And then, the Dark Elf said, “Meet my twin blades, Twinkledeath and Barnestorming #30”
On the Table
Cracked LCD review of Legend of Drizzt. Blah blah blah. Just remember what Loter said about Ravenloft, the same holds true here. It’s more of the same, which isn’t necessarily bad but I do think WotC seriously needs to move away from the “complete game” model and do some more significant _expansion_ work to give this system some legs. I love it as it is, and I think you are in fact an idiot if you can’t just enjoy a simple, no frills dungeoncrawl focused on fun and monster-bashing with a D&D theme, there’s no help for you/.
I’m debating that Runewars expansion. I dunno, I like the game, but will it help us play it more? Remains to be seen. Plus, with Eclipse on the way, that particular design space is pretty occupied.
Dungeon Run is holding up pretty well. It’s simple, about on par with Ravenloft/Ashardalon/Drizzt, but it has its own thing going on. It’s really closer to Dungeonquest, and it has a neat co-op/competitive thing that with the right group can be magical. It’s a cute game. I don’t think it’s a Great one, and I’m worried about its viability with so many other games like it available. But that said, I’d pick it over several of them. And it’s Plaid Hat, who should be showered with our money.
On the Consoles
My Modern Warfare 3 review is up. Barney will be happy to see that it tied with archrival Battlefield 3, I gave them both an A-. I didn’t quite expect this to happen, but I’m sort of more hooked on MW3 than BF3. I love the two new modes, Kill Confirmed and Team Defender. I just wish that they had done more divergent stuff like that rather than covering much of the same ground. The biggest surprise in the game is that the ending very directly references Suspiria. Fucked up.
I’m covering the Halo Anniversary thing, which is turning out to be a real drag. Seriously, I do not want to play that game again. I’ve also got Ultimate Marvel Vs. Capcom 3 on the deck too, and it’s great of course. I’m rocking a team of Iron Fist, Strider, and Doctor Strange right now. Two speedy guys and a magic one. Phoenix Wright is pretty great too, you collect evidence and then trigger “trial mode”. It’s hilarious when he finds an incriminating knife against Rocket Raccoon or somebody equally weird.
That dumbass Reiner Knizia has a new game out on IOS, it’s called Tigris and Euphrates. What kind of shit is that? I bet you just stare at a cube the whole time and then say “I’ll go two”. The man has never designed a good game, who even knows who this joker is? Oh wait…the game is one of the best ever, and the IOS version is excellent. The interface is very small on the phone, but I’m managing OK. The AI is really good, pretty tough to beat. Very polished, good looking, and definitely more meaty than many other IOS board games.
I picked up this game called Ravenmark: Scourge of Estellion on a whim. I’ve just tinkered around with it, but it looks really good. It’s a turn based strategy game that definitely has some roots in tabletop miniatures gaming. It’s not quite like a Japanese SRPG despite the look, but there are definitely some Advance Wars/Fire Emblem influences. One thing that’s neat is that you can group units into formation, wheel ‘em around, and flank the enemy. It’s looking really good, and very deep.
On the Screen
After hearing time and time again that Insidious was “actually pretty good”, I finally watched it.
No one bothered to tell me that it was about Darth Maul hassling a kid in a coma.
It started out really quite good- lots of dread, some good domestic horror, and a nice low-key style. Some good spooky stuff. A good concept.
And then, when the medium shows up and does the séance or whatever in the gas mask, it just completely goes to shit. Then you’ve got mom telling the dad that there’s all of these spooky pictures of him when he was a kid that she thought something was wrong with the camera…AND THERE’S A FUCKING GHOST LADY IN THE PICTURE. How do you mistake that for “something wrong with the camera”? Fucking awful writing.
Then there’s the whole 11th hour, bullshit reveal (I won’t spoil it), and then that whole business where Darth Maul is sharpening his claws on a grindstone while listening to Tiny Tim. Un-fucking-believable. I was actually howling with laughter, the whole thing had turned into such a farce. The scary stuff in the last half was literally hysterically funny in its ineptness. It’s almost like two different writer/director teams made the picture. It’s too bad, it builds up a good head of steam before it blows its top.
I’m still on the Misfits, specifically American Psycho. I’ve come to think that record is really great. If the Danzig Misfits had been around in 1996, that’s not too far from a record they could make. It has the right sound, the right lyrics (with some kind of weird, nonsensical stuff that sounds tough and evil at the same time), the right kind of hooks, and it just feels right even when it’s much more metallic or pop-punk than they would have done in ’82. There are some really great, memorable Misfits songs on there. “This Island Earth”, “From Hell They Came”, “Day of the Dead”. This stuff is great, and it’s Misfits. There’s really not a bad song on it, and the record as a whole doesn’t deserve the ire of the “no Danzig, no Misfits” crowd. Like I said last week, they wisely hooked up with a singer who could actually sing, and I think Graves’ ability to write songs _like_ Danzig might have really paid off. And I don’t think at all that Graves is copying Danzig, although the comparison is unavoidable. Famous Monsters isn’t as good as American Psycho, but by that point you could really tell how he was integrated into the band- and felt right for them at that time.