Archive for April, 2010


Since its first release on PC’s in 2002, the Battlefield brand has be the epitome of engaging multipalyer combat in the eyes of gamers across the globe. Since then the game has also branched off into console territory, 2008 seeing the release of Battlefield: Bad Company; the first Battlefield game not to see a PC release, and to include a single player, story driven campaign. Two years later Swedish developer DICE are at it again, this time dropping Battlefield: Bad Company 2 on all major platforms, bringing the ever popular series back to its rightful home on the PC. Featuring some of the best multiplayer combat going around right now, and a solid yet slightly lacking single-player experience to boot, is BC2 worth strapping on those combat boots and going to war?

The single player campaign follows B-Company as they travel across the globe in desperate search of a mythical weapon that is capable of devastating destruction which cannot fall into the hands of the Russians. While the story is not exactly a strong point of the campaign, you will get the chance to travel through a series of gorgeous environments, ranging from frozen mountains tops to a jungle paradise. It’s the amazing amount of details of these locations that will immediately stand to attention as you begin fighting your way through the campaign. The developers have really pushed the graphics this time round, offering photorealistic vistas that seem to have a sense of depth that simply needs to be seen to be believed.

It’s not just the amazing views or the luscious environments that make BC2 a great looking game. The Frostbite Engine certainly has come a long way since the first Bad Company, improving almost every facet of the games look and physics. Fully destructible environments return, send enough rockets at any structure and simply watch it crumble as a result. Destroying a building with a group of enemy soldiers never gets tiring, and other than looking bad ass, knowing you can destroy everything and anything will change how you play the game.

The last Bad Company game was the first to have a story driven single player campaign, and as a result it had a little trouble finding its feet in the process. The experience is much better this time round, now featuring a more cinematic experience. The dialogue is less over the top while retaining a healthy amount of humour, the level design is smarter and as a whole the experience is far more compelling than the last title. Having said that though, there are some problems with the presentation and pacing of the campaign that makes it fall short. Your supporting cast of soldiers in B-Company are one dimensional, bulletproof machines who are only good for their cheesy one-liners. It’s hard to make an emotional connection with them, especially when they receive a ‘nade to the face only to get back up with no trouble and all and keep fighting. The constant action; while being extremely fun, also breaks immersion in the story. You tend to feel like you are a one man army, going from a stealthy insertion into a full on fire fight, riding a turrent on a helicopter and calling in an airstrike all in a matter of minutes. It’s fun and exciting, but ultimately takes you away from the story.

As expected the mechanics in BC 2 are nothing shy of perfect. All the guns feel correctly weighted and sound just as they should, the vehicles handle smoothly and make traversing the battlefield both a thrill and a pleasure. Instead of the instant respawns and health injections from the last outing, BC 2 implements standard checkpoints and regenerating health mechanic that makes the game flow much better and feel more realisitc. While you supporting cast are hard to connect to, they certainly do a great job helping you out in the many fire fights you will encounter. They act like real soldiers in a battle, holding down an attack allowing you to flank your enemies or take some cover and get your heath back. Other games will simply drop you into a squad of ineffective knuckleheads, but BC 2 stands up with it’s fantastic AI.

All said and done the campaign is a fun, albeit short lived experience clocking in at the 5-6 hour mark. There is a collectible weapon system that may entice some of you to go back for multiple play throughs, but by and large this isn’t the sort of campaign that will keep calling you back time and time again.

While the single-player experience falls a little short, to most of you it simply won’t matter at all. Gamers buy a Battlefield game for an amazing multiplayer experience, and BC 2 is no exception. Offering one of the best online experience out there, BC 2 if full of large-scale battles, large and varied maps, diverse squad management and team based game play that simply cannot be matched. There is simply nothing more satisfying than working with your squad mates to take down an enemy position and rush a base.

BC 2 employs a terrific squad management system that really ups the ante. When on the spawn screen simply clicking the squad management button brings up a tab that will let you join an existing squad or create a new one. Four members in each squad may not seem like enough, but when you are running a combination of medic, some assault and a recon covering your rear you will find that it can be a deadly tool. Added advantage to being in a squad is if you are waiting to respawn and one of your squad members is still alive, simply click on their name and you will respawn right there next to them. This is a vital strategy that can change the outcome of a fire fight literally in seconds. The layout of the maps demand a focus on team based strategies, and the squad mechanic is a perfect way to enforce that idea.

The destructible environments are a whole different kind of monster when jumping online, adding a whole new layer of strategy and depth to the multiplayer experience. You will need to learn to adapt and work through the environments to survive. You enemies are holding up on a tower sniping out a whole division? A few strategically placed C4 charges and some explosions later on will soon bring an end to your enemies and their vantage point. Not only does it look cool, but it certainly brings a whole new strategic spin to things.

BC 2 offers a series of game-modes and maps will have something to offer everyone, no matter what type of gamer you are. Rush is an attack and defend mode that is played across expansive maps, features a entourage of vehicles and will ensure an edge of your seat experience as you edge through a base onto the next, or hold off your enemies for just a bit longer for the big win. Squad Deathmatch games is your average frantic team deathmatch mode which is much more close quarter combat. If you want to kick it old school the classic Battlefield Conquest mode has been included, which has teams fighting to control specific control points by raising and lowering flags. There truly is something for everyone in BC 2.

For those who are worried about making the switch from Modern Warfare 2 don’t fret, BC 2 features an impressive reward scheme that will feel right at home to those who have been playing the other modern warfare games out there. BC 2 will allow you to level up each class individually along with your overall rank, unlocking new weapons and gadgets along the way to flesh out your arsenal. You will also get even more rewards to completing small challenges, winning battles or simply pwning your opposition. The levelling system is rewarding and will leave you with a sense of accomplishment after all your hard work.

Finally which version should you go with? If you have a good enough rig you’ll want to get the PC version. Those with high-end graphics cards will enjoy better visuals and smoother frame rates than those with the PS3 or Xbox 360 version. Possibly the most important feature though is the ability to browse servers to discover the exact game you want. The last reason why the PC version is better, you’ll enjoy 32 players in game, as opposed to the 24 offered on both consoles.

The Final Verdict

While the single-player campaign certainly is an explosive no holds barred adventure, it almost feels like a bonus game mode to the expansive and impressive multiplayer component of the game. Bad Company 2 does a great job of engaging the player with it’s rewarding online experience, continually getting you back to rank up just one more time. Varied game play along with excellent squad management is the key to epic team based battles. Back this up with realistic weaponry, great sounds and gorgeous visuals, and you have one hell of a ride.

8.5/10

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Read the full in-depth review HERE

Developed By: TellTale Games
Platform: Xbox 360, Playstation 3, PC, Wii
Players:1
Online: N/A

What It’s All About:
Episode 1: The Penal Zone puts a tick in all the right boxes; Super-intelligent Space Gorilla on a quest for toys that can bend reality, check; weird and wonderful apparitions that are equally hilarious as they are frightening, check; a prophecy that foretells the end of the world, naturally involving Max, check. For fans of the duo’s beginnings as a comic book, their first outing in the video game realm “Hit The Road”, or the cartoon series, this episode feels the most like Sam & Max. It’s wacky, it’s out there, and it feels more comfortable in it’s universe than Season One or Two did.

What It Did Right:

  • Great puzzles
  • Genuinely funny dialogue
  • Terrific voice acting
  • Great art design

What Brings It Down:

  • Story can seem a little lacking at times
  • Seems a little shorter than previous episodes
  • More of a setup for the rest of the season than it’s own episode

The Final Verdict:

The Penal Zone is a solid intro into the new season that sets the player up for what is coming ahead. While the story can seem a bit thin at times, the new interface along with the implementation of some great new gameplay features make this a delight to play through. For hardcore Sam & Max fans this is a must play, as it really feels like the first true Sam & Max game since “Hit The Road” from the 90’s.

8/10

Underbelly Figure Bashed To Death

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It seems like the Australian public has gone mad at the news that Gangland killer Carl Williams has been bashed to death inside a high-security prison in Victoria. Thousands of users tweeted and updated their Facebook Statuses across the nation, many of them offering thoughts of condolences or messages of love. You may find yourself asking why people are laying adoration upon a convicted murderer and friends I have on answer for you; Australian Television.

Let me give those of you from overseas a quick rundown on the situation. In the late 90’s there was a string of Gangland murders in Melbourne. Mr. Williams was responsible for three of those murders and failed conspiracy to murder a fourth. Along with those charges he was also a convicted drug trafficker. Now here in Australia they thought it would be a great idea to base a television series called Underbelly on all of this criminal activity during the Gangland War. All the characters names are the same, many of them are still living in real life.

Now as many would know, even in movies it is always stated that the movie or television series is “Based on a true story”. That basically gives the director the right to change it around to make a good film or good television. Now see the show portrayed this guy as a decent person, and as a direct response it turns out that thousands of people across the internet actually believe it! Well done, one of our national icons was a bushranger, and now one of our respected celebrities is a drug trafficking murderer.

But I guess they don’t get Channel 9 in prison….maybe if the inmates were fans of the show they would have liked him too.

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TellTale games have come along in leaps and bounds in the past few years. In 2006 they released the critically acclaimed Sam & Max Season 1, the dynamic duo’s first outing in over ten years. Since then they have released a second season, along with other successful series such as Strongbad’s Cool Game For Attractive People and the new Tales of Monkey Island. Well now TellTale are at it again, this month releasing the first episode of the new season, Sam & Max: The Devil’s Playhouse.

Episode 1: The Penal Zone puts a tick in all the right boxes; Super-intelligent Space Gorilla on a quest for toys that can bend reality, check; weird and wonderful apparitions that are equally hilarious as they are frightening, check; a prophecy that foretells the end of the world, naturally involving Max, check. For fans of the duo’s beginnings as a comic book, their first outing in the video game realm “Hit The Road”, or the cartoon series, this episode feels the most like Sam & Max. It’s wacky, it’s out there, and it feels more comfortable in it’s universe than Season One or Two did.

Having said that, there isn’t as much story in this episode as expected, yet it manages to setup the story well enough that you will be hanging out for the next episode to drop. The story focuses around the villain “Skuk’ka’pe” who has come down to earth to collect some reality altering toys, among other reasons. The episode starts out with a vision of the end of the episode, a technique often seen in a lot of movies (See: Tarrantino), but your actions throughout the episode change the outcome, which leaves plenty of surprises in store.

While the puzzle element in previous seasons has been great, Season 3 has some truly inventive puzzles to be solve. This is due to Max and his new crazy supernatural abilities, mainly the teleport power. At first you might seem stumped, but as you move through and become comfortable with these abilities, you will soon find abstract ways around some seemingly impossible obstacles. It may seem gimmicky but I assure you it’s an integral part to the story, and it is implemented rather well.

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Along with the new gameplay style come the new interface scheme that was implemented with Tales of Monkey Island. Now instead of the standard point and click mechanics, you can now use the WSAD keys, or even plug in a gamepad. While it will make it seem more like a console port than enhance gameplay (this season is launching on consoles), but it certainly isn’t a game breaker. Other elements have been improved, a new pointer which for those of you who have played “Hit the Road” will recognise, along with highlighting objects a green colour so they are easier to define from the environment when clicking around.

Sam & Max have always been known for their wacky sense of humour, and the first episode of the third season certainly hits the funny bone more than a few times. There are some genuinely laugh out loud moments, and some terrific sight gags that will leave a smile on your face. The one liners this time around are sharp, witty and will stick out for days after you finish the episode, “I’m glad to see that Earthlings are still so charmingly racist” is just one of the many that sticks out in my mind.

But while the story and humour is solid, it’s not fantastic. Skunk’ka’pe is the only character that seems to drive the story forward, and while there is plenty of time to catch up with old friends Bosco, Agent Superball and the rest of the cast we’ve grown to love, it all seems a little redundant as you simply await for the next encounter with the damn dirty space ape. It can wear a little thin, it’s not bad, gamers just expect a little more.

The graphics are right on the money, and feature some fantastic design elements. Skun’ka’pe arrives on the block in a space ship that is both ridiculous and terrifying at the same time. Animation is smooth and fluid and everything looks just like it should. Backed up with some of the strongest voice acting in the business, this episode is top notch in both the graphic and audio sectors, just like all the episodes that have come before it.

The Final Verdict

The Penal Zone is a solid intro into the new season that sets the player up for what is coming ahead. While the story can seem a bit thin at times, the new interface along with the implementation of some great new gameplay features make this a delight to play through. For hardcore Sam & Max fans this is a must play, as it really feels like the first true Sam & Max game since “Hit The Road” from the 90’s.

8/10

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Directed By: Matthew Vaughn
Starring: Aaron Johnson, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, Chloë Grace Moretz, Nicolas Cage, Mark Strong

What It’s All About:
Based on the comic book of the same name Kick Ass follows the story of Dave Lizewski, a teenager who doesn’t seem to fit in. One day he ponders why there aren’t any real superheroes in the world, while there are so many fans of such characters in comic books. He sets out to make a difference as a caped crusader and after he becomes a sensation, he gets caught up in a situation that leaves him in way over his head.

The Final Verdict:
Vaughn has done it again, proving that he is a consistent and talented director with the launch of his latest movie Kick Ass. The movie had the potential to be a full blown comedy in the same vein as a “Superbad” yet Vaughn manages to create something dark and very real. The whole cast does a fantastic job in making this movie stand out as something truly different, and while the constant profanity from “Hit Girl” can come across a little contrived, this has cult classic written all over it. Nicolas Cage puts in his best performance in years, and Aaron Johnson really stands on his own as the lead. Overall a great film that is well worth your time and money.

4/5

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I stumbled across this article on news.com.au and I just had to share it with you all!

A UK woman claims falling from a Wii Fit board turned her instantly into a nymphomaniac. Amanda Flowers told the Daily Star she now needs up to 10 sex sessions a day after damaging a nerve in the fall. She has been diagnosed with persistent genital arousal disorder, a condition which gained global attention when it featured in an episode of Grey’s Anatomy in 2008. Ms Flowers, who lives in Manchester, said the urge to have sex was irresistable. She said small vibrations from her mobile phone or food processor were enough to turn her on. “It began as a twinge down below, before surging through my body,” Ms Flowers told the Daily Star.“Sometimes it built up into a trembling orgasm.” The single Ms Flowers said all she could do was try to control it with deep breathing, or “find a superstud who can satisfy me”.

Really? A superstud? Only in the U.K I guess! This revelation may cause an instant increase of Wii Fit sales as hardcore gamers across the world all rush out to purchase the device for their partners. There is always hope my friends 😛

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Twitter has quickly risen from a new Social Networking tool to becoming an integral part of every day life for people on the go. This is largely due to the vast majority of users Tweeting on the go from various web based clients and applications from their mobile devices. Finding a Twitter client that is suited to your wants and needs can be hard, especially without guidance. So to help you navigate the vast jungle of clients available on the Android Marketplace, I have compiled a shortlist of the ones that are worth checking out. All of these clients are free, and the review is based upon usage on a HTC Nexus One. So without further delay, let’s get Tweeting!

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Twidroid

Twidroid is the most popular Twitter app on the Android Marketplace and has a loyal following. The free version certainly has a lot of features, but the paid version will unlock additional features such as the ability to link multiple accounts and to upload video.

What Twidroid Does Right:

  • Easy to navigate User Interface. There is never screen clutter with the toolbar down the bottom to navigate to Home Feed, DM, Mentions and search.
  • Tapping on a tweet brings up a clean overlay that features the mentioned links, profiles and hashtags. Then there are easy buttons to Re-Tweet, reply and view a tweeters profile.
  • Configure Twidroid to do what you want it to. Set the frequency of notifications, font size, the number of tweets in your feed. Set it up how you want it.

What Twidroid Needs To Improve:

  • When viewing user profiles you can’t select tweets. This makes it hard when viewing a new followers profile, or tweets that are missed out in your feed due to the maximum size of your timeline.
  • Slow and unreliable. I found that Twidroid had performance issues and often crashed. Updates fix this on certain devices but it still is rather sluggish compared to some of the other clients out there.

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Swift

Swift is quickly picking up a fan base among Android users. While the interface may take some time to get used to, the functionality in this application makes it worth a look.

What Swift Does Right:

  • Performance is where it’s at when it comes to a mobile Twitter clients, and Swift has that in spades. Loads quickly and updates feed fast and furiously.
  • Unlike other Twitter clients that limit the number of tweets appearing in your feed, Swift keeps a constant feed, allowing you to back track and respond to everything in your backlog. Don’t worry, there is a convenient “Jump To Now” button so you don’t have to scroll all the way back to the top.
  • Ever tried to send a Tweet and lose network connection, and have your awesome joke just vanish? Well Swift will automatically resend failed tweets until they get onto the internet! A very handy feature!
  • When selecting a tweet with a shortened link Swift will show you the full URL so you can decide if it’s worth loading up on your mobile browser.

What Swift Needs To Improve:

  • You can’t view your own profile unless you search for yourself or select a tweet mentioning you, and sometimes you just really need to check your profile out.
  • While the user interface is clean and free of clutter, it just isn’t as intuitive as other solutions on the Android platform.
  • Sometimes you won’t receive confirmation that your tweet has been successful, so when in doubt check your feed to avoid double posting.

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Hootsuite

Hootsuite is a robust Twitter application that has been available on the iPhone for a while now, but is relatively new to the Android platform. Offered in a free version that limits the user to three accounts or a full fledged version which offers limitless accounts plus stat tracking.

What Hootsuite Does Right:

  • Gorgeous and functional user interface. The screen is never cluttered and each feed is hosted on a separate screen which can be viewed simply by flicking across the screen like the home screen function of the Android Home Screen.
  • Fast, speedy and reliable service. Hootsuite is one of the fastest Twitter clients around and I have yet to have it crash on me.
  • Background notifications. Even when the application is closed Hootsuite will notify you when you have been mentioned on Twitter. More often than not it notified me before my desktop PC client would.
  • When you have a lot of mentions from one person if you click on that tweet it will backtrack the whole conversation for you in one screen. Certainly comes in handy!

What Hootsuite Needs To Improve:

  • Getting used to so many screens can be intimidating to some users.

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Xeeku

Xeeku is one of the most feature laden Twitter clients I have ever used, some of which seem strange to say the least. If you can get past a user interface that looks like a Witch threw up on your screen, Xeeku could become a deadly tool in your mobile arsenal.

What Xeeku Did Right:

  • A comprehensive selection when viewing tweets. You can reply, retweet, go to the user profile, mentioned profile, open up a link or search Hashtags. The best option of all is the Gmail Share option which allows you to share the tweet with your friends and family who aren’t on Twitter via your Gmail account.
  • Much like Hootsuite, Xeeku will put all the @replies you have received from one user onto one screen so you can refer to your conversation.
  • Opening a user profile will bring up their “Friends Draw” which will show photos of the users they are following, much like the Twitter web page.
  • There is a Gallery option which opens up a random selection of featured user photos from the Xeeku website.

What Xeeku Needs To Improve:

  • Nasty user interface. A horrible selection of colours and gradients that makes it look like a Witch threw up on your screen. Messy and confusing row of buttons at the bottom of the screen also add to the horrible user interface.
  • If you want a customise your Twitter experience then stay away from Xeeku. It has no settings menu what-so-ever, as soon as you put in your account details, what you see is what you get.
  • Unreliable and inconsistent comes to mind when thinking about Xeeku. The app often crashes and is quite slow when compared to other clients out there.

The Final Verdict?

At the end of the day each of us are different and we all look for different qualities in a mobile Twitter experience. Some features will appeal more to others, but if you want a good base to start I highly recommend checking out Hootsuite. It’s gorgeous interface and reliability makes it my Twitter client of choice on the Android platform.

As some of you are aware I write and create webisodes and short movies. Room 4 Rent is a comedy series we started late last year, and while it’s been on the back burner for quite sometime, here is the finished third episode. To view more of our movies you can go to our website http://www.kinghitstudios.com

google-nexus-one-android-mobile-smartphone-g9flenajdgal.jpgSo you have been eyeing off one of these glorious Nexus One’s for a while now but still unsure if you want to go through all the trouble of importing one? I was just like you a few months ago, but my recent trip to the USA soon made owning one of these bad boys an easier task to handle. Before making the crucial decision I really wanted to know one simple thing: How does the Nexus One handle the Australian Telecommunication Climate. The answer to this question seemed too hard to find, so I hope this blog post will make it easier for you to make an informed decision.

Purchasing A Nexus One: Price and Delivery

Currently the Nexus One is not available in Australia for purchase and Google won’t ship one out to you. Here you have a few options. If you are like me you can just order one while you are on holiday in the states and get it delivered to your location overnight. Unfortunately I doubt many of you will be heading to the USA anytime soon and you want this phone now right? If you have friends you can simply get it delivered to them, and they can ship it across to you. There are also a number of mail forwarding companies that will accept the shipment, and then pass it on to you for a fee. Your only other options are Ebay or a select number of stores in Sydney who are importing these phones and selling them for a large profit.

Buying the phone direct from Google will sting you $520 USD which equates to roughly $560 AUD.

Network Profiles: Will It Work On Australian Networks?

Just recently AT&T released their version of the Nexus One, and I am happy to say the AT&T version is 100% compatible with the Telstra Next G Network. If you purchase the AT&T version it will work fine with Telstra and every other carrier within Australia. If you purchased the T-Mobile version then you will get 3G speeds in Metro Areas on Telstra, but when in the country you will only be connecting to the EDGE network. T-Mobile version will work fine on the Optus or Vodafone networks with 3G speeds. If you want to be sure, I’d say get the AT&T version if possible.

How Is The Nexus One?

I’ve been using the Nexus One in a country area for two weeks now and have had no issues with network performance what-so-ever. It runs like a dream and has superior speed and call quality to my iPhone 3G. While it won’t take over the iPhone market, the Nexus One is the first true Google Phone that pulls no punches in being a worthy alternative to the ever popular Apple device. Well worth the money in my opinion.

New Projects

Well after a stint overseas I’m back in the country and I have some new projects in mind to complete over the next month or so. So for those who are interested read on….

Finally have time to get back into the swing of things and film some new content and get Kinghit Studios back and running with some new videos on the website! Room 4 Rent Episode 3 will be filming next week, changing it from a Christmas themed episode to an Easter themed extravaganza. A new episode of the Super Fantastical Awesome Movie Review Show is also on the cards, we have chosen the movie and should be doing that in the next few weeks.

A collaboration for a new webisode series is also in the works with my friend Michael Teychenne who has been studying media at RMIT for the past 4 years. Hopefully it will lean towards a dark comedy and will be very different to the other series we have been working on in the past. This new series will be filmed over a series of weekends and slowly released every two weeks. It’s all in the very early stages yet, we are still yet to form a solid concept yet.

New music is also on the way. I’ve cleaned up my solo stuff and with the help of a few friends I will FINALLY be getting some decent demos down. How far I take this solo stuff is still unknown, but there is another interesting project I have in mind…..but it’s too early to say anything much more than it’s hopefully going to be rather progressive and very different from the other styles of music I have been involved with in the past.

It will be fun to see just how much of this stuff I get done before I get back over to the USA in July to see my friends and girlfriend….hopefully I will get it all done but knowing me something else will come up!