Ubisoft and the Bastardization of Ghost Recon

This company is a heroin addict who needs its IP children to be adopted by a caring foster parent before it’s too late.

IMG_1446.png

Ubisoft, a company whose mission statement is mediocrity first and players second, has decided Wildlands will be the next installment in the Ghost Recon franchise. From high atop his ivory tower of corporate villainy, Yves Guillemot cackles deviously as he knowingly squanders 4 years of developers’ precious time on this planet, forcing them through wage slavery to produce yet another copy-and-paste open world borefest, squandering his underling artists’ valuable talents on a project he knows a disabled infant could produce comparable results for.

Where’s the issue? Is it the bland, uninspired open world? The wonky, B-grade shooting? The physics-less vehicles? The complete and utter lack of anything inspiring or original under the hood of a bland third-person shooter masquerading as a beloved tactical stealth franchise?

Could it be all of these things, perhaps?

Yes, it could. Now we’ve got another The DivisionFar Cry Primal, Watch_Dogs 2 to add to our collection of generic Ubisoft garbage.

Capture outpost A, slink around to outpost B. Use a helicopter to fly to outpost C and liberate the resistance. Protect a VIP as you escort him back to outpost A. Rinse and repeat for fifty hours. Jesus Christ, what a downgrade from Future Soldier, a game that came out over half a decade ago. Trading a tight, engaging and tactical linear narrative for a blase open-world snoozer is the dumbest yet most frequent misstep Ubisoft seems to love to make these days. Hope they love making it without my $60.

Advertisements

“The Magnificent Seven” — A Magnificent Bore

Fun fact: Antoine Fuqua, the director of this two-hour snooze fest, is getting to handle the Scarface remake. That’s right, from one pointless and decidedly inferior remake to the next, this guy has us covered.mag7header

Here’s the deal: it’s not an offensively bad movie. It’s just got a piss-poor script, a weird tonal structure and some of the worst pacing I’ve had to suffer through in a long time. I fell asleep twice, for frame of reference. Fuqua allows so much time for pornographic shots of mother nature and pointless banter between characters that any space for real character development is completely wasted. But make no mistake–there could’ve and should’ve been time for it. Easily. As it stands, the only two characters who get any real development are Goodnight and Billy, the sharpshooter and assassin respectively. Even when it came to the villain and side characters, all were paper thin archetypal cut-outs. Though, in the cast’s defense, all of them clearly gave a good effort.

As far as that tonal complaint went, here’s why I’m pissed: the trailers sell it as a fun western. The original Magnificent Seven was a fun western. This thing, on the other hand, takes itself waaaaaaay too seriously towards the end. Like, Batman V Superman sort of serious. Ugh.

Honestly, I recommend you just ignore this movie all together and not waste any money, but if you’re really, really hankering for some form of a western, well, who am I to stop you?

“Sausage Party” Review

This whole thing is literally just an experiment by Seth Rogen to see what shit he can cram into an R rating. Graphic juice box vaginal rape? Yep. Explicit living potato skin peeling? Check. Three minutes of nothing but literal, unadulterated food porn featuring quadruple penetration by none other than Seth himself? You bet your sweet tear ducts.sausageparty-terribletruth-192764-640x320

Some sick part of me wants to show this to an Amish community just to see how much PTSD can be wrought by a single film. Continue reading

“Suicide Squad” Review

I can’t boycott DC movies. I just can’t. Even though they’re perpetually shit, they’re still a great time killer with friends and for that reason I either give up socializing and maintain my morals, or vise versa. Enjoy the blood money, WB.suicidesquad.jpg

If you haven’t guessed, Suicide Squad is the deliciously fruitless follow-up to BvS, two hours of proof that Warner Bros. still doesn’t have a fucking clue what they’re doing. Continue reading

Top 5 Reasons The Division Will Suck

5.) It’s an Ubisoft game, meaning not the one they showed at E3.Tom_Clancy's_The_Division_Box.jpg

Remember when this game was first advertised at E3? The graphics were stunning, the atmosphere was great and the gameplay looked intense as hell. Fastforward to now and the graphics have seen a MAJOR downgrade (the Ubisoft guarantee, a la Watch_Dogs, R6: Siege, etc.), the atmosphere has been replaced by an uninspired “shoot shit and roam around a boring sandbox” vibe and the gameplay? Pfffffft. None of the windshield-shattering bullet impact from the E3 showings is present in the beta. None of the detailed granules of chip damage as terrain gets torn through. It’s just a shoddy hit box mess of a bland, under-detailed shooter.

To put this in perspective, the developers’ biggest selling pitch is that you can close random car doors. Closing fucking car doors, people. You can’t even re-open them. “NEXT GEN SHOOTER MECHANICS!!!!!1!!!! INNOVATION1!!!”

4.) A Season Pass.

So we meet again, cut and planned additional content before launch.

3.) It plays like the Star Trek movie tie-in video game. That’s a MASSIVE insult.

It’s painfully generic. We have an over-saturated shooter market as is, no need for shit like this filling it. This game plays like Defiance, for Christ’s sake. DEFIANCE. Minus the somewhat fun dune buggies. That leaves The Division with janky-as-fuck animations, weak shooting and a lackluster series of hallway-like street fire fights with minimal strategy required on its game play resume.

2.) The beta is exactly what you’ll be getting in the full release (which is to say, nothing good). 

“IT’S JUST A BETA LEAVE THE DIVISION ALONE OMFGKESDC” said every idiot Ubi-apologist ever. Listen up, clowns. We’re a little over three weeks from launch. If the game you’re playing in the beta looks like piss and plays like piss, odds are in THREE WEEKS it’s still going to be piss when you’re dumb enough to plop down $60 for it. Is it bland and uninspired? You bet. But that’s a core design flaw that would take YEARS to remedy. Not weeks.

1.) It’s more over-hyped shovelware.

You’re paying for a game that looks like what would happen if the Metro 2033 developers didn’t give a shit. You’re paying for a game where you run around poorly mapped streets of a virtual NY piling THOUSANDS of bullets into assholes only wearing hoodies who won’t die. You’re paying for a desolate, washed-out, E3 downgraded Ubisoft game with minimal heart put in and the appropriate amount of quality to match. It’s got shoddy as fuck voice acting, piss-poor story telling, a pathetically bland and empty open world and gameplay that we’ve seen in hundreds of generic third person shooters before. If you want to be known as the idiot who paid for a game sold on Ubi’s trademark lie-hype, be my guest. Pay for a game that’s selling you on the promise of being able to close car doors in “intense” firefights.

Those of us with brains will be laughing on the sidelines with our wallets still intact, but don’t mind us.

Star Wars: The Force Awakens Sucks! (SPOILER REVIEW)

So, The Force Awakens:starwarshorizontal.jpg

-Terrible villains. Phasma is a complete joke and Kylo Ren is a spoiled brat who throws temper tantrums and does the usual “ooh villain is really evil because he kills his own men out of rage” schtick. Dude, if you keep doing that people won’t want to work for you.
-Snoke looks stupid as hell. He’s an overgrown Gollum/Voldemort love child.
-TONS of plot conveniences, everywhere. I’m interrupting this review to go over every plot convenience I could catch in a single viewing, from memory.

Plot conveniences (tons of spoilers of course [not chronological]):
-Han’s new freighter happens to be magically drifting above the single spot on the single planet in the entire galaxy where his old ship, piloted by the new heroes, will be flying. And why the hell would he risk going by there anyway if he owes the locals cash. Sure, you can argue he picked the Falcon up on a scanner and would recognize his old ship anywhere, but then, in the years the Falcon has been handed from thief to thief, why does Han only now choose to appear and take it back?
-First Order lets a single trooper that just showed documented signs of disobedience transport their most valuable hostage of the moment BY HIMSELF, and no one notices what they’re up to until the heavily populated hangar is already lit in flames.
-Luke’s lightsaber is conveniently stored away at a friend of Han’s bar and yet only when force-sensitive girl comes does the owner of said bar feel the need to talk about it; not during the many assumed times that Han, best buddy of Luke’s, has strolled by.
-The Rathtars conveniently wipe out every single enemy aboard the Millenium Falcon and are only weak to Rey’s amazing button mashing skills.
-Phasma actually shuts down the alarm just because she got captured by a few goofballs. So you’re telling me the First Order does NOT have any sort of subtle code you can punch in to trigger an alarm? There’s no way Finn and co. would know. The fact that just pointing a gun at Phasma earned them an instant shutdown of the most powerful weapon in the galaxy is a joke. Besides, aren’t troopers supposed to sacrifice their lives before betraying the cause? Basically, for all their resources and “might” the First Order has been really incompetent this whole movie.
-Every situation lines up perfectly FOR Finn to capture Phasma and shut down the aforementioned weapon even though he doesn’t have the force (so he can’t cheat like Rey) and only worked as a janitor before, pfffffft.
-On the green planet (please tell me the name, I forgot), the only lightsaber resistant Storm Trooper we’ve seen yet just happens to be present when the only good guy light saber crops up, meaning he just happens to be perfectly equipped to throw down with Finn.
-The Resistance magically knew to attack the First Order on that green planet but not when, I dunno, Poe was boned at the beginning of the movie or any of the other times when the Resistance’s assistance would’ve been greatly appreciated.
-R2 magically wakes up when Han dies because “let’s finish this fucking movie”. Nevermind that he was on low battery and “dead”, did Luke program him to just snap awake when Han ate the dust? That’s fucked.
-Luke conveniently leaves a map of his entire mission even though he supposedly wants to be missing, leaving just a single literal holographic puzzle piece to be found to complete R2’s map.
-During Kylo and Rey’s showdown, Kylo just pauses for a solid ten seconds while Rey finds the force within her or some shit. No, Kylo, that’s when you kick her into the pit, not stand there.
-And virtually every time Rey does anything. I’ll let the initial Falcon battle slide because Star Wars is full of characters beating the odds out of sheer luck in aerial combat, and I’ll let anything she did after the interrogation go, too, because “foooooorce”. But in between, Jesus, did she get a lot of narrative favors.  I give her leeway on the Falcon bit because she shows familiarity with it when she calls it junk, so you can assume she’s studied it before. Plus, luck. But when she magically knows how to stop the gas leak inside of it AFTER the big fight? Or knows exactly how to find the security room to close the door to stop Finn from being eaten? Or when she repeatedly finishes Han’s tech sentences for him? Sure, scavenging might get you one of the above, but not all of them. It doesn’t mean she’s seen every ship in the galaxy crash landed on a desert.
-If Luke had simply TOLD HIS NEPHEW ABOUT VADER’S FINAL ACT OF GOODWILL, Kylo Ren wouldn’t be a villain at all. This movie wouldn’t exist. The writers smartly omit the backstory of Luke saying a single fucking sentence of lesson learning to his apprentices.

Aaaaand that’s all memory allowed for on a single viewing. But really, if all of that is point-blank obvious to me after one showing, I can’t even imagine how many I’d find after a second.
The CGI is so over-saturated that it looks like Attack of the Clones. Seriously, Revenge of the Sith had better visuals.
-Plot is, like I predicted, just a nostalgia tickling rehash of Episodes 4, 5 and 6 rolled into one. Lone force sensitive person whisked off a desert planet by the Millennium Falcon? Episode 4 reporting for duty. Character having an emotional catwalk “I am your father” heart to heart which ends with one of them getting fucked up? Episode 5 present. Giant finale with two force users lightsabering it out in an isolated location while a spaceship fleet blows up the Death Star (“oooh but it’s different this time,” the fans said, “because it’s bigger” pffffffffffffft that means every Transformers movie invented the wheel)? Episode 6, we missed you.
-How much more pandering can this movie be? It’s written like a bad SJW fight-the-patriarchy ad. Female heroes can and have been well done in the past, but the writing for Rey is downright contrived. *Slams random buttons on everything she pilots or operates* “Best pilot in the galaxy!” *Saves Jon Boyega’s ass repeatedly* “She doesn’t need a man!” *Knows Han’s ship better than he does* “She’s so tech-y and smart!”. Christ, J.J., we get it. It just feels forced (that pun though).
-A lackluster score. This is, ahem, STAR WARS and the MUSIC BLEW. It’s a by-the-numbers space opera fanfare OST. Now, I know Williams invented that, but that’s exactly why he needed to surprise us here. If an artist isn’t growing, he’s dying… and I think Williams is literally dying so I guess that makes sense.
-Forced Hitler imagery and generic evilness. Ooh, the First Order all raise their arms in a nazi fashion when lame-ass overly asshole-ish Domhnall Gleeson’s “we’re so villainous” speech is over. And isn’t it just great how they invent a bigger Death Star that wipes a dozen inhabited planets out, just ’cause? Killing random races and species and sectors of space life in one button press is fun, bad guys, we get it.
-Han dying for artificial emotional resonance. Oooookay, Abrams, since the rest of your movie is boring and emotionally hollow as shit, just kill off the best character in the series for some forced gasps. It’s the only playing card you have, apparently. At least Harrison can stop bitching about not liking the role anymore.
-The 3D was fucking lame. Not a single scene stood out or did any sort of 3D popping of noteworthy quality. I had to go with the jacked up 3D pricing because 2D showings weren’t time-accommodating for me, and I’m assuming that’s what’s forcing most other viewers into the 3D screenings. Even though it’s total shit.

Seriously, this movie is well behind the original trilogy and even Revenge of the Sith. It’s only better than The Phantom Menace and Attack of the Clones, and that isn’t saying much. Star Wars may be back, but only in a weak, regurgitated form because Disney and Hollywood can’t let good things rest.

