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Uh oh, we’ve got incoming!

I saw Last Jedi for a second time, and enjoyed it quite a bit more upon subsequent viewing. Most of the issues I had with it are still present, but I was surprised at a lot of subtle dialog that I hadn’t quite caught the first time around that sets up character motivations a bit better than I’d given the movie credit. I was also more willing to embrace a lot of the silliness, but I couldn’t help noticing many of the same jokes fell flat with this second audience that did with the first. Something about the comic timing in the film is a bit off. The Kylo Ren and Rey interactions felt even more powerful this second time around, as did Luke’s ruminations on his past failings. Even the casino stuff felt slightly more tolerable, although the Rose/Finn adventure is still easily the weakest and most meandering part of the film, even if there’s some okay theme building in it (winning by saving what we love instead of destroying what we hate, and all that). Overall, I think The Last Jedi is a pretty good film if you focus more on what characters are saying and less on what they’re doing (which often doesn’t make a ton of sense). It’s a fairly quotable film! And I still love the scene where Kylo tells Rey her parents were garbage.

Also, has anyone played Horizon Zero Dawn? I recently started playing it and it’s INCREDIBLE.

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  • Kid Chaos

    Nice work! I think that “MUFFLED CACOPHONY!” is one of your best sound effects this year. 😜

    • http://www.nn4b.com suburban_samurai

      I realize it was an impressively long selection to choose from, but I’m glad muffled cacophony won out!

  • Arkone Axon

    I’ve had a few complaints about the film, and some friends have ranted about how it DESTROYED Star Wars. I… wouldn’t go that far. After all, I’ve seen the prequels – no Jar Jar Binks in this one.

    Still, there were some major issues. Those bombers, for instance – they’re slow, fragile, have only defense turret, and they… drop bombs? As in, via gravity? There’s gravity in space? If they were going to rip off WWII (because EVERY time there’s a battle in a movie, they HAVE to make it look like one of the world wars no matter how nonsensical that may seem), couldn’t they borrow from the B-12, with it’s numerous turrets, fast speed, sturdy construction, and sleek build that minimized the target profile to enemy fire?

    And Dern was a truly horrible commander – she started out by insulting one of their best pilots (and even if Poe was genuinely incompetent, then she still needed him because he commanded the loyalty of the rest of the crew. Just like how G1’s Megatron had to keep Starscream around because the Seekers followed Starscream). Then she goes on to… do nothing, from the view of the crew. As far as they knew, they were running out of time, doomed to an inevitable death, and their new commander was doing NOTHING about it… except to prevent them from leaving (even though the Rebels were an all-volunteer force and she was now treating them like conscripts). She was making no attempt to address the flagging morale, not communicating or working with her junior officers… it’s extremely telling that when Finn and Rose figure out how they’re being tracked, they feel certain that Dern would not listen to them – she had given them no reason to believe otherwise.

    Still, I DO love the dialogue and interactions. When Snoke mocked Kylo for being a whiny emo Vader fanboy wearing a helmet to look cool. When Kylo and Ren started interacting (“…Could… could you put a cowl on, or something…?”). And while I completely understand why Mark Hamill was so pissed at his character’s legacy being retconned into one of complete and total failure, his performance was absolutely superb.

    Also, I loved how they showed Rey as being anything but a “mary sue.” She kept screwing up, she kept making mistakes… nobody was giving her a free pass, and that bit where she learns her true parentage… yeah, that was good. And of course they gave Phasma things to do… it’s been implied she MIGHT have survived. We’ll have to wait and see.

    • Kid Chaos

      Needed more Phasma, IMHO. She didn’t get enough screen time to really establish her character. Otherwise…the “bombers” were stupid, poor communication kills, and Snoke is dead…OR IS HE??? Clones are a thing, so…here’s hoping. 😜

      • http://www.nn4b.com suburban_samurai

        Poor Phasma still didn’t have anything to do, other than get into a silly stick fight even though she had a blaster on hand, and then fall into a hole of fire! I doooon’t think she’s coming back at this point, that death looked very definitive. And I doubt we’ll be seeing more of Snoke. I think they’ll just continue to not explain him like the Emperor was not really explained in the OT, even though he was OVERLY explained in the prequels.

    • http://www.nn4b.com suburban_samurai

      Yeah, Laura Dern’s character would’ve worked so much better if there had been a spy (or perceived spy) on board feeding their location to the First Order fleet. Then her secrecy would have been justified. Admittedly, she was still never given any demonstration of tactical brilliance or a successful maneuver other than suicidal lightspeed, which, of course, breaks the whole canon of the universe (why haven’t hyperdrive weapons been used in all military conflict?). If the story had just used the ‘jumping in and out of lightspeed’ trope, then she could’ve been commanding the intense battles between jumps, trying to hold off the First Order a bit longer to calculate the next jump.

