Friday, 25 March 2011

Battle: Los Angeles Review

This film. Seriously. This film. This was a painful one.

Battle: Los Angeles is one of those films that creates a divide. You know, the sort of divides that on release day leave half the target audience completely oblivious and the other half really overhyped for it? One of those. The basic plot is this. Alien's invade earth and this leads to us following a squadron leader that is just one day away from retirement (No. Seriously) and his squad of american troops that are sent into Los Angeles to save some survivors from a police station.

I was one of the people who didn't have any expectations for this film and the basic concept of the film was explained to me when we were waiting for the film to start. I went into this film with an open mind, and it really did fail to impress.

Lets start with my initial thoughts on the plot. OK, theres a squadron leader with a dark past. Ooh. Original. Oh god and whats with this plot? This is just so boring! How did they make an alien invasion film boring! And whats with this shaky camera angle... Oh god I feel sick.

Lets hope that the squadron troops can bring this back to help me to care about what happens to these characte-- Oh no, just mostly stock troop characters with different levels of patrionism. That was a letdown, hard to enjoy a film when I don't care what happens to the characters.

So the plot was uninteresting, predictable and mostly stock, and the characters were mostly jackasses when they weren't overacting or being overly patriotic. Oh well maybe the aliens can bring it back here, because if we have interesting invading forces then maybe the film's fight scenes will be bette-- Oh for gods sake. Humainoid aliens, and stock designed vehicles. This is just getting ridiculous. We need new designs for alien ships people. Even though the film "Monsters" had awful movie reviews, it at least had earth being invaded by giant octopus aliens. That was at least original.

So, bad writing, stock characters, stock aliens, and just so you know it has a stock conclusion as well. I seriously believe that this an attempt to sell a movie on the premise of explosions alone. I really can't recommend this film with a straight face, but I guess if I had to it would be people who just want to see things blow up. That's if you can't wait for Independance Day 2. I'm not kidding. IMDB it.

For everyone else I would say if you want an intelligent and also clever film about aliens that will actually let you care about the main characters, watch District 9. It was my favourite film of 2009, and it is still in my top 10.

Avoid Battle: Los Angeles. In an upcoming review I will look at Battle of Los Angeles!

Wait. What?

This is Tyramatt, signing off.

Tuesday, 15 March 2011

Saw 6 and 7 Review

So now that i've seen what should be the last two in the Saw Series I love so much I can review them properly and give them the attention that they deserve.

As a devote Saw fan I tried to get into the mood when I went into Saw 6. This was not hard considering the opening trap. I'm trying to keep these vaguely spoiler free so I won't mention any of the details. Like Saw films 3, 4, and 5 before it, Saw 6 focuses its attention on one person's life wrongdoings and trys to teach a genuine lesson to him. The bullseye this time is on a head of an insurance company who won't insure people unless his team proves that it will give a tidy profit back.

In a flashback John Kramer (Jigsaw) meets him and they become somewhat of acqaintances. John learns of what the head of the insurance company does to conduct his business after he joins up for life insurance concerning his cancer that is slowly killing him. In another flashback we find the reason for him needed to be tested was that after John found a possibility for a cure for his cancer with a doctor in Norway, and the head of the company decided that if he went there it would not be profitable for the company. Therefore he threatens to cut John's insurance off if he goes there. John leaves the company of his own accord and tells the head that he doesn't value human life as he should.

The head of the company goes through many trials to try and get him to value human life such as my favourite which was a valued member of his team and his secretary who he has very little contact with are about to be pulled off a platform and be hung by the neck until dead by barbed wire. Both have their hands bound, and cannot move off their platforms to get away as they will hang wherever they go. The member of his team is a only child with both parents dead and no family to speak of, so if he was to die he would not be missed. The secretary who should be of less value to the company, who the head also denied life insurance to, has a large family and would definatly be missed. He can only pick one of them and has sixty seconds to do so. I'll let you assume what happens for yourselves.

The sixth film in the Saw series also serves as a return of John Kramer's wife Jill in what could be called a lead role. A majority of the shots show Jill and the new Jigsaw working together somewhat to organise the events of the sixth film as described in John Kramer's will. The ending also has a good conclusion and gets around to what I have wanted to see since the start of Saw 5. The new Jigsaw in a trap to see if he is worthy of being Jigsaw.

Lets now talk about Saw 7 or Saw 3D as it was know at the cinemas. I watched the film in 2D just so you know as 3D makes me feel slightly sick after a while. Saw 7 is one of my favourite films in the series. It brings actors back from all of the films to form what is one of my favourite scenes in any film now, where they have formed a "Jigsaw Survivor Support Group". It is truly great to see these actors portray their roles again with the injuries that they sustained in their traps. It gives a feeling of conclusion with "Yes. People do survive these traps" and "They do have to sacrifice something to survive". We also see Doctor Gordon return as a cynical member of this support group who scoffs at one woman's remarks about how wrong Jigsaw was to put her in a trap. It is great to see Doctor Gordon back in the series and after so long since we last saw him. If you don't know who i'm talking about, and *SPOILERS*, he is the man who cut his foot off as the end of the original Saw. He is back with a prosthetic foot, and a cane that just fits the character so well.

This really is going to feel like i'm repeating myself here, but I will perservere. Saw 7 follows what seems to be the established trend and focuses on one man and people surrounding him. The testee here is Bobby, a Jigsaw survivor. You may wonder if this is like what happened to Amanda in the Saw game where she was brought back to be tested again because she didn't learn from her test in the first film and went back to the drugs. This is not the case. Bobby has never been tested by Jigsaw and has cashed in a fake story by writing a book and now is a published author. John Kramer goes to get a copy of his book signed by Bobby and comments on how his day will come sooner that he thinks.

This film is not only about Bobby however, we also see the police attend some of the other traps that we see in this film and through a series of events they find out too late that the new Jigsaw is trying to get to John's wife Jill for his revenge of the ending of Saw 6.

*THIS IS GOING TO BE THE MOST SPOILERIFIC I WILL EVER GET SO STOP READING NOW IF YOU WILL EVER WANT TO WATCH ANY OF THE SAW FILMS* The ending of Saw 7 is my favourite ending of all of the Saw films and is definatly in my top 10 endings of all time. The new Jigsaw leaves the police station after putting Jill in a reverse beartrap, the first operational trap that Jigsaw ever made by the way, and watched her die. Just a quick thing here, this is not what John Kramer would have wanted. Not because it was his wife, but because there was no way out. This has been a massive mistep by the series since the original Jigsaw died at the end of Saw 3. After leaving he gets assaulted by three people wearing Jigsaw robes and the iconic pig masks. One of them takes off his mask and it is Doctor Gordon... It turns out that after he escaped his trap, he sealed off his open leg wound on a hot pipe and Jigsaw found him after he left the bathroom in the first film, taking him to a room and getting him healthy again. After telling the good Doctor "You have what it takes to survive", Gordon joins him as what could be conveyed as a "Secret Apprentice".

It turns out that a envelope that we see Jill putting into someone's letterbox in Saw 6 that we all disregarded as useless and all forgot about swiftly, was meant for Doctor Gordon. It contained a tape that was John's final request to him. "Protect Jill". Now that the new Jigsaw had killed Jill, it was his time to strike. After knocking out the new Jigsaw and a scene change, we find ourselves in the bathroom from the first film with the new Jigsaw chained at the foot to a pipe, and with the decaying corpses of everyone who has died in that room up to this point. He immiediatly reaches for a hacksaw in the middle of the room, but Doctor Gordan kicks it out of the room saying "Not this time". Gordon then turns to leave the room and turns off the lights, all the time the new Jigsaw shouting "What the fuck are you doing!". Gordon then turns back to say the words I have been waiting the whole film to hear and make the ending of the films that much more. Gordon is about to shut the wall/door to this bathroom leaving him to die and says "Game Over".

This really does symbolise the end of the Saw Franchise. The have ended on a very high note, although the producers have said that if it does well at the box office they would make another one. I would really like them to leave it here, but as we saw from the Friday the 13th films somethings just won't end as long as people keep watching them.

Saw has been declared more than once as the most sucessful horror franchise of all time. All I can say is that it is one of my favourite film series ever made. So do either of these films take over as my favorite film or least favourite? Well one of them.

Favorite Saw Film: Tie between Saw 3 and Saw 7

Least Favourite: Still Saw 2. I like it, just the other films are better.

Monday, 14 March 2011

Naruto: Ultimate Ninja Storm Review

This is going to be a quick one as I haven't got much to say about this. Naruto: Ultimate Ninja Storm is the kind of fighting game where you have a large arena to use. I don't play very many fighting games as I suck at them but I prefer this playstyle to having a 2D side view.

The fighting ultimatly works, being able to choose what Ninjutsu you want your character to use and what your two support characters use. This means that you can put more thought into your team and what strategy you use can be crucial to your victory.

The campaign mode follows the anime up to the Sasuke retrival arc. Does this mean no filler? Well yes. In a sense. To progress through the story missions you must first earn enough experience to play them. These filler missions can be incredibly tedious and most of them can feel like a chore at times. This is the story mode's biggest downfall.

With a sequel already out that I will have to give a look in at some point, I will end it here. So what can I say for sure? Naruto: Ultimate Ninja Storm is good as a fighting game that you can bring out now and again to fight your friends at. Do not however, play this game just to recreate your experiences with the anime. You WILL be disappointed.

Naruto: Ultimate Ninja Storm gets a 6/10.

This is Tyramatt, signing off.

Thursday, 10 March 2011

Truly inFamous - inFamous Review

As I watch the end credits I wonder what now? Do I play it through again but take all the good decisions? Of course not! Why would I want to play through this game again and do all the decisions that I would not want to take!

inFamous is a sandbox game with a moral choice system. I am really not a fan of moral choices in games when they are classed as good and evil. I always wonder why your decisions can't be decided by what the player thinks is the right thing to do for whatever reason. But that is a rant for another day. We are here to talk about inFamous.

I'm not sure if it is just my copy of the game, but I found alot of glitches in this game from not being able to climb on certain ledges, to sliding off flat surfaces. This was very strange at one point when I slid off a platform while trying to snipe...

inFamous is a fun sandbox game. Just a shame that the over the top complicated controls bring it down. You have a number of various attacks that take advantage of the main character's electricity powers, but possibly too many as I only really relied on the basic blast and grenade powers.

Lets talk about the main character, Cole. Cole is one of the blankest slates I have ever seen in a main character. I got the impression from him that he has done nothing with his powers until the start of the game. This really did stick with me and whenever I remembered it, I was taken out of the experience quickly. While the decisions that you make change how Cole acts and looks, there really isn't too much customisation that you can do in this game. You have to be all good or all evil to get the most stylish looks anyway.

Overall, inFamous is a game well worth picking up even if it is just to get yourself in the mood for its sequel and while it can be missed, you would get some fun out of it. 7/10

This is Tyramatt, signing off.

Tuesday, 8 March 2011

Tank for RTS

So recently I have been working on a tank for a RTS game that my friend is programming. So here it is as a placeholder until I complete another game to review.

Tuesday, 1 March 2011

Spiderman: Shattered Worries - Spiderman Shattered Dimensions Review

When I saw that this game had only 13 levels, the initial worries started to hit me. How long is this game? Is it just the kind of game where you fight a boss in a level and thats it? Is it a top score beating game? When I booted up the first level though, all of these worries were immediatly gone when I saw that there were in fact 13 levels that took me about 30-45 minutes each to beat. The gameplay was great, fast-paced action oriented in three of the spiderman worlds, while Spiderman Noir focuses more on a stealth approach where you can pick off your enemies one by one.

When I started up the tutorial mission I was also blind-sided by the voice of Stan Lee. He narrates the cutscenes, but he doesn't do more than that. It would have been nice for this game to have introduced a new villain, possibly voiced by Stan Lee, but we stick with established Spiderman Villian Mysterio for the main bad guy here. We also have 12 other villains from the alternate Spiderman dimensions.

The missions are split through the four universes of Amazing Spiderman, Ultimate Spiderman, Spiderman 2099, and Spiderman Noir. As mentioned, Spiderman Noir is the only universe with a different style of gameplay and that only applies half the time. Spiderman 2099 has the power to slow down time for strategic combat and to avoid projectiles, and Ultimate Spiderman has the power of rage which increases attack power for a short time and make it so he does not get pushed back. It seems that Amazing Spiderman only has the power of being the first character we meet.

The gameplay is great in both the stealth and action parts, the graphics are very cartoonish and have a good sense of comic book art. What lets this game down is the repetitiveness of this otherwise very good game. While in certain levels the base enemies are reflective of the villian we are fighting in the chapter, in what must be half of the levels we are subject to the same three tiers of henchmen: Small, Medium, Large. Its like ordering a coffee.

Another thing that can let this game down is the ability to get swarmed quite easily from the enemies on screen. You can easily lose track of where you are aiming as well as where your Spiderman is at the time. There is a lockon, but it simply doesn't work as well as the developer thinks it does. You could be getting your face punched in by a guy in front of you, while your Spiderman is locked onto a guy across the room.

On a final note, my least favourite world was the Amazing Spiderman world. I know its the original, but the game didn't really sell it to me that well. On the complete opposite hand however Spiderman Noir really did present itself best with the very dark outlook on everything, including the reimagining of the Vulture as a canibal. The Vulture was my favourite character from the 1990s Spiderman cartoon and this just seems like a great fit for him. The bottom line of this is that I really want to read Spiderman Noir. Maybe i'm looking through the goggles of nostalgia this time, but it was quite a good cartoon.

Overall, Spiderman Noir suceeds in many ways, but fails in quite a few as well. I really cant give this game anything other than a 7/10. Worth getting for comic fans, as well as fans of open level beat 'em ups.