Category: Tumbles

review

Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood

Verdict: 55/100 (Minimum score is 0; maximum is 100.)

To express my feelings for Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood, I had to track down a sentence Roger Ebert wrote: “Learning the difference between good movies and skillful ones is an early step in becoming a moviegoer.” In the last few years, I’ve started to notice the “skillful video game” trend: a game that’s got all the polish in the world but isn’t any fun to play.

In fact, here’s my review of the entire Assassin’s Creed series: each game gets worse even as it gets more skillful. It was plain to see, for instance, that the series of carefully‐planned, oh‐shit‐here’s‐my‐chance assassinations in Assassin’s Creed had been rejiggered for the sequel; it became a series of extemporaneous situations that seemed to reward lack of planning. (“Who is this guy? Why I am I killing him? Screw it; I’ll just run up and fire my pistol.”) But it also fixed so much of what was wrong with that first game and gave me a gorgeous depiction of Renaissance Italy to freerun around. I was satisfied.

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quotation

You can be on the side of angels without having to be cautious, indecisive, and paranoid all the time. The angels actually want you to be scrappy and assertive.

David Kurtz
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Despite the statement of the Plaintiff in his follow‐up e‐mail, this phone call was not pleasurable for either one of us.

Graham Syfert
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The last thing that I would suggest is that her witchcraft or masturbation stance should be what we should be thinking about or focusing on, and I think that’s an enormous mistake that the Democrats will make. We like to sit around the office and we have a little game called ‘How will the Democrats blow it?’ And that’s the way they’ll do it. They’ll think somehow that that will resonate with voters, that 20 years ago Christine O’Donnell on MTV said ‘Masturbation is a sin.’ And they’ll play it, and they’ll ridicule it, and the voters will be like, ‘Yeah, I don’t have a job.’ That’s how they’ll blow it.

Jon Stewart
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To be clear here, the issue isn’t the copying of code, which is covered by copyright. It’s the copying of the function served by the code. It’d be like saying Rush Hour needs to pay a licensing fee to the producers of Lethal Weapon because they already patented the idea of an interracial action/comedy movie about cops.

Matthew Yglesias
link

Busy at JSConf EU, but it bears mentioning that script.aculo.us 2.0 is now in beta. The main new feature put a few gray hairs on my head: it will “optimize” certain animations to be GPU‐accelerated in capable browsers, including MobileSafari on iPhone and iPad. Here’s a demo that explains it in greater detail.

review
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Alan Wake

Verdict: 61/100 (Minimum score is 0; maximum is 100.)

“Stephen King once wrote that nightmares exist outside of logic, and there’s little fun to be had in explanations. They’re antithetical to the poetry of fear. In a horror story, the victim keeps asking, ‘Why?’ But there can be no explanation, and there shouldn’t be one. The unanswered mystery is what stays with us the longest, and it’s what we’ll remember in the end.”

That’s the voiceover that begins Alan Wake, a game that borrows more than a little from King’s oeuvre. The game was written by Sam Lake, who also wrote the stories for the Max Payne series, but I fear he’s taken the wrong message from King’s words, and purposefully set out to write a story that makes no sense. That’s not quite the same thing.

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quotation

It’s like Patrick Henry famously said, “I support the idea that I should have liberty, so much so that I might prefer death, but that’s not really my choice to make and I understand not everyone will agree with me on that.”

David Kurtz
review

Alpha Protocol

Verdict: 61/100 (Minimum score is 0; maximum is 100.)

The Zero Punctuation review of Alpha Protocol fails to convey just how awful the core gameplay is. It feels like they wanted to adapt the Unreal Engine in the same way that BioWare did for Mass Effect, but got only halfway there before they needed to ship.

Yahtzee does mention, however, one of my other frustrations: the game fails to convey the consequences of possible actions. Twenty minutes in, you find yourself standing in front of a computer terminal at the headquarters of the titular agency. The game offers you the option to hack the terminal. A guard is standing right next to it.

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