Cathode Tan - Games, Media and Geek Stuff
logo design by man bytes blog

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Bethesda Announces Fallout 3 PS3 DLC Dates

"Broken Steel" - September 24

"Operation: Anchorage" + "The Pitt" - October 1

"Point Lookout" + "Mothership Zeta" - October 8
-- Bethesda Dates Fallout 3 PS3 DLC [IGN]

Also, apparently some optimizalkad blah blah NEXT FREAKING WEEK!!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

TV Watch: Virtuality

Virtuality began life as a TV pilot from some of the same crew as Battlestar but ended up as merely a movie, a show that wasn't picked up and something of a tease.

The show follows the crew of the Phaeton, mankind's first interstellar ship, on a mission to find intelligent life around Epsilon Eridani. The show's title refers to the dual nature of the crew also taking part in a reality TV show as well as having access to "virt mods" for virtual reality. Without moving into the realm of spoilers, nothing is quite right on either side of that fence.

There's a lot going on, even for a television pilot gone movie. You have the backdrop of ecological disaster, making the 10 year voyage to the stars critical for the planet. There's a lot of infighting surround the reality show itself, the bizarre problems in virtual reality and the interactions between the twelve person crew.

With so much at work here, and so much of it working quite well - it baffles me how this show didn't at least get a shot. If you look back about a year, you see Fox sticking with the more generic shows (I reallly like both Fringe and Dollhouse, don't ge me wrong) - and ditching the more unique ones ... namely this show and Boldly Going Nowhere. From those I've talked to who have seen the Boldly pilot, it's completely hilarious. And nearly impossible to see.

If anything, Virtuality reminds me a lot of Odyssey Five, a character driven show with some unique sci fi twists and mysteries to it.

At least you can still watch Virtuality on Hulu, which I highly recommend. Still, I would imagine someone could possibly find a copy somehow...

Cancel that order. The video was pulled off Hulu. Now that is a tease.

iPhone Review: Comics from comiXology

Recently iVerse released an app, and App Store got a Genius list for recommendations, which made me wonder if it would really help find more noteworthy apps.

Well, sure enough it helped me find Comics, which is an app from comiXology, though there is also an app for the website, so be careful there.

Comics and the iVerse app are extremely similar - they're both apps which allow you browse, buy, organize and read comic titles. They have some distinctions, they use different readers with different behaviors, for instance, and iVerse has more options for notifying new titles. comiXology has more titles in general, however, including it seems a continuance of both Neozoic and Atomic Robo.

I don't see any fairness in pitting the two against each other. Both apps are 99 cents. They're both going to deliver comics right to your phone. I heartily recommend getting the both of them.

Threats To My Productivity

Yesterday, Marvel Alliance 2 dropped - certainly a time sink.

Next Tuesday, Katamari Forever hits. I'm already half-addicted to the demo, and it has two levels.

By the end of September, the DLC for Fallout 3 theoretically makes it to the PS3 (theoretically). This is a game I spent so much time in I almost changed my billing address to the Capitol Wastelands.

Mid October? Uncharted 2.

Yikes. It's going to be a busy few weeks.

Game Play: Marvel Alliance 2 First Look (PS3)

Snagged the last copy Gamestop had of Marvel Ultimate Alliance 2 yesterday, and The Girl and I managed to get a couple hours of play down.

The heritage to the older games is tangible - most of the controls and gameplay mechanics are carried over and the first impression if you've played the other games is that this is more or less that game with a highly revamped graphics engine. Even if that's all there was - the title would probably be worth the price of admission. The graphics are top notch, although the camera leaves something to be desired and there are instance where the areas get past all the lovely dynamic lighting by simply being really, really dark.

We're only toe deep into the storyline at this point, but I think this game might set a new bar for franchise related narratives. The cut scenes are actually something you might want to watch rather than just a setup to explain why you're fighting on a bridge/forest/castle/whatever.

The "fusion" mechanic is interesting. Basically it takes the combo system from before and puts it on steroids - the combined attacks are far flashier, much more powerful and there are specific types of fusion attacks for certain situations. Area attacks are good for mobs, directed attacks for bosses and guided for ... well, running around the room a lot. We haven't quite gotten the hang of them yet.

In some ways the mechanic insists upon itself - there are clearly scenarios where you really need to use it. Which is usually fine, but also seems to make boss fights feel a bit prolonged and sometimes a little brutal. This is also because the health gameplay has changed - you can carry two "health tokens" to fully heal or revive one character, and they always seem to show up when you're fully healed.

In general, though, a big thumbs up. Probably post a follow up when we get deeper into the game. Bottom line though - they've kept a solid core from the earlier games, added a lot of fancy graphics, and added not only a few new twists and plenty of material ... but a good storyline to boot. Not a bad formula.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Movie Watch: The Wrestler

Honestly, about the only nice thing I can say about this movie is that Marisa Tomei is a very attractive fortysomething.

This is now the second Aronofsky film I didn't finish. First was Requiem For A Dream which I found so profoundly depressing that I could feel enjoyment sucked out of the room. Jennifer Connelly became wildly unattractive to me during the movie - a clear crime against nature. While The Wrestler doesn't share quite the same level of surrealistic masochism as Requiem, there's certainly enough pain and loathing to go around.

I can't find anything particularly interesting about the singular focus on a man's tragedy which is just so droning and unrelenting. Rourke does an amazing job (hey, two nice things), for sure, but there isn't a scene with any respite for the character. Even when he plays Nintendo with a fellow trailer park kid - the kid has to rub it into his face that Call of Duty 4 is out and he's stuck with an NES.

In summary: His day job sucks, his night job is killing him, the closest thing he has to a girlfriend is a stripper, his daughter hates him for being a dick, he abuses drugs, and the people who adore him either want to staple gun his face for amusement or have no idea who he really is as a person.

What's awful about The Wrestler is that it isn't even terribly unique. We've seen this kind of character before - but without the snuff film edge to it.

Obviously not recommended.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Game Play: Alive 4 Ever (iPhone) Review

Setting aside the rather obvious marketing grab from the completely unrelated game from Valve, Alive 4 Ever offers a pretty decent set of zombie shooting entertainment. It's a top down, dual "stick", shooter and the controls are about as responsive as I've seen from an iPhone game. So far I've only seen the one room, but the variety of subgoals, like rescuing people and picking up suitcases full of gold/vaccines/yummy things, is well done.

My only complaint is that the difficulty ramps up pretty quickly, more quickly it seems than you can upgrade to match the new kinds of zombies, slow ass survivors, and a rapidly depleted ammo supply. The idea may be that you're supposed to replay older levels to get XP and then boost to move on.

There's also local coop available, but I haven't tried to convince The Girl to play with me just yet.

So largely a thumbs up, especially if the genre is your cup of tea.

Word of the Day: "Crapulous"

Via, it means:

1. Given to or characterized by gross excess in drinking or eating.
2. Suffering from or due to such excess.

That's just perfect.