Dealing with Doom

So far, Marvel Heroes Heroes – that is, the various heroes you can play in Marvel Heroes – follow a certain pattern with regard to their powers.

Every hero has one or more movement powers.  Pick one.    They have basic attacks or something to substitute for them.   Pick one.   Get the signature power and use it (although Cable’s has debateable use in my experience, I still use it).    Fill in the rest of the slots with whatever works best.

Then there’s Doctor Doom.    He can be played many different ways and confounds the entire levelling experience.    When I got him, I was thinking I wanted a summoner type character.    Well, what he summons disappears really quickly.   So I went with the Tech branch powers instead, and zapped enemies madly with various fireworks, Energy and Physical based.

Then I unlocked the signature powers.   Doom is unique – he has three of them.   They are one per tree (Tech, Mental, Summoner) and are set up in a way that it is difficult to use all three of them.    But trying them out I loved the Mental tree’s signature – an AOE zap that extends a very long distance.    So I respecced him into a Mental power powerhouse.

At level 42 you unlock a summoner tree item, that further specializes in one of the three trees.    It helps you keep your summoned creatures around longer, but the best ones seem to disappear quickly.    And having such a large gaggle of summoned creatures can be problematic.   I have two AIM bots; ?Four doombots; a flamebot, AOE ground smasher, and a shieldbot; and ?five servo creatures.    And more are coming depending on what artifacts I equip at level 60.   The first two groups stick around forever, while the last two disappear so quickly I’m not sure they even get in any actual damage.

I have to try this whole assemblage for a difficult boss fight and see how it all works.   I used them to complete the story mode Doom encounter, but that one has become easy for me.    How different it was the first time !   I was biting my nails trying to take him out without dying too many times.    Now, it’s a piece of cake for almost any hero.

As I wait for the Downloads

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And the quietness continues.   Sometimes, you just don’t have a lot to blog about because Real Life.   Kids take priority.   So does taking care of your wife.     Your job.   Et cetera.   Still gaming, but not as much to write home about.

I now have an Adventure Capitalist account installed on my mobile as well as the PC.   On both, the goal is still the same – finish all the unlocks and find out what happens after you have 999 Novemnonagintillion dollars.   The mobile gives you a +5% bonus just for being logged into the Kongregate website, so they can track me and sell whatever information they can glean from my phone.   I guess it’s a good bargain.

I now have Daredevil at level 52, and am waiting for something to finish…..

2016 is here !

2016 is here !

There are a metric ton of achievements suddenly built into the Steam client.   The update happened during the day Friday morning so I am only able to start the update Friday night.   I bet the servers are slammed.   I should also end up with some serious achievement spam once I can successfully log in.

I’m also still waiting for this to finish, for reasons of idle curiousity :

Star Wars time ?

Star Wars time ?

And finally, Ingressing at the moment is a matter of charging the guardian only.   180 plus days in.

Cash, no longer Trash

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Now with 17 heroes unlocked, I continue to chase the achievements and slowly accumulate the Omegas.   Daredevil is reported to be a pain to level but a God at 60… my experience seems to match that.   X-23 is a vicious slasher that is a ton of fun and already at 52.    Doom has what looks like a ton of fun powers and excellent voice acting; only level 11 but moving up.   I even still have just over 600 splinters “In case”.

The game’s upgrades are a confusing and difficult bunch of things to figure out.   First important point – the low gear doesn’t matter much.   Purples are good for your first couple of characters – just throw anything on until you have that much.   Cosmics are good after maybe 6 or so heroes.    At some point, the only thing to pay attention to is uniques.

Uniques are the real thing to hoard in the game.    Turn them in for random relic boxes, which I’ve been doing, to move your relic stack for each hero closer to 1,000.   I think Invisible woman has the most for me – 720 or so.   You can turn them in for runes as well, but I pick up tons of runes and haven’t used a lot of them.    And as you go, you’ll get those unstable molecules which are used for crafting.

