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Monday, January 31, 2011

Website Redesign

Okay, there are a few little things about my layout I dislike so over the next few hours expect things to change dramatically. I have my HTML face on!



Be sure to let me know what you think of the new look once it's up and running. Also I hope to hit 2000 views by midweek this week at the current rate, so thanks for all of your support everyone.

How is your country represented in the vidya?

So we've all played the countless Call of Duty clones with Americans versus Russians. Not to mention the British versus the Nazis done ten thousand times. This got me thinking, how is your country represented in the vidya?


Being British, the first game that comes to my mind (for better or worse I'm not sure) would have to be Killing Floor. Close followed by the absolutely TERRIBLE British accents in Wings of Prey. "Tally ho chaps! Scone and tea waiting for when we land!" (Protip: We don't speak like that! Honest!)

So how about you? Let me know how your homeland is represented in the vidya these days, or perhaps it has yet to have a mention, either way post your thoughts in the comments section!

Bonecraft - What?!

Only thing I have to say for this is whatisthisidonteven. I just... don't.... WHAT

>:|

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Minecraft + Predator = Win

As much as I hate to continuously go on about Minecraft, my friend sent me this video which I thought was so epic I had to share with you all:


How cool is that!

Dead Space 2

My god. Dead Space 2. Where do I begin?

I LOVE IT. I'm at Chapter 6 now so have no idea how far in the game that is, but so far I've been on the edge of my seat for the entire time with absolutely no idea how this is going to end. Absolutely amazing game, already it has beaten my expectations in everyway.

Graphics look absolutely beautiful, music is great as always, and dem necromorphs man, dem fucking necromorphs. The AI used is also massively improved from the first game, with enemies hunting me in packs and working together to hide from gunfire, use distractions, waiting until I move to ambush etc.

I'm also feeling like a bit of a sissy, as I am playing on Normal difficulty and finding it bloody hard, yet there are something like three difficultly levels higher than normal so god help me when I give them a go.

For those who do not want to buy the game, or perhaps want to but lack the funds, watch the following video which shows the beginning of the first level. I actually managed to die less than 30 seconds from starting the game which I think must be a record for me. (Note: I do not use these walkthroughs, merely sharing so you can see how great the first level is. Also Dead Space 2 is DEFINATELY deserving of its 18 rating and is a horror game, so do not watch if it's not your thing).


Also, I'm debating doing a "Lets play" of this game, either with me recording myself and putting it on youtube, or by streaming it via livestream. This is because I am laughing at myself and my reactions, so figure other people would aswell. So tell me, would you enjoy hearing me shitting myself and squealing like a little girl?

In conclusion, great game and well worth the money. I'm just jealous of my Ameribros who are able to get the collectors edition which comes with a life size plasma cutter. What can I say, 20 years old and the thought of a toy gun that lights up is still a DO WANT reaction!

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Group moments in MMOs

Group moments in MMOs have always been fond memories of mine, from raiding Ragnaros in WoW in my first guild back in Classic:


To Eve Online in my first fleet fight. Which I wish was half as epic as the following trailer portrays them to be:


So I ask you readers, have any of you had any memorable moments playing online games with friends that stick with you to this day? If so, share them in the comments!

Friday, January 28, 2011

Zero Punctuation - Minecraft

Just a quick and lazy post today as it's been massively busy!

For those who havn't watched it yet, Zero Punctuation has recently done a review of Minecraft. This man is hilarious and I watch all of his videos, well worth checking out!


Link

Normal posts shall resume tomorrow, or later today as its gone midnight now, you know what I mean! :)

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Strange MMO and more

While browsing the internet at what games are out there, I came across Planet Calypso. This game looks weird, and has scam written all over it so I'm reluctant to check it out. Basically everything you do on the game is done with a real world economy, so you can buy more PEDs (in-game money) with real money, and you can also trade out PEDs for real money. So technically it's possible to make a real profit on this game and become rich.

Still, don't think I'll try it, the phrase "if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is" comes to mind! If anybody has played it then please let me know, is it a fun game or will it just eat all my money?

Trailer for those interested: 



Also having been an Eve Online player for many years, they recently released a new (sort of) trailer which I thought was quite cool and so decided to share with you. Watch in HD for the oooo pretty factor.

Monday Night Combat Review

Finally I am getting around to writing my thoughts on Monday Night Combat. Firstly, this game is very very fun and is well worth the price. With that said it has a number of serious problems which I hope to bring to your attention before you consider purchasing it.

Firstly, the server browser could use a severe overhaul. Instead of saying how many players are in a server, we are told how many spaces there are; for example lots of servers had -5 and -7 spaces free. Very strange. Also the number of players actually in-game and the number of players Steam says are in-game are completely unrelated, I've had friends trying to join my match of 6 out of 8 people, and saying that Steam is telling them 13 people with 12 spaces are in the game. WhatisthisIdonteven.

Also on this issue, if you do manage to find a server with spaces, far too often will you recieve an error telling you that either your client or the server is running a different version of the game with no clarification or any details. Oh and also your filters for the server brower can and will reset everytime you join or leave a match.

BUT, if a pure miracle happens and you actually manage to make it into a game you will find it bloody good fun. I was up until 3am last night playing and loved every minute. The addition of bots makes the game feel far more fast paced than Team Fortress 2 and my two favourite classes have to be either Support (Think Medic/Engineer combined), and Assassin (Rawrswordstabbydeadpoofinvisible). There is also a mode to defend your base against endless waves of enemy bots which can be played in single player, in my view this mode is nowhere near as fun as fighting against other players but to each his own.

In conclusion, Monday Night Combat has alot of teething problems which if you are willing to overlook, hide a very fun team based shooter.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Warhammer Online - Rage post

Now, this post is more of a moan than anything else. Consider yourself warned!

A few years ago I played Warhammer Online but due to the countless bugs and severe lag issues even with all ports open and all technical support that internet could offer followed, I quit at level 20-something. Every few months I rejoin in the hope that it has been improved and fixed yet still after trying every workaround possible the game becomes unplayable with lag in any RvR (player versus player battlegrounds), which for those familier with the game is 99% of the content.



When the endless free trial came out I resubbed for probably the 5th time in the hopes I would have fun, but as soon as I progressed past the starting zone the world become absolutely empty. Last week I attempted to rejoin again with the "Return for 10 days free offer" and encountered numorous petty little problems that prevented me playing, my disk install was not now recognised as a client, the 10 days was not registered as reactivating my account therefore leaving me unable to patch after I downloaded the client seperately, they had renamed my username and neglected to inform me of such, and on and on.

So today I thought I would give the game one last go, after all it's not costing me anything with the free trial thing, I then attempt to make a brand new trial account to download the launcher (which won't actually download if your account isn't done right) yet everytime I click "Create" it simply refreshes the page.


You know what, I give up, I love the world and setting of Warhammer Online and really WANT to enjoy the game. Yet with quality control and the amount of hoops I must jump through being like this, no thanks. Mythic has just lost themselves a paying customer. Say what you like about WoW, but if I wanted to rejoin for Cataclysm (very unlikely), all I would have to do is buy the expansion, install, patch, job done.

For those waiting for my Monday Night Combat review, I had a few issues playing online last night along with a few little hiccups (bad server browser is bad), and so being the unbias and balanced writer that I am, will keep persevering until this evening before I give you my views on it.

Also much love to my followers as I am now over the great 100 mark. Woop.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Monday Night Combat

 Today I purchased Monday Night Combat, which looks like how games should be, old fashioned fun with none of this strange "realism" thing! Very reminiscent of old Team Fortress 2 before the Hat Simulator side started to take over.

For £10 it seems like a good purchase and I am downloading it right now.


I'll be sure to let you know my thoughts!

Monday, January 24, 2011

Minecraft and Kinect Working Together

While browsing through my followers blogs I came across the following video on Vidya Games with Zoe and so complete and 100% credit of this discovery goes to her.

Minecraft and Kinect working together to produce something amazing. I love things like this that really push the boundaries of technology.

From Movie to Game - Does it work?

Well, I've looked at turning games into to movies, but how about the opposite? It seems that every major blockbuster in the cinemas has been turned into a video game these days, and honestly most of them seem lackluster at best. Oh no wait, I meant; Lets read on and see if it works (it doesnt).

Well, with my amazing choosing skill of eeny meeny miney mo, lets first look at the Avatar game spawned from the Avatar movie (obvious comment is obvious). It's apparently capable of being in 3D which was put forward as a major selling point, well isn't that a lovely gimmick that has no relevance to gameplay itself. Judging by its Metacritic Score of 58 for the PC version, the promise I remember hearing about it that the developers "wanted to break the mould of failed movie tie ins" (I have no source for this comment other than my memory of hearing it somewhere, that'll do right?) seems to have failed.

Next we have the most recent Harry Potter game, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - Part 1. Or as I like to call it, Call of Duty with wands.


The makers have gone for a very different angle with this game compared to the earlier games, trying to aim for an older adult audience and done in a third-person shooter style. Having watched this game being played it is VERY reminiscent of Call of Duty except with pewpew spells instead of bullets. Very much not my thing, but if you like Carl of Doody and/or Blops, and also Harry Potter, then you might want to look into it. Even with that said, it still got a terrible score of 5/10 at GameSpot, with an even lower score of 2/10 at IGN.

I'm not going to make this a multiparter, as to me the answer is quite simple. Are the games made from movies good quality games? No. No they are not. Fact.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

What Vidya I Am Currently Playing

Well, I thought it time for a blog post about what vidya I am actually playing recently. I figure I will update this once a week as I move on to different games.

