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  1. You won't find any argument from me that they need to open up the universe to new areas and characters if they want to make new stories in the future. I was pleased that Johnson had Kylo smash the mask and kill off Emperor Mk 11. At least now the character is free of the old baggage and can to go off in an interesting direction in part 3.
  2. I don't think TLJ throws away much of TFA, or that Johnson set out to subvert expectations. He took the plot stands in a direction that felt right to him. For example much of Rey's storyline was about her relationship with her parents, and the resolution has high implications for her character. The same can be said about why Kylo was struggling to emulate Vader. This was definitely picked up from TFA and expanded on in TLJ. In TFA a Luke has cut himself off from both the force and the people he cares about. TLJ explores why. It definitely feels like the middle of a trilogy to me and one that opens up the Star Wars universe to a wider cast of characters, rather than just the story of royality it's been up until now.
  3. MechE

    Tomb Raider 2013

    For me it's not that there's no place for cinematic games, but if you're being asked to climb a mountain that's crumbling at the same time, should those falling boulders be part of the gameplay? Or when presented with a large tower to climb in a 3D traversal game, is it better to replace the climbing challenge with a cinematic? Or if you've gone to the trouble of inserting puzzle rooms in your game, should you give the player the solution within 3 minutes? I'm not claiming that there's an objective truth to theses game design decisions, but for me Tomb Raider (and by extension many other cinematic games) would be improved if some of the momentum was sacrificed for more challenge. Conversely, I believe that games like Soma and To the Moon would be improved if some of the more challenging gameplay elements were removed.
  4. MechE

    Tomb Raider 2013

    It blows my mind that a game like this can cost $100 million. I guess if I was stumping up that type of cash I'd demand it was as accessible as possible too. I do wonder if the whole scripted set piece thing really does give anyone an adrenaline rush these days? I don't mind them as long as I maintain a good level of control throughout. Uncharted 2's Nepal rooftop chase with collapsing building was great, and I died a fair few times so the danger felt ever present.
  5. MechE

    Tomb Raider 2013

    I do think there's a misplaced fear from a lot of AAA developers that putting too hard puzzles into games will put people off, but I think it might actually work the other way. The indie puzzle game genre is thriving, and I'd certainly welcome it if some proper headscraters made their way back into Tomb Raider.
  6. MechE

    Tomb Raider 2013

    Sometimes I dispair of this place. Someone on a 'discussion' forum wants to discuss gameplay theory, themes, ideas. The video Smitty posted was thoughtful and well worth exploring, but instead of engaging, we've got active hostility.
  7. If you're looking to draw a real world commentary from the TLJ (and I wouldn't recommend digging too deeply into it), I would say that the neo-liberalism of the Republic allowed the First Order to rise, in much the say way the neo-liberal politics of the West has enabled the current wave of right wing populism we're experiencing. The Empire was overthrown by a ruling class of royalty, and judging by what we've seen in TFA and TLJ, the Republic did very little in the intervening years to improve the lives of the poor. They seem to be just as exploited as they ever were. Meanwhile there's a liberal elite who are doing alright for themselves and don't seem particularly keen on moving from their 'moderate centrist' position to support either side. Hence the reason DJ sells to both sides and no one responded to the distress call. Ray, Finn, Rose and the stable kids could be seen as new grass roots socialist movement, in the vein of Momentum and Sanders. What I'm saying is that Leia is Space Hillary, Snoke is Trump. I wouldn't read too much into any of it.
  8. As a complete aside, it technically wasn't a slow chase. Those ships were accelerating the whole time, so after 18 hours or so they would be going at one hell of a pace.
  9. That's part of what makes TLJ so interesting to me compared to most modern blockbusters. It resists the temptation to have good guys who are motivated purely because they are "good people", and villians who are just "baddies". They all have their personal motivations for their actions. Hux can kill billions because he's a 'rabid cur', not some evil genius, and as such it's only right he's shown as an unstable character.
  10. I don't know, Infinity War doesn't suffer from having light and dark tones within a single scene, nor do countless other films. And the humour didn't seem too out of place either. I know in high stress situations, I tend to tell more jokes as a way of dealing with it.
  11. It was interesting watching the deleted scenes that the majority were from the Finn and Rose storyline. It's a long film in its final form and some good (and bad) content needed to be cut just to get it down to that length. The good stuff gave some more insight into Finn's life as a stormtrooper, and more details on his motivations. It's a shame it couldn't be kept in as I think it would have addressed a lot of the critism levelled at the way he and Rose were portrayed. But on balance I'm glad they decided to focus on keeping as much of the Rey/Ren/Luke story as possible as I think that's the beating heart of the story. Having now watched it a second time, I believe it really is an indie film story dressed in blockbuster clothing (and I don't mean this in a bad way). It's a surpringly intimate story of five broken people bumping up against each other and trying to find their own meaning in a chaotic universe. Related to this, the 5 or so action scenes are surprisingly short and always stay centered on the characters. They rarely step out of the character arcs to provide a few minutes of spectacal. It also stuck me how much this film seems to be one man's singular vision in a world where lots of large franchise films feel like they're written by a group of people. Every piece of dialogue, outside of a few gags and essential exposition, are focused on building these carefully construed character arcs and themes that Johnson has decided upon.
  12. They're all perfectly serviceable action films, apart from 2 which has the added bonus of being batshit mental.
  13. The idea that RJ threw away the 'Rey's parents' thread is mental. Her entire character arc in TLJ is built off it!
  14. MechE

