Tag Archives: spoilers

Marvel Ultimate Alliance 3’s Inhumans Level Is Just Sad

Most of Marvel Ultimate Alliance 3’s story chapters are lengthy affairs filled with enemies to fight, puzzles to solve, characters to recruit, and multiple boss battles. Chapter seven, set in the moon-based Inhuman city of Attilan, is a ten-minute trip to the most boring place in the Marvel universe.

Of all of Marvel’s properties, the Inhumans have had the hardest time breaking out of comic books into more mainstream media. The Inhumans movie was announced in 2014, then canned. It became a 2017 television series, which was laughably bad. The only time the Inhumans have been entertaining outside of comics is in ABC’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. series, and that’s because the show never went Attilan to hang out with the Inhuman royal family.

Chapter seven of Marvel Ultimate Alliance 3 sees our assembled heroes doing just that: stopping by Attilan to hang out with the Inhuman royal family. At the urging of Crystal, an Inhuman who joins the team earlier in the game, the alliance seeks Attilan’s aid in protecting the Infinity Stones from Thanos’ Black Order. Speaking for King Black Bolt, whose voice can shatter mountains, Queen Medusa tells Crystal that the Inhumans live on the moon in order to stay out of human affairs and they’ve no plans to change that now.

Fortunately for our heroes, villains attack. Which villains? Why, the only real villain the Inhumans have, Black Bolt’s brother, Maximus. Ever jealous of his brother’s power and ever hungry for the throne, Maximus chooses the exact moment a cadre of the universe’s greatest superheroes show up in order to stage a coup.

To back up and provide some context, the Inhumans are an ancient race of super-powered humans created by Kree scientists to use as soldiers in the ongoing conflict between the Kree and the Skrull. After the Kree discovered a prophecy that stated the Inhumans would be the downfall of their empire, they left to the Inhumans to fend for themselves on Earth. Young Inhumans gain their powers through exposure to something called terrigen mist, though in rare cases the terrigenesis process does not result in powers. Maximus is one of those rare cases, and it’s made him a real dick.

The entire chapter involves three battles against Maximus’ Alpha Primitives troops, who are as generic as lackies can be, followed by a battle against the man himself. It’s not a boring boss battle, as one might expect when pitting powerful heroes against a guy with a gun. Maximus has robot drones that fire powerful beam attacks. A guest character, whom I will not name for spoiler reasons, joins the battle, creating shields that players can hide under to avoid damage.

But that’s it, really. The entire chapter spans all of three rooms, so there’s no exploring to do. No new characters join the alliance. The Inhumans don’t change their minds and decide to help. Instead, the group receives a distress call from the Winter Soldier and rush off to Wakanda, kicking off a much lengthier and more interesting chapter.

Marvel’s been trying to make the Inhumans a thing for the past decade, mainly to fill the role of mutated humans with powers, since Fox had the film and movie rights to the X-Men. Now that Disney owns Fox, Marvel could just focus on the entertaining mutants and stop shoehorning the boring Inhumans into otherwise exciting video games. I guess someone felt the need to give it one last shot, though. Too bad it still didn’t work.

Source: Kotaku.com

Final Fantasy VII Is Bigger Than Spoilers

Last week, a minute-long teaser brought the Final Fantasy VII remake roaring back into view for the first time since it was announced in 2015. The footage looked spectacular, a dazzling new way to play one of the most familiar and beloved games of the last 25 years. But is it safe to spoil?

It’s a question that’s cropped up on various online forums in some form or another, and it’s an understandable one. Final Fantasy VII is the game with That Moment. It’s not just a significant, unforgettable development in the game’s plot, but a scene that has proven to be a watershed for the medium. A generation of people who play video games consider it a foundational moment in their relationship with games, the video game version of the ending of The Empire Strikes Back. If that experience can be preserved for a new generation, that would be tremendous.

On the other hand, the game is 22 years old, and for most of those years, it’s been readily available. If there is a reasonable statute of limitations on spoilers, we reached it some time ago, and should be able to freely discuss it. That’s just what happens with popular culture. It is absorbed into the ongoing, never-ending conversation among all of us, a touchpoint we can refer back to and reasonably expect other people with similar backgrounds to know about. If they don’t, that’s totally fine—it’s just that this far from the game’s release, avoiding spoilers is entirely up to them.

Spoilers are a particularly sensitive issue on the internet, an asynchronous, non-linear environment where people discover things old and new all the time, at their own pace. It’s also a medium that vastly prefers novelty, and what’s novel for one person may be stale for the next.

