Friday, December 28, 2007

2007 review

Generally, each year, I tend to try to figure out my 3 favourite films and 3 favourite games of the year and highlight these.

So here goes. Starting with…

Films

Not a very good year film while in my opinion. I can honestly say that I have not seen many outstanding films at the cinema this year. Most of the films mentioned below are actually films which were released in earlier years that I have only just caught up on DVD. Anyway, here are my 3 favourite films of the year, followed by a list of notable films (both good and very bad).

Films of the year:

Pan’s Labyrinth

An incredible film, both beautiful and moving. What is especially special about this film is that come the ending, it can be interpreted in 2 very different ways. I will not spoil it for those who have not seen it, but I will say that it can be interpreted either optimistically or pessimistically. I unfortunately, saw the ending scene in a pessimistic light – which makes the ending absolutely soul destroying. I cannot recommend it enough. It also occurs to me that for last 3 years, my favourite films for each year have been foreign language films… What does that tell you about the state of Hollywood?



Inland Empire

Not a film for everyone’s tastes.
This just shows that Lynch is still a great creative force. This is not a film that is meant to be fully understood (but I will give someone a medal if they can explain it to me), instead this is a film that needs to be experienced. It is shocking, disturbing funny and most of all, utterly bizarre.






Ratatouille

Why oh why can a film about a Rat bring a lump to my throat, when near the end of the film, the main character (Remy) cooks an exceptionally fine meal for a food critic? It’s because it’s a Pixar film. Quite frankly there is no studio, or director in Hollywood today that can match them for storytelling and also consistency. Roll on WALL-E next year (which I think looks incredible btw).






Notable mentions:

Children of Men
Very almost made it into my top 3. What is slightly annoying, is that I had a fantastic idea for a potential novel – called Children of Lazarus (honest) which was incredibly similar to the plot of Children of Men. Unfortunately I never got around to writing it, so Children of Men beat me to the punch. I don’t mind though, as it is an excellent film.

Irreversible
A French film which uses a very similar plot mechanic as Memento (namely the film is told backwards in segments). This film is notable this year, however, because it is by far the most depressing film I have ever seen.
Certainly not a film to watch unless you want to feel utterly depressed for the remainder of the day!

Baise-Moi
Another French film. I will not waste my breath too long on this, other to say that this is simply a pile of steaming excrement. I honestly could not conceive of a worse film. All I will say is that do not watch this film ever, not even out of curiosity (as I did), it really is bad beyond words.

Beowulf 3D
Showed me that a full feature length film can work admirably in 3D. Whilst at times the affect can be used as a gimmick, it can also add to the experience no end. The initial attack by Grendal to the strobeing ghostly flickering light of the drinking hall, really was simply awe inspiring.

Little Miss Sunshine
It should have won Best Picture over the Departed… There I’ve said it.

Games

Overall it’s been a great year for the average gamer. There seems to have been truly great games released on all formats (although obviously I have not been able to play the 360 titles – damn you Bioshock for not going multiplatform). The PS2 continued to have great titles in its twilight years, the PS3 has had less titles, but a few gems. The Wii game front was a little barren earlier on in the year, but the latter half of the year brought some great titles – from Nintendo of course.

Games of the Year:

Final Fantasy XII

I love Final Fantasy games, but even I must admit that there was need for change. Final Fantasy X, whilst good, was not as VII to IX and I never go to play Final Fantasy XI – being online only. Final Fantasy XII reinvented the Final Fantasy system in such a fantastic way, simplifying many things, but at the same time adding a level of planning and complexity. It also featured many memorable, likeable characters (Balthier in particular, who I hated at first, but absolutely loved by the end of the game).
Roll on Final Fantasy XIII (soon – pretty please)




Phoenix Wright 3: Trials and Tribulations

The first 2 games were great (although 1 was better than 2), but this final chapter is just perfect.
It takes all the loose threads from the first 2 games and knits them together into 5 fantastic cases which tie everything up perfectly. Although getting to the end of these cases was no easy feat – there were so many twists and turns in the story. There is really nothing to beat the feeling you get, however, when you know that a case is finally turning in your favour



Super Mario Galaxy

Okay – so I’ve only had it for a few days and I’m only around 14 stars in, but all the same… :)
No other game has put a smile on my face to such a degree as Super Mario Galaxy – it’s pure gaming nirvana, nothing more, nothing less.
Now I am amongst the few who really enjoyed Super Mario Sunshine, but even I can admit that it wasn’t nearly as good as the classic Mario 64. It has been said before, but I can say that I agree entirely that Super Mario Galaxy really is a true sequel to Mario 64.
An absolute highlight to the gaming year.



Notable mentions:

Resistance: Fall of Man
The game I played on the PS3 and also my first real experience of online gaming (I had only dabbled a little before). The single player game was okay – but not spectacular, but it was the multiplayer where the fun was. To this date, no other PS3 games has run as flawlessly and has had as many community and online options as Resistance (even the online only Warhawk), and that’s saying something for a launch game.

Call of Duty 4
Very almost made it into my top 3. The single player game is like the best adrenalin filled action film that you have ever seen mixed with an absurd level of atmosphere and graphical sheen. Then in addition to that, there is the multiplayer, which bring RPG like levelling up into the world of FPS. It slower and more realistic approach also makes it a very different game than the likes of Resistance.
Best game so far for the PS3 (and it’s a multiplatform title)

Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass
Takes the classic Zelda formula and wraps it perfectly around the unique capabilities of control scheme of the DS.
The fact that it is a Zelda game immediately endears it to me, however, this is Zelda reinvented for the portable casual gaming world and it works beautifully. There are a few niggles – namely I hate having to redo the damn Phantom temple time and time again under a time limit, but there are also some extremely good points – the omission of fairies in bottles, which has made previous Zelda games too easy.
Overall an excellent game.

Metroid Prime 3: Corruption
Although I have enjoyed the first two Metroid Prime games and was looking forward to the next instalment, Metroid Prime 3 has always been about the control scheme. A couple of games have tried using the Wiimote for a FPS game in the past and failed, to the baton was then passed onto Retro to perfect he technique and they did just that. It also helps that the game is fantastic fun and not as stupidly difficult as the first 2 games. Plus it’s art design is fantastic and looks great compared to other HD games even in standard definition.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

HAPPY CHRISTMAS

HAPPY CHRISTMAS!!!!!!!

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

No Fairytale for you!

Seriously... What is wrong with the world.

I have just read that BBC Radio 1, in their infinate wisdom, have decided to ban certain words fromthe classic Christmas song "Fairytime in New York" by the Pogues.

Read here

And it has taken them how long to read this decision? Only 20 Damn years!

For Christ sake (pun intended) this is one of the rare few Christmas songs that I actually like. How dumb can you get... The damn faggots!

Monday, December 17, 2007

TDK

It's here....

The Dark Knight Trailer...

Why so serious?

;)

In other new - completed Metroid Prime 3 over the weekend - one hell of a good game!

Thursday, December 06, 2007

London, films, Bay and SF4

Well, our trip to London didn’t go quite as smoothly as we’d hoped. Well to be quite frank, it seemed to be one problem after another.

The whole reason for the trip was so that Roz could go and watch Mika live in concert (I must stress again, that I was not going to see this – I was just accompanying her to the venue). So the biggest disappointment of the trip was when we arrived at the venue, only to find out that it had been cancelled due to illness (Mika that is). However, that was not the only hitch or quirk during the trip… These are the others that spring to mind:

- Elliot got another case of tonsillitis just prior or our trip and whilst we were away he managed to be sick in Roz’s parents bed.
- Guernsey Customs getting anal with us about the style of clear plastic bag in which we had stored out liquid medication. Apparently it has to be resealable… naturally ours was, but it didn’t match their exact specifications.
- I messed up the cinema times and as such, missed Beowulf at the IMAX (got to see it at the Vue instead).
- There were numerous delays and cancellations on the Tube, at one point making a 20 minute trip take 2-3 times longer.
- A passenger with us on the Tube decided to have a hissy fit after hearing an announcement, and whilst swearing profusely, he decided it would be fun to take his aggravation out by kicking the side of the tube train several times.
- Just prior to entering the departure lounge at Gatwick, the airport was evacuated due to a fire alarm, thus making the queues to re-enter departures frankly ridiculous.

Anyway… onto the films.

Films watched:
Beowulf


CGI nearly nakedness in action fantasy 3D fun fest.
7.5/10

Ratatouille



Pixar can do no wrong. Charming, fantastic, engaging and moving.
9/10

Watching Beowulf was my first experience of watching a full feature length film completely in 3D. I have in the past seen the likes of Terminator 3D and Bugs Life 3D in Universal Studio’s and Disney. I have to say that at first, I found watching the film a little off putting and almost wished I could watch it normally, but after the first 15 minutes I got used to it. I think it clicked with me when Grendel first attacks, which looked simply brilliant and damn frightening in 3D.

The film does suffer a lot from shots that have been purposefully framed for 3D (namely someone pointing their spear at the screen etc) and to be honest, the 3D effect tended to look best when it was used subtlety, or alternatively during action scenes. The finale, with the dragon was also nothing short of spectacular in 3D.

I do not like Michael Bay, I do not like Michael Bay’s films (with the exception of The Rock). However, I must admit that Michael Bay has for the first time (to my knowledge) spoken some sense in public about the HD format war. Something which I also have suspected for some time…

Microsoft conspiracy ahoy!

Finally, the first screenshot of Street Fighter 4 ha popped online… It looks pretty damn sweet!

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Xbox live vs PSN – round 2

Remember my previous Xbox live vs PSN post…

Well just to add fuel to the fire, it would seem that Microsoft is doing it’s very best to get rid of the freeloaders who are just on an Xbox live silver membership.

Now normally on the silver member hip you are not permitted to play online (that’ll cost you), but previously you could access the same demo’s and other content available on the marketplace. Now however, silver members will have to wait a week longer than gold members to access the same free services:

Read here:

Now, this seems to me that Microsoft are treating those people who currently use Xbox live for free (but without online play) like second class citizens. In reality, they are just trying to get silver members to sign up to a gold account, therefore increasing their revenues by a further £39.99 per year from these users. After all, how dare they have access to these services for free!

By my reckoning, PSN access is still a great bargain!

Also, I forgot to add last time – that with Microsoft, if you want to connect wirelessly to your internet – it will cost you a further £59.99, for the wireless bridge! Now last time I checked, you buy stand wireless PC cards for less than £15.00. That’s a bit of a difference…

BTW I’m back from London – will likely blog about my London experiences in the next few days.

Friday, November 30, 2007

Clockwork Orange

I’ve just watched my recently purchased copy of A Clockwork Orange on Blu-ray and… Oh my does it look sweet in HD.

What amuses me is that the first time that I watched A Clockwork Orange, in the days when it was still banned in the UK, it was a less than official copy of somewhat terrible quality. So much so that you could only just see the film through high level of static. All the same, it quickly became one of my favourite films. It’s comparing my initial viewing, to now seeing the film in HD that strikes a cord with me.


Thursday, November 29, 2007

Assassin vs. Drake, MP3 and Playstation Eye

I was recently in a quandary as to which game to ask as a Chrimbo present from my parents. This was between either Assassin’s Creed or Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune (Roz should hopefully be getting me Super Mario Galaxy, which without needing to be said, holds priority over just about everything else in the universe at present). Both games look like they have heaps of potential, but after reading various reviews and preview for both games (as well as read personal opinions on forums), the decision was made for me… It’s Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune.

The most striking impression that I get after reading reviews and personal opinions of Unchartered, is that the game is just pure unadulterated fun. Assassin’s Creed seems to be somewhat of a flawed gem of game, whilst Uncharted is just pure entertainment. I must confess that it is reading the personal opinions on forums that has most sold the game to me. Anyway, Uncharted it is. I’ll look forward to playing this come Christmas.

Metroid Prime 3 is hard – damn hard. Then again, I shouldn’t have expected anything less after both Metroid Prime 1 and 2. The final 3 bosses of the original Metroid Prime had me ripping my hair out. Also the final 2 bosses of Metroid Prime 2 were also swear inducing hard. Unfortunately, by my estimate, I’m only approximately a third of the way through Metroid Prime 3 and already the bosses have given me some difficulties. The last boss encounter took me 5 attempts (the last of which took me approximately 30 minutes to eventually kill it and only then by the skin of my teeth). I dread to think how hard it’s going to be near the end. I think the thing that adds to the difficulty is that in order to defeat some bosses you need to purposefully corrupt your PED suit, which in turn drains an energy tank. As such, it s a careful balancing act between burning your health to deal heavy damage, ensuring that the corruption doesn’t overload and staying alive!

I got my Playstation Eye through the post yesterday. I purchased it mainly for the advanced mic attached to it, because I got sick and tired of always having to recharge my Bluetooth headset. Also, I often play games with headphones on (so as not to wake Elliot), and wearing my Bluetooth headset under my headphones was less than comfortable. So now I can listen to conversations through my headphones and use my Playstation Eye as my mic.

I have managed to have a quick go of Trials of Topaq with the Eye and must confess that it was actually quite fun. It’s a bit like marble madness, but the ground on which the ball rolls is the image shown by the eye and any moving elements in that image raises the tiles on the ground. As such, you need to move your arms and body around to push the ball along its path. It’s certainly an inventive use of the Eye and I look forward to showing it to Elliot to see what he thinks :)

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Joker

The picture below is fromthe upcoming issue of Empire magazine.

It has to be said that Heath Ledger is looking pretty damn awesume as the Joker. I can't wait for the first tue trailer for The Dark Knight, which is due to hit sometime in December.


Wednesday, November 21, 2007

XBL vs PSN

I think that Microsoft have taken a long hard look at Sony’s general arrogance and have said we can do better than that… you call that arrogance, this is arrogance.

I’m referring to the comments made by Robbie Bach of Microsoft who has recently stated the following in regard to Xbox Live and the PSN:

"It's fair to say that Xbox Live is clearly head and shoulders above anything anyone else has tried to do. We don't have competition."

He goes on to say what Sony offers shouldn't even be called a service.

Link HERE

Now, I’ll be the first to admit that XBL does offer a better service than the PSN, but to state that XBL has no competition is frankly ridiculous. Especially when you take the following into account:

* XBL has been out approximately 5 years and the PSN only 1 year. Both are evolving over time and initially XBL was a pretty stripped down version of what it is today.

* PSN is free! I cannot state this enough. If I had a Xbox I would resent having to pay to have the privilege to play online – hell I never needed to pay on my PC. What’s more, the cost mounts up over the course of a consoles life. The RRP for 1 years Live membership is £39.99, over the course of say 5 years of a consoles lifespan, this comes to £199.95. Hell you could buy yourself a whole second console with this much (a Wii of course). There is no way in hell that I would pay this to play online.

* Home is due to launch early next year and if you’re into the community aspects of online services, this does so much more than what is currently on offer on XBL.

* So far as I understand it, the majority of the PSN games run on dedicated servers, while to play XBL games, the Xbox is used as the server. The result of this is that if you are playing against someone over long distances, the game experience can suffer from lag

Anyway… rant over.

Talking of the PSN, I was pleased to not that the first DLC offering for Rock band are due to go online on the US store this Thursday. They are as follows:

Band add-on content

Metallica pack 1 ($5.49)
"...And Justice For All" ($1.99)
"Blackened" ($1.99)
"Ride The Lightning" ($1.99)

Queen's of the Stone Age pack 1 ($5.49)
"3's & 7's" ($1.99)
"Little Sister" ($1.99)
"Sick, Sick, Sick" ($1.99)

The Police pack ($5.49)
"Can't Stand Losing You" ($1.99)
"Roxanne" ($1.99)
"Synchronicity II" ($1.99)

"Bang a Gong" - T. Rex cover ($1.99)
"Cherry Bomb" - The Runaways cover ($1.99)
"Fortunate Son" - Creedance Clearwater Revival cover ($1.99)
"Joker and the Thief" - Wolfmother ($1.99)
"Juke Box Hero" - Foreigner cover ($1.99)
"My Sharona" - The Knack cover ($1.99)

This seems like a good initial selection and only hope that this continues and is similar when the game is launched next year in Europe.

