this will be filled with major plot spoilers. if you’re here trying to decide whether to go see the movie, go see the stupid movie. it’s good. you’ll love it.

*hillary shimmy* hoo! okay.

rogue one is in the upper tier of star wars films. 7 was better, but it’s better than 6. i am open to placing it equal to or even above 7 upon more viewingses.that makes the tier order 1. New Hope/Empire per your own personal preference, 2. Force Awakens, 3. Rogue One, 4. Jedi, 5. monday morning meetings, 6. revenge of the sith, 7. getting a root canal, 8. groan wars/phantom grimace.

i struggled with the first act or so a little bit, which might have been the movie and might have been that i wasn’t properly caffeinated yet. we’ll see when i see it again. which, i’m totally seeing it again at least once.

the best part is, rogue one is here to help fix star wars in general. every time i’ve watched the original movie, i’ve been bugged a little bit more by a nagging plot hole: how can such a gargantuan and well-engineered thing as the death star have a dumb little flaw like that? i’d always assumed the rebels could only have gotten the death star plans from a defector, but how there’s such a gaping flaw just boggled the mind.

enter this movie. an unwilling engineer to the project built the death star to be vulnerable to attack on its exhaust port and then was himself the defector who told the rebellion where the flaw was (through giving them the plans and hinting at it in his hologram). pow. plot hole closed. rogue one is a top-flight star wars movie simply on the basis of making the OG star wars even better.

so anyway, i think part of what made this movie a little tough for me to get into was the bewildering array of names and locations it throws at you in about ten minutes of screen. (imdb for spelling) enter Galen and Jyn Erso, Cassian, Saw Gerrera, K2, Jedha and three other planets, you’re just tossed in here. i’m down to just be tossed in to a universe, don’t get me wrong, but it was a little confusing and the barrage of locations made me barely remember any of them.

the movie really comes into its own for me when jyn, on jedha, encounters the hologram of her dad. i dont understand what made saw gerrera decide “nah you go i’ll just chill here and die” but other than that it’s tough to have much complaints about the rest of the story. hell, the good guys don’t even live to tell the tale. that was outright arresting. there’s no ex machina to swoop in and save jyn and cassian on the beach? they just… they win, but are left in an impossible situation, and just… the movie lets them die?

do you guys understand how bold that is? hollywood heroes always live to the end credits. no matter how positive you are they’re toast. killing off characters not only prevents $equel$, it’s emotionally risky. you’re either going to make the viewer sad, or you’re not, and the latter means they didn’t connect to your characters. it means you failed. when the stormtroopers shred k2 i figured that was the token Good Guy Death since he was after all a robot, even if he was robot alan tudyk. then the movie immediately shows me they died for something, when stunning young carrie fisher lookalike ingvild deila (with some post-effects help of course) gets the plans, says something nice about hope, and we know what’s going to happen from there. to kill the main characters like that, the movie has to first a) make you understand them, b) make you like them, c) make you attach to them, and then d) take them from you, but show it wasn’t in vain. it’s a bold move, a confident move, and it worked brilliantly.

the only thing i would change is probably the rest of the ending. i’d find a way for the battle at the end to blend seamlessly into the beginning of episode 4. i really thought that’s what was happening when vader said to assemble a boarding party, and when it wasn’t, felt let down (and then remembered that the planet they were around was totally not tatooine). maybe leia’s ship immediately blasts to anywhere in hyperspace, any rim system to try to avoid detection, but somehow the star destroyer follows them, leia tells r2d2 she needs to record a message, and roll credits. idk it needs work but i am also not getting paid trillions of dollars to write movies either.

oh and let’s not forget that c3po found a way to worm his stupid ass into the movie for exactly 10 seconds, which he spent WHINING, BECAUSE HE IS GOOD FOR NOTHING ELSE. i’d delete that too.

sitting here trying to think of what else to say, it strikes me how powerful rogue one really was. it feels like SO MANY THINGS HAPPENED when really there’s just a prologue and 3 distinct acts.

P. galen gets taken
1. jyn comes to the rebellion
2. galen gets killed
3. the assault on the archives

that’s it. that’s the movie. it’s so simple. just a couple of really big events move jyn erso from Fuck Everyone And Your Cause, to dying for it. it only really takes one big event for cassian to go from I’m Just Following Orders to disobeying outright for his conscience. these are effective and make sense, not giant leaps like jyn discovering cassian’s dad was also called galen or something. (i will seriously never forgive bvs.) character arcs move more in two hours than they do in many movies that stretch on for ages. and that’s why rogue one is the prequel we all deserved, man. imagine character work like this around anakin and obi-wan, instead of… trade routes… and monologues about sand. i can’t wait to see this thing again and pick up on all the little things i didn’t catch the first time around. and i hope we get more little side-stories like this in the intervening time  between real star wars movies, and maybe even after as long as they stay good. the universe has a TON of untapped stories to tell. if KOTOR taught us anything it’s that.

attached trailer reviews: all garbo except hidden figures, and even that i don’t have any need to see in theaters. give to netflix pls.