My experience with Final Fantasy VII was a “spoiled” one. I didn’t have a PlayStation when I finally got into role-playing games in the very early aughts, which was tragic, because I had seen the commercials and the art and was completely entranced. I wanted to know everything about that game, I wanted to conjure in my mind an image of what it was like, even if I couldn’t play it for myself. We didn’t have YouTube or Let’s Plays then, so I did the next best thing: I read the official strategy guide cover to cover, more than once. So yeah, I was spoiled rotten.

Would I have loved to have been surprised by the game’s big death? Absolutely. It would crystallize that day in my memory forever. I’d remember the room I was in, what I was doing, how it felt. But I didn’t—by choice—and I’m not poorer for it. For me, it’s one powerful beat among many, and when I finally played the game, I had so many other things to obsess over. Sephiroth’s descent into madness. Cloud learning about his past. Literally everything about Jenova. There’s so much to this game, and that’s just on a plot level. Engage with its themes, and there are rich veins of material contemplating the nature of identity, and an incredibly melancholic throughline about loss, environmental disaster and corporate greed.

There’s also plenty the original game could have done better, and worth revisiting if a remake is inbound. We should talk about these things freely, so we can understand how far we’ve come as a culture, and how far we need to go.

Spoilerphobia can get in the way of meaningful discussion, and cripples pop culture as a facilitator of real human connection. Any decent person isn’t going to go out of their way to spoil things for you—that pure first experience is a wonderful thing, and most are accommodating if they’re aware you don’t want to be spoiled about a thing ahead of time. Unfortunately, we’re not always in control of what gets spoiled for us, and the further out we are from the work in question, the more likely it becomes. It’s reassuring then, to remember that learning what happens next is only the beginning of a story’s pleasures. The best part comes after you get to live with it a little, and we’re going to live with Final Fantasy VII for a long time.

Source: Kotaku.com

People Are Upset About Things That Don’t Actually Happen In Jax’s MK11 Ending

In keeping with series tradition, every character in Mortal Kombat 11 gets a unique ending sequence depicting what would happen if they won. This game’s big baddie is Kronika, a new villain with the power to control time. She’s got serious beef with thunder god and humanity’s pal Raiden, and she plans to do away with him by rebooting the timeline without him, which is very rude. Those who defeat her in the game’s Klassic Towers mode are granted mastery over time itself, free to reshape it as they see fit. Special forces cyborg soldier Jax’s ending, though, has helped spur a review bomb and a flurry of plaintive conversations across the internet. But it seems like people don’t actually know what happens in the ending, so we’re here to clear that up.

Jax uses his “what if?” scenario to go back in time and prevent slavery.

This is exactly the sort of situation I would expect to encounter in one of Mortal Kombat’s non-canon, hypothetical character endings. It’s a gigantic and loaded decision, but come on—this is a game where people punch each other’s heads off. At least four of the game’s characters—including Jax—were killed and reanimated by an evil sorcerer. It’s hard to take that seriously. But some fans seem to be doing just that—and they’re getting some things wrong in the process.

Mortal Kombat 11’s PlayStation 4 Metacritic user score, as of this writing, is at 2.7 out of 10 and falling. Site users are bombarding the game with negative reviews. Many claim the game is pushing an SJW (social justice warrior) agenda, giving female characters a stronger role in the game’s story and giving Jax his particular ending. Some reviewers have gone as far as calling the Jax ending “reverse racism”:

  • “The story and the ending for Jax is frank racism. “Black Power” … but yes, we are all blind and do not see reverse racism. I imagine if White Power would have done, how many accusations would there be against developers in racism. But when racism is on the part of blacks, that’s normal.”
  • “The story was excellent (when It comes to fighting game standards), gameplay is solid. However the game is heavily influenced by political views (that’s one thing that I hate the most when It comes to gaming or movies these days). “

Then there’s this reaction from Reddit:

  • “The guy goes back in time to end slavery of black people, but in MK universe, Shao Khan has been enslaving people of all skin colors for about a thousand years, but Jax only cares about freeing black people?”

All this to say, there’s a lot of buzz about what the ending actually does and doesn’t do, and a lot of misinformation along with it. So let’s talk about what the ending actually does.

