target random other enemies during a combo without any directional input for no apparent reason, so instead of taking out the enemy I just knocked to the floor, he will suddenly turn around and target someone completely different with the rapid web shots. Being able to take some enemies out immediately by webbing them to a wall or floor is cool though, and not having a head-on fight with gun-wielding enemies be an automatic death sentence does give it something that the Arkham games always lacked.

Speaking of stealth, the MJ/Miles sections suck ass. Yeah I really want to have the character who can run up walls and cover all of Manhattan in a matter of minutes by swinging from skyscrapers taken away from me so that I can slowly fumble around as an ordinary person while armed guards with extremely selective cones of vision and radii of hearing fart about in silly obstacle courses like a bunch of potatoes with legs.

The movement is the best part of the game, and the size of the map complements it really well, although some of the collectathon stuff gets incredibly silly very quickly. You'll be on your way to a main objective and Spidey will just blurt out "hey look a pigeon lol" as if he doesn't have something more urgent to take care of. Some stuff can again be a little awkward, particularly interacting with walls in any way other than freerunning. Not jumping against a wall and immediately sticking to it is just weird, as is having to manually aim to shoot up to the ceiling. Ceiling and wall geometries can also be extremely fucky to negotiate; I don't care if it's more realistic, the environment should be built around accommodating Spider-Man as much as possible. The Tony Hawk games have always had ridiculous nonsense geometry because it's fun to have fun things even if they aren't faithful to the real world locations the levels are modelled on.

One final complaint is that for an open world game it feels super on-rails a lot of the time. Sometimes you finish an objective and then have nothing to do, but then literally one minute or less later someone will call you and tell you where to go next. I'm not sure what a good solution to this is, since there's nothing worse than having to complete minigames and sidequests to get the next piece of the main story, but it feels as though Insomniac didn't quite know which direction they wanted to go in with some of this stuff.

Again, overall I think the game is pretty good so far and it does a good job of living up to the fantasy of being your friendly neighbourhood Spider-Man, but a solid chunk of it is comprised of really fucking annoying shit put in seemingly at random.

Arts & Entertainment / Re: Now Playing (the Video Game Version)
« on: March 05, 2024, 01:24:35 PM »
Hot take since I finally got around to it. The only good thing about Dragon's Dogma is being able to pick up and throw people. That provided about ten minutes of solid entertainment.

Arts & Entertainment / Re: Superhero Movies & Comics General
« on: December 28, 2023, 10:53:10 AM »
I get that Nolan and Snyder are close friends and of course he's going to want to say something nice about his bro, but why would he say something so weirdly specific and so blatantly, obviously untrue?
Chris is a hack.

Arts & Entertainment / Re: Now Playing (the Video Game Version)
« on: September 25, 2023, 10:13:01 PM »
I still don't agree with Crudblud, and I think he's being a bit pedantic in his last response to me, but I'm willing to let it lie rather than seem like I'm swooping in just to get the last word or whatever.
I was secretly hoping you'd bait me by posting something to which I'd have to spend entirely too much time thinking about how to respond, thereby dashing my dreams of academic success. Alas, sadaam'd once again!

Arts & Entertainment / Re: Now Playing (the Video Game Version)
« on: September 21, 2023, 08:23:11 AM »
i watched the dunkey review for ac69 and realized i probably dont need to play this game and that sadaam is really and truly terrible at video games
dunkey is a retard who optimises the fun out of the game, if you liked Sekiro you'll like AC6

Arts & Entertainment / Re: Now Playing (the Video Game Version)
« on: September 20, 2023, 08:03:43 PM »
No, it doesn't. You can piece together the basics of what Coral is after a few missions, but that's not the same thing as having been told from the beginning. Your knowledge does not apply retroactively.
I'm failing to see what the difference is between "the beginning" and "after a few missions", given that the game has quite a lot of missions. Furthermore, how does one "piece together" information one has not received?

Characters regularly say things to you like "Intercept this corporation excavating the Coral in this region," "This place has been untouched since the Fires of Iblis," or "The PCA have shown up, get rid of them."
Two of those are telling you what the objective is, and the one that isn't is again coming from the character who most views 621 as a human and an equal, and who is forthcoming with information in many notable instances.

This whole total-immersion idea is simply wrong. Throughout the game, we see a number of conversations that Walter has with other characters (particularly Carla) that 621 clearly isn't present for
I never said "total-immersion", I said that it puts you in the position (or "shoes") of 621. This is not the same thing as being 621, but is a fairly simple device through which empathy with a non-speaking cipher character can be built.

