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Game Review: Call of Duty: Black Ops

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I knew I had to pick this game up as soon as I heard about it but unfortunately, I just played and finished it recently.

Knowing that this game was not made by Infinity Ward, it made me a bit curious as how it will look and play. More so when the trailer videos went public online and judging from the videos, it wasn’t as “black-ops” as I’d hope. Everything in the video was exploding and a bit of fast-paced. I thought the idea of black-ops was going in silent and undetected and going out the same way. Still it was exciting seeing it all.

After getting the game and finishing it in a few hours, I could say that they’re in par with how long COD: MW2 was.

The Plot:

~ well, the plot seemed more or less like the PS2 FPS, “BLACK” which first came out in 2006. If you’re not familiar with that game, the player is placed in the shoes of a black-ops soldier being interrogated about his missions. As the soldier relays his story/mission, the player is transported to the story/mission itself, thus reliving it.

That’s how COD: Black Ops is. With a few twists and turns of course.

You’re put in the shoes of a black-ops agent, strapped onto a chair and seemingly drugged, and then interrogators ask you about your missions and the story goes on from there. The timeline is set during the 60’s. the time where Kennedy was president and Russia was still having its qualms with the US.

The story gets a bit boring and predictable by the time it reaches the end. But it does have its moments.

The Gameplay:

~ if you’ve played any COD game, the controls will be similar. Treyarch, who did the first slew of COD games made this one and they didn’t really deviate from the recent COD game.

The controls are fairly easy to master as they’re basically the same. You also get to pick which kind of difficulty to play in and you can adjust it mid-game. I played it on normal and I had a hard time, granted that I’m not much of an FPS gamer.

This game surprised me when it allowed me control of a few vehicles, from a 4wd jeep to a boat to a Hind. It was a bit of something new for me. I did have a hard time adjusting to the controls but it was hella sweet having a ‘Copter dog fight.

Aside from the vehicles, the weapons were also cool. I absolutely loved using the crossbow and G11, unfortunately it only shows up in a few missions. There were a slew of new things to decimate your enemies. From handheld grenade launchers to flame throwers and even ballistic knives.

The missions are always fast-paced. being in the Kennedy era, you would expect to be dropped into ‘Nam, which you do. The enemy AI are a bit tough, even on normal [or that’s just prolly me LOL]. At times though, there’s so much happening that you tend to forget where you’re supposed to go or what you’re supposed to do. Granted you’re allowed to free roam a bit while the AI tells or shouts you to “go here!” or “do this!”, as long as you’re not getting shot up the butt.

The Sound:

~ the sound effects and background music was exceptional. they captured the sound and music of that era especially during the missions in ‘Nam. Everything sounded as they should be and everything made sounds like they should have.

They also had a surprisng pool of voice talent in the game. i was surprised to see who voiced who only after playing the game. Three words: Gary Fucking Oldman.

Overall:

~ its a great game plus with the DLC and *extra features*, it makes it a sure buy for COD fans and FPS gamers alike. It’s fast-paced action with an ok storyline built around it plus it has GARY FUCKING OLDMAN. Well they did have him also during COD: World at War but…..I..really haven’t played that one yet LOL.

It does have a few kinks here and there but it’s still worth  a shot.

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Written by The AlanSong

December 11, 2010 at 3:08 am

Posted in Blogs, Review

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Music Review: Linkin Park – A Thousand Suns

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Linkin Park – A Thousand Suns

Tracklist:

1.     “The Requiem”
2.     “The Radiance”
3.     “Burning in the Skies”
4.     “Empty Spaces”
5.     “When They Come for Me”
6.     “Robot Boy”
7.     “Jornada del Muerto”
8.     “Waiting for the End”
9.     “Blackout”
10.     “Wretches and Kings”
11.     “Wisdom, Justice, and Love”
12.     “Iridescent”
13.     “Fallout”
14.     “The Catalyst”
15.     “The Messenger”

~ It’s been awhile since I’ve listened from Linkin Park so when I heard the *The Catalyst* Preview, I was absolutely stoked! They sounded fresh and new as the day they came bursting into the scene a few years back.

