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All reviews - Movies (6) - TV Shows (3) - Games (9)

Hijinks Movie Reviews: Black Dynamite

Posted : 13 years, 9 months ago on 16 August 2010 01:46 (A review of Black Dynamite (2009))

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Black Dynamite embodies everything that was great about the blaxploitation 1970's cinema. However, it also relishes all the flaws of 1970's cinema, and laughs with us all the way till the end. The film was released on October 16, 2009, in the United States, for only two weeks, and was released on home video on February 16, 2010.

Michael Jai White wrote and stars in this movie as Black Dynamite (a Vietnam veteran, former CIA agent, and professional bad ass) who vows to clean up the streets after his brother Jimmy is killed by a shady organization. The film's director, Scott Sanders, describes the movie as "It’s just a little too badass. That’s the tone of the movie. Our humor comes from the fact that the movie is just a little too badass." It's one cheesy quote ("Your knowledge of scientific biological transmogrifications is only outmatched by your zest for kung-fu treachery.") and crazy scene after another in this well done spoof.

There's really no good way to describe Black Dynamite, it's really something you need to experience on your own. The plot description on Wikipedia is probably one of the shortest I've ever seen. Be prepared for a lot of language and unexpected nudity, but really, that all has to be in there for it to be true blaxploitation. There's so many scenes that leave you simply asking what they must've been thinking when they filmed it, and that's really what makes it so great.

Keep in mind that this movie is rated R, and with good reason, it's definitely not suited for kids. The runtime is only 84 minutes, so the action is steady and the lines keep flying. It's a movie that you will either instantly love or you'll find it mind-numbingly stupid, probably nothing in the middle. But if you can shut your brain off and not expect too much, you'll have plenty of opportunities for ridiculous laughs.

Dave's Quick Hits: I love cheesy movies that know what they are, and don't try to be too much, this one had a ton of great quotes and hilarious scenes, 8 out of 10.
Thoughts From The Better Half: This movie was ridiculous, parts were funny here and there, definitely not a kid's movie (too much language and boobies and penises), it made me laugh a couple times though, 3 out of 10
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 83% - A loving and meticulous send-up of 1970s blaxsploitation movies, Black Dynamite is funny enough for the frat house and clever enough for film buffs.

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Hijinks Reviews: UFC Undisputed 2010

Posted : 13 years, 9 months ago on 16 August 2010 01:44 (A review of UFC 2010 Undisputed)

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UFC Undisputed 2010 is the 2nd edition of the THQ line of UFC games and, as expected, it makes some improvements over last years game. Here's the big changes that they touted:

Encourage camaraderie by forming fight camps and leagues to participate in ranking and champion tracking systems. Join forces, train like real-life UFC fighters and go online to compete against other camps in the virtual UFC world.
Navigate a roster of more than 100 prolific UFC fighters, each fully rendered to convey a photorealistic appearance. Prominent UFC personalities, including the commentary team of Joe Rogan and Mike Goldberg.
A new Sway System with full upper body and head movement allows for the dodging of attacks, while on the ground and a new Posture System delivers fight-ending strikes from every position.
Choose from an array of moves from all available disciplines, including newly added Sambo, Karate and Greco-Roman Wrestling, to become a true mixed martial artist.
The "Game Is Watching You" system tracks every action and uses this information to dictate in-game commentary and career progression. Enhance the Career Mode experience through online co-op sparring sessions.
I can tell you that they really delivered on most of those promises. However, this game has been plagued with a number of problems on the online side, so I didn't mess with that at all. For my thoughts on that parts I did play though, follow me after the jump.

One of my biggest knocks about last year's game was the fact that they made you choose a primary and secondary skill set. The moves your fighter could learn would then be based in those two sets. This year, they made the game much more true to life, allowing you to visit any camp you chose, choose any move from that camp (of course, limited to 1 move per button combo), and as long as you could garner enough points during your training session, you could learn the move and start showing it off in a live fight. This allows you to truly customize you fighter, creating him in any way you could imagine, and really allowing you to fight from your strengths as a player. I think this was the biggest and most needed change, so it was a great start.

The actual UFC fighters in the game look terrific. You really couldn't ask for much more in that department. The periphery characters though, left alot to be desired. Mike Goldberg, Joe Rogan, and Bruce Buffer looked like poor, plastic imitations of themselves. But we didn't come here to look at them.

