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The Brilliance of ‘Dragon’s Dogma’

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Embarking on an epic journey filled with swords, sorcery, and mythological creatures is everyone’s dream. From the rebellious kids who wish they were someone else to the hard working parents who could do with a break most days, the fantasy of another reality is in all our minds. Some cater to Netflix while others prefer actually exploring a whole new world with the help of video games.

Video games have been around for less than a century, yet they’re the fastest and most prominent form of entertainment. The history of film-making is equally rich and filled with revolutionary milestones such as the first Star Wars or the technology used in James Cameron’s Avatar, but they don’t offer a level of immersion as engaging as video games. Breathtaking natural sceneries, spaceships, cataclysmic spells, eldritch horrors–there’s enough diversity to fulfill every taste. But what are we experiencing as players? Are we living in the worlds we’ve always dreamed of, or merely witnessing someone else’s imagination taking form?

While titles such as Final Fantasy VII and Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater are great, they don’t fill the void left by our need to be someone else. While established games offer the advantage of an amazing story and unforgettable characters, they don’t offer freedom. Thus come sandbox titles, most of which aim to place the reins of narrative into the player’s hands. From the harsh wilderness of Minecraft and its popular building mode to the frosty peaks and political conflicts of Skyrim, the genre seems to be constantly responsible for how we interact with its medium. The latter title, in particular, changed the world of gaming back when it released in 2011 and continues to be one of the most relevant games ever created, with its remastered edition being one of the most exciting releases of 2016. Yet, the fifth entry in the iconic The Elder Scrolls franchise failed to leave a lasting impression on me.

Dragon's Dogma

The idea of Bethesda’s Fallout and The Elder Scrolls series is for players to make their own memories in an established world filled with side paths, alternate stories, and secrets. Alas, that never seemed to be enough for me. I always feel like the world around is swallowing me into a reality brought to life by someone else, so whatever choices I make never seem authentic. The sheer freedom supplied by Minecraft and Don’t Starve is overwhelming as I can’t find anything to cling to, so you might as well call me Jared Leto for being this picky.

Although I always have fun and take something out of the games I play, I could never say I had found the title that let me experience just the right amount of independence. That is until Dragon’s Dogma hit the blessed hallways of Steam’s storefront. The ideas of Capcom’s open-world action-RPG, first released in 2012 for PlayStation 3 and XBox 360, didn’t stick to me right off the bat. It took me countless sneers, dead goblins, and a long hiatus until its premise finally sank in and changed how I see sandbox RPGs.

Dragon’s Dogma is often deemed as one of the best games for the PlayStation 3 (for some reason I never see mention of its Xbox 360 version) but is not without its faults. The most praised aspect is its dynamic and engaging combat, with an abundance of vocations and skills providing for an even larger range of options to help tweak your character. Confronting foes is always an excitement due to the many ways one can adapt with a single class, with larger ones such as griffins and chimeras offering a fulfilling challenge. Unfortunately, most of the game’s other aspects such as its story and the world fail to achieve the same level of recognition. The diluted plot is forgettable and the characters fade as quickly as they appear, while the lackluster world is but a series of corridors and large ballrooms where beasts and bandits prowl the same corners defeat after defeat. One thing I realized after picking it up again is that these weaknesses are actually some of Dragon’s Dogma‘s strengths, the problem being what we as gamers expect of such a title.

Unlike its competitors, Dragon’s Dogma doesn’t try to impress players at every turn. The lore of Gransys doesn’t seem rich at first glance, but the simple yet fantastic event that drives the player character out of their once peaceful fishing village gives space to more freedom, a task many open-world RPGs try to accomplish. The Arisen’s title and journey come solely because of The Dragon, with the world also changing due to the beast’s coming. However, not every event between the attack in Cassardis and the epic battle atop the Tainted Mountain are a direct consequence of what happens in the first half-hour of gameplay. Quina’s search for clues that might aid her friend’s adventure is a consequence of the wyrm’s sighting, but Reynard’s pilgrimage was set in motion mainly for his particular dilemmas. The same can be said of the majority of requests made by NPCs, where the dragon is an excuse to get up and ask someone to do their bidding, but not directly related. The lack of twists in the plot helps the player feel like they are leaving a mark in the world, whereas other stories seem to affect the character, always turning him or her into what the developers want. It gives purpose instead of reason, a feat that few can brag about.

