Category Archives: Impressions

Impressions of games and stuff that I managed to spend some time with.

God of War Impressions

I’ve got my hands on the import version of the acclaimed new PS2 action title, God of War, and have taken it for a quick bash. I was surprised to see what looks like a fairly generic and insipid action title (you have to admit that playing as a servant of the gods and defending Ancient Greece from mythological creatures doesn’t sound like the most original concept) getting such incredible reviews, but having played it I can see what they’re getting at. This game is shamelessly good fun.

God of War

The game, in which you play as Kratos, a Spartan who is haunted by his past and serves the gods as his route to forgiveness, hearkens back to the days when Mortal Kombat was the latest threat to our youth and the fad amongst developers was to drown their games in blood. It could be the biggest load of crap that you’d ever played but as long as it had a distinctly sanguine tint, everything would be OK. This is probably where my apprehension about this game came from, even after Edge’s glowing preview; it just sounded like the same old pomp that we hear every time. Like those games, it has no qualms about spraying everything with blood and (sometimes literally) tearing enemies limb-from-limb, and blatantly doesn’t care what anyone thinks abou it. Why slay the hydra when you can skewer it through the eyes and impale it on a broken mast? Why silently kill the gorgon when you can tear off its head and use its hideous gaze to turn your enemies to stone? Well, why not? There’s an M-rating on the box after all.

Kratos is a fairly transparent protagonist with only the bare bones of a personality on which to base the action. If anything the design of his character is somewhat poor as his looks and personality fit firmly into the category of “vanilla rage-filled anti-hero”, but even if he lacks the charisma of Devil May Cry’s Dante, the action is done well enough to carry itself. The comparison to DMC is probably apt as they’re fairly similar – violent action led by combo-heavy combat and gigantic bosses, all wrapped up in a very pretty shell. This definitely is one of the best games on the PS2 and is more than worthy of a purchase.

Panasonic DMC-FX2 Impressions

Panasonic DMC-FX2

I’ve had a few days to play around with my new camera, the Panasonic DMC-FX2, and overall I’m very impressed. The first thing I should say is that I’m not hugely knowledgeable about the technical side of photography, despite that fact that my father is a photographer who thought digital photography was a form of blasphemy until a while ago. Therefore these impressions are from the perspective of someone who wants to pretty much point the camera at something and take a picture. I can handle tweaking ISO settings and choosing which flash I want to use, but that’s as far as I’m going.

When I was shopping for a camera my specifications were simple. First of all it had to take nice shots – I’m not technical with them but I know a good photograph when I see one, and it had to take nice shots, or at least ones that would need minimal tweaking to look good. The second was that it had to be small since the main purpose of buying it was to take it to Japan and the last thing I want to do is cart some great beast around with me just so I can take some snaps to send home.

I knew that the DMC-FX2 fit the bill, having played around with the 5-megapixel DMC-FX7. It was certainly very small and the image quality is about as good as you can get from an ultra compact without spending vast amounts of money – I only spent just over £200 on the camera and a 1GB SD card to go with it. The picture gets slightly grainy in low ambient light when it sets itself to ISO 400, but that’s inevitable in a camera where you can’t tweak some of the more advanced settings. In good light or within flash range pictures are detailed and give natural colours, and when I tested the macro mode I was amazed with the amount of detail that it captured.

Reviews of the camera have generally been positive and I can appreciate why. If you just want something to drop in your pocket and take some nice pictures with you can’t go wrong with this or its bigger and more-expensive brother, the DMC-FX7. Just make sure to get a bigger card than the included 16MB one: they might as well not have bothered with that.