Azn Badger's Blog

What About the Lysine Contingency…?

Really Digging Deus Ex

In light of the insane number of A-list games coming out this season, I had assumed, well in advance; that I was likely going to forgo purchasing Deus Ex: Human Revolution.

It’s not that I wasn’t interested in the game, it’s just that when you look at the upcoming releases over the next couple of months, well, Deus Ex just doesn’t seem like as big of a deal as it likely should.

That being said, thanks to a very generous (and random) sale on Amazon.com, I found myself saying “Fuck it, it’s too cheap not to buy,” and a few clicks of the mouse later I found myself with a brand new copy of a heavily discounted Deus Ex.

Well, I’ve been playing around with it for awhile now, and I can honestly say, I’m happy I made the investment.

Mind you, it’s not a perfect game by any means, but there’s just so many little things about it that mean a lot to me personally.

I’m not really an avid fan of the Deus Ex series, in fact I only played the original for a few hours before deciding I didn’t need to finish it, but I do have a lot of love and respect for what it represents.

I’ve always been into the whole cyberpunk design aesthetic, and character customization/modification means enough to me that I’ve bought countless wrestling videogames purely for the character creator function, so on paper; the Deus Ex games are very much up my alley.

The new Deus Ex includes both of these aspects of the original, while adding a new layer of polish and presentation that make it far more accessible than it’s predecessors.

For example, the core gameplay; the stealth and shooting, really feel on par with a straight action game.

Action RPGs that feel “floaty” or involve a lot of noticeable number crunching in their combat mechanics are kind of a pet peeve of mine.

I hate shooting at someone in a game, and then “feeling it” as the game computes my character’s attributes, applies them to the statistics of his gun, and then applies said data to the attributes of the enemy I’m shooting to determine the amount of damage I deal.

It’s hard to explain, but you know it when you feel it.

I don’t know about you, but in my world guns do gun-like damage regardless of what “level” my Marksman skill is at, or how hard I pull the trigger.

I don’t get this feeling when I’m playing Deus Ex.

On that note, I feel I should probably point out that, as of writing this, I haven’t killed anyone in Deus Ex!

Early on I found the Metal Gear/Rainbow Six: Vegas-esque stealth mechanics to be robust and rewarding to the point in which I never found a need to kill anyone.

Oddly enough, I’ve found it very rewarding playing through the game relying exclusively on taser-ings and choke holds.

It’s funny though, as good as the stealth mechanics are, in many ways they are somewhat primitive.

Sure, the guards are more responsive to sound than in most games, and their sight distance is atypically high, but at the end of the day; the AI is actually kind of dumb.

For instance, in Metal Gear Solid 2, guards make use of radios, and if they don’t check in frequently enough; reinforcements are deployed to assess the situation.

This always made maneuvering around guards an ideal course of action over fighting/neutralizing them, but it also made the game somewhat frustrating at times.

While the enemy AI and stealth mechanics of Deus Ex are technically less complex than this, I feel it’s a gameplay decision that lends itself well to making the game much more streamlined and fun.

In all, sneaking around in Deus Ex is one of the more enjoyable parts of the game, especially when you’re playing the way I am with a totally non-lethal character.

I’ve heard the AI is less than stellar in direct combat, but that’s something I likely won’t be encountering until I start a new playthrough.

Moving on, another aspect of Deus Ex that surprised me, was the hacking mini-game.

I can’t stand locked doors/sealed off areas in games, so I knew I was going to be doing a lot of hacking in Deus Ex; which had me a bit worried it was going to ruin the experience for me.

To be fair, it took me awhile to warm up to it, but now I think I really like hacking in Deus Ex.

The controls are a bit sloppy on the console, but it’s not overly complicated, and more importantly; it’s quick.

Few things are more annoying in games than mini-games that eat up too much time and take you out of the core experience.

To date, I have yet to encounter a door I couldn’t open with a little finessing, something I can honestly say was not the case in games like Oblivion.

Speaking of Oblivion, I can’t tell you how much I appreciate the fact that Deus Ex is a fairly streamlined and distinctly un-sandbox-y experience.

I don’t know about you, but I find sandbox games to be massively intimidating.

I’m very much a completionist when it comes to most things in life, so the idea of being dropped into a massive world with free rein to do whatever the fuck I want, is not exactly ideal.

I need structure in my gaming, a clear purpose or direction to keep me on track.

Without it, I tend to freeze up, get lost, or worse yet, end up spending 40 hours in the first town of the game and never even start the main quest.

In this way, Deus Ex’s small-ish city setting and mission based narrative really “does it” for me.

I’ve never felt lost or daunted, and for once, I actually feel rewarded when I do most of the quests.

That being said, the conversation system of Deus Ex, while simple, is exceptional.

Most of it’s success can be attributed to good writing and line delivery, but I really enjoy conversing with characters and being forced to remain attentive in order to succeed.

On one occasion I found myself having to rely on information imparted to me from optional documents, items I could’ve easily picked up and not read.

You can tell a game’s writing is exceptional when you actually want to read the random notes and e-mails scattered throughout the environment.

The one downside to the dialogue of the game, and this is totally just me being weird, is the very obvious use of a largely Canadian voice cast.

I realize the game was developed by EA Montreal, so Canadian voice actors are to be expected, but I’m one of those jackasses that giggles whenever he hears an “uh-boot” or “bee-n” instead of “about” and “been.”

It’s a minor gripe, but it actually does make the drama a little harder to swallow for me, so I figured I’d mention it.

As of now, I’m currently in the second half of the Hengsha segment of the game, and I’m still enjoying every moment.

I’ve read that a lot of people are extremely disappointed in some of the game’s boss fights, however as of now I have no issue with them.

True, I’ve only fought 1 as of now, but to me, it didn’t seem that bad at all.

Maybe it’s just because I entered into the fight ill-equipped (non-lethal playthrough, remember?) and actually had to scramble for ammo and weapons before I could even begin to fight back, but I honestly had some fun fighting the first boss.

Hell, any occasion in which you have to take on a grenade and mini-gun toting hulk of a boss with nothing but fire extinguishers and a silenced pistol has got to have some redeemable qualities, right?

Anyway, there’s a whole lot more to be said, but for now that’s all I’ve got.

Don’t be afraid to check out Deus Ex, it’s a lot more fun than it lets on.

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Bernard Hopkins vs. Jean Pascal Prediction

Tonight, Bernard Hopkins will attempt to make history in being the oldest man ever to claim a major world title.

If successful, the 45 year, 11 month, and 3 day old B-Hop will claim The Ring’s Light Heavyweight title, (an unofficial title, but honestly the only one that counts) and surpass George Foreman’s Heavyweight achievement by 38 days.

All of this depends on a major “if” in the form of Hopkin’s opponent: Canadian dynamo, Jean Pascal.

The trouble with this fight, for me anyway; is the fact that in making a prediction for it, I have to find a happy medium between my feelings of what I honestly think will happen, and what I want to happen.

Unlike the Pacquiao and Margarito fight, wherein I was largely unbiased, and simply wanted to see a good fight, this time around I honestly want B-Hop to win.

I have nothing against Pascal, in fact I feel he’s a fairly exciting fighter that is a healthy element to an otherwise dead-in-the-water weight class; however as a long time fan of Hopkins, nothing would make me happier than to see Pascal lose his title to an “old man” that will likely retire without defending it, leaving the division even more fractured than before.

Despite my admittedly steep bias, here is my best attempt at a legitimate prediction:

Hopkins by split-decision.

Bernard Hopkins is a ring technician, through and through.

While he’s been an “old man” in the sport for almost a decade now, his sly and dirty tactics of butting and hitting and holding, combined with a wily and superb sense of ring generalship, have kept him well preserved.

That being said, ‘ole B-Hop’s past few fights have shown a few chinks in the armor, namely a lack of desire to win, and of course; the requisite loss of foot coordination and stamina that comes with age.

He’s still shown a capacity for putting punches together, and indeed manages to lash out with his trademark ducking right straight+headbutt+clinch combo from time to time.

Even so, he won both of those fights, and while that may not mean much given the lack of competition, when you’re 45 on the world stage every victory is a godsend.

