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E3 and Outlander – which is better?

How about that E3, huh? How about it indeed. I haven’t been paying attention to it and it seems the Twitter feed is the only decent summary of all the games being shown, but quite frankly, I’m not terribly impressed save for a couple of notable highlights. Here’s a few thoughts!

Kirby’s Epic Yarn! Kirby is one of those odd game series that I like, but I can’t really articulate on why. Heck, I don’t even like many of the games in the series, as about half of the ones I’ve played have been dull and/or monotonous. I can’t say I like it for the challenge because even my absolute favourite game in the series, Kirby’s Fun Pak, is, well, not very challenging. There was a GameCube Kirby game shown, what, five years ago? that was basically Fun Pak 2 – it had four-player, it had the ability to play as enemy partners, and, jeez, it just looked rad. Never really liked the 3D look; I personally think you need a special kind of look to capture Kirby’s visual essence in 3D, but the gameplay certainly looked like a recipe for fun. And after so many years of no Kirby console game being announced… this isn’t it. No, it’s a 2D thing where the gimmick is that everything’s made of strings of yarn, and, uh, antics ensue, I guess. Sorry, not interested.

Sonic Colors! As usual, we’re given only a video to judge by, and no doubt Sonic Retro have already made an 18 page topic dissecting every little bit of it already. All I can say is that the music in the series seems to be getting crapper and crapper these days.

Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword! I’ll be frank, I’ve seen the trailer and read nothing else about it. I loathed the hell out of Twilight Princess and while Ocarina wasn’t bad when I replayed it recently, gahd, I just want to roam about the dungeons, stop bogging me down with story crap, guys! The one Zelda game with a story I liked was Link’s Awakening, but it became an absolute friggin’ chore to play not even halfway through the game. Someone who’s obviously more interested in the series than me told me this new title is meant to blur the difference between the overworld and the dungeons, which doesn’t exactly sound very enticing, but it could be interesting. So long as it’s actually fun, it could work out! The problem with Twilight Princess was that I never smiled once while playing the game. It was like a vacuum of enjoyment and happiness, spewing out only monotonous travelling sequences, horribly-made boss fights and hilariously terrible Wii controls in my face.

Donkey Kong Country Returns
! Fuck yes, my friends. I’ve been playing Donkey Kong Country 2 and 3 lately and thus have a large respect for the series, and frankly, was kinda disappointed that Donkey Kong 64 was yet another Banjo-style collect-a-thon and not like a 3D version of the series, which I’d dare say would be quite close to Crash Bandicoot. Jungle Beat looked mildly enticing, but I’m sorry, I’m not playing a platform game with freakin’ bongos. I’d play it with a harmonica or a tuba, but bongos are where I draw the line. This one just looks like it’s going back to basics, and I’ll be honest, it’s actually looking better than New Super Mario Bros. Wii. It had so much space to work with and never really seemed to make it dynamic enough. This looks like it’ll be upping the challenge compared to that. The only complaint I can muster from the trailer is that Donkey Kong looks a little odd; he looks really squat and chubby, when I’m so used to seeing him as a long, gangly dude. Still, looks very enticing and I’ll be looking forward to it.

Castlevania: Harmony of Despair! I finally got playing Portrait of Ruin while I was away and thoroughly enjoyed it, so any more 2D Castlevania antics is good in my book. But this… is multi-player? Online multi-player? With basically every character available from the handheld titles?

Dear games industry, make more stuff like this. Cheers.

I won’t deny that someone should probably be complaining about the fact every damn thing shown so far is recycled; they didn’t even give Alucard an outline so he could match up with the other players! But, seriously, online multi-player competitive Castlevania. That is very, very badass. Keiji Inafune needs to grow some balls and try experimenting with Mega Man multi-player; he said in an interview some time ago that he just didn’t think it was possible, but clearly you’re not trying hard enough, man. >:U

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Watched Outlander last night. T’was just one of dozens of movies a friend gave us a few weeks ago (most of the selection was rather meh), but upon hearing that it’s about a space man fighting Vikings, well, shit, how can I put that down?

If you actually try and remember all the movies I’ve watched and written about (in which case may god have mercy on your soul), you may remember that Pathfinder was Native Americans versus Vikings. Are these two films similar? Pshaw. I’d dare say Outlander, when it’s not being a traditional “some outsider is welcomed into the tribe and gets chummy-chummy with the folks” story, it’s actually got a mildly similar vibe to, say, Alien or Predator. The space guy brought a giant alien tentacle-tailed tiger thing with him, accidentally!

Whereas Predator was more about a hunter who just enjoyed preying on man, and Alien was about, well, an alien that was a dick (both figuratively and literally), Outlander’s beast is just that – a beast. A beast doing what regular beasts do, getting food for its nest, caring for its young, and going totally spaz when it gets its eyes sliced out. If it weren’t for its grotesque means of killing dudes and the fact it ate dozens and dozens of people, you’d almost feel sorry for it! The backstory has the space guy and his fellow space dudes basically napalming the beasts’ home planet and colonising, having tons and tons of regrets about that. The two he and the Vikings kill off may very well be the last ones in existence. Fantasy action movies generally don’t really give a damn about the extinction of its far-out animal threats, but it concerns me!

The sci-fi edge wasn’t quite as prevalent as I was expecting it to be. The plot summary I read beforehand made no mention of the monster, and had mention that the guy’s future technology would be used by the Vikings. Wow, so does that mean we see centuries-old bearded guys toting around BFGs and throwing plasma grenades at each other? No, it just means they just scraps of the ship to forge stronger swords. Admittedly, even the sci-fi edge could have been dropped entirely – the story in its most basic format is just the Vikings taking in a guy from foreign lands who’s familiar with the creature that’s attacking them, a creature that’s also pretty foreign as well. The space guy doesn’t have any real technology to show them, nor any fancy space tricks, and heck, the only suggestion that he’s a fish out of water is when he asks what he’s meant to do with a horse. Heck, you could easily rewrite the story to be about a present day Spanish matador bringing the running of the bulls into the Viking era. Or, heck, why not throw an alien into the running of the bulls in present day?

It’s not a bad movie, but it really was all the monster stuff that intrigued me, and a huge portion is all about the space man and Vikings’ rather unexciting interaction. It’s shot quite nicely and the few sci-fi elements are used rather effectively, but me being me, I’d probably trim it down to just the heads getting cut off.

Today’s observation: The vet in Ballyclare is like some kind of sit-down comedy club of fellow patrons making dog jokes. Which is undoubtedly an improvement over the local vet, which bears a closer resemblance to The Best Of Screeching Quadropeds volume 4.