Welcome to the Playpen, our space for ferrety banter and whimsical snippets of things that aren't quite long enough for articles (although they might be) but that caught your eye anyway.
The gameplay was a lot of fun but did get repetitive. You'll find yourself returning to the same outposts again and again to do the same kind of missions as last time and there simply isn't enough activity between enemy outposts to make the open world particularly worthwhile. There isn't even a decent fast travel system to take the sting of the lifeless world away.
But petting my adorable doggy and using party balloons to airlift everything I see back to my military base while listening to 80s pop music never gets old.
I don't know what to make of it. Given how expensive new games are getting, are publishers assuming that people will only be buying 2-3 new titles a year, and therefore they should make their games worth the investment? Is gaming really a young man's (or young woman's) racket, and it's implicitly assumed you'll be dropping out in your 30's or 40's?
And on the subject of recent open-world games with lots of content...any of y'all taken a stab at MGSV? The reaction I've been looking at has been pretty interesting: while it's an excellent action-stealth game...it doesn't seem to be a very good Metal Gear game.
...Except that I remember that the console Fallout game I loved and hold up as a shining example of great CRPG plotting (Fallout: New Vegas) was made by Obsidian, and the one I could never bring myself to play for more than about six hours (Fallout 3) was made by Bethesda Softworks...and this new one is by Bethesda Softworks.
Hmmm...giddiness mildly tempered...
At one point when showcasing the game, a Rabbi saw the board, paused, and said that he understood what the game was about.
"I don't want to play it," he said. "You just did," Brathwaite replied.
It's like that Super Mario Maker level was specifically designed to parody this game.
He ought to have spent a little more time around them than just that one time saving the world, iow, and at least initiate some helpful dialog for the viewer on how he doesn't know them well enough to risk calling them even if they did suffer through a mandatory webinar series with chat sidebar together last Friday.
I think that fic explains where Hawkeye was perfectly. Ha!
there's still the question of why she didn't ring up her best friend Hawkeye to help them fight the bad guys. I prefer to believe he was in deep cover while all this was going down and couldn't be reached.
I actually found this brilliant, hilarious fic along those lines (gen, short).
(Totally one of those people who goes around asking "so, what were all the other established characters in that universe doing while this was going on?" Actually, come to think, that could be a great concept for a series of one-shot comics - just explaining where all the other superheroes were during, say, Iron Man III, for instance. But yeah, you also got that in the comics, wondering why the various heroes and villains don't trip over each other much more often.)
Sunnyskywalker: "I'm pretty sure Steve knows other superheroes. Does he not trust them?"
That initially bugged me in Winter Soldier, too, but then I thought about it a bit more and I said, "hang on a minute, why would he be inclined to trust them?" After all, Fury told him not to trust anybody, and unlike in the comics, he hasn't known Bruce and Tony and the others since forever - in the movie timeline, he's met them all once for a couple of days at this point, and yeah, they saved the world together, but that doesn't mean they're always going to be on the same side. He doesn't really know what type of people they are, and their interactions in The Avengers gave him reason to have doubts about pretty much all of them. It looks like the only one he's worked with closely since the Battle of New York is Tasha, and by the time
Of course, once he's decided to throw in with Tasha, there's still the question of why she didn't ring up her best friend Hawkeye to help them fight the bad guys. I prefer to believe he was in deep cover while all this was going down and couldn't be reached.
That was another weird thing about the movies, definitely! I kept thinking, "I'm pretty sure Steve knows other superheroes. Does he not trust them? Or did he just lose their cell phone numbers because he's still getting the hang of cell phones?"
It honestly didn't seem that way to me, but then that's like saying a story's resolution or twist is "obvious" when you knew about it beforehand. So I have to guess that other people who didn't go into it with the same, secretly required, specific foreknowledge about that recurring plotline probably found it similarly unsatisfying/puzzling.
And probably also a dozen others I'm forgetting. Marvelverse is this giant lumbering beast.