Currently I am mainly playing League of Legends, torn between Tryndamere and Morgana to play with as I enjoy them both. Tier 3 runed Tryndamere is lovely! And resisting the urge to get the Exiled Skin for Morgana as I currently use the Blade Mistress.

So readers, should I stick with my current:


Or should I purchase:



 

 Hmm decisions decisions! Also in the same League of Legends topic is the new Vladimir skin coming out tomorrow. Now I really like this skin yet opinions of my friends have been "mixed" to say the least, still it is tempting but I cannot really justifiy getting two skins right now!


 I'm also currently playing Minecraft on and off, not much I can really say about that, MINAN and CRAFTAN. And with the occasional loadsamoney Killing Floor match thrown in the mix also.

Oh, and I've given in to temptation and pre-ordered Dead Space 2 on Amazon, after watching the Ring around the Rosie trailer I linked in my last post how could I not? I'm also thinking about getting Starcraft 2 next month sometime, as I've never played a single Starcraft game in my life so feel I must be missing out on something!

The Use of Music Within Video Games

Sitting here listening to music made me realise how much of a large part music and audio devices have in the games we play. All games look at this approach differently, and sometimes it works, yet sometimes it does not.

I've played the Final Fantasy games for years, and was a massive fan of the music involved with them. From One Winged Angel being one of my favourite pieces ever that really builds up the tension and sets the atmosphere, to Waltz For the Moon for the dancing scene. However in their most recent (non-MMO) Final Fantasy, things slipped dramatically, Dear Mr.Square Enix, we like Nobuo Uematsu, we like him so much people go to visit to listen to his composed music by orchestras and he is huge around the world. However in Final Fantasy 13, the main theme was My Hands by Leona Lewis. No, no, no no and no.


Sometimes even simple background music as in Minecraft adds another level to the game which simply prevents us from sitting there in silence, however sometimes as in Dead Space, the music plays a vital role in scaring the player; from fast cresendo moments to complete silence with only the groaning of the USG Ishimura to make the player feel totally isolated. I have even downloaded the trailer theme as it is creepy yet beautiful at the same time, give it a listen. Without the sheer effort used in the sound of Dead Space I am certain it would have performed nowhere near as good as it has, and I can only hope Dead Space 2 has had the same care and attention.

(Addition, I have just found a new Dead Space 2 trailer which fits this blog completely, Ring around the Rosie.)

So in summary, music plays a massive role in how we perceive games and what turns a good game into an amazing game.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Minecraft Creations

Being a very creative person myself, here is my amazing house that I made in Minecraft between me and my Irish friend Madgamerman.

I know, amazing right? You are all so jealous!

So, with that to compare against, I thought I would see what else people have come up with on the internet.

The Normandy from Mass Effect:


The Earth as a whole, this is bloody impressive:


And for those of you who work with computers, this one is for you, a 16-bit ALU built only in Minecraft:



Well, in summary, my house is FAR superior to all of these. Don't you agree?

Video games=/=Art?

A common debate that has raged on over the years, can video games be classed as art?

Well, dictionary.com defines art as being:

1.
the quality, production, expression, or realm, according to aesthetic principles, of what is beautiful, appealing, or of more than ordinary significance.
 
So translated into English for normal people such as me and you, and by reading into it a bit, I read that to say that by judging of how something looks, does it feel significant in someway, something "better than normal", something that will stick with you after you have experienced it.
 
Now the games that are usually mentioned to me as being works of art are both Ico and Shadow of the Colossus. Shadow of the Colossus has been described with much praise, with Gamespot saying "the game's aesthetic presentation is unparalleled, by any standard".
 
Now here is where I fall down a bit now, having never played either of these games I find myself with very little to go on. So if you have played this game please comment and let me know your thoughts, do you agree that this game counts as art?

Swiftly moving on to a game made by the company who are known for producing amazing writing and for their ability to build a believeable world in their games, Bioware, more specifically, Mass Effect 2. Mass Effect 2 won Game of the Year, Best Story, and Best RPG, along with many others. But, does that classify the game as art?

In my view, and experiences playing the game, yes it does. With the soundtrack, character backgrounds, and lore you will yourself very immersed in the game world, and watching the final suicide run you will definately find yourself thinking you are watching a movie, instead of a game. Is it the greatest game out there? No, but it does something different and it does that very well so, in my opinion, I feel it deserves a place in being called art.

I'm fully aware I have been as vague as can be with this blog post, but overuling everything I have to say is that this argument comes down to the individual. Some peices of "art" these days are nothing more than somebody turning a light off and on in an empty room, which I find ridiculous, yet many people adore. So therefore I believe that some games (not all, good god not all, if Blops ever gets mentioned as art I think I will eat my own face) deserve mention and recognition as being more than just a simple entertainment medium.

