Archive for mars, 2015

mar
30

Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate : One Hell of a Hunter Life

MH4U-Image_001

 

Getting lost. Clunky camera controls. Dying. Retrying. Ragequitting to eventually come back to it and grin at the rewards you ripped from your now dead enemy. Oh, and cats, too!

Those words were what defined Monster Hunter the most for me, when I first discovered the franchise back in 2010 with Monster Hunter Tri. But now, this monster-slaying series can easily keep me hooked for several hours in a row in a single day. This might sound contradictory, but I am pretty sure this is how the vast majority of Monster Hunter players felt like when they happily dove into the series. And a new wave of wannabe hunters is most likely experiencing this again with the arrival of Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate, the latest episode of one of Capcom’s most reknowned series, released early February this year.

Monster Hunter has always been known for its seemingly unnecessary complexity when you start the game for the first time. I have yet to meet a first-timer knowing – even barely – what to do in the game when they have never played a Monster Hunter episode before. This is because the game has never, ever, reached out a hand to help and guide you throughout your hunter’s journey, and simply throw you into the wilderness of its universe. Monster Hunter slowly became a series reserved to no one but its old veterans.

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However, Capcom’s Monster Hunter 4 breaks this invisible wall which stood between the regular players and the newcomers by introducing a real, complete tutorial which makes you dive head first into what Monster Hunter is all about. We also have an emphasis on the scenario which was neglected or even non-existant in previous games. This means that the NPCs are a lot more present and interact with the player more than before to explain most of a hunter’s basic knowledge. Learning how to fight, how to combine items, and completing numerous other actions is now explained right from the beginning, and players who were thrown off by the harshness of the series right off the bat might want to consider giving Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate a go. While the presence of an actual tutorial in a game sounds logical, its appearance in Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate definitely open the gates to a fabulous world for anyone willing to invest some time in a pretty time consuming RPG.

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Veterans who’ve learnt everything they know from the game by themselves might fear it to be easier because of how warmly it welcomes new hunters. But, although the game is now definitely more accessible, the core gameplay is still there with a lot of new features spicing up the hunts, most notably the introduction of verticality into the game, something which might be overlooked by the newcomers but adds a sense of freshness for everyone else. The fights are as unforgiving as ever, and each time you faint teaches you what not to do. Often times you will find yourself struggling with a monster you cannot seem to defeat, but the satisfaction you eventually get by dealing that last blow and seeing your nemesis fall to the ground is priceless. And with each of your victories comes your rewards with which you will be able to make new equipment to hunt the hundred of monsters the game has to offer. You’ll make your hunter unique by making fancy but sturdy and deadly new weapons and armors. Speaking of which, there are a total of 14 weapon classes, each one fitting a playstyle. Are you a type who bashes and knocks down monsters by smashing their heads ? The Hammer is there for you. Or, on the contrary, do you prefer a safer playstyle, looking for an opening to accurately hit a monster’s weakspots ? The Lance’s deadly tip and its big large shield are probably fit for you. If you wish to take monsters down from a distance, the Bow will do the trick. Efficiently hunting down monsters requires knowledge about them, and you will need to spend time to see how they react under certain situations and what moves they can perform to prey on you. Not to mention the preparations needed before heading out on a quest!

mh4 wepaons

But, what makes Monster Hunter truly what it is for most of us is the multiplayer element. Group hunting is definitely the most wondeful thing you can do in the game. And it is now easier than ever with the appearance of online support for a Monster Hunter game on a portable system. Hunt anywhere with players from all across the world and team up to take down the biggest creatures of the game. Set up strategies, lay down pitfall traps to allow your teammates to go berserk on the monster, or heal everyone in case of emergency. Each hunt is unique and there is always something new to learn from every hunt, be it about the monster you went against or a new way of playing from a fellow hunter. And it takes a lot – a lot – of time to be a flawless hunter and knowing everything the game has to offer.

I personally am a hundred hours in and I don’t feel like I am anywhere near done with the game,  and actually, quite the opposite. The amount of content at our disposal is insane and everytime I pick up my 3DS and start the game, I intend to learn something new to perform better in my next hunts.

 

FANTESINI Kevin.

 

mar
27

Imagine Cup Bootcamp

Sans titre-1

 

Hey, Ryan and Seb here, back from the Imagine Cup bootcamp !

We haven’t slept much, but our projects have taken a new turn. We learned a lot with the coaches we met there. on the first day, we presented our projects and got feedback. After that, we all worked hard on improving them. The next day, the coaches took a look at the evolutions and again, gave us tips for the finals.

