Wednesday, December 31, 2014

2014 - The Highlights (Tetris_King)

As the New Year approaches, this is the perfect opportunity to look back on the ups and downs of the year. Below I have listed my favorites and disappointments of 2014 that was covered by this blog, with links provided where appropriate, with no specific order intended.

Top Movies of 2014

I don’t actually feel an obligation to include Transformers movies on my lists, but I really did enjoy this installment in the Live-Action Movie continuity. Yes, I’ll agree that it does seem to run a bit long, but what I liked were the improvements it made over previous films, mainly in regards to the human cast and how well it draws from the Transformers mythos (including the G1 cartoon continuity, Transformers Animated, and the IDW G1 continuity among others) to add to the experience. After having seen it multiple times, I find this installment to be the best so far in the live-action movies, as well as a worthy representative of 30 years of Transformers, and I can’t wait to see what happens in the next one.

It is extremely hard for me to say anything about the plot of this movie without completely ruining it, but if you are/were in any way a fan of LEGO products, this is definitely a must-see.

During the gap between Captain America: The Winter Soldier and The Avengers: Age of Ultron, Marvel Studios decided to base a movie on Guardians of the Galaxy, one of Marvel’s more obscure comic lines to the point where even a die-hard fan might have to fact-check some things. Though I was skeptical at first, I was interested partially because James Gunn (writer of Lollipop Chainsaw) was the director and the end result turned out much better than I anticipated. Even though this movie introduces an entire team, I thought it managed to do that pretty well (I actually ended up a fan of both Groot and Rocket Raccoon) and the music choice was surprisingly good and created a unique atmosphere, to the point where I will probably forever associate those songs with this movie. To me, this was a surprising hit from Marvel Studios and I highly anticipate what they decide to do next with the characters.

Top Games of 2014

Even though I have only recently gotten into JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure (I’m currently waiting for the anime of Part III: Stardust Crusaders to continue), this is a fighting game that I found myself having a hard time putting down. Not only is the fanservice amazing (the developers really did their research and it shows), it’s also a game I found to be fairly well-balanced, with each character offering a unique move set that matches their canon abilities and actions, some of which can actually be influenced by which character the opponent is using and, sometimes, even the chosen arena, just to name a couple of factors. If the anime grabbed my interest in the series, this game really helped to cement it.

Just as Age of Extinction ties into the 30th anniversary of Transformers, Tetris Ultimate is a new game made to correlate with the 30th anniversary of Tetris, and I couldn’t have asked for anything better. While retaining what makes Tetris what it is, this game provides a huge swath of gameplay options to keep you interested for what may be a very long time. Top that off with great music and visuals and you have yourself a worthy Tetris game for the modern age.

Top Disappointments of 2014

While I wasn’t really enthralled by the first The Amazing Spider-Man, I went to see this movie anyway solely so I could stay somewhat in the loop regarding comic book superhero movies. Unfortunately, despite the fact that I wasn’t expecting much anyway, I ended up getting less than that, since the plot manages to be somewhat incoherent and the characters unlikeable, resulting in a complete mess of a movie (not even a costume change was enough to convince me that it was for the better). In the end, I found this installment to be a very lackluster example of a Spider-Man flick and I hope something about it improves in the next release, if there even is one.

I may be a fan of My Little Pony G4 (though not necessarily very high on the “brony” scale), but I’m not really much of a fan of the Equestria Girls spin-off. However, when this movie was announced, I decided to watch it anyway to see what direction the series would be taken in, plus the previews made it seem like there was some promise to it. This turned out to be more of an empty promise, since the re-introduction of Twilight Sparkle from the pony world into the human world ruined any potential this movie may have had with fleshing out Sunset Shimmer as a character, though the music is somewhat better and the villains were better written than Sunset Shimmer. To me though, this movie only presents a rather marginal improvement over the last feature and I really hope that Twilight Sparkle isn’t shoehorned into the plot again so that the spin-off can have its own identity, despite whatever potential for this hope not coming to pass the post-credits scene might present.

Transformers: Rise of the Dark Spark

When I heard about the concept behind this game, that it was a crossover between the Movie and Aligned Transformers continuities, I was curious to see how well it would be pulled off, though I expected that it would not be able to top Fall of Cybertron. Not only did it meet this expectation, it also turned out to be worse than I thought it would be. The game does manage to somewhat fit itself into the Aligned continuity portions, which is more than I can say for the Age of Extinction half, but on top of this it isn’t that much fun, rather it feels like the game is just going through the motions. This also seems to carry over into the voice acting, since while it uses the same cast from Fall of Cybertron, save for a select few (Peter Cullen as Optimus Prime not withstanding), it sounded like the actors weren’t putting in their best effort. In short, this game felt like it had some really wasted potential with its premise and I hope more of an effort is put into any future Transformers games.

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