Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Review round-up: inFamous, Gran Torino, Street Sweeper Social Club

Gran Torino- I finally got around to checking out Clint Eastwood’s latest offering and man have I been missing out. My one gripe with the movie is that practically everyone in it can’t act for $#!+.

Seriously, there are some awkward scenes here where I’m fairly sure Eastwood, donning his director’s cap and speaking in that gravely tone, told the actors “I want you to explore your characters in this scene. No script. Just give me some honest to goodness, real life drama, damn you.” They failed miserably, but the good news is that Eastwood is so awesome as a racist half-crazed ex-soldier you really don’t care how wretched everyone else is.

Shot well and mostly great writing. Dirty Harry scores again.

Street Sweeper Social Club- What happens when you form a super-band featuring Rage Against the Machine’s Tom Morello and The Coup’s Boots Riley? The answer is “not very much.”

Morello does some nice guitar and bass work, but it’s all standard fare. Riley’s lyrics are pretty tight (Flow-wise. I’m not being hip here), but sometimes he tries to cram too many words into a single sentence. Other than a few standout tracks, “100 Little Curses” and “Promenade” come to mind, there’s not much worth revisiting here.

I was hoping for something meaty and revolutionary and, sadly, SSSC delivers neither.

inFamous- This game deserves a full post, but I’m lazy and you probably don’t want to read much more anyway. I’m doing this for both of us...You're welcome.

Following the story of a bike messenger named Cole, inFamous is a living story of a man coping with great power and a city struggling to survive after a tragic event wipes out thousands and leaves those still living cut off from the outside world.

Other than side missions needing a bit more variety, inFamous is absolutely fantastic. The world is large and breathing, the story is comic book awesomeness and the powers you earn come at a great pace and, by the end, leave you feeling like a real-life hero (or villain.) The controls are intuitive and the platforming is unlike anything you’ve ever seen. You’ll have a blast climbing, grinding and flying around literally everything in the city.

The dual karma moments give you the chance to save the city or watch it burn and, while some “serious” moments come off as laughable, the different powers granted to the good and evil sides are diverse enough to warrant at least two playthroughs. When the game clocks in at about 15 hours, that’s quite a bit of electric bang for your buck.

More so than anything, inFamous is an absolute blast to play. Minus a few bugs inherent in such a big, open game, you’ll marvel at the amount of polish that went into creating one of the best action games to come out this generation.

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