Monday, December 28, 2009

Batman: Arkham Asylum (PS3) review

The Joker attacks Gotham City's Mayor's office but is captured by Batman, who escorts him to Arkham Asylum. Due to a recent fire at Gotham City's Blackgate Prison, a large number of sane prisoners have been temporarily relocated to Arkham, many of whom are in the Joker's gang. As Batman accompanies the guards taking the Joker inside, the asylum's security is overridden by Harley Quinn, allowing the Joker to escape and take control of the facility as he enlists the Blackgate prisoners as well as other rogue characters imprisoned at the asylum. Batman quickly realizes that these events, including the Blackgate fire, have all been part of Joker's plan and that the Joker had bribed a security guard to help him escape.

You start the game by escorting The Joker, while he's strapped with a straight jacket. During this intro, you have full control over Batman, you'll hear The Joker talking and joking, this is a great way to introduce the player to the game. The Joker is somehow able to get out of his straight jacket and escapes with his henchmen into the asylum. Now it's up to you to take control of The Dark Knight and hunt down The Joker inside of Arkham Asylum.

This is a very beautiful video game with a lot of atmosphere, you really feel like your inside a mental institution, it's a scary place. The world of Arkham is brought to life in high detail. The character design is superb with fantastic re-imaginings of some classic characters. When you die, expect whichever villain you're currently facing to taunt you. Even the smallest details aren't ignored, from the clues the Riddler leaves around to the scrapes and tears on Batman's costume. It's amazing how big and free the game feels, you can basically go anywhere in the Asylum and everything is in great graphics with a lot of detail, everything from the creepy cells to Gotham City, that you can see on the horizon.

The sound and music are great, everything from the classic Batman theme song, played in a very dark way, to the great voice actors. The Joker with his giddy personality to his high pitched laughter, which is done by Mark Hamill and is the only person any Batman game or cartoon should use. All the voice acting from the animated series was phenomenal, and they brought nearly everyone they could for the game. It especially makes a difference with characters like Harley Quinn, who was originally created for the cartoon and only later became one of the most popular villains in the comic.

You play this game as an over-the-shoulder, third-person perspective action-adventure game, you have a great view of both Batman and the environment. You have full control of Batman, you can walk, run, sneak and do other maneuvers. Batman is a trained martial artist, and this is the first game where you really feel that. This game has a great combat system, called Freeflow, it's easy to learn, but it requires great timing. You're using three primary buttons: attack, stun and counter, which you have to combine into a combo. By chaining regular and counter-attacks in combos, the player can build up a special experience point multiplier, which increases further if timed well. If you get a certain number of combos, the player then has access to an additional special attack that can quickly take down a single foe. I also like that you can sneak up to enemies from behind and do a silent take down. When you're up on a gargoyle, you can hang upside down and take an enemy up and strap him to a rope so that he hangs from the gargoyle, screaming for help.

Batman has access to a lot of gadgets that you can use in the game. Gadgets include the Batarang, an explosive compound sprayer and detonator, grappling gun, and a frequency scanner that can be used to overload security panels. Some of these can be used both during normal exploration of the game world as well as in combat. You can unlock more gadgets with experience points that you'll get when you fight enemies and destroy Joker teeth. New upgrades include new fighting moves, stronger armor and improved and new gadgets.

You will also have access to Detective Mode. It's some sort of X-ray technology to discover clues and determine enemy locations and armaments. While fun and very well-done, the player will find themselves playing most of the game in Detective Mode. You can turn it on and off any time you want, it's a great tool when you have to make strategic decision, to see where the enemies are.

For the Batman fans out there, they'll be pleased to know that Batman: Arkham Asylum takes most of its cues from both the comic and Batman: The Animated Series. They even used Paul Dini, the writer of most of the cartoon episodes among numerous Batman comics, to write the plot for the game. The touch of someone who knows and loves Batman is obvious right from the start. For the hardcore fans, the designers incorporated various Riddler challenges that dig deep into the Batman mythology. Find the clues and unlock bios and interview taps with characters throughout Batman's history.

Overall: Batman: Arkham Asylum is the best Batman game so far. With fantastic voice acting, gorgeous graphics, and a well written plot, makes this a fantastic video game that everyone must have, not just the Batman fans, but everyone who enjoys great and cool video games. Buy it or you will miss out on this year's best video game!

Review: Batman: Arkham Asylum (PS3) XXXXX [5/5].

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Merry Christmas!

Today is Christmas Eve and I'm very excited about that. We finally got snow on Christmas, it doesn't happen very often. My family and I are gonna celebrate with Grandma and Grandpa this year. My other Grandma and Grandpa takes turns every year to host Christmas, some years we're at my moms sister, but we only been there three times.

