Sucker Punch – A waste of your money?

Five young, beautiful and strong women who are not afraid of dragons, soldiers and monsters, who can handle weapons and find the time to found a sisterhood, fight together in one movie for freedom and justice. A movie with a clear, dark visual feel, where sexy gets mixed with tough, with popular music during cool action scenes.

It sounds fantastic, too good to be true even. And that’s exactly what it is. Even with all the good intentions in the world, director Zack Snyder (Watchmen, 300) fails to make this movie in one of the best flicks of the year. Sucker Punch is best described as a failure really.

The story
Babydoll (Emily Browning) is dropped off at the mental institute. To escape the hard, cold reality she creates a fantasy world where her new friends play an important role. Sweet Pea (Abbie Cornish)is the careful motherly type, and the older sister of the reckless Rocket (Jena Malone), who also brings along Blondie (Vanessa Hudgens) and Amber (Jamie Chung). Together they fight for freedom, against unimaginable foes and barriers raised by Blue (Oscar Isaac) and the High Roller (Jon Hamm)
  
Remarkable vision?

That Sucker Punch would be a fantasy action flick, aimed to please, fun and men was clear from the moment you watched the trailer. It also became very clear that Snyder had a clear vision about colour use, camera point of view and the soundtrack.

Visuals and audio are a positive point in the movie. The way rock songs are used to reinforce the actions scenes is absolutely brilliant and special effects are pretty good.

Snyder can’t hide that he has been inspired by video games, and while watching the movie you sometimes had the impression that you’re in one. And that is the reason why Snyder gets away with the incredibility and absurdness of this movie.
Total abscence of vision
 
There is no escape from the painful lack of coherence and logic in this movie. The storyline looks like it’s stitched together by a blind man with his feet and even the good action scenes lose credibility. Sometimes things get handed to you with no further reference (the dance scene), while the events follow each other in a fast pace in other scenes. Dialogue is almost absent, and even if something is said it’s just full of clichés.
  
The female warriors barely have any clothers on and fight in high heels and hotpants. This to a degree that even anti-feminists start asking themselves questions. Babydoll looks in the camera as if constipated while her blonde hair waves softly in the wind with extra focus on her lips. And I’m not even exaggerating …
Conclusion
 
Even if you don’t expect a lot of Sucker Punch you’ll still exit the cinema with the feeling that you just wasted your time and money. Snyder did have to edit a lot of scenes, what might explain the shoddy end product. The public shouldn’t really take this into account as it’s his job to deliver a coherent and logical whole, and he did not succeed in his job.
This might be a good movie if you’re looking for a fancy looking, no-brain flick to watch on those dull sunday afternoons. Or maybe if you really really enjoy the eye-candy …. other than, it’s just not worth it.
Let me know what you thought of Sucker Punch in the comment section below!
/Niels

Really, Fox News? Really?!

Yes, Fox frikkin’ News has done it again. This time they targetted Duke Nukem Forever, a game that isn’t even released yet. Duke Nukem Forever has become the target of a Fox News article calling it ‘sexist’ and ‘over the line’. Obviously, the game was bound to come under fire someday. Let’s be honest here for a second, the article is absolutely correct in saying that Duke Nukem Forever is over-the-top in male chauvinism, sexism, and “immature” humor. I mean, you get to kick giant alien pig men in the nuts, shout obscenities at everything that moves and pass your time in strip clubs. But maybe, just maybe Fox News should’ve played the game before released an article like this.

You may remember Fox News criticizing Bulletstorm, another one of those over the top games where you get extra points for executing various ways to kill enemies. Everyone in its right mind knows that games like this aren’t to be taken seriously, you’d have to be a complete tool if you do. But Fox News can’t stop whining about violence and sexism. Now back to the most recent article.

The article uses Duke Nukem Forever’s ESRB rating and news on its multiplayer modes to inform readers about the game’s “awfully sexist world.” The authors write that it “takes sexism to a new level,” they pepper in a quote from a videogame writer that Forever is “meant to objectify women” without any context, and they say that developer Gearbox “may have crossed the line this time.” The article also brings in an expert from the Women’s Media Center that says Duke Nukem Forever “is even more offensive” than 1996’s Duke Nukem 3D and that the game’s “depictions of women are extremely harmful, especially to young women.” First of all, fun became illegal since yesterday? Secondly, has she even played the game herself? Shooting the women spawns massive pigs with huge guns that are eager to kill you because you murdered the strippers. Thirdly, there’s a reason why this game is rated M for Mature …. so parents won’t buy this for 8 year olds. And it doesn’t even show any real 18+ stuff, the worst that it gets is implied fellatio and the odd booby or several.

Perhaps if they had actually played Duke Nukem, or any game for that matter, they’d have realized its a parody of classic sigar-smoking, testosteron filled hunk of muscle with a bad mouth to boot, though to an extreme a degree as you can get. Duke Nukem Forever isn’t going to win any awards for moving society forward, but a silly game about killing aliens and boobs isn’t going to move us backwards either. Most it can do is provide a couple of hours of real, uncut and uncensored fun.

I for one am sick of people who hate fun to comment on things they have never even experienced or even came into contact with. It’s really easy to blame everything on video games without giving it any thought. In reality, games are an exhaust valve for aggression and frustration. And as I said above, it’s just raw fun without any repercussions because I really don’t think anyone will take this serious. So stop being so butthurt, get off our backs and go back to knitting socks.

Duke Nukem Forever was recently delayed to mid-June for release on the PC, PS3, and Xbox 360. I suggest you all buy this, just to bump sales figures and spite Fox News. Look at that, I’m all outa gum (+1 internets if you get that)

/Niels

PS: Fox news, blow it out your ass – Oh wait, you’re already doing that!

Hands-on – Crysis 2

Hey there guys and welcome to the first new content post on the new host. I hope you like it and that it offers more functionality and shinies.

But let’s get started with the main event. Today I’ll be reviewing Crysis 2, an fps that brings a new breeze into the shooter genre. The game is developed by Crytek and released Electronic Arts on the Xbox 360, Playstation 3 and PC.

People have tipped this game off as a ‘Halo killer’, and even developer Crytek would be very disappointed if this game was rated below 90. Personally, I think the term Halo Killer is an exaggeration considering Halo 3 sold more than 11 million copies. Nonetheless, this game left a very good impression on me. Crysis 2 really refreshes the whole genre and the tactical touch to it makes it all the more interesting to me.

For people who missed the whole fuss about this game: Crysis 2 trades the exotic locations of the first game for the urban wilderness that is Manhattan.  The city has been ravaged by aggressive aliens who look more like a Terminator than the organic floating creatures from the first installment. All around you, skyscrapers have collapsed or are missing big chunks. You, a soldier named Alcatraz, have been tasked to deal with this invasion as the constant bickering between the military leaders have lead nowhere. A classic story if you ask me. You’re our only hope Obi-Wa- …. uh Alcatraz.

Fortunately, you have been armed with a Nano suit 2.0 which gives you a really nice arsenal of abilities such as invisibility, some kind of shield generator and the ability to jump long distances. Unfortunately for you, the Nano suit has a limited supply of power which you often need for your visor in underground levels. Running and jumping cost a relatively low amount of energy, but your cloaking really eats up your meter.

One other feature in the game is the collection of Nano points, which are used to upgrade your Nano suit, your weapons (deadlier bullets, silencer, ..) and other really fun extras.

However, this doesn’t allow you to run into a group of enemies and start emptying clips on them. This is where the tactical touch comes in. Trust me when I say you will need to run, hide and flank your way around the map in order to survive. Enemies are fast and smart and will use the same tactics you do in order to stop you from reaching your goal.

Another nice feature in the game is the vertical gameplay, where jumping from skyscraper to skyscraper (or what’s left of them) offers you a ‘Mirror’s Edge’ type of experience. Using your super jump you’ll be able to reach higher ground and use a sniper rifle to pick off aliens from a distance. Running and jumping around has never been more fun and graceful. Not to mention it offers a unique kind of gameplay and the illusion of choosing your own path through the levels. Some players may prefer to use the high ground, while others will use a more direct approach or a stealthier one.

And speaking of the level design, it’s just sublime. Levels have been designed to fit a certain combat situation. Because of this, you move from situation to situation in a linear way but you have a lot of ways to defeat the enemy. For example, you’ll be slapping aliens around the ears with your gun using the cloaking device only to switch to armor attachment to start spraying bullets all over the room.

Graphically, the game is really really great … if you have a monster pc at least. Xbox 360 and PS3 have a slightly lower graphic quality but still very high end. And don’t worry, the game still looks beautiful on a normal pc.

Let’s take a closer look at the multiplayer next. Crytek’s multiplayer has always lacked allure. At face value Crysis 2 shamelessly borrows elements of the two most popular online shooters, Call of Duty and Halo, but once you dig into the experience you begin to respect its subtle differences. For instance, instead of giving you game-changing bonuses for killstreaks, you need to collect the dog tags from your fallen victims to access radar, airstrikes, or a gunship. This forces campers out of their comfort zones or keeps their influence in check if they prefer to stay and snipe. If it works, it’ll be really sweet (Fu campers).

As with the campaign, the Nano suit is the great differentiator. Crytek UK balanced the suit’s abilities well and created a smart system of persistent enhancements that players earn by using the suit’s power, armor, and stealth abilities during battle. There are enough upgrades to give players the flexibility to build a unique suit tailored to enhance their strengths or shore up their weaknesses.

With 12 maps ripped from the campaign, 50 rankings, medals, and customizable kits, Crysis 2 makes a strong case for becoming a destination multiplayer mode. The one major criticism I can levy is that Crytek locks the more creative game modes. You won’t have all the modes unlocked until level 39, which seems needlessly buried in a game that doesn’t have a large community behind it that is guaranteed to keep playing for the 15-plus hours necessary to access all the options.

If you’re tired of fighting corridor-based wars against an endless flow of brainless meatbags, Crysis 2 is worth a look. The unique sandbox approach to gunfights and game-changing Nano suit lend the title a flavor of its own, and Crytek smartly leverages these strengths in both the single- and multiplayer modes. Enjoy the trailer below.

Definately worth buying this game I reckon!

/Niels

  

Top 15 Video Game Cinematics

Hey there guys and welcome to another video post. This time I’m sharing my top 15 best video game cinematics ever! Mind you, the same game gets featured a couple of times, but their cinematics are so incredibly awesome I’m sure you’ll forgive me. Note that most of these will be cinematic openings rather than cutscenes. So let’s kick it off with number 15 shall we?

# 15 – World of Warcraft Opening Cinematic

 

 

Blizzard is still the undisputed champion of cinematics in my book. You’ll see more by Blizzard in this post, don’t worry. This one is the opening cinematic to World of Warcraft, released back in 2004. Note the extremely beatiful graphics and music in the cinematic. One can’t help but expect an awesome game after seeing this.

# 14 – Jak III Opening Cinematic

 
Chose this one for two simple reasons. One being the comical note provided by Daxter and Pecker. And two is the ‘story’ if I can call it that. Jak III starting with his exile to the Wastelands after saving everyone’s ass. Not something I was expecting at least!
# 13 – Gears of War 2 Opening Cinematic 
 
Can’t really say why I like this. Must be the unspeakable badassery of a Gears of War game. I really like the ‘Saving private ryan’-point of view, ie the massive clusterfuck that a war is. Like the narrating as well. An honorable 13th place for Gears of War 2.
 
# 12 – Warhammer 40K: Dawn of War Cinematic
 
 
What can I say? I really like massive battles in beautiful CGI. Kinda dig the cartoon-y look as well.
 
# 11 – Final Fantasy VIII Intro
 
Final Fantasy games are known for their beautiful cinematics, but personally I think this one stands out. Released in 1999 this cinematic looked pretty sweet for its time. Not to mention the music to make it perfect.
 
# 10 – God of War 3 Opening Cutscene
 
 
Ah, entering the top 10! This doesn’t really need any explanation, does it? Greek mythology, huge fights, Kratos pumped full of testosteron, beautiful CGI AND dramatic music. ‘Nuff said I think.
 
# 9 – Star Wars: The Old Republic: Jedi vs Sith
 
 
Bioware once again proves it knows how to make an RPG, and how to make awesome cinematics. The Old Republic has everything any Star Wars fan can wish for. Awesome Star Wars music, epic lightsaber battles and the list keeps going on.
 
# 8 – Killzone Opening Cinematic
 
 
Killzone, one of the best games ever in my eyes started with this amazing looking cinematic that still gives me shivers when I see it. The speech, the invasion … it’s all so amazingly good looking. A very honorable 8th place.
 
# 7 – Halo 2: Giving Back The Bomb Cutscene
 
 
Master Chief chucking the Covenant’s bomb back at them paired with awesome music and a small comical note from Cortana is enough to earn a spot in my top 10! ‘To give the covenant back their bomb’ indeed.
 
# 6 – Warcraft III: Hellscream’s end
 
 
The cinematic ending to another one of Blizzard’s top notch games. A story of bravery, honor and a royal ass-kicking. # 6 on the list, enjoy.
 
# 5 – Halo 3 Commercial
 
 
This isn’t so much of an in-game cinematic but certainly worth a spot in my top 5. Just because it got me so hyped about Halo 3. It doesn’t get much better than seeing the Chief jumping right into battle.
 
# 4 – Warcraft III: Arthas’ Betrayal
 
 
Chose this one because it’s so touching. We get the first glimpse of the future Lich King in this cinematic where he murders his own father and unleashes darkness upon the world.
 
# 3 – Dragon Age: Origins (Sacred Ashes)
 
 
Entering the top 3 we get a cinematic from Dragon Age: origins. I chose this one primarily for the eye candy that it offers. Absolutely breathtaking CGI in this one.
 
# 2 – DC Universe Online Opening Cinematic
 
 
This one is really awesome, not only because of the amazing graphics, but also because it shows a somewhat darker side of the DC Universe. Oh, and a really pissed off Superman always works.
 
# 1 – World of Warcraft: Wrath Of The Lich King Cinematic
 
 
Ah finally, number 1! And yes, it’s another WoW cinematic (haters gonna hate). Can’t argue that it’s not great though, aside from the graphics I really like the sound effects and the narrative voice. Gives me chills every time.
 
And that concludes my top 15 video game cinematics. Do you agree with my list? What would you have done differently? Let me know in the comment section below!
 
/Niels

Through The Looking Glass – Nintendo 3DS

Hey there guys, today I’ll offer you an in-depth look into the new Nintendo handheld called the Nintendo 3DS.

Nintendo 3DS
As I said, the Nintendo 3DS is Nintendos next generation handheld console, which obviously means that there a truckload of new features that you can enjoy when you buy the 3DS. Continue reading “Through The Looking Glass – Nintendo 3DS”

Throughout The Ages – Nintendo

Hey there guys and welcome to another ‘Throughout The Ages’. This week we’ll have a look at the company Nintendo. We’ll discuss the history of Nintendo in a nutshell, talk about their major achievements and future plans. Alright, let’s kick it off with a bit of a history lesson. Continue reading “Throughout The Ages – Nintendo”

Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning plays like God of Warcraft

Hey there guys. You might’ve noticed a distinct lack of content this weekend, which is because of my thesis. I have a traineeship and a thesis that is due soon so I don’t have a lot of time on my hands just now.

I did want to share something with you guys, an article from Escapistmagazine.com which I found very interesting. Naturally, all credit goes to them for writing this. Enjoy. Continue reading “Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning plays like God of Warcraft”