Wednesday, July 31, 2013

media update: July

So how's tricks? Aside from listening to the Saga of the Cake multiple times and accidentally turning my face orange, I had a pretty good July. I turned---um, a year older, and I had a most excellent birthday. I took the day off, slept in super late, and spent the day reading book #4 and watching movie #6 on this list. After G got off work, we went out to dinner (chicken picatta, spaghettini in lemon caper sauce, and warm butter cake for me) and then he gifted me with a brand new Nintendo 3DS and a copy of Professor Layton and the Miracle Mask. Yay! I'd never seen the 3DS in action, and it is BOSS. I have no idea how it even works, but it's really something.

And about a week after my birthday, I received an unexpected present when UPS dropped an enormous package (uh huh huh huh) on my doorstep. Turns out I'd won a magazine contest, and they sent me basically every Garnier hair care product in existence. I'm not exaggerating: I had to store most of it in a kitchen cabinet because there wasn't enough room under the sink or in the linen closet! I won't have to buy shampoo, conditioner, or hairspray for at least two years.

Oh, and I'm very grateful to my stepsister for having a baby so my dad can experience being a grandfather. He tells me all about his "granddude" and it's almost unbearably sweet. I haven't met the baby myself, but that's what happens when you acquire a set of stepsiblings and all of you are adults and live nowhere near each other. Shit, I can't even remember my stepbrother's name! Yes, this is embarrassing.

Asterisks denote something I particularly enjoyed or found especially worthy of my time; your mileage may vary.


1. Siege and Storm by Leigh Bardugo: Because this is a direct sequel to Shadow and Bone, I can't give it a proper review lest I spoil something from the previous book. I will say that I liked it better than its predecessor, mainly because of a new character that added some much needed humor to the story.

2. Sisterland* by Curtis Sittenfeld: The jacket of this book does it no favors; with its photograph of twin girls looking soulfully into the camera, it looks like one of those chick novels that Target always features prominently on an endcap. It's way better than the cover would lead you to believe.

Kate's living a comfortable life with her husband and two small children when her twin sister Violet makes a splash in the media by predicting an earthquake. Kate isn't happy about Violet's claims, because for years she's been trying to hide the fact that she and Violet are legitimately psychic. It's a great premise, the writing is superb, and although I wouldn't call it a funny book, there were a couple of scenes/lines that made me laugh loud and hard. (One of my favorites: "Children are nothing but a problem people create and then congratulate themselves on solving.")

3. The Testing by Joelle Charbonneau: Oh look, another YA dystopian novel! In this one, teenage Cia and an elite group of her peers are chosen for the Testing. If they pass, they get their only chance at higher education and prestigious jobs; if they fail, well...I think you can guess what happens. It desperately wants to be the next Hunger Games, so no points for originality, but it's still pretty entertaining.

4. Unseen* by Karin Slaughter: Special agent Will Trent goes undercover to catch a near-mythical drug dealer. But when Lena Adams and her husband are brutally attacked in their home, Will's job gets even more dangerous. Not one of Slaughter's better books, but still engrossing, and the end of the first chapter made me say "Holy shit!" out loud.

5. Visitation Street* by Ivy Pochoda: On a sweltering summer night in Brooklyn, two teenage girls take a raft out onto the bay. One of them washes up onto the shore, barely alive; the other one disappears completely, and the effects of the tragedy reverberate throughout the neighborhood. Vividly drawn and beautifully written.


Nothing this month.


1. Today Is the Last Day of the Rest of Your Life by Ulli Lust

2. Catwoman: Dollhouse by Judd Winick, Adriana Melo, and Guillem March

3. The Guild by Felicia Day and Jim Rugg

4. Saga* vol. 2 by Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples

5. Water Baby by Ross Campbell

6. Rin-Ne vol. 12 by Rumiko Takahashi


1. A Good Day to Die Hard: When he learns that his estranged son is being detained, John McClane travels to Russia to help him. But things aren't quite what they seem; cue lots of 'splosions and crashed cars. Some good action, but Bruce Willis totally phones it in and allusions to previous, better Die Hard movies come off as a bit too TRY hard.



2. Cloud Atlas*: I really don't know how to explain this movie, so here's Netflix's description: "In this star-studded drama, six seemingly disparate stories take viewers from a South Pacific Island in the 19th century to 1970s America to a dystopian future, exploring the complicated links that humans share through the generations."

