Video Games in Review: PS4 Spider-Man

Sony and Marvel’s Spider-Man is an exclusive title for the PS4 released earlier this fall, to great reviews. It’s far from the first Spider-Man game, of course-a series which has spawned some great games in the past (The ps1’s two games of course, and the much celebrated Spider-Man 2 movie-based game) as well as some more iffy ones. It’s also Marvel’s first major console release based entirely on their heroes in a while (There was the crossover game Marvel vs. Capcom infinite, however).

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Like most games these days, Spider-Man has an open world-although a familiar one, Manhattan, which of course has many of the existing landmarks-Times Square, the Empire State building, central park but also some unique buildings as well, such as Avengers tower and of course the many Oscorp facilities. Like many other open world games, there’s of course multiple easter eggs, challenges, side missions, skill trees, towers that reveal more of the map’s visibility etc. and unlockable suits and upgrades (unfortunately, Spider-Man’s black costume-the one closely associated with 80’s Spider-Man and later Venom-is not yet available, although there are plenty of others, including Spider-Man’s Marvel cinematic universe looks.

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The game’s use of combat and gadgets is a bit like the Batman arkham series, although Spider-Man’s webswinging is much more smoother and free than Batman’s grappling, and pretty much a number of the gadgets are based on Spider-Man’s webbing (with a few exceptions). Also, while fast travel is an option in the game (Which leads to some funny scenes of Spider-man taking the subway trains), Spidey’s web swinging is fast and efficient way of getting around as well-and far more scenic.

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The game also has a number of logic puzzles, although these can be skipped.

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One thing that might disappoint gamers is that some of the game’s largest action sequences are somewhat dependent on “QTES” (Quicktime events)-where one has to press a button quickly in order for a certain action to happen, and there isn’t much freedom of movement. However, it doesn’t happen that often and the rest of the gameplay more than makes up for it.

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The game also has a fun photo mode where Spidey can be posed. There’s also side missions where Spider-Man can photograph landmarks, although he’s not doing it for the Bugle….(more on that later).

 

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Naturally of course, the game has Spidey’s witty banter.

 

The game-set in it’s own Spider-Man “Universe” of sorts-draws inspiration from a number of Spider-Man sources. Like most of the games and current comics, Spider-Man has been established in the city for nearly a decade, although certain parts of his ‘world’ have yet to form. The main plotline is sort of heavily based on the “Brand New Day” storyline from the comics, which largely revamped Spider-Man after his marriage and revealed identity was wiped away in order to save Aunt May (Long-and controversial-story there).

 

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Brand New Day attempted to give Spider-Man fresh new villains, allies, and even girlfriends. One of them was Martin Li-who, outwardly is a philanthropist and runs the FEAST center, a homeless shelter where Aunt May volunteers (May here, like in most recent Spider-Man adaptations and the “Ultimate” comics, is portrayed here as middle aged as opposed to her regular comic incarnation, who is often seen as quite elderly and frail, although that’s also been modified a bit in recent years)

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Li however is also Mr. Negative, a gangster who has “negative ” powers to influence others, and runs a gang known as the demons.

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This particular Spider-Man also works well with the Police force, with his main ally being Yuri Watanabe, another “Brand new Day” character. Although comics Yuri eventually becomes a vigilante herself, while Spidey’s relationship with her here is a bit more like his relationship with the late Jean Dewolff in the comics, except maybe a bit more harmonious (although Yuri does find him a bit annoying).

 

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In something that seems a bit borrowed from the movie Spider-Man 2. Peter is working under a seemingly benign Otto Octavius as his lab assistant and protege (although they have a much closer relationship here than in that film) instead of his usual Daily Bugle photographer job (Peter quit the bugle after J Jonah Jameson started attacking Spider-Man; something he still does via podcast in one of the game’s fun easter eggs). Of course this all works out as much as you’d expect….

 

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Li and Octavius also have a bone to pick with Norman Osborn-here, not yet the Green Goblin, but actually mayor of NYC. Naturally of course he has some deep, dark secrets.

 

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Other members of spider-man’s rogues gallery also have part to play-the game begins with Spider-Man taking down the Kingpin (which also unfortunately leads to a power vacuum for Li to take control of the criminal underworld).

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and of course the Sinister six (with Li among it’s number, as well as another character I won’t spoil.)

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Shocker and the Taskmaster also have small roles in the game as well.

Of course there are several other allies apart from Yuri and Aunt May. Mary Jane is in the game, although she’s more the “girl next door” type seen in the Raimi films (well, to start at least) and the Ultimate comics…

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…rather than the supermodel/party girl from the mainstream comics.

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In fact, she’s actually a reporter for the bugle, quite different from many of her other incarnations.

The game also has Miles Morales, who first appeared as the second Ultimate Spider-Man, but in 2015 became part of the regular Marvel Universe after the Secret Wars event, and is now popular enough he’s getting his own starring role in an animated movie.

 

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Both characters are playable for short sections of the game-mostly involving stealth, as in this game, they don’t have super powers (…yet).

Overall, Spider-Man PS4 is a fantastic game, one that’s sure to please fans and gamers alike, and the best Marvel game in quite a while.

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Star Trek: Picard speculation

 

 

 

So a month ago or so it was announced that CBS digital will be releasing their second Star Trek series- this time, focused on Captain Picard, once again played by Patrick Stewart, and presumably following the events of Star Trek nemesis.

When we last saw Picard, he had just survived battling his young clone Shinzon, a battle which cost the life of his android crewmember Data. In addition, with the exception of Geordi and Worf, Picard’s senior crew largely left, with Riker and Troi-now married-assuming control of the USS Titan and Crusher heading Starfleet medical on Earth. While certainly some novels have covered Picard after Nemesis, it’s important to realize that Star Trek has never really embraced the novels as canon (although occasionally some stuff gets in the series/films, ditto with Star Wars) and anything can really be overwritten.

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For instance, remember the DC comics where Kirk was given command of the Excelsior after Star Trek III? The comics eventually put a huge reset button on things by the time of Star Trek IV which started with the characters pretty much exactly where they were at the end of III (Basically, Spock’s memories got screwed up again due to a virus, Kirk defied orders and lost the Excelsior, and flew back to Vulcan in the BOP again)

 

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This pretty much left Picard with a mostly new crew, although he still of course was in command of the Enterprise-E. It’s possible this new series will deal in some way with Picard still in command of the ship somehow, or maybe somehow losing his command? In Generations, he’s given some advice by Kirk-don’t make a mistake and let them promote you to an admiral position that requires giving up the ship (This is pretty much Kirk’s main arc in the TOS movies-especially in The Wrath of Khan).

 Don’t let them promote you. Don’t let them transfer you. Don’t let them do *anything* that takes you off the bridge of that ship, because while you’re there… you can make a difference.

 

 

 

Maybe he’s stuck with it (hence also why a less experienced Captain like Janeway made Admiral but he didn’t-she didn’t get the same advice, perhaps?)

There’s one major change in the TNG-era “prime” universe that I haven’t actually seen a lot of discussion about: Romulus. Although Star Trek ’09 and it’s sequelsof course is set in an alternate Star Trek timeline, it’s one formed from a crossover from the “prime” one-where Nero and the older Nimoy Spock come from. And Romulus was destroyed by a supernova. Given that Nemesis dealt in part with possible peace with the Romulans, it’s possible this new series will, in part, deal with the vacuum left by the loss of a key galactic power. (The Star Trek online video game did cover part of this, basically having the whole thing wind up with the Federation in another war with the Klingons, but once again, not canon).

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It’s curious that in ‘real time’ it’s been 24 years since TNG’s TV finale, “All good things”, which depicted a possible future in roughly the same amount of time for Picard in which he’s working on his vineyard and seems to be developing a possible senility, and the crew have drifted apart. However, a lot of this future was sort of a test by Q, so probably not that real. (Also, it showed an alternate TNG past set during “Farpoint” which didn’t cause any paradoxes in the present).

