One camera, three characters, and 80 minutes of boredom.
4 October 2011
There really isn't a whole lot to say about Skew. The entire film is a budget PoV single camera piece in the same style as the Blair Witch Project. While the Blair Witch Project did has some generally creepy scenes, Skew really does not. What it does have are a lot of dead scene that drag on and on.
The plot is centered around a camera which seems to be able to mark people who are about to die. Only the film's protagonist and cameraman, Simon, can see the blotches which obscure the faces of those about to be killed. Once it becomes apparent to Simon and his friends that something is terribly wrong with the camera, a considerable portion of the rest of the film are just scenes where Simon's friends try to get him to stop filming and Simon makes really lame excuses to keep filming.
The film isn't even 90 minutes long, but I wasn't even half way through it by the time I started to feel like it was just dragging on way too much. To cap it all off, there's a lame plot twist at the end which most people will see coming from the start of the movie. Yes, it's that predictable.
The only thing that I find interesting about the film is that fact that it's quite short yet drags on and on, making it seem like a much longer movie. I don't know if this originally started off as a short film project, but I feel like that's the only way it ever could succeeded. Cut out a solid 50 minutes and make it a short film. It might be more watchable then.
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A great game that was marred by the years it was stuck in development hell.
22 June 2007
Anyone who follows PC games has probably heard about S.T.A.L.K.E.R. at one time. It was announced way back in November of 2001 and subsequently went through so many delays that it started to look like it would just end up as another overly ambitious vaporware game. But it eventually made its way to store selves.
It wasn't very long after the release that it became very evident that S.T.A.L.K.E.R. had been released just a little too early. It had numerous bugs on ATI and NVIDIA chipsets, it didn't support vista, and the multiplier felt like it was permanently stuck in alpha development. These problems compounded on top of the fact that the tiny patches that CSC released to "fix" some of the in game glitches did nothing to address the games bugs. Whether or not the game actually ran on system using the ATI chipsets which had the most problems, came down to how skilled the individual users were at tweaking the game.
These issues wouldn't be so overwhelming if S.T.A.L.K.E.R. had been running on as state of the art engine. But it wasn't, S.T.A.L.K.E.R. ran on a dated engine known as "X-RAY". Although not terrible looking the X-RAY engine was easily surpassed by other modern engine like the unreal 3. The main reason why this game ended up looking dated was because of the numerous delays it went through. If it had been released back in 2003 than it would have absolutely blown everything else away but that was four years ago. Instead players are left with a dated engine that contains numerous bugs and glitches that really should have been fixed during its lengthy development.
Despite these problems when it comes to the actually gameplay S.T.A.L.K.E.R. really shines. It combines many elements from RPGs and FPSs from a vast and open world to a some very solid and in-depth combat. Although the AI can be buggy and a little stupid in a handful of situations, most of the time it's very good and on par with games like F.E.A.R. It also contains some very realistic ballistic physics that helps draw the player further into the games world. All of these elements combine to give a very immersive and complete feel to the game.
In the end if you can get past the games initial flaws you'll find a refreshing and engaging experience. Although nothing in this game is revolutionary (all of the features have been in previous games like fallout, system shock, deus ex, graw, and elder scrolls), they have never been combined together quite like they are in S.T.A.L.K.E.R.
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