Monthly Archives: December 2016

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story Review


While being positioned as a departure from the mainline Star Wars movies, Rogue One has a lot in common with its cinematic siblings. It’s got the force, charming rogues, a sweeping musical score, and very strong divisions between good and evil. New protagonist Jyn Erso’s headstrong attitude and estrangement from her parents feel lifted directly from last year’s The Force Awakens, and nearly all of the secondary characters feel like mash-ups of characters or archetypes previously used in the Star Wars saga.

This reliance on what has worked in the past is simultaneously one of Rogue One’s major strengths and one of it’s biggest weaknesses. The Star Wars universe continues to be incredibly satisfying on a level of pure spectacle. Iconic designs like the AT-ST, or the X-Wing, or the TIE Fighter, are just as exciting to watch onscreen in 2016 as they were 20, and presumably 39, years ago. This new film also gets what made the original trilogy exciting, with action scenes staying with the characters, maintaining a sense of scale and intensity. This makes the stakes feel more real and matches effectively with the more “lived-in” aesthetic of the original movies.

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The Last Guardian Is A Masterpiece…When It Works

The story behind The Last Guardian is almost as epic as the game itself. After nine years of announcements, brief glimpses, delays, disappearances, re-appearances, and a platform jump, it’s finally complete, printed onto blu-ray discs, and available for download on the Playstation Store. Starting up the game is almost surreal, like meeting an old friend after having accepted their death.

Lead designer Fumito Ueda, who was also behind Playstation 2 classics Ico and Shadow of the Colossus, had a lot to live up to with The Last Guardian, and in a broad sense, he did. When The Last Guardian is working the way it is designed to, it’s a peerless example of interactive, emotional storytelling. Unfortunately, it’s crippled by major bugs and performance issues that absolutely should have been resolved during the game’s nine years of development.

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Westworld Season 1 Review


Season 1 of Westworld wrapped up over the weekend, finally giving us a clear picture of the show’s reality…sort of. If you haven’t watched it yet, steer clear, because I will be posting spoilers below. However, my opinion of the show after the first 5 episodes is still, for the most part, how I feel now: its mystery was compelling and it has a lot on its mind, but for a show about the essence of humanity, it has a difficult time inviting us to care about its characters on a human level.

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