Solo: A Star Wars Story Review

I think Solo was overall a good movie. Like Rogue One, the the Force took a backseat in the storyline. Jedi are awesome, but there’s nothing like a good blaster at your side! There was obviously lots of character building for Han, like why he shoots first, and just WTF a Kessel Run is. The actor playing Han Solo, Alden Ehrenreich, did a good job, although at times I felt like he tried to talk his way through a little too much. Harrison Ford is a hard act to follow though.

SPOILERS AHEAD

The movie opens on Corellia, my favorite place in the Star Wars galaxy. When the lightning flashes, you can see what looks like a Victory Class Star Destroyer under construction, which I have a problem with. Corellia is famous for it’s starships, but Star Destroyers are made elsewhere. Also Corellia isn’t supposed to be Imperial occupied, but that’s pre-Disney lore so I digress. It’s hard to un-learn things that you’ve embraced, so little things like this are hard to overlook. Young Han being owned by a gangster was fitting, and I loved the diversity of aliens involved.

As Han escapes into the welcoming embrace of the Imperials, getting his Solo moniker was kind of dumb moment I thought.  I also couldn’t help but wince at the ‘Three years later’ trope. The Solo movie is supposed to be a backstory, so why skip backstory during a movie about backstory? I would really have liked to see more of Han in the Imperial Navy. Han Solo is an excellent pilot, yet we really don’t get to see how he got there.

Meeting up with Chewbacca was bittersweet for me. You know the two are going to become friends, so that kills a lot of the suspense, but I thought Han speaking Shyriiwook was silly.  Like several parts of this movie, the scene felt a little forced.

Meeting the mercenaries, and participating in the heist was all great. Lots of close calls, blaster fights, and daring stunts in an awesome setting. I’m a sucker for snow, but something about barren landscapes in general juxtaposed with high-technology feels Star Wars-y. I like that we lost some of our ‘heroes’ because Star Wars has an over-abundance of plot armor. A dash of Game of Thrones will do it good.

Finally getting to meet top dog Dryden Vos (Paul Bettany), and being reunited with Qi’ra (Emilia Clarke) is where the movie actually started for me. Another long-shot plan is formed, and the stakes are raised when Vos puts Qi’ra’s neck on the line as well. Best of all, this leads to Lando Calrissian, arguably the best performance of the movie. You can hear Billy Dee Williams’ swagger in Danny Glover’s voice! I’m very much looking forward to seeing more of him in future movies. The famous sabacc games, and introduction of the Millenium Falcon were very well done I thought.  Phoebe Waller-Bridge’s L3 was hilarious, and another great addition to the legacy of droids with personality. Her full designation of L3-37 was quite fitting I think.

The Kessel assault and rebellion was new, but I’m not sure I enjoyed it. I loved getting to SEE this infamous section of space, and just how a Kessel Run is made. I just feel like this was another forced scene in that it really didn’t seem well guarded enough. The initial subterfuge seemed predictable. Also when Chewie ran off to help his family, I feel like it could have been done a little better. I got hit in the feels when Chewie left his family to stay with Han, and I think that moment would have meant a lot more if it had been elaborated on more initially. I think the escape scene from the black hole went on longer than it needed too.

The final showdown with Enfys Nest was a surprise. Although for the longest time I thought they were called Infest-Nest. Again, mind-boggling to skim over backstory in a movie about a backstory.  Anyway, I knew at this point that Enfys Nest was going to be the Rebellion. The Qi’ra vs. Dryden showdown was a bit meh, though the Teras Kasi reference was awesome. Han gunning down Beckett in cold blood was also a surprise, and I think will end up going down as one of the highlights in the franchise given all the ruckus about who shoots first in A New Hope.

At first I wasn’t sure it was Darth Maul in the hologram. I had to come back and start reading some spoilers before it clicked. I always thought killing Maul was a waste of an amazing villain. I feel mixed because I really don’t see how they can bring him back (yes, I know they did in the Clone Wars cartoon, but I never watched that, and it’s still a cartoon). I am willing to see their ideas though, because I really enjoyed what little I did get to see of Maul as a villain.

The final scene where Han wins the Falcon from Lando is another winner. I think it was at Maz’s castle? I was a little disappointed when he and Chewie rode off into the proverbial sunset straight to Jabba. I feel like, again, you’re cutting backstory out of a movie meant to fill in backstory. I wish they’d explore a little bit more of the unknown with Han Solo and Chewbacca before they rushed to meet their destiny.

