Dynasty Warriors 7 Review

You have no idea how long I waited for this game. Dynasty Warriors 6 was pretty and had some innovative ideas, but Dynasty Warriors 7 was successful in executing those changes.

People often complain about this series because, "it's always the same." I have to disagree with that sentiment. It may constantly be the same universe and story line, but the same can be said about every Madden, every Call of Duty, every Halo, every Assassin's Creed, and every other franchise.

Let's go over some of the changes in Dynasty Warriors 7:

1. Character Design - I like the designs, Huang Gai's hot pants = yes please! Sure there are some I don't like, (Zhao Yun for instance) and some sort of don't make sense (Bao Sanniang), I enjoy the majority.

2. New Characters - I loved Bao Sanniang, I don't care what anyone says. Cai Wenji I wish I could get more of a history for, The Jin Dyansty in general was fascinating and fun to learn about, and many others of the additions I liked after I played them.

3. Story Setup - A lot of people didn't like the idea of not controlling a character throughout the story modes, I actually enjoyed  this aspect. It forced me to play as characters I never would have before.

4.Conquest Mode - I'm half and half with this, I loved the concept, but as soon as I beat conquest mode I felt kind of uninspired to do more. I conquered everything at that point. I would be fine to keep it if there was some sort of randomized fight option, so there was still some exiting element when you've played it all.

I will continue to support Dynasty Warriors as I love the characters and the music, and the gameplay. My only complaints were, when you were done, you were done, any additional play time felt somewhat uninspired. And I hated some of the voices because they didn't seem to fit the character design or what I wanted them to sound like in my head.
Game needs more Steve Blum <3

Now all I need a new Warriors Orochi and Samurai Warriors IN THE US!! Stope releasing these in Asia only, it sucks for the rest of us that DO love you D:


Sucker Punch Impression (not so much a review)

Sucker Punch is a very intricate story about a young woman thrown into a horrible situation, who copes by stealing away into her mind. This is a very vague and raw explanation of the plot, I could go into more detail, but I'll leave it at that for now.

The basic concept of this is very appealing and not often touched by cinema. Most places tend to write off movies that involve dreamstates, simply because they feel it's cheating or cliche. The problem is however, that although it can be used that way, dreams are so universal and yet so completely different that I feel that it's entirely worth investigating within the visual medium. With the recent success of Inception, I wouldn't be surprised if more movies based on the ideas of dreams cropped up.

Having been one to experience very vivid dreams, both good and bad, I was excited to see this film. The blatant over sexualized appeal of girls fishnets and tiny skirts doesn't bother me personally, so I wasn't turned off by that either. Overall, visually, I found the movie to be interesting, beautiful at times, with great uses of color palettes to reflect areas.

Another great thing about the movie is the soundtrack. I feel that the music in the film lead to much of the reactions to the scenes. Bjork's Army of Me, is fantastic, and to hear it prior to a battle was very much a dream come true. In fact, I bought the soundtrack almost immediately after hearing it.

But although the game was pretty, the music was great, and the premise was exciting, I felt disappointed after the film. There are some pretty dark implications to what is going on in the story when they're at the 'brothel'. The film obviously states that Emily Brownings character is 20, but the "Babydoll" character looks much younger than that. So the constant push to make her sexy came out slightly awkward. I also can't help but notice that this is the 3rd Zack Snyder movie where female characters are more empowered due to some form of abuse or trauma. 300 and Watchmen are not his stories, however SuckerPunch is primarily his. Why does a woman have to be pushed to that point? I've never had a movie make me feel so feminist before. It's not the sexualization, it's just the idea that for us to be anything we have to suffer traumatizing situations and then 'steal away' from them so that we are able to cope with them. In fact Zack Snyder is not the only one at fault with this, which is why I'm so upset with this film. I was hoping for something more than that, the story isn't actually that bad, but I was hoping it would cast a different light on female fronted action films.

There are profound moments in the film though, despite my dislike of what could have been, and one of them is Jena Malone. I am a fan of Jena Malone, her roles are always interesting, and her personality is vibrant. She was my favorte moments in this film. The delicate innocense and kindness that Sweet Pea and Babydoll wanted to protect. Every other character gained life when she was on screen, when she wasn't I suddenly lost interest.

Without going into spoilers I do understand that this film is much deeper than it looks, maybe it was intentional, maybe not. Maybe the subtley is there for people to come to their own conclusions and maybe it's subtle because Snyder and his co-scripter had no idea what they wanted to do. It can be argued either way.

Which is why I find myself not hating the film, but not loving this film. I wanted more from it than what I got, which is my own fault, but at the same time, what I wanted doesn't seem like a bad thing to want. I honestly think this movie would have been better if they focus on either asylum + fight scenes, or all fantasy. The multiple levels of escape in her mind made the brothel analogy really seem pointless in the scheme of story set up. I doubt there will be a sequel, and I in no way regret seeing it. I will also probably buy it and support it's merchandising, for if anything, recognition for more movies with female leads. I just hope next time we can be powerful without all the drama, rape, abuse, and trauma.


My Review of Alan Wake

When I first heard of Alan Wake 5 years ago, I was hooked. A game located in the Pacific Northwest that is creepy and about a writer? I dig it.

So general gist of the game (generally spoiler free): A guy has a writers block, his loving wife tries to help him by taking him to a small town with hopes to persuade him to see a doctor that 'specializes' in art therapy. They have a fight, she goes missing and he wakes up a week later.

There is a lot going on here. This game isn't made to make you scared like Silent Hill, it's to make you afraid. There is a difference, believe me. When I play this game, things don't jump out at you and surprise you. The enemies are creepy monsters, they're human beings overtaken by a shadow, so they look more like shapes at first and then are revealed as human. How the scare tactic works is the game mostly takes place in the forest, I found myself second guessing often when I saw a tree, because I thought it was a shadowy figure. The game uses shadows to play with your head, that is by far scarier, because this can transfer over into real life.

The battle system flowed real well. 'Light' is your main weapon, with side arms of pistols, shotguns, and hunting rifles. (I categorize the flashbangs, flares, and flareguns in the 'light' category). I really enjoyed the battle system, it was easy to master.

Alan Wake is set up episodically. There are 5 episodes, and when an episode ends, a music track is played. When the next episode appears it has a "Previously on Alan Wake". It's a nice way to break up the game, if you are like me and couldn't only play an episode a night for the first couple night, it was a nice way to catch up without forgetting everything. The music tracks are pretty damn good too, featured all sorts of people including a long time favorite Poe, and the credits were none other than my hero David Bowie.

The environments were phenomenal. The mountains were gorgeous, the weather was beautiful, the whole scenery was unmistakably pacific northwest inspired. I'm not just saying that because I live here :). My boyfriend, who grew up in a similar area, said he felt at home when he saw it, so it wasn't really scary to him.

-Alan Wake himself is a very conflicted character as presented in the game. He obviously loves his wife, but he has some very serious flaws. He's a writer that was successful and then couldn't write for years. There is a frustration, and a hatred in him that is seen throughout the game.
-Sarah, his wife is a lovely girl, who has a phobia of the dark. Fitting for the story. She loves her husband and is very patient with him, but unfortunately we don't see a whole lot of her relationship. This game is about Alan Wake, not so much his wife.
-Barry is Alan's manager. At first he was annoying, but that annoyance later became his charm. He's not charming, but he is determined. And he makes a surprisingly refreshing experience.

However, as much as I enjoyed this game, somethings were a bit annoying:

-I'm a tester for game, so when I get invested in a game and find a bug, it pulls me out. The most annoying bug I found was after a random conversation with someone, the subtitle of what I said would not go off screen. Other than that, mostly game glitches, nothing game breaking like memory loss or hard locks.

-There is no point in hoarding ammo, flares, or any item like that because you loose your stuff ALL THE TIME. Although it does make it a bit more realistic (i.e. falling out of a helicopter you won't be holding on to your pockets, but still, once, I get it, like 6 times though, really?

-You cannot get all the manuscripts in the Normal setting. I always progress up from Normal to Nightmare when games allow it. The first time through is just to help prepare for what to expect, the second and third, that's for collecting everything. But those manuscripts help clarify the story. The FBI agent Nightengale, I'm still not entirely sure what his purpose is. If you miss just one manuscript, you're missing bits of the story. And there are quite a few that can only be found in Nightmare mode.

Besides these things, I actually really enjoyed this game. It was worth the amount of the Limited Edition (and the stress of trying to find it). It came with a soundtrack and a special features disc as well as a book. I highly recommend this game, it's definitely worth playing through once.


FFXI vs WoW vs Aion

I like MMO's, but only casually. I can't say that I hate them because they have allowed me to meet some amazing people that have turned into wonderful friends that I adore. However, there are so many MMO's out there that it's kind of difficult to justify playing more than one. In my life, I have seriously played 3. I use the word 'seriously' as the attitude of play. I'm going to compare them (I know, big no no, all MMO's are different and should be judged differently and blah..blah..blah)

This one is first. Not only because it was my first, but because I hold it most dear to my heart.

FFXI required patience. FFXI required finding a Linkshell that you fit in well with. This is very much a community driven game. Sure you could do things by yourself, but it was built for you to do it with others. This game forces you out of your comfort zone and demands you work well with others, because if you don't you won't make it that far.

The 6 years I off and on played this game were very great. The people I met are all top notch and still are now some of my favorite people. (Hiredhelp, this is to you.)Their existence makes mine happy. It is rare in life I think, that you meet people that affect you that way.

The Job classes were interesting, so many different options and you only needed one character to play them all. This was something that was very appealing to me, I mean I could be a Samurai, Dancer, Ninja, White Mage, Black Mage, Scholar, etc. So many choices!

The story is by far one of the most engaging and emotional experiences you can have in an MMO. Characters lived and characters died, you explored with them and fought with them. I have never played a more interesting story. And that story helped to make the community strong. We ALL wanted to know the story.

Graphically I loved the game. It had a very 'realistic' style and color palette. I played that game and felt like "you know, maybe this place does exist somewhere". I mean sure the graphics were severely limited by the PS2 support, but even so, Square Enix knows what they're doing when it comes to that.

The music was gorgeous in some places and enjoyable in others. I liked listening to the background music, I rarely muted my TV.

Some downfalls were initially the game was not geared for solo play, and if your friends all quit playing, it left you little reason to want to stay. Since it is so much a community game, once the community is gone...it just doesn't feel the same.

It's not easy to make gil in FFXI. Things cost millions and at most quests give maybe 10k? Drops from mobs sell for nothing, and things are super camped.

Not worth $15 a month at this point. At least not anymore. Game sales go down over time, the same should apply to MMO subscriptions.

World of Warcraft
This is the most successful MMO in history. We could argue for decades whether or not it's deserving, but you cannot deny that this game helped fuel the existence of MMO's.

WoW is ridiculously easy. I'm surprised they don't just give you a bot for the first part of your adventures there. But since the game is so easy, it's easy to start, get high level and do what MMOers do best: Raid, Kill, Loot, and rinse and repeat.

There are some interesting story lines, and there are almost TOO many quests. There is always so much to do and the world is incredibly expansive. This also explains the simple art and design level.

Community wise I can't say I enjoy it too much. I know some of the friends I love and adore in FFXI play WoW now but they are a small percentage of the amount of douchebaggary I have experienced in WoW. Granted I haven't played a whole lot of it. My highest was a level 60. But it was enough for me to not really get interested.

It is super easy to make money in WoW, you just need lots of it for things like mounts and whatnot. Not really an issue though, because like I said, it's super easy to make money.

WoW has some great gameplay elements though. They work with the community to make programs that they can use. Essentially companies don't like 3rd party programs because they are mostly used for hacking and what not, but Blizzard sees what's used and try to make it for their players. This. Is. Wonderful. This is the kind of relationship you want as a player with the developers. You know they listen and this is so important.

However I truly don't feel the game is worth $15 a month. It's almost a rip off for essentially how easy the game is.. and especially for how old it is. FFXI suffers the same thing, when you have established servers, and have lost players over time, the price should go down. Blizzard for one could deal with a price cut.

This is the most recent MMO that I have dedicated time to. There are a lot of good things about it but there are equal amount of bad things.

The graphics are gorgeous and I have never had so much fun creating and falling in love with my character.

The music is nice in some places and annoying in others but there are a lot of details put into it. Small things like the body adjusting postion if it's standing on a hill, certain NPC's have cool story lines. There is a daeva of music in Pandemonium who sings this really gorgeous song, and you can hear it (and read the lyrics). There are a lot of little things that I enjoy.

It's not too hard to make money, but the boss drops are really stupid. We did an instance about 7 times and saw 1 blue item drop. That is just awful. You need more of a reason than a 1 in 7 chance to see a blue item and then have a 30% possibility that you could even use it.

The community for the most part have been enjoyable, the gameplay is inventive and fun (Who knew how much I loved gliding?) The concept behind the Abyss PvP and flight system is wonderful, however, the game is very broken.

There is so much potential here, but there is a seriously lack of communication from the dev team. They post videos (See Aion Vision Trailer) of what they WANT for the game, plan a huge graphics overhaul but they can't even fix a majority of their known issues. They communicate primarily through things like Twitter, but only things like "Hey check out the new Fan Art!".

The PvP is fun, but the way it's set up is wonderful for greifers, awful for the rest of us. Almost everywhere is a PvP zone which means if you're leveling in a lvl 20 area, you WILL get ganked by a lvl 50, at least 7 times before you /ragequit.

Overall my favorite is FFXI. Maybe it's because it was my first, but that game had so much going for it, and so many options, and the story was so amazing that I will always compare my experiences with that one.

They all have their plus and minus'. Unfortunately Aion and WoW are geared to play casually, and FFXI just isn't. And what it comes down to, is that I'm a casual MMO player.


Bayonetta, a girl after my heart

I freaking love this game.

I have a thing for incredibly over-the-top violence. And this game was made for me and people like me.

The story is pretty interesting and ties really well with all the designs of the game. The different enemies and their 'Angelic' stature have all been interesting battles, no two enemy types are really the same.

The "Kinship" as it were was a fun little encounter, the Golem is amazingly annoying for me, and being able to pick up their weapons and use them is awesome.

I even love the pole dance move.

Needless to say, if you don't have this, you need this game.


The Integrity of a Porn Star

This article seems to have offended a lot of people, men and women alike. Some people are offended by the fact that it's generic "How to Get a Girl" stuff and some people are upset that it's written by a Porn Star. Raven Alexis is getting around as a Porn Star that games. At first her presence was accepted, "Oh awesome she loves games AND sex!" her being around was another affirmation for some that gamer women can indeed be attractive.

But now that she submitted this article, the clouds have darken and people who once praised her presence, now scoff on what she is: A Porn Star.

Several commenters in fact outed the fact that her dating advice is somehow null and void because she's a porn star. I fail to see the logistics of that. Porn is her job, I'm happy for her that she's doing something that she likes. A lot of people can't say that they do that. Because I test games as a career does that mean I shouldn't have an opinion on video games?

Just because she gets paid to have sex has no bearing on her ability to give advice, in fact most of the advice she gives is sound, for example:

"5) There is one more option that I've left until last. This is only for the true risk takers—the champions of their own destiny. Are you sitting down? Because here it is: You actually go over and tell her what's on your mind. Tell her that you noticed her and that you think she's intriguing, or interesting, or just plain hot. Let her know that you want to chat with her, or just play with her (notice my pun). Yes, guys, this strategy actually works. Letting a girl know that you're interested, and the fact that you had the balls to actually say it, will make you highly exciting and sexy to her. Please note that the difference between this and a pickup line is honesty. Once you've opened the airways of communication, maybe then you can make her giggle with the Tauren line."

This is sage advice. Most women I know don't like to beat around the bush, would rather the person come right out and be honest.

When I read that I don't care that she's a porn star, I don't care that she kind of followed some stereotypical man reactions to women gaming, she has a right to an opinion about anything as anyone, what her profession is doesn't matter.

