Tales of Graces f initial impressions!

I finally got around to slapping Graces into my PS3 on Thursday. I had gotten it in an EB Games sale last month, along with FFXIII-2 and Arkham City GOTY. I saved it for last because I had a feeling it would end up being the longer game. I definitely made a good call there.

I'm 20 hours in and I've only visited 3 towns around a small portion of the world map. I consider myself to be a Tales fan, I love the combat system and I've beaten Symphonia and Vesperia. In all honesty, the gameplay of both those games is a complete mess when compared to Graces. There is so much more to Graces in every single way.

Titles are the biggest improvement. They play a MASSIVE role in your character development as they are how you will learn new moves, upgrade those moves, and learn passive skills. As well as having a unique perk from having a title equipped. They're still unlocked by attaining hidden requirements like getting in so many fights, using this Arte so many times, etc etc, but instead of giving you skills at certain levels you will solely improve your characters by Titles. Each Title has 6 levels to it and each level gives the character bonuses towards something related to that title. AND THERE ARE OVER 100 TITLES FORE EACH CHARACTER. Yeah. As I've said, Vesperia pales in comparison.

Combat has been massively updated. There is no more mana - instead you now have CC, which is like a limit of how many moves you can chain together. The higher your CC the more moves you can chain, as well as granting you access to stronger, more dazzling attacks.

Crafting has undergone an overhaul as well. Cooking, crafting weapons, fusing, basically everything that is done with items is now clumped under "Dualizing". You can create and enhance any type of item in dualizing and makes so much more sense than having all these separate creation systems.

It seems to me like the Tales studio knew they needed to change a lot in their next game and Graces f is a testament to that. With Vesperia, I had so much trouble with the combat. I found it too unresponsive, clunky, and static. Graces f is fluid, fast, constantly moving, engaging and rewarding. My characters are always leveling up their titles and in turn their perks, as well as gaining levels and finding new equipment to modify. I find it extremely hard to pull away from this game. I am playing on Evil (The highest difficulty I've unlocked so far) and the game is challenging, but in the best way possible. I find myself constantly rethinking how to go about fights in new areas, sub-bosses, event fights, and especially bosses. Playing on higher difficulties requires very precise dodging, a lot of smart strategies and quick reflexes.

My ONLY gripe with the game is it's graphics, but I can let that slide. Graces was originally a Wii game, now remastered for PS3. I'll give them credit for making it look as good as it does. There are a LOT of blurry and non-HD textures, and it doesn't look as crisp and clean as Vesperia did, but it's a minor gripe all things considered.

TL;DR: GRACES F IS FUCKING AWESOME.

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REVIEW: The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings - Enhanced Edition 360

Before getting to the review, I want to commend the team at CDProjektRED. Their unfaltering loyalty to their fanbase has earned them a top spot in my own personal "favourite developers" list. Why? Because they listen, they implement, and they listen after the implementation. They never stop improving on their own work and that is a deciding factor in what I consider to be a dedicated and passionate developer. I back this up with their work on updating both The Witcher and The Witcher 2 - both games have recieved considerable amounts of polish after the fact, and both games have turned out even MORE rewarding as a result. The Enhanced Edition not only updates the original game, but brings it to a completely new platform and allows myself, along with many, many others, to actually play this game. Thank you, CDPR.

THE REVIEW

I want to talk about the more visceral aspects of the game first - the things you see immediately. The game is quite possibly one of the most beautiful looking games on the Xbox 360, if not the most impressive. The amount of detail in every inch of the world is astounding. You can tell that the team took every effort in creating a unique, handcrafted world. It felt more like I was traversing a beautiful sculpture than actually making my way through a digital world. I simply have not seen another game on the Xbox 360 achieve this level of beauty and smoothness. In fact, the only negative I can give to the game in this area would be a few and VERY far between bugs I experienced. In my third playthrough, the land simply disappeared and Geralt was simply walking over nothing, very ruggedly and awkwardly. The situation rectified itself after a reboot of the game. The other strange bug was that Geralt's face at one point disappeared, leaving only his hair model.