This is pretty much the best endorsement I can give this movie: it's almost 3 hours long, and my ADHD ass was never bored. One of the stories is not particularly interesting (the publisher), but the others make up for it, especially the one set in a futuristic Seoul. (The Wachowskis co-directed this movie with Run Lola Run director Tom Twyker, and they serve up some Matrix realness in that segment.) It completely flopped at the box office, but if it's a failure, it's a beautiful one, and I guarantee you've never seen anything quite like it before.

3. Outpost: When I heard there was a movie starring the mouthwatering Ray Stevenson as a mercenary fighting Nazi zombies, I was like "um, yes please". But although he's a total badass in this flick, it takes a while to get going, and overall it's just okay. One of his fellow mercenaries gets some great lines, though.

4. American Mary: Mary is a medical student who decides to make some easy money doing extreme body modifications, but it's not long before she decides to use her talents for more personal reasons. Not as gory as you might expect, but it's plenty disturbing. Oddly enough, the gore didn't bother me nearly as much as characters like Beatress (a woman who had her face and voice altered to look and sound like Betty Boop) and Ruby Realdoll (who's been changed to look like a Barbie doll, and yes, that includes getting rid of her nipples).

5. The Three Musketeers: In this 1973 take on the classic, D'Artagnan moves to Paris, meets up with the other musketeers, and finds himself embroiled in intrigue. At the risk of sounding like a total heathen, I don't tend to like older movies all that much, but this had some funny lines and good fight scenes in it.

6. Spring Breakers: Four college students rob a chicken joint to fund their spring break. When they get to Florida, they fall in with a drug dealer named Alien (James Franco, turning up the scuzz to toxic levels) and continue their life of crime. It's something to look at visually, but there isn't much meat to it, and the only part that's really worth seeing is the crime spree montage set to "Everytime" by Britney Spears.

7. Movie 43: A collection of short, incredibly vulgar movies featuring basically every movie star you can think of. (No, seriously.) Some of them are hysterically funny, like the one where Kate Winslet plays a woman on a blind date with a rather unusual fellow played by Hugh Jackman, but others flop hard. It's worth a rental just for the sheer WTFness of it.

8. Identity Thief: When his identity is stolen by a con woman (Melissa McCarthy), Sandy Patterson (Jason Bateman) goes to Florida to track her down and bring her to justice. It's got some good lines, but it wasn't as funny as I thought it would be.

9. The Campaign: Two scheming CEOs who want to open a factory in North Carolina have just one thing standing in their way: Congressman Cam Brady (Will Ferrell). They put up a mild mannered loser named Marty Huggins (Zack Galifianakis), but to everyone's surprise, he turns out to be a real contender. Glenn and I didn't think we'd make it through this movie since we both intensely dislike Will Ferrell (and oh, does it rile Glenn that they share a birthday), but it turned out to be much funnier than expected.

10. Pacific Rim*: When the ocean floor is breached, a slew of gigantic monsters come pouring out, wreaking havoc on Earth. The military builds huge mechs to battle them; cue monster punchin' action! Lots of fun, and if you have any desire to see it, I strongly recommend catching it before it leaves the theaters; it's definitely worth seeing on the big screen. The 3D was also excellent.

11. The Last Stand: A drug cartel kingpin escapes FBI custody and races towards the border in his super speedy Corvette. But he has to go through a sleepy little town run by a sheriff (Arnold Schwarzenegger) who's determined to bring him to justice. The trailers made this look like a comedy, but aside from a few lines (mostly from Johnny Knoxville, who plays a gleeful gun nut), it really isn't. But it's also better than I thought it would be, so if you're in the mood for lots of shooting and car chases, you could do worse.


1. "Super Shooter" by Rip Slyme

2. "I Don't Care (Sick Individuals Mix)" by Icona Pop

 photo TheLastOfUs_zps9a73c23f.jpg

TLOU takes place in a postapocalytic United States. A fungus called Cordyceps (which actually exists, but fortunately restricts itself to insects in real life) turns people into mutated monsters. In one of their most advanced forms, they're called clickers because they are blind and use echolocation, like bats, to get around.

Joel is a man worn down by tragedy. He lives in a quarantine zone in Boston and works as a smuggler with his friend Tess. One day they receive an unusual request: escort a teenage girl named Ellie across the country to a group of anti-government rebels called the Fireflies. Joel and Tess set out on their mission, but in addition to the infected, they must deal with soldiers, hostile bandits, and cannibals.

I'm going to break with tradition and tell you the negatives first.


  • I wish there was some way to tell when the game is autosaving. I kept having to go into the pause screen and see when it had last checkpointed, which disrupted the narrative flow somewhat.
  • This may not be a con for you, and I did like its inclusion in the game when it wasn't making me want to rip my hair from the roots, but there is a LOT of stealth involved. If you're impatient like me, you will die many, many times. I mean, you probably will anyway because this is a hard fucking game, but I'm just warning you.
  • TLOU has the most gorgeous graphics I've seen to date on any system. The backgrounds (which range from devastated major US cities to beautiful, relatively unspoiled mountainous regions) and facial expressions are absolutely stunning.
  • The story may sound like just your typical postapocalyptic zombie(ish) nightmare, but it isn't. I can't really explain why without wading into spoiler territory, but it's much deeper than that.
  • Ellie is freaking awesome. She's got a smart (and dirty) mouth on her, but she's so funny and vulnerable and tough that I fell in love with her. I saw a comment on a message board where somebody complained that she's a stereotypical "damsel in distress" and I was like dude what the fuck game were you playing because it sure as shit wasn't TLOU. Does Joel save her life at any point in the game? Yes. Does she also save herself and help Joel out too? Absolutely.
  • Great voice acting. Troy Baker is one of my favorite voice actors thanks to his portrayals of Kanji (Persona 4) and Jake Mueller (Resident Evil 6), but I never would have known he was Joel. He's terrific. Ashley Johnson (who also played Chrissy Seaver on Growing Pains!) is perfection as Ellie. Everyone else is really good too.
  • This game is freakin' INTENSE. At one point, I was in an abandoned house looking for supplies. There was a clicker standing between me and some desperately needed ammo. I had to creep slowly past it (remember, they're blind, but if you make noise they'll come right at you) and grab the ammo, then creep right back out. I swear my blood pressure went up about ten points!
  • I really want to tell you about a couple of parts that I absolutely loved, but I can't because you would track me down and beat the shit out of me for spoiling them. But OH MY GOD. I've misted up over plenty of games in my time, but there are only four that actually made tears roll down my cheeks: Silent Hill 2, Heavy Rain, The Walking Dead, and now The Last of Us. Oh man, we are talking ALL the feels.

As longtime readers of this humble blog know, there's an old Dreamcast game I love called Illbleed. It's pretty heavily flawed, but it's so batshit insane and I've always had such a blast playing it that it's managed to keep its place in my top 10 video games of all time.

Well, sorry, Illbleed. I'll always love you, and you had a good run, but you've been ousted to make room for The Last of Us. Welcome to the club, Joel and Ellie.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

oompa loompa oompa de doo

I KNOW, right? Two entries in as many days? I'm as shocked as you are! But something so insanely stupid happened last night that I just had to share.

Yesterday I got a Sephora order in the mail, and as is their (much appreciated) wont, they put some samples in the box, including a packet of moisturizer. After my shower, I tore it open and smeared it all over my face, and then I plopped my ass down in front of my laptop to putz around on Twitter and read celebrity gossip.

About ten minutes later, I noticed an unpleasant smell. The only thing I can compare it to is that hot metallic smell that my hands would get from playing on the monkey bars at school, only amped up. For a second I feared that something was wrong with my laptop, but the smell seemed to be coming from under my nose...literally from under my nose. I swiped a finger over my upper lip and took a whiff.

Yep, that was the moisturizer all right. Weird.

I figured as long as I was online, I'd read the reviews of this product on Sephora's website. Sure enough, the very first review of the product mentioned the terrible smell...

...and the second review mentioned that it TURNED THEIR SKIN ORANGE.

It wasn't moisturizer, it was self-tanner!

Shrieking, I raced to the bathroom and looked at my ORANGE FUCKING FACE in the mirror. We're talking the unholy spawn of Snooki and an Oompa Loompa. I was serving up Ernie from Sesame Street realness.

I washed my face, and the washcloth came away orange. Then I grabbed a package of facial cleansing wipes and went through probably ten of them before they came away clean. My face was no longer orange, but it was a nice bright red from all of the scrubbing.

I know, I know, you're thinking "You read all the goddamn time and you couldn't be arsed to look at the package?" But I swear it didn't say anything about tanning on the package! It just had a list of ingredients (which I suppose might have mentioned something used for self-tanning but I'm not a fucking chemist for Christ's sake; if I was, I'd have a nicer car) and the name of the product.

