Monday, June 4, 2012

E3 2012 Game Previews

Sunday (June 3rd) I decided to watch some pre-E3 game trailers. Here is a list and some quick thoughts about some Sci-Fi titles that caught my interest. This is not meant to be purely a game preview opinion piece, just how Sci-Fi is being represented in the near future for gaming. All these can be found on

Anarchy Reigns
Some kind of apocalyptic future with super-steroid people punching each other and using hand-to-hand energy weapons. A cartoonish example of Mad Max (or The Road Warrior if you prefer). I do like the guy using energy claws like Wolverine. Not much else to say.

An MMO based on, and being released concurrently with, a SyFy TV Show of the same name (and not this movie). The gimmick is to play the game in between broadcasts and in some way it will effect the story, which in turn effects the game's narrative. The setting looks like the future, but during an alien occupation that has been going on for some time. Not unlike Falling Skies. It's the future with aliens.

From Wikipedia: "first-person Neo-Victorian/steampunk stealth action". I saw robots in the preview somewhere, too. I like the look of the world and the mechanical designs.

Injustice: Gods among Us
A fighting game using DC characters. This is the comic book form of Science-Fiction. At least Superman is an alien.

Gravity is the new weapon. Some aliens take over the world and you get to fight them while manipulating gravity. So there's that. Another wrecked world apocalypse.

LEGO Batman 2: DC Superheroes
I love LEGO games. Superman is an alien. Batman uses super-science gadgets. Green Lantern works for aliens. It's the DC Universe in LEGO form.

Lollipop Chainsaw
A school girl uses chainsaws to kill zombies, so zombie Science-Fiction. And it looks over-the-top cartoony, but not as obtuse as Anarchy Reigns.

Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance
It's the future. You're a ninja (I think) and you fight giant walking robots and use all sorts of future-tech. All in the service of protecting the world from it self. Actually I have no idea what Metal Gear are about.

My top picks to play would have to be Dishonored, Inversion and LEGO Batman 2. I usually don't play MMOs and the rest look like recycled ideas that aren't adding much to the genre.


Now for more Xbox360 related stuff: I have freshly watched Microsoft's E3 2012 presentation. I think I blackout during the musical number so I may have missed some things. There are a couple new technologies they're pushing for the console that seem in the realm of Science-Fiction.

SmartGlass is something I've wanted to see for about a decade, but I never had a good way to explain it, but I think they figured it out. It's an interactive "second screen" that supplements a TV show or movie, and not just regurgitating IMDB data (I does that, too) but adding extra in-universe information. A great idea that I hope gets implemented across the board, and not just on current shows, but older stuff, too.

Recently, I became enamored of the Fitbit fitness tracker, so I was sad to see Nike go full on with Xbox fitness tracking integration. It appears to track you using their equipment and a Kinect to tailor a specific training regiment to you. Great idea, but I'm not buying another sensor suite. Reminds me a little of the tennis instructor from Total Recall. Below are list of Science-Fiction games they showed off and if I intend to spent cash on them.

Call of Duty: Black Ops 2
I am not a huge Call of Duty fan, but I enjoy shooting enemies on occasion. The story, set in the future about an American drone military that is used against itself, is very compelling. I want to see their vision of the future, you know, before it goes all wrong. Stupid SkyNet.

Gears of War: Justice
Instead of showing us a world of Gears after the Locust horde had been destroyed this is a prequel all about Baird. It has the right look, and like Raam's Shadow, we'll see the planet freshly after the Locust invasion and get to delve into the back story of my favorite character. I will have this.

Halo 4
Usually the reason to own an Xbox. It still is. This franchise oozes Sci-Fi elements everywhere. and there are new bad guys to shoot new looking space guns at, too. Physically-enhanced super-soldier in a powered exo-skeleton taking advice from an AI while shooting the progenitor race of the galaxy? And he has Batman's Detective Mode? Count me in.

Resident Evil 6
This team of zombie killers never get a break. They have to shoot more zombies and get to the bottom of another infestation. I may wait on this title. It looks like more of the same.

Splinter Cell: Blacklist
A current-day plot (or maybe near-future), but Sam Fisher has some good looking Spy-Fi gear. He also gets some of Batman's Detective Mode. It may not be enough to grab my attention, but the game looks great.

As more games are revealed I shall put my two cents into writing again.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde

About twenty minutes in I thought I was watching a 1930s porno. Dr. Jekyll, who has a fiance he's deeply in love with, stops a guy from beating-up a hooker, Ivy. He carries her to her home to make sure she's okay. Ivy suddenly sees a decent guy with money (he is a Doctor) and starts coming on to him. She pretty much strips naked and gets into bed waiting for him to join her. This is nothing today but 80 years ago there must have been an argument over it.

Beyond the legend of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde that persists, I'm really not that familiar with the story. I liked the character from The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen but I'm unfamiliar with his roots in fiction. I had no idea Mr. Hyde was such a brutal, sadistic character, made all the more shocking by the normality of Dr. Jekyll. He's got the perfect life; a college professor who has time for scientific research and a beautiful fiance he's impatient to marry. The story shows you up front how much he has to loose when he makes the decision to drink a chemical concoction that goes horribly wrong.

Mr. Hyde is nearly a werewolf who is intelligent but manages to beat-up nearly every character present. He spends at least a quarter of the movie psychologically and physically torturing Ivy before finally killing her. I never expected anything this violent on screen. Even Frankenstein killing Little Maria was played as a sad, touching moment. Not Ivy, she's abused like she was in A Street Car Named Desire. But, that is the point of the story; one part civilized, one part animalistic.

I do strangely recommend the movie even though I hated most of Mr. Hyde's scenes. Not because they were bad in any way (Fredric March won the Oscar for playing both roles), he's just not someone I enjoy watching. Except when he's running away. There is actual stunt-work in the movie. He beats people and jumps around props and such, very much a physical monkey trying to run away. Not at all the lumbering mass that denotes Frankenstein.

The camera and make-up effects are the best thing about the movie. Only a couple times is it obvious a camera cut was added to a transformation scene. Most of the time his transformation is in one take as you see him become more grotesque from Jekyll to Hyde. There are a few times we experience the movie in first person. The camera is the eye of Dr. Jekyll and we see his world as it spins out of control. A very interesting technique.

The story skirts the realm of Sci-Fi just a little so I added some thoughts on the movie to my Tumblr account. I rented it on Amazon Instant Video but it is available on DVD.