Call of Duty vs. Battlefield. FIGHT?

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I like Call of Duty, and I also like the Battlefield series.
There, I said it.
It seems that this one sentence can get a world of nerds into a rage these days. The Call of Duty franchise is definitely one of the most popular gaming franchises in the world. Battlefield is also hugely known to a smaller (and they insist, more elite) crowd of gamers.

With the release of Call of Duty: Modern Warfare, there are fewer and fewer WW2 games being made. I think this is a huge breath of fresh air to many of us who play FPS games. Although, now that we have an uprising of different modern combat shooters, everyone has their opinions on which they think is the best one, and everyone seems to be so adamant that the game THEY play is better than “all the others out there”.
This is all about multiplayer though. The single player aspect is quick and simple. I think I’m one of the 100 people in the world that actually loved the single player campaign in Modern Warfare 2. Bad Company 2 also has an awesome (not to mention hilarious) single player campaign.
I think a lot of the animosity has to do with the aspect of online gaming itself. I remember multiplayer games being fun and… well, multiplayer. Any of you out there that have played any of these modern combat games online know that yes, they are fun, but also surprisingly competitive.

In the gaming industry (just like any other industry that involves money), if there is something profitable, there will be other companies there trying to do best it. Just like we love seeing celebrities fall, everyone in the gaming industry is secretly vying for a game to take Modern Warfare 2 off its mantle. I believe the 2nd most played modern combat shooter online is Battlefield, and this is where the trouble begins. Modern combat does not equal “same game”. First person perspective does not equal “same game”.

I was gonna break down the 2 most recent games in both franchises and try to compare em, but it really doesn’t matter. There are many differences between the two games, so many in fact the only way you can compare them is that they’re played in the first person perspective, and they’re war games that don’t take place in WW2. I’ve been gaming for longer than I should be at my age, so I’ve been with both of these series since the beginning. What I find with my experiences with both games is that Modern Warfare/Call of Duty is fast and frantic. The gunfights are quick, and the matches are usually over quick as well. With Battlefield, the matches last much longer. The maps are a lot bigger and therefore make it harder to find people. Slower than Call of Duty, but extremely satisfying gunfights. Did I mention vehicles?

To determine which one I feel like playing depends on the mood I’m in. They have different gaming styles, and some people prefer the fast and frantic to the steady and calculating. Though I will say, I’ve seen way more hacks and glitches in Modern Warfare 2 than any of the Battlefield series. But I can forgive this because hackers aren’t hard to get away from, I’ve been getting away from hackers since I played Quake online. Also, when Infinity Ward (makers of Modern Warfare 2) dissolved, I didn’t expect post support for the game. I wish there was, but it’s forgivable given the circumstance. The funny thing is though, if you have been paying attention to any gaming websites or forums over the past couple of years, you know what I’m getting at here. Try going onto a Call of Duty forum/website and just mention Battlefield. You’ll get ripped to shreds, and vice versa. It’s complete elitist bullshit, and in my opinion is really hurting the gaming industry because people are getting so attached to a single video game and not diversifying.

Whatever happened to diversity in the gaming industry? Live and let live? I don’t mean to sound like a hippy here, but everyone that plays these games needs to understand that if you like something about one of these games more, it doesn’t make it better in general, just better for you. Yet people will continue to try to “change your mind” as to which series is better, while forgetting that not everyone is like them. I like them both equally for very different reasons. Until I go on a death streak, then I go outside.

/Dave

M.A.S.K.! AAAAaaaaahhhhh!

Ah, dreams. You can never really be sure what they’re going to be about. I’ve actually been going through a period the last few months, where I haven’t been able to remember my dreams at all. I can usually at least recall a few pieces here and there, but lately it’s just been blank. Until last night, that is. I’m going to be writing this down pretty free form, so I’ll apologize now if my grammar and punctuation aren’t exactly perfect. I’ve also only been awake for 5 minutes or so, and my brain isn’t quite at 100% yet.
We’re having a party at my old house in Midland, well my parents are anyway. I’m in the basement watching reruns of Coach. The episode is about Hayden’s two sons (he had a single daughter in the actual show) as they prepare for a big school presentation. There was also a side story about a duck that is running loose around the school. The boys are having a hard time getting everything in order, and the stress of seeing some really good presentations before them is adding to it. Hayden is encouraging them, however, telling them that what they’ve done is incredible and they’re sure to win. One moment during a girl’s presentation, a duck waddles across the stage, followed by 2 guys with butterfly nets. The crowd, and the girl, pay no attention and continue on like nothing happened.
It’s the boys turn now, and the lights in the gymnasium go dark. Music beings to play, and smoke fills the air as the curtains open, and reveal LIFE SIZED FULLY FUNCTIONAL M.A.S.K. VEHICLES!!! The centerpiece being an enormous red truck decked out with missiles, and machine guns, and 2 giant speakers that were blasting Queen into the gym. Have you ever heard the theme song that Queen did for the Flash Gordon movie? “FLASH! AAAAHHHHH”? Well, that was the song that was playing, only instead of Flash, it was saying “M.A.S.K! AAAAHHHHH”. After all the explosions and gunfire were over, the crowd goes wild, and the Fox boys win first place. They’re given an enormous bowling trophy as a prize. Sometime later, Hayden is in his office with one of the guys who was chasing the duck on the stage. They’re having a coffee and talking about how great that presentation was, when the duck walks past both of them and flies out a window.
Excited to see if I still have any of my old M.A.S.K. toys around from my childhood, I run upstairs to ask mom where they might be. Who do I run in to but Craig T. Nelson! He’s been at the party the whole time, so I immediately start talking to him about the episode of Coach I just watched. He looks at me a little funny and says something like “It’s been a long time, kid. I don’t remember every show.” I decide to leave him alone and ask my mom where all my toys are, to which she looks at me and says “Kurt, wake up. You’re dreaming.” So I woke up.

Why can’t all dreams be this fun?
Kurt

Wreck And Rule!

The Transformers: Last Stand of the Wreckers
Written by Nick Roche and James Roberts
Art by Nick Roche

“It’s a story of sacrifice and betrayal, and of good people dying in stupid, pointless ways”. – Verity Carlo

Last Stand of the Wreckers took me by surprise. The last 2 years or so of Transformers comics have been, admittedly, lackluster. They haven’t been bad by any means, but they haven’t been that great either. Bogged down by continuity errors and innumerable ret cons, it’s been hard to really single out any one story arc as fantastic. Enter Nick Roche and James Roberts. With Wreckers they took a 180° turn from the status quo, and in doing so have crafted one of the best Transformers stories I’ve ever read. Actually, it could be one of the best comics I’ve read, full stop.
A little history lesson might be in order for those that don’t know who, or what the Wreckers are. Essentially, the Wreckers are a special Autobot unit comprised of the toughest, die-hard fighters around. If a mission has little or no chance of victory, the Wreckers will be there, and they’ll probably win the battle. Not without casualties, however. One thing about being a Wrecker is that survival is not always guaranteed. Membership is basically a revolving door. If you get killed in battle, there are two more guys waiting to take your place.
I’m not going to give away the whole story, since it’s a 5 issue series. Covering all of that, while trying to keep this from becoming mind numbingly long would be impossible. So, I’ll give you the set-up. Just enough to get you interested. Three years ago, Garrus-9 Penitentiary was taken over in a Decepticon assault. Overlord, known and feared by Autobot and Decepticon alike, arrives on the scene and quickly assumes command. He kills the former bot in charge and turns the prison into a hunting ground of sorts, allowing those who follow him freedom “in every sense of the word” as he puts it. This means, of course, that any Autobots still alive on G-9 are now prey to be hunted, and killed as the Decepticons see fit. Cue the Wreckers. With every attempt to penetrate Garrus-9 ending in failure, it now falls to Springer, commander of the Wreckers, and a group of young, inexperienced, but skilled Autobots who must get the job done.
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Something that took me by surprise with this mini-series is the surprising lack of A-list characters. You won’t see Optimus Prime and Megatron fighting it out for the umpteenth time. In fact, with the possible exception of Kup and Springer, every member of the Wreckers team is a relative unknown. The same can be said for the Decepticon side of things. This doesn’t hinder the storytelling at all. Quite the opposite, actually. Using characters that are unknown provides the opportunity to start fresh, and makes you learn about about them as the story moves forward. I had no emotional, or nostalgic connection to these characters starting the book, but from page one I was invested in their stories. When someone dies (and they will… a lot), you will feel it, even if they’ve only been introduced the page before. There’s even a human element in the form of Verity Carlo. A stowaway, who followed Ultra Magnus from earth with the hope of finding her place in life. Verity has been around since the beginning of this current generation of Transformers comics (2005, I believe), and I’ve never seen her as much more than an annoyance. But she really comes into her own in this series, and actually becomes vital to the events that occur. It goes to show that a character is only as good as the writer can make them, and Nick Roche is one hell of a writer.
He is also a great artist. Pulling double duties on Wreckers, Nick puts as much thought and passion into his drawings as he does his storytelling. Every character design is unique, and full of personality. It’s cartoony in style, but never childish. At times, it can be downright disturbing. The violence is extreme, and you can tell Roche was having fun drawing robots getting killed. Decapitations, gladiatorial battle scenes, and bots getting ripped in half are just a few examples. It may seem a bit overkill, but that’s the point. The idea going in was to point out that Garrus-9 is out of control, and that being a Wrecker, no matter how skilled you are, is not a steady job.
I know I can get a little carried away with my Transformers adoration, but Last Stand of the Wreckers is different. First and foremost there is a beautifully crafted, gorgeously drawn story here. One that can be enjoyed by anyone, whether you’re a fan of giant robots or not. All five issues are out now, and there is a trade paperback coming out that will collect the entire series together. If you’re a fan of good characters, and an engrossing story, then pick it up and give it a read. If for no other reason than to send a message to the publisher that the Transformers can actually tell a good story. Maybe then, the main books might step up their game a little.

