Tag Archives: coolness

“Gears of War 3” – weapon skins video online

The skins have leaked, huh? In related news, what's Helen Mirren's daughter doing here?

Joystiq have a story and video on the multi-player characters, and the leaked weapons skins which will launch as DLC with the imminent release of Epic Games/Microsoft’s Xbox 360 blockbuster, “Gears of War 3”.

Much as I love me some “Gears”, I can’t see me dropping MS points on pretty-pretties for my guns in a game which I’m going to have my ass handed to me in on a awe-inspiringly regular basis.  Also, none of these guns are rainbow-farting unicorns, which is – you know – a thing.

Does anybody else get a distinctive, “Horse Armour” vibe?


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“Avengers” set pictures

Loving Black Widow and Hawkeye, not so sure about Cap's look

Nifty, eh?  More pics from the New York “Avengers” shoot can be drooled over at Just Jared and ComingSoon.net – and in fairly great quality, too.

At the risk of sounding as though I am typing this post from a dank corner of my mother’s house’s spaciously well-appointed basement, I am so hyped for this movie that I risk blathering like a fool if I were to continue writing.

As ever, I have faith in Joss Whedon.  He’s living proof that the geeks inherit the earth.

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Filed under Films, Geekery, Spoiled!

Cultural Activities, for the week commencing 28th August 2011

Hey – how’s it going? It’s another, suspiciously sunny Bank Holiday weekend in Blighty and I’m choosing to celebrate this clearly wrong and improper series of events by staying in indoors and doing things of a cultural nature.

Sci-Fi's most-bewildered new parents

Firstly, nay imminently, we have the return of the 11th Doctor in the second part of season six of (New) “Doctor Who”. As a big old fan of current showrunner Steven Moffat (we have a shelf with DVD’s of his various series, from “Press Gang” to “Sherlock”), I am seriously intrigued to see where the second half of this season goes.

[SLIGHT SPOILERS IF YOU HAVEN’T SEEN PART ONE OF SEASON SIX] I don’t know anybody who didn’t stifle a mild yawn when the big reveal at the close of “A Good Man Goes To War” was that River Song was Melody Pond who was Rory and Amy’s daughter.  You could make logical deductive leaps and get there – it didn’t seem earth-shattering and the events of the episode didn’t necessarily jibe with River’s proclamation that the Doctor would soar to great heights during the battle of Demon’s Run and then be brought low.  As much as I did enjoy the episode – it’s a rattling good yarn – I was left wondering when Moffat was going to start to drop the plot-revealing, rug-pulling bombs which he’s awesomely good at.  Because you know that he’s going to be dropping bombs – it’s what he does. [SPOILERS END]

So, new “Who” – the splendidly-titled “Let’s Kill Hitler” – promises much and may even deliver more than that.  I have every confidence.

It's a Metal album. Surprised?

Next on my list of cultural esoterica is Machine Head’s pivotal, nay genre-defining 2007 album, “The Blackening”.   Not many bands in the post file-sharing age get the chance to come into their own on their sixth album, but the Bay Area’s most teeth-bared, riff-heavy, harmonic-abusing metallurgists, Machine Head, managed to do just that with “The Blackening”.  It’s a difficult one to describe to people who’ve never heard the band before, but the best that I can do is to suggest imagining what an on-fire, out-of-control tanker truck crashing into a fireworks factory in the middle of a 9.0 earthquake might sound like.  With slightly better solos, obviously.

The riffs are raging, the lyrics are very ticked off indeed and the whole records barrels along the unholy heck-spawn of Maiden, Metallica and Priest.  Go and listen to the band on Last.FM and see what you think.

Reading matters, as seems to be the case a lot nowadays, are revolving around “Warhammer 40K”, the Black Library and that nice man Dan Abnett.

I don't carry anti-mugger devices any more, just Dan Abnett omnibi...

I’m two novels away from finishing “The Lost”, my first encounter with the WH40K universe, and it’s left me keen to read more – it’s gothic, bleak, far future military SF that has great characters, terrific action sequences, actually funny humour and a rich continuity that I’m going to enjoy exploring and getting to grips with.  I can give no higher praise than to say that reading Dan Abnett’s books reminds me of reading “2000AD” as a nipper.

Yeah, that good.

Inevitably, given the “WH40K” bias at the minute, I’m also playing the XBox 360 demo of THQ’s upcoming “Space Marine”.

