Wednesday, November 14, 2012

GTA V and the great anticipation.

Rockstar's GTA V trailer number two came out today. Check the youtubessssss.



SO WHAT'S GOIN DOWN!?

Well we are back on the west coast. This is the biggest map that Rockstar has ever done. Apparently you can put GTA San Andreas, GTA IV and Red Dead Redemption in the map and still have room to spare. That's scary fun! I mean the amount of time you can spend ignoring your family and friends, just by driving, flying or boating around is insane. I don't mean that I would ever ignore my child because of a game. NOOOOooooo not me! She's glaring at me right now. It's scary, her mom does it too, I'm scared, so scared, I see dead people scared, Haley Joel Osment would be scared, Douph Lundgren would be scared.



HAWT!

Planes, trains and automobiles are all back. Well obviously cars, but helicopters, jets and propeller planes are flyable.

The grainy GTA IV look is gone, opened up by sunshine. So the game looks bright and beautiful. 

I think the best thing that I've heard so far is the ability to jump between the three main characters on-the-fly. You play as Michael, Trevor and Franklin. Michael seems to be the want to retire character type. Trevor is called psycho by all the info I've read and watched. Not much is known about Franklin. Probably the want to get out of the hood stereotype, but who knows, if you do comment and let me know please.

I'm pretty excited for this game, well as excited as I could be. Grand scale, grand satire, Grand Theft Auto. 

I SHOULD BE IN ADVERTISING!!!!!! 

Tell me what you guys think!

DO IT! DO IT NOW!!!

Friday, November 9, 2012

The Vampire Diaries and 7 reasons why it's okay for dudes.

BRO! LISTEN BRO! BRO LISTEN!

I have been watching The Vampire Diaries for a while now and I wanted to explain why it's okay for guys to watch and not feel, queasy, when you admit to it.

1. THIS IS NOT FUCKING TWILIGHT!! It's just not. Yeah it's got romance and ooey gooey love, but think about it, what Vamp story doesn't have a little bit of that. There are no shinny vampires. No lip biting, dumbfounded brunettes, with a penchant for sitting in a corner knee to chest and hopping some dirty hippy from England will save them from their life of... I don't know trees and Oregon pot.

2. The diary isn't really that important. In fact it's only there for a few episodes in the beginning. I used to keep a diary/journal and I've had sex, like soooo many times, with a girl even.

3. There are sharp teeth, blood, beheadings, hearts ripped from chests (literally and figuratively *sob sob, sniffle sniffle*). It's actually has some good violence, which is part of being a vampire, you know kill to survive. 

4. The humans aren't just douchey teenagers who can only stand, hand on hip, or scream helplessly. There are adults! Adults who want to kill vampires! YEAH FOR PARENTING!!! 

5. HOT PEOPLE!!! Of course their are good looking, in shape 20-somethings who are pretending to be 17 year olds. It's TV and we can't have ugh-ohs hording the screen, yuck. The lead vamp is clean and washes his hair, the guy that plays his brother gives me abs envy. The lead chick is a Mila Kunis ripoff, but that's an okay thing, she even plays a Russian or Polish or something like that. Mila Kunis is a furriner right? FURRINER (I know I spelled that wrong, sound it out jackasses).

6. THERE'S A PLOT. It's even a decent plot that opens up as we go along. Witches, and stuffs. You will not fall asleep to it. It's not the same girl being a wishy washy butthole that can't pick between Sharkboy and Greasy Hair Guy. Is that even a good super power. At least SharkTurd knows KungFu or thinks he does. Congrats bitch you've gotten two guys to fight over you, now you can go join the line of sad and lonely bitches at the bar that are kicking themselves for not picking the properly hygiene proficient guy that wasn't trying TO EAT YOU! Yes the two bro-vamps are after the same girl, but it's actually not her fault (you'll see).

7. If you like Anne Rice vampires and want another good movie, this is the closest you're gonna get, for a long while. The vampires are sexy, conflicted, and have a hard time figuring out where the original vampires came from. That's pretty Anne Rice-y-ish. They are no where near as wordy and descriptive as Anne Rice is in her writings, but hey, it's TV and not a damn paper thing with scribbles on it. What's that called? Oh yeah toilet paper. No that's not it. Porno mags. No, no. Um, fudge... BOOKS! Yea!!!!!!!



So there you go! Seven whole reasons why it's okay to watch The Vampire Diaries. They are not the most solid and if you want, you can tell your girl "Yo baby I thought you'd like this, it's got love stuff in it." Or hell you can watch it when no one is around, who's gonna tell? Your dog? Dogs love Vampires! COME ON! And if you can't think of a good excuse, then I don't know, f@#k it, cut off your d!#k and put on some eye-liner if that's what it takes! this show is good!

Monday, November 5, 2012

Assassin's Creed 3!

It's been about one week since I picked up my copy of AC3 and Holy crapoly! What a game. What a game. If you've played the first two or three games and not Revelations, then you will not go wrong with picking up the third err, forth wait, FIFTH installment of the Assassin's Creed series. Go get it. Do it, do it now! If you haven't played the first few games, no worries, the developers have given enough of the back story that you won't be lost just diving right into AC3.

Let's get on to the game.

The beginning of the single player missions, might seem a little slow. There are some escort missions and I don't me the nice kind of escorts that sad middle aged divorcees pick up to take out and then bring back to their hotel room and have sad sad I hate myself sex. Okay maybe it's not that nice. Anywhooooo. The escort mission is back in force and it's all up in yah AC3. Well moving past the annoyance of escorts, the beginning you don't start out as Desmond in the real world. He with the help of his techno buddies and his father are looking for a way to stop the 2012 apocalypse, so they are again using the Animus to go back into Desmond's ancestor's past and find all the pieces they need to do so. It just so happens that Desmond's ancestor is a Native American by the name of Ratonhnhak√©:ton aka Connor. DNA is fun!

Do we start out as Connor our plucky hero? Nope, you start as some British dude. I won't give anything away. Then you move on to young Connor or Ratonhnhak√©:ton umm yeah go ahead and try that one on for size. These missions are a way of getting you use to the gameplay. Then Connor grows up and his world is turned upside down by the American revolution and the Templar plot to take over the world, cos' they do that. Then you meet Achilles, a former assassin guild member. He takes on Ratonhnhak√©:ton as an apprentice type assassin student. Then they change his name to Connor so that he doesn't stick out like a soar thumb (right, names help with that). Oh and since he is a lighter shade of brown they say he's Spanish, even though it NEVER comes up in the game.

So we are now Connor! Let the badassery begin! You get a Tomahawk and Bow and Arrow and other assorted items. Now you can kill Templars and help the founding fathers in their seeking of revolution. Adams, Washington, Revere are just a few. Franklin is in there for a minute.

GAMEPLAY!

Out of all of the AC series I'd have to say that gameplay wise this is the best in the series. It feels smooth jumping from tree limb to tree limb, diving off of houses and cliffs. going from tree to rooftop and back. You do get the parkour feel in AC3 more than any other AC game. Having said that, you will get frustrated while holding down the R trigger which is used for running and parkouring. Say you want to chase down a guy and there happens to be a group of barrels randomly in the street (there are barrels randomly laid out in the street). You want to jump them? Well nope. Connor is going to climb up them, giving the guy you are chasing a few seconds to get further ahead. Luckily you are faster than most people in the game. Don't try and climb straight up while in a corner, you will be aimed in one direction and jump in another. Don't ride your horse into a corner either, it will get scared and never want to turn again. I've heard horses do that. 

Fighting is pretty good. One button attacks, one counters, another disarms, and another shoots your firearms. Timing counters gives you the chance to do some badassery and trigger an instant kill type thing. Shooting is either aimed with the L trigger or highlighting the guy you want dead and just pushing the shoot button. 

GOD DAMN GUARDS!.

Hunting. Hunting is a new gameplay element to AC3. While in the frontier, you can set up traps, throw bait and wait in hunting perches to kill all manor of wildlife, which you can skin and sell the meat and furs for money to buy new threads, weapons and armaments for your ship! YOU GET A FREAKING SHIP.

Sea warfare. Yup AC3 now on the high seas! At one point in the game you get a ship. The ship battles are intense and down right fun to play. The gameplay mechanics aren't anything new to seasoned players, but they are fun and look amazing. The ocean has a mind of it's own and being a not so small ship coming up against a giant rouge wave is just awesome to look at. The ship missions are probably my favorite part of the game. 

Negatives. There were only a few things that went wrong. 
1. Glitches. floating guns, floating bodies (not on water), sinking bodies (not on water, in the ground) and in one case during a homestead mission I walked away from a NPC too soon and the screen went grey and would not come out of it.
2. Frustrating chase missions. Like before, having one button for running and parkouring...prakouroring... parking...eff. this is just the type of thing to make you want to rage quit, which I almost did. ask Kaydee.
3. Not enough war scenes. I know that Connor is an assassin and not a soldier, but this was the Revolutionary war. There were more than just three battles and how Ubisoft handled the battles made me want more and more. I wanted Connor involved in every major engagement. so it's not a negative, just a request.

I didn't play through the multi-player, so I can't comment on that and I won't, because why would I.

So far this is the best game in the series by far and probably one of my nominees for game of the year. This is definitely a buy. There is so much to do and so many places to explore. I finished the single player missions and I have only finished 58% of the game. The side missions and the downloadable content have given me that much more to do. If you like third person action adventure games, then this is the one to get, weather you have played the other AC games or not.

Go get it.

Thanks




Saturday, November 3, 2012

Guest Post, Silent Hill Revelations and Downpour

By
Thomas Gonzales


‎[SPOILERS] Silent Hill Double Review: Revelations (3D) and Downpour. [SPOILERS]

I was very fortunate to get to enjoy one of my favorite series across two mediums this past month. both as a film, and as a game. In honor of Halloween (so yes, this review is a little late), I decided to play Silent Hill Downpour, also, as preparation for the release of the new film Silent Hill Revelations 3D.

Part 1 Silent Hill Downpour
TL;DR 3.5/5 For interesting plot and characters, coupled with great story telling and set pieces. Has many control flaws and pacing issues, but definitely a good attempt to return the series to its roots. Scary good time!

So lets start with the game itself, this is the 6th game in the series (not counting spin-offs or side stories), and 2nd major release done by a western company. With the recent attitude towards the series following the poor reception of "The Room" and "Homecoming" being so negative, it was nice to get some positive responses to a sequel again. I personally was able to really enjoy some of the sequels for what they are, and I am okay admitting their flaws. This was almost a favorite...almost...

Silent Hill Dowpour takes an interesting approach to the series by adding a bit of each previous entry and tying all of it together into a much more eclectic package. It does add some features unique to itself, by changing the games dynamic based on the weather. Heavy rain fall makes the monsters rage, and causes them to deal more damage. Water plays an important theme in the game, dampening the atmosphere and giving the game a very cold feel. It also encourages you to pay attention to when it becomes time to take cover. Forcing you into places that just might be more dangerous than outside, while pushing the story along.

When you start off, you're in the forest surrounding Devil's Pit, of course following an unfortunate accident. For me this first chunk of the game was the best; exploring the woods, the pit, and the surrounding town outside Silent Hill really shined, and made for something a little more mystery feeling (a feature the series has been sorely lacking). It is packed with great lore and back story, giving further insight into to the hell that is the setting. I enjoyed checking all the posters, and reading the lost pages and documents. You also gain a little insight to where Murphy, the protagonist, is headed on his journey to redemption or damnation. The game manages to pack in a lot story and sets up some interesting threats. This also seemed to be the most subtle horror in the game, relying more on atmosphere and imagery than gore or jump scares (an important technique for a horror fan like myself). Reaching Devil's Pit, the game gets very claustrophobic, and delivers some intense moments. This is where the game built a lot of its momentum, and starts its crazy carnival ride back to the town "Hell Calls Home". While not entirely open at this point there is enough story and scares to keep things rolling. I am generally not a fan of linearity in modern titles, but the game's story is interesting enough that it really didn't feel like a loss.

It basically takes place over 4 major set pieces, Devil's Pit, Silent Hill, The Prison, and Silent Hill (Altered). The great thing about the Silent Hill chapters, is that is gives you a break from the core adventure, and allows the player to explore more of the town and its lore. There are about 13 side quests available, and each is unique and fun. Find someone's heart, give peace to the dead, redeem a monster, punish, collect things or piece together the past. I never once felt like I was grinding, or doing the same things over again. The only real frustration comes from the damn rain, its scary at first, but eventually becomes a nuisance. It is just frequent enough to interrupt your questing, without the reward of tension. I eventually lost interest and headed back to the storyline. For those who do love to adventure around, the town is big enough to entertain for some time. There is even a kooky reward for playing through a second time.

The game is pretty unforgiving, and it is easy to get lost. You need to really pay attention to fine details, but veterans of the series should do fine, especially if you like a challenge. I am not too prideful to admit, I busted out a walk-through a few times, and found I missed a few key spots. This is about the only time you'll be caught running circles. Find a code, enter it, get a clue, return to code room, open door, repeat. Most puzzles are unique and fun, but sometimes, the chain was just too long and got exhausting. Again, I found myself wanting to progress the story to find out what happens. I guess that's a good thing considering it reflects quality story telling. This is the quality you can expect from the game right up to the last quarter, where things get a little messy...

I found most of the game heart pounding and enthralling, and upon completing the "main story arc", I was completely satisfied; it was the dark and bittersweet outcome I hoped to get from a Silent Hill title. All told it felt like a great haunted house. However, things get weird when a character I thought to be a side note returns, and turns the story upside down. This second arc was touched on a few times throughout the game, but never developed much life. It isn't until the game gives you a false ending, that you are given the story...and it all starts back over. It is so jarring in fact, I was almost ready to quit playing right there. It was disjointed, and had a completely different feel than the previous chapters. From here on out, you are in hell, or, the Altered Silent Hill. This may seem interesting to some, but when you have been enjoying a subtle horror survival game (save for a few small segments), then you are thrown into a carnival fun house, it just never seemed to fit together...its TOO in your face. It still has some tense moments, and some great imagery, but the flow never seems to get back into its grove. Instead you go from a haunting symphony to pure cacophony. It isn't until the very end, that it all wraps back up again...

There are several endings as expected, and for me, this has 2 of the best outcomes in the series. With the exception of the ending based on the crappiest decision making, I am sure most people will be satisfied with the resolution they end up with. For those fortunate to pull off either the "best of the best" or "worst of the worst" endings, you get a real treat. While I loved my happy ending, and it truly resolved everything in a reasonable manner, I changed a few choices and checked out the bad. Let me just say, THIS ending, is what I would expect in a Silent Hill game. It was hopeless and realistic. No one wins, but there is a glint of hopeful justice in the heroes dialogue. If you are dedicated enough to play through a few times, you can decide which is best to you, or just be lazy and Youtube it, but make sure you check them out.

The puzzles at the end are easy and obvious, and only tough due to the unavoidable damage you will be taking. For some reason, the game also decides to turn its monster difficulty up to 11. This does nothing to add to the games fun or quality, but it just replaces the rain as a frustrating obstacle. Some of this could be attributed to the controls themselves, which did nothing to help the player. The controls...the translation of the player to the game.

Now with the story review out of the way, it wouldn't be fair not to mention the gameplay itself, as this game doesn't deserve to get a free pass. The controls are some of the worst in the series. It was almost like it purposely tried to emulate the poor controls of the originals, just to seem more like them. There was so much frustration caused by the R-trigger being "throw weapon" that people make youtube videos showing how pissed they got, or bad it screwed them at tense moments. This of all its ups and down is the biggest issue, as it is hard to play a game while consciously fighting not to toss your only defense off a cliff.

All in all, it is a great attempt to pull the series back to its roots, while innovating in a dying genre. It is an enjoyable experience full of fantastic and terrifying moments, along with one of the most interesting lead characters from the series. The story is grim, and for parents will pull the heart strings, often hitting you in the place that you fear the most. It has flaws, but they are overshadowed by its great story telling and difficult puzzles. Graphics and controls disappoint considering this is a modern title, there is no longer an excuse for these types of issues. While it fails to hold its momentum, its high points are just enough to excite hope for the series again, and keep the player hooked until the end.

Part 2 Silent Hill RevelationTL;DR 3/5 Far from perfect, it failed to match the feel of the first film. Its a solid attempt to stay true to the series while still making changes for a larger audience. The 3D is completely unnecessary, and it is a good example of useless gimmicks. Overall, a fun and visually stimulating film, with a story only comprehensible by series fans. Scary at first, but fizzles out near the end. 

This film disappoints me for the sole reason that it DID have so much potential. The creators of Revelation are fans of the original Silent Hill movie, and it shows. I might even dare say they are fans of the games. There are so many great moments, and homages to events or characters from the series, even the most jaded fan should stay entertained. I had a blast recognizing things from previous games, or catching little Easter Eggs here or there. The most exciting thing they added was its allusion to Silent Hill Downpour, tied all my experiences nicely together. Sadly, it just didn't hold up.

The casting they chose was pretty satisfying. It was difficult to decide how I felt about the acting, as some cast members really shined, and others burned out. I am concerned a pattern of dry dialogue will become too common in any future installments. The light in the dark however, was Adelaide Clemens' role as Heather Mason. She did well enough delivering her lines, and worked well at holding the screen as the heroine. More importantly, she just looked the part. She is as best a casting as I could hope for. As for the rest of the actors/actresses, there weren't many other memorable performances. Luckily, this also meant there was none too awful either, mostly forgettable.

The pacing was a point I feel needs to be addressed. The beginning half of the film is spent living out a survival horror game. Scares are done through terrifying images, jump scares, or powerful atmosphere. It was quite a tense experience, and even a seasoned horror fan like myself, found that I was clutching my chair or wincing at times. Looking at the people who came with me, there was sounds of shock and fear, it pulled off its goal. Unfortunately, this is where its biggest flaw showed itself. The movie began to lose pacing, it sped up, and continued to do so right to the end.The last half of the movie is spent cramming as much story in as possible, minus all details, and getting too action packed to feel scary any longer. It felt like a solid idea that just didn't know how to wrap itself up.

This isn't to say it veered off from the game too far, just that it tried to take all that lore, cram it in, and streamline it. It just didn't work. It left the majority of audience members confused, or felling like it was a shallow movie. Sadly, this is the main reason for its largely negative feedback, it is just kind of a mess. But at least it's a beautiful mess...

One thing it deserves praise for, is its make up team as usual. They again used primarily practical effects, and when they did use CGI, it was mostly tasteful. Creature designs and performances were top notch, which is to be expected when working with such a talented team. Everything had a gooey organic feel, and left my skin crawling. The CGI aided in the sets, which had that lovely decayed feeling familiar to fans of the series. It is a visually stimulating experience, and really stands out from other horror films. Regarding the digital effects, the other use they endured was the cursed 3D.

I am so tired of going to see a film that is so focused on quality effects, only to find it butchered by 3D. Now don't misunderstand, there are worse 3D films available, and since it was filmed for 3D the production value is pretty high, it just felt so useless. Everything has a slight texture problem, light glares when aimed at the audience, and some sequences, when moving fast, are hard to see. The worst thing is though, that they actually tried to pull off the "3D moments", which not surprsingly were super cheesy. There is one scene in particular, that a rather creepy monster is attacking the characters, and just as the blade approaches, they pull the ol' knife at the screen dramatic jab. It just looked goofey, and broke my mood. If you can see it in 2D, do it, I think I would've enjoyed it far better, and couldve appreciate the work put in from the art and makeup team.

This may sound like a negative review, but be clear, I really like the film, and LOVE Silent Hill; which is why I feel the need to be so harsh on it. I just expect much more, and was crushed by how jumbled the ending turned out. Even worse than the chaotic pacing, and anorexic plot was the Deus Ex Machina ending, it felt very forced (on a high note, the post ending events really redeem a lot). When so much of it was right on, it was sad to watch it burn out before my eyes. It wasn't the sequel I hoped for, but it exceeded my expectations. I appreciated the fan love, and when it was at its high points, it reminded me how awesome the Silent Hill universe is. It is made for the fans and often hits its mark, it just couldn't hold on to it. I have hope that there is a sequel in the works, as it is set up at the end, but I won't hold my breathe. If you love Silent Hill (movie or games) go see it. If you do not however, I would pass, as it will only confuse and frustrate you. Its a fun watch, but be mindful, it has some serious issues.

This film disappoints me for the sole reason that it DID have so much potential. The creators of Revelation are fans of the original Silent Hill movie, and it shows. I might even dare say they are fans of the games. There are so many great moments, and homages to events or characters from the series, even the most jaded fan should stay entertained. I had a blast recognizing things from previous games, or catching little Easter Eggs here or there. The most exciting thing they added was its allusion to Silent Hill Downpour, tied all my experiences nicely together. Sadly, it just didn't hold up.

The casting they chose was pretty satisfying. It was difficult to decide how I felt about the acting, as some cast members really shined, and others burned out. I am concerned a pattern of dry dialogue will become too common in any future installments. The light in the dark however, was Adelaide Clemens' role as Heather Mason. She did well enough delivering her lines, and worked well at holding the screen as the heroine. More importantly, she just looked the part. She is as best a casting as I could hope for. As for the rest of the actors/actresses, there weren't many other memorable performances. Luckily, this also meant there was none too awful either, mostly forgettable.

The pacing was a point I feel needs to be addressed. The beginning half of the film is spent living out a survival horror game. Scares are done through terrifying images, jump scares, or powerful atmosphere. It was quite a tense experience, and even a seasoned horror fan like myself, found that I was clutching my chair or wincing at times. Looking at the people who came with me, there was sounds of shock and fear, it pulled off its goal. Unfortunately, this is where its biggest flaw showed itself. The movie began to lose pacing, it sped up, and continued to do so right to the end.The last half of the movie is spent cramming as much story in as possible, minus all details, and getting too action packed to feel scary any longer. It felt like a solid idea that just didn't know how to wrap itself up.

This isn't to say it veered off from the game too far, just that it tried to take all that lore, cram it in, and streamline it. It just didn't work. It left the majority of audience members confused, or felling like it was a shallow movie. Sadly, this is the main reason for its largely negative feedback, it is just kind of a mess. But at least it's a beautiful mess...

One thing it deserves praise for, is its make up team as usual. They again used primarily practical effects, and when they did use CGI, it was mostly tasteful. Creature designs and performances were top notch, which is to be expected when working with such a talented team. Everything had a gooey organic feel, and left my skin crawling. The CGI aided in the sets, which had that lovely decayed feeling familiar to fans of the series. It is a visually stimulating experience, and really stands out from other horror films. Regarding the digital effects, the other use they endured was the cursed 3D.

I am so tired of going to see a film that is so focused on quality effects, only to find it butchered by 3D. Now don't misunderstand, there are worse 3D films available, and since it was filmed for 3D the production value is pretty high, it just felt so useless. Everything has a slight texture problem, light glares when aimed at the audience, and some sequences, when moving fast, are hard to see. The worst thing is though, that they actually tried to pull off the "3D moments", which not surprsingly were super cheesy. There is one scene in particular, that a rather creepy monster is attacking the characters, and just as the blade approaches, they pull the ol' knife at the screen dramatic jab. It just looked goofey, and broke my mood. If you can see it in 2D, do it, I think I would've enjoyed it far better, and couldve appreciate the work put in from the art and makeup team.

This may sound like a negative review, but be clear, I really like the film, and LOVE Silent Hill; which is why I feel the need to be so harsh on it. I just expect much more, and was crushed by how jumbled the ending turned out. Even worse than the chaotic pacing, and anorexic plot was the Deus Ex Machina ending, it felt very forced (on a high note, the post ending events really redeem a lot). When so much of it was right on, it was sad to watch it burn out before my eyes. It wasn't the sequel I hoped for, but it exceeded my expectations. I appreciated the fan love, and when it was at its high points, it reminded me how awesome the Silent Hill universe is. It is made for the fans and often hits its mark, it just couldn't hold on to it. I have hope that there is a sequel in the works, as it is set up at the end, but I won't hold my breathe. If you love Silent Hill (movie or games) go see it. If you do not however, I would pass, as it will only confuse and frustrate you. Its a fun watch, but be mindful, it has some serious issues.