All About Cooked_Auto
A tale of stories, reviews and opinions
There is a reason why I consider Splinter Cell Chaos Theory to be one of the best stealth games released. It's not the story. It's a standard Tom Clancy one with that it entails. But the feeling of the game. You get that special feeling when you pull of that perfect grab attack on someone right as they are about to turn around or feel the blood pumping as you are trying to avoid a patrolling guard. The first Splinter Cell game that I tried was the second the series, Pandora's Tomorrow. It was good, no doubt about it. Although some parts just felt... forced.
The thing is that they did wrong in PT was that they forced you into firefights at a couple of occasions. When you think about that it just sounds so wrong. We are talking about a stealth game here, sneaking and subtlety should be the norm. And yet the game threw you into situations where the only solution was to shoot your way out. With a control system that really wasn't made for firefights. The other parts were great but those sections just stood out like a thorn. This is why I like CT, it gives you options. Yes you CAN shoot your way through a level. But why do that when you instead can lurk in the shadows and take out the enemy with a number of various moves. CT does sneaking good. It emphasizes the need for noise disciple and using light and shadow to finish your objectives. It makes you act cautiously. It makes you plan and think on how to deal with a patrolling guard. In short, it's stealth gameplay at it's best.
Which makes me somewhat sad to see the way the Splinter Cell series has gone.
I never really checked out Double Agent, the feeling it gave me when I read the previews was one of a strange deviation to the core gameplay of the game. The change of Sam Fisher character in DA felt strange and odd to me. And honestly, the new game in the series, Conviction, isn't that much reassuring. The initial promises sound good with going back to more stealthy gameplay. However as I kept reading previews and such I was left with a bit of a sour feeling.
Gone is the efficient secret agent from CT with his dry sense of humor and now replaced with something closer to Jack Bauer. And then there is the apparent push for more action in the game as well. It just feels... wrong for a series that I felt embodied stealth gameplay a lot better than a lot of other games in the genre has ever done.
Now I could of course go on a tangent about console players and their needs for fast gameplay and such and blame them for the decline of games over the past few years et cetera et cetera. But I won't really.
But at the same time I do realize that the fault lies there somewhat. As games has become popular and popular over the past few years there has been a change in how they are made. The change from faster or wilder gameplay is becoming more apparent as companies strive to create the next big hit for the market. While there are certainly slower games out there they are sorta overshadowed by their counterpart. A change that does require some sacrifices.
One of these victims I suppose is stealth games. I am somewhat having a hard time coming up with stealth genre games in development that goes over the number five. Games like Assassins Creed 2 and Thief 4 instantly come to mind as well as Alpha Protocol. After that I am coming up with nothing substantial.
It's a shame really. In this world of fast shooters and massive online games there really needs to more games where it's just you putting the fear of the dark into your opponents.
Ah, the future. What marvels does it hold for us all? Will it be a glorious new golden age for humanity? Or perhaps the bane of us all? Those two will probably take a while to happen, but a lot of things can happen. Perhaps not in 3 years from now. But something will happen at least. What will really happen is up for speculation. So hey, let's speculate.
Okay, let's say that we, in our society, continue to advance in the technological pace we're in right now. What will it lead us in the span of 3 years? By looking at the latest cutting edge technology one could say that within three years, plasma TVs will become a commonplace in every normal house, since the prices continues to go downwards to make them affordable by everyone. The same would probably be for bigger sound systems. (But after seeing my dad almost getting grey hair when installing it I'm hoping they will make it easier in the future.) Otherwise one could guess that dual-core computers become more and more common as their prices continue to go down. Then I would guess that Solid-state drives (More or less flash drives but bigger) will start to get a bit more available at cheaper prices. (Current price is around 5,000 USD for a 128gig Solid-state drive.) Otherwise we can probably see even more miniaturization in the mobile phone field and the phones themselves getting more and advanced and filled with technical doodads. Whatever happened to the phone you just used for calls and messages? I almost whish they came back. Because I barely use any of the supposedly cool and awesome features on my cellphone. I use it for calls, sending messages and sometimes accessing the schedule over the internet, and at random times snapping off pictures with the camera. That's about it really. The rest of the stuff I don't really need. But I digress. Someone maybe uses which makes it valid to have. They should really make a simpler mobile phone called iEasy or something. Just have the basic functions and nothing more. I remember reading some news a year ago or so about that they actually made such a phone for the Japanese market because the current ones became just too advanced for their own good. Build me an iEasy phone and I'd buy one actually.
Honestly I don't think anything really major will happen in the next three years. Sure we'll see some improvements to things, like cellphones and computers, and probably some interesting new gadgets from Apple, who seem to be really on top on that, if you discount the fact that they seem to be spitting out iPods at an increasing rate. But then again, with the rate of them breaking down it is hardly that surprising. Coupled with the abject fanaticism of their fans they probably have their future set for the time being.
What else can we speculate about? Will the biochip technology be commonplace in three years? I myself doubt that really, since I don't think we've really reached that stage of miniaturization for that thing to be able to happen. Maybe well see breakthrough in the field of cybernetic prosthetics and so, making arms look even more lifelike and act like a normal hand. But bio-computers and turning us into cyborgs is at least 10 years into the future. Robotics and AI is almost the same, despite the advances that have occurred in the last couple of years I don't really think we'll be seeing that many robots in our daily lives in three years. If so I almost hope they've managed to deal with the Uncanny valley syndrome regarding robots and them looking like humans. Otherwise we'll be having creepy crawlies every time we try to interact with the robots of the future. Either that or making them look like robots instead of humans. Not that it matters anyway, since they'll probably end up enslaving us all and take over the world... If you'll excuse me, I need to reread "How to survive a robot uprising."
Now this requires some back-story, so bear with me here.
A couple of weeks ago, the power unit for my flatscreen managed to break down without any explanation. When I woke up the next morning after turning off my computer it was turned off. So for a couple of days it managed to work if I fiddled around with the power cable a bit. But one day it apparently just had had it and died permanently.
Thankfully my flatmate had a CRT screen I could borrow for the time being as I went out price hunting the following days.
One thing I've forgotten is how much a CRT screen actually hurts when watching it. Especially if you've used a LCD screen before and then have to go back down to CRT as I did. Sure it allowed me to use my computer by dang my eyes hurt while using it. It doesn't get better that my computer table is way too small so the screen was about 5-15 centimeters from my face.
So for a couple of days I went out hunting for a cheap flatscreen, or relatively cheap at least. A couple of days went by as I looked around while at the same time dealing with classes and everything. I had checked every place I knew that sold computers without finding a really good screen and at the same time not being extremely expensive. I actually knew a place that was about to open that apparently was very cheap. So after classes were done I just hoped on the bus and went over. Thankfully this was around midday so the giant opening ceremony had apparently finished a long time ago so I didn't have to bother about queues or anything. Anyway, so I went and was quite impressed with the large selection of things they had. But of course the thing I really needed was a new flatscreen so I more or less went there straight away.
And then probably spent at least an hour or so (I have no idea since I didn't check my watch) on which one to pick. I called a friend, my dad, my younger brother for opinions about what to pick. Now I'm not a techno-idiot really but I like hearing what other has to say about things to. So after a while I settled down on a 22" Widescreen monitor that didn't cost too much in comparison to other models. I also picked up a webcamera that I needed for a course assignment of all things.
Now, the problem for me now was, how was I supposed to get this stuff back to my apartment? This was quite a distance away. I mean I couldn't really bring a 22" flatscreen with me on the bus could I? Thankfully one of my relatives who lived in the same town was off from work so I called her up and asked if she could drive me home. Which she could thankfully.
So after dealing with some parking issues since the parking lot was still full I got my items stashed in the car trunk. My relative had mentioned on the phone that she wanted to check the place in too. Which I had nothing against really. So we went back in and started browsing the games section. She apparently wanted some new Singstar games, but ended also up buying a new DVD-player too.
And then we came over to the DVD section. And I think I had stepped into a minor section of heaven, because that place had a lot of DVD collections that I hadn't actually seen before. I was in sort of a nostalgic heaven while seeing season boxes for series like MacGyver, A-Team, Miami Vice, Knight Rider and SeaQuest DSV. (Now in hindsight I almost regret not buying that SeaQuest box. Almost.) As I was looking through the shelves I came across a movie trilogy I hadn't seen in years. Namely Jurassic Park. For I actually found the Jurassic Park -The Ultimate Collection Edition while looking around. I actually think I let out a minor shout of joy. For it had been years since I actually saw any of the movies, and probably even longer since I read any of the books. (Might just need to buy them someday.) So I picked that one up and despite being tempted by other DVD. It's really hard to choose between Stargate SG-1 and Jurassic Park honestly. But as a guy I can't really say no to dinosaurs, and despite being 20 years old now, I still can't say no to them. I'm such a horrible geek sometimes.
It actually took me a while before I watched them. Mainly because I was busy with other things, but then I sat down and watched the first movie on my 22" screen. I actually don't even have a TV in my apartment. So after trying to figure out what program to properly play the DVD with, I finally managed to sit down with some soda (next time it's gonna be beer. That's for sure) and chips and prepared for a journey into childhood nostalgia. And honestly, it's still as good as I remember it to be.
While some nowadays would consider their special effects of the movie rather lackluster there is still something very grandiose and special about them. The initial encounter with the Brachiosaurs is still really impressive and the dinosaurs don't even look CG, instead they look almost real in their appearance. There isn't that weird uncanny valley feeling you can get sometimes when looking at them. They blend in so well with the background despite being CG. For me it was like an orgy of childhood nostalgia from the opening up to perhaps the best part of the movie. Namely when the Rex makes it appearance. There is something special about that scene that makes it so awesome and memorable. Could be that the mix of animatronics and CG was so good, or maybe just the general feeling of it. I almost had a miniature geekgasm when I saw it.
Sure the movie might have its faults when it comes to acting and so. But for me that move still remains to be special and memorable. The same goes for the sequel for that part. This is almost as awesome. Probably because I have a minor soft spot for the Rex, and the scenes where is rampaging through San Diego is really impressive and fun. I mean what can be cooler than having a miniature Godzilla rampage through a city? Probably two of them. But you have to be happy with what you get. But the buildup for the truck scene with the two Rexes is obviously a bit of homage to the first movie in terms up buildup and tension. But at the same time it probably gets a bit better. Why? Instead of one T. Rex there is two. And some things just get better in numbers.
I will however not watch the third one. I remember seeing and thinking that it lacked something. Sure the Spinosaurus is impressive and all. But compared against the Rex it lacks a certain brutal edge. And the Raptors felt just a bit too... goofy almost. In the first two they had a cunning and brutal edge to them. But in the third one they almost seem too smart for their own good. The whole sneaking kill thing that they had in the first two seemed somehow lost in the third one. Sure it's fun to see that they have a sense of continuity and all and probably the most overkill rescue squadron I've seen, but still JP3 felt lackluster compared to the other two.
And honestly I dread the fourth one. Yes. There is a JP4 in the work. And according to the latest rumors it supposedly has dinosaurs using guns. I wonder when and where the series managed to blunder itself into the B-Movie action world. Granted that the other movies might have had that aspect in themselves. But their execution and special effects make them look more like A-level Science Fiction rather than some absurd B level fest. Who knows, maybe that was just a rumor and we a new romp among dinosaurs.
What I need to do soon is get my hands on the books again. And maybe some good fact books about dinosaurs. I wonder if you can pull of a good PnP RPG session with Jurassic Park flair. Would have been interesting to do.
My Recent Reviews
The final video from a video playthrough of Halo:CE and Halo 2 on the PC. The playthrough itself can be seen on Blip.tv: http://blip.tv/file/702279 Music track is from the Video Games Live volume 1 album.
This is a japanese commercial for MGS3: Snake Eater. Always liked japanese commercial, because they are so special.
This is the intro video for the first mission of the Ace Combat 5 campain, titled "Shorebirds".
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