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Prometheus Review - Potential Minor Spoilers

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I've been really looking forward to this movie for a very long time. While I have been revising during the last couple of months I spent a fair amount of time on forum boards discussing Prometheus and soaking up every trailer, clip and leaked piece of information that flew out of 20th Century Fox. Being a big fan of Alien, Blade Runner and Ridley Scott, my excitement was elevated even more so. So finally after the end of my final year exams I treated myself to a showing of Prometheus.

All in all, if you haven?t seen Alien you?ll enjoy this film a lot more than someone who has. While it had been made painfully clear that this wouldn?t be a direct prequel to Alien and would merely involve small references and similar themes, I still went in expecting that these references and themes would still at the least make the smallest bit of sense. Alas, they did not. The theme and mood of the film was a million miles away from that of Alien. It was bright and cheery, not dark and suspenseful. There were only brief moments when the slightest bit of tension was introduced, though overall I didn?t feel like I was sitting on the edge of my seat at all.

The plot and storyline I found satisfying, although there was so much room for improvement and I got the impression there was some real confusion between the director (Ridley Scott) and the writers (John Spaihts and Damon Lindelof) about the story they wanted to tell. The directing and cinematography felt a little like Alien but the script just didn?t match up. Poor dialogue just destroyed any suspense. Parts of the plot were confusing and left far too many open questions, which were sometimes welcomed yet, on the whole unnecessary and frustrating. A moment with one of the crew becomes a zombie like creature was pointless and unexplained; it felt more like they just felt they needed an action sequence and a way to kill off a load of the crew so they just conjured up a reason to turn him into a monster. What became so frustrating about the plot and script was that there was a real disjointedness and it was pointless sub-plots, which added nothing to the story. Had the script just been simplified and streamlined it?d have been far easier to follow and far more enjoyable. Though what can you really expect from Damon Lindelof the creator of Lost and his crayon set.

As far as acting goes, it was on the whole good. Michael Fassenbender really stood out head and shoulders above the rest as David, a Weyland robot who has a fascination with the Lawrence of Arabia movie. He had the deepest character development and proved to be the most interesting of them all. The remainder of the cast acted well but there was nothing particularly outstanding. Noomi Rapace who played the protagonist did her job well though I couldn?t shake the feeling she was as confused as the audience as to what the hell was going on.

Visually this film is magnificent and the cinematography is fantastic. At the very least I see an award in the form of a Bafta or Oscar heading towards the SFX department. It?s easily one of the most visually stunning films I?ve seen for a very long time, and this is one of it?s saving graces.

Overall, I found the movie enjoyable but also a massive disappointment. If you know nothing of Alien then you?ll like this movie with the exception of it?s many plot holes and disjointed script. If you?re a fan of Alien and expect more of the same, even if the original creature isn?t really mentioned then wait for the blue-ray. It?s so frustrating since this movie does have the ingredients to satisfy non fans of the original and die hard Alien fans. Simply streamlining the script and plot would have done wonders along with cutting out all the pointless unexplained plot holes.

6/10.

Hey. Sup.

Sup.

I've finally returned to blogging. I've been pretty swamped of late what if an abnormal amount of work so thats why I haven't blogged since the start of 09, which would have been the summer just before I was off to university to start my MSc Physics degree. I'm now in my 2nd year! Yeah. It's been awhile.

I plan to give my profile page a bit of a reboot though over the Easter vacation along with some pretty intense revision for my summer exams. Also I plan to blog a little more. Specifically on general life goings on plus some stuff thats going on in my life gaming wise and also a 2011 wishlist.

So hopefully there should be a bit more activity on here soon!

Tomo.

Update July 09

So I've recently got back from holiday in Kefalonia which was amazing. Lots of swimming, sitting in the sun and reading. I read two Clive Cussler novels and plan on reading all of his books over the next year. I also discovered a really lovely restaurant on the beach overlooking the sea called the 'Blue Sea'. It was literally just a stones throw away from our villa and the walk down in the evening was nice. It sucks to be back, although I've come back feeling refreshed and I'm no where near as stressed as I was before about University and some family matters. I feel re-vitalised. I've been out and about this week too with my parents down to Bournemouth and played golf at a very posh club in East Sussex, although wasn't worth the money to be quite honest. A whole £60 for a round, madness.

I'm currently now planning on reading some more Clive Cusslers. I've already started 'Inca Gold' which is very action packed and interesting. Should take up some time this summer. I'm also getting back into my gaming despite having not bought a new game for along time. Going back and just re-playing campaigns and of course carrying on my multiplayer career in CoD4, CoD:WaW and Halo 3. I've also got V festival coming up, which I'm really looking forward to. Also expect to be spending alot of my savings on some DVD's in the coming months to finish up some of my collections. Most likely some Star Trek, Everybody Loves Raymond and Frasier. Also thinking of going old school and buying the Dad's Army complete collection - I feel like an old man :P.

Anyway thats all for now -

Tomo

Gaming and Personal Update

I haven't done a general blog in a while so I thought I'd take some time to let you know what's been happening with me lately.

Gaming -

I've recently just hit 1000 posts on the Gamespot forums, an achievement I've been working towards for some months now. I think I must have posted at least four times the amount of posts I've done since I joined in 2005 in about three months. So I'm pretty chuffed with that. Always good to have something on your profile that proves you've been giving back to the community.
I've also lately been going back to a few games on my 360 to rack up some more achievement points. I started with Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare and completed it on veteran apart from the 'Mile High' mission which I've only managed to complete on Harden. It's just so damn hard, despite having looked at a number of strategies via YouTube. So now I've managed to get 960/1000 for Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare. I then moved onto World at War, which is near impossible to complete on veteran. I blame the inaccuracy of the weapons and the low rate of fire that is contributed to that era. Add in all the grenades which are chucked at you with near sniper accuracy it makes for some very frustrating play.
I'm also planning on re-visiting Mass Effect and Fallout 3 sometime. I'd also like to attempt Gears of War 2 on insane. I managed to complete Gears of War on insane on my own a couple of years ago so I'd like to give that a try.
Finally I'm thinking of investing in Bioshock considering all the hype there is surrounding Bioshock 2. My friends are great advocates of the game, and since it's fairly cheap now days and is an easy bargain buy, I may just invest in it.

Life -

Home life is pretty good at the moment. Just enjoying the time I have left before I head off to University in September. Getting some gaming in, plenty of movie and TV watching. Also going out with my parents and enjoying the nice weather we have been getting lately. Working on that tan.
Literally the day before I posted this blog I went to the BMW PGA Championship with my dad which was a blast. I love Golf and the day was amazing. Excellent weather and some great golf on a beautiful course. Got to see the new boy wonder, Rory McIlory. It will be a double whammy for golf this week as I'll also be attending the European Open this coming Friday (29th May).
Been having a bit of trouble with friends at the moment aswell, they seem to be keeping their distance. However I'm not that bothered as I'm not really in the mood to be all overly-friendly with them at the moment. Soon my three close friends will be returning from University and I'm looking forward to seeing them. Although I'm sure they will want to see everyone else aswell. I can't say I'm particularly looking forward to having to muck in with everyone else at the moment.

Anyway better bring this to a close. E3 will be coming up soon so expect some blogs around that time covering the press conferences and any big news that comes our way.

- Tomo

Exclusivity - a saviour? or a hindrance?

So with E3 coming up in a couple of weeks rumours are already circulating about whose going to announce the next blockbuster game. Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots has all ready been rumoured to be coming to the Xbox 360. Konami's mysterious May 18th announcement which was advertised in a Japanese magazine may actually be this. So I thought I'd focus for this blog on exclusivity.

Metal Gear Solid is one of the champions for Playstation in the same way that Super Mario and Halo is for Nintendo and Xbox. The issue of exclusivity has to my knowledge seldom been a talking point for gamers until this generation. With the increased price in today's consoles due to the increased tech that is now shoved into those little boxes, gamers are limited to the amount of consoles they can afford. I used to have all three consoles from the last generation but now I've been forced to stick to the 360 for the next gen. Therefore I'm stuck with the multiplatform games and the 360 exclusives such as Gears of War and Fable II. So is exclusivity a good thing? Or is it forcing people to miss out on gaming experiences for the benefit of those console tycoons?

In my personal opinion exclusivity is one of the most important parts of today's gaming industry. It drives competition and results in exclusives especially designed for a particular platform resulting in a much better final product and overall experience. When you look back to MGS: Substance which made the transition from PS2 to Xbox it was clear a botch job was done despite the Xbox being the more powerful machine. Terrible frame rates resulted in a less than playable game. Without exclusives I'd highly doubt Microsoft would have the games that push the realms of gaming like Mass Effect and of course Halo. The same goes for Playstation and Nintendo.