Learn from my fail, folks: if you put something on your body and it starts to smell like the chains of a swingset in summer...RINSE THAT SHIT OFF PRONTO.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

the Saga of the Cake

Have you ever heard of announcement cakes? Basically, they work like this: after getting an ultrasound, the expectant mother (or a friend or family member or partner; I don't know this theoretical person's situation GOSH) takes the unread results to a bakery. The bakery then reads the results, finds out the baby's gender, and colors the layers blue for a boy or pink for a girl. Then there's a big party and when the mother-to-be cuts into the cake, everybody finds out the gender at the same time. It's a cute idea, and of course I support anything that involves cake. All announcements should be made with cake! ("You're fired; here's a cake!" "Grandma died; have some cake!" "I'm no longer in love with you; console yourself with cake!")



One of my coworkers, L, is anxiously awaiting the birth of her first grandchild. Her son and daughter-in-law had a cake cutting ceremony yesterday morning, and they set up some sort of live stream so L could watch it.

During work hours.

At her desk.

While everybody else in my department except me and my work bestie J, who shares similar feelings on the subject (her exact words to me: "Yeah, call me when there's a basket of kittens over there"), crowded around her desk to watch.

Unfortunately, a client picked the exact moment of The Cutting to call.

ME: "Thank you for calling the Cube Farm, thi---"

My god, the screams! It sounded like a One Direction concert in here.

CLIENT: "What the hell is going on there?"

L: "IT'S A GIRL! MY FIRST GRANDBABY IS A GIRL!" (breaks into hysterical sobs)

CLIENT: "Oh, somebody's having a grandkid?"

I would like to take this moment to point out that L sits two rows away, and this dude actually HEARD her.

Anyway, the hysterical squealing and weeping went on for several minutes. Finally, unable to tolerate it any longer, I logged out and went on my morning walk 30 minutes earlier than usual.

When I got back, they were still talking about it. A verbatim quote: "Did you see the part when the knife cut through the cake?"


"I can't believe it's a girl! A little girl!"


"I'm going to be a grandmother!"


And to think that after all of this foofaraw, the cake wasn't even here! I mean, I could have tolerated this shit if I got some goddamn cake at the end, because cake. But no, all I got was a headache and my eyes rolling up in the back of my head so hard I looked like an extra from The Serpent and the Rainbow.

I shit you not, the enthralling Saga of the Cake went on all day. Just when I thought things had calmed down, somebody else would bring it up, which caused another outbreak of tears and squealing. Occasionally J and I would prairie dog over our cubes, look at each other, and quickly duck back down in our seats to hide our snickering.

Finally, at 3:30PM, L went home, and I was able to live out the rest of my work day in relative peace.

When I came in today, I figured it would be nice and calm. But I forgot that two people were out yesterday.

The video was replayed.

The squealing and tears began afresh.

The play-by-play of the video that had JUST BEEN SHOWN SECONDS BEFORE occurred.

Dante said there were nine circles of hell, but I'm here to tell you there are ten.

And that tenth circle is bright pink and strawberry-flavored and just out of reach on the other side of a computer monitor, and the screams and tears of a grandmother-to-be will be the symphony that scalds your ears for all eternity.

There will be no rest, my friends.

There will be no rest.

Monday, July 01, 2013

media update: June

So I just finished playing the new version of Silent Hill 2 (cleaned up graphics and new voices, some of which are an improvement and some of which are most decidedly not) in the Silent Hill HD Collection.  I was running through town when suddenly a mannequin leg monster fucking CATAPULTED over a railing at me.  I screamed, and about ten steps later, it happened again.  And it kept happening to the point that it became more comical than scary.  Question for my fellow fans:  do you remember anything like that happening in the original?  Because I sure don't, and trust me, I played the everlovin' shit out of SH2 when it was first released.  I don't know if they added it to this version for scare value (and if so, mission accomplished, at least for the first two times) or if the game was glitching.

As ever, asterisks denote something I particularly enjoyed or found especially worthy of my time; your mileage may vary.


1. Red Moon by Benjamin Percy:  In this novel, lycans (aka werewolves) are real and have always lived among us.  The government has controlled them with mandatory drugs, but the lycans are sick of it, and they begin to rise up.

I had very mixed emotions about this book.  Parts of it were good, but the allegory was forced and it got to be a real slog near the end.  I almost quit with less than 100 pages to go, but I figured I might as well finish it at that point.

Side note:  I was reading this while waiting for G to come to bed, and when he climbed in beside me, he asked me what I was reading.  I showed him the cover and said "It's about werewolves, but I'm not lycan it all that much."

G:  "Oh, that's too bad."

Me:  "I said I'm not LYCAN it.  Geddit?  [nudge, huge grin]"

G:  "SIGH."

2. We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves* by Karen Joy Fowler:  Rosemary was only five years old when her sister Fern disappeared.  When Rosemary gets older, she tries to come to terms with the loss that has colored her entire life, even though she desperately wants to forget.  ("When there is an invisible elephant in the room, one is from time to time bound to trip over a trunk.")  The unusual premise is buoyed by beautiful writing.

Side note:  If this book sounds interesting to you, please try to avoid reviews, most of which spoil something major that isn't revealed until almost 100 pages in.  The inside flap of the book jacket does a really good job of not spoiling shit, though, so you can safely take a look at that.

3. Joyland* by Stephen King:  In 1973, Devin Jones takes a summer job at an amusement park.  He enjoys the work, but when he finds out about the ghost of a murdered woman hanging around the park, his quest to find her killer puts him in jeopardy.  More of a coming of age novel than a scary one, but still quite enjoyable.

4. The Shining Girls* by Lauren Beukes:  Harper is a serial killer who's obsessed with murdering "shining girls", his term for young women with great potential.  He finds a house that opens onto other time periods, which allows him to murder and then escape into another era.  But a young woman named Kirby survives his attack, and she won't stop until she brings him down.  Imagine Looper crossed with The Silence of the Lambs, and you have this beautifully creepy book.  It's really fucking good.

5. Her Last Breath by Linda Castillo:  In Painters Mill, Ohio, an Amish man and his children are riding in their buggy when they're hit by a truck that flees the scene.  The man and two of the children are killed, and when police chief Kate Burkholder investigates, she begins to think it wasn't an accident.  Not one of the best books in the "Amish murder mystery" series, but it's enjoyable and a very quick read.


1. The Bling Ring by Nancy Jo Sales:  An enjoyably trashy read about the titular "Bling Ring", a group of California teenagers who broke into the homes of several celebrities and made off with their shit.  Fun fact:  they were able to get into Paris Hilton's house because she'd left a key under the doormat.  Durrrrrrrrr.


1. Kick-Ass 2 Prelude: Hit-Girl* by Mark Millar and John Romita Jr.

2. I've Seen It All* by Shoko Takaku

3. Catwoman: The Game* by Judd Winick and Guillem March:  There's a seriously hot (though obviously not graphic) sex scene between Catwoman and Batman in this that's worth the price of admission all by itself, but the whole book is really good, and well worth a looksee.

4. Sakura Hime vol. 10 by Arina Tanemura

5. Demon Love Spell vol. 3 by Mayu Shinjo

6. Bond of Dreams, Bond of Love by Yaya Sakuragi

7. Gentleman's Agreement Between a Rabbit and a Wolf by Shinano Oumi

8. The Walking Dead vol. 18 by Robert Kirkman, Charlie Adlard, and Cliff Rathburn

9. Sweet Tooth: Wild Game* (final volume) by Jeff Lemire:  Oh my god, the last chapter of this had me AWASH in tears.  


1. Parker:  The ever delicious Jason Statham plays Parker, a thief who gets fucked over by his crew.  After he recovers from his injuries, he sets out for revenge with the help of a real estate agent (Jennifer Lopez) who accidentally stumbles upon his scheme.  Not essential viewing, but J-Sta kicks mucho ass and there are a few good lines.

2. Warm Bodies*:  R (Nicholas Hoult) is a zombie who's much more sentient than most.  When he consumes a teenage boy's brain, he experiences the boy's memories and falls in love with the victim's girlfriend Julie.  They form a tentative friendship, and together they may be able to cure the plague once and for all.  Based on the book by Isaac Marion, this "zomromcom" is a lot of fun.

3. Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters:  In this take on the classic fairy tale, Hansel and Gretel survive their ordeal at a witch's hands and grow up to become ass kickin' witch killin' bounty hunters.  I thought this would be silly campy fun, but it kind of sucked.  Not even worth watching for Jeremy Renner, who I think is hotter than Texas asphalt in July.

4. Jack Reacher:  An ex-soldier is accused of shooting five people, and when he's asked to sign a confession, he writes "Get Jack Reacher" on the page instead.  Jack (Tom Cruise) is ex-military as well, and he's determined to crack the case.  A decent thriller; it won't win any awards, but I liked it fine.

