Archive for October, 2008

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Portal: Still Alive Review

October 27, 2008

My review of the Xbox Live Arcade’s latest, Portal: Still Alive, has been posted on Talk Xbox. Below, as always, you’ll find a short excerpt of the review as well as links to the full review.

“Last year, gamers were treated to a bit of a surprise hit in the form of Portal, one of the five games bundled in the Orange Box. It won many awards and mountains of praise for its relatively simplistic but amazingly deep puzzle gameplay and pitch black humor. It was challenging, addictive, repeatedly hilarious and most of all, incredibly fun. Well, Xbox 360 owning Portal fans have much to rejoice about now that Portal: Still Alive has made its way to the Xbox Live Arcade. Including everything that made the stellar original shine and more is always a good way to go when it comes to re-releases, but for those who have already experienced Portal when it was part of the Orange Box, is it worth 1200 Microsoft points? Well, there’s only one way to find out…”

Justin McBride – Talk Xbox

Full Review

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Max Payne (2008) Review

October 23, 2008

So, I saw Max Payne a few days ago and, long story short, I left the theater feeling like someone had dropkicked my brain. To see the rest of my bash…er…honest critique of the recently released film, click the “more” tab below.

SPOILER WARNING: There are some plot spoilers contained within so if you’re still planning to see the film and actually care about the weak plot, you may want to look elsewhere.

Read the rest of this entry ?

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Mega Man 9 Review Up

October 16, 2008

What you’ll see below is a short excerpt of my review of Mega Man 9, one of the best next generation revivals of a classic series seen to date.

“Nostalgia is a funny thing. In this day and age, numerous games receive bonus points because of that very phenomenon. The mere feeling of nostalgia is enough for many gamers to justify a purchase promising classic gameplay of games past. Enter Mega Man 9, a next generation revival of a classic series that gained both a legion of loyal fans and notoriety on the NES for its incredibly tough but entertaining gameplay. With this new title, composed of an entirely new set of levels, bosses and modes, the side scrolling shooter/2D platformer gameplay has remained largely the same.”

Justin McBride – Talk Xbox

Full Review

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Biting the Bullet – The Tale of my Second Broken Xbox 360

October 6, 2008

As I posted on my blog on my GameSpot profile, my Xbox 360 has once again taken a one way trip to the afterlife. I knew the end was near once I saw a mosaic of green dots covering the screen during games, as seen in the quick video I captured below.

Here’s a small portion of what I had to say on my GameSpot blog.

As you can see, my Xbox 360 has decided to die once again. Great. This time, a fried graphics card seems to be the culprit and when I tried to turn the system on yesterday, I got an error message, message E 74 to be exact, inviting me to contact Xbox Customer Support.

I called Customer Support only to find out that Microsoft seems intent on screwing me over. Since this is not a “three red lights” issue (only one was blinking on my system) it’s not covered by the three year warranty. To make matters worse, my Xbox 360 is just outside of the one year warranty extension I received from them when my 360 broke down before (I swear they’re planning it like this) so it’s going to cost me $100 to get it fixed. Well, that’s just peachy.

The rest of this post can be viewed here.

Earlier today, after mulling it over for hours, I went up to GameStop and traded in my Xbox 360 for $110 in store credit which I used to buy a new Arcade system, much like the one you see above. This was a very tough decision to make but I’m happy with the choice I’ve made. Somehow forcing the three red lights of death would have allowed me to get my Xbox 360 repaired for free but there were four main reasons why I decided not to do this.

First, as I mentioned before, there’s the risk of Microsoft sending me another defective system. I’ve heard of numerous cases of this happening and I didn’t want to take that risk.

Second, I wanted a system with one of the newer, Jasper motherboards, which runs much cooler than previous models due to the 65nm CPU and GPU. Although Jasper shipments haven’t yet been confirmed, there are many sites that are reporting that Jasper systems have indeed shipped so I’m confident that I have one.

In addition, I was an early adopter and, as you possibly already know, the HDMI port was added retroactively to all Xbox 360 models a little over a year ago so this was something that I wanted, considering my upcoming HDTV purchase.

Third, well, I’m impatient. Time is money and I’ve already committed to doing a few reviews for Talk Xbox which require me to having a working Xbox 360. I tried playing a bit of Mega Man 9 earlier today, but when I turned off the system to go have lunch and came back, the system was once again outputting those telltale dots that blanketed the screen in a sickening green hue (sickening, despite the fact that green is my favorite color). My editors are expecting a fast turnaround and I aim not to disappoint.

Fourth, I don’t want to have to go through this decision process again so, I decided to also buy a one year Product Replacement Plan through GameStop for $20. Given my work experience, I know that when a customer brings back a system with a PRP, there are no questions asked. I plan to use this to my advantage to switch out my system for a new one a year from now, regardless of whether or not it has a problem. Hopefully, Microsoft will have found out what causes Xbox 360’s to break down and fixed the problem once and for all.

So, considering all of these things and that the Arcade system has everything I need, this was a no-brainer. Sure, it does leave a $100 dent in my wallet but I’ll eventually get over it. I purchased Duke Nukem 3D earlier and I’ve been playing that for a few hours since I got home. Being able to relive one of the classics I loved playing on my dad’s computer all those years ago was almost worth the $100 in itself. Almost.

Well, here’s hoping I don’t have any problems out of Xbox 360 #3…at least until October 5, 2009 that is.

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Newly Published Articles

October 2, 2008

Pure Review

The following is but a short excerpt of my review of Pure, quite possibly one of the best ATV racing titles ever made.

“The extreme sports genre has always been one that empowers us to live our fantasies.  Pure is yet another in a long line of ATV racing titles that allows for just that. The talented team at Disney Interactive’s Black Rock Studio definitely had their work cut out for them when it came to making Pure stand out from the current crowd. That being said, it’s clear they’ve done a great job in that regard and have produced what is probably the best ATV racing game this generation.”

Justin McBride – Talk Xbox

Full Review

Nintendo Announces the DSi

“Nintendo announces a second redesign to its ever popular DS platform which features many enhancements and added features over the current DS Lite platform.”

Full Article

I’ve also got an editorial coming up that should be published on Talk Xbox tomorrow. When it’s published, I’ll post an update here. In addition, I have some editorial content planned for this site alone and you should see that as soon as I finish it, so of course, stay tuned. If you like what you saw above, spread the word! Digg it, tell your friends and, of course, let me know! I’m always happy to hear from folks who enjoy my work.