Monday, December 16, 2013

Weekend Review: Post Thanksgiving 2013 Blow Out!

Every weekend there are new sights, sounds, and taste to consume. There are other sensory inputs that tickle my brain too, but saying there is stuff to feel sounds creepy. This is a weekly journal of my weekend endeavors. Enjoy!

Work has been hell of busy, but I've been doing a lot...Everything must go!

Orcs Must Die! 2
I dig tower defense games, but they are usually top down, mobile and solo affairs. Orcs Must Die! takes the tower defense concept and puts into the third dimension. Instead of towers you place traps and control a war mage that is part of the battle as well. The controls are a lot like playing WoW and by that I mean I jump unnecessarily every two seconds. The later levels get hard and thankfully there is two player coop to solve for that.  It is part of the latest Humble Bundle (which tomorrow). You get the first game too, which I might up playing as well.

I jumped on this game when it first came out in 2011. It was awkward to control (but fun), quirky in it's presentation and a good laugh to play coop.  The initial group didn't make it far. I'd call them casual gamers and mean it in the nicest way possible. I tried to continue playing it on my own, but the game gets brutally hard pretty quickly. Jump to this month in this year. The most recent Humble Bundle came with Magicka and all it's DLC. I got Skip and my brother to get copies and we've been playing it every night. The challenge for three players is perfect. We struggle through boss fights and laugh our asses off when we blow each other up.

COD: Ghost
This franchise feels like it is on it's last leg. It is the tenth proper game in the series that remains a cash cow, so they keep making one a year. The multiplayer is still fun, but it might as well be a map and gun pack DLC. Save the fact that the leap frogging developing cycle sees gaps in the feature set every year. They made a huge deal out of the pick ten system in BLOPs 2. It was going to revolutionize the game. So of course Ghost made their own watered down/less good version this year. I still enjoy playing COD with my buddies, but there is nothing new or special about it anymore. Titanfall can't get here soon enough.

Tilt to Live 2
Tilt to Live was the first mobile (smart phone) game I spent an extraordinary amount of time with. The longest a game would take, if you were really crushing it, was 3 minutes tops. You control an arrow that is trying to avoid and destroy red dots. It plays a lot like Geometry Wars, but replace the dual sticks with tilting your phone. Your next high score is only a game away so keep playing forever! Or as long as you are in the bathroom. Sadly the follow up game doesn't introduce enough new stuff to make me want to play it like the first. That or I had my fill the first time around. If you've never played it, give it a shot. If you played and liked the first, this is more of the same.

Max Payne 3
The matrix and more importantly the public's introduction to bullet time came in 1999. Sadly the movie tie in games that followed were shit. In 2001 Max Payne released with a gritty noir story and game mechanics that captured bullet time in a way that was fun. Not a small feat. The sequel that followed in 2003 only added to that formula. Nine years, a terrible movie and a troubled development cycle later and Max Payne 3 came out. Gone is the noir feel, the semi understandable story and the bullet time. Cover mechanics killed what made the first to games distinct. Now when you jump out from cover and slow down time you will very likely land on the ground and get shot to death. Without interesting game play one would hope the story did some heavy lifting. Nope, the story has got better things to do.

After really digging the new Pusha T, I went and bought all three of the Clipse albums. I was late to the party, but now understand were all the admiration comes from. There is some incredible music to be unearthed here. A lot of Neptunes produced tracks that I was already familiar with, but didn't know were Clipse songs. Bravo!

Action Bronson - Blue Chips 2
My first listen to Action's new mixtape was mixed bag of good tracks and some stuff that was really off putting. I stuck with it though and it grew on me in the past month. Party Supplies produces tracks that are just plain fun. The result of which is Action taking that fun vibe and putting together raps that are creative and light in their flow. A great pairing. Starting out thinking I'd remove it from my phone and taking a turn to liking it has been great. It is somewhere in my mixtapes of the year now.

Storm Front (Dresden Files)
It is a bit daunting to start up long running fiction series. The Dresden Files will be up to fifteen books next year. Thankfully the first book is only 300+ pages, which for me is only 8 hours of audio. In audio Storm Front plays a bit like a radio narrative. The first person hardboiled P.I. story blended with the super natural (magic) world played great in 20-40 minute chunks. I can't wait to start the next one.

Avengers Arena
Another great comic recommendation from Ethan. AA stands on the shoulders of Lord of the Flies, Battle Royale, and Hunger Games to tell a similar story in the Marvel universe. It is a silly premise that is well executed. I wasn't familiar with any of the characters on offer, which I think made it better. The characters get quick, but meaningful introductions and then are set to surviving and killing each other. The writing is on point and it looks great too.

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Books Read

Recently Finished:

The Wise Man's Fear
Dynasty of Evil
100 Bullets Vol. 07: Samurai
Batman: Batman and Son
100 Bullets Vol. 06: Six Feet Under the Gun
100 Bullets Vol. 05: The Counterfifth Detective
100 Bullets Vol. 04: A Foregone Tomorrow
100 Bullets Vol. 03: Hang Up on the Hang Low
100 Bullets Vol. 02: Split Second Chance
30 Days of Night
100 Bullets Vol. 01: First Shot, Last Call
Transmetropolitan Vol. 1: Back on the Street
Uzumaki, Volume 1
Runaways vol. 1: Pride and Joy
The Umbrella Academy, Vol. 2: Dallas
The Umbrella Academy, Vol. 1: Apocalypse Suite
Batman: Hush, Vol. 2
Atomic Robo Vol. 4: Other Strangeness