Now that I’ve listened to the whole album, I’m more convinced that the boys are back on track to light up the airwaves with their music. The whole album is a bit mellower than their usual ones but I guess it comes with the age? Still, they do have a few hard rocking hits.

It seems that they’ve mixed in Mike Shinoda’s work from Fort Minor, integrating drum beats and the mixes. It almost sounds like the boys are progressing more and more into Prog Rock as you listen to the album more and more and over and over [which I have].

It opens with a brief intro and a quote from Hindu Scripture then followed by the  hauntingly beautiful “Beautiful Skies” [sample lyric: “I’m losing what I don’t deserve”]. It is immediately somewhat overpowered by the heavy drumbeats of *When They Come For Me* which makes your head just bop up and down with the rhythm.

The whole album is full of great songs that can cater to different kinds of musics old and new Linkin Park fans are accustomed to. The main single of course, *The Catalyst*, is very, very well done and is somewhat gives of a *trippy* vibe and feel to it. It even became the new opening theme for the new Gundam Vs. Gundam game on the PSP.

All in all, the whole album is a great listen to for old and new fans. For an older fan like me, the whole thing is a breath of fresh air and IMO reinvents the whole band into a whole new package. For the new fans, it will give them the opportunity to listen to how versatile Linkin Park is and on how they’ve musically matured to the years. It’s a solid buy and a wonderful addition to your music library.

Here’s hoping for a remix album! :]

Written by The AlanSong

October 12, 2010 at 3:00 am

Movie Review: Xmen: Origins: Wolverine..

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x-men-origins-wolverine-poster

 

Ok, everybody knows Marvel’s famous mutant. And now that he has his own movie, everyone will get to know about him more.

I’ve been aching to watch this ever since seeing the trailers and news, especially with a complete Team X line-up along with other famous mutants.

If you’ve been following the Wolverine:Origins comics, you would know that they deviated a bit from that…among other things. It is great that they stuck to a few things that old fans can relate too though.

*since more or less, people have watched this already..i’m gonna have some SPOILERS here*

here’s a few things I would want to point out though:

~ I liked how they *tried* to incorporate Ryan Reynolds’ funny side into Deadpool. But lacking screen time, it sort of failed. Still, the character made so much impact that it will be starring on his own spin-off movie..

~ On the Deadpool note, I didn’t like what they did to him after. I mean, he didn’t have retractable blade-like katanas sprouting from his knuckles or even optic blasts. I know they put it in for the sake of the movie, but come on…anyhoo, I liked the “I smack joo then teleport away then smack joo again” part. I f they only could’ve incorporated Deadpools’ snide remarks during the battle, it might’ve been more fun.

~ They took Emma Frost’s last name literally. I know it’s not 100% sure that the “Emma” that had “diamond-skin”[?] like powers was THE Emma Frost but there is talk about it.

~ Gambit was ok, i mean I didn’t think he could do that with his staff but overall, he was ok. They dropped his “frenchiness” and adopted his “cajun” side though. I still would’ve wanted a suave french talking Gambit.

~ Agent Zero, DO NOT WANT! Why would they make him a bad guy? D: And besides, David North/Christoph Nord/Maverick used the “Agent Zero” moniker during the last days of his “Mutancy”. His power was absoprtion and release, absorbing any kind of energy then releasing it into powerful blasts. Granted he was a skilled hit man but why?!

~ The Hudsons were different too…and felt slightly out of place in the movie.

~ Blob in Team X? Very Unlikely..and why him anyways?

~ Why would they have Cyclops in this film? Why?!

 

Moving on, they mostly covered the bases on Wolvie’s who, why, what, when, where and how which is always a good thing because it makes other people who don’t know the character in the dark and clueless as to what’s happening.

As expected, it’s chock-full of non-stop action and special effects which made for some few “Whoa…” moments from me. 

It was still a great watch and there are talks about a sequel too. Hopefully, it’ll stick more to the canon story than the “hollywood” scripted one.

Written by The AlanSong

May 30, 2009 at 11:32 am

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Game Review: Phantasy Star Portable..

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STORY

~ You are a fresh meat er..graduate for the Mobile Defense Force and having been trained under the most “volatile” trainers, alot is expected from you. As luck would have it, your first routine mission for the MDF turns out to be your first adventure that will span the galaxy [in truth, 3 planets and a space station LOL]. 

GAMEPLAY/REVIEW

~ Seeing that this is my First Phantasy Star game I played, I found it quite entertaining at some parts. It kinda dragged on a bit but it got me hooked.

Anyway, more or less, it plays like FFVII:CC but with teammates. You go around doing the main missions then for breathers, there are also a ton of side missions you can level-up in, gain money and collect items at.

I like how you fully customize your character’s appearance, from their hair [unless you picked the CAST race] to their shoes. And with four races available, the balanced Humans, the agile elf-like Neumans,the force user CASTs [robot people] and the brutish Beasts, gameplay will be diverse at best. Also, you will be able to pick your own partner [or partner machine as they call it] to help you out in missions just in case you don’t want any teammates hanging about.

Now, about your teammates, well I really didn’t like how they did the AI for them. You can have at least 4 people join up on you on missions accessing them to join up via “Partner Cards”. Most of them are already high level and no, you can’t customized them. You’ll get half the XP when they kill a monster and no, you can’t control their AI which is the irritating part. They mostly stick around you but when you’re already kicking butt, they just stand idly till the enemy smacks them upside their heads. Seriously, I get pissed off everytime I get mobbed and the others are just standing by.

Anyhoo, moving on…Sound and Graphics are ok at best although some of the voice-acting gets irritatingly annoying. The learning curve isn’t that high, in the end you’ll feel that this game is a button-masher.

Targeting is also my biggest peeve in this game. with a free-roam battle environment and tons of enemies coming at you, you need at least a stable targeting system. But they didn’t have that, they do have a target “lock” when you press the “L” button and a target is “locked” however, it’s just identifying a target and when you attack it, you have to re-target it again. Which is a pain in the ass when mobs are coming at you.

The missions are done always on the same map and you’ll be doing each mission 4 times, each time with a different degree level which can either be good or just too boring at some points. The storyline missions are different and you are required to only have the correct partner/s to be able to start the mission.

You are given a barrage of weapons and cute little floating er…”floaties”[?] which can be able to cast Force spells. The weapons can be also “linked” with a “photon art”/skill which then in turn, consumes PP points/skill points. Weapons are also upgradable [to level 10 which is MAX] via the Upgrade Grinders monsters drop [rare] or the Upgrade Grinders given when you end a mission. Force spells are basically Magic spells and they level up [to level 20 which is MAX] over time when you use them regularly.

SUMMARY

~ All in all, it’s still a great game which even though it’s kinda dragging for me…I still come back and play it over and over. If you’re a fan, it’s a must and if you’re new, just try it out. It’ll tide you over till a new game comes around. 😀

Written by The AlanSong

April 21, 2009 at 11:02 am

Game Review: PATAPON 2…

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Japanese Main Screen

Japanese Main Screen

Well, after the long wait, it’s finally here! The sequel to [in my opinion] one of the best musical games on the PSP, PATAPON 2!

STORY

The game continues where PATAPON left off. The PATAPON building a mighty ship to reach Earthend. But at  the start of the sequel, something wrong happened on their way. That kicks of their adventure, on new land,  facing new foes [maybe old ones too?!] as well as new boss monsters. But it seems that the PATAPON army has also something new up their sleeves.

The story pretty much is same as the first game but it’s a bit longer. Everything you saw in the first game is back here…and more.

GAMEPLAY

They haven’t changed a thing with the controls for this game. Everything is just the same as the first one. But there are new things here.

