Saturday, November 13, 2010

Bits and Pieces 7: Brain Dump


I've been reading reviews lately on video games, and I know that I shouldn't, because I dislike reviewers of any sort, but I've been doing it anyway. There's only one reviewer I like to read, 'cause he's somewhat good at what he does, and that's Ben Dutka over at PSXExtreme. But I've noticed that people are still hankering on about graphics these days and it's just bothersome to me. I stopped worrying about video game visuals last generation with the PlayStation 2, because I knew they'd just continue to get better and better. Yet people still ramble on about them and if there's one minor hiccup in the visuals in the game, it'll severely damage the overall score of the game. Most of these hiccups are like seeing a random truck or car in the background of Lord of the Rings, you have to know what you're looking for to really spot it, and it doesn't remove you from the narrative being told. It's in graphics that video games are most like animation and comic books and are the least like films or any other medium of story telling. The visuals are artistic representations of the world the game is set in, even if the game is supposed to be set in a semi-realistic world. If one game looks more "realistic" than another, it isn't damaging to the one that is less in the realism department. Why? Because it's a different art team, a different development studio, and a different set of sensibilities that created that world. "Flaws" only become apparent when you compare one game to the next.

Graphics should be the least of gamers worries now days, and they shouldn't be a focal point of an over-opinionated twit that somehow believes themselves to be far more educated on the subject of video games than pretty much every other gamer that was ever born.

I hate critics. They spend very little time critiquing anything and spend more time criticizing everything. And their opinions aren't worth dirt, really.

Black Ops

Call of Duty: Black Ops was released this past Tuesday. It's funny to me 'cause I still am not a fan of first-person shooter games. I haven't been a fan of them since the days of DOOM but because of some friends I've found myself playing the Call of Duty games and rather enjoying them.

Apparently it's the in thing for gamers who express their opinions on the Internet to hate and loathe anything related to Call of Duty -- especially any of them that aren't made by Infinity Ward -- for no real reason other than they've become disgustingly popular.

Moving on: I dislike FPS games, but I've played a lot of them this generation. They've grown on me, I enjoy them, and I've become a lot better at them than I was even just a year ago. Black Ops has easily become one of my favorite experiences with an FPS game in my lifetime. The single player campaign was a better story overall than the past two COD games. World at War was another disjointed World War II affair and, while it boasted some decent voice acting, was entirely centered around surface material. Modern Warfare 2 was derivative of several movies from the 1980s -- most notably Red Dawn -- and lacked a great deal of atmosphere. While I enjoyed both of them decently enough, they weren't as good as games like Resistance, Resistance 2 or the two BioShock games. But, I think Black Ops sits amongst those two franchises nicely. There's the Zombie mode, of course, and there's a lot of other random weirdness like Dead Ops Arcade, which plays a lot like Zombie Apocalypse and Burn Zombie Burn, two downloadable titles. And the multiplayer isn't broken. It's pretty solid and evenly cut down the middle -- I've not encountered anyone taking advantage of any glitches in the game or the like -- and relies a lot on skill or dumb-luck, which is what I prefer. Modern Warfare 2's multiplayer, even after all the patching and whatnot, is severely broken with a great deal of disadvantages towards all players regardless of skill level. I may suck at online FPS games, but I don't suck that bad, but at MW2? Yeah, with all the danger close, commando pro, and other associated perks, along with the horrible input delay, lag and hit detection; the game is just broken. I always hear about how awesome Infinity Ward is in developing games, but in the two efforts from them that I've played, I didn't see what all the hubbub was about. Especially since they did absolute fuckall in the way of beta testing for Modern Warfare 2's multiplayer and released it broken and retarded.

Kinda funny how I just wrote a few paragraphs about hating reviewers, then wrote a rather short one, eh? Difference is: no one's paying me for my opinion, no one's going to wage their enjoyment of anything based on my opinion of it, and no one asked. I think.


Another game I bought recently. A lot of fuss was made about this game being like Gears of War, but I found it to be nothing like that game at all. It's a mix between Contra -- oh, yeah, kickin' it hell'a old school -- and Transformers. The game is pure chaos with a heavy dosage of methamphetemines pumped right into the heart for good measure. It's good stuff.

The Walking Dead

Robert Kirkman's comic, The Walking Dead premiered as a television program on AMC almost three weeks ago and it's fantastic. I love how the drama is rolling out on screen and it all gets me excited and I have to fight against everything that is Dameyon to start telling people that are new to the fiction thanks to the television program what's going to happen next. The gore really exploded in the second episode, too. It's awesome. I think I've figured out what's going to happen in the season finale, though.

Dread and the Human Centipede.

I kept hearing about The Human Centipede and that it was gross, gnarly, disgusting, and horrific, and while I enjoyed it, I found it to be a bit disturbing, but overall it wasn't all that great of a piece of horror fiction. The way people were talking about it made it seem like it was the next Audition or Martyrs, but it was neither of those. It didn't dig around in the human psyche enough to get to that level, and it was more along the lines of Hostel or Saw, but better in my opinion. Hostel made me laugh, a lot, and Saw made me groan out of a complete lack of patience for the story they were telling me. The Human Centipede definitely brings a new definition to the term "ass to mouth."

Dread is one of my many favorite short stories from Clive Barker's Books of Blood. It's one of the few stories from that collection that doesn't deal with any supernatural elements, and revolves around a psychology student studying human fears. The film works along similar lines as Midnight Meat Train in that it uses the short story as a blue print and then goes, but develops it further. The movie is pretty good, I rather liked it a lot. I didn't like the ending as much as the ending in the short story, however. It had a similar impact surrounding the motif of dread, but the short story version was done in a much better way. Although it does have a few bits and pieces -- heh -- from the short story's ending thrown in around the whole thing.

And that's about it.