So no, exclusivity should not be removed, despite the calls from many anguished gamers out there desperate to get their hands on Killzone 2 and Metal Gear Solid 4. It's the price ever single console owner has to pay to get those gaming gems such as Fable II, Mass Effect, MGS4, Killzone 2, Halo 3, Gears of War and God of War III. So quit the complaining and appreciate what many developers have given us. Consoles would be nothing without competition forcing developers to push the boundaries for each console every single time a game is pushed into development. While I'd be pleased to see Hideo bring Solid Snake to the 360, part of me would be reluctant if this means more 'exclusives' become multi-platform.

I'd like to emphasise that I still highly doubt Hideo Kojima would even consider bringing MGS4 to the 360. So don't get your hopes up. I'm still reminded of the rumours at last years E3 of a 360 MGS4, which ended up being a new MGS app for the iPhone.

Boldly Going Where No Blog Has Gone Before...

Last Sunday was probably the most hyped day I've ever had in my 19 years and 5 months of existence. It was my first viewing of J.J Abram's 'Star Trek' which was released world wide on the 8th of May. Having followed this movies production from about the summer of 2006 and having daily checked up on its progress for almost 3 years now via the fan site 'trekmovie.com' I was completely psyched for it. So I've given a mini review below.

(Major Spoilers!)

My background to Star Trek really officially kicked off when I was about 12 when 'Star Trek: Enterprise' began its 4 year journey. This was kind of boosted by me then going and watching re-runs of 'The Next Generation' and 'Voyager' after school. I ended up watching all three shows religiously until 'Enterprise' finished in 2006. By then I had watched the complete seasons of both Trek incarnations along with a good few 'TOS' episodes. Now I own all of the TNG DVD's plus a few of Voyager and Enterprise's seasons, along with a few movies.

I had only ever seen 'Star Trek: Nemesis' in the cinema, which was for my 13th Birthday. While I still thought it was pretty good it didn't really make much of an impact on what I already knew, it was just too familiar. J.J's new Star Trek movie which was announced 2006 would be the first real Trek blockbuster that I would experience and as I've said I was completely psyched for it! I watched endless trailers for it over and over again and began to develop my own ideas for what the film might end up being like. This resulted in me fearing I would end up setting my expectations too high and find my self disappointed come May. My fears were blasted into submission by a volley of torpedoes the moment the bad robot logo disappeared and my 2 hour journey had begun.

The story while fairly simple and while misleadingly complicated was enough for what was being attempted. Using time travel and alternate storylines to enable changes to be made with Trek lore disguised a simple storyline. Bad guy with massive ship (Naruda), hates the good guys, Earth threatened and then good guys win. Although admittedly there were a few curve balls thrown in, for example Spock's mother Amanda being killed on Vulcan and obviously Vulcan completely being destroyed. While many have complained this was unnecessary, I disagree. This change in the storyline separates it's self from past incarnations and allows new angles to already established characters. This makes them less predictable and therefore more enjoyable to watch in the future movies. There is no point watching a film when you know what a characters reaction to a situation will be, as well as their reactions with each other.

The CGI was amazing, compared to the budget that was given to past Trek movies I wasn't too surprised by this but it defiantly improved the experience. ILM did a fantastic job. Seeing the Enterprise firing a massive salvo of shots against the Naruda at the end of the film was fantastic. The flare affect on the camera was also a nice touch and the sounds of the ship that were similar to those from TOS were welcomed.

The acting was by far the best part of the film. Considering none of these actors names jumped out at me (apart from pegg's) when I saw the cast list, I wasn't expecting much. I was wrong. Urban nailed bones fantastically. While many have praised Quinto's performance I felt it was much too formulated. While he may look a lot like Nimoy with the ears on, his acting was nothing surprising and was pretty much what I expected. Out of all the performances Pine's and Urban's were by far the best. While Leonard Nimoy's Spock Prime was good I couldn't help but feel his performance didn't quite fit in. It felt like Quinto's performance of a younger Spock didn't resemble anything of the Nimoy's older Spock. It just didn't fit for me. I still think a complete re-boot would have been better and Nimoy should not have featured. The producers and writers clearly had the intention of placing a familiar face in the film, but is it too familiar? Particularly for the target audience who were supposed to be new to Trek and I'm not sure they would have been particularly bothered.

star-trek-2009-sample-009.jpg image by garinungkadol

While I have so much more to say I feel I'd better stop there. Overall I'd defiantly give this a 5*. Fantastic fun. The key to this film is to go in looking for fun not necessarily a really deep story line or any established links to past Trek incarnations. I'm just pleased to see Star Trek back up in lights and appealing to a wider audience. That can't be bad! My expectations for the next sequel are high. I hope to see deeper exploration of the characters, more screen time for Urban and Pegg and a richer story. I do worry however considering the success of this film that Paramount will try to rush out a sequel while this film is still fresh in the movie goers mind. I personally would not mind waiting another 3 years if I ended up with a movie to as good a standard as this film.

'Live long and prosper...'

Moderation, Southampton and Call of Duty.

Last time I blogged I had been moderated twice in one evening. Yet again unfortunately I've been moderated again. I really need to watch this. Three moderations within 2 weeks. Considering my record of 0 over 4 years it's quite concerning. I'll just have to be very careful from now on, I'm already annoyed at myself for going down a level because of my carelessness. Damn that Gordon Brown, it was all because of a topic about him that caused my moderation.

So recently I've got right back into Call of Duty 4 & W@W. I've ended up leaving Halo Wars aside at the moment and have yet to complete it on normal, I just don't feel in the mood at the moment. I'd rather just stick to senseless shooting than actually thinking, maybe that's reflective of my mood at the moment. I've also thrown myself back into football (soccer) and gone back to supporting the blues! (Chelsea), along with Crystal Palace of course. This has resulted in countless hours of Fifa 09, fun times.

Also some more news, I've managed to get into my university of choice, Southampton! And I'm going to be reading Geophysics. A tough course with lots of work so maybe less time for Gspotting and gaming...but I'm sure I'll fit some in somewhere :P.

Anyway happy gaming!

- Tomo

Inciting rebellion in Mad Mod Hour...

Well I posted a blog onlya few minutesago about getting moderated by gamefaq's for using bold font in a RE5 topic for which I received no warning or explaination for and had my topic deleted, despite getting a decent community response. Now that blog was deleted, because I apparently did not properly disguise the one swear word I used, unfortunatly all I had was a 'S' and 3 punctuation symbols. I'm all out of french moustaches and sunglasses unfortunatly. Well actuallyI did useanotherone coming to think about it but I think I'll conveinatly forget about that one:P.I originally posted a complaint in 'ask the mod's' accusing them of it not knowing it was a gamefaq mod on the shared boards..can't help but think that the blog deletion was also a retaliation for my out cry. Regardless I'm still annoyed, considering my record of no moderations since I joined in 2005. I just don't know if I'm more annoyed at myself or the backwards way the moderation is shared by gamefaq's and gamespot for which started this whole situation. Anyway I've sent feedback to gamefaq saying they need to explain their moderations more espeacilly when cross over rules are involved. I wonder who moderates the moderators? Well that brings my pointless/confusing/annoying evening to a close, I bid you all...a goodnight.

Halo Wars - Initial thoughts

As I'm sure most of you are aware by now that the Halo Wars demo went live recently and after about three hours awaiting the complete download (urghh), I was able to sink my teeth into all aspects of the demo.

With such great console RTS games having been released recently in particular Battle For Middle Earth 2 which I still play way too much of, and C&C Tiberium Wars, there was plenty of confidence in Microsoft studios to release a RTS console based game. Initially I have mixed feelings and I'm not sure how I feel about it so far. Obviously it's still just a demo and I'm sure the final game will feel vastly different. Maybe the fact that it is just a demo has made me feel that it just doesn't feel quite polished enough.

Graphically, it looks amazing and I'm not surprised by the level of detail. When it comes to the campaign map, I love how the map is designed in a 3D style allowing warthogs to jump off small cliffs etc, just like a FPS would be able to traverse the map. It gives a new feeling to combat in a RTS, making it feel faster paced. The chasm skirmish map also looks great if a little bit small and sparse. However just looking at the list of maps soon to be available for skirmish shows some old favourites 'Blood Gulch' in particular. The sound is great, incorporating all sounds from the Halo universe from the Spartan smg's to the sound of the covenant ghost. Voice acting shown so far is sub-par particularly the new AI, 'Serlena'. Cortana had much more life and character and it feels a bit OTT. When it comes down to the story, I knew that Halo Wars was to be set 20 years prior to the events in Halo. However having touched on the campaign for the first time I feel it could have been approached better. Maybe showing the battle of Reach instead, incorporating the characters from the first Halo, Cortana, Keyes and the Pillar of Autumn. Maybe this would have created more of a connection to the Halo universe but alas, I'm sure this story will prove just as entertaining...I hope.

