Posts Tagged ‘Yoda’

Sega mascots…start your engines! Sonic and the gang are back again with more racing madness. However these new races are no longer restricted to land. These races now take to the seas and into the air raising a whole new challenge as well as bringing in a much needed change of atmosphere. This is no longer just racing. This is racing…transformed and it’s a blast as I make my way to the finish. I played the heck out of the original game as I drifted through the turns and used a few well placed weapons on the competition as I took the checkered flag. This new Sega racer now takes gaming to the next level and I can’t get enough of all the fun.

PROS:

Not Watered Down With Sonic
The original game was filled with so much Sonic in terms of characters and stages that had me wondering if Sega forgot it’s own history. I cringed anytime I had to use Big the Cat in the original racer and even in Sonic Adventure. Transformed now consolidates the meaningless members of the Sonic cast and brings in more Sega franchise characters including Gilius Thunderhead from Golden Axe, Vyse from Skies of Arcadia, and even Joe Musashi from Shinobi. Even the stages I raced on are not watered down with Sonic and focus more on the company’s rich history which is a huge plus in my book as I fly off the aircraft carrier in the Afterburner stage, or avoiding the dragons in Panzer Dragoon.

Smooth Transformations
When I heard about the idea of transforming vehicles the first thing that popped into my head was “Oh great! Here comes the cheap gimmick.” I thought that this idea of transforming vehicles would come off as rather cheap, but I was wrong. It actually works great. None of the transformations feel “forced.” In fact each transformation works rather smoothly as I moved into different phases of the race. They even have that transforming sound almost like the Transformers themselves. There was a moment in the game where I transformed from land to air and I head the sound and a moment of silence came into play as I was flying through the air and for some strange reason I started singing “You Got The Touch” from the Transformers movie. Sorry, I was just in the moment there, but it was pretty cool.

Fun Multiplayer
Like any cart racing game multiplayer is definitely needed. The multiplayer component of Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed is absolutely brilliant. I had so much fun racing online with a wide variety of players as we traded paint, hit each other with weapons and all-star moves, and made our way to the finish line. I had a lobby going for hours with nobody leaving as we raced on all the tracks (the ones I had unlocked at the time that is) and had a blast. The competitive atmosphere was great. It didn’t matter how good anyone was. It was all about the spirited competition, and most of all, having fun. Great online family style community where players are not cussing in your face like some other games.

CONS:

I Miss The Original Announcer
If there’s one thing I really liked in the first game it was the announcer. Not only did he give some play-by-play commentary, but he also had some witty remarks during the race which made the game fun and exciting. Lines including “Hey guys, wake me up when you decide to start racing” gave the game a certain sense of charm and I liked it. This new announcer is not like that in any way. Sure he’ll let you know that a certain character has gone “All-Star,” but that’s about it and that’s rather disappointing.

Danica Patrick?
It’s no surprise to me that this game would have special guest characters. Banjo-Kazooie was in the first game along with the ability to race as my Xbox 360 avatar. Now I have NASCAR star Danica Patrick and Disney‘s Wreck-It Ralph. Now I can understand the inclusion of Ralph because it really ties in with the movie where he jumped into different video game worlds so this makes sense. However, Danica Patrick does not. I would have to compare her appearance in this game to the Star Wars characters (Darth Vader, Yoda, and the Secret Apprentice) in Soul Calibur IV. Sure she’s a race car driver, but she just feels a little out of place considering the company she’s in.

IN CONCLUSION

Sonic and All-Stars Racing Transformed is a fun sequel to the original game. There’s so much Sega history packed into one game that any fan of the company will love. It really fits in as an entertaining break from my other racing games where I use real life cars and trucks. Transformed also has plenty of replay value beyond the single player racing so that I never got bored or fall into that rut of doing the same repetitive stuff. I’m sure that there’s plenty of DLC on the horizon with new characters and stages to help keep things interesting as well. If your a fan of everything Sega then you owe it to yourself to get this game.

Developer: Sega
Platform: Xbox 360
Players: 1-10 (online multiplayer)
Price: $39.99

I, along with many other people on this planet who own a smartphone, am completely addicted to Angry Birds. For those of you out there still in denial don’t be afraid to admit it. Better yet let’s take a moment to reflect on that addiction statement I made, and then I’ll move on…Ok, good. Now that we got that out of the way let’s move on because I want to talk about the new Angry Birds game. Yes, there’s another however this new pig busting game now features one my favorite franchises. Star Wars! Yes, two popularly “milked” franchises have come together into one game and the result is pure addictive awesomeness.

PROS:

Loving The Star Wars Theme
With the Original Trilogy as the backdrop, Angry Birds Star Wars once again brings it’s classic destructive style with a Star Wars twist. Stages are set in places like Tatooine and the Death Star. Dagobah (Path of the Jedi) is available for a small fee while Hoth will be available later as free DLC. Even the birds themselves are styled after popular characters including Luke Skywalker, Obi-Wan Kenobi, Han Solo, Chewbacca, and Princess Leia. R2-D2 and C-3PO show up in bonus stages. The pigs are styled as Stormtroopers, Tie Fighters, and even Darth Vader himself. The story is told through cutscenes and there’s a moment where Han encounters Greedo. Yes, even in the Angry Birds universe, Han shoots first!

The Red Bird Has A Powerup?
In every Angry Birds game the red bird is usually nothing but your average bird with no special abilities making him rather useless compared to the others. Not here in Angry Birds Star Wars. The red bird is Luke Skywalker, and once he meets up with Obi-Wan Kenobi he gets a lightsaber. Now he can slice through walls and take down enemies in style. The red bird is useful for once as he joins a group that includes Obi-Wan’s force ability, Han’s blaster skills, Chewie’s Wookie brawn, and so much more.

Still The Same Addictive Angry Birds Game
Nothing’s changed in the game’s formula except for the characters and abilities. Angry Birds Star Wars is a combination of the original games along with Angry Birds Space released earlier this year. The Mighty Falcon also makes a return as well, but with a Star Wars twist becomes the Millenium Falcon shooting down everything in it’s path. Rovio basically takes the approach of “If it ain’t broke don’t fix it, but you can always improve it.” Once I started playing I couldn’t stop as time flew by all around me while I was too busy trying to score three stars on each stage.

CONS:

Day One DLC?
Are you kidding me? Along with all the Star Wars goodness that I have, there’s a section called “Path of the Jedi” which takes place on Dagobah. Here Yoda will teach Luke the ways of the Force along with the ability for the red bird hero, Luke Skywalker, to branish a new lightsaber. Ok, while all this sounds cool the only problem I had with this is the fact that it’s an in-app purchase of $1.99. Sure it’s more levels (tough levels by the way), but to me it’s sort of an insult considering the fact that I just spent $2.99 on the game. C’mon man.

IN CONCLUSION

Who would’ve thought that Angry Birds would venture to “A Galaxy Far, Far Away” and be this much fun. Then again when is an Angry Birds game not fun? Rovio and Lucasarts combine forces to make a gem of a game that’s fun for everyone. Of course there’s that other part about bringing down office productivity and not wanting to spend time with the family because your trying to get three stars on a level thats kicking your ass. Angry Birds Star Wars is great for fans of either milked series along with anyone who likes a fun casual game. Beware, it does get very addictive.

May The Force Be With You.

Developer: Rovio, Lucasarts
Platform: iPad, iPhone
Players: 1
Price: $2.99 (99 cents on iPhone)

For weeks I’ve been waiting. Watching other people exit the door, and wondering when it will be my time. This past Wednesday I watched a large majority of my brothers and sisters get their layoffs. As they left my mood worsened. I wanted out. Then on Friday it came. I’m officially laid off. Thank the Lord I’m out! As I posted on Facebook with my layoff status some people thought I was nuts, but then I explained why and they understood my pain.

Three months I’ve been here working at the nuke plant in Port St. Lucie. The outage itself only accounts for just over two months. Enthusiasm was the morale of the people in the beginning as we collected our huge paychecks weekly. Checks filled with tons of “premium pay” in between my one day off a week. Now those cries of joy have turned to tired moans of “I can’t believe I’m still here.” The plant says they’re having ” Megawatt Fever!” The people I’m around have a completely different name for this event and call it “Layoff Fever!” We’re tired and beat down from working long days and nights in the heat, rain, and swarms of mosquitoes. The job became nothing more than a three ring circus. It was time to head home. It was time for a change of scenery.

“Layoff Fever”

A couple of weeks ago I arrived at that point of my job where the workers are saying that magical word. Layoff. “When is the layoff?” they cry. The head honchos offer no answer, or they say “I don’t know.” Of course I know that’s all bullshit. The company has a plan, and their job is to execute that plan along with the people who work here. The big question then became when? Rumors ran rampant. Hell I started a few myself just to keep my sanity. “15 and 5.” Fifteen laid off and five are getting fired. Some of the guys took it very seriously. I walked away with a smile on my face.

Then it happened. The beginning of the layoffs. They asked for volunteers and all the local brothers said “I’ll go.” The travelers were wondering what the hell was going on. “Man up your work” they say. I had no plans of leaving right away since I was a foreman, and my superintendent liked what I was doing along with the fact that we like cars. He kept telling me that he wanted to keep me around¬†until the end. Sure I was ok with it in the beginning, but as the outage was winding down and the¬†corporate bullshit hit and all-time high I just wanted to leave. My superintendent however had other plans.

First Time Foreman and Lessons Learned

A few months ago I was here working night shift doing Temp Power and Lighting for eight months. I was stuck in the grind doing the same shit over and over each day. I was bored. I was ready for the layoff, but the allure of the paycheck kept me going. Now I’m a foreman running my own crew. Running a job I knew nothing about, because the person who knew everything stepped down. I was winging it from the beginning and my crew knew it. They thought I couldn’t hack it, but after a week or two I had it all down. I¬†became¬†the Yoda of MSRs and Feedwater Heaters. You wouldn’t believe the shit coming out of my mouth. That shit was knowledge. Surprised¬†my crew¬†were at my sudden rush of wisdom making my slide in as the boss quite comfortable.

So after a few months in the joint known as¬†my job (I even wrote “inmate”¬†on my hard hat) started to wind down I started to look back at some lessons learned.

One: Taking the initiative and stepping up to the foreman role was great for me. I learned a lot about the trade I’m in and how to read blueprints.
Two: Doing TP&L during the last outage was not a¬†smart career move. Sure the money was great for little work and sitting on your ass, but I saw¬†the type of people who worked that department and I realized that I’m so much more than plugging in outlets and lights.
Three: When a job starts getting to the point of stupidity then you know it’s time to get out.
Four: When your a foreman your more than likely to stay to the end, but at¬†least I wasn’t one of those “Call By Name” assholes who jump the book and take a job away from a brother who’s number is next in line to work. Sadly those guys won’t be leaving the job anytime soon. Suckers!!

Now¬†that I’m home what do I do next? Well I plant to take the rest of the year off and become a professional bum collecting unemployment at $275 a week, update my resume, enjoy the holidays with my family, and play some video games. Leaving the paycheck will be hard to swallow, but when 2013 arrives (unless the world ends on December 21, 2012) I’ll be back on the road making more money. Until then it’s party time.

Pros:
Podracing and Rancor Rampage are actually fun to play
The banter between C-3PO and R2-D2

Cons:
Game doesn’t really make you feel like a Jedi
Galactic Dance Off

Not so long ago in the living room of my home…

I placed in my Xbox 360 a copy of the at one time highly anticipated Kinect Star Wars. For a while I had the memory of that moment at E3 2010¬†when the Kinect was revealed and they showed Kinect Star Wars on the big screen. Sure we all marked out at the mere thought of wielding a lightsaber and using the force as we make our way through enemy forces only to come face to face with Darth Vader himself for what we thought would be a battle of epic proportions. At the time I was sold. Now after countless delays it’s finally here. Sure I said that this game was an abomination, but the fan in me wanted to give it a chance. Next time I’ll listen to my inner Admiral Akbar when he said “It’s a trap!”

Kinect Star Wars is mainly a collection of mini-games spanning the Star Wars universe. There’s also a main campaign where you take on the role of a young Padawan.¬†Cleverly narrated¬†featuring¬†C-3PO and R2-D2, the story has you going through the Jedi archives where you’ll come across some memorable moments from the Star Wars saga.¬†You’ll begin by going through some rigorous training from the Jedi Master himself…a terrible sounding Yoda. Then it’s on to a mashup montage of scenes which will have you using your lightsaber to moments including the destruction of the second Death Star. The campaign as a whole is more of a roller coaster affair as you’ll go from the fun moments to trudging your way through the dull and boring hoping that the next mission will ignite that fun factor in you.

Now as a fan of Star Wars I found the banter between the two droids a welcome addition. This will definitely bring smiles to fans faces who remember the classic films of the “original” trilogy. The rest of the game is more of a mixed bag. Let me just state that¬†not all of these mini-games are bad. Some are actually quite fun, but the package as a whole is rather disappointing. The missions that I enjoyed include the space missions are basically shooters on rails with the Kinect movements reminding me of Child of Eden. The podracing is a blast to play and the Kinect features are spot on. Rancor Rampage allows you to destroy everything in your path leading to some fun times whether your playing the game or watching on the couch with a few friends.

Of course not everything is right in the Kinect Star Wars universe. The lightsaber duels, which in my opinion was this ¬†game’s biggest selling point is not that good. There’s some noticeable lag between your movements and the Kinect sensor leading to plenty of failures especially when dodging laser blasts to the duels with enemy characters including Darth Vader. At no point during this did I truly feel like I was an all powerful Jedi. If this was the feeling that you want then might I suggest playing a game called Star Wars: The Force Unleashed.

Now let’s get to the Galactic Dance Off which in my opinion is an embarrassment to the entire Star Wars brand. If you thought Jar Jar Binks, the Ewoks and Greedo shooting first was bad then wait until you see this. The songs used in this game mode are spinoffs of popular hit tracks, but reworded (like George Lucas changing his films) to fit the Star Wars theme. Most of the songs come off as terrible. Then there was the horrific moment of seeing Han Solo dancing on he screen. After seeing that I quickly exited this mode and vowed to never¬†go back ever again. Just plain sad.

Kinect Star Wars is clearly not a game for everyone. This is definitely a game aimed towards children and families alike. For the hardcore fans like myself it’s a travesty. ¬†It’s a sure bet that the Kinect bashers are laughing their asses off on this one. At least the limited edition console featuring C-3PO and R2-D2 looks amazing and is definitely a collector’s item. Now all¬†I can do is look to the stars and wonder if there will ever be redemption for the Star Wars brand. Maybe one day there will be Star Wars Battlefront 3.