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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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 ΓΌber-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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The Mechanic 
2011.02.07 10:51 - Entertainment, Movies
I watched The Mechanic Sunday afternoon. Smarter movie than I'd have guessed (though that's not saying a lot, really). Apparently, it's a remake of a Charles Bronson film from the 1970's.

Two things:
First, it really earns that R rating. The violence I expected, but the sex scenes were a bit of a surprise. Maybe I'm just sheltered, though?

Second, there's a training montage in the first half of the film with some nice slow-motion film of cinder blocks being shot, etc, which includes a really nice clip of a spent case being ejected from a gun and tumbling through the air ... which affords a really excellent view showing the case is from a crimped blank.

All told, I thought it was a good film and would give it about 3.5 out of 5. Not very deep, but what's there seemed (mostly) well done.
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Not dead, just tired 
2010.11.30 20:24 - Entertainment, Books, Movies, Meatspace Stupidity, Whining, Work-related
Criminy, it's almost December.

I think I can sum up my life the last month as: work, TV zombies, work, TV spies, work, TV spaceship, work, work, cartoons, more cartoons, minecraft, work, TV zombies, work, etc.

I've read Monster Hunter Vendetta, am most of the way through Unseen Academicals, watched a movie or two, eaten some turkey, and have otherwise been a little too shelled from work to devote much time to life outside my head.

Two and a half more weeks to the end of the year, for me. I think I owe my employer two-hundred-odd unit tests and some additional code in the meantime, though.

Oh, and I've been listening to The Protomen. First album's okay, second's very good.
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