Wednesday, 30 April 2008

Keen on some IV-Play?

I might have mentioned it before but I never quite took to the GTA series in any way. I am not adverse to a bit of murder and mayhem in a digital world but I found GTA to be lacking a certain style. Still, it was hard not to be swept away with the prossie-wacking juggernaut this time round. I finally succumbed and picked up my first ever R* game yesterday. No preorder though. Just waltzed into Argos and handed over the readies. Midnight queues and stab-proof vests? No thanks! I wasn't compelled to rush home and take the day off work though. It sat on my desk till 11pm last night before I removed the wrap and popped it in the 360. I'll let know you what I think when I've clocked up some reasonable time in Liberty City. What I can tell you though is the manual designer needs to learn how to present his typography better. It's called tracking pal... tsk.

Monday, 21 April 2008

Eyes are most definitely 'Bloodshot'…

Seriously. Those wacked out effects of Ethan Thomas either drunk or hallucinating are making my eyes hurt! You know when you've been up late playing and you wake up the next day but your eyes ache and you need extra time to adjust to the light? Yep, you've been playing Condemned 2 just like me! I liked the 'effects' first time round, tolerated them in F.E.A.R. and downright despise them now. Okay Monolith we get it! You're on a mission to give us all fits and seizures. Condemned 2 isn't too bad anyway. Especially when you get that and Dark Sector together for under £30 smackers. If you paid full whack then you might be regretting it slightly. Both games have some nice stuff in there, combat is interesting, lots of crimson etc, but they just lack that extra oopmh that makes them a COD beater. Far too many achievements for online stuff in my opinion. Condemned multiplayer is hilariously flawed and you'll be hard pressed to find anyone online waiting to play. The Club had a similar problem. Maybe it's a Sega thing!
Update: Oh dear. Condemned 2 suddenly went from okay to absolute crockery. Not wanting to reveal too much in case you're going through the game yourself but the last few levels are like a completely different game. Awful. The grimy streets, sinister thugs and spooky storyline are gone. In their place you've got a wacky sci-fi plot stuck in a City 17 style structure occupied by Hellraiser rejects in bondage. Too much reliance on guns made the whole thing laughable even on the hardest game setting. It was not scary or thrilling in any way. Such a letdown. If you want to try Condemned for the first time then stick to the original. Much better game in so many ways.

Wednesday, 16 April 2008

Definition of April

It sucks. Cold, wet and really quite unnecessary. Hopefully May will be a huge improvement what with Grand Theft, Indy 4 and maybe a spot of sunshine for more than a day. I never really got into the GTA games and I'm not that desperate for the next one either but it's piqued my curiosity more than previous installments. COD multiplayer is keeping me entertained for now, especially with the hilarious Americans constantly proving to the rest of the world that they come tops in the racist/anti-everything else league tables. Joined one particular match of Search and Destroy and had to turn the volume down to stop the endless racist taunts between the two teams during the intermission.
Who Hell He?
Not sure whether it's considered 'cool' to admit it but I have always been a fan of Doctor Who. Tennant doesn't come close to the majesty of the Troughton/Pertwee era of course but its still got the basic elements that keep me entertained. I don't like every story of course and I have a love/hate thing going on with Catherine Tate but the first two episodes this season were worth watching. The upcoming episode with the Sontarans has massive potential and, if they do it right, the return of Davros will have fanbois spanking into the forums for weeks afterwards. I tried my hand at some covers for potential DVD releases to kill some time last year but your hands are a little tied when you have substandard jpegs to work from. The example above was one such cover I made for the '42' episode shown last year. It's far from perfect as the images I wanted to use could not be found at sufficient quality. I would have killed for a good pic of the spaceship flying towards the sun. Sigh!

Saturday, 5 April 2008

Cash x Infinity Ward

Been enjoying the new multiplayer maps for COD 4 and very good they are too. I sit on the fence when it comes to whether this type of content should require us to cough up more of our hard earned. The new levels are great fun to play especially Creek and Chinatown but should they have come free or not? Activision execs are probably bathing in swimming pools of cash right now following massive sales of the game so a little something in return that doesn't require paying out? Still, I am a mug so I paid up my readies on the spot. Sucker!
Stretching the truth
Amusing promotional poster fell out of yesterdays MCV courtesy of Future. No company on the earth can spin lousy figures quite like the muppets down in Bath. Every year when their circs drop you can expect to hear a statement that in turn celebrates the last 12 months as their best ever. What sort of calculator do they use over there? Back to the poster. Dotted around the usual sterile design that we have come to expect from the masters of medical journal design is a collection of figures that's meant to impress. When your own numbers are laughably low you need to do something desperate to spin things back in your favour. I know! Lets show hardware installed base figures! Genius! What about that mythical mag term known as reach? This is publisher favourite that implies that each magazine sold is read by your family and your 400 mates who then rush out to buy software because your advert was on back cover. Huzzah! All that is left to do is to add a little bit of door-to-door speel from Future ging Binns about slow growth and attach rates to cover things up further. Superb! I am booking my ad slot now and I don't even have a game to push!

Tuesday, 1 April 2008

April Musings

I was planning on making some elaborate April Fools gag for you last night but was too lazy. Sorry. I had a nice range of ideas including some fake World of Starcraft screenshots that cannibalised pics from that Blizzard Ghost game. Looked nice too. I might finish them off when I get a mo along with a cool logo I made. I would probably do a lot more drawing if I had the time and add a dash of colour now I own a massive A3 Wacom that takes up most of my desk. Speaking of Blizzard, I spotted a job posting for a Production Artist to work over at their Velizy HQ. Whilst I am not in a position to uproot the family and head off to France it would still be a corking job working on those Blizzard brands. Imagine sorting out the material for the next Diablo game and all the while you're getting paid in diamonds and gold since their megabucks merger with Activision!
Byron B*llocks
Getting a little tired of this ratings nonsense now. The best way anyone is going to protect children from inappropriate material is to cull all retarded parents BEFORE they have kids. No ratings system or retail fines will keep future versions of Manhunt from little Timmy if mummy is too busy arranging hair appointments or daddy just wants to impress on the days he has custody.

Eurogamers FTW!

That stellar shirt emporium you might have heard me mention in past posts has been updated today. Not just with some fine new garments but also with a spiffing new page to promote our official Eurogamer collection! I've been a fan of Eurogamer for a few years now and when I got chatting to some of the folks over there we discussed the possibility of doing some cool tees for the site. Well, a ton of emails later and here we are! The selection features some popular graphics and catchphrases from the Eurogamers community and anyone familiar with the site will recognise them straight away. If you don't then you'd better head over there and see what you're missing out on. Along with a top mix of gaming reviews, features, videos etc it also has regular contributions from my old colleague Richardo Leadbetter.