Thursday, September 29, 2011

Game Review (Battlefield 3 Beta - 360)

I'm aware this is a beta, so I'm going to REVIEW it as a beta.

Graphics: 3.75/5 There's really nothing at all special about this game graphically - the environments are average. The character models are average. The explosions and smoke are below average. I expect the disc on the 25th to look at least a little bit better than this.

Sound: 4.5/5 A lot of people are flipping out about the sound, and I do agree that it's actually really good - even without a headset or surround sound, this game is much, much better than any Call of Duty.

Fun: 3.25/5 Based on this beta, I'm not sure who'd buy this game. It's so full of glitches, after a single 8 minute match, I experienced two. (Randomly got an ACOG on one of my guns, and one time when I spawned there was a piece of scrap metal on my gun for some reason, blocking my view.) Although it's not the game's fault, I also adore having team mates that don't even attempt to do the objective, and when the defenders run all the way across the map to camp the attackers as they spawn. Sorry, not a big fan of that. DICE and EA promised a lot with Battlefield 3. Fans can only hope that this beta is virtually no representation of the final product - but if it's not, why bother releasing a beta that has so few similarities to the game being released October 25th?

Friday, September 23, 2011

Food Review (California Whopper from Burger King)

It's been out a few months, but I just decided to give it a try... while the title says Whopper, I went ahead and got the Whopper Jr. because I wasn't sure if I'd like it. Obviously, they both consist of the same stuff.

I wasn't particularly excited for this burger, hence why it took me so long to give it a try, but I finally tried it out. I don't love guacamole, but I thought it might be interested on a Whopper - it intrigued me.

I wish it hadn't.

I can honestly tell you, that when I opened the wrapping for this thing, I thought someone had put dog shit inside. It literally smells like a fresh turd dropped out of a mutt's asshole. After a bit of individual ingredient sniffing, I discovered it was a combination of the tomatoes with the guacamole, with the guacamole being the main culprit. Hey - maybe it doesn't taste like it smells.

I was wrong.

While it's a mild taste, it really almost does taste like poop. Literally. It didn't help that the first bite I had taken was 90% guacamole and 10% burger. Yeah. Have you ever had a mouthful of guacamole? Lucky you. This is one of the worst things I have ever eaten.

But hey, if you scrape the guacamole off, you essentially have a typical Whopper. I completely forgot there was Swiss cheese on it until I looked up what was on the thing. I really don't know who would want this thing more than once - I couldn't even finish it the first time.


+: It's a Whopper
-: It's a Whopper with shit on it.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Music Review (Neighborhoods by blink-182)

After nearly 8 years since their last studio album, including a 4 year hiatus, blink-182 is back and they sound considerably different than they used to. I expect many people to like this change, while quite a few will be put off. The album is much 'darker' than any other blink-182 album, and shows the members have matured lyrically. This doesn't take away from the quality of the songs at all, because many of the songs still have the classic, simplistic, catchy 'blink riffs.' Anyway - I'm going to review each song individually.

1.) Ghost on the Dance Floor: 4.5/5 A nice way to start the album - starts with a really nice riff, and a bit of synth (which you'll find many of these songs have) In comes Tom's voice, and it has a veryvery heavy Angels & Airwaves feel, so if you aren't a fan of AvA, I'm not sure you'll be crazy about this song. Fairly simple, but it sounds great.

2.) Natives: 4.5/5 Even though the riff is recycled almost entirely from Angel's and Airwaves' "Young London," it doesn't bother me. Unsurprisingly, Travis's drumming is ace. What really makes this song though is the chorus, which is primarily Mark, while the verses are sung by Tom.

3.) Up All Night: 4.5/5 The long awaited first single. At first, I wasn't a big fan, but it quickly grew up on me as I learned the lyrics, and it got stuck in my head. The chorus is sung by Tom, while the verses alternate between him and Mark. Not a bad first single at all.

4.) After Midnight: 5/5 Fairly simple drumming much of the song with quick triple-hits on the hi-hat starting at the intro through the song just draw you right in immediately. In comes Tom, and you start the 3:26 long After Midnight. I can tell you now this is probably my favorite from Neighborhoods - love it. Oh, and in case you're wondering, both Tom and Mark sing in this one.