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i haven’t written about any movies in a while so i figured the best time to do that again was at 1am on a saturday/sunday. (and publish at 2:30 bc why not i can’t sleep anyway.) about a week ago i saw the new benedict cumberbatch vehicle. actually, i love everyone in this cast. sherlock, and the operative from firefly, and i’ve had an embarrassingly big crush on rachel mcadams since red eye and etc. you should expect minor spoilers here but nothing game breaking.

it’s impossible to remember any of the names in this movie, so i will refer to the following characters:

  • doctor strange
  • the ancient one
  • rachel mcadams’s character
  • chiwetel’s ejiofor’s character
  • the bad guy
  • the evil god-thing
  • wong

Short, spoiler free review: I liked this movie. I didn’t love it. tilda swinton was great. chiwetel was great. benedict wong, as “wong,” was outstanding. his beyonce gag made me almost choke laughing. rachel was good but didn’t get the screen time i expect SMART DIRECTORS to GIVE HER. cumberbatch was very good but his accent came and went a little. it was very very not boring and i had fun. the visuals were overdone at times, and the entire plot is only possible because of two extremely stupid decisions.

Longer, spoiler-light review:

i didn’t know anything about this comic universe at all going into the movie. that’s not uncommon but i’ve at least heard of most marvel properties. doctor strange is a new one to me. it starts by asking a deep, dark, and heavy question as top-of-his-game neurosurgeon Strange murders his own hands by driving like an arrogant moron: what do you do now?

instead of answering that question in any sane way, instead the movie explores different themes, like making an everlasting (positive) impact on the world. strange can’t keep working on his new surgical techniques now, but he can become some magical mystic warrior. just because one thing was taken away, the movie says, that doesn’t mean you can’t keep on in other ways. strange himself just never really addresses that. after about halfway through the film his hands are just never mentioned again. do they get better? that was his plan – learn to heal them like the paralyzed dude did – but when he accepts his new…role?… we forget that plotline completely.

mentioning the paralyzed dude brings me to the first extremely stupid decision.

strange can’t save earth from This Marvel Movie’s Version Of Alt-Hell without using the pendant thing. he can’t use the pendant thing without studying under the ancient one, who he first has to find. he can’t find her if the formerly-paralyzed dude doesn’t decide for some reason to give him the time of day, even though they have a history (very small world here). and he can’t find paralyzed dude if his rehab tech doesn’t seriously and egregiously violate HIPAA. i’m not kidding. this made me actually angry in the theater.  you can’t just go tell your patient about another patient just because he’s also in the medical field and a right prick and you want to make a middle finger of a point. there’s no medical reason for him to reveal that patient’s case to strange, who does not have permission to see that file, which means if someone found out he could face, i shit you not, $50,000 in each civil and criminal fines and up to a year in jail, let alone getting fired from more than just your job. no matter how frustrating a patient is, no rehab therapist is going to commit career suicide and risk prison to make a point. get all the way out of here.

also, This Marvel Movie’s Version Of Alt-Hell is getting annoying. please god let there not be a portal to another galaxy/plane/universe/dimension/whateverthehell in black panther. this goes back to the avengers at least and has to stop.

anyway. this movie was cool and different in a lot of ways. when the ancient one says “it doesn’t have to make sense” that explains exactly the way you need to look at this movie. people wave their arms around and MAGIC BULLSHIT HAPPENS and it doesn’t make any sense, with the sole exception that you need a sling-ring to make a portal. given how much appears to happen without those, that’s a strange and arbitrary rule in a universe that otherwise has none. but i had a lot of fun trying to figure out what was going on, and watching crazy fight sequences that defy Euclidean three-dimensional space, and correctly predicting what the cape was going to do when i saw it move the first time.

the trouble is sometimes the visuals get all of the way out of hand. strange’s first encounter with the ancient one is the worst offender here. he flies around and sees shit. what shit? whatever tilda swinton wants him to see, and how does he see it, like is he there, or is he astral projecting, or is she bringing it here, and how come she can throw him across time and space and back again with a shove but it takes a sling ring to make a teleport? that scene was overwhelmingly visually confusing to the point of being almost unwatchable. it was weird for the sake of weirdness.

i understand what it was trying to do, but something can be bewildering without being toss-you-out-of-the-movie visually confusing. the dark zone or whatever the evil god-thing’s house was called was kind of the same way, but not because it looked confusing, more like the texturing and lighting budget all went into Earth scenes and then it came time to add this and only one artist was left for the whole thing. like, it didn’t look bad exactly, just, like CGI, while the whole rest of the movie has wrapped entire buildings around dimensions you and i don’t exist in and looked amazing.

sounds like i’m whining a lot but i really did enjoy this movie. i told my coworkers it was “okay” and then had to quickly remind them of how i generally feel about movies for them to realize that was an actual endorsement. (these are people who don’t think thor 2 is boring because he fine. like, yeah, would without thinking twice, but google is for that.) kinda feels the same here as i am about to yell a lot at the bad guy in my lewis blackest voice.

hey asshole. and all other assholes in movies about magic spells and stuff.

and listen close, this is important.

