Tom Chick

Lady Dimitrescu and kin deserve a better game than Resident Evil: Village

, | Game reviews

Remember that time when Resident Evil tried something new and different?  Resident Evil 5 cast horror in a new light.  Africa’s equatorial sun blew the usual cobwebs out of the series in favor of something different and even controversial.  It finally played like the shooter it had been trying to be for so long.  It even introduced an exciting new character.  And that was back when representation was more a prerequisite for taxation than a cultural imperative.  But what’s become of Sheva now?  Why does Capcom keep going back to the white-bread familiarity of their Chrises and Jills?  Why are they all-in on the tragedy of the faceless Ethan Winters, aptly named for being as bland as the driven snow, searching for his wife and/or daughter the same way he searches for green herbs, handgun rounds, and whatever arbitrary cog, key, or crank handle unlocks the next heavily scripted set piece?  Mia, Rose, press X to Jason, all just meat for the refrigerator.  The shadow of Silent Hill looms over so many games, yet so few of them understand what made it tick.

Since Resident Evil 5, the series has alternated between updated remixes that work well enough and new stories that have been various levels of awful.  Maybe The Village can thread the needle between effective gameplay and a new setting, style, and characters.

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The absolute dumbest thing you’ll see all week: Godzilla vs. Kong

, | Movie reviews

I don’t mean to belittle dumb movies.  Some of my favorite movies are dumb.  But Godzilla vs. Kong is steeped in a special kind of concentrated studio inanity.  It stinks of dumb.  It is the most profoundly stupid “vs.” movie since Batman vs. Superman.  It’s not even worthy of Syfy’s Animal X vs. Animal Y movies, which can at least pretend they’re being deliberately campy.  Godzilla vs. Kong is so profoundly dumb that it doesn’t even know it’s dumb.

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Planetfall: the death of trust

, | Game diaries

After forty turns of searching for the Psi-Fish I’m supposed to defeat, and whose dwellings are supposed to be abundant, and with whom I’m supposed to be at war, I have found no Psi-Fish.  I have explored enough of the map to discover three NPC factions and their dwellings.  A map this size should have three NPC factions, and I’ve found Therians, Forgotten, and Paragon.  If there are Psi-Fish here, they’re a fourth faction tucked into tiny pockets of unexplored territory.  It seems unlikely.  

But just to verify that something is broken, I looked up how to unfog the map using a cheat code.  The situation is that dire.  I have resorted to cheat codes!  Sure enough, there are no Psi-Fish on this map.  It is Psi-Fish-less.  My mission to capture two Psi-Fish dwellings is literally impossible.

Cue the Lalo Schifrin!

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Planetfall: going fishing, losing touch with reality, and watching sports

, | Game diaries

Psi-Fish owned sectors are Abundant!  Psi-Fish make more Demands! Psi-Fish start at War with you!

So said the intel briefing for Angelus, a planet supposedly lousy with psionic extradimensional fish.  These fish have breached our dimension, bringing with them Void storms and deposits of cosmite.  Our empire’s Penumbra faction wants us to wipe out two Psi-Fish dwellings.  At which point, I’ve confirmed that we can declare “mission accomplished” and pack it in.  This isn’t going to be like the hopperhound fiasco on Virginia, where I ended up having to burn the whole planet because I misinterpreted my orders.  Which happens.  You can’t make an empire without burning a few planets.  But now we’re here to do a job and then call it a day, which will secure the Void Lure for our empire, which will let us recruit Psi-Fish during later missions.  “Capable Pets,” the Psynumbra told us when they named the mission.

So where are all the Psi-Fish at?

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Planetfall: Suppose they gave a doomsday and nobody came?

, | Game diaries

By order of the Wasila Combine — heck, let’s go ahead and make this a religious thing as well — and by the will of the Promethean god, we’re going to uncork our PyrX refineries (pictured) to flood the atmosphere with toxic gas.  Actually, I’m not sure if there’s a Promethean god.  It seems like there would be a Promethean god.  Or at least an ancient civilization that worshipped some god.  Whatever the theology or lack thereof, we’re erasing all life on the planet from within the safety of our own territory.  This will require a lot less micromanagement than doing it with armies.

500 energy and 50 operational points later — Planetary Purification ain’t cheap — it’s a doomsday party and everyone is invited!

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