Dishonored 2 (Review)

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Dishonored 2 is developed by Arkane Studios and published by Bethesda Games, it is a follow up to the 2012 game Dishonored by the same studio and it came out on PC, PS4 and XBOX One on November 11th, 2017 to a lot of praise and critical success.

The story takes place fifteen years after the first game, Emily is now the empress she is a grown woman with her father Corvo beside her ruling over the empire from her throne in Dunwall, but happiness can’t last forever and her aunt shows up and takes her off the throne and thus begins a quest to win back the throne, discover her aunt’s secrets and assassinate her allies, good times. right off the bat the story is a lot stronger than the first game because now both protagonists can talk and engage with the cast and characters which adds a lot of depth to them, this time around you are all given more choices you can go with either Corvo or Emily and you can also accept or reject the Outsider’s powers which makes your experience very different, to make up for the lack of powers you are given some tools to fight your way through the levels.

The heart and soul of the game is definitely the level design and my god they did an amazing job here, I highly suggest if you are planning to play the game to spend some time just to explore the levels it is so well designed and so creative it surprise you, every objective can be tackled in so many different ways, you can avoid killing anyone in the game or kill everyone in the game the choice is yours, the game also has multiple endings so you are encouraged to play it multiple times to get the best out of it.

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The combat in dishonored is a first person action game, your right hand is a sword which can both be used to silently kill someone from the back or chop him to pieces, your left hand however is either a ranged weapon, trap, spell or grenade. you can use whichever weapon suits your need and help you with the situation you are about to encounter, you can also buy ammo and upgrades from black markets and find benchmarks and ruins to upgrade your powers and become an OP god.

perhaps my main issue with Dishonored 2 is the same I had with the first game which is there isn’t enough of it, I wish these games gave me the whole city of Karnaca to explore and not just some missions it is a shame that Arkane crafted this amazing world and mythology and I only got to spend 10-12 hours in it, this game deserves to be more open and bigger and I really want it to be that.

Verdict : Dishonored 2 takes the first game’s great design and game play to the next level by adding a fantastic new playable character and a good story to uncover, new enemies to fight in whichever way you want to. (9.5/10.0)

Horizon : Zero Dawn (Review)

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Horizon Zero Dawn is developed by Guerrilla Games published by Sony Interactive Entertainment for the Playstation 4, it was developed using Guerrilla’s in house engine Decima and was released on February 28th, 2017.

The game is an open world action RPG set nearly a thousand year in the future, the humans of this world live in tribes and learned to hunt the animal like machines that roam the earth. you play as Aloy an outcast girl who is training with her mentor Rost in the wilderness, you learn to hunt and gather and survive in preparation for a trail that is called “The Proving” an attack happens during the trail and you are send out by the leaders of the tribe to investigate and find the attackers. during the course of 35 hour journey you learn some rather interesting things about the world and Civilization ceased to exist and where did those machines came from and it was a very interesting and satisfying tale that I really enjoyed however I do have some issues about the politics of the game, it is clear that Horizon is a game with a feminist message which is reflected rather greatly in its lead character Aloy but sometimes it stops being welcoming and comes off very pretentious to a point Aloy becomes a Mary Sue character that gave me very little to care about her troubled childhood and uncertain origins, it is too bad that they didn’t find a subtle way to deliver their message and instead did it in a very obvious in your face way. the game was critiqued for its early missions which involves politics and the way the world functions I personally liked it because it is an interesting world that I enjoyed quite a bit and made me care for the world and the way things are in comparison to a game like Final Fantasy XV which was another open world RPG but the world felt bland and empty and lifeless it is really not the case with Horizon.

Technically the game is landmark, now let me take you back a few steps think of every game that really advanced the technical capability of video games like Mario 64, Doom, Metal Gear Solid 2 and Witcher 3, Horizon Zero Dawn is a new landmark for gaming it is currently the most beautiful show case of graphical and artistic vision in any game I have ever seen, the lighting effects are beyond gorgeous and weather effects are awe inspiring I have nothing to say more than praise for a game this big and this deep it is really amazing how much detail Guerrilla put into its world and for that they really did a remarkable job.

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The gameplay is a mix of stealth and arrow shooting and it is satisfying to shoot pieces off a giant machine and break down to scrap, the Melee combat is lacking it has the slow down of Batman Arkham game’s combat with no combos which is too bad I wish they did a better job with that because the melee combat is pretty powerful and useful especially against human enemies which come up pretty often. some aspects of the game is very obviously copied from other games like Skyrim’s navigation from the 3D map to the compass and some of the icons they are carbon copies, also the game has Mass Effect’s conversation wheel and sometimes allows you to make a choice with very little effect on the story outcome, I think only once I was given the choice to kill someone or to spare them but it wasn’t a big deal and personally I was fine with those inspirations because they were done very well and they are good properties to copy from.

