Wednesday, December 29, 2010

The Christmas haul.

So that time of the year has come and gone again. Christmas. What a wonderful time of year, even more so if you have an mp3 player. I say this because while I do enjoy Christmas songs. When your uncle has only 12 of them on repeat blaring through some top quality speakers that "make sure you are really hearing the song" it can drive you up the wall.

But enough of that lets get down to some capitalism. Of course for our christian (and some very liberal Jewish) friends Christmas is the time of year when we are to come together to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ and all the goodness that came of that. But for the rest of us its just another day to try and break even on the value of gifts sent to gifts received. So as the title suggests here is some of the stuff I got for christmas and a small tale of afterward.

  • Sennheiser HD218i headphones (very top quality when you've had to endure the torment of ipod headphones for a very long time)
  • A $50 AUD giftcard to Dick Smith Electronics
  • A $50 AUD Visa giftcard (Which funnily enough in the many places that Visa is accepted Dick Smith Electronics is not one of them)
Now for the little tale. So on Monday I went shopping so that I might take advantage of the post-Christmas sales (there's that capitalism rearing its head again!) and use my giftcards. There were a pair of headphones that my sister really wanted at Dick Smith. She had a Visa giftcard and when she presented it to purchase the headphones the guy over the counter told her that they don't take Visa. So the morale of that story is Dick Smith don't take Visa. I however with my Dick Smith giftcard walked away with a shiny new MP3 player. I felt bad for my sister and if I'd had known what was happening at the time I would have swapped her my giftcard for for hers. It would have been win win, She gets the headphones and I get $100 AUD in giftcards wherever Visa is accepted. Now I REALLY feel bad for her.However not all is lost for my sister. My Mother has agreed to exchange the giftcard for real money so those headphones will be hers.

But enough about my sister and back to me. On top of the MP3 player I also got a copy of Mass Effect 2 and Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon: Advanced Warfighter. The latter of the two I picked up for $9 AUD! A complete steal!

Well that's my wrap up of Christmas. Next up its new years.Till next week my loyal readers Happy new Year and Peace out!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

What I think of Fallout 3

I was going to have a full Fallout 3 review ready for today but I've been to busy playing the game to write about it. So yes this one will be shorter than the other review I did.

Fallout 3 was released in 2008 by Bethesda Softworks. It was a real game changer to the series being the first game in the series to use real time combat and not turn based. The story overall is relatively simple, wander the wasteland and survive as best you can. However each individual quest is quite detailed and really immerse. I think its best to think of the game as a collection of short games put together rather than one big game. The game takes place in the Washington D.C area in 2277, 200 years after the great war (Which is a war that lasted for 2 hours in which time America, China and Russia fired their nuclear missiles at each other) and 36 years after the events of Fallout 2. You play as either a boy or a girl (the game lets you choose at the very start in a rather interesting manner) whom is born in vault 101, a nuclear fallout shelter.

The gameplay is fantastic. It is easy to pick up and play, which is what I like in games if it has a pain in the arse learning curve just to figure out which button does what I won't play it. All though unlike previous games in the series which were turn based which gave you time to think and plan your next move, Fallout 3 is real time and you have to think on your feet. However if you want to pause and think V.A.T.S (Vault-tec Advanced Targeting System) will pause the game and focus on your target and you can plan your shots. This method will suit many different playstyles.

I'm playing it on the Xbox 360 (purely because that is the copy my friend lent me) I have seen the PC version and gameplay in that regard really depends on if you are a PC person or a console person. The one (and I reckon only) disadvantage to the console version is no mods. If you want to mod your game (to which there is no disadvantage because there is no multiplayer aspect to the game and in fact modding is encouraged by Bethesda with them releasing a free editor which can be found here) buy it on the PC. Otherwise if you don't really care get it on the 360.

The graphics great. You really see the contrast of post-apocalyptic wasteland and the sterile conditions of the Vault you first start the game in. While at the same time you can see the remnants of the superpower that America was. Real philosophical art-house stuff. All the NPC's in the wasteland are dirty and really give you the sense that it is hard living in a post-apocalyptic world.

Not much to say on sound. The sound track is fantastic and I highly recommend you get it if you can. But the other sounds are ok. Guns sound as they should but you can tell that there are like four voice actors for all the NPC's not related to the main story. Otherwise can't complain.

I'm disappointed that there is a lack of a multiplayer aspect to this game because there is a lot of fun to be had taking the game online but I hear there is a Fallout MMORPG in the works so stay tuned for that.

You know I really understand what people mean when they say they have that "Fallout feeling". Espically when your friends tell you to "shut up about Fallout already!" I can see why it got game of the year in 2008, I'm completely addicted to it.

9 out of 10

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

No I have not abandoned you

Yes readers I'm still here. It's been an epic weekend and I've only just recovered. I think I'll start doing a weekly post instead of a daily posy. I simply don't have enough to talk about. So come next Wednesday there will be another post.

Till then peace!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

The weather

"Ah what a wonderful day, the birds are cowering in their nests, and its hailing. Yup, IT MUST BE SUMMER" As quoted by my good friend Epic Beard Guy on his blog which you can find here. So as promised yesterday here I am talking about the weather.

I suppose in many cities across the world the weather would be quite boring. But you see here in Melbourne it is a real and ever-present challenge. Across the country summer has finally hit and with it is the expected heat. In Melbourne summer is welcomed with some heat followed by hail. It is a common phrase in my fair city "Melbourne - four seasons in one day" and one that is rightfully so.

To my local readers this comes as no surprise. Many of you live here or have moved away for that reason. But to my international readers here are some things that you may find handy next time you find yourself in the cultural capital of Australia.  you may notice that on a scorching hot day people with umbrellas walking about or in their cars. This is because at any moment the heavens will open and it will pour like the middle of winter. Which may seem odd given that Melbourne is in the middle of a drought but you never know when it will rain. and when it rains, it pours. I think this year one person was killed and millions of dollars in property damage was caused from one particularly nasty storm this year.

On the flip side though the heat can get really bad as well. It can be like the middle of the desert it is so dry and hot or the Amazon jungle it's so humid. Victoria has some beautiful rain forest but when it gets hot enough it can blaze like the center of hell. It was a few months before the bad storm that the Black Saturday bush fires hit resulting in the deaths of around 200 people and the destruction of many towns.

Well there you go I have talked about the weather. I am now out of things to say. That does not mean that I'm abandoning the blog. But I think I may make it a weekly one and not a daily one. Again please comment below if you have things you want me to rant about.

Monday, December 6, 2010

I hate Mondays

To my loyal readers both here in Australia and abroad. Today is Monday and while I would usually be posting something of importance, I can't be arsed. It is Monday. Bugger it.

Also please comment below on things for me to talk about because I'm running out of stuff to rant about. Seriously tomorrow I'm gonna talk about the weather. 

So instead here is a silly clip that originally surfaced on 4chan but has now made its way to the more civilized section of the Internet, ah the Japanese know how to make weird ads:

Friday, December 3, 2010

Predators rant

I have just watched Predators and I thought it was really good until the last 2 minutes of the film. The whole Idea of the film was really good and all the characters were believable. Fantastic casting and a brilliant plot twist but what was the bloody point? If you have not seen the film, don't bother.

I don't know any more. It seems that these days Hollywood has forgotten how to end a film. I know that they want to leave films open for sequels and I really wouldn't mind if they actually made them! So what you end up with is a half-arsed movie with no ending. That really annoys me.

I think Avatar is the only film this year that was actually any good because it had an ending and is still open for a sequel. Since when did movie stop being art and start being sources of revenue? I really hope movie piracy changes this. Because the movie company's will have less money they'll be forced to make films with less special effects and better narratives.

Look Predators ticks all the boxes for me as a good film. Not one that will be remembered in history as a classic. But good enough that you can watch it and not ask for your money back. All it needed is an ending, But if that's all I can complain about the film it can't be that bad. Don't watch it at the cinema because it's not worth the money. But as something to rent from your local video shop it is absolutely worth a look.

Again no more posts over the weekend. You will all have to find something else to entertain your selves for the next 48 hours.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

What I think of Marc Ecko's Getting Up: Contents Under Pressure

Marc Ecko's Getting Up: Contents Under Pressure was one of those games that got banned in Australia. I wanted to see what the fuss was all about so I downloaded a copy and set it up on my PC.

Straight off the bat the game takes ages to load. This is especially bad at the beginning when there is a loading screen between each cutscene and the very short tutorial levels. I found what worked is while the game loaded I fired up my psp and played Final Fantasy VII: Crisis Core and played that till it was finished loading. Once the game starts it is actually really good.

The short tutorials are very detailed and really help you pick up the game quick. But each level is actually quite big. The game is linear by design but each level is very open and allows you do do and go as you please for the most part. It still pushes you through the level but how you do that is up to you. You can run through them really quick if you want or you can take your time and do the side missions. Side missions will unlock things like concept art and a fight club feature which works more or less like street fighter but without the insane combos and super moves.

The story (which is written by Marc Ecko) revolves around a graffiti artist who calls himself Trane. Trane lives in the city of New Radius which is really Orwellian type city with cameras at every street corner along with a violent and oppressive Police force. It is up to Trane to bring down this oppressive regime and restore order to New Radius by means of graffiti on every available surface. I mean the story is really cheap but it is better than some FPS games out on the market *cough* Black Ops *cough*  and does have a plot that you can follow. The language in it is all graffiti slang but is not that hard to pick up and a quick google search will fill you in on anything you don't understand.

The gameplay is unique but that's because it has a real graffiti focus. Yeah Jet Set Radio had it too but that was really more of a sports game like Tony Hawk on roller-blades. Marc Ecko's Getting up allows you to organize your blackbook (the sketchbook a graffiti artist uses to practice in) and decide which of a set of up to four 'Pieces' (The artwork a graffiti artist paints on the wall) you wish to use in that level. There is very little ability to customize, all you can do is change the color of them from a set of preset colors. An ability to make custom pieces would be nice but I can see why it is not in it. What I like is how you apply these pieces. It is a minigame and you have to move your characters hand over the surface and spray your paint and fill in the predetermined area. All the while looking out for security cameras, police, rival gang members and normal people who will call the cops if they catch you in the act. Although at first I thought it would be really repetitive the game challenges you in other ways.In order to even do the minigame you first have to reach the bit of wall you want to spray and this means you have to climb buildings, fight rival gang members and avoid being detected by police just to get there. Spraying your piece is a reward for getting there and I it keeps what is a repetitive task fresh and different.

If you are a fan of hip-hop then you're gonna love the soundtrack. Before each level you can fiddle with the music ad just listen to it if you want but I have not discovered a way to do this in game nor have I bothered the gameplay is that good. However not all the tracks are unlocked. In order to get all the tracks you have to find ipods in the game and each one you collect will unlock another song. This really annoys me because it has nothing to do with the game itself. Its just busywork to increase the games playtime. If you can't be bothered you will then miss out on two thirds of the games music. Then again if you a real full on hip-hop fan you will have most of it in your music collection so don't bother.

Given that the game was made in 2006 the graphics are quite good. I've found a few glitches but nothing major, mostly problems with the collision engine where stuff will go through other stuff. The levels feel lived in and the graffiti doesn't look like it was painted ten seconds ago. Some looks like it has been there for years while some of it looks new showing that the graffiti culture in New Radius is alive and kicking.

All in all the game is really good and worth getting you're hands on. I can see why it was banned in Australia what with the whole glorification of graffiti theme but honestly I've seen games which have made classification that are far worse.

I'd give it a 7 out of 10.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Another small post because my modem sucks

I was going to have a really cool game review up today but because my modem is a little whiny bitch I couldn't. So instead heres a funny picture from the 2010 Asian games I found in the newspaper.

This is the Singapore swimming team. Yes the team designed the uniform themselves and Asian games rules say that a team can't change the design of their uniform midway through the games so they're stuck with them for however long the games go for. The coach of the team apparently had no idea that this is how the design would look when the players were wearing them. Do you not try things on in Singapore before you buy them?