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This is good…isn’t it?

Posted : 13 years, 10 months ago on 26 November 2009 02:24 (A review of Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots)

I'm no hero... Never was. I'm just an old killer...

After playing Metal Gear Solid 2, 3 and Portable Ops in rapid succession over the summer, I found myself with the need to seek out and play Metal Gear Solid 4. The continuation of the epic story was all I could think about. That is one of the greatest things about the Metal Gear series, the story is so rich with depth and intrigue that you need to play it all in one go to fully realise the scope of everything that is happening.

Five years after the Big Shell Incident (MGS2), the world has been plunged into an everlasting war. The Patriots saw fit to create a war economy where Private Military Companies are hired throughout the globe to fight meaningless skirmishes for the sake of profit. Suffering from a debilitating aging condition, Solid Snake is asked by his old friend Roy Campbell to go back into the thick of it once more when it is discovered that the leader of the 5 largest PMCs is none other than Liquid Ocelot…and he has a plan.

This was the first game I played on my PS3 so it was a brand new experience all together. My immediate delight was seeing how far the graphics have improved for the series. Having completed MGS3 a few weeks before, I was absolutely amazed at how acute the details were, especially on Snake’s sun-beaten face and the carnage in the opening FMV. Being my first PS3 game, I was a little startled that I had to install each chapter of the game as I went through. This can take a few minutes but I can only assume it’s there because of the amount of memory required to play the game.

I’m sure you’ve all read that the game is one long FMV with intermissions throughout where you actually play. I do agree they are quite long but if you want to appreciate all the support characters this is your only avenue. Don't you want to know what you're playing for? It also gives your hands a good rest. During one of the chase scenes, my thumbs were quaking from constantly changing direction and aiming for pinpoint accuracy. The informative debriefs gave me that time to rest up!

CQC makes a welcome return which would be the first time we are able to use it as Solid Snake. I read that after Zanzibarland (Metal Gear 2) that Snake vowed never to use it again because of Big Boss’ betrayal. Well that doesn’t matter now! I found myself only using it for pleasure though. Weapons and ammo were quite easy to obtain, plus you had the 24 hours services of Drebin’s gun laundering business. I think I spent most of my points on buying (unfortunately degradable) silencers for all my weapons as you usually found yourself in a situation where even being stealthy can’t help. I'm quite snipe happy and prefer chalking up headshots.

The cure system has been completely removed which I felt was one of the more interesting assets of Snake Eater. Stamina has been replaced with ‘psyche’ which deals with your state of mind and whether you can handle the situation you get yourself in. Something as trivial as a comment about your appearance can take this down though! In other news don’t worry guys, the camera angles are no longer a problem! You have complete control of the camera now so there aren’t any blindspots like before.

Jumping from 1964 to 2014 obviously means a lot of upgrades in technology. The Octocamo suit is one of my favourites. Not only does it save fumbling through the menu for a new costume, but it’s so easy to use. All you need to do is lean against the surface you’re hugging and you’re instantly matching it! My second favourite is the Metal Gear Mk.II. This handy little robot is literally Snake’s sidekick as it stealthily follows you around everywhere; you can control it to create diversions, reconnaissance and shock guards.

The Solid Eye was a useful concept but I found myself forgetting all about it. It is an amalgamation of infra-red goggles, night vision, binoculars, the soliton radar and gives stats on all enemies in sight. Unfortunately for this very helpful bit of equipment, it is battery powered! It runs out quicker than a spanking new Sony Ericsson! I just learned to use my peripherals checking every corner, nook and cranny. There are boss fights when you have no choice but to use it but other than that, I got through the game just fine without it.

Character-wise: the whole gang is here! Solid Snake, a man who was once at the human peak of fitness and lethality, now finds himself with geriatric attributes. Hes out of breath often, verging on seizures and can’t crouch for long without his back giving out. You really do feel for him, the legend himself has succumb to such a disability that he doesn’t even know why he is still fighting but he still does because even though his body has changed, his mind is still in the game. Thankfully, the Octocamo suit is able to sustain Snake’s body for his final mission making him somewhat capable like the previous installments. Special shout out goes to Raiden’s miraculous return, for everyone who hated him in MGS2, you are in for a big surprise!

The voice talents are beyond repute. All returning from previous installments, you really do get a feel of continuity from it. Unfortunately Cam Clarke wasn't able to make it back for this epic but I feel Patric Zimmerman really does outshine the lot of them and creates a real atmosphere when he enters the scene.

You're pretty good...

