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NBA 2K14 - PlayStation 4
NBA 2K14 - PlayStation 4
Price: $32.36
145 used & new from $10.00

30 of 42 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars One of the first $60 console games to adopt a pure "PAY TO WIN" online model, November 20, 2013
= Fun:1.0 out of 5 stars 
From a basketball perspective, NBA 2K14 is not awful but not good either. They do a decent job of replicating the game of basketball despite assorted glitches and flaws that should not have made it past testing. Load times are embarrassingly long, especially for a game installed to the hard drive of a next gen console. Graphics are good, but then again the last gen graphics were good too. From the zoomed out playing view, you'll need a 1080p TV to tell much difference, but the differences show up more in the closeup. Main downside to the gameplay is that it feels like the game plays itself...once you get a high defense stat your character is automatically following his man, reaching out for steals, and blocking shots without you pressing any buttons.

However the worst part is that the online game is PAY TO WIN. Usually this is seen in free to play games, not $60 games. You create a character and start taking him through seasons, earning points to level up his stats and buy clothes. Then you can take him online to a MMO-style lobby area with a bunch of basketball courts and other players running around playing games (well really it's usually just other players running around and not much actual gameplaying...the process to start a game is extremely glitchy so almost no games are going on). Sounds like it could be fun in theory, except that if you play the game the game without cheating you'll get destroyed. See, the point values you get are set up to where you HAVE to purchase points with REAL MONEY to make your player competitive. An offline season game takes a long time with 8 minute quarters and will probably get you 200-300 points (very occasionally there are challenges to make it higher). An online game is shorter but gets you 150 points. A pair of shoes is 7500 points. Your player stats cost 300 to add a point at their highest level and there are a TON of stats that could start out as low as the 30's and need to be raised to 90+. So basically, it takes probably over 1000 games to max a created player, or you can just buy the points and be a 99-rated on day 1.

Online is a freakshow...you have blinged out 99s who bought points running around at turbo speed and throwing dunks like its NBA jam and unable to miss 3 pointers if open. Then you have people who didn't buy points and are super-slow, can't even catch passes a lot of the time, and blow easy layups (that's if they get to shoot, because usually the shot was blocked or the ball was stolen by a 99). You literally cannot do ANYTHING in this game online without buying points because the player quality disparity is so great. And by the time you legitimately level up a player, NBA 2K15 will be out and nobody will be playing this.
Comment Comments (6) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Dec 17, 2013 12:07 PM PST


Crysis 2 - PC
Crysis 2 - PC
Offered by TnsDeals
Price: $9.25
33 used & new from $4.65

663 of 807 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars An absolute disaster and a mark of shame for a once great series, March 22, 2011
= Fun:1.0 out of 5 stars 
This review is from: Crysis 2 - PC (Video Game)
I will just come right out and say it: Crysis 2 is terrible and typifies everything wrong with PC gaming today. I say this as a huge fan of the original Crysis and Crysis Warhead, which were two of my favorite games. In fact, I just played them both over the weekend on Delta difficulty in preparation for Crysis 2. Despite selling over three million units of the original Crysis on PC, Crysis 2 was clearly developed for consoles first and PC second. This review assumes that you played and enjoyed the original Crysis, and may not be as useful to someone unfamiliar with the series.

The review system here includes two GTX 480 in SLI, a i7 920 @ 4.1 ghz, and a 2560x1600 monitor.

***GRAPHICS***
The graphics were one of the main strengths of the original game, and Crysis 2 has turned them into a weakness. There are NO configuration options, just preset settings, and you can only choose from "High," "Very High," and "Extreme." Unfortunately, Extreme looks significantly worse than Crysis and Warhead. Protip for Crytek: calling your graphics "extreme" doesn't make them look any better. As far as I can tell there is no way to force Anti-Aliasing on, and instead Crysis 2 uses its own form of edge blurring that looks terrible compared to true AA. The edge AA was fine in Crysis because the vegetation benefited from it more than traditional AA and it provided a performance boost, but Crysis 2 consists of mostly buildings and straight edges that require traditional AA to look their best.

There are three main pillars to the graphical failings.

----The textures are a major downgrade. It's true that the original Crysis had the occasional blurry rock texture, but most of them were flat out amazing. Crysis 2 throws all that away and replaces them with textures that are very flat and low resolution, failing to make effective use of ambient occlusion like the original game did. The textures now look closer to what you'll find in the very dated looking Call of Duty games than the original Crysis.

