Monday, October 03, 2005

Byte: Veni, Vidi, Peachy

My review copy of Rome:Total War Barbarian Invasion arrived this morning. Even though I really rather liked Rome: Total War, Barbarian Invasion isn't really something I probably would have gone out to buy, though I'm certainly more than pleased to add it to my collection. Keep your eyes peeled for a full review in the next couple of weeks.

The keener-eyed of you will have seen the UFO: Aftershock preview that went up on Pro-G last Friday. I was stunned on Saturday evening to find in my staff e-mail some unsolicited feedback, congratulating me on writing a nice piece. As thanks to my new friend Olav for his very kind words, I'm going to pimp his strategy gaming website.

It's been a good weekend in all - we had friends over from Frankfurt to stay with us, so we popped into London on Saturday, where I picked up Thief: Deadly Shadows on Xbrick for £6.99 and a copy of Advance Wars: Dual Strike for DS. I don't really know why, but I think I'm far more likely to play Thief on Xbox than on PC. I never really got on with the first two Thief games - I love the idea of them, but lack the patience to really play them properly. With the 3rd person mode, Deadly Shadows seems more like a console game to me, and the analogue movement speed makes far more sense on a gamepad than on a keyboard. I'm losing out on the aiming accuracy of the mouse and the higher resolution of the PC, but I don't think it matters so much with a game like Thief. I'm betting that the conversion to the console to make the game more accessible will result in me playing this Thief game more than I played the other two put together.

I haven't had much chance to play Advance Wars yet. I've only had a brief flirtation with the War Room and play the first couple of (tutorial) missions of the Campaign. It looks great, though and has quite sophisticated unit modelling - with ammunition, terrain movement restrictions, terrain defence modifications and fuel all being taken into consideration. The script for the somewhat nominal campaign story is quite amusing too. It looks like a lot of fun - and I'll have to try and press-gang my team leader into doing a little multiplayer with me, too. I should be reviewing this sometime in the next few weeks, too, so keep your eyes peeled for that.

Finally, I went to the cinema yesterday for the first time in months. I saw A History Of Violence by David Cronenburg, starring Viggo "Aragorn" Mortensen and Ed "Failure is not an option!" Harris. I've never been the greatest fan of Cronenburg's stuff, but this was great. It's a nice length, tightly focussed, is very well shot and has some outstanding performances. Mortensen is great as Tom/Joey, Harris just oozes menace and Ashton Holmes is very impressive as Mortensen's teenage son. It's definitely something you should consider seeing, if you're stuck for something to see.
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