At some point I figured out that you can upgrade your unique, from say level 30, to a level 60.   Why would you want to do that ?  RNG.   Each one of the uniques has a range of values, and if you get good rolls on your level 30 unique, you should upgrade it for the best item.    Upgrading costs a massive 500k of credits and two molecules.    If only I’d known that – I’ve spent 9 million credits buying bovine portals.

The recipe.

The recipe.

Not only that – say you have a good Level 60/66/69 unique.    You may have another of the same type that’s not so good.   So you can give it a reroll and see if you can get better RNG on it.   That’s about 500k and one molecule.

Some good ones, and some very bad ones.   Good candidate to reroll.

Some good ones, and some very bad ones. Good candidate to reroll.

Also – you can add challenge bonuses to your uniques.   I’ve not done this yet, because it appears challenges are used with the commendation currencies.   Buy a challenge item for 100 or 500 commendations, and you can add it to your item.   If you’ve bought the recipe – with (wait for it)…… commendations.    It makes sense – when you finally have 5 uniques at level 69 what else would you do with the commendations ?

I now have 5 unique level 66 recipes and 3 of the level 69 ones.    After accumulating enough I can add + fighting or + strength bonuses to my items.

So because it’s become a ritual – here’s an updated version of how to play Marvel Heroes.

  • Get your first character to 60.   Cyclops is a good choice, but pick whatever guy you like.
  • Do the daily quests to grind commendations.   Pick up eternity splinters.   Accumulate uniques.   Never throw them away.
  • Get more heroes to 60.   Each one makes the rest more powerful through the magic of synergy bonuses.   Run them through story mode if you like, you can expect to hit 60 that way and get extra splinters.
  • Play to get achievements (optional), which will give you more useful bonuses, and it’s fun to get achievements anyway.
  • Get Legendary weapons and unlock them fully by earning XP.
  • Unlock the unique upgrades and make your uniques 66 and 69 level.
  • Max your Genosha faction.   Then you can buy Level 80 legendary weapons and….. do the legendary grind over again.
  • Reach 2,000 omegas and beat the cosmic trial.   Well, that’s what I’m working towards.   We’ll see if 2,000 is enough.

Stash away that mad cash, and upgrade / reroll your uniques.

The Cosmic Trial is Too Damn Hard

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So I went ahead and tried the Cosmic Trial again.

  • 967 Omega points.   Full Spintech; +2 Fighting; remainder in additional damage.
  • Captain America (Said to be “easier”), with Deadpool Teamup (Said to be best)
  • All offensive costume affixes plus health and invul core.

Surviving is no longer difficult, and I reached the first of the bosses after wiping out the easy mobs plus Hulkbusters.   But I couldn’t get Madame Hydra down.   Not enough offense.   Perhaps a Level 80 legendary would help – I have them unlocked but haven’t yet purchased one to start leveling it.

I was surprised to find that I had finally maxed out the Genosha faction, and can now buy the legendaries for the crazy price of 1,000 Odin Marks.    They look good, but not incredibly helpful.

Nice improvements to the first four powers. The fifth gets gipped and is identical.

Nice improvements to the first four powers. The fifth gets gipped and is identical.

Frustrated by failing the trial, I instead decided to Prestige Cap.    Marvel Heroes will let you start over and move all the way up to level 60 multiple times.   My first (?) prestige is green level.    The final level is the “Insane” cosmic (Yellow) level where each level you need to earn costs you 25x what it normally would.

Despite what the tooltip tells you when you use the prestiging item (10 cube shards cost) all of your equipment falls off of you because you are suddenly level 1.   A new costume appears in your inventory.   The costume is a big deal – take these “junky” basic costumes and exchange three of them for one random costume, which is probably a good one.   Costumes are rarely earned (I’ve had one drop randomly though) and are prohibitively expensive in the store.    $5 – $10 for a hero costume ?   Yeah, no.   I tucked the new one away for the moment.

It was fun working my way back up to 60 as Cap.    I’m getting pretty used to the process now, given that I’m working on my 15th hero (Daredevil) but I knew exactly how I wanted to play Cap and he didn’t disappoint.

Will I prestige more ?    Not sure.   It definitely beats the idea of grinding Omegas.   I have more fun ticking off achievements, which I did a fair amount of as I wound my way up to 60.    Maybe I just need more Omegas to finish the trial, but it’s clearly too difficult.

Who thought it would be a good idea to have a very, very easy Superhero game with one incredibly difficult task just stuck in there ?    The Trial is like falling off a cliff in terms of difficulty, and the mountain of Omegas needed to overcome it is climbing Mt Everest.   That would be OK if it was the final game action somehow, but this is just the gateway to playing Cosmic Midtown Madness – which, by all reports, is much easier than the trial.   I did try it way back when, and got my butt kicked, before you had to pass a trial to try it; who knows, maybe it’s a good gateway, and if so I’ll be having to wait for another 1,000 Omegas to find out.

 

Changes at Gazillion, Makers of Marvel Heroes

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CEO David Brevik of Gazillion is leaving the company, prompting much angst and worry among forum posters.    Brevik is represented somewhere in the game, apparently by a cow on the cow level, was very involved in many aspects of the game among its small team, and was previously the head of Blizzard North.    Seems this guy is the real deal.   Good luck to him and hopefully greener pastures in the future (see what I did there?  I amuse myself).

I am also amused at the posters angst, worrying about games being shut down.   Some of these guys must be 20 years old and playing their first games.   But….. That did start me thinking.   What MMO’s have I played that are still around, and which ones are gone ?

Vanguard – Closed during Summer 2014, I remember promising myself I would resubscribe just to be around when the servers went dark.   I’ve never had that experience.   Of course, I forgot all about it after returning from summer vacation, and the game is now closed.

A quick Google search reveals……. something I don’t understand, a Steam community page for the game.   A search of the Steam Store does not reveal this title, so maybe it was up for a short time and then closed.   I was years out of playing the game, though, once it had closed.

Pirates of the Burning Sea – Closed down at the end of 2012 apparently.   I attempted to get it running again via the SOE launcher at some point and was unsuccessful, nor did I find it in existence via Google Search.    Seems I was misled – the game is in fact still running.    It would be fun to reinstall this one, the visuals always were awesome and the ship combat fun and balanced.   The economic portions of the game were awful.

I wasn’t the only one saying the economy sucked.   They apparently revamped it during 2014.    But my original characters seem to be GONE !

Everquest – My first MMO is still going strong, with no end in sight, despite the many changes over the years.    But I have no desire to go back, it was always too hard core and too social for a hermit like myself.

Everquest 2 – Still going, the MMO I’ve probably invested the most in and which you can read far too much about (it’s past) on this blog.    I’ve tried to jump back in, but when I did, most of my gear was not able to transition with me in free-to-play, and I had to go through a huge song-and-dance to get my account re-enabled after billing issues.

Not playing, because no more monthly subscriptions for me.   And Free-to-play doesn’t really work if I can’t continue with my main character.

Champions Online, and Star Trek Online, are available via Arc Games.    I really thought Champions was gone for good, but it seems to have gotten a new lease on life.   The more recent Mechwarrior Online is still running, although I didn’t enjoy the game very much.    I’m sure I needn’t mention the various Armored games I’ve played in the last couple of years.

The Secret World is an interesting parallel – it’s still available.    Shortly after its release the CEO left the company, but the game has lived on.   Perhaps that’s all that needs to be said about losing All-Father Brevik.

Old MMO’s rarely die, as evidenced by both this list and any reading of TAGN‘s blog, but people hyperventilate that such things will happen.

What of Omegas ?

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Omega points in Marvel Heroes are an interesting feature.    You can have up to 7,500 of them (!), and with all my playtime I’ve managed to accumulate 950 to date.   How do you spend them ?

First, your characters need to be level 30 to use Omega points.    All your characters have as many Omegas as you have on your account.    I’m sure this was done to keep players from creating dozens of accounts and simply unlocking the first hero free, instead of ever buying them.    There are a lot of vague ideas and guides about what to spend the points on, but it’s pretty confusing for a newbie to paw through and decide what to spend on.

