My Thoughts on Suicide Squad

No Caption Provided

*Spoilers ahead*

I don't really feel like writing an analytical review, because even after the second viewing I'm not quite sure where I sand on the film. All I know is that it was very entertaining though ultimately flawed in many aspects, but I don't quite believe that it deserves the hate it gets, while Marvel movies like Ant-man get much more recognition and praise.

First off though, since I'm on the topic of comparison, I'd really like to point out that DC/WB needs to manage their powerlevels. I had a hard time believing that Batman stood any semblance of a chance against superman in BvS, simply because Supes tore through a city with his bare hands with minimal effort. Same deal here, the main bad guy, or at the very least one of them display such ridiculous power that it's literally impossible for me to believe that ANY of the protagonists stood any chance against them. I know, "suspending your disbelief" and all that but there is a noticeable limit as to how much my brain can take. Enchantresses' brother, who serves as his sisters muscle, literally tears through choppers and a train at the beginning of the movie, and demonstrates that he's basically immune to any human level threat. Sure in the end it's El Diablo who kind of holds him off, but him tagging helicopters in mid air and failing to tag Harley Quinn is absolutely ridiculous. Same goes for enchantress, she seems vastly much more powerful at the beginning, though at least with her it does make more sense. That said I didn't really like her that much as a character. I liked her design and mannerisms, but in the end she was another monster twirling villain.

Personally I think the main antagonist should have been a joker. I feel it would have made a much more compelling story, especially when you have Harley Quinn on the team with a microchip in her brain. It would have also painted Joker a force to be reckoned with, but that's just a personal opinion. Speaking of which, I'm not sure about Leto's performance. I do like the design and I still think he's a good fit, though it feels as if WB is testing waters with him. Apparently, the amount of scenes that were cut could have made for a movie on it's own. I guess I can understand this decision, following Ledgers act is tough, not too mention that design wise they're going for something completely different. As for what I thought of it, like I said, i'm not sure. There were some scenes in which I thought he was great in, and then there were others that kinds seemed awkward too me, very loony and cringeworthy.

Margot Robbie as Harley Quinn was fantastic. Though I though the movie was pushing her crazyness way too hard. It's like they had to constantly remind us instead of letting the audience figure it out.

"Oh Harley is sooooo craaazy! You guys! Please like this movie! We can be funny too! See how crazy these guys are! Especially Harley! Oh god please like us!"

The dialogue has this habit of going from very witty to incredibly cringeworthy, the former usually coming from Will Smiths deadshot, which I thought was very well cast, so not much to really add here.

Though not quite in the spotlight, I loved Killer Croc and captain Boomerang. Both of them were simple but very entertaining characters, though I really wish that some of the scenes were cut down so that more of the lessor known characters could get more screen time. Suicide Squad had lots of characters, some of whom couldn't be explored, so it would have been much better if they had cut down on the numbers, since that way they could have had more time to flesh out the others.

The most accurately portrayed character however, in my personal opinion at least was Amanda Waller. Viola Davis carries herself and dances around all the other hardened criminals of the bunch without batting an eye. This is a group of psychos, monsters and killers, yet this little o'l lady puts them in their place without much of an effort. She is the very definition of "The Wall".

Aside from that? it's basically what you expect. A lot of CGI, action and some cameos to set up upcoming movies. Is it a bad movie? No, but it feels like it went through a lot of changes and what we end up with is a collection of quite a bit of good scenes with a lot of mediocre ones. I do think critics are way harsher than they should be, considering it's pretty fun and serviceable, thoughts sadly DC has had a notorious reputation so far, and having Zack Snyder as attached to the project bring out some unnecessary heat as well.

NOTE: My primary reasoning behind writing this blog is to get some people talking and engage in some discussion, so you know, have at it.

6 Comments

The Conjuring 2 - Review

No Caption Provided

How do I put this? I don't scare easy, and it's very rare for me to watch a horror movie that can have me thinking about ghosts and monsters after I'm done watching. Most scary flicks never seem to linger at the back of my head like it does with most people, in fact, I'm more into playing games of the respective horror genres because simply watching isn't as immersing as I like it to be. Long story short, I'm use to it, and I can usually see certain tropes coming a mile away, and usually, I'm absolutely right. I don't mean to come off as a pompous prick, however once you've seen a certain amount of these films you start to see the patterns and the old effect it use to have on you wanes. That being said, The Conjuring 2 is not only one of the best Horror films I've seen in a while, it's just a good movie on it's own.

I was skeptical, because usually horror sequels are sub parr at best. Sinister 2 is a prime example of this, and insidious is also another franchise completely diminished by the latter installments. Anyways, let me paint a picture for you as to how these viewings usually play out for me: I'll be spooked at the beginning, I'll figure out some of the upcoming jumpscares, and then 20 minutes in the suspense dies and then I pick apart everything. Yes, I am that guy, though I keep my mouth shut not to ruin it for others. The process was very much the same for a while, in fact, one of the CONJURED, in a manner of speaking, is revealed to early and then I kind of slipped in my chair comfortably became at ease. This is a huge mistake in my personal opinion, because part of the uneasiness comes from what we don't know, that being said, I now realize this was a good tactic by the directors to allow the viewers to let their guard down. I'll touch more on this in a bit.

Throughout the movie there were seemingly two plot-lines, which I attributed to the "cons list" within my head, not realizing that these two stories would converge in a very interesting and well-written way. By the time we reach the 3rd act, you're completely walking on egg shells. And that's another interesting aspect the conjuring got right, it made me care. So many times I find myself counting down the clock as characters are killed left and right and I'm left there chuckling like some mustache twirling villain. Here though, the writing, the lighting, and the camera angles maintain suspense for the majority of the movie. I mean, I was seriously worried, up to the point where I ran out of nails to bite, metaphorically speaking. (maybe literally, too.) Sure, I knew who (or so I thought) was the boogyman was early on, but the camera work didn't pull back it's punches, and they did a wonderful job of playing tricks on you.

Speaking of which, the cinematography was absolutely fantastic. Every scene was extremely atmospheric and befitting of the given situation. I wasn't kidding when i said that they toyed with your head. They would direct your attention elsewhere and then once you realized what was coming it was too damn late. Sometimes they would let you anticipated the huge "Boo" and somehow it would still have the desired effect. Maybe it was just me, personally, since I frequent the darker side of cinema, but I wouldn't go so far as to say that it was every blatantly predictable, and when they did actually fall into the old famous tropes, they did a fine job of it. Furthermore, I like to speculate how I would do things differently in so and so scene, and while I do have some ideas for this particular film as well, everything was executed so well, that changing anything presents the risk of killing the atmosphere, so there is that.

