You say shameless rip off like it's a bad thing...

It's been rumored for awhile now, and Sony's own mascot brawler title has officially surfaced, with the ridiculously long and terrible title of Playstation All-Stars Battle Royale. But the surprising thing is just how much of a blatant knock-off of Nintendo's Super Smash Bros series this is. There are certainly other 4-on-4 brawlers similar but this is so close Sony's legal department has to be keeping a tight watch on it. Of course, as long as you accept the fact it's a shameless rip off, if it's a well-done shameless rip off, there's a lot of fun to be had. Personally I'm all for seeing the likes of Nathan Drake, Ratchet & Clank and Kratos mix it up.

Arguably Sony's biggest problem is going to be having a roster that people give a shit about. Yes, they have a pretty big and varied stable of characters, but nothing anywhere near the level of Nintendo. Even the more oddball characters like Nes or Roy have a cult following. Once you get past the few top tier characters Sony has, you've run out of characters anyone gives a rat's ass about. Random dude from Killzone? Fat Princess? That's not someone anyone cares about playing. I'm pretty sure the developers said there would be some third-party characters as well. Hopefully that will sufficiently swell the roster and there will be some nice surprises come E3 when I'm sure a good portion (though probably not all) of the roster will be revealed.

That's it for today, I'll most likely be back Monday or Tuesday with another post. Until then, here's your BIG BANG OF THE WEEK:


5 reasons the Big Bang Theory sucks (and 5 reasons it's great)

The Big Bang Theory is one of the biggest sitcoms out there, it's wildly popular, but also wildly divisive. There is a rather large geek contingent that considers it insulting and stupid, not too mention it competes against the less popular Community, which has a small but fiercely loyal crowd. I happen to be a fan of the Big Bang Theory, but I can also see why some treat it with such vitriol. So here are 5 reasons Big Bang Theory is one of the worst things to happen to nerds since Revenge of The Nerds, and 5 reasons it's one of the best.

Reasons it sucks:

#5. Canned Laughter:  It is 2012 right? Who still uses canned laughter for virtually all their sitcoms? Just CBS. It's a relic and a crutch for mediocre stuff that has to tell it's audience when something's funny. Because really, how will we know if something's funny unless someone else tells us?

#4. The humor is stupid: For a show about nerdy scientists, most of the jokes are pretty dumb. Much of the humor relies on old standards like stereotypes, prat falls, and random references without much rhyme or reason.

#3: It's Insulting to us nerds and geeks: This isn't really a show about us, it's a show that makes fun of us and for evidence of this all you have to do is look at Penny. She is specifically there to react like the average CBS viewer and be confused when somebody says anything remotely intelligent and just be stunned/amused that grown men play video games, enjoy sci-fi read comics and watch anime.

#2: The characters don't evolve: This is true of many sitcoms, but it doesn't make BBT any less guilty. Raj is the perfect example. He has spent the entire show being unable to talk to women except when drunk or on drugs with wacky side effects. In real life this would cripple more than just his chances of getting laid, it could ruin his career (except in a Chuck Lorre show, where no woman is in charge of anything, more on that in a bit). In 5 years he should've made some smidgen of progress in this area, but not on a CBS sitcom, hell no.

#1: Chuck Lorre is the Michael Bay of sitcoms: Seriously, take a look at this guy's "greatest hits"-Cybill, Dharma & Greg, Two and a Half Men and Mike Molly. Truly the picture of mediocrity at its finest. But it's also not just mediocrity, Lorre's shows all pretty much look the exact same, and he just seems to have a really weird and negative attitude towards women in general, this shines through the most in the truly awful Two & Half Men, but you can see plenty of it in Big Bang Theory. Amy Farrah Fowler is possibly the smartest character on the show, but nearly all jokes she's involved in are about her possible lesbian attempts with Penny. And speaking of Penny, does anyone know her last name? Oh I guess the primary female on a Chuck Lorre show doesn't get one.

Ok, enough with the negativity, after all I actually really enjoy the show, and here's 5 good reasons why:

5. There is smart humor: Yeah there are some dumb easy jokes, but there's a ton stuff only nerds will really appreciate. Like the various made up games, the huge amount of references to sci-fi and geek culture in general and the random comic book debates are all things that nerds love and will laugh hysterically at and the average viewer won't have a clue why it's funny.

4. Great Nerdy guest stars: Who cares about Wil Wheaton, the whiny kid from Star Trek being on Big Bang Theory? I sure as hell do. The list of geek-approved guest stars runs the gamut from pretty well known icons like Leonard Nimoy & Brent Spiner to more obscure ones like Steve Wozniak and Neil deGrasse Tyson. Sure it may be geek pandering, but hey somebody's pandering to geeks, that's awesome!

