About Me

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Greetings. I am the Illusive One. For many years now I have been a huge video game player, movie viewer, and book reader. For almost as long, I have been a critic of these things and many people respect my opinions of these things and have often said I belong on G4 doing reviews on X-Play or a similar show. Sadly that is not likely to happen. So instead I shall do reviews for you, uninfluenced by other reviewers, of video games books, movies, and, occasionally, music and political actions. I hope you find this informative and helpful. Thank you for your time.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

The Way of Shadows

            There are some novels out in the world that are very obscure, either because promotion for said book wasn't good enough or because the book was so bad that it didn't merit wider attention.  As a result, great books can sometimes get lost in the in the mist of all the crap that is out in the world.  But sometimes when you find one of these obscure books they’re just...well, they’re not terrible but they’re not really good either.  A prime example of this is the 2008 book, The Way of Shadows by Brent Weeks.
            Before I go any further, let me just say that this is not an official review by any means.  This is just my general thoughts on the book as a whole and the impact it left on me.  If anything it's more of a rant so don't take this one too seriously.
            In a nutshell, it's about a street urchin named Azoth who becomes an apprentice to best assassin in his home city, Durzo Blint and in doing so, becomes involved in the city's politics in both the underworld and high class societies and has to do various “jobs” for people of both classes.  Sounds like a pretty cool concept doesn’t it?
            So how does one best describe this book?  Well, it starts off really good but after the first third it all goes downhill.  The characters all start out pretty cool, really interesting and three dimensional but by the time it ends, they all become....well....just the opposite.  The time span of the book was ridiculous as well.  During the first third, it takes place over a decade.  In the last two thirds it takes place over a few days.  As a result the book just isn't very well paced.  In fact, second two thirds of the book just felt like one long climax and was very annoying.  While this may sound good, it wasn’t executed very well.  It got to the point where I found myself whishing the story would end already and end this damn book.
            In the end, there were a few good surprises in it, but there are many other fantasy books I would recommend before this one.  Maybe the sequels are better and if I ever read them I'll be sure to give you my opinions on them, but until then, this books was forgettable and is a prime example as to how a story can start out really good but can go down the shitter really fast.


Tuesday, September 27, 2011

My Thoughts on the Terra Nova Pilot

            Monday night is probably my favorite night of the week as far as television programing goes.  Why?  Because that's the night House and Two and a Half Men comes on!  But this week, I opted to skip Two and a Half Men in favor for the two hour premier of the new show, Terra Nova that aired on Fox yesterday.

            It blew.....
           
            Yea, I don't think I've ever seen a show with such an appealing concept be such a letdown.  Granted there are a few things that are appealing but for the most part, it just didn't work.  So just why is it that this show was such a letdown?  Well, let’s get into it.

            The show takes place in the future where the Earth has become an over polluted dystopian society.  To escape this hell hole, groups of people go through a kind of worm hole that goes back 80 million years into the past in a parallel dimension where a colony of people hope to rebuild civilization on this new world in this new time.  However, not all is as at seems on Terra Nova, for another colony exists in this place with violent intentions and constantly threaten the colony.
            And that's the best part of the show because just about everything else is just crap.  For starters, you have the acting and by god is it awful!  I mean, Jesus!  It was bad.  I honestly don't think works can describe just how bad it was from most of the cast members.  I mean, I think I've seen middle school plays that had better acting then what some of what these actors were giving.  The only actor who does a half way decent job is Stephen Lang, who has a role suspiciously similar to his role in Avatar, (make of that what you will).
                Now, with that aside, throughout the first half of premier, it wasn't that bad.  The lines were decent, the action scenes were suspenseful, the set designs were decent enough, the intro to the other colony on the planet wasn't half bad, and the dinosaurs, despite being terrible CGI compared to films, were actually very appealing.
            That all changed with the second half and my God was it crap.  Most of it focused around this subplot, involving a group of teenager who get attacked by a group of velociraptor knockoffs called packers or something, (I honestly have no idea what they were called).  Everything about this half of the show was B-A-D!  The acting was terrible, the special effects sucked and the way they drew out the suspense was horrible, (in a bad way) and throughout the entire half of the episode I found myself hoping that one of these dinosaurs would tear all these kids limb by limb.  Long story short, just about everything involving any teenager subplot of the series brings it down faster than the stock market on Black Tuesday

            There really isn't much more to say on this.  Granted, the first half is tolerable because the setup is actually pretty good and Stephen Lang's performance kind of lifts everything but the second half just kills it for it's horrible acting, bad set ups, and horrible and inconstant special effects.  The show does have some potential and seems salvageable but won't be unless they make some drastic changes.  Maybe it'll get better as time goes on but watching the second half of this one was not worth missing Two and a Half Men over.  Until next time, this is The Illusive One signing off.


