Posted in Gaming, Review

Console Wars

With Xbox recently showing their hand there’s much to be said about Sony and Microsoft’s movements leading up to the fall. For a large part there seems to be factions of fans sided with each company willing to die for them, arguing on Twitter and bleeding blue or green.

What Did Xbox Have to Say Then?

This time last week Phil Spencer introduced us to some of the projects and games we can expect to see on the Xbox Series X. They led with Halo: Infinite their launch title and possibly Xbox’s biggest exclusive franchise.

Not exactly breath-taking graphically.

It wasn’t the most welcomed look either, despite good numbers on Youtube. The graphics seemed to be somewhat lacklustre for a next gen game. Its possibly the biggest talking point for Halo at the moment and ammo for those in blue.

It had other features unseen before, seemingly being more open world than linear like previous games. The gunplay and enemies seemed to be reprised from the original games and the cut scenes promise a story worth telling.

After Halo however, it was rather forgetful. We saw a teaser for Forza, but that’s it, a small reveal type look. We saw a teaser for Fable (I’m generous when I say teaser) and the same for Avowed, Obsidians Elder Scrolls knock off. There were a bunch of games from all over the genre spectrum and some Microsoft exclusives but nothing too worth mentioning. I say Microsoft as they seem to be aiming for PC/Xbox crossplay/save.

So Who Has the Upper Hand?

This all depends on your approach to gaming. Sony have been quite vocal in their approach and their intentions for next gen.

Sony are ready to leave PS4 behind, with new titles being PS5 only.

For Sony, next gen is the future and the past is to be left behind. Their showcase backed this as well as they seem to be closer to launching more next gen titles than Microsoft. They have had a stronger showing so far in terms of games and exclusives. Arguably Spider-Man has as much attention as Halo, and it’s only a large DLC.

Spider-Man: Miles Morales has stated 4k 60FPS resolution on PS5.

Sony’s console is probably the only thing that hasn’t been received with applause and anticipation. Its clunky and looks kinda weird. Especially next to Xbox’s simple rectangle design. For Sony they would consider this a win, all aspects considered.

Xbox, while having a more attractive console, are lagging behind when it comes to games. They have all their eggs in Halo’s basket in terms of launch title exclusives and are relying on third parties from Ubisoft and CD Projeckt Red to boost their library out of the gate. They’re also looking backwards to games intended for the One.

What Xbox do have is Gamepass. With Gamepass they are significantly lowering the paywall entry into next gen and full priced titles at ~£70. They have secured Destiny 2’s content on Gamepass and promise titles such as Halo: Infinite and Forza for a tenner a month.

In a nutshell for the price of 2 games at release cost, you can game for a year with the Gamepass library. That is huge, but it’s the only thing Microsoft and Xbox are banking on to boost sales after a poor showing for the One series.

Sony on Top?

I would say overall Sony has generated a bigger buzz. It currently leads the console market in sales and has a prestige library of exclusives in its repertoire. When we think of gaming we want the best games and Cyberpunk, Valhalla, Godfall and Spider-Man are all coming to PlayStation by the end of the year, whereas Xbox will only receive half of them.

When push comes to shove, Xbox’s hand will start to prove dominant. Not many of us can afford to keep up a hobby that costs 60-70 of our currency each game. With Gamepass there will be access to a massive back catalog and next gen games which will prove more valuable to some than 1 or 2 top tier entries for PlayStation can do.

I would say that quality is louder than quantity and for this Sony is on top, especially out of the gate. Xbox are looking to multiplayer and community within their games whereas Sony are looking for quality and critically acclaimed titles.

My advice would always be to play with your friends or where your favourite games are at. I can’t bear the thought of not having access to Spider-Man: Miles Morales or God of War 5 (rumoured to be announced next month). So I’ll see you on PlayStation.

Posted in Television

The One About The Sitcoms

I’ve only ever really watched 3 sitcom series end to end, Friends, How I Met Your Mother and Brooklyn99. The American ones are way better than the crappy British ones (looking at the overrated Inbetweeners).

Naturally Brooklyn99 is the most recent and in so many ways it has made me realise how poorly written the likes of Friends and How I Met Your Mother are. I have watched other sitcoms but none as chronologically as these.

They raised the bar, but maybe got away with it a little bit.

Now Friends needs no introduction and is probably the most iconic sitcom ever made. Whether its the best will be a matter of opinion. It certainly for me was the best until last year.

How I Met Your Mother is probably on the other end of the spectrum since its series finale. Going down as possibly one of the worst conclusions to such a good show after 9 series.

I probably stand out a lot of the time as I don’t always agree with where these shows end up.

Ross was bad for Rachel. He never supported her and was always obsessive over her, like a possession. They never really seemed like a happy couple. However Joey and Rachel seemed well matched. He was everything Ross neglected to be, but is cast aside by the writers as a sexist womanizer than can’t find happiness.

The same can be said for my opinion for How I Met Your Mother. Robin and Ted? No thanks. She was always better with Barney. They seemed to be everything Ted whined on about. I mean How I Met Your Mother has a much bigger problem than my opinion of Ted and Robin.

How I Met the Worst Ending.

How I Met Your Mother leads with its plot, it is the title. We are guided by the story of how Ted meets the Mother. We’re led to believe for the 9 years that this story would end in a tale of destiny, fate and a meant to be love story that would hold true for years.

Is it cool if I bang a stranger?

What we were served was a ‘is it cool if I go bang a stranger to you?’ story.

What really gets me about this is not just that the story doesn’t end with the ‘mother’ but that its a bit of a slap in the face.

By the time we ‘meet’ the mother (if we really do) she is killed off. Killed? Are you fucking kidding me?

But what about the Yellow Umbrella? The chance encounters that never happened at the parties and the class? All these things painting this character that we already love and can’t wait to see how it Is .

Thing is, her death isn’t that impactful. Sure there’s a moody score but who is she? She has some one liners here and there and comes across that she’s a great addition to the show. She gets less than Mikes 20 episodes in Friends but are expected to like her more.

Anyway, lets me move on from that (everyone else did).

The Good, the Bad and the Ugly?

So Friends is the Good, How I Met Your Mother is the bad. Does that make Brooklyn99 the Ugly?

Oh contraire, Brooklyn99 has shown these shows up completely.

We all know about Friends. Based in the 90’s and Rachel gets of the plane to her obsessive, bad for her partner, Ross. Everyone gets a happy ending. But what did we watch for 10 seasons?

Rachel was the only character to show growth. She enters the show naive, immature and dependent. When we finish she is the opposite. She is a role model for females to beleive in yourself and have confidence to rise in your career, love can wait.

Joey is the same throughout (bar a couple of relationships). Ross is the same throughout. Chandler and Monica, well, you guessed it the same throughout. There’s no growth. There’s actually very little story for 10 seasons.

How I Met Your Mother is the same. Barney, Lily, Marshall, Robin and Ted all remain the same character throughout. Moreover they parallel their Friends counterparts. Joey and Barney, Lily and Monica etc.

How I Met Your Mother parallels Friends counterparts.

How I Met Your Mother would get credit if the series finale was a whole series. Barney a dad? Ted losing the supposedly love of his life. Lily and Marshall with a new start in the suburbs. These are moments of growth for these characters that was chosen to be wrapped up in 20 minutes.

Why is Brooklyn99 different?

So all this leads me to why is Brooklyn99 the exception to this rule.

Well we’ve had 7 seasons and we’ve seen more character growth for 6 characters than the other 10 mentioned (Rachel not included).

What we’ve seen in Brooklyn99 is the stupidest, most silly character in Jake Peralta mature to become a role model for those watching. We’ve seen Santiago face a power struggle in a male dominated industry. We’ve seen Rosa struggle with her sexual identity.

Furthermore the stories told make sense, mostly. Boyle maybe a little on the elaborate side. But in any sense this show is written to actually show us the development of these characters as we move through years of their lives.

The show tackles serious issues such as racism…

Brooklyn 99 really deserves credit for it’s approach to serious issues.

The show tackles important issues such as racism, sexual harassment, parenthood and discrimination. Not only does it tackle them, it becomes part of these characters in a way only a sitcom could be.

All in all Brooklyn99 shows a quality that is actually lacking from its predecessors. Sure maybe those before it we’re just there to give us 20 minutes of escapism but they’re also shows we probably relate to the most. Yet it’s so easy to out grow them.

What am I trying to say then? Be like Brooklyn 99. Have silliness that belongs on a children’s show. But at the same time, let the characters grow with its audience. Show them to face the issues not only in a funny way that life gives, but in a serious nature that life hits us with.

Just as a side note. I have watch The Big Bang Theory and its like a bridge. Half of it suffers from the same symptoms of Friends and How I Met Your Mother and some of it is like Brooklyn 99. It ran so Brooklyn 99 could fly.