As with the main series of Metal Gear Solid, you find yourself facing a group of villains with insane abilities. The group in MGS4 is no different. The Beauty and the Beast Unit are the most diverse, tedious and fucking awesome female villains you’ll ever fight against. Each member is a tribute to the main boss’ from the old games which is fun for the die hard fans to think about it. [Link removed - login to see].

Overall, I was thoroughly impressed with Guns of the Patriots. The gameplay can be very fast, nauseating and above all fun once you get the hang of it. As long as you are willing to listen, you can get so much out of the story that you’ll be thinking about it for months after completion.

Isn’t that what we really want out of a game? When it still lingers on our minds once its over and the drive to replay it to recreate those moments?

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Goodison County - Population: lol

Posted : 15 years, 1 month ago on 2 September 2008 01:40 (A review of AVP: Aliens vs. Predator - Requiem)

"In space, no one can hear you scream. On Earth, it won't matter."

A great take on the classic tagline from [Link removed - login to see] but this is all that this film has to offer. Yeah! We get it. Alien, Aliens & Predator were great films, inconic and cult classics in everyway, but do they have to feel the need to reference them in almost every single scene? Apparently, they do! The Strausse have made it abundently clear that they are HUGE fans of both franchises but they didn't feel the need to stand on their own.

AvP:R is set in modern day USA. Thats the first mistake! Carrying on from [Link removed - login to see] that was an abysmal failure is exactly what made this film start at a minus! Nobody wants to see some quaint little town getting on with their lives and have a big ol' interstellar crisis at their doors! Also, the future couldn't deal with the Xenomorph threat so what made anyone think that their ascendants could! IDIOCY!

Every human character was immediately forgettable. No tears, all sighs. They should have just removed them or replaced them with a redundant currency! The story was made as a chronicling of how much the Aliens and Predators go to extreme lengths to usurp the other. The human characters are meant to tell the story! You find out things as they do, but evidently in this they are so unimportant that they barely find anything out about their foe. The Directors must have known how pointless they all were so just left them in the dark (visually aswell!) to compliment their already non-existent IQs.

THIS WAS THE MOST RIDICULOUS SCENE OF THE FILM! The Predator can lift up two aliens with one hand on each, I can buy that. He works out! But the fact that the Aliens don't use their razor sharp tails to cut him a new one is absurd! If the Strausse Brothers knew anything about the mythology, the Xenos use their tails like a limb. Constantly! They wouldn't be pancing thats for sure.

The only reason this film received my rating was because of the visual aspects. Puppets still being used for the close encounters and the vibrant and inspiring sound effects. They pretty much used the SFX from Aliens to help it win back the fans. They didn't...but I enjoyed the old Motion Tracker sounds. New Ringtone anyone?

Also, the gore was extremely satisfying. Nothing like watching people melt due to acid spiilages or explode from impregnation. Essentially it brought back the series' to a standard horror rating with more blood than the human body can handle! This was the only improvement. These creatures don't mess around, when they kill you they do it as brutally as possible and this film displayed that in a serene fashion that made it feel soo natural. Welcome back!

The Predalien made its debut in this movie. Can't say I felt overwhelmed but its presence. It was giving a unique ability seeing as it was an immature Queen, although most casual viewers think that all Predaliens can do this. They can get bent. It might aswell not have been there considering the film was so dark. Classic gag from my AvP forum, the film was shot entirely like this:

Alien 5, Predator 3? Impossible. Sigourney, Cameron and Ridley had all expressed making a new title in the future for their respective stories *sigh* Both series have been diluted by the other now. You can't expect one of these films now without a cameo from the other species. This film has made me sad but not in a good way.

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I am Jack's Half Baked Review

Posted : 15 years, 3 months ago on 18 June 2008 08:29 (A review of Fight Club)

The Indie film has become more and more popular as the years go on. Blockbusters and high concept movies are losing their appeal as favourite films because the audience strives for a deeper meaning and an alternative look on the big screen. Being a teen in the late 90s, this is one of the first films that stood out for me in the Indie bracket.

So, David Fincher directed an adaptation of Chuck Palahniuk book Fight Club. Jack (Ed Norton) is a man who lacks any kind of lift in life. Stuck in middle management and suffering from insomnia, his life is a complete waste as he is overcome by consumer culture and no longer enjoys anything that he isn’t told to like. That is, until he meets a confident and inspiring Soap Salesman known as Tyler Durden (Brad Pitt); who teaches him more about being a man than any self-help book could ever do.

The film has a lot of commentary on maculinity which you couldn't help but notice through every scene. Tyler Durden is a somewhat accurate representation of modern masculinity. He has a scruffy but well preserved appearance which makes him stylish but not enough to make him look like he cares about his looks. However, actively starting fights and enjoying getting beaten up shows that he is a sadist and a masochist, which makes him quite the oddity and contrast. Furthermore, he doesn’t need or want anyone to provide for and so being the head of a nuclear family isn’t his goal (unlike traditional man). Creating a fraternity for like minded men is his link to being the breadwinner of his societal archetype. It can go as far as to say that Tyler Durden is so masculine that he doesn’t need what a normal man wants, which is possibly why Jack wants to be him. Little does he know...

The film can also be seen as postmodern as it is self-aware. There are times when Jack and Tyler talk to the audience, breaking the fourth wall, explaining what they are doing and so forth. Using the subliminal penis shot throughout the film and explaining how it is done is teaching the audience that the characters are aware they are in a film and performing for the sake of the movie. Something of an early mindf*ck but was a rather entertaining addition.

The narration, as well as explaining the narrative for the audience, rewinds and fast forwards itself to what Jack says and so creates an MTV-like *groan* effect where everything is explained in due course. In terms of genre, there are no clear lines of what the film can be classed as. It shares conventions with the thriller and with certain crime dramas but there is nothing for sure, which further classes Fight Club as a post modern text. Even though it was an early 'mainstream indie' it managed to rock conventions beyond what anyone could have expected at the time.

I think for me, the soundtrack was quite unforgettable. Even now, I don't recollect the film when I hear any of the songs. I think this was the main flaws of the film. The tracks were just thrown in for the sake of making the film more alternative. Maybe it was just there to make you feel a sense of unbelonging which Jack himself felt. But thats probably a load of shit.

One of the last great films of the 20th century and a must see for anyone with a penchant for the weird, wonderful and whimsical.

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The Almost!

Posted : 15 years, 3 months ago on 15 June 2008 10:34 (A review of The Happening)

"Can I have a ticket to The Happening thats happening right now?"

The title and trailer of this film always lead me to believe this was a 'movie within a tv show' from the Simpsons. Its ambiguousness and vague outset gave that extra point that you have to see this film to actually find out whats going on! However, it did give me a sense of curiousity and it was instantly put on my to see list.

Unfortunately, I saw this film with people who tend to read spoilers before they go and see a movie. Which all I can say, it ruined the premise. There was no longer any mystery and I was just left waiting for what was happening to happen so I could see it with my own eyes. Wankers.

The word 'eerie' is used quite a lot with this film and I couldn't agree more. As with a majority of Shyamalan films, you expect something different and malevolent occurring behind the scenes. The score backed this mood for the film aswell as the handheld they seemed to follow the expressions as they manifested.

The concept was highly evocative. It had a slight Darwinism twang to it which made it much more intriguing. The main nemesis of the film was an immobile but omnipresent natural organism that you couldn't avoid easily which kept the suspense drilled in throughout. It came about all of a sudden, the explanation, so I felt that reflected the title (and poor narrative structure). "Yeah, plants are dangerous."

Mark Wahlberg also attracted me to this film. He provided a solemn and whimsical addition to the situation. His facial expressions were questionable but there couldn't have been a better person to have the camera shoved right in his face. You could count his worry lines. Zooey Deschanel is a rising star that I've been keeping my eye on aswell, luckily she had beautiful eyes for the closes ups to be even more pleasurable. Their relationship was comical at best, there was no turmoil between them but there was no love either. Just a load of indifference.

Another aspect with Shyamalan films is that he gives 'the crowd' a personality. You see a group of people and he manages to give them a unique aspect so that they aren't your usual background characters. Cheesey and sometimes overpointless but they give that sense of realism which derives from the core heroes which media is accustomed too.

The film wasn't a cut above the rest but it was a vast improvement over Lady in the Water which shall never be named again. I'm still holding out hope for the director, even if I have to wait a lifetime.

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Do they think we're stupid?

Posted : 15 years, 4 months ago on 14 May 2008 12:33 (A review of Fur TV (2008-2008))

MTV has become one of the worst TV channels on Digital and programmes like this are the reason! Since when did puppets come back into fashion?? Its an insult to Muppets and Seasames everywhere!

For starters it tries to be crude. Swearing and adult content DOES NOT MAKE A TV SHOW GOOD! They were scrapping the faeces off my shoes when this show was given the greenlight. Maybe it is beyond me, thinking logically, as to why they committed to broadcasting this bane!

The show follows the lives of three puppets. One of them is a green frog which is Brazilian and a ladies frog. Another is a fat blue american lout who likes drinking beer and headbanging. The last is a orange disked weed that gets picked on by the fat blue one, I think its easy to say that this one is a pervert and a masochist.

They all live in the same apartment and are meant to be dysfunctional. Apparently the frog has sex with actual women and you see their faces. These women must be so desperate for fame if they appear on a lame show having sex with puppets!

The show has no underlying message. There are no great themes behind everything they do. It is a disgrace and MTV should be shutdown because of it. This is one of many blights that MTV has broadcast to British audiences. I dread to think how much the Americans get!

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Posted : 15 years, 4 months ago on 14 May 2008 11:42 (A review of Final Fantasy VIII)

I eagerly awaited this title. Seriously, after the bliss injection of VII this was all I imagined. I had a wanker mate who told me this game was the story of Cid Highwind returning from his 2nd journey into space, along for the ride was the feisty and barrel breasted hottie, Tifa Lockeart. If you look carefully in the epilogue FMV of Red XIII and his cubs running toward the ruins of Midgar, you can see their spaceship crash land in da background!!! The world was no longer as it was, all their old friends were dead and the three of our lasting heroes had to salvage the world from the remnants of Meteor Monsters which plagued the dwindling population of the planet.

I later found out that he was a compulsive liar. However, this story was a drastic improvement. Take a bit of teenage angst, ice cold manners, a medusa stare, a fantastic coat and marvelous weapon; now you have our hero. Squall Leonheart was a guy with problems but luckily he was chosen over the other ingrates to be the focus of this timeless classic. His individual view on the world which was literally being torn apart by war and the moon crying was a pragmatic and fresh look on the story. He won a place in my heart because even though he doesn’t give a monkeys about who/what people are, he ends up putting his very soul on the line to save them all from despair.

His comrades were a colourful bunch but all lacking in distinctiveness. All human and half of which were annoying. From a fantasy story I expect differences in the people that follow the hero, physically and personally. I felt robbed that the characters weren’t overly lovable. Quistis was fit, Irvine was cool but they were all 2D to me. Squall was the only one who had some depth, without him the story would have suffered. His life of loneliness and abandonment was a tragic event which brought him to his knees before he could rise up as a new man in the wake of his destroyed self.

The narrative is a bit up in the air. A lot of the time you are left to wander to find out where you have to go next. Without much restriction you can get lost quite easily which can be quite frustrating for a first playthrough. The concept of time plays a massive part in the story, flashbacks are common place aswell as distortion and parallels. Sometimes you just have to sit back and think.

The battle system was quite taxing too. It limited your use of magic because it would bring down your statistics; also drawing magic from every monster/boss you faced was grueling. It brought me to my knees when I tried to get a full set because of how poor some characters were at drawing. Junction was a new system which couldn’t have worked with any other title. Unlocking GF abilities was also a plus when refining and bolstering your item supplies. However, with a massive lacking of weapon upgrades you would achieve the best weapons for characters early on if you had the right items. So even refining 99 screws would render them useless early on. However, the little things helped me rise again!

Monsters being able to level up along with you provided an extra challenge. They would literally keep up with you as you progress so everywhere would be a hardy battle to get passed. The limits were essential throughout, without them you wouldn’t find the game simple. Squall’s Renzokuken plus finisher was enough of an endgame against any beast.

Another glorious thing about this game was the locales throughout the world. Esther alone is one of the greatest cityscapes I have ever seen. It was essentially a City Continent which blitzed your visuals! Considering the history of the city, it easily falls under the Dystopian descript. Places like Fisherman’s Horizen and the Garden’s were indeed memorable but they couldn’t compete with a continent!

Even though I see this as the weakest of the Playstation One generation, it is still galaxies more superior than the other games on this console. Final Fantasy VIII manages to mix sorcery and dystopia so well that it will make any grown man ball. Try it after FFVII.

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Can I come with you?

Posted : 15 years, 5 months ago on 22 April 2008 08:51 (A review of Screamers (1995))

This is what I'm talking about! Classic Dystopia. The future is literally in ruins. It didn't have a glorious budget but the story alone was thrilling and grainy. A good mixture of science fiction and horror, which I'm not a massive fan of. But what the hell.

Sometime in the future, an outpost on a stranded planet on the frontlines of an interstellar war has hit an all time low on communications and zeal.

Due to the radiation, everyone has become smoke-aholics and there isn't a smile in the joint! After a shuttle crash, the Commander Henderson (Peter Weller) sets off on a quest to broker a treaty with the opposing frontline.

However, in the no man's land is a prototypical machine that stalks by your own pulse. Subterranean, armed with buzz saws and great leaping potential. A force to be reckoned with. Henderson finds that more has been going on in no man's land than he first thought.

Life has changed, technology has changed. Loads of surprises and a tactical nuke explosion later, you have a face-off. I seriously think more of you Dystopa-likes will consider this film. K. Dick was behind it all. How can you refuse!

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Hog fattening time!

Posted : 15 years, 5 months ago on 22 April 2008 08:34 (A review of Eldest: (Inheritance Book 2))

This is the longest book I've read in recent years. It just kepy going and going! I had a schedule to keep for my Book Quest and this book brought me up to the deadline because of its length!

After seeing Eragon and finding it intriguing, I did some research and read various reviews and comparison between book and film lists. Eragon must have been the most watered down epic film of recent years.

I skipped to Eldest though as I wanted to read a book where I didn't know what was going to happen.

Eldest is the continuing story of Eragon Shadeslayer. A young boy who was chosen by a dragon to be its rider. He has become a hero in the resistance against the Empire and now goes to get trained by the Elves.

The alternate focus on this story is that of Ronan, Eragon's cousin. He returns from a neighbouring town to find his Father Dead, his cousin missing and his home & Heritage destroyed.

Ronan has no powers and no immediate Deus Ex. He relies simply on his own strength and will. The underdog always gets respects in this case. His trials were much more challenging than Eragon 'OP' Shadeslayer.

I thought the disappearance of Murtagh from the entire bulk of the novel was a cop out. A character of true torment and they just brushed him aside to cameo later.

The elf customs were also laborious and monotonous. Them and their traditions, it was a wind up mission! Once again, Elves in a fantasy narrative are just a source of hate and bore!

The Battle of the Burning Plains was somewhat enjoyable. A real Minas Tirith if you will. It wasn't too long and the action was sharp. I think thats where Paolini's talent lies, in the heat of battle.

Read this book if you want to kill a month with reading. I look forward to the final installments of Inheritence.

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Hold the oglop.

Posted : 15 years, 5 months ago on 19 April 2008 12:26 (A review of Final Fantasy IX)

I don't know what everyones complaining about. Yes, Zidane was a cocksure and Kuja was a nancy but the game had a lot more to it than those two!

It took a step-back on the technology part compared to the other PS1 Gens but at least that provided the fantasy which we all used to yearn for as a youth.

When this game, hit the shelves. I really couldn't be asked to play it as I was working my Trident! However, once I got down to it I found it quite delightful. If you try to not take it seriously as there isn't a single bit of drama in this entire flopcomedy!

I feel that Final Fantasy 9 needed to be made. It filled that gap between the now and the then of the FF Saga. Obviously the further we go into future, we are going to want to see more advanced things. FFIX gave us that last gleaming of the games we used to know.

If a game can bring me back to a simpler time where the only thing I have to worry about is my next Dyne Bar Wasted, then have at it.

Final Fantasy IX was the last transitional step toward lesser RPGs of the modern age. If anything it was a closing chapter in the PS1 RPG Era which I will always cherish and always miss.

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In the world of the blind, the plant is

Posted : 15 years, 5 months ago on 19 April 2008 12:05 (A review of The Day of the Triffids (Penguin Modern Classics))

From an early age, my Dad would always talked about this book as if it were the Bible. His favourite book by far and always on his recommendation list whenever I'm in a bookstore or a library with him.

After seeing the film and the TV series, I thought I'd best try this sucker out. Both were low budget and didn't do the storyline any justice.

After an accident causing his eyes to shut down temporarily, a man in hospital wakes up to no noise and nobody. He plucks up the courage to take his bandage off and can finally see that his world has turned upside down.

After an eerie but spectacular meteor storm the night before, everyone who saw it has myseriously gone blind. Now being one of the few people who can see, he finds himself in a moral predicament.

I, myself, imagined walking around the streets as the only person who could see surrounded by blindies. Would you help them? Could you help them? It is just too big a question to pose. They'd be totally dependent on you and all you'd have is the dying establishment around you. You'd have to supply everything to them.

For good measure, throw in another antagonising force. The Triffid. A walking tripod of a plant with a poision stinger that stretches ten feet from its stalk. This puts man on the endangered species list! The only real advantage man has over the Triffid is his eyesight...

The origin of the triffid is different in every medium. However, the one that has the most significant theory is the man-made one. We created our own destruction. The human race will always be willing to fuck everyone over. It is even posed in the book that the blindness caused by the meteors were man-made satellites.

It just goes to show that even though we all cherish life, that some lives are more important than others. It is a horrible way to look at it but seeing as the world is literally ticking over to Doomsday, we might aswell not bother with optimism that we won't destroy ourselves.

Whether its by nuclear war, global warming or being blinded and becoming plant food. We're all going to end up dead by our own means.

Read book?

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