Archive for the Review Category

Left 4 Dead 1 & 2

Posted in Review with tags , , , , , , , , , on October 27, 2017 by Lilliandra Winters

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Dev/Pub: Valve
Platforms: PC, Mac, Linux, Xbox360
Released: November 17th 2008 & November 17th 2009

Left 4 Dead 1 & 2 are by far two of the best games out there, in my opinion. I’m shocked I haven’t reviewed it as of yet. I’ve played the hell out of this game and just have some achievements to work on.

727f9a52112d14ec1d07dd712fe2d9b0f36e306b_hqNow here we will talk about that line of what people consider horror. Horror purists will say that it isn’t a horror game if you can fight back. They prefer game in which you can’t fight back, like Outlast, and will argue that if you can fight it is action and not truly horror no matter what you are fighting. I say, fuck that. If a zombie, demon or crazy lost wife in some backwater hillbilly mansion is trying to rip your intestines from your body, it’s horror.

Now, back to the game. Each episode has a movie poster and you are starring as one of four characters. In the first game it’s Bill, Francis, Louis and Zoey. In the second it’s Coach, Ellis, Nick and Rochelle. I will point out that in the second game you (at least on PC) you have access to all of the episodes from the first game and it’s characters. However you can only play the characters appropriate to the mission, meaning you can’t play L4D characters in L4D2 episodes and vice versa.

left2b42bdead2b22bmonsterSo the story, it’s the zombie apocalypse, you’ve met 3 strangers and have banded together to try and make it out alive. This is a FPS survival horror game. You are equipped with a pistol that has infinite ammo and you can pick up various weapons you find. The weapon list isn’t long but can be entertaining. You have machine guns, rifles, machetes, frying pans, grenades, Molotov cocktails and more. However, any gun that isn’t a pistol has a limited ammo supply.  You have first aid kits, pain pills, adrenaline shots and even defibrillators to keep your character going. All this with a variety of dead things to attempt to kill you. From your normal zombies that run to your specials. Tank, Smoker, Boomer, Jockey, Spitter, Hunter, Charger and the damned Witch that will ruin your day fast. All of them horrible and deadly in their own right but when these bitches gang up on you while the normal zombies keep coming, it’s down right infuriating.

Now this is a game without end, sorry for spoilers but it’s literally about surviving. This isn’t looking for the cure or the reason it’s just surviving which is one of the reasons that I love it so much. It’s you verses them, that’s it. Get you and your friends out. I’m sure that doesn’t sound exciting to everyone but they add so much to such simplicity. It’s hard to get everyone out alive when a smoker has your buddy dangling off the edge of a building, strangling them while you’ve got a zombie hoard at your back that the AI or your friends is trying to deal with. It’s constant team work or cursing at the AI for being stupid. You always have a full party of 4 with you and if it isn’t your friend it’s the computer.

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Bottom line, it’s an amazing game that immerses you. I always get caught up in it and

find myself yelling, laughing and dying often. Oh and if you thought that the game was over once you did all the episodes, you are mistaken. After that, you get to go into verses matches. Play maps as the survivors or the special zombies mentioned above. Great for up to 8 people. Trash talking strongly encouraged.

What do you think? Have you played it and loved it, hated it? Interested? It’s available on Steam.

Huge Left 4 Dead Fan? There is a Fan Movie Left 4 Dead – The MovieI’ll review that soon.

https://www.twitch.tv/videos/112665788

 

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The Mummy (Movie)

Posted in Review with tags , , , , , , on October 13, 2017 by thiathebard

Written by: Bridget Cannon

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Written and Directed by: David Koepp and Alex Kurtzman
Starring:  Tom Cruise, Sofia Boutella and Annabelle Wallis

What was it about?

War profiteer and soldier Nick Morton (Cruise) is looking for artifacts to sell on the black market while being stationed in the Middle East. His antics lead his commanding officer to him, and a site of a hidden tomb. Jenny Halsey (Wallis) is a Doctor working with the US military and demands to examine the site. Within the tomb, an ancient mummy has been buried in an odd fashion. Halsey convinces the military to help her transport the Mummy back to London with her. During the flight strange things begin to happen and an evil is set loose.

What did I think?

I really wanted to like The Mummy. It is the first in a number of horror movies that Universal Studios is remaking. The Dark Universe will be bringing all of these remade monsters together with a cool team trying to track, study and contain them. That idea is really promising and, frankly, exciting to me. The Mummy just did not deliver.

I did not care about the main character. At all. Nick Morton is a terrible person at the start of the movie, he is still terrible in the middle of the movie and he is just boring by the end of it. I didn’t care if he was safe or if he reached his goals. Which is a shame because if you are going to have a character set up a big franchise, who viewers will probably be stuck with later, it is a good idea to make them at least a little interesting. Not even necessarily likable, but at least give the man some layers to his personality.

Other characters had potential. I could see Jenny Halsey being more interesting as a recurring bit character, without Nick’s blandness holding her back, in future movies. Doctor Jekyll, yes THAT Doctor Jekyll, was very well played by Russell Crowe. His character and the organization he heads are both saving graces for the story.

The Mummy herself (Boutella) was a fascinating character. I enjoyed her effects. I just didn’t understand her and Nick at all. Her story seemed to take a backseat to his shenanigans a lot of the time instead of showcasing a great villain. They had no chemistry. In short, The Mummy was pushed back in her own movie for a boring man to just make poor life choices. Can we finally stop Hollywood from believing that we want our heroes to be wrecking balls who don’t seem to care about anyone around them except for sexual purposes? 

Seriously, though. Why was Nick so important again? We had a cool organization and an awesome Mummy to play with. Honestly, Hollywood, we could have had it all.

I also was a little… okay more than a little… off put by a few big mistakes about Egyptian mythology in the movie. There are fact checkers in Hollywood. Did The Mummy even have one? It was difficult to take a universe seriously when the building blocks are not there. Particularly when misinformation keeps being thrown at the audience.

The Mummy is also just not a strong horror movie. The themes were there, but it just did not deliver. Again, because I think that too much of the focus was on the wrong character. It was like the movie was reaching for something great, but then Nick would come on screen and it would just give up. The scenes that focused on the Mummy were good. I even jumped at one of the jump scares. However, one jump scare does not a horror movie make.

Would I recommend it?

It kills me to say this because I want the larger project of the Dark Universe to succeed, but no. There were a few laughs. A couple scares. Even with a fascinating premise, The Mummy just fell flat in the end.

I will say this, though. I think there is great potential for the greater universe that is being created. If they can tighten up their storytelling and focus more on the monsters, the rest of these films could be a fun ride for horror fans. Just not The Mummy

Friday the 13th, The Game Review

Posted in Review with tags , , , , , , , , on October 6, 2017 by Lilliandra Winters

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Developer: IllFonic
Released: May 26th, 2017
Platforms: PC, Xbox One, PS4

I’d like to tell you that this is going to be a calm and observant review of a horror game, but it won’t be. Why? Because this game is my shit. I’ve been playing the game for MONTHS and WILL NOT STOP ANY TIME SOON.

Now that we’ve gotten that out of the way, let’s talk about the game. I was interested in it from the moment I saw it. I wasn’t able to get in on the Kickstarter, unfortunately, but I got the game and that is all that matters.

It is the early 80s, you are a councilor at a summer camp. All of the kids have gone home for the summer and it’s just you and the other counselors for a couple days before you return home. One evening, between your premarital sex, drinking and marijuana smoking, JASON APPEARS OUT OF FUCKING NO WHERE AND MURDERS SOME GUY YOU’VE NEVER MET. Five minuets later, you collect yourself and it’s time to survive.

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Fucking Chad

You can play as either a counselor or Jason. Matches consist of 8 players, 1 killer and 7 survivors. If you are a survivor, your goal is pretty simple. Survive for 20 minutes, escape the map using the car or police, or kill Jason. If you are Jason, your goal is to kill everyone.

