Monthly Archives: August 2011

Empire presents: Big Screen!

What a long post this has the potential to be.. so I’m going to highlight the mini sessions I saw and do separate reviews for the movies. That seems like a good idea, go me.

Friday
Getting there Friday morning went better than to be expected, travelling down – setting out at 6:30am, did manage to take its toll on us though! We got there nice and early expecting big queues but day 1 was surprisingly organised.. outside at least. Once we were in there was a bit of a queue for the Indigo2 but was fairly smooth, bit of a late start but went pretty well. The morning sessions in fairness were all basically the same deal, BIG reels of trailers, the odd bit of extra unreleased footage. Day 1 Warner Bros, Paramount, 20th Century Fox and Universal. Saw a bit of Rise of the Planet of the Apes footage, including some of the mo-cap work with Andy Serkis which was nice. Couple of other films that didn’t massively interest me in honesty were Martha Marcy May Marlene and some of the new 3D Titanic footage. We did see a bit of In Time which looks like a flashy new quasi-remake of Logan’s Run, people get to 25 and stop aging, but they use “time” as currency which looked quite promising.. and Amanda Seyfried looked hot, and I’ve never really thought much of her! The Raven Edgar Allen Poe inspired serial killer thriller looked like it had potential. The Change-up was a “i wish i had your life” film where 2 friends swapped lives (been done a lot before) but it looked good, and conveniently was one of the films we saw but more on that later. Next came Contraband, Johnny English Reborn, Tower Heist, Battleship, The Thing (remake) and Immortals, seeming a bit of a mixed bag. Immortals being made by some of the same people as 300 had far too obvious nods in its styling, has the (gruesome) potential to be good but I wont be holding my hopes too high.

After this came the “Animal Stars of the Movies” which was surprisingly good, saw a few fan favourites such as Hedwig and Crookshanks from Harry Potter. There was also a nut cracking squirrel from Charlie and the Chocolate factory, which I (and lots of others as they rightly pointed out during the presentation) thought they were CGI but they were trained to crack the nuts and put them in a bowl! Fantastic! Then we saw a parrot drive a car and even get out and check under the bonnet after it broke down, amazed again!

This led on to the Star Wars Padawan School, where a group of stormtroopers greeted us on our way in and then directed us to our seats, then a jedi knight and his padawan gave some children in the audience some schooling.. followed by a visit from the Emperor and Darth Vader which they even got the crowd involved with a force push to get them gone! Another quick bit of fun.

(Sort of) Lastly on monday we saw the preview/premier of Terra Nova mr Spielbergs new brainchild, again featuring dinosaurs! This time (no pun intended) in the near future when the world is dying mankind send a probe through time to find a better spot for us to inhabit before we made it all go wrong. Separate time-stream later and every so often a group of people is sent through what is essentially a Stargate to the “terra nova” that they are going to inhabit and hopefully not make a mess of this time around. Has potential, a lot of what should’ve been quite important details at the start seemed to be skimmed over, maybe in a couple of episodes down the line it will be a bit firmer of plot and less of dodgy effects.

Actual lastly was Cowboys and Aliens but that can have a post of its own.

Saturday
Saturday was more of the same, a big bunch of trailers with some bits of extra footage thrown in for good measure. Slightly higher billed cast there this time though. Guy Ritchie himself popped out to introduce the new Sherlock sizzle reel. It basically is even more Guy Ritchiefied than the first it seems, lots more explosions and madness flying around, and a good bit of cross dressing just in case you need that for your fix. Bits more of trailers that you can see online easily but then we got the best thing i’ve ever seen in 3D, the opening sequence from Final Destination 5, oh yes. The gore and killings were as to be as expected, completely over the top and extra grim, but in REAL 3D it was brilliant! Aardman was the next piece of note, Pirates! and Arthur Christmas looked fantastic, as good an evolution of the Aardman ideas from Wallace and Gromit as could be expected and with sneak footage and trailers of them both they look fantastic again. Then came an extra little surprise, Total Recall! As soon as I heard it mentioned I twinged, it had the potential to ruin one of my favourite childhood movies (as weird as that may be) but the way its all shot, the way it seems to come together just right and still hold that same feel.. it could be good.. it could actually be REALLY good. I can but hope!

Post lunch we had the Aardman.. which was running late and causing us a problem before it even started, it ended up being 20 minutes late starting which meant it was going to overlap with our next session. Worst thing being after that panic it was about 80% footage we had seen that morning, even presented by the same people. So we left halfway through to make the Industrial Light and Magic showing.. to get there and find that was also running 20 minutes late.. then to get in and be greeted by Anthony Daniels and 2 of the SFX guys from ILM.. to then find it was a reel of footage from the Star Wars blu-ray box set and Anthony asking more questions than the crowd had chance to. Oh well! Film followed but again thats separate to be done.

Sunday
Our last and final day of big screen! First thing was again a trailer reel.. with the potential to be awesome. Only to find that my 3D glasses didn’t work! Epic fail as we had sneak footage from Puss in Boots which looked totally amazing (even flickering between green and red the whole time) and had me giggling away already. Followed by yet more 3D exclusive footage of Tintin.. which again did’t look right at all! Very unimpressed! After a quick dash our in the interlude for new glasses there was again some footage with promise. Disney footage! MUPPETS! YES! John Carter looked interesting but the lead looks quite weak and its a bit of a typical space fare, although I think it may be a remake if not just based on a book. Real Steel was another good looking piece. Essentially near future boxing isn’t violent or destructive enough so robots are used to fight, which can only be a good thing..oh and something about a father son story but who cares, THERE’S GIANT FIGHTING ROBOTS! Sunday was our movie premier day so those bits can come later too!

I know i’ve skimmed over some details but I’m semi watching a film. If it gets read at all I’d be willing to answer questions too. It’s been a bit of a skim over but most of the stuff that interested me has been covered 😀

Blog out.

-Shaun


effecting mass

Ho ho ho, see what I did there?

With the announcement of Mass Effect 3 (what feels like forever ago) I decided I needed to play through both previous games to get myself a “Proper” save to carry over, making all my ramification choices well in advance of getting to them and being properly prepared. This obviously meant playing through 2 again first.. Arrival was the main reason for doing this and all the other DLC being on sale around the same time.

But let’s go back to where it all (to as much as I can remember) began!

********************** //SPOILERS

My original Mass Effect playthrough as a soldier, being genuinely shocked when Nihlus was killed, getting to the Citadel wanting to help EVERYONE. Not wanting to leave any squad mates behind for any reason. Garrus being an obvious favourite. Feros and watching the geth ship fall from the building, seeing my first armature unfold in front of my eyes, the THORIAN!? Noveria and being confronted by guards on landing and panicking, reaching Peak 15, the rachni bursting out of the floor tiles, the hotlabs, the betrayal, BENEZIA!? Virmire was the killer though, THAT choice. Didn’t see that coming at all, although luckily for me one of them had never been used since I had the choice (sorry Kaiden). It just went so well. Then Bring down the Skies came, and it was fantastic, but I skipped Pinnacle Station, no idea why, just felt like a good idea. But then obviously when 2 was going to be released I HAD TO play through one again for the sake of it all being fresh! so my launching of ME2 was delayed, because I totally misjudged how long the first game would take me :[ so it sat there in its shiny collectors edition tin staring at me.

Then ME2 began, luckily with lots of money and bonus XP from my imported save and it was so good, it was even better than what was a personal favourite game. The choices seemed even trickier, and the pleasant surprises of bumping into old faces again (yes I mean you rachni asari woman) and wondering what will pan out into the third game.. well.. its just mad. Suicide mission RUINED me, I lost some very good faces on my first attempt, people I had hoped would be with me forever.. let’s just say I wish I’d done more loyalty missions and paid more attention to what certain people were being asked to do :[

Then came the DLC, Katsumi was pleasant, nice change of pace for the most part and some good unlocks to go with. Good length (ooh err missus) and enjoyed. Overlord was..err weird, Overlord itself was OK but the Firewalker bits building up to it were more of an annoyance I found. Lair of the Shadowbroker was a good change again, and it was long, and by long I mean loooonnnnngg well worth the playthrough although the bits on the roof of the ship felt a bit dragged out.. nice twist at the end though! But then Arrival, how cool it was to do a stealth mission solo and then the ending of it, that clock.. it just felt finished. That meant I totally needed to play ME3 NOW. Which can’t happen :[

So I went back to 1 to 100% it, and got Pinnacle Station, it was.. short.. I don’t know if it’s because of the difficulty I was playing on or if it just wasn’t particularly challenging. But nevermind!

********************** //SPOILERS END

Mass Effect is one of my favourite series of games but I just hope 3 isn’t too “dumbed down”. The steps removed from 1 to 2, like upgrading weapons, changing weapon/armour mods, ammo types (don’t tell me about ammo types in ME2..) after going back enjoy to ME I really enjoy those tweaks, and the way certain characters can fill a role for you or just by changing a couple of bits here and there you can change a weapons functionality no end. But workbenches are back in ME3 that we’ve seen so that looks promising. And it’s not that ME2 was OVER simplified it was just more of a Gears of War with conversations, which wasn’t necessarily a bad thing but it wasn’t what a lot of fans hoped for. The combat was slicker, the action was faster, the explosions were more frequent.. it was as if Michael Bay was involved in some way. Bah, I enjoy Michael Bay movies, I loved, LOVED ME2. I can’t really fault a game like that, even with the niggles and annoyances at things that were taken out because it was just at such a high standard.

Mass Effect 3 had better be THE BOMB because there’s no reason it shouldn’t or couldn’t be. The only problem I can forsee is cramming in too much new content, too many new faces, too many extra decisions. It’s a grand finale. It’s wrapping up the whole series (don’t do a Terminator on us with awful reboots). The events of this game LITERALLY will effect the entire galaxy. What I wonder though is how plot holes will be filled after the events from the last mission of ME2 it’s possible that.. well.. certain characters may have issues performing in the third. But you can’t just add a placeholder character.. so that could be interesting to say the least.

Roll on March is all I can say..

-Shaun


continuing forward

So my previous blog was about my ideas and gaming theories, so this will be something similar…sort of.

I have an Xbox360 and have recently acquired (no not from the London riots, was donated to me!) a Wii. Obviously having had my 360 longer it is more of a favourite. I’m not going to start “OMG I DONT WANT A PS3 THEY SUCK” because, well, they don’t I just can’t afford both. Heck I can’t even afford all the games I want on my 360. The Wii.. well it drives me up the wall, the motion controls and me don’t really seem to go hand in hand, and on our 2nd Wiimote the 2 button doesn’t work properly so even Mario Kart isn’t a proper option :[

So anyway back to my dearest 360. I have realised that with the collection of games at my disposal I didn’t need to buy new games, I debated renting from somewhere (LOVEFiLM or Blockbuster) and picking up what I really enjoyed. Luckily I came up with this idea just before Brink was released. Which I was really looking forward to but Play.com failed in sending out my preorder to arrive the day it was released (which was secretly a godsend in disguise) so I rented Brink for 3 nights, and practically 100%ed the game.. I found the lag playing on peer-to-peer terrible, but badgered on with it and had a few good games, and in fairness enjoyed it. Then realised it was finished. Every map. Every objective. In 3 days, bear in mind I had been at work during this period too (damn you retail). After that it changed me. Luckily I managed to send my copy back for a full refund but more on that later.

I started using sites like MetaCritic to get ratings *shudder* and read other peoples reviews and look at the general consensus. I started picking up preowned games and checking eBay and the like or checking sales and looking for older titles to fill my voids! I managed to pick up Darksiders for a massive… £6.99 including postage and how I managed to not buy this game when it was new I will never understand, sadly I don’t think I’ll be able to hold off the same for the sequel. I just picked up Dead Space 2 for a massive £14.99 new as well, which means it included the EA online pass, which would’ve set me back a pretty penny on it’s own if I’d bought the game second hand. Anyway, I’m working through my back catalogue of doom (yes it’s that excessive) and trying to do what I can. So far Dead Space 2 is as amazing as I remember the first being (which I fully intend to playthrough again once i finish the sequel). Nothing like a nice bit of space zombie horror done properly.

Other recent time killers, were Mass Effect 2 and all it’s DLC, when Arrival was released all the other older DLC (again I don’t know how I put off buying them all at the time, probably knowing there would be a sale at some point) was reduced. So another playthrough was in order to experience the wonders of Katsumi and her stealthy loyalty mission, to the tank racing experience of Operation Overlord to the gunfightfest that was Lair of the Shadowbroker, all to round off with Arrival and me practically levitating because I’d slid so far to the front of my seat in the tension of what had culminated in the ending of that short, but oh so vital story DLC. Then because of that I went back to the original Mass Effect knowing I was missing achievements.. oh dear.. another 30 hours and THREE achievements later I decided to part with hard earned money for Pinnacle Station, it was.. well.. a change of pace.. and it was enjoyable, if a bit short.

However I may just do proper reviews of things once I decide on my format, at least there will be more detailed posts on certain items/games.

Another thing I have been doing is completely distancing myself from World of Warcraft, after 6 years of on/off playing some hardcore and again lots of little breaks and server hops and things it was time to say enough is enough. Raid “stress” at my laptop struggling and chugging in boss fights (F*** you Al’Akir and all your unnecessary effects) meant that the content I wanted to do I couldn’t, then I realised I didn’t really want to that much anyway. So there was the end of an era. I enjoyed about 95% of my time played during those years, and that added up to a lot of hours (days) that were semi well spent. At least I wasn’t doing drugs or spending lots of money!

But the big blog killer is coming:

The Old Republic which is part of the reason I’m starting a new blog (let me get to the point, it’s not as stupid as it sounds). Me and a few of my facebook friends are in a secret group, sadly not as cool as it sounds, where we have been posting BioWare updates/Leaks/Rumours and trying to keep on top of everything. What with me being “in charge” of the group, ie setting it up and inviting a few people, it all felt rather fun. It’s spiralled a bit and now there’s verging on 40 members to the group, with posts coming every Friday from BioWare and then our speculations and excitement growing from this I decided I wanted a bit more. All sorts of polls on faction and classes and “trinity roles”. It was all rather inspiring. From sites like (in no particular other than where my mouse landed in my bookmarks bar to copy and paste) AskAJedi, DarthHater, AlterSWTOR, Yufmelt I have been gathering information and feeding it to people I know, so why not share and see what comes of it.

However this post is getting rather out of hand at the moment, coming in at over 1000 words, which for someone who doesn’t write is quite a bit!
So further posts will be a bit more constructive in terms of classifications and concise in content!

For the future!

-Shaun


Hello (again) world!

To anyone who comes along and doesn’t find what they were expecting. It’s my fault. Due to the inactivity in my previous blog I’ve started again. With slightly better grammar and punctuation, but that’s just because I’ve been forced to use it more. I will be recreating some of my old posts, maybe with a couple of slight twists but I’m still more than happy with the old content, just not the months between posts. (But that doesn’t mean you should be expecting perfect use of the English language, that will never happen.)

I still have my old blog now retired but still available as theoldpoint just don’t expect any updates to be appearing to it!

It makes me feel nostalgic to look back over my old musings and ramblings, but times are changing! Weekly updates will be the norm, and “possibly” less pictures of cats, I prefer dogs but let’s see how that goes eh?

I am Shaun, I am an avid (some would say compulsive) gamer. I enjoy movies, I enjoy music, and have some rather irregular tastes when it comes to both. This blog will be a bit more of a mixed bag of content and not 100% game related, but primarily will be.

If you can smell that it’s just the grey matter powering up for being used after so long.

And it begins…again…!

-Shaun