Sunday, February 28, 2010

all and all we're just another brick in the wall

new mecho article!

just give me a reason to love you

yes that is an odd little tapestry sewn on dante's chest. no it doesn't make any sense nor should it. this game is obviously more about attempting to shock people than anything else and it shows in the first poorly animated cut scene. if you've read and enjoyed the divine comedy but haven't heard about this game yet, you might want to stop reading because this will probably just make you angry.

e.a. is a company that has become so good at pissing off the general public through a series of price hikes, hardware failures, out right scorn and general "fuck you's" that it only makes sense they would back a game like this. on paper it sounds like a great idea. a man suffering at a cross roads in his life goes to hell to find his beloved. along the way he learns all about what suffering truly means and talks to the most infamous characters in history to learn where they went wrong. wow. ok, now let's put some explosions in there, rip beatrice's shirt off the first time we see her, have a sex scene on the altar of a church where dante's holding a silver cross for some fucked up reason and then dante kills death and steals his scythe made of bones. what the hell?

few games have made me angry the way this game has and dante really made me angry for all the same reasons other shitty games have. the play control is horrid. they might as well have not even added a jump feature it works so rarely. that stupid silver cross fires larger white crosses at your enemies but you can't control where they go really or how many shoot out making the thing pretty useless. you swing your weapon in circles 90% of the time which is good because things come at you from all directions but you really don't have to pay attention to them because no matter what direction you're facing, you'll hit them. fighting gets boring really really quickly. in fact the first fight of the game had me thinking this was a waste of time.

the game plays like the god of war series which is good news to some but really, god of war was the first "next gen" console game that made me want to fight the developers. i can't recall if god of war was the first game to do this but it sure was used more then it needed to be. the idea of the "mini game" during action sequences is this, you're fighting someone, they show a moment of weakness and now a giant "B" button hovers over their head for a second. shit, you've missed your chance and now you have to fight the bastard all over again till that stupid button shows up and now it's an "X" button which makes you hesitate and hit the wrong button the first time and you've missed your...see where this is going? dante plays the same way.

the defense for this assinine style of play is this, by placing a mini game in portions of the game it makes the player feel like they have more control over the action and makes for a more immersive experience. i call foul on that logic because it's like watching a movie with a fake sun flair on the lens or blood hitting the "screen" and sliding down. it takes you out of the game or movie or show instantly because it reminds you that you're just watching something. it's like having a giant neon sign at the end of each page in a book saying, "get ready to turn the page" "it's coming up." "don't miss all the action on the next page."

there really isn't much else to say about the thing. i was bored before it started and disgusted to see that e.a. was selling walk through videos on it's xbox marketplace page for a couple bucks a piece so you could watch their game developers play the game and use their strategies to win.

if you're thinking of picking this up do yourself a favour and just drive nails into your hands and then play god of war again. it's the same game only more painful to play.

war, what is it good for? absolutely nuthin'.

and the bard certainly tells it true in this case.

i have just finished playing two new games for xbox360. darksiders which is just about as lame a title as i've come across and dante's inferno. i'll get to the absolute train wreck that is the inferno later but first i have to talk about darksiders.

picture if you will a very pretty rendered landscape that has been torn apart by some unknown hand. fires rage every where and buildings have been torn to the ground. giant bats circle in the air waiting to attack anyone foolish enough to be outside. enter, war. you play one of the four horsemen of the apocalypse and you've been sent to earth to find out who framed you for blah blah blah...actually the plot is kind of interesting but boils down to this; war has been accused of bringing the apocalypse early and was sentenced to death. he was framed of course and now he has to find out who did it and save earth in the meantime. how you kill a "force" like war is beyond me. that's like saying you're going to kill charity or hate or carrot top. it can't be done.

so the game starts and it looks pretty. the combo system is decent but it's not surprising that all you really need to do is mash buttons and you'll be better off. things come at you from everywhere which is kind of fun because you can track specific enemies by holding down a button. good to know if you're in a fight and trying to figure out where the boss went.

where it all falls apart for me is the play control. jumping has piss poor response time. clinging to walls and just trying to move across the screen is a chore because instead of doing the smart thing and just making it so pushing forward = moving forward they've done that lame thing where depending on the angle of the wall you have to push sort of in the walls direction to move forward. this means pushing almost diagonally up to move left. makes sense right?

the tutorial tips are full of helpful little tid bits like, "aim with R3". that's it. that was the tip when i looked up at this thing that looks like an upside down venus flytrap from hell. i eventually figured out what it was trying to get me to do but you're better off turning those things off. i think they were designed to make fun of you more than anything else.

that's about all there is to say about the game. it wasn't terrible but it wasn't even close to good.

now dante on the other hand...

Monday, February 22, 2010

who dat is?

you know you hate a band when this song gets stuck in your head and you force yourself to think of this song instead.

also, i'm losing the widget on the bottom right that shows where people are from because it's started a pop-up and that's about the last thing i want.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

this things i believe

i think i'm done with posting things chronologically. it was a fun idea at first but i'm thinking it's better if i just post things as they come to mind. i've already jumped a good number of things like funkdoobiest, the one cypress hill album that i actually liked, ice cube's predator, lords of the underground, the crooklyn dodgers, nofx's i heard they suck live and so many more so i'm thinking i'll just be posting the rest as they strike me.

which brings me to ask; what are you listening to these days?

Sunday, February 14, 2010

you and me could write a bad romance

it's alla hjÀrtens dag or anna howard shaw day to some and that means it's time for a holiday post doesn't it? doesn't everyone blog about valentine's day? are we supposed to comment on the the commericiality of it, layer it in irony or just go along for the ride now? i couldn't tell you anymore. i sold my copy of no logo long ago, irony isn't funny and has finally been exposed as an excuse to have really bad taste and yet going along for the ride still seems wrong. perhaps i haven't entirely outgrown my resistant inner hardcore kid after all.

i'll keep my valentine's day politics to myself and simply say however you decide to spend it resisting, embracing, or ignoring entirely i hope it's a good day. it seems like too many people are having crap days far to often.

oh and here's some music for you. they were angry, young and looking to hurt people both physically and emotionally. (although in reality off-stage they were some of the nicest and most gentle kids i'd met at the time.) you guessed it shai hulud.

this record is the reason i started buying hardcore records. i had a few youth of today and minor threat records but they weren't the same at all. i'd been listening to a fair bit of youth crew style hardcore punk (usually associated with straight edge bands) but shai hulud was an entirely new thing for me. i hadn't been out to see any of the hardcore shows in my friend's city yet and most of the kids in my town were playing west coast skate/surf punk or ska. the metal kids all played in other towns at first. but there i was, standing in the tiniest record store you've ever seen (it was called full blast records.) listening to this record that literally just came out of the newest shipping box and hadn't even made it into inventory yet. i looked at the owner and asked, "what the hell is this and do you have more?" i had goosebumps all over my neck and arms. my friend thought i was crazy but to give it some context he was a big less than jake and dance hall crashers fan. shai hulud was like a punch in the face, partially because you might catch a punch in the face at one of their shows but more because it was just such an aural assault.

hearts once nourished with hope and compassion was the first full length album from these young floridian lads. i can't explain it but there was something about it that just made kids go insane. it lit a fire under people and suddenly everyone was playing crazy off timey, tech, math core. whatever you want to call it and whether or not they started it, helped bring it to other people or were just riding the wave of acts to come doing similar things is all up to debate but the point is this record changed everything for me. i started dressing differently, thinking differently and started going to all those metal shows in other towns.

to this day shai hulud is one of my favourite bands and probably always will be. if it wasn't for them i'm not sure what i'd be doing these days. seriously. i probably wouldn't have started playing drums and i'm sure i would have stopped going to shows a lot sooner. these guys opened my ears and mind to a world of new things and for that i'll always be thankful. i am also thankful for the fact that it is a loud record because i used to listen to this to fall asleep to when there were things going on that i didn't want to hear.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

keep talkin' loud, but ain't sayin' nothin'

seemed like an appropriate title for this next act since they really had nothing to say at all and somehow managed to garner a pretty large and dedicated that i think of it nice & smooth are certainly not the only ones to have gone that route. busta rhymes, das fx, kanye west, jay-z the list is huge so there's obviously a market for gibberish. there is one possible exception and that would be the song sometimes i rhyme slow which was predominantly about inner city life, poverty, drug and a.i.d.s. issues. nice & smooth could bring the science if they wanted they just didn't do it often enough for my liking.

nice & smooth were an east coast hip hop duo in the early 90s. they first appeared on big daddy kane's song "pimpin ain't easy" in 89. if you're ever heard kid & play, the fat boys, fresh prince, red head king pin etc then you've heard their style of jazz influenced, up beat hip hop.

i seem to recall this being one of the first tapes my friend gave me in high school. i'd been listening to hip hop for four or five years at that point and knew a fair bit about what was out there and what i liked. nice & smooth were the type of hip hop that i generally stayed away from because it just seemed like non-sensical party music, which it was, but i liked groups like public enemy and poor righteous teachers because they had a message in their music. i was a pretty serious kid even if my grades didn't reflect it.

a funny side note to that first tape, the second tape i received from a friend at school was metallica's "black" album. this same friend would later introduce me to bands like cannibal corpse and suicidal tendencies. i guess the metal bug was planted fairly early.

anywho, nice & smooth basically vanished after their third album. light hearted duos went the way of the dodo in the early 90s as more groups were trying to pretend they were thugs. while there were too many good groups to count still practicing in their basements and praying for a record deal, the mid-90s was the beginning of the end for what most heads would consider the golden era of hip hop. the late 90s was awash in the hip hop equivalent of glam/stadium rock. all style, no substance, "let's get some bitches in my limo's pool and poor champagne on them" type stuff that you still see from time to time. in their prime, nice & smooth were a good team to get people on the floor and dancing.

Friday, February 5, 2010

who do you seek kids?

umc's "fruits of nature" was right near the front end of my growing rap collection. recorded in 1991 they had some steady play with their single "blue cheese". like most of their rhymes the song was somewhat nonsensical with underlying tones of what people would later be called "conscious rap".

i really came across them by chance like most rap acts back then. if it wasn't for them hosting an episode of "rap city" with michael williams then i probably wouldn't have ever seen them. their video wasn't aired often on much but it was enough to get me out and buy the album.i played the hell out of this tape on my way back and forth from school. my walk was about 30-45 minutes to school so i got to listen to pretty much the entire album every day until i wore the thing out. it was whimsical and fun but tight and well put together. it was a shame that their second album released three years later pulled what so many new rap acts did and that was to pretend they were actually street hardened criminals.

(p.s. this thing refuses to format properly. seriously, does anyone have any tips on how to stop posts from looking like mashed together peices of bread?)