Also on a side note, I completed the single player game on Call of Duty 4 last night. It may have been a short game (6-7 hours), but it was a very intense experience and I’m looking forward to playing through again on a higher difficultly level. This is always a good indicator for a good game in my opinion. Also, I’m sure that online multiplayer will keep me busy for some time…

Now I just need to get past that damn hard boss on Metroid Prime 3!

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Inland Empire and Kiki

Film watched:
Inland Empire


Breathtaking. Lynch at his best – but… what the hell happened?

8/10

Elliot sat down with me today and watch Kiki’s Delivery Service, a fantastic anime film from Hayao MIYAZAKI (Spirited Away, Princess Mononke etc). What made it special was that Elliot almost never watches films, and seeing as it is one of my passions, it was really nice to sit along side him as we watched it.

Roz and I have tried to limit Elliot’s contact with TV (and definitely the cinema), but I hope in future as he grows older that we can share some more fantastic films

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Playstation R&D with the Eye.

I stumbled across this blog entry on the US Playstation Blog which shows what there R&D department are currently doing with the Playstation Eye.

I must admit I'm pretty impressed - they could seriously use some of these elements to make fantastic games that could be user designed by players, in a similiar fashion to Little Big Planet, but with very limited work on the part of the user.

I especially like the last video. The game reminds me of the Wiiplay tank game, but the program seems to effortlessly scan just about anything to be used as a tank - and also the level is user designed. Very impressive.

Anyway, link HERE.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Games, games and games

I’ve got tons of stuff to blog about and should have written earlier, but haven’t had the inclination…

Anyway, this is the brief abridged version…

New games

Zelda: Phantom Hourglass and Metroid Prime 3

Got both of these for my birthday a few days ago. They are both brilliant examples of how a perfect control scheme can help to make a perfect game. Metroid nails FPS controls for Wii effortlessly and as such, adds to the emersion of an already excellent sequel. This is still very much a Metroid game, and as such, it is very similar to the first 2 games, but this is by no means a bad thing, as the first 2 were also amazing games. Zelda on the other hand, perfectly adapts Zelda games for the DS. It uses a control scheme which is similar in some way to Animal Crossing on the DS to control Link and this works perfectly. At first I found it a little odd that you didn’t use any buttons on the DS at all, but have since got used to it. I’m not too far into the game, but have just got the boomerang and I have to say, that this put a huge smile on my face. I have always loved the boomerang in Zelda games, but being able to draw the path of the boomerang in Phantom Hourglass is simply sublime :)

Call of Duty 4

I also picked this up for the PS3 as a little present to myself a couple of days after my birthday. It has to be said that this is by far the most graphically stunning game I have seen on any system to date. On a technical level it is pretty impressive, but it is the sense of immersion which really drives this game. It has the most impressive opening level I have ever seen in a game, it really is pretty staggering.

Online is also great fun, not an arcade shooter like Resistance, but a more realistic FPS experience, and probably better for it. I also love the way that as you level up online, you can create your own classes, assign perks and improve your weapons, a definite incentive to keep on playing.

Overall, during the last few days I’ve been in gaming nirvana, which of course, is a very good thing.

What’s more, only 5 more days until Super Mario Galaxy is out! Of course, I’ll have to wait until Christmas to play it, but I’m sure it will be worth the wait and I have plenty to keep my occupied in the meanwhile.

Also, I thought I’d post this picture.

Elliot did this using pins and wooden pieces on a board, it is meant to be a picture of me… I was rather impressed by it :)

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Halloween, Heroes and stuff

Well it was Halloween last night, and as is traditional for me, I settled down to watch a horror film last night. My film of choice this year was Night of the Living Dead, as classis a horror film as you could possibly find. I had intended to make a Dead marathon out of it and also watch Dawn of the Dead, but I have been feeling a little run down of late, so instead headed to bed with Cell to read.

I asked Elliot yesterday whether they did anything at school to do with Halloween to which he replied “no”. Not a thing, nada. Now, as a kid (and also as a grownup) I loved Halloween and yet it seems that everyone these days seem to be trying to suppress the celebration. Whilst I can understand that unsupervised trick-or-treating these days is probably a bad idea, this however, does not mean that Halloween shouldn’t be celebrated in other ways. Roz pointed out that she thought that other parents of children might disapprove. Well, sod them. I don’t particularly approve of celebrating the torture and brutal execution of heretics, but that has never stopped Easter! (Okay maybe this also celebrates the “resurrection” as well, but as I think that’s bullsh*t, I choose to ignore that).

I have to say that I’m very disappointed that the terrestrial TV channels available to us here in the UK, don’t make a special effort to celebrate Halloween. You would think that it would be the perfect opportunity to screen classic films during the evening and into the early hours of the morning, but instead we just get the normal old crap.

Of course, an exception to “the normal old crap” on TV last night was Heroes. This was the episode “Company Man” and in my humble opinion has been the best episode so far. My only complaint with Heroes in that they have too many main characters and as a result most episodes loose any focus by flitting back and forth between these characters. It could be said that Lost is similar in that it has a large cast of characters, but with Lost, each episode is firmly focused on a particular character – so escapes the pitfalls of Heroes. This episode of Heroes was different, it focused on the Bennett family throughout and was extremely effective and touching. It’s just a shame that it looks like Mr Bennett will be effectively leaving the show following this, as he was one of my favourite characters.

Other news:

It looks like a demo for Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune will be upon the PSN next Thursday – I’m looking forward to trying this out as it looks very promising from all that I’ve seen of it so far.

Joss Wheadon (Buffy/Angel/Firefly) will be returning to TV with a new project called Dollshouse. What’s more, it’s due to star and be produced by Eliza Dushku. There is more info on this on the Empire website here, but it sounds very promising.

Plus, they have a hot picture of Eliza on the site, which I couldn’t resist but post here:

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Fish

I bought a Bio-orb fish tank the other day, and we now own goldfish... 1 for each member of my family.

My fish is gold and white and is called "Dennis"

Roz's is all black and is called "Sylvia"

Elliot's is multicoloured and is called "Pam".

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

RE3 & BAFTA's

Film Watched:
Resident Evil: Extinction

Mad Max meets Resident Evil, with additional exploding heads.
6.5/10

I note that the gaming BAFTA's were announced yesterday and was pleasantly surprised to se that Wiisports game out on top, winning a total of 5 awards. I was also pleased to note that Bioshock won best game and that Okami also walked away with an award...

Friday, October 19, 2007

Okamii & Phoenix Wright

Yep – the rumours have been confirmed. Okami is now due to be remade for the Wii, and as such, I have rather unofficially renamed the game Okamii. This is of course a no-brainer, with the heavy use of calligraphy brush strokes in the game this was always best suited to the Wii as opposed to any other platform, I’m just surprised that it has taken this long to be announced!

I have been tempted in the past to buy Okami (for the PS2), as it follows a very similar template to the Zelda games, also you cannot ignore the fact that the art style in the game is simply awesome. Well, now that it’s due on the horizon for the Wii, I thing this has jumped to a must buy status.

My only concern is that it seems like an awful lot of titles are due out now for quarter 1 2006, especially in light of several titles being delayed from the end of 2007. From memory, the titles that I’m interested in that I can think of are:

Mario Kart (Wii)
Rock Band (PS3)
Super Smash Bros Brawl (Wii)
Fire Emblem (Wii)
Advance Wars: Days of Ruin (DS)
Metal Gear Solid 4 (PS3)
Little Big Planet (PS3)

Phew!

I completed Phoenix Wright 3: Trials and Tribulations the other night. I must admit that it was rather sad, knowing that this is the last game is the series. Whilst a new Ace Attorney game is due out next year (Apollo Justice), this just won’t be the same without the same memorable characters that made the Phoenix Wright games what they are.

It has to be said that the very final case was pretty damn epic and had more twists and turns in it than an entire series of Lost. Just when I thought I had it all figured out, a new piece of evidence, or some new testimony completely threw everything upside down. I even found myself verbally shouting “you what” at the DS (as oppose to the mandatory “objection”).

Now it’s time for a rant…

Now I quite like EDGE magazine, I really do. I’ve collected it on and off for numerous years, but it has to be said that I think that in my opinion their reviews have become less and less reliable over the last few years. They gave Phoenix Wright 6/10 – in other words slightly above average. The main complaint seems to be that the game mechanics were a little too rigid and that there were a few typo’s in the translation. Now first off, this is based on an imported game, so the fact that it already has a translation is a blessing, secondly, I probably only notice 4-5 occasions in the entire game where there was a typo. This is out of literally thousands and thousands of lines of text, as such, I think that this point is rather petty. As for the game mechanics, they seem just fine to me for what is in reality, an old fashioned text adventure. There is no harm in that at all, after all, how many games in this genre are there left?

Let look at the game as a whole. It has an amusing story, fantastic characters (which are the most memorable and likeable that I can think of for years), is a game which rquirs you to think things through very carefully, has a fantastic soundtrack and is overall a long, memorable and extremely pleasant experience… So 6/10 seems a tad low.

I know, I know, this is all very subjective, but it got me somewhat peeved! Also, although I’m yet to play Metroid Prime 3, their review seems a tad low when compared to other reviews of this game (which have been positively glowing).

You just need to take a look at Metacritic to get a better view of these:

Phoenix Wright 3

Metroid Prime 3

I know that I’ve been rambling, but I just wanted to get it off my chest. Overall, to summarise, I still read game reviews these days, but ensure that they do not bias my view on a game (especially EDGE’s) and instead go with my gut feelings.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Metroid channel

I was pleasantly surprised to come home today to find the blue light on my Wii blinking, which is always nice to see.

The reason for this was that the Metroid Channel was available to download. After taking a look at this (which is a great idea BTW) it made me think why on earth Nintendo don’t do a similar thing for all their titles due out. It would certainly drum up a bit of interest and is probably best put to use to lesser known titles than something like Metoid which is bound to sell loads without the additional publicity.

Anyway, not long now until it’s launched… but then again I won’t be getting it until my birthday on 7th November. Definitely looking forward to it!

Demos and Guitar Hero effect

The PSN (US) was graced with a couple of demos of interesting Friday, these being for Ratchet and Clank and Conan.

The Ratchet and Clank demo just goes to show how visually stunning this game is. It’s almost on par with watching a playable Pixar film. What’s more, there is just so much going on in the demo as the city around you is being attacked and is generally falling apart. Admittedly the majority of things are happening in the background and as such you are unable to interact with them, but still the effect is pretty impressive. As far as the gameplay goes, it seems a little busy and cluttered for my taste, certainly not a refined platform game like the best that Mario has to offer, however I can see it appealing to a lot of people.

The Conan demo was a bit of a surprise. I was pretty much expecting it to be rubbish, but actually found that I rather enjoyed it. At its basics, it’s an action game in the same mould as God of War and Heavenly Sword, but at the same time I found it much easier to get a feel for what your doing and most importantly, it is a game where you get nowhere fast unless you block attacks (something which is strangely lacking in most games).

I’ve noticed that since playing Guitar Hero down a friend house (I don’t own it – but plan to get Rock Band when it graces our shores early next year) that I tend to listen to music in greater detail than previously. I can now distinctly make out the different instruments and elements that make up a track, namely lead guitar, bass guitar, drums etc. This is also probably helped further by the fact that I’m currently (very slowly) trying to learn how to play a real guitar.

As a confessed Beatleholic, I must confess that I would love to see some Beatles tracks eventually end up on Rock Band (especially anything from Rubber Soul), which is a possibility since EMI are providing their back catalogue. Although it has to be said that the remaining Beatles have been very cautious when it comes to the distribution of their songs – after all you still can’t but a single Beatles track on itunes, however, I can still dream.

The only problem would be that usually for the Beatles you have the following elements: lead guitar (Harrison), rhythm guitar (Lennon), bass guitar (McCartney), drums (Strarr) and vocals (normally Lennon or McCartney). By my count that’s one Guitar too many for Rock Band!

I also notice that EA has recently acquires Bioware… Does this mean Mass Effect on the PS3 down the line? Only time will tell.

I also confessed that I’m intrigued by the looks of Everyday Shooter. Ars Technica (a great site BTW) has a good look at it here :

Everyday shooter

Not bad for a just a one man team…

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Nintendo news

A big Nintendo news day…

There has just recently been a press conference by Nintendo in Japan which has revealed a lot of additional information about up coming games.

The games shown were as follows:

Dragon Quest IX
Fire Emblem DS (Oh yes!)
Mario Kart Wii
Battalion Wars II
Super Mario Stadium Baseball
Wii Music
Star Soldier R Wii (WiiWare)
Mojipittan Wii (WiiWare)
Doctor Mario Wii (WiiWare)
Pokemon Farm Wii (Wiiware)
Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles: The Young King and the Promised Land (WiiWare title)
Monster Hunter 3 Wii

Additional information from the conference

- Nintendo plans to start a service centre to help people set up the internet at their home, in order to aid them in getting online with the Wii.
- A DS download service is coming that will allow us to download DS demos from our Wii
- Wii Fit 12/1 in Japan. 8,800 yen
- Wii Vote Channel will be updated. Rate games you’ve played, search for games that fit your likes
- Mario Kart Wii, Spring 2008 in Japan, and there will be motorcycles, steering wheel included.
- Sonic is playable in Smash Bros. Brawl, Super Sonic is shown, delayed in Japan until January 24, 2008, online co-op.
- Monster Hunter 3 was last heard to be for PS3, has now shown up for Wii. May not be exclusive, but the title is definitely coming to Wii. This series is massive seller in Japan.

Sonic in Brawl will now realise many a video game geeks greatest wet dream since the 80’s, namely the opportunity for Sonic and Mario to kick the crap out of each other!

Monday, October 08, 2007

Underworld Evolution

Film watched:
Underworld Evolution


Constant mediocre action. Beckinsale in cat suit / corset combo (yummie)!

6/10

Added bonus...

Gratuitous cat suit picture…

Friday, October 05, 2007

3:10, PS3 (budget) and Bungie split

Film watched:
3:10 to Yuma



A western just like the good old days. Very entertaining.
7.5/10

Well, the PS3 rumours have turned out to be true following the announcement today. Yep, now you can buy yourself a PS3 in 2 flavours as follows:

PS3 Value pack
60GB – just like the current console. 2 games (does not mention which) and one controller. All for £349.00. A saving of £75.00 – not too bad…

PS3 “entry level”
40GB. No games, only 2 USB slots (as opposed to 4), no memory card reader (no real loss), one controller and NO backwards compatibility with PS2 games. All for £299.00. Thankfully, this still keeps the Wifi…

The value pack would seem to hit the “sweet” spot of being just under £300, however the lack of backwards compatibility is a shame. I guess they’ve taken out the GS chip (PS2 graphics chip) as well as the emotion engine now, stopping even software emulation. Even still, these two price points will I’m sure, cause a large upsurge is sales, which can’t be a bad thing – especially if Sony adequately advertise the price drop.

Also, it turns out today that those other rumours are also true. Bungie have split from Microsoft.
Whilst this will mean that Bungie can now work on creating games for other consoles, this does not mean that Halo will be leaving Microsoft, as they still hold the rights to this.

All in all, an eventful day for gaming news…

Edit:

Eeek... have just read this...

“Once stocks are exhausted the new 40GB model will be the only one available in the SCEE territories.”

So those 60GB models will be a rare comodity!

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Children of Men

Film watched:
Children of Men

A miracle amongs chaos. A moving, exceptionally crafted film.
8/10

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Play safe now!

That’s right young lad, you must remember to play safe now, always remember that if things get a little too exciting, you know erm, a little hot a sweaty, a little errr energetic…You must always get ready to use protection.

Just slip your protection over your… well you know… then you’ll be sure not to have any accidents.

That’s right, if it wasn’t bad enough that the Wii was given the name “Wii” and the fact that the Wiimote looks every so phallic, Nintendo have now announced that every Wiimote purchased from the end of the month onwards will come together with a free condom (or the Wii remote jacket if you want to be precise). Yep, Nintendo have made the sleek design of the Wiimote now look totally stupid…

I present exhibit A:


You can even go to the Nintendo website and order these for free if you already have a Wii. Alternatively you could just be sensible with your Wiimote and NOT throw it across the room and save the embarrassment of turning your Wiimote into a dildo.

Alternatively, with the rumble on you get an instant vibrator...

NOOO... The images BURN my mind...

Happy anniversary


Wishing my lovely wife Roz a very happy anniversary :)

Monday, September 24, 2007

Games, Demo’s and Elizabeth

The PSN has recently been graced with a relatively healthy selection of demos (I am of course talking about the US PSN – the UK PSN is still a little lacking), as such, I thought I’d take a moment to give my 2 cents worth on the more interesting of these:

FIFA 08
On the rare occasions that I play Football games, I’ve previous much preferred the Pro Evolution series. Nothing has changed, as well presented as Fifa is, it still feels clunky and well, not as enjoyable as it should be.

Stuntman: Ignition
A relatively large demo, with 3 full sections to complete. As a game, it seems rather good, but I think that I’d quickly get frustrated by having to restart everything from the beginning when more then 5 errors are made during the stunts.

SKATE
I also downloaded the latest Tony Hawks demo last week and to be frank, that seemed pretty dreadful, SKATE on the other hand seems like a breath of fresh air compared to the seemingly tired Tony Hawks games. The reason? The control feels much more appropriate to a skateboard game. Also, the area in which you skate around isn’t OTT, instead it’s a realistic well thought out skate park. I must confess that I was quite impressed by this.

As well as downloading demo’s, I also purchased 2 games recently. Locoroco for the PS3 at a bargain price of £1.99 from the PSN and Super Paper Mario for the Wii. Locoroco, is well, odd. It’s more like Lemmings than the PSP Locoroco and to be fair, I haven’t had chance to give it a good go, however for £1.99, it’s worth buying for the art style alone!

I’m thoroughly enjoying Super Paper Mario at the moment. It’s a bit of an odd game really, it certainly isn’t as challenging as a normal 2D platform Mario and not as deep as a standard RPG Paper Mario. Instead it’s like a normal Paper Mario game with the RPG elements stripped to the minimum and platforming and exploration pushed to the fore. All great fun though, and very amusing at times.

Film watched:
Elizabeth

Fantastic performances by Blanchett and Rush. Golden Years looks promising!
7.5/10

Thursday, September 13, 2007

School

Elliot started school this week and so far, he seems to be enjoying the experience. Unfortunately for him, he has also come down with another case of tonsillitis, which is making him a little on the tired side, thankfully, however, he is still managing to make it to school and it isn’t bothering him as much now that he is on medication.

At present he is doing just over 2 hours at school in the afternoon, so only time will tell how he adjusts to full school life for 5 days a week. I know that I was less than enamoured by the whole school experience, but then again Roz was the other end of the spectrum, so maybe he’ll take after her in that respect.

I’m very proud that my little boy seems to be taking things in his stride, the thing is, he just seems to be growing up so damn fast!

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

INDY 4

So, the final title on Indiana Jones 4 has been announced.... and this is....

Drum roll ...................


Hmm?!?

Monday, September 03, 2007

“REALLY fat” and Warhawk

I thought I’d note something on my blog for posterity…

The other day after taking Roz to line dancing, I was walking Elliot out of the venue where this is held, which requires walking through a bar/restaurant. As we were walking out we passed a rather plump woman, at which time Elliot made the following comment (rather loudly).

“Daddy, that woman is REALLY fat”.

I quickly apologised to the woman and tried rushing Elliot out of the room, but not before he could add the further comment…

“She stopped growing big upwards and instead started growing big outwards!”

Kids…. You gotta love them.

Game played:
Warhawk

First of all the negatives…

* For an online only game the community aspects of the game really are strikingly poor when compared against Resistance. It could just be that Resistance did everything so well and that I just took this for granted, but several things about the community aspects of Warhawk really bug me, as follows:

* Trying to find ranked games and getting to join them is surprising difficult. In Resistance, all you needed to do is choose “ranked game” and it would plop you in the next available game – very quickly. In Warhawk you have to manually find them and join them, and even then by the time you’ve tried the game is normally full. As such, it can take an age to join a ranked game.

* For an online game which comes with a mic (with the Blu-ray version) there is very little online chatter, and when there is the quality of this isn’t as good as Resistance. It could just be the games I’ve played have been unusually quite, but Warhawk would really benefit voice communications to outline strategies.

* There is no way to track people you’ve just played against (available in Resistance).

* There is no way to block voice communications with specific players – i.e. if they are being offensive prats (available in Resistance).

* There is no quick and easy way to add a friend/buddy (available in Resistance).

* There is no way to add squads so that voice communication is always on and also no way to create a party to enter games (available in Resistance).

* The creation and management of clans is also rather limited.

Despite all of the above, Warhawk is immense fun. The battles in the game are fiercely fought and the likes of capture the flag and zone games can be very closely fought affairs. Also the feel of the game is very different to Resistance, as vehicles play an integral part of the game and players are seen in third person. Also, although there are actually only 5 different areas to explores, these are all very big and play differently depending on the type of game you are playing.

Dogfights (on advance setting) are initially difficult (i.e. you won’t last long at first), but after some practice, they can be thrilling as you dodge around canyons and over towns in pursuit of other Warhawks.

Overall, although a little flawed and lacking in the features that I would have liked, this is great fun to play and that at the end of the day, this is all that is required.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

New game

Guess which game, imported from Japan, came through the post for me yesterday...


:)

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Happy Potter, Waverace & other stuff

Finished reading Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows last week. My verdict? It was good, but not spectacular, enjoyable, but not groundbreaking. I still think that Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire is the best in the series. I had high hopes for quite a dramatic finale to the series, but it ended up being rather predictable, with the final chapter being particularly wet. I still think that it’s a very good series of books, but I think that some people just get a little too hooked up on them!

I downloaded Waverace for the N64 on my Wii recently (I used to own it – but stupidly sold it many years ago). It is definitely a far superior game to Waverace: Bluestorm on the GC. The wave effects are still very impressive, even for the N64, but it’s the control of the jet ski’s which make it a better game. On the GC version it was just too damn sensitive, the N64 version feels just right. I have to say that it’s been one of my favourite Virtual Console downloads so far.

Had a quick go of Bioshock on the PC the other night. I was very impressed, it certainly seems like a very immersive game. It’s just a shame that any hope of a PS3 version has gone out of the window recently.

I’m looking forward to downloading Warhawk, but unfortunately whilst it is already out in the US, the European download has been delayed a further 2 days until the 30 August. Why? Just to coincide with the normal PSN updates which happen each Thursday. Seems like a pretty dumb reason to me, but at least it’s only a 2 day delay, so I shouldn’t complain too much. Looking forward to multiplayer dogfights :)

Lastly I have to mention that Roz has booked a ticket to Mika (a.k.a. the confirmed son of Satan) on December 3 in London. I’m going to go along with her to London for a couple of days, but I must stress that I AM NOT GOING TO WATCH MIKA LIVE, I’m just going along with her to London. I would rather have my intestines forcibly pulled out and fed to a cat, which is probably the type of sensation that I would feel if I did happen to watch Mika live.

Roz also proudly informed me that she has over 200 plays of “Grace Kelly” by Mika on her ipod…

I’m really starting to worry about her sanity…

Saturday, August 25, 2007

#1

Wii is #1!

It has overtaken the Xbox360 in less than half the time that the 360 has been out on release...

Look HERE...

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Format war and “SEX”

The format war between Blu-ray and HD DVD just gets dirtier and dirtier.

The news in today is that both Paramount and Dreamworks, who have previously supported both formats, have decided that from now on that they will support just HD DVD (apart from films directed by Steven Spielberg strangely enough – I guess Spielberg likes Blu-ray!)

On face value this just seems plain dumb. After all the format war has been slipping in favour to Blu-ray for some time now, with sale of approximately 2-1 or even 3-1 in favour of Blu-ray of late. However, I have also heard rumour that Paramount received a payoff of $150 million to encourage the support of HD DVD from the HD DVD consortium. You can see the logic of accepting the offer, after all the sales of both formats is miniscule in comparison to DVD sales, so this is just extra change in the pockets of Paramount. Unfortunately, for the customer, this just means that an unnecessary format war has been drawn out even longer! This seems to have annoyed the Americans no end, mainly because Transformers is a Paramount film and will now be coming out on just HD DVD. A whole heap of American’s seem to love this loud and ultimately pointless film for some unknown reason (bless them).

There are those that suggest that the format war is pointless anyway, as digital distribution is bound to take over from a physical medium. I really do not see this happening, at least not for another 10-20 years, as the size of HD movies is just too large, and is a very different story to music downloads. Also, a whole bunch of people (me included), just prefer to purchase things on a physical medium (i.e. I still buy CD’s).

Overall, this news just sucks. I was just staring to buy a few Blu-ray disks now that I have my PS3, but cautiously, as I didn’t want to end up with a ton if disks for a defunct format. Now, this news makes me even more cautious. I still think that Blu-ray has the upper hand and will likely win in the end, but a Blu-ray victory looks a little less certain than it did yesterday.

The thing is, I really believe that we will eventually need a physical HD Format for films. At present, most people are pretty oblivious to this and are more than happy with DVD (and rightly so), but as HD TV’s are adopted and when HD TV signals start to become the standard (probably not for some time) those DVD’s will start to look a little below par. For now however, both HD DVD and Blu-ray will remain very much a niche format, very similar to Laserdisk in the US prior to the arrival of DVD.


I have just tried to access my own blog from work this lunchtime using Explorer, only to be faced by the following message:

Your organization's Internet use policy restricts access to this web page at this time.

Reason: The Websense category "Sex" is filtered.
URL: http://bazlurgan.blogspot.com/

Hmm…. Right then. I guess that my blog is just too explicit for my works internet security system, because lets face it, my blog is simply laced with explicit articles, shocking photo’s and raunchy video’s. I really should be ashamed…

No, what probably happened is that at some point on my blog, I mentioned the word “sex”. Oh dear, how very, very, bad of me… Because just mentioning the word “sex” must be a big no no, after all there is nothing more shocking and disturbing than reading the word “sex “online is there? After all, just think of the images that the simple word “sex” conjures up! These thoughts must be stopped, and the mere mention of “sex” must be prohibited at all costs.

For example, just think how many times I mentioned “sex” in the last paragraph alone – see I just did it again! At this rate, I’ll never be able to read my own blog at work ever again…

Just to be rebellious….

“Sex”

There I said it again.

I wonder what would happen if I said “f*ck”?

Oh, never mind, I’m not going there…

Monday, August 20, 2007

Barry and Joker

Films watched:
Barry Lyndon



Wooden performance by Ryan O’Neill spoils this Kubrick period drama.

6.5/10

There have been a few pictures from The Dark Knight which have found there way onto the internet of late… One I particular caught my attention. A much better image of The Joker has come to light. This is shown below:


I simply love the Joker as a character, but he can often be portrayed incorrectly, both in the comics and on film (I do not rank Nicolson’s Joker very highly). You have to hit the right note of utter and complete insanity to achieve true Jokerism (hey – I’ve invented a new word). The best to capture this outside of the comics was strangely enough Mark Hamill (yes –Luke Skywalker) during his run playing the character for The Batman Animated Series.

Anyway, the above photo gives me some hope that he may be portrayed well in The Dark Knight. After all, does there appear to be a shred of sanity in that face?

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Delay, delay, delay

There seems to have been game delay after delay recently…. Here is the list of delays that spring to mind so far…

Smash Bros Brawl – Still due out in December in the US and Japan, but delayed until 2008 in Europe.

Metal Gear Solid 4 – Originally set to be released in 2007, but now has a “worldwide” release due of “early 2008”.

Grand Theft Auto 4 – Originally due out in October 2007, but now pushed back to quarter 1 2008.

And now finally…

Rock Band - Still due out in December in the US, but delayed until 2008 in Europe.

Sometimes it sucks to be European…

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

PS3 unbreakable?

Is the PS3 unbreakable?

This article seems to suggest this...

LINK

My conclusion? Some people have far too much free time!

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Guitar strings and Mika

So, this morning I thought I’d tune our guitar and have my first lesson. After hooking up the electronic tuner I thought I’d start with the number 1E string. After a few seconds of twisting – TWANG. There goes one string.

Luckily I had spare strings, so after figuring out how to string the guitar again, I started once more, making my way instead from the 6 string to number 1E again. 6 to 2 were fine, had no problems tuning these, and then came 1E again…. TWANG…

Hmm – no more spare strings. So that was my first lesson over and done with!

Also, rather unluckily, the guitar shop near my work is shut all week. I was hoping that they might help me tune this final devilish string – but I guess this will have to wait.

Mika….

Roz likes Mika and plays his album ALL THE TIME…

My downstairs neighbours (and tenants) like Mika and play his album (rather loudly) ALL THE TIME…

If I have to hear about Grace Kelly, Fat Girls or Lollypops one more time I may snap (much like my guitar string).

I didn’t mind him at first, now with hand on heart, I can honestly say…

I … HATE … MIKA

MIKA … MUST … DIE !!!


Saturday, August 11, 2007

Rock Band pricing...

See the link HERE

$200 for th full package! That's game, guitar, drums and microphone... Phew. Also, rather strangely, it looks as if the XBox 360 is STILL going to have a wired controller! This is a real shame for XBox users as a wireless guitar would be a great bonus for the game - I guess that their propietry wireless technology just cost too much...

BTW - does that guitar look a little familiar :)


Guitar Hero?

Look what Roz and I purchased today...


Second hand, very cheap, but hardly used - from a friend... We couldn't say no :)
All I've got to do now is tune it, then learn to play.... Shouldn't be too difficult - I'm passable at Guitar Hero - erm, maybe not :-/

Thursday, August 02, 2007

B5: The Lost Tales

Film watched:
Babylon 5: The Lost Tales

Very good budget restrictive film. Just wish there was more!

7.5/10

Thursday, July 26, 2007

HAPPY BIRTHDAY


Happy 4th Birthday Elliot.

All the best from Daddy :)

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Transformers

Film watched:
Transformers

Big (slightly silly) robots fight. Good first half - zero plot.

6.5/10

Friday, July 20, 2007

10 best re-evaluation

It’s only natural that a person’s tastes in film, music, games and the like changes over the course of the years. As such I’ve recently been pondering my favourite films of all time, and I thought I’d re-evaluate my top 10 films, and as I love lists, I thought I’d list them on this blog.

These are not in order of my favourites (as these change around so much), but instead I have chosen to order them by their current standing in the IMDB top 250 films (which can be found HERE if your interested in reading the rest).

Anyway:

1) The Godfather

What more can be said about this film that hasn’t been said already. There are so many classic moments in this film, but for me, I simply love the ending few seconds. As Kate watches Michael through a slightly ajar door into the study as he finally takes his place as head of the family, only to then have the door silently closed in front of her. It’s such a symbolic, simple and chilling scene.





2) The Shawshank Redemption

A film which had a very muted release at the cinema, then open release on video, its popularity began to grow, and grow and grow. The reason, it’s just a fantastic film which popularity is all thanks to good word of mouth. And to think that this started with a largely ignored short story by Stephen King (who is a great writer, but has suffered a very patchy novel to film success ratio).





18) Goodfellas

This film is just so damn cool from start to finish. Martin Scorsese has never matched the quality of this film either previously, or after its release.








