Game Review: Diablo 3

Diablo 3 is out. But is it a game? Or is it the most brilliant money making scam in internet history?

Movie Review: The Avengers

Okay, okay, I posted my Avengers review. Get off my back already, geez.

The Most Important Comic Book You've Never Heard Of

Action Comics #1. Detective Comics #27. Why is All-American Men of War #89 as important as these great comics -- and why have you never heard of it?.

Tales From the Vault: Lois Lane #93

If you thought Superman was a total tool before, you ain't seen nothing yet.

Mass Effect 3: The Official Review

Mass Effect 3 isn't the end of the world, it just portrays it.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Movie Review: Kick-Ass

Coming to you straight form the fevered brain of 'Civil War' writer Mark Millar, it's the latest Hollywood comic book blockbuster, Kick-Ass. But does it, in fact, kick ass? Or is this the most ironic comic movie title since Warner Brothers asked empty theaters who was watching the Watchmen?

Before I get into my review, in the interest of full disclosure I should reveal that I have not read the Kick-Ass comic book due mainly to the fact that I think Mark Millar is a smug, self-satisfied douche. Granted, I don't actually know the man, but that's the impression his work gives off (and interviews seem to reinforce); when you read most of his works you can almost hear his inner monologue saying, "Damn, I'm good." But I heard a lot of positive buzz from the comics community leading up to the release of Kick-Ass, so I figured I would give it a shot. Plus, it's directed by Matthew Vaughn, who did the mostly awesome Layer Cake, which certainly is a vote in its favor.

So was my largesse rewarded? Well, let's start with the positive: Kick-Ass is an entertaining movie. Despite being (like most comic book movies) a bit overlong, to the tune of 20 minutes or so, the action moves pretty rapidly and there are jokes and bits of fanboy humor liberally mixed in to the plot. On a purely visceral level, then, if you want to shut off your brain and see some ass-kicking at the movies, Kick-Ass definitely delivers.

On the down side, if you do want to use your brain, there are going to be some problems, namely with the basic premise of the movie. Kick-Ass purports, according to King Millar himself, to be a modern superhero story -- an examination of what would happen if people in the real world decided to try being superheroes. And for the first half hour or so of the movie, it does a pretty good -- and entertaining -- job of presenting this, as the main character (codename: Kick-Ass)gets pummeled into near-oblivion several times in a very real-world fashion.

Unfortunately, however, the film then introduces a second storyline involving two other erstwhile superheroes, Hit Girl and Big Daddy, which causes problems for three reasons. Firstly, and most importantly, these two are actual superheroes, meaning they show an inhuman ability to kill people and defeat evil far above and beyond what is even remotely likely in any kind of "real world" situation; their presence inherently undermines what was supposed to be the entire point of the movie. Which leads right into the second problem, which is structural; the jokey, realistic treatment of the main character and his geeky friends feels like an entirely different film from everything that happens when Hit Girl is on screen, which leads to some jarring transitions between the two tonally different plotlines. But the third, and most important problem is this: Hit Girl and her conventional superhero story arc are both vastly more interesting and compelling than Kick-Ass and the main storyline.

As you might imagine, that's kind of an issue. If the entire movie had just been Kick-Ass and his cronies, the movie would have been basically a quirky, fun indie character study. But Hit Girl belongs to an amped up action movie; and once she debuts, the rest of the Kick-Ass sequences basically become periodic drags as you wait for Hit Girl to come back on screen. Both characters would have been better served, it seems, if they had been put into two different films.

There are other minor issues, of course. The fact that the most interesting character is a foul-mouthed, murdering pre-teen girl raises some interesting ethical and moral questions, but since all of these are completely ignored, for the most part she seems kind of like a cheap shock stunt. And for all the lip service paid to being realistic and getting away from the classic comic book fanboy wish fulfillment that classic superheroes embody, the relationship between Kick-Ass and his love interest has a twist partway through the film that turned it into maybe the biggest and most ridiculous fanwank male sexual fantasy sequence I have ever had the misfortune of seeing. Honestly, it's so boggling I swear a 13 year old wrote the supplot.

All told, then, despite some interesting and memorable characters and a relatively fun mix of humor and action, in the end Kick-Ass seems a lot like most of Millar's stuff: it talks big but has its head so far up its own ass it can't recognize its own bullshit.

My Grades: A- when you walk out of the theater, C- five minutes later and for the rest of your life.

