Tuesday, November 27, 2012

And then?

And then I had a great day off yesterday. Chowed all over town, did a bit of working out, caught up on my reading.

All in all it was a very productive day, though it did get a little depressing when my PS3 died. After corrupting my 250 hour Dark Souls save last weekend, the Piece of Shit 3 finally decided to give me the finger and call it quits. Luckily one of the retail outlets here has a reasonable price on PS3s and give them out on hire-purchase, so I'm hoping to pick up a new one next week. I need to get one because if I don't play the Last of Us I'll die. (That's right Kayla - I will)

But thanks to the awesome Steam sale that's been happening since last week, my gaming fix won't be lacking any time soon.

Since Sunday I've been mucking around with Deadlight which has to be one of the better takes on the zombie apocalypse for video games. The only travesty with Deadligth is me taking so long to buy it, but thanks to the wait and the sale I managed to get it at a great price. I was actually hard out for this game for some time, ever since I saw it release for Xbox Arcade back in July. As far as story and atmosphere goes, Deadlight is a trip to play, and the ending actually left me sad and moved.

The game itself plays like Limbo with zombies, with puzzles and platform elements pasted against a 2D design. If I had to complain about anything it would be that the jump button sometimes lags a bit, but aside from that the game is a downloadable masterpiece. Plus the Steam edition comes with a host of extras including all the promotional materiel for the game along with developer diary videos and concept art to unlock.

It took me about 4 hours to finish the game, and this was with me taking my time to find as many secrets and such as I could. The supposed game time was one of the factors that put me off buying the game right away because in terms of Fijian Dollars, a short game for $30 can be a little disheartening. But for the sale price of $15 bucks I felt the game was a great deal. But then again $15 was intended international market price. Though the story is short, to pay through it is quite a feeling. A lot of the games themes and atmosphere reminded me of Cormac McCarthy's The Road. Plus I'm a sucker for survival games and even now I'm debating if I should pick up I'm Alive as well.

I think it's safe to say that Deadlight is one of the best zombie games I've played, and for a budget downloadable title it does a lot to elevate the genre over some of its AAA contemporaries.

Tonight I'll be doing some creative writing as Alan Wake since I picked that up on Steam as well this morning. This is another game that I was interested in when it first came out but for some reason or other just never got around to playing. I'm actually sort of in the mood for the whole Twin Peaks thing that the game seems to have going on.

Aside from the vidya games my girlfriend and I have been brushing up on our 80s horror movies. Since Halloween we've been digging up all sorts of 80s B movie goodness. Mostly we've been after movies that are considered "under rated" gems. Though a lot of what we found should have been left 'unseen' - a lot of it was very entertaining. I've actually  got a couple of new faves now as well. One of them being the Jeffery Combs flick From Beyond.

 To be fair though this film is already considered a cult classic, so falling for it is not too obscure, plus Jeffery Combs is like one of my favorite horror movie actors.

Another movie I had to watch was Alligator, because as a kid I had this one VHS rip of the animated feature Fire and Ice and the trailer for Alligator was at the beginning of the tape and I'd watch it over and over because I thought it looked like an awesome creature feature. I was glad to find out that the film was not a let down and was in fact very well put together. It reminded me a lot of Jaws, and it was very well acted with some great one liners. It's also one of the better "it came from below" horror movies I've seen - right up there with C.H.U.D. (or down there?)

Another thing my girl friend and I have been spending a lot of money on recently is eating out. We've been visiting a lot of restaurants and dinners that we normally pass by, just to see what kind of specialties they might have.

Last night was funny though because I've been trying to watch what I eat, especially for dinner. So I had this great Thai Chicken salad and was all like - ok I'm set. But then like two hours later I was so damn hungry I could eat a baby. Lucky there was some left over Chili- chicken in the fridge. So I guess I gotta polish my dinner options a bit.

I'm looking forward to chilling this weekend, as i had spent the last weekend at the office working on a documentary for FBC TV.

And I can't believe where are days away from kicking of December, man this year went by so fast, and I know we say that about every year, but 2012 really did just fly by. I'm hoping to use my Hibiscus trips either in late December or maybe early next month.

What have you got planned for the rest of the year?

Friday, November 9, 2012

Dead Space 3 Preview (Inside Gaming Extended)

A closer look at co-op and weapon building, as well as something even more interesting. How two players co-oping together actually see the story differently because of the "Dementia" mechanic.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Dark Souls: Back to basics

So last night I was playing through the new Dark Souls DLC with my meat headed Strength based character. This was the guy I made for my first play through. I knew nothing about miracles or pyromancy or sorcery and invading level caps and other things that i know now about Dark Sopuls - I just built him according to regular RPG rules for a warrior.

High on Vitality to take the hits, higher on Strength to dish out the damage and some Dex for speed.

Last night I came across a simple truth; Faith builds and magic spells are awesome, but noting feels as satisfying as smashing a giant axe into an enemies face. Playing through the DLC with my Faith/ Dex toon was tricky. Lots of dodging and rolling around, and forget about standing in the way of a fire breathing dragon. But playing as my first toon, aptly named "Clarence" was just pure bad ass.

Stone Giant trying to smash me? He can't even get through my Great Shield of Artorias. Is that shadow magic? Lucky my Black Iron set is built to resist and with the Great Shield Absorbing 100% of everything - good luck trying to build damage . As for the horrible new monstrosities out to get me - meet my Black Knight Great axe!

And man - don't get me started on the PVP!

At soul level 135 I had constant invasions as soon as I entered the Royal woods. But I was surprised at how well my toon held up. In fact he didn't get a single defeat the whole night, and I did some invasions too and was only killed when I came across a co-op team just in front of Artorias arena. My Faith/ Dex guy is pretty kick ass in PVP as well - he should be since I built him specifically for invading, but Clarence is just a beast.

There really is no point to this post other than to brag about how awesome my first Dark Souls toon is. The only conflict I have is wither to level him up any further because right now I'm nervous as heck walking around with 200k souls.

I leave you with this awesome art piece of Yurt from Demons Souls fighting Lautrec from Dark Souls. Sadly I couldn't track down the artist who did it -but i like the way he thinks.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Shaun of the Dead star loves Dark Souls

Comedian and Shaun of the Dead star Peter Serafinowicz talks, and talks, and talks about his favourite videogame of all-time, Dark Souls.

Dark Souls: Artorias of the Abyss (DLC)

Dark Souls hit consoles in September 2011 but I didn't get my hands on it till Jan 2012 ...just in time for my Birthday.

Dark Souls is hands down the greatest thing I've ever played. Yes there are tones of great games, yes I am dying to get my hands on Dead Space 3, but playing through the rich dark world of Dark Souls and "beating" it gives a sense of accomplishment that few games can offer.

Well after being totally consumed by it once already, nothing was more welcomed than playing through the game with something new to take on.

Last week saw the release of " Artorias of the Abyss" - an expansion DLC for the console versions of Dark Souls. The extra content was first released as part of the PC port of the game which came out the month before, and it was very tempting for me to pick it up on Steam to avoid the wait, but man was the wait ever worth it.

As far as "the best DLCs" go,  Artorias of the Abyss doesn't share the ranks with the stuff that Gear Box puts out for its Borderlands games. As a gamer paying for something in terms of "content" they would be disappointed because the DLC took me about a day to get through. Plus any one who has played through Dark Souls won't find the new content all that challenging either as it sits just before the intended "end Game" content of the original release.

As a fan of Dark Souls though - this DLC is hands down freaking golden.

The major thing about Dark Souls is that it doesn't hold your hand with anything, not with game play, not with progress and not with story. As a player when you enter the land of Lordran it truly feels like the place was alive long before you and will live on long after you have ventured through it. So to get the full extent of what has happened in the land or what will happen it is up to you as an adventurer  to talk to NPCs, read item description and book texts to get the lore of the land. This adds a sense of mystic and adventure that makes everything you discover special. The lore of the different lands is in particular something I try to find out more about.

So when the Expansion was announced and it was said that it's plot took you back in time to the days before the fall of Lordran's great cities and her fabled knights - it just meant that there's gonna be so much more story and lore for you to discover. That's what drives me in the game, aside from the gameplay challenge of Dark Souls,  it's sense of discovery and adventure is truly unmatched.

I ventured into the new content with a toon that was appropriate for the level, though I have several NG+ toons, my fresh level 91 was actually at the point where you venture into the new area.

Stepping into the "new" area was awesome because it truly gave  me a sense of dread. I won't lie, I still haven't seen all of the first area; the Royal woods, because it's choked full of hard hitting Stone Guardians who give my squishy Dexterity/ Faith toon a run for his life. I'm sure my tankish Strength guy, who I intend to play through with tonight, will be better adapt for it.

The expansion adds four new bosses and some open world mini bosses, plus some kick ass new armor sets and weapons that would suit most popular builds. It also comes with some nerfs here and there, none of which hurt me more than the nerf to the Dark Wood grain ring.

In terms of difficulty as I had mentioned that since this area is before end game, it will be pretty manageable for most Dark Soul players. I played through two boss fights co-op but it was the last boss of the DLC who was the one that I really needed help with; Manus the Father of the Abyss.

After him was a very threatening Dragon who was more of a side boss, but his breath turned out to be worse than his bite. Though the last boss was a hard fight and the boss himself was one of the most menacing things in the game, the fight with Kalameet the Black dragon felt the most epic.

Both the two last bosses had awesome intros but the events leading up to the dragon fight was pretty tense. The fight with Artorias, the legendary knight who was once the hero of the land before he gets corrupted, was also a tough battle, but it comes so early into the DLC that it's over shadowed by the later boss fights. It was still pretty epic and almost sad when you have to put the great hero down.

Coming out of the DLC content and going back into the original game left me a little sad because all of it was so good that it leaves you wanting more, but all in all the DLC added very nicely to what was already an incredible journey.

Plus your actions in the "past" also seem to play into the game when you return, as NPCs and even bosses react differently to you after wards. For a game that adds so many ways to create a unique experience for all who dare to adventure through it, Artorias of the Abyss brings nothing but greatness. I really hope the Devs put out more of this kinda stuff because the open ended world of Dark Souls lends it's self very nicely to more content, maybe something that explores the other knights stories.

The Heroes of Dark Souls

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Mark of the Ninja: First Impressions

After playing Marking of the Ninja, I've come to realize that there haven't really been to many stealth games. There have been lots of games with a stealth element to it and some may even claim to build their game around this one mechanic, but in Mark of the Ninja - Stealth truly is the main focus with everything else being the icing on the cake.

The closest thing I can think of to Mark of the Ninja would be games like the Batman Arkham series and maybe Splinter Cell. But the thing that faults Batman is that whenever you F up a stealth section of the game, you either take a massive pounding from baddies or you totally loose the given level. Plus overall you feel like a dick head for making a silly mistake.

Ninja's don't make mistakes and if they do, they know how to recover from it - and keep looking bad ass.

Mark of the Ninja puts you behind the hidden blade of an unnamed hero who is charged with avenging his clan. To aid in his quest he is inscribed with tattoos penned with ink made from a scared flower, which gives the wearer of the Tattoos almost Supernatural like reflexes. This comes with a price however as who ever wears the ink is cursed to go insane, so at the end of the given task the wearer must end his life, less he becomes a threat to the clan.

Some folks say the story for Mark of the Ninja isn't very deep, but for me that set up is pretty damn awesome. By now I know that the crew over at Klei Entertainment grew up watching the same stuff I did as a kid, as evident from the influences on their awesome Shank games, and here Mark of the Ninja reminds me of the awesome Ninja flicks I watched growing up (Except The American Ninja - I wanna forget about those films)

So you embark on your mission. Your sword and kunai ready for the kill, but as a Ninja... your best weapon is the darkness.

The first thing that struck me as I started up the game was the beautiful cut scenes.  This could be a show on TV - it's that good. Next I stared in aw at the amazing world that was stretched out before me. Mark of the Ninja has to be one of the best looking games out there. Forget 2D games - just across the board this game is gorgeous. To look at a screen shot does it no justice, to watch the world live and breath is a thing of beauty.

Second thing that struck me about Mark of the Ninja is the tight controls. You move exactly how you want to move through the environment, with every step and every grapple precisely executed whenever you want it. There is very little room to fault buttons and such for the errors you make. There is however one issue I had and it's best we get it out of the way now because the rest of this article will be me praising the shit out this game.

There is a context sensitive button, that lets you pick up bodies or hide behind things. If you drop a guy near a pot plant, chances are you'll hide when you wanna pick him up or pick him up if you wanna hide. This has gotten me killed a few times, but that was when I was but a fledgling Ninja - such bull shit no longer hinders my game.

Aside from the tight controls there is the addition of these sound pulses that emit from noise sources. When you run, they circle out from your feet, letting you know how far the sound will reach. When you line up a Kunai with a light, it will show who will hear the sound of it breaking. This makes you want to be very very quiet, calculating every move you make, so as not to be  seen but also not heard.

There's this really cool feature where you "Focus" and time slows down, allowing you to mark and execute things like smoke bombs, multiple kunai hits and a whole host of other cool moves. Needless to say it really ups the "bad ass" factor every time you pull this move off.

With all these things in play, you'll find yourself looking out for short cuts, enemy patterns, and that right moment to move on unseen or make that mad ass kill. Playing through the game really reminded me a lot of Metal Gear solid and even a little bit of Super meat boy because of levels involving lasers. Strangely though it never reminded me of Tenchu, which is what i thought it would throw back to.

As with most things in 2D, the platform elements play a huge part in this game, and this game means business when it comes to precession timing and jumps. But that's not to say you have too play the game a certain way. The biggest flaw with most stealth games is that you need to consciously play them a certain way to get the most out of them.

In Mark of the Ninja you are a Ninja. No two ways about it. You are made to strike hard from the shadows, and fade away ... with out a trace. And though the game emphasizes this by awarding points every time you move by a guard unseen, it does also congratulate you for your straight out kills, provided they are stylish and classy - like a Ninja should be killing. 

As I mentioned earlier, unlike most 'stealth' games where you feel like a klutz when you get caught, Mark of the Ninja allows you to recover from your mistakes with class. Smoke bombs, kunais to lights, near by vents, if you see it you can use it as a means to infiltrate or escape. It is one of the few games that truly allows you to do things your way. I think the biggest factor in this is Klei's approach to the game. Stripping away all the non essential bull shit that clutter most other games (I'm looking at you Dishonored) Mark of the Ninja aims to give you one thing only - a ninja sim. So it encompasses all the things that makes Ninjas so damn cool, and provides you with an environment that lets you go nuts.

There is some serious gaming to be had here and I think Klei have really out done the stealth genre, taking in to account every innovation in the genre that has come before and building on it greatly with Mark of the Ninja. After all this the true fun of the games comes from the narrow escapes and sudden reactions of "run" or "kill" that keep you at the edge of your seat through out. Bascially using all the mechanics to play the game, while still making your own personal story.

I really can't think of anything else to say except that Mark of the Ninja is freaking awesome and if you enjoy great gaming experiences, you owe it to yourself to check it out.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Dishonored: Fist Impresssions

Dishonoured adverts tell you that you can play the game "guns blazing" as a crazed assassin mad for revenge, or you can play it cool and calculated, striking from the shadows like a dark spirit of vengeance.

These adverts fail to tell you that playing Dishonoured as a straight out first person action game is super freaking dull. Combat though flashy can get very boring very fast. In fact as I first started playing the game and went about slicing and shooting people in the face I was like: meh

If you want to get the most out of Dishonoured you need to play it taking advantage of it's stealth elements, but that's not to say that the stealth in the game is awesome, far from it. In fact for a stealth game the mechanics in Dishonoured are pretty bland. It's not gonna do anything to take fame away from such titles as Splinter Cell conviction or even the Batman Arkham games.

Stealth in Dishonoured means crouching. But even then depending on how the game feels, you might hid in a corner and have a guard walk right by you, or you might reload a save and the damn guard will spot you in the same exact spot he missed you in a while ago. And you'll find that a lot of the game is broken this way. It helps though that none of the NPCs in Dishonoured have peripheral vision, so you can just walk up to a baddie and stab him in the neck as long as you walk to em in  a straight line from behind or from the side.

Another thing about Dishonoured is that the NPCs don't really care about each other. If there are three people in a room and you kill one of them, the other two will keep talking without a worry. They won't even notice that their friend is missing. I mean come on! for all the bullshit realism the adverts for Dishonoured boasts with its "fully realised world" - you'd think they would pay attention to something like that. If they were lazy to do anything they could have just added some bull shit dialogue.

"Hey where did Ben go?"
"His probubly gone for a piss again"
"That Ben sure does have a weak bladder"
"yeah ... I won't be the least bit worried if he never came back"

Also there was all this hype about the "PC" edition of the gaming having special attention given to controls. Is that why by default your left hand is mapped to the right mouse button and your right hand is on the left button? The amount of people I shot in the head instead of quietly stabbing... 

So basically the "one on one" components of Dishonoured aren't the sharpest, but I had fun trying to stealth my way through it. So much so that I kept loading saves when ever I got caught. I actually haven't killed too many people either because it takes longer to make em pass out without getting caught - and I like that added challenge. Plus the less people you kill, the less guards there are in later levels etc.

Speaking of challenge, the first chapter of the game is probably the most demanding, at least it was for me (I'm currently on the 4th chapter)

When stealth kills are just you and the dark, it gets very intense. But then the game has all these fancy gear and supernatural powers that it gives you. I remember seeing early trailers for the game, show casing these special moves, thinking that they looked way over powered. Playing through the game with them - they are almost like "God mode."

There are tone of things you can pick, but all you really need to totally pwn everything is Blink and this ability that allows you to see NPCs through walls, including field of vision. Once you pick these up you're pretty much boss.Blink lets you instantly teleport to any spot you can see.

You also have traps and stuff, but there really is no point to these except to kill boredom.

Why set up a spring trap when you can so easily just blink behind a baddie, slice him and blink out? I only used my traps once so far - just to check em out.

Visually the game looks pretty good in a Bioshock: infinite sorta way. The art and design for the game is what I love the most and is the only thing I think it does really well. The  Gothic / "Alice in wonderland" nightmarish world you get to explore is very awesome to look at. The people look good, but move like claymation, so the animation isn't the sharpest. And though the self contained levels are big, the missions them selves are pretty leaner.

As is the trend with most of the games that Bethesda publishes, the fun parts of Dishonoured are when you make the most of its given mechanics to forge your own adventure. There is a story in here some where, but I stopped listening when our hero is accused of a murder he didn't comminet, and instead of saying "hey I just got here" - he goes all Gordon Freeman on us and allows him self to get fudged.

You may not believe me, but I do like playing Dishonoured, but it's not as awesome as the critics make it out to be. I don't know what side of the bed these people woke up on when they played Dishonoured because I can see this game very easily bombing into 'midcore' territory depending on the reviewers mood.

If you're hard out for an action game, this wont do. If you're up for a poor man's "Thief" then Dishonoured might do it for you. But be warned - it requires a great deal of patience to get the most out of it. It will basically serve well those folks who claim they want a challenge but still haven't played Dark Souls because it's too hard.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Torchlight 2: First Impressions

Sometimes I forget that I bought Diablo 3, but then the bitter memory of it seeps back in and I my heart sinks to despair.

When I played Torchlight 1 a few years back, I was hooked. The formula of loot collecting, exploring and fun combat stole hours upon hours of my life. Just like Diablo 1 and 2 did years before. I keep telling myself that I'm not a RPG fan, and I guess to some extent games like Torchlight and Diablo aren't traditional RPGs. Dungeon crawlers, hack n slash or whatever you want to call them, I love em to bits.

After Torchlight 1 came and went, I thought to myself: boy I can't wait for Diablo 3.

Without getting into the shit flinging too much, let me just say Diablo 3 started out great but ultimately fell due to its own reputation. It just didn't deliver on what I wanted and what it did serve up wasn't enough.
I was very hesitant to pick up Torchlight 2, even though I loved the first one, after the events of D3 I thought that maybe I'm just not into this genre of gaming at the moment. I should just stick to Borderlands 2  which has been nothing but the Bees Knees.

But thanks to a friend I was able to get myself a Steam copy of Torchlight 2 and I'm so damn glad that I did.

Torchlight 2 is a gem.

It's a special game. It has charm, and character and it thrusts you into a world that strives to kill you but never seizes to amaze you.

Just going through its list of 4 classes had me sitting there clicking forever because I couldn't decided which one was the coolest one to play. Eventually I settled on an Engineer named Issac and his pet ferret Ishi.

As the game begins you find that the biggest let down in Torchlight 2 is the story, or lack there of. There is a narrative in there somewhere, but even the game knows that it's not important. What matters is that you have a reason to step into your characters shoes and cause havoc.

Visually the game looks amazing, I freaking love the art style. It's unique art make it as though you were playing through a Disney Cartoon. It sort of looks like a higher rendered version of what you see in world of Warcraft, and given that the Dev crew were ex Blizz members, you can see how Torchlight 2 borrows heavily from such titles as Diablo and WoW. But what it borrows it polishes and gives back in a big way. Even the Music is done by the same guy that worked on Diablo 1 and 2 - so the atmosphere and environments are a joy to go through. In fact the music and environments to explore are a major draw for me.

Soon you don't care who you're collecting quests from, or where you have to go. You just grab quests, look at the reward and then kill shit as you make your way towards a star marking some location on a map. And this to me is the game so far. But please don't take that as a negative, because this simple mechanic of killing, looting, moving on is some how made so damn addictive by the good people over at Runic Games. If it wasn't for Borderlands 2 I would have been sitting there for hours just exploring and finding new things to kill and strip off loot. But I really want to finish my first play through of Borderlands 2 before I get into anything else.

But let me just say, that my first few hours of Torchlight 2 were insanely more satisfying than my time spent finishing Diablo 3. If D3 has left a bad taste - Torchlight 2 is here to bring the sugar.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Dead Space 3: Eudora Gameplay with Commentary

So here's over 15 minutes of Dead Space 3 gameplay withe projects Creative Director and Senior Audio Artist, taking us through the Eudora level.

There really isn't much else to say except "watch this awesome video!" Dead Space 3 keeps looking better and better every freaking day. Can't wait for it.

Edit: I've watched this video like a dozen times and absolutely love it. I was afraid at first after watching the first few videos that the evolution of the game was taking it away too much from the original formula, but it looks like Visceral have got it under control. Why did i even doubt them?

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Borderlands 2: An Epic Sequel

Sequels are a special breed. In some cases they can be used to correct certain short comings of the original installment, other times it can build and expand on the first. The hardest challenge is to create a sequel for something that has gained massive success, and it is even harder if this success came as a surprise.

When it came to Borderlands 2, from the looks of it, it seems that Gearbox followed one basic principle: If it ain't broke, don't fix it.

Right out of the box Borderlands 2 seems like more of the first game, but as you play on you see the tweaks and adjustments that have gone in to refine the awesome formula that made the first game so much fun.

The exploration, the loot, THE GUNZ and especially the humor of the first game have been amped up to amazing heights this time around.

There are actually heaps of reviews out for the game already, so there's no point getting into that, from my side I just wanted to share how amazingly awesome Borderlands 2 is, but I think anyone who is even mildly interested in the game already know this.

The world of Pandora is bigger and badder than ever, with heaps of new areas to explore and enemies to fill up with bullets, or if you're like me, slice and dice with a laser construct katana.

The game looks freaking beautiful, with so much added detail etched into the cell shaded world that it's a gem to behold. For me it reaches heights reminiscent of Rage, which made such a hype about it's graphics and game features. Yes the two share a similar world, but the land of Borderlands 2 feels truly inhabited. To some extent I felt Borderlands 2 offered me the gaming experience that Rage had promised.

Borderlands 2  is filled with quests that lead you to its many new locations. Some of these quests you need to look out for though as the world is filled with many hidden side quests and Easter eggs which make exploring so damn addictive. These are hidden to the extent of dropping of specific baddies after doing specific tasks, without spoiling too much, do pay attention to such areas as The Fridge or even Caustic Caverns as the quests that take you there end pretty quick, but the ones you find hidden will keep you busy.

This time around the characters of Borderlands are brought to life in a bigger way as well. All the dialogue is amazingly voiced and you can't help but fall in  love with everyone you meet, even the bad guys.

Even "Handsome Jack" the antagonist of the game is someone you can't help but cheer for when he comes in over your intercom to blurt out his funny stories and one liners.

These characters give way to a flushed out story which can get pretty deep for a FPS. I know some reviews have dismissed the narrative of the game as a back seat to the action and loot that drives it, but I found it to be very engaging.There was one moment in the game that actually pulled some emotional strings for me cause it played on my feelings from the previous game. Then there are quests that made me just laugh out loud IRL because of the dialogue and interactions that were really just honestly funny.

But the loot, O GAWD THE LOOT!

Nothing beats that rush of findiing "that gun" that out bids your current favorite, but this time around most every single gun is so good that it's actually sad for me to let certain weapons go. I  read somewhere that you shouldn't get attached to weapons and that's so true. I actually had to buy more bag/ bank space so I could keep a few guns a little longer for sentimental value.

On my current play through I'm going in as Zer0 the assassin, who is pretty much a cyborg ninja, because that's how awesome Borderlands is. I was going to play as the Commando but felt it was too similar to the Solider from part one (not that that's a bad thing) and I wanted a fresh experience. It was hard to play him as the sword wielding psychopath I had envisioned from the get go, so I started his killing spree as a sniper, but a few more levels and points in I re-speced him into his Blood Shed tree and never looked back, except to admire the trail of death and blood I left behind.

This is my eventual aim for Zer0 once I get very effective with his  Deception skill, but for solo purposes I'll be rolling with this.

I really like the challenge of playing Zer0 as a melee focused toon, because I feel a lot of the game is easier on ranged combat. But Zer0's melee tree, if speced right, offers a lot of  straight out damage boosts which in turn allows me to get in "up close and personal" or hold back to pick off as need be. Weapon of choice is Shotguns and SMGs with a Sniper riffle for good measure... and his nifty katana.

Aside from talents and such you can also customize your vault hunter to some extent visually through the use of skins. These are presets whcih you can mix and match to suit your toons character.Though I've found a lot of skins I can't help but stick to this one called "Blood and rust" which covers Zer0 in - well in Blood and muck. It really looks like his killed some serious shizz and is out to hack up something new. And I like the contrast to the other "Clean" Zero skins that are popular online.

And my Zer0 is called Yautja (E-wat-ya) - which makes him even more bad ass.

So yeah man - Borderlands 2 is quite the shizz and I actually can't wait to get home to play it. As a successor I feel it has truly taken the franchise to new heights with its style and attitude. As a game it is truly one of the coolest shooters I've ever played, or just one of the coolest games period, cementing the franchise into my top 5 for keeps.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Borderlands 2: First Impressions

It's just like Borderlands part one but better.

Now I get back to playing.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Yaiba: Ninjas, Mechs and Zombies = WIN

Keiji Inafune better known as INAFKING to his fans is considered a legend amongest gaming circles. He is the genius that spear headed the dev group for Capcoms Mega man series and was the producer behind such titles as Onimusha, a few earlier Resident Evil titles and Dead Rising.

Though I never played Onimusha, Megaman was a staple of my early gaming life and Dead Rising one was pure awesome and of course the early  Resident Evil games were known for awesome Zombie action.

Well recently it has been announced that Inafune is working with his crew on a fresh new title, the premise of which has me sweating for more info.

A platform action game where you play a  Ninja, who fights mechs and zombies.

If that didn't sound win enough the teaser trailer that came out with the announcement had me gasping for more.

From the very brief teaser the game looks like a madder version of the recent Splatterhouse remake, but with a Ninja, and that's enough to have me giddy as a school girl.

Will definitely need to keep an eye on this one.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

And then?

And then my Grand father has been in hospital for a week now. He was admitted last Wednesday because he kept getting these strange "shakes" sort of like an epileptic seizure. It started about a week earlier but would normally last like a few seconds, but last Wednesday it last for like a full hour and more. So we had to call an Ambulance cause we found it very hard to move him.

