nano_moose: Spec Ops: The Line. Cpt. Walker stands over a fault in the road, watching sand tumble into blackness. ([L] lines in the sand)
I don't know whether to recommend Spec Ops: The Line, because having finished it I'm quite sure that I never want to play it again. It's very mean to shooter fans and its gameplay is pretty indifferent.

But despite it being set in a city occupied by refugees and American troops in the middle of the desert and wracked by sandstorms, it reminds me very strongly of Bioshock. It uses Nolan North to his fullest potential. It had Bjork and Jimi Hendrix in the soundtrack! It makes "No Russian" look utterly absurd (which is good, because it was). Its visual design should be freakin' studied.

If you do decide to play it, I would recommend lining up a game where you can just walk around being nice to people and chocolate (or your comfort drink of choice) for afterwards. And try not to think about white phosphorous.

There is not a single speaking female role, though, which is aggravating.
nano_moose: Final Fantasy X. Yuna standing on sunset-limned water with her arms at her sides before she begins the Sending Dance. ([ZP] guitar smash)
Something I have decided after flicking through complaints about BioWare and their plot methods:

If you break a story down into its most basic clichés shorn of all context, that doesn't mean the story is actually basic or clichéd. It means you have a rough understanding of the way media is constructed. Good for you. Round of applause. Have a chocolate.

It doesn't form a basis for criticism, and attempting to act like it does makes you look like an asshole.

Signed, Someone Who Directly Compared Mass Effect 3 and Baldur's Gate And Was Blown Away By The Improvement Upon All Aspects Of The Latter In The Former, Thank You Very Much.

(P.S. Also, if you're complaining about how the choices in any of the newer BioWare games are forced, morally restricting and limited, while praising the game based on a system which put a helpful little label on every character to tell you whether they were nice or an asshole, you probably need to re-examine your argument.)
nano_moose: Final Fantasy X. Yuna standing on sunset-limned water with her arms at her sides before she begins the Sending Dance. ([T] a design most sublime)
News about that new Thief game whose working title is too silly to reproduce here is pretty scarce. For all that it was announced more than a year ago, there have been no trailers, no concept art, no prospective features, no hints about the plot or tone or setting or protagonists it may or may not have (and since the third game rounded off the overarching plot pretty definitely, those parts would be important. Those last four things are Thief - their interplay and interconnection with the game mechanics and design made it beautiful). It's been relegated to the back of my mind lately mostly because SKYRIM SKYRIM SKYRIM SKYRIM SKYRIM SKYRIM SKYRIM SKYRIM SKYRIM SKYRIM SKYRIM SKYRIM SKYRIM SKYRIM SKYRIM SKYRIM SKYRIM SKYRIM SKYRIM SKYRIM SKYRIM SKYRIM SKYRIM SKYRIM SKYRIM SKYRIM SKYRIM SKYRIM SKYRIM SKYRIM SKYRIM SKYRIM SKYRIM SKYRIM SKYRIM SKYRIM SKYRIM and to a lesser extent various other things I've been following. And life, too. I suppose life is involved somewhere.

I just found something to spark my interest again, though; a piece of flotsam kicked up by Good Old Games getting their hands onto Thief Gold and Thief 2: Metal Age and poking them into working on today's computers. (Run and buy them now!) Thief did things with sound that games today still don't do. So it was somewhat of a relief to find the fellow in charge of the new game's noise-making (Paul Wier), despite not being Eric Brosius, making this presentation about generative sound (or making noises that shift smoothly in tone, key, scale and general mood according to specific game states on the fly, rather than composing looped backing tracks for each setting or situation). And it was an instant sell for me because of the slow thrumming atmosphere he brought about. No heavy percussion, no noticeable melody, just...foreboding.

Because of course, Thief is not about being James Bond or Solid Snake or Sam Fisher or Catwoman. It's darkness and stone, old magic and the dead, and the ever-present press of technology and zealotry.

...Anyway it's called Stealing Sound and if you don't want to listen to a somewhat nasal-sounding dude talking about the processes going on you can just skip to the last two or three minutes and listen to the impromptu track he plays. The volume might need to be turned up. Also headphones are possibly necessary for the proper experience. Mmm, tasty noise.
nano_moose: Black Plague. Philip stands in a snowfield, utterly dwarfed and alone. ([BP] ...fuckberries)
Trapped in Skyrim playthrough, send help.

(The leader of the Thieves' Guild is voiced by Stephen Russell, and his name is Mercer Frey. It's like some sort of fandom singularity.)
nano_moose: Final Fantasy X. Yuna standing on sunset-limned water with her arms at her sides before she begins the Sending Dance. ([AM] i have no topic)
I has a PS3.