I’ve played enough that I have some ideas on that front.

First thing to realize is you can simply reset them over and over and over again.   There is no penalty for resetting and changing your mind about how you’ve allocated them.   So feel free to experiment on your own.

If you want some concrete ideas, I have them.    Go after “Human Augmentation”, “Nanotech”, and “Mutation”.   There are several good choices here if you just experiment on your own.

Less than 10 Omega points ?  Get more regeneration.   Every time my character has died, it’s because he was out of hit points.   Regeneration certainly helps with that – Human Augmentation.   If you are not yet level 60, consider more XP per kill, available in Nanotech.

Once you reach 38, you can buy Spin Tech upgrades, which will give you bonuses versus bosses.   Try it out, but I found this of limited use with just one or two points in it.    10 points, now that’s noticeable, so keep your eye on this one.

At 80 points you can unlock Angel under the Mutation tree, but the only reason to do this is to go after the Warpath unlocks.    Each gives +1 Fighting and this is definitely noticeable with even a single point unlocked on it, and it’s useful no matter what character you are playing.    But at 80, you still want to concentrate on health regen items.    You can build up on both the Nano tree, and Human Augmentation tree, at the same time and up your survivability noticeably.

Nanotech also includes an electricity damage-based bonus right after regeneration.   If you have a melee character – which most of mine are – build up in this for bonus damage for very few points.

Warpath is finally available to you once you have 260 points (80 for Angel, and 180 for Warpath).    This is a good time to reset and reselect this one, then begin anew with building up regeneration while you wait for another 200 points for your second Warpath.

With 470 points, you can either have 2 points in Warpath, or select all 10 of the Spin Tech upgrades.   I found both paths acceptable.    Each of your characters will have a different need, and if they take longer to wipe out bosses then go Spin Tech.

I’m currently running either Spin Tech, or +4 Fighting via Warpath.    The more points you get, the more options you have.   Ranged characters benefit more from Shield Tech, but I found the Warpath to be more useful.    Your mileage may vary.

 

Gaming in 2016 ?

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What will gaming bring me in 2016 ?   I’m not sure, but here are my guesses :

Games I’m Playing Right Now :

Ingress – At some point I’m going to be completely done with the game and cease to log in.    Changes in game mechanics might tweak that.   For instance, better key mechanics, such as unlimited key storage or use of keys inside the capsules you’ve purchased; or real defense, that actually stops an attacker flat, or server priority for defense instead of offense.

Don’t get me wrong, this is a fantastic game, but it just looks like for me, Doc Burbank, I’m done.

Marvel Heroes – A name change is coming in a few days and it will magically be Marvel Heroes 2016 !    This amuses me, because you usually associate name changes with big feature changes.   I’m aware of nothing new coming besides the changed name and the usual game tweaks.

But Gazillion is impressive.   They apparently took a total turd at launch time, and much like Everquest 2, improved it over time until it’s becoming a real gem.    Achievements.   Danger Room.   More heroes.   Midtown Madness.    Cosmic Levels.    More currencies than you can shake a stick at, which after a while, you get used to and enjoy having.    I really like this game, although my interest waxed and waned over the last several months.

Best guess is this will get played to some degree all year.   It’ll probably cost me money for something – Heroes, Bank Slots, or Costumes.   God help me if I start buying costumes, you could blow hundreds of dollars on that stuff.    I remain about $40 invested in the game, but I’m tempted to buy more.

World of Warships – This is fun, but I’m very low on ship slots and not that interested in spending more money.     And so this killed the game for me.    I haven’t logged in for a month or so…. but I’d like to.     Unified accounts (like were originally promised) would probably revive my interest and convince me to spend “Wargaming Gold” on new ship slots and continue playing.

And the other reason I don’t play this is because, simply put, I’d rather play tanks.

World of Tanks – More tanks to play and unlock.    Marvel shouldered this one aside again and I assume I’ll be putting in matches once again soon, after the Marvel winter event.    Best guess is this gets playtime in chunks throughout 2016.

Adventure Capitalist – This barely counts as something played, but oh well.   I enjoy accumulating my quattorquindecillion’s worth of money.    But given the low level of daily play (1 minute?) I will probably continue logging in for the entire year.

Games On My Radar :

My Steam Library – Just like the rest of nerd gaming-dom, I have a large library of games I’ve lightly or never played on Steam.    I was not the slightest bit tempted to buy anything over the Holiday sale.   Far too much has been purchased and not played, and yet, odd as it is, it was enjoyable to search out all those bargains and buy them.   If I never play them, I got some amusement out of the whole process and learned something new – the joy of buying things for its own sake.   (My wife knows all about this phenomenon….)

Star Ruler 2 comes to mind, along with Wasteland 2 and Dino D-Day (Ridiculous idea !  Fun as hell !   Will the game match up at all?)  as games I’ve not played for any good reason.    Cities : Skylines is the one I want to play the most, and yet, I’ve never logged in and played the game.   City builders have been so dissapointing over the years after Simcity 4’s massive goodness – and irritating problems – and yet the premise still seems fun.

Regicide sounds interesting as I continue to wait for a Battle Chess game to pass across my radar, but I was after a sub $10 price point.   It’s at $10 during the Steam sale.

Star Wars : SWTOR – this has gone free-to-play, and I admit, I’ve read very little about it.   But I am intrigued enough to perhaps try it out in the free-to-play world.   If I had to pay for it like at release time it would be a definite no go.

Armored Warfare should get another try.    Maybe they can improve the queueing time to the point I’d actually like to play.   I don’t know.

Games To Be Released :

Pokemon Go – This sounds like it might be fun.    Travel to different spots in Meatspace, and collect various Pokemon.    Fight virtual battles.   Level up your Pokemon at a Gym, and acquire powers.    Trade with other players, not a very exciting concept, since in practice this usually doesn’t work that well and ruins a game.   Maybe this will be different.   Expected release date is “2016”

Master of Orion – Can Wargaming move forward and publish this one well ?    Did they pick the right studio to develop with NGD ?   Time will tell.    The real question is, was it just the first really good 4X in space so it’s remembered fondly, or is there something about the experience that will stand out during a remake ?   I really, really hope it’s the latter, although I’m enough of a fanboy that I bet I’m buying the thing on release day no matter what.  No release date is hinted at.   Hopefully it’s 2016 sometime but you never know.

Now, I can look back next year and see how well these ideas stacked up with whatever happens during the year.

Road to Casual Ingress

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And now, I think I can safely call myself an Ingress casual.

I’ve made it “Halfway through the game” in the sense that I am halfway to level 16.   20 million AP down, and 20 million to go.   There aren’t a lot of other personal goals one can really work towards in the game; other than badges, and I got a really good one at last :

Onyx Guardian.

Onyx Guardian.

And I’m a bit discouraged about the whole idea of covering areas up with fields.    One thing is very clear – the more I cover up Downtown Burbank in pretty blue fields, the more green players drive in to wreck the whole thing.   They’re just looking for AP, and by fielding I’m giving it to them.

Sure, I get the points for refielding the area, but we tend to do that in one big lump over the space of hours.    And that attracts the enemy.    They drive through and in 5-10 minutes, it’s all gone.    That’s the give and take that’s always been in the game, but lately, I’m just getting really tired of it.   Absolutely everything in the game gives the advantage to the attackers.   Defense consists of hoping the enemy doesn’t drive over to your portal, in other words, there really is no defense.    When the thing you like to do most is field, and fields disappear immediately, this is discouraging.

The global score is driven by players in China, India, and of all things the Middle East.    The regional score is driven by the players in Downtown LA who cover a few blocks and get one million MU.    The best efforts I put forth in Burbank and SCV, while important, don’t register too much on either of these metrics, leaving me falling back on individual goals.    I’ve never built a big field that actually counted towards the score – only the one covering the Burbank Airport, for 24k.

