Sunday, November 15, 2015

Game Review (Star Wars Battlefront - PS4)

It's here and I've waited what I believe is now a decade for this game. I'd love to go into a bunch of ravishing details for you, but why waste your time with a long review when this can all be summed up in a few brief paragraphs?

Star Wars Battlefront is a disappointment, no matter how you look at it, in my opinion. Is it because of a lack of single player? Nope. I never once expected this game to have it, and it has no bearing on my thoughts on this game. If you played the beta, you may have likely gotten the same feeling out of it that I have now. The truth is, there's not a lot of depth to this game, and it gets old very, very quickly. There's no real urgency to keep ranking up and unlocking everything because it all just feels the same. This honestly makes me take a series like Call of Duty for granted, because even though I've avoided it the past two or three years, I always commended it for its certain je ne sais quoi that kept me coming back ... and no, it wasn't just the frustrating "NEXT MATCH WON'T BE AS LAGGY." thoughts.

As others have said all over the place online, Walker Assault is really all that this game amounts to. It's said a lot because, ultimately, it's very true. No other game mode captures what Walker Assault does, and while that's a fun mode, it only lasts so long before it feels very, "Been there, done that.", especially with the limited maps to play it on.

What I may find the most frustrating about this game and, again, has me appreciating more main-stream shooters, is that it makes me feel like it's running on auto-pilot when I'm playing. I say that because the controls are far too simple -- the game has a tendency to feel like it's playing itself. The vehicles controls (most notably when in the air) are much too easy to master, which is a shame, since DICE is known for Battlefield, which has air vehicles that take some time to really feel comfortable with. For gunplay, the aim-assist is stronger than I've seen in any online game, and it really detracts from the experience ... it's just too damn easy to dominate. Where's the challenge of learning how to aim? The only thing that may take some people time is guiding their shots when shooting from a distance, as there is an expected shot delay ... so that's nice to see.

Lastly, vehicle power-ups. I understand that this was likely done to get everyone a chance at using vehicles, but it's a fairly significant blow to the experience and a poor choice. I'm not sure this really needs an explanation as to why it's a disappointment, but in a way, it seems lazy of DICE to do this/to have made this decision.

Ultimately, Battlefront is just a lacking disappointment. It's no doubt fun -- the graphics and sound are absolutely unbelievable, but the game play just isn't quite there. Most frustrating, I think, is that as "naked" as the disc content of this game is, EA had the audacity to quickly announce a season pass for it. I can understand a season pass announcement before a game's release (sad that I'm willing to be okay with that now) IF the game itself feels "full."

Star Wars lovers will pick this game up regardless of what people say, but don't try to fight the feeling that it's just not the game you hoped it would be after you've put 6-8 hours into it. It's entertaining in bursts, but the lack of depth and the feeling that it strongly tries catering to non-gamers or "casuals", leaves me wanting more.


+ It's Star Wars!, beautiful graphics, phenomenal sound.
- Lack of depth, overly simplified gameplay mechanics.

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Game Review (Pinball Arcade for PS4)

As long as I've had this blog, this is the longest I've gone without a post... so here I am with one for Pinball Arcade. This review will not only cover how the game feels, looks, sounds, and all of that good stuff, but will be updated as I play and/or purchase tables for the game.

Every now and then I develop a bit of a pinball habit. A handful of years ago on the Xbox 360 I downloaded Zen Pinball and paid for a few tables packs. I played the game steadily for a month or so, but my interest faded. Until I started Pinball Arcade, I never really understood why... but now I know.

Pinball Arcade and Zen Pinball just aren't comparable. Sure, both are pinball games, but the similarities end there. While Zen Pinball uses fictional tables that have unrealistic graphics and some minigames during the pinball action, Pinball Arcade is committed to creating gaming friendly replications of real life pinball tables. After playing Zen Pinball and then Pinball Arcade, I'm not so sure there is any going back to Zen -- the latter's authenticity simply can not be matched.

Within moments of playing my first ball in Pinball Arcade, I loved everything about it. The detail of every table is simply stunning, and the amount of attention put into every corner of the table can be seen, and felt when playing. While nothing can ever match the feeling of physically playing a real, live pinball machine, Pinball Arcade becomes pretty damn close, and for a tiny fraction of the price. Hm, Pinball Arcade and all of its tables for roughly $120 (if you get the season passes as of now), or a single pinball table starting at $2k, and only going up?

Pinball Arcade is a phenomenal game. Its only fixable flaw would be its menus -- they are very simple and have a very amateurish feel. Additionally, at no fault of the developers, a vertically shaped pinball table just can't be experienced entirely the same way when transferred to a landscape shaped television.


I think I just about covered the game in that brief review... the game is just fantastic, addicting, and, well, craveable. With that said, I'll go ahead and briefly review and score each table that I've played. Continuing on what I said a bit ago, you can get season passes of tables for $30 a piece, or buy individual tables for $5 each. Of course, the best value can be had when getting the season passes. The first two passes feature, I believe, 18 tables. Three and four (and presumably any released afterwards) have 10 tables -- all four passes are the same price. Naturally, passes one and two are the better value if you're looking to get a bang for your buck. Additionally, no matter what first pack you choose, you will be given four additional tables that are added on.

Okay, and now I'll start the table reviews, ordered by season number, and alphabetically. The first number after the name of the table is my perceived difficulty of the table. Of course, 1 means it is easy, and 5 means that it is difficult -- according to me, a pinball newbie. Expect to see a lot of easy tables get high scores, and more difficult tables get low scores. Just kidding, but seriously, it's only natural to prefer tables that are easier, right? Easier means more playtime and higher scores. Whatever, I'll try to be objective.

Season One

Attack from Mars: 2/5 This is one of the easiest tables that I think I've ever played, and it is also a very fun one. The idea here is that you want to blow up martians' spaceships that are in specific countries. Once you blow up spaceships in six (or is it five...?) different locations around the globe, you then attempt to destroy Mars to essentially win the game. Of course, the game doesn't end there, as you can keep playing so long as you have balls. The main story of this table is very simple to follow, and the layout of the table is also very amateur friendly, with ramps and loops all over, and with an easy-to-shoot UFO in the middle of the table. There is also a UFO shooting minigame that you play on a screen: this is the most difficult part about this table for me by quite a margin. There's a Wizard Goal for winning this game, but I've yet to have gotten close. All-in-all, Attack from Mars is a table accessible to beginners, but likely still an attractive one to seasoned pinballers, and one that has very nice sound and some pretty funny lines (mostly stereotypes) as well. 4.5/5

Big Shot: 4/5 Here's a table that looks super innocent and simple, but it's actually quite a difficult and unforgiving table. One of the oldest tables in the game, Big Shot has no ramps or loops to give you any sort of break. Big Shot is a billiards theme table where the gist is to hit all of the solid and stripe ball targets, as well as lighting up the 8 ball. When this is done, a jackpot can eventually be won. It is a very simple premise, but the game has a definite learning curve. There is very little saving you from losing a ball on this table, so you'll have to do some table bumps pretty often to try and keep the ball from going bye-bye. Big Shot lacks any sort of soundtrack (due to the age of the machine), and I like it and its vintage feel. The lack of sounds outside of the ball pinging around off targets and bumpers is strangely... soothing, and will also likely keep you focused on trying to hit all of the targets on the board. Big Shot is one of the more frustrating tables in the pack, so be prepared to have a few fits -- especially when you score a ton of points on one ball, and quickly lose your next two or three (that's right, there are five balls on this table). Pinball as a whole is pretty diabolical at times, but this is surprisingly one of the more sneaky-hard ones in Pinball Arcade. 3.5/5

Black Hole: 4/5 Another difficult table, I nearly scored this one a little higher. Black Hole is a table that was a first for many things, including being the first fifty cent pinball machine, and the first with an inverted table within the table. With Black Hole, like many older machines, there isn't any type of story line. This table has a lot going on. Not only because it has a second table that can be played on (and, needs to be played on), but because it's just a very, very fast table. When you get the ball shot up and bouncing off the side panels and bumpers, the ball moves really fast, and you really need to be alert to prevent the ball from shooting itself right out of play. This table took me a little while to get used to, and I'm still not completely comfortable with it, as it's a bit intimidating. Your best bet at getting a high score is to, simply and probably stupidly put, fling the ball towards the top of the table and let it bounce around to trigger multipliers and the like. After that, it'd be wise to try locking balls, and taking the ball to the second table to work on what ends up being your bonus, as there's no other bonus applied after your ball's lost. Black Hole is an intriguing table due to the added inverted playing field, and super fast game play, both of which also make the table more difficult and more fun to play. 3.75/5

Black Knight: 4.25/5 My dear Lord, Black Knight. I don't know what it is, and I don't know if I'm the only one, but this table is wickedly difficult to try and get a feel for. My advice for this table is... well, I don't have any good advice. The two keys for this table, as with most, is to get the multiplier as high as possible, and activate multi-ball. The thing about the multiplier on this table is that it's pretty difficult to hit at first. It took a number of plays on this table before I got a feel for how to hit it, and even still I can't get them consistently. Another thing that makes this table difficult is that it's hard to gauge where the ball's coming down to the bottom flippers when coming from the top -- it happens so fast, it's really hard to tell where the ball's going. It took me several games (albeit with a bunch of restarts) to even score a million on this table, though my last was roughly 2.3 million. Of all the tables in this pack, this is one that will take me some of the most time to feel comfortable with. As for the other aspects of the table, it's not all that impressive, though it was responsible for a lot of "firsts" for pinball. The sounds are droning and repetitive, and the table itself doesn't look very spectacular. It's a decent table, but it's mostly only memorable -- for me at least -- because it's unrelenting. 3.5/5

Bride of Pinbot: 3.25/5 I feel like this is supposed to be a very amateur-friendly table, and at times I feel like it is, but for some reason I personally struggle sometimes with consistently getting the balls to go up the ramp. Anyway, Bride of Pinbot is one of the very best tables in the first season pass. What you want to do on this table is get the balls up the left ramp to morph Pinbot's wife into a human. Once you do this, a wheel spins and you have a chance at a massive 1 billion point shot. It took me half a dozen games or so, but I finally accomplished this feat. Really, if you don't get several 1 billion point shots in your game, you have no shot of getting high on the leader board at all, as even getting 500 million without the shot would take quite a long time. The sounds and look of this table are both pretty excellent, and as I said, the table is pretty newbie friendly, thanks to mostly easy to hit ramps, which eventually make for relatively easy-to-get extra balls. Since the goal of the table is really just getting the ball continuously up the left ramp (and center loop when the billion point shot lights up), it can become rather redundant and one-note. At the same time, it can become addicting like most any table can be when you're in a groove and keep nailing shots up that ramp and morphing Pinbot's wife into a human over and over again. 4/5

Cirqus Voltaire: 3.25/5 This table is as difficult (or, easy) as Bride of Pinbot to learn how to play. On this table, you need to complete a bunch of little missions to eventually join the circus. This is a very newbie friendly table as seemingly every shot finds a ramp or loop, and there are a few different multiball opportunities. Cirqus Voltaire really has it all for any fan of pinball... a fantastic light show, great sound, and interesting missions. The key to getting a high score on this table is to activate one of many multiballs as often as possible, and complete all of the missions. As said, once you complete the six (?) individual tasks, you must finish three steps to successfully join the circus, score a ton of points, and then essentially start all over from the beginning. This table has a lot going on, especially in terms of the lights -- honestly, there are always so many lights flashing that it can sometimes be difficult to see where your ball is at. But also, there's a lot going on gameplay wise as well. The key feature of this table is likely the Ringmaster, who is easily triggered, and is fairly easy to beat. Naturally, there come timed jackpots and the like that only the better pinball players will be able to hit. Cirqus Voltaire is one of the most critically acclaimed pinball tables ever for a reason... it caters to players of all skill levels, has a great aesthetic, and pretty much has it all. 4.5/5

Creature from the Black Lagoon (in 3D): 2.5/5 There are a lot of great tables in the first season, but this is at or near the top for me, as it has a great balance of difficulty. While I can get some decent scores on this table, for whatever reason, I find the "CREATURE" mission dealie to be strangely difficult, despite being what should be a simple two-ball mission. What makes this table a bit on the simple side is how easy it is to shoot up the left ramp to build your combo, and cashing in on that combo by hitting the left-center ramp... it becomes quite easy to get 16 million points over and over this way, and increasing your bumper multiplier as well. I can honestly say that I still haven't found out how to score the jackpot on this table or anything like that, despite playing it a number of times... of course, this likely has to do with my failure to be successful in the "CREATURE" mode. Although the table plays well, what really pulls me in are the sounds and the aesthetic of the table, as it revolves around a late '50s drive-in movie theater. Sure it has a cliche sort of feel to it, but that's what I really enjoy about it. Creature from the Black Lagoon is a must-play for any pinball fan of any skill level, of any age. 4.5/5

Elvira and the Party Monsters: 3.25/5 This is a somewhat difficult table for a couple reasons. One being that the ball seems to like to slip out of play quite easily, and that it takes awhile to build a nice score on it. What you really want to do to score big points is to light up "ELVIRA", and of course, trigger multiballs. Consistently hitting the loops is probably the most effective way of racking up a high score on this table. Probably my favorite thing about Elvira and the Party Monsters is the look of the table and the sound -- one of the more memorable tables to play in the first Season Pass. I like this table because it not only appeals to amateurs, but more hardcore pinballers as well, which probably explains its ranking well within the Top 50 on (currently #43). Elvira is a "funstrating" game, meaning that even though it'll frustrate you time-to-time, it's a blast to play. I had no previous interest in Elvira or anything like that, but I wound up really enjoying this table. 4/5

Funhouse: 3.5/5 I'll be able to say this more as I play the real-life counterparts of these machines, but this is a much easier table to play on Pinball Arcade than it is in person. On this game, it is pretty simply to hold balls on flippers, but that doesn't translate to the actual table. Additionally, the upper left ramp of this table in the game seems much easier to time to get the ball either hit to Rudy, or into the trap door, both of which are important to getting points on this table. I managed 87 million on this table in PA, but on the actual table in just two or three games, I only topped at 3 million. Funhouse is a classic table with a pretty nice soundtrack and a good design. I think it's mostly acclaimed because many people associate memories at the arcade with it. Not having any of those memories with this table, I can objectively say that it's a solid table, even if a bit redundant. Most of what you need to do on this table is simply advance the clock to midnight, and get the ball into Rudy's mouth as he sleeps (heh heh...). It's easier said than done though, because as I said, it can be hard to time the shot. 3.75/5

Genie: 4/5 I'm noticing a bit of a trend... it seems like the older tables tend to be more difficult than the newer ones. Genie is a classic Gottlieb machine, this one with five flippers. Genie is an interesting machine for that fact... five flippers on a machine this old, to me, is unusual. This is a challenging table that really requires you to unlight the "ABCD" lights to get the possibility of an extra ball to keep you going. Even with five balls on this table, it's still difficult to get a very good score. The absolute biggest key to getting a nice score on this table is trying to avoid the bottom left slot area as much as possible... if you happen to get a ball down there, timing a table bump is crucial to get the ball out back in front of the flippers. If you let the ball fall down, more often than not, you've got yourself a lost ball. I was frustrated with this table at first, but after becoming more effective at table bumping on it, I've grown to like it, and think it's Gottlieb's best table in this pack. 3.75/5

Gorgar: 4/5 This is a table that I originally didn't care for. This is the first talking pinball table, and as such, the sounds quickly become droning, tedious, and just annoying. The table itself looks pretty nice though, and it plays very fast. Gorgar is a simple looking table, but to maximize your score, it's not as simple. What you want to do on this table is light up "GOR" and "GAR" as many times as you can to increase the lock and snake pit scores. It sounds easy, but Gorgar can be another table where losing the ball is something that can happen quite often. Fortunately, once you get on a roll, it becomes one of the more rewarding tables to get a good score on in this first Season Pass. This is another table that, while it doesn't look all that intimidating, it's definitely on the challenging side. Unfortunately, the redundant sounds quickly become a bore, and keep me from playing this table a whole lot. 3.5/5

Harley Davidson: 3/5 Straight away I'll say I have no real interest in motorcycles outside of Road Rash on the N64... I don't know anything about them. I will say though that this table surprised me and I found it quite fun. I do find it strange that it has almost an, I don't know, kiddy look to it, but I kind of like that about it -- it feels like a video game or something. This table is easy to play, I think, and doesn't play exceptionally fast most of the time. This is very amateur friendly as it offers quite a few opportunities for extra balls, and a lot of opportunities for multiball -- there are three or four different multiballs to trigger on this table. One thing that bothers me about this table is the video mode, which just comes up too frequently. I liked it at first, but it quickly grew tiresome, especially since the positioning of the items in the video never changes. This is a fun table that'll likely give you your money's worth per game, and for that I enjoy and recommend it, even if you couldn't care less about motorcycles. 4/5

Medieval Madness: 3/5 This is what pinball is all about... so far, the most fun and most complete pinball table I have ever played, and I can completely understand why it is rated as Pinside's number one table in the world. This table has it all -- great soundtrack, awesome looking playfield, fantastic lighting, phenomenal animation, funny premise... it just reminds me why I love pinball. Additionally, like many good tables, it's a table that a rookie can play and get a good score on, and it's also one where veterans can play and rack up massive scores. Additionally, this is a fun table because it's quite easy to get at least one extra ball every game. The point of Medieval Madness is to really destroy the castle six times before reaching the "end game" where you need to destroy the castle a final time for a massive jackpot. Along the way, there's also a video mode to play a minigame, and plenty of loops and ramps to hit to start one of many multiballs available on the table, and to rack up combos. This is most definitely an A+ pinball table, and is one of the most popular tables for a reason. 5/5

Monster Bash: 2.75/5 Another fabulous pinball table... the premise? Get monsters together to rock out and get massive scores in the process. This is a very simple table to learn how to play, as seemingly a shot from anywhere will help advance you to the Bash, making it possible for even the noobest of noobs to manage a billion point score on this table. This table doesn't play super fast, but it does have its moments -- as a whole though, it seems to cater to pinballers of any skill level. I enjoy everything about this table, from the sounds, music, table design/layout... all of it's a blast. Extra balls are also pretty easy to be had on Monster Bash, so expect to be playing for quite awhile once you start a game. Once you get the Bash going, you get millions of points for hitting the band members with balls, and points rack up fast. This is a super satisfying table that must be experienced by any pinball lover of any skill level. 5/5

No Good Gofers: 3.5/5 This is a table that you aren't likely to play once or twice and entirely understand, as the rules take a bit to grasp. Sure, simple enough, it's golf -- but if you can get a lot of hole in ones or low stroke holes, you'll earn a lot more points. As with many tables, a key to this table is to earn multiball. If you can manage that and keep the balls in play for awhile, you'll quickly build up your score. When I first played this table I didn't really care for it because I found it annoyingly difficult for some reason. After giving it a few games, I actually like it a lot. The table looks a little "kiddy" but I like the feel of it as a whole. The gofers are obnoxious and a bit annoying, but that's what helps make this table so memorable. The loop (or are they called "orbit"?) shots are satisfying to hit, and although it's a rarity, hitting the hole-in-one spot at the top right of the table is a great feeling. A slightly underrated, very fun and competitive table to play. 4.25/5

-More tables to be added alphabetically by season as I play them and get feels for them.-

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Led Zeppelin coming to Rock Band 4...?

In a recent post by Harmonix/Rock Band on Facebook, a Facebook user requested Led Zeppelin. Rock Band's page responded back saying, " That's all we have to say. Thanks."

What could it mean? Nothing, possibly, but knowing Harmonix's past of generally not responding to requests for artists like Pink Floyd and Led Zeppelin, I would say it fairly strongly suggests that Led Zeppelin will be in Rock Band 4 -- either on-disc, or in the form of DLC.

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Food Review (Sriracha Quesarito from Taco Bell)

It's been a long time since I've posted something, and this review comes a bit late, as the Sriracha Quesarito was released a couple weeks ago now, but here we go... another limited time item that isn't the Beefy Crunch Burrito. I've loved Sriracha for the better half of a decade, so I knew I had to get one of these ASAP. Well, now I've had two (one beef, the other shredded chicken), and I think I've got a decent idea of how I feel about them...

...they're meh. The best thing about the Sriracha Quesarito? It's actually fairly assertively spiced, which I enjoy. The thing I really can't quite get over is the sweetness... there's roughly 7 grams of sugar per Sriracha Quesarito, but it tastes like even a bit more than that to me. I know Taco Bell was looking to probably balance out the saltiness, but the sweetness is just bizarre and a bit off-putting in both versions of the Quesarito I had, particularly the beef one.

Would I get another one? Well, I've already had two, but sure, I'd try it again before it disappears. I still much prefer the Lava Sauce from Taco Bell and just wish they'd bring it back, but I do like that the Sriracha sauce is spicier than the Lava Sauce ever was. This is a fairly successful limited time offer from Taco Bell, but because of the sweetness of the creamy Sriracha sauce, I'm not too sure it's better than the original Quesarito.

3.5/5 (more of a 3.25, but I rounded up)

+: Actually reasonably spicy, not an awful value, a somewhat original idea from Taco Bell for the first time since the release of the DLTs.
-: The sweetness in the Sriracha sauce is a bit much, still not the Beefy Crunch Burrito, doesn't really improve upon the original Quesarito.

Friday, December 12, 2014

HopCat Detroit Review

I know you've been waiting. Wipe the crusty eye boogers from your tired eyes, HopCat is finally here, and it's as fantastic as advertised. Okay so maybe they don't advertise it as fantastic, but they may as well.

Hearing that Detroit was going to be having its very own HopCat earlier this year was one of the highlights of my year ... alright, I don't have much to look forward to, I'm sorry. Really though, when I visited HopCat in Grand Rapids for the first time last December, I was impressed not only with the massive beer list containing "been there, done that" year-round brews and of course the "whalezbro" bourbon barreled beers kissed and made by Jesus himself, but also with the food.

This HopCat location is going to be a Detroit staple for years and years -- I honestly see no reason to believe it wouldn't be. While I'm not too high on its location (next to a McDonald's in Midtown, where there's not a ton going on at the moment), the restoration of Detroit will likely soon put it smack dab in the middle of a thriving city. I admit, even I rolled my eyes with the last bit of that previous sentence, but who knows, right?

The building itself is gorgeous -- it's a fairly old building with some history, but it's been renovated almost top to bottom with only a few original bits left in to give it an antique-ish feel that's definitely a different look compared to the original HopCat. The Huma Room (named after one of Michigan's best IPAs ... if you don't know what it is, please slag off) doesn't look as awesome/unique, but it hosts bands regularly, and thats the floor's main draw. I'm not sure if bands perform only on certain days or what, but I'm a fan of live music in a bar... especially when the bar is two floors, and its possible to -- in this case -- go downstairs if you don't want to listen to some jam-diggities. Considering it's icy as all hell outside, they aren't letting anyone in the beer garden right now, but I imagine it being an awesome spot to drink a doesn't-taste-like-piss beer before a Red Wing playoff game or Tiger game next Spring/Summer.

HopCat has too many pros to count. First of all ... every tap is a pro. If you want some bladder juice urine trouble, because every tap here is dedicated to craft beer. It'll likely be Michigan-centric, but I definitely expect to see dozens of "fancy beers" on-tap from around the world. At the grand opening, there were well over 100 craft brews from one of my personal favorite breweries, Short's. If you want to try a beer that'll make you ask, "What? This is a beer? Really?" and then say, "Damn, that's good!", you'll like Short's. There are also 30 taps in the Huma Room on the second floor, HopCat's Facebook page said, bringing the total taps at HopCat Detroit to 150. If you can't find a beer that interests you on their tap list at any given time, you shouldn't be drinking beer.

The food is everything you'd expect if you've visited another HopCat location... well above average and much better than your typical bar. They feature some amped up bar classics, as well as some eclectic creations you may not have even known existed. Of course, HopCat isn't just a "typical bar." It's an experience. It's a place that welcomes anybody of any background. So long as you're 18ish (or preferably 21), you'll love HopCat and not feel out of place.

The service here is surprisingly good for a place that has just opened up. It's not perfect, but I wouldn't expect it to be right at opening with the building packed and the employees just getting started. Still, it seems as though the owners have gotten it right. I'll be wanting to visit HopCat just about any time I'm in Detroit. I'm not looking forward to the likely inevitable 60 minute waits just about any time I go, but it'll be worth it.

Now make like a tree and LEAVE! I'll see you at HopCat.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Drink Review (Surge)

IT'S BACK! It only took about twelve years, but it's back! Buy it while you can get it on Amazon and do NOT buy a case for $60 like assholes are doing.

Anyway, the drink! I figured I'd type up a quick review since there aren't too many reviews of it out there. Basically, I'm sure you've seen the can by now -- it's the classic Surge "splat" looking logo on the lime green can. It looks really sharp, and I'm super glad Coca-Cola didn't put on that awful looking second label they had for Surge. As for the drink itself, it's like I remembered: a radioactive green color.

The smell of Surge is like Mello Yello and Squirt blended together... there's nothing else to it, that's the best way of describing the aroma on this. As for the taste, it's more of the same, and that's not a bad thing. I'm not a huge, huge fan of Mello Yello or Squirt on their own, but blended together (seemingly), it creates a really tasty and pretty unique citrus drink. The finish on Surge is much better than Mountain Dew, for comparison -- I find Mountain Dew to have a somewhat harsh carbonation, but Surge is more smooth. Not to say it's flat, but it's way easier to "slam" if you'd rather do that than savor each sip (FOR SHAME!). The aftertaste on Surge also tastes more... real, and better than Mountain Dew. It's an orange kind of flavor that wants you to take another sip, rather than a stale, strange, super artificial flavor that wants you to take another sip.

Hopefully Surge is back and not for just a limited time, and not just exclusive to Amazon -- I was fortunate to get three cases for just $35 total thanks to a pair of  Bing Rewards $5 Amazon gift card codes, and I plan on drinking most of my cans ... not selling them at insane mark-ups like so many other people. I'll make no bones about it and say that, yeah, my score is likely influenced a good bit by the label alone. But I'll also say that it's an easy drinking, good tasting pop (soda for you other people out there) that even people who have no Surge nostalgia would enjoy.

+: It's Surge! (Really does taste like Mello Yello mixed about halfsies with Squirt)
-: Scalpers, exclusive to Amazon and sells out quickly.
?: Is it permanent? Why less caffeine per ounce than when it was initially released?


Monday, October 06, 2014

Game Review (Super Smash Bros. 3DS - Nintendo 3DS)

Man, it's been a long time since I've reviewed any 3DS games. Why? Well... I just don't buy many games for it. Since getting my Nintendo 3DS with 3D Land for Christmas 2011, I've just gotten Mario Kart 7, Pokemon Silver and Pokemon White (Yes, I know they are DS games), and Animal Crossing: New Leaf. While I've gotten some good playtime out of my 3DS, I've never been one to play handheld games hours on end -- alright, I'm trailing off. Henceforth with the review!

I've seen a lot of reviews describing the gameplay of Super Smash Bros., but if you're here, you know what the game is about. What makes this game different? Well, there are a few new modes in there that I think most people, honestly, don't care much about. Smash Run is the thing people have talked most about, and basically, you pick your fighter and run through a randomly generated stage collecting random power-ups and ultimately facing a random boss. Is it fun? It's not AWFUL, but the sheer amount of -- you guessed it -- randomness makes it a game mode that could use some work. Maybe a patch could make Smash Run better, I don't know, but as it stands now, it's nothing all that special.

Another new thing that's kind of interesting (if it's your bag) is the ability to customize your fighter -- change his/her clothes, the character's strength, speed, and defense, and even the certain attacks. It's a pretty nifty addition to the game, but it feels like something only a niche of players would use. It just seems that if you're playing with "serious" SSB players, customizing your character's abilities is just something that would be a "no-no." Regardless, this is an interesting addition that'll no doubt make a fair number of players happy.

Solo mode is back and is better than ever. Instead of fighting a predetermined line of fighters, you can choose who you want to fight, how many coins you want to "bet" that you'll beat the mode (more coins equals higher difficulty), and so on. It doesn't change the mode dramatically, but there was nothing that needed fixing -- these few improvements have only made an already solid mode more fun.

The real things that matter in Super Smash Bros. though are the fighters and stages, let's be honest... and in SSB 3DS, there's a pretty great variety in here. Starting off, there are over thirty characters to choose from, with a good number more to unlock as you simply play the game. There are also a lot of challenges that you can complete. Some of them are just for fun, but to get certain trophies and unlock certain stages you need to (to my understanding) finish some of the challenges. These challenges aren't generally super difficult at first, but they become ridiculous as you play on.

SSB 3DS has some of the best graphics of any Nintendo 3DS game out there. Not only do characters and stages "pop", but it moves at an almost perfectly consistent 60 FPS to boot, despite what's going on on-screen. Ah... the screen... speaking of the screen, whether you're on a 3DS XL or, worse, a regular ol' 3DS, you'll have some trouble seeing what's going on when playing with four fighters who are spread out all over a stage. It's often hard enough seeing what's going on on a TV screen, but on a tiny 3DS screen, it can be just about impossible to tell what item is on the ground, or even where your character is at certain times.

The controls for SSB 3DS are actually pretty good. I was worried about my hands cramping while using my regular 3DS, but I haven't had that problem -- but luckily (...or not-so-luckily...), I have pretty small hands and don't death grip my 3DS while I play. While I and most any person would prefer to play SSB 3DS on a GameCube controller, the buttons are all quite responsive, and the analog stick is usually fine, although I have found that sometimes my fighter doesn't know whether to run or walk. Someone with big hands will likely find quite a few things to dislike about this mobile version of SSB, but I'm generally fine with it all.

The list of characters and stages in SSB 3DS are many and varied. As usual, all fighters have the same button combinations for attacks, but the attacks they do are often quite different. This is great for veterans and new players alike because it takes a skilled player to master the timing of certain attacks, but any newbie can hop right in and have fun with the game... which leads me to the stages, and even items. Some of the new items in this game are nothing but annoying insta-kill weapons. Thankfully, items can be toggled on or off at will. While the majority of stages are great fun, some have "events" on them that are likely to peeve most people. Again though, these stages can be played with these "hazards" off.

There's plenty more to talk about with SSB 3DS, but I'd like to try keeping this from becoming a novel. All that you need to know is that this is probably the best SSB yet. The only reason I say "probably" is because it's actually a bit frustrating that this can't be played on a bigger screen with a proper controller. Despite that, Super Smash Bros. 3DS is a very good game with a huge cast of fighters, a wide variety of mostly super fun stages, and a lot of fun to be had. It's a bummer that even local fights with friends can be laggy (good luck finding a lag-free match on WiFi), but if you don't mind playing against AI (which is quite decent, actually), there are hours upon hours of playtime to be had in SSB 3DS.

+: Loaded with content, great frame rate, hours of fun to be had, a "Smash"ing good time... eh? Eh!?
-: Too frequently laggy local or online multiplayer, stage hazards, "noob" items, small screen, cramped controls.
?: Will we get DLC?


Wednesday, October 01, 2014

Food Review (Spicy Chicken Sandwich at Tim Horton's)

Okay, so... who actually eats at Tim Horton's? Probably nobody, really. But since I had a $15 gift card given to me, I decided to go and try the spicy chicken sandwich and their cream of broccoli soup. My total was $7.19 which was kind of high, but when I saw the amount of food I got, it was actually a pretty fair price.

The spicy chicken sandwich is a nice size -- the chicken patty (yeah, patty, not chicken breast) is a little bigger than the bread. The chicken has a pretty hefty amount of seasoning on it, with a nice buffalo mayo sauce on the bun. There's a little bit of lettuce and a couple tomato slices, both of which were really fresh -- no limp, pale lettuce or slimy yellow tomatoes here. The seasoning and mayo on the chicken sandwich were very good, and actually presented a good heat. Far too often at fast food restaurants or in national chains, spicy options aren't actually spicy. If you're a fan of spicy food, definitely get this sandwich -- it won't let you down. No, it won't make you cry or pant, but it should make your nose run a little bit.

At first bite, I was disappointed -- not in the flavor at all, but just in the fact that, as I said, Tim Horton's uses a chicken patty rather than a solid piece of chicken breast. For the price I paid, I would expect a premium cut of chicken. Even though this sandwich uses some frankenchicken, it actually does taste pretty decent.

The cream of broccoli soup is about what I had expected... fairly mediocre, maybe a bit better. I mean, it's a plus over something like Campbell's, which is waaay too salty and runny.

It was all tasty enough to make me definitely want to go to Tim Horton's again in the future for some food, but again, the fact that the chicken is of the "sponge" variety, despite its surprisingly good flavor, is making me give the sandwich the rating I'm giving it.

+: Tastes pretty good -- the seasoning, mayo, bread, and tomatoes and lettuce are nice.
-: Premium price for a not-so-premium product.


Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Food Review (Dollar Cravings Menu at Taco Bell)

Hey, Taco Bell's released something new again, and this apparently isn't for a limited time -- the Dollar Cravings Menu at Taco Bell is their new dollar menu and it features a handful of fairly diverse items all for, you guessed it, a dollar. (I have not and will not review the dessert options on the menu since I'm not interested in them.)

First of all, the 440 calorie Beefy Fritos Burrito. I was looking forward to a re-release of the Beefy Crunch Burrito for this menu, but Taco Bell has instead given us this.
The Beefy Fritos Burrito is obviously similar to the Beefy Crunch Burrito in that they share a few ingredients, but the flavor is actually quite a lot different. First of all, there's no Mexican rice in this -- just that white cilantro stuff. Secondly, there's no sour cream. I don't mind that all that much because I can do without warm sour cream... it tends to weird me out. Third, no damn Flamin' Hot Fritos. What you get here is a half-hearted attempt at a Beefy Crunch Burrito, and a slap in the face to those who've been wanting the Beefy Crunch Burrito. Is there anything inherently wrong with it? No, of course not. As a matter of fact, if the Beefy Crunch Burrito was never a thing, I'd really like it. As it stands, this is just a fairly mediocre burrito. It tastes fine and it's one of the better values on the Dollar Cravings Menu, but this doesn't replace the Beefy Crunch Burrito. Period. 3.5/5

Next up is the Shredded Chicken Mini Quesadilla. I think mostly everybody has tried an overpriced, more-tortilla-than-filling quesadilla at Taco Bell, but this 180 calorie snack version comes in with a weight with less than that of a crunchy taco, and offers up shredded chicken.
Not a very good picture just because you see nothing inside of it and you get no idea of its size, but it's maybe six inches long -- anyway, there's not much going on with this. You get Taco Bell's shredded chicken, cheese, and chipotle sauce. Simplicity can be a good thing, but it's not here. If you haven't ever had the shredded chicken at Taco Bell (I had in the past), know that it is very salty. That alone makes this a Dollar Cravings item I'd not get often at all... I expect the beef version to be quite a lot better for that reason alone. While I don't care all too much for this quesadilla, it is a much better value than Taco Bell's regular quesadilla in the sense that with this you get all the filling without those useless end pieces that have basically nothing in them. 3/5

The last thing I ordered off the Dollar Cravings menu on my first visit was the "new" Cheesy Bean and Rice Burrito... ay, there's a mouthful. Why not call this thing the CBRito? I say "new" by the way because this 420 calorie burrito has been on the menu before.

Along with the Beefy Crunch Burrito, one of the best values on the Dollar Cravings Menu, and a really good option for the vegetarians who eat at Taco Bell. It's a pretty simple burrito, but it's tasty and pretty filling thanks to the serving of beans. Since I had the now-defunct (thanks a lot, Taco Bell jack offs) Volcano Burrito and Beefy Crunch Burrito though, it always feels like something's missing when I bite into a burrito at Taco Bell and don't get a crunch. Still, the flavor's there. Cheese, check. Beans, check. Rice, check. The jalapeno sauce adds a bit of "oomph", though it's not super noticeable with the nacho cheese already in there, on top of the fact that I didn't get much of the sauce in my burrito in the first place. I enjoyed it, and I'd have it again. 3.75/5

The Beefy Mini Quesadilla, which comes in at 210 calories turned out to be quite a lot better than the shredded chicken variety. While it has the same ingredients, it's quite a bit less salty, and there's more and better flavor. The value of it isn't nearly as good as one of the burritos on the Dollar Cravings Menu, but the chipotle sauce is tasty and works better with Taco Bell's beef than the already hugely salty shredded chicken. It's not very filling, but it's got some pretty nice flavor, all for just a buck. 3.75/5

The 240 calorie  Spicy Potato Soft Taco was a massive disappointment for me. I've tried it twice now, and I just can't appreciate it because my Taco Bell simply doesn't know how to make their potatoes. Both times I've ordered it, the potatoes were stale and super hard. The chipotle sauce is as tasty as ever, but it just can't save those cold, should-have-been-in-the-trash-days-ago potatoes. The worst thing I think I've ever had at Taco Bell. 1.5/5

Last up, the Spicy Tostada... this is one of the last things I ordered and as it turns out, it's one of my favorites on the menu... actually, it probably is my favorite. At 210 calories, you're actually getting a pretty hefty tostada. Honestly, I think my Taco Bell loads them up more than they should, because I find it hard to believe it's only 210. Few items on the Cravings Menu have tomatoes and lettuce, so it's sort of... "refreshing" to have them on this tostada, which is slathered in beans and chipotle sauce. A great value at a buck. 4.25/5

And that's the menu (for the most part). I haven't had the Triple Layer Nachos, or Cheese Roll Up yet, but I'll add to this once I do. Well... I have had the Triple Layer Nachos (See review here) and the Cheese Roll Up, but I haven't reviewed the latter yet... and a re-review of the nachos wouldn't hurt. I guess I should say I haven't had them off this menu yet. More to come.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

"Should I buy Destiny or Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare?"

This is a question I've seen asked on forums and also seen in comment threads on random website articles as well as YouTube. It's also a question that I've been asking myself. Well, the struggle is real.

You may be asking, "Why not just buy both, you sack of shit?" There are plenty of answers to that question, but I'll give my two top reasons. First of all, and most simply, I don't have the time to fully enjoy one game (more than likely), so I certainly wouldn't have the time to enjoy both. Second, and it's sort of a continuation of that, there's a kind of obligation to purchase the "Season Pass" for any game that I get because I feel like I'm not getting the full game otherwise. I absolutely despise these obvious cash grabs, but I cave every time. Rather than spend about $220 on two games that are fairly similar (at least in that they're both FPS's), I'd rather buy one with its DLC, and then two other games -- preferably from a separate genre.

Anyway, Destiny. Blah, blah, blah, it's the same company that created Halo, it takes elements from Mass Effect and Borderlands, it's one of the most hyped games of the year. As for Advanced Warfare, you know what to expect from Call of Duty in general, so I doubt I need to explain. Assuming you came here knowing nothing, the big thing with Call of Duty this year is the addition of Exo Suits that allow you to essentially jet your way around the map, giving the ability to have vertical gunfights rather than just horizontal ones. I'll go ahead and help you guys (and hopefully myself) out with this simple chart:

Get Destiny if:
1.) You are a fan of MMO's on any level, as Destiny has a big open world (er, worlds) with the ability to customize your character with different armor and abilities.
2.) You enjoy playing single player. The great thing about Destiny is that there is only one ranking system. What I mean by that is it doesn't matter if you play more multiplayer than single player or vice versa, because your character's experience is cumulative. Destiny's single player is certain to be far less linear than Advanced Warfare's, with many more hours to be played in it.
3.) You have friends. While you can obviously play this or Call of Duty without friends, many games are made better with them -- especially Destiny, as you can do raids and quests with them and it just feels more unique and fun than the usual squadding up and playing matchmaking on a set-map in Call of Duty. If you do enjoy doing that, Destiny still allows that, because the game's deeper.
4.) You have a PS4. If you can't decide but have a PS4, maybe you should go with Destiny. It's been confirmed that the PS4 will get loads of timed exclusives (up to at least a year) for some of its DLC, and it's rubbed quite a few Xbox One owners the wrong way.

Get Advanced Warfare if:
1.) You prefer simplicity. Some people may actually be turned off by the amount of things to do in Destiny and just feel completely overwhelmed and unable to decide what they want to do.
2.) You like Call of Duty: Yes, you read that correctly. Sure, the Exo Suits will change things up a lot, but it's still Call of Duty at its core with likely the same feel from the guns and the usual perks. These past two "ifs" are the big conundrum I'm personally having. I have a love/hate personality with this franchise. I get on Call of Duty for not changing, but I'm almost wishing they didn't change this year. Kill me.
3.) You don't like Call of Duty. "Wait... what? Did I read that right?" Yeah, you did. The Exo Suit options ought to change the gameplay pretty significantly. I mean... just look at some gameplay. Call of Duty was always a fast paced game (depending on your lobby, anyway), but it's taken to the next level this year. Advanced Warfare should feel quite a lot more like an arena shooter and unlike any Call of Duty in recent memory.
4.) You have a One. Like number four in my last list, One owners should be getting better treatment with Advanced Warfare. The past few years, Xbox owners have gotten DLC about a month earlier in Call of Duty than the PlayStation has. Keep in mind that the timed DLC and DLC as a whole is likely to be less significant than what PlayStation gamers are getting with Destiny on the PS4, so this point isn't as strong as it is for PS4 owners considering Destiny. Are you following me?

There are a few things to help you out if you're having trouble deciding. Hey, maybe I made it harder, in which case, I'm sorry. It's really not as simple as putting a list together and figuring out what you want to do. I can't say, "If you want something that feels new, get Destiny" or "If you want something familiar, get Call of Duty." I suppose I could, but the truth is, Call of Duty ought to feel quite different this year for the first year since probably the original Modern Warfare.

For me, I think I'm starting to convince myself that Destiny's the game I should get (I tried not to be biased in this post, but I feel like it sounds like I am). As a PS4 owner, I'll get more content sooner, if I don't like the competitive multiplayer I can fall back on the quests/single player experience, and the game comes out in September rather than November, so I don't need to wait an extra two months to play a new game. I'm still not 100% sure, but if you see a review some time in September for Destiny (or don't), you know my decision. But, as always, it's a matter of personal preference. As more announcements are made and gameplay is released, a decision should be easier to make for all of us having this "first-world problem."

Tuesday, August 05, 2014

Game Review (Dragon's Teeth expansion for Battlefield 4)

After the previous pretty mediocre map pack, I was looking forward to Dragon's Teeth assuming it couldn't be worse than Naval Strike... as it turns out, I wasn't disappointed. Dragon's Teeth, of course, includes five trophies/achievements and four maps, along with a new game mode, five weapons, and two gadgets. As usual, I'll be sticking to reviewing the maps.

Lumphini Garden: Phenomenal infantry map. There's a bit of water that can be driven through with what I call the Ski-Doos, but there aren't any assault vehicles on Lumphini Garden, and the map doesn't need them. This map has quite a few distinguished places, including the city, construction, station, and pond areas. While I'm not too fond of the (in-conquest named) Facilities area of the map, hardly any map is perfect. That area of the map can see a good amount of gunfights, but it's a predictable "let's-camp-the-building" capture point. The rest of the map has a great aesthetic to it, and it also plays awesomely. A great start to Dragon's Teeth so far, and one of the best maps available in Battlefield 4, period. 4.5/5

Pearl Market: Another phenomenal infantry map. While Lumphini Garden lacks ground assault vehicles (what else am I gonna call them?), Pearl Market offers one per team, but they're super cumbersome and don't impact the way the map plays all that much. Anyway, I could type about Pearl Market for ages... I'm just super impressed with it, in a big way because it's finally a map where a player can use a PDW or shotgun effectively without being frustrated. While there are some large open street areas on Pearl Market, it's very simple to get around the map with a PDW or shotgun by running through buildings or on the roof tops. Yes, roof tops -- while it would sound like this would mean there's a ton of camping/sniping, I haven't had anything but nonstop action in my matches on Pearl Market. Another great example of a map that doesn't need tanks or helicopters to succeed in Battlefield. This is also one of my favorite maps available in Battlefield 4. 4.75/5

Propaganda: The map that I think was shown off the most prior to the pack's release, Propaganda's a rare white (snow) map in Battlefield 4. In a typical Battlefield map pack, this would be a very good map, I think, but when it's in the same pack as Lumphini Garden and Pearl Market, it doesn't quite stack up. Unlike the previous two maps, Propaganda does have tanks... though they don't influence the map in a huge way in most matches, mostly because they're a bit of a chore to maneuver outside of the main street through the middle of the map, though they can stray away. The middle street area of Propaganda feels as if it's there just so DICE had a reason to add tanks to the map, but they could have just done without the street entirely and excluded the tanks and the map may have been a bit more successful. Still, Propaganda is solid overall, despite the oft-dead street area of the map. 4/5

Sunken Dragon: Here's one I'm a bit stuck on because at times it can be a lot of fun, and other times the action just stops and the map feels boring. First of all, if you didn't already know, Sunken Dragon offers a Levolution much like Flood Zone, where water flows through the center of the map when triggered. Alright, been there, done that. That doesn't bother me as much as the fact that Sunken Dragon seems to really drag when you're in the center of the map on Conquest and the only way off is to swim across water. Since it's as isolated as it is, it's a bit difficult to get away without getting sniped by one of five or more enemy snipers. Besides that area of the map, most of Sunken Dragon is a blast. It's not a bad map at all, it's just that the rest of the map pack is better. 3.75/5

In a way, I'm disappointed. Not in Dragon's Teeth, but in pretty much knowing that the final map pack for Battlefield 4 can't be better than this one, as this is easily the best pack so far. Add in the insta-favorite Bulldog assault rifle as well as the already popular Deagle as unlockables, and you've got icing on your proverbial cake.


Monday, August 04, 2014

Game Review (Naval Strike expansion for Battlefield 4)

This came out awhile ago, but I realized I hadn't ever typed up my no-one's-ever-gonna-read-it review for it, so here it goes. China Rising was a solid map pack, and Second Assault had a few winners, so Naval Strike has to do quite a lot to impress me the way the previous two map packs did. First of all, the smaller things -- Naval Strike adds five new achievements/trophies (no surprise at all there), 11 new assignments, five weapons, two gadgets, two vehicles, four maps, and a new game mode exclusive to Naval Strike maps, Carrier Assault. I could review each individual thing in the pack, but I'll focus on what most people get the map packs for... the maps. As usual, I'll hit them alphabetically.

Lost Islands: Probably one of my least favorite maps in the map pack, Lost Islands is the map distinguished by a plane crashed in the middle, with several little islands scattered around. This map, to me, is a bit of a cluster and doesn't seem particularly inspired. Sure, you have the airplane in the middle, and the neat little waterfall area, but nothing else really feels new or particularly exciting -- it's generally bland. The village capture point in Conquest as well as the bunkers can get a bit hectic, but like most maps in this pack, travelling around is a bit of a pain in the ass given the needless lack of transport vehicles. There'll likely be plenty of times where you're standing or walking around waiting for something to spawn so you can delve back into the action. 3.5/5

Nansha Strike: This is definitely the least inspired map in Naval Strike, as far as I'm concerned -- so uninspired, in fact, that it uses the same storm levelution we've all already seen in Paracel Storm. Nansha Strike is the map I've played least in this pack, and that's the main reason. If you want to talk about a truly mediocre map, this would be it. Nansha Strike just feels like it was created alongside Paracel Storm, and the latter won in a DICE poll and wound up being the disc map, while this one was made to be DLC. It's not awful (not quite anyway), but it is most definitely a bore. 3/5

Operation Mortar: Here we are -- "the one with the cannon." As it turns out, the map is a good one with or without what many look at as a gimmick (it kind of really is...). The map pack may be called Naval Strike, but helicopters can shine on this map as well. The elevation of the "castle" area of this map makes it a good map for helicopters, but the attack boats prevent the helicopters from being overwhelming. Really, it's a map with a pretty perfect balance of vehicles and infantry battles. The on-ground vehicles may seem a bit unfair at first, but with the map being so busy/full of hills and islands, if anything, the ground attack vehicles are frustrating to use if you're playing against a competent team. Operation Mortar may well be my favorite map from Naval Strike. 4.25/5

Wave Breaker: A close second with Operation Mortar as my favorite from the map pack. There are a few reasons why I really, really like Wave Breaker. First of all, while it has a number of islands (like any other map in this pack), these ones are generally a bit bigger and offer more character/serve more of a purpose than some of the islands on, say, Lost Islands, where the itty bitty islands seem to be there just to fill some space. The second reason I really like Wave Breaker is the awesome area that, I guess, is inside the mountain in the middle of the map. Things get pretty rowdy in there, and it makes Wave Breaker feel like it's two maps in one. The downfall of Wave Breaker is the island near "C" on Conquest. If you're stuck there, chances are you won't see too much action, and there never seems to be a vehicle to get around when you need it most. I love the aesthetic of Wave Breaker more than any other map in the pack, but that fact keeps it from being my favorite of Naval Strike. 4/5

Naval Strike is a map pack that, as a whole, is rather "eh." Having a whole map pack dedicated to water vehicles never sounded like a good idea in the first place to me, but it turns out it wasn't all that bad. Nansha Strike and Lost Islands are maps I could do without, but Operation Mortar and Wave Breaker are worthy additions to the Battlefield 4 map line-up. Of the map packs released thus far, Naval Strike is probably my least favorite, but it's still a pack worth getting -- especially if you enjoy the naval aspect of Battlefield 4.


Sunday, June 15, 2014

Game Review (Battlefield Hardline BETA)

I was fortunate enough to get a closed beta  code, and I've played the beta for  a few hours. I'll try to keep this relatively short. First of all, the beta features a single map, "High Tension", which is  a map that supposedly takes place in downtown Los Angeles. There are also two modes in the beta: Heist and Blood Money. Heist is like a twist on Capture  the Flag where the Criminals must bring loot to the escape point, while the Police need to prevent it. In Blood Money, two  teams of criminals work against each other to see which can get the most cash. In both matches, the games seem to go  by fairly quickly, meaning you can play more games in Hardline than you likely could in Battlefield 4 in the same amount of time. For me, that's a positive.

My first impression of Hardline was something along the lines of, "Hm, this is pretty decent." Hardline's color palette is surprisingly... bright? I guess? I've seen some people say the game looks cartoonish. Personally, I like this look, as it suits the more-arcadey-than-Battlefield 4 feel of Hardline. Honestly, I feel like it has a Call of Duty-esque thing going on, but at the same time, it still feels distinctively Battlefield... just a bit more fast paced. Confusing? Not sure how else to word it for you. I  really appreciate  the level of recoil on guns in Hardline -- that's what really makes it feel  more like Battlefield rather than Call of Duty.

The map that's in the beta is alright, even if it's a bit uninteresting. It's a city with a few buildings you can go in, but it seems small. Since there are only 16v16 teams in the beta though (will it be like that in the full game?), the map feels barren in spots. If Hardline does support 64 players, it's going to be hectic to say the very least, as High Tension doesn't feel like it'd play well with that many.

While Hardline is like Battlefield in many ways (imagine that!), there  are a few key differences. First of all, there aren't really any assault vehicles. Sure, there are a few turrets on  vehicles that you can use, but there aren't any heavily armored assault  helicopters or tanks rolling around.  Second,  you pay for weapons and  gadgets more than  you actually unlock them. I don't mean that you do this in a Counterstrike sort of way, because whatever you buy is permanent, not just for a  single  match.

I've enjoyed  Hardline the bit  that I have played it.  It's obviously hard to form much of an opinion based on a single map beta, but it's  a game I'd potentially purchase. Many  are crying  that the game should be Battlefield 4 DLC because it feels like a mod, but that makes no sense. Does Battlefield 4 not feel like Battlefield 3? Comments like that make no sense to me.

If you're looking for something a little different, Hardline could be a great option when it releases. It's Battlefield with a nice little spin on it. If the game runs as  smooth at launch as it  has  on the beta, it may be worth being a day one purchase.


Monday, June 09, 2014

Food Review (Quesarito from Taco Bell)

Taco  Bell's  probably  my  favorite  fast food   chain.  Not  because they  innovate  or   sell quality food, but  because  their  uncanny ability  of making cardboard and  horse  meat  taste good for a reasonable   price works for me.  While  I'll  always be pissed at  Taco  Bell for refusing to make the  Beefy Crunch Burrito a permanent menu  item, the Quesarito is here... and guess what,  it's a permanent addition to  the menu.

For $2, I   was  pleasantly  surprised with the  size of the  Quesarito. It   has a   decent heft to  it,  and you  definitely  get  your  money's worth  for  the  size  of it alone.  But  how does it  taste?

Well, what  the  hell.  It's Taco Bell.  What can I tell  you.  Meat,  cheese, sour cream,  and  the  suddenly-put-on/in-everything-at-Taco-Bell-now  chipotle  sauce  in  a grilled  tortilla.  I've seen  comparisons   to the Beefy  Five Layer   Burrito,  but this   is  different in that the  tortilla is  grilled here,  there aren't  any  beans, and this  is bigger. I  personally prefer the Quesarito   to the Beefy Five Layer  because  the former has some  texture to it.

There is  nothing  incredibly original about the Quesarito at all, but  the price is fair, and  it's  quite filling. I could see   myself getting  these time-to-time,   but   really  Taco  Bell.  Let's get  real. Why in the  FUCK is  the Beefy Crunch Burrito still  not around,  and  why did you ever  end   the  Volcano Menu? Too  many options   on   the menu?  It's made me go from  having  Taco  Bell  religiously,  to   being  a fairweather  observer,  but that's  not   for this review.

The Quesarito:  It's not  bad, but it won't turn  you on.


+ Good  value,  it's grilled,  there's nothing inherently   bad about it.
-  Nothing   new,  and why is it an automatic permanent  menu item? Really?

Wednesday, June 04, 2014

DVD Review (The Simpsons: The Complete Eleventh Season)

In my reviewing of The Simpsons seasons, I somehow forgot to do  season  eleven, so here it is. Season eleven of the show is when most Simpsons fans seem to agree that the show went down hill hard. Personally, I've found episodes worth watching more than once in many of the show's seasons. While I'll agree that  there's nothing quite like seasons 1-10 of the show, there's still plenty to like about season eleven.

Most of the good  episodes  in  season eleven  are near the beginning of the season, a few of  them presumably being carried over  from season ten's produced  episodes. As to be expected, there are some duds in this season worth pointing out: Saddlesore Galactica and Kill the Alligator and Run are notoriously unpopular  episodes  from this season  and show in general, the latter being a surprise, considering it was written  by Simpson legend John Schwartzwelder.

Per usual, you'll find  a   nice amount of  bonus features  throughout the boxset,  as well as commentary for every episode. As   a whole,  season eleven  is worth getting, in my opinion, even if you consider yourself a pretty modest Simpsons fan. While the quality of about the first two discs is much better than the last two as a whole, there are some solid episodes and great  jokes throughout the entirety of the season.


Friday, May 09, 2014

Food Review (Chicken Cool Ranch Dorito Locos Tacos from Taco Bell)

Taco Bell's going right along with their shredded chicken -- it looks like they're going to do what they've done with their XXL "series" of limited time items. XXL burrito, XXL taco, XXL quesadilla, XXL nachos, etc... now we've had the shredded chicken smothered burrito (a now seemingly permanent item that I get fairly often), this shredded chicken DLT, and likely some shredded chicken quesadilla and nachos in the pipeline. As a matter of fact, Taco Bell's currently testing what are essentially spicy chicken taquitos. Anyway, onto this review.

First of all, there are two varieties -- the Chicken Cool Ranch DLT Supreme and the Spicy Chicken Cool Ranch DLT Supreme. The difference between the two is that the former has Taco Bell's been-around-forever avocado ranch sauce, and the latter has Taco Bell's a-bit-more-recent-but-still-nothing-new chipotle sauce. I'll refer to them as CCR and SCCR. One has 170 calories, and two has 200.

Both of these tacos are actually a decent size -- I got more chicken on these tacos then I get beef when I rarely order a Dorito Taco. Therein lies the problem: these should-be crunchy tacos become pretty soggy because of the chicken. The CCR is my less favorite of the two. The avocado ranch sauce doesn't add much of anything to the flavor, and the already-there sour cream makes it equally as pointless, since they're both supposed to be there for "balancing."

The SCCR is the one I'd have again. I've liked Taco Bell's chipotle sauce since they've had it, and it works really well with this taco. Also, the sour cream doesn't come off as an afterthought, because it actually cools down the heat a little bit. In fact, I'm pretty sure the CCR was thought of after the SCCR just to give a second "new" option. Both had enough flavor that I didn't think it was necessary to add any hot sauce to them -- the SCCR one especially. Not to mention that they were both already salty enough: the salty Doritos shell, the sodium soaked chicken, and the kidney killing chipotle sauce will have you downing water after eating them, despite their good flavor overall.

I liked both varieties, but I like the taste of the spicy one more, and the sour cream doesn't feel unnecessary like it does on the other.

3.5/5 -- Chicken Cool Ranch DLT (The one with avocado ranch sauce.)
3.75/5 -- Spicy Chicken Cool Ranch DLT (The one with the chipotle sauce.)

