Shadow of Mordor — or why I should retire from open world action games

One of the most intriguing games to come out in the past decade, and one of the major reasons I looked forward to getting a PS4, is Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor. The major draw for the game is what is called the Nemesis System. This feature creates an extra level of drama for the player outside of the main story. Interactions with the enemies become more meaningful because each encounter actually means something. Uruk, basically the bosses of the orcs, have procedurally generated features and names as well as strengths and weaknesses. You learn of these weaknesses by interrogating random orcs, and you can exploit the weaknesses in battle. However, if you defeat an Uruk, it does not mean the Uruk is completely out of the game. You may scar them, and your means of defeating them may no longer work in the next fight. Defeated Uruk may show up during one of your missions and call you out for defeating them last time — or for running away. Later in the game, you may send orcs back to them to make death threats, powering up the Uruk (resulting in a better loot drop) and giving them something else to yell at you about when you fight them. This is a fascinating feature of the game that I’m sure I’ll return to from time to time. Continue reading “Shadow of Mordor — or why I should retire from open world action games”


Young Justice: Outsiders can’t set a pace [insert Flash joke here]

The announcement of Young Justice: Outsiders was the one thing that made me think the DC Universe streaming service might be worth a purchase. Considering its price and how much other content it offers that fails to excite me, that’s saying something. I ended up getting to share an account, and the only thing I’ve spent any time looking at on the service was YJ:O. I was a huge fan of the previous two seasons. Without the standards and practices of the Cartoon Network — and most notably network executives who were disappointed with the show’s appeal to girls and women — controlling the content, maybe this could be great.

It was good; it wasn’t great. Continue reading “Young Justice: Outsiders can’t set a pace [insert Flash joke here]”

About Spider-Man, Sony, and Disney

There is notably quite a bit of disappointment about a publicly shared business decision over the current generation of Spider-Man films. Sony and Disney could not come to an agreement about shared production of the films, resulting in Tom Holland’s Spider-Man series henceforth no longer being included in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Not only does this mean that Spidey will no longer be rubbing elbows with the collective of characters officially considered Avengers in the last two major MCU films, it also means that Spider-Man’s cast of foes will not be incorporated into the greater Cinematic Universe as well. And to be completely honest, it’s disappointing that Norman Osborne — the Green Goblin — may not get to move in and become an incredible Earth-based enemy for the world’s mightiest heroes.

At the same time, so what? Continue reading “About Spider-Man, Sony, and Disney”

Is GLOW losing it’s, uh…. Is GLOW beginning to fade?

I wish this image had Carmen front and center. She really is the heart of the group.

Full disclosure: I was a pro-wrestling fan for about 12 years of my life — from about 1993 to 2005. Shortly after I got into wrestling, I got into the internet (AOL) and found myself reading about the world of wrestling outside of the ring. Not only was there fun action and drama in the ring, but there was plenty outside of the ring as well. The younger version of me found it entertaining that there was politicking and power games in the wrestling offices, and I played right into the hands of the “Monday Night Wars.” The wrestling business was a trip. Continue reading “Is GLOW losing it’s, uh…. Is GLOW beginning to fade?”

Spider-Man PS4 is Tedious

I love the comic book suit, but it stands out sooo much.

“The story is the best part,” is something that I personally don’t like saying as a compliment about video games. Yes, I am someone who values a good story, but that’s not something that should be valued most in a video game. The game play is the thing. And despite the fact that there is a surprisingly well written Spider-Man story that incorporates so many villains into a fairly coherent plot, most of the time the player spends in Spider-Man (PS4) is in all of the other stuff.

The other stuff is traversing the city and combat. Continue reading “Spider-Man PS4 is Tedious”

Does Veronica Mars transition well into adulthood?

Remember in the original series when Veronica wasn’t supposed to be in places like this?

It’s a shame that the focus the show Veronica Mars has received over the past couple of weeks has been on a moment in the final episode in the new limited series. It was unexpected and perhaps a bit too much even for people who weren’t fans of that particular character, but it was only a thin sliver of season 4. As a long time fan, I have to say that Veronica Mars has never been about moments. It has always been about a bigger picture. A bigger mystery. A season rather than an episode. And the darker world the protagonist discover beneath the sunny vail of Neptune, California. Continue reading “Does Veronica Mars transition well into adulthood?”

Tuca & Bertie forever

There was something remarkable about Netflix’s initial announcement of Tuca & Bertie. It wasn’t simply that it was releasing a surrealist cartoon upon on the world. It was that they were releasing an animated series made both for and by adult women. This is something you don’t get in this world of Rick and Morty and Bojack Horseman. Even though women appreciate animation just as much as men, they don’t get cartoons made for them. At best they get shows directed toward a younger crowd that might have themes that speak to them — like Stephen Universe or She-Ra. Continue reading “Tuca & Bertie forever”