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Indiscrimi Blog

Why Evolve Will Fail

I'd like to start by saying that I take no pleasure in making this prediction. I like the work that Turtle Rock Studios does: I loved Left 4 Dead, and it seems that they're applying a lot of the gameplay principles that they perfected there to Evolve. But anyone who seriously played the competitive multiplayer in Left 4 Dead can immediately tell you why the competitive multiplayer in Evolve won't work.

Now I'd like to point out the problem with a question: Is anyone who reads this seriously looking forward to playing as a Hunter, or do you just want to play as a Monster? Of course, everyone just wants to play as a Monster - breathing fire, hurling rocks, devouring people and generally wreaking havoc looks like a blast. Everyone wants to play as a Monster! ...And no one really wants to play as a Hunter.

It was the same problem in Left 4 Dead: No one wants to play as just another jerk with a gun; they want to play as the cool, weird, scary things. When I ended up on the Survivors' side in L4D Versus, I frequently found that all of my teammates simply left the match because they didn't want to be the Survivors. When I ended up on the Infected side, the match frequently closed due to the entire enemy team leaving.

And that was when there was a 50% chance per match that you could play what you wanted to play. In Evolve, there is only ONE Monster per match, meaning that there is only a 20% chance that you can play what you want to play. Unless you have four reliable friends to play with, I predict that the Hunters will almost always be short a few people, which will throw off the power balance of the game and result in the Monster always winning. It just won't be fun, even for the Monster player.

There will be a few dedicated teams of players going on for a long time, but within two months of release, Evolve will basically be dead to the average player. I'd make a joke about "evolutionary dead-ends" or "the survival of the fittest", but I get the feeling that there will be a lot of other smug pr*cks saying the same stuff, and I don't want you to confuse me with them. I see what's coming, and I am genuinely saddened by it. ...Although, not so saddened that I won't gloat a bit when my prediction comes true.

Random Thought #6

The American military was not desegregated until 1948. So why does Captain America, who was frozen in ice since the mid-forties, have no problem with taking orders from Nick Fury? Steve Rogers should absolutely be a racist.

Why Canada Post Should Deal Drugs

I was out at a pub last night with a friend. Lately, the potential legalization of marijuana and the potential elimination of home mail delivery are subjects that we like to discuss, and last night, I suggested - as a joke - that Canada Post should sell and distribute marijuana, legally, across Canada.

You see, Canada Post is a "Crown Corporation", which means, essentially, that it is a branch of the government that is expected to be self-sustaining (ie no regular injections of tax dollars). For the past few years, Canada Post has been losing money, due the the incompetence and avarice of those who run it. The best way to fix this problem would be to purge the administration of the useless, greedy bastards and put some decent people in charge. However, this is a government organization; asking that they be governed responsibly is like asking a lion to go vegan. So instead of doing the smart thing, Canada Post is contemplating the elimination of home mail delivery. Instead, there would be a drop location every couple of blocks, where everyone in the neighbourhood could go to collect their mail.

No. Just, no. Granted, the proposed alternative would seem reasonable, if it weren't for the benefit of a bunch of *ssholes who just don't want to do their jobs properly. It would make Canada the first developed country in the world to eliminate home mail delivery, which is simply absurd.

So, if firing morons is out of the question and eliminating services is unacceptable, that means that Canada Post needs additional revenue, and there's only so far you can hike up the price of stamps before driving away all of your customers. It seems to me that the only option is to diversify.

Before I really get into this, I should clarify that I don't approve of recreational drug use (although I do approve of alcohol - call me a hypocrite if you must). I also don't approve of the way that Canada Post is run, but clearly the world doesn't need my approval. My point is that if Canada Post must have additional revenue, and if marijuana must be legalized, then this would be the best way of going about both. Yes, I first suggested it as a joke, but the more I think about it, the more I realize that it just makes sense for Canada Post to sell drugs.

Point #1: Regulation. They're a government agency; they know exactly where you live. 'Nuff said.

Point #2: Distribution. They already have the trucks and warehouses to move marijuana from the pot plantations of British Columbia to the heart of every major city and rural town in Canada. They have offices in every shopping complex. The post offices even have finely-tuned scales for weighing packages - they could easily be used for weighing out and selling marijuana.

Point #3: Public Safety. If pot-heads can have marijuana delivered to their door, that means that they're less likely to try driving while under the influence. It means that they don't have to go to shady places and deal with shady people. It just makes the whole thing a lot safer for both the user and the general public.

I could keep going, but I'm too depressed by the fact that I live in a world in which what I'm saying actually makes sense. F*ck you, Canada Post. You're killing my faith in humanity.

