Tuesday, 28 June 2011

L.A. Noire

Sorry, a combination of being on holiday and being lazy has resulted in fewer posts than usual this last few weeks. Or indeed any posts. Still, we're all here now so lets press on.

L.A. Noire was released in May to rapturous reviews and strong sales. If you don't know, the game centres around the player's character, named Cole Phelps, as he rises through the police ranks. Along the way you have to solve various crimes using clues and the facial expressions of  the suspects during interviews. Oh, and there's a fair amount of shooting things too, to keep those expecting a 40s GTA happy. But, of course, there were some attention-seekers who decided to write some bad reviews on Amazon.co.uk:
Firstly, anyone who has give 3 or more stars needs to be treated like one of the victims (What have your body investigated, cut open, put in a morgue then buried? I'm sorry but you're comparison fails miserably), and those who give 5 must be rockstar employees looking to tot up some sales and get a healthy christmas bonus.. (Or maybe they just really liked it? Like all those critics...) 
The graphics are great granted, but so what!! (It matters because it's a whole new way of doing faces.) if i wanted to watch something with amazing graphics id dip into my toy story collection! (Except, again, you're comparison is somewhat shit...)
Every investigation is tedious, every victim has died in the same manor (I don't recall seeing any kinds of country manor...), its like groundhog day! (I found them pretty interesting, myself. Some of them are similar, but that was intentional.)
Fighting is a joke (In what way? It's not exactly Fight Night Round 4, but it's perfectly fit for purpose.), and chasing people is also a joke as no matter how fast you go or nifty you are, u always catch them in the place determined by the game storyline (Actually, you can get them early. I know because I've done it). its about as much fun as eating flour and salt together. (Wow, if eating flour and salt is as fun as L.A. Noire then I'm there!)
Im honestly so disappointed its untrue (I'm sure Rockstar will be crying themselves to sleep. In their Sunseeker yachts.), the constant quizzing of suspects is boring after one go (Maybe to those with the attention span of a goldfish.), and the concept of truth, doubt and lie is pathetic, doubt and lie are pretty similar in my eyes... (Not really. Doubt is used for when you think they're lying but have no proof, lie is for when you can prove it. So maybe they are different after all eh?) and you have to watch their reactions to gage if there they're lying, its either a straight face for truth, or rolling of eyes and a shifty glance here and there for the suspect lying. (There's waaay more to it than that. It can be very subtle differences)
hardly mind boggling detective work, poirot won't be getting in a pickle over this! (Well no. Probably because he's dead. And fictional.)
another thing about this game, however rubbish you are you still solve the case, wats the point (No that's just flat-out wrong. You will arrest someone, but that person can be innocent if you've cocked up somewhere)! just give me a gun and let me start shooting people up when there lying, or at least a couple of slaps! but nothing! (Yes. I think we may have hit the crux of the problem. This is a mature, story-driven game for mature gamers. Not spotty 13 year-olds who are only excited by explosions and breasts.)
all the cars are the same (Except they look and drive differently don't they? So really they're quite different.), and apparently you can drive over 100, wow, as they all look the same... (Except they aren't! Some oversteer, for example, while others understeer) and they all drive slow! (They're from the fucking 1940s! What else were you expecting?! Hovercars going mach 3?)
the game is just a lost concept (Nope. It's a concept that works spectacularly), in fact im feeling guilty about selling my copy on ebay. (Don't be. Somebody else will love it. Probably someone with more than three brain cells.)
the only good thing about this game is that it cud save you money on your heating bills as it warms your ps3 console up to the same temperature as centre of a mcdonalds apple pie! (I've never had that problem myself, thus I'm obviously a far better human being...)
one final word!!! checkout the outfits option......you can change your dark minging suit for another one...woo hoo, how exciting.... ;) (They all have different effects on the character so there is a purpose beyond cosmetics)
its the only playstation game you dont really need a controller for, just a huge box of maltesers, to assist you through this soul destroying game! (Oh piss off. You're just embarrassing yourself in front of the whole internet)
rockstar.... watch the film the mechanic and then build a game based on that type of thing!! good lads! (Oh for the love of God. Just stick to Saints Row, Rockstar's recent discovery of intricacy and maturity is clearly far beyond your small mind.)
Here's another:
Like any PS3 owner, I was really looking forward to this game (And so you should have been. I'd been excited since it was announced). So on the day of it's release, I went out and bought it, got home, and started playing. I'm not going to drone on about the "wonderful graphics", "facial programming" or the "stunnig gameplay", as it only really has one of these boxes ticked (Well, the graphics are wonderful, the faces are superbly recorded and the gameplay, whilst not stunning, is very good. So I make that 2 out of 3, maybe 2 and a half.). The look of the game is stunning, HOWEVER, it may have been a better use of the programmers time and energy if they had worked on anything else!!! (It took seven years to make. They spent plenty of time on everything. That's why everything works very well.) A new patio prehaps?  Of just taking the dog for a long walk (Oh you're so witty. To steal a line from Blackadder, I thank God I wore my corset, because I think my sides have split. You could only be funnier if you learned to type.). This game has not delievered the promised yardstick. (That's not really how the word 'yardstick' should be used...)
Here's why. (Oh thank the heavens you and you're various game awards are going to tell these rank amateurs how to make a game!)
1/ The gameplay is far too easy (In what way? The fights etc. are easy, but some of the clues can be pretty hard to find)
2/ There is no challenge in ANY of the missions (Except there is. As I pointed out, just because you've got the evidence to finger someone, it doesn't mean its the right person)
3/ The story thread is so weak, I'm surprised that the disc isn't made out of granite, just to give some backbone (I thought the story was pretty strong and engrossing)
4/ The missions are all the same, just different characters. (This is a big problem) (True, I suppose. But that could be said of pretty much every game around. Call of Duty is just shooting people in rooms. Only the people and the rooms change. Bioshock is just hitting people with wrenches and running away from Big Daddies. What a stupid point to make, it's the characters that make it interesting you twerp.)
5/ There's no fun in the game whatsoever (And yet, I find it fun. Please refrain from passing off your opinions as facts in future. They aren't. In your case they're pretty far from fact...) 
6/ The game is to short (Ha! Got you! You must have enjoyed it a little bit if you were sorry it ended so soon!)
And the big one (I bet it's stupid...)
7/ There's no imagination!! (And I was right. How is there no imagination? How many other games set in the 40s where you are a police officer who has to, get this, do actual police work? I can think of none.)
You really do get the feeling that the whole story was thought of in a matter of moments. (I think it was years actually...)
If this is the best that Team Bondi can come out with then please don't bother anymore (Yeah. I mean if a metacritic score of just 89 is really all you can do, then you'd better just go and shoot yourself...). My copy of the game will be on here for sale very soon, as I want to get rid of it before everyone else!! (I hope it went for tuppence ha'penny.)
 Here's a review from an Xbox 360 owner, so he's probably a high-pitched whiny pre-pubescent...:
Having been a massive Rock Star fan I looked forward to LA Noire immensely (Well you'd be mad not to. Rockstar have become the become the best in the business at mature games since they grew up with GTA IV). But I have never been so disappointed (Your parents have...). They have concentrated far too much on the facial recognition, interviewing and cut-scenes and not enough on the game play (The game-play is fucking fine! Much of it has come straight from Red Dead and GTA for fuck's sake.). 

I would have loved to be on the opposite side of the fence from their other games, driving round reacting to criminals doing their thing (Well this is it!). Jumping over bonnets and tooling up my arsenal (What you wanted was a Die Hard game. This was never going to be that. It didn't want to be). But what do you get, a linear procession through boring crime scene after another (I found all the cases absorbing, myself. As did most critics). The facial thing is good, but the novelty wears off quickly (It's not a novelty. The game would not work without it.) and then you realise that its just not any fun to play. (Like the other guy, this is your (incorrect) opinion, not fact.)

Rockstar have really dropped a brick here and I can only hope this is not the sign of things to come. (They dropped, not a brick, but a bomb. With a gloriously tight bombing pattern (sorry, Catch-22 reference again). If this is a sign of things to come from Team Bondi and Rockstar then the future looks bright)

Very upset (It's just a game you're too stupid to understand properly. No need to take it so personally. Not like my personal attacks...). Right then lets go and watch some emulsion on a wall... (If that's your idea of fun then I think we can all ignore you're review...)
I think that'll do there, till next time dear fans and admirers!

Sunday, 5 June 2011

Black Swan

You'd think that bloody great crack would tip
some people off that this would be a little mad...
Darren Aronofsky's Black Swan was released last year to very strong reviews. It even collected Academy, BAFTA and Golden Globe awards for Natalie Portman's excellent central performance, as well nominations in many of the other major categories. The film depicts a young ballerina who has to get in touch with her darker side to succeed as the lead in a production of Tchaikovsky's  Swan Lake. I shan't spoil it, but anyone going to the cinema expecting a modern retelling of Swan Lake or a nice story about ballet performers would be disappointed and surprised...  But the reviewers have no such qualms, so tread carefully. Speaking of the reviewers, here is some from amazon.co.uk:
This film is a travesty and an insult to hard working ballet dancers, ballet teachers and musiscians (How? It doesn't say all people involved in ballet are nuts, just that it can be incredibly tough to reach the top. Which is certainly true. I haven't heard of any ballet performers complain about their depiction in the film.). It traduces (Who the fuck actually uses the word 'traduce'? How pretentious are you?) an honorouble art and profession (It doesn't attack ballet. It comments on the lengths performers [of any dramatic profession] will go to for their roles. That is it.) and will undermine the teaching and practise of ballet for a generation of young hopefuls (Your 'young hopefuls' shouldn't see this film on account of it being handed a 15 certificate by the BBFC for 'strong sex, strong language and bloody injury'. Any ballet hopefuls should not see the film until they are 15. Well after they would have started ballet. Your point is stupid.). I found the film ludicrous (Well it is a bit. It's an homage of sorts to the horror films of Dario Argento [particularly Suspiria] which were also mad. But the madness was pretty clear from the trailers, if you thought you were getting something else then that's your problem.) with childish computer generated effects (They were pretty good. Certainly they were not 'childish' in any way.) and exagerated psychological problems as if audiences are so stupid they need have to have each point underlined, printed in CAPITALS, and hammered into their heads or they wont understand (Actually the psychological angle was exaggerated to make the film exciting, visceral and Argento-ish. In real life, most psychological breakdowns aren't really that exciting though...). The film dwells on sexual deviation (Being a lesbian, or exploring those avenues, is not 'sexual deviation' you homophobic piece of shit cunt. The term 'deviation' is used when talking about paedophilia, voyeurism or sadomasochism, that sort of thing. Not homosexuality.) and gratuitous self harm (The self-harm was pretty important to the plot really, taking it out would have vastly reduced the impact of the picture.) with all the gory details in a way that is more in keeping with third rate pornography (What pornography have you been watching to have gory self harm in it? Maybe it's you who's the sexual deviant...). I would not encourage any child to watch it (Well, once again I will divert your attention to the 15 certificate. In the UK it is illegal to supply a film to anyone under the age of the certificate. So what precisely is your point?) and would rate it lemon of the year (Really? You feel this was worse than drivel like Sex and the City 2 or The Last Airbender?) and possibly the least deserving Acadamy Award winner of all time! (First of all, Portman deserved her award. Second of all, I would like to draw your attention to Braveheart which is by far the least deserving Academy Award winner I can think of. As it's a racist piece of trash.) I hated the film (Really? I hadn't noticed. Thanks for pointing that out...) and would ask for my money back if I could. The film is mis-sold not clearly pointing out the inapropriate nature of the content (IT WAS GIVEN A 15 CERTIFICATE how much clearer could it be? I suggest you either stick to films with U or PG ratings in future, or check the BBFC website where they say precisely why they have handed out the certificate they have.) and relying on the Swan Lake reputation to entice the unwary (Look, don't blame the film because you are an idiot. It merely makes you seem an even bigger idiot.). The acting was ordinary and certainly not worthy of an Acadamy Award (Really? So you know better than pretty much every major critic in the field then do you? And most of the voters for the various academies etc. that gave her awards? Because I doubt that very much. Hell, even my ego isn't that big.). Two big thumbs down from me.
Having taken a minute to calm down, here's the next one:
I have given it one star because I had no choice (I think you have to click at least one). (You had a choice. You could have chosen to not review it at all. That would have saved me from feeling obliged to write this too...)
The ballet scenes should upset real ballet dancers (And yet... They don't. They were generally praised as being pretty good for a film.). Natalie Portman flaps her arms about, I don't really call it dancing. (Well that's ballet for you...)
The story is so pretentious it is laughable (When, precisely, is it pretentious? It's a horror/thriller film. A genre film. Pretension is not a part of it.). I think those who loved the movie perhaps liked a bit of voyeurism (e.g. the gratuitous lesbian sex scene). (I see. So everyone who enjoyed it [an awful lot of people lets not forget] are all peeping toms? It certainly couldn't be because of the exciting story, excellent acting and beautiful cinematography could it...)
Don't waste your money. (It wouldn't be a waste.)
And another:
In contrast to other reviews here, I will give an unpretentious and honest assessment of Black Swan (I think all the reviews on amazon will be honest, misguided or flat-out wrong sometimes, but honest. Well except for the trolls, obviously, but I can't see any for Black Swan. And just because someone likes a film you don't, and can quantify why they like it by citing cinematography etc, that doesn't make them pretentious.). It should have been more accurately entitled 'The Emperor's New Clothes' (How very droll and original. How many times have I seen that sort of phrase since I started doing this blog...), since it is devoid of any meaningful content and has been feted by reviewers who really ought to know better (Maybe, and I know this is a far-out suggestion, but maybe they do know better. And it's you who's wrong?). True, it looks stylish (It is indeed) (though the insistence on using hand-held camera for long periods has a tendency to make the user feel seasick (The user?)), but is essentially meaningless tosh (Not really. As I said earlier, it comments on the search for perfection by the extremely driven.). Worse than that, at key moments it is laughably awful (Name one such moment, and explain precisely why it is laughable, then we can talk.). Portman emotes like her life depends on it (She does a little more than that...), but she can't help the stilted script (When is it stilted? I found it all flowed quite nicely) or the director's clumsy handling of his denouement (Excuse me? How was it clumsy?), which in turn says nothing and was foreseeable through the entire film. (It says plenty, and perhaps it wasn't overly difficult to predict, but what ever happened to just enjoying the ride? Even when the end is a foregone conclusion?)

Ignore the accolades (Or don't. They are well deserved, and awarded by more intelligent and cineliterate people than this chump. Or even me.). This is truly a movie worthy of the Razzies (No. Just... No.). Please, please do not buy it on DVD (Since it would clearly cause you much pain I'm going to buy it as soon as I can afford it.) and if you were thinking of venturing out to the cinema, stay home and watch Polanski's Repulsion (Repulsion is indeed a superb film. But Black Swan has just as much right to exist. It tells a different, though in some ways similar in other ways very different, story in an entirely different way.). Now there was a director who knew how to hit nerve endings and portray a descent into madness credibly and scare the audience witless (Polanski is a very good director. But, despite your inferred accusation, so is Aronofsky. As you would know if you'd seen Requiem For A Dream). So in short, there are no redeeming features (None at all? Really?) - this really is a film that could have been decent in the right hands but which has been sabotaged (It could have been more than decent in the right hands. Fortunately, it was placed in the right hands, so it turned out very well.). Please save your hard-earned cash! (What if your cash isn't hard-earned?)
I think that'll do for now, but I may well tackle some reviews from America at some point in the future so keep your eyes peeled!
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