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K

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  1. As far as I can tell, there's one driving model, and it handles very much like Hot Pursuit, in that the steering is pretty heavy and you drift by tapping / holding the brake. The cars seem to lose a lot of speed when drifting, but it feels very familiar - it's not a million miles away from NFS: Heat, in that it has the same day/night structure, and the same kids in sportswear vs The Man setup. I think I expected it to be more of a departure in that it's a new team (I gather it's the old Codemasters racing people under the Criterion name) and that NFS: Heat didn't seem to make much of an impact, but it's very Need for Speed, and specifically very NFS: Heat. Although that said, the boost mechanic is taken straight from Midnight Club: LA. I've quite enjoyed what I've played so far. It looks spectacular - the car effects look amazing, and work perfectly with the aesthetic of the game. The cars look gorgeous, too. The environments aren't quite up there with NFS: 2015, but they're not bad at all. The races feel a bit slow and the handling round corners feels like it will take some getting used to, but this seems solid so far.
  2. K

    Boomer Shooters

    I agree on the Quake RT video - it looks odd. Quite cool in some places - the pitch dark corridors lit by muzzle flashes and glowing weapons look awesome - but absolutely hideous in others. Not quite as horrible and wrong as the Doom RT video, but there are still some questionable choices. The stained glass window bits are the case in point. The DF presenter was rhapsodising about how technically impressive it was, and while it looked like real glass, it looked like a window to nowhere. There was no light coming through, so you couldn't see the actual stained-glass pattern. The technology was very clever, but it wasn't harnessed to enough consideration of what the original developers were trying to do. The same goes for the bump-mapping-esque textures they put on the stone floors to show off the new lighting - the pattern on the surface made the flagstones looked exactly like some tiles I was considering putting into my kitchen a few months ago, and nothing like the tiles you might see in a hellish pocket dimension of pain and misery. There's also a slightly weird mismatch between the hyper-real lighting and the flat walls with low-res textures. It reminds me a bit of older remasters of games, where you still have the original, low-poly models, with very high-resolution replacement textures.
  3. I thought the same thing. There are plenty of funny bits, but the last half hour or so is mostly a mediocre, cheap-looking action film. I guess you get some meta resonance from the fact that Nicolas Cage has done untold middling action films, and the bit where he but the last third of the film was pretty unsatisfying on the whole. It all felt much less imaginative than the first hour or so, which I did like a lot. Pedro Pascal does the best 'tripping your tits off' performance I've ever seen.
  4. That seems like fair criticism to me. I loved Rogue One, but even I don't have fond memories of Cassian Andor. The makers of Andor had to take the hard route of creating completely new characters for 99% of the cast, and even with pre-existing ones, like Mon Mothma, they were usually so thinly sketched in previous material that they may as well have been starting from a blank sheet of paper anyway. It would have been really easy to wheel in Moff Tarkin for a cameo to add a bit of jeopardy or to drum up a bit of publicity in those bottom-feeding fan websites. They even seem to have resisted bringing in fan-favourite characters like K-2S0; Rogue One had that bit where that "I have the death mark in twelve systems" guy popped up and did his catchphrase, which has to be one of the most craven bits of fan-fellatio I've seen in Star Wars. The Mandalorian was terrible for this - look middle-aged men, it's that guy you had an action figure of in the eighties, all de-aged, like you remember! Obi-Wan was better in that it was an attempt to atone for the failings of the prequels and serve these characters a bit better than the films did, but it was still heavily reliant on that thing you remember. it would have been so easy for the Andor people to prop themselves up with familiar stuff but (so far at least) they've really put the effort in, and it's paid off massively. Now that I've said this, the last episode of Andor will be a nostalgia fest where Darth Vader, the disgraced medical droid from the end of Episode III, Chewy's family, Salacious Crumb, and Dark Mature Jar-Jar Binks turn up for an extended series of orgasm-inducing cameos.
  5. I wondered that too. I guess the gun looks relatively innocuous, and most people aren't going to assume it's a futuristic hadouken gun if they examine it, or see him carrying it round. It looks more like a staplegun than anything deadly. I also wondered why he decided to try and clip Flynne and Burton in the middle of the bridge into town, in perhaps the most exposed and visible point, rather than on any of the preceding miles of secluded rural highways where nobody would see a thing. I suspect this kind of plot-holing is always more of a symptom of me not being engaged with something, rather than a cause.
  6. What can you actually use a Chromecast for? I only ever used mine for Stadia.
  7. Yann Demange is an interesting director with a lot of potential. I loved '71, but thought White Boy Rick was absolute toss. It looked great, and I suspect something like Blade would be a perfect fit for his visual style, but I really hope they'd have a decent script for fear of another White Boy Rick debacle.
  8. Forza Horizon 4 seems to have outlived its predecessors, in that the previous Horizon games were killed off almost exactly four years after they were released. Admittedly, it's only about a month over four years, but Microsoft announced the de-listing of those games a long time in advance, so maybe they licensed the cars and music for a longer period this time round.
  9. K

    Microsoft Rewards

    You keep all of them, for now, but you have to down a pint of the element(s) that you got wrong.
  10. K

    Microsoft Rewards

    If you aren't willing to have a crack at guessing which of two elements is lower in the periodic table, then you should hand in your nerd badge, lightgun and copy of White Dwarf on your way out the door.
  11. My Series X controller’s just started suffering from stick drift. Good timing in the sense that Xbox pads are very cheap right now, not so good in the sense of it only being just over a year old. The build quality of the pads generally feels a bit shoddy.
  12. They've changed a lot of the details - Wilf and Aelita weren't siblings in the novel, and Wilf was a louche and fairly lazy PR man rather than a kind of all-purpose bagman. I think the core of the plot is pretty similar - i.e. what happened to Aelita and why? - but tbh I can't remember what the resolution was to that (and the plot summary on Wikipedia doesn't seem to know either).They seem to have tried to fix what I saw as the main problem with the novel - there's a lot more plot to keep things going, whereas the book seemed to put things on hold for about 300 pages. The series isn't bad at all, but it still doesn't seem to be moving forward very much despite there being so many different elements to the plot. The setup is so complicated it feels like they have to keep all these plates spinning just to stay in the same place. There's plenty to like, though. The guy who plays Conner has absolutely magnetic charisma.
  13. I'm finding this to be a really faithful adaptation of the novel, in the sense that it has great ideas and really compelling characters but is also a bit boring. Flynne and her brother are great and I really like Wilf and Lev Zubov too, but the overall mystery is not that compelling and the plot is convoluted to the point where its actively distracting.
  14. I got notifications for my refunds last night. I’m even getting refunded for the Destiny skins and cosmetics I bought, which I can still use as they’re linked to my Bungie account rather than to my Stadia one.
  15. K

    Somerville

    I completed this last night, and thought it was excellent. Beautiful imagery and a strong sense of place - I loved the forbidding skies, and moody banks of cloud. Plus, some puzzles that weren't too hard but nonetheless gave me that little hit of "aha!" and made me feel clever despite their relative ease. I especially liked the way that the game made you feel like you were seeing a tiny slice of a much bigger story, and I have to confess I found it quite moving in places, especially when It reminded me a LOT of Another World - no dialogue, flat polygon look, scrawny protagonist, lots of crawling around - and had a similarly brutal attitude to killing you if you don't do exactly the right thing, but for all that it wasn't frustrating, and was very generous with checkpoints. They're quite different games but if anything I preferred this to Inside, which was a great game but one where I found the story and imagery to be a bit jumbled and random. This had lots of surreal imagery, but it was all pulling in the same direction, whereas I found Inside to be a little bit unsatisfying because the plot felt obscure; it was hard to figure out how each setpiece fitted into the same world as the others. Surprised it's got such a muted reception, to be honest. I think they could have done more with the puzzles, and less time in that cave, but this was pretty special I thought.
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