2017 disappointments

A lot of movies come with a degree of anticipation.  Some get hyped beyond all proportion.  Some are adorned with awards and positive buzz.

Below are 10 movies that whilst not inherently bad, I felt either didn’t live up to anticipation or the attention they had received, or I had personally been excited for them but ended up disappointed. 


Alien Covenant

Alien Covenant





The Wailing

The Wailing


Ghost In The Shell

Ghost In The Shell


Spider-Man Homecoming

Spider Man Homecoming


Blade Runner 2049



Baby Driver

Baby Driver



Dunkirk poster


La La Land

La La Land


Trainspotting 2

Trainspotting 2


All conquering PS4??

This is coming from now owning both supposedly ‘next-gen’ systems, and feeling rather underwhelmed by what the PS4 has offered me thus far.  I haven’t played many games on it but do find myself going back to the XB more often than not – and the underwhelming allure of the PS4’s exclusive titles doesn’t help matters.

the order 1886

The latest thing is that the heavily hyped and long awaited The Order 1886 has turned out to be a very disappointing game, despite a lengthy development cycle.  Again another game in Sony’s supposedly killer line-up that fails to live up to it’s potential.  It joins a growing list of games that have failed to completely wow critics or many gamers and warrant that expensive purchase of a new machine.  Yet despite games like Infamous: Second Son, Kill Zone Shadow Fall and Drive Club not delivering – the PS4 continues to fly off the shelves.


I’m confused.  Since when did tech-specs and NOT games make a machine the biggest and most popular?  Certainly wasn’t the case last generation when the PS3 failed to initially grab people despite technically being superior to the Xbox 360.  It has baffled me this time how brand loyalty or simply good marketing and well, a bit of brainwashing seems to have won over quality entertainment.  I remember owning both the Sega Dreamcast and the Nintendo Gamecube and liking both, with some amazing games on them – but they did not sell, and so quickly they were discontinued by their manufacturers.  This of course isn’t the case for Microsoft’s Xbox One which has done admirably well sales wise despite the PS4’s dominance – but it still means that marketing and brand win over actual quality of games.  Third-party isn’t so bad for Sony’s machine as it usually wins out against the XB for resolution and frame-rate (but not always…) and such has grabbed a lot of media attention and made it look like the console to go for – but now owning both, I find the games on the XB, especially the exclusives like Sunset Overdrive, Titanfall etc. a huge amount of fun.  Microsoft have done a great deal to rectify a difficult start for their new console and I for one applaud their wealth of updates, new features, their excellent games with gold feature and some top notch indie titles.  Yes Sony’s machine has all of these things but often feel limp and lacking compared to how Xbox does things – who just make it all look a lot more attractive.


That then brings me to the consoles themselves.  It’s clear that the touch pad and speaker on the PS4 controller is a gimmick and will get very little use in games, and well, when the speaker does come on, it just doesn’t seem right.  Kind of cool, but a bit annoying.  Also let’s talk about the recording of gameplay features on both consoles.  XB’s Upload Studio is excellent, very easy to use and you can send gameplay to your friends at a click of a button.  Not so on the PS4, with the Share Factory very cumbersome and complicated (but possibly more robust in features) and you can send screenshots to friends – but not gameplay, unless you post it to Facebook or YouTube.  Huh??  Why??

I’ve also mentioned before that the PS4 doesn’t let you attach an external HDD via USB to enlarge your storage capacity (at least as far as storing games on it is concerned – you can back up other media like screenshots or game saves) but the XB allows you to store games on an external HDD – avoiding any awkward tinkering inside the console itself.

So yes it puzzles me just why the PS4 remains so universally loved.  The exclusive games are seriously lacking and the features of the console itself clearly pale in comparison to it’s immediate rival – but hey, its a pretty looking machine, and everyone is talking about it … so that’s all that matters, right?  Sigh.

Destiny impressions

Well I have had a few days with the most hyped game this year, namely Bungie’s much anticipated open world shooter / MMORPG hybrid ‘Destiny’.  Now I won’t review the game as such, as I am still touching the surface, but my experience playing this game has been fairly positive so far.  I think the fact you are always around other players, playing their own missions and if you want you can just join in, or instead go about your own business is fairly revolutionary for a console game.  Yes it has been done before, most notably in Sega’s Phantasy Star Online, which I played briefly   Yet for the most part MMORPGs have been the stalwart of PC gaming … but with this online-focused generation, it’s becoming the norm more and more in many new games … see the forthcoming The Division.


As a game it blends aspects of space RPG Mass Effect, as in your character customization and the hub world of The Tower … but on missions it is more like Halo, with a large influence it seems from Borderlands.  For me the general shooting is excellent.  Upgrading weapons, adding to your character, meeting other players and discovering different locations and enemies makes for a great deal of immersive fun.  I wouldn’t say it’s a game I play for the story – it’s vague at best but I am only just starting with that … I play it for the feel, the gorgeous vistas, the satisfying gunplay and the general slickness of it all.  As with Phantasy Star it feels a little repetitive, basically going on a variety of horde-style encounters, surviving until they’re all dead, or your ‘ghost’ scans something and an exit opens up.  Your ghost is an a.i. companion that generally leads the way and comments during the story-based missions, but also comes in handy for scanning the environments for interesting locations or summoning your hover-bike which is another cool aspect and a welcome mode of transport considering the often immense environments.


