September 2018 Free Time: Games, Films and Anime

Currently I’m getting stuff sorted for my wedding, so I’ve been busy most of this month but I had this past week off and so I’ve done my fair share of gaming and catching up on films and shows. Here are a few highlights of my month.

Games

Yakuza 0 Cover

Yakuza 0 is still eating away at my time. I just got to the final chapter last night and so no I have every intention of slamming on the breaks and doing a bunch of side content. I’ve completed Majima’s cabaret scene and my focus now is Kiryu’s property management. Still, a great game and currently at 60 hours, the £10 I bought it for was definitely worth it.

Ni No Kuni 2 Throne

Ni No Kuni 2 has entered my life this month but with wedding stuff I haven’t got far with it. I also want to finish Yakuza 0 before I get majorly into this game. So far though it looks great and I’m enjoying the combat. I’m finding it a bit too easy though even on hard mode. Not trying to brag, having looked online it seems that is an issue with this game either being too easy or too many one hit kills on the higher setting. Other than that though I’ve enjoyed the first 10 hours. I’ve also written about another issue I had with the game here: A Game Sin That Needs To Die: Small Text

thumper

I’ve barely put time into Thumper but it has its hooks in me already. The dread, the rhythm, the simple but increasingly complex gameplay has that quick play itch scratched. Sometimes it’s nice to play a game with no story and barely any tutorials. Just jump and feel awesome. The music and sound is second to none. I can’t rate it high enough. It’s currently on sale for just over £6 on the Switch and I highly recommend it.

Films, Shows And Anime

I had a hankering for some South Korean films lately and I had 2 that I wanted to watch for a while. Train to Busan and The Handmaiden.

Train To Busan

Train to Busan is an incredible zombie film. We had a major over saturation a few years back with zombie films but Busan puts a fresh enough spin on it to relieve the tedium. The most intense parts of zombie films is when a main character is trapped in close proximity to a zombie. The premise is that a father and daughter get on a train to go see the daughters mum who is also the father’s ex. A simplistic setup, a zombie outbreak happens at the exact same time and as the train is leaving, zombies are taking over the country and the infection is spreading on the train too. What follows mostly takes place on the train with a wide variety of characters over several train cars dealing with being locked in with an outbreak. Fantastic characters and great set pieces. I was on edge for a large portion of this film and then also chuckling at some of the light hearted dialogue. Violent, emotional and a satisfying watch. Highly recommend.

The Handmaiden

The Handmaiden I saw a year ago. I really enjoyed it and was amazed by its story telling complexity. I wanted my partner to see it and so our week off work was the perfect opportunity. The Handmaiden is a difficult film to explain without spoiling. On my first watch I remember liking the film but not seeing the surrounding hype, not until a certain point in the film. The basic premise is that in the 1930’s a young woman is requested to be the handmaiden to a rich woman. I don’t want to give more than that away as the story developments hold a big part of this film. Even things that occur early on change the initial synopsis in meaningful ways. So, I’m going to make the choice of being a poor reviewer here. It’s one of those films where the least you know about it, the better. Just know that I’ve watched it twice now and want to watch it again in the near future. Probably don’t watch this with family though. Some graphic sex scenes are featured. Highly recommend.

FMA

Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood is an anime that I’ve been watching on and off for a long time. I watched the original Fullmetal Alchemist to completion years ago and I have every intention of finishing Brotherhood. It’s one of those shows that I jump in and out of a lot. It’s a great show and some days I’ll watch 6 episodes and then I won’t watch an episode for weeks. But this week I’ve put in a lot of time. I completed the back end of Part 3 and I’m near the end of Part 4 now. There are a lot of narrative threads happening at the moment which makes me realise that my long stints between episodes is dampening my experience. Too many times I’ve not understood why a character is in a location because I’d forgotten what put them there in the first place. So, this is my commitment right here. I’m putting Brotherhood on this list as my promise to myself to finish it for next months round up. It’s a great anime, funny, full of drama and action. I just need to commit to it rather than starting new shows all the time. Unfinished: Great so far.

