Saints Row: Gat Out of Hell PS3 Review

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WARNING: SPOILERS

In continuation of the over the top antics and storyline the Saints Row crew throw a Birthday party for the resident nerd, Kinzie Kensington. They find out she hasn’t ever had a birthday party before, people are only mildly surprised, and then they break out the cake, generic fun party stuff, and a spoof of a Ouija board. They start asking the board a bunch of questions and it somehow opens a portal to Hell. It sucks the President of the United States of America in and then immediately closes itself. Everyone gets pissed and Johnny Gat and Kinzie Kensington volunteer to go rescue him.

So right off they take the two worst characters of the series and make them the lead characters. Yes, Matt Miller might be a ugly looking dork who’s possibly closet gay and obsessed with a shitty TV series, but at least he has personality. Kinzie Kensington is the kind of nerd that most nerds ignore, because she’s for lack of a better vocabulary: one dimensional. While most people can talk about other things that aren’t their job and live a normal life, Kensington lacks that ability. Same goes for Johnny Gat. His major characteristic is talking about killing people, and then does some killing of the aforementioned people. Seeing how everyone in most of video gaming history has this ability I don’t see why that makes him so special.

Despite this crappy note I liked most of the story that was actually told. Sure it’s a little slap dash, but a lot of the humor is still there. It has a bit of a mundane feeling since its all more of the same kind of either story or gameplay but I at least liked the ambiance of Hell and all the details added to the world. One of the major things I didn’t care for is the feeling that they either left content out or just flat out stopped caring. One major things I always do in sandbox games is take over the town, when able. This is a feature in most of the series and you get a few good perks from shops because of this. In other games like GTA you can even buy houses in areas you’ve taken over. Anyway, when you hit 100% it transfers back to the storytelling version of cut scenes. It’s where one of the main characters opens a ugly children storybook with the Saints Row symbol on it. She then flips through the pages of the book and basically reads it to you with really elaborate art pieces. It goes on for about 30 minutes and gives a dozen or so things anyone could get hyped about. Now instead of letting you play out those things, which would have added lots of depth to your relationship with the members of Hell, tells you how everything happens, rather then you being apart of it. It tells you how a fight unfolds between your group vs. whoever and how they reside in hell now. It’s a complete cop out of game play and some possible good story missions.

The graphics are the standard and good enough for the gameplay. The only fancy elements were the constant drips or raining lava. There were the occasional glitches, but nothing serious. Once I had to restart the game because I was wall climbing and got stuck in the building. Its like I could walk around the interior of the building if it was made entirely of two way glass. Also the freezing glitch, that stopped the game completely, was remedied in this version. Although there were major sound issues. Many times when I’d snag one of the audio collectibles it would get about half way through what it was saying and then just cut out. Then it would be pure silence for the next few moments or you’d switch back to the aerial sounds of Hell and generic music. It also had trouble playing anything in the background while I grabbed one. A few times I’d have someone shotting at me or I’d be on fire and the audio would block everything out and just focus on the collected audio.

All of the previous power ups from SR4 are available in this game as well. You can still run up walls, throw ice/fire/darkness/whatever, send minions to do your bidding, and power stomp the ground. They only improved those marginally. The only addition they included was the ability to fly, but it’s kinda lacking since its more like gliding. They explain that Satan got it from somewhere and Blackbeard stole it, but I don’t remember much after that. Also the variety of weapons they included embody the 7 deadly sins. Most of them are either A) obnoxious or B) already in the game in some form. Like the Ark of the Covenant gun is suppose to represent Wrath. It sucks in enemies and shoots them out in a explosion. Cool, but the stomp power up already sucks enemies in, crushes them, and some explode. When ya think about it it’s not really too great add more collectibles that do the same thing. It makes neat combos, but again, useless when you’re super empowered and killing everything was rather easy.

The final fight with Satan was hideously disappointing. It basically consisted of him disappearing and reappearing in a certain time frame, or essentially a flashy version of peak-a-boo. Sure he hit you with everything he had, but if you’re anything like me, you’ve already gotten every special hidden power up or gun and the health bar becomes a joke. Sure this series is all about empowering, over empowering?, the player, but we’re fighting Satan for fucks sake!!! The master of darkness, the evil of all evil, etc. He could have been at least a little bit scary or intimidating. I mean Satan is cartoonie in other productions, but he still had a feel of intimidation in some way.