The actual roster of fighters was interesting to me at first though. The first glaring missed fighter is Randy Couture. He's one of the greatest UFC fighters of all time, how can't he be in the game? Well, he had a contract with EA a few years back (even before the first game was in development) to do voice acting in a Command and Conquer game... so he's going to be in the EA MMA game. It was also curious to see Dan Henderson and Andre Arlovski in this game. They were able to make it into the game because their previous UFC contracts signed over their image and likeness, so UFC still owned their rights. It was also good to see Clay Guida in the game. He was left out of the first one because they couldn't get his signature long hair to jive with their contact sensors. They even offered him a large sum of money to get it cut so they could include him in the first game and he declined. But he's made his way into this one.

The game play itself is really progressing well. This year, they added a sway system to help defend against punches, as well as to deliver more powerful strikes. The other big addition was grappling against the cage. Fighting and grappling against the cage is a huge part of MMA, in the UFC in particular, and it needed to be in the game.

Another thing that I really enjoyed about the game is the "Game Is Watching You" system. It was awesome having the commentators make actual comments about my fighter and his career; how I finished my last opponent, how much trash I might have talked, how my career trajectory has been. This really brings you into the game environment, making you feel like a fighter instead of a fat dude, sitting in his living room, eating chips and playing a game. You'd even get interviewed by Joe Rogan (he'd practically scream the interview at you, just like in real life!) after a big fight, allowing you to choose from some pre-set answers to his questions. Overall, the career mode was put together very well.

One of the big complaints I had, and this could simply be attributed to my lack of skill, but the game difficulty seemed a bit faulty. I'm not very good at the game, so I played on a lower level. But when I progressed through my career to get a title shot, I was steamrolling everybody, rarely making it out of the first round, but when I fought for the belt, the game became almost unbeatable. I've found people online too that played the game on Expert and had so much trouble with the championship fights that they would drop the difficulty down, play through their career again, and still have a lot of trouble with that title fight.

Now, this isn't necessarily a bad thing, you want the championship to be something very difficult to attain, but you should gradually increase the difficulty. Becoming the number 1 contender should also be difficult, your first time on a PPV should be difficult. It should just immediately shoot up to nearly invincible. I did end up getting the belt, but I must've restarted the game 20-25 times. And I only made it out of the first round maybe 3 or 4 times of those 20 restarts, it wasn't like I was coming close to winning but fell just short. But since I finally did get the belt, I was immediately back to steamrolling people, even though I had the belt. So it's not as if the game becomes super difficult in every championship fight, it's only when you are the contender, and that's a problem.

Also due to my lack of skill with video games, I could never really figure out the sway system, or the submissions. I've talked to a lot of people that told me about how easy submissions were and how it was just a timing thing... but I could never figure that timing out. I really wish they made that a bit easier as well, or at least had a better tutorial so that I could learn how to take advantage in that phase of the game.

The best news about this game is they really seem to acknowledge their weaknesses, and genuinely try to improve them in each addition of this game. I don't think a UFC game every year is really necessary, we don't get new up and coming fighters that frequently, but as long as they delivery a healthy helping of upgrades every year, I can't fault them too much (it's a lot more than just a roster update, I'm looking at you EA Sports). They also didn't try to nickle and dime you with a bazillion micro-transactions (again, there's a big fat bulls-eye on you EA Sports!), which was nice.

If you like fighting games, I definitely recommend giving this one a try. It's a great game for MMA fans out there, but since there'll be another one out next year, I wouldn't spend the full $60 on it if you can avoid it. But for $30-$35? This game is well worth it.

Rating: 8.5 out of 10
Rent/Buy: Rent, unless you can find it for $35 or less
Publisher: THQ
Platform: Xbox 360 and PS3
Cost: Varies [Amazon Link]
Release date: May 25th, 2010

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Hijinks TV Reviews: Louie

Posted : 13 years, 9 months ago on 16 August 2010 01:43 (A review of Louie)

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Ahh, Louis C.K. I've watched a few of his specials, but until recently I really didn't know too much about him. In the last few weeks I've gone back and listened to more of his stuff and I've come to this conclusion. This is a guy with a completely twisted viewpoint on the world, totally morose and morbid... and it's hysterical all at the same time. The only reason he's not one of my favorite comedians is only because of his prevailing use of profanity. I can get by with a few curse words, but I don't personally really care for the level he chooses to use on stage. Having said that, he's a great comedian, and I think he comes across as a guy with a thick outer shell and a very soft inside. He loves his kids, and those are some of my favorite bits that he does, about being a dad. But does his comedy translate to a television series? Find out after the jump.

