Daredevil Season 1 Review 

This review contains mild spoilers.
Twelve years since the original adaptation of Daredevil, this Netflix original season provides a gritty, violent and realistic aesthetic to the character. Telling the story of Matt Murdock, a blind lawyer with superhuman senses, this television drama focus heavily on his life both professionally as a lawyer and personally as the vigilante ‘Daredevil’, also known as the ‘Devil of Hell’s Kitchen’. If you’re looking for an action-packed, character driven, thrilling ten episode series, this season is definitely for you. Whether it be the sheer depth of the primary antagonist Wilson Fisk or the excellent direction and cinematography of the hallway tracking shot, this show is pure quality in nearly every aspect and is a true love letter to all those who enjoy the source material. This is one of the most refreshing, unique, original and incredible pieces of television in the Marvel Cinematic Universe ever to have been created. 

Set in New York’s ‘Hell’s Kitchen’, Daredevil has all the great conventions of a crime drama: a dark, gritty tone, adult themes, an anti-heroic and insightful protagonist and a thrilling antagonist with a strong motivation for what they are doing. This drama brilliantly executes the balance between action and character development, showing Matt Murdock as a man of intelligence, wit and a slight thirst for violence and releasing his inner demons. It’s a compelling narrative – despite its tendancy to sometimes have a ‘crime of the episode’ style – and really goes deeper and deeper into the enigma that both Matt Murdock and the villain, Wilson Fisk, provide. Fisk is a troubled man, who believes in trying to make the city ‘a better place’. As a viewer, it is difficult not to sympathise with his dark past and relationship with Vanessa. Even despite all the horrific things he does, his character is one that provides a great deal of balance and intrigue, unlike the typical Marvel villain archetype of being solely evil. Where this show blossoms is in its brilliant characters, that make this drama feel as alive as any other show with quality material.

Not only thus, but the cinematography and overall choreography for the fight scenes are pure genius. Take, for example, the excellently thrilling and gut wrenching tracking shot, that mesmerised viewers with over three minutes of beautifully shot hallway action. It felt realistic, like we were feeling every blow dealt to Matt and feeling his sympathy towards the kidnapped young child. First starting with silence and the gradual anticipation and build up through Matt’s senses soon lead to punches, manoeuvres and bodies sprawled across the floor. Every hit felt natural, and every enemy appeared to act and behave in a manner that most cinematic archetypes would not: they actually fought back. While tracking shots have been done many times before – from No Country for Old Men to True Detective – but something about this particular scene is so appealing and attractive aesthetically to the eye. It’s safe to say that this really set the precedence for the season and for the Netflix Marvel Cinematic Universe as a whole. 

The biggest issue with this season was the thirteen episode format, which created a vacuum for small crime, somewhat filler episodes. While it was refreshing to see a variety of different, compelling antagonists, sometimes this detracted from the overall focus of the plot with Wilson Fisk and made it feel ever so slightly repetitive in parts. It severely hindered the progress of the plot and sacrificed what could have been a very coherent and well structured story. Not that it’s a terrible thing to boast the excellent direction and action, but sometimes it would have been appreciated if more focus on the highlight of the show would have been acknowledged and considered. 

Another detracting feature was the somewhat anti-climatic conclusion to such a dramatic, highly anticipated series. Fisk had been a dominant hand in the city, both through influential and physical power. He had shown signs of weakness – which ultimately made him all the more likeable – with his relationship and light-hearted nature alongside Vanessa, but for the majority of the season he had developed a broad group of associates and had repressed those seeking to fight against him. He even went as far as murdering a particular character in order to keep the news outlets completely oblivious to his crimes, not to mention him paying off many forms of law enforcement to keep his secrets safe. Yet, despite all this power and influence, his closure is found in a futile battle against Daredevil – who had taken severe injuries after their last confrontation. This ending felt too scripted, too coincidental and just too simple. While Fisk’s story was one of the most compelling and intriguing throughout the season, his ending made him appear as a criminal out of his depth. 

This, however, is almost a side thought that sweeps alongside the positives because this show does so many things right that these criticisms are very difficult to remember when watching. With characters as compelling and thoroughly fleshed as these and choreographical sequences that baffle both the eye and the mind, this show is definitely onto a winner. It’s a very positive, confident approach that changes the perceptions of Marvel and the genre. Essentially, it’s a superhero show that is inhabited and absorbed by a particularly rich mystery and crime. While it may lack a strong conclusion, it still warrants a second season – which is also available to watch – and more than justifies a binging session. 

