Monday, February 20, 2012

Mass Effect 3 Demo Review

So I played the ME3 demo on my XBOX360 yesterday, and I must say, I am impressed. I still haven't finished the first game (a failure on my part), but I enjoyed the changes to the combat system in ME3.

ME3 introduced Jane Shepard, a fan-created version of the main character John Shepard, as an alternative to the male character. The features of Jane (and I'm guessing John) are adjustable, allowing for a new level of customization. I will admit that while it was interesting to play as a girl, I did not care much for my dear redheaded Jane.

Now, the demo was broken into two parts. The first part is probably going to be the tutorial level of the game. It introduced the basic controls of the game, though I don't think it told me how to use the special skills, like the biotic skills that my class gave me. The combat and AI were just hard enough to pose a challenge but not too difficult as to sink the player in frustration. It also set the stage for the game in a series of cut-scenes that were not skippable.

The second half of the demo was an interesting escort mission that brought back characters from at least the first game. Again, the combat was not too difficult, though I had a bit of trouble finding ammo for my rifle. Nothing like finding yourself duking it out with the boss with nothing more than a pistol. Though I did find some ammo about half-way through the battle.

All in all, the demo for Mass Effect 3 was satisfactory. It did its job by introducing the story better than mere trailers, showed off the graphics and combat system, and allowing players to...well... play and get a taste of the game. I'm excitedly waiting for the release on 6 March, and you can bet that I'll be at the GameStop at midnight.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Kidney Stones, Act 2

Last night was not particularly enjoyable for me, despite Once Upon a Time being on. I got another kidney stone. I sort of recognized the constant urge to pee and the pain growing in my side a bit faster this time, so I took some of the painkillers the hospital prescribed me last time and started chugging the water. Thankfully this time I either did not get any nausea or the anti-nausea pills caught it before it got to that level.

I don't know if I've passed the stone or not, since it must have either been really small or it's still making its way through my system. It still hurts a bit in my side...

I get the feeling I might be a frequent-kidney-stone-sufferer... This is the second one in less than two months! The US Department of Health and Human Services says that once a person gets more than one kidney stone, more are likely to develop. I don't want to have anymore...

Sunday, February 12, 2012

"The River" premier review

ABC premiered their new show The River this past week, and despite my aversion to creepy looking shows like that, my attention had been captured by the trailer. Now, I was a little hesitant when I saw that it was done by the same people who did Paranormal Activity (a movie that did not impress me). I still gave the show a shot though.

My first impression were neutral. The acting was a bit... stilted. The characters, with what felt like the exception of Emmet (the missing father), did not garner any sympathy from me. Even after the first episode ("Magus"), the characters had changed little. The wife (whose name I can't remember at all) remained an almost obsessive woman who (shocks of shocks) had an affair while her husband was away. The son, London, seemed to flop between his original stance of "Leave me alone" to "Let's go find Dad"...

I was also expecting a bit more horror. The scare factor seemed a little low for even TV. American Horror Story was scarier than this, though I did not see much of that show either, thanks to that incredible thing called college. The first monster had not been as interesting as I hoped once it was revealed that it was the ghost of one of the crew members who had died before the rest of the Magus's crew went missing. I think that they could have drawn out the monster a little more, filled in a few details, before finally killing it, but they didn't.

Even creepiness seemed a little weak in the first couple of episodes. Episode two brought the first "interaction" with Emmet Cole, where the daughter of the mechanic is possessed by his spirit. She moved through the ship with jerky movements before lying down next to the wife. One of the first things out of the wife's mouth was "You can speak English?". Seriously? You've been basically living with this girl for almost a week or so, and you think that she's been hiding this ability to speak fluent English? The special effects in that scene were not particularly well-done either...

The only redeeming value of the show so far is the story. Granted, it's a bit of the stereotypical hunt for the missing person, but adding in the aspects of monsters in the Amazon and magic, especially "The Source" that Emmet was looking for, and this show has an otherwise interesting plot.

All in all, I'll place this show on my "let's see if this gets any better" list. The storyline is interesting, but if the actors don't learn to relax and play their characters believably, then I'm booting this show into the dead pile.