"0 point: The Quiet Man"
You just had to do it to him.
Love movies, love games.
There isn't much more to me.
Beyond Good & Evil
Interesting in that it is not excellent in any one particular way. It does a lot of things, but it is more impressive in the ways in which it implements these many elements, which is always thoughtfully, connecting back to the story and world. It is a very unified, well-modulated experience, with a really enjoyable sense of place and flavour. It makes me a little anxious for the sequel, which looks to be much bigger. Scope is important to this first game as well, but I'm skeptical that a game shooting to be as big as the second will be as precise as the first.
Good! Combining RE-style fixed camera and pre-rendered backdrops with combat based around spacing and punishing turned out better than I would have thought. Like many RE titles, it's a sometimes contrived but rigorous investigation of a space rather than a journey covering many different locales. I love all the dead soldiers littering the halls of the castle, and it helps to build a foreboding atmosphere. I wish that sense of mystery was carried forward a little better with the tone of the combat, maybe with more imposing enemies (the tall, grabbing guys were the only common enemy that required an approach that wasn't 'get in there and slash'). The storytelling is straight camp---and may have been more enjoyable if it pushed it further with wilder logic and visual design.
I was lucky that the first was rereleased, as a friend of mine lent me all 4 PS2 titles a few months ago but the first one didn't work. I'll probably jump into the second in a couple months.
It's a good puzzle game with a great mechanical conceit, a distinctive visual style, and some interesting conceptual sci-fi dabbling, but it feels pretty slight. For all of its big ol' spacestation maneuvering and lonely corridors and musing on identity, it's still just a series of gates opened by completing a series of puzzle rooms. The puzzle rooms are fun to figure out, but they don't create a coherent space or tell a story, and the plentiful coloured lights that inhibit your abilities feel really contrived. It's a game of a couple minds (no pun intended), and I would have liked it more if it was more unified or unhinged.
Good! I think I slightly prefer it to the first game. I like that the trajectory of the story is clear and holds true, Kaoru is a cool character, and Kansai is a nice change. It doesn't feel like there were many meaningful changes to the gameplay (which can be awkward at times) and I was definitely less invested in exploring Kamurocho after having played the first game earlier in the year. I've got a number of gripes actually, but the stuff I like sticks out more. Looking forward to how the series evolves the following gen.
Played it because I knew it would be short and perhaps it would be good enough for me to make it one of the four games I need to send in a GOTY ballot. Turns out it's pretty lame. It's essentially a motion-comic about a relationship---which is fine, but it exposes nothing; it rests on cliches and stylistic vagueness. It's difficult to know much about our characters beyond the broad strokes, and it doesn't dig into (and I think ultimately presents a pretty unrealistic image of) living as an artist in modern day. There are little interactive bits that help tell the story, but even they feel more obvious than impactful like jigsaw puzzle pieces that fit together or don't in order to express ease and compatibility.
It's broad and simple enough for most people who have been in a relationship to identify with, and its art is alright, but this wouldn't be a blip in any other form of storytelling. Maybe that says something dire about games writing. If you want a much better game about Asian Americans dating, play Butterfly Soup. That one's also gay and about baseball.
The public library is a really good resource if you're in a large city; I was able to find a lot through that. I highly recommend not only checking for dvd/blu ray selection, but also seeing if your library offers services like Kanopy or Hoopla which have really strong and interesting selections. I also lived at home for a bit this year, and my dad has TCM, so I got him to PVR me a bunch of stuff before I stayed there. Other than that, streaming options. Youtube has some good stuff that's either in the public domain or copyright holders don't seem care about taking down. A surprising amount of Japanese films with decent prints.
I definitely couldn't list 20 films I really dug this year (maybe a dozen?), as I've only seen about 40 2018 releases. I'm always a bit behind the curve when it comes to modern movies, but there's always that feeling of trying to fit in a couple more, just because film discourse really intensifies at the end of the year!
In my watching, I spent a good portion of this year hammering out the 1930's. Probably watched over 100 from that decade.