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Brasil last won the day on July 31 2012

Brasil had the most liked content!

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  1. Oh my, what a troubled love-hate relationship I have with From Software. I love Demon's and Dark Souls but hate how those games make me feel (ineffective and inferior). I haven't jumped into current gen quote yet so there's a lot of gaming I'm missing out on but I'll get there eventually...probably. Maybe. Though I can't keep track of which Souls/From games is on which system and/or generation. I want to say...DSII was PS360? And Bloodborne/DSIII is PS4? Like I said, I've been completely out of most of the console space. Then again, going PC gaming probably led to that a bit. Then again, *snuggles the 3DS and WiiU* I definitely played more Demon's than Dark. Beat a few bosses in Demon's then life happened. Didn't get too far in DSI. At all. I vaguely recall trying to mace the skeletons near the start of the game, failing miserably at that, turning around, going the opposite way, getting further, then getting gored through by a gnarly giant, then...kinda stopped. I need to get back into that, though. Those skeletons just meet their end! Right after I re-finish my basement. Heh
  2. All right, guys and gals. Time for a thread about the WiiU's true killer app: Super Mario Maker. Sure, there have been romhack homebrew programs for this kind of thing for a while now, but this has that Nintendo Polish. If you haven't "played" this game yet, you need to rectify that immediately, because it is wonderful. It almost seamlessly blends together "new" and "old" Mario styles, characters, enemies, items, etc, and bundles it all up in a superb little package with tremendous production values, a sublime presentation (and one of the best justifications for the Gamepad+Stylus), and the whole game just oozes old-school Nintendo charm. In many ways, Super Mario Maker is quintessentially, classically Nintendo: game is easy to learn, but difficult to master. There are so many little nuances and tricks that you're going to constantly be finding new things to try in your levels and it never feels tired or stale. There's always something new to discover thanks to the game's brilliant use of the stylus. At a fundamental level, you pick objects and place them with the stylus. That's the core of most of the level-building. However, if you were to, say, grab the green Koopa Troopa and give it a shake with the stylus, that Koopa will transform into the red version, which behaves completely differently (green will walk off ledges; red will stop and turn around), which profoundly changes what you're able to do in your level; let's say you have a tall, thin mushroom platform and want to make the player's jump a bit more challenging. Just shake the green Koopa and place the red one on that mushroom. Now the player has to be very careful about getting there. Nearly every object in the game can be modified this way. Piranha plants become fire piranhas. Chain chomps become...unchain chomps. If you wonder "what would happen if..." then this is the game for you. Shake the stylus to modify enemies. Shake it again to remove power-ups from them. Yes, as you can probably tell in the banner up top, you can definitely give enemies super mushrooms. ;-) And a ton of other crazy tricks: Yes, Virginia, **** like that can happen in Super Mario Maker. I could go on and on about how marvelous this game is, but really, playing is believing. We're going to use this thread as a discussion about the game, sure, but we're also going to use it to share our level codes with each other. Charles and I are both super interested in what OB has and will come up with for these levels. Have at it, OB!
  3. Movies

    [size=3][font=arial,helvetica,sans-serif]Finally got around to seeing TDKR. Overall, I found it to be pretty mediocre. My thoughts below are kind of jumbled, and some parts aren't written very well, so bear with me.[/font][/size] [size=3][font=arial,helvetica,sans-serif][b]Miranda Tate[/b]. The Talia bit is only formally revealed in the last 10 minutes of the movie. And the entire characterization is crap, basically. There's nothing of the off-on strained romance that Bruce and Talia share in pretty much the entire LoS continuity. Nothing. At all.[/font][/size] [size=3][font=arial,helvetica,sans-serif]As "Miranda," she gets close to Bruce, gains his trust, etc, which fits pretty well as Talia, but a huge part of the Bruce/Talia relationship entirely exists BECAUSE Bruce knows she's Ra's' daughter, and BECAUSE Talia knows about Bruce's history with the LoS.[/font][/size] [size=3][font=arial,helvetica,sans-serif]By saving the Talia reveal for the end, it removes a lot of that character depth, and at that point, all it does is little more than turn Talia into a completely normal comic book villain who wants to destroy Gotham out of revenge.[/font][/size] [size=3][font=arial,helvetica,sans-serif]And Talia dies like a completely normal comic book villain. And has a mini-speech like a completely normal comic book villain as she dies.[/font][/size] [size=3][font=arial,helvetica,sans-serif]I've always trusted Nolan's instincts, but here they completely missed the target. Talia [i]isn't[/i] a normal comic book villain, and she never was. In a lot of ways, she was actually one of Bruce/Bats' strongest allies, even though she was technically also one of his strongest enemies.