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  1. I think this best sums it up. There’s nothing that’s going to make me look back on this as a great show, but it’s entertaining and (mostly) well written enough. Melanie is the hero of her own story, despite hating herself a great deal, and Layton exudes a kind of sweaty desperation in that he now knows the train is on the brink of collapse without revolution, but has already sacrificed too much to consider any other path. Much like the train, all that is important for either of them is that they keep moving. In the film, it was clear cut who to empathise with, as the villains were cartoonishly arrogant and nefarious, but here everybody is a prisoner - even the entitled nobs in first class, who feel their luxuries shrinking by the year and quietly wonder if they’ve just exchanged a quick death for entropy and slow despair.
  2. Everything makes him cry.
  3. Finished last night. Whew. That was something. Does it need to exist? No. TLOU ended perfectly. At times, TLOU2 risks that legacy with its sprawling, often messy narrative in search of a greater point about revenge, sacrifice, obsession etc. Like many sequels, it feels self-conscious in trying to forge a new path while honouring what came before. TLOU2 veered between skillfully manipulating my emotions and yanking at them like I were a marionette. I can totally understand some reviewers reactions of ‘do they think I’m stupid?’ because a fair portion of what’s laid out would be obvious to anyone who’s not fourteen and possesses the slightest hint of self reflection. But, but but buuuuut it does come together in some powerful ways, even if there were a number of earnest stumbles to get there. The ending left me feeling sad, optimistic, and musing on its significance after the credits had rolled. While I’ve played through TLOU maybe four or five times over the years, I’m quite sure I never want to experience this game again. Sure, a bit of that is due to pacing, but mostly because to do so would only labour TLOU2’s message and subsequently cheapen it. Because it’s not communicated cleanly enough? Because it’s such a bleak experience? Partly, yes, but also because it obviously effected me on some level and why would I fiddle with that? Also, gameplay was pretty good.
  4. I’m still curious to see where it goes, but this is the first time I’ve found it just as likely that I’ll be playing something else tonight.
  5. Well, the story had been looking a bit shaky in my latest session, but now at around seventeen hours it’s belly flopped into patronising and superfluous with baffling zeal. I’m being bashed over the head with ‘ah, do you see?’ moments that anyone with a cerebellum would’ve been able to deduce beforehand, and sequences seemingly built entirely around labouring the kind of points that TLOU just made quietly and adroitly along the way. You mean good and evil can be relative concepts, Naughty Dog? That revenge is rarely ever a solution? That those we think of as the enemy are often not unfeeling monsters? That attack dogs can actually be nice to their handlers? Oh please, tell me more.
  6. The dialogue of the main characters is loud and clear, though, just not from NPCs. That’s the issue.
  7. A few hours in and it’s pretty good. I’m thus far much more impressed with the world than I am with the story, which seems like a formulaic revenge tale (albeit with some nice moments) but hopefully it’ll grow into more. Does annoy me that Naughty Dog were initially very careful with the trailers, but carelessly ruined one early, big story moment with their last one. The audio mix seems a bit weird in places, too. Like the early scenes at the town, where I was stopping next to people to listen in on their conversations. In TLOU these were clear and sharp, but here I was really having to strain to make out what was being said.
  8. So the Skill Up review says that the story is a mess and none of the characters are compelling, or have motivations that make sense. The Easy Allies review says that the story is fantastic, and has characters with convincing goals and motivations. Urgh. Going to have to buy it just to see for myself, aren’t I?
  9. Interesting example! I loved Dreamweb. The protagonist was unhinged, for sure, but it also felt like he was a pawn of otherworldly forces, whereas the protagonist in SOTC is entirely clear on what he’s doing and why the whole way through.
  10. Same as Hitcher. Shadow of the Colossus.
  11. Reading reviews of this makes me wonder if it’ll be the second title, in my twenty five years of gaming, that I stop playing because I’m so opposed to the actions of the protagonist.
  12. I watched around three episodes. It’s a weird one. Feels like they had the skeleton of a cop show and sort of bolted supernatural elements to it. Though the show feels like it could exist without these elements, whereas they were an integral part of the original Penny Dreadful. Some of it isn’t bad, and Nathan Laine is predictably good value, but the pace is languorous and didn’t develop enough of a hook to keep me going.
  13. The second episode was an improvement, but I’m not convinced the lead is a strong enough actor to carry a show. In every scene with Connelly, he does not stack up well. Some nice foreshadowing of dialogue in the film, though. With certain animals on the train becoming extinct.
  14. The Plinkett review lost me early on when he’d been waffling about possible, alternate plot lines for around three minutes, and they were becoming less funny with each one.
  15. Better than the flowery tedium of Insurrection? Now there’s a high bar! I think people hate it so much for a few reasons. One is that it was another Data and Picard focussed film. The rest of the crew seem to play perpetual second fiddle to those two in the TNG films, so it was disappointing to see that rolled out again. B-4 only existed to give an out for Data’s death to future writers, similar to Spock’s ‘remember’ at the end of Wrath of Khan. Shinzon’s motivations made no sense. He kills the Romulan senate, which is fair enough as some of them may well have been responsible for scrapping the cloning program and his subsequent fate. Then he tries to destroy Earth because he’s made at Picard for...what? Being the reason he was created? Why did we get that measured dinner scene, where he can see Picard is a reasonable, albeit cautious man, and there’s a high likelihood he would’ve just helped Shinzon if he’d asked? It’s nonsensical. As a lesser point, it presents a hilariously dumbed down idea of cloning to the audience as well. Shinzon is bald because Picard is bald as an older man? Wtf. Then we have the action scenes. You will never convince me that the first brick for Nu-Trek was not laid with Nemesis, and it’s eagerness to embrace shooty-bang. The Scimitar makes no sense as a plot point. It’s far too big and destructive to have been assembled in secret, and uses advanced cloaking technology from...somewhere, I guess? All so there can be a huge fight involving multiple ships at the end of the film. Then there’s Data’s death. It was unearned for a character we’d known for so long. Not only that, it felt weightless because of the existence of B-4 and that ending. Also a clumsy copy of Spock’s sacrifice in Wrath of Khan (though certainly not as ham-fisted and garbled a copy as Into Darkness. Oh boy.) And lastly, it’s because this marked the end of the TNG films. If it had been followed up, and surpassed, by some new films, then fans wouldn’t be quite so sore. But it was the swan-song for TNG, and as such a mediocre conclusion that left a bad taste in the mouth. I actually have more problems with it, but these are just off the top of my head.
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