Tag Archives: Peter David

FGC #394 Young Justice: Legacy

JUSTICE!Corporations do not understand universes.

What separates us from the animals? Intelligence? Morality? The ability to claim horseradish and “creamy” horseradish are the same edible substance? No, on a basic level, what makes us the top of the food chain is our pattern recognition. You see a little bit of the stuff in some animals (“sit!” = put butt on floor for treat), but even the smartest animal doesn’t seem to have the object permanence to so much as code a simple C++ “hello world” script. Meanwhile, over on the human side of the Animal Kingdom, toddlers are barely verbal before they start asking the why of everything. If there is a reason that things fall down, there must also be a reason for the color of the walls, or why Daddy is always crank calling the neighbors after he drinks his special juice. What we consider thinking is merely a long chain of if-then statements going back to the first time you realized there was a reason grandma always screamed when you attempted to climb the stove.

So it’s only natural that we approach our media with the same basic thinking. We certainly could enjoy Merrie Melodies, newspaper comic strips, and other chunks of media that contain and require exactly zero continuity… but did you notice how the greatest examples of that phenomenon are almost entirely as outdated as a protractor? Continuity is king nowadays, and everything from Superman to the latest Kanye West album must contain no less than a decade’s worth of references and in-jokes. And, if you ever wondered why such a thing was now considered standard, it’s because the marketing department figured out a long time ago that your eyeballs were going to stay glued to the boob tube through that commercial break if you were promised just the tiniest glimmer of what happens next. Those last ten minutes were setting up the “if”, and, if you can hold out a little longer, you’ll be granted the all-important “then”. All of your dreams will come true! Or maybe you’ll at least find out who shot J.R.

But the thing about continuity is that, should it go on long enough, it gets a little complicated. And that previously mentioned marketing department? They do not like complicated.

Get 'emIt’s basic math, really. If you’re in the business of selling your product (and if you’re producing a product for literally any other reason, my God man, what are you even doing?), you need to do two things: maintain your audience, and grow your audience. So once you’ve got your initial viewers good and entrenched, then it’s time to start expanding and finding new ways to hook new people. And, hey, you’ve got some fans that will stick with you through anything, so why not toss out the baby and its stupid bath water, start fresh, and tell all those newbies that we’ve got a perfect “jumping on point”? What could possibly go wrong? You think the established fans will leave? They might! But who needs those nerds? They just spent the last six months complaining on their stupid forums because you had the audacity to name the latest love interest after your dog. It was a coincidence, you damn fanatics! It wasn’t supposed to mean anything! Reboot this thing, and maybe we’ll get a new, better audience that will finally buy that warehouse full of F-tier Pops.

And, while the reboot is practically synonymous with the comic book industry, it is certainly the standard in practically every medium you can name. Was A Link to the Past 100% beholden to the original Legend of Zelda? Does the latest Mario release take a time out to explain the lack of Bowser Jr? Is there a single Transformers movie that clarifies the current whereabouts of Orson Welles? Can anyone even remember how many 007s we’ve gone through? Not every story has to have a giant “reboot” brand on its cover, but “that old story didn’t matter” is assumed to be the norm any time there isn’t a number in the title. After all, you’re not going to score any new fans by requiring homework.

But those old fans? They have long memories. And, what’s more, they have desires.

BZZZZTLet’s take Star Trek as an example. I have no doubt that, whether you’re reading this article in 2018 or 2098, there is some manner of Star Trek-related media available. It’s inevitable! It’s a franchise that is based on a simple concept (“Space: The Final Frontier”), and can be adapted into anything from a retro futuristic romp to a Seth Macfarlane vanity project. However, in the next century, I would be very surprised if my Star Trek ever resurfaces in any given form ever again. What’s my Star Trek, you obviously don’t want to ask? Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, the story of a single dad in a frontier space station attempting to balance science and religion while a shape shifting sheriff gets in a fight with gluttonous bartender. I would give my left pinky toe (it’s really important for balance!) to see the further adventures of Ben Sisko, Miles O’Brien, and Elim Garak (master tailor), but I know that’s never going to happen again. Books are available, and maybe we’ll see some manner of comic book if IDW is feeling saucy, but to just sit down at 5 in the evening and visit Deep Space Nine from the comfort of my couch? That will never happen again. The franchise lives on, but the joy of that particular mini universe is lost forever.