[/font][/size] [size=3][font=arial,helvetica,sans-serif][b]Bane[/b]. The whole thing reminds me of Darth Vader BEFORE James Earl Jones or ED-209. Where David Prowse's sing-songy Irish accent or whatever always sounded completely off, even if his body language was perfect.[/font][/size] [size=3][font=arial,helvetica,sans-serif]But Vader worked, because Prowse nailed the feel of Vader's movement, and JEJ had the growl to match it. Prowse's movement and JEJ's growl synced up perfectly, and even though Vader's face was just knew he was pissed.[/font][/size] [size=3][font=arial,helvetica,sans-serif]Bane's mask looks like ED-209 but there's no ED-209 growl. There's no real visual cue to know when Bane's actually talking. I was able to understand him 95% of the time, but there never was a clear sync like there was with Darth.[/font][/size] [size=3][font=arial,helvetica,sans-serif]They should have gone post-production and mechanized parts of Bane's voice.[/font][/size] [size=3][font=arial,helvetica,sans-serif]Hell, the mask should have been more than just a painkiller agent. It should have also helped him speak. His throat/mouth/vocal cords should have been so damaged by whatever it was that happened (seriously, it's NEVER even explained sufficiently, and that pissed me off), that mask should have been his voicebox, basically. And it desperately, desperately needed some sort of light--something, anything--to indicate when Bane was talking.[/font][/size] [size=3][font=arial,helvetica,sans-serif]I mean, [i]****[/i]; if a cheapo '80s TV show like Knight Rider could have a couple of crappy lightbulbs to signify when KITT was talking...why couldn't Bane's mask?[/font][/size] [size=3][font=arial,helvetica,sans-serif]And that's me being superficial and nitpicky, because Bane's goals throughout the film...are BACKWARDS. Seriously. He and Talia needed to swap objectives, basically. Or at least split them out better.[/font][/size] [size=3][font=arial,helvetica,sans-serif]Bane should have completely focused on just two things:[/font][/size] [size=3][font=arial,helvetica,sans-serif]1) Breaking Batman[/font][/size] [size=3][font=arial,helvetica,sans-serif]2) Breaking Gotham[/font][/size] [size=3][font=arial,helvetica,sans-serif]That's it. Talia's goals should have been:[/font][/size] [size=3][font=arial,helvetica,sans-serif]1) Breaking Bruce emotionally[/font][/size] [size=3][font=arial,helvetica,sans-serif]2) Breaking Bruce financially[/font][/size] [size=3][font=arial,helvetica,sans-serif]Instead, Bane leads a ridiculous assault on a trading floor, takes the city hostage, all so Talia can detonate a nuclear bomb in the city cause she wants revenge for the death of a man she never forgave...UNTIL BATMAN KILLED HIM ZOMG. I can kind of find logic in Bane leading the financial assault a bit since it ties into what Talia was doing, but it was so awkwardly handled that I Plus, if there's a war declared on a trading floor, they should have immediately locked down the trades and prevented any trades from going through at all. It shouldn't have mattered whether Bruce's prints were verified.[/font][/size] [size=3][font=arial,helvetica,sans-serif]On top of that, Bane's voice suffers from the same problem Bats' voice did in TDK: during shorter dialogue, it's fine. For speeches longer than a paragraph, it sounds silly. And most of Bane's longer speeches came from the financial assault sub-plot, or football field speech. Basically, whenever he's talking into a microphone, to a crowd, it gets real stupid, real fast. When he's one-on-one with Batman, or Talia, or random execs, it's PERFECT, because the situation allows him to be short and sweet.[/font][/size] [size=3][font=arial,helvetica,sans-serif]And ditch the nuke completely. Just...ditch it completely.[/font][/size] [size=3][font=arial,helvetica,sans-serif]I mean, don't get me wrong. There's definitely a lot to like in TDKR. There's a lot of really solid dialogue, some decent back-and-forth between Fox and Bruce, and the first fight between Bats and Bane (the backbreak) is absolutely stunning. JGL was fantastic, and Anne Hathaway was inspired as Selina.[/font][/size] [size=3][font=arial,helvetica,sans-serif]Though I'm kinda salty that Selina and Bruce end up together at some random cafe or something. Their relationship always seemed pretty similar to Bruce/Talia...and a lot like pretty much all of Bruce's relationships: very off-on again, very strained. Catwoman never struck me as the kind of woman willing to settle down at all. She was always pretty fiercely independent. Hathaway definitely hit a lot of those independent notes, and I think it's why I enjoyed Pfeiffer's Catwoman so much (minus the crazy and leather, obviously)...both of their portrayals really hit at a core of the character.[/font][/size] [size=3][font=arial,helvetica,sans-serif]And I think where TDKR missed it is where Batman Returns actually got it right: Bruce and Selina wouldn't wind up together.[/font][/size] [size=3][font=arial,helvetica,sans-serif]I guess it's like...if Bruce is damaged goods as much as he is--and really, you'd have to be severely damaged to dress up like a bat and cruise the city at night, beating criminals to a pulp with your bare hands...getting some trim is not going to fix your deep-seated emotional issues.[/font][/size] [size=3][font=arial,helvetica,sans-serif][u]I'd even argue it a step further, and say that the focus on Rachel in BB/TDK was always misplaced, as well: Bruce doesn't need to find acceptance/peace in other people...he needs to find it within himself. That's the irony in this trilogy. Bruce won't find meaning for his life in other people, yet he's continually chasing just that. Rachel, Harvey, Talia, Selina...he's constantly trying to find an [b]external[/b] validation of [i]internal[/i] torment and anguish.[/u][/font][/size] [size=3][font=arial,helvetica,sans-serif]Can Bruce find peace? Yes. By himself. By retiring as Batman.[/font][/size] [size=3][font=arial,helvetica,sans-serif]The rest of the movie is so uneven that it's difficult to really embrace it. Particularly with regards to superhero philosophy in the Nolan trilogy.[/font][/size] [size=3][font=arial,helvetica,sans-serif]The way I see it, out of all of Bats' Rogues Gallery, there are maybe six characters, total, that [b]directly[/b] relate to the very core of Nolan's exploration of Batman:[/font][/size] [size=3][font=arial,helvetica,sans-serif]1) Ra's al Ghul[/font][/size] [size=3][font=arial,helvetica,sans-serif]2) Joker[/font][/size] [size=3][font=arial,helvetica,sans-serif]3) Riddler[/font][/size] [size=3][font=arial,helvetica,sans-serif]4) Bane[/font][/size] [size=3][font=arial,helvetica,sans-serif]5) Scarecrow[/font][/size] [size=3][font=arial,helvetica,sans-serif]6) Talia al Ghul[/font][/size] [size=3][font=arial,helvetica,sans-serif]And really, I'd venture that those characters are the only six that directly relate to Batman's core character in the comics/graphic novels, too. The rest of the Rogues Gallery is basically C-listers that get called up into the majors so the A-listers can take a break.[/font][/size] [size=3][font=arial,helvetica,sans-serif]But yeah.[/font][/size] [size=3][font=arial,helvetica,sans-serif]In BB, it was all about Fear. All about Bruce overcoming his, using it against his enemies--one of my favorite exchanges in all of cinema is:[/font][/size] [size=3][font=arial,helvetica,sans-serif]Alfred: "But why bats, sir?"[/font][/size] [size=3][font=arial,helvetica,sans-serif]Bruce: "Bats frighten me,'s about time my enemies shared my dread."[/font][/size] [size=3][font=arial,helvetica,sans-serif]It's [i]perfect[/i].[/font][/size] [size=3][font=arial,helvetica,sans-serif]In BB, Bruce created a persona, created a symbol, and ruled Fear. He took bits from both Ra's and Scarecrow and dominated. Hell, when Crane gets gassed with his fear toxin and sees Batman as some oily Middle Ages bat-demon? PERFECT. And when Batman's flying overhead, after the Narrows get gassed, people look up at him and just see a large black monster with burning red eyes? BRILLIANT. Fear, man. BB nailed it.[/font][/size] [size=3][font=arial,helvetica,sans-serif]In TDK, it was all about Batman's limits. What he would and wouldn't do. How far he could and couldn't go. Both emotionally and physically. Well, mostly morally, at least. Joker kept trying to get him to break his One Rule. But even when Bats was being pushed to his limits, we still saw the physical toll. Bruises, scars, brutal injuries...and when Alfred mentioned them, what'd Bruce say?[/font][/size] [size=3][font=arial,helvetica,sans-serif]"Batman has no limits."[/font][/size] [size=3][font=arial,helvetica,sans-serif]"But you do, sir."[/font][/size] [size=3][font=arial,helvetica,sans-serif]Batman may have been emotionally broken in TDK, but he wasn't broken, physically.[/font][/size] [size=3][font=arial,helvetica,sans-serif]Bane does break him physically in TDKR, but that whole story arc--Knightfall, I mean--where Bane focuses on Batman for the challenge...took a complete backseat to the whole financial/football field/No Man's Land plot mess. What was arguably Bane's biggest, most important philosophical hook...ended up playing second-fiddle to generic comic book movie fodder.[/font][/size] [size=3][font=arial,helvetica,sans-serif]And you know, the more I think about it, the stronger the film would have been--and the far more relevant it would have been--if Bane had REALLY focused on breaking Batman/Gotham, and Talia had REALLY focused on breaking Bruce emotionally/financially. Remove the entire nuke plot and make the entire conflict [i]intensely[/i] personal.[/font][/size] [size=3][font=arial,helvetica,sans-serif]Because through Bane breaking Bats/Gotham, it continues the relationship between Batman's health and Gotham's. With Batman, Gotham is a better place. Without him, it's either a cracking mask like the 8-year peace in TDKR, OR it's a wretched hive of scum and villainy like we saw in BB/TDK.[/font][/size] [size=3][font=arial,helvetica,sans-serif]Bane focusing on Bats/Gotham emphasizes something very important:[/font][/size] [size=3][font=arial,helvetica,sans-serif]There's gotta be a Batman.[/font][/size] [size=3][font=arial,helvetica,sans-serif]And if Talia focused on breaking Bruce, it ties into the relationship between Batman and Wayne, in that Batman lives on even after Bruce. That you can do anything to Wayne. You can ruin him emotionally. You can stab him in the back. You can destroy his finances. But you cannot destroy the one thing you cannot touch: The Batman.[/font][/size] [indent=1][i]Bruce Wayne: You're vigilantes. [size=3][font=arial,helvetica,sans-serif]Henri Ducard: No, no, no. A vigilante is just a man lost in the scramble for his own gratification. He can be destroyed, or locked up. But if you make yourself more than just a man, if you devote yourself to an ideal, and if they can't stop you, then you become something else entirely.[/font][/size] [size=3][font=arial,helvetica,sans-serif]Bruce Wayne: Which is?[/font][/size] [size=3][font=arial,helvetica,sans-serif]Henri Ducard: A legend, Mr. Wayne.[/font][/size][/i][/indent] [size=3][font=arial,helvetica,sans-serif]Talia focusing on Bruce Wayne emphasizes something very important:[/font][/size] [size=3][font=arial,helvetica,sans-serif]There's gotta be a Batman.[/font][/size] [size=3][font=arial,helvetica,sans-serif]And Blake assuming the Bat-Mantle at the end...[i]would prove that Bane and Talia LOST[/i]. Blake assuming the Bat-Mantle proves that Joker LOST. That Scarecrow LOST. That Ra's...well that's the poetry of that, isn't it? Ra's LOST because his philosophy and advice WON.[/font][/size] [size=3][font=arial,helvetica,sans-serif]But sadly, instead of really developing and exploring that, they decided to just blow up the city. :-/[/font][/size]
  4. Gaming

    [size=2][font=verdana,geneva,sans-serif][quote name='James' timestamp='1334199370' post='711436']I agree that the somewhat nihilistic concept that over-arches the Mass Effect story is a good idea and worthwhile to explore - for example, the idea that for once, human beings are not necessarily going to "save the day" and that perhaps saving the day doesn't even matter in the grand scheme of things. I do think that's genuinely worth exploring. But Mass Effect does it badly, and dare I say it... superficially. This has nothing to do with the ending, but with the entire plot that runs throughout the trilogy. And I think a lot of this problem is bound up with the incredibly lame explanation for the cyclical nature of the Reaper invasions. The idea of a cyclical mass extinction is definitely interesting in principle, and it has enormous potential to be philosophically powerful and poignant. But in the end, it feels like the Reapers and their ridiculously flawed motivations act to cheapen and "dumb down" what could be a very beautiful and unique idea (at least, unique in the video game world).[/quote][/font][/size] [size=2][font=verdana,geneva,sans-serif]Ayup. The finale of ME1 had me giggly with excitement over where the series was going to go. It was mildly upbeat, but undercut with this desperation that just depressed the hell out of you. The galactic fleet destroyed a Reaper, but there wasn't going to be a happy ending to the trilogy. It was ballsy to even hint at something like that. Then...I have a feeling they really weren't expecting ME1 to do as well as it did. BioWare may have had a general idea of where to take the ME world and all, but ME2 was such a disappointment, story-wise, that it completely derailed any decent theming in the first game. Would humanity gain a nice galactic politics foothold after contributing and sacrificing so much during the Citadel battle? Sure. Would they gain so much notoriety that the Reapers would want to make a Reaper out of them? And a Terminator-Reaper, at that? Uh, no. Not a chance in hell. Humans went from nothing to everything. They went from being labeled little more than primitive screwheads to suddenly being a bastion of hope across the galaxy...all within 25 hours.[/font][/size] [size=2][font=verdana,geneva,sans-serif]The more I think about it, the more I'm convinced that BioWare doomed themselves during the encounter with Sovereign on Virmire. When they hyped up the Reaper's motivations as beyond comprehension...there was no way they were ever going to come up with anything to have that make sense.[/font][/size] [size=2][font=verdana,geneva,sans-serif]Hell, Sovereign really should have just said "You are food. We're going to eat you," and at least that would have fit within the cosmic Fatalism: the Reapers place all of this technology so species can advance, only to harvest them and gorge once every 50,000 years or so. Is it nuanced? No. Is it well-written? No. But at least it's consistent. Plus it'd be hilarious: we're literally at the bottom of the galactic foodchain. :-D[/font][/size] [size=2][font=verdana,geneva,sans-serif][quote]Maybe I am expecting too much of video game writing, but even acknowledging that is kind of sad. Films have been able to tackle these subjects beautifully and with nuance for years, so why not games?[/quote][/font][/size] [font=verdana, geneva, sans-serif][size=2]Easy answer.[/size][/font] [font=verdana, geneva, sans-serif][size=2]Game vs film:[/size][/font] [font=verdana, geneva, sans-serif][size=2][img][/img][/size][/font] [font=verdana, geneva, sans-serif][size=2][img][/img][img][/img][/size][/font] [img][/img][img][/img] [img][/img] Yeah, I think it's reasonable to expect less from games. :-)
  5. Gaming

    Haven't played ME3 yet, but...cannot resist a discussion about science fiction...sf indoctrination too strong...why is the Reply window default size so tiny (fixed it, but damn, son hah)... [quote name='Shinmaru' timestamp='1333121544' post='711133'] All right, so I finished [b]Mass Effect 3[/b] yesterday. I'm down with the spirit of the ending, if not so much the execution. [spoiler]I thought the **** with the little kid was terrible throughout the game, and seeing the kid representing the Catalyst is a facepalm moment. I agree with others who have suggested that the squadmate who dies on Virmire would have been a much better choice for that stuff. I don't really like Kaidan or Ashley at all, but they would at least represent a more personal connection for Shepard. And wouldn't that person's death haunt Shepard much more than some kid? The BioWare writers do such a great job of hitting emotion hard throughout the game that the kid stuff sticks out as being not so great.[/spoiler][/quote] [spoiler]I'm not entirely sure that Kaiden or Ashley acting as the Catalyst's avatar would work any better, though. The Virmire death in ME1 packed a punch, yeah, but neither game really focused on that decision. At best, ME2 devoted maybe three lines to it (basically when Jacob and Miranda talk with you about it, no more than 15 minutes into the game), and none of Shepard's responses sounded very haunted. BioWare didn't spend any time, really, punching up that emotional impact. Should Shepard have been affected? Yeah, definitely. Was he? Not from what I could tell in ME2.[/spoiler] [quote name='James' timestamp='1333332919' post='711216'] [font=palatino linotype]I finished Mass Effect 3 on the weekend. I was very eager to finish it, mostly because I really wanted to see what all the fuss is about in terms of the ending. I have to marshal my thoughts a bit here. Actually, I really need to finish the game another time, I think. At the moment I am not sure I can really do it justice, except to put forward a few initial thoughts: [spoilerblock]I think I largely agree with Shin in terms of the ending's true problems. My biggest disappointment, I think, was a general lack of closure (I hate that word) in terms of my squadmates. I don't particularly fault BioWare for this though, because you [i]do[/i] get the chance to have final words with most of the other characters prior to the ending anyway. And, depending on the ending you choose, finding out about your squadmates may be a somewhat redundant exercise. I'm finding that what I dislike about the ending is actually fairly different than a lot of people who have complained. It seems to me that many of the complaints relate to the idea that the player's choices essentially don't matter in regard to the ending, or that the ending is boiled down to a very simple game of "choose the door". Maybe my expectations were different, but as Shin said, this is very much in keeping with the rest of the series. In my view, the player's choices in Mass Effect only ever influenced the [i]journey[/i] - not the [i]destination[/i]. The fact that we had three choices for the ending (and multiple variations within those endings depending on the player's score) seems pretty reasonable to me. I can't really complain about lack of choice in that sense. My biggest complaint is probably just that Mass Effect's ending is only slightly more poetic and interesting than the overall story which led up to it. I've always felt that Mass Effect had great characters and a great universe, but with the caveat of a highly derivative plot. I mean, Saren is being controlled by the Reapers. The Collectors are being controlled by the Reapers. The Illusive Man is being controlled by the Reapers. The Reapers are being controlled by... well, [i]someone[/i]. If not the Catalyst, then a least the mysterious "we" to which the Catalyst himself belongs. This aspect of the plot (the Catalyst's "we" controlling the Reapers) appears to me to be over-reaching just a little. In this sense, the ending was really no surprise to me. I already knew long ago that the Reapers were basically attempting to maintain order by continually eradicating advanced biological life. Unfortunately, their motivation is somewhat...stupid. I was hoping for something a little more clever to be revealed, but it wasn't. I mean, the Reapers apparently conduct this "cleansing" every 50,000 years because they are trying to avert a situation where there is a conflict between synthetic and organic life (i.e. the reference to masters always being challenged). So, unless I'm missing something here... they commit mass genocide to avoid mass genocide. What? Mass Effect continually hinted at there being something grander - something "unimaginable" or unfathomable - about the Reapers and their longterm intentions. But I suspect that "unimaginable" is a placeholder for "nothing" or at least "nothing we can explain because we needed villains and we can't think of a clever twist or motivation for them". It was this aspect that disappointed me. All the way along, I strongly suspected that we'd either be hit by a totally predictable ending [i]or[/i] an attempt would be made to produce a clumsy sleight of hand. I think, in some respects, we got both - the ultimate motivation for the Reapers was nothing greater than had already been explained from the very beginning of the franchise. The only difference was that we discover that the Reapers are being controlled by the Catalyst (and/or his "kind") - but this is totally and utterly irrelevant, because the Catalyst adds absolutely nothing to the plot. Having said all of that, the end result is that I can't be too disappointed with the ending. Given the paper-thin plot, I think the multiple endings actually do more justice to said plot than it actually deserves, haha. I really have no issue with the way choices were handled in terms of the ending, as I said earlier. Maybe I would want to see a bit of tweaking in terms of a bit more exposition about what is happening, and it would have been good to know a lot more about the Catalyst - but there was simply no time for this, as a critical piece of the puzzle (which was ironically both critical and utterly redundant) appeared right before the credits rolled.[/spoilerblock] Overall, I can't say I have many complaints about the ending itself. My biggest issues with Mass Effect are, on the whole, related to the overall plot. I found that I enjoyed Mass Effect [i]despite[/i] the story and not because of it, to some extent. Or, to put it another way... the "main" plot about the Reapers was pretty boring. The Reapers themselves were awesome, but the actual story was sort of lame. I was far more interested in the Genophage, the Krogan Wars, the Quarians vs Geth, etc... I'm just really hoping that we see more Mass Effect games in the future. Apparently we will, and I'm actually very keen to see what BioWare will do with that and how they will structure those new games.[/font] [/quote] Pretty much. The worst part of ME1 was the confrontation with Sovereign on Virmire. All of this "our goals and reasons are so far beyond your comprehension blah blah blah" was amateurish and embarrassing. The big reveal in the game was a space squid who just wanted to taunt you on the cosmic scale. That's just prime. The Reapers, by themselves, were dramatically uninteresting. What [i]was[/i] interesting, however, was the effect they had on others: Saren, the Collectors (rather, [spoiler]Protheans[/spoiler]), Martin Sheen, etc. I greatly appreciated the irony of a "human-focused" organization like Cerberus being led by someone who is clearly augmented with Reaper technology. Indoctrination is such a strong narrative tool in the series and I wish there would have been more an examination of it. Now, as for the general series, I read an analysis a few weeks back that I found particularly fun: [url=""][/url] The general premise is that the Mass Effect series is, at its core, a treatise on the futility of any race trying to achieve anything in the galaxy or universe. And I gotta say...I like that slant. I like how the interpretation trivializes everything in the trilogy, because that trivialization makes sense: You're a human, a race that has just barely climbed out of your primitive planet's primordial ooze, trying to fit into a galactic civilization that sees you as little more than an annoyance. Those hyper-advanced alien species, however, are less than a galactic ****-stain compared to the grand-daddy civilization of 50,000 years ago. The Protheans, despite their magnificence, were completely wiped out by a race of sentient alien lifeforms that are as old as time itself, whose origins are just as much as a mystery as their literal existence. And the Reapers, well...everything in the series has been extremely grim and Fatalistic, and the first two endings were still pretty grim. Sure, you destroyed a single Reaper, but there are others. Sure, you destroyed a half-Reaper but it was only partially finished. Those victories were the exceptions, not the rule. The rule is still that there is a race of alien-things out there that [b]will[/b] destroy all life in the galaxy, and there's nothing you can do about it on your own. So an ending that's basically a total downer...I dig it.
  6. Gaming

    [quote name='Desbreko' timestamp='1322892278' post='710452'] [color=#4B0082]I think you'll like SS's combat, then, as that's pretty much what it's like. The enemies haven't been especially kill-you-in-the-face yet (I'm still between the third and fourth dungeons since I haven't played in a few days), but hearts are much less common, so even losing a heart here and there from stray hits really matters... Unless you're carrying the Heart Medal, which makes hearts drop plenty frequently like they did in OoT, but that's an optional item.[/color][/quote] Ooh that does sound nice. The enemies aren't morons, right? The braindead husks of recent Zelda games were...less than agreeable. And just how much customization have you experienced so far? Do you need to equip the Heart Medal, or just keep it in your inventory? If you need to equip it, do you have a set number of equip slots? How's the in-game economy? That's always been one of the things Zelda games desperately needed, I think. TP never gave you a use for the infinite numbers of Rupees you'd collect, WW suffered from similar issues. The wallet was always full and you never had anything to buy. That reminds me. Are they still just giving you all of the equipment you'll need, or are there actual rewards for exploration and experimentation? Like in LoZ or LttP? [quote][color=#4B0082]But yeah, that intro... If you know what to do and don't care about talking to the townspeople, you can probably get through it in about half an hour, so you might want to just look up how it goes and save yourself some raging.[/color] [/quote] :-( Game intros used to be an optional 2-second text scroll that you could bypass by just hitting Start and getting dropped right into the first level.
