Tag: Review

Judging the Endgame

Avengers: The Endgame was probably the most awaited film of 2019. The conclusion to almost a decade worth of Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) films took the world by storm as it released globally on 26th April 2019. All the shows in my local cinema were booked out! 23 additional shows had to be added just to meet the demand of the tickets! Fortunately my wifi was strong enough and my typing speed was fast enough to grab a ticket for myself!

This is a spoiler free review

But just letting you know, Thanos becomes a farmer.
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Age of Empires II – A timeless classic

Age of Empires II (AOEII) was released in the year 1999 and it revolutionized real time strategy gaming for the years to come. It gathered some of the greatest civilizations which existed in the history of the world and put them in your computer. It is you who explore and reigns the Empire. Which may fade away like the rest, or stand the test of time.

In AOEII, there’s a collection of different civilizations. Each with its own unique capabilities, strengths and weaknesses. In an AOEII match, which usually lasts 30-40 minutes. You are required to achieve victory by completing specific objectives as demanded by different maps. You select a civilization, and start off with a single building, a few villagers and a single cavalry unit which you can use for scouting the surrounding regions for resources. What you look for is wood, food, gold and stone. You use them for various purposes like researching new technologies and constructing buildings. From this small village, you have to build your economy, build an army and take on your enemies. The final objective, to emerge victorious.

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Strategy is imperative for victory. You either focus on your economy, or prefer amassing a large army and crush the enemy early in the game. Or focus on constructing defences. Or maybe a more balanced approach. The possibilities are endless. It is essential that you understand the civilization’s technology tree. Be aware of your weaknesses and bank upon your strengths. Keep a close eye on the enemy though, you never know what trick they have up their sleeves, or in this case; scale mail armor.

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The game has both single player and multiplayer modes. First I’ll talk about the former.

Single player consists of two sub-modes. In one of the modes you play on a random map with an Artificial Intelligence (A.I.) or multiple A.I. It is the second mode which I find to be most interesting, campaigns. AOEII allows you to play the campaigns of some of the greatest military generals or Emperors from various eras of world history. Campaigns include William Wallace, Genghis Khan, Frederick Barbarossa, El Cid, Montezuma, Joan of Arc, Saladin, Attila the Hun, Prithviraj Chauhan and many more. Voice acting is top notch, the accents have been well done. In these campaigns, you step into the shoes of the great personality and replay their great achievements. It is also an interesting way to learn history of various countries and continents. I have learnt so much about these civilizations, just by playing through these campaigns.

Multiplayer is where the real competition lies. You can go head to head with some of the best players in the world. It is organized in the same way like the first sub-mode of single player. Players can either fight each other or combat the dauntless A.I. together. However, it feels as if the A.I. might be overpowered. The victories of my friends and me against the A.I. can be counted on fingers. They are that difficult. But when you defeat them, the feeling is just sublime.

There are a few criticisms. When constructing a gate, there should be a button to rotate the gate, currently it is non-existent. As I mentioned before, the A.I. feels overpowered and probably some tuning is needed in its coding. Also, why can’t my villagers walk through houses? Or any buildings at all? There are doors. It should be made possible for them to walk through those doors. Maps are sometimes bugged, and resources are surrounded by forests through which the villagers cannot walk. Making it extremely unfair on the affected player. These should be sorted out as soon as possible. There are other tiny things which don’t affect playability but are a good laugh sometimes like, if one single villager survives the destruction of your empire, he can rebuild it again (And he humbly decides to remain a villager).

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It has an active community. I believe it is due to the unique and unpredictable maps and players respectively. No two matches ever turn out to be the same way and that keeps bringing people back. The modding community has some great submissions. Maps like, Game of Thrones themed maps, Trump’s wall (Yes that’s a thing) are fun to play! My personal favourite mod is the merging of soundtracks from Stronghold with the AOEII soundtracks (Which are also good! But this makes it better).

I have been playing this game since 4th grade. I’ve come a long way from then, won a few battles and lost some. The time spent on this game has been memorable, and I find myself reminiscing about it now and then. This game is available on Steam and is on sale till 19th February. Even at full price, it is worth more than what you spend. You play the game and experience why it is a timeless classic. Till then, I will be laying siege to Constantinople and see you in my next article.

Priyamvad Rai

Here’s a video of a match I played with my friend!

Bahubali 2 – The Review

“Why did Katappa kill Bahubali?”

This question has been haunting the mind of every single Indian since the past year and it has sparked off numerous number of discussions and brought up many theories, igniting the imagination of every single child and adult alike. Does the sequel live up to the much created hype? Is the climax and the answer to the question of the century worth the 166 minute length of the movie? Let us try to find the answer to these questions.

The first half of the movie starts off a bit slow with every single detail being played out, mostly in a musical format. Of course these details are somewhat relevant to the main plot and the question we all want the answer to so dearly. But it does become mundane after the first hour as you don’t seem to be getting anywhere near to the answer for which you paid almost double the amount of money on the ticket. The first half in hindsight only focuses more on the plot details for the second half of the film.
The first half also consists of some humor, we get to witness an atmosphere which is different from all the dark and serious air of politics in the Kingdom. We get to witness the more ‘human’ side of characters like Bahubali and Katappa, this does help in connecting with the character and develop a liking for them. (I have to say, Katappa is quite funny when he is not head of security)

Moving on to the second half of the movie, this is where things begin to take a wrong turn. Even though the story picks up the pace, the movie is again shot down by just almost impossible physics. Okay, the movie is set in a fictional world, but there is no such thing as supernatural powers in this world, then why has it been filled with supernatural physics and powers. It has been clearly defined by the first movie that this world is like the normal medieval India which we know of, the only difference being the absence of the Mughals. In my opinion the movie should have stuck to a more realistic approach to battles and other cinematics. For example- In one of the battles in the movie, soldiers are launched off what look like tall palm trees in groups of 4-5, mid-air they form a type of cannon ball and land on the city walls in order to breach the fortifications of the city.
“Human Cannon Ball” as I like to call it was probably the most hilarious part of the movie, in fact for me that is all I remember of the movie.

The movie is filled with cliche plot twists though.

All in all, the movie does get few things right, it captures on your curiosity for not only the answer to the question, but also to the lore of this world. I found it really interesting to be able to witness another Kingdom in this particular world, in fact being a history fanatic I was immediately able to identify that the capital city of the Kingdom was inspired from the Imperial City of Vijaynagar, which had similar fortifications and architecture. Though, the movie could have done a better job at delving deeper into the world, like showing a map of India with all the present Kingdoms, things like these satisfy a type of curiosity which you develop for an alternate history (Like that of Man in the High Castle), it makes the movie more enjoyable and in fact makes the people yearn for more movies to come up in the same world. Maybe of a different Kingdom and the political system of that Kingdom, referring to this (Bahubali’s) Kingdom now and then to show the balance of power and the various systems.
Due to the fact that they didn’t delve deeper into the political system of this world, I couldn’t really identify the vastness of the Kingdom of Bahubali and how important it was in the politics of this world.

The movie isn’t unbearable, the action is gut wrenching and you are at the edge of your seat during the climax scenes. The visual effects of the movie is one of the best compared to all the other movies which have come out in recent times. I have to admit that the background score in this movie is top notch, it brings a feeling of grandeur and adventure in you and that really upheld the movie’s quality and made up for the mundane sections of the movie. However, this movie is for the big screen only so if you really wanna experience Bahubali in all its glory, you have to book your tickets and go watch it a the theater as only then will you be able to fully immerse yourself into the world of Bahubali.

Taking into consideration everything that this movie offers, it is nowhere near being sub-standard, however it is also not par excellence. We all know about the taboo of sequels in the movie industry, unfortunately this movie has succumbed to it too. Therefore I give this movie a rating of 3.5/5 and a “MUST WATCH” seal of approval ONLY if you have seen the first part of the movie, that too in the Theater only. It is also a one time watch and cannot be re-watched. Bahubali however has brought a new era into the Indian film industry, it has changed the magnificence and scale of movies. Let us hope that this trend continues and we are entertained with possibly even greater works in the future. But please, no more “Human Cannonballs” not even for comic relief.

Priyamvad Rai