I’m sure everyone was as blown away with the Killzone 2 demo that we saw at Sony’s conference, and it certainly succeeded in bringing a lot of people who thought they had seen the light with the Xbox 360 over to their camp. Now it seems all but certain that the demo, along with most of Sony’s other stuff, was pre-rendered and simply “indicative” of what their machine would be capable of.

That’s all well and good, but I can’t be the only one who has very clear memories of the unveiling of the PS2 as well. Sony’s rhetoric told us how it would be the entertainment hub of our homes (it turned out to be a crappy DVD player), that it would deliver graphics beyond our wildest dreams (was it really that much more powerful than the Dreamcast?), that it had the “Emotion Engine” (a link to the PS3’s “Reality Synthesizer”?), and that it would render CG quality in real time. They showed the ballroom scene from Final Fantasy VIII and told us that the PS2 could do it, and I’m sure that I heard Toy Story mentioned more than once.

Somehow they managed to pull exactly the same tricks this time and, as expected, everyone ate it up and it stole the thunder than Microsoft had built up with some real-time footage of games for their machine. I’m shocked that MS haven’t been making as much capital out of this as they can by making sure everyone knows that they showed genuine footage of their stuff that still managed to stand up to Sony’s nifty CG work. It makes me wonder if the PS3 is actually going to come out of the gate with any more power than Microsoft will do later this year.

More on Sith

As a quick addendum to last night’s Star Wars impression, I just want to add another thing that I really didn’t like – midi-fucking-chlorians. I’ll admit that it could have been worse, as when Palpatine started talking about Sith being able to manipulate midichlorians to create life I was half-expecting another “I am your father” moment, but wouldn’t it have been better just to leave them out?

Maybe it was intended as a sly joke to the knowing fans like when you find out in Attack of the Clones that Jar Jar Binks, probably the most hated character in the whole thing, is responsible for the whole Empire, as it was partly Palpatine’s ruminations on midichlorians that started Anakin down his slipperly slope, but I still think that we would still have been better off without it.

Revenge of the Sith Impressions

Well, I’m back from seeing Revenge of the Sith and…wasn’t that impressed. It was an improvement on the last two prequels to be sure, and the last twenty minutes or so was mostly what I’d been hoping the whole thing would be like, but the quality was patchy and I still wouldn’t mention it in the same sentence as the OT. If I had to give it a review score right now it would be a two, maybe a high three if I was feeling generous (that’s out of five, to clarify).

Anakin Skywalker turns to the dark side

For anyone reading this who hasn’t seen it I’m going to block out anything that I’d consider to be a spoiler (highlight them to read), but these are my main complaints with it:

  • The dialogue in the love scenes. Some of it wouldn’t fly on a crappy soap opera.
  • Anakin’s motives for turning to the dark side – he kills Mace Windu, cries “what have I done!?”, and then acts like it’s nothing when Palpatine orders him to go and kill more Jedi. Did I miss something there?
  • Padme’s destiny – we all know that she had to die, but what kind of explanation was that she’s medically fine but was losing the will to live? Wouldn’t it have been easier to have Anakin’s spousal abuse mortally wound her?
  • The stuff with the wookies was a blatant nudge and wink to the fans and wouldn’t have been missed if it had been excised completely. They starred in a superfluous battle (complete with Chewbacca’s battle cry from Jedi) that could have been cut out with no great loss and then you get Chewie mentioned by Yoda as a little name drop when he leaves. Wouldn’t it have been better to leave Chewie’s introduction until A New Hope?
  • I was really into the end, but then they spoil the winning run by giving Vader possible the crappiest line in the whole thing. His over-theatrical “NOOOOOOOO!” coupled with that little Frankenstein walk just made everyone laugh in what should have been an emotionally significant scene.

The saving grace was the last twenty minutes – it was (mostly) what I’d wanted the Star Wars prequels to be like with only the above couple of issues to detract from it. I was also pleased to see that Lucas didn’t feel the need to tone most of it down to make it a straight kids’ movie, especially in the last scenes involving Anakin. The rest of it had its moments (the Jedi purges were great), but ranged in quality from good to painful to watch.

The best thing about it was the Chronicles of Narnia trailer at the beginning.

Revenge Will Be Sweet

The time is nearly upon us when we’re going to sit down to watch a new Star Wars movie for the last time ever, and the Skywalker saga in the galaxy far, far away will draw to a close. The buzz is positive (more so than the other two prequels, at least) and in some parts of the world the hallowed day is already here. I’ve got my tickets and my Jawa T-shirt is out for the first time since Attack of the Clones.

Revenge of the Sith

Like everyone else I’ve read some of the more negative reviews and so I’m trying to go with low expectations so that I won’t be disappointed if it does turn out to be bad, but it’s impossible to do it. It’s fucking Star Wars! It has Darth Vader! It has Anakin vs Obi-Wan! It has Chewbacca! It has the birth of the twins! It has Clone Wars! It has the Jedi purges! No matter how shoddy the dialogue might turn out to be it has to have a lot more redeeming features than Phantom Menace or Attack of the Clones. Either way I’ll be posting some detailed impressions tomorrow, and I might even review it when I’ve had a chance to ruminate on it or see it again.

One last thing that I’m wondering about it how impossible it’s going to be to get tickets in LA. As if the film wasn’t anticipated enough and LA wasn’t busy, most of the geeks of the world are in town right now. They must be rarer than rocking horse shit.

Games Journalism at its Finest

Every gamer’s favourite newspaper, the Daily Mail, took a leaf out of everyone’s book with a little piece of coverage on the PS3. I saw no mention of the Xbox 360 so I can only assume that Microsoft employs too many young gay Labour-voting Muslim gypsy asylum seekers to qualify for coverage in their “news” paper.

Daily Mail on PS3

I’d love to know which sites they “researched” in finding a rumoured £160-200 price point because not only was the PS2 £300 at launch, not £200, but I’ve yet to see anyone even entertaining the notion of a sub-£300 price point at the UK launch. Two minutes with Google could have turned up that information, but obviously it’s quicker and more profitable just to make it up and assume that your audience doesn’t know any better.

I am a Helpless Consumer Whore

Barely have the press conferences passed, and I’ve already preordered them both.

PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360

Both seem to have spectacular hardware that will certainly lead to equally spectacular games and the fact that, if you believe Bill Gates’ comments in Time, we’ll have Halo 3 and a next-gen GTA at the same time, it’s going to be an incredible time for all gamers. I’m still trawling through the videos from last night in an attempt to get all the good ones down my 512k pipe before the American schools kick out and the bandwidth spontaneously combusts but from what I’ve seen, Sony could actually have a generation where they have the most advanced hardware and the most comprehensive library of games (PS3 already has a lot on the way, but it can play PS2 and PS1 games as well). It’s ironic that Microsoft have made so much of the dawning of their “HD era” but it’s only the PS3 that will support all games in 1080p. On two displays. At the same time.

As for Revolution, it certainly looks nice but I can’t help but feel that by not competing with the others in terms of raw power they’re missing the same boat that they missed with CD-ROMs in the 32/64-bit days and online play in the current generation. Digital distribution is very intriguing, though.