  7. Gaming

    [quote name='James' timestamp='1322778461' post='710446'] [font=palatino linotype]I largely agree with this. The more I think about it, the more I think that [i]perfect[/i] 1:1 control is probably unnecessary. The bigger issue I have with [i]Skyward Sword[/i] is really just the need to continually re-center the controller. And as I said before, you wouldn't need "pointer-based aiming" - just "pointer-based re-centering". I'm wondering whether or not Nintendo will do something about this in the future. But to get back to the point, I think that to some extent it's better for Zelda to [i]closely approximate[/i] your gestures in some cases. One thing I was a bit worried about was that I might need to make huge arm movements to directly prompt what Link does in-game - I don't want to have to do that. It would be tiring and unnecessary, and would make long play sessions tedious. So in that sense, the game has to be able to accommodate the fact that a) different players will have different gesture sizes and b) that not everybody wants to stand there and flail for hours on end. The only [i]slight[/i] problem I've encountered with sword control - and it's a minor complaint - is that when you have to move fast, the response time is a little too noticeable sometimes. But generally this is not an issue, and when it arises, it's not really an impediment to gameplay.[/font][/quote] Still hoping for an analog stick on the next Wiimote! :-) Although the WiiU controller is supposed to have dual analog in some capacity, so I may still luck out...I hope. Speaking about SS, though, I wouldn't expect the need to make huge arm movements, either way. The size of the Wiimote versus the size of the in-game sword is in the player's favor, I think. The amount of space required to move the sword in Wii Sports Resort, for example, was relative. I never had to make large, sweeping strikes (although doing so was way more fun) in order to effectively target the opponent. All I had to do was move the Wiimote an appropriate distance relative to the on-screen space. Come to think of it, I don't think I ever had to move my arm outside my strike zone in a major capacity. Good, controlled wrist action (ahem) was all you needed there. Outside of having to hold the nunchuk, I don't see why it couldn't be terribly different for Zelda. Plus the Wii really has been begging for a wireless first-party nunchuk for years. lol When I do play SS, I'm hoping for a more tempered combat system anyway. Loved the faster-paced, hyper-responsive arcade-style killing in WW, but I'd like to see something more methodical. Give me a few slower enemies and make'em murderously deadly instead of a bunch of cannon fodder whose corpses will explode into Rupees. Would help with the difficulty, too. [quote][font=palatino linotype]I need to try this. I got MM on Virtual Console and, yeah... it's okay. Unfortunately I'm playing it on a TV that [i]clearly[/i] isn't its natural habitat, haha.[/font][/quote] It's surprisingly glorious. I've run Mario 64, OoT, MM, Blast Corps, Turok, GE, PD...and it's incredible how much better they all are. The visuals scale up ridiculously well. Like, scarily well. There's something about those games that works really nicely at 720p. The guys with monster rigs I've seen around usually have N64 games looking better than TP, run at the same resolution and graphical flourishes, too. It really is insane what that simpler art style can do. Plus, those games run ridiculously smoothly. I've never seen Turok, GE, and PD run like that. There's no frame-dropping at all. Everything is crystal-clear. The explosions in Turok look fantastic, too! And the sound, oh holy crap. Yeah, it still sounds like N64 games--and rightly so--but that's even a dramatic improvement. The bass really comes through with Turok and GE, in particular. I gotta say...a gaming PC breathes new life into A LOT of different titles. Not looking forward to replacing my processor in two years, though. My socket type probably won't be supported anymore. :-( [quote][font=palatino linotype]It sounds like you haven't played it, heh. You [i]have[/i] to play it. The opening of the game [i]is[/i] frustrating. And you've seen my criticisms of the re-centering. But despite these two annoyances, the game is really unfolding brilliantly. The first boss alone is a revelation - and I mean, a revelation for gaming in general. The experience is quite special and it'll definitely make you smile. There are quite a few moments like this in [i]Skyward Sword[/i]. It's one game you definitely can't miss, despite the flaws.[/font][/quote] Haven't yet, but will...some time. Remember, I could barely get through TP's opening without wanting to kick a kitten into an electric fan. And I loathe trying to play SMG1 on account of its horribly-paced opening. If I can't get into the action quickly...I get cranky, and fast. Especially moreso these days.
  8. Gaming

    [quote name='James' timestamp='1322545031' post='710396'](Where's Alex when you need him - he might not believe that I actually have a critical word to say about Nintendo, haha).[/quote] rofl, I say. :-) My relationship with Motion+ was...peculiar. Loved a lot of its implementation in Wii Sports Resort. Then never bought another game for it. To this day the two Motion+ attachments are sitting behind my computer monitor, where they've resided for probably a year now. Wii Sports Resort is tucked on the shelf next to me, nestled between Lego Indy and Umbrella Chronicles. My gaming has been so odd over the past couple of years. I've got months worth of Wii gaming to enjoy on a single shelf...Metroid Prime Trilogy, Super Paper Mario, SMG2...and a few others somewhere around here. It's sad that I rarely play the Wii if I'm not playing RE4, REmake, NSMB Wii or...Virtual Console stuff? And even then, I purchase VC just so I can be "street-legal" when I'm running N64 games through an emulator on my PC. Though, there IS something incredibly awesome and oh-so-wrong about playing MM, naturally rendered at 720p, with a 360 controller mapped out to mimic GCN. haha Very peculiar times, these have been. Plunging into IT probably doesn't help matters, either. You end up scouring NewEgg, seeing good deals on parts, and within a month or two, you've built yourself a decent gaming rig. Then the Steam sales come. And then you don't play consoles at all. Yet every so often there are games that pull you back to the PS3, 360 or Wii. Recently, Arkham City and GoldenEye Reloaded were the 360 pullers. GE:R is actually fantastic, too. I played through it on Wii and very much enjoyed it, but split-screen multi was complete ass (is that going to be censored?) and graphically, it was horrid. Even running it through Dolphin didn't do much better. Slowdown. Graphical hiccups and bugs. Wired 360 controller can only do so much, I guess. :-/ Initially, Skyward Sword was looking to be the Wii puller game for me. Love the art style. Love the idea of it using Motion+. Love the concept of changing up the overworld/dungeon relationship. But now I'm kind of glad I held off on it. Sounds like the opening would drive me absolutely mad. And...sounds like the controls are...strange? I have a feeling that overall, I'm kind of done with most Nintendo stuff for this generation. Eh, no. I'm done with most motion controls this generation. Kinect is decent and MS is doing some neat things with it, but it's more a UI device than anything. I've been hearing extremely lukewarm things about Move. And Motion+ was really just an interesting experiment for me, gaming-wise, I suppose. I guess the biggest challenge with SS is the same kind of challenge every company's been trying to figure out: how to reconcile motion controls with "standard" gameplay. Doesn't seem like they're hitting that happy medium between intuition and performance: Kinect breaks your Avatar's arm. Move has drift. Motion+ needs to re-calibrate after IR. I had high hopes that SS might pull it off. Guess 1:1 won't happen for a while, huh? Maybe it's just as well. I'm trying to play through Deus Ex HR, DC Universe Online (you should play it, seriously), plus all the stuff I got for free on Black Friday. Amazon Rewards Points love me.
  9. Gaming

    [quote name='James' timestamp='1317338354' post='709672'][font=palatino linotype]So, here's a new Skyward Sword trailer from Nintendo. What do you guys think? The more I see this game the more I'm loving the art style. This trailer really makes the game worlds look so imaginative and colourful - I think this looks a whole lot more interesting than Twilight Princess, at least in terms of the overall feel of the world. Some of the art design is really very impressive, including the character animation. And I'm glad to see a broader variety of environments than were shown previously, too. [/font] [/quote] 0:27 and 0:41 got me hard. 27s mark has me excited because if the combat works, I'm going to LOVE knocking enemies off of the plank. Wait, we already did pirating in WW. 41s is well...that view reminds me of: [IMG][/IMG]
  10. Gaming

    This thread still sort of around? What I find most peculiar is that you're hitting visual slowdown in a Source engine game, on a 2.8GHz processor. Unless you, like Des said, are on a single core shouldn't have any issues at all on your processor side. I mean, the Source engine scales [b]absurdly[/b] well. It's actually pretty ridiculous. I was able to actually play HL2 waaaay back on my old PC, the one running with a mid-range AMD CPU and a Radeon 9200. Was it pretty? Nope. Was it flashy? Hell no. Did it play well, at least, at 1024x768? Oh you betcha. Now, granted, L4D2 has [b]a lot[/b] going on that may push your system harder than most other Source games, but at its core, it's still Source, and still L4D. Slowdown and lag sound more like a video card issue than anything processor-related, because unless you, again like Des said, have a bunch of other crap running while you play...a 2.8GHz processor is perfectly adequate for L4D2. Plus, here's the thing. Don't trust the hardware spec analysis that comes with L4D2. It tells me my video card may not be up to snuff and that I may suffer degraded performance blah blah blah. But I throw it up to almost max settings (a few of the little graphical flourishes disabled) and it's perfectly fine. And hell, my current CPU is a Core i5 750, at's a slower quad-core processor and there are no issues with L4D1/2. How current is your graphics card? Based on what you've described, it sounds like your GPU is somehow the issue. Maybe a driver update is required?
  11. Happy birthday again!

  12. Gaming

    My Steam ID: My GamerTag: Al Easton My PSN ID: al_easton Note about the PSN one...I can't remember whether there's an underscore in it or not. I want to say there isn't. But I can't be sure. hah. I guess try both ways and see which one works? James, by the way, I just added you on Live.
  13. Happy birthday!

    a fellow Zelda fan deserves a better present than just five stars, but i am on a budget.