Games Meet Metal: May 2012

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Monday, May 28, 2012

8-bit Metal Mondays-Can't get Gojira out of my mind

Ever since I first listened to Gojira's L'efant Sauvage, I haven't gotten it out of my head. Up to this point, I had been a passive fan of the band. I enjoyed their last album "The Way of all Flesh", but was nit picky of the rest of their material. This new tune, however, may have just turned me into a hardcore Gojira-head. We'll know for sure when they come around in August for the Lamb of God/Dethklok tour.

So, to keep the French metal mayhem going, here' some bleepy Gojira and  a live version of my new fave song for the moment.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Last Week In Video Games

Yes, I am still here and I am fine. After a couple of busy weekends (concerts, family, holidays) I have time to fill everyone in on the happenings in video game land. But I'm not taking too much time as I have some more Diablo III to play (Sturbinator#1229). I only have the starter edition for a couple of reasons. 1) Wanted to make sure all of the bugs were worked out before getting the full version. 2) Wanted to see how well it would play on my crappy computer. 3) Wanted to see how each class played before going to the end with one of them. So far I have managed to play everything but the Barbarian (though I've just started the Witch Doctor) at my favourite is the Monk. They're just beasts when it comes to groups of baddies. I'll save all of my thoughts for a proper review, but I don't know when I will get around to doing one. Aaaaanyway...... games news!

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Playing With Hellfire-Some Abridged Game Reviews

As a gamer, I try to cram in as much gaming goodness as I can. This usually means playing a few duds along the way. For the most part, I'm pretty easy to please. So, it takes a lot for a game to really get under my skin. I now give you a few that really pissed me off.

Ah, The Witcher 2. One of the most hyped PC-to-console releases in recent memory. There was actually a lot going for this game. The story, a framed man trying to clear his name and regain his memory, is well written. The voice actors all give great performances, especially considering the possibility of cheesiness can be very high sometimes. I'd say the bast aspect of Witcher 2 is the overall adult theme. I've never seen sexual situations or heard language this open and abrasive. At certain times it feels the game may go straight into Penthouse Forum areas of silliness, but the great writing prevented it from doing so.

The main gripe for me was the game's control. Combat is such a pain in the ass. People say it's the rugged difficulty, but I say it's terrible button timing. No matter what command you give your hero, there seems to be this 3/4 of a second pause before he actually performs the selected command. This applies to anything: unsheathing a sword, using said sword, using magic, using an item, running, EVERYTHING!! Plus, the menu system is a bit of a mess. The main equipment menu is fine once you remember what button does what, but the leveling and alchemy menus are just to hard to really adjust to.

Another gripe is the length of the game. What I thought was going to be an expansive world like Skyrim turned into a castle prologue and three main cities posing as chapters. Granted, there's a lot to do in each city, but the tease of a great huge land being fought over by several monarchies is only mentioned in story and never shown. It felt like such a waste to create this mythic land, and all you get to see is it's version of Alabama.

Definitely give this one a rental for the story, just be ready to slog it with the controls.

 A BAD Resident Evil game? Yep, I'm afraid so.

Operation Raccoon City was supposed to turn the series cockwise. You play the bad guys, Umbrella agents, as they infiltrate Raccoon City during the zombie apocalypse. It lets you grab zombies for cover and distracting would-be enemies. It let you really screw with the story line by giving you the option to whack Leon Kennedy. The biggest of all was a switch from the excepted RE4-style controls to something more akin to a 3rd person version of Modern Warfare.

So, what's the issue? Well, take Witcher 2's pluses and minuses and flip them. The control and firing is super tight, but the story is one of the most lackluster things I've ever had to try to drudge through. It's just so uninspiring and dull. More time was taken to give the multiplayer a better part of the game. Remember how I referenced Modern Warfare? Yeah, seems eerily familiar with how the COD games are made nowadays.

In the end, RE:ORC will be remembered like some of the earlier Resident Evil experiments, such as the PS2 rail shooters: an attempt to vary up the formula, but an utter failure.
Now here's one I just got and already I'm really not liking it. Dragon's Dogma was one of my most anticipated games coming out of Capcom for awhile, as I really wanted to see their version of a Western RPG. Well, things are not going that good.

First, I'm really not digging the menu setup. While it's not as bad as Witcher 2's, there's still a lot of confusion going on here. The equipment and item menus are hard to read, and the map isn't all that great. Speaking of which, you have no hot key to get straight to the map. You always have to pause the game first. Man, there's no way Skyrim would let you get away with that, what with all the quick traveling you do.
Speaking of which, where the hell is the quick traveling in Dogma? Oh, that's right, this game doesn't have that option. Oh, that's some bullshit!

On top of all that, the main story seems so secondary to the usual task doing. You'd think that having your heart ripped out and eaten by a dragon, but you still live and have to get your heart back would be a big thing in and around your village. Oh no, it's one glancing remark, then you're helping them chase away seagulls. Yeesh.

Of course, I'm only a little bit into the game itself, and things have a chance to change and re-engage me into Dogma's story. I'm just doubting it.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

It's Riff with a site update!

Hey kiddies, it's Riff here on a late Monday/early Tuesday/mid Sunday if you got real drunk on Friday, and I thought it would be peachy keen to do a site update and let everyone know what's up behind the scenes. Now, let's take this topic by topic.

Good Old Gaming

Gaming reviews for the site have dropped by the wayside for a bit, and that's entirely on my shoulders. While a lot of the drama that seemed to encompass my life recently has passed, I ended up overcompensating how much real time I had for myself and loaded up on way too much games. As a quick excerpt, here's what I've been trying to get through:

The Witcher 2
Resident Evil: Operation Raccoon City
Mass Effect 3
Kingdom of Amalur: Reckoning
Resident Evil Revelations
Street Fighter X Tekken
Max Payne 3
Silent Hill Collection
Silent Hill Downpour
Final Fantasy XIII-2
Soul Calibur V
Xenoblade Chronicles
Max Payne 3

It's a good thing I don't have kids, because they'd be starving right about now.

Out of all of those Amalur and ME3 took up the most of my gaming time, thanks to their role playing-ness. I even had reviews started for both games, but got caught up in other games and overtime at work. More on the overtime later, as there's a good reason I've needed the extra cash. And NO, it's not because of the games. Remember, no kids.

So, to combat this, I'm gonna have to do some consolidation. I want to share my opinions, but to write a bunch of full reviews on all these games just isn't feasible given the time I don't have. So, I'm gonna give quick little quips in a new gaming column like I do for cd reviews, with really good games getting the full fleshed out reviews they truly deserve. Those Amalur and ME3 reviews really do deserve to be finished, as both games truly are excellent.

I also want to bring back the Youtube videos I did some time ago. The previous setup I had to work with was way cumbersome and just made editing a chore. Now I have a faster computer and some new extracting and editing tools, so we'll see if we can get a few up on Youtube in the next few months.

E3 and PAX Prime

E3 is two weeks away, and I'm getting more and more pumped for it with each passing day. I've already received my pass and my final walkabout for the show is taking shape. This year will be a real treat, as I was able to squeeze myself into a few of the press conferences the big boys hold. On the first day of festivities, I'll be attending the Microsoft, Ubisoft, and Sony hearings! Too bad I got snubbed by EA, and Nintendo hasn't gotten back to me, but for 3 out of 5 as my first attempt at getting into these things, I'd say that's not too bad.

One negative about my E3 trip this year is that it's costing me quite a bit more than usual. Remember that overtime I mentioned? This is where it went. I had two things hit me hard. One was that the usual cheapo hotel I go to got booked way ahead of time, and I had to go to a much nicer place. Nicer ended up being way more expensive, but I figured my tax returns could cover it. That was the second hit: sucky tax returns. Sucky returns turned to overtime, overtime lead to lack of gaming and writing, and the circle of life is complete.

This leads us to PAX Prime. I couldn't go last year, but this year I'm making a go at it. I've already bought passes and reserved a hotel, but the hotel is another pricey one, and the passes were individual days, not the 3-day deal PAX usually offers. Damn things sold out way too fast. For the record, I always buy passes for PAX just in case media credentials fall through. If media is a-o-k, then I ask for a refund and claim my media badge at the show, no hustle no fuss. As for the hotel, I may have a solution. One of the guys at my day job has been wanting to do something for the site for awhile, and he always wanted to go to PAX, so I made this deal with him. If he wanted to be my cameraman for the event, then he can come along. He just has to pay his own airfare and split the room with me. Yeah, not cheap, but I'm not Mr. Moneybags here, so I could use the help. Ass, gas, or grass, no one rides for free. This is still providing I can get him a media pass. If not, then maybe those one-day passes can still come in handy.


Yes, we nee more metal on the site!! Not my bad this time, as there was just a lull of stuff happening. Now that the summer is approaching, all the big tours are coming through Detroit for a change of pace, so the E3-to-PAX break shouldn't be that boring. Plus, I've finally gotten around to listening to an asston of new releases, so expect some Thine Eardrums Erupting to cover a bunch of them in the coming weeks. I also want more interviews! Some ended up getting stalled in the process, while other potential interviewees dissapeared for a little bit. Now it looks like people are popping up again, so it's question time once again.

Well, that's all the updating I think is needed. Well, one more thing. While the site has it's own Twitter feed, I thought it was high time I got my own. So if anyone is interested, follow me @realevilnate as I attempt to take more of a liking to social media.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

The Riff Concert Review: FUCKING MESHUGGAH!!!

Oh hell yeah!! No delaying here, let's jump right in!

It's been a long time since I saw Decapitated. I believe it was the first or second Summer Slaughter tour. Since then, the guys have gone through some horrific stuff. A bus crash killed their drummer Vitek and left their vocalist Covan in a coma. The band eventually reformed under Vitek 's brother's Vogg's directions, recorded a new album, and started touring

Now the guys are good to go with a new lineup and were amazing. I'm not too familiar with their back catalog, but what they performed on stage makes me want to spend some cash. The best way to describe their sound is that of Cannibal Corpse mixed with Swedish melodies. Fuck, I wanted more from this band, but they were only given 30 minutes . Damn shame, considering what was coming up next.

Now let's make something clear. Baroness are way talented. They would fit perfectly in with the stoner metal crowd, like High on Fire and Clutch. Those would be good tours. But this tour? Oh no sir, not a good idea. The main issue was that Baroness kept wanting to go into hippy trippy land and play these super long simplistic instrumental bits that just came off as boring at best, pretentious at worst. That works fine of you're a headliner like Sleep, because then your audience expects that. These people were asking for the heavy, and they didn't get it.

Baroness should of done what Coheed and Cambria did when they toured with Slipknot: stuck to their heavier material. Instead, they tried to differentiate themselves too much from the rest of the line-up and ended up alienating themselves from the crowd. A true waste, since Baroness has great heavier material. Go look up Wanderlust and tel me that shit doesn't rock!                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           

And we get back the the uber heavy. Oooooh, and what a glorious heavy it is. The last I saw Meshuggah was on Ozzfest a gazillion years ago, and every time they came back around, my plans always fell through. Well, not this time dammit! The most beautiful thing about Meshuggah's set was that the band played so much variety from just about their whole catalog. They included stuff from their latest Koloss (which I'm listening to right now), all the way back to the Destroy Erase Improve cd. Holy hell, did that crowd light up when New Millennium Cyanide Christ started playing.

As good as Meshuggah's set truly was, the cherry on top were the two hot chicks next to me that were totally macking on each other for the second half of the show. Nothing like a couple of hottie metal babes getting damn near x-rated to round out a damn good night of metal.

Monday, May 14, 2012

8-bit Metal Mondays: Lamb of God, Dethklok, and Gojira to tour together? SQUEEEEE!!!!

Oh sweet Satan it's 100% true! All three bands will be hitting the road together, and it's actually an interesting mix. Pure American metal with a French bent and total silliness. Hey, works for me. Plus, it's rolling through Michigan! Now, if they just chose a better place than Compuware Arena, it would be perfect!

So, to commemorate one of the big summer tours, here's some bleepiness from all three bands. Also, tour dates after the jump.


Monday, May 7, 2012

The Hunter Heritage Tour: Another Disturbyng Review

So it's Sunday. You've got work early Monday morning. Your Friday and Saturday night spread into the morning and you could really use a good sleep to recover. Good thing I'm a metal head and I don't give a shit about that stuff. Opeth and Mastodon were here with their buddies Ghost with the sole intention of delivering a once in a lifetime show. The show was at the legendary Burton Cummings Theatre and what happened last night is a great addition to the venues robust history. This tour is nearly finished, so for anyone else who's on the fence about the show I am going to tell you why you should man-up and buy some tickets!

Friday, May 4, 2012

8-bit Metal FRIDAYS?!?!?!: Kratos Goes Multiplayer!!

(Okay, for some silly stupid reason, the "Post" button on Monday didn't work for me, and now I'm only noticing an entire article didn't go up. Well, this is what happens when you have to pay the bills. The mind just goes numb. Anywho, ere it is now. Enjoy!)

Yes, it's true. The next version of God of War, the series I hold near and dear to my heart, is getting a multiplayer component. I spent a good part of my day today watching a live stream from Santa Monica Studios, God of War's home, as they explained how the multiplayer works. In God of War: Ascension, you'll be able to join 4-on-4 teams to take control of an arena and defeat some huge monstrosity at the same time.  You'll also be able to curry the favor of a pre-chosen God to earn special weapons.

If I were to give a from-the-hip assessment, I'd day that the dev team took the dramatic boss battles we all love from the GOW series, and just made that the multiplayer. It'll be interesting to see how the public reacts to it, but I'm still gonna put my money on the single player. Guess we'll really see come E3.

A bit of the stream has already popped up on Youtube, so you can give it a once-over yourself. Also, what's a Mnday 8-bit without some bleepy music? So you also get a metal cover of some early GOD as well.