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Archive for January, 2011

Why I’m Hesitant to Play Dead Space 2

January 26, 2011 Leave a comment

I can remember back in 2008 hearing that EA was trying to bring new things to the table and was planning on releasing two new IP’s: Mirror’s Edge and Dead Space. Both of these games caught my eye and I was eager to get my hands on them. Dead Space was more intriguing to me though, and I decided to be the first one out of my group of Xbox Live friends to pick it up. Needless to say, the majority of them had the game by Christmas. Dead Space was a revival for me; I hadn’t played such a good horror game since Resident Evil 4. On multiple occasions I would turn off all the lights in the room and make it completely black except for the TV screen. If there was one thing that Dead Space had, it was atmosphere. I was jumping to no end playing that game, shooting my gun madly by reflex every time a Necromorph would jump out of an air duct. Now Dead Space 2 has arrived and the critics are raving, but I’ve got a reservation or two about this sequel.

Looks good, but does it compare to the original?

I’ve read a couple of reviews and came across one of my biggest fears summed up in a paragraph:

“But as I began to delve into the second chapter of this space odyssey, I realized that I wasn’t really scared at all; if anything, I was walking around the space station like I owned the place, stomping Necromorphs the way a seasoned exterminator steps on any roaches who happen to scurry underfoot. But rather than be disappointed by the lack of scares, I accepted it as a logical evolution of the storyline, and really, so should you.” – Tae K. Kim, Gamepro

I’m not sold. I loved that Dead Space was actually able to scare me. I was legitimately frightened at some points. And to hear that the second edition doesn’t bring the scares kind of disappointed me. I can see what Kim is getting at here, but I don’t think it’s realistic to say that after one long trip on the U.S.S. Ishimura that Issac was completely devoid of all fear for the Necromorphs.

I wonder which part I shoot at....

Another thing I worried about was the multiplayer. I like to think of my games as either a multiplayer game or a single player game. Call of Duty is a multiplayer game, Fallout: New Vegas, on the other hand, is a single player game. And that’s how I view the Dead Space franchise. It’s all about the story and I get frightened whenever developers try to shove on multiplayer. It usually flat out sucks and it takes development time away from the campaign. As cool as it sounds to play Humans vs. Necromorphs, team deathmatch style, I’m not buying it. Just look at what happened to Bioshock 2.

Yeah, this was fun...for about the first five rounds

The last reason I was really worried is because when Dead Space first came out it was a relatively low-brow release and was not subject to…lets say pressure to draw in a bigger crowd. Nowadays this franchise is expansive, spreading out to the Wii and PS3 along with the iPhone. I don’t mean to sound like one of those “it was cool before it was mainstream” kind of people, but it happens a lot. I’m sure it’s a great game, but I feel it just won’t live up to the original.

Who knows, I may be wrong.

Who knows, could still be scary

P.S. Another reason why I’m nervous is because sequels usually suck in comparison to their predecessors. Just saying.

Is Nintendo Truly Prepared to Release the 3DS?

January 26, 2011 Leave a comment

Nintendo has recently announced that the 3DS will be hitting North America on March 27th. The release date came coupled with it’s launch price. $250. Just like that, Nintendo fanboys wet themselves in unison and know exactly how much to spend, on what, and when.

You've gotta admit... it's kinda sexy. But is it $250 sexy?

The Japanese game-maker is boasting the portable system’s console-level capabilities and it’s obvious three-dimensional features. The big N has also placed a heavy emphasis the 3D experience being glass-less. It looks to be a solid piece of tech, but is it enough of an incentive for early adopters? It’s a first day purchase for hardcore Nintendo loyalists, but will it sway Joe Schmo consumer to lay down 250 clams?

While the games themselves range from $39.99 – $49.99 (ouch), the 3DS does have a solid launch lineup to back it up. Capcom comes out swinging with Super Street Fighter 4 and EA Games is showing some love with a 3D Madden title as well as the Sims 3. This is only to name a few, but are these titles enough for consumers to dig deep into their pockets? Especially when the DS, DS Lite, DSi, and the DSi XL (-_-‘) are already on store shelves with PLENTY of games?

Zombies!!! In 3D!!! I feel so conflicted ūüė¶

This isn’t the first time Nintendo has had two portable devices on the market at the same time. When the original DS was released in 2004 (wow has it been that long already?) the Game Boy Advance was still in it’s prime and selling quite well.

The nicest evil man you'll ever meet...

Will lightning strike twice for Nintendo? Or will it be dead on arrival? The gaming world will have it’s stereoscopic eyes set on the 3DS when it releases on March 27th. The 3DS Lite will be coming out the day after… har… c’mon laugh… you know it’s funny…

Media Effects Theory: Annoying Us All

January 23, 2011 1 comment

My roommates were watching Fox News earlier, and I might as well preface this post with a little disclaimer: I am politically moderate, so this isn’t a bash against any political ideology. ¬†Anyway, they were watching Fox News today and conservative pundits went along and absolutely smashed this show called Skins. ¬†It’s an adaptation of a British teen drama about a bunch of kids and their adventures including sex, drugs and the like.

These pundits went on, and on, and on some more about how this was going to corrupt society, and that this was more than just a show…

…just shut up. ¬†Quit the hyperbole.

Ever since I’ve been in college, I’ve been fascinated by this theory: does violent media affect peoples’ aggressiveness, or does it temper it? ¬†It’s an interesting question, but when you have people crying foul about a show that has homegrown controversy just because people don’t agree with it…that’s going to happen, but that doesn’t mean it’s going to change people.

My one roommate actually put it best. ¬†Good parents will tell these children not to do what they see on TV, and that it’s not real. ¬†This is why this is fiction, and the divide between reality and the fictional world is there.

I was raised in more of a conservative household, I would have to say. ¬†My parents were never fans of me consuming violent material, but even when I did, I can’t say I was more aggressive. ¬†Sure, I’m only one case, and it’s certainly not a sample size to say that this theory is a bunch of crap. ¬†But I feel like if parents are just proactive enough, this theory should mean nothing.

The more and more pundits seem to blather on and on about stuff they don’t agree with, the more and more I hate the extreme marketplace of ideas. ¬†Some people need to get their facts straight and calm the hell down. ¬†Honestly.

I’ll give another example. ¬†My grandfather was watching MSNBC frequently while I was staying with them over the summer, and every time they would start a segment of complete bitching, I said “I could dub over this with a baby’s cries, and it would be accurate”.

Peoples’ credibility goes down when they get angry and emotionally motivated, and this seems to happen on cable news networks on BOTH sides. ¬†If these ideas were presented to not only me, but to everyone in a rational manner with plenty of time to get the facts out, I think we’d all be in business.

But it’s not. ¬†It’s continual crying.

I just wish the pundits would shut up. ¬†They’re not doing us any favors nor services. ¬†I’m pretty sure the world isn’t going to end tomorrow, and society will still exist tomorrow.

Categories: Rants, Television

My thoughts on Inception and the Golden Globes

January 19, 2011 1 comment

The 2011 Golden Globes have recently passed, airing just last Sunday. The Social Network, the drama about Mark Zuckerberg and how he came to create Facebook and the fallout that followed, got the most awards with a final total of four which included Best Original Score, Best Screenplay, Best Director, and Best Picture. Meanwhile, the miracle that is Inception received zero awards. None. Zip. Nada. Nothing. I didn’t personally watch the awards, but once I found out that Inception didn’t get a single award, I honestly became upset. For any of those who read my post on my Top 5 movies, Inception rings in at number 3. It is that damn good. Here’s why.

(Two disclaimers I want to make first: 1) there may be spoilers in here, so if you don’t want anything ruined, don’t read…or read cautiously at least. 2) I HAVE NOT seen The Social Network. I am very interested in seeing it and I’m sure it is a great movie, but I have not gotten the chance. I’m not going to compare the movies or blatantly trash-talk The Social Network, I simply want to explain why I think Inception is truly innovative and deserves the recognition.)

Why did you have to take all the awards!?

First and foremost,¬†Inception is original. It is an original concept created by Christopher Nolan himself. Never has there been a movie like it. The complexity behind the dream state and the idea of being able to enter that state to steal ideas (or plant them there) is astounding, and Nolan seems to have every prospect of this idea thought out.¬†The Social Network, though, is the first time anyone has every told the Facebook story, yes, but a movie idea that has been rehashed time and time again. Detailing the rise of a popular figure and the trials and tribulations they go through to get there. It’s been done before. The classic underdog story. They always make for a good movie and I enjoy them, but it was so refreshing to get something that had literally never been done before.

Secondly, Inception has a bad-ass cast. Leonardo DiCaprio, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Tom Hardy, Marion Cotillard, Ellen Page, Ken Watanabe, Cillian Murphy, Michael Caine, et cetera, et cetera. Christopher Nolan picks the best of the best, which is why his movies see some similar actors in each (Murphy and Caine were in The Dark Knight). DiCaprio does a fabulous job as the Dominic Cobb, (Spoiler alert!) successfully portraying his guilt for killing Mal (Marion Cotillard) and his gradual acceptance that he needs to let her go. Each actor fully does there part to become their character, displaying the emotions and actions that you would expect from each.

From Left to Right: Nolan, DiCaprio, Cotillard, Page, Watanbe, Caine, Gordon-Levitt, Murphy, Hardy

Last, but not least, this movie made me think. No, it made me care. Like the majority of moviegoers, when I first saw Inception, I was pretty confused, but I wanted to figure it out. And that right there is what makes this movie so good. It was so convoluted at first, but it managed to make me want to decipher the movie. I ended up seeing it five times in theaters (I was just in love with it too much, it didn’t take me five times to figure it out. And I work at the theater as well). I had detailed discussions (and some arguments) with friends and co-workers about what we thought happened at different points in the movie. We had several well thought out theories to explain what happened at the end. I was literally talking about this movie months after it came out. Too few do this for me. Christopher Nolan had grabbed my attention, wowed me, and left some food for thought; that is the main reason why I believe this movie deserves recognition.

Was it real or not?

