Past Entertainment

For the week of 4/27/09

‘X-Blades’ for Xbox 360 a lonely geek’s fantasy
By Ezra Mann (Editor in Spoof)

(These articles have also been published at www.fuelltothefire.com )

Images are copyright of SouthPeak Games.

There are games produced once in a rare occasion that hook us to the point that we almost scream when we have to stop playing. Then there are games that fall into other various levels of entertaining, some only to appease a very lonely and sad group of anti-socialites.

This latest offering from SouthPeak Games happens to fall into the latter category, but passes the time if you have nothing better to do. Honestly, you’d be lying to yourself if you didn’t admit that this is the kind of title for the same kind of people that find animated cleavage an attractive thing. Yet, sad habits of extreme anime fans aside, “X-Blades” is not a total waste and didn’t frustrate me beyond wanting to try and finish it.

I didn’t think you could get a female treasure hunter more scantily clad than Laura Croft, but apparently they weren’t pulling any punches with wardrobe for main character Ayumi. In this adventure you play the part of this vixen artifact junky whose cocky attitude brings her more trouble than she bargains for.

She must battle for her life and your decisions along the way determine if she stays a good girl (though that’s debatable) or is swallowed up by darkness. You’re main two weapons are your deadly blades and pistols, though you are also given the chance to try out a number of spells powered by your rage. There really isn’t a lot of thinking required in this game, just steady hands and mad skills at mashing buttons quickly.

All of the trouble deals with an orb, which proves to be quite a troublesome find and it does provide the only real story for gamers. The controls are for the most part tolerable, but can be frustrating and sometimes dialogue is hard to understand or read on the screen in cut scenes.

As for who should play this, it earns its mature rating at least on the skin front so keep this one away from the tykes. I’m not going to recommend this title as a must have for most gamers since it will most likely be a one-time play. For something to whittle away the hours and the torsos of your foes, I give “X-Blades” for the Xbox 360 three out of six toggles.

A Controversial Review of: Filesharing!
By Cozmic, resident Swede.
In the beginning, there was physical media. Cassettes were used to tape radiosongs, make mixtapes, and then given away to people so they could listen to your stuff, games were spread via mail on floppydisks and cassettes. Then came the PC boom, and the MP3-format, and thus Napster was born. While potentially even slower than mailing someone a song, Napster spawned the ire of old rock-dinosaurs who should have retired years earlier and instead launched a crusade against digital stuff, claiming they were being robbed of money they could have used to buy Armani jeans and produce lousy albums while claiming they were gonna go back to their roots. Napster was a reasonable success, and then came things like Kazaa, filled with spyware and malware goodness, and DC++, and users were no longer limited to music in their filesharing over the phoneline, although they did have to have a 10MB line or faster and over 100 Gig shared or else nobody would let them play on the fun channels.

Then came the torrents. They sometimes require membership to get access to, they sometimes don't, and sometimes it plain doesn't matter because nobody's actually letting you leech off him, and you swear wildly that nobody shares this stuff while you remove your newly finished download of that movie you wanted to see, but not enough to actually pay for, thereby contributing to the problem.

Yes, torrents are quite a hassle to work with, but fortunately there are a wide array of clients available, including that great browser Opera, all for your need to download files, legal and illegal alike, from your peers, thereby preserving precious hostspace and bandwidth, and as long as whatever you want is popular and you follow the herd of your fellow cattle, it is usually a rather quick process, easily accomplished in the background while doing something that does not require as much bandwidth, or better yet, none at all.

Another solution, one that isn't so highly dependent upon the time of day, or what other people really think, more than whether or not someone ever uploaded it in the first place, are the simple uploadsites. These fantastic easy-to-use deals simply require a few clicks, or maybe a code, and your file will be available to you in minutes/hours depending on filesize, from a link posted elsewhere. This is a terrific way to get a hold of a single small file, as you often have to wait to get more of them, and large files also tend to get split open, and makes the life of the illegal warezing dude far easier.

So in summary, even though goernemtns and the industry bigshots are trying to clamp down on the filesharing it has rarely been easier to get that one good song from that album (and the rest with it), or that movie someone else had already rented at the store. Hurray for the advancement of technology!

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