BUT THAT IS IT.

I have experienced only two technical glitches in my ~100 hours and 3 playthroughs with the game. For an adaptation of the most demanding PC game on the market, this is a huge technical feat. Of all the Xbox 360 game's I've played, this takes the cake as the most technically impressive - it is smooth, beautiful, and rarely disappoints. There is the odd awkward texture here and there, and 1% of the time textures do pop, but there was only one scene in the entire game that it was particularly noticeable (The Redanian King's Armor at the The Mages Summit). In all other regards, the game is a marvel to look at.

PLAYING THE GAME

When I first picked up the game, I was hit with some pretty strong decisions that needed to be made. Even the prologue had strong ramifications to the storyline. This really got me into the vibe of the important decision-making that I would have to be doing later on. I could kill a certain character or talk him out of fighting me, which would affect certain aspects of the story.

Forget about what you know about "choice" in video games - The Witcher 2 is not a means of moral compass. It is entirely grey. I would like to point to Bioware games in general to contrast this and to help clarify. In Bioware's games, when you make a "negative decision" the result is very predictable because it is the antithesis of what you would be doing for the good of all things. This makes choosing very easy and very black-and-white. The Witcher 2 shines in this area - every decision is not handled in a moral way. For instance, if you are given the choice to follow a certain leader, you need to weigh the pros and cons of said leaders - in most cases, these people are ALL evil, yet all have redeeming factors and positive qualities which you need to balance out. You need to learn about these characters and exactly WHY you should follow them - not simply because they represent "good" or "evil". This raises The Wticher 2 above all it's competitors by simply being real, mature and original.

Once this very hard fact sets in, you're left wandering the world and getting to the meat of the game - combat and skills.

Combat is quite different than what you have come to know. It seems to work best when you time your attacks rather than mashing buttons, and dodging and blocking play an important role. Combat begins as basic button presses between a fast, light, safe attack or a heavy, slower and more risky attack plus a basic block and dodge. All of these can be upgraded through various paths in skill development - you can dodge farther, learn to riposte while blocking, parry from all sides, increase sword damage, etc. And that is just for the swordplay - there are still two more important elements to combat, Signs and Alchemy. Signs are essentially a Witcher's terminology for their special, unique magic, and Alchemy is used for preparation to boost stats. Character skill building is based around these three "skill trees" so to speak, plus a more basic "training" path in which you must invest at least 6 points. You can specialize in one tree, balance between two, or multitask with all three, though the latter requires and adept player since you are only given so many skill points.

One thing that really stands out in The Witcher 2 is how careful you need to be while choosing skills. Even one skill point is precious and the size of the skill trees in comparison to how many skill points you can get really makes playing the game over again in a different class very worthwhile. Investing in the Signs tree, users tend to be pausing the game more to carefully think about how to use their next precious amount of Vigor (the universal energy resource - signs and blocking take up 1 bar of Vigor). Alchemy tree demands players take time to think before venturing out in the wild and use the many natural resources they have harvested to create oils, potions, bombs, and traps. The applicable power, duration, and amount of these items taken can all be increased from the Alchemy tree. The Swordplay tree yields a more traditional yet worthwhile build, favouring skills like increasing damage dealt, decreasing damage taken, increasing the amount of times you can block and the likelihood of other effects like bleeding, poisoning, incineration, freezing, etc.

The combat can be difficult, but it forces you to improve and learn the game's mechanics - something many games lack these days and which I commend The Wticher 2 fully.

IMMERSE YOURSELF

The world. The story. The characters. This is where The Witcher 2 impressed me the most. I'm hard pressed to find a more character driven, politically corrupt, intriguing, and mature universe that The Witcher 2 possesses. How Geralt interacts with these characters and what motivates them is the driving force behind the games story. One decision in particular actually has you experiencing 2/3 of the game in a completely different manner than others, and even from there you can make very important story-altering decisions. Characters have a lot dialogue recorded, even if you decide to not associate with them in one playthrough, you'll find they are major players in another. This fact alone left me completely giddy, even while first playing the game. Immediately after beating the game the first time I dove back in to see who exactly could pull strings, who I would be working with, where I would be located, and which new characters I would get to meet. Minor characters from one playthrough could possibly have a far greater role in another.

The story is simply excellent. Original, daring, fresh, and challenging, it is easy to get lost in the narrative. It has a dark European Medieval feel filled with political and personal agendas. It's not as "in-your-face" as other games - a perfect way to describe it is the story feels comfortable with itself. It is a confident and bold story, masterfully folding out. One of the game's only negative's also comes from its pacing: the final act is somewhat short compared to the rest of the game. I realize that this could have been intentional, but perhaps I'm looking through my "I want more" goggles. The Enhanced Edition actually expands the final chapter by adding hours of new content (all of which cannot be completed in one playthrough), and this is where I commend CDPR yet again - fans were saying it was short and they set out to spoil us. While it is still a bit shorter than the rest of the game, the Enhanced Edition's new final-chapter content is very welcome.

As I have mentioned above, the characters in The Witcher 2 do not fall under "Paragon" or "Renegade". There is no good or bad. Every character has an obvious evil in them, even the protagonist, Geralt of Rivia. Everyone is in a grey area. Yet what I love about these characters is how the good in them shines through. I found my own predispositions of the characters being constantly challenged, as if these were real people you need to "get to know". That such a feat has been accomplished in a video game is, to me, unheard of - I cannot actually think of an example that even comes close. Going back to other morality- and choice-based RPGs will be hard now because the characters are so one dimensional in comparison to The Witcher 2.

The theme of choice carries on through the game's deepest offerings, and even ones I've already touched upon - your choice of skills will drastically alter your combat strategies, your choice of friends will alter the game itself, your choice of completing quests could open new quests or rewards. The Witcher 2 is the most successful RPG of it's type because of this.

IN CLOSING

I cannot recommend this game enough. I have spent a lot of time with it and I still have the urge to go and play through it again - something extraordinary in and of itself. Almost every aspect of the game is stellar. If I were to point out the game's most obvious flaws, it would be that the final chapter might be a little short in comparison to the rest and that there are some rare technical hitches. Yet these are completely forgiveable and trivial matters when you look at the big picture - the experience that The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings - Enhanced Edition offers. One of the finest gaming experiences I've had in a long time. Cannot wait for more, CDPR.

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Xenoblade Chronicles is utterly phenomenal.

Just finished the game about an hour ago. I'm aware this may turn into somewhat of an advertisement... but oh well. Xenoblade deserves it. It took me 80 hours on the dot to complete and I didn't even do all the sidequests. This is one long, expansive game. When a game is this long you'd think it loses focus, but it doesn't - the pacing and the cutscenes are so well timed and spread apart that many times I found myself abandoning exploring the massive maps in favor of finding out what happens next.

If you don't know already the game is coming out in NA this Spring so make sure to check it out! It plays a bit like Final Fantasy 12 but with a unique time feature that lets you see what actions enemies will use in a few seconds, to give you time to enchant yourself or allies with a shield or enhanced evasion, as well as attack, all from a special menu that the main character has from his sword.

One thing that I really love about the game is how much freedom you are given to customizing your characters. One of my party members has such high agility that he doesn't need any armor at all - enemies just miss him. You can feel free from this point to turn him into a tank or a main damage dealer, or have him inflict status ailments. If you don't like that, outfit him with some armor and let him go at it. Another of my characters is outfitted with only support actions (she has plenty of attacking skills as well, I just decided not to level them) so she stays behind the sidelines and doesn't accrue any aggro while the agile tank dodges and I go behind and to the side and attack.

Anyway, this game is among the best of 2011. Funny how my top two games from 2011 are both Wii exclusives!

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Why Skyrim disappointed me. :( (Spoilers involved!)

I wanted to love this game by the time I was finished with it but so many things kept me from it. The only reason I S-Ranked the game because they were easy achievements and I spent a lot of time with it in the hopes that some of my problems would be rectified. There will be spoilers here.

The Story

The story in Skyrim is short. Very, very short. Now I know that there are a shit ton of other things to do in the game, and my problem doesn't 100% stem from the fact that it's short. It's boring and anti-climactic. I made my way up the mountain, got the Elder Scroll for Paarthurnax, and was sent into Sovngaarde. When I killed Alduin in a ridiculously easy battle, I was thinking, "Great now what does Paarthurnax have for me?" Because I really liked doing quests for him. I get back to the mountain, he leaves and says something along the lines of "Thanks for killing him, I'm just gonna go now" and I get an achievement called Dragonslayer.

So I walk around, looking for where I can continue the main quest and experience some awesome story moments (See: Morrowind, Red Mountain), and everything is blank. I get really confused as to my direction because at this point I had already beaten the extremely lackluster Guild quests and became their masters.

Then I come on GB to find out that that WAS the whole story. -1 for Skyrim. I don't really play these games for the story which is almost always shitty (except Morrowind's which was awesome), but this definitely ranks up there with Oblivion's story.

No limitations does not mean a better game.

Next up, the skills and stats. In previous Elder Scrolls games you were forced to either pick a class that was pre existing or create your own. These classes were defined by Major and Minor skills. You could pick up to 5 (IIRC) for each, with Major skills contributing the most to your overall level, Minor skills a little less, and all other skill none at all (though they will individually still increase).

In Morrowind, (And I'm assuming Arena and Daggerfall) there was absolutely no form of enemy scaling. This meant that, when creating a custom class, you HAD to put your most useful skills based on the type of character you want if you wanted to make it past certain parts of the game. For instance, you might not want to pick Conjuration as a Major for a Berserker character who specializes in melee weapons and medium to heavy armors. (You totally could but he would be more like a Support Berserker or something :P ).

In Oblivion, this whole system was turned upside down. Enemies scaled with you and people got around this by making their "Miscellaneous" skills the skills they used the most - therefore, they'd still be increasing their useful skills while staying a ridiculously low level. If you did want to level up you could just level up some of your majors and minors.

And with Skyrim, they thought to mix the two of them up - which WOULD have been good except for one major thing, the removal of stats, classes, majors and minors altogether. Any character can learn any skill, the only thing separating you from this is an RP complex in your head. Sure, when I first started my character out I thought this would be cool. But as time went on I realized that I wouldn't really need to make another character to experiment with different classes and stats, something I loved doing. They removed a lot of these in a process I believe they called "streamlining" (Like repair which at first I thought was a good idea, now I miss it) and while they did add perks, these simply make up for the lack of actual stats. I would much rather permanently increase my characters stats rather than add something like "Bows do 20% more damage" or to give me a spell that creates armor for my mage.

I miss looking at my stats and applying them when I gain a new level. I got so damn tired of increasing my Health and one perk when I levelled up, I felt like I wasn't going anywhere with my character. For this reason the game feels extremely shallow. -2 for Skyrim.

What's the point of exploring if the rewards are shit?

The main draw for me in these games is exploring and finding cool and unique items, armor, and weapons. I can't tell you how disappointed I am in Skyrim for completely getting rid of this aspect in the game. It was one of the very first things I noticed and it stuck with me through my entire experience with the game. These items are almost NEVER found at random like they so often were in previous games (Morrowind and even a little Oblivion) and only can be found during specific quests. There are a total of 15 Daedric items in the game and that's as far to "Unique" as you're going to get.

When I go into a dungeon, I want to be there for a reason. I don't want to continue wearing my armor I've had on since the 30 hour mark straight on until the 130 hour mark. There is never ANYTHING worthwhile in these areas and at one point I just stopped going. When you rarely DO find something unique, it is almost always complete garbage and can be easily outclassed by something you can create on your own.

