Thursday, September 23, 2010

Six Video Game Titles to Budget for Holiday release

From Halo: Reach to Gran Turismo, there are six must have video games titles that I have to buy from today till the end of the year. Some are blockbusters to sport franchises, on console or the PC. Many of the games sport a higher sticker price bundle as limited editions.

With rent and responsibilities always nipping on my conscious-ear, I will not be able to afford the steep, and before taxes, $400. These six games will either leave you homeless, single or dieing of hunger. Which games will not make your cart and stay on your wish list?

Halo: Reach
Chances are the Halo Series is this generations Star Wars, a fanatical following, a space opera and a prequel to boot. Halo Reach is a must have for multiple reasons, Bungie's last console exclusive, their last Halo title, and and a brand new multiplayer (checkout bitmobs game night.)

Civilisation 5
A PC exclusive for many many years, Civ 5 is another much anticipated game (out today). Take the role of any civilization and lead them to world dominance. With Starcraft 2, Civ 5 leads the PC pack.

Donkey Kong Country Returns
One of the elders when it comes to video game characters — Donkey Kong is back in a brand new adventure with Diddy in tow. Thanks to the highly successful New Super Mario Bros Wii, Donkey Kong Returns is the successor of the popular Nintendo 64 series (Mario and Donkey the original duo before Shrek and ... Donkey).

Medal of Honor
Before there was Halo, Call of Duty and Gears of War, there was this World War 2 genre, ripped from Hollywood, Medal of Honor. The landing and storming of Normandy Beach was done by this series, it's present form takes on the now controversial American War against the Taliban. Ripe with furor, Gamestop, pressured by the Military, pulled the game off shelves, essentially banning the sells on American bases.

Call of Duty Black Ops
Shooters, shooters and more shooters. Lets face it, shooters are the bread and butter of the video game industry. With all the turmoil surrounding Activision, and dissolving of Infinity Ward, Black Ops creators Treyarch have a mountain to climb. Not only is Modern Warfare 2 doing so well on XBL (Sony PSN doesn't release details) and their map pack selling well on Steam, Bungie now flys under the Activision banner.

Gran Turismo 5
With NASCAR, World Rally Championship and Super GT licenses—Polyphony Digital's Grand Turismo is an incomparable driving-sim beast. With five years separating GT 4 and GT 5, will Sony's crown jewel shine in the holiday season? One thing for sure, racing genre has not been the same without GT.
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Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Machete Review: A Long, Hard and Cold Federale

Robert Rodriguez latest movie, based on a trailer created for The Grindhouse cinema, Machete is a bloody-revenge filled adventure. The story takes place in the state-capitol Texas, which goes unnamed, where a day laborer is thrown into a mixture of politics, corruption, and law. Machete quickly realizes that the state of law and order in the United States of America is just as corrupted as the United States of Mexico.

Aided by a conflicted ICE agent Jessica Alba, an aspiring revolutionary in Michelle Rodriguez and a Father-Priest-Brother in Cheech Marin -- Danny Trujo's Machete plays a one-liner dealer of death and vengeance. There is an a unique underlying context that Robert Rodriguez bashes throughout the movie when a subtle approach would be ineffective. It is as the director/creator wants to convey a great message but limits himself to his own art. Machete doesn't differ too much from Rodriguez's previous works, as El Mariachi, Desperado, Once Upon a Time in Mexico and Planet Terror, all share similar film qualities.

There is a strong conviction for an argument that if Robert Rodriguez were to take the subject matter in a differing approach, Machete could be his Departed -- a movie of betrayals, violence and honor. The topics are on the forefront with Arizona's controversial immigration law, the never-ending drug war violence in Mexican border cities and the cultural conflicts at home (role of the Church, Mexican-Americans, etcetera). These topics were handled in a campy manner.

And it is these topics, the film moves away from halfway through the plot, only to catwalk these characters. "Look at the cool conflicted character I just made." A pseudo-Border Promises with the film only to tie a picture perfect ending. But do not confuse the character Machete as a misanthrope, he ultimately seeks to do right at the belief that evil must not reign. Leaving the viewer satisfied, but left wondering when will a director handle these topics much seriously.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Madden and Me

With the NFL heading to to season kickoff, gamers are booting up the latest football video game, EA Sports Madden NFL 11. With updated rosters, a new play-call system and an extensive multiplayer mode, Madden promises to be the best one yet, however, the game is inherently broken and unplayable. How?

There is no save function for half played matches. With consumers age expanding, having a shorter and shorter play sessions, the ability not to save a match in progress is video-game blasphemy.

I have played Madden since the Sega Genesis, where my older cousins played each match for quarters. I am not the greatest one on one players, but I enjoy the franchise mode of comp stomp with my fantasy draft of stars.

The problem, as I grow older in age, I have less time to play and progress. In the past week, I had to quit three games in Franchise mode, Raiders v Seahawks, because either; my two dogs daily walk, time with my significant other and gym. In general, life would interrupt all of my Raider games (yes I roll Silver and Black.)

The only solutions was to either leave my PS3 on or have the ability to save a match mid-way. Leaving the PS3 on, as it hums like a gatling gun, provided to be useless, as the playstation is dedicated to be the entertainment provider of the household. Movies became unplayable, background downloading in limbo, as my PS3 became dedicated to saving a half finished game.

The functionality of saving a match is really a common cornerstone video-games. PC gaming has had the feature for years, from first person shooters, RPGs and Real Time Strategy games. Why does Sports games have to be behind the curve? Espcially in sport games like Football and Baseball, where the clock stops on certain plays or the game ends until there is a winner. My Madden games were lasting 40 minutes or longer, whereas FIFA matches last eight to ten minutes! The discrpency betweem games are huge.

So life continues to get in the way of my Madden matches, as Raiders v Seahawks has became a never ending nightmare of replays, and try again. For EA Sports, it is a feature worth implementing, as your audiences continues to grow. That, or suffer sleeping on the couch with on eye open on the lookout of a disgruntled wife for the rest of my adult life. How do you think I managed to get to week four in pre-season?
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