At three O'clock we traditionally watch cartoons from Disney, it's a Swedish tradition that we've had for 50 years, and apparently we are the only country in the world who does that every year. Even though I've seen it many many times, I still like the cartoons because it's tradition and it reminds me of my childhood, when we used to watched it back then and of course Christmas in general.

We're gonna eat the usual "Christmas table", with meatballs, sausages, fish, eggs, ham with different mustards among other things. We actually eat this about three times a year, first at Easter, then Midsummer and lastly at Christmas. But I like the food anyway, but I don't want to eat more than three "Christmas tables", after that I'm sick of it.

After that we're giving each other the Christmas presents and my Grandpa is reading from the Bible, which he always does. And we also play a "gift game" where you roll a dice and if you get a six you can take a present, when the time is out you get the gifts that you've got. It's gonna be a great Christmas!

Yesterday I finished the last Christmas shopping, it was people everywhere! I'm glad I'm done with it and I've also wrapped in every X-Mas gift that I bought. But it was nice in the city, I really felt the Christmas spirit inside of me.

Merry Christmas!
from
Mattias (24Xero)

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Linkin Park: Billboard 2000 - 2009

Just got some info about how Linkin Park ranked on Billboard's decade-end wrapup. New Divide did well this year, with: #4 on Hot Rock Songs and #7 on Hot Active Rock Songs. These stats are US only, Linkin Park have done really well, sometimes better, in other countries too. But here are the stats for 2000 - 2009:

#1 Hot Alternative Artists of the Decade (Linkin Park)
#1 Hot Rock Artists of the Decade (Linkin Park)

#5 Top Billboard 200 Artists of the Decade (Linkin Park)

#5 Top Artists of the Decade-duo or group (Linkin Park)
#2 Hot Rock Songs of the Decade ("In The End")
#2 Hot Alternative Songs of the Decade("In The End")
#8 Hot Alternative Songs of the Decade ("Faint")
#15 Hot Alternative Songs of the Decade ("Numb")
#11 Top Billboard 200 Albums of the Decade (Hybrid Theory)
#36 Top Billboard 200 Albums of the Decade (Meteora)
#154 Top Billboard 200 Albums of the Decade (Minutes To Midnight)
#1 Most Alternative #1 Songs (Eight #1 singles)

Congratulations Linkin Park! I'm so proud to be a Linkin Park fan, they have done really well since their breakthrough in the year 2000. Many more years with great music and number one songs from the greatest band in the world, Linkin Park!!!

Saturday, December 19, 2009

First snow day [Update!]

The first snow came today, and it's been pretty cold outside, about - 8 degrees. It's unusually that this much snow falls in December. It's been snowing all day, so there's a thick layer of snow on the ground. I love the snow, it always makes me happy, everything is so bright, both in the day and night and the ground is sparkling like diamonds.

Snow also reminds me of my childhood, being outside and playing in the snow, making snow angels, building a snow man, having a snowball fight with my brother, I was so happy. We would also go to a big hill where we sled down with our snow sleds, it was a lot of fun. I would often lay in the snow looking up watching the snow fall, with a smile on my face dreaming away. I always wanted the snow to last because everything would have looked so sad if it melted. I always wrote in my diary when the snow came, I had to write down the happiness I was feeling, like I'm doing now.

I think it should be snow during December and Christmas because it makes the Christmas spirit even better. The snow will be laying there on Christmas and that's unusual, it only happens about every ten years or so. There's something powerful with snow, everyone lights up and becomes happy, especially the children and everyone who has their inner child still inside of them, like I have.

I went for a long walk today in the snow feeling like a child again, throwing snowballs at trees and signs, I was happy. I also fired some Fireworks outside, I always did that when I was younger, so it's kind of a tradition. Don't take the snow away because it's here to stay in every heart and soul today.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Avatar (RealD 3D) review

Jake Sully (Sam Worthington) is a former U.S. Marine who was wounded and paralyzed from the waist down in combat on Earth. He is selected year 2154 by a private army of marines to participate in the Avatar program to replace his twin brother Tony, who has just past away. The marines work for an American mine company which has colonized Pandora in search of a valuable mineral called Unobtainium.

Pandora is also the home to the Na’vi, who are considered primitive, but are far more physically capable than humans. They are about three meters tall, with tails and sparkling blue skin and live in harmony with their world.

In order to get the mineral, Jake is send to infiltrate and gain the trust of the Na'vi people and convince them to move. Their current home, known as the Home-tree, sits on the largest Unobtainium deposit on the planet. Since humans can't breathe the air on Pandora, they have created genetically hybrids known as Avatars which is grown from human DNA, mixed with the DNA of the natives. The human mind is linked to their avatar, allowing them to control and experience what it does, while their own body sleeps.

Jake is sent deep into the jungle and he encounters many of Pandora's beauties and dangers. There he meets a young Na’vi female, Neytiri (Zoe Saldaña), who teaches him the ways of her people. As the humans try to destroy the Na’vi's world, the natives do everything in their power to stop the humans from threatening their very existence.

This movie is the most expensive of all time, and it shows. The world of Pandora, that James Cameron has created, is one of the most beautiful places I've ever seen. It has a beautiful jungle with lots of different creatures both dangerous and friendly. Pandora also has floating rocks and you can see tree roots and waterfalls coming down from them. And at night the jungle glows beautifully, everything from the ground to the plants, some reacts when you touch them and glows even stronger. Pandora feels like two places, one at day and one at night, because it looks so different each time, both are gorgeous. The environment has so much detail, it's really impressive how they have made this world, it must have taken a long time to do all the digital work.

James Cameron explained that the reason for the delay was that he had been to wait until the technology was advanced enough. He wanted to create photo-realistic computer-generated characters by using motion capture animation technology, which he had been working for the past 14 months. Unlike previous motion capture systems, where the digital environment is added after the actors motions have been captured, Cameron's new virtual camera allows him to observe directly on a monitor how the actors virtual character interacted with the movie's digital world in real-time just as if shooting a live action movie. Each actor had a motion-capture suite on to make every move as realistic as possible. The actors facial expressions and eye movement were also captured using a small camera, which were in front of each actor. This way, Cameron intends to transfer about 95% of the actors performances to their digital counterparts. It really shows that they've been using new technology, because it was very realistic and I must say it's the best 3D animation characters I've ever seen. The Na'vi peoples movement and facial expressions were really awesome and I think this is a new step in motion and facial animation. If they wouldn't have had blue skin, I couldn't have tell the difference if they were real or not.

What makes this movie special is that it's in RealD 3D. It would have been cool anyway, but I think the 3D makes it a masterpiece. I saw the movie in RealD 3D and the world that Cameron have created came alive in front of me, I were on Pandora. At times during the movie I felt like I were in the same room as the characters, like when Sigourney Weaver woke up after she had been using her Avatar, my brain thought it happened in the same room and that was a cool feeling. Forget about feeling nauseous, like one person who saw the preview of the movie said, I get motion sickness really easy and I never felt any signs of nausea, not on movies with shaky cameras (which I like very much, Cloverfield) or 3D movies like Avatar, if you follow the movie and get sucked into it you will never feel anything, because you have control of what's happening on the screen and the brain will adapt.

Despite what people have said about the music in the movie, I really liked it. The music works really well in these kind of movies. Composer James Horner scored the film, his third collaboration with Cameron after Aliens and Titanic. Horner recorded parts of the score with a small chorus singing in the alien language Na'vi in March 2008. I think he did a great job of creating music that sounded like it came from another planet. The theme song was made by the British singer Leona Lewis, called "I See You", which I think is a great song. Also the sound effects in the movie were done really well. Everything from the sound of Pandora's wildlife to how it sounded in the jungle.

I must say that the actors in this movie is great, especially the lead roll done by actor Sam Worthington, he's perfect for this roll. I liked Sam in Terminator Salvation and I think he's awesome in Avatar. I think we're gonna see Sam Worthington in a lot of movies in the future. I thought Sigourney Weaver also did a great job and actually everyone else as well.

Overall: Avatar is the best movie I've seen this year. This movie has a good story, great actors and a hell of a lot of awesome 3D effects and animations. The movies 2 hours and 41 minutes has never felt shorter, it happened things all the time, with lots of action and excitement, and that's a great thing. Avatar is a epic movie that everyone must see, in RealD 3D, and a must have on Blu-ray. I saw this beautiful movie on the world premier, December 18th 2009, and I'm glad I did because I couldn't have waited another day to see this movie that is truly a masterpiece.

Review: Avatar (RealD 3D) XXXXX [5/5].


Thursday, December 17, 2009

Linkin Park: 8-bit Rebellion [Update!]


Linkin Park video game "8-Bit Rebellion" announced!


