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  • Star Wars: The Force Unleashed full review
    By on September 16th, 2008 | 2 Comments2 Comments Comments

    I could hardly concentrate at work today because I knew once I got off work, I would be driving to EBGames close to my home for a copy of Star Wars: The Force Unleashed. Ever since I tried out the demo. I could not get it off my mind. One reason because I have hardly played any Star Wars related games prior to the release of this game. Although I was really close to getting Lego Star Wars but I didn’t in the end. That’s why I love downloadable content so much because you can actually try out the games before you buy. And a lot of the games that I like happen to offer demos.

    But did the game live up to my expectation?

     

    Graphics & Audio

    The graphics are amazing and I have mentioned that in my demo review already. But with the demo you could only see so much since it was only part of a level. The voice over and lip synching is much more life like compare to other games with dialogues. One thing I forgot to mention from my demo review is that, the environments really give you the impression that you are within something massive like when you are inside the hangar or deep inside the ship’s core. And since so many people asked, no this game does NOT support 1080p full HD output unfortunately. It would be nice if it was though obviously.

    And as for audio, I’m no expert but I like the sound effects, specially the lasers and when you are killing enemies with your beam sabre. The sound effects are really movie-like. I have not encountered any missing audio yet as reported by Gametrailers.com. It did mention about missing audio in the ending though. That would be such a turn off!

     

    Game play & Controls

    With the EMM engine controlling what materials to use for creating each object, the Havok controlling the objects’ movements and finally the last engine, the Euphoria engine determining how enemies react to their environments. The combined affect of the three physics engines really created a realistic experience. For example, watch closely when you Force Grip an enemy, if he is close to some crates, he will actually try and hold on to it. I think little details like this really add to over gaming experience. I have not encountered any clipping problems so far reported by Gametrailers and I hope I do not. The game is also somewhat on the short side as well with only 9 missions.

    Controls are pretty straight forward, if you have played other action games before it will take you no time to get used to the figure out which button is for what purpose. When fighting bosses, you will finish them off by following a set of buttons much like in Heavenly Sword. If you fail to excute perfectly, you will have to start over again. Overall you will go through each level killing enemies with a few different combo moves, and the hack and slash may bored some players after a while. It quickly turns into a level grinding fest like an RPG game when trying to level (power) up your three forces – Force Lightning, Force Grip and Force Push. The forces do provide hours of excitement but after that, they become just a bunch of weapons. And did I mention there’s no online game play?

     

    Final verdict

    After all the hype generated over the past few months, I can assume this game will be a must for hardcore Star Wars fans. Those that are into third person action like Devil May cry may also find this game entertaining. But for how long? That really depends on how fast you get bored of repetitive game play with no online component. In my opinion, its another game that didn’t quite live up to the hype generated unfortunately. At least its good for a rental game.

    7.5/10

     

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  • Lap-Band Surgery – lose that extra pound!
    By on September 15th, 2008 | No Comments Comments

    Lap-Band surgery is one of many ways to lose the extra unwanted weight and is considered to be the least invasive bariatric surgery available. Each surgery generally takes about 40 minutes where patients can leave a few hours after post surgery and be ready for work or any normal activities within 4-5 days. Unlike many other relatively more invasive operations, Lap-Ban surgery only requires a very small incision in the stomach to allow a small restrictive device. The device consists of a small band with a balloon inside that is filled with a saline solution around the top section of the stomach and connected to a tube and in the end with a access control switch that will control the amount of “contraction” of the band. This contraction slows down food from going into the stomach and makes the patient feel full for a longer period of time. The band also creates a “pouch” in the upper stomach which holds less food than the rest of the stomach and therefore making the patient eat less.

    If you want to learn more about Lap-Band Surgery, one of the specialists performing such operation is Dr. Richard E. Collier and his office is located at Conroe, Texas. He also provides free weekly seminars for those interested to learn more.

    His web site is easy to navigate and packed with useful information from about himself, Lap-Band FAQ, nutritional info, body mass info to testimonials etc.

  • Star Wars: The Force Unleashed demo review
    By on August 21st, 2008 | 2 Comments2 Comments Comments

    At last, after such a long wait, I finally got my hands on Star Wars: The Force Unleashed demo. The demo starts you off with the young apprentice having a conversation with Darth Vader (I spelled it Dark Vader before, oops) and facial expression is top notch. Then you start the level inside a ship, no surprise there. You are presented with a bunch of containers right in front of you in which the auto aim will target one of them for you, you can also lock-on to a target. You get to dash, defend, the saber attack, jump and 3 forces – Force Lightning, Force Grip and Force Push. Force Grip is extremely fun. I spent the first 20 minutes just to play around with Force Grip, grabbing every object I could and just toss them around, it was that fun! The environment is very destructible, you can literally break the windows and shutters will be down to stop air from escaping or you can hit the wall and parts of it will break apart. Force Push is another fun force to play with, you will be using it to “open” large doors which I’m sure will take you awhile to get bored of. :) I have not used Force Ligtning in any special occasion except shocking and frying storm troopers. Almost forgot, you can also chain and discover new combo attacks as you progress.

