Gone Girl – Film Review

I have had a few days now to let my thoughts on Gone Girl ruminate in my mind, and the more I think about it, the more the film seeps under my skin, and yet despite that, it is still a deeply problematic film.

The film centers around the disappearance of Amy Elliot Dunne with the film’s carefully constructed script (written by author of the novel, Gillian Flynn) slowly dissecting and unpacking the motivations of the various individuals linked to her disappearance, by combining a use of flashbacks and narration from Rosamund Pike and scenes from the present day, shot through the perspective of Nick Dunne – Amy’s husband, whose actions become more and more questionable as the film delves deeper into the rationale behind his action’s.

It all amounts to something that for its entire duration (roughly two and a half hours) remains a completely immersive experience with Fincher bringing his typically slick precision to the film. And yet the film – at least tries to be – so much more than a simple whodunnit. The film certainly contains a lot of interesting ideas and the story allows for Fincher to analyze the extent that media and public perception is able to influence the investigation, it allows for an exploration of marriage and class struggle however the film is mostly ineffective in its pursuit of these deeper ideas. At times a satire of modern marriage, at times a physiological thriller, it never appears as though Fincher captures the correct balance and what it results in is a tonally inconsistent film with Flynn’s script never seeming to find the required depth to provide anything new or interesting to say on the themes it attempts to address.

After a few days to think on the film, I found Gone Girl to ultimately be a film that leaves me cold (which I acknowledge is at least partly the film’s intention) and yet still completely appreciative. Whether or not Fincher actually achieves the goals he set out with this film is likely to be divisive, but I at the very least admire his intentions. This is a deeply uncomfortable, at times excruciating, watch and the film never shies away from that. The film presents these severely troubled characters, it never attempts to make them particularly sympathetic or “likeable” but it does intend to make you understand them. Take the character of Amy for example, in the hands of anyone else, she could have easily devolved into a cariacture, but Fincher and Rosamund Pike should be commended for not only finding incredible nuance in the role but also for making us understand why a character may go to the lengths that she does in order to achieve her objective. And I think that is really the key to this entire film, we may not necessarily ever sympathize with pretty much any of these characters but the film does a great job of diving into the psychology of these incredibly messed up individuals, and making us understand why they might behave like they do.

The rest of the ensemble is also perfectly cast. Ben Affleck does some of the best work of his career, reminding us that when he wants to, he really can be a great actor. Carrie Coon, who continues her phenomenal breakout year which started with ‘The Leftovers’, is the standout of the supporting cast as Nick’s twin sister Margo who by the end emerges as the beating heart of the film, and the rest of the cast is uniformly excellent as well. Whether it be Scoot McNairy’s incredibly minor role or Kim Dickens, as the detective hired to look into Amy’s disappearance, whose beliefs are in a constant state of conflict as the plot’s mystery slowly unravels, they all deliver exactly what is required of them. But it is Pike who is clearly the star here and if all that we eventually get out of this film is Rosamund Pike, then it will have been worth it. She has been promising a performance like this for some time, so of course it would be a David Fincher film that ultimately extracts that performance out of her.

The ending – long-rumored to have been changed for the film adaptation – remains intact from the book, and without delving into spoiler territory, I will say that whilst I know it was divisive amongst book readers, as someone who has not read the book, it felt like the perfect ending to this story. I am not sure there is any version of the ending to this film which finds resolution for all of its characters which would feel right. The film is a deeply uncomfortable watch and the ending is a reflection of that and ultimately, it felt like the exact ending this film was building towards from the very beginning. I may not have totally fallen for this film but it is also readily apparent to me that Gone Girl is made by a filmmaker with a distinct vision and it never moves away from that, and I don’t really know if you can ask for much more than that.

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Masters of Sex – Season Two Review

The season finale of Masters of Sex, entitled “The Revolution Will Not Be Televised”, was largely a reflection of the season as a whole – uneven but with a lot of great individual scenes and moments, most of which pertained in some way to Bill and Virginia. Throughout the entire season, the one welcome constant has been the fascinating evolution of the relationship between Bill and Virginia and here it is no different as their search for a cure of sexual dysfunctional, Virginia’s custody battles and the pair’s battle to keep their study relevant when faced with competition from a rival study, provide a deeply satisfying conclusion to the season.

Yet, at the same time, the finale also continued to explore the baffling sub-plot involving Langham’s ventures with cal-o-metric and his relationship with Flo. At times, the show can struggle to manage the various sub-plots which don’t necessarily have an exact correlation to Bill and Virginia or the study, but ultimately story lines such as Barbara and Lester’s work because they feel like they are servicing the larger story of the show. Even if they spend a long period of time without ever interacting with the two main protagonists, the pair pursuing a relationship without sex not only provides a few very sweet scenes involving Lester and Barbara within the episode  but it also allows for an interesting commentary on what it means to be in a relationship and the importance of sex and intimacy within that relationship – which is one of the show’s main themes – as they struggle to define what it means to be in a relationship with no sex. The writer’s also did a nice job of bringing the arc full circle and tying it back in with the study, as judging from the final scene, it appears as though Bill and Virginia’s attempts at curing sexual dysfunction will now extend to Barbara and Lester as well.

However that was not the case with Austin, whose continued involvement throughout the season went from a slight annoyance, to something that made me legitimately angry. The show has shown that it is willing to move on from certain character’s when they no longer remain relevant – just look at the large turnover in the cast this season – so the fact that the show kept Langham around for no apparent reason, in a story line which felt like it belonged on a completely different show with only a very tenuous thematic link to the show as a whole, makes it one character arc that is completely indefensible.

One of the shows other major problems this season was the arc concerning Libby and her time at CORE office however here the writer’s did a much better job in the final two episodes.  Part of why the story proved so problematic for the first ten episodes was the fact that we really had no insight as to why Libby was behaving so uncharacteristically as this borderline racist, however Libby’s final scene in Episode 11 went a long way in redeeming that arc this year, and Caitlin Fitzgerald does a wonderful job of selling that justification, as the idea that Libby would be seeking some sort of companionship considering the state of her relationship with Bill, makes a lot of sense. And that continued in the finale, as in a nice moment shared between Libby and Robert, it is revealed that Libby knows about Bill’s affair with Virginia. This was an important step for the show and it’s nice to know that Libby has not been completely oblivious to what has been going on between Bill and Virginia for the past three years or so, and it leaves me excited for where the show will take the relationship between the three of them in the future. Once again, I am glad where the character of Libby has ended up this season, I’m just not sure entirely sure the circuitous journey to get to that point was entirely worth it, especially when you consider that it came at the expense of possibly spending more time with Bill and Virginia.

