Link To The Pass

So far this year I have reviewed both Tiger Woods 11 and Madden 11. Both I praised, giving them positive and glowing reviews respectively. Both I was enjoying – and still am, technically – playing through their individual career modes.

But now I find myself reviewing NHL 11 and starting yet another career – and that’s before I even get FIFA 11 and PES 11. I know in advance, no matter how much care I garner for my created ice-thug, that he will be left to die of hypothermia in the save file of neglect.

It’s not out of choice. I don’t go, “nope, had enough of you” and throw it into a dusty corner of the room. There’s just always something else coming out, something else to distract me, to review, to play until my eyes leak. I miss the days of my youth where I would play the same Master League on PES for about 7 seasons, constantly upgrading and replacing.

It’s not like I don’t have the time, I think I need to concentrate on just one. Focus on taking the Packers to the Superbowl, putting the time in, instead of pissing about on the golf course when I should be on the training field.

It’s different with shooters. Give me an average to amazing multiplayer game and you won’t see me for weeks, months even. But they lack the true grind of a good manager mode. Sure, they have ranks and leaderboards to keep you fragging, but they don’t touch the almost RPG like grind of the good-old-days of PES.

There is a connection between sports games and RPG’s – faint, yes, but it’s there. RPG’s have the epic stories and great battles but so do these sport games, only you crate your own. The boss battles take the from of promotion games and Champion League finals. Meeting and falling in love with new characters is akin to picking up an unknown star on the transfer market and turning him into the next doomed box-art star.

I look back at the stars of Geroge Street United and they shine in the same light as Barret and “the boy” from Secret of Mana.  I just need to recreate these times, invest a little bit of myself into these teams, get that bond back.

Or maybe I just have more of a life than I did in my teens.

Halo:Reach, Playlist Update

Let’s make no mistake here, matchmaking in Reach needs a lot of tweaking. It only takes one bad kid at a a birthday party to ruin it and the same stands for the likes of Rumble Pit and Big Team Battle.

Infection and Safe Haven – Asylum is unplayable due to a map exploit that allows players to tehnically get out of the playable area. This allows them to oversee the whole map and drop any infected before they even get close to climbing the rocks. Unfair.

Haemorrhage – Everyone was excited about Reach’s Blood Gulch remake but sadly it has not lived up to the hype. Games are unbalanced and boring thanks to some key problems. Any slayer game that features a Scorpion Tank spoiled as the tank is overpowered compared to it’s previous incarnations and there is a lack of weapons to compensate. The map is far too large for SWAT gametypes, taking the fun out of the fan favourite. But CTF should work, right? Wrong, with quick flag returns and only 15 seconds sudden death, the whole thing becomes slow and arduous on such a big map.

Oddball – The Drop Shield upgrade makes this so infuriating. Especially when all 4 players on the opposite team take it and you have to smash your way through all of them to get anywhere. King of The Hill suffers similar toubles as you can drop the shield on the edge or before it moves – not as big an issue but it still grates.

Big Team Battle – I love BTB, I really do. It was my home on Halo 3. Reach isn’t quite at that level yet, the weapon to vehicle ratio needs ironed out and SWAT/Snipers needs to be removed from most maps if not entirely.

I know this seems very negative for a game I’m on love with but you have to remember that Halo 3 was the same in it’s early stages. Only after years of updates, tweaks and refining did the matchmaking hit the highs it’s currently at. That’s something you can always have faith in with Bungie; they listen and implement the changes the community wants. And with that in mind, here’s the news of the first update:

Playlist Changes

  • SWAT Playlist added (SWAT removed from Big Team Battle and Team Slayer)
  • Campaign Matchmaking (live on 10/15 – You will be required to have earned the Grade “Corporal” to enter this Playlist)
  • Team Slayer rebalanced to highlight default Slayer game variants and include new offerings
  • Classic Slayer removed
  • Removed “Pro” game variants from the Arena Playlist
  • Removed Boardwalk from Arena Team Doubles Playlist
  • Added “Return to Battlefield” volume to Space on Zealot in the Arena Playlist

Game Variants Additions

  • King of the Hill (multiple Playlists, including Arena*)
  • Rocket Race
  • Juggernaut (Rumble Pit Playlist)
  • *King of the Hill not included in Arena

General Housekeeping

  • Sudden Death will be added to all Assault game variants, including Invasion
  • Team Objective will now feature the map Powerhouse
  • Replacing Drop Shield with Evade for King of the Hill, Territories, and Oddball
  • Replacing Hologram with Evade in Oddball, Capture the Flag, Assault, and Stockpile
  • Replacing the Scorpion on Hemorrhage with Wraiths (Hemorrhage Heavies variant, TBD)

This made me a very happy boy. Very happy, indeed. SWAT removed from BTB is good, a SWAT playlist will please many players. Campaign matchmaking could be a hidden gem if it matched the fun of Firefight matchmaking. Just tons of updates and tweaks that should open up the matchmaking and make me play other gametpyes rather than the safe haven of Team Slayer.