20) Once Upon a Time in the West

You can’t outdo the epic nature of this film (although Laurence of Arabia comes close). This is like a moving work of art, spread over a large sprawling canvas. Every scene is shot with absolute precision. The music is second to none. This is Spaghetti Westerns at their absolute pinnacle (yes I prefer it to The Good, The Bad and The Ugly).






22) Psycho

This film is so well known now that the twist that was so dramatic in 1960 is now totally lost. The fact that it was such a shock that the only star in the film and the main protagonist was killed halfway through the story, and with it the entire focus of the films shifts 180 degrees is now just accepted. This film was an incredibly bold film both for Hitchcock and also for Hollywood at it’s time.




37) Vertigo

This will always be on these lists. This is a film that I love with a passion and always will do. Some aspects of the film do not mean as much to me as they used to (the obsessive nature of Scotty in the film), but this does not lessen it’s impact. This is Hitchcock’s finest, and that’s saying a lot.







69) Aliens

The best Sci-Fi film ever, the best action film ever. Just pure entertainment and thrills from the very beginning right until the end. Also, quite likely, my most watched film ever.








107) Once Upon a Time in America

An epic movie with a great 1920’s Prohibition atmosphere (which is an era that I love). It may have slightly cranky dialogue in places, but in every other way it is simply divine. I also love the ambiguous ending which has you questioning the whole film.







116) Oldboy

I’ve already spoken about this film endlessly on my blog. It still amuses me to read the comments on IMDB and the reviews. I do not think there is any film out there which polarises opinions so much. However, for me it is just a perfect combination of style, a fantastic premise, great acting and inspired direction. It’s also got to be the coolest film by far on my list.







147) The Graduate

Best “feel good” film ever. The kind of film which makes me feel like I could do just about anything if I put my mind to it.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

DISGAEA 3!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Disgaea 3 has just been announced for the PS3


:)

Woo hoo!



Jumping Jack "Damn" Flash!

ARRRRRRGHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Damn you Elite Beat Agents!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Damn you Jumping Jack "Damn" Flash on Hard mode! One day I will defeat you.... one day....

But for now I shall just wallow in self pity....

Friday, July 13, 2007

Nintendo conference

So here is my review of my Nintendo E3 predictions (in italics) and the announcements made.


- Release dates are given for Super Mario Galaxy and Smash Brothers Brawl (both Christmas 2007)

Yep, got this right (although in Europe Smash Brothers Brawl will slip until early 2008)


- It is announced that Animal Crossing, Mario Kart and Nintendogs are being developed for the Wii and footage of these is shown. They are not due to be released until 2008. All will feature online play.

1 out of 3 isn’t bad!


- The Wii will be released in new colours. Probably black and pink.

No sign of any new colours yet – give it time…


- Wiisports 2 is announced. This also has online play.

Nope – but I’m sure it must be in development going by how popular Wiisports has become.


- Wiimusic is shown in full and Nintendo pushes this as the next big thing.

No mention of Wiimusic at all. This was shown last E3 as a possible project and I really thought that it would form a full game.


- An online mode is revealed for Metroid Prime 3 (although this is probably wishful thinking on my part).

Nope – disproved prior to E3.


- Wiihealth is announced – including a heart rate monitor attachment for the Wiimote.

I was close, oh so very close with this one. Instead of Wiihealth we have Wii Fit.


- A new 2D Mario game is shown for the DS.

Nope, nada.


- Nintendcats is announced for the DS.

Nope – it would appear that Nintendo are satisfied with purely dogs at present.

I have to say that the Nintendo presentation wasn’t as good as Sony’s and from what I’ve read, the Microsoft’s presentation wasn’t that spectacular either. Also a large part of Nintendo’s presentation seemed to be just to congratulate themselves, showing way too many youtube video’s and media stories concerning Wii and DS hype. The standout points and other points of interest for me were as follows:

- Metroid Prime 3: Corruption. This is looking better than ever and seeing as it is now confirmed as out on 26 October 2007 in Europe, has immediately jumped to the top of my birthday list. From what I’ve read, the control method with the wiimote works perfectly.

- Wii Zapper. Not entirely convinced by this, kinda looks like a cheap plastic shell for the Wiimote and nunchuck. It’s good to here that they are packaging this with sample games similar to Wiiplay. As such, I may pick one up.

- Mario Kart Wii. This is what I wanted to hear. I’m a little concerned by the plastic wheel shell that it will come with, but it was also announced that there will be different control methods. The important part is that Mario Kart Wii will be online. Now, I’m good at Mario Kart, I’d even go so far to say that I’m damn good at Mario Kart, as such, I look forward to ruling completely on online Mario Kart for the Wii :)

- Wii Fit. Doesn’t really interest me much. A very strange, Nintendo-like concept which is aimed squarely at attracting as many non-gamers outside the core demographics as possible. I can see that it will do just that, as well as focusing media attention once more to the Wii when this is released with the inevitable “I lost weight playing games” type of stories. Also, just showed the trailer for this to Roz and Elliot – they both seemed rather enthusiastic about it!

- Super Mario Galaxy. Still my most anticipate game for any system, and it will be out in Europe in time for Christmas. What’s more, if nothing else, this picture below so far has been my highlight for E3:


How can you possibly beat Mario in a Bumblebee suit? It simply redefines cute :)


Thursday, July 12, 2007

Playstation conference & Taki

So E3 is off to a start.

I managed to catch the Playstation conference last night, but have not yet watched the Nintendo one (I hope to catch this tonight). I have also been able to download many of the trailers shown at the conference immediately following this via the Playstation Network onto my PS3, a nice touch.

Anyway, as such, I thought I’d review my predictions (in italics) and comments relating to the Playstation conference (I’ll review Nintendo shortly):

- A new smaller and slimmer PSP is announced, in the same vein as the DS Lite.

As suspect, this was announced, although I have to say that as far as I can see it looks no different to the original PSP. As such, I don’t see this improving the sales in the same way that the DS Lite did (which was a much drastic redesign).


- A price cut is announced for the PS3 – due for the Christmas season.

The price cut was announced prior to the conference. There are rumours that there may be a further announcement nearer Christmas. Still no news for Europe.


- A new Sixaxis is announced, including rumble.

Surprisingly this wasn’t announced. I was really expecting this. I’m sure that it’s only a matter of time.


- Resistance: Fall of Man 2 is announced.

No mention – at all.


- A release date is given for MGS4 – and it’s in 2008!

Yep on the ball 100%. The trailer also looked pretty stunning. What I didn’t expect however, was that it was a WORLDWIDE release date of early 2008! :)


- Bioshock is announced for the PS3 – to be release in 2008 after the Xbox and PC release.

No mention – damn.


- In game footage is shown of Final Fantasy XIII, which wows the press.

Square-Enix have said that they are waiting until the Tokyo Game Show (in September) before releasing any further details.

So in addition to my predictions, the following also took my interest:

- Both Killzone 2 and Call of Duty 4 look absolutely stunning and frighteningly lifelike. I previously wasn’t that interested in either of these, the trailers, however, have changed my opinion completely.

- Home looks like it is expanding and coming along nicely. Also the transition from Home to online gaming (as demonstrated using Motorstorm) was also very smooth and trouble free.

- Infamous (one of the few new announcements) looked intriguing – like a darker City of Hereos.

- Only a very short glimpse of Resident Evil 5 – but what was shown looked very good, kinda like Resident Evil 4 but set in the desert (possibly in Africa).

- Sony’s claim of 11 million PS3’s sold by the end of the year in light of their price cut seemed a little ambitious, especially as they have sold around 3.5 million at present.

- There are way too many FPS coming out. Come on, not every game should require you to run around shooting things!

- Other than that, it was a good presentation, but certainly not groundbreaking.

Also, further pictures of Soul Calibur 4 have been put online…


Hello Taki :)

Monday, July 09, 2007

Pre E3 announcements

Both Sony and Microsoft have made announcements prior to E3, both intended to deal with the perceived faults of each system.

