Artificial Continuum

Wednesday, November 25, 2009
I would start this off giving you some introductory information about Modern Warfare 2, but hopefully you already know the basics: developed by Infinity Ward (Call of Duty 2, Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare), Modern Warfare 2 is the first person shooter, direct sequel to Call of Duty 4, which was an unexpectedly, ultra-popular release. All aspects of Modern Warfare 2 are above-average, at least mirroring its predecessor in quality. The single player campaign and the multiplayer game modes carry over from the last game, while the new Spec Ops mode offers a variety of challenging, individual missions which can optionally be completed with a friend.

-<>-{ THE GOOD }-<>-

In General:
--The gameplay, which happens to be an important aspect of MW2, is as smooth and welcoming as ever, and the new weapon selection will excite any FPS fan.
--There is plenty to do after the single player campaign is over, even if you don't have online gaming.
--The weapons feel good to shoot. Simple as that.
--The sound is great. If you turn it up loud enough so that your neighbors can hear it, they will think it is a movie (the voice acting is once again very realistically done).
--Glass actually breaks now. Have fun out there.

Single Player:
--Infinity Ward fixed the infinite enemy spawning that endlessly frustrated gamers in Call of Duty 4.
--The story is engaging; you will never fall asleep.
--Some exciting plot twists have a powerful effect on emotions
--Creative missions are always both fun and cinematic, making you feel like a movie star

--More unlockables than ever before make for one of the biggest motivators to play "just one more game".
--Leveling up has become easier (in an encouraging way) by adding various bonuses for kills and millions of new challenges.
--New maps are well constructed and planned out, and there are plenty of game modes.
--It is so addicting, you may end up playing this for at least the next year, skipping work and/or school in the process.
--Host migration keeps 90% of games (from which the original host left) going.

-<>-{ THE BAD }-<>-

In General:
--Graphics are good, but haven't improved too much.
--More embarrassing than bad, you can use equipment (grenades, tactical insertions, etc.) while on ladders. This might be helpful in some cases, however.

Single Player:
--Enemies' guns are still automatically pointed at you, and your teammates do little to nothing to help you. You are on your own, which can make Veteran painfully difficult.
--The campaign is very short. While this may be partially excused because of MW2's movie-like structure, I took 5 hours to beat it on Regular difficulty and 10 hours on Veteran.
--Some aspects of the story you may only understand if you played the first Modern Warfare. If you never played Call of Duty 4, take advantage of this and play it.

--A problem in the last game, the fact that your character moves slower in the eyes of other players than from your own first person perspective causes the occasional unfair kill.*
--The abundance of challenges is overwhelming and hard to keep track of.
--Some popular game modes, such as Hardcore Headquarters, have been left out.

-<>-{ SUMMARY }-<>-

Modern Warfare 2 is a very well made game that rises above most, if not all, of the other shooters, both first and third-person. Despite the initial appearance of my review, don't think that "THE BAD" are major flaws that make this a bad game. Rather, they are minor flaws, some of which might be exclusive to a small percentage of gamers (a.k.a. me). Take my word for it and give it a try, even if you think you were done with video games after Call of Duty 4. Because you're not.

-<>-{ SCORE }-<>-

Story: 17/20
Gameplay: 35/40
Graphics: 16/20
Sound: 15/15
Re-playability: 5/5

Aggregate Score: 88/100
Independent Score: 95/100

*For instance, if you hold the crouch button to go prone, you will see yourself go down slightly quicker on your screen than you are actually going down through the eyes of a teammate or enemy, which can be frustrating.
Saturday, November 21, 2009
Yup, them Japanese sure know how to title movies.

Mega Monster Battle: Ultra Galaxy Legend the Movie is in many ways the ultimate Utlraman film, the popular giant monster fighting Japanese superhero. The newest film collects almost every classic monster and Ultraman hero throughout its 43 year series. It also features the first ever evil Ultraman, Ultraman Belial. If your following me this film is shaping up to be one the craziest films ever created. Filled to the brim in over the top martial arts, mediocre Japanese special effects, and of course giant monsters, the film exemplifies everything that makes the Ultraman series great.

Due for release on December 12, 2009, the film is already expected to be a financial sucess in Japan. Ultraman although an unknown in the West is a popculture phenomena in Japan. The series is so sucessful that recently a spin off series was released about the Ultra monster Gomora (look at my post below) , that didn't even feature Ultraman, and it was still a sucess.

Yup I'm rather excited if you can't tell. If anything this film will be a total blast.
Friday, November 20, 2009
Hey Everyone,

Luke and I were discussing this today. So I thought I'd share it with you all.

If you've just crapped yourself out of kaiju related awesomeness. I rest my case.
Tuesday, November 17, 2009
I've wanted to do this for some time now. Counting down (in my opinion) the best Anime openings of all time.

1. Trigun - H.T

2. Cowboy Bebop - Tank!

3. Full Metal Alchemist - Ready, Steady, Go!

4. Death Note - The World and What's Up People (I'm including them both as one)

5. Beck - Hit In America

6. Katekyo Hitman REBORN! - Funny, Sunny Day (All the Openings, actually)

7. Azumanga Daioh -

8. Naruto Shippudden - Sign

9. Code Geass - O2

10. Soul Eater - Resonance

Of course these are not all the ones I love but posting them all would take forever lol.

Hi ya (mostly likely non-existant) readers!! Since we've been podcasting, I, well, sorta dropped the ball on my blog posts. But, after realizing that Nick will kick my ass for not posting in weeks, I'm back!!!! So to kick off my posts, I think I'll review Full Metal Alchemist: Conquer of Shambala. After uncovering all the buried anime in my room and nearly getting flattened by my manga, I came upon my old FMA stuff (cause Shinigami knows I have alot of it). Among the mess I came across my Conquer of Shambala Dvd. To summerize this final movie in the FMA franchise in one word is impossible. It has everything: Fighting, Alchemy, An army made of metal, and of course what movie is complete without the nazis getting their asses kicked? The plot of the movie follows what happens after the last episode of the series, Al has his body back and bears a striking resemblance to Ed, Wraith is wandering around aimlessly after his mother dies (Ed and Al's alchemy teacher, the missing organs finally killed her), and Ed is stuck in a parallel universe that is our own nazi Germany. The whole movies revolves around the idea that, by passing through the alchemical door you go to when you are killed by alchemy, you arrive in our universe. This of course means you will see other characters from the FMA universe who have died *cough cough Hughes *. Even without watching the series first, the story is quite easy to follow. I dont want to reveal the whole story piece by piece but if you haven't seen it, it's definatly a buy. Originally I saw it back at my first Otakon and it was the first time the English dub was shown. I even have the peoples autographs :x. As you can probably tell by my praise I had quite the Obsession with this anime, but it is in my biased opinion a great movie and definatly worth seeing.
Sunday, November 15, 2009
Bioware released its latest RPG, Dragon Age: Origins, recently, and I now feel that I have played it enough to express my opinion.

Dragon Age: Origins is one of the best RPG's I have ever played, to put it simply.

But to put it less simply, here is a not half-assed (full-assed?) review.

Gameplay in DA:O is your standard Bioware pause-and play tactical battle. You have the choice of playing it in a third person view, as in Knights of the Old Republic, or in a birds-eye view, like in Baldur's gate. Any player of either previously mentioned game will be right at home. It works as well as ever, with only a few annoyances such as camera colliding with high standing buildings, or characters getting stuck on enemies in battle.

A high point would be having only one character left, and somehow managing to survive a horde of angry baddies by my lonesome self.

A low point would be the sometimes obnoxious difficulty bringing the game to a complete standstill.

The graphics are certainly less-than-stellar. Which is to not say that they are bad, but that they are not amazing. The scenes were I was actually impressed by the graphics were few and far between, and there are some parts where they just seem ugly and unnatural. There are some graphical errors that can rip you out of the immersion, but luckily they do not occur often.

The graphical high-points are probably when talking to one of your companions next to a campfire. The faces look great, and the fire glistens off them nicely to make a great atmospheric picture to look at when talking to them.

A low-point would be getting the camera stuck on the opposite side of a wall and being bombarded by nasty polygons.

Bioware is known for its story, and it lives up to what is expected wonderfully, and goes past that. You will start off in one of six origin stories, and will then quickly get to the main quest. The way NPC's treat you will change depend on your story, and it does feel that your decisions actually matter. It also manages to make the origin story feel like a long past event, which makes the references back to it almost nostalgic. The game also will have characters that you will like. The characters feel real and and react realistically.

High points are difficult not to find in this game.

A low point would be the occasional "Kill X of Y quest."

There is little to say about sound. Nothing is terribly annoying, nor catchy. The voice acting is good and rarely sounds bad.

A highpoint is Sandal's dialogue. I love that guy.

A lowpoint is the occasional slow talking shopkeeper that I have to listen to everytime I want to buy some health items.

In conclusion, Dragon Age: Origins is a supreme RPG that I reccomend to any fan of the genre. It's Role-playing at its best. Not to mention the great amount of gameplay that comes with it. I have played for twenty hours this point and, according to the game, have only discovered a quarter of the areas. The game also gives a large amount of replay value with achievements, different endings, sidequests, and the previously mentioned origin stories.

Now for the scoring. Of course, the different categories will change importance from game to game. So story and gameplay will be of higher importance than graphics.

Story: 39/40

Gameplay: 37/40

Graphics: 8/10

Sound: 8/10

+4 for that warm fuzzy feeling I get inside while playing it.

Overall: 96%

Get the damn game already.
Tuesday, November 10, 2009
Podcast 2 is now up on Discussing a wide variety of nerd cultures this is our most chaotic and extensive podcast yet. Should be up on iTunes soon.
Saturday, November 7, 2009
Hello everyone, Tim here. As Nick said in the beginning, many authors would join this blog, and I happen to be one of them. In case you were wondering (I know you were), I specialize in video games, movies, and some TV, so don't expect any kind of breaking news in the world of comics from me.

FYI: I believe I can safely say (without consulting anyone else) that of all the authors here, I rise to be the most excited about Modern Warfare 2.

Thursday, November 5, 2009
Hello, all! Anna speaking. Happy November!
So, being the huge otaku (manga/anime fan) that I am, naturally, I have to do a multi-part rant on the differences between popular manga and their corresponding anime that irk me. Let's start with Naruto.

I'm certain that there are a lot of Naruto fans out there reading this. Now there's probably a lot more of you who watch Naruto and a lot less who read Naruto. Firstly, I'd like to make a point that Naruto Shippuden should never have happened. (Dodges flying produce.) I personally believe that the series has gone on for waaaaaaaay too long. What Kishimoto-san should have done was this: use Shippuden as an epilogue-esque thing to wrap up the first part. I mean seriously, Shippuden is mostly filler plot and when you finally get to the real plot, it sucks! For instance, that newest little bit in Shippuden where Sakura proclaims her love for NARUTO! Naruto? Are you kidding me? I mean, I get the whole Naruto having a crush on Sakura since volume one, but the whole time, their relationship has been purely a brother-sister thing (SasuSaku will happen, dammit....even if it isn't canon....).

Did you ever notice how in the anime everything is drawn out way too long? Like the first few episodes, which was the battle on the bridge with Haku and Zabuza, took forever. Don't get me wrong, Kishimoto has a gift for battle sequences (I mean, hello, his manga's full of them.) but he always drags them out, successfully killing most feelings of suspense. Not to mention the overuse of everyone's name. "NARUTO!" "SASUKE!" "SAKURA!" "Anna!". It's like, "I'm right next to you, you idiot, you don't have to scream my name every two seconds." They also say names a lot in their heads. Like Naruto will say or do something and everyone will be silent in the room, close-ups on faces, someone (usually Sasuke) is smirking or scowling determinedly, and you hear what they're thinking and it's "Naruto..." and I'm thinking, "Mmm...cookies..."

And don't get me started on all the names you have to remember. And as the series progresses, the names start to sound alike.... Thank God for Uncle Yo and his Naruto name song.

So, Sakura. I will definitely give her some credit, she got a whole lot stronger and more mature in Shippuden. But recently, she's been relapsing into Original-Series Sakura. Seriously, what did she do in the original series? Hm? Here's what. Whined, cried, screamed, walked up a tree, hugged a lot of people, stood, sat, laid down, asked questions, thought, talked, cut her hair, and got knocked out and left on a bench. Yup, that's basically Sakura in the original series... honkshu... Anyway, now at least she's got some talent. I personally find the whole punch-the-ground-create-the-Himalayas to be a wicked cool power. And on top of that, now she's a medic. But recently, she has returned to the crying and patheticness. We can only hope that she gets her act together again...

And then of course, I can't forget the gratuitous overuse of plot twists. At this point, this series is so twisted up, trust me, it ain't never getting itself unknotted. It's like CLAMP....except...not as good. Come on, I know half of you watch Card Captor Sakura on a regular basis, DON'T LIE TO ME! Like that whole thing with Pein bringing everyone back to life was just ridiculous! But I am glad that Kakashi survived, 'cuz he's just too awesome to die.

Well, that's about it. If I have any more to say, I'll say it in the next installment of this little series of rants. Hope you enjoyed it!

Anna out.
Monday, November 2, 2009

The trailer for Jerry Bruckheimer's latest video game based movie epic has premiered, and it looks pretty cool. The film is due out for release early next year.