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Tag Archives: survival horror

Dead Island: Commence With the Awesome

Behold the epic undead trailer.

(Note: Theres some gore in there.  But no nekkid bits.  Just gooey red stuffs.)

Zombie games are far from rare right now, but I really must insist you guys check out that trailer in the link above.  The skill involved to tell a story without a word of dialog is difficult, before adding in the constant back-and-forthing with the timeline, but it was handled masterfully.  THIS is what zombie outbreaks are about, folks.  THIS is why zombie storylines should be the scariest of all horror films if produced properly.  The sense of loss is deep, and for god’s sake a video game just massively one-upped the intro to Walking Dead using the exact same premise.  (Obviously dead young girl used to get the audience’s attention and set the stage of “shizzle just got real.”)

I am leaning more towards the “if they ironed out the trailer this well, the gameplay should be equally awesome” and letting my jaded gaming soul stand in the corner.  That trailer was far too overwhelming to be a mere publicity sponge, the gameplay surely must at least mimic it to some degree.  (Right?)  I’m really digging the setting for this game, and while the previewer in the above link was gaga about the graphics, as long as the controls are fluid, the action is paced well, and the game doesn’t get too grindy, I’ll be happy.  At the very least, that trailer was better than nearly any Resident Evil movie or any post black-and-white Romero zombie flick.

Survival Horror is making a come-back, folks!  Procuring weapons on sight and having to run from fights to live another day is going to make some people hold those controllers with white knuckles.  Fellas, snag a copy of this game no matter how it turns out and the lady-friend will be glued to your arm for as long as you can milk the storyline.  For those without a companion, don’t forget there will be a multiplayer co-op mode as well ^_^

There’s a Girl in the Garden.

The sixth and final episode of the Walking Dead has come to a close.  Took some time to actually get to start typing this out today as Comcast managed to lose my internet pretty much all day, along with the rest of the midwest.  Add in decking the halls for a few hours, finishing up the tree, then cleaning up the mess in the process, the whole day was spent.  (Would have been nice to know Comcast was to blame, as I spent a good two hours cursing bitterly that I would not be able to enter the Shuffle On zombie role contest once the show started.  Luckily we got it back just before they stopped taking the code, which was NIGHTMARE today.)

But enough about us!  On with the spoilers!

The opening was great!  We got to see familiar scenes way back from the beginning of the series not so long ago, as well as seeing how the hospital ended up the way it did.  The military killing any and all in a full blown slash and burn purge of any contamination was an interesting choice, albeit cliche, but still passable.  Adding in gas masks made them jump for oppressive jar heads to full-on Umbrella Corp, but it was so brief in this scene it is of little consequence.  This scene also had some strong vibes of the original Half-Life:  harsh and dimwitted military willing to kill anything tied to a failed mission.  Which provides a funny mental image…

Warden Freeman. The 'Walker' Atlanta Ranger.

I did enjoy seeing a military person shoot up the ceiling, which explains what caused the wires to sag as Rick walked past.  (Not that I was wondering, but it was a cool detail to see.)  This ‘death hall’ that Rick passed through so long ago (to us, anyway) has a feeling of Metal Gear Solid when Cyber Ninja was fully revealed to the player and Snake.  Guards shooting randomly as they make a failed attempt not to get killed off.  A genius commenter left this message on one of my posts that I thought I should bring up here:

“One idea I like, is that when Shane said the hospital was real bad when Rick regrouped with them; how would he know? Also, Rick living that long with no nurses helping him for up to that whole month is a stretch. …Unless Lori was holed up for a week or so at her house, Shane checked up on Rick and got him new fluids etc, then left him when zombies gained the upper hand, possibly blocking his door off with that gurney that Rick had to push out of the way.

Shane, in that scenario, would have known Rick to be alive when he last saw him, making the lie he told Lori still beneficial to her well being, but damning to Rick in more ways than one.”

-Encrazed Crafts

Oh wait, that was me!  Ha-HA!  I am a mighty prognosticator of prognosticators, my friends!  Ok, ok.  Enough gloating.  While not every letter was mirrored perfectly in the scene, I do take a level of satisfaction calling out several things on the dot.  Shane was there, he did tell Lori Rick died to save her and Carl’s lives, and he put the gurney where Rick had to push it out of the way when he finally came to.  Shane didn’t know that he was still alive, but at least he saved his friend from getting gnawed on.

