Friday, March 07, 2008

Lovin' the red box, oogling Crysis, and bullying the 360.

You've probably seen them sitting outside the Mickey D's locations around town, I'm speaking of the Red Box video rental kiosk.

My first run in with one of these machines was about a year ago, outside of Oklahoma City at a McDonald's location but basically for $1 a night you can rent new release DVD movies with the swipe of your credit/debit card. Seemed like a good idea at the time, and now they've finally trickled into Wichita. According to the website there are 10 locations in the city, and I just realized some of the kiosk are inside the restaurants (I'm guessing because these locations have no parking next to the building at all). While the $1 rental fee is really cheap I've got hooked on this because you can request a free rental code from the web site, and if you sign up for there text message service you'll get a free code every Monday that expires at midnight. Now in a marketing push by McDonald's every large or x-large drink nets you a free code that's good until December this year.

I wish they had some form of HD format available (although it would probably be blu) but my DVD player up converts anyway so even regular DVDs look really good. The only problem I see is there is no catalog titles everything in the box is within the last ~4 months of release probably, but those are usually cheaper or 5 day rentals at other rental stores. On the plus side you can check the inventory currently in 'any' machine from the website before you make a trip, and reserve it through the website then pick it up at the kiosk.

I finally got around to trying out Crysis on the PC this week. First off I love it when I hit the auto-optimize button and it says "All settings set to HIGH", yeah it's not VERY HIGH but hey I'll take it. At the beginning of the game of course it's pitch dark, and having to use the night vision I was like 'this is supposed to be the best graphics on the PC? Then I hit the second part of the first chapter "First Light" when you come up on this beach front base just as the sun is coming up over the water... WOW! :P The sun rises and then you get a good look at the 'world' and it's freaking awesome, crawling through the vegetation is unbelievable the way it pushes away from you as you progress forward, not to mention the ways shadows fall on the ground. If you get a chance definitely check it out, if you have a system that can do it justice it's worth a look.

I was really looking forward to Bully Scholarship Edition on the 360 because I never got around to playing the PS2 version a couple years ago. Moving to HD hasn't done it any favors as it looks fairly blah on the 360, but it's a Rockstar game so I figured I would enjoy it anyway. I'm only about 4 days in (game days), but man some of the missions are so frustrating you don't know how long they'll take, and you also have to try to make it to classes in time. I've ended up missing classes altogether because I was trying to complete a mission, or ended up getting busted because I'm in the building after close, or skipping class. My other gripe revolves around the camera when you get 2 bullies on you, or prefects (school monitors) come after you for a school infraction I've been caught because I'll get stuck in a corner, start running, and then the camera will flip 180 degrees and I'm headed back into the corner again. I've read numerous complaints on the net about freezing, audio glitches, and frame rate issues which Rockstar has acknowledged, personally I've only had a couple frame rate glitches but a patch might be required. At this point I'm glad I rented it, maybe down the road I'll pick up a used copy in a month or so, but then again Grand Theft Auto IV will hit at the end of April so I may just wait for it.