IDreamElectric


REVIEW: The Legend of Zelda – Skyward Sword
January 22, 2013, 8:47 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , ,

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Screw you, Amazon reviewers. I mean, really, I hope you are all happy tucked up in bed clutching your precious Skyward Sword whispering how much you love it, and how your Wii remote has never been moved like that before.

I thought I had taken precaution. I checked each review carefully, weighed out the pros and cons, assessed whether these people were people like me. But they weren’t. Which leaves me with three conclusions. Behind these shining reviews lurks either 1) teenage girls satisfying their need to control a tiny Justin Bieber 2) reverse-trolls 3) masochists with a penchant for being patronized to the point of humiliation.

It might seem a little late to be reviewing a Wii game. After all, a new Nintendo console has taken to the stage and eBay has assumed responsibility for the burial of the old one. But this game has taken so long to complete, not in a value-for-money way… in an only-gin-numbs-the-pain way. My relationship with Skyward Sword can be summarized like so:

1) Oh neat, a new Zelda game! It has been so long and I have waited so patiently.
2) Here you go, Amazon, here are my hard saved pennies. I am so excited about receiving happiness in 3-5 working days.
3) inserts disc
4) Wh… why is Justin Bieber on my screen wearing a green hat. WHAT HAVE YOU DONE WITH LINK, TINY JUSTIN BIEBER??
5) It’s fine. I’ll feel a lot better when I’ve got my horse.
6) What the fuck is this.
7) Ok, but roaming around talking to charming characters will still be fun.
8) Hello, quirky-looking gentleman!
9) Really? You work here with your wife? Aw, That’s nice.
10) Yes, you told me about your wife.
11) Yes, I know, you already told me that.
12) Yes I know. Are you having a stroke?
13) Right. Trying not to panic. The gameplay must still be superb.
14) Switches wii off and shouts at nearby cat.
15) Waits two months. Repeats from step 3.

I do have a detailed list of what I do and don’t like about this game, but actually there is little point in going into the specifics, because, for therapeutic reasons, this is more rant than review. There may be a few groups of people that will enjoy this game…. Probably those that haven’t played previous Zelda titles before. And I think that’s my problem – my expectations were just too high. I can’t admit to experiencing Zelda as far back as the NES, but jumped straight in at Ocarina of Time. And from that moment onwards, my standards would never go lower. But there is so little in Skyward Sword that resembles OOT; the format is not recognizable to me. Link is less ‘hero of the people’ and more ‘frustrated teenage boy chasing the girl’. It treats the player like a child (which is insulting to children) giving patronizing information over and over again as if the player lacks any basic ability to figure things out for themselves.

And the design, whilst is not terrible, falls way short of what I had expected. This may be a fatal symptom of spending so long on the Xbox, particularly having spent a self-destructive amount of time playing Skyrim.

Wii Motion Plus was the final straw. Forking out another £30 just for the privilege of being able to… erm…

Well, that’s what I’m not sure about. I purposefully didn’t read up on what it does to see if I would notice anything different, and guess what. I faithfully followed the tutorials, determined to give it every chance, knowing full well that the SECOND it did something different to what I instructed it to, I would descend in to an angry, flailing, thrusting mess. Don’t get me wrong, I’m sure it’s packed full of cutting edge, fine tuned, space age technology, but the designers seem to have forgotten to do their customer research. For every Wii player I know flails and waves and thrusts in the vague direction of the TV, usually having a lot of fun doing so, and doesn’t really want anything more to deal with. To whoever designed Wii Motion Plus: your talents are wasted. Go and work for Microsoft.

And whilst this game has so, so many flaws, I can handle all of them but one. A game can throw bad design at me, dodgy mechanics, poor gameplay, and even a questionable storyline. But the one thing that I absolutely am unable to forgive this game for? I was bored. BORED. The biggest sin in the gaming world: The anti-game.

Why finish it then? Well, I was determined to give it a chance, right to the bitter, boring end. And if another Zelda game were to be released, well, I’d probably give that a chance too. In the meantime, I’m going to read more books.