Incidentally, I think your assessment of Walter is pretty harsh. Yes, he has his own agenda that he isn't telling 621 about, and yes, he would sacrifice 621 just like the other augmented humans he's worked with, but he doesn't  view them as a "hound" or a mindless tool to be kept ignorant at all. His secrets are very specific ones - namely, the true nature of the Coral and his ultimate plan for it. Otherwise, he's free with his information and quick to brief you about whom you're fighting with, whom you're fighting against, etc., and he lets you choose rather than give you orders whenever you have your choice of missions or face an important decision in the middle of a mission.
Walter's respect for 621 as a human being only begins to show near the end of the first playthrough. The options you refer to start turning up around the same time, maybe a little earlier. In any case most of them are not available until NG+/++ anyway, and the same goes for the mid-mission choices you can make (I'm pretty sure the stealth mission features the only one in NG, and Walter is not present for that one).

Somewhat related: It's possible to speculate regarding the extent to which the differences in the NG+/++ cycles' opening dialogues, the additional choices etc. are indicative of Walter and 621 having already built a solid professional relationship, and whether those subsequent cycles are alternate timelines or simply cheeky nods to being in a video game—of the sort we tended to see in games of a prior era, to which AC6 can be considered a kind of throwback.

Somewhat less related but cool: It seems that Walter is the son of the Institute researcher who first experimented with Coral and human augmentation, and at some point this research was directly responsible for the death of Walter's mother. Walter doesn't really understand the true nature of Coral, he has never made contact*, he sees Coral as a purely destructive force which will wipe out humanity if it is allowed to continue existing.

*in the final mission for the Liberator ending, Walter appears to have made contact of a sort through Coral augmentation (which he was subjected to while a prisoner of Arquebus, and which enables him to pilot the manned Ibis model) and is thus able to "see" the voices standing alongside 621

Okay, we'll just agree to disagree on the tutorial boss. I had never heard of anyone not using melee attacks to stagger the boss, but I probably just suck at the game.
You beat the game and got all the endings, I don't think anyone can claim you suck at the game. But I think we pretty much all sucked when we first faced that damned helicopter.

As for agreeing to disagree, the academic year technically hasn't even started yet and my reading is already piling up. So I'm afraid this will be my last contribution for the time being. It's been fun, and I look forward to butting heads once more when Shadow of the Erdtree comes out.

P.S.: Rejoice! There are (cosmetic) mods that turn Kusabimaru into the Moonlight Katana. I looked it up just for you!

Arts & Entertainment / Re: Now Playing (the Video Game Version)
« on: September 16, 2023, 11:22:32 PM »
But this is so broad and generic that it tells us nothing useful. You could use it to describe - or defend - any game's tutorial elements, no matter how dubious they are. Let's be more specific here. There's basically only one way to beat the tutorial boss, right? You have to close the distance and use your melee attacks to stun it, leaving it vulnerable for you to do some real damage to it. This is far from an ideal strategy, as the boss is fairly mobile, can "outrun" your assault boosts by flying away from you, and regularly travels out of bounds where you can't follow it, but nevertheless, that's really the only thing you can do. And this never happens again. You are never forced to fight a boss one specific way and with one specific build again in the game. In every other boss fight, and in fact in every other mission save for one (mercifully free of a boss fight), you're entirely free to modify your mech how you want with the equipment available to you. So this boss fight is a bizarre, entirely unique experience as far as boss fights go, not at all representative of the experience or in any way preparing players for what comes next.
I used the missiles and the gun to wear down the helicopter's ACS bar and then boosted in to do heavy melee damage once the helicopter was locked out of moving. Most bosses are highly mobile and capable of outrunning or outpacing you, the helicopter is hardly unique in that respect. Not being able to customise the AC you're given also makes sense in that you're literally crash landing on the planet, Walter seemingly having had just enough resources to get you there, where your first job is to steal a licence from a dead pilot. This is not a well-funded operation, and until you start earning credits what little you have is all you have. In this way, the game puts you in 621's shoes from the very beginning.