And companies don’t realize how desperate fans can be for those forgotten universes.

Today’s game is Young Justice: Legacy. At the time of Young Justice: Legacy’s announcement, Young Justice: The Animated Series was on a season break. The plan was that you’d have Young Justice in reruns, and then there would be Young Justice: Season 2, which would take place after a significant (and cast rearranging) time jump. Young Justice: Legacy would fill in the blanks on that time skip, so if you were wondering why Aqua Lad was off crying in the corner and screaming “you’re not my real dad!” Young Justice: Legacy was here to explain every little detail. And that’s a great idea! That has the potential to not only fuel an interesting tie-in product, but also goose the sales a bit with all those nerds that want to bathe themselves in the poisonous spring that is continuity. Everybody wins!

CLOWN MUSICUnfortunately, Young Justice: Legacy is not very good (hey, that’s the other theme of this week). And, somewhere along production, it seems that someone noticed that it wasn’t very good. Young Justice: Legacy was not released during the gap between seasons of Young Justice, because it suffered from numerous setbacks and delays. Not only was YJ:L postponed, it was outright cancelled for the Wii/WiiU. And then, when it was finally released on PS3/X360/3DS (somebody liked systems with a “3” in the title), Young Justice: The Series… was cancelled. Sorry! Just a little late!

And that’s why people bought Young Justice: Legacy.

Young Justice: Legacy is a lousy clone of the much more successful/fun X-Men/Marvel Gauntlet-alikes of a few years prior. Walk, fight random mooks, walk some more, maybe use a super power every once in a while. Bosses are simultaneously more interesting (here’s Killer Frost! And she’s riding ice pillars!) and more stupid (why the hell can’t Superboy just fly to match her altitude!?) than the rest of the game. And, if you’re good, the finale is a battle against a magical dragon that has no business being the final boss of a DC Superhero title (basically, imagine if the final boss of Injustice was a Pokémon… assuming it wasn’t DLC). Even with a multiplayer mode that is exactly as tepid as the main campaign, there is practically no reason to play this game, save being really dedicated to playing as Miss Martian.

And that’s all this stupid game needs.

Shiny!Young Justice the series is technically based on a comic originally kickstarted by Peter David in 1998. But that is fairly misleading, as the only reason “Young Justice” wasn’t “Teen Titans” was because the “Titans” had all grown up and taken their group name to college in an effort to impress other freshmen. Considering the two properties to be thematically identical, we’re then looking back to Teen Titan’s premiere back in 1964. For the record, that was an epoch before the last time we had to impeach a president. And, in the same way we’ve had a number of administrations since the 60’s, there have been an innumerable number of Teen Titans in that time. In short, if you say, “I like teenage superheroes in the DC Universe”, you could be talking about any number of groups over the last fifty years. And that’s even before you get into spin-offs, elseworlds, and, of course, television shows. Young Justice, the 2010-2013 Cartoon Network program, was just a drop in the ocean of Teen Titan media. And, unfortunately, it was always destined to be forgotten.

And that sucks for anyone that wanted to see this version of Robin ride again.

So Young Justice: Legacy might not be any good, but it does star all those heroes from that nearly forgotten sub-franchise. It’s a complete story with twists, turns, and villains that are all (almost all) recognizable from the original series. M’gann M’orzz is the Young Justice iteration, not the “lesser” versions you’d find in the comic books or random Supergirl episodes. All your old friends are here, and you get to join them in a fight! Sure, the game is no great shakes, but it shakes the part of your brain that contains great memories of a Red Arrow that isn’t addicted to parkour. Young Justice: Legacy thrives, because, until the inevitable revival, it’s the last lifeboat containing all your pals. And even if it’s going to be a pain, aren’t you going to toss them a life preserver?

So forget the reboots, Big Media, and revel in the continuity. It’s pretty clear that anyone…


What am I saying? I don’t want to be a sucker and blow my hard earned dough on nostalgia. No! I have to stop this article before it’s too late! Hollywood! Toy companies! Forget I said anything! You don’t need to…


Oh noooooo!

