Tenfold Hate


Men in Tights
January 22, 2009, 10:17 am
Filed under: Comics, MMORPGs

There’s a lot of speculation about what the new shiny of 2009 will be. Though at best it’ll garnish nothing larger than a niche group of players (if it’s any good–or in fact, more than vaporware) I’m intrigued by Darkfall. Any move away from the gear-based, Barbie dress-up game that all major fantasy MMOs have become has potential in my book–and FFA looting ensures that your character won’t strictly be what he or she wears. I’m certainly willing to forsake somewhat outdated graphics for a change of pace–but I tend to enjoy PvP. Most don’t. And FFA looting has the potential to become very frustrating very fast depending on player culture and maturity levels.

But the big slugfest of the upcoming year will surely be between DC Universe Online and Champions. DCUO will no doubt win out on the sub side since they have the big name license and the big name company behind them. But which will be the better game?

The recently released preview of DCUO fell short in my eyes. The city (presumably Metropolis) seemed too “clean,” the character models didn’t scream “Jim Lee,” and the screen was overpopulated with glowing orbs and floating whirligigs, hearkening back to the power ups and hovering coins of arcade games of yore. I loved Crystal Castles and Double Dragon, but the thing is, I wanna forget I’m playing a video game every so often in an RPG.

Both DCUO and Champions promise an “action-oriented” game too. This is another cool idea that has yet to be executed well. One of them has gotta pull it off, right? But let’s get back to the subject at hand–MMORPGs–and what they’ve been sorely lacking. Story.

Now before you start up, I don’t wanna hear how the Death Knight is really cool and Blizzard really outdid themselves with adding quirky quests and fun twists to WoTLK. Stitches by any other name is still Stitches and I’ve been there, done that, it was fun, but it’s over.

This is where Champions hooks me in. Their Nemesis system allows you to create an archenemy for your hero who plays a significant role in your game play. Now this creates some solid potential for unique storytelling, one that moves away from the cookie cutter quest lines we’ve all been ushered through for the last half decade. You’ll not only be able to customize your character with an even greater breadth than Cryptic gave us in CoH, but you’ll be able to customize your powers and how they look.

The main thing that troubles me with superhero MMOs is that I’ve never found it an adequate fit for existing MMO conventions, like the tank/healer/DPS archetypes or the raid/dungeon crawl-reskinned-as-instanced-evil-scientist’s-underground-lair-crawl. Since those mechanics are so rooted in fantasy tabletop RPGs, they’ve always seemed strangely forced to me in any other genre.



New Wolverine Trailer
December 15, 2008, 4:04 pm
Filed under: Comics, Film

I’m approaching this spring’s X-Men Origins: Wolverine with severe reservations, based mostly on the extreme suck that was the third installment of the X-Men franchise. But I’ve gotta say, this trailer has piqued my interest. First off, if I’d been editor-in-chief at Marvel in the early nineties, I’d have squelched fleshing out Wolverine’s origins in the first place. I always thought his story played out better veiled in mystery than the stories of Victorian-era Canada fleshed out during a time when Marvel really hit an all-time low in terms of storytelling.

Anyway, this trailer is a mine field of nods to comic book geekdom, which I’m always a sucker for. However, this is dangerous territory, because it provides enough filler to make a trailer look awesome without suggesting any substantial plot. You’ll notice everyone from Emma Frost and the Blob to a young Storm and Gambit making cameos. But nods to nerd-dom does not a movie make–that’s where Last Stand failed. They culled superficial elements of X-lore, put them all in a blender, and added explosions.

Hopefully Jackman and company can flesh out a coherent, gripping story that doesn’t pee all over the existing lore, something Last Stand was not able to do on any level. Liev Schreiber looks like a great choice for Sabretooth and I always find Hugh Jackman likeable. And from the brief clips of them together, the two actors nail that antagonistic anti-chemistry Logan and Creed have for each other.

It’s hard to say what the worst Marvel adaptation has been. For me it’s a three-way tie for last between Fantastic Four, Elektra, and Spider-man 3.

Check out the trailer here!



Renowned Comic Creator Crankier Than MMORPG Bloggers?
November 12, 2008, 12:26 pm
Filed under: Comics, Film

You be the judge.

I agree with Moore’s criticism of Hollywood as a vampiric machine that spoon-feeds moviegoers utter crap and all–especially when comic book licenses are concerned, but putting a hex on a movie?

I think Zack Snyder did a great job with his Dawn of the Dead remake. He was able to perform that difficult juggling act of maintaining the essence of the original while freshening the material and making it his own. Most directors fail miserably trying.

Sure, we’re not gonna get a frame-by-frame recreation of the graphic novel in all of it’s intricacies, but I think Snyder has proven he has the talent and enthusiasm for the subject matter to capture the spirit of Watchmen without peeing all over the source material.

Heck, it’s guaranteed to be better than The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen.