6 Bites of Entertaining Entertainment
Some awesome things in the name of escapism.
Some say 2016 is the worst year ever. Some say that nothing good can come out of a year filled with musician deaths, No Man’s Sky and that gorilla who keeps living on in memes. If you’re looking for a little bit of escapism, here are some fine forms of entertainment currently putting a little color back into a gray world.
I walked in with no realistic expectations and honestly wasn’t really planning on seeing this in theaters at all. After tagging along with a friend who insisted that I see it, I was blown away by not only its strong message of communicating and understanding our differences through a new alien species but the twist ending that turns the entire narrative on its head and playfully screws with storytelling and its linearity. Like all good sci-fi, its positive message and insightful twist leave much for discussion in the best possible way.
I fully admit I am an MCU junkie and with the exception of Agents of SHIELD, I eagerly gobble up what’s next in Marvel’s unfolding cinematic universe. Admittedly I knew very little about Doc Strange prior to the film as I had only read about him in a few Avengers stories and only knew his basic backstory, but I thought they did a great job bringing magic and mysticism to the MCU. I love the idea of pocket universes and alternate dimensions, and this has it in spades. Anything that opens the door to more characters, more universes and alternate versions of characters is something I welcome.
Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them
As only a low tier casual of the Harry Potter fandom, Fantastic Beasts made want to dive head first into the fandom and lore. I had previously dismissed HP for being a little too juvenile but this brought me right back into the world with a more mature take on wizards and magic in a world filled with normies (nomajs). I loved the characters, each with their own quirky but ultimately likable qualities, some cool beasts and a 1920’s setting not really seen too often in media. If anything, this made me want to jump into a world I initially shunned and that is worth something in itself.
It may have taken 8 years to come out but in my eyes, the wait was worth it. A fun, colorful Metroidvania game with charming characters and setting. It’s not the be all, end all to Metroidvania games, but it’s a lot of fun and more than anything Castlevania and Metroid are doing right now. Between this, Shovel Knight, Freedom Planet, and Undertale, I’m loving these tributes to some of my favorite games of yesteryear.
I came in with no expectations but had them exceeded in almost every way. A strong single player campaign with some of the most inventive level design seen in recent FPS titles, incredibly smooth controls and shooting mechanics, and a fun multiplayer that is fun playing with friends or solo, this is the FPS that defied odds and ended up standing out against the larger juggernauts this year. I thought you couldn’t get better than Superhot, Doom, Overwatch and Battlefield 1 this year but I was wrong. It’s a shame that it didn’t sell better, as I would love to see more Titanfall titles from Respawn in this style. I want to see more of Jack and BT’s relationship that is actually more compelling than it has any right to be in an FPS. Any game, especially an FPS that wants me leaving more on all levels is doing something right.
Death Stranding VGX Trailer
This is technically cheating since there is no release date in sight, but the latest trailer from Hideo Kojima’s Death Stranding has set conspiracy theorists into high gear as they analyze the hell out of it. There was a lot to look at. Guillermo Del Toro holding a baby in a jar, a bombed out landscape featuring WWII era planes with umbilical cords, tanks with Eldritch abominations and Mads Mikkelsen controlling an army of skeletons. There is still no clear indication of what the game plays like, the story or when it’s coming out, but as a fan of Kojima’s work, I’m interested and will remain invested in every little tid bit until it comes out.