And that is ultimately the biggest question when evaluating this second season. Are you here for the increasingly dysfunctional relationship between Bill and Virginia or are you equally compelled by the various narratives which weave in and out of Bill and Virginia’s story? If it’s the latter, then I imagine you enjoyed Season 1 a lot more as Allison Janney and Beau Bridges were both featured prominently, however if you find yourself leaning towards the former (like myself), then you will have probably found Season 2 deeply rewarding. The show thrives when the focus is firmly on the study and the incredibly complicated relationship between Bill and Virginia, and Season 2 only enhanced that further with episodes such as “Fight”, which was one of the best episodes of television you will see anywhere this year.

At this point, I would be doing an injustice to the show if I did not mention the outstanding work done by both Michael Sheen and Lizzy Caplan who continue to find hidden layers to the characters of William Masters and Virginia Masters. Sheen may have received the better material this season, but in the finale it is Caplan who shines. Notice the cracks in her voice as she tries to convince herself and Bill that giving up custody of her children is the right thing to do. Notice the subtleties on her face when Virginia realizes how little the children seem to care that they will be spending less time with their mother, or when she finally begins to break down on the phone with Bill, before she finally reaches her bursting point as she realizes that the CBS video – which was the reason in the first place for her giving up custody – has been pulled, even if she does not know that it was Bill that orchestrated the entire thing. Lizzy Caplan has been fantastic throughout the show’s entire run, but this may have been the best performance she has given to date.

Ultimately, the more I think about it, the more I see the similarities between this show’s second season and the second season of Game of Thrones. Both are based on source material and it has become increasingly apparent that both shows were at a point in their respective stories which were not particularly interesting, almost like it was necessary for the show’s to get past this point so that it can get to the richer material in future seasons. Yet despite that, both show’s managed to deliver what are largely considered to be the series’ best episodes to date with “Fight” for Masters of Sex and “Blackwater” for Game of Thrones, which also both happen to be episodes that revolve around one particular location for the entire episode in a season when both shows drew criticism for having various sub-plots which felt completely unrelated to the overarching storyline of the season.

Now having said that, I really liked this finale, and I thought this season actually probably did a better job than Game of Thrones’ second season, because no matter what else is going on in the show, it’s main focus is and always will be on Bill and Virginia, and for pretty much the entire duration of the second second, no matter what was going on with Austin you knew you were guaranteed at least two or three great moments between Bill and Virginia in each episode. And that is ultimately why I find Masters of Sex to still be among the very best shows on television. Everything else can be fixed but the fact that the core relationship is still as fascinating as ever leaves me completely at ease with where the show is currently at. Bill Masters and Virginia remain two of the most fascinating characters on television, and when a show can deliver episodes as good as “Fight” it is very hard to complain about anything else.
Episode Grade: A-
Season Grade: A-

NCAA Football 13 Review

I moan about games being produced annually,  on a fairly consistent basis. Obviously, there is not much you can do with sports franchises, as leave it one year, and your game is already out of date, with the latest set of licensing and the influx of new players. However, that shouldn’t be enough to warrant a $60 or a £40 purchase every year. If a developer wants me to keep coming back every year, they have to show they have put in the time and effort, that would warrant the investment. Is NCAA Football 13 worth it? Not Really.

Starting off with the main aspect off the game, which is Dynasty mode. The game has already added a fair few layers to the mode this year, so any improvements made this year were obviously not going to be revolutionary. However, there are quite a few nice additions that add even further depth, to a franchise mode which in my opinion, was already superior to its sister franchise, Madden. Dynamic Ratings have finally been introduced, meaning as your team progresses or declines up the BCS ladder, certain ratings will be impacted by that change. There is a set of circumstances, in which each rating can be altered over time, and is a nice little feature, to motivate you to keep going with your dynasty.  On top of that, the recruiting has been made much slicker, with the new-scouting system which works very effectively as a new enhancement for the mode whilst the actual pitches themselves have finally been altered, now enabling you to choose which topics you wish to pursue with a certain prospect. As I said, there was never going to be anything revolutionary with dynasty this year, but all of these new features go a long way, in enhancing the college football experience.

Heisman Mode is the only completely new game mode for NCAA Football, this year and it’s relatively lacklustre. The idea behind it, being that you get to take control of previous heisman winners with whichever team you wanted.. That is literally it. It is a poor attempt by EA to extract some more money from their consumers (yes you have to pay for some of the Heisman “challenges”). My advice? Go find your old NCAA games, and actually PLAY WITH THE PLAYERS ON THAT GAME. There is literally no difference, apart from the obvious gameplay improvements that have transcended over time. Seriously, don’t bother with this.

As with every year, NCAA Football 13 brings with it a host of new presentation improvements. Yeah you get the odd new mascot or whatever, but the main feature this year, links in with the dynasty mode. Now, the game utilises broadcaster Rece Davis to bring studio updates, whilst you are playing your game. That is not the end of it either, as the ESPN ticker will be a prominent feature in the bottom of your television screen, as it constantly gives updates on any upsets or ‘priority games’ that are currently occurring at the same time as your game. On paper, it is a really cool idea in creating an even more immersive experience but unfortunately, the execution isn’t fantastic. The studio updates lack content, and the ESPN ticker at the bottom of the screen, is quite frankly, a distraction. If this can be improved for NCAA Football 14 however, then this is definitely a worthwhile feature to have implemented in the game. But for now? Fairly poor execution hinders the overall experience, rather than enhancing it.

But no matter how well done the previously referenced aspects of the game this year are, it is ultimately gameplay that will be the defining  factor in determining whether or not NCAA Football 13 is worth the money. The new improvements this year, are the inclusion of 20+ new passing trajectories, ensuring superman linebackers will no longer be swatting the ball whenever you try and pass over the middle, and a read-and-react mechanic, which ensures defenders and recievers alike, must be making eye contact with the ball before making a play. Both are fundamentally sound ideas, and both are executed fairly efficiently but where the features falter, is unfortunately, by making these improvements the balance of the game has been fairly dramatically changed. The offensive side of the ball, is simply, far too easy now with defenders biting far too easily on play action and pump fakes, meaning the deep ball is always far too easy to complete.  In one game, my QB had 10-30 completed passes for over 400 yards, that is how much the balance of the game has been distorted.

