Tag Archives: FX

The FX slogan in action

I always loved the FX slogan, it is true, and it is at the centre of entertainment. Yet is it at the centre of viable analytics? Is a result merely presented as an anecdote more acceptable? We seem to lack the ability to take a step back and look at it in a clinical setting, because it is not always about the mere setting.

A scientist will show you how expensive progress exactly is.
A diplomat makes you look forward to the invoice attached to it.

This is a setting that we seem to laugh at. Now take this in a very different direction: ‘A person who is 30% white is still 70% guilty‘. You are not laughing now are you? Take this to the next level with KTVU naming the crew of a plane crash (at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gpP2S6c74Ts), still having fun? The people connected to Asiana Flight 214 are not, I am certain of that. So when we see this, where do we go? Well we need to take a short pit stop when we address something that I have seen in my surrounding. The practice is not wrong, it can be loaded and it can blow up in your face if you do it wrong.

To get this we need to look at 2009, when Google’s Chief Economist Dr. Hal R. Varian told the audience: “The ability to take data—to be able to understand it, to process it, to extract value from it, to visualize it, to communicate it—that’s going to be a hugely important skill in the next decades“, this is true, it has been true for decades. So as data becomes is found everywhere it becomes the setting of an almost opposition. To get data from almost common sense (where everyone seemingly gets it, to a stage that the presentation of numbers, with a story, almost any story that fits we get to see that companies are desperately searching for talent with data skills and they make it worse by trying to find people who can tell a story. Yet where is the story the value? Is that because it is more believable, or because it fits the moment? Yet that danger is now growing as well. You see each quarter the story needs to be amended and builds upon the previous story and investors have a much better memory than some realise. This is where Forbes gets us with “Interestingly, much of the current hiring emphasis has centered on the data preparation and analysis skills—not the “last mile” skills that help convert insights into actions. Many of the heavily-recruited individuals with advanced degrees in economics, mathematics, or statistics struggle with communicating their insights to others effectively—essentially, telling the story of their numbers.” I am not sure that this is a correct path. Instead of focussing on the communication skill, we are given data presentations by Mother Goose and Mr Grimm and in all that, will we get the story that is told correctly? I have prepared dashboards and data reports for decades. I have seen how some jumps were made on the assumption of one result, whilst the data was not supporting it, or it was, yet only after targeted weighting? In that we get the story that is a partial truth, yet it is in that same instant a partial lie too and that part will no longer get the proper scrutiny that is required.

So now we get to the good stuff. Now we get to the Guardian that treated us to: ‘China planted chips in Apple and Amazon servers, report claims‘ (at https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2018/oct/04/china-planted-chips-on-apple-and-amazon-servers-report-claims). Is it possible? Yes it is, yet the numbers and the speculative sides in all this is a larger problem, or better stated it is a large issue in a much larger universe and we are merely shown the keyhole view with the audio of two moaning people. Yet whether they are having sex or are pushing the bed around cannot be stated as we merely see a wall and part of a piece of furniture and we go by the sounds we hear. So when we consider that the corn borer can make the identical sound of a bat, so much so that the female corn borer moths cannot distinguish between the sound of a real bat and the sound of a male moth imitating a bat. Which quite literally gets her screwed, it’s merely how he gets lucky.

This now relates to the article, where we see: “A Chinese military unit has been inserting tiny microchips into computer servers used by companies including Apple and Amazon that give China unprecedented backdoor access to computers and data, according to a new Bloomberg report“, yet when we are also told “The attack was reportedly discovered in 2015 by the US intelligence services, as well as by Apple and Amazon as the companies purchased servers made by Super Micro Computer“, yet companies stay in the dark on this? So first it is Russia, now it is China? Consider the next quote “Amazon, Apple and Super Micro have all denied Bloomberg’s report. Amazon said: “It’s untrue that AWS knew about a supply chain compromise, an issue with malicious chips, or hardware modifications when acquiring Elemental.

Furthermore, we see both “As we shared with Bloomberg BusinessWeek multiple times over the last couple months, at no time, past or present, have we ever found any issues relating to modified hardware or malicious chips in SuperMicro motherboards in any Elemental or Amazon systems“, as well as “Apple said: “On this we can be very clear: Apple has never found malicious chips, ‘hardware manipulations’ or vulnerabilities purposely planted in any server.“. Is this an issue about what exactly?