FGC #394 Young Justice: Legacy

  • System: Nintendo 3DS, Playstation 3, and Xbox 360. I would assume the Nintendo 3DS version is slightly different from its console brothers… but, meh, Google Image Search is all the way over there.
  • Number of players: It has to be at least two. But you can control three characters per stage. Was it three players? Maybe? There was an online mode, so I’m going to upgrade that to “probably”.
  • Favorite Playable Character: If I say Miss Martian, everyone is just going to yell at me for actually liking catch phrases. Oh, wait, Zatanna is considered young enough to qualify for the roster, so that’s my pick. Unparalleled magical powers should always be available during beat ‘em ups.
  • BUM BUM BUMFavorite Non-Playable Character: Klarion bum bum bum The Witch Boy! For no reason, I just happened to remember that I have a Young Justice script signed by Peter David. Go fig.
  • Favorite Character That is Surprisingly Not Playable: We’ve got Nightwing, we’ve got Robin, and we’ve even got Batgirl, but Batman himself is not playable. He’s lurking around, but I am downright impressed the producers had the restraint to not make him a playable character. Good job, guys!
  • Did you know? The final unlocked Titan (uh… Young Justicer?) is Rocket, the sidekick of Icon, star of Milestone Comics. Milestone Comics was an interesting and diverse little universe hiding on the fringes of DC Comics, and, like most attempts at diversity in comic books, every character involved has been almost completely forgotten. But at least Rocket is well worth unlocking, as her moves are some of the best available. And it’s not like there’s some other teenage Milestone Comics hero that people have been begging for for years or anything. Note: Because no one remembers Milestone Comics and would understand that wry reference, I’m talking about Static Shock. There. Happy?
  • Would I play again: Nah. There are some people that obsess over Young Justice, but I’m not one of ‘em. More of a Gargoyles fan, myself.

What’s next? Random ROB has chosen… Final Fantasy Dissidia NT! Oddly enough, this is a recent release, but ROB picked from the deep end of the pool for once, so it’s an actually randomly picked recent release. Go fig. Anyway, please look forward to it!

How do forcefields even work?

FGC #107 Fable 3

Shiny!Fable 3 may be the most realistic game I’ve ever played.

The Fable series, practically from day one, has been mired in the kind of controversy that can occur through overzealous hyperbole enhanced by only more fervid exaggeration. When Fable was announced back in the days of the Xbox (1… no… the first one, not Xbox One. God damn you, Microsoft), Peter Molyneux promised us a beauteous world where your every choice had global consequences. What we got was a land no larger than Hyrule where you had a choice between petting a kitten, or lighting the poor creature on fire and hurling it through the window of an orphanage. I want to say the “petting” choice was the “good route”, but some of those orphans were dicks, so it could go either way. This created a significant backlash from everyone that hadn’t already been tricked by Black and White (I built a whole new computer for that game! And it was just The Sims with a random Godzilla hanging out! And somehow that was boring!), so what was generally an above-average adventure/RPG became a sacrificial log on the bonfire that was every developer’s inevitably inflated promises for upcoming game x. I understand that gamers feel betrayed when their fifty dollar entertainment purchases don’t turn out to redefine storytelling for the millennium, but, come on guys, can we start to see the pattern, or do we need another Watch_Dogs to remind us?

Whatever the case, Fable wound up being pretty successful despite its increasingly horrid reputation, and Fable 2 was the inevitable sequel for the Xbox 360. This was where I met the franchise, and, in the interest of full disclosure, I’ll admit that I enjoyed the game quite a bit. Heck, it might be my favorite “only on 360” game for the generation. I understand that some people still want Molyneux’s promised gigantic world of hopes and dreams and love, but for my money, I really enjoy the more scaled-back adventure we received. There are places to explore and find, but it’s not nearly as daunting as your average Bethesda adventure. I enjoy the likes of Fallout and Skyrim, but I have to be in the exact right mood to play such games, Damn not werewolveselse I am immediately hit with an intense feeling of agoraphobia, and lock up at the myriad of choices available. If I hit location x, I might miss out on location y, and location z will be locked away forever! Argh! Fable 2 is more gentle, and, look, there’s a happy glowing path telling you exactly where to go. Yes, I know some people can’t stand such handholding, but for someone who has been crippled by too many choices far too many times (What do you mean I only get to pick four? I want to try Thief and Red Mage, too!), it was juuuust right. Sure, the morality was still molotov kitten thin, but it was a fun game with precise goals and challenges, and I happily devoured the entire quest and DLC just to dink around with my digital avatar a little more. Heck, I even played through the game more than once, which is an extreme rarity with me and any modern game (that can’t be completed inside of two hours). Come on, I know I’m just going to buy the inevitable next-gen remake and play it again later anyway!

All that said, I was hungry for more Fable 2 when Fable 3 was ready to launch, and… well, that’s exactly what we got. Fable 3 promised a bold new premise (you are king of the world!), but, from a practical standpoint, Fable 3 was little more than an ambitious expansion of Fable 2. Exact same kingdom, maybe a new town or two, and primarily the same weapons, spells, and items that populated its predecessor. And the “you are a monarch” feature? It’s cool in theory, but in practice, it’s one extra kitten choice a day, and then you’re off to whack around goblins (hobbes) like every other Fable/adventure game. Fable 3, ultimately, was a disappointing game, mainly because it was barely Fable 2.5.

But that disappointment is not what I remember most about Fable 3.

I suppose the most “realistic” thing most people remember about Fable 3 is the time spent fundraising as royalty. For those of you that are unfamiliar with the game, at about the halfway point, your character reclaims the throne from a seemingly malevolent usurper, but learns that Also, I might be a wizard“the tyrant” was simply attempting to amass an army and wealth to ward off an even greater threat to the kingdom. Your job becomes, basically, to raise the necessary scratch to save the kingdom, and do so while not pissing off every single one of your subjects. Like in real life politics, it is a careful balancing act as you attempt to rule the kingdom and keep the soldiers’ paychecks coming, but still elevate a populace’s happiness so they don’t start asking to see your birth certificate. In an effort to heap further stress upon the player, there’s a clear timer ticking down until the invaders show up… except the provided timeline is a lie. You’re told you have a “year”, but, in truth, time flies, and you’ll go from more than a hundred days remaining to a big fat zero in the span of a night’s sleep. It’s the game betraying the player and everything gauges stand for, but it does feel realistic, and an appropriate punishment for anyone that has ever thought they could procrastinate writing a report or building an army to repel shadow monsters.

But, to be honest, I never much cared for my digital kingdom, as my subjects seemed like a bunch of fussy whiners. Sure, I turned your community into a toxic waste dump, but do you have to keep giving me the stink eye? I was trying to get my own fun out of the game, and it caused… issues.

This goes back to my time with Fable 2. See, as I said before, I played through Fable 2 multiple times, but I realized early in my first run that Fable 2 was not at all a LUTE HEROdifficult game. Despite playing video games for years, I don’t claim to be “naturally” good at any kind of game that doesn’t involve mustachioed plumbers, so I usually see my share of game overs until I “master” the controls du jour. For Fable 2, I never came close to “dying”, and discovered (online) that even if you do lose all your HP, all you get is a teeny tiny scar. Lame.

In an effort to create a sort of “personal challenge” for Fable 2, I decided to turn to pie. See, there’s a weight mechanic in Fable 2, and it makes gaining weight easy, while losing weight is difficult. So, new Fable 2 challenge: I’ll buy all the pies (all the pies!) and only use those to restore health. Only in safe areas (like towns) will I attempt to reduce my character’s weight (through leafy greens! Yum!), and, basically, my “score” will rely on how skinny I can keep my digital avatar. The winner is the thinner, or, basically, Abercrombie and Fitch rules. Since the game “logs” your avatar’s appearance at distinct points in the game, it would be a great way to look back and see the difficulty of a particular segment of the game. If the game didn’t present a risk of death, at least there would be the risk of a fat ass.