Jean Pascal on the other hand, is a tremendously physical fighter on top of his game, with hunger in his heart after only just recently dethroning the overhyped Chad Dawson for the Light Heavyweight title.

An admitted imitator and admirer of Roy Jones, (a fight who in his prime defeated Hopkins) Pascal is an aggressive fighter that relies on his natural attributes more so than fundamental boxing skills, making him an unorthodox, if not somewhat wild fighter.

While he does in fact show shades of the Jones of old, he’s nowhere near as quick, accurate, or elusive as ‘ole Roy, making him essentially a powerful, but less economical and much easier to hit version of his idol.

With a minor history of injuries in his career, it should be noted that Pascal is also quite tenacious, and often willing to take a few to dish out some of his own.

Despite this, Pascal shows a tendency to overextend himself in some of his bouts, particularly the recent Dawson fight where he would dominate much of the contest, only to end up gassed for minutes at a time.

If you ask me, Dawson’s lack of conviction and willingness to assert his will in the ring were just as responsible for his loss that night as Pascal’s boxing skills.

So, if you put the 2 fighters together, you have an old man that’s still kind of slippery, versus an energetic young buck that tends to burn himself out.

In my book, that adds up to either an early round bludgeoning of B-Hop at the hands of Pascal ala Danny Green vs. Roy Jones, or a more boring and tactile fight where the stamina’s of both fighters even out as the fight progresses.

My money is on the latter happening.

Hopkins has done well to stay out of trouble and on his feet throughout his entire career, in fact I believe that’s a large reason as to why he’s still fighting.

B-Hop finds a way to protest the judging of all of his losses, and I honestly feel that an emphatic KO defeat is the only thing that will ever convince him he’s ever legitimately lost a bout in the sport of boxing.

That being said, when it comes to “boring and tactile,” Hopkins wrote the book on the matter, which leads me to believe that Pascal will fall into the trap of fighting B-Hop’s fight.

Every fighter that has fought Hopkins has said that they were going to come out and flatten him, and basically show him no respect, yet to date none have done so.

Joe Calzaghe out-quicked and, goddamnit; legitimately outboxed him, (don’t you ever tell anyone I said that!) however he did so at a fairly tentative pace, and never thoroughly got his game going.

Being as Calzaghe was one of the great fighters of our time, (again, don’t let anyone know I said this!) and a much quicker and elusive fighter than Pascal to boot, I don’t see the big Canadian being able to get the upper hand on B-Hop any better than he did.

Then again, if he does come rushing out the gate, and try to flatten Hopkins early on, there’s a good chance the “old man” won’t be able to weather the storm as well the B-Hop of old.

Make no mistake, this result is entirely possible, as the last great performance Hopkins had was against Kelly Pavlik, who was a far slower and more linear fighter.

All it takes is one bad angle and one nasty punch…

Like I said though, B-Hop’s way too manly to take a trip down Queer Street, and Pascal’s too much of a fighter and not enough of a boxer to send him there.

In either case, expect much clinching and seemingly inane circling on the part of Hopkins, resulting in a split decision for somebody that will be heavily disputed.

That being said, I don’t see this anywhere near an exciting fight, but as with every B-Hop fight since the glory days of Don King’s Middleweight tournament in the 2000’s, I’ll find a way to watch it, and enjoy it.

 

 

 

Filed under: Boxing, Uncategorized, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Crazy Orange Sun!

Goddamn angry sun from Mario 3... Killin' me n'shit...

Let it be known, this is not a “slice of life” kind of blog.

I’m not one of those sensitive photographer/poet/musician types that strives to find beauty in the mundane elements of our daily lives.

It's a fucking, BAG.

I started this blog because I wanted to entertain you, the reader; and myself at the same time.

That being said, let today be the one day that I take to share something with you guys that I thought was, well, just plain neat.

I don’t know how many of you live in the Seattle area, but all day today, the sun was shining bright orange.

I mean like, “Orange Drank” soda, orange.

Wow, variety...

Anyway, from when I woke up at 9 AM, the whole sky was overcast, and yet bathed in this orange light.

It was beautiful, but somehow unsettling.

