WWE Network Review

Six months ago, WWE took an unparalleled venture into television history; a 24-hour “over-the-top” streaming service, featuring both live and on-demand programming. Hyped for nearly 2 years, expectations were understandably high, given WWE’s access to a vast number of historical tape libraries, as well as their move to bring every live Pay Per View event to their live streaming service. Analysts and fans alike were abuzz at the possibilities of the network, and its potential in the marketplace. Needless to say, it was an exciting time to be a wrestling fan, as the Network launched 6 months ago.

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Personally, I couldn’t wait to get myself subscribed to WWE’s service. I am a lifetime wrestling fan, clocking in over 20 years of blood, sweat and bodyslams. Access to the vast video-on-demand library, alone, was enough incentive for me to subscribe, and at $9.99/month, it really was a no-brainer. More than anything, though, I really wanted to be part of this historical moment in professional wrestling from the ground level. As much of wrestling fan as I am, I’m also a tech geek, so the thought of a streaming service really peaked my curiosity. What would happen on launch day when hundreds of thousands of wrestling fans tried to subscribe to the service at once? Could the servers handle the load? And what about the live stream of WrestleMania 30? Theoretically an unlimited number of people could potentially subscribe, and attempt to watch the live stream. Could the servers handle that? What original content would we have access to? What other hidden gems will be made available to us?

Of course, almost all of my questions were answered the day of the launch, February 24, 2014. And here are my experiences, thus far.

LAUNCH DAY:

I’m almost ashamed to admit that I didn’t sleep well the night before launch day (and, I would imagine, I wasn’t the only one). I was legitimately excited, like a child anticipating Christmas morning. I woke up early and begin checking WWE’s sign-up page, which was scheduled for a 9:00am launch. At 8:10am, almost an hour early, it went live. I might have been one of the first 100 people to have signed up for the Network, as I completed their sign-up process at lightning speed. And, the very next thing I knew, I was live.

I spent the next 45 minutes browsing through the VOD library, amazed to see every ECW, WCW, and WWE PPV, including some I thought would surely be omitted (WWF Over the Edge 1999 namely, but was also surprised to see any event heavily featuring Chris Benoit). After test-driving a handful of videos, all “WWF” mentions, and logos, appeared to be intact, as well, which was a huge relief. I had avoided buying many WWE PPV re-releases as I found Attitude Era footage was unwatchable between the 10-12+ blurs on screen, and any audible WWF mention censored. Much to my relief, everything appeared intact.

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It was then, though, that I ran into trouble. As more and more people attempted to sign up, the Network became unwatchable. On Demand features either wouldn’t load, or would appear with an error message stating “Media Error: The video is unavailable”, and the live stream simply wouldn’t load at all. My heart sank, as I began to feel that WWE had not adequately prepared for what was surely an incredible surge of traffic, and video consumption, on their servers. The remainder of launch day basically became a wash, as I experienced trouble for the lions-share of the day getting anything to load. Colour me disappointed, to say the least.

LAUNCH WEEK:

As the week progressed, my video vows eventually subsided. I was cautiously optimistic that WWE would have their server woes under control by WrestleMania, and if necessary, heavily invest in additional server capacity to service what was likely a stronger initial subscription rate than anticipated.

It was here that I really began to appreciate the vastness of WWE’s newborn Network. Want to watch WrestleMania 8 today? No problem. It’s there. Want to see what WCW countered with the same time of year? No problem. It’s there, too. And what about that crazy up-start, ECW? What were they doing? It’s there. I could literally sink an entire day just browsing through the Network, seeing what was available. Do you know the feeling when you’re browsing through Netflix, for what seems like an hour, because there are so many things you could be watching, but you can’t decide on just one? Well, that’s what this is like. Upon launch, there was more content available than most people will watch in their entire lifetime.

I only experienced a small few hiccups those initial few weeks, as well. Occasionally my picture would slightly pixelate, or on a rarer occasion, skip back a few seconds and replay something over again as it attempted to buffer. Those issues happened so few, and far between, that they almost don’t merit a mention in this column. And, to be clear, I was consuming content at an incredible rate. Often, the live stream was left running for hours at a time, with no noticeable impact on video quality. My internet bandwidth consumption (limited to 275 gigs per month by my internet service provider) did take a substantial hit, however. My approximation is that an hour of HD content on the WWE Network uses about 2 gigs of bandwidth from your allotment. So, my advice is, if it is reasonable to upgrade your internet package to an unlimited usage option, do so. Between Netflix, Hulu, and WWE Network, you’ll be consuming more bandwidth than you realize.

WRESTLEMANIA 30:

The big day. I was nervous. This was WWE’s chance to make, or break, the Network. If WrestleMania experienced even a momentary blip during it’s live stream on the Network, my fear was that the Network would universally be panned, and disappear as quickly as it appeared. There was a lot of curiosity from my friends, as well.

I began my live stream at the beginning of the pre-show, about 2 hours before WrestleMania was scheduled to start. The stream loaded, without issue, and began streaming in HD. As people slowly began to arrive, it played in the background as we ate pizza. About a half an hour before the show began, someone said “Hey, when are you going to switch it over to the WWE Network? You’ll want to get on early”. I explained that we had been watching the Network the entire time, and everyone was in awe. Comments on how smoothly the stream had been working, and the video quality were abound. Everyone, myself included, were impressed with what we had seen to that point.

And then the show began. AND IT WORKED! Colour me a skeptic, but I really believed that at some point during the show, something bad would happen. I had nightmares of Undertaker’s entrance beginning and then the stream crashing. Nothing of the sort happened. Other than a momentary blip as The Rock made his entrance (and we’re literally talking a one-second freeze frame that might have been an internet issue, as opposed to a WWE Network issue) the stream worked flawlessly all night long. Such an amazing experience, and as such, created a number of WWE Network subscribers in my social circle.

THE SOFTWARE:

Time to backtrack a little. We haven’t talked about the software, or how it’s installed, yet. I have an XBox 360, iPhone 5s, Roku player, and laptop in my house Each device views the Network just sightly differently, although the overall experience is basically the same.

The most trouble I encountered was with the XBox 360; not so much in the installation of the software, but rather the content that was made available on launch day. Most PPV content was missing until about a month after the Network launched, so the experience on the Xbox wasn’t nearly as good. Of course, now, everything is available, and the experiences are all roughly the same.

I still find myself with the most trouble using the XBox version of the software. Perhaps its just my inexperience with the system in general, but it doesn’t feel very user-friendly, nor am I able to search as easily.

THE ORIGINAL CONTENT:

There is a LOT of original content featured on the WWE Network; so much so that I’m sure I’m going to miss something here.

Legends House: Probably the most anticipated series upon the announcement of the WWE Network. Legends House was not made available upon launch, but was aired, weekly, starting about 3 months ago, and concluding about 2 weeks ago. All episodes are available, including a Legends House reunion episode filmed recently, on demand. Upon first viewing, I wasn’t sure that Legends House was going to stack up to my expectations. I had high expectations for the first episode of Legends House, but felt let down at the end. But as the series progressed, it very quickly became must-see TV each week, and I was sad to see it conclude. It is difficult to summarize the series in a short snippet, however you really should go out of your way to see it. Absolutely top-notch television, and with all original content is available in the on demand section of the WWE Network.

WrestleMania Rewind: Another original I was hesitant to get behind. With access to on demand content, including every WrestleMania ever, did we need another repeat of a particular WrestleMania match that we could just go out of our way and find ourselves in the library on content? The answer is yes, we did. And the reason is the historical perspectives given during the lead-up to the airing of the match. Presented as a mini-documentary, a number of WWE Superstars, Legends, and celebrities give their historical perspective on a given match (or sometimes two) from WrestleMania. The first episode featured a great historical piece on WrestleMania 1, and there have been several must-see episodes since. Another top-notch program, that is a weekly view in my household.

Countdown: As voted by the WWE.com viewers, a number of topics are counted down each week. Topics such as Greatest Trash Talker, Greatest Manager, Top RAW Moments, and more. Although difficult to take the actual rankings seriously (as rankings tend to lean heavily towards WWE superstars as opposed to wrestlers who made their names in other companies), this is still a fun weekly watch.

