Monday, September 10, 2012

Play Delayed: Episode 4 - Part 1

As usual, this blog is delivered late so it will be split in to 2 main sections, section one will be what I wrote almost straight after the last blog, there are a few games that I finished and some TV series that I went through, The second part will be about the last 2 months or so as I have put a solid block of time into an indie game on pc that I feel I should share with you all.

Section 1 - Part 1

So I have recently completed both Dark Sector and Bodycount on Xbox 360 and ended up seeing both endings within2 days of each other. There were a few games that I really wanted to start (in spite of the fact that I
still have other games on the go...), but wanted to start something fairly recent - so I started playing Enslaved: Odyssey to the West.


This game boils down to brawn and brains forced to work together in harmony, bound by the knowledge that failure to cooperate will have deadly consequences for both parties involved. I was impressed from the start both by the visuals and by the way the characters end up together. The tutorial first level was also rather action packed I found as well. Without realizing the situation fully I dived straight in to the game, not fully aware of what would happen and the consequences if my character died. I found myself playing as Monkey, who has a special headband attached to his forehead, it can kill me and the game forced me to rapidly climb...

From what I had played up to this point, it seemed like this action packed game was really just a really beautiful looking game (set in a post apoclyptic world) with a platforming formula hidden in the background. The gameplay options are simple - run, jump, attack (with different strengths), this is all wrapped in the up with
the adult conversation that goes back and forth between the 2 human characters - Monkey and trip, contemplating the value of life compared to humans and the machines, so in short - it’s a platformer but feels like totally different...

Is it wrong of me people, to class platformer games as childish? For many years I stayed away from games like this, as I felt I had grown out of them, but in enslaved you are not just jumping on the heads of mushrooms, dying in Mario land is no big deal, you go back to the check point and continue to push on, in Super Meat Boy, I get grinded up and
instantly start again as with Enslaved, only in enslaved, when I died, I felt like I really let Trip down... It’s this sense of responsibility for Trip that keeps me going I think, when there are programmed parts where Monkey goes almost 300 yards away, then trip gets surrounded by machines that attacj here but geometry will not me just dash across to
her, then I start to panic, she has used up her imp blast and I only have that limited window of time to get to her and save her... She can’t over use this and the clock is ticking!

Enslaved looks great, I like it a lot from what I have played so far but it is only chapter 3 and still early days, there are a few things regarding gameplay that I really liked, mainly the sub boss battles, you end up fighting the same boss 2 times, but you have to take it down in 2 different ways, it mixes things up a bit and keeps the game fresh,
I will continue on with this until the end...

Enslaved: part 2

I ended up finishing Enslaved within about a week and a half of writing up this first piece about it. The story got really
as the game went on, finding out about what happens to trip and meeting the disgusting but very cool looking (in a steampunk kinda way) junk yard dweller - Pigsy! Racing Pigsy was really annoying and that was one achievement that I did not acquire - I might look it up sometime and get it but there and then it was easy. One thing against the game
that enjoyed me later on was the lack of variety with the enemies... It was the same 4 or 5 robots all game until the sub boss,
but overall the game was brilliant, I really enjoyed the ending of the game and the leviathan was very, very cool (did I ever mention I have a thing for mechs and walking battle tanks..?). It was nice to see the ending but it reminded me a lot of many other things - for example, the matrix storyline - the ark putting all the people "enslaved" within
it into another world that is fake and unreal compared to the wasteland they face outside... But the ending was nice and is totally worth playing right through just to see...

So other things worth noting are as follows: the gameplay objectives in this game are marked with easy to understand icons that are in the shape of monkey's face, I thought this was quite nice and made going to the next progress point a lot less stressful for me. A lot of other games do not properly communicate the next way point or the character will
mention it in passing but if you are not paying attention it will go over your head and you will spend ages trying to get it... The rhino battle I though was very cool, you had to climb up on to platforms but the boss was still running around at ground level making noise and stomping about and when Monkey took down the scorpion - although it'd been a while since
I did all this - I had made a note to say that it was "bad-ass"! And finally, Monkey at some point gets to take off the head band, but he chooses to put it back on, this was a cool moment for me as he had a mission to complete, but I'm not sure why he chose to finish of the mission as Trip's slave, this part was second only to Monkey getting an extended glimpse of what the world was like and trip bringing him back to reality... A very cool game that is most definitely worth checking out,
It was a shame when I read that it did not do so well... But I will be getting the piece of dlc for it in the not too distant future as I want to return to it!

Still on platform games and I purchased a new monitor for my gaming PC, my old one was over 5 years old and could not hit the range
required to play some newer pc games that I had picked up over the Christmas that I really wanted to play, so, as soon as I had the monitor home and set up, I started to play a game called Super Meat Boy...

As some of you who follow the video games industry may know, Super Meat Boy is not about high end graphics and lifelike realism, instead it takes a step back in time with its retro graphic and retro difficulty that we remember with the 2d platformers of olde! You play as Meat Boy and your girlfriend (Bandage Girl) has been kidnapped by the evil Dr Fetus, who nobody loves apparently. From here you have to navigate jumps, buzz saws and other lethal traps to rescue the one you love - and it gets very hard, very fast! In the space of my first 3 hours with the game I died over 600 times! This game is officially nuts and I am not even sure how many levels there are in this game but I just dived straight in without looking...

But the gameplay itself is very cool, refreshingly old school and refreshingly difficult, run and jump and you can speed up your run
speed as well to cover greater gaps, another point in the games favor is the soundtrack, I had listened to most of this before I even had a chance to play the game and if you have seen the game in trailers and don't think you want to play it, you should at least check out the soundtrack! This game is definitely for those that grew up in the 8 bit console era and who miss that style of play, I am playing it on pc but it is available on some other formats and with many levels to play (with dark levels to unlock as well) and extra characters with different gameplay characteristics to diversify the gameplay I recommend that you check this one out, It has been a while since I played it (for reasons I will get in to later on...) but it hooks you in and the more you die, the more you feel like an idiot as the solution is always at finger tip's reach away and you know you can get there...

Section 2 - Part 2:

What I have been watching...

When I posted my last blog, I was getting through an anime called Shigurui: Death Frenzy and now that I have finished it off I have to say
that I was quite an enjoyable watch! The show runs at a relatively slow pace but when something cool does eventually happen it is close enough to epic. This anime is rather minimal in its approach to build up but the end result is pretty spectacular, set during samurai times in Japan, there are a lot of weird things going on in this series (I guess as to be expected from the point of view of a westerner looking at a Japanese cartoon?), murder, violence, bloodshed and even serial sexual assault with in a high ruling family (which is pretty difficult to watch at the best of times... Scene transitions I noticed were done in a very arty way, the best example I can give is when a character was said to have been turning in to a monster, the scene transitions with a chrysalis opening and producing a moth...

So if slow paced, violent stories set in Japanese history are you thing then check this out! After finishing this I was not sure what to get in to
next (as always!!), so after a good look through my collection I settled on Terminator: Sarah Connor Chronicles (Season 1). Going in to this I had heard some bad things regarding this TV series, but as a massive fan of the movies series (maybe I mentioned this before?) I went in to this with an open mind.

(Note: The next paragraph was written while I was still watching the series!) So I am after watching up as far as an episode involving the main characters taking back a truck full of materials to hopefully prevent the machines from creating more machines after Judgment Day. The series so far has been quite interesting, the action is quite good and it ties in to the whole Terminator Fiction quite nicely. A lot of the fights seem to end up with one robot putting another robot through a wall but I never seem to get bored of this. A part that deserves note was Episode 4, the suspense moment in this with John Connor all alone, very well done for a TV series, it kept me on the edge of my seat! The only thing that I did not enjoy was how John's robot protector interacts with the other girls at school, this is often difficult to watch, funny at times more often than not so silly I have to turn away!

I think I went through this series from start to finish in less than 5 days, being a huge fan to the terminator fiction I found a lot of it very interesting, with Terminator: Salvation being a favorite movie of mine out of recent offerings at the cinema, every now and again I do get a need for a bit more Terminator, I have seen a series 2 and will definitely be looking in to getting in to this somewhere down the line but for all the bad things I heard about this show, I really got in to it, there were many moments that tied in to the first 2 movies quite nicely, for example, the parts with Dr. Silverman in them and how the
events of the second movie had affected him. If you like the Terminator story, then defiantly check this out, that’s all I can say!

Moving away from what I have been watching, I was playing a couple of old games or at least one old game and another with old school flavor, the first is Galaga Legions DX on PSN, I had got back in to this after not playing it for a long time, I felt like I was not making much progress with it, I was just jumping in and out of it, but had not finished any of the levels yet, but one day I kept playing to see how long one level lasted... At this time of writing I am 6 levels down and on the 7th but all attempts so far have resulted in my ass getting kicked! There is an awful lot going on the screen at one time and it can get very tricky! but it looks great and plays great - even if you are just jumping in and out of it! The second game is Deus Ex... I was trying this out on PS2
a while back and got in to it admittedly, despite the crappy load times between sections of each level, well, I found the double set Deus Ex complete on pc and it runs on my gaming pc, I played the training level just to see if it worked and I was pleased with what I saw. I got up as far as the stealth training bit, it plays great but it looks terrible
compared to chat I am playing on pc these days, perhaps I do not have the setting correct, this is something I will have to look in to but I am hoping to get in to both games, then finally play my copy of Deus Ex: Human Revolution! That is the plan anyway!

So all of the above was what I had wrote a couple of months ago hoping to get it online in a punctual fashion but as I have noticed many times in the past, this just never happens with me! so all of the below would have made up another blog but I have not wrote it yet, everything past this point is typed straight from my head, it is my most up to date gameplay and movies watched, there will be little snippets from some games that I bought and only just tested, there is at least one game finished,
one in the works and one that I have spent an epic amount of time (for me any way!)... Try to enjoy!

Section 3 - recent completions

Burnout Paradise: Ultimate box

I finally got the Burnout License in this one! It took me ages to get back in to this one as I am not great at racing games and this game, acadey and totally my thing, is still a game that if I am not really focused on, I am just wasting my time and end up doing really bad at. Then I rage quit, a silent rage quit but still a rage quit! I had got the A license a few blogs ago and I was 26 races to go, I moved closer to the goal by surviving marked man challenges and doing a few take down events to build up wins. Then one day I started to play the races again, I won a few but the ones that I lost I always ended up in the north west of the map, miles away from any of the other races still to be done and I would end up messing around with this until I got bored and switched the game off. Then, eventually a few new cars were running around the city for me to shut down, the Carson Inferno and the Jansen X12 were 2 that I remember the most, there was a monster truck style vehicle as well but this did not suit my style of play. I unlocked the Inferno van and entered a road rage race, trophy unlocked! then a few minutes later in the same sitting I smashed my 60th bill board, another trophy unlocked... by this time I had only about 4 races until the burnout license and I left if for that night, the next day when I got home, I fired it back up and finished it off, there was a stage where my car was really badly damaged and it would not drive forward very fast, only fast in reverse, I had not ever seen this before and thought it was because I had taken way too much damage, then the Jansen x12 flys past me, I know I can't drive forward but I chase after it reversing down the road and when I finally catch up and match speed with it, I U-turn reverse in to its side and smash it in to a road side barrier for the take down... It’s only after this that I realize that the L2 button on my control pad is jammed and this is why I can’t drive forwards at top speed, because L2 is the brakes..! A few minutes later I got the gold trophy pop up and was watching the credits to Burnout Paradise! After the credits I was told that I can compete for another burnout license - 117 races I think it was... I said no thanks and switched off the game and put it back in the box! It will be a long time before I ever play that one again... As good as it is, I have many other racing games to play...

House of the Dead: Overkill

I have on both PS3 and Wii but one night when player 2 was over, we decided to try out the Wii version, mainly because I have 2 gun accessories for my Wii and because I hardly ever play it! So, after a few minutes of calibration issues, battery problems and also trying to locate another Wii controller, we finally got it up and running! My previous experience with a house of the dead game was in an arcade, I have not played them much, but this game we did give it a fair shot! (No pun intended...) So, we found out quickly that this game is one of those games that is funny as hell, but in a way that is going to offend a few people along the way, our game we only got 4 or 5 levels in but we saw a camp bad guy, a disabled wheelchair boss that had powers not unlike psycho mantis, a kinda racist biker chick and a crazy carnival boss that had a fetus attached to it as well... It is a very tongue in cheek
Kind of comedy with the main characters being the perfect mismatch as the banter between them lets you know early on. It does not take itself seriously as a gun game but the gun play itself is quite frantic at times and great for couch co-op!

We enjoyed it so much that I thought it would go down well at a friend's place where player 2 and I regularly go to drink. So I brought it and a gun attachment for Wii remotes and 3 of us couch co-oped this game from start to finish, laughing at the bad jokes and crazy boss battles along the way... There were also one or 2 sick moments in the game towards the end and one major laugh that we all found great as well, House of the Dead: Overkill is a pretty good, if not short game, I think we played it from start to finish in less than 5 hours, but we had a lot of fun along the way, I have still to play my PS3 copy of this but it will be nice to play it and get some trophies for my troubles... If you like zombies and dark comedy then you should give this one a shot - but play it with a gun attachment for the maximum amount of enjoyment!

Ghost Recon: Future Soldier

I'm not sure why I bought this game 2 days after it's official release date, perhaps I was being silly with my money that day, but I was in a media shop here in my city and saw it there and just impulse bought it. Traditionally I have really enjoyed stealth genre games, sneaking around, picking my shots carefully and trying my best not to be seen at crucial points (as it usually results in my character getting perforated with bullets... I looked at the trailers in the build up to this as well and knew that you were part of a team of 4 soldiers that performed all of the missions, a team of special op soldiers called ghosts, but I thought that the minor celebrities that were on the trailers were going to voice the ghosts, it did not seem like that to me as one of the ghosts on the trailer was female, there was no female ghost in this game, but that does not matter too much to me. The game itself looks great, the weapons for the most part are cool, the locations are a bit too samey in the beginning and overall the sneaking is really cool, there were a lot off cool things about this game, but I felt that it borrowed a lot from other titles to make it as cool as it was.

I will get the bad things out of the way first I guess and these might seem a bit nit-picky, but the stealth camouflage, I have been playing the metal gear games for years, this first popped up in to my head and later on there are a few parts that involve you driving your RC car camera through air vents to see who the prisoners are in their cells, remember the beginning of metal gear solid where you had to look for the Darpa chief? this kinda enjoyed me but also kinda kept me playing as well, so basically the ghosts have the camo abilities (or at least some of the abilities) of Grey Fox from the MGS series, as I mentioned before, the locations early on are a bit samey looking, but the game does kinda drag you a good bit over the world, I was getting a bit sick of those drought ridden desert locations and was quite happy to see even a bit of marsh land and snowy mountains in the middle of the game and sometime when you had to take down targets by shooting certain parts of them, this was not properly communicated, at leastI felt so anyway, the best example was when you were on a desert airstrip and a plane was taking off and you had to shoot it down, this took me a few shots as I was shooting where the area was indicating but it did not work for my first few attempts... I think that is all of the bad things...

Even though the locations were a bit samey looking, there were some cool environmental events that helped or hindered you progress, for example, after you shoot a plane down, there is a sandstorm and navigating through this was kinda cool - especially because the enemy troops were also having problems getting through the storm as well, the guns were cool, but I did not get to use the gun smith feature at all in campaign mode, I'm not even sure how to access it but I liked most of the guns I got to use, in particular the sniper rifles, some of these being able to shoot through cover and take out targets from a distance through concrete walls and wooden barricades. I did not use the shotguns much, this game was me standing back and sniping or commanding my troops to do the shooting for me.

You can mark targets for kills and join in with a co-op snipe, this is satisfying when done properly but if you do not join the dots up correctly then you will have a massive firefight on your hands when the dead bodies are discovered, I often restarted my checkpoints
to see how to join these dots for the most efficient and stealthy outcome. The war hound was a cool addition to the game and would have been a lot cooler if you could control it yourself, instead of it just rooting itself down and firing on enemy position but I believe that
a lot of things that were in the trailers were left out of the finished game. And not to spoil anything but I thought that the last 2 levels were cool, I can comment on this later on in a discussion if readers have finished the game but I was rather happy with how the story wrapped up. One more thing in favor of the game, the feedback you get from taking down targets is quite good and helps quite a lot, either in x-ray mode or when you have a sensor grenade deployed, your targets are in yellow if the cannot see you or orange if you have been spotted, but take down a target and their diamond shaped indicator turns white - this helped me a lot in the heavy firefights and I would like to see this more in other shooter games.

So the game was for the most part fun to play, I enjoyed some of the later levels but I guess it did just feel like another one of those military shooter games, the squad command reminded of a game I briefly played called full spectrum warrior on PS2, just the way you could
command targets but you could not tell them where to go, just who to kill, I am getting sick of those games involving modern warzones and current conflicts, but everyone else obviously is not because the keep making these games, I just thought that this one had some cool touches
that kept me just about interested, plus it was a nice way to get me back in to stealth games again, I have a few more in my collection that I want to get in to, included 2 recent HD collections that came out... If you like modern war games then this one is for you, play it but don’t expect much new from the story end, just from the design end, some cool weapons, the stealth devices were also cool and if you have friends to play it with there are co-op (which I did not play) and a horde style mode with 50 waves called guerilla mode, which I had a quick shot of after I finished the main story. If my friends had this on ps3 I might get in to it multiplayer but I don’t think this will happen as the majority of them are not ps3 owners.

Section 4 - what I have been watching (recent stuff)

I should rename this part what I have been reading for this blog because I put my psp down for a few weeks to read the Millennium Trilogy. I was curious about this series of books and I had the 3 Swedish movies and the Hollywood remake of the first movie in my collection to watch,
But for a change I thought I would read the books first then compare the movies to them... These books were fantastic, I loved them all and actually was sad to put them down to go back to work or to get off the bus, if it was not raining I would continue to read them at the bus stop for a few minutes just to see what happens next! This is a very well put together story, centering around a government conspiracy and a young woman wrongfully declared incompetent and her attempt, with some help to clear her name and to expose this massive conspiracy. I'm not going to give away much of the story but the scope of the whole fiction is amazing, the first book is good enough to stand alone and if you did not follow up with the other 2 you would still be satified! I got a lot of cool images from the books, for example the locations in which the story took place, what the characters looked like and how they played out their scenes... When I got to the movie trilogy almost all of my mental pictures were not far off the pictures I saw on screen! The bridge that the accident happened on though - I did not expect that to be that long... I don't know why? Berger looked a bit different to what I had imagined but this was not a bad thing, but if the movies are what you watched first, then Blomkvist might have looked innocent regarding his sexual encounters in the movies, in the books it is very different. I thought that the second movie was very cool too, action packed but Ronald Neiderman looked kinda different to what I had in my head but any of the fights he is involved with are pretty cool! And the third movie was good too, Lisabeth is a very cool character and her court room scenes in here are great when played out on screen! Then after all of this I watched the Hollywood remake... I thought that this was going to be crappy but it was actually quite good too, but I felt that there was a lot more emphasis on the look of the characters, Salander was a lot more punk looking, perhaps closer to the book but not very necessary. It’s still worth looking at,
but I was kinda against watching this because the characters were not speaking Swedish. I was sad when I wrapped this one up but there are still 2 movies to be made out of Hollywood to wrap up the trilogy - hopefully these will be good too and that by the time they come out, the moment has not passed...

I needed another TV series to watch as I had finished off a few, I decided to throw on an anime called Gantz... My first thoughts after watching the opening episode was that this is going to be fucked up, because in the first episode 2 school high school kids get hit by a train and their heads fly off!!!! That was messed up! And as the series went on it did not get any less weird! When I first heard 'take my green onions' and then the little guy got destroyed, I was thinking that this is some seriously weird shit! but I saw this one through to the end and it does get quite epic later on! This series has violence, gun violence, sex, anime big boobed silliness and a lot of gore as well, It also has good suspense parts (if you can get that far in to a cartoon) and a pretty good story if you give it a chance, The music was pretty good too, except for the opening theme - this kinda enjoyed me right from the start! So I always
fast forwarded it whenever I watched an episode... As I said, this series has it's epic moments and there were some images left in my head that will stick in my head for a long time (some of which I will attempt to create some fan art later on... ), My understanding of Gantz is that although you are playing  the game, ultimately it is Gantz that is playing you! You can never win, sure, it will let you come close to victory but then you see it slip further and further away... My only problem that I had with Gantz (and with most of the animes I end up watching...) was that it is about high school kids who get caught up in something and have to figure a way out, with relationships, fights and power struggles becoming intertwined in to the whole mix, but then there is the comic relief of Gantz - dog, who I kinda became attached to, but as a viewer of Gantz looking in, you are the only one who can walk away, the characters of the show however will be called on, time after time until their number is up...

Some highlights in the series that are worth mentioning (and I will call out the episode rather than the moment), Episode 12, Episode 19, Episode 20 and Episode 21 I give mention to because of cool shit that stands out in my mind when I think back over them, so if you like your anime and are looking for something new to watch - I recommend Gantz! I have also been watching a few movies as well, Rainfall was a movie with Gary Oldman in it that I picked up recently, I had read nothing about it but went by the text on the back of the DVD box, the movie itself was alright but nothing really special, as contract killer movies go, this one did not have a lot that stood out and I was mainly watching because I am a fan of Gary Oldman. But unfortunate this would not be one of his strongest performances in my books, he is a good actor but his character in this movie was not the type of person I want to watch a lot of on screen and the overall movie lacked any real impact, a watchable movie but don't expect much... Another one I picked up, this time from the martial arts section of my media store, Dragon Eyes sees Cung Le and Jean Claude Van Damme working together, but with Van Damme taking a shorter role in the movie. The fight scenes in this movie are very cool, with some good martial arts on display but like most of the action movies that are coming out these days, it seems that although the fights are very cool, when a person takes a punch or kick, I don't feel it! When you watch some of the older movies in the same vein, you feel everything and sometimes you are genuinely shocked or you grimace when you see someone take a nose crunching knee in the face... Definitely worth a look and the cameo from another well know cage fighter is also worth mentioning..! I watched Timecop 2, I was looking for Total Recall when I bought this but as a fan of the first one, I felt I had to check this movie out. I am not sorry I did but it was not as great as the first one at all and it is not a case of "oh, the original is always the best..." This movie just did not have the action or possible production value of the first and as a result was at times not very interesting to watch, the fighting was alright but nothing too special, watching the time jump go wrong was cool and it was
interesting to see the effects of multiple jumps in a short space of time but it got a bit difficult to follow in the end, the ending itself not really having a great effect on me, check it out but don’t expect much.

I guess I was on a bit of an action movie bender for a few days; I ended up watching Gen X Cops, Battleship and Eraser in the same day... Battleship was the first one that I watched and I was going in to this hearing a lot of bad things about a certain pop star's poor performance in the movie from multiple people, but this was not too much of a problem for me, even though she is not an actress, she played her part of touch chick alright, just some of the things that happened with the battleships themselves kinda enjoyed me, like pulling a massive U-turn on of the ships or the sentimental pull together vibe regardless of who you are that was felt in the movie, this is not something that inspires me personally in movies as I go for well written stories and cool design aspects, which brings me to the aliens that are in the movie, those guys look cool until they take off their helmets, they are kinda like spartans from the Halo video game series but under the mask they looked like cosmic surfers with their chin spines. I like their crafts that they attack in and to see some of the battleships as well was quite cool! Also, the way that earth fights back I though was very cool and interesting to me a lot, I do not know a lot about being at sea and the devices that ships use to navigate oceans and this also tied in the board game quite nicely. Ultimately though, the movie kinda felt like Independence Day at sea minus the powerful speech towards the end and although the movie is quite good special effects wise, there are a lot of cooler movies out there to check out... After this I put on Eraser, I got this on DVD because I wanted to see those big EM guns working, I remember watching this movie a long time ago and liking it and even today I still think it is a cool movie, a good old school action movie, a little dated but still packs a good punch compared to some of the action movies today... And finally on that day I watched Gen X Cops. I'm not sure what I was expecting out of this movie, I think I was mixing it up with a different movie and was expecting robots in it..? But this movie was not what I wanted to watch, I was kind of annoying in places but I stuck it out until the credits. It's more like an action movie for 12 year olds, but even at that age it would probably seem a bit weak... A bunch of police academy drop outs are recruited to go undercover to infiltrate a crime gang and gather intel, chaos and misadventure ensues but they make good in the end, I apologies if I ruined the movie for you but it is not my kind of movie, but as a non violent, comical action movie it could get laughs out of a younger audience, I have the sequel here as well, I'm not sure if I really want to watch it now though...

Moving away from that I watched The Avengers movie and Ironman 2, The first Ironman movie was great and I was expecting this one to be even cooler because war machine is one of my favorite comic book characters from years ago, I read a few comics years ago but liked him a lot from the beginning, but this movie is not as good as the first movie for me, but it is not a bad movie either, although the personality of Stark really annoys me in this movie, I can forgive that because the bad guy in the movie was very cool and because the design aspects of the movie were very cool as well, I did enjoy the movie a lot but when Stark goes off rambling to himself and cutting other people off, that was quite irritating at times... Still very cool and you get to see Stark go off the rails and it leads in to the next movie I watched quite nicely... The Avengers! This movie kicked ass... I did not think that bringing 4 comic book characters together in one movie (who have all had big movies themselves) would actually work but I thought this movie was great! The Hulk steals the show for me as his brute force and smash mouth violent beat downs very, very cool to watch! I had seen all the movies leading up to this except Thor but I am glad that I watched this one, The only black mark against this movie and it's very small was that the aliens that attack looked a bit like the locust from the Gears of War video game series, in particular the larger flying aliens but this movie is an all-out, over the top action movie the I thought really kicked ass! And lastly, I watched Diamond Dogs, a movie starring Dolph Lundgren, a low budget action movie set in Mongolia. This movie is only for fans of Dolph as I could see a lot of people not enjoying this, it has action sequences that lack massive impact and a kamp, greedy bad guy that kinda enjoyed me but I like Lundgren's movies and this one was not his worst. The story was a bit silly but it had parts that I thought was cool, some funny action movie one liners popped up once or twice as well but it kinda all felt like something made in everyone's spare time between other projects and shot on cheap cameras. If you are a fan of Dolph Lundren - watch it but don't expect too much...

Ok, this is going to do it for episode 4 - part 1. Part 2 I will be writing about my experience with a game called Terraria that I put a massive amount of time in and am still nowhere near completion, also, I will mention some cinema trips, an OSS report and some games I have been have been dabbling in... Thank you for reading!

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Play Delayed - Episode 3 - Part 2

The night I posted the last blog I was playing Resident Evil 5 on PS3, but things seemed to be a lot more difficult... The controls were a bit difficult but the biggest stand out thing was that the enemies were taking a lot longer to kill, soaking up more of my precious bullets. Then I finished that level (one of the earlier levels) and saw that the difficulty was turned up to veteran! What was I thinking when I set that?! As far as I can see, the majini are far more resistant to pain and Sheva is still useless! I think I'm going to have to mine for currency to buy more weapons in between levels - this is not ging to be easy...

My return to Resident Evil 5 is only because the 'gold edition' was going quite cheap one day and I have never played the Lost in nightmares DLC. There is a lot to unlock in this game, figurines, trophies, extra characters and now the Lost in nightmares level. On Xbox 360 I played the mercenaries mode online with a friend occasionally and got great enjoyment out of it but as a 'horde' mode it is not quite as good as the original. I shall continue to chip away at this until it is complete!

As I have mentioned before, arcade racers with an emphasis on massive destruction are my new flavor of the month, Split second being the game that I have been particularly focused on. When I played this side by side with Blur straight out of the box, Blur was most definitely the stronger game, but having played 3 episodes of the Split Second campaign (season mode) I have seen some very cool shit. My favorite so far being the mode where the big rig dropping barrels that explode on the track. The race takes place on the storm drain and it is mad fun! The air strike mode is also pretty cool but I am having trouble beating the developer high score in the airplane grave yard. I keep coming second and usually about 2.5 seconds short of the high score. It's a pain and I have come close to looking it up but I will have another few trys before I decide it's time to move on.

Tekken 6, scenario mode, I have put a fair amount of time in to this, recently going through the different stages of the story. Much like my time with this on Xbox 360 almost 2 years ago, this game is trophy full, if you can power through it. There is I think, a stage for each of on the roster, the characters themselves becoming the stage boss and once defeated, said character becomes selectable for the rest of the scenario mode going forward. In true arcade mode fighter fashion, you have temporary weapons, lead pipes, miniguns and flame throwers all featuring. You have power ups that temporarily grant you special abilities when you attack and you eat food, well, chicken and eggs to recover health. Actually, since the inclusion of the trophy/achievement system attached to the scenario mode, I have only now felt compelled to play it. I remember in previous tekkens not actually bothering to with the tekken force mode. The arcade and versus modes are solid enough (as always) but some characters forgot some of their moves going in to the new game (perhaps to learn new ones...), for me, Hwoarang only going through the first 2 stages of 'hunting hawk' is stand out, but his stance changing into different kicks for juggling are still devastating in the right hands... I love the tekken games and prefer them over the Capcom beat em ups, Tekken Hybrid I managed to pick up over my Christmas holidays off work. I have played a good bit of it but not as much as Tekken 6. I was bored a few days ago and played the bowling just for the strike trophy but overall I had never really played much of Tekken Tag Tournament and have to figure out how things work. The movie attached to the blue ray disc is pretty cool too. Tekken : Blood Vengeance. Just think 'extra-long Tekken cut scene and you are on the right track. The story follows Ling Xaoiyu and Anna Bosconovich who are both taking their orders from sibling rivals from Anna and Nina Williams to dig out information on a transfer student who just left Mishima Polytechnic High School, so the story is mostly their awkward interactions together and with the character they are both targeting, eventually leading to them fighting. Panda provides the comic relief and the battles are generally very cool! Not to spoil anything for anyone but the Mishima family reunion is very fucking cool. Even if you don't get the Tekken Hybrid disc, check out this movie as it is out now on a few other formats as well and is for the most part worth watching!

I gave a quick mention to Bulletstorm in the last blog. I am, at time of writing now finished the main story mode. The game has some cool stuff going on, for example in Chapter 6 (I think it was Chapter 6), the battle with the giant Godzilla like creature which you must take down from a helicopter. This battle, though rather short, is still really cool and one of the high points of the game for me - even if the camera does go all over the place! Overall, the gameplay never really strays from its original formula and I am ultimately glad that it’s all over for me and now I can move on to something else I have on the go. To be honest, Bulletstorm is nothing special and as much as some industry people working on the game say that it's not like Gears of War - it is, maybe not too much in gameplay but definitely in design, specifically character and weapon design. But can you blame them? They have a look that people are familiar with and this game, when released, had to have been to tie fans over until Gears 3 came out.

In its defense, some of the skill shots did provide me with cheap laughs and I did like the way the game rewarded you for participating in the quick time events but for the most part I was just slugging through the levels, patiently waiting for it to end and cursing the script and its one liners. Towards the end the characters, who throughout the game were at each other’s throats, become rather civil and complimenting of each other’s work on the battlefield, giving positive feedback for rather good shooting, which pissed me off very quickly because about 20 minutes before that they were threatening to "kill each other's dicks off" or something ridiculous like that...
A friend asked me how I was getting on with the game a few weeks ago, He having already played it and really enjoying it. I explained to him how much I was not impressed with it and its script and he went and accused me of not having a sense of humor... This weekend just gone he brought it up again and suggested that I don't play the game Shadows of the Damned, different strokes for different folks I guess..?

I have been dabbling in a game called Bodycount as well recently on Xbox 360. This game was not very well received in the enthusiast's press when it was released, receiving low scores right across the board (or at least where I read). It is supposedly the spiritual sequel to the popular FPS game Black from the last generation of consoles and much like Bulletstorm its rewards skillful marksmanship and is also repetitive and samey, but I am having a lot of fun with this. The game plays quite well so far, I have not encountered much in the way of technical difficulties, but I will say that there is some harsh enough check pointing and I have not seen any other weapons other than the machine gun I started the game with and the pistol that also has been with me since that beginning. I will have to look in to this and see if there are a variety of weapons; the start menu definitely suggests that there is. I am doing a mission in West Africa and I have check pointed just before a general runs off and you have to hunt him down and eliminate him, I have tried (and died) about 5 times and have started to set traps along the enemy ai's path to help me out when I am trying to make up the distance between myself and the general. From the beginning it seems like a massive achievement fest, I believe I have earned around 200g for less than 3 hours of play, so if that is what you are in to and you see this game cheap - there you go! I am enjoying this but I am not devoting heavy game time to it, I am more jumping in and out of it every few days just to keep the gameplay fresh in my head. I'm sure this will feature in this blog again soon.

It feels to me like Final Fantasy VIII will never leave this blog. It pops up here and there as I have been playing it almost every day since last summer for at least an hour a day while I am on my travels. I got as far as the doors of Ultimecia's castle just before the Christmas break and then began to grind up a bit, but then realized that I had not yet acquired Odin and the Giant Cactaur. I read in the guide that Diablos is rather handy to have on your side when you are trying to take these guys down but later learned that I missed my opportunity to get this GF as you get the magic lamp on disc one, shit! Diablos is useful in the later stages of the game for cutting down the larger, more stronger enemies and his 'mug' command is the equivalent of the previous game's 'steal' materia. So with this all in mind I restarted the game after another 70 hours of my life spent on it and acquired the magic lamp after a couple of hours or so of playing. Shortly after getting it, I went to the world map, saved and then initiated the Diablos battle. If I remember correctly it was around 6:30am in the morning and I was only my way to work when I had my first attempt, which was not successful but after another attempt or 2 I finally got him. Props go out to Selphi and her 'slot' limit break for saving me over and over as Zell kept on dying and after so many times reviving him I let him sleep. Every time my health went too low, I would get my limit breaks, Squall attacking repeatedly and Selphie using full cure on everyone left and I just kept this going until the demon passed out and joined me. So I have just finished the part at the Timber Tv station where Seiner joins the Sorceress and have gone in to another Laguna sequence - we are running around a mine in Ester, cutting down the local armed forces as I desperately try to remember where the exit is and at the same time not forget anything! This is now the second time I have reached disc 4 only to return to the start of the game again. It's going to be another long road ahead of me but hopefully this will be the last time I have to go through the entire game again. I have other games to play!!!

After I started playing FF8 again from the beginning I naturally got a bit fed up with it. I had, a few days before this gone a bit mad with the spending on the PSN and ended up buying the entire Persona collection for my PSP. I knew it was an RPG series, but I knew little else about it... So, out of curiosity I started the first game and once the basic story was laid down, the tutorial passed and the proper gameplay started I was pleasantly surprised! First thing I noticed was that all the exploration is done in first person. This is a bit weird, but in a good way! I have never seen this before, but I thought it was a nice touch! What I wanted to see the most though, this aside was what sets this apart from Final Fantasy VIII and other JRPG's in general. So the first thing that stood out at me was the dungeon exploration - it's all done in first person view, this took me a little while to get used to but I want to really get to know this series. The battle options are a bit different to Final Fantasy games too - in addition to the usual attack, magic, item option, this game also has negotiate and shoot. Characters can attack with their equipped weapon, but they also have a gun equipped, they can summon a "persona" through which they can use magic attacks. The negotiate command took me a while to get used to, there is a diamond shaped meter that appears when you select this and depending on what speech options you choose, you can either scare, piss off and or amuse the demons and this can cause difference effects on the battle, for example, if you scare a demon then they will have a status put against them, if a demon spooks you because you made it angry, then you will have a status effect against you, other things that happen include acquiring spell cards, money and even causing enemies to run away... Making personas from the spell cards is an important part of the game it seems, they unlock new magical and summon related attacks but at the moment my characters are too low in level to equip some of the newer persona I have created, apparently your character can go insane if they use a persona that is too powerful but I'm not sure if the game will ever let you go down this path... Speaking of paths, the dungeons (or different areas off the world map) get longer and more difficult to navigate as time goes on, I have started to encounter traps now which add to the difficultly. The floors with directional arrows and dead ends can really throw you off and I am finding that health items and other restorative items get used up very quickly when I am going through the longer dungeons. At time of writing I am in a mall dungeon and the owner of the mall won't let me and my team escape, I have descended 10 levels below the surface and I am a little bit lost... Perhaps I should not have gone in their just yet... One thing I found quite pleasing in the game design was the battle screen, I have found this easier to navigate than the Final Fantasy VIII battle screen - I'll explain why: When I have activated a summon in FF8 while the animation is going on or just in generally switching between characters I want to attack or heal, sometimes it is not that clear who the cursor is on and a few times I have healed or attacked the wrong character, in person if you are highlighting a character, there is a drawing of each character at the bottom of the screen that highlights yellow when the character is selected and when you are attacking an enemy, they will highlight on the grid, making it easier to navigate and plan attacks. The story it ‘self I’m not too big on and a lot of the cut scenes are of the butterfly guy, but with a different voice over, I am more interested in the gameplay. I will be switching between this and FF8 taking the odd break and going in to some short games, until both are finally completed.

Back to my dabbling... I powered up the Wii recently to test out a few games I picked up. All ambitious, I had a big cd wallet case full of Wii games but actually only managed to try out 2(vintage me...). The first is a game called MadWorld. MadWorld has a very distinct art style and reminds of the old joke: "what’s black and white and red all over?", well this game is black and white eventually turning red all over due to the comic book violence that you instigate in order to rack up points to move on to the next area. So what you have is a comic book, ultraviolent, score attack game with a main character whose voice sounds a lot like solid snake from Metal Gear Solid games (I have not yet looked up the cast of the game) but I'm hoping it is David Hayter! The game play reminded me a lot of Bulletstorm, you are using the enviroment to kill all the enemies and trying to rack up combos to increase your score and gain access to the next stage, this is achieved by impaling scumbags with road signs, throwing them in to burning barrels and even throwing them at a giant fan to slice them all up... I have to date only played the tutorial and so far it looks like a decent game, but I am hoping that there is a bit of variety in the enemies and traps, as well as the kills, because if not it will just feel like another Bulletstorm and the only beneficial thing I will take from it is the wrist exercise!

The other Wii game I got to play was called Muramasa:The Demon Blade. I was actually wanting to get this for a long time, I saw it out on PS2 in the game stores as well but it was always very overpriced for what it is and that format, but I managed to get the Wii version at a price that agreed with my wallet! This one is a little different to Mad World in the sense that it is a side scrolling fighter, not unlike a lot of XBLA and PSN downloadable titles that I saw come out last year. What it has in common with Mad World however is that it also has its own very distinct art style, a more colorful and prettier look. From what I played of the tutorial the gameplay is pretty good, I picked the female fighter for the tutorial but I will return to it soon...

Away from the Wii now, another game I got to try out recently was Total War: Shogun 2. It’s an RTS game from a long line of games in the Total war series. The first thing I will say is that there is that there is a lot of information to take in with this game. I have only completed 2/3's of the tutorial and the notes I was taking are almost as many pages as this blog... I am not used to RTS games and this one is as Real Time Strategy as it gets. It will take me a long time to get used to this and I know that it will be a difficult learning curve along the way. It is genuinely interesting though and I am looking forward to seeing what this game has to offer.

Myself and Player 2 have also been gaming a bit on our Old School Sunday sessions. We have mostly been playing beat me ups and competitive arcade racers. Games like Blur, Slit Second, Tekken 6 and Tekken Tag Tournament HD. To break away from the norm that I have mentioned in this segment over and over, we tried out some new games called Flatout: Ultimate Carnage and Full Auto. Full Auto reminds me a lot of Crazy Taxi, a game I have only had a few minutes with in my life, but take that and attach guns to the cars, take away the time attack game play and you have a destructive racing game! Today, the game looks quite dated but still an enjoyable looking title, I think we'll have fun with this one.

There was one Old School Sunday session where Player 2 came over but did not get up to much gameplay himself, electing to instead read all the newspapers I got that day, I was already playing the first Just Cause game when he came over and continued on with that. I just had too, Just Cause 2 is one of the best games that I played all last year and I wanted to see its roots. I was aware going in to it that it had technical issues, these are well documented in the video gaming press and so I loaded the disc in to the disc tray. The first thing I noticed was the way Rico walks and runs, it’s so funny, it’s like he has massive problems with his ass, which led to myself and player 2 jokingly calling him Rico "broken ass" Rodriguez. The second thing I noticed is that out of the box Rico does not have the grappling hook. I did eventually get it but it is nothing compared to the grappling hook in the second game. I guess I am only playing this just to get the back story but it looks like it’s going to be a long haul - hopefully it does not drag out too much and kill my love of the series...

As I mentioned (I think) before, recently I have been watching a lot of Vin Diesel movies between episodes 2 and 3 of this blog. I have watched the whole Fast and Furious series (except the third one - Tokyo Drift), Babylon AD and A Man Apart. The Fast and the Furious Series I really enjoyed, but the last one I only got to see recently but for the most part was very exciting to watch, some of the driving scenes in it are very exciting and the fight scene between Dwayne "the Rock" Johnson and Vin Diesel was really good! I was hoping they would fight and I was not disappointed! Tokyo Drift was the low point in the series for me, I got a little bit silly at times, so silly in face that I had to switch it off quite early on, it was at the point in the film when the American kid had to go in to the sauna to collect money because he wrecked a guy's car trying to drift style drive... It was cringe worthily bad and I had to turn it off...

Just before posting this blog (and even completely finishing the writing of it) I managed to finish Bulletstorm. What I noticed with it, but never really realized until the end was that you get rewarded for participating in the quick time events, you earn skill points for your responsiveness when they pop up, you can earn up to 500 skill points per QTE and this can be exchanged for ammo and upgrades, you will get an on screen prompt to hit the L1 button and if you hold for long enough - the points add up. There did not seem to be a penalty for not activating them but I needed the points so I tried my best with all of them! As expected, they left room for a sequel, which I am not sure I feel totally compelled to play, how could they remix that gameplay and make it feel fresh? After the credits rolled (which I ended up skipping), I tried out the echoes mode, you are just going through maps from the story, killing enemies as they are generated and doing it against the clock. I am not sure if I will return to this as I have more games on the go that I want to finish...

So that’s what I have been playing. I think Army of Two: The 40th day was the first game that I finished this year, Bulletstorm being the second. I still have to finish the likes of Dark Sector, Bodycount, El Shaddai and Resident Evil 5. Dark Sector I am a good amount through the story and this looks likely to be the next game that I finish but I might have a bit of trouble readjusting to the controls if I get back in to it, there was a lot going on this game. I have also dabbled in Sonic Generations on PS3. I really liked that game, what I had played of it anyway. I have yet to play a lot of the 2d levels in 3d but the first level in £d was amazing to look at and I look forward to fully exploring all the possibilities that this game has to offer. It is a fantastic game all round but I missed all of the 3d sonic games having only played the megadrive Sonic games in my time. I made a decision when I was very young, after playing Crash Bandicoot to not play platforming games again and went about this for the next 12-13 years without touching them and being strongly against them. But recently, well, since the first LittleBigPlanet game, I have relaxed this policy a bit a little and have tried a few of recent platformers out. I picked up the Dreamcast Collection on Xbox 360 for cheap recently and dove straight in to Sonic Adventure a little bit when I got the disc home. As I said - I missed all of these games, including the Dreamcast titles and with my Dreamcast having never worked, this seemed like the quickest way to play this, but I have yet to try out the other games on the disc, but the fishing game, I'm not sure if I will ever devote much time to this, I don't even like fishing for real... The reason I stopped playing platformers was because of the obviously repetitive nature of this genre, in particular, games like Crash Bandicoot, I understand that all games are repetitive in some way but when you play the first 3 levels of a game and then you hit level 4 and it looks like the first level, but with a slight variation on the enemies, I was not prepared back then to devote money to this, these games pissed me off and games like the Final Fantasy series and Metal Gear seemed much more appealing to me at the time (and still today!). Perhaps, the fact that trophies and achievements are present in these game make up for the repetitiveness and monotony of the platforming genre today, but there’s only so much of them I can take and I need more that a different art style of a new double jump mechanic to drag me in to one of these games, I still prefer to play for the sake of gameplay - rather than for the sake of trophies! But that is another argument for another day...

It looks like I'm starting to ramble on now; I guess for the next blog, the focus will be on hopefully trying to finish off a few of the games that are lying beside me only half finished. It would be nice to start a few games on a clean sheet and not have to think of others that are lying uncompleted... I will try and add a few more PC, Wii and 3DS games in to the mix to spice things up a bit and artwork as well, I have really been meaning to start including some fan art to this blog to break up the words a bit.. I have installed some new games on my pc - stuff like Super Meat Boy, Greed Corp, Civilization 4 and in the not too distant future I would like to do a feature on the Free to Play MMO scene, I had a lot of these installed before Christmas but a nasty virus forced me to do a full reboot from which I am still getting everything back to the way it was... not cool! Also, I may have mentioned the "Cheap Game Challenge"! I am hoping to get this up and running soon too, I have the games ready to go; I just need to get my shit together and play them! Most of the games featured in this will be arcadey and score based but very fun and very cheap as well! So, once again - thank you for readying and look out for the next blog!

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Play Delayed Episode 3 - Part 1

Welcome back to my monthly (or maybe 6 monthly) video game blog. We are well in to the new year at this stage and you know what that means... Thats Right!!! New games! Am I playing them? No!!!!! Well, a little, I'll get in to that in time but first...

Army of Two - the 40th day

I am playing this again but this time on PS3. I don't know what it is about these games - they are obviously linear, they are repetitive but I just love playing them!

Army of Two - 40th day is a definite step up from the original game, intorducing more combat options and a new moral choice system. For example, there are sometimes when you can fake your death to trick the enemies, you can mock surrender and you can tag targets for elimination. From the first game, the gun play is pretty much the same, the shooting is still very nice and a head shot is often referred to as a "field goal".

The level formula is more or less the same as the first game, you start off and work your way through many waves of standard soldiers, then, after you kill so many of them and prodgress so far, you meet a bigger, badder and more heavily armoured enemy who has a bigger weapon and can only be shot dead by aiming for certain areas on their person. The first one you meet is the heavy shotgun, but after you figure them out they are pretty easy to kill, you can generally focus fire on the face until their helmet falls off and then you get the "field goal"... After that they are not so easy to kill, you meet the heavy flamethrower and heavy minigun and those guys require a lot more strategy to kill... Every so often you meet a situation where there are hostages being held and you have to figure a way to kill the attackers a free them, if you manage to save them you will get "morality +" if the die its the opposite, helping the civilians will will give you more cash and often give you more weapons to unlock and buy.

The weapons... It feels like there is not as many weapons available, the weapons are pretty cool, don't get me wrong, but it just felt that there was not that many to choose from, in particular the handguns, I only counted 3... I used them a lot in the first game but in this game, once I got the DEagle, that was it... By the end of the game I think I was using a m4 customised to high agro (scope attached and gold plated) and my special weapon was replaced by another primary weapon (instead of a sniper rifle). Another addition to the gameplay is the moral choice moments... The first one is your contact in Shanghai, do you kill him or let him live? But the best one I thought was perhaps the last one with the Russian merc, he helps you bust out of jail, gets you to the exit and provides you with cover fire, but when you get to the end, it seems he has a lady hostage and he walks in with his gun out and starts to unzip his pants, do you take his bribe to turn the other cheek and walk away or do you protect this "lady" and stop something evil from happening...? What would you do? They are generally quite interesting and I would like to see all the outcomes sometime...

Another thing I want to return to is the hostages, I want to try and resolve all of these senarios and see what other weapons that are unlocked as a result. But often when I was trying to sort these out, I would only just kneecap the leader and he would crawl away and shoot one of my hostages, Its a bit ennoying... But I think it comes down to who you target first, I think if you take out a leader of the group the rest of the men on his squad will fall back and become easier targets... I'll have to keep this in mind for next time!

For me, it's a good game to return to, even though the gun fights get very samey, especially towards the end of the game but inspite of this I enjoyed the game as a whole. If you were a fan of the first one and have not yet played this then I strongly recommend this! But trophy hunters beware - you have to put a lot of work in to get some of those!!!

In the works... Bulletstorm:

I'm not sure how to describe this one, it's linear as fuck and reminds me a lot of Wild 9 on the PSOne. You have guns, you have a weapon called "The Leash" and you are encoraged to kill you advesariesin a creative fashion, these kills are referred to as "skill shots" and there is a lot of them to achieve during the game - each weapon having it's own set which earn you skill points. These skill points can then be used to upgrade your weapons and buy ammunition... From a glance its another standard shooter, overseen by the people that brought you the Gears of War series...

What I have been watching...

The Wire - Series 1

"Where's that Prick McNulty!?"

This show, before I got around to watching it was hyped so much, In podcast, my friends, I had heard a lot of things about it and as a result had a lot to live up to in my eyes and as good as it turned out to be, I don't think it was "that good".

I won't lie to you, it has a very weak few opening episodes, if you will, a slow start and this weak and slow start almost put me off the whole series. But I am the type who is afflicted with trying to see things through to the end.And I have to say I am glad I did. Around episode 4 it started to pick up and get good, actually this episode was quite funny as well, It had McNulty and his partner (who's name escapes me examining a previous crime scene which involved a lot of use of the 'F' word. But what I found most interesting, even over the whole story was how the drug dealers in the show managed their trade in the towers. In this show it went in to a lot of detail, showing you a good overview of the hierarchy of the drug trade and the techniques they use at their level. There was also good examples of how the younger kids in the projects looked up to the head dealers and how this respect was used to influence the impressionable youths do crimnal acts, the kids being urged in to "stepping up".

The story it'self is quite interesting, there are a lot of strong characters backed up by the actors doing a good job of portraying them. There are instances of police corruption, at both high level and foot soldier level, police brutality - sometimes actually justified! And some very colourful characterslittered around the projects, the ones that stood out for me in particular were Omar, the homosexual ganster, Bubbles, the junkie police snitch, D'Angelo's girlfriend form Orlando's club and last but not least - the project kids on the couch as well...

This show overall is quite good and is definitly worth a look, despite being critcally acclaimed and well hyped up, I did not think it was better than Mad Men however. That not withstanding, it is quite interesting all round and has memorable characters. If you are a fan of detailed semi detaild police dramas that focus on not just the police side but on the criminal side as well and less on the crime scene invstigation side, then this is for you. But be warned - it does have a very slow start.

I'm going to leave it at that for part 1, in part 2 I will write about some trips to the cinema, a bunch of Vin Diesil movies I watched and games I finished months ago but never typed up the blogs... And of course games I am playing currently!

Thanks for reading!

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Play Delayed : Episode 2 - 3

Welcome readers to the Play Delayed blog episode 2 - 3, I am posting this one on time I think... I have a good few games to cover and 2 O.S.S. reports to get through as well. So, before this blog becomes late like the others - here we go...

Old School Sunday : 4 / 09 / 2011

Myself and Player 2 did it again and had some new retro games to try out as well. I started the night off with some Rollcage - Stage 2. I only recently got the a copy of the first Rollcage only 2 - 3 weeks before... So, like the first game, this one really shows its age on the graphics side of things, looking pretty bad compared to the latest HD graphics of today, but luckily the game play still holds up and is still fun. We were trying to set up a race with computer opponents to make up the numbers but we were unable to get this set up. Instead we raced (or battled) each other. The track we played reminded me of a Mario Kart style track, like a half pipe set up. The weapons that feature in the game are pretty cool, there was (in particular) a teleport weapon that brings you to the front of the race and Player 2 activated this by mistake right at the end to beat me over the finish line. There is as well the usual homing missile, shields and some other power ups as well, but we did not play for too long...

That night we wasted a lot of time setting up music and on top of that my internet was not great that night. Eventually we got it fixed but by then it was time for pizza. The pizza was nice and all but I just felt that they put too much sauce on the base, making it a little messy, but it hit the spot all the same! The designated pizza video was WWF Summerslam 98, we went through a few matches off the vhs, mainly the ladder match between The Rock and HHH for the IC Title and the Undertaker vs Stone Cold for the WWF belt - both of which are fantastic wrestling matches!

After the pizza break I thought it would be cool to try out some of my new xbox classic games and Dead or Alive 3 was on top of the pile... The Dead or Alive series is a fighting game that I am not too familiar with, I have (I think its the... ) 4th game in the series on Xbox 360 and dabbled in it a little bit but never really returned to it. So, even with this limited experience, going in to Dead or Alive 3, everything was brand new to us... Its a beat em up game first and foremost, its in a 3D space and you can jump and side step to dodge or set up attacks, but you are fighting in a confined space and you can use the walls on the outside of the environment to your advantage, for example, one of the stages we played in was like a make shift MMA cage but the fence its self was electrified and when a character hits it, it explodes on impact causing more damage. When I initially started playing I thought it was going to play a bit like Tekken, but it is similar to Tekken only in character movement, the move sets of some of the characters are a little strange (or at least I thought). I want to revisit this game soon but because I am more of a fan of the Tekken series, I think it will take me a while to get used to.

After playing a game that I was expecting to be like Tekken (but was not), I felt the need to play some Tekken instead to get the bad taste out of my mouth (think drinking apple juice but you want it to be orange juice and you taste buds are expecting orange but then you get that nasty shock...). Tekken 6 was a nice return to the familiar, we just did the usual - some 8 on 8 team battles! That night we also played some LittleBigPlanet : Pirates of the Caribbean DLC through LittleBigPlanet 2. I found that to be quite enjoyable navigating through the levels and actually finishing a few of them off for a change. The special thing about this DLC is the inclusion of water to the LBP toolset, materials float on it, it negates any fire and sackboy can swim in it and much like the Sonic the Hedgehog "Labyrinth Zones" of days past - there are air bubbles and a timer for the under water action! I had played these levels before (whilst drunk) with another friend and we were having difficulties navigating the levels with the addition of water - it can be a little difficult to go from the foreground to the background when underwater in the game and this caused use to just give up trying for a few weeks... But with Player 2 we got through the part I was stuck on and one or two levels after this! I have also been quite impressed with how the user created levels have used the water tool in the created levels as well! And that was about all we played that night, we called it a night at about 00:20am as I had to be up for work a few hours later...

What have I been playing:

As I mentioned in the OSS report, we played Littlebigplanet. In the week leading up to that Sunday, I had been chipping away at the story mode of littlebigplanet 2. I had finished it before on my other ps3 but could only get the LBP1 items across when transferring the saved games... Playing it all again was a bit of a pain but I enjoy LBP so it wasn't too bad! So I got passed the Negativitron once again but still have a long way to go before I have all of the prize bubbles and levels aced!

I think the thing that impressed me the most about LBP 2 was the side scrolling and isometric shooter levels, It was a neat little trick the way you are fooled in to thinking that you are playing from an isometric view point! Back to the beat em ups now and I was recently over at a friend's apartment and there were a few of us there playing Super Street Fighter 4 Turbo, which for the most part I was getting my ass handed to me. I only know a few characters and their moves and combos but there is still a lot that I have to learn. I would like to be able to play as characters like Guile and Ibuki and some of the more obscure guys as well, I definitely need my practice in that game and the beat downs I got really that night hammered this home to me. Back home on my own consoles I have been taking a different avenue as regards to my gaming. With LBP2 cleared again I decided to stay on the ps3 for the most part. I downloaded Street Fighter 3 Online:Third Strike off the PSN, I don't know why but I got a little bit excited about this in the build up to this and downloaded it on release day, but I'm still not sure where this excitement came from... I never played Street Fighter 3 before and as a result of this there were a lot of new characters on the line up, a good percentage of this from Brazil too - they even have a capoeirista there (Elena)... I have only jumped in and out of this game but it looks cool and very retro - I will be returning to this one soon.

I have also been playing Red Faction:Armageddon again. I have hit 50% completion on the story at this stage and have been involved in some frantic fire fights. With every game there are a set amount of enemy types and this is usually not a huge number, RF:Armagedon is no different but I felt that it was very good in introducing the newer enemies in thus keeping a nice running pace to the game. I felt a few times that after I had taken down hoards of smaller enemies and then the general foot soldier enemy, after these battles I would kinda feel like hot shit until all of a sudden, some huge creature would come rushing at me or a cut scene would play and I would get a new enemy with some strange mechanic that I would have to figure out... It's good for the most part of what I have played at throwing these curve balls at you! The latest monster to appear to cause me trouble was the "tentacle", this monster can pick up bits of debris and fling it at you, meaning you have to dodge out of the way or get in to cover, some of the bulkier enemies prior to this one appearing did not cause me too much trouble, perhaps if they appeared in a different game they would have made more of an impact and caused me more hassle..?

On the retro front, I am still chipping away at Final Fantasy VIII, having just gone into the garden war between Galbadia and Balamb, all the pressure has been put on Squall to lead everyone onwards. There was also the part where the characters realized that they all grew up together and are thinking that their use of the Guardian Forces in battle could be responsible for their memory loss... Speaking of which, I picked up another one since last writing to this blog - Pandemonia, a wind element GF. Although I have progressed a bit through the story, most of my time spent with the game was on building up my characters, in particular my Selfie character who I let fall behind a bit but now she is almost up there with the rest, also I am trying to collect more magic to junction. I am now at the stage where I am drawing level 3 elemental magic having also recently now had the chance to draw support spells like haste, regen and bio - which I think are cool for mixing things up a bit!

hmm... I was thinking when I was writing up this next part that I buckled under pressure, but I guess it was only a matter of time - I splashed out on a brand new psp (with working UMD drive - I can now get back in to my 40+ psp titles on disc!) and then 3 days later I picked up a 3DS and am now happy to report that I have re-entered the world of portable gaming once again! I was sick with mild food poisoning for a few days and as a result I did not go out socializing at the weekend for almost 2 weekends in a row, leaving me with some money to play with (that I probably should have saved...!). So I picked up the 2 handhelds, both black in colour. With the 3DS I got Ghost Recon:Shadow Wars as part of the deal, set up a profile and completed a few levels. I have to say, from what I have played, I really like it! Its a turn based action game played on a grid, set in the Ghost Recon Universe (if such a universe exists?!). At the start of each mission you have to "gear up" for your team for battle, At this time, I have only played as a sniper, a heavy assault character and a medic. The more you play, the more experience points you unlock with grants you access to new weapons and other "perks" to use on the battle grids. This game reminds me of games like Metal Gear Acid (minus the cards) on PSP and Onimusha Tactics on GBA, games which I look back on with great fondness... I will continue to chip away at this in time and keep you posted on my progress...

As for the 3DS itself, It looks great and has a nice set of screens, 2 cameras on the back :and one on the front) and it's not too bulky. I never owned a DS or any of the follow up offerings, instead I opted to sit that generation of handheld out, but still picking up the odd game to come back to at a later date. It also has something with it called "AR games" (Augmented Reality?) which I have yet to try out land a function for the Nintendo "Mii" characters. My only complaint with it was that I thought that it was going to be bigger, I think I mixed it up with the DSi XL, but I was not disappointed - this was only a small complaint. One thing that really impressed me was that it came with a 2gb SD card inside it straight out of the box - which I thought was very generous - I had to buy a separate memory card when I got my psps... I like this ready to play, straight out of the box style selling, I think back to being a kid and getting something similar for Christmas but something important would be forgotten (my parents were always savvy to this and we always had batteries on Christmas day for my gameboys or even my gamecom) but you would always hear these stories of kids who were not so lucky... So for the out of the box package I am impressed.

