Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Video Game: Battlefield: Bad Company 2

A while back, like the majority of the games I've played lately, I happened to find Battlefield Bad Company 2 on a Steam deal. Although I've never been fanatic about the modern day war first person shooters, I had heard good things from some friends about this particular game. In essence it it probably Call of Duty: Modern Warfare's biggest competitor. While I had done a good deal of multiplayer a while back, it wasn't until just recently that I beat the single player campaign.

I assume this is a similar case with the Call of Duty games, but the campaign played a lot like a war movie. The story, although somewhat forgettable, tells the tale of a squad that doesn't take crap from any Russians. You start off playing briefly during World War II, but the majority of the game takes place in present day, as the bad company squad attempts to figure out what the Russians are up to. There's also a side element to the story where the teamwork that this war requires brings a liberal pacifist helicopter pilot and a grizly conservative squadmate closer together. It had a pretty cool ending that set it up for the sequel that is sure to come some day. Make no mistake that this is a pretty big budget game. The levels, although linear, give the feeling of being expansive due to large outdoor open looking areas. The graphics are pretty stellar as well. I can remember looking at Goldeneye for the N64 and thinking it looked realistic, so it has always amazed me the progress throughout the years in realism in games, making the last entry look blocky and fake. The game makes use of a number of vehicles such as tanks, 4 wheelers and helicopters.

While the single player campaign allows you to use any weapon in the arsenal over time, when playing multiplayer, you choose a class to level your rank up while killing, as well as unlocking weapon alternatives and scopes. The classes are assault, engineer, medic and recon, each coming with a few unique perks that you can unlock over time to help your teammates turn the tide of battle. While the maps are cool and the amount of buildings and walls you can destroy seem limitless in them, after a while I felt like I was replaying the same levels too frequently. This didn't really detract too much from the overall game though. I think this was attempted to be addressed in some downloadable content that was released, called "Vietnam," which apparently has Vietnam era weapons and a few maps that respect the environment of the Vietnam war.

Overall, I feel I got my money's worth out of this game. I'm actually interested in what changes the sequel could hold. The game Counter Strike is one of my favorite team based realistic multiplayer FPS's. The multiplayer of Battlefield seems right down CS:Source's alley and the leveling up and unlockables really keep you hooked on playing, at least until you reach the end of everything you can unlock. If you enjoy realistic FPS games and are already a fan of the majorly successful Call of Duty franchise, give this alternative a try. I don't think it will dissapoint you.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Television: Arrested Development

Now the story of a wealthy family, who lost everything and the one son who had no choice but to keep them all together.  It's Arrested Development.

For a while now, I've heard good things about this show.  I had never watched it while it was on the air like the majority of TV shows nowadays, but after having a deficit of comedy shows in my life, I finally decided to give it a shot.  The first episode or two I wasn't sure if I would keep watching, mainly because since there are so many characters, the first few episodes have a tremendous amount of work to establish who they are and keep you interested.  I am really glad I kept watching though.  This show is brilliant.  The casting is superb.  The stories and dialog are cleverly written.  It seemed like no time before I finished all three seasons and was left wanting more.

The show is a very good example of a straight man, Michael Bluth, dealing with all of the insanity around him.  All of the characters personality's clash and make for some very entertaining situations over the course of the series.  The good news is that there has been an Arrested Development movie in the works for sometime now and potentially will be here as soon as next year, so there is no other better time to watch this show than now.  Give it a viewing and stick with it for the first few episodes.  Driven by story and humor, Arrested Development is sure to entertain. 

Monday, September 12, 2011

Movie: Hobo With A Shotgun

Hobo with a Shotgun, currently available on Netflix instant streaming, is a gruesome movie.  It spews with gratuitous unnecessary violence from start to finish.  Unless you are a grade-A psychopath, you will be wincing with disgust throughout.  This movie's goal is to entertain through these means, along with purposefully cheesy dialogue and supporting scenes between action segments.  In this light, it does not disappoint.

If you have seen or heard of the film Machete, you would probably be familiar with what to expect regarding Hobo With A Shotgun.  Both films were never originally intended to be made, but were instead fake trailers to accompany Quentin Tarantino's Grindhouse combo movie.  Due to fan requests, these films actually ended up being made.

Hobo With A Shotgun follows the story of a lone Hobo who enters a city by hopping a free ride on a train, to start life anew.  Unfortunately for our protagonist Hobo, he has entered the most diabolical crime ridden city ever known in the existence of mankind.  As he observes the city, he watches as people are being beaten up, taken advantage of, and being abducted left and right.  Awful displays of gore litter most scenes.  In some parts it really reminded me of the dark humor and setting of the Robocop films.
As one would guess, eventually that there Hobo just couldn't take it no more.  He throws away his dreams of starting over, to instead try to rid the city of these criminals.

This film isn't for the feint of heart.  More than likely if you've got a good moral compass and allow the movie to absorb you in  all its cheesy splendor, you will sit there puckered up with disgust, trying to fathom how a city could get so rotten and hypothesize the best way to correct the predicament said city is in, at which point you will realize you're way over-thinking it and instead subside into a more comatose state that takes in all the blood, guts, alcohol, and brain dead dialogue.  Check it out!

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Movie: Kung Fu Panda 2

Some friends and I recently during the summer, saw Kung Fu Panda 2.  For anyone that saw the first one and enjoyed it, this sequel more than serves its purpose, expanding upon the original and beyond.
Kung Fu Panda was about Po, a Panda with Jack Black's voice wishing he could be a kung fu master, but a combination of his own gluttony and social economic status held him back.  His confidence did not waver though and through a series of training montages and battles, by the end of the first movie he achieved his goal.
While the original may have had a more inspired enemy, the sequel generally exceeds the first movie in most aspects.  From the beginning, a lot of very cool fighting scenes take place with Po and his partners in a team like fashion.  Since it has already become established that Po knows how to fight, there wasn't any slow to start regarding his talent.  Strangely throughout the movie he exhibits spikes and drops in his fighting ability, which I think is an inconsistency that is supposed to convey his lack of concentration and 'inner peace,' as well as just to be a joke.
Like the first one, Kung Fu Panda 2 has a really star studded cast.  So much so that many of the stars seem to only have a few sentences of dialogue each.  Often times the characters seem to speak solely to get one of the supporting actors lines out, rather than actual progression of the story.  Jackie Chan is Po's monkey friend, yet no one would really notice that without looking at the credits beforehand.  Some characters like Angelina Jolie's Tiger and Seth Rogan's Praying Mantis have a little more limelight.  Regardless of the unecessarily full to the brim list of names in the movie, it doesn't have a negative affect.

Overall, if you want to see something comedic, fun, and enjoyable to look at, with a semi engaging story and beautiful art direction, give Kung Fu Panda 2 a viewing when it comes to dvd.  As most open minded people are aware these days, you don't have to be a kid in all cases, to enjoy something animated.