“I’m lucky. My family and I lived the American dream. But most people who look like me haven’t had that chance. I owe it to them to put things right, and I’m not waiting centuries for people to get woke,” says Jax. As he speaks, an image of slaves in chains being led to ships dissolves in the sands of time, replaced by an image of two European men respectfully greeting African diplomats.

My immediate reaction to the ending was something along the lines of, “Oh, so we’re flipping a switch and ending racism?” But that’s not the case here. As the cutscene continues, Jax admits he doesn’t get it right the first, second or even third time. He puts in a lot of work. I am imagining him hopping back in time, making a small change, hopping forward, cursing loudly and then hopping back in time again, over and over. There is no mention of “black power.” There is no indication that, as one YouTube video suggests, developer Netherrealm Studios is promoting “white genocide.” There’s no evidence that Jax only stopped the transatlantic slave trade from happening, despite it spurring his decision.

The actual actions Jax took and their implications are hard to envision. But is it really farfetched to imagine a black man—or anyone else, really—given the power to rewrite time would use it to right one of history’s greatest wrongs and course correct a human failing that’s caused so much pain and strife over the centuries?

Maybe going back in time and fixing a few things isn’t the worst idea.

Source: Kotaku.com

Mortal Kombat 11 Has A Great Story Mode

Thanks to the temporal manipulations of a powerful new foe, past and present versions of iconic heroes and villains collide in Mortal Kombat 11’s story mode. It’s easily the most entertaining tale the series has ever told, and it leaves the future of the franchise open to exciting possibilities.

When we last left our heroes (or as close as people who viciously tear other people apart during fighting tournaments can be to heroes), they had the forces of evil on the run. Mortal Kombat X ended after Cassie Cage, daughter of actor Johnny Cage and special forces general Sonya Blade, had soundly defeated the villainous Shinnok. Thunder god Raiden, in a vicious turn, severed Shinnok’s head and delivered it to his minions, revenant (undead and evil) Liu Kang and Kitana, as a warning of their fate should they ever threaten Earthrealm again. And everyone lived happily ever after.

Only, of course, they didn’t. Mild spoilers ahead.

As Mortal Kombat 11 opens, newly-promoted commanding officer Cassie Cage leads Earthrealm’s special forces on a raid of Shinnok’s Bone Temple, aiming to put an end to the revenant threat once and for all. The mission is a success and the temple is destroyed, but Cassie’s mother, Sonya, winds up sacrificing herself so her squad can escape.

As revenant Liu Kang and Kitana ponder their fate in front of the ruins of their evil lair, a new challenger appears.

She is the goddess Kronika, the Keeper of Time. With a wave of her hand, she rebuilds Shinnok’s temple, demonstrating the vast power at her disposal. Kronika has beef with Raiden, whose constant interference has ruined the balance she seeks to maintain in the universe. Also, Kronika is Shinnok’s mom, and Raiden reducing her son to a powerless yet everliving severed head rubbed her the wrong way. She plans to roll back history and reboot the universe, with a few major changes. The most significant change? No more Raiden.

Kronika’s plot begins with a timequake. Harnessing the power of the sands of time, she merges portions of the past with the present. A sandstorm erupts at special forces HQ, where Cassie, Johnny Cage and Jacqui Briggs are recovering from their tragic mission. From swirling dust emerge younger versions of Johnny, Sonya Blade and Jacqui’s father, Jax. Modern-day Raiden, also present, dissolves into nothingness.

Meanwhile, in Outworld, leader Kotal Kahn is holding an execution, only to have it rudely interrupted by the arrival of a vast number of young Mortal Kombatants. Former Outworld leader Shao Kahn arrives, and he’s not happy about no longer being in power.

Then comes a younger, less brutal version of Raiden, along with living versions of Liu Kang, Kitana, Jade and Kung Lao. According to the Thunder God, the group were in the middle of the tournament from 2011’s Mortal Kombat, with Kung Lao having just defeated the sorcerers Shang Tsung and Quan Chi.

And so the stage is set for one of the most exciting and entertaining Mortal Kombat stories ever. Through 12 chapters, each featuring four or five actual fights, characters from throughout the series’ history are given a chance to shine. Characters that never quite got their due, like Shao Kahn’s “adopted” daughter, Kitana, come into their own in spectacular fashion. The series’ original hero, Liu Kang, gets another shot at heroism.

The voice acting is almost uniformly outstanding. The facial animations are just as good as they were in Netherrealm’s previous game, Injustice 2. Best of all, the writing adds depth and character to individuals who previously came across as nothing more than vessels for attitude and fighting moves.

By far the greatest example of this is the contrast between young Johnny Cage and his older, wiser version. In Mortal Kombat X it was hard to see just how much the young, brash and self-centered Cage had grown. In Mortal Kombat 11 we get to see the two side by side, and it is night and day. Older Cage knows love and loss. He’s a father and a husband.

Younger Johnny is none of that. So when, during a sweet moment during the story, old Johnny looks a young Sonya wistfully, remembering his recently-departed wife, his counterpart comments, “As younger you, I solemnly swear to tap that at my earliest convenience.”

Of course, that leads to a fight, and never before has one guy kicking his own ass felt so satisfying.

Younger Johnny: “Dad always said, ‘hungry people eat lunch, humble people serve it.’”

Older Johnny: “Dad was an asshole, and Hollywood made us an even bigger one.”

Mortal Kombat 11’s story mode is filled with wonderful little moments like that. Sonya Blade facing off against not one but two Kanos. Young, living Liu Jang and Kung Lao teaming up like some sort of Shaolin Monk buddy cop show. Kotal Kahn’s brutal, unforgiving leadership of Outworld softened by the return of his beloved Jade. There are “aws.” There are gasps. There are cheers and even, on a few occasions, sniffles. It’s a lot more emotional engagement than I ever expected from a Mortal Kombat story.

I won’t spoil the official ending of Mortal Kombat 11’s story mode, but I will say that it leaves the franchise in a place where absolutely anything could happen in Mortal Kombat 12. As the final chapter finished and the credits rolled, I was more excited for the future of the franchise than I’ve been in ages. From 2011’s Mortal Kombat and its two sequels and the Injustice games, Netherrealm Studios has become the best storytellers in the fighting game scene. I can’t wait to see what they come up with next.

Source: Kotaku.com

Travis Strikes Again’s Ending Hints At The Future Of No More Heroes 

The final sequences of Travis Strikes Again have some interesting twists for fans of Grasshopper Manufacture’s games who might want to know what’s coming next from Goichi Suda’s studio. If you want to experience them for yourself, read no further! If you’d rather get spoiled, this is for you.

Travis Strikes Again: No More Heroes, out today for Nintendo Switch, consists of levels presented as individual “virtual reality” games that are played by acquiring items known as Death Balls. Travis finds new Death Balls during sequences that play out like old-school computer adventure games.

The penultimate Death Ball is acquired from a “real asshole” named Damon Riccitiello. He’s the CEO of “Utopinia,” a Silicon Valley tech company with a sprawling campus including a “full cafeteria” and a soccer field, which Travis dismisses as “just for show.”

Any comparison one might draw to one John Riccitiello, who is now the CEO of game engine company Unity and was the CEO of Electronic Arts when the company published Grasshopper’s 2011 game Shadows of the Damned, is, I am sure, totally coincidental.

Travis gets the Death Ball from Riccitiello, which is said to contain an RPG called “Serious Moonlight.” But once he starts playing it, it turns out to actually contain a game called “Damned: Dark Knight,” which, yes, is a pseudo-sequel to Shadows of the Damned, a real-life Grasshopper Manufacture game that apparently also exists in the fictional world of No More Heroes.

Throughout this level, Travis gets to meet up with Shadows protagonist Garcia Hotspur and his talking gun Johnson. The sequence also seems to break the fourth wall a bit by hinting that a new port of the game might be on the way, or that we may even see the future adventures of Garcia at some point.

After “Damned,” there’s one final level between you and the game’s ending. I won’t spoil what gets revealed in it, even though we’re deep into spoiler territory here, because it doesn’t contain anything I’d consider newsworthy. But there’s also a post-credits stinger that—again, if we’re taking the game’s fourth-wall breaking as an indicator of real-life happenings—teases No More Heroes 3.

Once the credits finish rolling, we see (and can control) Travis inside a gray-box development environment. Here’s how the brief sequence goes down:

The scene closes on the No More Heroes logo.

So, what’s real, and what’s fiction?

“TSA is a game commemorating Grasshopper Manufacture’s 20th anniversary, so it contains a handful of cameos from previous Grasshopper characters, some of which are featured largely as with Shadows of the Damned,” said Suda in a statement emailed to Kotaku.

“Please think of it as a sort of allusion to the next 20 years and beyond in the future of Grasshopper, as well as a passionate message regarding our strong desire to make NM3.”

Source: Kotaku.com