Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens (Spoiler Free) Review

Let me begin by saying that I have never been a huge Star Wars fan. I never gave in to the culture and fandom it spawned. Sure, lightsabers are cool, Darth Vader is legendary, Yoda is pretty neat, but overall, the movies just never did anything for me.

The announcement of the new movie and hype leading up to its release I met with indifference.

Since I knew I would watch it when it came out with my friends, I decided to try and make the most of it… So I did not watch any trailers or teasers and tried my best to avoid any type of information about the film until I went and watched it (great idea by the way, you should try it).

That said…

Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens is a spectacle.

Seeing “STAR WARS” blast on the theater screen with the trademark theme blasting made me feel like I was witnessing something special.

I’ll keep this somewhat brief, because I don’t want to give away too much.

The Force Awakens is a true space adventure, unlike any space movie I’ve seen in recent years. The worlds and creatures are imaginative and fun to witness.

The main characters in the film are all interesting and each offer a story that left me wanting to know more.

The performances are all spot on, as well. Which is remarkable considering I’ve never heard of a large majority of this cast.

My complaint about The Force Awakens is that is a bit too parallel to Episode IV: A New Hope.

I want to call The Force Awakens formulaic, and in the grand scheme of things, it very well may be, but it throws enough monkey wrenches to make things feel fresh.

The formulaic nature makes it feel predictable, then 1/3 through the movie this happens, which left me saying “Oh… okay.”

The Force Awakens is the introductory movie in a brand new trilogy in every sense. You’re gonna meet a lot of people. You’re gonna have a lot of unanswered questions. 

I am concerned that with two more movies in this trilogy already confirmed, and a spin off movie coming next year, this special feeling will stop being special, and become commonplace.

Regardless, Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens lays foundation for what is to come, and I can’t wait to see where it goes.

Quick note: If you’ve had the movie “spoiled” for you, don’t worry. There is no one, end all, be all spoiler for this movie. The only way I could see a spoiler ruining the movie is if you were told the entire plot. So go see it anyways.

Favorite Cover Art from the Dreamcast and PS1

I didn’t expect there to be many from either of these systems.  I didn’t have a Dreamcast until recently, and while my brother had a PS1 growing up, I never really played it.  I guess the PS1 aisle being opposite of the N64 aisle at the rental store was good enough, because seeing some of these covers brought back all sorts of memories.

I didn’t play a ton of PS1 during its lifespan.  Honestly, I feel like I have played more PS1 in the last year or so due to the PS Classic store on the Vita.  Nonetheless, the system had a huge library with great cover art that stands out.

Last post I noted how surprised I was by the amount of GBC/N64 ported games.  That issue popped up again here.  For some reason I don’t remember there being a ton of cross-platform games during this time, but I was definitely wrong.

The Dreamcast has more than one game, so that’s something.


Dreamcast

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PS1

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Gaming Confessions

Fallout 3 is a landmark title in gaming. It gave players an open world full of endless possibilities, the likes of which had never been seen before. The world was huge, unpredictable, and unique, which kept players returning to it for hours and hours. Fallout 3 will always be remembered as one of the most definitive gaming experiences of its time.  I respect Bethesda and the amazing game they put together, and yet…

I do not like Fallout 3.

While I know I am not the only person out there who didn’t like Fallout 3, we are definitely in the minority.  Hearing all of my friends stories made me glad that they enjoy the game, and are able to make these great memories.  Hell, it even inspired me to pick it up and play it numerous times.  Sadly, I inevitably always fell uninterested in the game.  But why?  I managed to narrow it down to three main reasons…


  1. The Design

Let me preface this by saying I am in no way a stickler for life-like, amazing graphics and animations, but the design just managed to get under my skin in Fallout 3.  The human characters always looked off, which actually inspired me to play more as I wanted to get decent gear to cover myself up as quick as possible.  The limb exploding was a novel concept, but resembled a crushed cherry more than an exploding limb, which broke immersion for me.  The color palette repelled my eyes, different hues of yellow, everywhere.  Fallout 3 really was a victim of the times when it comes to the single, dull color palette curse though, as most games were going through the exact same thing during this period (sadly, some still do).


2.  The World/Story

I absolutely loved the beginning moments of Fallout 3.  Being a baby, celebrating your birthday, getting your first Pip-Boy and so on.  That is still a great idea that I wish more games would learn from.  Shortly after that is when Fallout 3 began to lose me.  The moment you leave Vault 101 you are met by the near-endless world that Fallout 3 has to offer, free to explore anywhere you may wish.  That’s my problem.  I love open world games and have been playing them for 15 years, but there’s something about Fallout 3 that was just too open for my taste.  I got lost.  I went where I shouldn’t. I died. A lot.  The amount of side-quests had me losing sight of the main quest, and I got confused to which quest my current objective is benefitting.


3.  Combat

I don’t think Fallout 3 is a bad game, there are just things that don’t click or connect with me.  I think the only absolute bad thing that I experienced in my time was the combat.  The shooting felt absolutely awful, making V.A.T.S. an absolute necessity if I wanted to survive.  A fun, but slow mechanic that needed to be used way too often.  It broke the pacing of the game and just made combat feel like a chore.  Far too often I found myself out of ammo, or with the wrong type of ammo, which resulted in me having to use melee combat, which didn’t end well.  I did play a bit of New Vegas, and I’ll say that improved it tremendously, but it was still far from perfect.


That said, I cannot wait to get my hands on Fallout 4.

I’m excited to see what Bethesda has planned with the power of the new consoles.  It really seems like their vision for a game could benefit on more powerful hardware.  I really hope they’re using a new engine, or at least a severely updated version of the original game engine to improve the minor annoyances I had with Fallout 3.  As noted earlier, the problems I had with the coloring of Fallout 3 were possibly due to the times, and Fallout 4 already looks to be a more colorful game just by judging the one trailer.  Since the release of Fallout 3, the shooting mechanic in games has become a gimme.  Even the worst of movie licensed games can get it right, so I’m confident that Bethesda will have a reworked, fluid shooting mechanic in place.  I can’t imagine the world of Fallout 4 being much larger than it’s predecessor, but I really do hope they focus on making the game as stable as possible as opposed to as large as possible.

I don’t think I would normally have given Fallout 4 a chance, after being let down by Fallout 3 so many times.  However, earlier this year I had another situation similar to this very one.  I have never been a fan of the Legend of Zelda series.  I’ve played every Legend of Zelda game that I could get my hands on, multiple times, but never been able to get remotely interested.  The world, characters, and gameplay just turned me off, sound familiar?  Then, on a whim, I decided to pick up Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker HD for my newly purchased Wii U.  I had played Wind Waker when it originally came out on the Gamecube, but like it’s brothers, it didn’t resonate.  The Wind Waker HD hit me at the right place and time, as I’m currently working on the resolution of it after 40 hours.  I’m interested to explore more of the Legend of Zelda series, now that I’ve gotten that first foot in the door.