Cinemanarrative Dissonance: The Ludonarrative of Video Games and How We Can Apply That To Talking About Movies.

Some great analysis from my good friend The Hipster Llama. Give it a read 🙂

The Hipster Llama

SPOILER WARNING FOR; I, DANIEL BLAKE AND GREEN ROOM, MILD SPOILERS FOR BLADE RUNNER.

There’s a video by a YouTube channel Video Game Critic called Errant Signal, normally a channel which highlights individual games and does a more in-depth than most analysis of the said video game. The video is called Errant Signal – The Debate That Never Took Place, and it’s about how stupid the ludology/narratology debate as a thing is and how stupid it is that as a result, we need to use the term ‘ludo-narrative dissonance’.

Now, this isn’t an essay on video games but I still feel the need to quickly explain what ludo-narrative dissonance is. It’s very simple. Ludo is the latin for game, and narrative means story, so moving on logically from that, ludo-narrative dissonance is when the story of a game is not reflected by the gameplay. The example that coined this…

View original post 2,644 more words

Why You Should Be Watching Halt and Catch Fire.

DFoWYdGUAAA2VSo

Okay, so I know my blog is called The Game Hack and the 12 people who actually read my stuff (I love you all) are expecting something about games but indulge me for a second, please. I’ll be back with a piece on the flaws of Uncharted 3 soon but for now, I need to talk about a show that I love. Halt and Catch Fire.

Halt and Catch Fire is a show that people don’t seem to talk about and I’ve actually never met anyone else in the flesh who has seen it (without me telling them to that is). Whenever I mention it people always look at me like ‘I’ve never heard of that it must be bad’ (it’s not). I understand, good shows generally get talked about and dissected and obsessed over. I’m a bit of a hipster when it comes to TV so I tend to avoid those shows and go a bit off the beaten path for my entertainment (yes I STILL haven’t seen Breaking Bad or Stranger Things, I’m sorry).

So what is Halt and Catch Fire? Well, it’s essentially Mad Men in the 1980’s with computers minus some of the sexism, but that doesn’t really do it justice. It begins by following the journey of 3 people as they attempt to create a computer that will rival the tech titan IBM. There’s ex IBM salesman Joe Macmillan (Lee Pace) equal parts charm and mystery, downbeat but brilliant engineer Gordon Clarke (the wonderful Scoot McNairy) and coding prodigy Cameron Howe (Mackenzie Davis). Watching them clash and fight and fuck and be equally brilliant is exciting stuff and season 1 is really tightly paced while still leaving enough time for excellent character development. Also, the opening credits are stunning.

halt--catch-fire-53964ebff1333

As intriguing and engaging as season 1 is, however, where the show really gets interesting is season 2 and 3. Although season 1 is a three hander it still feels very much like an exploration of Gordon and Joe’s dynamic and their personal and professional struggles. Joe is a charismatic anti-hero but there’s only so far we can follow his lies and inflated ego. The latter seasons dramatically change things up, placing our protagonists in fresh and exciting scenarios, constantly developing their narratives. One fantastic byproduct of this is that the show becomes a far more female orientated story as it hones in on the partnership between Cameron and Gordon’s wife Donna (Kerry Bishe). Donna is an absolute gift of a character.  She shines in season 1 proving herself to be just as gifted and intelligent as her husband, coming to the rescue on more than one occasion, but she is still very much a side character. Season 2 liberates her, allowing her to grow beyond her role as a wife and mother to become a multifaceted character. She is driven and enthused by her work at Mutiny (the online game company she sets up with Cameron) and their realtionship is the highlight of the show. However, she still remains loyal to her family and the push pull between this and her career is an uncomfortable, relatable conflict.  Season 3 works to highlight some of her edges and complicate and deepen the fascinating partnership between these two women (while also developing Joe and Gordan in surprising ways) but saying any more would spoil it.

Mid-season-2-graphic

Just technically Halt and Catch Fire is a good looking show (especially season 3) and the music and costumes all evoke the period really nicely (there are also a bunch of 80’s pop culture references which is never a bad thing). So to wrap up, come for Lee Pace and fascinatingly techy drama but stay for the well-written story of two women making games and battling sexism in the 80s. Halt and Catch Fire is the definition of a hidden gem and I urge you to give it a try. The final season starts on the 19th of August and you can watch it on Amazon Prime so I suggest you get a move on. Trust me, you won’t regret it.

Halt-S3-Key-Show-1600x720

Like the blog? Go give it a follow on Twitter for updates and more ramblings: https://twitter.com/millygribben

Hated it or think there’s something that could be improved? Please share your thoughts. Criticism is the only way I will improve and its much appreciated.

Movie Review: 20th Century Women

A wonderful review of my favourite film of the year (so far) from my equally wonderful friend James. Check it out 🙂

The Hipster Llama

6-2uxzG0wEaHTp6gZRGPRQDisclaimer: This is an adaptation of a review I wrote for The Gryphon 5 months ago which they ran as a four star review but I wrote as a five star review so take this as my five star review thanks bye.

Director: Mike Mills

Writer: Mike Mills

Stars: Annette Bening, Elle Fanning, Greta Gerwig, Billy Crudup, Lucas Jade Zumann

Verdict: Fucking fantastic, a strong, strong, five stars. 

20th Century Womenis an absolute joy. It is a film with a genuine affection for its characters – it’s laugh out loud funny and heart-breaking. It’s pertinent to the time in which we live. I laughed, I cried, and I spent the whole film wearing a big, stupid smile because it’s full of genuine, infectious warmth.

The film follows Dorothea, played superbly by Annette Benning, (American Beauty, The Kids Are All Right), who cop-opts…

View original post 769 more words

Yennefer’s vital role in Netflix’s The Witcher (and who should play her).

yen 1

I’ll admit I’m cheating a bit here. This isn’t a post about CDPR’s Witcher game series but instead will discuss their source material by Andrzej Sapkowski, beware of spoilers for aspects of Yennefer’s character and The Last Wish short story.

Andrzej Sapkowksi’s Witcher novels hold a very special place in my heart. I began reading them in late 2014 to prepare myself for The Witcher 3 and was utterly gripped by Geralt’s adventures and Ciri’s  journey from unruly child to powerful young woman. I hungrily devoured excellent fan translations of the last two novels and have since listened to the series twice on audiobook (Peter Kenny gives Geralt a Yorkshire accent, it’s fabulous). Sapkowski’s world is one of horror, violence and grit, war is constant, magic seeps into the land and characters come in all shades of grey. I hesitate to compare it to A Song of Fire and Ice as Sapkowski’s work actually predates Martin’s by several years but there are certainly similarities.

cvooo_2z9a

(The man himself)

One such similarity is Sapkowski’s diverse depiction of female characters. Women in these books are queens, warriors, sorceresses, priestesses, bandits, prostitutes and vampires and are treated as actual human beings with wants and desires (wow who knew!). They exist in an undeniably patriarchal society but their narratives are often more than simply a struggle for freedom. Admittedly, threats of sexual violence are uncomfortably frequent but they mostly (mostly *in my best Newt from Aliens impression*) feel like a necessary reminder of the realities of a woman’s struggle in this harsh world (unlike the Game of Thrones television show which submits almost all its female cast to sexual assault with a kind of morbid glee). I for one hope Netflix’s upcoming adaptation of The Witcher novels avoids the ghoulish attitude towards gendered violence that has marred HBO’s otherwise stellar adaptation.

No character, female or male in Sapkowski’s saga is as fascinating or layered as Geralt’s lover and Ciri’s surrogate mother, Yennefer of Vengerberg. She is, in a word, complicated. In two, she’s fucking brilliant. This post is essentially an excuse for me to wax lyrical about one of my favourite characters in fiction but if you bare with me I’ll discuss why she is vitally important to the Netflix adaptation of The Witcher and who I think should bring her to life.

raf,750x1000,075,t,fafafa-ca443f4786.u1

(Fan art from JustAnoR)

 

She’s simply a fantastic character.