    Valve - Soon Shipping Games Again

    I think Gabe's a very thoughtful and intelligent guy, but I think he's fallen for that Randian, US tech mindset that there are a small number of 'great' people who get things done and create the world that the rest of us enjoy. However, this overlooks the impact of the 'ordinary' people, who quietly work away at the mundane tasks which are essential to a functioning society. I get the impression that the Valve recruiting process only looks for the 'best and brightest', which is great as far as it goes, but if you want to ship a triple A game, you need a whole load of worker bees who can come in and churn out the mundane but essential stuff.
  15. I've got to start by saying that outside of A New Hope (which is just an outstanding standalone film), the story was never really the appealing part of the original trilogy for me. As a kid I used to watch my favourite set pieces in Empire and Jedi over and over again because I found them exciting, but rarely had the desire to watch the whole films, so I'm not a traditional Star Wars fan. I should also say that what I find interesting and intriguing these days is very different to what 8 year old me did. So when I say I find TLJ as intriguing as the original trilogy, I'm looking at it from a very different perspective. I find this story of people having to live with the legacy of the OT fascinating: There's Ren's struggle to move out of the shadow of his grandfather. I liked his transition from tribute act to leader and am interested to see how he handles this new found power. Rey's clearly been harbouring a fantasy of being part of the grand narrative up until now. She's a fan girl of the Rebel Alliance and it's been fascinating watching her having to let go of all of that and find her own purpose. Again, we've only seen a glimpse of who she really can be unburdened by her past, so I'm keen to see where this takes them. I've really liked seeing Luke struggle with the responsibility of failing Ren, and thereby also failing Han and Leia, (and his dead students). I thought his journey from anger and self-pity, to hero again was well told, and a fitting conclusion to his story. Finn's story has been the most frustratingly underdeveloped for me. I liked that he story has provided us with some insight into the impact and cruelty of the Empire and First Order. From him we learn that blowing up the Deathstar didn't completely destroy all the power structures of the Empire, and that people like him were still suffering under them even after the end of the OT. I liked that his story-line was used to throw more light on this in TLJ, and like I've said previously, I'm keen to see how 'woke' Finn is used as a counterbalance to Ren in the next film. Han and Leia's story-line has been heart breaking and I'm very disappointed that we're not going to get the resolution to that thread hinted at in TLJ. So yes, I like the story, but for the characterisation it allows to take place, rather than the plot.

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