Monday, 26 September 2016

Game: Ingress (Android and iOS app)

So with all the hype recently I downloaded Pokemon Go – mainly because some of my friends were playing it and I was asked to do some investigation into it, after playing a while and then doing some research online the wiki led me to learn about a game called Ingress which pre-dated Pokemon Go. Ingress was made by the same company  and that's Niantic  and that's what led me down this rabbit hole...

Immediately reading the wiki and the talk of aliens had me intrigued, I researched a little more and a few days later after finishing my Pokemon project (I got bored with Pokemon Go in a week or so) I decided to download the Ingress app to see what it’s all about. Straight away I thought hmmm this is definitely interesting and I wondered why had I never heard about it before, but thinking back to 2012 I think I did but at the time had a shit mobile phone with no data so wouldn’t have given it a second thought.

Anyway yes, Ingress, what’s it about…

In 2012 it was discovered that Exotic Matter (or XM as it’s called) had flooded the world, with portals of energy and exotic matter mainly appearing at historical landmarks and places of interest. All this stems from the Shapers, an alien race which is influencing the earth…dah dah dahhhhhhh. On the discovery of XM and people learning of the existence of the Shapers, humans divided into two factions…well kind of three because you have normals…ok not normal but the generic population who don’t play.

So yes the factions…there are the Enlightened which a pro-alien and believe that the Shapers and the XM energy will bring about a great positive change for humanity and help it reach its potential and evolution. Then there are the Resistance, those who believe the energy and aliens are not quite what they seem and basically think they’re out to screw us over and do what aliens do in most movies – dominate the earth.

So the concept is these two groups or teams are trying to capture as many portals at the landmarks all over the globe, the more portals captured, linked (you can link them together) and control fields (basically if you link portals in triangles which creates fields) established does good things for your faction. The more area your team controls reflects how many people (or as they are known Mind Units) you are protecting or swayed to your cause. Then the fun part beings which is that enemy Agents will attack your portals, take down your links and control fields and try to capture them and set up their own…so it’s basically a secret battle for power that’s happening in the real and virtual world.

In the game you need items to capture locations, protect them and of course attack enemy portals, you do this by hacking any portals you come across, so the game involves lots of moving, walking, cycling, driving which help keeps you active as well as to be able to build up your stores and help your team.

As this is an MMO game you do have links to your team or faction, so no doubt soon after tinkering with the game your faction will send you a message to join their chat. I highly recommend this, so far everyone I’ve spoken to online has been lovely, they’ve been very welcoming and helpful, which is great! It’s always good to play with a good community.

I haven’t however come across any enemy Agents IRL yet – I’ve read some things online that it can be an intense experience but others say it’s just all for the fun of it. I have to admit now at locations when I’m playing I’m staying alert and looking around to see if I can figure out if anyone else there is an Agent (or if they’re people just playing Pokemon Go – as it was developed by the same company it uses the same locations).

Anyway yes, a lot of the game is played solo in the real world but the teams do meet up locally and at larger scale social and sponsored Anomaly events. I have yet to be able to attend any of these but I hope to get to do so at some point in the future, as it’s always good to meet other gamers. I can understand not everyone would want to but yeah it gives some good real life interaction.

So that’s the concept of the game, man that was long, sorry I got a tad carried away there.

Oh but I should mention the app was released on Android in 2012 and then released on iOS in 2014 so you can get out there and play if you have a mobile device – but make sure you have enough data allowance though as its required!

So now I think it’s about time to note a few things about the app….

When I first opened the app I thought it was quite dark and maybe a little dull looking, well compared to Pokemon Go which is bright and colourful and kiddy. This game however is mainly black and white, with the portals indicated in either blue (Resistance) or green (Enlightened) or white (neutral). As I’m a pretty dark individual I settled into its design very quickly as I don’t really like things too cartoony or bright – they hurt my eyes.

The app itself is easy to navigate and use, you just click on the portals and then select things from a menu that pops up, you can also look at other Agents details if they have portals, find missions to do in your local area, communicate on various in-game chats and check your own Agent status. It’s pretty cool in that it notifies you with any alerts such as when you’re under attack, things that you are doing, achievements/badges gained or what others are doing in the local area.

Yeah in all the app is pretty good and stable – it’s not crashed or glitched out once since I started playing (well apart from losing signal and me screaming nooooooo at it – but that’s my phone and not the game). I’ve adjusted to the look of it and got used to it now and am pretty happy with how it runs and plays. As I’ve said it’s pretty simple looking but it does what it needs to and doesn’t overwhelm you when you’re on the go.

One thing to probably note is it does drain your battery within a couple of hours – as you’ll need your location enabled and then the app to play, so make sure you have enough charge for emergencies, a spare battery pack or your charger handy.

So that’s a bit about the app…now onto my thoughts on the game and my experience so far…

Well at first I was like this is cooler than Pokemon Go – you know me anything with aliens automatically sparks my interest. Yeah so I picked my faction and started to wander about – I had an idea of some of the locations where I’d been doing the Pokemon stuff. I wandered to the nearest portal and it was an enemy portal. At this point I didn’t really have a clue what I was doing so I hacked it and got some stuff and it bit back. Then I got paranoid – was I supposed to do that, omg what next – was someone going to jump out the hedge at me or was my phone going to explode. Yes there is a tutorial but I didn’t do it right away – come on that involves instructions lol and you know me I’m a yeah I’ll just wing it kind of person. Anyway that evening whilst I was stuck at a location I watched some helpful guidance on Youtube which set me up nicely.

After that and with an idea I set out again the next day, hacked some portals and then captured my first portal which was nice…it was very nice. I was a bit excited but not really that fussed still. I then returned to the first portal I came across that bit back and saw there was only one resonator and it only had a little power so attacked it and destroyed it and took the portal for my faction *evil laugh*. I then went on and hacked and captured some more portals in the area – and at this point I admit I was starting to get a little engrossed.

I then got attacked! Omg I thought – I’m getting attacked! My portal! So I snuck out cautiously to go and investigate what was going on. I was careful after reading some stuff online which made me very paranoid that I might get beaten up and have my phone stolen (I don’t think this would actually happen but better to be safe than sorry). I decided at this point to only attack other portals when I was with other people or able to perform hit and run tactics. Anyway it looked pretty safe so I recharged my resonators and then snuck back into the night.

So as time went on I started playing more and getting more hooked, looking out for and hacking any portals I came across. When visiting different places turning the game on to see if there were any portals in the area to hack, claim or attack. Paying attention to people and wondering if they were Agents…and of course recruiting more Agents and wandering around playing with them.

…can you see a pattern forming here???...

Yep I admit it I’ve found myself pretty much addicted to the game! I never thought a mobile game would ever capture me as much as this – usually I’ll just play them casually for a bit and then get bored or not be too fussed as I’d rather play a PC or console game – but this game is great! It’s got to the point now where I’ve found myself wanting to check on my portals all the time, arranging different routes to walk to and from locations so I can pick up portals on the way. My Elder God I actually want to go outside and explore!!!!!!

Yep I’m addicted! I admit it! Send help!

So yeah I think that covers it and it’s about all that needs to be said right now so short and in closing – it’s most definitely an addictive game and is really fun to play. I’m very much enjoying my time in Ingress and I can see me sticking at it for quite a long while. I would highly recommend this app to everyone – go on give it a try! Do it! Do it! DO IT!!!!!

…man that was a really long review – you’d think I must really love this game or something haha haha hahahahaha – right that’s it, time to go and visit some portals! J

Catch you later!

Movie: Ben-Hur (2016) (12A), Hell or High Water (15), Blair Witch (15), Don’t Breathe (15), Kubo And The Two Strings (PG) & Babylon A.D. (DVD – 12A)

Ben-Hur (2016) (12A) – what’s it about? A prince is accused of treason by his step-brother; after years of slavery he then seeks revenge.

This is a re-make and I have to admit I don’t think I’ve ever seen the original so I can’t compare the two. Oh yeah if you don’t know it’s a bible story so be prepared for that, that said though it’s not really overly religious all the way through, it touches of faith in parts but until the end it doesn’t really get all bibley – maybe like the last 15 mins or so are. I’m not religious – I’m far from it but I still enjoyed this one as it was generally a good all-rounder, compelling story and good acting and action so it was an entertaining watch. 

Rating: ****

Hell or High Water (15) – what’s it about? Two Texan brothers go on a bank robbing spree.

This is basically cops and robbers – two robbers with their motives set out to rob a series of banks across the US and the old sheriff’s department try to catch them. I was kind of expecting a little bit more action from this one as it was quite slow, a lot more story driven and sitting about than I thought it was going to be. It’s one of those movies you just watch and it doesn’t really do too much. I’m not like meh about it, it was enjoyable so don’t get me wrong but it just wasn’t spectacular.

Rating: ***

Blair Witch (15) – what’s it about? The sequel to the Blair Witch Project, years later the brother of one of the missing girls sets out to find out what happened.

This is very similar to the first one in that it’s a group of people going off into the woods making a documentary and they end up getting freaked out by loads of weird shit. It was jump scary in parts but as it’s set in the woods and in the dark – you know things are coming. It was good, maybe not as good as the original as it’s all been done before but then again this is a sequel and it’s rare they are better than the original.

Rating: ***

Don’t Breathe (15) – what’s it about? Three friends and would-be burglars pick the wrong house to rob.

I’m not sure really what to say about this one, it’s been advertised as a horror here but I wasn’t exactly scared by it (and I can be a wimp) maybe it was because it was with real people rather than spooks or maybe it’s that I watched it straight after Blair Witch. It had its adrenaline pumping moments and it really had me feeling for the characters so I was rooting for different sides at different points. This one’s a true cat and mouse game…and I was wondering who would come out on tops at the end of it. It was a good movie, maybe worth a bit more than my rating as the more I think about it the more I liked it, worth a watch.

Rating: ***

Kubo And The Two Strings (PG) – what’s it about? Young Kubo must find a suit of magical armour to stop the gods who are after him.

This is an animated movie and I have to admit I’m always fascinated by how they make these – such talent. The story is interesting and the characters are pretty cool (and amusing). I think there are parts which may upset really little ones though – just to warn you. The more I think about it the more I like it’d it, yeah I’d probably give it a watch if you like animated stuff and want a nice easy watching movie!

Rating: ***

Babylon A.D. (DVD – 12A) – what’s it about? A mercenary’s hired to transport a girl from Russia to the USA.

This is set sometime in the future and the world is a rough place…yeah so it’s pretty gritty, dark and dirty. I have to admit this was a random purchase and I wasn’t expecting much from it at all, but I was pleasantly surprised! It was filled with action and survival hope, and it had a loose story to tie it all together. I still can’t believe I’d never seen this one before! If you like a good action movie then this one might be right up your street.

Rating: ****

Wednesday, 7 September 2016

Games: A random selection of co-op games…Warframe, Zombie Army Trilogy, Resident Evil: Revelations, Dead Island, Skara: The Blade Remains, Hounds: The Last Hope, Assassins Creed: Unity, Warhammer: End Times – Vermintide & The Elder Scrolls Online

So since Nosgoth passed away and we all sobbed at its graveside for as long as we possibly could (or still do in some of our cases) paying our respect to our fallen baby, I’ve tried to find comfort in other games. Sadly for me nothing on the market has quite matched up to the greatness of Nosgoth and its left me at a complete loss. I’ve since been dabbling in some co-op games with fellow ex-Nosgothians – that’s of course in-between screaming to the heavens “why damn you why”.

The below reviews aren’t full reviews or anything of the sort, they are just first impressions and in progress thoughts – don’t take them as gospel but I thought they deserved a mention at this point. Yeah so here’s what co-op games I’ve been playing and my first impressions on each piece…

Warframe – futuristic bow and pole fighting elder race – this is fun, this is really really fun, I have kind of fallen for this one even though at first I was like it looks too shiny, my eyes, I’m blind. But it’s probably one of my top games at the moment; yeah it’s pretty enjoyable with its little missions and stuff, and it’s free to play which is always a bonus.

Zombie Army Trilogy – Nazi zombies that want to kill you – at first I was like holy frack and was climbing on the couch as the zombies were coming to get me, now I’ve got used to it, it’s a lot easier to focus. It’s fun and gory, the only thing is if you’re limited on time you just end up playing the same bit over and over.

Resident Evil: Revelations – mutant things that want to eat your face – well I haven’t really played on this one much, it seemed ok from what I played but nothing too special and it’s a bit clunky. I’ll have to play a bit more at some point to get a better view on it.

Dead Island – zombies trying to kill you whilst you’re at a nice island resort – this one made me feel like I was going to vom that wasn’t due to the game but rather the first person perspective. The game was pretty fun from what I had chance to play though.

Skara: The Blade Remains – MOBA mayhem – thought I’d give this type of game a play and see what it’s like, its ok, haven’t really played much because there aren’t many people about which is a shame…and half the time I have no idea what’s going on. I’ve killed some bosses and that was alright but I’m waiting for more to be added before I step back into it.

Hounds: The Last Hope – more freaking mutant things that want to eat your face – this was a random find and playing co-op is great, even though we’ve spent ages as of late trying to defeat a freaking giant worm. Yeah lots of things jumping out at you, shooting and stuff, it’s a little clunky to play and it’s a bit old school but it’s really enjoyable co-op.

Assassins Creed: Unity – Assassssssssssssiiiiinnnnnnnsssssssss yeah – I never do very well at these as I don’t really do stealth all too well, I’m more of a tank. This appears to be another fun game in the series though, haven’t played too much but from what I’ve seen I like it – even if I spend half my time screaming “would you fucking let go of that wall, get down you prat”.

Warhammer: End Times – Vermintide – Lots of Skaven trying to take over! – same as above I haven’t played much of this mainly because the first person and I just got it but from what I played it was really fun and amusing. I picked the Mage so throwing balls of fire was entertaining and the rat-ling guns lolz who doesn’t want to face a giant rat with a gun strapped to its back!

The Elder Scrolls Online: Tamriel Unlimited – a MMO game where three factions battle against each other – so I tried to play this a few times and every time update – server maintenance – update, there seem to be more updates than game with this! Finally though I started it and damn it’s brilliant, the character design was great, and the combat stuff and missions are all good too, it’s definitely up there as one of my top games atm!

Anyway, yeah like I’ve said these are just my initial thoughts on some gameage and filling the Nosgoth void, as you can tell I’ve dabbled in a few games trying to find something to make me happy. If anyone has anything to recommend please shout!

Tuesday, 6 September 2016

Movies: Sausage Party (15), Morgan (15) & Absolutely Anything (DVD – 12)

Sausage Party (15) – what’s it about? Food is alive and it finds out the truth that once it’s out of the supermarket it’s going to get eaten.

This is rude, crass and basically about swearing, sex, racism and anti-religion – it sets out to try to offend as many people as possible. At first it starts off by trying to throw as many swear words at you as possible – which is pretty bland, it then moves on to tackle racial and sexual stereotypes etc – and imo it just falls flat. I did find the whole questioning religion mildly amusing but really there was only one part in it that made me lol. If you’re of the South Park mind-set you may find this amusing but it’s all been done before. 

Rating: :)

Morgan (15) – what’s it about? A synthetic human is questioned after she attacks one of her creators.

This one’s a little slow to start but it needs that to give some depth to the characters and the story. It is very thought provoking and the plot and idea behind it is very interesting. It is billed as a sci-fi horror, that said it’s more of a sci-fi drama imo as I didn’t think it was that scary. It’s very predictable but it’s still a good one, once again a Ridley film that doesn’t disappoint!

Rating: :) :) :) :)

Absolutely Anything (DVD – 12) – what’s it about? A school teacher ends up being given the power to do absolutely anything by some alien overlords and the fate of earth hangs in the balance.

A random Sunday afternoon movie, it’s one of those you leave your brain at the door and just sit back and watch – don’t think about it at all because if you do you’ll find things wrong with it and question the characters actions. Anyway yeah it’s a bit of the typical Pegg film, it’s funny in parts and silly in others but its good, so if you like his other movies then you should enjoy this one as well.

Rating: :) :) :)