Reviews of video game related television shows, movies, books, and soundtracks. Plus, reviews of downloadable content, our Half-Hour Handheld featurette, and video reviews.
A few weeks ago I finished a great fantasy title by Brandon Sanderson called Mistborn: The Final Empire. I began writing a book review about it, even though it has no video game counterpart or even one in the works as far as I know, so it eventually turned into an editorial about how to make a game from book or film. Well, in the time since then I've finished the entire Mistborn trilogy and now I'm back to write a review on the whole series. Well, maybe not a real review, there are plenty of legitimate fantasy book sites that can do a lot better job than me at that, but more of an examination on how a series like Mistborn could be translated into an awesome video game.
I'll admit, the only reason I was even attracted to the series is because Brandon Sanderson is now finishing off the late Robert Jordan's epic, The Wheel of Time. While that fantasy shelf-warping series definitely started to fade as it resisted to wrap up, I'm still excited to see how it ends. And what better way to understand that than to read the books that the chosen author has already written? The Mistborn series seemed like a great place to start, so here's my review/plea-to-make-this-into-a-great-game.
Pinnacle Station is the second, and probably final downloadable content for Mass Effect. Unlike the first DLC, Bring Down the Sky, Pinnacle Station is not a new set of story-based missions but is instead a series of arena challenges. This is a bit disappointing considering Mass Effect 2 is probably about six months away and BioWare could have explored that game's future content by introducing some new characters, locations, or even the new alien races. But sometimes you just have to take what you're given, and Pinnacle Station is the patient fan's reward.
I honestly don't have anything against arena fighting, and I was just looking for any excuse to put Mass Effect back into my Xbox 360. I was one of those gamers that actually enjoyed the combat in the game, especially on the higher difficulties. While more story would have been awesome, more combat that doesn't take place in the same warehouse as all the other big fights is also very welcome. So here's my first opinion on Pinnacle Station played on the Xbox 360 with my level 60 Soldier on Insanity.
Captain N: The Game Master was a animated television series that aired for three seasons in the late 80's and early 90's. It was set in an imagined Nintendo universe, where most of the major Nintendo games along with a few games from third-parties come together to fight evil. While they made over 30 episodes, four from the first season were available for instant streaming over Netflix so I took the opportunity to check them out. If the rest of the series is anything like the four I watched (Kevin in Videoland, Mr. and Mrs. Mother Brain, Videolympics, Mega Trouble for Megaland), then I don't think I'll be continuing on. It's an interesting premise though, and the following is simply some random thoughts about the episodes I watched.
Hitman was released in theaters in late 2007 and was based off the popular Hitman video game series. There have been four Hitman games made so far, but none since 2006. Kind of surprising they didn't try to time another game for the film release, and even more surprising that there hasn't been a sequel in three years. Hitman the movie stars Timothy Olyphant, Dougray Scott, Robert Knepper, and Olga Kurylenko.
This is my first movie review on a real video game based movie, while the Last Starfighter is full of corn and charm, Hitman attempts to be a serious imagining of game to film. I'm not really that familiar with the series, unfortunately. I've played the second one, Silent Assassin, a bit, but mostly just watched my roommate in college sneak through it. I love the concept though so was excited to get Hitman in the mail the other night. Nothing formal, just some things I noticed.
The Legend of Zelda: The Complete Animated Series is a 13 episode series that aired along with the Super Mario Bros. Super Show back in 1989. It features everyone's favorite skirt wearing hero, Link, and his chaste damsel, Princess Zelda. Don't forget about Ganon, Link's archnemesis and ever-persistent bad-guy-with-a-losing-plan. Throw in the Triforce, the Master Sword, and tons of swashbuckling adventures, this is probably the Legend of Zelda you know and love, right?
Well, maybe not. Remember, this was 1989, the mysterious time between The Adventures of Link and A Link to the Past. The characters were about 20 pixels high on the screen and the only real art we had from them was in the instruction booklets, not much to go on for an animation team to create a whole cartoon around. So Link really does look like he's wearing a skirt, Zelda looks like a twig at six feet tall and 100 pounds, while Ganon is sporting his classic pig design. A similar predicament faced the art team of the Panasonic CD-I Zelda games (yeah, those). There's a great interview over at Hardcore Gaming 101 detailing some of these problems.
So nothing formal here, let's just discuss some of the things I noted while watching The Legend of Zelda: The Complete Animated Series. The show is available over Netflix Instant Watch, check it out!
Mass Effect: Ascension is a novel written by Drew Karpyshyn. It is the sequel novel to Mass Effect: Revelation, and also a sequel to Mass Effect, the Xbox 360 game. The book takes place about two months after the events in Mass Effect, but because of the game's different endings, it has to be pretty vague about things. Reading Ascension before playing the game won't spoil much of anything... but chances are you aren't reading these books unless you've played the game.
I originally read Revelation in late 2007 and then played Mass Effect in early 2008. Ascension was released in July of last year and I finally got around to reading it a few weeks ago. I'm not going to do any formal reviewing, just talk about a few things that jumped out at me.
The Last Starfighter is a science fiction film about a teenager who beats an arcade game, which turns out to be a recruiting tool for an endangered alien race and leads him to become a starfighter pilot. I saw this movie for the first time a couple weeks ago and thought, "I want to write about this." It's 24 years old and incredibly outdated, but it's one of those films that I wish I had seen as a kid, because I know it would have been truly magical.
This is going to be an informal review of the movie, I'd rather just discuss it and talk about some things I noticed. You may be wondering why the heck a video game website is doing movie reviews, and I'm kind of wondering that myself, but because of its video game themes, I think it is appropriate.