Some things I've learned....

(1) An Engineer can do with 10 cent what a fool can do with a Euro.

(2) "Puff" - unimportant; insignificant; unworthy of study by engineering students; waste of time

(3) It's better to keep your mouth shut and let people think you're stupid than to open it and prove them right!

(4) Blockwork people and concrete people can never work on the same site... Apparently they don't like each other....

(5) It's official; I'm fantastic!

Monday 30 March 2009

MGS4 Spoof Video

...featuring Hideo Kojima and Cliffy B!!!

Coming Soon:

Resistance: Retribution Review
Damo Facts
College Update
AVGN Atari Double

~The Damo

Wednesday 18 March 2009

The Kraken Awakes...

Yeah, I'm back. After a long slumber, or more accurately too much work and not enough slumber, I finally have the time to log back on and post some stuff. First and foremost the main thing that was keeping me back is done (a week now) and that was my final report/thesis/thing that we apparently set a new record in for early hand up. After months of work at it I'm very pleased with the final result and I think we've got some really good results. The only crap thing about the whole lot was that it cost us about €60 to get the damn thing printed!!

It doesn't really end there unfortunately, as now that the report half of the module is done (and yeah "half" is somewhat of an understatement) we now have to start our "Design Project". It's not as major as report, but it is approximately another 4-6 hours a week. Basically we've been given a set of architectural drawings for a building in NUI Galway, and we have to come up with the structural system. No problem.

On the other college front I've been getting pain in the balls assignments and essays that have just been a total inconvenience - which also contributed to my lack of posting. They, for the most part, are now under wraps, though I do have an essay hand-up the second week of April and two exams next week when I go back. Analysis of Structures is also becoming somewhat of a pain, but that's for another time.

On a more brighter note the promotion exams are over in the St. John Ambulance aswell, and while they weren't too stressful they did contribute to the overall stress as they coincided with all the assignments I was doing as well as the report. I'll know by the 10th April if I was successful in getting enough marks to earn a promotion so keep your eyes glued to this spot to find out.

As an aside I've also elevated to the level of a "Hard Mode" Guitar Hero player, YAY!!

Finally, the scope of gaming articles on the blog will be expanding, as I have recently invested in a new piece of hardware as you may have seen from the post below...

~The Damo (rocks!)

Resistance: Retribution - Preview

There's probably only one franchise that would get me to fork out for a PSP, and since that franchise has now made its way to the PS2 & PS3's brother/cousin, I have in fact bought one.

That franchise is of course "Resistance". Those who frequent my blog know how high I hold Resistance in esteem, and this Friday the latest entry entitled Retribution makes it way to the PSP.

Retribution takes place in between its older brothers on the PS3, namely Resistance: Fall of Man, and Resistance 2. The game will take place on continental Europe as the Maquis (or French Resistance) attempt to recapture the continent. What transpires is said to be far more than a typical wiping out of the Chimera, including players finally getting to meet the mysterious Cloven face to face, as well as investigating how the Chimera changed from conversion centres in the first game to the method of conversion in the second. Also up for exploration is the construction of the Chimeran fleet that invaded the United States in Resistance 2.

You will play as James Grayson, a British soldier who becomes somewhat of a folk hero in England (more on his story in the final review). From what we've heard Grayson is a far more dynamic character than Hale, and there is a much stronger emphasis on story and motivation in this installment.

One of the games biggest touted features is the ability to connect it to Resistance 2 on PS3 and "Infect" the game with the Chimeran virus which will alter several things in the game (see final review for details). Also there is the ability to connect the game to your Dualshock 3 and play it like a PS3 game.

Retribution is a 3rd person shooter and from the videos below its easy to see that its one of the best looking PSP games out there. Stay blogged for the full review some time over the next week or two.

Official Trailer:

Infecting your PSP with Resistance 2:

Gameplay Montage:

~The Damo

Sunday 8 March 2009

Killzone 2 - Review

War. Perfected.
Killzone 2 is the first major PS3 exclusive of 2009. With years of hype and expectation on its shoulders, much pressure has been on Guerilla Games to deliver after a less than impressive showing with Killzone on Playstation 2. Can the sequel banish the demons of its older brother and deliver a truly defining first person shooter experience for this generation of consoles?

Killzone 2 begins as the ISA (Interplanetary Strategic Alliance) invasion of Helghast – the home planet of the Helghan – begins. In the previous game, the Helghast, led by Scholar Visari (and voiced by the brilliant Brian Cox) invaded the ISA planet of Vekta, and the counter invasion is an attempt by the ISA to arrest Visari and put an end to the bloody conflict. The game’s intro begins in a Starship Troopers style narrated telecast, crossing over from an ISA narrator to Visari, as the starships of the ISA enter Helghast space and the first troops begin landing.


You play as Sergeant Tomas Sevchenko (or “Sev” to his squad mates), a member of Alpha Squad led by the hardened vetern Rico and joined by Corporals Garza and Natko. The game’s early story involves setting a foothold in the capital city of Pyyrhus, before other events occur which lead you on to the story’s conclusion. The story itself is nothing that hasn’t been done before, but what is done is done exceptionally well, with fantastic set pieces and tense action moments, which when all brought together is more than enough to get you through. The odd emotional moment doesn’t hurt either.

Voice acting at times does feel a little strained, but is believable and in my opinion is done very well for the most part. The characters do feel real, and the sense of comradery between squad mates – despite the occasional bickering – only adds to the atmosphere.

If there is one thing that Killzone 2 does better than any other game I’ve played it’s the atmosphere. Guerilla Games have created was is without a doubt one of the best looking (if not THE best looking) console games ever. Everything is detailed from atmospheric environments to weather patterns and even the shell casings from the bullets. The attention to detail is just incredible and the screenshots in this review can’t do it justice as you need to see it in motion to believe it. Every surface reflects light like it really would, all light sources are independent and respond accordingly, everything! You will find yourself fighting across close quarters alleyways, open cliff side deserts and even on moving trains. The last level is really something to behold from a visual and technical standpoint.

This attention to detail also translates to the weapons, which reflect appropriately depending on light and shadows and respond like real weapons with insanely accurate kick back of the weapon as you unload a full clip. Coupled with this is the sense of inertia that they have managed to implement into the controls. The weapons feel like they should in real life, despite the fact that the weight of the controller in your hands never changes. When using a pistol or light submachine gun you can turn and aim more quickly than say when you’re using a heavier weapon like a rocket launcher or one of the games unique weapons. This “weightiness” translates into other movements like climbing ladders, jumping and sprinting.

The weapons are fun to use and most have ironsight aiming for nailing quick headshots. In fact, thanks to the widening of the reticule from going full auto the game requires you to shoot like a real soldier – in short bursts – to make sure your shots are accurate enough. The reloads are also beautiful, with unique variations for each weapon. I find myself wanting to reload as often as possible; not jusy because I should have a full clip but also because it looks so freakin’ good! Initially you’ll find it difficult to part with the standard ISA rifle as its helpful dot sight and all round suitability means it has no real downsides. But once you start to experiment with all the different weapons you’ll quickly come to appreciate the variety and will be hard pressed to find a favourite. Certainly one of the best features is the aiming on the sniper rifle. The game requires you to hold the SIXAXIS steady whilst aiming, otherwise the crosshairs will move around. This is meant to simulate holding a real weapon in your hands. It works great, and can be used for small adjustments in aiming. But what makes it even better is that when a grenade goes off near you, the controller will vibrate, causing the crosshairs to move. It is a truly incredible sense of realism that has been implemented.

SIXAXIS also features when placing explosives and turning valves. It’s quite intuitive and is ultimately a clever yet simple implementation of the oft forgotten feature of the PS3 controller. The game also uses surround sound brilliantly in a pivotal part of the game.

Killzone 2’s shooting mechanics are great and in my opinion are a breath of fresh air from arcade shooters like Resistance and Halo. Killzone 2’s slow placing, accurate firing and innovative cover system ultimately results in a more methodical progression, which is just like the way real gun fights occur. You can’t take many hits, even on the easy difficultly levels, and heroic bursts into open space will get you killed. The harder difficulty levels are quite a challenge, and this is only enhanced with the removal of the HUD (heads up display) and cross hairs from the Elite difficulty, meaning you don’t know how many grenades/ammo you have left and practically forces you to always aim down the iron sights… again like real life!

This sense of immersion is what sets Killzone 2 apart from any other shooter. The graphics and presentation compliment the gameplay and realism and vice-vearsa. This extends to your squad mates and enemies who – thanks to the voice acting and graphics – feel like real people that you are fighting with and against. A.I. on both sides is great, with enemies and friends cleverly using covering fire to allow advances and grenades to flush you out if you dig in. The Helghast know how to flank you and your squad mates, and it’s up to you to lead the charge and press on in the level. Mastering the cover system is required at the higher difficulty levels, and only with that, an understanding of the weapons and enemies and a sense of awareness have you any hope of completing the game on the hardest mode. The last level on the game even on normal mode is something to behold. It is this intensity that helps make Killzone 2 different. That last level will for some be unlike anything you will have played before and there are genuine moments of panic as you feel the Helghast closing in around you. Every battle responds with advances and retreats and ultimately it is up to you – the player – to make sure the ISA gets through it.

The brilliance of the game’s design extends to multiplayer which sacrifices the cover system from the single player in favour of a more fast paced and deep progression system of badges and classes. Like any other shooter you gain experience from matches – for kills, completing objectives, anything – and all this helps to level you up. As you progress you unlock new classes and weapons which have specific class-unique abilities, like the Engineer being able to place and repair turrents or the Scout being able to cloak and then tag enemies with his scanner.

This progression and the great game modes like Warzone make for a truly great online experience, with team play a necessity to succeed. Once you start playing with all the varying classes you’ll be hard pressed to give your PS3 a break and cool down as it is highly (and I mean HIGHLY) addicitive. All this and still the jaw-dropping visuals of the single player and it all runs with a butter smooth framerate. Throw in voice chat and excellent level design to suit all players and game types, Killzone 2’s multiplayer alone is worthy of the €50 price tag.

Killzone 2 is exceptional on all fronts, with amazing visuals, intense and satisfying gameplay, fantastic multiplayer and an all round great immersive experience unlike anything that has come before it. It’s been nearly half a decade in the works, but the wait has been worth it. Guerilla Games have been venerated as the top quality developers many believed they really were, Sony have a huge grin on their face for silencing all the doubters and PS3 owners have a game, or rather an experience, that they and only they can enjoy knowing that at the end they have played one of the best FPS games of all time.

Presentation: 10

Flawless in every sense of the word, definitely the best looking game I've ever seen from enviroments to all the little details.

Gameplay: 10

Intense, methodical, rewarding. Killzone 2 gives you a bit of everything every step of the way.

Story: 10

It might not be new, but what's done is done well, with plenty of memorable moments and great storytelling.

Design: 10

Butter smooth, intuitive implementation of SIXAXIS and a nice trohpy set, not to mention excellent level design.

Content: 10

Once you put it into the PS3 you won't want to take it out. A rewarding multiplayer coupled with a single player game that takes on new tactical measures with increasing difficulty, you couldn't ask for more.

Overall: 10

~The Damo (I'm BACK!!!)