Of course, the goal of this event was to prepare ourselves for the French finals. It’s happening on the 9th of April and we still have a lot to do. But we all got a lot of experience over this week-end.

By the way, we released videos about our games. You can check them out by clicking the links below. The most liked video on YouTube will win a prize, so don’t hesitate and share them !

 

Jet

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mwQuJMC2KTw

 

Willy the Wisp

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A4eQh1FpdxI

 

Alkhemia

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ichqRmwasvM

 

 

mar
27

Darkest Dungeon – Review

 

Behold! A newcomer in the already huge world of rogue-like games.

But this one is not like the others, this one is not one you can learn and master at the drop of a hat. This one will not abide by your rules.

This brand new game is  Darkest Dungeon.

In a Lovecraft-like world, filled with occult darkness and nightmarish monsters, you lead a party of adventurers who have sworn to overcome the evil lying in the darkest dungeon.

Pretty classic plot, right? Well, the game isn’t!

Why? Because this game is not nice. This game will bash you until you bleed. Even the first disclaimer of the game says this. What’s more, the tutorial can even kill you if you don’t manage it right.

For random play is a really important part of the game, both in the turn-based combat system and in the character progression. You can die on a single unlucky hit. A character of your party can be driven mad by the stress of the dungeon, or even if they come back they can develop a phobia of beasts which will dangerously handicap them.

So you have to be both a good manager of your shady heroes, your limited supplies and the limited availability of the town, to manage to crawl into the deepest part of hell, complete the random-based mission and finally face and defeat the bosses awaiting you in the darkest part of the dungeon.

You will die. You will fail. You will cry. And if you finally win, you’ll feel like a God…

Until you eventually die again…

A must for Rogue-likers !

 

By Jules Gassie

mar
27

CitizenFour

citizenfour

“For now, know that every border you cross, every purchase you make, every call you dial,

every cell phone tower you pass, friend you keep, article you write,

site you visit, subject line you type, and packet you route, is in

the hands of a system whose reach is unlimited but whose safeguards are not.”

Edward Snowden

Citizenfour (2014) is a documentary by Laura Poitras, who followed the whistleblower Edward Snowden and the journalist Glenn Greewald before and during the revelations that highlighted the NSA’s secret surveillance programs.

The images of CitizenFour are staggering by their simplicity. The major part of this documentary is in a hotel room in Hong Kong with discussions between Edward Snowden and Glen Greenwald (reporter for The Guardian). And yet, in seconds, it is like watching a movie, a real fiction. The protagonists exchange encrypted messages, hide under the bedsheets to enter their 100 characters passwords, disconnect the phone from the room for fear of being bugged…

The intelligent editing contrasts with the figure of Snowden, forced to stay in this “isolation cell” with the growing media coverage of the scandal that is played outdoors. For example, Laura Poitras films the whistleblower, alone in his room, watching his tv screen which displays his face and the face of the journalist to whom he delivered information. It’s rather sureal !

For nearly two hours, the viewer is projected into a place where he can fear that everything that surrounds him could be monitored. Laura Poitras offers a dense movie that urges every citizen of the world to think about the deviance of our contemporary societies and policies.

Now, I will always remember this frightening sentence (which is an understatement): “It has become an expectation that we’re being watched”. And indeed, the fact that we could be watched has become a running joke even though it is not a joking matter, on the contrary…

More than a documentary about the NSA or a documentary about Edward Snowden, CitizenFour is rather the testimony of a journalist about freedom of speech.

Tristan Peschoux

mar
27

White Bird in a Blizzard

White-Bird-in-a-Blizzard

Gregg Araki’s White Bird in a Blizzard (2014) centers on Kat Connors (Shailene Woodley), a seemingly regular teenage girl. In 1988 her world is turned upside down by the sudden disappearance of her mother, Eve (Eva Green).

Set over the course of three years, White Bird in a Blizzard tracks the growing mystery surrounding what really happened  to Eve and how it changes the passionate Kat as she attempts to grow into a young woman.

After two playful works that could give you the impression of a return to an assumed immature cinema (A Smiley Face, Kaboom), Gregg Araki reiterates in a genre he had transcended and which threw off moviegoers in 2005 with his surprisingly challenging drama Mysterious Skin.

A true art house movie with a very strong identity, White Bird in a Blizzard seduces us by its slow rhythm, its amazing photography with highlighted colors, its unforgettable soundtrack (The Cure or the album Music for the Masses by Depeche mode) and a dive headfirst into the eighties.

What is pleasant with White Bird in a Blizzard, are the different levels at which you can read this movie each in high quality staging. Thus, White Bird in a Blizzard opens like a family drama where it is expected to follow an investigation around the disappearance of the mother. However, we quickly understand that this is a sham to make us glide smoothly into the psyche of a teenager in search of herself.

Araki’s cinema impresses with its eminently pop dimension. He transcend the common, the trivial, even the vulgar through non-ordinary dialogues (where, in the cinema, do we hear adolescents speak with such detachment and sincerity about their sex lives?). His staging gives acute attention to everyday objects.

Nevertheless, in White Bird in a Blizzard, as in the delirious Kaboom, the modest chronicle of everyday teenagers is disturbed by the strange and the underpinned melancholy instilled by an impressive artistic direction. Araki dynamites with mastery every moment of the American ideal. He depicts the difficult transition to adulthood, with uncompromising direction.

White Bird in a Blizzard is a remarkable work of cinema. Sparkling, simple, sometimes dark and often funny, this movie leads the viewer into a real rollercoaster of emotions.

Tristan Peschoux

mar
27

“Kerbal: space program”: Is rocket science fun?

A spaceship, orbiting the Moon

A spaceship, orbiting the Moon

                « Kerbal: Space program », created by Squad, is a game about making your own space program, and building your very own spaceship, or your space station. The game respects the laws of physics, so it is almost as complicated as in reality. But, by respecting the laws of physics, does the game become less interesting? Is rocket science fun? Indeed, you have to think a lot in KSP, and not everyone want to use their brain too much while playing a game. It is difficult, for beginners, to learn how to launch a vessel, and put it in orbit. And, at the moment, Scott Manley, a well-known youtuber playing KSP a lot, is building a gigantic spaceship out of several parts, docking them while in orbit, and is sending that spaceship in orbit around a moon of a gas giant, landing a smaller module on that moon, and finally going back in orbit, and returning home safely.

Every KSP player doesn’t have the skills required for such missions, but with some training, it is actually easy. The key is to think about everything, from the moment you build your rocket, to the moment it touches the ground of the targeted planet/moon (and eventually the moment you return home). You have to plan the entire mission in your head, before launching your rocket. And that will teach you to think about every aspects of a project before doing anything.

If rocket science is not your thing, you can still have fun playing KSP. You can find the fun in crashing your rockets, or in creating strange vehicles. Another youtuber, Danny2462, who also plays KSP a lot, is the opposite of Scott Manley. He doesn’t create fancy enormous ships, he stays on the ground, mocks around with funny mods, and creates crazy vehicles, such as catapult launching astronauts, or a plane with so many wings the game engine becomes mad.

Personally, I like that game. I think that rocket science is actually fun. I have played it so much, it has become intuitive, and that is kind of rewarding. I feel free, being able to visit every planets of the Kerbol system (the equivalent of the solar system in the game). It is also educative, I have learned a lot about rocket science.

Descamps Victor.

A space station, build in Kerbal: Space Program

A space station, build in Kerbal: Space Program

mar
27

Mass Effect 3 : Power and Personal Choices

I’m going to start this article with a fact: I’ve played more Mass Effect 3 than I dare to admit. I love this game, and I especially love the multiplayer mode. For the people who don’t know about it, you’re cooperating with up to 3 other people to beat ten waves of enemies coming your way in closed maps, with objectives to do every 3 waves. It’s really cool to play, with a good level of difficulty and a pretty good intensity curve and everything, so I wasn’t really thinking about it, but I started to and… I found out something : This game has deprived me of my personal choice.

I’m not saying that I became a zombie playing it, lost my family, became violent or whatever. The outcome of my little “thinking session” has to do with the way you acquire new gear and characters in the game. There are, indeed, a lot of different characters and weapons to play with, some rarer than others, some more powerful, some with a really exotic gameplay. And to acquire these characters/gears, one needs to buy “packs”.

A pack is a bundle of 5 random items, which can be characters, weapons, consumables, or whatever. The more expensive the pack, the better the items of course. And I think you might begin to catch onto what I’m about to say. The way you buy your stuff will change the way you play.

Let me walk you through my mates and I’s experience. We started, like everybody else, without any gear and with very few characters. After several games, we started to buy some packs. And that’s when the magic happened. Thanks to the RNG, the only characters I got were from the Soldier class, and the only weapons I got were shotguns.

During the single-player campaign, I mostly played Infiltrator/sniper-rifle, a.k.a the polar opposite of what I got in the packs. You can clearly picture my disappointment, as I wasn’t going to be able to play in my favorite style, but I rolled with it. I started to play Soldier/Shotgun, because they were the only powerful ones I had, and I liked the feeling of empowerment. I looted more and more soldiers, more and more shotguns, and I continued playing that way. And now I have weapons of every type and powerful characters of every class, I keep playing soldiers with shotgun; I proudly claim they are the most viable way to play the game.

On the other hand, my mate got a lot of SMG, and now can’t play without one. And we continually argue on whether they are good or not. Truth is, neither SMG nor Shotguns are superior to each other. But the multiplayer taught us to play one way, and we eventually made it OUR way, confusing it with our personal preference.

When playing the campaign, every choice is available with the same level of power, so you can pick whatever you want, according to your own play style. In Multiplayer, the randomly generated system gives you options that are more prevalent or viable than others, so you pick them. And as you experiment with them, feeling the empowerment, your evolution in the game, you start to like them, and finally you can only see them as your own personal liking.

The most important part is that, even if it seems totally obvious when worded out, the player is not aware of these changes in his patterns. It’s comparable to a kind of Stockholm Syndrome: you can only realize it once you start to look back on your history with this game.

The really special part is that, even if I’m aware of it, I’m going to keep playing Shotgun Soldiers. Indeed, unlike the Stockholm syndrome, there’s no real negative part to this behavioral change. I’ve been taught to love this new playstyle, and I accepted this teaching, even if it was not totally conscious. As I kept playing the game, with the system of rewards (formal and informal) validating my “choices”, the little disdain I felt in the beginning quickly faded away, so I don’t have any problem with my playstyle now I that I’ve found everything out.

And now, as I’m playing, I can only wonder about how such a little element of a game system can create such a strong long-term impact on a player. For I know that, if I had had the possibility to just choose a particular weapon to buy, It probably wouldn’t have turned out this way.

by Jules Gassie

 

mar
27

Birdman

Birdman-Affiche-Michael-KeatonBirdman (2014) is the last film by Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu narrating the story of Riggan Thomson, former blockbuster film actor and who tries to become a theater actor. He will find himself questioning his talent and creativity while confronting his legitimacy as an actor and his search for recognition and love (by his family, the press, the public …).

Birdman is all about mainstream cinema; the whole idea is to play on the similarities between the character of Riggan and Michael Keaton (Batman and Batman Returns), the actor who plays this character in the film. From a life of fame to sinking into oblivion.

The duality between cinema (special effects, camera movements, multiple plans) and theater (no camera, staging, almost no effects) is at the heart of Birdman. Filmed almost entirely in a Broadway theater, it seems to have been shot in one long, single sequence shot in an absolute and smooth virtuosity. With no apparent cut, the action takes place uninterruptedly in the dressing rooms, corridors, stairs, stage and backstage.

This choice of staging breaks down the barriers between stage and backstage, between fiction and reality but also between fantasy and reality. This is effective and the process reaches a high point when this long sequence shot also takes away the barrier between the rationality and the madness of the main character. This shot is inspired by tradition cinema (Soy Cuba by Kalazatov or Rope by Hitchcock). The staging is justified, this isn’t just there to impress the viewer.
The music is diegetic, using only jazzy drums soun ds. This movie, through the use of this long sequence shot, the breaking of the fourth wall and its original music goes a long way in its suspension of disbelief.

The acting is very good and sublimated by the subjugating Emma Stone who proves she can play with talent any role. Keaton is not outdone, this role was made for him, this movie being a parallel between Rigann Thomson’s life and his own life.

This movie deals with artists inner fears, on their creations and the various interrogations related to it. But it also criticizes the Hollywood machinery with their blockbusters editorial line and our relationship to social medias.

Birdman has the air of an independent movie, but it is made of high-end elements. We are simply carried away by the furious pace of the long sequence shot and the music, the spectacle leaving us impressed and out of breath.

Tristan Peschoux

mar
27

The Book With No Name

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The Book With No Name

Ever heard of « The Book With No Name » ? You should. It’s the first novel of the Bourbon Kid series, written by an anonymous British author, who signs as Anon. It’s a thriller/horror sort of book, but more like « lots of blood everywhere » than scary stuff. It’s quite funny, in fact.
The book is about a serial killer known as the Bourbon Kid, who can be considered as an antihero of some sort. The story takes place in a city in a western-like scenery, which is flooded by supernatural creatures (and, unfortunately for them, simple humans). We follow a police officer trying to understand the gruesome deaths that have been happening around lately. Then switching to the point of view of other characters who are more or less aware of what’s happening and the consequences of their own actions. Each character is very interesting, and very different one from another, even if in the end you’d better not get attached to one of them, because death comes around swiftly !
To speak about the book itself, it is very easy to read, because it is more like oral rather than written language with complicated sentences. In fact, that’s the peculiar style of the series. Also, keep in mind that swear words are used quite often (let’s say they are a very big part of the book), and that fighting and dying scenes are very well described (picture a Tarantino movie put on paper, and you’re quite close to it). The humor and the crude reality of the events are basically what makes this book a must-read, and you won’t have time to tire of it !
Up till now, it’s one of a series of four books : The Book With No Name, The Eye of the Moon, The Devil’s Graveyard and The Book of Death.

I personally liked all of them, but the last one was a bit repetitive (or maybe one of the main character in it annoyed me a bit more than those in the others).
Fans are very interested in seeing this book adapted as a movie (and what a show it would be !), but for now, there’s no information whether it is to be done or not. Even so, the Sojafilms website did a fan-made trailer for The Book With No Name and it’s really nice to watch, so if you have time, check it out ! It doesn’t spoil anything, thus it’s even an interesting way to understand the whole ambiance of the book if you want to be sure you will like it before reading it.

eye_of_the_moondevil_graveyard
Lucie PELLETIER

mar
26

Cloud Atlas

Cloud Atlas

Nearly 15 years after the brilliant Matrix and 5 years after the controversial but no less awesome Speed ​​Racer, Andy and Lana Wachowski have signed their comeback with the amazing science fiction movie Cloud Atlas.
This film is a succession three levels : a spotless cast, a challenging screenplay and a set of stunning special effects (especially the makeup).

Cloud Atlas narrates six different stories set at different times. From the slave trade to the distant future, and through other shorter periods, the film offers us various and beautiful scenery worthy of the current blockbuster budgets, yet it’s an independent movie!
Although these stories are distinct, they are linked by nearly invisible elements (a musical score, an absolute gem …), which create a slight but thrilling frame. All these stories speak of personal struggles with oneself, society or a mentor, everything leading to an assumed moral after a 3 hour-long movie.

With a cast made ​​up of 13 leading actors such as Tom Hanks, Halle Berry, Hugo Weavin (Hello Mr. Smith!) or Hugh Grant, the directors conducted a feat never achieved before. Indeed, each of the 13 actors plays a different role according to the time period. The makeup manages to deceive us numerous times. The story is relatively dense since it consists of 6 stories spanning over five centuries. In these stories, beings meet from one life to the other, while their decisions have consequences on their course, in the past, in the present and in the future. A single act may have implications over several centuries and even cause a revolution. Everything is connected !
This could have been a big mess, lacking context and form, if the scenario and its division hadn’t been so well proportioned. The intertwining stories take us every time in a coherent universe that the spectator integrates and recognizes gradually. If at first you do not see where the three directors lead us, it happens later when the common elements of the stories appear.

There is in Cloud Atlas a philosophical reflection on universal themes such as love, death, fate or the eternal cycle of history including cinematographic references (such as the 1973 classic movie Soylent Green by Richard Fleischer). However, it is mainly a movie revolving around individuals and their impact on History by the controversial butterfly effect. It is such a rich and challenging movie that it is quite difficult to truly appreciate its true value at the first viewing.

For all these reasons, Cloud Atlas is a masterpiece extremely innovative and extremely controlled. Technically perfect, this movie, however, may put off some of the public by the apparent complexity of its narrative and its rich storyline.

Without a doubt, this is a one of its kind movie that has so many qualities that it is already for me a true masterpiece.

Tristan Peschoux

Recent comments

  • DigZon technology

    18 août 2015 |

    Keep up the great work ethic.

  • insurancewhisper.com

    10 août 2015 |

    This article has inspired me. It’s profound, interesting and worthy of a positive comment. I try to give good content its due and this deserves a top rating. Thank you.

  • Mathieu

    22 mai 2015 |

    Very interesting article. Could be usefull to me in 2nd year, that is if LePivain makes us study this one.

  • Mitzi

    15 mai 2015 |

    This article and many other on your page are very interesting.
    There is a big chance to go viral.

  • admin

    10 avril 2015 |

    Beautifully written