Friday, September 23, 2011

Thor

            As my more dedicated readers know, back in May I did an article dedicated to all the Avenger related films in preparation for the release of the Thor and Captain America films but it took me a while to finally get around to seeing either of these films.  Why did it take me so long?  Well, I always have caution when it comes to films that have commercials showing almost nothing but action sequences and the main character and a love interest kissing.  To me, that's never a good sigh and more often than not, I'm right in this regard.  So I saved my ten bucks and just decided to wait a few months for it to be released on DVD.   So, should I have spent my ten bucks on it in theaters or was I right in waiting for its DVD released?  Well let’s find out.  This is The Illusive One's Review of Thor.

            The film revolves around Thor, (duh), played by relative new comer Chris Hemsworth as he starts what could lead to a war between the gods of Asgard and the Frost Giants of Jotunheim.  To punish him for this, his father Odin, played by Anthony Hopkins, sends him to Earth to learn humility and possibly atone for what he has done.

            On the positive side, I have to say the characters were really interesting, likeable and I wanted to know more about them.  Thor was interesting in the way a lot of arrogant warriors are.  Their ass holes but you can't help but like them.  Others like Loki, the Gate Keeper and Thor's band of warriors were all interesting as well and kept you interested in them.  Granted they weren't that original and didn't really leave much of an impression but they were still good for what they were.  Professor Selvig, played by Stellan Skarsgard was also good in his role but I think he may have been a bit downplayed.  Like he was intended to have a larger role but was cut down for the sake of time.  The other characters were also good for what they were but were relatively forgettable in the grand scheme of things.
            I also felt that the concepts of the Norse Gods were also really cool and creative.  One thing I never understood though is if they were supposed to be aliens.  Anyone have any thoughts on that?  And are they immortal?  It certainly suggests that they are but I'm honestly not sure.  Likewise I really loved the look of the Frost Giants in this film.  They were threatening, demented and looked different from any other rendition of frost giants I had seen before.
            The last good thing I have to mention about this film is that there were a few good one liners that brought a smile to my face.

            However, I would be lying if I said this move didn't have its faults and it had a lot of them.  For starters, the whole thing seemed rushed.  I think Thor spends a total of two days on Earth, yet he goes, (and I use that word very loosely), through all this character development and forms relationships with all these people.  As a result, it seems very forced and, for a lack of better word, unconvincing.  One moment he's this arrogant warrior with a love for battle and a day later he has a lot more value for life.  It just didn't sit well with me and seemed unconvincing and rushed.
            Speaking of which, the plot wasn't very good.  The concept for it was, but the execution wasn't.  As I mentioned it was very rushed and was way too predictable.  Just about everything that happened in this film I saw coming a mile away.  I can think of only one instance where I was surprised in this film but that's it and even those surprises weren't big shocks to me.  I'm not sure if it was the writing, the acting, or the directorial style but they just seemed like underwhelming twists.
            Then we have the action scenes and, my God, these were dull.  Wait, I take that back.  They weren't dull.  They were underwhelming.  At times they seemed very traditional, but even those weren't very well choreographed and seemed to suffer from a lot of editing issues.  Other times, they just sucked.  Take for example, the fight in the town with that...robot thing.  Underwhelming, poorly choreographed, and had a very anticlimactic conclusion.  Hand in hand with the action are the special effects.  I don't want to say they were terrible, but they really could be bad at times.  Whenever I saw Asgard, I was always aware that I was looking at a CGI effect.  Their just didn't seem to be any attempt to make the buildings look real.  The same goes with some of the frost giants.  When they were GCI, moving, or fighting, they looked like crap and almost as if they weren't finished effects.
            Last but not least is the acting and dialog.  There really isn't a whole lot to say about it, other then, it was all really hokey.  And I mean, really hokey.  Granted there are a few good lines every now and then but for the most part, it was just...well hokey and that's all I have to say about it.