3. It celebrates nerds: Yeah it pokes fun at us, but like the saying goes, if you can't laugh at yourself, who can you laugh at? And while it pokes fun, it also gloriously basks in some of the nerdiest aspects of geek culture. The characters take a lot of pride in the things they enjoy, and so does the show.

2. The characters actually do evolve:While I will give you Raj as an example of someone who hasn't really changed in the course of the show, everyone else has. Howard is getting married, Sheldon is more empathetic (though he's still Sheldon) and sort of has a girlfriend. Leonard & Penny's relationship is constantly changing, which is perfectly realistic. Granted it's not on the same level as Community, but saying the characters don't evolve means you aren't regularly watching the show, but even then you can still enjoy it. Which leads me to my final good thing:

1. It's inclusive: Community is a great show, but the show and it's fans make you feel like you are being punished if god forbid you haven't watched from the very beginning or missed a couple episodes. You can't randomly watch an episode of Community, you won't know what the hell is going on. You can however, randomly watch most Big Bang Theory episodes randomly and just enjoy them. Also, much like Penny hanging out with the guys, you don't have to be an uber-nerd to get all the jokes and references, there's at least a little something for everybody. Some may point that out as weakness, that the show is too broad and not strictly made for nerds, I say it's a great step towards nerds gaining more mainstream acceptance.

Ok that's it for today, I should have another post up this weekend, until then, here's your TRAILER OF THE WEEK: Lawless


Dragons. Must be Tuesday....

Yup another game involving dragons. Though the twist being that this is a Japanese developer's(Capcom) take on a western-style rpg, being far more action oriented than most rpgs you see out of Japan. Will it succeed? Well, the game release is still about a month away, but Capcom released a demo you can check out now on 360 and later today on the PS3. It seems to play a hell of a lot like Dark Souls, with very little hand-holding and enemies that if you're not careful, will kill you quite easily. A very interesting mechanic is the ability to grab things. It sounds really simply just stating it like that, but you can throw various items at enemies, small enemies at each other, and you can climb on large enemies. This is such a simple and yet awesome idea it's kind of a wonder it's not really a staple. Climbing on a massive griffin and relentlessly stabbing it is a great thrill that might never get old.

It does seem lacking in personality, with environments that look like they were ripped straight out of Dragon Age: Origins, but it's hard to get that across in a short demo. I know Capcom is taking a big gamble on this being one of their big new IPs, so hopefully it'll be successful. It is something I'm very interested in picking up if I have time, but I'm pretty front-loaded as is, and I doubt that'll change in a month's time, so hopefully somewhere down the road.

That's it for today , I should hopefully get another post up tomorrow. Until then, here's your FREE GAME OF THE WEEK:  Labyrinth iXi


Making the case for day one dlc...

This is an image that Rocksteady has been teasing tied to supposedly new dlc for Arkham City. In addition to pretty obviously being Harley Quinn, it's also been heavily rumored that Robin will feature in some solo DLC as well. Sounds great, the problem? Arkham City came out in October of last year. That's virtually a lifetime for a videogame. I loved it, but I beat it and it's done. I have virtually no interest in it now. I probably would have if it had come out within a couple months of release, but I've moved on, and my bet is most other gamers have too.

That being said, since Arkham City has been confirmed for the Wii U, it would be at least a nice bonus for anybody who waited for that release. Those combined with something  showing why the Wii U version would be superior through unique features could make a strong case for buying ports on the Wii U versus the other systems. I'm not saying games should always have day one dlc, but if they want gamers to stay invested they probably need something to trickle out every couple of months.

We know Skyrim is getting DLC and it'll be a massive expansion. But really, unless I've got nothing else on plate, it seems unlikely I'll be interested because again it's been too long. Though I haven't bought any myself, I think one game that's a good example of properly doling out dlc is Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning. They've already come out with 2 fairly meaty DLC expansions and the game has only been out two months. That's a great enticement for people who really enjoyed the game and want more of it to keep playing at a pretty reasonable pace. I'm actually mild surprised there hasn't been any Mass Effect 3 single-player dlc as of yet but my guess is the negative reaction to the ending and admittedly ridiculously corporate message of "buy dlc!" at the end may have pushed initial plans back until they release that extended ending dlc and the heat has died down a bit.

Bottom line, DLC is a tricky beast, and it's important to do it right. And it may not fair to developers hoping to get a little extra cash, but there's a window and I think it's pretty much closed for Arkham City (and possibly Skyrim for that matter at the rate they are going). Sure it will sell, but probably not nearly as much as if it had been released already instead of up to several months from now.

