Monday, August 30, 2010

retro review: Bioshock

Just let me tell you about the best story-driven FPS in years.  Bioshock.  I honestly feel like this game played up the horror aspect a little too much in the advertising and turned off quite a few people in the process.  While the setting is unnerving and certainly not for the faint of heart, there are only a handful of jump-scares and I think that's what a lot of people are expecting in a dark, underwater city setting.  Without spoiling anything, I can honestly say that the setting of the game, the underwater city of Rapture, is easily one of my favorite settings of the last 10 years.  Hell, I played the sequel a few times just to experience it more (a separate review for the sequel will come later on).  I'd say the game doesn't really break any ground in the FPS genre, you shoot, you melee a little bit, and the switching weapon system isn't exactly the smoothest in the world.  The "plasmids" (read:  magic) that you wield in the game is varied and actually used in the puzzles, so it is a good bit more diverse than your Halo/Call of Duty fare.

The real tout here is the story.  You're alone, in a dark place, ruled by insanity, and your only friend is pretty shady himself.  There's a twist, big surprise there.  I hear that if you played System Shock 2 that the twist wasn't nearly as epic, but I didn't, so I thought it really played out well.  For a while, I felt like a walking Bioshock commercial because I couldn't stop recommending the game to people.  Go to Best Buy, spend $20 for the Platinum Hits release, and have an amazing weekend with Bioshock.

That said, if I had paid $60 for this new back in 2007, I'd be rather pissed at the short-ish story.

Also, if you did play Bioshock, Singularity blows.  Though I do applaud them for trying.

random movie: Avatar: Special Edition

Well people, the inevitable happened and James Cameron decided to make some more money off this blockbuster.  I must say, Avatar certainly isn't the most original idea, but man they really outdid themselves on the visuals for this movie.  I'd go so far as to say the real human actors are actually pretty subpar when compared to the Na'vi.  A few bonus scenes, $3 extra for some Rivers Cuomo glasses, and you get to watch this flick again on the big screen.  I actually wouldn't mind if they did this for more releases, putting them back in theatres for short runs.

That said, Inception still beats the crap out of Avatar and everyone should see it twice instead of seeing this.

retro review: Final Fantasy IX

Well, this little gem dropped back in 2000, and was just fantastic.  It was marketed as some kind of throw-back to the earlier games, but that really didn't mean much to me at the time.  What DID mean much to me was the story, awesome ability system, and pretty sweet battle system.  Not to say the battle system was anything revolutionary, because it was essentially the same as in the other numbered entries on the PSX.  Anyhoo, apparently there's actually some kind of backlash against this game among the Final Fantasy community.  I just don't understand that at all.  I played the missed-abortion that was Final Fantasy XIII, and I would have easily traded an HD remake of IX instead of that garbage.  The story is deep yet still has elements of whimsy, and there's a girl whose pants don't even have a crotch.  That's just how Squaresoft rolled before they had to go and bring Enix into the picture.

Held up against the other PSX Final Fantasies, I'd say IX is superior in multiple aspects.  Ability system and graphics for sure, with the story being arguably better than VIII's incoherent time-witches-but-we're-in-love babble (not hating on VIII, that's just the best synopsis I can think of) and close to that of VII.  I don't know where Square has gone awry over the years, but this entry had everything that made Final Fantasy great.  I can't honestly say I've enjoyed a console RPG in years, but they were gold back in this generation and you know it.  I don't own a PS3, so I have no idea if this game is on the PSN, but I'd say go out to your local game-trading store (preferably not the conglomerate that is GameStop) and find yourself a copy.  You won't regret it.

This is of course assuming you live under some kind of RPG rock and somehow missed this game.  Which doesn't seem likely.  I'd go so far as to say that if you consider yourself a fan of Final Fantasy or RPGs in general and haven't played this game, you're an idiot.

Also somebody please motivate me to like Final Fantasy Tactics again.  After playing Tactics Ogre, I just can't stand only putting 5 people on the battlefield.

it's music: the wonder years

these guys


these guys.

The Upsides is the record of the year, don't you doubt it.  If you dislike this album, you don't have a soul and are probably depressed.  So go cheer up.

Hit that link, hear some tunes, buy some albums and merch.  Be a badass.

new vidya: metroid: other M

well homies, I hear it's all dramatic and they turned Metroid into MGS.  But, it really doesn't matter what they do with the franchise, because who the hell is playing their Wii anyway?  Nobody.  Nobody who matters anyway.  The damn thing isn't in HD and the world is in HD.  So, boycott your Wii and all titles associated with it.

that said, if I had a Wii, I'd play this game.

I guess on a Standard Def TV so it wouldn't look shitty.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

this picture

describes perfectly the intentions of this blog

such an exciting time

to be alive.  much more content to follow, so subscribe if you're remotely interested in opinions/facts about music, computers, video games, psychology, archaeology, botany, or food!  This is going to be off the chain.

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