Saturday, October 26, 2013

The Family United

The Family is a dark comedy mob film by Luc Besson. The celebrated French writer/director, known for both his action movies and his more comedic work is in top form here. I have to say off the bat that I usually can’t stand mob movies. They’re predictable, and yet watching The Family with Robert De Niro, Michelle Pfeiffer, and Tommy Lee Jones is an experience not to be missed. The Blake family is a family living in a small town in the French countryside, secretly in the Witness Protection program. Giovanni Manzoni is a retired mobster (who isn’t quite retired) hiding from his former colleagues who want him dead for testifying against their Don. Each family member played by DeNiro, Pfeiffer, Dianna Argon and John D’Leo is excellent. The family is tight-nit by nature, viewing everyone around them suspiciously and yet for all their shenanigans and criminal malfeasance, there is a heartfelt quality to the Blake’s that belies their violent natures. At one point or another each family member clearly is wrestling with the lives they lead, De Niro spends a moment in reflection while writing his memoirs clearly shaken by the question of whether or not his past has harmed his children as clearly as his abusive father harmed him. Quickly his daughter comforts him and tells him he was a good father. Since this is a Luc Besson film, you can be assured of a barrage of bullets and explosions, but the movie is much more a quietly good take on the mob film. Forget the cannoli; The Family is a classic mob film for the 21st century.

I Hate Mass Effect 3

There I said it. Mass Effect 3 was the best game I had ever played. The story was epic; the characters were fleshed out and realized. I saved the universe and Shepard was remembered for who she was; the best thing to ever happen to that damn galaxy. And I hated that game with a passion

Like drinking orange juice after brushing my teeth, no other game could compare. It ruined every other game I played. Even Bioware’s own Old Republic fell short; like a wine too young. No other story was good enough. No other combat was clean enough, fun enough and yet tightly controlled and perfectly paced enough. It was like the perfect storm; that moment in time when everything comes together in a once in a decade event. I remember back when I first played Halo. Picture this; the big screen and surround sound and a good friend who knew the ropes, guiding me against the Covenant. The screams as a perfectly placed plasma grenade clings to a grunt as he runs screaming toward an elite; with a story that was old, and yet new. We gamers don’t get many of those memories, but Mass Effect 3 was one of mine.

I suppose I should be grateful, but I’m not. Mass Effect 3 stole my favorite hobby and left me with nothing but feelings of warmth and good cheer. And I will never be the same. I hate you Mass Effect 3… but I love you more.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Eorzea Journeys VII

Titan is defeated! Yes, this week in Eorzea was a memorable one. I took Ataitai into the Titan Primal fight as a Paladin and my Dungeon-Finder group took it down. While I won’t say he went down easily, it was fairly clear that most of the party was doing the Titan fight for the first time. As a Tank, I can’t say it’s a particularly hard fight; rather it takes a lot of concentration. Most of Titan’s moves will pretty much One-hit you to death, either by pushing you off a cliff or by trapping you. I would not want to take on this fight as a healer. Because of a variety of issues, not the least of which is lag, the amount of damage a party takes can vary wildly. Often times in fights such as these the healer only really has to focus on the Tank and can leave the other parties members to their own devices, if they die it’s mostly their fault. But the Titan fight is as much a healer check as it is a defensive and dodge check.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Video Games & The Almighty Dollar has a fantastic Op-Ed piece about the business side of gaming. Frankly I think it's akin to slamming their head against a brick wall, but kudos to Massively for trying.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Eorzea Journeys VI

It was a short week in Eorzea. I’ve been sick on and off the past few weeks and its finally catching up to me. Needless to say, unfortunately I didn’t get to the Titan Primal fight. Rather Ataitai finally took a job to level 50, the Paladin! I love Tanks, there’s nothing like going toe to toe with a five-story monster and being all that stands between your party and certain destruction. It took some time but I managed to run with a FATE party in Northern Thanalan. Shout out to Mei Sui, a Japanese player on Masamune I seem to run into quite often when I do FATE parties.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Eorzea Journeys V

It was a good week in Eorzea. First of all I managed to take my Paladin into the 40’s. Slogging through the main story, I went to and conquered Brayflox's Longstop, which should be nicknamed ‘The Light’ (Kudos if you get the Toy Story reference). I don’t understand why so many dungeons are so dark and dank. How come you don’t get any dungeons in the clouds or on rainbows? Brayflox was a welcome change to the previous dungeons. Not only was it fairly easy to get through, it was more importantly fun. I went through dungeon finder, to get my group but as a tank that was rather easily. My healer was top-notch and my DPS was mostly spot on. Why DPS characters insist on grabbing mobs accidentally on purpose I have yet to understand but I ignore it mostly. I like the main story but so often it seems as if the writers have nothing better to do than add filler. When it gets to the nitty gritty its good but if I have to another ridiculously long chain of fetch quests I’m going to blow my lid. Less is more people, less is more.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

The Red Cross and Video Games

The Red Cross asked an interesting question, should video games pay attention to the Geneva Convention? This is what they said:

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Eorzea Journeys IV

I managed to pick up my Paladin soul in Eorzea this week. The second Job class after the Monk, the Paladin has been a lot of fun so far. Picking up the Paladin was more in response to the trials and tribulations of PUG’s. I had been steadily running through the main story content but Hakkue Manor, is the first dungeon where a good tank is mandatory. And while I am not yet a good tank in FFXIV terms, I’m experienced at tanking and I know enough to correct my mistakes. Tanking is all about the workhorse mentality. It’s not trying to run the fastest, its showing up day in and day out. Oftentimes a party will wipe through no fault of your tank. There’s no point in putting one or two great efforts if the party wipes anyways. But a good tank is reliable and stalwart. Or at least that’s my take on tanking.