Quick Review: Battle: Los Angeles 
2011.03.20 21:42 - Entertainment, Movies
It's OK.

Honestly, I had less fun that I'd hoped, but it's not a bad movie at all. It's also not a movie with grand designs on setting the world of cinematography on its head, so if you're accustomed to thinkier fare, it's probably skippable.

Too much shakeycam, though I stop noticing quickly so I couldn't tell you if there was any in the last two-thirds of the movie. It's annoying up front, though.

Call it a 3.5 of 5. No awards, but a fair movie.
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Quick Review: Homefront (PC) 
2011.03.20 21:32 - Guns, Magpul Masada/Bushmaster ACR, Entertainment, Microcode, Whining
I finished the single-player campaign of Homefront on the PC. I'm not real enthused.

As John Walker opines over at Rock, Paper, Shotgun, the single player campaign is scripted in a way antagonistic to human interaction. Walking is slow, and your access to an area is almost always gated by one or more of your companion NPCs.

What I found most obnoxious was the way the game handled weapons. There are two things I found specifically obnoxious:
  • Guns that almost certainly share ammunition and magazines in the real world do not in the game. Which is why I found myself hauling around an empty ACR early in the game, despite being surrounded by M4s and M16s. I'm too lazy to go back in to find out if this problem affected everything in the game that would have taken STANAG mags (i. e. the M4, M16, ACR, SCAR-L, and PWS Diablo), or just some of them. Maybe the M4 and M16 actually work right, and the other guns are understood to take different ammo. Dunno. At the moment, not in the mood to find out.
  • The gun or guns I have at the end of chapter A almost never carry over to chapter B. Which is how the aforementioned ACR disappeared at the end of the first chapter and was replaced by an M4 at the beginning of the second. "What's the matter," one of the NPCs quipped, "don't you like guns?" Actually, I love guns; I was trying to figure out where mine had gone.

And I can't say much good or bad about the graphics. The reviewers claim it's fantastic, graphically, all I can tell you is I needed to turn all the levers down to "Very Low" and it still ran poorly. Also, it's very brown (that's a TV Tropes link; click at your own discretion).

I'm not really interested in the multiplayer. The reviews say it's fine, but I'm not really in need of a multiplayer FPS right this second.
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In case you're wondering 
2011.03.14 09:37 - Internet Stupidity, Site/Meta
1. It's been a little slow at the office lately. First time since October, really.
2. I've had a few peeves. Normally, that gets thrown onto Twitter, but, well, words.
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Speaking of Nerds in the Audience 
2011.03.14 09:15 - Internet Stupidity, Meatspace Stupidity, News and Politics
Having already been treated to the rantings and ravings of one hysterical nutbar with too much access to information in the past 48 hours, if you're currently freaking out about the possibility of a nuclear meltdown in Japan and aren't at least related to somebody in the same hemisphere as the Fukushima nuclear plant, turn off the TV and Internet for a day or two. You'd be doing yourself and the rest of us a huge favor, and possibly preventing yourself from having a nervous breakdown over the giant, nuclear death cloud that doesn't exist.

If you must string yourself over the emotional rack over this mess, it would probably benefit you to check out one or two sources that aren't hideously alarmist. (This is one I read that was linked over at NRO, but you may also find some analysis for former nuclear sub guys interesting. Second link's from WTA's thread. Also from the WTA thread is this article.)

If you do happen to live near the Fukushima plant ... well, you have my prayers and sympathy.
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They Changed It! Now It Sucks! 
2011.03.14 08:51 - Entertainment, Microcode, Internet Stupidity, Whining
Been playing Dragon Age 2 for the better part of the last week. After some ridiculous number of hours, I've finally cleared the first act. ... I'm a little slow, here. I also gave up and turned the difficulty down to 'Casual'. Haven't quite got the hang of managing a whole party in this game, and the big fights seem to require it.

As noted, I'm a little slow, so while I've been getting out of tutorial land and into the meat of the game, the ├╝ber-nerds seem to have already cleared the game. Good for them. I'm seeing complaints (have been seeing for weeks/months, actually) that Dragon Age 2 is a poor sequel on the basis that changes a bunch of things, retroactively: the appearance of the Qunari being the most obviously visible change. BioWare was said (paraphrasing) to be selling out, EA was blamed, assertions were made about the long-term impact of this strategy on BioWare, and generally much hay was made by the nerds in the audience about the downfall of BioWare.

All I can say is this: the PC version of Mass Effect? Super crashy on my machine. Dragon Age? Also very unstable; so much so that I abandoned it before finishing the Battle of Ostagar. Dragon Age 2 has not crashed yet, and I've only run into a bugged quest (very annoying, but not the end of the world). If this is the result of EA's influence on BioWare, I think I'll take it.
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