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
If your 360 is in proper working order, you may want to check the newest available Live Arcade titles. Sure, there's Puzzle Fighter, which is a worthy download, but much better and surprisingly barely mentioned is the beat-em-up classic Streets of Rage 2 for a measly 400 points. This is also on the Wii Virtual console, but it's cheaper on live with co-op and achiveements, so MS definitely gives you the superior experience here (which is rare, cause the emulation usually sucks).
Planning on picking up a PS3 at the "bargain" price of $499? Better move quick, cause Sony claims they haven't got anymore. So let's review this decision again. Sony drops price. Many fans & developers claim it isn't enough, but sales comparatively skyrocket. Sony apparently decides this is bad and rather than continuing to increase sales by keeping this model, they introduce a more expensive model with minor improvements that will eventually completely replace the old one. Class, what do you think will happen will only the more expensive model is available?
Trailer of the Week:
The Assasination Of Jesse James By The Coward Robert Ford
An action western surrounding the private life and public exploits of America's most notorious outlaw, Jesse James. In 1881, a younger member of the notorious Jesse James gang becomes so inextricably drawn to and frightened of his mentor that his own delusions of grandeur force him to consider doing the unthinkable.
Much more interesting are the big 360 & PS3 titles coming out this week. PS3 has their big multi-player downloadable, Warhawk (which will also be available at retail). Much like 360's Shadowrun, this is a game that you can only play online. And while there is a whole genre of popular games that only offer online play, those titles generally offer a rich array of content beyond just your usual array of deathmatch options. Shadowrun was pretty much a massive failure, and Warhawk is almost guaranteed to be the same. I just don't really understand the reasoning behind titles like this. You cut off way too much of a potential audience in this way that you never would with a game that could use Multi-player, but has a strong offline component to make up for it (like Metroid or Bioshock).
Then there is the first big rpg of this year for the Xbox, Blue Dragon. This was a huge smash in Japan, quickly becoming the best-selling 360 game to date in that country. So rpg fans over here should eat this up, right? Well, possibly. Reviews are pouring in, mostly calling the game too old school for its own good. And with more original fare like Eternal Sonata & Mass Effect on the way, gamers should probably pass this one up. I'm very much on the fence here. On the one hand, Blue Dragon sounds like what I am looking for when I want a classic Japanese-style rpg. But on the other hand, like many gamers, there are way too many awesome games coming out now, and I just don't have money or time for anything that falls short of awesome. Blue Dragon being simply "good" just won't cut it. Of course, I say this about many rpgs that are simple decent, and end up buying them anyways. Blue Dragon will most likely be in that category.
One very pleasant surprise that was somewhat related to Pax was that I discovered a new old DS game to enjoy: Dragon Quest Heroes: Rocket Slime. This got pretty solid reviews when it was out, but I just didn't see the appeal. I wanted a new game to play while I waited in line (which is something you'll do quite a bit of at Pax if you want to get in early or go to any of the good panels) and I picked this up used for $20 and it was money very well spent. Pax is normally a great place for multi-player DS gaming, but I completely ignored that and played almost nothing else the entire weekend. It's basically Zelda lite, but it's incredibly fun.
Of course, what would PAX be without new games to play? Still pretty fun, but it doesn't hurt to have a bunch of cool new shit. The biggest draw was easily Rock Band. People lined up for hours to get one play on the damn thing. I don't have that kind of patience, but I was lucky enough to be there to film Tycho (the bald dude on guitar) from Penny Arcade doing a round with a few other guys:
Oddly enough, Sony (possibly desperately trying to garner some goodwill from the actual gamer community) had easily the largest presence, with a HUGE booth, lovely ladies attached to the new PSP for play, and all their hottest exclusives playable most of which I had some quality time with, so I'll give you a quick summary of what I did play:
Ratchet & Clank: Tools of Destruction-Holy hell was this disappointing. I have never not loved an R & C game. It's actually the one game Sony had coming out this fall that I thought would be a guaranteed winner. But if this demo is any indication, it probably needs another year of fine tuning. The frame rate just sucks, there's extremely noticeable tearing all over. The lock-on also barely worked, making strafing and aiming a ridiculous chore. Finally it really seems like they've added nothing really new that's worth mentioning. Granted, there's technically nothing wrong with classic R & C gameplay, but this seems like the best example of a game that literally has nothing new to offer except a shiny next-gen coat of paint. I have faith in Insomniac, so I'm praying I'm horribly wrong and this was just an early demo.
Heavenly Sword-Pretty much what I expected. The fighting is solid, but like some reviews have said, is limited to small confined areas that seem to repeat way too often. And the non-fighting levels just plain suck.
Lair-Most reviews have already trashed this game, and they are right to. The whole design of using the six-axis to steer is just uncomfortable and not fun whatsoever. Plus, the game itself is just incredibly dull.
Uncharted: Drake's Fortune: Now this game got me excited about buying a PS3. The acting is shit, but that's the only flaw I could see. The game is gorgeous, runs incredibly smooth, controls great (probably due to almost no six-axis bs) and gives you a great sense of being a modern-day Indiana Jones. I highly recommend this for anyone who owns a PS3 and if PS3 can produce a couple more gems like this, I'll probably pick one up myself in the near future.
That's all for today, as I am incredibly tired from the weekend. But don't forget to check out IGN's review of Metroid Prime 3 which should be up around 12:01 am (and I'll talk about that along with all the other new games coming out this week tomorrow). In the meantime, here's a couple of videos & the GOTW for you:
ULTIMATE METROID PRIME 3 TRAILER:
Trailer of the Week: Into the Wild
Posted Jun 29, 2007
Based on a true story of one young man's tragic 'return to nature'. After graduating from Emory University in 1992, top student and athlete Christopher McCandless abandoned his possessions, gave his entire $24,000 savings account to charity and hitchhiked to Alaska to live in the wilderness. Along the way, Christopher encounters a series of characters that shape his life.
FREE GAME OF THE WEEK: Bowling Alley Defense
I'm a little late on this, but I hope you picked up the newly released special collector's edition of the greatest sci-fi film of the last 10 years, SERENITY. I normally abhor the double dipping process, but this edition is pretty reasonably priced at around $20 and that's worth it for the addition of commentary with most of the cast. I can understand given how this did at the box office, how a big budget sequel isn't warranted, but given the trash that gets made into TV movies or direct to dvd movies these days, I really don't understand how a show with such a huge following, that every single major person involved said they would love to continue working on can't be resurrected in some form.
Ok, that's really it for now, I'm going to try and get as much Bioshock in as I can before I go geek out at PAX.
But before I get to the main part of my post today, I pulled off a rare 3-for-3 this weekend-I saw 3 movies, and all of them rocked. I can honestly say that's an extremely rare occurrence if not a first time ever. King of Kong was magnificently insane, abusrd and hilarious. Even if you have never looked at a video game, you should be able to enjoy and appreciate the pure insanity of this documentary (although you'll probably be constantly thinking to yourself "this can't be for real!").
I also finally saw Knocked Up, and I have no idea why it took me this long to get around to it (I think I got the idea in my head that it would lose nothing on video, which is probably the case, but that's hardly stopped me before). But it's really just as hilarious as everybody's been saying and probably one of the more brutally honest films about pregnancy.
And then there's Superbad. I admit, I really expected this to just be a mildly amusing teen romp, but it's one of the better teen romps in a long, long time. It's very relatable, with great dialogue and much like Knocked Up, a mostly refreshingly honest look at high school. So to sum up, any of the above 3 films are a more than solid choice if you are looking for a good laugh.
There seems to be a conceit among gamers that FPS games need to have multi-player these days. If that was really true, than nearly every game would need some sort of MP aspect, because it supposedly makes the life of the game potentially nearly limitless. Granted, it can be an important part of the game, but that's only because these people have only played FPS games with relatively weak single-player components (yes that includes Halo, which while it has a solid single-player, it could easily be much improved, and is far surpassed by its multi-player). Hell, many of the best FPS games of all-time have no mp component whatsoever. If your provide a solid (meaning at least 10 hours, but preferably around the 20-25 mark) engaging experience, no one is going to lament about the lack of multi-player. Bioshock is exactly that, and you can tell by the reviews it's getting. If you have been rejecting the game by thinking it's too linear or too short, your just shortchanging yourself the experience. Be sure to pick it up on Tuesday.
FREE GAME OF THE WEEK:Quickling
If you're not in one of those cities or just looking for something a little more mainstream, don't worry, the infallible Judd Apatow brings you his latest guaranteed laugher-Superbad. Granted, it's obviously the very familiar ground of high school losers trying to do remembered for something cool (or at least get laid) before high school is over, but the reviews claim it rings truer than American Pie or most other recent efforts, so it's most likely worth checking out, which I plan on doing if I have time.
One movie to clearly avoid, however, is The Invasion. How Nicole Kidman and Daniel Craig got talked into this obvious 3rd-rate Body Snatchers rip off is beyond me. Seriously, just save yourself some time and money and rent the cheesy yet entertaining '93 remake for a much better time.
9. Duke Nukem Forever is coming out: Possibly the biggest example of vaporware ever. Nobody has spent more time (or possibly money) on a single title. Hell, the last Duke Nukem game was over a decade ago, and it's little more than a joke now. I'm not even sure there'd be any viability in the title now with a market flooded with FPS games left and right as it is. Time has moved on, so should anybody claiming this game is real.
8. Licensed games ALWAYS suck: The general thought about licenses is that they are all bad and are bad for the industry. While a good majority of them are mediocre, many aren't given any credit simply because they are tied into a license, be it a movie, Comic Book, TV show or a Cartoon. But good licensed games aren't that hard to find really, you just have to be able to pick out the good from the bad. Hint: If it's based on a crappy property, it's probably gonna be a crappy game. Most solid properties (Lord of the Rings, Star Wars, Indiana Jones, Marvel) have had some incredible games over the years. So don't pass something up just because it's a licensed property. Hell, one of the best Xbox games was a license from a shitty movie.
7. People want their consoles to do more than just play games: Today's consoles have online play, downloadable content, can play hi-def movies and can probably make toast as well. But how many people even take advantage of these features? Not nearly enough to justify the huge focus Sony & MS are putting towards those type of features right now. In the future, this will most likely be the case, but who's to say how far off that is? A year? 5? 10? More? Both Sony & MS have said they want to expand the market, but these massively intimidating machines they produce just don't send that kind of message to your average consumer that they are trying to reach.
6. Final Fantasy VII is getting a next-gen remake: I believe it's completely possible we will see the most popular Final Fantasy game get a re-release on a console in the near future. But if it happens, it's not going to be some full-fledged high def remake. It'll be released on a portable system or via a download service or possibly even as part of a compilation of some sort. But no high-def next gen remake is happening. Ever. There's just no real motivation behind it for Square Enix. Sure, they redid FF3 and are re-doing FFIV for the DS with a graphical overhaul, but that's a fairly minor monetary commitment. If the did the same for FF7 for any of the 3 home consoles, it would require really completely reworking the game from the ground up, and they've got more important things to work on (like pushing out Kingdom Hearts III sometime this century!).
5. Xbox Live is a great deal: Yes, Xbox live is the best online setup of any console right now. It's slick interface and constant stream of content cannot be matched by any competing console. But it's not really as great a deal as it seems when you really break it down. I can download movies, but I can only "rent" them for a severely limited period. Many things that should probably be free or at least reasonably cheap are given a ludicrous price tag. I have to pay just for playing my online friends, yet the competition lets me do it for free. The Xbox Live Arcade selection is mostly a joke and embarrassment, offering butchered classics and mediocre original content. But the real, final straw is the "points" system. Every console is a little guilty of this, but MS has perfected this art of ripping off the consumer, because you can only buy points in increments that don't really match up if you download content you pay for on even a semi-regular basis, and MS is purposely vague about just what the points really equal. There's always leftover points, which essentially becomes wasted money, much like when you've got less then $20 in your bank account. It's there, you can visit it, but even though it's your money, you can't really use it. Some drastic changes need to happen on Live if MS is going to continue justifying this setup.
4. Sony is dying: This has been the rallying cry of the anti-Sony crowd for awhile now. Sony's had a rough time over the last couple of years, no argument there, and there is still some things that need plenty of work. But Sony's not going anywhere. 2008 looks like it might really be Sony's year (after all, we have no real clue what MS & Nintendo have in store, but there's plenty of exciting stuff coming for the PS3). The tide is starting to turn in Blu-Ray's favor, and temporary cut or not, Sony's sales are steadily improving, which all points to the end result being very positive for Sony in the long run. They definitely won't have the massive stranglehold they enjoyed the previous 2 generations, but they'll probably be successful, and may even end up winning the thing if high-def adoption really takes off in the near future. And even if this round is a "loss", there's always next time, and Sony certainly has enough yen to tough it out until then at the very least.
3. The most powerful console wins: Whenever you ask a Xbox 360/PS3 fanboy (not owner, just moronic, loyal to death fanboy) why they think their console is going to win, the answer almost always is because it's the most powerful. Obviously these people flunked history. In the entirety of videogame wars, only one time has the most technologically advanced system come out on top, and the was in the 16-bit wars, where the differences were fairly minimal to begin with. Every other single round has seen the most powerful consoles usually fail to keep pace with the less powerful ones. It's plain and simple fact. Which makes it sort of ironic since Sony won with the least powerful hardware the last 2 rounds and this time they are trying with the most powerful system.
2. Nintendo is abandoning the hardcore crowd: It's easy to see why some idiots believe this. Nintendo is aiming their system to truly be for everyone this time around, and with that strategy apparently working, you are bound to see a greater influx of games simply not meant for those of us who spend a large portion of our time and money on games. But seeing as the system hasn't even been out a full year, it's idiotic to make any assumptions at this point, and the library just doesn't support that notion. Zelda, Paper Mario, Resident Evil 4 and plenty of good classic Virtual Console titles should've kept most hardcore gamers pretty busy during the first half of this year, and both Nintendo and 3rd parties are stepping it up this Winter with a slew of great games like Metroid, Mario Galaxy, Smash Bros., Zak & Wiki, Nights 2 and plenty of others. The Wii is just as loaded with potential big hits for the hardcore gamer as any other console, and they will continue to support that base.
1. My console of choice is>Your console of choice: Hey, I like what Nintendo is doing this round and I don't like what Sony is doing (and I tolerate Microsoft cause of games like Halo 3 & Mass Effect). I've never made any pretense otherwise. But it's an opinion of what's right for me based on what my likes and preferences are, and it may change next year depending on what happens in the industry. It doesn't mean my choice is superior to yours or vice-versa. Each console has it's strengths & weaknesses and anybody who seriously mocks you for not choosing the same thing they did is just an idiot and deserves no serious response. You picked your console, for whatever reason you have and you don't really need to defend that to anybody.
And there you go. Great myths debunked. Course, knowing my luck, they'll probably announce a firm release date for Duke Nukem Forever, an PS3 full remake of FFVII, and Sony's imminent bankruptcy tomorrow. In the mean time, here's your TRAILER OF THE WEEK:
Across The Universe
Of course my friend here is a rather poor substitution for the real "Big Daddy", a mysterious and powerful guardian of the Little Sisters that inhabit the mystical underwater city of Rapture. You can see & experience these beings yourself by downloading the newly available demo of Bioshock on Xbox live, which I highly recommend. Not only does it look awesome, it's one of the few scary games I've found to be actually scary as well as allowing you a huge amount of variety in which to kill your enemies. I just hate that it makes me want the game, as my late August is already filled to the rim with Blue Dragon, Metroid Prime 3 & Stranglehold also all coming out in the same 7 day period. Suddenly I yearn for the slow times of the last 7 months...
Stardust was phenomenal. I haven't been this pleasantly surprised by a movie in years. It may be the best fantasy movie in well over a decade. It was funny, tremendously well cast and acted. It's pretty much the modern day equivalent of The Princess Bride (though definitely more grown up, so don't take the little ones).
There is basically one release anyone seems to care about this week, and that is the juggernaut that is Madden 08. I'm not extremely excited about this year's edition, but I'll at least check out the Wii version for online play, and supposedly they really nailed it this year, so I may even try the 360 version as well.
And I just got one more thing to leave you with today, a brand new 15-minute preview of MASS EFFECT:
I have no other explanation for how Nintendo behaves about the internet. Everything about how the Wii is online appears to indicate an incredibly slick package-Wifi, News,weather, internet access, voting channels, being able to share avatars(Miis), downloadable games. But for such a sophisticated-seeming system, it's lacking 2 very basic functions-An easy way to play with friends (though oddly enough not total strangers) and demos or even videos of upcoming games. Well, it looks like Nintendo is at least turning the corner on providing downloadable material, as the Metroid Prime Channel was released with 2 new Prime 3 vids with more stuff on the way up until the release. I would hope that the channel may eventually include a short demo and possibly even downloadable content, but that's probably asking for too much. It's a start, let's hope Nintendo (and others) think this is a positive move, cause I'd love to see some lower profile titles that look great (like Zack & Wiki or Battalion Wars 2) get at least the same treatment.
