The 5 Worst Movies of 2016

My definition of worst for the sake of this list: anything that let me down so substantially that I feel it was a waste of my time on this earth. Disappointed, wronged, call it whatever you want. I’m calling it “worst.”

5.) Neighbors 2: Sorority Risingimages

This is the kind of inane movie that panders to the brand of feminism people like Laci Green preach. It’s utterly idiotic in every way, to summarize. The jokes fall flat, the characters of the first are brought back for a pointless sequel, Seth Rogen drops the ball, you get the gist.

4.) Sausage Party

And look at that, Seth is back on this list already! The funniest thing to come from his two 2016 releases is the fact I usually like his brand of humor. Yet here we are, with a raunchy, incoherent mess of a two-hour food orgy. Literally. Ever think about the CGI artists who pay for their children’s food by animating a hot dog ass-fucking a bagel? You do now. Continue reading

Review of “Assassin’s Creed”

As a marketing tool, this movie fails. It only contains content that fans of the series will appreciate, meaning it’s preaching to the choir and no one else. With that said, I liked it—a lot.acm.jpg

I think the biggest problem with this movie, the only one by my estimation, is the abysmal writing. It’s atrocious. Dialogue is beyond shoddy, the plot itself is a mess and every single aspect of this movie that was dictated by the screenplay is garbage. The writers, Michael Lesslie, Adam Cooper and Bill Collage should honestly be so embarrassed that they omit this credit from their resumes. Every single Assassin’s Creed video game features better writing than what’s on display here, and that’s saying something.

Here’s the good news: everything else is spectacular. If you go in expecting a visual extravaganza filled with superb acting, video game Easter eggs, historical celebrity cameos and dope Spanish Inquisition action set-pieces, you’ll walk out satisfied. Given the awful hand director Justin Kurzel was dealt with the aforementioned screenplay, the cinematic God-king himself made the most of it and delivered on everything he possibly could from his position. The movie looks stunning. Sounds stunning. IS stunning.

The Game of the Year Award for 2016

The first few months of this year didn’t seem to exist, as far as video games were concerned. No relevant triple A releases, no worthwhile indie games, nothing. Between January and August, one of the only two new releases I purchased was The Culling, an early-access mess of a game that revamped every piece of in-game weaponry with new nerfs and buffs bi-weekly, to the point where you never knew what weapon would have what impact. Hence why I dropped it. What started out as a very tense Hunger Games-style multiplayer madhouse dissolved into overly long, drawn-out matches of poke the bad guy with a spear forty times until one of you gets bored and dies. Such a shame.

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The other new release was Mirror’s Edge: Catalyst, a fine if unremarkable game. Terribly short but notably sweet, it’s nothing more than a faint whisper in my memory at this point.

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From there I snagged Deus Ex: Mankind Divided in early September, the best half-complete product I ever bought. If acts 2 and 3 of the story had been included and the overall narrative delivery hadn’t been so utterly pedestrian, this would’ve been my game of the year easily. Ah well, maybe the trilogy’s finale will feel like a complete product when it comes out in three to four years.

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Two disappointments and one neutral release in and finally the holiday heavy-hitters started to make their arrivals, kicking off with Titanfall 2. I still haven’t touched a second of the campaign, instead soaking up every last multiplayer match the dying community will afford me in the time it has left. Given the positive word of mouth circulating around the story component however, I’ll give this one the benefit of the doubt and say it’s a great purchase overall. We’re one for four now, those of you keeping tally at home.

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Next up came Hitman, the surprise show-stealer of 2016. Featuring insanely creative and aesthetically inventive levels, a refined and revamped mechanics set for Agent 47 and an overall sense of bold direction no other game this year had, the DRM-laden episodic caper from Square Enix comes out on top. Two for five.

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And lastly, at the twilight of 2016, after the horrendous PC launch had subsided and my unwavering love for Dishonored grew to a fever pitch, I picked up Dishonored 2. Having just gotten past the infamous clockwork mansion, I can attest to the game’s merits. It’s wonderfully inventive in its level design and gameplay structure. But its story is weak and contrived, its launch was terrible and because of these things I can’t grant it nearly the amount of praise I heaped upon the original.

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So where does that leave us? Nowhere, frankly. This year was a bust for games as I don’t see myself actively pitching any of the aforementioned titles to anyone simply because they’re “that good,” though Hitman comes close. Hell, I didn’t even mention Unravel, a cute little platformer I bought solely because the lead developer put on a good show at last year’s E3. I’ve played one level and it’s nothing to write home about, though it’s serviceable and deserves a mention on here for being heartfelt—something these soulless sequels and corporate cash-grabs could learn from. Notice how all of the major releases above have a literal or proverbial “2” at the end of their titles?

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My God.

I almost forgot the worst game of 2016. The absolute worst port in the history of PC gaming, as far as my firsthand experiences are concerned. It stuttered more than a nervous high-schooler with a lisp, screen-tore like an iPhone made of wet paper and shit the bed so frequently that its myriad of disabilities almost distracted me from the piss-poor narrative and lacking runtime lurking beneath the surface. The studio’s fallen since the heydays of Max Payne and Alan Wake.

