Sunday, December 28, 2014

MadCap's Game Reviews - "The Worst Games of 2014"

Wow, 2014 was a heck of year, wasn't it? I went into it mocking a troll, screamed about games, movies, and comics alike that I despised and loved, and now I'm here to recount all the games I've played...the ten worst and best, anyway. This one, as you can tell, is the Worst list (if you can't tell, hello to my blind demographic that I didn't know I had). Now, this isn't necessarily games I've played that have come out in 2014, this is just games that I've played and reviewed this year, before somebody comments in that vein. So, without further adieu, let's look back at my year in screaming at things I don't like.

10. Yu-Gi-Oh! Millennium Duels

The review in question
Well, this one isn't so much one I hated so much as just didn't care for. It's not bad by any means, it's likely the most accurate representation of the Yu-Gi-Oh! Card Game (at the time that it was made, anyway) to be put into a simulator.  But that's just it, it's a simulator with nothing else to it.  You have your tiers based on the four different series of Yu-Gi-Oh!, even some of the familiar characters, but there's no point to any of it.  Even Eternal Duelist Soul on the Gameboy Advanced had tournaments and even a few random events that popped up every now and again.  This, though? Just...nothing to it. I would have liked a storyline of some kind, or at least a point to it all.  But it's not remotely as guilty as some of the other games on this list, so let's move on to...

9. LEGO Marvel Superheroes

The review in question
Now, I'm a Marvel fan over DC, any day. That being said, this game isn't really one that scratches that Marvel itch for me like Marvel Ultimate Alliance 2 did. The LEGO stamp on it feels bizarre and out of place, but then it feels that way on virtually anything that's not LEGO's own product. It's also a game that has a heavy focus on collectibles that serve no purpose other than allowing people to pull up their gamecard and stroke their e-peens to the fact that they've collected 100% of the Cosmic Bricks or all the pieces of the Serpent Crown or the underwear that Jean Grey was wearing when she was mentally destroyed by the Phoenix Force.

It's not bad, hence why it gets so low on the list. It's just not as great as it could have been.

8. Terraria

The review in question
Okay, so I technically cheated with this one.  There are some differences between Terraria and Minecraft, I admit, but those differences are so minute as to be absolutely invisible in the face of the fact that the former game is literally just the latter in a 2-D style. The mining works slightly differently and the crafting is, in my opinion, a bit better than in Minecraft, but the only real difference I've found is that Terraria is done in a very faithfully re-created 16-bit style. That's really it.  Needless to say, I'm not overly impressed. But, again, like numbers nine and ten on this list, it's not really guilty of sins far darker.

7. Spider-Man: Edge of Time

The review in question
Spider-Man is my favorite superhero, that should be abundantly clear to anyone who reads my blog. And time travel? Well, I'm a Doctor Who fan, so that kind of goes without saying. So, putting them together should be a no-brainer, right?

Apparently it is a no-brainer. A severe no-brainer.

Like the earlier ones, this is one I said was passable at release...which it is. But it doesn't give the feeling of being Spider-Man in either time period.  Ironically, the one game that has done that is Spider-Man 2, based off the Raimi films were Spidey was at his least Spidey-ish in adaptations. This game, however, doesn't give that same feeling. You're trapped in corridors and even the very broad and spacious areas where you're allowed to swing around in feel claustrophic. No giant skyscrapers and plenty of them scattered about to swing to and fro from...just closed in labs, hallways, and rooms. Yawn-a-rama.  I gave Shattered Dimensions grief, but at least it had some the settings, anyway.

That pretended to have four different styles of play, and I should be more upset about that than this, since you only have two Spider-Men instead of the four.  Except the fact is they only had two Spider-Men here, and neither gives the feeling of any uniqueness or of being Spider-Man, be he from the present or 2099. Perhaps it should be a bit higher on this list, but we have far, far worse sins to get through...

6. Fable: Anniversary

The review in question
Now, don't get me wrong, I absolutely adore Peter Molyneux. The guy is an absolute legend of silver-tongued devils like myself and he's an inspiration of somehow being beloved by virtually everyone while lying through this teeth about game features. Randy Pitchford could take a few notes in this regard, I tell you what. When Fable: Anniversary came out, I was definitely quite interested, because I had never played the original Fable on the Xbox when it had first come out, settling for jumping in during Fable II, which I admit may have colored my opinions on it a bit. I enjoyed Fable II a great deal (which led to Fable III being very disappointing for me, as some of my readers might remember), so I thought that Fable: Anniversary would be the same, while also perhaps having some interesting new things for me to check out.

By then, I knew enough from the games set further along the timeline to know the plot, so there were little to no surprises for me. But the game itself was just alright, not really anything special and I've been told by veterans of the original that nothing's changed before an HD upgrade. That's not a new game, Peter, you cheeky man. Why make us pay sixty dollars for a game we've already paid sixty dollars for ten years back? What rubbish.

5. Batman Arkham Origins

The review in question
We seem to have an ongoing theme of nothing changing on this list, which is going to be really ironic when we get to number one. But looking as we are, we have the earliest endeavors of the titular Dark Knight in the Arkham saga of games.  It's not bad, but the problem is that - beyond a few minor changes as is the case with Terraria, it's basically the same game as Arkham City, which had come out before.  And I absolutely loved City (except for the Riddler challenges). But really, the entire game is just the Arkham City facility looking a little less ratty (it is still Gotham City, after all) with all the models and such from that game with a heaping helping of snow dumped on it in the hopes that you don't notice all the familiar blemishes.  Not a fan.

4. Devil May Cry 2

The review in question
Aaaaand now we're getting into games I outright hate. I could get irritated at the fact that it's the sequel that started the bizarre out of order sequencing of the timeline.  I could get irritated at the development team (a completely different one from the first) changing virtually everything about Dante, turning him from a snarky, wise-cracking half-demon who loved a good challenge into a complete emotionless, humorless nihilist. I could get irritated at Capcom for choosing a new development team when they had such a good one for the first game.

But as for the gameplay itself - targeting specific enemies is stupid, the padding of enemies is stupid, and I didn't even get into what has become my biggest complaint about this game in my review - where are all the Devil Arms? Dante has Rebellion, which is nice, but then gets nothing else the whole game.  Guns? Oh, yes, lots of guns as in Devil May Cry, but the first game (and every game after this one) had some different, unique kinds of Devil Arms that were won by either breaking their wills or defeating the demon attached to whatever item. It had a unique feeling and a sense of accomplishment when Dante had a brand new shiny weapon to wield.

Here? Not so much...with Rebellion.  Don't get me wrong, Rebellion is a Sword of Awesome +1, but variety is the spice of life.

And, of course, the lack of the spooky environments from Devil May Cry is a pain, since they force Dante to scope out urban environments that are lifeless and completely lacking in any feeling whatsoever. They're kind of indicative of the game in general - dull, gray, and boring until its over...or you die of a lack of any sort of satisfaction.

3. Dead Space 3

The review in question
I chewed this game out when I first got a hold of it, and with good reason. It's terrible. It's taken what started out as a very intriguing horror concept and turned it completely into a generic shooter, taking on legions of power armored soldiers with your engineering-based weapons instead of Lovecraft's Damned Legions. Even Dead Space 2 (which, for the record, I loved in spite of the multiplayer BS attached to it) got that right! And that's not even getting into the pointlessness of the weapon crafting mechanic (ironic, since it's the most Isaac that Isaac has ever been) and the inclusion of a second character in generic space marine #4196, as well as locking off certain areas of the game just for two player mode. I didn't spend sixty dollars to have half the game taken away from me because you wanted to force a mechanic on me, Visceral. Eat me!

2.  DmC: Vergil's Downfall

The review in question.
I can hear you now: "MadCap, this is a DLC! Not an actual game!". Well, the fact is, little Madmen, that this DLC alone caused enough irritation in me to want to put it on this list.  DmC: Devil May Cry was and is an absolute joke as far as attempting to salvage anything likable about any of the characters, settings, or plots of the original Devil May Cry stories and this is absolutely no exception, doing further damage to the character of Vergil.

The worst part about this is that it does nothing but further show Not-Vergil's descent into madness following the events of the main game. He's angry, he's angsty, it's depressing...until he gets better, destroys the last vestiges of his humanity (which, considering in this version he has none is a bit odd) and rules the demon army that once called Mundus master. The only thing I can say to its credit is that it's mercifully short.  Sadly, that doesn't save it, and it's as high up on this list as it is because it's attached to...

1. DmC: Devil May Cry

The review in question.
Oh, don't even look at your screen that way, you knew this was coming.  This was my Aliens: Colonial Marines for this year. My Vampire Rain. I could go on with the alternatives, but I'll spare you and just say that this is my the worst game I've played in 2014 and with good reason. Actually, with many good reasons. Plural. That's right. Plural.

There's no better place to begin with this train wreck than with the protaganist, who some would call Dante, but I refuse to give that name to this character.  So allow me to use the fan-made name of "Donte".  "Donte" is completely changed from his namesake, the only things that the two really have in common anymore are that they both have two legs, two arms, and a head...and use a sword and two guns to fight demons. That's really it. Dante was clean-cut, well-spoken, and charming in all things, even in hunting demons. He had some moments that were abundantly silly (the ham to ham combat in Devil May Cry 4 with Angus comes to mind), but it was fitting of the character. He was, at his core, a demon hunter who loved what he did. It's what he lived for. One could say he's absolutely crazy about it! His boundless enthusiasm saw that people WANTED to keep playing to find out what happened next in the story...and to hear more of his hilarious quips.

"Donte", on the other hand? He cares about nothing. There's the hero that refuses the call, and then there's this asshole. He has absolutely no regard for anyone around him (up to and including himself), lives with the knowledge that demons exist and does absolutely nothing to fight them, and is pretty much an asshole to anyone and everyone...and this guy is supposed to be a hero. Now, don't get me wrong, anti-heroes are a big thing and if they're done well, they can be the focal point of some of the best stories that can be told.

This is not one of those stories.

Good God above, this is not one of those stories.

"Donte" is unlikable to the point that you want to reach through the screen and throttle him, and yet we're supposed to empathize with this guy. He's angsty and sad because there's no one else like him and he's all alone and blah blah blah, cry me a river. Dante never had the whole "I'm the only one of my kind" angsty. Y'know why? Because there was demon ass to kick! But even when "Donte" does accept the call to adventure, it doesn't feel genuine. What? A girl flashes you a bit of leg and suddenly you want to help humanity? Bull.

Even his design is something that's offputting and makes anyone who sees him want to play this game less (unless they're into the bedraggled meth-addict look). I'm sure Ninja Theory was trying to make him seem "badass" or whatever by appealing to the emo crowd. The original Dante didn't have to have the Jesse Pinkman Halloween outfit or swear incessantly to be a badass, he just had to be badass to be badass. Dante didn't care what anyone else thought of him, but had the approach-ability that came with that sort of thing. It wasn't that he didn't care about anything, he just had no care for what others thought of his more outlandish quirks as he did what he did best.

And Vergil, as I started on a tirade about, gets the worst treatment. Devil May Cry 3 painted him more as the Well-Intentioned Extremist. He works with Arkham to enter the Temen-ni-gru so that he can gain the power to fight off demons, so that what happened to his and Dante's mother will never happen again. The developers were actually able to establish more with less in that game, and it worked well overall. In the new game, Vergil at least starts out seeming this way. He runs this world's version of Anonymous in an attempt to wake up the public to the fact that the demons have taken over every aspect of human life.

Which works up until you kill Mundus...and then he suddenly, out of nowhere, thinks it's time for him and Dante to rule over humanity. It comes right of nowhere and doesn't really have any sort of build up at all. A far cry from the character who cared about honor in the classic games - never using guns, never attacking an opponent when their back is to him, and so on. Vergil in the new games, however, doesn't act like this at all. He kills Lilith by first shooting her through the stomach so that her baby is killed, allowing her to stew in it before putting a bullet through her head, while conduction a hostage negotiation.