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Monday, April 19, 2010

Happy Patriots' Day

Today, as all Americans no doubt know, is Patriots' Day, the holiday whereby we remember and celebrate the beginning of the American Revolution on April 19, 1775. Of course, most of the nation doesn't have the pleasure of actually celebrating Patriots' Day, as it's only an official holiday in Maine and Massachusetts (plus, school kids observe it in Wisconsin. You go, Wisconsin!). That's too bad, because it's one of the best holidays of the year up in New England, with re-enactments on Lexington green at the crack of ass being followed by the Boston Marathon, an 11 AM Red Sox game and, weather permitting, the first cookouts of the year.

In celebration of Patriots' Day, then, I though I'd share one of the many patriotic images contained in the official Marvel Bi-centennial calendar from 1976. My scanner wasn't quite big enough to fit the whole image in, but here's the Sentinel of Liberty himself flanked by two Minutemen, all ready to guard the Declaration of Independence (click on it to see it in all its old glory).

Happy Patriots' Day, everyone!

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Thursday, April 15, 2010

Top 5 Superhero Weddings

Welcome back to our sporadic look at comic book weddings. Previously we gazed in slack jawed wonder at a gallery of some of the weirdest wedding covers ever. Today we're going to turn to a staple of the industry: superhero weddings. And, naturally, our list of the top 5 weddings consists entirely of Marvel events.

Now, I know what you're thinking: man, that FFF thing really went to your head. Well, no. I mean yes, but not in this case. Rather, this is simple acknowledgment that the superhero wedding as we know it was invented by Marvel and pretty much every superhero wedding of the last fifty years is a copy of Marvel's inimitable style. So though there are many high profile and no doubt interesting superhero weddings over at DC and Image and wherever else, we're going to keep it real by looking solely at Marvel, a decision helped by the fact that the top four superhero weddings of all time are undoubtedly from Marvel anyway, meaning we're really just debating the number five spot. So stop whining.

And where does that leave number five? Well, it was a bit of a toss-up between a number of other worthy events (including, for instance, the wedding of Peter Parker and Mary Jane Watson in Amazing Spider-man Annual #21 and the union of Scott Summers and Jean Grey in X-Men #30) but after careful consideration I decided instead to go with a bit of a dark horse candidate (though not from Dark Horse Comics, of course)...

5) Hellcat and Son of Satan

Coming at you straight form the pages of New Defenders #125, it's the wedding all of the underworld has been waiting for, Hellcat and Son of Satan. This rather bizarre issue gets the nod for a couple reasons. Firstly, it contains the pre-requisite attack by supervillains, in this case the uber lame Mutant Force (which at least also included Hellcat's ex-husband Mad Dog). But it also signaled the end of the original Defenders team and concept thanks to the dues ex machina device of some cosmic dudes telling them they had to disband forever or else the world would be destroyed. Being the heroes they are, they were like, "sounds reasonable," and all quit (later to find out, of course, that this was just a really obvious trick). And as a result, the "New" Defenders formed, which were just like the old defenders only with more X-Men involved. All of this taking place in the middle of a supernatural wedding being narrated by a pink leprechaun for essentially no reason. New Defenders, same as the old Defenders.

4) Quicksilver and Crystal

Let's face it: nobody in comics does weddings quite like the Avengers and the Fantastic Four. So it's only fitting that we highlight the wedding of Crystal and Quicksilver, which took place in a crossover between Avengers #127 and Fantastic Four #150. Of course, the proceedings were interrupted by a giant-sized Ultron-7, inhabiting the body of the Inhumans android Omega. And with a union blessed by an inhuman killing machine, it's no surprise that the two later divorced after Crystal had an affair with a New Jersey real estate agent. Yes, Pietro was just that boring.

3) Vision and Scarlet Witch

Perhaps the weirdest wedding ceremony of all time (no pun intended) took place in Giant-Size Avengers #4 when the synthezoid Vision was married to the mutant Scarlet Witch by the ageless lord of limbo, the time traveler Immortus. And they weren't even the weird part. That goes to the fact that this was a double wedding, with Mantis (aka the Celestial Madonna) tying the knot with a sentient tree that had been animated with the soul of her dead lover Swordsman. We're guessing the reception was a real party.

2) Hank and Jan Pym

Maybe the greatest superhero wedding cover of all time, Avengers #60 features the union between Wasp and Hank Pym, who was at this point in his Yellowjacket identity. That's because he had suffered a complete nervous breakdown that led to the formation of a split personality; recognizing her boyfriend Hank Pym under the new mask, the Wasp seized her chance and finally wrung a wedding proposal out of her deranged lover. By the time he returned to his senses, it was too late: the Avengers had already defeated the marauding Circus of Crime at the reception and he was a married man. Epilogue: marrying someone when they are temporarily insane is not the foundation of a successful marriage.

1) Mr. Fantastic and The Invisible Girl

Could there ever be any doubt what the top pick would be? Unquestionably the most important wedding in comics history, the ceremony between Mr. Fantastic and the Invisible Girl in Fantastic Four Annual #3 set the standard for all superhero weddings that would follow. Not only was it a landmark event in Marvel history, it also established the trope of villains attacking superhero weddings, in this case resulting in one of the great battle sequences in comics history as an entire army of supervillains assaults the wedding, only to be fought off by the combined might of every Marvel superhero in existence, all of whom had gathered to celebrate the wedding. Add in a cameo from Stan and Jack themselves and you have an all-time classic -- and our number one superhero wedding of all time.

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Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Movie Trailer Special: Interactive Iron Man 2 Video

Okay, I know today was supposed to be a look at the Top 5 Superhero Weddings, but that will have to wait until tomorrow. That's because Marvel has preempted pretty much all existence with the release of maybe the coolest teaser ever, their new 'Iron Man 2' interactive trailer.

Now, before you watch it, you should know up front that the actual footage itself is the same as the last trailer. So what's so cool about it? Well, as this trailer goes along, new Iron Man-style data folders appear along the top of the screen, detailing characters and concepts form the movie. You can then click on these at any time to access those files and look at still photos, schematics and bios about the characters as though you were tapping into the database of the Iron man suit itself. Then, you can punch the video button and the trailer picks right back up where it left off.

And thanks to the many files, you can end up watching those clips in whatever order you like, effectively creating your own Iron man trailer experience. Seriously, check it out: this takes trailers to a whole new level.

How cool is that?

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Monday, April 12, 2010

Top 5 Oddball Wedding Covers

Hey, welcome back to The Vault's overview of weddings in comics. I would have posted this sooner, except I was at a wedding. See how that works? But with the revelry safely behind me, I'm free now to take a look at today's topic: the Top 5 Oddball Wedding Covers.

Now, before we reveal the list, I want to say that one of the great things about the word "top" is that it's really vague. I'm not claiming that these are the best oddball wedding covers, I'm just saying they are the "top" oddball wedding covers. You know what that means: these are just the ones I know about. Given the nature of wedding covers in comics history, I'm sure there are dozens of truly bizarre horror covers and romance covers in particular. Many of those are probably far weirder than the five I have picked, but for whatever reason, these are the five that have stood out for me.

So here's a challenge for you, my interactive readers: if you have any favorite wedding covers that haven't made my list (or tomorrow's list of the Top 5 Superhero Weddings) let me know about it and if there are enough cool covers I'll do a follow-up feature on reader submissions.

Otherwise, stop complaining and read on.

5. Jonah Hex #47

I'd like to give a shoutout to honorable mention Groo the Wanderer #42, which almost made the cut but got bumped by one of my personal favorites, the wedding of Jonah Hex. This choice was influenced by the fact that this issue kicked off a typically out there Hex storyline that eventually saw the bounty hunter head to China to rescue his immigrant bride from kidnapping warlords who wanted to force him to assassinate the Emperor. Why the hell not.

4. Rip Hunter, Time Master #24

This is what happens when you time travel: you mess up history. Case in point? This cover, which shows the Virgin Queen, Elizabeth, deciding to destroy all of history by marrying Rip Hunter, Time Master. Suck on that, Earl of Leicester!

3. Amazing Spider-man #131

An entire generation of young comic readers are still traumatized nearly four decades later by the image of Aunt May tying the knot with Doctor Octopus. Don't even think about the honeymoon. Agh, get the brain bleach! And the eye bleach! Why, Gerry Conway, why?!

2. Wonder Woman #155

Despite the fact that Wonder Woman is about to marry a disgusting alien monstrosity, I still find this easier to look at than the whole Aunt May / Doc Ock thing. Seriously, ugh. Bonus points, though, for having alternate timeline versions of herself, including Wonder Tot, as part of her own wedding party.

