Consumption

Asura’s Wrath (2012)

I’ve just finished playing a game that’s one of the stranger things I’ve played. It’s essentially an episodic anime with some Nier-like battles thrown in, but the whole thing is strange as hell. It’s appealing, but I spent most of my playtime wondering what the fuck was going on. But I suppose that’s what you’d expect from a game best described as an anger simulator.

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Imagine this for pages and pages.

Oh, did I mention you punch gods to death? And occasionally have six arms? And crawl out of hell on the reg? And can somehow defeat hordes of monsters after your arms have been ripped off? And take advice from a golden spider who sounds as if he’s grooming you? And that you fight robots that look like the Buddha, have tantrums that explode spaceships and ultimately win the game by punching the earth in the face? (more…)

Gone Home (2013/2016)

Coming home after some period away there’s always adjustment. I lived in the UK for a couple of years, and I remember Sydney feeling very strange when I returned: the main roads seemed stupidly wide, and the town felt underpopulated. It was different – or, rather, my expectations were different. I wasn’t calibrated for the place any more, and it took time for me to gather my old despair at crowds on a local scale.

This feeling of not really belonging, of seeing things that are familiar as if they’re slightly off, is important in Fullbright’s Gone Home. As every, I’m behind the times – I’ve had this game for years, but didn’t get around to playing it until yesterday. I know that it received a lot of positive press when it came out (as well as a smattering of bro-led whuh?) but thankfully that’s dissipated now, so I was able to get through the thing without preconception.

(If you haven’t played it, it’s probably worth noting that there will likely be spoilers at some points in this review, so you might want to skip it if you haven’t played and would like to, as the plot is the game, pretty much.) (more…)

Alien: Covenant and some thoughts about bugs

So today I went to an afternoon screening of Alien: Covenant in a big-screen cinema with fuck-all people in it. As you can probably tell, below.

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Not pictured: cap-wearing jerk who sat in front, just before it all got started.

I have long been a fan of the Alien franchise, largely because the first two movies are practically untouchable. The first (and best, let’s face it) is a peculiarly English thing, despite its cast: it’s almost a locked-room film, a And Then There Were None-style elimination game. It’s claustrophobic and sweaty, Das Boot in space, and its reliance on biomechanical similarity – the creature is kind of like things you know, but not really – is deeply fucking creepy. There’s something about the first that gives you bone-deep chills. Is it because it’s a big ole filmic rapefest? Is it because everyone is weak and at the mercy of uncaring fate? Is it because of a feeling of entrampment, of isolation? Take your pick, but it sticks in the mind. (more…)

Zeus, you’re a dick: finishing with God of War

Over the past couple of weeks I’ve been playing my way – maybe finally – through the God of War series. And it can be distilled down to this: as Kratos, you slash your way through thousands of monsters and people because you’re angry because you’re sad. 

Granted, having your wife and child killed – well, actually killing them yourself, to be more correct – is a bit of a bummer. But to foster that big a killing spree? That’s some next-level grudge-holding work there, guy. I certainly couldn’t manage it in person, and sometimes during my playthrough of the six games, I wondered if I’d manage it in by proxy.

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I HATE YOU ALL.

But I did, and I’m kind of glad, because I don’t know that I’d be able to have a run through them all. The backlog is too large, and there’s only so much time one man can spare for a bald, angry Spartan. (more…)

Goodreads review: Junji Ito’s Cat Diary: Yon & Mu

Junji Ito's Cat Diary: Yon & MuJunji Ito’s Cat Diary: Yon & Mu by Junji Ito
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

If there’s anything the manga-reading public can agree on, it’s that Junji Ito is one fucked-up dude. He’s a writer of horror manga, and is probably most famous for Uzumaki, a spiral-obsessed mind-fuck of popped eyeballs and extreme scoliosis. (I reviewed its three volumes here, here and here, if you’re still unsure about his oddity.)

His work is normally known for extreme violence and inventive ick and squick, so when I found out he’d written a series about cats – yep, cats – I figured I had to give it a go. (more…)

The Fuzz: 100 Demons (2005)

This is an older review, rescued from the internet ether. I wrote it for a site I was involved with at the time, and I’m prompted to put it online as I’ve just listened to the band’s album and it still holds up OK if you’re keen on the whole garage-rock kinda thing. Excuse the writing: a lot has changed in 12 years – including lead singer Abbe May, who’s now out of the garage and into the spotlight. 

d74a214_4563After two well-received EPs, Perth quintet The Fuzz has upped the volume (and the dirt level) with their debut album, 100 Demons. What results is an album that’s got the sound of hunger nailed. With young bands, this keenness, this eagerness to rock isn’t unusual, but what marks this bunch of noiseniks out is the strength of vocalist Abbe May’s cords. They’re phenomenal, and bring to mind some kind of scientific experiment wherein Bon Scott and Adalita from Magic Dirt are somehow combined to create the Ultimate Rock Throat.

She’s that good. (more…)

Goodreads review: Revival

Revival Revival by Stephen King
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

So, I’m back on the King train. I’d fallen off it when I was in my early 20s – I feel his readership is probably most vehement about keeping up in its teens, as I was – and it had been years. I read From A Buick 8 some time ago and really enjoyed it. Since then, though, there’s been thirteen-odd books – four (including one out later this year) since the time Revival was written.

It’s hard to keep up, is what I’m saying. Also, I’m not sure I’d pick Revival as the book to jump back in on. (more…)

Goodreads review: The Complete Phonogram

The Complete PhonogramThe Complete Phonogram by Kieron Gillen
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Oi. Do you like Britpop? Did you like Britpop? Are you familiar with the psychogeographical pitches resonating through the shitholes of Camden? Did you have a dog in the Blur/Oasis fight? Were you mad for it? Did you think Luke Haines was more arch (and better, let’s face it) than Brett Anderson?

Oh, and do you like magic(k)?

If the answer to any of those was affirmative, you’re gonna love this book. And I mean love. (more…)

Treasures and testing times

I’ve recently been playing some games – christening the PS4 in my new house, and getting some of the frankly enormous Steam backlog chipped away. So here’s a couple of thoughts about ’em, for what they’re worth.

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BLUE STEEL.

First up: Uncharted. I’d played the first three games before on my PS3, but as a PS4 kick-off I decided to play through the remastered versions as a lead-up to the latest – and apparently final – instalment. (Except it’s not now the final, because reasons.) (more…)