Archive for May 1st, 2012

The worst thing you’ll see all week: Area 407

, | Movie reviews

The premise of Area 407, yet another found footage movie, is that a bunch of actors who are really bad at improvisation do a lot of improvisation (i.e. screaming their dialogue) when their flight to LA crashes onto a secret government breeding ground for camera shy velociraptors. This movie is notable for having somehow secured the back half of a ruined airplane (pictured). That apparently ate into the budget that would have been spent on CG velociraptors.

I like how sky marshals are now a trope. According to Hollywood, every flight has a sky marshal, and therefore an easy way to introduce a gun. Just pick the most unlikely character on the airplane. That’s the sky marshal. In Bridesmaids, it was the nerdy guy sitting next to Melissa McCarthy. In Area 407, it’s the hot chick with the on-again/off-again Australian accent.

Area 407 is available on video on demand, but don’t bother. For a far better movie about plane crash survivors stalked by predators, check out The Grey or the first episode of Lost.

Near future Black Ops 2 saddles up some old fashioned transportation

, | Games

I’m okay with the robots and hovercrafts and whatnot. But a horseback riding sequence? Oh, please no. I’ve paid my dues in Uncharted, Assassin’s Creed, and Skyrim. With the possible exception of Red Dead Redemption, I have yet to meet a horseback riding sequence that wasn’t awful.

No word on whether Black Ops 2 will have a new zombie mode, but at least its got a zombie narrator. Brains!

UPDATE: In this video, Treyarch’s Mark Lamia says, “If you like zombies, you’re going to be really happy with what we’re doing with Black Ops 2. It’s our biggest most ambitious zombies ever.”

Don’t forget the steel in Warlock Master of the Arcane

, | Games

A huge honkin’ earth elemental is blocking my expansion to the north, where I want to grab a patch of holy ground and some ancient ruins. I need the holy ground to build a temple, which unlocks powerful religious units. But I’m not going to have enough gold to afford one of those guys for a long time. More immediately, I need the ancient ruins so I can build an excavation, which boosts my magical research. This is Warlock’s closest equivalent to technology in a Civilization game.

But to grab these two resources on the map — the holy ground and ancient ruins — I need to build a city that will be in striking range of an earth elemental who keeps flinging flaming boulders at my dudes. That’s not very neighborly.

After the jump, dwarven steel makes good neighbors Continue reading →

Your Daily McMaster: the four wonders of Age of Empires Online

, | Games

I was pretty ambivalent about jumping into Age of Empires Online. I loved the first two games in the series, and I was on the fence about the third. But I had written off Age of Empires Online. Most of the press at launch was negative, tending to the word “grind”. If there’s one word to turn me off a game, it’s “grind”.

But then I actually played Age of Empires Online for about 16 hours. I’ve discovered four things to like.

After the jump, I get all listy with it. Continue reading →