Game of Show at E3 2011 announced- Barnestorming #7.
There’s no Cracked LCD this week. The Gameshark gang is all out in Los Angeles at E3. I was invited, but couldn’t go this year. I’m hitting that thing like a Georgia tornado next year. Count on it. There’s lots of great coverage from those guys (and gal) at Gameshark.com, if you’re not already sick to death of hearing about it. I’ve also been keeping up with blog posts and commentary over at Nohighscores.com, where I’ve been celebrating B3 2011.
Instead of reading one of my reviews, why don't you go read San il Defanso's great Innovation review that he posted here earlier today? Great, great game and he wrote it up real nice.
On the Table
At the Hellfire Club last night we did a five player Chaos in the Old World for the first time with the new Horned Rat expansion. Its features are already well documented elsewhere, but the bottom line is that it’s a must buy. The Horned Rat is a great addition to the game with some unique facets (cultists don’t generate corruption, but all Skaven units get to horn in on the ruination spoils when the pie is split) and some very different strategic considerations. The new “Morrslieb” cards, I think, will widely replace the original cards. They’re just better balanced, more interesting, and offer completely new play options. We had a Khorne win on points, edging out Slannesh. I finished dead last as the rats. I couldn’t get a handle on what do with their cards until the last quarter of the game, when it was too late. Skitterleaping into a region about to pop is freaking great though. I’m going to write a full review of the expansion because it deserves it, and Chaos was GotY ’09 so it should get the follow-up.
I’ve also been playing the new Warhammer Legends expansion. It’s neat, but its actual utility is sort of in question. Basically, each faction gets an expensive “Johnny deck” class character that sits in the middle of the Kingdom board, imparting power symbols to all three regions and giving some kind of overall effect. The problem I’m seeing is that they can be easily attacked and killed unless you’re placing them in a very well defended, well-developed kingdom- and since the game is so quick and deadly, it seems difficult to get them out and have them make a significant difference. There are a few new cards for each faction, but this is one of those expansions that offers three copies each of 55 cards. I would rather have bought one deck of these for ten bucks, I don’t need six legend cards that all cost 6-9 points in my deck, thanks.
Godzilla: Kaiju Wars showed up yesterday. Yep. I haven’t played it yet, but I feel comfortable in saying don’t pay $80 for it. It’s really chintzy. When the back of the box has a giant, blurry photograph of the gameboard and bolded Arial fonts, you know you’re in trouble. Let alone when the chits are all on cardstock and the rulebook is a tiny photocopied booklet. Toy Vault also sent Godzilla Stomp, a card game that may turn out to be the better of the two.
Literally as I was writing this, Conquest of Nerath arrived. I just took a look around the box, it looks like fun. It’s definitely a Gamemaster-style DoaM, but the quest mechanic looks much smoother than Quest for the Dragonlords. Production quality is great, lots of cool pieces. Hopefully this avoids the dreariness this genre can sometimes slump into. One thing that’s really awesome is that the dungeon monsters are all classic D&D stuff- yes Virginia, there is a Beholder. And Black Pudding, Mind Flayers, and Umber Hulks. Yay!
Karnaxis is on the way too. Huge buzz among Atlantans on it. Frank showed it to me a couple of weeks ago, it looked interesting enough to cover. Artwork and design are absolutely hideous though.
On the Consoles
I’m drifting again, with no big AAA game to play right now- at least not until Infamous 2 shows up from Gamefly and Duke Nukem Forever drops next week. We’ll see how that goes.
I’ve been playing the new Wizardry game on PSN, and it’s pretty good. It’s definitely old fashioned Wizardry, apart from the anime graphics. If you miss games like Dungeon Master, Eye of the Beholder, and so on, you should take a look at this one. Brutal difficulty, glacial pace, nothing is explained…if this sounds good, you know who you are.
I’ve been playing Blazblue: Continuum Shift II on the 3DS for a review- it stinks. The graphics have taken a huge hit, and for some unknown reason the game doesn’t support the circle pad. Try pulling off a Shoryuken move with that tiny digital D-pad. It’s frustrating, because the whole game is there, and there’s even more content than Continuum Shift on consoles. But it’s completely crippled.
I picked up Resistance: Fall of Man again. It’s OK, just a barebones shooter. It’s kind of fun, but it’s definitely dated at this point. I’ll probably play the second one sometime before the 3rd drops this year.
On the Phone
Pinball fans, run- don’t walk- to your phones and download Little Wing’s Tristan Pinball. Now. It’s $1.99, and it’s the best pinball on IOS bar none. It’s a direct port of Little Wing’s first (and simplest) table, but the physics are eerily accurate and the scoring is easy to grasp but quite deep. Hopefully Space Ghost doesn’t have an iDevice so he won’t dominate the leaderboards.
I’ve also been messing around with the TurboGrafx-16 emulator. The games are too expensive ($2.99), but they’ve got Bonk, Ninja Spirit, Dragon’s Curse, and most importantly, Devil’s Crush. The emulation is fantastic, and the controls are reasonable.
To-Fu: the Adventures of Chi (I think that’s what it’s called) completely sucks. One of the worst iPhone platformers I’ve played.
On the Screen
I finally saw The Human Centipede. What an utterly worthless exercise in juvenile gross-out humour that was. After all the hoopla, I was surprised at how _un_ transgressive and _non_ shocking it was. Plus, it was completely empty and devoid of any substance or value whatsoever. The director has stated that he was influenced by Cronenberg and Pasolini, but that’s a sharp insult to either of those great filmmakers. The intelligence level of the film is just shy of the Garbage Pail Kids movie. Tom Six is clearly a filmmaker who has nothing credible or intelligent to say about anything, and is more concerned with assaulting viewers with 90 minutes worth of outrageously sexist power fantasy, complete with women screaming and crying while a high-camp German doctor plays the heel. Don’t give me the “it’s about fascism” shit. If you haven’t lived under a fascist regime and you’re a well-to-do, middle-class Dutchman making pictures, kindly STFU.
When it was over, I couldn’t believe that I had watched the whole thing.
I love horror. I live for a great horror film. But this…this isn’t what horror is, was, or should be about. It would come across like a stupid joke or a stunt, except for the nasty anti-woman message that appears to be dead serious. The whole thing reminds me of something that this awful, awful person I met once who was really into slasher movies said…”I like to see pretty girls screaming and getting cut up”. This movie was made by a person with a similar aesthetic.
But I wasn’t offended at all by what was on the screen, it was tame. It’s the underpinnings that are troublesome. Apparently, the sequel is running into censorship trouble because Mr. Six has promised to show us “all the blood and shit” that wasn’t in the first film, and reports are that it features scenes including masturbation with sandpaper and rape with barbed wire. Lovely. I’m sure the white trash hillbillies that still wear Cannibal Corpse t-shirts will eat that shit up.
I also watched Highlander for the first time in many years. What an utter piece of trash that movie is, its popularity befuddles me. I guess it’s the “coolness” of guys in overcoats fighting with shabby katanas in a modern setting or something. Or Sean Connery slumming in a thankless role. I liked it when I was like, 12, but seeing it now…I was groaning the whole time. I was playing Warhammer: Invasion while it was on, so I was able to tune out some of it and I completely missed the Harlequin romance parts. Thankfully.
To complete the 1-2-3 strikeout, I also watched From Dusk ‘til Dawn for literally the first time since I saw it in the theater. What a stupid, terrible film. Clooney makes a terrible psychopath, Tarantino’s nebbish non-acting is grating, and the whole half violent crime picture/half horror romp thing doesn’t work. Salma Hayek is the only thing worth seeing in the entire film, and her dance bit segues into the terrible extended zombie film/Assault on Precinct 13 tribute.
That’s it, I’m watching Touch of Evil tonight.
On the Turntable
It never fails. Misfits leads me right back to the Samhain and Danzig records. Well, the first three Danzig records at least. Those records are just untouchable, there’s a stripped-down rawness, a real sense of rock n’ roll but with that alluring “should I be listening to this?” sense of diabolism that _nothing_ has in today’s jaded world. Every track is a scorcher off of the first two albums with a couple of clunkers on the third, and Rick Rubin’s production is awesome as ever. “Twist of Cain” is the only argument you need to hear.
I remember listening to Wreckage, a radio show that Georgia Tech did back when Danzig II came out. They played “I am the Wolf” and “Blood and Tears” off it, and then proceeded to just mercilessly trash it before getting back on to playing Sacred Reich and Possessed tracks. The next week, the hosts came on and said “whoa…we listened to the rest of the record, and it’s really good”. Then they played “Long Way Back from Hell”, “Snakes of Christ” and so on. I adore that album.
Once the _band_ Danzig fragmented after Danzig III and he lost that killer lineup of Eerie Von, John Christ and Chuck Biscuits I completely lost interest. Everything I’ve heard since then has been absolutely terrible. That is, until Pandora spun a couple of tracks off of last year’s “Red Deth Sabaoth” LP, which was largely written, played, and produced by the evil Bill Medley himself. It’s really good- stripped down, back to the 1970s crunch and away from the chunka-chunka quasi-industrial crap or shitty stripper-rock he’s been doing. It sounds like…Danzig again!
Then it struck me that he’s nearly 60 years old. Dang. In closing, here’s a picture of him coming out of the grocery store.
Next week- a review of something. Maybe Horned Rat if I can play it again by then