Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Video Game Review: XCOM Enemy Unknown

XCOM Enemy Unknown is a turn based strategy game available for PC, Playstation 3 and Xbox 360. Not a lot of games of this kind of genre out there nowadays. If you've ever played Final Fantasy Tactics, it's something like that. But instead of spending four rounds walking a maximum of two blocks per round just trying to get to your enemy so you can hack them up with your whack ass swords.

Taking place in a near future as an alien invasion begins, the world's nations group together to create the XCOM (Extraterrestrial Combat Unit) project which is tasked with protecting earth from the imminent alien invasion. You play as the commander who commands a squadron of up to six soldiers who vary between skills and classes.

XCOM Enemy Unknown is something of a reimagined remake of the original XCOM games, which were initially released in the early to mid 90s. These games were hailed as masterpieces, so it's only assumed that when somebody wants to remake a game that's being called a "masterpiece", well, you'd better not muck it up.

On the upside, XCOM Enemy Unknown is nothing short of fantastic.

How fantastic? Well it's my favourite game of 2012 (and 2013, so far) and I'm not even a big fan of turn based strategy games. How can a video game make me a fan if I dislike its genre? Well let's find out.

What I did like.

I enjoyed the level of difficulty in this game. It was made in such a way that being gung-ho is a bad idea. But I suppose that's why it's a strategy game. On top of that, you're never really stuck with six set characters, your squad consists of recruits that you must hire.

A squad of six

Each recruit starts as a rookie, but as they level up, they're assigned one of four classes.

Each class has their advantages and disadvantages, but to really make a great squadron, you'll definitely have to mix it up. Because I mean, if you have a team of six heavies, it doesn't really help out since they're not too accurate at long or close range. And if enough enemies converge on you, then you're kinda boned.

As mentioned before, this game is turn based strategy where each move has to be carefully laid out. Every turn I made was made with extreme caution, because you never know what's hiding behind the fog.

Bomb disposal battle type

Even if you were to lose, it sucks because you lose all the squad mates that you had brought along (when they die, they stay dead), you still feel the need to keep going. Sure you might rage quit, which I did on numerous occasions (and when I do, I won't play a game for months at a time), you'd come back, because nothing is ever hopeless in this game and everything is entirely doable. Granted you will have to make some decisions that may not be for the best, but you can't win 'em all right?

Soldier memorial

Even though XCOM didn't really have a story line, I still liked it. It's straight forward. It's "Hey aliens are here, you're now an anti alien army, go fight them and learn from what you salvage after battles so that you can become stronger, so you can take down the mothership".

That's it.

No disappointing plot twists or surprise endings. A lot of games try that nowadays, but they almost try too hard. And the result is a silly story.

But what I did enjoy the most out of it was, it's a good time killer. Got an hour to spare before you gotta do something important? Play some XCOM, before you know it. You're ready to leave. Or your late.

What I didn't like.

Only two things really bugged me about this game.

One being, the money management system. The game runs on something of a date system, and at the end of every month, you're granted some funding from nations that are all aboard on your XCOM project. You get this money and you gotta spend it wisely.

Do I purchase new gear for my soldiers? Should I get more ships to defend continents? Should I start up another satellite uplink so that I can deploy satellites over nations?

The list is never ending.

And on more than one occasion, I always feel like I've made a bad choice.

Example: I'll buy a satellite for a nation, because if there isn't a satellite monitoring the skies of a nation, the panic levels increase across that nation. If the nation reaches full chaos, they will back out of the XCOM project and you will lose certain perks that come along with that nation.

That being said, satellites sound like a sound choice right? Usually they are. But then all of a sudden you're next invasion consists of some baddies you've never seen before and they just absolutely demolish your team because you're under equipped.

So that's my problem. Every decision has its pros and cons. But that's just the nature of the game. It's like real life. Except not really.

XCOM Situation Room

The other thing that annoyed me was that even though your attacks were based on your character's aim and accuracy, even with a high accuracy percentage and some decent aim, it still all feels like it's left up to chance.

I can be two square tiles away from a bad guy, and still miss.

It's moments like that where I wanna shake the plasma outta my monitor. But as I said, maybe that's just the nature of the game.

If you wanna change it up, definitely try out XCOM Enemy Unknown. I'm not a big fan of strategy games and if it can make me a huge fan out of it, then it's definitely worth something to check out. And besides, it's available for PC, Xbox 360 and PS3, so you really don't have any excuses.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Just a Taste: Saboroso Brazilian Steakhouse

Saboroso is located on 8th Street in the old Kelsey's building beside the drive thru Subway.

The restaurant is very dim and intimate. The furniture and accessories are all dark, the restaurant is really nice and large. The restaurant is heavily staffed and the employees are very knowledgeable, professionally and friendly. We had one person in particular who was quite the comedian and made the experience even more the merrier.

There are really three options of what you can order. You could either order simply order an entree from their menu, eat from their little buffet or try the Rodizio (which includes the buffet). The buffet has  different vegetables, starches and few meat items. The Rodizio I believe is the typical attraction to Saboroso. Employees come table to table to see if you are interested in one of ten items. Yes, the Rodizio is all you can eat for $37.

I went with the Rodizio for the experience. It was delicious, but definitely more meat than I planned on eating. Some of my favourites included the lamb, hickory whiskey BBQ chicken thighs and pineapple with cinnamon and brown sugar. From the buffet, I enjoyed the tilapia, mashed potatoes and pasta salad. My mother and sister ordered from the menu and both of the meals tasted great and were also presented pleasantly.

Rice embedded in Seafood
The food was really good and the staff were impressive as well. This is a restaurant that I can treat myself at rather than than eat there routinely. If you are a carnivore, these place is a must try. You will never leave hungry!

Saboroso Brazilian Steakhouse on UrbanspoonYours Truly 

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Air Jordan V | "Fire Red"

If you are like me, you might make the common mistake of thinking that there is only one Fire Red V. But both release this year so you are able to choose which one you like more or just grab both of them. This is my favourite silhouette of all of the Jordan's. So this Saturday, January 26, 2012, these will release at locations such as Footlocker or Momentum.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Jaguarmeister x 302 Lounge & Discotheque

Howdy, long time no see.

So after a year of being a bedroom DJ, I've gotten my first gig at 302 Lounge & Discotheque with my friend Phil Mainville (CTRL). He runs the shows there on Wednesdays so I asked if I could give a whirl one night and he was all for it. Suffice to say I'm quite excited/nervous. But gotta start somewhere right?

So Wednesday, January 23rd, 2013, if you got nothing to do and wanna shake a leg and drink some toonie beer, 302 Lounge & Discotheque is your place.

I look forward to seeing your lovely selves there.

Tell your friends, girlfriends, boyfriends, sisters, brothers, mother, fathers, aunts and uncles. Because it's going down.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Nike | Mercurial Vapor IX "Vapor Trail"

It's about to arrive soon, the Mercurial Vapor IX is almost here. After years of soccer critics complaining about previous Vapor's being better than the next, we are finally starting to see a trend of new Vapor's being better than the last again. Like in the past, Cristiano Ronaldo will be the spokesperson or model for this silhouette. If you want a lightweight boot, this one might just be the one for you!

These will be available for pre-order on online stores tomorrow. If you need to try them on first, I recommend that you contact Xtratime Sports/Soccer Locker.

Yours Truly

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Xtratime Sports & Soccer Locker | Grand Re-Opening

This Sunday (January 20, 2013), Xtratime Sports/Soccer Locker will be celebrating it's grand re-opening under new ownership. Christine Sinclair and Kaylyn Kyle will be involved in a press conference at 1:30 pm in-store and will also be signing autographs at 2 pm.

The two Canadian Olympian's will also be playing in a friendly with the girls under 18 national champions, Eastside Vortex at the Sasktel Soccer Centre. There is an admission cost of $5 for adults and for those who are 18 or under can watch for free.

Yours Truly

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

JH45 + Oakatron | Night After Night (Part I & II)

Here is a music video made for two talented Saskatoon artists. Both videos feature the same song, but are represented differently by the musician. The second video was shot, directed and edited by Devon Rumpel. This track is featured on Hairdu Records "Speed Dating Mixtape".

Yours Truly

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Interview: Phil Mainville A.K.A. CTRL

Phil Mainville, also known as CTRL, is a resident DJ at many locations across the city, between 302 Discotheque on Wednesdays and Beily's Ultralounge on Saturdays, Phil releases Always Killing It, a monthly hour and a half mix that ranges from Indie Dance to Dubstep and everything in between.

A few months ago I got a chance to ask Phil a few questions, and this is the short and skinny of it.

When and why did you start DJ'ing?
I started DJing around Christmas '09. I had fallen in love with Justice and after watching their documentary 'A Cross The Universe' and Daft Punk's 'Alive 2007' I knew that DJing was something I'd like to try.

What was your starting gear and what are you using now?
Scratching was never my goal so instead of getting vinyl turntables I wanted a setup that was digital with lots of versatility. At that time, the Pioneer 400 series had recently been released and were some of the first turntables to also double over as midi controllers. So I purchased 2 CDJ-400s and a DJM-400. Shortly after I purchased a Serato SL1 interface to run Serato Scratch Live, as well as an Akai MPK Mini for additional midi control.

CTRL's setup

What DJ software do you use?
I've only given Serato Scratch Live a worthy amount of time, however Traktor is something I'd like to try one day.

Biggest influence?
Justice and Daft Punk are probably my favorite artists. They both have heavy rock influences as well as unique images with Justice's religious feel and Daft Punk's robotic disguise. Other influential artists include MSTRKRFT, Boys Noize, The Bloody Beetroots, SebastiAn.

There's always been a big stink about using sync to match BPMs when DJ'ing, what'd you think of it?
Sync is fine as long as you're spending your time doing other things to wow the crowd. It's simple in a Top 40 ultralounge where they mostly care about what you're playing instead of how you're delivering it. And at EDM shows most of my music stays between 125-132 BMP, therefore what's the difference between hitting 1 button and tweaking the tempo/jog?

Be sure to check out more of CTRL's mixes, every first day of the month, located on his Soundcloud page: Always Killing It
Also if you like what you heard, you can like CTRL on Facebook.

Friday, January 11, 2013

Thursday, January 10, 2013

GQ | Hottest Woman of the 21st Century

Beyonce Knowles has recently been named the "Hottest Woman of the 21st Century" in GQ's February 2013 issue, I certainly do not disagree with that. We get to see some shots taken by Terry Richardson. The best comment I read on Hypebeast was "If the tears of joy don't warrant a tissue...perhaps something else will." Damn right?

Yours Truly

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

'Tis The Season: BRITmas

It's that time of the year again folks, BRIT BASKETBALL IS BACK!

Bedford Road Invitational Tournament is the most prestigious basketball tournament in Western Canada, hosted at my former high school, Bedford Road. A truly diverse competition with teams visiting from across Canada and even New York and Australia in past years.

This year is bound to be another great time with high-level basketball, the cheerleading competition, and a variety of half-time shows. The field is especially competitive this year as the #1 ranked teams from Saskatoon, Regina, Calgary, Edmonton, Winnipeg, and Victoria are all competing. Come out, enjoy the show and treat yourself to a few taco-in-a-bags!

Some important times to keep in mind this weekend:

Opening game: Thursday, Jan. 10, 2:30pm
Opening ceremonies: Thursday, Jan. 10, 7:00pm
Cheerleading competition: Saturday, January 12, 12:00pm
Final game: Saturday, January 12, 9:00pm


Stay classy Saskatoon,
Jason Tran

Air Jordan XIII | Black Cat

This Saturday is the release of the Black Cat or Bred XIII. The upper consists of a black mesh and leather and red nubuck.  The holographic panther eye jewel features the Jumpman and the number 23. You will be able to find these at Foot Locker and Momentum.