So he's got a new show called Louie. This show is what Seinfeld would've been if Jerry Seinfeld had more of a morbid sense of humor. Each show starts out with a bit of stand-up comedy that introduces the next few scenes we're about to see. We get a bit more stand-up in the middle, and then another few scenes. The comedy is graphic and messed up on so many levels... but I haven't laughed so hard at a show since It's Always Sunny In Philadelphia. The scenes in the 3rd episode with Ricky Gervais playing the doctor from hell were so awful, but I practically had to pause it because I was laughing so hard.

Basically, the gist of this show is Louis C.K. plays a guy living a crappy life, and we get to point and laugh along the way. This is the perfect way to put his comedy style into a series form, and he's the perfect guy to portray it. He's created it, written it, produced it, and stars in it. If he'd brought in someone else to play his character, it just wouldn't work. He looks like a regular guy, acts like a regular guy, and it's perfect.

This show might not have the staying power to hold on for 9 seasons like Seinfeld did, but it has room to improve, as long as it sticks to what it does well, I'll be sure to tune it. Louie airs Sundays on FX at 11pm.

Rating: 7 out of 10

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Hijinks Reviews: Batman Arkham Asylum

Posted : 13 years, 9 months ago on 16 August 2010 01:41 (A review of Batman: Arkham Asylum)

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Hello again boys and girls. I realize Batman: Arkham Asylum isn't the latest and greatest video game by any means, however, it is a solid game that merits involvement in our line of game reviews. It's no coincidence that it's also one of the games I played with my recent game pass from Blockbuster.

B:AA (short for Batman: Arkham Asylum, I like to simplify things) is an action-adventure stealth game that gets quite a bit more right than wrong. Many of the other Batman games that have come out over the years took a lot of liberties with their story lines. This one strictly adheres to the comic book mythology. They even went so far as to have long-time Batman scribe Paul Dini write the story. That's a big point in favor of the game. The second big thing they got right with this game is the voice acting. They went out and got the actors from the DC Animated Universe, Kevin Conroy and Mark Hamill to voice Batman and Joker, respectively. Many hardcore Batman aficionados consider these two to be the best representations of what these characters should sound like, in an animated universe anyway. The third biggest achievement? No Robin!! Just how Batman should be!!

The overall story in this game borrows loosely from the graphic novel Arkham Asylum: A Serious House on Serious Earth. It starts out with Batman apprehending The Joker and taking him to Arkham Asylum. Along the way you learn that there has been a fire at Blackgate Prison, so there are a bunch of regular sane criminals in Arkham, and they all 'happen' to be linked to Joker and his crew. Seems pretty standard for one of Joker's ploys. Batman elects to accompany the guards taking Joker to his cell and along the way they are ambushed by Harley Quinn and *gasp* Joker escapes! Man, I totally didn't see THAT coming! Anyway, after this daring escape the madness ensues.

B:AA is based on Batman in his truest form, his fighting, detective, and stealth skills along with all of his crazy gadgets. As is standard in games like this, you are very limited in what you can do at the beginning of the game. Naturally, you unlock new moves and equipment as your progress through the game. Overall, the idea is to be as stealthy as possible, in some cases you aren't even allowed to alert the guards. Don't worry, you get to kick plenty of ass along the way streaming together combos and counter-attacks to gain experience points and then be able to unlock more moves and equipment. Many areas of the game require special equipment in order to advance, so you get plenty of opportunities to use all of your fancy gadgets.

There's plenty in this game that any Batman fan can appreciate. Obviously, there are plenty of encounters with Joker, but you also get to face off against Killer Croc, Scarecrow, Poison Ivy and others and there's plenty of nods to other characters if you keep your eyes open. The game also has some built in exploration benefits as well as you can unlock special achievements and special content... most of which I hardly even scratched the surface.

B:AA currently holds a Guinness World Record for being the 'Most Critically Acclaimed Superhero Game Ever' along with garnering plenty Game of the Year awards. I've messed around with some other superhero games and many of them could hardly hold my attention. I was involved enough with this game that I wanted to see it all the way through to the end. Perhaps the best part is that a second game has already been announced so you should go play this one, if for no other reason than to be all caught up when the second one is released!

