Sunday, July 26, 2009

Schick Quattro Razor Review

In mid-June when I went to pick up my copy of Ghostbusters: The Video Game from Best Buy, I ended up coming back with a Schick Quattro Disposable razor. How exactly did that happen? Well, let's just say that I didn't call before hand and Best Buy was sold out, and there was a promotional both set up across the street giving away free demo disposable razors.

So yeah, that's right. I'm reviewing a razor. And you know what, it sucked.

I usually use Gillette's Sensor Excel (with Sensor 3 blades), and it works just fine, but the Schick Quattro is a razor that you just can't clean very well due to the design of the blade itself. To save a little coin, I like to reuse a disposable blade about 4 times, which I can do with my Sensor Excel, but not so with the Quattro. Already after one shave, the blade was clogged enough that any subsequent shavings required multiple passes, thus defeating the purpose of having 4 blades to minimize strokes in the first place. Still though, I plugged on, and used it for about 3 shaves total, and by the end, well, it was a pain. Literally.

I must admit I wasn't even impressed with the first shave I got from the razor, and I certainly have no desire to switch from my older Gillette model for this fancy, dandy new razor. It even had difficulty getting in those harder to reach areas, specifically right under my nose, which is much less of an issue with my simple Sensor Excel.

So the verdict: Avoid, and make sparing use of even free samples.

Troy: Director's Cut Review

A few weeks back, a buddy lent me his copy of Troy: Director's Cut to watch while I was on vacation. Many of you may remember the theatrical release of Troy from 2004, and I know I was psyched for it based on the epic battle scenes previewed in the trailers. The actual film though, left much to be desired. While not a bad film, Troy lacked the strong character development that I believe is crucial in a historical fantasy epic, and the film really did feel rushed. The same could be said for the theatrical release of Kingdom of Heaven, and these days, that's what director's cuts are for.

Most pacing and character development issues arise from studios forcing directors to trim films down, keeping in the action scenes at the expense of character moments to (hopefully) better entertain your traditional audience. At least with DVD releases, director's tend to have an option to re-release the film the way they had mainly intended. For Kingdom of Heaven, this worked extremely well, as the theatrical version compared to its director's cut is like night and day; a completely different film. Does the same hold true for Troy, however?

Many of us know the basic story of the legend of the Golden City and the great Trojan War, as well as the heroes that dominate the tale. The legendary warriors Achilles (Brad Pitt) and Hector (Eric Bana), the kings Agamemnon (Brian Cox) and Priam (Peter O'Toole), and of course the main reason for the war, Helen (Diane Kruger) and her lover, Prince Paris (Orlando Bloom).

For the purpose of the film, Paris, the youngest prince of Troy, falls in love with Helen of Sparta and takes her to Troy to live with him. Helen's husband, Menelaus (Brendan Gleeson) the king of Sparta, convinces his brother Agamemnon, the king of Mycenae and of all Greece, to wage war against Troy to get her back, and thus the war and siege of Troy begins. Achilles, the greatest warrior of his day, is the champion of the Greeks and Hector, the eldest son of Priam and heir to the Trojan throne, serves as the champion of Troy.

With Troy: Director's Cut, director Wolfgang Petersen worked very hard to try and properly complete his film. The movie was re-cut and an additional 30 minutes of footage has been added, expanding the love story between Helen and Paris, providing a more fitting introduction for Odysseus (Sean Bean), and providing a little more insight into King Priam of Troy. Even the entire musical score of the film was revamped to better compliment the new footage. Overall, a great deal of credit and respect must be paid to such an undertaking, as this director's cut was no small feet.

The film depicts the Trojan War in all it's glory, with many dazzling CGI battles of epic scale, mainly featuring titanic infantry clashes. Many of the soldiers in these battles are created via CGI, but admittedly, the effects used have not aged as well as those employed by some other films (The Lord of the Rings, for instance). I digress, however, and the main thing you want to know is how does the director's cut stacks up to the theatrical film. Well, as mentioned, there are more character moments, there are more action scenes (The sack of Troy itself is nicely expanded), and there's even some more nudity, but the truth is that the 30 minutes of additional footage is no where near as drastic or altering as what I've found in other comparable films; despite all these efforts, Troy: Director's Cut only marginally improved the film. The character's themselves still needed more development, more motivation, and it's a shame that we won't find it here, as that's truly what Troy lacks the most.

I know it's not an easy task. The legend of Troy has a great number of essential characters, as does the film, but even with more time, three and a half hours simply was not enough to properly cover such an epic piece in historical fiction. The overall story, the characters, and the legend is just far too complex to compress into such a short space of time.

Overall, Troy: Director's Cut is an entertaining film, but it doesn't live up to the epic standard of some of its competitors. My advice would be to experience the film as a weekend rental, spreading it out across two days (it comes on two discs).

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Star Wars: The Force Unleashed - Ultimate Sith Edition and Additional DLC Announced

I didn't see this one coming. LucasArts has officially announced that they will be releasing additional DLC for Star Wars: The Force Unleashed this fall.

Taking a what-if approach, the DLC will contain one new level set on Tatooine after the retail game, and from the perspective of the Dark Side ending. Starkiller, having eliminated Darth Vader and now at the Emperor's side as his apprentice, has been dispatched to Tatooine to hunt down one of the last remaining Jedi Knights, Obi-Wan Kenobi. During the level, you'll be able to explore Jabba's palace where you'll also encounter Boba Fett.

LucasArts has also announced Star Wars: The Force Unleashed - Ultimate Sith Edition, which will be coming to retail shelves this holiday season. Not only will it contain the full retail game as well as both DLC, it'll also include one exclusive new level not available anywhere else. This new level continues the storyline of the upcoming Tatooine DLC and sees Starkiller dispatched to Hoth to crush the Rebel Alliance once and for all where players will face off against Luke Skywalker himself.

You can view the trailer for Star Wars: The Force Unleashed - Ultimate Sith Edition below, and screenshots can be found on the official site under Media Gallery>Screenshots. The above story is taken from the official site's Game Info>News section.

While this all sounds really cool, and it does for any Star Wars fan, I have no intention of purchasing the game yet again. Too bad they didn't launch this as a collector's edition last year; then I would have bit.

Fallout 3: Mothership Zeta Screenshots

With only a few weeks away until it's release, Bethesda Softworks has released three additional screenshots for their upcoming DLC, Fallout 3: Mothership Zeta.

You can check them out right here.

Mass Effect 2 E3 Reveal Trailer

This was released a while ago, but somehow I missed posting it. Below, you'll find the Mass Effect 2 E3 Reveal Trailer in which BioWare details what it showcased, including several gameplay changes and improvements, at this year's E3.

At least there's still a few titles coming out that look like they're trying to innovate. Really, that's quite the rarity in the industry right now and sorely needed.

Halo: Reach to be Bungie's Final Halo Title

According to TeamXbox, Halo: Reach, the next Halo title to be released in Fall of 2010, will be Bungie's final game in the franchise. Microsoft Game Studios holds the rights to the Halo franchise, however, so you can bet your grandma that other developers will be developing Halo-based games in some form or another.

Once Halo: Reach is complete, Bungie will continue developing a brand new IP (independent property) that they can't quite talk about yet.

The same article also goes on to mention that Peter Jackson's Halo title, Halo: Chronicles, has been canceled.

Halo: Legends Announcement Trailer

Well, looks like Halo is going anime. Halo: Legends, a series of short films set in the Halo universe, will be releasing some time in 2010 on DVD and Blu-ray Disc. You can view the trailer below or in the Spotlight Channel on Xbox LIVE.

I've never liked anime, so this already looks rather crappy to me, but hey, Microsoft is marketing and milking the kids today, and for some God-awful reason, kids like anime.

The more I see coming up for the Halo franchise now, the more I end up smacking my face into my palm.

Xbox LIVE Update Preview Program

The next Xbox 360 Dashboard update is coming this August, and we all have a chance to beta test it a few weeks in advance by signing up right here. Full details can be found on Major Nelson's site here.

I was in the beta for the New Xbox Experience, and it was pretty cool, so I've signed up again. Note that signing up doesn't guarantee that you'll get in, but odds are good. Otherwise, you'll only need to wait a few weeks for the System Update to go live, so it's not a huge deal if you miss out.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Halo Wars Title Update #3 Released

This past Friday, Microsoft Game Studios and Robot Entertainment released the third Title Update for Halo Wars, which includes both bug and balance fixes. For a full list of what the Title Update covers, you can refer to my earlier post right here.

Now that the Warthog rush is at best fixed at worst minimized, I suppose it's time to fire the game up again. I wonder if Random will still get me Sgt. Forge every single time?

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Halo Wars Historic Battles Game Add-On Announced

Looks like Halo Wars is getting its first map pack. Robot Entertainment has announced the Halo Wars Historic Battles Game Add-on, which contains four new maps for 800 Microsoft Points, to be released on July 21st.

The new maps are: Barrens (1v1), Blood River (1v1), Glacial Ravine (3v3), and Memorial Basin (2v2). The DLC will also feature four additional Achievements to earn. For full details, head on over to the main Halo Wars site, second news item at the time of this posting.

Once again, this is an insult to any serious gamer. Blizzard Entertainment, a developer/publisher known for its epic and genre defining real time strategy games, could release a free map or more every week for over 5 years for its games, yet Microsoft Game Studios can't release four Halo Wars maps for free? This, my friends, is milkage, and I hope none of you are considering buying this so-called "premium" content.

Fallout 3: Mothership Zeta Screenshots and Details Announced

The final Fallout 3 DLC (that we know about) has had its full details revealed.

Mothership Zeta will launch on August 3rd for 800 Microsoft Points for the Xbox 360 and PC, and the PlayStation 3 version will follow later this year.

For full info on the upcoming DLC, head here. For four lovely screenshots, step over here.

BioShock 2 Delayed

Straight from the announcement from The Cult of Rapture, BioShock 2 has been officially delayed.

"BioShock 2's release date is moving to 2010. As I'm sure you already know, we make sure our games release with the highest level of polish, and these extra few months will help make your return to Rapture the best it can possibly be."

While I'm disappointed to have to wait longer, I fully support a delay if it will mean a better final product. Too many games are rushed out these days. Far too many.

Expect to see BioShock 2 on store shelves in the first half of 2010.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Happy Anniversary to Us!

For just over 4 years now, we've been rotting your brain with useless crap and gaming drivel, and we're damn proud of it! Friday, July 8th 2005 saw my very first lame blog post which you can find here, and man, have we come a long way.

1,724 posts later, we now feature a great deal of reviews and editorials for a wide variety of topics (look to the side bar on your left), and the layout has seen some minor and one major revision since we launched. We've peaked at well over 100 readers a day, averaging 93 a day now, and the site's been viewed and/or mentioned by such developers as BioWare and Bethesda Softworks. We've also been mentioned by Halo.Bungie.Org and Planet Doom.

It's been 4 years of awesomeness kids, and here's hoping to 4 more! Thanks for reading, and not sending me too much hate mail.

The Elder Scrolls II: Daggerfall now Freeware

Celebrating the 15th anniversary of The Elder Scrolls, Bethesda Game Studios has released its 1996 classic, The Elder Scrolls II: Daggerfall, as freeware.

You can download the full retail game from Bethesda, for free, right here, and make sure to _read_ the installation instructions found on this online .pdf here (just skip the legal mumbo jumbo).

I got to play with DOS again kids. DOS! My god, I remember playing so many classic games this way, not emulated of course, and what fun it used to be. Granted, gaming and interfaces have gotten a billion times better, and there's no real comparison, but what we owe to this classic style.

I tinkered a bit with the game, but couldn't get my character to attack, and I never liked the old style movement setup in the first two The Elder Scrolls, so I'll be giving it a pass, but man, the memories. Clunky, blocky, and complicated with poorly acted live action videos, this is what gaming was all about back in the mid-90's. Oh, and this is the only The Elder Scrolls title to feature nudity. Pixelated nudity, but there's bare boobies in there somewhere.

Too much nostalgia these days. Both for old games and boobies. Who doesn't like thinking about boobies?

2nd Annual Summer of Arcade

The 2nd Annual Summer of Arcade is about to hit Xbox LIVE, and the full release schedule, including the games and their prices, can be found below or on Major Nelson's site right here.

July 22: Splosion Man™ 800 Microsoft Points
(Twisted Pixel Games/Microsoft): Fools they were, to tread where knowledge should stay forbidden. For what emerged was not a man - it was a Splosion Man. "And all who saw him were sploded, for he was the fire and they were but meat." Able to splode himself at will, the Splosion Man launches his way through levels as an uncontainable force. From Twisted Pixel Games, developer of the award winning The Maw™, Splosion Man will keep you on your toes as you play through more than 50 single-player levels and 50 multiplayer levels. Nominated by GameSpy, Gamespot, IGN, and 411mania, this meat-riddled splosion-fest took several Best of E3 awards including Best Platformer and Best Downloadable Game.

July 29: Marvel vs. Capcom 2 1200 Microsoft Points
(Backbone Entertainment/Capcom): One of the most popular fighting games of all time, “Marvel vs. Capcom 2,” arrives worldwide on Xbox LIVE Arcade. Choose from 56 legendary characters from Marvel Comics and Capcom history, including Ryu and Wolverine. With online multiplayer over Xbox LIVE and enhanced HD graphics, decide your own dream team in the ultimate tag-team fighting experience.

Aug 5: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles™: Turtles in Time Re-shelled 1200 Microsoft Points
(Ubisoft Singapore®/Ubisoft®): Cowabunga dude! Marking the franchise’s 25 anniversary, everyone's favorite Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles game is back with a brand new look in “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Turtles in Time Re-Shelled.” The arcade classic has been revamped with all new 3D graphics, but the same classic beat 'em up gameplay.

August 12: Trials HD 1200 Microsoft Points
(RedLynx/Microsoft): Nominated for GameSpy’s Best Downloadable Game of E3 award, “Trials HD” is guaranteed to get our heart racing.” Put on your helmet, and rev your way through “Trials HD,” a full-featured, physics-based motorcycle racing platformer in stunning HD graphics. Tear up more than 50 tracks and test your metal in two unique game modes: Race and Skill. Create, share and download an unlimited number of free tracks with the level editor, and customize your rider to fit your personality.

August 19: Shadow Complex 1200 Microsoft Points
(Chair Entertainment and Epic Games/Microsoft): Winner of numerous Best of E3 awards including Best Downloadable Game from 1UP, IGN, GameTrailers and G4TV, “Shadow Complex” is the next evolution in downloadable games. “Shadow Complex” marries the quality and depth of a full retail title with the stunning visuals of Epic Games’ industry-leading Unreal Engine 3, and a classic side-scroller. Set in the world of Orson Scott Card’s best-selling novel, “Empire,” Shadow Complex provides more than 10 hours of in-depth gameplay and introduces a compelling universe.

You know, most of those games look pretty damned expensive, as 1200 Microsoft Points translates into $17.40. I was looking forward to Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Turtles in Time - Re-shelled, but at that price I'll pass and save up for a Platinum Hits retail title.

Will the milkage never end? And yes, that's a rhetorical question.

Ghostbusters: The Video Game Demo Now Available

A demo for Ghostbusters: The Video Game has now been released, and you can add the Xbox 360 version to your download queue right here.

Go bust some ghosts if you're still on the fence about the title, and see what an '80's franchise in HD looks (and plays) like!

Halo Wars Title Update #3 Details

The next Title Update for Halo Wars, which will contain several bugs fixes and balance changes, will be released via Xbox LIVE in the next few weeks. Until then, Robot Entertainment has released the patch notes so we can see exactly what to expect (taken from the main Halo Wars page):

Balance Changes:
- UNSC Warthogs Gauss cannon damage against tanks and other heavily armored vehicles reduced by 25%
-UNSC Warthogs build time increased by 3 seconds to 25 seconds
- Anders research time bonus decreased to 25% from 50%. Her Research cost bonus remains unchanged at 50%
-Covenant and UNSC turrets have 5% increased health and 5% increased damage
-UNSC Elephants have a 20% more health
-Grenade damage type now has 25% additonal damage against Warthogs and other medium armor ground vehicles.
-Recycle basic cost return fixed to be 50% for constructed buildings.
- Locked down bases when unlocked will now release units inside very quickly, which means that when under attack a player can now build a fighting force while locked down and then release them much more quickly than before
- UNSC Leader powers disabled at the start of Reinforcement Matches
-Players no longer receive points for team killing.
-Self Destructing/Recycling buildings now gives points to opponents

Bug Fixes:
-Players should now find it much easier to play System Link games
-Fixed Covenant Shield Generator Exploit
-Invisible Units should now have invisible health bars
-Players will no longer be able to scout opposing bases by using the area-select tool

Looks pretty good. Once it's released, I'll likely start playing Multiplayer again.

Wolfenstein CG Trailer

Thought this trailer was pretty well animated, and I believe it's the game's intro.

Wolfenstein hits shelves on August 4th, I believe, and I'll be checking out reviews to see what the critics have to say. If the game's done well, I may just pick it up.

Martin Streek Passes On

Honestly, 2009 is either going to be called my Year of Doubt or my Year of Change, as everything representing my childhood, or what last scraps I was hanging on to of it, seem to be pulling away.

Earlier this week, I heard the sad news that Martin Streek, former DJ of 102.1 the Edge, has passed away. I grew up listening to this guy, and many other talented DJ's on Edge, and I just want to send out my own respects.

Martin, thanks for entertaining all those years, and I hope you've found peace wherever you are. You'll be missed.

Halo 3: ODST Maps Revealed

This past Bungie Day, Bungie Studios has given us our first real glimpse at the second set of Mythic Maps for Halo 3, which will ship exclusively with Halo 3: ODST this fall.

Say hello to Heretic, Citadel, and Longshore right here.

So let's see. New 5 hour expansion Campaign. Check. New Co-Op mode. Check. 3 new Multiplayer Maps. Check. Every other Halo 3 Multiplayer Map. Check. $69.99 plus tax price tag. ... ... Screw that.

Sorry Bungie, but if you want me to buy a retail game, give me a retail game and not an expansion set.

Nice try though.

Halo 3 Mythic Map Pack

On Canada Day, I was fortunate enough to win a community contest on the Xbox Canadian General forums for Halo 3's Mythic Map Pack.

While I haven't gotten to play them too much, I have had a brief chance to sample each Mythic Map and thus far they're both well designed and fun. Assembly's my favourite, with Sandbox being my least, but then again I was never huge on Forge.

Now, I haven't played Halo 3's Matchmaking in several months, so I was quite surprised to learn that many of the Playlists now require all the DLC, or at least the premium DLC. In English, that means to play a Playlist that shipped with the retail game, you'll need to go and purchase at least 1400 Microsoft Points ($20.30) of content, 2 x Map Packs, a total of 6 Multiplayer Maps.

That's horrible! So basically, if you want to enjoy Halo 3 out-of-the-box over Xbox LIVE, you now _must_ purchase the Halo 3 Legendary Map Pack and the Halo 3 Mythic Map Pack. I still can't believe it, and that's a disgusting cash-in that's turned me right off of Halo 3's Multiplayer. Extra maps should only be requried if they're _free_ to all, otherwise "premium" Playlists should be kept separate.

What's even worse is that Playlist's are maintained and implemented by Bungie, not Microsoft Game Studios, so this is a nice example of a developer providing the milkage.

Shame on you, Bungie Studios. I've just lost a lot of respect for you.

Thursday, July 02, 2009

Gears of War 2 Title Update 4 Release Date, Double XP Independance Day Weekend

Rod Fergusson from Epic Games has informed us that the 4th Title Update for Gears of War 2 will be available tomorrow via Xbox LIVE.

In addition to the Title Update, Epic Games is celebrating Independence Day weekend with double XP earned, and as an added bonus, the 10th wave of every Horde match will now be filled with Tickers and only Tickers (better than Bloodmounts)!

The event ends on Monday, July 6th.

For full details regarding Title Update 4, head over here. For the official word on the Independence Day weekend Double XP, step this way.

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Doom: Resurrection Released

Hot on the heels of their recent acquisition by Zenimax Media, id Software has released a new Doom title, this time for the iPhone and iPod Touch.

Doom: Resurrection is an all new adventure set within the Doom 3 universe. Scientists conducting experiments on Mars have lost control unleashing the minions of Hell, and as the last surviving Marine, you need to battle your way out of there. Sounds rather like pretty much every other Doom title ever released, but hell, Doom's fun so it's alright.

The game is set parallel to the story of Doom 3, and uses the same assets from the 2004 title. Keep in mind though that Doom: Resurrection is a rail shooter, and it features a new control scheme taylored to the iPhone and iPod Touch (which is rather a given).

For your viewing pleasure, the official trailer, pulled from the site of co-developer Escalation Studios, is found below.

The texture quality and lighting are rather low, but again this isn't a current gen console, so I'm rather intrigued, but since I don't own an iPhone or iPod Touch and don't plan on getting one I'll be missing out on this game.

If you happen to download it, please, comment and let me know what you think!

Ghostbusters: The Video Game (Xbox 360) Review

We came. We saw. We kicked its ass! No, seriously, this game is my childhood in HD, which has me all in a nerdgasim. Released on the 25th anniversary of the original film, my second most watched movie of all time, Ghostbusters: The Video Game (Xbox 360) is, for all intents and purposes, the third movie. Set in 1991 and written by Dan Aykroyd and Harold Ramis, the game features the original cast, excluding Sigourney Weaver and "Honey I Shrunk my Career" Rick Moranis, and it even features everyone's favourite Peck, Walter Peck, voiced by William Atherton.

Being an '80's franchise, Ghostbusters: The Video Game is all about nostalgia, and it does this very, very well. The early parts of the game are true to the source material, so much so that at first it feels like Terminal Reality was simply re-hashing the original film, but thankfully this changes greatly after the first few missions, allowing the story to become really fresh, branching in its own direction and even concluding several points from the previous films.

You play as the Rookie, a new cadet and the fifth Ghostbuster who's just been hired to test out new and experimental equipment. Unfortunately, as you begin your first day on the job it looks like Gozer may be back, so the Ghostbusters need to swing into action. The game's tutorial introduces you to the Firehouse (complete with the painting of Vigo!), and then you're off on a mission to catch 'em, slam 'em, and trap 'em.

The gameplay for Ghostbusters: The Video Game has been described as a lite Gears of War, and from a certain point of view, I agree. While there is no cover system, the game is played from a third person perspective with your "HUD" built into your Proton Pack itself, and you can sprint, leap, and revive downed teammates. Really though, what's so much fun is the combat; bustin' does make me feel good! As described above, there are generally three phases to catching a ghost. First, you zap 'em with your Proton Pack until their health is low. Then you use your Proton Pack's Capture Stream to wrangle them, and you can slam the ghosts around to daze them. Lastly, you trap 'em. Toss out a Ghost Trap and guide them down into the little box to complete the capture and get paid.

Throughout the course of the game, you get a total of 4 weapons to use, your Proton Pack, and three variations, including the Slime Gun, which now dishes out green slime instead of the lovey pink crap from Ghostbusters II. You also get the Dark Matter Generator, which is more or less a Shotgun, and the Meson Collider, which is a high damage weapon that can track a target if used correctly.

Every weapon has a secondary fire that eventually becomes available, and all of your weapons, including your Ghost Trap, and your PKE Metre, can be upgraded with the cash you earn. Secondary fire for the Proton Pack, for example, is a grenade-like Boson Dart, and the Dark Matter Generator has the Stasis Stream which temporarily freezes enemies in place. The coolest of all secondary fires though has to be the Slime Gun's Slime Tether. It's a great puzzle solving device. You attach a rope of slime to an object, or even an enemy, then you attach the other end somewhere else. The Slime Tether will then contract, moving platforms closer together, getting objects out of your way, or slamming that ghost right against a wall or into your Ghost Trap! The Slime Gun is so useful for both its modes that it's actually my favourite weapon and usual my "default."

Did I also mention how destructible the environments are? Zap a wall, and you'll leave carbon scoring, just like in the films. You can leave slime trails, smash tables, break pillars, and in fact you can destroy so much that the game actually tracks how much damage you've caused (in dollars) and there's two damage based Achievements to earn, one for causing a ridiculous amount of damage, and the second for causing a very minimal amount of damage, which I have yet to earn. Considering the amount of damage you'll likely be racking up, it's a good thing the Ghostbusters have that damage claim arrangement with the city of New York!

You also get your handy-dandy PKE Metre to help navigate your environments. The PKE Metre, when used, drops you into a first person view in which you're looking through your Para-Goggles, providing image enhancement. You'll be able to see things normally invisible to the naked eye this way, and the PKE Metre will detect hidden ghosts and entities (red), Cursed Artifacts [collectables(blue)], and environmental phenomena (green). Ghosts and entities are just that and self-explanitory. Cursed Artificats provide you with some cash, Achievements, and you'll find them scattered around the Firehouse when you return there. Environmental phenomena are usually walls you can blow open, switches you can pull, or other some such that will advance your progress. The game has no map, which is frustrating at first, but once you learn to rely on your PKE Metre and get used to it, you'll never be lost. In fact, you can also see your PKE Metre on your belt in third person, so you don't need to walk around with it out all the time, but I personally found it more helpful to do so.

The game also relies strongly on team work with your AI allies. You're very rarely alone, and there's usually at least one other Ghostbuster with you, and your AI allies generally do a good job of helping out. The PKE Metre is also used to scan ghosts and find out information about them, such as what weapon they're the weakest to, and your AI allies will switch to that weapon when fighting different enemies. They'll also trap Ghosts, revive you when you're down (yes, unlike Gears of War, the game doesn't end if you're downed), and occasionally move ahead to guide you in the right direction. Ironically, for a game that's built well on teamplay, there's no Co-Op version of the Campaign, which is really sad. The more Ghostbusters using their Capture Streams on the same ghost, the less it can resist the Ghost Trap, and while the AI does help out here, it would have been much more fun with a real live buddy, either via splitscreen or Xbox LIVE. While the AI is also quick about coming to revive you, they're rather slow about helping each other, which means you'll be playing medic a little more often.

Visually, the game looks very good. Not Unreal Engine 3 good, but very good. The environments are extremely detailed (and destructible. Did I already mention that!), the character models fluid, and they very much resemble their '80's counterparts. In fact, the only major graphical con would be the lip syncing, which is generally poor, however the voice acting and dialogue, as previously mentioned provided by the original cast members and writers, is spot on and full of '80's cheese. The sound effects are great, right from the films, and some of the environments you'll traverse are quite eerie. Not scary, mind you, but definitely moody. The music is also pulled right from the first film, but it gets overplayed, which is rather a shame.

Like most shooters on the console market, Ghostbusters: The Video Game relies on an archaic, inferior checkpoint save system, except unlike other games, it never tells you when it checkpoints! This was very frustrating at times, 'cause unless I died I never knew when quitting exactly where I'd start up again. Usually just before a big battle or plot point makes sense, but there were some oddities to the system. For example, I had completed a mission and returned to the Firehouse, quitting and saving for the night. I come back the next day to play, and instead of loading me up at the Firehouse the game drops me right at the beginning of the next mission, forcing me to miss some crucial story information. Fortunately, being based on an '80's franchise, I was able to pick up what was going on quickly but come on! Don't jump me _forward_ when I load a bloody checkpoint! Yet another example of how Quick Save systems are the superior save system. And they've only been used since, what, 1993's Doom?

I also find it rather annoying that some games today, not just Ghostbusters: The Video Game, still ask you to select a Storage Device on starting up the game, and they still prompt you with a notification that Save Data will be overwritten if you continue. Honestly fellas, it's 2009. If I start up the game and have an HDD attached and _only_ an HDD, guess what Storage Device I'm going to use? No really, take a wild, educated guess! I also fail to see why most games don't support multiple Save slots. I mean, if I have 46 GB free, I think I could hold another 500 KB save file. Again, the steps backwards the gaming industry has taken on game saves over the last 5 years hurts my head, and while it's not deal-breaking, it's certainly annoying.

The real question you're asking though is if Ghostbusters: The Video Game is worth your hard earned coin. Well, that's going to depend on you. If you're an '80's kid like me who was obsessed with the franchise, then you will own this game. It's that simple, and Ghostbusters: The Video Game is, without a doubt, the best movie-tie-in game I've ever played. If you aren't into Ghostbusters, I'd recommend a rental first, as the game does get repetitive gameplay wise and while fun, isn't overly innovative. The enemies are challenging and there's enough variety to keep things fresh for the short Campaign, which took me about 9 hours on Experienced (Normal) and there's also some Multiplayer to have fun with, but really, the game's strength is its faithful rendition, re-creation, and continuation of the classic source material, so if you don't have the nostalgia for it, you'll likely enjoy the game less.

Regardless, if you do plan to pick up or rent Ghostbusters: The Video Game, I strongly urge you to watch the previous two films first. You'll get a whole lot more of the inside jokes, and you'll also learn why it's a bad idea to cross the streams.

Aliens Roleplaying Game Cancelled

Some sad news. Earlier this week, I learned via ActionTrip that the Aliens Roleplaying Game, developed by Obsidian Entertainment and published by Sega, has been officially canceled.

Final words taken from this soon to be extinct thread here:

"Rumors have circled around a bit regarding the fate of the Aliens role playing game that Obsidian and SEGA had been working on. Unfortunately, it is true that we are no longer working on the game, and we wanted to finally announce that officially to everyone who has been following its development."

Being a huge fan of the franchise I can't help but be disappointed, but there's always other games to look forward to.

Nathan Fillion Visits Bungie Studios

In last week's Weekly Update, Bungie revealed that they had an awesome guest pay a visit to their studio and to try out Halo 3: ODST: None other than Cpt. Mal Reynolds himself, Nathan Fillion.

Fillion lent his voice as a Sergeant in Halo 3, and he plays the ODST Buck in the upcoming Halo 3: ODST. Being a huge fan of the series, Fillion was privileged to try out the current build of the upcoming stand-alone expansion, as well as the new Firefight mode.

To get fully geeked out, check out Bungie's Weekly Update here.

Happy Canada Day

Whether you're enjoying a day out on the town, relaxing at a cottage, or taking it easy with your favourite game, we here at Arbiter's Judgement want to wish you a safe and happy Canada Day!

And remember children, fire works are nice and sparkly, but they don't belong in your hand, no matter how many beers you've had.