Women in Call of Duty Multiplayer

Back on the 14th of November, 2012, I wrote the following in my Black Ops 2 review:

"...I would like to take this opportunity to make [a] point that I feel needs to be made: Where are the women? I see enemies in front of me; they're all dudes. I see my allies around me; they're all dudes. I appreciate that the people who make these games don't want to show women being violently murdered, but there's a point where covering your ass becomes disrespectful to the women in uniform who do the exact same job as the men of the armed forces.

Have you noticed that all the helicopter and jet pilots in these games are women? This is a trend that goes back as far as Halo 1, if not further. It's because developers want to have female characters, but they don't want to put them on the ground, in harm's way. I call bullsh*t. This is something the industry needs to fix immediately."

And now, nearly a year later, we have this:

I don't believe for a second that someone at Infinity Ward read my post, but it seems that at least one of them was on the same wavelength as I was. You may now be in awe of my prescience.

Why Pacific Rim Sucks

It feels kinda mean-spirited to write this - I've never gotten enjoyment out of shooting fish in a barrel - but I've already written my previous post and I cannot resist to temptation to bookend my thoughts, so here it goes.

So, my friend (the one from the previous post) and I finally went to see Pacific Rim last week, and we sat around mocking it well into the night. I intend to relate a few of our better barbs to you here. But before I can start shooting, I ought to familiarise you with the target somewhat.

In the near future, a rift opens at the bottom of the Pacific ocean and monsters start coming through. At first, there is only one every few months; then it's every few weeks. During the course of the movie, they start coming through two at a time every few days, and so on. In response to the attacks of these monsters (named Kaiju) the governments, industries and militaries of the whole world club together and start building giant robots (called Jaegers) that can go toe to toe with the monsters and beat them down.

But at some point, the decision is made that continuing to build and deploy Jaegers is too costly and work commences on a wall. A wall to stop giant monsters. A wall to stop giant monsters that encircles the entire Pacific ocean. A wall to stop giant monsters that encircles the entire Pacific ocean and that collapses at the very first instance that a giant monster attacks it.

Meanwhile, a veteran Jaeger pilot, Generic Expendable Black Man #1, is put in charge of that which remains of the Jaeger programme, which consists in its entirety of: the Expendable Chinese Triplets, the Expendable Russian Couple Who Are Connected To Arms Dealers, the Totally-Gonna-Die-Heroically-In-The-End Australian Dick, the Hero, and Nerdy Asian Sidekick Girl. In Generic Expendable Black Man #1's capacity as commander of humanity's token rearguard action, he decides to mount a last ditch assault on the rift, and his plans are not even slightly re-evaluated when he loses half of his force in one battle.

Where do I begin with this? Well, I think I've pretty well covered my reasons for hating the characters; no point in lingering there. So how about that f*cking wall? How exactly is building a wall more cost effective than building robots? And even if it is more cost effective, why build it around the entire Pacific ocean? Why not just the rift? Or better yet, build a dome over the rift. Make the dome five kilometres thick; let the Kaiju squish themselves in there and rot.

In the movie, it becomes very clear that the Jaeger programme's standard operating procedure is to deploy one Jaeger to deal with each individual Kaiju. Maybe this is a result of having to protect so much coastline with limited resources. Still, the solution seems obvious to a gamer such as myself, and I shall make the solution obvious to you using the universal gamer language:

You're playing a competitive online game. It doesn't matter whether it's Call of Duty, League of Legends or Starcraft. You are part of a three person team, and you have to protect three objectives: San Francisco, Ho Chi Minh City, and Sydney. The enemy team has only ONE member, and they always spawn in the same place at a predictable time. Every time they spawn, they get tougher (higher level, more perks, whatever) and you can no longer guarantee that a member of your team will always win in a one on one fight. Also, if you lose, you are permanently banned from playing online games, because humanity with be wiped out.

That's right. The finest military minds that the human race has to offer cannot figure out the concept of "spawn camping". My friend put it best when he said, "this is called a chokepoint. Give me 300 Spartans and 150 robots. Problem solved." I mean, the rift is only 50 metres wide. 50 metres! You don't even need robots to deal with the Kaiju, just launch a missile at it when another one is due!

The whole premise is made more ridiculous when it is discovered that the Kaiju are in fact alien invaders trying to take over the earth. What the hell kind of battle plan is "send one guy and wait eight months before sending the next"!? It is discovered that the Kaiju want earth because we've made it just toxic enough for it to be comfortable for them. Well, if they have a liking for livable-yet-toxic planets, wouldn't that mean that they would have to face a technologically advanced race every single time that they try to move in somewhere new? And even once the humans successfully close the rift, what's to stop the Kaiju from just opening a new one and trying again? WHY THE HELL DO THE POLITICIANS THINK THAT BUILDING A GIANT WALL WILL HELP? WHY DID GENERIC EXPENDABLE BLACK MAN #1 AND TOTALLY-GONNA-DIE-HEROICALLY-IN-THE-END AUSTRALIAN DICK BLOW THEMSELVES UP WHEN JAEGERS ARE EQUIPPED WITH ESCAPE PODS!? WHY WOULD THEY USE A SHIP AS A CLUB WHEN THE ROBOT HAS BUILT-IN RETRACTABLE SWORDS!? WHY WOULD THEY DEPLETE BOTH OF THEIR PLASMA GUNS ON ONE KAIJU WHEN THEY STILL HAVE TO FIGHT A SECOND ONE!? WHY THE F*CK DO JAEGERS NEED TWO PILOTS!? WHY IS GENERIC EXPENDABLE BLACK MAN #1 DYING OF RADIATION SICKNESS FROM PILOTING A JAEGER, BUT NOT HIS CO-PILOT!? WHY IS THERE AN ENORMOUS SCREEN IN THE CONTROL ROOM THAT CONTINUOUSLY SCROLLS THE NUMBERS ZERO TO NINE ON A LOOP!? RARARAGLGUAERAAAALLLL!!!

I'm sorry, but this movie needs to be put down. It has a fatal case of stupid. This is what happens when there are too many writers and not enough story-telling talent: Lots of unique ideas with absolutely no cohesion or sense.

Oh, by the way, I totally effing called it.

Why Pacific Rim Will Suck

I don't feel like I should have to explain why a cross between Transformers and Godzilla will be a terrible movie, but apparently I do.

Hear me out! I'm not just trolling here; I have some valid points. I know that Guillermo del Toro directed the movie and I am more than familiar with Mr del Toro's work, but, well, Pacific Rim hardly seems like his kind of thing.

The catalyst for this post was an argument that I had with a friend (a friend who enjoyed the latest zombie movie, 'Brad Pitt Sh*ts On Nerd Culture, Starring Brad Pitt,' so his tastes are somewhat suspect) that primarily revolved around how competently - we believe - good ol' Guillermo could handle a movie like Pacific Rim.

"He's done action, he's done monsters, and he's done both well," went my friend's argument. He went on to point out that writing Pacific Rim off as a crossover of two movies that were made by completely different people (we're looking at you, Bay and Emmerich) is ridiculous. Fair points.

I responded, in a roundabout way, that although he has handled action and monsters well in the past, Pacific Rim is an entirely different beast - one which cannot possibly mesh with his film-making style.

Let's take, for example, del Toro's quintessential monster flick (and arguably his best work), Pan's Labyrinth. The most important thing to keep in mind about this movie is that, in spite of the fact that I just introduced it as his "quintessential monster flick," the movie is not actually about monsters - not supernatural ones, anyway. Nor is Pan's Labyrinth about the violence and brutality of the Spanish civil war, though that certainly rears its ugly head. It's about an unhappy girl trying to escape her reality, pure and simple. Alice in Wonderland, the Wizard of Oz, Cinderella, the Little is a trope that is as commonplace as it is timeless.

Pan's Labyrinth tells an intensely intimate and personal story: The monsters are nothing but a prop; the violence is only there to give context, not thrills. What part of this is supposed to translate to Pacific Rim?

Yes, yes, I'm aware that Hellboy is also a thing that he did. I suppose the skills implemented there would work better for a big, smash everything in sight movie. But that's just it: It's a big, smash everything in sight movie. Movies like that aren't known for quality, and the fact that Guillermo del Toro would take something like that on gives me the uneasy feeling that there's something else going on. Either he's done something terribly subversive with the script, or he was just brought on for his name-power - in either case, the results should be less than impressive.

Strangely, my friend and I did agree on one point: The fact that Pacific Rim had three scriptwriters working on it is a bad sign. Anything beyond two and the quality of a script typically takes a nose-dive. Too many cooks, as the saying goes.

Anyway, as is my custom I have no proper ending for this post. I just needed to put it up before the movie actually comes out so that I have proof of the fact that I told you so. If the movie turns out to be good, hey, the world will be better off for it. I can live with that.

Random Thought #3

As someone who has traveled extensively, I can assure you that nowhere in the world is there a people as disrespectful of their native language as English speakers.