Brief Review of Kingsman: The Golden Circle

It’s awesome.

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More of the same from the first one, including A.) a logical villain with great motives, B.) awesome action, C.) a perfect blend of action, adventure, drama, horror and comedy, and D.) a great new addition in the Statesman. It leans a little bit too heavily on the spy-genre satire this time around, inching things into the realm of campy for brief moments, but never quite overextends its hand so as to damage the overall enjoyability of the film. So, with that said, if you dug Kingsman: The Secret Service or just want an insane action flick, this is not one to be missed.

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Which of these items does not belong

Um

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Bethesda Has A Secret Game Coming Out This Year

You read that title right—it looks like Bethesda’s got a secret game saddled up for release in 2017, also known as the current year with only three months left in it.

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In a recent PAX West interview with Bethesda’s very own Pete Hines, their VP of Public Relations, the man seems to have slipped up and revealed a juicy tidbit regarding a game Bethesda still doesn’t want anyone to know about, even though it’s got less than one hundred-something days to launch if it wants to land within 2017, as per what the accidental announcement suggests.

If we choose to ignore Hines’ back-pedaling on the statement, as we always should when a corporate good-boy slips up publicly, this leaves one question on the table: what could the secret game be? Basic understanding of the gaming industry hints at it being a small release, possibly along the lines of a smartphone card game or something of that nature, in which case we’ll be receiving a totally new game. The other possibility is that it’ll be a port of Fallout 4 for the Nintendo Switch. With Skyrim releasing on the system sometime later this year, it makes sense that a second port would receive a minimized marketing schedule from Bethesda and serve simply as an alternative for Nintendo consumers who aren’t interested in an Elder Scrolls game. And this isn’t just smoke-blowing conjecture: product links have already cropped up for a Nintendo Switch Fallout 4 GOTY Edition.

Only time will tell, of course. Until then, we’ll just have to wait and hope Pete Hines dishes out more classified info in-between his battles with fans over Bethesda’s ludicrous Creation Club fiasco.

Why Sonic Forces’ Theme Is Called Fist Bump: Because Tails Dies

I didn’t even have the decency to give a spoiler warning for that title. And you know why? ‘Cause Aaron Webber, Sonic community brand manager, already popped the cherry on that one. Even if he was memeing all those months ago, I think there’s evidence as to why it might actually be the case and that he legitimately slipped up.

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See, here’s the thing: the lyrics go “Before I say goodbye to you, one more last fist bump.” No matter how stupid and cheesy those actual words are, it’s the context behind them that matters. The whole song is about two best buddies, i.e. Sonic and Tails. “Before I say goodbye to you?” That’s someone dying, and it most certainly won’t be Sonic. And the two of them sharing one last fist bump before Tails does a heroic sacrifice of some sort? Sounds about right.

Only time will tell, however.

The same time that saw me abandon this blog for four months. I’m sorry, to the dedicated six of you out there that were curious. I’m not dead, I promise. More posts coming. Next article: Black Mirror discussion.

Overview of the Nintendo Switch: An Underwhelming Console

The Nintendo Switch has been out on the market for a while now, so it’s high-time for an analysis of its current benefit-detriment cross-section. Let’s see how it stacks up to its market competitors and predecessor console.

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To get everyone up to speed, here are all the Switch components that lag behind the competition, i.e. Sony’s PS4 Pro and Microsoft’s Xbox One (soon to be Scorpio):

1.) 32GB of internal storage. For frame of reference, the baseline PS4 had 500GB and from the start people were ardently whinging about how that wasn’t nearly enough. 32GB won’t cover a modern game. Watch_Dogs can’t fit on this system in its default form. You can upgrade storage via SD cards, but that’s an additional purchase and therefore not a factor in assessing the baseline model.

2.) Minimal third-party support. A console relatively devoid of heavy-hitting publishers. Ubisoft is working on a peculiar Mario-Rabbids crossover and SEGA is bringing Sonic to the Switch, but beyond that there’s little fanfare from third-parties.

3.) $300 price tag. Currently, the PS4 and Xbox One are in the same exact price range and offer infinitely more value in terms of both game selection and hardware, which doesn’t bode well for a new console struggling to make a splash in the market pool.

