Sunday, April 30, 2017

Virtual Tourist - Sherlock Holmes: The Devil's Daughter 4/30/17

New game this week. From Frogwares and running on the Unreal Engine - Sherlock Holmes: The Devil's Daughter.  
I've mixed feelings about the game so far (Have only completed one case at the moment).
I loved Sherlock Homles: Crime and Punishment. But I ended up feeling lukewarm about the Testament of Sherlock Holmes (Crime and Punishment's predecessor) - mostly from the lack of plot support for the ending, which felt rushed, contrived, and out of place.  
With The Devil's Daughter the negative points so far have been:
1) Lack of clear instruction on what commands or buttons need to be used, especially in "action" areas of the game. All three have suffered from this, but this one is worse than the others as the action has been ramped up and you do more. (A picture of a mouse with a darkened key in no way suggests it needs multiple clicks!) Would it hurt to have a tutorial stage? (Screaming at the screen in frustration is not what you were hoping for your players to do - right? Right?) 
2) They sold out and instead of sticking with the original Sherlock and Watson they'd created for the previous two games (based on the stories), they've spliced current movie version Sherlock and Watson with original Sherlock and Watson. UGH. Worse, they kept everything else in their universe looking the same as in the previous games. Same 221B, same Lestrade, same Scottland Yard. So it clashes and feels awkward. (Sherlock being emotional and tongue tied with the neighbor was so NOT Sherlock Holmes. Ugh.) 
Hopefully, this new strategy will sell more games for them, but for those who've bought the other two games, it might prove a little jarring/disappointing. :(
On the left is "New" Sherlock, on the right is "Old" Sherlock. Notice the higher scruffiness ratio in "New" Sherlock bringing him much closer to Robert Downey Jr. than Jeremy Brett. 
Now here on the left is "New" Watson and on the right "Old" Watson. When he first appeared, I didn't even recognize him! lol. A "brighter" more dapper version of Holme's old chum. 
Scruffy Sherlock has arrived at White Chappel to investigate a mysterious disappearance.
A flat down in White Chappel.
One of Holme's Irregulars out on a mission. They flipped control to the boy but didn't let you know! I stood on the street wondering why he didn't follow the man as Sherlock asked. DOH! The actual act of following the guy wasn't bad. (Though after several deaths and not understanding how to use the controls correctly, I had to skip the walking the thin beam between buildings part. Grrrr)
The view outside Holme's balcony at 221B  Baker Street.
One of Holmes many possible disguises. Tea shades for the win! :P
Walking down into a storage area beneath the streets of London.
Watson and Sherlock as they stand outside Marsh's house. Almost a dandy in his dapperness. :P
The woods - the start of the game did an action scene here when you first start of things occurring in 48 hours. The transition to the actual action was clunky and jarring. I clicked the map to go spy on a meeting in the woods, and next thing you know you're running for your life without any segue. Would have been nice to get there and take a few steps or see something before dumping me into the mess. *sigh*
Sherlock is hiding in a cabinet in a hunting cabin for the final confrontation in the first case. One solution did not fit with what was stated - that didn't look like a slow death to me! They also never covered how the guy was juiced up to do something that should have been beyond him. Argh. (Unless the game is skipping sequences on me?)
Picture of a statue in the Archeology Club gardens. The second case looks to be centered around the Curse of a Mayan god! 
Hope your Sunday is fab!

