Andromeda Part 6: What’s Wrong With Your FACE?

By Shamus Posted Tuesday Nov 20, 2018

Filed under: Mass Effect 89 comments

The player character has been made the Pathfinder. They’ve also maybe been given superpowers, although in terms of gameplay you’re exactly as powerful as beforeSAM does give you the ability to class-switch in the field. It doesn’t re-allocate your skill points or anything so it’s not going to be useful until late in the game, but it’s something.. At this point in the game we cut to see some sort of bad guyWe can tell he’s the bad guy because he’s ugly and has ominous musical cues. What? Were you expecting subtlety? exploring the tower that Alec Ryder activated.

Cue Ominous Music

I don't care how much you crank up that blue color filter, nothing can hide how ridiculous this guy looks.
I don't care how much you crank up that blue color filter, nothing can hide how ridiculous this guy looks.

This is our big introduction to the antagonist. He’s a big topic and he’ll get an entry of his own later in this series. For now I’ll just say that his presence here is not building our confidence in the story.

Even ignoring the story problems, everything about this scene is horrendous. The MAXIMUM BLUE filter is ridiculous overkill. The foreground is a group of Kett and the background is a an ancient Remnant construction, so they should be in sharp contrast for both thematic and artistic reasons. Instead everything is blue, robbing us of contrast and making the image muddled. This is made worse by the atrociously busy and over-designed armor.

The big bad is supposed to be an imposing space-lord of doom but he’s shorter than his mooks. His armor makes him look dumpy around the middle. That pull tab on his head looks comical. His face shape is exactly the opposite of what this character concept calls for. He should have a huge jaw, cunning eyes, and a large mouth, because that’s how you make your villain look imposing. Instead he looks like a pouty child, but also a bit like a sheep. Since this scene is cartoon action schlock, there’s no excuse for not using the tools of action schlock to sell your villain.

It’s amazing how hard the storyteller worked to do the wrongest thing possible. This scene is two and a half minutes with no dialog. If you’re going to sell your villain entirely on the visuals, then you really can’t afford to have an inept visual presentation.

So that’s the introduction done. The player is now the Pathfinder, they’re empowered by the AI buddy in their noggin, they know there’s a bad guy out there somewhere, and they need to find someplace for human beings to live.

Continue reading ⟩⟩ “Andromeda Part 6: What’s Wrong With Your FACE?”



Diecast #232: Desert Bus, Stan Lee, Superhero Movies, Grand Tour Game

By Shamus Posted Monday Nov 19, 2018

Filed under: Diecast 89 comments

I feel like we’re overdue for another SoldierHawk visit. I like to invite her on the show when she’s finished with a game, and right now she’s playing through three games at once. Hopefully we can make another visit happen before the end of the year.

Hosts: Paul, Shamus. Episode edited by Issac.

Continue reading ⟩⟩ “Diecast #232: Desert Bus, Stan Lee, Superhero Movies, Grand Tour Game”



Blizzcon Survey Results

By Shamus Posted Sunday Nov 18, 2018

Filed under: Video Games 56 comments

Last week I ran a poll asking people how they thought Blizzard would respond to the recent controversy. Too late I realized I’d conflated two different ideas:

1) How will Blizzard handle this short-term PR problem?
2) How will they change their behavior in the future?

As a result, the answers were muddled. Here’s the chart:

Continue reading ⟩⟩ “Blizzcon Survey Results”




By Shamus Posted Thursday Nov 15, 2018

Filed under: Movies 352 comments

I really love the YouTube Channel of Patrick H. Willems. He’s done some solid work over the years. I think I’ve watched his entire channel twice by this point. How to Make a Perfect Action Scene is brilliant and Marvel’s The Defenders: Why is the Hand So Boring? answers a question that Netflix probably should have figured out about four years ago.

Over the past handful of years I’ve had to pay more attention to narrative and structure because the videogames I critique are so often designed and marketed with a huge emphasis on their stories. To do a proper analysis I need to understand what they were trying (and often failing) to accomplish in a cinematic sense. Which means that I’ve spent a lot of time watching stuff from filmmakers-turned-YouTubers. PHW is one of the better examples of this.

A few weeks ago he published SHUT UP ABOUT PLOT HOLES. I knew the video was going to get him into trouble the moment I saw the title. At a couple of points in his essay he even says, “You’re watching movies wrong.” That’s provocative to the point of being flame-bait, although I doubt he intended it that way. As of this writing, SHUT UP ABOUT PLOT HOLES has more views than any of his other work, but it’s also the most intensely disliked. It’s got a 30% negative rating, which is way out of norm for the channel.

Continue reading ⟩⟩ “Shut Up About SHUT UP ABOUT PLOT HOLES”



Experienced Points: The Last Bastion of PC Gaming Goes Mobile

By Shamus Posted Wednesday Nov 14, 2018

Filed under: Column 116 comments

My column this week is a breakdown of why the response to the Diablo: Immortal announcement was so negative. I tried to keep the outrage distant and abstract and just look at this from the point of view of a PC-centric audience.

Having said that, how bad was the outrage? The big meme-worthy moment was when one guy asked the presenters if the announcement was an out-of-season April Fool’s joke. Sure, that’s a little rude. But if I just spent hundreds of dollars to attend a convention focused on classic PC games made by Blizzard and the main event was a shallow phone game that wasn’t made by Blizzard, I’d probably be pretty miffed too. Where is this supposed outrage? The toxicity? To me it feels less like outrage and more like annoyance and disappointment. I’m sure we can go on Twitter and find some loony spewing personal attacks at the developers, but if that’s your standard for public outrage then literally everything is an outrage because there’s always That Guy.

I think it’s still a controversy worth talking about, simply because it shows a sudden shift of behavior in a major company. It’s also a pretty good example of a major miscalculation that seems obvious in retrospect.

So what happens next? Right now it feels like anything is possible and nothing is likely. Blizzard PR seems to be AWOL, but I’m guessing this caught them flat-footed and they’re scrambling to form a strategy. Will Blizzard double down? Will they backpedal? I’m curious what everyone thinks, so let’s do a poll:

Continue reading ⟩⟩ “Experienced Points: The Last Bastion of PC Gaming Goes Mobile”