Daredevil Season 1 scores:


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Splatoon 2 Review – The Freshest, Most Addictive Shooter 

Being Nintendo’s Summer seller, Splatoon 2 has a lot to prove and a lot show to the many people who never experienced the original. In this ink-redibly fun and addictive sequel to the shooter, features from the original are taken and improved almost in every aspect. Whether you’re looking for a solid single player experience with some challenging bosses, or whether you’re looking to play competitively online, this game has all eventualities accomodated for. It truly is the freshest, most addictive shooter on the market currently.

Where this game truly shines and should be greatly appreciated is its fantastic game mechanics and overall fun factor. There is a plentitude of rewards to be unlocked and achieved – from gaining new weapons after level two to playing the latest mode Salmon Run to earn special gear – and this makes the whole gaming experience all the more enjoying and gives a great incentive to playing all the various game modes. When you begin to level up, you will be able to equip all new clothing and use completely different weapons that you wouldn’t otherwise be able to previously – a staple of any good game in the genre. Matches are particularly short (a turf war match concludes in three minutes) so it makes for perfect pick up and play action without detracting from the overall gameplay and enjoyment factor. It all works in harmony and soon enough you will get absorbed into the immersive world that is this game. 

While the game doesn’t have a huge amount of content in regards to stages and game modes, there is still more than enough to keep you entertained because of the nature of the game. Whereas many other shooters solely rely on you targeting your opposition, Splatoon 2 tries to focus more on gaining turf and being able to move freely which provides completely different situations and experiences with every match played. It accomodates for all different audiences and players; for those who want an entertaining, collectable based single player campaign, there is Octo Canyon. For those looking for a more online based game, there are various different options to try and experiment with. Sure, the game heavily focuses on its robust online infrastructure, but that doesn’t mean that the single player campaign is any less worth the investment of time. 

One issue to be stated is the lack of ‘couch co-op’ game modes, something that was also present within the original. It’s not too significant as you’ll be particularly immersed in all the other modes, but it would have been nice to see some split screen action instead of having to buy two systems just so a member of your family or your friend could join you. The opportunity was most possible within the Salmon Run game mode as you work as a team to fend of the Salmonid creatures. Omce again, it’s nothing particularly major, but this could have provided an even greater appeal and targetted an even larger audience. If Mario Kart 8 Deluxe and Arms can both provide split screen co-op play, why can’t Splatoon 2?

The single player, as stated previously, provides a good length campaign that essentially teaches you the basic game mechanics and gives you a strong insight into the primary weapon classes (such as the splattershot, roller and charger) so that you can be prepared for the online game. It also rewards you with Crusty Sean meal tickets, which can greatly improve your efficiency with levelling up and gaining currency. The overall campaign is particularly original, innovative and just shows how creative the development team can be with their ideas. Each boss has character and some form of depth in humour, making them just as funny as they are entertaining to battle. Every mission has two collectables: a sardine and a sea scroll. This adds a ton of replay value to the campaign and makes you want to spend the extra few minutes per mission to find them. All in all, the single player mode is one of the most entertaining, fun, addictive, immersive and original campaigns I’ve ever played.

The online infrastructure of the game – featuring voice chat, inviting friends and all the connections with the Nintendo Switch Online App and Splatnet 2 – is still in the early stages of development and feels like it needs more time to be fully fleshed out. It all feels rather convoluted and complicated to get it all to function correctly. While voice chat isn’t a necessity by any means, it’s a bit of a shame that the calling messages are rather limited to ‘this way’ and ‘booyah’. It becomes a little annoying when you can’t just signal your ally to a particular area and have to predict their movements. It will be very interesting to see this feature of the online later in the game’s life cycle, so this aspect won’t be affecting the overall grade as it could be changed and developed at a later date.

As for the performance, Splatoon 2 runs at a perfectly smooth and fluent 60 frames per second, with a dynamic resolution of 720p in handheld mode and 1080p in home console mode. It’s beautifully smooth to play and never drops a single frame, or at least from what I have experienced. While it does drop resolution in areas of particular action, it is very hardly noticeable and emphasises the importance of having the stable framrate instead. Furthermore, the game has some use of HD rumble, which is a nice and appreciated addition that mildly improves the game’s immersive quality. 

In conclusion, Splatoon 2 is an original, innovative and particularly refreshing sequel that improvs upon the foundations of the original. From the single player campaign to the variously different online game modes, this shooter tailors to every player’s desires. It looks gorgeous on the handheld and performs beautifully in every match. Whilst the online voice chat and features may still be in the early stages and the lack of game modes for split screen play is apparent, the replay value and addictive nature provides a game that realy doesn’t feel like it needs anything else added to it. With regular updates and Splatfests incoming, this is sure to be a huge seller for months (maybe even years) to come. Splatoon 2 is the best, freshest and most creative shooter currently available and it really sets a precedent for the Switch’s quality lineup.

Splatoon 2 scores: