Wednesday, 11 November 2009 00:17

Avatar: The Last Airbender (TV, 2006)

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Overview

A set of siblings, Sokka the aspiring warrior and his sister Katara the aspiring Water Bender, out on a fishing trip and lamenting the state of affairs their world is currently in, happen upon an ice burg where trapped inside they see a boy. The boy, upon sensing the power Katara is using as a Water Bender, breaks free from his icy prison, and it is here we meet the main character of the show, Aang, The Last Airbender and eventually found to be the Avatar, the only person capable of mastering the manipulation of all four elements. It is also widely prophesized that the Avatar is the only one who can bring back balance to the world by defeating the Fire Lord and ending the war that the Fire Nation started just as Aang was born some one hundred years prior. Only problem is, Aang is still just a boy of twelve years despite being frozen in ice for a century, and will need training to master all the elements before even making the attempt. Oh, and he’s got to master the elements before Sozin’s Comet shows up again, which will provide the Fire Nation all the power it needs to finish the job they started a hundred years ago.

Monday, 09 November 2009 19:40

Dragon Age: Origins (PC, 2009)

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Overview

Dark times have come to the nation of Fereldan. Having recently freed itself from a century of occupation by a neighboring country, now a new, ancient threat has begun to move in the southern reaches of her lands. The darkspawn, a twisted mockery of life created when the mages of old attempted to breach the Maker's city, are rising. So evil that just being splattered by their blood can be enough to corrupt you and turn you into one of them when it doesn't just kill you, they are legion – and man alone is not enough to fight them. Enter the Gray Wardens, an order of heroes who appeared when all hope seemed lost during the first invasion by the darkspawn so long ago. Men and women of all race and creed, immune to the taint, and gifted with unheard of strength and power and... Oh, sod it, we've heard this story before, let's just get on with the review.

Thursday, 22 October 2009 14:36

Ghostbusters: The Video Game (xBox 360, 2009)

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Overview

1984. A relatively unremarkable year, all things considered. Ma Bell was broken up, Michael Jackson provided his own stage lighting when his hair caught on fire during a Pepsi commercial filming, and Ronald Reagan tries his hand at humor with the line, "My fellow Americans, I'm pleased to tell you today that I've signed legislation that will outlaw Russia forever. We begin bombing in five minutes," during a radio voice check. Nothing particularly interesting. A legion of little transforming toy robots invaded and forever corrupted my co-writer's consciousness as Transformers debuted. Like I said... small potatoes. And oh yes... A little town on an island on the East Coast got overrun by ghosts, goblins, ghouls, spirits, apparitions, and one really nimble little minx with a flat top... But who you gonna call when something like THAT happens?!

Wednesday, 21 October 2009 21:31

Shadow Complex (xBox Live Arcade, 2009)

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Overview

There's something that we've lost as gamers in the years since the shift from 2D to 3D based graphics. Sure, you might say, we've gained the more immersive world of the Halo series or Gears of War shooters, or the riveting, beautifully crafted vistas to be found in games like Final Fantasy and Mass Effect. The shift to 3D allowed us to focus on world crafting, on building settings in which the player could lose themselves in as easily as the story itself. Remember how incredible that opening area in Metroid Prime on the Gamecube was? The stunning, pouring rain, the rich, lush vegetation and the ripples of the water as Samus ran around in it? The Metroid series, though, highlights that something that we lost in the transition from 2D to 3D. After all, long before Samus was running around the world of Tallon IV, she was an explorer of the dark, side-scroller tunnels of Zebes – a platformer. For all the advantages of 3D, it just doesn't do platformer style games well, much less the sort of huge-map, backtracking, hunt-and-seek style gaming of games like Super Metroid and Castlevania: Symphony of the Night. What does all this have to do with this review's target, Shadow Complex for the xBox Live Arcade? Everything.

Sunday, 18 October 2009 19:42

Phantom ~Requiem for the Phantom~ (TV, 2009)

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Overview

One of the things that the entertainment industry often draws upon is that of the mob. From Al Capone to The Sopranos, and more episodes of Law & Order than I care to admit to having watched, America has a love affair of sorts with the notion of the mafia. It's not just an American obsession, of course, but we're certainly in the running for being the head of the family, so to speak. It's a popular setting – and thus we come to this week's review, Phantom ~Requiem for the Phantom~, an exploration into the dark and seedy world of the mob, and what happens when you drag an otherwise normal person into it.


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