Home > News (Personal), Personal > Personal: February 2010 in review

Personal: February 2010 in review

Time again for the monthly round-up, where I look back on the previous month:

Life

I mentioned last time that I need to find a job, and while I’m not employed yet I have been looking and sending out C.V.s. My lack of qualifications for what I’m going for doesn’t make it easy, as I lack the obvious experience to appeal to an employer hiring for things I’m good at. It’s early days though so we’ll see how it all progresses.

I didn’t do much with the blog this month, posting three times in the first half of the month and going quiet after that. There’s a reason for that which I’ll get into in the games section, but I’m thinking about expanding what I post about slightly and making this blog more like a blog, rather than something where I just share formal opinions about games.

I managed to go through the whole of February without doing any meaningful reading again, and it’s disappointing how readily I seem to shunt reading aside for other things. It’s something I’ve already began to rectify in March though.

Games

As with January, I didn’t buy any new games. While the lack of money is a big factor I do generally spend the first couple of months of the year playing a lot of the previous year’s games that I didn’t get around to, because I don’t like buying new games when I still have plenty to play (and there are games I own which I don’t expect I’ll ever get around to playing, which is incredibly wasteful). The beginning of the year is generally pretty slow anyway, but 2010 has opened with a lot of big titles that didn’t make the end of 2009. January wasn’t that interesting for me as it was dominated by a genre I’m not keen on with games like Bayonetta, Dante’s Inferno and Darksiders (though I did enjoy the recent Darksiders demo), as well as MAG, which holds no interest for me at all, making Mass Effect 2 the only January release I’m really looking forward to playing. February had Bioshock 2, which I think I’ll enjoy even if it’s not as good as the original (which it was never going to be) and Heavy Rain, which seems like it will still very much be a Quantic Dream game in both its strengths and weaknesses, but one worth playing all the same. They’ll have to wait though because I do still have plenty to play.

I completed three games in February, finishing off Prototype (thoughts here) and playing through the whole of Infamous (thoughts here) and Borderlands. I had intended to play through Infamous a second time to see how the story changes with good karma, but after looking at the differences online I was disappointed to find out that there actually aren’t any. The game has several points where I made ‘evil’ choices that resulted in the deaths of key characters, but if you make the good choice instead those characters still die and the only difference might be that if you’re evil it’s on purpose whereas if you’re good it’s accidental, which is ridiculous. There’s one point (and the next couple of sentences would count as spoilers) where you’re given the classic superhero choice where there are two people/things in jeopardy and only one can be saved, but no matter which choice you make there’s one character who will always be on the opposite side and be killed. The only real choice there is to be given good points or evil points, which by that part of the game should probably be close to full anyway. It’s particularly disappointing because I’d initially been impressed by how the evil choice played out and thought it was a clever development, only to discover that had I made the opposite choice the outcome would have been the same. It makes the morality system almost entirely pointless.

Borderlands is the reason I’ve blogged less. I started it on the eleventh and only completed it a few days ago (and have since started over again), so for most of the month I haven’t been finishing any games to comment on. I’ve been playing both a solo save as a hunter and in splitscreen co-op as a siren (teamed with a beserker), which means that it’s taken up a considerable amount of my free time. I really enjoyed the game and it’s currently my fourth favourite game of last year. I also played Peggle Nights for the first time as Popcap were giving it away for free as an incentive to sign up for an account on their site, and that’s a lot of fun. The game makes such a huge fuss when you hit the final peg and complete the level that you can’t help feeling like you’ve achieved something, and it’s a very charming game.

TV

The big event in TV is obviously the return of Lost for its final season. Having an end in sight really did help the show as the team know where they’re heading and how many episodes they have to make it happen. After mostly focusing on flashbacks in the early seasons and then flashforwards, this season introduces a new technique, the “flash-sideways”. The strange time travel shenanigans of the previous season left the show able to branch off in two possible directions, either sticking with the island or switching to a timeline where the plane never crashed, and the writers have opted to do both. There’s no telling yet whether they’re both supposed to be real parallel universes that are equally valid but the flash-sideways universe is quite strange, finding all kinds of silly ways to have cast members meet one another in LA despite having no connections. At the moment it’s on par with the pointless cameos of the Star Wars prequels, so I’m really hoping it’s going to be revealed at some point that there’s an external force bringing them all together.

The UK also showed the final episodes of Dollhouse in February. With a lot of story to tell in just a few episodes the end of the run was pretty densely packed and the episodes were very good, with only one big event that didn’t make sense to me and left me wondering if that’s how things would have played out if they’d had more time to maybe introduce more characters. Dollhouse’s weak beginning really did hurt the show and ending on a high note can’t really make up for that, and if the series had started as well as it finished then maybe it would have had a few more years, but as it is I can’t really fault the decision to cancel it.

Film

After making sure I watched at least one film every day in January, February was much more relaxed and focused primarily on watching most of the Studio Ghibli collection again:

  • Apocalypto
  • The Castle of Cagliostro
  • The Cat Returns
  • Ferris Bueller’s Day Off
  • Kiki’s Delivery Service
  • Laputa: Castle in the Sky
  • Last of the Mohicans
  • Nausicaa: Of the Valley of the Wind
  • Pom Poko
  • Porco Rosso
  • Princess Mononoke
  • Pom Poko
  • Two Brothers
  • Up
  • Whisper of the Heart

Out of those fifteen films there were only two I’d not watched before. The first was Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, which is one of those films that gets mentioned a lot on the internet (most likely because of the time it released and the age of a large portion of the internet audience) and it’s a lot of fun. The other new film was Two Brothers, a story about two tiger cubs who are separated at a young age only to reunite later. It’s an odd one, using real tigers but seeming to anthropomorphise them to quite an extent because they act very human at times (almost to Disney levels).

Up was the DVD release, which had been given to a relative as a gift. If it was up to me I would have got the Blu-Ray version because it’s a film that will look really good in HD, but even at DVD quality it looks fantastic. I originally saw the film in 3D but the film lost nothing in 2D, which isn’t a big endorsement for the format. Perhaps something like Avatar will be different, but at the moment 3D seems like something that’s nice to see once or twice but wholly unessential, which could prove costly for those industries currently investing in the format.

Advertisements
  1. No comments yet.
  1. April 6, 2010 at 22:39

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: