The Demise of Skywalker

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Since I blogged about the first two movies in the new trilogy of Star Wars movies, I’ve felt kind of obligated to write about the third one too. It was delayed on my part because I only saw it on a streaming service at Disney+ which came to Denmark this summer.

Apart from The Mandalorian, Disney+ has really opened my eyes for both Star Wars: The Clone Wars and Star Wars Rebels – quite late to the party – but that is, as they say, an entirely different story.

But even when it was available at Disney+ a few months ago, I kept postponing my first viewing of Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker both because of the general lacklustre reviews and because of how I found the first two movies lacking in so many departments. I only got to finally watch it yesterday.

Maybe it was because I had lowered my expectations, but I actually thought it wasn’t that bad!

One of the criticisms I’ve heard is how the movie kind of hit the reset button, ignoring many events taking place in the second movie, but that’s not true. For example, Rey’s parents and her heritage are revealed and turns out that she did indeed have quite an interesting ancestor, yet Ren still insists that her own parents were still nothing special. That’s okay. I can live with that.

The movie was also more coherent that I expected, and it had epic set pieces. I was never bored.

One of the biggest points of critiscism I had about episode 7 was how much it had aped from episode 4. I thought that at least for the first two thirds of this movie, the writers tried to do mostly their own thing. Then in the end they sadly just had to go and repeat the end of episode 6 with barely a few surroundings and details conveniently switched around.

That was certainly disappointing, but at least is was so infused with epic that I almost bought it anyway.

Let’s move into more specific spoilers.

Corpse of Discovery

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Developer: Phosphor Games | Released: 2015 | Genre: Adventure, First Person

Although this was another one on the brink of being called a walking simulator facile adventure, it had enough exploration with jump puzzles, goals in the distance, and the rare searchlight monster to avoid, to just about make it a proper first person adventure.

I was an astronaut alone in a small space station, which was a series of tubes with a blurry holographic communicator for messages from the wife and kids. There were also the typical lab, the greenhouse, the computer room and the briefing room. This part of the game was certainly facile. I could merely click a few hotspots for explanations and get a briefing for exploring the planet outside in a space suit.

The game had a smattering of Groundhog Day about it. I explored the vast areas of a planet running around, double-jumping – later using a jet pack that had to recharge after a few seconds – running towards goals that were each about a kilometer away. After finding about half a dozen of these, the space suit ran out of oxygen and I awoke back in my bed in the space station. After getting the next holographic family message, it was off to explore the next planet.

And so it adhered to this template for a total of six planets.

The Beginner’s Guide

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Developer: Everything Unlimited | Released: 2015 | Genre: Adventure, Facile

This was a short walking simulator facile adventure again by the same developer that also created The Stanley Parable. His style in level design and narrative was unmistakable right from the first few sentences. But where his previous games had a conscious focus on humor and sarcasm, this game was a little more serious. A least most of the time.

The developer himself narrated consistently all the way through the less then two hours it took to play it through. He told about his friend Coda and the small first person games he created, each presented in a linear manner with usually nothing to do but move forward and listen. Sometimes there was one door switch puzzle that was sometimes repeated, and I even had a rifle two times for a very short time.

There were 17 chapters (including an epilogue) and the levels were amazingly varied.

What I Played in 2001

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This is a new series related to my previous attempts at transcribing my diary sessions to this blog format. I did a couple of those starting with The Beginning of the Millennium (2000-2001) and then the two single posts about Outcast played in 2001 and Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare played in 2011.

Since it’s a lot of work transcribing the diary sessions, I’ve decided to make this series instead with just a sentence or two for each game, along with a small gallery of six screenshots and the rating bar from my page with all the PC Games I’ve played. The screenshots will be my own unless stated otherwise.

Quote from Reddit

What do you find annoying about your neighbors?

Whenever the elevator doors open up there are two situations:

1. I’m well dressed and sober, heading out for a productive day. The elevator will be empty.

2. I’m a hungover disheveled mess on a Saturday morning and smell like disappointment. All I need is greasy food and coffee. The elevator will be packed full of my neighbors from every damn floor. They will all silently judge me. One time a lady even pulled her young daughter closer with the “stay away from that man” look.Corporate-Asset-6375, /r/AskReddit

The original thread is here.

Wildermore

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Wildermore was a region that felt consistently segregated from the rest of East Rohan. Not just because of the unusual snow and ice theme, but also because of the tale of how the great ice giant Núrzum devastated the human settlements. It made for a solid but also at times depressing story.

I actually made the wrong entry into the region at first, going in from the south. I was amazed at the amount of road-guard uruk’s here. Although I made it through their forces, a later chain quest made for a proper entry in the east side. Part of that chain required me to retry that bugged quest I parked earlier in Harwick. Now it worked, and it opened up for quite a few more (now green) quests.

After that was done I went back to Wildermore and into the settlement Scylfig. Here I met the mighty thane Thrymm. He had hair so red it looked conspicuously dyed. But make no mistake – Thrymm was strong as an ox. A surrogate quest later on put me in control of him to defend against waves of orcs as well as dual trolls, and he single-handedly took them all on in mounted combat with barely a drop of sweat.

If only I had him on my side when I tried Crúmgam in Snowbourn.

Sutcrofts

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Sutcrofts had another three of the typical human settlements with a mead hall, houses and a big wooden fence around it. These settlements and their war quests had now inevitably become a hackneyed theme repeating itself over and over. I was starting to feel like a rat in a wheel.

Go talk to the thane in this mead hall. Yes, it’s exactly the same big prefab building as in the previous dozen settlements. 95% of mobs in these Rohan regions are orcs, so guess what? You have to spy on their camps, burn their tents, and kill a bunch of them. And then kill some more over there.

Again. And again. And again.

Although there were attempts at mending this, for example by collecting resources and bringing food to soldiers, I couldn’t help but think that the developers could have done more to mix it up. Why only have boars together with orcs in Sutcrofts, of which I didn’t even get a quest to kill them? Why not sprinkle a few other kinds of mobs in there? I get that we’re getting closer to Mordor, but still.

Grumpy Owl: Nature Documentaries

I hereby declare that the following should be exempt from all future nature documentaries:

  • Penguins (especially emperor penguins)
  • Sea elephants
  • Sea lions
  • Polar bears
  • Salmons climbing rivers and bears slapping them
  • Cuckoo chicks pushing other chicks out of the nest
  • Lions or cheetahs failing to make a kill after a long setup
  • Elephants
  • Birds and whales working together in an epic scene to eat a shoal of fish
  • Sea turtles laying eggs on the beach and baby sea turtles trying to reach the ocean
  • Flamingos
  • This beautiful coral reef is dying because humans
  • Tigers

Why does it always have to be the usual suspects? There are so many interesting animals on the planet that we still haven’t seen.

Entwash Vale and The Eaves of Fangorn

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Entwash Vale was more hilly and with weeping willows.

The orcs were clearly strong in this region and had burned down a couple of human settlements. However, the first settlement in the middle, Eaworth, was so big that the orcs had only managed to burn the south part of it. Citizens had moved back to cry in the ashy remains of their houses.

Eaworth had an eerie yellow glow in the middle of the night, like city lights bouncing off rain clouds.

The northernmost settlement, Thornhope, was burned all the way down and now sported orcs and goblins. Even so, the thane and some of his citizens had fled to a small grove outside and still had quests for picking up stuff and killing mobs in there. There was even a repeatable quest for abortively attacking it.