Tag: Sean Collier

Pokemon goes to a new home

Sean Collier, A&E Writer

It is no secret that Pokemon has been a phenomenon for about as long as it was originally created. It has maintained its popularity for years and most likely will for many more. The community does tend to have issues with decisions made on the games and other things but it has still endured. Thanks to the release and popularity Pokemon GO, people who had never played or gotten into Pokemon previously started playing. With this increase of interest, and the popularity of Pokemon GO, it was only a matter of time until the Pokemon Company made a game that would for all the fans including the newer ones. That is where Pokemon Let’s Go comes in.

Pokemon Let’s Go, on the surface, is a remake of the original Pokemon Yellow. Including the original generation of Pokemon in the Kanto region. However, this game is so much more than that. For starters, the game was released with two versions: Pokemon Let’s Go Pikachu and Pokemon Let’s Go Eevee. Each version has their respective “buddy” pokemon. They function as your starter, but they also do so much more. For instance, in previous games the player had to teach HM moves (fly, cut, surf, etc.) to progress through the games at certain points. This means instead of a pokemon having useful moves for combat, they’d have that move there. This created the whole notion of the certain pokemon only being used as utility. With Pokemon Let’s Go, that isn’t the case. Instead, your buddy learns them as “secret techniques”. They are added to a separate menu so they do not function as combat moves. The buddy pokemon also has the chance to learn moves exclusive to them. At various pokemon centers around the map, a ringmaster looking character can teach your buddy special moves. They are pretty strong moves also so it is worth doing. This somewhat makes up for the fact the buddy pokemon cannot be evolved. The buddy pokemon have increased stats, and with these special moves they are still very powerful even without their later evolved forms. On top of that, the game has such an emphasis on making a strong bond with your pokemon, and not just your buddy. When the payer has a stronger bond with a pokemon, it can save it from taking damage or even get rid of the conditions that can be caused in combat like paralysis or poisoning.

Another new feature is the way that the player catches pokemon. In previous games, you had to weaken them to make it easier to catch them. In Pokemon Let’s Go, catching pokemon is like catching them in Pokemon GO. There are the circles and hitting the center ups the chances of catching them and you can also use berries to help out. This definitely targets the Pokemon Go fans to get them interested, but it also fixes the idea of hurting pokemon to have them as your own. This isn’t the only tie to Pokemon GO, the game also replaces the pokemon safari with the Pokemon GO park. If you link your switch with your Pokemon GO account you can transfer the first generation pokemon you caught to Pokemon Let’s Go. They will appear in the park, their stats will be adjusted to fit the game based on their original stats, and you’ll have to catch them to add them to your party. This also includes all of the Alolan variants of first generation pokemon. This feature will not only pique the interest of Pokemon GO players, but it will also get people to continue or start playing Pokemon GO.

The story of Pokemon Let’s Go is a true remake of Pokemon Yellow, but with some additions. Instead of Red and Blue being the new trainers, they are renowned. Characters that are used in the original Anime show more similarities to their personality in the show. Jessie and James look like the anime characters and even speak that way. Brock even talks about getting turned down by beautiful women. This brings a feeling of nostalgia to longtime fans of the show.

As far as the game goes, it is about as much as you should expect from a Pokemon game. It isn’t super difficult and it makes it easy for a newer player to get started. The combat functions the same as the old games, just with some more polish. The graphics are beautiful on top of all the new features and additions, but it is still a pokemon game at its core. Pokemon Let’s Go is the perfect game for fans, old or new. So let’s go catch ‘em all.

Annual Blizzcon was a success, barring one stumble

Courtesy of Blizzard Entertainment

Sean Collier, A&E Reporter

On November 2 to November 3, Blizzard Entertainment had their annual Blizzcon at the Anaheim Convention Center in Anaheim, California. This convention has become one of the most anticipated events for fans of Blizzard and their games. Every year, this is where they announce big reveals and what is coming to the games people know and love. This year, There was some pretty exciting news along with what could be one of the worst moments in Blizzcon’s history.

