For the week of 4/20/10
a sweet blend of genre gaming
Review also posted at the Pauls Valley Daily Democrat
There are many games I’d love to get another chance to play if only my schedule would allow. Then there are the rare few I enjoy so much that I curse my lack of time even more.
I have actually avoided certain games during my busiest of moments not because they weren’t worth the purchase, but because I could not afford to get hooked. As a reviewer I risk this temptation in any case and I have found yet another title that I could even pick up and get lost in even now. ‘Borderlands’ for the Xbox 360 is a sweet marriage of role playing and first person shooting that brings back that refreshed feeling for gaming.
Set on Pandora, a post apocalyptic planet, you get to dive into searching for the one tourist attraction left, a vault that may be no more than a fable. This might be easy enough if every other killer and crazed treasure hunter weren’t after the same thing.
Players get a chance to pick from one of four Characters, Roland, Lilith, Mordecai and Brick, who all have a specific skill and weapon class. You not only get a near infinite cache of weapons to choose from but enough missions to keep even the biggest sleep depraved gamer satisfied and then there’s the play you get on Xbox Live. To top it off the gameplay is smooth and it stays fresh from beginning to end.
The story itself was enough to get me initially drawn in with twisted humor thrown in at every curve. Just when you think the morbid jokes have been shelved, a scene introduction or comment after an enemy is downed brings a smile.
The only thing I did not like is a problem common with a lot of content heavy games and is that they don’t handle well if your internet is sluggish. It’s one thing to have your movement jumpy, but I knew it was going too far when my character kept jumping around a map when I didn’t even have the controller in my hands. I’ve not seen a glitch during lag as bad as this since my dial-up days.
That one problem aside, I haven’t had this much fun playing a shooter in quite some time. This game earns its mature rating so it’s also a good idea for parents to not pick this one up for the younger button mashers.
I highly recommend this for anyone who is a fan of either RPGs or FPS because it actually delivers when so many developer’s rush short playing time options to shelves. 2K Games really went all out with the ways you can customize your character and how tough you want to be. ‘Borderlands’ for the Xbox 360 is one I won’t trade in anytime soon earning five out of six toggles.
RPP at the Movies
Clash of the Titans review
Video games translated to movies have never been a particularly good idea. They are either terrible or slightly okay to watch, and most of them tend to throw out everything except the name.
Clash of the Titans is not built upon the God of War games for the Playstation, but it very well could be. Assuming you changed the title, took out almost all violence to avoid an M-rating, broadened the demographic, and took out nearly all the sex. But the basic plot of walking around beating up creatures from Greek mythology to kill one of the Gods is intact. But then again, it makes for a fun story, one would assume.
Clash of the Titans, which actually has a terribly misleading title, also mixes in some true and proper Greek mythology, in so far as “names being pretty much correct” can count as true and proper.
Sam Worthington plays Perseus, a man tasked with killing the Kraken in order to save princess Andromeda, played by Alexa Davalos. The obvious error in this is that the Kraken is very much a creature of Norse mythology and not Greek mythology, but accuracy has never gotten in the way of a fun movie.
So in the cast we have Sam Worthington, known for his work in Avatar and Terminator: Salvation. He somehow, quite mysteriously, manages to maintain the same haircut in all of these films. Did they have buzz cuts in ancient Greece?
So, aside from what feels like the poster boy of 3D films, the rest of the cast actually contains some reasonably big names like Liam Neeson as Zeus, Ralph Fiennes as Hades and Danish actor Mads Mikkelsen as the bad ass soldier. They all do reasonably well, except Hades sounds like he smoked for a few millennia despite having severe asthma and then tried to be all evil and scary. But at least they all have somewhat plausible haircuts!
Not that there are not good things about Clash of the Titans. Some of the designs are quite cool, and while the effects are nothing special, they are far from terrible. To top it all off, the movie does deliver a few great one-liners as well.
All in all, the best word to sum up clash of the Titans might be “mediocre”, but the first one that came to mind after seeing it was “generic.” There is nothing that really stands out, except perhaps Liam Neeson's ridiculously shiny armour, and seeing top down shots of the heroes running around mountains while generic pompous action score plays does not exactly ease the impression.
I realize I may be too old for Clash of the Titans, and maybe it really does depend overtly much on the whole 3d thing, but all in all, it is hardly a good movie, and might be good for a rent with a few friends, and that is about it. Well, that, or if you are thirteen and in serious need of some more generic fantasy stuff.
Images are copyright of 2K Games and Warner Bros. Pictures.
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