Dragon's Dogma

Dark Souls and Demon’s Souls before it executed this approach to lore brilliantly by affording vague notions of direction and no purpose whatsoever. Finding out what happened before and during the course of the games in the Souls series requires a massive amount of research through in-game item descriptions, character dialogue, enemy placements, environment, and the internet. And even then, making sense of the information is a task of its own. The most reliable source of information in Dragon’s Dogma is its characters, as the world tries to tell a story through its environment–much like Demon’s Souls–but fails by not even attempting to raise any questions. The dwellers of Gransys are unique in their own manner, alas it takes a while until they become memorable and once some of them do, they disappear into their own peaceful programming. That can be both good and bad because it helps players relate to the world, but also extinguishes their chances of getting to know those characters better… and maybe tricking them into wearing a certain ring. As disappointing as it is, this presentation adds replayability by suggesting a more aggressive approach in further playthroughs, encouraging players to seek the lore instead of waiting for it to fall from the sky.

Dragon’s Dogma proved it survives the test of time with its release on Steam four years after it came out on consoles. Still, the exposure to a different public didn’t seem to affect how it is perceived. That can be due to how many other games, despite how they move the industry forward, spoil players by supplying them with all the necessary tools to find themselves within the lore. Some gems succeed in stimulating the mind by arming the character with the most basic provisions and reminding them to walk in the shadows, which generally teaches a lesson or two.

Born and raised in Northeastern Brazil, Gabriel didn't grow up with video games as many of his colleagues did. However, his dedication and love for the industry make up for his late start in the gaming world.

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Watch Ninja On An Episode Of Family Feud

Don’t miss the moment Steve Harvey meets Ninja for the first time.

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Tyler ‘Ninja’ Blevins is heading up a team on Celebrity Family Feud this weekend, but it’s not the first time the famed Fortnite streamer has appeared on the show.

Long before he reached household name status in the gaming community, Ninja appeared on the televised game show Family Feud in 2015, when he and his family went on a three-day winning streak before losing to the Beams family of Hendersonville, Tennessee.

With Blevins now appearing on an upcoming episode of Celebrity Family Feud, we thought it would be fun to revisit those earlier episodes which have now all been uploaded online.

Regardless if you like Ninja and/or the show, you’ll get a kick out of watching his introduction when he tells host Steve Harvey that he’s a professional video game player who travels across the country and competes, playing video games. The reaction on Harvey’s face is priceless since nobody at the time could have ever guessed how popular Ninja, not to mention streaming video games, would eventually become.

Watch the videos below. Enjoy!

[via Dexerto]

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Check Out the Explosive First Gameplay of ‘Kerbal Space Program 2’

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Kerbal Space Program 2

Gamescom 2019 brought with it a host of surprising game announcements and updates on existing games. One of the most unexpected announcements was the reveal of Kerbal Space Program 2, the sequel to the viral, totally accurate space simulator that first released on PC back in 2011.

Now, shortly after its initial reveal, Gamespot has gone live with the first gameplay of this much-anticipated sequel. Fittingly enough, the footage showcases all the spectacularly explosive spaceships, interstellar exploration, and intrepid Kerbal explorers that the series has become known for.

It should be noted that the footage is pre-alpha, so although the gameplay does show some issues with frame rate and graphics, those should be polished up before the game’s full launch on PC, PS4, and Xbox One in 2020.

Here’s the full description of the game, courtesy of its official website:

With the original Kerbal Space Program having become one of the most beloved games of all time and now bigger than ever, Kerbal Space Program 2 has been fully redesigned from the ground up to meet the demands of modern and next-generation space exploration, all while maintaining the monumental foundations of the first game. Build a space program, construct powerful spacecraft, design resource-gathering colonies, and much more to uncover the secrets of the galaxy. A plethora of exciting new features will captivate veteran and returning players, as well as usher in a whole new wave of Kerbonauts to the ingenious and comedic world that has entertained millions of players.

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Netflix Releases Teaser for ‘El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie’

The Netflix Television Event will launch globally on Friday, October 11

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It was on September 29, 2013, that Breaking Bad came to an end with the final episode of that series, “Felina” in which Walter White evades a nationwide manhunt in order to return to New Mexico and deliver the remaining profits from his illegal methamphetamine empire to his family. Knowing cancer will soon kill him, Walt revisits his former acquaintances to settle his affairs and prepare himself for the conflict and his death. When the credits rolled, audiences believed it would be the last time they would see many of these characters and while we did get a spinoff show in Better Call Saul, one character who hasn’t returned in any other show as of yet is Jesse Pinkman. That’s about to change…

Netflix announced on Saturday that it will release a new Breaking Bad movie that will center on Pinkman (Aaron Paul), who was last seen in the TV series speeding off in a stolen Chevrolet El Camino to parts unknown.

The film, titled El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie, was written and directed by Vince Gilligan, the creator of Breaking Bad, and will be released on Netflix on Oct. 11. The film is also expected to be broadcast at a later date on AMC, the cable network where the TV series was originally shown from 2008 to 2013.

Official Synopsis:

The Netflix Television Event El Camino: Breaking Bad Movie reunites fans with Jesse Pinkman (Emmy-winner Aaron Paul).  In the wake of his dramatic escape from captivity, Jesse must come to terms with his past in order to forge some kind of future.  This gripping thriller is written and directed by Vince Gilligan, the creator of Breaking Bad.  The movie is produced by Mark Johnson, Melissa Bernstein, Charles Newirth, Diane Mercer and Aaron Paul, in association with Sony Pictures Television.

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Watch the Trailer for ‘The Mandalorian’ the First Live-Action ‘Star Wars’ Series

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Thanks to the arrival of the D23 Expo, Disney has revealed the first trailer for its long-awaited Star Wars original series, The Mandalorian.

Created by Jon Favreau (Iron Man), the series is set after the events of Return of the Jedi and follows Pedro Pascal as a mysterious, gun-slinging Mandalorian bounty hunter who navigates the seedier side of the Star Wars universe.

Along with Pedro Pascal, The Mandalorian stars Gina Carano, Nick Nolte, Giancarlo Esposito, Emily Swallow, Carl Weathers, Omid Abtahi, Werner Herzog, and Taika Waititi. The first season of episodes will be directed by filmmakers like Dave Filoni, Taika Waititi, Bryce Dallas Howard, Rick Famuyiwa, and Deborah Chow.

the mandalorian trailer

Here’s the official description of The Mandalorian:

After the stories of Jango and Boba Fett, another warrior emerges in the Star Wars universe. The Mandalorian is set after the fall of the Empire and before the emergence of the First Order. We follow the travails of a lone gunfighter in the outer reaches of the galaxy far from the authority of the New Republic.

The Mandalorian begins streaming on Disney+ on November 12, 2019.

Check out The Mandalorian trailer below.

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Jordan Peele’s ‘Us’ Soundtrack Gets a Vinyl Release

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While we don’t publish music news or music reviews here at Goomba Stomp, we are huge fans of vinyl and since we cover film, we figured this announcement would interest some of our readers.

Back in 2017, Jordan Peele’s Get Out topped our list of the best films of 2017 and while the year isn’t yet over, there’s a good chance his follow-up Us, will land somewhere on our best of the year list as well. There are many reasons why we love Peele’s ambitious sophomore film including for the suspense, cinematography, performances, and direction, but one thing that doesn’t get enough praise is the soundtrack by Michael Abels. And if you like us, love the original score, you’re going to love this bit of news.

After giving his Get Out soundtrack a vinyl release last year, Jordan Peele is now doing the same for the soundtrack to Us.

WaxWork Records announced the news earlier today and if you’re planning on buying a copy, you don’t have to wait since it is now available to purchase through the label’s website.

The soundtrack, which received a digital release earlier this year, features composer Michael Abels’ score, in addition to songs from Janelle Monáe, Minnie Ripperton and the “Tethered Mix” of Luniz’s “I Got 5 on It” that appeared in the film’s first trailer. The album artwork was created by illustrator Edward Kinsella and features an interactive die-cut mirror board back cover, a heavyweight art print and an exclusive essay from UCLA Professor, scholar, and activist Shana L. Redmond Ph.D.

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Freelance Film Writers

Goomba Stomp is the joint effort of a team of like-minded writers from across the globe. We provide smart readers with sharp, entertaining writing on a wide range of topics in pop culture, offering an escape from the usual hype and gossip. We are currently looking for Film, TV, Anime and Comic writers.

Contact us: Editor@GoombaStomp.com

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