Thursday, September 25, 2008

New Podcast and our Website

Our new podcast is up at what is currently the skeleton of our soon to be site. The sounds a bit better, the format's a little less organized, but the laughs are still running at 500 frames per second.

Here's the link you need to go to for me to prove I'm better than Neil. Although not on Sega, "Spider" existed on the PS1.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Mercenaries 2: World in Flames (Xbox 360)

Game: Mercenaries 2: World in Flames
Platform: Xbox 360
Publisher: Electronic Arts
American Release: August 31, 2008
Reviewer: Dan

Mercenaries 2 proves that simple works as long as there is a ton of stuff to blow up along the way.

The story is simple. You’re a mercenary that gets paid for a job. You complete said job and your employer backstabs you, doesn’t pay you and shoots you in the butt. (Spawning that extremely catchy commercial) These events essentially make you the laughing stock of Venezuela. Therefore, you go on a revenge rampage taking side jobs along the way.

The first thing you’re presented with is a series cut scenes that are directed well but are of Playstation 2 quality. The jaws don’t seem to be connected to the rest of the face sometimes. They hang loosely while the characters talk, producing a three-second delay. With cinematic achievements like Metal Gear Solid 4, it’s absolutely unforgivable to have cut scenes less than, oh let’s say, Dead Rising’s level.

The voice acting is actually pretty good. It’s especially refreshing considering the games I’ve played in the past couple of months. (Lost Odyssey, Lost Planet, and Metal Gear Solid 2, all with horrible voice acting and dialogue.) If only the voice acting were backed up by a deep story where the characters grow. You start out as a tattooed, badass mercenary who loves to blow things up, and you finished with as same character, but $50 million richer.

Honestly, for this type of game, the story isn’t important. The arsenal and characters are. I only hope the voice actors get hired on elsewhere because they’re pretty good.

Mercenaries produces hundreds of those nerd-bragging battle stories. Classics like “I blew up four city blocks with a Daisy Cutter and RPG” or “I threw a helicopter pilot out of the cockpit and then used his chopper to level his base.”

There are quick time events, which normally I frown upon, but they actually work in this game. Anytime you want to highjack a tank or helicopter, you have to hit a series of buttons. Normally the action sequences are funny… the first three times you see the same one. For instance, on one of the tanks your character runs along the cannon, pops open the hatch and the driver pops up. If you hit the buttons correctly, your character will grab his grenade and wrestle over it, the driver gets the grenade, the mercenary gets the pin, and you look at each other as if briefly asking, “What now?” Then your character shoots the driver in the chest, dropping him and the grenade into the innards of the tank.

The proudest moment of my entire campaign was single-handedly kicking an oil company out of Venezuela. I won’t tell you details, but know that I had to take down 15 important buildings and the main bridge across the river.

It’s hard not to compare Mercenaries 2 at least a little to Grand Theft Auto IV. In a lot of ways, Mercs did things better. The cars are easier to drive, the helicopters don’t explode 90% of the time you try to land them, the factions are a bit more interesting than the mob bosses we’ve seen ten times before and the airstrikes add a lot to the open world formula.

However, GTA IV does many things better. The story more in depth, there’s more variety in vehicles and the world is larger, which, depending on the mission, could be a good or bad thing.

The biggest letdown of Mercenaries is the ending. I won’t spoil what happens, but know that it involves a nuke. On paper, that sounds like a party. In the game, it means a bright flash, smoke and a giant bunker missing a wall. I thought some of the earlier missions were more epic (and harder) than the last one.

For all that is wrong with Mercenaries 2, I have to recommend it. The game is repetitive, but fun. It doesn’t have the missions you don’t really want to do like the pigeons in GTA IV or any escort missions in any game. If you have a buddy that owns the game, it just turns the enjoyment level to 11.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Podcast and Update

So here's the first podcast. It came out better than expected. I had some problems when I streamed it for my own personal listening. A couple of times the sound went out, but we're working on that. You'll hear about 14,000 "umms" coming from me as I ponder my next genius thought. I had a blast recording it and I think Neil did too so there will be many more coming. The link is below

The website is coming along. We've purchased a domain and Neil is currently putting that together.

Some point this weekend I will be putting up some reviews. I know Matt almost had one done. Neil got the new Iphone and he's working on the website so I don't know if we will see anything from him. Joe has been largely non-existent thus far. I'll see if I can squeeze something out of him.

Enjoy and tell us what you think.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Update 9-16-08

We didn't get up a review yesterday and it doesn't appear there will be one today, but there is good reason for this.

Neil and I have been discussing our idea for a website to post on instead of filling blog after blog. It will essentially be the same thing except there will be links to reviews, profiles of reviewers, podcasts, and news.

Speaking of Podcasts, Neil has been playing around with them for the past week and they've sounded great. We're going to record our first one later this week and will try to have it posted by Friday sometime. Our topics include Metallica (new album out), Dead Rising (re-released as a platnuim game and Wii version on this classic zombie game) and then what we're currently doing and what's going to be coming out.

Get excited to have us on your MP3 player.

We are still trying to decide a name for our site. Mediawhore and Fell in Love with Tech have both been taken as Domain names. Anyone that has any ideas that stick will get a front page credit on our site.

I'm about 70% through Mercenaries 2 and will hopefully have that review up later this week. I've also just finished Metal Gear Solid 3, Orange Box (third time), and I'm about halfway through Silent Hill 2 in anticipation of Silent Hill: Homecoming in two weeks.

I'm not too sure what the other reviewers are currently gaming. I know Neil was considering Yakuza 2 for the Playstation 2. Joe is tearing up Force Unleashed, and no matter what the other reviewers across the planet say, he's having fun thus far. Matt is constantly taking in all types of media so it's anyone's guess as to what he will throw at us this week. We might also add one or two more reviewers in the near future. It just depends on what kind of content they can produce.

Keep checking in, lots of great stuff coming soon.


Sunday, September 14, 2008

Kane and Lynch: Dead Men

Game: Kane and Lynch: Dead Men
Platform: Xbox 360
Publisher: Eidos Interactive
American Release: November 14, 2007
Reviewer: Dan

When I heard about this vicious game in which two criminals go on a rampage through hundreds of police officers and civilians I thought, cool. It’s not like I haven’t been behind the sticks doing that before, but when I heard the fine fellas at Eidos Interactive (responsible for Tomb Raider, Commandos, Hitman, and Legacy of Kane) were putting together this “blockbuster” game, I was excited.

Good co-op games already earn my excitement and more than likely my $60, and when I saw the disgusting amount of advertising for Kane and Lynch I thought, surely, this game has to be something special. On November 14, 2007, almost all of that advertising mysteriously disappeared and critics gave Kane and Lynch mediocre at best scores. I sadly had to put my wallet away, and once again just fantasized about connecting to Live with my friends to rob a bank.

It was only a couple weeks ago when I was wandering the clearance aisle at a certain unnamed department store, and sandwiched between a hundred copies of Madden ’07 was Kane and Lynch, begging me to steal it from the store in a hail of gun blaze. I’m too much of a pussy for that, so instead I plopped the discounted $20 down and excitedly came home.

The game starts with Kane and Lynch being transferred to another prison and predictably hit by another car. After the smoke clears, half a dozen men with guns start screaming commands at your character, but they don’t do the greatest job of directing you. Then the cops show up. Still trying to figure out the controller setup, the game throws the tutorials at you while thirty of the boys in blue shoot at you, the giant, bright orange target. The game continues to force you to figure it out through trial and error, deaths and reloads.

The game play was reminiscent of Army of Two. It was nothing special, something that probably would’ve come out for the Playstation 2 in the early 2000s, but it works, especially when you have someone to play with. The one curveball the game throws at you is your mentally ill partner, Lynch. Every now and then he freaks out and all the civilians appear to be cops. This is a fairly cool effect, especially when playing split screen and seeing both characters’ views.

The story is sub-par, essentially stringing together ideas for levels. At one point the two criminals are leading the revolution through Cuba like a fat and bald Che Guevera and Fidel Castro. It punishes you for spending 10 minutes on a part by sending your somewhat retarded NPC allies into the fray. I momentarily forgot Eidos was at one point responsible for good games, and I cursed their name every time the “Game-Over. A teammate has died” screen popped up.

The writers also thought the more cursing the more extreme. The F-bomb is incorporated about every third word. I love four letter words, but this game used them so often that by the third level when one of the NPCs screamed “We gotta get the f*ck outta here,” you just don’t feel the urgency.

For how predictable this game’s plot is and mediocre the game play is, I still had a blast gathering 400 or so gamer points with my brother on the split screen. Would I have bought it a year ago when it came out? Hell no! I feel I got my $20 out of it. So if you want a short, fun game, rent it or search those bargain bins in the mall. Don’t spend the full price for this one. Or look for it shortly on E-bay because if I can get $7 back on the game, it’s going up there.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Dead Rising

Game: Dead Rising
Platform: Xbox 360
Publisher: Capcom
American Release: August 8th, 2006
Reviewer: Neil

People keep dying, and I'd even be okay with that if I could make it back upstairs. Is everything I need to complete my goals even here? should I just ride out the night trying to avoid conflict? And, why, oh god, why is everyone talking like they haven't heard a word the other person has said.

There's an otherworldly feel to Dead Rising. Like the visual static isn't just a filter, but is actually hanging in the air like plasma from intergalactic travel. Built from the ground up in English by Japanese people, the game is abjectly bizarre. NPC affectations are as unpredictable as the murderous inclinations of boss characters.Finding paths around a mall feels like running through trenches on the Western Front.

Romero knew the real monsters weren't the guys gnawing on your neck. They were the infrastructure, madness and insecurity that led us into like sheep into slow-moving slaughter. Now the disconnect is outlined, made part of the grander cartoon, by people who twitch, squint, sob and moan in the goo -- a mocking approximation of human activity.

There's this book by John Saul I took from a lost-and-found at a camp ground a few years ago. Utterly ridiculous characters would flail and huff through the story like they were in a much-better Stephen King novel, but couldn't claw their way out of the bad acid trip they were trapped in.

Here, Kenji Inafune has strapped a billion grams of Coricidin Cold and Cough to the back of Dynasty Warriors: Code Veronica. The result is the kind of beautiful that slithers through the worst H.P. Lovecraft tale. "Here's your monster, are you happy now?" it prods.

Trapped between a save point and duty to the civilians, I can honestly say that I am not.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

The Rules and Such

So this is my second and a half blog. Reason for starting this is because often times I want to talk about videogames, books, movies, or technology that my normal readers don't really care much about.

So this is where I will post all of that information.

I suppose I need to some ground rules if I'm going to review things.

1) I must have finished or spent many hour using whatever it is I'm going to talk about. I would say I need to finish everything, but not everything is worth it. For instance, I could never finish Turok for the Xbox 360 because its a horrible game.

2) I will discuss the items at hand taking into consideration when it came out, other reviews, similar items, and whatever subjective criteria I come up with.

3) It has to be something I am currently using.

4) Things I will review: Videogames, movies, books, comics, cds, computer applications, websites, and potentially hardware.

5) This is purely for my enjoyment, but I hope also yours. If there is something you wish for me to review, let me know and I will try to track it down.

So there are the rules. If anyone would like to be added to the email list let me know. Otherwise I will include a link on pretty much every site I have control of.