Skip navigation

Monthly Archives: April 2012

 

 

What’s the Story?

In Mass Effect, Commander Shepard chased down a rogue government agent and discovered he was working for The Reapers – a race of robots that hide out beyond the galaxy. 50,000 years ago they wiped out the super-intelligent Protheans and all life and now they’re planning to come back. Shepard stops them from returning, but no one seems to believe him that Reapers are real.

In Mass Effect 2, Shepard battles a race called the Collectors, who have been abducting whole human colonies. Eventually, Shepard discovers that the Collectors are the Protheans, effectively brainwashed into being the Reapers’ slaves. They’re stealing people and turning them into goo to make a new, human Reaper. Shepard kills it. Still no one believes the Reapers are real.

In the opening of Mass Effect 3, the Reapers attack Earth. Also, the rest of the galaxy. Also, they’re nearly indestructable. Shepard leaves Earth and finds designs for an ancient Prothean weapon to destroy the Reapers: the Crucible. He must now unite all the disparate alien races so they can retake Earth and use the Crucible to destroy the Reapers.

 

What’s the Problem?

First, let me say this is an amazing game. Every choice you make over the last two games comes back into play. And some of those choices are whether your friends live or die. If they died in the last game, they’re absent from this. So any two playthroughs of ME3 are unlikely to be the same. I’ve finished it twice. Once I managed to unite two alien races by making a risky decision and then making a rousing speech. In the other, one of my friends had died in the previous game. She wasn’t there to talk sense to her people, so I didn’t get to make my rousing speech and her entire species was wiped out. My character accidentally committed genocide.

To be fair, you guys were kind of being dicks.

That’s the kind of thing that happens in ME3. Constantly. Little decisions have huge consequences…

Read More »

Advertisements

 

 

What’s the Story?

A group of British oldies retire to the newly-opened Best Exotic Marigold Hotel in India. Which turns out to be a dungheap. But they learn valuable life lessons about other cultures, etc etc…

 

What’s the Problem?

Nothing, really. It’s an old story, not stunningly original, but it doesn’t fall into cliche and it has fun. It seems mostly to be an excuse to get all of the best British actors together and make a film with them before they, themselves, head off to retirement homes.

If you don't see the film in widescreen, the cast is half the size...

Read More »

 

 

What’s the Story?

In a distopian future, each of the twelve districts of Panem (America) must give up one male and one female “tribute” to fight to the death for the amusement of all. Twenty-four kids enter, only one leaves. From the shitty District Twelve, Katniss and Peeta get to go to the Capitol, train, and fight in the Hunger Games.

 

What’s the Problem?

Quite little. This is an adaptation of the book (which I’ve read, which will colour this review), and on the whole it did an excellent job of conveying what was in the book: the crappy districts, the opulence of the Capitol, the bullshit reality TV interviews, the brutality of the Games, etc.

Setting up District Twelve

That said, they spend a long time in both book and film setting up Katniss in the forest at the start when, really, we want to get to the arena already. As it turns out, there’s a bunch of stuff before the arena that’s important and worthwhile; it’s just that none of it is in District Twelve. All we need to know is: this place mines coal. It’s shit to live there. You could do that with a couple of establishing shots.

This shot does it all, for instance.

Read More »