The way they handled Shane this episode was for the most part flawless. He was a little crazy/rowdy when he first got there, and I can see him being pissy that Rick got his way, but that’s minor.  Once alcohol and seeing him chug a bottle in the shower was shown, a confrontation with a drunken and scantily clad Lori was quite predictable.  This too was handled well, showing Shane wanting what Rick has, showing he did want to keep them safe, and showing that he really did think Rick was dead, and being wrong about that is eating him up.  Being drunk is a perfect excuse for him trying to get another shot at Lori, and allows him to be cast as the ‘poor guy’ next season.  He did right, but it was taken away from him.  I hope they leave the crazy out of him next season as it didn’t really fit and came across as forced every time it showed up.  Shane and that shotgun of his.  Oh, that rascal!

Seeing Rick drunk and candid was a surprise, and actually made me wonder if the CDC guy ran out of water to serve, turning the place into a Pirate ship. (Later we find out it was more of a last hurrah, of course.)  Hearing Rick’s inner thoughts under the influence was a nice admission on his character’s part.  He knows they will most likely die out there, but will not show any signs of weakness around his family and friends.  He takes up that burden to save them even more grief; now that is a courageous thing to do.  Again, this is how to properly show character traits without degrading them in the process (Andrea pointing a gun at Rick [twice], Shane doing the same, Rick nearly openly weeping to the surveillance camera, etc.).

Humor was present this episode, and gladly appreciated.  The sense of dead-pan (no puns, no puns!) timing was pretty tight as well, either based on lights turning off or suggestions the audience at home knows that the characters to not.  Saying the timer ticking down is when the plant is ‘decontaminated’ instantly brought back how the test chamber was explosively ‘decontaminated’ in the previous episode.  This was of course then made blatantly obvious to the viewer at home after seeing about fifty different mechanical objects covered in the explosive logo in the basement section of the CDC building.

Andrea’s ‘infection’ hinted at in the previews last week are a clear example of how editors like to swing controversy into everything possible.  (Just a minor note/gripe.)  Daryle was once again the funny yet overly-aggressive everyday man this episode, and his line about wanting to use a fire axe on the CDC worker was a gem.  Seeing him continue to beat on the door with the axe fruitlessly in the background also provoked a laugh out of me, but that could just be my sadistic tendencies surfacing.

The CDC guy was handled wonderfully, and this man has proved he has quite the acting chops.  (Acting chops being a variant of Slap Chop, I presume?)  He was scientific, but not cold.  Calculated, yet emotional.  Telling Rick everything is going to be ok was a heart-felt scene, a man that is reassuring a stranger he just met (a drunken one to boot) was a nice thing to say.   But there is at the very least a hint of darkness there, as we know later on they were all scheduled to die within 24 hours when the timer finished counting down.  I felt for him, especially after finding out it was his wife that was the person seeing get turned into a zombie, that he put her down, and that she was the source of the flesh he was testing on.  He also turned into GLaDOS at the end when he warned Rick of what was to come next. 

“Are you trying to escape? Hahaha. Things have changed since the last time you left the building. What’s going on out there will make you wish you were back in here. I have an infinite capacity for knowledge and even I’m not sure what’s going on outside. All I know is I’m the only thing standing between us and them.

Well, I was.”

-GLADoS

I think the only real negative thing, at least the most negative scene I can comment on this episode, was showing everyone showering.  I just do not find this to be that big of a draw.  We saw Rick, Morgan, and Duane all showering in the first episode.  Was it merely a throwback to that setting, as the beginning of this episode did as well?  Nothing was really revealed, other than seeing Shane booze-out, which made me both chuckle at his current state, while wag my finger at him for watering down perfectly good spirits.  Seeing people shower didn’t really show anything new, it did not reveal character details we did not already know, and I thought the idea of showering was handled enough back in the first episode.  I dunno.  Could just be me.  Gamer’s are not exactly known for our hygiene, after all…

Killing off the black chick this episode was a bit…I don’t want to say “nice,” but it was at least a sign of atonement for Jim.  Also she apparently is connected to T-dog?  Never really explained that.  (Dale wanted Andrea to come with him as well, but they aren’t dating yet, so can’t really use that a comparison.)  The Misses told me she’d probably prefer to go out that way as well in a zombie situation, but I disagree to a point.  Willingly letting yourself get blow’d up should only even be considered when there are no other alternatives.  They had plenty of ammo, hell they made their own way out.  (Though that nade should have done a lot more than just merely shatter glass, in my opinion.)  If the horde was rushing them and they had only the option of “die fast, fairly painlessly” or “die extremely painfully due to nom-age and then turn into one of them” I’d probably opt for the first one.

Hearing Mr. CDC calmly describe how fast and painless it would be was pretty neat as well.  Locking them in was a little bit forced, though.  If they could not get out up top, why arbitrarily lock them in downstairs as well?  Why not promote the idea of them going to bed and waiting?  Why lock them in at all if you *know* there is no way out?  To funnel the drama into one room and make actors say their lines, of course.  Minor gripe, though the Misses caught me by surprise again:

“If it self-destructed because it ran out of fuel…why not let them out to get more gas?”