WWE NXT: From Full Sail University, NXT has become a hidden gem of good-to-great wrestling, and storytelling, weekly (and it’s also got a pretty bad ass opening music video, as of this writing). Considering the number of call-ups from NXT to WWE in the past 12-to-18 months, it’s not a well guarded secret that there’s a lot of talent being well-developed within the WWE system. Names such as Sami Zayn, Cory Graves, Adrian Nevelle are current NXT stars, but Bray Wyatt, Adam Rose, Bo Dallas, Paige, Big E, Rusev and more have all come through the system in the past year. Each week, we get a glimpse into the future of WWE, and the future looks pretty darn good.

Original Specials: There are some great pieces included in this section, including a wonderful 4-part series on the Ultimate Warrior (which features a documentary being filmed during WrestleMania weekend), and a special following Daniel Bryan during WrestleMania weekend, as well. WWE should really be proud of the content they have created for this particular section, and I wish it would get a little bit more love than it gets. In the past, WWE has created some memorable documentary pieces and, while not always as detailed, these pieces are an excellent addition to that library.

Beyond the Ring: This section is used to air WWE documentary pieces, which have included The Attitude Era, nWo: The Revolution, Mick Foley, Triple H, The Rock, Steve Austin and most recently CM Punk. If you haven’t already watched these documentaries, they’re all excellent, and add an incredible value to the Network. Individually, these DVDs often sell for $20-$40, and are now available as part of your Network subscription. Match compilations that often accompany these DVDs are missing, nearly all matches are found on demand anyways.

WWE Classics on Demand content: If you weren’t a WWE Classics on Demand subscriber, in the past, you missed out on some really great original content there, as well (although not nearly at the rate we’re treated to on the WWE Network). Series’ such as Legends of the Roundtable and WWE Old School are shown, in their entirety. The Roundtable discussions are of my favourite WWE programming ever, and are excellent companion pieces to the topics they discuss.

Monday Night WAR: Although only having the opportunity to catch the “sneak-peak” first episode aired after last Monday’s Monday Night RAW, this series will be the golden child of the WWE Network. Again, colour my a skeptic, but I wasn’t sure I needed another rehash of the war between RAW and Nitro (and largely WWE and WCW). I’ve seen it. I’ve lived it. I’ve got multiple t-shirts. WWE went and proved me wrong, yet again, however, and produced an absolutely captivating first episode, encapsulating the history between Vince McMahon and Ted Turner and their companies, the WWF and WCW. I won’t give anything further away, but this is my most anticipated future piece of WWE Network programming, as the series begins its official airing in mid-to-late August.

Overall Experiences:

As detailed, with very few exceptions, WWE Network has far surpassed my lofty expectations on every front. After the flawless WrestleMania 30 stream, my remaining WWE Pay Per View event experiences on the Network have been excellent. Occasionally I have experienced pixilation or a momentary freeze in my stream, but they have not detracted from the overall experience of the Network on the whole. Technical issues are always going to be a possibility, but with each passing day I feel WWE is getting stronger in their understanding of how to properly manage the technical demands of the Network, and when we look back at this column 6 months from now, will be a thing of the past. Technical issues truly happen so infrequently that they’re not even really a concern, but for the sake of clarity in the column, I felt like I should bring them up.

Every day I find something new to watch on the WWE Network, and have done so for the past 180 days, and will continue to do so each and every day that passes. At $9.99, the Network has become a steal in its value. The price cannot be beat for the content that is made available.

Leaving virtually no stone unturned, there is a plethora of historical content made available. Monday Night RAW episodes are being uploaded, 5 per week, every week. The entire 1993, 1994, 1995 and most of 1996 catalogs are already available, and growing weekly. “Best of RAW” and “Best of Smackdown” episodes are also uploaded weekly, almost exclusively in years where weekly content isn’t already being uploaded. Recently every WCW Clash of the Champions was uploaded, and 15 episodes of WWF Saturday Night’s Main Event made their way to the Network last week as well. ECW Hardcore TV and WCCW episodes are also available. The scary thought is that this is just the tip of the iceberg. Once those libraries are available in their entirety, we still have WCW Nitro and WCW Thunder libraries to be uploaded, ECW on TNN episodes, as well as any amount of B-programming including WCW Saturday Night, WWF Sunday Night Heat, Shotgun Saturday Night, WCW Worldwide, and more. That doesn’t even include the additional tape libraries that WWE has purchased, including AWA, Stampede Wrestling, or the soon-to-be-acquired Memphis Wrestling library. Scary amounts of content to be consumed.

I love the WWE Network. It is everything I hoped it would be, and more. As this column approaches 3000 words, it’s difficult to put into even that many words how much value I feel I get for my money in subscribing. WWE has created something really, really special that they should be proud of. In two weeks, they will be announcing their second subscriber count. At launch, they said they hoped to have 1,000,000 subscribers by the end of 2014, and a break-even of 2,000,000 subscribers by the entire of 2015. I think these are very realistic numbers to hit, if not an under projection of their potential. They need to get this under the nose of every wrestling fan, past, and present. This is where marketing is key. It is great to advertise on WWE television each week, but to capture those older wrestling fans who have left the current product, marketing has a challenge. There is a TON of value for older wrestling fans, and they’re missing out by not subscribing. It is here that I feel WWE has its greatest opportunity for success.

To close, if you haven’t already subscribed to WWE Network, I hope I have given you enough reason to at least give it a try. Often WWE promotes a free week-long trial of the service, and you’re really doing yourself a disservice if you don’t give it a look even then. You will fall in love, instantly, and never look back. The WWE Network really is way over the top.

Top 5 WWE Attitude Era Mishaps

Television ratings were at an all-time high. Interest was at an all-time high. Live attendance was at an all-time. WWE couldn’t do any wrong. Their business was booming, and WCW (and ECW) were falling behind in the wrestling war. Vince McMahon and his team had found the right formula and made a fortune during the late 1990’s. It is an era that will never (ever!) happen again and looked back on with many fond memories.

However, let’s be honest. There was plenty of garbage sprinkled in as well. Fans can reminisce now with rose-tinted glasses on, and that is understandable. For lots, it was their childhood. Of course, only the good moments will stand out. The bad? Who cared, right? WWE was on fire, and the top stars made you instantly forget about the previous 15 minutes of terrible television. Well, lucky for all of you, I do not wear rose-tinted glasses. For all the of the amazing moments, I also seem to recall plenty of not-so-amazing moments. Here are just a few…

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5. Wrestling – If you think a 2014 edition of Raw features little in-ring action, go watch a 1998 or 1999 edition of Raw. Oh my! You will appreciate the action you see today A LOT more real quick. Outside of big pay-per-views, the actual ‘wrestling’ during the Attitude Era was non-existent until the year 2000 when guys were brought over from WCW and ECW such as Taz, Chris Jericho, Dean Malenko, Eddie Guerrero , Chris Benoit, Raven and more. Nearly every match featured Hardcore rules or just broke down into an all out brawl. Very entertaining, just not any kind of mat classic some expect.

4. Risks – It is just cringe worthy to watch some of the stunts from the Attitude Era back now. The obvious culprits came from ECW, but Mick Foley brought that type of thing to WWE. He knows it. This is not some sort of knock on him. He is one of my all-time favorites. However, he just rose the bar so high. Everybody remembers his falls off the cage, but there was just so much more. Not just Foley but everyone! The unprotected chairs. The excessive blood. The ladder matches. The table bumps. The piledriver spots. Absolutely amazing to think that was ‘normal’ back then but now 90% of those Attitude Era stars regret even doing those things in the first place now looking back at it.

3. Stories – Where to begin? The ‘Higher Power’ was Vince McMahon the same man who won the Royal Rumble and WWE Championship in 1999. Yay! I think Jim Ross’ instant reaction after the reveal summed up that story line. A “Vince Russo swerve” took place every week. The WWE Title changed hands over ten times in 1999. If that happened today, the uproar would be unreal. A Hardcore title that just gets passed around? The WrestleMania XV scenario with Triple H and Chyna made zero sense. That brings us to the actual story lines. Mae Young gave birth to a hand. Road Warrior Hawk fell off the stage. Val Venis and his ‘Choppy Choppy’ moment? Big Bossman was ‘hung’ after a match?!?! Come on folks, I could go on forever here. People can smile back on Stone Cold and The Rock feuding, but don’t just forget about THAT programming either folks!

2. WrestleMania 2000 – As noted before, WWE was on FIRE during the Attitude Era. They could do NO wrong. Fans ate up anything given to them and accepted it. That is fine. Sadly, that was the complete opposite of WrestleMania 2000. There were about 800 million problems with this event. I won’t go through every single one of them, but this whole show just never clicked with me. In 2000 and even now! Outside of the triangle ladder match, this event was not Mania worthy at all. There was not even one single’s match. On top of that, the entire main event scene was a mess. The OFFICIAL WWE Title match for WrestleMania was not even announced until less than two weeks before the show. Think about that. Under 14 days, and there was no WrestleMania main event! To this day, the show ranks as one of my least favorite pay-per-views ever put on. Too bad it was smack dab in the middle of the Attitude Era…

1. Stone Cold Turns Heel – It is fitting that many remark WrestleMania X-7 as the final Attitude Era show. The WCW crew was watching from a luxury suite. ECW was about to be bought out. WWE delivered an epic event with tons of great main event matches. A jam packed stadium and tons of rabid fans? Yet, it fell into the same trap as before. A No DQ brawl as a min event with Vince McMahaon getting involved! To make matters worse, Stone Cold turned heel…in his home state…to get back the WWE title…after returning from serious neck surgery! We were supposed to boo that?!?! Sorry, the whole thing was doomed to fail from the beginning. I’m not big on ‘fantasy booking’ at all, but everyone had to know better. They just had to. Sadly, it happened. Vince McMahon shaking hands to ‘end’ the Attitude Era? Perfect on so many levels.

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SENYCC: WWE Superstar Batista Interview

WWE Superstar “The Animal” Batista was at the Special Edition of New York Comic Con last weekend and I with a few others had the opportunity to interview him. He is also co-starring in Marvel’s “Guardians of the Galaxy” as he plays as Drax the Destroyer. The film will be released on August 1, 2014

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SO BATISTA, YOU HAVE RETURNED TO THE WWE AFTER AN 4 YEAR ABSCNECE, WHAT IS THE LOCKER ROOM LIKE NOW COMPARED TO 4 YEARS AGO?

“Well not much has changed really except for the new hungry kids from NXT I have seen for the first time a couple of weeks ago. Guys like Adrian Neville, Sami Zayn, The Ascension and many more young guys who want to come up to the main roster, NXT is the future of this business and just like guys like me, John Cena, Randy Orton and Brock Lesnar, we went through the system in OVW. But to end the question, the locker room has been great to me.”

NOW YOU HAVE HAD MANY MATCHES AT WRESTLEMANIA, IF YOU HAD TO CHOOSE TWO OF THOSE MATCHES AS YOU’RE FAVORITES,  WHAT WOULD THOSE MATCHES BE?

“(Laughs) well the first one would be against The Undertaker at WrestleMania 23 because we stole the show on that night. When his music hits and he made his entrance, I was a bit nervous. But I was happy that we tore the house down and he trusted me. Undertaker is a good friend of mines and we have that chemistry that some others have in the ring. I would also say that my feud with him that year was one of my personal favorites as well. My second favorite is the match against Triple H at WrestleMania 21. He was the teacher and I was the student. I felt the buildup was great and the match was great. We both beat each other up in that classic match. People can say what they want about Triple H but he is the true ring general and he wants to see the younger talent go up to the level that he was.”

THAT IS GREAT TO HEAR BATISTA. NOW YOU WERE PART OF EVOLUTION FOR A FEW YEARS, FROM YOU’RE VIEW, WHAT DID YOU LIKE ABOUT IT?

“Evolution to me was great. I can tell you that it was also an learning experience too. You have Ric Flair who is one of the greatest champions of all time and Triple H who is (at that point) becoming the greatest of all time and beginning to submit his legacy, and me and Randy Orton being groomed to becoming the next faces of the WWE. Most factions like DX or NWO Didn’t have the younger stars setting out to be ready for the main event scene with the exception of Triple H. This is what is missing with factions these days. But look at The Shield. Those 3 guys ( Dean Ambrose, Seth Rollins, Roman Reigns) can work their butts off and I love working with the 3 of them. Those 3 will have a great future.”

YOU ARE STARRING IN MARVEL’S “GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY” AS “Drax the Destroyer”, HOW DO YOU FEEL ABOUT PLAYING THIS COMIC CHARACTER WHEN MARVEL SIGNED YOU?

“I have been a fan of Marvel Comics and playing Drax has been a great experience. Originally it was going to be either Isaiah Mustafa, Patrick Wade or Jason Momoa but I was selected. The movie has ties to The Avengers and will connect to other Marvel movies in the future. Drax is a human resurrected as a green warrior for the sole purpose of killing Thanos (the villain in the final-scene tease of Avengers). His powers include flight, super-strength and energy blasts and when the movie premiers in the United States, everyone will see how I will pull the character off. but it was very fun and Chris Pratt was a great guy to work with as well. The makeup took very long to put on though. I believe it was about 4 hours and after we were finished shooting, and then it took nearly 90 minutes to take it all off of me.”

WHAT ARE YOU’RE THOUGHTS ON THE WWE NETWORK?

“The WWE Network is great, I have waited a long time for it to finally launch. For Fans who have never seen what the days of the WWE or WCW was like in the 1980’s or early 1990’s, you need to check the stuff out. It is not only great stuff and matches, but it also educates the fans of the superstars of yesterday who were big such as Hulk Hogan, The Ultimate Warrior, Randy Savage, Paul Orndorff, The British Bulldogs, Andre’ The Giant and many more. There is a lot of variety for the fans to watch and the Network can change the way we all watch TV very soon. Even a lot of my matches are on the WWE Network right now as we speak.”

IF YOU WOULD BOOK RAW FOR ONE NIGHT, HOW WOULD YOU BOOK IT?

“That is a great question. Well I would not get into the whole details but I would have more in ring wrestling, less segments and little comedy. I think the fans would want that too so that way it can balance everything in a good flow. I left a few years ago due to me not agreeing with the direction with the company that it was going too. But now I am happy to be back.”

YOU HAVE RECIEVED MUCH HEAT FROM THE FANS SINCE THE ROYAL RUMBLE, DO YOU LET THAT BOTHER YOU WHILE YOU ARE IN MATCHES AT ALL?

“When I came back earlier this year, it was one of the best moments of my career. I went into the Rumble match and won it and I got booed out the arena. The names such as “Bluetista” or “Bootista” does not bother me. If the fans were in my shoes getting that kind of reception, they would either take it as it is or let that distract them. Whether the fans cheer or boo, I do not care at all as long as I am getting an reaction. It is better than no reaction at all because if you were in the ring with dead silence from the crowd, then that is a problem. Some fans take the sport too seriously with them attacking other fans and wrestlers on twitter and I can say that it has gotten out of hand, but the fans can say whatever they want.”

TO END THE INTERVIEW, DO YOU HAVE ANY ADVICE FOR ANYBODY WHO WANTS TO GET INTO WRESTLING? “Yes I do. if this is for you, go for it. What we do in that ring, we do it for about 300 days a year. You have to have the passion to succeed and to be happy wrestling. Don’t let anybody tell you that you cannot do it because if you believe that you can do it, you will make it. When I was training in the WCW Power Plant, some of the trainers thought I would not make it. but I proved them wrong once I got trained more in WWE. There are other promotions out there but the WWE is the MLB of wrestling. Every night feels like the World Series and WrestleMania is the one major show you would want to make it too. Dreams come true if you stick to what you are planning and what you want to get out of it.”

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send me email to: Julian@alternativemindz.com

Why do I believe that the New Generation Era is the most underrated era in WWE history?

In my opinion WWE New Generation Era (1992-1997) is the most underrated era of all time.

I mean a lot of WWE Fans consider Ruthless Agression Era great and only second to Attitude Era. I don’t know how we can call that underrated. Yeah, Ruthless Agression Era is a very good era. We have awesome wrestlers and matches.

But, with WWE New Generation Era, a lot of WWE Fans consider it’s slow and cartoonish. Yeah, that’s true. WWE had a lot of stupid cartoonish unrealistic gimmicks during this era. But, anyway this era is pretty much underrated.

WWE New Generation is the era which made The Undertaker, Shawn Michaels, and Bret Hart Legends what we saw today. It wasn’t Attitude Era which made them what they are today, instead during Attitude Era they’re just helping newer stars such as The Rock and Steve Austin.

And also WWE Fans shouldn’t keep saying this era is bad. I mean, we have Bret Hart as our Icon. This man put on great matches after great matches every single night. Who can forget Bret vs Owen at WM 10 and Steel Cage Summerslam 1994? Also who can forget Bret vs HBK at WM 12 IronMan match? And HBK vs Razor Ramon Ladder WM 10 and Summerslam 1995? Also the great battles in Boiler Room Brawl and Buried Alive matches between The Undertaker and Mankind?

Also, Diesel has held the WWE championship for over a year.

I know WWE New Generation Era had a lot of bad things, but it’s one of the best era ever in WWE History and the era I started watching wrestling back In 1993. Those matches mentioned above are Legendary matches and it made many careers out if it. But in my conclusion, The ruthless Aggression (2002-2008) and The New Generation Eras (1992-1997) are my favorites. The faces of this era were Bret Hart, Diesel (Kevin Nash), Razor Ramon (Scott Hall), Undertaker and Shawn Michaels and Sid.

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retro video game review: metal gear solid portable ops

Julian Cannon sneaking back on here for another video game review. This time it is Metal Gear Solid portable ops. Also follow me on twitter @julianexcalibur

Metal Gear Solid portable ops is a stealth action game released for the PlayStation portable in December 2006 in Japan and in January 2007 world wide. This was the first game to not have a numbered title since the first Metal Gear (MSX version) and many thought it was a spinoff until hideo kojima confirmed that it was Canon a few months earlier. This game is the sequel to metal gear solid 3(set in 1964) and the prequel to metal gear solid peace walker(set in 1974). In this game you are playing as big boss (naked snake) and many other characters are playable as well. Now let’s get to the review

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Story

In 1970, 6 years after the operation snake eater, the FOX unit has been disbanded by the CIA with their takeover of the group. Snake is seen in prison being interrogated by LT Cunningham about the location of the first half of the philosophers legacy that was obtained at the end of mgs3. Once the torture is finished, snake meets a young Roy Campbell for the first time and plans an escape. When they do escape, snake gets in contact with para medic and she tells him that he and major zero have been arrested for treason against the government. Snake then vows to end the former FOX unit by forming FOXHOUND with Roy Campbell.  With this new unit,they have recruited soldiers from south America as well as encountering the old ones from FOX. Some time later,snake finds Frank Jaeger (Gray Fox) and the two of them battle in a fist vs sword match. After the fight,Frank joins big boss rebellion and a character named gene was revealed to be the new leader of FOX.

To complicate matters, Gene has also convinced most of the Russian soldiers stationed at the base to join their side by simply taking over the chain of command belonging to a former Red Army unit, which was secretly stationed inside the Colombian territory. In order to complete his mission, Snake must persuade enemy soldiers to join his ranks due to the scale of his mission.


Snake and his squad defeat the top members of the FOX unit and eventually they make their way into Gene’s guesthouse. Snake learns many things on his way. Cunningham was working for the Pentagon and wanted Snake to push Gene into launching a nuke at Russia to tarnish the CIA’s reputation and to prolong the Cold War. Gene was actually aware of this plan from the beginning due to information from Ocelot. Gene really wanted to launch a nuke at America to destroy the Philosophers and to make his nation of soldiers, “Army’s Heaven”. Snake destroys an experimental model of the ICBMG (the Metal Gear model) codenamed RAXA and eventually defeats Gene, destroying the finished ICBMG model afterward. After Gene is defeated he gives Snake the funds, equipment, personnel, and all other information regarding “Army’s Heaven”. On his return home, Snake is awarded for his actions, he then establishes FOXHOUND worldwide  afterwards. Elsewhere, Ocelot kills the DCI (Director of Central Intelligence) and takes documents containing the identities of the Philosophers in an effort to “end them”.

In the post-credits epilogue, Ocelot speaks with major zero  on the phone, they are plotting to use the Legacy to fulfill their own agenda. Ocelot actually wanted the trajectory data of the nuke to point to the DCI, in order to black mail the DCI into giving Ocelot the documents containing the true identities of the Philosophers. Ocelot agrees to join his new employer’s project under the condition that Snake/Big Boss participates as well .this leads to the creation of the patriots

Gameplay

The item menu has completely changed in this game,as we are used to the box scrolling style,it is displayed like your right side of your PSP face buttons. You can also recruit soldiers in the game as well for you to rank up. Also this is the first metal gear game that you can change the campaign main character to another from your unit. You will play as snake in the beginning but along the way,you can play as Roy Campbell, major zero,python, gray fox ,para-medic and one of your soldiers.  Every character has their own abilities and have their own set of weapons.  Also if you are near death you can call for an assist from one of your teammates. The cqc feature from the previous game has been fixed since the last game you had to use about 4 buttons at a time. Portable ops also had metal gear online 1, which was released with metal gear solid 3 thrre years before.  The servers ran from January 2007-September 2012. Here you can play multiplayer against players around the world in free for all,team deathmatch,capture mission, cqc only, and more matchtypes. Other than your soldiers, you can also use Big Boss, Zero, Gray Fox,Roy Campbell, Python, Viper. And KGB soldiers . Downloadable Content included Old Snake (Solid Snake) ,Raiden, Ocelot, Meryl, and 6 maps.

Music

Portable Ops also comes with a complete score done by Norihiko Hibino, Takahiro Izutani, Yoshitaka Suzuki, Kazuma Hinnouchi, Nobuko Toda and Akihiro Honda while Kazuma Hinnouchi, Nobuko Toda and Akihiro Honda who composed the ending theme- “Calling to the Night” but was arranged by Norihiko Hibino. The ending theme’s vocals are provided by Natasha Farrow, and lyrics by Nobuko Toda. Harry Gregson-Williams was unable to help compose the game’s music due to schedule conflicts with Tony Scott’s film Deja Vu and Kojima’s Metal Gear Solid 4

Final thoughts

I have enjoyed this game since I got my hands on it in 2007 and I wish they never shut down the servers for this game. The controls are smooth and responsive for a psp game. The boss battles were quite intense including the one with Gray Fox and Gene. I would recommend anybody who follows the storyline to get this game since it is the sequel to metal gear solid 3 :snake eater. if you just want to simply read it, look up the name of the story of this game “San Hieronymo Takeover”

I give this game a final rating of 9.5/10

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kccppYUFc-4

Movie Review: Oculus

Finally i return with a new post. Oh wait, i have to introduce myself first. Julian Cannon is back for another movie review and this time it is the horror film Oculus. Oculus is a 2013 American horror film directed by Mike Flanagan. The movie had its world premiere on September 8, 2013, at the Toronto International Film Festival and got a theatrical release on April 11, 2014.The movie stars Karen Gillan as a young woman that is convinced that an antique mirror is responsible for the death and misfortune her family has suffered. The Film was produced by WWE Studios.

 

Oculus

Cast and Characters

  • Karen Gillan as Kaylie Russell
  • Annalise Basso as young Kaylie Russell
  • Brenton Thwaites as Tim Russell
  • Garrett Ryan as young Tim Russell
  • Rory Cochrane as Alan Russell
  • Katee Sackhoff as Marie Russell
  • James Lafferty as Michael
  • Miguel Sandoval as Dr. Graham
  • Katie Parker as Annie
  • Kate Siegel as Marisol

Plot

Ten years earlier, tragedy struck the family of teenage siblings Tim and Kaylie Russell. Their parents were brutally murdered and Tim was charged with their deaths and convicted.

Tim (Brenton Thwaites), now in his 20s, is released from a mental institution and just wants to move on with his life; but his sister Kaylie (Karen Gillan) wants to clear Tim’s name. She’s convinced the Lasser Glass, an antique mirror in their childhood home, unleashed a malevolent supernatural force that killed their parents.

Kaylie tracks down the mirror and finds out similar deaths occurred to other owners over the course of the past 100 years. With the mysterious mirror back in their possession, Tim and Kaylie find themselves experiencing terrifying hallucinations, and realize, too late, that what happened to them 10 years earlier is starting to happen again.

Production

To me, I thought the special effects and the supernatural scenes were great although confusing. The one that had me the most was when Kaylie ate an apple but to find out in the next few seconds that she ate a light bulb but to only find out that it was a dream. The Camera setup and the way it goes from the past to present took me off for a bit but it was still cool. Final thought here is that I liked how the way the mirror was used during the entire movie.

Closing thoughts

The movie is pretty good but however, if you are not paying attention, you will be lost pretty quickly after about 20 minutes into the movie. There was a little suspense but the scenes that give you the chill factor make up for it. The actors did a mediocre job with the exception of Karen Gillian in which I thought she did pretty great. Everyone must have been thinking “why didn’t they just break the mirror from the start?’. Well there is about a few reasons why they couldn’t do it but you will have to see. The ending of the film felt flat although it made sense. This movie is best to just watch it in you’re house when you want to kill time. I give this film a rating of 6 out of 10.

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Who is Mr. Wrestlemania: The Undertaker or Shawn Michaels?

By Julian Cannon

There has been one question I have started to think about ever since WrestleMania 29. Who is the real Mr. Wrestlemania? Is it The Show Stopper Shawn Michaels or The Phenom The Undertaker. I’m going to take an overall look from their early Wrestlemania matches to the middle and the climax of their matches against each other a few years ago. Here we go.

THE BEGINNING

Shawn Michaels came into the WWE before The Undertaker as a member of the tag team The Rockers with Marty Janetty in 1988. The team would have great tag team matches with teams such as the Killer Bees, the Quebecers, Hart foundation, Demolition and more. The Rockers were arguably the start of the high-flying tag teams we would see now in the 21st century. Shawn would break away from the team and become a singles competitor . At WrestleMania VIII, in his first pay-per-view singles match, Michaels defeated El Matador. Both men had simultaneously eliminated each other from that year’s Royal Rumble and the feud started from there until Wrestlemania VIII. Shortly after that, he would wrestle his only one-on-one match against Randy Savage for the WWE Championship at the UK Rampage PPV in April 1992. Wrestlemania 10 would be the next Wrestlemania for Shawn, as this time it was against Razor Ramon for the undisputed Intercontinental Championship. The match was extremely great and HBK was starting to be the “Show Stopper” that he was becoming in the future.

The Undertaker made his debut in the 1990 Survivor Series as the mystery tag partner for Ted Dibiase. The gimmick was an unseasonable wrestler and this scared the kids around the world. I don’t think that anybody else can pull this character off like The Undertaker did at the time. His first two Wrestlemania opponents were Jimmy Snuka and Jake “The Snake” Roberts. Their matches were OK but not that special. Then in Wrestlemania 9, he faced the Giant Gonzales and many fans and observers call this the worst match in Taker’s career. I don’t think that it was his fault, though. Undertaker wins here by disqualification (his only Wrestlemania win by DQ). The next Wrestlemania, which is Wrestlemania 10, Undertaker missed this event due to an injury.

There was the first part. Shawn Michaels and The Undertaker were on the rise to fame and their paths have not crossed yet. At this time Shawn had the better matches than The Undertaker, but let’s blame Giant Gonzales for that horrible match at Wrestlemania 9. Next I will cover from Wrestlemania 11-17.

RISE OF WRESTLEMANIA STARDOM

What can I explain about Wrestlemania 11? The match card was a little out of place. Shawn Michaels would go against his bodyguard, Kevin Nash, by winning the Royal Rumble earlier that year. He would not win the match, but he put up a hell of a performance. Undertaker would go face-to-face with King Kong Bundy and he would pick up the win here in a short match. I would guess that Wrestlemania 11 got too much attention from Bam Bam Bigelow vs Lawrence Taylor, that it overshadowed all the other matches on the card. 1996, we would get The Undertaker vs Kevin Nash which was a very underrated feud in my opinion. The feud started when The Undertaker made his return during the Cage Match for the WWE Championship between Nash and Bret Hart by costing Nash the championship and the match. Their match at Wrestlemania was The Undertaker’s best performance in a Wrestlemania since his Wrestlemania debut. Shawn Michaels would go against Bret Hart in a 60 minute Iron Man match, which would go on as one of the greatest Wrestlemania matches of all time. Shawn picks up the WWE championship for the first time in this one. By the end of 1996 to mid 1997,the WWE was going through a rapid change due to WCW kicking their ass in the ratings every week and ECW being an alternative to both WWE and WCW. From January to March, there was going to be a rematch between Bret Hart and Shawn Michaels at Wrestlemania 13 but due to many backstage incidents, it was scrapped. So the main event for this Wrestlemania was The Undertaker going against Sid for the WWE championship in which the undertaker wins the belt for the second time in his career. Shawn did not wrestle in this event so taker takes the lead in this one. Now, in the summer of 1997,their paths finally crossed when Shawn became the referee for the undertaker vs Bret Hart match for the WWE title in which Bret wins due to Shawn costing the undertaker the match. weird huh? Well they would later have their first match against each other for the very first time in the very first hell in a cell match in which The Undertaker’s brother Kane made his debut. Shawn gets the win here and these two would face each other for the final time in a match for quite some time at the royal rumble 1998. During this match, Shawn would get a back injury that would eventually lead to his first retirement. Now to Wrestlemania 14. Undertaker squared off against Kane, a feud that has been going on for 6 months leads to this. The match was far from excellent and it was really the first time that the brawler side of the undertaker came out. Shawn Michaels put his WWE title on the line against the rising star Steve Austin. Everyone knew that Shawn was out the door and Austin was going to be the next face of the company so Shawn did the match despite the back injury. That’s right, while Undertaker would wrestle on the following Wrestlemania in a hell in s cell match, Shawn is at retirement. Taker’s next match would be against triple h. This time The Undertaker was doing the biker gimmick and he was more like himself instead of the unread wrestler. This match was my second favorite of the night and taker picks up the win after a nearly 25 minute brawl that went to outside the crowd.

What can I say about the second part. While Shawn had the better matches at this period, it was The Undertaker at this period that was starting to give us the moments of Wrestlemania that we all talk about. Shawn retired in 1998 and undertaker became one of the 5 faces of the WWE from 1998-2000. We are in the 21st century in this part now and I will cover from Wrestlemania 18-24

THE UNDEFEATED STREAK/RETURN OF THE SHOWSTOPPER

In the beginning of 2002, Undertaker was the hardcore champion for a few months before loosing it to the tough enough winner Maven by the help of Ric Flair. Ric flair then challenged undertaker to a match at Wrestlemania 18 in which the undertaker won. Jim Ross on commentary noted out that The Undertaker is now 10-0 in Wrestlemania. After that comment I thought to myself  “damn 10-0 already, he has an undefeated streak going on”. Also in that year, Shawn Michaels made his return to WWE as a member of the NWO. Yes the WWE version. Anyways, Wrestlemania 19 in 2003 was on the way and Shawn Michaels feuded with a wrestler that idolized him and that was Chris Jericho. This match was the match of the year in my opinion and both these guys wrestled like it was a mirror match. Undertaker went against the big show and A Train in a handicap match which was quite OK but not bad. This would mark the final Wrestlemania for the biker gimmick for the undertaker. Wrestlemania 20 marked the return of the undead wrestler gimmick with a new look. That’s right he knows how to change with the times too. He defeated Kane for the second time in a quick match. The main event was a triple threat match for the world title. It was Triple H vs Shawn Michaels vs Chris Benoit. This was a mix of everything here with Triple H’s brawling style to Shawn’s high-flying to Benoit ‘s technical shoot style. Overall I consider this the best triple threat match in WWE history. 2005 I would say was the peak of the Ruthless Aggression era. John Cena and Batista were the new faces of raw and Smackdown and this PPV had awesome matches. The match between Kurt angle and Shawn Michaels was a match I never thought would happen. Two points to make here. Nobody could out wrestle Kurt and nobody could out perform Shawn. When these two clashed, it was a war to see who was better than the other. Kurt would win here but it also proves that these two can work great matches together and they did. In the same PPV, Randy Orton challenged the streak and this was the first time that the undefeated streak became the focus of Wrestlemania. The part of the match that still gets me to this day was when taker went for a choke slam only for Orton to give taker the RKO out of nowhere. Taker wins by countering the tombstone attempt by Orton for a tombstone of his own injuring Orton in the process as well. Wrestlemania 22 was in 2006 and I believe this was the most underrated Wrestlemania of all time. Mark Henry attempts to break the streak in a casket match but the Dead man wins here. Also, Shawn Michaels went against Vince McMahon in a street fight in my mind or even Vince’s mind was his best match he ever had. After that spot from the ladder to the table I was really afraid that McMahon would get a heart attack.

The time now is 2007. The last two left in the royal rumble that year was The Undertaker and Shawn Michaels. This was the first one on one confrontation between these two since the royal rumble 1998. I would also consider this the best ending to a royal rumble match ever. Taker eliminates Shawn Michaels here and he goes to Wrestlemania to face Batista for the world championship while Shawn Michaels go against John Cena for the WWE championship. Oddly both of their matches were given a 5 star rating from many pro wrestling magazines and the question was, which match was better? in my mind I thought The Undertaker vs Batista match should have closed the show since he won the royal rumble a few months prior. And if you notice, the undertaker has now defeated every member of evolution at Wrestlemania (Triple H, Randy Orton, Ric Flair, Batista). Shawn Michaels lost the match against John Cena and about a month later, these two would wrestle again on Monday Night Raw from 9:59 pm all the way to the end of the show at 11:05 pm. That hour long match I would consider the greatest raw match of all time.

WrestleMania 24 came along the way and the next opponent for Shawn Michaels would be Ric Flair. The story of this was back in September 2007, Vince McMahon cut a promo on Ric Flair and since he is the chairman of the WWE, he makes the rules. the major rule that got me hooked on this storyline is that the next time he loose a match, his career will be over. I had no idea who was going to retire Ric Flair and then Shawn would make the challenge. meanwhile at Smackdown. the undertaker wins an elimination chamber match to become the #1 contender for edge’s world championship. the story behind this one was that both edge and the undertaker are undefeated at Wrestlemania. Shawn Michaels defeated and retired Ric Flair and weather if you are a fan of Ric Flair or not, the emotion to see this guy retire was just heartbreaking. Edge vs The Undertaker closed the PPV on this show and many time I actually thought Edge would break the streak. Undertaker proved me wrong after those run in’s by Curt Hawkins and Zack Ryder. undertaker is now 16-0

There you have it. Both The Undertaker and Shawn Michaels made an impact on Wrestlemania in the 2000’s. both has made their mark in sports entertainment and both are glorified legends at this point. here is the final part in which I will cover from Wrestlemania 25 and 26

FIRST ENCOUNTER AND SECOND AND FINAL ENCOUNTER

By 2009, the streak has become the most important thing in Wrestlemania..even more important than both the WWE and World Heavyweight Championship. Shawn has made the challenge  to The Undertaker, pointing out that the last time they had a match was at the 1998 royal rumble in which the undertaker gave Michaels the back injury. undertaker accepts and then Shawn Michales cut some promos about how he will defeat the streak. to be honest, there were only three people before Wrestlemania 29 that really got me to believe that the streak will be broken. and that was Randy Orton, Edge and Shawn Michaels. and I would tie Shawn with CM Punk as the only two who actually came close to winning it.

So the match is now set up for Wrestlemania 25 with a lot of high expectations. From the moment this match started, I was glued on to the TV screen. The fans were back and fourth and did not know if they should cheer for the undertaker or Shawn Michaels. There were a few great spots including when the undertaker did a dive to Shawn Michaels outside the ring only for Shawn to move out and let the camera man take the bump instead. The moment when taker did the tombstone piledriver and Shawn kicked out stunned the entire audience and the world. Then Shawn went for the diving moon sault only for the undertaker to catch him and perform the tombstone again to get the victory here. Both these men stole the entire show here and many fans considered this out did the ironman match between Shawn and Bret in Wrestlemania 12 . I have to agree with the fans here and Dave Meltzer from the wrestling observer newsletter gave this match a 5 star rating. The first match in the united states to get this rating since the first hell in a cell match back in 1997. By the rest of the year of 2009, The Undertaker returned at Summerslam to feud with CM Punk and Shawn and Triple H reformed Degeneration X and would capture the tag team championship as well. At the beginning of 2010, Shawn Michaels wanted a rematch with the undertaker. Taker refused his request. Then at the elimination chamber ppv, Shawn Michaels made a run-in and give Undertaker the super kick for Chris Jericho to get the pin and become the new World Heavyweight Champion. On the next raw,undertaker accepted his challenge ..under one stipulation. If Shawn wins, the streak of 17-0 will be broken. If Shawn looses, not only the streak goes to 18-0 ,but Shawn Michaels wrestling career will be over. By this time I knew his career is coming to an end. I have watched him since 1994 and he left a lot of memories. I did not want to see it happen but it did. The match was absolutely great but the match the year before was better in my opinion . Also this was the last match on the card so it was that important to us since it was the end of Shawn Michaels.

FINAL THOUGHTS

After Shawn Michaels, it was Triple H two times and then CM Punk. Also back in 2009, I made a theory that when Undertaker reaches 20-0,he will loose the next Wrestlemania. Undertaker defeated CM Punk and he is now 21-0 .The question is, how long can the dead man go and who will break the streak. That we will leave to the WWE writers but as a fan point of view, its just a question that cannot be answered right now. Who is Mr.Wrestlemania? I would have to say the moment Shawn Michaels lost the second time, he also lost the title of “Mr. Wrestlemania “. The streak became the title that everyone wanted to break since 2005. It even had a number 1 contender match on raw this year when CM Punk defeated Big Show, Randy Orton and Sheamus. Shawn Michaels set the bar on his matches and he made himself an icon. The Undertaker has made his mark at Wrestlemania and now he is the one who to be hunted. So for now, The Undertaker can be called Mr.Wrestlemania

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Movie Review: Unindentified

Julian Cannon is back with a new movie Review. This time it is the found footage style sci-fi/comedy movie Unidentified. This movie was directed and written by Jason Richard Miller and it is starring Parry Shen and Colton Dunn. Now lets get to the review.

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RELEASE DATE: October 28, 2013

CAST

Parry Shen as Jeremy

Colton Dunn as Dave

Eddie Mui as Nick

Eric Artell as Jodie

Beth Alspaugh as Janelle

PLOT

Four friends documenting their weekend road trip to Las Vegas encounter a cosmic terror that is not of this Earth in this sci-fi flavored found footage shocker from first-time director Jason R. Miller. The party never ends in Sin City, but when this impulsive group of aspiring high-rollers incurs the wrath of a ruthless loan shark, they decide to cut their losses and hit the road. Their bad luck appears to take a turn for the worse, however, when an incident in the Nevada desert leads to the discovery of a metal fragment that appears to be extraterrestrial in origin. In a flash, the one who discovered it disappears into the surrounding darkness. When he is found, his increasingly bizarre behavior hints that something is terribly wrong. They’re right, too, because something sinister is stirring in the shadows, awaiting just the right moment to reveal itself. And when it does, we will finally know that we are not alone in the universe.

MY THOUGHTS

The direction of the movie I thought was pretty cool along with the characters but however, it left me with a few questions.  Like why would a group of friends take a degenerate gambler to Vegas for the weekend? Why does no one seem at all bothered when said gambler then borrows a large sum of money off a loan shark? It’s an odd set up but the comedy of this film makes up for it. The first half hour takes too long to build up and like a lot of other films of a similar nature, the climax is a bit rushed and it all ends way too soon. For the most part, it felt like I was watching a found footage version of The Hangover but I would take this over The Hangover. The actors do a fine job as all of them are charismatic in their own way. I would like to say that Parry Shen kept the entire flow and the pace of the movie from not loosing track from the plot at all. The best scenes from the movie is the final 20 minutes as the visual effects and the action scenes really draw you to the screen to make you wonder how will this movie end.

I do not believe I have seen a found footage movie that has to do with UFO’s or aliens until now. The extra features on this DVD is the YouTube videos from Jodieman in which I thought was pretty entertaining. Also, we get commentary from Jason R. Miller where he explains about what made him decided to do a movie like this and other things in the movie I have not known about. I give credit to the cast and the director for their hard work in this film and i will give this film a final rating of 7.5/10

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Metal Gear Timeline Part 5 ( Events from 2009-2013,MGS4 GUNS OF THE PATRIOTS, METAL GEAR RISING: REVENGEANCE)

POST METAL GEAR SOLID 2:SONS OF LIBERTY

  • (2010)-Ocelot retrieves the data from GW. A short time later, he removed Liquid’s arm due to it causing an imbalance to his psyche whenever Solid Snake appears.
  • (2011)-Steven Armstrong enacted a small government legislation, which slashed the government budget. This lead to World Marshal Inc. buying out the entire Denver police department.
  • (MID 2011)- The Patriots release information on Big Boss to private military companies. Most included the files from Operation Snake Eater and his CQC techniques.
  • (AUGUST 2011)- The United States begins to enlist PMC (private military groups) around the world.
  • (SEPTERMBER 2011)- Raiden goes to Area 51 to rescue Sunny. She is then left to Otacon and Solid Snake to take care of.
  • (DECEMBER 2011)– Due to drugs and psychotherapy, Ocelot becomes Liquid Ocelot again but this time it is permanently. Thus also buying the 5 biggest PMC’s in the world. all of them are now under a new Outer Heaven which is now under Liquid Ocelot.
  • (2012)- Raiden is captured by The Patriots. They give him an cyborg exoskeleton as part of a project. Eva rescued him and Dr. Mandar (from the Outer Heaven Uprising) saves his life due to his body not reacting well from the new exoskeleton.
  • (2013)– The SOP system (Sons Of The Patriots weapon ID system) that has been used in some countries since 2009 is now needed for all of the weapons in the world.
  • (LATE 2013)- Solid Snake is diagnosed with accelerated aging due to the FOXDIE virus spreading inside of him. meanwhile, the war economy begins.

METAL GEAR SOLID 4: GUNS OF THE PATRIOTS

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(2014)-LIQUID OCELOT’S INSURRECTION: Solid Snake is requested by Roy Campbell and Otacon to assassinate Liquid Ocelot before his takeover begins. Also, Drebin and Snake meet and he is the weapon launderer for Snake. When he goes to the middle east, he meets Meryl for the first time in 9 years. She introduced him to her unit, Rat Patrol 01. The SOP system malfunctions during the heist and Liquid Ocelot goes away. Later, Snake goes to South America to rescue Naomi Hunter. While they were there, Naomi runs a test on Snake’s body. She has informed him that the new strain of FOXDIE inside of him will grow and mutate. This will make him kill anybody he comes in contact with, deeming him as a walking weapon. During this, Vamp and Raiden have a battle before they escape. Soon after that, Snake and Meryl head to Europe to meet Big Mama. For the first time, Snake and Big Mama (who is actually Eva) meet and she tells him the history of Big Boss, The Patriots, the Les Effants Terribles’ project and more. Snake also finds out that Major Zero is the founder of The Patriots. Eva and Snake leaves once she shows him Big Boss’ “Body”. Before they were to escape, Liquid shows up with his army. Meryl and her entire unit have Liquid surrounded until Liquid Ocelot revealed to everyone that the SOP system has been taken over by him. This means that he has taken over all of the weapons and nanomachines in the entire world, thus killing many people in the progress and burning down the “Body” of Big Boss. Eva was also killed during the attack as she tried to save the “Body” and Snake was severely burned. While briefing for Snake’s next mission, Otacon and Campbell watched a video that they wiretapped a conversation between Vamp and Ocelot. They talked about going back to Shadow Moses to retrieve Metal Gear REX’s Railgun since that is the only weapon left that is not under the SOP system. Snake then goes back to Shadow Moses Island to try to stop him but he was too late. Liquid revealed to Snake that he plans on using the rail gun to take down The Patriots core AI, JD. JD is also a satellite that is in outer space which means the rail gun will take it down in that range. Snake and Ocelot battle as Snake Controls REX and Ocelot controls the same Metal Gear RAY he took with him 5 years ago. After the battle, Snake was in a weakened state as Ocelot was about to run his ship over him until Raiden saved him, loosing both of his arms in the process. Also, Vamp and Naomi are dead at this point. Once again, Snake and Otacon with the help with everyone else including the returning Mei Ling. plans to head to the new Outer Heaven to upload the FOXALIVE virus that Naomi and Sunny developed before Naomi died of cancer. The Virus will shut down all of the AI’s, nanomachines and the SOP system in the entire world. Snake and Liquid Ocelot have one final battle on top of Outer Heaven and Snake wins again, thus killing Liquid Ocelot for good. In the Final moments, Raiden makes peace with his wife, Meryl marries Johnny and makes peace with Campbell. But it is not over yet. Snake Visits the grave of Big Boss. He was about to commit suicide but he gave it a second thought. Big Boss then appears and he and Snake meet for the first time in 15 years. Big Boss explained that the “Body” Ocelot burned down was actually Solidus Snake (Since he is the perfect clone, his DNA was used the entire time for the SOP system in this game). Big Boss also explained that Eva stolen Solidus’ body and Ocelot wanted to act like Liquid just to fool The Patriots. Boss then explained that once the virus was uploaded to JD, he awakened and went to look for Zero. Then, he explained the war between those two and how he regrets killing The Boss and how the Patriots AI’s created the war economy. Big Boss killed Zero by cutting his life support on the wheelchair and then Big Boss suffers the new strain of FOXDIE that started mutating in Solid Snake. Him and Snake make peace as Big Boss passed away. Snake lived his final days spending it with Otacon and Sunny.

 

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POST METAL GEAR SOLID 4: GUNS OF THE PATRIOTS

  • (EARLY 2015)- Raiden returns to the battlefield by joining Maverick Security as a soldier for hire.
  • (LATE 2015)- Desperado Enforcement triggered the subway bombing in Russia.
  • (2016)- Steven Armstrong is investigated by a federal grand jury for his connections to World Marshal. At the same time, World Marshal becomes the biggest PMC all over the world since Outer Heaven.

METAL GEAR RISING:REVENGEANCE

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(2018)-DESPERADO INCURSIONS/WORLD MARSHAL’S REVOLT: After half of the contractors at World Marshal’s contracts were not renewed by the United States government, World Marshal and Desperado triggers the attack and revolt in North Africa. During the meeting between Raiden and the prime minister N’Mani, Desperado members Sundowner and Samuel kidnapped the prime minister. Raiden then had to take down a new Metal Gear RAY that was in his way to get to Sundowner. Once on the train, Sundowner killed N’Mani as Samuel challenges Raiden to a battle. Raiden lost the battle and he was severely injured following the defeat. 3 weeks later, after a successful surgery on his body, Raiden heads to South America to get some information on Desperado. He encountered BladeWolf and they become partners. Raiden then got the information he needed until he had a battle with a Desperado member named Mistrial. After he defeated her, he headed to a Research facility in Mexico. Raiden then went to a room that contained cybernetic brain casings with the brains in each and everyone of them, causing him to realize that they were kidnapping children to remove their brains and placing them in cyborg bodies. Also, some of the children were left over as child soldiers of war. Raiden saved all of the children in the facility and his next target is World Marshal in Denver. Upon entering the building, He encounters Monsoon and Samuel as they tell Raiden what Desperado and World Marshal will do to the entire world as they also berate Raiden. This angers Raiden as he brings out his “Jack The Ripper” persona that he has not used since the Liberian Civil War. After Raiden defeated Monsoon, he battles Sundowner on top of the building. Soon after, Raiden escapes and he eventually meets up with Samuel. After a lengthy sword battle, Raiden killed Samuel as he has no remorse for it whatsoever. Raiden then heads to a United States army base as he meets with Sunny as she gives Raiden the location of Steve Armstrong’s location. Raiden infiltrated Armstrong’s base and ends up fighting Metal Gear EXCELSUS (the largest Metal Gear ever created). Once Raiden tears it down to pieces, Steve has a conversation with Raiden. Steve explained that he wanted to start the War Economy again after he is elected president and for only World Marshal to be the only PMC in the world left to have complete control over the government. Steve and Raiden have a fierce battle and Raiden wins and then takes out his nano-machine heart in the process. Afterwards, Raiden becomes only an agent for hire as he wanders what the future is for him.

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IPhone 5S Review

Julian is back again for another review. This time it will be a review on the IPhone 5S. I was originally going to do a video review but due to time constraints, I chose to write it instead. Now lets get to it.

We’ve come to expect evolution not revolution from the “S” update to Apple’s iPhone range, but the iPhone 5s could be enough to buck that trend. Inside the familiar metal casing beats a new processor, the Apple A7, making the iPhone 5s the first smartphone – and iOS 7 the first smartphone platform – to transition to 64-bit; the home button has lost its square sigil but gained a biometric sensor that might be the first to actually convince owners to use it; and the camera may still be 8-megapixels in resolution on paper, but those pixels – and the way Apple uses them – are quantifiably better than before. Does that make the iPhone 5s the automatic choice in smartphones?

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DESIGN

It may now come in three colors, but the iPhone 5s doesn’t stray too far from the iPhone 5 before it. Whether you go for silver, “space gray”, or gold, each uses the same 7.6mm thick metal casing as before and the same 4-inch Retina display screen running at 1146 x 640 resolution. Apple still refuses to go bigger than 4-inches, arguing that single-handed use still works most successfully when the screen is relatively compact. As before, then, it feels crisp and premium in the hand, the diamond-cut bevelled edges catching the light while the combination of the matte finish back panel with the shiny Apple logo and “iPhone” text looking great. Apple also now offers a leather case ($39) for the iPhone 5s, which fits tightly to the handset without the bulk many such cases add. Three capacity versions are offered, starting from $199.99 with agreement for the 16GB, and rising to $399.99 for the 64GB. Despite hopes otherwise, there’s still no 128GB iPhone option. In the box, there’s a set of Apple’s EarPods earphones, a Lightning to USB cable, and a USB power adapter.

TOUCH ID

Apple’s answer is Touch ID, a fingerprint sensor built straight into the iPhone 5s home button. It’s not the first time we’ve seen biometrics included on a smartphone – Motorola has tried it before, for instance – but so far fingerprint-based security is yet to have caught on. Touch ID looks set to change that track record, though, thanks to a combination of inspired placement and near-zero effort implementation. Rather than mounting the sensor on an edge somewhere, Apple has integrated it into the home button: the physical control owners already use to wake the device. Scanning times are almost instantaneous, and you don’t have to be careful about what angle you press it at. In fact, we’ve been able to successfully unlock our phone holding it upside-down. Using Touch ID requires some registration, and Apple recommends you do it for more than one finger since if you cut or mark your fingertip, the sensor might not read it successfully. You’re walked through it during initial setup, though you can also access the registration through the settings page. First, you’ll need a PIN code as usual – that’s in case the biometrics doesn’t work, but is also required the first time you unlock the iPhone 5s after you restart the phone, or after 48 hours of idle time – and then it’s a case of repeatedly tapping your fingertip onto the sensor until iOS has built up an understanding of the fingerprint. Once you’ve done that, you do the same with the edges of your fingertip, which helps the iPhone 5s recognize you even if you come at the sensor from an angle.  Up to five fingers can be registered, either all your own or a mixture of prints from different people you want to have access. Right now there’s no way to assign different access privileges depending on whose finger it is that’s recognized, though it’s not hard to imagine an iPad that uses Touch ID to seamlessly log into different user accounts. Once that’s done, suddenly unlocking your iPhone becomes incredibly easy. Touch ID is magical in how simple it makes using the iPhone 5s. Press the home button and you’re looking at the homescreen; it’s actually cutting down on even more taps compared to an PIN-free device, since now you don’t have to swipe the unlock bar either. We haven’t had a single occasion where someone else could unlock the phone with an unregistered finger, and nor have we had to resort to the PIN code.

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PERFORMANCE

Impressively, the iPhone 5s took just 2 min 24 sec to output a 5 minute, 1080p Full HD video, while a 720p version took just 1 min 28 sec. In contrast, the iPhone 5 took 4 min 23 sec with the 1080p video, and 2 min 4 sec for the 720p. Even the iPad 4, with its powerful A5X chip, took considerably longer with the same tasks: 4 min 17 sec to output the 1080p video, and 3 min 57 for the 720p version. A SunSpider score of 470.0ms (lower is better) means the iPhone 5s completed the test in half the time it took the iPad 4, and almost half the time of the iPhone 5, which ran it in 848ms. In the new 64-bit version of Geekbench, a synthetic test of processor and memory performance, the iPhone 5s scored 1,374 in single-core testing, and 2,389 (updated) in multi-core testing; Geekbench also confirms the handset’s 1.3GHz CPU clock speed and 1GB of memory. Unsurprisingly, then, the iPhone 5s feels fast, no matter what you throw at it. iOS 7 whips between apps with alacrity, and even heavy inboxes and big multimedia files don’t cause the smartphone to slow down.

CAMERA

On paper, the iPhone 5s’ iSight camera is 8-megapixels, just like before. However, not all pixels are created equal. The smartphone world has split off in several directions when it comes to cameras, with some chasing higher and higher megapixel counts, while others opt for bigger individual pixels or treating clusters of pixels as single points. Apple’s approach is to go for bigger pixels and grab more light. Compared to the iPhone 5, the iPhone 5s has 15-percent larger pixels than before, and the aperture of the lens has increased too, to f/2.2. Together, that adds up to a third more light captured in each shot, versus the outgoing phone. It’s not the first smartphone to take that approach, though Apple perhaps strikes a better balance between pixel size and resolution. It’s not the first smartphone to take that approach, though Apple perhaps strikes a better balance between pixel size and resolution. HTC, for instance, opted for a relatively small number of big pixels in the HTC One, but while they’re individually larger than in Apple’s camera, you only get half the overall resolution. Nokia’s Lumia 1020 opts to cluster groups of pixels from its 41-megapixel camera together, producing a 5-megapixel image, but if you want the full resolution there’s a lag of a few seconds as the Windows Phone churns through the data.Apple’s other hardware change is the new True Tone flash. We’ve seen phones that have two LEDs instead of one, but the iPhone 5s gets two different colors of LED. For the first time on any camera – not just a smartphone camera – it’s now possible to mix together white and amber light according to the ambient lighting of the scene. With more than 1,000 tone combinations for the iPhone to choose between, the promise is an end to sickly skin tones where the traditionally cool LED flash of a smartphone camera doesn’t match warmer ambient lighting.

IOS 7

Beyond the new interface design, the key features include quicker access to settings and notifications with the new Control Center and Notification Center, accessed from anywhere in iOS 7 with an upward or downward swipe respectively. There’s also a new multitasking interface which now shows a preview of the app’s current status rather than just its icon. Safari has been considerably improved, spending more time in full-screen mode to make the most of the 4-inch display. A new tab view makes navigating between open pages more straightforward, and the split address box and search box layout in iOS 6 and earlier have thankfully been replaced with a single, unified box that cuts down on mis-taps. The other big change in iOS 7 is what you get free. Those who buy a new iOS 7 device – rather than upgrading their existing device – will find free copies of Apple’s own iWorks suite (Pages, Numbers, and Keynote) along with iPhoto and iMovie waiting for download. That’s almost $40 of content-creation apps.

PHONE AND BATTERY

The iPhone 5s supports UMTS/HSPA+, DC-HSDPA, and LTE, with up to 100Mbps support, network-depending; select models get CDMA/EV-DO Rev.A. All have WiFi a/b/g/n (2.4/5GHz) – though not 802.11ac – Bluetooth 4.0 LE, and GPS/GLONASS.

Unfortunately, even with more band support in a single device, the proliferation of LTE network frequencies across the globe means that Apple still can’t produce just one version of iPhone 5s that works on all of them. In total, there’s support for 37 bands, with five different variants depending on carrier and geography.Despite the faster chip and increase in LTE bands, Apple claims battery life is on par with what the iPhone 5 delivered. The iPhone 5s is rated for up to 10 hours of 3G talk time or up to 250 hours of standby, or alternatively up to 8 hours of 3G web-browsing (or 10 hours over either LTE or WiFi). Up to 10 hours video playback or up to 40 hours audio playback is suggested from a single charge.

FINAL THOUGHTS

The iPhone 5s is the best iPhone so far, by a long shot. Apple is notorious for describing its products as “magical”. The magic of the iPhone 5s is in how usable its improvements are. The updated camera is both fast and capable, with the True Tone flash proving itself to be no gimmick, while the Touch ID system feels like the first biometrics system that actually stands a chance of succeeding in the mass market. Would we pick the iPhone 5s over the iPhone 5c? In a heartbeat. The camera, convenience, and performance increases make that a no-brainer decision for smartphone power users. That trifecta of talents also makes a strong case against the top-tier Android devices, too: Apple still dominates the market for hand-friendly phones with flagship performance. The iPhone 5s may be Apple’s evolutionary stage, but the combination of usable technological advances and the benefits of iOS 7 add up to a supremely compelling device.