Playstation 3 Video Game Review “Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Heroes”

Format: Playstation 3
Publisher: Konami
Rated: Mature
Media: Video Game
Release Date: March 18, 2014

Our Score: 3 out of 5 stars

When I told a friend that I was playing the newest “Metal Gear Solid” game, he was like “How did I miss that?” Well if you are wondering the same don’t worry since “Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Heroes” is a prologue to the upcoming full game “Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain”, which is set to be released TBA 2015. This game is meant to get you excited and get your mouth watering. If you are looking to sit back and get immersed in the whole of “MGS” you might want to wait for the full game because this game is real short. I was able to fly through the campaign in nearly two hours. I would have to recommend this to those who are simply foaming at the mouth and can’t wait till next year to get some more Snake action.

Official Premise: World-renowned Kojima Productions showcases the latest masterpiece in the Metal Gear Solid franchise with Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes. Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes (on sale Spring 2014) is the first segment of the ‘Metal Gear Solid V Experience’ and prologue to the larger second segment, Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain launching thereafter. MGSV: GZ gives core fans the opportunity to get a taste of the world-class production’s unparalleled visual presentation and gameplay before the release of the main game. It also provides an opportunity for gamers who have never played a Kojima Productions game, and veterans alike, to gain familiarity with the radical new game design and unparalleled style of presentation. The critically acclaimed Metal Gear Solid franchise has entertained fans for decades and revolutionized the gaming industry. Kojima Productions once again raises the bar with the FOX Engine offering incredible graphic fidelity and the introduction of open world game design in the Metal Gear Solid universe. This is the experience that core gamers have been waiting for.

I do have to give the same props for being very visual. In fact during the opening credits cut-scene, my wife walked in the room and said “What movie you watching, Mike?” and didn’t even realize that this was a game. To me that gives a real thumbs up to the game. Now, this was only on Playstation 3, so I cannot even imagine how good it would look on Playstation 4. Stealth is key in this game and definitely not for those who like to run in shoot and ask questions later, but obviously if you are familiar with the series this is no surprise. So whether you play on Normal or Hard, the challenge is very present, which should make hardcore fans happy.

Even though the main campaign is quite short. There is a still some decent replay value to enjoy if you take your time and poke around a bit. There are several side missions, which can be unlocked by finding XOF badges. I also felt that the general plot for this game was much darker than usual for this series, but that wasn’t entirely a bad thing. The game also features a strong voice cast including Kiefer Sutherland (“TV’s “24”) as Snake and Tara Strong (“My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic”) as Paz Ortega Andrade.

The timeline for the game is set in 1975, so it falls between “Peace Walker (1975)” and the original “Metal Gear (1995)” even though is obviously leads into “The Phantom Pain”, which is set in 1985 but I am basing it in terms of released games. This is also the first “Metal Gear Solid” game to explore the option of an open world giving players total freedom on how to play. So for $29.99, it all comes down to how hardcore of a fan are you for this series. Even though I went back and go to explore a little more after the main campaign, I finished this game just feeling a bit unsatisfied and wanting more.

Blu-ray Review “The Frozen Ground”

Actors: Nicolas Cage, John Cusack, Vanessa Hudgens, Dean Norris, Kevin Dunn
Directors: Scott Walker
Rated: R (Restricted)
Studio: Lions Gate
Release Date: October 1, 2013
Run Time: 105 minutes

Film: 3.5 out of 5 stars
Extras: 3 out of 5 stars

I am a sucker for anything that Nicolas Cage does.  The guy is so cool that he is featured not once but twice on the cover of this Blu-ray. He is joined with an impressive cast including John Cusack (playing the serial killer Robert Hansen) and Vanessa Hudgens (she is quite impressive). I have to admit, the film was really well done and drew me in from the moment it starts. It follows the true story behind the hunt for Robert C. Hansen, one of America’s most notorious serial killers who brutally murdered 17 young women over the course of 12 years in the town of Anchorage, Alaska. After watching the film, I did some more research on the true story and that is how I know when I really enjoyed a film that it leaves thinking afterwards.  This film should have received more attention in theaters since it definitely deserves it.

Official Premise: Based on a shocking true story of Alaskan State Trooper Jack Halcombe (Nicolas Cage) as he sets out to end the murderous rampage of Robert Hansen (John Cusack), a serial killer who has gone unnoticed for 13 years. As the bodies of street girls start to pile up in Anchorage, fear strikes a chord with the public. Risking his life, Halcombe goes on a personal manhunt to find the killer before the next body surfaces. When a seventeen year old escapee (Vanessa Hudgens) reveals key information about the case, Halcombe is finally on the trail of the killer. But will he catch him in time to save the next victim?

Lions Gate delivered a solid Blu-ray presentation (as always). Included is a Blu-ray disc and also a Digital HD Ultraviolet copy as well. The 1080p transfer looks great and really captures the landscape of Alaska. The DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track is solid as well and works with the crime-thriller. The special features are also impressive on this release. There is a solid commentary track with director/writer Scott Walker and producer Mark Ordesky and Jane Fleming. There are some
Deleted Scenes included along with additional ommentary by Director Scott Walker. There is a behind-the-scenes featurette with interviews from the cast/crew, along with a few extended interviews with cast and crew. Lastly there is a featurette looking into the “Anatomy of a Serial Killer”. Solid extras for a solid film.

Film Review “Man on Ground”

Directed by: Akin Omotoso
Starring: Hakeem Kae-Kazim, Fabian Adeoye Lojede, Fana Mokoena, Makhoala Ndebele, Thisiwe Ziqubu
Distributed by T.O.M. Pictures
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
Running Time: 88 minutes

Our Score: 3 out of 5 stars

“Man on Ground” is definitely one hell of a visual film but I found myself scratching my head throughout the movie. I commend Akin Omotoso on his artistic vision but the story is a little too difficult to follow through out. The film isn’t all bad though, it packs a very intense cast who each deliver wonderful performances. I do not feel that this film will have much reach to a mainstream audience but the indie world might grasp on, if they can follow it.

The story follows the disappearance of a young Nigerian man, Femi (Fabian Adeoye Lojede), after being run out of his country and imprisoned. His brother, Ade (Hakeem Kae-Kazim), who is a London banker goes looking for him and tries to get the the bottom of this mystery. Hakeem Kae-Kazim, Fabian Adeoye Lojede and Thisiwe Ziqubu, who plays Femi’s fiancee, all give fantastic performances.

The film aimed as a thriller and it definitely succeeds in that area. It shows the thrilling would of the immigrant underworld in South Africa. One note of the shoot was the scenes of the smoking, it was shot with slow-motion and very intense. Another saving factor for the film is that it is short, running only 88 minutes. If Omotoso could have resolved the narrative issues this could have been a successfully thriller.