While the environments are beautiful at times, like the western valleys, I don't find that good enough of a reason to actually go exploring.

-111111 points for Skyrim.

So..

While the game is good I think it gets much too much praise. As a fan of the series I feel like this is the most shallow Elder Scrolls game yet and I fear for the future of the franchise. I don't agree with it being on so many GOTY lists, but it's inevitable. Personally I would have a few other games much higher on my list - Skyward Sword the most, Dead Space 2, Dark Souls - but GOTY lists aren't really something that matters to me.

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Syward Sword final impressions

I beat it.

This is one long ass game. The good kind of long.

Upon the game's release I was so excited to read reviews and watch footage of the game. I felt like a kid again, back when I was 10 and waitied patiently for Ocarina. Or 12 and waited for MM. Or 14 for WW.... or 17 for TP... you get the idea. I'm a huge Zelda fanatic so this was big for me.

The game is fucking masterful, phenomenal, mesmerizing, breathtaking, beautiful... I really can't say enough about it. I will admit I was a little worried about the game's length, at first they only tell me there are three temples and my inventory screen doesn't include much more "slots" for each temple's quest item but what is later revealed is

that more dungeons open up and the reward for them is an improved sword and ability after each one!

The gameplay was spot on, the best fighting in the franchise. This game makes me a believer in motion controls. It's so refreshing to play this game after playing a button only game.

Now onto what I loved most about the game the most.

THE GODDAM STORY.

This game is so old school it's actually baffling. It reminded me so much of LTTP. There was no weird plot like those included in TP, MM, WW or the sort (not saying theyr'e bad games - they're awesome - but you can't deny they had semi convoluted plots). It is the very first (so far) game of all the Zelda timeline and it's really nice to see how things became they way they are. Ghirahim's purpose, the primary antagonist, Zelda, the Goddess, the surface world, Link, the Goddess Sword, the Triforce... everything seems to fall into place so nicely and how it all relates to the series is really something that I appreciate that Nintendo did with the game.

I actually shed a few tears at the end.

Overall, I can happily say that this is my favorite Zelda game. I've had time to think about it and while I was previously swinging back and forth between Wind Waker and Link to the Past, Skyward Sword just hits a switch in me that I didn't know was there. I started the game over in Hero mode and I'm going to give it some more time before I jump into it again, but it really left me with some beautiful lasting imagery. Nintendo is going to be hard pressed to top this beauty of a game. I don't understand why this game gets negative feedback, but that's just me. Gamespot's 7.5 review is appalling. I don't let reviews sway me, I was just worried from their review that I'd be disappointed - I mean what Zelda game gets a score that low? Just more reason to not listen to reviews I guess!

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Pleasantly surprised by Skyrim's console performance!

OK, let me just start by saying that I was very nervous prior to this game's release about the performance and bugs it would have. These types of games are usually littered with them. After 30 hours of playing, however, I can't get over how impressed I am with the game's performance on the 360. While it of course doesn't look as good as it's PC counterpart, the game is definitely a new feat in terms of open world games. The weather and environmental effects are done almost near perfectly. Mountains look so good when you're gazing up to them. I honestly didn't think I'd ever see something like this in an open world game on consoles. And I've only ran into one bug, which was easily fixable - during that "ring puzzle" thing with the Golden Claw, the rings wouldn't move. I just had to re-enter the room and it worked.

Also, I haven't experienced one single framerate dip yet. Bethesda really juiced the console version of this game to look as good as it can!

On a side note... I'm playing the game off the disc because of the texture problem, but it's not a big deal at all. I have a Slim and the things are silent anyway, and I don't have to worry about overheating. When the patch comes out I'll definitely be installing it though, if not just out of mere curiosity.

Anyway, back into the game!

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A descent into Eternal Darkness


Bam. 
*Be warned: may be spoilers for Eternal Darkness* 
 
There it is. The game I have been looking for since 2002, the one game I truly ever wanted on the Gamecube but could never, ever find. Living where I do with one game store and having Gamecubes come and go during my life, the fates never aligned for me to play this game. I followed it intently before it came out, watched as it was met by absolutely glowing reviews and then faded away as every single game store never had Eternal Darkness in stock while I had a Gamecube (and when I got my Wii in 2006). 
 