Rating: 8.5 out of 10
Rent/Buy: Rent
Publisher: Rocksteady Studios
Platform: Xbox 360 and PS3
Cost: Varies [Amazon Link]
Release date: August 25, 2009

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Hijinks Reviews: The Jim and Frank Mysteries – The

Posted : 13 years, 10 months ago on 28 July 2010 11:58 (A review of The Jim and Frank Mysteries – The Blood River Files)

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Publisher: Chillingo Ltd
Platform: iPhone, iPod touch, iPad
Cost: $0.99 [iTunes Link] – for a limited time
Released: Jul 09, 2010
Version Reviewed: 1.0

I stumbled across The Jim and Frank Mysteries the other day, as I was perusing the App Store on my iPod. It was receiving 4.5 out of 5 stars on only about 45 ratings, boasted over 20 hours of engaging gameplay, and it warned of being a “TIME LIMITED INTRODUCTORY PRICE!” I’d recently played the Chillingo game Pro Zombie Soccer and enjoyed it, so for $.99, I figured I’d give it a try. In short, I’d like to congratulate Chillingo for going 2 for 2.

As it was downloading, I described it to a friend, for the sake of anonymity we’ll call him Bob Sacamano, and he said that from the screenshots and the quick description it sounded a lot like Nintendo’s Professor Layton series, which he really enjoyed. After looking into it a bit, that is definitely what this game is, almost freakishly similar, which isn’t bad if, like me, you haven’t played any of the Professor Layton games.

Truthfully, I have to call this a mini-review seeing as how I haven’t spent 20 hours with this game, so I can’t tell you if that’s a true claim or not, and because of that caveat, I can’t tell you officially how much replayability a game like this has. I can’t imagine that the story changes at all, so I imagine it’s fairly low. But what it does, it does very well. You move from area to area solving this mystery, and run across different people and obstacles, engaging in mini-games and puzzles in order to move to the next area. Really, there’s just enough story to move from one puzzle to the next.

Whatever the case, this game is going to go up in price soon, it’s definitely worth the $.99, so go buy it, now, before the price shoots up. The puzzles are fun and not too hard to manage, but there is such a wide assortment that it doesn’t get old or repetitive at all. I’m interested enough in the story to see where it goes, but this game is all about the challenges.

Learning Curve: Easy to play, but challenging to win
Fun Factor: 4.5 out of 5
Replayability: 1.5 out of 5

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Hijinks Reviews: Flight Control

Posted : 13 years, 10 months ago on 28 July 2010 11:49 (A review of Flight Control)

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Publisher: Firemint
Platform: iPhone, iPod touch, iPad
Cost: $0.99 [iTunes Link]
Updated: June 22nd, 2010 for iOS 4
Version Reviewed: 1.8

Before I get started, I’d like to point out that Flight Control is by no means a brand new game, I wasn’t able to find an exact release date, but it’s been out for at least a year. Although some of you may have played this game already, it’s new to me; so there you go.

This game is one of the most simple and challenging games I’ve played on the iPod touch. It’s a simple and obvious premise. There’s planes and helicopters flying around, and you are flight control, you have to find a safe way for them to land, and they must land on the correct landing strip.

The planes come in different sizes and speeds, and you are alerted of incoming aircraft by a red exclamation point on the side of the screen. After they make it onto the screen, you drag your finger on the screen in the route you want them to take. Planes come in 2 colors and have to land on the corresponding landing strip. The longer you play, the more planes you get and insanity ensues.

Before I reveal my only complaint about the game, I’d like to point out that I haven’t logged into the Crystal account in order to see how I stack up online. For no real reason really, I just have gotten in the habit of skipping that step when I play my games, and only compete with my friends and myself instead of the vast online community. Having said that, the only real complaint I have for this game is there really is no way to tell how good or bad you are until you’ve played for a bit. There’s no leveling system so that you know ‘you have to land 10 more planes to reach the 2nd level’ or anything like that. The planes just keeping coming, faster and faster, and you have to keep finding a way to land them safely.

You play each level until the inevitable crash, at which point the game tells you how you many aircraft you successfully landed. Clicking ‘more’ will tell you how this game compared to your all-time high scores across all game modes. You can then choose to replay this level and try to reach a new high score, or choose another airfield with a different set of circumstances and try again. Almost every time you start a new game, the airfield will rotate from it’s previous layout, so each time you play, the game is different, if only slightly. On one airfield, there are 2 sets of landing strips and they randomly close, alternating which strips are available to land on. On another there is a random plane that has it’s own path, and you are forced to work around it. Neither are huge changes, but it mixes things up a bit from the regular setup.

At only $0.99, this is a fun and engaging little game, easy to learn and difficult to master. I’d recommend it to anyone looking for a new cheap thrill:

Learning Curve: Easy
Fun Factor: 4.5 out of 5
Replaybility: 3 out of 5

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Hijinks Reviews: Pro Zombie Soccer

Posted : 13 years, 10 months ago on 28 July 2010 11:44 (A review of Pro Zombie Soccer)

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Publisher: Chillingo Ltd
Platform: iPhone, iPod touch, iPad
Cost: $0.99 [iTunes Link]
Updated: June 28, 2010 for iOS 4.0
Version Reviewed: 1.1

Pro Zombie Soccer. I gotta admit, I downloaded it because it was about zombies. I don’t know what it is, but something about zombies just makes games better it seems. The problem is that the market is getting flooded with crappy zombie games, making those that are actually worth your money have to work so much harder to get your attention. Whatever the case if you can accept the premise that someone is better fit to kill zombies because he has such amazing soccer skills… then this game just might be for you.

So I already told you the premise of this game is the fact that our hero possesses elite soccer skills, and that’s what makes him fit to be our zombie-slayer du jour… and you still clicked through to read the rest of the article, welcome! Let me start by giving this game the recognition it deserves, it knows it’s a silly premise, and it doesn’t hide that fact. The storyline is delivered to us via really nice comic book style panels. The dialog, well, I could have written the dialog, so that can either be a good thing or a bad thing. I got a kick out of a few of the story turns, simply because of the way it was written.

The game play is simple. I think you could probably play this game with 1 hand, freeing you to do monotonous chores with the other… you know, stuff like driving and nonsense like that (Please don’t actually try to play this game and drive at the same time, if you didn’t realize that that was a joke, you shouldn’t be reading my blog posts. 10 & 2 people! 10 & 2!). All you have do is move the little circle, on the left side of the screen behind your character, up and down to point the arrow at the oncoming zombie horde. The longer you hold that circle, the harder you kick the ball. Seems easy enough right?

As is always the case with games like this, you gain better skills to use against the zombies the farther you get into the game, and of course, the zombies get harder and harder to kill as the game moves along, requiring you to use those fancy shmancy new skills you recently obtained.

You start out with a ‘lightning’ ball that flies really fast, allowing you to kick it faster and faster, this is the crappy power-up that you won’t use anymore once you get better ones. Soon after, you get a ‘slice’ ball that goes through pretty much anything. This is my favorite power up, it doesn’t quite pack the biggest punch, but you can get a few kicks out of it, easily clearing the entire screen every time. The last one is a ‘satellite’ ball, which actually triggers a satellite that shoots giant (puts his fingers into the air forming quotations and mimics Dr. Evil) lasers. After using this power-up, you use the iGyroscope, or whatever the cool kids are calling it these days, and tilt the iPod back and forth so that the aimer gets all the zombies.

I don’t see this being the type of game I’ll keep coming back to time after time, but it’s at least fun for a single play through. With that in mind:

Learning Curve: Easy
Fun Factor: 4.5 out of 5
Replayability: 1 out of 5

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Hijinks Reviews: Splinter Cell Conviction

Posted : 13 years, 10 months ago on 28 July 2010 11:37 (A review of Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell: Conviction)

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Splinter Cell Conviction, a long overdue game, but was it worth the wait? Well, considering the game has been out since April 13, this review is long overdue, so maybe I don’t have any room to talk.

The saga of the release date was one of epic proportions. Pushed back more times than any game I can remember, I hardly believed the release date until I walked into Blockbuster and it was waiting for me on the shelf. But once I got home and began this journey, I was very happy with what I found.

The game touted “A New Level of Splinter Cell Action”, a “Blockbuster Experience”, “Jaw Dropping Visuals”, and Xbox LIVE Play plus a Co-op Story Mode to boot… it delivered on all accounts. If you’ve ever played a Splinter Cell game, you know what to expect in this one. Stealthy movements, a lot of watching and timing your attacks, gadgets… all your regular super-spy fare. And that’s exactly what it is, only it’s so much more.

This game grabs you right from the word ‘go’, there’s no dilly-dallying around. The game takes place 3 years after Sarah Fisher’s death. It starts out with Victor Coste being interviewed by some guys in a Black Arrow facility. This takes place throughout the game, the levels you play are you ‘acting out’ the story that he’s telling. Having disappeared after the events in Double Agent, Sam is located by “Grim” and is warned that a group of hitmen have located him. After finding and dispatching them, he finds that they have knowledge of Sarah’s murder, and after that, it all hits the fan.

The process of finding out this new information is one of the new interrogation scenes in the game. 2 or 3 times throughout the game you encounter characters from whom you must extract some vital information. The game provides you some nice interactive surroundings to uhh, coax the information out of them. Just look at that bathroom scene in the previous picture to get an idea of what I’m talking about.

The first thing that I really enjoyed and appreciated about this game was the new way they give you instructions. Instead of giving you a quick pop-up with your next set of directions, they show up on the sides of buildings or objects, as the picture shows here on the right. It’s a really cool way to do it, really keeps you involved in the game. Not to mention, it just looks really nice.

Another very subtle change to the game, that really adds alot to the game play is the “last known location” system. Whenever one of the bad guys catch of glimpse of you, you leave a shadow or outline of your location. You can then move as they come in for a closer look and take the opportunity to flank your distracted opponents. This is basically the same thing that has happened in previous games, but now, because of the outline, you know exactly where the bad guys attention is headed, and can use that to your advantage.

If this were the only changes made to the game, it would be worth playing on these merits alone, but they also added in a bit more action for those of you that aren’t as into the stealth game, or maybe you just get bored from time to time. Now you’ve got a marking system at your disposal, which you unlock whenever you silently take out an opponent. This marking system allows you to mark up to 4 enemies for immediate execution. Sam will shoot all the marks as soon as you push the button, allowing you to clear a room at the push of a button. My favorite parts of the game were the times you could sneak into a room via pipes near the ceiling, by seeing the entire room, I could mark 4 guys and point my aimer at another. After waiting for a poor sucker to walk underneath me, I could drop down to take him out, shoot the guy I had aimed at before dropping, and then push the button to eliminate the extra 4 targets. 6 guys taken down in the span of 1, maybe 2 seconds. It… felt… amazing.

But all those great things only cover the single player. Ubisoft really put some time into the co-op game as well. I played through the entire co-op story with a friend over the course of 1 or 2 nights. It was a lot of fun maneuvering through these levels and taking turns trying to one up each other taking out the baddies. Of course, we occasionally ran into some trouble, and it was just as much fun as we both scrambled trying our hardest to escape detection. I would love for them to create an entire game based on the co-op version of Splinter Cell, if it was done right, it would be quite a bit of fun.

Overall, this is a very solid game. The story is very well written, the controls work well, and the levels are challenging but not impossible. Sam Fisher is one bad dude, there’s no way around that, but it would be nice if they incorporated a bit more of what made Splinter Cell such a great series in the first place. Adding the the stealth bonus and the ability to sidetrack guards with the system they’ve created for this game would make for a nearly perfect game. The only downside is that once you play through the game, there really isn’t a ton of replay-ability. So I consider this to be a renter, a top notch renter, but still not quite enough to make me go buy the game.

Rating: 9 out of 10
Rent/Buy: Rent
Publisher: Ubisoft
Platform: Xbox 360
Cost: Varies [Amazon Link]
Release date: April 13th, 2010

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Hijinks TV Reviews: Leverage

Posted : 13 years, 10 months ago on 28 July 2010 11:33 (A review of Leverage)

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I debated going with the “What Dave’s Watching” title for this one because this show is in it’s 3 season and I’m just now getting around to it, but Leverage is a pretty solid show. I have this sick habit of having to watch everything in order from the beginning so that I have the whole story and even if I wasn’t there when it all started, I feel like I have been, and I haven’t missed anything along the way. This is where my habit of downloading everything I watch comes in handy, I’m able to do just that.

So anyway, I’m only 6 episodes into the series, but I’m having a lot of fun, and I can see where the relationships will probably develop and turn into a good overall story. The show is delivered much like Burn Notice, where every episode can basically stand on it’s own, but there is an overall story arc that moves the show along from season to season. It’s also got all the fun and flash to go along with the bickering and showmanship that every con job show/movie requires.

We’ll get into the the show a bit more after the jump.

