I don't why anybody is surprised at this. Sure, potentially Sony's metagame/virtual world is a visionary and fantastic idea. If it ever gets done, that is. This could be the Second Life for consoles, but it also could just end up being some ad-filled eyesore to pump merchandise, which seems the more likely of the two. I wouldn't be surprised if this doesn't really see the light of day until at least 2009.
The Helping Amateur Stalkers Everywhere Award:
Xbox Live's Friends of Friends. Seriously. who's fucking bright idea was this? So, anybody can potentially track down anybody on live, which probably isn't that big a deal, but I rarely let people I've never even talked to on an internet forum join my friends' list, much less somebody who is a friend of a friend of a friend. Xbox live isn't Myspace. This really just seems like a tool for advertising where you get asked to be on the friend list of The Burger King or something horrid like that.
The resting on their laurels award:
Yes, it was a banner year for Nintendo. Their waggle system continues to sell like it's the last system ever. But really, what did Nintendo do to please it's already big installed base this year? Not a whole lot, and the sad thing is , it wouldn't have taken much to make us pleased. Better virtual console releases, for one. Yeah, what is classic is subjective, but most of what we've seen this year on the virtual console was questionable at best. I probably should be having trouble keeping my Wii from overflowing with VC titles, but it just isn't happening.
Which leads me to my another major complaint-Nintendo still hasn't made it so that you can play anything from an SD card, which massively limits the memory options. I mean hell, I may have to start choosing between channels and game saves soon, especially with Wii Ware on the way next year. And finally, the ever-lasting complaint of simplifying online play. Their is literally no justification for making your customers have to jot down 16-digit codes for every friend for every individual game. You don;t even enable voice chat, so that whole protecting the kids mantra is complete BS. And even if you did, that's what thing like parental settings (and parents themselves oddly enough) are for. I mean honestly, this is the kind of thing that will make people skip otherwise solid titles like Battalion Wars 2, because it just isn't worth the hassle. These are all easily fixed problems, Nintendo, and shame on you for being lazy as hell about it.
The You only get out of it what you put into it award:
3rd Party Wii developers: Seriously, just how many half-assed pieces of complete shovelware have we seen on Nintendo's console this year? And all of them are by third parties just desperately trying to cash in on the Wii's success. Then they have the gall to piss & moan about how they can't make any money on the Wii. Granted, you're not going to hit monster numbers like Bioshock & Mass Effect, but I thought that was one of the points of the Wii in the first place-that you could make more daring titles that don't have to be monster hits because they cost a fraction of what it costs to develop titles for the 360 or the PS3. The Wii has effectively proved people don't care about graphics that much, but they still need something besides 10,000 minigames to bide their free time.
Granted, several Sony execs were in the running, but the increasingly insane antics of Thompson month after month made him a shoo-in. I mean the guy has targeted everything from Microsoft to the Department of Defense, and even facing disbarment hasn't slowed this maniac down in his crusade to destroy videogames that just ends up destroying any credibility he has left. It's been fun Mr. Thompson, but it's looking like 2008 will find you jobless and possibly in a rubber room where you truly belong.
The biggest disappointment of the year:
Xbox Live Arcade: Seriously, it's been around a year longer than the Virtual Console, yet the amount of quality titles is a hell of a lot less, and it's not because the usually only do one title a week. Sure, there have been a couple of rare gems like Bomberman & Worms, and Streets of Rage 2 was certainly worth the $5 to download; but a look at the rest of the list reads like some hastily slapped together "greatest hits" compilation with only a couple actual hits and most of the running badly on hardware that should have no problem running it. Microsoft can;t even decide what the hell it wants Arcade to be. First it's an outlet for indie developers, then it's a land of mostly badly emulated classics. Now it's trying to reach out to a young and casual crowd that isn't even there with games that feature Spongebob collecting underpants. Arcade is in the middle of a giant identity crisis, and it will be looked upon as one of the great blunders of this generation if Microsoft doesn't get their act together.
All right, that's pretty much it. See you guys next year!
That's pretty much it for me today, but I'll leave you with a Christmas classic: A Charlie Brown Christmas... Performed by the cast of Scrubs!
But it is good that I have mostly recovered just in time for the last big release of '07-Nights: Journey of Dreams for the Wii! Granted, this game may only matter to those few of us who were lucky enough to play the seminal original on the ill-fated Saturn, but since it's been over a decade , I'll take what new content I can get. It's a shame that according to most reviews, that while the game works fine with the classic controller, they apparently could not get the Wii controls to work well, since that seemed such a natural fit for the game.
Duke Nukem lives? Granted, I've never been a big fan of what is basically a composite of Ash from the Evil Dead movies & Roddy Piper from They Live, but ID has finally has posted a trailer for the long rumoured vaporware. Of course, without some kind of release date, this means squat IMHO. And really, what relevance is Duke to modern-day gaming? We have so many more awesome heroes that could kick Duke's ass...
Trailer of the week: HANCOCK
HH: NBC ran the Virginia Tech killer tape on the day they obtained it. Steve Capus, Brian Williams made that decision. Did they make the right decision?
TB: Yeah, they did.
HH: Do you not think it's going to incite other people to try to do the same thing?
TB: No, I don't. I think...to get back to something we were talking about earlier in general thematic terms, I don't think we're doing a very good job about talking about violence in this country, either. You know, Virginia Tech went away. We didn't have any ongoing dialogue in our communities or on the air about the corrosive effect of violence. It was not what he, what people saw of him on the air that will drive them, it's what they read in blog sites, and what they see in video games. It's that kind of stuff that I think is cancerous. And I'm a free speech absolutist, but I think that at the same time, we have to have free speech in some kind of a context. And part of that context is a discussion of the possible effects of it.
What I really love is how he claims he's a "free speech absolutist" but condemns two very valid forms of it that sure as hell shouldn't be criticized any more than the media he worked for for so long. I'm all for examining violence and it's effects. Hell, blogs can be a very useful tool for just that and the ongoing dialogue Brokaw mentions. To call them cancerous and then throw in videogames just because it's fashionable to scapegoat them for everything (note that the VT shooter didn't play any violent games) is just absurd and shows how senile he is. Do yourself a favor and stay shuttered away in the old folks shelter, grandpa.
Onto happier news, one thing that has sort of annoyed me about the Wii controllers is that they aren't truly wireless. The nunchuck is still attached to the Wii remote and so is the classic controller. But help is on the way. Hopefully sooner rather than later, but Nyko is coming out with a wireless nunchuck and Thrustmaster (really, Thrustmaster?) has their own wireless version of the classic controller that is on its way as well. We all know the less wires we have to deal with, the better, so hopefully these will be on shelves soon as it doesn't seem like Nintendo is too concerned about developing their own wireless versions of these any time in the near future.
In addition to the free game of the week, a have a little treat for you guys, my newest fanvid, featuring Smash Bros. Brawl! Til next time...
FREE GAME OF THE WEEK: Top Chef
New trailer for GTA IV hit today. Though I wasn't a huge fan of San Andreas, this is starting to look pretty damn promising.
I am also making some progress in my massive gaming pile, finishing off both Mario Galaxy and Mass Effect. I kind of wish A lot of these big games turned out to be disappointments because honestly I would love to play Mario some more or go through Mass Effect again but I just have too many other games that are pretty damn good to do that now or in the near future. It's a silly complaint, I know, but for all the complaints of lack of quality games by the gaming community, now we are dealing with more quality content than we know what to do with (well, if you own at least 2 systems anyways).
That's pretty much it for today. I do want to give a cheap plug for one of my Gorillamask buddies, Evan Smith, who does some pretty damn cool artwork on his blog, Broken Sanity, which is also in my link list so you can check it out at your leisure even after this post disappears into the archives.
TRAILER OF THE WEEK: SPEED RACER
I managed to catch a sneak preview of The Golden Compass. I read the book earlier this year and thought it was ok. The movie was a huge disservice to the source material, however. They changed much, and the writing, editing and acting were all pretty horrible. It amazes me that you can go so wrong when you have such a clear blueprint to base your work off of.
Trailer of the Week: The Spiderwick Chronicles
FREE GAME OF THE WEEK: Candy Mountain Massacre
Ah integrity. Supposedly the rarest form of currency in just about all facets of life. While we all strive to have it, we generally have to give up some in order to get by in life, and it's always under attack by those against us. I've kept the integrity on this blog pretty high to date. Ads are minimal, and I don't get paid for anything I plug, and I have gotten offers to plug things for at least some compensation that I've turned down. But god forbid this blog ever takes off, I may be forced to make a choice between those sweet, sweet advertising dollars and whether or not to rip on somebody. And it's a lose/lose situation for anybody, amateur or pro in the industry. I have been accused of blatant bias in previous writing positions as well as this blog even with any compensation being minimal at best and none garnered from some big game/movie company paying me to support their product.
So I can only start to imagine the pressure big sites that have a full-time staff to pay face when they get a shitty game from a company that is footing the bill and have to review it. Do they tell the truth and risk losing not only their current advertisers, but potential future ones as well? That helps nobody, The irate idiotic fanboys will still bitch and moan no matter what and all the site gets is the fun decision of possibly having to cut some staff or in serious cases shut down entirely. The guys at Penny Arcade are in a very unique position where they are a small company supported by a huge army of loyal followers that support them pretty much no matter what and they don't really need advertising dollars to survive. But when the story of a Gamespot editor's firing over a bad review of Kane & Lynch broke late yesterday, the internet community was understandably up in arms because apparently he either didn't notice or didn't care that the site was plastered with ads for the game. I personally think the oddest part about this is Kane & Lynch has gotten mediocre scores across the board, but because a site they chose to advertise on also blasted the game, they chose to punish that one site over it. Seems kinda silly.
It's again very easy to call for Gamespot's head in this case, but if it is true, I'm not sure any real blame should fall with Gamespot itself. I will say if it was me and such an action would only affect myself, I probably would tell Eidos to go fuck themselves. But if I've got an entire staff to consider, higher ups to answer to, and a major advertising possibly threatening my bottom line in not only the present, but the near future, I'd honestly most likely throw the reviewer to the wolves because again it's a damned if you do/damned if you don't situation no matter what.
Eidos on the other hand, should be held fully accountable and possibly legally liable if this is indeed the case. They have every right to choose who they advertise with, but for somebody to actually get fired over a bad review they must've have made some major threats such as badmouthing to other companies or not letting Gamespot in for any more interviews or previews, which is far from acceptable in any instance. Whatever the conditions, PA is claiming that the reason for the editor's firing was the poor review and I tend to believe PA, which means I'll definitely be exercising my right as a consumer to not buy anything from Eidos and while not condemning Gamespot because they were probably in a tough position, not giving any future reviews of theirs as much credence as I once did.
That's right, pathetic Earthlings! Futurama has finally returned! One of four, count 'em FOUR DVD movies comes out today. They will also be shown as a fully blown "new" season on Comedy Central, and I hope that much like Family Guy, this leads to many more years (only without the massive drop in consistent quality that Family Guy has suffered). So My post today is some of Futurama's best stuff. Enjoy and BUY BENDER'S BIG SCORE ON DVD TODAY!!
But yes, after weeks filled to the brim with AAA & AA releases making our banks accounts cry, we are in a much needed dead zone, with no major releases this week and few on the horizon. The problem is that that horizon will most likely stay that way until at least next August like it does every year. Sure, we'll have a few select heavy hitters such as Smash Bros, Mario Kart & GTA IV. But overall, be thankful that you have so many titles out right now you don't know what to do with them because that's what will hopefully get you through the lean months to come.
I did manage to get in about 20 hours with Mass Effect so far, and I'm loving it. The action, storyline, character building, are all pure genius. But, if I had to nitpick, there are some glaring flaws that seem like they were things that were simply left without much effort in order to get the game out before fans starting burning down Bioware's offices. Firstly, the sorry excuse that is your land vehicle. The thing is not only lacking in decent firepower, but it can't take much of a beating and handles like a broken down jalopy. Gimme a goddamn Warthog! But the real sticking point is the vastly confusing menus. I'm never completely sure what armor or gun I have equipped on my characters not to mention any add ons they may have attached to those items. But the rest of the game is so utterly fantastic that much like KOTOR I can already see going through it multiple times and it's quickly become one of my favorite 360 titles.
That's pretty much it for today, but now that the insanity of Thanksgiving week is over, I should be back to updating on a regular basis.
FREE GAME OF THE WEEK: Anika's Odysssey
Luckily, Microsoft is doing things right on the actual console side, as we have yet another AAA console release with what may be my most anticipated game this year, Mass Effect. I can't even begin to accurately describe how excited I am for this, and anybody who has played any of Bioware's previous works will understand why. Their ability to make you really feel like you are the one actually driving the story rather than just being along for the ride like so many other titles in unparalleled and always makes for an extremely satisfying experience that you love going through time & time again. To get you even more excited, check out this new fanvid I made:
Of course. Mass Effect is far from the only huge title hitting this week. 360 & PS3 wannabe rock stars also get to try and strut their stuff in the newest music title from Harmonix (the guys who made the first two Guitar Hero titles) in Rock Band. It certainly seems to be poised to be a smash and much like the Guitar Hero games. I can see the appeal, but also like the Guitar Hero games, the high price tag and gameplay style just don't really hold much appeal for me personally. But I admittedly say this without ever having played any of these games, so maybe if I actually get around to trying one of the bazillions of demo units in stores I may change my tune.
Even though Wii owners like myself are probably still collecting stars in Mario Galaxy, we may want to take a brief second to check out Nintendo's new Wii Zapper, which hits stores this week. Not so much for the zapper, which most reports have said is a giant waste of plastic, but for the reportedly awesome game that is Link's Crossbow Training/ For $20, it's probably the best of an already very healthy light gun-esque shooter selection on the Wii along with last week's release of Umbrella Chronicles and the additional releases this week of Ghost Squad & Geometry Wars: Galaxies.
GAMERS THE TV SHOWS LIVES! Well, sort of. While there actually is a development deal on the table for this promising comedy, the Writers strike has put a halt to any further progress on the show becoming a reality for the time being. But I hope everybody continues their support and hopefully this show won't be forgotten when writers start making scripts again. In the meantime though, you can check out the pretty awesome spec pilot that's already been made:
That's pretty much the only movie worth discussing this weekend, but I have great news on a long-awaited movie sequel. Ghostbusters 3 is in the works! The catch is that much like Stranglehold, it's a video game sequel. The fact that the developer's list of games is none too impressive worries me a bit, but all the gang is back, so it should be a great experience if not too hastily rushed out.
I know you PS3 owners expected to have a little breathing room between Assassins' Creed and Uncharted, but we're getting this awesome modern Indiana Jones-inspired adventure tomorrow. Seems like an odd move, but maybe it's too avoid the hype machine that is Mass Effect. Regardless, this is arguably the last quality title for the PS3 until at least sometime next year, so PS3 owners would be to wise to grab it. Thank god pretty much all of this insanity will be over soon and I'll actually have time to beat a few games...
FREE GAME OF THE WEEK: BURGER RESTAURANT.
PC gamers (at least those with monster gaming rigs) should be very excited as the highly anticipated Crysis finally hits this week. I know the game is about some alien menace, and looks insanely gorgeous, but games that basically require me to have around $1000 worth of equipment just to have them play smoothly tend to not get anywhere in my radar.
The legendary Contra series returns to it's 2D roots on the DS with the simplified title of Contra 4. Impressions and vids show the Contra of old, which is good in most ways, but the old 2D Contra games could be hard to the point of giving you a stroke, so I may see about giving it a rent before a full purchase.
