Author: Cody Hall

Where's my 3rd Tak and the Power of Juju game Activision?

Perhaps You Should Partake in Playing Paragon

MOBA. Shooter. Deck Building. Free to Play. Early Access. Not On Steam. If any of these words or phrases scared you away from this game, perhaps you should try it anyway. Yes that means installing the Epic Games launcher to in addition to Origin, Steam, Uplay, and Gog Galaxy. Hell you should do that anyway and start messing around in Unreal 4, its free you fools!

Anyway Paragon is a third person MOBA, much like Smite. Another third person take on the genre that will never die (which I’m personally okay with.) Unlike every other MOBA however, Paragon offers an important sense of verticality in it’s level design, and is much more focused on your aiming skills.

map

Yes there are still three lanes, jungles, and 5v5 multiplayer matches with leveling and gear, but again the game offers something pretty damn fresh in a few key places. Leveling is still fairly standard. Kill minions, heroes, and the like to earn xp that levels up your hero and your abilities. Gear on the other hand is maybe the most unique thing about Paragon.

Instead of having a store of Gear all players can access, each player brings a unique deck filled with up to 15 cards that represent gear. These cards are what would normally be items in any other Moba. But in order to purchase these cards you’ll not only need gold, but also points in a stat.

decks

The gold you collect during a match is what you spend to buy points in a stat for your character. Those stats are what you use to take cards from deck out on the field.

stats

When you “buy a card” during a match it is taken from your deck and added to your inventory, taking up the use of your stats. The catch is you can only equip up to three cards at a time in a match. However, when you unequip an item to replace it with something better, you are refunded every stat point that was used when you first equipped the item. The result is a strangely well thought out balance between strategically deciding which stats to purchase with gold, and also encouraging players to mix and match cards throughout a game.

That system does also however, bring up some pretty obvious concerns about power levels between players. Since you can buy these cards in random packs and build your own custom decks, this does have the potential to punish newer players for not having the more powerful cards found in a pack.

chest

That significant worry aside, and hopefully players more qualified than me can raise concerns should they arrive, Paragon has been an absolute blast for me these last couple of weeks. When I don’t have the time for a round of Dota, Paragon really does scratch that moba itch for me. While still feeling like a fun action game.If you are not into Mobas but really like Third Person shooters, I’ll be honest and say this still probably won't win you over. But if you’ve always been curious about Mobas and you’re more used to traditional third person action games, this may be a good stepping stone into that genre. If this article didn’t scare you off, I highly recommend giving it a try.

Why You Should Start Playing Dota 2

With the International 2017 currently on its final day, I find myself doing what I do every year around this time. I'mplaying Dota 2. I started playing in 2013 and it has slowly become one of my all time favorite games. And when one begins to realize they enjoy a game so much, they want to share that with the world. So here we are. Yet another bad Dota player writing about why he loves this game. 

Obviously if you’re already into Dota, this more than likely isn’t going to be a list for you. But if you have no interest in ever trying the game because you hate multiplayer, don’t like Mobas, or any other reason, maybe give this a read anyway and see why someone like me enjoys this incredibly complex game. Hhere are the reasons why you should start playing Dota 2:

It’s Free. Like actually Free.

freedota

Before I get into the history of Mobas and other complex gameplay mechanics, I need to sell you on how Dota is selling itself to you. Well unless you are a compulsive complesionist who needs to be able to own every single item within a game, you will never need to spend a single cent on, or in, Dota 2. Not only is the game free to download, but there is not a single hero behind a paywall. All 112 heroes in the game are free to anyone who installs Dota 2.

No Pay to Win Bull****

items

When I say actually free, I really do mean it. You cannot buy anything with real world money that will help you in the game. There's no experience boosts, gold boosters, Runes, or any other crap that many Mobas use to leech money out of their player base. The only items in the game you can buy with real money are skins and countless other aesthetic additions that you’ll acquire by playing the game. If they don’t interest you at all, sell what you earn on the Steam Market and save some money on your next game purchase.

eSports

No I don’t mean this reason to encourage you to drop out of school and start playing Dota 24/7. But if you enjoy watching eSport events, The International has been the biggest eSports event for many years now and continues to grow. "But Cody" You say,  "I don’t care about eSports at all, why shouldn’t I just skip the explanation of this point and just read the next bullet point?" Well reader, it's because the Olympics themselves are starting to care about eSports, and what game is at the top of the addition list? Of course it’s Dota 2. You don’t have to play a game to appreciate watching the best players in the world compete in it. I don’t play Starcraft, but watching professional players play is incredibly exciting and entertaining, and I find Dota 2’s eSports scene to be best of them all.

esports

prize

Icefrog

For those you who already play Dota 2, this pseudonym is already familiar to you. But like I said, this article isn’t for you. So for you newcomers, before I tell you about Icefrog, I need to give a brief history about the Moba genre.

Warcraft 3 (2002)

Warcraft 3 (2002)

Long before there was Dota, or League of Legends, or any other Moba, there was Warcraft 3. Developed by Blizzard in 2002 this RTS captured the minds of gamers and modders alike. One such mod for the game was a very detailed and complex 5v5 game mode where two teams chose different heroes to protect towers and bases.  These heroes would then level up and gain power over the course of an ~hour long match. If you guessed that the name of this mod was DOTA you would be correct. The author of said mod was Icefrog, and no we’ve never learned his real name. 

Obviously this mod became so popular it spawned many actual games trying to recreate what Icefrog had created from the tools within Warcraft 3. For the longest time the best attempt was HON (Heroes of Newerth), until League of Legends came along and invented the term Moba. Before they came up with the very generic genre name of Multiplayer Online Battle Arena, games such as League were simply referred to as Dota clones. League omitted many mechanics and rules from Dota such as Creep Blocking, Lane Pulling, Denying, Turn Speed, casting times, and jungle stacking just to name a few. This obviously lowered the barrier for entry to get more players interested initially, but also significantly lowered the skill floor.

So where does Icefrog fit into all this now and why is he a reason to be Playing Dota 2, a Valve game? Well after League’s rise to popularity, Blizzard knew less and less people would be buying Warcraft 3 to play Dota. So they asked Icefrog if he would remake his mod in their new Starcraft engine for free. He declined and instead took an offer from Valve to be brought on as a full time employee and be completely in charge as game director of Dota 2. So not only do you have the founder of the genre at the helm of the game, he is constantly pushing his development team to new limits by creating new Heroes every year and changing the map and game mechanics ever so slightly. This keeps players on their toes, as they learn and then adapt to heroes as tweaks are applied to them. Speaking of players constantly learning...

Dota 2 Beta (2011)

Dota 2 Beta (2011)

Dota 2 (2017)

Dota 2 (2017)

It’s a game you can never master.

dota2heroes

I will never be good at Dota. I’m already bad at video games as it is and Dota is by far the hardest video game I’ve ever played. There are so many mechanics and heroes to learn in Dota that even if I played 24/7 I wouldn’t be able to learn everything. Even if I could there’s no way I wouldn't make multiple mistakes in a game. And that's the best thing about Dota. In so many multiplayer games the instant you or one of your team mates does something stupid, everyone turns on them because mistakes are not allowed. In Dota, even the pro eSports players make numerous mistakes every game. (They just make fewer than me :P)

XLDfAhv

You are always going to be learning how you could have done something different or more efficiently. Heroes you would think fit into one role can do something completely different once you learn what all the items do, and you will always want to try more.

iteams_dota2

As a gamer, that’s one of my favorite things to do. I love stretching my mental and physical limits.  I love bettering my ability to play the game [very slowly] over time and growing as a person because of it.

 

So yeah, hope to see you in the river soon.

river

- Thanks to Greywolfe for editing :P

GAMECLUB PLAYS: REPLICA

You ever want to try and hack into somebodys phone for the governement? Well you're going to if you join our GameClub this week!

So, let’s talk about what you need to do if you’d like to join us while we play the game!

Get the game!

Steam

Play the game!

Game takes an hour to beat at the most, then join us live this Saturday!

Steep – A Past Due Review

Well this review comes in later than most, even if it is past due. My last Past Due Review was actually a year ago when I reviewed SUPERHOT. Then I decided to basically not play any games that came out in 2016 and instead opted to do nearly a years research of games from 2011 for the conceptual gaming awards I did for said games.  But now it’s 2017 and we got front loaded with a lot of great games to choose from, all of which aren’t short by any means. So what does this Ubisoft shade throwing gaming blogger decide to do as a first big purchase of a title? Well buy an extreme sports game that came out last year in December of course.

Makes about as much sense as the daily news cycle I know. But regardless, I had heard great things about the game from the Gamers With Jobs Podcast that I frequent. Their description of the game was unlike any impression the few trailers I had both seen, and made fun of, at a short glance. 

So when a free weekend offered me a chance to try it out, I did so. It was the third Ubisoft game I had played in a free weekend. Much like Rainbow Six Siege and Wildlands, my low expectations where more than exceeded. Unlike with Siege or Ghost Recon, both of which I have not purchased, I did not hesitate for a minute to purchase Steep after nearly two hours of time spent in its world. Why? Well that was a question I couldn’t answer myself, until I decided I needed to write about the game. Don't worry I'll tell you why, but first things first:

Video Transcript:

Steep is a game about exploring a mountain. Simple as that. The way in which you choose to explore the mountain is up to you. Whether that be alone, with friends, by ski, board, or sky. Being so focused on exploring, there is no need to be getting your adrenaline pumping the way the trailers and promo material would have you believe. Though that extreme stuff is there for those who want it, the mountain you travel upon doesn’t have a timer or a score you need to reach. It is just there for you to find new areas and paths for you to enjoy.

I'll discuss that more later. First, we need to give this game the proper Past Due Review treatment. Examine all of its facets and discuss the quality of the game's Modeling, Lighting, Level Design, and more. All in great detail. I'll start where I always do, with Animation quality.

Animations

As much shit as I love to give Ubisoft, their games have had a history of amazing Animations. It's never mattered what studio worked on the game. And Steep is no exception. Especially considering how all the character models have realistic proportions, its uncanny how natural the animations still feel. Many people would think that having a more stylized character to work with would make the job of the animator harder. In reality the more stylized a character, the more stylized their motions can be. So when those characters move in an exaggerated way we don’t question it. But we watch real people all the time, we know how they move and are more critical of their movements. Combine that challenge with having the strange ways our bodies behave while wearing constrictive boots or are mounted to a board, the animators had a really big hill to climb here to get these right. But every walk cycle, Idle Animation, Back flip, Front flip, and Fist pump show an incredibly competent understanding of motion. There aren't that many great key poses that stick out, but that is clearly intentional. The focus here is making those key poses blend more seamlessly with the overall movement. Being able to make these models move in such a way without tumbling down the uncanny valley truly is a remarkable achievement.

Speaking of those character models.

Character Modeling

The character models aren’t offensive in anyway, but they aren't particularly special either. They are however a great vehicle for the many customization options made available. All these clothes and accessories are where the texture artists really get to show off their chops. The gear is also modeled quite well despite many of the accessories clipping through clothes quite often. But as far as the actual character models go, there really only appears to be different body meshes; one male and one female. The only difference between the six riders you can play as are the head models. But again, the customization options made available here all look great on the trail and are a much bigger focus than the body or facial rig.

Lighting

I have a hard time determining what the best aspect of this game’s art assets are. The two I can never pick a winner between are Audio and Lighting. Usually lighting on a scale this large would tank performance or look cheapened by localized lighting being prioritized over distance shadows and the like. But here, the alps look nearly photo-realistic no matter what time of day you choose to ski under. The way light glistens off the snow ties in nicely with the way the powder looks when under shadow or the baking sun. 

Environmental Modeling

The development team may have picked a daunting task for their modelers as their first game. But seeing as how the Alps can be spotted from their offices, they ended up being the best team for the job. It turns out that when you visit the alps nearly every weekend to go skiing with your office buddies, you get a good idea on how to model a mountain or two. But don’t think they fell into the “realism over fun” trap. The developers themselves even stated how they did not prioritize having a map accurate representation of the topography of the Alps, and instead focused on designing a beautiful world that was fun to explore.

Particle Effects

Snow has never before looked this great in a game. The way it perfectly parts to every subtle touch and creates snowballs that pile up while you carve power, is superb. The biggest negative I can say about the game’s particle effects are that many of these effects, powder on the ground excluded, are a little commonplace. But I understand the need to sacrifice some effect quality in order to achieve better performance. If I have to trade better weather effects for the best damn snow I've ever traversed outside of a real world scenario, then I can’t complain.

