Will Preston

Archive for November, 2011

World War 3 better be this entertaining

by on Nov.25, 2011, under Review, Video Games

We’ve been hanging on a cliff for two years now. “Which cliff?” some of you might ask. Well, back in 2009, Russia invaded America, and the corrupt US general involved got the closest view of a knife, killing him in the process. Now we have no idea when peace will glide over and sort this mess out. Before you start to panic and slide through the news sites, don’t worry: it’s just a game. Modern Warfare 2, 6th game in the long running Call of Duty franchise, gave us a taste of what to expect if the USSR invaded the USA (hey, it’s been a long time coming). Now, the imaginatively named sequel, Modern Warfare 3, skips the starter and goes straight to the main course: World War 3. It’s the end of the world as we know and it plays fine.

Lots of dramatic posing

After a series of teasing trailers, everyone was getting excited about the locals in the game. From Manhattan to the Champs-Élysées, from Westminster tube station to Somalia, it’s a globe trotting quest of nuclear proportions. Each level has it’s own feel to it and, just like a Hollywood movie, has very memorable set pieces. In New York, you take a chopper ride through wall street before taking a Russian sub in the harbour. In London, you speed into a truck chase in the bustling underground. I won’t even spoil what happens in Paris, but think Team America. Each level has a stunning amount of detail and brings World War 3 into shocking reality.

Continuing from Soaps unfortunate incident with someone else’s knife, the story flips between a handful of groups. After catching up with the remains of Task Force 141 (Captain Price still has the ‘tash), we’re onto taking control the American Delta force, then gunning with the British SAS, as well as tasking the role of a Russian bodyguard. After the invasion of America, The Russians begin to invade Europe like a red blitzkrieg. However, the Russian president is seeking to end the war. This is hampered with the appearance of series villain Makarov, who still wants to see Russia rise to take over the world. It plays out like the summer blockbuster epic that you’ll be watching over and over again. You’ll laugh, you’ll gasp, and, if you’re already attached to the characters, you’ll cry.

London Underground went downhill after privatisation

Whilst it’ll take around six to eight hours to get through, it’s still a fantastic example of how far cinematic gaming has come, as it makes you feel like you’ve been warped into a film. Of course, by this point the series has moved away from pretending to be a realistic shooter. It works better as the ridiculous Michael Bay style explosion gauntlet that throws realism away in favour of providing a dazzling spectacle. Just like Modern Warfare 2, there was a controversial scene that left a rather awful taste in the mouth. Without revealing much, it involves a chemical attack on jolly old London. Whilst it’s not as breathtaking as the nuclear attack in Call of Duty 4 or as uncomfortable as the airport massacre in the previous game, it still fills you with dread whenever you replay the level.

Thankfully, the game doesn’t handle with dread. The controls are just as effective as they always have been. Not only this, but it runs as smoothly and is flowing as ever. Apart from a few new weapons and upgrades, there is barely any new changes. As always, the visuals have had their yearly wash and scrub to keep up with graphic demands. The levels do have a large feel to them, but you’re still restricted to the linear tourist route. If anything, the gameplay has become simpler and more streamlined. The vehicle sections split up the action before it gets too repetitive. One of the new vehicles can only be described as an unmanned robot tank. Armed with a chaingun and grenade launcher, you use this mechanical mayhem-bringer to clear the path for your venerable team to get through. Death from above fans will be glad to know that the AC 130 gunship returns to rain fiery death to everything within it’s reach.

Why is it always the monuments that blow up?

Once you’ve gasped at the games ending and wiped the sweat from the pad, You’ve still got Spec Ops mode to conquer. Not only has a ranking system been included, a Horde-esque survival mode has been added. just like the previous Spec ops, you can complete them with a friend and they focus on various scenarios that have taken place throughout the main game. Each mini mission is challenging and will keep you coming back over and over again. The Survival mode also breathes longevity into the game. Starting off with just a basic pistol, you are trapped in one of the games maps and an endless supply of soldier, dogs and helicopters try to hunt you down. Think Nazi Zombies, but without the Zombies…or the Nazi’s, if we’re being pedantic. Weapons become unlockable as your rank increases, and the enemy forces become tougher and larger. It’s the ultimate arcade experience.

And who could forget the multiplayer experience, as well. Call of Duty’s legendary multiplayer returns yet again with this years edition. Gone are the unfair kill streaks that allow over-skilled players to end the game at the flick of a nuclear switch. instead the streaks have been balanced out, and acquiring them isn’t so unforgiving. The pace is still as fast as ever and you need to be quick on your feet as well as being quick on the draw. As far as the levels go, they are just as varied as the previous games with major set pieces ripped from the main game. The multiplayer is still fast, manic and explosive, even if there has been barely any significant changes.

Modern Warfare 3 delivers an action-spammed experience as usual. With a memorable campaign mode and the new survival game, this is the one Call of Duty title that you will keep coming back to play over and over again.

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Aiming down the sites at the best shooter of the year

by on Nov.07, 2011, under Review, Video Games

Only Christmas has managed to beat 2011’s most anticipated event. It’s not an election, it’s not the second coming and (thank goodness) it’s not the next Richard Curtis film. Yes, Battlefield 3 has been making more men quiver with anticipation without the aid of Jessica Alba. “What’s to be that excited about” you may say in a mature and cynical tone (possibly whilst flicking through a copy of the Evening standard). It is a typical shooter and is not really breaking any major gameplay boundaries it sure does look nice. But looks aren’t everything, right?

The best rendered doorways ever

The most obvious thing to get excited about this new release are the mind-blowingly real visuals. Again, you cynics out there might say that they can’t be that much of a dramatic leap, but you’d be surprised. The animation and movement flows smoother than the evening’s first pint of Guinness and is just as refreshing. There are moments where you think you’re watching the action unfold from the viewpoint of a particularly brave cameraman. It’s the most convincing virtual experience you can get this year and there’s not much more that needs to be said.

The gameplay has hardly changed, but then again it aint broke. A gun catalogue the size of the Pentagon is included in the game with all the various attachments thrown in. Because just using your gun to shoot people get’s a bit vanilla after a while, of course. So it has a lot of guns; a standard expectation of any shooter. But Battlefield doesn’t draw the line at the boomstick bargain basement. They’ve been shopping at Napalm Neddy’s Military Vehicle Dealership too.

Becoming the air strike never felt so good

From jeeps to tanks, from choppers to jets, just about anything with a steering wheel can be used. Coming up against a tank when the only thing protecting you is the destroyable wall right next to you is an experience like no other. At times, the amount of vehicles on a multiplayer map can disrupt the flow of gun fighting, but if you had the sense to get a tank in the first place, you wouldn’t be moaning. In fact, why not take control of a fighter jet and provide countless airstrikes whilst pretending you’re Tom Cruise.

Buildings still blow up, thankfully

As expected, the multiplayer mode on this new game is expansive, incredible and very in-depth. But what about the single player? I have to say, I was quite surprised to find at how interesting the campaign was. Granted, it borrowed (stole, if you will) a lot of set pieces from the past couple of Call of Duty games, but it’s still good in it’s own right. But just like Call of Duty, you’ll have this licked in a particularly anti-social evening. There’ also a co-op mode included within. Just think Spec Ops from Modern Warfare 2.

For some promises that seemed too good to be true, Battlefield 3 has managed to keep up its end of the bargain without sparing anything. Modern Warfare 3 is going to have hard target to aim for as it seems that this years shooter is a hard one to frag. This is the only shooter you will need until Battlefield 4 get’s released with its patented Better-Than-Reality engine.

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DVD Review – Panic Button (2011)

by on Nov.02, 2011, under Films, Flickering Myth, Review

The paranoia around social networking has started to arise recently. Rather then just view sites like Facebook and MySpace as a way of keeping in contact with old friends, there’s the fear that people can be subtly controlled by them. After all, who really reads the terms and conditions right down to the bottom? Thought not. Just because some of your Facebook profile is set to private, does not make it entirely safe. In the low-budget horror, Panic Button, every technophobe’s fear springs from the woodwork.

[Article continues on Flickering Myth]

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Microsoft to launch Kinect for Windows commercial program

by on Nov.02, 2011, under News, That VideoGame Blog

A full year has passed since the Xbox’s answer to the Wii started to make people wave their arms around the room without a controller. Now it would appear that Microsoft’s new motion technology is not going to be restricted to just games, as Kinect is looking to transform itself into a business tool.

[Article continues on That VideoGame Blog]

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