Copy of Should You Buy Farcry 5?

IMG_0065.PNG

Alright short answer: Yes. Let’s talk about why.

I have to admit, I’m a big Farcry fan. Ubisoft is generally hit-or-miss for me, even with the Farcry series (looking at you Primal) but I was never really worried abou this game. Everything about this game has had me excited. I love the setting, the villain, the aesthetic, all of it. That said, I’m going to do my best to be objective here. I’m still working my way through the game. I can’t rush myself on this one but I feel I have enough under my belt to give a fair review. 

Let’s start with the good. This game is gorgeous. The world is intimidating in scale but exploration is fun and rewarding. The tower system is gone and although I miss it at times I’d say the gameplay is better off without it. Strongholds are back and as fun as ever. In fact, I’d say the stealth gameplay I’ve experienced during my attempt at taking strongholds undetected is better than any found in Assassin’s Creed games. As always, there is some sort of spiritual element and it’s pretty good. I like it better than the one from 4 but it’s never been something I’m fond of. The character customization is cool, albeit pointless touch. I guess it will be good for multiplayer. The companion system is a good feature especially for those who prefer to play offline and the companions are actually worth having. Last but certainly not least, there’s the story. The meat of this game is what sells it. The charcters feel real and you actually find yourself wanting to help them (unlike 4 where I kinda wanted to kill both of the “protagonists”). You feel a real sense of progress as you see friendly militia troops starting to take over the areas you clear. The cult is full of leaders who are charismatic and despicable in their own ways (and they all have lovely eyes). Perhaps as an American the idea of a radical militarized cult overthrowing a county just hits close to home but this definitely feels like the most grounded game in the series. 

Now, let’s hit what I didn’t like. First, the spiritual missions seem to hit randomly when you take damage from cetain enemies. This can happen when you’re right in the middle of something and when you complete your vision quest it spawns you just wherever. I mean you spawn back in like a different place that relates to the level you just finished but it’s probably nowhere near the thing you were doing. Another issue I have is that there’s tons of good hunting to do but if you want something like a bigger quiver or another holster, that’s part of the perk tree and not craftable. You can craft explosives on the fly though which is handy. A lot of stuff is actually tied up in the perk tree. The good news is you earn perk points pretty often. These things aren’t deal-breakers by any stretch but I do think they could be handled better.

So TL;DR It’s great. Pick it up and you’ll sink plenty of time into it. In fact, pick up the season pass too. It’s only 30$ (USD) and it comes with some stuff that looks pretty great (and a copy of Farcry 3). I’m gonna say 4/5. 

Should You Buy Farcry 5?

IMG_0065.PNG

Alright short answer: Yes. Let’s talk about why.

I have to admit, I’m a big Farcry fan. Ubisoft is generally hit-or-miss for me, even with the Farcry series (looking at you Primal) but I was never really worried abou this game. Everything about this game has had me excited. I love the setting, the villain, the aesthetic, all of it. That said, I’m going to do my best to be objective here. I’m still working my way through the game. I can’t rush myself on this one but I feel I have enough under my belt to give a fair review. 

Let’s start with the good. This game is gorgeous. The world is intimidating in scale but exploration is fun and rewarding. The tower system is gone and although I miss it at times I’d say the gameplay is better off without it. Strongholds are back and as fun as ever. In fact, I’d say the stealth gameplay I’ve experienced during my attempt at taking strongholds undetected is better than any found in Assassin’s Creed games. As always, there is some sort of spiritual element and it’s pretty good. I like it better than the one from 4 but it’s never been something I’m fond of. The character customization is cool, albeit pointless touch. I guess it will be good for multiplayer. The companion system is a good feature especially for those who prefer to play offline and the companions are actually worth having. Last but certainly not least, there’s the story. The meat of this game is what sells it. The charcters feel real and you actually find yourself wanting to help them (unlike 4 where I kinda wanted to kill both of the “protagonists”). You feel a real sense of progress as you see friendly militia troops starting to take over the areas you clear. The cult is full of leaders who are charismatic and despicable in their own ways (and they all have lovely eyes). Perhaps as an American the idea of a radical militarized cult overthrowing a county just hits close to home but this definitely feels like the most grounded game in the series. 

Now, let’s hit what I didn’t like. First, the spiritual missions seem to hit randomly when you take damage from cetain enemies. This can happen when you’re right in the middle of something and when you complete your vision quest it spawns you just wherever. I mean you spawn back in like a different place that relates to the level you just finished but it’s probably nowhere near the thing you were doing. Another issue I have is that there’s tons of good hunting to do but if you want something like a bigger quiver or another holster, that’s part of the perk tree and not craftable. You can craft explosives on the fly though which is handy. A lot of stuff is actually tied up in the perk tree. The good news is you earn perk points pretty often. These things aren’t deal-breakers by any stretch but I do think they could be handled better.

So TL;DR It’s great. Pick it up and you’ll sink plenty of time into it. In fact, pick up the season pass too. It’s only 30$ (USD) and it comes with some stuff that looks pretty great (and a copy of Farcry 3). I’m gonna say 4/5. 

Outside The Box Games For The Group.

IMG_0034.JPEG

Remember the days of whatever your prime Smash Bros is? For me, it was Melee. Getting everybody together on the couch and playing a game together. Even if you weren’t playing that round you were into it. Screaming at each other and dropping your controller when Jerod gets THAT FRIGGIN HAMMER AGAIN. It was good times. I’m in a stage in my life where there are often people in my living room. I have friends and roommates and they have friends and sometimes I just can’t block off the TV in the living room to binge more Breath Of The Wild. I always appreciate a good party game. Growing up, we could just play games together. There was no “well do you have a PSN login?” Or “Okay we can play together but we both have to buy a system and the game and also a membership to the online service.” So with that in mind, here are a few of our picks for games that bring up that same feeling. 

 

Friday The 13th (1p, PS4, XB1, PC)- Boom. Right out of the gate with a curveball. I know what you’re thinking; “but doesn’t that only have online multiplayer?” Yes it does but we don’t play together! This game is great because no matter who is playing we all get into it. Remember passing the controller on deaths? Do that. Turn on the mic and let the whole group talk to the other players. It’s a great time. The game itself is pretty meh but when it gets intense it gets really intense and between the clunky gameplay, glitches, iffy animations, and cheeseball source material it’s rife with opportunity for a laugh. It’s a solid mix of good fun and hilarious quirks. 

 

Keep Talking and Nobody Explodes (2-?p, PC, PSVR)- Alright so there’s a catch for this one. You can either play it online on steam or, and this is the best way, on VR. We play on PlayStation with the PSVR setup and it’s fantastic. The premise is that one person (the one with the VR headset on) is in a room with a bomb and everybody has to help defuse it. The TV displays a manual for everybody to follow but you have to communicate. The man with the bomb can’t see the manual and the people with the manual can’t see the bomb. The ticking timer and occasional distractions make for tense gameplay and the teamwork is a really fun way to bond.  

 

Until Dawn (1p, PS4)- Okay this is the last one that isn’t technically multiplayer. What this game lacks in straight action it more than makes up for in tension. The game follows six young adults staying in a mountain cabin (you know, the one where two of them died last time they stayed there). The story twists and turns and in the end, depending on how you’ve played, you can either keep the whole group alive or have them all killed (or any variation thereupon). What makes this game fun for a group is the gameplay. It’s centered around making choices for the characters (similar to a Telltale game) with short bursts of action between. The exploration is rewarding in the form of totems which provide a glimpse into a possible future and the game takes a psychological profile (done within the lore and characters of the game) to customize some of the scares. Allowing the group to make these decisions together is like watching an 8 hour interactive horror movie. It also has some real acting talent behind it with the likes of Hayden Panetierre (Heroes), Peter Stormare (Prison Break, Destiny 1 and 2), and Rami Malek (Mr. Robot). Overall It’s just a really good time.

 

Gang Beasts (1-4p PS4,PC, Mac, Linux)- This game shouldn’t work. The controls harken back to “I Am Bread” with their user friendliness and the graphics are delightfully simple. It’s brutal and when we play for any extended amount of time, we all lose our voices. It’s simple, everybody is on some kind of platform, and the goal is to be the last one up there. You have a button to grab with each hand, one to raise your arms, and a jump button. How you use them is up to you. You can grab anything but often, set pieces will crumble and fall away, taking you with them. It’s simple, dumb fun and honestly what we spend most of our time doing over at TNG headquarters.  

 

Towerfall Ascension (2-4p PS4, XB1, Switch, PSVita PC, Mac, Linux, Android)- It was a tough call on what to put at the top of this list. Towerfall just barely edged out Gang Beasts. It’s a simple 2D battle to the death. Everybody gets a bow and some arrows and you play to a certain number of kills. The thing that makes this game great is the sheer amount of customization. You can change the default arrow type, the number and content of item drops, starting ammo count, and other modifiers that punish and reward different things. The rounds can be quick or go on a while depending on how everybody plays but the map will make sure it doesn’t last too long. It brings that hit-your-best-friend-in-the-face rage from smash bros and genuinely doesn’t get old.  

So Let’s Talk About Black Panther (Spoilers)

I just got out of my first viewing of Black Panther. Let me start this review by saying that I was rooting for this movie from the beiginning. I loved seeing T’Challa in Civil War and everything about this movie got me hyped. I know this one meant a lot to a lot of people. I can’t claim to understand what it’s like to feel underrepresented in the media but I think everybody should feel like they have a hero and this was set to be that for a lot of people. As important as the social commentary surrounding (and in) this movie was, I also think it’s important that it be, well, good. All of the casting and writing and important messages can go to waste if a movie is bad. So, was it? Well I’ve only been able to come up with one word to describe it. 

Awesome. 

That’s what I found myself saying under my breath through the whole movie. I mean aesthetic was spectacular, the cast was phenomenal, and don’t get me started on the action. Not only does everybody play their part well and stand out from each other, they stand out from the cast of most any other superhero movie. So now I want to break down some of my favorite things.

