Thursday, April 28, 2011

First Thoughts: Mortal Kombat (2011)

So I got a chance the other day to give this game a whirl. And I think I can sum up my feelings on this game with this image:


Now I liked that last entry into the series (Mortal Kombat vs. DC Universe) but it was just missing that extra something that makes MK so magical. Hardcore violence and fatalities of epic proportions, of course! and MK 2011 makes up for this in spades. Netherrealm Studios (formerly Midway) brings MK back to it's roots in some aspects, but keeps the good from previous games later in the series, such as Deception, Armageddon, and MK vs. DC.

First off, this game is a hard M rating, there is no two ways about it. Some people will get up in arms about this and bitch, but really, this is the game franchise responsible for the ESRB, what did you expect? Add to that the fact that the ladies barely wear enough to cover their naughty bits in most cases. So if you have some sort of moral objection, now is the time to quit reading.

For those of you still with me, let's take a quick look at the game. You have a total of 27 playable characters (on the PS3 version there is a bonus "guest" character. No such love for us on the 360) . I would show you a picture of the roster, but I can't seem to find one that doesn't include a massive spoiler that I don't want to give away.
These are the various awesome playable game modes:
1) Story mode with 16 chapters. Similar to MK vs. DC where you play a different character each chapter
2) Tournament ladder with unique endings for each character
3) Training mode
4) Challenge Tower- a 300-mission behemoth where you do various fights and other challenges for Koins and an ultimate reward.
5) Fatality Training mode- to practice your all your favorite finishers
6) Mini-games- Test Your Might, Test Your Sight, Test Your Luck, and Test Your Strike.
7) Online- with a King of the Hill mode where XBox 360 players can actually import their avatars to use while watching matches.
8) The Krypt- where you can spend all those hard earned Koins on various unlockables

Fatalities- each character has two Fatalities in the game, as well as the humorous babalities. There was a rumor Friendships would be included, but it appears that is all it turned out to be. Along with this is the X-ray attack, a kind of supermove that shows the internal damage caused by the various hits of the combo (which does more damage that usual). It is charged on a bar at the bottom of the screen, similar to the way the slamming move charges in the Ghostbusters game (2009). These are rendered with care and brutality, showing bones breaking and organs destroyed.

part of Raiden's X-Ray Attack- a skull- cracking good time!

Gameplay is overall very good, and easy to pick up. The moves list now shows the Fatality combos, which is really nice. The fighting is back on a 2-D plane, so anyone tired of side-stepping and 3-D arenas can breathe easy. Classic stages such as The Pit, the Living Forest, and the Dead Pool all make a comeback (among many others), as do the Stage Fatalities where applicable. The game, for all it's new features and shiny new look, will feel like an old friend to long-time fans of the franchise.

The story- the story is kind of like the new Star Trek movie, in that the timeline of the MK universe is altered. It begins immediately after the events of Armageddon before moving back in time and you essentially replay the first three Mortal Kombat games with a vastly different outcome as Raiden tries to avoid that particular future. A very cool concept, and I am very excited to see how they go forward with this into further games.

My only complaint is some of the character models look goofy in game. Raiden looks awesome, like they just lifted him out of MK vs. DC. Kung Lao and Liu Kang in particular look a bit off, it's something in the facial renders, they don't look good. Some of Kitana's expressions are as well. They're just kind of ugly, to be honest, although when fighting you don't really notice. Favorites like Sub-Zero and Scorpion look really good though, as do all the ladies (minus Kitana's funny faces sometimes). One of my favorite looks for this game is Ermac, who looks badass and menacing, and with a very cool alternate costume that can be unlocked (as you can do for all characters- except for Mileena who has 4 different costumes).

So my final verdict? GO PLAY. NOW. This game is amazing, and for Mortal Kombat fans, a great entry into the franchise. This makes up for every wuss out "Heroic Brutality" we had to put up with in MK vs. DC. It's also an interesting story, can Raiden really change the past and prevent Armageddon? What is the cost of this alteration? Where does the story go from here? There is a ton of content here, and this game truly exemplifies why Mortal Kombat is (in my mind, at least) superior to all other fighting games. Is it brutal? Hells yes! And that's just the way Mortal Kombat should be.

To end this I'll leave you with two things. First is the most kick-ass use of a techno beat ever:

The second is a bit of my own personal geekdom. I got this done about three years ago. This is what it looked like brand new (it's the best pic of it I have lol):

Well that's all for now folks! See you next time!

*EDIT*- Forgot to throw this on too. Mortal Kombat: Legacy!

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Quick Blurb Review: Machete

So...did anyone think Danny Trejo was underused in Predators? Show of hands? Yes, the lot of you need to go watch Machete right now. Totally makes up for it.

The plot behind Machete is that Danny Trejo plays a Mexican Federale nicknamed 'Machete' and is betrayed by his boss along with crime lord Rogelio Torrez (Steven Seagal) on a rescue mission and his wife and daughter are killed in the process. Seeking asylum in America three years later, he's forced to try and assassinate Texan Senator John McLaughlin (Robert De Niro) but, surprise, he gets betrayed by the ones who hire him and he goes after them in a bloody rampage of fury and vengeance, with the help of an Immigration Officer (Jessica Alba) and a taco truck operator (Michelle Rodriguez).

Okay, who thought betraying a guy who looks like this was a good idea?

The casting is pretty solid in this movie. Naturally, Danny Trejo dominates every scene he's in because, well, he's Danny Trejo. The lovely Michelle Rodriguez seems to have fun with her role in this film as does Don Johnson and Robert De Niro. Jessica Alba was...okay in this movie, I guess. Sure, she's not the best actress but she does her job and this by far wasn't the worst performance I've ever seen. Lindsay Lohan (who actually looks pretty good in this movie, but maybe that's because she's naked) was pretty much a cameo in this film, but I'm certainly not complaining. Top all this off with cameos from Cheech Marin and actor/special effects artist Tom Savini and you have a pretty sweet cast on your hands.

Well, I can certainly think of WORSE people to get shot by.

Aside from the great cast and hefty doses of T&A, Machete features many over-the-top kills that are really more enjoyable than the law should allow. Stabbing a guy in the neck with a thermometer and seeing his temperature rise when the house blows up, many slit throats and decapitations, using intestines as an escape rope, crushing someone with a hydraulic truck (which used the Wilhelm Scream. Awesome!), it's so much fun. Two minutes into the film, there's already enough gratuitous violence to make the new Mortal Kombat game proud.

Minigun on a bike. You're pretty much fucked now.

Machete is a good old Mexploitation film. It's not the best exploitation film I've ever seen and actually felt to me like one of the more serious ones (not that there wasn't humorous moments), but this movie was still a lot of fun. Anti-immigration propaganda, Danny Trejo being a total manwhore (Michelle Rodriguez, Lindsay Lohan & Alicia Rachel Marek AT THE SAME TIME and Jessica Alba) and complete badass and Robert De Niro in a role that you can't wait to see him get blown apart, Machete is a nice balls to wall action flick that I'd recommend to anyone who needs their fixings of gore and wanton destruction.

Also, because this commercial is awesome, Machete in claymation:

-The Cynic

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

X-Men Origins: Wolverine Game Review

You know that old saying, "If you don't try it, you don't know what you're missing?" Ever been in a situation where you did know you were missing a good thing? That was my situation for the last two years after trying the demo for X-Men Origins: Wolverine prior to the film's theatrical release. Parenthood intervened and obtaining the game was put on the backburner until last Friday when I finally was able to rent the game and run through it. The demo had already left a sweet taste in my mouth but while I was playing the game, I was still asking myself, "Holy crap, why in the hell didn't I pick this up sooner?"

Sabretooth (played by a pixelated and voiced by Liev Schreiber) and Wolverine

Not surprisingly, you play as Wolverine, as portrayed by Hugh Jackman, and sort of retread the same story as the film. I do stress the term "sort of" because like many film-to-game transitions, a lot of extra things are thrown in that would either slow the film down or uproot it from trying to be as close to reality as a movie about an unaging, claw popping, occasionally streaking, homicidal Hugh Jackman can be. However, unlike most film-to-game adaptations, the extra stuff included makes the between the film and the comics it is loosely based on (reading the official bio on Wolverine, it seems like the movie messed up quite a few things), taking the best of both worlds and making, again, unlike most film-to-game adaptations, a good and fun game. In fact, I would say that this is probably the only game adaptation that was better than the film it was based on.

Example: Sentinel. Great in the game, but wouldn't work in the movies. Fuck the tease from X3.

Let's start with the look of the game, which is just enjoyable to look at. The characters are all very well rendered and the environments are well detailed to boot. The lip-syncing can be a tad off at times, but that not withstanding, X-Men Origins is one of the only three games that sport the Unreal Engine that I've played and have actually been impressed with it, the other two being Batman: Arkham Asylum and Mortal Kombat vs DC Universe. I'll admit, X-Men Origins isn't AS impressive as the other two mentioned titles, but it's still impressive.

Sorry, Commander Shepard. You can grin all you want, I just wasn't as impressed with your graphics.

The gameplay is similar to Activision/Raven's X-Men Legends and Marvel Ultimate Alliance titles with the four colored buttons being used for melee attacks, strong attacks, grapples and jumping. Holding the right trigger while pressing one of these buttons will trigger a special rage attack, provided you have it unlocked. However, it's not like the controls are a carbon copy from Ultimate Alliance. A few things have been added, most notably the lunge attack. This is one of the many attacks to help Wolverine rain sweet adamantium death upon his enemies by leaping across the area and plunging his claws into their faces. This is an attack that is fun to do and is actually useful, whereas usually moves like this are either one or the other. It's fun to see exactly how far you can jump to pummel someone into the ground and lunging is also useful for staying out of the crosshairs of your enemies. Whether you're ambushed by 20 troops, wanting to take out that annoying helicopter, or beating it into Weapon 11 that he is, in fact, NOT Deadpool but Barakapool, make sure your LB and RB buttons are in working order because you're going to be using them a lot, especially on the hard difficulty.

If the lunging gets boring after a while, don't worry. You'll get a few achievements out of it at least.

Finally, I want to address the rating of this game. How often is it that you get an M-Rated game for a PG-13 film? The xBox 360 and Playstation 3 versions are known as the Uncaged Edition and sport an M-Rating because when Wolverine takes damage, you will see the wounds open, bleed, expose organs & skeletal structure and eventually heal in real time. Since the main character at times will look like a bullet-ridden extra from a George A. Romero film, the game was rated M and developers went for broke and made the game as bloody as possible. The game allows Wolverine to show his true colors in ways he never could in the films because...well, let's face it: Wolverine fucking stabs people. Its what he does, and when someone gets stabbed, they bleed. Not only does Wolverine stab in this game, he dismembers, impales, decapitates, rips in half, sets ablaze, crushes with debris, stomps skulls and overall eviscerates every poor son of a bitch unlucky enough to cross his path in this game, and every pint of blood you'd expect alongside that is here too. Obviously I haven't tried the game on Wii, PS2, or PSP yet but I am interested in seeing what the differences between the T-Rated and M-Rated versions are.

The opening cinematic for this game paints a very pretty picture of how the rest of the game plays out.

Final Verdict: While the film had very solid performances but not much else going for it, the game is a far more enjoyable experience. Great voice work, wonderful environments, gleeful combat and more blood than a donation clinic, X-Men Origins: Wolverine is a great game and a must play for fans of hack & slash style games. Even if you hated the movie, give the game a shot. If you have the same outcome I did, by the time the 3rd day of playing it rolls around, you'll have 45 of the 50 achievements and they aren't chores to get either. By the time I took the game back to Blockbuster, I had 48 out of 50.

