Geekly Review #171

Another week goes by and boy has it been a busy one in the nerd department!

I’ve not used Humble Bundle much beyond the odd game purchase when it’s been on sale, but the recent Freedom bundle was just too good to pass up on. £23 for 25ish games, it’s pretty incredible. Plus the money made from the sales went to charity and as of a couple of days ago it had raised $4.2 million!

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Just some of the games on offer

Stardew Valley

Stardew Valley has always been a game that interested me, but I’ve just never got around to playing it. I started a new Farm last week after picking up the bundle and whilst I’ve only put in a few hours at most I have to say I’m enjoying the casual relaxed nature of the game. I have no idea what I’m doing, but I’m still enjoying it.

For the first few days I’ve mostly been clearing up my farm, planting vegetables and getting to know some of the towns folk and my way around. I feel a little lost with the open nature of the game, there aren’t really many hints on how to get started with things – at least not that I’ve seen, so I could be doing things completely wrong or missing some very obvious stuff too. But it’s ok, I will live and learn, gain experience on the job and what not! I can easily see why people would lose hours upon hours in this game.

The Witness

The Witness is another game I’ve wanted to play, but again not got around to it. It released to a lot of critical acclaim and after spending a few hours solving puzzles and enjoying the gorgeous views I have to say that I’m not sure I get it.

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The Witness is all about solving puzzles, whether they be logic based or observational, pretty much all the puzzles follow the same rules – drawing lines. As you can imagine, things start out fairly simple and progressively get more difficult. But what I’ve found with some of the puzzles is that they go beyond solving them and lean more towards guess work, which in my opinion doesn’t make for a fun game. One early area of the game sees you having to the find ‘path’ to draw by making the suns reflection reveal the path, now  some of these I thought were quite fun, getting the right angles and revealing the routes to draw was interesting, but other panels were shrouded in shadow meaning that only some of the path was shown, basically meaning you had to guess the rest. It’s not that guessing them or ‘working them out’ is difficult, it’s monotonous and becomes a chore of trial and error – something that I don’t find fun. Then once you’ve completed an area you can get what amounts to an underwhelming ‘completion’ of that area.

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Let’s get one thing clear though, The Witness is stunning to look at and the sound design is also excellent. I’ve heard that the game can take up to 20 hours to complete, and with little to no narrative, I worry about how engaged it will keep me for that time. Here’s hoping things get a little more interesting later on.

Total War Warhammer

Another game being offered by Humble Bundle – but through the monthly subscription, is Total War Warhammer. The last Total War game I played was Rome which was over 10 years ago, so I’m a little out of touch with the series. But being a fan of the Warhammer world and lore I wanted to try out the Warhammer variant in the series. I’m playing through the campaign as the Dwarfs right now and I think I’m doing ok… I’ve won some battles, taken over a few settlements and have expanded my ‘influence’ a little bit, so it feels like I’m doing alright, but whether I actually am, I’m not too sure…

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I’ve noticed that this game can very quickly sap your time away from you. Before you know it you’ve passed 2 hours with it feeling like only 20 minutes. I’m earger to play more of it and to see if I get Roflstomped in a few rounds time by the Orc scum that plagues my lands!

Arma 3

I’m still also playing a lot of Arma 3 and loving it. We’ve recently got another squad member so now when we’re all on we have five of us playing, which makes for a  lot fun gameplay and a lot of funny gameplay too. I recently put together a video of some of our randoms moments whilst playing a few missions on Wasteland.

-Will

Tomb Raider: Definitive Edition

I started Tomb Raider: Definitive Edition back in January, but after picking up Madden 17 for £10 I got massively sidetracked and some what addicted to Madden. When the dust settled down on Madden a little I began going into a frenzy of watching films too. So gaming took a little bit of a backseat. Well last night I dived back into Tomb Raider. I picked up where I left off at 37% completion. By the end of my play through before heading to bed I got up to 54%. Just reached the beach part of the game. It seems I needed a little break from gaming as when picking this back up, I enjoyed playing it again and lost track of time completely which when I had first started TR was the complete opposite situation.

I’m looking forward to diving back in and seeing Lara’s journey through to the end again. There’s still plenty of games in my Christmas backlog to pick up after Tomb Raider, with DOOM, Titanfall 2 or World of Final Fantasy looking like contenders for the next game to play. There’s plenty of new games out on PS4 lately that I’m wanting to get my hands on badly, The likes of Resident Evil 7, Gravity Rush 2, Last Guardian, Nioh and Horizon in particular, but first world problems have struck where spare available income I have is in savings for various stag do’s this year and EGX Rezzed next month. Being an adult can be a pain.

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FILM, FILMS, FILMS

So last week I mentioned in our Geekly Review that I’d seen 2 films with multiple Oscar nominations with Hidden Figures and Moonlight. Well over the past 7 days I’ve gone a movie blitz watching more films featuring Oscar nominations, and some other newer films I’d wanted to see.

I began the week watching Disney Animation Studio’s latest film Moana. They’ve been on a heck of a streak since Tangled. Frozen became a phenomenon and Big Hero 6 and Wreck it Ralph a different kind of Disney film using Marvel property and including video game icons resulted in huge success with these 2. Then the complete surprise of Zootopia making over £1b at box office. Moana had a lot to follow. For me however the film didn’t live up to the heights of the previous films. It just didn’t click with me and I cannot really pinpoint as to why not. If asked to watch one of the films listed above or Moana again, Moana would be the last choice. It’s not to say it’s bad. The songs are original and catchy, but I don’t know? I just found myself annoyed at The Rock’s character. Can’t win em all I guess.

Next up I went with Sully. This film was based on the events of the 2009 emergency landing of a commercial airline flight into the river Hudson in New York. Initially I had thought how could they possible make a film on this, not based on it being a sensitive topic, but more so on how can they make a 208 second flight last 90 minutes of movie. Another thing I was expecting was for it to be a complete “USA, USA” type film, where they exaggerate the story to make USA seem strong. Turns out that they can make a very compelling 90 minute film based on this almost tragedy. You see a bit of back story on captain Sullenberger on how he became a pilot, a very tense re-enactment of the incident, the rescue which was pretty incredible then the stress of the investigation on the pilot and co-pilot who are questioned why they couldn’t bring the plane in for an emergency landing at any of the 4 airports near by when simulations of the event all result in a successful emergency landing initially. Pretty engrossing as you applaud the heroics of Sullenberg to get that landing on the Hudson without any fatalities to the passengers or without sending the plane into the skyline of Manhattan some 8 years after 9/11, and really want the investigators to give him a break and see the scenario from his eyes as they all question his ability and age as to why he couldn’t get the plane to land at any of the airfields around.

Continuing on with films based on events, I watched Patriots Day which was based on the events of the Boston bombings. I remember the day of the manhunt for 19 year Dzhokhar very well as I was hooked to the news websites as it was during normal hours for us Brits. Everything in this film seemed so familiar. With Sully even though we knew the outcome, I never thought about knowing how the film would end, but Patriots Day I was expecting things to happen as I remember it all so well. The incident of shooting when the older brother was shot and then run over by the younger brother when fleeing, I said out loud to my wife who was watching with me “I was wondering if they’d show this”. The film is pretty damn emotional. The actual main incident with the bombs exploding left one of those awkward lumps in my throat. The recreation of the manhunt was engrossing and you felt so sorry for people that got in the way of these 2 on their attempted travel to New York. Then the end of the film features the real survivors and real police officers involved in the events retelling how the event changed them and their recollections of the events. This once again triggered the throat lump, and to end it they dedicate the film to those who passed away with the final message to the youngest victim of 8 years old. Once again another film that I thought would be all about glorifying the USA’s finest. But it really doesn’t, it’s all true to the event’s we read and followed on the news. Perhaps the only twisting of events is that we don’t know how the brothers acted between their selves, so we see the films take on how they acted and it’s all very negative USA stuff, but given the acts that they committed it’s probably right on point.

Switching from true event films we watched a film based on the book Girl on the Train. My wife had wanted to watch this in the cinema but I never did go with her, so bought it for her and made the effort to watch it with her at home. It was much better than I had actually anticipated, but I could call who the real bad person in this film was from fairly early on, and then to have my suspicions confirmed later on when the body of Megan was found. I won’t say more to avoid spoilers. But a genuinely good thriller that I was surprised by.

We needed a bit of a pick me up after this so moved onto the sequel to Seth Rogen’s Neighbors, Neighbors 2. I enjoyed the first film, and from it found a bit of an appreciation for Zac Effron as he was genuinely funny in it. Neighbors 2 is pretty much more of the same, but this time features a sorority rather than a frat. The film introduces Chloe Mortez as the leader who declares war against Seth Rogen and his wife. However this time Rogen accepts the help of Effron in showing the sorority that they won’t get pushed around again. It kept us entertained and certainly made us laugh. Easy enough to watch and recommend as something to pass time or to lighten the mood up if you’ve been watching some rather heavy films prior like we had done.

We finally watched one of the Oscar nominated films Arrival. This film was brilliant. It’s reasonably fast paced and there isn’t much time spent building up the arrival of these space ships on earth. Before we know it we have Amy Adams attempting to make first communication with the aliens. This first meeting between them was incredibly tense and the moment a breakthrough is made is massive. I’ve mentioned it to a few people after seeing this film, but based on the current climate of the world and the worlds leaders, should anything like this ever really occur, Humanity is royally fucked. Arrival was a film you couldn’t take your eyes off and you’re willing the world leaders to wise up and share all information rather than race to be the first to make a breakthrough. The final events where the secrets are discovered leaves you with your jaw hanging a little bit. A good twist if you will to the events of the film.

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– Murr

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3 thoughts on “Geekly Review #171

    • I’ve got a stuck a couple of times, but I’ve just left the puzzle for a while to come back late. But some of them I’m not stuck, they just become a bit of a chore.
      I can imagine it would be a difficult one to stream!

      • I sunk over 30 hours into The Witness and still didn’t manage to solve every puzzle. I hated the game at points and never wanted to see it again – but there was always that ‘one more puzzle’ thought that kept nagging me and taking me back.

        I have mixed feelings about it now… I’d be interested to know what you think when you’re done, Will!

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