I'm not saying that either 621 or the player should right off the bat know all the arcane secrets of Coral or Rubicon, but they should know the basics. 621 should already know them - not have to be briefed on them by the other characters, but already know them (which the other characters seem to assume they do, anyway) - and the player should be told them via exposition. The game never tells you what Coral is, which is about as basic a detail about this setting as you can get. When I say "the game," I mean the game in its entirety, not simply the other characters in the game, and when I say "you," I mean you, the player, not simply 621, the player character. Can you piece it together after a few missions, sure, just like if you miss the first twenty minutes of a movie you'll probably still be able to figure out who the main character is and what the conflict of the movie is about. That's not the same thing as timely, effective exposition.
The game makes it pretty clear that Coral is a resource that exists on Rubicon, and that various factions make or want to make use of it for different things. Since the story is almost exclusively told through your interactions with those factions, you learn what Coral is to them, not what it is in itself, and really only the NG++ endgame delves into the true nature of Coral. Other characters don't assume you already know what it is, and again most of them either don't care if you know anything, don't want you to know anything, or hardly know anything about it themselves. Like I said, the game puts you in the place of 621, that's precisely why the character is just a number with an extremely vague history. Nonetheless you are given plenty of information as you progress through the game, just like most other games, though in this case the information and depth of understanding builds over two NG+ cycles. Maybe I'm misunderstanding exactly what it is you wanted the game to give you right off the bat, but I have a feeling we've just about hit a brick wall here.

I somehow messed up the name in my second post, despite getting it right in the first one. It's Planetary Closure Administration. Derp. Anyway, there's nothing unambiguous about them being Space NATO. That's just a guess on your part. A sensible one that I'd agree with, but still just a guess. It wouldn't have been difficult to include a quick explanation in the game of who they were to save us the trouble of having to guess. Incidentally, you know which faction isn't a complete mystery? RaD. Because with them, the game actually took the time to explain who they were. Instead of just saying, "Oh, look, here comes RaD, doing RaD things," they included a few lines of dialogue introducing us to them. That's all they needed to do. Ideally, I'd prefer a codex full of information that the player can peruse at their leisure, because I like lore lore lore, but they didn't really need to include that to do their job as far as exposition goes. They just needed one or two lines at the right moment to give us context for what's going on.
It's technically a guess in that the game doesn't say "hey look it's Space NATO lol" but it's essentially spelled out for you. As for RaD, first consider who briefs us on that mission, and then consider why that character might be forthcoming with kinds of information that others like Walter wouldn't. It all fits together with what I've been saying about how, when, why, and by whom information is given to the player.

My AC is better than yours, though! I'll kick your ass in PvP! What weapons did you use? I used dual gatling guns (DF-GA-08 Hu-Ben) and dual stun needle launchers (VE-60SNA).
I've experimented quite a bit with builds of varying complexity. The most extreme one used a left hand weapon bay to alternate between two melee weapons (Pulse Blade and Pile Bunker iirc), while the right arm had a Zimmerman shotgun and a ten cell shoulder missile launcher. Right now I'm using a very simple set-up of two RF-025 Scudders and two four cell missile launchers with a fast lock-on FCS. I still haven't tried the PvP, mainly because From's PvP is usually absolute trash, but sure that might be fun.

That's not good enough! It should have been a proper usable sword for the player. Even Ninja Blade had that, and that's the game you'd get if you asked David Cage to make Devil May Cry. I have heard that Déraciné also doesn't have that sword, but as far as I can tell, nobody has ever actually played Déraciné, so there's really no way to confirm.
I guess that would give games journalists the easy mode they wanted, though I can't imagine From would just let players grab it in the Ashina Outskirts. As for Déraciné, yeah I've never really heard anything about it either. It was a very small project and I think VR was still more or less in its infancy at the time, so I don't doubt very few people played it. Apparently it debuted with around 3000 sales in Japan, which is very small for an exclusive from a well known studio on a popular console in an extremely console dominated market. Also it would appear that it has no combat, so your hopes are dashed once again.

Arts & Entertainment / Re: Now Playing (the Video Game Version)
« on: September 15, 2023, 01:56:07 PM »
I've now completed Armored Core VI with a few days left before intro week starts at uni. The unique/alt NG+ and NG++ missions are fantastic, and the final ending is beautiful. 10/10

Arts & Entertainment / Re: Now Playing (the Video Game Version)
« on: September 12, 2023, 02:35:19 PM »
That design philosophy is so vague as to be bordering on useless. Like, I could say the same thing about Super Mario 64. The abrupt transition from the wide-open Bob-omb's Battlefield to the largely vertical Whomp's Fortress, a level full of narrow spaces and moving platforms, provides a severe early lesson to the player: adapt or die! Seriously, though, the tutorial boss is nothing like the rest of the game. There's only one feasible way to beat it, and the player has no other option if they're having trouble than to git gud. That's objectively just not how the rest of the bosses play out. It's not until several levels after the tutorial that you're presented with another boss, and by then, you have plenty of options to switch out parts and weapons or even try a new strategy. I won't claim to know exactly what this game's design philosophy is, but it certainly isn't "just keep doing the exact same thing until you get it right."
I didn't say "just keep doing the exact same thing until you get it right" so I'm not sure why you brought that up. In any case, the boss isn't about "git gud", it's literally just "apply the techniques we have shown you already". It's like teaching a child about basic shapes and then, as a test, handing them a square peg and making sure they understand that it doesn't fit into a round hole. The "adapt or die" part is that Souls players have to learn that they can't i-frame dodge through attacks, the game doesn't work that way. I should have worded it better, so that's my fault. But essentially my point is that From is aware of its core player base, and that AC6 is something quite different from what that audience is used to, so they must indeed "adapt or die".

I should have been clearer about this in my previous post, but I think the story itself is fine. It's really just the lore and background details I take issue with. The biggest example of this is Coral. The game's plot revolves around Coral, literally every faction in the game is primarily motivated by Coral, and every character in this setting knows all about Coral and how important it is. And yet the game never actually explains any of this to the player. Sure, you'll eventually piece it together as the missions go by, but that doesn't retroactively mean that the game's exposition was effective all along. The same thing applies to the Fires of Iblis. And the Planetary Control Alliance is especially galling, because it's never made clear who exactly these guys are - before, during, or after the entirety of the game. There is no narrative benefit to this game being vague and uncommunicative on basic details regarding the setting that every character knows and the player should also know. They could have begun the game with a cutscene giving the relevant information, they could have given the player a codex to peruse, or they could have worked the details into the game's early dialogue. Again, this is a minor point overall, but it's still a misstep on From's part, and I'm convinced that it came about because they just figured that what worked well for the Souls series and its related games would also work well for this game - much like the tutorial boss.
It’s quite simple. Most characters and factions you encounter don’t know really anything about coral besides its capacity for weaponisation. The characters that do know about it have their reasons for concealing that knowledge, but more broadly you aren’t really told much of anything because of how the world sees you. You aren’t seen as a person, they call you a dog or a hound and they mean precisely that. You exist to follow orders as far as they’re concerned, and the less you know about what you’re doing or why, the better. As Walter says, “it’s just a job 621. All of it.” There is no conceivable in-universe reason for anyone—besides Ayre, who sees you as something more than just a tool, and who does actually tell you quite a lot about the nature of the coral—to give you information beyond what is strictly required for you to do the job.

Also, while it’s true that even less detail than usual is given regarding the PCA (Planetary Closure Authority), it’s pretty unambiguously Space NATO. They established a hold on Rubicon some time after the cataclysm to keep the coral-hungry corporations and other groups from gaining access to Institute City and the coral convergence.

Looking back on my post now, I was definitely generalizing. It was because of Balteus that I joined Team Tank and never looked back. I lost to that boss at least twenty times with a light build because I couldn't avoid enough of its constant barrages of attacks to stay alive for very long. I then switched to a heavy tank build and took the boss down on my second or third try. It was like flipping on a light switch. It may be my lack of skill with a light build that led to me dying so much at first, but it certainly wasn't my incredible skill with a heavy build that led to me then beating the boss with relative ease - it was the fact that using a heavy build was simply a far easier and more effective way of handling that fight. So I will maintain that boss incentivizes a heavy build, but I never really took the time to try experimenting with other builds for the rest of the game, with the one exception being the Ibis battle. You cannot tank its attacks no matter how much of a beast you've created, so I had to slim my build down and use the wheelchair treads to give me the speed to evade its attacks.
I think one of the great strengths of the game is that the amount of gear available lets you tailor your mech almost perfectly to a design that suits how you feel comfortable playing. If a tank with heavy weapons is what suits you, go for it. I personally found the tank leg parts difficult to control, so I went with reverse-jointed legs for high evasive capability.

Sekiro doesn't even have a version of the Moonlight Sword! How hard could it have been to work that in to a game about a swordsman?
It isn't named in-game but the Divine Dragon uses it, complete with projectile attacks.

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