Lameazoid.com Rotating Header Image

January, 2017:

Review – Overwatch (PC, PS4, X-Box One)

The Good

  • Fun Team based Gameplay
  • Loot system that never feels like you need to buy anything (though you can)
  • Large variety in game modes

The Bad

  • No way to trade duplicate item drops with other people
  • Game can feel a little repetitive after a while, several maps feel like facelift copies of each other
  • Social aspects could use some work

In Depth

It’s really hard not to compare Overwatch to Team Fortress 2.  They have vaguely similar art styles, the game play is the same sort of class based team shooter game, and the whole attitude in design is sort of “fantastical cartoon” without seeming overly kiddified.  Having played more TF2 than probably any other title except possibly World of Warcraft, I will say they are definitely similar and definitely gunning for the same audience.  Overwatch takes some different queues though in how it works things, which help to differentiate itself a lot from TF2, which leaves some space for both titles.

If you enjoy Team Fortress 2, you will very likely enjoy Overwatch, especially if you’re like me and got driven away from TF2 once the whole economy thing became the focus of the game more than playing the game.  This touches a bit on both a good and bad aspect of Overwatch.  Item drops come in the form of loot crates, which each contain 4 items, skins, sprays, emotes, voice lines, etc.  Nothing that drops is game affecting in any way, it’s all cosmetic.  The things that you’re likely going to care about the most, ie skins, are more rare than things that are kind of useless like sprays.  As of this time, there isn’t anyway to trade items with other players.  Extra items are converted into in game currency that can be used to buy different items.  This is a good thing and a bad thing.  It’s kind of bad because I’d much rather trade an extra rare skin for a different skin I want rather than converting it into a tiny pile of coins.  It’s good be because it helps keep Overwatch from developing an economy, which personally, kind of ruined Team Fortress 2.

You can also buy Loot Boxes, they aren’t a super great price, but they aren’t overly expensive.  Unlike Battlefield 1, you get a lot of them just by playing the game, and each contains 4 items.  You get a free box for every level you gain on your account, and you can get an additional 3 boxes each week for 9 wins in Arcade Mode.  There are also seasonal ranked matches which I believe give some kind of reward in the form of loot.  There is also the currency you collect in game through drops and duplicate items, so you can simply save up and buy the specific cosmetic item that you are after for your favorite character.  The point is, you can more than get away with getting plenty of items just by playing the game.

But enough about loot, it needed mentioning, but it’s also kind of an aside to the game.

The real core of the game is of course, gameplay, and with it, the roster of characters.  It’s also where Overwatch and Team Fortress 2 really differ.  Team Fortress 2 has 9 classes, though each of these classes can be set up through different loadouts to have different play styles.  Demoman for example, plays differently than Demoknight.  Overwatch instead simply has, more characters, 23 of them, with more being added over time to add more variety.  For example, both Sombra and Ana were added after the game’s launch.  Each character is surprisingly unique in play style and design and for the most part the game is pretty well balanced.

For the most part.  Some characters are definitely more played and more powerful than others.  That isn’t to say that you won’t see every character at some point while playing.  However you’ll see way more D.Va and Roadhog than Zaraya for the Tanks.  Also, each character gets an Ultimate Ability which can be unleashed after filling a meter by dealing and taking damage and even just over time.  Ultimates such as D.Va’s exploding mechsuit are super useful at wiping out an entire team, while other’s such as Sombra’s EMP or Tracer’s lame little grenade are kind of less useful.

There is definitely enough character variety to suit any preferred play style.  Also, except in certain game modes, characters are limited to one per team, so no need to worry about having a dozen snipers hanging around in the back ala Team Fortress 2.  There’s only one real sniper, (two but one is a healer), so you’ll only have one useless player hanging around 500 miles back.

Speaking of game modes, there’s the regular Quick Play, and Arcade.  Quick Play works as you might expect, select a character, then play in one of several pretty standard play modes, control points, push a cart, king of the hill, etc.  There’s also Arcade Mode, where things get a little more varied.  Most of the maps work the same, but there are elimination modes, where you die and don’t revive, unlimited mode where there aren’t limits on how many heroes can be on a team, 1v1 matches, or even specialized holiday maps.

That said, some of the maps can get a little repetitive.  The basic designs tend to be pretty different but many of them feel like there was a punch list of features to be added, main path, side path to the right, one upper platform.  It’s kind of subtle but there’s several that feel like at a base level, they are the same map.  Like if you took out the buildings and just made everything squared out walls, you’d have identical layouts.

Things like the arcade mode really help to break this repetition up a lot though.  There are several modes available and they cycle occasionally on what’s available.  Things like Mystery Heroes, where you get a random hero each death, or All Brawls, where all sorts of crazy rules come into play.  Some of the All Brawls limit teams to certain types of heroes such as all offense only.  Some let you pick only Genji and Hanzo, the two brothers.  One of the craziest is This is Illios mode, where Roadhogs and Lucio’s battle it out over  giant pit, the goal is more to throw your opponent in the pit than kill them.

Possibly my chief real complaint is that the social system seems kind of crappy, especially coming off of Team Fortress 2.  Granted, I was admin on a Team Fortress 2 server with a forum and a community and a clan, but Blizzard as a whole just has a pretty mediocre social set up next to Steam and Valve.  This is more of a complaint with Battlenet of course than Overwatch.  For example, I can’t just friend someone by saying I am “RamenJunkie”, because Battlenet adds these lame numbers so I’m “RamenJunkie#1476”.  There also just feels like there is less of a community in Overwatch vs Team Fortress 2.  No one uses voice either, which makes things feel a little lonely.

The bottom line is, Overwatch is a lot of fun and a great game.  If you’re not into FPS games you may not like it, if you prefer some gritty “realism” FPS games you may not like it, of course, but it is a good game.  I picked up Battlefield 1 and Overwatch around the same time period, and while Battlefield 1 started out as my preferred of the two, it grew really stale, while Overwatch has grown on me as being a lot more fun, and feels like it’s going to ultimately have more staying power of these two FPS titles.

Tuesday Trailer – John Wick: Chapter 2

So, hey, John Wick 2.  The first John Wick seemed to be a bit of an unexpected hit of a movie.  It was so brutally simplistic in it’s story, pacing, action and well, everything.  There wasn’t a ton of heavy nonsense going on, just a tough ass hell killer going on a revenge driven rampage.  The world was also incredibly rich and felt pretty complete despite not once stopping to sit around and bog things down by giving some crazy explanation.  It just did by showing.

So now we have John Wick 2.

I’m actually a little disappointed and a little worried.  I’m worried that this movie will try so hard to replicate the goodness of the first movie, that it will come off as well, too much.  It will be too overly dramatic, or try to introduce too much clever unspoken lore making the world too complicated, etc.  I’m also disappointed a bit because probably the best suggestion I’ve heard for a follow up to John wick was to just make a series of movies, unrelated, directly, but all in the same world.  All keeping a common thread in the hotel and club from the first film.

But, we get more Keanu Reeves and John Wick, which is fine, and I’m not saying the movie is going to be bad, I’m just saying I am worried it might push things too far and soil what made the first movie work.  Also, Laurence Fishbourne, I have to wonder if there will be some joke or Easter egg around the Matrix, but that really would probably be kind of out of place.  One last note, there are a few scenes in this trailer with his new car, and they look to be a bit more active than the car scenes in the previous film.  Considering getting his car stolen was part of the catalyst for the first movie, and he’s shown as seeming to be a pretty bad ass driver, it would be nice to get a kick ass John Wick car chase scene in this film.

There’s not enough quality car chases these days it seems.

Review – Marvel Legends – Juggernaut Wave – Havok

Someone working on this wave seems to have a hard on for Cyclops’ family, we’ve got his wife, Jean Grey (Phoenix), his son from the future, Cable, and his brother, Havok.  There isn’t a Cyclops, but we got one in the first wave of X-men with Jubilee and there is one in the next wave coming in 2017.  He’s Cyclops’ younger brother in the comics but older brother in the movies, though this is a decidedly comic book design.

He definitely doesn’t have the most amazing design for a super hero.  There’s nothing complicated going on here, he’s a dude in spandex with a funky helmet.  It’s a pretty well done figure, he’s just a little on the boring side.

He does have a pretty cool power, though not really any good way to portray it in toy form.  He absorbs energy and re-releases it.  As he absorbs energy he gives on energy waves, for the figure this is depicted using these attachable bubble effects.  These are similar to the circular effects we’ve seen a lot lately with Doctor Strange and Scarlet Witch, though it’s not the same effect piece.  Also, given how his power work, I find they work best attached higher up on his arms than on his wrists, since it looks more like he’s “emanating energy”.

Considering Hasbro seems to be against including things like fireball effects with these figures, there’s not much else he could have come with to make him more exciting.  Articulation is decent, though if you put the effects higher up on the arms things can get a little limited.

I do like his design though.  He’s pretty basic but the effect parts work pretty well and there’s something elegant about his design despite it’s blandness.

Review – Movie – 10 Cloverfield Lane

What an interesting psychological thrill ride here in 10 Cloverfield Lane.  The tagline “Monsters Come in Many Forms” is also a very appropriate descriptor, as there are monsters who are not monsters and monsters who are not monsters who are monsters.  There’s also a tiny cast, there’s only three actors involved in most of the movie, a fourth for a few minutes and a fifth who is only a very brief voice (Bradley Cooper, incidentally).

The core of the movie revolves around Michelle (Mary Elizabeth Winstead), who is involved in an accident and wakes up locked in a bunker with Howard Shambler (John Goodman) and Emmitt DeWitt (John Gallagher Jr.).  According to Howard, he rescued Michelle after her accident and brought her to his underground bunker to save her from an unknown catastrophic event that has made the world above uninhabitable.  Emmitt also showed up at the bunker, having helped Howard build the place previously and this knowing of it’s existence when things in the world started to fall apart.  Howard isn’t sure if it’s aliens or nuclear fallout or just invading armies, but he knows things are not safe up above.

As the plot rolls on, things end up possibly not being too safe inside the bunker either, and is the outside world actually a radioactive alien infested dead zone?  Twists and turns to keep you guessing all the way to the end here.  The real flaw of the movie is that it’s the “Spiritual Successor” to the movie Cloverfield, and so if you know anything about Cloverfield, you kind of already have some idea of some of the truths this movie tries so hard to keep a secret.

The whole cast does an exceptional job here, especially John Goodman, who does a great job with being slightly slow and a little creepy while doing his best to just be the savior he thinks he is to Emmitt and Michelle.  It’s clear he’s not quite right in the head right from the start, just how not right is part of what keeps you wondering the whole time of his true motivations.

It’s a pretty good movie that I enjoyed a lot more than I expected.  It’s not quite a horror movie, more suspense, though it felt like it was somewhat billed as a horror film.  It’s also relatively clean with it’s PG-13 rating.

Spoiler-tastic thoughts beyond so be warned… (more…)

Review – Transformers – Titans Return – Mindwipe

Continuing on with the updated Decepticon Headmasters, today’s review cover’s Titans Return Mindwipe.  Wave 1 gave us Skullcruncher, the first beast based headmaster, Wave 2 gives us Mindwipe and Weirdwolf.  All of the updated Headmasters figures are very close in design and look to their original G1 counterparts with the exception of Mindwipe.  While Mindwipe captures the essence of the Bat to Robot, he has a very different transformation and much more proportioned look overall.

Transformers Titans Return Mindwipe

That design change isn’t necessarily a bad thing, it’s just something that may bother people looking for a really pure “update”.  Titans Return Mindwipe is also much closer to the original design than the previous best update from Hunt for the Decepticons.  HFTD Mindwipe is a nice figure, but he’s a brownish stealth bomber robot.  He’s as close to the original design as HFTD Highbrow was.

Transformers Titans Return Mindwipe

Like Skullcruncher, Mindwipe does some really interesting things with his Transformation and design.  Fortunately, Mindwipe isn’t nearly as flawed as Skullcruncher is.  His shins are a little huge, which hinders his leg articulations a but that’s his only major flaw.  I suppose I could also mention that the claw weapon is supposed to peg into the Bat’s but to form a sort of tail but it falls out instantly because the hold is too large as well.  It really doesn’t feel like much of a flaw though because frankly, the tail is underwhelming and looks lame anyway.  The bat is better off without it attached.

Transformers Titans Return Mindwipe

So what actually is interesting?  Firstly, his robot has extra vestigial wings, entirely to give him wings in his robot mode.  This is because of the way the actual wings transform.  They sort of roll up on themselves to form the legs.  It’s certainly a different technique for dealing with wings in the Transformers line, and pretty clever to boot.

