Thursday, 15 July 2010

Predators, Shrek and Red Dead Redemption

", can't think of any...."

Basically, this sums up Predators. I can't think of any memorable quotes from it, wheras I could list at least a dozen from the original. The new movie is ok, in that it's entertaining enough and there's a good bit of violence, but it's not one I'll watch ever again. Unlike the original.

I think the problem is as much as the original 80's Predator is awesome, it's very much a tongue in cheek kind of movie. Yes, it's serious, but it never takes itself too seriously. I mean, there's a frickin' mid air arm wrestle for pete's sake. This new one, Predators, seems as if they thought they were making Citizen Kane. everything is far too serious, and there's no fun to be had.

Even when the predators eventually show up and start killing off the cast, there's no real joy in that either. Mainly because most of the cast are so bland it's difficult to feel anything when they get impaled/exploded/eviscerated. The original had fun characters; this one doesn't even really have characters, just cannon fodder. Which would be fine if these were just extras, but these guys carry the film. Adrien Brody is ok, playing the mysterious hard nosed bloke who will Do Anything To Survive, but everyone else in the main cast is so boring, it's criminal. The one character who stands out is Morpheus, but he's hardly in the damn thing!

A lot of people would forgive these faults if there was some decent action to compensate for them. But there's really not much of that either. In fact the best scene for me , action wise, was the scene with the Predator dog things. Every scene with an actual Predator was dull, aside from the fight with the yakusa. Admittedly, that was pretty cool.

Also, the twist with one character was lame. Lame beyond belief.

It's third in the Predator series, and also third best, behind the awesome original and the highly underrated Predator 2.

3 stars.

Shrek Forever Ever.

Going to be a short review this, because every Shrek movie is essentially the same, just with differnet surroundings. Shrek is feeling down about his married wioth kids life, makes a wish, and the rest of the movie is basically It's A Wonderful Life with a big green ogre. In 3D.

It's a fun way to spend 80 minutes, but nothing original erally. Although some of the 3D set pieces are pretty exciting.

3 and a half stars.

And now, onto Red Dead Redemption, probably the best game I've played so far this year. BIG HONKING SPOILERS IN THIS TOO, SO DON'T READ IF YOU HAVEN'T FINISHED THE WHOLE GAME

As a person who got bored with GTA IV quite quickly, I didn't think I'd make it all the way through Red Dead. Boy, was I wrong. The story really puled me through the whole thing, when I could have easily got bored with the whole 'go to person A, then ride to point B and kill person C' which a lot of the missions are.

But first, the techincal bit. Graphically the game is awesome. Riding through certain parts of the map were just breathtaking, with a standout for me being the Tall Trees section of the game as well as the coast of Mexico. And as a lot of time in-game is spent travelling, it was good that there was some lovely scenery to look at too. I'm not really very technically minded, but I think it's suffice to say, the game is pretty.

Anyway, onto the story. It's pretty basic on the surface, John Marston's wife and son are being held against their will and will only be freed if John helps the government track down and kill his old gang buddies. See, John's all good now, and his old friends...not so much. The missions in between these are ranging in quality; for example, the West Dickens missions were beyond dull, but the Landon Ricketts ones were great.

But after playing as John Marston for at least 15 hours, when you finally get to the point of getting back to your family, it really does hit you emotionally. I don't think I've ever been so emotionally engaged by a game as I was with this one. But the game wasn't done with me yet. I figured once I'd got back to my family it would be game over. Not to be the case; I started doing farming missions with my son. 'Ok' thinks I 'we're doing some winding down missions to show I have a good life. Fair enough." We do some hunting missions, "Ok, we're forming a bond here between father and son. All well and good."

I had a feeling something bad was round the corner.

It was.

But the game took a turn I was not expecting. I thought that Edgar Ross and the government types would eventually betray me. However, I expected John to get out of it somehow. That he didn't, was a real sucker punch. That he got murdered by the people he'd been forced to help was just pure evil.

You know how I said I was emotionally engaged in the game? Well, I hated Edgar Ross now. And I mean hated.

So, after John is killed, you take on the role as his son, Jack, for the rest of the game. And killing Edgar Ross when you finally meet him was one of the most satisfying and strangely cathartic moments I have ever been witness to. Perfect ending to the game, all capped off with the freeze frame and title card. RED DEAD REDEMPTION. Awesome.

And during the credits, I have to admit, I once again got a little emotional with the choice of music Rockstar had selected. Which brings me to my next point; the soundtrack. In game score was terrific. Not constant music but only used where needed for dramatic effect, and some of the licensed songs used really did evoke feelings that I have never felt before playing a game. Casse and point, your first arrival in Mexico, and the song that plays as you ride to your destination is one of the finest moments in gaming I have ever experienced.

I doff my Stetson to you, Rockstar. Very well played.

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