Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Animal Crossing DS

I am fucking BRILLIANT at it. I've just done all the jobs for Tom Nook and I haven't died once.

The DEFINITIVE review to follow.

Quickie - what am I supposed to be? I know everyone else is an animal, but what am I supposed to be?


Quietning Spy 3: Intrigue Shadow

Sam Fisher looks like a fucking freak in Splinter Cell 3. He has strange, googly eyes that make him look like one of the the three Nazis at the end of Indiana Jones. The ones that stand right next to the ark and get their faces melted off in realtime in a PG rated film. Sam looks like one of those, frozen at the bit between looking like a melting face and from the start of the shot where it's blatantly runny wax but it doesn't matter. Anyhow, it's a fucking disgrace. His face looked fucking shitloads better in the first one. He didn't have googly eyes.

However, Sam's modified Fabrique Nationale F2000 looks fucking wicked with the new lighting and surfaces system, which is pretty damn amazing on an Xbox. Only dicks play it on a PS2 or Gamecube. PC is fine as the mouse can be mastered to give amazing sensitivity over viewpoints and positionin, not to mention unparalleled accuracy when aiming. I love playing Tom Clancy games on my PC. I've completed the other Splinter Cell games AND lots of Rainbow Sixes on mine. In fact, I first fired a Fabrique Nationale F2000 in Rogue Spear, thanks to the unbridled joy of weapon mods. Fucking loved that shit, I did. Sig Sauer 550 Swats, Knight Industries SR25 widowmaker (as used by Michael Ryan and possibly Golgo 13 in the amazing manga). It had all the guns I ever wanted and all on my PC, making my purchase even more worthwhile.

A sad fact is that the downright bitchy Starforce copy protection actually put me off buying the PC version of Splinter Cell 3. I fucking hate it, with its hoop-jumping demands during installation and intrusive disk-checking. I shouldn't even have to have the fucking disk in the fucking drive. What this means is that the piracy-fucked PC gaming market lost out on another legitimate purchase. Jesus Christ, it's so fucking doomed at retail, isn't it?

ANYWAY, The game itself is the usual brilliance if you like being a spy. Play it patiently and professionally and it's very rewarding. When confidence builds, the sense of power when creating a web of darkness to hunt from is immensely satisfying. Luring in enemies, grabbing them and then choking them out in the darkness is brilliant fun, as is the minimal use of weapons, where most ordinance is spent creating the absence of light that serves as Sam Fisher's most fondly-regarded habitat.

Occasionally, I'll get too paranoid and be forced to kill everyone I knock out with single shots to the head. Sam doesn't need me being jumpy. The moment he falls behind the game is the time when he doesn't come home. This is why I always take care when aiming to kill. Double Tap. You shouldn't have to ask where. Two in the head and three in the chest if you want to be really sure. That's what the SAS do. "No-one walks away from that", apparently.

Fuck the storyline, it's shit. It always is. Treat this game as a stealth and hunting sim, rather than a spy game, and it's much more fun. Play as a invisible perfectionist that lapses from time to time and its brilliant and well worth ignoring the obvious linearity, special-case move opportunities and the other negative aspects. I'm writing this review after only seeing a couple of levels, but unless something incredibly shit happens, it's obvious to me that this game is going to give me plenty of joy.

So yeah, play it like a serial killer. It's fucking wicked.

Splinter Cell 3: Something Storyline Related.

"Amazing lighting and surface engine. Really beautiful."


"Still linear, but somewhat more complex. Not really the game's fault.

"Shiny and wicked. Not many of them, though. They're handled marvelously well and are realistically lethal in a really fun way when used properly like a professional would in professional spy killing."


REALLY VERY GOOD IF YOU LIKE THAT SORT OF THING. 8/10 for everyone else unless you really insist on hating it.

Virtua Fighter 4 Evolution menu system review.

Actually, the menu system isn't as good in Evo as it is in 4, but then it doesn't matter as 4's lucious water effects are still VF, which means VF is still the best game ever made. VF5's menu is expected to have several physics and per-pixxxel shaders. Yes, three Xs. Because VF5's will be SEXXXY like a motherfucker. FUCK YES.




In the next week, I shall unlock the cheerleaders. Bring me wine and Chinchilla. It is my only desire.

reddy steddy gimmie some lock!


