Archive for September, 2008

The Force Unleashed Review

Posted in Review with tags , , on September 22, 2008 by thenewserials

Five Years ago Lucas Arts struck back when they released Star Wars: Knight of the Old Republic this was the first sign that perhaps a developer, with a track record of making less than worthy games, might be turning around and beginning to make quality, lasting games. Using one of the most popular movies of all time as their platform Lucas Arts pretty much had the task in the bag. The Years following would bring good games and better games from Star Wars Episode III:Revenge of the Sith the Game to the three great installments of the Battlefront saga. Lucas arts now had and idea of what to do and how to do; recruiting fans from outside the films with an interesting and engaging platform for playing.

They would attempt to continue this trend when they revealed they would be creating a game taking place between Episode III: Revenge of the Sith and Episode IV: A New Hope, a time many Star Wars fans have been eager to explore for years. The project received hype earlier on and continue throughout the year of 2007.

The Force Unleashed was undeniable, from Youtube to The Tube the game was being marketed as the next big thing in Video Games. Characters from the game being featured as Action figures and appearing in other Video Games long before the games official release. For Star Wars fans the 16th of September was the day to look out for.

I wish I could say I loved The Force Unleashed ; but, I didn’t. I enjoyed myself yes; but, there was a lot that I still am Unable to get over. The game has FAR more flaws than achievments and seems to, sometimes, relish in its simplicity and repetitiveness.

The notion that Lucas Arts put out that The Force Unleashed would be “revolutionary” and change the way players view Star Wars and Video Games in general is a mistep and could be considered a flat out lie. The Force Unleashed uses the same ideas that many games have come to before and there’s nothing really new in it…well maybe new for Star Wars; but, not for video games.

Maris Brood looks like she might have a big role in The Force Unleashed...

Maris Brood looks like she might have a big role in The Force Unleashed...

The Story for The Force Unleashed is nothing outrageous, (I don’t know why I was under the Impression that it would be) After killing a Rogue Jedi on Kashyyk Darth Vader encounters a young Jedi’s son and takes him to be his apprentice. The Apprentice grows up to be loyal to Vader and a very strong student; however, Vader’s intents seem to be shifting at times and the Apprentice finds himself at odds with whats right and whats wrong. I’m not going to spoil anything; but, anyone with have a brain can surmise the entire plot, almost down to the very word, from what I just said. The twist are nothing drastic and the turns are lukewarm. That being said there are some points in the plot that are interesting, for example when Vader first meets the apprentice there’s a moment there that immediately references to Vader’s feelings for Luke. You know there’s a want there; but, other than that the game begins to fall flat only picked up again by a line Vader says towards the end of the game that seems to reference Luke (although its impossible for that because he doesn’t know of Luke’s existence until after A New Hope). Anyone looking for the next Empire Strikes Back will be sorely disappointed.

Now-a-days graphics are the sellers of video games and in this age of X-Box and Playstation-3 The Force Unleashed should be up to date with it’s competitors. It’s not…The graphics aren’t terrible; but, there’s no excuse for the graphics not to be at least a little flashy. I mean this is Star Wars after all. The first trailer for The Force Unleashed we see the apprentice pulling down a Star Destroyer with just the force. The graphics are a bit stunning combined with the awe of the act; but, both are lacking in the game. That’s right the cut-scene that appears in the trailer doesn’t appear in the game at all. In fact there are no cut-scenes of that nature in the entire game. The in-game graphics don’t dazzle either; but, are not horrific. The graphics for the game are like the game itself…mediocre.

Releasing The Force Unleashed on the Wii meant a new way to play Star Wars; with the very interactive controls you could actually swing the lightsaber; but, what did that mean for all the other platforms from the highly favored PS3 to the wreck known as the Nintendo DS? I wouldn’t know about anything other than the PSP and the controls for that are pretty standard. Game gets monotonous really quickly and you’re only hope is to hope that you get a new force power quickly. The gameplay suffers from some pretty sad problems ranging from universal glitches to god awful camera movements. The Force Unleashed suffers from a, to steal a line from Jurassic Park, “White Rabbit Object…whatever did  it did it all”, whoever messed up the game messed it all up. At times it seemed as if the developers fell asleep, or got too frustrated with the game to continue making progress. MANY parts of the game suffer from “stop and go” glitches and you essentially visit five or six worlds and then repeat. It’s like playing the same level over and over and getting a, vaguely, different boss at the end of the level. I was hugely surprised, and disappointed to see that I was going to what i just did three levels ago again, with a different set of goals that had no bearing on the actual gameplay. The Force powers are what are supposed to sell this game and they halfway hit the mark. The problem the powers face are: Overexposure, Overuse and Overcompensation. From day one we saw the force powers in the trailers and featurettes, well surprise, surprise there’s not much more within the game. That’s right folks the same powers you’ve seen in videos are the same ones you’ll use over and over and over and over and over within the game. The few powers you didn’t see in the trailers suffer from a lack of usefulness, for example: Force Choke; first seen by Darth Vader in Episode IV: A New Hope accompanied with the line “I find your lack of faith disturbing”, is almost null in the game. In the time it takes you to grab the enemy and start to choke them you’re already being shot at from other people. Sure its fun to look at; but, you’ll only use it sometimes because it’s not practical in regular battle. The most useless power is the force grab, it’s mostly use to enact other moves like Force Choke and a move called “Pummel”, which will awaken the Darth Vader (TESB) in all of us, but; on it’s own its horrifically impossible to make sense of. Its slow and the camera angle changes completely; the time it takes you to realize what’s going on you could have beaten the enemy a thousand times over. It’s scary that Lucas arts is almost digressing; because in Episode III: Revenge of the Sith the force grabbing was very easy to use and utilize in every scenario. While you wil get into straight duels with other lightsaber wielders, the boss battles will eventually become without strategy. Run, dash, then throw the lightsaber, over and over and over. The boss will catch you off guard; but, you’ll recover very quickly without any trouble.

Prepared to get messed up...

Prepared to get messed up...

The most comprehensive part of the game are the bonus features. When you’re done with the game you’ll instantly check you’re “unlockable characters” list to see who you can play as. There is a wide variety of players; however, it lacks some focus. Whereas an old favorite, Qui-Gon Jinn is included in the game the widely popular Darth Maul is NOT included. That being said there are a good array of things to do when not playing the story mode. From a one on one survival mode against other lightsaber users, to a replication of order 66 to the  (psp only) very fun historical battles in which you can play some of you’re favorite battles from the movies with the new force powers introduced in the game. And while these mini-games are fun they are not spared from the laziness of the developers either. The force powers each characters use are EXACTLY the same as the ones you’ve acquired and upgraded in the story-mode. So while you’ll be instantly familiar with the characters (no matter who they are) there’s nothing to master or anything different between someone like Mace Windu and Assaj Ventress. The in game bonuses are fun to look at but; that’s all. Different lightsaber colors allow you to help customize the apprentice’s look along with outfit changes; but, hold no bearing on the gameply, abilities, or story at all.

All in all Lucas arts hasn’t created a bad game; just one that they didn’t need to hype up for almost two years. It’s fun with a weak; but, present replay value and should be an enjoyable collection now before it becomes a dust collector by Thanksgiving.

Final Rating

out of 10

6.7/10

Another Way To Die…Literally.

Posted in Entertainment with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 18, 2008 by thenewserials

http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b00dcy4v/

Skip to about 55 minutes and listen to “Another Way To Die”; the newest edition to the Bond Song collection for the New Bond Movie Quantum of Solace.

I’ve been waiting for this song for a long time now. I followed the Circus act of Winehouse is doing; Winehouse is not doing it and here we are the unveiling of “Another Way To Die.”

I don’t like it. Its hard to believe it took this long to make THAT song. The Idea of bringing Jack White was a risky one that could have worked if he was worked with closely with a producer who knows the Bond sound and how to have the song reflect the nature of the film.

“Another Way to Die” is Jack White doing what he does best; making odd; but good music.; however this isn’t the venue for that. Alicia Keys being in it is purposeless. You can’t even make out her singing except for a few “ohhhs” and “Ahhs” at the end. White dominates the song and the “blending” of Vocals comes off like a competition. As if Both of them Submitted the same song as rivals and then the producer decided to put the two songs together.

