Monthly Archives: September 2012

Dead Space

71OSRxkysVL._SL1199_So, Dead Space. This is a game I should have completed and reviewed years ago. I mean, literally. Years. I started playing it in 2009, splitting time with my friend Billy. And after a couple-few weekends, we ran out of time and stopped, and I kept not playing it, thinking we’d pick it back up. But that never happened and I suppose never will, now.

I started over, anyway, and had a pretty good time at it. See, you’re this guy who is part of a team landing on a mining ship that sent a distress call and then went dark. It turns out that they had a really good reason in the forms of a weird alien artifact, a recent religion, and a bunch of undead things combined into the twilight of humanity. Unless, of course, you the player can find a way to survive the ship, prevent the coming apocalypse, and save your girlfriend.

At a high level, this game reminded me a lot of Ridley Scott’s Aliens. Too much religion, too much focus on dismemberment as the best way to kill things instead of just shooting them a lot. But the aloneness, the helplessness in the face of superior forces with no good way to leave except by killing everything in your path, and the essential alienness of the foe? It is a good recipe, and probably made the game better than it deserved to be by proxy. But hey, as long as I have fun, whatever works is cool by me.

The Shadow Rising

I think that I was a little hard on The Shadow Rising in my mind, when I claimed that The Dragon Reborn was the last book in the series that had a solid structure to bring everyone into the same storyline. I mean, yes, some of the characters have fully divergent stories for the first time, and they will remain diverged until the end of the series from here on out. I mean, some people reconverge at certain times, but never everyone all together. (P.S. Still spoilers, for now. Probably not much longer, I’ll be more careful, but they still exist for now.)

But the plotlines in this book constantly mirrored each other thematically in ways that I would be able to describe rather than assert if I had not waited so very long after the book for the review. (This is a real problem that I will try to avoid in the future. Because, pretty embarrassing, right? I mean, even one “for instance” and I’d be satisfied. But my brain is a blank slate on the point, other than having been impressed by it as I was reading. This is one of the upsides of re-reading a book when you know all the things that are going to happen in it. You can get a lot more deeply into the structure of the thing, the themes, the foreshadowing, develop a real appreciation for the craft of writing. When craft exists, at least, which it did here, despite my lack of proof.)

Plus also, some of the coolest scenes in the series, right? Well, at least, the highest concentration of them. Redstone doorframes? Rhuidean? I’m just saying, cool shit went down. Plus… so, this was the first of these books that I read any of. I was at UT for a weekend “come be at our school” trip, in the summer of 1992, and my occasional girlfriend was reading it, and I glanced at what she was reading, a scene where Mat was trying to convince Perrin that they should both ditch Rand, because, crazy channeler guy even if he is the Dragon, right? She explained to me that Mat was less of a dick than he sounded in that scene, and I eventually picked them up based on the recommendation. (Later, I realized that when she sent me through a three-ringed art installment on the UNT campus  hoping I’d have some kind of vision, that was a reference too.) My point is, it will always be special to me not just because I haven’t entirely gotten over the collapse of the Age of Legends and the Da’shain Aiel, but also because it marks the first words I read in the Wheel of Time.

Anyway, good book. But then, haven’t they all been, so far?

The Bourne Legacy

The number of weeks that have passed since I actually watched The Bourne Legacy should not, per se, be taken as an indication of how well I liked the movie. For one thing, my reviewingness has been spotty at best since I took the job where I make other people make the internet go for stock traders. No, when I think about it further, that’s not just one thing, it’s the primary thing. But okay, I still do stuff now and again, enough things that not only did I watch the third Bourne sequel, but it’s actually the first of three things I am behind upon, so let’s fix that, shall we?

So, movie.  It’s like, on the one hand, I remember Bourne flicks being pretty good. Lots of actions and explosions and I cared what happened to Matt Damon. But then they ditched him (or he ditched them?) in favor of a bunch of alternate super-spies who have been similarly modified, and this is the story of another such individual and his romantic entanglement, because action movies need love interests apparently. OR, you can watch the movie like I did, which turned out pretty okay.

Remember Thor and The Avengers? Take this as an origin story for Hawkeye. Then, try to tell me a) that it doesn’t work and b) that it isn’t better than the plot that was presented. No, seriously, do that. I want to be challenged. But I’m pretty sure I’ve nailed it here.