The graphics are a bit rough but this game is all about speed and accuracy killing waves of experimental creatures. Forget story, the co-op is loads of fun with a group of friends, and fairly challenging as well.

The most difficult part is the way enemies rubberband - if you run full tilt on many maps, and turn around they'll still be very close behind you - rounding the nearest corner or doorway. The spawn locations also don't seem to be set specifically - they seem to appear directly around any corner that you haven't looked around in the last few seconds, or further ahead if you're running rather than camping. On some areas in maps they also drop down from above, off buildings or through holes in the roof.

These mechanics aren't necessarily flaws - they make the game much more fast paced and difficult than it would be if you could kite them more strategically. Kiting is still very much possible because the game limits the number of enemies on the map at any time - so if you can group them all behind you then they will slowly appear in front of you as you kill ones behind.
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Counter-Strike started out as a modification for the half life 1 engine and became one of the most successful online multiplayer first person shooters of all time. Even disregarding the modified servers and the way they expand the lifespan of this game, it has always been fantastic.

This game is by no means friendly to new players. The gun mechanics and physics take a lot of work to get truly accustomed to and, when up against players who have been playing for years, newer players are very likely to find themselves totally out of their depth.

That said, it is an extremely rewarding game once you are used to it. Knowing the maps and how to move and shoot is key and few games reward actual skill to the same extent as counter-strike, the same way as few games are quite so harsh to people who don't know what they're doing.

The counter-strike franchise, to this day, I feel represents the most enjoyable multiplayer FPS experience. With skill removed from the equation, players are put on a pretty level playing field unlike most modern games which handicap new players at an equipment level.

When including the modified game servers into this review including deathmatch, gungame, zombie mod and suchlike, this game transforms from just a fun multiplayer FPS into an all round FPS that can suit any player. The only reason this misses a 5/5 from me is because the game repeatedly suffers updates that do nothing noticeable other than break server mods and server quality can differ immensely depending on both client and server configurations.
The first half was fantastic - good plot and character development with an intriguing story, plus a dash of action. The star-studded cast doesn't hurt matters either - creating some excellent characters. Exactly half way through it flipped and felt like someone different wrote the other half of the movie.

In a very JJ Abrams manner of destroying the film they threw in an alien wolf trying to eat Kirk, suddenly mauled by a giant alien dinosaur attempting to eat him. The shadowy opponent was promptly turned into a cliche super-villain.

I haven't watched much Star Trek so I don't know if the story fits canon, but the first half should make sci-fi fans proud. The second half should be relegated to a B-movie cutting room floor.
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Interesting story, good combat, most flaws in this game are minor - it's a lot of fun.

The only major problem - especially for replayability - are the multitude of unskippable cutscenes. It's incredibly annoying to sit through repeated speeches that are long enough to get a snack.

It opens with what looks like a hectic tutorial, button commands flashing on your screen - turns out it's just a dream intro (thank god!). As you get into the actual game the button combinations are complex, but they become more natural as you play.

The gameplay starts out a bit slow, with long distances to run for no apparent reason other than to familiarize you with the town geography. Thankfully they give you a horse fairly quickly, and teach you to sprint. Mercifully it also never seems to limit your sprinting or galloping abilities by making you 'tired' as some games would.

The game is also graphically nice, except when you have a close-up of the faces, then you hit uncanny valley territory. The only flaw is the unskippable pans/cutscenes in certain places that can be annoying if you die. In the end though, these flaws are tiny compared to all the good parts of this game - and I would highly recommend it.
It's a mixed bag - good beginning and end with a rather repetitive middle. Starts with some good mind-bending dream world scenes - far better than Inception. They didn't really need to spell out the five items so clearly, but that's a minor issue.

The first fight was awesome - unfortunately the next four didn't compare. It would have been better if the later fights weren't all about guns - or were filmed in a way that made it seem like the shooting was more deliberate. I think it also reduces the tension in a fight when the camera is flipping between five girls, rather than focusing on one girl and her opponent.

They also should have consistently increased the pace of the fights - rather than keeping each approximately the same length throughout the film. It did have a good sound track and decent ending though.
The beginning gives decent gameplay and story - though it lacks a bit in the quest objective tracking, especially for the quest to scan 24 keepers. You just have to hope you run into them all during other objectives.

After leaving the initial station they give you far too many solar systems and planets to choose from, which gives the feeling that your choice doesn't matter. At least initially they should have limited it to a few important systems - and slowly opened up the galaxy. Navigation within galaxies themselves also seems unweildy, and it's annoying that you can click on planets which you aren't even able to visit.

The combat works fairly well, although your character doesn't return to cover quite as fast as possible - which can be annoyingly deadly at times. This probably has to do with the smooth animations - if you tap to move forward he takes a full step, unlike games like World of Warcraft where you can move in fractions of a step.

The skills and conversation menu are well thought out, and the ability to train extra skills that allow you to intimidate or flatter the person you're conversing with are satisfying. Overall the game has a few interesting aspects, but also a couple annoying flaws. It's probably still worth a look though.
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This was a very entertaining movie, yet extremely strange to me. There is what appears to be some illuminati symbolism in this, the all seeing eye on he back of one of the teams helmets. Also a reptile being hrown into the team shower room for no apparent reason. The acting was good but the entire film seemed strange to me.
Some of the worst dialog I've seen in a big box office film. On top of that they tried to explain a lot of details in voice-overs, or forced conversations between characters about things they should already know.

Not two minutes into the film they started needlessly rewriting the original story. In many cases this poor rewriting didn't even reduce the running time of the movie, but it did manage to reduce the characters personality - making the scenes bland.

There is no conclusion to this film - it is clearly meant to be the first in a series of three or four. Additionally it seems like a few scenes were cut from the film, with characters referring to things that never happened.

The one thing they did get right was the visual feel of the fight sequences involving the bending skills. These felt satisfying and true to Avatar: The Last Airbender series. Aside from these, the only other redeeming factor was the infrequent comic relief provided by Jackson Rathbone.

All in all, an amateur production - this is a film, not an audio book - and viewers should expect to see the story, not have it told to them. M. Night Shyamalan should know by this point how to remove extraneous details from a story, and give us a visual feast with a strong narrative. Instead we are left with a cluttered heap of details and special effects that only amount to half a film.
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Iron Man was one of my favorite films of 2008, so it should go without saying that Iron Man 2 would be one of my most anticipated films of this year. Sometimes when you anticipate a movie so much it can do nothing but let you down. Iron Man 2 doesn't necessarily live up to the standard that its predecessor set but it still managed to capture my imagination for two hours and in the process deliver what is the best comic book movie I've seen in nearly two years.

Iron Man 2 kicks off just a few months after the events of the first one. Tony Stark, played to perfection by Robert Downey Jr., is living it up as the newly unmasked superhero Iron Man. Fast cars and faster women are all common place for Stark and he seemingly lives on the edge, just one step away from being out of control. Those without a deep sense of the character may perceive Stark as having forgotten the events that led him to become Iron Man in the first place, this is not the case though. Tony needs to operate in this fashion or he ceases to be Tony Stark and instead becomes just another billionaire with no drive or inspiration.

With Iron Man out in the open the US government wants a piece of the action and orders Stark to hand over the Iron Man prototypes. Stark refuses and this sets him at odds with his country and also puts a strain on the relationship with his best friend, Lt Col. James Rhodes or Rhodey (Don Cheadle). And while things are falling apart at home, halfway around the globe more bad things are unfolding for Tony, in the form of Ivan Vanko (Mickey Rourke). Vanko is the son of a Russian scientist who had a close relationship with Tony's father and ultimately helped come up with the idea for the Arc Reactor (the little thing powering Tony's heart). Vanko feeling a need for vengeance on the Stark family sets out to destroy him by utilizing his father's notes. Vanko plays right into the hands of Justin Hammer (Sam Rockwell), Stark's main competitor in the arms industry and things go from bad to worse and Tony is tasked with finding a way to remedy the situation he ultimately put himself into.

The story itself is not the strongest ever seen in a comic book movie but it did just enough to keep me interested and allowed the performances to take over. As previously mentioned Robert Downey Jr plays Stark to perfection but almost everyone else in this film seems like they got the memo to bring their A game, well all but one but we'll get to that... The previously mentioned Rourke, Cheadle and Rockwell all deliver strong charismatic performances. Rourke in particular gives his Vanko character an evil tinge that really stands out. Outside of them though, Gwyneth Paltrow and Scarlett Johansson are great as Pepper Pots and Natasha Romanoff respectively and damn if Johansson does not look smoking hot in her Black Widow outfit.

Sadly the one character a lot of fans were probably looking forward may leave feeling utterly disappointed in his performance, that character of course being Sam Jackson's Nick Fury. While Jackson was fine in his cameo role from the first film, his role in Iron Man 2 has been extended quite a bit and his dialogue and delivery is just plain awful. Half of my issue with Fury can be chalked up to poorly written dialogue but the other half is all Jackson himself as he seems to just not get the tone of the film and delivers a performance that just does not work. It is a shame because the Fury from the Ultimate Marvel line was modeled after Jackson and it ultimately landed him the cross franchise role but someone needs to explain to him how to deliver the lines.

Jackson is not the only issue with the film though. Ultimately the film runs a bit long (just over two hours), spends too much time introducing things for future Avenger related films, and ends (much like the first one) on such an anticlimactic note that you may end up wondering why Iron Man just can not seem to get a good solid battle in against anyone other than his best friend. That is not to say the action in Iron Man 2 is not fun. It is. In fact the action in Iron Man 2 surpasses just about everything from the first one but it is just lacking that certain something special that made me want to see the first one again immediately. Regardless of its issues though, Iron Man 2 is a fun film and it is summer movie magic that deserves to be watched.
Not as good as Iron Man, but still a decent movie. This one is heavier than the original, pulling in themes of betrayal and mortality - definitely not the light-hearted action flick the first movie was.

Don Cheadle is a great actor, but I was disappointed that Terrence Howard didn't come back, he was perfect in the role. It was also weird to see Samuel L. Jackson with an eye patch - felt very Pulp Fiction, and didn't seem to jive with the movie up to that point at all.

Between Samuel L. Jackson and Scarlett Johansson the first and second halves felt like two separate acts, not one continuous film. Overall this seemed a lot more like a standard superhero movie than the first film did, but it was still enjoyable to watch.
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This biopic provides a fairly objective and accurate view of Dr. Jack Kevorkian's life in the public eye. It begins with his first foray into euthanasia and takes the viewer all the way through to his eventual conviction. I think it's important to note that the film handles its controversial subject with care. It never frames any situations in a way that forces an opinion on the viewer.

The direction is fairly straightforward, shot in the style of most docudramas with few camera tricks or artsy shots. The one exception to this is several of the patients' videos, which are the actual videos shot by Kevorkian but with Pacino superimposed over him. The musical score is also what you'd expect to find in this type of film: generic orchestral music that fades into the background.

This is arguably Pacino's best performance in the last 15 years. His appearance, mannerisms, and even his accent mirror that of Kevorkian's nearly flawlessly. At times it's hard to believe that it's actually Pacino playing the role. The rest of the cast delivers solid performances as well.
Fairly good story for a FPS, but doesn't even compare to the original Deus Ex. The missions give it a much more structured feel, compared to just one general objective in the first game.

The gameplay itself also leaves a bit to be desired. On 'normal' a headshot will kill a standard enemy, yet when you reach the last few levels the armored enemies take three shots from the most powerful gun in the game. Since the game uses a single ammo type for all guns (more powerful guns use more ammo) it is extremely easy to run out. This leaves you with melee weapons and grenades.

The mods your character can install are much more powerful and useful than the original game though, and you can get them maxed out by the middle of the game. Bot Domination + Thermal Masking lets you bypass/control turrets, bots, and cameras with impunity. Health Regeration lets you trade energy for health and win impossible fights.

Lastly, the game allows you to apply two mods to each gun, which results in cool combos like a silenced pistol that can use electromagnetic shots to disable laser tripwires. Very cool

In the end the game is just okay because it isn't balanced nearly as well as the first one. You get tons of money, mods, multitools, and grenades - but not enough ammo and a plethora of hard to kill guards on the last few levels.
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November 8, 2011
Youtube videos can be attached to reviews now. This should be particularly useful for video game reviews.
October 21, 2011
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October 18, 2011
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