Monday, April 28, 2014

GAMING POST: Play Sega Controller on PS3


So last time I was telling you that my controller finally arrive what followed was a torturous process of finding out how the buttons mapped out for SSFIV Arcade Edition. I made a little chart below so you don’t have to.

NOTE: The Play Sega Controller has no button for Start or PS so you will always need to have a proper controller connected to your PS3.

PS3 Controller buttons                                                  Play Sega Buttons
SQUARE                                                                               A
TRIANGLE                                                                            X
CROSS                                                                                   B
CIRCLE                                                                                  C
L1                                                                                            Y
L2                                                                                            L
R1                                                                                           Z
R2                                                                                           R


I fully intend to pick up a few more fighting games to see how this controller works. I like how the controller feels it certainly handles well though I am severely out of practice and it shows. Hope this helps people out there who want a nice cheap controller that works well.



Sunday, April 27, 2014

FILM REVIEW: Vampire Academy

Vampire Academy is a 2014 film based on the Number One Best Selling YA series by Richelle Mead. It stars Zoey Deutch, Lucy Fry and Danila Kozlovsky, Vampire Academy was released in the US on 7th February 2014.



PLOT

Rose Hathaway is a dhampir, half-vampire and half-human, who is training to be a guardian at St Vladimir's Academy along with many others like her. There are good and bad vampires in their world: Moroi, who co-exist peacefully among the humans and only take blood from donors, and also possess the ability to control one of the four elements - water, earth, fire or air; and Strigoi, blood-sucking, evil vampires who drink to kill.
Rose and other dhampir guardians are trained to protect Moroi and kill Strigoi throughout their education. Along with her best friend, Princess Vasilissa Dragomir, a Moroi and the last of her line, with whom she has a nigh unbreakable bond, Rose must run away from St Vladimir's, in order to protect Lissa from those who wish to harm the princess and use her for their own means.
[taken from IMDB.com]

WHY I WATCHED
I had heard about Vampire Academy for quite some time before I decided to take the plunge mostly because of the tone of the reviews, memes and what have you heavily hinted at a story that was all about the romance and not a lot else. Still further research revealed that the series was more than just a love triangle and I eventually decided to try it and was impressed though I thoroughly dislike Rose as a character but that is another story.

WHAT I THOUGHT
Reviewer’s Note: I am a fan of the Vampire Academy series and its follow up Bloodlines so that will colour my review of the film. I would recommend reading the books before checking out the film if they are on your TBR list. For any non YA fans or anyone else who won’t be reading the books, this film can stand on its own as it is a reasonably faithful adaption of the first book in a series.

I was happy at first when I heard about the film adaption for Vampire Academy it has a great, loyal and certainly passionate fan base and it has that classic love triangle which is a toss-up for whether or not it will work in a film franchise. Then I started hearing that “Mean Girls with fangs” tag and I shuddered. VA the books are not particularly comedic so I did wonder what was happening in terms of direction.



Thankfully after watching I can say that the comedy aspect of VA is not overdone or forced it just stays there in the background bringing a smile or a chuckle and definitely did not distract me from the joy of seeing characters who I have followed for years suddenly coming to life onscreen.

VA is a film about vampires with supernatural powers so I have to look at how that was handled. It is not a spoiler to say that Lissa and Rose are psychically linked and the way they handle it in the movie is interesting and very well thought out.

A look at the books' original artwork before they replace it

The only low point in this surprise hit was the fight choreography, in a film about bodyguard who has to fight in hand to hand combat against deadly vampires you would think that they would have spent more time on the choreography. It looks loose and badly edited, it doesn’t compare to say what you might see in a show like Person of Interest which does violence realistically without wirework or slow motion.

How close is the film to the book? The answer to that is “VERY” things are compressed but all the important scenes that stuck in my memory seemingly make it through to the film from the book. I’m sitting here trying to think if any characters are left out and I think the answer to that is no as the second book introducing a lot of the characters that fans of the series might have forgotten didn’t appear in the first book.


The real test for me of any book to film adaption is “Would you recommend it to a fan of the book?” for Vampire Academy the answer to this question is a resounding yes. For those of you not familiar with the book I would urge you to consider a read before viewing but the film stands alone and is absolutely understandable in the way that other popular film adaptions are not if you are unfamiliar with the source material.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

The Time To Crush My Enemies Is Now

If you have been following my tweets and blog posts you might have noticed that I have been trying to play my PS3 more. To that end I recently picked up Super Street Fighter IV Arcade Edition. I watched it a few times on YouTube and figured it was worth checking out, though the last time I played Street Fighter seriously was Alpha.


The game is pretty cool though it does take a bit of getting used to with all the juggles and crossovers and a dozen other terms that I am only now starting to grasp. The main issue with playing is not the game itself it is those PS3 controllers they are really not conducive to this type of fighting game.


That weird missing inside piece of the PS3 makes all the difference and makes doing motion moves, like a fireball (which is Down to Down/Forward to Forward and press a button) a bit of a challenge. It can be done but not reliably as with other simple controllers I have used (not arcade sticks).

So after some research I found a copy of one of the best fighting controllers EVER for sale and I thought I would try it. Granted it is only a knockoff so the quality is in doubt but if it is only half as reliable then it should be ok as it will only be used for one game. Here are the pictures of the original and the knockoff.


The controller is of reasonable quality and the price is pretty cheap at around £9. My next problem is trying to map out the buttons to see how they work on Street Fighter which I will probably write down on my next blog because my goodness I would have liked to find it online. If you're looking for the controller a quick amazon or ebay search for "Saturn USB PC controller".

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Book Review: ILLUSION by Sherrilyn Kenyon

Illusion by Sherrilyn Kenyon is a 2014 YA novel which forms part of the Dark Hunter Universe of books. It is the fifth book in the Chronicles of Nick series and was released on 1 April 2014.

THIS REVIEW CONTAINS SPOILERS FOR THE BOOK.

PLOT

Nick Gautier is tired of his destiny. He doesn't want to be the son of a demon who's fated to end the world. Nor does he want to see another demon or other preternatural creature who wants to kill or enslave him. He just wants to be normal and have normal problems like everyone else. 


But normality isn't all it's cracked up to be. When he gets sucked into an alternate reality where his mother has married his mentor and his Atlantean god best friend has become a human geek, he begins to understand that no life is free of pain, and that every person has a specific place in the universe... Even the son of a hated demon. 

Most of all, he sees that his powers aren't the curse he thought they were, and that the world needs a champion, especially one its enemies can't imagine rising up to defend the ones he should destroy. 

Old enemies and new friends square off for a major battle that will either restore Nick to his real world, or end him forever.

WHY I BOUGHT IT

I loved the Chronicles of Nick from the first crazy book. It seems so unlike most YA out there nowadays probably primarily down to the male protagonist which is a serious rarity in recent YA. I have not read any of the other Shadow Hunter books as they are not really my preferred genre but the lore is rich and interesting.

WHAT I THOUGHT

The last book came with a lead in (preview) of Illusion and from what I read there I had graves concerns about this book. I like Nick with his powers after all it is a complement to that sarcasm which can sometimes be more than a little overwhelming. So this idea of a book set in an alternate reality with no powers and Nick scrambling to understand what happened. I was very worried that all of it would be spent with Nick cooling his heels and dealing with silly analogues.

I won’t say this is my favourite instalment of Chronicles of Nick but it was not as bad as the preview in the last book made it seem. The story is interesting though for me the first third dragged a bit but then things started to pick up nicely.

Important things happen to Nick in this book like his acceptance of his role as the Malachai which shows his ongoing growth, he has always been heroic and self-sacrificing but this acceptance of his role as the potential destroyer/saviour of the world is interesting as it seems to indicate that the only thing that will succeed in pushing him over the edge would be the death of his mother.

I still don’t like Nekoda to me at least she always comes across as a very bad match for Nick though I will state for the record that I’m not sure who he might belong with. We learn a lot more about her and the various connections to the other cast of characters in the Chronicles of Nick universe so if you’re a fan of her you should definitely enjoy all those new details. Caleb gets an almost cameo at the end of the book so if you’re a fan of his prepare to be a little disappointed by that hopefully the next book should do something to redress the balance.


I am definitely looking forward to the next instalment of Chronicles of Nick and I would definitely recommend this rather unique series to anyone who likes their lore and snappy dialogue.
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