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I have completed a novel, a fantasy story revolving around a warrior prince who has suffered mental trauma at the ends of demons who captured and tortured him for seven years. I hope you check it out and enjoy it!
I rarely review video games. I like to write but you know what? Perhaps more than any other entertainment medium, gaming is so subjective. I've played games that received horrible to average reviews (the last remnant, draconis II) that I have really liked. I've played games with amazing reviews (halo, COD) that I personally didn't care for. However, I feel so strongly about this game that I feel compelled to try and tip favor for higher reviews. This game isn't getting blasted but it seems a lot of people are leaving with disappointed feelings.
I'm just trying to supply a better perspective for it. Some of the golden reviews are clearly from fanboys who will like anything. Some of the terrible reviews are clearly from people who don't have an open mind and are stuck in the muds. There just seems to be very little positive or negative reviews of this game from people with a more objective perspective. So here I am.
Although I love rpgs, I am not such a nerd to argue every little detail in them. I am not a DA fanboy, as I didn't really care for part one all that much. I don't consider myself a mainstream or casual gamer but I guess I'm not a hardcore on either because I don't care about achievements/trophies, online gaming, or playing a game just because it isn't mainstream or playing a game because it is.
I have a wide taste when it comes to games and I go into every game with one thing in mind: i want to have fun. If the game is complicated with depth, that is fine. As long as it is fun. If the game is simple and just one you play once or twice and forget about, that is fine. As long as it is fun.
And DA 2 is perhaps the "funnest" RPG i've played since oblivion and fallout 3.
I owned and played Dragone Age: origins. I didn't beat it but that is besides the point. I played enough to know that, although I love rpgs (everything from action ones to JRPGS) DA: Origins just wasn't for me. The storyline, characters, graphics...all that was fine. It was the gameplay. Rather than talk about that I'll just review DA 2 and let it speak for itself, as it will let everyone know the improvements made.
Graphics: I'm not a graphics person at all. Although I would never complain if every game ever suddenly had great HD graphics, I don't knock a game down if the graphics are not that great. Just like Origins, DA 2 graphics are average at best but I don't care. I can see what is going on with enough detail, that is all that matters.
Art style: people, and most video game reviewers, tend to get graphics and art style mixed up. They are two different things. Graphics is how good something looks. How close a car in Forza looks to being like a real life car video, for example. Are style is how something looks, like what the character models look like or appear.
The art style in DA 2 is completely different than origins. The monsters look more...japanese, if that makes sense but they also have a hint of ancient greek in them too. The human characters look a thousand times better. They appear more vibrant and full of life. They look healthier and more aware. The areas themselves seem more desolate and run down, in a good way I mean.
gameplay: here we go, the big one. I HATE how in origins you had NO control over your character. You picked the action and you had to watch the character do it. That works fine in a turn based RPG but in free form RPG's then it is completely pointless. In DA 2, that is gone. You push the button as much as you want for your character to fight as much as you want. This may seem like a button masher, and it is in a way, but the strategy is still there because you still have your special attacks and you can give tactics to your team mates just like in the first one. All the animations are faster. In origins, it took forever for your character to do an attack. It is almost instant now.
leveling up is easier too. Origins made level ups too infrequent. At one point, I was ten hours into but only a level 5 or 6. Obviously how much you level up depends on how you play but in DA 2, after not even being that far along, I'm already level 3 or 4. To others this make seem to be less of a challenge but to me it is more fun.
Although I enjoy a great challenge (who wants a game so easy you sleep through it???) there is a line that has to be drawn. Video games are just another form of entertainment. That is it. Nothing more, nothing less. So I personally don't see the point in playing games that are so hard that it becomes an exercise in frustration instead of having fun with something you spend your hard earned money on. Most people these days seem to just take games too seriously and I'm glad DA 2 doesn't. In origins I was often times AVOIDING battles because they became so tiresome. It was also annoying to have half your party wiped out by regular dudes or your characters using up all your health potions because they are too stupid to fight correctly.
Speaking of fighting, issuing commands/setting up tactics is SO much easier now. My biggest complaint with the 360 version ( i heard that the PC version was not as bad) was how convulted the menus were. It was a battle within itself to work you way through them and set things up. The interface in DA 2 is just faster, cleaner, and easier to use.
Most other complaints I noticed are the like of variety of characters you can pick. Gone are the other races and storyline. I can understand why people would miss that, I really can, but to me I'm glad all that is gone. It keeps the game more focused just having one race to choose and honestly I never really cared enough to go back and choose something else just to have another origin storyline, something that was a chore to begin with. With DA 2 all pretenses are gone and you immediately jump into the game.
People say the storyline isn't as epic as the origins. I disagree. It just doesn't seem that way because it isn't in your face with fantasy cliches. I like the fact that it takes place in basically just one major city and it is more political. It gets me into the game more, I feel like I'm more part of the game's world because everything is just more focused one thing instead of a thousand different paths. It also makes your character, allies, and missions more human, more real. So many fantasy mediums (books, games, so on and so forth) go out of their way to include as much epic as everything including an epic kitchen sink and I'm glad DA 2 is more withdrawn in that respect.
The coolest thing about DA 2 is the ending: you already know what the ending its. The whole game is a guy (dwarf, I believe) telling someone (forget who, someone in the chantry I think?) how it all goes down. Ever heard the phrase, it not where you go but how you get there that matters? DA 2 take this to heart and I think it pulls you in more. For a game to give you the ending and still keep an interesting storyline is a testament to the writer (s) abilities.
In retrospect, I can definitely see why people hate the changes made to this game but I cannot agree with them. For me, DA has move to better and greener pastures.
What is with all the reviews that say this movie is actually good? It seems that most romero fans have their heads up their ******. Romero's original trilogy is awesome. This one is not. It is like he made a B movie on purpose. Nothing wrong with that mind you but it can be done better. I could pull a better movie out of my toilet. The acting is terrible, the plot is laughable and the zombies look pathetic. After watching land of the dead, I thought he would turn the series around. I honestly didn't think any zombie movie could be worse than that one. Oh wait, failed. I'm sure Romero fans would say something stupid like "oh you just don't understand art" or "it is supposed to be like this"
It is a FACT that this film sucks. Thank you.
Well, I was (and still am I guess) an IPOD fan and owned an 80 gb IPOD classic. I loved it to death for the two years I had it but it was recently stolen from me. I simply couldn't afford another IPOD of that size (it was an xmas present so I never spent a cent the first time around) so I started looking at the smaller IPODS or alternatives. I went with the sansa fuze (not a bad player but I had some issues with it..won't get into that here) so I took it back and decided to get this. Size (as long as it's 8gb or above) on a player isn't much of a concern to me since my music collection (2000 albums, easily) is so huge that there isn't a mp3 player out now that would ever hold it to begin with. Sure, its fun to say you have 9000 songs but you really can't listen to them all at once so I decided to tone it down to 16 gigs. This sony walkman is cheaper than the ipod of the same size so I went with the sony.
One of the best electronic decisions I ever made.
First off, this player sounds at least 20 times better than any IPOD with a rich full sound that envelops you so well that you can't even hear yourself think. There are multiple options to creat your own custom sounds and many settings to change how the music sounds to your ears. Very cool, way more audio options than an IPOD. It has a click will but it doesn't feel cheap at all and doesn't stick out and wobble like the with the fuze. It's integrated on the player surface and almost flush with it. The controls are well made and the touch click wheel on an ipod didn't always respond as fast as me but this does obviously. The bottom of the player has the headphone jack and USB port. The right side has the hold button and volume controls. The front has the click wheel with the play/pause button in the middle of the wheel. On the left of the wheel is the back/home button (click once to back up a menu or hold to take you to the main menu interface) and the right of the wheel is the option button (allows to many things, including deleting things from the player without having to plug it in) and you can hold that down to turn off. For ultimate customization, You can change the desktop color AND theme for the interface/background and it's more modern looking interface like you get on a touch screen cell phone.
