My Top 10 Games of 2010 so far

Posted in Uncategorized on August 1, 2010 by bradcampbell

10.  Super Street Fighter IV(Xbox 360, PS3)

This game takes all that was good about Street Fighter IV and improves in every way. The fighting stays the same, but it throws in an extra Ultra move and adds the Bonus stages from earlier years. They add 10 characters, 8 from older games and 2 brand new ones. I prefer Juri over Hakan, but they both fit into the Street Fighter series very well. New costumes and colors and a MUCH improved online mode makes this one worth a buy if you like Street Fighter. You’ll prob have to get a fightpad or fight stick to really play online as the 360 d-pad sucks, I haven’t played the PS3 version so i’m not sure about it.

9. Pokemon Soul Silver/ Heart Gold (DS)

If you like Pokemon you already have this game and prob have around 80 hours in it. These are the best Pokemon games on the DS, and really a good pick up till Black/White come out next year. These are remakes of Silver/Gold on the gameboy color, which I never played so I can’t compare. It brings back the ability to walk with your Pokemon, which hasn’t been in a game since yellow. The pokewalker is also a nice extra touch for fans. I really like this generation of Pokemon, so I really enjoyed this game. If you like pokemon get it, if you don’t it wont change your mind.

8. Battlefield Bad Company 2 (Xbox 360, PS3)

I really liked the first Bad Company, and this one is better, much better actually. The single player is just as good as the first one was, but the real meat of this game is online. This one adds more modes than just rush, with plenty of DLC. It’s nice to have this out to compete with MW2, it’s not quite as good as MW2 but a very close second choice. Another highlight is the Frostbite engine with its destruction. If you want to get though a wall, just blow it up. It really opens up online play with this option. If you like FPS then you should get this game!

7. Final Fantasy XIII (Xbox 360, PS3)

A lot of harcore FF fans do not like this game, saying it’s liner and everything. It is, but I liked this game. It is different than all the other FF games and really does not pose a challage until about 25 hours in. This is the first next gen FF game and I think people wanted perfection(seeing how long it took to come out) but there is no such thing. The graphics are the most impressive this year, seeing as the game is on 1 PS3 disc and still has a 50 hour + game. It is 3 discs on 360, but if you play RPGs on the 360 you are used to that. The story and characters were interesting, but you do need to read about most things in the menus to fully understand what is going on. It also does not have a central character and you don’t pick who is in your party till about 25 hours in. Good game, and earns my 7 spot.

6. Super Mario Galaxy 2 (Wii)

If you own a Wii, you have this. This is the “kinda” sequal to the first Mario Galaxy. It acts like the first one never happened in the story but it really doesn’t matter.  It really amazes me how Nintendo keeps coming out with awesome Mario games after all these years. This one brings back Yoshi, and ditches the Mario 64 way of picking a galaxy from the first one but brings back the mario 3 way of picking. It’s the best game on the Wii and just get it if you like Mario, and if you don’t like Mario then why are you playing game in the first place.

5. God of War 3 (PS3)

The end of the God of War trilogy, and the first next gen GOW game is the best PS3 game of the year so far! The graphics in this game are absolutly jaw-dropping! The gamplay is tight, and story is excellent. Make sure you play the first 2 GOW games before playing this one though because you won’t really understand what is going on. If you own a PS3 you should have this! Not much else to say. Awesome way to end the trilogy!

4. Metal Gear Solid Peace Walker (PSP)

I’m a BIG Metal Gear fan and I actually got a PSP just to play this game, and it was well worth it! It takes place after MGS 3 and you play as Naked Snake(Big Boss). This is without a doubt the best looking PSP games. It does take space on the memory stick to play it but it’s not a big deal. The controls do take a bit to get used to and playing on the small screen does feel odd seeing as this is such an epic game. It’s also a long game! It took me over 20 hours to beat just the main game. It has over 100 side missions!  Great game, and great addition to the MGS series.

3. Alan Wake (Xbox 360)

This game really surprised me. I saw the coverage at E3 and wasn’t really impressed, but I saw reviews and decided to try it out. Turns out to be among the best of the year! This has the best game story i’ve heard in years! It’s engrossing and really keeps you wanting more. I really liked the tv show presentation in between chapters, and a lot of DLC in planned. The graphics are top notch, and so are the voice actors. Some of the lip sincing is a bit off but no big deal. You can tell the makers of Max Payne developed this game becuse of the slow mo way of dodging ememies. The action is well done and balanced. It is very creepy and really should be played at night or in a dark room. The best thing about the game though is the sound. Great game and really earned an unexpected # 3 spot.

2. Red Dead Redemption (Xbox 360, PS3)

Not surprising that Rockstar’s wild west game is one of the best of the year. It’s not quite as good as GTA IV was, but still a very well done game. It really has the feel of a Clint Eastwood western movie. The story is nothing you haven’t seen before, but it’s well done. It also has one of the best endings i’ve seen in a while. As always, the voice acting is top notch and the characters are very believable. It plays just like a GTA game but just on horses. The gameplay is tight and the dead eye is really cool and fun to use. The graphics are the best Rockstar has put out. The multiplayer is ok, but your getting this for single player. It’s a good length being about 25+ hours if you fly through and has a good deal of side missions.  Great game and almost the best of the year so far!

1. Mass Effect 2 (Xbox 360)

I was a big fan of Bioware’s space drama Mass Effect, and was waiting on this one. This is the closest thing to a perfect game I think i’ve ever played! The characters, and story are fantastic! Bioware really understands how to tell a story in a way that makes you care about decisions and what happens to the characters. The graphics are soo good and this game has soo much content it had to be put on 2 discs! It took me about 30 hours to beat it and still wanted more. EA took over as producer and this one is a good bit more action heavy, but that’s fine by me when it’s as well done as it it! I actually wrote a review on this one if you look down a bit more you should find it. I cannot recommend this game enough. If you own a 360, it’s a must own! Best game of the year! so far.

Notible mentions: Limbo, Heavy Rain, Crackdown 2, Spliner Cell Conviction, Dragon Quest 9, Bioshock 2, MAG, Dante’s Inferno, Starcraft 2(even though I don’t play pc games, it needed to be mentioned).

Inception Review

Posted in Uncategorized on July 21, 2010 by bradcampbell

View Image

I became a fan of Christopher Nolan’s( The Dark Knight, Memento) after I saw Memento some years back and thought it was one of the most original and best films around. I went into Inception hoping he was going back to that style of complex storytelling. I was also hoping he still had a great film in him after The Dark Knight, seeing as it was soo good. Nolan has made his masterpiece with Inception, and has given us  the best film of the summer and one of the greatest and most original films ever made!

Inception is about Leonardo DiCaprio’s character, Cobb, being able to hack into people’s dreams and gather information for a fee. He is offered a job by Saito(Ken Watanabe) to go into the mind of Robert Fischer( Cillian Murphy) and plant information in it, hence the title of the film. He has to gather a team cosisting of an architect who builds the dream(Ellen Page), a forger who shifts to different people(Tom Hardy), a driver/obesrver of the crew as they dream(Delecp Rao), and Arthur(Joseph Gordan-Levitt) who helps out Cobb as needed. The film is the perfect blend of action, drama, and mystery and is very impressive how Nolan handles all of the situations. One scene near the end with Joseph Gordan-Levitt’s character really flashes you back to the Matrix films and is very well done.

The acting is top notch as it always is in Nolan’s films. Leonardo DiCaprio really delivers in this film. He’s become one of the few actors that when he gets into a role he’s not acting anymore, he is the character.  It’s really hard to belive he doesn’t have an Oscar. Marion Cotillard plays Leo’s wife(Mal) and does a teriffic good job and really comes of as creepy for most of the film, in a good way. Tom Berenger, Pete Postlethwaite, and Michael Caine round out the rest of the main actors and all do a great job as they always do in their films.

It’s hard to believe but, the music might just be the best part about this film. Hans Zimmer put together his best score in years, and that’s saying A LOT!  I don’t buy movie soundtracks much anymore, I will be purchasing this one, it’s that good! The visuals are aslo very well done. The scene where the city folds over it’s self is impressive. The final location of the film is defenitly the most impressive of all, I won’t tell what it is but you’ll know when you see it.

Nolan starting writing this film 10 years ago and just now decided to make it. The fact that he wrote/directed this film proves his talent. In my opinion, this film puts Nolan in the group of greatest directors of my generation! There is no way you will only see this once! If this film gets over looked at the Oscars, I give up on them! A perfect film!!

5/5

Predators Review

Posted in Uncategorized on July 10, 2010 by bradcampbell

The first Predator movie is one of my favorite movies, and the second is right there with it. The past few movies the Predators have been in have been mediocre at best. The AVP movies should have been much better than what they were. Along comes Robert Rodriguez(Desperado, Sin City) and produces a new Predator movie. Well done Sir! Predators is the best Predator movie since the second one, and shows the AVP people how to make a movie!

Rodriguez does not direct the film, he lets Nimrod Antal(Vacancy, Armored) take the job. He does a good job, but with the cast he had to work with he didn’t have to do much. Adrien Brody, Laurence Fishburne, Topher Grace, and Danny Trejo are the big names in the film. Alice Braga, Walton Groggins, Oleg Taktarov, Louis Ozawa Changchien, and Mahershalalhashbaz Ali round out the rest of the cast. The plot of the film is that all these people are dropped onto a Predator hunting planet and have to survive being hunted by the Predators. It sounds simple, but the movie goes back to the style of the first one and really shows how the Predators hunt. I won’t give away anything, as the character development is well done and is interesting to here who all these people are, but I will say they are not good people. The feel of the movie is different than any other, because the Predators are in control pretty much the entire time.

The visuals are well done as well. The shot when they come to a cliff and you see other planets orbiting is very cool looking, and a refeshing confirmation they are not on Earth. The new dog like Predators they introduce look good and don’t feel cheesy like I thought they might. The actual Predator models are cool, especially what seems like the head one of the 3 with the skull mask on. The audio sound is ripped right from the first movie, and is a big highlight to me as a fan.

The only negatives to me were that Laurence Fishburne is only in about 15mins of it, and I really wanted to see the “actual” Predator home planet and see some of what goes on there, but that’s more of a personal thing.

This is a really easy movie to review. If you like Predator movies, then you’ll like this one. Much improved over the AVP movies. They leave room for another movie, and I wouldn’t mind if this team did another one. To answer what some might be wondering; Yes a spine does get ripped off, and Yes it is awesome!

4/5

The Last Airbender Review

Posted in Uncategorized on July 7, 2010 by bradcampbell

View Image

When I first heard that there was going to be an live action movie based on Avatar(sorry James Cameron, but the show was around before your movie) I was VERY excited! I really like the show. Then I heard that M. Night Shyamalan was going to direct it! Now, he’s never directed a licenced product nor an action movie so I was skeptical about it. I think that Unbreakable is one of the best movies ever made, so I thought i’d give him a chance.

Let’s start with the visuals. This was my main concern about a live action verson, but they were very well done actually. The action is a bit slower than in the show, but no big deal. When it shows the bending of the elements you can tell how much time and effort went into this film. The end scene when Aang lists up the water to the huge wave looks incredible. Good job on the visuals!

The story on The Last Airbender follows the show very well. Aang is the last airbender left on earth, and is called the Avatar as he can learn all the bending abilities, unlike others who can only learn one. They are: Air, Water, Earth, and Fire. The Fire Nation has taken over most of the lands in search of the Avatar. Fire is the hardest and most powerful of the elements to learn and that is why the other benders serve them. The Avatar is the only person who can stop the Fire nation and Aang learning the abilities to stop them is the main draw to the series. The problem this movie runs into is the pacing of it. This is the first Book(chapter, season) called Water, and Aang learns how to use Water is why it’s called that. The problem is that M. Night tries to cram a whole 20 episode season into a 1hour 40min movie! It feels off. There is A Lot he cut out in order to do this, but it’s as good as it can be in the running time it has. The movie should have been 2 1/2 hours and that would have fixed that. There is also no character development. If I hadn’t seen the show, I couldn’t have told you most of the characters names. I mean, Princess Yue doesn’t appear until the very end and only has a handful of scenes(She’s a pretty big character, if u haven’t seen the show). The ending is a “bit” different than the end of the first season, but it wasn’t “that’ big a deal to me. One thing I liked that M. Night did, was take away most of the comedy from the show. I like the comedy in the cartoon, but the seriousness  tone in the film really worked for me.

The acting is ok. I didn’t have too much a problem with it. Some of the actors seem stiff, and some you can tell are just acting and not making you believe, but this isn’t that often. Noah Ringer plays Aang, Dev Patel(Slumdog Millionaire) plays Prince Zuko. Nicola Peltz plays Katara, and Jackson Rathbone plays Sokka. Noah does a decent job as the lead character, seeing as this was his first movie. 

I wanted to address something before I end this review. The names in the film sound different than they do in the show, and people are complaining about this. Well, they sound that way because that is how the names are pronounced in asian speaking countries, and M. Night wanted to make the film authentic in that aspect.

The Last Airbender ends up being a dissappointing first book into the avatar trilogy, but not a bad one. You can tell M. Night is a fan of the show, and cared about how the movie was handled. It was his first licenced product to direct, and i’m willing to let this one go with a decent rating. If you like the nickelodeon tv show then you’ll find this movie to be worth seeing. If you are a fan and are bashing this movie you’ve obviosly never seen the tv show, or just finding another reason to bash M.Night Shyamalan.

3/5

M.A.G. Review

Posted in Game Reviews on March 15, 2010 by bradcampbell

 

MAG is first person shooter for the PS3 developed by the same crew that made the beloved Socom series, and is an online only game. The big selling point of the game was it’s support of 256 players in a single match, and yes it does have that, and yes it is(for the most part) lag free. I only played the first Socom and thought it was pretty good, but the other games never really drew me in. It reminds me of that style, just from a first person view. I like this game, its a nice break from the normal Halo, and COD games out there.

There is not much of story going on here, seeing as there is no single player, but it does have one. It takes place in 2025 during what is known as The Shadow War, and there are 3 sides in this war.  S.V.E.R(Seryi Volk Executive Response) is countries like Russia, China, Asia, and India, and they are like mercs, and have AK’s and whatever they can scrap up. Raven is Germany, Italy, and France, and they are the most technical of the sides, think Metal Gear and you’ve got it. Valor is the United States, Canada, and Mexico, and they are your normal military like of the COD games. I pearsonally chose S.V.E.R. because I thought their background was cooler, but they all pretty much play the same.

View Image

View Image

View Image

The graphics are not the best, but as many people as each games has really makes up for that. Your games modes are: Suppression(have from the get go) which is a deathmatch with the members of the side you choose, this is really just for a warm up mach or practice and has 64 players. Sabotage(have from the get go) which you attack or defend 3 objectives and this match type has 64 players. Acquisition(unlock at level 6) which you have a few more objesctives to attack or defend and transport vehicles from base to base, and this has 128 players. Domination(unlock at level 8) which is the big 256 player match and you have a lot to attack or defend. One thing I really love about this game is the importance of team work. You can’t just go all COD and run n gun, or you’ll die real fast, and you only get 5 points for each kill. You get a bonus for staying with your squad(which is made of 8 players) and doing what your objective is. You can be a squad leader and control what you want your team to do once you reach 15, but i’m not good enough to do that, so I never have. You can also unlock guns, upgrades, and armor/clothing as you level up.    

This is a very slow burn game, and it takes A LOT of playing to level up with a level cap of 60. Also, once you pick a side your stuck with them unless you want to create a new PSN account, which is free so I guess its not too big of a deal, but it kinda bothered me. You can change sides when you reach level 60, but that takes a good long while!  It takes a little getting used to with the controls as well, not a big deal, but its much different than any other FPS I’ve played. The fact that it’s an online only game may also turn some people off as well. The only real question about this game is, is how long the community will play this game. Because if more and more peple start buying it and playing a lot then this game is a complete sucsess, but if they don’t  it’s a flop. As of now, a lot of people play this game, and even with it’s large number of players it never takes more than a few mins to load up a game. It’s a very impressive technical achievement and I hope they make a second one to improve on the flaws, or at least have a patch.

If you have a PS3 and you are tired of COD and love FPS then I would at least give this game a try. Rent it, borrow it, just try it.

3.5/5

Mass Effect 2 Review

Posted in Game Reviews on March 12, 2010 by bradcampbell

The first Mass Effect came out on Xbox 360 in 2007 and was(in my opinion) the best RPG I played that year. So now it’s 3 years later and we have the 2nd installment in what is to be a trilogy. This game is good! Really good!! It improves on everything wrong with the first and(just like the first) puts most sci-fi movies released recently to shame.

Mass Effect 2 Screenshot

The story takes place soon after the events of the first one, and puts you in cotrol of Commander Shepard. The opening cut scene starts you abord the Normandy and a hostile ship takes it out and Shepard is killed in the process. So Cerberus, a human oriented organization, picks up your body and rebuilds you over the course of 2 years, and this is just the first few moments of the game! They bring you back because a race called collectors are attacking colonies and must be stopped, I won’t get into too much detail so I won’t spoil anything, but the story is very strong in this game. You can also import your save file from the first game and the actions you made in the first one will come into effect in the 2nd one, which I thought was a nice touch. 

The graphics are top notch! Some of the best on the 360. Though it takes 2 discs to do so, but i’ll get into that a bit later. You really believe these characters are real, and actually care about them. You know that when you care more about what’s going to happen to them then your real friends at the time. The voice acting aslo helps with the best voice acting around, as far as i’m concerned! Martin Sheen really steals the show as the Illusive Man. I was very impressed they got him for this game. Yvonne Strahovski (Chuck) aslo lends her voice as Miranda, and Seth Green is back as Joker.

Mass Effect 2 Screenshot

The gameplay has had an overhaul, but for the good. You no longer have a long list of abilities to upgrade and are reduced to about 4, and it takes more points to do so, which makes it easy to pick up and play. You also do not have to change armor or weapons, you just upgrage them in the ship. I actually used the Blood Dragon armor from Dragon Age the whole game(awesome armor by the way). The game has much better gunplay than the first did. It really plays more like a 3rd person shooter than an RPG. The side quests are also actually fun to do this time around. Your not doing the same thing over, and over like in the first one.  

I only had a few problems with the game. The fact that it’s on 2 discs normally wouldn’t bother me. I played the first Metal Gear Solid, and Final Fantasy games on the ps1 and didn’t mind. You start with the fist disc, play half the game, put in the second disc for the middle, and put back in the first for the end. I thought that an odd choice. Also, the mining of planets is ok at first, but it really gets old after a while, and you need to do this to make it through the end of the game with upgrading your ship and teammates. These minor flaws really do not take anything away from the game though, they’re just worth noting.

 Mass Effect 2 Screenshot

I know that it is only March, but this game has my game of the year vote as of right now.  We’ll have to see if God of War 3 delivers to try and sway it. It took me about 30 hours to beat, so it has some length to it. To me, this is much more than just a great game. It’s a great piece of entertainment, and shows people what Bioware is really made of. Simply put…it’s a Masterpiece!

5/5

Michael Jackson’s This Is It Review

Posted in Uncategorized on November 5, 2009 by bradcampbell

View Image

So, I’ll start out by saying I have never been the biggest MJ fan. There are a good bit of his songs that I like, and some I don’t. I’ve always been more of a “Thriller”, “Smooth Criminal” person and never went beyond that. I also thought this movie was just a cheap way to make money off the recent passing of MJ. I thought, who would want to see concert rehersial footage! I could not have been more wrong! Seeing this made me realize the entertainer for what he was, The Greatest Single Entertainer to ever live!

Now, the movie “is” just rehersals for the upcoming tour that was to be his last, hence the title. His passion for music shines brighter than anything in this film. The way he coaches all of the people around him puts you in a kind of stare. He knows his music up and down and can start from any line of any song and does so several times thoughtout the picture. To be as old as he was, and to still have the energy of a 20 years old is amazing! He still had every move down pat, and shows why he was the inventer of so many of these dance moves. One scene when he is going over “Billie Jean” he goes off into a few min dance scene, and it’s just amazing to watch!  

View Image

The movie is Directed by Kenny Ortega(Hocus Pocus, High School Musical), and he does a good job of pasting together all of the hours of footage. Some songs do not skip a beat and goes from different days and different sets of clothes without you even noticing. They aslo show the new videos they shot for background, and intos/outros for songs and are pretty cool, my favorite was Smooth Criminal. A standout of the movie is a young Australian guitar player names Orianthi(pictured above). It shows her have a few solos, and I’m a MetalHead and I was very impressed by her playing. MJ definetly made sure he had the talant around him for this show.

Well, it’s pretty simple. If you love/like Michael Jackson go see this movie! I’m a lite Mj fan and I loved this movie! You really get to see the meaning of most of his music, and his passion for it and mankind as well. He was one of the best, and it’s a shame that this concert will never happen because it would have put him out the right way. “This Is It” is the best musical documentary i’ve ever seen, and i’ve seen a good bit of them!

5/5