Saturday, 27 February 2010

The lights go out during Darksiders

Recieved my copy of Darksiders today and although this title has had a patch since release, I happened on a bug(see the screenshot above). It reminded me of the times I'd be playing World of Warcraft, or any recent MMO, and I enter a location only to find my character spinning around in a virtual 'dark room'. On this occassion I had just lept from a ledge in the Library section of the Prologue, when the ground beneath War's feet fell away into darkness. The building was also torn away, revealing a 360 degree skyline.

So the patch to rectify the screen tearing problems on the 360 look to have removed the problem by eliminating the in-game environments themselves?! 

Kinda unique way of solving a problem!

Wednesday, 24 February 2010

Chomp! Chomp! OK, Heavy Rain it is then...

I had been working on a nice long post, cataloging my reasons behind why I will no longer occupy space in either multiplayer or MMO landscapes, when my PC/Blogger decided to rip the words from my screen and munch happily away. Left with an auto-saved 'blank page', I just didn't have the heart to re-write the post from my notes. Call me lazy but I knew I'd luck-out trying to contain the same feeling and purpose in a re-written post. And so after completing the original Bioshock(contender for my best gaming experience of the last decade), I decided I'd spin out the Heavy Rain yarn which has kept me well away from posting.

I hope that game developers don't forgo the importance of storytelling in videogames for the throwaway importance of multiplayer. You only have to look at the number of recent game servers that are being closed down by EA to see that the multiplayer option is becoming an overused and often weak, commercial ploy. I'd rather see more games developed with the soloist in mind, like Heavy Rain, Bioshock and Uncharted Drake's Fortune(as my recent gaming examples show)than another CoD multiplayer clone.

Saturday, 13 February 2010

Poetry retrospective #1

If, dear reader, your a hater of poetry then I would suggest avoiding these retrospectives. Otherwise please bear in mind that most of the following poetry was written over 15 years ago.

A Dabble Will Do You*

I fall
I've felt so cold
I fall for everyone
but there's nothing here
to hold.

My eyes
will only reflect
and I wish
to see.

*first published 1995 in a limited edition collection, 'Polarise'.

Wednesday, 10 February 2010

Bayonetta review live in the Crossfire

Bayonetta is part pleasure and part pain, it is there to simultaneously reminded you how videogame combat can be fun without being ultra-realistic but also how cheesy story-lines and make-shift characterisation can combine to make a total and utter mess of things.
My first review of 2010 is for SEGA's Bayonetta title that was released in January - you can read the full review over at Caught in the Crossfire.

I expect my next two reviews will be for Dante's Inferno and Mass Effect 2 with Bioshock 2 and Heavy Rain to follow, unless I get any surprises along the way.

Monday, 8 February 2010

Poetic license

OK so I know poetry is not the new 'in-thing' and probably never will be again. I also know that I run the risk of alienating my readers by publishing my own poetry here, most of which is almost 20 years old, without a little warning and explanation first.

So I had believed that the case holding my poetry, all from a period of years during the early to mid 90's, had been lost. I had searched for it on a number of occasions since I last moved, back in 2002. But it would seem that luck was on my side this weekend. A big cleansing of my house loft lead me to a reunion of poetry with poet.

To celebrate my find, I plan to publish the best of these poems over the coming weeks.

I do have a word of warning - if your expecting some flowery, agnst ridden diatribes then you will be very dissappointed. As you'll come to discover, Charles Burkowski was a good friend of mine.

Saturday, 6 February 2010

Blame it on the weather - thoughts on the Heavy Rain demo

Early access to a demo? Then expect some long waits and site crashes - exactly what we got when the news broke that there would be early access to the Heavy Rain demo.

So I didn't try figuring things out to get the code, to get the demo, to then wait an eon for the download. Instead I just waited an eon for the download...but now that I have played the Heavy Rain demo, here are my thoughts:

[Reading the following may SPOIL the HEAVY RAIN DEMO experience, if you have yet to play]

What you get is an introduction to the basics(alley scene), followed by the 'sleazy scene' and a 'crime scene'. Each is fairly short but all give you time to move around each location and try out the movement/view options. I like that you can move your characters head via the left analogue stick while either remaining still or on the move. Animations and incidental sound add greatly to the setting and atmosphere, lighting also looks good and detail is clear enough even with a CRT TV - although the 'thought' text can become a little lost.

The 'sleazy scene' allows an informal chat with a parent of a victim of the Origami Killer by one of the playable characters in the game, Scott Shelby(PI). Of the two scenes, this is my favorite - we learn that Scott suffers from asthma but can handle himself in a fist fight. Little else is given away other than some great interaction between Shelby and the victim's parent. Facial animations are spot on and voice work has the empathsis on gritty noir. I hope the story holds out to be something just as special.

The forensic side of the game is highlighted in the second scene, 'crime scene' by FBI profiler Norman Jayden - the second of four playable characters that have been confirmed. Examination of a body that is found early one morning, allows the player to experience the unique(and fictional) forensic equipment at the disposal of Agent Jayden. Interesting as this looks, I do hope it is put to some good and isn't just in-game candyfloss.

20 days and counting...

Friday, 5 February 2010

Week 5 in subspace-urbia

One month into what is my 40th year and the game review code is already flowing. Being a late bloomer, the promise I gave to myself was to be on the right track, career-wise, by the time the big 4-0 arrived.

Happily this will not be broken entirely.

So after 5 weeks...
  • New apps on my iPhone = 3
  • Times I have lost my place in bed to a kitten = 2
  • No. of annual magazine subscriptions = 2
  • Completed 2 videogame titles in January, I only managed 7 in the whole of last year.
  • Review code received = 4
Did you know there was to be an animated movie of the videogame release of Dante's Inferno? No I missed that too but I will be examing them both closely over the course of February.

Before I close out this post, I'd like to mention a little sporting final that is taking place across the pond, this Sunday. American football hasn't entertained my thoughts since I was a wee nipper - when the Washington Redskins were in the ascendancy. But the headline, 'Liara* to watch Superbowl final from the Playboy mansion' did however get my mental juices flowing!

*for those of you that aren't Mass Effect players, here's her bio.