4.) Charging for online. Nintendo’s market niche-cornering has never been focused on the online multiplayer demographic, and it shows. Without Battlefield, Titanfall, Rainbow Six, Call of Duty, Forza, Gears of War, or any other relevant multiplayer game slated to be on the Switch (besides Splatoon 2), the service doesn’t seem to be justifying its price all that well.

5.) 3 hour Switch battery life. Playing a graphically demanding game results in 3 hours of battery life. That’s less than half an average plane flight’s duration, and that’s exactly the situation Nintendo was advertising this feature for. Worse, some airlines are experimenting with restrictions that prevent you from bringing your Switch in carry-on, negating the purpose entirely.

6.) Accessory pricing. Scraping $90 for a pair of controller handles, known as joy-cons, is the current tag. Not even the main controller, mind you, as that’s the Switch’s removable screen itself. It’s a steep price point that sets a rough precedent for the accessories department, to say the least.

7.) Under-powered. Nintendo had five years to stare into their competitors’ eyes and work toward surpassing the PS4 and Xbox One in every way, and instead of rising to the challenge they’ve chosen to opt out of the race altogether. Objectively speaking, the hardware in this system isn’t competitive with boxes that have been out for nearly half a decade.

In conclusion, things are looking somewhat grim for the Switch. While Nintendo diehards have caused the console’s launch to be a massive success, sales are already starting to stagnate and repeat the pattern of the Switch’s failed predecessor, the Wii U. With only ports of Wii U games on the system at the moment (Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild), there’s virtually no incentive to invest in a Switch right now and there won’t be until Super Mario Odyssey secures a release date.

Rainbow Six Siege: The 10 Best and 7 Worst Operators

Rainbow Six: Siege is a competitive first-person shooter grounded heavily in tactical gameplay, and as such demands that you choose the best operator for a given job on your respective five-man team. These roles range from monitoring the enemy’s movement around objectives to jamming incoming drones before they can reveal your squad’s location, as well as a host of other vital positions in-between. But not all operators are created equal, and some can provide a much larger advantage to your squad than others. If you can have an advantage right from the character select screen, why not take it?

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With the game currently undergoing an intensive slew of technical maintenance in anticipation of Fall 2017’s new operator releases, now’s a good time to brush up on who’s currently the best (and worst) in Siege’s still-expanding roster so you can best assist your team in competitive play.
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17.) BEST: Valkyrie

In a game that’s all about having eyes in as many places as possible, Valkyrie’s assortment of relocatable cameras can give the defending team a massive edge on any map in Siege. To balance this out, drawbacks include that they’re destroyed easily and she only gets three total, not to mention they don’t actually impede the enemy team in any real way unlike most of her cohorts’ abilities. Still, if used wisely, Valkyrie’s cameras serve to provide intel that can end a match before it begins.

16.) WORST: MiraR6Siege-Mira

The reason Mira’s on this side of the fence isn’t through any fault of her own; her ability can be fantastic. The issue stems solely from its high liability potential. Here’s the scoop: Mira can place two one-way mirrors on walls, effectively allowing you to see the enemy but not the other way around. Additionally, you can shatter the mirrors from your side in order to fire on unsuspecting enemies. However, if the enemy has a Twitch, her drones can pop the mirrors remotely and create gaping holes in your defenses. Similarly, if your teammates aren’t very bright, they might choose to pop a mirror prematurely on your behalf, which is just as bad as dealing with a smart enemy Twitch.

15.) BEST: JagerR6_GSG9_Jager_4k_001

Jager has special devices that shoot grenades out of the air, something that really wasn’t that useful until the dawn of Glaz’s smoke-proof sniper scope. Seeing as smoke is currently Glaz’s biggest advantage, Jager serves as the only hope of destroying the sniper-friendly vapor grenades before they can detonate and render the most dangerous attacking operator invisible.

14.) WORST: TachankaTachanka_Spetsnaz

While Tachanka is a lord in the Siege meme community, he’s little more than a glass cannon in the game itself. He’s got a deployable turret that can mow down enemies with ease, but the vulnerable stance taken while using it leaves Tachanka immobile and defenseless while operating his biggest asset. He’s great for certain hallways on a select few maps, but moreso a waste of an operator on most of Siege’s battlegrounds.

13.) BEST: CavieraCaviera_model

Having a good Caviera on your team can be the biggest defensive asset in all of Siege, as her ability allows her to interrogate singled-out opponents and reveal all enemy locations on the map. The trade-off here is that she’s the least-armored operator in the game and can be easily picked off if caught alone–but in a game where knowledge is absolute power, even a chance at revealing the entire enemy team’s whereabouts is invaluable.

12.) WORST: BlackbeardBlackbeard

While he was once one of the best, he’s now one of the worst. After the most vicious nerfing to ever hit Siege, Blackbeard went from being the (arguably) strongest operator in the game to a mere afterthought during any smart player’s character selection phase, meaning the quantity of Blackbeards in ranked these days is dismal–and not without good reason. His sole perk, a rifle shield that protects his head and allows him to make all kinds of plays that are too risky for the normal operator, went from being nigh invincible to its current state of transparent eggshell, shattering after eating the daintiest of pistol bullets. The fallen king of Siege, Blackbeard is to be avoided at all costs.

11.) BEST: MuteMute_SAS

Mute’s jammers immunize reinforcements from both Thermite and Hibana’s arsenals, stop drones and prevent standard breaching charges from detonating, effectively serving as a blockade to any electronic offensive tool in the game. While he might not pack the useful sting of Bandit, Mute serves a broader range of preventative measures in ensuring your team’s security.

10.) WORST: PulseR6_SWAT_Pulse

Pulse can scan enemies through walls, which should be a huge asset. But given how slowly he deploys his heartbeat scanner and how long it takes to put away, there’s an outstanding chance the enemy on the other side will have already rounded the corner and killed you in the seconds it took to identify them in the first place.

9.) BEST: HibanaR6Siege-Hibana

While she’s essentially a weaker version of Thermite, she’s still one of only two operators that can destroy reinforced walls in any capacity. Couple that with her ability to detonate her unique breaching rounds remotely as well as lay claymore traps and she’s a decent ranged alternative to Thermite, and utterly essential on any team lacking the former. If you have both on your team however, she can serve her primary function as a hatch-maker, burning little holes in reinforcements for characters such as Glaz to snipe through.

8.) WORST: BuckTom_Clancy's_Rainbow_Six_Siege_Buck

Buck is not only one of the worst operators in the game, but also one of the least imaginative: he has a shotgun attached to the barrel of his rifle and nothing more. Mira and Jackal both have pocket shotguns and that’s just the third best thing about both of them, whereas said shotty is Buck’s primary selling point. The kicker? The gun his entire profile hinges on isn’t even good, being one of the most spastic and short-ranged weapons in the game balanced only by its high damage output. Continue reading

“Alien: Covenant” Review

It’s slow, it’s stupid, it’s sinfully bad.

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To put it bluntly, nothing happens in the first hour. There’s minimal characterization of the cannon fodder, lots of scenic shots of nothingness and absolutely no plot. Then, when we do get to the plot, we get the most underwhelming origin story explaining the xenomorphs’ creation, effectively ruining every other movie in the series. Then there’s an abysmal finale that tries to recapture the magic of the original Alien but utterly blows it, making a tense alien hunt no more than a five minute ordeal (and I do mean ordeal; it’s a minor inconvenience for the characters) that you’ve already seen the entirety of in the trailers. And that’s the thing, there are some cool shots in the trailer that never even make it into the movie.

Here’s the scoop: Ridley Scott thinks he’s made a very smart movie–but really, it’s a smattering of glorified philosophy 101 topics served to you across two and a half hours of lackluster horror. That, coupled with the most inept team of space colonists ever as the emotional “pull” of the flick, leaves you with a forgettable, damning piece of evidence as to why Ridley needs oversight on these projects. Or, better yet, hand the reigns off entirely to Neil Blomkamp and watch him make a far superior Alien 5.