Monday, May 05, 2014

Game Review (MLB '14: The Show - PS4)

MLB The Show is a series I first -- and last -- played in '06. At the time, I left the game feeling unimpressed for reasons I don't quite recall, but I did get a free hat out of it, and the Tigers wound up making it to the World Series that year. Having an Xbox 360 since the Summer of '06, I haven't played The Show since its inaugural go. Since the Xbox One isn't even getting a real baseball game this season, I'm glad to have chosen to get a PS4.

One of the most important things for many people getting a game on a next-gen console that's already on a last-gen console are the graphics, and there's no denying that. The Show '14 is a game that, to me, doesn't look as great as, say, NBA 2K14 (for the sake of comparing first year next-gen sports games). The biggest flaws in this game, outside of the soon-to-be discussed commentary, pertain to the graphics... and there's quite a list. First of all, the majority of player faces look nothing like their real life counterparts. The MLB 2K series didn't have particularly great faces (I recall several well-known players having randomized ones), but the ones that were done tended to look pretty good. In this game, when a hitter stands in the box, don't be surprised when you need to direct your eyes to the bottom of the screen just to get a glimpse of who the hell's hitting. On the plus side, the batting stances -- for the most part -- are incredibly well done, and help in identifying players. A nit-pick I have is that players who have tattoos (Prince Fielder, Yadier Molina, Miguel Cabrera, etc.) don't have tattoos, and that's something that I sincerely hope changes in '15. Again, I know it's wrong to compare, but NBA 2K14 has tattoos, why can't The Show? Other things I noticed include the fans. While it's great to see far more original faces in the crowd so it looks more realistic, the fans don't look at the action on the field. Instead, they always seem to be looking towards center field. This has always been a thing in baseball games, but I was hoping for a change. Lastly in terms of graphics, there's also a fair amount of clipping that I noticed in this game. For instance, the bat boy sits on a chair that goes through his body, and when you see a pitching go adjust their pants, their hands go through. Fans also fill up the stands and are just as rowdy in Houston in the middle of August as they are in the middle of a pennant race. This is a common thing in most sport games, but it's something I'd really like to see addressed next year, as it's just incredibly unrealistic outside of Opening Day in many parks. Again, many people may consider these nitpicks, but they're things that are impossible to not notice.

The sound in the show is about on-par with what was seen in the past, when comparing to previous games' YouTube videos. That is to say, the soundtrack is still good, but not great, and the commentary is, as it always has been, absolutely uneventful, bland, boring, trash, and any other negative adjective you can think of. Personally, I don't understand it, at least on Matt Vasgersian's side of things -- the guy calls a game well on TV, but in this game, he sounds like he's deliberately trying to be unexciting, and it will more than likely make many players of The Show '14 want to mute the commentary for yet another year. The stadium sounds are all fine and good, but the sound as a whole is underwhelming, due in large part to the worth-muting commentary.

The game as a whole is a lot of fun, despite the shortcomings graphically and with the commentary. It has a nice simulation feel that the 2K series lacked (which felt part simulation, part arcade), and a fair amount of game modes to keep you entertained. One of the biggest additions to The Show '14 is the ability to use quick counts, which can shorten game times considerably. I don't plan on ever using it, but it could certainly be something worth checking out if you don't have about an hour to dedicate to a single game. The most significant downfall to this game as a whole has to be any online game mode, as there is unbelievable lag that renders the game virtually unplayable. For me, this isn't a huge loss, as I play 98% or more of my games against the CPU, but it makes it impossible to have an enjoyable match with somebody online.

In its entirety, the game plays very well, but the commentary and fairly unimpressive graphics have left me only a bit more than content with this offering. Most of this review would seem like nitpicking with nothing but negativity, but after hearing Ramone Russell talk about how the whole team making this game are "perfectionists", I've seen plenty of flaws (subtle and not so subtle) in this game, most notably the notoriously monotone and uninteresting commentary. I'm looking forward to what MLB: The Show '15 will bring -- hopefully we get a new cast for the commentary, because this commentary is flat out stale, and the commentators are a good part of what makes a baseball game entertaining. Just look at the MLB 2K series; the only reason why the series was playable (outside of the intuitive pitching mechanics) was the great commentary. The Show '14 is a must-buy and no-brainer for any PS4 owning baseball fan, but I can't overlook the graphical flaws and, to be blunt, awful commentary.


+: Pleasant presentation overall; saves transfer year to year in most game modes; solid controls; all-around the best baseball game I've ever played.

-: Dreadful commentary; Diamond Dynasty saves don't transfer; basically unplayable online, which should cause players who normally play online to be hesitant of purchasing this game; some bugs, including a lot of clipping(that sticks out a lot in a baseball game), annoying animations from the players, and fans who have faces of men, but female bodies... what the.

Saturday, May 03, 2014

Game Review (Mercenary Kings - PS4)

Being the PS4 free game of the month for PlayStation Plus members, this was one of the first titles since the PS4's monthly "freeleases" that piqued my interest. A side scrolling late '80s looking shooter? Sign me up! I wasn't sure what to expect from the game, but I was interested enough to give it a download.

Graphically, Mercenary Kings is very simple, and looks as if it were made almost thirty years ago. It's a clean looking game thanks to the HD quality though. There's a bit of blood and gore goodness, but I'd actually prefer more. There's a decent amount of variation between levels, and while the color palettes change and a few new enemies arrive, the gameplay truly doesn't change all that much, but more on that in a bit. Despite the simple graphics, there are occasional hiccups in online play, but they're few and far between, and hardly an issue.

The sound isn't much, and is about what you'd expect from a game with this look. There is a bit of voicing done in here, but mostly you'll be reading text on-screen. Simple and fine and good, but hardly the reason anybody would buy Mercenary Kings.

Mercenary Kings is a pretty simple game. It's a side scrolling shoot 'em up and collecting game. You'll find yourself picking up every bit of loot you can find to beef up your weapons and trying to come up with the best possible combination for your weapon of choice. While I probably wouldn't be too interested in this game if it were just single player, its redundant gameplay is easy to forgive and forget when you're playing with a friend, two, or three. Mercenary Kings has several ranks and missions to go through, probably thousands upon thousands of weapon combinations, and fairly memorable enemies, regardless of the fact that many later in the game are just reskinned versions of ones you've killed before. It's not a game that requires much more than pressing square and avoiding attacks, but it has a surprising bit of depth, and is an entertaining multiplayer experience.


+ Plenty of content, including a lot of guns, ranks, levels, and abilities.
- Not to be played for long periods of time due to its repetitiveness; not-so-great when playing alone.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Food Review (Kraft Homestyle Four Cheese Macaroni and Cheese)

I saw one of these bastards on the shelf at Kroger. Since I occasionally get in the mood for awful macaroni and cheese (Easy Mac and the like), I thought this could be worth trying.

First thing I noticed from the back of the box is that this is 380 calories -- alright, not bad -- but it also somehow has half the recommended daily sodium. So long as it tastes good, I could be fine with knowing a salt lick is in my bowl. Well, it doesn't taste good at all. First of all, the portion of noodles is tiny. The picture is a bit deceiving because it's a close up, but I think the total amount of noodles is about half a cup. Seeing such a small amount of noodles in the bowl with three different packets had me confused. Well, apparently, there's a seasoning packet, a "cheese" packet, and bread crumb packet. The "cheese" packet (I use quotations for obvious reasons) is surprisingly big, and I just wondered why there was so much cheese for so few noodles. I wound up using maybe 3/4ths of the "cheese" before throwing the rest out, and then put the crumbs on top.

I'm really not sure I've ever had worse tasting macaroni and cheese in my life. Not to say it has a bad flavor, but it tastes like salty noodles with a bit of American cheese in it. The worst part about the whole thing has to be the bread crumbs. What the shit is that? The texture is unpleasant like sawdust, flavorless, and off-putting.

"Homestyle"? Really? If I went to your house and your mom or grandma served something that tasted like this, I'd slap them. It's bland, the bread crumbs don't add anything positive, the portion size is pretty small... I've said enough.


+ It looks good, right? And it doesn't taste *bad*
- Salt is basically the only flavor; the bread crumbs suck; Homestyle? LOL.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Food Review (Fresco Steak Burrito Supreme from Taco Bell)

Yes, another one -- a random review of a random permanent item on the Taco Bell menu. This is the Fresco Steak Burrito Supreme, which runs at a pretty steep $3.39. This is also available in chicken, or you can get a regular Burrito Supreme with beef, steak, or chicken for presumably the same price. I'm not sure though, since I haven't had one in ages.

Alright, so... what differs in the Fresco variety of this burrito is that, as far as I know, it pulls out the cheese and sour cream and replaces it with pico de gallo. Doing this spares about 70-90 calories on the burrito depending on the variety you get. For me, this is a better option, just because I'm generally not a fan of sour cream inside of a burrito. I mean, it gets all warm and disgusting and makes me think of man juice or some shit. As for the cheese, I can do without that as well, because Taco Bell's cheese is pretty flavorless and does nothing but add fat and calories. I don't normally like tomatoes, but pico de gallo I actually really like... it adds a much more interesting depth of flavor over the waxy cheese.

Okay I went off there. The burrito itself is described on the website as:

This Taco Bell Fresco burrito is a warm, soft flour tortilla wrapped around marinated premium thick cut steak, hearty beans, tangy red sauce, crisp shredded lettuce, diced onions, diced ripe tomatoes, and pico de gallo.

...Wait. "Premium" thick cut steak? Look Taco Bell, I enjoy your food (for shit knows the reason), but how exactly are you allowed to say this steak is "premium"? It's porous. It has an odd texture. It doesn't really even LOOK like meat. So either I've been eating the wrong kind of steak my whole life, or Taco Bell is full of shit -- I'm guessing the latter. Anyway, as it turns out, the burrito isn't too awful. It comes in at 232g, which is the equivalent of 2.5 standard crunchy tacos, and with 350 calories. So it's a decent amount of food, but when you consider the price of this thing ($3.39), I'd actually hope for more.

It tastes alright. Taco Bell's steak is what it is, and that's meat that makes you question what animal it came from, with a not very steak-like texture. It's not bad though, and as I said, reasonably filling. There's enough texture going on here with the beans, weirdly chewy "steak", and pico de gallo to keep it fairly interesting. I suppose it's a good "healthy" option from Taco Bell (if you want to call it that), but I'd sooner get two times the food for about $1.50 more and get a Cantina Bowl.


+ Decent size. Reasonably good what-you'd-expect Taco Bell kind of flavor. 350 calories.
- Weird ass "steak". $3.39 is a bit high. It's pretty mediocre as a whole.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Show Review (MLB Off the Bat on MTV2)

I don't review shows much at all anymore, but I couldn't pass up this opportunity. MLB Off the Bat is a show on MTV2 that features Major League Baseball players doing non-baseball activities. I was skeptical, but I thought it could be a pretty good show, given the fact that I like baseball. As it turns out, this show is absolute shit. There is nothing good about this show whatsoever. It's scripted beyond belief, it's not funny, it's awkward at times, and most of all, it consists of nothing but an excess of general douchebaggery. The hosts aren't amusing in the slightest, and the show as a whole is pretty painful to watch. I wasn't expecting much at all from a show on MTV2, but this is absolutely brutal. Baseball fan or not, save yourself the time -- there's no way that this shitty ass show lasts more than one short season.


+ MLB!
- Cheesy, lame, pathetic, etc.

Wednesday, April 09, 2014

Drink Review (Red Bull: The Red/Blue/Silver Edition)

"Are you fucking serious? Reviewing goddamn Red Bull?"

When you've got nothing to do, you need something to do. I haven't done one of these maligned "Drink Reviews" for probably two years. Here goes nothin'...

I picked these up with a regular Red Bull for a total of $8, since they were on sale for $2/4 at Kroger (for a single 8.4oz can).

The first time I sipped one of these, I was put off by the ridiculously terrible artificial flavor, but it grew on me. It's also a bit tart/sour, which I wasn't expecting. It makes it more interesting to drink and takes away from some of the sweetness (27g of sugar in a can, waddup!?).

If you do get one of these, just don't look at the ingredients. Sucrose and glucose of course, but then plenty of other for-a-science-experiment ingredients thrown in. All-in-all, it has almost the same nutrition label as a regular Red Bull.

None of the three taste all that great, but they're alright. My first thought was that these would probably be good in some sort of mixed drink. I'd sooner take a regular Red Bull over any of these three varieties.


Wednesday, April 02, 2014

Food Review (Premium Grilled Chicken Bacon Clubhouse Sandwich from McDonald's)

That's a mouthful. Per the McDonald's website,

"Thick-cut Applewood smoked bacon, caramelized grilled onions, white cheddar*, crisp leaf lettuce and fresh tomato top our grilled chicken breast fillet. Served on an Artisan roll with our Big Mac secret sauce."

And that's how McDonald's describes this thing. There's also the option to get a fried chicken version, or a burger. I opted for the grilled chicken just because it's what I was in the mood for. For the fried chicken, you're looking at 760 calories per sandwich. The hamburger is 720, and the grilled chicken variety is 590. I chose to get this sandwich after reading some relatively positive things about the burger version. My overall impression is that it's alright. The chicken is actually a solid piece of meat (as usual when you get "premium" meat), the bacon doesn't taste microwaved, and the roll is actually really good. The caramelized onions are a nice touch, but I don't care for the bitterness they give with the grilled chicken. I figure it'd work better with an actual hamburger. The white cheddar (notice the asterisk in the description) basically can't be tasted at all, and only add a bit of texture and enhance the look of the sandwich. The piece of lettuce I got was tiny, but I did get two tomatoes.

It's alright. I just have too high of expectations for fast food sandwiches since I've started going out more often. The bacon is improved from what I remember McDonald's bacon being, the chicken was juicy and hot, and the whole thing tasted pretty good, but I wasn't blown away.

+ The bun is soft with some sweetness and isn't all dry like McDonald's usual sesame seed buns. There are two slices of decently sized bacon. Chicken was good, albeit salty (naturally).

- Only slightly above average in the grand scheme of things. Slides all over and is messy in general because of the slippery grilled chicken patty. Piece of lettuce was tiny. Grilled chicken version probably isn't the best choice.


(Almost a 3.75)

Monday, March 31, 2014

Food Review (Chicken Cantina Bowl from Taco Bell)

I've had a good number of these, and I'm surprised I never got around to reviewing what many people believe to be the embarrassment of Taco Bell. For $4.99, this is what you get, per the Taco Bell website:

"Experience our new citrus-herb marinated chicken, flavorful black means, guacamole made from real Hass avocados, pico de gallo prepared fresh daily, roasted corn and pepper salsa and a creamy cilantro dressing, all served on a bed of premium Latin rice. Also available in Steak of Veggie"

And that's what it is. When this item was introduced to Taco Bell way back when, it was soon after I decided to start counting my calories. While I still ate nothing but loads of sodium and saturated fat, I was (and still am) trying to not let myself balloon out. A lot of people probably look at the price for this item and scoff, but the truth is, it's a good value. Not just because of the pretty decent quality of what you're getting, but because of the size of what you're getting. The chicken cantina bowl is, from what I've seen, the heftiest item on the Taco Bell menu, which should also help to explain the five dollar asking price.

I've probably had at least two dozen of these over the past year or two (primarily because of its size and relatively low calorie amount of 540), and I've noticed some consistencies that aren't exactly positives. First of all, all too often it seems like the rice is undercooked. Not terribly, but definitely noticeable. Second, the chicken seems to be dry too many times when I get these things. Why do I keep getting them? They still taste decent. The black beans and corn salsa are always perfectly fine, the guacamole is decent (albeit uninteresting), and the cilantro dressing has a good flavor (although it's a bit salty, but what can you expect?).

If you're looking to fill up and feel a bit less remorse from eating fast food, this is a fair option. Yeah, there aren't too many calories in this cantina bowl, and there's not a lot of fat, but there is a lot of sodium, and it still has chicken that's likely injected with a bunch of mystery ingredients, regardless of what that slut Lorena Garcia says.


+ Good value. Decent amount of flavor. Surprisingly filling.
- Pretty consistently undercooked rice and overcooked chicken.

Food Review (Fresco Crunchy Taco from Taco Bell)

Ah, what the hell am I doing right now. Reviewing something so boring... yes, that's right, the crunchy taco from Taco Bell is getting its own review. To be more precise, this is actually for the fresco crunchy taco. Taco Bell's longest tenured menu item (total mind blower, I bet), the crunchy taco is a simple crunchy corn tortilla with about a tablespoon of "beef", a cup of lettuce, and a teaspoon of pico de gallo. You read that correctly. Taco Bell's crunchy taco has an impeccable, beautiful balance of ingredients!

In all seriousness, it doesn't suck. I prefer the fresco crunchy taco over the regular crunchy taco just because the pico de gallo offers a lot more flavor than Taco Bell's flavorless "cheese", and it's also a couple dozen fewer calories. No big deal. For a dollar, you can't go wrong. It's simple, good, and a measly 150 calories. Taco Bell's delicious combination of a crunchy, often times stale or broken shell, 75% horse meat and 25% cardboard with a bit of wilted, flavorless, only-there-for-color lettuce is strangely compelling. The pico de gallo on top adds a nice flavor and texture to what would otherwise be a very mediocre menu item. I don't normally like tomatoes, but getting this taco fresco style is the only way to do it.

+ A dollar. Pico de gallo in place of flavorless cheese at no extra charge. Good for what it is.
- It's Taco Bell. All the years of ingesting "horseboard" can't possibly be good for my bowels.


Food Review (Chicken Tendercrisp from Burger King)

Alright, I haven't reviewed a food item in awhile, and I basically never review an item that's a mainstay on a fast food menu... but I feel compelled to make an exception for this (although I may do more in the future, sadly).

The Chicken Tendercrisp from Burger King used to be one of my absolute favorite chicken sandwiches from a fast food restaurant. A nice size, tasty breading on it, and juicy chicken. In fact, the Firecracker Tendercrisp, which has been a limited time item a couple times at Burger King, was one of my top two chicken sandwiches, after Wendy's long gone Four Alarm Chicken Sandwich.

What I had today was absolute shit. That's right, I said it, shit. I was shocked, appalled, and confused. I have to say right off that I haven't had a Tendercrisp for maybe about a year, so maybe everybody knows about the change, but this is entirely different from what Burger King used to offer. The first thing I noticed was the pathetically thin patty of chicken. After taking a bite, I noticed the Tendercrisp morphed from a solid piece of chicken breast to the same kind of thing Checkers offers -- a half "sponge" chicken texture, and half chicken breast... some sort of weird ass hybrid. There's a mild chicken flavor, but there's a massive amount of saltines, and the breading doesn't even taste like I remember. What the hell? How did this go from such a solid chicken sandwich to an absolute joke?

Do not buy this "premium" chicken sandwich. It's utter trash. I know only about a dozen people will ever see this review, but if you're curious about this sandwich: DO NOT PURCHASE IT.


+ Honestly, none that I can think of. I mean, I guess it's edible. I didn't die after I ate it -- yet. Hey, there are two tomatoes too... I suppose that's a plus, right? Most places only give you one, correct?

- All else. The patty is half the thickness or less than half the thickness of the Tendercrisp of old, the breading looks similar but doesn't have the flavor I remember, the chicken is half spongy/half chicken breast, and dry. The website claims this thing is 700 calories, but I find that impossible to believe given its size, or rather, lack of size.