      And absolutely the stupid bombers are stupid. They drop SOOOO many bombs, too. Couldn’t they have just fired the bombs from a greater distance and from different directions? How could the First Order have even shot all the bombs out of the sky (space) if that had been the case? Joe was quick to point out how so many Resistance tactics involved staying in close formation when they’d be infinitely harder to kill if they just split up. What if the Resistance fleet had all jumped to hyperspace in different directions? There is zero basic physics going on in the space battles.

      I don’t think Rey was ever a Mary Sue. Granted, there is no official definition for the term, but it’s generally meant as the self insertion of the author, with the entire universe revolving around that character. I don’t think Rey was ever that. She was written as probably too hyper competent without any obvious flaws in TFA, but TLJ established that she’s very preoccupied with wanting the guidance and approval of parental figures to validate her sense of self. I guess that’s something, although I don’t know how much it affects her hero’s journey.

      • Some Guy

        Yeah, that’s a good point, Rey actually does start to approach interesting in tlj. Not that it matters because I won’t be watching another star wars film.

        • http://www.nn4b.com suburban_samurai

          Your disgust with Star Wars mirrors my disgust with Game of Thrones.

          • Arkone Axon

            I never watched GoT in the first place. I had enough of R.R. Martin with the “Wild Cards” series. That kind of gloomy, wangsty overly done “grim and gritty = realistic” stuff is… not for me.

          • Some Guy

            Haha, I wouldn’t say I’m disgusted with SW, just that it’s made itself pretty clear that Disney has no intention of doing anything interesting with it (also, your disgust with GoT probably mirrors my disgust with GoT. It looks like grimdark for the sake of grimdark trash. The only redeeming feature it seems to have (not that I’ve read/watched it) is that it at least satisfies people’s frustrations with the popular trend of forced status quoism in many franchises + the absence of real stakes. It just cranks it up to eleven.). As for SW, tlj was their last chance with me, as long as they didn’t just remake ESB with the serial numbers scratched off I was going to stick with them.

          • Arkone Axon

            Oh yeah. Every time I hear anything about GoT, I ask, “why have none of the regular people risen up and said, “fuck you. Fuck ALL of you. We’re taking you all out, throwing that iron throne out to rust in the rain, and having a talk with that Jon Snow guy who says the White Walkers are coming?”

          • deebles

            Because they don’t have the information or the power to do that.

      • Arkone Axon

        A better method would have been the firing of bigger, sturdier missiles that were difficult to shoot down. Or better yet, unmanned drones that are shaped like giant arrows and piloted remotely or by a kamikazi droid brain. Something that can’t be stopped as it zooms in… then the reinforced armor becomes additional shrapnel.

    • Some Guy

      Did she actually fail at anything? I mean, asides from emo Vader insisting on keeping the series as boring as possible in spite of her offer to take the story in a new direction (or her insistence on keeping the story boring, but he was making a pretty shitty offer).

      • http://www.nn4b.com suburban_samurai

        Upon second viewing, I found Kylo Ren’s offer to have her join him pretty darn compelling, actually. He basically says “the galaxy’s full of too much baggage, let’s wipe it out and start over”. That FEELS like the kind of offer the Emperor must’ve given Anakin (you know, before the prequels showed us that it was all about saving his pregnant wife). I kind of wish Rey had said yes, even if just to get closer to him so she could potentially stop Kylo from doing anything horrific if/when the time came. Would’ve been real interesting.

        • Some Guy

          Well…. Maybe, he didn’t phrase it very compellingly. I agree tho, her going along with it would have brought me to the next movie.

        • Arkone Axon

          She might have been more inclined to agree if he’d said, “one second while I order my ships to stop shooting your friends… then we can discuss moving on to something better.”

          But that’s pretty much Kylo Ren in a nutshell – all those other people meant nothing, only his own feelings mattered. Selfish little twat… :p

        • Some Guy

          Nah, I think the emperor’s offer to Vader was something more along the lines of “galactic peace at all costs”. Correct me if I’m wrong, but wasn’t Vader’s offer to Luke something along the lines of “end this pointless conflict”?

      • Arkone Axon

        She failed in a few places – she didn’t “instantly get it right the first time” with her training.
        “Close your eyes… breathe… now… reach out! …Sigh…”

        She didn’t make horrible mistakes, but she wasn’t instantly succeeding at anything either. So I didn’t see the “Rey is a Mary Sue” crap I’ve been hearing about.

        • Some Guy

          I don’t think three seconds of effort counts as a failure. I mean, even Naruto (the garryest of stus) at least spends a few days getting all sweaty and frustrated before getting ssbss++ed up in this b.

          • Arkone Axon

            Yes, but one of the main features of a Mary Sue is that they get everything right the first time. Naturally skilled martial artists, that sort of thing. Rey was depicted as being about as gifted a student as… Luke himself, under Obi Wan and Yoda. Both of them had natural strength, both kept screwing up during the training, and both underestimated their teachers (Luke was casually deflecting Rey’s attacks when she assaulted him… until she grabbed the lightsaber. Then he was reduced to submitting because the alternative would have been to Force TK her into orbit.