The fear is that when the opening sequence ends and the Song and title sequence begins it will pull away from everything and draw too much attention to itself. The song doesn’t seem like it’s going to fit at all. That’s SO unfortunate.

The most Underrated Artist of the Decade.

The most Underrated Artist of the Decade.

(I can’t believe I’m going to say this) The up side is that I’m looking forward to Amy Winehouse saving the day. She’s apparently very upset the Producer’s pulled out from her doing the song and gave the song away and she even threatened to officially release her Bond song the same day the official song is to be released. I hope her threat still stands; as much as I don’t feel anything for Winehouse I do feel that she probably has done a better job than the White/Keys “duet” (if you can call it that) and it would fit much more with the movie. I still hold on to my belief that Sharon Jones and The Dap Kings should do the next Bond song; there’s no one out there better suited to do it.

Moving on to more “Bad” music news…

Britney Spears’ album is being leaked:

www.britneyspearscircusleak.com

I don’t know what to say to that sound…it’s horrifying. This is what Britney sounds like Sober? I hate so say this; but, give that woman some cocaine.

thepretenders.com was very slow in bringing up the new song “Rosalee” yesterday; but, they’ve got it done. The song is ok.  I’m not Blown away; that leaves “Break Up The Concrete” the song…here’s to hoping.

Tomorrow I’ll be getting The Force Unleashed so that’s something to look forward to. and Saturday I’ll be getting the Pretenders Tickets.

The Next Month is going to be fun! I can’t wait!

In the meantime I’ll leave you with some Trailers:

Here’s the Second T.V. Spot for Quantum Of Solace:

And the 24 T.V. Movie Trailer 24:Redemption:

http://www.fox.com/24/trailer/

Waiting…

Posted in Bored Stuff with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 16, 2008 by thenewserials

I initially planned to write this blog while listening to the newest Pretenders songs available at http://www.thepretenders.com; but, today they seem to be moving slow in getting it up. That’s unfortunate.

The ironic thing is that the feeling I have right now on the new Pretenders song is the same I have for life currently. It’s a long and, sometimes, impatient waiting.

Bond Is Back

Bond Is Back

It seems that this year has been the year for waiting for me. I waited for Dark Knight; I waited for school; I waited for Engels. I’m waiting for “Break Up The Concrete” and subsequently a tour, I’m waiting for Qauntum of Solace. It seems as if nothing is happening anytime soon and it can be a little frustrating. The good side to that is that I know they will eventually come and when they do I’llenjoy them, I’m sure; but, what the hell do I do in the meantime.

Right now I’m waiting for my acting II class to start; and I have an whole hour to sit here and blog to all of you in the meantime.

That’s not to say my day wasn’t filled with some positives. I’m always scared about failing at music; but, today I understood what the hell my professor was talking about and it made me feel like I was worth a little something.

The Force Unleashed is being released today; however I won’t be able to get my copy until Friday. I’m excited to see what’s in this game. They’ve been harping about it for a little more than a year now and Lucas Arts seems to be getting better at making games. Here’s to hoping we don’t have to ever go back to the days of Masters of Tera Kasi and Jedi Power Battles.

The biggest question in my mind is this: How will The Force Unleashed fit into the Star Wars universe? It gets tiring when we’re always going back between episodes and saying “well that person has to die because they’re not in the next episode.” and then seeing the result and getting a vague answer (I’m talking about you Clone Wars) I would hope that The Force Unleashed fits easily into the Star Wars Universe making more sense of Episode III: Revenge of the Sith and Episode IV: A New Hope. Furthermore how can they make this new apprentice so strong without undermining the powers of all the Jedi before him and some of the people after him. If he’s so Strong then why didn’t he just destroy the Empire?

Halloween is coming and that means crunch-time at my job. This year just feels as if it’s going to be more hectic then last. It’s really unbareable now because my I-pod doesn’t work (again) and I have no other form of music. I’ve been getting by witrh playing my PSP; but, sooner or later I’m going to have to buckle down and either get the I-pod fixed (again) or buy the appropriate software to get music on the PSP.

With Dark Knight passed and “BreakUp The Concrete” not happened yet; this has been a very unusually quiet part of my year. I promise in three weeks there’s going to be a lot to say.

I cannot wait to see the Pretenders October 7th!

and yet…I still am Waiting.

Sometimes You Just Wish…

Posted in Life with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 13, 2008 by thenewserials

So Today is Engels Birthday…yay.

He Turns 22, I didn’t have anything planned today, because I’m lacking funding, but I did intend to spend the day with him. Which I did. Earlier in the week I had gotten him Final Fantasy IV,

Still one of the best

Still one of the best

one of my favorite games of all time and today he seemingly had reached the near end. There’s no problem with that I just wanted him to enjoy this day to the fullest.

Aside from that there’s nothing really interesting going on. Today I was content with sitting in my house with Engels and not doing anything, that’s good.

This brings me to the title of today’s blog.

Sometimes you just wish that a day won’t end. Even a boring day where nothing extremely interesting is happening. Today was one of those days for me. I was totally satisfied playing Alien Vs. Predator (the old capcom one) with Engels on my psp. It’s better than going to work and school and there was something deeply interesting about just being with Engels.

The flip side to that is that I’m anxiously awaiting a couple of events in the future. The nearest is the release of The Force Unleashed on Tuesday.

still waiting

still waiting

The Furthest is probably the release of Quantum of Solace which is scheduled for a November 14th release.

In the middle there is a Pretenders day. Break Up The Concrete is going to be released on the 7th of October and it seems that there is going to be two coinciding shows that day. One on Good Morning America (bleck) and the other one at an actual venue (YES!). Just need to get my money together and I’m all set.

It’s good to be seeing the Pretenders again; I can recall the last time I saw them and it always seems like I’m not living completely when there are no plans to see them. I’m obviously anxious to hear the new material live; but, also to see how the “new” band plays. I’ll be honest losing Adam Seymour was a hard thing to take; to me he’s still is the best guitarist since James Honeyman-Scott, so to have this new guy (plus a steel pedal guitarist) seems like a shock to the system. Sure they can play the new songs well; but, can they hit the classics?

"By The Way You Look Fantastic In Your Boots of Chinese Plastic"The few shows they’ve done have shown an abscense of some of my favorite songs which in a way worries me a lot. There’s only one way to see and that is with my own two eyes and ears.

In the far future we have the re-release of The Dark Knight which is sure to set my stuff on fire all over again. I won’t go into a TDK rant; because, they’ll be enough of those soon enough.

Indeed; sitting here now I wish Engels were here and that we were still sitting on my bed playing psp. Not because the psp is anything drastically amazing; but, sometimes, Engels can be…and it’s days like that I want to have more of and don’t want to end. Because all the video games, Bond movies, Pretenders shows and Dark Knight fanaticism can’t compare to the idea of being with the one you love the most.

That is when he isn’t pissing me off.

I’m back

Posted in Bored Stuff with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on September 11, 2008 by thenewserials

This is my millionth try at a blog.

Hopefully I can be a little more thorough and keep up with it this time around.

If not…

Anyway; today is September, 11th 2008. I usually spend the day trying to ignore the obivious meaning of the day. I live in NYC so the only way to ignore it is to shut  the T.V. off and sit down and find something to do.

This year I decided not to.

I turned the T.V. on and watch the newscast. Needless to say there was just saddness and heartbreak on it. I’ll admit to crying quite a bit. Even seven years later it doesn’t seem any more understanable than it was when it just happened.

I’ve got nothing interesting going on in this week. I’m back at Lehman College taking a couple of classes.

African American Theatre

Reporting I

Acting II and

Music Theory.

I suppose i am going to choose music as my major; but, we’ll see.

Next week promises to be a little more interesting. The newest Star Wars game The Force Unleashed will be..well…Unleashed. I have it pre-ordered and am ready to get playing.

In the meanwhile I’ve been playing a lot of Street Fighter Vs. X-men.

Dark Knight is going to be re-released in January; so I’ll be back at that at the beginning of next year.

I never know what to say in these blogs.  I should be concerned with other things. But I’m not so…whatever.

I promise more interesting post in the future; especially when the Pretenders come around!

Break Up the Concrete is coming!!!!!!!!!!

Break Up the Concrete is coming!!!!!!!!!!