Tag Archives: Adventure

Review – Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets 

What’s this?

After many apparent hesitations, director Luc Besson and his wife decided to write an English-language French science fiction action-adventure film titled Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets. It is based on the French comic series Valérian and Laureline. I am not familiar with the comics but in the past couple of months, I have admired the trailers from a visual standpoint. Then again, the movie did have a budget of 197 million Euros, so it should look mightily impressive. The movie has nowhere near matched the budget in the box office, and it is the most expensive European and independent film ever made. Ouch. I would hate to deliver that news to the board.

What’s it about?

Close your eyes for a minute and imagine a space station. Wait, this will not work. Instead, clear your mind for a minute and imagine a space station in 2020. Then years later, leading countries of the world attach their station to this one. Then many years later, other species from different planets send their station to join in on the action. This continues to happen until the 28th century. We now have one large planet made of cities (named Alpha) with a multitude of peace agreements. Still with me? Good. Now, imagine a planet far away with pale looking, peace loving Avatars, who are living in harmony amongst powerful energy-containing pearls, in a tropical paradise. All of a sudden, huge ships crash into their planet and they are wiped out. Lead male character Valerian wakes up. He just had a dream about this decimated planet and he is about to embark on a mission with Laureline ordered by his commander to retrieve a converter. They are later told that Alpha is infected by an unknown force and they must investigate and protect the Commander, suspiciously performed by Clive Owen.

Can you see why I told you to close your eyes? This narrative has so many obstacles to jump around that, at times, it felt mentally challenging.

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Review – War for the Planet of the Apes 

What’s this?

A grand finale for the Planet of the Apes reboot series. This time it is the War for the Planet of the Apes and the clue is in the title.

What’s it about?

Soon after the events of Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, an army of humans hopes to find Ceasar, which results in suffering unimaginable losses for the lead character. Ceaser shows a darker side as he aims to avenge his losses and puts himself up against the Colonel, the leader of the human army they were hiding from. This also means that the fate of both species is in their hands, really upping the stakes, which are way higher than the previous films. The entire movie feels like an ending to a trilogy but it is delivered masterfully from start to finish in ways that I was not expecting. War for the Planet of the Apes is not only a fantastic movie but it sets a benchmark in how to deliver a memorable trilogy.

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007: From Russia With Love vs. Blood Stone

I know, I know, I know. Nobody cares about an average, eight-year-old movie tie-in video game that didn’t even make much of a splash when it was released on the Playstation 2. Typically I wouldn’t even play it, never mind spend my valuable time writing a thousand-odd words about it. But, fate conspired to have me spot this title sitting in a shop window with a price tag of literally pennies, and I was compelled to buy and play it by a question which popped into my head immediately upon seeing the cover: I wonder if that one is better than Blood Stone?

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DLC Review – Assassin’s Creed Unity: Dead Kings

[This review contains a big spoiler for the main story of Assassin’s Creed Unity. You’ve been warned.]

In my rambling analysis of Assassin’s Creed UnityI didn’t mention anything about the game’s myriad performance problems. I didn’t talk about Arno getting stuck in the middle of a hay cart or hovering in mid-air. I didn’t complain about having to restart checkpoints or reset my console. That’s because I played a post-patch version of the game which had had most of those bugs and issues teased out. So I didn’t see any of that stuff. Aside from some rather glaring dips in framerate, and the occasional texture pop-in, Unity ran pretty smooth for me. No crashes, no lost progress – not much fun, admittedly, but for wholly different reasons.

Still, as compensation for shipping a game that was (allegedly, I suppose) thoroughly broken at launch, Ubisoft made a smart decision. They cancelled the game’s Season Pass and made the first planned piece of downloadable content, Dead Kings, free for everyone. I hadn’t even realized it had been released before my Xbox One had downloaded it, installed it, and thrown a little notification onto my screen with that all-too-familiar blip: “Assassin’s Creed Unity: Dead Kings is ready to play”.

Well, if you insist.

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Completionist – CSI Triple Threat

[This post is part of the Completionist series. Check out the other entries here.]

Telltale Games are pretty popular these days for applying their now-trademark episodic formula to various well-known multimedia properties, from graphic novels (The Walking Dead and Fables) to television shows (Game of Thrones) and video game series’ (Borderlands). But what a lot of people don’t know is that, once upon a time, Telltale also made shit like this.

Like the show, the CSI games offer passable whodunnits based unsurprisingly around the investigation of various crime scenes. It’s a first-person point-and-click affair, the player steering around a nameless, newbie investigator as he pokes, prods, nips and sprays with numerous bits of technical kit (like tweezers!). It’s a simple form of adventure gaming that maintains the enjoyment of finding a well-hidden item, but loses the frustrating moon logic of early genre fare like The Secret of Monkey Island (which is still a wonderful game, but, y’know… it’s weird).

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Review – Monkey Island 2: LeChuck’s Revenge Special Edition

Even though I said a large portion of what I have to say about Secret of Monkey Island, video game humour generally, and the benefit of re-releasing classic games in my review of the previous Special Edition, here’s some more of that stuff anyway. Because why not?

Monkey Island 2: LeChuck’s Revenge Special Edition (hereafter just Monkey Island 2, thanks very much) is a better remake of a better game. If you enjoyed the first one – in either its original or shiny, high-definition form – you’ll enjoy this even more. If you’d rather boil your own head than play a 90s-style point-and-click adventure… this probably won’t sway you. Yes, the game is better, but it’s better because the jokes are funnier and the puzzles make slightly more sense. The underlying format remains unchanged.

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Review – The Secret of Monkey Island Special Edition

Secret of Monkey Island was first released in October of 1990, a time when “adventure games” were still a real thing; the genre monopolised by the two warring monoliths of LucasArts and Sierra. I was a month old.

By the time adventure games had faded into relative obscurity during the latter half of that same decade, I, like most people, was so enamoured with the high-resolution art, CD-quality audio and three-dimensional game worlds of the home console scene that I considered everything which came before entirely obsolete. It took me half a decade to start considering that viewpoint potentially incorrect, and another half again to realize exactly how incorrect it truly was. That was when, twenty years after the game’s initial release, I sat down to play Secret of Monkey Island.

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