Dear reader,I have decided to move the contents of this blog to a new address :– http://armoredphoenix.blogspot.in. This relocation was driven solely by necessity. I sincerely hope this doesn’t cause you any inconvenience.
As everyone knows,the last entry of the Mass Effect Franchise,Mass Effect 3 was released back in march.While the ending was incomplete and after a lot of protest & campaign Bioware released the Extended cut free dlc which did fill some plotholes of the original ending.Though it was far from perfect,it did give some sort of closure to the franchise.Nearly a month later,looking back at the journey of the 3 games brings some great revelations to me.
The first game,Mass effect,released in 2008 for pc was more on the rpg side.The cover mechanism was a bit unpolished and the inventory system could’ve been a lot better but the rest of the things introduced in the game was so much mind blowing and ahead of it’s time.The Galaxy,the mass relays,the various races,intergalactic counsil,everything was so detailed it felt a truly realized universe with vast lore & culture.I still remember my first visit to the citadel.Unforgettable.The intergalactic species-Turians,Batarians,Krogans,Salarians each had their distinct characteristics that all made sense.Just like the Humans evolved from the apes,the Turians is a species evolved from the birds,Salarians evolved from amphibians and Krogans evolved from lizard.It all made sense.For the first time in gaming,ME was a franchise that was comparable to major other series like Star Wars & Lord of the Rings in it’s scope & originality. The story was regarded as one of the,if not the greatest stories ever told in gaming.The characters-Tali,Garrus,Liara,Wrex was truly believable & had their own personalities.They weren’t just any average squadmates with conversational abilities,they were fully realized beings.I consider the supremely crafted characters in the ME franchise to be one of the milestones in gaming.
The story of the trilogy was unlike any other in gaming,period.The storyline involving the destiny of the galaxy with all organic & synthetic lifeforms,the sentient machine race known as the Reapers,the galactic lifecycles,the extinct race called Protheans & their technology is something that sits atop the gaming hall of fame.In Mass Effect 2,back in 2010,Bioware stripped down the rpg elements a bit too much & it was more of a cover based third person shooter with rpg elements cleverly intertwined.But it was also a title which contained none of the weaknesses and all the strengths of it’s predessessor manifold.ME2 is rightfully regarded one of the greatest game ever made(IGN named it no1 in their list of greatest games of all time).ME2 was more of a character centric game than ME and what a terrific bunch of charcters it brought.Mordin Solus ,in my opinion is the greatest character introduced in the history of gaming.His character devolopment through ME2 & ME3 is something that is previously unseen in gaming.
ME3 was the culmination of the trilogy which tied all the knots of the previous 2 games.ME3 brought back some of the rpg elements from the first game including weapon customization & some more skill trees.The cover & shooting mechanism was improved from ME2.While it was a bit linear than ME2,it contained some of the greatest narrative missions and moments in the history of gaming.The Genophage mission in Tuchanka in my opinion,is one of the finest written narratives in gaming.Shephard & Garrus’ shooting bottles in the top of the presidium is one of my fondest memories in gaming.Makes me smile every time I play it,it made me realize how far gaming has come.Not in terms of producing more polygons or realistic physics,it all all about the thing called narrative. When a game conveys some emotions in the player,it elevates in level of Art.How many games in the market makes you feel that way?While ME3 had it’s faults and missteps,it is undoubtedly one of the best games of 2012.
Games can be a form of art–perhaps no other game can signify this like the ME trilogy.Never before has player choice been so important in gaming.The narrative of a game can be as moving as anything like a movie or a book.ME series sums up the entire 7th generation of gaming to me.Just looking at all the enraged reaction about the ending of ME3 shows how much impact the series has on the gaming population.If I don’t like how the story of a game ends up,I don’t & I move on.It was’nt the case with ME.This trilogy & it’s characters have struck such a chord with gamers all over,it was not only Bioware’s creation,it was the gamer’s own sci-fi adventure,the one they created with their own choices & consequences over 5 years.It’s totally shows how revered this series is.
The ME trilogy is a triumph of gaming overall—it shows a game can deliver a narrative that is unmatched by all the other forms of entertainment in scale & interaction.It will always continue to be a legacy of gaming advancement–not just in terms of technicality but in terms of one of the basic elements that is called storytelling.Mass Effect trilogy is truly the Star Wars of gaming.I have high hopes for whatever Bioware cooks up next in the Mass Effect universe,the bar has never been higher.
AMD will be releasing it’s 7 series of graphics cards on Dec 22.What’s so special about it?NVIDIA & AMD releases their new lineups around every year.Well for starters,if the recently leaked slide obtained from OBR hardware is to be believed,the latest card from AMD is not just an upgrade like the previous 6970,it’s more like a generational differerence between it’s previous bretherens.It seems to boast some previously unheard features & specificifications available in a Graphics card.
It seem to house a massive 384 bits of memory bandwidth coupled with full 3GB of GDDR5 memory.Not to mention 925MHZ clock speed,32 ROP’s,128 texture unit & a whooping 2048 stream processors.Now that’s some serious firepower.AMD currently claims the raw power of 7970 is a total 3.5 teraflops,enough to put older super computers to shame.This baby sure can pack a punch.3.5 TFlops,that’s just unbelievable.
But here’s the best part:It is the first chip to be manufactured in the newest 28nm fabrication process.It allows the card to feature a record 4.31 billion transistors(wait while I pick my jaws up from the floor.They just dropped).It also means much lower heat dissipation & lower power consumption.AMD claims the card will be under 300watt in full load and & an incredible < 3w in idle mode.All made possible by it’s 28nm fabrication process.
While I personally think that this beast will smoke the GTX590 superclocked & 6990,but by how much?It’s the main question.While NVIDIA will also release it’s next gen line of GPU’s,meanwhile AMD gets the early bird’s advantage & to gain share in the DX11.1 region.AMD is really trying to retain the performance crown which it lost to the ‘Fermi’GTX 580.All this horsepower is more than enough to run titles like BF3 & Crysis on 2560*1600 with all the settings to the max.
Looks like a new king of the ring is coming.Can’t wait to see the benchmarks.What do you folks think about all this?Sound off in the comment section below.
Christopher Nolan is arguably one of the greatest director of this generation.Memento,Inception,the Prestige are evidence enough.The Batman movie franchise was left dead in the water before Nolan rebooted it with the brilliant Batman Begins.It was the first movie which really captured the true essence of this iconic character.With an unmistakable cast of Christian Bale(best Batman & Bruce Wayne ever),Sir Michael Caine,Morgan Freeman,Gary Oldman,Nolan created the definitive Batman film.Gotham City felt like a living,breathing Metropolis & it realistically explained every tiny detail of Batman like the gliding mechanism on his cape,the Batcave,how he got his Batmobile & other gadgets.It all made sense.It became as real as it can be.Nolan shifted the Batman saga from the world of comics to the real world.
But it was just the begining.Along came The Dark Knight in 2008 & changed everything.It won 2 academy awards,became the 4th movie to gross over 1 billion & earned universal acclaim.It is called one of the greatest movies ever made & one of the best movies of the decade.(Currently #9 on IMDB top 250 so don’t bother arguing).But it did much more than that.It changed the way we looked at comics to film adaptations.TDK is a high watermark in every possible way.In a famous moment in the movie,Commissioner Gordon said about Batman–“He’s the hero Gotham deserves,but not the one it needs right now”,as true as that was,TDK was THE movie this iconic character deserved.TDK also boasts the unforgettable,menacing performance of the late,great Heath Ledger(R.I.P).As great as Jack Nicholson was in this role back in 1991,Ledger was THE Joker.”I am an agent of chaos”-Ledger captured the true essence of this iconic villain in one of the rawest,finest performance seen in a very long time.
After watching this epic movie for the first time,I thought-“Man,how can they ever top this?”Many thought Chris Nolan was done making Batman movies after this when he began work on Inception.But here’s where it gets interesting.After release of Inception,Nolan confirmed The third & final chapter is in the works & the title will be ‘The Dark Knight rises’.Nearly an year after,as of the writing of this article,the production of the film has been completed.Only the editing process remains & the movie will hit the theaters in July 20,2012.Several trailers have already hit the internet & they all hint at several huge changes in the setting & characters.Most notably the trailers claim this film as the end of the line for Batman.Now in all probability,Nolan will not kill Batman in the movie,that’s not gonna happen.It remains a bit mysterious at the moment.
In case you’re wondering,The Big guy is called Bane,a fearsome villain who relies on his awesome physical ability & equally capable intellect to wreak chaos.The cowl/mask of Batman lies broken,probably the result of a brutal 1on1 fight which is also hinted on the trailers.Bane,who uses a mysterious drug called Venom to enhance his strength to inhuman level, made his debut on the acclaimed Knightfall story arc which continued through 3 comics in which through a calculated series of events,Bane beat a weakened Batman to a bloody mess and broke his back in a unforgettable moment in DC comics history.Take a look– TDKR takes place after 8 years from the aftermath of TDK.After taking the blame for the crimes commited by Harvey Dent,Batman is viewed as a criminal & vigilante to the people of Gotham City.Bruce Wanyne hangs his costume & retires permanently after TDK.As a result,he becomes a bitter man frozen in time when crime & corruption climbs higher than ever in Gotham and a whole new villain(Bane) emerges.This is the premise of TDKR.
The most important fact is TDKR is the last Batman film in Nolan era & will also be the most challenging movie for Nolan in the sense that it has some really big shoes to fill.Rises is the most anticipated film of 2012 without a question.This is the movie where the expectations are so high that hasn’t been seen in Hollywood since a very long time.It’s the successor to the peerless Dark Knight & promises to deliver an ending to the trilogy.The movie doesn’t need to be just great,it needs to be something that’ll go down the history & remembered and talked by people for decades like The Star Wars saga,Lord of the rings for example.Delivering an epilogue to the Batman story arc which is both satisfying & true to the spirit of the character is easier said than done.
Batman is arguably the greatest comic book character.One who is as real as any human can get.Why,you ask?Because besides striking terror in the hearts of criminals,deep down Bruce Wayne is a flawed character tormented by raging inner demons and who holds himself responsible for the death of his parents & his love interest in TDK,Rachel Dawes.On the surface,he is a millionaire playboy & head of Wayne enterprises,one who spends his time dating gorgeous supermodels and living a luxurious life.But as very few knows,it’s all a big disguise for the people of Gotham and villains so no one can connect the dots between him & the caped crusader.Under it all,he is just as lost as anybody else.He is torn between being a legend & finding his own personal happiness.His only family is his trusty old butler Alfred(played by Sir Michael Caine).There is no Bruce Wayne,his only existence is in Batman where he channels his rage & anger to make the world a better,safer place.Bruce Wayne lives in pain & Batman completes him.
These vulnerabilities are what makes Batman so endearing.Because what possible engagement is there in a totally competent,totally fearless & totally righteous character?Human frailty is what makes us feel something for other human beings,weather in fiction or reality.All the best superhero stories are about the failings & flaws in their character,the things that make them not super heroic,but human.This is what I personally like about these icons.Anything they achieve comes at a cost,how they respond to that cost is what makes them heroes.
Delivering a satisfying conclusion to this iconic character is quite possibly one of the biggest challenges Nolan & David.S.Goyer have faced.But we Batman fans have every reason to believe in Nolan.If there’s any director capable of this task,it’s him.We hope that Chris Nolan will blow us away on 20 th July & deliver a movie that is as immortal as Batman himself.
What do you folks think about all this?Will Dark Knight rises become what it aims for?Sound off at the comment section.