1. Jimmy Olsen #98

What else could number one possibly be except Jimmy Olsen #98, which not only sees Jimmy getting hitched to a female gorilla, but also sees the always politically correct Superman dressed up as a "witch doctor" and performing the ceremony using black magic. Score one for the 1950's (and make sure you click on this one to look at the larger version).

Tomorrow (or whenever):
The Top 5 Superhero Weddings!

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Friday, April 9, 2010

Wedding Special Preview

Instead of diving headfirst into a giant pile of back issues, this week I'll be doing something a little bit different: attending a wedding. Now, for fans of superhero comics, weddings mean one thing: an attack by an army of angry supervillains. Luckily, I don't think that's going to happen this weekend, but nevertheless this seemed like a good time to take a look at one of the great traditions in comics: comic book weddings.

Generally speaking these fall into three categories: Superhero weddings (perfected by Marvel, of course); oddball gimmick weddings (the intellectual property of Silver Age DC); and melodramatic romance comics (which speak for themselves). Over the next few days, then, I'll be taking a quick look at each of these with an appropriate list, beginning with tomorrow's look at the Top 5 Offbeat Wedding Covers.

So congratulations to my friends Neal and Liz, and don't worry: nothing like this cover is going to happen at their wedding.

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Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Opening Day Special: The Greatest Game Ever Played

Opening Day for the latest baseball season has finally arrived and for millions of baseball fans the crack of the bat ushers in the beginning of another summer of highlights, lowlights and pennant races. So it only seemed fitting that to commemorate the return of our National Pastime we take a look at what is undoubtedly the Greatest Game Ever Played.

No, we're not talking about Game 6 of the 1975 World Series. Rather, we're talking about a far more pivotal moment in the history of our great game: a showdown between the greatest heroes and villains of the DC Universe orchestrated, as you might have already guessed, by Mr. and Mrs. Menace themselves. You may recall that the last time we met the villainous duo (perhaps better known by their other aliases, Sportsmaster and The Huntress) they were busy plotting how to use golf to defeat the Justice Society. Well, in DC Super-Stars #10, when The Huntress and Sportsmaster got in a fight over her decision to turn into a superhero, they finally agreed that there was only one way to settle the argument: on the diamond.

What resulted has been called by some The Greatest Story Ever Told, and while we don't want to disrespect the Bible, we're going to have to agree. The setup: using some sort of evil, Sportsmaster traps 66,000 baseball fans inside the local ballfield and issues a challenge to the heroes of Earth. Unless they play his hand selected team of villains in a straight up game of baseball -- no super powers allowed -- those fans will never leave the stadium alive! And though that might seem like a blessing to, say, embarrassed Cubs fans, in this case it means certain doom.

So, faced with no other choice, the heroes reluctantly agree to the game. With the Huntress on their side in her new role as superhero, the good guys fill the role of away team, while the villains claim the right of the final at bat. Here are the team lineups:

Heroes: Wonder Woman, 2B; Robin, LF; Kid Flash, SS; Batman, C; Green Arrow, 3B; Huntress, CF; Plastic Man, 1B; Black Canary, RF; Superman, P

Villains: Dr. Polaris, 3B; Tattooed Man, SS; Felix Faust, 1B; Lex Luthor, CF; Weather Wizard, LF; The Joker, C; Chronos, RF; Matter Master, 2B; Sportsmaster, P

Now, key to these proceedings is the rule that nobody is allowed to use any super powers; a pretty difficult rule to enforce, of course, but with Superman involved, one that's also necessary. Plus, it allows Sportsmaster to pretty much dominate since, you know, that's his entire schtick. Still, despite Sportsmaster tearing the cover off the ball and acting as the starting pitcher for the Villains, the heroes, thanks to some amazing play from Black Canary and Green Arrow (which, again, makes sense as they are two of heroes least dependent on powers), still manage to enter the top of the ninth tied 8-8.

And that's when all hell breaks loose as the Heroes bring in their closer: Eric Gagne.

No, just kidding. Actually, that's when the villains, being villains, decide to start cheating. After all, if they lose, Mr. and Mrs. Menace will be a thing of the past and Sportsmaster will have to come up with an all-new super lame gimmick instead. With that in mind, then, he secretly implores his squad to begin bending their rules via superpowers, and the game is really on.

Unfortunately, Sportsmaster himself doesn't have any powers, and now he starts to have a complete mental meltdown. After allowing a leadoff single to Black Canary, he inexplicably decides to throw a beanball at Superman even though this will put men on first and second with nobody out in the ninth inning of a tie game. Needless to say, this backfires, literally, as the ball bounces off Superman's invulnerable face and nearly decapitates Sportsmaster.

Things then go from bad to worse, as Wonder Woman singles to load the bases (apparently a very shallow single, as Chronos is able to keep Black Canary from scoring). Now, Sportsmaster buckles down; first he gets Robin to strike out, and then Kid Flash grounds to shortstop, where the Tattooed Man scoops it up and throws out Black Canary in a bang-bang play at the plate. Looks like he's got this wrapped up, right? Wong, because then, the master of all sports, the greatest athletic specimen in the world... walks Batman, forcing in the go-ahead run. A run scored by Superman thanks to the earlier hit by pitch. Honestly, dude, just turn in your face towel right now, because you're an embarrassment.

Deflated, Sportsmaster then compounds his mistakes by giving up a two-run single to Green Arrow, who is then thrown out rounding first thanks to some evil magic by Felix Faust. And we head into the bottom of the ninth with the villains trailing 11-8.

Still, the supervillains aren't about to go down without a fight, so Lex Luthor starts by using a special doctored bat that he borrowed from Sammy Sosa; a device in the shaft prevents the ball from crossing the plate, leading to an easy walk. Next up is Weather Wizard, who starts a blizzard in the infield, but this does nothing, as Wonder Woman ignores it and tags Luthor out in a fielder's choice.

After Joker bunts for a hit thanks to some non-lethal Smilex Gas (it gives a grin, again and again), Chronos lies one on a hop to Kid Flash, whose spuer speed cancels out Chronos's attempt to slow time. Still, even though there are two outs, this was at least a productive out, as he moved both runners into scoring position. Matter Master quickly takes advantage by enchanting the ball so it flies off on little wings; Green Arrow is able to shoot it down before it goes yard, but Weather Wizard cores to cut it to 11-9.

With runners at the corners, then, it's up to Sportsmaster to atone for his idiotic pitching performance in the top of the ninth. And atone he does, drilling a double to center. One run scores, but again, bad baserunning comes back to haunt the villains, as Matter Master is unable to score from first on a double. Where's Enos Slaughter when you need him?

And then... the game ends! You see, it turns out that the villains aren't the only cheaters in the game: Plastic Man, who was handling the duties at first, turned his foot into a big fleshy base and Sportsmaster tagged that instead of the actual base. Technically, thanks to this game of footsie, Sportsmaster never touched first and therefore the field umpire, Amazo, calls him out. Game Over! Final Score: Heroes win, 11-10.

And there you have it: the greatest game ever played. Of course, it's also a product of the time, as evidenced by the fact that both pitchers threw complete games. These days, Sportsmaster would never have been on the hill in the ninth to botch things, as he would have been yanked for Despero or his set up man, The Black Racer. Still, this ranks as an all time classic worthy to stand the test of time. And best of all, DC was kind enough to publish a full box score! I suggest you click on this for a look at some true, old school baseball.

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Friday, April 2, 2010

Game Review: Final Fantasy XIII

One of the biggest video game releases of the year took place last month when Square Enix debuted the eagerly awaited Final Fantasy XIII. Now, if you're like my brother, you probably wonder how final the fantasy could be if there are thirteen editions of the game (actually 14, since the sequel to Final Fantasy X wasn't XI at all, but rather X part II). But for those unfamiliar with the Japanese series, it is, in fact, very Japanese: the entire line of Final Fantasy games can be seen as a type of Kabuki for your console, as they take similar themes, concepts and characters and rework them into new iterations over and over, meaning that in a way, what we have here is the 13th variation on the "final fantasy".

Still with me so far? If so, good, because this kind of circular thinking is going to be key to any attempt to enjoy Final Fantasy XIII -- as, ironically enough, the game is so amazingly linear that you'll pretty much need no other higher functions to make your way through it and you'll have to resort to tricking yourself to have any fun.

Before I start totally slagging the game, though, let's start off with some of the high points, which by now have been pretty thoroughly touted by those people who did like it. The biggest draw: the graphics are great. Really, seriously, top level great. And these graphics are used in service of a complex and even fairly compelling storyline that eventually grabs your interest and makes you want to see more.

Unfortunately, however, everything about Final Fantasy XIII is designed to serve the propulsion of that storyline. Unlike previous games, which existed within a larger universe for players to explore at their leisure, XIII is as straight-ahead, one-note as possible. There are no zones to explore. No countrysides to wander. No NPCs to talk to. All you have is one possible path -- usually quite literally a narrow path to walk down -- with occasional obstacles to defeat in order to see the next cutscene.

