Thursday, August 25, 2011

F.E.A.R (and FEAR Files) rant

Has Spoilers!
I've been playing F.E.A.R (further typed as FEAR because I can't be bothered with periods) and the FEAR Files. I love FEAR. I had the first one (Gold Edition) for the PC and I really liked it, but my computers have never been able to run it properly. Last summer I played FEAR 2 on the Xbox 360 but damn, the jump from mouse to keyboard was brutal for me. I don't play FPS...ever. Except FEAR. Because FEAR is that cool.

Except when you get stuck on random things. Like the corner of a chair and no amount of jumping or struggling will free you until that demonic chair is ready to release you. Is it normal in FPS to get stuck awkwardly on things?

So I finally got the first FEAR for the Xbox 360 and I played that over and over (on moderate difficulty, don't judge!!). I got FEAR Files as well, and I had only played the first expansion, Extraction Point, on the computer. One thing I noticed about both expansions is that the doors are now springy-that is, I can open them and they will close by themselves. WHY?! Sometimes I need the door to stay open to slink back in and use the door frame for cover. Now I turn back and smash my face into the door. No. This doesn't happen in real life. Unless a ghost, like Alma, is closing the doors, this shouldn't happen. You're ruining my strategies.

Extraction Point was ok, but as it wasn't canon I can't really get into the story. I bet they had fun killing off a bunch of characters though. And why the hell is Norton Mapes in there? Like he just walked away from the events from the first game...Uh...Norton, you got shot. You're not Van Gogh, you just don't pick yourself up and go home. You're not that cool. And even then, why bother with him? He's there for like 30 seconds to unlock a door and he's not seen again. Whatever, he's a ghost that unlocks a door. It makes more sense than he being alive. Other than that, Extraction Point was alright. A little repetitive, but what do people expect? I had a lot of fun doing the final fire fight on the roof of the hospital though.    

I never played the second expansion, Perseus Mandate, until a few days ago. To be honest it was interesting at first. You are the second Point Man (like in the first game) and you are investigating the ATC. You have some comrades, Raynes and Chen who are more than cardboard cutouts, at least. But...why the hell does this guy have SlowMo? Thanks for not explaining. And then BAM! there are enemies that have SlowMo too and I swear the first time I encountered one it wouldn't die, no matter how much I shot it. Arg! Am I the only one who noticed that before you actually get to Armacham  there are just so many health kits and light body armours? If health kits and body armour were cake in this game, this guy would be obese. Seriously. Up until Armacham, there wasn't much reason not to have 100% health and full armour for 90% of the time. And you can't say that I'm just too good for moderate difficulty because I suck pretty badly. Aiming? What the hell is aiming? I try and without SlowMo I would probably die in the first five seconds.

Anyway, have I finished Perseus Mandate? Nope. I have to restart. Once I got into Armacham it all went to hell for me. For awhile I had 25 health, no bullets on any guns, no body armour, and no grenades. Awesome. And now that Replica mech is chasing me through the labs and there are three mini-rocket launchers to get him with. I can make it explode, and a whole bunch of enemies come through the nearest door. And I have nothing but a rocket launcher, and no HP after the mech fight. Basically, the enemies kill me or I accidentally blow myself up. So I'm going to restart and go after some of the easy achievements, like not letting your flashlight die and getting all the upgrades...though I've noticed that they are mostly in the most obvious places.

Some interesting things about Perseus Mandate? Armacham, the evil guys, have Dell computers. This product placement wasn't there in the first game (or at least I never noticed) but it's in this one. I understand product placement and unless it is blatantly obvious and in my face and out of place, I don't really care. I actually liked the EB Games signs in Prototype. But Dell on the Armacham computers? I just find it funny that Armacham  are the ones who started everything and are now trying to kill you. It's not just because I hate my Dell printer. Other things are that Perseus Mandate has no scares. At all. It's a good thing I was intrigued by the story or you know...I wouldn't be playing it. I like survival horror/horror-I LIKE being scared. I'm not interested in playing a FPS. I'll try Perseus Mandate again, but I'm really wanting to play FEAR 2 again, now that I have a much better handle on the controls.
Favourite thing in the expansion? The mini-gun. And the mini-turrets. Yay. The mini-turret is so cute...when I don't accidentally throw it on the floor instead of the wall.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

ThunderCats Reboot Episodes 1-3

When I was a kid, I did not have the opportunity to really watch ThunderCats on television, as it was just slightly before my time. My partner was able to rent the movie when he was a child, but could we watch the television show? Nope. Sucks to be us, I know. At least some people were able to watch the movie. I know I had seen some form of animation, as I knew about the epic “thunder...thunder, thunder-HO! We have since bought the dvds, but it would have been cool if I had the memories of watching such a fun series as a kid. And to be clear, I love the old series.
For those of us who were not around in 1985, Warner Bros. Animation has created a reboot of the series. I know, the reboots of late have been tragic. But in my opinion, this one...
...was awesome.
No, really, it was. Cartoon Network airs them on Friday mornings. I can only hope that they air them on Fridays instead of Saturday mornings because school is out for elementary students anyway. Saturday morning cartoons are...not my cup of tea anymore. Anyway, this...Friday morning reboot of an epic cartoon is fantastic. It’s really worth the watch. It updated the character designs (Lion-O doesn’t have that awkward “abs window”) and yes, it did change some things, but for the better. Thus far, I am really enjoying it and I encourage people who dread the evil “reboot” word to give it a chance. I think cartoons are missing the fantasy genre lately, going mostly for randomness, and this is a nice reprieve from that.

Beyond this point will be spoilers of varying have been warned!

The Ch-ch-changes...
At least to episode 3, there have some noticeable differences. In the original, the ThunderCats flee their planet of Thundera to find a new home, and are attacked by enemies on the way. They eventually get to Third Earth to start life anew, although only Lion-O, Snarf, Cheetara, Tygra, WilyKit, WilyKat, and Panthro make it, and it takes a long time. They go to sleep in capsules that stop aging, except Lion-O’s, who aged slowly and is now in the body of an adult but is really a child. On Third Earth they encounter their new enemy, Mumm-Ra.

I am manly! (Old version)
No abs?! (New version)

In the reboot, they do not leave their home planet. Simply put, Mumm-Ra destroys their kingdom. No space travel, and frankly, the space travel felt very late 80’s comic-book story, which is not bad at all, but it is very dated. This means that Lion-O does not age. So in the reboot he is a young adult(?). Yay. Because in the original, as a kid in an adult’s body, he just comes off as dumb. In the reboot, yes he is young and makes stupid decisions at times (please see episode 3) but he is learning and he will make mistakes. He has more depth now. But Tygra...oh god. Poor Tygra. He is Lion-O’s “brother” now (yeah...clearly adopted) and man they play up the “I’m better than you and I would make a much better king” way too hard.

Clearly adopted. (New version)
Once got high (Old version) 

Snarf does not speak at all in the reboot, which I like. I think he is much cuter just saying his name (like a pokemon) than being annoying. Yet so far he has not really done anything, and at least in the original series, he did things. Now he’s more like, “hey, remember me? I’m the pet you had before your kingdom got burned to the ground. Thanks for....uh...waitwat?” Yeah I never saw Lion-O actually save Snarf. He is absent during the fights and such, yet he is later just following around Lion-O and the surviving gang. Did I miss something?
 Anyway, my partner is not a fan of the new one. He liked the corny dialogue that Snarf gave.

ThunderKittens (Old version)
We're just following (New version)

WileyKit and Kat are back, but have not done much but act like kids so far. I’m interested in knowing what they will do with the two characters, as I really liked them in the original. I like their update, though, except the new WileyKit's non-existent dress.

 Gruff and "dead" (New version)
Russell Huxtable (Old Version)

Panthro is ...sorry, they say from the get-go that he is dead. But let’s put it this way-he is “dead.” As in, he is totally not dead, and you cannot make me believe that they would kill him off.

Badass lady (New Version)
 I'm from the 80s  (Old version) 

Cheetara has returned and she has some more depth to her, rather than her one and only character trait being “female.” Her original outfit and hair is very 80s, and I rather like her with long hair, though I’d like it if she put some clothes on.

Sharp teeth, clearly evil (Old version)
Sits like a thug, clearly evil (New version)

Lastly is Mumm-Ra. I actually like this one more as an evil, hunch-back thing. My partner prefers him in the original with his comical evilness, whereas I found that a little corny. I think the old one suffered from the “I’m evil, therefore I’m a little bit stupid” syndrome. Time will tell if Mumm-Ra will turn out like his predecessor, though. Lastly, I would like to add that so far, the format of the show has changed. Originally, the show was very much like the “monster of the week” format, and rarely did an episode have actual relevance to an overarching story. Thus far, this is not so, which is quite refreshing. All three episodes follow each other directly.

Things That Irk Me
Lion-O only did the full “thunder...thunder, thunder-HOOO!” once! ONCE. Seriously! They cut it down to a measly “Thunder HOO” probably just to save time. And there was the weirdest change between his “young” voice and his “manly battle” voice. Arg!
All in all, I think these changes are good, for the most part. Hopefully the series will continue to be this good and not crash and burn in remake hell!

And...did you guys know that the ThunderCats did a PSA against kids drinking? Oh 80’s cartoons PSAs...I miss you so much.ThunderCats PSA (Youtube).