Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Xbox Indie Review - Undead Empire: Hellfire

Undead Empire: Hellfire is an indie multi-directional shooter that has players mowing down endless hordes of horrific baddies, all in an attempt to stay alive as long as possible. As zombies and other nightmarish monsters swarm the screen, you’ll repeatedly kill them all to complete a level, where you can then purchase new weapons and upgrades in preparation for the next wave. 

This is certainly nothing new, and comparing this indie gem to classics like Robotron and Geometry Wars is more than fair. What switches up the typical formula is the ability to select different characters, each bringing to the table unique assets for your killing pleasure. You can then team-up with up to three friends, and the four of you can brave the swarm of undead as a group – which may be the only way to survive the onslaught.

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Xbox 360 Review: Aliens: Colonial Marines

I’m a huge fan of the Alien franchise, so you can imagine how stoked I was to play Gearbox’s Aliens: Colonial Marines. I was intrigued by a story that promised to fit in perfectly with the films, and gameplay that promised to capture the experience of James Cameron’s masterpiece. Colonial Marines sounded like something fans of the fictional universe could be proud of, and all the awesome preliminary screenshots and in-game footage seemed like confirmation -- gamers would finally get the Aliens video game they've always wanted.

However, in retrospect, I feel like I have been completely deceived. The screenshots and gameplay footage that were released prior to Aliens: Colonial Marines show a very different game from what actually made it to store shelves. To put it bluntly, the final version of this game looks adequate at best and, at worst, downright last-gen. The amount of screen tearing and texture pop-in is alarming, with even the cinematics succumbing to graphical glitches.

I’ll admit I could have overlooked the not-so-infrequent texture that won’t pop-in, if once that texture loads it didn’t look awful. This game is a mess. Character models are uninteresting, environments severely lack detail, and everything just looks unfinished -- which is shocking, considering the 6 year development time.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Movie Review: A Good Day to Die Hard (2013)

Remember in the first Die Hard how John McClane ran barefoot over broken glass, tearing up his feet in a way that made the audience feel it? That mortal, relatable character is long gone, replaced by someone who is just another A Good Day to Die Hard action superstar. Now the rogue NYPD detective can fall through dozens of windows, survive multiple explosions, and even brave toxic radiation without getting so much as a scratch. The new John McClane is an absolute badass, spewing witty dialogue while gunning down countless bad guys with ease. And that’s exactly why I don’t like him anymore.

In A Good Day to Die Hard, the fifth installment in the long-running series, all we get is a generic action spectacle, with absolutely nothing hidden below the surface. Admittedly, this new high-speed approach makes for some awesome looking stunts; however, there’s only so many times a guy can tie a truck to helicopter before it becomes a little bit ridiculous.