The announcement came that there would be a second How To Train Your Dragon, and I believe I was more excited than any child ever was. I turned up at the cinema armed with my boyfriend, my boyfriend’s nine year old sister, and my Toothless plushie.
The film went ridiculously quick compared to most films I’ve seen in the cinema (but I’m used to Marvel films, The Hobbitses and the Hunger Games, so that was understandable). But every second of it was beautiful.
Without giving much away for those who haven’t seen it (and why haven’t you seen it yet? You’ve had plenty of time, hop to it!), it was even better than the first one. Toothless gets a hell of a lot more airtime doing all sorts of cute cat-like things, to the point that when I left the cinema, my whole being ached for dragons to be real. I needed Toothless in my life. For real.
In other words, it was good.
There is a whole load of new dragons, and one in particular is almost as cute as Toothless… although we all know that’s impossible.
His name is Cloudjumper. He acts almost like Toothless’ serious older brother, and their relationship is absolutely adorable.
But there was one particular scene that I’m always going to choke up on, no matter how many times I rewatch it (and believe me I will). Some stuff happens. Sad stuff. So sad that I was sat in the cinema, surrounded by dry-eyed children, tears streaming down my face. I would have been full on sobbing if it wasn’t for my dignity. I would not break down in front of a room full of children!
And thank God for 3D glasses making me look cool and unemotional when I was an utter wreck inside.
All I can say is good job, Dreamworks. I may need rehab but at least you created another masterpiece. Easily the best film of the year.
The plot is as clichéd and old as the hills… but it’s executed brilliantly.
Albert Stark is the generic hero left broken-hearted by his unworthy girlfriend – until he meets Anna. Anna pretends to be his girlfriend in order to make his ex jealous. Then of course Stark falls for Anna in the process, only to find out she’s married to the big bad guy – Clinch (aka Liam Neeson, who is as hilariously awkward running with a gun as he was in the Taken films) Big bad guy is defeated, boy gets girl, happy ending.
…But this is a Seth MacFarlane film, and he’s pretty damn good at subverting the expectations. Particularly with amazingly unexpected cameo appearances, it seems. To name a few:
– Ryan Reynolds as a random cowboy with a five second appearance in which he gets shot.
– Ewan McGregor as a Cowboy at the fair.
– Christopher Lloyd – In character as Doc Brown!
– Gilbert Gottfried as Abe Lincoln.
– Jamie Foxx – in character as Django!
…So I was partially bouncing up and down in my seat with excitement when I saw these tip-of-the-hats to some of my favourite movies. And they worked so well!
But MacFarlane also subverts the expectations by taking a cliché, walking us up a familiar path with it, only to throw us off a cliff. For instance, in the usual ‘aha! The big reveal! This is how I cleverly beat you, bad guy!” moment, he’s cut short by the fact Clinch died a while back in his speech, and nobody got to see “how really clever” he’d been.
But most importantly as a comedy, the film was funny. There were a few crude moments – but that’s to be expected. And for once, this comedy’s funny bits weren’t all shown in the trailer. In fact, some of the film’s funnier moments weren’t in it. Stark’s acid trip, the moustache song, and many other hilarities set this film apart from others like it. I couldn’t fault the acting or the casting, and I fully enjoyed it.
Even if your sense of humour isn’t dark or warped, you should be able to appreciate the sarcasm, quick wit and irony in this film. I’d highly recommend going to see this film… Although I’ve probably just ruined a lot of it for you.
Well the update finally arrived for Godus! And now the game is practically unplayable. Don’t get me wrong, some of the changes they made are definitely for the better.
But a lot got worse too.
The cool noise you heard when you opened a chest? That’s been removed. The annoying noise when you finish collecting Belief? That stayed! And they’ve now added more annoying sounds to accompany it. If you send someone out to build a house, they now shout, “building!” every time, and sometimes randomly for the hell of it.
That plus the game is still, if not even more buggy, so now the sounds get stuck… we get to hear them over and over again! Yay!
But it’s not a completely negative review. Here are the changes I like:
Card system revamped and all the better for it.
Land is now easier to sculpt.
The people are more interesting and do more than just sit in their houses all day, like collect coconuts, or sit around camp fires.
Settlements are now prettier and more defined.
Less bugs (so far) concerning land expansions.
Storms no longer destroy practically every building every night.
The God awful AI have been removed entirely and replaced with a different mini game system.
However, here are the changes I don’t like:
Card ‘stickers’ get extremely thin on the ground, and you have to rely on the horrible mini game to get most of them.
The horrible mini game.
The fact it now takes about ten minutes to make a small house, and the builders often go home and sleep.
People in settlements need to be assigned jobs… but you leave them alone for a while and they end up unemployed for no apparent reason.
The fact that halfway through playing the game again, they incorporated new changes such as “you can’t move that land yet.” I’d already moved the land… now I have houses stuck up there.
Any houses behind shrines will not be clickable. Trust me. I’ve tried.
The inability to move higher up land, to gain any more stickers and to progress any further will make you faceplant your keyboard.
The game crashing every. single. time. you try to quit… and sometimes even when you don’t!
I’m seriously hoping the next update will improve the improvements they tried to improve the last game with.
As a long time fan of Kingdom Hearts, and playing my way through all of the games except Chain of Memories, my boyfriend bought Kingdom Hearts 1.5 Remix.
I’ve finally gotten round to playing it. At first I was unsure about the card based fighting system, but I grew to love it. There are so many combinations and styles of fighting that it keeps it fresh and exciting. The remake is extremely well done and fun to play.
As a main character, I’ve never really enjoyed Sora – he’s far too happy! – but we get to see a darker side of him in this game as he becomes obsessed with his fake memories, and does all in his power to protect the girl who planted them.
The plot is brilliant for those (like me!) who are obsessed with the story. However, it’s very easy to level up, and the only boss fight I truly struggled with was Axel (second to last boss)… Let’s just say he doesn’t stay still for very long. Then there is a three parter, very fabulous fight with the pink haired Marluxia, who is stupidly easy to beat compared to Axel.
So with Sora’s storyline completed, I was extremely excited to start Riku’s (one of my favourite characters). It started off well; he meets Ansem again, and it intrigued me as to how Ansem’s heartless survived.
But then the rest of Riku’s story feels rushed. It’s like Square got bored or ran out of time halfway through, and I found myself thoroughly disappointed.
Instead of Sora’s plethora of keyblades, RIku gets one. There are no magic cards, no healing abilities, and you can’t even change your deck.
You literally have to make do with what you’re dealt.
I agree, it’s nice to have a different system for a different character – Riku’s Dark mode is OP and fun to play – but it just feels lack lustre.
Even worse is the cutscenes. For each special key card door, Sora had a cutscene within the worlds. Riku had the same in Hollow Bastion… but after that, as soon as you open the special door (Riku only has one instead of four), you go straight into the same boss fights that Sora had in each world, with no explanation as to why.
And because you can’t change your deck, it makes the Moogle stores redundant, so they don’t give you the option to use them. This also means that smashing crates and other objects around the worlds is pointless. In Sora’s mode, you can get Moogle Points and random cards to use in battle by hitting things. The only thing you get with Riku is health.
It took me 40+ hours to complete Sora’s story fully. It’s only taken me 7 hours with Riku. It’s a real shame.
But overall I’d be happy to play Sora’s half again. It’s a really well made game. I just wish they’d give Riku the same treatment!
As soon as I saw the beauty and uniqueness of Godus, I wanted it. I just wasn’t paying the full £14.99 for it.
It went on sale at the beginning of January and I snapped it up right away. Godus is a game where you literally play God (if you couldn’t guess from the title). You can mould the land, build houses, farms and… well actually that’s about it.
No I’m kidding, there’s more to it than that. You begin in the Primitive Age, and your first aim is to get a certain amount of population, which when achieved gives you more land to build on, or upgrades for you people. Once you have progressed enough, you’ll move onto the next age.