if you need.
a spell.
from a book.
break in to the library.
and kill people.
to steal a spell.
in a book.
a physical book.
if you have to do that.
take the fucking book! not a page! don’t rip out a page and leave the book behind, you world-class moron. how can doctor strange stop your plan if he can’t learn the spells to do it in the book you took the spell from? why take the extra time to find the spell you want and tear it out – carefully, don’t destroy it – when you can just take
the whole
book

so yeah that was extremely stupid decision number two. bad guy takes a page out of a book instead of the whole book is an ugly movie cliche that makes no sense at all. happens right off the hop and made me think “oh god here we go.” but like i’ve said repeatedly the movie redeemed itself pretty fast. it’s really good when it gets out of its own way. wong is a treat, everyone else is awesome, try not to think about physics at all, and enjoy the trip.

there’s a new blair witch movie coming and that makes me sad. found footage so often sucks. but there’s a found footage movie that doesn’t suck. it’s one of my personal favorite films, and i cannot even remember how i found it, but it’s a delightfully hilarious, dark norwegian movie called Trollhunter. unfortunately, as a norwegian movie, it is in norsk, so if you can’t handle subtitles, this movie isn’t for you. but if reading dialogue isn’t too hard for you… man i love this movie. i watched it again last night and wanted to gush so much i decided to write this and delay thoughts on how i kinda liked suicide squad. i would like a trailer here but the official trailer has a couple of spoilers i’d rather avoid in it. sad day.

trollhunter features thomas, kalle, and johanna, film students who track down and film “bear poacher” hans. of course this movie is called “troll” hunter, not “bear” hunter, so it’s not much of a reveal when he’s actually out hunting and tracking trolls for the norwegian government, and using bear carcasses to cover up the trolls’ damage. yes, this is a fiercely low budget affair, so the troll visuals are poor, but it’s usually hidden through distance, night-vision camera effects, low lighting, and in one instance, a rear view mirror. the director was well aware of this movie’s limitations and planned accordingly.

trollhunter masquerades as a blair witch style found footage suspense horror thriller. if it attempts this in earnest, it fails miserably but becomes a goodbad movie. to me the ideas in this thing are so absurd that it really seems to be a parody of the genre that also pays homage to norse folklore. (not that i know any norse folklore, the internet told me that it’s full of references to it.) there is a scene with a literal troll under a literal bridge. in this scene, hans, who has trucked these students around in his jeep with a camper trailer behind it, mysteriously comes up with not one, not two, but three sheep to use as bait. he also produces a bucket of a christian man’s blood–trolls despise the smell of a christian according to this movie, and hans isn’t sure how this applies to other religions–seemingly from nowhere. after hunting trolls for the first hour of the film in standard outdoorsman gear, he appears suddenly wearing a suit of armor made of sheets of scrap metal, because he needs armor to get a blood sample from this particular troll. with a perfect marvin the paranoid android intonation, he moans, “god, i hate this crap.” later he lures an extra-deadly troll by blasting over a loudspeaker, in norsk of course, the hymn “what a friend we have in jesus.” you cannot convince me this is a serious movie.

thomas is your on-camera talent of the trio. he bumbles somewhat and is a little too bold, both in how he bluntly follows hans around at first, and how he casually leads his team into what should be certain danger. he shoots an intro to a scene using a toothbrush like it’s his mic, and even after he notices and puts it down, forgets and raises it back up again. he’s reasonably naive until the stakes are raised somewhere around the 4th act.

johanna does audio, and as such spends almost the entire movie waving a boom mic around and wearing headphones. others will say “did you hear that?” but her line becomes “i’m picking up some strange noises.” she’s the most cynical that they’re actually going to go hunt trolls with this hans, but when they catch one on camera she’s the most excited and i think its her (hard to tell because everyone is shouting over each other and subtitles) who says “i told you!”

kalle spends most of the movie off screen because he operates the camera. he’s also the most nervous of the bunch, which does at least keep the camera out of danger the vast majority of the time, and also leads him to use the night vision to find out where danger is. that lets us see the trolls without also seeing how bad they look, haha.

finally we come to hans. after initially being paranoid about the film crew and brushing them off, once they actually follow him one night, he decides to let them tag along with him because he’s sick of his job. (maybe. spoilers at the end of this will speculate about that.) he talks matter of factly about troll species, their territory, their number of heads, and the disgusting way everything smells. “so i can approach with out them noticing,” he explains. as the film progresses he goes from protecting what he knows to trying to help thomas find scientific troll information, explaining his job, even showing off his forms and stuff.

so yeah. it starts a little bit rough, but after about 10-15 minutes i become a tremendous fan of this movie. i’m not sure why they set out to film a documentary about a poacher, and judging by their reaction to the first troll that was actually their real target, but the movie doesn’t really make that clear at all. they never film an introduction or anything. but once they follow hans into the night it starts running and never stops. if you’re a fan of goofy darkish farce, or if you want a parody of found footage, troll hunter is just outstanding and you should watch it. my favorite scenes are the bridge troll (which is longer than that clip) and the polish painters, which i can’t find a clip of except him saying (in english) “why problem make when you no problem have you don’t want to make?”

this is the spoiler bit. the blog is over if you haven’t seen it.

if you’ve seen this movie: does anyone else think hans is kind of entertaining the film crew for fun, and once they’ve videotaped evidence, planned to hand them over to finn the whole time? he points them to the road as he takes off on foot to finish off the giant, and the first cars to show up just so happen to be finn? how did finn find out? he only told the vet about what he was doing up there in the plateau. i think he never really expected any of the kids to actually get hurt, so when kalle dies in the mine he immediately starts talking about them going home, and sends them away from the very next troll (the giant) and straight to finn? that’s kind of my working theory. hans played along to see where this would go, and when it got real he decided to lose them and their evidence while he was at it. it also would explain why finn only kind of makes any attempt to get the tapes from them before the end.

overwatch is unplayable tonight because of ddos affecting people from certain service providers so i thought i’d play no man’s sky instead, then remembered last time i played i got stuck an hour from any planet because i beat a pirate raid and the game refused to let me boost or warp anyplace because of pirate influence that now shouldn’t exist and fukkadat. so, let’s write about overwatch since i can’t play it.

symmetra is a horribly underutilized, situationally powerful denier of areas and returner of teammates to the fight. she’s misunderstood and looked down on, and totally absent from the pro scene because pro flankers will kill your teleporter in a hurry. but in our scrubby pub games, symmetra can get your team that point A defense that almost guarantees your team delicious MMR.

in season 1 I pulled 61% winrate on this hero, and so far in season 2 on PTR i’m 5-1 on her. on PC her season 1 winrate was 63.87% per Overbuff, which is easily the highest. yet her pick rate is only higher than hapless widow, brainless bastion, worthless until late in the season zenyatta, and brand new ana.

her pick rate is so low because her utility is limited to the first point of capture and hybrid maps. but her winrate is so high because she’s SO GOOD in that situation. i’ma talk a bit about how i utilize her because i can’t play her right now because of that ddos i mentioned.

its all about the teep

part of why teams lose hard on the capture and hybrid maps is the first point drops as soon as you lose a single fight. all the capture maps are designed so the attackers have a spawn distance advantage for point A. this reverses for point B of course, but once you die at point A, it takes the defenders a much longer time to get back and fight than it does the attackers. that’s why her teleporter is such a game breaker. you can cut a full 10-15 seconds from that return trip and suddenly there isn’t an advantage anymore. what was going to be 6v4 after your teams traded evenly and theirs  got back faster, is 6v6 now.

other parts of symmetra’s kit are nice. the aim-free weapon is great for killing slippery targets like lucio and genji, and the alt-fire makes the safe area behind reinhardt actually deadly, but that teleporter is why you want the hero instead of some other damage dealer or a second healer. so your goal is and HAS to be charging and placing the teleporter as quickly as possible.

more than once i’ve been told as a game started not to put my turrets there, because they were gonna be destroyed quickly. um i can make more guys. it’s not like the sentry is in front of the choke, just in the open behind it. i have more places i want to put them soon anyway. all i care about is that they do damage quickly. preferably loads of it, but as long as you get some it’s fine because the warp charges really quickly. ideally you want 2 or 3 covering the initial choke point and at least one on each flanking route around it for vision purposes. (tell your team when someone runs through a flank sentry, or destroys it.) you’ll want another 2-3 in a common route teams take after running through the choke. that’s your kill room. poke from in there and spam your alt fire at reinhardt, plus MELT anyone who walks in. feeding the zarya is going to happen here but it’s pretty worth it to have the teleporter.

on volskaya and anubis i can often get a TP up within 45 seconds. hanamura takes a few seconds longer. (usually i don’t play her on hybrid maps, but she’s strong on king’s row. it’s harder to find the right sentry spots on numbani and the teleport is always dealt with on hollywood because there is always a genji. eichenwalde i haven’t tried yet.)

don’t place the teleporter THAT close to the point, because it will be easily found and killed. if it’s a few seconds’ walk away you’re still cutting a ton of the advantage the attackers had, and the TP doesn’t get murdered immediately. as soon as you place it drop at least two sentries on it. it won’t kill an enemy before they kill the teleporter, but it might buy you time to get there and kill them before they can do the deed. you should always know the flank route to your teleporter and keep an eye on it for incoming buzzkills.

when a teleporter gets destroyed or runs out of charges, for the love of jeff DO NOT PLACE THE NEXT ONE IN THE SAME SPOT. they KNOW WHERE IT IS BECAUSE THEY KILLED IT or THEY SAW YOUR TEAM RUN IN FROM IT.

and that’s pretty much it. now TP is up you can use your sentries more conservatively, to deny health packs around the point and the point itself, use your primary fire to melt lucios and naked dvas and genjis, and hope you don’t have to farm up another porter without having ten seconds to reset your setup.

helping symmetra

if your team has a symmetra (and it makes sense) you can help her in a few important ways.

  • make damn sure there’s a primary healer. that means lucio or mercy, preferably lucio since resurrect isn’t as powerful when a teleporter is up. a solo zen or ana isn’t going to output enough healing unless you have seagull on ana.
  • hold enemies in the sentries. this means mei and roadhog specifically should play around the sentries, and to a lesser extent dva. the longer they get zapped, the faster your team has a teleporter.
  • sentry turrets slow the enemies they’re zapping. mccree, soldier, irritating hanzo main, this means easy headshots SO USE THEM.
  • if you get picked off and a fight doesn’t break out, especially if you have movement abilities, just run back. you can tell by watching the kill feed and the tab screen. if nobody else dies (on either side, but especially on yours) and the point isn’t under attack, just run back. we might need that teleporter charge soon.
  • when you do teleport in, run in front of symmetra at your earliest convenience. the shield key will prompt her to shield you. this also applies to dva every time she gets in or out of meka.
  • know where the TP is and help protect it, if not physically, by calling out flankers headed in its direction so symmetra can meet them there.

switch off

  • if you lose point A. no one needs a teleporter at point B or the payload section worse than they need a second healer, tank, or DPS, and unless you dominate you will get allchat flamed for not switching.
  • if they have a winston that decimates you and your kill room instantly. you don’t have time to reset and he hard counters you. bring more heals when you respawn.
  • if teleporter is down and you don’t have time to farm a new one. bring heals for the last defense or two, and if the point falls you don’t have to start over on ultimate charge for B.

finally, do NOT FIGHT REINHARDT OR MEI. winston, use judgement. the other tanks you can often hold your own against (roadhog needs to be distracted), but REINHARDT = NO unless he’s super low and mei will either freeze you before you kill her or just hide in an ice block and then freeze you before you kill her. your priority targets are genji, lucio, naked dva, distracted reapers, and tracer while you can reach her, basically in that order, and all can be easily soloed. symmetra, like winston, can secure kills easily on hard targets to shoot, and the deathlaser goes through reflect.

this took much longer than i expected to write up but i am proud of the words here and if you think i can improve these advices in any way you know where i live on twitter. please learn to play this hero, we need more of them, and happy teeping 🙂

i’ve played almost 20 hours and am probably about to play some more, encouraged largely by some patches over the last week that have really improved the PC port, but before i do here’s some spoiler-laden stuff  that i’ve learned about the euclid galaxy’s outer rim, some 177Kly from the galactic core.

every star system has a race that’s in charge of things, and as far as i can tell there are three of them. unless you give an offensive answer to a question (i unknowingly said i was sentinel-aligned once) it seems really difficult to actually hurt your standing with them. interacting, trading, learning their language, finding their plaques and monoliths and ruins all improve your standing. that opens up what i hesitate to label dialogue options but it’s basically what they are on a limited level.

the gek are a race of vicious giant frogs who have come to control much of the outer rim. there is some kind of caste system in place here according to the plaques. the first spawn run the show. it was their force that apparently conquered the rim, and a second generation came out of the slime and became their soldiers. despite their despotically warlike plaques interactions with them are pleasant.

the vy’keen are a brutal race of warriors mainly aligned against the sentinels. the value toughness and fearlessness, and if one gives you the chance to punch it, take that opportunity, that’s the right choice. it will punch you back and you’ll take damage, then get a new blueprint because warbros or something. some vy’keen i think called Hive led a charge against some great big behemoth of the sentinels, but was somehow convinced not to attack or something, it’s not really clear what happened there. that’s right at the cutting edge of the vy’keen plaques i’ve found. i don’t think they and the gek get along.

the korvax are kind of gethy, and as far as i can tell their main purpose is to seek out… idk, enlightenment? they’re a synthetic race with some kind of limited collective consciousness but they do all present distinctly. space anomalies are always (So far) manned by a korvax high priest and a gek engineer.

atlas is an enigma that wants to lead you down a path. i dont know what that path is because i quickly strayed from it when an anomaly korvax told me i could fly into a black hole and go closer to the galactic center. i’ve done enough of what atlas wants to get an atlaspass v1 but that’s all. otherwise i’ve been looking for aluminum dicks and iridium to upgrade my hyperdrive. plus, atlas kind of sounds a lot like the thing the vy’keen warrior was talking about.

sentinels are the immediate enemy, but their goal seems to be to protect the environment from “explorers” (this space sure seems occupied to me) stripping its resources. planets with higher-security sentinels (especially HOSTILE) are often covered with high-value trading items, like vortex cubes or gravitino balls, and picking those up gets you chased by 2 flying and 1 walking sentinel every time. they’re easily dispatched once you’ve got an upgraded multitool.

cargo pods, finally, are your best friend. i recommend farming gold early because it’s the most valuable junk you’re likely to find, then sell it at trading posts or space stations. do the same with albumen pearls and gravitino balls and all that stuff. you need cash to buy inventory slots in your suit. i have nearly 40 now. not hearing the goddamn inventory full warning every ten seconds improves the experience a lot.

flying between planets is the worst part of the game and it really isn’t close. i’m sure they’ve hidden loading in that 1:34 flight from one planet to the next, because apart from what’s buried in a warp or docking animation there is not a loading screen to be found in this game, however, that doesn’t change the fact that you’re waiting and doing nothing at all. and you can’t tab out, because the game pauses. i’d love to just fart around with twitter while i fly to Hjwoghg-agarajag VI, but no, i have to stare at the screen. “well then just get up and grab some chips while it flies” you say. oh no. you have to babysit your damn ship because if you don’t, you’re going to attract pirates who DESTROY YOUR FUCKING BOAT while you go get a drink of white grape juice. having your boat destroyed is the worst thing that can happen. it’s worse than death. you have to start all over from wherever you are. death just respawns you at a load point, man.

i mean, not that i would know. i haven’t died. it’s extremely hard to die in this game and if you recharge shields intelligently during fights, also extremely hard to lose your boat. this is just what i’ve read online.

i’m very hopeful that soon i’ll be able to cover bigger warp distances, because right now, after slingshotting out of two different black holes, i have made it exactly 1,000ly closer to the core of the euclid galaxy. that is 0.1% of the way. i probably do not play this game for 2,000 hours. please progress faster soon, thanks.

