Tag Archives: Insomniac Games

Jumping the Soapbox: Games of 2018 (Part 2)

We’re back with Part 2 of this list!  Let’s not waste any time and jump right into the games!!

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Spider-Man (PS4)

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Developed by Insomniac Games

Am I getting too old for this?  I might be getting too old for this.  As I’m sure is a common consensus among those of us over twenty-five playing this game, I still feel a stronger connection to Spider-Man 2 from all the way back in the stone age than this one despite it still managing to be one of the best games I’ve played this year even if it can’t quite surpass my nostalgia for the one with Bruce Campbell in it.  I don’t know, I just feel that the new game is guiding me too much in my web swings; pulling visual tricks or redirecting my momentum to minimize mistakes, and while I will never claim that harder games are inherently better (or that players just need to “git gud”), I found the hectic and less controlled web slinging in Spider-Man 2 to be more rewarding and much more engaging on long trips to far off objective markers.  Other than that, the game is an improvement in every way.  The combat is fluid and allows for lots of varied combos, I LOVE it whenever a level has multiple levels so you can swoop in, kick butt, swing away, and come back to smash some faces one floor below, and even though the stealth sections are pretty unengaging, they at least function well enough.  That said, it can get a bit monotonous with some of the combat sections and I would have gladly traded all the battle challenges on the map for just one more fine-tuned and well-crafted story stages like the skyscraper one that was shown in the trailer.  Also, it felt a bit… anachronistic I guess to have the bad guys be SO defined by their Asian culture especially since the game doesn’t have much to counterbalance that.  When a minority group of people is almost exclusively shown to be terrorist (Yuri Watanabe is the only other Asian character of note), well at that point you’re basically recreating that one episode of Sherlock that’s always gonna be a bit uncomfortable to watch.  Still, this is a Spider-Man game that, at least for the modern era, will define what it means to be a Super-Hero game, and while I’ll always carry a torch for the PS2 game I won’t begrudge the new generation for having a version made for them to enjoy.

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Cinema Dispatch: Ratchet & Clank

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Ratchet & Clank and all the images you see in this review are owned by Gramercy Pictures and Focus Features

Directed by Jericca Cleland and Kevin Munroe

Well THIS certainly is a unique specimen!  I mean… it IS for another two weeks until Angry Birds comes out (ugh).  What we have here is the first CG animated film that has gotten a wide release in US theaters!  You’d think SOMEONE would have thought to do this by now considering how many of the pre-generation seven game heroes were aimed at children and some variation of a loveable animal character.  While Uwe Bowl was fucking around with Alone in the Dark and Postal, no one was willing to give Sonic the Hedgehog or Megaman a shot?  Well that all ends HERE with this movie based on the iconic video game series AND the added bonus of Insomniac games being a part of the production to make sure it’s done justice!  Do they succeed in making the first CG animated video game movie, or is this one big glorified cut scene that wouldn’t have passed muster in 2002?  Let’s find out!!

The movie is all about Ratchet (James Arnold Taylor); a cat like creature who lives a Tatooine knock off and spends his time poorly repairing hovercrafts by adding (presumably illegal) modifications that no one asked for and no one would find useful.  Oh well, at least he has heart, and dreams, and… probably other stuff too that the movie doesn’t really get into.  He’s THE HERO’S JOURNEY writ large and he’s got a call to action lined up for him!  Apparently some bad guys are blowing up planets for reasons (probably because their dicks) and so the team that defends the WHOLE galaxy has decided to increase their ranks from four… to FIVE!!  Okay… well the group, known as the Galactic Rangers, are holding tryouts to find this fifth member (there isn’t already a training program or an academy or something?) which Ratchet participates in, but fails miserably; probably due to his extensive arrest record.  Things may look grim for Ratchet who’s still stuck on this dirt planet, but salvation arrives in the form of a little robot who crash lands near the garage Ratchet works at, and he rushes to save him!  The little robot seems to know something about the villain’s evil plan and must get to the Galactic Rangers to warn them.  Ratchet agrees to help, gives the little guy the name Clank (David Kaye), and they’re off to save the Rangers and the Galaxy as they know it!  Can they manage to stop the bad guys from blowing up the rest of the galaxy?  Will the Galactic Rangers accept them as one of their own?  Did… did anyone actually sit down to watch this before shoving it into theaters?

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“PLEASE!  MAKE IT STOP!!”     “It’s too late Qwark!  We’ve already sequel baited!”     “NOOO!!”

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