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The Rise and Fall of the PS3, and Why it Will Be the Last Console I Plan to Own

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With the launch of the PS4 on the horizon, I thought I would look back and reflect on my time with owning a PS3. In many ways it was my first real experience as a modern console-owner. I had a Sega Genesis when I was a kid, but I was still hanging onto that thing well into the N64/PSOne days. I also had a Gamecube and a PS2 for a short time when I thought that budget-gaming was the way to go. When I got my PS3 though...all that changed. Suddenly I was more concerend with graphics and user interface than a game telling a great story. I had become that which I now loathe.

When the PS3 came out, I was a senior in high school. I didn't think much of it then, other than that it was insanely expensive. Plus my friends and I were more into the Nintendo line of games, so I didn't really care to pay attention to it. Time went on after that. I started going to college, ended up meeting my future wife, and began to experience what it really felt like to live on my own. Meanwhile the PS3 was struggling to keep up with the XBox 360 juggernaut. Despite the hardware issues, it was easily the better system for a long time. The PS3 seemed doomed to wallow in mediocrity. That is, until late 2009.

I feel that I entered the world of the PS3 right around the time it started to take off. It wasn't better than the 360 by that point, but within a year's time it would be. When it came down to deciding between the two top consoles, I had a lot of influence towards the 360. After all, everyone I knew had one, but no one I knew had a PS3. After doing some research, however, and seeing how the two consoles held up side-by-side...I decided to go with the PS3. I remember the first games I picked up along with it were GTA IV, Resident Evil 5, Demon's Souls, Saw (lol), and Uncharted 2. While I didn't care for many of those games in the long run, Uncharted 2 blew me away. It was literally the most amazing thing I ever played. I simply couldn't put it down. Between the gameplay, the presentation, and the story...I knew I was hooked. For me, that was the start of the rise to power for the PS3, and the start of my gaming life as a modern console-gamer.

2010 and 2011 especially felt like the years of the PS3. There were so many great exclusives coming out for the system that I didn't even give the 360 a second glance. Sure they had Halo and Gears of War, but I had never been into either series that much. I was too busy with the Uncharted series, the inFamous series, and the God of War games. What I didn't realize was that I was becoming a stickler for graphics and presentation, which I had never been before. It was all about getting the new Call of Duty game, or the new Madden. The gameplay became secondary to the graphics, which is why I supported Madden 2012 so much when I really shouldn't have.

The Fall of 2011 was, in my opinion, the console's best season of games. We saw things like Uncharted 3, Arkham City, and Saints Row the Third. There was also Modern Warfare 3, but eh...to each their own. By that time I had realized that graphics weren't everything, and I was back to being all about the gameplay. EA had become my sworn enemy, since their games had become so shallow that I avoided them altogether.

2012 was the year that I started to lose faith. I ended up selling my PS3 in favor of trying things with a 360 for awhile. That lasted all of 6 months, once I had played all the exclusives that I cared to. Then I thought I might try my luck with a Vita, which ended up being the worst decision I could have ever made. If you've never played one, I would avoid it. The games are fun, but the hardware sucks. The touch screen started to become totally unresponsive after a few months of playing it. So I traded that in and got a PS3 again. My thought at the time was, "Well, if I'm going to have a system where I can run around shooting things, I might as well go with the one I have the most roots with."

That was 6 months ago. Now it is 2013, and with the PS4 looming on the horizon, this appears to be the worst year for the PS3 since its early years. I hardly ever play it, but I know that if I get rid of it I'll end up regretting it. There's this certain itch that FPS games have for me. Maybe it's because I've played them for so long, but they're great stress-relievers for me. As a result, I only own 3 physical games for the system still: Borderlands, NBA 2k12 (for the 80's and 90's stars), and NCAA Football 13. After all this time, the only games that haven't totally lost their touch with me are sports games and Borderlands. I have no desire to play anything else that's coming out, except for the occsional PSN game.

I'll say this though: when the PS4 comes out, I won't be getting one. As I get older and have more and more responsibilities, I find myself playing on my console less and less. I'm finding that I would rather invest my money into my 3DS, which I can play on the go and at work, and into tabletop games. Whatever your opinion of tabletop games may be, at least the quality of games is there. I have yet to play a single tabletop game that I didn't have at least some fun with. Sure, there were a couple I ended up selling, but the majority I have kept for myself. I can't say that about the PS3. Just about every PS3 game I've played I've ended up trading in because there was simply nothing left to enjoy about it.

Maybe I'm just a jaded gamer, but I don't plan on giving Sony any more of my time or money beyond this system. I'm perfectly happy with my 3DS right now, and tabletop games are a lot easier to get family and friends to partake in. I may get back into PC gaming when I get the money to afford one, but I think I'm going to give consoles a rest for now. I personally don't think they'll be around 5-10 years from now, but maybe I'll end up being wrong.

The PS3 as a whole was both a system I loved and hated. I loved the fact that I had a modern system with an excellent presentation and the ability to purchase new games as they hit the shelves, but I hated the fact that so many of these games were filled with bugs or were worth a lot less than the $60 price tag they were supposedly worth. In the end, I think the Gamecube/PS2/XBox era was a much better one than this has been. In a lot of ways, I think that's where gaming peaked, and now it is beginning the regression into medicority.

So that's been my experience with the PS3, and why I think I will be moving on from console gaming once the PS3's time comes to an end. I'll end this article listing my top 20 favorite PS3 games that I played over the course of its run as a top console:

20. Resident Evil 6

19. Duke Nukem Forever

18. Final Fantasy XIII

17. Fallout 3

16. Rock Band 3

15. L.A. Noire

14. Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2

13. Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion

12. NBA 2k12

11. Dead Space

10. Assassin's Creed 2

9. Dragon Age: Origins

8. Saints Row 2

7. inFamous

6. Batman: Arkham City

5. Bioshock

4. Deux Ex: Human Revolution

3. Valkyria Chronicles

2. Borderlands

1. Uncharted 2

The Problem With Video Gaming Today

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I've been thinking about doing this blog for awhile. It's pretty late at night, so I'm going to try and keep this short.

Recently I was thinking about doing my top games of the year blog. I did my top 11 of 2011 last year, so it was only natural I do something like a top 12 of 2012 blog. But then something occurred to me: I can't think of more than a few games that really deserve such praise. Have there really been enough games to constitute an entire list of top games this year? Maybe a top 5, but nowhere near a top 10. If anything, I should do a list of the top 10 disappointing games of the year, or the top 10 games I don't want to see sequels to. But that would seem be pessimistic, and I don't want to come off that way.

Instead, I've decided to write this blog detailing what I think the reason for the decline of "good games" seems to be. I've got three words for you: Call of Duty. It seems like you can't find a single gamer out there who doesn't already have an opinion of the franchise. Whether they hopped on the train when Modern Warfare came out, or if they became exposed to the series in recent years, just about every gamer out there has played at least a little bit of Call of Duty. Now whether or not you consider it to be a good series of games is irrelevant. I'm willing to bet that there is a large number of people out there who buy every Call of Duty with each passing year...even if they think they aren't going to enjoy it. How else do you explain the numerous negative reviews of Black Ops 2 here on Gamespot already?

Therein lies the problem with the gaming industry today. Call of Duty is one of, if not, the biggest-selling video game franchise in the market today, and it's our fault. That's right, it's the fault of the gaming population. Whether you are a faithful COD fan, or if you just buy it because you want the new multiplayer features, or you're just bored and would rather play it safe with Black Ops 2 instead of trying something different like X-Com...by purchasing their games, we are telling the gaming industry that: "We want more of this." Money talks isn't just a saying, it's what dictates how our economy changes over time. When you go out and rent a game or buy it used, that's different. You're not giving your money to the developers to support their future work. That's why games like Madden keep coming back year after year, and we still hear the same complaints from people year after year. The simple truth is this: If you buy Call of Duty every year, you're telling the developers that you support them, despite the fact that you may not like the multiplayer maps, or you don't like the single player campaign, or you think zombie mode sucks this year. Things will not get better if we keep giving these companies our money.

