Ben X

Phaedrus' Street Crew
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About Ben X

  • Rank
    Formerly bbX1138
  • Birthday May 24

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  • Gender
  • Location
    Newcastle, UK


  • Interests
    film, lit, comics
  • Occupation
    desk monkey/occasional game dev
  • Favorite Games
    Day Of The Tentacle, Sam And Max Hit The Road, Quake
  1. Okay, I've done dilapidated abandoned tenement building and metro station tunnels, I'm now onto dilapidated abandoned department store. This is where mannequin guy gets his mannequins. It's feeling a little repetitive already, but there are some new enemies - brutes and wall-crawling weirdoes - to play with. It's introducing more supernatural stuff too, which is effectively creepy - rat-creatures scuttling through adjacent rooms into vents, one guy disappeared into thin air before my eyes and I'm also getting visions of flocks of birds crashing through windows or what the serial killer's been up to. (I think I read a few years ago that the bird stuff never gets explained, but it's still good flavour - they're flocking to certain areas then having brain haemorrhages and die, and these areas are the same that are seeing huge aggressive crime spikes. Presumably the killer and/or myself are giving off some kind of psychic signal.) I'm getting a bit better at blocking. It seems the trick is to wait til the last moment, though this doesn't always work either. I'm wondering if different enemy/weapon combos mean I have to adjust my timing slightly. If so, that's asking for a ridiculous amount of finesse. It's very satisfying when it works, though, and you block a swipe, crack them in the head, kick them to the floor then snap their neck. Combined with the 'tase 'em, steal their weapon' move, you've got a few options. Still some irritations, though, like how stealing someone's weapon causes them to grab you so you have to waggle your mouse to get loose but there's no way to tell when you've succeeded or which way you're facing, so you often end up facing away from them doing a Turner And Hooch impression like an idiot. Or how you're only able to hold one thing, so if you've got a shotgun with 4 bullets but there's one on the floor with 2 you're not able to combine the ammo, and you can't just tuck a pistol into your belt or something to tactically save it for later, you just have to use it on the first mook that comes along until the bullets run out then swap it for whatever comes to hand. The melee system is the focus of the game, so these little quirks glare more than they might in another game. I feel like I might need another game to dip into while I'm going through this, as it's not something you binge-play. The pacing is too methodical for that (not in a bad way), plus like I say there's the repetition. Seems I'm about halfway through, which suggests there won't be much more variety but not much more padding either.
  2. I'm halfway through the second level of Condemned, and generally liking it. It's basically a serial killer/CSI type thing and boy does it lean into the tropes - Se7en-style opening titles (haven't seen those since SiN and Thief 1), mannequins in abandoned tenement buildings, scanning for clues with little gadgets (no semen yet though). They do lampshade this right at the start, though, with a fellow detective complaining that the serial killers never go to nice clean places for their killings. And tropey though it is, the atmosphere's pretty effective, as you slowly creep around some grotty location, hearing what might be footsteps above you, then seeing a paint can move out of the corner of your eye. Then suddenly a crazy guy's running at you and you're stoving his head in with a lead pipe you pulled off the wall. The serial killer stuff is mixed in with some hints of supernormal abilities too, which is pretty cool. It's not as brutal or as scary as I remember it being when I played the demo (which consisted of the first level) at the time, but I think that might be because I'm just coming off Bioshock which pulls a few of the same moves in its early stages when you're whacking away at splicers with your spanner. And to be fair, I have felt a little nervy walking around the flat on my own after playing it! Some things kill the atmosphere a little - a lot of bad line readings, and the 'find all the dead birds for achievements!' sub-quest which the game sometimes prioritises over the homicidal junkies swinging planks of wood at your head. It's got a pleasingly simple melee system - swing, block, kick, use the taser if possible; basically the Prince Of Persia system, which I see as the platonic ideal. The one thing letting it down is that it's so damn hard to time blocking correctly. I'm sure I had this problem with at least one other game, perhaps Jedi Knight 2? [EDIT: looking back, also TRON and Riddick] If I see a dude start to swing at me and I click block before he hits me, it shouldn't read as mistimed! Or if you're going to insist on there only being a brief window for success, give me a tutorial so I understand it, because it's too damn frustrating having to work it out during the real thing. It's generally doing well at making me feel like Will Graham, though, so I'll be eagerly getting back to it tomorrow (in daylight, phew!).
  3. mother!

    Wow, your cinema still does breaks? Did that feel like a bit of respite in this film or did it come too early? The last film I remember seeing with a break was Back To The Future II in 1989 (it came when Marty gets knocked out outside the Biff Tannen museum and it fades to black).
  4. I don't know much about that area, I'm afraid. There's an old topic here which might have some suggestions, but it's a few years old now, so folks here might have more up to date suggestions... (For people like me who can never remember what grades mean, 7th grade = 12 -13 years old) Welcome to the forums, by the way, @Sia - sorry for the immediate interrogation!
  5. If it were meant that broadly, I'd expect it to be phrased that way. As it wasn't, I was wondering if a more narrow criteria was intended. And while we're here, what age range are we talking? Mathaly is apparently 1st grade, which apparently means 5-7; playing that "when she was young" suggests to me a current age of at least 10, but JKO's talking about his 5 year old kid. Nothing wrong with broad questions, but some specifics might improve the requested suggestions.
  6. mother!

    Yeah, I agree with all of that. I was definitely leaning towards a patriarchy reading at one point.
  7. Yes, or 'applications, so these are pretty broad questions, no? "Are programs on mobile phones, Ipads, Windows good for kids?" "Should I replace my kids' really stupid programs on mobile phones, Ipads, Windows with educational ones?"
  8. What do you mean by "apps"? Games? You can't do much of anything on phones, tablets or Windows without applications...
  9. Stargate

    What do you think of the original movie, SAM? I get the impression that, as with Buffy, it's possibly and common to be a big fan of the franchise but not of the original movie.
  10. mother!

    I just saw it an hour ago, and wow it's intense. I disagree with your assessment of J-Law's performance - I think it was pretty perfectly pitched for a character we had to believe would let most of this shit happen; she's played inner turmoil well in other roles, I don't think that's what she was going for here. I found her performance more engaging than Pfeiffer's. The symbolism was certainly very on the nose, I agree. It enhanced the medieval poetry feel, though, so I'll give it a break. I'd also recommend seeing it, ideally at the cinema, even if I can't promise you won't hate it. (For Aronofsky context, I loved Pi, Requiem For A Dream and The Wrestler; I liked The Fountain on first viewing then loved it on second viewing; I wasn't much for Black Swan.)
  11. Ah brilliant, thanks! I would have forgotten that existed, it's not on my Watch later list for some reason. EDIT: also they did the same for Bioshock 1 with JP LeBreton: and here's JP showing John Romero his demake of Arcadia in the DooMTM engine:
  12. Wait! I've just realised that I missed Condemned: Criminal Origins (and that Stanley Parable shouldn't really be on here)! I'm going to jump back in time and slot that in here before Crysis 2. I bet once I've done this list I'll look through all my scattered game libraries and find a load more I missed.
  13. Finished. It didn't throw anything new at me, but I think my expectations were majorly off. I hadn't realised going in that this was essentially a three-level mission pack for BS2 with some new story. A 'Tale From Rapture'. I'd got the impression that it was going to do some really different stuff. So, for what it is, pretty cool. Well structured gameplay and levels, and a clearly told, interesting story that (I now realise) pre-dates Portal 2. It seems to me that there are a lot of people escaping Rapture over the course of these games, though! I wonder if Infinite or Burial At Sea (the latter of which I don't own, but which I'm tempted to break my rules to buy for lore-completionism's sake) address this at all - whether the real world becomes aware of or affected by the outflow of Rapture citizens at any point. Of course, with all the games having multiple endings, the lore is probably a bit of a mess either way. I'd be really interested to hear what people here particularly liked about Minerva's Den, though. Interview with Steve Gaynor Retrospective (also with snippets from Steve) Minerva's Den is the best Bioshock Reminder: Designer Notes eps 29 and 30 interview Steve about this and other games. I think I'll leave them 'til I've played Gone Home (which is not part of this list but will be high on my priority list once I'm done). Okay, onto Crysis 2. I really enjoyed my replay of the first game, and did not care much for Warhead. I hear this one is the worst of the franchise and the most linear, so I'm not expecting much. I'm also hoping to organise some TF2/L4D2 co-op gaming at some point soon...
  14. On the third and final level now. I've decided to only do Little Sister stuff that crosses my path, I'm not going to trek around looking for it. I've got myself to a point where the sieges are relatively easy - I've got enough money to buy trap rivets and turrets and I can summon bots. It's pretty fun when they give you a corpse in the middle of a ton of friendly turrets and cameras so you just find a good spot and watch the mayhem, picking off any stragglers and helping out with brutes or repairing downed bots. The story's the usual 'crazy antagonist must be defeated, you get told to run around the place pushing buttons', but I at least have a good handle on who everyone is this time. Quite a relief to know this is relatively short - no padding! Although I hope it throws some different stuff at me (without giving me an FPS crutch like an on-rails section or stealth section!) before the end. Latest best thing: the guy who has scrawled messages all over the levels is called Reed Wahl.
  15. I checked a walkthrough and also restarted the level, but could not get past it. The turret guy shoots through walls across the whole level, all your weapons are shit and all the enemies are crack-shots with magic vision and insanely high-powered guns. The walkthrough only suggests I let my friendlies take all the heat, but they just hang out near the start of the level doing fuck all.So I've uninstalled it. From what I played so far, I'm not missing out on anything. I can always play Far Cry again. Contemporary review (accurate though the scoring's too generous) Next up: Minerva's Den I've played through the first level, and so far so Bioshock 2. It's probably unfair to expect anything else from DLC other than 'more of the same', but I'd got the impression from around the internet that this is the best DLC ever and jostling for best Bioshock game too, so I thought there might be something more going on. That said, I've only done the first area and they've levelled me up pretty quickly already. There are some new weapons and enemy variants too, and the story has an intriguing Portal 2ish feel to it. I'm going to try to get by without doing any Little Sister harvest sieges or nook-and-crannying for a while, see how it goes. Best thing so far: having a sentry-bot buddy called Scoops.