Let the Halo 3 advertising onslaught begin, found these at my local Bartell's:
There's also a 7-11 promotion starting up soon and I'm fairly positive I heard something about a Burger King promotion as well. Obviously, MS is banking on this being what keeps them ahead of the Wii this holiday season, and with the game already at over 1 million pre-orders, it may be able to do just that.
The Penny Arcade Expo is just under 2 weeks away, and yours truly will be in attendance for at least 2 of the 3 days of this gaming mecca (hopefully with a bunch of pictures for everyone). They finally released the event schedule, and it looks like it'll be a grand old time, much like last year (I'm especially looking forward to keynote speaker, Wil Wheaton & watching a screening of The Last Starfighter with plenty of fellow nerds).
FREE GAME OF THE WEEK: RACIST CHECKERS
But I (and hopefully the general movie going audience) am going to take a risk on a film that's getting surprising buzz-Stardust. This offbeat fantasy epic is surprisingly low-key, but my critic friends who have seen it speak very highly of it, so I'll definitely try and check it out this weekend.
Has EA finally learned a bit of a lesson? I've noticed on Xbox live that free Madden videos are popping up. The same kind that EA had the gall to charge for in a previous year. This seems like the biggest note of a turnaround from a company I loathed not all that long ago, and seeing some licensed titles that didn't suck, along with some actual innovation in their long-running franchises gives me some hope. . Even their latest title, Boogie, is an indication of this. Maybe it's not a great title(I'll let you know when I can get my hands on a copy), but it's original and different from what EA usually does, so that's a start.
FREE GAME OF THE WEEK: Rise of Atlantis
Licensed games suck as a rule. Licensed games based on old properties resurrected seemingly as a cash grab suck even more. That's pretty much been my opinion of what John Woo's Stranglehold would be. Nothing more than cashing in on a fondly remembered stylish action epic. The demo released on Xbox live today proved me wrong. This is essentially Max Payne for a new generation, totally hyped up with awesome use of slo-mo and stylish shooting sequences combined with a great level of interactivity. It's a shame this is out the same week as Metroid Prime 3 (and shortly before Halo 3 as well), but if you've got some spare cash in-between all the huge hits coming out, this is certainly worth a look.
That's really all I got for today, but here's your TRAILER OF THE WEEK:
Bourne Ultimatum absolutely rocked. Easily one of the best action flicks I've seen in a long time. If they do keep going with this franchise, as long as Damon & Greengrass are paired up, I could probably watch another 30 of these.
So, how is Mario Strikers a few days in? I'd consider it a solid first online effort, though the matchmaking certainly needs some work, as I've encountered nothing but people who seem far superior in skill to me. I'm willing to accept the fact that I probably suck, but matching me against people who don't completely destroy me every time would be nice.
That's really all I got for today, but here's your FREE GAME OF THE WEEK: ORPHAN FEAST
It's the clear winner in a sea of nearly guaranteed losers. Though Jason Lee's star is on the rise with the fantastic My Name is Earl, he seems to be content with not going any bigger with obvious trash like Underdog & later this year, the long-dreaded live action version of Alvin & the Chipmunks. Unlike most film nerds, I certainly don't begrudge Lee for taking what are clearly simple paydays, but considering the guy has done some great work in smaller films like Dogma & Mumford, I hope he starts taking some chances with his work again. Hot Rod is the big screen debut from supposed SNL breakout star Andy Sandberg. Granted, his digital shorts have probably been the best thing on SNL in years, but that's not saying much, and they are really just mildly amusing bits at best. I have serious doubts that this guy will join the ranks of guys who actually broke out from the horrors of SNL to show that they are actually funny. And I just shudder at the fact that there is even a "Bratz" movie in existence. These plastic teenage hooker dolls do far more damage to little girls self-esteem and image issues than Barbie ever could.
GTA IV has been delayed till the vague timeframe of Spring '08. If all I had was a PS3 to bide my time, this might matter. Hell, to be honest, I wasn't completely sure I'd be picking this up on release day with the avalanche of great titles coming out this holiday season, now Soring is generally a very slow time and may give me reason to seriously seek it out.
That's pretty much it for today, but I realize the Iron Man footage was yanked so here's another trailer to make up for that fact: