Wednesday, May 25, 2016

'Uncharted 4: Thief's End' is a great game.

I don't usually get excited about almost anything in life, but yet I was very excited to finally get my hands on Playstation's 'Uncharted 4: Thief's End'. This long awaited game was the reason that I had bought my Playstation in the first place.

Like so many others, I decided to purchase Uncharted 4 the day that it was officially released. I wasn't going to wait for it come to on sale, because when it came to this specific game, I wanted to get the chance to play it right away. 

In any case, I started playing it like two weeks ago and finished it yesterday. It took me something like between fifteen to eighteen hours of casual gaming, before I got the single player story-mode completed last evening.

As usual, I didn't want to rush it that much, because in my opinion there's no point in playing through games too fast. What's the point in playing the game in a hurry, when you can instead enjoy it in small doses and pay attention to what's going on?

Fortunately, even though I had a lot of expectations for Uncharted 4, this installment didn't disappoint me.  When it came to the quality of the game as a whole, it delivered and pretty much gave me what I had expected from it.

In my opinion, perhaps the best thing about Uncharted 4 is that most of the time it looks incredibly good. I haven't really seen a game at least on Playstation 4 that looked as good and ran as smoothly as this one did.

I also liked the storytelling elements in Uncharted 4 pretty much as much as I had expected. In most instances the story was relatively plausible and I was interested in knowing what what was going on with the characters and their motivations.

Of course, that's not to say that there weren't any problems within the game or the way the story was told.  There were a couple of moments where it was somewhat obvious that the writers probably should have done things differently.

For example, Nathan going to save his brother (in chapter 20 or so) felt a bit forced when his helpers had to leave him behind. I felt that the writers should have used something else than the weak 'carriage falling behind' solution.

Also, the final boss fight that occurred a bit later also felt a bit undercooked storywise. I thought that the motivation was somewhat missing when it came to the bad guy and that something else should have happened instead.

When it comes to actually playing the game and its characters, there were certain problems in Uncharted 4 that one has to mention too. Some of these inevitable compromises tended to frustrate a nitpicker like me at least a bit.

For example, at least in my opinion, just like in the previous installments, there's too much repetition. There are too many opponents to kill and there's just way too much climbing involved that you have to do over and over again.

Also, there's a lot of stuff in the game that seems to be wildly over the top. There's just no way that 'in real life' these pirates would have been able to build that much stuff where they did and there's no way those awesome puzzles could exist either.

Yet, these problems - or compromises - at least in my view play a relatively small part in the Uncharted series. Clearly the positives outweigh the negatives when it comes to judging the quality of the game as a whole.

In the end, my opinion is that if you have a Playstation 4 console, 'Uncharted 4: Thief's End' is pretty much a must purchase. I recommend it to everyone who's even remotely interested in playing adventure & action games. 

At least in my opinion, not only does 'Uncharted 4: Thief's End' look and sound really good, but it's also a game that has relatable characters, is relatively well written and manages to keep you entertained from start to finish.

Friday, May 20, 2016

Macgyver's reboot looks pretty bad.

Macgyver was one of my favorite show on television when I was a kid during the late eighties and the early nineties. I couldn't wait to see what 'Mac' was going to do this week and the adventures that he was going to get himself into. 

I loved the show that much, because the series was so entertaining and well made. It was made with so much passion, kindness and idealism that it made me feel like pretty much everything in this world was possible.

So having heard that there was going to be a reboot of this classic series, some might think that I would have been somewhat excited about the news. After all, who wouldn't like to see Macgyver's character return to our tv screens?

Yet, I wasn't really that excited, because we've already had too many bad examples where 'reimaginations' of these classic shows have gone terribly wrong. This time things wouldn't probably be any different either.

For example, when a popular series like Knight Rider was rebooted in 2008, it lacked all the aspects that had made the original series watchable. The new series just wasn't any good and didn't make anyone happy.

As sad as it is, the reimagination of the Knight Rider had none of the childlike qualities that David Hasselhoff''s original series had. Instead, the new show was cold, dark and unimaginative while desperately trying to be 'edgy'.

Unfortunately, this exact same thing can be said about the new Macgyver series based on the clips that have aired. Things don't look any better and it seems that the producers of the reboot haven't paid attention to what made the original series so popular.

Instead of making sure that new 'improved' Angus Macgyver would also be a kind, friendly, humble and an innovative character, this new Macgyver seems to be a really arrogant and cocky person that you can't really root for.

Also, instead of making sure that the reboot would be mainly about Macgyver's character, it seems that in this new version Mac is only part of a huge 'team' and that the show isn't about an altruistic individual doing good things to others.

Even when it comes to technical aspects of the show, this new series looks just way too dark and apparently completely lacks that relaxed and positive atmosphere that the original was known for and what made it so popular.

All in all, I think it's rather safe to say that things don't look too good for the new Macgyver series. As far as I'm concerned, the reboot in its current form - if they don't revamp or start from scratch -  is not going to be a success.

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Michael Moore's documentary 'Where to Invade Next'.

A couple of days ago I had finally the chance to watch Michael Moore's latest documentary 'Where to Invade Next'. I had wanted to see the film, because over the years I've learned to expect a lot from his documentaries.

I also wanted to see the movie, because in this film Moore manages to visit my country and pays attention to its education system.  Naturally as a Finnish citizen, I had to know what was going on and what he thought about our society.

In any case, in 'Where to Invade Next', Moore visits mostly European countries trying to figure out what these nations do better than the United States does. Moore tries to find out what Americans could  learn from their European brothers and sisters.

The documentary begins in Italy, where it seems that people have pretty much managed to figure out the meaning of life. These weird Italians seem to enjoy their work, their life, their food, their sex and  .. their holidays.

Moore wonders how it is possible that Italians get up to eight weeks of paid holidays every year. How is that possible when you consider that americans by default don't get a single paid day-off in The United States?

He manages to interview a lovely, ordinary Italian couple that globe-trots around the world every year. For them it's the most obvious thing - and the fact that people in The States don't demand these same rights scares the crap out of them.

In Italy Moore also has an interview with people who are in charge of Italian companies. For them too it's the most natural thing to take care of their employees - and that as long as their companies are profitable, making extra money isn't that important.

This same pattern of inquiry continues once Moore leaves Italy and lands in France. There he pays attention to the quality of school lunches and how different the culture is in France compared to The United States.

Not surprisingly, these lovely kids in the little town of Normandy (pic above) don't enjoy mcnuggets and pizza slices for their school meals. Instead, every day in school they enjoy healthy gourmet meals that nourish both their bodies and the souls.

It's just hilarious to watch how the kids reject the idea of consuming unhealthy american food. Moore showing these kids pictures the stuff that students consume back in The States makes them even more turned off.

Even based on these two countries, it becomes obvious that 'America' could do a lot better than it is currently doing. Clearly there's something wrong about the way things are done and that things should change.

But that's not all, since later in the documentary Moore visits other countries and shows other examples too. There's the Finnish education system, The German history curriculum and the Norwegian prison system that is based on rehabilitation.

These are all good examples that not only make you think but also make you feel. Especially the part about how Germans are taught to not forget the horrors of the Holocaust is touching and illustrates how countries can learn from their past sins.

It's not really until Moore arrives in Tunisia in Africa, when the documentary starts to get a bit too unfocused. This is when I started to get tired, lost my concentration and felt that the film should have been slightly different.

I mean, it's not that the segment about Tunisia wasn't 'important' per se, but it should probably have been made to look more like a montage, instead of the film spending ten minutes on stuff that I didn't found to be that entertaining or crucial.

Also when it came to Moore visiting Iceland - the country where its people managed to revolt, break up the banks and send their crooked executives to jail - I noticed that I didn't pay that much attention to what was going on in the film.

Nevertheless, when it comes to this documentary as a whole, even though there are certain problems with the film, these flaws at least in my opinion don't hurt it too much. Clearly the positives outweigh the negatives.

By that I mean that there's a lot of entertaining, funny and poignant stuff going on almost throughout the movie. All these good aspects make the documentary the kind of film that everyone should watch at least at some point.

At the same time, I just wish that the film had been edited a bit better and that it had had a better narrative. In that case, Michael Moore's 'Where to Invade Next' would have been a totally awesome documentary from start to finish.

Friday, May 6, 2016

The importance of having good routines in your life.

A couple of months ago, after not being able to do it for some years, I managed to get back to running and exercising again. I managed to start a workout routine that has helped me in getting back in shape again. 

By that I mean that for the last ten weeks or so, every other day I have managed to go at least for an hour long workout. During these exercises I have managed to either run, ride a bike or lift weights to feel better about myself.

This change in my habits has reminded me again how important it is to have these activities in our everyday lives. These good habits and routines have made it a lot more easier to get other things done in life too.

In my opinion, the best thing about routines is that having them makes things happen almost automatically. You don't always have to pay that much attention to what you're doing or worry about whether you'll get things done.

When it comes to running, a lot of the time I went jogging even when I didn't feel like doing that at all. Even when my mind said that I was too tired and that I'd skip the day, my body said that I was going to get things done.

It's not even wrong to say that I had become hooked on exercising and that I had no choice except to get through these workouts. I had to do them, because otherwise I wouldn't have felt good either physically or mentally.

Yet, even though I got addicted on exercising, it's not a bad thing to be dependent on routines like these. Running and exercising are known for all their health benefits and other positive effects that they bring to our lives.

After all, who wouldn't like to go out for a run and feel better about themselves? Who wouldn't like to enjoy some fresh air, clear one's mind and forget many of the negative thoughts that tend to bother us too often.

In any case, when it comes to having routines in our lives, the truth is that we need to have habits that as a whole are good for us. We need to come up with routines and positive addictions that in the long run are beneficial and won't hurt us.

If we're able to come up with these habits, not only do we manage to do good things to ourselves - but in the long run, there's a good chance that we might also help others and make them feel good about their lives too.