Outside of the main game there is also The Crucible, a more traditional multiplayer mode not unlike Halo or Call of Duty but I haven’t played that mode yet.  Probably dip into it later.  I have the Xbox One version of the game and am very impressed with it.  It feels like one of the smoothest games I have played with a rock steady 30fps and a gorgeous 1080p full HD resolution, putting it on pretty-much equal parity with the PS4 version (yes, I’ve read up on that to confirm).  I think anyone who enjoys social-based games or even Halo or decent first person shooters, Destiny is worth a go.  It will only grown in time with Bungie’s ambitious plans for the game, and can see the initial universe expanding to a larger selection of planets … meaning more to explore and more enemies to send back to their makers … most likely at an additional cost.

The game is out on both Xbox One, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 – so what you waiting for?

Watch Dogs fall-out?

Note: this article has now been updated (see below).

So, the most anticipated game of the year is finally out, after a stunning reveal at E3 2012 and following controversy over it’s apparent downgrade in graphics since then … what do we as consumers actually have now it’s available to buy?


A big, at least visually, disappointment.  The game looks last-gen with a few better textures and arguably impressive night time rain / wet road effects … but visually overall it does not impress me.  I don’t currently own the game and am not sure if I will (but I may due to it’s unique gameplay alone) but as a much hyped title, the six month delay and the e3 reveal we are left as consumers with little more than a poor-mans GTA… and stylistically it doesn’t look much different to GTA 5 which was a real show stopper on last gen hardware.  For a game also being released on the PS4 and Xbox One – it is nothing special.  Textures, roads and buildings seem to lack a three dimensional appearance … what, no bump-mapping?  Why does everything look so flat and square?  It’s like a game from the early 2000’s.  That would be forgivable then, but we have come on considerably since.  For me the best looking open-world GTA-clone in recent memory was Mafia II, which looked amazing, especially inside buildings, with very impressive detail and great lighting and shadow effects.

I hope when I finally get hold of the Xbox One version I will see something I am not currently seeing … but for now consider me rather underwhelmed.

Some gameplay of the Xbox One version from You Tuber user ‘optic midnite’ can be seen below.  Now don’t get me wrong, the game looks fun – but after all the hype and the suggestion this was going to be a true ‘next gen’ show-piece, I’m not entirely sold.

On the new consoles and even on PC this doesn’t cut it, and considering what has been achieved I can only presume the more detailed hacking mechanics have prevented the developers really pushing this on a visual basis – like too many things going on in the background?  Either way the fact we have sub-hd resolutions on both the PS4 and Xbox One (worse for the XB1 being at 792p) is baffling if these consoles are meant to be considerably more powerful than hardware that’s now eight years old (PS3 & 360).

(Updated: 31/05/2014):  Well I went and purchased Watch Dogs for my Xbox One and what are my final hands-on impressions?  Much more positive.  I’d go as far to say this is probably the most interesting game I have so far on the XB1 and certainly one of the more unique open-world games I have played.  To touch on the visuals firstly, internet videos, comparisons between PC, XB1 and PS4 do this game no justice.  Its beautiful and very detailed … and goes for a very realistic interpretation of Chicago, with an effective day / night cycle and wonderful weather effects.  The wealth of people in the game are also believably animated, do interesting things to further enhance a living world atmosphere such as once I walked by a couple who the woman was throwing bags over a balcony much to the upset of her disgruntled boyfriend … and another time I passed some street rappers, and another a couple posing for a photograph being taken by another person.  Impressive.  Lighting is first class as is water and shadows and other details like tires on cars you can actually burst by shooting them, or realistic glass shatter as you plough into bus stops with your vehicle.  Some have said this game doesn’t look as good as the PS4 version, but from what I have seen, there is hardly any difference at all, and all the details and effects are intact … so XB1 owners hesitating over the reduced resolution … don’t worry one bit.

The game itself seems a very intriguing techno thriller, such as The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, and immediately grabbed me, all to do with main character Aiden Pierce searching for revenge after an attempted murder goes badly wrong.  It’s a great initial hook to pull the gamer in, and made me really want to unravel all the story had to offer,  The hacking is of course the big draw and it’s so well implemented that it makes the usual sneaking you’d find in games like Splinter Cell and Metal Gear Solid seem refreshing and new, and add to this first rate gunfight / shooting mechanics as well as well done driving and lots of vehicles and weapons to find … this seems the perfect marriage between the old and new to create something truly next-gen … at least in terms of giving the player a new take / spin on tried and tested game play.

I’m still early into this but so far many of my reservations and fears have been quashed.  Although some reviews have said the missions get repetitive, I am still very eager to see and play more … so would say this will be my primary game to play for a while yet.