Friday, April 28, 2017

Movie Review - The Circle

The Circle

Starring: Emma Watson, Ellar Coltrane, Glenne Headly, Bill Paxton, Karen Gillan, Tom Hanks, John Boyega, Mamoudou Athie, Patton Oswalt, and more.
Directed by: James Ponsoldt Screenplay by: James Ponsoldt and Dave Eggers Based on the Novel by: Dave Eggers Cinematography by: Matthew Libatique Music by: Danny Elfman
Premise: Thanks to a friend, Mae gets a chance to interview at the prestigious company The Circle. A social media giant, The Circle is pushing for 100% transparency across the world. As Mae embraces the culture of her new employers, she begins to see that total transparency can cut two ways. Her willingness to share all inadvertently affects others around her in negative ways. Are the company's and her own ideas going too far? (Rated PG-13)
1) Acting - Total Thumbs Up: A lot of new and familiar faces appear in this film. Emma Watson does a great job as Mae. Her suffering and helplessness with regards to her father's illness really came across. Her open-eyed eagerness to embrace the ideals of the company, even as she scoffs at some of the directions they are heading in, were very well done. Tom Hanks and Patton Oswalt were slick as the company's leaders. Karen Gillan as Mae's friend Annie brought several angles to the tale as well as a lot of energy. John Boyega as Ty proves yet again that you can be alone in a crowd and not just when you're by yourself. :P Major kudos to Bill Paxton and his portrayal of someone with MS. 
2) Special Effects - Total Thumbs Up: The film had tons of subtle special effects. The cool compound for The Circle when viewed as a whole. The user interfaces for the different pieces of software. The frames around the visuals to make the scene look as if it were being viewed through a camera. And let's not forget all the neat pop-ups on the screen as you'd see on your phone screen. A lot of the comments were fun all on their own. (Some a little freaky too!) :P
The section with the kayak in the dark, the fog, and the ship came out very well. The medical software was cool as well.
3) Plot/Story - Thumbs Up: This type of story can go terribly wrong, but luckily they treated it right. Both sides of the question were evenly weighed. Thus allowing the audience to see the pros and the cons rather than the film just picking a side and making the movie preachy or heavy handed. As with all power, the question that must always be asked is "who watches the watchers?". Anything powerful enough to make a difference always runs the risk of being abused. The film is quite thought provoking.
4) Locations/Cinematography - Total Thumbs Up: Lots of lovely cinematography, especially of the Bay and The Circle compound. Tons of different sites in California were used to create the illusion of The Circle. There were some beautiful beach shots for our intro to one of the men controlling the company. 
Conclusion: Good, thought provoking film. Both sides are shown evenly, leaving the audience to draw their own conclusions.
Rating: 3.75 out of 5 (Hubby's Rating: Worth Full Price of Admission)  

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Virtual Tourist - Deus Ex: Mankind Divided 4/23/17

What a week! Still trying to recuperate. :P Quarter end closes for accounting types can be harsh! Ugh.

Deus Ex: Mankind Divided
These are the diabolical plans for a different kind of computer. Gasp! I won't realize what this pertains to for a while.
Old world flair!
I do sometimes take pics of the weirdest things! The stretched structure is the far end of one of the many data bank vaults owned by Palisades Bank. Truly impressive buildings.
Street entry into a seemingly harmless shipping company. It's a front/entry for the local Task Force 29 HQ. :)
This is the underground facility for Task Force 29. 
The people Jensen works for - the Global Anti-terrorism Division.
Computer expert and super twitchy paranoid bud. lol.
Info board. You can click on the images and get intel. The board changes over time as we discover more info.
Reporting to the boss. Corrupt? We're going to find out.
Sneaking around to get to other parts of the office. :P
Have a great one!

Monday, April 17, 2017

Mind Sieve 4/17/17


Star Wars: The Last Jedi Official Teaser - better story writing, better story writing, better story writing, please!!!!!

A Tribute to Carrie Fisher - Oh this was lovely. Get a hanky before watching!

Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets Trailer #2 - just looks better and better! Sweet!

Thor: Ragnarok Teaser Trailer - ROFL! Looks gorgeous, too! Nice!

Baby Driver Trailer 2 - looks manic! But the driving! Sweet!

Have an awesome week! Hopefully, I will survive mine. :P

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Virtual Tourist - Obduction 4/16/17

Was able to sneak in a little playing before work ground me to the floor! Doh!
Almost like a chunk of our world has been nestled into another. 
Definitely not on Earth anymore.
These warnings are plastered all over the place. It looks like all the rocks around the place! Eek!
Gorgeous! And scary! 
This is another the holograms. This one talks about the tree in the background. A vital tree for their survival, it seems.
The source of the red light aimed at the sky. 
Top of the waterfall. A source of water and also power.
A better view of the neighboring alien landscape.
Area down river. 
Bizarre temple?
Sinuses have been crazy, so the dizzy factor for games has been high. I really hate that! 
Hope you and yours have a great Easter!

Friday, April 14, 2017

Movie Review - The Fate of the Furious

The Fate of the Furious
Starring: Vin Diesel, Jason Statham, Dwayne Johnson, Michelle Rodriguez, Tyrese Gibson, Ludacris, Charlize Theron, Kurt Russell, Nathalie Emmanuel, Luke Evans, Elsa Pataky, Kristofer Hivju, Scott Eastwood, Helen Mirren, and more.
Directed by: F. Gary Gray Written by: Chris Morgan Based on characters created by: Gary Scott Thompson Cinematography by: Stephen F. Windon Music by: Brian Tyler
Premise: During his honeymoon in Cuba, Dom gets trapped by a mysterious woman. She's picked him specifically. And she's made sure to get something which will force him to choose to do things her way. First on her to-do list, get Dom to betray his family - that which he holds most dear. As the group tries to figure out why Dom has gone rogue, they get rounded up by Nobody. They want them to help find Dom but to also aid in putting a stop to Cipher's plans. (Rated PG-13)
1) Acting - Total Thumbs Up: Charlize Theron as Cipher was multi-layered and fun (in an evil, despicable way that is :P). Very much enjoyed watching her taunt Dom and act like she has all the answers; even as we see her struggling to understand how he can feel the things he feels. And looking a little jealous. Like I said - fun! Jason Stratham and Dwayne Johnson as Deckard and Hobbs look to have the most fun in the film. The in-joke/subliminal advertising for Moana was rather cute. Vin Diesel and Michelle Rodriguez speak volumes with glances. There's lots of witty banter and fun. Good job all!
2) Special Effects - Total Thumbs Up: As we've come to expect from the F&F series, there's a ton of special effects of all kinds. We've got engines catching on fire, crashes galore, subs, tanks, planes, explosions, and more! 
They did some cool stuff with the sub and the iced over lake. And the torpedoes? Sweet!
The "rain" in Manhattan was fabulous! The whole Manhattan section was divine. The fight on the plane was also super. Bullet holes galore. Add in Stratham and the "package," and you're in for a whole lot of fun! (So unexpected and yet so awesome! lol. My most favorite part of the film.)
3) Plot/Story - Thumbs Up: Science and physics always take a back seat in these movies. This time is no exception. EMP doesn't mean the same to these guys as it does to everyone else. lol. And though they cut away from the scene, there's still no way for that sub to get in the water! They do make it all look good, though! 
Even though it may hide their hands and faces, you do not go out onto the icefields in Russia without appropriate gear! Oh, you touched that bar with your bare hand outside in sub freezing temps? You just left a layer of skin stuck there. :P Sometimes I do wish they'd try a little harder to cover the easier things. 
Definite kudos on the little hints dropped here and there as to how Dom might not be quite as subdued as Cipher thinks he is. They do a replay to show the audience what they missed and a little more. So you won't miss anything, even if you do. :P I did like how they wove in a lot of people and history from the other films back into the plot. 
No real surprises in the plot, but still fun. Just watching all the insane destruction is half the entertainment. Add in some lovely fights, and voila! 
4) Stunts - Total Thumbs Up: There are a ton of gags! Between the fire, the ice, the bullets, the car and people chases, the hand-to-hand and the close weapons combat, the department was kept incredibly busy. Add in a little CGI, and the bar got raised a ton!
I have to mention that the fight at the prison was all levels of fun. A chase within a breakout, within a free for all. Nice! 
5) Locations/Cinematography - Total Thumbs Up: Lots of interesting sites in the film. Iceland, Cuba, Ohio, Georgia, New York, Germany, even a glacier! And the way they incorporate the names into the landscape is a nice trick. Some lovely spanning views of all the exotic places. 
Conclusion: The Fate of the Furious is fast and crazy and full of more cars and stunts than ever. It's enough to fill any action junkie's want list. :) Leave the laws of physics at the door, and strap in for a wild ride. 
Rating: 3.5 out of 5 (Hubby's Rating: Worth Full Price of Admission)

Sunday, April 09, 2017

Virtual Tourist - Obduction 4/9/17

Well now. Between work, conventions, and issues with Jetpack for Wordpress not much has been happening at the blog. Sigh. 
Started a new game this weekend a friend gave me for my b-day. The game is called:
It's from the makers of Myst. Gorgeous game. Have not gotten far. One cute feature is the Space Bar takes a "photograph" as if the character has a camera. You can see them in the game, but not sure you can download them, so I did my usual F12 clicking.
The story starts in a park at night. 
A voice starts talking to you even as a nasty lightning storm begins to brew. Closest I got to catching a pic! lol. There's also some weird light trails.
This came from one of the mysterious light streams
Weird looking...
Uh oh.
Here we go!
We're not in Kansas anymore, Toto. DOH!
It's almost like a mix of worlds.
This is a hologram machine. You hit the button, and a short recorded message will play. Rather cool.
Haven't gotten far. But it does look interesting!
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