There is a character for everyone. I haven’t played them all because AJ is my favorite. She has a high stealth and high repair skill. These are most important to me. She runs like a pack a day smoker, which would fit the character. I did play Tiffany for a bit because of her high stamina, but she is awful at repair and that is constantly what I am trying to do. Fix the phone or fix the car and GTFO. There are several female and male characters, with ethnic and social range. Just don’t play Chad. I can’t stand Chad.

You can use earned points to buy perks as either killer or survivor. Characters unlock as you play the game. You can also unlock different movie versions of Jason, each with different strengths and weaknesses. You can buy different kills as Jason and perks as counselors. Perks range from a faster arrival time with the police, a chance that Jason won’t notice you in a building, easier repairs, faster sprints and more. The possibilities are huge. Each come at different levels (common to legendary) and can have different pros and cons (like a boost to your sprint, but a reduction in stamina).

As a counselor, you can change your clothing some. The more you play a specific character, the more you unlock.

There are various ways to survive as a counselor. You can work together or lone wolf it to survive. You can find the phone fuse and repair the phone box to call the cops. You can repair one of the two cars, a two-seat or four-seat vehicle. They both need a set of keys, gas and a battery installed. (Who is taking the batteries out of cars in this damn camp?) When repaired, you can hop in and hope to escape before you are stopped. In the same vein, you can repair and escape in the boat (not all matches have boats, though). You can survive the entire 20 mins without being killed or you can kill Jason. I named each of them in order of ease (in my opinion). Calling the cops and waiting, at most 5 mins, feels like the easiest when there are plenty of other people to distract him.

The car is up in the air and can require cooperation. Surviving is hard if the killer isn’t new to the game and I have yet to kill Jason, however I will fix that soon. To kill him, you need to have knocked off his mask, a female must be wearing a dusty old sweater that can be found in Jason’s shack (hidden somewhere on the map) and Tommy Jarvis must have the machete. Or so I’ve been told.

Can’t believe I forgot about Tommy. You will find a radio in the camp, using it gives you the ability to alert Tommy Jarvis. When people escape or die, there is a chance one can come back as Tommy. He is pretty handy at everything (straight 10s on all skills) and comes with a shot gun, map and walkie talkie.

20170622103917_1Maybe people think that Jason has too much power over the counselors and use it to criticize the game, but I disagree. I find it hard to kill the counselors as Jason. There are many factors against you and I can’t use the shift power well. I only play basic Jason and recently got my first 8/8 kills.

As Jason, you have 4 abilities. You can stalk (the music won’t play when you are near your victim), you can shift (become incorporeal and dash around, popping up behind people), you can sense where people are (making buildings bright red if someone is in them) and you can morph to any spot on the map. As plain Jason, I also have an ax and some traps, and I can pick up knives from around the camp and throw them at people.

You have four different executions, if you’ve spent your points on them, and once you grab someone, you can chose one of those ways to kill (choked to death, axed in half, jaw ripped out, etc). There are environmental kills, also. You can crush their skull against a wall, drown them in a toilet, impale them with a bird bath and straight up drown them in the lake. (Oh, the murderous possibilities!)

I will note that I am disappointed that there isn’t word yet about Pamela being a killer option at the moment. She was in an underachieved stretch goal for their Kickstater, but I want to see her soon.

That is the basics of the game. It’s difficult to master and oh so much fun to play. Kill your friends, kill strangers, kill everyone! I love this game and I play it weekly. I’ve made friends because of this game. It is easily one of my favorites, but it’s far from perfect.

Before you go shelling out $40, let’s chat about the cons.