"Clean Up On All Isles" being the most fun, in my opinion. Almost as fun as the "Destructor" achievement from Ghostbusters. Almost.

-The Cynic

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Lack Of Content Explaination

Hey, guys. You're probably why things have been so friggin' slow here as well as YouTube lately. Well, since Picky Momma Scholar & I are actually going to be moving in the summer, we have a lot of stuff to take care of with that angle, so unfortunately, Coffee With The Cynic has had to take a back seat to other priorities. Scholar occasionally throws something up on her Dungeons & Diapers blog, but those might cease for a little bit as well.

However, that being said, here's what you can expect from us in the hopefully not TOO distant future.

Is It That Bad: Nickelback's Dark Horse
Ghostbusters: Sanctum Of Slime Review/Letter Of Apology To Angry Joe
Cynic vs Nostalgia Critic - The Lost World: Jurassic Park
Dragon Age II Review
Mortal Kombat Review
Let's Play: WWE All-Stars

X-Men Origins: Wolverine Uncaged Edition xBox 360 Game Review

DAII will be handled by Scholar because she'll be able to do the game far more justice than I can whereas the MK and All-Stars videos will probably be collaborated efforts. Sorry to leave you guys hanging like this, but sometimes life intervenes. See you soon!

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Jurassic Park: The Devils In The Desert #4 Review

Well folks, it's finally here. John Byrne's take on Jurassic Park has come to a close. Did the finale of Devils In The Desert fare better than the mediocre issue 3? Well, yes and no. WARNING: HUGE SPOILER ALERT! DO NOT READ ANY FURTHER IF YOU DO NOT WANT TO KNOW WHAT HAPPENS IN THIS ISSUE. I STRESS THIS BECAUSE IT'S KIND OF A BIG DEAL THIS TIME AROUND.

This issue starts with Monica and Sheriff Tobias flying in Monica's plane and they talk briefly about why Monica's last name is different than her dad's. Turns out she was married but her husband was killed overseas in Afghanistan by a roadside bomb. Tobias apologizes for bringing it up but then they see the Pteranodons flying below them. Since the plane is too fast, Monica has to keep circling them in order for the Sheriff to get a good shot at them. He gets two of them but one kamikazes into the plane's propeller and they crash into a zoo. Monica twists her ankle on the way out and Tobias is bleeding from his forehead but the second Pteranodon isn't dead and bites his head apart. It comes after Monica because this Pteranodon is out for vengeance and she limps into an animal enclosure only to get jumped by a polar bear. She dives aside and the Pteranodon lunges at the polar bear but gets the unholy shit beaten out of it and then she escapes. We cut to Tobias' funeral where Daniel says he's only the temporary Sheriff now and Tobias' secretary is talking with his old high school sweetheart who says she won't tell Tyler who his real father is because he's already lost one father. The comic closes with Monica saying that the creatures came from Isla Sorna using the ocean currents and what happens next year?

This issue was better than the last because it seemed to have better pacing this time around, I don't have to read about that "Who's Tyler's Real Father" subplot that got annoying fast and I was greatly amused by seeing the Pteranodon get completely hauled by a bear. Yet, at the same time, not a whole lot happens in this issue. Seriously. Fly after the Pteranodons, crash at the zoo, Tobias dies, Pteranodon vs bear, funeral, fin. Not that this series overall was bad, in fact, it's still really good, issue 3 being the only major bump in the road, but there were just a couple of things that bugged me. I'll have to watch the scene again, but I'm pretty sure that nothing will happen next year because I thought these were the last of the Pteranodons from Jurassic Park III, unless they've nested elsewhere and we get a repeat of The Devils In The Desert somewhere else. I still recommend this series, but it sucks that we won't be able to get a new Jurassic Park series until May 2012 at the latest when the Dangerous Game tradepaperback hits shelves. I mean, we'll probably get an individual issue run before the trade comes out, but since the individual issues haven't been announced before the trade, I'm not so sure.

-The Cynic