Classic Vergil thought of himself as better than the demons because his actions showed that.  New a horrendous douchebag that gets Machiavellian aspirations right the hell out of nowhere.

And, of course, Kat makes up the third part of the power trio...and she's the least offensive character in the bunch. She's not bad, but she sure isn't Trish or even Lady, that's for sure. She has some generic backstory about abuse that, like "Donte", we're supposed to care about. And, to give credit, we do to an extent, but they do nothing with Kat and she's basically a pair of breasts to run around with "Donte". Yawn.

Now the one thing I will say to this game's credit without any sarcasm: how the demons have subjugated humanity is actually pretty brilliant. Instead of the overt appearances and the like, the demons have corrupted subtly through marketing, the media, and subliminal advertising. The problem is in the execution, as could be said with a lot of this game. When the Demon World, "Limbo", get revealed, it becomes this overt twisting of reality...which while it makes sense completely ruins the feel they're going for with the subtly. Sometimes, that works, but it works far less often than it does.

Swinging back to "Donte" and Vergil themselves, there's the bizarre choice to get rid of their human half and make them half-angel from their mother Eva's side.


By removing any of "Donte"'s humanity, you take away a vital connection that makes Dante such a great character. He defended the humans in spite of his demonic half, because the love of humanity coursed through his veins as well. "Donte" is basically what would happen if what people complained about with Superman was actually true - namely that he's completely unrelatable because of his alien origins. And "Donte" certainly is that, but I can look beyond a character's origins. To give a good example of this, Vegeta from Dragonball Z is a character that begins as a ruthless villain, but transitions overtime to become an antihero and then one of the good guys entirely. But the transition is done so that you want to see it happen, and so that you have any sort of interest.

"Donte" is the character that you want to see taken out with a Big Bang Attack, and it is something that I want to see every time I see this character.

And this game, as a matter of fact - the worst game I have reviewed in 2014.

Happy Holidays and a Happy New Year to everyone! When I return in the year 2015, I shall have my "The Best Games of 2014" up for you all. I hope to see you there!

For the latest from the MadCapMunchkin, be sure to follow him on Twitter @MadCapMunchkin.

Friday, December 26, 2014

MadCap's Game Reviews - "Sega Vintage Collection: Golden Axe"

Is there a genre in gaming as old and as pure as the classic sword and sorcery tale? Really, there's nothing like the tale of an epic quest in order to save the land from some great evil.  When it comes to many games, you don't need more than that.  As with Golden Axe, a game that doesn't get any more complex than "wizard bad, you hero, go kill!" or, in this case, a warrior.  But what's this? Two more games added into the pot? Sega, you generous people.

I mean, when you're not allowing Alien games to be made by Gearbox Studios.

But we have the first of three games together, Golden Axe, a child of the Arcade era of gaming where the machines were gluttons for quarters and gamers were gluttons for punishment. A side-scrolling, beat 'em up, hack and slash in which you select one of three heroes to go on an epic quest to save the world from the infamous...Death Adder. Yes, the evil overlord who has stolen the mighty Golden Axe and threatens all of Yuria will be forevermore known by the terrifying name of...Death Adder. That's like calling yourself "Fluffy the Terrible". That's something a 13-year-old would name the villain in their Harry Potter fanfiction. To be a supervillain with that name, you really have to do something a little more intimidating than steal an axe.

So he kidnapped the King and his daughter...touche, Death Adder, touche.

That's about as brain dead simple as the plot of Golden Axe gets.  The evil person is evil, go beat them to death and save the kingdom. To do this,  as I said before, you pick from one of three protagonists: "Ax Battler", a warrior with a broadsword and a fetish for speedos; Gilius Thunderhead, a dwarf who doesn't get good range with his attacks and I'll explain why that's troublesome in a moment; and Tyris Flare, a female barbarian who fits the stereotypical image of what people in the 1980s thought one of the Valkyries looked like.

As such, because these characters are given no personality and, in fact, their names aren't even given within the game, I have decided to refer to them as "Larry", "Curly", and "Moe", respectively for the rest of this review.  No particular reason, I just feel like being cheeky.

You're allowed, as with all characters, two different attacks, but I can't seem to find too much of a difference between the two options unless you're jumping. Besides swinging the blade only slightly differently, they both seem to hit enemies with little trouble...provided you're on the same plane as the enemy you're trying to hit. The game is a side-scroller, using isomorphic perspective to create the illusion of depth. So the closer to the top of the screen you get, the further away from it you're going.

It's bizarre even when you see it, much less having it described, but take it from me, there are few things more frustrating than taking a leaping swing at an enemy only to seemingly sail right through him and land on the other side just in time for the AI to reorient itself and pummel you with attacks from behind.

Here we come to the splits in combat styles.  Larry, as I mentioned before, wields the broadsword and has the best balance in terms of range. Generally, enemies can't hit him without getting hit themselves.  Curly, being all dwarf-y as he is, wields and axe and actually has a very poor range, forcing you to run up an into harm's way more often than not to even hit enemies. Moe attacks with a short sword, so she has the least range of all, but she has an ability that the others don't have - spellcraft!

Okay, so the others have spells as well.  Larry uses magic related to the element of Earth, Curly wields the almighty power of electricity, and Moe has at her command the powers of fire.  And with their powers combined...they can damage all the enemies on the screen, sometimes even take them out if they have enough blue potions stocked up to do so with. All magic comes through these blue potions that can be collected along the way, sometimes from containers that can be broken, sometimes from bandits who rob you in bonus stages.

This might be leaving you wondering how this could possibly apply to all three games, or why I didn't try to milk three reviews out of this Collection? Very good question, and the answer is simple: they're all fundamentally the same.  Sure, II added some new moves and allowed the player to select the intensity of their magical attacks and III brought in a gaggle of new characters, but the gameplay did not change so drastically from game to game.

So, instead, I'll just rag on the plots of the other two games.

Golden Axe II sees the Larry, Curly, and Moe once more testing their steel against the infamous "Dark Guld" (and now I'm heavily re-considering my mocking of "Death Adder") who have stolen the Golden Axe for themselves.

Golden Axe III sees Ozzy Osbourne taking away the Golden Axe (seriously, King of Yuria, lock that thing up somewhere) and cursing the warriors of legend so that they are unable to stop for the one that manages to break free of the curse and do so. Despite appearances, in this one, the only hero from the previous games to appear if Curly. Despite the fact the male warrior and the female Valkyrie both look like Larry and Moe, they're apparently not. Just warriors with identical range and abilities.

I shall refer to them as "Shemp" and "DeRita", respectively.

Or I would if I had anything to say about them, but I don't. It's pretty much all been covered above.

They are joined this time by not one, but two characters. A man who looks like the forbidden lovechild of Carrot Top and the Ultimate Warrior (who I shall call "Skronk"), and a humanoid panther who kicks all of the asses (who I shall call "T'Challa"). Skonk, unlike the others, is an unarmed fighter, preferring hand-to-hand and wrestling moves over puny weapons. However, he's also the slowest of the bunch and the problem with the perspective rears its head quite often with him. T'Challa is much the same, but much faster and possibly even the best of the bunch due to his super move (it's amazing to watch).

So, in terms of storyline the games never really evolved that much. In terms of graphics, though, they seem to have de-evolved. Golden Axe and Golden Axe II look good for the era, but Golden Axe II looks absolutely inexcusably bad. For a game that came out in 1993 (1995 in the States), it looks like a game from ten years earlier. Hell, I've seen bits of Atari games that look better than this does. So no, this was not a time when Sega did what Nintendon't. This was one of Nintendo's points to point and laugh at many others.

But Console Wars aside, the first two games were pretty good.  Nothing to write home about, certainly, besides the option to mount fire-breathing dragon raptors.

