New DBZ anime movie released!


Head over to jumpland where you can watch the brand new Dragonball Z anime movie. First you must download the Shonen Jump browser, and after that you're free to stream the video. Enjoy!

Astro Boy Teaser Trailer!


I'm actually kind of excited about this movie. Lets hope it has some great action sequences.

New Trailer For Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince!!


Although I am disappointed that Warner Bros. delayed the release from this December ALL the way to July of next year, the movie is looking absolutely incredible! July 09 can't come soon enough!

Wanted: Weapons of Fate!


Could this actually be a GOOD licensed video game? I haven't played one in so long I'm afraid they don't exist anymore. The trailer is making the game look pretty damn solid at this point, and from the previews I've read so far, its shaping up very nicely. I just hope the bullet curve mechanics are just as awesome in the game as they are on the big screen.

Punisher Shows No Mercy to PSN.


The graphics are pretty damn impressive for a downloadable game off the PSN. But the real question is will it be any fun to play?

Narnia Screenwriters Set to Write the Script For Captain America Film


Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely have been hired to write the script for the film
The First Avenger: Captain America. They have previously written the screenplays for both Chronicles of Narnia films. The director of the movie will be Joe Johnston. Lets hope these guys make a damn good storyline. If the Captain America film ends up sucking, its pretty much going to screw up the whole Avengers franchise. We definitely don't want that to happen...

New Watchmen Trailer!


Zack Snyder is really doing a phenomenal job with the source material. I'm more psyched then ever for its release next year!

New X-Men Film in the Works


Twentieth Century Fox is planning to continue the X-men franchise by creating a film focused on mutants at an early age. Josh Schwartz, the creator of CW's OC and Chuck television series is planning to write the story for X-Men: First Class. The film plans to focus on the younger characters in the previous films who were developing their powers under Professor Xavier. Characters such as Rogue, Ice Man, Shadowcat, Angel, Jubilee, and Collosus are expected to be in the movie. For more info, check out Variety.

New Star Trek Trailer!


One word: EPIC

Dead Space: Horror Genre Ventures Into New Frontier


Electronic Arts is a publisher/developer well known for their great marketing and high production value game releases. However, they are probably one of the last game companies you would think of when it comes to the horror genre. So what happens when EA takes a break from the usual annual sequels and ventures into a new frontier? The answer is Dead Space, a horror title that shows how much the genre can benefit from EA’s great marketing and production values. The results are surprisingly good.

Dead Space is set in the far future when humanity is able to travel to distant planets and are able to set up space colonies. Unfortunately mankind has exhausted most of the resources on earth and must rely on a process called planet cracking to survive. Planet cracking uses giant mining starships to split a planet into pieces which are then processed and sent back to earth. While on a mission the flagship Ishimura suddenly losses all communication and a small maintenance crew is sent to investigate. The story unfolds from the eyes of Isaac Clarke, the maintenance crew’s engineer who has received a strange and dire message from Nicole, his apparent love interest. Nicole was stationed on the Ishimura when it went dead, so things begin to look rather grim once Isaac crash lands on the Ishimura and uncovers that the ships crew has been slaughtered by necromorphs, apparently alien and definitely hostile they reanimate/mutate the dead flesh of the crew. As Isaac players are tasked with finding Nicole and escaping the Ishimura. These simple goals will be met with many obstacles including the necromorph infestation and failing systems of the Ishimura which must be eventually repaired to avoid certain death. The story of Dead Space is surprisingly deep and has a rich back-story which players will uncover from in game scenes as well a many interesting text/audio diaries left behind by the Ishimura’s crew. EA’s marketing actually helps the story since there is a comic series and animated movie that supplements the game. Even if players opt the pass on these extras, the story still feels fairly deep and many will want to learn all they can about the world it presents.

The gameplay is presented in an over the shoulder viewpoint similar to Resident Evil 4. Dead Space uses a control scheme that’s standard for shooters rather that what most horror games use. You move with the left stick and aim with the right stick, while shooting/melee is handled with the shoulder buttons. This control scheme gives you a lot of freedom as you can strafe and move freely while aiming. There is a lot of combat and it is very fun because there is a good variety of unique weapons (most are modified mining tools such as a plasma cutters and futuristic saws) that can be upgraded and there is a good variety of enemies that have unique weaknesses. Most of the enemies are best killed by dismembering their limbs but the Necromorphs are relentless and they will use whatever means they have left to attack you until they are completely helpless. The Necros are just as cunning as they are relentless. They will attack in packs, bait Isaac into ambushes, feign death, and even make use of vents to flank/pursue Isaac to other rooms. Isaac has a few special abilities such as "stasis" which temporarily holds object/enemies in place and "kinesis" which allows Isaac to move distant objects or toss them at enemies, even their own dismembered limbs. Both of these abilities can be upgraded and are useful for dealing with Necros as well as solving puzzles.

Dead Space succeeds in delivering a fun, intuitive, and intense combat system while still maintaining a high scare factor. Scares will come in many different forms including many shock-moments but the unsettling environments and large amounts of blood/gore play a large role. Dead Space makes good use of lighting (or lack of) and sound effects to create a constant sense of dread/tension. Almost everything casts shadows realistically and many times even Isaac’s own shadow will cause scares. There were times during the game where I saw the shadow of a necro in a corner only to turn and see nothing. The unsettling thing is that I’m still not sure if there was really something there, I thought some other object’s shadow was a necro, or maybe I was just so tense I started seeing things. The audio contributes to the fear factor with creepy sound effects, including distant but disturbing death screams, necros crawling through vents waiting to ambush, and many others effects that can’t even be identified. The lack of sound when you enter a vacuum is probably the scariest aspect since Isaac’s breathing and heartbeat are amplified but you wont hear the Necros coming. The music fits the game very well and adds tension. Even the A.I. does a good job of delivering scares since each type of necro has its own usually relentless behavior but individual Necros can behave very strange and erratic, sometimes they will stalk you or even confuse you by running away.

Dead Space benefits form EA’s high production values with great presentation and visuals. The highlights of the visuals are the spectacular lighting effects and the lack of a conventional HUD. Dead space does have a HUD of sorts but it’s a hologram that’s projected from Isaac’s suit. Isaac’s health is indicated on the back of his suit and ammo counts are projected off the weapons. The map, inventory and video briefings are all presented as real time holograms and the camera can always be freely manipulated when these are active. This also means that players will not be safe when they are checking maps or inventory as these actions are done in real time. The character models are well done especially the Necromorphs which have a lot of detail and variety. The blood/gore in this game also deserves special notice because It’s relatively realistic and disturbing. The corpses that litter the Ishimura are very detailed and can be interacted with (complete with ragdoll physics), they are not static and you can even toss them into foes. Blood behaves realistically, it even floats/bubbles in a vacuum as you would expect. With all these graphical details, physics and lighting Dead Space keeps a mostly solid framerate, slowdown happens rarely and it’s never severe.

There aren’t many bad things I can say about Dead Space, the game isn’t perfect but the flaws few and minor. The camera can be annoying during the zero-gravity sections, not only will you be near deaf in a zero-g vacuum but the camera gives you a very limited field of view and can get you killed by obscuring enemies. Ammo is pretty rare but this isn’t a problem by it self since it simply requires good ammo management. The problem is that you can’t always run from fights so if you run out of ammo (and money to buy more) all Isaac can do is use melee/kinesis. Melee is very sluggish and surprisingly weak while kinesis is usually ineffective unless there are environmental hazards to use so players can run out of ammo during some of the long combat sequences and potentially get stuck. The solution is to use ammo efficient weapons/tactics and having multiple save files but it would be nice if the game gave players a fighting chance with melee/kinesis. The Nodes that are used to upgrade weapons and equipment are also pretty rare and it requires several playthroughs to max out even a few of the weapons. This is a shame since the upgraded weapons are quite impressive yet most players will never see them. Replay value is diminished by the inability to start a second cycle on a harder difficulty. A second playthrough on the unlockable impossible difficulty would be exactly the same as the first except that enemies will take and deal a lot more damage. It would have been better to allow players to keep their gear and balance the enemies accordingly, that way players would have a slightly different experience and be more likely to see the impressive upgraded weapons.

Dead Space suffers most from a mediocre cliffhanger ending and fairly low replay/longevity. But it’s an excellent experience overall and an absolute must play for anyone who enjoys the horror genre.

Story = B+
Presentation = A+
Visuals = A
Audio = A
Gameplay = A
Replay Value = C
Longevity = About 10 hrs avg, no notable extras, single player only.

The bottom line: A
By: Wilton Frasier

Video Previews - This Week, Blindness!