Things you should see.

Archive for November, 2010

Evil Ryu, Oni Akuma and 6 for Arcade Edition?

Oni Akuma?

The last time we heard from Ono-san was that Yun & Yang were set to appear in Super Street Fighter IV: Arcade Edition and it was set to come out December 16 in Japanese arcades. The last we heard about DLC options for consoles was that they had been denied by Capcom HQ. This new news throws that into disarray.

Birth of the Oni.  The Awakening.

Eventhubs has now published screenshots of alleged new achievements for the Xbox 360 version of SSF4. Not only do they show Yun & Yang on consoles, apparently confirming that DLC, but also reveal what appear to be boss challenges in the single player mode. One appears to be series veteran Evil Ryu, while the other a new version of Akuma. We already have Shin Akuma in the standard SSF4, so, based on the name of the achievement, people have taken to calling him ‘Oni Akuma’.

Further it has been suggested that the achievements indicate they are playable as below; Achievements

achievement 1: defeat evil ryu on hardest
achievement 2: defeat oni on hardest
achievement 3: beat arcade mode with yun
achievement 4: beat arcade mode with yang
achievement 5: beat arcade mode with evil ryu
achievement 6: beat arcade mode with oni

All Ono has to say about all this is ‘Yipe! What the hell was that? ;O’.

This is all interesting news, especially since with these Yun & Yang, Evil Ryu & Oni Akuma, the often rumoured Alex and Urien would bring the total new characters up to 6, a number heavily bandied around in the past.

December 16 is looking very, very interesting about now.

Artwork of Shin Akuma by Calvin Clyke.


The Problem With Steam Sales

Where did these mascots come from?

When I was brought into the Steam fold proper one year ago, with 2009’s ‘Early Holiday Sale’ at Thanksgiving, I went crazy with the idea of building up a massive, easy to access library of games and on the cheap. However it made me wonder; if I bought everything then, what would be left for subsequent sales?

Since then there was last year’s Christmas sale, 2010’s Easter sales and now the recently concluded ‘Give & Get’ sale. The order of these sales is to have a number of titles on sale each day, for one day only, at enormous discounts of upto 90%. It would be a fun ritual during the summer to wait until 2AM local, or whatever time the day clicked over, just to see what the deals for the next day would be. By this addictive behaviour I know find myself with a 250 game library, most of which I’ll never get to playing due to a sheer lack of time.

Now I’m realising the problem with Steam sales- they want you to buy everything. But if you do, there will be no excitement next time there’s a sale. And you won’t have time to play all you’ve bought. *sigh* I have been checking each day of these current sales to disappointment. Not because the games on sale are rubbish, but because I own them all! So didn’t really have much luck this time but hopefully fortune will shine upon me for the inevitable end of year run. I still haven’t bought Mass Effect 2 yet after all…


Compressing Time with The Tudors

The Tudors also seem bored of this storyline.

The Tudors is that recently-ended show from Showtime known for egregiously miscasting Jonathan Rhys Meyers as the notorious King Henry VIII of England. As noted in the show’s corny intro line (that was wisely cut from the show’s second season onward) we know how the story ends as soon as we hear its premise. It’s true but I was able to lul myself into not caring. I went along for the ride. That was until, midway through season 2, I realised the show was still mired in the king’s first ‘Great Matter’ – the legal validity of his divorce from Catherine and marriage to his mistress Anne. Picking The Tudors up after its conclusion, I know it is to run only four seasons in total. How then will it attempt to resolve this issue and then properly address Henry’s four remaining wives – none of whom have yet appeared on screen – in anything but a rushed and illogical manner? As reviews of later seasons seem to indicate, that is exactly what The Tudors ends up becoming.

Any fool with even a passing interest in this historic period will notice how timelines don’t match up. There are little things like the amalgamation of Henry’s two sisters into a composite and the hastening of that character’s marriages and eventual death. Timing of betrothals, national alliances and declarations of war, particularly regarding the French King are also somewhat curious. Not for a second do I suggest that temporal continuity beyond Henry’s divorce and reformation of the English church is accurate – it isn’t – but those other changes serve the narrative and that’s good enough for me.

And while I don’t intend on picking apart setting and characterisation too much, if I wanted to shoot The Tudors to pieces, factual contradictions abound too. Again though these are not significant diversions on the whole. After all, this period is commonly held to be the most documented in English history and the one told by the most conflicting perspectives. Who can really make a case for what is absolutely true and what isn’t? Henry might not have been as youthful and athletic as Rys-Meyers but, surprisingly enough, he did wrestle Francis I in a paper castle during a diplomatic trip to Calais. As for whether Pope Paul III was the sarcastic, indignant smartass Peter O’Toole portrays him as being, I really can’t say.

So, prepared to forgive as much as I am, why do I take issue with the prolonged discussion of was-Henry-really-married-to-Catherine? Because, above all else, it is noticeable. I’m along for the ride. I’ll forgive little inaccuracies, slightly fictional characterisations and the occasional chronological hiccup as long as the The Tudors is fun to watch and keeps the ball rolling. The problem with the show’s abject fixation on the ‘Great Matter’ grinds things to a halt. By this point I am sick of seeing the pathetic and downtrodden Catherine continually swear allegiance to God and his majesty. I am similarly tired of seeing the Queen Consort parade around power as though she was entitled to it by divine right. I’m sick of the church disagreeing but doing nothing, and I’m sick of hearing of excommunication and reformation only to have these things materialise a season and a half later. But I’m most of all sick of the King of England acting like a horny impetuous shit who had one too many cans of Monster that morning.

The amount of time spent on this first part of Henry’s life is understandable- surely the beheading of Anne Boleyn and creation of the Anglican Church is what he’s best known for. The fact is though that his life took many twists and turns thereafter. As interesting a hook as those two things may be, time is being squandered on them that would be better purposed to the story of the latter wives. I’ll give the show the benefit of the doubt now – I’m still watching it – but may be inclined to revisit this topic once I’ve worked out exactly where it jumped the shark.


Alien Anthology and Excessive Box Sets

Alien Anthology: Egg Edition

In 2003 the Alien franchise saw what many, myself included, considered the best DVD compilation in film history in the form of the Alien Quadrilogy set. The behemoth was 9 discs long, had two cuts of each of the four existing films and a wealth of extra content included ‘just in case’. Some question whether the series is worthy of such excessive treatment- they can get fucked for all I care.

Now, with that annoying Blu Ray technology that’s all the rage, the Alien series is getting another excessive collectors’ box, with just as many cuts, 40 hours more footage and 3 less discs. Is this new ‘Alien Anthology’ set worth an upgrade?

You can visit any of those videophile review sites to get the long winded version, but let me cut down the answer for you. Video transfers into 1080P are great. Alien gets the best treatment, followed by Aliens, and who really cares about the last two? Audio mixes are all new and actors were even called in to redo lines that were drowned out in Alien 3. All of the Quadrilogy content is there, plus a whole lot more, with the notable addition of an unedited version of Alien 3’s ‘making of’ which shows David Fincher mouthing off on set and taking the name of Fox in vain.

Are those things worth an upgrade on their own? Maybe. Oh, who am I kidding? I’ll be buying this and if I’m lucky might just snatch up the limited ‘egg’ edition too. Lucky and bloated with cash, that is.

Oh and the discs are all region free in case anyone down under wanted to save a heap buying off Amazon instead of paying JB HiFi’s inflated local prices. Also to just to clarify what I mean by ‘excessive’, this is what I mean.


Steam Recommendations: Black Ops & New Vegas

Call of Duty: Black Ops and Fallout: New Vegas

Steam, that digital delivery system for games from Valve that I have this curious love / hate relationship with, rolled out a new feature overnight – recommendations. Now you, and the rest of the defenceless internet, are set to be subjected to my unadulterated thoughts on games new & old and potentially in such a barrage that you’d think I was on Valve’s payroll. And hey, wouldn’t that be nice?

What I like about this system is that there is a character limit of about a 1000, which demands brevity. It also allows me to be shit lazy and not bother writing real reviews. If you’re a glutton for more punishment visit My Recommendations Page. I’ve decided to start off with two new games Steam prompted me with

Black Ops is an odd beast in that it takes steps forward and steps back from last year’s Call of Duty: Modern Warefare 2, all with the haughty confidence of a title guaranteed to ship 5 million or more without much effort. However when you have half the internet playing something online how can you pass it up?
The campaign still provides a high you just don’t get from other shooters. The story is ambitiously different, but I’m still deciding whether that difference paid off in the end. Technology wise, the game used 2008’s CoD: World at War as a codebase instead of the more recent MW2. Odd choice. It looks good, but not great.
Multiplayer is a winner for one reason: Dedicated Servers. 20-50ms pings instead of 60, 70, 80 upto 200 or so in MW2? Hell yes. So far weapons aren’t memorable like those in WaW and MW2, but we’re still in early days.
Sad that I have to mention this but hardware performance on PC is not fantastic. In fact it was practically unplayable at launch. Black Ops is too CPU intensive and if you’re not packing a Core i5 or i7, expect 2-5 second stutters, and a generally frustrating experience ahead.

 

Not as good as Fallout 3. That out of the way, buy this game. Fallout: New Vegas is probably the world’s most bloated expansion pack – most every asset here is recycled from its predecessor. Not to say it doesn’t excel in any areas- gunplay, writing and party interaction are all done better here. At the same time VATS, Special and general balancing are done worse.
If it weren’t for all the bugs in the game this would be easier to recommend as a follow up to 2008’s masterpiece. As it stands the game is a lot of fun, but a lot of patching is in order.
Of course if you haven’t played FO3 yet, get the GOTY of that before you try New Vegas. More content, less bugs… is there really much of a choice to make?


Experiments With A Dog’s Severed Head

 

This video has been around for ages. Since 1940, actually. Seems I’m late to the party. Apparently real, this clip is taken from a Russian film – possibly pure propaganda – showing various medical experiments, the highlight of which is the post-separation animation of a dog’s head.

If the film is to be believed, the poor canine’s head survived 15 minutes after its natural heart stopped supplying bloodflow and the artificial ‘autojecter’ was attached. The question here is, is it real? It’s easy to call ‘fake’ on something like this but you have to wonder…

Thanks to Gizmodo for bringing this well known internet meme to my attention.


Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 134 other followers