Well, dang.  First with Merle’s rusted pipe versus his hand, now this.  You win again, superior logic!  Formidable opponent, indeed.

In terms of episodes…I’d have to say this was a close second to Vatos.  Vatos, this, first, third, second.  That’s my order.  Great show, great season (barring few annoyances/conflicting ideas in the script), and can’t wait until next.  I should probably do an over-all review of this season as a whole, but that will have to wait (till probably this Sunday).  Thanks for readin’, yall!

Oy, Who Put This On? (It’s On Random)

I think the title of this post fits this review of the…what is it now?  Fifth episode of the Walking Dead?  I don’t even know the name of it to be honest.  Anyway, a fair share of this episode actually did feel like it was on random.  In some cases, this was good.  But the most notable ones were not so lucky.  Let’s start with the good.  I think all in all, this episode a cross between episode 3 and 2.  Guts had action, but some terrible characterization moments, while Frogs had almost no action, but also almost no flaws.  Episode 5, last night’s, was almost completely empty of action and had flaws.  Kinda the worst of both worlds, that be.  But it wasn’t all bad!   It ended up feeling just slightly disappointing to us.

Here thar be spoilers!

The lack of action is a very limiting factor, in my opinion.  Not that you *need* action, but with production and costs of a tv series at this level that they are trying to bill it, they should be able to fairly seamlessly mix in action and dialog without devolving down to “Action episode” and “Characters talk episode” and rotating their occurrences every other episode.  Vatos, written by the guy who ‘only’ works on the ‘lowly’ graphic novel wrote the best episode to date, yet various other (I’m sure) famous writers and directors have difficulty with the same task?  (While I’d like to jump to the conclusion that directors are highly over-glorified, I’ll settle with the guy writing comics just showed all ye’ Hollywood folk how to get the job done, for probably far less wages to boot.) 

The most action in this episode was watching Beaten Wife flail away at her deceased husband, blood splattering the screen to drive home the point that she’s beating him down like he used to be her.  Of all the ‘bodies’ used in the series so far, this one was probably the best looking and thus this part actually looked painful for the corpse.  For any out there who dislike the amount of gore via the stunningly accurate headshots spurting around left and right, you’ll probably have to turn your head or just hope they get on with the scene when you see this part.

Other than that we are left with a pure talk episode.  Not that the idea of just dialog is bad, but…well…I kinda said back in the Frogs review that while it worked for episode 3, if all we are left with is 100% character development and no action, we’ll probably get bored.  While I was not this episode, the sudden pop-up of “viewer discretion is advised’ usually hints to some awesomely unliving action on it’s way.  The censors or whoever require that to pop up really need to stop unless something demanding that actually happens.  I could see that appear before Dead Ed’s graceful acupuncture by his wife via pickaxe, but when it actually showed up was just as they were leaving the camp and before they left Jim by another tree.  I dun’ get it!

Shane is suddenly thinking about killing Rick, by the way.  Very believable instant switch of character, that was.  Rick says one comment that Shane takes the wrong way and next thing you know Shane has Rick locked within his iron sights.  Since, you know.  Saying Rick is dead without a body would be believable.  (As he couldn’t show it to them due to massive gun shot wounds.  How would he explain that?  Zombie woodpeckers ambushed them?)  Dale got a good eye on Shane during this, but kept almost hilariously silent as Shane stuttered and tried to make up an excuse.  Next time go with “I was working on my Dick Chaney impersonation.”

Really, this was completely out of place unless you read the comics and started tip-toeing a dance of joy that this arc is still alive.  In reality it makes no sense.  Shane was never disappointed Rick came back, he was happy to have his friend near him, even if they disagree on a few things and now Shane cannot tap Lori’s covet.  (Wait, is it a noun or a action verb?  Either way it is quite bad.  Watch the 10 Commandments for a briefer.   …But you know what isn’t bad?  Guns!  Guns forever, right Charles?)  He also, as a cop, should know never to point at something unless you intend to shoot it.  Meaning he WAS intending to shoot Rick.  …So now he’s bi-polar?  Not once was there any sign that he disliked his buddy coming back.  The only scene that displayed Shane’s explosive tendencies specifically was Lori telling him to stay away and then he juiced Ed’s face like an orange with his fist.  He should want to kill Lori based on that logic, not Rick.

Speaking of Dale, I really like him now.  He was a bit ornery at the  start, but with more time on camera he comes across as caring, smart–nay, wise and a natural leader.  Or top-notch advisor as he is currently presiding. Dale’s portrayal this episode, to quote Walken, was Fantastic.  The more I see of Dale, the less I want to see everyone else.  He is strong and armed (best part of Shane) cool, calm, and a good guy (best part of Rick) without being too strong or too heroic.  Rick in the past, and again in this episode is on the razor’s edge of being a Mary Sue.  Dale bartered a bit with Rick in Guts, and that was fine.  Showed he is a good guy that will help out, but has a backbone and a few needs of his own.  Is he a bad guy because of it?  No.  He’s human.  And Shane is batcrap crazy and Rick is a goody two shoes.  Oh, and was anyone else thinking this and snickering as Rick and Shane were in the forest?

Best Way to Solve Any Argument. Ever.

Also, Jim was bitten during the attack.  Poor guy.  Tough couple of days he’s had.  I wonder if this is the Rick that ‘could have been’ if Rick didn’t have Main Character Powers.  (Every main dood has ‘em.)  He tried doing the right thing, he lost his family while fighting for them, and now while defending the rest of the camp got bit.  And the black chick pointed it out for everyone to see, nearly causing the camp to lynch him.  (The racially-charged irony that the black girl almost got the white guy lynched was not lost on this one.)  Because of this he was forced to spend the rest of his days locked up in a stuffy RV before willingly wanting to die alone and by himself.  With the company that he was surrounded in, no wonder.  Of course the black lady kisses his cheek at the end…that completely voids out the hell you just put this man’s final hours through.  Enjoy that guilt you just racked up there, ma’am.

Rick…was off his game this episode.  He was far more needy, weak, and nearly a bucket of tears at the end.  Did someone on the writing staff watch Lassie one too many times during the drafting of this episode?  What happened to strong Rick pointing a gun are Daryle at the start of this show, or like three times the last episode?  And why did they want to sneak in past that many bodies?  Why not yell out as they drew near in the first place?  You know, to avoid getting surrounded when you thought you were safe in the first place?  Like how they got boxed in at the end just before the Deus Ex Machina “Door to God” opened seconds before the group lost it?

Too many random bits in this episode to really get a hold of anything solid and good for my tastes. Oh!  And Andrea!  What happened to her?  (Rant in three…two…)  She went from grieving woman, to snubbing everyone caring for her, to then pointing a gun at the guy mainly responsible for saving her and everyone on the scavenger team?  To protect a (un)live grenade of a zombie waiting to hatch?  Why?  WHY?

Because they wanted to:

  1. Make her say a snarky and barbed line, throwing it back into the man’s face that showed you how to use a gun properly.
  2. To shoot her sister once she turned, put her to rest.
  3. Make a dramatic reveal.

She was emotionally compromised and should have been handcuffed the second she pulled a gun on Rick (not to mention Amy should have been as well, to avoid the whole mess above) and it all, ALL could have been avoided if she just told one of the many people who stopped next to her that she planned on killing Amy off herself (More evidence that someone on staff watched Lassie during the drafting process).  But since that would avoid her pointlessly telling off Rick and take away some of the impact of the dramatic reveal, we are left with a character who has just damned herself to look like a badazz. 

She just pointed a gun at the living, but more specifically Rick the ‘golden one’.  The last person that did that was Merle. 

Think about that.

Andrea is a female version of Merle.  (Just with more tact and visible weaknesses. )

She pointed a loaded and live weapon at a helpful human being.  She could have told many people what her plans were, to at least give her some backup should Amy over-power her.  Should could have told Rick to avoid a confrontation; to avoid “crossing a terrible threshold” (any fans Uther the Lightbringer represent, woo!  Hell, any fans of Arthas shout out as well!).  In another discussion on zombies, I described this as marking herself as the Short Straw.  She was emotionally compromised, pointed a gun with intentions of firing it at a police officer, and from the moment she killed off her sister she should have been handcuffed until they decided where to drop her off.  Hell, maybe her and Shane should soothe their violent and impulsive natures together in a forest scene.  That seemed to help out all involved last time it happened.

So yeah, I’ll go with marking myself off as “disappointed” with this episode.

One final bid for longer lasting viewership:  action keeps people glued to their seats.  Dialog and only dialog episodes make people feel like they are sitting in glue.  (Subtle change, that is.)  The first is exciting and pushes the story along wisely and still finds time for character advancement.  The second is slow, uncomfortable, and fairly boring.  (I did like the humorous explosion in the lab, though.  Nice comedic timing of the robotic voice.)  The Walking Dead doesn’t need to be *filled* with gore, action, and zombies…but if all it IS filled with is speeches and heart-felt discussions…well…we are left with this:

After they bite off your ear, they'll talk off the remaining one.

And as far as I know zombies can’t even form words.  It’ll be a slow forty minutes of guttural, garbled, and strained vocal chords belting out airy baritone vowel sounds.  As Alton Brown would say, “Not Good Eats.”  (And I dare say, he’d add in a “uni-tasker” or two for good measure.)

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