 

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One other thing that could happen with the series is that maybe we’ll see some more of the old TNG crew-maybe even Data, who uploaded his mind to an identical android, the prototype B-4 (although it’s implied he could become his own individual) so like with Spock in TWOK, there’s a ‘loophole’ to bring him back that way (and of course the comics and novels have followed up with this). And of course the TNG crew seem open for a reunion. Frakes of course is still involved heavily in Star Trek; he’s directing the Discovery series as well. Maybe he’ll even direct an episode of the Picard series!

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Doctor Who History-Thirteen Times a Lady

Strange things are going on in Sheffeld. A disabled young man, Ryan, who struggles with coordination, gets so frustrated trying to ride a bike that he chucks it down a hill, much to the disappointment of his grandmother, Grace, and her husband, Graham. While looking for the bike, he notices some strange lights, which he touches, and suddenly a strange, gumdrop-shaped thing pops up. He seeks out the police, and the officer sent happens to be a former classmate of his, Yasmin Kahn,

 

Meanwhile, Graham and Grace are heading home on the train, but soon get attacked by a strange, tentacled mechanism of some kind.

 

Enter the Doctor, who falls through the top of the train and stops the creature, but not before it implants something in all of their necks.

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Yasmin and Ryan arrive on the scene, and the Doctor-who is still recovering from her regeneration and doesn’t remember her name but still takes charge anyway-tries to investigate things. She learns about the gumdrop thing, but the object seems to have vanished. It’s been taken by a guy named Rahul, who has been waiting for it, as he believes it might’ve had something to do with the loss of his sister.

The Doctor, in the meanwhile, passes out as she’s still going through her regeneration cycle and still healing. Taken to Graham and Grace’s house, she hacks Ryan’s phone when she wakes up, and uses the implant to help track the pod’s source. However, they arrive too soon for Rahul, as the creature inside the pod has awakened and killed him, as well as taken one of his teeth.

Using the equipment in the warehouse where the pod was taken, the Doctor is able to develop a new sonic screwdriver (although she admits due to it’s abilities it’s more of a sonic swiss army knife). Getting a tip from one of Graham’s friends, they then track down the tentacled creature. The Doctor thinks it’s perhaps a war between two alien species.

It’s not-the tentacled creature is actually a tool of the alien that ‘hatched’-Tzim Sha, a kind of sick alien hunter who has decided to hunt a random human-Karl, a crane operator,from the train (although he’s also killed Rahul, a random guy who threw salad at him, the train operator, and soon a security guard).

 

As he teleports out, the Doctor and the others figure out where Karl works and try to save him, climbing the crane. The Doctor confronts Tzim-Sha (Or “Tim Shaw”) as she calls him-and finally remembers her name/title. She reveals she managed to get the implants-small bombs-out of her friends, and she detonates them. Tzim Sha presses a recall device, sending him back to his planet (Possibly not dead, but kind of messed up anyway).

However, there’s still that coil monster to deal with, and Grace manages to stop it by electrocuting it. Unfortunately, this causes her to fall from the crane to her death. The Doctor, Graham, Ryan and Yasmin attend her funeral, and then the Doctor decides to get some new clothes. We also learn that Grace tended to Graham when he had cancer, and that’s how they fell in love; and Ryan tries to overcome his disability.

Although normally this would be where the Doctor would invite these people to join her, but she’s got no TARDIS, which was last seen heavily damaged and in the air. Apparently, it’s dematerialized and wound up on some other planet. The Doctor, using Tzim’s equipment, rigs up a tracking and transportation device with the help of her new friends. Believing it will only send her to the TARDIS, it sends *all* of them-into what appears to be the vacuum of space!

 

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Casting the next Superman

So, there’s word that Henry Cavill might be out as the Superman of the DCEU (DC comics extended universe, pretty much their “cinematic” universe but maybe they didn’t want to add an extra C to the acronym). Cavill of course took up the role in 2013’s “Man of Steel”, the first entry in that universe, which now features Batman V Superman, Wonder Woman, Justice League and Suicide Squad, along with the upcoming Wonder Woman 1984, Shazam and Aquaman. However, despite Wonder Woman becoming a big hit, the other films haven’t quite had the same level of success, with films such as a solo Ben Affleck Batman film and a Flash movie suffering production setbacks and rumors of recasting. While the Nolan Batman films were of course a huge success, DC has since fallen badly behind Marvel filmwise, especially with pretty much every Marvel film these days becoming a huge hit.

Amidst this is the rumor that Henry Cavill might be departing the role. (Cavill himself replaced Brandon Routh, although 2005’s “Superman Returns” was intended as a sequel of sorts to the Christopher Reeve movies and not part of any cinematic universe, not even connected to then running Nolan Batman films). It’s a bit unclear why at this point, although Cavill was recently cast in the Witcher Netflix TV show, and reportedly declined an appearance in the upcoming Shazam.

 

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As for me, while Cavill’s a capable enough actor, I never really warmed to his Superman. Maybe it’s because the films he’s been in were in general kind of angsty/dark at times, with his Superman overall seeming moody, if still, for the most part, aligned to Superman’s values. I kind of preferred the charisma and optimism of Reeve’s Superman (Sure, he had one or two moments of angst here and there, such as when Lois “died” or his power loss in the second film, but overall he seemed like a cool guy). This is kind of reflected for the most part in the comics too (Although the “New 52” Superman wasn’t exactly my cup of tea-or DC’s really, as in 2016 they scrapped/merged the character with his 1986-2011 counterpart, who was married to Lois and had a son). Although parts of “Justice League” did attempt to soften him up  towards the end (and even gave him Reeve’s classic John Williams theme), still not a big fan.

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The weird mustache-covering CGI didn’t help either.

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But with Cavill’s potential exit, who could pick up the cape?

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Jon Hamm-famous from Mad Men-has often been a  fan favorite, although at 47 he’s somewhat much older than Cavill. He’s also rumored to be up for the role of Batman, which would probably actually suit his acting talents a bit better (as well as his age-he’s only one year older than Ben Affleck).

Daniel Bruhl perhaps? He sort of bears a slight resemblance to both Cavill and a big resemblance to Christopher Reeve IMO. Doesn’t quite have the lantern jaw look though. Although he was Zemo in Civil War, it’s important to remember that starring in the competitions film doesn’t exactly disqualify you from a role. Laurence Fishburne, for example, who plays Lois and Clark Kent’s boss at the Daily Planet, Perry White, in the DCEU, and also Bill Foster in the recent Ant-Man and the Wasp. Also, JK Simmons from the Sony Spider-Man series became Justice League’s commissioner Gordon.

 

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There’s also Tyler Koechin, who plays Superman in the Supergirl TV show (and by extension, it’s connected shows). However, although TV-to-movie/vise versa castings are not uncommon-Reeve, Kidder, and O’ Teele were all part of Smallville for instance-it would probably confuse audiences, especially with a show running at the same time.

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Zachary Quinto’s a name that’s come up a few times, although with the current issues the Star Trek movie series is experiencing (Perhaps, in part to the DCEU itself-as Chris Pine is mysteriously back in Wonder Woman 1984), it probably won’t happen.

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Joseph Gordon Levitt’s also a name that’s popped up a few times. DC fans of course know him from Dark Knight Rises as John “Robin” Blake.

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John Krakinski’s largely reinvented himself as an action star these days, and seems to have the right build and look for the role IMO. Although I think he’d be better as Marvel’s Mr. Fantastic.

Anyway, I hope they make a decent choice, if indeed it’s official that Cavill is stepping away. Hopefully we don’t end up with something like this….which we almost did. (I don’t mind Cage, but as Superman? Just…no).

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Walking Dead Comic/TV show differences-Carol

 

THE SHOW

 

Carol is perhaps one of the strongest and yet most tragic characters in the Walking Dead series. Starting out as a troubled housewife at the Atlanta camp, after the death of her husband after Walkers attacked the camp (Which also led to the death of Andrea’s sister Amy) Carol and Rick’s group left the camp, initially heading back to Atlanta to consult the CDC (Which doesn’t really work that well) and eventually facing a zombie herd on the Atlanta highway, an incident which results in Carol’s daughter, Sophia, on the run. She also began a close friendship with Daryl Dixon.

 

 

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Gaining sanctuary at the Greene family farm during the search (and Carl getting badly injured by an accidental gunshot from farmhand Otis), she soon learned of Sophia’s fate. Hershel Greene had been keeping Walkers in his barn in order to attempt to hold them there until a cure was found. Among them: Sophia, who Rick put down.

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Fleeing the barn after another zombie herd, Carol and others eventually settled at a prison, and Carol began to learn critical self-defense skills. When a vengeful inmate messed things up big time for the group (Leading to the death of Lori and T-Dogg), Carol-although presumed dead for a short time-managed to survive on her own.

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After the showdown with the Governor, Carol however was exiled when she killed two former Woodbury residents who had contracted an airborne flu-like virus(Although not the almost certain death sentence of the zombie bites….Despite Carol’s actions the virus still spread, however)

 

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However, being on the ‘outside’ managed to work to Carol’s advantage. Catching up with Tyreese-a fairly new member of the group-she was able to take care of Rick’s daughter Judith, although she also had to contend with Lizzie and Mika, two sisters…and one was psychotic. After Lizzie killed Mika, and nearly killed Judith, Carol was forced to kill Lizzie, which brought back some of the pain of Sophia’s death.

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However, she managed to save just about everybody at Terminus with the help of Zombie camo and a sniper rifle.

 

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Later, she tried to help rescue Beth from a hospital back in Atlanta but wound up getting badly hurt herself. While Carol eventually was let go, the rescue mission ultimately was all for naught, with Beth shot at the last minute.

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When the group eventually settled down in Alexandria, Carol put on a sort of facade of a happy housewife persona to serve as sort of Rick’s spy in case things went south again. She also formed a brief relationship with a resident, Tobin.

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When Rick became leader of Alexandria, Carol let more of her real personality surface, although she still used the meekness to fool her enemies, especially after one incident in which she and Maggie were captured by a group of Saviors.

After the incident, she briefly self-exiled herself, but ran afoul of more Saviors, leaving her wounded. However, she was saved by Morgan (Who also was trying to reconcile the two halfs of his personality) and the Kingdom, where she formed a friendship with King Ezekiel…and his tiger, Shiva. She also became a resident outside the Kingdom, but after the death of Glenn and Abraham, she took up arms once again, and proved quite capable during the All-out-war with Negan.

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She dealt mainly, in part, with Morgan, as well as the demoralized King Ezekiel, and helped rescue Henry, a young boy who wanted vengeance against the Saviors for the death of his brother. Carol was also, unfortunately, forced to kill her ex-boyfriend, Tobin, when he was turned into a Walker by a bullet covered in Walker guts.

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THE COMIC

Carol’s arc in the comic is quite different. There’s no sign of Ed, for one. Carol also appears to be a bit younger.

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She still had her daughter, Sophia, although unlike in the TV show, Sophia doesn’t wind up being turned into a Walker. Carol starts developing a relationship with Tyreese, who, in the comics, appears far earlier than the prison arc.

 

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Quite a bit different than the TV show, in which Carol and Tyreese had a platonic and uneasy relationship, in particular when Tyreese learned that Carol had killed his girlfriend, Karen, to keep the virus from spreading earlier on.

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However, comics-wise,when the group gets to the Prison, Tyreese takes a liking to Michionne.

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This affair drives Carol pretty nuts. She attempts suicide, and also attempts to form romantic relationships with Rick and Lori(!). She’s sucessful with Maggie’s brother, Billy Greene, but only for a brief while before she does something shocking, pretty much giving herself to a Walker’s bite.

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However, comics-wise, Sophia is still around and now much older. Then again, there’s quite a few TV series characters no longer with us who are still among the living in the comic series….in particular Carl Grimes himself.

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Video Games in Review: Far Cry 5

The “Far Cry” series are first-person shooters, often set in a beautiful open world. However,  it often stands out by also incorporating hunting or taming of animals into it’s series, and is also known for it’s colorful villains.  The games are often self-contained, with a few supporting characters occasionally crossing over, but that’s pretty much it.

Whereas previous entries in the series have focused on fictional countries and Islands in Asia and Africa, FC 5 takes place in the united states; specifically Montana, in the fictional Hope Country. Over the past few years, an apocalyptic cult-Project Eden’s gate-has taken control of much of the county.

 

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The cult is led by the charismatic, messiah figure Joseph Seed, and the various areas of cult-controlled land are controlled by his three siblings: John, Jacob and Faith.

Each has their own characteristic: John is sort of a motivational speaker/indoctrination guy, but actually often tortures people; Faith, although seemingly the most ‘peaceful’ of the group, also heads the manufacture of the cult’s drug, a powerful hallucinogenic called “Bliss”. Jacob is an expert in brainwashing and sort of has a “Survival of the fittest” attitude about him. Also, as with Far Cry 4, things might be as clear-cut as they seem at first glance (Although the resistance in Hope County is far more sympathetic and far less shady than 4’s Golden Path leaders) and there are multiple endings than can result from some of your actions.

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Of course, many of the non-cult members of Hope County have resisted, and of course the situation has become volatile. That’s where the player comes in; you’re part of a group of deputies charged with taking Joseph into custody. You can also customize your character; however, this avatar will not show up in-game, but in the game’s “photo mode” or in multiplayer.

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The arrest doesn’t go too well, and although you escape, the other deputies are not so lucky and are held captive by the family. Eventually, you help the resistance and fight back against the family/cult. Like in other Far Cry 5 games, in addition to ‘story missions’ this includes liberating outposts, destroying supplies and key cult members. Each helps raise “resistance points”, which, where, at certain levels, they force a confrontation with the local cult leaders.

 

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Missions are usually handed out by key members of the resistance, along with other, more optional missions along the way here and there. The game also features the concept of “guns for hire”, including random resistance members, or a group of specialists, who function in the same way many other video game companions do, somewhat similar to “Fallout 4″‘s companions. Several also have their own independent quests. Two of the characters, Nick and Adelaide, are airborne (although Adelaide can also fight on land). Jess is a hunter, and good for stealth and hunting wildlife. Grace is a former army sniper. Hank and Sharky tend to use heavy weapons. I’ll be covering the animal companions down a bit.

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The game also features an assortment of vehicles which can be unlocked, such as the “Widowmaker”, a powerful truck. The game seems to be somewhat more focused on vehicle combat than it’s predecessor, with a far easier control system as well.

 

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There’s also been some major changes from Far Cry 4 (I haven’t played any of the earlier games). The tower climbing present in 4-needed to uncover much of the map-is largely done away with here, although a bit of climbing does come into play at times.  The “Junk” system is also not that present this time.

Hunting however, is still a big feature of the game, and of course the bow and arrow is recommended for a clean kill.

 

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Thankfully, the annoying eagles of Far Cry 4 are gone, although there are quite a few animals that can do a lot of damage.

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However, not every animal can be hunted or want to hunt you. There’s a few animal companions. There’s the dog, Boomer, because pretty much every game these days with some sort of companion system has to always have a dog.

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Somewhat more unusual is Cheeseburger the Bear, once the star of a local zoo/refuge.

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Finally, there’s Peaches, the Mountain Lion.

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Overall, although I’ve only played 4 and 5 of this series so far, I think that 5 is a great follow-up to 4, eliminating some of 4’s more annoying elements and crafting a rich-looking open world, although one that, to some, may not quite as exotic as the previous games (Still looks fantastic of course)….and of course it has the usual Far Cry mix of colorful villains, hunting, and a bit of dark comedy mixed in.

 

Review: Tomb Raider (2018) *spoilers*

While some of my reviews are a bit multi-part, I’m starting to do smaller “Capsule reviews” of films I’m not quite wanting to do a big essay on.

 

As I’ve written before, I’ve been a fan of the last two Tomb Raider games, although admittingly, I have not played the earlier incarnations of the character. The games mixed the climbing and gunning of the other archaeological adventure game series, “Uncharted” (although of course the older TRs had a bit of this as well), with the skill trees of various other games, and also a sort of gritty and gory nature.

Lara, in particular, is portrayed as more vulnerable than in past versions, starting out kind of bookish but eventually honing her survival skills on an island not only full of cultists and mercenaries, but also the undead spirit of an evil queen.

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On the surface, this was what the basic plot of the Tomb Raider film reboot is about. The movie even re-creates some sequences from the game, such as Lara’s struggle holding onto a rusted World War II plane…

 

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, and like the game, Lara’s uses arrows and pickaxes for a good chunk of time, only getting her dual pistols at the end (although the dual pistols aren’t really used in “Rise of the Tomb Raider”. Her outfit is pretty much the same basic look too. No sunglases or shorts here.

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However, whereas Lara, as I mentioned before that game Lara was more archaeologist than hero at first, the movie kind of reverses it by having Lara be a sort of sporty, slightly rebellious woman who has little interest in her father’s profession until it offers clues to where he might’ve vanished to (The mysterious Yamatai, also the setting of the game, of course). Alicia does okay I suppose, although she seems a bit stiff, but I haven’t really seen her in any other films to really judge her acting.

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Likewise, the Endurance Crew-the nifty supporting cast (and unfortunately, part victims) are cut out/reduced….

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to just one guy, Lu Ren, whose father has also vanished while searching for the mysterious island of Yamatai. Apart from rallying up some fellow prisoners on the island, he really doesn’t get that much to do.

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Like the game, the villain is once again Matthias, although instead of the cult leader, he’s just a mercenary leader for “Trinity” (Introduced in Rise of the Tomb Raider) who’s only stuck on the island because his employer won’t send for extraction until he finds the tomb of Himiko. Although Walter Goggins does his best, the character just comes off a somewhat generic villain.

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Speaking of Himiko, she’s pretty much downgraded here. There’s no super-storms keeping everybody stuck on the island, and apart from the two planes there’s really no sign of the heavy wreckage-or really any other sign of civilization apart from the tomb-on the island itself. Although a supernatural threat is implied, turns out that she’s no ghost creature trying to possess a new body and create storms. Likewise, there’s no real gore or any of the major violence of the 2013 game. Not that it really needed the somewhat excessive gore and violence, but in making this movie PG-13, they sort of ‘sanitized’ the game maybe a bit too much. It’s really a major contrast there.

 

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…..but actually a nice Queen who unfortunately carried some sort of bizarre virus which seems to make those who get it into crazed people with strange skin and nerve blemishes.

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Which, oddly enough, is pretty much exactly what happens in the conclusion the first “Uncharted” game!

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The Tomb itself seemed kind of unspectacular and cheap-looking, with just a bunch of generic booby taps and puzzles. No giant Samurai here!

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Dominic West appears as Lord Kroft, and somewhat diminishes from Lara, as he’s revealed to actually be alive, although a bit nuts-on the island.Image result for Lord croft

 

Nick Frost, Derek Jacobi and Kristin Scott Thomas have supporting roles, with Nick as a sort of comic relief pawn shop owner, but it’s really just a tiny role. Same with the legendary Derek Jacobi who does the money stuff at Croft’s estate. Most interesting is Kristin Scott Thomas as Ana, who, like in “Rise of the Tomb Raider”-is actually the secret head of Trinity. However, unlike in ROTT-where she formed the organization in part to try to gain immortality as a disease (presumably cancer) was killing her, what exactly this version of Ana has to gain from it is unknown, or if she had anything to do with Lord Croft’s expedition to Yamatai in the first place.

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Although I’ll admit some of my criticisms of the movie might be a little biased because I played the games first, and have largely been comparing them, I think the film on it’s own is kind of weak as well, just kind of a generic story and lacking bite despite a fairly strong cast, which unfortunately is a weakness of almost every video game adaptation these days.