Transformers Titans Return Mindwipe

Also fun is his Titan Master cockpit in bat mode, it’s a coffin shaped door, you know, because coffins and vampires and bats.  It’s a neat little touch for what could have just been a simple open and toss him in deal.

Transformers Titans Return Mindwipe

The transformation is a bit tricky due to the way the legs/wings work, there are a lot of swivels and joints that have to be turned just right to make everything line up and tab in properly, which could be a little tricky for some.  The bat head mouth opens and closes, which is a nice touch as well, but it doesn’t have any way to look “up” for flying poses.

Titan Returns Mindwipe is a pretty fun and neat addition to the line.  He’s definitely a step up from Skullcruncher’s floppy mess.

Agents of Shield S04e11 – They Can’t All Be Winners Edition

So, Agents of Shield has been hitting on all cylinders lately, but this episode really felt flat.  I think part of the issue was that it was mostly set up for future plots.  There was also a lot of development of relationship between characters and couples on the show, though that also kind of felt like pointless filler in a lot of ways, or slightly out of place out of character moments.

The end result was a pretty mediocre episode where nothing really major happened.  More on that going forward, so spoilers beware…

(more…)

Review – Mafex – BatmanVSuperman Superman

I have to admit, I sometimes feel like a bit of a masochist because I’m still sticking with Medicom’s Mafex line for my DC collection.  My experience so far has been pretty hit and miss, the hits are good, but the misses tend to be pretty awful.  I feel like if I just stick with it, they will figure things out and start producing really solid figures.  Mafex Batman vs Superman Superman here is definitely par for this course.

I want to start with the good things, and why I stick with the line.  I really like the sculpts.  The proportions are good, the stance is good, the heads tend to look really good, which is what matters.  It’s definitely better than most domestic releases.  I also really really like the use of cloth goods for things like capes.  Cloth works sooooo much better than plastic or rubber, especially when done well.

I also, for the most part, like the pricing.  Recent releases are starting to creep up a bit admittedly, but the price of the line tends to be on the lower end for import figures.

The bad bits though really stick out and really get in the way.  The biggest and only real bad bit is the looseness and joint tolerances.  Superman for example, his head tends to fall off at the base of the neck.  It feels like a problem that could have been solved by even a few millimeters more length on the neck ball post so it stuck down into the socket just a bit deeper.  It’s weird too because you can attach the head, then pick the whole figure up by the head, which suggests it’s solid, but then after a bit of wiggling or posing, it just falls right out.

His legs are also a little loose.  Its not horrible and the figure isn’t super heavy so it doesn’t cause major issue but it can cause some frustration with getting him to hold a pose.

On Superman, I also wish his cape had wires along the vertical axis as well as the bottom.  I’ve seen custom fixes for this and may look into adding some wire myself.  It’s not a huge issue, but it would make the cape a lot more dynamic, though it’s already pretty dynamic and flows nicely around the figure.

For accessories, Mafex Superman comes with 3 (total) sets of hands and 2 heads, one normal, one with an angry head and colored eyes, as if he is powering up to use his heat vision.  He also comes with a standard Mafex stand.  It’s not an amazing parts count, but there isn’t a lot that Superman really uses as far as gear like say, Batman.

All in all it’s not an awful figure, I just wish Mafex could figure out it’s lose joint issues.  This isn’t the first figure I’ve had from them with similar issues.

Weekly Wednesday Haul – Iron Men and Steel Sharks Edition

Sometimes I pass on something for so long that it disappears.  Most often this happens because I’m hoping for a good sale or even a clearance mark down.  The Target Iron Man/War Machine was one such set.  My local Target had several forever, then they must have gotten marked down because suddenly they were gone.  Fortunately I got a hook up for one on clearance elsewhere, so I still managed to get it for cheap.

I know I’ve mentioned that I have a weakness for Iron Man armors, so yeah, I really was looking forward to this pack.  I really dig that buff War Machine with all of his extra accessories and in person, that Orange and Blue Iron Man is pretty slick looking.  Coincidentally, that Orange and Blue Iron Man suit is a repaint of the last War Machine figure we got in the Hulkbuster wave.  Minus the Don Cheadle head.

I also found one Sharkticon from the Titans Return line.  I don’t usually army build with Transformers, but this guy is pretty awesome and cheap enough that I’ll probably end up with several in the long haul.  It’s really a shame that Wave 4 of these basics is putting in more of the mediocre Bumblebee instead of more Sharkticons.