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We All Start With Innocence, but the World Leads Us to Guilt.
The true inspiration for today’s review was that terrible holiday known as Black Friday. Technically, it started a while before that with a number of people telling me how awesome this game was. But that didn’t actually inspire me to buy the game because it still didn’t look that interesting to me, and them talking it up was only going to make it worse. But there was something that could make it better. It could go on sale for $25 on Black Friday. And it did! Now, I hate Black Friday, and if it was my choice I wouldn’t have been there at all, or this game would have to wait for me until about 1 pm because there’s no way in Hell I’d get up early for it. Since I was forced to be there, and I was in the vicinity buying a game I wanted much more than this, I decided to relent and pick up a copy of Dishonored, developed by Arkane Studios, published by Bethesda Softworks, and including the voices of Chloë Moretz, John Slattery, Billy Lush, Susan Sarandon, Lena Headey, Brad Dourif, and Carrie Fisher.
We are the bodyguard of the Empress of Steampunk world. Our name is Corvo Attano and our voice box was apparently damaged at a young age, rendering us completely speechless. This becomes problematic when the Empress is murdered in front of us (because we’re also very bad at our job) and her daughter Emily (Chloë Moretz) is kidnapped (because we’re EXTRA bad at our job), and we are unable to tell people that we didn’t do it. We get all nice and framed for this, but we get freed by a group of Loyalists, led by Admiral Havelock (John Slattery). Then we are set on a mission to shake up the corrupt government and free Emily, the rightful heir to the throne.
You people need to knock it off with the whole overenthusiasm thing. You talk up a game that is “Okay” at best until it is made out to be the game of the year and the game can only suffer for it. I think the problems I had with the story made for the bulk of my problems with it. Actually, it was more how the gameplay changed the story, but we’ll get to that after a few other points. The first thing that struck me is that the story is kind of bland and mostly about political conspiracies, and anyone that knows me knows that there’s not a whole lot I find more boring than politics. The idea of the silent protagonist feels a little antiquated now as well, and it seems like it would have at least helped with some of the problems my character got into because of it. They say that the purpose of the silent protagonist is to get the player more involved with their character, but that hasn’t really proven to be the case, has it? I didn’t give two flying fucks about Corvo. I didn’t feel like I was him, nor did I get particularly involved in his story. If you really want to get me involved in a game, you need to make one about a guy playing video games, masturbating, and occasionally writing reviews that one or two people read. Then again, I wouldn’t buy that game either, and anyone else that did might get too depressed by it. And the other side of that argument is that there are plenty of games that have protagonists that speak that I got involved with. Ezio Auditore talks, Marcus Fenix talks, Nathan Drake talks. When my roommate asked me what my 5 favorite games would be, 4 out of 5 of them had protagonists that speak. The only one with a silent protagonist in that list was Final Fantasy 7. How about you have a great story to get me involved instead? There were also tons of things in the game that annoyed me because they didn’t make sense. When I was walking the streets on my way to a masquerade ball, why would guards attack me when I was wearing a mask? If that mask is good enough for the guards at the party, the other ones would surely have known about it or I’m sure half of the guest list was killed on their way to the soirée. And why did the guards keep trying to kill me after I exposed the Lord Regent and they took him to jail? Shouldn’t they all have figured at that point that I was framed?
I need to talk about the gameplay before I can combine it with the story to tell you what really annoyed me about the game. The gameplay itself was fine, but it’s really nothing I haven’t seen before. It feels like it wants to be, but it isn’t. And it ends up being a little boring to me, as most stealth games are. You have to do a really good job on your game to make stealth games feel like more than just waiting in shadows for someone to turn their back. They added in some powers, like the Blink ability, that makes it interesting when you can teleport behind someone to stab them up good. But if sneaking didn’t work out for you, there didn’t seem to be much by way of consequences for it. Fighting was fairly easy at first, being not much more than block and stab. Later it gets a little more complicated because the enemies dodge more and have guns, but fuck them ‘cause I can stop time now. The upgrades to your equipment never seemed to help that much, but the upgrades to your powers maybe helped too much, making the game a little too easy when you could see your enemies through walls, teleport right behind them, freeze time if you were in a pinch, and call in an army of rats if that wasn’t working. Also, the AI wasn’t that bright, which adds to the easiness. There was one part where I was flat out spotted by a number of guards and I backed up, falling down about 10 feet off a ledge where I could hear the guards say, “I guess it was nothing.” Out of sight, out of mind, I guess. The biggest problem with the gameplay I had was that I couldn’t play it for more than an hour at a time without getting so bored I had to turn it off. I’m sure the game wouldn’t take that as a compliment, and it wasn’t intended as one.
The biggest problem I had with the game was how the gameplay affected the story. They let you know about halfway through the game that killing people turns the story dark at the end. Fuck that shit! Killing these enemies just makes sense. A: it’s mostly self-defense because if any of them see you, they will try to kill you. B: it makes the game easier because you don’t have to keep watching out for them after they’re dead. C: it’s more fun! All I heard about this game before I bought it was that it was basically about cutting throats. That is literally all I knew about it before I played it. Then you’re going to punish me by making me corrupt an innocent little girl and make everyone hate me and be shitty to me because I played the game the way that makes sense? Fuck you! The Spiderman game I’m playing now doesn’t punish me for webbing people and punching them in the face. Assassin’s Creed doesn’t wag its finger at you for stabbing the people that deserve it with your wrist blades. I understand punishing me for killing innocents, but I wasn’t doing that. At the end of the game, the formerly nice boat driver that took me to my missions was so shitty to me he pretty much said he hopes I get killed, and just to help that along he’s going to fire his gun to get the attention of everyone on the island before he departed. And Emily is drawing pictures of me standing atop a mountain of corpses with a sword dripping with blood as she talks about how she’ll kill anyone that opposes her when she becomes Empress.
I don’t have very much to say about the look of the game. It looks good. I had no complaints. It’s just a Bioshock-esque steampunk world, but it’s so bland and dark to set the mood that it ends up being visually disinteresting and adding to the boredom I already had for the game.
This is also not a great game for achievements. I’m leaving the game with just over 300. Most of the achievements are for completing missions without killing anyone and without getting spotted. I find that course of action too frustrating and boring to actually make an attempt at it. I probably would if I found the game more interesting, but I just don’t care. I was vaguely interested in finding out what would happen to the ending if I had played this game the shitty way, but that question could be answered by a quick trip to YouTube. It wasn’t worth it.
Dishonored suffered from the high expectations set by the people I know. Seems to be a running theme in some of my reviews, doesn’t it? This game was okay, but certainly not as spectacular as some people acted like it was. The story was pretty good if you’re into that kind of thing, and the gameplay is fine but in no way innovative. But I’ll tell you what no one told me: this game is, in fact, not at all about stabbing people and slicing throats. Go into the game with that idea and the game will hate-fuck your skull. Instead, play this game if you like falling asleep while waiting in the shadows to hug someone that’s trying to kill you until they fall asleep and you can move on. That’s how the game wants you to play it. Also, I guess the other option is to just not play it. I’d recommend that one. Especially with it still at $60. I paid $25 for it and I didn’t think it was worth it. But I am going to trade it in for $15 dollars, so I recommend buying it when you can find it for $10. Dishonored gets “It can take one to sublime heights or harrowing depths” out of “Are you chasing something, or running away?”
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I’m the Monster’s Mother.
We’ve come to the conclusion of the Alien series, but not quite to the end of the movies that I’ll be reviewing that are like it. I feel like the review series wouldn’t be complete if I neglected to review the film that finds out what happens when Aliens come up against Predators, which also means I should review Predator. But that’ll come in the next couple of days. Today is the final Alien movie, which I remember being fairly fond of for whatever reason, but Rotten Tomatoes still does not show this movie favor. Who will be wrong? Rotten Tomatoes, obviously, but I’ll write some words to explain why. First, I’m awesome and always right. Second, my review of Alien Resurrection, written by Joss Whedon, directed by Jean-Pierre Jeunet, and starring Sigourney Weaver, Winona Ryder, Dan Hedaya, Brad Dourif, J.E. Freeman, Michael Wincott, Gary Dourdan, Ron Perlman, Dominique Pinon, Kim Flowers, Raymond Cruz, and Leland Orser.
Since they killed Ellen Ripley (Sigourney Weaver) in the previous movie, we’re going to have to be introduced to our new protagonist of the Alien series. That comes in the form of Ellen Ripley (Sigourney Weaver) … wait … Cloning? Oh movie… You are the sillies. Ellen Ripley has been cloned because humanity really wants to get its hands on the creature that seems to do nothing but kill them and her clone would have the queen in her chest. They successfully clone her and remove the queen, but keep her alive for study because her DNA has been mixed up with that of the Xenomorph queen. After a while, the crew of the mercenary ship called the Betty show up with a bunch of people in stasis for General Perez (Dan Hedaya), who wants to use the people as hosts for the aliens. Unbeknownst to the crew of the Betty, their newest member and engineer Annalee Call (Winona Ryder), joined up with them to get onto the ship and kill Ripley and the alien menace, but she’s too late because the Xenomorphs have already escaped and gotten to what they do best.
