House of Holes by Nicholson Baker

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , on April 23, 2012 by Griff

so,  sometimes I like to highlight strange,  interesting and under the radar books and I’ve really outdid myself this time, House of Holes is easily the strangest novel I’ve ever read (rivaled only by the similarly titled House of Leaves)

I mean jeez, where do I even begin? I’m a little embarrassed to even be reviewing this book given the subject matter, but I’ve got to get my thoughts on this strange book off my chest

I guess the easiest way to describe this book is imagine if Alejandro Jodorowsky (El Topo, The Holy Mountain) made a porno with Caligula’s budget, yes I said porno, this novel falls into the category of “erotica” a genre I’ve always been curious about but until now never experienced and I picked a hell of a book to start with

House of Holes is surreal tale of a place called the House of Holes (obviously), it’s some kind of sex theme park for adults, except that it doesn’t follow the laws of reality, it’s kind of like a sexual Twilight Zone, a place where anything can happen and all your sexual fantasies can come true, guests are transported to the House of Holes Alice In Wonderland Style through literal holes, be they golf holes, cocktail straws, dryers or someone’s vagina, where they can experience such attractions as “the masturboats” and “pussysurfing the white lake”

if it sounds silly, that’s because it’s supposed to be, the novel is very funny, there’s a constant sense of humor throughout, most of it relating to the constant creative terms that Nicholson Baker comes up with for “penis” and “vagina” (some of which are laugh out loud funny) and other colorful sexual phrases like “jizm covered princess”, but if you’re expecting this book to make logical sense then you’ll be disappointed, that’s not really the point, it’s just a surreal sexual fantasyland, none of the characters seem to be surprised to find themselves transported to the House of Holes or any of the bizarre things that go on (and trust me some really, really bizarre stuff happens) and it’s never explained what exactly the House of Holes’ deal is, everyone just kind of goes with the flow

what can I say? this novel absolutely blew my mind, I have never read anything even close to this in my life, did it turn me on? yes, yes it did, in fact I was a little shocked at how sexy a book could actually be, I know that the “erotica” genre is generally seen as a feminine thing, the stereotype goes that men are supposed to like to actually see things and women are the ones that like to use their imagination, but there’s something to be said for using your imagination every now and then

it is beyond refreshing to read a book where sex is not depicted in any negative way, this is not some Bret Easton Ellis style tale of sexual immorality, it’s a world where sexual desire and pleasure is not supposed to be “shallow” or the characters “soulless” or anything, this is a world where all the pretensions come off, a world where the sexual nature of life that is always there below the surface comes to the forefront  and men and women are blunt and frank with each other about their true natures, the sex in this novel is graphic, but not grotesque

man, I almost found the book depressing because I wish the House of Holes was a real place, some people read the Harry Potter books and wish they could visit Hogwarts for real or whatever, me I wish I could visit the House of Holes

I find it ironic that the media has been paying so much attention to that “Fifty Shades of Grey” book, which from the sound of it is a bog standard BDSM tale that was once Twilight fanfiction of all things and has somehow become a best seller and largely ignoring this book, I guess the sexually liberated attitude of the book is a little too controversial or whatever, all I know is all those lonely housewives that read Fifty Shades of Grey don’t know what they’re missing

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a special announcement: the anime reviews…are returning!

Posted in Uncategorized on April 22, 2012 by Griff

yeah, remember anime? remember the original idea behind this blog was to review almost nothing but anime? I fell off the wagon on that one didn’t I? what can I say, due to some personal things (nothing real serious) I had less free time than I normally do last year and see I’m a gamer first and foremost, video games take up the lion’s share of my free time and video games are a time consuming hobby, last year I hit rock bottom, I realized that I didn’t watch any  anime at all last year and much to my surprise that was actually the first time a whole year went by with me watching no anime at all in forever, even during a few years where I thought (incorrectly) that I didn’t

well it’s time for that to change, I’ve realized that I’m now at a crossroads here, it’s time to either shit or get off the pot (if you’ll pardon the expression) on this whole anime business, either it’s time to get serious with it or just throw in the towel for good, to just say “ok, anime is just not for me anymore”

but I don’t want to do that! which is why I’m pleased to announce that it’s coming back, in either late May or early June expect to see anime reviews popping up on here again for the first time since 2010

see I’ve thought about it and I’ve come up with a  strategy on how to tackle it, if this sounds a little ridiculous keep in mind there is a TON, I mean a TON of anime that I want to watch, the list goes on and on (and on), but basically it’s broken up into 5 categories, 1: anime from the early to mid 2000’s that I’ve wanting to see for years, 2: anime from the last several years that I’ve been wanting to see, 3: anime that I want to re-watch that I haven’t seen in years (for example Cowboy Bebop), 4: more classic anime from the 80’s and 90’s that I want to see just to see how things have evolved and 5: recent or brand new anime that I want to see (which is unfortunately, not all that much)

I think one of the problems is that I would try to watch too much in too little time, I would overload myself, now I’m going to try to spread it out a little more, ideally kind of reach a balance of watching anime in between doing other things instead of this “once in a blue moon marathon” thing I’ve been doing for years

lastly I’m going to change my review style, I’ve gone back and re-read my old reviews and while some of them I quite like, I think the problem is that I’m too vague or brief with reviewing a lot of them, see I’m really sensitive about spoilers and I hate the idea of spoiling something for other people, however if you’re so worried about spoilers it hinders your writing, so I’m going to loosen up with that and basically talk more about what actually happens in each anime, I’ll try not to give anything major away, but if I’m reviewing an anime that you want to remain completely unspoiled on, then beware, just a head’s up, I’ll also be revisiting a few anime I’ve already reviewed and try to write more detailed and hopefully improved reviews of them

so there you have it, the goal that I’ve been working to for years now, the goal of making watching anime a regular thing I do instead of an occasional thing AND the goal of actually getting “caught up” and watching new anime as it comes out seems to be close at hand, so for whoever’s out there reading, thanks for the patience

Adult Swim brings back Toonami for one night on April Fools

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , on April 3, 2012 by Griff

http://www.japanator.com/toonami-returned-if-only-for-april-fool-s-day-22735.phtml

I don’t normally cover news on this blog (with rare exceptions) but I read this story and just had to post my thoughts on it

ok so for a long time now (maybe since the beginning? I’m not sure) Adult Swim has made it a tradition to have April Fools pranks, some of these I’ve witnessed myself (like when they added fart sound effects to their shows) and some of them I’ve only heard about (like their repeated airings of The Room), but this year they brought back Toonami, for one night only, they brought back T.O.M and played nothing but anime, not just episodes from series that they previously played on Adult Swim, but mostly shows they played on Toonami! talk about a blast from the past…

reading that story absolutely warmed the cockles of my heart, seriously I almost teared up, tragically I missed it myself, I just totally forgot about  Adult Swim and their April Fools, I wish I had remembered, but no matter, just the fact that they did this is beyond awesome

Adult Swim used to be my bread and butter for anime back in the day, I didn’t watch every anime they played, but I did watch a good majority, I remember every Saturday night I would take a break from the video games and sit down for the anime, I never missed an episode, even when I was on vacation I would make sure to still watch it, even once on a trip to Universal Studios in 2007 late at night, after a long day of theme parking I was sleepy as hell, but I made damn sure to stay up to watch my Adult Swim anime (even though I was so tired I didn’t remember much of it the next day)

and man, they played some great stuff over the years, Cowboy Bebop, Trigun, FLCL, Fullmetal Alchemist, Ghost in The Shell Stand Alone Complex, Paranoia Agent, Samurai Champloo, Case Closed,  s-CRY-ed (ok that one was a bit lame, but still watchable), Bleach, Eureka 7, Blood +, Death Note and it was also where I first saw both the Read or Die OVA and Neon Genesis Evangelion for crying out loud! and that’s just the anime that I actually watched, there’s even more series that they played that I didn’t watch

but then….things changed, in 2008 I started watching Code Geass on there, but they kept messing with it’s time slot, eventually putting new episodes ridiculously late at night and in frustration I stopped watching, plus that was when Bleach entered it’s first filler arc and I had to bail on that too, so for the first time in years I was no longer there every Saturday night, it’s not that they haven’t seen played interesting anime, but once you fall out of certain grooves it’s hard to get back in

afterwards was when they started playing significantly less anime on Adult Swim, anime used to be half of Adult Swim’s appeal, I mean they used to play a TON of it and they used play it on the weekdays too, but all that changed, it pretty much became an afterthought, constricted to just a handful of series only on Saturday nights, in it’s place came constant reruns of Family Guy and King of The Hill (not that reruns haven’t been on Adult Swim since the beginning, but still, do you really have to play so much Family Guy?)