So, thoughts? Or does anybody have any other games they feel deserve a mention as being something "above the norm" that deserve to be recognised?

Also to note, last night this blog reached over 1000 page views and over 70 followers, so I would like to say a massive thank you to all who have supported me. Know that I read every single comment posted and endeavour to read all the blogs that I follow daily, so your support is very much appreciated.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Duke Nukem Forever

This is worth a post on its own. I have no words other than ABOUT FUCKING TIME.

Hidden: Source Beta 4b

Today I am reviewing a mod on the source engine that COULD have been great, COULD have gone the way of Killing Floor and become its own game, but sadly has been abandoned by both the developers and the playerbase.

Hidden: Source Beta 4b is a mod built on the Half Life 2 engine, which is based around online fights between players, most players play the generic squad with options such as weapon loadout, gadgets etc, whereas one player gets to become "the hidden". This player has powers such as invisibility, super strength, super speed, ability to see through walls, and carries a knife along with a few grenades.

It is the job of the hidden to kill all of the other players, and it is the job of the players to work together and kill the hidden. Sounds fun doesn't it? While here is the downside, this community for this mod is all but dead. After browsing the lobbies and finding not a single game with more than 4 people in (and that was a one off), me and a friend made our own lobby and started our on game on one of the many desolate servers. Over time more people joined and by the end of the evening we had a full lobby and had a fun time playing.



See developers if you are listening, people still WANT to play your game, but imagine looking through a server browser and seeing nothing more than "empty", "empty", "empty". Very demoralising and "whats the point". Should this be updated and active I can imagine it would be perfect for LAN partys and would provide many entertaining moments.

Overall I've had a few fun evenings playing this mod but don't see myself touching it again. Why? Because it needs updating and severely needs more content, but with that said, the base and groundwork of it is very good and provides a fun time for a while, sadly it is the developers absenteeism that has killed it for me.

What is it with mod teams and leaving half way through? Black Mesa Source I'm looking at you also.

Anyway, heres to a fallen game that could have been something. If you have some spare time and are willing to wait for a lobby to fill, or perhaps have a few bros that are looking for something different, then give it a go and you will be pleasently surprised, just don't expect anything to improve or change. Ever.

Inception App - Iphone

Today I'd thought I would cover something completely different, something that very loosely fits in the video game category of this blog. The Inception app for the Iphone.

Highly linked to the Inception movie (obvious comment is obvious), the app revolves around doing different "things" with your Iphone in order to unlock different music tracks on the soundtrack. Or different "dreams" as it calls them.



Some of the tasks include staying in silence, moving very fast (i.e in a car), running along and so on. It's interesting as it uses all parts of the Iphone, from GPS to track your location, to your microphone, to the gyroscope which tells when it is being shaken.

However my personal favourite has to be that to unlock one of the songs you have to play the app while in Africa. Now for a free app and what with me living in the UK, perhaps I am just not the dedicated type.... but I am not really that willing to travel to Africa simply to unlock a song/dream!

In summary, if you are looking for something different to play around with on your Iphone, and are a fan of the Inception movie, then give it a go. I wouldn't describe it as a video game, but it is definately something different. And should you see someone talking to himself while walking and waving their Iphone around their face, don't worry it's only me unlocking more dreams!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Vampire: The Masquerade Bloodlines

Now seems like a good time to write a post about my favourite game of all time. Vampire: The Masquerade Bloodlines. Over the years I must have completed this game about 30 times and could probably pick it up again tomorrow and still enjoy it!


It is an open world rpg set in the Old World of Darkness universe where you become a vampire in one of the several clans, each having different abilities/playstyles and strengths/weaknesses. What I like about this game is that it does not emphasize the stereotypical "kill everything" route, you gain just as much experience (usually more) by taking the peaceful route, using perhaps diplomacy to get what you want, or stealth, or hacking computers etc.

Not only are there so many different methods, the playstyles for each clan are very different aswell, the Malkavian clan who are completely insane is perhaps the best example of this, with NPC dialog that not only breaks the fourth wall but even reveals things that will happen later in the game to you (plus you can have a conversation with a stop sign and your tv!). Whereas the Nosferatu clan who are butt ugly, have to use the sewers to travel around and will sometimes cause panic even if they are seen above ground! My personal favourite however has to be the Toreador clan.

One of the downsides to this game though is that it was severely rushed to release, and is very dependant upon fan patches to solve the many bugs and unlock the remaining content that simply wasn't ready when it was pushed out.

The game may be getting old now, but with the patches that improve graphics, it still looks quite good. Admittedly its no Crysis but for a 7 year old game (God has it been that long!?) built on the source engine, it has aged well.

If you disregard all other recommendations on my blog and decide to play one game this year, make it Vampire: The Masquerade Bloodlines.

Eve Online

And now for a review of one of the few games that has kept me playing (with occasional breaks) over the years and which still shows continuous improvement. Eve Online.


Eve Online is an MMORPG set in space, where you can literally do whatever you want. You want to do endless PvE to make money? Then go do missions. You don't want to shoot a thing and become rich? Then go mine and form your own industrial company. Or how about you just want to blow other people up? Go right ahead, in Eve Online you can be attacked anywhere in space at any time. One thing to say though is that Eve Online has very little tutorials for new players, but once you get over that initial hurdle of "what do you mean there is nothing telling me where to go next? I have to decide? Oh god", then you will find one of the deepest games out there.


What with the new character creator and the recent Incursion expansion, I highly recommend Eve Online for anybody looking for something different than the million WoW clones out there!

This trailer really highlights how one can do anything within Eve Online:

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Mini blog post - FEAR live action

Shortest blog post that I will ever do now. Judging by how strongly the comments on my previous post of Upcoming Game Trailers seemed to feel about the F3AR trailer, I am assuming that I have a few FEAR fans viewing this blog.

I found this while browsing the interwebs on youtube a few days ago, a 6 minute long live action video of an interview with Alma. Why they didnt market this I don't know as I thought it was very professionally done.

Again this is not a video I would recommend to the children, no gore or swearing but it is very disturbing and adult orientated. I have to repeat myself here, if you do not enjoy horror games then skip this blog post completely. If you are not a fan of FEAR then give this a miss, but if you enjoy the series as I do it's a nice glimpse into the backstory of Alma.



I've done quite a few horror game posts the past day or two so my next few days will be spent in lighter waters!

Killing Floor (Loadsamoney!)

Well, after trying out a free advertising credit for Adwords I wake up to find out that my website has 404ed, after frantically removing my campaign everything now seems fine, phfew!

Anyways, back to business, this post is my thoughts on the game Killing Floor.

Killing Floor by Tripwire Interactive is a fps squad based game where you have to fight off waves of different zombiesCOUGH....clones. Due to the Harry Enfield humor in the squad commands, the B button makes you drop money for other players which has spread and become a meme incredibly fast, the game has an entertaining charm which if you are British (like myself) you will find even more entertaining. For example:



The game has often been compared to Left 4 Dead, which I think is absolutely rubbish, apart from the fact they are both first person shooters the gameplay is completely different. Gameplay involves choosing one of seven "perks", each with differing strengths and weaknesses, from the Berserker who specialises in swords/chainsaws, to the commando with his assault rifle, each perk plays very differently. Games last usually 7-10 waves of increasing difficulty and culminate in a "boss" fight against a monster called the Patriach.

The game is refreshingly hard, speaking for myself I have one level 6 perk (which is the highest level possible) of Berserker and I am still only barely able to do the "hard" difficulty setting, with both "suicidal" and "hell on earth" difficulties still to go!

The gameplay does get repetitive however but I have over 100 hours played and should you play with friends then you will find that this game can provide long term entertainment like few others can. One downside however is that Tripwire is a small company and the low-budget of the game is sometimes visible, but honestly that is a small downside and easily overlooked. For its price tag of £15 on Steam (£8 on Amazon for a boxed copy, learn something new everyday!) its money well spent!

I leave you with the original trailer (there has been a few expansions since then):



And then for good luck, LOADSAMONEY:

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Upcoming game trailers

And now for the laziest blog post known to man, but something I've wanted to do for a while. Here are 5 trailers of games that have not yet launched/only just launched in order of awesomenuss (best word ever) with number 1 being the game I want right now.

Note that nearly all of these trailers are cinematic, and so give no idea what the actual gameplay is like!

Firstly, in at number 5 we have the Prototype 2 trailer that aired at the VGA (Video Game Awards) this year. Can't say I'm a fan of not playing as Alex Mercer but even if its a copy of the original Prototype yet slightly better then that's alright with me:



Next we have a game that came out a few days ago, that which I gave in to temptation and purchased and am loving every minute of it. DC Universe Online. This is one of the greatest cinematic trailers I have ever seen and would happily watch a full movie done in such a style:


And now we have the F3AR trailer (Warning: Very adult themed, not for the children), I have no words for this as it is VERY different to how I thought it would be albeit looking very cool. I repeat, this is a horror game and a very adult style trailer so watch at your own choice:


Up at number 2 we have the Mass Effect 3 trailer again shown at VGA last year, not a clue how it will play or what will happen but still looks interesting:


Finally at number 1 for the trailer that makes me want the game the most. For the simple reason of that we have been kept in the dark about this game for over two years. Is it the greatest looking trailer? No. But if you keep a media silence for your game for so long then I will take whatever I am given. World of Darkness Online revealed at The Grand Nasquerade last year (Apologies for the bad quality, it has been captured on a camcorder):





Honorary mention has to go to Star Wars: The Old Republic, if I wasn't such a World of Darkness fanboy then it would have made it in:


If anybody has any other trailers that they feel deserve a mention then please let me know!

