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Beach Queens Tasogare Otomo x Amunejia Yuko Kanoe (Japan Import)
Beach Queens Tasogare Otomo x Amunejia Yuko Kanoe (Japan Import)
Offered by Jamazing Store
Price: $59.49
93 used & new from $46.80

5.0 out of 5 stars Very nice and sexy model., February 11, 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This is a very well made and sexy figure. Nothing wrong with it at all. The only thing that bothers me is that this is the ONLY figure from the series Dusk Maiden of Amnesia out there and it makes me kinda sad that such a fan servicey figure is all there is from this wonderful series. Still very nice figure. I'd just like to see more figures from this series without relaying on sex appeal.

Far Cry 3 - Xbox 360
Far Cry 3 - Xbox 360
Price: $17.15
194 used & new from $7.98

5.0 out of 5 stars Far Cry 3 Game Review, December 29, 2012
= Fun:5.0 out of 5 stars 
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This review is from: Far Cry 3 - Xbox 360 (Video Game)
Ubisoft squeaked in Far Cry 3 at the very end of the year which can be risky for games since the major game release time tends to be between October and November and sometimes the general gamer public might look over something that comes out this close to the years end. However, Ubisoft definitely saved their best for last as Far Cry 3 is hands down the best in the series so far. If you're not familiar with Far Cry, they are an FPS series that is characterized by its exotic settings with danger all around and with the need for survival. The first Far Cry caught the eyes of many PC gamers for its beautiful graphics and game play in 2004 and was set on a tropical island. I personally did not like it but I think that's because the version I had was messed up or something because I could never get it to save correctly. Far Cry 2 was released in 2008 and was set in central Africa. It never seemed to be as popular as I felt it should have been and it was and still is one of the most realistic shooters I've ever played. It had a very raw feeling and took into account many things other shooters do not, such as keeping your weapon maintained or else it'll jam on you and rocket launchers with back blast that can hurt you and cause fires. As for Far Cry 3, it once again is set on a tropical island in the Pacific which honestly turned me off to it as it seemed they were going for a pseudo-remake of the first game. Also it being called `Skyrim with guns' has not turning me on to playing it (Sorry Skyrim is overrated) but I was wrong about FC3. While Far Cry 3 doesn't do anything revolutionary for games, it does a great job with what it has and makes the series stand out more than the previous titles.

STORY: You play as Jason Brody, a rich college graduate from California on the vacation of a life time with his two brothers, girlfriend, and closest friends. As the final part of their trip through Asia, they go skydiving onto an island located somewhere between Indonesia and Australia. When they land on the beach they are horrified to discover that the island is controlled by pirates and they are captured. The pirates and the PMC that handles them are lead by a man named Vaas (pirate leader) and a man named Hoyt (PMC leader). They control human trafficking and drug trading in this part of the world and use these islands as a base of operations. Jason and his older brother try to escape the camp however Jason ends up fleeing into the jungle and is nearly killed. He is saved by a man named Dennis and explains how the island's natives, the Rakyat, are leading a guerilla war against the pirates and need his help. Jason reluctantly joined as it seems to be the only means to save his friends.

Now I usually try to avoid spoilers in my reviews but I will have to mention some borderline spoiler things here and there. So if you don't want any spoilers, skip down to the game play section. First of all, Far Cry 3 has hands down the best story and characters of all the Far Cry games. I can't help but feel there is some social commentary going on here with these privileged white Americans getting thrown into the situation. Jason, while I really didn't like him at first, changes a lot of over the game and the change is a believable one up until a certain point. Vaas is one of the best villains in a video game this year. He reminds me of the Heath Ledger Joker, when he's on the screen, you can't take your eyes off him. Now this game is divided into two halves and I have to say, the first half is stronger than the second. The game starts out strong and ends strong but the 2nd act, it kind of falls flat and feels pretty different from the first half of the game. It doesn't make it so you will want to stop playing but you'll definitely notice the change and it makes Jason's character development feel less believable though this does come to a head at the very end of the game. Also this is when Hoyt becomes the main villain and he's just not nearly as interesting as Vaas. Jason's friends are very believable as they react to the situation they are in and you meet some other messed up characters along the way. As I said, the strong characters that this game has sets it apart from the other FC games. I should also mention that there is some very heavy subject matter in this game. In addition to all the usual violence you see in an M Rated FPS game, there are also drugs, human slavery, and implied raped.

The tropical island setting is used well as for the story and game play and seems to use it better than the first game. While this game tries to be realistic much like Far Cry 2 was, there are some mystical elements to it as well. There are bizarre drug induced segments and boss fights and this subtle Alice in Wonderland motif going on. The game also has a lot of Rambo references. If you've seen the 4th movie, you'll know what I'm talking about. This is a pretty long game, around 20+ hours especially if you try to do all of the side quests, which there are many. As I said, the game has a strong start and finish but the 2nd act is where the game kind of falls flat as it just seems to take on a new tone. Also the game has a very long credit roll at the end. Might be one of the longest credit sequences I have sat through since Metal Gear Solid 4.

GAMEPLAY: Much like Far Cry 2, it's an open sand box world but because of the island setting, it gives you freedom to REALLY explore everything. The shooting is pretty basic if you're familiar with most FPS games these days and you have a large variety of weapons to acquire in this game which are all customizable. They range from assault rifles, machine guns, launchers, bow and arrows and flamethrowers. The flamethrower is fun. All the weapons can be customized and are fun to find creative ways to use them which leads to the best part of the game: the assaults. Observing, planning, and making attacks against enemy positions are a lot of fun in this game because you are given complete freedom on how to go about it. You can try storming in with guns blazing but most of the time that will end with you dead. You have to plan your attacks, make use of the environment and the weapons at hand. You can sneak in and disable the alarm and then attack or sneak in and take down enemies one by one with knife (which is a lot of fun to do) or set the camp on fire or shoot open the cage of a predator in the camp and have the animal attack people. There are many possibilities to play with.

Hunting and gathering is another major game play point. Unlike in other games like Red Dead Redemption or Assassin's Creed 3 where hunting wild life can be done but isn't needed unless you want to make some extra cash. In Far Cry 3, you must hunt if you want to be able to progress through the game. At the start, you have very little on you and you must craft rucksacks, bandoliers, holsters, wallets ect. If you want to be able to carry more stuff and you will need to be able to do so or else you're going to have a bad time. Everything requires certain amounts of animal hides to make so it's a good idea to try and get most of your hunting done as early as you can in the game and be aware, you're not the only one hunting. Predatory animals will hunt other wild life, humans, and you which add a much more realistic feel to the game's wild life. You need to watch out for leopards, bears, and tigers on land and watch out for sharks and crocodiles in the water. You can kill these creatures, of course, but they do not go down as easy as many of the human enemies in the game. You also gather plants for making health items, combat and hunting items as well.

Plants and hunting grounds are clearly marked on your map which is handled differently from the previous game. This is where some of the rawness from FC2 is taken away in FC3. In the previous game, your map was literally a map that your character pulled out and looked at while holding a GPS device. In FC3, it's just a map screen that gets pulled up when you press select. There is nothing wrong with that but the map screen and menu screen for crafting and item management will take you out of the immersive feeling the game is going for. The map itself is easy to read and has easy to use fast travel stations that you unlock by liberating enemy camps across the island so that's another reason you want to assault enemy positions. Your map is not all there however. You must unlock more sections of the map by finding and climbing radio towers. The more you turn on, the more of the map you see. These are pretty fun as they act as mini plat forming segments and are sort of like climbing vantage points in Assassin's Creed games. Other side missions include assassinating specific enemies with your knife, hunting animals with a certain weapon, and odd jobs you'll find from other people on the island. You can also find and collect relics, WWII letters from dead Japanese soldiers, and memory cards that give you drug recipes. You get some exp points from these but not really worth collecting everything unless you're an achievement hunter.