This we see in the consideration of: “There have been increased concerns about foreign intelligence agencies infiltrating US and other companies via so-called “supply chain attacks”“. This is not unique. The American nagging and the nagging by its bitches (aka Australian Intelligence) is becoming a much larger setting as to the stage on where economic prosperity goes to. This is as I personally see it, the setting of a stage on where outsourcing goes to. This seems to be much more realistic and much more believable. You see, if there was truth in the Bloomberg part, if there was the real setting of “Apple had reportedly bought around 7,000 Super Micro servers when its security teams discovered the chips“, in that setting 7,000 server boards would have been shown to the world, it would have changed everything, places like Stanford, Harvard, Cambridge, Oxford and UTS (which has Apple co-founder Steve “Woz” Wozniak as a professor). They would be showing you the high and low of it all, yet that did not happen did it? So when we are seeing “Technology shares in Hong Kong fell sharply on Friday led by Lenovo, which lost 23% in morning trade. The Hong Kong-listed shares of Chinese telecommunications equipment maker ZTE Corp lost more than 14%“, which is interesting as ZTE was a thorn in the 5G side of the US and a few other players (like Telstra for example) for a much longer time, so is that a mere coincidence? What story telling sides are we not exposed to?

However, this is not the end. It is important to look at Bloomberg, because Bloomberg is not really the ‘storyteller’ of the century. We get introduced (at https://www.bloomberg.com/news/features/2018-10-04/the-big-hack-how-china-used-a-tiny-chip-to-infiltrate-america-s-top-companies) to the quotes “In late spring of 2015, Elemental’s staff boxed up several servers and sent them to Ontario, Canada, for the third-party security company to test, the person says“, as well as “Nested on the servers’ motherboards, the testers found a tiny microchip, not much bigger than a grain of rice, that wasn’t part of the boards’ original design“, which also gets us: “During the ensuing top-secret probe, which remains open more than three years later, investigators determined that the chips allowed the attackers to create a stealth doorway into any network that included the altered machines“. This is a much more frightening setting, yet why was this kept in the dark for so long? Not because of any matter that can be attributed to common sense. You see, I find “Still, to actually accomplish a seeding attack would mean developing a deep understanding of a product’s design, manipulating components at the factory, and ensuring that the doctored devices made it through the global logistics chain to the desired location—a feat akin to throwing a stick in the Yangtze River upstream from Shanghai and ensuring that it washes ashore in Seattle” an acceptable tactic, yet it opens the door on multiple places, places that are implied but not shown into the limelight. The first and perhaps the most visible one is: ‘timeline to design a chip‘. If that is so small, how can we be certain that the CIA did not do this to every Apple and IBM device ahead of fabrication? So when we get to “But that’s just what U.S. investigators found: The chips had been inserted during the manufacturing process, two officials say, by operatives from a unit of the People’s Liberation Army“, why them? Why not the Ministry of State Security? When we look in those directions, I personally find Chen Wenqing has a much more deceptive look then Xi Jinping. For either, funding would never have been the issue. And in the end Bloomberg gives us: “Three senior insiders at Apple say that in the summer of 2015, it, too, found malicious chips on Supermicro motherboards. Apple severed ties with Supermicro the following year, for what it described as unrelated reasons“. So yes, Bloomberg is raising questions, questions on where we need to consider ourselves in regards to China, an issue not properly raised by the Guardian this time around. Yet in both cases we end up with questions. We know that 5G will be a multi trillion industry and the US is desperate to melt the cogs of Chinese industry here, they have a backlog that is too large, there is at present no chance that the US, or Europe could catch up with China. The Chinese focus had been on 5G for too long, production is nowhere near it needs to be to go up against China. Yet this story, this event 3 years old and never in the limelight until now, that is impacting Lenovo and ZTE, so one of the 5G drivers is now as they call it: ‘In the shits‘, a 14% loss is nothing to get sneered at. And this optionally links back to the accusations against China in 5G, yet they are all still stories. The evidence was never handed into the limelight, and it also squarely lands the entire matter into the pond of former President Barack Obama, who still wanted to get trade deals going at that stage, so the Democratic party is going to get pushed into this mud pool sooner rather than later, because corporations at a global scale will feel betrayed in this mess. It gets fuelled more when we go back to September 2015, after this mess started and the people (via Reuters) get treated to: “President Barack Obama announced on Friday that he had reached a “common understanding” with Chinese President Xi Jinping on curbing economic cyber espionage, but threatened to impose U.S. sanctions on Chinese hackers who persist with cybercrimes.” So, did it happen? Was the story on the servers a ruse? Seems interesting that when placed in the proper timeline, against other news, we see a different setting do we not?

That is the stage we see when we add an element, any linked element to the story, it changes the preface of it and it changes the conclusions of it all. Any story with incomplete data is not a story, it degrades into a fairy tale, and both Mother Goose and Jacob Grimm both had their end of the spectrum when we watched their stories unfold. So where do the Guardian and Bloomberg stand? They go with sources that gave them news, yet when those sources cooperate in getting a particular story told, where do we get to stand, being told a story?

The server boards are evidence, yet where are they? If it is in 7000 server boards, there should be plenty to go around and show the world what was going on, but that did not happen, did it? So even as we were made aware a mere 5 hours ago of: “Huawei is trying to convince the U.S. government that Trump’s trade wars with China might slow down 5G adoption on American soil“, we now see that this is exactly what the US needed, time to catch up, or at least get a bigger slice of the 5G pie chart. You see a nation that is to be regarded as bankrupt cannot rely on importing goods; it needs US based goods to use a circle of non-cycled currency to keep its government running. And the 5G wave will go on for some time, the more time they get, the longer they can negate their official moment of being bankrupt. I am not the only one with that view, the same view is given (with a better economic handling) by Economist Laurence Kotlikoff who gives us: “While the United States’ official debt is $20 trillion, the fiscal gap is really 10 times larger — $200 trillion. That comes from adding in off-the-book liabilities, including debt that’s in the Federal Reserve’s hands, Kotlikoff said“, who also gives us: ““The evidence is in front of our eyes that we’re bankrupt,” Kotlikoff said. “It’s not bankrupt in the future. It’s bankrupt right now.”” A stage that I had mentioned three years ago, it might have been 4 years ago. I mentioned the settings and the consequences and I only needed an abacus to get there, but according to all the newspapers, I was wrong. Now we see more storytelling games and more pushes by large corporations to keep the current machine switches on, because once it is switched off, it ends for them, they will have no options and the markets will collapse soon thereafter wiping ours (and partially their) retirements away. That is the realism of our day and age and it is a story that I am telling, just like the others. I merely believe that I have seen more data, more complete data and I see the interactions on a wider scale. From that assumption my story is (seemingly) better, truer and more believable, is that the case, is it that for you?

You see, that is the danger with stories, it all hangs on the evidence that we are given and for the longest of times, the supporting evidence has been lacking, or basically completely absent on their side of the discussion. When we watch the Grimm in the TV Series Nick Burkhardt we accept it, because it is entertainment, and when the Grimm kills the Hundjägers, we know it is fabrication, entertaining fabrication mind you. Yet when we see the mention of Lenovo and ZTE, when we realise that 128,000 people are now in a state with an endangered job, families in danger of social security, as well as the impact on a larger scale, are we happy with the tale when it is the story and the non-shown evidence that is the matter. The fact that more parties are in denial is also an issue, but that could be for a whole host of reasons. It is the lack of evidence that is open for scrutiny that becomes the larger issue and that is an issue, it is an issue in every story, so whilst I embrace the FX slogan: ‘the story is everything‘ it is the lack of supported reality that makes it an issue in business intelligence and actual intelligence analyses. A setting that was 3 years in the open and we only get it partially served now, now that the need of America is becoming more and more dire.

The math does not add up and that has a much larger setting in all this than most are willing to admit to at present.