Leverage is your basic con show. It’s a rag-tag group of specialists that all work together stealing from the bad guys, all for the greater good of course, even though they themselves have a checkered past. Timothy Hutton plays Nathan Ford, the leader of the group. He’s the ex-insurance investigator that brought them all together and is trying to keep them that way. Gina Bellman portrays the ‘grifter’ Sophie Deveraux who moonlights as an actress with mixed results. Nathan once desribes her saying, “she can act… when it’s an act.” Christian Kane plays the tough as nails, no nonsense enforcer/fighter to a tee. Beth Riesgraf is the straight forward thief, she always wants more, and is usually the one used whenever a break-in is necessary. Aldis Hodge, probably my favorite character, is the tech-based character Alec Hardison, the one that makes all these cons work from the high tech, gadget standpoint .

As I stated before, my favorite part of this show is the back and forth these characters go through. Always on the edge of an argument, and always trying to show off to each other using their specialized skill sets. I don’t know that this show is going to be one that sticks around for years and years, but the fact that it’s already made it into it’s 3rd season is a good sign. There’s plenty of shows on TV that are just a waste of time, Leverage isn’t one of those. You can find Leverage on TNT on Sunday nights at 9.

Rating: 8 out of 10

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Hijinks Reviews: NCAA Football 11

Posted : 13 years, 10 months ago on 22 July 2010 04:06 (A review of NCAA Football 11)

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Mmm… football. I’m not gonna lie, I’ve been looking forward to NCAA Football 11 since, well, since NCAA 10 came out I guess. After renting ’10, I was pretty unimpressed with the ‘upgrades’ made from NCAA 09, and decided to stick with ’09.

But when I read the ‘first look’ on ESPN a few months ago, I was instantly grabbed by this year’s edition. So many long overdue changes were being made, this really seemed like it would be what college football video games have been promising us since they made it to next-gen consoles. But does it deliver? Find out after the jump.

Even though they released a patch on release day, there are still a few hiccups the game has to work out. The QB will randomly run straight backwards for no reason, I’ve had some issues with the game being able to download the appropriate data, my stats aren’t saving in dynasty modes, and the online experience is iffy at times, being unable to connect to the server. But let’s face it, this game is massively popular, this year especially, there’s a huge load on the servers and weird stuff happens sometimes. I’m sure all these issues will be worked out in short order. But when things work right, how is the game?

The running game this year is amazing. So much more realistic, it’s refreshing to actually be able to follow my blocks because I know they’ll block the appropriate people. No more running around with the QBs and letting the ball fly at the last possible moment, if you don’t have time to step into your throw a bit, you won’t be completing the pass, more than likely it will be intercepted. No more chucking the ball deep and simply running past everybody to catch it, even the FCS teams make you work for those deep completions, at least a little. This is a much more sophisticated, realistic game, and it’s a wonderful experience.

EA Sports really pushed the ’120 ways to win’ as this years slogan. They gave all 120 teams a true to life play book, meaning you can play each team exactly the way the execute on Saturdays. They took some of the better known and unique entrances in college football and added those into the game, really breathing some new life into the presentation of the game. If you add in the rosters file download and custom stadium sounds that I showed you last week, this is as close to actually being on the field playing college football that many of us will ever get. Throw in the possibilities that the new edition of TeamBuilder offers and you can create practically any type of experience you can imagine.

Some of the other major upgrades in this year’s game is the make-up of players, and the recruiting system. Momentum was added into the game, making those ‘video game, turn on a dime’ cuts impossible. They also re-allocated the speed vs acceleration system. The game used to totally rely on a players speed rating, now a player with high acceleration will be able to make up for slightly less speed. Racing a player with 90 speed and 99 acceleration against a player with 99 speed and 90 acceleration will get you exactly the results you expect. The 99 acc. guy will get a better start, but the 99 speed guy will pull away in the end. And the recruiting system? No longer are you totally relying on a smiling football to know how much this recruit wants to play for you. You get an exact point total for each pitch you make, and you know exactly how far behind the other teams you are, or how far ahead. It’s a really great change to my favorite part of the game.

I haven’t had a chance yet to mess around with the online portion of the game, but the online dynasties are truly that now… online. I gave you a quick rundown on what that offers, along with some other changes in the game awhile back, so I won’t rehash that here. Overall, I’m very happy with the progress this game is making, if only they packed this much into the game every year to make it worth purchasing on a yearly basis. But I digress. This year’s version though, definitely worth getting, so go get… now!

Rating: 9 out of 10
Rent/Buy: Buy
Publisher: EA Sports
Platform: Xbox 360 and PS3
Cost: Varies [Amazon Link]
Release date: July 13th, 2010

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