Resident Evil 4 (Xbox One)

Resident Evil 4 is a RPG game that was originally released for the Nintendo GameCube but was later remastered and sold for the PlayStation 2, Xbox 360, and the Xbox One. the version that I played for this assignment was the version for the Xbox One, although I have played it on all the other platforms.

The story begins with Leon Kennedy as he is traveling to a remote part of Europe in hopes to find the president’s daughter, Ashley Graham. Ashley had been kidnapped but no further information was readily present for Leon. He has the assistance of two local law enforcement officers but upon arriving to a mysterious village, they run away leaving Leon alone. Leon runs into a former police officer by the name of Louis who mentions Ashely is in a church near the village. Leon is able to find Ashley but run into the overlord of the cult that stole Ashley, Lord Saddler. Ashley and Leon escape Saddler but Ashley is soon taken from Leon by Lord Salazar inside of a castle. Leon runs into two old friends Ada and Krauser. Krauser is working to get a hold of the parasite that has infected the village as well as Ashley and Leon. Leon kills Salazar and obtains a cure for both him and Ashley. Upon ridding, themselves of the parasite, Leon comes face to face with Lord Sadler and Leon eventually kills him. Ashley and Leon escape on a jet ski and return home safely.

The aesthetic qualities of the game for the Xbox One version are incredible. The game was remastered to 1080p HD from the original version on the GameCube. The in-game graphics as well as the cut scene graphics were improved majorly for the remastered version. One of the downfalls for the game is the dialog. Some of the quick-witted responses from Leon don’t make the tone or the mood of the scene or setting that he is making the comments. In particular, the dialog between Krauser and Leon during an interactive cut scene doesn’t flow as well as this intense sequence should feel.

Resident Evil 4 is a survival horror based RPG. The controls for the actions are done in a third-person-shooter style with the camera over the players back instead of being a point of view shot during game play. This allows for an increased view of the scenery as well as an increased area to see the action. One of the more unique aspects of Resident Evil 4 is the gameplay in which Ashley is with you. This gameplay is a mixture of mini-game like controls as well as strategy based to make sure that Ashley is not in harm’s way from either the enemies or you shooting you gun. This system of having an extra entity with you during very intense sequences of the game creates a very compelling gameplay experience.

One of the values that is prevalent in this game is the value of heroism. Leon shows traits of being a hero throughout the story. Taking on the village and cult Los Illuminados practically single handedly, he showed that he was willing to do whatever it took to save the President’s daughter. One of the more disappointing aspects of the game is the way that Ashley is depicted. Throughout the story, she is depicted as the helpless girl that needs someone to come and save her, even when she is with Leon. She cowers in corners and doesn’t help Leon when enemies are nearby. I think if the game was made today, this would be an aspect I would change.

As stated before, the gameplay with Ashley is one of a kind. Not only is it unique, it is very smooth and easy to operate which makes the game more fun. Along with the gameplay included a sidekick without any means of providing cover fire, the game provides an intense feel of survival. You can only hold so many items and ammo. With ammo and health being scarce throughout the game, it really makes the player utilize and strategize as you progress throughout the game. Although that this does add a real sense of survival to the game, some points feel almost impossible due to the lack of items and ammo when progressing through later stages of the game.

The overall quality of Resident Evil 4 is remarkable. The game plays just as good in 2017 as it did in 2005.  The advanced that is made for the third-person-shooter helped redefine the entire genre. The intricate story line and cut throat survival horror gameplay has made it one of the most renowned and influential games of all time.

“I don’t tip”

Reservoir Dogs is Quentin Tarantino’s first feature length film that he wrote and directed. The film takes place in sometime in the late 80s or early 90s and is located in what appears to be a smaller town in the Midwest. This film stars Harvey KeitelMichael MadsenSteve BuscemiChris PennLawrence Tierney, and Tim Roth.

The film starts with the eight men sitting around in a diner before, what is later found out, a diamond heist organized by Joe Cabot. Next, Mr. White and Mr. Orange are seen driving to the rendezvous and it is shown that Mr. Orange has been shot. Upon arrival, they are met by Mr. Pink who believes that the whole job was a set up. Mr. Blonde then arrives with a kidnapped police officer. The officer won’t tell if it was a set up and soon Eddie Cabot, the son of Joe, arrives. Eddie convinces Mr. White and Mr. Pink to follow him to get the diamonds and get rid of their cars. While they are gone, Mr. Blonde begins to torture the police officer just for fun. Before he lights him on fire, Mr. Orange reveals he is a police officer by shooting Mr. Blonde dead. Upon return, Joe is now with Mr. White, Pink, and Eddie. Mr. White won’t believe that Mr. Orange is a police officer and there is a “Mexican Stand-off”. All men, except Mr. Pink, are shot. Mr. White, severely injured, kills Mr. Orange as the police arrive, and subsequently is finished off by the police.

Although Reservoir Dogs was released in 1992, the aesthetic qualities of the movie have really stood the test of time. Although the movie most likely was upgraded to HD when placed on Netflix, the production value of this low budget film is extraordinary. The use of the wardrobe created one of the most iconic looks in film with the 8 men all wearing black suits with a white shirt and a black tie. The soundtrack for the film while using 70s music added a parallel of relief to the serious nature and violence of the film. The dialog in the film is unique since the men that are working the job do not know each other’s names. They all have been assigned aliases of color. Without the men working the job knowing much about each other, each man had a tough time getting a good read on what the other person was like outside of the heist itself. The one flaw that I found was the lack of footage from the actual heist which may be a purposeful or related to the budget. Having on a budget of $1.2 million, it is amazing the production quality and story development that Quentin Tarantino could produce.