            All around, I think the best word to describe this movie is ok.  It's not bad, but it's not great either.  It just stuck me as being rushed and underwhelming.  I certainly enjoyed it but I don't think it's anything special.  It's not as good as the Iron Man films and is more or less on par with The Incredible Hulk but I think it's safe to say that, out of the Avenger films, it's probably the worst.  That doesn’t mean the film is bad or anything but it just seemed like it could have been a lot better.  I would certainly recommend it to other people and, to be perfectly honest, I really want to see a sequel to this film but on its own it just ok.  It's worth anyone's time, but it's just ok.

All Around
6.75/10

            So that's my opinion on Thor and I know a lot of you are probably pissed at me for trying to slaughter a sacred cow, but we all have our own opinions and I'll respect yours as long as you respect mine.  If you don't....well...go fuck yourself because I don't have time for people like you.  So until next time this is The Illusive One sighing off.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

100th Post: A Look Back at Crap I Did Wrong

            Well, I finally made it.  It took me a hell of a lot longer than I ever thought it would, but I finally made it to my 100th Post!  Congratulate me and shower me in wealth for I am the new king of blogger! AH HA HA HA HA HA HA! 
            No?  No money?  No crown?  WELL, TO HELL WITH YOU THEN!
            Anyway, it's been a long road.  There have been many posts, many views and people who have disagreed with my views.  But over the months I've come to regret certain reviews, lists, and franchise vs. franchise posts.  I feel that I was either too harsh on or not harsh enough on some of these posts or placed something before something that was more deserving of the spot.  So this post is a look back.  Consider these my official revisions to the various posts I've done.  Either my opinions of said games, books and films have changed or I just didn't properly review them and I feel that this is a chance to revise those errors.  This is The Illusive One's 100th Post: A Look Back at Crap I Did Wrong.




Fable 2


Previous
8/10

Current
6.75/10


            What's changed?  Well, in all honesty, not much.  I just gave it way to high of a number.  That's it.  For a fantasy RPG the plot just sucked, the missions weren’t hard at all and of course you had that bullshit ending.  Not much else to say other than I just screwed up with what number I should have placed as the rating.  Keep in mind, however, this was one of my early reviews so you really can't blame me for screwing up so early in my blogging days.



Assassins Creed 2

Previous
10/10

Current
9.75/10

            There were two things that I failed to take into account during this review, which keep it from its perfect score.  The first were the graphics, which could be a little off and almost creepy at times, especially in the beginning.  Throughout the game Desmond actually has the same scar on his lip that Ezio has.  That is just lazy programming.  The other main issue is that the controls were a little difficult to get a hold of at the start of the game and could be really awkward and clunky at the start.  And those are the things that keep it from being perfect in my book.  Little things but they added up and once again keep in mind that this was one of my early reviews so it only makes since that it would have flaws.





The Elfstones of Shannara


Previous
8/10

Current
7.5/10

            While I still love this book, I have to admit there were just a few too many times it seemed to insult my intelligence.  For one thing, I saw the ending coming a mile away and it in itself seemed a little to deus ex machina for my taste, and I like deus ex machina resolutions.  But this one was just a tad too predictable.  Then there were the rover characters.  Now, I liked it when these characters popped up everywhere when I first read the story, but now it just seems stupid.  I mean, the world is a big place so why the hell do Wil and Amberle keep running into the same rovers over and over again?  It just doesn’t make any sense.  I may still be a little too lenient on it in my rating but it was still a review that I felt that I wasn't harsh enough on.





The Wishsong of Shannara


Previous
8/10

Current
7.25/10

            To put it bluntly, it just wasn't as epic as the first two and the plot came off as being a bit underwhelming in comparison and the main protagonists were kind of two dimensional.  Not much else to say on this one other then it should not have been an 8 and, like Elfstones, I still think that I'm being a little too generous with it.





Fallout: New Vegas


Previous
8/10

Current
8.25/10

            By now most of, if not all, the glitches have been fixed so with that out of the equation it really helps the all around experience.  Like the previous game, there was just so much fun stuff to do and to see that I didn't even notice when I first did this review.  For example there were the Thorn hunts and various other missions I missed the first time I played through and there were a lot of improvements to the general gameplay such as weapons mods and being able to look down the sights.  That simple.  Not much else to say other then I probably should have paid more attention to what was a better game then I originally thought.