You level up like you would in an RPG and you do it fairly often. When you do, you gain a skill point which you can spend to unlock new skills and gain more on your arm tattoo. Some of these skills are helpful but some of these are throw aways like faster turret cool down or shooting from zip lines. You're never really going to use it. You get the most exp points from killing enemies and completing main missions. The game has a much improved money system from the previous game as it uses actual cash instead of diamonds and the money is much more plentiful. There were many times when I had too much money and I had to just spend it on stuff to free up my wallet. Driving vehicles is much more realistic in this game. Take that as a good or bad thing. Some cars have trouble driving on rough terrain and some roll over pretty easily. Thankfully the hang glider is much easier to control in this game and not just a death trap like it was in FC2. The weapon selection inventory is the last thing I'll hit on. It's kind of confusing to use as it is never explained and if it is, it's not explained well. I had to check in the instruction pamphlet. You hold the left bumper to make it appear you use the joystick to select the weapon. However, if you switch between weapons like normal it will go back to whatever weapon was previously selected. It's kind of confusing to explain but it can be annoying especially in the middle of combat when pulling up the inventory screen isn't easy to do. While the game play over all is fun, it runs into the similar problem I find with games like Skyrim that there are a limited number of different types of side quests and once you get the hang of how these missions go, it gets kind of repetitive. This is more evident the 2nd half of the game as well.

GRAPHICS: Visually Far Cry 3 is a beautiful game. The landscape, water, people, animals, plants all look amazing and life like. There is nothing here to honestly complain about. However, if you are someone where the best possible graphics are a must, then you should definitely play this game on PC if your computer can handle it. The 360 version looks good but kind of has this weird slight flickering when you're looking around sometimes. Also the game did freeze on me once but I am using a used game so if you get it new, hopefully you won't have that issue. Like the games before it in this series, FC3 is very easy on the eyes.

SOUND: All the sounds of the jungle and combat sound great in FC3. The audio is very helpful in hunting animals as you can maybe get the drop on them by hearing animal grunts and growls through the brush. It can also be tip off as you turn around to see a tiger jumping into your face. There is this sound you where whenever you pull up the map or menu screen that sounds like a picture being processed out of a Polaroid camera. It sounds cool at first but considering how often you will be pulling up those screens, it gets annoying after awhile. The music of Far Cry 3 is odd. The main theme is the airy electric rock song that kind of reminds me of the theme from Mirror's Edge. The majority of the music you hear though is this foreboding, suspense building music you hear when walking around in the jungle or you just hear nothing but the wild life. I'm not saying FC3 has bad music, I'm just saying hearing the good music is fairly rare. The voice acting is the best in the franchise so far. As I said before, Jason and his friends sound and act believable to people in this situation and the more corrupt characters are also fun to watch and come to hate them but in the good way you should come to hate a bad guy. Vaas is the one who steals the show however. Like I said, he's like the Heath Ledger Joker, when he's on the screen you can't take your eyes off him because you're terrified and also mesmerized by his insanity and the crazy things he is saying. Ubisoft knew he was an awesome character and it's why he's on the cover of the game. Sadly, he's only in the first half of the game. Notice a pattern here?

Overall, Far Cry 3 is the best game in the series so far in terms of story, characters, and general survival game play. There are a couple things I wish they had kept from Far Cry 2 but it doesn't hurt it much. As I've said multiple times in this review, the 1st half of the game is stronger than the 2nd. Survival with the elements becomes less of an issue by then and your character's objectives change but it does start and end strong. If you're tired of typical CoD like FPS games and like big open world games then you should check this one out. It can be repetitive but it's the kind of repetitiveness that makes you feel like you're moving towards a greater goal and it's rewarding because of that so come take a trip to this island of madness. If you're going to play one Ubisoft game this year, let it be Far Cry 3, not AC3.

OVERALL: 8.5/10

Dredd [3D Blu-ray/Blu-ray + Digital Copy + UltraViolet]
Dredd [3D Blu-ray/Blu-ray + Digital Copy + UltraViolet]
DVD ~ Lena Headey
Price: $9.49
111 used & new from $4.00

11 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Dredd movie review, December 9, 2012
In the 90's, Sylvester Stallone starred in the movie Judge Dredd which was one of those bad but fun action movies. It was full of all the typical clichés of a 90's action movie and some hilarious over the top acting such Stallone screaming and mispronouncing the word LAW over and over. Now it would be a few years till I actually saw it as I was just a kid back then and even a few more years till I learned that Judge Dredd is based on a comic book and pretty much all the comic fans hated the movie. One of the big complaints fans had is that Dredd is never supposed remove his helmet. Ever. Well, fans can be happy that you never see his entire face in this new movie and it actually works well in adding to the character's badassness. The overall look and feel of the movie is far more gritty, dark, and violent than the previous film. It should please the fans and seems to be pleasing the critics surprisingly which is one of the main reasons I decided to check it out. A movie like this could easily be horrible and it wasn't. It's nothing more than what you'd expect from an R-Rated action movie but it proves to be quiet entertaining.

The story is quite a simple one. Instead of having a complicated story like the 95 movie which goes into conspiracies and Dredd's past, it focuses on a really bad day type scenario. In the future, the remains of the US are walled into a super city. Crime rates sky rocket and a special police force known as the Judges act as judge, jury, and executioner for dealing with all the crime and they deal with it very harshly. The most badass and feared of these judges is Judge Dredd played by Karl Urban. This day he takes under his wing rookie Judge Cassandra Anderson played by the lovely Olivia Thirlby. Anderson is special because she is a mutant and has telepathy and they believe her powers will be useful and they are. While investigating three murders inside one of the mega block, 200+ floor apartment complexes that fill the city, they happen to piss off the head of a powerful crime syndicate that controls the building that is lead by Madelaine "Ma-Ma" Magrigal played by Lean Heady. I give them props for having a female antagonist. She manages to lock the building down, sealing the two judges inside with hundreds of gang members wanting to kill them. It then turns into something out of a video game as Dredd and Anderson move and shoot their way up the levels and hallways of this mega building. It is actually quite successful in building tension and suspense in several scenes. At only 95 minutes, the movie moves at a good pace though it does have a very lack luster ending and a suddenly plot point that was poorly explained and required me to read Wikipedia when I got home to understand it.

The gritty and dark tone of the movie never lets up and there is very little humor (though it didn't stop us from making our own here and there). This movie is also VERY violent. If you have a problem with graphic violence, DO NOT SEE THIS MOVIE. A head melts within the first ten minutes and it just keeps getting worse from there. The acting is nothing special. There are no over the top lines like from the 95 movie. Karl Urban does a good job of keeping Dredd cool and level headed but totally badass at the same time but I do miss Stallone yelling `I AM THE LAWL!' We get no real character development out of Dredd so if you like to see character development in main characters you will be disappointed. Olivia Thirlby is the only character with development in the movie as the cliché trial by fire rookie but does well with the role and she is nice to look at. Lean Heady's acting is very subdued but you can tell she's evil and twisted in her actions and body language more than in her dialogue. Everyone is more or less a cliché or a target to be shot or die in some horrible way. The action scenes are well done and specially the drug induced scenes where a character or more than one character are on a drug called `Slo-Mo' and everything is slowed down and given a heavenly aurora around it. It makes for some interesting and artistic action scenes. Now I saw this movie in 2D but everyone says it is amazing in 3D. If you know me, you know that I HATE 3D movies but I will admit that these drug induced shoot'em up scenes would look pretty cool in 3D. Does this is mean I'm going to go see it in 3D just for that stuff? Hell no.

Overall, it's a cool little action movie that does much more JUSTICE to the source material than the 95 Stallone movie did and it should please fans. Even if you aren't a Dredd fan or know nothing about the comics in which it is based on and enjoy gory, mindless action films, you should have a hoot with this.
OVERALL: 7.5/10
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Mar 22, 2013 10:09 AM PDT

La Noire - Playstation 3
La Noire - Playstation 3
Price: $13.68
242 used & new from $4.81

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars L.A. Noire game review, December 9, 2012
= Fun:5.0 out of 5 stars 
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
I'd like to take a look at the game LA Noire which came out all the way back in the spring of 2011 released by Rockstar Games and developed by Team Bondi. Now I didn't get to play it till earlier this year in 2012 and I found myself regretting not playing this game when it came out because it totally deserved a place on my top 5 games of 2011. At first glance, this game looks like another GTA clone but it is far from it. It is a deep and immersive game that truly makes you feel like a detective in a film-noire crime movie. It received high scores in reviews and rightfully so but I still know lots of people who have never played this, myself almost being one of them. This is one of those games that anyone who considers themselves a gamer needs to experience.

STORY: Set in Los Angeles in 1946, you play mostly as Cole Phelps, a Battle of Okinawa veteran and new beat cop with the LAPD. Phelps' keen problem solving skills get him noticed by the police chief and heads of the detective desks in the police department and after while (four missions that act as the game's tutorial) he is promoted to detective. Throughout the game, you work multiple cases from the traffic desk, homicide desk, vice desk, and arson desk. Not to go into any spoilers but you will deal with murders, insurance frauds, serial killers, the mafia, drug rings, and scandals including Phelps' hurtles as he rises to become one of the most well known and feared detectives in LA. One of the things that makes this game work is how painstakingly detailed Los Angeles is. Team Bondi put in a lot of hard work to recreate 1946 Los Angeles, not just in physical appearance (you can go anywhere in the city as it was during that time) but also in the social issues that were going on at the time. Racism, sexism, and veterans adjusting to peace time create some of the strongest images I've ever seen of post-WWII America and it all just sucks you deeper and deeper into this game. Be warned: the murder scenes in this game are brutally realistic but once again it just adds to the feeling of being a detective. The gameplay, acting, and sound also greatly play into making this game an unforgettable experience.

GAMEPLAY: Like I said before, it looks and generally plays like a GTA game however the best aspects of the gameplay does not focus on running and gunning like most similar games before it. Let me make this clear, if you pick up this game expecting an action game you will be very disappointed. This is a thinker's game and that's what makes it so great. You will be rattling your brain trying to put together the clues you've gather and trying to figure out who is lying and telling the truth. This is the core of the gameplay and it gets really tricky as the game progresses. Each time you visit a crime scene you will need to make sure to explore every inch of the area and examine everything. You have a notepad in which notes are made through your investigations and you'll want to use them during questionings and interrogations. The more clues you've gathered, the more you'll have to work with. Interrogations are the other big part of the game and you will be racking your brain with some of these. As you ask your questions, you must determine whether or not they are telling the truth, lying, or give doubt to what they are saying. You'll probably notice how realistic everyone's facial animations look in this game. That's not just to make to game look good, it's a gameplay mechanic. Part of what you will be using to judge if someone is telling the truth or not is by watching their facial expressions. This gets really tricky but is so satisfying when you're able to catch someone in their own lie.

Now like I said, getting interrogations to come out the way you want them can be really hard but there is help. You gain intuition points throughout the game by successfully questioning someone and/or getting a good cop grade when completing a case. You can use these during interrogations to take away some of the options to help you deduce if someone is telling the truth or not. I found myself trying to use these as sparingly as possible mainly because, while this gameplay mechanic is challenging, it is very rewarding and fun to try and figure out which, once again, plays into the immersive feel of this game and making you really feel like a detective. Help also comes to you during your investigations in the form of the partners that you get throughout the game. While some are more helpful than others, you can always go talk to them about what you should do next. The game missions are actually very linear however you don't really notice it since the entire city is there to explore but you will feel driven to go to your next objective and what not which makes the missions feel more open than they really are. There is a lot of replay value to each case as they can have multiple outcomes based on how well you do with your investigation. However, the outcome, no matter how bad, doesn't really affect the overall story at all which is a shame because this was a game that could have used more than one ending.

Driving is another big part of the game. There are nearly 100 actual car models that would have been on the road in 1946 that you can find and drive. Like in similar games, you'll want to go as fast as you can all the time and end up crashing into everything because no one else is driving like that. In this game, that's not the best idea as it can hurt your case performance points though there is a free drive mode where driving like a mad man won't count against you and it is fun for mindless road rage. Of course, you do find yourself in car chases throughout the game and they can be frustrating at times. Not knowing your way around in a case can lead you into a dead end or getting caught on the corner of a wall or something as your target speeds away that can lead to a failure of the mission and restart at the last check point. However, this is something that is common in open sandbox type games so it's nothing unique to LA Noire. There are also foot chases where you have to chase down a suspect. This tends to happen a lot and it gets kind of annoying each time it happens. Much like with the car chases, if you get lost and lose your target, its game over. The action segments in general in LA Noire are not handled too well and hard kind of rare for what you'd expect from a game like this. They are there but they are much more spread out throughout the game. The shooting mechanic is pretty bare bones and while it is simple enough, it doesn't happen so much so I was usually taken back when I had to try and remember how the shooting worked because you just don't use it that often. There are even some platform action segments which can be pretty difficult as well. This game does let you skip past these action parts if you die too many times but I personally find that kind of cheap though I did find myself using it once. Like I said, action is not what this game excels at, this is thinker's game and that is what sets LA Noire apart from other similar games and what it does so well and makes this game so memorable.

GRAPHICS: What you will notice that stands out the most is the facial animations for all the characters in this game. MotionScan technology was developed for completely capturing the faces of the game actors, capturing every single movement of someone's face. What we get is true acting in a video game, not just voice acting over the animation of a game character. Something like this has never really been done before. The sites of Los Angeles such as landmarks and other locations were recreated for this game and look amazing. The crime scenes, apartments and houses are very well furnished and look like someplace someone would actually live instead of just decoration for the game. Like I said the facial animations will steal the show but there is a lot to look at when you're not too busy with investigations.

SOUND: The music in this game is just great. The jazz and big band type music from the time period makes for a beautiful and fitting soundtrack and is the icing on the cake. The sound effects all sound great and work into the gameplay as well. When doing investigations of crime scenes, as you walk past a clue, a piano chime will play by the object letting you know to check that object out. It helps you inspect things that do not appear as obvious some other things at the crime scene. The voice acting, my god, this is flat out some of the best voice work for a video game I've ever heard and works so well with the facial acting. It really feels like you are part of a movie.

Overall, this is a game I feel has sadly become rather underrated since its release. It truly makes you feel like a detective and really makes you exercise your mind trying to solve these cases, especially if you want to go through and try to get a perfect score on all of these. If you're only into action with games like this, then I'd recommend Sleeping Dogs or a GTA title then. But if you're like me, something like this is a great change of pace from just running around and shooting bad guys. The game has dropped in price a lot so it shouldn't be too hard to find this game for $20 or less if you look hard enough. I highly recommend this game.


Borderlands 2 - Xbox 360
Borderlands 2 - Xbox 360
Price: $15.55
227 used & new from $5.79

5.0 out of 5 stars Borderlands 2 game review, November 28, 2012
= Fun:5.0 out of 5 stars 
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Holy hot jimmies, this game is good! Borderlands 2 is truly a unique gem in the increasingly popular first person RPG genre. The game's style and feel reminds me of a mix of Trigun, Unreal Tournament, and a little bit of Bioshock and Fallout 3. Also it's funny as hell. It's been a while since I've seen a game like this that has such personality to go with the overall fun factor of the game play. Now this is unusual for me because I usually don't really care for these massive, open world, first person RPGs like Skyrim or Fallout 3. That is part of the reason I avoided this game for awhile. It took some convincing to finally get around to playing this game and boy was I wrong. The game play is very addictive, the story is simple but good and well-done, the characters are some of the best video game characters I have seen in years, and it puts lots of new spins on the usual FPS conventions. It's definitely not the deepest RPG experience out there but it doesn't need to be. Now I have not played the first game but you don't really have to play the first to understand this game, though it was made me very interesting in playing the original Borderlands now. Review time, go now!

STORY: Set on the planet Pandora (not the one with the blue cats) which holds legends of all kinds of vaults that hold mythical amounts of treasure. Treasure hunters known as Vault Hunters come from all over the galaxy come to this planet seeking a legendary vault hidden within the planet. The planet is controlled by the Hyperion Organization which is under control of Handsome Jack (isn't that the best name ever?) who has been luring hunters to the planet to kill them off to keep them from getting to the vault so he can keep it for himself and so the company can freely mine Eridium from the planet. Today, four Vault Hunters, Salvador, Maya, Axton, and Zer0 have made it to the planet and discover Handsome Jack's trap and end up left for dead near the planet's pole. Pandora itself is a land of danger filled with arctic glaciers, deserts, wastelands, steep valleys, mountains, and volcanoes. In those lands they are filled with native creatures, bandits, psycho paths, killer freaks, robots, and other horrors you must face, plus Handsome Jack as a deadly plan for those on the planet who are trying to resist him.

You also encounter some strong allies in these borderlands. This game has some of the coolest characters I've seen in a video game in awhile. There are characters like Scooter who is your typical redneck mechanic that has some questionable love interests, Dr. Zed your go to person for health with a questionable medical license, Marcus the gun seller who is always trying to make a buck, Miss Moxxi the sexy bar owner, Tiny Tina a mentally unstable 13-year old that is an expert with explosives, and Claptrap. Oh, Claptrap. He's one of the silliest robots ever in a video game. Handsome Jack makes for one of the best villains I've seen in a video game who is just constantly harassing you throughout the game. He's such a condescending jerk but at the same time he's hilarious. The cast from the first game also become major characters as the story progresses. I am also happy to see that the characters that you play as are not just silent protagonists like you see in most games like this. While they do not talk directly with NPCs, they do talk and make wise remarks during combat. I prefer to have a character with personality than one that just stays silent throughout a game even though they are the hero.

The game's story length is surprisingly long. It's taken me about three weeks to complete but I've also been working at the side quests which there very many of. While the main missions are generally interesting and keep the story moving along, the side missions are a lot of fun as well. They range from massive treasure hunts, taking on a town filled with bandits, to something as simple as shooting a guy in the face who literally asked for it. While the game is long and has some epic boss fights, including the last boss, it does have a disappointingly short ending like many games these days and kinds sets it up for another game. BUT it's not like that's it, there are still plenty of side missions to do and a few open up to you after you complete the main missions so there is plenty to do after the credits roll.

GAMEPLAY: If you like shooting and looting then you will love this game because you're going to be doing it A LOT. This game has soooo many guns. I really have no idea how many guns are in it because I seem to be always discovering new ones. Not only do you have the usual classes of guns such as assault rifles, pistols, sniper rifles, SMGs, and rocket launchers, you also have elemental based guns. They have one of five elemental effects such as electricity, acid, fire, slag (a chemical that causes enemies to take more damage), and explosive. They also take the usual shooter cliché of red explosive barrels and adds in barrels that hold these elements to use strategically during gun fights. I have no idea how they have barrels of electricity but they are fun to shoot. In addition to your guns and grenades, you also have various shields which take another convention of modern shooters and makes it deeper. You can find, buy, or make better shields throughout the game and they all recharge at certain rates. Your shields recharge but your health does not. You'll need to find health items for that which I rather like because I'm tired of the easy-peasy take cover and you'll heal right up health system most games these days use. You will find money, ammo, guns, shields, and other goodies all over the place in this game and you will constantly be looting containers. It becomes very addictive. Also when you find new guns, shields, ect, a screen appears that shows the item's stats and makes it easy to compare with the items you currently have. You can carry a lot on you but over time you'll find yourself have to decide on dropping or keeping various items throughout the game.

In addition to all of your weapons, each class has their own individual special ability. There are four classes: Gunzerker who can duel-wield weapons of any find, Siren (which is the character I am using) that has a psylock power that lets her hold enemies in the air with psychokinetic abilities, the commando who can deploy turrets, and the assassin who can make decoys of himself. As you level up you can develop these characters as you want and they have their own unique abilities to gain. In addition to that, there is the Bada** ranking system (yes, that's what it is called and censored for this amazon review). There are hundreds of challenges to complete throughout this game and each time one is completed you get a bada** token which you can use to improve various aspects of your character such as improving weapon accuracy or melee damage. This game constantly rewards you for your actions and improvement.

The characters are customizable in appearance but not nearly as deep as some first person RPGs. You do unlock different color skins and hair styles throughout the game but that's it so if you're looking to make a character that looks like you, you're going to be disappointed. However, I really don't mind much since these characters do actually have personality to them unlike in other similar type RPGs. However, another department that really could have used the customization is the weapons. While there are many, being able to add on optics or other attachments would have been nice. If you want an assault rifle with an optic, you pretty much just have to be lucky and find one. Also there are vehicles in the game, well, two to be exact. More vehicles would have been cool to see. Also, enemies have a flying vehicle but you never get to use one. I find that disappointing especially in one mission were it looks like you finally fly one but end up having to blow it up instead, though it leads to some funny dialogue afterwards. However, the biggest complaint I would have about this game is respawning enemies. After awhile, enemies will return to an area after you kill them. I understand it's to help gain exp for leveling up BUT why do the bosses come back? Especially, if it's a boss directly tied in with the main story. You do get the same about exp but I've never seen a game bring bosses back like that. It makes you think what was the point of fighting them? Anyway, it's not game breaking and if you want to relive a boss fight you can easily do so.

The final thing I'd like to point out is that this is NOT an easy game. If you are not experiences with FPS games then you might want to take it slow with this. The guns fights you get in this game very chaotic, fast paced, and intense. I've played many FPS games before I still find parts where I die over and over again. You respawn at check points, though it does cost money and you're treated to a wise remark from the automated voice from the respawn machine. This game is completely co-op though so if you're having too much trouble, grab a friend in person or online and you can play the game together!

GRAPHICS: One of the things that make Borderlands' style is the cell shaded graphics. Nearly the entire game is cell shaded and gives it this comic book/graphic novel look to it. It's really cool and colorful despite the arid landscapes of Pandora. However, this does come with a price. There is a lot of texture pop-in. It's at its worst when loading up a game or loading up a new area and you will be seeing a lot of smaller pop-in throughout the game. I did also notice some frame rate slow down here and there but it was rather rare and not game breaking. I have a feeling this is not as much of an issue on the PC versions of the game. The character models look awesome. Some of the most unique character designs I've seen in a game in awhile and excellent personalities to go with them.

SOUND: The sounds of gunfire and explosions will fill your speakers and you play through this game but what really steals the show is the voice acting and dialogue. This is one of those games where you'll want to go around and talk to everyone just to hear the crazy stuff they are going to say. This is bolstered by excellent voice acting which oddly enough has a lot of anime voice actors in it. From the main characters to the crazy psycho babble of the bandits, the voice acting in this game is lots of fun. The music is sadly less memorable. While it is definitely fitting with the sci-fi western setting, it's just nothing I really care to listen to without the game. It reminds me a lot of the background music for Trigun. Fitting but nothing without its source.

Overall, I recommend Borderlands 2 as one of the must play games of 2012. This game is so much fun and entertaining to play through. Considering that there are four different classes, it adds even more replay value to the game in addition to the already plentiful amount of side missions. There are already plenty of DLC missions for it as well. I know I'm going to get a lot of hate for this but I think this is the way an FPS/RPG should be done and I strongly prefer it over games like Fallout 3. I recommend this game for anyone who loves FPS games but is tired of Call of Duty or Halo. I also recommend it to fans of Fallout and Elder Scrolls games and action junkies. Even if you aren't crazy about the game play, you should still be able to find some laughs out of this unique and fun game.


Batman Arkham City - Batman The Joker & Catwoman 24x36 Poster Art Print
Batman Arkham City - Batman The Joker & Catwoman 24x36 Poster Art Print
Offered by Poster Outlet
Price: $10.99
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5.0 out of 5 stars Nice poster!, November 17, 2012
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Great decoration! I love Batman and Arkham City! I'd say if you're a fan of both, you'll enjoy having this hanging in your room. Great price too!

Assassin's Creed III
Assassin's Creed III
Price: $17.00
396 used & new from $4.82

34 of 43 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Assassin's Creed 3 Angry game review., November 17, 2012
= Fun:2.0 out of 5 stars 
This review is from: Assassin's Creed III (Video Game)
WARNING: This review is being handled differently from my previous reviews in that there will not be an overall score and I won't be going into many of the overall game play and story. This will mostly just be a list of issues I've found with this game. This will probably piss some people off but this is based on my experience with the game. I'm not trying to discourage anyone from playing this game but if you know any of the things that I talk about in this note tend to piss you off, you might want to reconsider this game.

So yeah, Assassin's Creed 3 is the game I have been looking forward to all year long. The trailers have been amazing; the setting of the American Revolution is rather original for a game like this, an interesting new character to the Assassin's Creed series, and a time in history most Americans should be familiar with. This game had so much potential. Also it's been getting near perfect scores from several game review magazines and sites. I have to ask, what game have they been playing? Because the AC3 I've been playing is not a perfect scoring or high scoring game. I was so sure this was going to be game of the year material for me and it makes me so sad that I cannot even recommend it for a top 5 slot for games of the year. For me, this game is just not very fun most of the time. It's been mostly frustrating and stress inducing. That's not why people play video games and if that's why you play games then maybe you're a masochist. Very rarely have I had fun with this game. There is a lot to it, I'll give it that. It is a very big game and it is impressive in that aspect and it is a very beautiful game. Something like it hasn't been quite done before. Sadly, that comes with a price.

The graphics in this game, while beautiful, run into a lot of frame rate and slow down issues. There are times I've noticed in the cities where things just don't move so smoothly. You see slow down here and there in these massive areas. Not always but sometimes. Glitches are another issue. Granted, I've run into glitches in all the AC games (AC had some of the worst) but AC3 had some game stoppers. One involved me just running along and then I suddenly just fell through the ground and died. Another I hid in a pile of hay and got stuck in it, forcing me to restart the area I was in. More minor glitches include odd clipping, animals getting stuck in trees, and other silly things that you run into in open world games. Only a few of these glitches really hurt the game play but they were on the rare side. I can't help but feel that this game is just pushing the PS3 to its limits but the minor visual errors are minor compared to other problems in the game. UPDATE: A friend of mine experienced a glitch that prevented him from beating the game because a cutscene would not start.

Probably the biggest issue in the game is the new combat system. Wow! It sucks! It is a huge step back from the combat system from Assassin's Creed 2. The first thing I noticed when I got into a big fight was the camera: It doesn't follow your character. It just doesn't. You have to adjust it manually. When you got so much shit going on around you, you don't have time to adjust the damn camera. Something always seems to get in the of the camera too, be it a tree, wall, part of a building, ect. The combat itself feels less skill based. Every now and then, Conner will pull off some of the awesome finishing moves we saw in the trailers but I have no idea how I did them. I still have no idea how to use someone as a human shield and it is an almost mandatory move to know if you want to survive firing lines. The majority of the time you are hacking at the enemy's defenses and countering them whenever prompted. It becomes a button masher. A lot of times I would press triangle to try and counter because I am so used to the combat from Arkham City but that's my fault. There is also no real lock on method in this game. It seems to want to try lock on automatically in combat but it does a poor job. You end up missing your target or accidentally running up a wall or something. It's very frustrating and takes awhile to get used to especially if you are familiar with the combat system from the previous games. It took me about 10 hours of playing the game to get a hang of combat. There is no place you can go to practice like in AC2. You pretty much just have to go pick your own fights with British patrols and learn the hard way. Shooting and firearms have been added to the game which makes sense but the shooting mechanic is trick to get a hang of but once you do, it's pretty handy even though you have to deal with the slow reloads of the time.

The story is another issue and the one I have the most mixed feels about. I won't go into details or spoilers or anything but I will talk about the pacing. The first 5 hours of the game is very slow paced but does have a good pay off with quite the bombshell of a plot twist. Then it bounces around from being fast paced, to slow paced, and just jerks around a bit too much for my liking. Other people don't seem as bothered by it as much as me. It does have some good moments like some epic battlefield scenes and the naval battle missions that, thankfully, actually live up to the hype! You could make an entire game based around the naval missions and naval combat system. It's fun. But there are only three mandatory missions where you control a ship on the seas. There are side missions for this in addition the many, many, many diverse side missions you can find though out the game. There is over 70 hours of content in this game, so it's not short. You do get your money's worth in terms of content with this game. I usually had more fun just running around doing all these side missions than the actual main missions.

The next major issue I felt that goes along with the problem of the story's pace is that the first 7 hours feels like a very long and slow tutorial that spans out over this time. If you're a veteran of the series, some of this stuff isn't new to you but things like learn out to use the shooting mechanic could have been handled in a better way. You learn how to actually shoot your weapon in combat simple enough but right after that you have to shoot these powder kegs to blow open a door. Okay, simple enough. At this point you think pressing the triangle button will let you shoot at anything and L1 is what you use to manually aim. There is a wagon with these BIG barrels on it and the game just told you to shoot at the barrels so naturally you aim at try to shoot them but nothing happens. I sat there for like 5 minutes pressing every button on the controller trying to figure out why the shooting button just no longer works. Then I notice that if I drag the little aiming cursor over these small barrels below the big barrels, the small ones light up and I can actually shoot them. It doesn't tell you to shoot the little barrels that light up. WHY NOT?! I know for a fact I am not the only one who has had this problem! It's turn into a little meme on the internet, I think. The game has several moments of poor conveyance. It introduces new mechanics poorly such at the Battle of Lexington and Concord where you have to run back and forth between ranks and order Colonists to fire on the British. This is a really cool mission but when it starts they don't tell you how to give orders and it took me a few minutes to figure this out and ended up failing the mission a couple times. You have to stand in little circles that appear in order to give the commands. They could have made that much clearer. A lot of things could have been made clearer on how they work and this goes back to the combat system. You can't just equip whatever weapons you want when you want. You have to go to a general store (the place you most likely bought your weapons and equipment) and you can only equip things there. These general stores are not common you will only find two or three in the two main cities of the game, New York and Boston. If you know how to equip weapons in a different way, please let me know!

Every mission has sub-objectives to complete each synchronization and I HATE THESE THINGS! They are completely optional but if you're looking to complete this game 100%, you're going to have a bad time. Some of these are nearly impossible and half the time I end up failing them before I even know what they are because they only flash on the screen for a brief moment on the corner of the screen. They make missions unnecessarily difficult. If you want that kind of challenge, go for it. There is one where the game expects you to chase someone through a crowd without pushing anyone. Ha! Good luck with that. Speaking of chasing missions, they make for some of the MOST frustrating missions, especially this one near the end of the game. All of this stuff together ultimately leads to this game being very frustrating and just not as fun as it should be. There is nothing wrong with a challenging game but that challenge should be fair and not based on issues with the overall game play.

Now like I said this is all based on my game play experiences. Maybe you have or will have better experiences but for me, ultimately this game is a big letdown. Assassin's Creed 2 was just so much better in just about every way and was way more fun to play. If you are not familiar with Assassin's Creed, AC3 is not game to start with. Now I can't stress this enough, this is all my opinion. Maybe I just suck at the game and there is something I just completely missed and I am playing it wrong. Don't let this review completely steer you away from the game as it is something that should be experienced to a degree. This game is an impressive technical achievement in many ways and it is a HUGE game. It's just too frustrating and ultimately unenjoyable to me overall which is very disappointing as I was really looking forward to this game.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jun 23, 2013 5:08 PM PDT

Call of Duty: Black Ops II - Xbox 360
Call of Duty: Black Ops II - Xbox 360
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4 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Call of Duty Black Ops 2 game review, November 16, 2012
= Fun:4.0 out of 5 stars 
Another year, another Call of Duty. This franchise has come to define the mega-blockbuster in the video game market over the past decade ever since 2007's Call of Duty 4 Modern Warfare and its 2009 sequel Modern Warfare 2. There have been two primary studios working on these games since 2002: Infinity Ward and Treyarch. Ironically, the quality in the Infinity Ward titles, the original creator of the franchise, has definitely dropped in quality and originality. On the other hand, Treyarch, who had previously been making crappy entries for the series, has surpassed IW and proved they can make quality Call of Duty games with World at War and Black Ops. These two studios working back to back, has made it possible for Call of Duty to be an annual series. Yes, there has been a major Call of Duty game every single year since 2005. I think this is part of the reason that a lot of people have grown tired of the series. CoD has gotten a lot of bad rap over the past couple years in the gaming world because, well, it's still here! And the reason it is still here is because of the multiplayer. CoD 4's multiplayer and MW 2's multiplayer is what has made Call of Duty the mega-blockbuster franchise it is today. Not the stories or anything like that. As a result, the market has become flooded with FPS games that rip off CoD because other game studios want their own mega-blockbuster franchise that makes billions of dollars. Much like Hollywood, instead of coming up with something original, they just copy whatever the most successful thing is.

This is one reason I have come to dislike the Call of Duty series. Now everyone has their own reasons why they like it or not. Mine is what I just talked about and the lack luster stories for the campaign. The Modern Warfare stories were mostly cut and paste, tried too hard to shock you plot points, and almost no character development. Plus everyone kept dying. I know its war and people die but it becomes less and less shocking every time your character dies during a scripted event. Much more care was been given to the multiplayer aspects over the single player until Blacks Ops in 2010. The story was the best thing about that game and actually had some good plot twists and character development. Not the greatest, but it was something nice to see in a Call of Duty game. Last year Modern Warfare 3 came out and it sucked. A lot. Knowing what I know about Treyarch and having played Black Ops, I had more faith in this title than with MW3 but wasn't expecting much. What we got though was a lot better than I expected. Black Ops 2 is the way to do a Call of Duty sequel. It does so many things this franchise should have been doing 3 years ago and finally makes it happen and I've been ranting long enough, it's time to get to the review.

STORY: The story takes place half in the year 2025 and half in flash backs during the 1980's. You primarily play as Alex Mason (during the 80's) with the CIA and as his son David Mason (in 2025) as a Navy SEAL under JSOC. The story mostly deals with the rise of the game's villain Raul Menedez, a Nicaraguan terrorist and the leader of a mysterious group with worldwide influence called `Cordis Die.' The missions set in the 80's are told in flashback by Frank Woods (from the previous game) and primarily deals with how Menedez became the mad man he is in the future and his connection to the main characters. There are even parts of the game where you actually play as Menedez for a little bit to try and feel more of a connection to him. The missions set in the future, you are trying to figure out what, how, and when Menedez is going to do to unleash a massive global attack on the world using drones which characterizes the military of the future. The plot kind of reminds me of the plot to Metal Gear Solid 4 but less complicated. The future setting for Call of Duty was inevitable and thankfully they don't go too far into the future. Most of the weapons and technology used in the game is actually based on current prototypes and ideas and it's really cool to get to use some of this stuff. Now it sounds pretty straight forward like any Call of Duty game but there is one big thing that changes all of that: branching storylines and outcomes. Yes, this CoD has multiple endings and choices that actually matter. There are 5 different endings based on choices you make throughout the campaign. For a game series like this, this is a huge deal and adds a lot of replay value to the campaign. Your decisions affect the character's fates and development as well and there is quite a bit of character development in the main characters and the villain. There are also some really good twists thrown in throughout the campaign. The story is a lot better than I thought it would be and puts Infinity Ward's Modern Warfare series to shame. Thankfully, the Russians are not the main enemy you encounter like in every post-WWII CoD game. You do fight them in a couple missions but given the context of those individual missions, it makes sense. Instead, most of the time you are fighting against PMC and Central American forces but that changes based on the set piece and this game takes place all over the world. From flooded streets of Pakistan, a night club on some super ship in the Cayman Islands, Afghanistan, Panama, and it's most shown set piece, Los Angeles, the game makes good use of the set pieces to make some memorable levels and of course they are all over the top like a Michael Bay movie with things exploding all over the place and are very fast paced.

The game's story and levels are paced a lot better than in previous games. Not everyone will agree but most of the Call of Duty games would climax too soon and the rest of the game would just be like hitting a wall for me and just become uninteresting. Like in MW2, the missions after the battle in Washington D.C. were just boring and rather pointless to me and it just feels like a drop off point. The drop off point for me in MW3 was after the Paris missions and that was in the middle of the game. Yeah, I really didn't like Modern Warfare 3. Black Ops 2 increasingly builds to its climax at the right times and since there are technically two stories going on here, it does this more than once. It keeps you interested till the end and the branching story paths help that out a lot. Like the first Black Ops, they also have the likenesses of real people in it such as Jonas Savimbi, an Angolan warlord, Panamanian former leader Manuel Noriega, and David Petraeus. I laughed when I saw he was in this. Black Ops 2 has bad timing. The game is still pretty short however, taking about 6 to 7 hours which is sadly average for these kinds of game. There are 4 optional missions called Strike Missions that function very differently from the story missions but do have an overall effect on the story so you probably shouldn't skip them. I'll explain them more in the game play.

GAMEPLAY: If you've played these games before, there is nothing new to the basic game controls and they are as smooth as ever. Controlling vehicles which is rare but when you have to do it, it's not so bad except for when you have to fly an F-22 late in the game. At first, its easy enough till you have to actually fly it at high speeds, and then you are fighting the plane to not crash into building or fly out of the combat zone and cause the mission to fail. This part was done like the Hind flying segment in Black Ops 1 but not done as well or as fun. You also get to control various drones throughout the game like the CLAW which is kind of like an Imperial walker that is about the size of a small car and has a mini gun and grenade launchers on it. You can also fly and command quad rotors which look like those little helicopter hobby toys but have machine guns on them. You get to control most of these during the Strike Force missions. Now these missions are very different from the story missions. They feel more like something from Ghost Recon than Call of Duty. You control infantry, drones, turrets, and a command satellite. You get a full view of the level from the satellite and command your forces to protect or destroy objective points. You can also switch between and play as any of the forces on the ground. This can be tricky as it forces you to multitask and is a definite break away from the traditional CoD game play. Like I said before, these missions are optional but do impact the story so you really should do them and they do get tricky. Sadly, these strike missions are a huge missed opportunity because they are single player only. These would have made for an awesome multiplayer co-op game mode. These types of missions would have lots of fun if they could have tweaked it for more than one person. The AI in these missions and the game in general is no improvement at all from previous games. While it doesn't bother things much in the regular missions, you will definitely feel the aging AI system in the strike force missions, especially on higher difficulties.

Another new addition to the single player missions is that you get to fully customize your weapon load outs before a mission which is very welcomed. Not only that, the weapon selection screen now has stats for each gun and how the attachments will affect them. There are some awesome new attachments in this game like x-ray optics, an optic that marks enemies for you and laser sights in addition to the classic red dot and ACOG that we are all used to from these games. I like that the ACOGs have a red dot sight on top that you easily switch to be clicking the left joystick. This was an actual suggestion for an optic and control mechanic I submitted for Modern Warfare 2 three years ago. I'm glad someone took this idea. Way to drop the ball, Infinity Ward. Also select fire acts as a feature which hasn't been seen since the very first Call of Duty on PC back in 2002. You also get some new melee weapons like machetes and stun knuckles that make people throw up. Gross. The futuristic weapons and attachments are generally fun to use and easy to control. The high degree of customizability just pushes it over the top.

Of course there are the other two game modes: zombies and the multiplayer. The zombie mode is designed to be like its own independent game this time instead of a mini-game. I really think Treyarch should just make a complete zombie game at this point, separate from Call of Duty. That said the single player mode for it has been scaled down a lot. I discovered I can only play one map by myself; I would have to have other people for the other two maps. Also there is a story for it but I have no idea what it is as it is not explained. I'm in a 50's style bus station as a guy that says annoying things and there is a bus that you ride in that has a robot bus driver who also says annoying things. What? The zombie mode does have difficulty settings now for the more casual zombie killers as the zombie mode in the past CoD games were rather hard. Finally, we have the multiplayer and sadly, I find it to be the weakest part of the game though there are a couple new things that I like. You can play offline now with bots so no pesky humans to ruin your game. Just kidding. It's just nice to have a more casual multiplayer experience without having to deal with all the bull on xbox live. However, multiplayer is the BIG selling point of this game and the reason this franchise has been so successful. Well, other than new weapons and equipment, there isn't really anything new here at all. More of the same. The kill streaks are handled a little differently I noticed. You gain them based on points instead of kills this time around and you can stack them up and switch between which one's you want to use. This does little to change to over all game play though. It's just more of the same. I'm sure the really hardcore fans could point out small differences for better or worse but the average player probably won't notice. The single player, to me, is the strongest and best part of Black Ops 2.

GRAPHICS: This game looks great for the most part. The future levels look the best with all the fancy computer screens and other sites of the not too distance future. The 1980's settings are a little less impressive to look at. There is more texture pop-in during these missions and everything just looks drab and dull but once again, the settings during these missions are meant to look drab and dull. Hm. The character models of the main characters look great. They use that really neat facial scan animation that I like that really add emotion to the characters. The characters without this however, look pretty bad. Very stiff and stale but you are most likely shooting them so what do you care? This is generally a good looking game and I didn't really notice any graphic glitches or anything major but this game is nowhere near as good looking as Halo 4.

SOUND: This game is loud and full of guns and explosions just as you would expect. Thankfully, everything is much easier to hear than in MW3 which had some major audio issues. All the sounds of war sound great. The voice acting is a bit of a different story. It's really hit and miss. It's pretty over the top at some points with some, at times, unnecessary swearing. You can tell it's a Treyarch CoD game with all the hard swearing peppered throughout the script. There are some fairly big Hollywood actors in this game too but their performances are kind of all over the place. They really need to tone it down but I think it's the best they could do with the script they had to work with. The music is generally fitting. You have lots of electric, fast paced music in the future missions with some dub step here and there. The 80's missions tend to have music fitting for whatever country it is set in. The soundtrack is much better than the one from MW3 but not anything I'd rush out to download. Speaking of music.. This kind of a spoiler but after you beat the game you are treated to a game rendered concert of Avenged Seven Fold. Why? Because they can, I guess.

Overall, there are a lot of improvements that this series has needed for a long time but is it too late? While I did really like this game, I'm not begging for another CoD game. However, I'm pretty sure there will be a Black Ops 3. For pure curiosity, I probably would play it but this franchise is nearly milked bone dry. I really worry about what Infinity Ward is going to do next. If there is a Modern Warfare 4, no way am I going to even bother with it. Black Ops 2 is a good game if you like to play these games for the single player and want to play through the story to see all the different outcomes and play with all the customizable weapons. If you play CoD just for the multiplayer, you'll probably be disappointed to a degree. I know most fans already have it. If you don't like CoD or shooters are all, this won't change your mind. If you're on the fence about it, I highly recommend renting it and you can judge for yourself. I really liked this game much to my surprise but if the things I talked about don't interest you at all, then this game probably isn't for you. Regardless, if you like Call of Duty or not, these changes are a great addition to the series and a step in the right direction. I'm just giving credit where credit is due and this turned out to be a long review. Thank you for reading!


Lollipop Chainsaw - Playstation 3
Lollipop Chainsaw - Playstation 3
Offered by Past And Present
Price: $36.95
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Lollipop Chainsaw game review, November 14, 2012
= Fun:5.0 out of 5 stars 
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Lollipop Chainsaw is a game caught my eye a little over a year ago with a chainsaw welding cheerleader fighting zombies. It caught the eye of the Brony community when it was announced that Tara Strong (the voice of Twilight Sparkle) was going to be the voice actor of the main character Juliet Starling. It caught my eye again when it was announced that professional cosplayer Jessica Nigri was going to be the official live action Juliet Starling for promotional proposes. Once again my eye was caught when it was announced that Jimmy Urine, the lead singer of Mindless Self Indulgence, would be doing the boss music for the game and the voice of one of the bosses. As well, there was a lot of hype for this game across the internet and at game expos. To me, this looked one of those games that could be really good or really bad. After playing through it a couple times I can say it falls in the middle but on the good side of the middle. This game is dripping with style. It has a comic book like theme and feel and it really works with the characters and graphics of the game. It feels like Bayonetta, Scott Pilgrim, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Zombies Ate My Neighbors, and a pinch of The Evil Dead thrown into a blender. It's a very silly game that doesn't take itself too seriously and neither should the player. The game play is generally fun and moves at a good pace. First, let's take a look at why and what is happening in this game.

STORY: You play as Juliet Starling who is the lead cheerleader for the San Romero High School and also happens to come from a family of zombie hunters. Today is also her 18th birthday but when she gets to school the freakin' zombie apocalypse has started! Good thing she was carrying her super magical and multipurpose chainsaw! At this point you might be thinking `WOW! This sounds really stupid!' well it gets better. Her boyfriend, Nick, gets bit by a zombie and in order to save him she cuts his head off and casts a magical spell to keep him alive as a severed head attached to her hip. Turns out this goth kid at her school (who looks like a Marilyn Mason wannabe) is casting an evil spell on the school to get his revenge on society and it's up to Juliet, Nick, and her family of zombie hunters to stop them. Now like I said, this game doesn't take itself too seriously most of the time. Now I know people who like to keep their zombies more serious and this story is probably very much a turn off for them. This game certainly isn't for everyone but this is where the style over substance comes into the play. All the zombie bosses that are summoned set up the themes for all the levels and all have music themes. For example there is a Punk rock zombie and an 80's funk zombie. Also these boss zombies remind me of avatars from Guitar Hero 3. It has fairly good character development and I enjoy the banter between Juliet and Nick throughout the game. Only problem is that it is a short game and it comes to an end pretty quickly.

GAMEPLAY: The gameplay is generally a hack and slash type game. Juliet's move list starts out very limited but you game new abilities and can buy new moves as the game progresses. You buy moves, items, and unlockables with zombie medals which you earn by killing zombies. There are gold medals which are most common to buy moves and health items and there are silver medals which are used to buy unlockables, they are much more rare. You kill 3 or more zombies at once and you will be rewarded with a brief slow-mo cut scene and gold and silver medals known as `sparkle hunting' and I won't lie, it's very satisfying when you pull one of these off.

