Thursday, August 28, 2008

There's No Free Lunch

Yeah so I don't know how long it'll be until I can watch another movie, so I'll apologize in advance for the lack of updates. As some already know, I've decided to go back to school to get a graduate degree in Accounting. On paper it looks like a sound plan, but in reality it's mentally draining, and I'm not even talking about all of the reading, memorizing, tests, homework, papers, or researching yet.

Instead, what I'm referring to is age, windows of opportunity, and placement. When everyone was a freshman as an undergrad, everything seemed perfect. You got to live in a dorm, meet new people, take gen ed classes, take major classes, and work a student-worker position on campus. As senior year passed on by, you and your friends graduated and "attempted" to enter the work force. This was, of course, a very trying time because the competition was quite fierce and most of the time you found yourself holding the short end of the stick as yet another day of unemployment passed on by. At this point people usually decide on continuing with the job search or begin planning on getting into graduate school or some other professional program. In terms of age, everything is still kosher, but if you divert off the regular road like my dumb-ass has done, it turns into a very shitty, bumpy trip. Your window of opportunity to make wise decisions closes quickly because if you miss the boat, you'll be stuck in a room with people born in 1990.

I'll just lay it out there: school sucks. It has always been understood that it's only a means to an end, but in my advanced age, it just feels way too crappy being in class again. It's like being a misplaced fancy spoon, sitting on a table with a bunch of forks because everyone is preparing to eat their salad and nobody has any use for expensive China.

When you get older, you're bullshit meter becomes more sensitive and you tend to lack the energy to deal with any of it. School is all about doing bullshit. Why are there so many crappy "side" projects that need to be done? Why can't professors just concentrate on the book and the material within it and just give out tests? Looking at a syllabus and seeing layers and layers of bullshit is just so frustrating.

To add to this, I already got screwed by this school, and that fact has been pissing in my coffee all week. When I first read everything about all of my classes, all of the documentation boiled down to two things: First, I was to have at least 3 units (1 class) of graduate credits to still be considered a graduate student. Second, I needed 9 units (3 classes) of any combination of classes in order to be illegible for student health insurance. So yeah, I went ahead and registered for 1 class as a graduate course and 3 classes as an undergraduate courses. A few months into the waiting period, I found out that I had been rewarded a grant, but one of those small ones that they randomly give out. The stipulation to receiving this grant was that you needed those 9 credits to all be graduate units. So I go and change the classes to 600-level instead of 400.

I wandered into my first class on Monday and was given a different syllabus because I was listed as a grad student taking a 600-level. To my surprise I saw that it had an additional research paper with a required presentation. After I went to my other classes, I was forced to multiply this "extra" requirement by 3. So in essence, I traded a slightly cheaper tuition for more bullshit school work. WTF.

So how pissed am I? Very. Fuck having to do more work. I don't care that I'm "supposed" to be a graduate student. If all of the other silly undergrads in my classes don't have to write a damn research report, then I shouldn't either. Where is the fairness in that? All of these courses are undergrad prerequisite classes so it's not like I'm learning any more or less than everyone else. F-U-C-K spells Fuck.

So yeah the good ol' days of watching movies all the time are over as I head into another semester of being crapped on as a student. From a guy who hates school as much as any average 3rd grader, I sure have cursed myself in being trapped in educational facilities for the better part of my life.

Also today, I interviewed for a student IT position and the dude sitting across the desk asked if "$8.50/hour would be a problem"? Is he fucking kidding me? I'm more qualified to do his job than he is and he's lowballing me with $8.50 like I was some green-ass freshman with no experience but buckets of enthusiasm? Sad thing is that it seems as though my skill set is worth less now than what it was back in 1999. Suffice to say, I'd rather be an underutilized phone-answering ninny than being yelled at by some upstart professor for $8.50 because their dumbasses are having problems syncing their PDA, getting email, duplex printing, getting onto the web, connecting to a file server, remembering their password, or getting into their locked account because they continued inputting in the wrong password.

