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About Fez

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    Like A Thundering Lizard
  • Birthday 11/18/1987

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  1. Fez

    Video Games: Devils Die Twice

    I've been playing the Total War: Three Kingdoms game too, and, yeah, it's good stuff. My only real complaint is one that I have with a lot of strategy games (except Civ5 and Stellaris interestingly, so it doesn't need to be a problem), which is that the UI scaling is really bad/non-existent. So for someone like me, who plays PC games from the couch with my TV as monitor, it's damn near impossible to read any of the text. I had to pull out a bean-bag chair and put it in front of the coffee table to sit in so I could play the game at all. I know people have been asking CA for options to increase font/UI sizes for years and it's never happened, so my main hope is that eventually someone puts out a mod to do it. That's been the only way I was able to play EUIV from the couch. Other than that, which wouldn't be a problem anyway for people who have normal PC monitors, it seems like a really good game. I'm more of a Three Kingdoms fan than a Total War fan, and I find playing through too many battles to be rather tedious. But, even with delegating all but the most important battles to the AI, I've still got tons to do and have been having a blast. One thing I really enjoy, which I think the game is doing better than any of the ROTK games (at least, of the ones I've played, 7, 8, 9, and 10) is being able to strike a balance between keeping the flavor of the the time period and the characters while not having the game be an on-rails reenactment of what happened historically. There are some events (as Liu Bei I did get the option to defend Tao Qain from Cao Cao if I wanted, and that led to me inheriting Tao's lands shortly after) but the ability to trigger them seems much looser than ROTK. For example, after Lu Bu killed Dong Zhou, Dong Min took over and mostly kept that power base intact; and the game has been able to adjust so that some of the events of the mid 190s are still triggering (when it makes sense) despite the continued dominance of the Dong faction over the Emperor and the northwest of the empire. Right now, I'm actually in a coalition with Dong Min and Wang Lang to crush Cao Cao between us, and things are going well so far, though his main army is still out there. My main concerns besides Cao are whether Yuan Shao starts snowballing in the north, which I've read online is very common currently, and the continued nuisance of some Yellow Turban remnants (these ones have been around since the start of the game, but new rebellions can pop up all the time). One mechanic that I really enjoy is that there is a vassal state called the Han Empire, which is controlled by whichever faction controls the Emperor. It's not very powerful (at least, not in the AI's hands, maybe a player controlling the Emperor would be different) but it has a ton of territory throughout the empire that the other factions can deal with in different ways. For instance, as Liu Bei I have a special resource called Unity, which has a few different uses, one of which is that it can be used to take of Han Empire territory without a fight. I think its a neat way of reflecting the fact that the country didn't just completely dissolve in 190 (when the game starts), and that there were still the remnants of the old government for many years, it just didn't have any power over the warlords.
  2. Fez

    Video Games: Devils Die Twice

    I think its a pretty straightforward request really, which is for high-budget, well-done party-based RPGs. And there really is a world of difference (for some people at least, including me) between the former heights of Bioware, who were pretty much the only AAA studio in that space, and the myriad isometric, CRPGs. It's not necessarily that Bioware had better writing (though sometimes it did), I adore the writing in Shadowrun and The Banner Saga for instance. But Bioware had the budget for the graphics and voice acting that made their worlds and characters feel so much more alive. I cared so much more about Garrus or Isabella than I did Eiger or Hakon because the Bioware games had the budget to make them feel alive rather than just be text on the screen; and often to give them more and larger conversations and roles in the main plot. But Bioware sucks now. And the isometric CRPGs are getting more ambitious, but may never have the budget to reach what Bioware used to be able to do (though maybe Divinity Original Sin III, whenever that is, will be). So a lot of times the only option for a high-budget, well-done party-based RPG is to get something from Japan, but that has its own drawbacks; like almost always being an on-rails experience and generally requiring a high degree of tolerance for anime bullshit (which I say lovingly). Although, I personally, am more accepting for solo-character RPGs, so long as there are sufficient supporting characters who get large amounts of screen time and character development, like The Witcher 3.
  3. Fez

    Star Trek: Picard

    Honestly, I think Patrick Stewart could knock that concept out of the park. Bring in Ian McKellan as his frenemy neighbor that owns a competing winery and you've got yourself a hit.
  4. Fez

    Video Games: Devils Die Twice

    "Party-based" is the tricky part here; because there are a decent number of solo-player RPGs (best among right now being The Witcher 3 probably), but not so many party-based ones. At least, not at the AAA level; but I think there are several smaller budget party-based RPGs with stories and writing that match up to the former heights of Bioware. Wert's mentioned a bunch of them, another would be the Shadowrun games (especially the one in Berlin and the one in Hong Kong). Beyond that, your best bet may be JRPGs, there's been a lot of really good ones in the past several years (and loads and loads of trash, and all of its on Steam). Though of course, there's generally not the freedom of choice in them, it's much more on-rails writing usually.
  5. Late to seeing it, I gave the episode a 5; which is the second lowest I've ever given an episode of GoT (the record holder is S8E4, which I gave a 3 in retrospect after learning how Jaime's character arc ends). In a vacuum, I'd probably give it an 8 or 9; everything production-wise was fantastic and, if you ignore all the context of the show, the writing was okay too. The only issues I'd have were the coincidence of Jaime and Euron running into each other and fighting; and also, if there's a secret passage into the Red Keep, Tyrion can't be the only one who knows about it. Why not just send some assassins to kill Cersei and end the war immediately? HOWEVER, I can't ignore the context of the show, and with that, I thought the episode was pretty dreadful. I can completely believe that most of what we witnessed could eventually happen (except for Jaime going back to Cersei), but everything was so absurdly rushed and poorly explained that it was just silly. I always thought there was a good chance Dany would go Mad Queen in the end, but the show didn't earn it; there was some foreshadowing, but she snapped way too quickly compared to where she was earlier this season. If D&D were burned out on the show, which I get, I'm sure its a tough job and they've been doing it a long time now, I don't understand why they didn't hand off showrunning to someone like Cogman, who was still passionate (and S8E2, which he wrote, is by far the best of the season) and would be up for at least having seasons 7 and 8 be full length. They'd still get their huge EP fees, and could still even come back to direct the series finale if they really wanted. Extremely disappointing how things are wrapping up.
  6. Fez

    Video Games: Devils Die Twice

    I beat The Missing: JJ Macfield and the Island of Memories, which was Swery's (the Japanese developer with a clear passion for Twin Peaks) new game that came out back in October. That was a hell of a thing, and one that I had no idea what it was truly about it before I played it. The controls were a bit janky and times, and the underlying conceit of a girl physically harming herself (ripping off limbs, getting set on fire, rolling around as just a head, etc.) over-and-over and then regenerating herself to solve puzzles is just upsetting at its core. At least, until the end when you learn Until the ending, the game is told through flash-back text messages that unlock at set storypoints and as you get collectables. They're mostly well-written, but what really stand out are the stickers. I wish I owned all of them; if I did, I might never use an actual word in a text ever again.
  7. Fez

    Escalators... what’s the deal?

    I'm with Scot on this, as are most residents of the DC area. If you stand on the left side of the escalators, you're getting run over. The metro system even has occasional PA reminders about it (or at least, they used to, I haven't ridden the metro much in a few years now). The right side is for standing and riding, the left side is for walking (hopefully briskly).
  8. Fez

    Star Wars Thread: Don't Get Cocky

    The Avatar sequels may wind up being one of the greatest flops of all time, but that's what a fair amount of people thought about the original and then it wound up being the highest grossing film ever. Cameron has never had a flop and never had a movie review poorly (either with critics or the public), I suspect the Avatar movies will makes tons of money for Disney. Though the question remains just how expensive have the 10+ years to make them been and just how crazy how a box office take is needed to turn a profit that makes it worthwhile.
  9. I'm not sure it would be that big a challenge actually. With Fox no longer making superhero movies, except for the couple legacy ones coming out this year, there's a new gap in the yearly blockbuster calendar that Marvel could fill. And they have the production capacity from all the Fox employees who are now under the Disney banner. I'm sure a few Marvel folks would need to go over to Fox, to ensure the new movies fit into the Marvel style guide, but much of the actual work could be done by people who aren't involved in the slate of movies you list. The only potential wrinkle is if that many blockbusters would cause Disney to run into trouble with whatever the remaining rules in the US (or other big market countries) are about taking up too much of movie theaters' screen capacity.
  10. Cumberbatch wasn't great in the first Doctor Strange movie (IMO), but I thought he was solid in Infinity War and I know from Sherlock and some of his earlier work that he's capable of some truly riveting performances. I'm not worried about him. Hemsworth and the entire GOTG crew are charisma machines, and I think will be big parts of any crossover movies; as well as continuing to have own movies. I don't think Marvel will try another Hulk movie, but Ruffalo is great anytime he pops up in someone else's movie. The Ant-Man movies have been forgettable, but Rudd is great and I suspect will be in the cross-over movies for a while. Tom Holland is also really good and, from the latest Far From Home trailer, seems to be getting set-up as a major part of the next phase; becoming, symbolically, the next Iron Man. That's a pretty good base of characters there. I agree that a lot of the other Marvel actors haven't always been the been the most interesting to watch, but I wonder how many will actually be getting their own movies. A lot of them seem to be getting shipped off to Disney+ mini-series instead; which, maybe will be more connected to the MCU than the current Marvel TV shows have been, but I still think puts them on a decidedly lower tier of importance, especially for any big cross-over movies. Also, I don't if/how the casts from The Eternals, The New Mutants, or the current Fox X-Men will work their way into the MCU, but there's a lot of possibilities there as well. The Eternals at least seems like it'll definitely be part of it, and I think Angelina Jolie has been confirmed as the star; who would've definitely be interesting to add into the broader MCU. I suspect The New Mutants is a single, abortive spin-off (and a horror film?) and that Dark Phoenix is the end of the Fox-era X-Men. However, if the multi-verse is truly going to become a thing in the MCU (as suggested by the Spiderman trailer) that would be a way of bringing in any of the Fox X-Men cast that Marvel wants who are willing to sign contracts with Marvel. I'd certainly be cool with Michael Fassbender, James McAvoy, and Jennifer Lawrence showing up.
  11. Fez

    Second Quarter 2019 Reading

    I read Mark Lawrence's Red Sister and Grey Sister in a couple days, and I'm halfway through Holy Sister now. Really great stuff. I've also been reading Dan Abnett's first omnibus of Gaunt's Ghosts books and short stories. I generally stay away from licensed universe fiction, especially Warhammer 40k which has some notoriously bad authors, but Abnett is one of the rare 40k authors that is legitimately decent. I'm about to have a 10 day stretch where I will have tons of free time and very little to do besides read, so I've picked up Trial of Lightning by Rebecca Roanhorse, Senlin Ascends by Josiah Bancroft, and Kings of the Wyld by Nicholas Eames. I haven't started any of them yet.
  12. Not necessarily (I tell myself). It could be that he fully expects to die in the process of killing Cersei and doesn't want Brienne following him and getting hurt/killed as well. Of course, that requires a degree of subtlety that I'm not sure the writing is capable of anymore.
  13. A 6 for now. The big variable is whether D&D are doing a poor attempt at misdirection with Jaime and he's going to go kill Cersei or if they are throwing away his character arc. If it's the former, the episode is a 9 (still -1 for some minor complaints) if it's the later, it's a 3 because that's a really terrible move. So I'm splitting the difference for now.
  14. I tore threw Red Sister and Grey Sister the past couple days, and I've got the third book on the way from Amazon now. I haven't read anything else by Mark Lawrence, so I can't compare them to previous works, but I think these books are really good. The slow-drips of world building have been very well done and I really like the setting he's created. The supporting characters are perhaps a little too interchangeable with each other, but I like Nona quite a bit and I'm looking forward to seeing how things wrap up in book three. I did get a little tired of the school training stuff in the first third of Grey Sister, which seemed like it was about to just repeat the first book, so I glad when things shifted up. I had a pretty high tolerance in general to all the school stuff though since I've been reading less fiction in the past 5 or 6 years, so a lot of stuff that may seem trope-y to others was still pretty fresh to me (though I did recently read The Poppy War, which covered a lot of the same ground in its first half; I think this series is better). I sort of feel that the Corridor is almost too narrow at this point for the story being told, but that's a pretty minor world-building complaint. At less than 50 miles across, I think society would've totally collapsed, not just being the mid-stages of collapse that it is. And with there essentially only being two directions that people can go in, I think if there were still societal structures in place, as there are, it would be much harder to keep a secret than it is. People should be stumbling across the Noi-Guin all the time and tracking people should be much easier, for instance.
  15. Fez

    Avengers Endgame- SPOILERS II

    I agree that it lowered the stakes dramatically to be fighting an alt-Thanos, and that the way the movie was set-up it was probably a mistake to kill our Thanos so early. However, I don't think it had to have been a mistake and I don't think it made Thanos look like an idiot. It was driving across the point that Thanos simply didn't care about whether he lived or died, he had achieved his goal, the one thing that was driving him, and nothing after that mattered. He didn't care about power or riches or anything else, he didn't use the stones to grant any wishes; in fact he destroyed them, partially to remove the temptation to himself. It's a potentially good twist, that the villain stops being villainous after they achieve what they wanted. However, the writers weren't able to properly follow it up and instead just brought back a weaker version of him that was more malicious. I know the movie needed a villain, and I think the problem was that they didn't have anyone setup from the original universe to take on the role. I think a better idea would've been to build up one, or more, of Thanos' children in Infinity War, have them survive, and have them be the main villain of Endgame. They'd even have an almost sympathetic motivation, trying to avenge their father's death and preserve his legacy.