Saturday, 22 June 2013

As some of my friends know, I am a HUGE Resident Evil fan. I adore the games {the films on the other hand..not so much!}My favourite RE titles being RE1, RE3 and this title Resident Evil 4. This is a survival horror game with action elements created by Capcom who brought us most of the other RE games. Old school RE fans will know our hero who you play as, for anyone else you play as police officer Leon S. Kennedy who is sent on a mission to a rural part of Europe {Spain to be exact} to find and rescue the U.S president's daughter Ashley Graham who was last seen in the country having been kidnapped by a unknown {at the start of the game} terrorist organisation. As soon as you're thrown into the action the graphics are very, very good { I've played the Xbox live version and also the PS2 version however for the benefit of this review I will revert to the Xbox version}. The camera is focused over the shoulder so you can see your surroundings very well. After the first cut scene where {minor spoiler} you encounter a very unfriendly local with an axe, you are instantly under attack from a group of the local inhabitants. These are not zombies like in previous RE games, these are people who have injected with a parasite called Las Plagas which turn normal people into mind controlled animalistic murderers and worshipers of the Los Illuminados, headed by their leader Osman Sadler and is made clear that they have captured Ashley.
The story is very entertaining and whilst its a step away from the horror zombie gameplay that previous games have gone, its a very welcome change for the series and provides a lot of action packed and suspenseful scenes. The voice acting in this game is top notch too, while the villagers speak in varied amounts of Spanish and the main bosses in the game have great dialogue exchanges with Leon, and eventually Ashley once you find her. The creatures' movements are zombie - like, and you think you have them under control, even when a group surrounds you, but then they run quickly and violently towards you, throwing your calmness into a mad dash melee of physical attacks, shooting and all important dodges. 
You also run into other characters during the game, some very helpful, some not so much! The boss battles in this game provide a decent challenge and whilst ammo is available it is fleeting so sometimes running away is the best option!
You also encounter a Merchant, he will offer you various items throughout your adventure ranging from new guns to maps and even larger attaché cases in order to carry more guns and ammo. He is a very helpful addition to the game and just when you seem to be struggling, he appears and helps you out, provided you have the right amount of cash of course!
The story itself is very well written, acted and fleshed out with a few good plot twists and nerve shredding moments that are now a big part of the RE series.
Upon completion of the game, and if you can max out your weapons you can unlock various guns with unlimited ammo, including the fan favourite Rocket Launcher, going through the game with that weapon is a fun experience and great for people who like doing speed runs and getting the best scores. Also, upon completion you unlock a secret mini campaign featuring Ada Wong, an old friend of Leon's that you regularly run into as the story progresses. Whilst it shows a lot of the same levels as Leon's story, it ties in well with the story and fills in any missing links the player may have within the story. There is also a Mercenaries mode to unlock, a level based game where you basically kill as many infected creatures as you can within the time limit. This adds a few more hours to the gameplay.
The game was originally released on the GameCube and due to its enormous retail success, was ported to a Wii version along with PlayStation 2, PC, and Xbox live versions. This game is an older game now but I felt id like to share my joy as this game and it is without doubt the best game I've ever played. I've completed this game 10 times and still play it now when I fancy a RE fix!
Is it a perfect game? No it isn't but its a very close to perfect for me and that is why I couldn't give this game anymore than my top rating.
My Rating - 10/10
Positives - Great action, suspense, cut scenes, voice acting, boss battles, survival horror elements, good extras, and of course the merchant :}
Negatives - I cant find many to be honest but this change from full on horror to action/horror did divide the hardcore RE fans so if you are a old school RE fan this may not be for you.
Thanks for reading this classic game review guys and girls very much appreciated! If you like this review please +1 it on Google+, share it on other blog sites and /or amongst your friends and family, follow me on Twitter @MARRAMD, and if you want to check out my other film and game reviews they're in the sidebar so please check them out!
If you want to leave a comment and/or +1 this review that's great!
What did you think of Resident Evil 4? What console did you play it on? Did you enjoy it or were you let down by it? What is your favourite game of all time? Let me know whatever you want!
Take care guys and my next review will be uploaded very soon :}

Tuesday, 18 June 2013

Man of Steel is a comic book adaptation of the famous "Superman" superhero starring Henry Carvil as Superman {although referenced as Kal-El in this film}, Amy Adams as Lois Lane, Russell Crowe, Diane Lane, Kevin Costner and Michael Shannon. For those who may not have seen any of the Superman films { I myself have only seen the very first film with Christopher Reeve} this is essentially the origin story of Superman. The film opens on the planet Krypton, a planet on the brink of destruction after running out of its natural resources the planet is doomed. Scientist Jor-El and his wife Lara have conceived Krypton's first natural baby in years and in order to save their son from natural disaster, they place him in a spacecraft with specific co-ordinates to send him to Earth, whilst infusing his cells with a genetic codex, that will preserve the Krypton race. However, Jor-El stole the codex from Krypton's evil leader General Zod and upon finding out of the theft and indeed the new-born's journey to Earth, Zod murders Jor-El. Zod and his followers are soon captured by the planets council and in order to suffer for their actions, are transported to The Phantom Zone, a sort of Black Hole out of reach of Krypton, however soon after the demise of Krypton, Zod and his followers escape and set out to find the baby with the future of Krypton in his hands {or cells}. Upon his descent onto planet earth, Kal -El is found on a farm in Kansas by middle aged couple Jonathon & Martha Kent, and raise the child as their own, giving him the name Clark. From a young age, the Kents are aware that their son isn't a normal child and although they don't know his exact whereabouts, they must protect his true identity from the rest of the world. Clark's struggle throughout his early life is seen through various flashbacks depicting various amounts of bullying from his fellow school children, however he never fights back as he knows how strong he really is and following advice from his father, decides to only use his powers for the greater good. Once General Zod escapes from the Phantom Zone however, that's when the film really kicks into gear, and this is where I stop revealing anymore of the films plot as I don't want to give anymore away. I will say though, that I thoroughly enjoyed this film!
Henry Cavil's portrayal of Superman was very interesting and very well acted. As many Superman fans will agree, the late great Christopher Reeve was a brilliant Superman and whilst many think nobody could come close to being as good as he was, Cavil in my opinion, is a very worthy Superman. I particularly enjoyed Russell Crowe's brilliant performance as Jor-El his dialogue with General Zod was brilliant and exciting to watch. I also liked Clark Kents' parents too {Costner & Lane} there was very good chemistry between them and Cavil especially from his mother. General Zod was played by Michael Shannon and whilst I thought he was a good villain and played a decent role, I felt anyone could have played his role and the film would be no different, he was an okay villain though don't get me wrong.
The special effects and CGI in Man of Steel are fantastic, and seeing this film in 3D is well worth it in my opinion, a lot of very elaborate action scenes and good versus evil clashes that were hard not to enjoy. The musical score in the film was well done too, setting the tone for every scene whether sombre or action orientated.
The only very slight drawbacks for this film to me, were that it maybe could have been a half an hour shorter, but that's just my view. The film is very well acted in most parts, a solid if not cheesy villain, good action and CGI usage, and solid performances specifically from Crowe, Cavil and Costner as well as Amy Adams who was a good Lois Lane and her chemistry with Cavil looked very genuine.
Would I recommend this film? Definitely! Some critics have panned the film some saying it was too bland and nothing special, and while I don't think its the best superhero film I've ever seen, it is a very solid film and very entertaining.
My Rating 9/10
Positives - Great action scenes, Cavil, Costner, Crowe, Adams all very good, good backstory for first time Superman viewers, some good humour in some scenes.
Negatives - Not a strong enough and memorable villain, sometimes too much CGI.
Id also like to add that Christopher Nolan Directed this film {He also played a huge role in the Dark Knight Trilogy} and I know some critics of those films weren't happy that not enough focus was on Batman and too much was about Bruce Wayne, I feel those same people may complain about this film too as we don't see that much of Superman until the last 30 minutes or so to be honest. However, this is the first entry in the Superman reboot so this is establishing the origin of the character.
Thanks a lot for reading this review guys it means a lot to me that you support my reviews! If you like this review please comment below let me know what you thought of the film, also What was your view on General Zod? Was he a good enough villain for you? Do you think Henry Cavil is a good Superman? Let me know anything you want about this film!
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Take care guys and sorry it was late uploading I didn't get chance to see the film until today so my apologies :}

Tuesday, 11 June 2013

Now I know this isn't my review of Man of Steel {that comes out this Friday} however i decided to review this game as I am a huge Resident Evil fan and after deciding whether to review this game or the god awful film The Last Exorcism Part 2, this game won hands down. Now for those who don't know, I have played near enough every Resident Evil game that has been on PlayStation and PS2, and also Xbox 360, with my personal two favourites being RE4 and RE5. I adored the older classic games don't get me wrong but when the series took the controversial step to produce a more action based game instead of the survival horror genre, I was pleased and felt the series needed something new injected into it to stop it from becoming stale.
Set between RE4 and RE5, old favourites Chris Redfield and Jill Valentine return to fend off waves of mutated creatures and attempt to foil a terrorist group from global domination, heard this plot before? If you're a RE fan you will have seen this done many times before. You first start off with Jill and her partner Parker, who are both sent to investigate a strange ship named SS Queen Zenobia and set about looking for Chris. However as you expect, the duo are not alone on the eerie ship as they are quickly "welcomed" by Oozes, a zombified, mutated species that inhabit the Queen Zenobia.
Old school fans of the series will be pleased with this release, as it is mainly survival horror based and has some very good creepy moments. The old fixed style camera is back like from previous older titles and this adds genuine tension as you never know what is lurking around the next corner. This game was originally released on the Nintendo 3DS, however its popularity spawned demand for its console release, and this is a direct port from the 3DS. While there is some action packed scenes in this game, like I said its roots are survival horror, the creatures while not mind blowing in terms of design and originality, are difficult to beat at times especially when low on health and low ammo, which can be rife in this game. Some creatures have instant death attacks, so dodging is required however very difficult to time just right as the controls can be a bit jarring at times. As this is a direct port, the game does sometimes suffer from low texture popping from time to time and in particular in the middle part of the game where you are dashing around the ships main hall, you will fins doors with anchors on them, pressing the right button to open the door triggers a quite long wait for the next stage to load and that can destroy any tension building at times. That being said, this RE title is a very solid addition to the series and one that many craved after some felt RE6 was very disappointing.
The game is also made to look like a T.V show, upon completion of a specific chapter, the next chapter will begin with a recap of what you have just accomplished with a "...previously on Resident Evil Revelations..". I myself enjoyed that element to the game however if its not your kind of thing, you can skip it completely by pressing the start button. So, with the great tension building moments, creepy creatures and overall solid game design, what are the negatives? Well, as fans of the RE series have come to expect, and can look past, the main story itself is completely unbelievable, almost slapstick at points, but still very enjoyable if you don't think too much about it! Also the voice acting isn't very good, at all. The partners that accompany Chris & Jill on their respective missions are different in likability, Jill's partner Parker is a wise cracking, good guy and is very likeable and helpful in combat, however Chris' partner Jessica is very obnoxious and whiny throughout and you don't feel they have the chemistry that Jill & Parker have. That being said, there isn't a lot wrong with this game, I found myself beating the campaign in 8 hours and i am an average player so you could probably do it even quicker.
One other addition to this game is the popular Raid Mode, a stage based points scoring game where you basically go wild and kill as many creatures as possible and get the highest score. You have multiple characters to chose from too and of course many different stages to complete so that will add a few more hours of gameplay for you. Also in campaign, similar to RE6 you will get the opportunity to upgrade your weapons with custom parts found throughout the game and by completing certain criteria in Raid Mode.
So, would I recommend this game? Yes. Don't expect RE6 type action this is back to its original horror roots and is a very solid game with a very entertaining yet convoluted story.  I thoroughly enjoyed playing this game and will attempt to complete it again on a harder difficulty.
My Rating 7/10
Positives - Good tension, never got boring story wise, survival horror roots return, good cut scenes and final boss battle
Negatives - Awful voice acting, Jessica, Creature design not very original, long loading portions in middle part of game.
Thanks again guys for reading my review and my first game review! If you enjoyed this review please be sure to +1 this, add and share this on Google+, share this blog with our friends, follow me on Twitter @MARRAMD leave a comment below what did you think of the game? How do u feel about the RE series going in a more action based style or do you want Capcom to go back to just survival horror? Whatever you want to comment about, let me know!
Take care and my Man of Steel review will be on this page on Saturday :}  

