All entries for October 2005

October 25, 2005

I broke your game

Writing about web page

I have the utmost respect for SI Games and the great job they do on Championship/Football Manager every year. But I just did this to Football Manager 2005 (yes, I know there's a new one, but I haven't got it yet).

Silly programmers didn't think anyone would manage to score over 127 goals in a season…

October 20, 2005

F.E.A.R. Kills

I was under the impression that I have a pretty decent gaming PC. It's not cutting edge, but it's certainly above average. I have a Geforce 6600 GT and a 64-bit Athlon 3000+. But F.E.A.R. (or First Encounter Assault Recon: Random Acronym (you've no doubt heard that gag already)) just made my computer cry like a baby, in a way that Half Life 2 never managed.

It is a game with stunning visuals, if you can afford a £400 graphics card. If not, it is a game with decent visuals, which jerks when you try to look left or right. And for something trying to build up an atmosphere of, well, fear, this is a rather large setback. Every time a paranormal event occurs the jumpiness causes annoyance and frustration, obliterating the mood the game tries to build. And of course we all know that small girls wearing blood-red dresses are really scary don't we?

So my first impression is that F.E.A.R. is just another in the long string of PC FPS games – prettier than most (if you can afford it), but following that same old familiar Dark Warehouse setting of which these types of game seem overly fond. Its redeeming feature, and the reason I will keep playing regardless of its otherwise generic nature is the much talked about bullet-time. It's been done before in Max Payne, a game I loved with a sequel whose only let-down was that it lacked the freshness of the idea.

So bullet-time in first person? Sign me up, for now at least.

October 16, 2005

Oh please kill me now

Writing about web page

Why? Why would he do this? Why would any "passionate and avid gamer" want a deal with EA, besides money? And it's not like he NEEDS any more.

I forsee 3 cinematic adventure games featuring bad english, bling and EA Traxxxxxx. I can only hope that one of them is base on a plot to cull chavs from the face of the earth, giving the gamer the option to play as their savior or destroyer. I wonder which I'd choose….

I also present you with the true form of Neil Young, head of EA's LA studio.

October 09, 2005

The long wait is over – Serenity has landed

Movie image
4 out of 5 stars

"People don't appreciate the substance of things" is a line from the final episode of the TV series Firefly, one that was never aired. I can't help feeling that it was director Joss Whedon's way of telling Fox how stupid they were for cancelling the show. But with the release of the follow-up film Serenity this week, all would seem to be right again, and Fox's presence banished. The question that must be asked however, is can one appreciate the substance of Serenity in the wake of Firefly, or for that matter, without its influence?

I cannot answer the latter part. I first watched Firefly back in April, and fell immediately in love with its rich universe, deep characters and snappy dialogue. Obviously the film cannot achieve anywhere near this amount of detail as it lasts little longer than a couple of episodes, so anyone who didn't watch Firefly won't attain the same level of understanding. More to the point, two characters – Inara and Book – appear only in small doses, and their roles are not explained at all. As well as this, Simon's portrayal has changed completely, and the film intro will cause Firefly fans much confusion. Who is this master of disguise indeed?

So maybe I can answer after all. Yes, you can appreciate it if you haven't seen Firefly, but you can't appreciate it as much. If you have watched the series, I fear you will be left feeling a bit disappointed. Serenity was never going to be as good as Firefly, for the reason stated above, but knowing this doesn't stop me thinking that it could still have been a bit better. While there is much in the way of wise-cracking, the banter which drew us into Firefly is a bit on the sparse side. The first 40 minutes were more about action sequences than storytelling - forgivable as a means of attracting a wider audience, but out of place in the context of the series. Equally there is the issue of sound in space. The series had none, as is physically correct, but it appeared (erratically) in Serenity. Once again this was included to make the film more exciting, so I see the reason even if I'd have preferred the silence. Finally, the delivery of the plot point around which the film revolved - the completion of the River storyline - seemed to me to be a bit bland. My thought process at the time was simply "oh", rather than "wow, I never expected that!"

The final worry is that this might be the end. As the film came to a close I was left with a feeling of emptiness, wondering where it can go from here. I only hope that Joss is up to the task of creating new stories as excellent as the old ones (which I'm sure he is), and that he gets that chance. I may have been overly harsh here, but only because I do appreciate the substance of things, and the substance of Firefly is more impressive than that of Serenity. But that is in no way saying that Serenity is bad. It is, in fact, the best sci-fi film I've seen in years.

October 2005

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