Saturday, February 26, 2011

Lost in Shadow, Ghost Trick, and Being Human  

Games: I’ve called it quits on Lost in Shadow (Wii) and submitted a review. It should be up at GameCritics soon, and it's not a positive one.

While I think the premise of playing as a shadow is strong, the developers completely squander its potential by creating a repetitive, tedious and sickeningly bloated platformer that would have easily run on the Genesis or SNES. I say this not to slander the 16-bit era, but rather to point out that the developers have utterly failed to capitalize on the strongest asset this title possesses, and instead offer something that feels incredibly dated and bereft of creativity.

Countless titles have come and gone since those golden days, and Hudson seems to have ignored nearly all the innovations and leaps forward since that time. Great idea, terrible game.


In more positive news, I started playing Ghost Trick (DS) yesterday, and it's absolutely fantastic.

Being the immense Phoenix Wright fan that I am, I had high hopes that Shu Takumi’s new work would be of a similar quality, and I was not disappointed. While the concept of playing a ghost that can possess inanimate objects has been done before (anyone remember Geist on the GameCube?) it's never been done as well or as stylishly as it is here.

The graphics and animation are top-notch, the writing is clever, and the gameplay feels fresh, engaging, and new. Controlling a disembodied spirit that navigates each level by jumping from object to object is quite entertaining, and the time-travel-to-change-destiny mechanic is pulled off admirably.

I have nothing but praise for Ghost Trick so far, and I'm loving every minute of it. If you haven't checked it out yet, do so now.


TV: The string of UK programs viewed at my house continues. This week, the wife and I started Being Human… although, how we began this show was a little unusual.

I had heard of the series for quite a while, and the basic concept of a vampire, werewolf and ghost living together in an apartment was weird enough to get my attention right off the bat. However, we never got around to watching it for one reason or another, until this week. The twist is that this show was adapted for the SyFy network, and is currently airing in the United States with a completely different cast and altered storyline.

We had no idea whether the US or UK version was better, so we decided to watch the first episode of each before committing to the rest of the series.

The US cast - Werewolf, Vampire, Ghost.
We started with the Americanized SyFy version first. It got off to a bit of cheesy start, and in general it was dark and had something of a grim tone to it. It certainly wasn't bad, but I don't think either the wife or I felt an immediate connection to it.

The next night, we watched the UK version and it was quite interesting to see (basically) the same material interpreted in completely different fashion.

The UK cast - Vampire, Werewolf, Ghost
The UK episode didn't have the same dark, violent streak and had quite a bit more humor… nothing slapstick, just a natural amiability of the characters. Despite being lighter, I think we both agreed that this version didn't have the same cheese factor. Also, when the episode began, we both bought into it immediately, and the way the director established events felt very natural and free-flowing.

The final deciding factor was the cast.

Between the US and UK actors, we both strongly preferred the UK folk. A large part of that probably had to do with the material they had to work with, but the UK version’s werewolf (Russell Tovey) was an instantly-likable nerdtastic goofball, and the UK ghost (Lenora Crichlow) was written in more relaxed fashion… she was able to touch other people and interact with physical objects, while the US version was not. It may seem like a small thing, but to me it said that the writers were more interested in focusing on the character rather than establishing a set of rigid rules that might hamper development later on. Of course, I could be completely wrong, but that was my general first impression.

As you probably guessed by now, we decided to commit to the UK version of the show, and we proceeded to watch the next two episodes as well. So far, we haven't been disappointed...

Being Human (UK): RECOMMENDED.

Being Human (US): TBD.


What next?

You can also bookmark this post using your favorite bookmarking service:

Related Posts by Categories

2 comments: to “ Lost in Shadow, Ghost Trick, and Being Human

  • Anonymous


    Glad to hear you enjoyed the original Being Human. It's a gem of a show. I have been a fan since the very first pilot (prior to the series proper and with a different cast apart from George).

    Don't give up on the SyFy version just yet though. The first couple of episodes are a little shaky, and don;t have that instant chemistry that the Brit cast have, but that's deliberate: theyt're at an earlier stage in their friendship. The first two episodes are the closest to the original and suffer for it. When the show does a carbon copy of the action it doesn;t quite work (seems a pale comparison). But when it takes a basic idea and twists it its own way then it really does it well.

    I am watching the two shows alongside each other now. They exist as different but related beasts. As if both sets of characters are independantly dealing with these human and supernatural issues on either side of the pond.

    Visually, SyFy's show is lovely. The quality of the directing is excellent. The characters are really starting to come through now as well (I'm at episode 6).

    X Dani


    Thanks for the words. What you say makes perfect sense, and we do plan to watch the SyFy series once we've been through the UK episodes. It seems too weird to watch them both side by side to me! = )