I still like this movie. It’s still not really comparable to Alien or Aliens, but it was lucky enough to follow Alien3, making it that much better in comparison. Also, Joss Whedon wrote it, so it probably gets some love just for that. Of course, I didn’t know that until this viewing and I still thought it was pretty good. Once you get past the initial annoyance of the return of Ripley being based on cloning, you can let yourself enjoy the movie. Sure, the cloning thing is a bit of an easy solution to a problem, but it also opens up for some things that I found interesting, like Ripley basically being a superhero with super strength, senses, and acidic blood. It also opened the story up for some things that I didn’t dig on very much, like the hybrid alien. Sure, it looked icky as hell, but the Xenomorphs are way scarier and far more badass-looking. For instance, I’m going to be a little afraid of an alien with no nose and dripping white skin, but then I’m going to look down and see its tiny alien boobies that it has for some reason and I’ll probably be dying laughing. And that’s not a good thing when the regular Xenomorphs look as awesome as they’ve ever looked in this movie. They have never been constantly wetter. The rest of the story kind of unfolds as you’d expect as this story seems like mostly Whedon’s love letter to the Alien series, but that also makes things less surprising. One of the characters turns out to be a robot, the army in this one makes fun of the company for not being able to handle the Xenomorphs while making the same mistakes, Ripley’s going to win. Not a whole lot of surprises, but it’s still got a lot of cool going on. I liked the underwater scene where the group had to pass through an area underwater while being chased by a couple of Xenomorphs, for instance. I also liked when one of the characters used the alien bursting out of his chest to kill someone. And the way they defeat the last alien in the movie is pretty awesome, and extremely icky. The way the Xenomorphs escape their captivity by sacrificing one of their own is also very clever. I like when they make them smarter than your average monster, but I wasn’t that fond of the aliens pressing the red button that was once used to punish them to kill the soldier, as awesome looking as that death was. It just doesn’t seem like their style. They’re plenty good at killing without the use of buttons and liquid nitrogen. Speaking of better ways to kill things, though I liked the emotional impact of the scene with all the failed Ripley clones, it seems like there are better and quicker ways to kill them than using a flamethrower.
Most of the performances were good in this movie. I would say this is the movie where Sigourney Weaver brings Ripley to the full potential of badass. She’s got superpowers and she knows it. It’s kind of the opposite of how she was a badass in Aliens. In this movie she never seems afraid, so she’s just a badass because she’s the toughest one in the room, where in Aliens she was just the toughest because she did what she had to even though she was afraid. Still an interesting character though. I also really liked Winona Ryder in this movie. For my money, she’s never been hotter in any movie I’ve seen her in. There’s something about that lady that is a little bit of alright. Although her sexuality never really came into play in her performance. Her performance was more about hating on someone for not being human, which is completely ironic given what we find out about her later. I also liked Gary Dourdan’s character. Sure, he did a lot of things that I’m sure the Mythbusters wouldn’t take kindly to, like crazy ricochet shots to kill people, but he was also pretty badass and had a great look as well. I did get a little confused by his death though. I mean, he just got a little acid burn on his face. There was no reason he couldn’t grab back onto the ladder and live a little while longer. There’s also no reason that he couldn’t survive the short fall into the water that apparently killed him for good.
Alien Resurrection was much better than Alien3, but still far inferior to Alien and Aliens. The story is good once you get past the BS cloning thing, the look is good, the action is over the top and fun, and a lot of the performances are still solid. It’s a somewhat acceptable end to the series, but of course I wouldn’t have minded another one. But, at this point, they’d probably have to replace Ripley, and I don’t think I’m down for that. It’ll do, I suppose. Alien Resurrection gets “Ellen Ripley died trying to wipe this species out. For all intents and purposes, she succeeded” out of “Must be a chick thing.”
Let’s get these reviews more attention, people. Post reviews on your webpages, tell your friends, do some of them crazy Pinterest nonsense. Whatever you can do to help my reviews get more attention would be greatly appreciated. You can also add me on FaceBook (Robert T. Bicket) and Twitter (iSizzle). Don’t forget to leave me some comments. Your opinions and constructive criticisms are always appreciated.