Saints Row 4 The National Treasure Edition PS3 Videogame Review

saints_row_iv

WARNING: Spoilers be spoiled

The Saints Row gang has taken over the United States of America and have somehow made their lead President. He starts to run the entire nation into the ground and calls a press conference to settle everyone down. Seconds after his public speech on how he’s going to clean it all up Aliens, called the Zin, show up kill, kidnap, destroy everything pretty much proving he can’t do shit. After a while everyone gains conscience and make some kind of stark realization that they aren’t on Earth anymore. As it turns out the smartest one there steals a ship and somehow notifies everyone they are in a ‘simulation,’ which is a nice way of saying VIDEO GAME. So they decide to do all they can to screw up the simulation and kill the Aliens that captured them.

Now usually when a series ‘jumps the shark‘ it is a giant cluster fuck of poorly written dialogue, story, jokes, character development, etc. However the group over at Volition makes jumping the shark a complete new art form full of various flavors of humor and wonderful tributes to movies, television, and even other games. Like most open world games you can run around doing dick all, or help someone do side quests, or main quests. Although after doing the seventh or so crack the code, blaze, or whatever else mini-game it’ll get repetitive, but if you want to max out your level (capped at 50) then doing all those, and some side quests, and should max you out before the end of the main quest.

I liked all of the stories told. They were entertaining and the humor flowed differently from character to character and none of it was too distasteful. However some were just throwbacks to the previous games. Since I hadn’t played any of them I had no clue what was going on. So they kinda didn’t hold any relevance and I wound up not caring sometimes. Sure that’s probably my fault, but I can’t get engrossed in a story about Matt Miller‘s wankery for his favorite TV show. Also some of them didn’t make sense. One confusing one in particular involved going to save Benjamin King from a simulation. Apparently lots of people are trapped in other simulations that make them think that all of the persons worst nightmares are coming true. So this involves a rival gang surviving and a hologram of his ex-girlfriend coming to kill him. Once the player gets him out, or to a point where he can leave, King requests that he stay in the simulation so he can kill his ex. My first thought was why does this matter?

As the story goes once someone is removed from their simulation they are kicked out of their holding pod. So simulation crashes and its assumed to be deleted from the Zin’s system. So in other words his ex-girlfriend isn’t real. She’s kinda like a AI unit in a videogame. It’s just a re-imaging of her. Once the simulation is deleted, she is deleted. Whats the point in drawing out something LONGER and get vengeance on something thats going to be deleted anyway? Besides, the ship has two really well rounded hackers on it, Kinzie Kensington and Matt Miller. Both could easily find the ex-girlfriend AI if she decided to go rogue and delete her that way.

Others are almost completely relatable on both being comical and/or nightmarish. For example: you liberate Pierce Washington from a corporate advertisements nightmare gone wild. Another makes Asha Odekar come to terms with her fear of failure. This one made me feel bad for someone who’s probably a strong headed killing machine, but truthfully its something everyone faces.

I hate to say it but most missions, beside the side quests, were incredibly easy. It mostly consists of go to x-location and kill x-bad guy. Sure the variety of story spruced things up a bit, but the game play was boring at times. I eventually found myself looking around for the collectibles considering they added some insight to the characters and gave you various powerups. Even the DLC(s) were easy which consisted of the same system of gameplay, but would only momentarily involve other aspects like doing a arbitrary task for someone in order to continue the mission. Like one involved finding all the people dressed up as animals and caging them. Fun, funny, weird, but still kinda boring.

One of the things I enjoyed the most, besides the humor, were the cameos. Sure, cameos are usually a bunch of people selling out for money, but many of the characters in this game had a purpose and are totally essential to the story telling experience. Like Keith David, one of my favorite bit actors of all time, is a main character and is apart of many parts of the main story. He even has a few good one liners later on. Rob Van Dam and Roddy Piper add a good bit of hilarious, and gruff, voice overs as well. Neil Patrick Harris is a villain and you can eventually have him join your crew. Even the Burch family, from Hey Ash Whatcha Playin’?, make a guest appearance. Due to the good amount of voice work done it adds a whole level different level of of humor to the game, makes it even funnier, and more memorable then most cameos in movies/games/tv shows/etc.

The graphics were really well detailed and accentuated the absurdity of it all. Like in some areas if a NPC stood next to a void, a open wormhole in the programming, then their eyes would bulge or arms would get scrawny. To a certain extent the game poked fun at itself by letting some NPCs walk along like they weren’t fully rendered. Other times cars would drive upside down or the buildings walls would look like they were constantly refreshing. Another cool thing is that in some missions the game would fake freeze the screen and a programming dialogue box would open up like someone was programming it as I played the game.

However the graphics were a major problem for the game. Often it would crash to a complete stop. So I had to reset the PS3 about 10 times total. To a certain extent I’m just glad it didn’t ruin my saved games files. However it was problematic if you used some of the more ferocious Homies to fight along side you. Like I’d recruit the Burch Family or Homies that were upgraded, a lot. They’d help in some of the intense fights. However, whenever we get into a skirmish they immediately use super powers on whatever enemy is around. So do the math, multiple cars, people, aliens, and your NPCs roaming about and fighting all at once== system overload. After I noticed that I stopped using them as much. This took away from the experience, to me, because the whole point of them being apart of the game is so they can help you out. Also there was a drastic difference in crashes between going solo and using NPCs. If I went solo I’d last about 9 hours of gameplay (shut up I know that’s bad), but if I used NPCs it would maybe last 4 hours before it crashed.

This is probably one of my favorite comedy games of all time. Yes, it’s a rare COMEDY GAME. Very few people in this world know what COMEDY is and how you can be funny or just fucking pathetic. Yes they straddle the lines on some of the shit jokes, but I found myself laughing so hard I had to pause the game and calm down more often then rolling my eyes. Sure the story lines kinda cluster together and some are just terrible, but for the most part the stories told are rather fun and stupid in a jovial fashion. The controls are perfect, and so are most of the graphics. The only thing that brings it down is that it sporadically crashes to the point where I had to restart my PS3 multiple times, but it wasn’t a problem for the most part. The difficulty wasn’t too challenging, but if you don’t pay attention to what you’re doing the game will pretty much run you over.

This is simply put: a great game.

8.5/10

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American Sniper Movie Review

AmericanSniper

Chris Kyle is a down and out ranch hand. He falls in love with a girl at a bar and marries her. They fall on financial hard times so he joins as the Navy and signs up to become a SEAL sniper. He becomes known for his pinpoint accuracy and helps stop some of Al-Qaeda’s worst killers. It eventually becomes known that him, and his team, become so damaging that they get a bounty put on their head. He eventually retires and goes home. He then suffers from PTSD and continues to want to help other.

This is a beautifully tragic movie and I’m going to try to avoid all of the controversy that’s been in the news lately about this film. So if you want some kind of philosophical discussion of the real Chris Kyle go somewhere else. This is just a review of the movie, that took a few dozen liberties with the story. I will be labeling this as a ‘historic’ movie, despite that. Also even though they took several liberties with the story that didn’t ruin the movie nor diminish it’s central themes.

War movies have a tendency of being giant propaganda pieces. In all honesty this movie only kinda was a propaganda movie. It’s propaganda in the sense that it’s a huge anti-war movie. It’s does a rather large elaborate job of stressing how bad war is and how it impacts the families involved, regardless if they are on the front lines or not. There were several very powerfully bad (i.e. violent) scenes that involved Arabic families basically caught in the middle and either A) being casualties of war or B) they’d panic, run, and step on a land mine or something. On top of that it does show the real struggle of aftermath of war as well. It didn’t cover as much of the movie as the war did, but it still made the statement noticeable after Chris Kyle came home. Also Chris seems to come off as a head strong individual who was hired to do a job and did it well to keep his fellow soldiers alive, and himself.

Now don’t get me wrong there are a few dozen scenes of former, or current, armed forces members thanking Chris Kyle and telling him how awesome he is. This didn’t glorify anything for me because you don’t bite the hand that feeds you so to speak. Lets say sniper friend and you were deployed to the middle east, in a hot zone. I don’t think it would be appropriate timing to bring up that you think his wife is a whore or the haircut he has makes him look like a homosexual. Sure they can say nothing to the guy, but humans have a tendency to be either blunt or social. So him not running into comments about his abilities would be fucking weird. Also there were a dozen or so scenes where there were ‘close calls.’ Like in one scene a terrorist was on a roof about to do whatever to the US troops below. You hear a loud bang and then a dead body drops a few feet away from one of the front line patrols. Cheesy, and kinda Hollywood-esk, but I’ve read enough History books to know this shit happens nearly all the time.

Most American war movies do come off as a too patriotic movie portraying the USA as some kind of good guy. With this one, well, I don’t think so. For every American soldier who gets shot in the film, the same amount of Arabic people die. So for the most part it did a fair balance of portraying the Arabic people as confused, scared, and generally upset people that they have to deal with war for the millionth time. It also portrayed many soldiers as people who were just there to do a job, despite it’s grittiness. So even go on to complain that they don’t know why they’re there or don’t see the point. It basically stressed that many were unhappy with the things they were doing, or just unsure.

This point I’m about to make should be rather obvious to most: the major downsides to this movie is that it is very, very dark. You see children die. If you get emotionally attached to any character they have a likability of dying. Yes, its a war movie and those themes have been shown before, but the visuals are a little different. With this one it shows a more modern day approach where the enemy in the movies uses everything they can to kill the protagonist and his friends. This is pretty much the way it is with most real life situations, but in the past movies would shy away from that. While it’s a brutal idea to conceive, its still realistic.

Bradley Cooper did a decent job, but I can’t say there was much to the character. He was a gruff kinda guy and didn’t speak until either A) he had he needed to say or B) was prompted. Other wise he seemed like the average Joe who went to war. I’m not sure it would be right for the Academy to give him a Oscar for that. Keir O’Donnell did a decent job as Cooper‘s brother. He did better on some of the more comical parts in the beginning of the movie. Sienna Miller was as the distressed wife at home. Sure, it’s just a wife role, but not many can be so convincingly intense. Other then that there isn’t that many repeat characters that stick around.

This is one of the most powerful movies I’ve seen in a while. Its unique to see a character so strong headed and duty based. Most movies I’ve been running into lately the good guy is jaded or too over the top to be realistic. Its like all of them have dead relatives and decide to go on alcohol benders. However, this is based in damn reality and so everything is plausible. Regardless of what people say about this movie its mostly the ballad of someone who went to war long enough to survive it. This movie isn’t about America. It isn’t about politics. It isn’t even about the USA’s influence in the middle east. It’s one mans journey to do as much good as he can, for as many people as he can, for as long as he can, and to help the world live a better life in the future.

If you want to see a well made movie, see this.

8.5/10

The Wedding Ringer Movie Review

TheWeddingRinger

Warning: MILD SPOILERS

Doug Harris proposes to Gretchen Palmer and they start to plan their wedding. Doug struggles to find best men as the weeks get closer to the wedding date. Eventually Edmundo (AKA Dirty Eddie Sanchez) notices and suggest Doug see Jimmy Callahan. Doug finds out Jimmy does this as a profession and is offered a rang of options. Once Jimmy finds out that he needs 7 groomsmen then he almost kicks Dough out.

This was really disappointing. I thought it would be funnier since Kevin Hart was in it, but I was really wrong. Now don’t get me wrong it was different story and bromance wise, but not as a comedy. Not only does it rely off of some terrible tropes, aggressive humor, pratfalls, and various things that are just really recycled jokes, but they are the most predictable things ever. The only good part was the one liners. If they aren’t cringe worthy, then they had me rolling my eyes. I’ll admit I did laugh a few times and smirked, but for the most part this was cliché.

Seriously we’ve seen all these jokes before. Let me see if I can spell a few of them out for you. The fat guy is made fun of for his fat. Fat guy leans on glass table and it breaks. Fat guy starts screaming in pain. The black guy with the fro is super ghetto and says something ghetto. The guy with the mulletsays something eluding to rape or redneck-ish. Bullshit macho-men push around a smaller guy. Do you get the point yet? Does it feel like I’m explaining all the jokes for you so it isn’t fun, and possibly being abrasive or in your face about it? Good! That’s exactly how the movie made it out to be. Every other movie ever made has made all of these jokes already, without violence and such blatant stereotypes.

Other then the jokes, and some horrible pranks played on Douge, the story was relatively well written. The bromance felt more legit then the relationship then the romance subplot. This totally worked out later. Also there’s the who plausibility factor. There’s lots of people out there who just don’t have time to maintain friends and when something that requires you to have them, like a wedding, then they would be SOL. However, since the whole story is COMEDY based, and the jokes are terrible, that’s why I can’t give it a passing grade.

Sadly, despite the jokes and story, everyone did a reasonably decent job at acting. Kevin Hart was loud, in charge, and swam like a duck in water with this role. Josh Gad was good as a dimwitted questionably social nerd. I vaguely remember seeing him in other things and he seems to have range. Kaley Cuoco-Sweeting was good, but I didn’t care for her in this role because it seems she’s been typecast as the pretty slut, pretty manipulative girl, or pretty woman who’s settling for less. Affion Crockett was awkward in a few scenes and his timing was spot on. Jorge Garcia did well, but it seemed like he made a few references to LOST that I didn’t get. Sorry I didn’t watch the show. I mostly know Corey Holcomb as Black Jesus and while this wasn’t a stretch, but he was lively. Olivia Thrilby basically was there to call Hart’s character on his BS. I like her, but I feel she’s was underused. It was also interesting to see some famous standup comics make guest appearances. Jeffrey Ross made a quick guest appearance as the weddings DJ. It wasn’t much of a performance, because he said a whole of 5 lines maybe, but who knew he could sing. Whitney Cummings made a quick appearance as Kaley Cuoco-Sweeting brides made, who was incredibly obnoxious and loud, but fun. Also one of the funnier scenes was with Josh Peck who royally screws the pooch on a wedding toast. His delivery was freaking FLAWLESS. I cringed with the people at the wedding in the movie and made me want to punch him.

The thing that upsets me about this film is that everything was good, except the jokes. All jokes made were notably average, with very few exceptions. They’ve been in other films multiple times to the point of being nauseating. The plot falls apart in some areas due to main focal points relying off the jokes, because when the punchline falls flat so does the impact of that moment in the story. I can’t recommend seeing this since a comedy relies really heavily off of jokes that just aren’t funny.

4.5/10

Farcry 3 PS3 Videogame Review

Far-Cry-3-face-your-insanity

WARNING: SPOILERS, SARCASM & WRY

A potential Girls Gone Wild video shoot gets captured by a group of pirates. The main characters wake up in the middle of a slaver camp and try to escape. Two of the college bros manages to escape, uh, kinda. Later he meets up with the local resistance on the island that tries to end the drug/slavery cartel. He learns of their heritage and they recruit him. They then send him on a series of missions to make him into a warrior, and to get really stoned. OK that’ll make sense once you play the game. Along the way he helps the people of the island with various problems, explores the island, hunts a lot of animals and people.

The story works out like any standard action movie. Jason Brody, is a average US American kid that somehow becomes a super killing machine by the end. He delivers standard “I’ll lead you underdogs to victory” speeches and belts out cliches lines like the script writers hadn’t seen a action movie ever! He’s probably the most uninteresting main hero I’ve see in YEARS. Anyway he seems compelled to go out and save his friends from the slavers who boarder between irritating, broken, or just not all that interesting. Don’t get me wrong his stoner friend (Oliver) is funny and adds a weird relaxing morose feeling, like the only reason he’s happy is because he found natural hallucinogens on the island, but he isn’t too terribly useful. Daisy is probably the only useful one, but seems to gain abilities out of fucking NO WHERE. So his job to save the island runs into hiccups due to the very well laid out bad guys and their very vicious and strange way of doing things.

Like Vaas is one of the more interesting villains I’ve seen in years, even if he lacked some development. He seemed to know your every move and attempt to save your friends. This was the neat part, because it seemed this villain broke the 4 th wall, read the script for the game, and said to himself “I won’t let him fucking do that.” So the entire time it I was trying to fight, or find, him was a giant mockery of every action movie ever made. He knew you were coming for him. So he set up a trap. He knew you might survive something. So he set up another trap. He, despite all his cocaine use, was scarily weird and vivid to the point where if I had to pit him against another villain in video game history it would be Trevor Phillips from GTA V. He’s mostly known for being a serial killer and cannibal and openly mocked anyone who questioned the ‘edginess’ in modern video gaming. But that might be a bad idea since they are so insane they might go into business with one another, or go into one another considering there are a lot of homosexual themes in the game.

That brings us to Willis “Buck” Huntley. Another villain I’m taking time to mention because it’s rare you see this kind. First off Buck is hella smart. He seems to be a redneck Australian version of Indianna Jones. I thought it was interesting because you don’t really see anyone Australian in anything, much less being smart. If they are they’re a 100% stereotype that we’ve all learned from a Crocodile Dundee movie and drinking lethal doses of beer. Secondly he seems to be a implied rapist. This I thought was well done, since most mediums now-a-days seem to shove whatever negative trait a villain has in your face. This is only IMPLIED and it he may have very well just been a shithead to someone rather then a rapist.

Sam Becker, again another interesting ‘villain’, falls under something different I notice. He’s a German-American who not only isn’t blood thirsty, but he wants all of the madness on the island to end. Sure betrayal isn’t anything new in any story EVER, but the fact that it breaks so many stereotypes it isn’t even funny. Most times you see a German in a game he/she’s perpetually stuck in the 1940s swearing allegiance to Hitler or wanting to kill everyone. This guy seems a little more put together realizing that killing is only a means to a end and once Hoyt (the main slaver and antagonist of the game) is gone everything has the possibility of being hunky dory on the island and he’s totally OK with that. Really. He doesn’t want to take over Hoyts business after hes dead. He doesn’t want to go killing anymore. It genuinely he seemed like he just wanted to sit down and drink with the locals, and hopefully not be strung up by them. So in all honesty he had the possibility of being the vile stereotype of either nationality he belongs to and they wrote him like somesort of Kelly’s Heroes hippy. This was weirdly refreshing.

One of the major things I hated about the story is the ‘love story’ subplot. I don’t know if you can call it a subplot considering it mostly consists of one lady (Liza, because apparently you can’t fucking spell Lisa and not attract the main demographic for this game) bitching about how Jason isn’t giving her enough time, or something, and doesn’t want him to get hurt. Its suggested that they were together before they decided to announce to a island full of blood thirsty pirates that they were young dumb, stupid, and full of money, coincidentally. Then after some time she says some crap like she’s finally seeing the man she wanted or he was meant to be.

I think this is ironic that A) she’s playing a stereotypical angst ridden woman (ie damsel in distress) who seems to think it’s a good time to ask someone who’s training to be a murder God to reevaluate their relationship whilst a civil war is happening on the island and their friends are in danger of being sold off as sex slaves. I found myself screaming at the TV, like some Jerry Springer fan, a few times telling her to SHUT THE FUCK UP. Not to say she’s completely selfish, but complaining about their relationship is the only thing I can remember that she did the entire game. Also B) it seems she to only gained interested in him after he saved a few people, killed a dozen bad guys/animals, and woke up out of a drug fueled dream with a dozen or so tattoos on his arm. This doesn’t give a good impression of what women want to the young people who might be playing the videogame. Seriously we don’t need any sailors going on drunk fulled murder and tattoo rampages and then expecting people to fall madly in love with them.

The gameplay is a vast improvement over the first Farcry videogame that I played. I ran into, at first, what I thought was glitches. It seemed every enemy could sniper you with any weapon through any wall, tree, house, or mountain from any distance. This annoyed the fuck out of me and I gave up on the game. It was one thing to be able to see someone and they’d be in visual distance and then they’d attack. But with my experiences, and the original, you could be in a shack with no windows and if you briefly fart or gasp for air and the guy on top of a mountain three mountains over would hear it and somehow be able to blow your head off. This was freaking unrealistic. I don’t know about you but most peoples eye sight is limited to 100 yards or so and can’t get shot upwards of 100 times. They shouldn’t have the abilities of Superman! Also, for the record, it was a legit copy for the PC.

This one has far more balance then that. If you can see them through a sniper scope, they can see you. If you shot them more then 5 times, with certain kinds of guns/distances/etc., they die. Simple enough, right? Well, ya, it’s just that simple. However, unlike most games where you can run through a base kill a few people either run off or kill everyone there effortlessly, the AI has a few smarter things going for it. Like once you make your presence known, anywhere, they continually search for you. If you run away, they’ll still be on the look out. A few times I’ve had to fast travel to a different location and come back in an actual REAL TIME hour or so so they’d stop looking for me. One time, when I first started, I ran into a heavily armed base and got destroyed because they called for back up, multiple times. So I had to build my own strategy on how to take out the base and that made this aspect of the game rather fun.

The only thing I get infuriated with is the stupid AI. Sometimes the drunk Molotov cocktail throwers would set themselves on fire, often. Other times when I would try to take over a base and a random lion or bear would wonder in the base whipping out EVERYONE there. Those damned animals shits even did that to bases I had conquered. Anyway these baddies are suppose to be trained militia. Like a guerrilla version of the Roman Legion but with better weapons. Why they seemingly ignore a large growl, followed by a terrible screaming sound, and then sudden silence and not decide to hit the alarm or have all forces focus in and kill the thing is beyond me. Also other times they’d literally WALK PAST the leopard or whatever that was attacking the base and it would then kill them.

Sometimes it seems like they were highly organized and you pretty much prayed to make it out alive or hope they didn’t hit the alarm, which seemed random, to signal for backup. Other times they’d do all of the above and get attacked by local wild life or the local resistance that just happened to drive by at the time you decided to attack the base. It’s entertaining, but frustrating because I wanted to play the game, not have AI play the game for me. It did add some immersion to the game, considering I can see this happening in a war torn country, but it often ruined my strategy on how to infiltrate the base. Also the local resistance didn’t help with the other 90% of the game, so why show up now?

This has some RPG elements that are almost not worth mentioning. The game, as said, depends on how you fight, the guns you use, and how well you fight in tight situations. With that being said, you can gain skill points for abilities after doing whatever to get xp, but the abilities don’t open up until you complete various parts of the main story. So I went out and annihilated half of the islands baddies, and took their bases, with nearly none of these power ups that that they wave at you in the beginning of the game. So I didn’t get the point of leveling up when you can’t use the points when needed or when the perks aren’t that useful.

Yes, you can do cool things like jump on top of someone and stab them to death, but if you’re like me you’ll shoot them with a silencer, or a bow, from a distance. Now this DOESN’T make any sound and it DOESN’T draw the attention of everyone when the guy screams for his life as you stab him to death. So why should I buy these abilities when everything else is already at my disposal? Aside from the few that help the character swim sharks or shoot better, there isn’t a point to many of them. On top of that, and as said before, you can use these ability but they’ll attract attention to you, very quickly. Now since it seems that they only decide to organize themselves to find you after finding you, then you can wind up dead very fast with said power ups. So having power ups that encourage you to go Rambo in a game that PUNISHES the living shit out of your for being a loud turd isn’t too terribly productive or practical.

Also the crafting system is a bit stupid. It requires you to get animal hide for special ammo upgrades, or it helps you carry more guns. Sure that’s fine, but it required the hides of seemingly random animals that shouldn’t exist on the island at all. Its like they asked a 5 th grader what animals he liked and then said “fuck it” and lumped them all on a island. It, like most tropical islands, are either hot or wet. If you listen to the local islanders in the game they complain about the weather A LOT. So why the hell would this island have a North American Grizzly bear on it and a few miles south packs of Dingos. The Grizzly would die from heat stroke due to the huge amount of fur it has and how it’s body naturally insulates heat. Dingos on the other hand live in EXTREMELY hot weather. So anything below 90 degrees or so could kill them since their bodies are made to resist HEAT and not cold. If you look at the map they’re technically already in areas where they should be dead. This also hurts the realism of the game and the whole immersion thing. Some the upgrades requires hides of super rare animals. Wouldn’t PETA be super pissed you were going off killed rare animals for your selfish upgrades? Sorry, Winne the Poo I need your hide so I can carry a extra gun. Also these super rare animals have no difficulty to them what-so-ever. They are essentially the same damn animal, but slightly reskined. If they’re that special why not make them harder or smarter? Other wise it’s just cheap.

