Archive for the ‘#19 Reviews’ Category

20130302-213938.jpgIs the AMC version of The Walking Dead board game any good?  Yes… Oh yes it is!  And here is my full review!

Overall rating 91/100 (Outstanding!)

Who Would Enjoy this game?
Obviously if your even reading this article your one of three people.  Either you’ve read the comic books and wanted to give this version of  the board game a try.  Or You’re a huge fan the AMC show and want to take your fanboy status to the next level.  Or your a Zombie fan looking for a good zombie game.  If your any of these three – there isn’t a chance you won’t love this game.  In fact people who don’t even know anything about “TWD” really enjoy this game because the game play elements are fantastic.

What’s in the box?
Everyone wants to know if the price tag is worth it, right?  If you go to Barns and Nobles you can pick up this game for 39.99 (Like i did) or you can pick it up for cheaper if you don’t mind a wait from amazon for about 31.99.  I can’t tell you how impressed I was with the materials of this game.  The most outstanding feature which I have never actually seen before is the board it’s self.  The board is a large mat (same material that mouse pads are made from) that rolls out.  There is a protective coating on the top of it to prevent scuffs from happening.  This is the greatest idea I have ever seen in board games.  You just roll it out, then roll it back up.  No more carefully folding some board out or in trying to prevent the inevitable rips in the seems of the board.  My hat off to the Cryptozoic company that made this game.  The playing cards are large and have a real playing card feel to them.  They won’t rip easy.  The other parts of the game are all made from thick, thick cardboard.  It would take some serious carelessness to bend one of these things in half.  The durability of this game I would rate a 10 out of 10.

20130302-213632.jpgGame Play
For the purpose of this article I won’t dive too deep into the mechanics of the game – rather give you the over all feel and style.  The game can be played 1 – 4 players.  (That’s right – this board game you can play by yourself! WIN!)  This is currently the only board game I own at the moment that can be played solo.  Nice feature!  Just now I played with my wife.

The goal of the game is to get supplies from 4 different locations on the four corners of the map and make it back to camp before dying.  It sounds simple enough.  Each player is on their own – we can travel together or in different directions.  You get “Ally” tokens representing more people in your individual player party.  As you fight zombies along your jounrey – but lose – you will lose an “Ally” token.  That Ally dies and doesn’t come back.  Lose all your Ally tokens and get bit by a zombie and your dead… for a turn… then you come back as a zombie and try to kill other players!  TWIST!
There are a limited number of supplies in the whole game.  Once the supply deck runs out – its out.  Just like in the real world they don’t self renew – so you must use each card wisely.

My wife and I thought this would be easy to do.  But right during the first turn she had to choose between using two of her precious weapons or take a chance and lose an Ally – she sat there for 10 minutes trying to decide what would be the best thing to do.  We got really really into this!  Each turn was a fight for our lives as the supplies were running low.  Both of us made a few minor mistakes which eventually cost her, her life.  Sadly when she came back as a zombie she was in the last area I was trying to get to and I kept having to fight her without any success.  I was low on supplies and out of Allies… Dead.  SO MUCH FUN!

What are the Negatives?
Virtually none.

  1. The only thing I kept thing was that this board game was created during Season 1.  So all the characters and objectives are based off of season 1.  I do wish that had released a newer version by now that included more locations from the other two seasons.  Or more characters from the other seasons – no Daryle was a bummer.
  2. The game only goes up to 4 players.  This seems like a great game for 6 – 8 players.  I hope they release an expansion soon!

Please note these negatives are trivial at best.  Other games I will be reviewing in the future I will have a mouth full to say about this section.

20130302-213909.jpgShould I buy this version vs. the comic book version of the game?
So just to be clear there are TWO walking dead board games.  One based on the comic book, and this one based on the TV series… which is based on the comic.  Just to be clear – I read the comics first, then watched the show.  I love both – but… the comics are better lol.  That is not to take anything away from the show, because the show is very well done.  Just a fact.  So for me to tell you to skip the comic book version of the board game and pick up the TV show version says a lot.  The comic book version, (from what I’ve read – not played myself) is slow and boring.  But read up on it yourself if your still not sure.

Final Thoughts
I am a huge board gamer.  Ticket to Ride, Munchkin, MTG, Risk, etc.  I like to play anything that’s not by Hasbro – which has had a monopoly (No pun intended) on board games in stores for a while.   So please understand the weight behind this statement even if you have not read the comics or seen any of the episodes of AMC’s The Walking Dead – but simply want to play a survival game – don’t look any further.  I cannot wait to get another two people with us so that we can do the 4 player mode!

Final Scoring.
Physical Parts of Game = 10
Game Play Balance = 9
Immersion Into Game = 10
Re-playability = 9
Learning Curve = 8 (Can learn to play in 15 minutes or less)
Overall Score (not an avarage) = 91% (Outstanding!)

487320_671407048033_2131453871_nMy wife and I normally a sucker for anything seasonal.  But we’ve been trying not to be impulsive with our money just because we see something pretty on Hulu (via their commercials since we don’t have cable – please see my article on why we will never need to buy cable again!).  So when my wife, Malia, informed me that McDonald’s Shamrock Shake was back in season I knew I had to try to help her not make an impulsive buy.  Apparently she has submission issues…

We went ahead to McDonald’s after she picked me up from Church to wet our pallets with some minty ice cream goodness.  The commercials were so appealing after all.  The promise of a light green minty ice cream shake.  Who ain’t have time for that?

Even as we pull up into the drive through we are bombarded by pictures of this delightful shake which apparently is going to solve all our problems and make us smile ridiculously hard – according to the ads. Six bucks later we get our shakes and on our way.

Then we notice the horror that rests in our cup holders.

shamrockshake2-thumb-250x396Now that they are putting the shakes in the clear plastic cups – you can see exactly what your drinking.  Which isn’t the evenly smooth light green color with some streaks of white running along the sides of the cup to give a “I’ve been mixed via a blender look” What we got were very dark patches green of syrup in an other wise slimy looking drink.

We thought, “Maybe it still tastes good…” WRONG.  Both of us got a MASSIVE hit of green mint syrup at the bottom of the drink that made me go temporarily blind.  (I sure hope it was the shake or I probably need to go see a doctor immediately.)  We took these disgusting drinks back and ask for fresher ones.  They try to pour me more but the “mint syrup” was almost gone so I watch them pour more syrup into this filthy container on the floor that was connected to a hose that mixed it with the “shake”  Then I watched as he poured us new drinks that looked and tasted even worst than the previous ones.

Conclusion
Don’t buy this death in a cup.  I’ll be the first to admit I need to do a better job about what I consume.  But this is a true waste of money and honestly is probably a determent to the health of anyone who stares at it for longer than 5 seconds.

Not many people review demo’s.  But this Demo had such an impact on me I felt it was worthy of a review.  Just so that you understand the weight behind my words you’ll need to know a few things:

  1. Monster Hunter 3 has been my most anticipated game on the Wii U
  2. I’ve never played a Monster Hunter game before and was excited to jump in during the HD versions.
  3. I was excited about these worlds to explore and hunt monsters.
  4. I have been convincing my fellow Confident Gamers to pick up the game as well so we can get some 4 player Co-Ops going!

So when Chris told me that the DEMO was available on Wii U, I couldn’t wait to get home and download it.  2 FULLY playable quests?!  Count me in!  Once it was downloaded and installed I ventured into this unknown land.  I’ve spent about 2 hours with the demo now and I can sum up my experience in about two words: Utter Disappointment.

The purpose of the Demo is to give players a tease, a taste of the cake, give them just enough to get them to go out and pre-order that bad boy.  Show off the possibilities!  Demo’s are meant to please fan boys until release and convince the rest that they need to buy this game.  Demo’s are suppose to make you feel confident, teach you some basic’s about the world and draw you into the folk lore.  Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate Demo fails to do this on all counts.

Presentation
It’s no secret that the graphics are stellar.  Details and textures are pretty low, but I knew that going into the game.  I wasn’t playing this for the graphics, I was playing it for the challenge and fun of hunting and killing monsters.  The menu system is very CAPCOM.  Very arcade style.  Player and monster animations are great.  You really get the sense that you are fighting some wild creatures.

Game Play
Ready… GO!  That’s what happens in the demo.  You are dropped in the middle of a camp and told you have 20 minutes to kill everything that dares to cross your path.  20 minutes?  Well… okay.  I poke around my came for about a minute trying to figure out what to do.  I accidentally drink about 3 potions while trying to determine the button scheme.  Finally I decide to just head off into a direction to explore…. Then it happens. “Loading” 3 seconds later I appear in another area… I wrote it off as leaving camp to go into the main hunting grounds.  So I walk around and head off to a mountain I see in the distance “Loading”  WHAT?!  Then it hits me.  This map is divided into 7 sections.  None of which connect very well.

This was especially troublesome as I fight the bosses.  More often than not The bosses like to fight right at the entrance to another area.  I accidentally leave the fight several times while trying to dodge an attack.  The monster will not follow you so you have to go back to the area you were fighting in… “LOADING” – BAM – you get hit as you re-enter the first area.  But don’t get too comfortable in any particular area.  After a few hits the monsters will run away and you have to track it from area to area.  The demo explains nothing to you.  I had to figure out that I needed to sharpen my sword after every fight.

The classes were decent.  I only played three.  The bow was not fun to play at all.  I tried a long sword class but he was slower than I had time for.  I ran out of time twice trying to kill this guy due to the speed of my guy.  Finally I tried the sword and shield guy and he managed to get the job done.  Upon beating him the game simply said I completed the quest and thanks for playing.  Over.  That was the easy quest.  I have not managed to beat the “hard” quest because I repeatedly keep running out of time.

Swimming and fighting under water is not fun.

SoundMusic is forgettable at best.  The two little creatures who tag along make the most annoying sounds over and over if you stand still for too long.  Monster sounds are okay.


Conclusion
This is one of the few demos I have ever played that have convinced me not to buy this game.  To me it is fairly arrogant to not take the time to craft a demo for people who might not know anything about the game.  The map is split up into 7 – 18 different area’s which requires load time for each is absurd.  Not allowing you to customize your character AT ALL in the demo is another missed opportunity.    The only enjoyable thing in this demo that I found was going up to my little helpers after a monster ran away and kicking them repeatedly.  If this demo is an acurate reflection of this game – I would highly recommend not buying it on day on – if at all.  Very disappointed Capcom.  For a demo to turn an eager first time fan into a cynical critic is a unique skill that you shouldn’t be proud of.

I give this demo a 4 out of 10.

Apple is releasing something new again?!  Oh, never mind… It’s just the iPad with more memory

1. It’s Unreasonable Cost.
At the moment, reports are pegging that the 128 GB iPad will run consumers about $929… wow.  That’s a lot of money.  With a 16GB iPad costing 499. at the moment, that means you are going to pay nearly double the cost of the device to get that extra memory.

2.  Your not going to use the space!Cloud servers are the way to go these days.  Google offers 25gb of free storage with every gmail account!  I keep all my documents in “Dropbox”.  I watch all my movies and shows on Netflix and Hulu.  (If you are unfamiliar of the glory that is netflix and hulu, please check out one of my earlier articles under hobby #20 technology).  That only leaves apps to take up all that room.

3.  Resell Value Will Plummet
It is going to lose its value very quickly.  Apple seems to be on track to release 2 updated models per year.  With every new model that is released, the current models resell will drop on average $70 dollars.  I’ve noticed that models with more memory lose even more value.

For example, an 16GB that cost 499 a year later will normally sell for about 425 on ebay.  However, a 64GB model that costs 699 will normally sell for about 549 a year later.  I noticed this trend as I’ve sold several iPads.  2 of my own and several for friends too afraid to deal with ebay.

Should you get the new 128GB iPad?  Why don’t you try a 32GB to start with…?  I love technology – I especially love Apple!  But some things are best let alone…  Thoughts?

The economy is rough right now.  Everyone is looking to save a buck here or there.  I would like to share with you how my wife and I save between 20 – 100 dollars a month depending on your bill.  My wife and I never had a TV subscription when we first got married due to being broke as a joke.  Now we don’t need or ever want a TV subscription.  Here is why

  1. Nothing is EVER on.  You’ve been there.  Sitting down, flicking between shows.  You spend maybe 5 – 10 minutes cycling through 200 channels and somehow nothing is on.  You finally find something but it is the end of the show, am I right?  Then the search begins all over again.  Before you know it, two hours has gone by and you haven’t really watched a full episode of anything.  So you’re paying between 40 – 120 dollars a month for the dish, or cable just so that you can work around the networks schedules?  That’s not the world we live in anymore.  AND THE COMMERCIALS!  Think about it for a moment.  You’re paying 40 – 120 dollars a month to watch TV and you STILL have to watch 10 minutes of commercials for every 20 minutes of show time?  Lets not forget all the hidden state fees, box fees, satellite fees, etc.  Think about it.
  2. Streaming is The Future of Home Entertainment.  My wife and I have a online subscription to Netflix & Hulu.  Netflix is more for the movie side of things where as Hulu is more for the TV side of things.  My wife and I watch all of our favorite shows on our schedule.  For 9 bucks for Netflix & 8 bucks for Hulu, we get significantly more content than anyone with a dish or cable has.  And we can watch all these shows “on demand”.  Doesn’t matter if we are at work, on the road, at home, if you have a device that can connect to the internet, it can connect to these two services.  The main downside is we can’t watch anything live, but here was the biggest revelation for us:  We were never home or remembered to watch ANYTHING live.
  3. Kids can use the technology.  I know a 3 year old who knows how to get on netflix, look up Thomas the Tank engine and watch episode after episode it.  This will be how our children watch entertainment in the future.
  4. But what about Football?  Baseball? Local News!?  National News!  Get a 25 dollar digital antenna and you should be able to get all the local channels if you just have to hear the local news while your cooking dinner or getting ready in the morning.  This will also fix the sports problems as well.  As for national news, all the major networks, Foxnews.com, CNN.com, Msnbc.com provide video segments of their shows from that day on their website.  A special tip of my hat to MSNBC.com because they will actually put the ENTIRE show on the web broken up in segments.  The other networks haven’t jumped on board to this just yet.  They also only show 1 commercial every few clips and its usually a self advertising one.
  5. Join the future and save money while you can.  One of the reasons its so cheap right now is because all the big networks and studios aren’t sold on streaming yet.  They are still stuck in their broadcast on TV ways.  As more and more people join up (I joined Hulu the day it opened, when it was still free, but gladly pay 8 bucks a month for all the content) you can expect a price increase at some point.  Netflix recently raised all its prices and got some major fallout from consumers for it.  It is still pretty cheap right now.  So dive in!  Make it work!  If you’re trying to save some money or saving toward a goal, this is an excellent lifestyle change.  This coming from a guy who grew up on cable tv all my life.  I’ll never look back!

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