Sunday, June 30, 2013

Harry Potter And The Philosopher's Stone (Continued)

Now, continuing with Harry Potter.
I have to say, either Joan Rowling is an extremely good plot-weaver, or the mistress of creating complex plots by accident. The mystery of the world Harry lives in leaves you wanting more, and the characters wind up being a combination of unknowns and sympathetic (To an extent). Professor Snape appears to be a jerk for no reason for the longest of times and about the time I get to Prisoner of Azkaban I'm going to analyze this. Harry's aunt and uncle are the kind of muggles that you see in X-Men and the like. For some reason they think that being "normal" is somehow superior to having super-powers. Also, for some reason, instead of just sending the owls with Harry's school letter into his room, Hogwarts keeps sending it in places that the Dursley's can intercept it. This is obviously to set up part of the rest of the book, but it doesn't make much sense in context, considering the fact that McGonagle knew from day one who they were dealing with.
From there, we go to the ludicrous plot-twist of the identity of the person out to kill Harry. Granted, there are a few hints here and there, but it's not well executed, at least it doesn't com across as well as it does in the movie. Also, very little touches on the schoolwork and relationships between people other than Harry and Ron in this book. A few more character-traits for Hermione other than just "Smart girl and thinker" would have been good, and more time for characterization would have been good for this book, as well as MAYBE a few more hints as to what's going on, rather than just finding out near the end who has been causing trouble all year long. Considering that when this book was originally published, they considered it too long for a kids book (And ain't they feeling a little bit stupid now) and the fact that it's the shortest in the series, there MAY have been something cut out of it to make it smaller, just like someone decided that calling it "Philosopher's Stone" was a bad idea, even though that pretty much ruined the American versions of the series. Also, certain editions remove the Briticism's, which is just stupid, as stupid as MGS3 having everyone speak English, even though they're supposed to be in Russia for most of the game...... So I totally agree with J.K Rowling, she SHOULD have fought the publisher's to use the actual title of the book in the US other than the one it got. Considering that I read the British version first it's always weird whenever I hear someone call it "Sorcerer's Stone" instead of "Philosopher's Stone". All in all, the book was ruined by executive meddling and the American adaption didn't help that any. It's made Joan Rowling and Daniel Radcliffe a ton of money though, but I wouldn't be surprised if J.K wanted to re-write the series so that it all works better together. Fortunately Philosopher's Stone paved the way for better books that were less hindered by preconceptions and misconceptions about what people wanted from novels.
I'm not sure what kind of ranking to give it, it's kind of hard to pin down, from the rushed-out feeling of the book to the kind of humor and funny characters and "Makes me want more" drama it has makes me consider a middling rating, but that doesn't really do it justice.... I say it's somewhere around 6.7* or 7.8*. I want to give it a low rating, but it's a good book..... I really don't know what to do here. Anyways, see you next week with Harry Potter And The Chamber of Secrets! Or something else if I forget....

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Protest the disabling of account linking!

Today I received an eMail from Microsoft saying that I will no longer be able to access my business eMail account from my personal account and vice-versa. For "Security" reasons, apparently. I don't know about you, but I can't stand this. Hotmail is one of the best eMail clients out there, and if they disable this then I'm going to be extremely peeved at Microsoft, for a reason OTHER that the Xbox One costing $499. Here is the eMail in full below:
Microsoft account
Account linking will soon be discontinued
To help increase account security, the option to link multiple accounts will be discontinued.
Your accounts will remain unchanged, but to switch between them, you'll need to sign out of one and sign into the other. Also, the account menu in the upper right of will no longer list your multiple accounts.
Would you like to send and receive all your mail from all your accounts in one place?
If so, see Send and receive email from other accounts in
The Microsoft account team
Blah blah blah, I don't care Microsoft. I used to like Hotmail, it's the reason my business account was created USING Hotmail! I use Firefox to upload videos, unfortunately I've already set up a Live account to be remembered there, for my Xbox LIVE membership. I'm going to have to set up another browser so I can log into my business Outlook account from there. Fortunately they're not discontinuing having multiple alias eMail's otherwise I'd be even MORE pissed at them. We might be able to stop them from doing this if enough people complain, they did that with the Xbox ONE and DRM didn't they?

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Metal Gear Solid HD Collection, the package as a whole.

I once swore that I would never buy any HD ports, but the local junk store had this cheap, so there's no way I would pass it up. Even though I already started on Snake Eater and finished Sons of Liberty, there's still Peace Walker and Metal Gear 1 and 2 to consider (Plus I can replay MGS2). I'm not reviewing any of the games specifically, just the Xbox 360 version of the MGS HD Collection.
Now my first complaint is that Metal Gear Solid isn't included. Sure the models look a little blocky compared to modern standards, but with 1080p textures, some anti-aliasing and other graphical enhancements it'd look pretty good. My second is that rather than having Metal Gear and Metal Gear 2: Solid Snake on the games selection menu you have to go into MGS3 and select them. I honestly don't know why that is. Another criticism is that in MGS2 the textures look pretty much the same, aside from a few bits and pieces here and there it looks pretty much the same as the PS2 version, except the GUI has sharper lines and the colors sometimes look clearer. Other than that it's pretty much a straight port for MGS2, right down to collision problems with Snake's body and his bandanna. I've started playing (Don't worry, I'm also recording it) Metal Gear Solid 2, and the lip-sync issues from Substance bleed over into this to a more prominent extent. Also for some reason the right analog-stick controls how much liquid-nitrogen you spray, instead of you just pressing the X button like with all other things in the "weapons" category. I know this is to compensate for the lack of analog-buttons, but I played through Metal Gear Solid 2 with a DualShock 1 controller, same controller I used for MGS and I never felt like there was anything wrong. Plus, why would you want to control how much nitrogen you spray? You've got an unlimited amount! Another thing is they removed the "Snake Skateboarding" and The Document of Metal Gear Solid 2 wasn't, to my knowledge included on the first disc, nor would it seem a lot of extras that came with Metal Gear Solid 3 (Considering it DID come on three discs). All in all this is a good collection, and it's well worth the fifteen bucks I paid for it. By the way, I'm sorry for the lack of posts as scheduled, I've been busy lately.
OOOOOOPS, I forgot that Portable Ops wasn't included. Considering that it came on two DVD-DLs why couldn't they have fit Portable Ops onto Disc 2 with Peace Walker or else just give it its own disc? Why wasn't it included? Because of that I'm going to have to get a PSP just to play it, and although there is a lot of good stuff on the PSP I want to play I really don't wanna deal with another console, I've already got too many wires around my room, plus I'd have to get a TV-out cable for it so I could record gameplay decently and I don't really want to deal with that. Hopefully Konami'll take a hint and port Portable Ops someday to something other than a portable console.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Xbox One revision, before it's even released!

Well apparently, according to Kotaku, the Xbox One is no longer anti-used, you can now use it exactly like the Xbox 360 with a Blu-Ray drive and a whole lot of features we don't care about integrated. I'm still gonna be getting a Wii U though, since Nintendo is the only one with a decently priced console currently (Glares at Sony). Fortunately Sony made a big announcement about the PS4 supporting used games, but the Wii U already did that, along with the Vita and 3DS (As long as you ignore Resident Evil: The Mercenaries 3D, which was a completely pointless game since Resident Evil 4 has been ported for every console). In all honesty, I was expecting this, the PSPgo got discontinued quickly and now they've got a system update BEFORE the Xbox One even LAUNCHES (Take that, people who said that the day-1 system update on the Wii U was poor design). It would have been suicide to release a console like that, and still might be, since if a company even PROPOSES anti-used tech then you know they're not above it, the only reason Microsoft did this was because Sony and Nintendo were (And still are) threatening to shove them out of the console-market, especially since the Xbox One (I'm just gonna call it the Xone from now on) is $499 USD, when the Wii U and PS4 are both cheaper. Hell, MSFT is still competing with the Wii, PS3 and Xbox 360! That's a fine thing, having to compete with YOURSELF for sales! With the PS3 actually coming down in price and the Wii being a nice, affordable, reliable machine even six years after launch, Microsoft is going to have a hard time competing against the PS4, PS3, PSP, PSVita, Wii, Wii U, DS and 3DS with just the Xbox 360 and XOne, considering that they don't have a handheld system of their own (Just Windows Phone's made by other companies, and ironically iDevices) and with Madcatz, VALVe, NVidia, and a load of other companies entering the console fray I don't think that Microsoft can stand up to this without a handheld of their own.
By the way, the fact that it functions exactly like my Wii, Xbox 360, PS2, and all my other consoles isn't exactly selling it, all the games I want to play are either on Wii U or Xbox 360 (Call of Duty: Ghosts being really the only Xbox One game I'm interested in) and the rest (Thief 4 being a prime example) I just don't care about (Nothing personal, I just haven't played the Thief games). All in all it's no competition for my current consoles and I really don't feel like it's bringing much to the table, the new Kinect with 1080p is nice, but I didn't really like the original Kinect for anything but pretending I was Captain Picard giving underlings orders. By the way, I'm going to mention that I don't actually OWN a Kinect, I've just used one in the past, the same way I can play Final Fantasy XIII-2 and Need For Speed Undercover on the PS3.

Thursday, June 13, 2013


I would like to apologize for the lack of postings this week, I've been having a lot of internet troubles lately and that has caused me to not be able to connect to Blogger, or be able to post even if I DO connect. So that's the cause of my scheduling slip. I hope to have regular reviews re-started by this Sunday, if not sooner. That might be a bit too optimistic, seeing as it's AT&T I have to deal with to get the internet working again. I hope that there are no more issues, I would like to be a whole lot less busy too, that certainly didn't help me.

Monday, June 3, 2013

Harry Potter And The Philosopher's Stone Part 1

In order to once again prove that I am not merely writing a blog about video-games, this week I review a book. By the way, if you don't want spoilers I'll have to make another review someday because I can't really do the amount of critiquing I want to if I try to stay out of spoilerville.
The first thing that perplexes me is why they even changed the name in the US, when "Philosopher's Stone" refers to the object that turns normal metals into gold and normal liquids into The Elixir of Life, and the only place that The Sorcerers Stone is ever referenced is in the American localisations of Harry Potter and the X of Y. Anyways, since the edition I first read always called it "Philosopher's Stone", and that's the name of the mythological artifact used in literature by Nicholas Flamel.
So I'm currently on my latest yearly re-reading of the series and after rambling about the title for the last paragraph or so let's get on to the actual review.
Harry Potter is about a boy wizard with a mysterious past (at least to first-time readers) and an even more mysterious future even after you read book Seven. The plot is all well and good, but there are a ton of twists that catch you off guard, and if these twists were intentional and not just thrown in to mess with our heads at the last second I applaud Joan Rowling for her mad skills. If not, then I say that you pretty much hit the nail on the head for plot-twists. Something else is that the series as a whole made a habit of throwing curve-balls straight out of left field that make increasingly less sense as it goes on, but I'll get to those later. Every line is perfection to the point of the movies and games quoting it directly, and when I get around to reviewing the Philosopher's Stone movie I will also give whoever Percy Jackson And The Olympians into a movie what for.
By the way, sorry for the late release and sorry for multiple parts, I've been a little busy lately, had to deal with bugs in my room and then I couldn't come up with anything to say until it was late at night, and then I've been volunteering at the library today and that took up a lot of my time, so I'll apologize in advance for any delays in posting. I'll have the rest of these parts out soon.