Machete – Review (Film)

Machete, which made it onto my list of best films of 2010, was born out of one of the fake Grindhouse trailers that were sandwiched between Planet Terror and Death Proof.

Finally getting a full feature release 3 years after it’s trailer debut – Machete is a film very much in the vein of Grindhouse.

I saw it last year but other articles/reviews meant it’s taken me a while to get the review up.

Telling the story of Machete Cortez (the ever awesome Danny Trejo), a Mexican Federal who is now down on his luck in the US after a tangle with a drug lord, Rogelio Torrez (played superbly by Steven Seagal).

After being double-crossed and left for dead Machete is on a revenge mission to take down those who betrayed him.

With some great performances from Cheech Marin, Jessica Alba and Michelle Rodriguez this is definitely a film that you will enjoy if you liked Robert Rodriguez’s Planet Terror.

The story is cheesy and the characters are about as two dinmesional as you can get but there’s a reason for that, it’s the way Grindhouse should be.

Machete is a pure popcorn movie, except it has gratutatious violence, sex and swearing. If you’re easily offended give this one a swerve but if you like these kind of genre films then Machete is well worth checking out.

Rating: 8/10

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The Darkest Evening Of The Year by Dean Koontz – Review (Book)

I’m a big fan of Dean Koontz, some of his books are truly excellent and I have a bit of a back log to get through.

The Darkest Evening Of The Year was next up for me to read and it tells the story of Amy Redwing – the owner of a charity that rescues abused and abandoned dogs. Her boyfriend Brian tags along on a call to one such dog but everything is not quite as it seems.

I struggled to get into this book and I was wondering whether it’s because I’m not a big dog person? Nothing against dogs and I don’t have any issue with them, I just don’t feel an affinity with them so maybe that was what I felt was missing.

Also it was a touch too supernatural for me.

As the book prgressed the story got more and more nonsensical, which I appreciate isn’t a great criticism when you’re talking about a supernatural thriller.

I think the main problem was that I didn’t really care that much about any of the characters so the whole thing left me feeling a bit cold.

I’m afraid this is one Koontz novel I wouldn’t recommend, unless perhaps you love dogs.

Rating 3/10

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Killzone 3 – Review (PS3)

It is always a struggle to build and improve on a game that still impresses two years after its release but in bringing us a sequel to Killzone 2 Guerrilla Games has done just that.

Picking up the story directly after the events at the end of the last game and stretching over the next six months, Killzone 3 jumps straight into the action.

You reprise your role as Tomas ‘Sev’ Sevchenko with the ISA (Interplanetary Strategic Alliance) trying to get off the planet Helghan – only to be met with the full force of the Helghast, who have regrouped following the climax of Killzone 2.

If you’re looking for a game to redefine or revolutionise the first person shooter genre then you are looking in the wrong place. Killzone 3 brings very little to the table in terms of new ideas but most people picking this up won’t be expecting it to.

This game is about taking down the Helghast, even if you are on the back foot.

The new ideas that do make it into the game (Jetpacks/the multiplayer ‘Operations’ mode etc) are handled brilliantly. Guerrilla has done a great job of taking on board fan’s feedback and tweaking the controls/feel of the game for the better.

I wasn’t entirely sure how they would improve the multiplayer beyond a few tweaks but they have knocked it out of the park.

Redesigned classes, with abilities that are more relevant to each class, are the biggest difference but you also now have two more game types (on top of the already awesome Warzone) in Guerrilla Warfare (Team Deathmatch) and Operations – an objective based battle in which the top players from each team feature in the cut scenes between action.

The maps are brilliantly designed with some great scenery and feature different parts of maps for various modes. For example the Frozen Dam map – in Guerrilla Warfare only the small section at the front is available to play in, in Operations you make your way through the map section by section (like Rush in Battlefield: Bad Company 2) and in Warzone the map is open in it’s entirety.

I’ve seen some reviews criticising the single player story of Killzone 3 but for me it was perfect – I loved the new bad guys and felt that the developers did a good job of bringing the player closer to Sev, and buddy Rico, than ever before.

I would’ve liked to have seen more about the background of Helghan or perhaps some stuff on the civilian population (I’m presuming there still is one somewhere on Helghan?) but those are personal points of interest so it’s not like the story is missing chunks of information.

The A.I, for the most part, impresses and I’d forgotten how unforgiving the game can be if you try to break cover and expose yourself completely. Although with the new brutal melee kills that are activated at close range, you’ll be tempted to try and get as close to the Helghast as possible.

There is a lot more variety in the level design this time around as you traverse in snow and jungle terrain and the game looks as gorgeous as expected. Not quite the same ‘smack-you-in-the-face’ leap as Killzone 2 but impressive nonetheless.

Overall then Killzone 3 doesn’t quite grab you in the way that the previous game did but that doesn’t really matter in the end. Guerrilla Games have delivered a game that improves on it’s predecessor in pretty much every way it could. A must buy for any PS3 owner.

Rating: 10/10

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GregHorrorShow’s 10 Games That Should Be Announced For The NGP (PSP2)

With the official announcement of Sony’s NGP (Next Generation Portable – a working title if ever I heard one :lol:) the gaming world (mainly) rejoiced at what appears to be a gaming handheld for the hardcore market.

Regardless of whether you’re looking to your handheld to extend your PS3 experience or not, you can’t deny that a line up featuring original games (not ports of existing titles) from the universes of Uncharted, Killzone, Resistance and Call Of Duty to name a few is targeting a specific market.

For me there were immediately a whole host of game series swimming around my head that I’d love to see on this new device.

And just to clarify I’m not talking about ports of existing games – what I want to see are fully fledged spin offs or games that bridge the gap between a PS3 game and it’s sequel.

In no order whatsoever –

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BORDERLANDS

Borderlands was a fantastic game. With it’s cell shaded style and outrageous weapons you couldn’t help but be impressed. I know Gearbox has released a whole heap of DLC for it so some people may have had their fill but I’d love to see a version on NGP.

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EA SPORTS

Football? Yep. Hockey? Yep. American Football? Yep. There was no point trying to choose a specific sport here – needless to say with twin analogue sticks sports games should be able to step up to the next level on NGP. (Also on a side note… EA surely must be supporting the NGP and yet there was no sign of them at the announcement? Perhaps there will be a big EA reveal at some stage – I certainly hope so.)

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DEAD SPACE

The Dead Space universe is well fleshed out with books and films as well as the games. I would love to see an NGP game with an existing character that somehow ties into the main game series. There is certainly enough material to work with.

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BATTLEFIELD

With Killzone and Call Of Duty confirmed the shooter genre is fairly well covered on the NGP but that doesn’t stop me hoping to be able to play Battlefield on the go. C’mon DICE tie it in nicely with Battlefield 3 and we’ll be up and running!

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FOOTBALL MANAGER

 

As much as I love Football Manager on the PSP it is pretty limited and the makers have said they have reached breaking point on the current hardware. I’d love to see you be able to run a full reserve team, work on your team’s ground and have more detailed interactions with the media/fans/players. The developers recently said they were looking into making a console version of the game so I’m crossing my fingers.

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FALLOUT

Can you imagine a game like Fallout *in the palm of your hand* Probably nothing else would get played as I ploughed hour after hour into it 🙂 With the games being as buggy as they are anyway surely they’d be no problem bringing a new tale from the Capitol Wasteland or New Vegas to the NGP.

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ASSASSIN’S CREED

Yes, yes after two games in two years (and another one in 2011) some of you will be sick of stabbing people with the hidden blade but there is real potential here for a full Assassin’s Creed spin off with an entirely new ancestor instead of Ezio or Altair. Sheesh I’d even take a modern day take with Desmond that features proper action/stealth. Maybe breaking into Asbergo etc.

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SYPHON FILTER

Syphon Filter was a great little PSOne title that spawned a sequel or two and then branched further on the original PSP with two more games. Held back by the lack of duel sticks and some questionable A.I could the NGP see the return of Gabe Logan?

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BIOSHOCK

I’m talking Bioshock Infinite as opposed to Rapture, despite the fact I enjoyed the first two games. It would be great to have a handheld game that could maybe set up some of the story for the forthcoming game. I wouldn’t object to a title set in Rapture (perhaps during it’s heyday?) but that world needs to be done a little differently to avoid feeling stale.

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BATMAN (OR SPIDERMAN/INSERT HERO NAME HERE)

Come on you know you’d love to see this. At this stage I’d even take a Robin spin off 😆 After Arkham Asylum and the upcoming Arkham City, Batman is definitely back in vogue and perhaps a darker grittier version of another classic hero (Spiderman? Superman?) could also work. There are a wealth of comic characters out there if the feeling is that Batman has been over saturated.

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So there you go – food for thought on the NGP front. Would welcome any comments or games you guys would like to see on the NGP. Or even just to know if you’re gonna pick up an NGP?

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Kane And Lynch 2: Dog Days – Review (PS3)

As I’ve mentioned before despite its flaws I enjoyed the original Kane and Lynch game. It had a decent story and some great missions.

So in the build up to the release of the sequel last summer I was keen to see how it played.

I got a chance when the demo arrived and I liked it. Single player seemed good and the multiplayer was different to a lot of games out there. So when I saw it in the post-Christmas sale I got myself a copy.

Sadly this was one of those instances where the demo showed you everything the game had to offer despite being only 15/20 minutes in length.

On the plus side there simply isn’t another game out there that looks like this. The game gives the impression that it’s being filmed on a hand-held camera, or that you’re watching this as footage on youtube.

It’s a pretty startling design and I definitely applaud it. However I can’t help but feel that the developers got caught up in the look and forgot about the rest of the game.

The best way I can describe Kane and Lynch 2 is that it’s like someone has ripped the last third of a game away from the rest of the story and given it to us as a full game.

There wasn’t much in the way of story and each level was repetitive as hell. Shoot, take cover, shoot, take cover etc.

If I’d had to do a few different types of mission it would have been a start – hell, even a few hours as just Lynch (and a friend if they needed co-op) doing a few ‘jobs’ before Kane arrived would’ve been good.

If IO Interactive had set us up a story and some characterisation with, say, 4 or 5 hours worth of gameplay (that didn’t involve escaping from someone/somewhere) this could’ve been something special.

The 4 odd hours that are here would make a quality final half/third of a game, having laid the groundwork the escape from Shanghai would have been superb.

Multiplayer is decent, with the Fragile Alliance mode – in which players can turn against their teammates for a bigger slice of the cash – a particular highlight. The issue is that even with 6 maps everything gets stale very quickly.

As it stands Dog Days is not a title I’d really recommend. It’s not a terrible game and would probably be a decent rental. I picked it up for £7.00 and feel like I just about got my money’s worth. I think that says it all really.

Rating: 5/10

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