Posts Tagged ‘review’


Review: Wild Wild West

September 9, 2012

Oh boy, Will Smith. When I was doing my minimal amount of research for this review (by which I mean looking up Will Smith on Wikipedia), I found out that Will Smith actually turned down playing Neo in The Matrix to be in Wild Wild West. Oh, to imagine what could have been – a black, wisecracking Neo. But I digress. We’re here to talk about a freedman Army captain turned U.S. Marshall fighting against a legless Confederate scientist with a steam-powered robotic spider I’ve lost you, haven’t I?

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SimCity Retrospective: SimCity 3000

September 1, 2012

This is the post I was writing when I decided to spin off the Todd Akin stuff into a new category, which means I’m about a week or so behind on this one, and this head cold sure isn’t doing me any favors.

SimCity 3000…it’s complicated. See, this is the point in the series when Electronic Arts took over as the publisher. I’m going to go off on a little bit of a tangent here, so if you’re not interested in my opinion on EA, go ahead and skip to the next paragraph. EA has…well, they’ve got somewhat of a spotty record in taking over publishing for established series, the biggest example I can think of  being the rush job they made Origin do on Ultima VIII, shipping a product that was basically unfinished and damn near unplayable, but I’ll get deeper into EA when we hit SimCity Societies.

Now, as for SimCity 3000 itself, I don’t know. It’s-the game isn’t bad, it’s just a big shift from where SimCity 2000 was. The best way I can think of to describe it is that it’s cartoony. Let’s just quickly touch on some of the things the game introduces. First, starting with this game you had advisors for each of seven different matters, and they would give a detailed  account of situations in their field rather than just a short summary. Secondly, it is much, much more stylized, with the advisors being-

Moe Biehl


Er, yeah. That’s the transportation advisor, and the rest aren’t any better. The buildings are also more stylized. In addition, once your city gets to a certain size it starts producing trash, which has to be disposed of by either building incinerators or landfills, and now you can also deal with your neighbors, buying or selling water, power, or garbage capacity.

PROTIP: Never sell water to a neighbor, because you will eventually run out and when you do, you are going to be paying out the ass because of it.

SimCity 3000 came out in February of 1999, despite Maxis wanting it released in time for Christmas 1998. I’d say it came from the problems EA had with Ultima IX, but SC3K came out almost a year before. So there’s that theory shot down.

All things considered, SimCity 3000 isn’t bad. It’s different – very, very different – from almost everything else in the series, but…well, let me explain it like this. It’s the Temple of Doom of the SimCity series: Not bad, but the weakest until something worse comes along.


Review: Minecraft

September 1, 2012

There’s actually a little bit of a story behind this one. Last…November, I think, I was helping my mom pick out some stuff for her two year old class. On the way to the puzzles she was looking for, I spotted Legos and my mind instantly turned to Minecraft. I decided to do a post comparing the similarities between Minecraft and Legos, but later decided against it when I realized that comparing Minecraft to Legos: A.) wouldn’t even come close to sustaining a full post, and B.) was kind of a dumb idea.

So, MinecraftMinecraft is the singularity of sandbox gameplay. It far surpasses any other title in terms of sheer potential. Do you like crafting? There are shit-tons of it. Hate crafting? A mod lets you give yourself any items you need. Enjoy model railroads? Build one! Like gold? Dig perilously close to lava to get it! Are you a fan of wheat and the process wheat goes through to become bread? Minecraft has you covered.

See, this is the real problem I have explaining this game. It’s barely a game, but what’s there is so far-reaching that you can get lost in all the aspects of this game for hours. Literally. I have gotten lost wandering around in the game, and if you don’t have a map it is very easy.

But if you need to waste some time, Minecraft is the game for you.


Review: The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past

August 28, 2012

Well, this is certainly late as hell. But, I actually do have a good excuse for it, that excuse being a new, two-month old puggle puppy. Also, training said puggle puppy to not go to the bathroom in the house. And having to take the puppy with me when I go to sleep so she doesn’t cry all night.

But enough about that, let’s talk about The Legend of Zelda. The seminal series was launched in 1986 by Takashi Tezuka and Shigeru Miyamoto, partially based on Miyamoto’s childhood exploring the hills, lakes, and caves around his home in Sonobe, Kyoto (it was the late 50’s/early 60’s – kids wandered around a lot more back then). The Legend of Zelda was insanely successful, making main character Link one of the icons of Nintendo. The sequel, Zelda II: The Adventure of Link, also proved popular, advancing the overall storyline despite the change from overhead to 2D sidescrolling and a lives system.

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Review: Super Mario World

August 18, 2012

Alright, just very quickly before I begin the review, I have some business of a political matter to take care of. I do not like Mitt Romney’s choice of Paul Ryan as the presumptive Vice Presidential nominee, and it’s not on any sort of political or ideological grounds (although yes there are differences). It’s mainly the fact that his surname is also my given name, so I have to spend the next two months involuntarily eavesdropping on people to find out if they’re talking about the election or if they’re addressing me. So that’s going to be fun.

So, on to Super Mario World. This was probably (Don’t have a photographic memory. Wish I did.) the first console game I ever played. I qualify that because slightly before I got the Super Nintendo, I got a Game Boy, back when I was, oh, probably seven or eight years old. And Super Mario World is the game that came bundled with the Super Nintendo.

I am going to be completely honest with you. Truth time. I have never actually finished Super Mario World. I don’t know what exactly it was about it, but I could never really stay focused on the game. I don’t even think there was anything about the gameplay that turned me off. The story was kind of…well, basic, although I will say that going through the different castles and the ! switches were kind of a nice touch. I don’t know. I just never got excited about the game. It was more just something to do when I was bored instead of a goal in and of itself.


Review: Pokemon Red & Blue

August 15, 2012

Now that I’ve completely ruined my legs working the polls today (or yesterday, depending on your frame of reference), I might as well go into the Pokemon series and my own personal history with it.

I was in 6th or 7th grade before I was even exposed to the series – if I remember right, we were on a class trip to the local renaissance festival. I saw  a couple of the other kids playing it, thought it looked neat, and I got it for Christmas that year.

I was hooked. There wasn’t a place that I wouldn’t bring my Gameboy and at least one Pokemon cartridge. In fact, I was still carrying them around with me as late as college. Now, you may be asking your screen, “What about the story? What about the gameplay?”

Shut up and let me be nostalgic for five minutes.

Okay, on to the story. You play as [INSERT COMICALLY OBSCENE NAME HERE], on a quest to catch and record data about one hundred fifty-one pokemon, and to beat the four greatest trainers in the entire Japan-ish world, helped by world-famous researcher and your neighbor (bloody convenient, eh?) Professor Oak, and contending with his grandson and your rival, [RACIAL SLUR AND/OR SEXUAL ORGAN] Oak, who always seems to be a step ahead of you, but maybe that’s because you’re picking up packages for Professor Oak because the delivery team at the PokeMart in Viridian City are apparently playing grab-ass in the break room, or maybe it’s the old man who yells at you while lying in the middle of the road because he hasn’t had his coffee yet.

As for the gameplay, that’s fairly simple. Turn-based, rock-paper-scissors style combat. In a battle, you can do one of four things each turn: attack with one of up to four attacks, use an item (healing spray potions, poke balls, etc.), change pokemon, or run away. You can encounter wild pokemon in tall grass or on the water, and you automatically start a battle if you make eye contact with them (it’s some weird pride thing I guess, I don’t know). If you beat another trainer, you get money, but if you lose in battle, you lose some money and you pass out, proving that the player character is a pansy.

Pokemon is one of the flagship titles on the Gameboy and may well have cemented it as the handheld game console for a solid decade. But how well does it hold up? Pretty well, actually. Even with all the advancements that have been made in the generations since, the original pairing still stand the test of time, partially because the core game mechanic hasn’t changed, and partially because they are the originals. It’s like comparing a finished and set diamond to an earlier version of itself. Everything that makes it fit for a flawless engagement ring was there all along, just maybe not quite as polished or a little rougher than the cleaner lines of the finished product. They’re still great games and they’re still the foundation of the series – no new releases are going to change that about them.


Review: Grand Theft Auto IV

August 6, 2012

Hoo boy, Grand Theft Auto IV.

Well, I suppose I should start out with the good things. The city is heartbreakingly beautiful, in particular Algonquin/Manhattan. The Broker/Brooklyn Bridge is a fair match for its real-life counterpart, the famous landmarks of New York are all present (with the exception of Ground Zero/The 9/11 Memorial/Three World Trade Center), and the civilian A.I. makes Liberty City feel alive.

I really dug the story and thought that Niko was a good choice as the first immigrant protagonist in the 3D-eras of Grand Theft Auto. Some of the missions were a little…predictable, given the history of stories in the series (for instance, the inevitable betrayal to end the first act), but I’d describe them to be, collectively, too easy, and I am not widely known for enjoying a stiff challenge. Although, my favorite mission of all would probably be the bank robbery, mainly for how the running firefight reminded me of Heat.

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