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Archive for June, 2010

Just an ordinary blog, nothing to see…. :)

25 Jun

Well, this wouldn’t be a blog if I didn’t come from time to time and apologize for little updates…

But I have a really good reason: I’m changing jobs and it’s been a massive undertaking to do so, and I haven’t had much time to play, watch movies and even work properly…

So, except some updates in the near future, as soon as I get some free time back (probably next week things will be calmer)…

So nobody can’t complain that this wasn’t a real update, check out this trailer of “El Shaddai: Ascension of the Metatron”… haven’t made up my mind on what I think about it, but it sure looks different:

 
 

Darksiders

11 Jun

“Darksiders” is a game by Vigil Games is huge… that’s the best adjective I can find for the game…

For me, the initial draw for this game was the fact that the concept art was being done by Joe Madureira, a comic book author of some renown that I love. Later I found out that the game story was also done by him, which peaked my interest further…

At first glance, “Darksiders” is a God of War clone, in which we control “War”, one of the Four Riders of the Apocalypse… In this story, though, the Riders are like a force of Balance between good and evil, more than the end-of-days characters we’re used.

In the game story, “War” comes to Earth during a huge fight between Demons and Angels, but he is alone… His brothers aren’t with him, and his influence in the events is weighted by the Council that enforces Balance and is deemed that he didn’t have the right to interfere… Because of that, he’s sentenced to death, but he convinces the Council to give him a chance to prove his innocence and is sent back to Earth, 100 years later, devoid of powers and with the mission to find out what really happened, if it wasn’t the apocalypse…

Yep, the story is that hard to follow, but that’s part of the charm of the game! πŸ™‚

Anyway, saying that “Darksiders” is a GoW clone is completely unfair… It’s like comparing a Ferrari with a Mini, because both have wheels… πŸ™‚

While the combat and graphics in “Darksiders” isn’t as good as in GoW3, for example, it makes up in a much better story (GoW’s was a bit simple) and in the amount of things you can do…

I mean it, every weapon and special power that’s ever been in any 3rd person action game is on “Darksiders”… and I mean EVERYTHING! The game is a total whore for getting things that worked great in other games and add it to their own, twisting it just enough to fit the plot and setting… And while the resulting system isn’t as polished as the original one (for example, the time-manipulation thing isn’t as good in this game as it is in “Prince of Persia” or “Soulreaver”), it makes up by not failing completely and having loads of different mechanics and using them combined in puzzles in a very neat way.

The boss fights are huge (and most of them are very nice), riding Ruin (War’s horse) is totally awesome and the graphics have a fresh look to it, being more comic-book like than realistic.

All in all, the game lasted for 12-hours (which is lots of time, considering most games you can finish nowadays with 7 to 8 hours of play), and is excelent value for money (especially if you want to get all the bonus stuff and all).

Of course, the game isn’t without its flaws… The main character doesn’t have that much personality into it (going from dark and broody to dark and broody and homicidal in 5 seconds), although the supporting characters are interesting and well done; adding too much powers and weapons to the game instead of balancing the existing ones, or polishing them a bit more; some nasty bugs regarding collision detection (one of my pet peeves, to be honest).

To be honest, the game’s biggest flaw was that they added so much stuff in it, they didn’t polish what was there already…

So, in summary:

Darksiders

  • Gameplay: 10/10
  • Story: 8/10
  • Graphics: 8/10
  • Sound: 8/10
  • Everythingness: 10/10
  • Overall: 8/10
 
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Movies

07 Jun

And I’m back… This post: movie reviews…

In the last couple of weeks, I’ve seen some movies, and I’d like to share some thoughts about them with you guys…


“Taken”: A ex-secret agent gets his daughter kidnapped in France and he wants to get her back… Good visuals, good acting (Liam Neeson is awesome), an interesting story (Luc Besson). The action scenes are great and the view to the sexual trafic business is scary… A suprisingly good movie. 8/10


“Planet 51”: Another very good surprise. It’s an CGI animation movie, and while it’s not “Pixar-quality” level, it’s very good (specially looking at the progress from these guys last movies… the evolution is astonishing). What makes the movie really stand out is the humor and the story… the base line is the arrival of a human to an “alien” world that seems stuck in the 1950’s, with all the mentality of the time (space invasion!!!). Some of the characters are wicked fun, specially “Rover”, the rover-like robot that was sent to the planet before the human arrived. 9/10


“Drag Me To Hell”: A horror movie with a neat story… as all horror stories, you never know how it’s going to end, and this is no exception… It’s not groundbreaking (using the same plot outline as hundreds of horror movies before), but it’s a good one to see late in the evening. 7/10


“Book of Eli”: This movie was utterly amazing… the visuals are awesome (in a post-apocaliptic fashion), the fight sequences are extremely cool (they remind me of the movie “Equilibrium”), and the story is well told and interesting… I wasn’t expecting a very good movie (since lots of friends of mine didn’t enjoy it), but I was completely blown away by it… seriously, it ended and I was staring at the end-credits saying “Fuck… me…”. Really, really, really good… 10/10


“Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time”: Well, this is a very complicated movie for me to say something about… I was a huge fan of the games, so the movie kind of fell short for me… My friends all loved it, but I can’t avoid the feeling that the film was lots of waste potential. So, some notes:

  • Jake Gyllenhaal does a good job as Prince, but the character portraied in the movie isn’t the character from the game… this Prince is a good-hearted rogue, while the Prince in the games is an egomaniac, selfish prick… Guess that wasn’t Disney-enough…
  • The whole plotline is actually pretty good and solid, considering the source material (not that it is bad, but it’s as “gamey” as a story can be, which wouldn’t translate that well to movie, in my opinion).Β But it’s terribly predictable and just a repetition of its self… Come on, he keeps getting the Dagger stolen from him and stealing it back… he does that about 4 times during the movie!
  • The Dagger of Time effect was awesome, but badly used… he didn’t use the dagger enough, and he never used it in combat, which would have looked positively kick-ass…
  • For an “entertainment” movie, it’s quite boring in some parts… I was expecting an action-fest all the time, but the movie proceeds in an erratic pace, with the action scenes taking too little of the screen-time (considering that the movie doesn’t have much more to held himself up… the banther between characters is just passable).

So, basically, just loads of wasted potential, in my opinion, which is too bad, since I was really looking forward to this… 6/10

So that’s it for my reviews… πŸ™‚ As usual, comment at will, give me your thoughts and ideas and let’s get some arguments going! πŸ™‚

 
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Back!

04 Jun

Hey all!

I’m finally back, after a short interruption… this was due to the move from my old blogspot blog to my own webspace. This way I get more control on themes and can add some new stuff…

One example is my new gallery at http://gallery.shadowcovenant.com, where you can see some screens of stuff I’ve worked on…

So this entry isn’t just about the website, let me tell you about Alan Wake… πŸ™‚

I picked up the game two weeks ago and played through it in 3 days… not that the game is short (although it’s not JRPG long), but because I found it enthralling…

First, let’s get the bad stuff out of the way… it’s a game that shows its age… Being in development for 9 years wasn’t kind to it in some aspects, mainly the animation (especially the facial). Character movements seem stiff and unnatural and lip-synch and facial animation is terrible… maybe Heavy Rain spoiled me, but for a game so dependent on story development, it kind of fails in the human emotion department…

Thankfully, the atmosphere of the game is amazing, with the forest (where you do spend most of your time) settings looking brilliant, with the interactions of light and darkness giving rise to fantastic tense moments…

The game follows the story of a writer suffering from writer’s block that goes to a small American Midwest-like town for some vacations with his wife… and then his wife goes missing and he finds he has written a book he doesn’t remember writing… Convoluted plot, but completely in synch with Stephen King’s finest… and this is the major flaw of the story of the game, to be honest… I always have the feeling I’ve read this before… but if you’re doing something similar to something another one has done before, do it with style, and that’s what Remedy has done…

The action segments are very well done, I genuinely got nervous every time an axe murdering Taken appeared, and even when they weren’t on screen, sometimes even bushes gave me a scare… The combat system, with the light+bullets approach, works well to enhance this feeling, and the only failure of this system was that the cutscene system always showed where/when the enemies were approaching, which deterred a bit from the “what the hell is that” feeling.

All in all, although the game has lots of faults (including a kind of WTF ending, missing boss fights, terrible facial animation, etc), it was a very good game and I enjoyed playing it very much… Remedy once again that they’re the only ones to be trusted with psycho-plot creation and development…

Unfortunately, I’m not seeing Alan Wake becoming an iconic figure in videogames like Max Payne was… We liked Max Payne, we wanted to be Max Payne… Alan Wake is just a big pansy that writes and whines a lot… πŸ™‚

Anyway, time for numbers:

Alan Wake

  • Gameplay: 8/10
  • Story: 9/10
  • Graphics: 7/10
  • Sound: 9/10
  • Stephen Kingness: 10/10
  • Overall: 8/10
 
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