Gamer Update #14: The Last of Us (PS3)

If you’ve been reading my blog lately, you know that I got The Last of Us on PS3 for Christmas. Well, I just recently beat the game and there‘s one question I have been asking myself – why the heck did I not play this game sooner?

The Last of Us PS3

Man, The Last of Us is one amazing game.  As many of you know out there, this game was developed by Naughty Dog, the developers of the three Uncharted games for Playstation 3. I have played all three of these Uncharted games and I really like them, but I liked The Last of Us way better.

I really love the whole “Fallout 3 meets The Walking Dead” vibe that The Last of Us has. Some parts of the game did remind me of the Uncharted games, such as when you needed boost the other character up to reach a ladder or something. You can also play the game using stealth, which reminded me a lot of Splinter Cell.

The Last of Us has a touching story as well, with very memorable characters. Ashley Johnson did a great job as Ellie. I did think that her constant swearing was kind of gratuitous, but it was funny too.

However, I’m really impressed with Troy Baker, who did the voice of the main protagonist, Joel. I’ve heard his voice work before, when he voiced younger dudes in games like Tales of Vesperia, Final Fantasy XIII, and Catherine. I wasn’t sure if he could pull off voicing an older, more mature character like Joel, but Baker knocked it out of the park! Well done!

As for the combat and shooting in The Last of Us, I do think that it felt somewhat clunky. I wasn’t a huge fan of the combat at the beginning, but as the game went on and I got new weapons and upgraded my character and weapons, I had a bit more appreciation for the combat. I still think combat and shooting feel a little bit clunky, but I think the developers made it like that on purpose.

That’s because I don’t think the developers wanted you to go in “All Guns Blazing!” in The Last of Us. I mean, you could do that, but combat would just be more harder. You are given limited resources and ammo, so ideally, you’re supposed to take down your enemies unseen one by one (or do this as much as possible before shooting up the place).

Therefore this made most of the battles with the enemies more intense and it made more gratifying when you succeed. Man, I remember this one battle where I had very few ammo and items. I had to take it slow and use some good strategy. I had to make sure every shot I took and every weapon I used counted. When it was over and I won the battle without dying, it felt very rewarding.

Of course, on the flip side, if things don’t go your way in combat, it can get annoying and frustrating.

But overall, I love playing The Last of Us. In fact, I enjoyed it so much that if I get a Playstation 4, I just might get The Last of Us Remastered for PS4.

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Just Finished Watching The Knick Season 1 on DVD

The Knick Season 1 DVD

First off, for anyone who hasn’t seen this show and is interested in watching this show, I want to mention this: The Knick contains graphic, realistic looking scenes of human surgery. I consider myself to be someone who is able to watch graphic, mature content in films, TV shows, and videogames, but even I found myself almost unable to stand watching these surgery scenes. I found myself looking away from the TV during these scenes. But eventually I did get use to it.

So if you think you might not be able to watch these graphic surgery scenes, then this show might not be for you.

But if you can handle this content (or you could just use your hands to cover your eyes during those scenes, haha!), then The Knick is a show worth checking out. I found the the show to be highly enjoyable.

Set in the year 1900 (or around that time), The Knick is a TV show about the doctors and staff working at the Knickerbocker Hospital in New York. I thought that the show had great atmosphere and does a good job of recreating of that time period.

Season One of The Knick consists of ten episodes and all ten episodes were directed by Steven Soderbergh, the director of films like Out of Sight, Traffic, Ocean’s Eleven (2001), and its sequel, Ocean’s Twelve.

There are two storylines in Season One that I really enjoyed. The first one involved Dr. Algernon Edwards (played by Andre Holland). He is the only black doctor working at the Knickerbocker Hospital (he might also be the only black person there). Despite being a very talented doctor, he struggles to gain respect from his peers because of some of their racism and prejudice. I found Dr. Algernon’s storyline to be very compelling.

I also liked the storyline involving nurse Lucy Elkins (played by the lovely Eve Hewson, daughter of U2‘s Bono) and her “love interest.” I was very interested in how storyline evolved throughout the first season.

Can’t wait to watch Season Two!

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Megadeth’s Rust In Peace and Countdown To Extinction – Two of my favorite heavy metal albums!

Today I wanted to blog a little bit about Megadeth’s Rust in Peace and Countdown To Extinction albums. Megadeth is probably my favorite heavy band and these two CDs are some of my favorite heavy metal albums of all time.

Megadeth Rust In Peace Countdown To Extinction CDs

Let’s start with the Rust in Peace album. The song Hanger 18 is a classic metal masterpiece. I also really like songs like Lucretia, Holy Wars… The Punishment Is Due, Tornado of Souls, and Rust in Peace… Polaris. These are songs that I can listen to over and over.

In fact, there was a point last winter where I went through a “Rust in Peace” phase. I listened to this album almost everyday for 4 or 5 weeks!

Countdown To Extinction is another album with lots of great songs. I actually go way back with this album. I bought the cassette version of Countdown To Extinction back in 1993 (this album was released in 1992).

I remember going home from the store after buying it and popping the cassette tape into my stereo. I remember listening to the first track on the tape, Skin o’ My Teeth, and that song rocked hard. That was awesome! And then Symphony of Destruction played and that song has awesome guitar riffs.

My favorite song from Countdown To Extinction is Architecture of Aggression. Other songs I love listening to are Captive Honor, Psychotron, and Ashes In Your Mouth. I also like High Speed Dirt, This Was My Life, and Foreclosure of a Dream.

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Videogames I got for Christmas 2015 (The Last of Us, Dragon Age Inquisition, Ratchet & Clank, Transformers)

Okay, here’s the videogame stuff I got for Christmas this year. I got other stuff too but who wants to see that crazy sweater I got from my relatives (haha!)

The videogames I got are The Last of Us, Ratchet and Clank: Into The Nexus, Transformers: Rise of the Dark Spark, and Dragon Age Inquisition. All four of these games are for the PS3.

The Last of Us Ratchet and Clank Transformers Dragon Age Inquistion PS3

The Last of Us, a highly critically acclaimed game, was the last PS3 game developed by Naughty Dog, who also developed the three Uncharted games for the PS3. I have played all three PS3 Uncharted games and really enjoyed playing them. So I’m super hyped to play The Last of Us.

I have enjoyed playing the Ratchet & Clank games in the past. I don’t know if I mentioned it before but, back in the PS2 days, I always liked the Ratchet & Clank games more than the Sly Cooper and Jak and Daxter games. I have heard good things about Ratchet & Clank: Into The Nexus so I’m sure I’ll have fun playing it.

I’ve always been a Transformer fan. I loved the 80s cartoon, and I have enjoyed playing a few Transformers videogames, including Transformers: War For Cybertron and the PS2 Transformers game based on the Transformers Armada cartoon. Hopefully Transformers: Rise of the Dark Spark will be an enjoyable game also.

And finally we have Dragon Age Inquisition. Bioware has made some RPGs that I absolutely love playing, especially the Mass Effect series. The PS4 and Xbox One versions of Dragon Age Inquisition have gotten a lot of praise and good reviews. However, I have heard that the PS3 (and Xbox 360) versions don’t run so well and are extremely buggy. But then I’ve also heard that they patched up (hopefully) most of the problems. So, I’m hoping that this PS3 version runs well now and that I will have an enjoyable experience playing this game.

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Movies I Watched Recently #22: Elf

With Christmas just a few days away, I decided to watch another Christmas film. This time I watched Elf, a movie I just bought on DVD a few days ago. This is only the second time I watched this film. The first time that I watched it was 12 years ago when it opened in theaters back in 2003 (I saw it either the opening weekend or the next week).

Elf DVD

Since it has been over a decade since I last watched this film, there were a few things that I didn’t remember. Like I didn’t remember that Jon Favreau directed this movie. So it was a nice surprise to see his name as the director in the opening credits. Yes, the Jon Favreau who directed Elf is also the same one who directed the first two Iron Man movies starring Robert Downey Jr.

One thing that I never forgot is Zooey Deschanel’s scene where she sings in the bathroom of the department store. But what I didn’t remember is that she was a blonde in this movie! She’s been a brunette for the longest time that it was a bit of a surprise to see her as a blonde but she does look good as a blonde. In fact, she looked super cute. I believe this is the first movie (or TV show) that I saw her in and she made a great first impression.

Anyway, I loved this movie the first time I saw it back in 2003 and I don’t know why I haven’t seen this film more. Perhaps, there were just other Christmas movies that I was more concerned with watching…?

But after watching this film a second time, I definitely wished I had seen this film more times throughout the years.

Watching it now, I’m reminded that Elf is an absolutely hilarious movie. Will Ferrell movies can be kind of hit or miss with me in terms of whether I find them to be funny or not, but he is definitely funny here as the title character. James Caan is also great here as well.

I love seeing Faizon Love in this film (he plays the department store manager).. He was very funny. I remember watching him on a TV sitcom in the 90s. I looked it up and I think the show is The Parent’ Hood.

Overall, this film is a definite Christmas classic to me. Yeah, the film can be cheesy at times, but it is funny and has a lot of heart. I can see myself watching this film around Christmas time many times in the future.

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!

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Videogames I bought the week after Thanksgiving/Black Friday (Skyrim Legendary Edition, Watch Dogs, Resident Evil 6, Dark Souls II, Lego Batman 2)

Unlike previous years, I did not go out shopping on Black Friday this year (and that includes both Thanksgiving Thursday and Black Friday). There wasn’t really anything that interested me. Sure, my friends and relatives wanted to drag me out there shopping, but this time I was able to resist them.

However, the next week my brother (who was still in town) and I stopped by a Target store. At this Target I saw a bunch of games on clearance for (mostly) $10 a piece. I couldn’t resist. I bought six games. For the Xbox 360, I got Watch Dogs, Dark Souls II, Resident Evil 6, and Lego Batman 2: DC Super Heroes. All four games were $10 each.

I also bought The Elder Scrolls Skyrim Legendary Edition and Grand Theft Auto: Episodes From Liberty City for PS3. Skyrim was $15, while GTA: Episodes from LC was almost $7.50

Watch Dogs Resident Evil 6 Dark Souls II Lego Batman II Skyrim Legendary Edition GTA Episodes from LC

Watch Dogs is a game that I remember being really hyped up for when it was announced, so I can’t wait to check it out. The game is set in modern day (or maybe near future?) Chicago, and I don’t think I’ve played a game set in Chicago before, so I’m eager to explore the city in this game.

Recently I’ve been trying to get into the Demon Souls/Dark Souls/Bloodborne games. I know they’re hard games but I keep hearing how rewarding it is to play and beat these games. So when I saw Dark Souls II for $10 I had to get it.

I already have Resident Evil 6 and Lego Batman 2: DC Super Heroes, so these two games will be Christmas gifts.

I also already have a copy of Skyrim, but it is the standard version without any DLC. This Legendary Edition comes with the three DLC expansions Dawnguard, Heartfire, and Dragonborn. The DLC is on disc as well. So for $15, I couldn’t resist buying it. I don’t think I’ll ever find a brand new copy of the Legendary Edition for less than that price.

And finally we have Grand Theft Auto: Episodes From Liberty City. This collection has the two DLC expansions from Grand Theft Auto IV. I have played GTA IV and I liked it. However, I wasn’t sure when (or if) I was ever going to get any of the DLC. Now, for $7.50, I have the chance to play the two expansions. By the way, in case anyone is wondering, you can buy and play Grand Theft Auto: Episodes From Liberty City without owning a copy of GTA IV.

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Movies I Watched Recently #21: Fred Claus

We’ve been having a lot of mild winter weather lately, so to get myself into the “holiday mood,” the other night I sat down and I watched Fred Claus on DVD.

Vince Vaughn stars as the title character, Fred Claus, who is the brother of Santa Claus, played by Paul Giamatti. Kevin Spacey, Rachel Weisz, Elizabeth Banks, Kathy Bates, and Miranda Richardson are also in the film.

Fred Claus DVD

While there are a few really funny moments, unfortunately the film is not as consistently funny as I would have like. But despite this, I did enjoy watching the film and I can see it becoming a guilty pleasure of mine.

The movie does have some good things going for it. There are some good messages in the film, such as every kid deserves a present on Christmas. It doesn’t matter if they’re “naughty or nice”. I also like the way they handled the “villain” in the movie. Normally you would see the villain “get beaten” and then get punished somehow, but not here.

I also have to mention this: Elizabeth Banks looks super hot in this movie! She wears an outfit that shows off some great cleavage. Wow!

Like I state above, I enjoyed watching this movie, but I’m not sure if I can recommend this film to anyone.  I can’t help but think that if this movie had a better script and some more funnier lines/gags, then it would be a classic Christmas movie for me. But as is, it just might be a guilty pleasure.

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