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Floppie's Blag

Entertainment, technology, and the occasional shenanigans

Diablo III

Posted by Floppie on 2008-06-29
Posted in ReviewsVideo Games  | Tagged With: , , , , | No Comments yet, please leave one

NOTE: If you click on the thumbnails of the screenshots to view the full version, you may need to refresh it a few times before it displays correctly. They’re linked directly to their positions on Blizzard’s screenshot gallery, which it seems is a bit buggy.

Diablo IIISo, a couple days ago (June 26 – Thursday), Blizzard Entertainment released the Diablo III website. Yes, this is a couple days late – deal with it. On the site is a couple teasers – one cinematic trailer and one gameplay demo. The cinematic trailer was pretty cool – gave a little preview of the new storyline, which looks like it’ll keep up with Blizzard’s high standards. But the gameplay demo – holy shit. That was awesome. Oh yeah, and there was an artwork trailer, but I haven’t watched it. Anyway, about that gameplay demo ;)

First off, he’s playing a Barbarian – and the dungeon he’s in is a standard Diablo-series dungeon; running on platforms above deep pits. And as soon as he enters the dungeon and starts walking in a bit, he starts getting mobbed by ghouls.Diablo III screenshot Only, rather than just spawning out of nowhere and running on from off-screen, these ghouls actually climb up the walls of the seemingly-bottomless pit below him. And, when killed, some of them will actually fall off rather than being blocked by some invisible wall around the hole.

So he goes further in, demonstrating more abilities (including good old Whirlwind) and mechanics, such as the newer and more interesting trapped chests – with this one, he tried to open the chest, and it and the platform it was on just sank into the ground, revealing four monsters. When he kills them, however, the chest rises back up and reveals its phat lewtz.

Diablo III screenshotAt one point, he gets to a platform crawling with zombies, and says “man, there has to be a better way then killing them all individually” – then he knocks down a wall. All over the zombies. And they die. It was fucking awesome.

Then he runs into some “prisoners” in the dungeon – Deckard Cain and his two guards. Cain cracks a humorous reference when he starts talking about all the books in the library he’s trapped in, following it with “Stay a while and –” when the player interrupts, saying how there’s no time and they need to hurry. Cain retorts with “Nobody ever listens”. Then the developer demonstrates another new mechanic – he makes Cain’s two guards into allies, basically pets or mercenaries, that follow the player around, fighting for him.

Diablo III screenshotHe gets further in, and demonstrates a new “shield” mechanic. Shields are tough to break through – basically they have health of their own that you just can’t see, and you need to break them before you can damage the mob; however, there are abilities that can cause the mob to drop its shield. Then he kills a really cool boss (which was summoned by some cultist ritual or something), demonstrating a bit more in the way of new abilities and equipment, and that’s the end of the dungeon. He leaves the dungeon with Cain in tow.

Diablo III screenshotNow he switches to a new class – the Witch Doctor. The Witch Doctor is like a shaman – it can summon pets, disease its foes, control fire, etc. The first thing demonstrated is a “Locust Swarm” – sort of like a viral chain attack, like chain lightning only cooler. Then he summons “mongrels” – which basically look like demonic dogs – and (here’s the cool part) he uses that same Locust Swarm ability to buff the mongrels. He also demonstrates that he can turn the mongrels into bombs, which basically looks like the Necromancer’s Corpse Explosion from Diablo II.

He also demonstrates fear and confusion abilities – fear obviously makes your enemies run away, and confusion turns them against one another.Diablo III screenshot Then he summons a wall of zombies. Completely awesome.

Next, he falls into a “trap” and is joined by the female versions of the Barbarian and Witch Doctor classes – he mentions that groups like this will be easy to form over Battle.net, but it’s hard to say what actually went on. It honestly looked like a Dungeon Siege-esque setup where you can control any one member of a single-player party at a time. But that’s just my observation – definitely don’t take it as truth (or fiction for that matter).