And the coolest feature on this phone is the senseme option that scans your song collection and creates "mood" playlists based upon how your songs sound. For example, there is a mood "relax" and "energetic" and it puts songs in your playlist that it thinks best goes with these moods. It is very cool!
The headphones that come with it are barnone the best sounding earbuds I've ever heard in my life. Every electronic device ever come with average (or below average) sounding buds but this walkman is the exception. There is absolutely no reasons to invest in a better pair of headphones (unless you don't like earbuds).
I've just listed many pros but no cons...because there just isn't any cons to this amazing little mp3 player. The fact that this isn't anywhere near as popular as other players is such a crime and a shame.
this game is OK. The graphics are decent but the framerate was pretty low; it got really "clippy" in parts. However this may be because of my laptop, which is a couple years old and wasn't bought with gaming in mind.
Other than that, I give it an average rating simply because it's an average, run of the mill action game that, while doesn't do anything bad, also doesn't step outside of the box. it's a decent mix of spying/hunting/action without going out of it's way to be totally one or the other genre.
machine head was the first metal band I ever got into heavily. I heard a few here and there (metallica, slayer, pantera, slipknot) but not until I heard Davidian for the first time did I open up my eyes and realize that metal is the greatest thing since sliced bread (and better too). After hearing davidian, i went out and bought their debut Burn My Eyes and the rest is history. Although i enjoy ALL their release (yes, even supercharger has a few good songs on it), it was pretty obvious that they fell pretty hard and lost a lot of the magic they had. Through The ashes of Empires came out and blew us away and let us know that MH is back but this album once again solidifies them has leaders in american metal. They now use a progressive edge to their music while never forgetting their thrash metal roots. It's really the perfect combination of all time.
it's just really good and amazing that a band that is as old as machine head just keeps getting better and better by making a full 360 degree turn around. Don't you wish every band could do this?
Some of the songs (and parts of songs) on this album literally give me chills. The part where rob says, "and i won't pray for you" on halo always gives me a shiver as does the ripping solos and duel melodies. The super thrashy parts towards the later half of wolves also gets to me every time I listen to it. And the first time i heard Now I Lay Thee Down, i almost pooped my pants.
a huge return to form while also moving fowards.
machine head = legend
My favorite arch enemy up until this release was Burning Bridges. I like their stuff before and the stuff after but to me BB was perfect; they nailed everything on that record: the melodies, the solos, the vocals, everything was perfect and spot on and I doubt they would ever surpass it. I never had a problem with Gossow; I don't think her vocals are as great as johan's but they are still pretty solid. The records with her (up until this point) were great release but each one was missing something: wages of sin was too long winded and after about track seven, i fell asleep. Athems of Rebellion was a little too dumb downed in places and like a lot of aggression. doomsday machine was heavy and often scary in places but there was a certain edge that it didn't have and her vocals also sounded over processed and fake. after DM, i was ready for gossow to leave.
Enter rise of the tyrant: the bands best record to date. While she still doesn't have the greatest rang (yes you can have range with growls), she sounds infinitely more confident this time around and she seems to scream, growl, and yell from the gut this time rather than letting the studio hide her true power.
The drumming, while still not too spectacular, is a lot more intricate and interesting this time around. Most importantly, the ammott brothers are back in full game. Solid, heavy, riffs mixed with rapid fire fretting speed are displayed here on full force and the melodies once again mix effortlessly with the dark heaviness. The solos are, of course, out of this world as are the duel melodies.
Arch Enemy has reawakened from a slumber they have been in since they have recruited gossow and they are all the better for it. They are back full forth and nothing will stop them. Congrats, guys (and girl).
Wow. that's all I have to say about this release. At least, that's how I can sum of this entire review in one word. Right off the bat, you know this disc is going to be special just because Thrice has their name on it. Ever since a friend introduced them to me years ago (thanks, Jason!) I fell in love with them and each release, with this one being no different.
This isn't a disk that you pop in and rock out too since it just has too much depth to digest in just a few dozen listens. Anyone who is a Thrice fan can see (or hear, rather) that this is the same ol thrice just wrapped up in a different package. It's got elements (yes, even disc two does too) of their old sound and I honestly can't see how anyone (even if you don't like this record) could say it doesn't sound like Thrice. Maybe you guys just are not listening.
Basically, this isn't a full length but two Eps. I got this double disc for less than the price of a full length and I think that's great that they don't let our wallets hurt for two eps. I love both discs and I wish they would had put all twelve songs on disc because it's annoying to keep switching back and forth between the two. However, due to the concept, I understand exactly why they are separate so it's really no big deal.
I like how they play the music to sound like the elements. Disc One is fire and, as you can imagine, it's heavy, fierce, and frightening. Fans of old school thrice will find much to enjoy here. Check out Track 2 (the messenger) for a blistering good time. However, even though they are more conventional than disc 2, even these songs have much to offer.
Track 6 (the flame deluge) is a great example of this. When I first heard this song, I hated it. The more i listened to it, the more it's greatness eventually shined through like a diamond in the rough. Quite simply, this track is probably the most abrasive song they have ever written. It starts off slow with eerie keyboards and a very spooky atmosphere. forty six seconds in and you get hit in the face with a sledge hammer. A huge, dense, guitar tone combines with the keyboards as the perfect background for Dustin's screaming vocals. This song evokes all kinds of tragedy and I love it.
Now onto Track 2, which is when things really change. Take all the experimental elements of their previous album (vhessiu)and take away all the heavy and you pretty much got the idea of this EP. Much like the word water would imply, the music is slow, soothing, and layered with lots of texture. Many things going on in these six tracks and it's hard to digest at first. Once you listen to it a few times you begin to understand how awesome it is. No, these are not songs you will bang you head too or songs you would let a friend listen to a house party but they are songs you will enjoy when you want to sit back and think about all kinds of things. Water is beautiful, emotionality charged, and literally takes you to another world. Just listen to track 3 (lost continent) or Track 5 (the whaler) and tell me that your mind doesn't take you to new places. Also, the instrumental (night driving) is easily one of the best tracks they have done. It's simply amazing. I'm a (HUGE) metalhead and it's what I mostly listen to but not everything has to be screaming and heavy the whole time.
Do I have any complaints about this release? Well, I wish the vocals were not so filtered. Dustin has an amazing voice and we should hear it naturally, not through some dumb machine. Just because you want to be experimental doesn't mean you have to change everything. This is a small complaint and doesn't change my score obviously. Also, i wish they would had just done a full length for each element. Six tracks just isn't a enough! Imagine what could be accomplished with these ideas if that had more time to flesh out for us, the listener! All in all, I like both discs equally and recommend this to whoever will give it a chance. It's not for everyone (but what music is though?) but for those of us who enjoy it..well, you have quit an adventure waiting for you within these two discs.
All of the negative reviews here are totally unwarranted. It's clear by these reviews that this band has (unfortunately) a lot of fair weather fans. Everyone keeps complaining about how it's not as catchy as CtO. Wow, who cares. This is metal, if you want catchy then go listen to britney spears. No one likes the death growls? They add a totally new dimension to the band, and it's a great contrast to hear the growls with the female vocals. It's just epic(a) beyond all beliefe. If you don't like the heavier approach, either vocally or musically, then once again, this is metal, and you should just go somewhere else. I loved CtO as much as the next person but it was too catchy, repetitive, and most of the songs were under 5 minutes long. Now, Epica makes the music they were born to play and all the songs are long and epic (hell, one of them is almost 15 minutes long) with many twist and turns. I'm sorry, what you rather listen to a 4 minute long catchy song or a 6 minute mini-epic that gets your blood pumping with all the different parts? That's what I thought.
I must praise EPICA for adding the death growls, the more longer songs, the more structure to them, and everything else they have done to spit in the face of commercialism.