Like any emo poser who dresses like they were born in the 80s would say, "I hate my life..."

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Stop-Loss (Drama 2008)

This movie was O.K., but it could’ve been so much better. I guess there is this thing called a stop-loss where the military can extend your time spent in the armed forces without your consent. Of course they are the military, meaning that you've already signed your life away, so they can do whatever they want with you.

The plot followed around a squad of soldiers as they battled insurgents in Iraq and then battled the Army and their own minds back at home. It showed how PTSD had an effect on the mental stability of the peeps, as well as showing how soldiers can get screwed over in more than one way. Ryan Phillippe was a convincing soldier, but I think Jake Gyllenhaal was much better in Jarhead.

The end of the movie is what gets me. I won’t ruin it for ya, but after you watch it, you’ll think to yourself that the whole movie's plot was useless because of the ending. I suppose it was trying to show the deeper ties that bind in terms of camaraderie, but I thought it was plain stupid.
Rating - C

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Nokia E51

After a few unsatisfying Samsung cell phones, I decided on trying out the Symbian OS with a Nokia. I picked this E51 mainly because it had WiFi capabilities, it was a bar phone, and it wasn't as expensive as Nokia's Nseries phones. I also wanted to try out all the smartphone features like having a real calendar that would sync with Outlook as well as the ability to open Word docs or Excel spreadsheets.

Design
The phone is well built and sturdy, just like a Nokia should be. All the buttons are not too small and not too big, but just right. The overall size of the whole phone is quite compact too. It's fairly thin and can fit in your pocket with no bulging problems.

Keypad
Everything from the navigation keys to the dedicated calendar and address book keys are great. It's nice to have enough keys for exactly what is important, but not too many keys to make it overwhelming.

Connections/Buttons
The top has a power button that is hella hard to press. Even with my small fingers, you really have to put a lot of pressure on it in order for it to detect. On the right side you have your volume keys along with a dedicated speaker input key, just in case you need to voice dial a person. I never use this feature so that button is unnecessary for me. On the left side you have a dedicated voice recording/memo key. I do use this on occasion and it's a good, convenient button to have. On the bottom you have a MiniUSB jack, the power cord jack, and the 2.5mm headset jack. The phone does NOT charge via USB so that blows. When you connect the USB cord the phone will ask you if you want to connect using Nokia's Connection Suite Software or to have it connect as a mass storage device. The back has a 2 megapixel camera which I never use, and the back plating is this odd texture of lines carved into metal. I like the feel, but all of the metal parts of this phone attracts fingerprints like nobody's business. On the inside you have a MicroSD slot that can expand your existing on-board memory.

Battery
The battery is good and lasts for a good number of days before you start losing some bars.

Software
The software is primarily where I wanted to test the phone out. Again, main reason for getting this was for the WiFi, so this meant web surfing or Gmail checking. There are a bunch of pictures below so you can look at 'em to see what I'm describing. First off, Google has created software specifically for the S60 OS, so you can download a cell phone version of Gmail, Google Search, Google Maps, and Youtube. The Gmail app works great and Google Maps works exactly how it does on a regular computer. The Youtube app locks up the phone and is currently pretty buggy, at least for me. Even though it's nice to check your email via a cell phone, replying or writing one is a bitch without a qwerty keyboard. Writing an email via T9 texting is annoying and very time consuming.

The web surfing was the main area I was interested in. Of course I already knew that the iPhone would be better, but I didn't realize how much better. Some websites like Google.com or Amazon.com have a mobile homepage, tweaked and shrank down to a resolution that would make it cell phone friendly. These pages work, but it seems like a very lite version and just doesn't feel right. Every other website that does not have a dedicated cell phone page looks like shit. You get to see a small corner of the webpage and then you have to use the directional keys to scroll around the whole area with a little arrow. It's definitely not fun and pretty much blows.