5.) Snaker Charmer: 4.25/5 Just a catchy song. Took a few listens to really appreciate... it's quite far from the best on Neighborhoods, but at the same time it's far from the worst.

6.) Hearts All Gone: 4/5 One of the first songs released from the band for Neighborhoods. This one's sung by Mark, and to me, it has a real Millencolin/Offspring feel to it. I don't care for it TOO much, but at the same time it gets stuck in my head more often than any other song on the album. This song also features Travis's quickest drumming.

7.) Wishing Well: 4.5/5 Another Tom song. The "la-da-da"s make this song insanely catchy, as if it wasn't already. You'll probably find the chorus stuck in your head after a few listens. Not mind-blowing musically, but it's a good one regardless.

8.) Kaleidoscope: 4.5/5 It sounds like I've heard this song before... I'm just not sure where. It takes awhile for the song to really get started, but once it does, it's a dandy - nice drumming as usual from Travis, and both Mark and Tom's parts are great. Despite the feel that it's been done before, it's freakishly good.

9.) This Is Home: 4/5 I dig the stutters - but that's about it.. nothing remarkable about this song. Still veryvery listenable, but with the other really good songs earlier on Neighborhoods, it's just sort of THERE.

10.) M.H. 4.18.2011: 4.5/5 Mark's best song on Neighborhoods. He didn't have too many, he never does, but this is very nice. A gem at the bottom of the Neighborhoods set list. This song also has what is probably the best line on the album - "Stop living in the shadow of a helicopter." I have a feeling this song will be quite under-appreciated.. for SHAME.

11.) Love is Dangerous: 3.5/5 Initially I really disliked this song, but after about 5 listens, I've really started to like it. Even though the song title and that line is all sorts of cheesy-lame, it's really a good song after a few listens.

12.) Fighting the Gravity: 3.75/5 Thismakesnosensethismakesnosensethismakesnosensethismakesno - kind of sucks you in a bit with that. Sounds dark, and pulls you in. Fighting the Gravity is the slowest song on this album I'd say, and for that reason, and just the way it sounds and ends, I feel like it should be the last song of Neighborhoods, yet it isn't, unfortunately. I think this song could grow on me.

13.) Even if She Falls: 4/5 Solid. Not a stand-out track by any means, and fits well near the back-end of this album, but it shouldn't be the last song. It should definitely be Fighting the Gravity! This was one of the most underwhelming songs to me initially, but it's quickly moved its way up.

First listen through of this CD, I would have given it about a C+ or B-. Upon more listens, I'd give it a B+, or potentially an A-. I'm pleasantly surprised at Neighborhoods. I was almost scared that after the band's hiatus, they'd come back a bit dull, rusty, or just out-of-sync. Something like that. I was wrong, for the most part. From just about beginning to end, this is a fresh, new, and welcome blink-182 sound, and I'm looking forward to what this brings from the band.


Friday, September 09, 2011

What is the best Call of Duty on the Xbox 360/PS3?

Six, and soon to be seven, Call of Duties are available on the Xbox 360 and Playstation 3. Which CoD is best? Which is the worst? From CoD2 to Black Ops, here we go. NOTE: These rankings are based solely on online play.

6.) Call of Duty 3: Forgettable at best. It's worth mentioning that CoD3, along with WaW, is one of two CoDs that feature vehicles in online multi-player. That alone isn't my sole reason for giving Duty 3 the 7 spot, it's also because the maps online were almost entirely BLAH. Just not much of Call of Duty 3's online-play is memorable.

5.) Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2: After Call of Duty 4, I expected big things out of Modern Warfare 2, and I was absolutely, completely, and utterly, disappointed. I'm not sure what it was - maybe the addition of some stupid things like the heartbeat sensor. The not-so-great online maps. Whatever it was, MW2 was nothing but a letdown for me. Just to give you an idea of how huge of a bust it was in my opinion, I got to rank 67 of 70, no prestige, and sold the game towards Black Ops.

4.) Call of Duty: World at War: I'll admit - I didn't exactly play WaW a lot online. And it's also the only CoD I've played where I didn't finish the story. Although I didn't play a lot of the online play, I did enjoy the maps. I didn't care much at all for the tanks online, but WaW was a solid game. It also helps that my K/D in World at War was one of my highest in any Call of Duty.

3.) Call of Duty 2: This game was absolute GOLD when I first got it. It was my first 360 title, and I loved it. So much in fact, that I didn't mind that there weren't online statistics, and for me to say that, shows how much I enjoyed it, because I'm a big stat whore. Small maps for the most part, more tactical gameplay, no perks - the last 'naked' Call of Duty. While the game feels dated by today's standards, at the time of its release, Call of Duty 2 was completely brilliant.

2.) Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare: As great Infinity Ward did with Call of Duty 2, they made the game WAY better with CoD4. How? I have no idea. The maps were fantastic, the game was balanced, - for the most part. Juggernaut, Stopping Power. Meh. - and it was just utterly addicting. The only downfall the game really ever had, was that it only got one map pack. Other than that, one of my all-time favorite FPS's.

1.) Call of Duty: Black Ops: I'm not sure how many people would agree with me on this one. Probably not many. But I feel Black Ops is perfect. The best CoD since the original Modern Warfare. Little things like an emblem editer, combat training, and theater mode. The number of solid DLC packs. Black Ops is really, without question, my favorite Call of Duty. I'm not giving many reasons here, but I just feel like Black Ops is CoD perfection. And to think I almost didn't even get this game. Ha! I really don't see Infinity Ward's Modern Warfare 3 outdoing this game, but we'll just have to see. Nice job, Treyarch.

Sunday, September 04, 2011

Food Review (Cravin' Chicken Sandwich from Arby's)

A little while ago, I reviewed the chipotle chicken sandwich - now the Cravin' gets its turn. sez:

"Crispy, all white-meat Prime-Cut™ chicken breast fillet topped with crisp lettuce, juicy tomato and a jolt of zingy, zazzy, zaucy, zesty Cravin’ sauce. It’s one sandwich that’s anything but boring!"

Right away I'll just say, I prefer the chipotle chicken sandwich. The Cravin' Chicken Sandwich is your typical chicken sandwich filet with a couple ordinary toppings - lettuce and tomato - with a special sauce that Arby's calls "Zesty cravin' sauce." The Cravin' Sauce is good, but it's not that great. To be honest, it almost tastes like a salad dressing. The 'zing' and tang that it has is what you'd expect from an Italian dressing. That's not to say it's bad, because it's not, it's just sort of odd.

If you go to Arby's and want a chicken sandwich, either get the cordon bleu one, or the chipotle - neither of those will let you down. This sandwich is decent, and that's all.


Food Review (Bacon Ranch and Original Chicken Flatbread from Taco Bell)

The chicken flatbread has made its return to Taco Bell, alongside a newer one: the bacon ranch chicken flatbread. First time around, I never reviewed the original one, so I'm going to do it now.

Taco Bell sez:

"A warm, soft flatbread layered with 100% marinated all-white-meat chicken, a blend of three melted cheeses — mozzarella, cheddar and pepper jack — and topped with Bacon Ranch sauce." (For the bacon ranch)

The original is the same, but with a different sauce. It should also be noted if you didn't know by now, that these are 99 cents a piece - which is a DECENT value. Considering you can get other things at Taco Bell that'd fill you up better for the same price, there are other options.

The thing about these two sandwiches that's odd to me, is that they both taste very similar. I'd say the bacon ranch tastes a little bit better, but it's really very subtle. And it's not because of lack of sauce, I had plenty on both.

My two flatbreads were also much different in amount of chicken on them. My bacon ranch one was probably 85% bread, while my original flatbread had much more chicken. Was sort of bummed, but not surprised - it's not like they officially have a chicken-to-bread ratio. Though they should.

Overall, two good 99 cent options. I've noticed a lot of people comment on these, and it seems you either love them, or you hate them. For me, that also means you love both flatbreads, or you hate both flatbreads, because as I said a couple paragraphs ago, they taste pretty similar. Think of it as Sprite and Sierra Mist. If you weren't really paying attention or trying to guess which was which, chances are pretty decent that you wouldn't have a definitive answer.

3.75/5 for bacon ranch
3.5/5 for original

+: The value of the sandwiches is determined by who makes it for you, nice to have something on the menu that isn't a burrito or a taco.
-: The value of the sandwiches is determined by who makes it for you. Enough said.