Overall, this is still a fairly solid outing by the NCAA franchise. You can tell, they have put in the effort with numerous new enhances, which in principal should be fantastic. Unfortunately, the execution lacks, meaning the overall experience is slightly tainted. Still, if you have never played an NCAA game before, go and buy it, it’s definitley worth your money. As for returning players from NCAA 12? Well, if your willing to spend the money on some admittedly fantastic improvements to the recruiting mechanic and new rosters, then go for it. My advice? Don’t bother.

Game Modes – Dynasty is improved with the new recruiting system but Road to Glory sees very little improvement. As for Heisman Mode? Don’t Bother. 7.5/10

Gameplay – Markedly worse than last years iteration, with the offensive side of the ball being far too easy. 7/10

Presentation – The game has made some fantastic additions, unfortunately the execution in some instances, lets it down. 8/10

Total Value – Some nice improvements, but not enough to warrant the price tag. 6.5/10

OVERALL – 7.3

Spec Ops: The Line Review

‘The Line’ may borrow the title ‘Spec Ops’ but when looking at its predecessors, they bear no semblance of similarity, and that’s a good thing. ‘

The Line’ is a third-person shooter set in post-catastrophe Dubai. You play as Captain Walker, the man sent in along with an elite delta force team, to aid the ‘evacuation’. Obviously, things aren’t going to be that simple. As the game progresses, you and your squad are going to be placed under increasingly desperate circumstances. Choices such as having to decide which man hanging from a bridge to kill, may not have a direct impact on the end of the game, but it does go a long way in defining your character and his squad-mates. Lugo, a soldier who at the start of the game, is your typical fun-loving guy, becomes more and more serious as the story develops. Conflicts on the battlefield, lead to conflicts between squad-mates and the overall tone of the game is directly impacted by the severity of the circumstances your squad is placed under.

This is not your typical third-person shooter. If your a fan of Michael Bay-esque games like Call of Duty, this probably isn’t for you. In Spec Ops, the narrative takes precedence, and what you are presented with, is a wonderfully told story.

The gameplay itself, isn’t the most enjoyable. It uses tried and tested methods, that are possibly ten years out of date with a fairly clunky cover system, that can be infuriating at times. But there are aspects which extract some pleasure. The one gameplay feature that seperates Spec Ops from it’s counter-parts, is the use of the environment. Destructible environments are prevalent, with the sand itself playing a major role. If you see a group of enemies underneath a roof covered in sand, you can shoot at that roof, so that the sand engulfs your enemies. The sand itself, also adds unpredictability to the gameplay, as at any point, during the campaign, your mission may be halted by an inadvertent sandstorm. This completely changes the dynamic of the gameplay, as soldiers become silhouettes and your vision is distorted.

Along with that, your squad members WILL ACTUALLY KILL PEOPLE! Yes it is pretty unbelievable that this is a plus point in a next-gen title, but still to this day, I play far too many games where your squad members do essentially nothing on the battlefield. But in Spec Ops, you are able to order your squad members to take out certain targets, it may not be on the level of Operation Flashpoint, but it still provides a different perspective on the battlefield.

The AI itself, can be quite challenging, but gameplay feels stagnant and repetitive. The main ‘boss’ on every mission will be the same ‘heavy’ that takes about twice as many bullets to kill. You do get the odd variation, with enemies running at you, knife in hand, providing you with a different type of enemy to worry about, but essentially, every single Spec Ops mission consists of the same formula; Soldiers, tons of grenades, heavies and Turrets. That’s it. But as I referred to earlier, if your playing Spec Ops, it’s not going to be because of the gameplay.

As for the multiplayer, I think limited would be the best way to define it, with four fairly standard game modes, that whilst enjoyable, don’t really do much to enhance the game’s lasting appeal. If that wasn’t bad enough, people seem to have already deserted the servers, as it is virtually impossible to find a game with more than 4 people online at once… That’s a problem.

Overall, this a fantastic game. The gameplay? Average at best. The Multiplayer? Virtually, non-existent. But the story, the story is what sets this game apart. This is, as compelling a narrative as I have ever played in a video game, and with multiple endings, you can decide the way you want YOUR character to end the game. Spec Ops: The Line, is worth the wait.

Story 10/10

Gameplay 7/10

Presentation 9.5/10

Total Value 7/10

OVERALL : 8.5

‘The Newsroom’ Pilot – A (Positive) Review

I am not a Television critic. I may aspire to be one by watching an inordinate amount of television, I may even become one someday, but for now,  I am not a Television critic.

And with not being a television critic, I do not possess certain privileges that all critics gain access to. I do not get screeners early and I do not get early copies to a bulk of episodes. I am, for the most part, your regular television viewer.

So when I sat down to watch ‘The Newsroom’ on Sunday evening, like the majority of American television viewers, I was expecting to utterly detest the show that was laid before me, a show which has emerged as one of the most critically disdained television shows on HBO in a very long time. But to my (pleasant) surprise, the show extracted the complete opposite feeling.

‘The Newsroom’ is Aaron Sorkin’s (founder of shows ‘The West Wing’ and Sports Night), latest creation depicts Jeff Daniels as Will McAvoy, an anchor for Atlantic Cable News (ACN), who along with a very strong ensemble cast, aim to deliver a news show “in the face of corporate and commercial obstacles and their own personal entanglements”.  It is set in 2010, as to allow the writers to refer to real life events, this week it was the BP oil spill. It’s a bold angle to take, and the ideology of the show is one that seems to have extracted controversy within the American Media, the same American Media that the show is openly criticising.

It may at times, not be the most realistic depiction of The Newsroom, but ignore that for one moment. Ignore whatever criticisms you may have of Sorkin’s work, because ‘The Newsroom’ is simply the latest example of Sorkin’s mastery of dialogue. It is fast paced, funny and maybe sometimes goes over the top, but who the hell cares? This is the way television was meant to be written. When ‘The Newsroom’ ended, it felt like it had been barely half an hour, and that certainly doesn’t indicate a lack of content. The Walking Dead feels much longer, and hardly anything eventful happens unless an action sequence occurs. If an episode of television feels like a fully fledged movie, you know it has been an hour well spent. And that is exactly how I felt about ‘The Newsroom’.

The Pilot also does a great job of establishing the main characters. Within the first 7 minutes, Daniels had already captivated my attention as he attempts to summarise why America is the “greatest show in the world”. “It’s not” he replies, before delivering a stirring rant on everything that is wrong with society today. The moments preceding that were full of witty remarks, humour and everything seemed fantastic. ‘This McAvoy fella’ seems nice doesn’t he’, was my inital reaction. Within five minutes, Daniels had completely transformed his character, displaying a breadth of delivery, sometimes unseen in a character throughout an entire season. And it doesn’t stop there. We also witness strong interactions between McAvoy and his boss Charlie Skinner, complying more to the humourous side of the show, as we are introudced to the eccentric nature of Skinner, whilst also hinting at the background between McKenzie and Will, which would only further emphasise the tension (awkwardness) of their initial meeting later in the episode.

Sometimes the show sacrifices that dialogue in order to serve the extended ideological monologues that occur quite frequently during the pilot, but I can deal with two or three “we can make a difference” speeches, if the rest of the hour is spent with this cast interacting, which is ultimately where this television show excels.

And whilst Sorkin’s writing is undoubtedly an essential component, the fantastic ensemble cast  assembled, certainly shouldn’t be overlooked. Jeff Daniels, whose career has certainly been hit and miss to say the least, looks re-energised as Will McAvoy, Emily Mortimer does a fantastic job playing the counter-part to McAvoy’s narcissistic mannerisms, Sam Waterson delivers a typically reliable performance as McAvoy’s boss and contributions from Dev Patel (star of Slumdog Millionnaire), John Gallagher and Alison Pill are ‘the icing on the cake’ (to use a cliche that can sometimes find it’s way into the show’s dialogue).

At this point, I am struggling to fully comprehend the contempt that this show has received within the media. The reaction from the general public appears to be generally, very positive and with the pilot delivering HBO’s 2nd strongest ratings for a pilot ever, behind Boardwalk Empire, it will be interesting to see if there is a significant drop-off in those figures next week.

Does the contempt arise from the fact that this show openly criticises the television critic’s very profession? I sincerely doubt it. Even if you are offended by the show’s ideological thinking, you can still appreciate it as a good television show (which in my opinion, it is).

So, as I made reference to earlier, it must be something to do with the upcoming episodes, which in general, tend to be the weakest in a television series anyway. The Pilot is typically quite strong as a lot of time is devoted to it, and then it takes a few episodes for a show to establish it’s identity and structure. So even if the show falters in the next few episodes, I am still going to continue until the end of the season.

So for the most part, I am feeling somewhat optimistic about this show. ‘The Newsroom’ delivers a sharp, fast-paced, somewhat tense thriller of a pilot in which the slight hiccups can be forgiven because well… it’s a pilot.

As for the upcoming three or four episodes, lets just see what happens.

E3 2012 Review Part 2 – Awards

I have already given my insight into the Press Conferences of E3 2012, now it’s time for me to review the stuff that really matters, the games.

One thing I will make clear, Best Xbox 360 game or Best PS3 game has to be an exclusive to that console. If I am just ranking the best game available on that console, am I not just giving you a preview to what I perceive to be my best of show award? I have seen this tons during Gaming Awards, and to me it is completely pointless.

So rant over, let’s get this started.

Best Action/Adventure Game

Winner: Assassins Creed III

Other Nominees

Dishonored

The Last Of Us

Tomb Raider

Hitman: Absolution

God of War: Ascension

Summary: This game is fantastic, I think everybody already knew that, but I don’t think anybody was expecting the quality that was displayed at E3. Yes we were treated to not only one new level, but  two, and I can’t even decide which one I love more. At the ubisoft press conference we watched the more conventional assassins creed level (if you can refer to anything in assassins creed as conventional) as Connor swings and climbs through 19th century forests, kills deers and stabs people with bayonets! Whilst in the Sony press conference, Connor took on the role as the captain of a ship as he partakes in all out sea-warfare! To summarise, Assassins Creed 3 looks amazing.

Best New IP

Winner: Watch Dogs

Other Nominees

The Last of Us

Beyond

Dishonored

Sleeping Dogs

Summary: E3 is all about the surprises. Sure it is fantastic to see games we have already seen that look amazing, such as Last of Us, but the thing that really gets us gamers going, is an announcement that comes completely out of nowhere. And that was the case with Watch Dogs. We don’t know a lot up to this point, but what we do know is that you control a hacker that has control over an entire cities electronics. It’s an open-world game, and has graphics that had people questioning whether this was really a current-gen game. Yes, the most likely scenario is that, that was played on a high-level PC, but you can’t deny that the game looks stunning, and I’m excited to see more of it.

Best First-Person Shooter

Winner: Far Cry 3

Other Nominees

Call Of Duty Black Ops II

Halo 4

Metro: Last Light

Medal Of Honor: Warfighter

Summary: It takes a lot for me to get excited about First-Person shooters these days, because quite simply, there are too many of them. So for a game to impress me, it had to showcase something unique, something that can re-energize a franchise or a new IP (which I think to this point is very unlikely). Call Of Duty has tried that with the new ‘Strike Force’ missions ensuring that there is branching story-lines in which you can actually fail! Yes I hate the Call of Duty franchise but I respect the bold new direction. Halo 4, well it has new bad guys and it’s made by a new developer so I might enjoy that but ultimately, Halo’s success was founded by Bungie and I’m not sure If I can trust a new developer to follow-up on that success. Medal Of Honor looks good, but I’m not willing to get my hopes up after the disaster of a first game.

So this came down to two equally fantastic looking games in Far Cry 3 and Metro: Last light, both of which have a tone that defines their game, which is completely unheard of in first-person shooters this decade (half-life aside). So why Far Cry? Well for starters, it’s an open-world game, the gameplay looks fantastic and most importantly the story line looks completely different, with an antagonist who is actually a well-defined character??!??! Say It Aint so. For years, we have been fed the same crappy Michael Bay-esque shooters, Far Cry 3 promises a change, and I am completely OK with that.

Best Third-Person Shooter

Winner: The Last Of Us

Other Nominees

Dead Space 3

Gears Of War: Judgement

Splinter Cell: Blacklist

Transformers: Fall Of Cybertron

Summary: Yeah I sort of cheated with this category. Unfortunately the third-person shooter category has almost entirely disappeared, with developers instead choosing to enter into the already over-inflated market that is first-person shooters. Sure we still get the typical run and gun third-person shooter in titles such as Gears Of War: Judgement but at this point, I don’t want another Gears. You Know, It would just be nice to, I don’t know… See a new IP for once. But as it stands, The Last of Us is played through the third-person perspective and you can shoot, so I see know problem with rewarding this fantastic game, with another award.

Best Fighting Game

Winner: Injustice: Gods Among Us

Other Nominees

Dead or Alive 5

Persona 4 Arena

Playstation All Stars: Battle Royale

Summary: The creators of Mortal Kombat, bring us a new DC Fighting franchise, Injustice: Gods Among Us. The tone of the game feels fantastic, interactive environments play a key role and transitions that see you hop between levels ensure that I am very excited about a game in a genre that feels slightly light right now. But Injustice: Gods Among us? Count me in.

Best Sports Game

Winner: Madden NFL 13

Other Nominees

Fifa 13

NBA 2K13

NHL 13

Summary: Ever since 2k lost the license for football games, standards have slipped. Mostly down to a lack of effort and features being fleshed out with a ton of gimmicks have meant that the ‘Madden’ football franchise has completely stagnated. But Finally EA have listened to their fan base, and have put in the effort worthy of an NFL game. A new Physics engine, that the game has desperately needed has been introduced and an all new career mode which introduces computer trading, an in-game story engine with a virtual twitter feed, draft coverage from Trey Wingo and much more which I don’t have time to cover. To surmise, Franchise Mode, Superstar Mode and Online Franchise have all been joined into one, meaning all of these new enhancements will be available in all three versions of the game. Yes, finally Online Franchise will actually be worth investing time in. My only critique? EA screwing up their press conference and deciding to focus on the ‘Social’ aspects of Madden rather than these admittedly cool features that would impress even the Hardcore gamer. All in all, well done EA.

Best Driving Game

Winner: Need For Speed: Most Wanted

Other Nominees

LBP Karting

Forza Horizon

Formula 1 2012

Best Playstation Vita Game

Winner: Assassins Creed: Liberation

Other Nominees

Little Big Planet

Playstation All Stars: Battle Royale

Sly Cooper: Thieves in Time

Summary: We haven’t witnessed much gameplay yet, but it’s an Assassins Creed game… On the Playstation Vita. What more needs to be said?

Best Nintendo 3DS Game

Winner: New Super Mario Brothers 2

Other Nominees

Castlevania: Lords of Shadow — Mirror Of Fate

Luigi’s Mansion: Dark Moon

Kingdom Hearts 3D: Dream Drop Distance

Summary: As disappointed as I was with the Nintendo press conference, there were admittedly some very good titles that were showcased, and that is none more evident than with the New Super Mario Brothers game. Yes the major Platforming title is back, and is better than ever. I can’t wait.

Best Nintendo Wii U Game

Winner: Pikmin 3

Other Nominees

ZombiU

Rayman Legends

New Super Mario Bros U

Assassins Creed III

Batman Arkham City

Summary: To avoid another Nintendo related rant, I’m going to pass on this one. All I will say is Pikmin 3 was one of the only bright spots in a terrible, TERRIBLE press conference.

Best PC Game

Winner: Watch Dogs

Other Nominees

Elder Scrolls V: Dawnguard

Metro: Last Light

Splinter Cell: Blacklist

Sim City

Summary: 2011 saw a return to prominence for PC gaming. With Skyrim taking home game of the year and a ton of other RPG’s being released, legitimacy was brought back to the PC. Unfortunately things don’t look quite as rosy for the end of 2012, but there are still a ton of quality games. I have run out of things to say about Watch Dogs now, because it has simply one so many awards. What I will say is, that gameplay footage at the ubisoft press conference was either on the PC or it’s a next-gen title.. I know which is more likely, and it once again emphasises the disparity between graphics on the PC and the other Consoles. I honestly can’t fathom why more people don’t utilise their PC for gaming. Better controls, better graphics and cheaper prices are surely all good things? But that debate is for another day, Congrats Watch Dogs, you look amazing.

Best Xbox 360 Game

Winner: Splinter Cell: Blacklist

Other Nominees

Halo 4

Gears Of War: Judgement

Forza: Horizon

Summary: I have trashed Microsoft consistently this past week, and it’s for good reason. The fact a driving game has made a list of four nominations emphasises that. Yes this is another year where first-party has been completely abandoned by Microsoft, and even though most award sites would mask this by nominating tons of third-party games, to make Microsoft look good, I’m here to do right by the gamers! This list epitomizes just how poorly Microsoft has managed their first party. Splinter cell: Blacklist admittedly looks like an impressive new direction for the franchise, but it isn’t the sort of game that should be winning ‘Best of E3’ awards.

Best Playstation 3 Game

Winner: The Last Of Us

Other Nominees

Beyond

God Of War: Ascension

Dust 514

Sly Cooper: Thieves In Time

Summary: Now we’re talking. I was sceptical about another triple A title entering into the over-saturated post-apocalyptic genre, but now I realise I am a fool. This is naughty dog, they’re not going to give us a poorly done game. The game to this point looks crisp and perfectly executed as you would expect from a Naughty dog title, and also has a completely different tone from that of Uncharted. The game is much more violent, you are in desperation mode, you don’t 200 rounds of bullets that you can Spray with your AK-47. This is about survival, every bullet counts and that makes for some fantastic game play dynamics. Game of the Year contender? It sure looks like it.

Best Of Show

Winner:  Assassins Creed 3

Summary: I was going to go with Watch Dogs for this award, but there is a difference between Best Surprise and Best of Show, and I hadn’t seen the latest seven minute demo which is simply mind-blowing. The Assassins franchise has certainly diminished these past few years with iterations like Revelations and Brother being  referred to as Assassins Creed 2.5 rather than a fully fledged sequel, it has even been labelled as “Ubisoft’s Call Of Duty”. But with Assasssins Creed 3, I think we can put that argument to rest.

If you haven’t seen the seven minute demo I have just previously referred to, then go and watch it here http://www.gametrailers.com/video/e3-2012-assassins-creed/732212 like.. right now. These awards can wait. I had already seen the actual gameplay, but I had completely overlooked some of the things that the developer later pointed out with the commentary. The new combat system and new parkour animations were fairly obvious additions but it was the minor subtleties that I had missed out on. Uneven terrain, dramatically improved AI and running assassinations (just to name a few) were all things I overlooked in the original video. This game looks simply fantastic, it has game of the year written all over it and I would just like to take to say Thank you Ubisoft. You single-handedly saved E3.

E3 2012 Review Part 1 – Grading The Press Conferences

The Electronic Entertainment Expo was certainly slightly more subdued than previous iterations, a lack of surprises assured us of that. But there was still a ton of high quality games on show, most of which have either been pushed back to Q1 of 2013, or Q1 of 2013 was in facttheir original release date, meaning 2013 already looks stacked. So for the big five press conferences to deliver a great presentation, it would ultimately be the software that defined their success.

Microsoft

I actually left this press conference slightly more hopeful than last years disasters, however that is still not an awful lot of praise because well… last years was a disaster. But at least this year Microsoft moved away from feeding dozens of awful Kinect games down our  throats. We may still have been provided with half an hour of ‘entertainment’ packages and social experiences with announcements such as smart glass which albeit did look very impressive, but for the most part, the distinct focus was on games.

Now the only reason I still did not come away impressed with this press conference, was because of the games that we were shown. I don’t need to see another Forza, at this point I don’t even want another Gears of War. A re-occurring feature throughout the entire software announcements from the Microsoft press conference were the announcement of sequels. Despite the fact that bungie said they would not be developing any more Halo Games, microsoft still found a way to release a Halo 4. Luckily for Microsoft, the third party titles saved them. Tomb Raider, as expected, looked fantastic and they can always rely on Call of Duty to give them a spark. I like the direction that this new Call of Duty is taking, unfortunately, Treyarch neglected to show us that new direction with the strike force missions, choosing instead to go with the ‘same-old’ alternative, in your typical, linear Call of Duty Mission.

I admit that the new Halo looked great, as did the new Splinter Cell but if there is one thing that this press conference emphasised, its that Microsoft (at least for this console cycle) has abandoned the first party titles. Choosing instead to release the tried and tested formula of succesful franchises such as Halo and Gears, hoping that they can produce similar success to previous iterations. It’s not great for us gamers, but Microsoft know what they are doing and it is probably a strategy that works most effectively for them. Unfortunately, that isn’t going to be taken account in their grade.

Grade: C-

Electronic Arts

Unfortunately, EA suffered the same fate as Microsoft. Choosing to announce new sequels rather than new IP’s, and those new sequels did not look all that impressive. Dead Space 3 has seemingly taken a completely different direction, a direction I am not sure fits the franchise. I don’t think we need co-op in Dead Space, but we are getting it. It also seems that Dead Space is going to take the Resident Evil route, choosing to focus more on the action genre rather than the horror, and we know how well that worked out for Capcom.

Now the Sports Titles, which are lets face it, a prominent feature of Electronic Arts, did seem to breed new life. Madden announced a new physics engine which promises to be one of the most revolutionary gameplay features in all of the sports titles. But unfortunately, they decided to focus more on Madden ‘Social’, and didn’t focus at all on titles such as the critically acclaimed NHL series which has been a great success for EA.

Grade: D-

Ubisoft

I will repeat what I said earlier, GAMES is what was going to win E3 this year. And whilst EA and Microsoft took a different direction, GAMES is what we got with Ubisoft. Yes, our enjoyment was slightly hampered by those painful Hosts, but overall, the content was most definitely there. We have to start with what appears to be the shock of E3 in ‘Watch Dogs’. A completely new IP that has you take control of a hacker who has control over all electronics in the city. A new IP this late in the console cycle even had some people questioning whether this was a next gen title, that’s how good this game looks.

Then we had Assassins Creed 3, which despite being a sequel, looks completely stunning. Before E3 we had only been granted a trailer of Ubisoft’s latest title, but with a solid 10minutes of gameplay footage, we certainly know what this game is about now. Yuy play as Connor Kenway a man drawn into the fight after his home is attacked by colonists. Throughout the duration of the 30 year time span of the game, Connor will encounter various historical figures including George Washington and Benjamin franklin, but the intentions and reasoning for these encounters is unclear at this point. So there is two games that look fantastic.

Combine those two marquee titles, with Far Cry 3, which looked stunning as it opened the conference and wii u titles rayman and Zombiu ensured that the content of Ubisoft’s conference was stacked full of games. The only downside really was the ten minutes designated to an esports title, and the poor hosting but overall, a very strong showing from Ubisoft, who in the past have been the embarrassment of E3.

Grade: A

Sony

Unlike Microsoft, Sony showed that they were still all about the gamer. The show opened with a new IP, as Quantic Dream unveiled their latest Project Beyond, which looked visually stunning however with the four minutes of footage that we were shown, there was no real indication as to how the gameplay mechanics will fit in, into the new title. And Sony also closed with a new IP, as we were provided with our first glimpse of gameplay from Naughty Dog’s The Last of Us. Let me just make something perfectly clear, this is completely different from Uncharted. Sure it might ultimately utilise similar gameplay mechanics, the tone, visuals and story are completely different. The game is brutal, you will see Joel kill someone from repeated blows with the but of gun, it is after all necessary when you only have 6 bullets in your gun. And that limited ammo also enhances the experience, as it ensures that every bullet you use HAS to matter. Trust me, it is very unlikely you will be spraying bullets with an AK-47 in this title. Everything you do feels like it has consequences, and even with this early look at the game, it has game of the year written all over it.

The content in the middle of those two IP’s wasn’t too bad either. We got some fantastic looking third-party titles with Far Cry 3 co-op and stunning new gameplay from Assassins Creed III as you play as the captain of a ship.

The only disappointment from the conference was the announcement of Wonderbooks. I wouldn’t even have minded it being in the conference, as I can appreciate that even though it doesn’t adhere to me, it does suit a certain demographic however, the fact that they dedicated a good 15 minutes on this title was completely unnecessary. That was more than any other game on show. But overall, a good showing by Sony who continued to focus on the games. The fact I almost completely forgot about the new God of War title, highlights just how many first-party title they had on show, even with it being this late in the console cycle.

Grade: B+

Nintendo

Oh boy, I’m just going to go out and say it, this was the worst conference of the lot, and it was also, conveniently, the most important press conference of the lot with Nintendo being the only conference where new hardware was to be the focus. Yes, if Nintendo wanted to have a successful conference, then the WiiU would have to impress. Unfortunately, it didn’t. It’s not even the software lineup that detracted from the conference. Pikmin looked fantastic, as did the new Luigi’s mansion title but the whole conference just felt wooden. The presentation was poor, and despite being promised 23 new titles by Reggie at the start of the conference, I can imagine that most of those were featured in the minute-long montages. There just wasn’t enough. Where was the new Zelda for the launch of a new console? Even a new metroid? Sorry Nintendo, you screwed this up. You didn’t even give us a release date or a price point that may atleast get us slightly optimistic.

Grade: F

Game of Thrones Season Finale – ‘Valar Morghulis’ (2×10) Review

I have made it clear for quite a while now that I preferred Season 1 to Season 2.  There was a bigger emphasis on characterisation, there was focus, everything these characters did, it felt like there would be consequences. With Season 2, new characters were introduced, returning characters recieved more prominent roles and it all combined to contradict the story-telling of Season 1. Major characters would possibly receive one maybe two scenes per episode, and instead of giving the series scope, it removed all empathy I had for these characters. Blackwater negated that slightly, as it gave the show the focus that it desperately need but ‘Valar Morghulis’, the Season Finale only re-emphasised my initial beliefs, as it reverted back to the constrained story-telling that had hampered the majority of season 2.

So lets get the negatives out of the way first. Daenerys’ Qarth storyline has been among the weakest of the series so far and I love her character. Unfortunately, she has suffered the same fate as many of the characters from this season, in that she simply didn’t get enough screen time. It’s hard to imagine she has been granted more than half an hour of screen time for the entire season but the writers appeared to address that in the season finale with Qarth’s strongest moments yet. Viewers were rewarded with a fantastic scene in which Drogo returned to our screens, now I don’t care if this was the Warlock’s magic because despite the fact it is more than likely just an illusion, it felt real and that is in no part down to the fantastic chemistry between Dany and Drogo.

Yes, the Warlock was defeated far too easily, but I guess that just emphasises everything about Game of thrones this year. It has all felt slightly rushed, and with the lack of build up to this moment, it was only fitting that the events taking place in the House of the Unding, ended abruptly. Atleast now, it feels like Daenerys has a purpose; she’s got her dragons back, she’s got enough wealth to get her a ship, and maybe we’ll finally see Dany interact with the main cast next season? Ultimately a strong end, to a fairly weak story arc for Daenerys, especially considering how compelling her story was in Season 1.

I can’t really comment that much on the John Snow/Wildling scenes from the finale as well.. He has hardly been a prominent feature on our television sets. It simply felt like it didn’t matter, however with Snow set to meet Mans Raider, establishing himself as a spy within the Wildling’s, at least, much like with Dany’s storyline, he should have a greater role in Season 3.

Yes I am a grumpy old git as we did get some fantastic moments. Tyrion Lannister has felt like one of the few characters who we could not only relate to, but also felt important in the overall game. With his storyline, it wasn’t just about moving the chess pieces to set up some greater pay-off, and one thing the finale did provide was a fantastic conclusion to Tyrion’s story arc. Yes, we got that fantastic moment between Shae and Tyrion as he admits, that his time as hand have been the best moments of his life. He enjoyed the deceit and manipulation that have become so crucial in your ability to be Hand to the King. Ned Stark never played the game, and he paid the ultimate price. Tyrion did that and more, before he got it all stripped away as Tywin Lannister not only took all of the credit for the success of Blackwater, but also took back his role as Hand of the King, leaving our loveable imp without purpose. It may not be great to be Tyrion right now, but it should be fascinating to see how Tyrion adapts to his new role, or lack there of.

Another character whose progressions have been enjoyable was Theon Greyjoy’s. We got a great conversation between Theon and Luwin as he admits that even though it is probably all a big facade, he’s far too involved to turn back now. This definitley did a great job of creating sympathy for the death of Master Luwin but also emphasised the tragic nature of Theon’s character, as despite all the progression he has made, building up to the moment where he delivers an admittedly good speech, is completely negated with a single strike to the head. It was definitely one of the better moments of the finale however I still need an explanation as to why Winterfell was left to burn at the end and I’m not sure we will get it.

But ultimately, ‘Valar Morghulis’ will be remembered for its final five minutes. A final five minutes that granted us our first true glimpse of the ‘others’ or the white walkers and a final five minutes so compelling, that I almost completely forgot about all of the disappointing scenes from earlier in the episode.

Season 2 of Game of Thrones was definitely not on the level of Season 1. Unlike with the first season, season 2 never felt like there were any true consequences. Stannis was defeated just for him to gain fresh momentum to launch a new attack. Dany lost her dragons just for her to well… get them back and the only major deaths for the season were in the form of Master Luwin, who lets face it, is not on the same level as Ned Stark. What we can take from Season 2 is a fantastic premise for the third season. As mentioned earlier, Dany and John Sow both have fresh directions, Tyrion has a lack of direction and of course those final five minutes. It all combines for what should serve as a fantastic Season 3 but the prospect of a great season next year cannot completely negate my disappointment of this current season. We were treated to one fantastic episode in ‘Blackwater’ and a bunch of fantastic scenes, mainly from Tyrion. But as a Season as a whole, it struggled at times. The constant shifting of locale made the season feel dis-jointed, but at least with this finale, I can take comfort in the fact that we should be getting a fantastic season 3.

Game Of Thrones – ‘Blackwater’ (2×09) Review

When Ned Stark was executed in ‘Baelor’, Episode 9 of the first season, we were promised a show that would break from the typical conventions of a television show. It would no longer revolve its story around a true ‘main’ character, there would be a wider focus, with everybody getting their share of the spotlight. New characters were introduced, returning characters well, returned, some saw their demise early and some have been prevalent throughout the entire season. And with that expanded cast, it was always going to be hard for the writers to manage their screen times. Sometimes the balance had been perfected, sometimes, as emphasised in the previous episode ‘The Prince of Winterfell’, the episode lacked direction, with all of the scenes feeling thrown together and desultory as the audience was unsure how these scenes correlate with one another.

Perhaps one of the main reasons why I loved this episode so much, was the fact that it returned to the narrative techniques of the first season. In ‘Blackwater’ there was a clear focus, we wouldn’t be shifting across continents, Stannis Baratheon was about to attack, strategies needed constructing and the emotional consequences needed to be displayed. The only way to successfully display those three key components, was by devoting the entire episode to this one, pivotal battle. And by dedicating the entire episode to the events at Westeros, we were not only presented with a distinct focus that this season had lacked for the majority, but it also emphasised the sheer scale and importance of this battle. Yes, somewhere at this point in time, John Snow is still being held captive and Dany is still searching for her dragons, but at this conjunction, none of that matters, because the repercussions of ‘Blackwater’ will have affected everyone, on and off-screen.

With focus, it typically allows certain characters to prosper. No matter what your criticisms of this season, one thing that has been a consistent pleasure is the acting prowess of Peter Dinklage and the character he portrays, in Tyrion Lannister. Yes this was Tyrion’s most prominent episode yet, and for the first time we get the viewing pleasure, of seeing a character at least come slightly close to replicating the screen time that Ned recieved from last season. This will undoubtedly be the episode that Dinklage submits for emmy nominations, in what was a  simply fantastic ride. Beginning with the despair as perceptions indicated that maybe Tyrion wouldn’t survive this battle. To the growth, in what was a fantastic moment, as Tyrion delivered his speech to the soldiers. During the beginning, Tyrion and Soldiers alike, struggled to comprehend the idea of success, before being united behind the ‘hey there might be a slight chance that maybe we can win somehow come out of this alive’, philosophy. It was a great scene, and one which didn’t signify the end of Tyrion for this episode, no Tyrion was struck with a potentially fatal blow during the final battle, a potentially fatal blow that leaves the ‘end’ of Tyrion unclear, but takes place moments before, the ‘end’ of the battle is realised. Yes Tywin Lannister, who’s prescence was definitley welcomed after the mis-direction from last week, as he claimed that he would be launching a surprise attack on Robb Stark’s army, came to the rescue, to culminate a truly fantastic sequence of events.

However despite that focus I just made reference to, there were still several character arcs that required key moments even within Westeros. Hound made his exit, as he refused to fight for King Joffrey, King Joffrey with the choice between Fighting and fleeing, took the cowardly way out (staying consistent to his character) and we saw the early stages of the maturation of Sansa. But possibly the most striking of all was Cersei’s storyline. We have seen her desperation portrayed in the past, as she questioned the purpose of her life. However the unbearable tension, as we wonder how many drops she is going to give her youngest son, Tommen before realising she is going to make him drink the whole bottle, was to the point of disturbing. We witnessed her drunken rants throughout the entire episode, but never did we truly realise (until now) that these were the depths for which she was willing to sink. It should be fascinating to see the repercussions of that moment, as she has to deal with the, guilt (?) of the events that transpired. Fantastic stuff, from a character that has really grown on me this season. We never really got to see this side of Cersei in Season 1 , but with the emergence of Joffrey as King, and her (questionable) rise in authority, the extra material has really benefited Lena Headey, who has been great this season.

And to this point I have not even mentioned the action sequences. Readers of the books, and fans of the show alike, have been disappointed with the way in which the writers have dealt with the battles so far, choosing to show the aftermath rather than the fight itself. But dam if those cost-saving measures, can’t be appreciated now. The sequence with the wildfire was fantastically realised, and credit to the directors for delivering in an episode in which most of the hype that it garnered, was from the potentially fantastic battle scenes, and boy did they deliver.

Some will remember this episode for the stellar action sequences. But at its heart ‘Blackwater’ was just another (albeit fantastic) episode of progression for these characters. The battle may have provided context, but ultimately, I can leave this episode satisfied that Cersei’s emotional journey was just as satisfactory as the fantastic action sequences. Next week, I can understand that the writers need to return to the typical structure of the season, with the camera spanning continents, but if this episode’s positive reaction has proved anything, sometimes scale can be a burden and refrain, well maybe refrain is a good thing.

House Series Finale Review

Some people gave up on the show after Season 5. Some people endured all 8 seasons, through the good and the horrible. Some people who watched the finale had never watched the show before. Ultimately, it was going to be impossible for the writers to satisfy every demographic, but I can leave a show I have invested so much time in, content that the writers managed to perfectly wrap up the series long story arc, the characterisation of House, (who is easily in the top 10 for most compelling characters on television) and his relationship with his best friend, Wilson.

Some people will say that the whole House faking his own death thing was a ‘cop out’ but  it not only perfectly acknowledged a theme that has been prevalent since its foundations, in its similarity to Sherlock Holmes but also sent a perfect message, that maybe finally, House has changed. By faking his own death, he gave up the one thing that he truly loved, the Puzzle. He will no longer be able to practice medicine, there is no way around this one, maybe he will spend his final days under a new alias saving lives in Somalia, but that wasn’t the message the writers were trying to deliver. The message was that maybe, House has finally changed. For eight seasons, we have seen him consistently ‘make progress’ and then revert back to his same narcassistic mannerisms, but finally in the series finale of the show, we witnessed him give up the one thing he truly loved, the puzzle, to be with Wilson for his final five months. That to me, is progression, and perfectly befits the story that has been told not just from this season, but the series as a whole.

The majority of the episode was spent inside House’s psyche, and whilst once again, people may be critical of what may appear like some elaborate ‘plot device’ to allow all of the characters from the past to return, it actually fit perfectly with what has made House so great at times, these past eight years. House is at its best when it questions morals and studies the human psyche. Debates with Cameron over ethics, made for some of the most compelling moments of the series, and that’s because during these moments, House was more than the average serialised drama, it delivered a message. And in this final episode, we get one final debate as House questions the meaning of life, whilst all of his former colleagues/friends give their perspective. One particular highlight of those scenes, was in fact the scenes with Cameron, who was surprisingly the one person who tried to persuade House to just ‘let go’ because House has faced so much inner turmoil, that he deserves to just “give up”. I have and will say on numerous occasions during this review that the episode worked perfectly in wrapping up the series, but it also wrapped up the episode perfectly, as when House rode off in the sunset with his best friend, he finally realised that his life did in fact have meaning, and put to rest that one final debate.

The thing I loved most about the finale was the fate that most series finale’s suffer from, in that it just tries to wrap everything up in a neat bow. With the House finale, we were never given that same closure. We may have been provided glimpses of what these character’s futures entailed but it never fully delved us into their new lives. Chase looks set to replace House, but his relationship status with Adams was not addressed. Taub is trying to become more of a family man but we still don’t know if this time it is for real. And Cameron is finally trying to move on from House, but whether or not she can actually sustain that, is unclear. We are given glimpses into their lives, but their is still a sense that this world is on-going, these characters are still going through progression, even when the series has finished. We don’t know what obstacles they will face in the future, we will never know, but the simple idea that ‘House’ is still continuing after it has ended, gives me great comfort.

House at its worst, was an average serialised drama, but at its best, it made for the most compelling 45 minutes provided from any show on network television. The final 45 minutes of House won’t be remembered like I remember ‘Three Stories’ but it will always be remembered in my mind, as a perfect conclusion, to a show that on its day, was perfection.

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