Big Men, in Power Armour, Hitting Things. This Can Only End Well...

The advance word would have you expecting a third-person action game quite akin to Epic’s “Gears of War” series (the third game in the franchise drops eighteen days after this game hits stores).  And the advance word would be bobbins, friends.

I’ve played the bejingles out of both “Gears” games and can report that the demo of “Space Marine” requires different tactics to the adventures of Marcus Fenix and co.  Sure, you can sub in the Space Marine chain sword as roughly analogous to the Gears Lancer rifle but the gameplay and WH40K mythos require you to approach game play in a different fashion – I felt at times like I was playing a blend of beat-em-up and third-person action RPG, if that makes any kind of sense.

“Space Marine” is big on melee combat – no hiding back in cover and picking off enemies at range with a rifle here.  You can drop the odd Orc with a ranged shot – there’s a satisfying chunky quality to the Bolter gun which is one of your four standard guns – but the game wants your character to wade in to the fight, knock seven shades out of a crowd of enemies, stun them insensible and then finish them off with a nasty melange of bladed weapon attacks.  Do that enough and you get a mutha of a power-up with basically finishes off the bad guys or wounds them so badly that you can do a finishing move which regenerates your health.

In fact, this is key – although the maps have collectables dotted around, and ammo pick-ups to grab, there’s no health station to replenish your character’s energy: You’ve got to work with the game mechanics and the premise that these characters kick ass in a very specific way if you want to progress.

Technically, it’s fine – it looks like I would imagine the Warhammer 40K universe to look, it has a pleasing sense of grimness and severity which is true to the stories that I’ve read to date and offers a pretty decent challenge even on the Normal difficulty.  The only thing not in favour is that a great many potential purchasers of this game are going to want to pick up “Gears 3” not very long after this game launches.

What that might mean for THQ’s hopes of establishing a long-running franchise is anybody’s guess – is this game going to attract a community who enjoy the single-player and make the multi-player a stalwart on Xbox Live and PSN or will it be over and done by the time that October comes around?  I can’t quite decide – the Warhammer 40K brand carries a lot of weight in SF/table-top gaming and the demo is a ton of fun, but will the regular gamers who don’t have any investment in this universe be able to see past the surface aesthetic elements which recall “Gears”?  Never mind that Warhammer 40K predates “Gears” by a matter of decades…

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Fashion update

Blue Steel

If you want to see what I look like – it’s a worrying thought, but somebody might – you can hop over to my better half’s blog at Rolling Eyeballs and witness some of the best male modelling this side of Derek Zoolander.

I’m not the one in the dress. She would be a hottie.

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It’s a (sock) monkey’s life…

Holiday snaps from Arran

Some friends of ours, enjoying their recent Scottish holiday on the isle of Arran.

Related link – the awesome Siansburys home for splendid monkeys.

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This French trailer for Christopher Nolan’s 2010 intellectual action thriller “Inception” made it’s debut yesterday in various places online before being swiftly yanked by Warner Brothers.

This link should still be working – a barrage of images awaits you, and if you hanker for more of Nolan’s uniquely modern and cerebral take on the summer blockbuster, this new movie appears to have everything you could want.

The walls are moving in...

Image via MovieCarpet.com

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Snow Day

The view from my bedroom window on Sunday afternoon.  Seasonal, isn’t it?  It’s calmed down a bit, but the flurries do start up again, periodically.  It’s a good job we took Bonnie the Terrific Terrier out for her constitutional this morning, as the weather would have made it borderline impossible later on.

And as you can see, she was appropriately attired for her walk…

Weather conditions being as they were, we elected not to go to our usual dog-walking location as the roads promised to be treacherous – it’s not the kind of location that Sheffield’s gritter trucks make it to first thing.  Instead we went to Endcliffe Park, which was a fine place to give Bonnie her walk and had the added benefit of yummo Cappucino from the cafe in the park.

When we went out at 9:00am, the weather was like this:

As of two or three minutes ago?  Sheffield looks like this..

The Day After Tomorrow 2: Ice-Capade!

Makes you want to stay inside, really.  Well, that’s the plan for the rest of today.  Hopefully, your own corner of the globe is a bit warmer.

The best response to this weather is to go get some hot cocoa – tell whomever may query this that I said you could.

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