Incidentally, just to be clear, no, I don’t see being heavy in real life as a failing. Metabolisms gonna metabolize. This was just a (ridiculous) way to track progress in this particular game. If it was harder to stay fat in the game (which would probably be more epoch accurate), that would have been the challenge. It’s just how the game was designed. And, apparently, that can change…

So, with this prior experience in mind, I played through the opening area of Fable 3. I found, for better or worse, practically nothing had changed, so I decided to partake in the same pie challenge. At the first town, I loaded my inventory with desserts, and went about exploring a dungeon. A large contingent of the undead got the drop on my poor princess, and she devoured her share of pastry on her way to the goal. After getting back to town, I decided to check out the stats screen, and see what this had wrought on her girlish figure.

Red?I found that her “weight” gauge was all the way in the red. I assumed, naturally, that this was a Western RPG, the bias is that fat is unequivocally bad, and red equals bad, so my character must be as fat as possible after all those pies. Huh. She didn’t look bulky, but I figured the more obvious “your character has gained weight” graphics had been dropped for whatever reason from the previous version (if memory serves, that exact thing happened between Monster Rancher and Monster Rancher 2: just make “weight” a gauge and call it a day, why modify graphics?). So, okay, this is what maximum fat looks like. I’ll keep that in mind.

Except Fable 3 had changed the weight mechanics between games. In Fable 2, it was nearly impossible to lose weight, and actually impossible to lose weight through anything but “trying” (i.e. noshing on items deliberately built to help shed pounds). In Fable 3, however, you lose weight naturally through any activity, like, say, running through a dungeon and remurdering undead hordes. And, yes, because I was used to the old system, I was completely misinterpreting the gauge. Red is skinny, green is fat. Fable 3 had the same “your model will look fatter” mechanic as Fable 2, I just never got into a situation where the pie outpaced the natural weight loss. My character was thin, but I thought she was fat. I thought that was what fat looked like. I decided to lay off the pies, because we were already at the maximum red point on the slider. I didn’t want to let that plump princess bust any more belts.

But I was wrong.

I… I gave my player avatar an eating disorder. Body dysmorphic disorder and anorexia, specifically.

Fable 3 is the most realistic game I’ve ever played.

Just… probably not for the reasons intended.

FGC #107 Fable 3

  • System: Only on Xbox 360. Is that the first time that’s happened on the FGC? Oh, no, wait, we had that Banjo game. But, wait, that’s on Xbox One, too…
  • Who's a good boy?Number of players: Most likely one, but you can bop over into someone else’s world through Xbox Live, so yay for online co-op. Or wreck up the place. Whatever is considered cooperative.
  • Secret of Evermore: I no longer remember why my dog is now a robot.
  • I like words: One other big change in Fable 3 was dropping practically all of the menus of Fable 2 in favor of an animated hub area that is narrated by John Cleese. It was a terribly implemented, if noble, idea. But it wasn’t a complete failure, particularly for a game with so many hair/clothing/etc. options. On the other hand, it made all the “lore” books of the game an absolute bear to actually “read”. Stop attacking me, bandits, I’m listening to funny narration!
  • Bookends: For all the issues I have with this game, I do appreciate the symmetry of having the first fight in the storyline so perfectly mirror the final fight. Tutorial to final boss… not bad!
  • Downloadable Content: In addition to DLC that would be eventually released, there were a number of DLC items that could be purchased prior to Fable 3’s release through Collector’s Editions, controllers, and probably a breakfast cereal or something. There was even a Fable 3 tie-in novel that contained DLC for a rare sword, and I scoffed at that height of marketing gone wild. Then I found out the book was written by Peter David… so there it is on my bookshelf.
  • Did you know? You can import your save data from Fable 2 and… it will remember your gender from the previous game. Since the hero of Fable 3 is the child of Fable 2’s hero, this will determine the pronoun most used during the six times the “previous ruler” is referenced during the game. And that’s about it. Man, importing save data is useless outside of Mass Effect.
  • Would I play again? I’m betting we’ll see some Fable 2 & 3 rerelease at some point in the future, so I’m sure I’ll replay it again then. In the meanwhile, it’s unlikely I’ll be hitting it again on its original hardware, but it’s at least a possibility!

What’s next? Random ROB has chosen… Bubsy 2 for the Super Nintendo. Dammit. I’m not even going to pretend to be excited about that. Please look forward to it, I guess.

Saaaaaaaaaail Away