On top of Ghost Recon on 3DS I also picked up a copy of Super Street Fighter 4 Turbo 3D and Ridge Racer 3D as well...

I have jumped in and out of Ridge Racer 3D quite a bit, I may be wrong but it looked like it has tracks from Ridge Racer 7 on PS3, which I like as I am still getting to know the tracks. I think I have gotten quite good at these games and when I player 2 and some other friends over I have enjoyed (and often won) many split screen races. On the 3Ds I am still enjoying the game (note: on all my 3DS games I always play with the 3D slider down - 3D off). It is a cool game, but I felt that it makes too much of a big deal out of itself, or in the press, in some magazines they went nuts as some 3DS titles around launch were not so hot. But if I had to pick a Ridge Racer portable I would have to go for my PSP Ridge Racer. It still looks great and I have played it a lot more as well. The 3DS game is still cool but I much prefer the PSP version... Street Fighter 4 Turbo 3DS wraps up my 3DS purchases. What I will say first of all is that the overall look is great, a very good port of a great game (is it a port?), the only thing I have against it is the easy combo system. What the fuck!? I have not played this version online yet but I think that after taking the time to learn some of the characters and their moves (and combos) that someone on the other end just poking the touch screen with ease to get combos and special going while I imput commands with the button combinations like a fool... I will probably never play this version online and perhaps I have taken the combo system up wrong? But the user accessibility from the get go did not sit well with me. I will give a better and more accurate report when I play it some more...

OSS Report - 18 September 2011:

This was going to be a special Old School Sunday, I knew this because I had no work the next day. We had as a result, pre planned to watch WWE : Night Of Champions live later on in the night. I had not seen a live wrestling event on ppv for a long time so naturally I was quite excited about this! (My only worry was that there was a chance that the event could end up being shit... But I will get to this later.)

Before Player 2 got here I had downloaded a few demos off the PSN Store. Bloodrayne Betrayal, Galaga DX and Warhammer 40,000 : Kill Team and thought it would be cool to try them out to kick off the night... We started by each taking turns with Galaga DX, I thought the strobe graphics epilepsy warning at the start was cool - when I see this I know I am in for a good time. And well, it is very colourful... And very strobey as well. There are lots of enemies on screen at once, it gets quite frantic and on top of all that there’s a fast dance music track playing in the back round which doesn't help matters! There’s usually a string of enemies with a larger enemy at the head leading the smaller ones in an almost "worm like" formation, but take out the leader and every one of them blow up. One thing later on in the demo that I liked was that after I took out a lot of Galaga, some of them joined my side and acted like a weapon power up, boosting my attack power. I liked this game, I liked it so much that I upgraded from the trial to the full version a few days later, the music in game is also worth mentioning, very dancey, it suits the game a lot. I will be returning to this one very soon. After we both had shots at that (and were both left impressed) we wet in to some Warhammer 40K : Kill Team. I did not check the preview (not even sure if there was one...?) nor did I watch any videos online but I am a long time Warhammer fan and thought that this would be cool to play. So with that said we fired it up and the first thing that went through my head was that this game is a lot like Dead Nation, a PSN game that myself and Player 2 have a fair bit of experience with, only with a not so cool Warhammer skin thrown on... Now it is not exactly like Dead Nation, like weapon power ups and character perks, there are also character classes and you can beef up that classes arsenal the more you play on it would seem from our quick look with it. After about 10 minutes of playing this, I decided that this one wasn't for me, it played ok but I was getting bored of it quickly, plus, there were a few design things that annoyed me at the start that stuck with me through out the play, it was the vats of acid in the Ork factory, they liquid is green, but it looks very cheap, it just annoyed me and ended up ruining my experience with the game. The game itself is still pretty playable however and if you are a fan of the Warhammer universe then you will probably get a few hours of pleasure from this one. For fans of the miniature war game I would definitely recommend that you at least try the trial out, I think Player 2 liked the game and thought that I should pick it up, but we are not finished Dead Nation yet and I am not a big fan of this game, not enough to buy it... Actually, I would like to finish Dead Nation co op soon, just to wrap it all up.

This brought us up to Pizza time and you know what that means... That’s Right! Wrestling tapes!!!

Actually, we watched a dvd this time around, the main event from WWE: Backlash 2006, which was a triple threat match for the WWE Championship between Triple H, John Cena and Edge - One of the better matches of that year... HHH got very badly busted open during the match, which added to the dramatics of the whole affair and ultimately at the same time affected his performance - best example being when he gave Lita the "Anderson Spine Buster" and nearly impaled her on the leg of the chair - she was very lucky..! A brilliant match and one I have gone back to on many occasions, with fantastic back and forth action a 'blink or you'll miss it' end with Cena getting the quick pin. Then even after all that, HHH goes nuts with the sledge hammer on everyone then doing the 'DX - Suck It' taunt, possibly to signal what was coming (back) later on that year...

When we returned we switched on OSS favorite Super Puzzle Fighter 2 Turbo HD Remix and after a couple of rounds I educated Player 2 in the hazards of playing as Dan... Dan, playing as Dan will get you fucked up! His special move involves many red blocks falling down on your opponents screen. If you opponent has a crystal and only half the screen filled up, you will lose when they get a red destruction orb. I lost a few rounds teaching this lesson, but I actually managed to win a few with Dan as well (much to my surprise... ) After this we were at a bit of a loss over what to play next and it was then that I saw something on my pile of games that we had never played before and I think unlike Player 2 had ever played ever - Sengoku Basara:Samurai Heroes on PS3!

I had played this once or twice by myself, its one of those button bashing, kill hundreds of enemy soldiers in one go, Dynasty Warriors or Chaos Legion-esque games that lack variety but is great for killing time in small doses. And this game, like many others in it's genre is very repetitive, you feel this almost right away, the level layout is nothing special but at least in some give you multiple paths to go to get to the end goal and is not without it's flaws... but I actually like this game, although the character voice work is pretty shite, the character design is pretty cool, something which I always look at when I am playing a video game. We finished the first stage split screen but had problems with the second battle. There is a sub boss through out the level that you have to take out - he is armed with dual chainsaws and comes out of nowhere and the only way to do massive damage is to lead him through gate traps in the levels, there are 3 of them on the way to the final boss of the stage but then you meet him with his last bit of energy and he can only be really damaged with your super moves, but you have the boss firing rockets at you at the same time and the usual amount of cannon fodder enemies coming at you as well! Difficult stuff as I still do not know how the game really works yet but I want to learn and I want to see the other characters in it as well! It was most definitely something different and when you look back over the games we played (and see a lot coming up as well), change is good! After our time with this, we switched the system off and headed over to Player 2's place to watch WWE Night of Champions 2011 live...

As I said earlier, I was really worried that this was going to be a shit Pay Per View, every WWE PPV has the potential to suck but I am happy to report that this one was actually enjoyable, even the Diva tag match was cool. I have to say that I am a fan of Natalya and Beth Phoneix. What was so cool that about this match was that they were in Beth Phoneix's hometown and as a result, Kelly Kelly got massively booed when she made her way to the ring - the crowd firmly behind their hometown hero! I don't think I have ever seen Kelly Kelly get booed before and I'm not sure if she was able for it, the look on her face suggested this... I think she learnt a new lesson in her pro wrestling book. Other highlights worth mentioning were the John Cena vs Alberto Del Rio WWE Championship, this match because at the time it came on, myself and Player 2 were a bit drunk and we started to do Ricardo Rodriguez impersonations all through out the match and announcing everyone's name in that fashion and putting 'Del Rio' after their name (for example - John Cena Del RIO), it was also a really cool match! Mark Henry and Randy Orton had a good match, but I did not like the way they portrayed him out to be as powerful and unstoppable, to the point that Randy Orton could not break his vertical base and land the RKO on him. Does anyone remember the Survivor Series match a few year ago when Randy Orton eliminating Mark Henry first in the match with an RKO... But I have to say that it was refreshing to see Mark Henry win the strap, good for him! And then there was the last match, HHH vs C.M. Punk closing out the event. This was a great match with what I can only call some crazy outside interference towards the end. Kevin Nash playing his part as expected and the Miz and R-Truth also showing their faces. I really enjoyed this match and was expecting Punk to win this one as it seemed like someone was going out of their way to get HHH out of his new role but oddly enough (for me anyway) he managed to pin Punk and hold on to his position... The PPV as a whole was very enjoyable and myself and Player 2 are still doing Ricardo Rodriguez impersonations when we meet up and I forgot to mention, I was singing HHH's entrance song all night and then a couple of days later I had to get the song, jut to have it on my mp3 player! So that about does it for the Old School Sunday reports for September, I'm going to wrap this (out of control) blog with my portable gaming update...

So, I did a little bit more Final Fantasy 8, I have reached the stage where Squall and his crew infiltrate the floating Galbadia garden, I am currently running around the maze that is this "garden" and have just reached the second student who gives me a key card to unlock the doors. Squall is running around looking for Seifer to challenge him once again and the entire crew have all remembered their childhood, but running around looking for those 3 students is annoying me a bit, I remember that it pissed me off 10 years ago and now it is doing it again... I have to say though that it is nice to make progress in this game and I think I will be going to the guide book to look up some of the cool hidden things and weapon upgrades, just to get the most out of the game as I don’t think I will be going back to this game when I clear it, I have way to many other handheld RPG games to get through, I am also half thinking about putting it down for a while and getting back in to Breath of Fire 3 to chip away at that a little bit, I'm not sure...

Just to completely wrap up, I am back watching Mad Men and the last 2 episodes I watched were really cool. Don had to sign a contract and the British accounts guy getting his foot destroyed in a drunken lawnmower accident! And news just in - I just finished Gears of War 3's main campaign mode but I will save the report for the next blog! Thanks for reading - looking for the next one real soon...

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Play Delayed : Episode 2 - 2

Old School Sunday 24/07/2011

All day I had been playing Marvel vs Capcom 2 it seemed, I was playing with a friend online when I woke up, the matches were going in my favor towards the end and I had developed a bit of a winning streak! Then, when player 2 came over (it was a little bit earlier than normal) we played some more of it. But this time we played on xbox classic and it did not work out too well for me this time. Fist of all, the XBLA version comes with all the characters unlocked right out of the gate, so when I switched on the original I found that I was without Juggernaut as my back up character - some background : I like to have juggernaut as support, when I tag him in for moves he rushes across the screen and freight train's who ever gets in his way! I'm not sure if this is the best way to play but I like to have a fast, attacking character, like Venom and maybe another fast character or a projectile character, like Jill Valentine from Resident Evil and then have a slower but more powerful character to back me up. I have a few choices with this game, but I don't really like the Hulk's moves too much but when I was playing the xbox classic version I didn't have much choice but to go with him. I usually select the normal mode as well but I think player 2 selected the "simple" game mode (which may make the combos easier?) and ended up getting destroyed, round after round... But it was not until I switched to MVC 3 that things started to pick up for me.

I think that this is only the third time since the game came out that I had played, I had been meaning to but never got the chance. Following on from the second game, MVC 3 introduces and even wackier mismatch of characters and a more comic book look overall, which I personally really like. Player 2 I think had selected "normal" settings this time, but I got my revenge for earlier on. I kept to the same formula for this game, fast attacker, projectile and a big guy at the back for assists but I should start to mix up my play styles and learn some new formations soon or else I will be figured out.

During our pizza break we watched the WWE No Mercy pay per view tape. Just flicking through the matches we finally settled on Stone Cold Steve Austin vs Rikishi in a no holds barred match, not titles on the line, just for revenge as it was during the story where it was discovered that Rikishi had run Stone Cold over with a car and put him out for months as a result. A brilliant match from a pretty good era in wrestling history.

During the course of the night, on top of all the beat em up gaming, we played some of Kane and Lynch 2, co-op'ing the first level just to show player 2 what it was like, I was quite curious to see how it played compared to the first one. I had read in the press that it was a bit better than the first game, which I really liked and was curious to see how the story went on. I had already played this level but my friend had not... So we started, player 2 getting to see the gruesome torture scene at the start, then we began the gameplay with the chase. Player 2, who was not used to the controls or the gameplay style got lost a few times during the scene but I was patient and went back to help him a few times when needed. We finally caught up with the guy (after going through a few gun fights and learning about the exploding gas cans) and got treated to more graphic violence that only a Kane and Lynch games can give you. There is a cool video mechanic going on through the game that looks like you have a camera man following you during the story documenting your adventure with certain scenes of graphic violence blurred out to give you like a news report / underground video feel to it. I'm looking forward to the rest of this game and this time around I might give the multiplayer a go (assuming people are still playing).

To finish out the night we had a few rounds of Tekken 6. I was extremely rusty at this game but still got a few wins in, I will definitely have to practice this one again as I have forgotten some of my favorite character's moves and need to revisit them. That was the conclusion of this Old School Sunday report, hopefully next time we will play more games and hopefully soon. I am thinking of putting together a light schedule sometime for these gaming nights just to get a few games covered a night and to not end up playing the same games all the time...

What Have I been Playing...

I started to write this blog almost straight after I posted the last one (note : I am actually working on my next one, this blog is just horribly delayed!!) and there were a few games that I decided not to include in my last blog, mainly because I did not finish any upon starting them. I have only really tried out games that I had either bought or downloaded. The first game on the list is Sonic Adventure 2 Battle on the Gamecube. I tried this one out almost straight away as it was a second hand copy and the disc was a bit scratched up, a friend who was with me at the time kept telling me that this was not going to work, but I put it in and the disc still ran and was working fine! What do I say about it...? Well, its a 3D sonic game, I have never played any of these properly and this one kinda portrays Sonic as a bit of an adrenaline junkie, with the game starting off with him dropping in off a chopper on a snowboard and have you playing a snowboarding style game through a city that is built on hills. What messes me up the most about this game though is the game controls, is it old school controls? I’m no sure about this, I got the same thing when I recently revisited the first Killzone game. It seems to me that they changed the control system for the latest generation of games but I am a little worried that I will encounter the same thing going back through all my PS2 games that I have stocked up on. To be honest I don't quite know what to make of this game, its like part platformer with race levels that can also be unlocked for multiplayer levels to prolong playability... I'm not sure about this either? I was never really big in to the Gamecube, we always had on in the house but I was more in to PS2, I kinda felt like I let a whole genre of game develope and pass me by but I was never really in to platform games, early on (as far back as playstation one) I felt that these games were to obviously repetitive and this annoyed me and as a result I stopped playing them, I am just try to get a wider variety of knowledge on gaming as a whole by playing them...

I purchased Bastion on XBLA recently. I heard the name on a podcast but I was not really listening much to what they had to say about it (I had just gotten of work and was heading to the bus stop) past the point where they said it was interesting and fun. So I remembered that I had spare points on the store floating around on my account and decided to pick the game up. So its a very cool game from the offset. It has a narrator who sounds like he came out of a dodgy western movie who narrates all your moves (including when you fall to your death) and a level mechanic that sees the terrain fall from the sky and build it's self as you run through it. I got to a point where I was heading off to the Bastion its self (what ever that is, I'm not sure? but will eventually find out). There seems to be quite a lot of weapons in the early stages of the game, it's kinda cool that you get to use them so early on and I was given a chance to find out which ones suit my style of play and get used to them all, with the game letting you hold 2 at a time. I am just a bit worried that they are giving you too much at the start of the game and later on there will be nothing new for you to discover past opening up the story. The whole feel of the game is a bit [Legend of Zelda] or at least the parts that I have seen and played. I am hoping that it will be an enjoyable experience but all I will say at this point is "so far so good"...

I mentioned Kane and Lynch 2 already, I guess I have played the first level twice at this stage now and have died twice at the start of the second level during the first gun fight. I have heard that this is a short game and I have a copy for both PS3 and for my PC steam account, I am hoping to finish it on both formats... One from the PS2 next [God Hand]. I was quite happy with myself when I found, I may have actually shouted to myself when I found it in the shop (I was very hung over that day). So I got home and tried it out and can say from my brief look that this game is very silly, silly in a way that a Japanese game can be. It's set in the wild west and your character that you play as thinks the enemies that you go through are "cute", the hero possesses the power of the "god hand" in his right hand. This means that when you piss him off (represented by a nerve meter), his had starts to glow and he can pummel enemies down with more punches that Mr. Smith gave Neo towards in the train station towards the end of the first Matrix movie, he also dispatches his foes with wrestling moves, which although is very silly in it's context, is still and feature that I like a lot! Again, this was only a quick look to see if the disc worked, I don't know how or why this guy has the power of the "god hand" but I want to play this game so expect a journal of sorts of my play through sometime in the future...

I'm actually finding it hard to remember everything I tried out, [Bujingai : Sword Master] on PS2 was another that I tried out to see if it worked, I picked it up recently for the second time (my first copy did not work and I only found out months after I bought it... This really pissed me off and made me want to play the game even more! (perhaps I will start naming and shaming shops that have screwed me out of my money... ) So I aqquired another copy... You play as a female warrior and it plays like an early version of [Bayonetta] from the looks of it, what I though was really cool was that you are thrown straight in to the gameplay before the intro to the game even comes, giving you a small taste of the game play before your character runs off across the roof tops... I never really went for these arcadey style third person action games, games like the [Devil May Cry] series for example, but because I liked the design of them, I still got them (I have almost all the games in the Devil May Cry series!). I will still try to play this but I don’t think my reaction times are sharp enough for them and eventually I get overwhelmed by all the enemies coming at me, or there is a series of ledge jumps and wall runs to be done that I just can't seem to nail, these things that eventually piss me off and cause me to stop playing...

A Saturday in mid July I was out at the seaside getting drunk and a friend got it in to his head that we go to an arcade before we go drinking. I was looking for a Tekken or Street Fighter coin up to go against my friend but all they seemed to have was sit in racing games or light gun games, as an arcade it was pretty shit, with more focus on the slot machines downstairs as you go in the front door. In this country, there never was a great arcade culture. You finds small amusement places at the seasides or the odd machine here or there in a bowling alley or pool hall, cinema or airport, they are not as popular here as in other countries but I would like to go around arcades here sometime and do like a video diary, anyway, on this Saturday in particular we both tried out the Terminator Salvation movie, this was not my first time playing this but I suck at it anyway, I think my friend got further than me in the short time our coins would allow us play. Based on the movie starring Christian Bale (of whom I am a big fan) you play as a marine on the front line taking on waves of exoskeletons with guns that come at you, there are the iconic exoskeletons from the movie franchise, who will either attack you from standing or crawl at you and try to take you out and there was also from what I briefly got to see and also a track driven style cyborg with missile launchers that will fire twin missiles at you that you have to shot at before they hit you and damage you. The light gun attached to this game is pretty sweet! it looks like an assault rifle with attached grenade launcher, with a trigger button, a red button on the end of the weapon on the left side and a clip that you can click in to reload your weapon quickly. This was definitely the draw factor to the machine! The game is very playable but I did not get far and there was not much else about the machine that compelled me to pour my euro coins in to it. My friend (who is a different friend to Player 2 from the Old School Sunday reports - yes, I have friends...) also had a shot at a House of the Dead machine, I think it was [House of the dead 4], it had Uzi type guns attached to it, but it was not very responsive and my friend got destroyed very quickly and he got quite pissed off and alcohol was needed to calm him down...

I think I'm going to stop typing now, I have another blog on the way, 2 [Old School Sunday] reports from August for you all and more new games as well, I still have not finished off [Quantum Theory] yet, I did try! But the fire fight I am stuck on is still giving my trouble! Look out for the next blog, thank you for reading!