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Yakuza Kiwami

I love this game so damn much. After playing through Yakuza 0 (which I adored), I told myself I’d take a little break before starting Kiwami (a remaster of the first Yakuza game), but I just couldn’t wait and dived in the following week. I’ve played 7-8 hours so far I think — took a break to play some other games I rented — and it’s pretty much what I want and was expecting from a Yakuza game: a beautifully rendered world, a tough-as-nails storyline, and insanely funny character bits. As good as it is, it does show its age a bit compared to 0 (a lot of annoying back-and-forth between missions for example), but it’s great, and I am definitely going to play Yakuza 2 Kiwami when it releases — and of course Yakuza 6 in a couple of months. Oh, and “Majima Everywhere” (where Majima just randomly pops up in a weird manner to challenge you to a fight) is quite possibly the best and funnest feature implemented in a game.

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Fred Armisen: Standup for Drummers

I quite enjoyed this standup special on Netflix. The gimmick is that the audience is entirely composed of drummers, and a lot of the material is drumming-related. I generally like Fred Armisen, always enjoyed him on SNL, and I really like him here. All of the jokes aren’t gold, but he just has a fun way of delivering stuff, and I like when he gets a bit surreal. I think the highlight isn’t even a funny bit, but rather when he runs through drum sets/styles from the past century.

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Debaser

Gloomhaven

I had quite a nice board game collection by the time I left Japan, and was organizing (mostly) weekly game nights at my place. When I did leave, I sold all of it to friends, and then put all of that behind. I did get a chance to play a few games since moving to Montreal with colleagues at work, and over the past couple of years bought a few small 2-player games to possibly play with my wife (we played some, but not that much). Recently though I started playing pretty much weekly with a few colleagues at work, and it gave me the bug again, not only to be playing regularly, but also to get some games of my own. I bought a few small things over the holidays and in January, but then I made the big jump, and got the most insane board game I’ve ever owned (well, the World of Warcraft board game is pretty close). Currently ranked #1 on BoardGameGeek, Gloomhaven is all the rage, selling out through its print runs (following the re-release last month, there’s already a new print run announced). I’ve liked this sort of hack-and-slash board game adventure style forever, from the 80s when I was playing Talisman (and that’s the only board game I kept, that original edition), to more modern stuff like Runebound. This of course promised to trump them all, with an insane amount of scenarios (95), legacy-style development as you play a campaign, and just so much stuff in the box that I felt like a kid on Christmas morning when I opened the box. I’ve only played 1 session so far, and a lot of it was spent going over the rules with all the players, but we were already having a lot of fun as we started the first scenario, and I’m incredibly excited to play more (which will be this Thursday, and we’re planning weekly sessions).

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Debaser

The Cloverfield Paradox

So this popped up suddenly on Netflix, and everyone freaked out, and then the next day everyone one was saying it was shit. I liked the first Cloverfield movie fine, and really liked the second one, 10 Cloverfield Lane (would have liked Dan Trachtenberg to direct another one), and so I still wanted to check this one out. And you know what? I thought this was fine. Sure, not as good as the first two, but it wasn’t the pile of shit everyone seemed to be saying (and I do wish I could have gone into this with no expectations, instead of already expecting it to be bad). I didn’t really know where it was going with everything, liked the stuff it introduced in this “universe” (parallel universes, a possible origin for the monsters of this series, etc.) and it didn’t end in a clean way, which I can appreciate. And what a surprise to see Zhang Ziyi in it! I don’t know if it’s something I’d necessarily recommend to someone on its own, but as part of the series, if you like the other films, I think it’s worth taking in.

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Debaser

The Last Man on Earth

I’ve heard nothing but good things about this series since it started, and for some reason just never got around to watching it. It’s on Netflix now (3 seasons), and so I started watching it the other day, and love it. I’m 7-8 episodes into the first season, and so still have lots to watch, but already I can tell this is something special — and I’ve always enjoyed Will Forte in general. The frustration he feels once the 3rd person shows up (and then the 4th) does feel a bit frustrating for me too — I sorta feel like, jeeze, just get the hell out of there and find other people to be with — but I’m still having fun watching it.

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Debaser

Altered Carbon

I’ve only watched the first episode so far, but from what I’ve seen, I think I’m going to enjoy this ride. First off, I crave cyberpunk-set stories, and so just that fact alone was enough to draw me in, but it also looks like they’ve got the look/visuals down. Hard to tell how good the story will be, and sure, it sorta feels a bit trashier than what we get in a Blade Runner movie, but there’s nothing wrong with that — I don’t need all my cyberpunk media to be contemplative like that. I just wanna have a fun series set in a cool world, and I’m hoping this will be just that.