BloudyHell / Member

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BloudyHell Blog

I enjoyed Darksiders more than Assassin's Creed II !!!

Some ppl are gonna crap on me for saying that, but yeah, I was hooked on Darksiders for many consecutive days during the hours between after-work and sleep.I know in many ways these are very different games, but what I'm trying to say is that while I loved AC2, I enjoyed Darksiders even more so.

I just beat it, and I loved it. I was a big comic book collector back in the late 80's thru early 90's, so I was just floored by the 3D environments and the lush colors. Even the way the puddles would splash as War run through them- WOW! I'm just impressed by Vigil Games' first effort, and I really hope they make a sequel.

Now I loved Assassin's Creed II. I think they improved it on many levels compared to AC1, but killing the "bosses" in AC2 was still very MEH, just stab them and escape. I wish the devs would incorporate more stealth elements that an assassin would use. Also, the combat in the AC series was overly simple once you mastered the parry. In AC2, you make so much money so quickly that midway thru you have already bought every upgrade and item possible, and the money just keeps piling up. What really hooked me was the story. I'm still intrigued by it, and I'm wondering where the series will take me next.

Okay, now while the story in Darksiders is not as epic, I found this world more fun to explore. Even the dungeons in Darksiders were more amusing than the platforming puzzles in AC2. The boss battles were bigger (yeah it's easy once to figure out how to beat them) but that was more of a thrill than just running up to your target, stabbing him, and then escape by simply outrunning your pursuers.

Darksiders borrows plenty from some epic games that preceded it, and it borrows heavily. From Zelda: Ocarina of Time to God of War to Portal to Legacy of Kain and even darkSector, it doesn't mean it lacks originality. I was a huge fan of many of those aforementioned titles, and it's just a blast to play a game that melds these elements together. Sometimes great ideas come from combining many good ideas, and Darksiders does them all pretty well. And while it's not as polished as Assassin's Creed 2 (I'm sure their budgets were quite different), it was overall, a more fun experience for me.

Some reviews I've read knocked the game for coping elements from other games, and I was frankly confused by this statement. I mean, doesn't Assassin's Creed borrow heavily from Prince of Persia's platforming? Doesn't Bayonetta play very similar to Devil May Cry? Doesn't Team Fortress 2 borrow the class system from Return to Wolfenstein? Uncharted 2 uses a similar cover mechanic as Gears of War, etc, etc, and the list goes on. And these games are good even though they borrows some good ideas. It's unfair to knock Darksiders for doing the same.

I'm really rooting for this game to sell well, because it has the potential to become a great series in the future. All of this is just my personal opinion as a long-time gamer, so don't feel insulted if Assassin's Creed 2 is your favorite game of all time. I think AC2 is great, too, but I just had more fun playing as War in the apocalypse.

The Bargain Bin Rules!

I'm not one of those people that have to catch the newest movies on opening weekends. To me, the experience doesn't change. I feel that more people in that same theater means not only do I have to wait on line to buy a ticket, I have to wait on another frickin' line to go into the theater (Yes it's like this in NYC). So, you have to show up at the theater early just to be on the front of the theater line, which will guarantee you a better seat. So why not wait a few weekends until the buzz dies a bit?

The same with games, I don't feel the experience changes just because you play it a year later. Usually, the price becomes lower, and patches have been released to make the experience better. Everything has become so damn expensive now, I don't mind waiting 1/2 a year or more for a significant price drop. Ah, the bargain bin. How I love the discounted gems you offer. I smile today because I have acquired Jade Empire (XB) and Bully (PS2) for a cool $15 total. How many wonderfully entertained hours will this $15 bring? I can't wait...

No Country For Old Men - Best Picture? Ehh.

Sometimes, it just makes you wonder how different things look in our average everyman eyes versus those of the critic. And by critic, I mean those who make a living judging things based on their own standards of quality. One has to wonder though, if it often comes to a point for critics, where the very thing they used to enjoy becomes somewhat of a chore - that something they used to do for the pure enjoyment is now their J-O-B. Like Anton Ego from Ratatouille, who relishes in dishing the criticism more than praise. I know he's just an animated character, but he is a perfect example of why I often distrust the critics' scores, and look at the readers' score for a more "accurate" rating. Bottom line: Was the experience engaging? Was I moved? Did I enjoy the movie? Let me try to relate my average guy experience with No Country for Old Men for you.

A quick synopsis without spoilers. The movie is about a man named Llewelyn, out hunting elk, happens upon a scene of a drug deal gone bad, where all the players are dead, except one Mexican, who's dying but begging for water. Llewelyn doesn't help the guy, discovers a suitcase full of money, and decides to take it and hide it for himself. Later that night, his conscience won't let him sleep, so he decides to bring water back to help the dying man. He ends up crossing paths with Mexicans who have come to reclaim the money and drugs, and now he's got to run and hide. Meanwhile, a psycho killer Anton Chigurh, representing the cash-for-drugs side of the deal is also out to reclaim the money, and he's sniffed out Llewelyn's scent. The aging local sheriff Ed Tom starts to put the pieces together, and he realizes that he needs to get to Llewelyn first to save him.

The Coen Brothers do a good job with the direction. The choking dry, desperation of a border town in Texas is depicted quite well. The mood and tension from scene to scene are all well-balanced. Tommy Lee Jones fits the Ed Tom sheriff gait, and Javier Bardem (won Best Actor Supporting Role for this movie) is particularly interesting, given that he has a very distinct and unlikeable face. That aside, let me get into the grit of why I thought this movie was just "Ehh".

For most people, I assume the reason they watch a movie is for its entertainment value. But just as a pretty picture can be conceived as plain, No Country for Old Men is a well-filmed bore-fest. The only interesting moments were the ones where Chigurh is about to kill someone. The dialog that precedes these moments are also the only good lines in the movie. The way No Country is paced, you'd begin to anticipate some sort of finale that will somehow tie it all together, and light that bulb above your head. But it doesn't. It all crescendos to nothing. While the acting was good, it did nothing to invoke any sort of empathy with any of the characters, good or bad. The end of the movie brought no flicker of excitement or tears or any other emotion whatsoever, except a "That's it?" So what's the point of the story? There's elements about human instinct, greed, death, and luck, like if finding a suitcase loaded with money is worth it if you have to survive first before you can enjoy it. There's the bits about chance and coin-tosses. And so on. But what does this matter to us average viewers if we don't enjoy the movie?

I would relate this kind of film to a Jackson Pollack painting. Take that as a compliment if you like, but the way I see Jackson Pollack being hailed as art is like this: Critics feel the need to be different than the general public because they need to be "above" us. Therefore, they can "appreciate" the things average folks can't "understand". To me, No Country for Old Men is many beautiful individual colors of paint tossed randomly upon a dark and dirty canvas. There are still elements of those colors in there that make certain moments quite good, but in the end, there is no masterpiece. Quite a letdown, especially with all the praise it gets.

Score: 3/5