In conclusion, the conjuring 2 took what I liked in the first movie and expanded upon it,however, the most noteworthy achievement is the fact that they never sacrificed good storytelling for a cheap jumpscare. As mentioned, these flicks don't have lingering consequences on my psyche, I've never been scared or uneasy after watching horror movies, but I have to admit that walking back home passed midnight, there were a few moment where I looked back or stared into a dark corner due to mild paranoia, which says a lot, especially for me.

11 Comments

The Nice Guys - A Short Review By TheAcidSkull

They're anything but...
They're anything but...

Hey, I'm skull. It's been quite a long time since I last posted a review of pretty much anything on this site, because unfortunately I've been extremely busy, and for a short period of time, I'm back. I'm pretty sure that a lot of you don't know who I am, which makes sense because I've been gone for like a year and the community changes and what not, but for the few of you that do know me, I am really happy to see you, as I have indeed missed this community. Now, why did I not review heavy hitters like Civil War, Apocalypse or even batman vs superman? Well, I do have a lot of opinions to share on the mentioned movies, however, I'm quite certain that you'll see them regardless of what I tell you about them, given that superhero movies are a huge trend now even outside of comic book oriented sites, thus for the time being, I'd like to postpone these other projects and move them to my "maybe" folder. In the mean time, I'd like to focus on a movie that would have probably been pretty popular if it had not been released among a whirlwind of comic book films.

Moving past from the regularly scheduled "review introduction", lets just jump straight in to what makes this flick such a good damn time. The main attraction, as I'm pretty sure all of you have guessed, is the lead starts Russle Crowe and Rayan Gosling. Both actors bring their A-game to the table as they they bounce back and forth in a hilariously written script that nearly brought me to tears in a couple of scenes. The main stars have wonderful chemistry, to the point where I even wondered if some of the scenes were actually improved by Gosling and Crowe. Both of them play kinda shitty people that put a fair amount of effort into doing relative amount of good, though both protagonists do a fair amount of growing by the end of the final curtain. Moreover, the actors and/or actresses selected for the movie, outside of the stars obviously, are fairly good in their respective roles. Angourie Rice, a young actress who plays Holly March, Holland March's (Ryan Gosling's) daughter, wasn't a bratty pretentious plot-device who annoyed the gods grace out of you, in fact, she was fairly witty and entertaining in her own right, and the stuff that she did seem objectively possible for a kid to do. Furthermore, I heavily dislike the whole "hip daughter of dead beat dad" cliche, so props to the writers for keeping it fairly subtle. The daughters personality, independence and capabilities were never shoved down your throat like a gigantic german sausage, so, you know, hooray. Anyways, all the other actors had good comedic timing and unique interesting personalities, which was pretty much paramount for the tone and atmosphere writers Shane Black and Anthony Bagarozzi were going for.

Speaking of which, the writing was tremendously entertaining, though it did falter in certain moments, which I'll talk about later on. Most of the jokes were on point, and I have to admit that the film did pull a couple of twists on you that you didn't really see coming. That....that maybe the wrong way to put it. What I'm getting at is that there's a certain type of formula that comes with movies like this, and I didn't really see some of the events that transpired beforehand, if that make sense. I'm quite certain you'll understand what I mean once you see it for yourself. In either case, the script maintained a certain type of style and aesthetic throughout, however, there were a couple of moments of deviation. The comedy was always very smart, ranging from verbal to physical humour, in fact, you could always tell that each joke was written with a lot of thought put into it. That being said, there was a particular scene that kind of broke the subtlety, which I thought disrupted the tone, not to a catastrophic degree, but enough to mention it. There's also a one or two cliche "heartwarming moments" that made me seriously cringe significantly, but I will admit that that's more of a personal gripe, considering that the moment I'm referring to did get proper foreshadowing and development.

All in all, there's not much more to talk about without revealing important details, really. Nice Guys is a well acted, well-written and well shot film, and, to be honest, In the midst to all these blockbusters, it's a nice funny break away with a lot of heart and character. The action sequences themselves feel very engaging and in many ways spectacular too. The Nice Guys is the kind of movie that would have been very popular if it had been released during a different time, and as much as I love superhero movies, it's a shame that a coherent, well thought-out and constructed movie had to kinda bite the dust because it's just not a "thing" right now.

2 Comments

Southpaw - A Review By TheAcidSkull

Southpaw

It's been a while since I've done a movie review that didn't somehow involve comic book elements, so honestly it's kind of nice to do something fresh for a change. I love fighting movies, in fact, the fighter and warrior are both one of my all time favourite movies. Now when I heard a while back (thanks to a friend of mine) that there was a fighting film coming up involving one of todays most talented actors, I was insanely pumped. That said, you can imagine that these types of flicks always come with some skepticism, because, if I'm being honest, there have been hundreds of these movies that usually play out in a very familiar fashion. That said, I'm glad I saw southpaw, and while it does tread in familiar territory, it still does a couple of things unique.

Before getting to the more detailed bits, I'd like to stop for a second and seriously praise Jake Gyllenhall for his top notch acting. When I say he gives it his all, it's not an understatement. Though at this point, after movies like Prisoners and/or Nightcrawler, i'm not even surprised. Jake carries the movie from start to finish. In fact, because of him, I'd describe Southpaw as an emotional roller coaster. I'm not even kidding, nor am I trying to exaggerate the amount of times this movie had me on the tip of my toes. Southpaw is emotionally draining, and Gyllenhall's performance plays an enormous role in invoking such a response from the audience. I wasn't alone when I saw this movie, in fact, there was six of us, and each and every person sitting beside me was gripping their seat because they were so caught up in the story. I was angry, sad, confused, and exhausted throughout.

Of course, all the credit can't be given to the actors, because the performance is only one half of what made me enjoy this movie so much. Since I don't want to end on a negative note here, I'll say first that there are a lot of predictable and cliche moments in Southpaw, most of which I saw coming a mile away. However, to be fair, that's something you can't escape when you've got so many fighting movies. Another thing is that this movie is very depressing. Now that on it's own isn't a bad thing, in fact, the emotional attachment is what interested the audience in the first place, but there are some unnecessary moments that make the movie darker for no real reason. I mean, Billy Hope( the main character) is literally dragged through hell. Every time you think a situation can't get any worse, it actually does. Yeah, I wasn't joking when I said that this film was mentally taxing. So when my opinion that a few scenes would have been cut or altered isn't ill founded. I personally think that these spare moments should have been used to make the main bad guy more relevant throughout the movie. Don't get me wrong, his relationship with Bill was very personal and everything, but I feel that he just wasn't given enough screen time.

Regardless of everything I've said though, even if the movie does go down a very dark route, I have to give credit to the writers for making the situation Hope is in very realistic. Sometimes, I suppose, the events in life won't give you a break, and yet, you just have to get your priorities straight. This is a concept the writers pulled off with flying colours.

Furthermore, the choreography is great. The fight scenes were very realistic and intense....And.... It's a shame that I can't really say more about them here, because to be quite frank, you have to see Jake in action to actually understand why these scenes were so great to watch. Plus, you need to feel the emotional attachment to the characters to actually be invested and worried about the fight, and considering the fact that me and a friend of mine nearly broke the chair we were sitting in during the last fight, I'd say that yeah, the writers did managed to get a serious response from the audience.

Southpow is an interesting and rare case when it comes to fighting movies. On one hand, it includes a lot of trite and predictable moments, yet, the brilliant performance by the actors, good writing and realistic cinematography makes even the cliche moments worthwhile. I guess what I'm trying to say is that Southpow is definitely worth watching.

8/10

9 Comments

Batman: Arkham Knight - Review By TheAcidSkull

No Caption Provided

After countless hours of playing,( I was savouring my time, since this is the very last Arkham game), I have finally completed Arkham Knight. I don't really care what anyone says, to me, the Arkham series will always be one of the best gaming trilogies (not counting Origins). Is the Arkham Knight perfect? Unfortunately no, it's far from it. What makes me sad,though, is that it's bogged down by what could have made this the most amazing Batman game to date. They tried, they really did, but you can definitely see the cracks where they kind of heisted too go all out. Having said that, however, overall the Arkham Knight is still a worthy addition and conclusion to the Batman:Arkham series.

Before moving onto the main topics, I'd like to make a few comments about Rocksteady's business tactics. I'm very pissed about how almost every single company is trying their very best to milk the game to the max. I've never been against DLC, in fact, I'm all for good new additions that would enrich the story and or gameplay, but even if the developers add something mind blowing and jaw-dropping, having the costumers pay 40$ for it is absolutely ridiculous. With that kind of money, the expansions should at least be as big as an actual game, otherwise the price should be cut down to 15$. Still, for what I've seen, aside from the extra costumes, nothing is really cut back from the main story, so whether you decide to buy the season pass or not won't restrict you from having a full experience . The Arkham Knight game is complete from start to finish, and you don't need any fancy additions.

Speaking of which, lets talk about the main campaign. Each Arkham game has been a psychological and physiological profile for Bruce Wayne/Batman. Arkham Asylum was contained but unexpected, so Batman had to rely on what he had for the time being. He also had to stick to the shadows, since he wasn't fully able to fight everyone head on. Arkham City expanded the playground, and this time around Batman had more toys to play with, regardless, due to the fact that he was thrown in a restricted yet broad area with other criminals of such variety, he still needed to play it smart. The Arkham Knight, on the other hand, does something completely unexpected. Most people miss this small little detail, but the reason Batman has to face his biggest challenge yet is because here, he is at his most powerful while simultaneously at his weakest. See in Arkham City and Asylum, Batman has his greatest weapon, which is his wit. He knows his villains well so he can come up with quick and detailed plans on the spot to defeat his enemies. In Arkham Knight, he's mentally unstable, and thus, his greatest asset has been damaged. His new suit, the batmobile, and gadgets give him all the power he may require, and you can actually feel this through the gameplay( I'll expand on this late on in the review), but because of one very important twist, Batman is at odds with himself.

This makes Bruce very vulnerable, and scarecrow explores this very well. This is another positive aspect of the main story. Sure, Batman's main antagonist is his dark side ( This is the only way I can say it without spoiling something major), but if you know Batman's character, even from the Arkham games, you'll know that it must take something drastic to awaken this evil within Bruce. Scarecrow acts as the instrument that brings Batman close to snapping. Crane may be more of a "behind the scenes" kind of villain, but you can't argue that his plan was pretty damn perfect for defeating Batman. Had it been anyone else in Batman's place, and they'd have gone completely off the rails.

The name of the game doesn't really do it justice, since the Arkham Knight, while important to the story, isn't the main driving force. Truth be told, I'm a bit torn on his identity, but in the end they've managed to win me over. If you've started playing the game, it's not hard to deduce who he is, and since the game is a documentation of Batman's mental state, who the Knight is does make a lot of sense and ties into the main theme of the story. That said, it's still an incredibly lazy to do things. I mean, I salute them for finding a way to tie everything so neatly together, but still, It would have been nice if I had actually been surprised by the reveal. You could also make the argument that not everyone reads the comics, so the reveal may have been astonishing to thous who do not know the character, and on that front, it does make a lot of sense. Long story short, the choice was lazy, but the execution was great.

I won't comment any further on the story, since I genuinely think that there are some twist and turns that should not be spoiled. Also, I'll skip my praises for the voicing acting, since by now you know that these games are quite renowned for the talent.

Moreover, despite the fantastic plot, some of the side missions felt really really....dull. I mean, they weren't bad, but come on! This is the final Batman Arkham game, and you're given free reign to roam Gotham and beat the crap out of criminals. I was just disappointed that some of the missions felt like missed potentials. That of course doesn't include all of them. Some of them were very well done, my favourite being the one involving the numerous serial killings ( Much like the HUSH mission in Arkham City), which were genuinely well crafted and creepy. Most missions, as well as the main story, kept a vey dark and creepy aesthetic, something that I greatly appreciate. But honestly, some of them were huge letdowns. One particular mission was so hyped within the game that I was jumping out of my seat to complete it. However, the ending was so disappointing that I was literally speechless for about 5 minutes. Yeah, repetitive missions for a specific villain is all fine and dandy, but don't mislead your players. What's worse is that there were a few continuations of the subplots from the previous instalment, Arkham City, which were given short and lukewarm conclusions. You'll know what I mean when you play it.

My next point is something I've wanted to talk about for a very long time. In video games, the boss battles are usually my favourite parts. Now the Arkham games aren't known for the boss battles, but the previous games did have fairly well designed fights. Then Arkham Origins came along and kicked things up a notch by creating the best Bosses we've seen so far. I was hoping that Arkham Knight would take notes from this and make the final Batman game very interesting and diverse in the area. Sadly, they took a few steps back. With the addition of the Batmobile, hand to hand combat based boss battles were almost removed, which was a huge disappointment. That's not to say that the Boss battles were bad in any way, some of them were really well made, as a matter of fact. However, it was way overdone. At one point I was kind of getting tired of fighting drones. Batman has one of the most colourful villains in comic book history, so I just don't understand why the developers decided to take this route. There's so many ways you can go about one specific villain. Hell, I can think of 3 different ways you can fight killer Croc only.

Speaking of the Batmobile, I've heard it's one of the more divisive aspects of the game. Honestly though, I enjoyed it very much. In a very unique way, It's very well integrated with the gameplay and aesthetic. The combat mode has it's own way of "countering" enemy attacks, much like how batman blocks and turns the enemy attacks against them, and the pursuit mode works well with gliding and grappling since you can basically propel yourself. If you are fighting in the city, you can also use the Batmobile while you are fighting in the streets as Batman.

The hand to hand combat and stealth mode, or the gameplay in general is basically at its peak here. The game doesn't waste time holding your hand and the transition from City to Arkham Knight is seamless. Sure, the gameplay, stealth mode included, is a lot more aggressive than before,but to me, that makes a lot of sense, both from a story and gameplay perspective. From Asylum, batman had slowly been evolving, and by the time we reach Arkham knight batman is supposed to be a veteran. I don't mean that stealth is gone, quite the contrary, you have more unique and interesting ways you can fool and lure criminals to silently take them down. But should you chose a swifter route, it's entirely possible to take the militia down, provided you play your cards right. Remember, as powerful and tough you are, you're not invincible.

I'm glad that in the end, Rocksteady took some inspiration from Origins. They've added some interesting things to enrich the fighting. For starters, you can now use the environment to quickly take down tougher thugs. Trust me, it's very useful, especially given the fact that sometimes you face a lot of thugs at the same time. There's also a variety of enemies that put your skills to the use, such as Ninjas, Healers, Brutes and other combinations of the classes I've just listed. For thous who say that Batman's gameplay can be narrowed down to pressing Y ( or if on PS4 the "triangle button) repeatedly, they need to give this game a shot. By the end of it, defending yourself can be really really hard. I genuinely felt that I had to think of new and interesting ways to take these guys down. Plus, one small distraction and you can get killed.

There's also one very interesting addition, which turned out to be my favourite part of Arkham Knight, and it's the fact that you can team up with Batman's allies. The banter alone is fantastic, but the fact that you can take down and mop the floor with the goons you face as a team is not only very fun to watch from a cinematic standpoint, but it's also very fun to perform. In short, the gameplay is increasingly satisfying.

In conclusion, not sure what more I can say here. The visuals are fantastic, the main story is great and emotional, the gameplay is the best it's has ever been, and there are a lot of new additions to spice things up. It's very unfortunate that Arkham Knight is held back from becoming the best Batman game by the kind of mistakes that should not have been made; nevertheless, as I said in the beginning, it's definitely a worthy addition.

Score: 8/10

18 Comments

Justice League: Gods And Monsters - Review By TheAcidSkull

Justice League: Gods And Monsters - Review By TheAcidSkull

No Caption Provided

I really wish DC and Marvel pull out animated movies of a similar shade. I've found the aspect of various different dimensions quite fascinating, so to me, these movies are always a treat because I personally love analysing the differences between the events that transpire within these iterations and how events that take place in the source material. Gods and Monsters was a very creative and interesting experiment. I am unaware if such versions of the characters exist within the comic book universe, but I have to say that I quite enjoyed the darker take. Now this is going to be a relatively short review, since there is not much to say other than the fact that this was a very fun movie.

A bit of advice for the hardcore fans, if you're expecting to see the characters you've grown up with and have loved for years within the comic book universe, then you're going to have to watch this with an open mind. These characters share the names and powers of our favourite heroes, but they don't share their characteristics. These are new characters. That is the safest way I can put it.

However, despite that you can still see the resemblances, which by the way, are drawn out pretty well. What I mean is that despite the fact that these characters are no doubt more gritty and different, Bruce Timm and the writers do a very good job of showing how these characters are forming the Justice League we know and love. Sure, the road is bumpy in both literal and figurative sense, but you can't help but appreciate how well everything is developed. Speaking of which, the movie doesn't waste your time with needless details. Sure, we know the origins of the characters, but we're shown the parts of the heroes lives that tie into the main narrative, so honestly, you're never really sidetracked from what is important.

The characteristics might take some getting use to. I was honestly going to say that Kirk's (Batman's) stoic personality had been a flaw, because I had been so accustomed to Bruce Wayne's aggressive and brooding nature. Sure, both can be emotionally distant, but with Batman, he usually bottles everything up until someone pushes very specific buttons, and given what happens in the movie, Kirk has plenty to be mad about, yet he still seemed too...collected. But again, I remembered that this is part of what makes Kirk's batman different from that of Bruce's. And as I said, drawing such differences is what makes these films so fascinating.

Despite these great qualities though, the movie isn't without flaws. In my personal opinion, the main villains motivation for his " evil big plan!" make absolutely no sense. The movie wants me to assume that the guy is just absolutely insane, but still, no matter how well and uniquely the reveal was done, I still couldn't really get behind the reasons as to why he was doing this. He does make an attempt to explain himself, however, I was left with a blank face the entire time. It's not bad, I mean, "He's Insane" is a pretty good reason to do crazy shit, I guess I was just hoping for a bit more than that.

Given that I don't want to end on a negative note, I will say that the animation is absolutely top notch, and it brings back a lot of memories of the JLU and BTAS days. The character models and the action (especially the action) is fantastic. I love the unhinged and brutal style in which these characters fight. It's so fun to see an unhinged batman and superman topple or get toppled by their enemies. Even if you're not a fan of the new versions of the characters, or the main plot line, you should really check out the flick for the action alone. It's great.

Overall, this movie was a lot of fun. It almost had everything I was looking for, and I can't wait what Bruce Timm has planned for the DC animation department. Sure, the third act wasn't as strong as it could have been, but this was a breath of fresh end that was much needed given the state the DC animations are in. I mean, the last few movies have been....well, ranging from mediocre to pretty damn bad, excluding Batman Vs Robin.

Score: 8/10

17 Comments

Mad Max: Fury Road - A Review By TheAcidSkull

A Lovely Day To Die
A Lovely Day To Die

Before delving into this review, I'd like to say something. I haven't watched any of the previous Mad Max films, so I don't know what the previous actors were like, nor do I know the fundamental rules of the universe Max lives in. However, I've heard from others that all I really need to know is that there's an apocalypse, Max couldn't save his family, and now he's bonkers like the rest of the inhabitants of the desert like land. That is that knowledge with which I entered the theater, and I have to say, this was one fantastic movie. Mad Max is one of the great movies that don't get that much recognition when the initially come out. I was one of the people who didn't really care about the movie too, in fact, if not for my tradition to see every new action movie with my best friends, I probably would have never given it a chance, which would have been a damn shame.

First things first, whenever you watch a movie that doesn't portray that earth you live on, it's integral that the writers manage to vividly translate the world they have created. Usually though, and this is not a bad thing, most writers try to pull both off at the same time. What I mean is that these writers showcase a different world, but the fundamentals of said universe still encompass a familiar atmosphere. For example, Guardians of the Galaxy takes place in deep space, and James Gunn does a good job of exploring this unfamiliar world, but at the end of the day, the characters and laws still feel familiar, since most of the guys you encounter act like normal human beings, even if they don't understand out terminology and such. George Miller on the other hand, gives a huge middle finger to the concept and paints a picture deserving of the name "Mad Max: Fury Road."

This is no joke, this post apocalyptic situation is completely and utterly insane, but the execution is so great that Miller never really crams down the multiple and bizarre concepts he tries to incorporate down our throats. Not sure how to put it, but the viewers basically learn new information by going with the flow. There's never a moment where the characters sit down and have long talks of how things have gone to crap, because..who has time for that in a society where people drive around weirdly built race cars and kill each other with spears? Speaking of which, the world of Mad Max is a gruesome one, and I appreciate the fact that Miller has the stones to really show some seriously disturbing scene. I usually pride myself on being unfazed during such disgusting moments, but there were a few sections where I had to clench my fist and drop by jaw at how amoral some of these characters were. It's not that it was disgusting, it was just so against something a normal human being would do that it really hits you fast and hard.

Another method of pulling the viewer within this crazy universe is the camerawork. One of the first things I noticed right away was that the movie was filmed in a way to create an atmosphere of instability and insanity. The sudden and unexpected movements of characters, the stability of the camera and the audience view, and the lighting really makes you forget that you are watching a place which use to be our own planet Earth. Still, amidst all the insanity, there are still semblances of realism within the flick. In a world as dangerous as this, it's hard not to expect a lot of people dying, yet in movies, they usually play around this fact and quite often use some sort of plot device to ensure that characters live. But be prepared to be surprised, because in this movie, a lot of people die.

Moreover, the characters were all fantastic. Some people complain that Max may have been overshadowed by Furiosa, and while she is definitely badass, I disagree with this assessment, since both are two fundamentally different characters. Is Furiosa more layered than Max? Sure, which is further enhanced by Charlize Theron's great acting, but what you really need to know about Max he is an insane badass who survives in a crazier world. I liked the fact that Max was sort like the main protagonist/Companion, because it sets up a new status for how his movies should work. Max is the constant element in this world, he has nothing to lose but his life and he moves from point A to point Z, but on his travels he encounters and helps a lot of different people. That makes him the guardian angle archetype, which is very fitting for the world Max lives in. He's just as crazy as the place he lives in, and thus he is the one who understands how things work, which makes him the perfect guide towards salvation. Plus, Tom Hardy does a great job of capturing the mannerisms of the a mentally unstable man with a good heart. I sincerely hope he reprises this role many times.

Immortan Joe was also a very cool villain as well. He was disgusting, sadistic, obviously crazy, and most important he isn't afraid of getting his hands dirty. The first scenes kind of paint the picture that he's the kind of bad guy that stays behind the action, but not only was that not the case, but as horrible as he was, Joe was badass, and a worthy adversary for the main heroes. The real stand out, for me however, was Nicholas Hoult's Nux. Honestly, in the trailers I thought he'd be one of the unlucky maniacs who gets killed off in the crossfires, but Nux brought so much energy and life to an already action packed movie, that it's hard not to give him credit. Plus, he's pretty much the most developed and layered character among the bunch if you ask me, given his personality, circumstances and allegiances.

Now that we've covered all that basics of the movie, lets talk about the crown jewel. The action is absolutely fantastic. Like I said, the movie embraces it's insanity and does wonders with it. Mad Max is one of the few current blockbusters that doesn't utilize a lot of CGI, yet still manages to create some wonderfully visually appealing scenes. I can usually imagine lengthy and creative fights between two brawlers and fighters, but when you factor in stuff like high speed chases and cars, I falter badly. So you can imagine how happy I was when I saw how perfectly the movie was choreographed. Like I said, the movie is filmed as if the whole world is crazy, so there are a lot of brawls, sudden movements, quick thinking, explosions and so on and on. The cars are all designed with bizarre gimmicks too, all of which play into the action scenes. I mean, where else will you see a car with a metal guitar player attached to it? That kind of stuff needs some serious creativity.

All in all, Mad Max is a perfect movie in it's own genre. Are there some flaws I may have missed? Sure, and I'm sure many critics will probably pick up on them, but as someone who usually immediately notices and picks up on how things could have been done better, there was nothing I'd change in this movie, and I specifically saw it twice with a significant time gap between the viewings to be completely objective. The point is, I got exactly what I wanted, which is exactly why I think Mad Max deserves a max(pun definitely intended) score. It's not for everyone, I'll give you that, in fact I can definitely tell that some people may have some serious misgivings about this flick, but to me, I loved every minute of it, and i'd probably watch it again many more times once it comes out on DVD.

15 Comments

Avengers: Age Of Ultron - A Review By TheAcidSkull

"Keep your friends rich, and your enemies rich, and then find out which is which" -Ultron

When the first Avengers movie came out, it was one of the greatest moments in a comic book fans life. Seeing all these iconic heroes come together, in a shared universe, on screen was one of the greatest cinematic spectacles ever. Sure, it was a heart-warming superhero film with some one-liners, but it understood what it was and what story it wanted to tell, and because of that, us fans got two and a half hours of pure fun and joy. However, what the first Avengers movie managed to accomplish was so great that it set a serious standard for not only superhero movies, but Blockbuster actions flicks in general. Now, I had no doubt that I'd love the second Avengers movie, but I was seriously skeptical if it could measure up to the first one, considering that it seemed jam-packed with a lot of different concepts, characters, plot-points and so on and on. Plus, some questionable decisions before the trailers were even unveiled which sort of discouraged me. Having said all that, I'm happy to say that AoU is not only better than the first Avengers in my personal opinion, but it's my favorite superhero movie to date (I consider the Nolan trilogy to be a bit beyond superhero movies at this point, so they don't count).

First and foremost, my biggest fear was that the Avengers movie would go down with the same formula, and while it does obviously maintain some familiar elements, it manages to evolve and learn from it's previous shortcomings, even if they were minor one's. For example, while in the previous films some characters like Clint were neglected for the most part, due to the larger focus placed on other characters, this time around almost every integral character receives some sort of development, despite the insane amount of content crammed into this movie. It never feels like one thing is being sacrificed for another. What I mean is that the movie is subtle in it's developments. The problem with a shared universe is that sometimes, writers know you don't understand certain stories you plan on telling, so they use other movies within this universe to explore certain elements and promote the stories they are about to tell. Whedon doesn't do this, instead, he carefully lays out the themes for the future that WORK contextually within the story currently being told. We know that there's soon to be a Civil War movie involving Iron Man and Captain America, but what sparks this, yet small, conflict between Tony and Steve is the reasons behind Ultrons creating, meaning that it not only hints future events, but it also develops the main story in Age Of Ultron.

And speaking of character evolution, as I said, almost every integral character gets a decent amount of screen time. Whedon found a very decent way to utilize every character in one way or the other. There's a certain moment in the movie where everything takes a turn for the better (for the viewers, that is). Lets just say there's something that happens, which basically jump starts individual character segments that both explore separate elements of the each protagonist, but also tie and coverage within the AoU plot perfectly. Thor, for one, is much more down to earth and "human. Instead of some foreign, alien being, he feels like a friend to the Avengers, not to mention that he is a lot wiser and helps move the plot forward instead of just standing there looking tough and "mighty", which, while cool on it's own, isn't enough anymore. I had my gripes with the direction they were taking with Natasha and Bruce, but after giving it some thought, it made a lot of sense, within the cinematic universe, of course. Since the movie has been out for a while, I don't see why it's too much to talk about why the relationship works. I see it this way, both characters have gone through some serious life-changing experiences that sort of inadvertently "unleashes" a very dangerous force. For Widow, it was her life as an assassin and emotionless killer, whereas for Bruce, it's his life as the Hulk. It seems like a "beauty and the beast" kind of ordeal, but it's more like two unwilling monsters meeting and understanding each other. Also, as a huge Hulk fan, I was immensely pleased with his portrayal. Bruce has adapted a more confident and determined personality, which I much enjoyed. Sure, most of the time he seems like a nervous dork who tries to keep to himself, but there are certain moments were you get a peak at an angry Bruce Banner, which seems quite intimidating. That's quite the compliment, given that this is the same man who can transform in to a 2 ton engine of destruction. I plan on discussing how Hulk was portrayed, but it feels more appropriate if we talk about him when discussing the action sequences. Also, I'd like to give a special shutout for Hawkeye and the Twins. While, as I said, Hawkeye was second fiddle in the first Avengers, he's kind of the conscious glue that holds everyone together. In many ways, he's the heart of the show, which I found to be both surprising and amazing. What makes his character development greater is that he sort of serves as gateway to explore the personality of the twins, since he is the one to have the most interaction with them.

As for now, lets get into the more "synthetic" aspect of the movie. Given that there have been many MCU films so far, we've had are fare share of colorful villains. However, not a lot of them really stood out for me. That's not to say that the actors portraying them are bad, nor does it mean that there were't any good villains, but sadly, most of the phase two bad guys like Ronin and Malekith weren't all that memorable, mostly because the lacked any layers. Loki may not have been powerful, but he was well developed and interesting. He was a developing characters just as much as Tony Stark, or Thor, per say, which made him stand out. He had charm, is what I'm trying to see. Same goes for Obediah Stane from Iron Man and Wilson Fisk from the Daredevil TV show. These guys were layered and complex, and were just as important as the main heroes. So I'm happy to say James Spader absolutely killed it as Ultron.

I'm not sure why people have a problem with how Ultron was portrayed.Was giving him a personality a bad idea? As far as I know, he's always been more human than machine, and given that he was essentially created by Stark, it's not all that shocking he'd mirror Tony's personality. Ultron was a character, and not some ominous monster who appeared here and there, did something "evil" and then took off. We got to see his side of the story. Ultron was the kind of villain you just enjoy watching, only unlike Loki, he can carry some serious presence. He was creepy, calculating, smart and sadistic, all of which was enforced by James Spaders terrific acting and fantastic voice. What I found particularly interesting was that Ultron was never a Stark villain, despite his origins and development. In fact, my fears that he would remain in Iron Man's shadow never came to fruition. Instead, he was kind of the nemesis of his own creation, Vision, who by the way is one of the coolest additions to the roster. Sure, he's new and doesn't get the same level of screen time, but when he does appear, he literally steals the show. He's so different and similar to Ultron that you can't help but like the guy. Ultron is the personification of human produced death and destruction, where as Vision represents life and prosperity. This dichotomy and opposition between two integral characters leads to some seriously memorable and beautiful moments.

My only true problem with Ultron, and this seems to be Whedons crutch, is that he wasn't all that powerful. He was though, sure, but having an iconic villain like that in a movie does kind of give a fan hope that there will be a huge brawl between all of the Avengers and the main bad guy. It was clear that Ultron wouldn't really last in that kind of fight. They gave him a different KIND of menacing power, which worked in it's own way, but still, I think the first option would have been better.

That's not to say that the action in this movie wasn't amazing, quite the contrary, it was fantastic. The Hulk vs Hulkbuster fight scene was, without a doubt, my favorite comic book movie fight scene, hands down, and there are quite a few reasons for that. First of all, the tone of the fight was balanced, and this extends to the whole movie to be quite honest. You knew the stakes and the seriousness of the threat. The writers never denied us the chance to laugh and have fun, but we knew when things got serious, and I liked that. It never felt that the movie was sacrificing story for the sake of delivering the punchline, and the Hulk vs Iron man fight was a testament to that. I loved the last battle in the first movie, but apparently, a lot of people died in that fight, and it never occurred to us because the tone was light-hearted and fun, which is fine, if it's consistent with the movie, but this time around you feel that there's some serious damage being done. Hulk lost control, and he was manipulated into hurting a lot of people. This is a good way to develop Hulks individual character, and the end of the fight showed us how the Jade giant truly thought of his actions. You can see the regret and sadness in his face, and as a huge Hulk fan, you can understand why I was personally touched by this scene. Hulk couldn't have gotten a lot of screen, but when he did show up, he had key moments of development and character evolution. Secondly, the choreography is absolutely brilliant. You can literally feel the weight and power of these two characters as the bash it out on each other. I wish Hulk would use more of his signature moves, but given his condition, it was a smart move to make him fight like a mindless monster, as having Hulk utilize other branches of his power would demean Iron Mans only true advantage, which was his intellect. And with that said, you can definitely feel who was stronger in the fight. No matter what Iron Man threw at the Hulk, the big guy kept coming back and nothing seemed to slow him down, which made me insanely happy. Tony did get more hits in, but he was still shown to be the underdog throughout the whole brawl.

But as much as I personally enjoyed this fight, the final battle was just as breathtaking. I can't say much without spoiling it, but know this. You can feel how serious the situation is, and it's a true wonder to see these avengers work so well with one another. You can tell that they have legitimately come a very long way after the events of the first film, and seeing them work so well in synch with one another not only brought forth some fantastic sequences, but also brought a genuine smile to my gloomy, angry face.

It feels like I should say a few words about the story, but I feel like I've spoiled a lot as it is, so without going into to much detail, the plot is very complicated but it works out very well. The plot is very character driven, and while it feels as if it's trying to tell individual stories, Whedon manages to balance it out by making it relevant to the main narrative, as well as subplots, which, by the way, is a pretty amazing feat given that there are so many things happening at the same time. Unfortunately, There is one huge glaring plot hole, or better Dues Ex Machina moment, which for some odd reason NO one has mentioned yet. I understand why they did it, but seriously, they could have gone with a completely different route that would have made much more sense both story and context wise. I mean, a SHIELD "spaceship" just pops up after SHIELD was successfully destroyed and no one notices this? Fury gives like a one word explanation for this and then it's literally never touched upon. They could have had the starkbots help or something along thous lines. It would have made more sense, since we've SEEN that Stark had been developing crowd control measures.

In conclusion, Age of Ultron had a lot to live up to, and if this were a test, I'd say it passed with flying colors. The second installment is well acted, written, directed, choreographed and balanced. Even if you don't like it more than the first one, it has enough action and fun that I'm sure at least the majority will enjoy it very much. I've seen the movie twice already, and I'm sure I'll probably see it a couple of more times as well. Yes, it was that good.

54 Comments

Mortal Kombat - A Review By "TheAcidSkull"

Mortal Kombat X

No Caption Provided

You know what's convenient? When you get sick just as one of your most anticipated games comes out, which is exactly what happened to me. I've literally been locked up in my room, for days, unable to detach myself from this gory parade of death, which should make it pretty clear just how great the experience has been. Unfortunately, while MKX is literally the best fighting game I've ever played, it still falls short in a couple of important areas, which prevent it from being the perfect game it could have been.

First things first, lets talk about the campaign. Now while I usually try to avoid spoilers, and will probably continue to do so, the game has been out for quite some time now, so don't get mad if some inconsequential things are mentioned here. I've said this before, and god knows I'll probably say it again for a thousand times, know what you're getting into! Mortal Kombat, in general, has had a very specific way of storytelling, so certain things that may be considered storytelling flaws will be looked over here. Anyways, the campaign was awesome, for the most part at least. The game is very cinematic, and I personally think that the blockbuster take works well within the universe. The fight scenes are done excellently, and it feels as if you're watching a movie, an notion which I welcome with open arms. There was never a time when I wished that the cutscenes would stop just because I really wanted to fight the next character, nor was I ever in a position where I wanted to cinematics would keep going for me to avoid a fight. That right there, is a well struck balance. Plus, you have all these great QTE moments that involve and captivate the players on a much deeper level. I would have preferred if the QTEs held more of a consequence when done wrong, but seeing as how I didn't really mind during my play-through, it's not something worth touching upon. It's just there to make the game more fun and cinematic. What is more, the voice acting and the interactions between characters was fantastic. Sure, the dialogue and the one-liners are campy as hell, but MK is known for that kind of thing, and there were many moments where I laughed because Jonny Cage said something dumb or funny, and there were many moments where my jaw dropped when someone said something badass. Mortal Kombat has always been a cheesy gorfest, and I'm happy to say that the game stuck to its roots. That said, there were some things I was disappointed with. Don't get me wrong, the campaign was very good, but there were moments where I felt that the game disrespected a lot of it's original characters, as well as missed a huge opportunity to tell one of the greatest fighting game stories ever. In order to explain the former point, we'll need to talk about the concept of introducing new characters. Upon their unveil, I was fairly skeptical, as I'm sure many fans were. The next generation characters seemed cool, but somewhat unoriginal at the beginning, however, I'm happy to say that they were indeed fantastic and very well developed. That said, there's a certain problem that comes with bringing in new faces, which is overshadowing former well-loved and popular characters. This is exactly what happened. Sure, the usual guys like Scorpion and Sub-Zero get tons of attention, but the rest of the guys, like Sektor or Liu Kang get overshadowed pretty easily. Now considering the fact that there game jumps back and forth between 25 year years, some of the great events that took place during this time, like Sub-Zero taking on the cyberized Lin Kuei led by Sektor, Kenshi helping Scorpion find his humanity, or Sonya and Jonny splitting up are just referenced, which is honestly a damn shame because it just had so much potential. Again, I'm not saying that the story is bad, quite the contrary, but when you have a 4 hour game(MK9 had a 7 hour story game) , there's just not enough time to develop both old and the new protagonists, which means that one of the generations will get the short end of the stick. In the end though, I was left pretty satisfied with the story. I'm not sure why people complain about the fluctuating power levels. People, this will never change. You have to remember than some of the fighters the player takes control of during the game are individually favorites, so there can only be a minimal form of hierarchy between the kombatants in order to please everyone.

Moreover, the gameplay has never been so layered and complex before. Like all gamers, I was very skeptical of the variations they were bringing for each fighter. Initially, I just saw it as a difference between special moves, however, each style is varied enough for them to bring something interesting and diverse to the table. Here's an example, in every MK game, my main, first and foremost, is scorpion. When I started playing I started with the Nin Jutsu variation, and I was doing relatively well, but I realized that the style just wasn't for me, so I switched over to the inferno version, but still wasn't able to think up the combos or the style of fighting I wanted. In the end, after going back and forth, I settled on the hellfire version, which in my personal opinion is the best one, and many may or may not disagree. with me on this, which, by the way, is what makes these additions so great! This, not only adds more possibilities for mastering and experimenting with different characters, but it also brings variation(no pun intended) to fighting your enemies, both online players and the computer AI. And speaking of the AI, the game has never been more balanced. The lack of cheap shots and cheap special moves is absolutely baffling, especially given how out of balance MK9 was. Even Shinnok, who's the final villain, is completely beatable, it's just that his AI gets increasingly smart when you reach his ladder stage. That is of course, until he evolves into his second form, in which case he is far more powerful, but he's not nearly as overpowered as Goro, Kintaro and Shao Khan were from the previous iteration. He can get some serious cheap shots, but at the end of the day, he's still beatable if you understand the game mechanics well, which honestly, is a requirement for anyone who decided to pick this up.

Furthermore, Mortal Kombat X is brimming with some serious content. There is just so much to do around here. I've been playing for a long time and it still feels like I've done nothing of significance. Sure, certain features like the stage fatalities, or the 250 challenge ladder have been removed, but the game puts so much in it's place that it's hard to even notice that something went missing at all. Instead of Stage fatalities, you now have 5 Faction kills, which you can unlock by contributing to your faction of choice(Lin Kuei, Special forces, Brotherhood of shadow, White lotus, and the Black Dragon), 6 brutalities, which are pretty hard to execute but are very satisfying, interactive stage moves, which were borrowed from Injustice and further enhance the gameplay, and a plethora of different challenge ladders, some of which (living ladders, as called in the game) are often updated, etc. You also have a huge krypt with different costumed, concept art, brutalities, and many other interesting items for the player to unlock. Plus, the whole krypt is set up like a puzzle so the experience is far from boring. Unfortunately, this wonderful ideas is brought down by pathetic micro transactions, which is perhaps the games biggest fault.

The fact that you can buy the krypt for 20 dollars kind of demeans the value of it. The whole point is the mystery and effort behind unlocking these items, but if a heavy wallet can solve every problem, then the experience is sort of botched in my personal opinion. Also, I can understand why characters like Jason, Tremor, Tanya, and Predator may be used for DLC purchases. I mean, they aren't even finished so it makes sense. However, stuff like easy fatalities just pissed me off. This is a game, and the whole point of it is to play it WELL in order to accomplish something. If you fail to perform a move correctly, YOU SHOULD fail. That is the nature of fighting games, so enough of these useless pandering. And why the hell would they cell Goro for 5 dollars? It makes so much more sense for me if they allowed us to unlock him through in-game means. Goro is as old as the franchise, so it makes no sense for him to be a DLC character like Jason and the rest of his merry crew.

Now because I don't wish to end on a negative note, the visuals will be the last focus of this review. Mortal Kombat is well known for being a very gory and violent game, and so, I take no shame in saying that not only is this the most violent MK game in history, it is literally one of the goriest and most disgusting games I've every played. Due to the fantastic and brilliant visuals, everything looks so real that even the simple act of ripping out someones throat (I'm not insane, this is normal by MK standards) or shooting someone in the chest is something that will most likely make you look away. The whole world is brought to life by the vibrant and colorful character and stage designs, fluid and smooth character movements, and wonderfully made sound effects that document every cut,slice, dice, crack, punch, and shot.

In conclusion, MKX definitely has some short comings, but what matters is that it is without a doubt one of the most well crafted fighting games to this date. Honestly, it exceeded my expectation in so many ways I didn't think possible. I just wished that Netherrealm studious hand't succumbed to the horrible business tactics that plague gaming these days.

Score: 9/10

8 Comments

The Evil Within DLC - "The Assignment" - A Review By TheAcidSkull

Part One
Part One

You know, 2014 has really done some serious damage to me, in a sense that I'm a lot more skeptical about upcoming games and how they will turn out, which, given what happened with Unity, Destiny, MCC, etc, isn't at all a bad way to approach things, in fact, I think it worked out in my favor. Anyways, I expected The Assignment, in which we take control of Juli Kidman, a mysterious character in the original campaign. If I'm being completely honest here, I, for the most part, expected more of the same deal with this DLC, which, isn't bad, considering that The Evil Within was my favorite game of 2014. That said, I can't express how surprised and how happy I am that the DLC managed to provide a unique and slightly more tense experience.

The Evil Within wasn't exactly a scary game, but it was a very intense and taxing one, which is one of the reasons I loved it so much. Trudging through darkness on low health and ammo as I was hoping to god that I wouldn't encounter more of thous godforsaken doppelgängers was truly mind-wrenching. However, there is a very huge difference between the main game and the DLC. One, regardless of what people say, is a mix of survival horror and action, because you actually have a way of fighting back and directly killing your enemies, whereas the other, is completely stealth and strategy oriented. And yes, it's true that the Evil Within did have stealth mechanics, which I occasionally found useful, but the difference was that the game itself wasn't built on it. Outside of certain occasions, which only becomes apparent when played on harder difficulties, Sebastian could get through most of his enemies through force, even if he had to stay in the shadows here and there, whereas Kidman has to completely rely on stealth and sneaking around. Moreover, what I found interesting and quite refreshing was the fact that the switch from offensive to a defensive gameplay , which is a pretty radical change on it's own, didn't really compromise the core of the original campaign, since familiar elements such as using your environment to your advantage and luring enemies was maintained. Speaking of which, I think it's worthwhile to mention that most of the mechanics associated with covertness have been molded, or "upgraded" if you prefer, in order for it to fit in with the more stealth-like tone of the DLC, which means that everything Kidman has at her disposal is to help her avoid confrontation, since she isn't as tough as sebastian physically. As such, Kidman's main weapon, unlike Sebastian, is only a flashlight that she uses to keep a look out for her enemies, solve puzzles, etc. Also, the environment and level design in general, despite the absence of deadly traps and such contraptions(there was only a few If I remember correctly), serves to help the player to better manipulate his/her enemies. I wonder if such mechanics will later be incorporated into the main game if any sequels and such were to be released.

And much like everything else, boss battles had a distinct approach as well. I wouldn't call them real boss battles, but as far as immersing the player goes, the game did a find job of getting you invested in what was going on. This is because most of confrontations were basically tests to force the player to utilize everything they had learned beforehand, which included sneaking around, luring your enemies, moving quietly about the environment, and quickly vanishing when spotted. And, on that point, what I find pretty interesting is that this stealthy approach managed to intensify the game even further. I mean, the main campaign was taxing before, but in the Assignment, your options of survival are severely limited and completely depended upon your patience and planning, which, in my personal opinion, makes the experience all the more unnerving.

Now on to the best thing about this expansion. The Evil Within, no matter how much I liked it for it's creative designs, was pretty much ambiguous in terms of storytelling. It's true that I attributed this as a strength, but now that I've played the assignment, I'm a bit pissed off that hey'd hold this off as a DLC. Look I'm not gonna change my stance on the fact that I enjoyed the mystery in the Evil Within, and it's potential for sequels, but seriously, if they had distributed Kidman's parts( we'll still have to see how the second part of the DLC fairs) throughout the original campaign, the story would have been absolutely fantastic, considering that the Assignment already filled in some much needed gaps about what had happened in The Evil Within. Furthermore, I enjoyed Jennifer Carpenters performance( voice of Juli), more so than that of Anson Mount( Voice of Sebastian). Don't get me wrong, I liked how ridiculously cheesy Sebastian was, but Juli actually felt more interesting to me, which is probably a result of the fact that the game gives her a greater exposition and actually tries to develop her as a character. I think Sebastian's diary should have been audio recordings since it would have given Anson Mount a better chance to present his character, but since we had to read all of them, we really couldn't get behind his character. To us, he was just a typical badass detective who didn't really say much. Juli's characterization, while not stellar, is pretty good IMO, since most of her background is presented throughout her own audio interviews. Plus, the game itself takes us to a few places familiar to Juli, which would have, or could have helped improve Sebastian as a protagonist, but oh well.

And last but not least, I'm happy with some of the creative designs. Some familiar faces make a comeback, but I'm glad that Juli is given her own antagonist and set of few new characters. I was worried for a while that the same monsters would have been recycled, which wouldn't have been bad, since, as I mentioned above, the approach to how you deal with your foes is different from the previous iteration. Regardless, I'm glad that we get some more creative and interesting designs.

All in all, I'd say the Assignment is definitely worth it's price. It's a great game that not only expands and sheds more the Evil Within universe, but also manages to craft a unique experience without alienating some of the people who enjoyed the previous style by maintaining familiar gameplay elements and atmosphere.

Score : 9.5/10

2 Comments