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Saturday, November 19, 2011

Netflix Instant Queue of the Week

I'm going to attempt to recommend a movie every week that you ordinarily wouldn't watch. Hopefully I can find a good one every week.

This week's movie is Troll Hunter

It's a found footage style film about, what else, a guy who hunts trolls. It's really cool if you don't mind subtitles. If not, skip it.

--- Moose

Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim Review

Hey. I have about 100 hours in Skyrim so far. I’m kind of depressed. I feel drained. I feel like I’ve wasted my week. Oh wait… Nevermind. No I don’t. It was kickin’ rad! Let me tell you why.

First, if you are a fan of the previous installments of the Elder Scrolls series (at least Morrowind and Oblivion), you should have no problem diving in headfirst and mountain-goat-ing it to find the next Daedric Shrine. It plays nearly identical to Oblivion with some upgrades.

The biggest upgrade has to be dual-wielding. Whether you want to create a Dark Elf ranger with two scimitars or play a Battlemage that wields a mace and shoots lightning out of the other hand, you can do it. It eliminates any need from having to choose a specific class, allowing you to design your own.

The combat animations are upgraded tremendously also, but except for the special kill scenes, you’ll hardly notice.

An infinite number of dragons. Moving on.

This story is set in Skyrim, a northern realm of Tamriel, which is in a tumultuous civil war between the Imperials and the Stormcloaks. The Stormcloaks wish for the Empire to let Skyrim remain independent. You quickly find out you are Dovakiin or DragonBorn. You have the ability to absorb slain dragon’s souls and spend them to unlock words in the Dragon language. You first learn the words by finding them etched into stone in a dungeon or at a dragon’s summit. These are called Shouts, having up to three words in a Shout, growing more powerful with each word learned. Most are handy, but I’ve found a few that are worthless even at level 10.

Nighttime adventuring looks a little bland because of all the snow, although some areas have an Aurora-Borealis sky going on which is awe inspiring. Climbing up mountains just to get a view of the land, is something to behold. The landscape of Oblivion was nice, but this is ridiculous. I recommend climbing to the highest point by the 7000 Steps. The textures on everything are perfect until you climb high and look down. They become rough painted and tiled textures, but with a world this big, I’m not complaining.

I’ve explored a lot of dungeons and ruins and temples and almost all of them were fun. Even though half of my time was almost grinding to level up an attribute, I found that I haven’t found any quest or fight tedious or boring. I finished the main quest in about five hours, but it’s so easy to get sidetracked that you won’t ever finish it unless you focus. That being said the only qualm I have with the game is that you get basically nothing for completing the main quest. That’s a very odd thing.

Once again, magicka is split up into schools: Alteration, Illusion, Conjuration, Destruction, and Resoration. All these schools and skills have skill trees laden with perks. I urge you to spend your perks wisely based on the class you want to play, as they come few and far between once you hit level 30. Dual spells allow you to cast a spell with both hands, giving it a much more powerful effect. I believe my Fireball does 50 points, but dual casting it does about 125. This works for any school.

I could write a hundred pages on the things I’ve seen so far, but I won’t because A) I’m lazy and B) just because.

I love the freedom of this game and this series. I love the style. I love the story. I love the soundtrack and the voice acting. This is my favorite game of all time.

Verdict: BUY

--- Review by Moose

Monday, November 7, 2011

Batman: Year One Review

DC has done it again with their translation of Frank Miller and David Mazzuchelli's four part origin of Batman: Year One. The way the art and animation was done it made for a perfectly seamless transition. The voice cast was superb in choice and performance. Batman: Year One has such an immersive compelling story that it may be the best example of comics turned into an animated film.

This is a more realistic telling of Jim Gordon and Bruce Wayne's first year trying to clean up Gotham. This story is just as much about Batman as it is about Gordon in fact I felt like it was more about Gordon than anyone else which is what makes it so great. I've heard that Christopher Nolan used the comics Batman: Year One as inspiration for Batman Begins and you can really tell. Personally I think this is better than Batmans Begins. I won't give away any more about the story because you really should see it for yourselves.

Speaking of Christopher Nolan this truly had a star Hollywood cast as he does in most of his films. Ben McKenzie voiced Bruce Wayne/Batman, Bryan Cranston played Jim Gordon, Eliza Dushku as Catwoman/Selina Kyle. Usually I'm so obsessed with finding out who the actors are and distracted by the actors voices but instead I was quickly immersed by the great story and show the actors were putting on. It's not that the actors changed their voices, they just did such a spectacular job portraying their characters through delivery of tone and emotion.

In closing this is the best animated film I have ever seen. The story was so realistic and intense that it truly was an emotional roller coaster for me. The actors blew me away so much so that I didn't even feel like I was watching an animated movie. As far as extras go, Eliza Dushku got her own short as Catwoman which was great because I had felt that they had lessened her character in the film. This was probably due to the illicit nature of Selina Kyle as a prostitute in Year One. As always with DC animated films there were hours of extras such as Batman: Year One digital comic Chapter 1, multiple interesting commentaries, trailers, Justice League: Doom sneak peak as well as others. What I'm trying to say is that Batman: Year One on Blu-Ray could not be more of a BUY.