EA’s Cerberus Network Experiencing Issues with PS3’s Mass Effect 2 Launch

January 18, 2011 Leave a comment

Mass Effect 2 was last year’s gaming blockbuster. Now, it’s finally touching down on Sony’s platform for PS3 gamers to enjoy. However, numerous owners are experiencing difficulty logging into the Cerberus Network and redeeming the DLC that comes with the game. The DLC includes a few extra characters as well as expansion missions that weren’t originally included when it was released last year on the Xbox 360 and PC. It also includes a digital comic that allows players to make decisions from the first Mass Effect title that will impact the events of the second. Unfortunately, since the servers are undergoing maintenance none of those incentives are redeemable at this time. This leaves PS3 owners twiddling their thumbs and waiting some more. Sad face ūüė¶

UPDATE: EA is offering owners experiencing problems with the DLC a $20 credit to the EA Store. That softens the blow a bit eh?

Categories: Video Games, WTF? Tags: ,

How Tetris is a Reflection of Life

January 18, 2011 Leave a comment

People may recognize Tetris as a highly addictive puzzle game in which the player drops various blocks known as Tetrominoes along a vertical grid. EVERYBODY has played Tetris at one point or another. Creator Alexey Pajitov is the mastermind behind this wonderfully crafted game that dominates all formats of gaming. Whether it’s on home consoles, PC, or mobile devices; EVERYBODY has come into contact with Tetris. The game is undeniably a masterpiece not because it’s a great product, but because it also reflects a small microcosm of… life?

It may sound absurd, but it’s completely true. Late one night I decided to boot up Tetris for at least a round. I could’ve been playing anything else in my collection but no, I gravitated towards Tetris. In the midst of my insomnia-fueled Tetris session I reflected back on my day. That’s when something sort of clicked in my head…

I thought back to how much simpler life was when I was younger. Like everyone else, it all started with baby steps. Early years are all about establishing a foundation for yourself. Finding one’s footing is an integral part of growing up. Sure there’s bound to be some booboos but nothing that can’t be patched up by a little Flintstones bandage.

As we grow a little we begin to build on top of our previous experiences. “Testing the waters” as they say. We learn to be judicious about our actions and really get an idea of what makes the world around us tick.

With age we naturally become bolder and explore other possibilities. It is human nature to challenge and push ourselves outside of our comfort zone. Without the necessity of risk, our life would grow stagnant and dull. It’s all about looking ahead and staying focused.

Life is good when all the right pieces fall into place…

But it’s not always like that. You’ll be forced to recognize the error of your ways. Everybody makes mistakes…

There will be moments where life seems insurmountable. With perseverance, there’s always light at the end of the tunnel…

No matter how hard life may seem at any given moment. Just remember that it is easier with friends. A heck of a lot of fun too!

Sometimes it’s about finding the right person…

Or getting rid of the wrong one…

There will always be moments that you regret…

As you get older and more experienced, life moves much quicker. At times it’s hard to catch up with everything. Doing your best and rolling with the punches is essential to survival…

In the end, there will be time to reflect on your mistakes as well as your accomplishments. But it’s not so bad when you can be at ease knowing that you’ve done your best.

A beautiful masterpiece. Truly.

Meaningless Expectations

January 17, 2011 Leave a comment

The football playoffs have taught us all something.

Expectations, nor pedigree, mean anything in the playoffs.  The New York Jets have rolled by two of the hallmark quarterbacks in the NFL in Peyton Manning and Tom Brady.  Neither were easy victories for the Jets, but it just goes to show.  Rings nor pedigree mean a thing.

Then look at the other end. ¬†The Eagles were touted as a “favorite”, so to speak (even though the makeup of their team was flawed from day one) and blammo, gone. ¬†Jay Culter doesn’t exactly have the pedigree, but here he is, in the championship game to fight for the right to get to the Super Bowl.

It’s always been something I’ve always wondered about. ¬†Do rings automatically give your team an edge in the playoffs? ¬†I don’t seem to think so. ¬†Last season, the Philadelphia Flyers only had one Stanley Cup championship winner on their team in Chris Pronger. ¬†Something tells me it just means nothing.

Honestly, it takes playoff experience to do well in the playoffs–a bunch of kids won’t make a bunch of noise without some seasoning. ¬†But the degree of how many championship winners a team has is not something I think makes sense. ¬†Look no further than the Pittsburgh Penguins. ¬†The team was wonderful during the regular season, but were ousted in the first round of their first foray with Sid the Kid and company. ¬†The next two years, they made it to the Finals, with one Cup under their belt.

Does that play favor to Pittsburgh’s playoff success this year? ¬†They”ll know what it takes to win, but I doubt it gives them automatic rights to the championship. ¬†Pundits love to give teams just free right to the championship just because they won it before.

Not sure if I like that assessment.

What do you out there in the world think?  Should expectations be thrust so willy-nilly on teams just because of favoritism?  As they say, the teams have to play the game to get the result.  Look no further than the Seattle Seahawks and the New Orleans Saints.  You tell me how many people bet against the Saints.

They play the game for the reason.

Categories: Sports Banter