The Gamers of the world are becoming far too elite. I myself have fallen into this, we have placed ourselves on some sort of pedestal that because we play games and games have become so popular that we must validate our existence by proving we're more a gamer than anyone else because we are 'normal' or because 'we were there before it was cool'.

The genre is growing, people who were afraid to say that they played games are now stepping outside and feeling more comfortable as the world becomes more tolerant. And how have begun greeting these newfound 'gamers'? By telling them that they're posers, that they don't know anything and by judging them simply on the basis that they aren't in the 'now'.

Go ahead Raven Alexis, you keep playing games, you keep writing articles and you keep doing porn. It is your choice and you should never let people's close minded views stop you from doing that.


Raving Rabbids <3

I'm a huge fan of Raving Rabbids, if you are too, check out this site frequently!


From Russia with BANHAMMER

As reported HERE and HERE and many other places, Russia a bit miffed at the "No Russian" mission in Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2. The initial response by a lot of people is, "Oh big deal it's just a game, get over it Russia."

Now, I'm going to get some flak for this but I don't really blame Russia. Entertainment has some obsession with Russian villains. Be it a Bond film, a video game, or even just a novel, for some reason we love to make Russians the bad guys. Maybe it's because of things like the Cold War, or where they live, or those wonderful stories on the Russian Mafia, but one way or the other, we like them as our enemies.

Currently Vladimir Putin seems very concerned with Russia's overall look to other countries. By headlining things like saving the Siberian Tigers, and trying to increase ties to America, something like MW2 can be a bit insulting.

Granted, *Spoiler Alert*, the real bad guy isn't necessarily Russia in the game *End Spoiler*. But let's look at all the other concerns with images of "War Torn America" and how THAT was an issue no that long ago. We can sit there and say, "I can't believe people would show us that way." It's no different from the Russians who are probably really tired of being portrayed that way.

To drive the nail in, as gamers aren't we tired of being portrayed as mindless, gun toting lunatics that will kill anyone because GTA taught us to? Aren't we tired of being blamed for stupid things that happen, like when someone shoots someone over something they said on Xbox LIVE? It's thinking like this that makes me understand Russia's plight. We're so quick to say "QQ MOAR PLS" but really how much is too much?


Bayonetta: Body of Lies

There has been a lot of talk about Bayonetta and her physical form. Many people have been complaining about her proportions.

I'll be honest I noticed them at first but I really didn't care. I got to play this game at PAX this year and it's a really fun game! And so what that it's not 100% accurate to human form. She isn't human. What bugs me the most is how much this bothers people. I think she's awesome, she's incredibly unique. The artist designs are his and they work with the story. The game itself is really fun, so whats the issue?

She's not real. So why is she held to such high standards?


Not my country!

(A response to the following article: http://kotaku.com/5376158/christian-science-monitor-wrings-hands-over-modern-warfare-2s-dc)

I always find it interesting how offended people get with images of destruction. Nothing fascinates humanity more than destruction. Argue that with me all you want, you're focused on it one way or the other.

The problem I have with the reaction to Modern Warfare 2 is the fact that, media our entire life has gone about depicting destruction everywhere. Artists do it all the time, movies do it all the time (Day After Tomorrow/2012 anyone?) and why is it so wrong for video games to do it as well? Because it's interactive? Are you playing the game Christian Science Monitor? No? Well then shut it.

Would they be complaining if this were Russia? London? Mexico? No. Is it because those countries weren't targets for terrorist attacks on September 11th? Get over yourself. 9/11 happened, it was awful, I understand people are still affected by it, however, if you can't bring yourself to get past it you will always relive it. Why should the rest of us suffer because some people can't accept that it HAS happened and you cannot change. There is no reason America should have special treatment in the 'do not represent our country as destroyed'. Because really, what makes us so special? Why are we allowed to show any other country as any kind of demolished, but when it comes to us it's so in appropriate.

I want to make clear that I in no way disregard 9/11. It was a tragedy. It WAS tragic. The effect it left is STILL tragic because everyone wants to remind everyone all the time of how tragic it was. But you know what? How can we grow if we can't let go. Media like this just adds to the 'pity us because someone attacked us' bit.

When you fall down, you get right back up, you don't lay there complaining about how it's so unfair you fell down.