other advice – i haven’t really bothered with getting new ships, mainly upgrading my inventory through cargo pods. i haven’t upgraded the one i have much either. i finally upgraded the warp core and i found it with increased cannon damage, but that’s it. do invest in suit upgrades though. the Tau level upgrades are very expensive but mostly worth in my opinion, just to not have to recharge your cold/corrosion/radiation/heat/flying monkey protection every 2 seconds onworld. build up enough slots and you can just sorta install them and forget them, destroying the cheapest one you don’t need if you’re really in a bind for an inventory slot.

which reminds me, that bind would be because you’re crafting something, and each component goes in a single inventory slot. you only ever have 2 elements at a time, but to make a warp cell takes something like 4 inventory slots. you need a couple of elements i don’t remember, plus a slot, where you make the electron vapour, which frees a slot where the carbon was, where you make the suspension fluid, and in the vapour’s old slot you make the antimatter with another element, which combines with some other element to make the warp cell. the elements can stack, but items like bypass chips and anything you sell and warp cell components take up a whole slot solo. it’s dumb as hell.

to make it MORE confusing, the “blueprint” recipes you discover are organized chronologically in the order you discovered them, and unless i’m missing it, you can’t rearrange them. beam focus sigma next to beam focus theta next to beam focus tau? hahahahahaha. nope, it’s all a scrambled mess. don’t know greek alphabet? you’re stuck with trial and error or hoping you judge the recipe’s rarity right to guess which is best. some weapons/ships come with multiple tiers of the same thing installed. do their effects stack? who knows? the game tries really, really hard to get in its own way with its UI/UX elements. the menus and maps are clearly designed for controller, and they work fair enough on M+K, but not pleasantly.

but i’m still going to keep playing the fucking thing because its premise and its promise remain so interesting. yes, all the procedurally generated buildings are very much clones. yes, all the planets are basically the same size and therefore gravity. yes, you’re “discovering” a galaxy that’s already filled with other intelligent beings. somehow that’s all still just so interesting to me. especially with the vy’keen making me think atlas might be aligned with my treehugging laser-blasting nemeses…

this is just a story of my journey. if you’re looking for whether the game ported to PC well, or whether you should buy it, hopefully the story will answer your questions.

i wake up next to a busted ship. it’s fairly rocky, but there are plenty of sparse trees around. i notice the windows on my second monitor aren’t organized how i want and click away. no man’s sky makes noise again when i click on its start bar icon but refuses to come back. issue: tabbing out of fullscreen kills your game. oops.

i wake up next to a busted ship. this isn’t the same place – it must not have saved my game when i started it. this place is much more lush. i jump in the ship immediately and the helpful robot voice tells me how to fix its various components. i’m not sure who this robot voice is or whether i should trust it but surely this advice is harmless. one of my components needs me to get iron, which seems easy enough, there was a block of it right next to where i woke up.

i get out of the ship and immediately overheat my mining laser. quickly, i get the hang of pulsing it so i can mine quickly without singing my hands off. the iron in hand, i mainly need plutonium. there is a cave on the other side of the ship. minecraft sends me there.

it’s not a particularly deep cave, but i can tell there’s more behind a slag of iron. i begin shooting my mining laser at it. suddenly i’m taking damage? red lasers! a sentinel! i don’t even have a weapon! i fire my mining laser at the sentinel which eventually kills it. an alarm – more are coming! i’m not sure what this place is playing at, being simultaneously right next to where i spawned and forbidden by the sentinels, so i sprint for my life. they don’t give chase, apparently satisfied.

i find the materials i need outside anyway. the iron is in great chunks, which isn’t that weird because i’ve seen videos of the game rust before. the plutonium grows in crystals which is also not that weird because this is a sci fi game. the zinc and platinum grow in flowers which is complete nonsense.

my ship now repaired, the robot begins insisting i leave the planet, but why? there’s a green question mark right over there. before heading to it, i notice something happening on the other monitor and reflexively alt-tab.

oops.

the next thing i know i’m standing next to the ship. it’s repaired. exiting the ship saves your progress. gotcha. the first thing i do is upload and rename this place – the system goes from something unpronounceable to System of Ni, my homeworld Nia. i make my way to the question mark, farming carbon and iron along the way, as well as touching a “knowledge stone” that tells me some unuseful “gek” word, until i see what looks like some kind of outpost. after picking up all the plutonium around it, i go inside and am hailed by THE EXTREMELY INTRUSIVE LETTERBOXING THAT DRIVES ME INSANE and kermit the frog. he talks to me, i guess, the words aren’t comprehensible, but i respond in a way that he likes. my relationship with the Gek improves. i interact with kermit the gek again and this time his response is only mostly incomprehensible words but also the one from the stone is there. in english.

oh.

outside the outpost is a beacon. mass effect tells me to go play with it. it needs a bypass card, which i noticed earlier is on the list of things i can make, so i do. there’s a few things the beacon is able to point me to. one of them is a “monolith.” that sounds the most interesting so i ask it to point me toward an ancient alien artifact. it’s just a 6 or 7 minute walk away, which is filled with animals for my visor and weird stone dicks i can mine for ores until my inventory is full. which is immediately. you can transfer items from suit to ship but i’m apparently miles away, because the robot tells me the ship is too far away to do that. gotta improve this thing. the monolith is surrounded by more stones that tell me words and contains some kind of weird message about a Gek empire taking over the outer rim.

