Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Drink Review (Monster Assassin NRG Shot)

This is only my second time ever having an energy shot, but basically my first since the original one was just so long ago... okay, enough idiocy. First of all, if you know anything about me, you'll know I'm one out of basically every ten people that prefers Red Bull to Monster... I do by a longshot, actually, but I got this at the Modern Warfare 2 midnight launch for free so decided to give it a try. First off a quick look at the nutrition facts shows that this is indeed a condensed can of Monster, in case you didn't know that. Here are some quick facts: 3 fl. oz., 30 calories, 6g sugar, 2000mg taurine, 5000mg 'Energy Blend', 400mg Panax Ginseng, etc. Anyways, whatever... then I opened it and took a whiff...

Appearance: 4/5 A bit lame reviewing the appearance, don't you think? Anyways, it comes in a small black plastic bottle... I'm sure you're looking at a picture or have already seen one by now. The Monster logo is in the middle with a crosshair on it, and there is shiny silver around the container. Pretty cool and simple, but nothing to cream your pants for.

Smell: 5/5 It smells indescribably awesome. I wish I had an air freshener that smelled remotely close to this. It's got almost a sour appleberry aroma to it. I could sniff the bottle all day.

Taste: 2.5/5 At the very second you put this on your tongue it doesn't taste too bad at all... probably because you're still thinking about the smell... but soon you realize this IS an energy shot, and it basically tastes like poopy cough medicine or mouth wash. It has a syrupy consistency to it, and the aftertaste is pretty appalling... like that of diet pop. To give you an idea of how foul I thought the taste really was, my eyebrows went crazy... in the bad way of course. Blech! Not very good at all.

Overall, I'd just have to give this between a 4.5 and a perfect 5. It does what it says. It's energy in a bottle, and it gives you just that. While I wish the taste was as good as the smell, it gets the job done. I have just one tip - choke it down quick.


400th Review! Game Review (Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 - 360)

Alas! Over two years later, Modern Warfare 2 has finally been released. While World at War was decent, I really didn't care to play ANOTHER World War II game... so Modern Warfare 2's release was super exciting for me. This is my review.

Graphics: 4.75/5 I didn't think so at first, but looking back, it's plain and simple to see that Modern Warfare 2 just looks much better than the original. Everything about it is just sharper. The only real reason I am not giving this a perfect 5/5 is the simple fact that there seems to be a bit more lag online than there was in Modern Warfare 1. I'm not sure why this is, but I can hope it ONLY improves.

Sound: 5/5 Great, as all Call of Duty games are. The explosions, the guns, the dialogue, everything is basically perfect. The only tiny flaw I have with the sound is the same I had in the original - the online dialogue is repeated over and over again. Still, that's small potatoes compared to the game as a whole. Beautifully done, again.

Fun: 4.5/5 Not a perfect score!? Are you MAD, man!? Hear me out. While Modern Warfare 2 is an easy candidate for Game of the Year, the game is not completely perfect. While all the minor and bigger additions are nice, including custom kill streaks, new third person mode, titles and emblems, new weapons, etc., the game just could have had MORE of those minor things, including a character creation thing. While this may have kind of been a strange and maybe even unwelcome addition to the series, I can't help but think Infinity Ward is holding off until the NEXT Modern Warfare to add that feature just to say they added something new. Modern Warfare 2 is near perfect, but some of the additions just have me scratching my head. The first and biggest thing that comes to mind here is the heartbeat sensor, which just screams for campers. There is a perk to block yourself from being seen, but really there just aren't THAT many people running around with them... so really, I guess I should shut up. Next is the kill streaks. Ha ha ha, yes, all fine and cool that you can customize them, but the 11 kill streak AC-130 / Chopper Gunner option is just completely obnoxious. Every now and then you'll play a game with someone that got one of the two from either a Care Package or just has it as their 11th kill streak. While they seem very different, in the end their very similar, and end in the person using it adding 6 or more kills easily to their killstreak if they have any talent at all. This feature essentially ruins the game, especially Team Deathmatch.

Anyways, moving on, the maps in the game (as seen in a previous preview) are pretty good for the most part with a bit more variety than Modern Warfare 1. However, after playing all the maps, and seeing what was in Spec Ops and in the campaign, I have a sick feeling in my stomach that Infinity Ward plans on releasing Map Packs in the future for multiplayer that resemble or are identical to ones in those modes. If that's the case, I will feel cheated. I mean, yeah, I'll still buy them day one, but... eh. I'll just hope they don't plan on doing this. Although the thought of battling it out against terrorists in Washington D.C. or Pittsburgh sounds pretty tasty...

Overall, Modern Warfare 2 is a near perfect game with a few minor flaws. While it is a lot like the original, - shocker! - Infinity Ward knew they didn't have to change much and didn't... they essentially took the original and added a few small things here and there to make the game better, and succeeded for the most part in doing so, although some things aren't very welcome additions, in my opinion. I'm pretty confident this game will be Game of the Year... developers didn't push back the dates on their games until after November 10th or until next year - they know Modern Warfare 2 will dominate this 2009 season.


+: Improved graphics, same great online play, a few very minor but fun additions including emblems/titles, Spec Ops is great.

-: Nothing major has changed - I guess that could be a bad thing?, some weak maps online (Although that's inevitable, really I think.), overpowered perks.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Game Review (Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2: Part 1 - The Maps)

This is part one of a two or maybe three part review of MW2. This one features strictly around the multiplayer maps in the game, giving a brief description, and my opinion.

Afghan: 3.75/5 This map is hard to rate in my opinion, because it really depends on the opposing team more than any other map... or so I've noticed. Since a good majority of this map is really open, there are snipers aplenty - normally - inside of bunkers and the like. What makes this map more playable and enjoyable is the fact that there are some great places for cover including a mini-cave area which is a nice addition. I must say, I had some fairly high expectations for Afghan, thinking it would be a really great map, but it's really just average to play... most of the time.

Derail: 4/5 This is one of the larger maps in online play, or so it seems anyway. Derail is a very open map with trees and hills including two main buildings in the middle and one far side of the map. Because of the map's huge open areas, if an opposing team gets a helicopter/AC-130... really, anything in the air, and you spawn on the far side of the map away from basically no buildings, you're almost guaranteed to die at least once. The middle building of this map almost makes it. It's large, with two stairways, lots of windows for a bunch of vantage points, and it's just fun to play. Only downside to this map really is its large size.

Estate: 4.5/5 I was looking forward to this map more than any other - besides maybe Terminal - and it didn't let me down. Although parts of this map, and the fact that it does go uphill, remind me of one of my most loathed maps of Call of Duty 4, Creek, this map is a complete blast. It's large, but the different areas are really diverse. There is obviously a large house at the top of the hill, with a greenhouse and barn surrounding it, including a garage at the bottom of it. This is just a very fun map, and hanging around the house inside and out is just a lot of fun. One of the best maps in the game, in my opinion.

Favela: 4/5 Favela, I believe, was the first map to be shown in a multiplayer video... in full. The unique thing about this map is that virtually every rooftop you see you can get on one way or another. There are also a bunch of alley-ways and streets to walk through, making for some really great close encounters. While this map really encourages rooftop/window camping, or just camping in general, the fact that it's so busy makes it easy to escape firefights and thus makes the map more enjoyable to know you won't get shot in the back or get spawn killed every few seconds. A fun map, and the rooftop jumping is cool, but it still doesn't really seem to stand out.

Highrise: 3.75/5 One of the last maps I got a chance to play in MW2, Highrise is a map that just has a Rainbow Six: Vegas sort of look to it... I'm not sure why. Basically, there are two offices on each side of the map, with two open sides... you're on the top of a skyscraper, and if you fall off, well... you're going to die. There is also a lower section of the map that will allow you, and your enemies for that matter, try to get a surprise attack in. This is one of the smaller maps in online play, which will make this a favorite to many, but it just doesn't seem super unique.

Invasion: 4/5 While this map is pretty forgettable - as a matter of fact I had to go on YouTube and see what this map looked like in full as a refresher - by name, it's actually a really cool map. Parts of it remind me of a map from Call of Duty 2... I can't think of which, but it does. A cool desert-like map that takes place in a little town... not much else to say but it is enjoyable.

Karachi: 3.25/5 Ahh.. Karachi. This MAY just be my least favorite map in the game... or basically it. It's hard for me to even stand this map - the camping seems to be out of control on Karachi in particular, and it's just a map that seems to encourage it, even though it is pretty small. The buildings and close quarters all around make this a s'mores making borefest for the most part. I've played this map about three times so far, and every map has been very similar. Frustrating as well as boring. Just not very good.

Quarry: 4.25/5 The first map I played in MW2. I thought I was going to be let down by this map but it turned out to be a LOT of fun. It's pretty big, and the one side of the map is WAY different than the other. There are some buildings to sit in, but there is also a large portion of this map that is laid out with what is basically a concrete graveyard. A fun map for any playstyle.

Rundown: 3.75/5 Rundown is really an average map and there's something about it that makes it feel like it could have been in Call of Duty 2, 3, or World at War. It's not terrible, but it's not great. I have had some pretty awesome firefights on this map, so I will give it recognition for that.

Rust: 4/5 Here we have the Shipment of Modern Warfare 2, but instead of being a tiny map loaded with random boxes, Rust is a small map that basically stacks and there are a bunch of places to go, making the map feel bigger than it actually is. While I didn't care for the oh-so-small Shipment in CoD4, Rust is unique and fun here in Modern Warfare 2. I've enjoyed the games I've played on it so far - just nonstop firefights, really.

Scrapyard: 3.5/5 Another map that sort of feels like it could be in Rainbow Six: Vegas. It's decent, but nothing overwhelmingly special. One building on the four sides of the map, two of which don't face eachother, and a bunch of, well, SCRAPS in the middle of the map. It's a decently fun small/medium sized map, just nothing that will make you say "wow, this is different."

Skidrow: 4.5/5 One of my favorites. Skidrow takes place in an urban city and it's just a lot of fun... you can go inside of apartments all over the place. Up and down stairs, look out windows on two sides of the map - both of those sides which have a lot of space - and there are just some really epic firefights in the hallways on this map. To be honest, it has a Halo feel the way it is played, from what I've dealt with.

Sub Base: 4.5/5 Although it is basically NOTHING like it, I just want to say one... or is it two...? word. Frostfire. That is, Frostfire from SOCOM I/II. It's a snow/cold looking map. You play on a boat of some sort. You can play as the Navy SEALs. There are boxes in the middle of the map... I don't know why I'm giving these comparisons, seeing as how the two aren't even comparable... blah blah blah whatever. They're both a lot of fun. Sub Base is yet another map from this game I really enjoy a lot.

Terminal: 4.5/5 I thought this map would be hands down the best map in the game. Turns out I was wrong... it's still completely incredible to play, but I just got my expectations too high. A great map, and one of the most unique of the disc's sixteen. The only people I say really disliking this map is snipers, but even they could appreciate this map.

Underpass: 4/5 Underpass is a map that seems to, imagine this, take place underneath an express way. There are a good number of war torn buildings though out as well, and the map is of ideal size for a Call of Duty map in my opinion. A medium sized map that I think most will enjoy.

Wasteland: 3/5 I have a lot of dislike for this map. For one thing, it seems to be a map just made for snipers. At first glance, looking at this map you will just likely see slightly hilly land with a few trees and a lot of tall weeds, but after just a few minutes you'll realize there's actually a bunker around most of the map, making this map a BIT better than I would originally say. The center of the bunker will be the hotspot for most gunfire in nearly every game. Basically, without the bunker on this map, it would easily be the dud of Modern Warfare 2... through my eyes, anyway.

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Game Review (LEGO Rock Band - 360)

Graphics: 4.25/5 The venues and the Rock Den and stuff like that look pretty good. Vibrant in color, and pretty cool. The thing is, the animations are sort of sad... I KNOW that they are LEGO's but I mean, still. That, and the drummer doesn't play along to the beat of any song at all - only the bass pedal does..

Sound: 4/5 LEGO Rock Band has a strange soundtrack. For every good song, there is 1 or 2 songs that suck. For instance, (This is my opinion of course) you've got "Fire", but then you've got "Ride a White Swan" and "Make Me Smile". There's "Ghostbusters", but there's also "Naive" - you can see where I'm going with this. LEGO Rock Band has a lot of GREAT songs and new bands to the Rock Band platform. You can also do an export for $10 on the PS3 and 360, but it should be known that you can't choose which songs you want to keep, and which you want to delete, as the file (1.28 GB, by the way) is just one hunka hunka burnin' HDD space.

Fun: 3.75/5 LEGO Rock Band is a pretty fun experience, but I can't help but think this is really a $50 - or really $60 if you pay for the export - track pack. The story is pretty fun to play through - and the cut scenes and Rock Den stuff is pretty cool. You can also use DLC you bought for Rock Band 1/2 in this game, but it should be known that only songs that past an "E" for Everyone filter will get in. For instance, I have 434 songs downloaded. When I went to make a setlist, it said I had 168. So yeah, while DLC from Rock Band 1/2 will work, not all of it does, as this is a family friendly game. LEGO Rock Band is a decent game that is well worth anybody's time that's a fan of music games... I just think this game will be much more popular for its real target audience - children.

Pros: Some great new bands, cool "new" experience
Cons: Unable to choose which bands you don't want in the export, some terrible unknown bands/songs, not all Rock Band songs work, seems like a 'kiddy track pack'