Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Game Review ( Rock Band - 360 )

Finally! I've been waiting for this game ever since it was announced - Rock Band was just released yesterday and it was well worth the wait. This will be a lengthy review so. Don't kill yourself. Yet.

What is Rock Band? In case you've been living under a rock, or... in a coma for the past year, in Rock Band you can play guitar, drums, bass, or take the mike in your own virtual band with friends over your house or across the country - you can also play solo.

Graphics: 4.75/5 Extremely underrated graphics. At first glance, Rock Band seems to just be an average looking 360 game, but after you play awhile, you will discover a lot of things. The audience looks very good, the movements your bandmates do look fantastic, and the venues and colors and just everything going on at once looks great. It's like a music video. There is only one real flaw, and that's that the background seems to always lag. I'm not sure if it's actually lagging at all, or I'm just having seizures from the flashing lights, but it is kind of weird looking.

Sound: 5/5 Although there are some "meh" tracks, you have to think about the other instruments. While some songs may be terrible on drums for instance, but is a lot of fun on guitar. The littlest thing is probably what makes the sound get a 5/5. The fact that the fans sing along when you're playing really well is just really cool and adds to the experience. While Rock Band may not have the best soundtrack out of all of Harmonix's games when playing solo, when you're playing with a group of friends this is byfar the best.

Control: 5/5 It's kind of confusing to rate a game like this's controls. You can't really rate the control of the mike. You sing... it's based on how accurate you are. But as for the drums and guitar, that's a lot different. The guitar basically controls the same ( See review of the Stratocaster below ) it's just that the note window ( the time you can hit the notes ) is reduced. While Harmonix says it's harder to hit notes in this game than in Guitar Hero II, I'm not too sure. It seems about the same. The drums on the other hand are fantastic. ( See review of the drums below ) Any difficulty you play on, it feels like you're playing drums.

Fun: 4.75/5 Rock Band is just about near perfect. You can play career on guitar, vocals, or drums. ( Sorry bass players. ) While those three things are a lot of fun, after you play them, replay value is a concern. Sure, there is a total of ( I believe ) 60 songs, but some of them you just won't want to play unless you're with (a) friend(s). Beating all the careers will take you either a long time, or only a few days, depending on how often you play. Rock Band is essentially endless if you think about it. There's a TON of character customization to say the least, and there is downloadable content, which is supposed to be released every week. Multiplayer with friends ( Ahem. Band World Tour. ) is fun, but there is just one terribly annoying thing about it, and that is the fact that you will find yourself playing the same songs several times over, as it takes what seems like forever to actually play some new songs. When you first start off it's really not that bad, but after you do play, say, "In Bloom" 5 times in an hour, it does get rather annoying. I think Harmonix actually did this on purpose so that people would immedietely buy downloadable content, to be honest with you. Overall, it's hard to give Rock Band a 5/5 rating. It's basically 3 games in one - Drum Hero, Guitar Hero, and Karaoke Revolution. But like I said, the songs will likely get old fast, and unless you buy downloadable content, you may be getting a little bored of this game. Is it worth the $170? It's hard to say. If you have a lot of parties, definitely, if you tend to play alone, maybe not, unless you really want to play the drums. ( Which I already stated are addicting. )


Stratocaster: 4/5 It's about time. All I read up about this guitar is that it was pretty much mediocre. It's not MEDIOCRE, but it isn't fantastic. There are a lot of things that make this different than the Guitar Hero II or even the Guitar Hero III controller. Out of the three, the Stratocaster easily looks the most realistic. It has a longer neck, a gloss finish ( Basically the same as the Les Paul GHIII controller. ) and a "wooden" neck. Instead of having 5 buttons on the fretboard, there are 10. Five in the normal spots on top of the neck, and an additional 5 and the base, which are there for solos, apparently. While it's a really neat idea, you likely won't ever use the new fret buttons unless you're going for the "end bonus" on a song. About the frets, they look much different than past controllers. While others have the frets sticking out of the neck, the ones on the Stratocaster are in the neck to make it more "realistic", says Harmonix. While it does look cool, it feels weird, and it's hard to jump back and forth with chords and the like, and even do some solos, because you can't feel the button you're on. That reminds me - the first, third, and fifth buttons all have dots on them that you can faintly see and feel while playing. There really is no need for them, as you can barely feel them, but they're there, so get used to it. The Stratocaster has a whammy bar, of course, but this time around it's a bit longer. The most useless thing about this guitar is the effects switch. With it, you can change the sound of notes in-game - or can you? While I can change the sound... the sound doesn't change, making the effects switch completely useless, and aggrivating. I found myself hitting it with my pinky several times while playing. This brings me to the final part of the Strat review - the strum bar. The worst thing about the guitar. It makes it feel broken. Instead of being a triangle shape like on the GHII and GHIII controllers, this one is concave, with a little lip at the top. It felt weird at first, and still feels weird now. My fingers constantly slip off of this thing, and the fact that the strumbar doesn't click when you strum, is aggrivating, probably only because I was used to it with past controllers - new comers may not have a problem with it. And FINALLY, the guitar bundled with the game is wired. Okay! So that's it for the review of the guitar..

