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Posted: July 16, 2009 (02:48 AM)
Call of Duty: World at War

I didn't mention nazi zombies mode because it's not really all that interesting unless you download Map Pack 2. But if you do have World at War, download Map Pack 2 for 800 MS Points. It's a lot more fun than the main game.
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Posted: July 09, 2009 (03:26 PM)
Resident Evil: Degeneration is my second review for Apple's iPhone, which is shaping up to be an interesting platform for gaming (despite the failures of this particular title).

Next up: Mass Effect Galaxy.

It feels good to review games for formats that receive less attention. You don't have to worry about repeating other people's opinions so much because there aren't really any other opinions out there. I now know what Commodore 64 reviewers feel like!
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Posted: June 17, 2009 (04:22 AM)
It's my birthday today.
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Posted: May 02, 2009 (04:17 AM)

Heads Will Roll
Black Tongue
Human Fly
Dull Life
Gold Lion
Miles Away
Y Control
- - - - - -
Maps (acoustic)
Art Star
Date With the Night

This was quite a balanced setlist, I thought. As someone who didn't really like Show Your Bones very much, I was glad that most of the songs were from Fever to Tell or It's Blitz, although I would have liked to hear Turn Into or Cheated Hearts live. The contrast between the different albums enabled them to constantly change the pace, with older, faster songs like Black Tongue and Pin making way for newer, slower tracks like Hysteric and Skeletons. For these songs the giant eye at the back of the stage was lit up to look like the moon, while gold confetti fell from the roof. It's nice when bands attempt neat visual effects like this. It's not essential, but I think it just enhances the atmosphere of the whole event, especially when the stage design reflects the tone of the music.

In terms of performance, I thought the Yeah Yeah Yeahs sounded better live than they do on record. Some of their trademarks (i.e. long, droning notes, TONS of effects pedals, and energetic but intentionally raw music) work better in the context of a live performance. The "wall of sound" effect produced by this approach built up an atmosphere and energy that made the whole gig exciting. Plus they threw in some bonuses like Art Star, the Cramps cover and an acoustic version of Maps, which was the best song of the night.

The support act were a band called Art Brut, who I had never heard of. I mention this because they were actually pretty good. Sort of like Slint (loud guitars, spoken lyrics), but less serious and more geeky (they did a song about DC comics). Best song: I'm Considering a Move to L.A. The lead singer even went out into the crowd at one point, but I don't think people really how to react. You can really dance to spoken lyrics about DC comics.
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Posted: March 04, 2009 (04:22 PM)

That Was Just Your Life
The End Of The Line
Creeping Death
Holier Than Thou
Broken, Beat And Scarred
Sad But True
Turn The Page
All Nightmare Long
The Day That Never Comes
Master Of Puppets
Damage Inc.
Nothing Else Matters
Enter Sandman
- - - - - - - -
Too Late Too Late
Phantom Lord
Seek and Destroy

The Death Magnetic songs were actually pretty good live (especially the opening two), but maybe that's because the whole experience was so awesome. Metallica sounded excellent and they put on an incredible show. They have these massive coffin shaped lighting rigs that descend from the ceiling and spin around in true Spinal Tap fashion. The central stage is also a fantastic idea, and the various effects -- multicoloured flames, black beach balls, etc. -- were just crazy. I would go and see them again tomorrow if I could.

Looking back, I suppose it's a little disappointing that we got Damage Inc. as the second Master of Puppets track. Someone on RYM said (about Death Magnetic) that it continues Metallica's tradition of recording a rubbish last track but playing it really fast so no one notices -- a tradition that started with Damage Inc. And Phantom Lord is the only Kill Em All track that I don't like, so it was a shame to get that over, say, Four Horseman. But these thoughts don't really enter your mind when you're being assaulted by the full force of Metallica live. Hearing rarer tracks like Turn The Page, Holier Than Thou and Too Late Too Late (only the second time its been played apparently) was a bonus, and the regular songs (One, Sandman, Puppets, Seek and Destroy, etc.) were brilliant. Plus we got Creeping Death, which was absolutely incredible (easily the best song of the night).

It's easy to knock Metallica for their output over the last 20 years, but performances like this show how much they still care about their music and their fans. They seemed genuinely happy that the crowd knew almost all the words to the Death Magnetic songs. And yet they obviously still got a kick out of playing the classics, even though it must be the thousandth time they've done them. Definitely worth the 45.
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Title: Personal Milestone
Posted: February 26, 2009 (04:12 AM)
Sega Mega Drive Ultimate Collection

This is the first time in almost 100 reviews that I've used images!
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Posted: February 25, 2009 (03:21 PM)
I'm going to see Metallica at the O2 Arena on Monday.

I suppose I should attempt to listen to Death Magnetic.
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Posted: February 17, 2009 (04:10 PM)

+ The draw distance is stunning, especially the view from Alistar Tenpenny's balcony looking towards DC with the Washington Memorial visible on the horizon. Being able to see landmarks from a distance actually makes you want to visit them.
+ The map is more interesting and the locations more varied than Oblivion's repetitive dungeons. It's not that grim, either. The golden glow of the sunrise is actually rather nice (as soon as it gets dark I fast-forward to 6AM. hah.).
+ VATS is fun and efficient, especially with the Bloody Mess perk.
+ Major NPC towns/settlements are more interesting and unusual than standard RPG fare. Take Megaton and its unexploded bomb as a good example (although my favourite has to be The Republic of Dave, or maybe Canterbury Commons when you first visit). This is true of the side quests too. (The Replicated Man was probably my favourite to work out).
+ The equipment is brilliant: for the vast majority of the adventure I walked around the Wasteland with Lincoln's hat on.
+ Allies. Even though I never met Dogmeat and managed to kill the one ally I decided to travel with by going to the top of a satellite relay dish and standing too close to the edge.

- Lack of accuracy outside VATS makes this pretty dodgy as an FPS. You spend most of the game with low AP (four shots at most), which forces you to cope with the poor aiming.
- Metro Stations. I do understand the need to break downtown DC up in this way, but they still got on my nerves.
- Having a level cap at 20 is a bit restrictive.
- The story after the major plot spoiler event. There were a lot of ways to affect the ending, but that doesn't change the fact that it was pretty unsatisfying. And - POSSIBLE HALF SPOILER?? - I know it's logical to have a point of no return given the way the narrative develops, but I would have liked to be able to continue after the main quest (without a level cap!). Broken Steel looks like it will correct both of these issues, though.

These flaws don't change the fact that this is a 10/10 adventure. I personally prefer the fantasy aesthetic of Oblivion, but Fallout 3 beats it in almost every other way (and the Wasteland is actually more interesting and impressive than Oblivion's map). I say almost because the outcome of the story was disappointing given the strong start, but then Oblivion wasn't any better (that plot went downhill after Patrick Stewart died).
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Posted: February 09, 2009 (03:38 PM)

Dead Rising 2. I can't wait.

GAME OF THE DAY is Ninja Gaiden II. I'm at Chapter 8 on Warrior. It hasn't been that hard, so I'm worried there's going to be a spike in difficulty soon (in the form of IS ninjas and rockets) In terms of weapons, the Eclipse Scythe is essential for bosses and chaining Lunar Staff 360 UTs makes short work of fiends. The Dragon Sword slaughters ninjas pretty quickly, especially if you nail the Izuna Drop. My weakness is Gajas. I normally just spam Flying Swallows, but that isn't always effective because they're so fast.
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