So I’m pulling out my phone most days to Ingress, hitting a portal here and a portal there wherever it is I find myself, instead of plotting a triangle and driving to someplace in reach.

Hero Collecting

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Marvel Heroes continues to work its magic on me.    I am very close to hitting 60 with Iron Man, and have another 12 heroes at level 60.   Black Widow can be started seriously anytime and is at level 12.

The key to this game seems to be squeezing as much time in during special events as possible.    The Holiday events are a cornucopia of extra things for the game.    They’ve done a “14 days of Festivus” event where every day you login, you get an extra goodie.   Some of them are fantastic items – team ups, pets, rare items – and coming up on the 31st is a free random hero token.

The random heroes are an interesting thing to buy.    You can purchase a hero for splinters with prices of 200 / 400 / 600 splinters, depending on what they set the price for.   Or, you can buy a random hero for 175 splinters.   The catch is the random hero can be one you already own, in which case the item you purchased is an ultimate power upgrade – something strangely enough, of limited use.    Just for added fun, they continually add new heroes to the game.

Is it worth it to get a random hero for me ?   14 of 54 are already owned, so the next hero is 25% likely to be duplicated.    The last time I had a random box, I did get a duplicate Hulk.    You save 25 splinters by buying a random hero, perhaps up to 225/425, and the math is now too complex for me to bother with.   Randoms are probably worth it if you have less than 6 heroes.

My team up roster is now 6 characters.   Two at max level, and I’m working up the others.   I got 3 of them during this holiday event – Howard the Duck, Groot, and Doctor Doom.

So I’m revising my list of “How to play Marvel Heroes” once again.

  1. Get your first character.
  2. Play through the story.
  3. Enjoy Midtown and Industry City until level 60.
  4. Do daily quests and accumulate 300 Odin Marks.
  5. Buy a legendary weapon.
  6. Buy more heroes, via splinters, or use cash if desired.
  7. Buy more bank space.    I’ve only been able to do this with $$$$.    This is critical to collect uniques and turn them into more relics, or you can just dump your uniques if that doesn’t work for whatever reason.
  8. Repeat and enjoy.    Chase achievements, do dailies, do special events, obsess over synergies, collect Omegas, prestige your heroes.

Someday I may manage to get my Level 69 uniques for my characters, but I haven’t yet.   It won’t matter that much, is my general expectation.     Someday I may get a thousand Omega points and be able to finish the Cosmic Midtown trial, or maybe I won’t.

Now, here’s where Disney is really happy with me playing this game.   I find myself interested in comic books again, partly to introduce to my son, and partly just because of nostalgia.   I spent a half hour in a dumpy book store pawing through old comics and found a Hulk comic and couple of others, and we read it last night.   Am I going to start reading/collecting comics now ?   I’m interested in the Marvel movies too, and this Civil War movie is coming out soon.    And this consumer interest is springing from playing an MMO tie-in that’s pretty fun as a game.

Spoilers ! Star Wars The Force Awakens Reviewed !

Last weekend, I went to the theatre and saw the new Star Wars movie.   I’ve always enjoyed Star Wars but never been a superfan; my exposure to that universe is mostly from the movies.     No, I’ve never logged in and played SWTOR.

But I’ve really been very happy with the franchise for many years.   I had an inkling that a lot of people were disappointed with the prequels – Episodes 1, 2, and 3 – using incredibly strong language to vent their displeasure.    I thought they were solid and fun.   But to each his own.

I’ve been aware of George Lucas selling off Star Wars to Disney, and it did not sound like a good thing.   Part of this has to be the disappointment many feel over the prequels.    Part of it is likely that the man’s getting old and he needs to let go of his creation.   Having had this happen, I didn’t really want to see any new movies, but neither was I determined NOT TO.

But the hype machine got to the wife who REALLY wanted to see the movie.   Me, I wanted to let it marinate for awhile then see it later, but it’s always fun to take the family to a movie.    Right ?    You’ll get some fun for your $50.   Right ?

