Archive for September, 2008

29
Sep
08

Unforseen Circumstance…

The world is on a downward spiral, nations are blowing each other up, the economy is going down the toilet and the colon keys on our keyboards are stopping working.  While I’m not really effected by the first one I am by the latter two.  My laptop decided that it just wasn’t going to accept my input, so it’s going to be going on a trip for a while back to Novatech.

While it seems like such a stupidly trivial reason to send something for repair it needs done.  So what does that mean?  Well, until I get it back the podcast is on hold indefinately (i.e. probably about another week) and there’ll be less posts going on here… ironic I know.

but yeah, wish the little guy luck (not me! The laptop!) and hopefully we’ll be seeing him soon.

Mark

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21
Sep
08

Late Night Posting & the Problem with PC Gaming

Seeing as the people downstairs appear to have the mental capacity of five year olds and continue to play obscenly load (and unmistakably bad) music at 3am, I may as well update things here.

First thing to point out is that regular readers of the blog will have had a podcast thrust onto them yesterday, apologies to all those who didn’t know what it was.  Explanation time.  Cali-Otaku is the anime/manga society for Glasgow Caledonian and this is our new podcast.  However, just because we’re an anime society doesn’t mean that that’s all there is on there… hell no!  We’ll also verge on to the realms of video games (now there’s a suprise) and various other off topic shinanigans.  Thanks to everyone who’s listened to the podcast so far and I know we’re having a few teething problems but these should be fixed when we come back to it after a couple of weeks.  I’m still getting used to using Audacity to edit and it’s pretty time consuming to learn and produce something coherent at the same time.  Also we’ll be increasing the number of mics fourfold which should solve the delays of passing the one mic around and thankfully we should be able to record in a quiet room as opposed to the deafning levels of noise that was going on in the freshers faire.

One area that I wanted to discuss on this weeks podcast, that I didn’t really get a chance to go into, was the Spore DRM issue.  Those not into games wont know the horrors of DRM (digital rights management yet) but there are examples of it already in meansream products such as Blu-ray disks.  Anyways the issue concerning spore is that EA made some pretty bad decisions concerning how to handle copyright protection with Spore and chose to give the user 3 strikes:  This means that the game can only be installed on any machine a total of 3 times before a new code has to be requested directly from EA themselves.

Now while I’m not a fan of the approach EA have taken, it’s the action of the PC gaming ‘elite’ that has me baffled here.  PC gaming has been plagued with piracy and as a result many of the highly respected developers are turning their attention to consoles as a ways to make money and leave the PC platform as a second thought.  Never ones to take things like these lying down whine constantly on forum boards and project venomous bile at any execs that dare step away from their beloved platform.

Yet, when a game that comes along that has been built from the ground up for PC the community turns a blind eye and heads the the Isohunts and the piratebays to illegally download the game.  Crysis was the first game not so long ago to suffer this effect and Crytek, the developer behind the game, lost millions in revenure and has since re-evaluated it’s postion on PC exclusive development.  Spore too now has this problem and even since before it’s launch has seen obscene amounts of piracy.

PC gaming is in crisis at the moment and it doesn’t help when the users themselves who claim to be supporting the system illegally download these games, that could salvage the platform, then hide behind thinly veiled excuses. Such as “requirements being too high” or “a draconian DRM system”.  If you plan to be rebellious about it just don’t buy the stuff on offer, don’t download it because it makes it’ll make you sound like such a fucking hypocrite when the ‘PC gaming is dead topic’ shows up again.

If PC gaming is dying, then it’s you people that are killing it

Mark

20
Sep
08

Too Human Review

Much like the game, here’s my review of Too Human that I meant to post a while back that I don’t have the will to edit or play that much more of the game for that matter.  Expect it to mirror the game, i.e late and disappointing.

Witty tag lines and Cliche’s aside, they have been done to death by this point, Too Human is one of the games that I have spent most of my time on over the course of the last few weeks.

The reviews have been mixed and in some cases divisive depending on what side of the fence you stand on.  What was hyped to be one of the biggest games of the year (and has been in development since the days of PS1) has turned out to be pretty disappointing.  It’s worrying that a developer with so much experience and some genuinely good games (Eternal Darkness, Legacy of Kain, MGS: Twin Snakes) has spent so much time of a product and this is the resulting product that was sent to retail.

Too Humans development history has been big news concerning Silicon Knights problems with the Unreal 3 engine and the subsiquent lawsuits that have been covered in the press previously but what is not known by all is the fact that there were some last minute changes made to the game before it went gold.  At GDC08 the games director, Dennis Dyack, announced that the games co-op modes had to be cut down from 4 to 2 players.

Co-op in Too human is the only thing keeping this game alive, playing with another person makes the grueling experience of fighting hoards of unintelligent enemies and the horrid spikes in difficulty levels tolerable.  Enemies will simply charge at you, meaning that the general strategy is simply to use your pistols/canons/rifles to pick them off until they are close enough to use melee combat.  This strategy is 90% effective until the “rooms of rage” as I have dubbed them appear.  These rooms will normally have anywhere from 2 to (in one case) 5 hammer/grenade trolls that will use hammer attack after hammer attack making dodging impossible and thereby leading to certain death in an uncountable number of times.  In this case you have to ebb away at the health of enemies until you die, re-spawn and repeat the process over and over again… because dying is something you have to get used to.  Playing this game means that you will die, be it from glitched enemies, invisible missles or explosions that you were no where near until you are so frustrated that the only thing you will want to do is turn it off.

There’s not much going on in this game story wise either, originally planned out to be a trilogy we are left with 1/3 of the actual story.  Not to mention that any story there actually is has been condensed into the last 15 minutes of the game making the entire experience seem like it was a filler arc usually seen in the likes of anime that are abhorrently hated by those who watch it.  Coupling this with the fact that the game is an unwashed mass of glitches and problems Too Human stands an sobering example of a game that seems to rushed out of the door before being tested, this type of thing is normally expected from 3rd party titles that are movie or TV liciences but not normally expected from developers such as SK.

 

While giving a score at this point seem pointless the obvious response would be to give the game a 5/10.  That doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t try it, if Silicon Knights has been listening to the masses of feedback then there should fixes coming to the game some point and, hopefully, the inclusion of the promised 4 player co-op mode.  Meaning that in the future the game ‘could’ be considered to be quite good.

Will we see the second part?  Who knows.

19
Sep
08

Cali Otaku: SS Podcast

Cali-Otaku: SS /15/09/08

The very first Cali Otaku podcast comes live from the freshers faire! This week we talk about the demise of animecentral, the dark side of Top Gear and the finer points of magical girls.

Length: 1:47:14

http://www.megaupload.com/?d=KJPJ2QNQ

08
Sep
08

Stuff – Incoming!

So, once again I’ve slipped into the pattern of not updating and not getting material done (aka the Hellboy 2 review) but I assure you that the Too Human review is on it’s way – after 20 or so hours of play it would seem like a waste not too.  I’ll try and get it written up tomorrow.

I’ve done a fair bit of moping around the last few days, followed by alot of drinking… then more moping. I wont bore you with the details but this isn’t helped with the sad news that the legend that is Jeff Green is leaving the 1up network.  After listening to all, i repeat ALL, of the 100+ podcasts done by the CGW and GFW crew it really is sad to see him go but at least he’s going on to do something that he’s going to enjoy.  Farewell Jeff, you’ll be missed!! 😦

 

I’m also heading back to Uni this week to begin my post graduate in management of information systems, with some sort of crazy preliminary timetable made up of 80% unrelated nonsence… something I’m going to have to see about, it’s not that I want to truant I’d just rather be earning some cash.

oh and word shall be posted on the Cali-Otaku podcast at somepoint.  That’s right I’m going to be on a podcast, hopefully, more soon.

Mark




Welcome

I'm Mark Gibson & this is another one of my blogs where you're likely to find musings of daily life, gaming & just plain rambling.

Currently Playing:
Modern Warefare 2
Borderlands
Forza 3


Currently Watching:
South Park


Currently Listening to:
Cage - Depart From Me
Flobots - Fight With Tools


Currently Reading:
The Wheel of Time (again)


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