It’s vacation time. Go eat too much.
Monotony Monday #22 – Morose Mt.
Climb This Mount of Heartbreak
The short of it: Painful and passionate, this project brings the listener into the fog of grief only loss can bring.
Mount Eerie, a musical project of Phil Elverum of The Microphones fame, shouldn’t work. But it does, and it works in the most haunting of ways.
There’s Between Two Mysteries, a Twin Peaks inspired project that delights in the synth-heavy atmosphere of the show’s incomparable soundtrack.
The other releases tend toward these atmospheric instrumentals with Elverum’s stripped voice treading along with it. Every song sounds kind of like it’s being played in a dark, empty house. And to be fair, it kind of is.
A Crow Looked at Me, the latest album, is a chronicle of Elverum’s final moments with his cancer-striken wife and his attempts to cope with her loss. It’s just beautifully brutal. The first track might just be the worst though.
It’d be a disservice to describe this one.
“Toothbrush / Trash” is just his struggle to take out the trash, filled with the blood spattered tissues of her final days, in their bathroom.
Other tracks document his conversations with his daughter, explaining the resting place of her mother. Others tell of his collapse when he’s confronted with other memories of his wife. All of these tracks tell of pain.
Fun Fridayz #18 – Forsaken Fires
Hell to Play
The short of it: Despite some occasional map confusion, Doom goes along with Titanfall 2 in the Gameplay That Feels Like The Trailer Looks Hall of Fame.
But once again, I had an “Oh snap(map).” moment and a game just clicked.
I liked the Doom demo, that much has been established. But I liked it in a presentation sense; it was a nice sample that was a polished reflection of the total gameplay. That gameplay took me two and a half levels to actually understand.
I drew issue with level design, as I kept losing my way and running through shortcuts that put me back where I started. Once I finally really looked at the sweet 3D map, I understood. The levels aren’t exact designed for funneling the player; instead, they disguise the density of secrets and collectibles, encouraging the player to scale every ledge and follow every path.
So I’ve recanted on that issue. And I’ve doubled down on my other main thought from when I first tried Doom.
These guns are hella fun. Sure, the attachment system is a little overwhelming (numbers larger than one scare me), but pretty much all the attachments I’ve used so far are pretty satisfying.
My latest pickup is the Gauss cannon, which might be my favorite so far. It’s like hip firing a Barrett .50 cal straight into demonic torsos.
Watching Wednesday #18 – Weirdo Whammy
The short of it: It promises to be punchy and pretty, and that’s all I really needed.
Riverdale is the adaption of the long-running Archie comics, meaning someone out there some characters named Jughead and Moose and thought it needed to be a semi-dramatic murder conspiracy.
And damnit, they were right.
I just idled on Riverdale on Netflix for a few seconds, and this cinematic clip started up. I figured it was a trailer, so I let it play just to see how anyone could adapt Archie. Lo and behold, it was fascinating.
Fun Fridayz #17 – Freeman
The short of it: It’s the worst best.
Alright, so I already had my whole post ready for today. It was about Trials Fusion and my issues with achievements and challenges, but that rant’s getting delayed. And even though there’s nothing worse than a delayed story, it’s necessary because of what came out today.
Former Valve writer Marc Laidlaw released the basic story for Half-Life 3/Half-Life 2 Episode 3.
So it’s closure, I guess. Kinda. It’s a cliffhanger solution to a cliffhanger problem.
The short of it is unfortunate. This is the best we’ll get for Freeman, and that sucks. Something as instrumental and influential as Half-Life doesn’t deserve this half-hearted fizzle out in the face of (with no word otherwise from them) Valve’s corporatization. Sure, they’ve probably argued that expectations are too high, they’d never meet our hopes, womp WOMP WOMP. I mean, technically this is all tin foil hat conjecture, but the truth is that DotA and Steam are just more worthwhile investments of business time. It’s nice to have these delusions that game companies are about the game, the passion, whatevs. We know the truth is profit, but those delusions help us get through the rough patches.
Monotony Monday #17 – Mandatory
I’m out till Monday, so no WW/FF. I’ll make up for it somehow next week though.
Watching Wednesday #13 – WOOT GOT
SO YEAH, NEW GAME OF THRONES FINALLY.
Sure, the Ed Sheeran cameo was fine, even though he seems unsure on account of deleting his Twitter account.
More importantly though, the rest of the show was DOPE.
But dope doesn’t mean flawless.
I kinda dug Euron’s outfit. He wore it with just enough cocky swag to pull of this weird royal trash chic, like a greasy descendent of an ancient European king. But at the same time, it was a bit too modern– the dangling straps and accessories made it look like a slightly cleaned up Bam Margera outfit, too. His sudden arrival with the ships seemingly came out of nowhere, seeing as how the show stressed how there’s no natural resources in the Iron Isles and how most of the ships were taken to Dany.
Arya’s cold blooded cold open was also pretty cool, but it just reminds us that she’s in massive danger of becoming a Mary-Sue in a universe that’s done a brilliant job until now of reminding us that no one’s safe.
Watching Wednesday #12 – Whams and Woos
A New Chapter in the Book of Kicking Ass
The short of it: With another dose of beautiful action and steady camerawork, this is a chapter worth reading. Watching. Whatever.
The original John Wick was a bit of a surprise for me. Straight action films are more and more becoming nothing but diluted scenes of combat hidden behind bad cuts and confusing angles. But then there was this simple, straightforward movie that let its story have both intrigue and reason. The fights were brutally real, with amazing gun handling and painful hand to hand. It was brilliant.
It’d be easy to say that I was nervous about a sequel or that it’d be tough to follow up the original. But I wasn’t– that’s what I think separates the Wick series from other well done action flicks. It’s a blockbuster passion project kind of thing, where everyone involved knows exactly what they want to make. You can’t make a movie like John Wick and then ruin the next one.
I mean, it’s more of what made the first one so good. It’s a world that, although hinted at, doesn’t fully expose itself. There’s all kinds of questions that don’t get exact answers and the couple of answers the viewer can get are basically just hints. And that’s wonderful. The Wicks are some of the leanest mainstream movies I’ve seen, cutting out the extraneous nonsense like overt sentimentality or explicit explanations. Spoilers, but John Wick doesn’t sit down and tell his dog, “You’re all I have my wife is dead emotions are empty except these feelings for pet.” He pats his dog’s head and boards him while he rampages. No emotional cheap shots. Just sick head shots.
Fun Fridayz #7 – Free For Fans
Shovel Knight – Specter of Torment: Ghastly Goodness
The short of it: While not as smooth as Shovel of Hope or Plague of Shadows, Specter of Torment continues the trend of successful shovelry. Yacht Club Games’ Shovel Knight easily claims the title of Greatest Kickstarter Game.
On its own, Shovel Knight has no right to be as good as it is. On its own, Plague of Shadows has no right to be as good as it is. On its own, Specter of Torment has no right to be as good as it is.
Yacht Club consistently nails its strengths, which is about as redundant as the phrase, “digging shovel.” The hub worlds are delights to explore and serve as both adventure relief and comic relief, their NPCs always offer great interaction, the music is always fresh as hell, and their character design is absolutely gorgeous.
Both DLCs so far have radically changed the gameplay of Shovel Knight by drastically altering the player’s mobility. Plague Knight’s explosive jumps and Specter Knight’s dashes and wall runs reinvigorate old levels and offer new takes on already fascinating levels. However, they create new levels of frustration as increased mobility usually comes with more difficult paths. Instead of Shovel Knight’s simple jump once or die, it compounds into jump explode jump wall hang jump or jump dash float wall run jump dash.
Basically, I’m bad at platforming and this game really made me think about that. Although the enemies and bosses (final boss being the frustrating exception) pose almost no challenge, I ended having to close my 3DS at a few pressure-filled platforming sections that ended up tripling my death count. The wall run mechanic occasionally felt more slippery than savvy, but that could just be me terrible.
Fortunately, Specter Knight’s combat abilities make up for that. His weapons are brutal, fun, and almost feel like cheating– but since they’re all a part of his boss fight, it’s totally fair.
Compound this combat with the interesting storytelling (the method is great, the story itself is the weakest of the three campaigns (which isn’t a criticism considering how damn good the other two are (especially Plague Knight))), I can dig Specter of Torment.