Monday, 3 June 2013

The Purge is a thriller starring Ethan Hawke {Sinister} and centres around a futuristic America in which unemployment has lowered to less than 1% and crime has seized due to an annual event called The Purge, a 12 hour period where crime, including murder, is legal and is used for citizens to release their inner rage. When I saw the trailer for this film I was immediately intrigued, as it looked like a concept id never heard of or seen before, unrealistic? yes but an interesting idea none the less.
Hawke plays a home security salesman who becomes the number one salesman in his district, he lives with his wife and 2 children in a huge house. The early part of the film focuses on the family's preparation for the purge, whilst many of their neighbours decide they want to take part in the annual event, Hawke and his family decide to sit it out and watch events unfold on their surveillance camera placed around the town and their neighbourhood. Once the preparation is complete, they lock down the entire property, however mere moments into the starting of the purge, one of their cameras picks up a distressed man running towards their home urging someone to let him in as "they are trying to kill me!". Under specific instructions from his father, the son decides to disarm the security panel and offer the man a place to stay to avoid the murder spree. It turns out to be a very bad idea, as moments later a group of well to do Harvard type college nutjobs with creepy pig like masks are seen walking towards the family's property, they were hunting the man that has now taken shelter in Hawkes' family home and tell the family in no uncertain terms give us "the homeless pig" or they will find a way of disabling their tight security system and kill not just the homeless man, but the entire family inside. This leads the rest of the film to be a nervous cat and mouse game between the crazed scholars and the family.
Now let's talk about the acting in this film. I felt Ethan Hawke was the stand out star of this film, as he was in Sinister which I loved. However there are no other big name actors in this film, none that I knew of anyway. One thing I will say though, is that the daughter of the group who is apparently 18 {and in shown in school dress for her role in the film} is clearly older than 18, she doesn't look too dissimilar to Megan Fox in my opinion and would easily say she's 25/26. Just a nit-pick I know but she wasn't fooling anyone! The son to me was quite creepy by himself, he is not quite all there in the head as whatever condition he has requires him to take medication {I assume ADHD or some other disorder} and strikes a resemblance to the son of Michael Jackson! Again just a side note. He had developed a camera built into a baby doll's head {kind of looks like the baby doll creature in Toy Story in my opinion} which he uses to spy on other members of the family. I felt the camera was used very well in certain scenes and added tension to parts of the film where it was used to find out where the crazed college killers are when they break into the home. This camera was good at building tension and as this is produced by the same guys who produced Paranormal Activity, I can see where they got their inspiration from.
The main "ringleader" of the crazy masking wearing maniacs was very good in my opinion, had that weird and creepy vibe needed to portray the films ensemble of villains. I do believe though that the concept of this film is better than the actual pay-off as when it starts out the film looks amazing, very good camera work, good suspense and some good special effects, however around the halfway mark of the film is where I felt it went flat. Does it contain many clichés from many horror/thrillers you may have seen before? yes and sometimes too much so. There is quite a few jump scares, and while its tradition at this point, doesn't try to do anything new and not the most creative way to scare the audience. Is there a plot twist that is so stupid that it may take you out of the film? For me, yes. You meet a woman character at the early point in the film and her attitude will lead you to assume she will figure a vital point in the later stages of the film, which she does.
The ending though, to me, was without doubt the second worst ending to a film I have ever seen, second only to Birdemic : Shock & Terror and if you have read my review for that "classic" you know how annoyed i was at that ending! This ending made me literally shake my head in disgust. Is it a plausible ending? I guess so but it felt like a huge let down when the film up until the last 20 minutes built up so much tension and suspense, and at the final hurdle brought the films to a screeching halt. Very disappointing.
Would I recommend this film? Yes I would, its a solid, yet fairly predictable thriller which had a great idea and intrigue behind yet lost its suspense with one of the most easy to see plot twists in recent memory and en ending which had not just myself but several other people shaking our heads and uttering the word "bullshit". However if you want to give this film a chance I think many will enjoy it for what it is, a slightly cheesy thriller with an original concept and a very good performance by Ethan Hawke.
My Rating - 7/10
Positives - Ethan Hawkes' performance, good camera work, good suspense and tension building in most scenes.
Negatives - Some cheesy/awful acting especially towards the end of the film, quite predictable, poor plot twist, one of the most stupid endings in a long, long time.
Thanks again guys for reading this review I appreciate every view and if you like this and haven't checked any of my previous reviews you can find them in the sidebar. If you like this review don't forget to +1 this review, leave a comment below {if you are on Google+} share this review amongst your friends and other blog sites, follow me on Twitter @MARRAMD spread the word!
My question for you guys is ; Have you seen The Purge yet? and if so what did you think of it?
Also, what did you think of Ethan Hawkes' performance? Has this film's trailer intrigued you?
Whatever you want to comment about, let me know!
Take care guys and I will see you all very soon with my next Classic movie review :}