Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Doom 3: Resurrection of Evil (Xbox) more Coverage and Mixed Release Dates

As Resurrection of Evil's release date draws near, more sites are providing coverage. Team Xbox has a spot up here, and GameSpot has one here.

I've also seen conflicting release dates for the title now.

IGN Xbox and EBGames show Oct. 5, Best (US) shows Oct. 7, and Team Xbox shows Oct. 11.

We'll have to wait and see which one is correct.

Evening Post - Nazgul Again

So I encountered another 3 Nazgul in the East Emnet Gullies last night. This time they weren't as tough and I made short work of them. Stupid wraiths.

I wonder if I'll encounter another 3 in the Plains of Rohan?

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Doom 3: Resurrection of Evil (Xbox) Preview, Screenshots, and Release Date

Doom 3: Resurrection of Evil will be making it's way to Xbox on Wed. Oct. 5th. IGN Xbox has a preview up, as well as several new screenshots. Suggested retail price is $29.99 US.

I am really looking forward to this one. It'll be so much fun not only to get more Doom 3, but also to use the double-barrelled shotgun! Make things go boom now!

Other additions of note: The Grabber Gun (similar to Half-Life 2's gravity gun), the Flashlight is now attached to the Pistol, a few new enemies and bosses, and from what I understand, there's a nice trip through the Martian Ruins that we saw too little of in the original Doom 3. In fact, I believe the game starts there, and it should be noted that you are a different marine than from Doom 3.

Only a week left...

Spider-Man 3 Villians Leaked

Saw this linked at ActionTrip. Apparently Kirsten Dunst let slip that the villians in the upcoming Spider-Man 3 will be Venom and Sand Man.

I'm a huge Venom fan, and seeing as how well the first two films were pulled off, I have full faith that the third film will be great as well.

One has to wonder about Harry Osborn though, as he was completely set up to be the next Green Goblin at the end of Spider-Man 2.

Evening Post - Nazgul in the East Emnet Gullies?

I've been playing The Lord of the Rings: The Third Age lately, and this is my third time through the game (haven't played it since last Dec.). I figured I pretty much knew everything about it, as it's a fairly linear game, however I encountered something quite surprising last night: Nazgul in the East Emnet Gullies.

For those who haven't played the game, it's divided into 3 Episodes (one per film) and further divided into 3 areas. The first area of the second Episode is the East Emnet Gullies, which are the hills on the west side of the Argonath that lead into the plains of Rohan. This is close to were Aragorn, Legolas, and Gimili pursued the Uruk Hai at the beginning of The Two Towers.

Anyway, I was going through these hills, helping a Galadhrim Elf find his missing scouts while dealing with bands of Uruk Hai (rather difficult at this point in the game), Orcs, and Wargs, when I entered an Instant Battle and found myself against 3 Ringwraith Shadow Captains; the Nazgul.

My first thought was WTF? There weren't any Nazgul on the eastern borders of Rohan in the films, and my second thought was oh crap, I'm not strong enough to defeat them yet.

This nearly proved true, as all my party save Idrial, the Galadhrim Elf of my party were knocked out. I had to use a cheap (though legit) tactic to defeat two of the Nazgul, then I was able to revive the rest of my party and crush the third.

My characters leveled real good after this battle, I can tell you.

After doing some poking around the net, it seems there are two area in the East Emnet Gullies where you can fight three Nazgul at a time, and also a couple areas where you can fight them (though possibly one at a time) in the upcoming Plains of Rohan.

I just want to get to Helm's Deep and kill many Uruk Hai.

Monday, September 26, 2005

The Staff returns from being AWOL

Since Fearless leader's a little lax when it comes to disciplinary actions, We, the Staff (TM) find it rather easy to go AWOL every once in a while.

Anywho, We thought We'd return to let you, the readers(-TM) know what we'd been up to. We bought Warhammer 40,000: Winter Assault for the PC. This is the expansion to Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War, which was released a year ago. The original Dawn of War, or DoW, as it is known, is a real-time strategy game. It is in We, the Staff (TM)'s opinion, among the few titles that can match Blizzard's RTSes (Starcraft, Warcraft series) in terms of balance and quality.

With Winter Assault now out, and ourselves having had some time with it, we have a few comments, both positive and negative.

Firstly, Winter Assault (WA) adds a great deal of depth to this RTS series, especially given that it is just an expansion and not a full-blown sequel. It offers a fully-realized new race/faction, the Imperial Guard. The Imperial Guard are a bunch of average Joe-Shmoe Humans in space, fighting against mankind's enemies in a far-flung future. They join the four races from the original DoW, the Space Marines (Uber-human soldiers), Chaos (Corrupted, evil Uber-human soldiers), Orks (Green-skinned cockney brits in space) and Eldar (Elves in space). The developers, Relic Entertainment, have implemented this new race quite well, and while it is sure the game will be continually tweaked for balance (much as have Starcraft and Warcraft III), it is impressive that they included as much new content as they did for the expansion.

The Single-player campaign (something very important to We, as We're antisocial and don't play multiplayer) for WA is much improved over DoW. DoW had you playing strictly as the Space Marines, but you faced each of the other races through the course of the campaign. The other races were available only in multiplayer and skirmish (Player vs CPU) modes. WA has two campaigns, Order and Disorder. Order has you switching (sometimes mid-mission) between Imperial Guard and the Eldar, while Disorder follows the Orks and Chaos. Your choices affect how each campaign will end, which adds replay value.

Our biggest complaint with WA is audio presentation. Audio is generally good as was DoW's, but the two aural components where Relic really stumbled were music and voice acting. These two elements are rather critical in any game, in our opinion. But sadly there is no comparison between DoW's exemplary music and voice acting and WA's shoddy attempts.

All things said, it is a welcome expansion, and it also signifies the first PC game We, the Staff have purchased since we gots our X-Box. The last PC game we bought was Half-Life 2. Stupid Steam. We hates Steam. Stab Gabe Newell in the eye. With a rusty fork. Grr.

Anyway, we recommend anyone with a 1.6-1.8 GHz PC system or greater download the DoW demo, and if you like it, the Dawn of War: Game of the Year edition and the expansion Winter Assault are now available.

-The Staff

Sunday, September 25, 2005

Halo: Combat Evolved (PC) Multiplayer

Last night I downloaded and decided to try out a little online multiplayer with Halo: Combat Evolved's Demo for the PC.

The PC version of Halo has always had some steep system requirements (for its day, release late 2003), so I decided to turn all the video and sound options to their lowest settings for the fastest online play.

Joining a game was simple enough, set up the filters you want and find a list of servers. Once you find one you like, click to join. Once playing, the controls, style, and feel are familiar enough since I've been playing Halo: Combat Evolved for close to a year, however the problem came into play with lag.

I chose a very good ping server, but there was so much lag with it. You're running and all of a sudden you frame jump ahead of yourself, or your target does. I've seen Warthogs fly because of lag, etc. Really weird, and it kind of killed a lot of the fun.

The PC/Mac version of Halo: Combat Evolved adds in a few extra multiplayer exclusives. There are 2 new weapons, the Flamethrower and the Fuel Rod Gun (featured in Halo 2 on the Xbox), as well as a new vehicle, the M 12A 1 Warthog LAAV. Instead of the usual 3 barreled machine gun, its turret is 102mm rocket launcher specifically designed for anti-armour purposes. It felt very much like a lesser version of Halo 2's Gauss Cannon Warthog. You can also use Banshees in multiplayer, something Xbox gamers can only do in Halo 2.

In this Demo multiplayer level, Banshees are available, as well as Plasma Pistols, Assault Rifles, Sniper Rifles (the main weapon everyone used), Frag Grenades, etc., and it supports up to 16 players. It has large open areas for vehicle battles (1 of each kind of Warthog and I believe 2 Banshees are on the map).

While this wasn't a lot of fun due to lag, it had a lot of potential. I've really enjoyed the splitscreen games of Halo 2 that I've played, mostly with Telly, so perhaps this is something I'd enjoy a lot online with Xbox Live. Halo: Combat Evolved isn't supported over Live, but Halo 2 is.

Something to look into.

"Fight the Flood" T-Shirt Drive Winding Down

Bungie's "Fight the Flood" t-shirt drive to raise funds for the American Red Cross is winding down. To date, they've sold 10, 817 shirts and raised $162, 255 US.

Our Staff said he'd order one, but I don't think he has yet and I doubt he will, 'cause he's a wuss who never finishes what he starts. You should see his back-log of video games. Scary stuff.

Urge to Kill... Rising...

I have the window open and someone is playing Celion Dion's "My Heart Will Go On"... very loudly.

Must... destory... mankind...

Xbox Titles I'd like to Rent

And for no reason what-so-ever, I'm posting my list of Xbox games that I'd like to ultimately rent:

- Ultimate Spider-Man
- The Chronicles of Riddick: Escape from Butcher Bay
- X-Men Legends II: Rise of Apocalypse
- Star Wars: Episode III - Revenge of the Sith
- Medal of Honour: Frontline
- Sonic Mega Collection Pulse
- NHL 06
- Call of Duty: Finest Hour

Upcoming Games that I'd like to rent are:

- Half-Life 2
- Star Wars: Battlefront II
- Call of Duty 2: Big Red One
- Fable: The Lost Chapters
- Kingdom Under Fire: Heroes

So let's see what we have here: 2 Comic Book titles, 3 WWII FPSes, and 5 FPSes overall, 2 Star Wars titles and a few RPGs.

Picking up on a theme, am I?

New Marvel Comics Video Games

There have been 3 new Marvel Comic based video games released in a little over a week. The first is X-Men Legends II: Rise of Apocalypse. The sequal to the highly rated X-Men Legends (now only $29.99 on Xbox), Rise of the Apocalypse is an Action/RPG that allows players to take control of their favourite X-Men as well as the Brotherhood of Mutants to try and stop the evil Apocalypse from doing what all comic book super villians do best: The evil villian laugh. Seriously though, the game is getting very good reviews, so it's worth checking out.

The second is Ultimate Spider-Man, which is also getting very good reviews. The game, an action/adventure, allows players to take control of either Spider-Man or Venom as Spidey seeks to stop his childhood best friend turned super villian Venom from killing him and laying waste to the city. The game uses an interesting bit of tech called "3D Comic Inking Technology" to bring the gamer into a living, moving comic book. Check out the trailers for an example of this.

Finally, Marvel Nemesis: Rise of the Imperfects, a fighting game, has also been released. It's getting generally bad to average reviews being described as essentially repetative and one dimensional. I'm not into fighting games these days, so I know little about it. You can check out IGN or Team Xbox for more details.

PayDay Winning Numbers for Sept. 22nd

A little late, but in case anyone's interested, the winning numbers for last weeks PayDay draw are 02-04-61-76.

Morning Post

So I'm getting older soon. There been some talk about "what I want" for my birth day. At this point, I can't think of anything I really want; mostly stuff I wouldn't mind having. Some things on this list are: The ring of Barahir, Xbox Live, and Aragorn's Elven dagger.

Aragorn's dagger is really cool, but also very expensive, I don't expect anyone to get me that.

Xbox Live would be a lot of fun 'cause it'd let me play Halo 2 online, and without that annoying split screen. I could also play co-op Doom 3 as well as classic styled Death Matches, and should I get Star Wars: Battlefront II when it's released I'd be able to take part in huge online battles. The problem for Xbox Live is I'd need to either get another modem for direct connection, or I'd have to get a wireless modem from Bell (which would be free), and then get a wireless adapter for the Xbox. This is what'd cost a good bit, and since the Xbox 360 has a built-in ethernet port (no modem required I believe), I'm not sure if it's worth it. I will look into this more, however.

Finally, the ring of Barahir would be really cool, but again, a bit pricy overall.

Whatever. If people'd just take me out for some drinks, I'd be happy enough, but that's just me.

Thursday, September 22, 2005

Warcraft III Patch 1.19 Released

Warcraft III: Reign of Chaos and it's expansion set The Frozen Throne have both received a new patch, bringing the game to version 1.19b.

If you have the original or expanded version of the game, simply connect to and the patch will auto-download and install.

If you prefer to download the patch and install it the old fashioned way, you can find The Frozen Throne's patch here, and Reign of Chaos' here.

Details for The Frozen Throne's changes can be found here, and Reign of Chaos' here.

Note: It looks like 1.19b was released to correct a crash bug from the resently released 1.19. The new map and balance changes for 1.19 can be found here for The Frozen Throne, and here for Reign of Chaos.

Upcoming Xbox 360 Games Coverage

Team Xbox has been busy over the last week, posting previews of some good looking upcoming Xbox 360 titles.

They have details on Quake IV (Pictured), Call of Duty 2, and Gears of War. These three are shaping up to be the best looking Xbox 360 launch titles in my opinion.

It should be noted though that both Quake IV and Call of Duty 2 will be available on the PC, but Gears of War will be an Xbox 360 exclusive.

Morning Post

There's been a good bit of news this week, but as I mentioned Telly and I have been so busy we haven't had a chance to cover it. Well, I've gotten real busy, he was distracted by a shiny lighter.

Anyway, I'm hoping to start getting caught up tonight.

In brief, stuff going on:

- Warcraft III: The Frozen Throne patch 1.19 has been released.
- There's been some good coverage, mostly at Team Xbox, for the upcoming Xbox 360 titles Call of Duty 2, Quake IV, and Gears of War.
- The Dawn of War expansion for the PC hits shelves today.
- X-Men Legends II, Ninja Gaiden Black, and Mortal Kombat Shaolin Monks are all now out for the Xbox
- Corpse Bride will be hitting most theatres tomorrow, Telly and I plan to see it Sunday. A review should follow shortly.
- Your gay, and we have video evidence.

So yeah, lots of stuff. With any luck, I'll actually get some posts going tonight. Until then, you can amuse yourself with this picture:

Monday, September 19, 2005

The Lord of the Rings: The Battle for Middle-earth II Screenshots

ActionTrip has some new screenshots up for The Lord of the Rings: The Battle for Middle-earth II. You can find them here.

Uwe Boll to direct Halo movie??!?!?!?!?!?!


Say it isn't so! According to IMDB, Uwe Boll is going to direct Halo. If this is true, than take back anything I said about this film having a chance to be good, and to turn the tide of shitty game to movie adaptations.

If Uwe Boll is directing Halo, then in a word, it's fucked.

Seriously, why? Why can't a competent director be hired to direct a video game film for once. For fuck's sake, can't these idiot execs. look at a pathetic track record and realize hiring idiot A is going to screw everything up.

Dumbasses, all of them!

Update: Saw over at Halo.Bungie.Org here that this is not true at all. According to Joe Staten, Halo 2's writer:
Nope. Absolutely not true. Trust me, when we've got something big to
announce about the film (such as the director), we won't just be sneaking it
onto IMDB.

Thank God. It doesn't matter how good a script is, how much creator involvment and guidance there is, or how good the effects are, if Uwe's involved, he'll find a way to fuck it up. Hopefully this is the last we'll hear of his involvment with Halo.

Morning Post

I've actually had 5 salads in the last 4 days.

What are you gonna do with your last day on Earth?

Sunday, September 18, 2005

Jade Empire Review

The following post contains spoilers. If you have not yet completed Jade Empire, I advise you not to read this post.

Canadian developer Bioware is well known for crafting some of the best RPGs in electronic entertainment, and with titles like Neverwinter Nights and in this blogger's personal opinion, the ever amazing and engrossing Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic, this reputation is more than well deserved. Their latest offering, the Xbox exclusive Jade Empire, was released on April 14th and has met critical acclaim from most major publications.

One must be wondering then why I'm reviewing a 5 month old title. Well the answer is simple: Aside from the fact that I only picked it up in late May, this is an RPG; not some fast paced FPS. Will the large amounts of choices, character paths, and replay value, I would not have done the game and the developers justice to review it after a single rushed play-through, or heaven forbid an incomplete play-through.

I've finally completed the game for the second time, and am looking forward to a third. Jade Empire is many things: A beautiful story, interesting characters, and a new, fast paced combat system; there are so many great concepts and aspects about Jade Empire. Sadly, however, there are also parts of the game; be it character points or basic design decisions, that leave you wondering how Bioware could have dropped the ball.

Do not mistake me, Jade Empire is a very good RPG; it's fresh, fun, and one of the best of the genre on the Xbox, however there are things that hold the title back from being the Xbox RPG.

The story begins with your character (selectable from 7 different models, either male or female, with different stats and Styles) in a martial arts school in the quiet little settlement of Two Rivers at the edge of the Jade Empire. As your training is near completion, your master tells you many secrets about your past, and why he believes you are special. This is the beginning of a series of events and choices the player must make that will ultimately see you leave Two Rivers, travel the land, and decide the very course of the Empire itself.

As you progress through the game completing Quests, your character levels up and you can increase your Body (Hit Points), Spirit (Chi, essentially Mana), and Mind (Focus, which allows your character to use Weapon Styles and also enter Focus Mode, a form of "bullet time"). You are also given a certain number of Style Points to invest in your Styles, which range from Martial Styles, to Weapon Styles, Magic Styles, etc. Styles are used in combat to fight your opponent(s), and they all have different strengths and weaknesses. You start the game with two Styles, but can either learn, buy, or win more as the game goes on. There are roughly 30 or so Styles in the game, but ultimately it's best to master and thus constantly use between 4 to 6 of them.

Instead of items to equip your character with, you get a Dragon Amulet which you can insert Essence Gems into. Essence Gems will modify stats and give other bonuses, and this is essentially the game's inventory. You can also learn Techniques or purchase them as the game goes on, which will permanently alter your character's stats for better or worse.

In traditional Bioware fashion, there are also romances that you can develop with certain Followers. These are always fun, but one interesting thing to note is that you can do same-sex romances in this game, and I've even heard you can do group romances (two Followers and your character). I don't know if this has ever been done in a game before, but it's the first time I've seen it.

Conversation wise, extra dialogue options come from how high your Body, Spirit, and Mind are, as these relate to Intimidation, Intuition, and Charm respectively. Using any of these three conversation options, when available, can grant an advantage over a dialogue and also further you along your different philosophy (more on philosophy later).

There are 3 types of play modes in Jade Empire: Adventure Mode, where your character can explore the land, take up Quests, interact with NPC's, etc. Combat Mode, where you use your Styles to beat the snot out of whatever thugs, ghosts, or demons have the misfortune of getting in your way. Mini-Game, a space invaders type of short game involving wondrous eastern Flyers.

Now that the basics are out of the way, let's dive into things.

Jade Empire is a beautiful looking and beautiful sounding game. The character models and environments are all wonderfully detailed. Characters move gracefully, long grass parts as you run through it, lense flare shines in your vision if you look towards the sun; the games screenshots simply do not do it justice. Audio wise, the voice acting is top notch, and the sound effects are dead on. A special nod to the game's musical score, which is so original, so well composed that Bioware is actually selling it from their online store on CD. If there weren't such ridiculous shipping costs, I would have long since picked up a copy.

The controller is also well mapped out and perfectly suited to the task of kicking the snot out of your enemies. Typical analog stick movement of your character and the camera, buttons allowing you to use different kinds of attacks, block, Focus Mode, Chi Heal, and add extra damage (Chi Strike). The triggers allow you to switch targets in combat or person/object to interact with in adventure mode, and 4 different Styles can be mapped to the D-Pad for quick access, and the D-Pad is re-mapable on the fly for those trickier fights.

The story of Jade Empire is very good. Early on, you can find out from another student who came from the Imperial City all about the 4 major areas of the Empire; essentially East, West, North, and South. Imagine my excitement at the prospect of visiting all these new lands, then imagine my disappointment when you only go to two of them, one is very brief, and the path your character goes on is actually very linear in contrast to Bioware's previous title, Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic.

Your character and Followers travel from Two Rivers to the small town of Tien's Landing (with the surrounding Great Southern Forest, old town ruins, and pirate island lair) and then on to the great Imperial City itself (which is very large and has many districts). Once you reach the Imperial City, you can travel back and forth between it and Tien's Landing, but that's it. In truth, however, though you can do this there was never a need to; as both times I was able to leave Tien's Landing with all it's Quests, including optional, completed. Once you complete the Imperial City (and the Lotus Assassin fortress), you are then forced to go to your next few locations; it is all linear, there is no choice.

I found this very restrictive and a strange and unwelcome change of pace from a Bioware title as they've always offered so much freedom in traveling to and from locations. The entire feel and pace of the game changes here. Granted, this is right around the game's big story twist, however from here to the game's end it didn't feel like masterful writing or plot progression; instead it felt like rushing to get the game on shelves by a release date. Jade Empire is divided up into seven Chapters. I take my time with RPGs, so each play through took just under 40 hours. Chapters 1 to 3 took me about a total of 25 to 28 hours, while the remaining Chapters were very quick and simply rushed.

Then, there are your Followers, your Party members. Some of them are very interesting, with excellent back stories and great character. I really like Sagacious Zu, The Black Whirlwind, Henpecked Hou, and Kang the Mad. However the others...

One thing I wish Bioware would implement, would be some kind of character reaction system, and by this I mean if I'm murdering innocents or essentially telling a Follower to piss off, then they should leave, or challenge me, or something. After telling Sky enough times to shut up about his dead daughter, why is he still following me! After butchering innocent number 100, why is Dawn Star still putting up with me? It's not realistic at all. This was also an issue in Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic, but something I'd like to see changed. If I'm turning out to be very evil, then why does everyone still blindly and stupidly trust me (cough, Water Dragon, cough)?

One big character complaint is with Wild Flower. Once you reach the Imperial Palace, you have to choose between the demons within her, Chai Ka or Ya Zhen, ultimately banishing and removing one from your Party. This is the elimination of a Follower from the game and it comes out of no where at such a strange point in the story. Even if you talk to Wild Flower before and get everything you can out of her, there's no build up to this battle and having it happen at the beginning of a crucial story point, the path leading to confront the Emperor himself, it's just bad timing.

Your character also develops their philosophy, or good guy (Open Palm)/bad guy (Closed Fist) alignment as they play. Many conversation options, or choices you make to further or complete quests will further you down the path of either the Open Palm or the Closed Fist. However, unlike the Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic series, there is no real benefit to mastering a philosophy or even coming close. There are two Styles in the game, such as Tempest Style, that become more powerful if you are in the proper alignment, and you can only use certain Essence Gems if you are aligned with them, however aside from that your character doesn't even have different facial features or disfigurations if they go heavily Closed Fist. If you stand still long enough your character will have an interesting graphic for their philosophy, and your Character Screen in the Main Menu will have a cool portrait, but there is nothing special about mastering either philosophy; very disappointing considering how much Light or Dark Side affected the use of your abilities in Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic.

My only other complaints with the game would be during Combat. Some battles in the game are not properly balanced. During a fight, excluding support from Followers, you can only Heal yourself with Chi Heal which draws from your Chi (or with Red Minister Transformation Style, but that's very late in the game) or if an enemy drops a Health Orb by chance. You can only recover Chi through Spirit Thief Style (which you do get early on) or if an opponent drops a Chi Orb. You can only recover Focus from a dropped Focus Orb. While most of the time you can win battles without Focus, there are some fights where your opponent(s) are immune to Spirit Thief and this can be very frustrating. The imbalanced fights are very rare in the game, you can count them on one hand, but they are present. More of a minor criticism, but if a sequel is ever developed I'd love to see better options for rejuvenating your character in a battle.

Your Followers (you can have one with you at a time) often have support modes where instead of fighting, they'll mediate and buff your stats or regenerate your Health, Chi, etc. Sometimes this means bringing Follower X with you will make a fight too simple, but without them it's too damn hard. While not exactly forcing a player into using a certain Follower, it does give a limiting feel.

The above critics aside, Jade Empire is a very, very fun game to play. Though much more linear than I like in an RPG, it still offers the player a wide variety of choices and Style customization/combinations. The story, while having a very rushed feel at the end, still is very well written and worth experiencing. Also, hats off to Bioware for Death's Hand. He is simply a great villian, and what you can ultimately do to him was more of a shocker to me than the game's story twist (which I predicted very early on). I only wish Death's Hand would have been more visiable and even an extra fight or two with him earlier on; perhaps by controlling a certain Follower...

For a title that's now selling for $39.99 at most retailers, I highly recommend Jade Empire to anyone with an Xbox, and I'm greatly looking forward to a sequel and seeing what new twists, expanded concepts, and design refinements Bioware can cook up.

While not Bioware's best offering, Jade Empire is a damn good show, and my personal third best RPG on the big black box.

Morning Post

Holy rocking chairs, Batman. I post one post about The Matrix and all my annoying adds on the right are all Matrix ads.

I wonder what would happen if I post a bunch of big names in the same post:

The Matrix, Star Wars, The Lord of the Rings, Halo, Warcraft, Play Boy, NHL, Angelina Jolee, Johnny Depp, South Park, Family Guy, Fox, Xbox, William Shatner's Singing Career...

That should confuse the ads.

Oh yeah, click the ads ya shmucks.

Saturday, September 17, 2005

The Matrix: Reloaded

I've been going through my DVD collection these last several months, and I'm presently on The Matrix trilogy. I just got through The Matrix Reloaded, and I still can't believe how off the mark that film is.

Let's look at The Matrix. The Matrix is an amazing film because it's concept is grounded in philisophical/existential roots. What is real? What if everything, the world we know, is false? What can we be capable of in a false world where the reality we thought existed is a lie?

The Matrix has a ship and a small crew deal with exactly that, followed by the audience through Neo, the new guy that discovers the truth as we do. He is the ordinary guy thrown into an extrordinary reality, yet one that is all too human; all too real.

Though people can have super human abilities in The Matrix, they are still ultimately human; they have limits. These limits are the film's conflicts displayed through the excellent martial arts and effects sequences. The battles are a means to convey a larger point, they all have purpose.

The Matrix Reloaded takes everything that makes The Matrix such an amazing film, dumps it, and overdrives the "means" with no end.

The big thing about The Matrix Reloaded is the concept of choice, of purpose, yet the film fails at this. Many of the battles are pointless to the story, too long or drawn out, and even sport some sub-par 3D work. The opening scene over uses bullet time, the Neo/Smiths battle is 10 minutes over done, and the highway sequence, well, whatever happened to the subtlty of the original?

Not to mention things like the wussifiying of the Agents (if even Neo says they've been upgraded, then how can Morphius and Trinity stand up to them so well when they were raped by them in the original film), the society of Zion, the introduction of the Merovingian and his flunkies; why didn't Warner Brothers jump straight into The Matrix Revolutions? While not a perfect film, at least Revolutions has more plot, purpose, and mortality to it.

The moral of the story? All we have to do is understand why we've already made the choice. And Warner Brothers made this choice simply to cash in with all flash, and no substance.

Fable: The Lost Chapters (PC) Reviews

Fable: The Lost Chapter has been getting some positive reviews. IGN reviews it here, and ActionTrip reviews it here. The Xbox version is due out later this fall as a Platinum Title.

I wasn't big on the original Fable because of it's retarded save system, so I'm not going to run out and by this PC version. I will rent Fable: The Lost Chapters for the Xbox when it's released, however unless they add in a good save system I certainly have no intention of picking it up.

Aside from that save system Fable certainly didn't seem like a bad game, but it was no Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic or Jade Empire.

PayDay Winning Numbers for Sept. 15th


Morning Post

So, apparently Corpse Bride is only playing in one theatre in Toronto, Paramount. On Fri. Sept. 23rd it should be everywhere, but for now it's only there. At this point, aside from the fact that I've never been fond of that inconveniently located, overcrowded theatre, I'll wait until next Friday when I don't have to pay higher-end prices to simply see a 1 hour 15 minute flick.

On another note, the next month-ish is looking to be very crazy busy for both myself and my multiple personality riddled Staff, so I don't know how frequently we'll be able to post.

As always we'll do what we can to keep you, one of our half-dozen readers, happy, and if you don't like it, you can send us charitable donations or click those annoying ads to the right.

Well? Start clicking!

Thursday, September 15, 2005

The Staff sees More of the Same

Iraq violence, unrest and racial hatred in the West Bank, guns out of control in our fair City of T dot, a bungled US government response to the apparently worst natural disaster in its history. The list goes on. The news media won't stop forcing apocalyptic drivel down the public's throat, because that's what's sensational, and that's what keeps the public cowed in a perpetual state of fear.

In response to this, We, the Staff (TM) believe an outlet like blogs could shift the way the public sees the world. Currently, they are not controlled by any real, cohesive governing power. If left unmolested, truthful, independent and multitudinous, blog-based news sources could allow members of the public to form their own, intelligent ideas of what's going on in the world around them.

This could dispel the falsehoods and sensational ratings grabs put forth by mainstream media. If the public relied more on itself for knowing what was really going on in the world, could the real truth be coaxed out a little more? Or, is it only a matter of time before mainstream media realizes what power lies in this relatively new outlet, and start trying to assimilate it and perpetuate what's "marketable", id est more death & destruction.

Okay, We're done for now.

- The Staff

Anarchy Online is Now Free to Play

Anarchy Online, a sci-fi massive multiplayer online roleplaying game from roughly 2001, is now free for anyone to play into 2007.

Anyone can download the client, create an account and start playing for free for well over a year. This does not apply to any of the game's expansion sets, only the original Anarchy Online.

If I get bored enough I might give this a try, as I've never really played an MMO before, mostly 'cause you need to pay a monthly fee.

Being an older game to, the requirements are very light. We're talking:
Windows 98/ME/2000 SP1+2/XP Pentium II 300 128MB RAM 2X CD-ROM drive
DirectX 3D 8Mb video card DirectX compatible sound device 700MB free hard drive
space Internet connection, 28.8K Modem

With a recommended of:
Pentium II 450 256 Mb RAM 3D card with 32MB RAM, DirectX 8X CD-ROM drive 1GB
free hard drive space Internet connection, 56K Modem

Anyone with a computer dated from roughly 2000 or greater should have no problem.

Xbox 360 Release Date Announced

Microsoft announced that the Xbox 360 will hit retail shelves in North America on November 22. They're worker monkeys are hard at work mass producing the shiney new console so there won't be a shortage this holiday season.

In this article is also a list of Xbox 360 games that are being shown off at Micorsoft game booth at the Tokyo Game Show, and in truth, only Call of Duty 2 and to a lesser extent Gears of War hold any of my interest.

I do expect to pick up an Xbox 360, but I am going to wait until more worth-while titles hit the shelves. With any luck, there'll be a small price drop by that time.

Morning Post

So I won Jade Empire for the second time this past Tuesday night. Very enjoyable game. I plan on posting a short review here on the Blog at some point over the weekend.

The only problem is now I'm left wondering what I should play. Essentially I'm waiting for Doom 3: Resurrection of Evil (Xbox), which is tentatively due out Tues. Oct. 11th, so I pretty much have 3.5 weeks for something else.

Right now, it's pretty much between The Lord of the Rings: The Third Age (Pictured Left), Doom II, Half-Life (PC), and Star Wars: Republic Commando. I can't decide.

On another topic, I received my "Fight the Flood" t-shirt from UPS yesterday. I really like the shirt, just wanna was it up and then I'll start wearing it. I also got my Arbiter poster which is now up on my wall. I must admit that I'm disappointed with the packaging job for shipping. They placed everything in a large box (to fit the rolled up poster), used tissue-like paper for padding, and sent it on its merry way.

The box arrived heavily dented in one corner. Thankfully, the shirts can't be damaged by a box dent seeing as how they're fabric. The poster had one of it's corners a bit crushed in, but nothing series.

Still though, I worked for one of the worst companies in the world last winter in their farce of an online store, and even their packaging jobs were better.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

"Fight the Flood" T-Shirt still Raising Funds

Saw over at Bungie's web site that their "Fight the Flood" t-shirt is still raising a good amount of money for the American Red Cross.

As of this morning, they've raised about $146, 445 (US) and have sold about 9, 763 shirts.

If you haven't yet, buy a shirt and help save a life.

We don't want to say We told you so, but...

...We told you so. Saw over on a little article pertaining to how Reality TV is "finally" wearing out its welcome. Duh. It wore out its welcome as soon as such a dumbass phrase was coined. We, the Staff (TM) have never given in to the eternal IQ-dropping powers of such drivel. Instead, we drop other folkses' IQ with this here blorg thingy.

'Bout freakin' time, at any rate.

-The Staff

Edit: The link provided doesn't link to the actual article. seems to have lost it. But it was there!

Doom Movie does have a lot of FPS Shots

The Doom movie web site now has a "Look Inside" section which features a short video game on, who knew, looking inside the making of the film.

In it, they not only show several shots (some new) but confirm that much of the game is shown through the classic video game FPS view of Karl Urban's character, Reaper.

If nothing else, the movie will have some unique cinematography.

150th Pfosten - Deutsche Ausgabe

Dieser Morgen-Pfosten kennzeichnet unseren 150th Pfosten hier sind Urteil des Schiedsrichters.

Der ist 150 Pfosten reiner unbrauchbarer Mist, zum zu verrotten dieses Gehirn von Ihrem.

Wir sind, also die aufgeregte, daß wir wirklich gebildet haben, daß haben viele Pfosten (und der seien Sie, Leserschaft um ein Ganzes whapping 100% zugenommen hat), wir entschieden, diesen Meilenstein in der größten Sprache von allen bekanntzugeben: Deutsch.

Jetzt, wenn Sie mich entschuldigen, muß ich gehen esse etwas schnitzel.

Saturday, September 10, 2005

Healthy in Paranoid Times

Our Lady Peace's new album, Healthy in Paranoid Times, has been out since Aug. 30th. I haven't picked it up yet or actually heard the new single, "Where are you" yet; though I've checked out the samples of all 12 tracks on their web site.

It sounds alright; reminds me in style of their previous album, Gravity. Essentially it sounds like a great album to have playing in the background when you're doing something, but nothing monumental.

I'll probably grab it the next time I'm at a Futureshop or Best Buy. I actually still need to pick up their 1999 release, Happiness is not a Fish you can Catch.

Decapitations in Jade Empire

Holy crap, I just found out that you can decapitate opponents in Jade Empire. I've done a little poking around the net, and apparently you can do it with either Dragon Sword or Flawless Weapons Styles should you have invested enough Style Points into them. Your opponent has to be near death (few Hit Points) to perform a decapitation.

I found this out by chance doing the above; using Dragon Sword Style, I had really put the hurt on a Lotus Assassin, and then pop, off bounced his head with a fountain of blood erupting from the stump that was his neck.

Sadly I don't have any screen shots to post (seeing as how there's no screen capture button on the Xbox), so instead enjoy the above pick of one of your followers, Sagacious Zu, battling Cannibals with his staff.

Corpse Bride in Theatres Sept. 16th

Saw over at the official site that Corpse Bride will hit theatres in Toronto, New York and Los Angeles on Sept. 16th, and nationwide Sept. 23rd.

I have very high hopes for this Burton claymated film. Great cast, exceptional director.

Xbox Live Pricing for the Xbox 360

This is slightly older news, but Microsoft announced the pricing for Xbox Live for their upcoming Xbox 360 Console.
The next generation of Xbox Live will be offered to gamers through two
levels of service.

Xbox Live Silver is a free level of the service offered to all who own an
Xbox 360 system, a high-speed Internet connection, and a memory unit or a hard

The Xbox Live Gold membership delivers the full Xbox Live premium online
experience annually for $49.99 (U.S.)/$79.99 (CDN),* which averages to a little
more than $4 a month (U.S.).

Credit cards will also no longer be a requirement for creating an account. Customers can purchase pre-paid cards at most retailers.

Read the article for further details and a chart detailing the difference between Silver and Gold Memberships.

Morning Post

I found Vivendi Universal's most recent news letter in my Inbox this morning, and the headline title was none other than 50 Cent: Bulletproof.
After getting shot nine times and left for dead, 50 climbs from the jaws of death to exact revenge on his enemies. Working with his G-Unit soldiers, 50 takes on the most powerful gangs and crime syndicates in the city, uncovering a criminal conspiracy with international implications.
The game also features Eminem as a Detective and Dr. Dre as a "street-wise war veteran."

God save us all from this drival. Don't get me wrong, I'm not just slamming this 'cause it features a star from a genre of music I don't like; I'd slam it just as much if it was The Tea Party: Bulletproof or something stupid like that.

Edit: Then again, The Tea Party would never do something like this anyway. Instead, they spend they're time raising money for foundations like The White Ribbon Campaign, you know, something useful and releastic instead of a hip hop artist taking on the gangs of New York.

Friday, September 09, 2005

The Return of the Staff

"Return of the Staff"... what say you, peoples? Does that sound like a cool movie name? Bet it would trounce Return of the Jedi. The whole bunch of We, the Staff (TM) running around causing We, the Staff (TM) brand havoc... We smells Oscar, we does!

Anyway, fearless leader's hopes have once again been dashed, as We, the Staff (TM) did not drown ourselves on our sabbatical. Scuba diving can become tricky, however, with all of We, the Staff (TM) down there sharing air. Staff member number N gets really uppity and hogs all the O2, leaving the rest of us with just plain nitrogen. Then we get narcosis and start getting all drunk underwater. Then we start telling off the fishies. Then the fishies show up our swimming ability by bolting out of range of our relentless tauntings. Then we shakes our fists at them real good. Damn fishies, thinkin' they're better than us.

So now everyone should be glad that We, the Staff (TM) have returned to bombard them with more useless crap.

-The Staff

Half-Life 2 (Xbox) Screenshots

Some new screenshots have been released for the upcoming Xbox version of Half-Life 2. You can check them out here.

Weird Dream

So last night, I dreamt I was a Republic Commando from Star Wars: Republic Commando. Not just any old commando mind you, but Delta 38, "Boss," himself.

I was on a Republic Assault Ship that had been hijacked by Trandoshan Mercenaries. It was weird though, unlike the Assault Ship actually featured in the game, there was simply a small cockpit instead of the huge bridge.

Anyway, I made it up to the hallway that lead to this cockpit, and found the damn door locked. The Trandos were in there, and they were flying and wrecking the ship. One of them turned to look at me and sneered.

I was then joined up by Delta Six-Two, "Scorch." We tried shooting the door open to no avail. That's when I heard the noise coming from around a corner, down a stretch of hallway that had pillars conveniently placed for cover.

A Advanced Dwarf Spider Droid was coming to take us out, so I ordered Six-Two to move ahead and secure the area right by the pillars; where he would pop in and out firing at the Spider Droid with his DC-17M Blaster Rifle and draw it's fire.

While he was playing bait, I snapped on the Anti-Armour Attachment to my DC-17M and fired all 4 of my grenades. I then switched to the Sniper-Rifle Attachment, tried lining up a shot for it's large, red "eye" weak point, and fired. I missed the "eye," but overall enough damage had been caused to destroy the Spider Droid.

The moral of this story is it's better to dream about Star Wars than it is to dream about being at work, only to wake up and have to go there.

"Fight the Flood" T-Shirt Update

Bungie Studio's T-Shirt drive to raise funds for the relief effort is going very well; they've almost raised $93, 000 US.

If you haven't yet, especially if you're a Halo fan, go buy one of these shirts. It's for a great cause and the $15.00 US Bungie donates to the American Red Cross can literally save a life or lives.

UPDATE: Bungie has commented even further in tonight's Weekly Update. To date, they've made $120, 450.00 in donations to the American Red Cross from their "Fight the Flood" t-shirt.

PayDay Winning Numbers for Sept. 8th


I got jack shit yet again.

I blame my Staff somehow.

Speaking of that primate, he should be done attempting to drown himself today; so his pointless rambling may soon reappear on the blog.

And may God have mercy on all your souls.

Morning Post

So I ended up seeing House of the Dead a few nights ago. It's another video game turned movie, and guess what? I stunk!

Typical lame plot. Punch of teens/college students go to a mysterious island for a rave, but when they get there everyone's missing. They're attacked by zombies and it's a struggle to survive. There's a lot of use of "Bullet Time" styled shots to the point where it gets old way too fast, and of course all these kids are master martial artists and perfect shots. Resident Evil was better, and it was pretty bad.

Essentially I found myself watching the flick simply to see what lameness would be brought up next; something that's so bad you have to watch it. Basically search back and read my editorial on game movies; this one followed about everything you're not supposed to do.

The only real redeaming quality of the flick was, just like Resident Evil: Apocalypse, boob shots. They had some great and lenghty boob shots in House of the Dead. My only piss off was that Ona Grauer, pictured left, was bouncing around in that tight top the whole flick and there was no boob shot of her once. She gets stabbed right in-between her boobs, but never a nipple. Such a damn tease, and she was the hottest one.

So, I think we all know where I'm going with this: The moral is, just say no to libraries.

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

5 New StarCraft: Ghost Screen Shots

Last Friday Blizzard Entertainment updated their StarCraft: Ghost page with 5 new screen shots. You can check them out here.

Morning Post

Hey kids,

So the long weekend was great. Good food, good drink, and good poker.

I also found out the date of my best friend's wedding, and I also found out I get to be the best man!

I'm greatly honoured, though I suspect I'll now have to learn the chicken dance...

Sunday, September 04, 2005

New Star Wars: Battlefront II Official Web Site

Lucasarts launched an all new web site for Star Wars: Battlefront II.

The original Star Wars: Battlefront can be purchased for $29.99 (Xbox/PS2) and is on sale for $19.99 (PC) at Future Shop. It's the best selling Star Wars video game of all time, due to its excellent multiplayer. I tried the single player demo, which was set in the Battle of Endor, and it rather sucked.

The sequel, however, looks to have a more promising Single Player Campaign that's more story line focused. Well see, but it might be mainly based on a squad of Clone Troopers, and I really like Clone Troopers.

Anyway, a Single Player demo will be on the Star Wars: Episode III - Revenge of the Sith DVD, which releases the same day as Battlefront II, November 1st. I'll give it a try, and if I like it I'll rent the game. If I really like it I'll pick up a copy.

Actually, this fall is looking like a good season for Xbox games: Doom 3: Resurrection of Evil, Half-Life 2, and Star Wars: Battlefront II. The Xbox 360 also launches, which might mean Quake IV soon after or at least for the holiday season, along with Call of Duty II (and Call of Duty II: Big Red One for the current gen consoles).

Definitely a good time for Xbox gaming.