Posts Tagged ‘3’

Movie Review: Captain America – Civil War

Oh look, another movie pitting superheroes against one another. I wonder how this one will go…

-◊-◊-◊-◊-
Starring:
Chris Evans, Robert Downey Jr, Sebastian Stan
Director:
Anthony & Joe Russo (Welcome to Collinwood, Captain America: The Winter Soldier)
Rating: M
-◊-◊-◊-◊-

The only “complete” Marvel comic book story (if such a thing exists) that I have read to this day is Civil War, a seven-part 2006/07 series that was given to me as a gift a couple of years ago. A positively gigantic event, the series divided literally hundreds of Marvel characters down an explosive ideological line – one side led by Tony Stark/Iron Man, in favour of regulating superhero activity to safeguard against massive collateral damage – the other by Steve Rogers/Captain America, unable to reconcile his desire to do good with the politics he feels would impede true justice. When Kevin Feige announced that Marvel Studios would be doing an adaptation of sorts a couple of years ago, I was skeptical of the project, and I wasn’t alone. How could they possibly do justice to the expansive, universe-shattering story with so few established characters in their stable?

As it turns out, the film version of Civil War, appropriately prefixed as Captain America: Civil War, is such a loose adaptation of that comic that the argument is moot. Sure, there are nods to the structure of the original, but what the movie actually turns out to be is primarily a story about Captain America (the still-amazing Chris Evans) and the closest relationships in his life, and on that front, it succeeds spectacularly. It also has some pretty cool supporting characters, and almost all of them add to the sheer fun of the spectacle. Though Captain America: The Winter Soldier was a more focused film, returning directors Joe and Anthony Russo have now proved that they can handle much bigger casts with aplomb, resulting in a sequel that is almost as good as its predecessor, and noticeably fresher than Avengers: Age of Ultron.

Continue reading

The Best & Worst of Pokemon – Closer

Well, that was fun.

As you wait on the intriguing next development in the Pokémon main series, why not peruse my subjective stances on the six generations of Pokémon games released thus far? The links are all here in one place:
.

The Best & Worst of Gen I

The Best & Worst of Gen II

The Best & Worst of Gen III

The Best & Worst of Gen IV

The Best & Worst of Gen V

The Best & Worst of Gen VI

<‘———‘>

.
Happy battling.

The Best & Worst of Pokémon: Generation VI

Games
Pokémon X
Pokémon Y

Platform
3DS

Region
Kalos

New Pokemon
72
.

+7. Sweet divergence

The mantra of the development team behind Pokémon X and Y was simple: Bring back lapsed Pokémon players from different generations by capitalising on the headline that the Gen VI pair would be the first Pokémon games to be rendered in full polygonal 3D. To maximise this, an intimidating number of new Pokémon was not necessary – instead the developers decided to give special attention to older generation Pokémon wherever possible, while introducing fresh ‘mons at a nice steady rate. And they started to put this design decision into action very early on in the story. On the first long grass route in the game, you can catch an astonishing six different Pokémon, both old and new, and by the time you hit the first Gym, that number has almost tripled. While this may seem unremarkable to some, it means that Gen VI achieves the exact opposite of the problematic situation I outlined in my Gen IV post – odds are your team will be different from those of your friends in the early game. Ergo, early multiplayer encounters are exciting. And that is a titanic plus in my book.

Continue reading

The Best & Worst of Pokémon: Generation V

Games
Pokémon Black Version
Pokémon White Version
Pokémon Black Version 2
Pokémon White Version 2

Platform
DS

Region
Unova

New Pokemon
156
.

+6. Generous seasoning

I wanted to make an entry devoted solely to the auto-prompt that pops up when you run out of steps on a Repel item in Gen V and beyond, but I definitely don’t have the space.

In a rare example of consistent visual iteration within the Pokémon main series, Gen V built on the significant attention to day-night cycles that Gen IV exhibited so thoroughly by introducing a seasonal cycle. Not quite one-to-one, the cycle saw the region of Unova change seasons at the start of every real-life month, changing up the look of several pivotal routes, slightly altering the encounter rates of certain Pokémon, changing the appearance of Deerling and its awesome evolution Sawsbuck, and even granting/removing access to certain items or events. I kind of wish the developers went even further than they did with the concept, affecting more than just isolated areas, but I’m still very happy it was included.
Continue reading

The Best & Worst of Pokémon: Generation IV

Games
Pokémon Diamond Version
Pokémon Pearl Version
Pokemon Platinum Version

Platform
DS

Region
Sinnoh

New Pokemon
107
.

+6. It’s all in the details

I remember quite vividly the day I brought home my copy of Pokemon Diamond to play. It would be an understatement to say I had followed the game’s Japanese release rather closely, and yet I was still surprised, not to mention floored, by the sheer number of tiny yet noticeable changes the game brought to the series as the first entry I could enjoy on my already treasured DS. From the way my Turtwig appeared to physically eat a berry in battle, to the slightly randomised animations of certain moves, to the vastly improved bag and PC Box structures, to the way buying 10 Pokeballs would just grant you a free Premier Ball, completely un-advertised, all these small touches added up to give me the same wide-eyed feeling of wonder I had experienced four years prior with Gen III. And at that point in my life, I had not thought that was possible.

Continue reading

The Best & Worst of Pokémon: Generation III

Games
Pokémon Ruby Version
Pokémon Sapphire Version
Pokemon Emerald Version

Platform
Game Boy Advance

Region
Hoenn

New Pokemon
135
.

+7. Starker contrast

When a new generation of Pokémon games is announced, said games inevitably come in pairs, and there is inevitably very little difference between the two versions. While it may not quite be an exception to the rule, out of all the main series releases Gen III arguably brought the loudest suite of differences between its corresponding games. The third generation arguably has the single most robust lineup of version-exclusive Pokémon in series history, and they begin to show up very early on. What’s more, Ruby and Sapphire are still the only games to offer a version-exclusive villainous team, which changes the flavour of the story, the types of Pokémon you face in enemy battles, and even the type of natural disaster that befalls the region late in the game (not to mention its accompanying music track). Only Gen V even comes close to that level of contrast.

Continue reading

The Best & Worst of Pokémon: Generation II

Games
Pokémon Gold Version
Pokémon Silver Version
Pokemon Crystal Version

Platform
Game Boy/Game Boy Color

Region
Johto/Kanto

New Pokemon
100
.

+6. Ooooooh shiny!

Ever found a shiny Pokémon in the wild? There’s no feeling quite like it, is there? You can thank Pokémon’s second generation of games for that very feeling. The design idea was so simple – give every single Pokémon a colour scheme variation, however slight, make the odds of encountering that variation astronomical, and watch human nature go to work. Introduced via a story-integrated red Gyarados, the thrill of seeing that trademark flash before a wild encounter would go on to become one of the most consistently treasured experiences in the entire franchise.
Continue reading