The graphics show a good bit of what the PS3 can offer. The cut scenes are damn near movie quality. The facial structure and movement on most of the characters is life like. On top of that the water effects when swimming or sailing are interesting since it all seems to bump and sway like a real ship. Also the lighting and fire really help with the immersion of the game. Many times at night I saw light in the distance and it gave that same ugly glare that lights do in real life when trying to focus on something. This helped make it all that much more realistic when trying to take over a base and being half blinded by the lamp lights that are surrounding the base.

The only thing I can complain about is the rain effects. They are neat, but not fully developed. Nothing really seems to get wet. Also you can look at the houses and plants and not see anything drip off of them. It’s just weird. Besides that the only major glitches were random scenery glitches from time to time. I’ll be walking somewhere and there’ll be a thin discolored line that runs across the screen. So I’ll back up and it’ll disappear. Then there are some areas on the map where your character starts a swimming motion, makes a splash sound, and the water either A) failed to render or B) he’s randomly doing that on some hillside for no reason. Regardless just move some and the glitches go away completely.

The story is aching of a cliché action movie, but the real reason to play it is due to the vast colorful characters, both good and bad guys. The graphics are at their peak with little to no glitches. The game play is great, but gets repetitive due to the similar quests and wonky structure. All in all this is a worth while action game, despite it being considerably over hyped and my griping. If you can find it for cheap, or the new Farcry compilation, then I’d recommend buying it. It’s a quality FPS game.

7.5/10

Unbroken Movie Review

Unbroken

WARNING: MAJOR SPOILERS

Louis “Louie” Zamperini, and US Olympian, is trying to sort out his life. He eventually joins the air force during WW2. He gets shipped out and his first flight crew gets shot up. They crash land safely back on the main base and then relax some in Hawaii. They eventually get geared up and get shipped back out, again. This time they crash land in the ocean and most of the crew dies. Eventually the Japanese find them and take them as prisoners.

Many are upset because this didn’t get a Best Picture Oscar nomination. Well for 1) Boo hoo and 2) the reason it didn’t get a Best Picture nomination because it was mildly boring. This is a great film. It has some great inspirational parts. It shows very tasteful violence, rather the in your face visuals like Saving Private Ryan or Fury. It also has some decent character development for the main characters. The MAJOR down side is that it has painfully long scenes where it’s nothing but scenery or waiting for something to happen. Like the first 30 minutes of the movies basically portrays the young Zamperini as a young douche, but a justifiable douche since people can’t seem to find better things to do in the 50s then to live up to stereotypes and beat on the only Italian kid in town. The next 10 are about his Olympic achievements and him going into the air force during WW2. After that it’s about a HOUR of them sitting on a rafter and suffering from sunburn, dehydration, and eating birds or fish raw.

Later in the film he gets caught by the Japanese. They basically beat the shit out of him for the next our in various fashions. More stuff happens. The guards there play mindgames. Eventually Mutsuhiro ‘The Bird’ Watanabe is introduced and is the main antagonist from then on. In all honesty not a whole lot happens. Yes, it shows the resilience of Mr. Zamperini and his flat out determination to not be broke by a bunch of sadistic people, and you know, not die. But I’m sure we’ve all seen this before.

Jack O’Connell was great as a smart-ass ish kinda role while still portraying Zamperini as a very level headed man in extreme conditions. His best scene was with the main antagonist. His face poured hatred for the man, but sat there with dignity while Watanabe said he got a promotion. Domhnall Gleeson was good as Zamperini’s friend Phil, however there wasn’t much to the role. He, like Zamperini, was basically whipped the crap out of a lot. He was the softer soul during some of the more intense scenes and did them very well. Takamasa Ishihara was the infamous Watanabe. He was probably one of the more stand out performances from the movie. He did a great job portraying someone totally sadistic and just out right strange at times.

This is a great inspirational story, but it’s rather boring due to the drawn out scenes. Yes it has a positive message of ‘never give up on yourself,’ but we’ve seen it before. Also with this being a World War 2 movie I kinda found it to be drab. Do we really need to be reminded we fought the Japanese again? On top of that there are better WW2 prison movies, like The Great Escape. For a more positive note: it’s BEAUTIFULLY shot, fantastic music scores and has some great acting in it. It’s worth watching in theaters or at least once.

6.5/10

Don’t Trust That B In Apartment 23 TV Show Review

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June Colburn lost her apartment and job. Now she needs a new place to stay. She sees a want ad for a new place with a lady named Chole. She goes, they hang out, and she moves in. After living with her for about 5 days she find out that Chole is, well, a giant B. She eats her food. She brings strange men in the house all the time, sleeps around, drinks too much, etc. So since she’s stuck her goal is to get signed on to a good job and MOVE OUT.

For the most part this is a female version of The Odd Couple. June is a head strong career woman and seems to be a fitness nut. Chole drinks, sleeps around, stays out too late, and takes questionable drugs. Its funny to watch someone completely spaz out and do it so shamelessly. Although most of the situations kinda spring between Chole trying to protect the almost infinitely innocent June from terrible people or trying to get her to interact with people. Which is strange because sometimes its a contradiction all to itself. While it contains a wide variety of humor, it has a habit never seeming to stop. Many episodes it’s punchline after punchline or if there is a brief moment it’s a setup for the next punchlines. This might make some peoples head spin, but all of it has good chuckles. Some of the jokes even try to break into the territory of breaking stereotypes. Like Eric Andre‘s delivery adds heaps to whatever joke he’s telling about casual racism. Like his character and June are in the theaters watching a movie. She won’t SHUT UP so he says “I hope everyone noticed that the black guy isn’t the one talking through the movie.”

The other kinda endearing part of it is that June really is a normal woman who’s just searching for her place in life. A lot of the other crazy comedy comes from her misadventures of being a total dork. It’s cute and sometimes cringe worthy to see someone bump along in life and still make it out OK. Now when someone decides to write a female character, or make her the main character, then they usually decides to tell said life story with a shitload of mellow drama. Thankfully this doesn’t have any of that. Each mishap is mostly something to make light of and theres even punchlines to Junes failings.