Are games getting easier?

While browsing the intertubes last night and having a discussion(read: moan) with friends over Skype about the game industry these days. I came across this image:


And I have to ask myself, are games getting easier?

I've never been a big fan of the "big blockbuster" style of games, I just seem to view them as all the challenge having been sucked out of them and replaced with PINGACHIEVEMENT, PINGKILLSTREAK, PINGZOMGYOUARESOGOOD. See for example, Call of Duty Modern Warfare 2.

I'm in the view that if you are handed everything on a silver platter then well, what's the point? where is the challenge? However going by sales records, it seems that I am in the minority these days, what with Modern Warfare 2 selling more copies than bottles of oxygen on the moon, and Cataclysm also breaking so many records upon release.

Back in my day we had a single health pack, had to trudge uphill for 19 miles to reach the first save point where upon we had to fight three platoons with no crouch cover, no regenerating health or quicksave, our only reward being the sense of accomplishment and no PINGLOLACHIEVEMENT, all while juggling and attempting to jump over lava. Get off my yard kids grumble grumble.

Not that there aren't good and challenging games coming out these days, but they just never seem to top the charts, Dragon Age for example I seem to be perpetually bad at having set the difficulty to "babby mode" and still getting my ass handed to me, and being able to (just) complete hard mode on Killing Floor makes me cry when I look at Suicidal and Hell on Earth difficulty levels!

Now if you excuse me, I'm going to put my rose tinted nostalgia goggles back into their case now.

Monday, January 17, 2011

From game to movie, does it work? Final part

And now we have my final part of looking at video game to movie translations, this article will look at two very different movies made by the same company. Final Fantasy 7: Advent Children and Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within.

Firstly, Advent Children:

(Before I go any further, how HARD is it to find a decent trailer on youtube for this movie, must have been on my 10th video before I found an offical trailer and even this one is in Japanese!)

I really liked this movie, but I feel I am in the minority, and for once completely and 100% can see why many people do not. I have played the game, Final Fantasy 7, and I am a massive nerd and fanboy who can recite the lore back to front. Should you not fit those catagories however you will have absolutely no idea what is going on in the movie and it will look like nothing more than endless fight scenes. The rectified this sort of by adding over 30 minutes of extra footage and rereleasing the movie as Advent Children Complete, but even then if you are not a fan of the game, this movie isn't for you. Another general thing about this movie is that it is very "pretty", and truly shows what CGI can do!

Next we have the much older Spirits Within:



Now if you view this as a Sci-fi movie, I loved it, however if you look at it expecting to see any relation to Final Fantasy, you will be dissapointed. The movie was a large flop upon release as everybody went expecting to see something similar to the games, and instead got an above-average sci-fi movie albeit animated. One thing important to point out though is that this movie was released in 2001, that is now 10 years ago (god I feel old), yet if you are watching it on a HD-Blu ray, it has some of the most beautiful animation and art work out there. In my opinion it is even "more pretty" than Advent Children which came out so many years later.

This was back when using animation in movies was a very new thing, in fact the makers of the movie actually included an easter egg where they simply "played" with animating techniques to show what they could do:


In conclusion, if you enjoy science fiction movies then disregard the Final Fantasy part of the title and check out Spirits Within.

(Although I would like to point out that I am highly bias, own both of these films, and have them sitting next to me, so go and make your own mind up)

Also to note, I gave in and purchased DC Universe online yesterday, very fun game and expect a blog post about it soon.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

The Path

Now we stray back from the world of movies and into the comfort of video games again. Sort of. This is a review/my thoughts of The Path by Tale of Tales.


I find it very hard to describe this game as a game at all, it's alot more like a work of art. There are no health bars, no real plot so to speak, the items you can collect for points frankly have no use at all in the game, so I would describe this game as a visual novel.

The story is an adaptation of the classic Red Riding Hood tale, you are one of six sisters in the city, and you have to deliver some food to your grandmother who is sick. You can stay on the path, walk there, and complete the game within a matter of minutes. However you could also move off the path into the dangerous woods, and see what lies inside. With every girl having a different wolf that can be encountered, you are never sure what to expect. There is no winning strategy and if you want to experience most of the content, you will have to go out of your way to choose the losing path.

To quote the developers, "We are not story-tellers in the traditional sense of the word. In the sense that we know a story and we want to share it with you. Our work is more about exploring the narrative potential of a situation. We create only the situation. And the actual story emerges from playing, partially in the game, partially in the player’s mind."

The game is very heavy on symbolism, most of the events in the woods mean different things to different people with nothing set in stone. In my view the game is about growing up through different stages of life and the situations we must deal with, the girls range from age 9, whose wolf is a literal wolf, to age 19 whose wolf is her male piano instructor.

I loved playing The Path, I've only completed it with half of the girls but it is still fascinating to see all the different events that lie in the forst. All I can emphasise is do not treat this as a video game, treat it as an experience, I highly recommend everybody to give this game a go. If you don't like it, that is okay too as it is not for everybody, but I guarantee you will have never played anything like it before.

To use a quote from Heather Chaplin from Filmmaker Magazine, "The Path is about what a remarkably fine line it is that seperates childhood from adulthood, innocence from cynicism, and how utterly not black-and-white most things in life are"

Saturday, January 15, 2011

From game to movie, does it work? Part 2

Following on from my previous post, my thoughts and views on some more movies that originated from video games.

Firstly, from the ever haunting face of Angelina Jolie that appears far too often on my blog home page (yes I am aware of this!), the Tomb Raider series of movies.


This is a prime example of times that this did NOT work, this movie has a review rating of 19% of Rotton Tomatos and I feel that this is generous. Although with this said, I must then contradict myself, today this movie is the 3rd most successful video game adaptation, grossing $274,703,340 worldwide (Thank you wikipedia). So, why did it get rated so low, yet had so many viewers? Is it an example of selling itself via name alone? (I'm looking at you World of Warcraft movie, don't you dare do this!) Or is there some hidden charm that I am missing? I'll be damned if I know, all I can say I felt this to be a bad movie and I enjoyed what Tomb Raider games I have played. That being only Tomb Raider 1 and 2, old school I know, but who could forget locking that butler in the freezer?

My next example is the most recent of films in this field, Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time:


As a family action movie completely unrelated to any video games, its alright. However when you try and view it from the fact it was meant to be going for the same audience as the games, no no no no and no. Every single Prince of Persia game has involved the prince fighting past a multitude of sand monsters to reseal the sands, this movie however has decided that would not please the lords of Disney and instead changed the plot so the prince was trying to stop the antagonist (whom if you had half a brain cell was known to you from the start) from opening the sands. I viewed this expecting some psuedo-egyptian indiana jones/resident evil hybrid and instead I got happyfluffybunnydesertfuntime. If you are looking for a movie to watch with the grand parents or young children thats at least sit throughable, give it a go, if you are a fan of the games however stay far far away!

In my next post, how things work at opposite ends of the spectrum, make a movie so strongly aimed at your gaming audience that outsiders have no idea what is happening, Final Fantasy 7: Advent Children, or make a movie with the name from your series of games that has little no relation to the games themselves, Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within.

And on a completely unrelated note, woo the new domain is up and running!

From game to movie, does it work? Part 1

So what with the recent news of a World of Warcraft movie being produced (Linky), I can't help but think about previous game to movie translations and how they performed.

So now seems a good time to look a few movies, see how they differed from the games, and give my thoughts on them.

Firstly, the Resident Evil series of movies:



Okay, for the record I enjoyed the first two Resident Evil films, they stuck (albeit loosely) to the same lore as in the games, and the atmosphere while underground in the Hive worked well. However, from three onwards I couldn't help but feel they were in it for the money. And what with the latest movie out, trailer linked above, as a fan of the games I felt little to no connection with what made the series great. Watching that trailer you see lots of slow motion, lots of matrix style latex and corny lines, yet very few actual zombies, in fact short of the names of the characters it might aswell be something completely seperate. If you want to watch a decent horror/action movie that is linked to video games, check out Resident Evil and/or Resident Evil: Apocalypse. Although give the latest one a miss as instead of using 3D to expand the world and our interaction with it, it was used as an excuse to skimp on the plot because "lolhowpretty". Or perhaps maybe I'm just getting old and jaded!

And now for a movie that did something right, that captured the feel of the games and as a loyal fan of the series I strongly enjoyed. Silent Hill.


Firstly, some liberties were taken with the story from the games, however unlike my previous example I actually don't mind it this time. The emphasis is not on action and lollookhowscarythesemonstersare. Like the game (and my personal favourite game of all time) Silent Hill 2, the focus was on setting up the atmosphere of the town, and giving us hints as to what is really happening yet ultimately telling us nothing concrete. I really don't have much more to say for this movie, if you enjoy horror movies, watch it and let me know how you thought of it!

This will be a two or three part article, depending on the interest of my readers. God knows there are so many films based on games out there, the next article will be a more light hearted bunch of movies. Also to note that all of this is my opinion alone, you have may have loved Resident Evil: Afterlife, if so please let me know and tell me why. I'm always up for a good debate!

I hope to get the second part to you either this evening or tomorrow, as I am currently in the process of moving to the new domain name of www.thefactsofvidya.co.uk, which considering I have the HTML and website knowledge of a spoon, a few problems are happening which I am trying to solve (most likely all caused by yours truly in the first place!). All of your current bookmarks and using my current web address will still work, so just sit back and let me wallow in my confusion :).