If our community were to rent games first and then purchase the games that we enjoy, the gaming industry would be in a much better place. This is why you hardly ever see any new franchises come into existence and last. Even if they do, they're based on another game's engine and success in an attempt to avoid dragging on the storyline from the original game. Just look at The Last of Us and how it is using Uncharted's engine. Just look at all of the games that rely so heavily on the Unreal Engine. People wonder why franchises like Madden, Call of Duty, and most recently Assassin's Creed barely change at all from year to year, and it's because so many people still throw money at them for rehashing the same thing over and over again. Assassin's Creed may have a story, but it's a lot more half-assed than it used to be, and this is exactly the reason why. The developers have become lazy because they know they're going to get their payday either way.

But wait...does this effect other games? I didn't think so...up until the past year or so. Remember how I said that I couldn't come up with a top ten list of games from what came out this year? This is because of Call of Duty as well. Before you jump all over me, hear me out. So many aspects of Call of Duty have started to sneak their way into other franchises out there. I can give example after example. Look at Uncharted 3. It went from having a fun and original multiplayer to being all about unlocking perks and other things from leveling up and playing more online. Look at Duke Nukem Forever. Since when does Duke Nukem run around with the military at his back? How about never? What about Halo Reach? I have never seen a game in that series come even close to the amount of military cooperation on missions that Reach has. Then there's most recently Resident Evil 6. Yes, even the greatest survival horror franchise of all time has fallen victim to the Call of Duty craze. Look no further than Chris's campaign in that game. It's all about being part of a military unit, and it's all about people yelling things like "reloading!" and "grenade!" It makes me sick.

So many games these days try to recreate the addictive multiplayer and the military theme that Call of Duty embodies, but no one is brave enough to do something new and original. And you know why? Because the gaming community doesn't want them to. Because we give companies like Activision and EA our money even though most of us who do expect a mediocre game in return. This needs to stop. If it doesn't, I will be doing a worst games of the year list a year from now, and I will be very outspoken about what I think is wrong with each game on that list. I am so tired of playing dumbed-down games and games that try to blatantly copy the COD formula. I realize that this won't change overnight, but seriously people...don't be afraid to try other games. Even if you do want to play the new Call of Duty or the new Madden, wait a few weeks and buy it used, or better yet, rent it first to see if it's worth the outrageous $60 price tag. It's like pro-wrestling or heavy metal; it may be in a rut right now, but if enough people band together and do their best to make it work, it might rise to greatness again. Anyways, thanks for reading, and please comment if you like.

My Top 11 Games of 2011

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With the year drawing to a close, and with the great games we've had in recent months, I thought I would talk about my top 11 games that have come out this year (in the spirit of this being the end of 2011). I have played just about everything that I would care to play for the PS3 this year, and the following are my favorite games to have come out in the past 12 months:

(Honorable Mentions: The Baconing, Madden 12 (controversial, I know), Dead Space 2, Homefront)

#11: Saints Row: The Third - Without a doubt, this is the best GTA-like open world game to come out this year. While it feels very similar to the previous Saints Row, it does have a lot more outrageous activities, customization options, and humorous dialogue. What holds this game back is that it is a very short game (I finished all the missions and side missions in under 20 hours, and there is a trophy for playing for 30 hours...), and that it feels a little too familiar to Saints Row 2. What it does well is make games of its kind fun again, and it keeps you constantly entertained all the way through. But why...WHY...is there no septic avenger here?? (My Score: 8/10)

#10: Mortal Kombat - When a game seeks out to reinvent itself, you can't help but think it will be for the worst. In this case, however, Mortal Kombat has successfully managed to return to its original story and roots, and become very successful while doing so. While it ditches the 3D Soul Calibur-like combat and various fighting styles, this game proves that simpler can sometimes be better. This is a game that unites old school Mortal Kombat fans and more recent fans into one game that caters to both. While some may not like the fact that it retells the original MK story in a different way, this is still a great game, and one of the best in the entire Mortal Kombat series. (My Score: 8/10)

#9 Duke Nukem Forever - This might be a controversial choice, but if you have read my review then you'll know that I am a longtime fan of the Duke. I really think that this game got a bad rep. due to the fact that it was given more hype than just about any game in history, and because it doesn't play like most other modern shooters out there. If you give it a chance though, it really proves to be a fun and entertaining FPS experience. Even the multiplayer is a nice throwback to the Duke Matches of old. This game won't be for everyone, but for those of us who played Duke Nukem throughout the 90's will have a lot more respect for this game. (My Score: 8/10)

#8: Catherine - Catherine is a very interesting game. In many ways, it was the sleeper hit of the year. The developers at Atlus showed us that you could create a game that caters to hardcore gamers while having gameplay that is only made up of a series of repetitive platforming-puzzles. While the story is very well-told, it really doesn't flow in a way that is based on your actions like you might expect it would. This is a game that really challenges your skills as a gamer, and one that will constantly do so, no matter how many hours you put into it. (My Score: 9/10)

#7: Uncharted 3 - This game was largely disappointing for me. While it had a fun and epic story complete with entertaining dialogue and characters, the story just had too many plotholes, and the shooting mechanics took a turn for the worse here. Even the melee combat, which the developers said was vastly improved, just served to make firefights later on in the game much more frustrating. Unfortunately this game is, in my opinion, a total sell-out on Naughty Dog's part in order to cash in on the multiplayer successes that games like Call of Duty have been experiencing. I know not everyone will agree with me, but this game is a big step down from the greatness of Uncharted 2: Among Thieves. (My Score: 8.5/10)

#6: Portal 2 - Portal 2 was another fantastic puzzle game for the less-than-casual gamer out there. While dying was never really a consequence, puzzles would have you scratching your head for sometimes hours here. Put that with a story that had some very colorful and interesting characters, and you have a very fun experience here. While it may not have the length or replay value going for it, Portal 2 was a fantastic game while it lasted. (My Score: 8.5/10)

#5: Plants vs. Zombies - Yes, a PSN game has reached this high on my list, and with good reason. Plants vs. Zombies, like many other games that Pop Cap has done, is hugely addictive and fun. I still play this game on a regular basis, even though it has been out for nearly a year. The hybrid tower defense and survival styles come together perfectly, and make this game a blast to play. Not to mention the variety of different game styles keep this game fresh and fun. This is definitely my pick for downloadable game of the year. (My Score: 9/10)

#4: Skyrim - The only reason this game is not higher on my list is because the gameplay and graphics come off a little dated here. In the time since Oblivion came out, you would think they would have done a major overhaul of the whole engine for this release. However, these two aspects aside, Skyrim is a very immersive experience that will have you hooked for weeks on end. How many games can say that nowadays? If this had lived up to its expectations a bit more, it could have made the top of my list, but unfortunately it just felt like the developers played it safe by sticking with Oblivion's engine rather than improving what was already released years ago. (My Score: 9/10)

#3: L.A. Noire - This game remains one of the best games I have ever played, and easily my favorite that Rockstar has ever released. While the open world aspect to this game is never fully fleshed-out like you would want it to be, the story, cases, and characters make this game a must-play. I'm a sucker for games that play out based on your actions, and this game is nothing but that. The only things lacking about this game are the replay value and the fact that the game world wasn't more utilized for other activities. (My Score: 9/10)

#2: Deus Ex: Human Revolution - Being that I am a huge fan of the original Deus Ex, I had huge expectations for this game, and surprisingly this game lived up to them all. This game combines aspects from all sorts of games that I enjoy: shooter, RPG, puzzle, and action/adventure elements are all present here and used very well together. The only thing this game lacks is a sense of polish, which can easily be overlooked with everything coming together as well as it does. For me this just BARELY missed out on being my game of the year. It couldn't have been made much better, but unfortunately neither could my #1 game of the year... (My Score: 9.5/10)

#1: Batman: Arkham City - This game surprised me a great deal when it was released. I enjoyed Arkham Asylum, but it wasn't anything mind-blowing for me. As a result, I wasn't expecting anything more than another fun adventure with Arkham City. I was so amazed with what I played. This game improved over Arkham Asylum in every way imaginable, and managed to tell a fantastic story while incorporating nearly every memorable Batman character in his storied history. Sure, it may not have the length of a Skyrim or the replay value of a Catherine, but as an overall gaming experience where you are SUPPOSED TO BE BATMAN...this passes with flying colors. I would also say that this game just barely edges past L.A. Noire with having the best story in a game all year. So really, if you take all aspects into consideration, this game is simply the best of 2011. It has the gameplay that makes you feel like you really ARE Batman, the edge-of-your-seat story to keep you invested in the game, the absolutely amazing presentation, and the noticeable improvments over its predecessor all show that Batman: Arkham Asylum is deserving of being the game of the year. (My Score: 9.5/10)

So there you have it, my top 11 games of the year. Feel free to comment or leave me your favorite games of the year. Thanks for reading!

2 Years and 20 Platinums Later...

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So I've had my PS3 for just about 2 years now, and have coincidentally just acquired my 20th Platinum. I just wanted to write a blog and reflect on the games I've received platinum trophies on. Normally I don't spend my time going for a platinum if it's going to be something totally extra from the game (not to mention if it's too tedious). BUT...there are 20 games that I've managed to get platnium trophies on without too much extra effort, and I'd like to talk about my experiences with each.

Honorable Mentions (Games I'm within 20% of getting a platinum on and/or still working on): Saw, Mini Ninjas, Lord of the Rings: Conquest (damn their servers for being down), Assassin's Creed Brotherhood, Batman: Arkham Asylum, Prince of Persia: Sands of Time, Call of Duty: Black Ops, Dragon Age: Origins (damn that traveler trophy), L.A. Noire, inFamous.

1. Hasbro Family Game Night

This was my first platinum, and one that was pretty easy. I had a lot of fun getting the trophies, even though a few were mainly luck-based. I didn't enjoy getting the Sorry! Sliders trophies, and I wish that there were trophies for Scrabble. Overall though, a pretty easy platinum. Too bad this game isn't fun to play anymore unless friends are around, lol.

2. Smackdown vs Raw 2010

This was another really easy platinum, and probably still my favorite wrestling game available on the PS3 to this day. I enjoyed getting this platinum a lot, mostly because the trophies had to do with regular things you do in the game. The only trophy that annoyed me was the training checklist one, which was a little on the tedious side. Otherwise though, I really enjoyed getting this, and I still play this game regularly to this day.

3. Sonic's Ultimate Genesis Collection

Another fun platinum. Especially since the Sega Genesis was my first gaming system as a kid, and even though I knew a lot of games in this collection, this trophy helped me explore the ones I didn't. Some were definitely easier than others, but overall this is a great trophy to go after if you're nostalgic for the Sega Genesis. This is another game that remains in my collection for whenever I feel like playing some old school gameage.

4. WWE Legends of Wrestlemania

This was a game that was fun at first, but by the time I got the platinum, I never wanted to see it again. Doing things like beating every single character in the game back-to-back really made this game overstay its welcome. While I do think it's a pretty fun wrestling game, it's definitely not something I would ever purchase again. Pretty easy platinum though.

5. God of War 1, 2, 3

Beating the original God of War games all over again was awesome, and I think I'm one of the few people who thinks the third game ranks up there with the first two. There were a couple of trophies in each game that were really frustrating (the challenge of the gods/titans/whoever come to mind), but overall this was a good set of trophies that was mainly based around completion. I did have a lot of fun getting these, and I hope to do the same with the PSP God of War games now that they've been released on the PS3.

6. Terminator Salvation

This was one of the more frustrating platinums I went for. One thing about games is that if I don't like them, I won't play them...no matter how much I want trophies. I have love-hate relationships with few games, but Terminator Salvation was one such game. I really enjoyed the Gears of War-like shooting, even if there were bugs and enemies that made things really cheap for the player. Especially on the hardest difficulty. This is definitely an easy trophy to go after, but not one I would recommend unless you have the patience to put up with the annoyances and mediocrity, or if you're like me and actually enjoyed this game despite all the bad things about it.

7. Dante's Inferno

I was really looking forward to this game when it came out, and I think this is one of the last great games that EA has released to this day. Unfortunately I managed to platinum this game in only 5 or 6 days outside of school and work. I definitely felt like I wasted my $60 on this one. But still, this was a really fun game, and definitely a great God of War knock-off. Read my review on it if you're put off by all the negative reviews out there.

8. Heavy Rain

Much like Legends of Wrestlemania, this was a fun game to play through, but once I got the platinum, I never wanted to touch this game again. I wouldn't mind renting and playing through it again, but getting all of the endings and the perfect crime trophy were VERY time-consuming. If I didn't enjoy this game so much and wasn't so close to the platinum, I wouldn't have gone for them. But as it was, I really enjoyed this game, but was sick of watching this game that was practically a movie over and over again.

9. Bioshock 1 and 2

The Bioshock series is one of my favorites in modern gaming. Getting the platinum on Bioshock 1 was definitely the easier of the two though. Most of these trophies I picked up in one playthrough each, but playing until level 40 on Bioshock 2 multiplayer was definitely a chore. Don't get me wrong though, the multiplayer on that game is just as fun, and even more fun in some ways, as Call of Duty or any other online FPS. These are two games that are immensely fun, and will remain in my collection for as long as I have a PS3.

10. Lego Harry Potter Years 1-4

This is my favorite Lego game to be released thus far. I actually still have this game in my collection despite having the platinum and being a grown man. It is simply the best Lego game to come out, in my opinion, and I'm really looking forward to the sequel. I will say that it sucked not being able to get a lot of the trophies until the end, but it was worth playing it as much as I did. Definitely a lot of fun.

11. Assassin's Creed 2

Some may be surprised by this, but this is the only game in the Assassin's Creed series that I've enjoyed. The first game was just too underdeveloped, in my opinion, and I have tons of problems with Brotherhood, both with the story and gameplay. For whatever reason, I think that #2 was easily the best of the bunch. 85% of the trophies were either really fun or really easy to get, but the other 15% were really tedious and/or annoying. But in the end, it was fun getting this platinum, and I still go back and play it every now and then despite acquiring that.

12. Sly 1, 2, 3

I never played the Sly games when I had my PS2, but I was glad to play them on my PS3 when they were re-released. #2 was definitely my favorite, and the easiest to get all the trophies on. Sly 1 was a little harder due to collecting all the bottles, and #3's challenges were really tedious and unnecessary. Still, these are fun games that remain in my collection also.

13. Borderlands

This was one game that I was initially turned-off to, for whatever reason. When I gave it another try though, I found that it is my favorite FPS to come out on the current generation of systems. The reason being is that there is simply so much to do that you can never get bored with it. In getting the platinum, I was having a blast because I felt like I was just trying to complete everything. This is still a game I am earning trophies on due to the DLC, but it is one that I still play often despite it being out for nearly 2 years.

14. Duke Nukem Forever

I am one of the biggest Duke fans I know, and despite all the negative press, I loved Duke Nukem Forever. I even bought the Balls of Steel edition, which had some great stuff to come along with it. Even though this is an easy platinum that doesn't require too much effort, it was still a lot of fun, and I actually play online multiplayer with it whenever I get the occasional Call of Duty craving. Definitely a fun game and a fun platinum to get.

15. Deus Ex: Human Revolution

This is a series of games that I am the biggest fan of out of anyone I know. I still have and play the original game on my laptop, and this prequel was everything I hoped it would be. Getting the platinum was hard, since I didn't manage to get the pacifist and foxiest of the hounds trophies until my third playthrough, but the rest of the trophies were pretty easy. My first playthrough I pretty much did whatever, but my second playthrough was done stealthily, so when I realized that I didn't get the platinum after being almost positive I got those two trophies...I was crushed. I gave it a couple of days and tried it again though, which resulted in success. This is definitely a fun game to platinum, though I wish there were more trophies for people who want to play this game more like an actual shooter. I'm playing through like that now and this game feels totally different...in a good way.

So those are my 20 platinums that I've acquired in the past couple of years. I know that there are easier ones out there, and I know that I'm close on quite a few games, but I have to enjoy what I'm playing before I go after the platinum. I'm a gamer first and a completionist second. Anyways, if you guys want to hit me up, my PSN ID is Nevermourne. Thanks for reading, and have a great day!

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Review

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Hi all.

I don't usually do this, but I haven't done much on Gamespot lately, and so I figured I would do a review of a movie I just recent saw; The Deathly Hallows Part 2. Since this is a two-part film, I will touch on the first somewhat also. I wasn't a huge Harry Potter fan in the beginning, but by about the 3rd or 4th movie I started to appreciate it more for its darker themes and creative atmosphere. The first movie just felt too directed at kids, and for whatever reason I didn't care for the second one for the longest time (which is interesting because now I consider it my second favorite of all the movies). But it just seemed like they made the third movie in a way that made it more interesting to the older viewer, and from then on out I was hooked.

However, with recent movies in the series (pretty much since the Half-Blood Prince), I feel as though the movies haven't been quite up to the caliber that earlier movies were at. Now keep in mind that I have never read the books. I can be a very picky reader, and Rowling's writing style just doesn't appeal to me. But even as a strict movie-goer, I felt like the last 3 movies of the 8 were much more rushed than they should be. Granted I've come to enjoy the Half-Blood Prince, but at the same time it just feels like there is too much going on that doesn't make it on camera. This was especially apparent in the two Deathly Hallows sequels, which tried to cram in so many details and memorable parts that if you blinked you might miss something.

I was not a big fan of the first Deathly Hallows. Call me a thrillseeker, but this film just didn't have the tension and fun of previous entries in the series. In fact, it didn't have much direction at all. It was almost like Lord of the Rings, but they had no idea where to take the ring before they set off to destroy it. Maybe this was the way the story was intended to be, but I, for one, don't want to go to a movie where the main characters have no clue as to what they should be doing for over half of the movie. Once things started, they did get more and more of an idea of what to do, but the constant bickering and Hermione-Harry sexual tension really made this film seem less mature than it should have been. And yes, I knew that Harry and Hermione wouldn't end up together in the end. There have been hints throughout the movies, but a lot of the things that happened in the final book were spoiled for me, which might be some of the reason as to why they didn't make as big of an impact for me.

But anyways, from then on out it was destroying the horcruxes as quickly as possible. They added the bit at the end of the first movie where they get captured by Bellatrix, but this doesn't seem like much of a climax, and rather just comes off as a more exciting way to end the first part, which wasn't all that great to begin with. I knew that when the credits started to roll in the theater and the audience around me groaned loudly that I wasn't the only one who didn't care for Part 1 much at all.

Now we have Part 2. Keep in mind that I will be talking about parts of the movie in detail, so if you don't want it to be spoiled for you, please stop reading. The film opens up and gets the ball rolling right away. If you're like me and you haven't seen Part 1 since it was in theaters, you might have to stop and get your bearings for a moment. You don't have much time to do so, however, as this movie gets flung into a tense action sequence within the first 15 minutes. This part was actually done well, and for a moment I didn't think Harry and his friends were going to make it out of that vault alive. Then after a little bit of running around, we start the final battle between the good and evil wizards on the field of Hogwarts. There are some interesting scenes in here, such as the confrontation between Snape and Harry, and Malfoy finally coming to the realization that he doesn't want to be on the side of Voldemorte anymore.

The movie goes on from here. Everything seems rushed, as nothing feels like it's given enough screen time to really make an impact, whether it be character or event. As the seige continues, we see some memorable minor characters die, and all the while Harry continues to search for the final horcruxes.

It isn't until Harry realizes the last horcrux is Voldemorte's snake that he always keeps with him that this movie gets much better. Harry and friends eavesdrop on the last conversation between Voldemorte and Snape. Long story short, Voldemorte believes that Snape is the owner of the Elder Wand since he killed Dumbledor, the previous owner, and decides to kill Snape so that he can use the wand. As Snape lays there dying, Harry gathers some of his tears, and returns to the castle so that he can see what Snape wanted him to see. Here we see the most dynamic change of view when it comes to a character in the Potter universe, but it makes perfect sense. Granted this was pretty much spoiled for me, but I still felt like it was executed very well, and honestly it was the only great thing about this movie.

Then we see the final confrontation with Voldemorte, where Harry uses the ressurection stone, and the fight goes from there. Once Voldemorte's snake is dead and he fades into the sky, the movie is pretty much over. We get these awkward interactions between some of the main characters, where they just see each other and smile rather than saying stuff like "I'm so happy you're alive!" or, "You made it!" In keeping with this film's incredibly quick speed at trying to fit everything in, this scene fell more flat than any other that made it into the movie. It was like, we know it's over, but no one seems more amazed by how it came to fruition than the movie's crowd. It's as though the characters knew the ending would be what it would be.

The film ends with the main characters nearly two decades into the future sending their children off to Hogwarts. I was fine that they kept the original chracters to play their older selves. They even had clothing and makeup to stress the point. For whatever reason though, Emma Watson just didn't look much older at all. She seriously looked like she was playing dress-up while the others looked like their older selves. I'm not sure if this was her decision or what, but it made this scene comical and hokey instead of being meaningful and giving a sense of closure.

So after briefly going through the movie, I have to say that this movie felt extremely rushed. Everything from the introduction of new characters, to important scenes, to even love interests that you may or may not have noticed as the films progressed all felt like they weren't that important. On top of that, dialogue was something that was extremely lacking in this movie. Going back to where I touched on the ending, there was hardly any dialogue to speak of here. At one point during the final minutes of the movie, Hagrid walks up to Harry and says hello, and just as soon as he does that, he walks off camera, never to be seen again. It's stuff like this that makes this film less natural and tremendously more rushed than it should have been. Some characters didn't have more than a few lines of dialogue throughout the entire movie. Ron Weasley, in particular, who is one of the three most important characters in these movies, had maybe a page of lines to say during the entire movie. That's pretty inexcusable, and pretty pathetic considering he and Hermione are supposed to end up together, and yet Hermione and Harry are constantly teased. This love triangle feels like something out of a bad romantic comedy, and even though Harry is the smart and popular wizard, the girl goes for the innocent, best friend type. This did not play out well at all.

So did I like this last movie? Well, I did and I didn't. The action sequences were fun, learning more about Snape's character really put him in a different light, and I enjoyed the realism of some of the minor characters actually dying instead of this being like Star Wars or Lord of the Rings where just about all the memorable characters live through all the movies. On the other hand, these films felt entirely too rushed. Every character felt minor in this movie except for Harry, Voldemorte, and Snape, to some degree. Moments of awkwardness due to no dialogue dragged this movie down even further. And finally, this film just wasn't the spectacular ending it should have been. I liken this movie to being more like a Michael Bay movie, in that there are explosions and stuff going on, but the substance of the movie is only about the size of a piece of debris tumbling down the side of Hogwarts. Now while I don't think it's THAT bad, I do think that there was a lot left to be explained and emphasized further. And, being part of the minority who doesn't seem to like this movie as much, I'm a little disgusted that the movie-goers are giving this film the thumbs up despite the lack of grounding that it so desperately needs.

I know that this wouldn't have been a popular decision, but I really think that they should have told the Deathly Hallows in a different way from the book. They could have really condensed it down and made it better if there were only four horcruxes to go after. That's just an example, but I honestly think that they could have made this book into a trilogy with all that it had to tell. The problem with that is, no one is going to want to sit through a trilogy where most of it is just Harry and friends running around looking for horcruxes without any direction. On the other hand, maybe they could have just made these two movies longer. I don't think anyone would be disappointed at a 3 or 4-hour long movie as long as it told everything well. This was just a tough book to really convey into movie form without losing some of the audience, in my opinion, so in that respect maybe I should give the filmmakers their due. On the other hand though, this movie just didn't really feel like the end. There were too many loose ends, too many things unexplained or not explained well. As a fan of the movies, I will probably complete my collection with both parts of the Deathly Hallows, but I must say that these were by far the worst of the Harry Potter films.

This film almost feels like it's stuck in limbo when it comes to appealing to audiences. It doesn't have the kid-friendly material to appeal to the younger crowd, but on the same end of things it doesn't have the substance to appeal to the older crowd. This is one of those movies that most people will think is great because of the explosions and things going on, but the problem is, no one is using their brain when it comes to this movie. I loved the other movies in the series because there was always a mystery to solve or an obsticle to overcome. Here it just felt like a much more drawn-out and overly-rushed final chapter to an otherwise great series of stories. I think that if you're a Harry Potter fan, and you've been following the other movies, you should at least enjoy this movie somewhat. But for me, someone who expects a great movie for this franchise to go out with a bang, I was definitely wanting for more long before the credits rolled.

PROS:

- Snape's character is seen in a different light

- Fun battle sequences

CONS:

- Too little substance

- Everything feels rushed

- Nothing feels significant

- Not good enough to feel like an appropriate ending to a decade-long journey

FINAL SCORE: 3 out of 5 stars

Duke Nukem Forever review

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Hey all, just wanted to let you know that my Duke Nukem Forever review is up. I hope that any of you that are considering buying this game will read through my review first. I have played Duke's games since his side-scrolling days on DOS, and so I think I have a pretty good viewpoint when it comes to reviewing this game versus the other sites out there. I tried to be pretty fair, but I'll admit I was slightly biased. Anyways...hope this helps anyone who is considering buying this game or who might have been turned off by the reviews of others. Thanks, and have a great day.

http://www.gamespot.com/ps3/action/duke-nukem-forever/player_review.html?id=768013&tag=all-about%3Breview1

L.A. Noire Review

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Hey all, I just finished L.A. Noire and did my review on it. It's pretty in depth, so if you're thinking about getting it, please take a few minutes to check it out. Thanks!

http://www.gamespot.com/ps3/adventure/lanoire/player_review.html?id=765223

EA: No More; RPGs S U C K nowadays (way to censor me, Gamespot)

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So I've come to the conclusion today that I will no longer be purchasing games from EA. This has been building for awhile for me, but they just don't produce great games anymore. Everything they release is all about commercialism and lacks the substance to truly be considered a great game. The three most recent examples I can come up with are Bulletstorm, Dragon Age 2, and Crysis 2. I rented all three of these games recently, and I was disappointed with all three (granted I never played the first Crysis, so I wasn't really sure what I was getting into).

Bulletstorm was probably the best of the three. It was a fun shooter at first, but the repetitive ways of killing people instead of filling someone full of bullets (like a FPS should be) made it not as fun. Then there was Dragon Age 2. I was a huge fan of the first, so when I played the demo and realized it was more hack 'n slash combat, I was like..."wtf? Okay..." While this was fine for me, being as that I like just about all RPGs of every walk of life, it was just too easy. Dragon Age, like many Bioware RPGs of the past, was all about character development, and seeing the satisfaction of building an individual in the image you want both in combat and in personality. Dragon Age 2 opted to go the route of Mass Effect 2 by making the experience so easy and simplified that it feels like you're playing Heavy Rain with a few combat sequences here and there.

Not to go off on a tangent, but whatever happened to RPGs in general? It's like everything has become so simplified that you hardly have to look at your inventory or skill tree anymore since the game configures everything for you. I'm here to play an RPG, not a hybrid action game/movie. Does anyone remember how fun Neverwinter Nights was? That's how an RPG should be. Same with the first 10 Final Fantasy games (Granted I really liked 13, but I will admit that it has the taint of modern day RPGs). The dialogue is great, but so should the combat be as well. It shouldn't just be button mashing to the max. If I wanted that I'd play God of War. Bioware seriously needs to get out of the umbrella of EA, because until they do, I won't buy their so-called RPGs ever again. Maybe this is just a sign of the times, and we won't ever get great RPGs like there used to be. If that's the case, I'm glad I still have great ones like Neverwinter Nights, Baldur's Gate 1 and 2, most of the older Final Fantasy games, Dragon Age 1, the Fallout games, and Oblivion. Speaking of the last two, those were probably the last great RPGs of the modern era to come out along with Dragon Age: Origins. But I'm scared, very scared, that Skyrim is going to be a supreme disappointment with the way things are going these days. I sincerely hope that Elder Scrolls V breathes new life into this genre, because it definitely needs it.

Anyways, back to my EA rant. The most recent game I rented was Crysis 2. Again, I wasn't really sure what I was getting into, but two things hit me after playing this game for 10 minutes: the graphics are beautiful, but the combat is not where it should be. I get the feeling that this game is supposed to be a tactical FPS, but instead I feel like it's just sneaking past all the bad guys and having a handicap in the form of a shield during combat. This isn't what a FPS should be. Not to mention that the graphics were so beautiful and detailed that I had a hard time finding enemies amongst all the debris and objects in the world. Maybe the developers wanted it this way, but I just didn't like it at all. Part of the reason I'm going off on this game most of all is because I don't plan on doing a review, since I know I'll just be bashed for not conforming to the masses who let these sub-par games slide.

So with those 3 examples in mind, I am done with EA. I will never rent nor buy anything from them again. The only thing I might still invest in is Rock Band 3, which is a favorite of mine, and I always seem to play a few times every month no matter what I'm stuck on at the time. I'm just happy that we still have great developers out there like Blizzard, Ubisoft, THQ, Atlus, Nintendo, Sony, and even Rockstar, who despite getting a bit stale over the years, does make consistantly good games. Hopefully I can soon add Microsoft and Square Enix back to that list, but we'll see. EA has just totally sold out with what they're doing, and only cares about releasing tons of games rather than good quality games. Just look at Dead Space 2. Just look at Need For Speed: Hot Pursuit. Just look at Mass Effect 2. And I'm talking presentation aside. When it gets down to the nitty gritty, these games are subpar in terms of gameplay. EA was great once, but in the past couple of years I've just found that I can't tolerate their crappy games anymore, and I encourage all of you to follow suit. The more money and support we give them, the more they think it will be okay to just release subpar games. And don't kid yourselves, graphics aren't everything. Why do you think Disgaea has been such a long-running franchise? Or why people still play games like Diablo 2 and World of Warcraft religiously?

Anyways, that's all I wanted to say. I hope anyone reading this takes into consideration what I had to say. All comments are welcome, and will be replied to.

Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Season 7 Review

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Hey guys, sorry it's been awhile on this one. I just switched computers and now I actually have a working spacebar (yay).

So I just finished season 7 of DS9 this past weekend, and I have a lot to say reguarding the last season. First off, I thought it was very good and very bad at the same time. The first half of the season being the bad, the second half being the good. The first half bothered me because they knew that this show was nearing its end, and yet we have to sit here and watch episodes that could have just as easily been thrown into other seasons. Until the final dozen or so episodes of the season, this felt just like any other season of the show. I almost forgot the Dominon War was going on though, as there wasn't much on it aside from the episode, Siege of AR-558, until the final few episodes. I also had a lot of criticisms reguarding Ezri's character, and how much she was focused on early in the season despite supposedly carrying on Dax's character. While in the end I think having her take Jadzia's place was a good thing, I felt like the entire first half of this season was devoted to her and Vic from the holosuite. The other main characters like Sisko, Kira, Odo, O'Brian, and Bashir were just shoved in the background while those two had a ton of episodes devoted to them. At least, that's what it seemed like.

But as lame as the first half of this season was, the second half more than made up for it. The last 9 or 10 episodes took advantage of what made DS9 so compelling in earlier seasons, which was to make them flow together as a whole and become must-see episodes. Why they didn't do this more often in the later seasons still leaves me scratching my head. I think that isolated episodes here and there are good, but between the territory that TNG covered and what Voyager was doing with their show, DS9 would have really stood out more, I think, if they made more episodes like that. Still, these episodes leading up the finale were supremely well done, and outshined those of the earlier part of the season quite a bit.

Overall I would say that this was my second favorite season, just based on the strength of the final episodes. I watched a lot of the extra features, and I have to agree with the producers on this show that it would have greatly benefitted from at least one more season. Ezri, Sloan, and Vic only ended up being on the show for a cup of coffee, and that's about it. It would have been nice to see the aftermath of the Dominion War, or maybe even have it stretched out so that the Breen would be more significant. Still, this was a great ending to a wonderful series, and I hated to be done with it. I seriously felt a little depressed for a day or two after I finished it. I can't wait to go back through it with my fiance though. She's a fan of the first two Star Trek shows, but is just now getting into DS9. Hopefully it won't be too long before I get to relive this great show again.

Anyways, on to my reviews for the episodes:

- Image in the Sand: We rejoin the crew on DS9 a few months later. The wormhole is still closed, Sisko and Jake are still on Earth, but Kira has been promoted to Colonel and is now running the station. A new group of Romulans want to make their presence known on the station. While things start out well, Kira becomes hostile when Bajor learns of the Romulans keeping weapons on their newly set-up hospital orbiting the planet. Meanwhile Sisko starts to receive visions from the prophets about a strange woman who he later finds out is his mother (thus clearing up the fact that they keep telling him he is "of Bajor"). He plans to set off and find the last orb of the Prophets. The episode concludes with Ezri Dax making her debut on the show. Pretty good episode. - 2/5

- Shadows and Symbols: Kira plans to take a military stance against the Romulans while Sisko searches for the lost orb. The Pah'Wraiths try to deter him from his course, making him believe that the whole idea of Deep Space Nine is a story in his head while in a mental hospital. Ezri helps him come to his senses, and Sisko re-opens the wormhole. This inspires the admiral on DS9 to order the Romulans to stand down their course for Bajor. Another okay episode. - 2/5

- Afterimage: This is the kind of episode they should have had for Worf when he came on the show. This was basically the growing pains episode involving Ezri. She struggles to find her place amongst the crew of DS9, and eventually decides to leave until Worf says that she should stay if she wants to. Sisko gives her the position of ship's counselor, and her first duty is to help Garrak get over his claustrophobia. Between doing that and receiving Worf's acceptance, she decides to stay on board. This was a good episode, and really the only one they needed to do for awhile to define and incorporate Ezri's chracter into the crew. Sadly, she ended up having more on-screen time in the first half of this season than just about anyone else. - 3.5/5

- Take Me Out to the Holosuite: A personal favorite of mine. Sisko is challenged by an old rival Vulcan of his to a baseball game; his crew vs theirs. While Sisko's crew knows hardly anything about the game, he takes the time to train them. Some pick up on it, some don't. Sisko takes it very seriously until he himself gets thrown out of the actual game. While the Vulcans ended up winning by a landslide, Sisko and crew rejoiced that they actually got a run on the Vulcans, and Rom was the one to do it. I may rate this a bit high, but I really enjoyed this episode. - 4.5/5

- Chrysalis: Much like the first episode with the genetically enhanced patients Doctor Bashir had, this was a very forgettable episode. Bashir falls for one of them, but ultimately gives her up. I forget why, but I just didn't care for this episode at all. - .5/5

- Treachery, Faith, and the Great River: Weird name for an episode, if you ask me. Odo picks up one of the Wey'Un Vortas who wishes to defect to the Federation. Odo eventually gets cornered in his runabout and the Wey'Un sacrifices himself to save Odo. Meanwhile Nog goes through some complicated means in acquiring something O'Brian needs. This gets out of hand when he borrows things without asking. Overall an okay episode. - 2/5

- Once More Unto the Breach: Worf's friend, Kor, wants to join the Klingon fleet in attacking the Dominion. Due to some past history with Kor and Martok, Martok is reluctant to have him join, but appoints him third officer. The crew begins to praise Kor for his stories of battles past, but when the time comes and Kor takes command, he shows just how delusional and power-hungry he has become. When Worf is assigned a suicide mission to hold off the Dominion forces from catching up to the Klingon fleet, Kor goes in his place. A pretty good episode. - 2/5

- The Siege of AR-558: The Defiant's crew comes to strengthen the lines of a very important outpost being defended by the Federation. The current officers stationed there are hostile and under a great deal of physical and mental stress. Nog ends up losing his leg in this episode after being shot by a Jem'Hadar. After a final battle between the Federation and Jem'Hadar, reinforcements arrive with more supplies and troops to relieve those already there. I didn't care for this episode much, and felt like there could have been more here. - 1/5

- Covenant: Kira is kidnapped and taken to Tarrak Nor, the sister station of DS9, where Gul'Dukat now leads the cult of Bajorans that follow the Pah'Wraiths. He is soon exposed, however, and his followers turn against him after he tries to have them all commit ritualistic suicide except himself. His followers also became suspicious once one of the Bajoran women on the station gave birth to a half Bajoran-half Cardassian. Kira returns to the station once the Bajorans come to their senses and go back to Bajor to await their sentences. This was a good episode. - 3/5

- It's Only a Paper Moon: Nog returns with his new leg, and is hostile when everyone tries to bring it up or act nicely to him. He ends up escaping to the holosuite, where he and Vic begin building an empire of night clubs within the holosuite. Eventually even Vic realizes that Nog needs to rejoin reality and face the facts that his leg isn't that bad. I actually really enjoyed this one, if it was a bit on the irrelevant side of the series. - 4/5

- Prodigal Daughter: A pretty pointless episode where Ezri goes to rescue O'Brian after he is captured by the Orion Syndicate on Trill. She learns that her family has been working with the Syndicate and realizes that her family is no longer what she thought it was. - 1.5/5

- The Emperor's New Cloak: The final episode of the mirror universe where Quark and Rom must cross over with a cloaking device in order to save Nagus Zek. The mirror Ezri eventually sympathizes with them once she realizes they will be put to death, and helps them escape. An okay episode. - 2.5/5

- Field of Fire: A good episode despite involving Ezri a great deal. She is supposed to investigate a murder, and in order to do so she starts associating with her past host who was once a murderer. The two work together to capture the criminal. I enjoyed this one. - 3/5

- Chimera: Odo discovers another lost shapeshifter like himself. This one, like many other shapeshifters, is very arrogant towards humans, and eventually is to stand trial for killing a Klingon in self defense. Odo breaks him out, but before traveling the galaxy with this other changeling, he decides to stay on DS9 with Kira. This episode was okay. - 2/5

- Badda-Bing Badda-Bang: Vic's holosuite program changes suddenly to a mafia-owned night club, and the crew of DS9 help him to rid the bar of the mafia. Apparently his program was designed with a "Jack in the Box" effect, which would change things up periodically. Sisko also goes into the holosuite for the first time after the crew convinces him how much Vic means to them. This was a pretty good episode, but could have been better. - 2.5/5

- Inter Arma Enim Silent Legas: Sloan from Section 31 returns to recruit Bashir into an undercover mission, where he plans on killing a major Romulan figure. I really enjoyed this episode, and this is a perfect example of what great episodes there could have been had this show had another season. - 4.5/5

- Penumbra: This episode marks the beginning of the end. Ezri goes in search of Worf after he is lost in the Badlands. The two confess their attraction for each other, but are captured by the Breen. Sisko also proposes to Kasidy. A good episode. - 3/5

- Til Death Do Us Part: Worf and Ezri remain captured by the Breen, who subject them to psychological torture. During this time, Ezri unknowingly tells Worf that she is attracted to Dr. Bashir. He becomes upset by this, but by the end of the episode we find out she is confused and isn't really sure if she wants to be with Bashir or Worf. Sisko also breaks off his marriage when he receives a message from the Prophets that he will know only sorrow if it goes forward (speaking of which, why didn't this ever play out since they DID get married?). He eventually defies the prophets and marries Kasidy. Dukat arrives on the station disguised as a Bajoran to meet with Kai Winn. He claims that he is a farmer from Bajor, and the two believe that their destinies brought them together. A good episode. - 3/5

- Strange Bedfellows: Worf and Ezri are brought to Cardassia, where we find out that the Breen are the newest members of the Dominion. The Cardassians start to become uneasy with the back seat they've taken to the Breen in the eyes of the Founders. Damar eventually releases Worf and Ezri, and tells them that they want help from the Federation. Meanwhile, Winn becomes much more intimate with Dukat, and her advisors start to worry about her safety. Dukat reveals to Winn that he is a follower of the Pah'Wraiths, and after convincing her that the Prophets don't care about her at all, she reluctantly decides to embrace the Pah'Wraiths as the true gods of Bajor. This episode was pretty good also, especially seeing Kai Winn's change of heart.. - 3.5/5

- The Changing Face of Evil: This episode starts off with the Breen successfully attacking Earth, but are eventually repeled by those stationed there. Tensions arise, and eventually there is a huge battle for the Chin'Toka system, the last Federation territory in enemy space. The Federation alliance suffers a big defeat, and Sisko loses the Defiant. Meanwhile Dukat and Winn return to Bajor to start researching how to unleash the Pah'Wraiths. After accidentally killing one of her advisors, the blood of the dead Bajoran spills onto the book of the Pah'Wraiths, and reveals the hidden writing within. The episode ends with Damar broadcasting a message that Cardassia wants to be free from the Dominion once more. Great episode. - 4/5

- When it Rains...: O'Brian realizes that one of the Klingon ships that survived the battle for the Chin'Toka system was programmed in a special way that made it immune from Breen weapons. Although this change could only happen with Klingon ships, it gives the alliance an edge they were looking for. Kira and Odo are sent on an undercover mission to Cardassia to aid Damar and his resistance. Kira is given the field rank of commander by the Federation for this mission. Bashir also discovers that Odo is infected with the same terminal disease that the Founders have. Martok is also inducted into the Order of Kahless by Gowron, who proceeds to send him on missions where he will be extremely outnumbered. An okay episode amongst the bunch. - 3/5

- Tacking into the Wind: Kira, Damar, and the rebels infiltrate a Dominion ship to steal the secrets of Breen weapon technology. One of Damar's assistants tries to kill Kira and Odo, but Damar kills him, thus signifying that the old, xenophobic Cardassia is gone, and that a new, Federation-friendly one will be born. Meanwhile Bashir and O'Brian work on a cure for Odo's disease, but once one cannot be found, Bashir realizes that this must be the work of the Federation, namely Section 31. They must have infected him so that he could pass on the disease to the Founders. The two plan on luring Section 31 to the station after sending Starfleet a message that they found a cure for Odo. Then Dukat tries to read the secrets of the Pah'Wraiths himself, and is punished by being cursed with blindness. Winn sends him out into the streets until he recover his eyesight. Also, Worf grows tired of Gowron sending himself and Martok into battles with insurmountable odds, and fights him to the death. When Worf is proclaimed Chancellor, he passes the honor onto Martok. A great episode. - 4/5

- Extreme Measures: Sloan is lured to the ship by Bashir and O'Brian. When the two try to extract the secret of the cure from his brain, Sloan activates a self-killing mechanism. Bashir and O'Brian must then enter his mind to find the secret themselves. After being run around by Sloan's well-trained mind, they find the portion of his mind that holds all of his secrets, including those about Section 31, other races, and other Federation secrets. When Bashir tries to stay behind and learn everything, O'Brian is the voice of reason, telling him that they need to leave before Sloan dies and takes them with him. Odo is cured, and the war continues. Great episode. - 4/5

- The Dogs of War: Kira, Damar, Garrak, and the rest of the Cardassian resistance are lured to Cardassia when they hear about a good portion of the Cardassian military wanting to join them, but it is a trap and Kira, Damar, and Garrak are stranded on the planet. They take refuge in the home of one of Garrak's oldest and most dearest friends for the time being. After bombing some major military installations, Damar broadcasts that he is indeed alive, and asks the citizens of Cardassia to rise up and rebel. Meanwhile, the Female Founder orders the erradication of all Cardassia in response. Also, after realizing that the Federation now holds the secrets to overcoming the Breen weaponry, she orders a retreat to Cardassian space in order for her ships to rebuild and ready for another offensive. Once realizing this, Sisko and the rest of the alliance plan one last attack in hopes of crippling the Dominion for good. Dukat also returns to Winn's office after recovering his eyesight, and the two continue their mission of setting free the Pah'Wraiths. Finally, Rom is given the role as new Grand Nagus of the Ferengi Alliance, while Zek and Ishka retire to Risa. Oh yeah, and Bashir and Ezri finally confess their love for each other, and Worf is okay with it. Another great episode in this series. - 4/5

- What You Leave Behind: The final episode that is also the length of two episodes combined. The episode beings with the iminate battle between the Federation Alliance and the Dominion. Between that and the infiltration of Dominion headquarters by Kira, Damar, and Garrak, the war starts to come to a close. The Cardassian ships switch sides midway through the battle, and the Cardassian guards at Dominion HQ join the resistance once Damar has died during the infiltration process. The Federation Alliance fleet wins their battle, and Kira's resistance kills the last Wey'un clone and the rest of the Jem'Hadar at Dominion HQ. Odo beams down to link with the Female Changeling, thus curing her and having her call off the rest of the Dominion forces. The two sides sign a treaty and the war is over.

In the second half, we see Dukat and Winn go into the fire caves to awaken the Pah'Wraiths. Once they reach the center of the caves, they celebrate with wine that Winn has poisoned. Dukat dies, but is soon ressurected by the Pah'Wraiths. Meanwhile the crew of DS9 celebrates one last time at Vic's in the holosuite before they all go their separate ways now that the war is over. During this time, Sisko receives a vision and realizes that his role as Emmissary is at hand. He goes into the fire caves of Bajor to meet up with Dukat and Winn. Now possessed by the Pah'Wraiths, Dukat attacks and holds Sisko in his grasp. Winn tells Sisko to destroy the book of the Pah'Wraiths, and the Pah'Wraiths then set fire to her body. Sisko, Dukat, and the book are flung into the fiery pits before Sisko is saved by the Prophets. They tell him, however, that his place is now with them in the Celestial Temple. Everyone on DS9 is alarmed when they can't locate Sisko until Kasidy receives a vision from him. Shortly thereafter, we see the crew go their separate ways. O'Brian goes to teach at Starfleet Academy, Worf becomes an ambassador between the Federation and the Klingons, Odo returns to his people to teach them about the races they are now at peace with, and the rest remain on DS9 with Kira in command. That's how the show ends, and what an ending it was. - 5/5

I'll admit that when I saw the final episode before I didn't like how it ended, but after watching the rest of the series, it made more sense for Sisko to end up where he did. I had a lot of fun watching this series and plan on doing so again soon. Thanks to all who enjoyed reading my reviews for this show. Perhaps I'll do them with another show again in the future. Until then, stay tuned for my usual PS3 reviews.

Star Trek DS9 Season 6 Review

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Hey all, back with the review for season 6 of Deep Space Nine. This was a bittersweet season for me. On one hand you seen the Federation rise once again to gain the advantage during the Dominion War. On the other hand, I had some trouble adjusting to Bashir's change of character and the growing trend for episodes ending abruptly and into a black screen. Voyager is known for episodes being like that, and DS9 started to have the same trend here. Thankfully it doesn't happen for too long, but it can feel a little disappointing for a good story to be concluded and sent into closing credits in under a minute. And as for Bashir's character, I really miss the happy-go-lucky, talkative doctor of the early seasons. Now we have a character who almost feels like the obligatory Spock-like character. Well, maybe not that bad, but I didn't care for his change of character. Episode quality is good and bad, but mostly on the good side. Overall this is probably the best season so far, despite the minor annoyances. Anyways, let's break down the episodes.

- A Time to Stand: 3 months have passed since Sisko and crew left the station. They are tasked with destroying the stocking station for the white drug the Jem'Hadar live off of. In order to do so, they sneak past enemy lines in the Dominion ship they recovered in season 5. Meanwhile Quark, Kira, Odo, and Jake get used to living on a Cardassian/Dominion-occupied DS9. Pretty good episode. - 2.5/5

- Rocks and Shoals: Sisko's crew crash land on a planet where the Jem'Hadar are also looking for them. Their Vorta strikes a deal with Sisko to kill the Jem'Hadar under his command in exchange for receiving a telecommunications device since he is out of the white drug for his soldiers. Sisko refuses until it comes down to either his crew or them. Meanwhile Kira starts to become very comfortable with the Cardassian occupation, but pulls herself away once she realizes what is happening. Okay episode. - 2/5

- Sons and Daughters: Worf deals with his son, Alexander, who has enlisted to serve on General Martok's ship without learning the ways of the warrior. Meanwhile on DS9, Gul Dukat's daughter, Ziyal, tries to bring Kira and Dukat together, but the two ultimately realize that is impossible. Good episode. - 3/5

- Behind the Lines: Sisko is stationed on a space station to help an admiral makes plans for the war while Dax commands the Defiant. Sisko starts to miss his old command. Meanwhile the resistance that Kira and Odo have formed starts to make things sour between the Jem'Hadar and the Cardassians. They find out that the Cardassians have figured out a way to disable the mine field and clear the worm hole for the rest of the Dominion reinforcements to get through. The resistance arranges to sabatoge the operation, but Odo doesn't follow through with his part, as he is linked with the lead Founder. When Kira furiously asks him about why he didn't follow through, he simply says that it doesn't matter anymore. Rom is put into prison for the time being. This was a good one. - 3.5/5

- Favor the Bold: Part 1 of 2. Kira's resistance gets a message to Sisko about the Cardassians' plan to clear the worm hole, and they plan an assault. Meanwhile Odo is struggling to maintain his loyalties with Kira while he is linked with the rest of the Founders. Pretty good episode. 2.5/5

- Sacrifice of Angels: Part 2 of 2. The Federation and Dominion collide, with the Klingons as reinforcements. The Cardassians clear the worm hole just before Sisko reaches the station, and so he goes into the worm hole and talks to the Pophets about saving Bajor. They agree to do so, but say that it is a debt that will be repayed sometime later. As the Cardassians try to evacuate, Ziyal is shot, and Dukat loses his mind between that and losing DS9 back to the Federation. This was a good conclusion to the past few episodes. 3.5/5

- You are Cordially Invited...: The time for Worf and Jadzia's wedding has finally come. Jadzia must pass some trials from Martok's wife in order to be accepted into their house. Meanwhile Worf and his closest friends must fast for 4 days and compete in a number of trials that push themselves to their limit. We see a traditional Klingon wedding for the first time in this great episode also. - 4.5/5

- Ressurection: Vedek Bareil's alternate universe counterpart visits the station and woos Kira as he claims to want to be more religious since he never was in his universe. The plan is eventually revealed that he is there to steal a tear of the Prophets and bring it back to his side with the help of the mirror Kira. Kira eventually stops them both, and Bareil realizes the error of his ways. This was an okay episode, but nothing special. - 1.5/5

- Statistical Probabilities: To be honest, I didn't put forth my full attention to this episode, but from just listening to the dialogue I wasn't too impressed. Bashir is supposed to help some fellow genetically engineered people back into society, but they eventually become a club of people who believe they are far more intelligent than others. They also realize that the Federation has a poor chance of winning the war, and decide to convince Sisko to surrender. Eventually Bashir realizes the error of his ways and everything returns to normal. Nothing special here. - 1/5

- The Magnificent Ferengi: This was one of the more humourous episodes of the entire series. Quark and Rom's mother is captured by the Dominion, so they get together a team of Ferengi to rescue her. Although they are all scared to death of the Jem'Hadar, they go through with the mission anyway. What ensues is a very slapstick-filled, tongue-in-cheek adventure as Quark and his fellow Ferengi defy the odds in getting his mother back. Iggy Pop also guest stars in this one. - 4/5

- Waltz: Sisko goes to visit Dukat, who is slowly recovering from his insanity. The ship they are on crashes, however, and Dukat helps Sisko recover and sets up a distress signal. Sisko eventually realizes that the signal wasn't turned on in the first place, and that Dukat is very much delusional. Weak and with a broken arm, Sisko must cope with his old enemy, who is more dangerous and unpredictable than ever. This wasn't quite as good as it could have been, but it was an entertaining episode nonetheless. - 3.5/5

- Who Mourns for Morn?: Morn is found dead, and the whole crew is saddened. Quark is the sole person that Morn left his assets to, and he soon finds out that recovering all of his assets is much more difficult than he thought it would be. This was a pretty fun episode. - 3.5/5

- Far Beyond the Stars: Sisko imagines himself as a newspaper writer on 20th century Earth. He wants to write science fiction stories, but his editor doesn't want to publish such good stories from a black person. Another episode obviously engineered by Avery Brooks, who seems intrigued by the problems of racism. A pretty good episode for what it is. - 2.5/5

- One Little Ship: The Defiant schedules an experiment that turns a runabout with O'Brian, Dax, and Bashir on board to the size of a fly. Meanwhile the Jem'Hadar gain control of the Defiant, and only the bite-sized runabout can save the day. Good idea for an episode, but wasn't carried out to its full potential. - 2/5

- Honor Among Thieves: O'Brian goes undercover within the Orion Syndicate to figure out who their mole is in starfleet. Eventually O'Brian sympathizes with his superior, who he also becomes friends with. When the time comes for a trap to be sprung and for him to die, O'Brian tells him the truth and tries to stop him, but to no avail. A good episode. - 3.5/5

- Change of Heart: Dax and Worf go to meet a defector from Cardassia, but Dax becomes critically injured. Rather than meet up with the defector, Worf saves his dying wife and the defector is captured and killed. Worf is told when he returns to DS9 that he will probably never become a captain after what he has done, although Sisko says that he would have done the same thing in his place. This one was pretty good, especially due to the dialogue between Worf and Jadzia. - 3.5/5

- Wrongs Darker than Death or Night: Dukat contacts Kira on the eve of her mother's birthday and claims that she was his mistress for quite some time. Obsessed with knowing the truth, Kira goes back in time to observe her mother. To her dismay she finds out that she actually did fall for Dukat, and was his mistress during all of the occupation. Kira is enraged and tries to kill her, but decides to save her at the last second. She may disagree with her actions, but she was still her mother. Pretty good episode. - 2.5/5

- Inquisition: Bashir is accused of being a brainwashed Dominion spy. We meet Sloan in this episode, the mysterious figure from Section 31. He tries to recruit Bashir into their organization, but Bashir turns him down. Sisko orders Bashir to take Sloan up on his offer, should he ever return... - 4/5

- In the Pale Moonlight: Sisko enlists Garrak's help in dragging the Romulans into the war after he realizes just how bad the war is going for the Federation. Although Garrak's plans don't seem entirely clear to Sisko at first, he follows through with it. Eventually a Romulan senator is killed, and Sisko is furious that Garrak made it happen. Sisko admits to himself at the end of this episode that he can live with something like this, even though he recognizes how dishonorable it is. This was a great episode, and never gets old. - 4.5/5

- His Way: Bashir introduces members of the crew to Vic, a lounge singer on the holodeck who knows he's a hologram. After revealing how great he is with relationships, Odo enlists his help in winning Kira over. Eventually after helping Odo come out of his shell, Vic gets them both to come to the holosuite under the guise that Kira is a hologram, when in fact she isn't. Once they realize this, Odo storms out on their date. Kira confronts him shortly thereafter, and the two exchange their first kiss. We finally see this relationship come full circle in a great episode. - 4.5/5

- The Reckoning: Sisko is shown an ancient tablet on Bajor. Once studied, they find out that something called The Reckoning is upon them. They discover that this is a battle between the Prophets and the fallen gods, where Bajor will either experience a golden age or face death and destruction depending on who wins. Their battle is decided to take place on the station, where Kira's body is inhabited by the Prophets and Jake's body by the fallen gods. As they battle, Sisko stands idley by. In a totally uncharacteristic move, Kai Winn floods the promenade with radiation, causing both forces to leave their hosts' bodies. Sisko was perfectly fine with his son dying in this cause, but Winn interfered, and has lost a lot of respect for preventing Bajor to enter a golden age. Overall this was a good episode, but you have to question the morals of Sisko and Winn here. - 2.5/5

- Valiant: Nog and Jake come under attack while leaving a starbase, but are saved by the Defiant's sister ship, the Valiant. They discover that Red Squad has assumed control of the ship after their captain died. Although they can only travel at warp 3, they plan on carrying out the rest of their mission. Jake recognizes how power hungry the captain is, but Nog is blinded by the fact that he is part of Red Squad now. The ship tries to take down a Jem'Hadar command ship, but gets destroyed in the process. Jake and Nog escape via escape pod, and are recovered by the Defiant. Didn't care for this episode much. - 1.5/5

- Profit and Lace: Quark goes undercover as a female Ferengi when Zek's rule as Grand Nagus is challenged. Not the best episode with the Ferengi, but an alright one. - 2/5

- Time's Orphan: A very emotional episode where O'Brian's daughter, Molly, falls into a portal on Bajor that sends her back in time 300 years. The crew manages to bring her back, but at the age of 18. O'Brian and Keiko struggle to help Molly adapt to society, but to no avail. Eventually they decide that the best thing for her would be to go back through the portal. When she does, she materializes when Molly first went through, and sends her 8-year old self back through, thus erasing the older Molly's life and returning the younger Molly to her parents. This was a very emotional episode with a happy ending. - 4/5

- The Sound of Her Voice: The Defiant responds to a distress call on a planet hours away of a stranded commander who is dying of carbon dioxide poisoning. Eventually all of the crew grows closer to her, and thinks of her as a close friend. When they reach her, however, they realize that there is an anomoly that was allowing them to send and receive signals through to the past. They find the commander's body dead for over 100 years. A pretty good episode, if a little on the pointless side. - 2.5/5

- Tears of the Prophets: Sisko is scheduled to lead a full assault on Cardassia, but the prophets show him a vision saying that it is dangerous and that he shouldn't go. When he goes to the admiral about this, the admiral gives him an ultimatum to decide between being a captain or the emissary. Sisko goes ahead with the mission, but they suffer heavy losses after taking down the defensive systems set up by the Cardassians. Meanwhile, Dukat shows up again on Cardassia with an idea to tip the war in their favor. He unleashes one of the fallen gods from an artifact recovered during the occupation that possesses him. He then shows up on DS9, attacks and kills Jadzia Dax, and destroys the tear of the prophets kept on the station. As a result, the worm hole seals itself shut. The crew is saddned by Jadzia's death, but the Dax symbiote is sent back to Trill. Sisko, who has lost nearly all hope, goes on leave with Jake back to Earth. Kira is saddened by the fact that he takes his baseball, meaning that Sisko isn't sure he will ever return. A good season finale. - 3/5

Stay tuned for the final season, season seven.

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