Thursday, June 4, 2015

Like A Kick to the Head (That Feels Strangely Good)

Album: Sucker Punch Soundtrack                Artist: Multiple
Original Release Date: March 2011   Rating: 5 of  5

Great cd! Now while there is some previously released material on this album, don't let that discourage you. The remixes are dead on. Here's my thoughts on each track:

1. Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This) - 5.0 Emily Brown, what can't she do? Act, and now sing? Yes she does a heck of a job on this song. A classic reworking that hits on all cylinders.
2. Army of Me (Sucker Punch Remix) - 4.0 Don't get me wrong, the song fits perfectly in with the movie. And the remix is cool. But not too special. Bjork screams some, and that's about it. Still though it doesn't detract from the rest of the album.
3. White Rabbit - 5.0 A song about Alice In Wonderland. It rocks. Emiliana Torrini's voice is perfect here. A dreamy rock/pop song.
4. I Want It All/ We Will Rock You (Mash Up) - 1.0 Ugh, this doesn't work with the rest of the cd in my opinion. It's a fist pumping mix of rap and classic Queen. But it sticks out like a sore thumb when compared with the rest of the dreamy rock and punk songs.
5. Search and Destroy - 4.5 Ah here we go. Jumps right back into the album's theme. Good song
6. Tomorrow Never Comes - 4.0 A very memorable song (on the movie it's the train scene/kitchen scene). This song get's stuck in my head every time I hear it. It is not dying....argh! See!
7. Where Is My Mind? - 4.5 Emily Brown sings backup to this song as well. Will stick with you long after the song ends.
8. Asleep - 4.0 Yet a third Emily Brown song! And she rocks this one as well. Slower and haunting.
9. Love is the Drug - 5.0 This song is from the final credits in the movie. And it fits in so well. Once you get done the movie you are kind of in a dark place by what you have just seen. This song is the perfect touch to bring you back up. It sounds like a big grand production. Great song and a great way to conclude the album.

Final Score: 37.0 out of 45.0
Not too shabby! With the exception of song number four this soundtrack doesn't miss a beat. I personally recommend it.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

The War Lust

So it has admittedly been a while.  But the Opinion Company is back!  Let's review some stuff....

Book: The War Lovers: Roosevelt, Lodge, Hearst, and the Rush to Empire, 1898
Published: 1 edition (April 27, 2010)      480 pages
Rating: 3 of 5

Evan Thomas has authored a new and intriguing read on the events and players that lead America into war with Spain. I always enjoy historical information so I was excitied to read this one. After reading though, I have very mixed feelings.
On one hand Mr. Thomas does a great job in following the events (some even very minute) which lead to the conflict. He is unflinching when he points out the obvious war lust and blatant racism that drove the nation into a war that could've been avoided. I am more of a Civil War buff so it was nice to learn about this war in depth. I didn't honestly know a lot about it before picking up this book.
Another positive aspect is how in depth the author gets into the main characters. It was easily understandable and paints a very interesting picture of men like William Randolph Hearst and Thomas Reed. One can't help but wonder what would've happened if he had been elected president?

With all of the good points of the book though, I was also a little put off by a couple things. First and foremost there is a little too much conjecture in the book for me. I'm not saying that Mr. Thomas doesn't has some valid points. But some of it is a little confusing. I'm not really sure why William James is mentioned so thoroughly in the book. I'm assuming it is because he is an example of one of the deep thinkers in the USA at that time. So we get an insight into the mind of the intellectuals? Still doesn't really add to the book that much in my opinion.
And with a couple other reviewers I have to agree, I was wondering where was the comparison with the Bush administration. The book alludes to the idea that the Gulf War (the second one) corresponds with the push for war with Spain. But I really don't think it adds to the book. I'm not a Democrat or a Republican, but I don't think the author does a good job of proving his point either way. He should have chosen to put the idea to the fore and made backing points or he should've just dropped the idea completely.

PROS: Very insightful and in depth. Well researched. Lots of nice photographs give you a nice historical snapshot.
CONS: Seems to be a lot of conjecture in the book. Author alludes to a lot of background theories but doesn't really clearly state them.
BOTTOM LINE: Definitely a good addition to any readers bookshelf who is a history buff or enjoys following historical politics

Friday, March 28, 2014

Ex-Illis. High Hopes. Lots of Woes.

Game:  Miniature/ Wargaming

So what shall we talk about today?  I figure it's about time I start reviewing games to help you decide whether they are cool enough to play.  So first up I was thinking maybe we could discuss a game that used to be dear to my heart.....Ex-illis.  It was an exciting  miniature game.  But lets rate it's features to see how it stacks up.

The game isn't very cheap.  A starter set (regular version) will run you about 80 bucks.  The deluxe is even more but you get a really nice board to play on.  One nice advantage is in the game, you buy army packs for what you need so there is no random booster crap.  You get what you pay for.  The miniatures aren't painted, or even glued together though.  So that's your job.  It's not my thing, that's for sure.  But if you aren't an avid mini collector then it does create a lot of start up cost.  You will need glue, paints, tweezers, etc.  Still it is cheaper than games like Warhammer.

The rules actually make the game unique.  The fine folks at Ex-illis were trying to take miniature war games to the next level.  Remember Warhammer?  If you play it, you love it.  And if you don't play it, why is that?  It's all the  rules isn't it?!?  A game with 17 big books and a tape measure sounds slow and time consuming.  So what have the Ex-illis creators done?  They have created a game where you log in online to play.  So it keeps track of all the rules for you!  And also records wins and losses. Pretty nice huh?  Except till the servers go down.  Then you just got a bunch of crappy plastic minis.

The theme is great.  The setting is medieval Europe and a group of heretics has raised a fog which killed a vast amount of people.  Also evil demons and creatures of darkness have poured into the world.  Now the world has been thrown into chaos.  It's a violent time for the world, and only the strong will survive.  It's super easy to get into the right mindset while playing this game.
To take it to the maximum level of geekiness, at the hobby store I used to play at we even had a map of countries that we will fight over trying to gain control of the whole world.

I had such high hopes for this game.  But unfortunately it misses more than it hits.  Now the game is pretty much dead.  And I spent a bunch on minis.  My adivice is to avoid this one!

Friday, March 14, 2014

Something Wicked in a Deckbuilder....

Title:  Resident Evil Deckbuilding Game
MSRP: 29.99
Genre:  Deckbuilding Game
Rating:  C+
Itchy, Tasty.....
Bandi annouced that they will be releasing a Resident Evil DBG(Deck Building Game)!  It's offical release date was Nov 19, 2010.  MSRP is 29.99.
Unless you have lived under a rock for the past 15 years or so, you already know what Resident Evil is.  But in case you missed it, I will give you a little background info before we get to the game specifics.
In 1996 gamers first learned of RE via the Playstation.  The graphics may have been a little lame, but there was nothing more creepy than being stuck in a mansion in the middle of the woods surrounded by killer dogs outside, and nasty zombies inside! The game was a hit so it was followed up in 1998 by RE 2 and RE 3: Nemesis in 1999.  From there the game took off jumping onto Play Station 2 and Sega Saturn.  Then suddenly Resident Evil was everywhere.  Since then there are a least 20 RE games with 3 more in the works.  To date the series has sold over 40 million games world wide.  And with movies, action figures, and games like this, RE seems to have a lot of life left in it.  But what's the deal with this specfic game?
Well, the game comes with 250 cards.  And if you haven't played a DBG, you are in for a treat.  It's all the excitement of building your deck in a CCG setting without all the investment.  There are 3 modes in the game you can play as well which adds even more replayability.
1. Story Mode.  The most common game.  You start with a deck of 10 cards and build it while you are fighting off the infected and trying to make it out of the mansion.  Player with the most decorations for kills wins.
2. Mercenary Mode.  This mode is similar to Story, but you have a time limit.  Winner is whoever gets the most kills.  Or you can even have teams in this one!
3. Versus Mode.  Now this is the bloodsport pvp you might be looking for!  It's you vs everyone else!  No infected allowed.
So how's it going to be?  Do we have any faith in this game though?  Since Resident Evil is now this big brand name, and since big brand name games are usually rushed to market, will it be good?  Will it last?
The general consensus was good game, but not great.
Some elements are highly prasied.  In some DBGs like Dominion, you can get stuck with victory cards in your deck which are worthless till the end of the game.  RE removes this because ammo is essentially your money, and you need it for your guns.  So late game you don't really buy weapons, but it's still a useful commodity to you.  Also the fact that you have a chance even if you do get killed by a zombie appeals to many players.
With that being said though, there are a few things that are annoying within the game.  First off is that it's almost irrelevant that the character you pick has a specialization for certain weapons.  (Leon is all about Pistols while Jill is an explosives expert.)  It would've been more interesting if characters could at least move over into other weapon fields which would've made it a little more tense if someone else was taking your guns!
Also  the game is pretty random with more luck than skill involved in some situations.
Still though it's mostly positive.  And it was a new skin on the old DBGs.  Interesting game.

Friday, March 7, 2014

Probiotic For A Good Value

Product:  4X Pro-B Digestive Care Natural Probiotic
Pill Count: 28 (One Month Supply)
Method: Gradual Release
MSRP: 19.99
Rating: B-

First and foremost let's just point out that probiotics are not cheap at all. Align is a typical example of a pricey one. What is a probiotic? Simply put, it is a aid for your whole digestion system.  It contains millions of bacteria for your system.

I can't really comment on how effective the product is. I have a lot of stomach problems. But after trying multiple probiotics I have found that they just don't help me unfortunately. But I can review everything else about it.
The price is great as I just mentioned. Almost half what other probiotics charge you.
The pills aren't too big. They are easy to swallow. And you could even break them in half easier. Or even soften them up with your saliva. They don't have a nasty aftertaste either.
The blister pack does suck as usual. It's kinda tough to get a pill out without breaking it.

So overall I'd recommend this product. Just make sure you actually need a probiotic.

Friday, February 28, 2014

As Heavy As Air

Product:  Belkin MultiTasker  Case for iPad Air.  Leather.
Price:  59.99
Released:  Oct 2013
Rating:  D+

Can't recommend this one. It's not to say that it isn't a pretty product. It's very nice. The leather is classy looking and the case seems pretty durable. It does well locking in your iPad air in the plastic. But as another reviewer mentioned, unless you leave it in there all the time, you will start scratching it.
Also, maybe it's just me, but it starts making my hand sweat a lot after a while of holding it. Of course that could just be me.

The biggest sin of the case is that it's pretty darn heavy. No it's not like holding a ton of bricks. But one of the points of the Air is that it's light weight. And this completely nullifies that. Add in the price and I say save your money.

Friday, February 14, 2014

I'd Rather Be Alone In The Dark Without This Game

Video Game:  Alone In The Dark
Console:  Xbox 360
Rating: Mature
Rating: 0.4 of 5

This game has a couple of things that are good about it. The story is interesting. And....well, I guess that's it. The rest of the game is God awful. But for the sake of saving you money we'll break it down 1 by 1.

THE CONTROLS: 1 Star. Using one stick to move sucks. And having to use the other stick to swing, well you guessed it, that sucks too. Makes fighting really annoying. Makes, well everything really annoying.
THE CAMERA ANGLE: 1 Star. This is possibly more annoying than the controls. You'll be walking on the ledge at the edge of a building. It's all going good, and suddenly, bam! Screen changes and you walk off the ledge. This happens a lot. I also can't stand not being able to see what I'm fighting. That makes the game great too.
THE STORY: 4 Stars. The only thing even remotely redeeming about the game is the story. End of the world? Evil monsters? Scary creatures? Crazy holes that suck you into oblivion? Check! That's enjoyable at least.
HIT DETECTION: 1 Star. Horrible. Not only is it annoying how you have to use 1 stick to swing, it makes it a million times worse when you can't hit anything at all. You can be standing on top of an enemy and miss. At the same time though, you can be far away and hit.

BOTTOM LINE: Stay far, far, far away from this pile of dookie. Decent graphics and an interesting story can't even begin to make up for all of this stinker of a title. Two thumbs way down....