Verdict : Horizon is a great game with a lot to offer, it is a magnificent looking game with a fantastic fantasy setting, I didn’t enjoy the very direct feminist plot but the story of the world and the way the future of the franchise is going is something to look forward to. (9.0/10.0)

The 89th Acadedmey Awards Predictions

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The Oscars or as some calls it the La La Land awards will be held this Sunday, the following are my predictions of the movies that will win big at the Academy Awards this year :

  • Male Actor in Leading role (Called it) :
    Who will win : Casey Affleck
    Who I think should win : Casey Affleck
    Casey really stole every award this year for his role on Manchester by the Sea, it was a realistic and powerful performance and I really hope he gets the recognition he deserves.
  • Female Actress in Leading Role (Called it):
    Who Will Win : Emma Stone
    Who I think should win : Emma Stone
    Emma really took her acting chops to another level with La La Land and I doubt she will walk home empty handed
  • Male Actor in Supporting role
    Who will win (Called it): Mahershala Ali
    Who I think should win : Mahershala Ali
    Moonlight is one of my favorite movies of the year and the first act of the film is highlighted by Mahershala Ali’s masterful performance, really amazing.
  • Female Actress in Supporting role
    Who will win (Called it): Viola Davis
    Who I think should win : Naomie Harris
    I haven’t seen Fences but I heard how good Viola is in that movie and I think she will take the statue home, personally I think Naomie Harris was absolutely fantastic in Moonlight.
  • Best Original Screenplay
    Who will win (Went to Manchester by The Sea) : Damian Chazelle for La La Land
    Who I think should win : Damian Chazelle for La La Land
    La La Land’s screenplay is great for few reasons, it is funny, deep, moving and emotionally packed while being an engaging story about love and chasing dreams, it doesn’t get any better than that.
  • Best Adapted Screenplay
    Who will win (Called it) : Barry Jenkins for Moonlight
    Who I think should win : Barry Jenkins for Moonlight
    Moonlight takes a simple coming of age story to another level by its amazing performance and story and it owes both of them to the amazing screenplay.
  • Best Director :
    Who will win (Called it) : Damian Chazelle for La La Land
    Who I think should win : Denis Villeneuve for Arrival
    While Damian is getting a lot of attention for his amazing musical for me Denis made one of the best movies of the year too bad Sci-Fi films don’t usually get so much love from the Academy
  • Best Picture
    Which movie will win (Called it) : Moonlight
    Which movie I think should win : Moonlight
    Moonlight deals with a very tough subject and it does it so well, it is a perfectly crafted movie that doesn’t entertain you but shows you a reality that people go through and I think that is rare.

I will update this post as soon as the Winners are announced.

Edit: So I was only off by 1 Prediction.

Five game franchises I want on the Nintendo Switch

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Nintendo Switch is only few weeks away which only means my bags are in the overhead and I am on board the hype plane, yes it is a plane now. “Game Journalists” around the internet are making lists about the games they want on Switch in the near future so I thought maybe I should do the same, the following are five franchises that are not announced to come out on Nintendo Switch as of now but would love to have them show up, Keep in mind while games like Smash Bros. hasn’t been announced yet it is very obvious that it will at some point that is why I didn’t include those in the list :

  • Advance Wars
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    Advance Wars was a huge title on the Gameboy Advance back in the 2000s and it also had two great sequels on the DS but the games has been absent for almost 10 years and most of that goes back to Fire Emblem’s new found success on the 3DS hence why it has 3 titles coming this year only, while I love Fire Emblem I think it is a universal truth that we want a new Advance Wars and I really wish it came out sometime next year.
  • Metroid
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    when Nintendo announced Federation Force I said this is bad both ways, if it is a successful title Nintendo will push the new formula for a decade which means bye bye Samus and if it was a failure then Nintendo will put off the series even further which means bye bye Samus, I really hope they prove me wrong and bring back the series to its roots and I think it could work really well now days, if games like Shovel Knight can find success I am sure a 2DS Metroid will too, Please Nintendo.
  • Final Fantasy Tactics Advance
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    Tactics Advance and its superior sequel on DS were amazing games, now I also like the PS1 game even though I only put in 30 hours and didn’t finish it but I think I liked the simpler on surface yet super deep tactics and progression systems, I really enjoyed those games and I do think the climate is very suitable for another Tactics game in the Final Fantasy universe and the Switch is perfect for it!
  • Megaman ZX
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    Megaman ZX and its sequel ZX Advent came out DS and I personally think they are the evolution of Megaman Zero games in a really good way, the games has a Metroidvania or Zelda-like structure which allows you to explore the map by acquiring keys or skills which will help explore more and beat new bosses and get more powers, what shines here is the classic Megaman gameplay and universe in a post apocalyptic setting with lots of depth, I have been begging for more ZX and it is time for Capcom to hear my cries, or a Battle Network reboot.
  • Monster Hunter
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    I can’t stop playing Monster Hunter, I love this series and it is obvious that Capcom is trying to make it appeal to a wider audience in the west the problem is this game does well in Japan on handheld but handheld is not doing so well in the west so it is really a tricky situation and that is why the Switch is really perfect to solve this issue, I believe that Monster Hunter and Pokemon are crucial to Switch’s success and the sooner they appear on the console the better for everyone, but mostly for me.

