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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.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Brief Thoughts on Dredd 3D, The Master and Transformers: Fall of Cybertron

            Well guys, it’s time for yet another Brief Thoughts On…post.  Now I know that I promised that I would be doing a review on Dredd 3D and The Master two weeks ago, but unfortunately some personal stuff came up and I wasn’t able to write either, nor was I able to finish the video Korsgaard and I were working on until last Friday night.  But I still wanted to give some quick thoughts on both of these films, and a video game that I recently beat.  So here it is.  Brief Thoughts on Dredd 3D, The Master and Transformers: Fall of Cybertron.

Dredd 3D and The Master

            Dredd 3D, in a nutshell, was a film that was a lot better than it had any rights to be.  The acting was very good, the action was very gory, realistic and satisfying, if a tad mechanical at times, really knew how to use the slow-mo to excellent effect and had a cast of very likeable characters, especially Karl Urban and Dredd and Lena Heady as Ma-Ma.  While most of the film takes place indoors the filmmakers are able to add a lot of context to the city and are able to establish what a hellish place it is with a few good twists as well.
            The downsides to it are that the limits in its budget do show, especially in the art direction and special effects departments, as a lot of the outfits and set designs look like something that they probably could have made for an anniversary film at That Guy with the Glasses or something.  This also shows in the fact that the film often has to tell and not show regarding the state of the city.  The last problem is the plot and characters.  While they aren’t bad they are very basic and aren’t as fleshed out as they should have been.  But again this is something that is more due to the budget than the talent of the filmmakers.
            But still, this is one that I recommend as it is a film that is a lot better than it has any right to be and does not deserve to flop.  At the very least it’s worth an afternoon showing and you will get your money’s worth out of it.

All Around

Comic Book Rating

            And if you’re curious here is a video review that I helped put together.  Sorry again for the late release date and the audio and visual problems as I ran across several technical problems while editing this thing and they are ones that I plan on learning from.

            The Master, however, I really don’t have too much to say about.  The acting is really good and the characters are interesting but beyond that it came off as typical Oscar Bait and I found myself constantly comparing it to Paul Thomas Andersons’ previous film, There Will Be Blood, which happens to be one of my favorite films of all time.  It also constantly distracted by the fact that I was probably the most intimidating looking person in that entire room, (and as anyone who knows me will tell you, that is hilarious), and it made me feel really out of place in the theater.   So, in other words, I don’t have any feelings on this one, one way or the other and can’t recommend it one way or the other.

Transformers: Fall of Cybertron

            And now we get to the main reason that I wanted to do this post, Transformers: Fall of Cybertron.  Taking place right after the ending of War for Cybertron, the game follows the Autobots as they try to fight the Decepticons off, while constructing and getting energon for a great ship known as The Arc as the Decepticons try to stop them and take all the energon for themselves and destroy the Autobots once and for all. 
Now starting with what this game got right, it knocked it out of the park.  The characters are surprisingly compelling and you grow attached to them very quickly, despite limited gameplay time with each of them.  You very quickly get a sense of the relationships between the characters and really want them to succeed in their tasks.  The most apparent example of this is the story of Grimlock and his interactions with other Autobots and Decepticons.  You very quickly get a sense of just how much he cares for his team and how badly he hates the Decpticons and how hostile his relationship is with Optimus Prime in about a chapter and a half of gameplay time.
The storyline is also surprisingly good, especially considering the source material and you really get a sense of desperation in this game from both sides.  The world of Cybertron is essentially dying and both sides are quickly running out of energon, (the Transformers equivalent of fuel, food and basically life essence for those who didn’t know), and you really get the sense that this is the final shot for both sides and if they fail both sides are doomed.  It also happens to have one of the most satisfying endings that I’ve seen in a videogame in recent months and really reminds you of how Optimus Prime and Megatron are really the cores of Good and Evil in the transformers universe.
Now I don’t mean to sell the story as more then it is.  It has a lot of wired continuity issues with the first game, the story could get really slow at times and isn’t as compelling as the storylines in say the Mass Effect games.  But as far as Transformers storylines and characterization goes this one is one of the best that I’ve seen sense the Armada series from the early 2000’s and manages to be far superior to anything that the Michael Bay films ever put out. 
From a gameplay standpoint, the game has radically improved on almost everything that the first one had.  The graphics and character designs have improved and the guns seemed to have a bit more variety to them and were a lot easier to get used to.  The fights were fun and extremely challenging, even on the lower difficulties and go out of their way to remind you that the Transformers you play as are the best by being better than their enemies and not necessarily brutally stronger.  The only downsides to it are that it eliminates the co-op campaign options, the enemies such as snipers and shot gunners on both sides are interchangeable, and lacks the cool boss fights the first game had.
Despite its faults this is a good game and one that I would recommend if you’re a Transformers fan and want to see a more traditional yet serious version of the mythos.  It’s more than worth your time and money and I recommend that you give it a play if you get a chance.

All Around

            And that’s it for this installment of Brief Thoughts On.  Next time I’m on here will probably be for the two year anniversary and we’ll see how that one goes.  So until next time this is The Illusive One signing off.

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