Astral Chain Review

By Michelle Lynn Tackett

What a great year it’s been for the Nintendo Switch. Link’s Awakening, Fire Emblem and Mario Maker 2 highlight some incredible games, but what about new IPs? That’s where Astral Chain comes in. Like a blaze of fire burning through the sky, it delivers a streak of action and excitement.

Story
Humanity is being invaded by interdenominational creatures who threaten to wipe them out. Only an elite strike force called Neuron can stop them. You play as one of the twins who try to take down the demons. Your character has to stop Jana Anderson, who serves as the main villain in the game. The story has a Bladerunner flair to it. I won’t give away too much. This story needs to be experienced. It is a good story.

Graphics
This game is gorgeous. The blue hues and the art style are amazing. The reflections and lighting bring the world to life. It’s like watching a stylized anime on your Nintendo Switch. The details are amazing from the sparks from the fire to the facial animations of the characters. Everything is lovingly detailed, making the world feel alive. You’ll feel like you’re living in this world.

Combat
This is where Platinum Games shine. The combat sounds complicated on paper, but you’ll figure it out with some practice. You control your character and call your legion out when you need them. The legion attacks by itself, but you can do certain attacks by button presses, or moving the control stick. This gives the game a fresh feel. It does take a while to get the hang of but flows like butter when you get the hang of it. The combat never feels overwhelming. It follows the old easy to learn, but hard to master philosophy that works so well for games like Bayonetta.

Sci-Fi PI
One of my favorite aspects of Astral Chain is the detective work. The Iris helps you see things to help you solve cases. Some cases are simple, while others take a while to complete. There are so many cases to solve, so it will take some time to solve them. Some think they slow down the flow of the game, but I find them refreshing. Solving cases will help your character get new clothing and upgrades.

Music
One of the best soundtracks ever for a video game. The thumping techno, glaring punk rock and soaring rock will stick with you for a long time.

Challenge
This is a challenging game, especially when you turn up the difficulty. There is a casual mode for noobs, but you can take the wheels off for experienced players. The boss fights are epic. The final boss is one of the best boss fights I’ve ever experienced. It takes skill to beat this game, but when you do, you’ll feel a sense of accomplishment.

Flaws
The camera is distracting at times. When you’re in a firefight, the camera will get too close or go behind a wall and get stuck. This can be annoying, but it isn’t a deal-breaker. Some of the plot twists were predictable, and some of the moves will take lots of practice to get down. That may turn some newer players off.

Verdict
Astral Chain is one of the best action games you’ll ever play. The gorgeous visuals, engaging plot, colorful character, and rich combat will keep you coming back long after the single-player campaign is over. If you own a Nintendo Switch, get it. If you don’t own a Switch, get one and get this masterwork of an action game from one of the best developers in the industry.

Grade: 4 Stars! Buckle up! You’re in for a wild ride!

Photo Courtesy of: https://xboxplay.games/news/astral-chain-how-to-beat-enceladus-tips-and-tricks-3037

Part 4 of My Top 100 Movies of All Time

Picks by Michelle Lynn Tackett

Let’s pick up where I left off why don’t we?

70: Wizard of Oz, Some people may think this is low, but it’s not. I just have 69 movies I like better. What else is there to say about this classic? Gorgeous cinematography, lovable characters, charming story, and wonderful music will make you feel like a kid again. If you haven’t watched this movie with your kids, do it now. This is a must-see movie that no cinephile should miss.

Rating: 4 Stars

69: Batman Begins/The Dark Knight, Nolan’s Batman movies are great, (let’s forget about The Dark Knight Rises), and The Dark Knight isn’t this top 10 be all masterpiece, but it is a great example of what comic book movies can be. Batman Begins is one of my favorite Nolan movies period. The dark tone, crisp look, and great acting keep both movies humming along nicely.

Rating: 4 Stars for both.

68: Serenity, from the legend, Joss Whedon is one of my favorite Sci-Fi movies of all time. Firefly was a great show, and this movie was a great follow-up that answered a lot of questions for fans of the series who were left hanging. Nathan Fillion is priceless as the Han Soloish Captain Malcolm Reynolds, who leads his ragtag group of members across the galaxy trying to get by. The special effects are glorious for a 30 million dollar movie, and the dialogue is spot on. Not a false moment for the characters. Whedon is a master of dialogue and storytelling. A must see for any fan of sci-fi.

Rating: 4 Stars

67: Patriot Games, Harrison Ford is STILL Jack Ryan to me. Other actors have tried, but Ford pulls off the role with ease. What a smart political thriller, with great action, intense moments and great characters. This is the best of the Jack Ryan series, with the screenplay focusing on family drama instead of some convoluted plot. This makes the stakes personal, that helps us identify with the characters and their plight.

