I Saw This – Guardians of the Galaxy

With the wife and I looking to catch a movie this weekend, I had to really play the “you love me” card to get her to agree to Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy. She’s never been into the superhero genre of film, let alone any of the previous Marvel titles, so short of me going on my own it was my only play.

If only I knew that she would fall hard for a talking tree.


While I wouldn’t say I’m anywhere near an expert of the Marvel universe, Guardians wasn’t even on my radar before I saw the teaser trailer and I wasn’t immediately sold on the concept. Seriously, who could ever take a bounty-hunting raccoon seriously? Yet it was from Marvel and I’ve been a fan of the interrelated world of the Avengers, so it did seem likely I’d enjoy the movie if I gave it a chance.

And I loved it. Truly did. Even my wife did. I’m sure we’ll even see the sequel together, so long as Groot gets a few lines.

Using the same formula we’ve seen in Iron Man or Thor or Avengers, the movie is a good mix of action with a solid story-line, comedic relief and personable yet slightly flawed characters. And for someone like my wife or me, Guardians gives us just enough back story to get us into the plot soon enough (without spoiling too much, prepare to tear up a touch in the early going).

What I found really helped the movie along is that it never took itself too serious. Yes it had the whole “save the universe” theme and yes, the premise of a really bad guy getting taken out by the underdog good guy is a well-worn piece. But it worked. It worked very well. I was never too bored, got a few laughs in (including a few from the wife), and find myself awaiting a sequel. Or tie-in with the next Avengers. And that’s what it’s somewhat about, no?

As to the product on the screen, I’m also happy we chose to spend the extra coin to watch it in IMAX 3D. Sci-fi and CGI really do give 3D some serious justice and any special effects that get my wife jumping in her chair are obviously good ones in my books.

But what say you? Have you seen it? What did you think? Or if you haven’t, why not?

I Ate This – Hamburger 285

I have to admit I was worried about the quality of a $2.85 hamburger that could be purchased from a nondescript food truck. Is it really beef? Days old buns? Soggy tomoatos?

Yet having just consumed their cheeseburger today, I’m no longer a sceptic. I’m definitely a believer!

Located just off the corner of Granville St. and Pender St. in Downtown Vancouver, Hamburger $2.85 gives you just that – a hamburger. Or if you’re like me and want some choice, you can grab yourself a cheeseburger for $3.50. Beyond this, the only other menu items are pop & iced tea, while condiments (mustard & ketchup) are also available.

The burger you receive is a good size and comes with a tonne of lettuce, a solid slice of tomato, terimayo sauce (teriyaki and mayo), cheese if you ordered it (like I did), with a beef patty on a toasted white hamburger bun. Juicy and filled with flavour, I’m glad I didn’t add ketchup as I normally do. And while I did order two burgers – don’t judge, I was hungry – I’d probably be safe ordering only one in the future!

About the only drawback is the popularity of the food truck. I arrived just after noon and the lineup was a good 10 people deep with a dozen or so people already waiting for orders. All-in-all, it took about 15-20 minutes for my order to come up and I’m definitely thankful the weather was decent today – I’m a fair weather food truck consumer!

Anywho, I’m totally putting this food truck on my “visit again” list. Sure I had to wait a good amount of time to pick up my eats, but I really can’t fault them for their popularity with such great value!

Hamburger $2.85 on Urbanspoon

Logo from Destiny Alpha

Destiny’s Alpha

As an owner of a PlayStation 4, I was tickled pink to learn of Bungie’s alpha test of their upcoming title “Destiny” over the course of this weekend. And having lost many, many hours the past few days glued to the console, I thought I would share my thoughts on the game.

Screenshot of The Tower from Destiny

I have arrived!

What I liked:

  • Shadows – whether it’s distance or the angle of the light source, shadows are cast with great detail. In fact, my attention to this detail got me out of many ambushes.
  • Graphic Detail – if this is the quality of product we get for an alpha release, I can’t wait to see what the beta and final releases will have in-store. Whether it’s birds in flight (which you disturbed from rest), or the transition from day to night, it’s obvious Bungie has put a dollar or two down on this area.
  • Raiding & Teamplay – while I enjoy an FPS title like the next guy, I’m more a storyline/cooperative play type of player and Destiny doesn’t look to disappoint. While we only had access to one dungeon in the alpha, it took our team of 3 just over an hour to clear – something I would attribute to our inability to communicate or coordinate.

Screenshot of ship from Destiny Alpha

Look ma, I’m flying!

And what I didn’t:

  • Ships and Vehicles – not sure if this is really a dislike or a question, but what exactly is the purpose of the two? Aside from transportation on a map, vehicles had no real purpose outside of the Crucible (multiplayer arena) and the ship was a neat way to showcase a loading screen.
  • Class Differentiation – while we had access to the Titan, Hunter and Warlock classes, there didn’t seem to be much difference between the three aside from their special ability. Each could use any weapon and with the immense cooldown associated to the special ability, we were just different dressed fraggers running around shooting things that moved. I’m hoping this was simply a problem due to the limits in the alpha and that we see much more differentiation and customization in the final release.
  • Race Abilities – I like customization, but customization with purpose. There are three races in the game and all they seem to do is help you look just a tad different from the guy next to you. No benefit, detriment or anything in between.
  • Navigation – whether by design or not, the fact you don’t have access to a map in a game which wants you to freely explore the world is odd. While missions will eventually populate a waypoint on your HUD, it’s easy to get lost and turned around.
  • Shotguns – one shot, one kill. I’m really, really, really hoping this weapon gets nerfed in multiplayer. The fact I was able to get 20 frags in multiplayer is a definitive sign of an overpowered weapon. I’m not that good!

Now before you go and castigate me for the simplicity of my opinions, keep in mind that this alpha release provided us only a small taste of the overall game. We had access to one multiplayer arena type with two maps, one storyline, one dungeon, and a level cap of 8. In fact, the only real expansive component of the alpha was the exploration of the open world of Old Russia.

But that’s all okay. I’m still freaking excited to have had the chance to find my Destiny.

I just hope the beta launches tomorrow and not July 17th as advertised. :D

Oh, and one last thing – recognize this guy’s voice?

Wolfenstein: The New order

Einsätze IST Wolfenstein!

With some time this weekend, I picked up a copy of Wolfenstein: The New Order (for my PS4 of course) and spent some time fragging Nazis.

Wolfenstein Gameplay Screenshot

Run and Gun, Baby! – courtesy of Bethesda Games

Built on the premise that the Nazis win the Second World War (by dropping an atomic bomb on Manhattan among other things), you start off as Wolfenstein stalwart B.J. Blazkowicz before this aforementioned turn of events on his way to bring hell to Hitler. Riding shotgun in a bomber during a massive air raid, I was blown away by the level of detail you’re treated to and found myself getting yelled at by my AI friend who really wanted me to get my act together as I took a gander or six at the surrounding environment.

Without spoiling too much, you start off with menial tasks around the plane to get you accustomed to the game controls and eventually find yourself on German soil growing used to gunfire, explosions and foul-mouthed soldiers (I’m assuming their cursing their virtual brains off). In fact, the first chapter or two is designed to rekindle your love of Nazi fragging and get you used to the gameplay before giving you our plot twist and getting you REALLY into the game.

We’re talking guns-blazing, free-flowing, hell-unleashed into the game.

Yet in a shift from previous titles, those of you who would prefer stealth and strategy as an option – essentially all of you smart and patient people – will appreciate the introduction of Commanders. Once they notice your presence, these pains-in-the-neck characters will continue to call-in reinforcements until such time as you dispatch them from the world. While I much prefer running into rooms guns blazing, I can attribute many of my deaths to these irritants and have found myself now taking my time and considering my approach.

It’s obvious from the get-go that the developers ensured enough time and detail was given to the storyline, and while I’ve only really scratched the surface of the entire game, find myself understanding each characters place in the game. Scenes before, throughout, and after each chapter provide a sufficient segue to the next task at hand and give the game a logical feel. If there were anything I could describe as a miss, it’s that some of the characters are given very little back story or definition, and while they do fit into the overall plot, have you wondering why they needed to be there in the first place.

I should probably admit this now, but I’m actually a fan of single-player story-lines. While I do enjoy the squad-play of multiplayer fraggers, I’ve grown ornery in my old age and have found myself trying to avoid hearing pre-pubescent teens and other such trash telling me what they are doing with my various family members.

Overall, I’m happy with my purchase (even if I missed out on the digital download discount) and would recommend Wolfenstein to anyone wanting to relive the simplicity we remember from id shoot-em-ups. Sure it’s single-player only (at least for now), but if you’re anything like me you won’t mind that fact – even more if you’re into achievements and secrets (there are plenty).

Or maybe you just want to experience the gem of an image below!

Wolfenstein Minigame

NIGHTMARE!