Wednesday, 10 August 2016

Red vs Blue: Incompetency incarnate

We've fought wars over lots of things. True world wars over resources and political structures, internet culture fights a new war every other day it seems (What is it now?), gaming culture fights millions of identical wars in the current onslaught of shooters and action games. But, I'd like to present to you something that some consider diabolical. A war so dangerous, that it has no clear end, one fought on thousands of battlefields, most of which we may never see. A war where the casualty cost is high, with soldiers pitted in a battle with similar gear, all because they want to kill each other, and steal flags... Sounds stupid, doesn't it? Well, a stupid war, with a stupid goal needs to be fought, with stupid soldiers. Welcome, to Red vs Blue.

There are two ways I can describe the plot of the fourteen season, and counting, web series. Short answer: It's a collection of shorts with a loose overarching story to it that mostly exists for comedy. Long answer:

Long after the war between the humans and the aliens (they're never referred to as covenant in this so I'm not going to) a secret project is formed called Project Freelancer: Gathering the best of the best soldiers to perform missions that are so secret, not even they know the end goal. An ongoing project, involving AI integration to the Freelancers causes the main group to split, bringing about an enemy known as The Meta. The AI used in the suits are fractured pieces of an AI known as Alpha, who would eventually become one of the main characters: Church... who would then somehow become the AI unit Epsilon. The war between the Red army and the Blue army was formed as a training exercise for the Freelancers, and becomes a cover to protect Alpha. Eventually, the Red and blue armies form what can be described as an alliance and through a chain of events, take down The Meta, Project Freelancer, a corrupt businessman who wanted to kill everyone on a planet, though that one is still going. It comes off as generic and "we're making this up as we go", there's no feeling of a bigger plan, which critically, is its biggest flaw.

The characters fall into one of three categories. Stupid enough that you would question why this war was a thing before you find out that they intentionally hired idiots, competent heroes like you would normally expect, as they are the freelancers, or their the villains. Main Red and Blue forces, almost completely incompetent, they even make a joke that the safer thing to do is to give complete control of the gun to the programing of a former tank inside the gun, and if anything else fires it, it just fires confetti. There's also an episode dedicated to one joke, the joke being "what would it be like to have around ten of the moron of a leader who is so stereotypical, being the "army drill sergeant" stereotype, all together in a competition to see who goes to Blood gulch?" It is hilarious. The characters themselves are solid, pretty flat in terms of character development, but for this kind of story, its kinda expected and for what the series is, it works.

Visually, for seasons 1-13, I hope you like Halo's animations for the most part, as most of the series is done in engine for Halo 1, 3, reach and I think 4. I'm almost certain its currently Halo 4, and that they haven't moved onto 5 yet. I also can't tell if they have used Halo 2 for anything. They may have, and I can't tell as I'm not the person to talk to about the differences in Halo versions, as the only two I've played are 1 and 3 and neither have been for the campaign (1 was actually my first endeavor into fan made content, as I played the PC version of Combat Evolved). I will however say that they do break it up every now and then for bigger battles, that use custom CGI. I do like the choreography for these and the fact that they did try to replicate the Halo art style exactly is a nice touch, so much so that until you see the characters doing no game animations, you wouldn't tell that they've gone to CG that easily. The fight scenes are over the top, cheesy and yet badass at the same time, one of those to note as an example is probably a slow mo shot of Griff coming close to being crotch punched by three Tex drones, it was a running joke of that chunk.

For basically shorts on Youtube, this is actually really enjoyable, and one of the reasons why I like things like Red vs Blue, *insert IP here* abridged, ect. Is it the smartest thing in the world? No, not by a long shot, but it knows its stupid, and its just rolling with it. You could easily marathon it, I did (as background noise while I was doing my IRL job...). Next week we're finally doing Deadpool, and Sunday will be the rest of Wave 1 2016 BIONICLE. See you then.

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