Watched: Oh boy, I went through a bit of a tear with TV this month. Along with being taken in by Ms. Marvel and slowly catching up on Star Trek: Strange New Worlds, the biggest thing I watched, TV show wise, was Barry. After hearing so much about it on Twitter over the course of several weekends, I finally took the plunge and really enjoyed that first season. It’s incredibly breezy as hell, and really easy to just binge three or four episodes before walking away to let everything settle. I like how constantly out of his depth Barry is while simultaneously being the most dangerous person in every scene he inhabits; I like his weird, brief hypotheticals of the future he could have if he successfully gets out of The Life. I’ve stepped away from it for a few days, but am prepared to get into the next two seasons and then eagerly consume season four whenever that hits up in 2023.
Towards the end of the month, I got hit with a case of the rewatch and decided to turn my eye back to Voltron: Legendary Defender over on Netflix. And you know what, those first three seasons are about as strong as I remember them being. I respect a show that’s extremely committed to its own bullshit, in this case a guerrilla army of alien cat ninjas with transforming swords. In its best moments, that Legendary Defender managed to make its universe feel like a big, space opera romp while maintaining a tight focus. I remember some of this show’s future plot points, and remember being just passively mixed on the ending, so we’ll see how that goes as I continue down mecha-memory lane.
Movie wise, there was Lightyear and Jurassic World Dominion. Lightyear was Fine, but ultimately doesn’t have anything going for it beyond Chris Evans having a surprisingly solid voice that would probably be good for Star Trek sometime in the near future, if he’s in the mood to do franchises again. As for Dominion…well, beyond just not giving nearly enough time to Omar Sy as a spy trying to take down a dinosaur smuggling ring, the biggest sin of the entire thing is that it’s just really dull. The first two World movies had a noticeable, joyous—and at times, controversial—bloodlust and meanness about them that Dominion very much lacks. If this is the last one, I can’t say that I brought flowers with me to the service.
Played: It finally happened. After shelling out for a wireless controller, last week I finally beat Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. I grinded some shrines, got enough hearts to pull out the Master Sword, and finally took Calamity Ganon down. I can’t tell you how I actually feel about the game because I’ve been playing it off and on for years—when I booted up my save last week, it said that last I played the game was in March of 2021—but what I remember of the game eventually grew on me, though not to beloved acclaim as anyone else.
Breath of the Wild may be a game that I restart and play properly instead of just playing once every couple of months, but that’ll come after I knock out some more 2022 games. I told myself earlier in the year that I’d play Stranger of Paradise over the summer, and it is indeed a perfect summer game in that it’s a good way to get out of the sun and just turn some podcasts on. Couldn’t tell you a lick about what the game’s plot is—not a real Final Fantasy player, though I do understand that this is intended to be a prequel of sorts to the original Final Fantasy—but the gameplay is satisfying enough that I don’t really care. It’s a fun throwback to those old PS3/360 co-op games you’d play on the couch with your childhood friend, and I just love how completely frickin’ stupid it is. I may end up paying for that DLC if I finish the base campaign proper in time.
Very briefly, I also played some Citizen Sleeper, a narrative cyberpunk RPG inspired by tabletop games about you, a humanoid machine dubbed a “Sleeper,” having to work inside a space station while figuring out how to stay alive. A limited set of dice dictates what all you can do in any day, and as you become more embroiled in the lives of the station’s inhabitants, it can be stressful trying to figure out how to balance it all. But it’s the fun kind of stressful, one where the vibes are always easy going thanks to some moody music and a casts of characters who are light and friendly while no doubt having a darker edge to them. There’s just something absorbing about Citizen Sleeper right from the start, and I think that if you’ve got a PC that can run it—or Xbox Game Pass—you should play it if you’ve got yourself a love for the sci-fi.
Finally, there was Ninja Turtles: Shredder’s Revenge, a retro throwback to the 80s days of the TMNT. Beyond mashing the buttons of the arcade machine at my local Dairy Queen back in the day, I’ve never played a TMNT beat-’em-up before, but Shredder’s Revenge manages to feel like a fun nostalgia trip nonetheless. For me, the biggest issue is that the game feels too chaotic for its own good; in single player, some levels feel deliberately mean, like the early missions on the hoverboard. And in co-op, it quickly gets to be a mess if you’ve got more than three players. There’s fun to be had here, certainly, but the game having six-player co-op feel a bit misguided when even four players could become real unwieldy really fast.
But enough from me, go ahead and spill what all you did for the month of June in the comments below.
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