...oh, did I not mention that? Yeah, that was a thing in all three games.

But it's your standard hack and slash, the simple save the MaGuffin, save the world shtick. Pretty good when you're in the mood for a hack and slash, but otherwise not that memorable.

The Sega Vintage Collection: Golden Axe is now available from Sega on the Xbox Live Arcade.

For the latest from the MadCapMunchkin, be sure to follow him on Twitter @MadCapMunchkin.

Friday, December 19, 2014

MadCap's Game Reviews - "Robot Unicorn Attack Christmas"

What do you mean I've reviewed this before?

...what? That? No, you must be thinking of something else entirely.

That game where you maneuver an equestrian avatar through deadly dangers to catch floating butterflies and blow up stars is completely different through this game...where you have a suspiciously similar character dressed up in a festive holiday sweater and antlers running to catch floating presents and blowing up snowflakes with supersonic speed.

...okay, so it's a bit of a cheat. Sue me.

The Flash game Robot Unicorn Attack was a surprise smash hit of the long, long ago time of the early 2010s, so it's only natural that Adult Swim would want to push a festive holiday version of it, Robot Unicorn Attack Christmas (and, much like Star Trek Into Darkness, I'm wondering where the colon is supposed to go).  And with such wonderful games such as Far Cry 4 and Dragon Age: Inquisition out of my grasp at the moment, I find myself occupied with...well...this.  And, of course, 'tis the season, right? So, naturally, I want to spend my Christmas with a robot unicorn.

This game, for all the aesthetic differences, controls and plays exactly like the game its based from.  The unicorn runs forever to the right, forcing the player to either blitz their way through obstacles and capture the floating objects of the unicorn's desire, all the while avoiding pitfalls and solid surfaces while racking up points. And, to answer myself from the previous review, there is no end to it.  The game just goes on and one, the platforms becoming more elaborate and the speed of the unicorn growing faster and faster until the player's manual dexterity cannot keep up and the unicorn inevitably comes into contact with one of the aforementioned dangers.

There is literally no point to it at all, but it's very addicting. Much like the first game, I found myself coming back every so often when I had the time to kill for no other reason than to get a little further on the goat (or, in this case, unicorn) path to nowhere. Normally I'm not someone who worries about that sort of thing. I don't one hundred percent most, if any, games I play, and I rarely go out of my way in anything other than an RPG. But this, like the first one, is pleasantly addictive, which is - in the end, the point.

I will say, I do like the look of the world we're present with - a snowy wonderland in place of the majestic rainbow one we had in the original game.  The unicorn and the world about him are wonderfully festive, and even the soundtrack joins in on it, though this sadly means that we lose the very addictive "Always" by Erasure. And while The Darkness is not a bad band, "Christmas Time (Don't Let The Bells End)" just doesn't have the same memorability of "Always". Perhaps because that song, and the game it was attached to in general, were so ridiculously over the top as to be memorable in the extreme.

Not bad, just not really memorable.

And that's this game in a nutshell. It's a holiday version of a game that's already fairly good, and while the change in scenery and feel is nice, I have to say I prefer the original. Even if it's the Holiday season.

Robot Unicorn Attack Christmas is now available from Spiritonin Media Games and Adult Swim, on Flash, iOS, and Android.

For the latest on the MadCapMunchkin, be sure to follow him on Twitter @MadCapMunchkin.

I might even review
actual games again soon...oh, the joy...

Friday, November 28, 2014

MadCap's Trailer Reactions - "Star Wars Episode 7: The Force Awakens"

I've got a meh feeling about this one.

Now, don't get me wrong.  I'm definitely excited for this movie.  I've been a fan of the Star Wars films every since I was able to sit up and look at a flickering screen on the television.  My generation actually stands as one of the last few to have seen the original films before the 1997 re-releases...and, of course, the dreaded Prequel Trilogy.  Before Doctor Who, before Star Trek, and before virtually everything else, there was always Star Wars.

Then the prequels happened.  Oh, lord did the Prequels happen.  But it's been nine years since the last of those, and will be ten by the time that this film actually comes out - a film that could, perhaps, save the franchise from the Lucas-ification (yes, that is a word, leave me alone, spellcheck) that it suffered? Will we be able to forget about the nine year old boy who thought things were totally "wizard"? Will we be able to leave behind the sand, coarse and rough and irritating and getting everywhere? Will yousa be able to forgive George for creating Jar Jar Binks?

Yeah, I could spend this entire write up bashing the prequels, but let's go for some taste, shall we?

It's a teaser trailer that Abrams and company have brought to us, and I'm normally rather against them.  Why? Because they have nothing of substance.  I know that the movie is coming out, there's no need to torment me with vague imagery.  Give me something of substance to speculate on, please.  As it looks, we have something like that, though not a great deal.

The camera opens over the sands of a desert planet (presumably Tatooine) with a voice-over speaking of an awakening in Force, with some shots of our three main leads - from the look of it an Imperial Stormtrooper, a desert-dwelling speeder block riding woman, and a Rebel/New Republic X-Wing pilot.  The voice also speaks of the dark side, showing a sinister figure all in black with his/her back to the camera, activating a red-bladed lightsaber.  Suddenly, the screen goes black and the voice speaks, "...and the light..."

And then, to the glorious John Williams's score of the main theme, the Millennium Falcon makes a long-awaited return to the franchise as it soars over the dunes of the desert world, and the title card is shown.

So...why am I not foaming at the mouth excited? Because that doesn't really tell me anything I didn't already know.  Beyond a shot of some Stormtroopers moving off a drop ship and the Falcon flying into battle, I haven't seen any familiar characters I care about.  No Luke, no Leia, no Han or Chewbacca (who is alive again, which I will get excited about).  The new characters are interesting, but we're not given any details on them besides the bits we can piece together from their short snippets.

And then, of course, there's the clear antagonist for the film.  Who we also know nothing about, and who has the utterly stupidest lightsaber I have ever seen in my life.  The saber looks very much like the standard one-bladed, the crimson blade shooting out from the hilt as you would expect.  The blade also, however, has two miniature blades that shoot out to the sides to form a crossguard as you would see on a longsword.


If it were that weapon, I could understand the need to do such a thing, but putting it on a lightsaber only makes it all the more dangerous for the wielder.  Consider how lightsaber combat has been done even in the Original Trilogy.  The crossguard would only serve to slice off the wielder's hand in combat, leaving them completely defenseless.  And don't we have enough hands cut off in this franchise already? Or is Abrams purposefully tempting the Rule of Three? Seriously, if this was an attempt to do something different, I can understand that, but it doesn't even fall into the "Cool, but Impractical" category, it just looks really stupid.

That being said, the teaser - for what it does show - does actually look pretty good.  Despite the cleaner look of the Prequels to it, I will say that it at least makes more sense for things to look more advanced after the Original Trilogy than before it (one hang up of the Prequels that I admittedly have never been able to get over, irrational as it may be).

So, will the Star Wars franchise be able to rise again under the watchful care of the House of Mouse? No idea.  If the Marvel films that have been produced are any indication, though, we have next to nothing to worry about (so long as Drew Pearce and Shane Black have nothing to do with any of them).  As for the teaser, though, it doesn't really perform its function for me at least.  I'm excited for the movie, but this did nothing to deepen my appetite for the film...which is also still an entire year away from coming out, and thus might contribute to my apathy.

I'll still see it, but the teaser did little for me.  Perhaps the full trailer will do more.

Star Wars: The Force Awakens is set to be released on December 18, 2015, by Walt Disney Pictures, Lucasfilm, and Bad Robot Productions.

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MadCap's Game Reviews - "Terraria"'s just Minecraft in 2-D 16-bit style. What's all the fuss about?

No, really, I don't get it.

At all.

Terraria is now available from Re-Logic on several platforms.

For the latest from the MadCapMunchkin, be sure to follow him on Twitter @MadCapMunchkin.