This is just a selection of updates with more being kept under the covers. New maps have been promised too, and I hope at least one is a new Invasion map.

Keep your eye out for Friday’s update as I think Bungie will how us at least one new map. Roll on October,It feels like release day all over again

30 Movies in 30(-24) Days

While browsing @Jeneahaly‘s oneaday blog, I found her mention of a project started by another oneaday-er, Chris from I Started Something I Couldn’t Finish; which is a fantastic title that perfectly sums up my attempt at the project.

Basically, for the lazy link clickers, you have to answer 30 questions about movies over 30 days. So a month of movie updates, unless it’s one of those months with 29 or 31 days, or one of those leap year things but they’re just bastards so I’m ignoring them.

I’m not going to do one post for each answer, instead covering 5 questions over 6 blog posts – because I’m lazy. I’m trying to make these quite impulsive so expect some random and possibly wrong/easy answers. Without further ado, here are my first questions and answers:

Day 01 – The best movie you saw during the last year

Oh, that is a sneaky one. I watched quite a few last year and can’t remember many that really stood out. Possibly Red Cliff, the original 2 disc un-dubbed version of course. Oh, screw that, it would have to be Bunny and the Bull, written and directed by Paul King, the director of The Mighty Boosh. It was fantastic. Great cast, amazing cameos, and an utterly spellbinding feast for the eyes. If you haven’t seen it yet then please do.

Day 02 – The most underrated movie

I don’t really follow ratings so I’m not sure about this one. Underrated via my friends would have to be 13th Warrior. Yes, I know, it’s Antonio Banderas etc. but I really like the story, the setting and the characters. And there’s some cracking action in it.

Day 03 – A movie that makes you really happy

My Neighbour Totoro. Easy. The original Japanese version of course. I can put up with subtitles and Mae’s voice in the Western version is just horrible. My girlfriend bought a big Totoro plush that has slowly become mine through the years. I hug it while watching it… no I don’t, honest.

Day 04 – A movie that makes you sad

I tend to only watch sad films once as I can’t stomach them for a good long while. So I can’t recall an answer to this one. There is, of course, the obvious choice in Schindlers list, which upset me and educated me when we watched it in school. But I think the movie that made me the most sad, so sad that I actually remember crying, would have to be Terminator Two. I was young at the time, not even in my teens, but I loved that big chunk of Austrian metal so much, and when he did the thumbs up I properly wept. I know Tim Bisley used this in Spaced but I swear to God this happened to me.

Day 05 – Favourite love story in a movie

I like honest portrayals of love in movies and there have been a few in my time. And I can’t really think of any now. What I can think of is less honest in a realistic, normal way but more sweet and fucked up: Garden State. I really dug the chemistry between Zach Braff and the previously hated (thanks to George Lucas) Natalie Portman. So mucyh so that I may have watched the film far too many times.

Well that’s five down and twenty five to go. I’ll try and plan ahead for the rest. This is just a quick brain vomit as I felt like writing something. It’s a fun project, though, why don’t you join in?

Rebirth

Rise.

Rise, my child.

Feel the words flow through you.

This is your resurrection.

Again…

Yes, once again I have left my little corner of the internet to gather dust like a lonely leftover VHS tape. But I am back for at least today. I’m making one more push to keep this baby going and keep it updated with content, waffle and general shite.

What makes this different to previous attempts is the fact that I have gutted, refurnished and utilised an old laptop that’s been stuck on the shelf beside the VHS tape, dust and all. So now I can tip-tap away from the comfort of my leather couch, ignoring the shiny distractions of tweetdeck and the motivation it eats up.

I have been writing a lot, just not here, but over there. At lesson6, the alternative, cliché free hip-hop blog that SamGamesGraphicDesignerMorris and I set up. I have been frightfully negligent in my duties for the past two weeks, namely thanks to the health of myself and others, but I’m back now and just in time for my 3 weeks in charge while our mighty leader pisses off to the States – and I do hope he has fun.

So how’s that for a catch up?