DLC in cardboard form.
On the Table
Well, it’s time to review the Imperial Assault day-one DLC, I mean, booster packs. I mean, micro-expansions. No, that’s not it. “Ally and Villain Packs”, that’s it. It’s over at the Review Corner this week.
I think they’re a crap way to sell this game. The extra missions are non-essential (or even useless if you are between campaigns) and the skirmish maps/objectives…you could probably come up with better on your own. The figures are purely cosmetic, replacing cardboard discs in the base game. But since this is a 3D game, of course you want Han and Chewbacca figures. FFG isn’t dumb. And when you buy these, you are effectively completing your purchase of the base set. Which is almost despicable, except that nobody is forcing you to buy these.
The almost-saving grace is that the new cards for skirmish increase the viability of that mode. I think after the next expansion (and its set of DLC, I mean, villain an ally packs such as the sold-separately Boba Fett figure that you’re going to want even though Boba Fett is front-and-center on the box) it might be actually pretty good. Right now, it’s just really lacking a wide enough range of options and the scenario design is really pretty crap. I’ve enjoyed just playing deathmatches probably more than having some guy stand by a terminal for X turns or flip a switch, whatever.
Anyway, Imperial Assault is the most I’ve ever played a game I really don’t care for. Thanks to my friends, who foolishly want to play it over Super Fantasy. I do sincerely hope it gets more compelling with the next releases.
But then again, Super Fantasy is looking like it’s on the way out now that Temple of Elemental Evil is here and I adore it. It is not an evolution of the system so much as it is a refinement. The differences add up though, and it is the best designed, best considered game out of the bunch. The town adventures are sort of a disappointment though, but with that said, they tried to mix it up and expand it without getting into more rules and a bunch of different content and to that extent it works. But don’t buy it just for the town scenarios thinking that it will be a radically different game. I actually haven’ t even mixed ToEE in with the other D&DAS stuff yet, I may actually keep it separated. I think the next set is something to do with demons.
Fallen review next week. Very good stuff.
Oh, and I have the only copy of the Shadows of Malice expansion in the world right now.
On the Consoles
Mostly just making my way through Aria of Sorrow…thought I was going to get back into Bloodborne, but I still need some time away.
Just looked at Thunder Blade on the 3DS, the new Sega remaster. This line has been a total gold mine of great titles, and this is the best version of Thunder Blade released outside of an arcade to date. But damn, it's hard. The controls definitely take some getting used to. Not because it controls badly, but because it sort of-ish controls kind of like I would imagine a helicopter would. So it's very different than After Burner or Space Harrier. The 3D effect is great, as usual the option to be able to have the screen move around so you can see the cabinet is really fun. I'd still rank Outrun and After Burner II as the best, but this is definitely a great addition to the set. Can't wait for Gunstar Heroes.
On the Comics Rack
Our very own Josh Look summoned me in the forums to look at the Marvel Star Wars comics, and I have heeded the call. The good news is that they are very good across the board. The bad news is that there’s not any collections yet so it’s all issues. And waiting. Ech.
The main book is lots of fun, Jason Aaron has a good handle on writing a big SW story and hitting the right notes. Perhaps too many right notes and possibly a little grandstanding- like having Vader take on a AT-AT single-handedly. Not that it isn’t cool, but it’s a touch over the top. But that’s Jason Aaron for you. John Cassady is absolutely the right man to pencil these books.
The Darth Vader series (Kieron Gillen) is interesting because it is the first thing I’ve read, at least, that really digs into what he remembers from the prequels (for better or worse). There are lots of specific references, and when Droidekas show up, for example, it’s kind of surprising. I like the sense that the book is trying to connect the series in a meaningful way, even though I’m all for declaring the prequels non-canon. There’s a cool storyline here too, centered around Vader falling out of favor following Yavin and sort of going off on his own…to find Luke.
I haven’t read all of Leia’s book (Mark Waid!) but the first one was compelling- it also gets into an under-explored area. Namely Leia’s role as a princess of Alderaan and how that puts her into conflict with some of the rebels who feel like she’s not properly carrying on the royal lineage following the planet’s destruction. It’s a chick book too, which is unusual in SW- Leia and a female pilot are the leads. It could be really good.
Kanan’s is only two issues deep but I like it a lot too. It’s written by Rebels showrunner Greg Weisman and it offers some interesting backstory into that character that is really kind of unexpected. Since it’s called “The Last Padawan”, you can kind of sort out that Order 66 weighs heavily on what happens. I love Rebels and Kanan is a really cool character- I’m glad to see him brought into the comics universe. Wouldn’t mind seeing books about the rest of the Rebels gang.
So batting 1000 so far. All of the books steer well clear of the slightly janky, too-grim, too-gritty, too-not really SW feeling that a lot of previous SW comics have had. But the most important thing so far is that they’re pretty simple. Nothing too elaborate other than elaborating on what is already there. Will read all of them.
Also going to check out Jeff Lemire’s Descender, which looks gorgeous.
And probably Secret Wars, because…Secret Wars.
On the Screen
Finally got to the second Berserk movie. Whoa buddy. It’s even more “ultra-R rated” than the first one. It’s pretty rough, some of it. Lots more graphic sex too, which makes it seem even more like something fans of Game of Thrones could get into. It was really good overall, definitely interested to see what happens in the finale of this arc.
More X-Files…re-watched “Home” again, and was once again surprised at how rough it was for television at that time. It’s still pretty gnarly stuff by today’s very, very low standards of decency but I remember seeing that episode when it aired and just thinking “damn, this is some Wes Craven shit right here”. I remember it was mildly controversial due to the graphic content/subject matter and it still stands as the harshest and probably scariest episode of the show.
In retrospect, it’s definitely one of the show’s best episodes even though it doesn’t dig too much into the concept or the characters. It’s well-directed, well-shot and well-written and back when it came out, that kind of 1970s style “dirt road” horror was still not very mainstream.
It’s really interesting how strong the first season is…a lot of shows don’t hit their stride until later, but I actually think that the first episodes are among the very best.
Still going through Cowboy Bebop…man, that is a really great show.
Still letting the kids dictate the playlist mostly and trying to do a catalog review of Siouxsie & the Banshees between their picks. They insist on calling “Hong Kong Garden” the “tinkle tinkle song”.