Weekend Whammy

Weekend Whammy: Oculus Rift, Shazam & The Nintendo DS

Hello my dear friends and despised enemies, the weekend has come and gone once again and that can only mean one thing: I blacked out at some point. But other than that it means it’s time to check in and see what everyone has been playing, watching and reading this fine, fine weekend.

So this week I wrote out my thoughts about the Oculus Rift S and the baffling position it holds in the market. Although I did love the higher resolution and overall sharper image, it has some baffling design faults that make it difficult to recommend. This is especially true if you already own an Oculus Rift. I don’t think it’s worth selling your existing headset to get the S model, and in some ways I regret doing it myself, though the inside-out tracking system has been a big help for setting up VR in my house.

A side view of the Oculus Rift S VR Headset

I suppose the big question now is what are Oculus planning? It seems they want to stick with semi-affordable headsets, so even when they announce a true successor will it be a massive leap ahead of what they already have?

Keeping with the VR theme I also reviewed the Mamut Touch Grips which were a fun accessory for the Oculus Rift. Basically these plastic grips and laces turn the Touch controllers into something more resembling Valve’s Index controllers. By strapping the Mamuts on you can physically let go of the Touch controllers which helps add some extra immersion into the games.

In terms of upcoming stuff I’ve been playing Rebel Galaxy Outlaw, the sequel to Rebel Galaxy. It’s really a different beast from the first game, this time being more like a full-on space game where you can happily fly around, trade, blow up space pirates, go rogue or actually follow the storyline. Just like the first game, though, there are hints of my favorite sci-fi show Firefly running through everything, especially in the way that leaving a space station is accompanied by a beautiful little guitar twang. Oh man, and the soundtrack! The music is glorious!

I’ve also been playing Wolfenstein: Youngblood. I’m only a few hours in but so far I think everyone has been a bit…harsh? So far the critical reception has been okay but the public’s view of the game seems to have been pretty savage. And it does indeed have some big issues, but I’ve been having quite a bit of fun with it so far. But like I said, I’m only a few hours in.

Oh! OH! I might have gone out and bought a 2DS XL this week, too. It’s getting delivered tomorrow along with a couple of games and I’m super excited about it. I can’t wait to play some nice, simple games. If you’ve got any recommendations do let me know. I’m definitely planning on picking up a Pokemon game or two, though there’s a lot to choose from and I honestly have no idea where to start.

In know it’s a strange choice to pick up a 2DS in 2019, especially with the Switch Lite coming soon, but the good thing about grabbing a console or handheld this late in the game is the vast catalogue of awesome titles. Plus, I constantly see DS games popping up in the charity shops, so I’ll probably be able to scour some nice deals, too.

I finally managed to sit down and watch Shazam this week, which I’m still annoyed I missed in cinemas, especially since I’m a big fan of Zachary Levi. Speaking of Zachary Levi, for the love of all that is glorious go and watch Chuck, the fantastic comedy series about a nerd called Chuck who winds up with a CIA database in his brain. It’s hilarious, heartfelt and quirky.

Anyway, Shazam was a total delight from start to finish. In case you didn’t know the basic gist of it all, a kid by the name of Billy Batson is bestowed with the power of Shazam. By yelling the name a bolt of lighting strikes him, transforming his body into that of a body while also granting the powers of flight, super strength, insane speed and lighting. The catch is that mentally he’s still just a kid, one who is now nearly as powerful as Superman.

First of all, I liked the character of Billy Batson. At the start of the movie the wizard is looking for an innocent, pure child to become the new champion, but by the time Billy is summoned the wizard seems a bit more lax when it comes to choosing a champion. Billy is a foster kid, and he has some issues, yet now he has incredible power. He does exactly what I’d expect a kid to do: shows off, buys some beer, gets himself on Youtube a lot and basically spends a his time messing around. His journey to becoming a hero and learning how to use his powers is the core of the film and it’s handled wonderfully.

I liked Batson’s foster family, too. His adopted brothers and sisters don’t get a lot of time for true character development, but they all have enough personality to make it work. In particular, the relationship between Billy and Freddy was a highlight. You could feel that while Freddy was loved and cherished by his foster parents and family he still felt like he wasn’t noticed and that Billy’s new powers were a way for him to feel special. For Billy, it was like Freddy was being clingy. It was a realistic dynamic between the two that made it all the better when they sorted out their problems.

Even the villain was a lot of fun. As a kid he too was summoned by the wizard but deemed unfit for the power before being tossed back into the world. The fact that the same child then spent years and years looking for a way back makes sense to my mind. I mean, imagine the impact that would have on someone? Summoned by a wizard, told they could have amazing power but then denied it because they weren’t good enough. And then later Billy Batson is made Shazam, a less than pure and innocent child. It’s a solid villain motivation, and the Seven Deadly Sins served as fun visuals and minions. Hell, I even enjoyed their horror style scene.

The only issues I really had with the movie were from a production standpoint. The CGI is a bit ropey, and in certain lighting the Shazam costume looked a bit daft. But aside from that Shazam is a lot of fun. Along with Aquaman maybe DC are finally finding their footing.

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