 

Advertisements

Leave a comment

Filed under Finance, IT, Media, Military, Politics, Science

Pushers of media value

We all heard of the name ‘pusher’, usually it is seen in the drugs community. People who prey on children and weak students with: ‘try this, makes you feel good‘. Knowing that as their customer base increases, he can continue his lifestyle of booze and bitches, because that is his only priority, to feel good and to live like a rock star at the expense of everyone and anyone else. So when I saw ‘Alarm for Netflix as shares plummet on worse-than-expected subscriber growth‘ (at https://www.theguardian.com/media/2018/jul/16/netflix-subscribers-numbers-forecasts-wall-street) and was confronted with both “But it also warned that subscriber growth in the current third quarter would likely be around 5 million, again below analysts’ expectations of 6.3 million“, as well as “spooked investors and suggested the company’s explosive subscriber growth may now be slowing. Netflix shares fell 14% to $346.05 in after-hours trading in New York. For the second quarter, Netflix reported a profit of $384.3m, or 85 cents a share, up from $65.6m, or 15 cents a share, a year earlier“, I wondered what the analyst had to offer that gave rise to the situation.

In a world where we see that the quality of life is down, where we are struggling to merely pay the rent in some places, in that world where we learn that “Netflix has almost reached the 100 million mark for streaming subscribers, thereby more than doubling its subscriber numbers from the start of 2014“, so the numbers are showing us an almost 25% year on year growth, that is pretty amazing in many settings.

In this day and age, getting over 10% growth is pretty well done. We all recognise that 100 million users might not be that much on one side, yet the entire business is set against a facade where there is more to the picture. Still, in this the entire setting a 14% drop seems a little extreme. It is set against what I regard to be the pushers of the world (also known as analysts). I have had issues with these analysts before; they are like the drug pushers of Wall Street. They might not see it in this way, but I do. In this setting when we see “that subscriber growth in the current third quarter would likely be around 5 million, again below analysts’ expectations of 6.3 million“, so explain to me where they got that 6.3 million new subscriber issue? Where is the evidence that expected 15 people from Hoboken New Jersey decided not to become a member? Sickness, getting laid off, hospital cost, daughter getting married, all optional reasons where 15 people decided on not becoming a member, now set that number in EVERY zip code in the United States. We can go on with the thousands of additional cases in the US alone, yet the wisdom of some person telling us that a mathematical model should have produced another 1.3 million uses cannot be vetted is merely the setting of a person giving a speculative result and that speculator is the cause of a 14% drop in value?

Now, we do understand that Netflix has responsibilities and with their expected growth is of course linked to the content they can afford to buy. So when I see “Netflix is expected to invest as much as $12bn on content this year, but could face growing competition in the streaming market. Apple is upping its spending on original content in video, music and publishing to $4.2bn by 2022 from $1bn this year. Amazon is expected to almost double its spending on original content from $4.5bn to $8.3bn“, there are two issues. The first is that if we quadruple the quarter and consider the 1.53 billion in profits (or expected profits) for 2018, how come that this year the acquired spending is $12 billion? We get that content is a long term pay off and all the movies acquired now will fuel the customer base for a long time, yet the fact that the profits merely represent 7.5% of the annual content spend is very unbalanced. It also gives us the additional setting that the 1.3 million additional members would not have made a dent there. The setting is fishy and it does not add up. Now, we can all agree that such services are perhaps a lot more complex, but the value long term is also setting the pace that something does not seem to add up. To see that picture we need to realise that Netflix realised well over $11.5 billion in revenue last year alone, so by giving you this, the $20 billion is not only no longer a stretch, it implies that Netflix still ends with $1.5 billion of pure profits, that is nothing to be sneered at, and in that light the spooking of the shareholders make less and less sense and in this, the entire analyst setting comes to the foreground once more, especially when we also add the one small fact that Netflix has $19 billion in assets. It is even more puzzling when we add the NY Times findings with “The company also saw its net income rise to $130 million, well over last year’s third quarter total of $52 million but short of the $143 million that Wall Street expected“, again the analysts now imploding, or is that setting back the market, whilst the records are still showing enormous growth, we see that dark cloud called Wall Street stating that it should have been better. There is nothing that shows evidence of the numbers that Wall Street holds others accountable to. In a system that is unrealistic, punishing realistic growth is not merely dangerous, it tends to be counterproductive in the end.

An additional part seen in the NY Times is now giving another light. They gave “Netflix already outspends its rivals, including HBO, FX and CBS, while Apple has recently signalled to Hollywood it would spend more than $1 billion on original content“, whilst the Guardian treats us to “Apple is upping its spending on original content in video, music and publishing to $4.2bn by 2022 from $1bn this year. Amazon is expected to almost double its spending on original content from $4.5bn to $8.3bn“, so the other two players are also spending billions in a market that is short of resources creating a bubble and bubbles are never good, so then the question becomes, is Wall Street intentionally creating bubbles to overinflate the mess and then short sell the cycle to make it implode in the future?

The fact that three players will represent close to $4 billion a year, each year is already a signal that the big screen, through internet or big screen itself is still flourishing, as the IP is brought through different ways, the only way will be up. So when we consider Australia who gives us “Netflix Australia starts from $9.99 per month for the entry-level, single-stream standard definition package, all the way up to $17.99 for the deluxe, 4K quality, four-stream package“, we see the simple selling point that a month of maximised streaming is close to a mere cinema ticket. That is the simplest of selling points and when we consider that, when we consider that this is not merely on that level, but that the setting also needs to fit the bandwidth that people sign on for, some will not charge Netflix, some do. That is also an influence. So there is more than one player that impacts the Netflix subscriber, all elements in that equation and some we can predict to some extent, but we remains in a setting where the analysts all claim that predictions were outclassing achievement in a place where growth is pretty sweet, it does not add up and that might just be me.

Yet this is where we get the Washington Post with ‘Netflix’s subscriber growth slows, panicking Wall Street‘, this is where we get to the golden egg, the part that Americans never understood, not in 1994 when some made claims on ‘saturation is a myth’, giving us an example with an elastic band, showing that 20% stretch again and again is possible and not today when we see that especially in Australia where housing prices in the big cities are through the roof, where we see that making a budget work is to cut out all extra excesses. In that setting many people can’t merely afford the $18 a month extra. That is supported with: “Professor Muir said it was important to realise that not all of those who live in poverty were unemployed. “One in three people who are living in poverty actually have wages, so we have challenges not just about how we make sure people have jobs, but we also want people to have stable jobs,” she said“. So we have an Australian setting where 1/3 is in poverty and a chunk of that has an actual income. So at that point, who of those people will have Netflix? Will they be willing to sacrifice two meals just to have Netflix? This is not a setting that is only seen in Australia. In America the UC Davis center for Poverty treats us to the setting of a few important characteristics of the 50% percent of minimum-wage earners with an age that is 25 or higher, 50% has a part time job. They have an average family income of $42,500 per year. At this stage it comes down to 20%-25% that live in poverty, when you consider that in 2016  around 43 million Americans were living in poverty, how much of an influence does that stop others from spending sprees outside of the Christmas season? When you see the hardship of anyone in your street, a person who works, fights and does whatever he can to feed his family, often both working, still not making the bills go away. How long until others start to save for the rainy day? I believe that these people are set to the economy as missing values. They do not matter, but they are still part of the total count. I personally believe that there is intent.

When we look at Wiki for a quick explanation, we get the optional view of an economic bubble with the text: “One possible cause of bubbles is excessive monetary liquidity in the financial system, inducing lax or inappropriate lending standards by the banks, which make markets vulnerable to volatile asset price inflation caused by short-term, leveraged speculation“. Yet what happens when it is not the ‘financial system‘? What happens when a bubble is pushed through analysts on the places like Netflix, creating friction with investors that apparently get spooked when a company still reports an optional 1.5 billion annual profit? So what happens when we see ‘volatile asset price inflation caused by short-term, leveraged speculation‘? Now take the leveraged speculation, asset price inflation (due to Apple and Amazon in the market) and it all suddenly implodes as all the analysts stated that Netflix could have easily gotten a million more subscribers that quarter. I hope that you get the drift now!

I am no Netflix fan (I have nothing against Netflix either). I always preferred to watch the big screen whenever I could afford it. I prefer to buy the season DVD/Blu-ray of a TV series I enjoy, that’s how I roll. Some prefer Netflix and that is fine by me too, whatever loads their canon, I say.