Audio Effects/Score

Audiophiles, this game was made for you. I honestly feel like the audio engineers must have shoveled snow into a truck, drove it back to a giant audio recording studio, brought in some gear, and went to town. Every foot step is met with the pure sound of snow being slowly compressed under the weight. Boards and skis slide over powder as it escapes the pressure by flowing out of the higher side. Never have I heard such natural sounds captured so, well, naturally. And it doesn’t end at the gear or equipment’s rustling and impactful noises, the calls from the wild sound just as impressive. [wolf sound] You are only doing yourself a disservice if you don’t play this game a pair of high fidelity headphones. The sound of powder being broken up in my path may be one of the most trance inducing things I've heard in years. You can't help just feeling an overwhelming sense of peace and relaxation. 

A big part of that sense of peace comes from the game's score. Not its fun pop-song filled soundtrack, but its original score. Composed by the Zikali Collective, a music production group who dedicate themselves to making images speak, the Score of Steep is as great at being grand as it is at being understated. I'm seriously considering taking this music with me the next time I get to actually go skiing in real life.

There isn't a nice enough art asset in the world that could save a game if it didn't play well. So let's jump into the meat of what makes Steep, Steep.

Game Play Mechanics

I really wasn’t expecting any kind of depth from this game. In all honestly I mocked the first trailer when it appeared at last year's E3. I had just presumed it was Ubisoft making yet another horrible decision among a series of bad ones. But Steep does manage fairly well at managing five different modes of travel through its world. Because as I said, this is a game about exploration. So let’s talk about all the tools Steep gives you to do just that.

 

Before I do though, I feel a desperate need to take the time to say how god damn refreshing it is too play a game that lets you have access to all of these mechanics the instant you load the game for the first time. Unlike many other titles from the publisher, there is no experience or tutorial gate locking these options away from you. Just pick one and learn.

Snowboarding/Skiing:

Obviously the focus of the game was put into these two modes, and while their controls are very alike, there are some subtle differences. So first let's talk about the similarities. First off the game is much more like Skate than Amped or SSX. What I mean by that is there a bigger focus on control over the board or skis, and less focus on the character on top of the board. The left analog stick will control the front of the board, while the right stick controls the rear. So you need to be able move both in the correct direction relative to what you’re trying to do. Your right trigger primes your character to jump when held, and jumps when released. Obviously this brings the character into a state where tricks and flips can be attempted and the sticks and triggers change slightly to reflect this. The important thing to do though is make sure you manage both ends of that board at the start and end of a jump, or succumb to one of the most common activities you’ll encounter in Steep, falling. Don’t feel overwhelmed by those controls though, they truly are easy to learn and hard to master.

 

My first thoughts about this system were that clearly this would lead to horrible camera angles since you never get to control it while on the board. But surprisingly after nearly 20 hours of play I have never run into a single camera issue in any of the game's modes.

Wing-Suit:

For those of you who do want to get your adrenaline pumping, this is what where you’ll find the best methods for doing so. Not much complexity to the controls in this mode, just the use of the left stick to control direction and speed, with the right stick for quick dodging left or right. It’s where you choose to start gliding that makes this mode, and the level design stand out. The wing-suit is also great for traveling quickly from one point to another, and as long as you don't need to go uphill, it will work wonders for you. But of course it's more than tempting to find a rocky cliff or tree crowded area to traverse through. And it’s in those area’s you will find yourself trying hard to beat the game's challenges or just challenge yourself.

Paragliding

Speaking of going uphill, this is the mode that was made for that. In addition to being the most relaxing and easiest mode of travel, paragliding is the only one that can use winds from the mountain to gain height and reach places you may not be able to otherwise. It’s major downfall is that it is hard to be accurate about where you want to go or land. But nothing else really comes close to being able to float high above the gorgeous landscapes of the world below.

Walking/Running:

This fifth method of travel tends to have much less use than the previous four, and is certainly the slowest. But if you ever get stuck in a weird spot, or need to reach the top of a hill that’s too close for paragliding, walking does the trick. Hell, maybe you had enough extreme spots for the day, but you still want to hang out around the world. Well, taking a run across the top of Mount Blanc may just do the trick. It’s really more a convenience factor that this mode is even included for those rare moments where walking is needed. And again, it makes the animation quality of this mode all the more impressive since they are so rarely seen.

These modes can be accessed at anytime with the press of a button, no messy menus or convoluted control schemes. Which makes it easier to just explore the world, earn experience, and complete challenges. All of these systems present a fairly comprehensive place for you to explore the world in, unlock new aesthetic gear from challenges, and discover where your favorite mountain pass is.

Level Design/ World Design

Speaking of the Mountain, these developers really went all out on making sure the four main methods of travel are applicable to anywhere you could find yourself. The level design team also went to great lengths to ensure that fun paths won out over authentic embodimentism. The level design in Steep, while based off of the Alps the team lives by, is by no means an accurate recreation of the mountain region. Instead the developers made the right call by insuring this game had well crafted areas you can navigate in interesting ways. So many games these days, including many Ubisoft titles, forgo the game being designed well in favor of accurate depictions of the real world. But in my mind I would definitely prefer fun mechanics over a true representation of the Alps or Mount Denali.

Story

Yeah I bet you must be as surprised I was to learn this game had anything resembling a story, let alone something as existential and reflective as the narratives within Steep. Along with challenges and locations, you unlock Mountain Stories while playing Steep. This is where the comparisons to games like Journey or Abzu come into play. The mountain stories are usually specific stories or tales from the spirit of the mountain, often told from the perspective of a specific mountain summit.

These are told to you with excellent narration as you Ski, Board, Glide, or Even Walk along to a point or points of interest in the area. Sometimes you are to follow or accompany an apparition who either represents the mountain or someone who once rode the path long ago.

 All of these stories are both great stand alone 10 to 15 minute adventures, as well as unique pieces of history that help build out a greater familiarity with the terrain than you would find in any other sports game. The stories are so plentiful and so artfully done that they alone are honestly worth the price of admission.

Leveling and Upgrade Systems

Traveling around the world, unlocking new drop zones, and doing tricks to earn points all give you experience. Completing the various challenges around the mountain also earn you experience. When you level up you gain access to higher drop zones and more challenges. So even if you never want to do a single challenge you can still gain experience to reach new zones more easily. Doing certain types of activities, be them in challenges or not, also help build up your career profile. Based on how you play Steep, your profile will grow to represent what kind of player you are. There’s not any benefit to playing one style over another, but you at least get see what kind of play-style you gravitate too.

Map and Menu Layouts

Like a lot of games designed for controllers, the way you navigate the menu and map is abysmal without a mouse. I can not overstate the importance of having a mouse nearby to switch to if you get this on PC, and I feel so bad for you console guys. Thankfully the game seamlessly switches between a controller or a mouse just by using one or the other, even through a Steam Link so you can still play on the couch.

That huge detail aside though, the menus are generally well laid out. With only a few strange hiccups in the workflow from menu to menu. Unfortunately one of these hiccups is in the way you manage your cosmetic gear and riders who wear them. You would think that since your reward for getting silver and gold medals tends to be this equipment that it would be imperative to make sure accessing and equipping these rewards be fast and simple. Nope. Instead it's quite backwards for something that you’ll want to access quite often.

 

Working your way around the map also requires a mouse to not feel like you’re poking at holes in the dark. And even with a mouse it certainly isn’t the most intuitive system for looking at the world or fast traveling. You will get used to it fast enough, but just because you become familiar with the way something works doesn’t mean it couldn’t function better.  

Conclusion

Despite having a few major issues in the map and menu systems, Steep truly is a gem of a game that deserves to be remembered. As I said earlier, even if this game was nothing but Mountain Stories I would be giving this a glowing recommendation. Add in the incredibly thoughtful Level Design, varied game modes, and the countless challenges you end up with a game that really does have something for everybody. Or if you’re like me you’ll end up learning to love just about everything you can do in its own right. I had picked this up to find out what could be so abstract and thought provoking in a game about extreme sports, and ended up also loving the extreme sports. Some days I just want to find a sunny slope and cruise down it at my own speed, and other days I want to try to dive through as many cliffs as I can in a wing-suit. In a world where we hardly ever see skiing and snowboarding games nowadays, it’s refreshing to see one that really carves out a name for itself, while still delivering on what fans of this nearly ancient genre would enjoy. I bought this game after only trying it for 2 hours on a free weekend. And it was for one simple reason, the game is honest. Yeah it didn't have honest trailers, but the game itself never tricks you, it doesn't pretend to have a soul, it doesn't gaod you into playing the game with false rewards or carrot chasing mechanics. Steep is what it is, and it shows you that. Faults and shortcomings included. That kind of honesty has been missing from games for quite some time now.

Obviously this game needs more love than it’s getting. Ubisoft doesn’t take a lot of risks with their AAA titles, and Steep's low sales is the reason why. But it really is of no fault of the game or its developers. I like to reward good work and unique ideas, so of course I love Steep. Play it, try it if you can. I'll see you on the mountain.

Sony, FFS, DO THIS WITH VENOM

Okay, first I need to explain what Nonstiq articles on this gaming website are. Nonstiq posts are either rants, reviews, or anything outside the gaming industry that we want to talk about. So don’t think of me as a professional or expert on any of these subjects, I’m just a big fan of Spider-Man and other characters within that property and want to talk about this news. They generally aren't peer reviewed or Edited like the usual stuff. So if spelling or grammatical error tick you off you’ve been warned.

One other thing, since Nonstiq posts are more flexible and less serious than the already Not-serious stuff we do here on Twinstiq, I want to give you a bit of a lead in so while reading my thoughts you can better understand the state of mind I’m in, as well as what kind of Spidey fan I am. If you don’t care about any of that shit (oh yeah we swear in Nonstiq posts too) then feel free to scroll down to the GIANT YELLOW TEXT at the start of my rant. For the rest of you, read on.

So, a quick bit of history about myself and my relation to Spidey and Venom. Obviously as a kid I loved Spider-Man, but that doesn’t really make anyone unique, I know. Pretty common for someone’s favorite Superhero to be one of the big three after all. But I grew up in Rural Alaska, so my access to the character for the longest time was limited to re-runs of Spider-Man and His Amazing friends, along with a couple issues from my Godfather’s comic collection on the occasion I could visit him. When I was five years old he bought me my first, and only comic for a LONG time, Amazing Spider-Man #423. So my favorite villain became Electro seeing as that was the one I had in an actual comic book, at least for a while.

The Big Three

The Big Three

I can’t recall the first time I saw Venom, or how old I was by then, but I was taken by storm. I quickly rushed to learn about him, and how Peter himself had donned a black suit before he was even around. Of course being so young I would become attached to such a striking character design. But if you asked me now who my favorite Spidey villain is, he wouldn’t make the top 5. (It’s Mysterio by the way) Over time after reading so much Eddie Brock adventures and even Kasady as Carnage, I started to become bored with what I grew to recognize as a fairly one note villain. As i read more and more stories and learned about characters and how writing them works, I saw that the character really never got as much development as many other Marvel characters, let alone Spider-Man ones.

venom_classic

agent_venom

It wouldn’t really be until my college years that Rick Remender would revitalize Venom in a huge fucking way. He finally gave it depth. By having Flash Thompson take the mantle under the moniker Agent Venom, not only did Flash become an extremely well fleshed out character, but the symbiote did as well. And together they grew as characters are supposed to, with Flash fighting it’s corruption and it fighting Flash’s good heart, and by the end them eventually meeting somewhere in the middle. Not only was this well done, it was well received not just by me but many other readers. So it’s no surprise now that the Symbiote has attached itself to another shit-head character people don't like it... but that’s another topic for another day. 

TLDR: I like Agent Venom and think Eddie Venom is shallow and one-note (Because he is).

Now, one more thing before I talk about this Venom movie news. This segment is more about how my day has been so you can judge for yourself if you think maybe it’s because of any external reason I have the opinions I do. It has been a LONG day. My day job requires a lot of driving. And some days I need to start early to get somewhere on time, and some days I need to work later many miles from home. Today, both of those were the case. Granted I’ve had longer days, and harder ones. But after waking up at 5:30 AM, driving 350 miles according to Google maps, which was 6 hours of my 11 hour work day, getting home hoping to play chill out and play some more STEEP, I flick on some Youtube news while I grab some water and see that Sony is making a Venom movie. Suddenly I felt the need to start writing this overly long winded article about it on the internet. So take that as you will, but that’s where I’m at while writing this on the day of the announcement.

RANT STARTS HERE:

Sony, look. I know you’re never going to read this, but I’m projecting. Ya’ll dropped the ball with your last three Spider-Man movies. None of the villains were handled correctly in any of them. All for very different reasons that would take much longer to explain than this. I know you’re really hoping that fucking emoji movie will give you a billion dollar franchise of your own, since you really have nothing in the film department right now. And yeah, you got Homecoming around the corner, but we both know you’re super pissed about having to suck off Marvel in order to get those asses in seats. So I’m betting you’re hoping to god you can milk the one other character in the Spidey-verse that is guaranteed to do that. Look at me Sony. You have a couple ways this becomes a big fucking success story for you.  For simplicity’s sake let’s break it down into the the two possibilities of the obvious question first;

Will this film be a part of the MCU, or will it be it’s own stand-alone movie?

First Option - Llike Idiots We Made it a Part of the MCU

Okay, not the best route here in my opinion. I know those easy no-point cameos from the other characters make people go crazy even when they happen in bad movies. Yeah maybe it’ll make you more money initially because you can have RDJ or someone say “Symbiote” But we’ll talk more about that later, here’s what could happen under this inferior option:

rdj_venom

1. This first movie is a stand alone one and done.

I know you don’t want this obviously. And I could entertain the idea of putting Peter in the suit first to stay true to the source and then throw Brock in there and he’ll be evil and angry and mindless normies will cheer. Or you make a film about Eddie as the protagonist and show him struggling to control his hatred while Spider-Man thwarts his every attempt to destroy him... Yawn. I can see that being the more likely scenario here though, as I doubt you want to remind people of that middle finger Rami gave you in the middle of that third movie.

2. This is the first Venom themed movie within the MCU and it solely focuses on Peter dealing with becoming an Ass-Hole while wearing it. With the next movie being Brock.

This is also a stupid idea. I’m pretty sure the audience is a little tired of the trope of the hero FIGHTING THEMSELVES. Plus as I mentioned you probably don’t need to remind people of this.

sm3

Spider-Man 2
X-Men
Logan

Spider-Man 2 X-Men Logan

Second Option - We Won't Ever Do This in Real Life Because We're Sony.
We Make Movies Like These, BUT VENOM IS A STANDALONE MOVIE

Yeah I know dream on. Sony is never going to turn down the amount of seats a Paul Rudd cameo would bring in from a trailer cameo. But it’s my rant so I will dream on.

1. This movie is an R rated one and done.

Yup. You really want to make a boring Eddie Brock movie about the terrifying and violent Venom. I’m sure if you did by some miracle decide not to utilize your partnership with Disney you would be doing this film just to be chasing after that R-Rated Fox money is making. No. Stop right there you dumbshits. Those movies are great and made a fuck-ton of money because they told character focused small isolated stories, and happened to deserve an R rating given their content. The rating didn’t dictate the story. It doesn’t have to here either. But if you really want to make a movie about Eddie, or even Flash (I would literally drop to my knees for you Lynton) then let talented writers, not these guys, make you a good script about those characters.  

Maybe even make it about both Eddie and Flash, be weird with it. Do something creative. Do the Godfather 2 thing of telling two parallel stories from two time periods. One where Eddie starts as a frustrated bodybuilder who just lost his job (Don’t worry you can make a Jean De-Wolff movie later.) Flash has just joined the military after becoming compelled to do good after Spidey saved his life. (You know showing the two opposites of how they interpreted Spider-Man’s influence on their lives. With one becoming inspired to do good and one to do evil.) Maybe even pace the film a bit slowly so that Brock doesn’t even get the suit until around the second Act, the same time that Flash loses his legs. Showing the tragedy of the evil doer getting easy access to power while the one who did something good with his life thinks he was punished for it, ya know. But by the end Eddie losses his a huge fight against Spider-Man, and the Government takes the venom suit. And maybe that could pair nicely with the film ending with Flash being recruited to a special project that could get him his legs back, and end the film with him stepping into the frame with new black legs as Agent venom. Then you kind of have one character’s arc of becoming a good man and despite some hardship was able to overcome it. While the other who focused on frustration and rage ends up behind bars for projecting his own issues and shortcomings on others. Ya know, like a story. 

kid_venom

Hell it really doesn’t even have to be R rated. Plus an R rating kind of contradicts the monetizable nature of the character since it’s an easy sell to children. I just want a cool story with some kind of focus on character. But you won’t do that. The second option here is more likely if you don’t go MCU.

2. Multiple movies of (insert any character here) as Venom beating up other bad guys in violent ways with lots of action sequences and a big TOWER spectacle at the end.

And it’s through here that you’ll desperately try to create your own Giant franchise money making machine. It won’t matter what the films are rated or what the stories are. As long as they follow the traditional Super-hero structure and feature characters people recognize. Hell I wouldn’t be surprised if this first move you do has Kasady as the villain Venom has to beat. Because that whole (Mirrored Characters thing) won’t be tiresome at all. Hell that’s what has a lot of people divided on a certain character in Logan. (BTW I liked that, and yeah I’m a hypocrite.) But if you do make Carnage the villain, you might as well pay homage to Carnage USA. 

CUSA

I really think you can make a great movie Sony. I really do, and I really want to see it. I want to see something done with this concept that i haven’t seen before. And yeah, you might think my rip-off of Godfather 2 there is a risky idea. But So was Deadpool, so was Logan. You have two great examples there that prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that audiences are tired of seeing the same thing over and over again. That they are willing to take risks to see something different if it’s done right. That when you let these talented writers, producers, directors, and even fans of the character [Ryan and Hugh] do their job and show their passion for their work, they will give you something great. You hire them for a reason, let them do their Job. Don’t make this movie if you just need it made. Make this movie because someone with an idea and passion came to you to make it. Because when you tell a director to use a character they don't like, you end up with this: [SM3]

 
What else do you have to loose Sony? Don’t spend more than 100mill. It’ll make that back on name alone. Just let someone talented use their fucking talent, and let the story be whatever it needs to be. You got this. Now stop making Sir Patrick Stewart voice a piece of poop.

 

UPDATE: Aparently this won't be in the MCU, there's hope after all.

GAME CLUB PLAYS: Spec Ops – the Line

Well get ready to stab your soul with a thousand knives made of Blood and Sand. The next GameClub game we will be discussing is Spec Ops - The Line. A strangely light shooter with one of the heaviest stories a game has ever carried in this industry. 

So, let’s talk about what you need to do if you’d like to join us while we play the game!

Get the game!

Steam

Play the game!

Play through the whole game, it's short and we'll be taking two weeks on this one due to my being out of town. 

 

Yoda’s #4iF Results

I am bad at video games. Plain and simple. So bad in fact, i can't get further than 15 minutes into Undertale without dying no matter what I do. I really want to like that game. But I've tried four times now to get into it, only to be so bad I couldn't get anywhere. So in a repeat of last year's results, I beat three games, then couldn't get through Undertale. 

But just like the Academy Awards this year, there is a twist! I took a look through my game library to find the shortest game on there, and saw Q.U.B.E. a first person puzzle platformer. And what do you know, it was easy enough for me to beat! Making this an official Four in February success story! So'm going to give a quick run down of the four games I beat and my thoughts on them, enjoy. :)

QUBE_Poster1

The Yawg

Our housekeeper here at Twinstiq, Dr. S, actually gifted me this first title. And I owe you a big thanks good sir ;) because I love this game. There are so many possible outcomes and heartbreaking stories to discover here. The sheer number of ways you can change the world your characters reside in is impressive to say the least, and I can't recommend this enough. 

Aragami 

What a gorgeous game. And if you're not hardcore about your stealth games like me, I'm sure you'll find a lot to enjoy here. I never found much challenge throughout this game due to it being designed around a teleport mechanic. But the story alone is worth playing, as long as you don't mind reading. 

Abzu

If i had to pick one game from my 4iF to suggest people go play, it's Abzu. Austin Wintory once again proves that he is John Williams of video game scores. Even if you could care less about that aspect, you are nearly guaranteed to find something in here to love. This is a game that everyone needs to play. 

Q.U.B.E.

My White Knight of February 2017. Emerging from the depths of my growing back catalog of games was a fun and thought provoking little indy title that did not get as much attention as it deserves. This puzzle platformer really did find every use for a simple concept that it could without overstaying its welcome. I'm sure many have compared this to Portal unfavorably but I actually found its narrative to be a bit more compelling then Valve's similar game. Definitely a game worthy of much more lengthy discussion, perhaps on a future GameClub down the line. 

 

Anyway, that's what I got done this past month! Thanks for reading guys! 

Good night, and good game.