Blog 706: Close, But No Biscuit – Star Wars – Part 5

Okay, maybe I lied last time when I said Attack of the Clones was merely average — it does contain an absolute howler of a romance sub-plot. Anakin catches up with childhood crush Padmé Amidala and tries to win her over with the creepiest lines in the galaxy, but instead of rightly punching his lights out and running for the hills, Padmé… f-falls in love with h-him?

It doesn’t make narrative sense, let alone human sense. Alas, we can come up with all the “it would have worked if…” scenarios we like in our cosy, rarified little Writer’s Room (errr, Chris’s lounge), but this is and always will be canon. Blergh.

We start to drift into some Episode III chat in here so apologies for melting our own continuity. It’s an… er… homage to the source material…?

No transcripts this time, and no additional thoughts either. We… er… recorded this one a while ago…

Blog 704: Close, But No Biscuit – Star Wars – Part 4

The most damning indictment of Episode II is that it’s ultimately pretty average. There’s nothing truly unstoppably bad about it — there’s no massive in-your-face focal point of cringe to match poor old Jar Jar Binks. Maybe it’s death by a thousand cuts, lots of little things that snowball into a prevailing sense of malaise.

I’m quite excited for us to get to the original trilogy so we can expound positively at what went right rather than negatively about all the missed opportunites and blunders (or maybe we’ll need to discuss the spectacularly good Rogue One before the original trilogy now?), but narrative flow demands that we first examine the prequels — so here begins our journey through Attack of the Clones.

No transcripts this time, and no additional thoughts either. We… er… recorded this one a while ago…

Blog 699: The Force Unleashed

Chris McPhail and I have been working through the Star Wars fanchise in its cinematic chronological order in our audio/video podcast Close, But No Biscuit of late. During one clip that didn’t make the cut, I was raving about The Force Awakens (as I am wont to do) but accidentally said The Force Unleashed instead. Twice.

Obviously it got me to thinking about that game. I accused it of being hideous fanfiction the first (and only) time I played it, but in the light of the even more hideous fanfiction of The Force Awakens… Maybe it’s not so bad? Maybe its story, crass as its foundations might be, actually… kind of works?

We are on full spoiler alert today, but The Force Unleashed is from 2009 so it should be safe by now.

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Blog 696: Close, But No Biscuit – Star Wars – Part 3

Why do we have to talk about Jar Jar so much? He was terrible, but he was also phased out of the subsequent films so his damage was successfully limited. However, he is such a large part of The Phantom Menace that you can’t ignore him, so let’s scrape the bottom of the barrel one last time before we move on to Episode 2.

No transcripts this time, just some additional thoughts in the post.

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Blog 695: Close, But No Biscuit – Star Wars – Part 2

The handful of lines about midichlorians singlehandedly destroyed the power and the mystery of the Force, turning subtle mysticism into hard science. Both have their place in different franchises, yes, but we like Star Wars for its subtle mysticism.

Let us discuss the ill-fated but pivotal character Anakin Skywalker and how he (child acting aside) is brutally mishanded by the narrative of the prequel trilogy.

No transcripts this time, just some additional thoughts in the post.

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Blog 693: Close, But No Biscuit – Star Wars – Part 1

Star Wars, oh Star Wars. It was my life; the original trilogy and selected bits of the Expanded Universe were everything to me growing up. The space-ships, the subtle mysticism, the ancient ruins and technological marvels mixed just so to create a wonderous, exciting universe of adventure.

Alas, while the disappointing scab of the prequel trilogy has mostly healed by now, to the point where I can actually appreciate some parts of them with a degree of clarity, the wound torn open by The Force Awakens is still raw.

But let’s not get started at the end. Let’s begin at the beginning, even though it’s not the real beginning. Let us discuss Episode I: The Phantom Menace.

No transcripts this time, just some additional thoughts in the post.

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Blog 683: The Second Last Mission

I hark back to Star Wars: Empire at War every so often, but it’s more an interactive film than much of a strategy game. You build a huge fleet, set it loose, and turn on the autocamera mode — and it beautifully recreates space battles right out of the movies. Beyond that, there’s not a lot to it.

As with many games, it took an expansion pack — Forces of Corruption — to really bring it to life. A larger tech tree, of new pirate units alongside a mix of stolen classic Imperial and Rebel craft, a more involved plotline in a single longer campaign rather than split between two sides… It’s still far from perfect, but it made good progress.

And that expansion brought with it one particular mission that’s a real favourite of mine, despite its flaws: a raid on the Imperial Archives on Coruscant.

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Blog 466: Jedi Night

Star Wars: Dark Forces III: Jedi Knight II: Jedi Outcast is a game from a bygone era. A game from before the Force was manufactured by not-quite-bacteria, from an age when the phrase “Expanded Universe” didn’t leave a bitter taste in the mouth.

I said a lot of less than complimentary things about this game in an older re-review. And, well, I still completely agree with most of my comments there — it’s not a game without foibles, and unfortunately it’s not perfect enough to have Deus Ex, Unreal Tournament or Drakensang‘s “Get Out of Criticism Free” card.

But I want to temper those comments with some love. Because for all it gets wrong, this game gets something — possibly the most important thing of all — so, so right.

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