Ofcourse I would love to see Overwatch and Persona 5 on the console but I know that wont happen so I kept the list a bit realistic.

Nocturnal Animals (Review)

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Nocturnal Animals is written and directed by Tom Ford staring Amy Adams and Jake Gyllenhaal, it is an adaptation of a 1993 novel named Tony and Susan by Austin Wright, the film is Tom Ford’s 2nd directorial effort after 2010’s A Single Man.

The film has three separate stories taking place at once and all connect to each other like a jigsaw puzzle at the end, the first story takes place in the present day with our lead character Susan played by Amy Adams who is an art dealer in the high society and she is married to a business man played by Armie Hammer who is always traveling to New York to take care of his business, one day she receives a novel written by her ex-husband Edward that he called Nocturnal Animals and he dedicated it to her, as she begin to read the novel it makes her think about her life and and reflect on how unhappy she is, the 2nd story is the past which is the story of how Susan and Edward fell in love and got married and later on got divorced, now the third one which is the bulk of the film is the dramatization of the novel and in it Jake Gyllenhaal plays the husband Tony Hastings and he is traveling on the American highway with his family and something tragic happens to them, and I will not talk about that part.

For me it is rare to watch a movie twice in a row, but after I watch Nocturnal Animals I felt like I was haunted by this film and I needed to watch it again which I did. I got a sense that Tom Ford was all over this film his attention to detail and his artistic vision and finger print was literally everywhere which complimented Seamus McGarvey’s masterful cinematography and Abel Korzeniowski’s amazing score. it is really well made every frame of the film speaks for its self and the contras of color and the crisp images really do standout as one of the best 2016 movies.

I don’t understand how Jake Gyllenhaal is not nominated for an Oscar for his role he really did a masterful job especially as Tony, Michael Shannon was also very brilliant and he is nominated for an Oscar, Amy Adams is 2016’s biggest snub because she didn’t get the recognition that she deserved for either of her movies and she was really good here,Aaron Taylor-Johnson was completely unrecognizable in this film he did an impressive job by becoming his character he was really captivating.

Verdict : Nocturnal Animals is an impressive movie from every aspect, it is extremely well made, well written and masterfully acted. despite its critical acclaim I feel like it deserved more recognition and I really hope Tom Ford keeps making more films like this in the near future. (10.0/10.0)

Justice League Dark (Review)

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Justice League Dark is directed by Jay Oliva staring Matt Ryan, Jason O’Mara, Camilla Luddington and Nicholas Turturro, it is a 2017 DC Original animation movie produced by WarnerBros. Animation studios.

The story takes place in the DC universe as people keep getting crazy and going on murdering sprees and claiming they were killing demons and monsters. the story is very conventional in the DC Universe style, there is a villain and our heroes are going to stop him but what set the previous DC animations was the heroes and villains that I cared about but most of the cast here are unremarkable and they do too little to make me care about them especially Constantine, the villain is also very unremarkable I cared very little about him or his motives little they were.

but those weren’t the only problems I had with the film, the faces look like they are made in flash and not the new versions of it, they don’t look like a product of 2017. the voice actings are nice and well done but it just doesn’t make any sense why the animations are that bad, some of the action sequences are also good it is just the faces that are near abysmal.

Verdict :  Justice League Dark does very little for me to care about it, the face animations are terrible, the story is flat and the villain is very weak it is nice to see Batman hanging out with a different group but that basically is. (3.0/10.0)

Manchester by the Sea (Review)

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Manchester by the Sea is written and directed by Kenneth Lonergan staring Casey Affleck, Michelle Williams, Lucas Hedges  and Kyle Chandler. the film released on November 2016 and currently nominated for six academy awards.

The film follows Lee Chandler who is played by Casey Affleck, an isolated man who lives in Boston and works as a janitor who get news of his brother Joe’s death and finds out that he named him his son’s legal guardian who is played by Lucas Hedges. bit by bit we get to know why Lee is living such an isolated life and what darkness is he running from and when we do finally get the whole picture it is one of the most tragic and upsetting characters I have seen on a screen in 2016.

The film’s most celebrated performance is Casey Affleck who shines as a broken beyond repair man, his performance is so surreal and raw every facial cue is leading to something else masterfully performed, I always knew Casey had a tremendous talent I am very glad he is getting the recognition for it, the rest of the cast are doing a remarkable job even though they don’t get much of screen time, especially Michelle Williams who had two very powerful scenes and of course Lucas Hedges was very believable as the teenager who lose his dad and trying to cope with it.

If I could get a chance to explain what most of the film’s scenes are it would be a bunch of people screaming at each other, but the thing is those scenes all make sense once you understand why every character is doing they are doing, the motives and the character backgrounds are all very masterful and tragic and they work marvelously well.

Perhaps not the best highlight of the film but I really did enjoy the scenery of the film as someone who loves cold winters and grey weather, the color palate of the film are very low tone and reflects the mood of the film.

Verdict : Kenneth Lonergan comes back after almost a decade to direct a masterful film that is tragic and upsetting which complements by Casey Affleck’s jarring performance. (9.0/10.0)