Sunday, February 7, 2016

Review of Albedo: Eyes from Outer Space (PS4) by Ultimategamer 132 / Outer space is where this game should have stayed!

genre: adventure

Wanna play an alien game based on 60s sci-fi movies? Yes? Well, what if I told you the main character's name is John T. Longy and he was a night watchman for the secret facility of Jupiter? Maybe? How about if his voice is the equivalent of a whining infantile man? No? Good.

Albedo: Eyes from Outer Space is a first person adventure game that heavily relies on puzzles. Puzzles primarily consist of being environmental based where in order to find a solution you must scour your setting and locate objects around you. These tools can be mixed with other objects to form satisfying solutions or headache inducing problems. Though, some of the problems brought upon poor ol' John are unneeded as their origins lie in his own stupidity and ignorance. 

These puzzles would ordinarily stand out as a positive, but their accompaniment with the terrible control interface makes them blend in with the rest of the negatives. The controls being described specifically apply to when utilizing an object. Instead of assigning a certain button to a separate action, some genius had the idea to bundle all the uses an object can have into a screen that can only be navigated by rotating the actions. While this can become a relatively simple interface to become comfortable with, it can constantly lead to annoyances such as accidentally dropping important objects.

From a developer's point of view using specific colors to smoothly outline the environment and characters would seem like it helps highlight the theme of sci-fi. In fact, it does just that, but from a consumer's point of view this aesthetic choice comes at a price. That price is the unbalanced lighting that can make locating important objects more difficult then it has to be. Thats not the only thing we're left in the dark about as Albedo lacks the presence of a soundtrack.

Albedo: Eyes from Outer Space is by no means a bad game. However, it has one major problem. That problem is its cheesy nature taking control of the game and negatively influencing seemingly every aspect of its content. For example, some of the tools at your disposal are designed to be reminiscent of the era of movies Albedo is attempting to recreate. (The game's description says it has taken inspiration from 60s era of sci fi flicks which for some will be very appealing.) But the way it is done feels forced instead of being blended naturally. And that is a real shame if you ask me. If there is one positive to extract amongst Albedo's pile of negatives, it's the amazing puzzles.

Saturday, February 6, 2016

Review Yamakasi - Les samouraïs des temps modernes (2001): One of the better Parkour films!

genre: action, crime, drama

Yamakasi is an interesting Luc Besson production as it is a little too ambitious for it's own good. Make no mistake the main draw very much is the sport / philosophy Parkour. But to make it a little more mainstream and conventional Luc Besson has thrown in a story to give it some more meat.

In some aspects this is admirable and in some ways it is not at all. I liked how this film tried to add a a little social commentary although at the same time I wasn't happy with how they resolved the issues raised. Especially since it gave the wrong message. On an emotional level very understandable of course however realistically speaking this would only confirm some of the stereotypes that exist in the world and wasn't the whole point to evoke sympathy for the cause of these Yamakasi. The Yamakasi in this film consist of the original founding members of Parkour excluding David Belle (Banlieue 13, Banlieue 13: Ultimatum and Brick Mansions) and Sébastien Foucan (Casino Royale). After one of their big stunts a little kid Djamel feels inspired by them and tries to mimic their movements. He climbs a tree and then falls from it. Apparently Djamel has a severe heart condition and all this excitement has worsened his health so much that if he does not get a new heart soon he will die. News of this is too much for his mother and she tries to kill herself. Fortunately the Yamakasi manage to put a stop to that. It dawns on them that they are responsible for all of this and that they will do whatever it takes to help out and make the surgery happen. I will be honest I could have done without this melodrama. It was laid on too thick and feels out of place considering the otherwise very light tone of the film. The Yamakasi devise a plan to steal from the very same doctors sitting in a board that decides who are the most suitable candidates for donor transplants. These doctors aren't portrayed nicely. In fact they are depicted as downright despicable and evil. And yes I do agree that some might be like the ones in this film but come on if they were all like that in real life then a lot of people would have died. Naturally I understand the thought behind this. It's all done to remind us that the Yamakasi are the good guys. 

Which brings me to the action and the stunts. Now I am not that well versed into the Parkour philosophy but whatever these guys did on the screen was nothing short of amazing. They climb and leap of buildings like it is nothing. I liked it how they also mentioned that they trained very hard to achieve what they can and that it certainly is not something just anyone can do on a whim. Well, I am sure that is meant for the kids who are watching as I as an adult won't think twice of doing what they do. 

While some Parkour enthusiasts will be a little disappointed that there is more of real Parkour this is still one of the better ones out there. There aren't that many of them made where Parkour is featured so prominently. And only a few of those are exceptional. So certainly one to check out. 

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Friday, February 5, 2016

Review Moonwalkers (2015): One small step to failure one giant leap for retardation!

genre: comedy, action, crime

The whole premise based on the fake moon landing conspiracy was an interesting one. It had everything to go crazy on. Greed, America always wanting to be the first and the best in everything, trauma, Vietnam, the Sixties, Stanley Kubrick, Hollywood, the space program. You name it you just had to pick a few of these. And for a short while this looked like it was going to be one hell of a satire. Instead most comedy is based on the juvenile joke that drugs are cool.

How is that even inventive, creative and funny? Is this really the image people have of The Sixties? So much was happening in that era. And all what is focused on a small segment in the hippie movement. Please! It's almost embarrassing. But OK as long as this silliness got backed up by some nice jokes I would be able to go with the flow. Apart from a few laugh out loud moments (before you get excited I am talking about one or two tops) there was nothing. And I mean absolutely nothing hilarious about this flick. Rupert and Ron give it their best and they certainly are the better elements of this film. Only it can't save the film drowning from the incredibly poor and gross jokes. Especially if they aren't particularly funny. The action scenes were nice though. Only it felt a little out of place concerning the topic. What makes it worse that you could predict the movie's every move. What is the point of watching something you already know how it is going to play out. Why not make us think we knew what was going to happen and then surprise us with something else? Or at least try to give the viewer some reward in the end? 

No, no, no! Avoid this like the plague. It's not clever at all and just a waste of time and braincells. 

Fire Emblem Fates: What to Know (Nintendo 3DS) by Ultimategamer132.

With the upcoming release (Februari 19 2016) of the dual Fire Emblem Fate games, its time to awaken your brains and enlighten them onto what similarities and differences each version holds within.

While Fire Emblem Awakening had a good balance between leniency and difficulty, Fates is splitting those two aspects into each of their versions. Birthright contains the lenient side. Birthright's ability to let players pay to replay chapters means they have more of a chance to gain loot and level up characters. In addition to that, a Phoenix Mode is added where units return to the living after each turn. These two components make it painstakingly obvious that Birthright is meant for those new to the strategy RPG franchise.

Fire Emblem Conquest takes a plunge into the extreme difficulty side of the pool. This is shown in Conquest's inability to replay any levels which makes players heavily think before they act. One thing that does get me excited is how Conquest will have varied completion goals which Awakening and Birthright lack.
Similarities in Differences

The only things both Fate games have in common are the first six chapters of the game, an ability to change a map's terrain using Dragon's Vein, and a My Castle mode. Their real comparisons; however, lie in the difference of classes and materials. Each version holds specific classes exclusive to that version. Also, My Castle allows units to eat food which raise stats and forge weapons from materials that are exclusive to their respective game.

Fire Emblem Fates has so much going against it. Its splitting into two versions is just one of those reasons. Despite its heavy backlash, Fates looks like its going to have an epic soundtrack, story, graphical quality, and gameplay. So like the Nohr and Hoshido choice, the outcome to purchasing Fates is unknown. 

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Review Outlast (PS4) by Ultimategamer132: It will definitely leave a lasting impression!

genre: horror

A game where you can't defend yourself. Sounds cool, right? The answer is yes. That was one of Outlast's main selling points. A survival horror game that instead of fighting back, you can only hide. And hide you shall as you navigate investigative reporter Miles Upshur through the hell that is Mount Massive Asylum.

For a setting that is an insane asylum, Outlast puts its pedal to the metal in creativity as it surprisingly has a variety of places to cautiously explore. Even on the rare occasions when the settings felt old, a curve ball is thrown that made me appreciate the uniqueness of Outlast. It also gives Outlast a chance to show off its graphical quality that only makes the settings and backdrops even more eerie with its intense detail to lighting. However, character models noticeably show off their age as they look unloaded and bland. With lighting being put at a forefront, its no wonder that your intangible companion is a camera with the ability of night vision. This god-given power does have one major draw back; it needs batteries. These scarcely placed resources are crucial as they are the only power source for your only light source for your only... oh forget it. Finding a battery is like locating a hiding spot, s***s about to go down.

Outlast does not exclusively focus on horror. As a good scare-fest should, an equal amount of tension is also built into its foundation. Not having constant fear is good, because that means I scream my pants off when a good scare does come my way. The real importance is how horror and tension combine in events such as being chased (by the way, you can look behind you *shudders*).

It's common sense that every form of entertainment should have a minimally descent story. Though there are those few that go above and beyond and create a fantastic narrative, IE Outlast. Exploration from the normal path heeds rewards to players in the form of an additional story. While the background narrative is impressive, it feels unneeded as the interest of the story lies in the context given off by dialogue instead of recordings or found files.

Outlast not only contains excellence in its own journey, but in gaming as a whole. It goes above and beyond in every component with a soundtrack that captures the tension of Outlast itself and a narrative where I actually rooted for the main character to survive. Outlast does what exactly what its title says, its decision to hide instead of fight influenced Indi games such as Hektor and even the infamous P.T. Silent Hill. Outlast will leave a lasting impression on gamers everywhere.

Review Batman: Bad Blood (2016): Animated Batman film filled with super heroes, super villains and action but lacking story and characterization!

genre: animation, comic book, super hero, action, crime

Apparently there are many candidates to fill Batman's shoes if one day he will be out of the picture although there will never be someone like him ever again. 

In Batman: Bad Blood we get a what if tale where it is explored what would happen if Batman would disappear one day and who would be worthy enough to follow him up. A very interesting premise if you ask me but one that is handled a little poorly. Instead of delving deep into the characters who very gladly want to help out we get served one action scene after another. I get it you are all very capable. No need to remind me every two minutes. I love action. But when it comes to comic book adaptations I also like to learn more about the characters and their universe. If you can strike a balance between characterization, story and the action then I will be very happy. Here there is almost too much action. Luckily this is a short film (72 minutes) so it won't get on your nerves. Still with the emphasis on action there is very little time given to get truly familiar with some new characters that make their entrance. Don't Batwoman and Batwing deserve better exposure? Then there is a familiar character whose name I won't mention who acts a little conflicting. I don't know if this was done on purpose for the sake to surprise the viewer. Or that they have lost sight of how they portrayed the character in earlier animated films. Whatever the goal was it was very weak. Like in Son of Batman this animated film commits a carnal sin. Batman is barely in it. So far that is a plot device I really don't like. However in this case that could be the whole point. (Don't ever leave us Batman, we need you!)

Bad Blood is adequate and entertaining enough but don't get your hopes up about learning something significant about any of the characters. Real shame if you ask me.

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Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Review Ride Along 2 (2016): I'll be damned Kevin Hart actually managed to make me laugh this time!

genre: comedy, crime, action

Ride Along 2 is far from clever or original but it does what it is supposed to. Make you laugh and bring you some nice action. 

When you have buddy cop movies like this you know you should not have high expectations. And when it comes to sequels you always have to be prepared that it could be worse than the original. In this case however it is slightly better. It looks like Kevin Hart has stopped trying to be funny with the result that now he actually has become funnier. Same goes for Ken Jeong. I usually can't stand him but he also seems to have learned to tone it down considerably and it works perfectly. Even Ice Cube looks like he is enjoying himself and seem less angry than he is usually. Add to that the sexy Olivia Munn and the team is complete. Like the first there is no pretension whatsoever other than to provide fun for a little over 90 minutes. It's nice to have light movies like these since they are a pleasant way to take your mind of things. Mind you the jokes are very simple and predictable. But that is cool. Sometimes that is just what you need. 

So yes, Ride Along 2 is one I can recommend if you are looking for a nice and fun way to pass the time.

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