And finally, he says “let’s see what a real battle looks like” – and does the good old Blizzard-style epic battle finale to end the gameplay demo, just like in the Starcraft II trailers.Diablo III screenshot He kills a small squadron of treants, then brings down a huge demonic boss – the “Siegebreaker Assault Beast”, a “Living Siege Engine of Hell”. Upon being killed, it has a sweet death animation – it turns to stone, which then catches fire and spews out a bunch of fireballs, which turn into swarms of skeletons when they hit the ground.

So all in all, if you like the Diablo series, definitely check out these trailers at the very least. If you enjoyed D2, you’ll enjoy these. Here are the links again for good measure – movies and screenshots.

Zero PunctuationThis is just a small post to inform my readers (small, crazy bunch that you are) of Zero Punctuation Game Reviews, for those who haven’t seen any of them yet. I’m not going to link all the ones that are already out there, but he releases a new one every Wednesday and I’m going to make a habit out of linking all of them.

For now, here are some of my favorites: Guitar Hero III, Assassin’s Creed, and The Orange Box. This week’s new one is Metal Gear Solid 4. Check it out, maybe even digg it ;)

The Incredible Hulk

Posted by Floppie on 2008-06-25
Posted in Movies  | Tagged With: , , , , , | 1 Comment

WARNING: Spoilers ahead – read at your own risk.

Well, I finally went and saw it today. Damn good movie – seeing Edward Norton turn green and start flipping shit was definitely cool. Also, seeing Liv Tyler in a movie where she didn’t play a quasi-immortal elf was cool, although admittedly a bit weird. But anyway, onto the plot.

The Incredible HulkTo start out, remember the back story. The main character, Bruce Banner (Edward Norton), is in his…situation…because he was working in a science lab, researching practical applications for gamma radiation poisoning. Little does he know, however, that his superiors are working for the US military, trying to turn it into a weapon. Finally, he does an experiment on himself, which gets him his Hulk power.

Anyway, as the movie begins, Bruce Banner is living in Brazil, learning Portugese, doing basic work in a factory that bottles guarana soda, and taking martial arts to try to help control his anger. It is noted that it has been 157 (I believe, don’t quote me on the number) days since his last “incident”, which of course is him losing control and going green. However, there’s an accident at the factory that causes a drop of his blood to spill into one of the bottles. He thought he cleaned it up, but he was mistaken.

This bottle makes its way to an elderly gentleman somewhere in the US; upon drinking it, the man gets gamma radiation poisoning from the blood. The report reaches General Ross (William Hurt), who naturally knows exactly what happened, and promptly orders a report on where the soda was bottled. They move in, with the intention of quietly tranquilizing Bruce and hauling him away. That, of course, does not happen. A fight ensues, Bruce goes Hulk mode, and the only survivor on the army side is a special agent named Emil Blonsky (Tim Roth).

Blonsky gets the information about Bruce out of the General, and ends up getting him to agree to hook him up with a more refined version of the gamma experiment that was done on Bruce. Meanwhile, Bruce makes his way up to the States, seeking out a so-called “Mr. Blue”, a cellular biologist who has some theories on how to help Bruce (under the alias “Mr. Green”). Mr. Blue, however, needs more information in order to help Bruce – how much radiation he got, etc. Bruce does not have this, and cannot find it when he hacks into Betty Ross’s (Liv Tyler) computer back in the lab. However, once he and Betty meet up (something he was trying to avoid, ironically), she gives him a flash drive with the information on it.

At some point, a fight breaks out in some park in whatever city they’re in. Bruce was preparing to leave to go to Mr. Blue in NYC, by bus, but as he says goodbye to Betty, the army shows up. In the middle of the park. It didn’t really make sense. Anyway, Blonsky is basically a super soldier at this point – he’s much stronger than the others, runs faster, etc. By the end, though, all his bones are crushed by Bruce in Hulk mode – basically turned them to gravel, in the words of the doctor. Afterward, Bruce protects Betty from getting hit by a falling helicopter, and carries her away to a cave in the rain, where she helps calm him down.

So they’re on the run. The General knows about the whole Mr. Blue/Mr. Green thing, so he sets up SHIELD to scan for those two aliases in all E-mails sent throughout the country. Naturally, Bruce sends him the data he got from Betty, and SHIELD catches it. They find out who this “Mr. Blue” really is – and where to find him. So the race is on.

And it’s not a very interesting one. Bruce and Betty just…get there first, and Mr. Blue (Dr. Samuel Sterns, played by Tim Blake Nelson) helps them out. He rigs up a dialysis machine to administer Bruce the antidote directly through his kidneys, during a transformation that is induced by an electric shock to the temples. The transformation almost loses control, though, until Betty again calms the Hulk mode Bruce down – a trick only she seems to possess. Sterns is eager to note, though, that there’s no way of knowing if the cure is temporary, permanent, partial, complete, or even successful at all.

However, once Blonsky recovers (remarkably fast – remarkable period in fact), they give him some more juice. He was already a super soldier, and now they’ve made him more powerful. What a great idea. Anyway, the General’s men storm the building, including Blonsky, who disobeys a direct order to stand down and let them get Bruce without a fight. After they cuff Bruce and begin to take Betty (who disowns her father, the General) away in a helicopter, Blonsky forces Sterns to give him some of Bruce’s blood – not that Sterns can resist the desire to see what happens anyway.

And now the big fight ensues. Good Hulk versus evil hulk. Blonsky comes out of the gate speaking English in Hulk form – something Bruce cannot do – but he’s still clearly turned insane by the rage and pure power. He starts blowing shit up (literally) on the streets of New York City, and the General’s chopper has to turn around to deal with it. Bruce volunteers to take care of it, insisting that it has to be him, despite the fact that he was cured. Bruce, however, is not convinced that he is cured, and jumps out of the helicopter after a romantic moment with Betty.

He falls for a few seconds before trying to transform, then goes “oh, shit” and falls to the ground, leaving a pretty respectable crater. Betty starts to cry, until the big green Hulk fist punches out of the ground. Alright, so now the big fight ensues. Blonsky has the upper hand, returning Bruce’s blows without too much trouble. Bruce gets some good shots in, but is ultimately weaker – maybe it’s because he had the cure administered, maybe it’s because Blonsky had the refined serum in addition to the Hulk juice, who knows?

However, once Betty is in danger, Bruce learns some new tricks. The General’s helicopter goes down on top of a building, and after some more traded blows, Blonsky gets Bruce up against a wall by the throat, digging his sharp, protruding elbow bone into Bruce’s chest, when Bruce snaps the bone off and stabs Blonsky in the head with it. Then, the fuel spill naturally catches and goes up in flames. Bruce does the classic Hulk clap trick, with the sonic shock creating enough wind to douse the fire.

Blonsky finds a pair of concrete blocks on the ends of a heavy chain (what this could possibly be on top of a building for I have no idea) and starts using it as one hell of a weapon against Bruce. Bruce, however, devises his Hulk smash trick (and says it, yay Hulk English~) on the spot and promptly uses it. The chains fly up in the air and Bruce gets them, ultimately getting them around Blonsky’s neck, choking him nearly to death before Betty screams for him to stop. Bruce proceeds to kick the unconscious Blonsky to the General’s feet.

Afterward, in the near future – presumably only a few days or a week or something, Bruce is down in British Colombia, doing his solitude and meditation thing. At the end, however, his eyes are green as though he’s just started a transformation, probably controlled.

And, in the final scene, the General is sitting in a bar pounding down shots of some drink, when Tony Stark of Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.) walks in and mentions something that, just like in the post-credit scene in Iron Man, suggests something about some sort of an elite team of fighters. At the end of Iron Man, this was done by Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson, yeah I know, awesome) coming to Stark’s home and mentioning the “Avenger Initiative”. And that’s all we know for now.