Play Time 42m
Total Lines 125
Max COMBO 2
Play Time 42m
Total Lines 125
Max COMBO 2
With Nintendo finally having a new direct after such an extended absence of not having one, I was definitely ready to see what they would announce. They did not disappoint with their big title being Tetris 99. Right now we are in the era of the freemium games. Why pay 60 for something like Call of Duty when you can play Fortnite for free and still get all of the features? I think we will keep seeing a rise in these kind of games and that’s a good thing. Of course, that does mean that the shovel ware may start to come soon but we’ll tackle that issue when it arises.
The game is pretty simple fundamentally. You have a large board of columns and rows and blocks start to fall into it one at a time. Your goal is to keep the blocks from filling it up which means that you have to destroy the blocks. The way that you do that is by filling up a full row. Sounds easy enough right? There are only about 5 different kinds of blocks so you’ll want to memorize how they go.
It’s definitely a lot harder than it sounds though. The game assumes that you are already quite proficient with Tetris so there is no tutorial to be found or anything like that. You’re just tossed into the action and from there you have to learn these things. One thing that takes some time to get used to is the fact that even if a block looks like it should fit, you can’t put a block under a space that is filled. This is the single trickiest part that will mess you up over and over again until you finally master how that works.
By that point you will want to work on your speed. You’re able to cause the piece to fall immediately to the ground or you can go slow and take your time. The latter is only when you are unsure of what to do as the former is always better. Taking your time is just asking other players to attack you and cause the screen to fill right up. Of course, going fast when you’re not sure what to do will just cause you to lose so it’s definitely a tough choice. Right now I’ve only reached top 50 a few times and haven’t come close to winning yet so I still need some practice.
That’s all about Tetris though so let’s talk about the 99 part. This is a battle royale after all. There are 98 other players also trying to keep their jars empty. When you clear a row you get to send a piece of junk to the opponent. They can clear it away by also clearing a row. However, if they fail to do so on time then a bunch of blocks will fill up a few rows. With less rows to use you can see how this would make things difficult. You can choose who to attack for quick KOs, but it takes some time and in a fast paced game like this it’s risky.
The graphics are pretty nice I’d say. The levels are bright and everything is well defined. It may not be the next Kingdom Hearts, but you’ll always know what you’re doing with minimal confusion. (Well, not counting the mechanics as you’ll need to look those up) There isn’t much of a soundtrack that I noticed but the tunes that you hear in the background are all pretty fitting. There was clearly some good effort put into this game. I also hear that it’ll be getting some ongoing updates so that should make the game even better.
The replay value here is pretty self explanatory. You can just keep playing to get a lot better and more proficient at everything. The game keeps detailed stats including your Play Time and Wins. Your user level also goes up. I got up to around level 5-6 and I saw some people as high as 21. It’s the little things like that which help take this game to the next level.
Overall, Tetris 99 is definitely fun. The matches are quick so it’s easy to just keep on going. The loading times between battles are a bit long admittedly but I guess that makes sense considering how many people are playing in each battle. The aesthetic is nice and as the game is free there isn’t really a drawback to buying it. I’d definitely recommend getting this game ASAP as it will naturally be a lot more fun when everyone is playing it. It’s the kind of game where you want to have a full lobby to fully appreciate what the game should be like. There isn’t a whole lot of other stuff to say about this game due to the very nature of it, but that doesn’t change the fact that it’s a title you should play.
It’s time for a classic Alfred Hitchcock film. He’s made quite a few good mystery thrillers over the years and his writing skills are always consistent. That being said, this is definitely one of those plots that doesn’t really age well, or you could make the stronger case that it was never a good plot. As such, the very concept of it limits the execution quite a bit. It’s not a film that is nearly as enjoyable as his average flick, but still retains more dignity than other films of its nature would nowadays.
