Sunday, 24 January 2010

New School

Well, I love to read some of the interesting entries that some of the best gaming writers produce (no names - I'm gonna hit on those guys in just a second).

But what always agitates me, is that some of these writers are a lot older than I am. They're what I'd rather call Old School Gamers. And the trouble with these gamers, is sometimes it's hard to relate to what they're writing, because they begin to reference to some of the classic and innovative game titles from the 80s and 90s.

No doubt, the game industry has a storied history. And it's a very interesting one too. Games go very far back. There are some incredibly gifted people out there who designed and created the simplest games. And although their contribution to the gaming industry is literally minimal, figuratively they have paved the way for the future of gaming. And so it seems - because of them, we have games as incredible as they are to this day.


That's my acknowledgement of gaming history. But it's only brief. There is so much more to gaming history. There are so many games, developers, producers and communitys that have contributed to making the games industry what it is today.

But I don't want to go out of my way to look deep into this history. As nice as it is to know how we got here, I think the most interesting blogs I ever read are about the here and now. That way, I understand the topic more. That way, we're keeping our heads into the current games that are paving the way for a promising future that we have no idea about.

My gaming history starts with RARE's 007 Goldeneye. That was a game that went down very well with all parties. I think that was one of the first FPS games, along with Doom, that really kicked off the FPS genre, and the success we now see.

So when these gaming bloggers start talking about games from the distant past, I feel a great sense of being left out. I can't relate to the topics of their posts. I'm not their target audience!

So I think there needs to be a new set of gaming bloggers. I don't want to start this great divide in gamers. We are all a part of a precious community that has become such a mainstream. But there needs to be some new school bloggers.

We need people who are willing to talk about the industries more recent games. And give the younger gamers who are interested in writing about games a role model. An inspiration. An example.

False advertising

I wanted to bring a topic to the front today. I've been in particular distress lately about the fact that Trailers these days require false advertising in order to sell. The developers and producers create these trailers showing completely fake content that doesn't even feature in the game.

This agitates me. Lets take a look at this Trailer, for example:




This is the 2008 Launch Trailer for Far Cry 2. One of my favourite games. I know its Story Mode inside out. Most of this footage doesn't feature in the game.

Perhaps they're building some history for their main characters. By showing that Tambossa and Mbantuwe have strong personalities, they build some character profile prior to the game. And to support that, it never says that the trailer is showing in-game footage. But what about the footage we don't see?

It looks like the footage in this trailer may be what the game was originally intended to be. Ubisoft tried to make the game nice and advanced, but ended up scrapping the idea. They decided to go for the simple idea to save time and effort. Hence, why we only see these supposedly charismatic, short-fused and ruthless leaders sitting in a chair all the time - rather than standing out on the balcony shooting people. Or pummelling some mercenary into the ground when they're angry.


Or blowing up explosives on a Bridge. That's actually what YOU who does that in a Buddy Subverted Mission. In order to make the debris of the Bridge fall onto the Barge - where your target to kill is.






Here's Operation Flashpoint: Dragon Rising's new Trailer for their latest DLC pack Overwatch.

Operation Flashpoint: Dragon Risings biggest down fall was the fact that in order to make it as realistic as possible, the game developers left out the funnest part of games. Its gameplay.

They wanted so badly to banish the run and gun tactics that Call of Duty regrettedly reinforced (especially with their latest title Modern Warfare 2). However, Codemasters went a little overboard. The gameplay is - in my opinion - horrific. It's slow. It's not smooth. It throws me off the game entirely. It is NOT a close quarters game. The game isn't responsive enough to go in close range. You'd get shot to pieces from the AI if you were close to them and tried to spray bullets or simply aim.

It takes about 10 seconds to change equipment, and I wished I was exaggerating. And the worlds graphics are a major disappointment. This game is the complete opposite to Far Cry 2 with its graphics.

Far Cry 2 looks great up close, but bad from a distance.

OPF: DR looks horrible up close, but great from a distance.

The grass and mountains have a nice touch from such range. Up close it just looks tatty, lazy, disgusting.

The trees are so pathetic that I'd rather not rant on the game. Just in case this becomes a blog about hitting on Codemasters efforts with Operation Flashpoint: DR, and I am forced to change the blog title!

So ultimately, Codemasters pieced together an incredibly intelligant trailer to advertise their new DLC. The idea of their DLC is obviously to enhance the game, which I believe with the first DLC it most certainly did (to an extent), and I believe this DLC (which I have ceased to invest in since I have given up on the game) looks like it has/may enhance the game even more (especially for its Multiplayer side of things).

The Trailer has been HEAVILY edited, in order to make the DLC more attractive. The fast cut between frames is a really intelligant idea which suggest to the viewer that the action is fast paced. It gives an action packed performance to leave the audience thinking WOW.

It's simply false advertising. They're trying to say "Buy this DLC and the game will suddenly be action packed like it's Modern Warfare 2!".

I don't buy this false advertising once I realise how fake it is. I don't believe it's right. It's the reason why most games leave fans disappointed. Because when you falsely advertise, you promise the gamers something they won't get. If they gets their hopes up, get excited over many reasons for the game, and it turns out most of those reasons aren't even in the game - then you'll get negative responses.

-ell635

Sunday, 17 January 2010

Far Cry 2 - Still Got It?

Has Far Cry 2 still got it? I couldn't help but find myself playing FC2 again, after such a long absence. What really caught me, was how each play-through had me as excited and intrigued as the next!

I know exactly how the story ends. I know how it begins. I vaguely remember what each mission is, where it requires me to go, and what I have to do. I don't even need the briefings from the faction leaders these days.

But something still draws my interest. And it's the definate fact that FC2's story mode is solely based around your playthrough. It determines how you play to decide how it plays. And that factor is the most impressive side to Far Cry 2.

Despite mixed opinions amongst my personal group of friends, I seem to be the only person who can see the positive side to the game. It's pro's and con's list is quite a long one, but I honestly don't think either of the two lists out-weigh one another.

You see, the game has as many flaws as it has its best features. And better yet, there are so many different unique ways of looking at the game. And that comes through personal imagination. How you respond to Far Cry 2 as a game. Whether you allow your imagination to get tangled up with this war-torn world of Africa.

Sometimes, I could sit in a Swamp Boat, watching the rain fall down into the soft water, as I pass by mountains of moist Jungle. And although I'm sitting in my bedroom, I'm almost feeling the hot, moist atmosphere. Almost feeling the rain fall onto my skin. And feeling the cool breeze pass through my hair. I think Ubisoft Montreal payed a bit too much time and effort trying to make the player feel immersed into the World they were in, rather than make the player feel like they're playing an awesome, action-packed game where nothing ever stops you from getting interested.

But that's where some people love the game, and some people hate it.

But the fact that I can immerse myself into that World is not only impressive, but it's also all a part of that imagination. You need to open your mind to the idea of it. You can't think too hard about being in this World. You need to just feel it. Let it come naturally. And if it can't, then this game was obviously not intended for you. However, if you pose the desire to continue playing the game, then you definately have the consideration and curiosity that is required to even appreciate the game.


So has Far Cry 2 still got it? Yes. I believe it does. And it always will. Because no matter what you do with this game, if you come back to it with a different frame of mind, or a different tactic - then you're promised a new result. An interesting result - because it's different to your last result!

Tuesday, 8 December 2009

"Farewell Southend..."

"Farewell Southend, it was good while it lasted" - Former Southend United Manager, Scott Richards.


Today the football world recieved shocking news that after a fifth consecutive season, plagued with success, Scott Richards resigned as Southend United Manager.


"It's been one heck of a run!" the Special One said, "Everybody has been fantastic. I'd like to thank the Players, the Staff and especially the Board for making me welcome. For allowing me to work freely at my own standards, and pace. And for making this last half a decade the best I've ever had".

When asked if he ever expected this sort of success, he responded "I don't think anybody could ever have expected this sort of success!"

"I was hired here because the Board considered me to be the best, fresh and youngest option available."

"I was thrilled to be given such a precious opportunity, and I wanted to sieze it".


Scott Richards revealed "I never had any real plan to leave. I'd been teased with offers from great cubs worldwide, and I felt like now was the perfect time. The team had grown into a whole new squad of fresh, young and quick players who can look after themselves".

"Good luck succeeding me!" he targeted to the next Southend manager.


We spoke to a few of the players, including one of Scott Richards star signings many years ago, Seydou Doumbia, who said "I can't believe he's leaving. I'd love to go with him!"

"He brought me to a young and inexperienced team about 4 years ago. Since then, I've grown into a whole new and better player. The whole squad has too."


Starting squad in 2009-10 season:

GK - S. Mildenhall
RB - S. Francis
CB - A. Barrett
CB - J. Mvoto
LB - J. Herd
RM - J. Christophe
CM - A. Grant
CM - A. McCormack
LM - F. Moussa
ST - L. Barnard
ST - F. Laurent



Starting Squad in 2013-14 season:

GK - B. Magliocchetti
RB - K. Naughton
CB - E. Oliseh
CB - Emre Gungor
LB - Guilherme
RM - A. Lennon
CM - A. Grant
CM - H. Darchy
LM - Michel Bastos
ST - S. Ebanks-Blake
ST - S. Doumbia




Total Squad in 2013-14 season:

GK - B. Magliocchetti
GK - S. Ruud
GK - I. Joyce
RWB - D. Limbersky
RB - S. Francis
RB - K. Naughton
CB - A. Barrett
CB - J. Mvoto
CB - E. Oliseh
CB - Emre Gungor
LB - J. Herd
LWB - Guilherme
CDM - A. Grant
CDM - H. Darchy
RM - A. Sestu
RM - J. Christophe
CM - F. Moussa
CM - A. McCormack
CM - R. Goussens
LM - Michel Bastos
CAM - J. Peterson
CAM - B. Mostefa
RW - K. Betsy
RW - M. Falkenburg
RW - M. Halfar
RW - A. Lennon
ST - I. Klasnic
ST - S. Ebanks-Blake
ST - S. Doumbia
LW - Ayoze


Players Sold:

CB - Vagner
ST - L. Barnard
ST - F. Laurent
ST - J. Walker
ST - A. Revell
ST - C. Calver
ST - J. Hazell
CM - S. O'Keefe
CM - L. Sawyer
RW - D. Scannell
RB - O. Sankofa


Retired:

GK - S. Mildenhall
ST - D. Freedman





In the Summer Transfer Window after Scott Richards departure, the new Southend United Manager clearly knew what he was doing, when he sold Jean-Francois Christophe, a member of the saturated Right-Wing position in the Southend squad, for a great profit of £2.4m to Galatasaray SK.


Scott Richards brought a 1.5 star team to 4.5 stars. Near perfection.


2009-10: Coca-Cola League 1

Position: 1st
Record: W39-D8-L3
Points: 125

Cups:

Johnstone's Paint Trophy
FA Cup
Coca-Cola League 1 Title



2010-11: Coca-Cola Championship

Position: 1st
Record: W36-D7-L7
Points: 115

Cups:

FA Community Shield
Carling Cup
UEFA Europa League
FA Cup
Coca-Cola Championship Title



2011-12: Barclays Premier League

Position: 1st
Record: W30-D8-L4
Points: 98

Cups:
FA Community Shield
UEFA Copa Europe
Carling Cup
UEFA Europa League
FA Cup
Barclays Premier League Title



2012-13: Barclays Premier League

Position: 1st
Record: W31-D6-L5
Points: 99

Cups:

FA Community Shield
UEFA Copa Europe
Carling Cup
UEFA Europa League
FA Cup
Barclays Premier League Title



2013-14: Barclays Premier League

Position: 1st
Record: W30-D8-L4
Points: 98

Cups:

FA Community Shield
UEFA Copa Europe
Carling Cup
UEFA Europa League
FA Cup
Barclays Premier League Title






Scott Richards made a move to Real Madrid, where he was treated to a £2 billion budget""

Monday, 7 December 2009

My Manager Mode with Southend United

Hi, so what was it? My 3rd Season when I last posted on this blog?

Buddy, I've come a long way. So let me take you back to that third season. I had just joined the Premier League.

Southend United won that season, becoming the Champions, they also won every cup competition they could. The FA Community Shield, the Copa Europe Cup, the Carling Cup, the Europa League and the FA Cup.


It went down in history as the most incredible season ever. The first time, since records began, that we had seen one team take every trophy home with them. Southend United and the fans celebrated bigger than ever with their success.

Most of the media piled onto Scott Richards, the most impactful and successful manager in history. He didn't have too much to say:

"I joined a really strong team. My predeccessor managing this team really cut out my work for me. Obviously we've had to let a few great players go, but in return our success has provided alot of money, and we've bought some highly skilled players with that money. These players have settled perfectly in the squad, and contribute greatly to the team."

As the fourth season started, Scott Richards was left with £30m to spend. With the majority of this money, S. Richards bought Michel Bastos, a highly skilled Left Winger who would relieve the stress from Ayoze, the only left winger in the squad.

Michel Bastos had a fantastic season, scoring multiple goals, setting up many more, and doing just what Scott Richards hoped, taking stress from Ayoze, and contributing to the already fantastic squad.

As the season began, 38 year old Douglas Freedman announced this would be his final season, and then he would retire. Freedman had a fantastic final season. Scoring many goals, including scoring the winner in the FA Cup final to spoil the incredible cup run from Swansea City. And also in the Champions League final against Barcelona to confirm the victory during extra time. He went out of his career the happiest he's been, and with the most successful manager he says he's ever played under.

Goalkeeper Steve Mildenhall also retired at the age of 35, he was a part of the Barclays Premier League team of the Season, as the goalkeeper.

That fourth season Southend United won it all again, except this time they won the Champions League rather than the Europa League.


The fifth season has just begun, Aaron Lennon was the star signing of the Summer, after Scott Richards was provided another £30m. Lennon will be a fine addition to the right wing, where Sestu plays, getting replaced by Christophe and Betsy when relevant.

Turkish centre back Emre Gungor was another star signing for Southend over the summer. With the loss of Vagner due to his decision to leave for another club without S. Richards permission, Barrett and Mvoto had been struggling to hold the defence without getting tired. Emre has become man of the match 3 times already, and shows no signs of tiring. His contribution to the team has been vital.


A scout has been sent out too, and has returned with a Dutch right winger. He's young and inexperienced, but has an incredible amount of potential. He has been improving since joining the club, and already has an assist and a goal under his name.



Players bought:

Sestu
Ayoze
Doumbia
Ebanks-Blake
Vagner
Peterson
Michel Bastos
Lennon
Emre Gungor
Limbersky
Guilherme
Naughton


and others I've forgotten.

Thursday, 15 October 2009

Premier League

Yesturday, Southend United were promoted to the Premier League after coming first in the Championship.

Better yet, they won the FA Cup, Carling Cup, Europa League and the Community Shield. It was an incredible year for Manager Scott Richards, who has resigned to the club, and has £20m to spend over the Summer.

Monday, 5 October 2009

Revenge is Sweet!

Today, Southend United pushed forth in their magnificant run in the Championship. Winning many of our games, we've maintained our healthy lead above Wolves! And as the players were getting into their Season, they came across a very familiar fixture. It was a Carling Cup match against, guess who, Chelsea!

Now, I'll cast your minds back to last Season. We exited the Carling Cup early on after a miserable Penalty Shootout against Chelsea, which we lost by a long shot!

But we aren't double the team we were back then! We've come a long way, and also have a few more players to brag about.

And one of those, Seydou Doumbia, would be playing up front! Luke Barnard was forced to fill some unfamiliar boots in midfield, due to an injury to Lee Sawyer, and Andy Grant being too tired to make the match. He watched from the stands.

Elliott Richards, one of the key players who played in our previous encounter, dropped to the bench for Laurent, as he was too tired to play. Richards played a vital role in our attack last time, so we were definately going to miss his strong presence.

We started the game emphatically! Doumbia made a picture perfect run behind the defence. He took it onto his right foot, and attempted to finesse the shot past the Keeper. Cech parried the shot away to his right, which fell perfectly for Laurent, who slipped the ball past the post at a tight angle to make it 1-0! The Southend fans went wild.

Chelsea came back strong, however, like they do. The over-excited Southend defence were carried away, and allowed Chelsea to split them apart. Lampard was the vital man to find space, as he recieved a great pass, and he curled one into the net. It was all square again, and the game was still to play for in the 25th minute.

But Doumbia showed Chelsea what he could do for us, as he used his blistering pace to march past the defence, and take Cech one-on-one. This time, as he took it onto his right foot, he finessed the shot past Cech easily. 2-1.

Doumbia was nowhere near over. His fitness level lowering slightly, he beat the defender in the box from a pass, and he poked it past Cech for a simple 3-1.

Just after half time, Doumbia was still fired up, and he instantly took the ball into the box and put one just passed Cech to make it 4-1. Netting a Hat Trick was a huge blessing for him. His presence at Southend has been felt so far, and he's bagging a big number of goals. He's almost sinking Elliott Richards 35 goals from the previous season, which was Southends biggest success in football history.

Finally, Freedman, who came on for Doumbia (as he deserved a rest), was able to score a good finish passed the keeper, so seal the game.


Chelsea sulked off the pitch, shocked and defeated. We had returned as a much better side. And Chelsea felt that. Doumbia, our star signing over the Summer, made us proud. And he rightfully earnt the man of the match.

Needless to say, with the rate in which we're playing, we can expect to see Chelsea next season in the Premier League. But Scott Richards insists on taking each match as it comes. And who could fault his decision? Since joining the club last Season, our success has been uncanny. If you could disagree with any decision he makes, you know you'd be a fool!

And his decision is correct. It's only the start of the season. There's still alot of matches to be played, and there will probably be a few hurdles for Southend to climb before they can look too far ahead into the future.