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!

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Deus Ex: Human Revolution

I've had this game for a while now, so I thought I might as well do a genius review of it. Probably the game's greatest strength is the protagonist. What an awesome protagonist. He has pretty much the same backstory as Robocop, but he looks and sounds more like Neo from The Matrix. He used to work in law enforcement in Detroit, but when he got badly injured from multiple gunshot wounds plus a fairly large explosion, he gets rebuilt using cybernetic parts. But the thing is, he was against cybernetic augmentations in the past, so now he has to deal with being an "aug." Hence his frequent use of the phrase "I never asked for this." And I do mean frequent. But that doesn't stop him from being cool. He wears a cool jacket, a cool voice, and he has tactical sunglass lenses over his eyes that can retract into his skull. Now that's just awesome. Plus it has a pretty cool story involving Adam Jensen taking down terrorists and never having asked for this. So Human Revolution gets top marks for concept, but it looses points on execution. The visual style of the city is cool, but getting around can be a real pain. I sometimes get lost on my way to my destination, or get annoyed because I have to crawl through outdoor air ducts between missions. I have no problem with crawling through vents in buildings during missions, but out in the city when I'm not doing anything? Come on. Also, you sometimes can't start a mission until you have the right augmentation, and augmentations are hard to come by, so there are times when you have very little to do. You're supposed to learn about what's going on in the world by reading ebooks, but I don't have time for that. I'd rather just find things out by talking to people. But that's a small issue. My biggest issue with the game is this: I know it's a stealth game and you're supposed to avoid being detected altogether, but even with all the augmentations he never asked for, just a couple bullets will kill Adam Jensen. He's a futuristic, cybernetic ex-SWAT member, so you'd think he would be a little tougher. He would be a great character for more of an action game than a stealth game. So it has a good story, a good concept, and a great protagonist, but the I found the gameplay a bit lacking. Final Verdict: This game gets 3.5 pairs of cybernetic sunglasses!

The Hobbit: an Unexpected Journey

While not 100% accurate to the book, this was still a great movie. There were a couple concerns I had before seeing it, but they did a great job with it. One thing I was worried about is that the book has substantially more singing than the Lord of the Rings, so I was a little bit worried that the movie might overdo it. I generally don't like musicals very much, so I was very glad to see that that was not the case. My only other real worry was that the dwarves wouldn't be very cool, but now I realize how wrong I was. All the dwarves were tough and cool. Especially Thoren Oakenshield. The other person that I thought was especially cool was Gandalf. I've always loved Gandalf, but in the past, I would've liked to see him in more battles. We got to see that in The Hobbit. Especially when he, Bilbo, and the dwarves are fighting their way out of the goblins' underground lair. During that scene, we see Gandalf using magic to send goblins flying, cutting them down with his sword, bringing down boulders from above to squish them, and just being generally awesome. Also, since he's Gandalf the Grey, he shows more emotion and humanity than when he was Gandalf the White, which I thought was good. The actor who played Bilbo also did a great job. He really showed that Bilbo was just an ordinary hobbit, but he has courage and nobility and is becoming a hero. Compared to Lord of the Rings, there was also a good deal more humor in this movie, mostly from Bilbo and the dwarves. One of the only things that I didn't love about this movie is one scene involving storm giants. It's been a while since I've read any Tolkien, but I'm pretty sure those giants were just a Hollywood invention. Basically, the main characters were traversing a mountain range, but then the mountains stood up and revealed themselves to be colossal creatures made of rocks, then proceeded to start fighting. Huge rock elementals just don't feel like Tolkien. Don't misunderstand though; they were pretty cool and reminded me of the monsters from Shadow of the Colossus, or Titans from Castlevania that you have to climb up in order to defeat. They just felt too much like something that belongs in World of Warcraft or Elder Scrolls, or even Darksiders instead of the Hobbit. I know they're making a trilogy out of one book, but I was hoping they would add things that seemed to belong a little more in that universe. A common complaint is about Radagast the Brown, another wizard who's kind of crazy and obsessed with nature. People say he's the Jarjar Binks of the Tolkien universe, but that's not entirely true. I didn't think he was that great and was a little annoyed by the fact that he has bird poop on him all the time, I didn't mind him that much. I think those are the only two things complaints I have, but the movie makes up for them with awesome music. It uses a little bit of the same music from the Lord of the Rings, but with a new and awesome main theme. Final Verdict: This movie gets 4.7 oaken shields!