      

    Near the end of the demo, you get to go head to head with an AT-ST, it wil not be an easy task though! I almost died fighting it lol. You get to finish it by following a set of button clicks similar to Heavenly Sword. If you get it wrong you have to start over again, but its not a show stopper.

      

    Graphics-wise, its just amazing, I have nothing negative to say, facial expression like the way the young apprentice talks is very realistic as well as special effects like explosions and things getting sucked out of a broken window. The character movement is also silky smooth and fluid! Control-wise and game play, being able to chain and discover new attack combo isn’t new. But given the 3 forces, you will have hours of fun chaining different combos, shocking enemies and opening doors by “force”.

      

    So if you have not had a chance to get the demo or you are hesitating, which you shouldn’t be, you should get the demo now and feel the FORCE.

     

  • ThinkPad X301 – new notebook from Lenovo
    By on August 18th, 2008 | No Comments Comments

    Apple came out with the Mac Book Air a while ago and it is extremely thin. Although very lightweight, thin and with a user friendly keyboard. It does not have a lot of guts inside such as no built-in Ethernet port and no built-in DVD drive to name a few. Don’t get me wrong though, I love the MBA, I would even get one if it gets cheaper and has more built-in hardware inside.

    Lenovo announced its own version of thin labtop, for sure not as thin and sleek looking as the Air. But being able to carry a smaller and lighter labtop is always welcome. The ThinkPad x300 is getting a make over and will be named to x301.

    The specs:

  • ULV Intel Core 2 Duo U9300 (1.2GHz) or U9400 (1.4GHz) processor
  • 13.3-inch LED display
  • DDR3 memory
  • 64GB solid state drive (SSD) and 128GB SSD as option
  • WiMAX support
  • It will start at $2,599 and be launched on Aug 26. I hope the SSD technology will improve to the point where it can support 500 and up GB, nowadays I don’t think even a 128GD is going to last long.

    I use a Lenovo T61 at work, its not exactly the greatest looking piece of hardware, but I think it is light enough for me to carry around comfortably. Since it does not have a full keyboard, it still feels cramped (I was given a full size one though, so problem solved). I really want to get my hands on an X series and compare side by side with the T series. But unless my company starts replacing them, my dream will probably not come true unless I pay from my own wallet which will not happen either. :)

    Check out some Lenovo ThinkPad deals on eBay

  • Siren: Blood Curse Chapters 11-12 & Overall Revi...
    By on August 9th, 2008 | 1 Comment1 Comment Comments

    At last I have finished the game, what an experience! I’ve pretty much mentioned the likes and dislikes of this game. But I really have to stress that the sight jacking ability can sometimes be very….annoying. Particularly in chapter 11 where you play Sam Monroe and have to protect his daughter Bella, when a shibito sees you, or targeted you, your screen will be separated into the normal view and your sight jacking view. This can be very frustrating because as you know, this game takes place in the dark more than 50% of the time and when you are in the middle of a battle with multiple enemies, its hard to navigate around the area with half the screen. That killed me a few times before I could complete the mission. That’s my biggest complain of the game and of chapter 11.

    And by the way, you get to kill one of those baby crying shibitos, they are actually called the maggot shibitos. You can’t kill them with normal weapons though, but through particular ways depending on the missions.

    After finishing chapter 11, it makes sense to finish the last chapter :)

    You are in control of Howard for the entire chapter. As you can imagine, you will get to fight the final boss that created all this hellish mess. It is actually an easy fight since all it does is teleporting around, as long as you don’t stand close to it, it won’t attack you. The background is too “colorful” though and its very distracting. Finally, I am somewhat disappointed because the other bosses have given me a much tougher time than this final boss have.

    The ending shows Howard cleaning up the mess like a “hero”. Maybe its because I haven’t played the previous games of the series, I honestly have no idea what was going when I watched it.

    Anyway, I think this game is still worth the money and again, buy the complete pack because there’s really no point to buy only a 4 chapter pack since all chapters are linked together. If you liked the demo you will like the entire game. I mean I don’t think you will like the first 4 chapters and then all of a sudden you lose interest, the chance of that is pretty low in my opinion.

    The story is confusing, at least for me. I am still not sure how everyone has ended up in that village in the first place. Graphics wise, as mentioned before, the environment including weather, buildings as well as all playable characters, NPC and enemies are all highly detailed (well except for the posters on the walls). In terms of controls, its easy to pick up, you will get used to the control pretty soon as the first 2 chapters are pretty much tutorials and teach you the basics. Game play is also pretty good, except for the occasional sight jacking annoyance. Sometimes the game forces you to go in pure stealth mode and sometimes you can just kill your way through, provided you have a weapon, not just your fists though! I believe you can even complete the game in pure stealth as well.

    If you like Silent Hill type of game, there is a pretty high chance you will like Siren as well. Its pretty much as creepy and messed up as Silent Hill!

    I hope you all enjoyed reading my reviews on Siren: Blood Curse for the PlayStation 3. And oh yes, the last picture shows you how “good” I played. :)

    You can get other series of Siren on eBay for a fraction of the original price now

  • Siren: Blood Curse Chapters 8-10 Review
    By on August 8th, 2008 | No Comments Comments

    I should have mentioned this from the beginning about this game. The characters in it are full of facial and physical expressions. For example, if you idle your character and/or your companion will start to moan (not in the sexual way!), cough or cry, in the case of Bella Monroe. A lot of times, assuming the companion is in range of the shibito, they will react, but sometimes he/she just stands there and get hit which is a minor annoyance. And after you have killed the shibito, Miyako, for example, will ask “Is it over now?”. Things like these make the game much more interactive and enjoyable in my opinion.

    Chapter 8 lets you play yet another player, his name is Sol, the camera man. You can actually use him and his trusty video camera! I found it funny killing shibitos with it. But in the end, I picked up a gun instead along the way. This chapter is rather straight forward.

    Chapter 9 is short but is also one of the most intense chapters, yet another spoiler! You get to actually fight the giant baby crying shibito I mentioned in previous review using Melissa Gale (Sam’s ex wife for those who forgot). The second part you are using Seigo, the guy with the rifle again, and the mission is to protect Bella Monroe to escape. It was annoying when I played it because I wasn’t quick enough protecting her from places to places. Basically if you are not fast enough, she will die, period.

    And you get a very special surprise while you are doing one of the last set of sub goals for this chapter. :)

    And finally, chapter 10 is just running around for the whole chapter, just with different characters and purposes. Nothing too special except the scenery for the second half is actually quite a sight.

    Stay tune for the final review for chapter 11 and 12! I can’t wait to see the end!

  • Facebreaker Demo Review for Playstation 3
    By on August 7th, 2008 | No Comments Comments

    I downloaded the demo tonight to try it out, I had doubts before as I’ve seen many negative ratings on most, if not all of Facebreaker’s trailers. But I belive you really have to play it yourself before you can criticize.

    The demo offers you 3 of 12 playable boxers as well as your own. You can fight either by using those 3 boxers or 2 custom made ones plus one that you can make. The custom boxer is actually a good idea. You are given the 3 options:

  • create boxer – where you can download a photo off from EA,
  • use a USB camera that you have to connect to your PS3 (not sure how well the photo will populate the boxer’s face as I don’t have a USB camera.
  • Or you can start from an existing boxer. I have created a purple looking one based on the existing playable boxer Steve.
  • The fun part is the last option, you will literally take 30 minutes to even an hour going through each customization such as the pattern and color of the boxer gloves, hair color, eye color, body color, body size etc. Customization to me has always been a huge bonus when I just how flexible and user friendly the game is.

    Onto the game play and graphics. As mentioned before, a lot of people are not too positive about this game. After playing a few rounds of the rather short demo, I think its not that bad after all. In terms of game play, its fast pace, really fast I should say. You are basically smashing all the buttons and hope you will land some punches to your opponent. I do have to agree with people posted on gametrailers.com on the fact that, even on easy difficulty it is still quite hard to beat your opponent. And the fact that your opponent punches so fast its hard to use dodge or parry.

    Graphics wise, running on 1080p, its bright and clear. Even though its not top notch graphics, I wouldn’t say its bad either, just not the best!

    My final verdict for this game is if you like fast pace games or fighting games in general (by the way this game is no match with Soul Calibur 4 and let’s not go there) and if you like to put your friends’ faces as the boxes, which I would find it fun if I had a USB camera. This game might be for you, or at least a rental game. Definitely not as bad as some of the people commented.

  • Siren: Blood Curse Chapter 6 & 7 Review
    By on August 6th, 2008 | No Comments Comments

    Finally got a chance to play chapter 6, it isn’t a long chapter so I combined with chapter 7 as well. From the previous chapter review, I mentioned the level of difficulty raises as you progress through each chapter. But, I didn’t feel that way this time, though I still died a few times throughout these two chapters, maybe it’s either I got better at this game (lol) or some levels are just more difficult than others. I think all the playable characters are introduced, and most places are revealed (?).

    There is really nothing much to say except the graphics haven’t stopped to amaze me. Chapter 7 consists of many old rusty shacks, and each one is just as detailed. I still find it too dark though and always forget to adjust the brightness to get rid of this problem. I know its part of the “atmosphere” but sometimes I have trouble finding the way.

    A bit of a spoiler.

    This chapter introduced some sort of boss shibito, a lot bigger and is really messed up. It cries / screams like a baby but is taller than the shibitos roaming throughout the game. I apologize i should have taken a picture of it but I was too “involved” in the game I forgot about it. Or I should say I was too intimidated by the size of the shibito and I tried to kill it by shooting him non stop and wasn’t able to. I assume its scripted to not die, at least in this chapter.

    Overall, I think the story is kicking into high gear, I say that because things are getting more complicated.