Mar 30, 2010

Heavy Rain: In a Class of its Own

By Hobson Lopes
Heavy Rain, created by Quantic Dream for the Playstation 3 video game console, is an incredible drama that puts you in the driver’s seat of the entire story. The developers went beyond the normal methods in creating this game.
The game starts off with what is essentially a tutorial that shows all the controller actions needed during game play. They used different movements and motions with the controller that set this game apart from any other. The first couple of levels start off the story line while allowing you to learn the controls. The controls are easy to get used to, but at times can be difficult to perform.
Heavy Rain puts you on the search for The Origami Killer. The game puts you in control of four unconnected characters that are all after the same thing. You may play as FBI agent Norman Jayden, private investigator Scott Shelby, journalist Madison Paige, and architect Ethan Mars. Every level, you take control of a different character in their hunt. Mars’ son is the latest victim of the Origami Killer. He has been kidnapped and they only have until six inches of rain has fallen in the city before he turns up dead.
Every move and decision you make during the game leads you in one of four possible endings. You really never know where you’ll wind up. With each level, the opportunity to unlock trophies is available, and you can unlock extra material.
The fight sequences seen in this game are not your typical video game sequences. Precise timing of performing the action called for on the screen during the fight is the only way to win. Hand eye coordination is a big factor in game play. As you move through the game, there is a fight sequence involving Madison Paige which was intense to say the least. It was possibly the most entertaining fight scene I have seen in a video game in a long time. The dualshock 3 controller is vital to fulfilling the optimum playing feel. The SIXAXIS motion sensor in the controller really adds to the game play.
If you’re a fan of shoot-em-up games, this game may not be for you. For most of the game guns aren’t used. The way the game was written and designed, I don’t think the lack of gun use makes a difference here.
This release is the most unique Playstation 3 game on the market today. It is for gamers who love action games, and for gamers who wouldn’t be able to play Call of Duty. Overall, between the unique controls, incredible dialogue and drama, and the ability to put the ending in the hands of the gamer, this is a must play for everyone. 5 out of 5 Tammy’s!

Mar 23, 2010

Through Thick and Thin

For as long as I have watched baseball, I have been a fan of the Braves. It was 1990, and I was in morning kindergarten. That allowed me the chance to be home in the afternoon and catch the occasional one pm game on TBS. The reasoning behind sticking with the Braves in an area dominated by Yankee and Met fans isn’t known to me, but I am certainly glad I did. The fans of the New York teams may have memories with Derek Jeter, Don Mattingly, David Wright, and Darryl Strawberry, but I have the memories of the greats that nobody besides Braves fans know. I have memories of Sid Bream, Ron Gant, Jeff Blauser and Mark Lemke. These guys played their hearts out for all us fans.

Little did I know that I was just finding the Braves right before they were about to start the most incredible streak in the history of sports; 14 straight division titles. Little did I ever know that it would be my love for the Braves that would get to me to where I am today.

Over the years, there have been many reasons for me to love being a fan. The heart and soul of the Braves telecasts and radio broadcasts was the late, great Skip Carey. To this day, the sound of Skip’s 1995 World Series winning call in game 6 still gives me the chills. In fact, it was that call that made me decide that I wanted to be just like Skip. I wanted to be a play by play guy for the Braves, and I would try to mold my style after his. Even if that means I’m going to be the biggest homer for my Braves, and not care about it. As I’ve gotten older, I’ve realized that the likelihood of be becoming that guy probably wouldn’t happen and I’ve seen that my gift was in writing.

Another reason for me being a fan is the players. Many have come and gone, but the memories remain. From David Justice’s solo HR in game 6 of the 95 Series, to Andres Galarraga coming back from Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma in 2000 and winning the comeback player of the year.

What those players have brought the legacy can never be ignored. Who could forget the countless Braves that have resurrected their careers in Atlanta when no other team wanted them. John Burkett, DeWayne Wise, and Matt Diaz come to mind in that sense. With all of those great memories those players gave us, there are still many that haunt all Braves fans. Jim Leyritz’s homerun in game 4 of the 1996 World Series off of Mark Wohlers still gives me nightmares. That fact that we’ve still only won a single World Series is another haunting moment, but one that can be overlooked considering the best team doesn’t always win. We’ve all dealt with controversy, like the John Rocker fiasco, and still find a way to come out on top.

Living in Connecticut makes it difficult to catch as many live Braves games as I would like, but whenever I get the opportunity, I’m there. I’ve made it to Braves-Mets games at Shea Stadium and Citi Field. I braved a tornado warning in 2008 to watch a Myrtle Beach Pelicans game at BB&T Coastal Field, and just recently, made the trip to join over 7,000 other Braves fans at Champion Stadium to see Jair Jurrjens start against the Florida Marlins. Jurrjens struggled in the first, but then showed all in attendance why he had the third best ERA in the National League a year ago. I also had the pleasure of watching Jason Heyward play live for the first time, and can now see why he is going to a handful for every team in the league for many years to come. Heyward showed patience at the plate letting the first seven pitches he saw go for balls before ever taking the bat off his shoulder. Heyward also showed his incredible arm making a perfect throw to third for an OF assist.

With Champion Stadium providing such an incredible atmosphere for baseball, the only true downfall of the afternoon was not being able to see Bobby Cox at the field. Roger McDowell ran the team on this day. But I can forgive Bobby for taking this day off. I can forgive him for the simple reason that I know he’ll be coaching deep into October this season. In his last year of managing, what Bobby has is a great opportunity to go out on top. With one of the best pitching rotations and top catcher in the National League, a shut down closer, and very deep bench, the Atlanta Braves are primed to succeed in 2010.

Mar 9, 2010

Law Abiding Citizen: Action packed from beginning to end

By Hobson Lopes

Anchor Bay Entertainment’s recent DVD release “Law Abiding Citizen,” starring Jamie Foxx and Gerard Butler is an action packed movie about a man who had his family taken away from him during a home invasion. That man, Clyde Shelton (Butler) is on a mission to find out what is actually right about the American judicial system. Nick Rice (Foxx) was an upstart hotshot district attorney at the time of the home invasion. He makes a deal with one of the invaders, Clarence Darby (Christian Stolte) the man who actually put the knife in Shelton’s wife, and took the daughter away, to get out of jail after five years.
As the movie fast forwards ten years, we are about to witness the pain free lethal injection of Darby’s partner, Rupert Ames, when the execution goes wrong. The police find evidence at the scene leading them to Darby, but their investigation of Darby leads them back to Shelton. Shelton masterminds a plot throughout the movie to dismiss anyone who may have wronged him ten years earlier. You won’t believe where this roller coaster will take you as Nick Rice and Clyde Shelton battle to see who is truly smarter.
Since this is the DVD review, we need to talk about the special features. “The Justice of Law Abiding Citizen” is a great feature that shows how realistic the movie turned out. Former district attorney’s appeared in this feature to discuss the ins and outs of the case, and shows how much research was done during development of the movie to make sure everything is accurate. “Law in Black and White” was a great behind the scenes extra feature. This feature showed real conversations between the actors and directors on making improvements to the movie. There was also a visual effects feature that a lot could have been done with considering how much action there was in the film. Overall, I would give the movie 4 ½ out of 5 star's, and the bonus features 4 out of 5 star's.