Linkin Park is releasing a video game to iPod Touch and iPhone called "8-Bit Rebellion". It was revealed on the LP Underground chat with Mike. He had this to say about the game:

"The game takes place in a world that used to be all "low resolution." 8-bit and lower...
Then an evil corporation arrived, and they've brainwashed everyone to buy higher resolution. They are called PixxelKorp. A small rebellion has begun, to fight against PixxelKorp. You (the player) may be our only hope to combat the evil!
As you get through the game, It's laid out like an RPG style game, but it's got a strong social community aspect. You can talk to all your friends playing, and play together. You solve various missions to fight PixxelKorp. If you finish the whole 1st mission, you get something AWESOME. The iPhone game is going to be coming out in January, we believe. The secret at the end of the game is...another new song. Have you read it? Another NEW SONG!"

The game sounds cool and now that I've just bought a iPod Touch I can also enjoy it. The new song that you unlock sounds awesome. I really think Linkin Park has gone back to like they were before, giving us fans what we want, like new songs and other stuff that LP makes and creates.

Dead By Sunrise new single?

A new single from Dead By Sunrise might be released, a single cover of the song "Fire" was found on a website. I think this is a awesome song, one of the best on "Out Of Ashes" (see my review), this will make a great third single. But I had hoped that they would have taken another song that not so many people already have heard, but we will get a new music video so that's cool. Anyway the single cover is pretty sweet. Check out the cover below!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Kane & Lynch 2: Dog Days cool trailer!

I saw this awesome trailer from Kane & Lynch 2: Dog Days today. The first game wasn't that good it had many issues, but the sequel looks great. I'm not sure if I'll buy it, I've just played the demo for the first game. I hope the developers have learned from their mistakes.

Below is the awesome new trailer!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Video Game Awards 2009

The Video Game Awards 2009 was held on December 12th 2009 at the LA Live Complex in Los Angeles, California. Sony and their PlayStation 3 was the biggest winner this evening, they took home six awards, including the biggest one, Game Of The Year for Uncharted 2: Among Thieves. See the entire list of winners below.

Award Winners

  • Game of the Year: Uncharted 2: Among Thieves
  • Studio of the Year: Rocksteady Studios
  • Best Independent Game Fueld by Dew: Flower
  • Best Xbox 360 Game: Left 4 Dead 2
  • Best PS3 Game: Uncharted 2: Among Thieves
  • Best Wii Game: New Super Mario Bros. Wii
  • Best PC Game: Dragon Age: Origins
  • Best Handheld Game: Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars
  • Best Shooter: Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2
  • Best Fighting Game: Street Fighter IV
  • Best Action Adventure Game: Assassin's Creed II
  • Best RPG: Dragon Age: Origins
  • Best Multiplayer Game: Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2
  • Best Individual Sports Game: UFC 2009 Undisputed
  • Best Team Sports Game: NHL 10
  • Best Driving Game: Forza Motorsport 3
  • Best Music Game: The Beatles: Rock Band
  • Best Soundtrack: DJ Hero
  • Best Original Score: Halo 3: ODST
  • Best Graphics: Uncharted 2: Among Thieves
  • Best Game Based On A Movie/TV Show: South Park Let's Go Tower Defense Play!
  • Best Performance By A Human Female: Megan Fox in Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen
  • Best Performance By A Human Male: Hugh Jackman in X-Men Origins: Wolverine
  • Best Cast: X-Men Origins: Wolverine
  • Best Voice: Jack Black for the voice of Eddie Riggs in Brütal Legend
  • Best Downloadable Game: Shadow Complex
  • Best DLC: Grand Theft Auto IV: The Ballad of Gay Tony
  • Most Anticipated Game of 2010: God of War III

New video games revealed!

A few surprises were revealed, one of them a sequel to the critical acclaimed Batman: Arkham Asylum, which I love. Also a sequel to the True Crime games, this time in Hong Kong, I've played True Crime: Streets of LA to PlayStation 2 and it was a fun game, I'm not sure if I'll buy True Crime 3. A sequel to Star Wars: The Force Unleashed was revealed, called not surprisingly: Star Wars: The Force Unleashed II, I played the demo to the first game and it seemed cool but I can't buy every video game that's released. Also a video game that's a prequel to the new Tron Legacy movie is being made, the movie is due out 2010. Watch the new trailer for Star Wars: The Force Unleashed II below!



Batman: Arkham Asylum sequel out 2010

The Joker has apparently escaped again and this time he's not locked up in the Arkham Asylum. This game will take place in the streets of Gotham City among other places. I love the first game, which I finished a few weeks ago, and it's gonna be fun to be in the city this time. This video game is a direct sequel to the first and I think Rocksteady will do another great job on this one to. The game is gonna be released in 2010 probably in the summer and I will of course buy it, I'm really looking forward to it! Watch the new trailer below!

Monday, December 7, 2009

Fall 2010: Brink (PS3) release!

In Brink, two sides, "Resistance" and "Security", fight in the outskirts of a utopian city known as The Ark, a floating city surrounded by the waters of a flooded Earth. The Ark was designed as a prototype of a perfect city, with renewable resources and no pollution, large enough to support 5,000 residents. Its population has grown to 50,000 however, leading it to the brink (hence the name of the game) of a civil war.

Brink is an upcoming first-person shooter video game developed by Splash Damage set to release in Fall 2010. It offers team-based multiplayer missions with authored narratives, persistent player characters and an approachable nature. It is also developer Splash Damage's first original title as past titles were part of franchises.

Brink is a FPS which has a special combat and freerunning system called S.M.A.R.T. (Smooth Movement Across Random Terrain). It's similar to the video game Mirror’s Edge, which I like very much, S.M.A.R.T. lets the player move around the environment in a dynamic and unique way all based on where the player is standing. It has a story mode which also can be played online with up to 8 players in Co-op. Players can create custom characters with additional rewards bought with experience points. When you join a game, your player replaces an AI fighter. Players are offered objectives that will award them with experience points if completed. When one player selects a particularly important objective, other team members are offered complementary objectives.

This game looks really cool. I like the graphics and the S.M.A.R.T. system because it reminds me of Mirror’s Edge. I hope this video game turns out good and maybe I'll buy it when it comes out next year. Watch the trailer below, which shows a little bit of a mission.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

LPU 9 Press Release

 
Today the official LPU 9 press release came out and there are information on what the package will include and of course the LPU 9 track list which includes the new Linkin Park song "Across The Line". Below are the official press release copied, so enjoy!

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
LINKIN PARK TO RELEASE SPECIAL RARITIES ALBUM WITH FAN CLUB PACKAGE

Los Angeles, CA (November 30, 2009) – Two-time Grammy winning rock band LINKIN PARK has announced a December 3rd release date for LPU9: DEMOS, a special rarities album available with a membership to the band's fan club, the Linkin Park Underground. The album and membership package can be purchased together at www.lpunderground.com and at select Best Buy locations and includes a t-shirt, patch, and other exclusive merchandise items.

LPU9: DEMOS features nine unreleased demo versions of some of the band's biggest hits, including "Faint," "Breaking The Habit," and "Leave Out All The Rest." Also included is "Across The Line," a previously unreleased song recorded during the Minutes To Midnight studio sessions. Fans also get "Morning After (acoustic)," from frontman Chester Bennington’s side project, Dead By Sunrise (as an exclusive download).

"Songs change constantly over the course of the creative process, so we thought it’d be cool to share early versions of familiar tracks," says Linkin Park vocalist Mike Shinoda. "The versions in this collection represent important moments in the evolution of each song: different vocals, music variations, and missing parts. They're snapshots of our works-in-progress."

Since its formation in 2001, the LPU’s reach has extended worldwide to form a tight global community. The band has maintained a strong direct bond throughout, and every year they design special merchandise and release music exclusively to LPU members.

Fans first heard the new song, "Across The Line," during online video episodes ("LPTV"). Originally entitled "Japan," fans sought out the song for years, but the band had never released it. In response to fan feedback, the band decided to finish the song and make it available as a highlight of LPU9.

"The LPU is a movement," says guitarist Brad Delson. "Their support of the band is inspiring. So we try to give back to them whenever we can. When we heard that they had been talking about 'Across The Line,' we knew we had to make it available for them."

The LPU has enabled fans worldwide to interact with members of the band, meeting them at exclusive LP Underground meet & greet signings (held at almost every Linkin Park show), or chatting with them online at exclusive chats through the fan club members-only website, www.lpunderground.com. In past years, the band has offered free concert tickets to fan club members, cast them as extras in a music video ("Faint"), and flown them out for rehearsal sessions. The site also provides fans with exclusive news, presales, contests, photos, video, and more. The fan club consistently strives to offer more to its members through website innovations, creative content, and engaging contests and giveaways. For more information, please go to www.lpunderground.com.

The full track listing for LPU9: DEMOS is as follows:

1 – "A-Six" (Original Long Version 2002)
2 – "Faint" (Demo 2002)
3 – "Sad" ("By Myself" Demo 1999)
4 – "Fear" ("Leave Out All the Rest" Demo 2006)
5 – "Figure.09" (Demo 2002)
6 – "Stick And Move" ("Runaway" Demo 1998)
7 – "Across The Line" (Unreleased Demo 2007)
8 – "Drawing" ("Breaking The Habit" Demo 2002)
9 – "Drum Song" ("Little Things Give You Away" Demo 2006)

Linkin Park is currently in the studio preparing a new album for release in 2010.