Friday, January 14, 2011

Minecraft moments

Those keen eyed of you may notice gadgets shifting slightly around, I am still in the fiddling process to get things how I want but that should end soon!

So, having just spent the last hour or two on Minecraft, the game which seems to have sprung from obscurity into stardom faster than someone on X Factor, I felt it time for a blog post.

I won't spend too long describing Minecraft, as wherever I seem to look its in the gaming news in one way or another, but for those who are perhaps mainly console gamers (don't worry, I will convert you in time), Minecraft is a lego-esque open world game involving both mining and crafting (see wut i did thar).

Here is a fan-made trailer that I claim absolutely no credit for having found it 5 minutes ago by going through my lengthy search progress of typing in minecraft in youtube:

Anywho, having just recently experienced one of the most hilarious moments of my video game history, I felt like sharing it. I was in the process of expanding a mine, as you do, when decided to head down in attempt to find some rare types of ore, I dig down making some stairs as I go, when I realise I am so far down that I might aswell stop building stairs and just dig a descending hole with me at the bottom.

Fast forward five minutes, and we have myself in the bottom of a narrow pit with stairs that go halfway down, then a good friend of mine comes online. What can possibly go wrong?

He offers to bring me more tools and mining supplies, and swap them for my tonne of stone/ore to bring back to base, suddenly I hear a scream and pickaxes are raining from the skies. And I quote, "OH GOD THE STAIRS SUDDENLY STOPPED AND THEN NOTHING AAAH, WHO WOULD BUILD STAIRS THAT JUST STOP HALFWAY DOWN WITH NO INDICATION?!"

It was at that moment where I almost had a baby out of sheer lulz. And then a creeper killed me. The end.

So, has anybody else had any hilarious and unplanned moments in the vidya? if so, please share!

Prototype review

Throwing a tank off from the top of a building onto a infected zombies face, then leaping in the air, grappling with your arm onto a scrambled marine helicopter, breaking inside, then flying around with their own helicopter attacking zombies, civilians, and military alike. In short, this game is fun!

Prototype by Radical Entertainment was released in 2009 as an open world action video game, and I have to say is one of the few games out there where you feel powerful, movement feels fluid, and where you can elbow slam an elderly lady into the pavement from a multistory skyscraper.

The plot has recieved mixed reviews, I personally quite liked it but many others disagree, but in short and very simplistic terms to avoid spoilers, a "zombie" virus is in the process of taking over NYC, and is getting worse as the game goes on, you have superpowers, find out the truth blablabla conspiracy. You can gain a variety of powers such as turning your arm into a blade, gaining claws, massive strength, armour and so on, along with scavenging the weapons from fallen police/soldiers, I guarantee you will find plenty of ways to kill people! You travel around the city using parkour techniques (although I'm yet to see someone fly from building to building by using the power of their blood, although perhaps that is a more advanced technique kept secret!)

In case you have not grasped already, there is quite alot of graphic violence in this game, and I wouldn't advise young children play it, the game has mixed ratings from 18+ to 15+ depending on location.

In conclusion, if you want a very fun game, highly repetative (not necessarily a bad thing), and a game where the idea of morals are blurry at best, buy Prototype!

I leave you with the cinematic intro, well worth watching:

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Surprisingly addictive game

Just a quick one this time, I'm sure lots of you have heard about this already but for an amazingly fun and addictive free-to-play game I highly recommend League of Legends.

Originally inspired by dota, best played with bros as the community can be immature at times, and all of the champions can be bought with in-game points. Although there is an option to spend money if you feel like it and wish to support the devs.

Overall I would have to say if you were a fan of dota, or are looking for something different to play, give it a go!

It definately beats the infinate amount of Call of Duty Space Marine 7 clones coming out these days anyway.

Link to the cinematic trailer (looks nothing like in-game footage, but we can't have everything can we):

Who am I and what is this?

Greetings viewer of my blog!

If you are here, I can assume you share my interest in video games. I have hosted many blogs in the past but having taken a break for a number of years, have now decided to get back into it all! I will be posting daily news, general facts, interesting information, and things that will make you go hmmm, all related to the vidya!

I will also be accepting any requests to look at a particular niche or give a review on a game/game series.

So, without further ado, my first thought of the day, having recently got into the closed beta for Forsaken world by Perfect World International:


It seems like a very interesting game, although sadly reeks of a clone of their many other F2P mmos that their company owns, I can only hope that once it is out of beta some changes are made to make it strong enough to stand on its own. The introduction of a vampire race seems to me to be a cheap buy in to the multitude of fans out there, the classes are copy pasted from WoW, and both the engine its built on and art direction might aswell just still be Perfect World.

If nothing else, this game will keep me from buying DC Universe online for at least another week or two!
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