The intensity of the sun was so low that, for the first time I could remember, I could stare right at it without any sort of discomfort.

It was crazy, even the shadows on the sidewalk were orange.

I’ve never seen the sun that way before, so I decided to record a handful of clips with my Ipod while I was running home from the mall.

Anyway, here’s the video:

If anyone knows why the sun was so orange today in Seattle, please leave a comment, as I’d sincerely like to know.

I haven’t done any research into the matter as of yet, but my dad mentioned something about there be fires in the area, which may have thrown some dust into the atmosphere or something.

Anyway, don’t expect too many artistic/lazy writing posts like this in the future.

Don’t worry, we’ll be back on videogames and movies before yah’ know it…

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Thoughts on Splice

*SPOILER ALERT* SOME PLOT DETAILS MAY BE REVEALED! *SPOILER ALERT*

Vincenzo Natali’s Splice opens with the birth of a colossal penis.

No, that’s not my twisted way of referring to Adrien Brody’s nose, but rather the honest to God truth.

The movie begins with a clever first-person shot from the fish-eyed perspective of the penis in question, where we are then, literally; carried off to an examination room in the laboratory where said penis is introduced to…

Another giant penis.

"Ma'am, I must advise, I honestly don't think you can handle that much banana..."

Did I mention that the giant penises have “vaginas” for tongues?

Well, they do, and they aren’t shy about whipping ’em out for all to see either.

Kind of like these guys.

Splice is an odd movie.

It wasn’t really a horror movie in the proper sense, (very little shocks, scares, or tension) and it wasn’t really all that good or bad.

It was just plain weird.

To be truthful, I did see the movie in an empty theater, with a friend who at times was more concerned with telling me which anime the movie reminded him of, so that may have skewed my impression of the movie, (no audience reactions and what not) but for this article, I’m gonna’ stick to my guns.

Splice is a movie about a stupid, crazy bitch, her equally stupid boyfriend, (who she just happens to have by the BALLS) and of course, their animal-human hybrid that wants to fuck both of them.

Sorry, just spoiled the movie for you.

My thoughts aside, Splice is actually a rather straightforward film about a parenthood and control, both things that our STUPID protagonists fail to earn the right to wield over, well, anything really.

On a side note, do you know how you can tell Splice is a Canadian, or at least not-American film?

Because the lead characters are named fucking Elsa and Clive, that’s how.

Pictured: Elsa and Clive.

If I may diverge for a moment, I just need to vent my frustrations with the main characters.

Both Adrien Brody and Sarah Polley performed their roles ably within the confines of the script, however whoever was in charge of the wardrobe and some of the set design, was trying just a little bit too hard.

According to the world of Splice, genetic engineers are the hippest people in the world.

They wear designer hipster gear, listen to techno and jazz, have fabulous apartments, sleep on futon’s with giant manga prints hung over them, eat Japanese candy every day, and oh yeah, they drive an ironic and unpretentious beater car.

"Quickly! To The Hipster-Mobile!"

In essence, our protagonists come across as Manhattanites or some shit, while living in a snowy podunk town with seemingly only one skyscraper downtown.

No wait, I’m not done venting just yet!

Elsa is a stupid fucking bitch.

I didn’t like her from the film’s opening moments, and you can bet I straight-up hated her ass by the final reel.

It is hinted at that she had an abusive, negligent mother, and that may be why she is so fucked up, both as a person and as a pseudo-parent, but even so, she was very hard to deal with throughout.

Clive on the other hand, was not so bad.

That doesn’t mean he wasn’t stupid.

Or whipped to shit.

Now just replace the Azn girl for a stupid bitch, and there you have it: Splice!

That being said, I won’t question Clive’s questionable logic at times during the movie, seeing as the stupid/whipped combo actually explains that away pretty conveniently for me.

You see, early in the film, Clive is just whipped, but not stupid.

Elsa does things against his better judgement I.E. illegally creating Dren, the human-animal hybrid, and he does nothing to stop her.

About halfway in though, after Dren’s already grown up, Clive starts to get dumb.

REEAAAAAAAALLLLLY DUMB.

Going into the movie, I assumed Dren was going to rape Clive.

Turns out, I was off by a bit, as he fucks her consensually, and then later, Dren rapes Elsa.

That’s right, there are sex scenes with Dren, and yes, they are weird.

Weird may not be the right word though, ’cause I found myself laughing at a lot of scenes in Splice that I think I really wasn’t supposed to.

For instance, there is one real gory scene in the movie, and all throughout it, I found myself laughing out loud at how over-the-top it was.

The difference is, you're SUPPOSED to laugh at this.

Then during the scene where Dren and Clive share a dance, I shook my head and snorted in dismissal.

And the scene where Clive fucked Dren?  You better believe I was saying “what the fuck?”

Splice is a movie that asks you to, above all, watch what happens.

It doesn’t so much tell a story, or deliver a message, as it does drop scenes in your lap and simply ask you to watch.

It’s like watching a documentary about a dysfunctional couple raising a down’s syndrome kid.

Pictured: A great fuckin' movie.

The character of Dren is the centerpiece of the film, and rightfully so.

She is presented to us, first as a horseshoe crab shaped whatsit.

Pictured: One of the coolest animals in all of existence.

Then it is later revealed to us that this form was just a cocoon, housing a hairless rabbit/chicken looking thing that likes Japanese candy and has a nasty poison stinger for a tail.

A month later, Dren takes on the appearance of a big-headed, chicken-legged, bald kid with her eyes on the side of her head like a deer.

Elsa begins dressing her like a human at this point, and Dren demonstrates clear signs of intelligence by spelling words that she hasn’t been taught.

Despite this, she never really speaks, with most of her vocalizations sounding like a cross between a squirrel and a monkey.

One thing about Dren’s intelligence that I found interesting to note, was the fact that the filmmakers wisely made the decision to make her smart, without being overwhelmingly so.

In many of these “science run amok” films, often times the title villain or creature displays levels of intelligence that seem overly convenient, or forced I.E. Species and The Lawnmower Man.

Splice never attempts to do this with Dren, instead the makers seemed to be content having their creature be a quick learner, and very smart, but never really approaching the level of a grown human.

To that end, the film succeeds in making Dren a fairly sympathetic character in that she is at the mercy of her dim-witted and psychotic “parents.”

Dren’s “adult stage” looks like Sinead O’Connor with a tail, and chicken legs.

Sinead O'Connor circa 1990

Her eyes adopt a more binocular style alignment, definitely making her seem more human.

The actress that played her, Delphine Chaneac deserves some praise, as her nearly entirely physical performance as the oddly shaped Dren is utterly believable, and very interesting to watch.

Her movements have an animalistic quality to them that is sharp, alert, and seemingly purposeful in a sense that is altogether foreign to the average human.

Have you ever stared at a dog or a gorilla and tried to figure out what was going on in their head?

Well, that same sense of, “what the fuck are they looking at?” is evident in Dren, and it went a long way towards helping me to forget that she was indeed a special effects construct.

I will say this though, when the full extent of Dren’s transformation is finally revealed, my friend called it about a minute beforehand, to which I responded “you better not be right, man.”

Seriously, I was really hoping they didn’t take the “splicing” part of the storyline as far as they did, but oh well.

Splice is a movie with a lot of little mysteries floating around in it, but due to excessive telegraphing and leaving of breadcrumbs, most of them are revealed to the audience somewhat prematurely.

In that sense, there aren’t really that many surprises in the movie, but the movie gives you enough incentive to keep watching anyway.

Mmmm.... Incentive....

Protip: Don’t see Splice with someone that calls out what everyone thinks is going to happen.  Chances are they’ll spoil every surprise for you.

At one point I even said aloud:

“Aw man, they can’t kill him, that’s such a cliche.  Besides, he didn’t do anything wrong, other than be a douche.”

Sure enough, Mr. Douche was dead about a minute later.

Like seemingly every movie I talk about on this blog, Splice was not a bad movie, it was just weird, flat, and filled with dumb characters doing even dumber things.

Oh yeah, and weird sex, lots and lots of weird sex…

Sorry if you thought this was gonna’ be a review, my mind was just a little bit too jumbled for me to properly compose one.

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