I realize after writing this that I had a lot more problems with the movie than I realized. It’s almost like they wanted Solo to be two different things. The start of a series of movies exploring Han Solo’s history, or just in case it didn’t work out, a single movie to tell the story of Han Solo. They tried to do both, and didn’t really didn’t do a remarkable job of either. Still, I liked Solo better than The Last Jedi for several reasons I won’t go into. Suffice to say I feel like I’ve discovered a bias towards non-Force based movies. Han Solo is also my favorite character, which I think gives me a more critical eye, as well as rose colored space goggles. I’d place Solo in my top 5 favorite Star Wars movies. I most enjoyed the screen time Chewbacca got. While Han Solo may be my favorite, I’m quickly coming to appreciate what the wookie brings to the dejarik table.

Multiplay May

There’s a few games that have all managed to present an opportunity to play together. A couple are at REALLY good prices, and a couple are hitting a big release with some new content. I’ve outlined them below with some quick thoughts of my own. I’ve provided affiliate links, so I do get a commission if you buy through them. Let me know here, on stream, or Discord if you pick any of them up so I know who to look for!

Gloria Victis

This is a medieval MMORPG that is buy and play, no subscription fee. It’s $4.36 in the Humble Wargamez Bundle currently, and the cheapest price I have ever seen Gloria Victis go for. I’ve been following it since just before launch, and I’ve mentioned it several times here on my website. The graphics and sound are great, and it has crafting and PvP involved. I don’t think the player base is that big, but I think it’d be worth the money even if we only got a small group going.

Destiny 2

A Sci-Fi MMOFPS, which is an MMORPG in FPS view with an emphasis on shooting. It’s just $12 in the Humble Monthly, and is the cheapest price for Destiny 2 anywhere right now. The reviews are not great about this game, but a lot of it is due to lack of content. For $12 (plus the other games you get from the monthly) I can’t imagine there isn’t enough content. The game looks beautiful, and I’m only level 12 so it’d be really easy to catch up if you jump in now. No subscription fee, but there are two expansion DLCs out. They will cost extra, but might be worth it if you end up enjoying the game enough.

Conan Exiles

I played Conan Exiles when it launched into Early Access, the devs were awesome enough to give me a key. It is a survival game (Think ARK) set in the Conan universe. I clocked in over 100 hours in game! I really enjoyed the building aspect, and that is probably what I’ll spend most of my time doing in game. MSRP is $39.99 on most sites, but you can get Conan Exiles with a 10% Discount using the code MAY10 over on Fanatical. (Fanatical is NOT a grey market site, it is an authorized Steam key re-seller.) Conan Exiles is a great game, and I’ll also be doing a giveaway of a key or two provided by the devs on my stream Friday May 11, 2018!

Space Hulk: Deathwing

space hulk deathwing terminators

This game is a Left4Dead type horde shooter set in the Warhammer 40,000 universe. It is definitely better than the reviews let on. It had a bad launch, but has improved greatly since then. It does take a little time to find a group, but I’ve always managed a full group. MSRP is $39.99 on most sites, but the best price for Space Hulk: Deathwing is with a 10% Discount using code MAY10 over on Fanatical. I do expect more sales closer to/on release day. I really enjoy this game, and am looking forward to the extra customization features on May 22nd. The majority of the enhanced edition features are already out for PC. I’m hoping to do a full playthrough on stream with viewers.

Update: 60% off sale in the Humble Store!

One More Consideration

I’m looking really, really hard at State of Decay 2. It’s a 3rd person arcade style survival game. From the little gameplay I’ve seen, it looks a lot like the original State of Decay, but has multiplayer co-op in it! It’s only $29.99 in the Microsoft store, but no Steam unfortunately. The good news is, console and PC should be able to play together! So if you have an X-Box, you can still join me. I haven’t pre-ordered yet, but once I see more about how the co-op play is, I’ll make my decision. There’s also a free trial available if you want to try before you buy from what I’ve read.

Tips and Help for Hunt: Showdown

99 problems, but a bounty ain’t one. There are 99 bloodline ranks, and the higher ranks are filled with some nasty weapons. The bounties are going to be fiercely contested, and the higher ranked players will have an advantage in equipment at the very least. Don’t be afraid to go into a game and just farm. Find clues, kill low level monsters, and extract. This will get you money to buy more/better gear, and XP to level up your hunter. It’ll be easier to take on higher tier hunters with more health, abilities, and equipment. You can level up your tier 1 hunter to a tier 3 hunter in a couple of good matches. While you won’t have access to the same weapons, you will have definitely closed the gap an enormous amount. It’s not smart to go all in every time.

Take a well rounded load out. To me, this means (1) a long gun of choice, (2) something to melee with, and (3) a first aid kit. A lot of items are dual purpose like the Winfield Talon, which offers a long gun and melee weapon in a single package. Additional items you might want to consider are a vitality shot and fire bombs if your cash flow allows.

 

Refresh recruits after every round. You don’t have to buy all the recruits in front of you before you get a new batch. Look at the health, traits, and weapons each hunter offers. If it’s not a good deal for the money, take your chances and hit the refresh button after each match. You can stock up on up to 5 hunters, so don’t shy away from a good buy. Good traits to watch for early on are Determination, Quartermaster, and Greyhound.

Be a good teammate. Check over your shoulder every so often to make sure you aren’t leaving your partner behind. Communicate very clearly about what you want to do. I had a partner tell me he was going to discover the lair and come back. Once he discovered the lair, he proceeded to fight the boss leaving me outside alone just as a team of two showed up. I engaged one, and was shot in the back by the other. And my teammate died moments later.

Keep quiet. Especially after you get revived. My partner revived me once, I thanked him and immediately alerted the team we were in a gunfight with. Everything you say in game can be heard by anyone nearby! If you’re talking, you’re alerting nearby players to your presence. Watch for crows, watch for horses, and for the love of all that is good in this world, do not use an open mic!

L2 melee. Killing random zombies with melee weapons, even a simple knife, will keep things quieter. Shooting at zombies, hives, and even hounds sends up a virtual flare to your location for other players to see. Keep things stealthy until you’re ready to make your move. Additionally, if you can melee the boss, you won’t be sending out calling cards to players exploring nearby areas. Additional tip: Take a stamina shot just before attacking the boss and watch it die in record time.

Turn lights off at night. All the little lanterns inside, and outside, in game can be turned on and off. If you’re in a building, turn them off. That way you won’t cast shadows, and it will be harder to see you from the outside. The same goes for lanterns outside, turn them off. You’re much easier to shoot at standing in a well lit area. Turning off lights also includes flame carrying zombies!

Never stop moving. At first, my KD was terrible. I was standing still to look around a lot, and crouching too much. I got some tips from viewers in chat who also played the game, and I went from 1:3 to 1:2 in a week, and still steadily climbing. Don’t forget to jump occasionally as well. It can mean the difference from a lethal head-shot, to a survivable body shot.

Are You Ready For Hunt: Showdown?

Hunt Monsters During A Battle Royale Showdown

Everyone’s played battle royale games before. Everyone’s played zombie games before. Everyone’s played monster hunting games before.

But has anyone played a game with all three at once?

Hunt: Showdown is a mashup of several different types of games, and it comes together well. There are bugs to work out, and optimization needed, but I personally have had very stable gameplay from Hunt: Showdown so far. I’m going to hit three big highlights that have struck me the most in the game so far. Despite having elements of multiple genres, this feels like a whole new game.

Mechanics

Tracking down malevolent beasts after they’ve ravaged the countryside gives a certain sense of satisfaction and unease. Using your darksight as well as triggering the clues leaves you vulnerable, but moves you one step closer to the location of your prey. Meanwhile, other hunters are hunting you! All the while you’re having to look out for shambling zombies, undead bee swarms, and other lumbering hulks of flesh. Death is permanent in Hunt: Showdown – your hunter will be gone from your bloodline forever if you and your partner are taken out! Sometimes it’s better to live and fight another day, than risk taking on the monster – and every other team of hunters that come to claim it.

Environmental Scares

Everything in this game’s environment wants to tell on you. Chickens, dying horses that tug at your heart strings, and angry dogs sound off whenever you come close. Hunt: Showdown relies on a certain amount of stealth, and the environment works against you at every stop. Splashy mud puddles, hanging chains, and broken glass are just a few of the ‘hazards’ that will give away your position instantly. All of these problems are intensified on a nighttime map! Light isn’t always your friend at night though.

Gunplay

I’ve taken a liking to slower paced type of gunplay. Hunt: Showdown is somewhere between Rainbow 6 Siege and Holdfast: Nations at War. There aren’t endless magazines, or even an abundance of ammo. Shots come at a slower pace than your average run-and-gun shooter, and it adds to the game’s suspenseful atmosphere. Your shots must count! Every time you fire, it signals open season to every hunter within earshot, and you risk bringing them all down on the heads of you and your partner the longer your gunfight goes on.

Let The Hunt Begin

I’ve gotten a lot of positive comments from stream viewers about the game. Seems it’s as enjoyable to watch as it is to play. Even the time period is something that’s not often explored in a shooter style game. The devs at Crytek update the game almost daily, squashing bugs and adding options to the game. No doubt there will be more monsters, more maps, and more weaponry added to the game’s core content, it’s not finished by any means.  I’m very excited about what I’ve seen so far, and I’m just as excited about what’s to come.

To be continued…

 

Upcoming Warhammer 40k Games for 2018

The Emperor Requires Your Attention

I’ve become quite the 40k fanboy ever since playing Warhammer 40,000: Eternal Crusade in December of 2016. Dawn of War II and Space Hulk: Deathwing have both been good purchases since then. I also look forward to checking out Dawn of War III and Warhammer 40,000 Space Wolf, I just haven’t found the time yet. Each of these games offers something Warhammer 40k gamers have not gotten to experience before. This is really going to add to my game backlog.

The Horus Heresy: Betrayal at Calth

This title is probably one of the more exciting for me. Betrayal at Calth offers the first 40k (30k) virtual reality title. It has the potential for quite the immersive turn-based strategy experience, being able to stand next to your troops in battle. While the game is a VR title for both Vive and Oculus, it can also be played on regular PC. You play as the Ultramarines, with various weapons from flamers to power fists at your disposal. Betrayal at Calth also has multiplayer capability.

This game has already released, and I was lucky enough to get a key from the devs. Unfortunately right now I’m waiting on a patch for better Oculus support. The devs stated the next patch should fix the problems. I’m really looking forward to seeing it in action. I was able to get a small taste before the problems started. Quite promising.

Space Hulk: Tactics

Another spinoff off based on the Space Hulk board game, but this time with a twist. Space Hulk: Tactics is a turn based tactical strategy game, implemented with a card-based system of some kind. No details yet on the card system. There will be two singleplayer campaigns; In a Warhammer 40k first, you will be able to play as the genestealers. The other campaign follows a squad of Blood Angels space marines.

There will also be multiplayer that provides chooseing between Space Marine chapters (Blood Angels, Space Wolves, the Ultramarines, or Dark Angels) as well as Genestealers. And for that extra-long life, there will be a map creation tool and the ability to share with other players.

The game will release in 2018 on PS4, XBox One, and PC. I’ve had a lot of experience with card systems lately in Paladins and Star Wars: Battlefront II. This certainly looks to be an up and coming game mechanic.

Warhammer 40,000: Gladius – Relics of War

I think this game will make the biggest splash of all the 40k games in 2018. Warhammer 40,000: Gladius will be the first entry into the 4x genre for the 40k universe. Play as the Astra Militarum, Space Marines, Orks or Necrons. Each race will have different stories, characters, tech trees, and playstyles.

The game will offer singleplayer, co-op, and multiplayer modes. No word on the Steam page about console release, but obviously it’ll be offered for PC.  4x has been hit or miss with me. I enjoy Stellaris, but other titles have been mostly miss. A co-op campaign might offer a little bit of incentive. The graphics look amazing.

Battlefleet Gothic: Armada II

Saving the best for last, I can’t tell you how hyped I am for this title! I really loved Battlefleet Gothic: Armada. The visuals in that game have to be some of the most incredible, even on low end systems! BFGA II offers another campaign, but this time it has drop-in/drop-out co-op! That really makes me think it’ll have some semblance of open world gameplay. There will be twelve factions available at the start, which means you likely won’t need any DLC to play your way (unless you’re a fan of one of the more obscure races).  Bigger battles, improved multiplayer, and more customization are just a few of the things in store.

The game will be released for PC only, at least so far.  This will be the first Warhammer 40,000 game that takes place during the Gathering Storm setting, which literally splits Imperium space in half.

The Emperor Wants YOU!

As you can see, there will be plenty of opportunities to serve the Imperium of Man in 2018. From VR to 4x to card-based, it is all unexplored territory for Warhammer 40k (and 30k) fans. All of this is on top of DLC for other 40k games like Dawn of War III, Space Hulk: Deathwing, and others. And if you still can’t get enough Warhammer, there’s still Total War: Warhammer II DLC on the way, as well as Vermintide II rapidly approaching. Bottom line is there’s plenty of purging to be done people, let’s get to it. For the Which game are you most excited for?