It is partially a card based system, in that you collect cards, and once you have enough cards you can use your upgrades. You can find some of these resource cards in chests dotted around the vast map (I’m not kidding, the map is HUGE. I still get a bit lost sometimes).
But the primary focal point in this game is the land. It is the source of all your power! Crush homes, build homes, make pretty cliffs or even art…
It comes in several beautiful layers of colour, that you can shape to your heart’s desire… providing you have collected enough Belief from your followers, which is essentially your money.
This is a very clicky game. You have to click a lot to make the land go where you want, and even then it will sometimes pick another layer by accident. This can get annoying, but it’s not a major issue.
This is especially annoying with houses. I’ve lost count of how many times I accidentally destroyed a building with land whilst collecting Belief. And yet if you TRY to destroy a building in the same way, it won’t let you.
This game was addictive, and before long I’d racked up 21 hours on it, just in the Primitive Age. Because the game is still in Beta (and according to them only 41% complete), it only currently has two playable ages: Primitive and Bronze. Primitive I enjoyed very much: I got to explore and build and play around to my heart’s content.
The Bronze Age is not so fun. As soon as you reach it, a storm begins. This was terrifying because it was the first real change to happen in the game. The visuals were quite cool though. Until it stopped and you realised half your buildings were damaged.
So I set to work repairing them all, and found out instead of population goals, I now had agricultural goals. Apparently if you have a plot of land near a town, it will become a field for harvesting, and only the houses in settlements are safe from the storms (because we all know that farms are most common in towns, and wind can’t damage houses when they’re together).
So yeah. The storms come back. On a regular basis. Every night, in fact. There really isn’t a point in fixing your houses, and there’s not really a point in the houses at all in the Bronze Age. You just need to farm. This was where I got bored in the game. I knew there was nothing after the Bronze Age yet so there was no point in continuing with it.
There were a few glitches in the game, such as the three land expansion cards I received that didn’t do anything. I could see the unavailable land, and it stayed that way. It was quite frustrating because I’d run out of space and couldn’t do anything about it.
Another was the timers on buildings. They would randomly freeze so I couldn’t use the people in them, or during the AI challenges the clocks would reset when I needed those people most. The bots also glitched out several times. They would try to move land but it would be blocked by my houses. They’d keep trying and not get anywhere, which gave me free time to win the battles.
Another annoying thing were my followers. They need stairs made for them to get to any level higher or lower than they already are. But these stairs need to be perfect to them; many times they looked at my stairs, pointed at them, and then died after walking around doing nothing.
The noises in this game are also quite peculiar. There is a heartbeat sound effect when you near your goal, and it’s quite unnerving, like you’re about to be ambushed. Then there’s the noise if you collect a lot of Belief all at once and then stop. It’s the most disappointed sound ever, and I found myself taking it slowly when collecting Belief to avoid this noise. And the followers make a noise like a choking duck when they die.
And dare I mention the creepy conversation the bots have in the battle challenges! You get the impression someone rather old created these people and tried to talk like a youngster. There are even some on-purpose mistakes thrown in too for realism.
The main storyline is that one guy fancies a girl but gets rejected, and another girl’s cat gets hit by a car, then she gets made redundant and potentially commits suicide… and these are meant to be Godus players. Seems promising!
But all in all this is a really fun and addictive game. Because it’s only in Beta, the glitches and bad stuff are forgiveable, and I can’t wait to see what they do with the other ages and multiplayer. I would seriously recommend it.
As season four looms on the horizon, I can’t help but hope they’ll finally make ranked games fairer.
Because right now they suck.
I myself have only played twelve ranked solo/duo queue games, and I got into Bronze II (and I’m perfectly happy being “bronze scum”). I’ve played so few because I’ve gotten bored of all the angry, whining people. If you do the slightest thing wrong, they go ape.
And don’t even get me started on afk-ers and rage quitters.
And yet these all count towards your rank; if your whole team fails, you fail.
Don’t know if this is a dumb suggestion – feel free to comment telling me I’m wrong – but couldn’t they create a system based on personal scores rather than victories and defeats? Like being ranked on your own kill/death/assist ratio?
You currently get about what, 10 LP for winning a game, and lose about 30 for defeats? It makes it nigh on impossible to get any higher.
I mean, I know people who are in Bronze V who deserve to at least be in Silver V, but the people they’re paired with make it extremely difficult to get anywhere, and I’ve seen Gold players play worse than me, which begs the question: are the divisions fair?
These annoy me too. I know they’ve taken the names of the champs and put them next to words like “Guild, Tornadoes, Cyclops (I mean really, when is Cyclops gonna make a division sound good?)” etc, but it would be so much cooler if they made them more personal.
As an aspiring author of teen fiction, I’ve currently been picking up any books that catch my eye in WHSmith. Dark Inside by Jeyn Roberts had a blurb and front cover that drew me in; mostly because it mentioned nothing about supernatural love triangles, which was nice and refreshing.
The story follows the lives of four teenagers as they fight to survive by any means necessary. None of the four know each other, but when a global disaster brings something out of the dark, their paths intertwine. Suddenly husbands turn on wives, children murder parents, and strangers fight to the death.
The darkness reaches out to all the suppressed urges of the brain, whispers to the mind until people give in to them. Usually these urges tend toward the murderous side. Most of them seemed crazed and unreasonable, but a narration simply titled “Nothing” explains how some of them still regain consciousness on occasion.The darkness is punishing humanity for the sins it has committed.
One particularly gruesome point is Clementine’s introduction. Whilst sat with her parents in a town hall meeting, some of the villagers turn their weapons on their neighbours and begin the massacre. Clementine’s mother receives a premonition (which is unexplained as to how or why she knows what she does), and she saves her daughter.
The other three protagonists’ introductions are less horrible, but equally as depressing. Mason’s mother dies in a car crash, and shortly afterwards his school is bombed. The other two protagonists spend the entire book wondering whether their loved ones are alive… but don’t seem all too upset by it.
All four of them manage to find other survivors along the way. Aries meets the mysterious Daniel, and for the majority of the book I was left wondering how he knew so much about the apocalypse. She also finds several of her classmates (none of which had much personality) and I was surprised so many of them survived. Mason meets two people; one of which has diabetes, but insulin is a rare thing because of its expiry date.This was a nice touch, showing that despite the end of the world, some problems in people’s lives still remained.
Michael accidentally led a group of survivors to their sticky end. Michael left them to die in order to save his own neck. People do things they regret when they panic, and this came across well in this scene. Michael then met up with Clementine, who had been alone up until that point, and had a rather horrible experience with a urine-covered shirt.
The beginning set the scene nicely, but the middle of the book dragged a little with the they-found-us-but-we-escaped scenarios. Eventually though, it became apparent that all four of the main characters were heading to the same destination: Vancouver.
Sure enough, fate led them to one another, and in a final stand against the “Crazies” a nicely timed Earthquake occurs after three weeks without one. The infected fall to the ground and everyone escapes to the beach. Two of them stay behind to ‘create a diversion’ and join the rest of the group only a few minutes later covered in blood. This fight isn’t narrated, and I wondered how two teenagers managed to fight a horde of what was described as ‘dozens if not hundreds’ without being hurt or killed.
Once on the beach, the small group of survivors find they are not alone. A bigger group of survivors is nearby, and it is suggested that they’ve made it to safety. Daniel once again disappears, but this time his disappearance makes sense. I guessed the plot twist just before I turned to the final page, but I was glad I hadn’t figured it out sooner.
So overall, I found this book compelling and an interesting story. I would have liked some more differentiation between the four narrators, as the two girls felt similar to one another, and Michael sort of faded away towards the end. The ending felt rushed, and it was never properly explained as to why particular humans weren’t plagued by the darkness. However, these answers may be in the somewhat unnecessary sequel.
However, the concept was interesting, it was well-written, and it made me contemplate how unimportant most things in everyday life are. If a book can make me seriously consider a point of view, it is well worth reading it. I hope to see more from this author soon.