----The visual effects are a major downgrade. Crysis 2 shipped as a DirectX9 game, whereas the original Crysis was built in DirectX 10 and it shows. The explosions, motion blur, and particle effects were of amazing quality in Crysis and judiciously used, but on the other hand Crysis 2 tries to obscure the lower quality effects by using them excessively. The motion blur and bloom lighting in Crysis 2 are absolutely out of control. In Crysis, the motion blur was used to good effect by making a demanding game run a bit smoother and also making flying objects look great when they passed in front of you. Crysis 2 is not a demanding game, and rather than using high quality blur on objects for the wow factor, it slathers low quality blur over every inch of the screen when you turn to distract you from the rest of the graphics. I could go down the list point by point listing things like water effects, SSAO, lower godrays count, etc and explaining how they are downgraded in Crysis 2, but that would make the review run too long.

----The environments are a major downgrade. Crysis featured complex, wide open jungle environment with a lot of destructibility and interactivity, and amazing shadows casted by all of the plants. When you blew something up, the explosions would ripple through the tree leaves, shaking them. Crysis 2 throws all of that away in favor of a city environment that features a much lower draw distance, much lower polygon count, and far fewer shadows. The environments of Crysis 2 are very small and restrictive, with minimal opportunities to explore or deviate from the set path.

Aside from the three key complaints above, the config files are locked which will come as a huge dissapointment to Crysis fans. The config culture of the original Crysis was a blast, with the different looks you could give the game providing reason to revisit it. In short, Crysis 2 looks worse than the aging Crysis, and roughly in line with the average recent PC release. It does look nice in screenshots, but play it on a large monitor and you'll see that many assets are of shockingly low quality.

***STORY***
I will not say much about the story of Crysis 2 because I do not want to spoil it (***original Crysis spoilers incoming***). However, know that while Crysis 1 featured an epic cliffhanger ending with NOMAD and Prophet returning to the nuked island to continue the fight, Crysis 2 throws all of that away to go with a different main character and different setting. This was a huge mistake and a slap in the face to Crysis fans, and was probably done because Crytek wanted to cater to the console gamers who did not play Crysis by giving them a fresh start and rebooted plot.

***GAMEPLAY***
The gameplay also features huge concessions caused by the console-centric development. Almost immediately, you will notice that game-saves have been removed in favor of a console-style checkpoint system. This is bad because Crytek doesn't do a good job of spacing its checkpoints. There have been times where I have cleared an area of enemies, received a radio transmission and new objective, then moved on to a new area only to die and be put back at the *very* start of all that. Most games would put a checkpoint after you've completed an objective, but Crysis 2 often doesn't, which is quite annoying in a game that has more than its fair share of cheap deaths.

The levels have been vastly decreased in size as well as enemy count, taking away the sandbox feel. Crysis 2 now plays like your typical on-rails, scripted, Call of Duty game. The enemy soldiers you fight are now generic and *ultra-serious*, a far cry from the humor of stalking the hapless and hilarious North Koreans of the original Crysis through the jungle. Vehicles also fall by the wayside and are used much less even though the strategic options they offered were a strength of the original Crysis. Think you're going to hop in an APC and mow enemies down with the turret like you did with Crysis 1 jeeps? Think again, you'll be ripped to shreds by enemies in a matter of seconds because they are extremely accurate even over long distances.

The opening of the game is hugely consolized to the point that it's an embarrassment. You watch video cutscene after video cutscene and then are thrown into an on-rails tutorial level where the nanosuit stops you every 3 seconds to troll for its various features. When I finally got to control my character and saw that SLI wasn't working, exiting out of the game to fix it and then restarting made me rewatch the unskippable cutscenes. By contrast, in Crysis you jump out of a plane and get to start playing, and it is a real level rather than the obligatory "tutorial level" common to console games.

The nanosuit has also seen some huge downgrades to make it easier to use with an Xbox 360 controller. Speed mode and strength mode are no longer selectable. Instead, they automatically kick in when you run or jump. This is a huge design flaw, because there will be many occasions where you want to run without draining your suit power and you can no longer do that. Even worse, the "speed" running in Crysis 2 is barely faster than normal running in Crysis 1. Any time you want to move faster than a walk, you are draining your armor. The armor mode is no longer the default suit mode when you run out of energy and need to replenish. Instead, all suit modes are turned off, and in fact when armor mode is turned on it drains your energy even if you aren't taking damage. This makes the main character of Crysis 2 much weaker than NOMAD and Psycho, and that combined with the tiny environments means even someone who mastered Crysis will get mauled in this game on the harder difficulties. The enemies have solid AI, but they are prone to glitches and can sometimes see you through walls and cover when they should not have line of sight. The only real improvement in Crysis 2 is that you can now pull yourself up on to ledges, which is a welcome addition. Another new feature is that holding the right mouse button when near the edge of a wall or crouched behind a barrier will allow you to peek out and shoot. For some reason it does not work with the vast majority of the environment though, so it can't be relied on and you'll quickly learn to ignore it.

To "compensate" for the many downgrades, Crysis features the timeless console trope of Collectible Dogtags! Because collectable dogtags were what we all wanted and not DX11, tweakable graphics, sandbox gameplay, and a true sequel to Crysis.

