GAMEPLAY: 9/10 GRAPHICS: 9/10
SOUND: 8.5/10 OVERALL: 8.9/10
By Shaer Reaz
Published by Bethesda and developed by Arkane Studios, Dishonored is being hailed by critics as one of the best games of the year so far. Set in a sublimely rendered and conceptualised steampunk world, where magic, swords and gunpowder come together in a refreshing blend; Dishonored is a stealth action game where the gamer chooses his own path in beating each mission.
You play Corvo Attano, the royal bodyguard to the Empress of Dunwall, a rough and grimy port city modelled after Victorian London and Edinburgh. Early in the game, the Empress is assassinated and you're framed for it for being at the wrong place at the wrong time. Thrown in jail and your name slandered (giving us the title of the game), you're helped out by a mysterious group whose intentions aren't out-rightly clear. As the plot unravels, you find yourself employed by the group as you try to clear your name and hold the culprits accountable, all against the backdrop of a city plagued by autocracy and rats, literally. The rat plague offers up a new kind of enemy: massive swarms of diseased rats that can strip a corpse (or living body) bare in a matter of seconds.
The gameplay is reminiscent of Bethesda's other, insanely popular title, Elder Scrolls: Skyrim. Right hand holds the knife and is used for melee attacks; the left hand is for ranged weapons and wielding the supernatural powers bestowed on you by a mythical character known simply as The Outsider. Unlike Skyrim, however, the game can only be played with the first person view, and the gameplay mechanics are built around the FPS genre. The stealthy nature you're encouraged to develop is a bit hard to pull off, as sneaking around is a lot tougher when you don't know how your body fits into the surroundings, but you'll get used to it as you progress.
If you can handle it, you can also scrap the stealth approach and go in guns blazing, but at reduced rates of success. Start shooting and you also loose the opportunity to grab valuable loot from each level that you'd otherwise have come across while moving silently through the large (and often confusing) maps. There are several ways to get past a group of enemies in this game, with little or no hints provided, so the game is easily re-playable once you've beaten it. It's fun, trying to figure out how to outwit the roughnecks patrolling Dunwall's grimy streets.
Dishonored's feel is very reminiscent of V for Vendetta, a masked vigilante and lone crusader battling against a tyrannical force using both violence and restraint. Each choice you make affects the surroundings in the next level. If you leave behind loads of corpses in one level, the rats make sure they're turned into “Weepers” (zombified disease carriers) that will make things difficult for you in the next level. If you rely on magic and stealth, you're going to have to find runes and bone charms that allow you to upgrade your abilities. If you're more of a gunslinger, you need to find trinkets that get you the coin you need to buy ammo and weapon upgrades. Assassination methods are a lot like Hitman and Assassin's Creed, giving you a whole range of options to exploit. The whole system works surprisingly well, depending on whether you can use it to your advantage or not. You can literally finish the entire game without killing a single person.
The sounds are suitably sombre and fast paced depending on how you play the game. The blaring loudspeakers instructing citizens constantly remind you of the fear and repression in Dunwall. It sets the right mood extremely well.
Remember to save often and at crucial stages, because the game can get a bit frustrating at times; reaching a certain level after working hard can all be ruined by a moment's lapse in concentration. If you're not used to stealth games, you'll be banging your keyboard or controller in frustration, regularly. Also, AVOID THE RATS at higher difficulties. They're terrifyingly effective against a lone ranger.
Dishonored is a great way to build up to more conventional titles like Assassin's Creed 3 and Hitman Absolution, so give it a go. You'd be a fool to miss this one.
Sometimes even the internet becomes surprisingly empty, once you've gone through every Facebook notification and finished checking out all the updates on your regular site. There's so much you want to know, but you don't know where to look. And Googling can be so much work for some people.
To start off with, try looking up websites of any popular magazine like National Geographic, as a lot of their material is also available online. Science magazines like Popular Science and Wired are loaded with interesting geeky articles that you can view without subscribing to them. Gizmodo is a more practical and fun site, and has science that you can play with. Though you probably shouldn't try everything they suggest at home. In case you are looking for reviews and how-tos, Cnet has everything covered, from headphones to softwares. Also drop by at the BBC Science site, where you can take quizzes and participate in actual experiments.
While it's easy to find techy stuff online, you might be lost looking for a good fashion website. Most fashion sites are for older people who can afford designer clothes. For fashion minus glittery spikes and latex, check out Lookbook.nu, a site where people upload photos of everyday wear, and are voted up by users. If you're into fashion blogs, The Sartorialist shoots photos of random, nicely dressed people on the street, and comments on the style. What's considered creepy in the normal world is stylish in the fashion world. Whatkatiewore.com is a fashion blog where a couple uploaded photos of what they wore every day for a year. But then it got so popular that they are still continuing it. You can also browse through Pinterest, an online pinboard, for catalogues of clothes, shoes, DIY and most of everything else. The Guardian's fashion editor, Jess Cartner-Morley runs great fashion podcasts on how to dress to the latest trends.
If you want to keep updated on news and current affairs, it's best to choose a newspaper and check it online everyday. The Guardian gets a preference because of its excellent format and app, which makes browsing through the whole newspaper really compact. If you love reading about travel, go to the Fogg Odyssey blog for the pieces and the amazing photos, or read about war torn lands in the blog Stories of Conflict and Love. Go to the Economist's Intelligent Life magazine's online version moreintelligentlife.com to read fascinating stories about everything - sports, music, fashion, art or tech. All this should be enough to keep you busy for some time.
By Shaer Reaz
The powerhouse of Bangladeshi metal, Warfaze, released their eighth studio album, “Shotto”, on October 21, 2012, a whole nine years since their last original album. Mizan, Kamal, Oni, Roger, Shams and Tipu return to create another album that incorporates hard rock, beautiful melodies and power metal into a sublime package.
Rocking hard and fast at the vocals, Mizan lets his vocal range loose on “Agami”, switching quite easily from a soft melodic voice to a screaming crescendo. Kamal backs him up on the lead guitars, belting out guitar solos like a madman in rage. Shams plays a significant role in this song, letting his keyboard ride the waves of the rough riffing set by Kamal and Oni on guitars. It's probably the best song on the album. And it's the first track. Doesn't bode well, does it? You'd be surprised.
“Na” is an astonishing song, Mizan turns into a screaming banshee and the melodic crooning is blended, in a frantically paced song which makes the whole group sound like Dio era-Black Sabbath with Mizan as a lower pitched Dio at the vocals. Another great song, except the song sounds a little awkward in a few instances - a little strain appearing on an otherwise shroud of awesomeness.
The next song, “Rupkotha” isn't very memorable, sounding like the generic Warfaze ballad, which, even though they're still pretty awesome, would get lost in the playlist as another song that was in “that album”. It still has a pretty nice chorus, so give it a listen, you might like it.
“Purnota” is a lot better than the last track. The calm and mellow instruments back up the toned down vocals that rise during the chorus to create an almost flawless ballad. Lyrics are memorable and inspiring, the overall feel of the song borders on melancholy, broken by spurts of joy and hope. A couple of good guitar solos change the pace successfully.
Shams takes center stage with “Jeidin”, with a haunting piano tune that sounds more like a classical piece than something cooked up by one of the hardest rockers in Bangladeshi music. Mizan's voice is still amazing, and it doesn't look like he'll be stopping anytime soon.
The title track is up next. “Shotto” has a promising intro, with Shams getting to play the hero again, using his keyboard to lead the song along while Kamal and Oni play along softly, Tipu showing his expertise as a drummer while keeping the pace restrained and elegant; another top track in an album that could easily have disappointed, but shows signs of not giving in. It's also the first song with Roger getting the chance to play some funky-but-restrained bass tunes.
“Projonmo_2012” picks up where “Na” left off, coming out swinging from the start, the guitars never slowing down till the very end. Other than the cracking guitar solo at the end, there's not a lot that is memorable about this song. But my, what a guitar solo. Fast forward and give it a listen if you don't want to wait till the 4:52nd minute.
“Jonosrot” is a return to awesomeness, a typical Warfaze track where melody and aggression get melded together. Beautiful song. All there needs to be said. A must listen.
“Protikkha” doesn't register instant attention, and is a weak track that is very forgettable at the end of the day, not a great way of ending what has been a great album so far.
Overall, the album is a must listen for any Warfaze fan, so that they can see their heroes and idols still going at it hard and strong. Warfaze has been around since 1984, and props to them for keeping it together and wowing us with albums like these. Respect to these giants of rock.
Firstly - Benedict Cumberbatch is THE best Sherlock Holmes ever. To the point that a male colleague of mine drools over his cheekbones. A lot. But the idea of Sherlock Holmes in the modern world is not new - it has been done a lot of times - like Basil Rathbone playing the Holmes set in the 1940's, fighting Nazis. But no Holmes came as close to what Sherlock brought us - it was perfect, even set in the modern world with an iPhone and everything, it was true to Doyle's character.
Now the Americans, coincidentally, happened to stumble across a similar idea. Soon after Sherlock came out, CBS came up with their own version of the sleuth in the modern world. With Jonny Lee Miller as Holmes and Lucy Liu as Watson, the show started airing this September. Yes, you read it right; Watson is now a female character.
The show, from what can be told from the five episodes already out, is pretty good, as long as you don't compare it to BBC's Sherlock. Deviating slightly from the original Holmes-meet-Watson story, here Sherlock is an addict fresh out of rehab. He has moved from England to America after rehab and due to his father's insistence, has to put up with Watson as a sober-companion for six weeks so that he doesn't relapse.
The best thing about the show is that it has tried to keep faithful to the character. Holmes is still the neurotic, obsessive, mentally quick, arrogant genius. The plots have been pretty good so far, although fans of Sherlock will be a little disappointed (that is expected; after all Moffat can't be everywhere). All the things that I personally feared could go wrong, hasn't till now. Watson being a girl hasn't changed the relationship that the original duo had. Fingers crossed that the creators don't ruin the show later by putting in a romantic interest between the two.
The series shows promise. This Holmes is young. He isn't the muscle over brains Sherlock Holmes that was Robert Downey Jr. The deductions and reasoning in the show is pretty strong and the plots are good enough. Although one does tend to miss Officer Lestrade and Mrs. Hudson. They Americanised the character, but thankfully not to the point of ruining it. Refreshing to watch, a fairly intelligent show - as long as you don't compare it to the British version.
Although older versions have had Sherlock Holmes in the modern world, most of them had quite different story lines. Most had Sherlock cryogenically frozen and such to survive trough the years and end up in the modern world.
CBS has had two versions of modern day Sherlock and one even featured a female Watson - a Jane Watson - descendant of the original who awakens Holmes from his cryogenic capsule.