Friday, November 29, 2013

Looking to Asgard for more help: Second look at Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.

Since Agents of SHIELD tied into Thor: The Dark World last week it felt like the perfect time to go back and have a look how the small screen part of Marvel's Cinematic Universe is going on. However, since the Thor tie-in was not so much a Thor tie-in but a passing mention to London and then onto Asgardian stuff totally unrelated to The Dark World, plus I was in the depths of Doctor Who last week, I put it off for one more episode.

Now I clearly liked the pilot, but after that things went a little south. Then we got F.Z.Z.T. which was just amazing. Fitz contracting an alien disease was easily the best episode S.H.I.E.L.D. had ever produced, and no matter how long it runs for will always be up there. It was just good tele. It hadn't popped up out of nowhere either , as the two previous episodes had shown a bit of an improvement. But what about what followed?

Monday, November 25, 2013

Doctor Who turns 50: The Day of the Doctor

Well that was just Fantastic!

I'll admit that as we watched the Battle of Gallifrey become just another – admittedly epic looking – sci-fi battle I started to worry. That isn't what Doctor Who is. Then John Hurt was in a desert, talking to Bad Wolf Rose, being given the choice to destroy his people and the Daleks or not, and the only way to make that decision was to meet his future selves. Finally we were on the right track.

The Man Who Regrets and The Man Who Forgets. A brilliant way of describing Tennant and Smith's Doctors. But it didn't stop there. Hurt's old man Doctor just kept picking apart the differences between Old and New Whos. Calling them companions due to their age, wondering why they wave their screwdrivers at everything. The banter between the three was fantastic, especially between Smith and Tennant which immediately brought to mind the same repartee that Pertwee and Troughton had, which is the perfect Doctor relationship to model it after. Both Doctors were on the top of their game.

Friday, November 22, 2013

Doctor Who turns 50 part 11: Asylum of the Daleks and Name of the Doctor

This post was nearly Impossible Astronaut, Day of the Moon and Wedding of River Song, but last night I also watched Asylum of the Daleks and Name of the Doctor, and I can gush a lot more of those two then I can the others, so I switch, even though the other is practically written. I'll probably release it in a few weeks when I'm struggling for content.

It also unfortunately means that I don't get to gush about Arthur Darvill as Rory, who is just plain fantastic in them, and Mark Sheppard, who in his quest to appear in everything makes his Doctor Who debut, and I hope we got to see more of Canton some day.

But Asylum of the Daleks and Name of the Doctor. I thought I was being a bit harsh on Eccleston and Tennant's outings. I remember thoroughly enjoying then. I've never been one for rewatching stuff that often, I need a good few years between instances, and I just put it down to that. Then I watched Asylum of the Daleks. Holy Crap this is good Who. It's only been a year since it came out, and I still got thrills with it.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Doctor Who turns 50 part 10: Utopia, Sound of Drums and Last of the Time Lords

Tennant is my Doctor. Though I watched all of Eccleston's run he wasn't around long enough. Tennant was. It was his run that got me hooked. Plus it always amuses me that TENnant was the TENTH Doctor. Ahh wordplay.

The act of the Master going to the one point in time Time Lords never go to and using a chameleon arch is fantastic, and Martha pointing it out but realising she should tell the Doctor is also really well done. I think with a lot of the older companions they'd just go “WAHEY! NEW TIMELORD! OPEN IT!” and all hell would break loose. Here it's still the companions fault, but Martha was clever enough to run off to tell the Doctor and not give the game away, unfortunately the damage is already done. It stops that moment of screaming at Ace or Jo to stop being idiotic. Some nice writing.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Doctor Who turns 50 part 9: Rose

And Long Game, Bad Wolf and The Parting of Ways

Ahhh New Who. This is when I started watching properly. I'm still sad that Eccleston only did one season, and having now watched these I'm even more so. He hits the Doctor perfectly, going from flippant fun to dead serious that you see in most of those I rate highly.

I expected more of a shift from Old to New, but personally I think that Who was slowly sliding towards it anyway. Comparing Curse of Fenric to The Daleks is more of a gap then to the Relaunch. Of course, The TV Movie is a big part of that shift as well.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Strategy Informer: SpeedRunners preview

YAY I say positive things about a game. After Forced, Dream Chamber and Master Reboot, I've had a real bad run of not great games. I wasn't even expecting SpeedRunners to be that much. But after getting with a bunch of BeefJack writers for a session (they might be doing a video with it soon) I was blown away with how much fun we had. It really reminded me of those good old days of crowding around a computer for Worms or MicroMachines. They're incredibly quick races, and damn fun too. Seriously, Go!

Wait. Read the full preview, then go.

SpeedRunners Preview

Friday, November 15, 2013

Doctor Who turns 50 part 8: The TV Movie

First a confession. This was the first Doctor Who I saw in its entirety. I'd caught a couple of Pertwee's, but never a full serial. This was my attempt to see what Doctor Who was all about. I liked it, but not any great amount. Certainly nothing to go out of my way to seek more. To put it into context, it was this exact same attitude I approached New Who. So that shows how much effect this had on me. As a result I've never felt the vitriol for Eighth Doctor's adventure, in fact I almost feel defensive of it.

Now I've watched it again... it could have been a decent enough outing, but the directing is so heavy handed it kills everything. I actually was able to enjoy it right up to the point they left the atomic clock and went back to the Tardis. Then the finale came in, and during what should be a tense battle of wills between the Doctor and the Master, I was immensely bored. The constant cutting between the fight, the New Years party and the Science Institute just wrenched you out of the scene, rather than creating any tension, which was clearly the point.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Doctor Who turns 50 part 7: The Curse of Fenric

The guy who organised this little trip through Who history has, from day one, made it abundantly clear the Curse of Fenric is, by far and away, his favourite Who story ever! In fact, tt is only referred to as Curse of Mother Fucking Fenric.

To me, this felt like a Bad Wolf - which is suppose is an amusing pun. The pay off after a lot of build up that was a little lost on me. The finale comes down to a big battle of the words between Fenric and the Doctor was full of references I was just nodding along to. But it was still pretty awesome.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Strategy Informer: Master Reboot

This really was a difficult review to write. Simply because it's one of those games you want to like, but in the end Master Reboot has more misses then hits. It's just that you can see the enthusiasm and love that went into making it.

Master Reboot review

Monday, November 11, 2013

Doctor Who turns 50 part 6.5: The Two Doctors

Urgh, more Sixth Doctor. Oh well. At least Troughton's in it too. Jamie's back too.

We'll ignore the obvious continuity errors such as Jamie making references to the Time Lords despite he didn't know about them right up until he was about to get his mind wiped, and the Second Doctor working for the Time Lords even through he's meant to be on the run.

Anyway, what really struck me about this multi-doctor story is how it was a lot less epic scale then previous team-ups. Which is really in it's favour. To do the quick version, Two is captured in a timeline that shouldn't exist and Six goes looking to see what's gone wrong.

Friday, November 08, 2013

Doctor Who turns 50 part 6: Mark of the Rani

Remember when I said I was worried about the early Doctors? Apparently that was a premonition of reaching Colin Baker's Sixth Doctor. This guy's a total prick. The Doctor might usually be the smartest guy in the room, but he doesn't tend to shout about it. There's also his attitude towards his companion. I thought the Third Doctor was bad with Jo, but the Sixth takes every single opportunity to put Peri down and scream at her for being an idiot.

Having said that, Peri might just be the most annoying companion I've ever seen, and some of the Doctor screaming is vaguely understandable, she's a fairly useless bint. First hint of danger and she wants to be off running. What sort of Doctor's companion is that?  It seemed that half her lines were "Can't we just go back to the TARDIS?" Except it had been dumped down a mine on the Master's orders. Let's ignore people are trying to kill us while we mount that particular rescue mission, because someone like the Master won't take that opportunity to swoop in.

Thursday, November 07, 2013

Strategy Informer: Dream Chamber

The very first thing I wrote in my notes as I started Dream Chamber was "Holy Shit! Genius Premise!" If only the game had kept that up. I actually say pretty much everything I have to in the review. So go read that.

Dream Chamber review

Wednesday, November 06, 2013

Thor: The Dark World review

Thor was probably my least favourite of the Avenger build up films. Not that it was a bad film or anything, but Iron Man was just awesome, and the pulp atmosphere of Captain America was perfect. Maybe it beat Iron Man 2, but not by much. However, one thing that really struck with me was that Chris Hemsworth was ideal for the role.

He still is. Perhaps even more so here. It was only a few months ago I watched Hemsworth in F1 biopic Rush, and looking at him here I can't see anyone but the Norse God of Thunder. However, far more than it's predecessor, this takes the inhabitants of Asgard further away from Godhood and further into kick-ass aliens territory.

Monday, November 04, 2013

Doctor Who turns 50 part 5.5: The Five Doctors

The second multi-Doctor serial to celebrate the franchises 20th Anniversary. Obviously it stars all previous incarnations of the Doctor and some of their companions. However, that's a bit of a lie. Tom Baker is at the start and is quickly brushed out the way, and William Hartnell is replaced by another actor, sadly due to the former's death.

Once again, the anniversary concentrates on the Time Lords, this time revealing Rassilon as the man who made the Time Lords who they are today. I like that these anniversary episodes always choose to deal with the big things. However, once again they feel like a totally different version to what we saw in War Games and The Three Doctors. This truncated watching is makes things very odd. That said, between this and War Games there lies the version we've seen in modern day, so clearly there's a point where their portrayal had a solid base for reinterpretation.

Saturday, November 02, 2013

Doctor Who turns 50 part 5: Earthshock

Wow, this Doctor feels far more familiar than any of the previous. *cough*tennant*cough* Still Earthshock I enjoyed.

It's also super 80s sci-fi. The uniforms of the military in the first two parts are kitsch-tastic, and the whole underground section worked brilliantly. I have to admit, to start with, with the faint glimpses of the helmeted folks and talk of dinosaurs I figured this for a Silurian serial, so the first episode cliffhanger really caught me by surprise.

Friday, November 01, 2013

Strategy Informer: Forced

Apart from a particularly uninspired title (you're forced into combat - urgh) there's a lot Forced does right. It reminded me a lot of the Marvel X-Men Legends/Ultimate Alliance games, but I figured that was a bit too specific a reference for the review.

Seriously though, only play with other people. Single player it kept my attention for maybe half an hour and I only kept going back because of the review. Tried it in co-op for due diligence and two hours passed, and I only stopped because the deadline was looming.

Forced review