The story structure for Reservoir Dogs is unique. Most of the story is done in nonlinear storytelling with multiple flashbacks. Each flashback shows either a scene from the aftermath of the heist, how the team was selected, or Mr. Orange getting close enough to Joe Cabot to allow him on a job. As I stated earlier, with none of the men knowing who or where the other men came from, the dialog between them has a feeling of tension and uneasiness. When the claim that there is a rat among them, no one knows who they can and cannot trust. This builds an immense tension coupled with the men not fully knowing their associates. Since everyone has already committed armed robbery and murdering of police officers, the tensions are extremely high with each conversation and the fact that the men are willing to commit crimes so willingly created conflict and tension.

Although this film isn’t exactly the first place to look for values in film, there are values that can be seen. One of the values that can be seen is the value of loyalty. Mr. White remains loyal to Mr. Orange when everyone is accusing Mr. Orange of being the rat. Mr. White goes as far as to shoot his longtime friend Joe Cabot. Another value that can be seen throughout the movie is the bravery that is upheld by Mr. Orange. Shown through the flashbacks, Mr. Orange went through a very difficult process of learning about undercover work as well as gaining the trust of a very dangerous crime boss in the process. His bravery to try and bring down Joe Cabot was truly amazing.

Reservoir Dogs is one of the most important and iconic films not only because it is Tarantino’s first feature length film, but because of the foundation it laid for independent filmmakers. The nonlinear plot and flashbacks is a difficult angle to take but this film shows how to do it flawlessly. Overall, this film was very impactful to the average moviegoer in seeing a wonderful film, as well as movie makers to see what can come from an unconventional piece.

Hello, Wisconsin!

Reed Prudhoe

That 70s Show: Season 1 Episode 1

That 70s Show follows six friends in a suburban town in Wisconsin. The series shows the development of the relationships within the group, as well as address the social issues and changed that occurred throughout the 1970s. Eric is an innocent nerdy character who, throughout the show, falls in love with his neighbor Donna. Hyde is a rebellious stoner who cares for his friends and usually is the voice of reason. Michael Kelso is the lovable idiot friend whose ongoing relationship with Jackie, the rich and spoiled girl, causes many hi-jinks. Fez, the foreign exchange students begins as comedic relief but grows to be a main staple of the series. The teen cast is complimented by Red Forman, the straightforward but fair father as well as Kitty Forman, the lovable mother of Eric.

This episode shows the gang trying to find a way to get to a concert that is in Milwaukee. Eric suggests to his dad that he should let him have the Vista Cruiser. After some speculation, Red and Kitty decide to give the Vista Cruiser to Eric. As Eric, Kelso, and Donna get into the car to go to the concert, Red informs Eric that the car is old so he can’t take it out of town. Eric decides to rebel and take the car to Milwaukee anyway. The battery dies halfway and Kelso and Jackie must trade their tickets for a new battery. The episode ends with Donna kissing Eric on the hood of the Vista Cruiser after their perfect night.

The overall aesthetic qualities of the show are low. The episode that I viewed was originally aired in 1998 and this probably has to do with the production quality of the show. High definition was not a thing and the show being a sitcom had to have the sitcom feel to it. The color of the show is one of the high points. Since the show is set in the 1970s, the colors of the outfits needed to pop and this was achieved. One of the most creative aspects of the entire That 70s Show is the use of “the circle” to depict and illustrate the teens smoking marijuana in the basement. The passing of the cameras in one continues shot is symbolic of them “passing” the marijuana back and forth. Along with this excellent use of camera work, the music that is used in the transition of the scenes gives a true 70s rock element to the show that really compliments the setting.

The story is told through dialog. There is no narrator so the story progresses solely on the dialog that is conducted between the actors. The conflict is developed through the challenge of wondering how the gang was going to be able to make it to the concert. Once this conflict is solved, the gang is presented with another conflict in Red stating that the Vista Cruiser should not be taken out of town. The gang convinces Eric to take it anyway but the battery dies causing another conflict and forcing Jackie and Kelso to give up their tickets for a new battery. Although the episode only has a 22-minute run time, the gang sees many struggles throughout the episode. Although this makes for good character development and good laughs, the amount of issues that the gang faces seem to be overwhelming at times. The episode felt that it was trying to accomplish too much in such a short period which affected the pacing of the overall episode.

This episode touches on the values of camaraderie as well as selflessness. When Red first informs the gang that the Vista Cruiser shouldn’t be taken very far, Eric gives up on the idea of going to the concert. The gang rallies behind Eric and gets him to do what he wants to do which is attend the concert. The selflessness comes when Kelso and Jackie have to give up their tickets. Although Kelso is very hesitant to give his ticket away, he realizes that it is the only way that the gang can attend the concert. He puts his friends before himself and lets them have his ticket so that they can still attend.

Overall, I believe that this was a good quality program. Although the picture wasn’t high definition and the camera work wasn’t impeccable for every scene, it was a sitcom through and through. There were plenty of laughs throughout the show as well as some valuable lessons that can impact an audience by its use of conflicts and character development.