StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty: game review/thoughts

Nearly two months after its release, StarCraft II fever is still running high. Finally, after forcing fans of the first StarCraft to wait over ten years for a sequel, Blizzard released StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty on the PC back on July 27th, and it's not ready to settle down just yet. Two expansion packs—Heart of the Swarm and Legacy of the Void—are still to be released in the future. These expansions are meant to further explore the backgrounds and storylines of the Zerg and Protoss races, whereas Wings of Liberty mostly focuses on the Terran.

I, personally, have never played the first Starcraft, so I wasn't as psyched for SCII's release as, say, my boyfriend or half of my other friends. Before I get ahead of myself, though, I want to say right of the bat that I advise you take this review with a grain of salt, as I haven't really been able to play the game enough to completely stand behind my thoughts of it. With that being said, I think it's safe to say that I have mixed feelings about the game, though most of them are positive. In general, real-time strategy games and their ilk usually don't appeal to me all that much. However, with StarCraft II, I found that once I got into the swing of things and figured out what I was doing, the game genuinely took hold of me.

For the first couple of weeks playing online against other players, I was totally mesmerized by it. Even when I wasn't playing, my head was still busy with thoughts of all the methods and strategies to implement. However, after those first weeks, I found myself somewhat burnt out on the game. This was largely because--from what I can tell--the game has certain imbalances that still need to be worked out.

After having gotten a little tired of the online play, I decided to try out the campaign. I know that a lot of fans of the first StarCraft game had good things to say about it, but personally, after a few missions, I was straight-up bored with it. Granted, as I've already stated, I haven't played the first one and am only somewhat familiar with its storyline. However, I will say that the history behind the character Kerrigan (yay, Tricia Helfer) is rather fascinating, if not momentous enough to carry the rest of the game's storyline to the point of making it legitimately captivating for players like me.

Despite all this, StarCraft II really does have a lot of good things going in its favor. The ranking system alone is largely innovative and impressive, which, given StarCraft's status in the competitive gaming world, is a key component to its acclaim. Overall, a lot of care and effort went into the game, and I think it shows. I'm also fairly confident that a lot of its less favorables aspects will be addressed in the expansions and future patches. As far as RTS games go, this one is probably (one of) the best that you could ask for. If you're new to real-time strategies, I would definitely recommend that you give SCII a shot because it is certainly worth trying.


"Dead Fantasy": Dead or Alive meets Final Fantasy

As a rule, I typically steer clear of fan-made stuff. No matter what the fandom or whether it's a fanfic, animation, etc., you can usually expect it to be a lame and a complete waste of time. However, every once in a while, you'll find some quality fan-made stuff out there. Monty Oum's Dead Fantasy animation series is a good example. To be honest, I don't really know what to say about it other than it features a bunch of Dead or Alive and Final Fantasy characters (mostly female) duking it out, and it's freaking sweet to watch. In my opinion, the animation and choreography of the fight scenes is really impressive, and each new video gets better and better as more characters are thrown into the fray and the action builds. A sure delight for Dead or Alive and Final Fantasy fans, alike. Be sure to watch in the highest quality possible.

Monty Oum's YouTube page can be found here: Monty Oum's YouTube Chanel


Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World: movie review/thoughts

Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World has been in theaters for about three weeks, now, so this review is a bit delayed. It's still out, though, so not all is lost. The movie poster tagline reads, "An epic of epic epicness". While I, personally, didn't think the movie was that  epic, the phrase conveys the movie's demeanor and sense of humor accurately. Now, let me say right off the bat that I enjoyed Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World considerably and if you have any appreciation for the genre whatsoever, you should definitely go and see it if you haven't, already. However, I went into the theater with some pretty high expectations that I didn't feel were quite met, and this left me a little disappointed.

What I was hoping for was something a little more like Kickass or Zombieland, both of which--I felt--did an exceptional job of combining comedy and action with sincerity. Directed by Edgar Wright, it seemed to me that Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World was having a hard time deciding whether it wanted to be more like the films mentioned above or Wright's own (equally amazing) movies, Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz. The result was, in my humble opinion, kind of sketchy. I have to cut it some slack, though, because it is a truly unique film, chock-full of comic book and video game elements that make it the first of it's kind, in many respects. I also haven't read any of the comic books, so maybe I just don't have the right idea in mind of what the movie was attempting.

What probably disappointed me the most was the fight scenes. As has been my complaint with several other films' fight scenes, rather than legitimizing them with actual stunts, it seemed to me that they relied much more heavily than I would've liked on crazy, distracting lighting and weird camera angles to keep things confusing and hard to follow. The scenes were far from bad, mind you, I just wasn't nearly as impressed with them as I had hoped to be. I mean, they were supposed to be like video game fight scenes, after all.

The acting was all good, as expected, though it would be nice to see Michael Cera play a character other than...well, Michael Cera. The dialogue was enough to keep me giggling more-or-less throughout the entire movie, and I particularly enjoyed Wallace: Scott's gay room/bedmate.

All in all, Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World is a quality, original, and entertaining movie. Though there were a few aspects of it that I felt were a bit rough around the edges, there's still lots about it that I enjoyed and I look forward to similar video game-style storytelling being used in other films in the future. If I had to rate the movie, I think I would give it a flat B. Go see it. It's one of the few movies out worth seeing, right now.