Well, It’s Official: Star Wars Battlefront… Sucks

Here we go. First chance for me to give it a spin and not be reduced to giving armchair commentary on the shoddy looking E3 gameplay. So, how do I MYSELF think it plays after having gone into it and rustled every jimmy the beta had to offer?Star-Wars-Battlefront-3-Beta-Darth-Vader-Hoth

In short, as I predicted yet hoped would prove me wrong, it sucks. I mean, wow. After playing one round as the rebels and one as the empire for variety’s sake, I literally had no desire to play another match. Not a good sign.

Here’s the skinny: the core shooting lacks any sort of impact and feels more arcade-y than the original Star Wars Battlefront‘s, I’m not even shitting you. It feels like you’re shooting harmless light beams at beanbags rather than people in this game. The jumping is stiff and allows for little improvisation, and you can’t prone at all from what I know. Unreal. Not to mention that even for a beta the weapon variety is terrible. DICE has made no indications that the full game will include more than one class for each side (meanwhile, SWBF2 had six), meaning the pathetic four guns on display here might be all you get in the final product. What the fuck. Also, a nitpick on the controls: you have to manually swap from first person to third person every time you respawn. I had to click and hold “c” every damn time. Why can’t we just set a first or third person preference like in Strike Vector?

So that’s the shooting. Moving on to vehicles, well, good luck even getting in one. DICE had the brilliant idea to make every rare item, vehicle and hero a power-up unlockable that appears completely randomly somewhere on the field. Do you love the memories you have of SWBF2‘s intense dogfights? Well, good luck finding a fucking power-up token on the ground to even access the goddamn ship, let alone learn its controls and pilot it tactfully. The same goes for the AT-AT and the AT-ST.

To be fair, the one thing I actually liked about this beta was the idea they were going for with the AT-AT. Had that been the ONLY vehicle to require a power-up token to access, I would’ve loved the idea. Since in SWBF1 whoever piloted the AT-AT was a bit of an overpowered jerk-off, it was a nice idea DICE tried to implement to limit any individual’s time with the most powerful vehicle on the map, constrained also by the fact that it’s on rails. But, to reiterate, DICE fucked up when they made every vehicle restricted by this token gimmick.

This also means I didn’t get a single chance to play as the hero or villain, that’s right. Not one minute of Vader or Luke action to be had, because it’s all based on randomly spawning token bullshit rather than skill. You know, skill, that concept SWBF2 rewarded you for performing by letting you play as a hero or villain after pulling off incredible battle feats. Not just randomly doling out the reward to whatever moron was lucky enough to stumble across a fucking token.

Last major complaint is how unbalanced the main mode on display is. Walker Assault HEAVILY favors the empire side. I won both my matches on both sides, but as rebels our team pulled out a victory with literally seconds to go. On the empire side, we won virtually hands down without much of a struggle. In other words, the empire side has a gross advantage. Does DICE even play test this shit?

UPDATE 10/9/15: I’ve gone ahead and created a list of simple suggestions for how DICE can fix Walker Assault mode. My expanded thoughts on the beta, especially the vehicular gameplay, are included as well.

As for the other modes, there’s some tacky 8v8 COD-wannabe mode I gave one whirl. It’s essentially a smaller, vastly less interesting TDM mode which emphasizes the weak gameplay on display in this beta. The only marginally cool part was how the map was on Sullust, a map SUPPOSED to be on a volcanic ice planet. Yet, the map has no lava. Or volcanoes. Or ice/snow. It’s a fucking mud-crater map. Laaaaaaaaaaaame. Like, seriously, it’s as though DICE went out of their way to make a cool concept for a planet the most boring thing possible.

The other mode in the beta is survival, a single player or co-op experience where you defend yourself against waves of generic stormtroopers and once in a while an AT-ST. It’s six waves of utter meh, the same survival/horde mode nonsense you’ve seen in dozens of third person shooters over the last decade.

So, yeah. I’m gonna be honest, I’m getting good enough at this “reading E3 footage” to accurately figure out my opinions on a game just by watching, as my impressions when I posted my Top 5 Reasons Star Wars Battlefront Will Suck post turned out to be entirely accurate to how I feel now, fresh off having played the beta firsthand. In fact, I’m slightly more bitter about the game now after having found out every vehicle, useful power-up and hero character can only be accessed through fucking tokens. That is the worst idea I’ve ever seen implemented in a multiplayer game, like, honestly.

Who wants to bet if you spend $3.99 in-game EA will grant you a five-pack of hero tokens?