The movie starts off with someone being arrested as a Nazi spy. He is arrested and taken to the chair, but the government isn’t able to get a whole lot of useful information out of it. As such, Agent Devlin is instructed to locate the traitor’s daughter Alicia, as she has long been opposed to his betrayal. She is reluctant to do so, but Devlin gets her on board eventually. That’s when he learns the truth of her mission, Alicia is to marry the leader of the Nazi faction Alex and gain access to all of the secrets. Devlin has a tough choice to make. He can say no to the order and escape with Alicia or he can go through with the whole thing. Ultimately he is too scared to go with the former option so he ends up going with the latter. That’s where I lost all respect for Devlin and he never quite recovered from that. Alicia is proving to be successful at her role, but can she keep this up or will she ultimately be found out and bumped off?
It’s a mission with high stakes, but it’s such a dicey mission that there is no longer a side to root for. The only sympathetic character here is Alicia. She does a lot of stuff she did not want to do all to help Devlin out. It’s not even so much about helping the country, but just making sure that things go well for Devlin. He’s definitely not a very grateful recipient about this though and constantly treats her coldly. It’s too bad for Alicia, but at least her ending is fairly positive at least. She can be rather proud just like Devlin but you can’t blame her since otherwise she would just be caving in every time. I can’t really blame her for anything in this film, she’s at least doing her best. I don’t agree with her mission, but I blame the ones giving it to her more than her carrying it out.
That’s why Devlin was doomed. He basically spends the entire movie sulking and whining. The guy’s a terrible agent as he couldn’t even guess what the mission was until it was told to him plainly. We’re supposed to take this guy seriously as an elite agent? He’s a scrub and I’ll go more into that later on. Agents can’t let emotions sway them but they constantly do for Devlin to the point where he makes all of the wrong calls. If you’re going to be emotionally driven then at least let it help you out. It’s like Devlin can’t do anything right. It may be harsh, but he was an absolutely terrible character. If anything Alex was far better.
Alex is the main villain and we can’t forget that. However, at least he acts like a decent guy beyond that. He’s polite to Alicia and trusts her quite a bit. He gives her freedom and the benefit of the doubt quite a bit. It’s only once it becomes obvious that she is cheating on him that he turns. Even then he is able to stay in control and goes through with a pretty diabolical plan (Not of his origin but at least he followed it) rather than falling into a panic. He’s the antagonist, but he’s a well written one and just seems like a more quality character than Devlin.
Lets go back to Devlin. As I mentioned, Alex eventually starts piecing it together that Alicia is a traitor. Why was he able to do that? Well, the official plan is that Devlin and Alicia are to meet just about every day at a public park. They will be meeting there every day and could not be more obvious if they tried. Still, somehow they get away with it for a while so then they decide to escalate this. They meet up at the horse races where Alex and his mother are. Keep in mind that he’s the top ranking member of the organization so it would make sense that he has minions and generals watching his every move as well as watching her. Alicia and Devlin don’t take this into consideration and meet up for a while. They’re caught of course. As such, Alicia invites Devlin to the house where they can’t control themselves and are caught in the act once more.
They make so many crazy moves that you would be forgiven for mistaking this for a horror movie. Finally they make the worst decision of the film. It’s so huge that you could basically call it a plot hole if we assume that Devlin is even remotely intelligent but we won’t make that mistake. The mysterious dust is being kept in Wine bottles so Devlin has Alicia steal the key so he can check it out. Of course Devlin drops one of the bottles so it breaks. He sweeps it under the drawer and then puts another one in its place. He gives Alicia the key (Too late at this point) and runs away. So…Alicia forgets all about the key. Shouldn’t she have realized that Alex couldn’t get into the wine cellar without it and so he would realize that someone had swiped it? It becomes increasingly obvious that Alicia swiped it and the whole thing is just pretty sad for all parties involved.
You definitely won’t have a positive impression of the government in this film by the end. Their dangerous mission for Alicia proved to be basically pointless by the end. I also feel like they could have all just busted into the building since they knew where the base was and then they could have grabbed all of the bottles. Even having Alicia marry the villain showed that these government guys couldn’t care less what happens to her. That kind of ruthless government isn’t uncommon but it doesn’t make them any less antagonistic.
Overall, Notorious is definitely an engaging film, but one that proves to be more frustrating than enjoyable at times. It’s similar to the Mission Impossible 2 plot and if even that series couldn’t pull it off, what chance does this movie have? Whenever a plot involves an agent having to go all in with the villain the movie is probably doomed. It’s just not a plot that I can get behind, nor do I think that will ever change. If you can get past that then this is a reasonable suspense thriller, but otherwise you’re better off watching almost any of his other installments.
PS4 Trophies 31/37
Nothing else, but I was pretty close to that Platinum. So close, yet so far away!
It’s time to look at a game that I forgot to review a long time ago. That game is Madden 16. I bought it ages ago but somehow I just didn’t write a review for it. Well, better late than never right? The Madden series is one that I’ve always considered to be one of the very best. There’s a ton of detail put into the game and while it may not change much from year to year, you can still see a noticeable difference if you skip a few games so the changes are there.
The gameplay follows the rules of the real life version of the game. It’s the kind of title that is fairly easy to pick up and play but hard to master. The series grew more difficult with each game as new mechanics are added each time. You used to be able to just throw the ball where you wanted and then tackle other players. Now you have multiple ways to throw and tackle to the point where you often are not sure which one to use. They all have their weaknesses and strengths. Personally I think the simpler style controls work better but that’s probably because I’m a casual player. I realize that more times than not, complicated controls are the way to go because it leads to a higher skill ceiling. There’s just a lot to take in.
As always, being on offense is the best part. You’re just really in control of the game when you’re playing quarterback. You throw it where you want and it’s not like the computer can force you to toss it. Sometimes a defender will make a crazy play to get at the ball but for the most part any play that goes badly is likely your fault. You’ll realize as soon as you threw the ball that it was a bad idea. Small things like that are what makes this such a legitimate experience. Running the ball seems a little harder than in the old days, particularly in breaking away for super long runs. However you will often pick up at least a few yard which makes for more realistic football.
There is one more realistic thing added although I could have done without this. There are a lot of flags in this game. At one point I thought I was watching the NFL because there were flags on almost every play. It always feels pretty iffy when it’s on your team. I had a long touchdown taken back because of a flag like that. Seemed rigged and I wasn’t playing in Cowboys stadium this time so maybe the developers added some extra Home Field Advantage in this one.
Playing defense isn’t my favorite thing in the world because you often feel helpless against the computer. It’s mitigated a little by the new mechanics of being on the line and trying to shake the offensive player but at he end of the day it still isn’t quite as exciting. I don’t think it’s an issue with the game though, it’s just a personal preference. At least I appreciate that it is easier to try and make a play on the b-ball instead of jumping helplessly like in previous games. Also you can use super sim to just skip all defensive drives completely. It’d be nice if you could have that feature as a saveable option. Meanwhile special teams is probably the least changed from all of the sections but there really isn’t much to change here.
As always the graphics in Madden are very impressive. There’s a lot of detail in every play and the facial expressions are on point. There’s even a nice pre game show and a lot of nice moments throughout that may slow the game a bit but ultimately make the experience that much more realistic. It all feels like a big production and I can say that you will be satisfied when you finally get to jump in.
The soundtrack is not very noticeable since the majority of the time you’ll be in the middle of a game where there really isn’t any music. What’s there is the typical EA mash. The tunes are very catchy and all but the lyrics aren’t always the best. It’s pretty much a non factor in the game but better to have it than not I suppose.
There are many ways to enjoy this game aside from normal matches. You can go through franchise mode and re-enact a bunch of seasons. You can also go online and prove yourself against a plethora of opponents. There are some rage quitters here which can get a bit iffy though. Sometimes it seems like you don’t get the points that you should have. There are also modes to practice and buy trading cards. The replay value here is basically endless.
Overall, Madden 16 continues the series on an elite level. There have been many great Football titles over the years but none have come all that close to Madden as the definitive Football product. It feels like an insurmountable hurdle for any company to hope to achieve. Of course that works out quite well for the players since it’s just such a complete product.
This review is of the edited TV-14 version of the film. All thoughts below should be addressed as such as a review of the unedited version would be more negative.
It’s time to look at a relatively old courtroom comedy. It’s not “old” like 50s or something like that, but it has been a while since the 90s so I think the relatively part is warranted. It’s definitely a film that has a lot of good humor. The writing holds it back to an extent so it’s not the perfect courtroom movie, but you’ll be entertained from start to finish. It just goes to show how even a case that seems super easy at first can quickly become very complicated.
The film starts out with two teenagers on a cross country road trip. They go to a deli to gather supplies and then head out again. Unfortunately one of them stole a can of tuna (accidentally) and then the police show up. The teens are brought into the base, but while they think they were just being booked for tuna, it turns out that they have been framed for murder. Now their only hope is Cousin Vinny who recently got out of law school. The good news is that he claims he can win this case. The bad news is that it’s his first case and he failed the BAR exam 5 times. This could be bad.
Right from Vinny’s first appearance you can tell how things are going to play out and I definitely think it works out quite well. He’s the kind of loud, overconfident character that you want in your corner. He may not be particularly good at his occupation and if anything he’s a lot worse than you would suspect, but he always gives the case his all. The stakes may be high, but Vinny won’t get nervous because he doesn’t really take things seriously like that. Even if he loses, at least he’ll be able to make a funny out of it. He tows the line between being a complete comic relief character and someone who is genuinely clueless. Nevertheless, he tows the line quite well.
Meanwhile Mona is the main heroine and is always trying to help Vinny out. The problem is that he doesn’t want help as his pride demands that he win this case on his own. It’s definitely a bit of a weak argument on his part and I started to think that the film was leading up to Mona taking over the case. There was a reasonable amount of foreshadowing to it. She does ultimately enter the court room near the end, but not quite in the way that I had guessed. Mona certainly came through when it counted though.
Bill and Stan made for good victims as well. They definitely tend to panic a lot though, particularly Stan. He tends to make a bad situation even worse although I don’t blame him for trying to get a public defender. Of course that didn’t end up going very well at all. Apparently some defenders just can’t handle being in a high pressure situation like a court. It did make for a pretty good twist though since it was really unexpected. I wouldn’t have minded seeing more of Bill and Stan, but what we got was pretty sufficient.
Then we have the Judge who is definitely a great supporting character. He really wants to have a good court room so you can kind of feel bad for him at different points in the film when it seems like everyone is trying to make a mockery of it. Why can’t they work with the judge instead of against him? He really tries to fry Vinny several times even if it’s to no avail. For the most part he remains impartial despite this and does a good job in his role. I don’t think the film would have been quite as humorous without him. All of these characters were necessary to the final product.
As I mentioned the writing is very weak though. Fortunately the censored version cuts out the language but from the sheer amount of word bubbles you can tell that there was quite a bit. These characters definitely have a hard time being professional in the court room. The writing for the humor tends to be solid but the script could use work. It’s very give and take in nature and it still could have been worse of course. At the very least we didn’t quite hit Michael Bay levels of dialogue.
It’s a pretty small thing, but I was glad that for once the prison itself didn’t look like a total dump. The prison cell had been cleaned and the place was actually well kept. Usually in films like this the place looks real bad to the point where it is a little overdone. At least this way you feel like Alabama is giving them a pretty fair shake. The film also had a good way of making even the smallest of scenes important like the Grits moment. The scene is so intense they even use the revelation in psych classes to see if you can pick up on small details. I’d still like to try Grits someday. They sound a bit like Cornmeal.
Overall, My Cousin Vinny is a fun film. I gotta give it credit for actually being pretty funny most of the time. It does a good job of taking shots at the courtroom tropes while not overplaying its hand. The film’s length is definitely on point and doesn’t drag on. The pacing is good and the cast of characters are quite memorable. The only real weakness is the very weak script and the film probably takes a little too long in getting Mona involved. Regardless, I’d say that the film will hold up pretty well to repeat viewings which is always important. Find the TV-14 version of this film and check it out. You’ll be glad that you did.
It’s time to look at a film that pretty much everyone has heard of at some point or another. I can’t say that dancing films are usually all that good and the title is already a red flag, but maybe this film would surpass its limitations and rise to stardom? Well…that wasn’t the case here, but the film certainly tried. It’s not all bad, but the main thing that drags the film down is one of its main elements…the romance.
The film starts off with the main character narrating from the future. She explains that everyone calls her “Baby” and she lets them because she didn’t see the harm back when she was a kid. As a result this is her name for virtually the entire film until one final scene. It’s definitely a name that I imagine you would get tired of very quickly. Who wants to be called a baby right? Well, her family has decided to spend the week at a vacation place where the point is to have a good time. It’s like an American version of a host club. Unfortunately, Baby quickly finds out that this place has an underground level to it where everyone goes for dicier dances. Does she have what it takes to fit in with the rest of the crew?
You’ll probably feel bad for the parents right from the start. The club seems to be decent above ground. They do a lot of safe activities like Bingo and people are generally having a good time. So long as you don’t know about the underground, you’ll enjoy yourself. It’s a typical corporate operation so the workers aren’t treated very well either which would also undermine your enjoyment if you found out about it. It sounds like this place was pretty pricey so I imagine that this would make the guests want to turn a blind eye to everything. It’s definitely not a party resort that I would particularly enjoy as there isn’t nearly enough food, but I know some would enjoy this party atmosphere.
Meanwhile, Baby makes for a pretty dicey lead. She falls into the romance awful quick. Almost a love at first sight scenario with her and Johnny although it is unrequited at first. Baby comes across as a little desperate and it would have probably been a better plot if they had just become friends. It would have really helped hammer home the message about how Baby treats everyone the same as opposed to it also being that they are romantically involved. Apparently Baby used to be very responsible and honest prior to getting into this camp so it probably wasn’t the best experience for her.
Then we have Johnny who starts out as a pretty mean guy who has been jaded from his years in service here. He thinks everyone is out to get him and for the most part he isn’t wrong. These rich guys are ready to sink him at their first opportunity. By the end of the film we see him more as a nice guy and it’s not so much a personality 180 as it is that he trusts Baby enough for her to see more of him. It’s still a romance plot I couldn’t buy into though. He’s one of the better characters by default though.
One of the main points of drama here is that the main co-dancer with Johnny is unable to perform in the main stage as she needs an operation so Baby decides to do it for her. We get a lot of dancing montages and training moments as Johnny gets her ready. It’s handled pretty realistically as you can’t go from being a novice to an expert in a few days. Even on the day of the show Baby still isn’t perfect. Which is definitely pretty realistic. Of course, she was also so distracted by the romance that it’s not like she could train quite as much as she wanted.
I’m not a big fan of dancing so even without the romance this film probably wouldn’t have gone far for me anyway. It’s one of those things where actually dancing is certainly more enjoyable than watching it. It can get pretty competitive like in Dancing With The Stars of course, but it’s just not a sport that I would watch. It’s like Golf in that respect. Give me Basketball or Football any day. The actual dancing is still done well here though, I wouldn’t deny that. They were good at their craft.
If there is a pretty annoying thing here, it’s that one of the characters basically gets away scot free. So, there’s a kid named Robbie. He goes around being pretty iffy “Nicknamed the Creep” and yet nobody talks about it. I believe he’s a relative of the owner or something, but as a result people just put up with him. He even causes one person to have a kid and then doesn’t claim responsibility. He goes around with quite a few people and even very nearly gets money for it if not for the father finding out at the last second. He’s not fired or anything since the victim didn’t press charges, but it would have been nice to have seen him get let go.
Overall, Dirty Dancing is not the film for me. The romance is pretty heavy handed and ends up seeping into most of the dances. There is always some romance in the air with that. The pacing isn’t bad the plot is relatively engaging, but without a strong cast it is limited. The writing is decent at best, but I wouldn’t call it amazing either. There are certainly quite a few misunderstandings here because Baby is super vague when she shouldn’t have been. At the very least I feel like during her final confrontation with her family she should have laid it all out. At that point they know what’s going on so why keep them in the dark on some of the aspects? It’s not as if that would have squared away everything with the folks but it would have helped quite a bit.