Wednesday, May 4, 2011

???, Outland, and The Disappointing Doctor (Who)  

Games: In a very ironic turn of events, I just started playing [ _____ ]. I never would have guessed it, but it arrived this morning, so clearly the universe works in mysterious ways.

I don't have a lot to say about it at the moment except that my first impressions were terrible, and they didn't get any better as more time went by. In fact, I’ve got some pretty harsh criticism for it, but unfortunately, I can't say a word.

Sorry to be such a tease, but more on this later. Maybe.


Games: In non-embargo news, I put a little time into Outland (XBLA) today. It's best described as a Metroidvania with a main character that looks like Tron and a color-switching mechanic very similar to Ikaruga or Silhouette Mirage. It's kind of a crazy combination of elements, but for the most part, it really works. The art style is fantastic, the controls are tight, and the boss battles are great.

On the other hand, the prologue is too long and I'm not entirely convinced that Metroidvania was the right way to go. A lot of my time has been spent on simple level traversal in the hunt for keys and switches to flip -- not exactly riveting stuff. It occurs to me that if the developers had gone with more straightforward linear level design and positioned it as a traditional action platformer, the adrenaline level would've been kicked up by at least a few notches.

I'm still working my way through so I'm reserving final judgment at the moment, but at this point I would categorize it as a thumbs-up… hopefully that feeling will remain.


TV: The wife and I just watched the first two episodes of Doctor Who’s new season, and I’ve got to say that we’re both feeling a little… dismayed.

We had misgivings about the way the previous season was going (season five) and especially about the way it ended, but we were hoping that the rough patch was due to the transition between Tennant and Smith, and that things would be tightened up after the hiatus.

At this point (and I certainly admit it's still early days) that doesn't appear to be the case.

I'm not quite ready to go off on a full-scale rant yet, but the pace of these two new episodes was overly brisk and left too many details behind. Some of the logic on display was also quite questionable, and although there is certainly a level of disbelief suspension that is required to appreciate a show of this sort, the writers are playing a little too fast and loose for my taste.

I hate to say this because we fell head over heels in love with the show after discovering it last year and we've been eagerly awaiting the further adventures of everyone's favorite Time Lord, but this… I don't know, it just feels as though things aren't quite right here.

Hopefully things will start coming together as the season goes on, but I do have butterflies in my tummy after seeing how it kicked off. Nothing to do but keep fingers crossed and hope for the best, I suppose…


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5 comments: to “ ???, Outland, and The Disappointing Doctor (Who)


    THANK YOU, BRAD! Finally, someone who feels the same way I do about the newest season of Doctor Who. I also have to say that Matt Smith is doing an awful job as the Doctor. He just dosen't come off as being a 900 year old super-intelligent being that the Doctor is supposed to be. He's I get the character that he's trying to portray but I just don't think he does it very well. I think part of it is that he's just too young. He has no chemistry with any of his co-stars (especially River who's old enough to be his Mom, making their 'sexually-charged banter' more then a little disturbing)and he's void of almost all charisma. As for Moffat's writing, as much I like his previous work on other shows, here it feels like his up his own ass. The season so far feels like the entire creative team sat down with a bunch of sticky notes, wrote random things on them (spaceman, Nixon, the American west), posted them on a board and figured out some convulted way of making them all connect.

    Anyway, sorry about the semi-rant. I'm a loyal reader and podcast listner so I'll just end by saying keep up the good work! You and the rest of the Game Critics crew keep the web from being completely swamped by overzealous fanboy morons.


    I'll go out on a limb and say that ??? is L.A. Noire. Something about that game has rubbed me the wrong way ever since I saw the first trailer. It could be because it looks less interactive than Heavy Rain. Or it could be that you'll receive different mission-based DLC depending on where you reserve the frakkin thing. But what do I know, maybe it will turn out decent.

  • Oz


    On the Doctor Who front, demote Steven Moffat. He's a great writer, but a poor show runner IMO. Some people work best with supervision! Get rid of Amy Pond, no offence to the actress, and have a regeneration.

    As for LA Noire, when I heard it was approximately a 20-25 hour game with 5 hours of clipscenes plus 3.5 hours of supplementary gameplay footage, I decided to give it a miss. I can't shake the feeling it's going to be a snooze fest.


    Oh I hope it's not LA Noire :( I've got it pre-ordered for one thing!

    I agree entirely about Doctor Who. So very disappointed. Glad I'm not alone.

  • Tony


    I have my fingers crossed that mystery clunker 'X' isn't Catherine- can't recall if Brad has given impressions of that previously, and this might be a month or two early for a NA preview copy to land, so hopefully not!