Boss Nonnu

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Fighting games making excuses for themselves

Extra modes in fighting games make me cringe. By extra modes I'm pointing at the Tekken Forces and Mortal Kombat Columns-clones of the world. Extras which have nothing to do with the main game, the important part of the game I'm I'm paying for and which end up being played at most only a couple of times. They seem to exist for only one purpose, as far as I can tell, and that's to inflate the percieved value for money of the game, knocking a couple of extra percent onto the review score (which doesn't seem to matter anyway).

To me, however, they say several things, none of which are good. First of all, they say the team making the game don't have enough faith in the core experience of the game. Quite right too if the team in question are pumping out turgid shite like Mortal Kombat Deception. More alarming, though I suppose not really that surprising, when it happens to a Tekken game. Secondly, to me they say that the development team have taken time they could have spent polishing the core game and wasted it on minigames, diluting the quality of the fight itself. And it's the fight that I care about. If I want minigames I'll put the as yet unbeaten Super Monkey Ball on, thanks.

Soul Calibur's quest mode does not fall into the category of minigame, nor does Virtua Fighter 4's quest mode (which aims to replicate the experience of fighting in arcades in Tokyo). These are elaborations on the structure of the core game, letting n00bs with no friends get pwned by the computer in number of different ways that take advantage of the fight engine, as opposed to discarding it.

How the fuck did Mortal Kombat Deception win a fighting game of the year award when it came out?


Monday, December 19, 2005

Things that I don't understand

I hear things that baffle me on a daily basis. Things I am genuinely unable to understand on even the most basic level. Things that defy logic to such a degree that I think they must be some kind of attempt at humour, only without the funny part.

For instance, when I hear from someone that they really want to play PGR3, and that PGR2 was one of their favourite games of all time, but they won't buy an Xbox 360 just for one game.


I certainly wouldn't. It's a good thing, then, that my Xbox 360 can play lots of other games too. Sure, there's none that I want right now, but I know there'll be more coming soon. Unless Microsoft go bust or the world ends, I can't see there not being more games on the horizon that are worth getting. Why do I have to delay playing PGR3 just because it's the only game I'll be able to play right now? Oh wait, it's not. I have a PS2 and a DS and a PSP and a PC and a ohmygodIhaveloadsofconsoles. Or even one other console. Either way, having a 360 will let you play more games than not having a 360.

Or how about, "I'm not getting a 360 because it's not backwards compatible with the games that I have." Now, official Microsoft line aside, who cares? I'll take it the person in question owns an Xbox, otherwise they aren't likely to own any Xbox games. I certainly didn't complain about the Xbox not playing PS1 games, or the Dreamcast not playing SNES games. I definitely didn't complain about the N64 not playing SNES games. Why would I? I've got those systems. More to the point, I'm buying a 360 for the games that take advantage of its power (and not, say, the EA launch titles).

Or, the best one, "I don't like Virtua Fighter. It's boring and inaccessible and you have to learn all the moves."

Right, because every other game you've ever played you've known everything about the moment you turn the fucking thing on. And actually, pressing left then right on the stick then pressing punch is really fucking complex and hard to remember.

Be honest. You're not buying a 360 because either a) you're totally fucking broke cos you spent all your money on coke and now you're living off beans till pay day, or b) you can't get hold of one. If I had one right now and I was going to give it to you, you wouldn't say "oh, there's only one game available for it, no thanks." Be honest - you're skint and that's that. And you're shit at games. If you weren't, you'd recognise the brilliance of Virtua Fighter.


Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Amped 3 - the definitive review

I give Amped 3 a score of 5/10. All of those 5 points are for the cutscenes. It gets half a point for the "hold a slow grab" thing.

Amped 3 is shit, I've decided. I played it all last night just to make sure. The combo system is horrible, the mountain design is horrible, and the tasks are horrible. Pick up fucking kitty glitter on a line that's really hard to follow because of the nature of the control system? Fuck off.

Also, I want my boarder to feel like she's actually on the snow, yeah? Or in it. Not hovering an indeterminate amount of space above the snow. Also, when I fall, I want at least ragdoll physics controlling my boarder's body. When she falls, her fucking animation routines are pathetic, making a total mockery of the "hurt your boarder!" events.

And I'm not even remotely interesting in driving a sled down the fucking mountain. Have they not played any of the Tony Hawks games? Alternate vehicles don't work. They look good in the planning stages on paper to shitless idiots in marketing who are like "ooh, a diversified product, let's license something" but for those of us who are playing it's horrible.

ALSO, an AUTOMATIC GRIND? With lines that force you to jump OVER a grind bar, meaning if you're even a TINY AMOUNT too low you suddenly switch your direction of travel 90 degrees?

Ok, so the cutscenes are cool, and so are the 8-bit stylings, but that's fucking it. FUCK OFF AMPED 3, I hate your simplified combo system (apart from the holding the stick half-way for style moves, that's quite good and if Tony Hawks steals it I'll actually switch to stick control).

Oh yeah, and that the game suggested this to me - "to score higher combos, plant your own features on the mountain with the Build function!" Ok, so, slight mis-wording aside, what it's actually saying is that they deliberately made the mountains shit? With nothing on them? And they want me to build my own park? What have I paid my money for?! Shall I write the collision detection code too? I could do a better fucking job of it if I had, and I can't even program my video recorder.

I wish Lunch PR would send me Tony Hawks American Wasteland. I know it's shit in every way bar high score attacking, but that's all I want really. I'll play through the rest of it just to get to that.


Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Mark Ecko's Getting Up: could it save Graf?

Probably not, but respect has to be given for the appearance of and a suitable air of reverence awarded to a true King of the art, the NYC legend Seen. He's in there as some kind of mentor for the central protagonist, hopefully pressing the need for a wicked graf style as much as the need to get the player's aesthetically-oriented vandalism on as many things as possible.

This makes me wonder: Will the prescence of masters such as Seen and Cope 2 in the game influence a future generation of graf writers? Will kids playing the game be inspired to reach the stylistic level of the aformentioned, or will they carry on as they seem to be, lost in a culture that's come to prize coverage over style to such a ludicrous degree that a handwriting-based tag can become the most famous in the UK?

Of course, I'm talking about London's legendary TOX. TOX is actually something of an exception, being so steadfastly concerned with coverage above everything else that he stands on his own, but purely down to the obsessiveness of his work. As a Graf writer, he's all legs and no skill, like a B-Boy that can headspin for 30 mins but can't do a simple uprock.

Sadly, coverage isn't what Graf is supposed to be about. By original NYC rules, you're supposed to have a fucking badass style before you go spraying it everywhere. To do so with a half-baked style would have you lined to fuck and labelled a toy in no time, no matter how much you spray it. It's a chilling realisation when looking back at Style Wars and seeing the throw-up dogging antics of Cap being dissed for his particular style as much as his insistance on going over other writer's peices and then finally seeing that Cap's 2-colour throw-ups have a hundred times more style than any MOAS (alledgedly the best danish steel-hitters in the late 90s) whole-car.

It strikes me as depressingly sad that the current generation of graf writers have lost this emphasis on style and instead make do with hideously under-developed outlines and handstyles and even more distressing, still maintain a near-pathological obsession with painting trains.

Even though the motherfuckers never, ever roll will peices on for any decent amount of time.

What's the fucking point in that? One writer I knew had four complete photo albums of train peices he'd done, none of which rolled for more than 24 hours.

What a stupid fucking waste of time, effort and paint - not to mention the cleaning expense for the train companies which, let's face it, is such a mandatory action these days that it renders train graffiti pretty much irrelevant in terms of what it was originally supposed to acheive.

How the fuck can you "get up" if all your pieces are reduced to photo-sized prints and posted on the internet or in graf mags? That's not getting up... bombing the high street and climbing to put a two-colour throw-up overlooking the train station - that's getting up. Doing tracksides... that's getting up.

But you know what? There's fuck all point in getting up if you haven't got the style to make it look good. STYLE.

Fucking hell I hope that's something that is emphasised to fuck in Mark Ecko's hideous-sounding hybrid of what sounds like a decent simulation of grafitti culture and shitty stealth fighting. At least then the balance can be redressed to some degree. But I'm probably being far, far, far too optimistic. Mr Ecko has an opportunity here. I hope he makes the most of it to help the culture that he claims to represent.

If not, I swear I will line every logo of his I see, even if it's stuck to the tits of some hideous, shreiking chav girl DARRRRN THE MARRRRRKIT.


Boss Nonnu