So when we see the Washington Post treating us to “they could validate investors’ fears of a company in slowdown mode for the first time in years. Wall Street has already been watching closely as Disney ramps up its subscription-content efforts and HBO, under incoming owner AT&T, is adopting a new strategy to compete“, we are treated to the setting of Pluto and two other dogs competing for the same bone, it is called market saturation and I have had the impression for the longest of times (around two and a half decades) that Americans either do not comprehend that part of business, or they merely do not care and ignore it. Now, we understand that at such points, the stock value of Netflix slows or even halts, yet to see a 14% drop is equally weird, which leaves me to think that Wall Street and all their analysts are in a bubble creating setting, which I believe has been going on for the longest of times. Do I need to remind you of Moody’s and S&P regarding the 2008 events? In the end they paid a fine, but compared to the damage done, it was miniscule. So when we take a step towards FLETC and the ‘Economic Crimes Investigation and Analysis‘ parts. They seem to be all up in arms for investigators, auditors, analysts and individuals serving as direct law enforcement support personnel who provide a foundation for fraud and financial investigations. Yet, when we look closely, how much effort has been done to investigate the Wall Street Analysts and other analysts who seem to be tweaking the expectations?

So when we look at the FLETC syllabus and see: “Successful completion of the ECIA will enable students to:
(1) identify various investigative techniques that may be used to investigate economic crimes;
(2) identify evidentiary documents that may be used to prove the source and disposition of monies;
(3) demonstrate how computer software may be used to organize, analyze, and present information;
(4) identify various ways that an accounting system may be used to conceal the true nature of fraudulent transactions;
(5) demonstrate how indirect methods may be used to identify illegal income; and
(6) demonstrate how effectively present investigative findings

Yet as I see it, in all this the global analysts who are spiking the expectations are all considered not a factor and have the privilege of remaining outside of the scope of all this. That also gives us that unless a 2008 version disaster happens; they and their overpaid asses quite literally get to walk away.

So how does that make sense in any universe, especially when we see the damage others faced over a decade?

Which gets us to the last quote in the Post with “Hastings did acknowledge the second quarter has historically been rough for Netflix, noting another under performance in 2016. “We never did find the explanation [for that],” he said“. In this we need to ask, was this merely a real under performance, or was it all based on a flawed algorithm, one that all the analysts using them will happily silence away?

A group of people never scrutinised, whilst a company making a clean billion plus a year is axed by 14%. Some will say it is all logical and that my lack of an economic degree makes it all my ignorance issue. Yet the Margin Call quote “2 and 2 no longer makes 4” gives the indication that it was not math and according to the math involved the 14% cut is optionally wrong, yet the reality of bubbles and the intentional creation of them is set on greed and that is the one thing that Wall Street thrives on and I wonder how closely some of its players are actually watched, more importantly, once proven, will the events actually be acted on, or will they merely receive a $401K fine in the mail?

 

1 Comment

Filed under Finance, IT, Media, Politics, Science

Beyond Two Souls

Beyond Two SoulsIt is hard not to be trivial about a new game. It is always a new version of…. or a sequel of…or in this case, an evolution of…

If you want the short and sweet of this game then think Dragons Lair mixed with Half Life/Resident Evil. Beyond Two Souls is from the makers of Heavy Rain, and many would like to compare that, but I never played it, so that part we (me and my keyboard) will skip that comparison in its entirety.

For those under 30+, when Dragons Lair was first released it was like nothing you had ever seen. Consider the early 80’s, console games were in 8-bits. In that same year, EA releases the pinball construction kit and Origin Systems released Ultima 3. 8-bit graphics were not really that great, and in that same year Disney’s Famous Don Bluth is centre to a game that has Disney quality graphics using a laser disc. To give you an idea, consider Xbox graphics in the time of the CBM-64. All our minds were blown. The game was simple, you see segments of a cartoon, and by pressing the right direction on your joystick, you continue, or you die. The system was simple, but the result would not be equalled for at least 15 years (without a laser disc).

Now take that concept and take it in a more modern and more interactive setting and you get Beyond Two Souls.

Wait!

Do not think of this as a simple game, as I said, it was trivialised!

The reality is that this is more than a mere evolution! This game is the first one I witness that uses the 6-axis controller to the maximum degree it can. I want to add to that, that the interactivity between the player and the game is the most complete I have ever seen. It is almost the game Nintendo could imagine, but could never make into a reality!

This game is something else. The story is given to you in a shuffled way! Frank Miller thinks more linear then that, but that does not matter, the story holds on to you like a jigsaw and the picture it paints slowly evolves into a masterpiece, a chronological approach would never have worked this well. Ellen Page IS the real star, as both actress and as character. Willem Dafoe is the supporting character, and as such he is the support, however he is also the glue that holds many of the pieces together. The voices and the looks give you a view into this story like you never seen it before. You control Ellen/Jodie in an amazing way. Like my favourite slogan from FX, ‘The story is everything’ and this story does not fail to deliver.

So, you control Jodie through events with an ‘assistant’ and as such you control where she walks, how she drives and how she interacts. In action scenes your controller becomes control, and as such you interfere with what she does, do it wrong and she does get hurt. This is actually most awesome during fight training. Get it wrong and she gets dropped to the floor, hard! That sequence is actually one of the cooler moments. You get to do it again and again, until you get it 100% right. It actually felt like you were experiencing a martial workout. Very cool!

There are other moments where it is a little unsettling as you might achieve the control over it. The directions for a new player seem a little ‘off’ in the beginning. As I said, the 6-axis controller had never been used to THIS degree before. Tilting it to the left or right (the entire controller), to empty a bucket. To sharply lower the controller as you jump of a wall. Shake when you are being held. It was an awesome experience.

As stated, you get a disjointed story, chapter by chapter and as you start at the end, you jump forward and backwards into the story, it really works! Without linearity you see parts and not know what does and does not connect. As you take control of Jodie or the ‘assistant’ the story unfolds. Uniquely, this game can be played by two, so if you do that, then one controls Jodie, the other the ‘assistant’, a pretty unique experience for this type of game.

Then the graphics, they are high in standard; however there are moments that will do more than blow you away. In a few close-up cut scenes, you control Jodie, and in those moments Ellen Page looks better and clearer than she does on Blu-ray. These are uncanny moments.

I am not giving anything away at this point, so you’ll need to get through it yourself. However, there are ‘hidden’ or hard to spot interacting points. If you get to them you can unlock a bonus. Not sure yet what they are and I only found one so far, but that means that this game has more to offer then you think. I am also predicting that when I was offered a certain choice, I unlocked an achievement. I feel a certainty that going another way will give a different achievement, so replay and experimenting is a part of all this.

So, what about the verdict?

It is a top notch game with a 90% rating. It is no ‘Last of us’, it is no ‘GTA’, it is an evolved game and this game is nothing less than a master evolution of whatever it used to be and the game is better for it. This leaves me with certainty that we will see more versions of this game, especially considering the optional additional interactions on a PlayStation 4 controller, which means that Beyond 2 Souls is only the tip of the iceberg and that already blew me away on the PlayStation 3. So the future of the PlayStation 4 seems to be a solid one. The music which involved Hans Zimmer, a legend in soundtracks, gives this game the atmosphere it deserves. So was this an interactive movie?

No, it is a game where you move, walk around and interact/search for clues and events. In addition it must be said that it has a few really small flaws. At times her movement seems a little less liquid, but not as irritating as we saw with Resident Evil. In addition, the move you make is depending on what you see that means if you are ready to punch and the camera shifts to the other side, that you move you had in mind would be the wrong one. That is part of the gameplay challenge and this game plays that part without a flaw. Whatever flaw it had, was purely the user of the controller. In the end, you will have taken Jodie, from being a small girl of 6-8, to a battle hardened, beat the crap out of anything goddess though places from Urban, to Military complex, to the middle of the desert. The story remains an awesome experience.

There is one other side to all this, it is one that is futuristic. As we see more and more of these games evolve with the use of professional actors, it will not an unrealistic thought that the Videogame industry will actually get its own Oscar category. If so, then Ellen Page might become its first recipient.

Leave a comment

Filed under Gaming