With my Grandparents.
The doctors decided to admit him for the night. Sad thing was thought that the following day the doctors told us that my Grandfather wasn't going to make it through the night.

But his still there.

Yesterday they had to hook him up to a "breathing machine" because he finds it hard to take a breath on his own, yesterday was also his 75th Birthday.

So since last week I've been spending my nights at the Hospital with him, in fact I'll be there tonight as well. Basically I just sit there with him in case he needs something, plus I get to catch up on my reading. A few times my girl friend joins me for the night as well, which makes it a lot easier.

Since he got admitted I started reading Cormac McCarthy's the Road which I finished last night. Now that book read as though it were written for a hospital beside, so much so that the ending actually choked me up and I had to take a breather afterwards.

When I got back home I watched the movie for it and thought that while it was good, it just totally lacked the "soul" of the book and came off as very bland and grey. Part of the problem was that you didn't get to hear the main character's thoughts, which I thought was the main strength of the novel.The movie comes off as a film about survival while the book reads as more of a spiritual journey.

I've also been playing Darksiders 2 in between things, that game gets more and more epic the more you progress through it and I think it totally out shines the first game.

While going through The Road I also picked up "I am Alive" which is a downloadable game built around the idea of surviving an "end of the world" scenario. You basically scavenge for food and supplies and watch your ammo and try to strive against other survivors... it felt like a nice pit stop until I get my hands on The Last of Us which I think will totally redefine the survival genre of games.

I've also been doing a bit of planning for the community work I've been getting into lately. In fact I made a Facebook page for it and hope to have all the projects the other Hibiscus contestants and I put together.

Yesterday was an interesting day because I spent the better part of it watching videos over on this Youtube page for Feminist Frequency, I've never really been exposed to too much of the feminist movement, but I like the work that the moderator for Fem Frequency is doing. Anita Sarkeesian, the amazing young woman who runs the project has some very interesting views on things I've never really thought about in regards to women's role in media, be it movies, books, or games. A lot of it provides some really good food for thought.

Anita Sarkeesian
O and thanks to my buddy Micheal Jon, I've pre-purchased Borderlands 2 on Steam... so if all goes well I'll be playing it on day one :D

Plus last Friday the drag was lifted a bit because my buddy Kaos was having a house warming get together for his awesome new flat, so after being with my dead the whole night I went over and had a few drinks with my friends.

So yeah... the last few days have been pretty interesting. Right now I just hope things work out for the best with my Grandfather, but at the same time I don't want to get to all down about it. So I'm just taking it easy and getting on with other things as much as I can, while spending as much time with him as possible.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Darksiders 2: First Impressions

Within the first few moments of Darksiders 2 you can tell that you're embarking on something purely Epic.

The stakes have already been set up very high in the previous game; the Horseman War has been imprisoned for bringing on the Apocalypse, earth is dust and Humans are extinct. As  Wars Brother you take it upon yourself to prove his innocence and bring back humanity - You are Death... and you are a Bad Ass.

The first thing that grabbed me about the game is the music, and trust me this is normally something I almost never compliment right away, but Darksiers 2 has a score that gives every task a sense of grandness and urgency.

The music drives you; it drives you to ride, it drives you to move like a beast in combat, it makes you want to save the world.

Then there's the look of the game. Where Darksiders 1 had ruined cities and sad grey subways to bring to life its dead world, Darksiders 2 has massive forests, ice lands, and areas that are just a wonder to behold. The main hub of the game where you get your weapon upgrades and spells is a wonderfully crafted area with giant architecture blended nicely with the green around it. So nice that I love visiting it over and over.

To some extent the world reminded me a little of World of Warcraft, maybe because of the similar art style.

The combat in the game is a gem as well. Gone is the bulky fighting style of War. Death is quick and fluid, leaping in to a blood spilling frenzy with ease. Combat is also very tight and responsive, with Death doing exactly what you want him to, when you want him to. In fact the dodge roll in the game is so effect that it's almost cheating. But I'm pretty early into things and I'm sure I'll need it badly later on as combat gets heavier.

But what adds extra spice to the game is its little RPG touches. You get to fashion Death into your own style of killing machine. Through out the game enemies drop loot, this can be anything from clothing to weapons that carry different stats. Want your Death to be a strong tank filled with defence and resistance? so be it. My Death is fast, full on damage and crit.

The items also change the look of Death too, so this adds to even more customizations ecstatically.

One of the coolest parts of Darksiders 2s weapon list is the addition of "Possessed Weapons", these are items that level up with you. Plus they have this ability to "eat" other items. So if you feed it an item with a particular stat, those stats become part of the possessed weapon. You can also name these weapons so at the moment I have a pair of custom Scythes I named "Twin Peaks." I am massive loot whore, in WoW it was almost an obsession, so this aspect of Darksiders 2 keeps me venturing forth like mad.

There are also combat tress that carry this even further. Now these tress aren't that extensive, it's basically just two paths allowing either direct damage or damage through spells. My Death is all about the hands on.

The story is driven through dialogue wheels similar to Mass Effect and Dragon Age 2, though the dialogue options aren't as extensive they do a good job of moving things along. If you are one for story and lore, Darksiders 2 has it in plenty. All the dialogue is wonderfully brought to life with awesome voice work, so it's all a gem to sit through.

What drives me on in the game is exploring. I've said this over and over. I love to explore, and Darksiders 2 gives you lots to explore, and you get to to do so on your trusty horse Despair. As you ride along to objectives you come across ruins and caves that lead to side dungeons filled with special baddies and loot. This keeps the game from becoming stale story wise as you constantly have heaps to do.

The characters that drive the game are brought to life beautifully, but the star of the Show is Death, as it should be.

Michael Wincott is bad ass
Death as voiced by Michael Wincott, and is probably the coolest character I've played in a while. He is mysterious, bad ass, calm in the face of everything... with has a dry humour that actually makes you laugh now and then.  With all this Death actually has a certain charm to him that I haven't seen in to many recent characters in gaming.

Plus I've always been a fan of Wincott's voice and could never get enough of it in the past from his films, so him playing Death makes me giddy as a school girl. Ever since I saw him in the Crow I thought he had one of the coolest voices ever. It's kinda cool too how in the Game Death has a crow that shows him the path to follow when moving around in the world.

I remember how Darksiders 1 really reminded me of Soul Reaver: Legacy of Kane, well Darkisers 2 feels the same way. It really nails home the old school adventure game feel with larger than life locations and characters.

But Darkisers 1 for all its awesomeness did get a little boring some times, with its derivative puzzles and long gaps between combat. Thankfully this hasn't happened yet with Darksiders 2. 

When I first saw Darksiders 2 it was the game I didn't know I wanted. But if you're a fan of such titles as Castlevania: Lord of Shadows, God of War and the like, then Darksiders 2 will be a welcome addition to your collection.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Hail to the King

So last Saturday (25/08) I had the honor of being crowned Vodafone Hibiscus King 2012.

It's hard to believe that after months of preparation, time away from family and friends, long hours of rehearsals... it all boiled down to one week and was over in a heart beat.

But it honestly was one of the most amazing weeks of my life, and the friendships I made are ones that I hope to keep forever.

I'll be posting a break down of the weeks events from my first public judging till the crowing night, so look out for that. I'll also be writing up on some of the projects that I'll be working on too.

Cheers to all those who showed their support... but the real journey begins now.

My "i tokai night" outfit.

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Deadlight: please come to me

I have a thing for side scrollers. Especially modern day side scrollers like Shank and Shadow Complex. I also really like horror side scrollers (shocker!) In fact, when I got my hands on the latest Splatterhouse game my favorite parts were the side scrolling sections (Even though a lot of people hated them)

The last great horror side scroller I played was a little gem called Lone Survivor, a mad survival horror game by indie developer Jasper Byrne.

Well just the other day Spanish game studio Tequila Works released their side scrolling Zombie game: Deadlight, which is alos billed as a survival horror game.What's interesting about Tequila work is that the studio is made up of former devs from Blizzard Entertainment, MercurySteam Entertainment, Pyro Studios, Sony Computer Entertainment Europe and Weta Digital. o_O

It's been a while since a zombie game got me excited and though Deadlight hasn't gotten universal acclaim, it looks and plays like some thing I really wanna have.

The game follows the journey of one Randell Wayne who is out to brave a zombie apocalypse to look for his missing daughter. so it's not the most original plot - but stuff that it's a zombie game!

Check out this awesome gameplay vid with one of the developers commentating - it showcases the game a lot better than its trailer, which is still worth a look at though if you dig this vid.

  I really love the art style of it, like a more detailed Limbo.

Sadly the game is only out exclusively on Xbox Live at the moment, and though I have a 360  (my second one), the damn thing likes to be very temperamental. Meaning sometimes it turns on and other times it wants to be a douche and play "red ring."

So I don't wanna risk buying this on the xbox live in case my 360 dies completely.

Please bring this bad boy to Windows Live - if not PSN. PLEASE!!!

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Dead Space 3 Interview: Game Mechanics

An interview with Dead Space 3 Executive Producer, Steve Papoutsis on the games mechanics. Including how there won't be any competitive Multipayer - thank god!

After watching I'm actually a little more excited about Dead Space 3 - it kinda sounds like two game experiences in one.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Slender: Impressions

Here's a video of my Girl friend and I checking out the Indie Horror game Slender.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

I am the Lizard king!

Okay folks - for those of you who don't know - this year at the Fiji Hibiscus Festival I will be running as Mr FBC 2012 amongst the King Contestants.

I never thought I'd ever be in anything like this. Normally I take part in things that involves my work being judged; video editing, maybe drawing or writing, but to be up on a stage to put my character out there to be seen and judged is something strange to me. 

This might sound strange because I've had a radio show and I'm on TV as well, so people are seeing me and judging me all the time, but on my radio show the main focus was the music while on TV the focus is on the films I talk about. This time the focus shifts to me personally.

I got into this about three weeks ago and it's been an interesting journey ever since. I sought of had an idea in my head about how this whole thing would go down, but after meeting the other contestants and going through the training and rehearsals, I've come to see the whole thing a lot differently.

Every contestant needs to advocate something. This can be anything from a social issue or concern to a personal subject that the contestant think needs addressing. The build up for this has brought my attention to certain issues and concerns that I have never really thought about before and that's been a great learning experience for me so far. So in away I've started looking at it as less of me pushing myself on stage, and more of pushing my message and my sponsor.

The theme for this years Hibiscus Festival aims to highlight the dangers of Non communicable diseases and my message in relation to this is doing things through Moderation and Balance.

One cool thing was that last week the other Kings and I took part in a project which saw us cleaning up a health centre. Not to sound like a douche, but at the start of this year I actually did wanna do more things that sort of "gave back" to the community

O gawd I do sound like a douche 

I really am glad I got into this and I really hope to continue with a lot of the things I'm learning. Through the various coordinators and speakers I've come to learn about a lot of groups and projects that I feel I could really contribute to.
Sadly I can't discuss in great detail all the things I've been involved in because of a contract I had to sign, but I will be posting things whenever I can, and when it comes to events and things I'll try to Tweet as much as I can too.

It has been a really fun experience so far though because part of the perks is that you actually do feel like a King. The vibe at the office has been great and I'm even getting suits made for me and fancy shoes bought for me. Plus on my personal info sheet my list of hobbies included: watching horror movies, playing video games and reading up on war history, if I get luck maybe I could tell the judges about how much I love Evil Dead 2.

And now here's the promotional idea I hope FBC goes with:

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Games that Define me as a Gamer: In between

I wasn't just into Horror games growing up as a kid, when I wasn't playing stuff at home I would go to the arcades a lot.

Back in the day Suva had some mad video game arcades. I remember I would wait for my grandad to pick my up from school, so while waiting I'd head down Toorak road and chill at the back of Century Theater. There they had this dark room that I remember only being lit by the glow of video game machines.

This is where I was introduced to such great titles as Streets of Rage and this one awesome game called Ninja Spy which was a first person fighting game.

I remember getting this shit kicked out of me on Fatal Fury by the older kids, but it wasn't until I discovered Street Fighter 2 that my arcade days really kicked off.

I played Street Fighter 2 like it was a cult man, every afternoon I'd be down at the arcade practicing how to do Forward - Down- Forward because the Hadouken was easy - but no one saw the shoryuken coming.

Ken was my favorite guy. I remember I started using him because everyone wanted to be Ryu, so I wanted to keep the move set but be different.Plus Ryu was all emo and would like 'look away' when he won, while Ken was more 'in your face" with his victory.

I like to brag :P

There were a few other arcades here and there which had some other games that I would visit now and then, but when I got good at SF2 I went more for the fun of beating other kids my age more than any thing else.

There were a few older boys there too and I would watch how they played and i would try to play like them. Street Fighter 2 is what introduced me to competitive gaming.

Years later my best friend would get this bad boy on the Super Nintendo and that was hours and hours of swore thumbs and sleepless nights.

Even now when I play Super Street Fighter 4 - Ken is my man and I love bullying my friends with him.


Games that Define me as a Gamer Part 1

One of my earliest memories of gaming sitting with my mums brother and playing a little something called Jack Attack on the Commodore 64.

I was about 6 or 7 when I was playing this, and though I did enjoy it a lot, there is one particular memory of it that both cracks me up and makes me feel really silly, but I feel it reflects a lot on the type of games I play today.

Jack Attack had a simple premise, get to this one location while avoiding these round circle things. If they touch you, then you die. You can't directly kill them though, so you have to manipulate these blocks to squash them. These blocks can kill you too though, so I guess that counts as an environmental hazard?

At some point what I started doing was turning down the brightness of the screen so that I could barely see myself and the enemy circles. This made the game a little scarier for me because now I had to really watch myself and look out for the "baddies", but this also made the game a lot more enjoyable for me. I would spend hours and hours pretending that these circles were monsters or demons or whatever.

Looking back at it now and giving it some thought, I think right and then there would have been the genesis of my love for horror gaming. Even though I was pretending that my character was walking around in the dark and that that these circles where monsters, all this added a different experience for me instead of just moving blocks and avoiding circles.

Soon I had my self a Family Game system or Fanicom as I now come to know it. This was the version of NES that was shipped to places outside of the States and Japan. My one came with a cartridge that had like a 100 games on it or something. This is where I was introduced to such classics as Super Mario Brothers (which I played religiously) and other hits such as Contra and Legend of Kage.

But I still remember my favorite game on this bad boy, there were two games that I played a lot and they were Ghosts n' Goblins and Frankenstein.

Ghost n' Goblins is of course a classic now, what I loved about it most at the time was that I didn't have to pretend that I was fighting demons and monsters, because now I actually was. I don't remember it being hard but now I read that it's actually one of the most unforgiving games on the NES. I always thought it was Battle Toads.

Frankenstein however was my best game on the Fanicom. The spooky music, creepy atmosphere and locations. This game was just what I was looking for. You venture into sewers and forbidden castles battling all kinds of hideous things.It's sad to hear now that Frankenstein was not as popular generally as it was to me, but I was like 8 or 9 by now - so just I guess it was easier to entertain me.

Check out the video below, that opening theme brings back so many memories for me.

Soon horror movies became a staple at my house. I grew up with my grandparents and my grandma was away overseas and it was just my granddad an I for the longest time. Every other night he would let me pick a horror movie from the local video store and we'd watch it together over dinner. the funny thing was that he didn't mind me watching the blood and gore and creepy stuff, but he'd fast forward all the sex scenes.

I continued to played a lot of other games during this time and fell in love with many other classics, but it wasn't until I met up with a family friend whose kid had a Sega Megadrive console that things really heated up for me. It wasn't because of Sonic, which came built in, but because he had Splatterhouse 2.

Boy this game was the shit for me as a kid. An out right creepy atmosphere, drenched in blood and decay, scary ass monsters and a mad doctor that kidnapped my girl friend! I had seen the comic adverts for it here and there and I never thought I would get to play it.

Plus the hero was no longer some puny little dweeb from some village or something. It was a guy who became bad ass because he had put on a mask that was possesed! Now he was smashing bad guys with sticks and fighting giant worms and running away from massive tenticle beasts. I didn't know about the Lovecraft influence back then, but Spaltterhouse 2 always came off as something a lot deeper and darker than your standard game, at least for me.

The shitty thing was that this wasn't my game and I didn't get too many chances to play it. Whenever we would go over to this family's house I would just hog the Sega till we had to leave.

My next big horror gaming fix would come much later, when my folks picked up our first PC.

I didn't care much for it until one day something went wrong with a drive or something and an IT guy came over to sort it out. I remember him asking me if we had any games on it and I said no... that's when he installed Doom 2.


End of Part 1

Shadows of the Damned: First Impressions

What happens when you take a game concept and mechanics by Shinji Mikami (Resident Evil 1, Resident Evil 4,Vanquish), develop the gameplay and creative elements around it with  Goichi Suda (No more heroes, Fatal Frame IV, Lollipop Chainsaw) and then score the whole thing with Akira Yamaoka (Silent Hill 1, 2 and 3)?

You get Shadows of the Damned which is one of the maddest freakin horror shooter you'll ever get to play.

Shadows of the Damned follows the exploits of one Garcia "Fucking" Hotspur, a demon hunter whose girlfriend has been captured by the lord of Demons. Unable to save her right away, Garcia follows the demon lord back to his world to find his stolen love and mess up the dinner dates of as many demon fiends he can get his hands on.

Now this might sound pretty straight foredward, and yes to some extent it is, but the devil is not in the details of the games story, but rather the mad characters you get to meet and kill, and the awesome Demon world you get to explore.

Like the bastard child of Evil Dead and Dante's Inferno with dashes of Alice in Wonderland,  Shadows of the Damned is an off beat, in your face horror game with a setting that could have only been conceived on a bad acid trip. .. or a good acid trip.

Graphically the game looks like an old school horror movie, with filters and effects that give the whole thing a grind-house feel. The characters play out very 'over the top' especially our hero Garcia. His a Motorcycle riding, Latino punk rocker with a gun called "The Boner." This gun is actually a demon itself called Johnson. The game is full of these sexual innuendos and at times can be overly explicit. Designs of everything in the game are twisted - it's actually very hard to explain this without seeing the game for yourself.

The shooting in the game plays out exactly like Resident Evil 4 with the view shifting over the shoulder for aiming, but you can move while shooting, which makes it also feel a little like Dead Space. It's very effective without feeling too over powering. In fact, the shooting mechanic is easy enough to pull off, but just limited enough to be tricky at times, which makes for some intense shoot outs.

The baddies too are a mix of slow and fast enemies, and its fun shooting off limbs and things to watch the demons crawl and squirm they way to you. (like in Dead Space) You have your zombies, and nightmare monsters and things stitched together, then you have your VIP demons (Very important pendejos) who are like stage bosses or mini bosses.

Garcia can dodge and roll out of harms way with easy, at first it feels like too much ease, but when you get past the canon fodder baddies and start butting bullets with the VIPs is when all your skills come in handy.

Your "Boner" can turn into three different weapon types; namely a pistol, a shot gun and an automatic riffle. These can then be upgraded with damage modifiers and other attachments such as grenade launchers etc.

It's not all just straight forward shooting however as aside from the demon nasties, there's this added mechanic that has to do with light and darkness.

Every now and then the game world is plunged into Darkness which slows you down and drains your health. Baddies that appear during this time also come with a darkness shield that renders them invincible. In order to disperse this Darkness you need to find and shoot a goat head.

Yes. A goat head.

There are things that can buy you time during this darkness phase, such as light barrels, human hearts laying around to be eaten and safe rooms here and there.

These moments make for some pretty intense gameplay and I found my self with clenched toes fits of "come on come on come on" moments as I came across them.

This whole thing of having the fire power and skills but still needing to be on your toes adds a level of cautiousness that fits well with the creepiness of the whole game, and is something I haven't come across in awhile.

Like the Splatterhouse remake I spoke about a few posts ago, this game plays like a massive  love letter to horror fans. It isn't Silent Hill creepy, like I said this is Evil Dead horror. It's a horror setting with a punk rock attitude. Think Cabin in the woods or the Texas Chainsaw Massacre remake. Not "Scary movie" but more along the lines of From Dusk Till Dawn.

For a new IP Shadows of the Damned takes a lot of risks with it's direction and it's appeal might be limited to a very niche section of the gaming crowd, even when it comes to horror gamers. This was evident from its reported low sales, but for me personally it's become a great edition to my gaming titles.

It's not a conventional game by any means, but it has solid mechanics that are fun to play.It reminded me a lot of the things that got me into horror gaming and just horror in general. As far as movie relations go - the game feels like something that will one day be a cult classic.

I heard there's a whole stage dedicated to Evil Dead that I can't wait to reach.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Early Screening: Abraham Lincoln - Vampire Hunter

The short of it: Starts off great but then decides to take itself too seriously thus loosing the plot and spoiling what could have been a no brainer action/ horror flick.

And here's the long of it:
 No Major Spoilers

There's a certain amount of disbelief that you need to suspend when watching Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter, but this is pretty much a given with a movie that carries such a premise, and at first it is pretty easy to get into it.

The movie kicks off into the thick of things pretty fast. We are introduced to young Abraham and it's established that slavery is a bad thing, then his dad pisses off some guy and there are Vampires.

Soon Abraham meets a man that offers to train the would be President in the art of hunting the blood thirsty undead. This involves a brief introduction to kick ass period weapons, crash course on Vampire lore and some awesome Axe-fu training.

First lets check out the good stuff. "Abe Lincoln: Vamp hunter" has some awesome action bits. Fights are brutal, but very stylized and look freaking sweet. The vampires look pretty damn freaky, with deformed, unhinging jaws filled to the brim with razor sharp teeth and they are fast as heck and can vanish into puffs of smoke like ninjas, o and everyone back then knew a little bit of  martial arts.

There is one very awesome fight that takes place in the middle of a horse stampede that really kicked ass.

Sadly the action in the film is where the highlights stop.

The pace of the movie is a little broken and more often than not it feels a little rushed, if the movie were a book (and it is based on a book) it would feel as though entire chapters were just missing from the final product. This is made worse when they try to squeeze Mr Lincolns love interest into the plot.

The inclusion of Abe meeting his beloved Mary seemed very forced and the whole thing is just rushed through. They go from being total strangers to being lovers getting engaged in a blink of an eye.

It's around this time that the writer also remember that Lincoln was actually a real person with real life accomplishments which he then decides to add into the movie, and this fucks things up even more.

Suddenly the awesome action and combat that made the movie entertaining is given up in favor of crowd speeches and elections and other things that are too damn boring and go on for too long, distracting from the story.

I never expected the movies story to be a work of art, but I didn't think it would be so disjointed. On one hand the movies sets us up to believe in some obscure yet awesome notions and just when it's convinced us into a certain mind set, the film decides to believe it's own bullshit and take itself seriously which then really messes up the last third of the film.

I was so damn excited through the first half of the movie, cheering at heads being cut off and blood being splattered across the screen, but by the end I was actually dozing off to sleep.

Even the action that follows the 'Presidential' part of the film is hard to digest because now everything on screen just looks like bullshit.

 Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter could have been very awesome, something you go cheer at with your friends, but instead I think it ended up being something you pick up on DVD if there's nothing else on the shelf.

Might be worth a watch if you really like Vampires - or Abraham Lincoln.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Dead Space 3: 20 Minutes of Gameplay Footage

Thoughts on footage:

It looks like something set in the same universe as Dead Space - rather then just a straight out "part 3". If that makes sense >_<

I love the co-op, I really hope it supports local co-op.

Without the horror atmosphere to support it, the gun-play and overall combat looks pretty midcore to be the main focus, like a poor mans Gears of War,  especially when fighting the human baddies, and I know it was just a demo but that was some dumb shit enemy AI.

The quick time events reminded me of Uncharted, as though the Devs were trying to incorporate even more "cinematic experiences" which does not equate to "more action." When will you realize this DEVS!

Hate the universal Ammo idea. I loved having to manage ammo in the previous games, in fact that's how I came to love the Ripper in part one and the javelin gun in part 2, and I saved all my plasma cutter ammo for boss fights.

I also hate how all you pretty much do to take out necros is pump em full of bullets, Strategic dismemberment was a huge selling point for me in Dead Space.

Disappointed with the shift in atmosphere as well, but I think I can learn to love it.

But seriously; local co-op will make me very happy despite all the shitty changes.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

E3 must haves

E3 has let loose a whole mess of games unto us, and I fear my wallet will suffer heavily for it. There were a few titles that caught my attention like Watch Dogs and God of War: Ascension, but from the rubble of tech news and games, two titles have emerged to grab my by the throat and make me beg to play them.

Namely: Naughty Dogs "The Last of Us" and Visceral Games "Dead Space 3"

The Last of Us is a PS3 exclusive that I've actually been hyped about since last year, and getting to see the game play video was awesome and has really upped the hype for the game, totally making my ps3 even more worth it.

I didn't care much for the guy playing the demo though, for a game that tells you survival is all about conserving resources and especially ammo (it being so scarce) the player sure used his gun a lot. In fact he emptied his clip on like 2 guys. Lame

Give it to me - I show you how to play it.

Funny thing is though I've never cared for Naughty Dogs other franchise, the hand holding cinematic experience that is "Uncharted", but the subject matter for Last of us is more appealing to me.

Then we get to Dead Space 3. Regardless of the mixed bag of emotions I have for the game play footage that was released, I'm still gonna play it. The only thing is, when I saw Dead Space 1 - I knew I had get myself a new X360 (as my 1st one was dead at the time) and when I saw Dead Space 2 I knew I had to get it on PC (As my 2nd Xbox was dead by now too >_< )

Cool concept art though, so there is hope!
Looking at Dead Space 3 I'm not a 100% sold yet. I want because it extends the Dead Space universe and I will play whatever I can from the franchise.

I do remember being skeptical about Dead Space 2 as well though. When that game was in development there were talks about it moving the gameplay focus to a more action orientated style, but when more gameplay was revealed and the story details flowed through the game ended up looking and playing better than I could have hoped for.

Either way - these are the two titles that I need to get my hands on, and they are both set for a March, 2013 release so I have time to save up.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

And then?

And then the 3 day weekend was over just like that, but it was very well spent.

My Girlfriend and I were planing to head out of Suva for a few nights but this idea fell through, so instead we had lunches and dinners out, topped off with a Hannibal Lector movie marathon.

Starting Saturday Morning we watched the movies in chronological order, rather then release date - which worked out really good. Anthony Hopkins was a demon on fire in Red Dragon (2002) and that along with the classic Silence of the Lambs (1991) are truly the best of the series. Ridley Scott's Hannibal (2001) had a slow boil that heated up with the disturbing dinner scene at the end, but it just didn't have enough of Lector in it.

Let's not talk about Hannibal Rising (2007) anymore than we have to, great ideas with some key moments of back story put together very poorly. Easily the lowest point of the series.

Saturday was spent mucking around town and heading off to the Westpac Market that was happening down at Garden City. After a few rounds around the stalls we got some lunch and called it day.

That evening a friend of mine was having a get together at her place so my GF and I headed down to indulge in drinks and company. This would have been a lot more fun if I wasn't driving that night, because I pretty much spent the night watching people get wasted. At one point I was going to go home to drop the car off and come back, but then I just wasn't in the mood to drink for some odd reason.

Sunday was spent playing video games and watching movies, it was a very lazy day at home, but Monday was an afternoon well spent at my buddy Mike's place playing Mortal Kombat.

This was a lot of fun, constant yelling, swearing and controller buttons clicking like mad is what makes gaming with friends so enjoyable. Plus I didn't expect my friends to put up the fight they did ha ha, I'm so used to beating their butts with Ken in Street Fighter - Damn you Micheal Jon and your robotic ninja!

Old pic of the Bujuz

All in all it was a great weekend spent with my lovely girlfriend and awesome friends, great way to start the 4 day week.

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