Yours Truly

Monday, January 7, 2013

Hub City FC Beer Night

My soccer team (Hub City FC) is hosting a beer night this Friday, January 11, 2013 at The Hose and Hydrant Brew Pub from 9 pm to 11 pm. Whether I know you or not, this is my formal invitation for you to come! It will cost $15 to purchase a bracelet for the ability to drink an unlimited amount of beer for two full hours.

I would love for you to come socialize and party with my team. Come say hello and introduce yourself while you're at it!

Please RSVP on Facebook.

Yours Truly

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Nike | Mercurial Vapor IX "CR7"

Nike celebrates Cristiano Ronaldo's past season's accomplishments with the new Mercurial Vapor. He will wear this on his match this Sunday (January 6, 2013) and they will be on sale on January 7, 2012 through Nike and some of their online retailers. I believe that there are 100 models available. In these pictures the shoe looks shaded, but it is indeed white.

Yours Truly

Friday, January 4, 2013

Tissot | Heritage Visodate Automatic

The Visodate is a classic watch of Tissot's that was innovated in the 1950's. The case size is 40 mm x 40 mm and is strapped with a black leather band. The band has a buckle like a metal watch to preserve the life of the band. The face is made of a sapphire crystal and shows not only time but day and date of the month. Like said in the name, the Visodate utilizes automatic movement.

The watch came boxed inside of a case with a current catalogue and a novel of the history of Tissot.

Thanks to my generous parents for the beautiful graduation gift!

Yours Truly

Thursday, January 3, 2013

We Were Lovers | Islands

Stay tuned for their album "Pyramids" in April of 2013.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Movies: Django Unchained

Quentin Tarantino has such an aura around him that whenever most people hear that he's making a new movie, they’re immediately interested. From such films as Pulp Fiction, Kill Bill Volume 1 + 2 and Inglorious Basterds, it’s safe to say that he’s made quite a name for himself.

Set in the mid-1800s in the deep south of The United States, the movie follows Dr. King Schultz, a bounty hunter, and Django, a freed slave whom Dr. Schultz trains to become a bounty hunter, as they head on a journey to rescue Django’s wife, Broomhilda (Kerry Washington) from a cruel plantation owner, Calvin Candie (Leonardo DiCaprio).

First off, every single actor in this movie is phenomenal. And to have this calibre of actors in a Quentin Tarantino film makes the film even better. I could really go on and on about the actors (mostly Christoph Waltz because he's the finest), but for the sake of the wall of text, just take my word for it. The acting is A+++++ and it deserves every award it gets.

If you're unfamiliar with Quentin Tarantino films, they have a tendency to jump all over the place, between groups of people and/or between points in time. Such as Kill Bill, as the Bride goes through her kill list, the film doesn't go in chronological order, but that's just Tarantino's style.

Django Unchained has to be his most easy-to-follow film since the events take place in chronological order and there are only a handful of characters you have to keep track of. Inglorious Basterds was pretty bad for that in which characters would be introduced out of the blue and killed off in the next scene. (Still a great movie though).

I'd say something negative about the film, but there really isn't anything. Maybe the length of the film, which sat at 2:45. But it is what it is and unlike The Hobbit, I was all attention all the time.

Every review that I write makes it seem like every movie is super awesome great time, and the truth is, this year has been pretty damn good for movies, but if there’s one movie that I’ve written about that you must watch, it’s Django Unchained. Which is my favourite movie of 2012.

Case and Point
Django Unchained is: why I watch movies.

Air Jordan 1 | Chicago

It has been over 25 years since the shoe was last released. Rather than seeing the Jordan 1 Phat, shoe gurus are blessed with something more similar to the original. It will be released this weekend on January 5, 2013. Like usual, you will be able to find them at Footlocker and Momentum. Last year and this year has been very hectic, so choose wisely on which pairs of Jordan's to cop this year!

Yours Truly