Late Sunday post! I played and watched things to compensate for the lack of interesting news! Betrayal, question dodging, and gun-fu below.
What was Played
Betrayal at House on the Hill only recently entered my tabletop life. One of my roommates bought it after Christmas and every weekend since then has had one to three sessions a day at our home. The first half of every play session starts out the same; three to six players explore a house and gain or lose stats as you explore. Eventually a haunt is triggered and that’s when the game actually begins. Each haunt has different rules, but most have one of the players turning traitor and attempting to kill all the other players. Some haunts have secret traitors or even no traitors at all. One haunt had me controlling my initial character and added a monster who was resurrected one turn after he was killed with +1 to all of his stats. Another haunt had an abyss consuming the house and the explorers had to stop it by completing a ritual by taking certain items to certain room. After playing the game several times the first exploration part does get a little boring, but each haunt, of which there is 50, presents new challenges to both the traitor and the remaining players. If you have three or more people who are into board games, this is a must have.
The only video game that I spent any substantial time with this past week was Night in the Woods.
This Kickstarted game is hitting the parts of my brain that Life is Strange seemed to capture for so many people. Mae, your main character, is a 20 year old college drop-out who returns to her rustic hometown. As with Life is Strange there is a strong Twin Peaks vibe from Night in the Woods. NitW captures the punk, adolescent, frustrated attitude that LiS focused on with Chloe, but has multiple characters with that frame of mind. There’s light platforming and puzzle elements here and there and they’re fine enough, but the main draw of this game is the characters. Giant Bomb has a quicklook up which is what convinced me to buy the game if you want to see if you might like it too, but I would not begrudge anyone who doesn’t find the characters relatable or likeable even though I love them so far. Night in the Woods is available for PC and PS4, and if you visit the official site they also have free supplemental games that explore the world of NitW more.
What was Watched
The original John Wick was an unexpected treat. I’d already seen the over-the-top Kingsmen and the adrenaline fueled Mad Max Fury Road before my first viewing of Kenau Reeve’s gun-fu action film, but the tight gunplay of John Wick set it apart. John Wick Chapter 2 is more of the same, literally. There’s a shootout in a crowded club-type scene preceded by a scantily clad lady in water, and most of the action is John flipping people over and shooting them in the face. It’s still viscerally satisfying to watch Keanu roll and shoot his way through legions of goons, but a lot of the same tricks that were fresh in John Wick 1 aren’t as fun the second time around, and even seem lazy given the creativeness of the original. The hints of the assassination society in the first film were as tight and fluid as the combat; fast and spartan, but you knew exactly what was happening. John Wick Chapter 2 introduces more lore but doesn’t give details that feel necessary to understanding the plot. For example, we’re told that there is a high table/council for the assassination world, but what they do and certain characters’ plans involving the high table are not explained in good enough detail for us to care about their plans. That aside, the ending is an excellent premise for the sequel that is sure to come. John Wick Chapter 2 is fun, but if you expected a John Wick sequel to build off of the original in any meaningful way I’d wait for John Wick Chapter 3.
Todd Howard Makes Vague Statements
In classic Howard fashion, the director of Bethesda Studios has refrained from revealing if the Skyrim port on the Switch is the new Special Edition recently released for PS4 and XB1 or the original 2011 version of Skyrim. Odds are that this port is the Special Edition with all the visual enhancements, but without mod support. It is doubtful that Nintendo would allow something as uncontrolled as mods on their console, but porting a game over 5 years old to a current console with no improvements seems like a pointless move for Nintendo or Bethesda.
Amazon Cancels (Some) Breath of the Wild Pre-Orders
Several people who pre-ordered the Master Edition of The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild received emails informing them that their pre-orders had been cancelled. The Master Edition was an extremely limited item and Amazon apparently sold more than they had or thought they had. Amazon sent out $10 gift certificates and explained the situation to customers in an email: “This was a limited-edition product for which we had an allocation of 2,900 units. We reduced all initial orders(that were larger than 1) to a quantity limit of one and reached out the vendor for additional stock, however none is available. As a result, we have pulled the customers in order of order-placement and have to cancel the 1,235 oversell.” This is an unfortunate situation for any hardcore Zelda fan. Nintendo has a bad track record with physical merch: amiibos, the NES Classic, and now this. Nintendo could have collectors at their feet, but they apparently haven’t learned to produce enough physical units to meet demand.
Warner Bros. Thirsty for that Bat-family Money
Despite the Batman film being a production nightmare, WB is trying to get a Nightwing film up and running. Chris McKay, director of The Lego Batman Movie, is slated to direct and Bill Dubuque (The Accountant) is writing. It is baffling that even though The Batman has a had an extremely troubled production, they’re trying to push ahead with a spin-off. Regardless of your opinion of the DCEU’s previous and upcoming movies, they are moving far too fast with their cinematic universe.
Persona 5 Update
Soundtrack of the Year 2017 contender Persona 5 still isn’t available in North America.
VA-11 HALL-A Update
VA-11 HALL-A isn’t out for the Vita quite yet, but they’re making progress! They’ve also said the port will be PS TV compatible.
What’s on the Plate
My GOTY list is nearing completion, I pretty much just need to place and make images for it but I’ve put my Battlezone 2 piece on hold indefinitely. I’ve taken on too much in my non-blog life so I needed to cut back on something and since I set my own deadlines, that had to go first. I am continuing to watch Guilty Crown, which is stupid, but isn’t as mind-numbingly boring as Sword Art Online. With so many games I am interested in on the…Horizon (Zero Dawn) I do plan on putting out more reviews. Right now I’m planning on reviewing Mass Effect Andromeda for sure, and Horizon Zero Dawn if I feel strongly enough about it. I am also looking forward to NieR: Automata but I don’t plan on reviewing it since I just want to be able to enjoy the game without writing notes down every second. I may write about it later, but I doubt it’d be a formal review. As always, thanks for reading.