First off, the new units. The “flying unit” has now been integrated to this game. Many talked about how it was scrapped from the first one. In my opinion it’s a strong unit, a mix of Kibapon [“Knight” Patapons] and Yumipon [Archer Patapons] and wait till you see what happens when FEVER hits. There are newer units as well. ;]

Another new unit is the HERO unit. Yes, you will have a HERO unit which can really help you out with these new strong bosses. He’s customizable [VERY customizable] and some of his gear can be found in another new addition to the game, the Paraget.

The new monsters drop eggs and these eggs is an essential part of the Paraget. The Paraget is like a parallel world where you get to replay maps and boss fights but not with your Patapon army but with your HERO units. That means you’re Hero unit plus alot more [Hero units are sometimes prizes at the end of the map]. Yes, it’ll be juts 4 Patapons against boss monsters or an army but they’re stronger and have special abilities. And in the end, you will be rewarded equipment, kaching or materials…after doing some cool button mashing.

Another new addition to the game is also in the Paraget. Multiplayer. Yes, you can play with other people even if they DONT HAVE Patapon 2 [but only in Multiplayer]! But, I didn’t try that out yet.

Fever Mode seems much more easier to get as during my gameplay, after 2 combos, I’m already in fever mode. But it varies from time to time. It seems that when you get the “timing” right, you get FEVER easily. Also, try to get you’re “timing” right and see what happens with your Hero Unit.

Also unlike Patapon 1, wherein you can just “create” one Patapon and cannot undo it, in Patapon 2 you can. In the “create” mode, where you build your Patapons, they now have an “Evolution” board. Where you can pick which trait you’re Patapons will take. Sturdy? Elemental resistant? All-Around fighter? And , if you’ve already picked a type and wanted to try out a new one, it’s possible to backtrack or go to another “evolution” line…as long as you have the materials needed. Also, you unlock Patapon types, like Kibapon and Toripon for example, on the said board.

There is a new weather which is Snow, and it can freeze up your units as well as your enemies unless they’re freeze resistant.

The Miracles are still there as well and Kim Kimpon and the rest of the “Material” giving Patapon group. Meden is still there giving out advice.

SOUND

The sound on this game is spot on. They have new music and somewhat remixes of the old ones. They even have the map name and BGM title appear when you visit a place for the first time.

It’s definitely an upgrade from the first game and it’s even more “danceable”. I can’t stop tapping my foot and even sway around a bit when I played this game.

 

So, in conclusion,  I must admit that there are times when I get irritated at the new bosses and levels as some are hard but it’s not fun when it’s not challenging at all. It’s a game that you have to get because it’s a great addition to your game library plus its fun.

Written by The AlanSong

March 11, 2009 at 10:14 am

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My thoughts on WATCHMEN…

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* who watches the WATCHMEN..? *

* who watches the WATCHMEN..? *

 

My own thoughts regarding the movie.

*NOTE: All my reviews are spoiler-free…I will not mention anything that might disrupt your experience with what I’m reviewing*

A few words from normal ol’ me:

OMG! OMFG! it was sooo awesome sauce! EPIC WIN! FTW!!!! everything was sooooo great and soooooo neatly done….Silk Spectre was hawt! Rorshach is me hero! and Nite-Owl was Batman-ish….Ozy looked ghei *bat-nipples*…Dr. Manhattan was emo….The Comedian was spot-on!

OMG!

*squee!*

*nerdgasms*

*faints*

Er..well, now that we have gotten that out of the way. Let’s move on to our REAL review.

WATCHMEN had always been at the back of my mind ever since I saw it in one of the comicbook shops I frequent. I, sadly, couldn’t get an actual copy of it since I was small then and lacked the money and convincing powers for my Mum to get me it. But with luck, I was able to obtain a copy from a friend. He let me borrow his copy for a few weeks and it blew me away. I sadly returned it and vowed to get meself a copy.

Years later, word of a movie was flying around even if it was dubbed “unfilmable”. Still, my curiosity was piqued at this notion.

It was awhile but the movie pushed through albeit not without it’s hitches. I was kinda glad it came out March 6 because it was two days after my birthday and this was my birthday gift to myself. To see the first showing of it on it’s opening day.

Which I did. 

Now, the movie it self was very, very interesting. The word around was, they “altered” a few things and it was noticeable enough [for people who read the graphic novel that is]. 

The story revolves around a world where “Costumed Superheroes” were the real deal and that they made a good impact in the world. Fast forward to a couple of years and a few incidents, it seems that the world of “costumes” were reversed and that slowly but surely, they were either retiring or just disappearing.

With this, some of them are being hunted down, even killed. And at one such incident, starts the ball rolling.

A story of love, intrigue and drama added with lots of action, personal philosophies and facing your own demons. It’s truly a film worth watching.

No, it isn’t one of your “normal” superhero movies. It’s not those kinds of films about redemption or whatnot. It’s one of those films wherein it’s given a touch of realism to it.

I would like to acknowledge and give kudos and props to their costume department. They did a great job to make the costumes come alive…well, except one. Ozymandias’ costume looked like Robins’ in “Batman & Robin” even having those “nipples”. This kudos extends to the special effects guys as they did excelllent work as well.

Overall, I’m pretty impressed with this movie. Although, they did omit and “replace”  and add certain things, the story it conveyed in the graphic novel was more or less still there.

Written by The AlanSong

March 6, 2009 at 6:02 pm

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Movie Review: The Curious case of Benjamin Button…

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benjamin_button_poster

So, after watching Brad Pitt in a delightful supporting role in the movie, “Burn After reading”..it’s nice to see him in the limelight with “The Curious case of Benjamin Button”…

When I saw the trailers, I must admit that it had just the “meh” factor on me…I really wasn’t paricularly keen on seeing this film but that doesn’t mean that I liked it as well…

But I did get the feeling that I would get to watch it as soon as it opened here as I had a hunch that my Granmum wanted to watch this…and when I did go visit her, my hunch was correct, before she could even finish her movie invite, I just laughed and told her “I knew you were gonna say that..”..she just smiled…and smacked me on the head for interrupting..LOL

And don’t worry, I do not write about the main plotlines, happening and on-goings and/or spoilers of the story in my reviews…I just talk and blab about the story [at least parts of it that you may have seen on trailers], characters, actor portrayals and my general opinions of the movie..

Moving on to the review..

Even though the title mentioned about his “curious case”, Benjamin Button’s condition wasn’t really tackled in-depth and people around him either adapted to his condition, didn’t mind or just plainly didn’t care…maybe they could’ve re-titled the movie, “The Life of the Bizaare Benjamin Button”…eh? It’s got a ring to it right? No? Oh well..

Brad Pitt’s portrayal of a man aging backwards was ok…but you won’t see the REAL Brad halfway through the movie as you’ll just see an “aged” CGI of Brad’s face superimposed on his character’s body…still it was a great job by the special effects guys and make-up guys as well..

Cate Blanchett was WOW…as in, WOW…she looks great and acts so divine and regal…and she danced beautifully, I’m not really sure if she did study ballet/dance but it looks like she did…oh, and her in a leotard = RAWR…LOL 😀

The movie had the look and feel of age, as it seems that the movie itself ages with Pitt’s character…moving from the 40’s to 80’s and such…costume and stage designs were perfect…and seeing Pitt in Aviator’s, a leather jacket and an old school motorcycle made me think of James Dean in “Rebel Without A Cause”…

I was intrigued on how they told the story as well and the events and experiences of Pitt’s character…I did initially thought that this was just another oldie-type movie love story that’s generically made by Hollywood…but it wasn’t…it had action, humor, drama and although younger kids can’t prolly relate to it..it’s a film that can be watched and enjoyed by all..

I feel that this is an Oscar Contender…to those who watched it, don’t you feel the same way? :]

In conclusion, this movie surprised me…with a great story/plot [it did deviate from the short story but then again it was loosely based on it], great characters, wonderful acting…it’s a must watch movie…good thing that I watch this with my Granmum other than watching “The Spirt” alone…

Written by The AlanSong

January 12, 2009 at 10:15 pm