Saturday, 14 July 2012

Steam Summer Review: Warhammer 40,000: Space Marine

Third person shooter-brawler WH40K: Space Marine is the continuation of Relic Entertainment’s long and passionate relationship with THQ’s recently renewed Warhammer licence, which has brought us the widely renowned Dawn Of War RTS franchise with its many expansions.  Fans of the 40K universe praise Relic for sharing Games Workshop’s original vision and creating an experience that does justice to the source material by emphasising the themes and characterisations of its warring factions, while remaining incredibly fun to play.      

Friday, 13 July 2012

Steam Summer Sale

Rejoice, oh scions of the Internet, it is that glorious time again, a time of celebration, of gift giving, of personal enrichment, a time where people's wish(lists) are fulfilled and their desires are satisfied.

I am of course talking about the Steam Summer, the sinisterly nice offering to us from Valve on their Steam gaming client. Given that in the past two years (give or take), there has never been a moment where Steam hasn't had at least two offers on, this explosion of offers is the firework show that sets Steam apart from miserly old EA Origin, with their policy of "being nice would cheapen the medium".

'They may be evil overlords, but they are the best evil overlords a boy could wish for'

The Below Average Spider Man Review


      Reboots are a tricky line to walk. You have to change the style and focus of the new film from the original series enough to warrant its existence while simultaneously keeping the basic concept behind the idea the same. This has been done very successfully in the past with a few recent examples being that of Rupert Wyatt's 'Planet of the Apes', (notice how credit isn't being given to Burton's reboot here) and Christopher Nolan's 'Batman'. These are two shining examples of mixing up the format to explore both new aspects of the franchises. In both cases a mostly more pseudo-realistic approach, and yet keeping the core concepts similar, which basically entails there being a planet with apes on it and that Batman is still incapable of grieving properly.

     There are similarly weak reboots, not simply weak for being bad products in themselves, but for the most part having nothing to do with the thing they are trying to leech off of, except in name simply for familiar and easy marketing reasons. 'The Italian Job' is a prime example of this, with a film where we see a scene of what can barely be described as a job, more of an activity, taking place in Italy for about five minutes. All the film shares in common with the original is the main character, an American inexplicably with a Cockney name of Charlie Croker, attempting a job which for the most part takes place in LA in minis; simply because it was the the original I guess. It isn't in Italy, it isn't really a Job and it sure as hell isn't a The.

Hitman: Absolution Streets of Hope Gameplay Review

 IO Interactive continues to spoil us with new Hitman: Absolution footage in a new 17-minute developer commentary and gameplay of a mission called “Streets of Hope”.  

Barbie: A Fashion Fairytale Review

Barbie: A Fashion Fairytale, or BAFF as it will be known from this point, is one of the many mule children born from the union of the nightmare realm that is the Barbie universe, and Universal Studios’ actually quite accomplished animation department.  Two cultural leviathans meeting to produce a masterpiece to be remembered for generations, you might say.  It is written by Elise Allen, who seems to have forged a career out of penning cutesy fluorescent toy tie-in movies, and directed by William Lau, who has done much the same thing.  Lau also wrote and directed Glitched, a movie so ambitious that IMDb has yet to rate it, presumably waiting for some obscure time in the future when the world will be able to comprehend his art.

Thursday, 12 July 2012

Comics: New 52 Batman 1st issue round up

 Once again, like Justice League, brought into the light from the dark

Review in Short: From First to Last
  1. Batman: Detective Comics
  2. Batman
  3. Batman: The Dark Knight
  4. Batman and Robin
I feel there is a Catz the musical joke in here somewhere

If you are even remotely connected to the comic scene (Or happen to know someone remotely connected to the comic scene) you are probably aware that DC are doing something quite special at the moment, though in which meaning of the word that will take remains to be seen.

As it stands though they are currently undergoing a completely clean sheet, and this isn't your Crisis on Infinite Earths clean sheet, no sir. A cancellation of all their comics, and the release of 52 new series. So what better time to start up a new comic based segment, now that all my previous DC knowledge is basically mute...For now, but we will talk about that later.

Comics: New 52 Justice League

 This is an article I did for an old site, however, I feel as I plan to continue the comic rift, there is value in them being transferred over here. It also saves them for future generations. Hoorah.

Ever since the League's first appearance in 1960, the simple logic of, "If we throw all our big sellers into a single franchise, that franchise will make tons of money forever" has won through, this trend shows no signs of weakening as Justice League #1 of the new 52 has reached its sixth reprint, the highest of the impressive volume of demand generated by the New 52 (and seemingly by everyone’s collective urge to get their own 'Number #1s'). 

Now there is a reason why these things sell well, and that is because not only do they throw everyone together, they usually do it pretty damn well. Justice League had the prestigious honour of being the first out of the gates within the New 52, written by General DC heavyweight Geoff Johns and Drawn by All-rounder Jim Lee. The basic line-up was announced as who you see in the above picture. From left to right (though they need no introduction) Aquaman, Green Lantern, Wonder Woman (With trousers that never did materialise) Superman, Batman, the Flash and Cyborg. Now as to quite what Cyborg is doing there is a good question, though as he hasn't actually appeared yet, we will save that for a later date, and with characters such as Green Arrow and Deadman, slated as some examples of fringe members.

Wednesday, 11 July 2012

British Politics: House of Lords Reform

For those of you who aren't familiar with British politics, of which I do not blame you, yesterday was supposed to be quite a  big day. The Liberal Democrats, the junior partner and critically shat on member of the Coalition that currently runs our government was about to get it's pay off for 2 years of breaking promises, appeasing Conservatives, and isolating core groups of support. They were finally passing a major bill from their side of the ideological spectrum. Namely, reforming our archaic spectre of a second house, the House of Lords.

 Cameron stifling back laughter as Clegg mentions 'Voting for a Legislative branch'

And then 91 Tories went and ruined it by rebelling and voting against the bill. This means more than just the lack of reform to the House of Lords (Of which Nick Clegg, Liberal Democrat leader has said he will continue to press for).

Higgs Boson or Higgs Boring

      When I wished my family a happy Higgs Boson day, I had already expected a lukewarm reception much like that of any family holiday where we're forced to talk to one another. I was mostly surprised that none of them had even heard of it. Most of their memories were spurred on by the recollection of “the black hole machine” that superseded it during its spring into the public consciousness in 2008. But the main unanimous response was that of, what does it do? Now I am in no position to even begin to fully understand or conceptualize the thing, but I at least knew the basics of how it affected and completed the Standard Model, so went on to explain to them why it's fundamentally important in our understanding of how the universe works. After I'd given my short Coxian speech, sans stupid voice, I quickly realised that I had misunderstood the question. It wasn't about what it does, but what it could do. I asked if curiosity wasn't enough. They all agreed no, it wasn't.

      Now I would understand my granddad feeling this way, he's a man of the earth. He works with machine parts and has clearly grown used to the fact that if some thing’s hanging around that isn't needed, then burn it. He also heard a theory a long time ago that God did it and he's pretty convinced he's had the answer nailed for a while now. I didn't take my sister's opinion into consideration cause she just says things, but even the middle ground adults, the parents who had been swamped in the moon landing and all other examples of science for curiosity’s or novelty sake during the cold war, disliked it. But even those experiments like the moon landing had secondary motives, not just out of curiosity but also to belittle the Russians and improve American morale in their nation by winning the space race. Any actual activity remotely resembling science, conducted by dropping feathers or hitting golf balls, took a back seat to the mission and was possibly there just to fill time in the broadcast.

The beginning of the end for Star Wars: The Old Republic

And so the most anticipated MMORPG in the past two or so years starts to tread the all to familiar path of any contender to the World of Warcraft throne. A depressing piece of news really as Star Wars: The Old Republic had some really great selling points behind it; a popular universe, a solid studio, high production values, a seemingly fresh approach and extensive budget all made it feel like the developers at the numerous expo's were entitled to throw around the term 'WoW Killer'.

A larger focus on the story was a key selling point.

But now, just over a year and a half since its release in the western world, the first action on a slippery slope occurs. 'Free 2 Play'. Admittedly for now it is only the first 15 levels available to those who haven't paid, but it definitely isn't a positive sign to appear out of the Bioware/EA camp.

But was this news inevitable? I don't really know if I can answer that, the cynic within me tells me that any attempt to challenge the WoW monopoly on subscription based online MMOs will naturally result in disaster, with examples too numerous that it isn't even fun to name them.

One thing that tripped them at the starting gate was the god awful decision to make it one of the premier 'draws' of the Origin download platform, EA's shameless counterattack to Steam. In sacrificing one to make the other great, EA ensured the mediocrity of both products, rather than just one. I know that had The Old Republic been on Steam, I would probably been amongst the rank and file playing it, but EA's pride and greed said otherwise.

Not that it matters, now I can play it for free.

An introduction to A Game of Thrones: Second Edition strategy

Four simple rules

 A typical A Game of Thrones: Second Edition player

  1. The guy next to you is not your friend (aka You win or you die)

Seldom does anyone ever win A Game of Thrones without plunging the knife of fate into the supple spine of complacency.  Be cautious of people who are pressing on to their 5th or 6th castle, as they will be quietly but ravenously eyeing up any meekly defended castles that are within striking distance.  The one consolation is that you can’t be stabbed in the traditional sense if you stab first, and this is where much of the intrigue in the game descends from. 

Disability: The Ultimate Weapon In The War Against Terror

      With two raids carried out by police on suspected terrorist activity this week, it seems the underlying fear of a terrorist attack at the 2012 London Olympic games is still strong in the national hive mind. It may have been the case that only one of the five raids against civilians undertaken by police was even remotely linked to terrorist activity at the Olympic games. One major raid carried out on a suburban home in the Stratford district of London, a mere mile and a half away from the main London Olympic stadium has been claimed by police as a significant prevention in the war against homeland terrorism. A second far more lacklustre raid was undertaken against a coach containing a lot of jittery old people and a guy smoking an electric cigarette believed to be bomb equipment.

      Whether or not any actual terrorist attacks are being prevented, which I hope they are because I have a bet with my grandmother that there won't be one, the fact remains that there is Al Qaeda fever sweeping the nation. It's one of the many events that precedes the Olympics along with the parading of the torch, road closures and forced patriotism. The slight pissing sting of Gonorrhoea, with the full blown infertility lying in wait to strike. Terrorism's the disease, it has everyone up in arms terrified and yet simultaneously flocking into potential mass grave stadiums to watch the games. The news treats it like an infection; “White Muslim”. You won't see that anywhere else, no mention of Black Christians or Albino Scientologists, because it's a shock to us, that its infecting our own people, inside agents all out to ruin everyone's fun day out. Smoker's pointed out on coaches and bets being placed on whether the whole thing will all go to hell or not (although on second thought I do feel bad betting a mere 20 quid to deny someone's chance of going to heaven. Seems pretty unbalanced).

Tuesday, 10 July 2012

Assassin's Creed 3 'Rise' trailer and the fan reaction

If you have somehow wondered on to this obscure part of the Internet in search of Assassin's Creed 3 stuff, you have probably seen the pseudo-controversial trailer released on Independence Day by Ubisoft for their upcoming game Assassin's Creed 3. While my biggest issue with it is that a live action trailer tells me nothing about the gameplay, or even graphics itself, my complaint has seem to falling by the side for the more popular and sexy "Lies and Nationalism" crowd.

The ancient art of doing shit quickly

I love speed runs and I always have.  They channel the vicarious joys of watching someone else playing a game and making it look like an art form.  They are also a fantastic cure for the casual insomnia brought on by terrible diet, endless hours of TF2, and general bad life planning.  I find the gentle drone of Wind Waker being played in the background makes the perfect white noise for falling asleep to, Link’s unceremonious shouting included. 

Sleeping disorders aside, the world of speed running has, relatively recently, found a new place in the internet media hyperbubble; streaming.  Universally beloved CosmoWright, Zelda speed runner extraordinaire has even been surfacing on the front page amongst the relentless outpour of LoL and DOTA crowd-pleasers.  There is a unique sense of narrative about great live speed runs, as each segment unfolds into a flurry of tension, uncertainty and anticipation over whether our heroic player will beat his personal records or push the boundaries of a new world standard.  They’re not all this good, but it has come to my attention that nor is 99% of real sport.

Babe: The movie: The game: The movie: The game: The horror


For a game released on PS2 at the brink of the PS3 era, Babe still manages to pack one hell of a surprise in the console's twilight years. Not a good surprise however like actually playing a good game like 'Leisure suit Larry- Magna Cum Laude' or the sadly under appreciated 'The Guy Game'.


But it's the kind of surprise where you meet up with a strange man for an innocent round of cottaging, only to wake up in an ice bath with both your ass and chest cavity surrounding your kidney gaped. The pulse of hepatitis C coursing through your veins - 3/10. But back to the review.

Grand Opening Version 2

Welcome to What About Cynics, where Cynicism is a buzz word.

Currently no more than a bunch of disjointed HTML codes, of which we aren't overly sure how to use, and given are cynical nature, we are inclined to think it won't succeed.

However, even the greatest media empire starts with a single post, though, for the record, if this ever gets beyond the 23 inexplicable views we currently have. This opening post will be swiftly deleted.

So with all that out of the way, we can focus on the crux of the issue, delicious posting. Stay tuned folks.