Gamerrob State of the Union 12/12/15

As you might have noticed, the Gamerrob name has physically vanished from this blog. In URL, in header text, in visibility as a concept. Where does it live? In our hearts, souls and minds. Don’t get it twisted, though: this blog will remain Gamerrob in its purpose, function and mission statement, the only change will be in the name it’s presented under.

Basically, here’s what went down: this shift to a more name-driven, author/actor/blogger site was long overdue and I’d been meaning to chart this new direction for a while. So when I finally came across an opportune time, in my haste I neglected to think about the repercussions of such a drastic URL and name shift. I intended to leave the actual domain as an archive, yet due to a serious error in judgment when messing around with WordPress functions beyond my current ability, I made it so that Gamerrob suffered an untimely death. I killed it.

Yet, as a phoenix rises from the ashes, so do I. This blog is still Gamerrob. The content (movie and game reviews as well as some literary stuff) will continue to be what you know and love. The sole writer behind it will continue to write. Hell, the freaking layout and fonts will remain the same. The only difference you’ll notice is a change in the domain name, as well as a slew of new, more varied content being introduced into the mix (bits of my own works being advertised throughout various places on the site). I’ll still review the things I love honestly and truthfully; you might just see various think-pieces from me now as well. If you liked what I had going before, you’ll like it now. Just understand that I’ll be adding things, experimenting and growing. Change happens, and even though I unwittingly catapulted myself into this particular instance of it at full-force, the principle stays the same. Change is inevitable, and we just need to soar alongside it to the best of our abilities. I hope you’ll be there with me to do just that.

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Gamerrob Readers, Heed My Call

A lot of you read this blog, that I know for a fact. But out of my subscriber base, I am not sure how many genuinely look forward to receiving a new post here or there. So, seriously speaking, if I were to give away free copies of my first book (it’s a novella, but a tight as hell one) on here, how many of you would actually bite? When it comes out in August (6/29/15 Update: its anticipated release period is now late fall-early winter, as I’ve got some interesting plans in mind for it between now and then), would anyone here want to read it via a free digital copy? iStock_000016885438XSmall

I’m just curious and testing the waters here. If you are interested, leave a comment. Or a like. These are how I will gauge interest towards the project. I’m not doing this out of vanity, that’s not the point. I just want to see if, beyond the occasional random internet wanderer, I actually have a following that would like to see my edited, professional work, in addition to the rants and raves of the blog-sphere.

Gamerrob Video Game Artwork E-Books Now On Sale!

Not only can I review games, avid readers, I can also draw characters from them! Equipped with my trusty pen, I’ve created my first ever e-book for purchase, now on Amazon for $2.99 and not a penny more featuring five of my beautifully crafted personal sketches. Go support the book and check it out here!

Happy Halloween 2012, Gamers

Keep on rocking the candy corn and ghost costumes! Happy Halloween everyone!

Review of “The Bourne Legacy”

Ever tried to summarize an action movie to a friend in just three sentences, and the summary ends up sounding like an overdrawn piece of crap with little to no depth but lots of filler? And then your friend, based on your summary, decides to completely steer clear of the movie? That is what you should do with the Bourne Legacy. Summarize it accurately and crap-tastically to a friend, sparing them the pain of seeing it themselves.

Jason Bourne is nowhere to be found in the entire two and a half hour snooze-fest, instead, the movie follows Hawkeye- *cough* whoops, I mean “Aaron Cross (Jeremy Renner). Honestly, they’re the same person in terms of physical and mental capacity. The only difference is that Hawkeye has a team of bad-asses to back him up and make his movie epic. Here, poor Aaron Cross only has Rachel Weisz (who portrays Dr. Marta Shearing), who’s makeup is constantly running the one hundred meter dash across her cheeks as eighty percent of her screen time consists of crying. And making Aaron feel like a little lab rat. Oh, and some more crying.

I don’t even need to mention the plot, as if you’ve ever seen an action/spy movie, or ever watched Fox News, you’ll get it instantly. Conspiracies, underhanded deals and betrayal. That pretty much sets the scene for Renner to run around the globe for two hours, and then have a half-hearted motorcycle chase with the asian terminator (Louis Ozawa Changchien). Worse yet, that’s the only real action sequence in the entire movie, and was so stretched out it gave Joan Rivers’ plastic surgery a run for its’ money.

Completely unrelated to previous topics, I have to *SPOILER* mention that this movie has the crappiest ending I’ve seen all year, easily on par with the original Mass Effect 3’s. Seriously, dramatic chase, bullet to the butt, screen fades, and everyone’s talking on a boat together. Then this loud-ass horn starts blaring, and you’re thinking “Oh, it’s the government, the movie is finally gonna get exciting” but then Rachel Weisz says a cheesy pick-up line to Renner and that crappy fog horn turns into the end credits music. What the flaming Bourne Legacy.

There’s nothing more really to say about The Bourne Legacy. At first, I feel bad about being so harsh and upfront about this movie, but then I remember watching it. And I lose all guilt.

Review of Max Payne 3 for Xbox 360

How many good gaming trilogies have there been? Mass Effect only had two games (yes, only two. We don’t speak of that last one here), and Gears of War 3 is the only one that comes to mind. So does Max Payne deliver? Read on to find out.

Story: Max finds himself in another crap job in another crap place, this time protecting the Branco family in Sao Paulo, Brazil. After each hectic work day, he relaxes by popping pills, chugging booze (the breakfast of champions) and smoking. Needless to say, Max Payne’s life is pretty screwed up and things only get worse after one of the Branco girls he was supposed to protect gets kidnapped.  So he embarks on a dangerous journey into gang territory to recover the girl, overcome his midlife crisis, uncover a huge conspiracy and set things straight.

Sound: The soundtrack is new-age and perfect for the scene. The street party music in the favelas of Sao Paulo that Max visits is actually catchy, and the entire score for Max Payne is really memorable. And to complement a perfect soundtrack, the voice acting is perfect as well. James McCaffrey has got to be the best envisioning of Max Payne ever, and I can’t imagine this game without him. His voice is expressive, realistic and elicits whatever emotions he’s supposed to throughout the story. The best part of his dialogue would have to be Max’s sarcastic and sadistic voice-overs which are so clever I can’t help but specially mention them and applaud the writers. Sound: 10/10

Presentation: Max Payne 3 has an extreme eye for detail, and it shows. Aside from the already gorgeous graphics of the game, every single action you take is accounted for and is implemented in the cutscenes, such as what weapons you were holding before the cutscenes being in the exact same weapons during it, and when a door is inaccessible Max bashes into it and you really feel that it’s locked, instead of it just being a lifeless texture that blocks you like in most games. Rockstar did a great job in this respect, with everything feeling extremely real, interactive and like you were controlling a real person in a real place, which is why I can excuse the handful of texture pop-ins and visual glitches that occured throughout my playing of the game. The visual style as a whole in the game is great and extremely cinematic, with film grain, scan-lines and all sorts of other things to keep you invested in the cutscenes and atmosphere of the game. Even better, these cutscenes disguise loading times which allows for virtually uninterrupted story telling and gameplay. Presentation: 10/10

Gameplay: Max Payne 3 is a cover shooter at its core, with “Bullet Time” being the only real unique mechanic the game has going for it. Bullet Time allows you to slow down time, dodge individual attacks and leap dramatically in a direction while firing rounds of bullets through enemy heads. This brings me to my next point, the gunplay. Unlike most, Max Payne isn’t a mindless shooter. Enemies come by the thousands (literally) and they are smarter than the average online opponent, which is pretty intimidating for the player. They flank, dive and do everything in their power to analyze and avoid danger while dishing out enough bullets to knock you into next week. But after the horrendous strife that is every single in-game battle, there is a gorgeously gory cinematic kill-cam, which slow-mos bullets as they finish off the final enemy in a room. It’s messy, brutal and satisfying in a twisted sort of way, and makes you feel accomplished as you blow a thug’s brains out of his ears on the third try of a really hard battle.
Aside from incredibly smart AI and a lack of superpowers other than Bullet Time, there is one more contributing factor to the game’s difficulty: the lack of regenerative health. I actually love Max Payne for this, as it does everything most modern games are too afraid to do. Tough enemies and a clearly human protagonist (not some kryponite induced brute, just some old drunk guy) who doesn’t instantaniously recover from bullets. Instead, he ops for painkillers, small pill jars hidden throughout levels that’ll recover about two thirds of your health. Finding these things is a victory in itself, as Max can only take two to three bullets in a row before death and any sort of recovery item is heaven-send.
I really like how Max Payne plays, and it’s a great challenge for any gamer. My only gripes would have to be that some of the checkpoints are seriously unforgiving, and that near the end of the game fighting ridiculous waves of goons becomes a little stale. Gameplay: 8.5/10

Multiplayer: Considering how good the single player portion of the game was, I was a little disappointed by the multiplayer. Characters feel like detailed stick-figures and all of the realistic physics and motions that the game previously had are lost. Maps aren’t very big and the modes aren’t very diverse, so the best I can call the multiplayer experience is a fun diversion. It’s cool that they managed to include Bullet Time in the multiplayer, and the arcade-ish feel to it all is nice, but it doesn’t feel as weighty or quality as the single player. Multiplayer: 6.5/10

Length: The story mode is surprisingly long, ending at just over eleven hours. Add that to the tons of hours spent dying and retrying, the golden guns/grinds and other collectibles plus the multiplayer, and Max Payne gives a fair amount of bang for the buck. Length: 9/10

Overall: Max Payne 3 is a great game that easily earns its 8.8 out of 10. This is a game that squeezes the boundary between movie and video game one step thinner, and is easily the most Oscar-worthy Xbox title I’ve ever had the pleasure of experiencing. If you’re in it for multiplayer, prepare to be disappointed. But if you’re in it for the most amazing video game story of all time with incredible narrative and extremely interesting characters, Max Payne is a must.

Review of Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon: Future Soldier for Xbox 360

Does Future Soldier make any progressive leaps for the third-person shooter genre, or is it just an advanced warfighter? Read on to find out!

Story: Some loony Russian terrorists overthrow the Russian government, bomb some elite U.S. soldiers and create downright chaos for everyone. So, as the most elite soldiers in the U.S. military it is your squad’s job to take them out and restore Russia in the process. Cold War: Phase Two.

Sound: The music is kick-ass! I’m not even sure what genre it is (obviously tech, but what division I don’t know) but it definitely feels futuristic and fitting for soldiers on a death-defying mission. The issue is, half the time in the online modes the sound altogether crashes, so the amazing soundtrack is only consistently heard in the campaign. Speaking of the campaign, the voice acting and trash-talk between soldiers is a hoot and very well done. Sound: 7.5/10

Presentation: Future Soldier has its gorgeous moments, and its ugly as fudge moments. There are times when you’re trudging through a photo-realistic snowfield in fantastic HD, and other moments where there are texture pop-ins. But ninety percent of the time the visuals are great, with little to no screen tearing or technical issues. Presentation: 8/10

Gameplay: Typical third-person shooter gameplay, complete with cover mechanics, flashy explosions and lots of vehicles to shoot down with turrets. The thing that makes FS stand out from others is the stealth and drone gameplay. The stealth is fantastic, with enemies being sharp as a needle even when you’re nearly invisible with your camo gear and the drone giving you a much needed overview of enemies’ positions. These two abilities work perfectly in-sync with each other and allow for some bad-ass moments, like you sneaking behind enemy lines and then using your drone to kill all the guards with your squad in perfect synchronization. And that brings me to the most important part of GR: FS, the squad. Your teammates are some of the sharpest AI I’ve ever had the pleasure of playing with, and they are just as resourceful and helpful as any human player. This is vital because the game is very difficult, even on veteran difficulty. Checkpoints are scarce and certain missions put you under the stress of a time limit as waves of seemingly invincible enemies stop you from reaching your target, and you need to be a rock-solid player to handle some of the frustratingly tough situations the game presents. But with such awesome mechanics and smart teammates, the challenge is welcome. Gameplay: 9.5/10

Multiplayer: There are two kinds of multiplayer, Guerrilla mode and versus. Guerrilla is the typical horde mode, and isn’t very entertaining if you’ve played through the campaign. Versus, on the other hand, is a blast. Two teams are divided into four squads of three people, and they duke it out over various goals such as capturing command posts or planting bombs in opposing bases. All of the modes are fun, but at the core most are just team death matches with some added objectives, which brings me to the real issue with versus: The characters are unbalanced. Since two bullets instant-kills you and cover can be shot through, death comes swiftly to noobs and only one class can be abused, the rifleman. The rifleman is friggin’ OP and makes his opponents cower in fear (literally), with a gun that kills everyone in just a few shots and a body built to absorb enemy bullets. One gripe about the multiplayer as a whole is Ubisoft’s crappy servers, which had constant host-migrations and disconnections, a common occurance that has almost never happened to me in other games online. Multiplayer: 7/10

Length: With an extremely solid and action-packed ten hour campaign and an ever lasting multiplayer mode, Future Soldier should keep you busy for your sixty dollars worth. Or you can get it used (like me) and buy one of those mothertruckin’ online passes (complete bullsh*t by Ubisoft, might I add) cheaply on eBay. Hint hint. Length: 8/10

Overall: Future Soldier gets a solid 8 out of 10. With a couple technical hiccups and a slightly unbalanced multiplayer, the game takes some getting used to. But once you’re in the swing of things, you’ll feel like the coolest soldier alive.