Monday, February 11, 2013

Dead Rising 2

Ok, so I've had this game for a couple weeks now and I haven't posted a review in a while, so why not? Anyway, if you're not familiar with the series, they're pretty good zombie games and one of the major selling points is that you can use almost anything as a weapon. I haven't actually played the first one yet, but the second is pretty sweet. The protagonist, Chuck Greene, is like Chuck Norris ... but Greene. He is pretty tough though. Plus instead of just being after a story, his motives are much more relatable than those of Frank West. Chuck was framed for causing the zombie outbreak and his daughter was bitten by a zombie, so he has three days to clear his name and keep his daughter alive by giving her a drug called Zombrex every 24 hours. Time plays a big part in this game, which is both a strength and a weakness. Everything is very structured and certain things have to be done at certain times. Each mission opens and closes at a set time, whether you've done it or not. Most are optional, but you still have to go through the story in the prescribed times. Because of this, it's possible to forget to do a mission and screw yourself over, sometimes so badly that you have to restart the game. Luckily all your abilities and stuff carry over to the next play through so you can start with everything you had before. The sense of time is a cool concept and makes it feel more real, but it sometimes feels like there's not enough time to just do random things and kill zombies, which in itself is pretty fun with all the different ways to do it. A few of my favorite weapons are the shower head, the toy helicopter, the electric guitar, and also the more standard weapons like a sword, a sledgehammer, and various guns. I think the best weapons of all though are the combo weapons. In Dead Rising 2, maintenance rooms are your best friend. In and around them are always the components for at least one combo weapon, which can be created using the workbench in the maintenance room. Some of them are fairly realistic, like a machete duct taped to a broom handle, but some others are just so ridiculous it's awesome. For example, if you combine gems and a flashlight you get a lightsaber. That,s right. A lightsaber. You can also make a freeze gun, a powered up guitar that makes shockwaves, and lots if other fun weapons. I haven't tried them all yet, but so far my personal favorite is a pair if boxing gloves with knives duct taped to them. Maintenance rooms are your best friend, but I'd say your second best friend is anything with wheels. If you find a wheelchair, a utility cart, or anything like that, you can push it and just plow through hordes of zombies. One zombie is pretty easy to kill, but there are always tons of them on the screen, so it's never too easy. Plus the environment is pretty big, so that's nice. My only complaint from a traversal standpoint is that the player often relies on the guide arrow on the HUD for navigation, but there's no way to set a custom waypoint. The story is meant to be played through several times, but that's only fun for so long. It has a multiplayer mode and I don't know how it is on other platforms, but on the 360 it's really not even worth playing. Finding a game takes a long time, and once you start playing, if just one person leaves the game the whole thing ends. Plus it's based on the show Terror is Reality from the game, but the host (spoiler alert) is responsible for framing Chuck, so you really start to hate him after a little bit. There is online co-op though, so if you want, you can join someone else's game and give them a hand. Unfortunately though, there's no splitscreen, which I really would've liked. Overall though, I love the game. The concept is original ad the story is good, plus the gameplay is fun and unlike most other zombie games. If you like zombie games, this one is a must. It's hampered by some minor issues I have with it, but it easily makes up for them. Final Verdict: This game gets 4.2 homemade lightsabers!

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Movie Tie-in Games

At first, a movie tie-in game sounds like a great idea. They combine two of my favorite things: movies and video games. But it's a real shame that so many of them are bad. In fact, it's a rare occurrence. I usually don't even bother with them, since they usually end up being pretty similar. They usually have decent combat, but very weak dialogue. The graphics are usually decent, but graphics play a very small part in influencing my opinion of a game. Telling you which ones to avoid would take too long, so let me tell you which ones are actually good and worth the money. Firstly is this past summer's Amazing Spider-Man. I get annoyed when games try to cram a whole bunch of extra stuff into the plot of the movie, but this game avoids that by setting the game after the movie, which I don't mind unless they try to stick scenes from the movie in there, but they didn't, so that was fine. The gameplay is fun and the combat doesn't make you remember long complicated combos in order to do cool stuff. Where dialogue is concerned, it's not as deep as some more story centric games, but there's nothing wrong with it, plus the characters sound like they did in the movie. Another movie game that I liked was one of the James Bond games. Most of them were pretty good. I didn't love Agent Under Fire and I thought Nightfire was pretty, but it's not connected to any of the movies. I thought From Russia with Love was good even though it deviates from the movie. But it also had a great 4 player splitscreen deathmatch type thing, which was especially fun when you found a jetpack, an armored car, or the controls for various traps located throughout the maps. I think I liked Nightfire a little bit more, but as far as the movie games are concerned, this one is the best I've played, even counting the more recent Quantum of Solace. I l Ike the Bond games because they combine elements of a stealth game and an FPS, and often give you fun gadgets to play with. Or if you want more all out violence, I recommend another Marvel game, X-Men Origins: Wolverine. It's fun to slice people up with your claws, and the story follows the movie fairly closely. You also get to take advantage of Logan's animalistic senses. The only real issue I've had with it is that sometimes you need to press a button to open a door, but nothing will happen unless you're standing in exactly the right place, which can get frustrating. So I think those are the best movie tie-in games I've played. There are some others that are supposed to be decent, but this is just from the ones I've actually played. I won't give a final verdict since I'm talking about a genre if games, plus multiple individual games, but if I was, all three of these games would get very high marks for being good, and also for being good movie games.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013


I didn't decide I wanted to see Looper until after it stopped showing in theaters. I saw it last week and I liked it. There haven't been many good time travel movies recently, so it was a relief to finally get one. Both the present and future versions of the protagonist are played by good actors (Joseph Gordon Levitt and Bruce Willis), and they even used some subtle makeup to make JGL look a little more like Bruce Willis. It was a bit distracting at first, but once you get used to it it helps since JGL doesn't look much like Bruce Willis. That didn't bother me too much though. The plot turned out to be a lot more complicated and interesting than the trailer let on. In the trailer, we see that the protagonist is a hitman who kills targets sent back from the future until he meets his future self. There's actually a lot more to it than that, which is good. Time travel movies are best when they have complexity and confusing paradoxes, which Looper also has. I don't want to spoil the ending, but something happens that could potentially change the future that Bruce Willis comes from and cause him not to get sent back in time. But if that happens, he doesn't change the past, so the future doesn't change, but if that happens, he does get sent back and change the past (x infinity). It's similar to the paradox of killing one's own ancestors since the end result prevents itself from happening. So first Inception and now this. I get the feeling that JGL likes confusing movies. I still think of him as somewhere between Robin and Arthur though. His character in Looper didn't make a big enough impression for me to change that. Looper was outshined by some other 2012 movies, but it was still good. Final Verdict: This movie gets 4.3 bars of silver!

Sunday, December 30, 2012

The Bourne Legacy

I wasn't sure about this one, but I got it on DVD, and it's pretty good. I was expecting the new protagonist, Aaron Cross, to just be Jason Bourne with a new name and face, but that's completely not the case. Jason Bourne spends a lot of time trying to figure out his past and he often shows little to no emotion. That's not a bad thing, but that's the way it is. Aaron Cross knows exactly who he is and how he got where he is, but since Bourne had 2 objectives, learning about his past and not being killed by the government, it would've felt weird to keep the one about escaping the agency but have that be the only thing happening. Filling that void is the fact that Cross is physically and mentally enhanced using chemicals supplied by the agency, but now they want him dead, so they've obviously stopped giving him the pills he needs. If he stops taking chems, his mind will gradually deteriorate, and the only way to prevent this is to infect himself with the virus used to make the capsules he takes. Just like Bourne, Cross has a female companion whose life he saves more than once, and is also helped by her. I like that this movie feels like the previous three. The style has remained the same, it has some of the same CIA characters, and some little details like there being an assassination at the same train station where one was attempted in I believe the Bourne Ultimatum. What I don't like is that you can barely call this a Bourne movie. They talk about him a lot, but it seems like he has less than 20 seconds of screen time. And that's including pictures of him. I suppose they couldn't not put Bourne in the title, and going into it I had no illusions or expectations that it would be about Bourne, but it would've been nice if he was in it more. It's a good movie, but I just have trouble accepting a Bourne movie without Jason Bourne. Final verdict: This movie gets 4 green pills!

Friday, December 28, 2012


If you're like me, you thought this game looked cool when it was announced, but then were either too cheap and/or too lazy to pick it up when it came out. That's what I did, but now that I finally got it, I'm glad I did. It's probably the best stealth game I've played. The story is that the empress' body guard was framed for her murder, so then he goes on a quest for revenge and joins a group of rebels trying to undermine the newly instituted corrupt government. The best part of this game is the variety. There always seem to be at the very least two different ways of accomplishing your objective. You can go nonlethal or lethal when taking out enemies. If you choose the nonlethal route, your choices are limited to choking your target until he passes out and then moving his body somewhere out of the way, firing a sleeper dart with your crossbow, or just sneaking past them. You have way more choices though if you decide to go full assassin. You can sneak behind someone and stab them, you can use various weapons, make a noise and lure them into a trap that you have set up, or you aquire various magical powers throughout the game, so you can use them. The same applies to some obstacles. You can just disable them, climb over them, find a secret tunnel to go under, or anything else you find. Stealth is your best friend while playing this game, so save often, but don't worry if a guard sees you. The combat is pretty fun even though you can only take on so many enemies at at time. But I'll warn you it can get frustrating at times. The other thing is a problem I've encountered in some other games with similar healing systems. The only way to restore your health is with items you find or buy in the game world, so if you get caught with low health and no potions, you're quite likely in trouble. If you're looking for nostop action or to just slash and shoot your way through hordes of enemies, I suggest you pick up Darksiders 2, which is a terrific game if that's what you want. But if you lean towards stealth games, Dishonored is a must. Final verdict: This game gets 4.7 creepy masks!

Darksiders 2

Darksiders 1 was great, but for some reason I didn't get the second one right away. I finally got it, and it's like the first one but way better. Everything I liked in the first stayed the same, and the problems I had with it were fixed. Combat with War was cool for a while, then got a little repetitive, then cool again when you got a new weapon, then repetitive again, and so on. Largely because his combat revolves around his massive sword, but he only has a couple moves with it, so things got a bit stale. Death has lots of different combos and moves, plus he's much quicker more agile, so you're able to quickly dash around the battlefield, slashing through enemies. Plus he can climb way better than War ever could, plus he's able to do things like wall jumping or wall running. To put it briefly, he's a lot more ninja. Another improvement is the introduction of a loot system. Before, you got a new weapon once in a while, but not very often, and you could buy upgrades and powers, but I never ended up using them very much. It's much more interesting when you can pick up armor and weapons on the battlefield. Especially since there are more types of weapons with different styles, and you can actually get improved versions of your primary weapon. Also, you see a lot more personality from Death than War. There's considerably more dialogue, plus he just talks more, which I like. The only frustration I've gotten from this game is when I accidentally screw myself over and have to load a previous save. The only ways you can do this though is if you accidentally sell a really good unique weapon or piece of armor, or if you get into a tight spot with no healing potions. But these aren't that easy to do, since you'll usually have all the stuff you want to keep equipped and you can't sell things that are equipped, and you usually respawn at full health, so you'll be fine unless you're going into a pretty big fight. Final Verdict: This game gets 5 scythes!

Monday, December 24, 2012

My Favorite Christmas Movie

With Christmas upon us once more, I thought I would share some of my thoughts about Christmas movies. Many of them are bad. Some of them are bad but funny. Some of them are actually pretty good. One in particular stands out for me though. It's kind of an old one now, but it was the first in a series that continues today, and possibly my favorite Bruce Willis movie. That movie is Die Hard. Right now, some people will be arguing that Die Hard isn't a Christmas movie. Especially since it has lines like "I'm gonna f***ing kill you, f***ing cook you, and f***ing eat you" . I beg to differ. And when I say beg, I'm not actually asking for anyone's permission, so I'm really just saying that I'm going to differ. Anyway, think about the plot of a movie. The whole thing can be summarized as a Christmas party gone horribly wrong. Sure, it's violent and has a fair amount of foul language, but that doesn't mean there's an absence of Christmas spirit. Good triumphs over evil, it has some Christmas music in it, and also my favorite way of showing holiday cheer: killing a terrorist, taking his gun, putting a Santa hat on his corpse, then writing "Now I have a machine gun. Ho ho ho." in blood on his shirt, then sending him down in an elevator to his buddies. That just makes me smile every time. As for the actual review, there's not much to say. It's a great action movie, and it's interesting because the hero is just a normal guy. He's not Chuck Norris stopping a chainsaw with his bare (bear) hands, or anyone like that. Both the protagonist and the antagonist are played by actors I like, the music is good, it has a good plot, and I can't really think of any real complaints about it. Final Verdict: This movie gets 5 Santa hats!