Friday, May 27, 2016

MadCap's Game Reviews - "Fallout 4: Far Harbor"

In the distance...far from the (lack of) relative safety of the Commonwealth...are the rocky shores of Maine and the settlement of Far Harbor. Here, the Harbormen of the titular town fight against the radioactive Fog and the creatures that it has spat out.  But also, a colony of Synths founded by a prototype in the hopes of finding peace for Synths, and a militant wing of the Children of Atom who may see all of go the way of the Pre-War world.  It's's's isolated. It's Maine. And it's Far Harbor, the latest DLC for Fallout 4.

The plot is simple enough, the Sole Survivor gets a radio message from the Valentine Detective Agency - Nick has a new case to go and retrieve a missing girl.  All the clues point to her traveling far to the North from the Commonwealth, to the previously mentioned titular location.  Why? Because she believes she's a synth and has heard of Acadia, a refuge for synths led by the enigmatic DiMA. Traveling there, we definitely have a far different locale than the Commonwealth, full of rocky terrain and insidious, imposing swamps that are filled to the brim with a nasty assortment of creatures including Anglers, Fog Crawlers, and...wolves...

In a bizarre twist, radiation and evolution seem to have only spawned a few different species about.  I wasn't expecting a whole new bestiary, but it is a little strange to see only a few and the rest being filled out with the regular Fallout cast, including Super Mutants of all things.  But, at least, there's enough new stuff in the bestiary to say they have a unique set of wildlife.

Including the infamous RADCHICKEN!!!

And that's about all I can say for the designs and the beasties therein. It's definitely a welcome change from the Commonwealth and Far Harbor definitely is a very scary and foreboding place that will spell doom for the unwary and unwelcome. So, on that front, good job Bethesda.

The story, too, is actually a vast improvement over the vanilla.  There's thankfully less emphasis on the Settlements mechanic (even though there are a few settlements) save for a particularly annoying part of the plot that involves using a VR simulator to uncover a few hidden memories (as opposed to, say, forbidden ones) to help drive the plot along. While not wishing to go on a tirade about it (odd for me, I know)'re not making a puzzle game. Either put some more thought into it or don't do them at all, they end up just being tedious. Now back to concerns...

I highly recommend bringing Nick along as a follower as, fun fact, Far Harbor provides many opportunities to earn affinity with him as well as revealing major details about his backstory like the fact that he's got, that he was once the mayor of Diamond City, and he was once a little girl. One of those was a lie – can you guess which one? I guess you'll have to find out by playing the game.  Needless to say, it's definitely some good character building and has made me love the character of Nick Valentine even more.

And, of course, Far Harbor is plenty happy to further press the questions that the vanilla game did with synths. How close are they to humanity? Can they be considered sentient? If they're not sentient, how does one program things like fear, anger, or happiness? Can a Synth dream? How does a Synth know its a Synth? Ultimately, is there any real difference between Synths and Humans besides how they were made?

All facets of a debate sparked very well by Bethesda's work, bravo.

Of course, if you're not up for the semantics of moral debate, you can always join the Children of Atom and nuke everybody with a submarine.  Because "What Would Atom Do?", am I right?

Oh, and for the record: the harpoon gun sucks, the Marine Armor is pretty cool, and thank god no Ghoul Whale.

Fallout 4's Far Harbor DLC is now available from Bethesda Softworks for PC, Xbox One, and Playstation 4.

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

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

MadCap's Mad Rantings - "#SayNoToHYDRACap"

I don't know what to say about this.

Oh, wait, yes I do. And that's why you're here.

I'll make this brief for the TL;DR crowd: this is offensive and wrong and Marvel should be ashamed of themselves.  For those that aren' on.

Picture a time, 75 years ago.  Captain America comes into being from the pens of Joe Simon and Jack Kirby. He is a staunch anti-Nazi propaganda machine. Over the years that followed, he became a symbol of truth, justice, and the American way.  He was a paragon, a light to follow that would lead us to better, and we could all sleep a little easier knowing that the Star Spangled Man with a Plan stood ever ready to defend the principals, not necessarily the flag, that he loved. For years, he's been the moral center of the Marvel universe (when written correctly).  Often I have said that when one is in a moral debate with Captain America, one is wrong. And, until today (canonically within the Marvel universe) I have been right.

...and then, they went and made Steven Rogers, the true All-American defender of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness...into a goosestepping Nazi.

The paragon of all those virtues I just mentioned for 75 years and he's been reduced to just another HYDRA thug in a single sweep, thanks to Captain America #1. And it's not even that he's been reduced to "just another HYDRA thug", oh no's about the fact that Marvel is telling us point blank that every single thing that Captain America has ever down in the pursuit of those ideals that he has held so dear for so many years has been an absolute lie. A farce that was perpetuated simply to further the goals of HYDRA. And the worst part is that it's not a clone.

It's not magic or mind-control.

It's not an alternate universe.

No, Marvel is telling us right out that Steve Rogers of Earth-616 is and always has been an agent of HYDRA from World War II on.  It is one thing to have a heroic character turn evil, its happened dozens of times in comic books.  This, however...this is so offensive and wrong that it burns in my gut. I feel physically sick as I sit here even thinking about this. You have taken Captain America and turned him into exactly what he has been fighting for all these years, and I do not approve. And many, many other comic fans  are likewise not amused by this vile perversion.

Why don't you just dig up the bones of Joe Simon and Jack Kirby and take a piss on them? Because that's clearly the level of respect you have for the two men who created a character that was supposed tell people that they never need to be afraid of the tyranny of evil men and that freedom and justice would always have its champion. A shining star in the sky that all humans could follow to help make the world better.  This man who has stood against evil time and again, both from the Earth and from realms beyond, and would stand against it all again just to keep the world he knew safe if only for passing moments.

...and you mean to tell me that this man has managed to lie to everyone for decades?


I really cannot say anything about this just besides the fact that it's offensive and wrong.  I decried (and still decry to this day) the utter stupidity that is "One More Day". It was a complete and utter aversion of Spider-Man's moral of "with great power comes great responsibility". But it has those who will defend it, say it has some merits. I don't agree, but I can at least see some of their points (even if I don't agree).  This, though? This is absolute trash. This is a gigantic middle finger to anyone and everyone who ever cared about the character of Captain America. It is blatant and outrageous disregard for the very core of the character in question. And, worst of all, it is a slap in the fact to the legacy that Joe Simon and Jack Kirby left behind.

I do not advocate violence against another human being, at least never in any serious manner. However, it is clear that the people who came up with this incredibly disrespectful, vile, odius pile of clickbait bullshit is not human. Not of any sane mind or sound judgment, and I truly am amazed that someone at the writers' table did not immediate shoot that person in the face for even thinking of this idea. 

It is wrong, plain and simple.

It should not have been attempted.

This is beyond the rage about Fem!Thor or Falcon being Cap now (apparently at the same time that Steve is Cap, for maximum confusion). This isn't fanboy rage, Marvel. This is outrage that you have so completely failed to grasp the very core of one of your flagship characters, a character you claim to love and respect, and have lost all right to use.

Even a retcon won't save this at this point, because you have made the retcon. You have done the equivalent of sleeping with the Devil. To me, and to many others, Steve Rogers is dead. At long, long last, Captain America is dead for good. Even if they manage to retcon this, it won't save anything. The Clone Saga was eventually largely retconned, and it still sucks. One More Day got retconned by One Moment In Time, and it still sucks.  But, as I said, this is beyond even those atrocities.

I pre-ordered this comic, I admit it, but that was before I found out about this. I will not be reading this comic, I will be burning it. And, for those who did buy it, I encourage you to do the same thing.

If you haven't bought this comic, don't. It's that simple. Do not support this. At all.

Seriously. Don't.

Saturday, May 7, 2016

MadCap At the Movies - "Captain America: Civil War"

This movie is awesome.

I repeat: This movie is awesome.  Go and see it if you haven't.

...why are you still reading this? GO!

Captain America: Civil War is now in theaters from Mar-oh, you want me to do an actual review of it? Alright, alright, fine.

As far as the plot goes for Avengers 2.5, it's a few years after Age of Ultron and the world governments are in a little bit of an irritated spot about the Avengers operating with impunity, particularly after the incident where they nearly dropped a city on the Earth (totally Tony Stark's fault, by the way).  Nevermind how they have, by their actions, saved billions of lives and - in fact - the entire Earth twice.  But y'know, whatever. Clearly these are a group of dangerous individuals that need government regulations and save guards.

...what's that? Winter Soldier, you say? Never heard of that or the message it gave about how freedom, regardless of the consequences or the price, was the right option.

No, now it's a time for consequences! A conflict begins that will tear apart the very fabric of the Avengers and send them careening into oblivion from which there is no escape! Or...or...Tony Stark could just admit that he's a self-righteous jackass who screwed things up for everyone and needs to realize that when one is against Captain America in a moral debate, one is wrong.

And yes, this is a spoiler but...Cap is right. He's proven right. And Tony Stark does not spend the rest of his life in a maximum security prison.

Other than that, this is a great movie.  The returning cast from the Avengers play well, as we've come to expect.  We get a few scenes with Vision (Paul Bettany) and Scarlet Witch (Elisabeth Olsen) that serve to humanize their characters and give them some much needed development that they didn't get in Ultron, as well as some ship-teasing. Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner) is almost a no-show, and the introduction of Scott Lang (Paul Rudd) is quickly rushed just to have another big name in there.  Of course, the latter is redeemed by the fact that any film that has Paul Rudd in it becomes 99% better, so this can be forgiven.

...oh, you want me to talk about that other guy.  Fine.

Peter Parker (Tom Holland) gets recruited into the Avengers in the latter half of the film.  He's a bit different from the last two times he was around but, honestly, I like the kid.  He hits pretty much all the notes that Spidey is supposed to, both in and out of costume, though it is a little jarring when supernerd Peter Parker refers to Empire Strikes Back as "that movie from a long time ago" (it makes sense in context). Other than that, if they keep this up, then I'll be happy to go see Spider-Man: Homecoming when it comes out.

...oh, the other other guy? Fine.

T'Challa (Chadwick Boseman) is awesome. Black Panther was done justice and you damn well better believe I am eager to see his solo movie. That is all.

Other than that, there's really not that much to say. We have visually appealing fight scenes, good humor (the scenes of Bucky and Falcon paired together are hilarious beyond reason), and even a good villain in (Not) Baron Helmut Zemo (Daniel Brühl). Mind you, his actual plan relies on a lot of circumstance and chance, but...ultimately...well, I won't spoil it for you here. But yes. Excellent movie, likely one of Marvel's best thus far.

And the best of all, there were no utterly confusing scenes or unclear motives. Everything had a serious tone while still managing to balance things with humor to keep them from getting utter and completely depressing.

See, Zack Snyder? THAT is how you make a superhero crossover movie.

Captain America: Civil War is now in theaters from Marvel Studios and Walt Disney Motion Picture Studios.

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