Form feet and legs. Form arms and body.

And I’ll form the head.

Archive for June, 2008

A quickie update

Posted by rapaleeman on June 30, 2008

Work is really busy right now and I’m moving (well sorta) so updates may be a tad sparce for the next few days.  Plus my internet is down at home (stupid Comcast).

I hope to have a couple reviews/news up before the drinking and debauchery begins on the 4th of July.  I got Alone In The Dark, a couple classic reviews, and maybe a movie review or two in there.  Ton of stuff for one person in the pipeline.

I’ll keep you updated. 

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Review: Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns Of The Patriots

Posted by rapaleeman on June 25, 2008

Never have I said a game was perfect.  Never.  Until now.

MGS4 is one of those titles that needs to be experienced.  Whether you like the series or not.  Whether you have kept up with the story or are a die hard fan.  This game is worth every penny and is flatout the best game on the PS3 if not on any system right now.

I’ll start with the easy.  The graphics are superb.  This game looks like Final Fantasy: Advent Children the movie.  Both in cutscenes and out.  The transisitons are smooth and the whole game looks amazing.  There are a few dips in frame-rate, but to me it looks too good to even care.  The slowdown lets you see what is actually blowing up and how good it looks.  The game looks beautiful and not just the Beauty and the Beast Corp of women badguys (or is that badgirls).

The characters, environments, vehicles, and weapons all look gorgeous.  The animations as well look great and there are only a few instances of issues and that is mostly because I have played through the game 3 times now.  I didn’t notice any of these issues the first time through.

The other thing is voice acting.  Amazing and 100% percent believable.  David Haytor embraces Snake and even though he is “older” in the game, he has the same attitude and style of delivery the series has always been known for.  The only bad in the voice acting is some of the awkward lines being delivered, but they aren’t bad enough or stick around long enough to get annoying.

The gameplay has changed.  Thank you Hideo Kojima.  You can now aim and view the game in 3rd person and not that stupid over the head crap.  The new camera involves you and brings you into the warzone.  The first chapter has a few “oh shit” moments and thanks to the camera and shooting mechanics you are there.  The dirt, dust, and blood that appears there make the difference and just complete the package.  Atmosphere is great.  You feel the tension when you are caught.

The story is where the game makes it name.  The Metal Gear series has always been about these stories that are somewhat out there, yet believable.  Same rules apply here and it is a great story.  If you have been following the series, then the loose ends are all tied up here.  The game left me with only one or two questions.  All of the storylines, characters, and events from the past are represented here and totally explained in typical MGS style.  Long and exponentially.

Which leads me to my only gripe.  The cutscenes.  They are long!!!  They range from a couple of minutes to damn near an hour and a half.  Some of them could have been shortened or spaced out better, but overall the story that is told is told well and excellently crafted.  Even if you have only vaguely followed the series, you will get most of it.  I still wished for a few more gameplay moments at times though.

Well one more gripe.  Loading/installing.  It does it between every act.  Not terrible considering what you end up seeing on screen, but it is annoying on your third playthrough.

Some final thoughts are of the great references and moments in the game.  They make the whole process bearable.  Everything from Johnny Sazaki from MGS, Meryl, Big Boss, The Boss, Ocelot, Otacon, and all of the little boss fights and references you’ll find.  One fight features a return from Psycho Mantis and the whole way you beat him (well her) is just great.  There are so many references to the first game it made it that much better.  The music at places and the entire fourth act is total fanfare.  There is even a really neat dream sequence with a recreation… … well, I’m not telling.  Plus the final Snake Versus Liquid fight (you knew it had to happen) is just breath taking.  You need to experience this game.

This game is just great.  Highly Recommend it.  How could I not.  Even with the minor flaws, the game is still perfect in my eyes.  Never have I experienced a title so thought out, polished, and just finished.

HIGHLY RECOMMENDED

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Review: In Bruges

Posted by rapaleeman on June 24, 2008

Whoever said Colin Farrell can’t act is a moron.  Wait.  That was me.  Anywho… In Brughes is the darkest, funniest comedies/dramas I have ever seen.  It is great.  Go buy now.

Not enough?  Ok I’ll elaborate.  Colin Farrell and Brendan Gleeson play hitmen who are sent to Bruges (it’s in Belgium) to hide out after a job.  Not giving anything away, but obviously things didn’t go well and the two are on edge.  Farrell, a young Irish guy and Gleeson, an older British dude are essentially the opposite of one another.  Farrell would rather be drinking and parting with midgets (oh yeah there is a midget) while Gleeson’s character would rather be sight seeing and enjoying the suroundings. 

Obviously again this leads to some odd couple style of relationship with the two leads and it works great.  they care about each other but never truely show it until a scene in the park towards the end.  What follows is an extremely funny and downward spiral into the land of Bruges and the minds of these two hitmen.

In vein of movies like Trainspotting and Stay, you get this almost surreal feeling.  Like everything is happening but then in turn not happenning.  I can’t really describe it.  The movie just sort of happens around you as you watch it and the ending is very fitting to the overall tone and style of the movie.

Awesome film.  Rarely has a movie made me laugh my ass off, but made me think about the message at the same time.  It is really unheard of in this day and age of film making.  I guess it is fitting to call this a film and not a movie.  It entertains, but unlike a straight up action movie or drama, you actually take something away from it and it makes you talk about it.  Like the aforementioned film Stay for instance.  As it should be, this movie is without a shadow of a doubt.  Highly Recommended.

Oh, for a final reason to see the film.  Colin Farrell karate chops a midget.  Tell your friends.

HIGHLY RECOMMENDED

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Random Post: 6/20

Posted by rapaleeman on June 20, 2008

So I got an e-mail from some ass (read: one of my idiot friends) asking me why I haven’t done a random post in a while.  Now this d-bag who is known for all sorts of d-baggery (say what?) obviously can’t read or understand that I have been busy.  Anyway, he is right and I haven’t done one in a while.  So without further procrasatination: Here… We… Gooooooooooooooo!!!!!

So to start things off, Comcast sucks.  Word of advice.  Talk to someone in person.  You can get a lot more done and a better understanding of what random stupid ass charges they are putting on your bill.  This is the fourth time in 2 weeks I’ve had problems.  I gotta go back a fifth time and I still don’t have all the answers I need.  How fucking hard is it to give me a straight, written answer?  Really.  That wasn’t sarcasm (I know, weird).  I talked to 6, count’em, 6 different people and got 6 different answers.  WTF!!!!!?????!!!!!!

Anyway, Metal Gear Solid 4 is still awesome.  I’m getting through it.  Only complaint is all of the damn cutscenes and not enough Tactical Espionage Action.  I want to CQC some bastards.  Instead I get a 25 minute long cutscene.  Now at least the cutscene is awesome and there is a really cool Metal Gear Vs Metal Gear fight that is really spectacular.  All in all, I can forgive it due to it’s just seemingly emcompassing scope and vision.  Well done Hideo Kojima.  A review is coming.  Putting the finishing touches on it, but want to finish the game (I’m on the last act) to make sure that everything ends with the same quality and quantity as the first four acts.  I’m guessing it will but you never know.

Keeping on with the video games, Alone in the Dark drops next week.  The crazy Europeans that are playing it say the controls suck and it’s glitchy.  The story is supposedly good though so I may pick it up.  I got a little bit more money than I thought so it could be good.  I’ve been looking forward to it for over two years.  We’ll see.

NCAA 09 Football has a demo.  It is the same except for some improved sideline atmosphere.  Besides that I think it looks worse than last year overall though.  Plus the QBs can’t seem to throw a decent pass.  At least the massive amount of fumbles are gone.  I won’t be purchasing.

Gatorade Tiger is awesome.  Highly recommend it.  Red Drive in particular.

My skID is starting to act up.  Making me angry.  Won’t hold a signal for too long.  Maybe I should stop dropping it so much.

And that about does it.  I got nothing else.  I’m spent.  Time for a proverbial cigarette.  Later.

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Review: The Bourne Conspiracy (Xbox 360)

Posted by rapaleeman on June 17, 2008

There are certain games out there that play like movies.  Metal Gear Solid 4 which I’m playing now does that the same with games like Parasite Eve, Indigo Prophecy, and Red Faction.  Now some of these have more gameplay than others and even offer deeper, better stories than a typical summer blockbuster. 

The Bourne Identity (which is essentially this game, not sure why the call it Conspiracy) was a great movie that had a great plot, terrific acting, and great action.  Well, if you wanted a game version of that movie minus Matt Damon, but with a ton more action then you picked the right game.

The Bourne Conspiracy for the Xbox 360 follows the plot of The Bourne Identity movie pretty closely, but expanding on the backstory and flashbacks from the books.  What follows is a great mix of fisticuffs, shooting, and a small driving section combined with a very coherent, if not by the numbers, story. 

I’m not going to give away the story, though if you’ve seen the movie (and you should have by now) then you know what’s up.  The game has three sections as mentioned previously and despite the driving sections being weak, the game is a great package.

The first thing is the fisticuffs, or hand-to-hand combat.  There are a few areas that force you into this mode (the boss fights) but generally you are free to do what you will when it comes to either shooting or fighting.  If you choose to fight, then you are treated to the reason why you should buy this game.

The camera shifts to a close up view and you proceed to own your opponent(s).  You can fight up to 4 people at once at any given point.  You have 2 attack buttons, but are free to mix and match for combos, or hold one for a powerfull kick (which is vital on the higher difficulties).  Though the move set is slim, you can’t rely on one combo and the AI does a good job of defending itself, especially during the boss fights.  This would be a problem if the combos sucked, but fortunately they don’t.  Each one is a brutal dance of pain.  The characters (yours included) have faces that deform to hits and the damage on some of the baddies after your done with them is pretty brutal and very convincing. 

This works because both the camera and sound effects work in tandem.  This leads me to the takedowns.  As you attack/defend you get adrenaline.  Once you get enough, you can do a takedown.  Get enough adrenaline and you can take down three people at once.  They look great and really convincing.  Though limited, there are enough animations that you don’t start recognizing them til the second play through.  The boss fights rely on the takedown for 2 reasons.  For one, this is the only way to inflict serious damage.  Second it is a way to get a little health back.

The shooting portions aren’t great since it takes way too many bullets to take out a baddy if you don’t hit them in the head.  Besides that and the really small aiming sight, they work reasonably well.  The camera isn’t too bad.  I’ve seen worse.  The takedowns work here too.  You trigger a shooting takedown and see a cool clip of Bourne dropping a baddy.  It’s cool and can slow down a firefight if things get hot.

The driving doesn’t fair too well.  The section is pretty long (it’s a Mini chase scene in case you were wondering) but thankfully it is the only one.  It’s not terrible, just doesn’t seem as polished as some of the other portions of the game.

Speaking of polish, when your CG videos look WORSE than the realtime videos (complete with Shenmue style QTE events) then you need some better video compression and animators.  The CGI is terrible.  Grainy, ugly, and washed out.  Thankfully the realtime cutscenes look great and show off an impressive amount of detail thanks to the Unreal engine.  Plus you don’t see the typical swapping of textures thanks to the smaller environments. 

Bourne looks good.  Not Matt Damon, but good.  The bad guys, who repeat a little too often all look good and detailed.  The animations are on the whole great with only a few transitions seemingly out of place.  Mostly fluid.

The audio is good as well.  The score and music fit in and the voice acting.  Let’s just is great.  Not sure if these are pros or some random people off the street but they are good.  All the characters work and fit.

The biggest thing going for the game is the pace.  Once the game starts, it doesn’t really stop.  Non-stop action and Quick Time Event cutscenes (think God of War or RE4 and you’ll get the idea) keep you on your toes and it makes seem more interactive than it really is.  Normally I think they’re stupid, but it works here since QTEs pop up all over the place.  In the movies, boss fights, during takedowns.  It just seems fluid and well done.  Not to mention the camera angles and style this game has is just immense.

Other than the driving a few minor complaints, The Bourne Conspiracy is an awesome game while it lasts.  It is a tad short and I got through it in about 5 hours the first time.  A little less the second time.  I wanted to play it again once I was finished and I felt ultimately satisfied.  Definately pick this up if you need a Bourne fix, or just want a great action movie experience.

HIGHLY RECOMMENDED

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