Archive for the ‘sci fi’ Category


That Borderlands Thingy

January 4, 2010

Last year I got Arkham Asylum. Then I got Borderlands before I finished Arkham Asylum. Then I finished Arkham Asylum. Then I couldn’t be bothered even installing Borderlands.

Then it was not last year anymore. And I was bored. Again.

So I took the Borderlands disc and installed it on my PC. My computer is good enough to run the game on low settings. The computer out in the study is better, but I couldn’t be bothered playing it on that.

Regardless, that brings us to me having the game available to play.

This game has been recommended to me by a bunch of people, whether they have played it or just seen some stuff and thought it looked pretty cool or whatever.

I have found the game pretty meh.

I realise that my opinion is against that of the general consensus about this game. However I’m not really saying the game is bad, just that it’s nothing particularly special.

My young cousin quite aptly pointed out similarities to Fallout 3 when she saw Borderlands for the first time, which is a fair assessment. The game feels a lot like Fallout 3. The differences are that it is perhaps a little more linear, and the graphics are weird.

The graphics (which for me aren’t as good as they should be because of my computer, but I still feel my following point is valid) are an awkward mix of realism and style. Everything has a fairly thick black border around it, and the character models almost look like they’re just really good sprites. This is because things such as wrinkles are drawn on the face in black, making them look like animated characters, but they’ve still tried to make them look like real people which, in my opinion, doesn’t work. The scenery is perhaps worse because the barren, worn-down badlands look quite realistic except for the striking and off-putting black borders. Overall the graphics just feel abnormal and unimpressive.

The game itself operates on a quest system. Fairly standard. Fairly repetitive. The game is just generally a copy of Fallout 3 with some humour thrown in. And some vehicles. The vehicles are pretty cool, I admit.

The difficulty for me is an issue. The game is mostly at a decent difficulty, but at certain points it throws enemies at you that are quite a few levels higher than you, and they can be a real bitch to beat. This is because when an enemy is a few levels above you, not only are they stronger and have more health than if they were your level, but they also receive less damage for seemingly no reason, as indicated by a warning triangle next to their health. I understand a stats based defence against the player’s attacks, but bonus defence just for being a few levels higher makes for some ludicrously hard (and usually sudden) fights.

Perhaps multiplayer is where this game is really meant to shine, but I haven’t tried it. Can’t be bothered/don’t have the capacity for it. Whatever.

In conclusion, I’ll keep playing the game. It’s nothing special, but it’s there, it’s decent and it means that when friends bring the game up in conversation I can contribute. And be attacked for disliking it.



Rock your fucking face off

August 9, 2009

The following picture is something from older incarnations of Warhammer 40,000. It is a Noise Marine.

Yes, the colours are awful and the leopard skin leg armour is hilarious, but aside from that, that is awesome. In fact, I’d even say they add to the awesome.

More recent Noise Marine models have Sonic Blasters that resemble guns. Why’d they have to change that?

“I was killed by a Vanquisher cannon”

“I was killed by a chainsword”

“I was killed by a FUCKING ROCK BAND”

A guitar as a weapon is awesome. They should appear in things more often.




April 17, 2009

Last time, I promised a look at 40K’s background (commonly referred to as fluff), and I deliver what I promise. Usually. Sometimes. Okay this is a first, shut up.

Read the rest of this entry ?


Babylon 5

April 9, 2009

Babylon 5
"The Babylon Project was man’s last, best hope for peace.

It failed."


"But, in the year of the [spoiler] War it became something greater. Man’s last, best hope for victory"

That was the intro to season three of Babylon 5, with ominous sound effects emulated by me.

Babylon 5 is a sci-fi series from the nineties, and aired about the same time as Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. It was the brainchild of J. Michael Straczynski (aka JMS to those not wishing to risk their sanity pronouncing his surname. Weaklings), and over 90% of the entire series was written by him. It was because of this that the series’ biggest asset was able to work.

Compare Babylon 5 to a series like Star Trek and almost immediately you’ll notice the difference. While Star Trek operates on stories enclosed within an episode, Babylon 5 is an example of a myth arc, with continuity from episode to episode and a larger story encompassing the entire series. In a sense, this makes it comparable to modern shows like Lost in that it was able to set up mysteries to be solved weeks or even years later (one of my favourite examples of this is the double-episode dealing with Babylon 4 – 60 episodes after Babylon 4 was mentioned), except of course that JMS planned out the entire five years before starting the show.

The premise of the series is that in the 2250’s mankind is making its way in space, and has come into contact with a number of alien races. Then they learn about the Minbari, and in an attempt to make contact bad things happen and a Minbari dignitary is killed. The Minbari freak out and send their entire war fleet to Earth. Earth is no match (in fact a total of 1 Minbari ship larger than a fighter is destroyed in the entire battle) and the Minbari are within minutes of completely conquering Earth. Then, inexplicably, they leave. All of them.

So Earth decides to start the Babylon Project – space stations in neutral regions where diplomats from the five major races, as well as all the smaller races, can get together and work things out. The first three Babylon stations have problems and are destroyed or whatever, and the fourth just disappears. So by the time the fifth gets up and running, its a little bit of a joke.

The series pilot details the arrival of the fifth ambassador, the others already being on the station. Representing Earth is Babylon 5’s captain, Jeffrey Sinclair (Initials identical to the creator’s), and in later years its John ‘Starkiller’Nuke em’ Sheridan (again, initials). From the Minbari comes Delenn, a timid little woman from the religious caste of her race. The Centauri Republic sends Londo Mollari (one of my favourite characters), who has had dealings with Earth in the past. The Narn have G’kar, who despises Londo because of their races’ troubled past. And finally, the mysterious Vorlon Kosh, whose race has never been seen outside their ‘encounter suits’.

Other important characters include; Susan Ivanova, the Captain’s second-in-command, Michael Garibaldi, the paranoid Chief of Security who loves the Looney Tunes (the guy has a Daffy Duck poster above his bed!), Stephen Franklin, the chief doctor, Vir, Londo’s assistant, Lyta Alexander, the station’s telepath and Mr. Morden, another favourite and a sinister fellow indeed.

Oh, and the Psi Cop Alfred Bester. Played by Walter Koenig (Star Trek’s Chekov), Bester is one of the best villains on TV. Such an insidious grin has not been seen in years.

The first year of the series is probably the least story intensive, as it is building up the background and is composed mostly of those sort of ‘this week’ type episodes. This doesn’t mean its bad, just that by the time we get Captain Sheridan we’re about ready to start working out some of those mysteries, and the main plot doesn’t really start advancing until this time either. Trying not to give too much away, but by the time you get to season three and four, there are space battles near every episode and it is quite awesome.

Also, one more thing about this series is the incredible side plot, involving Londo and G’kar and their races’ actions throughout later seasons. For the most part, this plot is kept seperate from the main story as the Babylon 5 crew are busy with some rather large problems of their own. JMS does some clever stuff with this plot, including a nice use of prophecy.

Finally, there is one point in the series where if you don’t cry, you are a heartless monster. I didn’t, but I was close.

So yeah, watch it. It’s good. A true science fiction epic.