5. The Last Exorcism Part II:  Shouldn't the previous movie have been called The Penultimate Exorcism?

Anyway, this sequel finds Nell Sweetzer, the possessed young woman from the previous movie, living in a group home in New Orleans.  She's hoping to start a new life, but the demons want her back.  It's not remotely scary; I watched it late at night and home alone, and I never got creeped out, which is a sure sign that your horror movie ain't all that scary.  It's merely okay.

6. Priest:  This flick about a vampire killin' priest had been moldering on the DVR for over a year, and we needed to clear up some space for season 2 of Homeland, so we finally watched it. wasn't bad!  Don't get me wrong, it ain't something you need to pop onto your Netflix queue immediately, but it was dumb fun. 

7. Side Effects*:  Emily (Rooney Mara) can't seem to shake her depression, so after trying a slew of drugs that do nothing, she asks her shrink (Jude Law) to prescribe a new antidepressant that has some unexpected side effects.  A very clever thriller that you definitely shouldn't read up on before watching it; it deserves to be seen unspoiled.

8. Stoker:  After her father dies, India's uncle Charlie comes to live with her and her icy mother.  As time goes on, Charlie begins to reveal his true nature.  A strange fever dream of a movie directed by Chan-wook Park (Oldboy, Lady Vengeance) and written by Wentworth Miller of Prison Break fame; it's beautifully shot, but the story never really grabbed me.

9. Mama:  After a series of unfortunate events, two little girls are left stranded in the woods, where a mysterious creature they call Mama takes care of them.  But when they're rescued and sent to live with their uncle and his girlfriend, Mama decides to come along for the ride...and let's just say she's the jealous type.  Some good creepy moments, and of course I always enjoy looking at Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, aka Jaime Lannister, aka the only person I'll allow to play Leon Kennedy in a Resident Evil movie.

10. The Call*:  After hearing a teenage girl being murdered during a call, a 911 operator (Halle Berry) takes a hiatus.  When she returns to the job as a trainer, she takes over a kidnapping call from a flustered newbie, and she quickly realizes that the hysterical girl on the phone is at the mercy of the same serial killer.  A very tense and surprisingly good thriller, although there were two, shall we say, strange decisions that made G and me quirk an eyebrow.


Like just about everybody else who owned an original Playstation, I played the first Tomb Raider game back in 1996.  The graphics were blocky and Lara Croft was a neckbeard's wet dream with her tight shorts and ridiculously huge breasts, but I enjoyed it fine...until I didn't.  I don't remember the specifics, but I got stuck in one area and got so frustrated that I ragequit and returned the game to Blockbuster the next day.

Fast forward to 2013, when the reboot/prequel was released with a younger, grittier, more realistic looking Lara Croft.  It got terrific reviews and I was intrigued by Square Enix's involvement, so despite my previous irritation all those years ago, I decided to give the new one a go.

In this installment, Lara is searching for the lost kingdom of Yamatai, which she believes to be located in the Dragon's Triangle off the coast of Japan.  She's accompanied by several people, including a documentary crew and a young woman named Sam Nishimura, whose ancestors lived in Yamatai.  But when a terrible storm wrecks her ship, Lara finds herself alone and desperately trying to reconnect with her shipmates.  Wolves, vicious islanders, and a host of other dangers won't make it easy, though.


  • Absolutely stunning backgrounds, ranging from mountain waterfalls to a crumbling palace.

  • Some really exciting moments; as G put it, it's like starring in your own action movie.

  • The control scheme is very intuitive and easy to use.

  • It's very generous with the check points, which is good, because unless you're the best video game player in history, I guarantee you're going to see Lara die at least a few dozen times.

  • Lara gets into quite a few gun fights, at which point the game turns into Call of Duty Lite.  I died several times during these fights, but man were they fun!

  • I do like a good badass heroine, and Lara fits the bill, whether she's stabbing a huge foe in the neck with an arrow or ziplining down the side of a mountain.

  • Kudos for an awesome visual nod to one of The Descent's most powerful scenes.


  • Although the story was serviceable enough, I never found myself emotionally involved, which kept me from liking it as much as I probably should have.

  • The voice acting was very lackluster, which I certainly wasn't expecting.  You'd think such a famous franchise would attract top notch voice talent!

  • Overall, this was a fun game with a couple of surprising flaws.  Although I didn't love it, I did enjoy it more than I thought I would.  For the record, G liked it more than I did, giving it a 9 to my 7.  He loved the Uncharted games, which I never played, and said this was very similar.  So if you like Uncharted too, trust G's score over mine!


    1. "Sunshine Like You" by The Waterlillies

    2. "You Can't Get What You Want" by Joe Jackson