The character development is either spars for some characters or just all over the place. Like with June one episode she wants to be like Chole and at least sleep around. Then she finds out the difficult way that it really isn’t something she needs to get into. Then the next week shes TRYING IT AGAIN. Didn’t the character just learn from said mistake in the previous episode or did the writers forget it? Chole makes NO attempts to change or rectify her behavior, while making everyone else miserable, despite getting in trouble many times, usually in one episode. Then she tries to influence June to be, well, like her sometimes. Other times she seems so self absorbed that helping June be a city girl is the last thing on her mind. It’s really spatial, random, strange and something I didn’t care for with the series. Also this trait isn’t exclusive to these two characters and is mildly irritating to see. I know I’m complaining about character development like it’s a serious thing for a COMEDY, but you can see character development in everything. Like for example:Seinfeld‘s character development was steady over time, even if it did fluctuate between being douches and their normal version of their character(s).

The acting, for some, was terrible and then they all generally improved. Krysten Ritter was rude and crude right out of the shoot. She probably did the best out of all of them when the series aired. I’ve seen her in a few other things, but I don’t remember them and if thats the case she didn’t stand out. Either way coming off as someone who’s completely berserk is still entertaining especially since everyone seemed to keep a straight face while she was acting. Dreama Walker, who’s a total babe, plays the innocent and sweat country girl next door thing kinda well. I just wish she was in more movies, or even TV, because I honestly think this is the first time I’ve see her do anything. Michael Blaiklok has a talent for the stranger roles, as it seems. He excelled at being the creeper concerned neighbor. He was a great great in this and I honestly can see someone like his character existing. Sure it wasn’t a standout performance, considering Ritter and Ray Ford took the cake, but its still noteworthy. Eric Andre I usually don’t care for because his brand of surreal comedy is too obnoxious for me. However, he pulled off a normal/stressed coffee shop owner and was funny when the punchlines came. His comedic delivery was probably the best out of them all. James Van Der Beek has always been good in more serious roles. So the first few episodes he was in was kinda terrible. His delivery and execution was a little stale. However after I think episode 5 he really honed in on the flaky, self absorbed, celebrity and seems to sink his teeth into the character. He even lets the writers make fun of his fan base (see Dawson’s Creek) a number of times and not only does it show he’s a good sport about it all but proves he can do comedy roles. Ray Ford plays the sassy homosexual assistant of Van Der Beek. He’s plucky, he’s funny, he’s kinda strange, but I find his character endearing since he does seem to have more aspirations then most of the other characters.

Many people cry that Firefly was canceled. Well this is something for the comedy fans to harp about and how it was unjustly sacked. After two season it was axed and, in my opinion, it was one of the better shows on TV at the time. I can understand why ABC canceled it, considering it’s comedy was really douche-like compared to their normal shows. Also the considerable amount of flaws it had didn’t help it any. However if you want to see something kinda cute, strange, and cringe worthy many times over then please watch this. Its quality humor, if you can put aside it’s flaws.

7.5/10

Must Come Down Movie Review

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WARNING: SPOILERS

Ashley is a bit of a free spirit who’s just trying to find a good time and his way through life. After quitting his job to travel he’s traveling back to his home town to revisit past memories. Holly just recently got dumped by her boyfriend. She’s also looking for a new job and is confused as to what to do with her life. The two meet at a bus stop and eventually start talking. They bond and help each other over come emotional obstacles.

So I usually don’t like indy movies because they feel pandering or the story is either repetitive of something from it’s genera. This thankfully wasn’t that. It’s a simple love story between two lost souls and kinda dorky people who just want to be loved. For the most part it’s all about subtle moves. Like Holly will lay on the blatant hints of wanting more then a friendship. Then Ashley would brush it off, but would kinda acknowledge it the next day. It was like a cute disjointed teen romance. There’s one scene where she hugged him and started to cry. Then as he left he looked emotionally drained. I honestly think he knew he made a mistake.

To a certain extent there isn’t much of a story. It’s mostly quick montages of people goofing off together. Yes it seems to deal with Ashley’s social awkwardness, but he doesn’t seem all that bad off. He does mention his parents getting divorced, but it seemed to lack detail. It’s obvious Holly just wants to be in love again but would probably be better suited just keeping calm for a while. It does seem to capture the uncertainty of life, that bad alone feeling, and how great it is to just find someone.

PEW PEW!!

PEW PEW!!

The scenic outlay of most of the shots are brief and capture simple details. They’re nicely shot and the simpler they are capture more of the moment between the characters. Its quick cuts go directly to what the other characters were previously talking about and usually winds up hilarious. The musical pacing is great. It reminds me of Garden State because it didn’t use orchestra music to heighten some emotional scene. It would interject random indy bands and it always seem to help make smooth transitions between the characters, especially at parts with no dialogue.

First off I’ll acknowledge my bias towards Ashly Burch. Yeah I like her acting, and voice acting. I originally started watching her in Hey Ash Whatcha Playin. Which she plays Ashly Burch, the character, who’s debatably clinically insane. So this was a little more normal for her. She did well as a worried emotional trainwreck without giving into some of the old acting cliches of the romance genera. There was only one scene of hers that I think she UNDER played, but the script might have been written that way. David Fetzer was funny to watch as a flighty guy who just seemed to like to coast through life. He was weirdly likeable. If anything his character reminds me of ‘that guy’ at all the parties. He’s weird, he dances to his own beat, and thinks about everything a lot. Liberty Cordova was a cute addition to the cast. Her brief parts gave a ditzy kinda feel. It was brief, but cute. Colin Fugit had about 10 lines in the whole movie and he was probably the weakest of the group. Yeah he played a scumbag character but it seemed stale or hesitant. But eh, it doesn’t mean he won’t get better. Most of the other actors had small parts so its difficult to critique them all.

This is a heartwarming movie despite it’s SLOW pace. The cast plays their characters out well and seem earnest. The music was a awesome addition to the movie. It was probably a bunch of indy bands, but every song laced the scene and feeling of the moment so well it’s weirdly soothing. The scenic shots are light and done very well with natural lighting without too much visual interference. Despite it not ending the way I would liked it to, it’s still a beautifully melancholy romance movie for people who struggle to move on. It’s something us diehard romantics wish we could experience at least once, for a little while. For me its something I’d watch on a rainy day.

It’s available as a digital download, to rent, or you can buy a physical copy at their website.

7.5/10

Heavy Rain Video Game Review PS3

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WARNING: Spoilers that spoil things….you know

This game follows the story of multiple people who are involved with a serial killer, known as the Origami Killer. The killer seeks out fathers whom he feels are unfit parents and then and kidnaps the son. He puts the father through a series of severely difficult tests to in order to gain his son back. If the man fails for whatever reason, the boy dies. As the story slowly develops it shows how it slowly breaks people down emotionally and tests even the strongest relationships. The drastically depressing part is that you can absolutely control if they succeed or fail.

This is one hell of a experience in story telling. There has only been two other game that came out recently, Beyond: Two Souls and Telltale’s The Walking Dead, that has hit me this hard and has encouraged me to say this once again:

This is one of my favorite games of all time.

With that being said there’s very very little wrong with this game besides the occasional visual glitch or small cliche. Every piece of the story telling is intricate and well laid out. Every character, even side characters, have enough space to develop fully. It took time to explain nearly every bump and bruise in their life and why whatever character had whatever idiosyncrasy they were struggling with. By the end it’ll make you feel like you almost know each character personally.

The beauty behind the games story is that it has so many endings. It will keep you guessing the whole time, because every piece of detail determines the outcomes of various people in the game. It can get frustrating due to the amount of things that need attention, but it makes the immersive feeling that much more present. It’s like you’re some kind of demented puppet master and you’re pulling all their strings. Also it’s shocking how this one guy can con so many people into helping him do terrible things. I don’t think the killer is a psychopath, but he’s some kind of evil. He’s just a supped up douche who exacts revenge on something no one could have possibly been able to control. You also have the option of beating the shit out of him later in the game which is really satisfying.

The graphics are top notch and damn stunning. You can see individual droplets of water run down peoples face. You can see someone get gradually wet in the rain and then dry and still look damp. The lighting is always beautiful and sets the mood perfectly. There is the occasional motion glitchs, but they’re too hilarious to ignore. I don’t mind them since it brings some light to a really depressing videogame. Also this is a game that runs near perfect on the PS3, which made me wonder what the guys who made Fallout New Vegas was thinking.

The gameplay is pretty much hated by a good half of the people who play this game. I don’t mind it. It’s mostly quick-time events that are meshed with either quick problems solving or a kind of pick and choose motion. One notable event like this was where the main detective, named Norman Jayden, almost has his ass handed to him while looking into a murder cover up. A guy who’s trying to cover up the murder instigates a fight and the real time puzzles follow suit. There are puzzles that require some problem solving, but usually require things within grasp and basic logic.

If you fail you can either continue or start over anywhere in the story. Its kinda fun to start over after seeing how much detail they put into each scene, even the UGLY death scenes. I love this forgiving nature, but at the same time it proves NO challenge half the time. In most adventure game you carry a dozen items. Unfortunately you can either lose a item or never pick it up in the previous scene, thus screwing up future events. However it has a impact on the story so you can often continue without them, but you might not get the results you wan in turn. This is one of the things I was thankful for since you virtually can’t screw it up like that. Sure you can kill main characters but it still influences the outcome rather just giving you a “game over” screen. Then the game usually gives you a achievement for whatever. I honestly don’t understand the system. It seems if you can do anything and you can get a achievement.

On top of that it’s a lot of talking with multiple choices. Each character has a different reaction and give the characters their interacting with a real-ish feel when dealing with them. Sam Douglas did a great voice over for the main antagonist. His sleepy performance pretty much vocalized how that character really just wasn’t there. Pascal Langdale gave a really good performance as a Dad who would probably be clinically depressed after all this drama. He only had two lines that I thought sounded strange. Yes, one was where he was yelling for his son Jason. Judi Beecher was really really good. She’s probably one of the best female voice actors I’ve heard so far. It sounded genuine and I don’t remember listening to any of it and thinking how it sounded horrible or nothing like the character. This usually happens when a voice artist is stuck in a booth for 10 hours a day and yelling, screaming, crying, or whatever and then their voice doesn’t have time to recover. This happens a lot in the industry, unfortunately due to time constraints or untrained people decided to be voice actors. Leon Ockenden and Aurélie Bancilhon are the only two I had a real problem with. Ockenden sounded like he had trouble pulling off a American accent sometimes. It showed in some of the police department scenes. Bancilhon seemed a little canned or inexperienced. It wasn’t too noticeable until it came to the really dramatic scenes, like when her character was crying at someones tombstone. The emotion felt hampered. Other then that everyone did rather well.

This is one of the games that I consider near perfect. You are in complete command of all characters and its up to you to determine the ending of the story. Also since it has 20 or so endings many will be playing this for at least a few years. The graphics are near perfect. The story, although dark, is so well crafted that it breaths life into the old Noir genera and relies off nearly no cliches in order to tell the story. Everything packaged together is a really strong emotional trip into the terror of a child killer.

Quantic Dream please make more games.

9.5/10

Exodus: Gods and Kings Movie Review

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King Seti is dying and about to pass the throne on to Ramses. His best friend, and high adviser, Moses has plans that need to be carried out for the people of Egypt and sustain the kingdom. Ramses gets side tracked with rumors and enjoying his rule over the Jewish people. Ramses finds out that Moses is a Jew and has a sister. He gets upset by this and casts Moses out. In turn Moses wonders the desert until he finds a remote village that takes him in. Then one night while looking for his lost sheep he believes he encounters God and is told about his peoples suffering.

Most religious films piss me off with their canned acting, terrible dialogue, just feeling dated, or spending too much time focusing on the terrible things that happened. Much like most of Charlton Hestons movies, and acting. Yes, I know I’m taking a pot shot at someone huge, but I’m just as entitled to my opinion just as you are to disagree with my opinion. This surprised me by striking a balance between history and the religious tones without coming off as oppressively preachy or depressing. Also I don’t understand the stupid controversy huffed up about this movie. “Hurr they didn’t hire Egyptian Actors!” Well hue hue hue to you too. No disrespect to the International Egyptian Actors community, but I don’t know of any Egyptian actors, even from the Golden Era of cinema. Also this is directed by Ridley Scott for fucks sake. He isn’t going to hire nobodies or poor actors for his films. He hired all really well rounded actors and got good performances out of all of them.

The movie is beautifully scenic. A lot of the shots add a huge amount of atmosphere to various dramatic scenes and almost looked painted. However this draw back to this is that some really beautiful shots will take up a good bit of time. Yes it sets a soothing mood, but I feel it’s strange since in the next few scenes Moses will be wielding a sword and killing people left and right. Another odd thing is that when the plagues descended upon Egypt they spent only a small amount of time on it, which is fine, but I don’t feel they made it as gruesome as it was made out to be in the Bible. Sure they didn’t want to make it too rough for a Christmas movie, but it really devastated the economy of Egypt and it was only given maybe 5 minutes of the film. I’m not saying they needed to show the gore, but telling a little more of the impact would have helped. Like they had a great scene where random poor people broke into a wheat storage building and starting stealing the wheat. Now of course the empire retaliates by setting them on fire. In turn it burns half of the wheat in the building. If it gave more examples of the chaos that ensued I think it would have helped the film out. The only other real weakness of this film is that we’ve seen/heard this one before at least once. With a heavily Jewish influence in the media today it’s difficult not to notice.

Christian Bale gives a solid performance. Oddly enough it mirrors some of his more serious roles while still having a solemn and calm undertones. Joel Edgerton was moody and did well displaying subtle rage without looking canned. It’s one of the more difficult ones to do since everyone seems to think ever you over do it or looking more constipated then angry. John Turturro is always a reliable actor. He’s one of my favorite bit actors, but this performance wasn’t one of his best. I don’t know if the role was written to seem stuffy, but it seemed off with everyone behaving with a little more of a natural feel then, well, him. Ben Mendelsohn did a great job appearing as a elites asshole who really loved power, and considerably racist. Most everyone else had minor bit parts and I don’t feel right to critique them on maybe less then 10 lines in the entire movie.

I enjoyed this film, even for a religious piece. It was structurally balanced and had enough themes to warrant it as a Christmas movie. So it wasn’t too graphic. The acting was decent with a strong performance from the main characters. The only major weakness it has is that if you pay attention to anything American, or Christian, or any kind of Christmas movie ever, then you’ve probably heard this story before. If you like this kinda movie, or the actors, then I’d see it at least once.

6.5/10

Fallout New Vegas PS3 Video Game Review

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You’re some loaner out in the middle of nowhere in the ruins of Las Vegas, Nevada. You’ve been assigned to take a parcel to some address for unknown reasons. Along the way you get mugged by a sharp looking guy and a group of thugs. They steal your package and leave you for dead in some cemetery. You eventually come to and a doctor makes you aware that the town robot has dug you out of your unmarked grave and you’ve been patched up. Kinda.

As with all Fallout games you expect a great experience and the story is just that. It blends scifi, 50s technology and vibe, and does it all beautifully. The stories involved are very vivid and damn near completely compelling. Yeah it has some cliches and genera stereotypes, but for the most part it’s well written. The characters, and voice actors, do a great job making you care about them and their well being, even more ruthless ones like the Great Khans. The stories that intertwine help bring some depth to the peoples and their struggle. Also, many times, it pretty much displays no one as a true hero and shows everyone makes mistakes. The better thing about this game is the options. You can chose between factions and it has a impact on how they treat you. The guns can be upgraded to be lighter, more durable, etc. It gives you a great deal of more options when choosing how your character survives the wasteland.

The voice acting is the usual top quality stuff. You get a greedy and damaged character from Matthew Perry. Voice acting legend Jason Marsden comes back as a hard boiled and emotionally damaged sniper. Unlike his first role in Fallout 2 as a chem making asshole. All are quality performances, except the bit characters dialogue. Some seem hackney or hastily slapped together at the last minute. I doubt its the actual voice actors problem, but…well…I’ll give you a example. You’re talking to a MALE Brotherhood of Steel paladin and when you say Goodbye a female voice says Goodbye and the lips of the Paladin move. So either the character had a spontaneous sex change and his estrogen shot to ungodly levels or the coders screwed it up. Another irritating time is when I’m talking to ED-E, a robot companion in the game. A message comes over his speakers from the Brotherhood of Steel asking you to bring them the robot so they can analyze it. On the very last sentence it switches from a American accent to a very thick Middle Easter, or Indian, accent. WHAT THE HELL? It does this multiple times and is just completely weird.

I’m just warning you ahead of time that this is why I’m completely failing the game. The GRAPHICS and game itself isn’t terrible. The whole of it is just incredibly unstable! Its like they made the game to troll the crap out of the player. I have had to restart the PS3 multiple times due to it freezing or getting so slow that minutes will pass before anything happens. Like if I hit the left joystick telling my character to walk left it’ll sit there for a while, then it decides to walk left 5+ minutes after that. Many times when it tries to load a new area it goes to a slow crawl and either freezes or is so jittery it becomes to difficult to do anything. Other times characters, usually IMPORTANT ONES, will have various monsters spawn near them in the secluded and SAFE town that they live in and get killed. This usually happens AGES before you get to the quest that requires them. Also it seems to happen AT RANDOM. So very important, quest required, NCPs will be DEAD when you need them the most and for no logical reason. Other times if you have a companion they will lose important items you bought for them. Or if you go into a casino they’ll be stripped of them and you won’t get them back later. The list really goes on and on. Due to all these glitches and more it completely ruins the immersion feeling this series is known for. Instead of having quality face to face with the characters it’s all a jittery crash filled experience and quickly reminds me that I should have bought a better PC to play this.

The thing that frustrates me the most about this whole experience is that I have other games I need to get to, play, and review. I have other games fixed/patched/whatever, without GAME STOPPING GLITCHES, that run fine on the same game system. So if I ever get a new computer I won’t force myself to play this game again, seeing as it would probably be the same experience. So because they can’t seem to fix glitches, fix simple quest glitches, and stop NCPs items from randomly disappearing I’ve don’t have a choice but to give up on this game. When I play a game I want the whole story and for it to function correctly. This really isn’t the case.

Quality assurance should be a top priority of any games developer. Those who haven’t made it a priority have went bankrupt. After so many hours into this game and learning more of it’s lush lore and intriguing story line: it’s very apparent they just gave up at one point on the graphics, and how to load them. I am infuriated that such a great story was thrown to the way side because people don’t want to patch their damn game! This has been a totally upsetting experience because I love this series and this is the only one I’ve had so much trouble with. The crashing ruins the game for me because if it wasn’t for that factor alone I would be giving this game a 8.5/10. However, I just can’t.

3.5/10