Sunday, February 28, 2010

Heavy Rain

You've probably all heard the hype surrounding Heavy Rain. That it has the best graphics in the history of everything, ever. That it revolutionizes storytelling in games. Perhaps you've even heard that it isn't even a game.

If you've any of this then you've heard correctly. Well, mostly correctly. Heavy Rain is amazing in many ways and not so amazing in other ways. It's a game that you will either love or hate, there is very little room for like.

Let's address the hype one at a time, shall we? And I'll make it as spoiler-free as possible.

shot 2

Graphically, Heavy Rain is beautiful, for the most part. The main characters are as lifelike as anything I've ever seen. You could count the individual hairs on their heads if you had the time. I don't think graphics can get any better on consoles this generation. But I must stress that this is for the main characters only. The ancillary players look good, but not anywhere near as good as the main cast. And as good as the characters look, they animate very poorly in some spots, especially the hands. Objects are also animated poorly, paper and clothing is stiff like it's been starched when being manipulated by the characters. That's not to say that all the animation is bad, the important moments look as good as they need too.

The story of Heavy Rain is like a 2 or 3 star action-thriller movie. The plot revolves around a man trying to find his son before he is killed by the Origami Killer. You follow multiple characters, but they are all essentially doing the same thing. Ethan Mars is the father of the kidnapped boy, Norman Jayden is an FBI agent working the Origami Killer case, Scott Shelby is a PI hired by the families of the Origami Killer's previous victims, and Madison Paige is a journalist that gets sucked into the whole mess. The story could be a 3 or 4 star movie if the Madison character was changed or removed all together. The way she gets involved in the story is so contrived it's sickening.

This game earns it's M rating with violence, language, and nudity. But even if there were no bad language and no nudity and could have been rated T, I would suggest an M rating anyway. This is an adult story and some of the choices you make will shake your nerves and not in the 'zombie-dog-jumping-through-a-window' kind of way. And they aren't 'say-something-nice-or-say-something-mean' choices as encountered in Mass Effect. They are real choices that effect the outcome of the story and have devastating consequences on the characters.

The story-telling in Heavy Rain is revolutionary, if only because it's about something other than shooting bad guys or finding the princess. The characters have depth, real depth. You can understand why Ethan would do anything to save his son. You can feel how badly Agent Jayden wants to catch the Origami Killer. You get that working the same case for years has taken a toll on Shelby. They aren't just random space marines on a suicide mission to save the universe. Well, Madison is, but you can't have it all.

The great thing about the story in Heavy Rain is that it ebbs and flows with your decisions. You actions have real consequences and anyone and everyone can die. And if they do, the game compensates and keeps on going. There is no 'good' or 'bad' ending, just different endings. If you want two characters to get romantic you can, even if it makes no sense that, with hours left to save a child's life, people would be having sex. It's your call.

Not that I've played through and made every possible choice. That would be a monumental task since choices build on each other and once you've finished the game there is little motivation to play again. The story is tied up so tight at the end that there is nothing left to discover. The best movies always leave you with questions when they're over, it's why The Matrix is so great and it's sequels are so boring, they try to explain everything. Heavy Rain wants you to know everything, which is fine but it could have been so much more than it is.

shot 1

As for what it is, Heavy Rain is basically an interactive movie. Such a thing has been promised before, but it really is the best description I can give. Instead of the usual left stick moves you and right stick controls your view, the camera is fixed and moves with you. Sometimes it offers multiple angles on the screen at once to simulate a movie. Unlike every other game created in the last 20 years, you hold a button in order to move. It's awkward, but works well enough the majority of the time. You don't have direct control over a character when the action picks up anyway. Critical action scenes are elongated QTE's so if you hate those you will hate this game. You have no direct control over the character, but instead must perform the action show on screen, be it a button press or shaking the sixaxis controller to simulate struggling against a foe.

Between action scenes, you can interact with the environment and hear the thoughts bouncing around in the character's head's. While calm you can easily see the choices, but when nervous or scared the choices for thoughts and actions bounce around erratically making it hard to find exactly what you want to do. It's a simple and very effective way to simulate actually being frightened. But don't take too long to pinpoint what you want to do or the game will make a decision for you.

Heavy Rain is a game that either lives up to it's hype or it doesn't, it's all in the eye of the beholder. I suspect that 'hardcore' gamers will dislike the lack of traditional gameplay, but what the hell do they know? Not much, because Heavy Rain is one of the best stories on consoles today.

9.7 out of 10
Good stuff
Beautiful graphics
Characters with character
Bad stuff
Objects animated in 1999
Madison Paige
Why?! stuff
Holding a button to move

Thursday, February 25, 2010


Thursday. Not much else to say. Enjoy.

Animal Crackers 2/25/10
animal crackers
I'm at a loss. What is that supposed to be around his neck?

Frog Applause 2/25/10
frog applause
I can spout random stupidity too, only I don't get any money or recognition for it.

Is my contempt for Frog Applause obvious enough?

Gil Thorp 2/25/10
gil thorp
Look, if the guy's perfectly happy being the janitor at his former high school then I don't see a problem. Maybe there was a really mean bully at State and poor little Steve got picked on. Besides, as a high school janitor he's got his pick of jailbait ass.

For my next trick I'm only going to give you the bolded text from the strip(you can see the strip by clicking the link. Can you guess which one it is? More importantly, think about the bolded words. Are they appropriate? Does it make sense that they are bolded? Keep in mind that bold is supposed to denote emphasis, much like italics.

Yeah...Used...Brothers. Green Purist...Figured out...Pure...Impotent. Argued?

*Random Bolding Syndrome

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

The Struggle of Man Against His Dark Nature

I return! After many days of laziness and computer failure there shall be a new wave of content at BOCAOS. Many comics posts will be the main component of this content, but TV and movie reviews are also in the works. And as soon as I can figure out what I want to say about Mass Effect 2 I'll write a review. Also, Heavy Rain is out today so a review should be expected this weekend. Also due today is the third piece of DLC for Borderlands so I'll write that up when I get around to it.

Also, wheels are in motion at DCR. Secret wheels. Oh, and they want a writer for Monday and Tuesday so feel free to go there and check it out. There's a link in the sidebar.

Also also, if you want to comment on something older than a week you'll find moderation because I'm being flooded with spam. (well not flooded, but quite a bit and for some reason exclusively on older posts)

2 Cows and a Chicken 2/23/10
2 cows and a chicken
The actual punchline is pretty lame, but the nonsensical phrases "Are pine trees edible?" and "I'm cravin' a pine tree!" are pretty damn great.

Daddy's Home 2/22/10
daddy's home 2-22
I'm not a slave to Apple so I haven't been following coverage of the iPad very closely, but from what I have heard it's basically a giant iPhone that doesn't make calls. Whoopie.

Also, anyone that follows a company, a fucking corporation, blindly is the dumbest kind of person. I know that you think Apple is different and that they're not like other companies. The truth is that Apple wants to make money. They do that by producing things you want. Only problem is that now they have started producing things and then telling you that you want it. I think they chose the name iPad just to see how stupid people really are.

Frank & Ernest 2/23/10
frank & ernest
I just hope that that tree falls on them both and finally ends it.

Frog Applause 2/23/10
frog applause
What the hell is this? Does anyone actually enjoy this? It's not funny, it's not smart, what the hell is the point of it?

This reminds me of 'modern art' where someone shits in a jar and calls it 'the struggle of man against his dark nature.'

No, it's not the struggle of man against his dark nature, it's shit in a jar.

Ink Pen 2/23/10
ink pen
The problem with doing references is that you inherently limit your audience. I have no idea what Glen Close has to do with rabbits. I'm assuming that she did a movie involving the subject and I could look it up, but if I need to look it up then it becomes just a useless piece of knowledge and not a joke and all I wanted was a joke.

Seriously, I have so many pieces of useless knowledge in my head that I think any more will do serious harm.

Love is... 2/23/10
love is...
So love is when you trick your boyfriend/husband/only other human living in the Garden of Eden into condemning an entire religion (or everyone ever if you happen to believe in said religion) to eternal damnation even if they're only just born and can't have possibly committed a crime against anyone?

That's a pretty fucked up version of love.

Pluggers 2/23/10
In fact, they aren't even SUV's, they're trucks with toppers on them.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

The End of Ziggy is being dumb and only sending me 3 comics in the email that should have around 30 so you have to deal with the logo.

