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Posts Tagged ‘Critic’

PRINCE OF PERSIA: THE FORGOTTEN SANDS

August 22, 2010 2 comments

3.5 / 5

While the new Prince of Persia’s release may have been overshadowed by Rocktars’ release of Red Dead Redemption, it still packs a pretty big punch. Playing this game after playing through Assassin’s Creed 1 and 2 really gives you a sense of familiarity and taps into perhaps Ubisofts’ inspiration behind the Assassin’s Creed series. Prince of Persia: The Forgotten Sands presents an unmatched array of abilities which manageably escalate in difficulty, and are honestly a hell of a lot of fun to use. Enemies and bosses in the game are on the easy side….the very easy side, and you’ll seldom find yourself in situations where using your powers are “necessary,”  but, with all Prince of Persia games, it’s not about fighting but more about incorporating newly acquired abilities into getting from place to place.

BORDERLANDS

August 12, 2010 2 comments

2 / 5

How this game was runner-up for Game of the Year in 2009 is beyond comprehension. Borderlands presents a shoddy weapons selection, uninspired/repetitive game design, and an inconsiderate health system that will leave gamers’ frustratingly repeating near insurmountable moments throughout the game. Add a near non-existent story and limited gameplay abilities and you’ve got yourself a game that critics are either foolishly misreading, or are being payed handsomely to write favorably of. Forget about the fact that 2009 was a great year for consoles; games like Assassins Creed 2 and Uncharted 2 attracted a lot of attention, as did games like Batman: Arkham Asylum, Infamous, and Dragon Age: Origins. Even without the comparison BORDERLANDS is considerably “thin.” Between feathers, glyphs, and hidden chests in Assassin’s 2, blast shards and unmatched electrical powers in Infamous, and Uncharted 2’s treasure hunting and astounding visuals, BORDERLANDS merely offers a shoot em’ up and “We’re sorry you can’t take cover type system.” Sure the competition for Game of the Year was big, but even games like Left for Dead 2, Flower, and Super Mario Bros. Wii should have easily overshadowed this game.

INCEPTION

July 31, 2010 2 comments

5 / 5

INCEPTION, a script whose very own inception was nearly ten years ago following Christopher Nolan’s 2000 psychological thriller “Memento”, reminds us why we go to the movies in the first place. Not only is it a wild ride of action and visual pleasures, but a more than satisfying glimpse into the realm of science fiction and the never-ending possibilities the genre provides. When you take a daringly confusing idea such as this one and execute it as flawlessly and concisely as Nolan does, movie-goers have no choice but to surrender their applause and feverishly spread the movies’ praise.

PREDATORS

July 10, 2010 3 comments

                                                                8.5 / 10

Little doubt surrounds the fact that countless jaws dropped to the floor once we were provided a trailer for Predators. There are always those few movies each year that you KNOW you’re going to see despite what you may hear or read, and Predators was one of these movies.  While introducing new mystery and insight into the Predator world, we also witness a pleasing dose of call backs to the original; call backs that help maintain the overall feel of a Predator movie.

Acting is rarely an issue with movies like this. Put an unecessarily large gun, muscles, and a raspy voice on the screen and you’ve got yourself a leading man. Not that Adrian Brody didn’t do a good job, he did, but it wasn’t exactly the acting challenge of his career. Nor should it be; after an academy award and an exhausting amount of dramatic roles it must feel good to brush aside fake tears and romance and replace them with guns and top-notch action. Predators delivers on both these fronts. Guns are plentiful and the action is expectedly awesome, considering of course that the movie is for the most part about what we’ve already been able to define a Predator as: The Ultimate Killing Machine. The blatant disregard of character development was perfectly fitting: we in no way need to empathize with these characters nor do we need to know anything else about them other than they’re all equally challenging game for the hunt/fight versus the Predators.

It’s tough to tell what was more enjoyable, the original music, or the newly introduced Predator mythology. Keep in mind that what you may have surmised from previews is that the people brought to this “place” are themselves predators, human predators trained to kill. The situation really sets itself up nicely as we slowly begin to see how Predators become more lethal as their various interactions with humans allow them to learn and rapidly evolve into even more dangerous killing machines. Other mythology is sure to please but difficult to comment on, but know that the presence of the original Predator score compliments well the introduction of a new Predator enemy not yet introduced!!!!

Overall, considering the influx of remakes and reboots these days Predators delivers! While it lacks the presence of muscle as the original did not, it calls back nicely to the original, maintains the feel of a Predator movie, and adds a pleasing amount of history and insight into the Predators that we’ve always known so little about.

RED DEAD REDEMPTION

July 1, 2010 2 comments

 

9.5 / 10

It’s difficult to argue the fact that mass excitement surrounds almost every release from Rockstar Games. While still likely basking in praise from the popular Grand Theft Auto series, Rockstar looks to have a promising 2010. The announcement of a new PS3 exclusive IP currently dubbed “Agent”  looks to be expected sometime this year, as well as a highly anticipated “L.A. Noire” hitting shelves this fall. But for the time being it seems the majority of gamers are all talking about the same thing: Red Dead Redemption.

Red Dead Redemption comes as a creative successor to “Red Dead Revolver.” While Revolver overall received little acclaim from the gaming community, it served as a bridge to one of the best games of 2010 (thus far). Redemption is NOT a sequel; it seems our adventures with Red Harlow have been abandoned completely and we now occupy a familiar looking gun by the name of John Marston. While the game keeps track of various aspects of your decisions throughout the game, fame and heroism are attained through doing good deeds. Whether you are helping various strangers along the way or simply continuing on throughout your story every action, negative or positive, will affect the way people in the game respond to you.

Whether your accepting a dual from a stranger in a saloon, or hunting coyotes  for some extra cash, Red Dead Redemption provides you with an overhwhelmingly expansive and truly breathtaking environment to help unfold your story. And the environments really are breathtaking: you may even find yourself just sitting idle on your horse and staring at the night sky because it looks THAT DAMN GOOD. The game doesn’t necessarily encourage hunting but be sure that you do it often; it’s an easy way to build your bankroll and unlock/purchase a variety of helpful necessities from various shops, gunsmiths, and doctors, including: faster horses, rifles/pistols, survival maps, medicine, and a plethora of outfits that become specifically useful when dealing with certain parts of the game.

The mini games are only a tiny fraction of your Red Dead Redemption experience, but they can certainly prove to be a hell of a lot of fun. Between Poker, Blackjack, Liars Dice, Horseshoes, and Five Finger Fillet, you can truly find yourself getting sidetracked peculiarly often. Some take time to get the hang of; five-finger fillet and liars dice, but when you do you’ll find yourself spending more time on these mini games then developers may have originally intended.

Controls take very little getting used to. Most gamers familiar with any kind of shooters will jump right into Redemption no problem. Of course the famous “Dead Eye” feature, staple of the Red Dead series is back, and as awesome as ever. For those unfamiliar with Dead Eye, your meter allows you to slowdown time and mark your targets; allowing you to take out multiple baddies at once. Be mindful of your meter when using it, it runs out fairly quickly and takes some time to restore. Of course, visits to the shop allow purchase of various items that will instantly restore your meter, so be sure to pick flowers, hunt, and help strangers to maintain a steady cash flow for such upgrades/items.

Online Multiplayer adds a high level of replay value to Redemption. After completing Single Player you can now build your online reputation and apply your skills against the rest of the world and see exactly how you measure up. I’d recommend beating single player first and having a good sense of comfortability with controls and such before diving into multiplayer. While it’s fun there’s a certain level of annoyance in that everyone seems to have the same idea: Kill Everyone. If you’ve coordinated a party with friends than that’s really where you’ll get the most out of online, but running around on your own with no one on your side will likely lead you to repeated deaths and a whole heap of frustration.

With all the anticipation surrounding their future 2010 releases, Rockstar has proven yet again that they make quality, entertaining, kick ass games. Breathtaking environments, obnoxiously addicting mini games, and a gaming experience unmatched by any other of its genre, Red Dead Redemption undoubtedly inserts itself as a potential 2010 Game of the Year recipient.

JUST CAUSE 2

June 9, 2010 2 comments

7 / 10

Just Cause 2 isn’t a game that should be on the top of your list of games to play. At the same time it shouldn’t be on the bottom. If you’re concerned about playing the original first my advice to you is to curb your curiosity entirely; it’s a terrible game. Certainly comparable to the mixed reception of Assassins Creed: tedious and unexciting. As for 2 we see some intriguing improvements, but a continuing lack of depth in what could have been an unbelievably expansive open world sandbox game.

Getting around in Just Cause 2 is a hell of a lot of fun. The convenience of releasing your parachute at any time adds to the entertaining part of traveling, coupled with the newly introduced grappling hook. As you become more familiar with the grappling hook you’ll quickly and creatively incorporate it into the way you get around, as well as in the way you take out various enemies throughout the game. If you like causing destruction and chaos this is definitely the game for you, but do prepare yourself for a game that gets very old, very fast.

Chaos is the key to furthering the story and unlocking objective missions in Just Cause 2, and it gets pretty repetitive. If you are one of those people who thought Assassin’s Creed pickpocketing missions were tedious, Just Cause 2 redefines the term. Aside from the occasional race challenges, which bear near meaningless rewards and often involve airplanes with some of the worst handling and controls you may ever encounter, the game is surprisingly limited for an open world game. If you’re not discovering a civilization, then you’re trying effortlessly to blow one up, one fuel station or army base at a time. While there are sidemissions, like joining a military faction, the objectives and missions are just as, if not more lackluster and unexciting. The run and gun system is entertaining but often annoying as there is no way to take cover. In that sense, when you are introduced to a room of baddies, your only choice is to hope for the best and pray your rambo-esque attack is enough to keep you alive. It’s almost laughable the lack of stealth this game provides you with, given the nature of the game. It would be so much easier if you could sneak attack a few guys first before throwing yourself into the open; especially considering the aforementioned inconsistency and unexpected results of run and gunning.

This whole seek and destroy concept is fun, but would of course be more effective in smaller doses. What this game forgets to do is to take and tweak aspects of other open-world games to help create a more involving and still original gaming experience. If you do decide to play it you’ll likely find yourself, more often than not, rattling off to yourself things you COULD be doing that developers neglected to include.

A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET

June 1, 2010 Leave a comment

7.5 / 10

It’s safe to say that in the past ten or so years Hollywood has lost a considerable amount of originality, and has plummeted into the inescapable abyss of reinvention/reinterpretation. Aside from growing acquisitions on big name and cult-followed comic books and characters, we see an influx of remakes that simply create a mockery of the way a story was originally envisioned to be told. Adding itself to that list is the new “A Nightmare on Elm St:” A film widely considered to be one of the best horror movies of all-time.

Let’s all start by giving Robert England a loud round of applause; apparently a ninth nightmare (including Freddy vs. Jason) wasn’t on the mind of the famous face of the original demented dream haunting “Freddy Krueger.” Putting on the raggedy green and red sweater and brown hat is Jackie Earle Haley. Haley does a good job; of course, he isn’t Robert England, so dismiss your expectations of seeing a similar Freddy than you’re used to. We certainly see a lot less of a “playful, almost cheesy” Freddy in Haley, as we did with England and the vision of Wes Craven. This reinvention of Krueger proves to be a much more dark and evil character, as opposed to the playful and often laughable traits of the old. Makeup is way overdone, but seemingly compliments well this new, dark, and more vengeful Freddy.

Overall we are introduced to characters we don’t care about due to terrible development. Death scenes were fairly anti-climactic seeing we had just as much connection with these characters as we would an extra with no speaking parts. And once again, Hollywood further proves that horror these days is merely shock value and blood and gore. I envision a room of executives with their suit and ties on and blackberry’s in hand discussing what previous movies and franchises we could capitalize on and simultaneously destroy.

While the movie did callback on some memorable scenes from the original, which were hardly impressive, they succeeded in excluding one of the more interesting one’s: Nancy’s boyfriend. Countless times I’ve put in the original Nightmare just to watch that one scene; not that it would have completely changed my opinion of this movie, but it was something I was sure to be included. But it didn’t surprise me that much after being thoroughly disappointed that Nancy, our Protagonist, wasn’t the first one to stir suspicion of their nightmares being frighteningly related.

This movie certainly follows the trend of all the other horror remakes this decade, putting a new face on horror. The concept of implied gore and character centricity are long gone and replaced by gratuitous gore and shock value, collectively contributing to an indirect kick in the face to the original story-tellers of some of the most widely popular horror movies of all time.