Drums: 5/5 An obvious 5/5. The drums have 4 different "drums" to hit, and there is a foot pedal to make them feel more like real drums. The drums look kind of cheap, but don't at all. The drums are easy to assemble, too. While there are said to be problems with the kick pedal breaking, I've yet to experience any problems with it, besides the fact that it's extremely sensitive. The only thing I'm not sure of about these drums is how durable they are. Sure they can take a beating now, but how about a year from now?

Microphone: 5/5 It has to be a 5/5 for this thing... it's just a microphone. A cool looking one though. It's black with a chrome head. It also says Rock Band on it. What do you do with this microphone?! You sing into it, and bang it on something during certain parts of songs. Not really my thing, but if you're a singer, you'll like it.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Game Review ( skate. - 360 )

Graphics: 4/5 Nothing too special here. The cutscenes don't look much better than the game itself, and the graphics aren't going to blow your mind. They look good, pretty decently next gen, and the levels are pretty big. One thing that really drags this game are the constant load times. When you fail an event, it has to reload, and while it doesn't take a long time, they are pretty frequent.

Sound: 5/5 EA does it again. The songs in this game are for the most part perfect for the game, although some songs have been in past Tony Hawk games. "Express Yourself" was bad enough in Tony Hawk. Blah. The voice overs are pretty good, and the skateboard sounds are excellent.

Control: 4.25/5 The "flick-it" feature is what makes this game so much different than the Tony Hawk series. With flick-it, you need to use the right stick to do all of the flip tricks in the game. It takes awhile to get used to, but once you learn the controls really well, nailing combos is really satisfying - and fun.

Fun: 4.5/5 I can see why this game got mixed reviews. I like it though. I didn't play too much online, but I played enough to see that there is a LOT of lag. You can upload videos and pictures to skate. TV, which is cool. There are a ton of cool levels in this game, too. skate. is a love it or hate it game if you ask me. This is a good step away from Tony Hawk's insanely unrealistic games. While the ability to edit your videos is cool, there aren't really enough options to get an angle you would probably want. We can only wait for a sequel - which could probably only be better than this.


Sunday, November 11, 2007

DVD Review ( Seinfeld: Volume 8 )

Seinfeld: Volume 8 is of course the final Seinfeld DVD, and it was released fairly recently on November 6th. Here's my review


[*] Indicates an "Epicsode"

[*]The Buttershave: 5/5 Kramer starts using butter to shave, and Newman acts semi-cannibalistic towards him; George is thought of as disabled at his new job.

[*]The Voice: 5/5 George's employeer finds out he's not actually disabled; Jerry makes a voice in reference to his girlfriend's stomach; Kramer hires an intern.

The Serenity Now: 4.25/5 Kramer installs a new screen door to his apartment; Elaine is kissed by Mr. Lippman's son.

[*]The Blood: 4.75/5 George combines sex, food, an TV in one; Jerry gets a little bit of Kramer.

The Junk Mail: 4/5 Kramer protests mail; Elaine meets a dream man while she's with Puddy; George's parents set him loose.

[*]The Merv Griffin Show: 5/5 Kramer sets up the Merv Griffen Show set in his apartment; George's girlfriend gets mad at him for running over pigeons; Jerry drugs his girlfriend to play with her Dad's classic toys.

The Slicer: 3.75/5 Kramer gets a new meat slicer which Elaine dings; Jerry tries to break up with his girlfriend; George tries to get taken out of a picture.

[*]The Betrayal: 4.5/5 Kramer tries to reverse a "drop dead" curse; Elaine flies to India for Sue Ellen's wedding.

The Apology: 4/5 George expects an apology; Jerry's girlfriend likes to walk around naked and Jerry gets sick of it; Kramer changes his daily routine.

[*]The Strike: 4.5/5 Kramer returns to his bagel job that he went on strike at 12 years earlier; Kramer gets interested in Festivus; Jerry, Elaine, and George go to a Chanukah party.

[*]The Dealership: 5/5 Jerry tries to get a car at a dealership via Puddy; Kramer and a salesman see how far they can drive a car on a single tank of gas; George gets mad at a meschanic for stealing his Twix bar.

[*]The Reverse Peephole: 4.5/5 Kramer and Newman reverse peepholes an apartment doors; Jerry goes without a wallet; George has to pay for a chair alone.

The Cartoon: 4.25/5 Elaine obsesses over a cartoon; Jerry is at odds with Susan's former roommate, Elaine and Kramer believe George's girlfriend looks like Jerry.

The Strong Box: 4/5 Jerry buys Jerry Lewis's cufflinks; Kramer gets a strongbox; George can't break up with his girlfriend.

[*]The Wizard: 4.5/5 Kramer runs for condo president in Florida; Elaine tries to find out her boyfriend's race; George lies to the Ross's about a house he has in Hampton.

The Burning: 4/5 Kramer gets ghonorreia; Elaine finds out Puddy is religious.

[*]The Bookstore: 4.5/5 George can't return a book he brought into the bathroom; Jerry covers for Uncle Leo after he steals a book from the bookstore.

[*]The Frogger: 4.5/5 George attempts to buy a Frogger machine; Elaine calls in sick to work to miss birthdays.

The Maid: 4.25/5 George tries to get a new nickname; Elaine gets messages from Kramer's fax.

[*]The Puerto Rican Day: 4.5/5 The gang leaves a Mets game early to beat traffic but get stuck in a parade.

[*]The Clip Show: 4.75/5 A clipshow reliving some of Seinfeld's greatest moments. A very well done clipshow.

The Finale: 4.25/5 I found the final episode a little disappointing. The gang ends up in jail after being convicted from not following a new good samaritan law in Massachusetts. They go to jail for a year. Not a bad episode, but it seems that a lot of characters were just thrown in the episode for little reason. Basically a clipshow, but with an actual meaning. Not a terrible ending, but a little bizarre.


Well that's it. Seinfeld's over and done with. I think Seinfeld Season 9, though, was actually one of the, if not, the best seasons in its run. There were fantastic episodes all the way through. Sure, there were some super bizarre ones in there, but that may just be what made this season so fantastic. Any sitcom fan should pick this season up along with all the others. A pretty solid ending to a fantastic television series.


Saturday, November 10, 2007

DVD Review ( Seinfeld: Volume 7 )

I thought I made this review a long time ago, apparently I didn't. Here it is - Seinfeld: Volume 7.


[*] Indicates a "Season Great"

The Foundation: 3.75/5 George tries to forget about Susan's death; Kramer becomes a martial arts "expert"; Jerry goes back out with Mulva, A.K.A. Dolores.

The Soul Mate: 3.75/5 Kramer falls for Jerry's girlfriend and asks Newman for advice; Elaine decides she doesn't want a baby after her friends tell her to.

[*]The Bizzaro Jerry: 5/5 Elaine hangs out with a group of people that are the exact opposite of Jerry, Kramer, and George; Jerry dates a woman with "man hands".

The Little Kicks: 4.25/5 Elaine loses respect from co-workers for her bizarre dance moves; Kramer and Jerry go to the movies with a bootlegger.

The Package: 4/5 Jerry refuses to take a package from the mailman that has no return address on it.

The Fatigues: 4/5 Jerry finds out his girlfriend has a mentor; Elaine is in charge of firing a worker, but instead promotes him.

[*]The Checks: 4.75/5 Elaine realizes her boyfriend is obsessive; Kramer tells George carpet cleaners are part of a religious cult.

[*]The Chicken Roaster: 5/5 Kramer becomes addicted to Kenny Roger's Chicken, and hides it from Jerry; George tries to cheaply get a second date.

[*]The Abstinence: 4.5/5 Kramer takes up smoking; George's girlfriend can't have sex for six weeks;.

The Andrea Doria: 3.25/5 George looks forward to moving into an apartment, but an Andrea Doria survivor gets it; Kramer and Jerry use Newman's mail storage thingy mabobber.

[*]The Little Jerry: 5/5 Kramer gets a rooster and calls him "Little Jerry"; Elaine wants her boyfriend to grow out his hair; A store owner exposes Jerry's bounced check.

The Money: 3.75/5 Jerry's parents sell their Cadillac; George's parents say they're going to move to Florida, which the Seinfeld's object.

[*]The Comeback: 5/5 Elaine and Kramer discuss Employee's Choices at the video store; George tries to think of a comeback; Jerry buys a tennis racket he thinks was used by a pro.

The Van Buren Boys: 4.25/5 Everyone seems to have problems with Jerry's girlfriend; Kramer has a run-in with "The Van Buren Boys".

The Susie: 4/5 Elaine creates an alter-ego that people believe is real.

[*]The Pothole: 4.75/5 Jerry suffers realizing he's dating a girl that uses a tooth brush that has been in the toilet; Kramer adopts a highway.

The English Patient: 4/5 Elaine hates a movie everyone seems to love.

[*]The Nap: 5/5 George constructs a desk so that he can sleep at work; Jerry gets his kitchen redone; Kramer swims in the East River.

[*]The Yada Yada: 4.5/5 Jerry wonders why his Jewish dentist makes Jewish jokes; George's girlfriend constantly uses the phrase "Yada, Yada, Yada".

The Millenium: 4.25/5 Kramer prepares early for the new millennium; Elaine changes stores to shop at; Jerry learns his girlfriend's importance of speed-dial.

[*]The Muffin Tops: 4.5/5 Mr. Lippman steals Elaine's idea of a muffin top store; Jerry shaves his chest hair; George pretends to be a tourist.

The Summer of George: 4/5 Jerry and Kramer go to the Tony awards; George takes the summer off from work.


Overall, I really disliked this season. I haven't watched the episodes for awhile, but a lot of them are very forgettable. My scores will likely change when I rewatch the season. This is probably one of the worst Seinfeld seasons ever, although it has some absolute classics, 10 of them to be exact. ( As far as "Season Greats" ) While there are quite a few slow/uninteresting episodes, there are some great episodes to spice the season up. Seinfel: Volume 7 is actually a disappointing DVD, but well worth buying to say the least.