First, I would like to talk about the opening ceremony. When the opening ceremony began, there was a touching montage of huge and iconic moments from the various games Blizzard has created. When the reveals started, they began with a new hero for Heroes of the Storm. Orphea, daughter of the Raven Lord, is the new character whose home is the nexus itself. Which is a big deal, considering all of the other playable heroes are from the other various Blizzard games. They also showed some other content that would be added to the game, such as new skins and a new announcer.

Next, they talked about the upcoming content in World of Warcraft, under the title “Tides of Vengeance”. It will be set when the faction war between the Horde and Alliance come to a head. Also, more World of Warcraft Classic was announced. Classic will be released in the summer of 2019 and it will be playable for anyone with a World of Warcraft subscription. The World of Warcraft segment ended with a brand new cinematic, “Lost Honor”. The cinematic gives some more important story details for “Battle for Azeroth”.

For the game Overwatch, they showed a brand new animated short called “Reunion”. It follows the character Jesse McCree while he runs into a former a former associate. This associate just so happens to be Overwatch’s newest playable hero, Ashe. The short also teases another character who may become a playable hero in the future. Anyways, Blizzard also revealed Ashe’s abilities and her unique ultimate which summons her partner, Bob. This is not only the first ultimate that spawns an NPC, but he also functions as a hero. (He can count towards competing objectives, can be healed etc.)

One of the biggest reveals of Blizzcon this year is definitely Warcraft 3: Reforged. They announced it by showing a complete recreation of the original Warcraft 3 opening cinematic. The game is a complete remaster of the original game and will include both Warcraft 3: Reign of Chaos and the expansion: The Frozen Throne. Warcraft 3: Reforged will be released next year, but no solid release date was set.

For the game Hearthstone, a new expansion was revealed called “Rastakhan’s Rumble” themed around the Zandalari trolls from World of Warcraft: Battle for Azeroth. Some of the new mechanics, cards, and characters used in the new expansion were also shown.

Then to finish things off, Diablo: Immortal was announced. It is a mobile game that takes place between Diablo 2 and Diablo 3. The reveal of Diablo: Immortal has had one of the most negative reactions that Blizzard has ever received. For fans of Diablo, I believe what they were wanting was at least a hint of the existence of the next installment in the series. Which would make it understandable for why people were so upset when they found out that they not only weren’t getting any information on that, but given the reveal of a mobile game. Most of the mobile reveals that Blizzard has shown have had negative reactions. Most of the playerbase for Blizzard are PC gamers. People were even reluctant when Diablo: 3 was revealed to be on consoles. So the fact that this had a negative reaction was not a surprise. However, it has been worse than anyone could have imagined. I personally believe the main problem is the way it was presented and the reactions afterwards. However,I do believe that this Blizzcon was overwhelmingly good and exciting, despite this hiccup.

Castlevania doesn’t suck (its just the vampires)

Sean Collier, A&E Writer

On October 26, 2018 Netflix released the newest season of Castlevania. The first season, even if it was only 4 episodes, proved to be a huge success visually along with its creative storytelling. Since it is the season of spooks, I’m going to give you my analysis of the show as a whole and give my opinion on whether or not the second season lived up to the standard the show had placed. Oh, and for all of you that are worried I’ll avoid any major spoilers.

If you are unfamiliar with Castlevania, the show is actually an adaptation of the video game series. The games were popular due to the grit and violence along with their seemingly impossible difficulty. The show specifically loosely follows the story of Castlevania III: Dracula’s Curse. The creators of the show definitely took some creative liberties by adding or changing characters. When I first saw that this show was being created I was excited, but concerned. I wasn’t sure how they planned going about telling stories based on the game but still be unique and groundbreaking. However, they did it and they did an amazing job.