I think a big part of what contributed to anime on Adult Swim’s downfall was not only what was going on in the industry itself at the time, but also Adult Swim’s stubborn insistence on only playing action oriented shows (with very rare exceptions, like Super Milk Chan), for example I think they missed a HUGE opportunity by never playing The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya on there while it was still a hot property, people did ask them about it, but they’re response was always “it’s not an action show”, but “action anime” kind of dried up there for the most part, it’s not really where the industry has gone for the last couple of years, it seems like they did later realize their mistake and tried giving comedy anime a chance, but their choice of series was……Crayon Shin Chan? really? another problem was it seemed like they (perhaps understandably given censorship) strayed away from any anime that had any amount of fanservice (aka T&A) in it at all, hence why shows that otherwise would have fit like a glove, shows like Mai Hime or Burst Angel, never made it onto Adult Swim due to the fact that they featured sexy ladies

so it seems like at the end of the day Adult Swim read the writing on the wall, that anime’s day in the sun in America was coming to a close and decided to make it an afterthought and put their focus on the comedy shows, I can’t say it was a bad business decision really, but still….

but then they go and pull this stunt and all I can say is “Adult Swim you magnificent bastards!”, this really seems like Adult Swim is intentionally sending out the message “we haven’t totally forgotten or given up on anime guys, we still love you”,  after a few years now of me just basically assuming anime was all but dead on Adult Swim, it’s great to see some signs of life…

ok now technically this all related to Toonami, not Adult Swim and Toonami is what I credit as really getting me into anime (like a lot of anime fans my age), Pokemon may have been the precursor, but it was anime on Toonami like Dragon Ball Z, Gundam Wing, Big O, Outlaw Star and Tenchi Muyo that really got the ball rolling

sadly Toonami ended in 2008, a year after I stopped watching it (the last show I watched on there was Naruto, I stopped because I gradually learned that Naruto sucks, filler or no filler, sorry Naruto fans) and this is “testing the waters” for a possible Toonami resurrection, not necessarily that they’re going to show more anime on Adult Swim, but still, it’s Cartoon Network, it’s all the same umbrella, it just really warms my heart to see Adult Swim do this

now, would I actually watch a resurrected Toonami? welllllllll that’s hard to say, it really depends on what they play (and what they would play I have no idea, other than Naruto again maybe?), but at 22 years old I can’t say I have a whole lot of interest in watching heavily edited anime intercut with commercials for toys and breakfast cereals, as much nostalgia as I do have for Toonami, I’d be much more interested in Adult Swim taking a more serious approach to anime again, that I would tune in for I guess, but either way, it’s just cool to see Adult Swim throw anime a freakin’ bone, we’ll just have to wait and see what comes of it

Silent Hill: Downpour

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , on March 16, 2012 by Griff

oh Konami…….Konami, Konami, Konami, what are we gonna DO with you? you’ve done it again guys

I feel like such an idiot, I should have trusted my instinct, but instead I plopped down the 60 bucks and bought it on the PS3 and I couldn’t even finish this one, that may seem like a copout, after all I did manage to finish Homecoming, but my tolerance for bullshit is less these days than it was in the past

*deep sigh* ok so first off, what is with these graphics man? they are blurry as HELL, I mean everything is just a big blur, like I’m playing the game with bad eyesight or someone smeared vaseline all over my screen, it’s so damn ugly I just couldn’t take it

as you know, I’m mostly a PC gamer these days and good lord am I spoiled, I’m not trying to be a snob, honestly, I know the PS3 can do better than this, I played God of War 3, which looked as good as any PC game I’ve seen, this is just half assed lazy bullshit, there is something seriously wrong with multiplatform games these days, why are they so fucking ugly? I feel sorry for people that can’t afford a gaming PC and again I’m not trying to be snob, there is just something seriously wrong with this picture…

I mean look at any screenshot or trailer of this game and you’ll see that it looks NOTHING like that when you actually play the fucking thing and that’s the case with any multiplatform console game, you look at the screenshots in a magazine or on a website or whatever and the games look amazing and then you play the actual game and BOOM blurr-o-vision, unless of course you play the PC version and then all of a sudden it looks like it does in the magazines, hmmmm

I know what you’re saying “but Griff, it’s not all about the graphics right?” ok fair enough, let’s say I could snap my fingers and get PC quality graphics, well I will admit that that would probably make the game “tolerable” to the point that I could finish it, but it wouldn’t make it good

ok so that brings me to the number one problem of the game that just kills it, the combat, the fucking combat, it is DREADFUL, the worst in the entire series, I’m dead fucking serious, worse than Silent Hill 4, worse than Silent Hill 1! even worse than Homecoming

how do I even explain how bad it is exactly? ok well first off it has breakable weapons, why? just WHY!? it didn’t work in Origins so why did the developers think it would work here? to quote the Angry Video Game Nerd “WHAT WERE THEY THINKING?”,  it’s not scary, just frustrating (as a matter of fact “not scary, just frustrating” describes the whole game)

but other than that it’s just awkward, attacking is awkward, blocking is awkward, trying to run away is awkward, trying to “lock on” to enemies is awkward, it’s just….shit

am I the only one that remembers that in the first 3 Silent Hills they had guns? ya know GUNS!? unless you were playing on the hard difficulty you could just shoot every enemy and move on, the combat was not the focus! the story and atmosphere was! the combat was not “broken”, it was just simple and basic, because it was fucking supposed to be! why did the developers put the focus on melee combat? WHY!? WHY!? WHY!? WHAT WERE THEY THINKIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIING!!!!!????

….*deep breath* ok, I kinda turned into the Angry Video Game Nerd for a moment there, technically there are guns, little pistols you rarely find that only have a set number of bullets and when they run out you drop the whole gun…

wait a minute, were they trying to imitate the combat in Condemned: Criminal Origins? I guess that’s what they were going for with the breakable melee weapons and stuff, well they failed…

anyway my other major beef with the game is the lack of atmosphere and music, as we all know Akira Yamaoka is gone, replaced by Daniel Licht, the guy that does the music for Dexter (which is quite good) and I’m not gonna say the music is bad, just….where is it? in the time I played the game I barely heard any music at all, and gone with the music is the atmosphere

see I liked Shattered Memories, it wasn’t perfect, but it seems like Climax finally “got” what Silent Hill was about, for one thing throughout most of the game there’s music and this music adds atmosphere to the game,  see,  it’s not rocket science,  the “safe” sections of Shattered Memories, the ones with no enemies, still managed to be spooky because of the atmosphere and a big part of that, maybe the biggest part, was the music, it’s a long way we’ve come since the absolutely fucking ROCKING intro of Silent Hill 3 with “You’re Not Here”

but not only that, the game just has no sense of pacing, no real sense of buildup, it’s just kind of a boring slog through dilapidated environments most of the time to be honest

ok, but let me try to say some nice things about the game, well it’s still better than Homecoming, they at least are not just ripping off the movie this time

and I like some of the IDEAS behind the game, for one thing the larger focus on exploring the streets of the town and completing “sidequests” which offer little subplots is a great idea and I can’t say too much about it since the first section of the town is when I called it quits, but I will say this

while the idea of exploring all new sections of Silent Hill’s streets is a good one, the problem is the developers (along with Homecoming’s developers) just don’t seem to understand that Silent Hill is not meant to be an abandoned ghost town, everything is NOT meant to be run down and dilapidated, not until it changes to the “otherworld” (or whatever you want to call it), see it’s spooky when a guy walks into a normal town, only to find that everyone has disappeared and scary monsters lurk around, that juxtaposition of everyday, normal environments with freaky monsters and then the juxtaposition of everyday places turned into hellish otherworlds is scary, but a run down ghost town filled with dilapidated ruins? well shit you kind of expect monsters to be roaming around in there and then it turns into just a more dilapidated version of itself, well that’s kind of boring…

think back to the shopping mall in Silent Hill 3, it was an average everyday shopping mall where everybody disappeared and monsters starting lurking around, then it turned into a fucked up hellish version of itself

now imagine that the mall was already dilapidated, run down and empty and then it turned into a slightly more dilapidated, slightly more run down version of itself, do you get my point? the buildings in Silent Hill in Downpour are all boarded up, run down, there’s no cars on the streets, trash is everywhere, everything looks like it’s been abandoned for decades, but at the very least, at least it doesn’t look like it’s abandoned because of a “mine fire”, it just looks like everybody up and left

ok, lastly we have the story, to be fair it seemed pretty interesting from what I saw of it, certainly a lot better than Homecoming’s, I like the setup a lot, Murphy seemed like an ok character, but I’ll tell you this, it wasn’t interesting enough to warrant me suffering through the whole game…

man, how did we wind up here folks? I mean really, over a decade after Silent Hill 2 and almost a decade after Silent Hill 3 this is where Silent Hill wound up, I NEVER would have believed you if you told me this years ago, it’s absurd, it’s almost like a big joke that the Silent Hill series went from being so good to so bad

I’d give almost anything to have one last Silent Hill by Team Silent, it just feels wrong that we were robbed of that, I don’t know what the behind the scenes story is, why Team Silent called it quits, they could probably make a whole documentary about that, me and you will probably never know though

I thought Shattered Memories was a sign that this series still had life in it, but evidently it was just a fluke

I don’t really know how to end this review, some of you might be thinking that I went into Downpour expecting to hate it, just looking for a reason to hate it, but that’s not the case, I read this review http://www.destructoid.com/review-silent-hill-downpour-222794.phtml?s=93#comments and I believed it, I was honestly expecting this one to be good or at least decent, but  I was wrong and I’m sorely disapointed

what happened to Konami? that’s really all I can ask, did someone else become the CEO of the company at one point or something? it just never ceases to amaze me that they had Metal Gear Solid and Silent Hill, what were once my two favorite video game series and they just ran them into the fucking ground, that really, truly makes me deeply sad, like I’ve lost a friend…

here’s hoping that this is finally the end of Silent Hill, if it’s never going to even be as good as Shattered Memories again it’s time for it to be over and maybe this will be the last one (not counting that fucking PSP Vita one), I don’t know, all we can do is wait and see….

well fuck it, here’s looking forward to Bioshock Infinite!

The Rook by Daniel O’Malley

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , on March 9, 2012 by Griff

ok, here’s a pleasant surprise, out of nowhere this book comes out and winds up being great, I read about it in Entertainment Weekly (I guess that rag can be good for something every now and then) and the plot intrigued me, so I decided to give it a shot, I’m glad I did

the plot of The Rook is thus *imitates a Don Lafontaine voice* in a woooooorld, where the supernatural is real, one woman will have to join a secret British organization led by super powered secret agents code named after chess pieces that protects Queen and Country from supernatural threats

sound a little familiar? what it reminded me of was Read or Die crossed with Hellsing (or if you’re more western minded, Hellboy crossed with X-Men) and that sounded like a winning combination, turns out it is

while the novel definitively takes some inspiration from various sources (in fact I can almost guarantee the author was familiar with Hellsing at least) it nevertheless puts a fresh spin on it, the book has some scary moments, some mind bending moments, some badass moments and some serious moments, but there’s a constant sense of playful humor throughout the whole thing, it never turns into an outright parody of the supernatural genre ala Shaun of The Dead or whatever, but it’s great to read a very funny novel that also takes the plot and supernatural goings on pretty seriously, plus it’s all wrapped up in some really likable and cool characters

so, I went into the book knowing nothing about it other than the basic setup and that was a lot of fun, so I wont go into any more detail for fear of spoiling some things, just know that I loved it and it gets my seal of approval, I think it’s a great sleeper hit and highly recommend everyone check it out

Metal Gear Solid series part 2

Posted in Uncategorized with tags on February 26, 2012 by Griff

METAL GEAR SOLID 4:  GUNS OF THE PATRIOTS – man, remember 2008? what a pretty shitty year that was (with rare exceptions),  not only was it a crappy year for me personally (but that’s another story) it was not so good for the country as a whole, for one thing that was the year the economy tanked and we haven’t stopped hearing about that fucking shit for 4 straight years now

but it was also the year of disappointing sequels, most them related to the number 4, Grand Theft Auto 4,  Metal Gear Solid 4,  Silent Hill Homecoming and Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, only The Dark Knight and Fallout 3 managed to break the curse of bad sequels that year

and yes,  Metal Gear Solid 4 was a disappointment, I remember when the first trailer debuted in mid 2005 I almost creamed myself, I mean Metal Gear Solid 4 ON THE PLAY-STATION FUCKING THREE!? how could this not be anything but purely awesome? the future was bright…

but 3 whole years later after it’s debut and almost 4 whole years after Metal Gear Solid 3 the game FINALLY came out after what felt like forever aaaaaaaaaaaaaand….

well to be fair, I don’t think the game is THAT bad,  or really not even a bad game at all objectively, it’s just that after so many years and so much hype the Metal Gear Solid series just kind of caved in under the weight of it’s own popularity, it got to the point where it just wasn’t going to live up to everyone’s lofty expectations no matter what (the parallels between Metal Gear Solid 4 and the fourth Indiana Jones are interesting) and I think this is why Hideo Kojima wanted to end the series at 2, he knew this would happen, he knew it would be best to let the series end on a  high note and start something new, but alas there was too much money to be made and 4 is the result, everything in the game is a double edged sword, for everything  it does right there’s a downside, but let’s start with the story…

this is the most controversial aspect of the game and really what 99% of the debate was over, basically the storyline in Metal Gear Solid 4 bends over backwards trying to give explanations and tie up loose ends for every single thing in the series, who are The Patriots? why is Vamp still alive? what will happen to Snake? etc etc, Metal Gear Solid 2 was SUPPOSED to end with some mystery, with some stuff left open to debate and imagination, but 4 provides answers to all of it and the result is that it feels very forced, like Kojima was making up stuff as went along (The explanation for Vamp’s powers is the best example of this, no way was that what Kojima had in mind when he created the character in 2), plus Kojima consciously tries to tone down the crazy plot twists this time and make everything crystal clear to avoid any confusion

but on the flipside, while the story does feel forced, it IS undeniably cool to see all of the major characters in the series return for one last (hopefully) hurrah, if a conclusion to the story just had to be done, this is as good as it could have possibly been handled and Kojima does deserve credit for that…

*deep breath* ok now the gameplay,  remember that? the basic premise behind it is SOLID (har har), basically the idea is to take the camouflage gameplay (but automatic this time instead of having to choose from menus) of 3 and transplant it into active warzones instead of the jungle, that’s a cool idea, but the game also puts more of a focus on shooting as well as sneaking, not only are guns and ammo 100 times more plentiful, but there’s a third person targeting camera this time that makes it more like your average action game, you can’t just play the game like an average action game though because of your “Psyche meter”, which means the more you shoot the more stressed out Snake gets and the harder to control he gets, it’s obvious that they had to put that in just to give you more motivation to sneak

it’s ok though, I played the game on hard and got a decent challenge, I had to take things slow and frequently got my ass kicked, the gameplay itself is pretty good and doesn’t get enough credit, everyone’s so focused on the story, but I don’t have too many complaints with the actual gameplay, the only real downside is some of the time the game almost feels more like a Splinter Cell game than a Metal Gear Solid one

another thing is the game is broken up into “chapters”, which is also a doubled edged sword, instead of the whole game being set in one fleshed out location with a lot of character (like Shadow Moses, Big Shell or Tselinoyarsk) it’s set in locations all over the world, while it would have been boring for the whole game to be set in the same nondescript Middle Eastern city you play in at the start, the downside is that having more traditional levels makes the game feel more like your average action game and less like a METAL GEAR game, you know what I mean?

but the plus side is that it does allow for greater variety and more unique gameplay, only about half the game has Snake sneaking through battlegrounds, the other half has crazier stuff, like one chapter where you’re in a nondescript Eastern Europe city wearing a disguise trailing a guy while trying to avoid hired mercenary guards, not only is that chapter unlike anything in previous Metal Gear games, it also offers a pretty hefty challenge on Hard (one part I had to keep doing over and over again)

another chapter has you *SPOILER ALERT* revisiting Shadow Moses! it’s incredible to see it rendered with PS3 graphics (in fact, like God of War 3 it’s a good showcase for the PS3’s power) and is by far the coolest part of the game, yeah it’s total fanservice, but it’s very well done fanservice

so overall Metal Gear Solid 4 is not a bad game, it’s got some flaws to be sure, but it deserves a better reputation, that said though out of Metal Gear Solid 1-4 it’s by far the weakest of the series…

METAL GEAR SOLID: PEACE WALKER – ok now this is where for me, things start to really go wrong, I did not really like Peace Walker at all, in fact I was actually shocked at just how much I disliked it, I was very disappointed, to me this is the game that says that the Metal Gear series needs to be over for good

where do I begin? first off the gameplay, it’s just flat out boring and uninteresting (“boring and uninteresting” pretty much describes the whole game), there’s camoflage in the game, but it doesn’t work at all,  so instead you try to sneak around in a more traditional way, which sounds alright, expect that it has the camera and controls of Metal Gear Solid 4,  so this basically translates to shooting the enemies with tranquilizer darts and moving on, yawn

I think one of the biggest problems is being a PSP game (although I played it on the HD Collection) the game is broken up into mini chapters that only take about 5 to 10 minutes to complete or so, so just as soon as you get going the chapter is already over and you’re on to a cutscene, the debriefing and the main menus and then selecting the next chapter, then the briefing and ugh, it just RUINS the flow of the game, yeah I get that it’s a handheld game, but for one thing why does the world need a handheld Metal Gear game in the first place? and for another you had the Metal Gear game on the Gameboy Color that didn’t need to be broken into chapters (which I’ll get around to reviewing that one day)

being on the PSP is really what kills the game, everything has to be scaled down because it’s a PSP game, I already mentioned the chapter breaks, but then you have the graphics, this might seem unfair because again,  it’s a PSP game, but when you’re playing a Metal Gear game in 2011 that looks worse than Metal Gear Solid 2 and 3,  released in 2001 and 2004 respectively, it just makes you wonder “what’s the fucking point?” the game at best looks like a budget PS2 game circa 2003, yippee…

and then, also being a PSP game means we can’t have normal cutscenes, they have to be that fucking “motion comic” bullshit with that shitty “IDW comics” art style (the company that did the Metal Gear Comic), it might not be so bad if the artwork had things like color and the characters actually vaguely resembled the characters in the game, instead Snake (or Big Boss, whatever) looks like a crazy hobo and everyone else looks almost nothing like their character models do, what the fuck is this supposed to be? like those “courtroom illustrations” you see on the news? hey you know all that stuff is going on in real time guys, but please view these “artist’s illustration” of events we didn’t have the technology or money to show you, if it was literally impossible to have cutscenes done with the in game graphics, why not make the cutscenes animated instead of this lazy motion comic crap with shitty art? probably because that would take too much time and money, laaaaaaazy

the result is that I just couldn’t bring myself to care much about the story, not that it was that interesting to begin with, something about AI and a prototype Metal Gear and righteous South American rebels fighting the big bad US and yawwwwwwn,  it’s obvious Kojima has pretty much run out of ideas as to where to take this universe, just let it end already

and there’s other problems too, like the boss fights, you don’t fight any squad of super soldiers this time (probably because Kojima just flat out can’t think of any more ideas on that front), instead you fight either tanks, helicopters or robots,  yes robots,  robots like out of some other video game series entirely, tell me, if there was AI advanced enough to pilot Metal Gear like robots in the early 70’s, why did the later Metal Gears (like Rex) need pilots? where did all this AI technology go and how in the hell would AI like that in the era of Pong be possible? I know the Metal Gear series has had anachronistic science fiction technology before, that’s kind of what makes Metal Gear Metal Gear, it’s not a huge deal, but the difference is that the the other stuff was at least plausible in a Michael Crichton kind of way, having advanced AI in 1974 when the Magnavox Odyssey was cutting edge is just silly

*sigh* ok one more thing, another aspect of the game is the Sim like minigame of managing the “Militaires Sans Frontières” PMC company, you pick weapons to be “researched” (real advanced stuff like machine guns and shotguns, ya know stuff that they couldn’t just buy) and even pick soldiers to go fight in places and whatnot, it’s all very boring, what was even the point?

man, it’s crazy that the Metal Gear series has sunk so low, we’ve gone from the classic first three games to Peace Walker, the series has gone from bringing me almost to the point of orgasm to making me say “meh”, I would have thought you were nuts back in 2003 if you told me that was the future of the series, I never would have imagined this is where we would wind up, it’s depressing…

(for this next part, please listen to this music for the right mood http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=47ihdTKk4xc&list=FLaI511E9DAWLBwZEMTXN40A&index=87&feature=plpp_video )

it’s time for Snake to hang up the bandanna guys, it had a good run, now it’s time for it to be over, but the problem is that Konami is greedy as fuck, they never want to do something new, first they ran Silent Hill into the ground and then Metal Gear, when will it be enough? I used to think you were cool Konami…

I still love Hideo Kojima though, I don’t really blame him so much for this, what needs to happen is Hideo Kojima needs to start a new series, maybe something sci fi themed again along the lines of Snatcher or Zone of The Enders

what we need is Hideo Kojima’s Bioshock Infinite, by that I mean Bioshock Infinite is a perfect example of what the gaming world needs more of, it’s not a direct sequel to Bioshock, it’s a whole new, fresh and beyond brilliant take on the same themes, by the same developers and that’s what Hideo Kojima needs to do, something NEW, I’m convinced that he still has plenty of good games in him and I’m also pretty sure that one day he will come out with a new game that will recapture that magic we all felt when we played Metal Gear Solid for the first time, I can dream…..

P.S. oh yeah, I did say that I would say something about Metal Gear Rising didn’t I? I’m pretty “meh” to be honest, it doesn’t piss me off, I’d rather the Metal Gear series be totally over, but at least this is a spinoff with totally different gameplay

it could be cool I guess, the impression I got though is that it looks pretty dated, it looks like a game from 2007 or something, but I’ll check it out and review when it does come out

IT’S BAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAACK

Posted in Uncategorized on February 23, 2012 by Griff

just got the news today THAT HOLY FUCKING SHIT THE READ OR DIE FRANCHISE IS ALIVE, IT’S ALIVE, IT’S ALIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIVE!!!!!!!!

OH MY GAWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWD !!!

http://www.animenewsnetwork.com/interest/2012-02-23/new-read-or-die-manga-darker-side-story-outlined

words can not describe how excited I am right now, I mean this is literally a dream come true, for YEARS I’ve been waiting for this, YEARS

now granted, what I’ve always really hoped for is more anime, one that would be a sequel to R.O.D The TV, this is a manga and it’s a “side story”, not a sequel to R.O.D The TV like I had hoped (at first I was thinking maybe they couldn’t get another anime off the ground, so they went with a manga instead) and according to the news story it’s a “darker story”,  so no three sisters and a “different” Yomiko this time

that’s a little disappointing yeah, as I said in my review I didn’t like the R.O.D manga nowhere near as much as the anime (although I liked the Read or Dream manga better than the first R.O.D manga), but that manga was made before any of the anime and even before most of the novels, so maybe Hideyuki Kurata hadn’t quite found his legs yet with the story, but this is post R.O.D The TV and many years later, so I’m sure Hideyuki Kurata has some great ideas up his sleeve

but let me tell you buddy, at this point in time I will settle for ANYTHING R.O.D related, ANYTHING at all, just the fact that the franchise is still alive has me as excited as I would get on Christmas day as a kid, now anything is possible, who knows, maybe we could see more anime one day, I’m a hell of a lot more optimistic than I was in the past

my ship has finally come in and it is GLORIOUS! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3tYPzSGVHOc