***MULTIPLAYER***
I saved the multiplayer for last because I did not play it in the original Crysis and have only played it in the demo of Crysis 2. There is not much to say about it though. It features small maps, low player counts, Call of Duty style killstreaks, an annoying lobby system, and rampant hacking. You already know if that type of game interests you or not. Assuming you aren't in the target audience for this, I would suggest the excellent Battlefield Bad Company 2.

***BUGS***
Crysis 2 is not a broken game, but there are many embarrassing bugs that should have never passed QA. With moderate frequency, dying and reloading a checkpoint will disable your melee attacks entirely, causing nothing to happen when you press the melee button. The only way to fix this is quitting the game and restarting. I have also seen this bug reported by several others. Several times, the crosshairs of my gun scope have disappeared entirely, possibly caused by reloading checkpoints or alt-tabbing. Again, this can only be fixed by restarting the game as far as I know. Lastly, my gun disappeared entirely once, although switching weapons restored it.

***CONCLUSION***
If Crysis 2 had been marketed under a different name or was a totally new IP, I might have been able to give it two stars. It is at its core a below average and utterly forgettable FPS. However, Crysis 2 is not a random game, it is the sequel to Crysis, and must be judged in comparison to the original. As a sequel to Crysis, it fails spectacularly, offering massive downgrades and concessions to cater to consoles rather than improvements to the original. In short, Crysis fans now have their Command & Conquer 4. Amazon describes the criteria for one star reviews as "I hate it," and boy do I hate both this game and everything it represents to dedicated PC gaming.
Comment Comments (126) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Feb 10, 2013 11:11 AM PST


Supreme Commander 2 - PC
Supreme Commander 2 - PC
Offered by Outlet Promotions
Price: $10.75
41 used & new from $2.50

376 of 442 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Do not buy this if you are a Supreme Commander fan, March 6, 2010
= Fun:1.0 out of 5 stars 
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
WARNING: It has come to my attention that there is an organized campaign to manipulate the review scores for this game, with posters on the official forums attempting to recruit others to create multiple accounts and write 5 star reviews. Obviously it hasn't been very effective, but be aware that the review scores have been slightly increased by this shilling. I highly encourage you to download the demo and find out the truth.

Supreme Commander 2 is the latest game in a disturbing trend gripping the gaming industry: more and more developers simply have no regard at all for the fans who put them on the map. If you enjoyed Supreme Commander and Forged Alliance for everything that made them unique, DO NOT BUY THIS GAME. It is complete and utter rubbish, in essence a parody of the masterful original. The game has been dumbed down to be almost unrecognizable, although some of the good elements like extreme map zooming and a good unit patrol interface remain. Those who prefer more micro-heavy games like Command and Conquer may still get some enjoyment out of it, but if you want a small scale RTS there are many of them better than Supreme Commander 2.

The problems start with Tiers. In Supreme Commander 1, there were three tiers of units, plus experimental units. The first tier units were like little ants, useful for little other than early game harassment but incapable of dealing any real damage. Second tier units were capable fighters, and third tier units were pretty powerful. By the end of the game, you could have hundreds upon hundreds of units out, yet it was still possible for a single experimental unit to slice through your entire army and kill your commander. It was thrilling to devote your entire economy for a protracted period of time just to get that experimental out, and you would cheer for it as it completely shifted the battle. Supreme Commander 2 throws all of that away. The units now fall roughly along the lines of the dozens of C&C style RTS games, with experimental units being roughly as powerful as Mammoth Tanks. I saw an experimental unit get taken down by five gunships. FIVE. Now there is no longer any strategy in deciding what to build. Whereas before, you would need to make hard choices about whether to devote significant resources to tech up and devote a large portion of your economy to build single units or structures, now you can pump out experimental units in under 5 minutes from the start of a game. In other words, Supreme Commander 2 is now just your standard RTS, but with units far more generic than most. The macro has been scaled back dramatically, yet most units are still one-dimensional so there is little need for micromanagement since you won't affect the outcome of a skirmish.

As for resources, the great system where you used mass to build things and power to, well, power them is gone. Structures and units no longer use up power by being in play. Instead, power is just like mass. When you build something, power is deducted from your cache and that's it. In other words, you can build shield generators and artillery all over the place with no consequence since it costs nothing to support them. This means even more incentive to turtle since a surgical strike on any one area of your base isn't going to damage anything you can't easily replace. In Supreme Commander 1, it was at least a possibility that your generators would be taken out, rendering you defenseless as the shields and turrets shut down. To make matters worse, the old system where resources were deducted as units and structures were built is GONE. Now resources are deducted immediately when you queue up unit production or structures, which means you can no longer queue up a massive base and then let an engineer do his thing. This was one of the two or three most important aspects of Supreme Commander and it is completely ruined.

Now there is a third resource: research. Points are produced by buildings and can be spent in one of five overly convoluted tech trees. This is a terrible system that replaces the tiers from Supreme Commander. Unlocking the best units is too easy, and the pace of the game is killed by having to constantly open up the tech menu to unlock things. It also discourages adapting your tactics to the situation because there are so many minor upgrades that you'll need to choose between specializing in ground, air,or naval units since it will take a very long match to power up all three. It was just flat out stupid to have a menu-based system instead of tying upgrades to buildings. Some games like Battle for Middle Earth make it work because they don't have as many upgrades and don't require constantly accessing the menu, but it doesn't work here.

Normally a sequel is supposed to be bigger, badder, and better in every way. Supreme Commander 2 takes a step back in almost every aspect. The graphics are scaled back. There are far less unit types and the unit cap is far lower. The maps are much smaller. They aren't small just in comparison to the original, they're actually some of the smallest maps I've seen in a RTS. The campaign is very short, with 18 missions that take around 10-30 minutes each. Normally a RTS with such a low mission number will at least have 1-2 hour missions. And as for the much vaunted "story" and "cinematic experience" that was supposedly added? It's terrible. The CG is just video of the normal in-game assets, so it actually looks worse than the gameplay if you have a decent computer. The characters are insufferable, the dialogue terrible, and the story paper thin. The only positive thing I can say is that the art design of the maps is improved.

There is very little to recommend Supreme Commander 2. If you like the original, you're better off playing that, and if you didn't, there are many better RTS to spend your time and money on. To add insult to injury though, once you own this terrible game, you OWN it. That's right, Steam is required for this game, and it will be tied to your account forever. I look at this as a shrewd and cynical move by a developer that knows the market would otherwise be flooded with used copies because most who buy this game will not want to keep it.
-------
Addendum: If I could revise my score down to 0 stars after what I've seen of the online play after writing the original review, I would. Matches end one of two ways almost every time. In a 2 v 2 or larger match, multiple players will rush with their commanders at the start and kill one of the enemy commanders 2 on 1. Then repeat with the other players. Total match time is around 5 minutes. Otherwise, the match will end in a swarm of gunships due to the weak anti air options. There is no reason to build anything else because there aren't any units or structures in the game that, for the same resource cost, can kill a swarm of gunships faster than they can kill a commander. Also, to clarify something I said earlier, in SINGLE player it is very easy to unlock the best experimental units and pump them out in mass quantities. In online play however, they barely play any role at all. Anyone who tries to build them will probably lose because they are not as effective as normal units, dollar for dollar. There is no point in trying different strategies. Online play is ruled by basic units and whoever has the bigger blob of them wins.
Comment Comments (34) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jul 25, 2012 7:32 AM PDT


Rocky: The Undisputed Collection (Rocky / Rocky II / Rocky III / Rocky IV / Rocky V / Rocky Balboa) [Blu-ray]
Rocky: The Undisputed Collection (Rocky / Rocky II / Rocky III / Rocky IV / Rocky V / Rocky Balboa) [Blu-ray]
DVD ~ Sylvester Stallone
Price: $30.99
38 used & new from $17.95

35 of 54 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Don't bother upgrading if you own the DVDs, January 13, 2010
With all the whining about preorder pricing in the reviews, there isn't enough attention being paid to the fact that this is one of the worst blu ray transfers to date. Obviously Rocky isn't going to fare well compared to UP! or Transformers, but it looks bad compared to the blu ray versions of most older movies as well. In general, even if an older movie isn't going to blow you away, it can at least pull off a crisp, clean picture that looks noticeably better than an upscaled DVD. This is where the Rocky Blu Ray collection fails miserably.

In the early movies, probably 3/4 of the scenes are incredibly soft and look no better than an upscaled DVD. The other 1/4 of the scenes are up to the mediocre standard of the typical older movie and do look better than DVD. If the entire films were up to that mediocre standard I could give a good review, but sadly they aren't. My complaints aren't even about things like film grain, which is a perfectly acceptable stylistic choice. There's just a tremendous lack of detail and definition, and uneven picture quality throughout. One dark scene will look acceptable, then the next will be incredibly washed out with regions that are supposed to be black showing up as light gray. In Rocky 2 there are even odd white dot artifacts that are incredibly distracting and weren't in the DVD if I remember correctly.

The later films do look better...Rocky Balboa is obviously fine since it was an independent blu ray release. But most of the Rocky movies that are available exclusively in this set look absolutely atrocious. If you already have the DVD set, stick with that and just buy Rocky Balboa on Blu Ray.

fyi: I have a highly calibrated Pioneer Elite plasma and 120 blu rays. The only other ones I have that look close to this bad are Robocop and The Fugitive.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Oct 27, 2010 1:45 PM PDT


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