Jason and the Argonauts

Previous
7/10

Current
6/10

            Even though I really liked this film, from a strictly critical point of view it was pretty crappy.  The acting sucked, (even for the era), the special effects are horribly outdated, the romance between Jason and Meda was just random, and the ending sucked.  So there you go.  That's Jason and the Argonauts.





A Nightmare on Elm Street (2010)

Previous
7/10

Current
5.25/10
            To put it simply, it's just another crappy horror remake.  Crappy acting, underwhelming gore, a predictable, clichéd ending.  Enough said.  Let's move on.




The Pillars of the Earth

Previous
9/10

Current
7/10


            To put it simply, this was ultimately a very dull miniseries.  There just wasn't anything compelling about it and the way they tried to intertwine historical events into the story seemed very forced and out of place.  Add that to a predictable ending and you get a seven instead of a nine.  I honestly don't remember why I gave it a nine but there it is so let’s move on.




Fable 3


Previous
8/10

Current
7/10

            To put it simply, I really wanted to like this game.  I did so to a point where it clouded my judgment of a proper review and there are a few other instances where this happened throughout my blog.  But in this case, the combat wasn't much more then button mashing, it held your hand through every mission, the graphics were extremely cartoony, the voice acting and characters just sucked, the plot was predictable and their wasn't really anything that separated it from the crowd that hadn't been done in previous Fable games.  So there you go.






The Top Ten Villain List


            Looking back there are a few things I would change about this list.  For one thing, I would have given a few more details on each of the villains rather than just skim through them the way I did.  Second, I probably would drop the Man in Black from Lost down to number eight, and would have replaced the Dahaka from Prince of Persia: Warrior Within with Anton Chigurh from No Country For Old Men.  However, for the most part, this is a list that I still stand by even if the writing quality of it wasn't top notch.





The Blade Itself


Previous
8.5/10

Current
8/10

            While writing this review I was still fresh off of Best Served Cold so my feeling towards that book leaked into my review of this one.  The main problem with it was that it the book just seemed to be a bunch of events that just happened to interconnect.  That's it and, other than the characters, there just wasn't a whole lot driving it and brought down the book's quality as a whole.






Before They Are Hanged


Previous
10/10

Current
9/10

            Like The Blade Itself, I was still caught up in Best Served Cold when I wrote this review and couldn't think of anything wrong with it.  Have I now?  Why yes I have.  The main problem with this story is, as with all part 2's nowadays, is that it ends on a cliff hanger and just build up to the next installment of the franchise.  With this story, I was really aware of the fact that this was just stepping stone to the third book and it diluted the all around quality of the story.




Last Argument of the Kings


Previous
10/10

Current
9.5/10

            I honestly don't remember why I gave it a ten.  Maybe because it was so damn action packed and fast paces compared to other fantasy novels but it wasn't perfect.  It isn't anything I can specifically pinpoint but there were just a bunch of little things that were a tad predictable and these just added up and keep it from a perfect ten.






The Top Ten Fantasy Cliché List


To be perfectly honest, this was a list that I was never satisfied with and many times I considered doing a reedit of it or just rewriting it completely.  Like my Top Ten Villain List, I didn't really address the cliché as well as I should have and that always irked me.  But there are actually a few things I would change now.  For one thing, I would have put The Average Joe Becoming a Hero, The Protagonist With Secret Ancestry, and Farm Children or Children of Innkeepers Becoming Heroes clichés all in one slot because they almost always encompass one another and my splitting of them just seemed like an attempt to make the list longer.  I also would put the prince or princess love interest cliché at number ten and the evil wizard/politician cliché at number three.  In retrospect, it wasn't my best post and I don’t remember what went wrong with it but those are the changes I would make and consider those the official spots.





The Top Five Games of 2010 List



            Although I stand by this list for the most part, there are two major changes I would make.  For starters, I would have replaced Castlevania: Lords of Shadow with Call of Duty: Black Ops.  Why?  Because it was just the better game.  The gameplay was more intense, the plot was better written, the voice acting was great, and it had a great multiplayer system.  I don't entirely remember why I placed it below Castlevania but I may have been fresh off of Lords of Shadows and that probably had something to do with its placement at number 5.  The other major change I would make would be to put Red Dead at number one and Mass Effect 2 at number two.  Why you may ask?  Well, I actually replayed through both games recently and Red Dead held up a lot better.  The plot was better, the story was more involved, the characters were interesting, and the general gameplay was a lot more fun and interesting.  So there you go.






Dragon Age 2


Previous
8.5/10

Current
8/10

            Yea, I was kind of in denial about this game's plot.  While I still maintain that the plot and characters were interesting and other reviewers were too harsh on it, it was just an all around underwhelming game, especially compared to Dragon Age: Origins and the Mass Effect games.  It wasn't bad but it wasn't great either.  It was just ok and as everyone has pointed out, in plot, environments and characters it felt like a step back.





Tron

Previous
7/10

Current
6/10

            Like Fable 3 and Dragon Age 2 this was just something I really wanted to like and I let this cloud my numerical rating.  It was just a very dull movie with crappy acting, outdated special effects, and underwhelming action.  And to be honestly, I'm not surprised it flopped at the box-office upon its release.  So there you go.  My real rating for Tron.





On The Angry Video Game Nerd
And
The Nostalgia Critic




            Even though these were two separate posts I decided to put them together because they kind of suffer from the same yet complete opposite problems.  With the Angry Video Game Nerd I feel that I was a little too harsh on him.  This is because when I wrote the post I had already been watching his videos for about two years and as a result a lot of his stuff seemed old. With the Nostalgia Critic I had only been watching his videos for about three months so he was still hilarious to me and I may have praised him a tad too much.  So that's that.  Not much else I can do except to say.


Tron: Legacy



Previous
7.75

Current
7/10

            This was a post I regretted doing almost instantly and to this day it's the only post I considered deleting or rewriting just because I was embarrassed at how bad and off key it was.  Just about every praise I had came from comparing it to the previous film and my review suffered greatly for it.  For one thing, even though the action was a lot better in this film then it was in Tron, it still sucked.  It was poorly choreographed and suffered from choppy editing that went all over the place.  Then there was Garrett Hedlund and Olivia Wilde in this film and by god they were awful.  Headlund was just boring as mud in this film.  The way he talked was bland, he looked like he was stoned all the time and had no facial expressions.  And like Flynn from the first film he adapted just a little too quickly to his environments.  Then we have Olivia Wilde who wasn't quite as boring but was just as bland.  To put it simply, whenever she talked she read her lines horribly.  It seemed like they were trying to be funny with this character but whenever she talked the lines just sounded bad and bland.  She just didn't seem to put any effort put into the part and it suffered for it.  Not much else to say on this one, other then I'll never let this happen again in my movie reviews.    


            So that's it for my 100th post and hopefully that redeems me of all the mistakes in ratings I felt I've made.  And Korsgaard, if you have a problem with my new rating of Tron and Tron: Legacy, suck it because I don't give a shit what your opinions of these films are.  So until next time, this is The Illusive One sighing off. 

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Batman: Arkham Asylum

            Well, fall is nearing us once again and best season for video games is upon us.  As I did last year, I'll be reviewing a number of games to prepare my readers, (and myself), for the upcoming sequels and since I've had this comic book theme going on I decided to review something that ties into it.  As I'm sure all my fellow hardcore gamers know, finding a really good superhero game is nearly impossible.  What usually ends up happening is that the game is playable but ultimately nothing special.  However, in 2009, the gaming company Eidos, a group with almost nothing to their name came out with what is now considered to be the best superhero game ever made.  And today that is what we are going to look at.  This is The Illusive One's Review of Batman: Arkham Asylum.





Plot


            The story starts when Batman takes The Joker to Arkham Asylum, (once again, when are they going to learn that that place can't hold him!?), who breaks free of his captors and takes over the Asylum, releasing all the criminals from their cells and causing anarchy to reign over Arkham Island.  Now it's up to Batman to take down The Joker, reestablish control over the island and prevent him from exacting an unknown plan.
            On the positive side, the concept of The Joker taking over Arkham is a great one.  Granted, it has been used before but never to such an extent.  The Jokers ultimate plan, I actually thought was pretty cool and was not what I was expecting at all.  On the other hand it kind of seemed a little to cartoonish.  Like it was something that belonged in the 90s animated series but was just too extreme for it.  For what it was, however, the plot worked but I never felt it was anything special.   



Gameplay


            This is where the game really shined as far as superhero games go.  The combat was excellent, the use of stealth was great, the boss fights were memorable and it kept you on your toes.  Along with the usual combat and stealth sequences, you also got these sequences where Batman actually has to battle hallucinations brought upon by Scarecrow's gas.
            The graphic were likewise really good and the looks for the characters were great, paying tribute to previous renditions but also staying original.  Characters like Killer Crock were extremely intimidating, Scarecrow was shit yourself scary and others like Harley Quinn and Poison Ivy were...well let’s just say that there is a lot of fan boy service with them.  There was also a healthy collection of weapons you could obtain and upgrade and it will keep any Batman fan satisfied.
            Where this game really succeeded however, was in the general atmosphere.  Throughout the game the developers kept this forbearing mood up that full of tension you could cut with a knife.  When entering each area of the game, you have no idea if you are going to be attacked, greeted with welcome, or if nothing would happen at all.  Of all the battles, movements, dialog and scenes in this game, I think my favorite is actually the opening scene where The Joker is being taken into the Asylum and it's just the characters talking and the staff of Arkham taking precautions around The Joker, showing just how much they fear him.  It probably lasts about five minutes and could have been cut down but that's why I liked it so much.  It was just them talking and allowed for a lot of atmosphere and tension to settle in on the player.  It all around went into making a very memorable Batman experience.
            There are a few faults with the system, however.  For example, the stealth options seemed to be a bit limited.  Ventilation shafts constantly appear and make traveling around enemies easier and these stone gargoyles constantly appear, giving you cheap ways to take out your opponents and it irked me.  And finally, the final boss fight was disappointing.  I won't say who it was with, but suffice to say it's a bit of a letdown.
            All around I think the good outweighed the bad in the gameplay department.  Was it anything special?  No, but it was fun, wasn't repetitive, it was creative, and, best of all, was true to the source material.



Characters



            Now, because this is a Batman game you would think that the characters and voice acting would be great.  But I have to admit it was hit and miss throughout the game.  Voice actor Kevin Conroy, who also did the voice of Batman in the 90s animated series and The Justice League did a decent job reprising his role but it was a very casual performance.  Mark Hamill as The Joker on the other hand was just fantastic.  His dialog was great, the way the lines were spoke were great and his demented actions were great and to be honest I think that this is my favorite Joker of all time.  You also had great new looks and voice acting for Scarecrow and Killer Crock who both looked shit your pants scary.  There are also tapes you find throughout the island which contain interviews with said villains and these tape, while short, actually add layers of depth to the characters that you wouldn't have received if you just played through the game and made the characters much more three dimensional.  You also had a few good supporting characters like Aaron Cash and Oracle, (Barbra Gordon after the Joker shot her in the spine in The Killing Joke).
            Like I said, though, the characters could be hit or miss and some of the lines were really bad and hokey.  For example, the guy who voiced Jim Gordon was just terrible.  That all I can say about it.  He was just terrible.  Warden Quincy Sharp was likewise terrible and was incredibly clichéd in a stuck up way and was just the snootiest character I think I've ever seen in a video game.
            For as much as the Batman fan boys probably got hard for this rendition of Harley Quinn, I could not help but think that she was annoying as shit!  Her voice was annoying, her lines were annoying and her actions were annoying!  She was just annoying!  Then there were other villain characters like Bane and Poison Ivy.  This rendition of Bane, I'm disappointed to say, wasn't much better than the Joel Schumacher Batman and Robin version.  He was just an unintelligent brute who liked to crush things.  That's it and it was really disappointing.  With that aside, it was obvious that this character was just put in as a boss fight as was Poison Ivy and that annoyed the crap out of me.
            In the end, the characters were hit or miss.  When they were good, they were really good, but when they were bad they were really bad and it's kind of up to the individual to decide if the experience was positive or negative for them.  For me, these problems didn't ruin the all around experience of the game but they did annoy me.




The Verdict


            I think the best way to sum this entire review up is to say that it's nothing special.  I mean, for a superhero video game it's fantastic but as video game in general it's just good.  The plot was a tad over the top, especially when following on the heels of The Dark Knight but it still worked.  The all around gameplay was nothing fantastic but it wasn't bad either and it worked for what it was.  And finally the characters tended to be hit or miss throughout the game.  When they were good, they were fantastic but when they were bad they just sucked.  But it is a game I would recommend to any gamer and Batman fan.  It's not a waste of time by any means, is very fun and extremely enjoyable



All Around

8.25/10




            So what's next for this series?  Well, Batman: Arkham City is due for release on the 18th of October, and from what I know about it, it actually looks like it will clean up a lot of the issues I had with this game.  Their seems to be a few more free roam options as well as several side missions, you’ll actually get to play as Catwoman and Bane is going to be an ally of Batman’s so hopefully this will redeem this version, (to those of you who are unaware, Bane was often an ally of Batman’s as much as a villain throughout the comics).  However my expectations aren't through the roof.  My honest guess is that it will be better than this game and if you liked it you'll probably like Arkham City but I don't think that it will be able to hold up in the long term.  Let's just hope I 'm wrong in this regard.  So until next time this is The Illusive One sighing off.     

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Across the Universe: The D.C. Stories of Alan Moore

            Well, I've put it off for as long as I could, but I have more comics to review.  Yea, I know I said not to expect too many of them, but I just can't help myself.  Who is to blame for this?  Why, Korsgaard.  That son of a bitch kept on nagging me and nagging me to read more comics until I caved in and decided to read The Killer Joke which has, in turn, led me to read and review even more Alan Moore D.C. Comics.  Rather than just review anyone of them in particular I'm going to review the stories from the collection Across the Universe: The D.C. Stories of Alan Moore.  Here it is and lets dig right into them.




 
 
 
Superman: For the Man Who Has Everything


            To put it simply, this is one of those “what if?” type stories.  In it, an intergalactic Darkseid knock off called Mongul send Superman a plant that put him in a kind of comatose state where, within his mind, his heart's deepest desires come true.  Superman's happens to be living a normal life on Krypton.  Most of the story focuses on his life their while Batman tries to figure out how to get this thing off him while Wonder Woman gets the shit kicked out of her by Mongul.  To be perfectly honest, I didn't care for this story.  I know a lot of people like the “what if?” premise for super hero stories and it was the basis for a Justice League episode but I've never cared for them, mainly because they do next to nothing to advance the plot.  That aside, the dialog was good and it was interesting to see what kind of a life Superman may have lead on Krypton but it just didn't entertain me the way other comics have and I don't think it represents the best Alan Moore has to offer.

6.75/10


Green Arrow: Night Olympics


            This is a story that I felt really lacked in depth and plot.  To put it simply, it's just the Green Arrow chasing down criminals.  That's it.  One's a petty thief and the other is an archer who mistakenly thinks he can go head to head with Green Arrow.  The only good thing I have to say about it is that there was some pretty good dialog in it and I think the thief's reaction to the fact that he was being captured by Green Arrow was pretty damn funny, (if you've read this story you'll know exactly what I mean).  Other than that, there was just nothing to it at all.

5/10


Tales of The Green Lantern Corps: Mogo Doesn't Socialize


            This is one of the shortest yet one of the most hilarious comics I think I've ever read.  In it, a young Green Lantern named Arisia is looking through the names of various distinguished Green Lanterns when another Green Lantern tells her a story involving one named Mogo.  The less said, the better, because the comic is so short that saying anything else would ruin it.  Suffice to say that the ending will probably make your jaw drop and laugh pretty hard and is more than worth the time to read it.

7/10


Vigilante: “Father's Day!”


            This is super hero that most people aren't even aware of but to make a long story short, he's a D.A. who goes around and fights crime out of court as well as within.  This particular story revolves around a man who raped his daughter and has recently been paroled, kills his ex and mainly deals with Vigilante's hunt for the girl and her father while the girl runs from the both of them.  The only major flaw with this story was the choice in super hero.  To put it bluntly his costume is kind of lame, his name just sucks and it just doesn’t seem right that a D.A. would do these kinds of things.  I'm not entirely sure why but something about the character just didn't add up.  That aside, it's a pretty good story that has everything from drug dealers, to hookers, to pedophiles and murderers.  It's not the best comic I've read by any means and a lot of the coloring seems off but is well worth anyone’s time.

7/10


Vega: Brief Lives


            This is probably one of the strangest yet deepest comics I've ever read.  It deals with a guild of spiders who try to conquer a land called Ogyptu.  The only problem is that there are two giant blue men in the area who don't even seem to be aware of the spiders' existence.  This is another story where the less said is better, but suffice to say it is an interesting look at time and how different creatures of the universe value it.  That said, give it a look because it's entertaining, and well worth reading and deep on the subject.

8/10


Vega: A Man's World


            This is a story that is....really fucking weird!  In a nut shell it’s about a scientist who is trying figure out just how an alien race made up only of men reproduce.  And the less said about that the better.  Suffice to say it has a hilarious yet dark outcome and like Brief Lives and Mogo Doesn’t Socialize, it's an ending you're not likely to forget.

7/10


Superman and Swamp Thing: The Jungle Line


            In this story, Superman gets extremely sick by touching a strange fungus that came from Krypton and slowly starts to lose his powers until he ultimately discovers that he is dying.  Rather than facing anyone else in this moment of crisis he decides to drive away from everyone he knows and die alone.  On the way he encounters Swamp Thing, who may be able to save him, if Superman doesn’t kill him first from dilutions caused by the fever.
            The only problems I had with this story were that Superman and Swamp Thing don't really interact with one another and it didn't seem right that he would just leave everyone to go off and die in the middle of nowhere.  However it was interesting to see a virus from Krypton and just how Superman would react to it.  That said it's an interesting that keeps you interested in the ultimate outcome of the story.  

7.25/10


Tales of The Green Lantern Corps: Tygers


            This is a story that more or less explains why it was the Green Lantern Abin Sur died and passed his ring on to Hal Jordan.  To put it simply, it's just him talking to these Lovecraftian looking creatures who tell him his destiny which leads to his fatal crash on Earth.  Saying anything else will probably give too much away but it should suffice to say that it's a well drawn and interesting story.  The only problems I have with it are that it was a little difficult to figure out what was going on at the start of the story and the drawing style was inconsistent at times.  That aside, it's certainly a story worth checking out if you want to know a little more about what lead to Hal Jordan becoming a Green Lantern.

7/10


Secret Origins Starring The Phantom Stranger: Footsteps


            Now I could be wrong in this, but I think that this is the origin story behind the character of The Phantom Stranger.  It reveals that he had been an angel who was forced to pick a side in the battle between God and Lucifer and showed the results of his decisions while a gang coup is being planned and a gangster is in an identical situation. 
            I'm still not entirely sure what to make of this one, mainly because I am unfamiliar with this character.  From what I could comprehend, however, it did show the dilemmas someone in that kind of situation could go through and was executed very well.  The only problem I had with it is that the story with the gang member is bit confusing and half the time you’re not sure what the hell they're talking about.  Still, if you're familiar with the character, I say give this story a read because it isn't a waste of time by any means.

7.75/10


Tales of The Green Lantern Corps: In Blackest Night


            Of all the stories in this compilation, I think this one is the cleverest.  In it a Green Lantern has to appoint a guardian in an area of space with no concept of light, color, or sight and this makes explaining what a Green Lantern is impossible.  Throughout most of the comic she's trying to figure out a way to get the message through while explaining her actions to the Guardians.  I just really liked the way it addressed the problem and showed how frustrating and difficult it could be and the resolution was just as clever as the problem.  The last good thing to address are the final lines in the story.  I won't spoil it but it will make you laugh uncomfortably.  The only major downside is that it was a little too short for my taste.  That said, I think this one was my favorite and one of the best the collection had to offer.

8/10


Batman: Mortal Clay


            This one is...a little weird to talk about because...well...IT'S JUST FUCKING WEIRD!  In it the third Clayface, (yes the third Clayface) ...um....well....it's all about his....married life...with....a manikin doll.  Yes.  You read that correctly.  His married life with a manikin doll.  That doesn’t even sound real!  It sounds like a satire of a Batman comic.  But such a ridiculous themed comic actually exists and it's meant to be taken seriously.  I guess the main point of it was just to show how nuts this character is and they do succeed in this but....it's just too weird to take seriously.  To me it just took itself way to seriously to be funny but was so ridiculous that I couldn't help but laugh at it.  Not much else more to say about it other than that and I'd only recommend it if you're in the mood for a really weird Batman story.

6/10


            And those are my thoughts on Across The Universe: The DC Stories of Alan Moore.  Some of them are good, some are bad but all are readable.  If you like this kind of stuff and are an Alan Moore fan then definitely check it out.  It shouldn't take long to read and is more than worth anyone’s time.  So until next time this is The Illusive One signing off.