Batman: Arkham Origins and PS4 Trailers

I've always veered away from posting news on GeekOut. We're clear in our stance that GeekOut is a place for opinions, and not news. While we do share a news bit here and there, GeekOut has always been and will forever be an outlet for geeks like myself to... well, geek out. And that's exactly what I've been doing for the past couple hours while watching these two trailers - Batman: Arkham Origins and the new PlayStation 4.

I played the ever-lovin' daylights out of Batman: Arkham City. I loved every single second of it. Without a doubt, Arkham City and Arkham Asylum are the best video games based off comic book characters. What can possibly top that, right? Well, Batman: Arkham Origins will give it a good try. So far, I'm liking what I'm seeing.

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A Clash of Swords and Philosophy: A Metal Gear Rising Review

There is a powerful sequence in Hideo Kojima's sprawling masterpiece Metal Gear Solid 4 (2008) where we guide our aging and dying hero, Solid Snake, as he fights through a harsh blizzard in Alaska in what is to be one of his final moments in the video game space. As we emerge from the jagged, mysterious wilderness and the snow has gradually subsided, we finally see that we are back to where it all began: Into the now-legendary helipad entrance to the Shadow Moses Base from the original Metal Gear Solid (1998); as the sound of the howling wind transitions to Rika Muranaka's "The Best is Yet to Come", the original game's theme song. This subtle, beautiful ode is a reflection of the widely revered series, with a recurring theme of sombre optimism in a militarized world where, quite frankly, anything can and will happen.

"Our feelings grew faint
What caused our grief and fighting?
Can there be beauty in life?
If you seek it out.
Can there be happiness in life?
Let's seek it."

In seeking happiness: We can assume that Kojima, sadly, never has. How apt has this song come to define Metal Gear Solid, as it also reflects Kojima's greatest strength and weakness: his almost self-destructive thirst to seek out and weave more and more socio-political themes and issues into an increasingly poignant yet grandiosely unwieldy video game franchise (he was, after all, once nominated into Time's 100 Most Influential People in the World). Apparently, he was never satisfied, never happy with his work after promising to leave it behind after the first sequel. Appropriate, then, that "The Best is Yet to Come" is the series' theme song. As Solid Snake huffs and puffs with his dying breath, we can all ask Mr. Kojima, will 'Your Best' ever arrive?

If Kojima has boundless vision, he ultimately compensated with a severe lack in foresight. Metal Gear Solid 4, for all its statutory (or portentous?) relevance both in video games and in wartime politics, sometimes felt like a juggling act wherein Kojima was slave to his previous stories, simultaneously tying up all of the series' scattered plot twists and offering new ones of his own. This is not a complete criticism, as each and every video game he created are complete and satisfying stories in themselves; the problem here is that every entry is more audacious and difficult to follow than the last, to the point that people are still debating whether or not Metal Gear Solid 2 was merely a virtual reality simulation in a bid to... allude to military desensitization from the 4th game. These are bizarre yet irresistible stories, I kid you not.

What we are seeing here is that every single Metal Gear Solid game seems more of a spin-off of the series than actual sequels by themselves. After all, each of the five main Metal Gear Solid games (including the critically-acclaimed PSP game Peace Walker) featured its leading man Solid Snake only twice in a leading role - one of these two even cast him as a dying old man. That's a total 20% batting average for a game series with the moniker "Solid" featuring the legendary hero in his prime. The latest Metal Gear game, however, is one that can be reasonably called a spin-off in a more traditional sense. Released just a month ago, Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance, leaves its stealth-genre roots behind in favor of an ultra-fast paced hack-n-slash game featuring the ninja Raiden, one of the series' most iconic supporting characters. Perhaps this is the refresh that Kojima has been looking for all these years, as this is the game that will finally break free from the gift and curse of his convoluted legacy.

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Tomb Raider Is Bloody Good

When Tomb Raider was first announced, I was immediately excited. Tomb Raider was one of those first generation PlayStation games that really made the system the best in its class. With a Crystal Dynamics developed, Square Enix published gritty reboot, I thought it was all Tomb Raider could've been with greatly reduced hardware limitations. With a fresh new take, all new game mechanics, and wonderfully rendered environments and characters, it was everything I thought it could be.

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On Emergent Storytelling

I love Peter Jackson, particularly at the exhilarating peak of his career when he exploded with King Kong (2005), the very film that he had always wanted to make ever since he started out in Hollywood. It was a beautiful, ambitious, and almost unwieldy film that transcended (perhaps cross-sectioned) genres and set the bar for cinematic visuals that will not be bettered until James Cameron's luscious Avatar almost half a decade later. His storytelling finesse carried heft in the lush and verdant Skull Island as well as a smoky and equally beautiful rendition of Depression-era New York, despite the ruinous nature of a redundant plot quite literally taken from a 1930's monster film. The curious thing about this remake, however, is that it doesn't cater to nostalgia, as perhaps the remake is too old for anyone to remember; and it is likely that most of the people who have seen it are a) film aficionados  or b) dead.

The original purpose of the remake is to create a visually-outstanding adventure for the post-modern film crowd who value creative action and visually-inventive storytelling, and to bring out the inner child of a movie director who has just finished flexing his mature cinematic muscle with, I dunno, 19 Golden Statuettes just a couple of years before. The plot, itself, is just as interested in dinosaurs and giant worms as it is with bigotry and capitalism, told in confidence and breathtaking style. Beyond its genre mash-ups, however, is a love story worth telling framed within society's general alienation of cross-cultural differences. And the magic of this breathless action film is that this core never gets lost even if it seems as if the movies tries so hard to.

King Kong (2005)

Public criticism could perhaps speak of redundant plotting if there is anything to criticize about King Kong. Carl Denham, the film's primary catalyst, stares at the monster's corpse and utters: "It was Beauty killed the Beast". They could perhaps say that it would have been more poignant if Beauty and the Beast has not already been iterated as a period film in the 1940's and even remade into an animated film and then turned into a Broadway musical before this movie was released, but I digress. King Kong is about grandiose storytelling with broad thematic brushstrokes much more than it is about telling a daring, methodical story. It is raw, emotive power. Roger Ebert always said: "It's not what it's about. It's how it's about it." He gave the film a perfect 4 stars.

Read more: On Emergent Storytelling


DataBlitz Pre-Order Promo for Tomb Raider

As I previously mentioned in my most anticipated games of 2013 post, the Tomb Raider reboot tops my list. Hot British girl who gets down and dirty with criminal elements while tomb raiding? C'mon, what's not to love? I'm super excited for it.

And I'm pretty sure that I've mentioned somewhere (probably on Twitter) that the Philippines isn't exactly a great place to be a gamer, because we always get shafted when it comes to those exclusive pre-order bonuses on Gamestop or Amazon or whatever.

Good guy DataBlitz comes to the rescue by giving us exclusive pre-order bonuses, as well! HUZZAH! Problem is, PS3 owners are out of luck since these are exclusive to XBox 360 and PC. So BOO!

EDIT: I bought the PS3 version yesterday and it came with a redeemable code that includes ALL the XBox 360 standard edition bonuses. 

Here are the deets:

Read more: DataBlitz Pre-Order Promo for Tomb Raider


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