The most obvious change to this band has been the lost of tarja and the addition of the new singer, Anette. She is a totally different beast (so to speak) than tarja so you really can't compare them. At any rate, I really like her vocals and I actually think they fit in with the band much better. Marco's vocals have become much, much better and they interact with the female vocals much better as well.
Now, onto the music. Most of the time, this album is typical nightwish. There is a mainstream song (amaranth) on here but i'll get to it later. I feel this release is much, much, better than their previous efforts, once and century child, although I do enjoy those releases greatly. Quite simply, there is just so much variety in this release. It's got celtic influenced songs, an instrumental, a 13 minute epic, some heavy hitters, some catchy tunes, and one of the best closing tracks ever.
1. The Poet And the Pendulum - great and a classic nightwish tune. it was really smart putting it down as the first track because it contains elements from the whole ablum. Anette gets really high pitched during this song and shows off her pipes. The riffs in this song are great and the chorus is awesome.
2. bye bye beautiful - this song is awesome and very similar to wish i had an angel but it's more..violent. Anette's vocals are awesome and the chrous is great, marcus shines here. The galloping, heavy, guitar beat is catchy and I like the keyboards behind the riff. the lyrics make the song truly special. also, the last part of the song where anette is "cooing" behind marco's chorus is awesome.
3. Amaranth - one of the more mainstream songs from here but it's so frickin catchy with shining vocals and an awesome chorus that you'll never want to skip it. Tuomas didn't want this song on the album but the record company forced him to do and make it the first single. It's not a great, epic, masterpiece, but he shouldn't be ashamed of it either.
4. Cadence of her last breath - The guitar is heavy and good, especially the bridge towards the end. The vocals really shine on this song. What a great song, cool solo, great vocals, great backing vocals from marco, and a great thrashy bridge with the guitar.
5. Master Passion Greed - easily nighwish's heaviest and most brutal song. The guitar playing is awesome and the lyrics are good. Like i mentioned previously, Marco's vocals are getting better. There is a certain venom to them that you cannot deny.
6. Eva - this is the only song on the album that could be considered a ballad. Nighwish have done songs like this before so it's really no surprise. The highlight is Anette's soulful vocals and the amazing keyboars and symphony. The last time they play the chorus, the guitar comes in heavy and the symphony really kicks in. This song isn't anything great and not a good choice to be the next single. The only track on the album I skip.
7. Sahara - a song with middle eastern influence. Every metal band ever wants to write one of these so it's no surprise that nightwish did. Great song though, another classic. The vocals are amazing and the symphony sounds are great.
8. Whoever Brings The Night is the next track and it's really frickin' great. One of several the songs on this album that I would call a classic. Very awesome guitar parts.
9. For The Heart I Once Had - if this song was fleshed out more and giving more parts to it then it would have been special but as it stands it's a good listen but it won't blow you away. I like the melodic guitar riffs and the vocals once again are awesome.
10 The Islander - it's a soft track but the music is intricate and amazing. I really can't describe this track. The bass player actually sings good on this one. Another classic. Sounds similar to the carpenter, for all you fellow old school nighwish fans out there.
11. the last of the wilds - like the track before it, this is celtic influenced and it's great. a very great instrumental. will be great live, another classic!
12. 7 days to the wolves - another great, classic song. the vocals, the instrumentation, it's all good.
13. meadows of heaven - an epic track, with breath taking vocals. When the songs gets a little heavy towards the end with the chorus of people, it really gets good. This is the song that Higher Than Hope, from once, tried to be. one of the great songs ever written by the band.
So there you go. I wouldn't say this is their best release (that goes to wishmaster, their truly only great effort IMO) but it's much better than their previous efforts. If your'e a nightwish fan then I don't see why you wouldn't want this in your collection.
The following tracks from this albums, at least in my opinion, are classics in the nightwish catalog: The Poet and the Pendulum, Cadence of her last breath, Master Passion Greed, Sahara, Whoever Brings The Night, The Islander, last of the wilds, 7 days to the wolves, and meadows of heaven
all in all, it's a good release and worth the money for nightwish fans.