Archive for March, 2012

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 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