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WildStar Beta Initial Takes

Posted by blcksb on March 22, 2014 at 4:40 AM Comments comments (0)

So after several hours, my initial reactions to WildStar through the beta are: Mixed but overall positive.

 

There are some obvious flaws in the game that most new MMO's experience. The big one is bad server lag. I simply think stress testing will fix most of the problems and its not like ESO bad which was atrocious, but its enough to have me disconnected several times but quickly back in.

 

2. Some quests have a tendency to either not spawn mobs, or a specific kill target won't spawn in until a relog, again some minor fixing and it should be fine, but the big one is just turning in a quest and it won't turn in, It's happened several times but again a relog fixes it. Quests are standard MMO fair, Pick it up, Go Kill X amount of X/Collect Y amount of Y, Turn in, get rewards.

 

3. The path system the game utilizes, I am a Spellslinger Explorer and unfortunately there does not seem to be the places where you are supposed to place beacons, or flares or so on and no relogs fixed this which implies that while the foundation of the Explorer path is there, its not actually finished, im not sure about the other 3 which are Soldier, Settler, and Scientist (heh all S's) so my knowledge on them is a moot point. BUT it is really fun and keeps the player engaged more in the world.

 

4. There is NO graphical optimization, I am not running the all time greatest rig but when its giving me 5 FPS in a zone with little to no mobs walking around, ya got a problem that not even FFXIV:ARR gave me. Hell ESO didnt even give me that bad of a Frame rate, Carbine have said they are working on optimization features for Nvidia and AMD cards and drivers but said those are a bit off, so at the moment the game possesses frame rate problems.

 

Now for a few positives as the negatives are more or less fixable and are being adressed, along with the 2.0 UI

 

5. Character customization is pretty in depth, I think some of the presets need work but overall its pretty good. But the presets are good for altering what basic look you want, its not Skyrim depth but its good for the discerning person who wants a bit more unique approach unlike WoW does.

 

6. The combat, OH this is fun! Now some may not like the telegraph system BUT! They can be turned off and its fun, I think I havent had this much fun with combat since ESO, which possibly its the best MMO combat system. The combat is heavy on dodging and movement and it keeps it exciting, stand in an enemy telegraph and dont move? Your gonna take a fuckload of damage. Stand in fire literally will kill you in this even worse than WoW.

 

7. I honestly like the cartoony graphics, it adds character in an age of blur and realism trumping what games are, escapist art. The color palette is amazing, it seems they've gone for every color within the known spectrum and did it right.

 

8. The choice of races are really good, although I have a gripe with the Exile Humans and Cassians, Cassians are Human, they are The Dominion's Human, Exiles have humans, I do not KNOW the reasoning for this but still. The Exiles have the aforementioned humans, Mordresh: A race of scientists with a disease called The Contagion that is rotting their flesh off, Aurin: A small race of forest dwellers whose homeworld was ravaged by the Dominion. Granok: A race of rock people who like to drink.

The Dominion has the stated Cassians, Mechari: Created by the lost Eldan race they help the Cassians control the Dominion with an iron fist instilled by the Eldar, Draken: A savage feral race of manbeasts that the Dominion uses as frontline troops, and The Chuah: A small rabbit like race of insane sociopathic psychotic inventors who blow stuff up. Each race can choose from the classes, some such as the Aurin can't be certain classes, but there is no stat bonus for choosing one race over another, just a class base.

 

9. The game has a nice variety of skills and support for all classes, every class can do two of the 3 roles, Tank, DPS or Heal. Warriors can Tank or DPS and use giant swords and an arm blaster, Spellslingers can Heal or do DPS with magically enhanced magpistols, Espers can Heal or DPS with their psychic powers, Medic can (of course) heal or DPS but use their paddles to deal damage or heal, Stalker which can tank or DPS and use two fist weapons with fast savage strikes, and the Engineer which can Tank or DPS with ranged weapons and robots they create.

 

10. The world is fully pervasive, I noticed while in a quest that required me to take out some Dominion anti-air cannons (I chose an Exile Human Spellslinger) I logged out to grab a drink and the cannons I took out were still destroyed, and some places I blew up were still destroyed, this adds a layer of more fun which says "You kicked the Dominions ass? WAY TO GO! Look at the carnage!"

 

11. The announcer who yells swear words whenever you gain a level.

 

12. While the game is a bit serious, it possesses a great amount of humor once you get off the starting area which is a ship for the Exiles.

 

Overall with some fixes I think WildStar will be successful, unfortunately in this day of MMO overload with WoW still the dominant market share, there are some MMO's that do retain a sense of adventure and wonder. FFXIV got me out of my MMO slump, and with over 2 million players its quickly gaining fast especially since the relaunch, and as long as WildStar's developer Carbine keeps to their code (being the 17 man studio are all ex-Blizzard lead Vanilla WoW and BC designers) it should be good, also the introduction of 40 man raiding will be fun again. Also the game is no longer under NDA so I can post this information and this photo of Cadeyrn, my Spellslinger!



Top Albums of 2013

Posted by blcksb on December 17, 2013 at 2:45 AM Comments comments (0)

Well its that time of the year again....what time is it?

 

ANYWAY! Its December of 2013 and that MEANS....BEST OF FUCKING LISTS!!!!!!!!!!1111ONE

 

For this one I will write about the Top Albums of 2013 I Have Listened To, there is some variety...or not as I hate most anything not rock or metal but anyway LETS DIVE RIGHT THE FUCK IN!

 

1. The Next Day – David Bowie

Holy man titties is this quite possibly the best record of the year, David Bowie made a new record after a 10 year gap. To be honest I had quite given up on ever hearing new Bowie material but I was gladly surprised when on his 66th birthday he announced his new album will be out in March, of course being a weird young man who obsesses over certain bands and artists I was mouth frothing. How is the music? Its David Bowie who has mellowed out yet still has a major rocking sense about him, the whole album is killer from start to end with no filler and you know your album is off to a good start when the opening track kicks you in the balls and fucks your girlfriend and you recover and you say to yourself “I'm ok with this”.

 

2. The Devil Put Dinosaurs Here – Alice in Chains

Alice in Chains have, even when I was a kid in the 90's, been one of those bands that have always possessed a solid sound and tone. When Layne Staley passed away due to a drug over dose many thought the band was done but back in 2009 Jerry Cantrell and friends united with vocalist William Duvall and recorded Black Gives Way to Blue which is a master of comeback records anyone could do. Skip ahead almost 4 years and the band have given us another solid entry of downer rock and metal (Jerry Cantrell has said AIC were a metal band) and what are we given? 12 tracks of fucking killer material.

 

3. Kingdom of Conspiracy – Immolation

Its no surprise I find a vast majority of modern death metal either attempting to sound like the original big bands, or are “-core” band which should die in a fire (a fire made of acid and Bieber records!). Immolation are one of the original giants of the New York death scene of the late 80's and are usually resigned to secondary place against the other big guys Suffocation, but always stood out more as they were not afraid to write about social issues in the world (much like Chuck Schuldiner did with Death). Cut to 2013 and Immolation release a new album, this one though does not feature the bands standard anti-religious lyrics but instead creating an album about tyranny and corruption with a story based on George Orwell's 1984 and possessing a far more cynical and pessimistic theme about what can happen if people choose not to wake up and let whats happening continue until we are at the mercy of the few in charge.

 

4. Strawberries and Cream – Ninja Sex Party

 

Ok, ill get flak for this as NSP are a joke band...BUT these two guys (Dan Avidan aka Danny Sexbang, and Brian Wecht aka Ninja Brian) are actually a great combo and write some killer, albeit silly, tunes. Danny is the singer and is Jewish (a fact he proudly espouses) while Ninja Brian is a psychopathic murderous ninja (with 15,000 murders to his name) who makes all the actual music. From songs about their legendary best friendship, to songs about failed parties, masturbating to loved ones, and wanting to F your A there are man clever hooks, great vocal melodies and the Ultimate Sandwich.

 

5. Preachers Of the Night – Powerwolf

 

Powerwolf are a German power metal band based out of KEINHOLDERSKOMPF! (Actually Saarbrucken) and...they write about werewolves, vampires, dark fantasy, and blood and zombies and sex and religion and evil and kick major ass. Most will see their lyrical themes and tell me that’s not very Power Metal...well blow me. This is a really killer record with the hard hitting opener “Amen & Attack” we are given the bands blend of religious metaphor with a horror movie approach over a grand operatic musical style...oh and vocalist Attila Dorn is a former singer in the German opera so YES! After “Amen” we are given a full bevy of killer songs until we hit the slump, yes this record loses its steam quickly after the track “Cardinal Sin” (lol I saw what they did there). The album is 11 songs long and really 8 of those are truly killer tracks, in the slump the two tracks that stand out are “Nochnoi Dozor” and “Exatum Et Oratum” The band has a fondness for Latin verses and choirs and from what I was told its all correctly said. So minus the 3 bad songs this is a killer record that should have been kept at 8 tracks BUT HEY THATS WHAT THE SKIP BUTTON IS FOR!

 

6. Infestissumam – Ghost B.C.

 

Ahh yes, here are these Satanic bastards now. I've spoken about these guys throughout the year and I cant really say much more on them, I will say that these guys have really managed to create one really catchy fucking record and considering the lyrical themes that’s saying a lot, if you want a more in depth look at the record here is a link to the album review on my own webpage http://the1cedguardian.webs.com/apps/blog/show/31521438-ghost-b-c-infesstisumam

 

7. Swallowed By the Ocean's Tide – Sulphur Aeon

 

OK these guys no one has really heard about to my immediate knowledge as they are only a couple years old but they are a death metal band based out of Germany (I like Germans) and they write about and are influenced by H.P. Lovecrafts works and that’s cool in my book (I don’t have one). What sets this band apart from other death metal bands with a Lovecraft influence? The music, the band has a very heavy guitar tone that’s really crunchy but their riffs possess a melody I've not really heard played before but they have a very aquatic tone that’s incredibly suffocating but also a joy to hear. The vocals are delivered very well with a mixture of standard death growls and some black metal esque screams but nothing over the top like Anaal Nathrakh, the drums are buried a bit but definitely are being handled by one competent guy.

 

8. Mysterium – Manilla Road

 

AHH YEA! Manilla Road are one of my favorite fucking bands, they have been going strong since 1977 and even though Mark Shelton is pushing close to 60 he still can fucking lay down some killer songs. Now if you are familiar with the band you know they have had an incredibly inconsistent production sound with nothing ever sounding a like. At it's worse listen to Atlantis Rising (which is just a noise of feedback disguised as production) to their best which is this album. Mark has always written about dark history, fantasy, Norse mythology, and stories and even a whole album based on Edgar Allan Poe's works (Mystification which is their best album in my opinion). How does Mysterium stack up to 36 years of material? Very well actually, the album from start to finish is a solid slab of American Epic Metal from its master. The album slumps towards the end with two songs and they are “Do What Thou Will” and “The Calling”, we are also given an incredibly rare treat an all acoustic song sung by Mark Shelton called The Fountain which has a very country sound and introspective lyrics, and is without a doubt the best song on the album.

 

9. Halo of Blood – Children of Bodom

 

Now I know what your thinking “CoB released a good album post 2005?! SORCERY!” Yes they have, after a slump of 8 years they are back with album that actually sounds like fucking effort was put into it. What are we given? A band harkening back to its glory days all the while retaining a more matured aspect about itself. All the songs from start to finish kick major ass with “Scream For Silence” standing out the most.

 

And at last number 10!

 

10. Surgical Steel – Carcass

 

The fathers of goregrind return with their first album of new material in...a lot of years (Hey I'm not a genius) and how does it sound? Like they never went away, while the melodic death metal sound is still present there are a lot more throwbacks to stuff like Corporal Jigsore Quandry than No Love Lost. The beasts are back and ready to hold you down with a “Captive Bolt Pistol”

Ghost B.C. - Infesstisumam

Posted by blcksb on August 2, 2013 at 12:20 AM Comments comments (0)


Album: Infesstisumam

Artist: Ghost B.C.

Label: Loma Vista Recordings

Released: April 9th, 2013


As most of you know I am a big heavy metal fan, I love all forms but some bands I could care less about the lyrical content as long as the music is good. I am not religious, I am an Apatheist which is the disregard for the belief nor the disbelief in a creator deity, essentially Agnosticism with a more pronounced "Don't give a flying fuck" point as there are more important issues in the world today. I tend to be pretty open, I love mythology and stories about ancient aliens and stuff like that so my music usually has bands that write about those topics on top of fantasy, love, life, nature, politics etc. I tend to avoid religious bands on both spectrums Evil/Good stuff as I really don't care, dont get me wrong religion has given us great music, art, stories and culture but it can also be a heavily dangerous thing, look at things like the Crusades, the Inquisition, Jihads et all to get my point. Now and then though there are a band that create such enjoyably kick ass music that I overlook the lyrics just for the music.


Ghost B.C. as they are marketed in the U.S. released their first album Opus Eponymus back in 2010 under the name Ghost, the album sent waves in the metal underground community for their live shows, lyrics and the music they play. Ghost B.C. (they claim the B.C. is silent so its just said as Ghost) play a heavily proto form of metal, now im assuming a lot of you have heard Blue Oyster Cult so imagine their music with a lot of organs and carnival music, now have the band wear robs and masks on stage with their singer Papa Emeritus II dressed as a satanic Pope, singing about Satan behind that you get the bands image. Come to 2013 where the band release their second full length album on a major record label Loma Vista Recordings (A sub-label of Universal Music Group) and it sends even more waves, now take into effect the band also managed to gain a spot at Coachella and the image takes off. 

(I will anglicize the names of the latin tracks for meaning)


The music overall is a catchy rocky-pop metal outing, very 70's prog rock in aspect. The guitars have that 70's fuzzy sound, there are a lot of keyboards and organs, the vocalist has great pitch and the drumming is...fucking great to be honest. The album kicks off with the near 2 minute opening track Infesstisumam (Most Hostile), the first 30 seconds or so are just a church choir singing in latin about Satan and Hell then it kicks into a rocking track for the remainder. You know what you are in for after this for another 46 minutes, Infesstisumam leads right into Per Aspera ad Inferni (Through the Rough To the Grave) and kicks it off with a simple guitar riff for the initial 9 seconds then those drums and bass kick right in. The track has a very rocking feel to it, and Papa Emeritus II has one of the cleanest voices I have heard, its really soothing, and the lyrics are catchy as all hell. The next track, which was also the lead single off of the album, Secular Haze, kicks off with carnival music then the band fully catches up. Now it may have just been me but the opening guitar riff for Secular Haze reminded me of Opeth's The Drapery Falls in its execution so it threw me off quite a bit. After about a minute Papa begins singing, the chorus is catchy as all hell but other than that it is actually a weak track overall the drumming though is fan-fucking-tastic.


Jigolo Har Megiddo is the most flat out rock track of the album, and probably the best on here performance wise. The verses are catchy, the keyboards don't overpower the guitars and the drums and bass fill out the overall greatly. The chorus is hooky and short, and the guitar solo is REALLY freaking melodic, I was humming it as I was listening to it. After this we are followed with a two part song called Ghuleh/Zombie Queen, the first half of the song is a really soft piano led fare that reminded me a lot of some jazz acts, the second song is much more rocking and it threw me off at first but also became one of the strongest tracks on the album. Year Zero begins the first minute chanting various demon names then kicks into the verse, this song is atypical satanic song as the song is about the weakness of mankind and it will burn once the devil comes forth, the chorus is heavy and catchy so really listen to this one for that and skip it, this is the point of the album I skipped songs because I knew of what they were due to the song, Year Zero threw me off about that, it was also the second single off the album. After Year Zero we have Body and Blood, for the most part its a harmless song, its really a zombie song in essence but with the simple vocal hooks, the easy to remember verses and the really good chorus its again a really strong song, this one I sing as I love the chorus a lot. 


Idolatrine is a mid-tempo rocker, the guitars are hidden beneath the keyboards and drums so its not really a stand out track, the second half of the song though is far better than the first half but its a bit boring, on this though you can hear some middle-eastern sounds in the music. I skipped Depth of Satan's Eyes due to the title and as I looked the lyrics up I got what I assumed so listen if you want. The technical final track on the album (the limited editions feature a cover of Abba's I Am a Marionette which is actually VERY fucking good, and a original song called La Mantra Mori which is roughly translated as The Death Chant but ill end with the regular end track) is Monstrance Clock. This one is actually a really good song, the songs rhythm has a very movement based feel to it, like its meant to be danced, could be me but it could be a DANCER HUH!? Nevermind. Anyway...


It's obvious Ghost B.C. play a style they like and write about Evil, Darkness and Satan. They have stated that it has been the intention to create really evil music with a pop style to throw people off when they realize that catchy hook they were singing was about the devil, if that was the bands true intention well fuck me it works. The gimmicks the band does though are a bit wearing, the main one is the hidden identities, all the actual musicians in the band are refered to as A Nameless Ghould and are given Alchemical symbols to differentiate them, Papa Emeritus is the only one who uses a name and even then "No One" knows who he is, its actually kind of an open secret on who he is though, and its surprising and is not. In Sweden where the band hail from there is a group for performing artists (bands, theater, etc.) called the Swedish Performing Right's Society which gives credit for writers and performers, all the bands lyrics are written by Tobias Forge, who under the Mary Goore name is also the founder of Swedish Death Metal legends Repugnant where he was vocalist and guitarist, but also had a alternative rock band called Subvision where he was vocals and guitars and his clean singing is IDENTICAL to Papa's. As the Society needs a real name behind a psuedonym Tobias publish the song and lyrics for Ghost B.C. under A Ghoul Writer. Repugnant has been on hold since 2010 when Opus Eponymous was released and Tobias has not had any real interviews to immediate knowledge.


Overall Infesstisumam is a solid Heavy Rock album, the drumming and vocals are among the most stand out of the music. Papa/Tobias has such a clean and solid vocal ability that its hard to remember what he's singing about, the issues that plague the album though is really the satanic aspects of it, I respect artistic integrity and wanton desire but whats the thing about it? Whats great about darkness, death and evil? Who knows, maybe its the taboo aspect of it, Anton LeVay spoke that his idea of Satanism was really about the independant nature of man, so maybe thats why its mankind being independant of the creator. But Humanism is that, its all the morals of religion but none of the bullshit so I have to deduct points on the superflous lyrical ideas, ive listened to death metal so I am used to songs about blood, gore, darkness, death but through that I also get politics, social issues and others so its not just the darkness about it, its about getting a message out that the world is wrong but there is still good in it.


The overall score I'll give Infesstisumam is an 8.5/10, the reasons are that the keyboards and drums overpower the guitars due to the fuzzy sound, the oft repeatable patterns in different songs and the lyrics but overall the album is solid Pop Metal, the darkness about it is what I love best though as the lyrics just throw you off if you sing them to yourself due to the catchy as hell vocal and chorus hooks, this is a reccommended pick up for any music fan, just turn your filter on and get rid of the satanic bullshit in life :D

Call of Juarez: Bound in Blood The Review!

Posted by blcksb on July 11, 2013 at 4:20 AM Comments comments (0)

Call of Juarez: Bound in Blood isn't bad but its not a really strong game either, and considering I don't see a lot of games in a "old west" setting its just one you have to live with outside of Red Dead Redemption, which is the best Western game made in my opinion. The issues are really the targeting system and how enemies work. The game has the option to shoot through walls and it doesn't work at all if you are the player, yet the enemies can. The targeting system for the game is iron sights but still includes a targeting reticule for when shooting from the hip in game in fact when or if you play it you can pretty much, outside of sniping portions, not use iron sights at all and just play as is. The story I think in grand total can be done in under 7 or 8 hours, faster if you have good momentum going. The game to entice you to explore the world around offers "secrets" to find and access, these are just audio clips of extra back story on a still image.

 

Another issue is some of the cinematic's and voice acting, the game is designed by Polish company Techland and the Call of Juarez games to my knowledge are their only big products now compared to the other Polish gaming giant ProjektRED who have created the utterly stellar Witcher games, Techland are the Activision of Poland rinse and repeat ad infinitum. Most games you notice have REALLY polished cinematic's for their games and ones that use the actual game engine generally have had tons of work done to ensure that mouths, movements and so on match a script, Techland i'm assuming developed with Polish wording as a priority so the audio sync in CoJ:BiB is bad, the mouths don't sync or follow what is being said. Another thing is if you have subtitles enabled, whats written is never what is actually said through the audio, I think for those who need subtitles that they were edited to make sure really offensive language or phrasing is taken out as not to offend but I don't know, its also got some pretty big spelling mistakes. Now for the graphics, they are pretty good, the world you're in is gorgeously made and replicates the time and locations very well for a western, as the game is a First Person Shooter compared to the third person of Rockstars Red Dead Redemption CoJ:BiB has more depth to the game, but where it fails is as you ONLY are in combat when actually playing and each chapter is linear exploration is limited even though Techland wanted you to find the secrets which are not worth it, compared to Red Dead which being third person did not have as much depth but made up for it as the WHOLE world was alive, vibrant, was leading its life and was open and free to explore and screw around in wins overall for that. The controls are nice and fluid which is a BIG plus in this game, although some of the button layouts are bad and the lack of a melee option is weak, the game handles well, very well, and the analog controls are great for sneaking and such.

 

Now CoJ:BiB has a couple open world spots but there are ONLY two times that this can happen, the first one is in Act II or III where you have some time to kill before reporting back to a bandit you are working with, and the second which is in Act IV is meeting up with said bandit but leading to a plot twist. The open world parts are frankly boring, it can be seen that they aimed to have it be immersive (and its advertised on the box) but the world is virtually empty, the occasional bandit attacks besides these parts are not worth. During these BRIEF interludes you can earn some extra cash by killing gang leaders, finding stolen cattle, protect rail workers from Indian attacks and so on but the money you get 50 at minimum 150 at max is not worth it as you can get better guns as you go along. The best rifle in the game is 1,586 dollars, the best pistol in the game, a volcano gun, is 157 dollars, now you can switch in between weapons but if you buy one you have to buy ANOTHER again so your money is gone, it seems like the only thing that wont eat your bank is ammo, as long as you refill when you can the games good and you'll never run out.

Now to the characters! CoJ:BiB is about 3 brothers, 2 of them Thomas and Ray you play as, at the beginning of each chapter you get the choice to play as either brother, William the third and youngest brother is un-playable and is the moral character, both playable brothers have different strengths to them, Ray is much more on the ground guns blazing he dual wields revolvers, uses shotguns and TNT and can kick doors in. Thomas is more of a sharp shooter who uses rifles mainly, can use a bow and arrow and has a lasso to be able to climb up roofs and such, and uses throwing knives. You can switch between the two or play as one but a couple chapters of the game you can only play as one or the other and not both, ive only done Thomas so I have to do Ray still. The story for the most part is pretty good if unoriginal, the strongest aspect to it is the small cast of characters, each has a personality all their own and their methods and strength's differ but are engaging. The beginning and middle are strong but the ending is rushed and does not finish strongly and really turned me off, thankfully it was the end so next play through I can skip the story. The beginning starts in 1864 then cuts three years later and the rest is set in 1867, the two McCall brothers are part of the Confederate army but decide to abandon their posts to go back home for their ailing mother and younger brother, after 1864 we cut to the three to the present and them trying to make a living and eventually deciding to head south to Mexico to search for a legendary treasure.

Overall you can do worse in your first person shooters (Call of Duty and Battlefield comes to mind) but Call of Juarez: Bound in Blood overcomes is blatant problems by a very strong (if weak ending) story, a good small cast of characters, and the great smooth controls. I will say this is not a game to pay full price for though, the copy I played is a used copy and its not even mine, for a quick single player story and not very high replay value 40 or 50 bucks is not worth it, better pick it up or borrow it folks. All around that though this is a good time waster, and considering how uncommon games set in the Old West are its a nice treat, Ill stick with Red Dead Redemption more though.

Disney ReviewAThon Update

Posted by blcksb on July 6, 2013 at 12:45 AM Comments comments (1)

Hey I remember I said I was doing this well as soon as I get some free time I'll work on a few movies, im thinking either Hunchback or something else but we'll see

The Declaration of Indifference

Posted by blcksb on June 14, 2013 at 2:00 PM Comments comments (0)

So this E3 had an amazing amount of butthurt for Microsoft fans, mostly due to the Online requirement, non-backwards compatible and the used games idea. People focused so much on these three incredibly minute details that were blown out of obscene proportion, the people freaking out on the internet thing mainly offered hypothetical's rather than actual scenarios (which to be fair im sure there are a fair amount). Now I will say the following regarding the online only thing (I don't ever buy used games on principle due to possible duds) it is not that a big of a deal people are making it out to be.

 

If your current 360 console is [b]actively connected to the internet all the time[/b], is used for Netflix/Hulu/Amazon Prime, YouTube, the web browser, various apps and such then [b]how will the Xbox One's current Online Only idea fucking change anything?[/b] It won't these "worriers" are acting at the behest of other's when they should not its a small price to the fact that Microsoft should think that its at the point where everyone who owns a 360 may already do those said practices, I am in agreement that they should wait a bit longer but I can see from an innovative stand point where they want to go. Is innovation really a bad thing? To the detractors yes it is, to me it is not, we have not come to where we are on a technological level without innovation that's met with negative reactions.

 

The backwards compatibility issue is automatically null if you honestly fucking grew up in the 90's during the Sega/Nintento/TurboGrafx16 wars. The Super Nintendo did not have the ability to play NES games, the Genesis did not have the ability to do Master System games, and the TurboGrafx16 I referenced because it was also cartridge based. Nintendo have always maintained an idea about them of "New Console, New Games" instead of worrying about the older console they focused on a new one, the N64 (The master of the 90's consoles) did not worry about NES/SNES games, and the Sega Saturn did not worry about Master System/Genesis games due to it was FUCKING CD BASED. [b]Those complaining about backwards compatibility are spoiled so deserve no voice to me.[/b]

 

I don't get used games on principle due to the discs not working, I buy new games discounted only if I am heavily on the fence about it, if its a new one that I have no qualms about I do a cost/benefit idea of investment to see if I will get heavy replay, a good amount of hours, good story the essentials, if multiplayer is good then its a plus, I never get games with strict multiplayer in mind unless its like a Rockstar game where all those are fun to play. I know of friends who only buy used to save some cash but at the same time they realize its still a risk to take if the game disc doesnt work, some scratches cant be buffed out easily.

 

I finish up with this. In order for your complaints and whines to be made full actually play a console when it launches [b]THEN FUCKING COMPARE THEM YOURSELVES![/b] Don't just get a PS4 and claim its better when you vehemently fight against the Xbox One and refuse to try it. You jump on one thing and ride it all along, its reached the point of "Oh its on Xbox One, it wont be good at all" How will that feel if said console exclusive takes home all the GoTY awards and you kick yourself? I did the same issues to the Wii until I got rid of it but then the releases got immensely good and now I kick myself over it, I understand some peoples anger but if you decided not to actually message Microsoft/Sony/Nintendo/Any Other Potential Console Maker then the changes wont be done, so you in essence don't help the problem, you exacerbate the problem you say they don't hear you but its because you force yourself to not be heard, you doing that is like the current political climate, you scream about not being heard but you yourself choose not to do anything about it.

 

Complacency in arrogance is your faults.

 

Your Karmageddon provided by: Me

 

Addendum: If you still own your classic consoles how keeping your 360/PS3 be any different?

Dust: An Elysian Tail

Posted by blcksb on February 22, 2013 at 3:05 AM Comments comments (0)

So out of the few games I've played this 2012 (Maybe 3 or 4 of them) One that caught my attention was a rather small Arcade game through Xbox Live simply called 'Dust: An Elysian Tail' a MetroidVania style hack n' slash RPG with gorgeous animation, very responsive controls, an emotional and dark story, great characters, and featuring anthropomorphic characters.

 


 

So before I fully dig in allow me to backtrack on the games history a bit. Dust started life back in 2009 as a side project of one man called Dean Dodrill who also goes by Noogy online. Dean started his career as an animator for Epic Games Jazz Jackrabbit series, yes the same Epic that created Gears of War, and he created the character Lori Jackrabbit as a sister to Jazz, Epic ended up floundering in its books and had to let Dean go. Some time after he was laid off from Epic he set forth to make his dream project, a film known as Elysian Tail, a project he has done by himself and been working on since around 2000. Unfortunately not many screenshots of the film in progress are floating around and or are VERY rare, fortunately though a small site known as Tekyu (Note: This is also an article about the game itself) has a screenshot and two animated GIF's of the film on there, I will link one just to show how smooth and crisp one mans work looks.


(A GIF of the film showing how smooth Dean's animation is, it reminded me of Don Bluth's films)

 

Jump forward to 2009 and Dean starts to learn programming as to make some small side games of his world to accompany the film, completely designed by Dean himself, later that year Dust won the 2009 Microsoft Dream.Build.Play Challenge and was awarded a Xbox Live Arcade release in addition to $40,000 reward for the games development and began adding more. Now in 2012, almost 4 years of work has paid off and Dust was released on August 15th, 2012 for the Xbox console for Arcade. So how does it stand?

 


 

Dust follows the story of...well Dust a swordsman who has no idea who he is, he is accompanied by a sentient sword known as The Blade of Ahrah, and the swords guardian Fidget, a fox-cat hybrid that can fly called a Nimbat who serves as Dust's loyal companion and also comic relief, who is also insanely adorable (seriously try not to go "aww!" when you see her!) The story initially begins rather lightly but as secrets are unraveled you realize not all is right in the world and descends into a dark story one mans faults and his redemption. The story of the game works, I feel, much better due to the anthropomorphic characters, Dust appears to be a cat and various characters are mice, rabbits, lizards, or toads.

 


(The amazingly adorable Fidget)

 

Dust's arsenal is simply a basic attack, plus a move known as Dust Storm, Fidget also can attack enemies using projectiles which on their own do not do much damage BUT combined with Dust Storm is a force to be reckoned with. Dust levels up as he kills enemies but through the Chain system the higher your chain when you kill enemies, the more bonus experience you can gain. You also get weapon augments, armor, and rings, all items add damage, defense, or can increase Fidget and the Dust Storm's damage. The game is VERY smooth, so much so I blinked a few times because I had NO frame rate drops at all, and the screen can get very crowded with mobs of enemies. The games platforming mechanics are the best around, the controls are responsive, and you wont be flailing manically jumping to ledges because the detection is off, its spot on! A feature added is a blue print system, as you kill enemies some may randomly drop a blue print, these may contain new weapon augments, rings, or body armor for Dust, you can farm for items to forge them with from enemies, which also drop money, and healing items. There are also chests to unlock with keys hidden throughout the world for money, and items and also, hidden very well, are cages that contain special things, I wont spoil anything more but you will like some of them.

 


 


(An example of the Dust Storm with Fidget's projectile attack)

 

From the indie titles I have played, Dust takes the cake with how beautiful the animation is, backgrounds are bright and vibrant, friendly NPC's are unique in look, and the secret areas you find are always a treat. At the beginning of the game you will notice certain areas are inaccessible, the genius is the ability to return whenever you want once you gain new powers to traverse these once locked areas to see the secrets, it opens up a lot of replay-ability, and will add even more hours to a decent sized game. One aspect of the game that might surprise people is the voice cast, these people are bloody dedicated! I have not heard better voice acting in a very long time, and Fidget's voice actress Kimlihn Tran does a great job, same to Lucien Dodge who portrays our hero Dust. In regards to Dean's fully animated cinematics the work and detail in them for one person to do is utterly astounding, once and when he finishes his film I will definitely have to buy a few copies of it.



(Our hero and protagonist Dust facing enemies, this is also from one of the animated cinematics) 


Out of all the games I have played this year Dust is the one I have been most satisfied with, not one dull moment and high replay make Dust my clear choice for the 2012 Game of the Year.


10/10

 

-Brandon Mistler

(All images and video are copyrighted to their respective owners)

Disney ReviewAThon Part 1 The Rescuers

Posted by blcksb on January 21, 2013 at 10:25 PM Comments comments (0)

I had an idea a few days ago that I posted on my twitter feed about wanting to review Disney's older films, and I am starting on that now. I have set a timeframe date of 1937 ( the release of Snow White & The Seven Dwarfs) to 1989 which is when the 1990's "Disney Renaissance" began.  As I had direct contact for viewing at the time of this writing I shall be reviewing 1977's The Rescuers and its sequel The Rescuers Down Under, I know I said 1989 as the cutoff but for the purposes of sequels (If any) I will be doing those also. Also I will be finishing off each film with a Then/Now part where I compare the film as an adult to how I enjoyed it as a kid. Now onto the show.

The Rescuers was based off of Margery Sharps series of childrens stories, our main protagonists are two mice named Bernard, a mouse of American nationality who is voiced by Bob Newhart, and Miss Bianca who is of Hungarian nationality and is voiced by Eva Gabor (Who was also Hungarian). Bernard is the janitor of the Rescue Aid Society while Bianca is the Hungarian representitive of the group. A letter in a bottle was found washed ashore in New York from a young girl named Penny, who lived an an orphanage who desperately wishes to be adopted, was kidnapped by Madame Medusa to find a diamond known as the Devil's Eye. Bernard and Bianca journey to a swamp known as Devil's Bayou in order to rescue Penny from Medusa and her two alligators Nero and Brutus and the timid and cowardly Mr. Snoops. They encounter locals who wish to get rid of Madame Medusa also and help our two small heroes out in anyway they can.

The Rescuers when released in 1977 was a big hit for Walt Disney Pictures since The Jungle Book in 1967 and its last until 1989's The Little Mermaid. Among those who had worked at Disney during production this was Don Bluth's first film with Disney where he was a full animator instead of an animation assistant. The Rescuers marked the end of the studio's so-called "sketchy" animation period of the 1960s and 70s, thus a new xerographic process restored a softer outline that previously was not possible with the technology, which so far only had been able to produce black outlines. This allowed the use of a medium-gray tone and even a purple tone for outlines, such as that used for Miss Bianca. The style can also be seen in 1970's The Aristocats. 

Then and Now: In honesty as a kid The Rescuers was not a favorite, my sister prefered it to me and the repeated animation frames was used far to much, now that I am older I do enjoy it more but still not an alltime favorite from me the use of same animation frames I know now as a cost saving measure and im cool with it as the more films I see the more I notice it.

Dishonored, Torchlight II, AND BEYOND!

Posted by blcksb on December 3, 2012 at 9:45 PM Comments comments (0)

As a gamer I tend to not play games til after they have been released (Fucking money!)  but I FINALLY got to play Dishonored and Torchlight II, here are my thoughts.


Dishonored - Arkane Studios/Bethesda Softworks

So this one was hyped up quite a bit and now having played it (godbless Steam sales!) I've experienced it. First thing to mind is the first person perspective, its interesting as most of these modern stealth based games are usually in third person with minor first person bits (Assassin's Creed comes to mind) well Dishonored does not even give a third person option so any comparison to Bethesda's Elder Scrolls is moot. In the first little bit of the game (first mission which is your escape from prison and I wont offer spoilers) you aquire two of your main weapons which are a sword and a pistol, as you quest through the game you also aquire a cross bow and magical powers from a supernatural being known only as The Outsider. The game is unique in that you have many options of how to go through the game, you can either go stealthly and not kill anyone, go full blown and forgo stealth and just go toe to toe with everyone, or a combination of both, now the ending and story changes depending on how you progress so I cant really offer what else happens. The biggest gripe I had with Dishonored was mostly the control schemes, I played on PC with a controller and even the keyboard felt a bit stiff at times, while the drop down assassinations were quite interesting sometimes I would move normaly while I was in a stealth position thereby giving my location away and being killed by enemies (fair note that the game is unforgiving, I played on easy and normal and easy had difficulty and normal was a near nightmare if you didnt stealth). Beyond its few flaws 'Dishonored' is a fun and exciting game worth at least a play through or two.

Score: 8.5/10

 

Torchlight II - Runic Games

 

Having been disappointed with the (deeply wanted and hyped) Diablo III my only saving grace would be Runic Games' sequel to their massive success Torchlight. Torchlight II is from the same designers of Diablo and Diablo II so alot of those elements make manifest in a way that makes you go "What the fuck Blizzard!?". Ive been online with a few friends and I can saftley say that this is possibly one of the funnest experiences ive had online for a long time. The only issue I have is the difficulty and exerpience is a bit out of sync but beyond that its moot. Well worth it, GO PLAY IT!

Score: 8.9/10