Rating: 4 Stars

66: Pulse, there are a lot of Asian horror movies on my list. There is a good reason for that. Instead of focusing on cheap jump scares, Asian horror focuses on the atmosphere and the character’s facial expressions to tell a compelling story. It works in this gem of a movie. I don’t want to give too much away, but you will be in for a wild ride. A cheap, American remake tried to capture the greatness of this movie, but it failed. Watch this gem instead. Great build up to some unforgettable moments. Bravo.

Rating: 4 Stars

65: The Fountain, I don’t care what anyone says, this is a classic darn it. The incomparable Hugh Jackman plays 3 parts to perfection in Darrin Aronofsky’s brilliant bravura ode to life, death and the search for immortality. The striking visuals and emotional depth raise this masterwork to another level. I have seen this movie a lot, and it gets better with each viewing. I highly recommend this movie to anyone looking for a deep movie with an ambitious vision.

Rating: 4 Stars

64: The Muppet Movie (2011), I grew up on the Muppets, so it was good to see them come back to the big screen with this adorable, and funny movie. How can it go wrong with Jason Segel and Amy Adams in a movie? Throw in Kermit, Gonzo, Fozzy, and Miss Piggy, what else do you need? This movie was a return to form for the Muppets after a few disappointments. Lots of cute puns, heartfelt moments, and Amy Adams is heavenly in this movie! She is so cute you want to reach through the screen and hug her.

Rating: 4 Stars

63: Pride and Prejudice (2005 version), I usually don’t like remakes or retellings, but I love this movie. Keira Knightley sparkles as Elizabeth Bennett in this classic story. A very gentle, sweet movie with a perfect cast and a delightful tone. Not a cynical or mean bone in this movie. Lush cinematography, wonderful directing and a tight script make this a classic. It is Knightly who shines. She runs through the screen with elegance and charm as few others can.

Rating: 4 Stars

62: North By Northwest, I don’t like Hitchcock as a person, but he was an incredible director. Gary Grant is perfect as the every-man on the run. The tension is palpable, and the scenes are legendary. This is one movie I recommend for anyone who wants to know the difference between a good movie, and a bad movie. Well, this is a great movie, definitely one you should not miss out on.

Rating: 4 Stars

61: Sabrina, Audrey Hepburn is magical in this charming 1954 Billy Wilder comedy. William Holden and Humphrey Bogart are also good, but it is Hepburn who outshines them all. Her smile, stunning outfits, and charm will have you rooting for her. The delightful jokes, charming tone, and gorgeous scenery make this an instant classic, what a wonderful movie experience. I like this movie more, every time I watch it.

Rating: 4 Stars

Next week will be part 5 of my series. Stay tuned.

Photo Courtesy of: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/4655960-100-all-time-favorite-movies-1915-2000

Can Fans Be Too Tough?

In a new interview with Mashable, Natalie Portman talked about how hard it was to deal with the harsh criticism from a vocal group of Star Wars fans. Jake Lloyd said the same thing. Remember that Jake was 10 freaking years old when Star Wars Episode 1 the Phantom Menace came out, Natalie was only a teenager, so she was still a child. Some crazy fans were attacking a child and a teenager over a movie they disapproved of. How sick can you be? Mark Hamill rightfully called out this horrible behavior in an interview. It’s ok to be passionate, but this goes way too far.

You can criticize a performance without making it personal. We all gotta learn how to deal with criticism, but there is no excuse for personal attacks, especially on children. You can channel your disappointment in other ways, and not look like raving lunatics who make Freddy Kruger and Michael Mayers look sane.

I know, I tore the Sonic the Hedgehog movie trailer up, but I did not attack Jim Carrey as a person, or the director. I do think the director isn’t doing a good job so far, but I am not gonna attack him personally.

Look at Ahmed Best, who did an interview with the Wrap, he talked about how suicidal he got after the nasty comments he got. Get help people, this isn’t right to do to someone who is just trying their best to entertain you.

Be more constructive on your criticisms in the future. I need to watch it myself. We all do! Be passionate, but remember, there is a human being beind the things you criticize and they do have feelings as well.

Link: https://www.google.com/amp/s/mashable.com/video/natalie-portman-star-wars-backlash.amp

https://www.thewrap.com/jar-jar-binks-actor-says-suicidal-star-wars-backlash/

Photo Courtesy of: https://www.deviantart.com/djpavlusha/art/Crazy-fanboys-374799933

Avatar 2 Gets Delayed Again!

The biggest movie of 2020 got delayed. Avatar 2 will come out on December 17 2021 according to Bloomberg. Dear lord, our grandchildren will be old by the time the sequels to Avatar come out. Oh well, I trust James Cameron and this will only give him more time to craft another masterpiece.

Link: https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.bloomberg.com/amp/news/articles/2019-05-07/disney-just-cut-the-biggest-movie-from-2020-lineup-avatar-2

Photo courtesy of: https://www.google.com/amp/s/screenrant.com/avatar-2-2020-trailer-release-date-news/amp/