It seems like Marvel is trying to have the benefits of both stand-alone and series (er, and of both movie and TV series, at that), and it just isn't working. The conglomeration of movies isn't really a series, in the sense that a random viewer will recognize it as such on casual inspection, and then easily figure out what order the movies should be watched in for maximum viewing comprehension and enjoyment. And you can kind of watch them in any random order. I mean, theoretically you could watch The Avengers without also having watched every Iron Man, Captain America, Thor, etc. movie out at that time. Some people seem to have managed it.
But every single one I've watched has a lot of content that only makes sense if you've seen a bunch of other movies, from the "was that a joke? I think that was an in-joke" to the "who is this major important character? wait, is he an alien or a god or an alien god I am so lost" degree. So you can't really just, say, watch all the movies featuring one of the characters--you'll still miss stuff.
And then some of the movies are barely structured as single movies rather than really, really long pilot episodes for a series that supposedly isn't a series. Full of stuff with no apparent meaning or reason for being there, which might mean something to someone who watched every other Marvel movie, or which might be totally important three movies from now.
Footnotes might actually become necessary. I bet there will at least be a fan-captioned version, if there isn't already.
Sunnyskywalker: The way I felt while watching it was that the Winter Soldier was was barely in the first half of the movie at all and they spent a lot of time worrying about other Hydra baddies. It felt more like setup for something to happen in a sequel.
I agree this setting-up-for-a-sequel (or spin-off) business is becoming annoyingly prevalent in Marvel movies, but for me, the Winter Soldier was not such a case. Sure, he wasn't in the first half of the movie much, but in the second half, he and Steve had a nice little complete arc of conflict which eventually gives way to a measure of reconciliation. The film left plenty of room for further development between the two in a sequel film (coming next May!/announcer voice), but if for whatever reason that didn't happen, I would find the Winter Soldier's story in the movie a complete and satisfying arc in its own right. Basically, I agree with Janne. (The next Captain America movie is Civil War, so unless the catalyst for the superheroes' fallout is what to do about the Winter Soldier, I'd imagine his storyline will be taking a back seat. I'd be curious to know if other folks think that's likely.)
Janne: I wonder if at some point footnotes will start to appear when a new character familiar from a different series appear or something that happened in another movie or tv series is alluded to. Like in the comics: "See Agents of SHIELD S02E01! -The writers".
That would probably be really annoying, but also kind of hilarious.
I concur with the criticism about the Guardians. Marvel's project of making a decades long series of everything is ambitious enough, but remembering how convoluted the comics always get when things progress enough over different titles, the end result might get a bit weird. I wonder if at some point footnotes will start to appear when a new character familiar from a different series appear or something that happened in another movie or tv series is alluded to. Like in the comics: "See Agents of SHIELD S02E01! -The writers".
Thanos and Darkseid are pretty much the same character. The main difference being that Thanos dwells in Marvelandia, Darkseid in Detective Cosmos.
First, they take so long to make that there's guaranteed to be a big wait between installments, which is annoying when you finish watching one and find out there's more that you can't have yet (plus the awareness that when the next installment does arrive, a year from now, you might not be interested anymore or have forgotten crucial details). (This can be the case with book series, too, but it feels more acceptable somehow. Maybe just because I'm used to the idea of book series? Also of course even if a book's in a series we tend to expect it to stand on its own and will be annoyed if it has large swathes of filler that's obviously just there to set up the next book.)
Second, the time between plus the complexity involved in making the movie gives a lot of room for things to go off-track. An actor might become unavailable for whatever reason and have to be replaced or even written out of the script, for example. Or if someone different is writing/directing the next movie (as has been the case for these, I think), they might have a completely different take on things you care about. You don't necessarily know you can trust them to do a good job. (Which is less of a concern for a book series written by a single author--I mean, plenty of those do go downhill after a certain point, but... in a different way, it feels like.)
Third, an individual movie is sort of... big, in a way that an episode of a tv show or an issue of a comic isn't. It's a large chunk of story, all at once, with a lot invested in it. If it sucks, it's harder to ignore it and harder to feel like maybe the next one will be good.
...Honestly, that first thing is why I'd rather watch tv shows/read comics that are already finished, when I can. Not just so I know that the end exists and that it will be actually possible to watch/read the whole thing, but so it's easier to maintain interest all the way there. Not that I don't get sucked into ongoing things anyway.