Being able to look at documents and spreadsheets is O.K., but it's really not all that. I use it to do price comparisons when I go shopping, but that's about it. Other people who have reviewed this celly have made comments about how they are only able to look at stuff (read only) and cannot edit, but really...who wants to edit a document using a cell phone keypad and a small-ass screen?

Having Google Calendar sync with Outlook and then having Outlook sync with the phone is a little annoying, but it gets the job done.

The radio feature is a nice addition also. It only works when you have the headset connected, but being able to listen to the radio when you have no MP3s available is nice to fend off boredom. Using the phone as an MP3 player sucks, of course, because you have to go through a bunch of menus to start it up and then you still need to use it with a proprietary 2.5mm headset.

I did opt out of the data plan from AT&T, which would've given me 3G capabilities, so I have no idea how that experience is like. If it's even remotely similar to that of WiFi, then I would've been be very disappointed in having to pay for the extra feature. It's like being given a University campus Ethernet connection, but using it with a Pentium 75mhz desktop computer with a 640x480 monitor. If the hardware is not equal to the connection speed in terms of quality and technology, then it's a pointless endeavor.

Overall
As a regular cell phone the E51 is great. As a calendar organizer it's only O.K.. As an email reader, it's decent. As an email writer, a web browser, and as a media player it sucks. This phone was touted as being a business cell phone, but other than the calendar, the other business functions are not worth the added price. I'm not sure if Nokia's other cell phones can sync with Outlook as easily as this one can, but if it does, I'm all over it. This type of technology is all about trying to combine many features into one device. The iPhone has succeeded in putting a web browser with an MP3 player with a cell phone together, but damn is the upkeep pricey. The E51 as a cell phone and data combo has failed. I guess the next combo to try out one day will be a Nokia that has dedicated MP3 buttons and a 3.5mm headphone jack. If they can pull that off half-decently then it might be worth an upgrade. So in summary, if you're mainly looking at the WiFi capabilities of this phone, the answer is "No". It would be better to buy a cheaper cell phone and just pick up a new netbook with the difference in cost.

Pros
  • Size
  • Design
  • WiFi
Cons
  • Web browser software
  • Typing anything on it
  • Price/Useful feature ratio

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

P.S. I Love You (Romantic Drama 2007)

Well this movie was a total chick flick. Usually films directed at a predominantly female audience will have some scenes that guys would enjoy or find entertaining, but this one had none of that. It was a 100% emoting circus that I couldn’t buy into because Hilary Swank, even though she is a good actor, is not at all attractive thus my sympathy for her character was nonexistent.

The film was about Swank’s hubby dying and how she had to deal with that type of a loss. Out of the blue, she receives a package from her dead husband with instructions to do stuff. The plot plods along as she jumps through all the hoops that each new arriving letter says to do. All of this cumulating at the end where she somehow learns to be strong again and turns over a new leaf to get on with her life.

Although it was well organized with relation to the story and the adaptive skills of the main character, I was still not entertained. Maybe if I were a highly sensitive girl it would've been different? I don’t even know if some of my female friends would enjoy watching this because some parts were seriously too sappy for its own good.
Rating - C

Monday, August 11, 2008

Assassin's Creed (Action PC Game 2008)

This game was definitely touted as being something different. The teaser cinematic was very well done and it later got a good reception from other reviewers. Like always, I just had to see what all the fuss was about.

Story
The story was pretty good starting out. You played this cocky assassin who ended up failing a mission because of your arrogance. A fellow peep got killed during the process, so you got "busted down to private" and had to take missions all over again to gain back equipment and skills. The main plot was also a story within a story, so at the end I'm sure a few plot twists would've come to light. Unfortunately I never got to that point.

Cinematics
The teaser cinematic I saw ended up being the main, initial one, so yeah it was good. Throughout the game there were various cut scenes but they weren't real cinematics. During these scenes there was a lot of talking. The dialogue in this game was so slow and it was so pointless to listen to all the blabbing because in the end your mission was to kill someone. I couldn't find a way to skip all the talking so that was annoying.

Gameplay
The gameplay felt like a console game. Early on, it was quite apparent that the game was designed with only a console in mind. I didn't like that all that much, although I knew what I was getting into from the start. The game was still playable, but it seemed much too simplified for a PC.

Graphics
The graphics were good. Very impressive level design and art direction. You really felt like you were in the middle east during the Crusades. A lot of detail was put into this. Being able to freely climb around was also very impressive. It was nice to be able to interact with one's environment.

Sound & Music
The sound, music, and voices all added to the player being immersed. All thumbs up here.

Overall
The game was fun while it lasted, which wasn't as long as I would've liked. After the 3rd mission, it became very repetitive. Getting extra weapons or moves was not enough to keep my attention. All of the missions were the same and all of the locations were more-less the same also. Everything still looked and sounded stunning, but the gameplay was just not there. Again, this was a console-type of a game and I haven't been interested in those in a very long time. I'll give it props for doing something different and being immersive, but look elsewhere if you need long-term playability.
Rating - Mid

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Rendition (Drama 2007)

This was a pretty good movie. It was about how the CIA nabbed a guy suspected of being a terrorist and flew him to another country to be tortured. I think I’ve seen worse torture scenes from Nam films, but the overall story with this movie was definitely better.

Most would find this film controversial because it deals with torture, terrorism, and national security. I’m sure a boatload of debates could go back and forth between when additional force is necessary vs. not. This film was very much one-sided in making the case that if you’re wrong about a person, but you still continue to torture them because you think you’re right, you would then be ethically engaging in a very bad activity. I’m not sure how that distinction would be made if this was your occupation, but I’m sure glad I don’t have that job.

The movie also showed that if this happened to a family member of yours, you would essentially be screwed because the government can do anything it damn well pleases. This is the case with every country in the world I’m sure, but I know some idealists out there think that it can’t happen in the U.S. I’m sure we all hope that intelligence agencies out there do their due diligence and have ample evidence prior to torturing a suspect for an indefinite amount of time. Being on the wrong end of that stick would definitely suck.
Rating - B

World War Z by Max Brooks (Book 2007)

Well if you've ever wondered what would happen to the world if zombies were real, then this is a book for you. The story was written from the perspective of a person interviewing a bunch of people after the zombie war had ended. It described in fairly gritty detail how armies, civilians, and governments were all overrun and unable to stop the initial threat and spread. The details within the storytelling somehow makes it seem real, as if it was from a documentary. It was a very entertaining book that makes you want to go out and buy a gun.

If you enjoy other zombie films like 28 Days Later... or Dawn of the Dead then you'd probably be a fan of this book too.
Rating - High

Thursday, August 07, 2008

2008 Subaru Impreza 2.5i Wagon

So lets talk about cars. I love cars. I still get little tingles whenever I see a new model come out. It's modern engineering at its best, and I'm one to appreciate the effort. To recap, I've owned 4 cars in my life. A 1994 Honda Civic DX, a 2005 Saab 9-2x, a 2006 Honda Civic EX, and now a 2008 Subaru Impreza 2.5i. While shopping around I figured that I should be looking at a car that had these following standards, since anything less would be buying an inferior automobile when compared to currently technology.
  • 4-Wheel Disc Brakes
  • Steering Wheel Controls (Radio/Cruise)
  • Keyless Entry
  • Cruise Control
  • HP >= 140
  • Power Windows/Doors
  • Vehicle Stability Control
  • Side Air Bags
  • Leather Steering Wheel
Surprisingly enough, most cars out there don't have all of these attributes. 4-wheel disc brakes are usually only found on higher end models and vehicle stability control is a newer safety feature. From past experience I knew that I did not want a coupe because it seriously is a hassle getting things or people into the back seats, and there's usually a huge blind spot on both sides of the car because of the thickness of the rear pillars near the rear window. So after researching the hell out of the many cars out there, I got down to the 2008 Subaru Impreza 2.5i Wagon and the 2007 Saab 9-3 sedan. I was leaning towards the Subaru because it was the more practical of the two. AWD should be better in the snow and you can fit more stuff into a wagon if you need to move things around. The Saab also came in a wagon format, but it was hideously ugly. The exterior of the Saab 9-3 sedan is friggin' beautiful in comparison, so I didn't want anything to ruin that. The interior on the 2007+ dash was also much better looking than years prior, and it was the cheapest way to get into an intro-luxury class automobile.

When I made my decision to get the Subaru, I was mostly thinking of fuel economy and how I would be able to get the car to Reno. The Saab took premium gas because it had a turbocharged engine. At the height of the gas price rocket this summer, it got up to $4.45 for premium, so that really bugged me. The only used Saabs within my price range and of the model year I wanted were very far away, like Chicago and South Carolina far. I would've essentially had to have purchased it through some odd direct transfer method and then paid some hauler 1K to get it to my door. All of this without actually test driving the car, so of course I was more than a bit apprehensive. With these factors in mind, I went with the Subaru because it was the easiest and the most realistic way for me to get a slightly used car with the features and the look that I wanted. As you'll see later, there are other factors that I should've considered, but for now I'll go over the main highlights of the car and what the pros and cons are.

Exterior Appearance
The exterior looks pretty nice. It was one of the only wagons that I researched that had an ass that I liked. The redesign was certainly better than its predecessor. The front headlights of the car are kinda blah, as is the front grill, but the side profile and the rear ass makes up for it. One extra bonus is that the hood is kept up using hydraulics as opposed to that weak bar that exists on most cars. I have never seen this before, so it's certainly a good design move.

Interior Appearance
The interior was also a step up from the older model. I got it with a tan interior instead of the black, and I'm still satisfied with its look and feel. The center armrest could use a 3-inch boost, but other than that there is nothing wrong with its appearance. During the evening, I was pleasantly surprised to see that the dash and console was blood red, just like an Audi. This is a nice color scheme for night time driving. The arm rests on the doors are also perfectly slanted. When you put your arm on it, it feels "perfect" for lack of a better word.

Performance
Here is where Subaru dropped the ball. When I saw that the car had a 170HP engine, I thought that it must be worlds apart from my 102HP 94 Civic, and even the 140HP 06 Civic. It wasn't. During my test drive I didn't even think to "push it", as I was mainly thinking of gas mileage for some reason. After driving this car for a month now, I can say that its performance is unforgivable and beyond disappointing. When I am merging onto the freeway or when I need any power out of the car, it downshifts into 2nd gear and sounds like the whole car is going to explode. It isn't, of course, since it's only around 4000RPMs and not anywhere near redline, but still. Why does it do this? I think the car does this because it only has 4 gears instead of the standard 5 for higher end automatics. A few times, the car has tried to downshift to 3rd gear, but there is no power at all, so thus it decides to go down a notch. It feels exactly like my first Civic, so how lame is that? My 06 Civic never sounded like it was going to have a heart attack, so I'm totally thinking that it's because it had a 5-gear automatic tranny. How the hell can a 170HP car perform and sound like a 102HP car? So yeah...every single time I'm on the freeway, I'm constantly reminded of how castrated my car really is, kinda like an old school Celeron processor.

AC
This is one area that the car actually can be complimented for. The AC gets cold really fast. Although I cannot directly compare it to the weather in AZ to see how fast it can cool down a car in that oven, but my overall impression is that it's the fastest of all the cars I've ever driven.

Suspension
I know that the version of the Impreza that I have is the economical one, since the next step up is the WRX, but yeah, the suspension really sucks. When I'm driving on the spagetti bowl of a freeway, the car totally angles towards the side and the seats don't provide any support. Again, I'm sure that the WRX would have a much stiffer feel to it, but yeah...I guess 4-wheel, independent suspension means shit when you don't have lower and upper strut bars and such.

Audio
The sound system sucks. I got the car with the premium package which upgraded the speakers to an 80-watt 10-speaker system. This is noticeably inferior to the 350-watt 7-speaker w/ subwoofer system that I had in my 06 Civic EX. Also, at highway speeds there is so much wind noise coming from the windows and interior vents that I can barely make out the music coming out of the speakers. The car is supposed to have this feature that automatically boosts the volume as your speed increases; my 06 Civic had that feature, but it isn't noticable at all in this car.

MPG
My lifetime is sitting around 27MPG with 50/50 Highway/City. My low is 26MPG and my high is 32MPG. MB found a cool site where you can keep track of your MPG.

Overall
In a nutshell, I'm highly disappointed and should've gotten the Saab even though it would've been a huge hassle. When I test drove a 2008 Saab 9-3, all I remembered was that the turbo in that thing was nuts. When you floored it, it was like being in the Delorean from Back to the Future. On top of that, it had a 5-speed automatic. My car is a fucking minivan in comparison. The only thing that can win some points for this Impreza is if it saves my ass this winter. If it doesn't, then I will be regretting my decision even more. I guess the light at the end of the tunnel is that Subarus around here keep their value pretty well whereas Saabs depreciate hella fast everywhere. Perhaps one day I'll be able to pull off an even direct trade.

Ironically, whenever I see a 9-3 on the road, I can't take my eyes off of it. So what is the lesson to be learned here? "Don't be cheap and just get what you want (within reason of course)". It's weird because I will blow tons of cash on a kickin' computer and will not even think of putting an inferior video card or processor in it; but with cars, I always seem to go cheap for some reason. If the two were sitting right in front of me, I'm sure I would've gone with the Saab, but since it was only pictures on the web, it didn't provide enough pull. But yeah, my previously posted experience with my audio steering wheel button and a Subaru service department has wounded my already low affection for this automobile and company. I'm just sitting here waiting until Rachel V can be purchased one day.

Pros
  • Cheapest insurance out of the top 5 cars that made my list
  • AWD
  • Beautiful Ass
  • AC
  • Interior Dash Lights
  • Wagon for moving stuff
  • Practical
Cons
  • AWD (If a tire needs to be replaced, all 4 need to be replaced for some reason)
  • Weight (The AWD system makes this car much heavier than others in its class)
  • Performance
  • Suspension
  • Transmission
  • Wind Noise
  • Audio System

Doomsday (Action 2008)

Horrible movie. From the trailers it looked like an O.K. premise: a killer virus infects the Northern portion of the UK, so the government quarantines Scotland in hopes of preventing the virus from spreading. This, of course, screws everyone who was left behind. Fast forward a bunch of years and now you have a military team sent into the quarantine zone to try to find a cure because the virus has somehow found its way into London.

The main chick, Rhona Mitra, tries to make herself look like Beckinsale, but she fails miserably at this because the lower portion of her face is just not attractive. Her acting ability is equally lacking. Unfortunately, she was the main character, so I had to look at that same goo face until the movie ended. Anyway, during their travels in the zone, her team meets up with 2 very odd sets of people who survived the outbreak. The first one is this large group of “punks”, like The Road Warrior type of punks. Funny how these types of characters in all of these post-apocalyptic settings can’t find adequate food or clothing, but they are always able to find hair dye and hair mousse so that they can look evermore punkish. The second group that the team encounters is the doctor and his posse. These people seemed to have decided to role play and are living as if they were in medieval Europe, so very much like Monty Python. This pretty much sent me over the edge, as the film lost all of the little credibility that it had.

The story was so damn stupid. I mean who would really accept living like they were in the middle ages when they have prior knowledge of the current world with technology and all? What a crappy idea. The writer/director Neil Marshall should be taken out to the town square and flogged.

The only positive thing was probably the gore during a few key scenes. A lot of blood and guts, so those parts were at least entertaining; but yeah, the rest of the film was a total waste of time.
Rating - D

Friday, August 01, 2008

Age of Conan: Hyborian Adventures (MMORPG PC Game 2008)

This game was supposed to be "it". A total overhaul in the fantasy MMO genre because of a new combat system via melee range and spell/bow aiming. Was it all that it was supposed to be? I think you can guess correctly.

