8 Reasons Why The New Les Misérables Miniseries Is Worth Watching

While the return of Game of Thrones is taking all the attention these days, there is another 6-episode television adaption of a beloved novel you should be aware of. This week saw the release of the first episode of PBS Masterpiece’s Les Misérables miniseries.

RELATED: Les Misérables Trailer: Masterpiece On PBS To Premiere The Miniseries In April

Though the story doesn’t contain dragons, ice zombies or fighting over the Iron Throne, it is a sweeping and tense period drama that is well worth your attention. Based on Victor Hugo’s classic novel, this latest take on the heartbreaking and compelling story promises to be an entirely new adaptation. If you’re looking for something outside of Westeros for your television viewing, see why the Les Misérables miniseries is worth watching.

8 The Story

Certain stories seem to resonate with any audience at any time. It doesn’t matter how old the story may be, the themes and conflicts remain universe for all generations and all people. That is certainly the case with Hugo’s Les Miserables. First published in 1862, the French novel explored such powerful subjects as injustice, morality, and redemption.

The story follows Jean Valjean, an ex-convict attempting to start a new life. It expands across several years, connecting different characters from different walks of life before reaching the climax set against the Paris Uprising of 1932.

7 New Look At A Classic

Hugo’s novel is one that has been adapted a number of times, most recently with the Oscar-winning musical version starring Hugh Jackman, Russell Crowe, and Anne Hathaway. However, there is always excitement in seeing some of these classic stories brought to life again and again as we get to see a new version of the story we know so well.

RELATED: 10 Classic Books That Would Make Great Movies

Once again, we are treated to a new telling of the story of Jean Valjean and the world of Les Misérables. We get to see how the filmmakers adapt the complex work. We get to see new takes on famous characters and how the actors portray them. We get to see how this version is unique.

6 The Leads

Even those who are not totally familiar with the story of Les Miserables will no doubt be intrigued by the amazing cast they have assembled for this miniseries. In particular, the miniseries boasts two big names in the leading roles.

Dominic West stars as Jean Valjean, a man trying to put his life together and avoid his past from defining his future. West is best known for television roles in The Wire and The Affair, showing he can bring the necessary intensity. David Oyelowo (Selma) plays Javert, the obsessive police inspector who hunts Valjean. It should be a real thrill to see these two go head-to-head onscreen.

5 The Supporting Cast

If Dominic West and David Oyelowo weren’t exciting enough, they are backed up by a slew of amazing actors in supporting roles. Lily Collins will be playing the role of Fantine, the story’s tragic figure who helps Valjean on his path to redemption.

RELATED: 10 Fantasy Novels That Would Be Amazing Fantasy Series

In other iconic roles from the story, Adeel Akhtar (The Big Sick) will play Monsieur Thénardier, the dishonest (but still master of the house) landlord. And, in a bit of perfect casting, recent Oscar-winner Olivia Coleman (The Favourite) plays Madame Thénardier. Add to that veteran actors like David Bradley and Derek Jacobi, and it’s a pretty enticing cast.

4 Behind The Camera

While there is certainly a lot of star power and great actors in front of the camera, in order for this miniseries to be a success, they need quite a bit of talent behind the camera as well. Luckily, they seem to have found the perfect people for the job to pull off this ambitious production.

The series was written by Andrew Davies, a writer best known for his BBC series House of Cards and A Very Peculiar Practice. He has also adapted several high-profile period miniseries including Pride & Prejudice, War & Peace and Vanity Fair. Directing the series is Tom Shankland, a veteran television director on shows like The Leftovers, House of Cards and The Punisher.

3 Expanded Storytelling

As with most novels, something inevitably gets lost when you adapt it into a two-hour movie. To make a complex story like that fit into the constraints of a feature film means that some things are going to need to be cut. Sometimes this can be done effectively, other times it ruins the adaptation.

RELATED: 10 Book-To-Movie Adaptations Coming Out In 2019

For the first time ever, the story of Les Misérables will be told in the expanded format of television. While six hours might still not do justice to Victor Hugo’s entire novel, this version will no doubt go further in depth than any of the previous adaptations.

2 Production Values

Production values can make or break a period production. In order to feel that you are, in fact, experiencing something from another time period, the production needs to look entirely convincing. This can be rather expensive and too much for certain productions to take on. But if it ever feels false it can take the audience right out of the story.

Fortunately, that isn’t the case with this miniseries. There appears to be no expense spared in recreating 19th century France. There is a scale to the production that really helps to capture the grandeur of the story without being overwhelming.

1 Not A Musical

Most people will only know of Les Misérables as the musical. Hugo’s novel was adapted for the stage in 1980 and from there it grew in popularity, was translated into various languages and was adapted into the aforementioned big screen version in 2012.

However, this latest adaption will be of the original novel, not the stage musical. While the musical certainly has plenty of fans, it is refreshing to see a more grounded and straightforward take on the story that could help introduce it to a whole new audience.

NEXT: The Best Musicals On Netflix Right Now (April 2019)

2019-04-19 01:04:06

Colin McCormick

Is Friday The 13th: The Game Single Player Worth The Wait?

Friday The 13th: The Game’s single player mode was much hyped but was it worth the long wait? The success of John Carpenter’s 1978 classic Halloween inspired a wave of low-budget imitators, including My Bloody Valentine and Sleepaway Camp. The original Friday The 13th was another entry in this slasher subgenre and was a mystery thriller enliven by the occasional gory murder and a shocking final scare.

The movie proved to be a surprise smash hit for Paramount so the studio immediately commissioned a sequel. The problem was that the original killer, Pamela Voorhees, was very dead. The first movie revealed Pamela had been driven insane with grief over the death of her young son Jason due to the negligence of camp counselors, leading to her killing spree. The sequel instead brought Jason back as an adult to continue the massacre – which made little sense from a timeline perspective – but he soon became a horror icon to rival Michael Myers or A Nightmare On Elm Street’s Freddy Krueger. His trademark hockey mask, which he acquired in part three, also became iconic.

Related: Friday The 13th Really Shouldn’t Be This Hard To Reboot

There hasn’t been a Friday The 13th film since 2009’s reboot and while the franchise is currently caught in a messy lawsuit, Friday The 13th: The Game for the PlayStation 4, Xbox One and PC provided fans with all the gory thrills they could hope for. The game started life as a multiplayer-only experience, where players controlled various Crystal Lake camp counselors trying to escape another player controlling Jason. The counselors had to work together to survive or escape while Jason hunts them down and dispatches them in messy ways.

Friday The 13th: The Game was clearly made by developers who love the franchise; not only did they capture the mood and tone of the early movies, they also included iterations of Jason from over the course of the entire franchise. They even included Roy Burns, the Jason copycat killer from Friday The 13th: A New Beginning in an update. Fans had been asking for a Friday The 13th game single player mode since it launched, which was eventually added in May 2018.

The single player challenges mode once again put players in the boots of Jason as they have to carry out a series of killings. Friday The 13th: The Game’s single player also invokes the movie’s atmosphere a little more since the victims don’t know Jason is stalking them, allowing for some creativity on the player’s part. The mode also encourages replayability in the form of achievements and unlockables. Sadly, the Friday The 13th game single player ultimately plays like a mediocre Hitman game. Jason hunts some bot controlled counselors around Crystal Lake and while the murders are suitably grisly, it grows old quickly. It lacks the gleeful fun of the multiplayer and while the movies were hardly known for their deep stories, the lack of any kind of narrative is also a disappointment.

With no new movie on the horizon, Friday The 13th: The Game’s single player mode is probably the closest thing fans will get to a new Jason Voorhees adventure for a while. It’s just a shame it wasn’t much stronger.

Next: Why Freddy Vs Jason 2 Hasn’t Happened

2019-04-12 10:04:07

Padraig Cotter

Killing Eve Review: Still Worth Obsessing Over In Season 2

Though its story of a spy and a psychopath sharing a mutual obsession with one another deservedly became the central selling point of BBC America’s Killing Eve in season 1, the wicked will they or won’t they between Sandra Oh’s intelligence agent Eve Polatstri and Jodie Comer’s fashionable assassin Villanelle wasn’t the show’s only selling point. The series’ early character- and world-building moments were marked with memorable instants of casual weirdness, like Fiona Shaw’s Carolyn Martens’s off-hand remark of watching a rat drink a can of soda. That was due in large part to the writing of creator and executive producer Phoebe Waller-Bridge, a singular talent who, among other things, specializes in turning seemingly innocuous, off-hand digressions into a detour worth obsessing over. It’s the sort of thing that made her a perfect fit for this tense but often very funny adaptation of Luke Jennings’s Villanelle novellas. 

The series has made some changes behind the scenes for season 2, with Waller-Bridge handing the writing reins over to Emerald Fennell. Though it’s clear that Fennell and the show’s writers’ room still have a firm grasp on what makes Killing Eve tick, in terms of generating tension between its two main characters, it’s also reassuring to find out that, early in the season 2 premiere, the series still has impeccable timing when it comes to the little idiosyncratic deviations that keep it light and weird. That moment comes midway through the first hour when Eve and Carolyn are snacking on burgers in a morgue, as the medical examiner explains — with no small amount of pleasure — that the smell of formaldehyde and cadavers causes cravings for meat. Whether that’s true or not is almost beside the point; it’s like the soda-drinking rat: a welcome reprieve from the intense cat-and-mouse game at the center of the show. 

More: The Tick Season 2 Review: The Superhero Comedy The World Needs Right Now

‘Do You Know How to Dispose of a Body?’ is, oddly, like a collection of those moments, complied into a single hour of television. For the most part it works because of how much effort the show has put into building Eve and Villanelle’s strange obsession with one another and how much fun it is to watch Oh and Comer do their thing. But because the first season ran at such a frantic pace through its first half, building to that inevitable and bloody climax in Villanelle’s Paris apartment, Killing Eve is forced to take a step back, put some distance between its would-be lovers, and reassess the situation. Most of this is for the presumed longevity of the show, and it’s also a fundamental concern with a serialized television series like this one. How can a show built on the tension of a psychopathic infatuation between its two leads maintain narrative rigidity while still turning out eight episodes a season for what the powers that be at AMC would almost certainly love to be several more years?

The seeds of that answer — for the time being, anyway — were sown in season 1, with the discovery of the clandestine group known as The Twelve. The mystery surrounding the group is part of its appeal, but its most enticing element is in how it creates a mutual adversary for both Eve and Villanelle. The only problem is, it’s not nearly as enticing as watching Oh and Comer’s characters contend with their undeniable magnetism.

Early on in season 2 it’s clear that Killing Eve is working its way back as close to square one as possible, using The Twelve as a de facto new end point. That makes the premiere a mix of table setting and careful extrication from some of the narrative corners the first season painted itself into. Much of that has to do with Eve and everything she’s learned about herself, her job with MI5, and her relationship with her husband Niko (Owen McDonnell), who disappeared last season after it became clear he was getting in the way of all the fun Eve and Villanelle could have together. The season premiere employs an impressive level of hand-waiving in order to re-align its various players. What makes those moments work, though, is the willingness to let the seams show, as when Carolyn reinstates Eve to MI5 with all the ceremony of placing a drive-thru order, or when Niko attempts to reconnect with his wife in the midst of a vegetable-chopping nervous breakdown. 

While Eve’s situation requires the series to perform a narrative u-turn of sorts, Killing Eve is free to plow straight ahead with regard to Villanelle, who is recovering from the near-fatal stab wound delivered by her would-be paramour. It was no secret that Villanelle would survive her injury, and that her obsession with Eve would not only continue in spite of the stabbing but apparently thrive (“love makes you do crazy things,” after all). As such, Villanelle’s portion of the premiere is what helps give Killing Eve season 2 its legs early on. And, much like the cadaver-induced burger cravings, the show takes its time to inject some levity into the proceedings. The only difference is how wildly it can swing from the relatively light humor of a fashion fetishist cringing while slipping into a pair of abandoned Crocs, to something far, far darker and, consequently, lethal. 

The return of one of television’s most highly anticipated series isn’t entirely a return to form, instead its offers a chance for the show to move backwards and forwards at the same time. It’s a delicate balancing act that will become more precarious as the series moves along, as it can’t keep Eve and Villanelle apart for very long without the central tension going slack, but it also can’t go too far in the other direction without the same thing happening. If nothing else, then, watching as the series manages and teases out this anticipation and uncertainty is reason enough to get obsessed with Killing Eve all over again. 

Next: Warrior Review: Cinemax Unleashes A Pulpy Martial Arts Period Drama

Killing Eve continues next Sunday with ‘Nice and Neat’ @8pm on BBC America and AMC.

2019-04-07 02:04:51

Kevin Yeoman

25 Star Wars Toys That Are Impossible To Find (And How Much They’re Worth)

Despite its age, Star Wars is a gargantuan franchise that has a level of longevity that few others can match. Not only has the brand produced beloved, all-time classic films, but it has also successfully breached the video game, television book, and comic markets. That said, the real backbone of Star Wars’ success, outside the movies, of course, is its long-history of merchandising. From lunchboxes to role play laser guns, the Star Wars brand has it all. Most critically, though, is its enormous collection of action figures.

The amount of figures (and vehicles or accessories associated with them) cover the widest swath of the fiction, treating the most obscure of characters like Malakili the Rancor keeper, just as sincerely important as series’ stalwarts like Darth Vader or Luke Skywalker. With such a huge cast to work with, and countless weapons, items, and ships to go with them, it’s no surprise that the Star Wars collector’s market is a cutthroat and intense realm, where prices skyrocket and the highest bidder triumphantly claims a one-of-a-kind item.

With our list of the 25 Star Wars Toys That Are Impossible To Find (And How Much They’re Worth), we’re going to show off which of these toys will net their owners a significant collection of Imperial Credits. Almost every item on this list needs to be in perfect, unopened, unspoiled mint condition to be worth the prices attached (although in a few cases, it’s not possible), so do keep that in mind if you’re thinking of getting in on the dangerous game that is Star Wars toy collecting.

25 Luke With Extending Lightsaber ($1000)

For the least expensive item on our list to be “only” worth a thousand dollars, you can see just how crazy things are going to get later on. But before we get ahead of ourselves, let’s talk about the advent of Star Wars toys, way back with the advent of the franchise itself.

As one of the very first figures released, many have fond memories of this version of Luke, and especially of his lightsaber, which was gimmicked to fold into or out of itself to either extend or deactivate.

24 Han Solo With Blaster ($1000)

While it definitely makes sense for one of the oldest Luke Skywalker figures to be worth a small fortune, it also makes sense that the charming rogue, Han Solo, would be worth a pretty penny as well, and not just to Jabba the Hutt this time around.

Armed with his signature blaster, this Han Solo figure was also part of the original set of Star Wars figures, and it’s no surprise to that he has an impressive price on his head for modern day collectors.

23 Boba Fett ’79 ($2000)

Boba Fett might be one of the least fleshed out characters in the entirety of the Star Wars franchise (at least in terms of the films), but that never stopped legions upon legions of hardcore devotees from becoming obsessed with the helmeted bounty hunter.

Ironically, this bounty hunter has an impressive on himself, with the 1979 edition of the character fetching an impressive $2000.

That may seem high, but this is only the first of a few times we’ll see this iconic character on our list.

22 The Empire Six Pack ($2100)

By the time the Empire actually struck back, Star Wars was a gargantuan success, and the absolutely adored sequel only solidified the franchise’s place in the histories of both cinema and culture.

When it comes to the Empire Strikes Back Six Pack, which contained Darth Vader, a Snow Trooper, AT-AT Driver, Hoth Rebel, IG-88, and Yoda, collectors are keen on dropping over two-thousand dollars… especially if the version of the box is the one containing a yellow background for the figures.

21 Brazilian TIE Interceptor ’88 ($2150)

You’ll find few who would argue against the TIE Interceptor being the coolest fighter throughout the entirety of the Empire (not counting Darth Vader’s TIE Advanced, of course.) That was common knowledge back in ’88 as much as it is common knowledge today, but especially so in Brazil.

This version of the TIE Interceptor is extremely rare and was only distributed in Brazil, making it even more unique than the more common and wide-spread releases in North America. If you miraculously have one new and complete in box, consider yourself lucky.

20 Boba Fett From Droids ’85 ($2200)

Boba Fett strikes again, but this time in 1985. Instead of being marketed under the standard Star Wars brand, this version of the Mandalorian bounty hunter is part of the Star Wars Droids line, which in and of itself is already quite unique.

Critically though, this version contained a gold coin, which was the only non-silver coin to accompany any release of Boba Fett. While the general oddness of the figure itself certainly gives it value, it’s that ultra-rare coin that seals the deal.

19 Small-Headed Han Solo ($2500)

Much like Boba Fett, Han Solo will be making repeat appearances on this list and, perfectly mirroring his on-screen counterpart, will increasingly hefty bounties tied to him by a multitude of collectors. The specific version of the 1980 Han Solo that will yield you the most credits has one incredibly bizarre trait: a small head.

Due to mold issues stemming from trying to get the figures to look more like Harrison Ford, there’s a handful of 1980 Han Solos with smaller-than-usual heads, making them exceedingly rare.

18 Prototype R2-D2 Lunchbox ’77 ($2600)

The collectible lunchbox scene is likely far more bonkers than you would ever imagine without someone telling you otherwise, but even outsiders from that cutthroat world can see why this rare R2-D2 lunchbox is worth over $2500.

This thing not only looks super cool (and how could it not, bearing the likeness of the beloved Astromech Droid?), but it’s insanely rare, making its value skyrocket. As an unproduced prototype, there are only very few in existence, causing both Star Wars fans and lunchbox collectors to do battle over it.

17 George Lucas Minifigure ($2700)

The first (and definitely not the last) LEGO entry on our list is none other than an incarnation of the man behind Star Wars, George Lucas. Unlike many other entries on this list, this isn’t an old item, but it’s absolutely one of the rarest.

Details regarding the minifigure are scarce, as it’s considered a prototype due to never being mass produced. What this means for collectors is that there’s an unknown number of these things out there, and your first time seeing one might be your last.

16 C-3PO Minifigure Prototype ($3200)

Another prototype minifigure from LEGO, this C-3PO is clearly unlike the many other versions that exist of the iconic character. More specifically, he’s orange. So not only is it a prototype minifigure with no known production numbers, he’s also orange.

Because of his comparative oddness and extreme rarity, consider yourself one of the luckiest people on the planet if you happen to own one… and if you do, don’t forget that you can sell it for over $3000 (at the very least) should you be in need of cash.

15 Boba Fett Promo Minifigure ($3500)

LEGO strikes back even more times than the Empire itself, and this time it involves yet another multi-time offender of Star Wars collectibles, Boba Fett. With only two known version of this minifigure known to exist, this solid bronze promotional version of the character was a prize in a contest back in 2010.

We have no idea what happened to the one given to the winner of the contest, but we hope they’ve kept it well-preserved… preferably not in the belly of the Sarlaac.

14 Brazilian Vlix ($4000)

Not only do we have another entry from the Star Wars Droids brand of merchandise, but it’s also yet another item exclusive to Brazil. While Kenner had intended on producing their own version of Vlix, they never got the chance, but Glasslite in Brazil did.

Despite actually existing, this figure is supremely rare, and you’d be hard pressed to find someone who actually has one, boxed or otherwise. Due to its nearly inconceivable scarcity, this is one of the few entries where being unboxed or in less-than-mint condition has no bearing on the value.

13 Vader’s TIE Fighter ’78 ($4000)

The TIE Interceptor is definitely cool, as we’ve discussed above, but so is Darth Vader’s one-of-a-kind TIE Advanced. The curved wings are super cool, plus it has a shield generator unlike the rest of its TIE brethren.

In 1978, there was a version of this TIE fighter made by Kenner, but its design was based on an early version of Vader’s fighter, giving it a look that is unique to itself and doesn’t mirror the screen-used model. If you’ve got it mint in box, despite its insane rarity, you could be the proud recipient of $4,000… if you’ve found the right buyer.

12 C-3PO Bronze Minifigure ($4100)

At this point, it almost seems like LEGO is intentionally manipulating not only their own collector market, but the Star Wars one as well. This 2007 C-3PO is one of a kind, and totally solid bronze, just like the aforementioned Boba Fett minifigure.

As literally the only version of this minifigure to exist, you can imagine its unrivaled rarity. Part of a promotional giveaway, it’s hard to know the character’s fate, but we can only hope that it wasn’t carelessly lost or destroyed in some accident.

11 Chewie ’77 ($4150)

It’s about time that Han Solo’s co-pilot got in on the high-priced collector’s market action, and the 1977 Chewbacca with Bowcaster does exactly that.

If you’re lucky enough to own this version of the Wookie, you’ve got something rare and valuable on your hands. That said, if you want to sell it for the ultimate price, it’s going to need to be in absolutely pristine, mint condition, with a box that looks like it was just printed yesterday, including the absence of a price tag (and no leftover residue.)

10 Death Squad Commander ’77 ($4850)

One of the original twelve Star Wars figures that were promised to buyers before they actually existed, the so-called “Death Squad Commander” from 1977 is extremely rare.

Of course, there’s an inherent value attached to rarity when it comes to markets filled with ravenous collectors (of which Star Wars fits the bill), but the most critical component to this piece’s monetary value is its condition. Anything lest than untouched, pure mint, and you’re looking at a far less impressive pay out.

9 Gamorrean Guard With Coin ($5000)

Earlier on this list, we talked about the Droids version of Boba Fett, and how he came with a gold coin. This is a similar case, but this time it’s the “Power of the Force” collection’s Gamorrean Guard.

Much like what made Boba Fett’s Droids stint so valuable, the Gamorrean Guard’s worth is determined by not just the condition of its package, but whether or not it has the pristine, silver coin it that came with it. If it does, and the rest of the item is in superior condition, you’re looking at $5000.

8 Mexican Darth Vader ’83 ($6500)

While Darth Vader might be one of the most iconic characters in Star Wars, and a longtime favorite, this particular piece is far less widespread than many of the figures the character has spawned over the years.

Distributed exclusively in Mexico, this version of Darth Vader is so rare, that finding one in an unopened and undamaged package is almost like acquiring the Kaiburr Crystal from the doomed Empire “sequel,” Splinter of the Mind’s Eye. That said, while $6500 is certainly an impressive figure, but it’s far from the top of the mountain.

7 Obi-Wan ’77 ($6500)

Considered to be only five total in existence, this 1977 Obi-Wan, part of the original twelve figures, is almost mind-bogglingly rare.

While finding one in rough, unboxed condition is a chore that’ll still net you some cash, the real gem, and the one that is part of the mere five in existence, is new in its box, unfettered, and equipped with the telescoping lightsaber.

Rumor has it that the original version of the extending sabers was so delicate that Kenner created a revised version… but some of the older types got out into the wild, and this Obi-Wan supposedly has one.

6 Darth Vader ’77 ($6500)

Another member of the original twelve figures, this 1977 Darth Vader’s value stems from the same rarity of the above 1977 Obi-Wan, especially in regards to the unrevised lightsaber that it is apparently equipped with.

This particular version of the character, complete in box with the rare lightsaber, could possibly get a seller even more than 6500, with some reaching $30,000 in value, despite that not being the norm. Still, if you happen to find one of the 3 left in existence, you might as well get it graded immediately, and then lock it away in a safe until you’re in need of some serious cash.

5 Anakin Skywalker ’85 ($7500)

Ah, the pre-DVD-release Anakin Skywalker. Fans (including us) expressed great dismay at his replacement with Hayden Christensen for the DVD release, so it’s a comfort (no matter how small) that the original Anakin is still so beloved that his 1985 figure can go for $7500.

There’s a catch though: this one was only released in Canada. Still, if you can somehow get your hands on a mint condition, totally undamaged and unopened Canadian Anakin Skywalker, complete with coin, you will have achieved an even greater power than coming back as a Force ghost.

4 C-3PO Gold Minifigure ($10,000)

LEGO strikes back for the final time on our list, and this time it’s their most powerful, rare and valuable version of their C-3PO minifigure. Made entirely of solid gold, with only five in existence, it’s no surprise to find a value of $10,000 attached to the bumbling droid.

LEGO’s unyielding grip on the rare Star Wars toy market is practically unprecedented, with their purposefully scarce figures creating an ever-skyrocketing value. We don’t know the condition of the five figures that were supposedly given away, but we’re hoping that the dumb kids who received them didn’t flush them down the toilet or smear clay on them.

3 Medical Droid ’80 ($11,500)

Something that’s always been fascinating about the Star Wars toy line is its dedication to bringing the most obscure characters off the screen and into a physical, plastic form.

With a seemingly endless cast of bizarre background characters to pull from, it makes sense that toys would be produced for as many of them as possible, since buying Luke, Leia, or Vader repeatedly can’t cut it forever.

Enter the Medical Droid from 1980. For some unknown reason, a buyer dropped $11,500 on a mint in box version of this non-character, and that’s caused its value to remain around that range ever since.

2 Vinyl Cloak Jawa ’77 ($18,000)

One of the holiest grails of the Star Wars toy line, the 1977 Jawa is something of a legend within the collector’s community. Yet another member of the first twelve Star Wars figures ever, there’s a certain variation of the character that gives it its insanely high value: the vinyl cape.

Later releases gave the figure a cloth cape, but the truly original version has a vinyl one, and it’s that factor alone (along with it being mint in box) that gives the toy its jaw-dropping value.

1 Rocket-Launching Boba Fett Prototype ($22,500)

While the above vinyl-caped Jawa was one of the holy grails of Star Wars toys, the rocket-launching Boba Fett prototype is the holy grail. This toy is so rare, that there are quite a few people who consider it a myth rather than a reality, but one actually sold for $22,500 on eBay.

What makes the figure so valuable is that it was a mail-in, proof-of-purchase prize and had a firing rocket launcher. The legend states that the missile was deemed a choking hazard, and the rest of the toys had the firing mechanism replaced… but the prototype exists, and is the supreme collectible for hardcore Star Wars fans.

2019-03-28 05:03:03

Joseph Walter

American Gods Season 2 Review: A Dizzying Premiere Is Almost Worth The Wait

It’s been nearly two years since the Starz adaptation of Neil Gaiman’s American Gods was on TV, and in that time there’ve been some dramatic changes behind the scenes. Those changes are, first and foremost, due to the rumored-to-be tumultuous departure of season 1 co-showrunners Bryan Fuller and Michael Green, and the hiring of Jesse Alexander as the show’s new head writer. The loss of Fuller and Green, not to mention Gillian Anderson in the role of the new god Media, is such that the lengthy delay between seasons 1 and 2 might actually work in the show’s favor, as, unless you were one of the subscribers who partook in the late 2018 season 1 marathon, chances are the differences between Fuller’s style — particularly his penchant for surrealist visuals and heavy dream logic — and that of Alexanders won’t be quite so jarring. If not, well, then the show will certainly feel a bit different when it picks back up with Mr. Wednesday, Shadow Moon, and the rest of the motley crew of Old Gods on their way to the House on the Rock in the season 2 premiere. 

Part of the appeal of American Gods season 1 wasn’t just the chance to see Gaiman’s novel come to life; it was also the way in which the series so often resorted to using a purely visual storytelling language in order to convey the otherworldly nature of the story it was in the process of telling. That meant extended sequences that defied logic and infused the series with an otherworldly sensibility that not only perfectly suited the idea of Odin (Ian McShane) traveling cross-country with his bodyguard — a newly widowed (but not really) ex-con named Shadow Moon (Ricky Whittle) — but also occasionally elevated it to an experience unlike anything else on television. That way of thinking also led the series to get mired in its own visual excess from time to time, like the multi-episode arc that concerned Shadow playing a game of checkers with Peter Stormare’s hammer-wielding Czernobog, with literal life-and-death stakes. 

Alexander’s approach, then, is a little like an attempt to fine tune Fuller and Green’s vision for the series, to make it a little more palatable and grounded, while still remaining committed to the bit. The bit being, of course, that American Gods takes place in a strange, violent, sometimes beautiful, and phantasmagorical world where anything can and does happen. Despite Fuller and Green’s seemingly singular visual storytelling approach to season 1, the series proves malleable enough that, although their absence is immediately noticeable, it’s not long before the series settles into this new(ish) way of doing things and gets to the business at hand. 

That business is the pending war between Mr. Wednesday’s Old Gods and the New Gods in league with Crispin Glover’s Mr. World. The season 2 premiere, ‘House on the Rock,’ makes that abundantly clear with a cold open that sees Mr. World and Technical Boy (Bruce Langley) licking their wounds in the aftermath of Odin baring his teeth so to speak in the season 1 finale. Despite Glover and Langley’s performances, the scene is stilted and awkward; it’s a rough example of the sort of necessary housecleaning serialized television shows sometimes have to undertake in order to set the table from one season to the next. To Alexander’s credit, he does try to get through the opening as quickly as possible, literally having Mr. World spell out the circumstances of the plot to his vaping underling, and pointing out how important (New) Media is to his plan. 

The effect of this opening is that American Gods tends to feel more grounded, and as a result, less dreamlike and more ordinary or run of the mill. There are hints that the show’s illusory nature is still present, as Mr. Wednesday and his fellow Old Gods — which now includes Sakina Jaffrey (Timeless) as Mama-Ji — explore the actual House on the Rock and turn an enormous carousel into a gateway into Wednesday’s mind. Here, the show makes use of what seems to be more conventional visuals, as the Old Gods’ true forms are revealed to Shadow and the audience, giving them an admittedly impressive VFX sheen that makes them seem a little more magical than before, albeit in a way that’s almost purely surface-level. 

While season 2 of American Gods seems intent on giving the audience a Godly war that’s showy in a way that’s is perhaps more accessible or less prone to certain flights of visual fancy, the show’s real ace in the hole is the fraught domestic drama between Shadow and his “dead” wife Laura (Emily Browning). While Shadow remains a cipher for the most part, a mostly nothing character who is carried along by the whims of others, Laura is quickly turning into one of the most compelling aspects of the entire series. Her drive — to protect and possibly reconcile with her husband — couples well with the supernatural circumstances that find her a super-powerful rotting corpse with little regard for Wednesday’s war or his supposed authority. As much as Shadow is meant to represent the audience, to be the one saying how strange and unbelievable this all is, Laura’s dogged devotion and irreverent attitude toward all gods (Old and New) makes her the series’ unlikely MVP. 

Browning is at her best when opposite Pablo Schreiber’s Mad Sweeney, as the two make for an entertaining odd couple — always at odds with one another, but with a grudging respect for the other — as they’re both marginalized members of Wednesday’s core group. That might spell trouble for Laura and Shadow’s interactions in the long run, but for the time being American Gods has found a successful formula in the pairing. The same is true of Jones’s Mr. Nancy being given a larger role in the first two episodes, seeing him paired with McShane, mostly to comedic effect. 

‘House on the Rock’ is largely a housecleaning episode of the series, one that’s tasked with getting the show acclimated to the potentially disastrous behind-the-scenes changes that happened between seasons, while also working to maintain some semblance of forward momentum in the story. The end result is a mixed bag overall, something that’s almost worth the extraordinarily long wait for American Gods season 2.

Next: gen:LOCK Season 1 Finale Review: An Extended Battle Sequence Offers A Necessary Punch

American Gods continues next Sunday with ‘The Beguiling Man’ @8pm on Starz.

2019-03-09 05:03:22

Kevin Yeoman

Red Dead Redemption 2: 13 Side Quests Every Player Needs To Complete (And 7 That Aren’t Worth It)

Where Red Dead Redemption 2 really sets itself apart is in the details. While there are plenty of open world games that allow your character to wander around and interact freely, there are only a rare few in which the developers have hand-crafted such incredible particulars. For example, not only might you hear about a show that’s playing in town, but you can actually buy a ticket and watch a full-length vaudeville act, complete with a freak show and an actress that performs a little show tune (and this is within a side quest). Some people could complete the main campaign and never bother seeing the show. No doubt, this is why Red Dead Redemption 2 is breaking sales records. So much care and feeding went into every single playable detail that you’d swear this world actually exists.

However, Arthur is only as involved as you want him to be. It is you, the player, that gets to decide what side-adventures he plays a part in and whether or not he even completes the side missions he starts. It’s a rich world and a weird one on top of that. Depending on the side quest, Red Dead Redemption 2 can be a comedy, drama, mystery, horror film, romance, or even a sci-fi adventure. Whenever you undertake a new mission, you have no idea where it might lead or who will be left standing at the end of it. According to players and critics, here are 13 Side Quests That Every Player Needs To Complete (And 7 That Aren’t Worth It).

20 Complete: Oh, Brother

You’re taking a stroll through the town of Valentine when you encounter two brothers trying to impress the same woman. With one look, they decide to get you involved in deciding which brother deserves the girl. One brother excitedly says: “Do I look like a coward to you? I mean, obviously, I do because I look like that milksop there…” To which the other brother retorts: “I apologize sir… for his SMELL.” Suddenly, they’re asking you to fire at bottles off their heads to prove their courage.

And so the rest of this weird mission goes, with two insecure brothers whose egos are only matched by their comical vocabularies. Before you know it, they’re threatening to throw themselves off a cliff. It’s not like Arthur to entertain fools, but these guys are just hilarious enough to make it worthwhile.

19 Complete: The Noblest of Men, And a Woman

In Valentine, you meet Theodore Levin, an author who is writing a book about the notorious slinger Jim “Boy” Calloway. The book isn’t going so well, largely because Calloway hasn’t been very cooperative or helpful in interviews. Levin drafts you on a mission to interview other colorful characters that have had experience with Calloway in order to help round out the book.

This ends up being quite the adventure, as everyone on the list is pretty dangerous, with some more likely to respond to interviewers with bullets rather than anecdotes. You’ll run into wild personalities like Flaco Hernandez, Billy Midnight, Emmet Granger, and Black Belle, just to name a few. There are great rewards on this mission as you’ll get at least three great weapons that are worth your while, all in a perilous quest that will continue to surprise you. Keep your trigger finger frosty.

18 Complete: The Mercies of Knowledge

The ethical part of scientific experimentation was still pretty dicey in this era. The field of electrical science has been particularly spooky in its development, with harrowing stories of Edison publicly using elephants to prove the powers of electricity.

In this mission, you run into an inventor in the northern area of St. Denis who needs an ample supply of moonshine. The bigger picture is that he needs a permit and a test subject to publicly demonstrate his latest invention: the electric chair. You would be right in guessing that he needs Arthur to help him get the permit and the test subject. In the inventor’s mind, he is creating a humane alternative to capital punishment, but it doesn’t work out so well, for all involved. It’s a morbid adventure, but you don’t really want to miss it.

17 Not Worth It: Of Men and Angels

Arthur, despite himself, often ends up doing the right thing. He certainly has no qualms about being violent, but he’s not some kind of sociopath either. It’s ironic, though, that so many feel comfortable asking Arthur for help having no idea of his highly criminal background.

In this mission, a nun asks Arthur for a simple charity: donate food to the poor. If you donate, the nun catches on quickly that Arthur doesn’t like when people see his soft side. She says: “You are wonderful, Mr. Morgan.” “That ain’t true,” he replies. “Oh, I meant wonderful but… so very [spooky]. As you wish.” That’s it. That’s the mission. The hardest thing you’ll have to figure out is whether you want to give her the canned apricots, the canned kidney beans, or the Bluegill fish.

16 Complete: The Ties That Bind Us

When you first encounter these two escaped prisoners on the lam, they are literally at each other’s throats. After calming them down a bit, you agree to help get the law off their back by collecting all the posters with their faces around town. After this is done, you expect them to go their separate ways, however, these two just can’t quit each other.

You run into them several more times, where it becomes apparent that they can’t survive without each other. They quarrel like an old couple, but when push comes to shove, there’s a lot of love there. It’s hard not to find these two adorable, and they provide a nice bit of comic relief to all the other serious goings-on. If you want to help them out, look for them southwest of Rhodes Town.

15 Complete: A Bright Bouncing Boy

This one is really quite special. In West St. Denis, you’ll encounter Marko Dragic, an obvious nod to the very real Nikola Tesla. Dragic wants your help showing off his breakthrough wave-based technology to potential investors. To you, he’s blathering on about a toy boat, but to him, he’s demonstrating invisible waves you can’t see that are controlling the boat remotely. Arthur is understandably skeptical, repeating with disbelief: “Invisible waves I can’t see.”

Later, he needs your help in capturing electricity from a nearby storm. Arthur is ignorant enough about electricity to not think twice about running around outside with metal rods. The third mission is straight out of early science fiction, and we won’t spoil it for you here; just make sure to follow the mission until the very end to learn the fate of the mysterious Marko Dragic.

14 Not Worth It: Do Not Seek Absolution

Arthur’s not sorry for all the people he’s hurt in the past, because in his mind, so many of them deserved it. But occasionally, he runs into a situation where he IS sorry because life is complicated, and deep down, he has a heart. Such is the case where he accidentally encounters Edith Downes in Annenberg, a woman he had previously shaken down to settle a debt. Arthur collected, but she and her grown son are now destitute as a result.

If you choose to help in this mission, you will do it against her wishes and most likely out of a sense of guilt. In the end, you will end up $35 poorer for your troubles. If you must for your conscience, then it might be worth it, but it’s a sad little quest for which you will get little thanks.

13 Complete: He’s British, Of Course

The title of this mission reflects what’s going on in Arthur’s head. If you run into a man in Lemoyne dressed as a woman who happens to be missing a few circus animals… well, he must be British. This circus performer begs for Arthur’s help in tracking down a missing zebra, tiger, and lion. The zebra and the tiger hold some hilarious surprises, but it’s the lion that will give you the most trouble, and resultantly, the most excitement.

It’s a man-eater, so you’ll have to use your tracking, hunting, and hiding skills to get the lion. You’ll learn quickly how NOT to trap a hungry lion in a barn and the reward is pretty good, too. It’s a nice and weird break from the typically “western” things you usually have to do.

12 Not Worth It: The Aberdeen Pig Farm

You wouldn’t take candy from strangers, right? So, why on earth would you take liquor and beef stew from strangers? Perhaps the smell of those delicious vittles made Arthur forget that there are weird folks out there that are up to no good. It starts out, innocently enough, with a plump guy wearing only his overalls inviting you into his and his sister’s remote cabin for supper. Maybe they’re just lonely? This just seems like a dumb move on Arthur’s part.

He’s a little too close with his sister, and on top of that, it seems like she’s putting the moves on you. However, it’s not long before you wake up after being poisoned, blacked out, and robbed of everything you own. You can get it all back, but you’re just recovering your losses. Avoid these degenerates, it’s not worth it.

11 Complete: The Smell of the Grease Paint

The circus act wasn’t the only traveling show in these parts. While stopping by a saloon at the Van Horn Trading post, you meet Miss Marjorie and her gigantic friend with a misshapen head, Bertram. Bertram is in the midst of ending the bartender when you manage to intervene and de-escalate the situation.

Miss Marjorie is the head of a freak show act, of which Bertram is a part, but she’s missing her little person magician, Magnifico. She wants you to track him down and wrangle him back into his contractual responsibilities for the show. If you do as asked, you can later see their show in St. Denis and get a $40 reward in a letter from Miss Marjorie. The developers actually made a little entertaining show for you to watch, so that alone is worth it.

10 Not Worth It: Good, Honest, Snake Oil

There’s a literal snake oil salesman that’s been peddling medicine that’s been sending folks to an early grave. The way the Sheriff sees it, that’s far worse than ending people in with ammo, so he sends you after him, but he wants him alive.

It’s not that the cause isn’t worthwhile, it’s just sort of a nothing mission, over in just a few minutes. You’ll find your man, he panics and jumps in the river. Then, you have to chase him downriver on horseback, lasso him in the water and endure his complaining all the way back to town. You’ll be rewarded about $50, so not a bad haul, but… it’s over soon and you’re not missing much if you skip it.

9 Complete: The Veteran

Arthur is no-nonsense and he tends to hold people at arm’s length. So, when he meets someone he has a genuine affection for, it’s really something special. It all starts when he encounters Hamish Sinclair, a one-legged war veteran out in the middle of Grizzlies East who needs help wrangling back his runaway horse. The infernal creature happened to run off with his prosthetic leg, too. Since Arthur can’t leave the poor guy without his leg or horse, he obliges.

After he returns the horse, Hamish invites him fishing and they make fast friends as Arthur can’t help but take a genuine shine to him. We won’t spoil the ending, but if you want to see what kind of person Arthur gets along with best, this veteran and outdoorsman would be on the top of his list.

8 Not Worth It: Brothers and Sisters, One And All

It’s a beautiful day in St. Denis. You’re making small talk with some church-folk: Brother Dorkins and Sister Calderon. Suddenly, a pick-pocketing kid takes off with Sister Calderon’s crucifix. The mission is simple: chase the kid and get the crucifix back.

The only thing is, this mission is more trouble than it’s worth. After you get the crucifix back, you run into Edith Downes, who promptly calls the law on you. Now, you’ve got to run and hide until the meter shows that the law has given up trying to find you. If you know what you’re doing, you can elude them. But, you still risk capture just for trying to do the right thing and get a nun’s crucifix back to her.

7 Complete: Arcadia for Amateurs

The inclusion of a wildlife photographer as a character is an ingenious way to highlight the natural splendor of the wilderness that designers created.  When you first encounter Albert Mason southeast of Strawberry, he explains that he’s moved on from photographing people and instead, wants to capture shots of wildlife. Unfortunately, he’s not much of an outdoorsman, and while trying to take great pictures of coyotes and wolves, he needs you to defend him so he doesn’t end up a pile of bones picked clean of meat.

It’s a multi-part mission that finally ends with him attempting to get shots of eagles over a breathtaking view of the countryside. Albert is a bit of a dunce when it comes to nature, but he does have an amazing eye for pictures and it’s worth it just for the sight-seeing.

6 Complete: Fatherhood and Other Dreams

Arthur definitely has a heart, but he’s a bit of a weird romantic. However, what he lacks in his verbal expression, he makes up for in deeds as he is definitely a man of action. In this mission, he sells a brooch on behalf of his former flame, Mary. It’s more complicated than that, but you’ll see once you undertake the mission. After it’s done, you’ll have an opportunity to take Mary to the theater for a genuinely entertaining vaudeville three-act show.

Afterward, you’ll have a bittersweet exchange with Mary, who so desperately wants you to run away with her. But, you must remind her that you are a wanted man and you don’t want her mixed up in all that. It’s sad because you can see that they both want a fairy tale ending… it’s just not going to happen.

5 Complete: The Wisdom of the Elders

Sometimes, wicked people cover their tracks with a little supernatural camouflage; kind of like all the bad guys in Scooby Doo. West of Van Horn, Arthur gets drawn into a bizarre plot after rescuing a man near the river who appears weird. The villagers tell him that their region is cursed, and later, you are attacked by “demon dogs” and encounter a shaman who asks you to terminate some cursed charms. The shaman also told the villagers not to go near the old mines.

If you investigate, you find the mines are leaking poisoned water into the creek, which explains people and animals going nuts. The shaman works for a fuel company and is trying to get the illiterate townspeople to sign a contract to protect them from any liability. Arthur enacts a little frontier justice on the shyster, which is pretty sweet to watch.

4 Not Worth It: The Course of True Love IV and V

Getting involved as a go-between and defender for two star-crossed lovers from feuding families seems like the last thing that would be on Arthur’s list of things to do. And honestly, it really should. You’ll get involved with the acrimony of two well-off families that dislike each other’s guts in an earlier main story, but this later mission is completely optional. After you receive a letter from Penelope, you have the option of traveling to Butcher Creek to defend her and Beau from trigger-happy relatives on the train platform.

You’ll board a train the easy way or the hard way to ward off attackers trying to get to Penelope and Beau. In the end, you’ll receive a small reward that hardly seems worth continuing this soap opera gone wrong.

3 Complete: American Dreams

Arthur has seen quite a few unpleasant things during his short time on Earth, which actually gives him a lot of practical experience when it comes to figuring things out. In this mission, you’ll get to play detective when you discover corpses laying about, deliberately meant to be found with cryptic messages left behind.

You’ll have to follow some clues, solve some puzzles, and do a bit of sleuthing to get to the bottom of who is responsible. The perpetrator is a prophecy-style criminal and has his eye set on you for his next casualty. This is a hard R-rated mission for unsightly images. Once you solve the puzzle and meet the madman, be sure to stay on your toes as he’s out of his mind and you’re the only one that can bring him to justice.

2 Not Worth It: Money Lending and Other Sins

Your gang has a few outstanding debts it needs to collect, and your compatriot, Leopold Strauss, wants you to do it. As Arthur, you’ve shaken down a few people in your time, so it’s not a weird thing to ask. So, if you want, you can go through the list one by one and go collect the money. You can do that by collecting actual currency or just taking collateral such as horses and jewelry to satisfy the debt to Leopold.

It’s an ok mission, but the reward you get is embarrassingly small for all the work you do. If you complete the list, you’ll get more than if you just partially complete it. But honestly, you can skip this whole little side quest and you won’t miss much.

1 Complete: American Inferno, Burnt Out

This mission can only be completed after you complete all the main story missions. South of Strawberry and the Montana River, you’ll encounter Evelyn Miller, a famous author. He’ll invite you to his home, and you’ll run into a few disagreeable poachers along the way. Throughout the mission, you become Evelyn’s link to the outside world as he locks himself into his cabin to work on his book. He’ll need to be brought food about three times over the course of several days.

Evelyn is certainly passionate about his work as he ignores the needs of his body and literally writes himself into an early grave. After you find him passed away, you can collect a few things of value and then try to fulfill his last request. It’s a sad mission, but at least you can help him a little.

Have you experienced any other missions worth completing or neglecting in RDR2? Let us know in the comments below!

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2018-12-10 01:12:36

16 Video Games That Take More Than 50 Hours To Beat That Are Worth It (And 9 That Aren’t)

Time is money, with every wasted moment is akin to setting dollar bills on fire. Most avid gamers would love nothing more than to sit on their couch or in front of their computer, spending two thirds of the day in their favorite fantasy world, but that usually isn’t feasible. Because everyday life takes priority over leisure time, people have to be careful which games they choose to play.

Deciding which title to dive into can be especially stressful when the the games are enormous. If it is a stellar title, then every second feels well spent. Should the game be lackluster, though, then players will find themselves simply going through the motions, reaching the end only to convince themselves that the whole thing wasn’t in vain.

For this reason we have compiled a list of games that take dozens of hours to complete, classified by whether or not they are worth the time to do so. It should be noted that some of the entries are more open ended, meaning they can be completed in a relatively short amount of time if desired, but diving into the real meat of the content will still fill up the hours. Additionally, games deemed unworthy are not necessarily bad, but may not be compelling enough to warrant several days of gaming.

So clear your schedules, because here are the 16 Video Games That Take More Than 50 Hours To Beat That Are Worth It (And 9 That Aren’t).

25 Worth It: The Witcher 3

The first two games set in Andrzej Sapkowski’s mature fantasy world were revered by critics and fans, but they were still niche products. The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt blew the lid off of the whole franchise, exposing the fleshed out universe to a whole new legion of fans.

Unlike most open world fantasy games, the player character is well defined, leaving little room for aesthetic customization. Despite this, player choice still factors greatly into the plot and interactions. Geralt of Rivia has a hard shelled exterior, but the driving force of his mission is the parental bond he has with Ciri.

24 Worth It: Grand Theft Auto V

Rockstar outdoes itself with each game it delivers. Red Dead Redemption 2 is currently feeding gamers’ hunger for engrossing, living sandboxes, but Grand Theft Auto V should not be forgotten so soon.

The game holds around seventy story missions. This is about twenty less than its predecessor, but there is no filler to be found; each one is an memorable event. Besides those, there are a plethora of side missions and an expansive multiplayer mode that has taken on a life of its own. GTA VI probably won’t be around anytime soon, but V has yet to grow stale, and it probably never will.

23 Not Worth It: Metal Gear Solid V

It’s hard to discourage players from picking up this title, since what is there of it is one of the greatest action games in recent memory. The precise problem lays in the words “what is there of it.” Due to a well publicized falling out between Kojima Productions and the publisher, Konami, The Phantom Pain was released in a painfully unfinished state.

The game still works, but there comes a point in the story where everything falls apart and it beelines to a finish, leaving vital questions unanswered. It’s better to acknowledge Metal Gear Solid 4 as the true finale, and everything else afterwards as a bonus.

22 Worth It: Breath Of The Wild

The premiere Legend of Zelda title wowed NES (or Famicom) owners with its emphasis on exploration and discovery. Ocarina of Time managed to recapture this feeling, but no other entry had done so until 2017’s Breath of the Wild.

The voice of a distressed Princess Zelda wakes a slumbering Link and — after a short tutorial in the immediate surrounding location — the world is open up for discovery. The open ended design does not sacrifice plot, as the cinematics are more beautiful than ever. Traversing every inch of the ruined Hyrule takes countless hours, and every moment is pure bliss.

21 Worth It: Final Fantasy XII

The Final Fantasy series has a stellar track record, with few of its numbered entries being considered anything less than phenomenal. Several Final Fantasys could have been on this list, but XII gets the mention because of its especially grand scope.

Tackling the main story without any side quests takes longer than most RPGs, but why would anyone want to ignore the bonus activities? Ivalice had been utilized a few times before, in games like Final Fantasy Tactics and Vagrant Story, but never had it felt so real and bustling with life.

20 Not Worth It: Final Fantasy XIV Before A Realm Reborn

Hubris is a bad characteristic to have, and it all too easily latches itself onto successful people. Square-Enix was still riding high off of Final Fantasy XI’s success when XIV was released in 2010. The new MMO felt outdated, frustrating to navigate, and like a slap in the face to fans.

Fortunately, this story has a happy ending. Square made the wise decision to completely redesign the game, eventually relaunching it in 2013 as A Ream Reborn. The original build is now impossible to access, and the company has regained the MMO community’s trust.

19 Worth It: Skyrim

This game is often associated with the joke about porting it to every console imaginable. It is a funny bit of droll, but bringing it to as many gamers as possible is a noble mission, because everyone deserves the opportunity to experience The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim for themselves.

Certain elements are streamlined from previous entries, but the core tenants that make an Elder Scrolls game are still present and more engaging than they have ever been. The title is seven years old, but traversing through the rural region of Skyrim is still a blast.

18 Worth It: Any Of The Yakuza Games

One shouldn’t expect a realistic representation of the notorious crime syndicate from this series, but they will find soap opera-esque melodrama and over the top melee combat. The entire series spans several decades, and follows a core group of characters.

The older titles have not aged graciously, but Sega has been generous enough to remake first two games, making them smoother experiences for modern times. With these remakes, it is easier than ever for newcomers to jump into the series and see what fans have been fawning over for all of these years.

17 Not Worth It: Elder Scrolls II

The older Elder Scrolls games paved the way for what would later become one of the industries’ most venerated franchises, but diving into them now takes the patience of a saint and the free time of a pensioner. Modern conveniences are absent, and bugs are heavily prevalent.

The upside is that should players learn to grasp the outdated controls and obsolete mechanics, there is a breathlessly expansive world to be explored. Elder Scrolls II: Daggerfall and its predecessor are worth picking up as curiosities, but will compel few to complete them these days.

16 Worth It: Fallout New Vegas

Both Fallout titles from the last generation of consoles hold up to this day, even if their graphical presentation leaves something to be desired. New Vegas gets a special mention because of its faithfulness to the original two titles, due to Chris Avallone’s involvement.

The spin off title also differs itself Bethesda’s efforts in the series because of its emphasis on player choice effecting the world. Gamers interested in picking it up should play the PC or 360 version, though, as the PS3 release is still wrought with bugs and crashes.

15 Worth It: Mass Effect 2

Some may argue that playing through the Mass Effect trilogy is not a worthwhile endeavor, as its ending left a sour taste in everyone’s mouthes. It is true that the conclusion is disappointing even with its patched amendments, but games, like life, are more than just about the destination. The journey to the finale is more rewarding than the final moments before the credits roll.

Playing through the trilogy leads to countless special moments and unforgettable encounters. A mediocre ending is only a small blight that does little to tarnish the overall saga.

14 Not Worth It: Fallout 4

Fallout 4 is a not a bad game by any stretch of the word, and anybody who plays it is sure to have fun. However, the changes it made to the classic Fallout formula proved too much for some veteran fans. Player choice is no longer at the forefront, with an increased significance placed on collecting loot and exploring dungeons.

Admittedly, the game runs out of gas before the majority of the side quests can be completed. The DLC offerings also fail to live up to the prior entries’ unique expansions.

13 Worth It: Legend Of Dragoon

The PS1 ushered in something of a golden age for RPGs from Japan. Almost everyone fondly recalls the console’s Final Fantasy titles, but a few gems are less remembered by younger generations, like Xenogears, Legend of Legaia, and The Legend of Dragoon.

Legend of Dragoon was an expensive undertaking at the time, and fortunately did manage to make back its budget in sales. Playing it today proves that the mechanics and story have stood the test of time. Anyone interested in visiting this old classic is in luck, as it is available on the Playstation Store as a PS1 Classic.

12 Worth It: Red Dead Redemption 2

It’s barely been out over a month, and Red Dead Redemption 2 is already being hailed as one of the greatest games of all time. Much like true love, sometimes people don’t need time; they know it when they see it. This epic tale of the fading outlaw lifestyle provides spine tingling story moments and heart pounding firefights.

When not progressing through the story, there are a wealth of bonus activities and side quests to undertake. Even the most mundane of these remains interesting, as they are usually accompanied with well written dialogue that allows the player to learn more about Arthur Morgan and the rest of Dutch van der Linde’s gang.

11 Not Worth It: Final Fantasy XIII

For those who know what they are getting into, Final Fantasy XIII is a fun ride. Unfortunately, the thirteenth title sparked the ire of many fans with its linear design that removed even the slightest illusion of freedom.

Time has only made the game less intriguing to play. Two sequels were released, creating an entire Final Fantasy XIII trilogy. Sadly, though, they don’t live up to the original’s quality, and the plot takes ridiculous twists. One game with a concrete ending would have been enough, but knowing there are two more afterwards makes the first one less appealing these days.

10 Worth It: Dragon Age

Bioware didn’t forget about fantasy fans when it released the epic space opera, Mass Effect, in 2007. Two years later saw Dragon Age: Origins hit store shelves, marking the beginning of another classic franchise. Those familiar with the developer were more comfortable with the setting, which hearkened back to its earlier Boulder’s Gate and Neverwinter Nights days.

The latest entry was 2014’s Dragon Age: Inquisition. The franchise’s future is uncertain, but here’s hoping the company commences work on a new entry after Anthem comes out. Perhaps they have already started development in secret.

9 Worth It: Xenosaga

Tetsuya Takahashi worked on numerous legendary titles, including several Final Fantasy games and Chrono Trigger. Younger gamers will most likely recognize the name from the well regarded Xenoblade Chronicles series. Those are from the first of his titles to bear “Xeno” in their titles, however.

Playstation One has Xenogears, and the PS2 has the Xenosaga trilogy. All four of these titles are immaculately crafted narrative driven RPGs. These intensely dramatic games stand out from the crowd by focusing on science fiction settings and themes, instead of the comfortable fantasy tropes expected from the genre.

8 Not Worth It: Fallout 76

No one is surprised that Bethesda has released another glitch ridden product, but the amount of bugs that populate Fallout 76 is truly surprising. What’s worse, though, is the fact that the game itself is not that fun even if one can look past all of the crashes, frame rate drops, and connection issues. The developer is working on fixing the issues plaguing the multiplayer game, but it is best to stay away from it for now.

On the bright side, there are still four incredible mainline entries and a fantastic spin off, more than enough content to keep players occupied until the next 76 patch comes out.

7 Worth It: Persona

The more than twenty year old Persona series is itself a spinoff of Megami Tensei, an older Atlus franchise. Right from the get-go, it is clear that the games are for a niche audience, but this also means that one will never find a similar experience like the one offered by Persona.

Praise can be sung all day about the battle systems and dungeon, but the slices of every day life in between are what really make the series so unique. The older games may have some obsolete mechanics incongruous to modern sensibilities, but the series as a whole is a worthwhile endeavor.

6 Not Worth It: APB Reloaded

Those familiar with MMOs probably already know to steer clear of this one. The original APB had been in development for half a decade before launching half baked. A quick glance at the game reveals a product that looks incomplete.

The servers shut down several months later and the game was heavily reworked into it’s Reloaded version. Now it is free to play and on consoles. However, despite being free and sporting an impressive breadth of content, none of it is entertaining. There are better MMO’s out there, and certainly better open world games in urban settings.

5 Worth It: Dark Souls

A common complaint about modern games is there lack of difficulty. the eight bit era was absolutely unforgiving, and people still want a title that pushes the limits of their skills. For those with such desires, nothing will scratch that itch better than the Dark Souls series.

The games are brutal, but never feel completely unfair. The feeling of finally besting a challenging foe is indescribable, and best discovered by people on their own. FromSoftware has several other incredible titles of a similar ilk, such as Demon’s Soul and Bloodborne.

4 Not Worth It: No Man’s Sky

Hello Games billed their ambitious title as the space exploration game to end all space exploration games. The final product did essentially live up to all of its promises, but these promises were not conducive to a fulfilling adventure. The universe was endlessly vast, but most of the time spent there consisted of gathering supplies.

Fortunately, the developer has been tweaking and enhancing No Man’s Sky ever since its release, consistently building upon the foundation. These days it is a blast to play, but some players have a hard time forgiving its shaky start.

3 Worth It: Monster Hunter: World

Every Monster Hunter title is a time sink not only due to the massive world, but also because carousing through menus takes up half the play time. Monster Hunter: World still feels like a true Monster Hunter experience, but perfects the formula, making it accessible to anybody interested in the long running series.

Players who devoured the on disc content always have a reason to come back. Capcom regularly adds free updates with new monsters to slay. On top of all this, Monster Hunter: World is a gorgeous game to look at.

2 Not Worth It: Mass Effect: Andromeda

The Mass Effect series is yearning for the days when its third game’s conclusion was the biggest gripe fans had. The next game in the franchise was hotly anticipated and expected to mark the beginning of a new trilogy. Instead, its myriad of glitches and curious design choices have potentially ended the once beloved science fiction series.

Andromeda was not intended to be a bad game, but lack of resources and using the Frostbite engine proved troublesome for production. Patches have since remedied some issues, but most still recommended to keep away from the title.

1 Worth It: Tactics Ogre: Let Us Cling Together

Before Final Fantasy Tactics, there was Tactics Ogre: Let Us Cling Together. This cult classic distinguishes itself from the crowd by having a fantasy plot devoid of supernatural elements, except for the use of magic in battle.

Tactics Ogre originally came out on the SNES, but has since been ported to the Playstation, Sega Saturn, and PSP. The PSP is the ideal version, and can be played on a PS Vita as well, making it possible to experience the brutality and moral ambiguity of war on a bus or train.

What are your favorite lengthy video games? Let us know in the comments!

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2018-12-05 01:12:26