More importantly, I has the means to play a PS3, which I lacked before.

It turns out Uncharted 2: Among Thieves is one of those games where, directly after finishing it, I have the intense desire to stick a syringe in my head and suck out the memory of playing it ala Dark City, so I can play it all over again fresh.

Although I have to wonder if Prototype has broken my moral compass, because I didn't feel bad about shooting all those mooks. Maybe it's the lack of blood? Or dismemberment? Hmm. Or maybe it's because these guys apparently don't feel bad about throwing a tank and one point four bazillion soldiers with machine guns through a sleepy Tibetan village to get at one ninety-year-old guy, who knows.

I guess my point is that one level had throat-singing in its soundtrack and it was sweet, especially because I could identify it when previously I had been flailing due to my complete lack of knowledge about Tibetan (or indeed most Asian) culture. There was also Nathan's notebook full of a) notes and hints about puzzles, b) practical reminders for a globe-trotting adventurer and c) extremely silly doodles about whatever happened to occur to Nate during a quiet moment. Some multilingual.
nano_moose: Final Fantasy X. Yuna standing on sunset-limned water with her arms at her sides before she begins the Sending Dance. ([HP] hear it!)
LOOK. LOOKLOOKLOOK.

LOOK EVERYONE.

It's a Valve Meet the Team video! And it's new! And it's about the Medic!

It's Meet the Medic!

...It's also hilariously gruesome, more so than the ones in the past (and if you've seen the ones in the past, you know that's no mean feat). If you have something against exploding heart muscles, surgery on the conscious (if consenting), disembodied still-living heads and accidental implantation of pigeons into live humans, you might wanna go elsewhere.

If, on the other hand, that list made you laugh, go right ahead. It's even more gross and funny than you can imagine.
nano_moose: Black Plague. Philip stands in a snowfield, utterly dwarfed and alone. ([BP] ...fuckberries)
Um, holy shit.

There's an intensely creepy and beautiful trailer here. )

Look at those colours. ...If it's anything as lovely on release as it looks there, I might need to look into a Steam account. Drat.
nano_moose: Final Fantasy X. Yuna standing on sunset-limned water with her arms at her sides before she begins the Sending Dance. ([ZP] guitar smash)
Bioware:

I can name my player characters. I can name my dog (both of them). I can name Shale's pet rock.

WHY CAN'T I NAME MY SPACE HAMSTER?
nano_moose: Final Fantasy X. Yuna standing on sunset-limned water with her arms at her sides before she begins the Sending Dance. ([ZP] guitar smash)
I think the stupidest line I've heard in Dead Space 2 thus far (and there's some stiff competition) is a scientist saying, with a completely straight face, that only "smart people" will be able to withstand the Marker implanting information into their skulls.

Her words.

A scientist.

"Smart people."

Mmm. And just what is the metric for "smart," lady?

How about "After extensive tests, I believe the implanted information can only be withstood and translated by people with technical and practical intelligence; architects, mechanics, engineers, scientists...to anyone else (even anyone else whose intelligence is great in a different area, such as emotional or creative) it is so much noise, and the overload will eventually drive those who do not fit the criteria to violent, self-destructive insanity. I have yet to isolate the exact mechanism by which this occurs; further testing is needed. Please see attached list for traits proven common to the most productive subjects."

The character writing has improved, marginally, but the rest of the writing, particularly anything involving the MagGuffins or 'scariness', remains very very silly.
nano_moose: Final Fantasy X. Yuna standing on sunset-limned water with her arms at her sides before she begins the Sending Dance. (you ignorant scaremongering cockbags)
Tutorial in How to Kill Deathclaws When You Are Nano's Usual Charismatic Gun-slinging Genius Character Made from Wet Tissue Paper:

Step 1: Buy the very biggest gun you can. My choice was the Anti-Materiel Rifle, which is, from the stock to the muzzle, about the same height as my character and made for punching through tanks.
Step 2: Giggle. Wonder whether this counts as overcompensation if you don't actually have or want a penis.
Step 3: Make friends with the Brotherhood of Steel to get some Power Armour and the training to wear it. Put it on.
Step 4: Preen.
Step 5: Drug yourself up until you could actually see God and sell your pee to him for a thousand caps an ounce.*
Step 6: Down some Bighorner Steaks just to be sure. If you have Cass as your companion, drink all of your whisky and try not to imagine your liver leaping out from beneath your intestines to beat you to death in revenge.
Step 7: Save.
Step 8: BANZAAAAAAAAI!!!
Step 9: Die.
Step 10: And again.
Step 11: Try for a stealthy approach.
Step 12: Fail, because of your incredibly oversized gun and heavy, clanking armour.
Step 13: Die several more times until you've memorised the positions the Deathclaws will attack from.
Step 14: Finally succeed in killing them all.
Step 15: Victory dance!
Step 16: Die stepping off a cliff in withdrawal haze.
Step 17: Repeat from Step 8, until you remember to save directly after killing them all.
Step 18: Victory dance!

But actually, New Vegas is pretty cool when I'm not being spanked by the higher-level enemies. More later.

*In the game, that is. Chemical enhancement will not improve your performance in real life. Winners don't use drugs.
nano_moose: The Iron Giant. Said Giant beaming adorably. (glee!!!)
So I'm watching the ten minutes of mildly spoilery Bioshock Infinite game footage that's just been released, 'cause if nothing else I can be relied upon in my nerdery targets, and exactly one minute in I hear the voice of Booker DeWitt, the protagonist.

And he's Garrett.

Seriously, he's Stephen Goddamn Russell doing his Garrett-voice, sounding as rough and cynical as he ever has (except more American. And less of a stoic loner).












SWEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEET

I was excited about this before, because AEROSHOCK BIOSHIP BIOSHOCK WITH AIRSHIPS, but now I can add 'Ex-Pinkerton Garrett' to my mounting glee.
nano_moose: Final Fantasy X. Yuna standing on sunset-limned water with her arms at her sides before she begins the Sending Dance. (nerdrage!!!!)
Flames. Flames! On the side! Of my face! Third point down for rage.

Oh god, I really don't want to feel guilty when I buy a PS3 for The Last Guardian once it comes out. Or stick to playing Mass Effect over and over because I can at least choose a badass lady as my protagonist. There's only so much Bioware I can take before I overdose and start dumping exposition on people. Rarghblarghrarghlargh.
nano_moose: Assassin's Creed. Altair plunges down with his hidden blade unsheathed. His shadow is that of an eagle diving. (talon)
It's been raining for the past week. Like, non-stop. Dog is displeased with this state of affairs. Towns up north are being flooded out. I never thought I would miss the searing light of the sun, but oh god humidity.

So let's have ourselves some meme answers and then go find a blanket.

Meme Answers, Part One: Reasons to Avoid People in Hoods )

More answers to come!
nano_moose: Final Fantasy X. Yuna standing on sunset-limned water with her arms at her sides before she begins the Sending Dance. (a topic will arise)
I was going to post this gigantic gamebabble post for Australia Day but the koala round-up went for longer than it usually does this year. I dunno, man, they’re quick little bastards.

So, about that Assassin’s Creed 2.

I have plenty of outlets! Spoilers for the opening. )

You know, it’s probably fortunate that AC2 managed to finally break me of my Thief habits. I probably wouldn't have gotten past Prototype's opening mission, otherwise.

I can see what he saw, I know what he knew, his memories are my memories. Spoilers for...everything. )

One final thing: Attention, bastardisers of Dante’s Inferno. That…is not quite how you effectively mock a fellow developer. Please stop before you dig yourselves in even further.

Here’s how you mock a fellow developer.
nano_moose: Final Fantasy X. Yuna standing on sunset-limned water with her arms at her sides before she begins the Sending Dance. (???)
I had a dream wherein I got to wander around AC2 Renaissance Italy. It was beautiful. Then my subconscious decided to have it be attacked by zombies.

Playing through Assassin’s Creed 2 and Prototype simultaneously may not be good for my brain.
nano_moose: Final Fantasy X. Yuna standing on sunset-limned water with her arms at her sides before she begins the Sending Dance. (a topic will arise)
SO there exists a shapeshifting lifeform, created by a reasonably evil genius scientist mostly to show off his evil.

1) It/he - the distinction's pretty academic - is a living weapon. He's agile, strong, fast, adaptable and durable, with a capacity for knowledge best measured in the same terms as supercomputers, a foul mouth and a built-in, overwhelming urge to destroy.

2) No matter what his intentions, good or bad - and they're rarely good - he causes chaos. He is therefore pursued by the authorities and his creators, who are in an uneasy alliance. The former wants to contain or destroy him. The latter would rather cut him apart and put the pieces in something controllable.

3) The one thing stopping him from ending human civilization as his instincts demand is the location he happened to be unleashed upon. It's an island and his mass is too dense to displace enough water for swimming.

4) In a head-on collision of him and a truck, the truck comes off a lot worse.

Now that I have dispensed these facts, the question: am I talking about Alex Mercer a.k.a. DX-1118, or am I talking about Stitch a.k.a. Experiment 626?

(If you can't picture Mercer retorting to accusations of lunacy with "I prefer evil genius!", you probably take his canon more seriously than I do.)

(Also, in a manner of speaking, I'm back from hiatus. Things are different, and one of my plans for next year is to explain how! But that may have to wait until I am not on a parental computer that is filled with evil. In the meantime, enjoy game rambles and Happy New Year!)
nano_moose: Final Fantasy X. Yuna standing on sunset-limned water with her arms at her sides before she begins the Sending Dance. (we are as on a darkling plain)
An RL friend of mine is in the hospital. It's fortunately not very serious - just apparently miserable and unpleasant. This hasn't stopped me from worrying, of course, so I'm going to write about Fable: The Lost Chapters, which is shiny and cheerful and nice.

I was a good-aligned, high Skill/Will hero and neglected my Strength, which resulted in a tall skinny blonde dude who was slightly blue... (Spoilers.) )
nano_moose: Final Fantasy X. Yuna standing on sunset-limned water with her arms at her sides before she begins the Sending Dance. (can hear you breathing)
Way back in the mists of ages past, I promised Squeem I would write a pimp post for Planescape: Torment. And here it is at long last while I draw my design assessment! I probably have a lot more to say about why it's so awesome - including babbling about the characters - but a) most of it is spoilers and b) it would make this post nine times the size of God.

As it is, it's about three times the size of God, so cut. )

What can change the nature of a man?
nano_moose: Final Fantasy X. Yuna standing on sunset-limned water with her arms at her sides before she begins the Sending Dance. (a topic will arise)
Dead Space wants to be System Shock 2. It wants to be System Shock 2 so bad. It writes meticulously researched self-insert fanfiction where the nameless SS2 protagonist is really named Isaac Clarke. For god's sake, the Hydroponics level is a point-for-point reconstruction of the Hydroponics Deck in SS2, down to mixing up a poison and putting it through the ventilation system.

This is unfortunate, because there's already a game like that, and that game was Bioshock; more or less a remake, but with a large handful of fantastically clever ideas and enough changes to stand on its own. They even have different story themes, despite their story structures being identical. Bioshock is a great game, an excellent game, for that. Dead Space, on the other hand, is neither.

However. (Spoilers, but this game spoils itself, honestly.) )

In other news! I am going back to classes soon! I will be wrestling with the Centrelink dragon so I can get my moneys, but first I must quest for the Mighty Medical Report saying I am kind of crazy, so as to exempt me from some requirements! It will be a glorious battle! (Well, it'll actually be me nervously presenting the form to my doctor, but that seems to count as epic battle in every RPG I've ever played.)

I've been generally feeling a lot better lately. It's pretty cool!

ETA: Incidentally, the Australian release date for Coraline is May 7, and movie publishers can suck my metaphorical wang. There is a correlation between these two facts.
nano_moose: Final Fantasy X. Yuna standing on sunset-limned water with her arms at her sides before she begins the Sending Dance. (can hear you breathing)
I've resolved to not mention or research or obsess over 9 until it is released (oh god eight months why). TO THAT END, I have decided to research/obsess over Bioshock instead! Apart from the amusing fact that the developers admitted they just did their best to remake System Shock 2, the trailer for the sequel (which I admit to being deeply skeptical about) and the discovery that they're going to try and adapt it as a movie (because once they plunder the depths of the comic industry, Hollywood'll need a new source of ideas, clearly), I found something rather neat.

One common complaint about the game – from the sane people, anyway – is that the enemies aren't really varied enough. I think I agree, but only in the sense that there aren't enough combat variations. The Thuggish, Leadhead, Spider, Nitro and Houdini Splicers, along with the Little Sisters and Big Daddies, really don't require a whole of experimentation to find combat styles to suit the different types. You can improvise if you want to, but the game doesn't really encourage it the way, say, any Valve product does.

That's kind of a pity, because in the personality aspects, there's variation aplenty. And somebody decided to demonstrate just how much by making compilations of each of the Splicer model variants, so I'm posting them here for anyone on my flist whose played the game (or doesn't mind spoilers).

There's a lot of the 'junk' noises – coughing and screaming and so forth – but also a lot of the lines I hadn't been able to make out before due to our television's sound sucking. Some of them have odd names that don't immediately call up the images of the people they belong to, so I've put a physical description beside each one. Also be warned: Spoilers, disturbing content, and a lot of swearing. )

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nano_moose: Final Fantasy X. Yuna standing on sunset-limned water with her arms at her sides before she begins the Sending Dance. (Default)
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