The result, then, becomes less a game and more an extended length movie that you can't actually watch without participating in this illusion of interactivity. But illusion is all it is; in some cases, all you get to do between cutscenes is literally walk twenty feet and press X. The question you end up facing is, do you care enough about the story and the characters to actually slog through the required combat encounters to watch it?

For some people, the answer may be yes, even though the combat system itself is also as flawed as the overall game structure. Unlike previous editions, this time you can only control one character at a time, with the AI playing your other team members based on what configuration of roles you choose. Though you can change configurations at any time, this also means that if your team leader goes down, its game over, which in many encounters limits which characters you can pick to play as team leader and what roles they can be in. Of course, even if you do die, the game doesn't actually end; all that does is require you to retry the fight, meaning that for the most part these fights are empty exercises requiring only the patience to pound your way through them.

All of this might be forgivable if the characters were compelling, but unfortunately, SE has decided to foist one of the worst designed characters in video game history on their fans in the form of the unbearably annoying Vanille. This vapid, irritating teenage girl, who speaks with a ridiculously bogus accent stuck somewhere between New Zealand and Boston, manages to ruin pretty much every scene she appears in and made me seriously wonder about the Japanese pysche, as I have a hard time understanding how a society ends up creating characters like this on purpose. It's honestly that bad. Add to this that one of the other main characters, Snow, is a dead ringer for Bret Michaels, the skeeviest sleezebag in rock history, and that all of his scenes feature some of the absolute worst dialogue ever written in this history of mankind, and it's a wonder that somehow the storyline does eventually become compelling despite itself.

The key word here, of course, is "eventually," which brings us to my final gripe about FFXIII: the designers apparently think we're all complete morons. I say this because, despite the fact that I played straight through (as if there were any other way), often avoided as many fights as the game allows in order to get through it as quickly as possible, it still took me nearly 15 hours to finish unlocking the basic elements of game play. Simple things like being able to picking your team -- or even picking which character you yourself wanted to control -- literally took 15 hours to unlock, while even at the ten hour mark I was still getting tutorial pop-ups as new combat features were unlocked.

SE's response to this will seem typical to anyone who has had the pleasure of dealing with them before.

"We try not to listen to the critics too much. Most of the criticisms have come because the first half of the game is very linear," game director Motomu Toriyama told a British game magazine. "But we've got a story to tell, and it's important the player can engage with the characters and the world they inhabit before letting them loose."

He then added: "We think many reviewers are looking at Final Fantasy XIII from a western point of view. When you look at most Western RPGs, they just dump you in a big open world, and let you do whatever you like... [It] becomes very difficult to tell a compelling story when you're given that much freedom."

Yeah, sorry. My bad. I didn't mean to look at the game from a ridiculous Western point of view where I enjoy stupid things like "freedom." Instead, I appreciate you not "letting me loose" before I have had the chance to experience 15 hours of tutorial play while you subject me to your godawful characters.

If I sound unhappy with the game, well, I think the above quotes tell the entire story of FFXIII. The focus here was for SE to be able to tell their story to you, not for you to actually participate in any kind of interactive way. Interaction apparently was seen as some kind of impediment to be avoided because it might have hindered their ability to set up their convoluted plot, as players might have chosen to do things that were actually fun instead. It's too bad, because the last game in the series, FFXII, allowed much greater freedom in terms of exploring the world and choosing the sequence of events by offering various quests that could be completed in any order -- all without interfering with the storyline, which I distinctly recall seeing in its entirety while playing. Plus, these decisions look especially backwards when compared to such "western" games as Grand Theft Auto VI, which was about as non-linear as you can get while still telling a vastly superior story.

In other words, Square Enix can pretty much bite me. Let's just hope they don't botch Final fantasy 14 as bad as they botched 13.

My Grades: The graphics get an A-. The character designs get a B for everyone except Snow and Vanille; Snow gets a D and Vanile gets a special place in hell. The storyline gets a C for being strangely compelling despite literally hours of navel gazing and utterly horrible dialogue. Thanks to the arrogance of the designers in deciding how to make the least interactive game imaginable, however, these scores all add up to an F for the game as a whole. This is essentially most expensive screensaver ever produced.

Here's a sneak preview of some well rendered emo nonsense:

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