Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Collection Update

The Wizard World Convention was a success, at least in terms of expanding my collection.

I picked up some great old Thanos appearances from the 70's, and I almost completed my run of the Evolutionary War (I still need the Silver Surfer Annual).

I also got to meet the Iron Sheik, so all things considered, a great day. Check out Comic Book Daily for a full recap of the show.

Street Fighter IV Tournament

Those of you in the Greater Toronto Area should be getting ready for some serious SFIV competition. The folks over at A & C Games in Toronto are having a tournament on April 25th. Prizes include a tournament stick and a copy of Super Street Fighter IV so start practicing your hadokens today. A & C Games is a great place to pick up vintage video games and to talk anything gaming with the very knowledgeable and friendly staff. You can view their website here.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Amazing Spider-Man #625

The creative team has done some excellent character development with the Rhino, really shifting from his one-dimensional smash everything role. However, the story is painfully predictable and the overall issue is a lesson in mediocrity.  The saving grace is the Rhino VS Rhino brawl that ends up being worth the price of admission.

Tale of the Tape
Cost: $3
Length: 20 minutes
Is it worth it?: Yes, but just barely. Hopefully someone from Marvel reads this blog and changes ASM back to a monthly title. Remember when issue numbers ending in multiples of 25 meant something?

Friday, March 26, 2010

Wizard World Toronto Comic Con

Comic book fans in the GTA should check out the Wizard World Toronto Comic Con this weekend. The guest list is pretty hilarious (lots of professional wrestlers) and I expect to find some great deals. Currently I am looking for early Thanos appearances, old Marvel Team-up, and Evolutionary War issues. I'll let you all know how my quest goes.

I will be at the Big B Comics booth on the Sunday, so come on by and say hello.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Kevin Sorbo is Hercules once more.

All the Kevin Sorbo fans can rejoice: he is Hercules again! The actor, who portrayed the demi-god for 7 years on television, lends his voice to God of War 3. GOW 3 actually has a lot of great voice acting. Linda Hunt, Clancy Brown (the Kurgan!), and Rip Torn all have roles. If you have been missing your Kevin-Sorbo-as- Hercules-fix this game is for you.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Siege #3

This is how you tell a big crossover story in comics. Excellent art, great use of a large cast of characters, fast pace, and a cliffhanger ending make this issue the total package. My concern is that issues #1 and #2 were pretty bland compared to this so the quality of #4 will be a crapshoot.

Tale of the Tape
Cost: $4
Length: 20 minutes. 
Is it worth it?: Yes. For $12 per hour this is a great read and really boosts the value of the series as a whole. 

Monday, March 22, 2010

Amazing Spider-Man #623 & #624

The new vulture is a pretty lackluster villain. I can't say that I have been really drawn into any story with him as the antagonist, and this issue continues with a tradition of lackluster appearances. The issue does feature a great finish that results in total upheaval in Peter Parker's professional life, but the super-hero action is uninteresting.

Tale of the Tape
Cost: $6 ($3 per issue)
Length: 40 minutes
Is it worth it?: No. For $9 per hour you can get much better entertainment than a humdrum Spider-Man story. Dear Marvel, please go back to publishing this title once per month. 

Friday, March 19, 2010

Where are they now...

The WWE has a "where are they now" section on their website. You can go here to see what Duke "The Dumpster" Droese is doing today. I know you were dying to find out.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

The 100th Post: Final Fantasy XIII Review

With this entry the Nerd Alert has reached the milestone of 100 posts, and I can think of no better entry than a review of the new Final Fantasy game, Final Fantasy XIII. And when I say review I actually mean preliminary thoughts. The game clocks in at about 60 hours for the main story, so I have not yet had the chance to complete the tale; however, I have played enough of the game to provide my readers with an unbiased assessment of the game and its value for money.

From the opening credits I was pulled into the story. FFXIII is a far more sci-fi entry into the series than some of the previous games, but hardcore fans wanting a pure fantasy tale will not be disappointed. I won’t reveal too much of the plotline, but it will please any fantasy or sci-fi fan. It isn’t original, but done very well (I doubt this will bother anyone; it didn’t for Avatar). The characters are some of the best in the series, with each character having a unique personality, design, and a name that is easy to remember and pronounce. Lighting is a much better name than Vaan or any of the extra vowel names from XII; this is a video game, not the appendix from the Silmarillion.  

The battle system is one of my favourites from any of the FF series. It could best be described as a combination of the ATB system with aspects of the gambit system thrown in. It makes for excellent fast-paced action and battle strategies. I am disappointed in the lack of FF victory music though. Maybe it shows up later in the game, but I would like the classic notes after every win.

Levelling up is also new for this game. There is no experience and you gain hp, attributes, and spells by spending crystarium points (CP) in the crystarium: a mix of the experience nodes and grids from FFX and FFXII respectively.

The game has taken a bit of flack online for being too linear; it does not have huge overworld map to explore. I can only say that the linear pathway really works for this game. You don’t ever feel limited, but you are sent down a pretty specific path. This creates a very movie-like feel for the game. Much like the Metal Gear or God of War series you feel as though you are directing a story instead of playing a level grinding RPG.

Love or hate a Final Fantasy game, I am always impressed in the way that Square Enix reinvents the series to feel new and familiar with each release. It is hard to stay innovative after two decades of working on a series.

Tale of the Tape

Cost: $60 CDN
Length: 60 hours+
Is it worth it?: A resounding yes. At $1 per hour for entertainment you can’t go wrong, and even those who don’t usually like RPGs will enjoy the fast pace and linear path of the game. This is a killer app for the PS3. 

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Toy Show

I am currently getting ready to sell a tonne of great stuff at the Burlington Toy Show. Anyone in Southern Ontario should definitely check it out:

Sunday, March 14th, 2010
Burlington Toy Show
Holiday Inn 3063 South Service Rd. (QEW & Guelph Line)
Hours: 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Admission: $3 per person

 I will be selling some DVDs, video games, and most importantly LUCHADORE MASKS! Get ready for Nacho Libre. 

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Heavy Rain

Intense. That is the best word to describe this game. The tightly woven serial killler whodunit keeps you on the edge of your seat from the beginning to the end. Well almost from the beginning to the end; the prologue is boring and probably should be shorter. Throughout the game, you control four different characters who are racing against time to save a child from the Origami Killer.

The entire game is made up of quick time events (QTEs) that require some combination of button pressing (indicated by onscreen prompts) to progress through the story. I will be honest: the controls are garbage. Walking around was better in Resident Evil on the PS1. Luckily, the game is more about the story, and how decisions you make affect the story, than tight controls.

Each chapter of the story seems to intensify the overall experience. Your characters are always in danger, and you can never shake the feeling that if you make a wrong choice your character will die. Actually, you can get all the characters killed and still complete the game (you just get the worst ending). In fact, the trophies require several playthroughs to obtain the platinum, often with you making the exact opposite decision than before.

This game is not for children (who would find it either terrifying or boring), but any fan of crime drama should give this title a try.

Tale of the Tape
Cost: $60 CDN
Length: This will provide at least 10 hours of bone-chilling suspense, probably more. 
Is it worth it?: For a mere $6 per hour you get a very unique and interesting gaming experience. The game is a landmark for a new sub-genre in the industry. But if episodes of Law & Order: SVU make you squeamish, let this one pass on by. 

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Lost in Nightmares & Desperate Escape

The new DLC (downloadable-content for all those new to videogames) has hit the PSN and XBLA and Resident Evil fans will not be disappointed. There are two scenarios: Lost in Nightmares, where you play Chris and Jill on a pre-RE5 mission, and Desperate Escape, where you play Jill and Josh escaping during RE5. Both take about an hour to finish, but trophies will ensure multiple playthroughs.
The missions are very different: the former is a classic homage to RE1 and 2, while the latter is a 200 enemy streetfight through the factory complex from RE5. Both games are a lot of fun and the development of such extra content would be instructional for any chapter based adventure game (c'mon Naught Dog, where is my Sully mission from Uncharted?). 

Tale Of The Tape
Cost: $5 each.
Length: 5 hours each minimum (multiple playthroughs on different difficulties, plus the new Mercenaries game). 
Is it worth it?: At $1 per hour for entertainment you cannot go wrong. Anyone who already has the game should download these mission now, but anyone else should wait until Tuesday when the Gold Edition of RE5 hits the shelves; all the DLC is already on this disc. 

Thursday, March 4, 2010

McDonald's has free coffee

I suspect that many of my loyal readers will already know this but here is a PSA for those in the dark. From March 1st to March 14, McDonald's is giving away free coffee (all day, every day) in Canada. This is their latest attempt to stick it to Tim Hortons for the Donut King's introduction of breakfast sandwiches.

The moral of the story is that all of you daily latte drinkers can save about $20 per week. And that is $20 that can buy more comic books and video games.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Is it worth it...

I have been reminded by one of my readers that I originally set out to inform the masses if the pop culture that I review was good value for money. I used a dollar per hour equation as my test of value. I know that I have gotten away from that recently so every review, short or long, will have this at the end:

Tale of the Tape

Cost: (this will be the cost of the item in $CDN)

Length: (this will be the time it takes to fully enjoy the item, it will not include multiple reading of comic books, multiple viewings of movies, etc.)

Is it worth it: (this will always be a YES or NO, sometimes with caveats, and will include cost/length)

There you have it. Look for this new addition to Nerd Alert reviews to begin shortly.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Super Street Fighter IV Ultras

The folks over at shoryuken.com have uncovered a youtube gem: someone has posted all 70 of the ultra moves from the upcoming Super Street Fighter IV.  You can check it out here. Some of the new ultras are incredible, and I appreciate that Ryu has a dragon punch-based finisher.

Strange #4

In grand Marvel fashion a great start fizzles out in the end. The real problem with this issue is the cliffhanger ending; great if you are reading a monthly book, but not so good in a mini-series.

And since I don't see a new Dr. Strange mini-series coming up anytime soon I guess  I'll need to wait on the sales figures to see if Marvel lets readers know what happens next.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Thor #607

Not a bad issue, but very anti-climatic. The entire story takes place during the events of Siege #1, which hit the stands almost 2 months ago. Poor editorial control Marvel.