To put it simply Yennefer is a fantastic character and if adapted faithfully her presence will elevate the series into something really special. She is a woman of juxtapositions from the black and white clothing she wears to the fascinating contrasts in her character. Yen is not immediately likeable (not that she ever has to be in order to be a great character but anyway). She can be cold, abrasive and even manipulative as evidenced by her first meeting with Geralt in the short story The Last Wish (which is wonderfully referenced in the quest of the same name during The Witcher 3). In the story, Geralt encounters Yennefer while searching for aid after his friend Dandelion, famous bard and all round Lothario, runs afoul of a djin. Sexual tension and double crossing ensue as Yennefer tries to wield said djin’s wishes for herself. The story ends with Geralt using the last wish of the djin to bind their fates together, and so begins their epic and tumultuous romance. As well as her cold manner there is something almost frightening about Yennefer’s formidable powers and unnatural appearance. Take this description from Ciri’s first meeting with her- “Those eyes, violet, deep as a fathomless lake, strangely bright, dispassionate and malefic. Terrifying”.

Steelbooks_06detailA_700

Yennefer’s critics (of which unfortunately there are many) would argue that she is self-serving and pragmatic. It is true that she is fiercely independent and is willing to make difficult choices, which frequently causes problems in her relationship with Geralt. However, as her character develops she is shown to be a woman with a great capacity for love and tenderness. Yennefer clearly feels a deep sense of insecurity about her infertility which is caused by her magical abilities and she is frequently trying to overcome this. This makes her relationship with Ciri, that softens into a mother/daughter dynamic, all the more meaningful. As the series goes on Yen’s actions are more and more fueled by a desire to protect Ciri, and her selflessness shines through the previously cold exterior. There is also, of course, Yennefer’s romance with Geralt which reveals her humanity and vulnerability as these two damaged individuals find solace in each other.

ciri and yen 2

 

(Ciri and Yen fan art by Pati Cmak)

Another source of contradiction is Yennefer’s unnatural beauty. Her appearance is undeniably alluring but like many sorceresses in this world, it is a facade that is enhanced by magic. Like almost every element of Yen’s character, however, there is a deeper layer to this. Her beauty acts as a veil for her physical deformities (she was born a hunchback) which was the root of much childhood abuse and trauma.

Through these contradictions, Yennefer feels like a fully realised, multifaceted character who refuses to fit into a particular trope. Sapkowski is constantly subverting the reader’s expectations by uncovering her hidden depths beyond the brittle veneer. Yen is undeniably flawed but this makes her human and sympathetic. It frustrates me that she is so often dismissed as ‘unlikable’ or a ‘bitch’ because she is imperfect, I’ve rarely heard the same complaint levelled against the equally complex Geralt. TV is in its golden age, and its a really great place for female stories, making it the perfect medium through which to tell Yennefer’s narrative that adds so much to the Witcher saga. I really hope that Netflix and the showrunners don’t shy away from the flaws and nuances that make Yennefer such a compelling character.

982a803ed60e3895c99c91d308954ba0--fantasy-warrior-fantasy-characters

She helps Geralt grow but is not defined by their relationship.

In Sapkowski’s words:

“I find boring or disgusting the stories where the hero can have sex with any woman because those women can’t wait to have sex with him. In those stories, women are the hero’s prize, the warrior’s reward, and as such, they have nothing to say, they can only moan and faint in the hero’s strong arms. I am convinced that only with contact with the other sex – whether it is cause of attraction, care, confrontation or opposition – a hero can fully grow. When I created Yennefer’s character I wanted Geralt to fully grow, but then I decided to make things complicated. I created a female character who refuses to be a fantasy stereotype. To please the reader.”

Geralt is infamous for his lasciviousness, bedding many of the women that he encounters during his adventures. Unlike the characters Sapkowoski is describing however, these women have interesting stories to tell and their encounters with Geralt are mutual exchanges not simply ‘the warrior’s reward’. After meeting Yennefer however, Geralt matures and calms somewhat as their relationship, although tumultuous, contains a warmth and sincerity that he did not have with previous women. Without this relationship, Geralt could be seen as a James Bondesque womaniser which would result in a far less sympathetic protagonist. If Geralt is going to carry this tv series the way he does the books then showing his humanity through his relationship with Yen is vital. I didn’t find myself fully sympathising with the Geralt of CDPR’s game series until The Witcher 3 largely due to Yennefer’s absence in the previous games. No offence to Triss fans but her role as the love interest in The Witcher 1 and 2 diminished both her and Geralt’s arcs from the books. She is most engaging outside of her brief romance with Geralt and I feel that CDPR dropped the ball by forcing her into an awkward love triangle, Netflix would be wise to avoid this in their adaptation.

292030_screenshots_2015-05-26_00018

(Love interest Triss is the worst Triss)

Although Yen is the catalyst for Geralt’s growth, she is not some dark fantasy ‘manic pixie dream girl’ who simply exists to complete the male protagonist. Neither is she a ball and chain constantly trying to tie him down. In fact, Yennefer’s stubbornness, restlessness and occasional infidelity contribute to their many break-ups just as much as Geralt’s. Through their relationship and a shared love of Ciri they are forced to compromise and grow as characters.

maxresdefault (2)

(The infamous stuffed unicorn which had this…lovely cameo in The Witcher 3)

Yen brings the drama

One thing that can be said of Geralt and Yennefer’s relationship is that it’s dramatic. It doesn’t veer into the toxic or abusive (in my opinion) but it is certainly incredibly passionate. This is a romance that has been on and off for 20 years, it’s rocky but the moments of affection and poignancy feel really earned. Pregnancy and STD’s also aren’t a problem (because magic) so they are having alllll the sex. Yen gets off by having sex on the back of a stuffed unicorn…yeah I’m not even gonna pretend to understand that one (Netflix could have a lot of fun with this). The destined nature of their relationship grants it an epic, tragic quality which is engaging enough without any forced love triangles.

Yennefer also has connections to the Lodge of Sorceresses and various monarchs which will provide viewers with an insight into the political machinations of this world that Geralt and Ciri avoid and disdain.

yen 3

(CDPR really nailed Yennefer’s design in The Witcher 3)

She’s iconic (and not just Ubisoft iconic)

With his white hair, cat-like eyes and twin swords Geralt is a visually arresting character. But Yennefer’s black and white clothes, dark curls, violet eyes and perfume of lilac and gooseberries are equally memorable. Having characters this distinctive in their appearance is an asset to the Netflix series as they arrive fully formed and vivid.

So, who should play her? 

Since Netflix’s adaptation was announced back in May, I’ve seen a number of great suggestions as to who should play Yennefer including Hayley Atwell, Katie Mcgrath and Caitriona Balfe to name a few. Tumblr has also recently latched onto Salem actress Janet Montgomery, I’ve never actually seen the show but just from looks alone, she’s perfect for the role.

janet

(Salem’s Janet Montgomery)

In my eyes, however, there’s a pretty clear choice. Yennefer’s actress needs to be able to sell her formidable power and that fascinating mix of abrasiveness and vulnerability. She also needs to be alluring with a sense of intelligence and sharp wit beyond her beauty. I mean come on, it’s Eva Green.

4298c82241ad87d7a373a24ce4ee96b9--penny-dreadful-eva-green-penny-dreadful-season-

She essentially played this role in her excellent performance on Showtime’s short-lived (and highly underrated) Penny Dreadful.  Green’s Vanessa Ives went from channelling ancient spirits in a spine-chilling seance to tenderly consoling a heartbroken Victor Frankenstein. She was a woman of terrifying power but also heartbreaking fragility, a three-dimensional character with sexuality, autonomy and flaws. Green is a brave performer who is willing to be both emotionally and physically naked and elevates everything she performs in to a higher level. Don’t believe me? I urge you to go and watch 300: Rise of an Empire which is leagues better than it’s predecessor simply because of her glorious performance which is the stuff of scenery chewing legend.

617f52a47ccc33f07670bc53bbef7df2caadb9e9

(She absolutely owns 300 Rise of an Empire)

There’s also the benefit that Green really looks the part and is clearly willing to work in tv given the previously mentioned Penny Dreadful and the pretty terrible BBC version of Camelot from 2011 (again, she was great in it).

As for Geralt? Mads Mikkelsen. Obviously.

Phew. Okay. I think that’s enough Yennefer for one post. I hope through this collection of ramblings, I have shared my love of this incredible character and made it clear that she is absolutely vital to the success of Netflix’s adaptation. With Sapkowski seemingly heavily involved I’m very hopeful that it will remain accurate to the world and characters he so brilliantly crafted.

Like the blog? Go give it a follow on Twitter for updates and more ramblings: https://twitter.com/millygribben

Hated it or think there’s something that could be improved? Please share your thoughts. Criticism is the only way I will improve and its much appreciated.

E3 2017- The Good, The Bad and The EA.

e3

I just want to preface this by saying I wasn’t at E3 this year (although I do hope to go one day) so I’m basing my thoughts on the press conferences and impressions from gaming sites and journalists (real ones not wannabes like myself).

Time for some negativity.

Worst Press Conference:

EA. Obviously.

EA

EA got things off to an embarrassing start living up to the cliche that they care about sports and nothing else. The conference was dull, awkward and lacking in any originality as they showcased a string of already announced titles and EA staples like Battlefield, Fifa and Madden. The only standout moment was the announcement of BioWare’s Anthem which was less than a minute long with the only footage of any substance being shown at Microsoft’s conference. The nauseating focus on YouTubers and ‘real gamers’ was steeped in EA’s usual cynical and sinister edge of corporate bullshit. Who was this conference for? As someone who loves video games and developers who respect their audience, I can safely say it wasn’t for me.

Worst Game (or a game that technically looks good but that I’m disappointed with but that’s just not as snappy is it):

This is a tricky one as clearly, I haven’t actually played any of the games at the show but in terms of impressions and my sense of disappointment, I have to go for the previously mentioned Anthem. Now, wait a second before you rip my head off. I know I just said its announcement was a standout moment for EA (not really saying much) but it’s a Bioware game, of course, it was exciting! In Mass Effect 1-3 and the Dragon Age series, this company have crafted games and experiences that I love and will defend to my grave (yes even Dragon Age 2).

antem wdbiwi

I’m not saying Anthem looks actively bad, the visuals are stunning and the world appears vast, it’s also from the Bioware A team who worked on the ME trilogy which is promising, but something about this one isn’t clicking for me. Perhaps my dwindling interest in Mass Effect Andromeda after 50+ hours of unsatisfying content is a factor or maybe it’s the overriding emphasis on multiplayer and a ‘shared world’ experience. Anthem doesn’t remind me of a Bioware game in any way, as I said in a previous post, ME and DA did begin as a mish-mash of influences but this is beyond that. The demo bears no evidence of choices/dialogue options, interesting companions or an engaging story. This is, of course, a new start for the company after the let down of MEA but after the gameplay I saw I’m very worried that this is an attempt to keep up with market trends instead of telling a story worth caring about. Of course, I’m judging this very quickly, with time and new footage my opinions may change and I really want to be excited for this but so far, I’m not feeling it.

I also want to give a (dis)honourable mention to Days Gone which has given me absolutely no reason to be excited about it.

days-gone-screen-05-ps4-eu-14jun16

Best Press Conference:

Again this is another difficult one because, in my opinion, there weren’t any standouts this year. For the past few E3’s Sony have ‘won’ with their excellent conferences but they didn’t impress this time. Bethesda’s conference was too short with only a handful of meaty announcements, Ubisoft was surprisingly endearing but apart from Beyond Good and Evil 2 little grabbed my attention and I haven’t watched Nintendo because I’m lazy.

Kind of by default, therefore, I have to give it to Microsoft as they showed an impressive number of games with emphasis placed on both AAA and indie titles. It wasn’t as flashy or audacious as Sony’s past E3’s but it was a very solid conference.

Best Game:

Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus

Wolfenstein-II-The-New-Colossus-E3-2017If it wasn’t already obvious from my previous posts I’m really into the new Wolfenstein series so TNC’s announcement was the highlight of Bethesda’s conference and E3 2017. The sheer brilliance and brutality of that trailer combined with sincere emotional weight put it right at the top of my most anticipated games of the year. Hearing impressions from the demo journalists played practically had me salivating. The game sounds just as inventive and ridiculous as its predecessor with BJ killing Nazi’s and traversing the environment while in a wheelchair. I guess literally nothing will stop BJ from murdering Nazi’s and I’ll be right there with him come October.

This year didn’t feel like the strongest E3 with slightly weak conferences and few games that stood out in the same way previous titles have. Here’s hoping Gamescom in August has more to offer.

*So that’s it for my E3 coverage. I’ll be back to my regularly irregular posting soon with posts planned on The Witcher Netflix series, Uncharted 4 and The Last of Us so keep an eye out for those in the next few weeks. If you like the blog maybe follow on WordPress and Twitter? Also, I’m hungry for feedback so any comments are much appreciated, the more critical the better it really helps improve my writing (just don’t be a dick). Thanks.*

Like the blog? Go give it a follow on twitter for updates and ramblings: https://twitter.com/millygribben

Hated it or think there’s something that could be improved? Please share your thoughts, criticism is the only way I will improve and its much appreciated.

 

 

 

 

E3 2017: Playstation-The definition of a mixed bag.

sony_e3_2017_press_conference

Well, that was disappointing. For the past few years, Sony’s E3 press conferences have been a gamers dream with amazing reveal after amazing reveal that blows everything else out of the water and kicks E3 proper off in style. This, however, was just kind of limp, I hate to say it.

Now first I feel the elephant in the room should be addressed, The Last of Us II. Personally, I didn’t expect to see anything from it. It was only announced back in December with a conceptual trailer that was likely not in game footage and its release date is probably going to be around late 2018 to early 2019. I seemed to be alone in this pessimism, however, everyone and their grandma was banking on it closing the show and were thus left thoroughly disgruntled (to put it mildly). I get where they are coming from it would have been great to see something more but it’s reasonable of Naughty Dog to focus on their upcoming game, Uncharted The Lost Legacy.

NTNhYTEwNmFhMyMvS1RyaXZ4anY4aUl4SVM1UWJka2xvQXY5WG84PS8xMzR4MDoxNjEzeDgzMi8xNjAweDkwMC9maWx0ZXJzOmZvcm1hdChqcGVnKTpxdWFsaXR5KDgwKS9odHRwczovL3MzLmFtYXpvbmF3cy5jb20vcG9saWN5bWljLWltYWdlcy

Which brings me to the press conference itself which opened with a pretty impressive Uncharted trailer (despite the sound cutting out…that was awkward). I feel like saying a Naughty Dog game looks great is tantamount to saying water is wet. This is a company that has always been on the cutting edge when it comes to storytelling and performance and this looks no different. It’s wonderful to see the charismatic Chloe (played perfectly by Claudia Black) in the driver’s seat this time and her uneasy alliance with the stoic, pragmatic Nadine looks highly entertaining. It’s also exciting to finally get a good look at the villain who looks refreshingly calculating and seems to have some kind of history with both Chloe and Nadine. Sure, it would have been great to see something from The Last of Us II but this trailer is thrilling and intriguing enough to sustain me until it’s release in August and there’s always PSX in December.

days-gone-screen-05-ps4-eu-14jun16

Speaking of Uncharted, Bend Studio (who made Uncharted The Golden Abyss) showed off more of their zombie game Days Gone. The footage revealed this year felt very similar to that of last years showing and left me very cold. I still don’t know what this game actually is, open world? survival? linear action/adventure? Considering that it was announced a year ago I still don’t feel like I’ve been given any reason to care. The setting and the world look extremely derivative with a story/protagonist that aren’t grabbing me in any way. I’m curious if it’s just me that feels very ambivalent towards this game, what does everyone think?

44042

The God of War reboot (sequel?) unveiled last year also got a more fleshed out trailer. I’ve never played or been interested in the God of War series but this appears to be a fresher, far more emotional tale than Kratos’ quest for vengeance. The action looks solid with lush, beautiful environments and a touching dynamic between father and son. Colour me very intrigued.

31263709.0

Similar to Days Gone I truly have no idea what kind of game Detroit: Become Human is. Admittedly, David Cage’s games are pretty difficult experiences to define but the fact that each trailer has centred on a different android in different circumstances hasn’t helped. Are there multiple protagonists (and do they cross paths) or do we just play as Marcus? Does the plot focus entirely on the android uprising or is it an anthology structure focusing on different characters? I need some clarity on these questions before I can fully invest in Detroit but as with all David Cage games, I am cautiously optimistic.

spiderman-screen-02-ps4-eu-14jun16

Insomniac’s take on Spider-Man closed the show on a somewhat flat note. It looks very Arkham Lite with combat and stealth mechanics that is lifted straight out of Rocksteady’s Batman games. Of course, this is far more colourful than Batman’s grim environments but its Spiderman I feel like that’s just a given. The linearity of the demo certainly doesn’t help give a good impression of the world. I understand at E3 conferences scripted sequences are the quickest way to show off a game but I was disappointed that we didn’t get a proper look at the open world. Swinging around New York looks fun but something just seems uninspired and derivative about this one, again I’m holding out judgement until I see more. Seeing Miles Morales at the end was pretty sweet though.

snaps-about-ign-e3-on-ign-ra-3-1497319689599_1280w

Sony kind of dropped the ball on this one huh? Now admittedly they’ve set such a high standard for the past few years making it more and more difficult to top, but there was definitely a sense that they were resting on their laurels this year. Apart from a few VR titles, nothing new was shown with previously announced games making up the bulk of the showcase. I’m assuming that they are saving the big guns (aka The Last of Us II) until PSX in December but still, something more would have been appreciated. Until then I’ll just be here watching that Uncharted trailer on a continuous loop. So good.

Like the blog? Go give it a follow on twitter for updates and ramblings: https://twitter.com/millygribben

Hated it or think there’s something that could be improved? Please share your thoughts, criticism is the only way I will improve and its much appreciated.

E3 2017: Bethesdaland-One thang and one thang only….Killing Nazis.

Bethesdaland

After Microsoft’s behemoth of games Bethesdaland felt far more reserved taking us on a 30-minute tour of the games, dlc and updates coming from the company in 2017. It kicked off with a cute intro showing children of developers at Bethesda discussing the games their parents were making. This was a sweet reminder that the developers who spend years creating the games that we cherish are real people with lives and families beyond their work. Good stuff.

A slightly disappointing amount of the showcase was taken up by updates and new iterations of existing games from Bethesda. Sure VR Doom and Fallout 4 and Skyrim on Switch are interesting prospects for some but personally, they don’t elicit the same excitement as a new title announcement. Skyrim is brilliant but with this and the remaster last year it’s getting a bit much.

dish.jpg

Next came the announcement of Dishonored 2 DLC Death of the Outsider. A theme of these run downs so far is me saying ‘I’ve never played X but I really should’ and the same is true here as I’ve only ever sneaked my way through one assassination in the first game (which I enjoyed immensely). Therefore, the reveal trailer didn’t mean a lot to me plot wise but the prospect of playing as a female, non-white character with a metal arm is pretty awesome.

the-evil-within-2

My notes while watching The Evil Within 2 trailer consisted of ‘I am confused, what is happening. This is terrifying’. That’s pretty much all I’ve got, to be honest.

Wolfenstein-II-The-New-Colossus-E3-2017

Last but absolutely not least was an announcement I have been eagerly awaiting. Anyone who has read my analysis of the first Wolfenstein game (here) will know that I really really liked it. It was a game that balanced tension with humour impeccably telling a sincere, nuanced story while still managing to keep its tongue firmly in cheek. Think Inglourious Basterds in an alternative universe with giant robot dogs and you’re along the right lines. The hilarious and sinister live action section that opened this 8-minute trailer demonstrated this perfectly as it represented idealistic American culture through the prism of Nazi propaganda.

maxresdefault (1)

Seeing BJ alive (although clearly not in a good way) was a relief but it did dispute my theory and hope that Anya would be the protagonist of this game. Learning that she’s pregnant with twins was wonderfully heartfelt but it did have me a little worried that she would be relegated to a maternal and more housebound (or submarine bound) role, stripping her of the violent streak that made Anya such a fascinating character. This appears to be very much intact however as the end of the trailer sees her brutally murdering a Nazi while Wyatt drops acid. In the words of Pete Hines it looks ‘fucking bananas’. wolfenstein_ii That brilliant melding of the serious and absurd remains as the narrative takes us from Europe to Nazi-occupied America. The scope appears much wider with more diversity in the environments ranging from imposing industrial buildings to the Bayou of New Orleans. The action looks just as bloody and bombastic as ever with the new dual wielding system letting BJ pulverise Nazi’s with a shotgun in one hand and a machine gun in the other.

So overall Wolfenstein 2 dominated this short and slightly disappointing showcase. It looks to be building and improving on everything that made the first game such a brilliant surprise and I can’t wait to play it this October. After all, in the current political climate who doesn’t want a game that lets you slice, shoot and generally fuck up the Nazis that have taken over America. Fun times.

Like the blog? Go give it a follow on twitter for updates and ramblings: https://twitter.com/millygribben

Hated it or think there’s something that could be improved? Please share your thoughts, criticism is the only way I will improve and its much appreciated.