November 19, 2018
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Dreamfall

released on xbox and PC last year, this game was often called for to be ported by aspyr, who published it after all. But having played it now, im glad that it didnt. overall, id say its been quite a disappointment that really hasnt lived up to the hype. Luckily, its got a good(ish) story line which has me coming back to it, that and the fact that i dont want to have wasted £3 on it... anyway, welcome to my adhoc review/wish list...

The graphics are pretty good, and the environments that have been created are particularly impressive. Theres also quite a large variety, from 23rd century Casablanca, to the snowy and wintery fantasy styled Marcuria, all of which are particularly pretty.

The dialogue, though quite good is held back by the models though. Primarily, i wouldve wanted to see two things. More body movement, and some facial expressions to go with whats being said. Two years after the release of Half Life 2, where the amount of variety in animation is truly explored and bettered, you really want to see more that some pretty half assed lip syncing and not much else. Then theres the fact that on quite a few occasions where it takes an inordinate amount of time to get from one sentence to the next, completely destroying any real sense of flow.
and another thing, on a few occasions, youll come to the end of one of the characters sections, and a loading screen will take you to another character, where you will have a 2-3 minute section of dialogue and then youll be taken to another character with 2-3 minutes of dialogue and so on and so forth.

Another complaint i have is that theres just not enough people in the cities, and not enough areas to run around in, so that it still feels very pigeon holed and closely directed as all adventure/point and click games have done before. But in this case, its even more directed. While playing the game you are almost always told exactly where to go, exactly what to get and exactly what to do with it... And even if youre not, its almost always painfully obvious what is required of you to progress the story line.

but the story is pretty compelling, and as i said above its kept me coming back, just so that i can find out what happened next. mainly so i could see if something decent happens. and then the ending arrived, and it is the single worst ending to a game that ive seen in a long time.. its just a complete non-ending in a way and doesnt feel right in the sense of a complete and self contained game.

in other words, expect a sequel... and its going to be a MMO.

which leads me to my conclusion and wish list. Basically, they needed to get an epic feeling to this game and pretty much failed. The opening is quite good in terms of story, and the setting is nice, with a decent amount of people for the suburbs of a big city, but as soon as you venture away from there theres a severe lack of... well... anything but dialogue really.
The ideal adventure game would have been to have a level streaming system so that theres no loading screens except for travelling between cities and worlds. Lots of random people milling around going about their business. far better animations for the models and huge improvements to the facial animations with more points of movement so that we get some actual expressions going on here...

oh, and the whole two worlds thing feels incredibly tacked together in this game.
just like that sentence.

a game to miss.

Posted on July 29, 2007 at 10:28 am
Blogging has really died a death here hasnt it?

wow... nothing posted for over a month? thats bad...

well anyway, heres just a general update on everything:
i got my MBP, its awesome, specially while boot camping, where ive played through Half Life 2 and Episode 1, Supreme Commander, and am most of the way through FEAR, ive yet to get into Splinter Cell Chaos Theory properly, cos it was pretty screwy with all its stupid copy protection.
I also got onto the Quake Wars public beta, and while its good, my two weeks without internet killed my passion for it, and so im thinking im gonna wait for the next beta of it to be released before i try and get into it again.
oh and CMR Dirt demo absolutely amazing!
another demo i tried was BF2142, but i wasnt massively impressed. in fact, so unimpressed was i with how vehicle orientated it was that i dropped it after 10 minutes. ETQW is far more about foot troopers, you just need to find a decently filled server.

While Boot Camp is great and all, a lot of the time i just cant be bothered to reboot, so ive played though Prey again (full settings, but no FSAA cos that messed with transparencies), and am considering Quake 4 too.
im really looking forward to the releases of the big three later this year. Read that as UT3, GoW and ET:QW. they are going to rock my face so hard, and hit me in the pocket badly, but ill enjoy every second of it.

oh, Cider has been hacked by a few enterprising people somewhere which i wont disclose because of legalities. Purely out of curiosity, i gave it a go with FEAR, but it wont work, so that little pipe dream died rather quickly. But, following that project is quite interesting, and im sure that theyll have more success once EA's games are released. Well be discussing this a bit more in a podcast soon i imagine.

My Cube died a few weeks ago while doing a soak test for a beta im involved in. After a few weeks i managed to get my hands on the old components i had, and took it back to the stone age. It now works again, and im having fun experimenting with a tiny little fans to improve the airflow a bit.
The dead component turned out to be the processor, which is a massive massive shame, cos it was the most expensive part, and im debating whether or not to replace it now that ive got my MBP... thoughts?

On the music front, ive got into Supertramp in a major way, and Elvis (though my housemate went crazy and got pretty much every single Elvis album and bootleg.... ever). That was a month ago though, and more recently ive bought Little April Shower, some music from a Cheerios advert (abacus by the Torpedo Boys) and Live and Let Die by Wings, all because theyre catchy. I also bought the iTunes Music Festival (in London) set by Mika... im mildly enjoying that...

did i miss anything??

Posted on July 20, 2007 at 4:48 am
New MBPs

I just ordered one. 5 working days to package it, and then over a week to ship it, which i just cant believe in the slightest. hopefully ill have it by the end of next week or the beginning of the week after.

im excited :)

Posted on June 6, 2007 at 8:02 am
Heroes

One word.... amazing

this show is absolutely brilliant. It took a short time to get started, but after 4 episodes it kicks off.

oh, and the Japanese guy is easily the best character there ever was..... ever.

check it out!

Posted on April 21, 2007 at 11:24 am
Music Watch!

A new feature that im going to keep in my blog is essentially just a list of all the things im listening to right now and how i got into them/why im listening to them at the moment.

First up, though, i figure we might as well recap my favourite bands of all time.

Tied for first place are Incubus and They Might Be Giants.

Incubus holds a special place in my heart cos they were he first band that i really got into on the back of buying their most excellent album Make Yourself thanks to some of the people i knew who were way older than me (think 5 years or so?) listening to them and me vaguely liking them.
That particular album stayed in my minidisc player (hey, they were cool once upon a time) for a good 3 years, and i still smile to myself whenever tracks from that album come onto my headphones courtesy of my ipod shuffle..

their other stuff doesnt have the same effect on me, but i appreciate the transition that theyve made from funk-rock-metal at the start to fusion metal for SCIENCE, to slightly mellowing sound for Make Yourself to being far too nice for Morning View to trying something different for the last two albums... overall though, their new stuff isnt quite of the same calibre, but is still good...

The other first placer is what i listen to more than anything else in the world. They Might Be Giants are possibly one of the most prolific and consistently good bands that I have ever had the pleasure of listening to. Oh, and while i initially loved the Malcolm in the Middle them tune that they wrote, i despise it now, even though its what got me into the band.
All of their albums have got something special on them, and theres a lot of dark songs which sound all uppity but are really about divorce (Theyll Need a Crane) or a night light (Birdhouse in Your Soul) or two would be lovers who never meet each other (Ana Ng)...
Ok, so those are some pretty early examples, and its their early stuff which catches my imagination the best, but the mid 90s era has merit too as they get a full band, while their early 2000s is marred only by them not making enough music.

Recently, though, theyre producing a lot of stuff, from their 3rd kids album to something like their 8th studio album, and just last year they wrote a song for every single venue that they played in on their tour.

just listen to and love them... theyre great.

ill keep working down the list of my favourite bands over time, but heres a few of the things im listening to at the moment:

Arcade Fire - Neon Bible - after getting very tired of their first album, I was apprehensive of getting this, but thanks to 40 free iTunes downloads, I got it, and ive not really moved on from loving every damn second of the first 2 songs.

LCD Soundsystem - Sound of Silver - again, another half free purchase, but it knocked down the rest of the albums price to around £4, which was great! its inventive, its repetitive, its more of the same from their first album.... I especially love the single off it, North American Scum.

Modest Mouse - We Were Dead Before the Ship Even Sank - At the time of their last album, I got into these guys in a big way, and really wished that id been there for their earlier stuff... this album builds on what went before, and thank god theres this band that wont compromise their integrity. You need that every once in a while to keep your soul clean. I love their single, despite it not being very them at all... This is what im listening to at this very precise moment.

Esquivel - Cabaret Mañana - crazyness from esquivel is always good. Its a compilation with Mini Skirt on it (youll know it if you hear it), and plenty of jazz standards done up in mental arrangements, which somehow manage to make sense... very bizarre, very funny, very good.

Incubus - Movements of the Odyssey - what they did for the Halo 2 soundtrack. this was free too. its incredibly Prog Rock, which surprised me as i didnt think they still had it in them. No vocals except for in the 1st movement, but thats just plain old cheesy and im not talking about that one. These tracks are long BTW. only 3, but they average at around 7 minutes each.

Clap Your Hands Say Yeah - Some Loud Thunder - the title is very very reminiscent of the Duke Ellington title (Such Sweet Thunder), but this isnt jazz.. no no. This is intentionally quite Lo-Fi, with stupidly boomy bass on some tracks (it actually hurts my ears just thinking about it), and those lead vocals which sound like Mike on acid (or what i imagine he would sound like on acid). Either way, a nice follow up album which doesnt break the mould too much, but just enough to keep the fans happy and the critics too.

They Might Be Giants - Venue Songs - Essentially a live album with all the tracks that they wrote for all the venues, along with a bunch of studio recorded versions at the beginning. You start importing this, and then think "woah! 46 tracks!!!" i couldnt care less that theyre usually around 1:30 minutes long, as every single one has a catch tune and something different too it, whether theyre singing about the big light up sign at the back of the stage which spells out G-A-Y (its an actual club, and an actual sign, its in london, and ive been there.... for gigs) to singing about the egg shaped The Egg... pure genius. Especially cos you get a DVD with a bundle of videos created for the studio recorded songs, with segues done by the one and only John Hodgman. Its worth it just for that.

till next time, keep doing those fish faces kids!

Posted on April 1, 2007 at 4:51 am
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