Pickles 2/9/10
Pickles is quickly becoming my favorite strip. If it can give me a few more sentences that twisted up it'll be at the top of the list.

And why did he hit the ball so hard? The glass is right there, a light tap should do it. Just taaaap it in. Tap, tap, tap-a-roo.

Ziggy 2/9/10
It could get very ugly indeed as the computer would need to have consciousness to have a psychosomatic anything. It's obviously a pretty smart self-aware computer because it designed it's own virus. Hopefully this means that the Ziggy universe will be collapsing under the weight of a machine ware very soon.

That would make an awesome strip. Or at least better than what Ziggy does now.

Monday, February 8, 2010


You get zero guesses where I got these comics from.

Brenda Starr 2/8/10brend starr
Twitter must have jumped the shark pretty hard because it seems like it's popping up in comic strips all the time these days and it's being depicted more and more accurately.

Also, 'tweeting twerp' is actually sort of clever. It's not great, but it's not horrible either.

Rabbits Against Magic 2/8/10
rabbits against magic
Some newer diseases do seem made up by drug companies and doctors but they are usually real.
Restless Leg Syndrome is a real problem, just not for as many people as are currently diagnosed with it. The problem is that companies advertise their drugs that cure 'syndrome Q' on TV and gullible people see the ads and then 'discover' that they have had this disorder all their life and they never knew about it. Then they go to their doctor and demand the medication and since the doctor has heard the same stupid thing 10 times already that day just prescribes the medication after the patient tells them that they have all the symptoms of 'syndrome Q'.

It's the same with things like webMD. People go on there and type in some symptoms and decide that they have African Sleeping Sickness and go to their doctor and the doctor has to waste time telling the person that they can't possibly have African Sleeping Sickness for a number of reasons.

The moral of the lesson is that part of the reason that the US health system is so screwed up is because people are wasting doctor time to get checked for illnesses they couldn't get unless they tried really hard. I wouldn't doubt that at least 10 morons went to the doctor last year because they thought they had polio.

Also, 'SMECK!' is a pretty sweet sound effect.

B.C. 2/8/10
Man's finest ego is not ice fishing. It's breathing and feeding tubes and all the other medical wonders that can keep dead people alive.

Although they might not remember those things in the future-past that is the setting for B.C.

Also, that's not how you would want to do that. Plus that ice would weigh quite a bit and I'm pretty sure that he's not that strong.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Not Today

I was going to do a post today, but I am just too angry to type.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Short and to the Point

Today is Tuesday and that means you can see the comic I made for Carafe. I think it might be the funniest thing on the Internet ever.*

*This is a lie.

Frazz 2/2/10

Hahahaha, some holidays are silly and made up. I can't imagine why they didn't make fun of Thanksgiving, Christmas (the one with Santa, I'm not trying to belittle Christians), Easter (the rabbit version), Columbus Day, President's Day, or Labor Day.

The fact is that every holiday started off with some crazy person doing something no one else had done before. And just about every holiday is based on some weird belief or tradition. I mean honestly, a fat man with magic reindeer coming down your chimney? A rabbit that lays eggs?

You can't make fun of Groundhog Day and Valentine's Day if you're not going to make fun of all the other silly holidays.

Brevity 2/2/10
Is that a phobia that people have? I know that people can get sick from circular motion, but I've never heard of anyone being afraid just because.

At any rate, it's still not really very funny. If she was afraid of circular motion, why would she willingly go on a ferris wheel? Maybe it's part of her treatment, but if it is then it's still not funny.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Unsolved Mystery

Frazz 2/1/10
Every time the teacher asks if there are any more questions that annoying black kid asks a completely retarded question. Is that supposed to be funny? Because I don't find it to be anywhere near funny.

Farcus 2/1/10
But who's talking?! We finally have an answer to this question of the ages and we can't tell which one conceded!? Why? Why? Wwwhhhhyyyyyyy?!! My life will never be complete until the mystery is solved and Farcus just brought me as close as ever to solving it before slapping me in the face.

Moderately Confused 2/1/10
moderately confused
Is this a joke about US presidents being white or that the current president is black? Either way it seems like it might be racist.