Any other week, Kane & Lynch, the new ultraviolent co-op title from Eidos, would be a virtual guaranteed smash. But with what's been out in the last week or two and what's coming out next week in addition to the flood already hitting this week, it seems the most likely to slip through the cracks. Is it even good? I don't really have any clue, but it probably won't even get a fair shake anyways.
TRAILER OF THE WEEK: VALKYRIE
Speaking of minigame collections, our crazy rabbit friends are back in Raving Rabbids 2. But honestly, this genre has pretty much quickly worn out its welcome, so I have little to no interest in yet another waggle-fest of which the point seems to make me look like a jackass (not that I mind looking like a jackass, but there are already a plethora of games we can do that with). Rabbids will have the edge on humor, but really nothing else new to see here.
Saving the best for last, easily the Wii's most important game to date will be in stores Monday morning in Super Mario Galaxy. Adding to the importance was the not so hot reception given to Mario's last platforming effort, Sunshine. But the reviews are already in, and they thankfully say that this is arguably his best adventure yet, thus proving that Nintendo knows what they are doing. I plan to be spending all my free time this week traveling the galaxy with everyone's favorite plumber, and so should everyone who has a Wii.
But 360 & PS3 owners have a hugely anticipated title to check out this week as well in the mysterious Assassins' Creed. Not only mysterious in what it's really about, as futuristic elements have been hinted at even though it seems to take place during the Crusades; but also if it will turn out to be the year's biggest flop, as hands-on previews haven't been all that reassuring. But I saw this live at PAX awhile back, and it looked fairly impressive, and when it comes to huge titles like this, Ubisoft knows how to deliver, so I'm willing to bet we'll all be enjoying learning to live by the Assassins' Creed.
There are a few more titles coming out this week worth discussing, but I'll hold off on those for tomorrow. In the meantime, here's your FREE GAME OF THE WEEK: The Mind Bender
The closest thing to a sure bet this weekend is the latest from the Cohen Brothers, No Country for Old Men, but it's limited release may make it hard to find.
Two things of note for PS3 owners-The 2.00 firmware update is here, now you can do revolutionary things like use wallpapers for your background! All kidding aside, possibly my biggest complaint about themes and gamer pics for Xbox live is that you can't really see what you are buying, so hopefully the PS3 at least will address that issue if they are going to start charging for the things. The other is that a demo for Uncharted: Drake's Fortune is finally available for download. Aside from Ratchet & Clank, this is the only real worthwhile PS3 exclusive this year, so do yourself a favor and check it out.
The crazy dudes over at sarcasticgamer.com are back with one of their best parody songs yet, Hey there Mr. Thompson, a great little diddy about everybody's favorite batshit insane lawyer (seriously the guy is just completely fucking mental). Wanna bet sarcasticgamer gets hit by a totally baseless cease & desist order?
That's pretty much it for today, but I'll definitely be back Sunaday at the latest to talk about the impending release for the biggest Wii game yet, Mario Galaxy, which is already getting ridiculously stellar reviews. In the meantime, in addition to the Trailer of the Week, check out my newest music vid, another for Nights Into Dreams for the Wii:
TRAILER OF THE WEEK: The Great Debaters
I did actually go and see American Gangster today. I thought it was very well done and a definite recommend, but I think there's way too much material here for even the two & a half hours it runs. It probably should've been a miniseries, but then it might not have had so much good talent involved either.
And one last thing I want to comment on is the WGA strike. Mainly because two comments I seem to see way to often are some variant on-"TV/movies suck anyways" & "They are a bunch of rich crybabies". Yes, a lot of TV & movies suck, but there's also a lot of brilliance out there, and this strike won't affect just brainless big budget films that barely seem to have a script. It'll affect every single scripted TV show, indie movie, giant Oscar contender, etc. Also, with a few notable exceptions, writers make a ridiculously small amount of money. Many of them are lucky if they sell more than a couple of scripts a year, which they don't get paid all that much for. It's ironic & ridiculous that they are basically the lowest on the Hollywood totem pole hierarchy, but are essentially responsible for all the good creativity in Hollywood. These are the little guys we should be rooting for, unlike when ridiculously overpaid athletes strike. So I hope they get everything they ask for & then some, but I also hope it ends quickly cause I don't want to see extremely shortened or rushed seasons of my favorite shows.
FREE GAME OF THE WEEK: MONKEY KART
Moving onto this weekend's movies-I want to believe that a guy like Jerry Seinfeld would only do quality projects. After all, it's not like he's made a habit of whoring himself out after his show was canceled. But I'm not seeing this with his new animated film, Bee Movie. It just feels like most non-Pixar efforts, bland and uninteresting, but I'm sure the kids will love it.
Speaking of kids, have we had enough of peculiar ones with special needs that suddenly become parented by an adult that isn't well adjusted themselves, cause we got another one with Martian Child. Granted, this one has the great John Cusack and seems to take a more serious tone than the mostly comedic films of this nature, but it doesn't make it any less cliched.
But there is some hope in Denzel Washington's latest turn as a bad guy in American Gangster. It's been too long since we had some good mobster drama up on the big screen, and the last time Denzel played bad, he got an Oscar out of the deal, so I expect similar quality here. I will check it out if I'm not too tired from working all weekend, otherwise, I'll probably check it out sometime next week.
TRAILER OF THE WEEK: WANTED
I'm making one last plea to all Wii owners, current and future: BUY ZACK & WIKI. This is a game you should not miss out on. I've mostly said my piece on this brilliant title, but maybe some highlights from the dudes over at Destructoid will help you make the right choice:
BUY THIS GAME.
ZACK AND WIKI: QUEST FOR BARBAROS' TREASURE IS THE BEST GAME AVAILABLE ON THE WII RIGHT NOW.
PURCHASE ZACK AND WIKI AS SOON AS HUMANLY POSSIBLE.
If you own a Wii and you don't purchase Zack and Wiki, you are a bad person.
I want to go out on a couple of quick plugs, first my buddy Kevin has a new site where he gives humor-filled reviews of bizarre old arcade titles-The Arcade Diaries. This is the one guy I know who can school me in just about any area of game knowledge, so he definitely knows his stuff and it's a very worthy read.
The second, in case I don't update before Tuesday, is for the sixth season of Scrubs, out on DVD Tuesday. As I said when discussing the season premiere, there are some definite low points, but the worst episodes of this show is still better than 95% of anything else on TV, so it's well worth your money to go pick this up.
FREE GAME OF THE WEEK: Balance Attack
I was able to catch the season premiere of Scrubs, and it definitely showed a solid return to form, which is a good indicator of going out strong.
That's really all I got for today, but I'll leave you with these new Super Mario Galaxy gameplay vids that popped up on Gametrailers today:
And also a quick reminder that the FINAL SEASON of Scrubs starts this Thursday. I fully admit that last season was a low point, but still had some really strong episodes, and hopefully they'll finish this off in a classy way unlike so many other long-running shows that essentially cop out or aren't even worth caring about anymore.
Trailer of the week: Drillbit Taylor
Posted Sep 24, 2007
Two high school freshman are targeted by the school bully on the first day of school. The boys hire what they think is a low-budget soldier of fortune to protect them, but he turns out to be anything but.
This is a huge week for gamers that may end up putting a huge dent in their overall holiday budgets. First off, we have the mega-hit series Guitar Hero III hitting every home console that still has a pulse. I get the reason it's so popular, but I honestly haven't ever picked up the controller for it and rocked out. I think the $90-$100 price tag gives me major pause as well. One day I may get into this series, but this just doesn't seem like the time with all the other games I'm much more interested in hitting stores now or in the near future.
2 of which do hit stores this week. First up is a great new puzzle game for the Wii; Zack & Wiki. For all those who complain the Wii is all about casual games, this is one of those quirky awesome games that hardcore gamers should love, but the look and style will probably cause it to be ignored by those who would enjoy it best. IGN has been campaigning for every Wii owner to pick this up and I wholeheartedly support them in this. This will be the Wii sleeper title of the year, and may even offer a more rewarding experience than Mario Galaxy.
The second is one of those games that finally makes PS3 owners dust off their systems and pick up a controller in Ratchet & Clank Future: Tools of Destruction. Granted, it's not much of a change from previous titles, which with 5 R & C games in the last 6 years may be a bit much. But hey, it's something until Drake's Fortune finally hits.
The dark horse this week is Eye of Judgement, which launches with the PS3 eye (aka eyetoy). It's an interesting experiment, to be sure, but it's still a freaking card game with an unnecessary peripheral that really adds nothing to the gameplay. I'd like to see this version of the eyetoy actually be put to some good use unlike on the PS2, but I seriously doubt it's gonna happen.
Free Game of the Week: Strategy Defense
Sadly though, people will probably turn out in droves for the suckfest that will be 30 Days of Night. I mean really. Vampires in Alaska? With only Josh Hartnett to stand against them? Sounds like a 2nd rate Sci Fi channel movie, not a worthwhile theatrical release.
But also worth checking out this weekend is the re-release of one of my all time favorite films, The Nightmare Before Christmas. I haven't gotten a chance to check it out in 3D, which is something they've been doing for a few years now, so I expect to have a very good time checking it out this weekend.
Are game companies reading my blog? Probably Not, but two things I've been championing for awhile have sort of happened, so of course I'll believe it's all due to my efforts! Firstly Little Mac is actually in Brawl! Unfortunately, it's only as an assist trophy, which is a bit of a jip, but at least he's in there. Much more exciting though, is that Okami has been officially announced for the Wii! A true sequel would probably be a little more welcomed, but of all the ports being made, none makes more sense then Okami. Hopefully it will not be criminally ignored like it was on PS2. Actually makes me sort of glad I never finished the original...
TRAILER OF THE WEEK: THE EYE
Making some headway in the mountain of games I'm currently trying to tackle, I did beat Bioshock on Friday. It's an incredible experience, to be sure. But I do think one area they could've improved on was boss fights, especially the final one, since he had a ridiculously easy pattern and was dumb as a rock in a game mostly praised for its AI component.
I also saw Michael Clayton, which while I thought it was a tad too predictable, was extremely well acted and an excellent choice for anyone craving a really solid legal thriller.
FREE GAME OF THE WEEK: Portal: The Flash version
Nintendo follows up some of their best news ever (Sonic being in Brawl), with some of their worst, as they made it official today that Nintendo's all-star beat em up will not reach US shores until February. This is certainly disheartening news, but again, with so many huge titles out this year, I seriously doubt anyone will really notice it's absence. Wii owners will probably still be playing through Mario Galaxy.
I finally did see The Kingdom, which sort of plays like a slightly more competent Michael Bay message film. There is solid acting all around and hints of a taut political thriller, but anytime the plot starts really delving we get loud explosions and lots of gunfire, and sealed up in a trite attempt at how we aren't so different form one another or something. It's still a solid flick I'd recommend for a bargain matinee or a rental.
Which means this weekend I will most likely be checking out Michael Clayton, which does open nationwide, as it seems to be the closest thing to a safe bet. The only other major film even worth mentioning this weekend is We Own the Night, which seems more like a cheesy Steven Segal/Charles Bronson vehicle than something that Mark Wahlberg or Joaquin Phoenix should waste their time on. But of course Segal's career is long dead & Bronson is just plain dead so I guess somebody has to fill these kind of roles.
I forget to mention it in my last post, but if you own a PSP, you should probably pick up Final Fantasy Tactics: The War of the Lions, which shipped out this week. The original is a true strategy classic that way too many people missed out on and is now a e-bay treasure. But if you have a PSP, you have no excuse not to pick this up & if you were thinking about getting one, this is a good reason to. It may never measure up to the DS, but I believe the PSP is finally becoming a solid choice for a portable system with a decent library finally shaping up. It's just a shame it took this long to get there.
TRAILER OF THE WEEK: Jumper
OMG! SONIC IS CONFIRMED FOR SMASH BROS. Excuse while I joygasm, you can too while watching his intro vid:
In addition, some official titles for Nintendo's downloadable service, Wii Ware, were announced. Final Fantasy as a downloadable title? Could be interesting.
That's really all I got for today. But check out this sweet new music vid I made for the upcoming Wii title No More Heroes:
I really hope Heartbreak Kid delivers the message that everybody else as tired of Ben Stiller's one-note neurotic act as I am. He's still fairly funny in supporting roles that are different from his usual shtick (see Dodgeball), but the guy hasn't really been able to carry a film in years.
It doesn't open nationwide until next Friday, but George Clooney's latest, Michael Clayton actually looks worthwhile, and it's playing here, so I definitely plan on checking it out.
The PS3 store unleashed a demo of the upcoming Simpsons game by EA. That'll teach me to get excited about a licensed product. I honestly thought because EA wasn't rushing this, it'd be one of the few Simpsons games that didn't completely suck. But aside from really solid presentation. like many EA games, this was a mess of bad control and outright poorly designed gameplay that brings to mind who the hell thought this would be entertaining?
A $400, 40-gig PS3 is all but confirmed. Will this be the move the PS3 needs to finally compete? A decent selection of software wouldn't hurt, but this is a good step. The real question is what is being sacrificed aside from unnecessary hard drive space? The removal of a couple of usb ports and the card slot isn't very significant but I have heard rumors of a complete lack of backwards playability, which given the current (and for the near future) library, would be a very bad thing indeed. I honestly don't think price is as much of an issue as something to really sell the system, which probably won't happen until Killzone 2 finally hits. Assuming it even delivers.
FREE GAME OF THE WEEK: Super Pilot
If the Halo hubbub has died down (or your just looking for some portable goodness), the next great game of 07 is upon us-Legend of Zelda: The Phantom Hourglass hits tomorrow and will probably be the last Zelda game for quite awhile given how often they pump out these things, so take your time with it. I'm not sure how I feel about the switch to strictly stylus controls, but if they are able to keep the game fun, that's really all I care about.
After two episodes, I'm about ready to give up on Chuck, NBC's new "high-concept" "comedy". It's too bad, cause the premise seems interesting enough, and I'll watch Adam Baldwin in just about anything, but this series just seems flat to me. It's not like there's much else on Mondays at 8 though, so I might give it a couple more tries before completely writing it off.
TRAILER OF THE WEEK:
Stephen King's The Mist
So, I still haven't popped in Resistance on my PS3, but I have played a demo for the upcoming rpg Folklore, and it's not half bad. Granted, the graphics look like a decent PS2 title and there is no voice, which already makes it sort of underwhelming. But the soul-catching aspect, especially using the remote almost like a fishing reel to pull in souls, works surprisingly well. I couldn't recommend this for a $60 purchase if that indeed turns out to be the price, but it seems like it'd be worth it when the price does go down.
I realize I'm a day late on this (attribute it to being exhausted), but let's get on to this weekend's movies. I like the Rock. A lot. He's a very charismatic actor who's willing to take a lot of chances. That should get him plenty of plum movie roles. But so far, he's mostly been relegated to schlock action films which have mostly flopped. So now, he goes the embarrassing Disney family movie route with The Gameplan. Didn't we do this with Hogan, Schwarzenegger & Diesel? Hopefully more daring fare like Southland Tales will turn it around for Mr. Johnson.
The only other movie this weekend worth talking about is The Kingdom. An apparent murder-mystery set in Saudi Arabia, with hostile culture-clash thrown in for good measure. It looks great, and has gotten some good reviews, but just as many bad ones, so it makes me a little weary. But I'll most likely check it out this weekend anyways if I'm not too into the gaming haze I plan to get into.
FREE GAME OF THE WEEK: Fugitive Takedown
So, my PS3 did arrive yesterday, but to be honest, I was extremely tired, so I just made sure everything was functional and pretty much went to bed. I downloaded, but haven't played the demo for Folklore. Which reminds me, I really hope Home smooths out the online system, because right now is is the clumsiest, ugliest online system out there right now. Suddenly I feel a whole lot better actually paying for Xbox live if it's helping fund the far superior setup. I was able to get my account going though, and as you can see, right under my 360 gamertag is my PSN ID, Eradicator31. So feel free to send me a friend request. Right now I just have Resistance for online play, but I may get Warhawk in the near future as well.
That's pretty much it for today. I'll certainly be back tomorrow with a look at this weekend's movies, and in the meantime here's your TRAILER OF THE WEEK:
Speaking of Halo 3, will it live up to the massive universe of hype behind it? Probably not, as MS is pushing the game as the second coming. But it will be a title with a solid campaign mode and a multi-player so chock full of stuff that you may not even notice when major competitors like Call of Duty 4 hit.
That's really all I have to say for today, but I should be in possession of my PS3 either tomorrow or Tuesday, so I'll definitely write something about that.
FREE GAME OF THE WEEK: Feudalism
I previously mentioned that I acquired a PSP at a great bargain, and I hinted that I may be having a PS3 soon as well for a similarly great deal-This has happened. I am expecting to get the system on Monday and got it at quite a discount. And yes, I did get the 60 gig, because no way in hell would I get the gimped 80 gig if I had another option. I've already picked up Resistance so I have something to pop in when it arrives (and then realized how sad it is that the only title I want of the current selection is something that came out last November) and I may pick up Stranglehold as well if my 360 shows no signs of coming home anytime soon.
Now onto my 360. HEY MICROSOFT! THERE'S THIS GAME COMING OUT NEXT WEEK! MAYBE YOU'VE HEARD OF IT? STARS A GUY IN GREEN BODY ARMOR WHO FIGHTS ALIEN MENACES? I mean fuck, I'm a patient person, but I know that my fucking system has been sitting at the repair center since LAST MONDAY. And I have heard no update aside from that the console has been received and it is being repaired. If it's taking this fucking long, I should at least receive a loaner, especially at this fucking critical juncture. I've really been working too many hours the last 10 or so days to try and get some sort of explanation why I'll be missing out on what is easily the biggest console release of this holiday season. No disrespect to Nintendo, but I want to finish the fight way more than I want to travel the galaxy with Mario or beat up a bunch of friendly mascots. And suddenly there's the very realistic possibility of that not happening in any sort of timely manner. And that makes me one incredibly unhappy and pissed off 360 owner.
I know the Tokyo Game show is in full swing right now, and I've seen plenty of cool videos for stuff that once again probably isn't hitting until next year. Really only two important news bits so far: Sony is apparently bringing back rumble, which is funny considering they derided it so much in the past. Again, I've never considered rumble a big deal, but when you make a point to mock the competition for considering this feature important, then make a huge splash about adding it, you look like a total jackass. The smart move would've been either to say it was something you might be looking into adding (which we all know you were) or just stay mum on the fucking thing. I mean really, have you guys ever heard of "no comment"? It'd save you a whole ton of trouble. The other is that Sony's much vaunted "Home" system won't be appearing until sometime next year. I just have a huge feeling this is going to go from something that could've potentially been cool to an ugly mess that never gets it right.
TRAILER OF THE WEEK: Southland Tales
I am now the proud(?) owner of a PSP, but only due to an extremely generous discount. I still think the system is massively flawed at best, but there might be just enough quality titles on it now (such as Jeanne d'Arc) to warrant the extremely low price I paid (hint: significantly less than a DS). With a little luck, I may be playing Drake's Fortune on the cheap this holiday season as well.
This weekend's selection is nothing short of pure shit, so I won't talk about it. I haven't gotten a chance to check out 3:10 to Yuma just yet, so this weekend seems like a perfect opportunity.
FREE GAME OF THE WEEK: Cow Tippin'
Fans of fun horror & mystery would do well to check out the 2nd season of Supernatural. I admit, I initially regarded this show as WB/CW's desperate attempt to lure some back some Buffy/Angel fans; and while not quite up to the caliber of those shows, it has its own fun spin on the horror genre.
Easily the biggest game release this week is the latest disappointing PS3 exclusive, Heavenly Sword. But it may have never had a chance in the first place, with everyone expecting it to be a next-gen God of War. I did see promise when I played the game at PAX and it seemed mostly solid, but the reported 5-6 hour length killed any interest for me.
While everyone is talking about the big rivalry between Guitar Hero III & Rock Band, Jam Sessions, released for the DS this week, might actually be the dark horse that wins it all. I mean it turns the DS into a guitar! Not some crappy controller that is like a guitar, but a real freaking guitar! I know, it sounds like this is one of those improbable things, but just check out these vids:
Gaming sites have gotten their hands on the kinder, friendlier Manhunt 2. What's changed? Not a whole lot, surprisingly. Just removal of the fairly unnecessary ability to rip a guy's balls off and making the kills a little blurred, which seems ridiculous. I mean, if they are being killed in a brutal manner, would simply censoring the act make it really any less disturbing? It's like when they censor the middle finger on TV. We all know what it is. Blurring it out doesn't make it not there or any less "offensive". Hopefully in not too distant future we'll all look back on this stuff and laugh while we are decapitating infants while running over hookers in GTA VI.
TRAILER OF THE WEEK: The Hunting Party
Three journalists return to Bosnia five years after the end of the war to search for the most wanted war criminal, who is still on the loose. Based on a true story.
But I'm more more pumped about the unapologetically mindless action thriller Shoot 'Em Up. Granted, there's a possibility this could just be a cleverly marketed bomb like Snakes on a Plane, but gloriously over the top action films that don't take themselves seriously tend to work, and I'm more than willing to bet this falls in that category rather than the just plain awful over the top films like XXX.
FREE GAME OF THE WEEK: Year of the Snake
Let the Playstation 3 volley of exclusives begin. Factor 5's much-hyped Lair hit this week. It was supposed to be one of the games that not only gave the six-axis controller some real validity, but justify your purchase of this powerhouse that's the most expensive of the current crop of consoles. Well, if you've checked out most reviews, it does neither. Now of course, some moronic Sony fanboys are just responding with cries of reviewers being prejudiced against Sony games (and just as idiotic 360 & Wii fanboys are pointing to this one game as evidence that the console is a colossal failure), but that's too be expected. What's really sad is Factor 5 is basically admitting it sucks, but blames everyone but themselves. So very pathetic.
Luckily, 360 owners get the cinematic masterpiece that is Stranglehold while PS3 owners have to wait for their version (though it does come with Hard Boiled, so that may be worth the wait). The reported 8-hour single-player mode probably makes this a solid rental for me when I do get my 360 back as I have little interest in the MP aspect, but all action junkies should give this one a look.
And congrats on Metroid Prime 3 selling over 400,000 copies in its first week. No hardcore audience on the Wii, huh? Hopefully this & the universal praise this amazing game is getting will prove that developers can make good hardcore games for the platform and gamers will buy them.
TRAILER OF THE WEEK:
My Kid Could Paint That
First up is the most obvious and easy choice, the brilliant third season of The Office. It's amazing how this went from a lazy retread of the British series it was based on to its own brilliant animal. Just goes to show what can happen when you actually give shows a chance to develop.
There's also the wildly off-the-wall 2nd season of Robot Chicken. Somehow it's managed to do what SNL hasn't been able to do for 20 years: Make sketch comedy funny again. Granted, it's probably easier getting great comedic performances out of plastic dolls than it is to get them out of people like Kenan Thompson, but it's still quite an accomplishment given all the failed attempts at re-launching sketch comedy over the years.
If there is one show that might be more insane that Robot Chicken, it's the chaotic genius that is It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia. It's sort of like a Seinfeld for our generation, with characters so self-centered and flawed they create truly cringe-worthy moments of comedy without ever really verging into just truly tasteless territory. Double kudos for giving Danny Devito his best and most despicable role since his Taxi years.
And the last big release is a series I was incredibly slow to warm to, but has quickly turned into a show I genuinely look forward to every Thursday night. 30 Rock started off bad. REALLY bad. It didn't help that I had a fairly low opinion of Tracy Morgan from his "work" on SNL. But magically, the elements somehow began to gel. Morgan is still arguably the weak link of this cast, but they play to what few strengths he has, and Alec Baldwin shows some true comedic genius, with both Tina Fey & Jane Krakowski providing brilliant backup.
All of these are well worth your money. If your wallet feels a little tight afterwords, just remember it's going to a good cause: KEEPING STUFF THAT'S ACTUALLY FUNNY ON TV!
Firstly, there's Rob Zombie's "epic" remake of Halloween. How this joker became a sudden revered director of horror, I'll never know. He's just as bad as any other shit director making crappy horror movies. In this version, his bright idea is to try to give reasoning to Myers evil behavior. But that was what was so great about the silent man in the white mask to begin with. He had no reason for turning out bad, he was just an evil SOB from the moment of his birth. Sure, the occasional conflicted villain is interesting, but we don't need that for our fun trashy horror films.
Already punishing theatre-goers for a couple of days now is Balls of Fury. It's like Dodgeball. Without Vince Vaugn, or Ben Stiller or anything resembling humor.
And finally there is Kevin Bacon trying to murder whatever is left of his career with Death Sentence. A remake of Death Wish. Just think about that for a second. Somebody actually remade Death Wish. Next thing you know, they'll turn Joust into a movie. Fuck....
Just one more thing to address today. The oh-so wise & mighty Variety posted a scathing review of Metroid Prime 3. They apparently complained because it isn't a casual game like Wario Ware or Wii Sports. You know, because apparently there's some law that says you can't make a game for hardcore gamers on a system that caters more to the casual gamer. This is possibly the stupidest fucking review in the history of all reviews. I mean seriously, it's like bashing Viva Pinata (which while it didn't sell great, had universal acclaim) for being on a system that is mainly aimed at young adults who enjoy sports & shooters. Hell, this is one of the games specifically designed to address the criticism that Nintendo has all but abandoned the hardcore gamer. To criticize a game not because it's bad, but because you think it just isn't appropriate for some target group is beyond moronic. I never give much credit to variety to begin with, but this is a new low in absolute stupidity.
Game of the Week: Toast of War