In May 2011, I was working as a personal trainer in a small gym. I was talking to clients at the treadmills when a breaking news segment came on saying that Osama Bin Laden was dead. Almost a full decade after 9/11, the most wanted man alive had been killed. Kind of a big deal.
America had successfully assassinated a man responsible for the deaths of thousands. Media coverage told us about the elite members of Seal Team 6 and their raid on Osama’s complex. I knew the manhunt was an exhaustive effort, but I really wasn’t aware of the astronomical odds of its failure were.
And these impossible odds are the crux of Kathryn Bigelow’s ‘Zero Dark Thirty.’ The film follows CIA interrogation “Maya” (played masterfully by Jessica Chastain) as she wages a seemingly one-woman witch hunt for Bin Laden. Combining documented real events with Bigelow’s grounded direction, Zero Dark Thirty provides a grim, realistic view of these extraordinary events.
Part of the allure of owning a tablet or smartphone is the massive application library of games you have at your finger tips. And for Android, the experience is even deeper, where running your favorite old school video game off an emulator is incredible easy. While running a Wii Remote or Xbox 360 controller has been possible for a while now via bluetooth, dedicated Android gaming controllers are starting to flood the marketplace. Two new competitors are Power A’s MOGA controller, and Nyko’s Playpad Pro. Instead of splitting the reviews, I thought it would be more interesting to put the two head-to-head.
Capcom’s always been in favor of re-releasing games, whether straight ports, HD remakes, or Super-Turbo-Hyper installments. I’ve never had a problem with it, often finding each release to have its own valid purpose for existence. That was until playing the latest release of Resident Evil CODE: Veronica X, just re-released in HD by Capcom for Xbox Live and PlayStation Network.
The game follows Claire Redfield, and later her brother Chris Redfield, who’s playable halfway through the title. Claire attempts to rescue her brother from his disappearance by the Umbrella Corporation in Paris, France, but fails in her attempt and is subsequently held prisoner at Rockfort Island.
Throughout the game, you can expect a lot of the traditional elements of the Resident Evil franchise: shooting zombies, collecting items, collecting weaponry, completing puzzles. Instead of the puzzles feeling rewarding, they’re seemingly designed to be nothing more than tedious obstacles holding you up from accomplishing your main objectives. You’re constantly shuffling through inventory, going back and forth between the same locations, and at no time can I say it offered a remotely fun experience.
Resident Evil 4 is a rarity. Titles released within the survival-horror genre seem to have a hard time finding success. Even rarer can one game sustain its popularity through a slew of re-releases across the last 7 years — RE4 was originally released on the GameCube, eventually making its way to PS2, PC, Wii, iPhone… the list goes on. While I live for all things horror, I always avoided the genre in video games, as I never thought games could actually be scary. House of the Dead didn’t scare me. Saw didn’t scare me. Now after playing Resident Evil 4 HD, I’m convinced games can be be downright terrifying.
While the graphics have certainly been cleaned up, RE4 HD features the original animations of the GameCube title, noticeable at times by the last gen look of the on-screen text, menu systems, and the occasional harsh characters or environment textures — nostrils and ears look a bit harsh. Aside from a few flaws, the game looks great, with an overall polished look for a high definition presentation.
It’s been over ten years since the original Deus Ex was released, delivering a new benchmark in action/RPG gaming. With a giant world, versatile combat, and a truly unique atmosphere, Deus Ex delivered on all of its lofty promises and then some. Fans have finally received another entry into the Deus Ex franchise with the prequel, Deus Ex Human Revolution.
But can lightning strike twice?
With the tremendous critical success of Deus Ex, it’s hard not to expect great things from Human Revolution. And I’m happy to report that Eidos Montreal delivers. Set in a futuristic Detroit, players control Sarif’s chief of Security Adam Jensen. Sarif is a pioneering corporation in the field of human augmentation, offering cybernetic enhancements (both life saving and cosmetic). Need a new leg? They can do that. Want to increase your brainpower? Have a neural hub installed.
It’s been over a decade since Third Strike graced consoles, Capcom’s third entry in the Street Fighter III series. Each of the SFIII titles seemed like an intentional step away from the familiarity of their predecessor. After all, it’s next to impossible to release any game post Super Street Fighter II (which was fighting perfection) and expect it to be as good. Deliberate steps were taken to make this a different fighting game altogether.
If this is your first time playing a SFIII title, you’re going to be turned off by the lack of SFII challengers. Ken, Ryu, Akuma, and Chun-Li. That’s all you get. There are quite a few likable new characters however, many of which became fan favorites like Hugo, Twelve, and Yun and Yang — the latter two were added to SSFIV’s recent Arcade Edition. After spending some time with the new crew, you’ll quickly note that several characters are seemingly hybrids of familiar players. Dudley for example plays like a cross between Balrog and Sagat. Sean plays much like Ken and Ryu. If you’re capable of swallowing that bitter pill, and accepting a change in roster, there’s a chance you may like what SFIII offers.
[A Spoiler-Free Post]
Going to the movies has become a torturous process these days. Shelving out the price of a DVD to see a movie that you’re more than likely going to hate isn’t as fun as it used to be. Still, we shuffle into our local cineplex in the hopes that a deserving work of art will rise to the surface, through the rubble of blockbuster bullshit. Rarely does a film come along that can surprise us, let alone inspire us. Super 8 did just that.
Super 8, set in the late 1970s, is easily reminiscent of one of the many Steven Spielberg 80s buddy adventure movies you know and love, his signature genre that has nearly dissipated over the last few decades –The Goonies and E.T. will quickly come to mind. Spielberg produced the film, while J.J. Abrams (LOST, Star Trek) wrote and directed. Spielberg’s reign of the character-based adventure genre blended with Abrams’ ability to create masterful sci-fi projects works better than you could expect. Their collaboration is truly a match made in heaven, as Super 8 truly reinstates a dying genre.
Cats, dogs, dolphins… unicorns. You name an animal (real or not) and odds are there is a pet sim for it. But until Platypus Wrangler is released, Sony has put together what may be the most immersive pet sims to date.
I speak of course, of EyePet.
*Warning: Real pets will be jealous of how much attention you give the EyePet.*
EyePet is one off Sony’s brand new PlayStation Move titles. The Move control scheme allows PS3 gamers motion controls using the Move controller and the EyeToy (the PS3′s USB camera) to track player movements. This new level of interactivity allows you to… well… interact, with the EyePet.
The EyePet itself is nothing short of adorable. It’s a small, fluffy, simian creature that will steal the thunder of real household pets everywhere (for a time). It coos, purrs, yips, laughs, and responds to player stimulus. And you can customize it from fir (or feather) length and color to adorable outfits. But how does it work?
Let’s cut to the chase. Halo: Reach is the quintessential Halo experience. Bold statement? Yes. But here’s why.
Reach is the swan song for franchise helmer Bungie Studios. While Microsoft plans on churning out more Halo titles in the future, the creators of Master Chief are stepping away from the Halo universe to pursue other adventures. That said, it’s evident that the Bungie staff put every ounce of their heart and soul into Reach.
Starting with the campaign mode, Halo: Reach is the most cavalier spirited Halo title since the original. Players control Noble 6, the aptly named 6th member of the Spartan Noble team. Noble Team has been charged with carrying out high-risk ops on Planet Reach, the last remaining human stronghold against the Covenant forces.
And from the get-go, it’s evident the planet of Reach is in trouble.