          • Some Guy

            Given that Luke didn’t win a light saber duel until the third movie… I think you might be full of it, but w/e. Serious, Naruto is a pretty high on the sue spectrum, and he takes days or weeks of struggle. Just accept that Rey is a sue

          • http://www.nn4b.com suburban_samurai

            “Mary Sue/Gary Stu” is a malleable term, there’s no official definition. To me, a Mary Sue is a projection of the author’s own fantasies, putting themselves into situations where the character is lavished upon by others for inexplicable reasons, and/or is amazing at things the author wants to be amazing at without much justification.

            Considering Naruto starts his story with literally everyone in the village hating him and has to earn everyone’s respect over the course of his young adult life, I wouldn’t consider him a Gary Stu. Nor do I get the impression in the franchise’s writing that Naruto is a surrogate for the author, he feels like his own character. I do think he’s an overly one note character, but that’s mostly because his story consists of basically the exact same story arc repeated ad nauseum. “I don’t like/respect you, Naruto!” “I’ll make you like/respect me by working hard and exceeding your low expectations and punching you in the face!” “Wow, now I really like/respect you, Naruto!!”. Rinse, repeat. Not really a Mary Sue to me, just repetitive.

          • Some Guy

            I think a sue doesn’t have to be a projection of the author’s personal fantasy so much as the readers, and in any case, the authorial self insert is only the motivation for the terrible characterization, not the problem with it. It’s a safe bet that there are a lot of stories with an author stand in, but most writers have the decency to make them minor characters, or possess the author’s flaws so no one noticed.

            Also, the character doesn’t have to be loved by everyone to be high on the sue scale, they just have to be the center of attention. Given that “everyone in the village” hated him he certainly qualifies. He also had like three cases of chosen-one-itus. He had angry dog in his belly, he was the reincarnation of that one dudes son, and mastered everything in like a week, so he was apparently some kind of genius.

            The story having a terrible/unoriginal plot doesn’t actually alleviate any sueness of the main character.

            Anyway, sueness is more a scale than an absolute. I don’t think anyone in commercial fiction is a full Mary Sue (well, maybe Bella swan?), but that doesn’t stop a character from being boring in the same way a Mary Sue character is boring. That’s Rey’s problem, none of her struggles are interesting, she has no identifiable character flaws to outgrow(>inb4 “but muh junkrat parents” I said character flaws). Her most redeeming feature is that at least she has a good attitude, and so isn’t tedious to watch.

          • http://www.nn4b.com suburban_samurai

            I don’t really disagree with your opinions about these characters (I would’ve much preferred Naruto to literally be a nobody who works hard, like Rock Lee). The only thing I’m disagreeing with is your use of the term Mary Sue, which you’re now saying is scalable. instead of adding a scale to Mary Sue-ness, let’s just ditch the term altogether, since it’s nebulous and has no consensus meaning, and is often used to dismiss female characters. I have no problem evaluating characters using most any other terminology or means of measurement.

          • Some Guy

            It’s used to dismiss female characters? What the hell does that even mean? What, do we like fire them from the story or something? Is there a better term to use for bland characters without an interesting struggle or growth arc? What is it with people, and the moment something so much as suggests that something is even vaguely associated with women and suddenly it’s hate speech or something?

            Seriously, will someone explain Rey’s character arc to me? Not having parents isn’t a character trait, especially since she doesn’t seem to care. Did she even ask Luke who her parents were? Hell, did she even care that her parents sold her for scraps? While we’re at it, who did they sell her to? Because I’m pretty sure lives in the desert by herself isn’t normally associated with slavery. It’s like they pulled that out of their ass in the second movie, because whatever they’d originally planned was stupid. (Plus they needed to make sure you knew that their second act parental revelation twist was totally different than the second act parental revelation twist in the original trilogy, especially since the conflict between Rey and emo Vader is the same as the one between Luke and real Vader).

            Also, for someone who claimed they didn’t like repetition, I’m surprised tfa and tlj didn’t also annoy you. I mean, that’s why I’m done with SW, if I wanted to rewatch the original trilogy I’d just rewatch the original trilogy.

          • http://www.nn4b.com suburban_samurai

            Okay, let me rephrase that. If you want to call Rey a bland character, go ahead, that’s a valid criticism. Just don’t call her a Mary Sue, because I’m sick of that term, which can mean literally anything anyone wants it to mean, and is often used as a negative term to describe female characters specifically. To me, it is a term that stinks of sexism and misogyny. I don’t care if you agree with me, and if you want to argue this point, please do so somewhere other than here.

          • Some Guy

            That’s also a strange sentiment. ?”I might be dead wrong about something, but I don’t want to hear about it”? I don’t get it.

            Women are just regular human adults you know, you don’t have to treat them like children or goddesses. I tend to avoid fandoms/forums/Reddit, so maybe I’m missing something, but most of the characters I’ve seen labeled as Sues are male (Luke, Harry Potter, Naruto, literally just now sauske, kirito from Sao). I’ve never seen it, but I’m sure people call Bella? (From twilight) a sue, and maybe Hermione? It’s a little vague, but all tropes are like that, so I don’t know why that’s a problem. Given that the vast majority of characters can’t be called a Mary Sue, it still has categorization value. It only got that name because of an actual observed trend in fan fiction, but if you can think of a better term, I’m all ears.

          • http://www.nn4b.com suburban_samurai

            I can think of a better term, it’s called “bland character”, and it can be supported with reasonable arguments. Mary Sue can mean literally anything you want it to, and it was developed specifically to talk about female characters, otherwise it wouldn’t clearly be a woman’s name. Just because guy characters get called Mary Sue does not make it any less misogynistic or sexist, much like the term B*tch. Now I have made my feelings on this as clear as I can. If you continue to try to argue the validity of using the term Mary Sue, I will ban you.

          • Some Guy

            God you fascist types disgust me.

          • Arkone Axon

            I would like to note that “Mary Sue” is really the feminine pronoun of a concept that’s really universal. There are plenty of male characters who are Mary Sue (or Gary Stu) as hell. Wolverine (especially when written by raging fanboys who get to make their ideas canon. That’s how Wolverine went from the noble and conflicted hero of the 1980s who tamed his bestial berserker rage with the iron will of a samurai… to Stabbity McGee the fratboy douchebag, who makes homophobic comments and sneers at She-Hulk being Juggernaut’s “sloppy seconds.”). Ayn Rand’s character Galt (The one who gets strapped into a torture device which breaks down, is the only one who can repair it… then instantly and with 100% accuracy psychoanalyzes the guy in charge as being completely and utterly without morality or redeeming characteristics).

            Hell, even more positive examples can be found, such as Heinlein’s Lazarus Long – and I say “positive” because Heinlein realized after “Time Enough For Love” what he’d created, and pretty much every book he wrote after that would only feature Lazarus to have him beaten up, shackled and court martialed, or subjected to a roaring and scathing criticism from… everyone, after one particular screwup.

            That being said, I do agree with you regarding the reference of Rey as a Mary Sue – it’s not a valid criticism (not when she’s no different from Kylo, or Luke, or Yoda or Anakin or any number of other powerful Force Sensitives in the setting), it’s merely a complaint because the main heroes are not primarily white males. (And that’s coming from someone who is just SICK of racial politics) I’ve also heard similar charges levied against Leia for Force TKing herself to safety – even though she’s had literally decades to grow stronger in the Force, to hone her skills, to learn how to… do what Luke could have done way back in “Return of the Jedi” when he still barely qualified as anything other than “hardly trained assassin sent to kill Vader by two mentors who lied to him about his parentage.” Rey… she spent way too much time getting mocked, screwing up, and needing to be saved after getting in way over her head. Calling her a Mary Sue is like complaining about Finn being a main character because “where are all the white males?” (Especially when Poe kicked so much ass… and I know the actor is hispanic, but after decades of caucasian actors playing hispanic roles and hispanic actors playing caucasian roles… it’s not as if they called him “Commander Mendez the Taco Lord…”)

          • http://www.nn4b.com suburban_samurai

            I’m glad we agree! And sure, Mary Sue may be a ‘universal concept’, but even what you’re saying shows that it can be applied to almost any character. Like Tyrion is a Gary Stu because he’s always got a witty quip to expose someone’s ignorance. Doctor Who is a Gary Stu because he has a magical ship that can travel through time. Samantha Carter is a Mary Sue because she’s a scientific genius and accomplished military officer. You can take any positive aspect of a character and just say they’re a Mary Sue.

            My issue with the term Mary Sue is when it’s used as a criticism, which is pretty much always, as it was basically created to mock unbelievably written characters. “Oh, that character is a Mary Sue, so I hate her”. That statement says nothing other than that character had some quality that the person didn’t like. There is no guideline for a Mary Sue, there is no agreed upon definition. And, unfortunately, the criticism is more often targeted at female characters than male, despite both being equally capable of carrying the nebulous label. Heck, the Star Wars screenplays weren’t even written by women (at least they’re not credited, although I’m sure Kathleen Kennedy kept a keen eye on it).

          • Arkone Axon

            No, that’s like claiming any argument that disagrees with your own is a Strawman, or rushing to throw the labels of “racist,” “sexist,” “apartheid,” and “nazi” around in political discussions. What makes a Mary Sue/Gary Stu into an MS/GS is when their awesomeness comes at the expense of everyone else in the story.

            For instance, Doctor Who is not usually a Gary Stu because he’s not always right, he tends to favor companions that can put him on a leash (Donna was especially good at that – she’s the only one known to have slapped the crap out of him. Not to mention telling the Devil to go to hell, before sending him there), and a lot of the comedy comes at his expense as self-deprecating jokes. Whereas Captain Jack was a GLARING example of a Gary Stu in the few episodes of the Doctor Who spinoff series “Torchwood” that I saw, because his awesomeness came at the expense of his team being portrayed as idiots (the cannibal village episode in particular. Two team members with guns drawn still manage to get captured by one guy, then Captain Jack shows up and shoots all the enemies singlehandedly).

            Samantha Carter… not overly familiar with the series, but I do know that she was ONE character in an ensemble cast of intelligent and capable soldiers serving together. She didn’t outshine, she wasn’t outshown. Their victories were as a team. Much like in… No Need For Bushido, where the “lead” male’s capacity for dual wielding at lightning speed doesn’t overshadow his friend’s ability to wield massive blades with ease, or his other friend’s devastating unarmed combat skill. Or the lead female’s ability for organization and leadership, developed over the course of the storyline.

            I don’t think that the criticism is directed more at female characters so much as it is that the female characters tend to be more glaring examples. For instance, “Twilight” features a female protagonist who is desired by all (especially two superhuman males who preen in the sunlight), but has no redeeming qualities whatsoever. Then you look at the “Anita Blake” series, whose protagonist STARTED as a female “paranormal film noire” gumshoe type, but after the author’s first husband divorced her the author went… insane, and Blake essentially became “Twilight’s” protagonist, except older, heavily armed, viciously violent, with all the powers of every creature she encountered and none of their weaknesses, and surrounded by a male harem who agreed that everything she did was justified.

            Not to say that there haven’t been some pretty glaring examples on the Gary Stu side. But those examples tend to suffer increased scrutiny and in-universe backlash, especially when other writers take over (like how Batman or Wolverine’s capacity for outshining their teammates tends to vary depending on the writer). With Mary Sues, the lingering tendency to avoid violence aimed at female characters results in even fewer blemishes or defeats to mar their perfect record.

            There’s an interesting link to check out, the Mary Sue Litmus Test:

            http://www.springhole.net/writing/marysue.htm

            Try putting a given character through it and see what kind of score they hit. (I first found this test while trying to deal with a good friend with a bad habit of making minmaxed Mary Sues for tabletop RPG gaming – every character had to be female, nonhuman, and as extra special as possible. First they ran their latest character –
            a Fomori Drake Mystic Adept for 4th edition Shadowrun – through it, and got something like 15. Then I made them redo the test more HONESTLY… and the final score was, like, 88)

          • Kid Chaos

            You really need to read Ensign Due Must Die. 😎

          • Thomas

            Don’t forget the part of the formula that is his personal super power — Naruto motivational speaker mode! Someone should count how many lives changed course due to the influence of his words. (This power is enhanced by the manga property of nearly unbounded dialogue / monologue time during conflicts.)

          • Arkone Axon

            The part I like about Naruto is that he suffered so much pain… and it just made him MORE compassionate, MORE interested in the suffering of others. Whereas Sasuke was always a selfish little shit. When they tried to bring Sasuke back because he ran away to join Orochimaru, we get to see something of the backstories of the others, how they’d suffered in turn… and Naruto cared about that, whereas Sasuke did not. After his three years abroad with Jiraiya, he comes back even more dedicated to protecting others from suffering. Even his power upgrades are a reflection of that – instead of just grabbing power and swallowing it up in violation of the “Evil Overlord List” rule about not consuming fields of energy larger than his head, Naruto’s power upgrades were either the result of hard training and effort, or benefiting from an alliance with someone else (such as the toads), or both.

            I’m actually still going through the vast archive of episodes on Hulu, having just recently witnessed the formation of the Ninja Alliance. At this point it’s not always a case of having to work hard to earn someone’s trust. At this point someone says, “I don’t like/respect you, Naruto!” and a bunch of other people reply, “you’d BETTER respect Naruto! We can vouch for him!”

          • Arkone Axon

            Technically, Luke didn’t HAVE a light saber duel until the end of the second film, when he picks a fight with a Sith Lord who proceeds to play with him until Luke finally gets in a few good hits (at which point Vader roars, stops playing around, and lops off Luke’s hand before calming down). Whereas Rey… Snokes points out in this one that Kylo lost to Rey BECAUSE Kylo wasn’t fighting at his best (also, Kylo was badly injured and it was a two-on-one fight with Rey AND Finn).

            Rey does get the hang of wielding a light saber – but she’s already experienced in wielding a staff, and there’s a tremendous amount of carryover (same basic principles – leverage, positioning, etc… it’s why classical European martial arts – as the surviving fighting manuals written from the medieval period show – based everything around wrestling and the longsword, with the longsword wielded like a grappled opponent and vice versa, and all other weapons being shown as being wielded like the longsword). Hence that scene where she swings the staff, then attempts to wield the light saber in the same fashion… and promptly slices through the boulder and realizes, “holy crap this thing is DANGEROUS, I’m lucky I didn’t lop off my own arm.” After that, she fights Snoke’s bodyguards… with Kylo’s help, and the two of them together are able to win against bodyguards who… may not have been trained as well as they could have been (Snokes might not have allowed his bodyguards to become powerful enough to be a threat to him). Beyond that… Rey doesn’t really get the opportunity to do much of anything, and what she does is mostly screw up a bit – she doesn’t find her parents, she can’t stop the link with Kylo, when she confronts Snokes she’s literally a toy in his grasp and has to be saved by Kylo, and she fails to turn Kylo back to the light (even though his motivation to join her is obvious and intense – seriously, he’s gotta have a LOOOT of stuff in his private diary about things he’d like to do with her… all of it written with a proper emo tone).

            But… Naruto? You’re referencing a character who starts out as the lonely outsider, who can’t even master the basic substitution jutsu at first, and whose first mission involves him getting mocked by Sasuke for cowering under an assault. Now Sasuke is another matter – I LOVE the concept of Sasuke. Not Sasuke himself, but I love his concept. Everything about him is an archetypical anime protagonist. Gorgeous features that the opposite sex adores? Check. Lack of interest in the opposite sex? Check. Long flowing hair? Check. Awesome Mary Sue lineage that makes him naturally better than everyone else? Check. Tragic backstory that also eliminates the competition from others of the Mary Sue lineage? Check. You can see how he suspects he’s in a story and he knows he SHOULD be the main character… but the real main character is a lovable twit who suffered even more pain, but deals with it by dangling upside down from the nose of a giant statue and calling out, “LOOK AT ME! I’M A BOOGER!”

          • Some Guy

            Last I checked, a few good hits with a lightsaber equated to missing arms. Also, there is equally no reason for her to be good with a staff.

            Also also, I’m pretty sure monk staff technique and longsword +- shield are totally different styles, but okay, I’m sure you’re a medieval weapons scholar so I’ll take your word for it. I’m also very confident a precognition based fighting style using silly dangerous weapons that you can’t half sword are also completely the same as longsword tactics, which are identical to staff techniques (because you wield them both from the center of the weapon, obviously). Also, man, there’s so much wrestling in star wars, I’m glad we have this doctor of European dueling manuals here.

            Anyway, I’m not sure why you’re defending Naruto, seeing as the main thrust of my argument is that his struggles were more believable than Rey’s, not that he was or was not an interesting character (I can’t say, because I’m biased towards high enthusiasm super optimists), just that he has a very childish character arc (being a gokuish sort of character). As for sauske, no one cares.

    • Roborat

      Umm, what is a B-12? sure you didn’t mean B-17? B-25? B-26?

      • Arkone Axon

        Yes, sorry. The B-17.

  • Sunwu

    Hyakushou: It’s time for this farmer harvest.

    • RickRussellTX

      Woo.

  • AGV

    Is it me or these guys have Ash Ketchum’s hairstyle?

    • http://www.nn4b.com suburban_samurai

      Clearly my subconscious’ undying love for Ash Ketchum can’t help but to manifest itself into my character designs.

  • clogboy

    This game endorsement makes it worth coming here today. And the fairly spoiler free Star Wars review.
    Might pick up Horizon from the budget bin. Ranked between other Open World games with Far Cry 3 being the benchmark, and Far Cry Primal being the expectation on the lower end, where do you place it?

    • Kid Chaos

      I think “Horizon” should be at or near the top, but that’s just me. 😎

    • http://www.nn4b.com suburban_samurai

      I admittedly have never played Far Cry, but I’m lousy at FPS games (FC3 did interest me when it came out because I like tropical island settings). HZD is like this magnificent painting, or a wild life documentary come to life. The world building is great, and the main character is extremely likable. I think my biggest problem with it is that I can’t literally climb everything like I could in BotW, all the climbing is sort of context sensitive, which is a bummer, since the vistas look so rich and detailed that I just want to explore them. But I’ll take the combat in HZD over BotW any day, it always feels hectic and strategic simultaneously.

      • clogboy

        I should know by now but are you a console gamer? For some reason, with PC graphics I just take it all in different than on a TV. On a PC I’m more focused on details. But that might just be me.

        Far Cry 3 is INSANE! If you’ve played the first Tomb Raider reboot, they probably looked at FC3 for inspiration. It’s very good and I recommend playing it.
        What makes it a good open world game for me, is that not only there are dangers lurking around every corner, it has some good hunting/gathering and crafting going on (they’re the first to get it right). The open world, gameplay and story are just done very well.
        Primal was less interesting to me, because every fight is close combat. The hunting is also less interesting, although they give you this 6th hunting sense. Nobody speaks English, and while some characters are interesting, it’s missing both this ultimate reason why you should care about the story (in FC3 it’s to save your friends, in Primal it’s to rebuild your tribe) and navigating the world of Primal is difficult and boring at the same time. FC3 is just more varied and it has roads, vehicles and even hang gliders, while Primal lets you navigate game trails on foot. Nice if that’s your thing, but it ain’t me. While Primal is a spiritual successor of FC3, the appeal is close combat (which could’ve been better) and being able to hunt animals that are now extinct. But sadly, the open world, gameplay and story feel like a bland rinse/repeat, while you can clearly see it’s an honest attempt to make something good and genuine. It deserved to be better. It’s what Andromeda was to Mass Effect.

        All nostalgia disregarded, I hope FC5 will be as inventive and surprising as FC3 was. You missed out on something great.

        • http://www.nn4b.com suburban_samurai

          I jump between PC, PS4, and Switch nowadays. I probably lean more toward consoles just because I spend all day working in front of my PC, and want to go lounge on the couch after. FC3 is definitely the one Far Cry game I have an interest in. I loved 2013 Tomb Raider (really want to play the sequel, too many games!). I may pick FC3 up on a Steam sale someday, although what I’ve read concerning its use of rape as a plot point, and its portrayal of minorities kinda rubs me the wrong way. Still, if the game’s fun to play, that’s a selling point.

          https://www.rockpapershotgun.com/2012/12/04/what-i-loathe-about-far-cry-3/

          I don’t know if we’ll ever get a PC version of HZD, I would LOVE to see it running in 4k 60FPS. The game on PS4 Pro caps at mostly very solid 30 FPS, which is totally playable.

          • clogboy

            You’re the one who gets first person raped. Not too shocking a scene unless you consider female nudity to be offensive.

          • clogboy

            Done some more pondering on the subject.
            In a game where you kill people, should you be sensitive towards how NPCs and side characters are treated if it’s not contributing to the story, or especially when it is part of the story line? This harkens back to 80s movies, but we’re not in the 80s anymore. It’s not about killing either. It’s about narrative, and especially how it helps shape the minds of people who play the game. And there is a reason why games have an age rating.
            Now the story of a game is something in particular, it’s not just something you digest passively, to connect with actors on screen who usually play a normal person caught in an extraordinary situation, or a person larger than life who has to risk it all in order to save the day. A story in a game is a mechanic to make players who interact with the game care about the outcome. Stick and carrot. Players perform actions, usually aggressive ones, under some type of justification and with a certain reward. Sometimes, both can be outlined as ‘because it’s fun’, or ‘for the greater good’. The best games force you to choose between two parties who both believe they are in the right, and where you have to choose the conflict and battlefield based on what you believe is right, guided by a reward or sense of what is more beneficial in the larger story line. And this is where you learn to hone your moral compass, and learn to follow through and deal with the consequences. But you can (usually) always go back to a previous savegame if you regret a decision. The same is not true in real life.

            Not saying Far Cry 3 falls either in the ‘fun’ or ‘moral compass’ category. Bit of A, bit of B.
            Assuming that games with mature content have an age rating, and that it’s up to parents to take responsibility where under age players participate, should writers be really mindful when it comes to the narrative of the game? There’s a point where sensitivity and inclusion become pandering, and infringe on creative freedom, and ‘inclusion done wrong’ is sometimes worse than avoiding the subject altogether. Point in case: South Park, the Fractured but Whole, where these topics become a side quest where they satirize some typical reactions to the topic. It is a cheap laugh at the expense of some particular demographics, but it also begs the question to what point you should specify gender identity and still make sense to people who’re less well versed on the topic. The game also includes a character called PC Principal, who’s a social justice warrior to the point where people on both side of the subject feel offended.

            So the discussion is pretty much still very open: does artistic freedom excuse insulting (and sometimes condemning) an entire generation from an entire culture? Is a poor implementation of cultural/gender/sexual inclusion better or worse than avoiding it? There is a big market for games that get this right, and Bioware is leading the way at this point in time (or at least attempts to), and they have gotten some backlash more than once, which means there’s room for improvement but it definitely clicks with a portion of gamers who felt left out before. But there’s also a market for senseless killing, and the number of games that have poor storytelling in an attempt to sell a setting and game mechanics are still more rule than exception. The games where you care about sensitivity and action/consequence are the ones worth playing (IMO), even if they get it wrong or are blatantly insulting; they make you care about something greater than you or the game. The games that get it right are precious gems and preciously rare. It’s maybe one or two a year, and when elevated to a higher social status are still likely to receive flack because you just can’t please everyone.
            But attempts are being made, and I would definitely support games that make young players feel like every living person is a unique part of a greater whole that’s called humankind, and that gives grown up players plenty to connect with and trigger emotions they don’t experience on a daily basis. And sometimes you just want to let off steam, which is good too. And Far Cry 3 doesn’t seem to be aware of what it wants to be, or worse: it’s a mindless shooter which makes an attempt to be something more, and when up against Mass Effect 3 (from that same year) that’s a steep hill.

            My only hope is that there’s still room for games in the future that are culturally sensitive and gender-inclusive, but don’t need to be necessarily death free (although Skyrim and Dishonored do offer that option, for the most part).

          • http://www.nn4b.com suburban_samurai

            This is very well put, and I do think games are making strides in the right direction. We’ve definitely reached a point where the M rating on a game doesn’t immediately mean it’ll be an F-bomb fest full of egregious violence and college bro attitudes. I think the new Tomb Raider games are a good example, and The Last of Us. Even Call of Duty has worked to make itself more inclusive. But if/when you get a chance to play H:ZD, I’d highly recommend it, I think it hits the perfect balance of being inclusive without losing the fun factor. It’s actually Teen rated, which surprised me because it feels so mature, but I have to chalk that up to the excellence of the storytelling. I’m completely engrossed in both its story and its gameplay, which is extremely rare. My wife spent a good chunk of time watching me play the game, and she even commented how much she liked Aloy as a character. I think that speaks to its inclusiveness. I doubt she would have the same reaction watching me play Far Cry.

            “Even if it’s not always PC, or maybe even because of it; I mean, do you really want PC bad guys?”

            I definitely don’t want PC badguys all the time, although I do think that rape is a serious enough and brutal enough topic that casually throwing it in as a plot device should not be done. It’s an issue that carries enough weight and has affected enough people that it should be a big part of the theme of the story if it’s included as a plot point, or at least treated as a serious and problematic issue. Once you toss rape into your story, you’ve moved out of the ‘good time fun zone’ and stepped into the ‘serious shit zone’. Especially since women are disproportionately the victims, it’s a very gender divided topic, and it makes me cringe when it’s haphazardly tossed into media to add surface level emotional pain to a character.

          • clogboy

            The rape scene was mostly thrown in to display Citra’s level of insanity, and she didn’t do it for dominance but to make warrior babies. But I do get your point completely.

          • http://www.nn4b.com suburban_samurai

            “Do you know the definition of insanity?”

          • clogboy

            It has become a staple quote since that game, at one of the most impressive points in the game. A standard trope where you’ve failed spectacularly, lose all your gear and weapons and have to almost start from scratch, just to get out stronger.

  • Kid Chaos

    I know that I shouldn’t look too far ahead, but I couldn’t help it. I saw that “Solo” comes out in May, so I thought “what are we getting for Christmas”? The choices include (but are not limited to): a “Mary Poppins” remake…another “Transformers” movie (“Bumblebee”? Seriously?)…and a Freddie Mercury biopic (Fun Fact: Brian Singer was fired halfway through production, and replaced by Dexter Fletcher [“Eddie the Eagle” (2016)]). 😎

  • LordBolanderFace

    *leaps from tree*
    “FARMERS! YEEEEAAAAAAAAHHHHHH!”

    And yes, I have played HZD! So I can confirm that it is indeed incredible But unfortunately my ADHD brain has trouble focusing on open world games, so I haven’t beaten it. Or… even made it into the second chapter.

    • http://www.nn4b.com suburban_samurai

      There’s a brief sense of overwhelm when you get out of the starting area, but I’ve mostly stuck to running from quest to quest within my level of difficulty, and the writing and characters have managed to stay compelling and hold my interest. I adore the world building in the game, I honestly would pick up a novelization adaptation of the story if they commissioned an author to write one. It deserves to be a larger franchise, I think.

      • LordBolanderFace

        At first I almost gave up because I couldn’t figure out the stealth. I was trying to play it like an Arkham game, but every time I left the magic red bushes I would immediately get spotted. Eventually I figured out all you had to do was whistle at everybody, wait for them to get close (completely ignoring the pile of their dead buddies) and then stealth kill them. The world may be overwhelming, but *THAT* was completely UNDERwhelming.

        • http://www.nn4b.com suburban_samurai

          Ha, I have definitely employed that strategy. I also admit to loving stealth games, which have you exploiting weird AI stuff like that frequently. At least if you just want to have a hectic fight you can run out and get into a big battle with robot dinosaurs. And if you tip them off, the bushes aren’t gonna help you.

          • LordBolanderFace

            I remember during some part of the Revenge of the Nora mission, there was some kind of robodino wandering around, and my whistle accidentally caught it’s attention instead of the humans I was supposed to be assassinating. Oops.

  • Crestlinger

    Got an large boulders lying about? This looks like Perfect time to go bowling.

  • clogboy

    Bit off topic but finished watching Inuyashiki (not Inuyasha), and it’s amazing.
    It’s a short show, with just 11 episodes of 20 minutes each, and I think they’re still on Youtube. You could sit through it in 2 or 3 sittings, it is a very bingeable show, and it has a killer soundtrack.
    Some moments lack dramatic emphasis but that’s its strength IMO: the focus lies with the main characters, and how their abilities affect themselves and the people they care about.
    Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lvhlrog0_3w

  • Banjo Colucius Smythe

    Horizon is SO good!!

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