I just couldn’t help myself. With the boys sleeping for the night I decided to go ahead and finish the Hoth Medical Chamber myself. Even the simplest Lego design takes some time to finish so I was pretty exhausted by the time it was done. Still, I thought it came out pretty good and Alex even got to try it out. Enjoy!
Now that I finally found Alex at the end of part 1, I get to see exactly what he loves most about Minecraft. Speficially, blowing everything up. We also get into skins, lava, and spawning creatures. Enjoy!
Alex has taken over the channel! He decided that he wanted to play Minecraft in 2 player mode and I was more than happy to oblige. I’m not a Minecraft expert but he didn’t a great job teaching me the basics. Build things and blow them up. Let’s see how long it takes for me just to find him in part 1. Enjoy!
For a set that broke things up into 3 pieces we’re having quite the time getting past the first part. I can’t believe I didn’t expect Alex to do what he did right after finishing that section. I hate to be like Lord Business but he brings it out of me. Enjoy!
We’re on the road! On a trip to Orlando, Florida we couldn’t not visit Legoland (or is it LEGOLAND?). And when you visit Legoland (LEGOLAND?) you have to go to the stores and Alex could not get his eyes off of the Star Wars Hoth Medical Chamber set. The kid is obsessed with the medical droids and has an affinity for labs in general so this was a no brainer. Enjoy!
Last year, WWE ’12 drastically changed the formula for wrestling games with its control scheme and up tempo game play. This may not have made all of the Smackdown vs Raw fans happy, but I never bought any games from that series so I don’t care about them. Now THQ tries to follow up on their success with WWE ’13. While it may not be as revolutionary as their ad campaign would lead you to believe, WWE ’13 is still a pretty good experience for wrestling fans.
The primary feature of WWE ’13 is Attitude Era Mode. Gone is last year’s Road to WrestleMania, where you played through a made up storyline where you only play as three different characters (Triple H, Sheamus and a created wrestler). Now you go through significant moments of your favorite wrestlers from the Attitude Era and the Monday night wars. They take place in chapters, starting with the development of DX, to Steve Austin’s run and so on. It’s a hell of a lot of fun. They have recreated specific moments right down to capturing the audio from the original airings of the matches and promos. Mixed in is some actual footage to take you back to that time. To make things better, unlike Road to WrestleMania where the goal was only to accomplish certain objectives to trigger a cut scene (like performing a move near a certain area), all you have to do to progress in the Attitude Era Mode is win. Of course, there are extra objectives to accomplish in order to unlock more content (putting an opponent through a table for example), but at the end of the day you start and end every match. A big step up from last year. For the most part, it all works great. The only issue that I have is with the censoring of the term WWF. Because of the World Wildlife Fund, WWE is not even allowed to show or even mention their old name. It’s easy enough to adjust the logo, but they say WWF a lot in the audio clips, and it leads to everyone being censored as if the “F” stood for something completely different from Federation. Legalities aside, WWE ’13 does an outstanding job taking you back to wrestling’s most outrageous era. I loved taking the walk down memory lane.
The gameplay and graphics are pretty much exactly how we left them last year. One button grapple moves, quicktime signature comebacks and reversals. A lot of reversals. Too many for my taste. There seem to be a lot more this year, and while it’s annoying against the AI, it can be almost maddening against another person. The window to pull off a reversal just seems bigger, and I had a number of moments where three or more reversals occurred in succession. At times it leads for a rush when you finally pull off that move without being reversed, but other times it almost feels broken. Speaking of broken, I’ve noticed some more glitches early on that normal. Getting stuck to the ring post, stuck in the air and things like that. It may be fixed in an update before I even finish this sentence, but it doesn’t seem good to launch with so many bugs when you’re essentially reskining last year’s effort. They did seem to fix the weird issue with the ropes being too flimsy though.
The one other thing of note is the characters. THQ claimed that they had the biggest roster of any wrestling game ever, which is technically true. There are plenty of options coming the current roster with the Attitude Era, however that also leaves you with a lot of characters having two models. Old and new Undertaker, old and new Rock, current John Cena and thuganomics Cena. You get the idea. They are considered different characters, but it most cases they are really just new skins. Cheap trick but whatever. Everyone you need is either in the game or going to be available in DLC, like Damien Sandow and Ryback. It’s as good as you are going to get.
If you have WWE ’12 and are all about Universe Mode, you might not need to shell out the cash for an updated roster and some added tweaks (especially with the user creations available). But if you want a fantastic look back at the Attitude Era to go along with those updates, WWE ’13 is definitely for you.
In 2010, High Moon Studios produced the best Transformers game ever made with War for Cybertron. Two years later, they’ve done it again with Transformers: Fall of Cybertron. Granted, the bar was never set very high to begin with, but that doesn’t mean Fall of Cybertron (FoC) isn’t a good game.
The biggest difference between the two is in the campaign mode. Gone is the team based shooting where you pick one of three autobots or decepticons. In its place you get levels focused around one specific Transformer, and his special abilities. Jazz and his grappling hook, for example. This comes at the cost of multiplayer in the campaign, but the lack of a team based campaign makes for more scripted and dramatic gameplay. All of the characters weaved in to a solid story that incorporates the entire universe. More set pieces, more action, more more more! The story also does a good job transitioning from level to level. Where the previous game had a more defined end to each level, FoC seamlessly takes you from one adventure to another. I had to specifically decide to stop playing, not just turn it off when they told me I was done with a level.
The story does take certain liberties with the source material, especially after War for Cybertron wrapped things up so well in taking us to the start of the G1 cartoon. However if you want to fit Grimlock or Bruticus into the story, two great characters to play as, you have to take some leaps. Also as far as the campaign goes, while it is technically not split into two campaigns, the middle of the game is mostly decepticons while the autobots make up the bookends. So yeah, it’s split into two campaigns.
Multiplayer is still fun, escalation and all of the other modes are done well enough. The creation however got a big upgrade. War for Cybertron gave you models of all of the playable Transformers and let you change their colors. Now you can individually change heads, legs, arms and torsos, which also decide what you turn into. There is also a much greater color palate to choose from. I’m not a big multiplayer guy, but I love creating things and this gives me the opportunity to create all I want, once I unlock all of the items of course. Don’t worry, following trends you can just buy items straight up for cash.
It’s a good looking game but there are some issues. The sound jumped in and out on me occasionally during my play through, and the engine stutters a little when too much is going on. This could be fixed with future updates but right now it’s a little annoying. Nothing game breaking though. Aside from that, Cybertron is a much more colorful world. Like I mentioned in my first preview for the game (here) the environments are more varied in FoC. The sun is bright and the ships are as well. There are different textures and colors and it makes the game pop without losing the rusty feel of a metallic planet. It is a very large world and it finally plays like it as well.
Despite all of the positives I have, the one thought I came away with was that I’m not sure if I would have bought this if it wasn’t a Transformers game. Mostly it’s a third person shooter with a Transformers skin. That’s great but I’m not all about shooters. I’m more of the Arkham City, Assassins Creed kind of guy. The transforming is good and that’s what I came for but once I play I barely use it. My shooter mentality kicks in and I stick to cover and strafing to get the job done, and for the most part it totally works. Some of the added technology is cool (gravity bomb FTW) but I feel like most of the times I actually transformed it was by accident since it is done by pushing the L3 button. However despite all of that, I do love Transformers so I had to buy this game immediately to get the experience, and for me getting the story and playing as my favorite characters was well worth the investment.
Transformers: Fall of Cybertron is a love letter to Transformers fans, and is a good game that has done the best and the most with the Transformers license than any game before it. It just hasn’t gotten it 100% right yet. If you are a Transformers fan like me, then you have no reason not to buy this game. It’s everything you love about Transformers in the form of a good third person shooter. However if you wouldn’t know the matrix of leadership if it was sticking out of your chest, there are better shooters right now and this might not be the ideal game for you.
Christopher Nolan’s epic Batman trilogy comes to a close with The Dark Knight Rises, and while it may not surpass the masterpiece that was The Dark Knight, it is still a pretty fantastic movie and a fitting end to a memorable saga.
Set eight years after the events of The Dark Knight, Gotham is enjoying a state of peace due to the Dent Act as we find Bruce Wayne staying out of the public eye, retired as Batman and watching Wayne Industries endure money struggles. All of this begins to change of course as Bane comes in to restore his brand of order to Gotham, as well as break the Batman in both body and soul.
It’s that last part that sets the movie apart. Where Joker and Scarecrow and Two Face either wanted to kill Batman or drive him crazy, Bane is out to break his spirit. He is Batman’s physical superior and can not be taken down with any of the old tricks we’ve seen. At the same time he is cold and ruthless and most importantly smart, making Batman seem as weak as he has ever looked before. We get a very desperate Batman. Tom Hardy does a fantastic job making Bane every bit the badass he is supposed to be (once they fixed the voice issue) and makes it believable and emotional watching him strip Bruce Wayne of everything he knows and loves, which is where the “Rise” part of the movie kicks in. It is the theme of the movie and is taken both literally and figuratively, as each character has their own demons and challenges the must rise above. They lay this theme on very thick. Almost too much so.
In this age of cinema you can’t increase the stakes and the scope (and the budget) without increasing the number of characters too, and Nolan obliges with a number of additional characters. At the forefront is Anne Hathaway’s Selina Kyle, who is never referred to as Catwoman (good move), and does well in playing the anti-hero. She has good chemistry with Bale and is played very close to the Year One version of the character. Her acrobatics are sometimes a little too flashy and once you start getting her, Batman and Bane on screen at the same time it’s starts to get very comic book-ey. Not to ruin the final act for you, but it’s kind of like this. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but it does counter what Nolan had been working toward this whole time by grounding Batman into reality. This also applies to the heavily promoted “Bat” flying vehicle which, while it is awesome to see in action, takes reality to the limits.
Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Marion Cotillard also do well as John Blake and Miranda Tate respectively, but the talk about their roles was never about how they would perform, but who they’re characters were supposed to be. ***SPOILER ALERT: To put it mildly all of the rumors we heard about them and the how the movie ends turn out to be true and if you know they are coming you see it from a mile away. However they wait as long as possible to actually confirm everything and do it in such a way that it doesn’t really matter that you know in the first place. A great job in dealing with such a difficult task.***
Make no mistake about it, this is definitely the end of the Bale/Nolan Batman saga and they tie a nice and neat bow on everything to make sure there is nowhere else to take it. Everything that is promised through the trailers and throughout the movie is delivered and done so in spectacular fashion. The movie takes the trilogy full circle, taking you through very similar progressions and set pieces as Batman Begins. The difference is that it does all of these much bigger, and in some cases better. No, this isn’t as good as The Dark Knight, but it is an intense movie with huge set pieces that keeps you on your toes from beginning to end and puts a fine cap on the mother of all blockbuster comic book trilogies.