This ‘DLC’ was both disappointing and refreshingly strange. While it didn’t add anything new gameplay wise however the level(s) and artistic interpretation of hell was fun, funny, and really damn detailed. While I hate collectibles, the commentary was funny at points and added some depth to the world. The rest of the story was just meh. The musical fairy tale style of story telling was disjointed. It often interrupted by actual cut scenes that felt a lot more serious then the many of the cut scenes. Yeah all the fun parts are there: the running, the shooting, the huge explosions, but it really really feels like one of their writers just said “FUCK IT!” and stopped writing , or caring, at some point about telling more of the story. So it really does feel weirdly incomplete.

If you want something really abstract, even for this series, then try this out. Otherwise I’d be weary of it.

6.0/10

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Kingsman: The Secret Service

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WARNING: Mild Spoilers

Harry Hart owes a life debt to a fallen friend, Lancealot, whilst working for a socially elites group of people who are Britain’s best undercover spies called: Kingsmen. They all take names from King Arthers fairy tales, and some even exude qualities of their mythical counter parts. Regardless, Gary “Eggsy” Unwin grew up as a social delinquent. He eventually gets arrested and calls on the Kingsmen to get him out of trouble. They do and decide to recruit him for their undercover training program.

I consider most British comedies wittier then most American comedies due to well placed sight gags or very well crafted dialogue. This one lacked in some areas on good gags and smarm, but it made up for with well crafted crass humor. Colin Firth played the straight man to Taron Egerton‘s young and foul mouthed teenager. Many examples can be seen in the various trailers out there. Other times its simple pokes at American stereotypes or in your face violence. Oddly enough I found myself snickering at some of the violent scenes involving a racist church group they eventually investigate. Other times it was at the blatant references to just about every other spy film ever made while still trying to formulate a ironic style of humor while still honoring the genera.

I didn’t care for the film’s jumbled development. Many times Taron Egerton’s character jumps between lovable dumbass to killing machine back to being a arrogant prick. You’d think after months of training he’d know how to do something simple like open a parachute. Also the anti-US American undertones were a tad obnoxious. They were consistent and only seemed to be berating the ‘evil corporate American companies are trying to kill you’ lunacy that seems to plague every other story now-a-days. Also it isn’t plausible that one of the crucial parts of the story involves mass genocide and all the billionaires in the world just being OK with it. Because once society has toppled what good is their money? Who will run their power plants or make their food? Oh wait. No one will, because everyone is DEAD. There’s a definite spike between different styles of humor after a main character dies. In the beginning it’s a mixture of mellow, wit, wry, and crass humor. After the main character dies then it becomes oafish and pure crass. It isn’t that its too jarring, but it’s REALLY noticeable. So if you think all of a sudden the jokes become crappier then thats just letting you know you’re near the end of the movie.

Colin Firth was decent as a stern sophisticated person without giving into his past experience with roles. Mark Strong played a good guy for once and while not showing a lot of strength in anything he did seem to know how seem convincing he was a master of all trades. Mark Hamill is a bumbling professor and plays it rather well. It’s different since he usually plays a stronger male role, even as a villain. Taron Egerton was good as a jackass, but most of his acting was reactionary due to the script so I don’t think it’s a good example of his acting. Samuel L Jackson was great as the villain, but it seemed like he needed to tighten up some areas and be a little more aggressive or assertive. Other wise he was rather good and made someone with a lisp rather creepy.

Most spy films that try to be comedies fail by hiring writers who don’t know how to blend the two genera or the comedy becomes too experimental. This was a nice balance of everything without having one genera overpower the other. The characters were likable, even if mildly cliché. The story might be bland to some people, but how everything is set up separates it from the rest of the genera. Kingsman might not go down as a comedy classic, but it will definitely be brought up in conversation frequently.

See it in theaters.

7.5/10

Hot Tub Time Machine 2 Movie Review

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WARNING: SPOILERS

In the long slew of gross out movies that Rob Corddry and Craig Robinson seem to be fond of making this is probably their darkest yet. The crew from the previous film is back, with exception to Adam (John Cusack), and are shoved into the future. There they try to find out what happens to Lou (Rob Corddry) and why people are trying to kill him. As they bumble about they run into a few new faces and they find out that his life, as well as a few others, are completely in shambles.

Now usually some sequels either extend the series or do a good job at filling all plot holes. This successfully only adds more plot holes and leaves the previous ones unanswered. They only briefly bring back Chevy Chase‘s character (the Hot Tub Repairman) for two sentences and then disappears again. Thus not answering why he’s there nor how he can just come and go as he pleases. They joke about Cusack‘s character disappearing and then don’t explain why. Then they form new plot holes like why Lou decided to become a jerk again since at the end of the previous movie he seemed rather generous with his friends and liked his son. So he went from loud lummox of the group, to being the most immoral person in the film. It’s suggested he slept with peoples wifes and did more drugs then before with reason as to why and would verbally abuse his coworkers. They also bring up Adam Jr (Adam Scott) who is suppose to be Adam’s son, but don’t explain that well.

The crux of any comedy is the jokes. They deviated from the previous formula they had and make just about every joke darker or gross. One of the grossest scenes in the movie highlights the slow moral degrade of most TV game shows, but it takes it too far when they do more then imply possible forced sexual acts. It ruined the latter half of the movie for me since it made me wonder if I heard sounds of rape or just someone who was grunting in pain due to a lot of electricity flowing through their body. Other times they are just hating on Jacob (Clark Duke) and it isn’t funny because most of it is from Lou and he has no room to talk. It’s a total oxymoron for someone who has poor impulse control to throw shade about his son who’s just hasn’t found himself yet.

Hot Tub Time Machine 2 wasted a movie going experience by rehashing the previous storyline. With the small, and ignorable plot holes, of the previous movie were only exasperated in the fact that they were brought back up with stupid dialogue, and just as quickly dismiss. Then sprinkle some very disgusting humor and offset it with other forms of humor and it makes them feel largely incongruous. Quality doesn’t seem to mean anything this time since the jokes are guilty of being average or bland. None of the characters developed any and even at the end they are only slightly less crass. So it seemed like a fruitless endeavor for them.

I’d wait for this one on DVD before thinking about seeing it.

5.5/10

Bioshock Infinite: The Complete Edition PS3 Video Game Review

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WARNING: MAJOR SPOILERS

You are Booker DeWitt a private investigator for hire. You’ve been sent to a city in the sky called Columbia that has succeeded from the United States of America and is run by a man named Zachary Hale Comstock. Somewhere in the city he’s holding a woman named Elizabeth. The mysterious client states that if you bring her back, he’ll wipe away all of your gambling debt.

I originally didn’t want to review this game because it has been done to death. Everyone who hasn’t lived under a rock, or granite like substance, has noticed this game and give it perfect score. I liked the first one and is probably one of the better FPSs of its time. The originals story stood out as being completely depressing and at that time it was different because it didn’t make you a completely infallible person. Also its gripping seeing as you’re trapped between two douches fighting for a city in total chaos and all you’re trying to do is figure out why you’re there and how to freaking get out alive. The continued mystery and noir themes would build tension throughout the game without making it feel suffocating.

This takes the same premise as the first one. You’re some average bloke who can’t remember anything and goes to a mysterious place to look for answers. Sound familiar!? Good, because there are very few changes. They have their wacky characters that are entertaining, possibly incestual, but most either not explored enough or you end up killing them. This, like the previous one, has a lot of gray characters instead of being absolute good or bad, like most FPSs. This one takes a bit of a chipper tone since its colored as a racist southern version of Disneyland. It was neat to walk amongst the city, and it’s citizens, before everything was thrown into pure anarchy mostly due to their own stupidity.

The beginning was good. It took the ‘damsel in distress’ story and warped it to make her more then just a powerless girl. In fact it alluded that she might be some kind of God-like creature. Anyway, it blunders about and introduces allies and villains in awkward ways. Like I had to look for a power up in one location that was ruled over by a local gang. The only option was to go in and kill them all. So the only purpose for them to be in the story was to guard that single power up. I thought this was a bit of a waste since they were a kinda gray group (morality wise) who only wanted to be recognized for their deeds. So much more could have been developed with them and instead they were killed off really early. Then one group was introduced, they steal your stuff, and then try to kill you later despite helping them out. This irritated me because they knew you had a time traveling girl on your side. It shouldn’t surprise them if you ‘come back from the dead.’ Also they seem to flip flop on agreements with little to no warning. It’s just stupid plot twists that had me rolling my eyes a lot.

I really don’t like that I have to give this game a low score because everything was going swimmingly up until the games ending. The ending really ruined it for me. It reminded me of several 1970s sci-fi films where the good guy is somehow a alternate time version of the bad guy. In this case DeWitt if he seeks forgiveness in one reality he becomes a racist stereotype of the south and builds Columbia. If he doesn’t, in some alternate universe, he does fuck all till he gets a invitation from someone to go find Elizabeth. So in other words he becomes the villain in one universe and in the other he’s a completely depressed alcoholic in another. I don’t have any problem with the second outcome. However our wondrous dumbfuck Elizabeth does.

So as the ending roles it’s kinda open to interpretation so I can only tell you what I got from it. She basically explains that’s shes a time traveling omnipotent God like entity who can see different universes, times, and can see how everything happens. She basically leads DeWitt in believing everything happens the exact same way, in every universe, and he has no choice but to do the same stuff over and over again. This is bullshit if you’ve read anything about time travel EVER! She says everything repeats itself until he figures out what needs to be done. Eventually it strikes him that in order to prevent all the future tragedies he needs to kill Comstock at birth. So he asks her to help him kill the guy. She brings him back to some open void in time and lets him know he’s Comstock and DeWitt and in order to destroy a possible bad future she has to kill him.

I thought this ending was total and utter crap. If she wanted to prevent a ‘bad future,’ for other people, that meant she would eventually have to kill everyone else too to stop them from possibly becoming corrupt power hungry maniacs. Also if she is some kind of time traveling entity then she could have easily manipulated any instance in time to her, or societies, advantage. NOPE! Instead she, and her very narrow perspective on it all, choses to jump through time and universes to kill this same guy over and over again, regardless if he turns out to be a good guy or not. This is pretty much is what’s theorized at the end when multiple versions of herself show up. Instead of going through time, or other universes, and fixing things she has a fetish for killing this one guy over and over again.

On top of that it’s the most drawn out and pretentious thing imaginable. Instead of doing the simple thing and putting a bullet in his head and moving on, tear a spot in time and turning his brain into pudding, or letting him get killed by someone in Columbia, but she doesn’t. She instead goes all out theatrical and drags everything out so long that it makes the player wonder if everything, even Columbia, was intentionally setup to trap this one guy. She has him relive everything in Columbia (all the fighting, clue finding, tragedy, etc.) and holds this long elaborate plot to show him how guilty he should feel. In turn this makes him feel bad and she opts to kill him. She’s a fucking sadist in my opinion. If you download the DLC Burial At Sea then you’ll see that she jumps into another dimension and goes out of her way to kill him all over again. So not only does she lack a moral compass, but she lacks common sense, is exceedingly lacking self control, but on top of all that she has no fucking clue what she’s doing.

The only good things about this game is the gameplay and graphics. The gameplay is just like the last and has a lot of features added to it. It’s taken the FPS format and added battlemage capabilities. This means you basically play as mixture of warrior and wizard style of combat. You have a gun in your right hand and use your left to cast spells. This adds some great combos and make some of the tougher battles a little more strategic.

There’s a lot of variety in both strategy and kill combos. Everything can be upgraded, except DeWitt and Elizabeth. The only addition that is noteworthy is the clothing. Some areas have clothes that can give you special abilities. It’s a nice perk, but unless it’s something outside normal gameplay (like the shield) then most aren’t noticeable when being worn. Like one piece of clothing lets you run super fast after you lose 50% of your life for about 5 seconds. The only added ability that I didn’t care for was the shield. It seems to be gone after 2 hits most of the time and then health, ammo, and salts are nearly everywhere you turn so if they are going to try to make things so piss easy why bother with a shield at all, especially if it’s gone after a few hits? Also there is a hook rail system that you can jump on to run away from enemies. I found this obnoxious because it made it difficult to aim at anyone and other then some linear story progression it’s mostly useless.

Another bonus is Elizabeth acts as a companion that actually does something, other then die or get in the way. In combat she’ll throw you health, ammo, and salts to help keep you alive. The odd thing is that th AI completely ignores her. There were many times when she was crouched down behind a crate and the enemies went around her side to get to me. I thought that it was strange that there wasn’t any interaction her since the whole town was seeking me out to A) kill me and B) return the girl to her tower. Even if I did die in a heated battle she’d somehow drag me to the side and revive me, for a price. Again, she either did this ‘unnoticed’ or the enemies ignored her.

The graphics are probably a example of the best the PS3 can offer. The bloom is proportioned nicely throughout the game, it gives characters shadows on their face, and adjusts as characters walk. The animations break some of the immersion because they really aren’t expressive outside of cut scenes and give some dramatic dialog a jejune delivery. There were rarely any hangups while rendering the game. The few that did seem to glitch were light rendering errors. Other times it would seem to want to freeze the screen and load for no apparent reason. For example: it would take only a short time to load the game and then when you moved to another area on the same map it sometimes would popup saying it was loading, but not show the stagnate loading screen. Other then that they did a great job making the characters both look kinda cartoonie and lifelike.

This is probably the worst of the series to me. It takes old sci-fi stories from the 1970s and beats it like a dead horse till you see it’s bones. The cliché contrived betrayals happen, the good guy is secretly the bad guy or the other way around, blatant bad guy stereotypes are used a lot, and then it has you reflect on the previous two Bioshock games. Sure it’s fun, fast paced, and has a lot of the game play elements, and more, of the previous two for everyone to enjoy, but I hate this story.

If you want something that has good gameplay then buy this, just try your best to ignore the story.

3.0/10

 

Seventh Son Movie Review

The Seventh Son Latest Poster

Master Gregory is the last living warrior of a clan, called Spooks, known for fighting off evil spirits. His claim to fame is that he imprisoned Mother Malkin, a all powerful witch, a long time ago. The local church informs him that the a local girl is possessed and he sees to if after getting throughly drunk. At the local church they do their best to exorcise the child. He performs his own counter spells and out pops Mother Malkin. As she falls into his trap, she kills his apprentice, and escapes. She then goes out to rebuilt her fallen empire. Gregory then sets off to find the “Seventh Son” to help defeat her before she can rule the world.

This is one of the most standard movies I’ve seen in a while. It’s predictable, has a steady pace if not slow at times, and most of all it’s kinda boring. It falls along the same storyline of a guy having some need to find the mystical chosen one for some exceedingly difficult task. Just like the Matrix, the Hobbit, or even most of the Elder Scrolls videogame series. After that there’s a mild kinda training montage with a series of tests. Then theres really contrived love subplot between the chosen one and a villain. It’s explained, but all the interactions are something to be desired. Half the time it seemed like he was just a horny dude and the ladies actions were so obvious the blind could see what she’s doing. Then theres the other love story subplot between Master Gregory and Mother Malkin that is nearly non-existent. Plot holes this size aren’t forgivable and I lost interest about the two characters whenever they interacted. From a viewer perspective its discouraging because the back story between the two love birds needs to be told in order to place empathy and some kind of concern for their welfare.

That’s the main problem that this movie has: it struggles to develop anything. The characters are almost copy pasted out of other movies. Like: Gregory is the stereotypical war vet who’s a cynic and drinks too much. Thats only every other hero ever told in just about ever movie/book/video game genera out there. Malkin is the bad guy in the film with little to no explanation as to why she wants to rule over the world other then “just because.” At least over the top James Bond villains had an excuse. Some hated society, some wanted to change society, and with Malkin it’s implied she wants to destroy it or get revenge, but its not throughly talked about. Its appalling that the main two characters are as deep as a puddle. Everything is really spelled out in simple sentences and nothing is drawn out to any length to give a impression that there’s any growth amongst anything.

Jeff Bridges add some character to Master Gregory, but comes off as being completely odd. He talks with some kind of accent, but since no one else does, nor anywhere they visit, seems to have this kind of accent it sticks out like a soar thumb. Some people are sure to like his strange characters quips, but its usually hit or miss with this movie depending on the scenes circumstances. Ben Barns was probably the worst in the film. His acting and delivery on most spots were stale. Also the chemistry between him and Alicia Vikander was exceedingly forced. Alicia Vikander was OK for the most part, but failed to get emotional intense when needed. Julianna Moore is as good as ever, but her character was so average that I don’t think her acting could help that.

The Seventh Son boils down to having a stale plot and some very average fighting scenes. They spent more time changing into dragons or fighting then doing anything else. Everyones acting is here and there and is jumbled between good acting and rather stale pieces. The visuals are alright, but with so many contrived and cliche things thrown on top of it it doesn’t do anything to improve the situation. For a fantasy movie this is a very average experience and I’d recommend almost anything that’s come out in the last 10 years over this.

I’d wait till this one came out on DVD.

4.5/10

Saints Row 4 The National Treasure Edition PS3 Videogame Review

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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

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

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