The community isn’t great at all. I wouldn’t go as far as to call it Overwatch toxic, but there are some salty players out there. They can make the experience pretty awful. I typically mute everyone that I don’t know personally when entering a match for several reasons. First, so I don’t have to hear their cursing, nonsense, racists/sexist hateful bullshit. Second, because hearing 8 year olds play this game disturbs the fuck out of me. Finally, the lobbies aren’t separated by native language. No matter how much I don’t mind playing with someone from say Russia, if we can’t speak to each other, there isn’t a point.

Let’s also talk about the assholes who are so salty that they got killed by Jason that they will leave the match mid-execution, meaning that the Jason player doesn’t get points for the kill. If you do this, you are going to the deepest, darkest level of Hell full of atrocities that even I can’t fucking imagine. Or they will leave before the end of the game, which is just annoying as fuck, especially when you’ve got no one to come back as Tommy Jarvis.

There is currently no way to report people in game. Of course, in-game reporting can also be a slippery slope of abuse by salty players. Oh, and don’t get me started on those assholes that use the car to run over other players. The only deterrent is a loss of 1000 exp, which, honestly, they don’t give a crap about. How about match timers? Killed a teammate? Can’t match up for 30 mins!

friday-the-13th-game-4The game is also buggy as hell. Not horribly so at the moment, but enough to cause issues in game play. I’ve been bugged out and killed when I shouldn’t have been, my hair has gone wonky and there are plenty of disconnects. Nothing so major that I won’t play. I will, however, protest the choice of colors for AJ’s bathing suits (available in the Summer DLC). They all have pink in them. Seriously, wtf? She’s GOTH.

Should you get this game? Hells yes! If you can afford the $40 price point, go for it. It’s a great game with endless amount of fun, and hey, you can kill your friends. Do you play the game? Who would you like to see make an appearance? Is Freddy Kruger a viable option for the game? Let us know in the comments below!

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Why I couldn’t finish “The Curse of Sleeping Beauty” (2016)

Posted in Review with tags , , , , , , , , , on July 14, 2017 by Xander Woolf

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Supposedly based on the Grimm fairy tale “Briar Rose,” The Curse of Sleeping Beauty follows Thomas, a reclusive artist who consistently dreams of a beautiful sleeping woman that he just can’t wake up. When he inherits a property that’s been in his family for generations, his nightmares become real. He has to free Briar Rose from her prison in order to free himself from the property.

It sounds like it could be a beautiful story… if done right.

The movie was so awful, though, we couldn’t even finish it. We got about half-way through and turned it off. This is actually a big deal for Winters and me. In our entire friendship, we’ve only ever turned off three movies.

It’s especially a big deal for me given that I love bad horror movies. I’ll watch bad horror until the cows come home, but I couldn’t finish The Curse of Sleeping Beauty. Here’s why.

1) The acting was atrocious. While the actors were all beautiful in their own right, they weren’t right for the roles. Ethan Peck, at first, seemed perfect for a reclusive artist role. As the movie went on, however, it became obvious that Thomas was supposed to care about both Briar Rose and Linda, the woman helping him learn more about the mysterious property. Ethan Peck, however, continued with his emotionless character, causing his lines to fall flat. India Eisley, who played Briar Rose, was gorgeous in her outfit, but could have spent more time with a dialect coach. Her English accent was reminiscent of that of a teenager pretending to be “posh.” Finally, Natalie Hall’s Linda attempted to be the comic relief, but the delivery of her lines combined with the overall feel of the movie made that attempt fall short. We felt as though each of these actors was only hired because of their good looks.

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2) The script was just bad. The acting probably would have been better if the script was better written. Instead, there were lines that made no sense and major plot holes. Not only that, but near the middle of the movie, the plot changed from straight horror fantasy, where one or two people deal with an evil force, to an ensemble let’s-tackle-this-together movie. The dynamic completely changed when the two extra characters were added. Thomas and Linda were all that were needed, in my opinion.

3) They mixed several cultures together. This goes along with bad script writing, but deserves a point all to its own. The Sleeping Beauty story is of French origin. The movie takes place in America (I think!). All the characters seem to be American or Canadian, with the exception of Briar Rose, who is supposedly British. Richard (Bruce Davison), shows up in a car with a European license plate. And, finally, when they determine what the actual curse is, they reveal that it’s Middle Eastern… Dear writers, pick one and stick to it!

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While those are my three big points, there were a lot of little points as well. Let’s call it nitpicks. First, Thomas’ uncle supposedly lived in the mysterious house for 40 years, but it looked like it hadn’t been lived in for quite a long time. Second, Thomas at one point says he just wants to get out of this “godforsaken town,” but there was no introduction of the town itself or Thomas’ interaction with it. Finally, there’s a scene where a bunch of mannequins are attacking Thomas and Linda, attempting to protect the secret of the house from outsiders, and I was just reminded of an episode of Doctor Who, which took me right out of the story.

I didn’t see the ending, but absolutely nothing could have made this movie worth it. I assume Briar Rose turned out to be evil and they had to defeat her. Otherwise, they never would have introduced Linda as Thomas’ other love interest. I also assume that the 53 people who had gone missing on the property were the people inside the mannequins. But, hey, I could be wrong.

Watch it for yourself and tell me your thoughts in the comments below!

Review: Stranger Things (TV Show)

Posted in Review on March 10, 2017 by Lilliandra Winters

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Created by: Matt and Ross Duffer
Starring: Winona Ryder, David Harbour, Finn Wolfhard

Welcome to the 1980’s! Full of Dungeons & Dragons, nerds, awkward telephones and Stranger Things!

Netflix continues to nail original show after original show and Stranger Things is no exception. Filled with an amazing cast, great effects, a killer story line and all the nostalgia of my childhood, I was glued to my television. In one season, I ranged every emotion I could think of and a few new ones that I’m not sure how to deal with. I don’t know that I have a negative thing to say about it. In fact, if you haven’t watched it and are mildly curious, stop reading this right now and go binge watch. Come back when you’re done.

I’ll wait.

Done yet? Ok, great! For those of you who haven’t seen it and still aren’t sure, I have no idea what you are waiting for. Hands down, Netflix is one of the few services that I pay for that I feel actually earns my money (and may even deserve a little more). From Daredevil, Jessica Jones and now Luke Cake, you had me at Marvel, but Stranger Things is truly original and more beautiful than the Mona Lisa. Sorry, Mona.

This epic tale starts out like all of them should, with a bunch of nerdy kids playing Dungeons & Dragons in a basement. By far not the best DM out there, they are having a blast fighting monsters until it’s time to call it quits for the night. Of course, that is when it all goes downhill.

Will, who is the bravest motherfucker around, disappears and the town starts their search and turn up with nothing after nothing. His mother starts to look crazy while his older brother tries to keep everything together and hold out hope for his brother’s return. All of Will’s friends are frantic to find him, but they find someone else instead: Eleven, a mysterious girl with powers, answers and enough social awkwardness to make me proud.

This tale unravels in the most elegant way; it is beautifully complicated. Just when you think you know what’s going on, they pull the rug out from under you and you are left staring at the ceiling wondering what just happened. You feel such a range of emotions for so many different characters that, at some points, you are left just an emotional mess hoping that everyone will have their happy ending, and that some people will get what they deserve.

I’m not even gonna talk about Barb.

The cast of characters fills quickly with Will’s friends, Will’s family, and unsuspecting members of the town just trying to get by in their everyday life. It’s full of insanity, dysfunction and confusion, but in the best way. I want to sit here and tell you about this show all day, reveal every goosebump, each moment I yelled at the TV, each time I was at the edge of my sit and starting a new episode, even if I was exhausted. However, I won’t. This show is the puzzle box, it’s so much that I don’t even know where to start and I would never finish.

At the end of the season, I was emotionally drained, happy it was over but wanting more at the same time. I hope you go and watch it, come out on the end as distraught as I feel and just as happy to have watched it as I am.

Review: Don’t Breathe (2016)

Posted in Review with tags , , , , , , , , , on March 3, 2017 by Xander Woolf

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Written and Directed by: Fede Alvarez
Starring: Stephen Lang, Jane Levy, Dylan Minnette

What’s it about?
Three amateur thieves (Levy, Minnette, Daniel Zovatto) devise a plan to steal $300,000 from a disabled veteran (Lang) living in a house in an abandoned neighborhood in Detroit. The plan goes wrong, however, when they find they’re stuck in a house with a trained killer.

What did I think?
These kids are dumb. I can’t express how dumb these kids are. First of all, the man may be blind, but blind people can hear and smell really, really well. Don’t take your shoes off and certainly don’t take steps backwards if you’re not absolutely sure there’s not a creaky floor board. Secondly, the man’s a veteran. He’s not going to be defenseless, even if he is disabled. He had four locks on his front door for Christ’s sake.

I can’t say I was really scared during this movie. The people in danger broke into a house in a Stand Your Ground state. Of course the owner’s going to use deadly force to defend himself, his money, and the girl he’s got tied up in the basement. You can’t just walk in with one pistol and think you’ll be alright. I had no empathy for the main characters, so I found that I didn’t care what happened to them. This made the jump scares and the general suspense far less effective.

I’d much rather see the story of the girl he had tied up. Sure, he explained it, but that’s a far scarier situation to be in. Make that movie. Don’t try to make me empathize with a bunch of burglars who should know full well they’re in a Stand Your Ground state. He had every legal right to kill the intruders in his home, regardless of whether or not he has a hostage in the basement.

The acting was pretty good, though, despite the premise. Though, to be honest, not a lot of talking happened in this movie. The few times the main characters did talk (which, of course, was at the worst times), they were immediately bombarded with a bullet. They barely even had full conversations during the exposition, which I can get behind. The less talking, the less any particular actor can ruin a scene. Though, they all did facial expressions really well. And, because they had to be quiet to avoid this killer, there was no fake horror movie scream. Thank you for that, Fede Alvarez.

Do I recommend it?
Yeah, it’s pretty much just like every other horror movie, so you might as well go watch it. The main characters make bad decisions, so at least it’s a good opportunity to yell at your screen, if you haven’t done that in awhile.

Review: Split (2016)

Posted in Review with tags , , , , , , , , , on February 28, 2017 by Xander Woolf

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Directed by: M. Night Shyamalan
Starring: James McAvoy, Anya Taylor-Joy, Haley Lu Richardson

What’s it about?
Split follows a man named Kevin (McAvoy) who has Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID). One of his alternative identities kidnaps three teenaged girls in an effort to sacrifice them to “The Beast.” The three girls must find their way out while Kevin’s other alters work to either help or hinder the alter responsible.

What did I think?
I’ve got to be honest with you, I had no idea this was an M. Night Shyamalan movie until my boyfriend and I went to go see it opening weekend. I’m not on my game lately. I have to tell you, though, my assertion in my review of The Visit is still true: M. Night Shyamalan is back.

The acting was superb. James McAvoy’s ability to switch between Kevin’s alters within seconds is just astounding. Anya Taylor-Joy also brings an amazing performance to the table, which can only be expected after her excellent acting in The Witch.

The premise is terrifying, even if problematic. In a time when society is struggling to end the stigma against mental illness, M. Night Shyamalan releases a movie where the villain is a villain because he has DID. This can be harmful to the perception of mental illness in this country. If not for Kevin’s well-meaning psychiatrist, Dr Fletcher (Betty Buckley), who asserts that those with DID have ascended to a higher plane than us mere humans, it would be completely problematic.

Overall, though, the movie was scary and filled with an amazing amount of suspense. And the twist ending, which I’m sure you all already know about, is amazing. And, more good news, M. Night Shyamalan is going to make another one to complete his trifecta!

Do I recommend it?
Yes, despite its problems, it’s still an amazingly well-made movie. M. Night Shyamalan is definitely back… Let’s just hope he doesn’t revert back and try to make another Avatar