I cannot believe how angry and disappointed I am with this movie.    A week later and the Christmas holidays have passed, and all I can do is stew with my own thoughts about how bad the movie is.

Let’s read some critical reviews, I figure.    That’ll help me get over my disappointment.    Except every review of this movie says it was great.   I can’t believe this at all.

Metacritic has no negative reviews.   Hmmm.

Metacritic has no negative reviews. Hmmm.

I see movies and I like them, or I don’t.    Usually.    This movie was a total stinker, and yet, I am the only one I can find who’s saying that.    So now it’s time for my therapy without starting more Facebook arguments or the blank stares of my wife (“I liked it !”) and detailing where the movies went wrong.   I mean, aren’t you allowed to vent to your friends on Facebook ?    Turns out, no, you’re not if you are discussing Star Wars with rabid fans.

The first few seconds of the movie begin with the word crawl to set things up.    Remember at the end of Return of the Jedi ?   The Rebellion succeeds !   The Empire is destroyed.   The years and years of fighting are at an end.    But we are immediately told……….  JUST KIDDING !   Now, it’s the First Order who will take the place of the Empire, and the rebels, who presumably were part of the set up of the First Order……… are rebels again, part of The Resistance.

How can this make any sense ?    It’s as if the last six movies didn’t exist.    Maybe it will get explained later in the movie, I thought.   (Nope).

Next we’re treated to Stormtroopers invading a village on a little planet, where a Resistance fighter (Poe) is getting a USB stick from some old man.    Max Von Sydow, actually.   I have no idea who his character is because he gets offed immediately.   The USB stick is in Poe’s hands, but he’s clearly going to be taken by the Empire…. I mean, the First Order…….. so he hides it in his droid BB-8.    The droid ends up on a desert planet, with the critical USB stick in its possession, trying to find the Resistance to hand it off to.

Sound familiar ?   It should.   This is exactly the Episode 4 storyline.    If you like this, great, you’re in for more treats, but I was annoyed at watching a rehash of the 1977 movie again.    At least the droid was well done.   Not irritating like C3P0 and R2D2 could be, it managed to provide nicely done comic relief in several spots.

Poe is captured and is ready to be tortured by the Big Bad Evil Villian for the Force Awakens – Kylo Ren.    He’s a force using bad guy with a big black helmet and a nasty looking lightsaber.    Recognize this guy ?   We’ve brought back Darth Vader again.    Except Ren is conflicted, and feels the call of the Light Side of the force.   This sounds pretty cool, except it never gets any development in the movie beyond being introduced.

Ren also takes off his helmet a couple of times.    He’s not disabled in any way – he just likes wearing a helmet.    And lest you don’t quite get the Darth Vader thing right away, he has the old Vader helmet in his quarters as part of some kind of Dark Side fetish-totem.    The character Ren just doesn’t work at all, even though the actor playing him works at it really hard.    He just wasn’t given enough to work with.

This is something I saw at almost every turn for the movie – good actors, given nothing to work with, and so they do a great job of vapid nonsense in the movie.

But before Poe is tortured, he manages to escape from the Empire’s Star Destroyer.   Wait.   That was the First Order’s very big starship, actually.    Anyway.    Poe escapes with the help of what could have been an awesome character named Finn.

During the attack on the village we previously saw, one Stormtrooper is acting weird.   He doesn’t want to murder the villagers.    One of his fellow troopers dies and plants a bloody handprint on his helmet.     I can tell we’re being set up for this guy to go rogue, and sure enough, he does.    Cool !   We’re going to get a Stormtrooper in the movie.

The problem is nothing about Finn’s conversion makes sense.   I get that we’re watching a movie, so we can’t really see inner moral struggle too much, but Finn has decided to get out of being a Stormtrooper and join the Rebellion…….. Err, that was the Reistance, right ? ……. and so he helps Poe escape, gleefully killing the only family he’s ever known – all the other soldiers on the ship.

We don’t get any soul searching conversations with other characters, all we get is Finn jumping into a Tie Fighter with Poe and manning the guns, along with some shouted conversation between the two of them.    Wasted opportunity, and it makes the Finn character a total joke.

Finn and Poe manage to crash land on the same desert planet that BB-8 is on.    What are the odds here ?   How does Poe know he needs to go here ?    But Poe doesn’t survive the crash and so Finn is left to look for the robot and get it to the Resistance base.

(Poe isn’t actually dead, as he reappears in the movie later.    Why are we led to believe he died ?   Why don’t we get any kind of an explanation of what happened ?).

All the best parts of the movie are behind us now, as it’s once again a matter of joining up with the Resistance/Rebellion and blowing up the big weapon.    We’re introduced to the new female Luke character (Ren) who manages to steal the Millennium Falcon, parked on the desert planet, and helps our cast of characters to get away from the First Order attack.

Ren doesn’t make a lot of sense, but the actress is fantastic.    She’s tough, smart, moral and quick witted.    And yet – we see her scavenging for parts and getting a single food packet for her trouble.     Once she acquires the droid, instead of selling it for the mind boggling price of 62 food packets (Score !) she decides to keep it.   For no reason, really, but she just likes the little guy.     She acquires it from another scavenger for nothing at all, which is just ridiculous.

The next thing you know the action centers around the new Death Star.    This is actually a planetoid that’s been turned into a planet buster.   The planet buster harvests the power of the sun to create a light based weapon that shoots across the galaxy to destroy planets.   My head hurts.    Have we forgotten about light speed and the scale of the universe ?    This is so stupid.

And the Resistance all gather in the control room to see if the new Death Star – I didn’t get the name of the thing from the movie, but it’s apparently called the StarKiller.    Just in case you need to be hit over the head, Han Solo says “There’s always a way to destroy these things”, which just cheapens the whole thing.    We’ve seen this happen twice before, so we know how to kill it – fly your Xwing to the spot labelled “Weak Point” and blow it up.

How can they know how to destroy it ?   They don’t have plans to it, like they did in 1977.   But now, our former Stormtrooper Finn claims to know exactly how to wreck it.   Despite the fact that he’s an infantryman in the first scenes, we’re told he’s actually a janitor and he just lied to the Resistance leadership.   Because he wants to save Ren, captured and held hostage inside of the Starkiller.    The mobius strip of this logic doesn’t work, isn’t fun, and continues the slide of the plot down to the basement level of believability.

But it’s Star Wars.   So everyone succeeds, and the Starkiller is blown up.    Instead of a Lucas-style victory celebration, we are instead treated to Ren finally finding Luke, hiding in a remote corner of the galaxy……. they gaze upon each other…….. and the movie ends.

The action spots were fun.    The actors were generally top notch; Harrison Ford steals the show and was the best part of the movie; Carrie Fisher is too old and wooden for whatever reason and was awful.    But the plot.    Oh.   My.   God.    I cannot believe the plot they used for this movie, with more holes than a Swiss Cheese and twice as stinky.  Believe it or not, I even went light with that wall of text above.    There are even more plot holes to be irritated about but the above is almost too long anyway.

So the movie ended and I didn’t like it.   Life is full of disappointment.   What happened next is what I don’t understand.   I am full of anger over the whole thing.   Why ?   Star Wars is fun but it’s never been a central thing to me.    The whole world, while acknowledging the points that I bring up, still says it was a great movie.   EVERYBODY loved it.   Except me.    So I at least had to write this, vent my disappointment, and put up an unflattering review.

I guess Disney knows how to manipulate critical acclaim.    Maybe it’s just been going on generally for all movies of a certain caliber, and I haven’t noticed.    Because for this stinker to get this much good press, something is going on besides the movie itself.     A huge chunk of the movie just feels like the set up for the next one.

You can be sure I won’t be watching Episode VIII.    The last thing I need in my life is more things to irritate the hell out of me for days on end.    Zero stars out of four.

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