oh.

i make my way back to the ship and stop at another nearby question mark, talking to another kermit the gek, then find another ship with similar stats to mine but one more inventory slot. why yes, thank you, i will be havin that. finally i turn the nose skyward. finally, claiming my rightful universe. the game tells me it’s no man’s sky but like eowyn your friendly neighborhood non-binary is no man.

there’s a space station straight ahead so i go there. another kermit is in there too. i use the button on the wall to sell most of my things on the galactic market. never knew there was such a thing but i’m happy it’s there. i leave the space station and make for the nearest planet. the pop-in as i descend is disastrous. the place is a shithole, totally barren of animals, with a mushroom here and there. i make my way into a cave and fill up all my inventory slots with plutonium before i recognize what i’ve done, then immediately start destroying it because SOME OF THESE CRYSTALS ARE GOLD OMG.

i don’t want to get too far from the boat so i head on back and go straight back to the space station to sell that gold. rich as hellllllll time to buy some things from the market WHEEZECOUGH. that’s high.

i go to the next closest planet. it’s the closest to this system’s sun and hot enough it’s crushing my life support. here i come across a giant stone dick of aluminum except sean murry is british so it’s aluminIum. which, as eddie izzard would tell you, is cheatin at scrabble. i continue my way across the planet’s surface, talking to kermits and seeking out their monuments. occasionally i’ll stop in at colonial outposts and fight sentinels for some kind of garbage reward. a buddy on steam asks me how the game is and it crashes as i’m typing a response. haha.

above this hot planet is a small group of ships made of containers. it says “destroy” so i shoot at it til it breaks open. which, strangely, attracts sentinel starships. it seems so far as if the sentinels are protecting the environment from me mining it and NPCs from me stealing from them. i’m able to out-dogfight that ship somehow and plasma burst away before the reinforcements show up, then head on.

i’m starting to itch to leave this system but there’s still two planets in the system. the fourth tells me it’s a Paradise Planet when i land and ho boy, it isn’t kidding. that place is gorgeous. mostly water but chock full of islands filled with friendly animals and alien monoliths, all kinds of plants, and my first dinosaur. that planet is beautiful but bizarrely -50 Celsius. the hot planet was as far from 0 as this place is. what a weird thing. fifth and finally in the system is the second planet i rename because the surface is covered in stone dicks filled with SOLID

PURE

GOLD

I’M RICH

this planet gets named “GOLD EVERYWHERE” to help out any future travelers and i take my inventory full of gold to the space station, though i have to wait for the LETTERBOXING OH MY GAD to get out of the way of telling me i’ve walked some arbitrary distance before i can sell it all. and with that, i am out of the system and on to the next one. bracing to come out in a meteor shower, i engage the warp drive.

my warp comes out cleanly but also right next to a container ship. this time i do not shoot at it but instead scan, which tells me there is a beacon. i follow that beacon to the surface of a planet, which points me to an outpost, where kermit the frog gives me a blueprint and the robot has the impression i was expected and he was only the messenger. who is leading me here? why? how can the robot responsible for my HUD figure this out? it sends me to the local space station where i can now afford to buy antimatter, which i do, and recharge my warp drive, but i’ve no intention of leaving just yet, there’s several planets here.

and so no man’s sky goes. i’ve reached Partner status with kermit the frog, expended my pack inventory to 17 (which is the MOST worth upgrade in the world, you absolutely must seek out those cargo pods), renamed a planet that just acid rains all the time Poisonous Hellhole to dissuade future travelers, and am ready to warp on to another system. i’m very excited to see what else this universe has in store for me and hope to get some great stores to share. and i hope you will too!

when i saw the trailer for jason bourne during the superbowl i eee’d so hard dogs in a three state radius started barking. this is one of my favorite movie franchises, and while the 4th movie was not that bad honestly, matt damon IS jason bourne and having him back was the most exciting thing in the world. this iteration of the series is not the best of all of them, but i really did like it quite a lot.

below, in the spoilers, is thoughts.

this was a slower pace for a bourne movie. that wasn’t a bad thing, and it gave the action sequences more weight, but it was different. the mix for this film of the theme, Extreme Ways, was even slower, which was appropriate. there’s been a very mixed reaction to this movie as far as i can tell, and i wonder how much of it is this issue of unmet expectations. it’s hard to say that there’s exactly a Bad Guy in this movie, maybe apart from the Asset, just a bunch of people with conflicting motivations, which is cool and different.

bourne starts the movie saying he remembers everything and then immediately is presented with something he didn’t remember. pretty cocky, bourne. we know literally nothing about david webb, let alone his father, so the “revelation” that elder webb created treadstone was a lot less impactful than some of the other bourne revelations. he found out his son had been recruited and i guess that made him realize his program was awful and terrible because he got himself blown up for threatening to go public.

theres no way, by the way, that bourne remembers a face in a car behind his dad’s flaming van. memory is not a hard drive we can go look things up in. i’m willing to hop along for the ride and let that go because memory is infallible in a lot of movies, and it’s integral to this franchise, just a pet peeve. your memory is terrible and always reconstructed when you recall something.

tommy lee jones is excellent as director dewey and so is whoever played his protege, i think she was Lee? jason bourne is, ironically, more about their relationship and how bourne’s next big villain comes into power at the CIA than it is about bourne learning about his father and then going after those responsible. i think that works, because all the old relationships are worn out in the franchise, and you can’t keep making the same movie over and over. other people will again have let down expectations. so it goes and i don’t think your opinion is bad or wrong. so let’s follow her arc because her motivations confused some:

  • notices when jason bourne resurfaces and gets herself on the operation, presumably because it’s a really important one for the agency, for her own career path, you know. it’s against dewey’s wishes despite his fake support, but asked directly to a Real Important Suit so he has no choice.
  • leads a mission to try to bring bourne down but dewey just kind of takes over when shit gets real. this undermines her ambitions.
  • helps bourne escape a team that wanted to kill him and convinces the Real Important Suit, again in front of and against the wishes of dewey, to let her try to bring him in willingly.
  • when she tries this dewey literally has her people killed. this not only undermines her, it directly threatens her.
  • i’m not sure if she already plans to have dewey actually killed at that point or not, but she helps bourne get to vegas. she sees at this point that he’s at least malleable, and she sees more future with him than with dewey at the very least.
  • after the asset opens fire at the conference it should have become extremely clear to lee what was happening, and she was absolutely not going to stand by and let her pal the founder and CEO of Google get killed for having a conscience, even if he looked down on her decisions now. if she didn’t already want dewey dead she did now because she knew what that relationship was.
  • dewey’s last act is to try to literally steal lee’s plan to have bourne come in willingly. i don’t know how much if any of that conversation lee ex machina would have been able to hear, but it’s poetic justice that he was instantly offed for that.
  • she lobbies, and then quietly presses, the Real Important Suit who has always liked her ideas in this movie to let her take dewey’s vacated spot. she tries to bring bourne in again, which would really give him no choice to be honest, and he outclasses her. a new storyline is ready to go. the CIA director’s entire purpose for being promoted is to bring in bourne. bourne knows it, and knows they’ll turn around and decide to kill him if he refuses outright. she is set up to be the new nemesis in a future movie. YAY MORE BOURNE

the movie is called jason bourne, and has a tantalizing plot going on about whether he could have any identity outside being a badass spy assassin, but ultimately leaves those questions unanswered. even his final “let me think about it” was part of the whole outclassing Lee thing. he is trying to just find answers and “find a different way” as he tells dewey, but as dewey points out, that’s not working for him. he’s got another person at gunpoint. there was a time when he could exist independently, before marie was killed in Supremacy. this time he had to resort to the fighting ring. where he allows himself to take pretty heavy beatings sometimes just so he can stay sharp at still winning those fights. that’s training, that isn’t living. but Lee? that’s a character arc. she changes.

so who is jason bourne is left unanswered, but we learn all about the next big threat to him, who he may only define himself in opposition to. if he keeps turning her down she’ll eventually have to have him killed right?

other stuff.

yeah deep dream or whatever that tech company is called is really clearly google. imagine google+ took off to compete with facebook and that IS google. all the way down to getting its start from funding provided by US intelligence and the DoD and providing the government with information through IRONFIST erm i mean PRISM, and even the part where it outright refuses military funding, like when it pulled ATLAS and SCHAFT from the DARPA competition. The founders of Google were even Stanford grads for chrissakes, just like this guy whose name wasn’t Alex Killorn but that’s what i always heard. anyway, there’s extremely heavy-handed theme work done in these side plots about freedom vs. privacy, but i was too busy enjoying the google parallels to get too annoyed about that. and it was positively subtle next to batman v superman’s themes shouted as dialogue anyway so hey! positive steps.

the final sequences with bourne vs. asset were great i thought. the timing may not be ideal to have a scene with a swat van plowing through a crowded road with Nice having been not that long ago, but at least this was just cars. their fight was the only really visceral moment of the movie which gave it that much more impact, but it wasn’t boring in the run-up to it so it was worth it for me.

the asset himself seems a little thin of a character. he’s just some scary bogeyman. but that’s fine because he functions as a tool of dewey’s. he serves no purpose other than to do what dewey wants. when bourne finally dispatches him it’s more like tying up a loose end than anything else. it’s not the big OMG FINALLY villain engagement you see in movies like mission impossible, and while it’s maybe the final fight’s climax the movie’s climax is long past, it happened in the hotel room. i like that about this movie. others may not and their opinion is also not bad or wrong.

finally, a sour note: movie uses the Friendly Out Of Nowhere That Shoots The Guy You Thought Was Going To Shoot The Hero cliche. come on, man, you are a much better franchise than that. what the hell, this isn’t CSI: Langley. oh and while i’m on the sour note subject, in the opening scene, why is the line “use SQL to infiltrate the database” subtitled? it’s a meaningless, contextless line. “use SQL to infiltrate” is like “break in with a crowbar” being subtitled as someone visibly breaks into a warehouse. thanks tips.

jason bourne is flawed, its focus is not what you may expect, but i really liked it as a slower-paced but still exciting action movie. Ultimatum is still the best bourne movie so far, but this one was also very good.