The game play mechanics is where my real worries come from. It can be summed up in one word, simple. This probably isn't a bad thing, as it keeps the fast paced action and Halo feel but I can't shake the feeling that this could make the game feel too short and not deep enough. I'm probably comparing it too much to BFME which is far more detailed when it comes to units. The base set-up I think is a good move, similar to BFME which I think is a step in the right direction.

Anyway I've come away from the demo feeling a bit confused about what this game will be, a real RTS?, a one hit wonder?, or trying to be two things and failing? So I'm left feeling a bit lost, but still without a doubt I can't deny that the game is fun to play, but is that enough for the hardcore gamer?

Game Of The Year Reflections, Part Two

My apologies for the late blog, and because it's so late I've decided to cover all 6 categories in my GotY review. So here it is:

Best Graphics -

Nominees - Metal Gear Solid 4, Burnout Paradise, Crysis, Dead Space, Far Cry 2

Winner - Metal Gear Solid 4

Having seen already from the previews and initial trailers it was clear that Metal Gear Solid 4, was going to be the flagship of the Playstation 3 demonstrating it's ability when it comes to hardware. The final game surpasses any gamers initial fear that the initial trailers were just talk and the final product really does knock it clear out of the ball park. Amazing textures and visuals and the PS3's HD ability maximises this to a great effect. Compared only possibly to Crysis the other nominees do not stand a chance and I even border on conjecture that Gamespot wasn't sure who else to place in standing with MGS. Far Cry 2 is by no way near comparable to MGS when it comes to visuals and it almost feels like a position filler. In conclusion good decision by Gamespot but a bit of a no-brainer.

Best New Character -

Nominees - Brucie Kibbitz (GTA4), Niko Bellic (GTA4), Sack Boy (LBP), Janson Freidh (Lost Odyssey), Travis Touchdown (No More Heroes)

Winner - Brucie Kibbitz (GTA4)

When it comes to best new character, I think it ultimately comes down to what you would say is best, humour? Personality? Back story?. When it comes to me I tend to go towards the back story element and the general atmosphere that the character produces. Gamespot's choice of Brucie highlights the humour element but not much else, I would have personally gone for Niko as he fills more of the criteria than Brucie does on his pure comical element.

Best Atmosphere -

Nominees - GTA4, Dead Space, Left 4 Dead, Stalker: Clear Sky, Fallout 3

Winner - Dead Space

Once again a good decision by Gamespot. Dead Space's horror atmosphere surpasses any of the other Nominees with the possible exception of Fallout 3. Dead Space's atmosphere is such that I doubt I'll see one so suitable to the horror genre in the years coming.

Best Voice Acting -

Nominees - GTA4, No More Heroes, Star Wars: Force Unleashed, Metal Gear Solid 4, Dead Space

Winner - Metal Gear Solid 4

Since the start of the franchise David Hayter and Christopher Randolph as Snake and Otacon have become gaming figure heads. Their voices have made MGS what it is today, without David Hayter as Solid Snake and Naked Snake, the series would never be the same.

Best Competitive Multiplayer -

Nominees - Burnout Paradise, Sins of the Solar Empire, Gears of War 2, Call of Duty World at War, Super Smash Brawl.

Winner - Call of Duty World at War

This in my opinion is really between Gears of War 2 and Call of Duty World at War, and I think the right game won. Gears of War was never a excellent Multiplayer experience considering how well the single player campaign went down with most people. Gears of War 2 is no exception. While still good it fails to compete against the Call of Duty Modern Warfare engine which comes back to town in the form of World at War. With no matchmaking problems and still an excellent multiplayer mechanic, Call of Duty World at War deserved this win.

Best New Game Mechanic -

Nominees - Tom Clancy's End War, Patapon, echochrome, Lost Winds

Winner - Tom Clancy's End War

Although I'm unable to really comment on any game in this category apart from End War I feel the right game won. Patapon and echochrome has not received much attention and this may have damaged its chances a bit when it came to deciding a winner. Without the attention, the new gameplay mechanic could not be exploited to its full potential. End War has developed on an already proved concept created in a number of games prior, most notably, SOCOM. End War takes an already built mechanic and adds a nice twist and what's more is the game is excellent and it actually works with or without the headset.

So that's it, my coverage of Gamespot's GotY Awards, a bit briefer than I had hoped but a nice all round coverage I hope. Anyways, that's enough for this blog. Happy Gaming!

- Tomo

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