Now though... IT IS MINE! You know how there are those games that you wish you'd have played but never got the chance to? Those PS1 games you wanted so bad but alas, those discs don't fit in an N64? That's what Eternal Darkness: Sanity's Requiem was to me. I sat down to play it last night for the first time and was completely gripped just by the opening poem excerpt in the beginning. 
 
"Deep into that darkness peering, long I stood there wondering, fearing, doubting..." - Edgar Allan Poe 
 
The game deals with something more than just a good guy versus bad guy story. It takes place over 2 millennia and tells stories from many different perspectives during that time. It's one of those games that has more to it than meets the eye, like reading a really great book or watching a thought provoking movie. I had forgotten how games used to be told like this. It's not so "in your face" as games are now, not like God of War, Halo, Uncharted, Gears, etc where games are more in line with a summer blockbuster movie hoping to pull you in with cheap thrills and witty characters. 
 
No, Eternal Darkness surpasses these games in unimaginable ways. I sat down to play it last night, excited out of my mind to finally have this opportunity and 7 hours later I was watching as the architect Roberto Bianchi is being cemented into the foundation of his own creation. Such bitter tragedies pockmark this game and give it a truly human and vast feel. How fitting too, as the words of Edward Roivas during the game's opening state: "This is the story of humanity."  
 
The game is extremely moody and atmospheric. I've never felt so horrified in a video game as I do walking around the Roivas mansion, hearing footsteps whisk away on hardwood floor like I had company in the room, or the unending flurry of angry fists against the door as if someone is in dire need of help. Then there are the hallucinations - at one point (and this was right after I had left a bathroom witnessing my own dead body in the tub) I walked out of the room and noticed that the furniture was getting larger and larger. It caught me so off guard that by the time I realized I was actually shrinking, a high pitched scream made my blood curdle.  
 

 Anthony, a young messenger from the 12th century.
The game plays well enough - it has just the right amount of limitation (some would call it clunkiness, but there is a difference) to it's controls to make the game a challenge and to suit this style of game. The theme of the game is humanity and I feel that this carries over into gameplay - you can't dodge or any of that fancy stuff. You can just walk, run, target body parts and attack. It's simple and it works. There is magic but so far nothing I have come across is offensive - it's all meant to help you explore the environment along with the occasional support spell. If anything, the actual combat is the weakest part of the game, but that's hardly a criticism in comparison to how great every other part of the game holds up. The combat is still fun and I do find myself dying from panicking and running into the wrong room full of enemies or not using the correct support spell. It also has a neat meter called "Sanity", and if you lose it you will start hallucinating like I described above.
 
The voice cast is excellent and considering this game came out in 2002 it's an accomplishment. This would have been one of the first games on a Nintendo platform with a fully voiced cast, if I'm not mistaken, and they get the job done. I recognize a lot of the VA's from the Metal Gear Solid franchise too.
 
I'm going to post my final thoughts about the game once I'm done playing, as I know I'll have some feelings towards the characters and how they end up. I'm 7 hours in, just completing the story of Roberto Bianchi and I have no idea where the game will take me next!  
 
I JUST HOPE I CAN KEEP MY SANITY
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Finally S-Ranked Final Fantasy XIII. Final thoughts!

Yes I purposefully put as many "finals" in the title =P 
 
So I just concluded my meeting with Bhakti who told me that I "seem to be quite the Treasure Hunter, too!". What a blissful experience. Getting told by a half-dead cleaning droid that all I've worked for in 40 hours of playtime is something he can pass off with a ", too!" at the end of a sentence. It's a great feeling though - only 17 others on GB, as of this typing, have this.
 
Really though, I've had so much fun with this game. Even after 141 hours, I can say that the battle system is still engaging and intense. Like the time I somehow 5-starred the Gigantaur (I honestly don't know how I did it), or when I took down my first Shaolong Gui. Man those things are tough but of so satisfying. And to be honest I find the game is much better after you beat the storyline. That's where you really learn the meat of the combat system, it's where you need to learn to quickly switch between paradigms (the Tortoise Paradigm comes to mind :P) and it's where you'll explore the larger side of the upgrading system. I do realize that a lot of these post game things aren't for a lot of people though, and I can totally understand that. Not to mention it's where your characters will get insane stats!
 
My favorite part of the game has probably got to be Palumpolum though. The scenery was beautiful and the characters really opened up there, especially when you get to meet Fang. She is so badass. And I'm so glad I get to sport that Gamerpic around now :D  
 
BTW, has anyone seen the gamerpics? I don't think I've ever seen a higher quality GP before. It's really defined, has rounded edges, and just looks really good. I'll be glad when people see it on my profile! 
 
Anyway, now to wait until Versus comes out for the PS3. I really hope it can compete with FFXIII. I really don't like the team that is behind it (Kingdom Hearts team, I hate everything Kingdom Hearts), but I love the universe of FFXIII and if Versus is set in the same world, I am hoping for the best!

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Movie Review: Barry Lyndon


 Barry Lyndon by Stanley Kubrick
I've never written a movie review before. Nor have I ever written a blog before... but after watching this movie, I think it deserves one. 
 
Barry Lyndon (1975) is a film I've been wanting to see for a while, well, ever since I seen 2001: A Space Odyssey and A Clockwork Orange. Barry Lyndon is from the same mastermind behind those films, Stanley Kubrick. Now when I was deciding if I wanted to watch the movie or not, I was on the fence - it just looked like another old time war movie. That was my first idea of the movie. But I knew old Stanley wouldn't disappoint. And he didn't. The film stars Ryan O'Neal as Barry Lyndon and Marisa Berenson ans Lady Lyndon.
 
Barry Lyndon is actually the adaptation of a really, really old book called "The Luck of Barry Lyndon" by William Makepeace Thackeray. It tells of an Irishman who is sent off from his homeland because of his ever-present desire for more, more, more. He goes through many loves and ultimately the movie is somewhat like a tragedy. Barry gets by on his cunning and good looks and is seemingly presented with higher statuses and connections. The movie works out like Forrest Gump - told through the narrator as it follows Barry's life at different stages. He is a very passionate guy, and he think of himself as a gentlemen, although coming from a ruined family - of course he would want more.
 
Barry Lyndon takes place in the 1750's Ireland and the scenery is there to match it. It was filmed on location and the cinematography is stellar, as you would expect from Kubrick. Some of the most beautiful scenes in film are from this movie, like when he first sets his eyes on Lady Lyndon. Stunning. The movie keeps it's tone with the music as well. Much of the music is taken from classical composers but redone to fit the movie. I can't express how perfectly the music fits. Here is an example of one of the songs - the overall tone of this song is what it's like watching Barry Lyndon and the feelings you get. It's called Schubert's Opus 100, Barry Lyndon: 
 
  
  
I am so in love with the music that I've even learned the above song on guitar.  
 
In a word, the film is haunting. You will become so closely attached to Barry and you wish you could just help him undo his mistakes and help him through his life. This made me develop a love-hate kinda thing with him. Barry is so conceited, but you wish all the best because he can't help be anyone other then himself.  
 
If you enjoy classic films and haven't seen Barry Lyndon, WATCH THIS NOW! When the movie was over, I felt so alone and confused. I didn't know what to do for the rest of the night and next day really. It's one of the movies that you will think about for a while after you watch it. Anyway, that's enough of my ranting about this movie. All I can really say is watch this, now. After seeing 2001, Clockwork Orange, and Full Metal Jacket, this one ranks above them all as my favorite Kubrick film and possibly one of my favorites of all time. I HAD to write this to tell others about this amazing experience. 
 
P.S. This is the second movie I have ever cried in in my life :P
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