Story
The interesting thing is that people really don't care about stories anymore. For a fantasy MMO, nobody actually reads any of the dialog boxes prior to taking quests and such. People usually click on boxes really fast so that they can get assigned a quest and can look at their map/radar to kill 10 bears or something. Mass Effect was different of course because the story was actually interesting and what you did directly has an effect on the storyline.

Cinematics
The intro cinematic was nice and bloody, but it wasn't overly impressive. I doubt there will be any more until an expansion is released someday.

Gameplay
The new combat control system was supposed to be the shit. Was it? Not really. Remember when you played Street Fighter II and tried to do a fireball, but instead you did a dragon punch? Yeah that's kinda like how the controls for this game is like. You use the combat keys to do combo moves, but most of the time you have to time it perfectly so that your character is not in the middle of a regular sword swing or the system is not lagging. If you do start a combo and the system is not ready for it, keystrokes will often go undetected and you lose the ability to use that combo until it cools down. An example of a combat system that was more interactive and actually worked was on the PS2 with Final Fantasy X. Here, when you wanted to add extra damage, you had to input the correct set of buttons from the directional pad, joystick, or keypad. It made sense and worked every time, not like this game.

So what does this mean for the gameplay? It means that it's really not that fun. If you take out the broken combo system, you're left with the exact same MMORPGs that are currently in the market today. It's the same old thing and that's not very fun. Run run run, target, click click click, loot, sell/equip, repeat. I know how some people can like this, but I just get bored too easily these days.

Graphics
Everybody said that you needed a pretty souped up system to play this game. Luckily for me, I just built mine so Mr. 9800GTX got to have a swing at it. To be honest the graphics were not fantastic, as it reminded me a lot of LOTRO. It had a different style, but it really didn't produce anything new. The water and lighting looked a little better I suppose, but that's not enough to make a dent in the rating.

Sound and Music
These two were actually well done. When you're in the desert, the sound of flies and moving sand are abound. When you enter into a viking-looking city, you get old Celtic music playing . This was one feature that actually immersed the player into the setting. Sword swings and fatality sounds were nice and bloody, but this was more of a standard than an innovation.

Community
What community? There is an OOC channel where people continuously bitch about the game or compare it to WoW. You can't find a group to save your life because everyone uses the OOC channel for everything so it's like a spam flood. I was in a guild, but it was one of those poser guilds who don't have a vent server, never help each other, and are never organized. Pointless. As for the people who play, I'd say that there are less little kids, but there are still a lot of assholes. It's probably a correct subset of the US population if you think about it. But yeah, for example I was soloing this elite, who I didn't realize was an elite until it was too late. A group of 3 people were fighting a guy right next to me and after they bum-rushed their mob, they just sat there watching me as I died. Yeah...fuckers. Usually I help people when I know they got themselves in a jam, but that's just me. So what did I do to get back at them? I trained a group of 7 elite mobs towards this trio of asshats, purposely died, and watched their AOE weapon swings aggro the whole group. They all died, hurray for me.

Bugs
As expected with any new release, bugs were everywhere in this game. I can't tell you how many countless times my character had no head, was reduced to a walking shadow, or had randomly fallen through the ground. There is currently a sick memory leak that either causes your system to freeze up or kill the primary executable process.

Overall
Obviously I want my money back. Of course I was warned by friends and many online reviews, but when a MMO actually markets itself as having something genuinely new, it's just too enticing so I needed to see for myself. All anyone had to say was that the controls were not as responsive as we were led to believe and my curiosity would've been lessened. I know I've warned myself against playing these MMOs, but I always get this little voice inside my head telling me that it could be different. How wrong I always am. I've always been and probably will always be a solo player, as I don't like waiting for other people in order to have fun. These games are all about grouping, so it makes everything that "could" be fun impossible to partake in without a bunch of friends.
Rating - Low