Game On


I picked up Primal by SCE Studio Cambridge at the weekend after trading in a shed load of unwanted titles. It was a bit of a punt, really, as although I’ve been looking forward to the game since I seen some preview code a year ago, it has had fairly restrained review scores on the net.

Fortunately it’s turned out to be pretty damn cool – not that I’ve played more than ten minutes or so – Fliss played most of the five hours plus it took to complete the first level on Saturday night and I have to say I’m impressed by the quality of the graphics and the character interaction.

The levels are simply enormous, and although you are taking a pretty linear path through them sometimes, they are still big enough to give you a good sense of being lost in a very well crafted world.

A couple of niggles would be with the camera and the combat system. Firstly, the camera is very jerky, especially when you run up a set of stairs… not sure why that couldn’t be smoothed as it does take a bit of polish off of the sublime environments. With the combat system it just doesn’t feel like you have much control over Jen and most enemies can be beaten by just tapping away and hoping for the best.

After battling through the first level, we’re on to the second realm – the water world of Aquis, where the graphical quality betters the gothic ruins of the opening level. The scenery is simply stunning at times, and I think you’d be hard pressed to find a better looking or sounding title of a similar genre on any of the current consoles.

At this early stage in the game, despite the aforementioned niggles, I would really recommend it to anyone who likes a good adventure game – especially if you appreciate attention to detail of a high quality.

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Comedy Value

Fliss and I went to the Rawhide comedy club this past week down at the Albert Dock in Liverpool. It made for quite an entertaining evening, and although the quality of the comedians was a bit hit and miss, the host, Chris Cairns, was a pretty funny guy.

Well worth checking out if you’re in the vicinity, except if there’s a scouse guy called “Nige” on the bill you’d be advised to leave before his set. He’s just not very funny at all – not even worth the price of the free tickets we had…

On Wednesday we went to see the Circus in Sefton park. I was a little apprehensive, because… well, you know – my enduring image of a typical circus is one I went to see over 20 years ago in Dunbarton back in Scotland. Flea bitten lions and crappy clowns a go-go, kind of thing.

The circus of the 21st century turns out to feature nada in the way of flea bitten members of the feline family. Oh no – it has insane dudes doing insane stuff, not to mention hot chicks doing crazy things with hula hoops!

Even the low key clown-esque guy was pretty amusing, although the show stopper had to be a motorbike on a high wire with an acrobatic chick doing stuff on a harness below it. Very cool.

Didn’t think I’d be saying this, but the circus was actually more fun than the comedy club of the night before. =o)

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Why is it that dead bodies are always found by a passer by with a dog?

Fliss posed this question this afternoon. It’s a reflection on her level of curiosity that she was asking a question loaded with comedy value without actually trying to be funny.

I’ve had a think about it and it is an interesting thing to ponder.

Do hard core dog walkers all over the world now say “okay, Rover – lets go find a corpse!” rather than the Barbra Woodhouse 80’s favourite “Walkies!”?

For your average domestic canine with a fading hunter/killer instinct it’s probably a bit of a shock to discover a shallow grave when you were just having a curious sniff. I mean, there you are – taking in the scents of any number of fellow dogs who may have padded the same route over the last few days. Then wham! it hits you in the nostrils like a well swung spade.

“Wuph me… I smell dead human…”

For the dog owner it means a thirty second tv interview where they try to hide the relief that the corpse isn’t anyone they know. But for Rover, it’s like being a war veteran.

You weren’t there, man, you couldn’t smell the death, man.

But Rover is the one forgotten as policemen in white rompa-suits come and go from murder scene tents in the background. Sure, when you sniff out a kid down a well or discover a hidden drugs haul, you’re the dog with your name on the cover of the local news paper. You’re the dog who gets the community award of a nice new collar or basket – and just maybe you’re made an honourary police dog by the local constabulary.

But sniff out a dead body and you get none of that shit. You just make everybody around you sombre and miserable until the mental scars teach you not to goddam dare sniff that recently disturbed earth by the side of the path on any walk you’ll ever have again.

So dog owners, next time you’re out for a walk with your canine companion take a moment to think about it… would the isolated route you frequent be an ideal place to hide the evidence of an horrific crime?

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