Before Rage was released in October, the publishers managed to create a hype about the game even though it wasn't a popular franchise. How? Well, these guys also developed Quake and Doom. Sounds promising, doesn't it?
The plot follows a very common theme. The story is set in a post apocalyptic world, which has been struck by an asteroid. The remaining humans who survived the destruction settled around several oases and were plagued by mutants and infighting. The main character of the game is an Ark survivor [like Noah's Ark, set up to save some parts of civilisation] who wakes up having no knowledge of his identity or the new world. He, however, soon finds friends and gets to know that the autocratic 'Authority' who currently rules the new world is looking for him, which can only mean bad news.
Although it is an FPS game, it excels in combining elements from other genres. Throughout the game you'll find RPG elements, starting from an open world to collection of metals and looting in order to upgrade gear. The developers also decided to give gamers a kind of 'Twisted Metal' experience by introducing races featuring weaponised vehicles and trust me when I say your vehicle will be your best friend throughout the game, whether it is to earn money or to drive fast out of hotspots.
Another significant aspect of the game is its variety of enemies.
There are mutants - loads of them jumping and running around - and then there are the gangs and of course soldiers of the Authority. But the most challenging ones might prove to be the super mutants who are rumoured to be spawned by the Authority itself. The gameplay is superb and the graphics may not be the best of the past year, but with all the shooting and racing around, you won't have time to find flaws in it. The game is enormous (three discs for Xbox, which is a first) and there are a number of side missions which have little connection with the main story.
Rage got good ratings from most of the critics and gamers loved it at first. But later on BF3 and MW3 came out and everyone forgot about it, despite Rage being a pretty good game. Well, it's a little late but if you are up for some mutant bashing and vehicular mayhem, get Rage. Also it'll be a good practice for the new Twisted Metal game which is coming out on Valentine's Day.
MUST WATCH TV
Take a quirky, sarcastic fifteen year old from Manhattan and drop her into the most inanely stereotypical suburb, and you got a whining teen who hates the suburbs. And you basically got suburgatory.
Tessa's dad suddenly took her away from New York to the suburbs so that she could have a 'healthier' environment to grow up, much to her dismay. While their suburb is the accumulation of all suburb clichés (starting from people with so much plastic in their body they basically float in a pool), it has some pretty decent people as well. Tessa quickly befriends two of the school outcasts, both of whom are her only companion in the suburban nightmare. To add to Tessa's hellish experience, we have Dalia, Tessa's frenemy, who apparently wears so much make up that she can't even blink. Anything remotely out of the ordinary generates frowns and eye rolls from a neighbour, and within minutes, anyone who lives two streets down knows about it.
It's sort of the teenage-angsty rant about how the parents consistently turn your life upside down. The show is targeted towards the fairer sex; but if you are a guy and want to watch it, it gives some solid entertainment, too. Thankfully, unlike most lead female characters in this genre, Tessa is witty, understands her father's decisions (even though she can't stand it) and has a cool head. The acting is sort of believable, but we think the writing could be a bit sharper in the later episodes. The hilarity of the suburb is taken to the extreme quite often, but it does not become unfunny.
Suburgatory is currently in its first season, and it got few positive feedbacks. Even then, we are not sure how long they can continue it - a couple of more seasons at max. Granted, the show is not Emmy or Golden Globe material, but it's still good filler TV.
By Ahsan Sajid
As you read this, a group of musicians in Dhaka's National Library are preparing to devastate the stage with their primal war beat and unique sonic explorations. Today is Primitive Invocation's fourth concert, headlined by Abigail, the legendary Japanese black/thrash band formed in '92, with Orator, and after the success of the first three concerts one can expect nothing short of greatness.
Like any other great initiative ever started in metal, Primitive Invocation was started by a group of young friends who were, for the most part, social misfits and outcasts. What happens when you're the only nail sticking out? You get hammered down and flattened like the rest of them. But over the last year, since its inception, Primitive Invocation has proven that all the impertinent nails and unfit cogs and other anomalies, with enough passion and unity, can stand as who they are and not be forced or swayed by each and every latest fad, standing behind their mantra 'perseverance of archaic wisdom'.
Without further ambiguities, Primitive Invocation is a group of metal aficionados who also happen to be a group of friends that formed to uphold the true spirit of extreme metal and strengthen the local metal scene in the midst of lookalike metal bands tripping over hair straightener cords and their mother's makeup kits. The spirit of Primitive Invocation shuns the stereotypical image of metalheads, bringing to the fore what really matters: the music and the band.
With this single initiative in mind, Primitive Invocation has turned the local underground metal scene upside down, with bands that deserve recognition finally getting their due and our underground metal community gradually but surely becoming a respected and globally recognised one.
Primitive Invocation's first international concert in Dhaka was near the end of 2010 where the punk metal band Manzer from France with Orator, PI founding member Vritra Ahi's band, took metal in Bangladesh to new heights. With this great concert came great expectations that could only be lived up to by the concert that followed in the cold January of 2011. Infernal Curse, hailing from Argentina, corpse-paint and robe clad, played a brand of cult black metal that only Orator could follow up. By this time, Orator had garnered a massive international following after a number of international gigs, and this writer was certainly breathless as he headbanged in the pit with the best of them. Leaving that concert, one knew that the local metal scene had changed irrevocably. And Primitive Invocation was at the heart of the change.
Since then, Primitive Invocation has published Bangladesh's first-ever metal zine, featuring both local and international acts, and started their own distro selling metal merchandise such as CDs and patches to the ever growing and ever stronger underground metal scene, and organised another concert to sycophantic fanfare.
But no one is more succinct in their description of Primitive Invocation than founder Vritra Ahi, “Primitive Invocation stays within the music scene to promote the true form of extreme metal only. Since extreme metal is not a product of commerce that would allow any fat suited guy to make money, PI exists only for the love and passion for this form of music and nothing else. After all I am a musician, not a business man.”
The Help is about the race issues in America. It is not the first movie on the subject, and it's definitely not going to be the last. Yet, looking at 1960's southern America through the eyes of the black household helps gives this movie a certain charm.
The Help is set in 1960s Mississippi, where the black maids dedicate their own lives to making their white employers' lives better. They raise white babies while their own kids are at home being looked after by someone else. They cook, clean and make the employers' lives picture perfect. And in turn when the babies grow up, the maids are passed onto them from their mothers like pieces of furniture. They are indispensable when it's time to take stains off of a tablecloth, but are not even allowed to use an indoor bathroom.
The story begins as Skeeter (played by Emma Stone, almost unrecognisable in her blonde hair) comes home after four years of college to look at their society through new eyes. The incredible injustice becomes her subject of interest as a budding journalist, and Skeeter wants the maids in her neighbourhood to speak up about their work. In a time and place where even talking about this inequality is illegal, the maids are afraid and reluctant to share their tales, until one day, when Aibileen becomes the first whistle-blower. As racist employers march on the take away even the smallest luxuries the maids have in their lives, Aibileen and the other maids reveal their stories at the risk of their lives.
Acting wise, The Help shines. Emma Stone acts well as the driven writer, but the show goes to Viola Davis, who is brilliant as the middle-aged Aibileen. Another memorable mention will be Bryce Dallas Howard, who brings the mean-spirited town queen bee Hilly Holbrook to life. The sound, the cinematography and the acting brings together an authentic feel of that time, which is praiseworthy. On the downside, the movie seems a bit too long, compared to the typical 90-minute Hollywood flick. The storyline skitters at certain points and never picks up, which could bug the viewers. One of the drawbacks of adapting books into movies, perhaps.
Overall, The Help is an inspiring tale in a place where prejudice is high and courage runs low. One of the good movies of 2011.
RS rating: 7.5/10