Wreck and Rule,
Kurt

The Top 10: WTF Endings in Film

10. Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull (2008) – Kurt

Kicking this list off, we have an ending that pretty much ruined what was admittedly a fun movie. Sure swinging through the trees with monkeys and surviving a nuclear explosion in a fridge was completely ridiculous, but I really did enjoy Crystal Skull. That is, until they decided to give us aliens. Fucking ALIENS!!
After escaping a gang of Soviets, man-eating ants, and crazy parkour warriors, the group finally reaches a chamber with 13 crazy skeletons all sitting on thrones. Conveniently, one of them is missing its head and *gasp*, Indiana just so happens to have it! The Soviets make a comeback, since Mac really was a double-crossing douche, and in the commotion Spalko (super hot Russian psychic) puts the skull on the headless skeleton, and things start to get crazy. Crazier, anyway. All the skeletons start to spin around and merge into one being, bestowing Spalko with all of their collected knowledge. This in turn opens a portal to… somewhere, and begins sucking everything into it. Oxley, who for his entire appearance up until now has been batshit crazy, is now completely sane and knows everything about what’s going on. Indy, Mutt, Oxley, and Marion escape while Mac, Spalko and the ‘red shirt’ Soviets get sucked into the portal. A space ship busts out of the pyramid and disappears into the “space between spaces” as Oxley puts it, and they all return home to get married and live happily ever after.
If that was confusing to read, don’t worry about watching the ending to make better sense of everything, it won’t help. This ending is fucked, and you can’t deny it.
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9. Signs (2002) – Kurt

I’m probably in the minority here, but I liked Signs. It wasn’t Shyamalan’s best movie, but I love aliens and he definitely delivered the goods in that department. There is a downfall though, as with most M. Night movies, the twist ending.
I was totally on board with everything being set up here, the premonition of Merrill to “swing away”, Morgan’s breathing condition saving him from whatever the alien was trying to make him ingest, and I even thought Bo’s weird contaminated water shtick was kind of cute. But when it all comes together, and it turns out it’s the water that actually kills the aliens, that was it. Game over.
How did these things survive in our moist atmosphere? What if it rained when they were outside? That would’ve put a stop to this invasion pretty quickly. It just doesn’t make any sense, at all.
Thinking about it now, I don’t really know how else they could have ended this movie. But they painted themselves into such a corner with the plot points, the ending that came about completely dropped the ball.
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8. Hot Fuzz (2007) – Dave

This movie plays out as a comedy for the most part, but I still remember being caught off guard when the black cloaked dude shows up and starts’ slicing like it’s a horror movie. Horror and comedy don’t always mix well together, but when pulled off properly, it can be pure gold.
Although the reason I’d put this movie at an 8 is simply because once you’ve finally become comfortable with the horror comedy mix, the pace, and most importantly the genre of the movie COMPLETELY changes. All of a sudden it’s an action movie until the credits start rolling! There really wasn’t any “action” up until this point, and I seriously remember thinking to myself when he shoots the old couple “what the fuck?!”.
The reasoning for the ending, if you needed one, is referencing their love of 90s cop flicks that lets them bond as characters for the first time about halfway though the movie.
Now, this write-up almost seems like it could be the worst thing you’ve ever seen, but since the groundwork is all built on a comedy, you can forgive the “critique snobbery” that most movies facing alternate themes receive.
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7. Law Abiding Citizen (2009) – Dave

I had high hopes for this movie to be honest. I like Gerard Butler when he’s not playing a pansy. But along comes Jamie Foxx to once again fuck up my day.
The entire movie, Gerard’s character “Clyde” is killing anyone in the legal system (and the killers) associated with his family’s’ death. Obviously you’re meant to feel sorry for the guy, but in Hollywood fashion just before the big finale when Clyde’s about to bring down the mayor and her cohorts, Nick Rice (Jamie Foxx) swings in for the kill. He mysteriously teleports the bomb Clyde planted back into Clyde’s cell, and not to mention also gets back to the prison before him.
I doubt this was the real ending, but I’m probably wrong. This is a new action-thriller movie with balls on it, testing certain limits other movies in its genre haven’t really gone before, just to toss it out the window.
I’m not saying this movie has tons of substance, but making people side with the killer and actually not feel bad about it?… that would’ve fit the tone of the movie.
I’ve read somewhere that Jamie Foxx has a clause in his contract to always be the “hero”, though I can’t find a reference for this anymore.
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6. Whiteout (2009) – Dave

What a serious snow/shit-storm of a movie. I can see the executives sitting behind their desks at the pitch of this movie:
“So imagine this, we’ve got Scream… IN THE ARCTIC!”
The whole movie you’re watching this shitty conspiracy unfold at a painfully dull pace, and then the ending hits. At the beginning of the movie any ginger kid could’ve spotted that Doctor Fury (That’s his characters real name) was the guy behind it all along, but near the end of the movie they catch someone who is NOT the doctor, so you know shits about to go down. There are only a couple people left at this arctic base, stranded for months now cause they missed their flight, and Kate Beckinsales’ character is finally understanding that the doctor is the one to blame. As she’s figuring this out, they’re building tension that someone’s behind her and… BAM!… He’s behind her!
She says “I have to take you in”. He says “ok, but I want to watch the Aurora lights one last time”. He says that she should see them sometime, as he walks out to his death.
The Ending of the movie is her all chipper with her buddies 6 months later, and she goes to look at the Aurora lights / end scene
The reason it’s 6, is because you sit through this entire punch in the face waiting for some sort of delivery that never comes.
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5. Night of the Living Dead (1968) – Kurt

Night of the Living Dead is without a doubt one of the scariest movies ever created. I remember, as a kid, being so scared I wasn’t able to sleep without a light after seeing zombies for the first time. But that ending… What happened!?
So, Ben has just gone through hell locked inside that house. Everyone that was inside with him is dead, the final 2 by his own hand. He’s basically a shell of a man, crouched in the basement waiting for the sun to rise, and hoping the monsters won’t find him. Finally, morning comes and we see what looks like a posse rounding up and killing what remains of the walking dead. Ben hears this commotion, and wanders upstairs to see what’s going on, only to be shot in the fucking face by the posse.
That’s it. End scene. End Film.
After repeated viewings (I’ve watched this movie A LOT), I’ve grown to accept, and even thoroughly enjoy the final moments of Night of the Living Dead. But it will forever be one of the most surprising endings I’ve ever seen on film, and definitely deserves a spot on this list.
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4. The Mist (2007) – Kurt

Goddamn, I love this movie. The Mist was the perfect blend of character driven mystery, and epic monster movie. It hit all the right bases, and stands as a near flawless example of horror done right. But, nothing could have prepared me for what would happen as the final few minutes drew to a close.
David Drayton, his son Billy, and 3 other companions are stranded on the road with no options. They’re out of gas, and the mist is all around them. Accepting their fate, the adults decide to kill each other to be spared a horrific death by the monsters in the mist. While Billy is sleeping, David shoots the 3 adults first, followed by his son. He then walks out of the car, and turns toward a noise in the distance, willing it to kill him, and end his suffering. However as the mist begins to clear, it’s revealed that the noise was actually an army vehicle, followed by waves of soldiers. The horrific ordeal that the mist had brought was over, and David had killed his son in vain. As he falls to his knees, and screams to the sky, my mouth was on the floor. I never saw that coming at all.
I think this might be the most literal “What the Fuck” ending of my list, because I’m quite sure I said those words out loud the first time I saw this ending.
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3. The Midnight Meat Train (2008) – Dave

This movie rules. Although, most people either say “I really liked that movie, except the ending”. Or, “I really like that movie, the ending was awesome!”
Basically you’ve got a horror/thriller where the antagonist is played by Vinnie Jones (which makes me shit a little just saying that). He clubs people to death on a subway car, simple enough right? Bradley Cooper happens to see this happen once, and decides he’s a detective now instead of a photographer.
Tension is building the entire movie, and then finally when Coopers caught and trapped on the train, you find out that the train is ACTUALLY heading to an underground haven for demonic creatures who feed on the people Vinnie Jones has clubbed. I mean, how awesome is that? I was seriously not expecting to see that ending, but man does it rule.
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2. Hulk (2003) – Kurt

Ang Lee is a great director; there is no doubt about it. Hulk is not a good example of this, however. He turned what could have been an awesome summer blockbuster into an overly complicated father/son melodrama that just happened to have a giant green monster in it. I could go on about everything this movie fucks up, but we’re here for the endings. And oh, what a doozy this one is.
After one of the only cool scenes in the movie (an awesome desert action piece with Hulk, some tanks and some helicopters), Bruce Banner ends up in a military base being interrogated by his megalomaniacal father David (Nick Nolte, playing Nick Nolte). After failing to convince Bruce to give him the Hulk’s power, David seemingly has a seizure and bites into some wires, absorbing the electricity and growing into some lightning thing. Yes, you read that right. Bruce gets pissed, and Hulk comes out to kick some ass. Only, nothing really happens. In one of the most confusing sequences ever, Lightning dad (Absorbing Man to us comic nerds), and Hulk are seen fighting in the clouds through flashes of lightning. They might be fighting anyway; it kind of looks like someone is taking photos of the hulk with the flash on a little too bright. From there, we introvert into Bruce’s psyche as he reminisces about his dad in the past. I guess Hulk has stopped punching the lightning at this point because his father seizes the opportunity, and starts to absorb his power. It proves too much, and David kind of just collapses into a giant ball of goo, with the Hulk inside. The Army drops a Gamma bomb on the both of them, and that’s that. There’s a little scene afterwards with Bruce in the Amazon, but I don’t really consider that the end to the movie. More like a “we have to put something at the end of this so we don’t all look totally insane” add-on.
If the number one movie wasn’t such a perfect candidate, my nomination would have definitely been Hulk. “What the fuck” doesn’t even begin to describe my feelings on this absolute mess.
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1. No Country for Old Men (2007) – Dave

The daddy of all movies where its ending just forces people into saying “what the fuck is this shit?!”
The ending to No Country for Old Men is straight up “what you see is what you get”. I’ll hearken back to my post about Law Abiding Citizen. Everyone wants to see the villain win, or at least get away after the Protagonist is dead/defeated. However once you make a movie that actually does that as brutally as this, nobody knows what to think.
A lot of people have criticized the ending about how he gets into a car crash, walks away, and that’s it. Everything is all tied up; everything is done at this point. I’m thinking since people are so used to seeing heroes ride off into the sunset, seeing a villain walk away from a car wreck with a newly purchased child’s shirt still doesn’t register. I think it’s the perfect ending to the tone of this movie, but still fits the top of this list just because it had the balls to do what you weren’t expecting while leaving you feeling uncomfortable.
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/Dave and Kurt

You damn kids! Get off my lawn!

There was a time when rock snobs, as annoying and pretentious they were (and still are to some degree), actually knew their shit. They were high and mighty because they knew they could school you with their vast musical knowledge. Are they even trying anymore?
I was on the bus this morning, and I came across an advertisement for the local hipster store. They’re pretty commonplace on buses, but for some reason this particular ad really irked me. The models showing off the products were your standard retro-rock fare: big glasses, Bowie make-up and band shirts. Fairly mild stuff, but it was the product descriptions that set me off. Instead of details of what was being sold, we get a written history of the bands on the shirts these seventeen year olds are wearing. These weren’t some flash in the pan ‘I-knew-them-before-they-were-cool’ bands that are all the rage right now, either. It was the fucking Rolling Stones, The Doors, and Guns N’ Roses!
Now, I have no issue with this new generation of kids grooving to The Doors. In fact, I would prefer it over 90% of the tripe produced today. But you should not be wearing the shirt of a band you’ve never heard of, or have only minimal knowledge of because your hippy music teacher mentioned “People are Strange” in between bong hits. Listen to the music, and make sure you actually enjoy the band before running out and spending retarded money on some “vintage” merchandise because that’s what the cool kids do.
Here’s where I backtrack a little, because there is a silver lining to all this. Having that snippet of info beside the T’s might very well encourage someone who doesn’t know what an Axl Rose is to find some GN’R, and then decide if an Appetite for Destruction shirt is right for them. Even so, I can’t help but think the store put these little history lessons up just to twist young wannabe minds into thinking “Ooh, This band is old! I bet I’ll be popular if I own their merchandise.”, and that is why it pissed me off.
Maybe I’m wrong, and this is just my ridiculously old-timey brain spouting off about ‘Kids these days.” I also feel a little hypocritical, since I’m basically complaining about scenesters by being one myself. The world’s funny like that.

Did I really say grooving?
Kurt

Console flame wars

I dont know if this has been going on since the days of commodore 64 and atari, since I’m only 26. I do however know that ever since I’ve been into gaming, these rivalries have always existed.
Anyone out there who had a nintendo always thought sega was the “black sheep”, and vice versa. This was true with many things when I was little though; Nirvana versus Pearl Jam, Coke vs Pepsi (or Jolt), Saved by the Bell vs Degrassi. These issues all have one common variable, and its that everyone with these strong opinions truly believe it to be fact, and not what it really is: Your own opinion.

Though maybe its just because I was a lot younger, but these issues have really seemed to take a high degree of seriousness over the past couple years.
Games have always been expensive, but compared to how things were back in the golden age of gaming, these companies are now fully realised as big business and therefore almost anything related to gaming now has some sort of cost to the gaming enthusiast. There are seriously SO many games and dlc’s out that I want and I just cant afford now. This is life.

Its almost like gaming is no longer even a hobby to a lot of people, but almost feels more like a “passion”. I know there are people out there that just “play games”, and people who didnt like Coke OR Pepsi (bullshit, you fuckin Mountain Dew creeps), but those people who are on the internet posting and learning about gaming really feel its more than a hobby, and typically those would be the same people on the front lines of these console wars.

It all stems from a basic principle that most people tend to believe that the decision they made was the right one. Your opinion is the “right” opinion to have, because theres no way you could be wrong. This obviously is a deeper issue which stems into more than just console wars (religious people also kill eachother over the same ideology… although only loosely compared), but at the core of all this – thats what it really is.

People are now spending so much money on gaming, and once you invest that much into something, it really cuts like a knife to think “oh my god, did I make the right decision?”. On top of your own feelings that youre not wasting your own money, you’ve got these gaming companies also telling you that you made the wrong decision. Segas always ripped on Nintendo, Sonys always ripped on Microsoft, The PC users just sit back and think that theyre king shit because they have PC games, literally everyone thinks their decision is right. Companies obviously will continue to do this, since thats just business, but you should really know when to make your own decisions, when to accept them, and when to accept others. At the end of day, we’re all right. We made the right decision because we bought what we wanted.

There are so many arguements over which is better, and why this is better than that. Every system out there has faults, and every system has its own awesomeness. Having said that, its a truly great time to be a gamer, as there are so many choices for every style of playing. Next time you jump headfirst into a console flame war in any way shape or form – remind yourself that what youre about to say is simply your opinion, and that no matter what choice you made, its the right one (unless you bought a Virtual Boy).

Just one mans opinion
Flame on!
/Dave