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My Thoughts on Titanfall 2’s Multiplayer

Before we go any further, here’s the situation: I’ve played the first five minutes of the campaign and that’s it. Why skip out on the best new addition to Titanfall? Because the single player will still be there for me to explore long after the online community has dried up and died, meaning I need to hop on the already-decomposing corpse that this game touts as a multiplayer component before it’s gone.share-image.jpg

On PC, the community is small. Very small. Less than a month after launch only one game mode is ever reliably playable (guess which one), and even then, only barely at odd hours on weekdays and weekends alike. At most I’ll see 1,000-something players online in my region on a Saturday afternoon. It’s rough. And it’s sad because, just as was the case with Titanfall 1, it’s some of the most fun I’ve had in a multiplayer game this year.

Initially, Titanfall 2’s multiplayer feels like a step in the wrong direction from its predecessor. For a start, maps are bigger, introducing brief moments of nothingness that NEVER existed in the original. This couples poorly with the fact that wall-running is now less emphasized, which inadvertently jacks up the barrier to entry when versing the droves of players who’ve already figured out how to circumvent a map’s superficially slow design. Then there’s the increased danger of AI specters and grunts, resulting in actual deaths from what were previously useless computer-controlled minions. Throw these things together and you’ve got a recipe for a lot of frustration and shaken faith in the game’s quality—early on, that is.

Sink enough time into the game and overcome the steep learning curve that Titanfall 1 veterans such as myself had to suffer through and eventually you’ll discover Respawn knew exactly what they were doing. They’ve essentially shifted the focus of Titanfall multiplayer to be more centered around situational awareness rather than blazing fast reactionary processing, something I can’t say I’m a fan of but do understand the appeal toward. It’s a far more tactical affair, to say plainly.

While only one of TF2’s maps holds a candlestick to any of Titanfall 1’s extremely memorable multiplayer landscapes, be it the orange sands of Demeter or massive skeletons of Boneyard, the sequel focuses less on making memorable moments and shooting dioramas and more on increasing the game’s skill ceiling. Again, not my preference but it’s a welcome challenge. What IS my preference is the insane amount of customization they’ve added, not only cosmetically but also in terms of weaponry and equipment. Gravity stars are the best FPS addition in recent memory, sucking in opponents so you can whip out a pocket shotty and blast them while they’re trapped in a temporary wormhole. Shit’s lit.

In conclusion, while I fundamentally disagree with certain changes Respawn has made, I respect all of them and understand the vision behind the product. It’s a fun game, no doubt, which is why I’m sad to see such a small community. If you can get it for sub-forty U.S. dollars, snag it and hop in, the water’s fine—just a bit different than last time.

Review of “Hacksaw Ridge”

Imagine how insane Mel Gibson’s career would’ve been if he didn’t get put on that ridiculous blacklist.img.jpg

Here’s the nitty-gritty: Hacksaw Ridge is fantastic. A bit old-school, but fantastic. Sometimes it’s painful to watch but most of the time it’s heart-pounding or heart-warming. Go see it if you want a pacifist-themed triumph of the human spirit movie.

Pros:
-Awesome documentary footage of the actual “true story” soldiers at the end that verifies virtually everything you just watched unfold in the movie
-The action is gripping and pacing is wonderful
-All of the leads are amazing. From Garfield to Weaving to Palmer to Bracey to Vince fucking Vaughn himself, all performances are top-notch.
-The jumpscares and tense moments actually keep you on the edge of your seat
-It’s corny and oldschool for the first half in the cutest way possible
-It’s brutal for the second half in the best way possible

Cons:
-One particular shot of a body being lowered down a mountainside while two guys in the foreground discuss stuff is meant to be dramatic but was actually super funny and compromised the tension

Funny stuff:
-The only element that reeks of thematically-enhanced drama was when Andrew Garfield pimp-slaps a live grenade out of mid-air

Overall, great World War 2 movie with a unique perspective. Go see it. I implore you.

Review of “The Accountant”

Let’s get right down to it, shall we?mv5bndc5mzg2ntyxnv5bml5banbnxkftztgwmjq2odawote-_v1_uy1200_cr9006301200_al_

Pros:
-Strong, mysterious slow-burn first act and a half (the highlight of this entire stretch is Wolff solving a math problem and it’s fantastic)
-Flashback sequences are amazing, very powerful and well-executed backstory
-Solid score
-Great tonal consistency with some well-timed humor sprinkled in
-Great performances all around, Ben Affleck and Jon Bernthal really kill it
-No cheesy romance subplot

Cons:
-Last act gets a bit cartoon-ish/wacky
-More or less the entire federal investigation subplot is unnecessary and cheesy
-Handling of the autism plot element got a bit out of control at the halfway point. It starts out as just an element of Christian Wolff’s character but halfway through they start hammering home “this is what autism is and does,” making it his defining feature rather than a supplementary one. It’s unfortunate, given how maturely they touched on it throughout the first half.

Review of “Superhot” for PC

It’s super not.superhot5.jpg

For those of you who know the background info regarding this game, let’s get right to it: the “time only moves when you move” thing is a gimmick. It’s not a revolutionary mechanic. It’s an—admittedly, very entertaining—gimmick. It’s a single power-up that could easily be incorporated into any other FPS. Fun enough while it lasts, but hardly earth-shattering.

The campaign is meme-baiting, wannabe-meta nonsense and it lasts a short, sweet three hours at most. And while the inclusion of challenge modes is a nice gesture, it really doesn’t amount to much. The core of the game is hollow. The gimmick of Superhot isn’t enough to keep the game magnanimously heated or superlatively toasty; much as it wants to be.

And if you’re wondering why the short review, I’m just trying to simulate game length. In text.