Friday, February 20, 2009

Netflix Instant Queue Review: Outsourced

Late 2 The Game Score:
Netflix Availability: Instant Queue and DVD

It's your typical love story. Boy's job gets outsourced, boy travels to train new outsourced staff, boy meets girl and falls in love when he least expects, and girl teaches boy about global awareness, social sensitivity, and life.

While this romantic comedy can be formulaic and predictable at times, there's a quirky sincerity in that acting that lends the characters an endearing quality often lacking in similar fare. Since the film's title itself is enough to set off a heated debate, it's no surprise that the film is thick with social commentary. Still, unlike so many films, no heavy-handed judgments of generalized "evil" are passed down (I'm looking at you Happy Feet), and at least the film focuses more on the opportunity that outsourcing presents to developing nations instead of the unemployment it produces elsewhere. It is a romantic comedy after all; it can't all be doom and gloom.

Certainly not a bad movie to check out if you're looking to kill an hour and a half. And hey, while you enjoy your romantic comedy you might also pick up a few little culturally enlightening tidbits about India.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Couples Gaming: Fable 2 - The Experiment Continues

So we've had our hands pretty full with the new kid lately, but tonight we found a few moments when we could finally pop in Fable 2. I played through the first 45 minutes of the game while my wife watched. Considering that the first 45 minutes of gameplay consist of simple fetch quests meant to familiarize you with the game's controls, it was probably a little less exciting for my wife to watch than I had hoped. Still, she was a good sport and we got through the games opening chapter.

After this, I wondered if might have been more enjoyable for my wife to come in and watch the more interesting parts of the game instead of watching the whole thing. I also wonder if we will be more pressured to rush through Fable 2's main story line instead of taking some time for side quests because whoever is playing will be worried about boring the one who isn't.

We'll keep it up and see how things go with our next session. More details to come. Stay tuned!

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Netflix Queue Review: Resident Evil: Degeneration

Resident Evil: Degeneration
Late 2 The Game Score: 2 out of 5

Netflix Availability: DVD and Blu-ray

What ever happened to Claire Redfield, Leon Kennedy, and the rest of the good ol' Resident Evil gang? If you've ever posed yourself this question, or others like it, Resident Evil: Degeneration is here to quench your thirst for cryptic plots and confusing character interactions.

Degeneration apparently takes place some time between the events of Resident Evil 4 and 5, and brings back familiar characters from the preceding games. Unlike the live action films starring Milla Jovovich, this Resident Evil movie follows the same story line as the games. It fits in with the game all the better because it is completely CG and plays out like a very long cut scene with no silly gameplay to get in the way of the story. The problem is that there just isn't much of a story.

Most of the movie is taken up by dry dialogue meant to bring everyone that hasn't played the games up to speed, and the rest of the film (which is very little indeed) is filled with ultimately unsatisfying action sequences that seem like they were cobbled together from snippets of the many Resident Evil games' cut scenes.

If you find yourself needing a quick primer on the Resident Evil universe, you might want to take a look at Resident Evil: Degeneration. Otherwise, you might as well just wait for Resident Evil 5 to come out. At least then you'll get to play some game between those confusing cut scenes.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Micro Review: R-Type Dimensions

The sci-fi space shooter classic R-Type was recently released on the Xbox Live Arcade, adding it to the ranks of classic games that have received an HD makeover.

This XBLA download includes both R-Type and its sequel R-Type II. The visuals for both games have received liberal amounts of HD coating, but players can switch between classic and updated graphics on the fly by the press of a button. Adding to the updated visuals, players can also move the camera to get a slightly isometric view of the 3-D version. Though this additional view mode is certainly unique, it adds little to the gameplay and makes an already difficult game even harder.

In addition to the classic gameplay, an Infinite game mode has been added. This mode will allow those who might not be the best at dodging pixel-high projectiles to see more than the first few seconds of the first stage. It is indeed a welcome addition, and still keeps the game competitive by tracking how many lives it takes players to complete each stage.

If you're a shooter fan, you'll most likely have fun with this title, but you may find the price a bit steep when compared to comparable games, even if both R-Type games are included.

R-Type Dimensions is available on the Xbox LIVE Arcade for 1200 Microsoft Points ($15 USD).