Resident Evil 5 Review

Ron and I are pretty much done with Resident Evil 5. Now that I’ve almost completed the game, I feel confident that I can go back and replay the levels to completion without getting the heebie-jeebies too much. I’m terrible with the horror genre. Even Shaun of the Dead gave me nightmares.

But here’s what we did:
The game is made for two players. If you don’t have a player 2, the computer will take over the role of your partner.
I took Chris, while Ron took the role of Chris’ partner, Sheva. My only recommendation is that Sheva should be the long-range character. In our case, I’m always long range because getting close to the zombified enemies freaks me out too much. Also, it makes me nervous to be so close to the enemy! When I played WoW, I was always the healer. It’s my thing.

Anyway, Sheva should definitely be focusing on distance shooting. If you fully upgrade the S75 through Sheva, a longbow with unlimited ammunition unlocks. It costs 50,000 and does not help you aim. If you fully upgrade the VZ61 machine gun through Chris, you unlock a gatling gun for 50,000 as well with unlimited munitions. It’s accuracy is low, but makes up for it with quantity. By fully upgrading the M92F, you unlock a Beretta M93R. It fires in three round bursts, but has no critical or piercing rating.

Ron and I have split it up like this:
As Chris, I mainly wield the M92F, almost fully upgraded. However, I just got the Desert Eagle and I’m absolutely in love with it. However, it uses magnum ammunition which is rare throughout the game. My favorite rifle is the S75 if I need to take out a long range target with no pressure, since it is bolt-action. However, I just got the H&K PSG1, and I am really loving it. You are able to upgrade the scope, can hold up to 15 rounds, and the reload time is significantly less. Sometimes I use this in a semi-close range setting in conjunction with Ron’s short range firepower – he’ll knock them back, and I will take them out. With this usage, the scope has not been upgraded at all. With the upgrades, it’s immensely useful for extremely long-range targets. (Such as BSAA emblems.) In all honestly, my accuracy is best with the un-upgraded scope on the H&K PSG1. IMHO, the reticule is easier for me to use, but I have an easier time re-targeting enemies after Ron blasts them away with his shotgun.

In this fashion, I am using only handgun, magnum, and rifle ammo. Ron, as the short-range munitions gal, wields a machine gun and shotgun. Not sure what exactly he’s using, but if I had to guess, it’s maybe a Hydra and either a SIG 556 or AK-74. He does not use a handgun at all. Because the ammunition is split, there is no contest over ammo finds.

There are some parts of the game where only one character can advance, and then is required to complete a task in order to let the other advance as well. Ron, by wielding the short-range weapons has encountered some difficulty with Sheva getting through these encounters.

The story?
It picks up right where Resident Evil 4 left off, but not without some gaps. The most noticeable difference is that Chris is now amazingly ripped. I’m guessing that they wanted to give the inference that in the gap of time, Chris started to hit the gym, but with the size of his biceps – I would guess he’s on steroids, too. But for a story lover like me, the game definitely delivered. It’s nothing too detailed, but just enough to make me feel like I’m actually running through this deathtrap of a zombie-fest for a reason.

I love being the woman. In fact, with all of my RPG playing – I have always been a woman. (Maybe it’s because I AM a woman. But I don’t know. It could be anything.) This was a new experience for me that I haven’t minded, but for a very simple reason: Ron and I play Resident Evil 5 offline. We network together through a program called Hamatchi, and gaming is made possible by a program called TeknoGods. It’s much easier to be the “host” of a game, which in this instance would be Chris. Itching to get the technological details set aside and jump into the game – I opted to be the host. I am immensely grateful for this setup for another reason as well. Windows LIVE is incredibly annoying. Although I only had my XBOX for a few days before I traded it in for a PS3, the interface and accompanying noises bugged the brains out of me. Seriously. If you’re stuck between gaming consoles, go for the PS3. The online play is free with no subscription fees. The interface is easier to use, more elegant looking, and setting it up won’t leave you ripping your hair out. It comes with a wireless adapter already built into the thing, so you basically just need to plug it in, set up your profile, and you’re good to go.

Back to Resident Evil…
It’s not a straight up shooter. There are puzzles, and many instances where you need to use the partnership system. You won’t have a heart attack like I almost did during Half-Life – you get fair warning when a pack of zombies are about to ambush you sometimes. There may either be a short cut-scene, or if you’re very clever, you’ll see a small bit of them while they’re hiding. And if the door’s closed, you should always be wary – but that’s just good common sense.

This game requires you to be able to shoot. High powered enemies sometimes have anatomical soft spots which you need to hit in order to down them, and many times it’s a very small target. BSAA emblems are hidden throughout the game, which require a steady hand and often a strong scope to hit. By shooting all 30 emblems in the game, you can unlock Easter Eggs such as special costumes, among other things. I’ll probably say something about it once I get all the targets. (Sheva gets a teeny “tribal outfit” bikini complete with body paint, and Chris gets a zebra suit. Yes. A zebra striped outfit. I think it’s definitely worth it.)

However, I’m apparently super awesome with rifles. Especially sniper rifles – so I’ve been doing well on that front. I think the key is to just relax and get a feel for the movement of the enemies. They’ll dodge, jump, evade, and do everything they can to avoid you, but they also pause to reload, find a target, etc. The only enemies that scare me are the really tall guys in the masks in the “tribal” areas, and the guys with spiked shields. I’m not so good with machine guns, and I think it’s because I panic when I’m too close to… anything, really. If you check my achievements and scores, I have quite a few harmless animal kills. Whoops.

All in all…
It’s always useful to keep a grenade or rocket launcher around. Both, really. I think the grenade launcher has been the most useful since you will be able to eventually buy explosive, acid, flame, and flash rounds for it at a very inexpensive price.

Everything else that is important…
*You get a knife, but it’s useless for anything but smashing boxes and vases for loot.
*When you shoot an enemy at close range, you will push them back. You will then get a chance to melee them for a high amount of damage.
*This game is in real time. There is no pausing.
*You can only carry 9 items at a time, and store the rest in your inventory. You can exchange items with your partner, but it’s done in real time. The fight doesn’t stop.
*Even though it’s a cut-scene, you probably still need to control your character.
*You cannot buy ammunition. You can only use what you find, so use wisely, and learn how to shoot!
*You can only buy a weapon once you find it in-game.
*Keep some first aid on you, but if you’re out, you can still resuscitate your partner from ‘dying’ and restore them to ‘just-at-the-brink-of-death’.
*Some fights are not about firepower, but rather about survival.
*Sunlight lasers are hot, and will kill you, but somehow the giant zombies will survive. Go figure.
*RE5 has their own brand of the “red-shirt” guys.

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How I Set Up Wireless on my PlayStation3 (PS3) to Work with a WRT54G Router

It’s not impossible, but tricky. Calling tech support never helps, so I suppose my answer is to try and fix it until either A) it works, or B) it breaks. In this case, I guess I got lucky.

On your router:
-Type 192.168.1.1 to pull up the inner workings of your router. If you haven’t fiddled with anything, the login is probably just “admin” twice.
-In the WIRELESS tab, change the wireless channel to 11. Save settings.
-In the ADVANCED WIRELESS SETTINGS tab, change the beacon interval to 75, fragmentation threshold to 2306, and the RTS threshold to 2306. Save settings.
-Head to APPLICATIONS & GAMING and hit DMZ. Choose something below your router. Arbitrarily, I chose 192.168.1.99
-Disable uPnP.

On the PlayStation 3:
1. Disable Media Sharing. (If you’re just playing games, you probably won’t need this.)
2. Go to Network Settings, and when setting up the internet, do NOT choose “Easy”. Choose “Custom”.
3. When you get to your IP, manually enter whatever you put in the router under “DMZ”. If you don’t know the rest of your information, go into your computer’s command prompt (type “cmd” into RUN), and type “ipconfig /all”.
4. Disable uPnP.

If I had to grab at straws here, I think maybe the most important thing is to maybe give it a static IP. Or get DD-WRT firmware?

MACBETH! And Body Worlds!

I just got home from opening night, and it was a blast! Here’s how the day went:

Got up early in the morning – well, early enough when you’re on vacation. My dad was making pancakes, multi-grain toasted bagels, and french toast. He has a cough, but it’s the kind of non-productive cough that you can’t get rid of, and annoys you until you finally pop a chest muscle. He refuses to take medicine! I think he could use a Z-pak, honestly, the cough says respiratory bacterial infection to me, plain and simple. But enough pharmacy talk!

After breakfast, snippets of conversation pretty much went like this:
“Should we pack sunblock? Where’s the sunblock?! We need the sunblock!”

“I looked up the place on Google street view, and it looks like a broken down house.”
Me: “It’s a historic church building. The whole city looks like that.”

The best was left unsaid. I kept telling my mom that the people in the Body World exhibit at the Franklin Institute were not real, and only facsimiles. When I had finally calmed her down so that she wasn’t wide-eyed and panicking like a hunted bunny – the woman next to us in the elevator had to say, “Oh no, they’re definitely real bodies!” Which only served to wrench open my mother’s eyelids even wider.

Once inside of the exhibit, I managed to coax her over to one person, with the back cut away so you could observe the spinal column. But only for a few seconds. She managed to find the one video monitor in the whole place displaying live people – pleasant images of babies playing in white diapers. She had a fixed, tunnel vision while ignoring the suspended cadavers to the side.

My dad thoroughly took it all in, but didn’t get too close. He was taken back to good memories of being a medical student observing autopsies. My first impressions as I walked in were, “I feel like I’m at work.” while I quickly glimpsed over the skeletal displays. Sometimes I just couldn’t help myself, and I had to inspect the bodies for age, sex, and race. It’s just an instinct. But the absolute beauty of the full body displays was aesthetically pleasing, in a very shocking way. The business of death has its own evoked feelings and images, but the brilliant mind of von Hagens brings a sharp sense of wonder, beauty, and curiosity. Nothing I saw was grotesque, except maybe some eyeballs. But I have my own thing about eyeballs. As a child, I dissected an eyeball. It was possibly the worst specimen you could ever hand to a grammar school child to dissect – no matter how “gifted and talented”. You should start kids off easy, like a digestive tract or something.

Anyway! I was extremely pleased with the full body displays. It was a little disappointing that pictures were not allowed, and there were even police officers stationed inside at some points. (Bodies can attract weird people. The osteology lab where I worked was rigged with many silent alarms. One of which was once tripped by a stray cat… that’s a whole other story!) But my favorite was called “The Angel”. It was a woman incised at the back in such a way that the muscles lifted away into wing shapes. She was looking and reaching towards the ceiling; it was a very thoughtful and moving posture.

Other highlights were “The Ringmaster”, a body positioned like a gymnast on the rings, with slices of flesh cut away leaving only rings around the torso and limbs to illustrate how much flesh adds to the small skeletal structure. There were fantastic slices (How does he slice whole people so precisely?) of bodies, obese and skinny. Comparison specimens from the ailed and the healthy. A man sliced and expanded vertically – if you’ve ever seen the movie “The Cell”, you’ll know what I’m talking about (the horse!). There were nervous and circulatory systems singularly displayed in anatomical position. I can’t even begin to imagine the skill needed to remove such things!

There was “Drawer Man” with blocks of flesh removed and slid out, to show how compact the organs were. There was a soccer player, a ballet dancer, ice skaters together, and a five month pregnant woman. I never imagined that the top half of your stomach is your organs, and the bottom your child. There were infants, fetuses, old, and a skateboarding teenager. The essence of life was captured with the shells of those who once bore it.

There were also many animals! There was a large two humped camel. If you don’t know how large camels are, just imagine someone standing on your head – and that is how tall the camel is. There was a lamb, outlined only with it’s circulatory system.

One of the interesting things I noted on almost all of the full bodies, was that belly button, sex organs and nipples would be left alone. It was almost as if they were identity markers, an integral rope between the shell of what was and the catalysts of new life.

I will never forget von Hagens. Not only did he invent the interesting procedure of Plastination, but he also helped bring Ron and I closer together. One of the first things we ever did together was watch von Hagens perform autopsies on a male and female. Years later, we still talk about the overly huge saw used to slice open the uterus. I still question why such a giant saw was needed anyway, but the guy is a genius, and if he needs a giant saw, then he needs a giant saw.


After a quick bite to eat at Little John’s Pizzeria right next door to the Franklin Institute. The veggie wrap was delicious, and my parents report that the Philly cheese-steak in Philadelphia was amazing.

To be continued…

Cloth Menstrual Pads & Philly Update

Macbeth’s Witches came together without a hitch. After a long night of sewing and mostly serging, the costume was received with some pretty good comments. I was then invited to work on Puck from A Midsummer’s Nights Dream for the Philly Shakespeare Theater. I’m extremely excited, as this costume includes some interesting pieces…

I am currently trying to force my way into the costume design program at Boston University. Vicki recommends that I take some time off after undergrad and get some work experience, which sounds pretty good to me. I am also looking at a two year program from BU as well as the six year graduate program.

Anyway, onto the projects! The biggest project on my mind, that is no work related is for cloth menstrual pads. First, I must address the first though about it: “That is so gross!” to be honest, the idea if what is impure is a complex anthropological idea. However, this blog is about sewing and not my area of academic research. So my opiniated answer is this… What must really be disgusting is the person cleaning the bathroom where multitudes of women dispose of their products. They leave residue, and wrappers, and used paraphernalia. What is even more disgusting is that it will take hundreds to thousands of years for all of these one use only products to decompose.

It is not a very environmentally friendly solution. Even more, is that these feminine products can be uncomfortable and potentially socially taboo as is the case in Africa. Especially in Africa, a steady supply of one use products can not be guaranteed, so a reusable solution would be ideal.

For more practical American use, not only are they comfortable but environmentally friendly. What is astounding to me is that there is such a cultural fear of our own bodily functions, that we are paralyzed into environmentally destructive methods to avoid our own social taboos. We rely on one use items so as to live a life of lazy luxury.

Anyway, I am planning a large bulk order of PUL material for reusable pads. Some for myself, most for donation to Africa and Somalia. If anyone wants information or a sewing pattern, you can email me at amytopo@gmail.com.

So onto the benefits! No more trash talk! Not only are reusable pads comfortable and biodegradeable, they are extremely discreet with no TSS. Many retail disposable brands sell small sized, skinny products that do not provide coverage or stay. A big bonus is having a personalized set that are specifically tailored to your needs and size, and especially the type of underthings that you wear.