Seasoned worker
November 1, 2012, 1:48 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

This rather handsome machine has served my family for over two decades, surviving on a co-dependant relationship with my 80-year-old father. In its old age, it may cause more problems than it solves, but it faithfully collects leaves autumn after autumn, and grass clippings spring after spring. It’s a long way from the scrapyard.



Tiny Rainbows, etc.
October 26, 2012, 1:06 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

Cold weather + warm fireplace + exciting autumn colours = less chance of creative procrastination and more chance of actually getting things done. I am my own worst enemy when it comes to being proactive. It’s been a while since I did anything more than read a picture book and convince myself it counts as ‘being creative’, so I picked up where I left off in July with the watercolour experiments, armed with my trusty number 2 drawing pen and cheaper-than-I-care-to-admit embroidery skeins, and made a start.

  

 



watercolour experiments
July 12, 2012, 3:57 pm
Filed under: art, project



REVIEW: Skyrim (Xbox 360)

It’s hard to avoid the video game maelstrom that is Skyrim. You may have been subjected to an enthused ‘Skyrim-off’ between two colleagues, complete with wild hand gestures, words that you would definitely challenge in a game of Scrabble and the kind of smugness that can only be shared between people who have just a) slept together b) seen their team win a derby match or c) played the same computer game extensively. You may even have quietly contemplated how several of your friends suddenly have stories about their exciting lives before they took an arrow to the knee. If so, either get used to it, or join us.

Skyrim is the fifth game in The Elder Scrolls series, and follows Oblivion, a game that took over my life for many months. In a nutshell you will spend most of your time trying to track down a dragon god, taking sides in a civil war, completing some side quests, and wandering around. A lot.

I’m a total sucker for free-roam. Stick me on a horse and give me a sword and I’ll be happy for hours. So, on this basic level, Skyrim delivers. Oh boy, does it deliver. The world is enormous – 125 hours in and I’m still discovering new places. The day-to-night transitions and weather systems make the world feel ultra realistic – I was caught in a blizzard and it gave me chills. The creatures of Skyrim are beautifully designed, particularly the fire-breathing you-know-whats. The voice acting is a massive improvement and the soundtrack is perfect.

It is not without it’s faults though, so look away if you don’t want to hear it. First, there is no city comparable to Imperial City in Cyrodiil. I loved roaming around this curious metropolis in Oblivion, it added variety to the vast wilderness beyond the Walls. Second, I am so sick of snow. This only struck me at around the 80 hour mark. Yes I know it’s like going swimming and saying it’s too wet. I have no defence for this statement. Third, the game has a stunningly exciting series of cutscenes towards the start. After that, not much else. There were one or two key points in the storyline which could have have been magic with the right scene mixed in, but ended up a bit of an anticlimax. Fourth, following questlines are tricky. The journal doesn’t keep the history from the quests so my goldfish memory can’t handle more than four tasks at a time. Unfortunately you can barely move ten paces without being asked to reunite long-lost cousins or pick up someone’s dry-cleaning so I was stuffed there really. That’s it. Done with the negatives.

Companions. What a stroke of genius. When I’m in full swing with a game that I am ‘really into’, the only thing that can coax me away from my slightly sweaty limited edition Fable controller, apart from kitchen and bathroom breaks, is the nagging awareness that it has been over 24 hours since I have left the house or talked to another human being.

No longer a problem in Skyrim! You can buy a friend, dress them up and shove them face-first towards an approaching pack of wolves, thus further blurring my understanding of what is acceptable behaviour in real life. Not only do they not question your demands, they will helpfully point out caves, carry your stuff and, if you play your cards right, might even marry you. If I mix my Skyrim experiences with my GTA experiences, well, just keep half an eye on me if I’m on the beers.

And I’ll finish with a picture of my new ring, made by Nina Mantra. Bought due to it’s distinct resemblance to one of the more beautiful objects in Tamriel:

 



making maps
September 27, 2011, 4:19 pm
Filed under: art, design, gaming



Baby Quilt (finished)
August 7, 2011, 11:42 am
Filed under: art, design, project

The baby quilt is finally complete and ready to go to Baby Ruby (who is now born and very cute). I bordered and backed it in an off-white cotton, and then finished it off with pink binding: