Catherine Review

System: PS3/360

ESRB: Mature

Catherine is simply fascinating. The story line is top-notch and acts as an interesting study on relationships. It will really hit home for most male players as they progress through the shockingly realistic story. You can play arcade games, talk to the people who come in and out of the bar, chat with the strange bartender named “Boss”, use the restroom, drink different types of drinks and even text people on your cell phone. The cut-scenes  are well-done and give the game character and depth. They’re full anime and are very dramatic and entertaining, you will definitely be left wishing there was a Catherine anime show when it’s all said and done.

The pacing is very well done in Catherine. Most time is spent climbing block puzzles, but there are also other game play elements such as being able to hang out at the local bar called “The Stray Sheep” with friends. The game play itself is fantastic. The block puzzles are truly entertaining and extremely thought provoking and difficult, even on the easiest difficulty. You will learn block climbing techniques from the other sheep you encounter in the strange “world” in Vincent’s dreams. You will never grow tired of playing Catherine. Each puzzle is different, always changing from level to level. Some blocks may have spikes, some may crumble and others may be springboards to reach higher blocks. It’s a blast to play through these levels, but beware, some can be very difficult and players may become frustrated, but it’s all worth it in the end.

The music in Catherine is beautiful. A soundtrack even comes with new copies of the game. It’s all high quality instrumentals with violins, pianos and more. The music really sets the tone for each stage in the game, giving it a sense of individuality. The voice acting is all well-done, from the most insignificant characters such as bar-goers to Vincent and Catherine.

Overall, Catherine is a rousing success. It cements it’s name in gaming history for being a truly unique, one of a kind experience. All gamers should pick it up, regardless of genre preference. Catherine boasts a fantastic story, great pacing, top-notch voice acting, spectacular game play and solid replay value. The main downfall of the game is that it is linear and one dimensional. However, it’s still worth every penny of it’s $59.99 price. Give it a purchase, you will not be disappointed. Catherine is a diamond in a pool of substandard, mediocre shooters flooding the shelves of retail stores.

4 out of 5

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Resident Evil 4 HD Review

System: PSN, Xbox Live

ESRB: Mature

Resident Evil 4 HD really disappointed me. I have played and beaten both the Gamecube and PS2 versions of the game, and both were breathtaking, but of course that was in 2005 and 2006. Nonetheless, I can safely say those versions, as well as the Wii version, are all better than this version, hands down. It costs a shockingly high $19.99 ($9.99 for Plus members) and the game feels like nothing but a quick cash-in for Capcom. I recently sat down and played the Gamecube version again, and I’m loving it. The atmosphere is tense and heart pounding, the controls are tight and responsive, and it just feels right.

In 2005, no game looked and played better than Resident Evil 4, and that’s a fact, it changed the survival horror genre forever. After playing this “HD” version, I’m angry, wishing I wouldn’t have wasted money on it, wishing I could get the money back, because I feel used. Let me put it to you straight, the graphics have only been “upscaled”, so it hasn’t been totally overhauled, and it just looks bland, plus the lighting is way off, and that fog effect is almost gone completely, it lost all of it’s horror-like features. It may looks nice at first, but as you get into it, you will easily see it’s flaws. As far as the sound goes, putting it bluntly, it’s bland. It sounds muffled and like it was ported over from a last-gen game (it was). They didn’t take the time to improve it, so it just sounds like a recycled mess. However, this is not to say the awesome music and great sound effects are still here, because they are. The controls are below average as well. This was the deal breaker for me. I put the game down because I couldn’t handle it any more. Leon’s movements are much worse than they were before. Often times as you’re running, you’ll stop numerous times, mainly because the controls didn’t get any extra attention when porting over. There are two control schemes, and neither feels right. If it was me, I would have “L1” as aim and “X” as shoot. Very big disappointment there. The story is the same, the characters are the same, it’s still Resident Evil 4, minus some of the the good gameplay and horror we knew from the original port. All in all, Resident Evil 4 HD is only decent, compared to the original. You can buy a used Gamecube and a used copy of RE4 for cheaper, and get a better experience out of it. If you haven’t played Resident Evil 4 before, shame on you, go buy the Gamecube, PS2 or Wii version and skip this iteration.

Pros:

Still Resident Evil 4

Story line & Characters

Great Boss Fights

Cons:
HD graphics aren’t full “HD”
Great controls have been replaced with sluggish, average ones
Audio is aged and just sounds bad
3 out of 5

Bite-Sized Review: The Lincoln Lawyer

LL coverThe Lincoln Lawyer

Released: March 18, 2011

Rated: R

Runtime: 118 Minutes

The Lincoln Lawyer was a very interesting film. Throughout its near 2-hour run time, I was deeply into the story line, on the edge of my seat, wondering what would happen next. The premise is intriguing and the movie is based on a book. I honestly never expected it to be as good as it was. Matthew McConaughey is out of his comfort zone here, usually being the lead in romantic comedies such as Fool’s Gold and How To Lose A Guy In 10 Days, but you wouldn’t notice. He plays the witty big shot lawyer and just soars. He is at the top of his game here. It’s easily one of his best performances in years, or of his career for that matter. I wanted more as the credits started rolling. I hope he decides to do more of this type of stuff, as he was extraordinary. William Macy plays a much smaller role as one of his friends and is excellent as always. I like the appearance by Trace Adkins. He is a total bad-A in his biker role. The Lincoln Lawyer has solid directing, excellent performances and boasts high production values. It is definitely not short on entertainment, so check it out.

Verdict:

4 out of 5

Bite-Sized Review: Eagle Eye

EE cover

Eagle Eye

Released: September 16, 2008

Rated: PG-13

Runtime: 118 Minutes

Eagle Eye is a confused, unusual and long-winded mess. The film is candy-coated with high production values and big action sequences. It does have its moments of thrilling action, but in the end, it is too messy to be taken seriously.

Verdict:

2 out of 5

Tropic Thunder Review

TT 1Tropic Thunder is a 2008 comedy directed by Ben Stiller about a group of ragtag movie stars who think they are actually making a Vietnam war film, even though they are definitely not when things get absolutely crazy. It boasts hilarious and excellent performances by Stiller himself, Robert Downey Jr., Jay Baruchel and Jack Black. Matthew McConaughey plays in a somewhat forgettable role, but Tom Cruise surprises as Les Grossman. Other cast members include Nick Nolte, Danny McBride, Bill Hader and Steve Coogan. This is obviously a big time cast. Unlike a lot of ensemble-type films, these guys knock it out of the park. There are tons of laughs in this satirical and over the top comedy. You will get lost in this laugh-out-loud, relentless, in your face comedic spectacle. It has all the makings of a great comedy and then some.

Tropic Thunder

The performances are all excellent in Tropic Thunder. I love the satirical attitude it has. They can seriously make spin-offs from the movies within the movie, such as Simple Jack, The Fatties and Satan’s Alley. The film opens with a few of these “fake” trailers. It is so much fun. There are endless jokes and laughs in the extremely well-written script. It is a party from start to finish. The production values are sky-high and Tropic Thunder uses this to its advantage. The cinematography is beautiful and the sound design is great. Everything is silky and smooth, including all of the booty sweat in one of those aforementioned trailers. Okay that may be going too far! Anyways, who knew Stiller was such a great director? Well, he puts those talents on full display. It is a very well-directed film. The interesting but often unrealistic plot always leaves room for comedy and craziness. The action in Tropic Thunder is surprisingly good, along with the great effects. This is a must-own comedy! Oh, and I want a Simple Jack spin-off. Wait, that would probably be very controversial.

4/5

Bite-Sized Review: Love Wedding Marriage

LWM cover

Love Wedding Marriage

Released: June 3, 2011

Rated: PG-13

Runtime: 90 Minutes

An absolute failure on all levels, Love Wedding Marriage is the epitome of a bad movie. Mandy Moore and Kellan Lutz star as Ava and Charlie, a newly-wedded couple who begin to struggle when Ava hears her parents are getting a divorce. It is essentially a boring, lifeless sitcom that runs way over its broadcast time. It is easily one of the worst movies I’ve seen in a long while. If it was actually a sitcom, it would still be bad. The film is stuffed full of below-average actors, who are as equally bad at acting as the script is written. The premise is just plain silly and the story is bland and boring, filled with meaningless dialogue and scenarios. The plot is non-existent, mainly because the film has no direction in the first place. You almost feel sorry for the actors, who are just so lost throughout the entire thing, but it’s all bad. The bland script writing, poor directing, abysmal storytelling, and most of all its sheer lack of emotional depth and inability to connect with the audience are all evidence of a total and complete failure.

LWM 1

Love Wedding Marriage doesn’t have a single redeeming quality and should be avoided at all costs. It is flat out embarrassing and puts an unrealistic view on love and the quality of life. Not many movies can say they hold a “0%” Rotten rating on Rotten Tomatoes, but this one takes it and runs with it, whether it’s unaware or unashamed, I guess we will never know.

Verdict:

0 out of 5