Monday, July 27, 2009

A callout to my editor!

I figured it was about time this man got some recognition for making all my work look nice and professional-like! Here's his Youtube page and Ustream, I hope you all pay him a visit and do horrible horrible things to him!

Copper Chocobo's Youtube


Copper Chocobo's Ustream

Sunday, July 26, 2009

The Proposal

Ryan Reynolds and Sandra Bullock manage to bring us an -adorable- little romantic comedy featuring a crazy tribal grandmother, an illegal-immigrant/stripper/priest/waiter, and a puppy.

Sarah Bullock plays Margaret Tate, a condescending and downright villainous executive editor at a prominent book publishing company. Andrew Paxton (Played by Ryan Reynolds), is her assistant/monkey on a leash. After firing long-time employee Bob Spaulding from the company she is almost immediately sucked into the movie's conflict. She's actually sucked in so fast that the scene almost looks like instant retribution from the gods due to her firing of Bob. I think Bob has some bad voodoo working with him. Anyway, the conflict is that she is facing the threat of deportation due to not listening to the nice little American government and leaving the country before her visa was cleared.

Facing the threat of all her career being destroyed, she sees it only fit to hold someone else's neck out under the employment guillotine as well. Of course this person is her assistant, in which she all but forces Mr. Paxton into his hand in marriage since that will legalize her as an American citizen (didn't I see this on Drew Carry once?). Admittedly, they do handle this concept well by having the government agent who's going to watch their every move in the hope of catching a scam and...Oh hi I Pronounce You Chuck and Larry, didn't see you there!

Of course we need to add a little more spice to this film, so lets have Paxton's grandma have a birthday at the same exact time and invite both of them out to Alaska, yes, Alaska. Do I smell a few out of our element scenes, Ms. Tate? So they arrive in Alaska in which we meet Mr. Paxton's lovely grandma (played by Betty White), and his mother. After a couple scenes involving the twist of Paxton's family being millionaires, mixed in with another out of our element scene the plot is off!

Now up to this point the movie hasn't been horrible or surreal in any extreme fashion, hell it's even been enjoyable and managed a few chuckles out of me. That lasts until we meet the waiter/stripper/general store owner/priest Ramone (Played by Oscar Nunez). Honestly film, this movie has enough elements, we don't need a running gag too! To the actor's credit, he does at least manage to keep me from letting out an audible sigh of disgust inside the nice theater, but they milk this joke way too much. It isn't even too bad up until the stripper part, since every scene involving him after that references back to that one scene, a scene that in all honesty wasn't even the slightest bit funny. The film moves along, the father berates the son for not wishing to take over the family business. He lets out his frustration on an unfinished boat while Tate tries to wash the bad joke from her flesh. This leads to an actually rather funny scene involving both of them running into each other bare ass naked.

Let's take this little moment to focus on grandma shall we? I say this because, to be honest, she's actually got a better role than both Reynolds and Bullock, a role which she pulls off incredibly well. I mean ignoring the fatally unfunny tribal dance scene, this lady does pull off the witty, slightly eccentric old granny quite successfully. Her execution of the film's climax is actually rather brilliant.

Back to the film, a few more jokes, a revelation that Tate isn't evil, just bottled up, alone, and frightful. Next comes the obligatory coming clean at the chapel scene, she runs off to face her dues and get deported. Granny actually manages to get an outright laugh out of me by faking a heart-attack to get her son and grandson to stop fighting. He misses her at the airport, but catches her at the office. He confesses his love for her and desire to date...What? At the end it all revolves around to the Immigration Office where both of them say they're ready to face the aforementioned marriage test! Phew, despite how little the film's third act accomplished it was hard to fit that all in there.

So how is this film? While it does manage to get a few laughs out of me here and there and it isn't an awful film, it relies too much on tired cliches and plot formulas. The only thing that brings this film up to passing are the incredible performances by Reynolds, Bullock, and White. Sadly, I don't this film with last a year before simply becoming a section in an actor's resume.


Overall Grade = C

Friday, July 17, 2009

UFC: Undisputed 2009

Now let me be the first to say that I DO NOT play sports games. The only franchise I've played more than once is the WWE/WWF games and that's because I'm a sucker for character creation and WWE knows its character creation (Also who doesn't want to see their character man-handle their favorite heel or face?). Yet I kept hearing constant praise on the innovative new sports title based off the quote on quote "fastest growing sport in the country". So I was suckered into breaking my own personal boycott on the sports genre to try this baby out and I have to say it ended up being a smart buy.

Right on the box is a glimmer of hope when you say the company that made it is Yukes, the same company that made the WWE games. It only gets better as you pop the game and get greeted by a some person who I'm sure is important to the UFC universe....Who tells you how much of a badass you have to be to survive in this game. After all that you get the title screen, so yeah, this game knows how to make a first impression. You're immediately offered to try the tutorial, but being the ultra-gamer that I am I decided to wing it and go straight into career mode.
The character creation screen is rather standard; but passable, you get to choose your weight class, height, skin color, hair, and the like. After this you choose your striking style (Boxing, Kick Boxing, and Muay Thai), and your grapple style (Judo, Wrestling, and Ju-Jitsu). While that might seem like a slim selection, the styles differ enough to add a distinctiveness to each fighting style that makes up for the lack of selection. Though, knowing the large amounts of fighting styles used in UFC, it would have been nice to see other fighting styles as well. After that, you see that important person give an inspirational speech and your thrown into your first match right off the bat.
This is where you'll find out if this game is your cup of tea or not. While each fight will force you to expand your fighting prowess and learn new styles and moves, this is basically the bread and butter of the entire game. You start the match, get it on with a bit of striking, a bit of grappling, and a bit more striking. Being a boxer I tried to throw a fury of fists and lost all my stamina in ten seconds, which was followed by a bit of cranial rearrangement before the match was over.

Luckily I was reassured with a comforting email from that important person who then offered me the chance to pick one of three people to fight (luckily it seems I always get to decide who to fight instead of visa-versa).
While there are numerous amounts of micro-management in the terms of the defense/offense for striking, grappling, submission ect. the matches come down to trying to hurt the person while avoiding the near fatal high kicks and combos that will leave you on the ground in ten seconds if your not careful. You absolutely have to adapt and learn how to block, counter, and time your moves right if you want to win more than a couple of fights in your entire career. The only issue I have is with the various transitions that occur while your on the ground, I found myself having to check back at the move list numerous times to find out how to get out of a certain mount. These transitions are done with a certain movement of the right analog stick and this would work fine if the movements you were supposed to do weren't so long and finicky on how perfect you had to do it. When it comes to me I usually just throw combo after combo, followed with a bit of clinching until I knock the bastard on the floor and throw punches until he goes night-night.
Finishing off with a few side notes, the game looks amazing. Sweat, blood, and various injuries are shown off so realistically that it is actually the first game in a while to make my cringe slightly when I see a two giant gashes across a person's face.The bodies all have realistic muscle structure and anatomy and, unlike other games, the created characters actually are on par with the professional fighters in terms of realism. The punches and kicks feel like they have weight behind them, which helps you understand while a stray elbow can apparently send your fighter into dreamland. The voice acting is also above average, but that isn't surprising since most of the people who voice act in the game are also announcers and T.V. show hosts and as such already know how to make their voice believable and strong.
So how is UFC's report card?
Difficulty = (A) While you will get your ass handed to you in the later matches if you don't know what your doing, the game's learning curve is steady from tip to top and if you actually try to improve as you move on you will be greeted with success.
Graphics = (A) This game is visually stunning, everything from the crowd outside the cage to the pimple on your fighters nose is brought into extreme realism. Though I will warn you that this game is not for the squeamish since all wounds also look incredibly realistic.
Story = (C) It's a sports game, and most sports games seem to think that they don't need a story. You're a fighter who wants to get to the top and your willing to break as many noses as possible to get there, that's your story.
Replay Value = (A) With the multiplayer, custom characters, and various fighting styles, I can see people playing this game for months to come. If you want a game that will give you a run for your money, here it is.
Demographic Reach = (B) Though this game is visually stunning, innovative, and fun, it is a sports title and this automatically puts it into a sort of niche category. The game's complex controls and the amount of attention it requires from you to succeed might steer some players away from it. If you don't enjoy people being the crap out of each other in the most technical fashion possible than you probably will pass this one up.
Overall Grade = (B+)

Thursday, July 9, 2009

InFamous

One word to describe InFamous, refreshing. This game is the newest and easily the most well thought out and executed game of the super-hero genre to date. With equal parts platforming, puzzle, story, and explosion.

You star as Cole MacGrath, a courier. What's a courier? Well basically a mailman for people who think Fed-Ex is too nosey. You learn he has a love-interest named Trish and a best friend named Zeke and that's about all the character history you're given. The game starts with Cole looking worst for ware, being caught in the epicenter of an explosion. Somehow he survives this event and you start the game waddling yourself around explosions to make your way to the evacuation point. That goes down the drain as lightning starts going off around you, blowing the evacuation area to bits and knocking you out.

You are then introduced to the next treat in its constant attempt to sate the nerd hunger. All the cut-scenes are done in a comic panel style similar to Max Payne with a little bit of animation thrown in for good measure. You learn that after the shock Cole has gained the ability of shocky fingers, though he is rather weak at this point. You awaken on the rooftop paradise that you share with your buddy Zeke as you learn of a nearby food-drop. Then the game tells you to jump off a roof...Yeaup. This is where the game basically introduces one of its guiding principles "There is no such thing as inaccessible" besides the water...Since we've all seen what happens when you throw a toaster in water. This means that any building you see you can climb to the tipy top if you know the right way to do so. After climbing and jumping Altair style for about an hour you finally decide to go to the food-drop. After going up to help dislodge it from a local piece of art (causing it to fall to the ground and probably break all the clam chowder cans...jerk), you get your first of many choices. Either shock the bastards and open up your own personal Hometown Buffet or listen to what Sesame Street told you and share.


After this you get your first set of missions and you are introduced to the urban playground you get to do your merry jig about. Your stage is the rather lovely Empire city (rubble, gangs, and starvation aside) in the middle of a quarantine put forth due to the explosion and the emergence of a new plague. This basically means that police who stayed are too busy preventing riots and stopping death to mind the rampant collateral damage you cause with your shocky fists while trying to kill ridiculously agile enemies. They also don't seem the mind you scaling the various buildings around you. In this sense the controls are fluid enough, though I did come across a bit of difficulty trying to attack while leaping from building to building, since attempting to aim while doing this will occasionally cause you to accidentally latch onto a nearby ledge and leave you open to a rocket to the face. Your move-set is constantly increasing via a refreshing gazillion volt jolt from the underground power-stations that also provide convenient flashes of brilliance (apparently, they are rather vague on this), that allows Cole to realize his new dance-steps. This keeps the game fresh as well as letting it supply new and interesting missions and side-missions (and trust me, these very seldom repeat more than twice), that require these new moves.

What hero sandwich would be complete without a set of competent villains though? While it is constantly hinted at that your main antagonist is this fellow named Kessler you start your power-trip (har har), by taking on a gang called the Reapers. Imagine if humans had the capability to survive a combined dosage of steroids, PCP, and acid and you basically have the Reapers. They are led by the femme fatale Sasha (a lady who is probably scariest nymphomaniac I have ever seen). With each island is a new topping of villains that causes further distinction to each pile of rubble you get to climb up and down and all around.


Finally, and probably the most refreshing portion of this game, is the story. This tasty meal is complete with various little spices in terms of plot-twists and story/character development that will hold you by the collar, slap you about, and then make you kiss its foot asking for another. They allow the user to keep this game light though by keeping around a quarter of the story optional via uplink satellite dishes you find about the map (of course I collected every single one of those damn things), but for those who want a story they give you a slew of juicy mind fucks. The final plot-twist, I believe, is the only time I've ever simultaneously thought "what the fuck!?" and "it all makes sense!" at the same time, and that deserves an award of some sort. Final thought is that the story is what makes this game great, the gameplay makes it good, the look makes it really good, the story makes it an orgasmic delight for the mind.

Overall I can honestly say that I will have to strain to think of anyone who won't find this game enjoyable. I think everyone will like this tasty snack that will indulge you, punish you, satisfy you. It will keep you going to your peak and then it will kiss you, tell you what to expect next time, and leave you a drooling pile of the floor fantasizing what to expect on its next visit.

Now lets get to the technical side, the grade.

Difficulty (Played on Hard) = (B) While it can be unforgivable at times, it always seems to award innovative thinking and quick reflexes.

Graphics = (A -) This game is beautiful from top to bottom with each island giving off its own personality. While it isn't the most graphically advanced game, it does do a lot with what it has.

Gameplay = (B) While it isn't perfect and can be a tad frustrating when trying to multi-task it doesn't cause enough frustration to impede on the overall experience.

Story = (A+) This game has one of the most appealing stories I've seen in quite a while. It flows nicely with only a slip hiccup mid-game and is abundant without being bloated or excessive. It supplies you with twists and turns to keep you by the collar and it doesn't let go.

Replay Value = (A-) While the game can differ greatly depending on whether you choose evil or good karma, I don't see people playing this game more than twice through.

Demographic Reach = (A-) I see this game appealing to the platformer, the adrenaline junky, the story-whore, the quick-thinker, and anyone who enjoys an exhilarating game with many ways to reach its slimey tentacles out and hook you.

Overall Grade =
(A-)