  •  The Bad Guy. I’m not even sure I feel comfortable calling him that. I’ve seen the Marvel movies and I’ve always enjoyed them. Even the worst ones are at least serviceable. I’ve always been more of a DC fan and when people ask why I always say “A hero is only as strong as his villain.” Marvel has some brilliant and inspiring heroes but I’m never all that interested in the villain. Sure there are a few good ones but compared to DC’s rogues gallery it’s nothing. THAT WAS NOT THE CASE IN THIS MOVIE. Good God was this a good villain. The writers nailed it. Instead of the usual “Here’s the bad guy he wants more money/power/etc” we’re presented with a guy who trained his whole life to avenge his father and carry out a mission that, while a bit sinister, you can’t wholeheartedly disagree with. I mean the guy saw a problem and wanted to fix it he just went about it the wrong way. You feel for him even after what he’s done and when he is beaten, you still kinda want him to see that Wakandan sunset. Props to Michael B. Jordan. He killed it and really brought that character to life. 
  •  Nothing Felt Forced. This movie had an important message to deliver and often when that is the case, it can come across as forced. Nothing in this movie felt like a hamfisted attempt to get a point across. I’m not sure I have a whole lot more to write about it I mean it’s just straight-up good. 
  •  The Message. Like I said, I’ve never felt underrepresented. We all have our struggles and that just wan’t one of mine. I was worried that I would come out of this movie feeling like the message wasn’t for me but I was very pleasantly surprised. A few lines in this movie really hit me hard. Things like “In times of crisis, the wise build bridges while the foolish build barriers.” and something about us having more that connects us than separates us. I may be grown but I got choked up a few times. 

So yeah. It was great. Go see it. Go see it twice or ten times. Let Disney and Hollywood know that this is how you do it.  

 

Verdict: Wakanda Forever! 

 

I've Got A Bad Feeling About This. Can Solo Be Redeemed?

solo.jpg

So we FINALLY got the Solo trailer today. It was more of a teaser but at least it was something. I know the general vibe here is that this is going to be a bad movie and so far I agree but I would love for this movie to be good. Look, I've been against this from the beginning. Ewan McGregor is the perfect age for a Kenobi solo film and that's what they should have done from the start. We got exactly the right amount of information on Han Solo in the previous films and there's no real need to delve into his backstory. A huge part of what made his character so iconic is the mystery surrounding him. It doesn't help that NOBODY WANTED THIS MOVIE IN THE FIRST PLACE. Even though I've hated this movie from the time that they announced it, I'm going to go into this with an open mind. Odds are, this is a bad movie but I want it to be good. I love Star Wars and even though everybody seemed to hate TLJ, I enjoyed it. I can enjoy changes in pace and tone and just like the universe and like to see what different people do with it. I don't want to let this movie change that. Star Wars isn't about accuracy or continuity. It's not even always about quality (looking at you, Attack of the Clones). Star Wars is about fun for everybody and right now we're in a phase where Disney is trying to bring in new fans (of all ages). This seems to be something along the lines of filling in blanks and familiarizing older characters for younger fans. I don't agree with it but I see that I'm not the demographic for this.

 

Anyway, Donald Glover is always great. I'm looking forward to seeing him and despite the rumors surrounding the lead, I'm going to try to give him a fair shake. John Williams is back, if only for the theme, and that’s good news. I also hear we may get some clarification on the whole Kessel Run thing. Rumor is Darth Vader was also spotted on set. I hope if that’s true then he’s done well. I would actually like to see some more of him in his prime. The effects look great in the teaser and I’m sure the story is going to be at least interesting. 

 

I want this movie to be good and do well so that Disney won't be afraid to keep doing good stand-alone Star Wars movies. I also kinda want this movie to tank so that Disney will learn not to just try to cash in on nostalgia. Whatever happens with this movie I'll be indifferent I think. 

 

Conclusion: You can’t capture lightening in a bottle twice. When will they learn? 

Monster Hunter: World Isn’t Quite The Beast We’d Hoped.

IMG_0021.PNG

So if you follow us on Twitter, Facebook, or Twitch you know we streamed the new Monster Hunter to celebrate the first global launch of a game in the series. After we got some play time under our belts we all reached about the same conclusion. It wasn’t at all what we expected and wasn’t quite what we wanted. Now I’m not going to say this game was bad because it wasn’t at all and we didn’t get enough playtime to give any credibility to an official, thorough review. The game looks great and the bow-play was fun. Now that you all know I’m not trying to tear it down, let’s dive into the issues I have.

1. The Inventory System- Good god was this complex at first glance. I picked up all kinds of resources and I have no idea what they do. I’ve played games with complicated nventory systems before but this seemed needlessly so. Now I’m not quick to tear the game down for this because I never played the other ones. I’m sure for a seasoned player it all made sense. It also probably would have helped if I had read the tutorial but who has time for that? That actually brings me to my next issue.  

2. All Of The Reading- This is another instance of something I didn’t care for but I can’t really fault. The way I see it, they already had the English voice actors in for the little bits of sound the characters actually make so let’s just have them do all the lines. On the other hand, I understand the roots of the series. They come from a long line of handheld games on platforms that are nearly dominated by the JRPG genre. The style that they’ve adopted has built them a loyal fan-base so I don’t blame them for not shying far from it when they made the leap to at-home consoles.  

3. Some Minor Issues- The game plays well enough and looks great. The world is stunning (however tedious traversal may be at times). Still there were a few issues. Climbing is weird. You can climb some stuff that looks like you shouldn’t be able to but you can’t make any simple jumps up onto a slightly elevated surface. The clipping is wonky on NPCs and creatures so you can walk right through most people and through all but the center of small creatures (usually the docile ones that don’t aggro on site). All-in-all I guess it just feels like a Capcom title. 

So to sum things up, this game is by no stretch bad. It may not necessarily be our cup of tea but I can see somebody getting very sucked in. If you’re looking for a big world to kill some big things in and you don’t want to play Horizon: Zero Dawn or Final Fantasy XV then I’d say give it a shot. Just be sure to keep in mind that the first hour will be devoted to character customization, prologue, and more prologue. 

 

TNG Contributor- Tanner

Call Of Duty, Back From The Dead

IMG_0005.JPEG

Okay, maybe dead is a bit of an overstatement but I know I’m not the only person who has lost interest in the launch of the latest COD 2k— game each year. I feel like I fell off the train right around Black Ops 1. I really enjoyed it and then promptly stopped caring about each new one. I suppose if I’m honest a part of it is that I’m really terrible at the online multiplayer. Anyway all of that adds up to me not caring at all when WWII launched. I enjoyed Infinite Warfare for the zombies but a got so lost in the weapon customization that I gave up. So when WWII was announced I imagined the scenery of the classic COD games but with so many bells and whistles that it would be an unplayable, micro-transaction fiesta. I’m happy to say I was wrong.   

First I have to talk about multiplayer. Whatever you think about all the COD games between Modern Warfare 2 and Infinite Warfare, COD completely revolutionized multiplayer FPS gaming at one point. They have tried to keep doing that in later titles to mixed reviews and to me it fell completely flat. Playing this game feels a lot more like playing an older COD game. I’m basing this primarily on my experience with the hardcore playlist but I have to say I love playing this game online and I haven’t felt that about a COD game in a long time. The weapon upgrade and customization system is tight and fluid, offering a real sense of accomplishment for grinding (take notes, EA). The maps, though fewer than I would like, are varied and fun. The social area is a nice touch and I hope it continues to receive support in future updates.  

Now let’s talk loot boxes and microtransations. Obviously, I’m not a fan. The good news is, I haven’t been given any reason to think that you can buy your way to any competitive boost. The most valuable thing I know of in the loot boxes would be weapon variants which provide XP boosts, zombies mode boosts, and of course a fresh look. The XP boost put me off but you can come by them very easily in a few forms so it doesn’t feel entirely unfair. It should also be noted that you can earn all of this stuff with grinding. All in all, if you have to do microtransactions, this is the way to do it. 

Overall I’m very impressed with this game. I wish I had picked it up on day one so that I could have written this article sooner. If you’re looking for a solid multiplayer FPS with a good story and a fun progression system, Pick up the new Call of Duty. Never thought I’d be saying that again. 

TNG Contributor-EntryFraggot

5 Games That Deserve A Remaster

IMG_0004.JPEG

I recently witnessed something that got me thinking “isn’t this what gaming is all about?” The thing that I saw? My friend stayed up all night, I’m talking a solid 8 hours at least, playing the Jak and Daxter remaster on PS4. He sat on the couch and gawked and basked in the nostalgia and I couldn’t believe how much he loved it. Now in general, I find myself disappointed with remasters. I guess I just haven’t had much luck. This one got me thinking, though, that maybe there are some games out there that could live up to my nostalgia goggles and even be improved upon with a good remaster. So I got together with some of the other guys here at TNG and we came up with our list of games that deserve the treatment. We are going to try and stay away from games that are still getting love in the form of good sequels or reboots (like DOOM, Wolfenstein, COD, etc) but no promises. 

5. Need For Speed: Underground- I know I know I just said we were going to avoid games that are still getting sequels. Actually what I said was games that are getting GOOD sequels. Payback does not meet those criteria. Everybody who even dabbles in games remembers NFS:U. It had something for everybody. I have to say, I like NFS: Hot Pursuit 2 better but there is a reason that this game made the list and HP2 did not. It’s the same reason that I think this game needs to be remastered and not rebooted; dat customization. This game let you express yourself through your car in a way that is lost on modern gaming. So what does that have to do with the remaster/reboot thing? Loot boxes. Can you imagine how EA would butcher that customization system in a modern reboot? It makes my soul sad. The improvements made to online gameplay would mean you could enjoy grinding for parts and paint and then show it off to the world.  

4. Splinter Cell- This game was one of the first games I remember playing in it’s entirety. I’ve always had a fairly short attention span for games but this one kept me hooked from beginning to end. My dad actually owns every (real) Tom Clancy book and I grew up around the name so I was excited to see what this game would be like and (even though it was a licensed product) it did not disappoint. It turned me onto the genre and developed the style of gameplay I would come to use in almost every game. The sequels were also a lot of fun and it’s a shame that the series is essentially dead now. I would love to play through it again with updated visuals and smoother mechanics and anybody who disagrees is nuts.   

3. Twisted Metal: Black- Twisted Metal: Black was truly something special. The premise and mechanics are timeless the only thing that keeps me from going back to it regularly is that every time I load it back up, I am able to distinguish less and less of what is happening. When I was younger and the game had just come out it looked exactly like real life to me but now, either due to being spoiled or getting older I can barely keep track. With the success of games like Rocket League, it seems like a no-brainer to bring back Twisted Metal but instead of a reboot, just bring back Black. I mean it had great maps, great characters and vehicles, and a surprisingly dark but touching backstory I never took the time to verify (not to mention one hell of an Easter egg. (Twisted Metal: Lost)). This is another title that will also benefit from the improvements made to online play.   

2. 007 Nightfire- Remember when 007 games were good? I mean they were fantastic. Well Nightfire was my favorite. I’ve kept my PS2 all of this time (multi tap and all) and it’s mainly for this game. Imagine how great this game could be with a spit-shine on the graphics and some slightly updated FPS mechanics. If this was going to be done, again, modern online play would make it all the better but it would be important to bring back split-screen and bots. One of the best parts of this game was the amount of customization you could put into a match. You could change the weapon set, the bot AI, gadgets, and a number of other things. It made for some great memories with your friends. There is a community on PC keeping a version of the game alive and I love that but it’s time to bring back the OG.  

 Honorable Mentions: Downhill Domination, Medieval, Burnout 3, Army of Two, Spyro 2.

 

1. Ratchet and Clack: Up Your Arsenal- This is my favorite game of all time. I played this game to the extent that it verged on unhealthy. I grinned for countless hours to unlock that sweet sweet armor and the RYNO. I played the PS3 remaster and it was quite a letdown. I know it’s naive to think I can recapture what it was like to play this game when I was younger but I would pay any amount of money to try. The multiplayer was fun and could be even more fun with improved online functionality. The story was great and the missions were very replayable. The way that loot worked made grinding challenging but rewarding. This game could thrive on modern systems.   

 

-TNG Contributors: EntryFraggot, ImaKindaCoolGuy

5 Shows To Binge During The Winter Break

binge.jpg

So for many of us, winter break is in full force. If you're anything like us here at TNG that means binge-watch city. For those of you not sure what to watch next, we went ahead and compiled a list of a few of our favorite shows for binge-watching. We tried to set some rules for this and they made it tough. The problem with really great shows is that they tend to last a while and while I absolutely think you should go watch all 8 (yes 8) seasons of Scrubs, it's not exactly feasible to do during the break. So with that in mind, here are our favorite shows you can watch in a totally reasonable amount of time.

The Ranch (Netflix) (TheIronMuff)- This one was an odd choice to me (EntryFraggot) but I'll roll with it. I'm not going to lie I actually haven't seen much of this show but when I saw the cast list I was on board. Danny Masterson is such and underrated actor. This show definitely gives him a chance to show some of his range and together with Sam Elliot and Ashton Kutcher it really is a pretty dynamite cast. To be fair, I would watch videos of Sam Elliot reading Bronte novels and reasonably satisfied. If you're looking for something that provides a good range of emotions and is headed up by a couple of multi-camera sitcom vets then this one is for you.

The Magicians (Netlix, SYFY) (EntryFraggot)- I was pretty skeptical about this show for a long time. I passed by the thumbnail a dozen or so times before I decided it wasn't for me. Then, one day it auto-played after something else I was watching and I watched the whole first season in a day. Now, there are 2 really good seasons down and another one coming up on January 10th. Seriously, I can't talk this show up enough. It's like a grown up Narnia mixed with some Harry Potter. The mythology is good and the characters are compelling and three-dimensional. It doesn't feel like it panders to any demographic. It's just all around good. 

Master of None (Netflix) (TheIronMuff)- Okay I'm going to say this once and then just let the hate mail happen. I DON'T LIKE AZIZ ANSARI. I know. Get it all out. I just don't really like his comedy. I first saw him on Scrubs and I just didn't like him then and I don't like him now. Now that that's over, this show is refreshingly different from what I expected. It's almost touching. I'm not going to go on long for this one but I will say this, even if you hate Aziz for his comedy and his reliably annoying character in your favorite show go ahead and give this one a try. It's worth it. 

The Orville (Hulu, Fox) (EntryFraggot)- I was excited for this show from the first trailer I saw and yet somehow I missed the first few episodes. My sister actually brought it up to me after it had started and I'm glad she did. This show is fantastic. It's like a lighthearted take on Star Trek. Led by Seth MacFarlane and featuring a capable and fun-to-watch supporting cast, this show is almost definitely better than the actual new Star Trek show. There is one season done and ready to binge on Hulu. With 12 or so episodes at an hour each it will make for a good day and it's already been renewed for 2 more seasons so you can get in on the ground floor of something really great. 

Honorable Mentions: Channel Zero (SYFY), Buffy The Vampire Slayer (Hulu), F is for Family (Netflix), The Grand Tour (Hulu), Westworld (HBO)

Black Mirror (Netflix) (TNG Staff)- I can't think of a better show to binge in the winter. Nothing will make you not want to leave your living room like this. This show is so dark and depressing and yet somehow you can't stop watching. It manages to mix subtle, believable sci-fi with social commentary and brilliant performances to create something truly special. Now know that this show is not for the faint of heart (or stomach). The seasons are short but the episodes are long so you really get sucked in. It's also an anthology so it stays fresh no matter how long you watch. The best part is that the new season hit today so there's even more to watch. This is definitely a solid show for a TV bender.

 

 

Three Things Star Wars Should Do Now. [Potential Spoilers]

zombiestormtrooper.jpg

Potential Spoilers for all things Star Wars ahead. Ye be warned. 

Despite the best critic reviews of a Star Wars film since Empire, TLJ has opened to mixed fan reviews. You know what they say, nobody hates Star Wars like Star Wars fans. Whatever your opinions are, you can't argue that TLJ is at least a change of pace. Whether you like the changes made by Rian Johnson or not, it is undeniably different. So that got me thinking; now that we're shaking things up what else should we try? 

A Western: Okay hear me out. Western's aren't necessarily about the setting. A western is about a character who is good, with a little bit of a bad streak, standing up to an enemy he should not be able to beat to protect people he doesn't really have to protect. That's not true but tell me I'm wrong. Now this should be the Obi-Wan standalone film. It could take place right after ROTS. Anakin has just killed most of the Jedi and Obi-Wan, having done everything he can, retreats to the deserts of Tatooine. He's broken and has no self confidence. Enter the bad guy. It just some medium level gangster. Some kind of mob boss or maybe a bounty hunter. Somebody who is causing trouble in town. Obi-Wan is indifferent at first. He doesn't want to get involved and feels that even if he did, he would only fail and risk the lives of more people. Then we watch him overcome this, defeat the enemy, and settle back in to watch over Luke as he grows only now he is at peace with himself. This could and should be done on a small budget and be kept very small scale. 

A Post-Apocalypse Survival Movie: Picture this. We open on a planet that has been absolutely ravaged by the empire. Buildings in pieces, big space animals roaming the streets, and a small but powerful ground presence of Imperial (or First Order) troops. Then we pan over to our main character. Together with a rag-tag group of fellow survivors he must... uhh get the MacGuffin from a heavily fortified base across the city or something. Look I haven't fully formed this idea yet but think about it. Picture the huge set pieces we could see destroyed and the crazy things we could experience in a world that was once full of massive space-age technologies and is now being reclaimed by freaky alien nature. We could tell the story of what destroyed the world through flashbacks or a really cool opening sequence and then watch a small group of strangers learn to fight and survive under their new circumstances. Like Zombieland but without the zombies and set on Coruscant. 

A Horror Movie: This is my favorite idea and probably the one that gets the least love when I talk about it. The Star Wars film universe is expanding and I think we're ready for something like this. Who wouldn't love to watch a horror movie set in the Star Wars universe? It doesn't even have to be an Alien knock-off. You could do a slasher movie or get creative and do some kind of paranormal thing. Maybe an alien that has no physical form but inhabits a host body gets on a ship and works it's way through the crew. You could even do psychological horror. Those long space flights have to cause some kind of cabin fever effect. There are a ton of possibilities here. I'm not saying it would be easy to do well but if done well it would be something truly special. If all else fails, it's been done in book form with a zombie situation. That could be a good starting point!

TNG Contributor-EntryFraggot

The Last Jedi (Spoiler Free) Thoughts.

The-Last-Jedi-review.jpg

I am sitting here, drinking a Saint Arnold’s Amber Ale (That should give you a hint of where I’m from) and I am in shock. I am absolutely furious. I am furious because I finally love a Star Wars film more than I love Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back. I cannot say enough good things about the direction that Rian Johnson has taken this franchise. Every aspect of this film was flawless. The cinematic and visuals of the film were groundbreaking. The suspense was killing. The character progression, both old and new to the series, was incredibly moving. The plot/story telling was unparalleled. This film was amazing and deserves any future award it may be nominated for and all the praise from fans. As someone who found Rogue One vastly better than Episode VII, I have never walked out of a movie theater thinking that the director, writers, actors, and crew of a film have done this great of a job. I’m dead serious when I say that it rivals and in many ways trumps Episode V, a film that has been one of my favorite pieces of all time. Again, I cannot say enough good things about this film. The twist and turns of it all will leave any Star Wars fan satisfied. I am furious because I have to wait some odd amount of time to get the next installment of the franchise, after being so hooked on this film. It is technically opening day and I am already purchasing tickets for my second showing just so I can not only re-live the film that brought me so much excitement, but so I can go back and pick up on anything and everything that I missed. 

-TheIronMuff

I see both sides of the coin on this one. There were a lot of things I really loved and a few things I didn't care for. On the one hand, it didn't feel like a Star Wars movie. I didn't get the same butterflies that I normally do. That said, it's probably a good thing. The Star Wars universe is expanding and deepening and I think it's time to start adding variety. I feel like under the circumstances of the film, the characters stayed true to who they are and I had a great time watching it. Isn't that what it's really about? It even touched on a few issues I've always had with lightsaber tactics. Overall, I don't have to recommend this movie but I would. I mean face it, if you're reading this it's just for fun. I've never met a more loyal fan-base and I don't know a single person who is on the fence about watching this movie but if I did I would recommend watching it. There were a few moments that I would have done without but all-in-all, I'm glad Rian Johnson came in and shook things up!

-EntryFraggot

PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds was made for PC, but brought to Xbox.

PLAYERUNKNOWNS-BATTLEGROUNDS-12937706.jpg

Read the title. Now read it again. Yes, PUBG has released for Xbox One and being someone who slightly leans Xbox, I was thrilled. I’ve played it on PC and though I haven’t put in a huge amount of time, I have put in around 40 hours of gameplay on my desktop. I picked up a download code around noon today, left it to download while I took my last final for the day and promptly started the game as soon as I got home. I’ve played a total of 15 matches, of which I have some thoughts and concerns. I understand that this is “pre-release”, but that still doesn’t change the fact that I paid 30 dollars for the damn thing. Now, when paying this amount, I expect at least a 6/10 game, but instead was disappointed with a game ridiculed with performance issues. The controls are cramped and the game transfers poorly from mouse and keyboard to the Xbox One controller (which I consider the best controller since the Xbox 360 controller, but this is only an opinion). Im running on an Xbox One S and the game just doesn’t look or feel great, and I’ve also been alerted that it doesn’t play much better on an Xbox One X. Somehow the inventory and looting scheme is actually worse than it is on PC, which again is another downfall. One of my biggest knit-picks is that there is no aim assist at all. Unless you’re shooting at a player standing completely still or someone who is within inches of you, you’ll end up wasting ammo trying to register a single hit. Despite all this, Microsoft has done a great job of trying to include all the PC aspects into the the Xbox One version, yet maybe this isn’t something that console gamers actually needed or even wanted. Honestly, my friends and I found ourselves jumping back on to Fortnite: Battle Royale within a couple of hours and we’re in general consensus that PUBG is fun when we play with each other, however it needs some serious reform before we go back and really try to grind it out the same way we do when playing Fortnite.

 

Muff’s Verdict: There’s a chance the price may go up for the “actual” game, but there’s also a chance that the “polished” version will still suck. Stick to Fortnite or don’t, it is your call.

Top 5 Christmas Movies

christmas movies.jpg

It's Christmas time again! I suppose it has been for a while if you take hints from your local supermarket. Whenever you start celebrating, odds are you've been bombarded with Christmas films for weeks at the very least and it probably isn't going to end any time soon. So we thought we would pitch our top 5 Christmas movies so you can skip the nonsense and get to the gems. Now it should be stated that the first 4 items on this list are in no particular order. Two of us each picked our top two and then we agreed on the best one to fill the number one slot. Also, Elf. Yeah it's good. I'd even call it an instant classic. I've seen it every year since it came out and I still enjoy it but we didn't put it on the list. We did that on purpose. Call it an honorable mention. Anyway here is the list.

White Christmas- This one comes from co-host TheIronMuff. What do I really need to say about it? It's not only a Christmas classic but a film classic. As much as we tried to think outside the box and avoid cliches, this was always going to make the list. If for no other reason, watch this one for Bing Crosby. 

Christmas Vacation- Okay, okay. I hear you. "But you said you were trying to avoid cliches." I know but come on. Alright here's how this ended up on here. Actually, here's where this list even came from. So the other day my girlfriend mentioned that she hadn't seen Elf. We watched it (she fell asleep) but during the movie it somehow came up that she had never seen Christmas  Vacation either. I started in about how there are certain movies that everybody should see and that's a big one. Anyway now here I am writing out this list to help other couples avoid this sort of conflict in their own lives. This movie is phenomenal and it should be seen by every person at least once. 

Just Friends- I am so mad that TheIronMuff managed to get this out before I did because I wanted to take credit for recommending this. This was the movie that turned me on to Ryan Reynolds. The humor is subtle when it needs to be and bold when it can afford to be. The characters are absurd yet relatable. It has that guy from American Pie in it. No, not that one. Not that one either. Yeah Oz. That one. The story, as bizarre as it gets, manages to feel genuine and even heart-warming. If you're looking for a break from the Christmas norm, watch this.

Time of the Doctor- Yeah okay, this isn't a movie. I get it. But you sit around and try to come up with Christmas movies that both don't suck and weren't going to by watched by everybody anyway. It's harder than you think. Yeah I could have said Scrooged, or A Christmas Story but you all remember those. So watch Time of the Doctor. It is the Christmas special of Doctor Who from 2013. It's also the last episode where we get Matt Smith as the doctor and he absolutely kills it. As far as Christmas specials go, this is up there with Charlie Brown and Johnny Bravo for me. If you want a real treat, watch Day of the Doctor just before you watch this. 

And the number one choice. Hands down the best Christmas movie around is...

Die Hard- As if there was ever any doubt in your mind. See everybody pushes Frozen down our throats but that's a Summer movie. Die Hard is an actual Christmas movie. Go watch it; I'm not wrong. In fact, google Christmas movies. See? There is no way to watch this movie and not enjoy it. If you're not a Bruce Willis fan then it has Alan Rickman. The message is timeless probably and no matter how old the movie gets, it really doesn't age. The winter weather outside will only add to the atmosphere. This needs to be a yearly watch for you. 

Fortnite: Battle Royale is...

fortnitebr.jpg

Incredibly addictive. Before you continue, let me clarify that this article is all written about Fortnite: Battle Royal, the free to play PvP Survival mode on PS4 and Xbox One. With that being noted, the game is great. I’ve put in around 50 hours now and I haven’t had a game keep me glued to the controller like Fortnite does in a long while. With the whole PubG scheme of play, and it’s own animated style of graphics, the game itself is just damn fun to play. The weapons can be unbalanced and the building mechanics need some work, but once you play a few matches and break yourself in everything will eventually come pretty easy. You can definitely play by yourself, but the real fun is teaming up with some good friends online and using strategy and communication to win. As someone who plays for fun, Fortnite has made me very competitive since it is a high stakes game. Like any game it has its flaws, but it is free. FREE. I’m sitting in my classes and all I can think about is a free to play game, are you serious? 

CONCLUSION: It’s free. Play it. 

-TNG Contributor: TheIronMuff

Wolfenstein 2 is giving me Dark Souls rage and I love it.

Wolfenstein-II-3.jpg

So I know it's late but I finally got around to playing Wolfenstein 2. I've come to not expect much these days. I found I enjoy games more when I don't get on board the hype train. Wolfenstein made that easy because I never actually got into the first one. I played the old ones forever ago but something about the reboot just didn't catch my attention for some reason. I'm not usually into this style of games and I'm not sure what got me so interested in this one. The marketing was good I guess. Whatever the cause, I picked it up and I'm glad I did. The story is done really well. Right from the beginning it grabs the heart-strings and doesn't let go. It also looks phenomenal. The game-play is pretty straightforward. If you grew up on Doom, Duke Nukem, and of course classic Wolfenstein then it will feel familiar but it's fresh and polished well enough that it doesn't feel old. The weapon upgrade system is simple and the perk tree levels based on how you play instead of giving a generic "level point" for xp gains. Also, you're going to die a lot. I have it set on what I assumed would be a safe-bet difficulty and it's like reliving when I first started Bloodborne. You go from Golden God to a pile of pulp very quickly but it's so satisfying when you do make it through. 

CONCLUSION: The Best Kind of Rage.

Skyrim VR is...

skyrimvr1280-1509486070330.jpg

What VR was made for. I, like anybody, sank countless hours into Skyrim over several different iterations. I loved the freedom it offered. When it was announced for VR (and for the purposes of this review, we'll be talking about the PSVR version) I felt a mix of emotions. On the one hand, I was excited to get to see everything in the game up close like I had imagined so many times. On the other, I was concerned. I enjoy VR and I think it has cemented it's place in gaming life but to take on such a massive game seemed brave. I was worried that there would be some game-breaking problem and it just wouldn't translate well. I am happy to announce, however, that it does. The graphics look poor given today's standard and movement takes some getting used to but overall, it's just amazing. The first time a dragon flies over in the wild is something that I can't even describe. Now I would say that the way to play is with the move controllers. Go into settings straight away and turn on the free movement. It takes a second to get used to but really it's just that. The bow and arrow is really what sold it for me. As I have said before, I love a good bow and arrow. Getting to hold out my dwarven bow and rapidly fire arrows was the most satisfying thing I've done in gaming in a while. I played for so long that I forgot I was in my home and didn't notice that everybody had gone to sleep and I was standing alone in the living room. 

CONCLUSION: Buy it. 

-TNG Contributor: EntryFraggot

Assassin's Creed: Origins is...

aco2.jpg

So refreshing. I was really hesitant to buy this game. I didn't preorder and I honestly wasn't going to pick it up until I decided I wanted to do a review. I was prepared to rip this game to shreds too. After playing quite a bit I can safely say that I like this game. I haven't loved an AC game since Revelation (black flag was good but didn't keep me hooked) but I think this might be taking over as my new favorite. Now it should be made clear that I lose my sh*t for good archery mechanics in games. I love Farcry because I play through with the bow as much as possible and Horizon: Zero Dawn is my game of the year. When I saw the bows in this game I was fairly sure it was going to be like the old ones where it would lock on to a target, I would press the button, and then they would drop. As I started to see more gameplay I realized I was wrong and it began to pique my interest. Having played it, I can safely say that it is way more fun than I expected. The mechanics are more polished but they feel like Assassin's Creed for better or worse (expect to accidentally jump to your death once or twice) and the story is more engaging than previous entries. There are less boring "follow" missions so far and I have only been out of the animus for a minute or two. All in all they fixed a lot of my gripes.

CONCLUSION: Worth a try!

-TNG Contributor: EntryFraggot

Battlefront II is...

bf2.png

Fine. It's alright. Seriously, I was as mad as anybody when all of this drama erupted. I went and canceled my preorder Immediately. I was talking with a fellow TNG contributor and we both agreed that we needed to play it and we even wanted to but we did not want EA to be rewarded. Then, as luck would have it, I happened across a pre-owned copy and picked it up to test the waters. We have both now played a fair bit of the campaign and the multiplayer and we have come to the conclusion that it is absolutely, without a doubt, undeniably okay. The graphics are beautiful but the controls are cumbersome. The story is engaging but it teases you by letting you play with heroes that you haven't unlocked for other modes. There is split-screen but only in certain modes. All things considered it really rides the middle. It doesn't live up to the nostalgia of the original but at the end of the day we turned it on, had some drinks, and had a good time with a small group of close friends which, to me, is what gaming is all about. 

 

CONCLUSION: *Answer not unlocked yet.*

-TNG Contributor: EntryFraggot