When Dracula is brought up, people think of the stereotype that originated from Bela Lugosi’s Dracula. It has gone beyond that though. The more Dracula has been portrayed, the further away from the history and myth it goes. In some cases, even his power as a vampire has been greatly changed. This show does a very good job in showing how powerful Dracula is. But wait, there’s more… this show also does a really good job in making the viewer actually feel for him. In the beginning of the show, Dracula has secluded himself from everything but is sought out by a woman who wants to learn more about advanced medicine and science to help people in need. She actually becomes his wife and seems to give him some hope that humanity isn’t all bad. This changes when his wife is burned at the stake after being accused of witchcraft. She had sent him away so he could travel and try to give him more hope in all of humanity in general. When he returns, he finds out she’s dead. The way the show portrays his emotional breakdown and how driven he is for revenge make him so believable. He gave humanity one year to try to absolve for what they did to him. News flash, they ignored it… and Dracula doesn’t take that too kindly. This is where the purge of humanity begins. In the second season, we get to see more of Dracula as this war goes on. He doesn’t come off as a purely evil character, but more of just a broken man. At one point, it is shown how nihilistic he has become. He doesn’t care about the brutal methods he used to enjoy, or even feeding. He just wants the end result.

I know that’s a lot about one particular character, but having that much character development is great. Especially when it is the primary villain. As the viewer, you know he is the big villain, but he really doesn’t feel like it. That is a prime example of why I think the writing for this show is so well done. In season 2, it develops almost every key character in the story by giving the viewer backstory or just showing more of their personality and mindset. The fact it does all of this in a show that is only 12 episodes in total is impressive. It makes all of the characters identifiable and it challenges the viewer when they attempt to pick what side or character they follow.

Another really cool part of this show is the visuals. On top of just being visually stunning in general, the action sequences are probably some of the best I’ve seen. In the second season there are fights where, if you look closely, certain details stop at certain points in motion. However, it does not feel unnatural. What causes this is that the sequences were animated by holding the initial movements longer than the follow through motions. In doing so the fights and actions are super easy to follow and it looks amazing. It also emphasizes the initial motion so that the viewer sees exactly what the character is doing. For example, the main protagonist in the show is Trevor Belmont. He primarily uses a whip as a weapon. When he does the different actions to move the whip where he wants them to go it is obvious that he is the one in control of it. He is actually that skilled in using those kinds of weapons. If that wasn’t emphasized it could be taken as if he was just really lucky and it just so happens to work in his favor. Along with the stunning visuals and action sequences, the show is also brutal. It shows plenty of gore and death. I understand if that isn’t your cup of tea, but this show would not be near as impactful without it. To realize the world from the games into the show, it would have to be dark and the gore would have to be involved. Dracula isn’t going to be merciful or humane when issuing a full on war against humanity. The show doesn’t overuse gore though, it makes sense in the places where it is. With all of that said, there will definitely be some moments that will make you cringe. With all that said, I love the way the show looks and feels and the character designs are top notch. When the first season came out, I wasn’t even disappointed there was only 4 episodes. I was so impressed by how much they did in so little.

So after all that I still need to answer the question: Did season 2 live up to the first season’s standards? Heck yes it did. It did that and so much more. I could go on and on forever about this show. It is definitely close to the top of my favorite Netflix shows and I would recommend it to anyone. So if you are wanting to watch a spooky show or just trying to find a dark anime to watch, it is definitely worth your time. After seeing all of this show I will give you some advice: Do not mess with Dracula, even on his bad days.

Venom: not good, but fun

Sean Collier, A&E writer

(Note from the Editor: You may have noticed that we ran a review of Venom by our staff writer and critic James King last week. After reading that article, Sean came to me saying he had a different opinion and offered to write a review himself . In the name of due diligence and providing our readers we varied opinions, we are publishing this article this week. Hope you enjoy it- Taylor Mitchell A&E Editor)

When you ask someone about the movie Venom, chances are you are going to get a wide array of answers. Whether or not the movie is “good” has been a huge argument that brings up the question: What makes a movie good? This is highly dependent on personal preference. In my opinion, there are two factors that should be taken into account: The quality and practicality of the work put into the movie (Camera work, script, acting, etc.) and the entertainment value of the movie. A movie can be badly made, but still be considered a good movie. Venom is somewhere in the middle for me.

In the sense of filmmaking, there are decisions made in the making of Venom that should not work. The script takes a strange pace and the character’s actions don’t feel believable or are too convenient for the plot. The story seems like the fight in the end was written first and everything else was planned around it. Also, the movie seemingly has a hard time deciding what it wants to be: a thriller/ horror movie or a dark comedy. Also, there are confusing shots and some of the actions are hard to follow. That doesn’t mean all of the shots are bad. There are a lot of really interesting shots sprinkled in with all the other generic, confusing ones. My personal gripes don’t have to do with the movie as a whole but rather direction and the weak points of the script. The script lacks having a meaning behind a character’s actions at certain points. Things just…happen, and you are expected to be okay with it.

On the flip side, Venom is a very entertaining movie. It has a lot of really funny moments and awesome action sequences. It is definitely the best portrayal of Venom on the big screen. The moments with Venom and Eddie are interesting enough to keep you invested. Eddie isn’t a throw away character, we get to know him in a very relatable way. It’s shown clearly in the beginning that Eddie has his own moral beliefs and it gets in the way of his career and his relationship. The movie also shows in moments how alike Venom and Eddie are. The symbiotes are not underused either, you are shown what they are and how they function. The movie shows you what Venom is capable of, including some graphic, spine-tingling moments. The primary antagonist of the movie, Carlton Drake, isn’t very memorable, but, then again, he shouldn’t be. When Riot enters the picture, the movie implies how insignificant Drake is in Riot’s eyes. He’s just a tool just like the other people he bonded with. Drake’s beliefs weren’t some half-baked environmental statement either, he had a god complex. Which is shown even with his first monologue. Riot as a villain is more memorable, even if slightly underused. The fight in the end is a conceptual masterpiece in regards to the symbiotes and fans of their ilk. I personally am a fan, and it was awesome.

Venom is definitely a movie that doesn’t outright give you all the story context you need on a silver platter. Some things take a deeper look. If every movie gave you every piece of information on what people are feeling or blatantly go out their way to tell you what is happening like you haven’t been watching the movie at all, NO ONE would enjoy it.

So my verdict is ultimately to go in with an open mind ready for a laugh. It isn’t the best movie ever, but it will satiate your hunger for people and tater tots. With all that being said, this is my opinion. If you disagree with me, that’s totally fine. I’ll respect your opinion if you back it up. In the meantime I’ll go on my merry way and enjoy my “critically bad but entertaining” movie self.

Love is ON the Air: JSU students get engaged at WLJS

JSU Students Bethany Hunt and Breihan Dryden got engaged on the air at WLJS on September 26. (Patrick Yim, Yim Creations)

Sean Collier, A&E Writer

On September 26, The Alabama and Friends concert was not the only wonderful event to happen at JSU. That night at JSU’s radio station, 91.9 WLJS, JSU student Breihan Dryden proposed to WLJS Program Director Bethany Hunt on air.

Dryden proposed to Hunt on his show Electric Hearts, a music/talk show run by Breihan and his brother Torsten. They started their show normally as they would any other week, then brought Bethany onto the show about halfway through. Between each music segment they asked her about some of her favorite songs, musicians, etc. Then shortly after giving a few of her answers, he popped the question and she said yes.

Hunt says she did not suspect anything out of the ordinary in the moments leading up to the proposal.

“I was not expecting it at all. No one who knew gave me any hints whatsoever,” Hunt said. “I normally pop in on the show, so nothing seemed too abnormal when he asked me to come and talk about music midtown. However, when my assistant program director/best friend came in the room with a camera in his lap I thought something was up. That was about sixty seconds before he asked me though so I didn’t quite have enough time to realize that was happening.”

Breihan and Bethany are both communications students who are also members of the communications fraternity Zeta Phi Eta. Dryden is a DJ on multiple shows, and can also be recognized as an Arts & Entertainment Writer for The Chanticleer. Bethany, alongside having her own radio shows, has been the program director for a year. They both host a show on Monday mornings called B&B’s Morning Power Hour.

When asked what was going through his head before the proposal, Dryden said he was mostly worried that she would hit him for proposing on air. Afterwards when asked about his thoughts, he said: “I am very literally the happiest and luckiest man on the planet.”

It was such a tender and beautiful moment. The expression she made when he asked her was priceless and you could immediately tell how happy they both were. Having the opportunity to be there to witness two of my friends take a big step in their relationship was an honor. To the both of you, I hope there are many more moments like this in the future.