That's all for today, I should be back on Monday with a new post. Until then, here's your TRAILER OF THE WEEK: Struck By Lightning


God of Bore....

Now for the record I'm really not opposed to a new God of War game, but I was hoping a new game would take it in a different direction. We've now had no less than 5 seperate games of Kratos wreaking havoc all over Greek mythology. A prequel isn't going to change that I'm betting. Either a new setting or a new protagonist (arguably both) is strongly in order. I'm pretty sure some new equivalent of Kratos in a different culture (Eqypt would probably be the most obvious, but there are plenty of other interesting options as well). Honestly I was getting a little bored with the whole theme by the end of God of War II, and III just seemed completely unnecessary.

Horror movies mostly seem to follow a similar formula. You've seen a few, you've pretty much seen them all. Cabin in the Woods knows this, and uses it in extremely brilliant ways to subvert your expectations. It manages to be savagely funny, have a couple good genuine scares, and some nice surprise pop-ups from a couple Joss Whedon alums as well. To really discuss the plot would be to spoil the surprise, but needless to say this goes well beyond your average group of dumb teens getting slaughtered in the woods. Easily the smartest horror film in over a decade, even if you aren't really a fan of horror films (especially if it's because they are all the same) you'll probably get a lot of enjoyment out of it.

That's pretty much it for today I should be back tomorrow with another post though. Until then here's your FREE GAME OF THE WEEK: 2am Truck Stop


The Witching Hour...

I don't think the Witcher 2 could've planned it's console release this Tuesday better if developer CD Projekt Red were clairvoyant. In the wake of Mass Effect 3's failure to deliver on it's promise of true choice and consequences for your actions, Witcher 2 is already acclaimed for and prides itself on its protagonist, Geralt, for making grey choices in a world where nothing is simple. It also is one of those games that prides itself on not being particularly welcoming to newbies, as one of the common complaints is that it has rather unforgiving combat and complex systems that it doesn't bother explaining much.  I'm certainly interested in trying it out, but admittedly I've got far too much on my plate to fit in another 30-40 hour epic rpg at this point, so I'll get it somewhere down the line.

Roger Wilco returns? Most likely not, but the creators of the legendary and completely awesome Space Quest have re-united to bring us something new. Odds are it'll be right up there with the newer Monkey Island games & Sam and Max adventures in terms of awesome bizarre humor. Hell even Leisure Suit Larry is trying to get back into the game. It really is great to see all these old school adventure series making a comeback as its the stuff I pretty much got started on. Now if they could bring back Maniac Mansion I'd pretty much be completely content.

Super Mario 4? Hell technically we're up to about 15 Super Mario titles (and that's not counting various spin-offs), but officially there's never been a Super Mario "4". So now that Nintendo has gone and registered "Super Mario 4" as a domain name, people are speculating about what exactly that means. Most likely it'll be something that's a callback to the earlier 8 & 16-bit titles, but Nintendo's never really been afraid to do bold and daring gameplay with their core titles, so it also wouldn't surprise me to see Super Mario 4 as a premiere Wii U title that balances old school gameplay with showing off the new features of Nintendo's latest system. Hopefully we'll find out at E3 which isn't too far off.

That's it for today. I might have another post up Monday, but will most definitely have one up by Wednesday. Until then here's your BIG BANG OF THE WEEK:


The Legend Continues...

The Legend of Korra probably has an extremely unfair legacy to live up to. Avatar: The Last Airbender, is easily one of the greatest animated series ever, flawlessly blending action, humor and heart and managing to tell an extremely tight story in 3 short but amazing seasons. And after the extreme horror that was M. Night Shamaywatchamacallit's "vision" of Airbender on the big screen, this was pretty much fans' last hope for anything remotely salvageable from the franchise.

So to say expectations are unrealistically high is an understatement. Does it manage to live up to them? Hard to say after just one episode, but the premiere episode does show a lot of promise and flair and seems to be a worthy follow up so far. It manages to touch plenty on the past series, have an interesting new heroine to follow in Korra, and a few enemies more complex than the simple rule the world fire thugs that dominated the previous show. There's still a lot of unanswered questions, such as who will be Korra's inevitable buddies and how well they will compare to Aang's, and whether her enemies will have any real depth to them. But if the first episode is any indication, this will be just as good as it's predecessor. If you want to watch it for free and don't have cable, you can download it off Xbox marketplace, and if you haven't seen the original, it's available on pretty much everything including Netflix streaming so do yourself a favor and catch up.

The Wrath of the White Witch is easily on of my most anticipated games coming out for the PS3. The combination of Studio Ghibli and Level 5 is a no-brainer instant classic. Sadly it's been delayed til 2013 already, but here's the first English trailer in the meantime:

That's really all I have today but I should have another post up tomorrow, til then here's your FREE GAME OF THE WEEK: Schoolgirls vs. Orcs


When Worlds Colllide....

In the realm of PLEASE GOD LET THIS COME OUT HERE: Sega, Capcom and Namco are making a crossover game. No not a fighting game (though that would be great too), but a strategy RPG. Granted, this is hardly the first game of this type. And in fact, previous similar crossover efforts have not gone so well (i.e. Namco x Capcom), but I'll hold out hope that an rpg that sees Mega Man team up with Yuri Lowell as one of the most awesome things ever.

I'm pretty in the know on voice actors between playing video games and watching various animated shows, but it still blows me away occasionally finding out who voiced some of my favorite characters over the years because there's usually a lot of crossover and the really talented voice actors can do completely different voices for different characters. So I'm extremely excited to see this documentary that really gives them a little spotlight though it still seems like its a ways from coming out.

And it looks like we finally have one of the first horror movies in years worth checking out in Cabin in The Woods, which although his actual level of involvement is questionable (he's listed as a co-writer) is basically being treated as Joss Whedon's take on horror. The important part is this probably has the best reviews of a horror movie in years if not decades. I'll be checking it out Tuesday and I'll be sure to post my review on here. I also know I haven't been mentioning movies in theatres or dvd releases as much lately, but I'll try and work on that and at least post if something important and geeky is out, which admittedly there hasn't been a ton of so far this year anyways.

That's it for today, I should definitely get another post in this weekend, I'll try and aim for two. Until then, here's your TRAILER OF THE WEEK: Looper



So I've logged around 6 hours with Xenoblade Chronicles so far, not enough to give an in-depth review but certainly enough to give some fair impressions. This is one of the more fun rpgs I've played in awhile, for a Wii game the graphics are tremendous but it's clear that this would benefit highly from the power of an HD console. The battle system, which plays out quite a bit like FFXII is extremely addictive and I love that much like an MMO battles take place right there without going into another field. The full voice acting (which is all-around pretty stellar) and achievement system are nice bonuses. And unlike many jrpgs, it includes a great fast travel system and a save anywhere feature not too mention a generous checkpoint system which really makes running into powerful enemies that kill you quick much less frustrating.

However there is one major area where the game falters and that's quest management. It's just a mess. There's no efficient way to even just list the quests you currently have, but you also can't place markers and at best the game only gives you a very vague idea of where to go rather than just having the markers on the map like virtually every other rpg in existence. Granted for quests where you have to kill X amount of a certain monster or find items that just randomly spawn thats fine, but many involve finding specific NPCs and since they actually do move around on their own internal schedule, something that tells me where the hell to find them would remove a lot of frustration. Also, some of the game's systems are not explained very well, specifically the "heart-to-hearts" which are optional scenes you can activate to increase party affinity. But all I ever seem to get is ones I don't currently have the correct characters for. It's kind of pointless to have those markers there if I can't use them, other games (i.e. the Tales series) have similar features where such scenes can simply be triggered at the right moment, there's no reason they couldn't do the same here.

But it's really a minor complaint for an otherwise amazing game. If you like rpgs at all there is pretty much no reason not to pick this up, it's a real gem and between this, Skyward Sword and Last Story, I probably will spend more time playing my so-called dead system more than any other this year.

That's all for today, should probably have another post up Tuesday or Wednesday.


Bioware Caves. Bad Bioware...

So in a not completely surprising move, Bioware has caved to the more pissy "fans" and is offering an "extended" ending DLC to come out at some point this Summer. This is seriously a terrible precedent, there is no other way to put it. Even if this was something they had planned and had to move ahead(which seems possible, because it would be very difficult to throw something like this together in just a few months), then the game was rushed and released unfinished. At least they aren't stupid enough to try and charge for it. I can't imagine what this extended ending will contain that will possibly satisfy the ones so pissed they demanded a change anyways, odds are it won't since Bioware claimed it's not altering the ending, just explaining it more. Regardless, I don't think this move will pacify these trolls and will just make them think that if they whine & bitch enough, they can get whatever they want changed.

Moving on, when Epic Mickey 2 was announced, I was pretty skeptical, as I said previously, it had some great ideas, but was more or less unplayable. Well consider me officially excited, as this 10-minute gameplay video seems to show a playable game with a camera that actually frakking works:

Add to that a 3DS version that's supposed to be an homage to the classic Castle of Illusion, and this may be the first game I buy for two systems.

Finally, tomorrow, the long-awaited Xenoblade Chronicles is out. Frankly if you own a Wii and want finally to send a message that yes, there really is an audience on the Wii (and therefore most likely the Wii U) for a critically acclaimed core title and not just people who only play Wii Sports and Just Dance, this is one of your last chances to do so. Buy it BUY it BUY IT.

That's really all for today but I should still be able to cram in one more post this weekend. Until then, here's your BIG BANG OF THE WEEK:


WoW on Wii U?

So over the last couple days there have been conflicting reports about the Wii U's power. Originally it was reported to be up to twice as powerful as the PS3 and 360, which given how long those systems have been out, isn't a big surprise. Then reports came out that it isn't even on par with what 360 & PS3 can do now. There's seems to be no real consensus, but hey as long as you can bring me this:

I could care less what the specs say.

One extremely interesting tidbit that's come out of all this is that the controller seems primed for MMOs which could be a key difference in distinguishing itself and its library. MMOs are still pretty much in their infancy on consoles. A key franchise like WoW, which believe me they have been trying to figure out how to make that cash cow work on consoles for years or The Old Republic would do wonders for system sales. Dragon Quest X being an MMO would make a lot more sense and could be a showcase for MMOs on the Wii U. So hopefully at least this is true because it could be a key weapon for Nintendo in the next round of the console wars.

Ok That's really all I have for today but I should definitely have a post up Saturday or Sunday with early Xenoblade Chronicles impressions. Til then, here's your FREE GAME OF THE WEEK: Ragnarok Eternal


This is all you need to know about Star Wars Kinect...

Ok, so Star Wars is officially dead to me and really should be to any nerd, even Michael Bay and Uwe Boll on their best day could not fuck up beloved characters this bad. But really this highlights all the real problems with Kinect as a platform as well. You probably could've had a compelling core title using the Star Wars license that showed Kinect was more than a gimmick, instead tomorrow's release is basically a minigame collection, almost seeming more like a hastily thrown together tech demo than anything else. But Star Wars has gotten to the point where it's almost more a kiddy franchise than anything that somebody who saw the original movies can even relate to, so it will probably sell a million copies easy.

Is Sega dead? Well they certainly haven't been the powerhouse software developer that they were back in the day when they were still making consoles, and if the latest news of massive layoffs and outright cancellation of all but a few titles most likely means it may be awhile before we see the Sega that brought us daring original stuff such as Shenmue, Phantasy Star Online, Bayonetta, Madworld and so on. If ever. It's been a rough decade or so with a lot of bad decisions and too much reliance on licenses rather than actual gameplay to sell. As a former stalwart Sega diehard, I hold out hope that someday they'll get back in shape, but I'm not holding my breath.

All right, that's it for today, I should certainly have a post up Friday with some thoughts on Xenoblade Chronicles. In the meantime, here's your TRAILER OF THE WEEK: Total Recall


The Indoctrination Theory and why it doesn't matter....

In case you get bored or just don't have the time to watch a nearly 25 minute youtube video, this seems to be the popular theory by fans lately on why Mass Effect 3's ending was so vague and incoherent: Shepard has been slowly indoctrinated throughout possibly the whole series and the end of the game is actually taking place in his head. The final decision you make basically whether or not you succumb to said indoctrination. There is a lot of strong evidence for this, the slight but noticeable differences in the endings, things from the dream sequences, and frankly it would probably be the only way any future DLC would make any real sense.

The problem with that, whether its what Bioware planned from the beginning or if it's how they decide to officially explain things is that this was supposed to be the end, the culmination of Shepard's journey. Sure we can have more Mass Effect titles, that would be great. but again and again we have been told Shepard is done. For him and for a good portion of his crew, there is no Mass Effect 4 or MMO or whatever. If this theory is even the slightest bit correct, that's really just as bad because then Bioware didn't even give us an ending, good or bad. Then they possibly want us to pay for the "real" ending whatever that is? Admittedly I might be willing to accept something free that further explained things, but as I previously said asking us to pay just to see the ending is beyond ridiculous.

So really the only way the Indoctrination theory makes sense is if Mass Effect 3 isn't the end of Shepard's story (which admittedly is kind of hinted at when the old man and the little boy are talking in the end). But it's supposed to be. I'll be all excited about an announcement of Mass Effect 4, as long as Shepard has little to no part in it. Doing otherwise feels like a huge cop out.

That's all for today, I will most likely have another post up by Tuesday. Until then, here's your BIG BANG OF THE WEEK: