Saturday, August 31, 2013

I read Cyberforce and Aphrodite IX

In the 90s, I was a teenager, so for my comics reading this meant two things. 1. My traditional reads of Marvel comics were of particularly low quality and 2. Top Cow's bad girl/cheesecake approach was just the thing for my out of control hormones. I became a big fan of Witchblade and Fathom, as well as the ultra violence that Darkness offered. I threw myself into their darker than Marvel universe, but I never got round to Cyberforce or Aphrodite IX. Both tech based comics would suit my love of Sci-Fi, but both seemed at odds with the supernatural world Witchblade and Darkness inhabited. Then I switched back to Marvel.

This of course meant I missed the rebirth of Top Cow under the guiding light of Ron Marz but that's another story. However, not only has the mystical side gone through a relaunch, but they well all out with Cyberforce and tried a Kickstarter. Which meant that the crowd funding paid for the first five issues so Top Cow could give them away for free. It's a bold move. They also gave away the first issue of Aphrodite IX's reboot for Free Comic Book Day. So naturally I gave them both a try.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

BeefJack: Splinter Cell: Blacklist review

Splinter Cell is a franchise I should have been a fan of a long time ago. My love of super spies almost rivals that of things in space or superheroes. Yet Sam Fisher and Third Echelon never quite sat well with me. I tried the original game back on the original Xbox (man, I want to write Xbox 1 every time there, stupid Microsoft) but I found it way too hardcore with too little room for error. I can remember the exact room I got up - the Chinese Embassy with a keypad door - when I decided to give up and forsake the franchise. I ignored every iteration after that, yet the growing fervour for how well they were done did make me glance at them from time to time.

Finally with Xbox 360 we had the wonderful opportunity of demos for download, so I tried Double Agent. That was still rubbish. But years later I also tried the Conviction demo and that was awesome. I bought the full game and thoroughly enjoyed myself. So when Blacklist was announced I was quite happy with what Ubisoft were looked to be doing. Now it's out, well, here's my thoughts.

Splinter Cell: Blacklist review

Friday, August 23, 2013

Tomb Raider, The Non-Reboot

Admittedly a little late to the party, I finally played the new Tomb Raider, and I loved it. I think the game kept going a little too long gameplay wise. Lara got a little too action hero post-Temple. As an origin story it was brilliant, even if she went from one kill to many a little too easily. I'd have liked a three stage process, first kill, realising she will have to keep killing, then first brutal kill. As it is, her first stealth kill where she, CALMLY STRANGLES A GUY WITH HER BOW happens a bit too easily for my liking. But it's a game and these are the concessions of the medium.

However, I do have one big problem with another aspect of it. Everyone was calling it a reboot. It isn't. If you listened to last week's BeefJack podcast you'll have heard me say some of this argument, but partly having not finished the game, and partly being ambushed, I didn't argue my case very well. I used the example of Star Trek as a reboot, the new JJ Abrahms films being a different timeline to the old Roddenberry stuff. While true, Abrahms also did it in-universe too, so a better explanation would be Batman.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Strategy Informer: Space Hulk review

I've been eagerly waiting for Space Hulk ever since I first found out about. I'm not that huge of a 40K fan, it's gothic sci-fi setting doesn't do that much for me. However, it does look fecking cool. Plus, since XCOM I've discovered I might quite like tactical turn based strategy so this seemed like the perfect chance to test if it was a one off thing, or a game type I really enjoyed.

I had a quick peak at it while I was at Rezzed, and I was struck by how slow the Space Marines moved. It seemed at odds with what I knew. Unfortunately I didn't get to play it, but my trepidation for the title performing had started to rise.

It was kind of a hard review to write. As you may have seen with other reviews, Space Hulk has its problems, and I'm not going to say those issues don't exist. My problem comes from that for the most part I looked past those and still had fun. I think all the reviews I've done to date have been a clear "This is fun because..." or "This is shit because..." however, I think it might be my first instance of "Here's all the reasons it's rubbish, but despite all that I like it."

The final score I gave it was something I really struggled with, I'd yo-yo between one figure because I had fun, and another because of all the rough edges. In the end I went right between the two, and then the Editor may have changed it anyway. To be fair, I think the score he gave more closely matches my words, despite my feelings.

Strategy Informer: Space Hulk review

Friday, August 16, 2013

Transformers Prime is more than Optimal

Transformers Prime has finished, well nearly finished. There's a movie coming out in a few months, but the series itself has wrapped up. Just live Star Trek tries to hit that magic Season 7, Transformers seems to have three seasons and a movie. It's weird that I only really started watching it a year ago, after some initial hesitation which had left me abandoning the show. When I wrote about it at that time I was only a few episodes into the first season and I was already starting to enjoy the new cartoon. Having now seen all three, I think it might just be the best Transformers show there has been. Ever.

One of my original complaints were the kids being in the driving seat. I've almost always been annoyed at the inclusion of humans, going all the way back to Spike. I've just never seen the point. They get in the way and annoy, and that's exactly how the three in Prime started. If we were getting another show about kids who just happened to be friends with giant robots I wasn't interested. Then it turns out they tend to be one of the shows biggest strengths.

Friday, August 09, 2013

BeefJack: Memoria Preview

Wow, not only do I actually get a blog back out on the Friday for a change, but over at BeefJack my preview for Memoria, a point and click from Daedalic Entertainment is up. I slightly cover this in the article, but Memoria is an interesting one. It's a sequel, but they don't admit that anywhere in the PR stuff, instead trying to pass it off as a new game about the female protagonist. Who - at least in the preview build I played - only took up about a third of the playtime.

BeefJack - Memoria Preview

The 12A/PG-13 Wolverine

Wolverine should not be a 12A (or PG-13 for the Americans). This is one simple reason, his claws. He has razor sharp claws that extend out of his hand. There is no way to make a character with that being one of his most defining features super kid friendly unless you make some serious short cuts, which is pretty much was Jason Mangold did. Every stab and every slice never draws blood, we only get told he kills someone with them three or four times in the whole film. He stabs someone just off screen so many times it's ridiculous. There's just too many concessions here to make the film suitable for the children.

His claws are also a big bone of contention in the story for me. The Wolverine is a story that finds a way of inhibiting his much vaunted healing factor, something that many writers complain about and is quite a tried and tested trope with the little Canucklehead. And if I'm quite honest, it works pretty well here. Except for one reason. His claws.

Saturday, August 03, 2013

Doctor Who turns 50 part 1

Doctor Who has been one of those franchises that I've always been interested in but never dived properly into. Hell, I only started watching it properly with Russell T Davies and Christopher Ecclestone's revitalisation of the show. Before that, I'd got the odd episode and I think I'd only watched one full serial, with Third Doctor Jon Pertwee, who I vaguely remember liking and the TV movie with Paul McGann. Oh, and the animated Shada with McGann too, which I realise is a bit weird.

Every now and again I'd feel a pang to maybe go back and try out some of the old stuff, usually at the end of a current series had properly thrilled me, or an episode that brought back an old bad guy or reference. But not having a clue where to start and it looking like a momentous task, I never bothered. Until this year when I visited a mate and he had Genesis of the Daleks on DVD. We sat down, we watched it, I wasn't impressed. Any interest in going back was dead.