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September 2022 Retrospective

The Good

Hitman 3

I didn't think it would be possible for me to enjoy Hitman 3 more that I already had, but after putting 40+ more hours into it my appreciation has been elevated to another level.

Going back and trying to attain mastery in every map made me realize how amazing they all are in their own special ways. You really need to put in several hours and explore every nook and cranny to truly comprehend the amount of work that went each map. It's funny going back and replaying the Hitman 1 maps after playing Hitman 3 because you can really see how much the developers learned from their mistakes.

Hitman 3 is currently the second best game I've played in 2022 and I'd put serious money on it making my best games of the decade list in 2029.

Thirteen Lives

Thirteen Lives is a fantastic film based on the Tham Luang cave rescue from 2018. What I enjoyed most was that the story wasn't overdramatized. This isn't a documentary so history is definitely being twisted to streamline the tale, but the writers aren't creating conflict just for the sake of melodrama. The terrifying nature of the cave is what drives the film and you really feel like you're right there with all of the characters, who are reacting in very human ways. Only one time did I think "this is being added by Hollywood just to create tension" and that moment passed quite quickly.

I highly recommend everyone watch Thirteen Lives.

Cyberpunk: Edgerunners

Cyberpunk: Edgerunners is fucking phenomenal anime from Studio Trigger and CD Projekt Red. The characters, the animation, the pacing, the world, the music, the voice acting, everything just hits perfectly. It is an anime knows what exactly it wants to be and is unapologetic in its execution.

This isn't going to be a tale for the masses, but if the clip below peaks your interest I please set aside three and a half hours and blow through Cyberpunk: Edgerunners.

Bayonetta 2

Last month I wrote how basically every single aspect of the first Bayonetta has aged poorly since it was released in 2009. I am happy to report that Bayonetta 2 improved on every aspect of the first game and actually made it something enjoyable to play. Don't get me wrong, Bayonetta 2 is still a very rough game when looked through a post Devil May Cry 5 lens, but it was still fun enough that not only did I beat the entire game I actually went back and replayed levels to try to get a better score.

Probably the best thing I can say about Bayonetta 2 is that it made me excited again for Bayonetta 3's release in October.

The Grand Tour: A Scandi Flick

Another The Grand Tour special entitled "A Scandi Flick" landed this month and I don't really want to say anything more because there are a number of surprises. I thoroughly enjoyed it and would recommend it to everyone.

The Bad

Season 1 of The Rings of Power

I don't want to mince words, The Rings of Power is an absolutely horribly written TV show. It comes off as someone's homebrew Dungeons & Dragons campaign that totally isn't trying to be Lord of the Rings but absolutely is.

Not even Amazon's $1 billion production budget can save it as somehow the overuse of CGI makes the world feel worse. Not a single scene in The Rings of Power is better than what we see in the original Lord of the Rings films. Also, how can you spend hundreds of millions of dollars but not give your actors proper time to rehearse fight scenes? The bar for fight choreography has been raised in the post John Wick world and it feels like these actors are being told what to do the day they show up for filming.

If "The Lords of the Rings" was not in the title this show would have already faded into obscurity but we're going to get at least five seasons of this crap and there is nothing that can be done because the creators believe they are above any criticism. I've come to the sad realization that as a serious Tolkien fan this show wasn't made for me.

Honourable Mentions

Read Aquanaut: A Life Beneath The Surface – The Inside Story of the Thai Cave Rescue

After watching Thirteen Lives I needed to learn more about how the rescue actually went down so I read Aquanaut: A Life Beneath The Surface – The Inside Story of the Thai Cave Rescue by Rick Stanton, one of the primary divers.

It is a very engaging book but it wasn't exactly what I was looking for. Every chapter first starts with backstory about Rick, how he got into diving, and his past achievements. Then we jump forward in time and learn about some aspect of the rescue. I'm not saying the information about Rick's past isn't interesting but I wanted to learn more about the actual rescue.

Fantasian

I played two hours of Fantasian in a single sitting before I put it down and simply forgot about it. The turn based combat is serviceable and the story is decent but combined there was just nothing to pull me back to the game. Even sitting here now typing about it I have absolutely no urge to turn on my Apple TV and play it again.

Read Invincible Compendium Vol. 2

There isn't much to say about Invincible Compendium Vol. 2 either than it is more of the same. The comic isn't particularly growing or changing in my mind but that isn't bad as I enjoyed the second volume just as much as the first.

Read The Sign of the Four

I read The Sign of the Four, my second Sherlock Holmes novel, and I feel pretty much the same as I did about the first. They are interesting stories but they don't make me want to read any more.

Review September Goals

October Goals

#MonthlyRetrospective