The levels themselves linear but have some variety in gameplay though they aren't always so fun. One level you are in an arcade and get sucked into old 80's style arcade games throughout the level. In another level you drive a thresher and run over zombies in a wheat field. The one I hated was zombie basketball where you have to decapitate enough zombie heads and throw them into a basketball hoop before the time runs out. Not all moves decapitate zombies and you are racing against the clock and if you lose, you die. This took me several frustrating continues to get past this part. One big issue I have with the game is that it is short. My first play through it took me 8 hours to beat. My second play through it took me about 5 or 6 hours which sadly is pretty common these days for games. It encourages multiple play troughs with all the unlockables and two different endings and difficulty settings but for a lot of people once will probably feel like enough and the unlocks really don't give that much incentive to play again. Another big problem I have with the gameplay is heavy on quick time events. This game is filled with QTEs that result in instant death so you gotta be ready. There are also lots of little mini-games involving putting Nick on a zombie body to perform some task but it's just one long annoying QTE. If you HATE QTEs you will probably not like this game at all but if you don't mind them then it shouldn't hurt how much fun you are having ripping up zombies with a chainsaw. The best parts of the game are the bosses. These are some kick ass boss battles with interesting music themed bosses and multi-stage fights. Easily the best parts of the game.

GRAPHICS: COLORFUL RAINBOWS! This game has lots of sparkle and flash to it but it all works with the comic book theme. The character models look really good with that cell shaded look and the zombie bosses are very well designed. The levels are a bit more on the bland side. Aside from the arcade level, none of the levels stand out too much visually and there is some texture pop-in going in a few of them. I really like the main menu and level select design though, once again with that comic book theme. The animation on the characters is great and flows well with the combat and gameplay. While the environments could have been better, the characters look great.

SOUND: This game has an AWESOME soundtrack. Along with some great original music, there is also licensed music such as the song Lollipop by Julius Dixon that plays during the online store sections. Boy that will get stuck in your head. Hey Micky You're so Fine plays when you're invisible for some extra laughs. But there is also a lot of metal and punk music that fills the soundtrack such as Dragonforce and Children of Bodem that all just fits the style of the game so well. You can unlock and arrange all the music as well and create your own background music play list. The voice acting is also really well done for the most part. Tara Strong does a creating Juliet and bringing her to life and the voice actor for Nick is hilarious. Jimmy Urine does the voice of the Punk Rock zombie and his dialogue is just filled with all sorts of naughty language which he does use to literally attack you with. Also, if you don't like profanity, you really wouldn't like this game.

OVERALL: Lollipop Chainsaw is a flawed game but it is fun and super stylish. Like I've said, this game isn't for everyone but if you don't take the story too seriously and just want a mindlessly zombie hack and slash good time you'd probably enjoy it.

Score 6.9/10

Assembly [Blu-ray]
Assembly [Blu-ray]
DVD ~ Hanyu Zhang
12 used & new from $5.72

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Assembly ( 集結號) movie review, November 14, 2012
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This review is from: Assembly [Blu-ray] (Blu-ray)
Assembly was a movie I discovered by accident when surfing the Youtube one day. I found a music video using the battle scenes from this movie and I was wondering what the heck it was from as the footage looked a lot like the Battle of the Bulge scenes from Band of Brothers but with Chinese or Korean actors. After poking around in the comments and Wikipedia for a little bit, I discovered that Assembly is a Chinese movie made in 2007 and is hailed as one of the best mainland China produced films to date. I found it on Amazon and ordered it. After watching it I can see why it was so critically acclaimed. It has some of the best battle scenes I have seen since Band of Brothers and The Pacific. It has some amazing cinematography and while confusing in the middle, a very well done human element that ties the movie together well at the end.

The film starts off in 1948 during the Chinese Civil War with PLA Captain Gu Zidi (played by Zhang Hanyu) as his battered company takes a war torn town in the dead of winter. If you've seen Band of Brothers, it will remind you a lot of the Battle of the Bulge episodes. After taking the town with heavy losses, his company, now at only 50% strength, is ordered to hold the Battalion's flank at an old mine near a river bank. He is ordered not to retreat until he hears the bugle call for assembly with the rest of the regiment. After a day of brutal fighting with Chinese Nationalist forces (yes, the good guys in this are the communists), the company has taken heavy losses and cannot hold out but the CO has yet to hear the bugle call so they can not retreat. The film then skips ahead to the Korean War which Gu is now taking part in. He serves as a forward observer and befriends a young artillery officer when he steps on a landmine and manages to save him from it with a pretty neat but suicidal trick. This scene is actually slightly funny as an American tank crew happens upon them however; they are dressed in South Korean uniforms so the Americans think they are friendly. The tank commander walks over to see what they are doing, sees the guy on the landmine and is like `oh shit! Well, that sucks. Good luck with that!' gets back in his tank and drives off. This scene ends with you thinking that Gu dies with the mine going off. The movie then skips forward to the mid 50's after the wars are over and Gu is revealed to still be alive but now blind in one eye from the injury he took from the mine. The officer he saved is now a high ranking officer in the PLA and is offering to help him with work and other needs. Gu then reveals that he was the lone survivor of the company that he commanded during the Civil War and has been living with this guilt since that day. He seeks to find the resting place of his men and to get full honors for his company however; the government is suspicious of what exactly happened to him after the battle and will not recognize him and his men's actions during the war. Driven by outrage and guilt he tries to find where battlefield was, now a fully operation coal mine, and starts digging to find where the bodies of his fallen comrades are. This is where the film gets really depressing as many people dismiss him as a crazy old war vet but let him keep trying to do what he is going to do. After digging day and night, he learns that his company, and himself are finally given the honors they deserved all this time. A memorial is erected at the site and Gu finally has peace.

The strongest part of this film is the cinematography. Like I said before, the battle scenes are epic, brutal, and realistic. They definitely take cues from movies and series like Band of Brothers and Saving Private Ryan but it's not only the battle scenes that are well shot. There are beautiful and creative camera angles throughout the film including a beautiful shot of the memorial at the opening and closing of the film. It does climax early though; all the battle scenes are in the first hour of the film and, like most war movies, are the best scenes. The middle of film is kind of confusing as it jumps around the years for a little bit but it does all come together by the end. Like a lot of war films, there are some clichés like the soldiers sneaking on the battlefield to steal things from a dead enemy officer only to get shot by a sniper once finding what he was looking for and little things like that but it doesn't harm anything other than the fact that you can see it coming. The acting is generally very good, especially Zhang Hanyu's star performance. Obviously, this movie is in Mandarin Chinese as it should be. The bluray I have only had subtitles and I don't think it has been dubbed and, well, it shouldn't be.

One very strong point of the film is that even though it is a patriotic film about China it never loses sight of the human element in this movie. The characters are the main focal point here and what the main character goes through. There are some scenes that probably wouldn't have set too well with the Chinese government had this movie come out a couple decades ago. That said, you might want to go into this movie after doing a little research on the Chinese Civil War and post WWII China as it doesn't give very much context to go by if you're not a Chinese history buff. One thing that caught my eye in the film was the weapons they used. They use a mixture of WWII era British, Russian, and German rifles and machine guns while the Nationalists used mostly American weapons and equipment which is another interesting point to research about the war.

Overall, I'd say this is a must watch if you are a fan of war movies, Chinese movies, and foreign films. I'm not sure if it's on Netflix or anything like that. I bought it off Amazon for about $17 imported (and that's a good price for an import). While the middle is a bit confusing and you might want to do some research going in, the first hour and ending of the movie is amazing and I gotta say, it is one of the best war movies I've ever seen. I highly recommend it if you can find it.

Overall: 9/10

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