Random Recommendation

This could be anything, book, show, experience etc but today I’m going to recommend a podcast. We Hate Movies.

We Hate Movies

We Hate Movies is a film podcast hosted by Andrew, Eric, Steven and Chris who choose a film to talk about each week for about 1 and a half to 2 hours. As their title suggests, they talk about the dredges of film entertainment. From films you have never heard of to recent failures, they cover all bases. Some films you may disagree with like their Mrs. Doubtfire episode but if you listen to it, even if you don’t agree with them they make some good points and are constantly hilarious.

They do impressions a lot and by impressions I mean shockingly bad caricatures of people. I think they are genuinely funny. Their intrinsic film knowledge also means I’m constantly learning new trivia whilst trying to hold back laughter in work. With over 300 episodes on their base subscription and extra content on their Patreon, they have hundreds of hours of entertainment. I’ve listened to each episode at least twice and if you fancy trying them, pick a film you have knowledge of and give them a go. I also will highly recommend their Bee Movie episode and their disturbing Blame it on Rio episode. You’ve been warned though, Rio will put Micheal Caine in a new light for you.

Thank you for reading and feel free to leave a comment if you’d like or suggestions for games, films, shows or anime for me to try. Cheers.

Just Switch The Controller On, Hollywood!

This isn’t a story just a minor rant. So say I, a film lover, goes to the Pictures (Cinemas for non-Brits) to see the latest hit that’s raking in millions. And it has to rake in millions because the budget spent was also in the millions. I’m sat there and I’m in the world on the screen. I’m engrossed, even the bored sprog previously kicking my seat is silent and along for the ride. The film cuts to a kid on a couch with a PS4 controller in his hand and……the controller isn’t on.

To most people that wouldn’t be an issue. Most viewers wouldn’t know if that controller was on or not. Never mind the erratic button bashing and weird hand composure the kid is utilising, he could just be a bad gamer.  However, there is no excuse for the controller to not even be switched on! The director or producer has consultants and experts readily available on set. You have millions in funding and months of pre-planning and production meetings. You have hundreds and thousands of staff on hand, some of which will be avid gamers. The controller was bought for the film! Read the manual! Slap a blue sticker on it! Put some effort into it, maybe!

Gaming isn’t a niche, nerdy hobby any more. According to a recent US study (Linky Link), around half the US population has a console at home. It’s inexcusable for the production team to think that nobody would notice if the controller is on or off. I’ll accept it on adult entertainment, if you get my meaning. Because, that doesn’t make sense usually. Girl orders pizza, driver arrives with pizza, the driver and her go upstairs and they let the pizza go cold. Yeah, OK! In reality: demolish half that pizza first, then sexy saxophone time and lastly have cold refreshing pizza. On a big budget film though, all you do is ruin my immersion with laziness. Small details create a believable universe. It’s why in John Wick, when he runs out of ammo or counts his bullets, those details are hailed by film fans and respected. Unfortunately this isn’t a new thing, I remember seeing films where kids were playing on Gameboy’s without a cartridge. This is also something that will not go away immediately. It’s not even a big deal but it’s something so small and minor that it is easily fixable in films. It’s how I imagine an expert in their field feels watching a film scene, involving their expertise. A doctor for example, baffled by bad medicine terminology. It is something that can easily be researched or consulted on.

But, as I’ve said, it’s not a major detail. I don’t switch off the film if I see it happen but when I do see it, that is all I see for several seconds. It’s distracting and in this day of internet access, there is no excuse for authenticity for something as common as a PS4 controller or gaming device. Hollywood if you read this and I’m sure you will. I’ll be your gaming consultant! Or I’ll print out thousands of blue stickers for you. I only cost 1 Squidillion dollars an hour. Give me a call sometime!