Microsoft have extended the warranty on the Xbox360 from 1 year to 3 years. This is to counter the reported failure rate of 33% on Xbox360 purchased, including the new Elite model (by comparison, both the Wii and PS3 failure rates are less than 1%). This will no doubt help with consumer confidence a little, however, it would have been better if they had addressed the issue directly and actively done something about the poor hardware reliance.

Sony have announced a price cut for the PS3 in the US, down from $599 to $499, which should hopefully help to shift units in the US, where the machine has been trailing drastically compared to the Xbox360 and Wii (Europe and Asia are a different story). Bizarrely, they have also announced a 80Gig model, including Motorstorm for $599.

So with those announcements out of the way, the gloves come off and the real fight for consumer interest commences at E3 in a couple of days.

Sunday, July 08, 2007

Films watched
Poseidon



Overblown effects, uninspiring re-hash. Move along, nothing to see here.
5/10

Angel-a


Wonderful Life with a slutty 6 ½ foot French bombshell.
8/10

Now, after playing Guitar Hero 2 quite a bit at a friends house, I have convinced myself that I will likely get Guitar Hero 3 when it is release. The thing is, Rock Band also looks very good. So the question becomes, which shall I get?

I’m not so interested in the drum and singing aspects of Rock Band, but then again it does feature “Don’t Fear the Reaper” as one of the song selections…

Hmm… I’ll likely await a few more details about both before making and informed decision.

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

EDGE 100

EDGE has recently issued a special publication detailing the top 100 games of all time.

This has been collated from votes from readers and also the views of the writers, cutting out similar games from the same series (i.e. you won’t have Pro Evolution 1,2,3,4 etc). This basis seems a little flawed, but it’s a good a list as any…

My view of the highlights (and the number they came in):

52: Disgaea
Hell yes. It’s good to see that Disgaea made it onto the list. As a fan of SRPG’s this is the absolute pinnacle and there is no other game out there that can out do the mixture of humour and strategy in this one game.

44: Super Monkey Ball
One of the purest games there is. You just need the analogue stick to guide the ball around the stage, no buttons, that’s it. You would curse like hell at the harder stages, but at the same time you knew that with practice, they could be mastered.

30: Shadow of the Colossus
To quote VastikRoot from the magazine “SOTC is one of the only games I’ve played where killing something actually had any emotional weight”. This is very true, the Colossi are the sole living things in the game, both monstrous and beautiful, and you wander around mercilessly killing them. What a game!

26: Advance Wars
It’s just like playing an extremely complex version of chess, but I love the fact that it really taxes your mind like no other game out there.

23: Metroid Prime
My god is this a tough game, one of the toughest I’ve ever played. This effortlessly brings Metroid from 2D to 3D using a first person perspective, but at the same time, not turning it into a generic first person shooter. This game is about exploration and adventure foremost and never forgets that

18: Final Fantasy VII
Great, great characters, fantastic story and knock out graphics for the time. This is the best traditional Final Fantasy game out there, and that is praise enough.

14: Mario Kart
For me, Mari Kart DS is the best in the series, but still the SNES original is a fantastic game. Damn, damn difficult compared to the later games.

13: ICO
It’s a shame that this wasn’t in the top 10, but then again it hasn’t had the wide appeal of many of the other games mentioned. This, for me, is the most simple, haunting and emotive game I have ever played. I can honestly say that I was near to tears the first time I completed the game and have felt the same way every time I have played it since then. How many games can you possibly say that about?

12: GTA: Vice City
The best GTA game, if anything just for the cheesy music and 80’s setting. Why, oh why haven’t they set GTA4 in the 80’s?

8: Final Fantasy XII
Its storyline is, in my opinion, a little weaker than previous Final Fantasies, but the way in which it reinvents Final Fantasy should not be ignored. The battle system is simply a joy and I look forward to seeing how it evolves with future games. Also Balthier is such a cool character :)

6: Zelda: A Link to the Past
My introduction to Link and if it weren’t for Ocarina, this would be the best of the series. I remember playing this for endless hours when I was younger, and since then I have played through it again and again on other systems (GBA and Wii).

5: Super Mario World
Mario at his 2D best. You cannot find a better 2D platform game out there. End of story.

3: Mario 64
Mario at his 3D best. It’s simply a joy just to run, jump and climb trees in the outdoor section, even before you enter the castle. I remember being simply astonished by this game when I first got it for my N64.

2: Resident Evil 4
I’m a little surprised that this managed to make it so high, I didn’t know that it was held is such high regard by so many. Regardless, this is by far one of the best game that I have played in recent years. It also magnificently reinvented the Resident Evil games.

1: Zelda: Ocarina of Time.
Of course the previous holder of “greatest game of all time” retains its title, and deservedly so. Twilight Princess may have been an exceptional game, but Ocarina still beats it hands down. This is a game which I simply love.

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Online Metroid Prime 3?

LINK

Looks like that's a "no" then

Monday, July 02, 2007

Baise-Moi and E3 predictions

Film watched:
Baise-Moi



Okay for this, I’m going to break my 10 words or less review rule.

I purchased this on DVD to watch as I’d heard that it was meant to be a shocking and controversial film and as a rule, these types of films tend to interest me (see Oldboy for a prime example of this).

Now it is true that film is shocking, what it is, is shockingly awful. I have seen really bad films before, films which I have given exceptionally low marks, the two that spring to mind being Scary Movie and The Black Dahlia, this film however, make these look like masterpieces.

To be honest I find it unbelievable that such a film would ever be released, let alone get a theatrical release.

The film is a French language movie about 2 women, who for no apparent reason, decide to go on a mad spree of sex and violence. That is it. If there was a plot, it was so thinly veiled that it was invisible. What it really boiled down to was just an excuse to get copious amounts of badly directed sex and violence onto screen as possible. What it ends up like is a porn movie which is trying it’s best to be a cross between Pulp Fiction and Thelma and Louise.

There is ABSOLUTELY nothing in this film that I could recommend. Hell, even the limited porn movies I have ever watched had better acting then this pile of excrement!

0/10 (yes it is THAT bad)

It is just over a week now to E3 (or should that be mini-E3). As such, I thought I’d try my best to predict the upcoming announcements. I’ll just be covering Playstation and Nintendo, as I have little interest in Microsoft:

SONY:

- A new smaller and slimmer PSP is announced, in the same vein as the DS Lite.
- A price cut is announced for the PS3 – due for the Christmas season.
- A new Sixaxis is announced, including rumble.
- Resistance: Fall of Man 2 is announced.
- A release date is given for MGS4 – and it’s in 2008!
- Bioshock is announced for the PS3 – to be release in 2008 after the Xbox and PC release.
- In game footage is shown of Final Fantasy XIII, which wows the press.

NINTENDO:

- Release dates are given for Super Mario Galaxy and Smash Brothers Brawl (both Christmas 2007)
- It is announced that Animal Crossing, Mario Kart and Nintendogs are being developed for the Wii and footage of these is shown. They are not due to be released until 2008. All will feature online play.
- The Wii will be released in new colours. Probably black and pink.
- Wiisports 2 is announced. This also has online play.
- Wiimusic is shown in full and Nintendo pushes this as the next big thing.
- An online mode is revealed for Metroid Prime 3 (although this is probably wishful thinking on my part).
- Wiihealth is announced – including a heart rate monitor attachment for the Wiimote.
- A new 2D Mario game is shown for the DS.
- Nintendcats is announced for the DS.

I’ll see how close these predictions are at the end of next week.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Devils Backbone, Silver Surfer and Soul Calibur DD

Films watched:

The Devils Backbone



Creepy and disturbing - but no Pan's Labyrinth
6.5/10

Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer


Good (brain on hold) fun. Better than the original.

7/10

It has also recently been announced that Sould Calibur 4 is heading to Xbox 360 and PS3 (a separate game, Soul Calibur Legends, is heading to the Wii). To accompany this announcements, to screenshots were shown (a screenshot of Ivy is belwo).

Now, I'm big fan of Ivy, but those are just creepy and uncomfortable.

Surely she must suffer terrible back pains!