26: M.I.A

I missed my post last night and almost missed today as I have been preparing the flat for a guest who is coming down for 4 nights. I will strive to post something up, probably in the morning or early afternoons.

UPDATE: Failed in putting this update up and I’m jus going to bed, GOD knows what the next few days holds.

Sorry and I love you all.

13: What’s Fiction?

Another night alone. Another night with the company of a bottle and the dim glow of the tv barely penetrating the thick blanket of the night. He grunted as he reached for his trusty glass, quickly swallowing down the dark liquor.

Lifeless faces laughed and giggled on the TV, their enforced happiness a trusty reminder of what he once had. What many of us once had. The cap hit the floor with disgust as the bottle poured out the remnants of its contents.

Fuck, he muttered.

The extent of his drinking hit him as he stood up. The room swirled to the left as he swayed to the right. Stumbling slightly he headed towards the kitchen in the hope that it held more of what he needed. Piles of dirty dishes were quickly pushed aside. Doors were opened and slammed shut, their forgotten contents rising from their slumber with a rattle.

He settled for defeat and headed back to the living room, picking up his jacket and a pile of coins and notes that had been scattered atop the table. The door stood closed for awhile as he gathered his thoughts and collected the little soberness he had left.

It wasn’t going outside that he was delaying, more the neighbourhood, or what was left of it. His hand clasped the pistol tightly. During the day it was fine, the Enforcers patrolled and kept things from escalating. At night it was a different matter.

——————-

I haven’t written any kind of fiction since school, which is around 7 or 8 years ago. I don’t know why I tried this. Just struggling for something to write about and wanted to experiment.

Probably come back to this next week. I had and have no idea of a story, maybe that will make itself known?

007: The First Filler

This post is going to have to be a little bit of a filler I’m afraid as it is my good girls celebration of her quarter of a century. We went to town where I bought a new jacket from River Island. What a romantic, I know. Then we went for lunch and had cake. Shopped out we retreated home for an afternoon beverage and a dark chocolate jaffa cake binge while I got angry at the football. Again, how romantic.

But don’t panic people, we’re just off out for a nice meal and then we’re meeting up with my cousin for drinks and giggles and something he has labelled BUFFET BONANZA! I’m equal parts excited and scared. I shall take pictures and post about it in great length tomorrow.

I should have planned ahead and made a post up for today but it’s only my first week so let me off, yeah? In the meantime, distract yourself with this:

002: Inspire me, Comrades

105 people. One hundred and five. That’s a lot, for those who aren’t very good with numbers.

I was a little shocked when I first found out how many people are attempting the oneaday project. Then I was actually a little disheartened. You see last year there was only a small amount when I was involved, enough that you could keep up to date with the majority and still feel like your being read. Thus my first panic was that no one would find the good stuff, people would be forgotten and I would lose a little hope.

But those fears have been routed and now I march on (playing AoE – sorry) with confidence. This is thanks to the work of our general, Pete Davidson, and his work with the portal site and the Twitter account. These make reading the other 104 blogs relatively easy and even help secure the likes of little old me some hits from strangers and not just friends. This is good!

So when I came to write this post – a little late, yes, but it’s my Dad’s birthday – I got distracted by the main site and must have read 8 or 9 posts, all doing something a little different and massaging my creativity in varying ways. I now know that this is going to become a trend.

Leave a little bit of time to glance through our fellow comrades work, you never know what might inspire you.

Now I have to get back to conquering the AoE, God knows what the peasants are getting up to.

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.

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?

Kane and Lynch (me please)

Here is a demo impression that does not seem to have a home. I was reasonably happy with it, experimented with a personal narrative and an in-depth analysis of the shooting mechanics, which are shit by the way.

Kane and Lynch: Dog Days


The camera shakes like a Youtube video capturing a storm. Through the motion I recognise one of the protagonists, the long-haired-psycho, Lynch. The visuals are good. Very good in fact. They are all dark and moody, the cinematography perfectly suiting the story.

So far so good, I’m impressed. But then they give me control of Lynch and here I see the major flaw in the game; the combat just does not work.

The shaky camera fixes itself on the back of Lynch, shotgun in hand, staring at a sea of riot cops who are charging through the quickly disintegrating Asian restaurant. I fumble with the pad as shots rain in on me. My screen quickly filling with a red wave. I see a green button on the screen and press A as Lynch swings into cover by the pillar – it looks and feels right, with smooth animation and a weight that was implemented so well by Gears of War.

My third-person-shooter training comes into full effect as I dip out of cover and take out a couple of cops. “This isn’t too bad” I think to myself. Just as that thought leaves my head I get dropped to the floor. I lie on my back and scan around to work out what happened. As it turns out a cop ran around behind me and shot me in the back. Bit unfair really.

I jump back to my feet and work my way out the room. Kane and I have to work our way through a sea of corridors until we get into the next fire-fight. I can see the door open in the distance as more police spread through the room seeking cover. I preempt this and bolt around the corner of a wall, hoping it would lead to a vantage point behind them.

It does, but sadly I get to watch the shockingly poor AI in full effect. The “enemies” pop out of cover in an almost sped-up fashion, jumping from wall to crouched cover in the blink of an eye – imagine a whole squad of soldiers moving like Captain Kirk. Then, when I get over my amused confusion, I open fire on them with a machine gun I liberated from an officer and watch them soak up bullets. One clip later I switch back to my shotgun and seem to be able to drop them from 20 yards. Strange.

After an extended fight we get to see the back alleys and streets of the city, and once again, it looks great. The lighting is wonderful, especially when we reach the neon lit streets, but it is always overshadowed by the AI. Whether it’s enemies jumping around unrealistically or pedestrians casually strolling around five feet from the bullets, some even wandering into your fight then realising what’s going on before sprinting away.

The toughest section of the demo lies in wait; a narrow street chock-full of police and bystanders. I get told I can grab a human shield, and I try, but it won’t work. It turns out, after a few failed attempts, that you can only grab police based human shields; which makes very little sense seeing as you’re two criminals who are fighting for their lives.

I eventually get my hands the shiled and step out of cover, expecting to be given some sort of safety to progress to the next cover, but instead the police shoot straight through their colleague leaving me and my “shield” dead. Again, strange.

I die numerous times on this section, too many to remember. It feels like the enemy can train their guns on you with ease, from an angle no matter how obtuse, and are able to hammer shots on you without stopping to reload. This makes any fight against large groups very tough and more importantly not very fun. Kane doesn’t seem to help any, in fact he seems to do nothing at all. The only helpful thing he did was distract them while I opened fire their flank, dropping them one at a time while not one of the survivors paid me any attention.

I honestly cannot describe how confusing the AI is. It’s haphazard and random at best. I did finish the demo but I actually had to enable the steady camera as the motion was really getting to me: a gamer who very, very rarely suffers from motion sickness.

My initial excitement turned into exhausted joy as I quit to dashboard. I still maintain that it’s a great looking game, but it needs to learn that form follows function; a game must play well before looking well; and in it’s present state it does not. Hopefully some work will be implemented before release to tighten up some aspects but I was left very skeptical.

The online, however, has some potential, although it still suffers from the same gameplay errors. That and lag. Horrible, horrible, lag. I can look past this as it is a multiplayer demo, so the servers should be improved by release. Dog Days looks at the standard multiplayer and skews it slightly by almost combining competitive play with co-op.

The three game modes – Fragile Alliance, Undercover Cop and Cops & Robbers – instill a sense of mistrust as your team-mates are often waiting for the opportunity to backstab you. In Fragile Alliance it’s for the loot, whereas in Undercover Cop it’s because one of you is, well, an undercover cop.

I played a few games of these with it taking a long time to fill the game – my pad battery actually powered down while waiting for the sixth and seventh player in a game of Undercover Cop – and then when I got in the games the lag was awful, with players disappearing and reappearing all around me.

But I did get a feel for the game and it’s very refreshing. You have to keep an eye on how much loot you have and then watch your back for trigger happy team-mates. Often games ended up with a genocidal shootout while waiting for the escape vehicle. The survivor taking the winnings. Annoying as getting betrayed is, you get to respawn as a cop and seek your revenge on your traitorous team-mates.

I can see a lot of fun with this, more so with friends rather than random players as I think the betraying may be a bit too prevalent. I would comment on Cops & Robbers but I couldn’t get a game. Not even in twenty minutes of trying.

As a demo, Kane and Lynch: Dog Days is not great, but it does show some promise – even if it is only in the online. I don’t know if I can look past the fact that a shooting game lacks good shooting mechanics; but you never know, the addition of online co-operative play might be the big selling point that the game needs.