TLOU Multiplayer



The Last of Us online multiplayer is familiar but with enough of a twist to keep things fresh. Elements from story mode such as crafting weapons and listen mode are still present. There are two modes right now although more might be added with dlc. ( downloadable content ) The modes are Supply Raid and Survivors. Each mode consists of 4 on 4 team death matches. Supply Raid mode has a twenty minute timer and a limited number of respawns. You start with your team of 4 plus 20 lives for the entire team. Every time you or one of your teammates die a life is deducted from a shared pool. The main object is to wipe the other team out or have more total respawns than your opponents team when time runs out. Survivors mode has the same 4 on 4 team death match dynamic but the difference is that the mode is split into best of 7, 3 minute rounds, and if a player dies they stay dead until the next round. This makes your tactics into battle all the more important.


In each mode supply boxes are scattered throughout the different multiplayer maps. These supply boxes are invaluable for crafting items to help your team win. Anything from molotov cocktails to vicious melee weapons for hand to hand skirmishes can quickly swing the momentum in your favor. Like in story mode resources are limited so again use your items wisely. You can either choose from a preset class or you can create your own class using a limited amount of load-out points to equip your character before an online match. There are various weapons and abilities to equip your online character with. The basic outline is like this. You get 2 slots for guns, a primary and a secondary, 4 or 5 slots for different abilities like “marathon runner,” and 1 slot for a purchasable weapon if you so choose. The purchasable weapon is acquired by spending supplies you collect during matches and does not carry over after a match is finished. You are free to customize within those parameters anyway you see fit as long as you keep within your allotted load-out points.


Multiplayer online in The Last of Us is like a game within in a game. No its not as complicated or convoluted as the movie Inception but there is more here than just cut and dry death matches. Upon starting online multiplayer for the first time you will be asked to choose a faction. The Hunters or the Fireflies. This selects your online narrative and effects some minor cosmetic elements in your online experience. After a faction is chosen you are debriefed. Essentially you are given a clan of five people. Your goal is to grow this clan and help it to survive as best you can for a period of twelve weeks at which time help will arrive to save your clan. Sporadically throughout the twelve weeks you are given a list of tasks you need to complete within the multiplayer matches to help your clan survive. Tasks last for 3 days, or 3 matches and can be anything from reviving teammates to downing enemies with a certain weapon. The catch is every time you complete a task if you choose to do the same task again the number of times you have to do said task increases. So say you needed 3 downs with the hunting rifle, next time you will need 6 making it harder to complete within the 3 day window.


It is completely possible to fail a task and let your entire clan die. This means you will have to choose your faction again and start from the beginning. So choose your tasks wisely. You can equip guns with silencers at the cost of load-out points. Weapons can be upgraded but only with supplies you collect during matches. You can only acquire your purchasable weapon by spending in game supplies. You also have to collect a certain amount of supplies during a match to keep your clan fed. This adds another dynamic to attacking enemies because you might have a great shot on someone from far away but if you take him down, will you be able to swoop in and pick up the supplies he has dropped to help your clan? Your character has some customization as far as what they wear but they always spawn as a different type of person at the beginning of each match.


One thing I will say with The Last of Us multiplayer is that for some reason their seems to be an abundance of trolls. I have played many online multiplayer games before and have never encountered so many trolls. Obviously there are a lot of cool people to play with that make the online experience a lot of fun but I have gone entire sessions in the online multiplayer for The Last of Us where there was someone in every match who took away from my enjoyment of the experience. That aside I know the online game sounds a little complicated but once you get the hang of it, its pretty straight forward and can be a lot of fun and fairly addicting.



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The Last of Us



The Last of Us is an exceptional new title exclusive to the Playstation 3. It is one of the highest rated games of all time. Some have even called The Last of Us the Citizen Kane of Video Games. I have heard to put things in perspective you have to think of it like this, if we were comparing video games to film we would have just reached the Jazz Singer. For those of you who aren’t film buffs and never heard of the Jazz Singer it was the first feature length film in history to have fully synchronized dialogue. In other words the first full length movie where people actually talked instead of having cue cards with dialogue on them. That is pretty monumental when you think about it.


A video game, something that literally evolved from two glowing white “paddles” hitting a white square back and forth simulating a rudimentary version of tennis on a plain black screen, has evolved to a point where a “game” has drawn comparison to one of the most iconic pieces of cinema ever. That is a fairly impressive feat to say the very least. It is a testament to the developer Naughty Dog who are no stranger to creating triple A titles with exciting narratives and compelling characters.


The Last of Us is a benchmark, a new ruler of which all games will be measured for years to come. I personally really enjoyed The Last of Us because the style of gameplay reminded me of the classic Resident Evil series, by which I mean the first 3 games with Resident Evil 2 being one of my all time favorite games in general. Because I have lost all faith in Capcom, to me this is probably as close as I am ever going to get to those glory days of survival horror. The focus is not about high scores or how quickly you can defeat enemies but instead the focus is on the characters and their stories, emphasizing their personal experiences. The journey is what is important.


To fly through a game like The Last of Us is a waste of time and money. If you are someone who doesn’t care about story and only cares about beating levels as fast as you can, don’t bother with this one. That’s not to say that the actual game play is bad in any way because in fact although not exactly revolutionary the gameplay is very well thought out and feels finely tuned. Every action is performed in real time and the game does not pause while you are crafting supplies. I actually had a moment where I was about to be discovered hiding behind a desk by a patrolling guard, I panicked and threw a glass bottle aimlessly across a large room and just when I was about to be discovered the bottle hit the far wall catching the guards attention and he turned to see what it was allowing me to get the slip on him. Moments like this were part of what made the game play so engaging to me. My one gripe, albeit minor, is that in the world presented throughout The Last of Us I feel like setting traps like snares and trip wires makes perfect sense within the confines of the game and in a game so thoroughly realized it feels odd to me that traps weren’t included.


I found in the online mode, which I will elaborate more on in a separate article, is that some people, not all but some, from the Call of Duty fps ( first person shooter ) crowd really didn’t seem to enjoy this game. The Last of Us is about the journey of two people twenty years after a global tragedy that saw tremendous casualties. Society has broken down into a world of survivors. Remnants of order still exist but for the most part it is everyone for themselves. Cars lie rusted and dilapidated on highways. Complete towns are deserted. Entire cities are empty. Many people live with an ambiguous moral code where their is a large grey area mostly consisting of the question, “Is it wrong to do something if not doing it means that the people I know, as well as myself will probably die?”


Every location you traverse has its own story to tell. There is much to discover in every location. Follow a streak of blood and you may discover the signs of a previous struggle leading you to the fate of some other poor soul that came before you. That person might have a note giving light to why they were there and what they were doing. Explore an empty home and you might find a letter addressed to a lost loved one telling them where to meet up in a quarantine zone only to go into the next room to find a suitcase that someone never finished packing. It is this element that gives The Last of Us its unique spice. This may sound a little strange but the people in the game actually feel human. They have real personalities. Every encounter be it with someone who is friendly or hostile feels like a real life.


The violence in The Last of Us is honest. It can be quite vivid but it never feels gratuitous because the violence is in no ways glorified. You never get the sense that your characters enjoy harming others, rather it is an often unavoidable conclusion to some particularly rough situations. The stealth approach seems most desirable in many situations as you want as few hostiles to know of your presence as possible. Supplies are very valuable and as such using them to take down an unsuspecting enemy can be a hard sacrifice to make, especially in a world where you’re not sure if you will be able to craft an item when you absolutely need it. So a simple choke hold, while not nearly as quick as a shiv, is still an effective take down. However with a choke hold your enemy will struggle more and will take more time to subdue. It makes the experience so much more raw. These aren’t soldiers fighting “bad guys.” You are not the ultimate bad-ass. These are ordinary people in tough situations which sometimes come to violent conclusions.


Its not all about the violence though. There are many places where the action slows down and you are allowed to take a breath. These moments in the game allow for exposition to give depth to the characters and the world they live in. I won’t give it away but my favorite part of the game was one of these moments. It was a lighthearted moment the two main characters shared while traveling through the ruins of an old building. What The Last of Us does which is so hard to do is incorporate many emotions into this story. Some moments are intensely sad, others can make you laugh out loud, some things will make you angry. It is this rare ability to incorporate all of these different things organically that make the game so great. Each experience adds another layer to the dynamic between the two main characters and you become a little more invested in their outcome. Until before long you find yourself outright rooting for them. The facade of a game fades away and you become a part of the journey.


The Last of Us is something you just have to experience to really understand. Its more than some blockbuster movie that you may like, or even just a movie with a great story you really like. Those are passive experiences. In The Last of Us you are actively interacting with the story. The story proceeds because you proceed. Everything hinges on your actions. The reactions happen because you participated. Its not what “I” saw but what “I” did. That is what really makes The Last of Us so endearing.


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Gamer Integrity?

I have noticed a disturbing trend in this era where online multiplayer games have become more popular than ever. On the cusp of the next generation of console gaming both Sony and Microsoft have touted a larger more connected online community of gamers as a lynch pin in the future of gaming. On paper it sounds great, your future gaming console will be a hub for communication and social interaction.  It will become easier to find people who like to play the games you like to play.


Honestly it sounds really cool. People will be able to record parts of the games they are playing share it with their friends show others how to play a certain level or how to beat a certain boss. Gaming from your smart phone or tablet is being emphasized for next gen games as well. You will be able to participate in your favorite games wherever you are, whenever you are. So whatever you are doing you can always work on leveling up.


I have noticed in my own online mutliplayer experiences lately an absence of couth. Respect and reason has been abandoned. There seems to be a major rise of hate in the online gaming community. Maybe I missed the memo but aren’t we just playing games at the end of the day. Yet it seems like more and more people have no problem shouting racial slurs or calling someone something homophobic. I actually gamed with someone who’s gamer tag basically translated into hard penis and it wasn’t even a clever pun. I can’t help but wonder, are people getting dumber? I have been in some online lobby’s lately that would make you think the civil war never happened.


What happened to integrity? The weight of a mans honor? The importance of self discipline? Wherever you go, be it to your job, your home, the supermarket, one should always approach all situations with RESPECT and REASON. Why should it be any different in an online multiplayer lobby? All of the sudden some people get behind their gamer tag and they think that gives them free license to rapid fire hate speech. I have even seen recently in online matches players tearing their own teammates down because they play the game differently than themselves. Instead of, you know, cheering for your own team.


What happened? Why are so many people in the online gaming community talking like bigoted hate mongers all of the sudden? Over the years I have played with a lot of cool people online. There is always that competitive side to gaming and it should be encouraged. I have no problem with people taking shots at each other during competitive play but lets keep it reasonable. Hate speech and bigotry shouldn’t be tolerated by anyone ever. After all we are playing GAMES, a healthy escape from the every day grind, an excercize for the mind. Most of us work our asses off day in and day out with little to show for it and all we want to do is sit back and play our video game of choice without having to hear hateful ignorance turned up to ELEVEN!


Obviously there are a lot of good, genuinely cool people to play games with online. The problem is this growing cancer of self righteous fuck ups who have no manners and no concept of how to address other human beings in a friendly competitive arena. We aren’t fighting for the existence of all mankind and that needs to be kept in perspective. It sucks I even felt that this article was necessary but clearly this problem is getting worse.


I have grown up a heavy metal fan. A lot of people unfamiliar with the genre assume that heavy metal is all about devil worshiping and beating the shit out of each other at concerts. In fact their is a metal band about or for just about anything you can think of, be it helping out others, fighting waves of the undead, mythical beasts or just every day life. Heavy metal fans are proud to be a part of their culture. The music means something to each and every metal fan. At concerts their are mosh pits where people run into each other while screaming lyrics from their favorite songs but their is an etiquette. If someone falls down in the pit their are several people right there with them to immediately help them up and make sure they are OK. We metal fans may have a strange way of bonding with each other but we RESPECT the music and we RESPECT each other.


Shit talking is a part of competition but at the end of every sporting event opposing teams shake hands and congratulate each other on a game well played. Whether or not players like each other they still show respect for their opponents. Maybe an official rule book should be made for gaming or a code of conduct but we can not continue on this path where some players think its totally fine to completely berate someone they have never physically met in an online video game lobby. I love video games and am proud to be a part of the culture. I can’t wait to see what the generations of gaming to come will have to offer but I want to do it in a future where gamers act like adults and not sub-human parasites.


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EA Sports News

While Electronic Arts deal with the NCAA is coming to a close it seems the college football video games will keep coming. EA Sports has come to a deal with the Collegiate Licensing Company to continue making college football games. In the agreement every individual college has the right to refuse inclusion in the new game. The NCAA title will be dropped and the game will get a new name but for all intents and purposes it will be the same game. EA Sports and the CLC have agreed to a three year deal.


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Evil Dead Remake/Reimagining

(Image appears courtesy of Christopher Ott and London 1888)



I just wanted to say a few things about the Evil Dead reboot. It seems somewhat appropriate seeing how it just came out on Blu-ray this week. First off I am a huge fan of the original series. I still remember renting the original Evil Dead when I was like ten years old. The smell of row after row of rental tapes, talking to the guy behind the counter. “Say my man, what’s the scariest movie you have?” and the clerk replied, “Why the Evil Dead young man.” When I was a little kid it seems like all we really ever rented were horror movies actually. The Return of the Living Dead series, Alien, Predator, Wish Master, Lost Boys, Silence of the Lambs, Hellraiser, as a kid I really liked the Puppet Master series for some reason and an endless supply of other old horror movies.


The original Evil Dead struck a chord. Like any great horror movie you lose your self in the plot and this may sound a bit strange but I actually cared about what happened to the characters in the story. I didn’t know until much later in life that the Evil Dead was already a cult classic by the time I rented it back in the early 90’s. What I did know is that it became one my favorite movies. The story was bizarre, the atmosphere was ripe with tension and a genuine sense of fear was conveyed by the purveyance of the unknown. Before this movie I never fathomed anything close to a book bound in human flesh and inked in human blood or what evils it would unleash upon the world.


The X factor of Evil Dead and the subsequent trilogy is the character Ash Williams played by Bruce Campbell. As the series goes on Ash became more and more of a bad ass, quick with a one liner and faster with his boom-stick. The story of Ash Williams has become legend to many, myself included. The character of Ash Williams has appeared in multiple Evil Dead video games and comic book series. Most horror fans would agree the original Evil Dead and Bruce Campbell’s Ash Williams are iconic.


Here lies the monumental task of rebooting this beloved piece of horror cinema. ( Note: Evil Dead director Sam Raimi went on to direct the first Spider-man trilogy ) Director Fede Alvarez was hand selected by Sam Raimi to helm this project. The cast and crew were all explicitly told by both Sam Raimi and Bruce Campbell to not try and recreate what had already been done. Sam and Bruce, both producers of the film, were very supportive but took on more of a coaching position leaving Fede Alvarez and his cast free to blaze their own story, to create something fresh.


The trailers for Evil Dead 2013 were really promising. Lots of gore, lots of violence and deadites. ( Look up the Redband trailer on YouTube its pretty wild NSFW )This was the first horror movie I had been truly excited for in a long time. When I finally got to see it I wasn’t disappointed. Evil Dead 2013 had an interesting plot giving the cabin more meaning to the characters and a real reason for everyone to visit the cabin. It succeeded in recreating the feeling I had watching the original, tense on the edge of my seat wondering what would happen next. It was a lot of fun to say the least, Easter eggs for the initiated were abundant without diminishing the new story in any way. I left the cinema happy to see that one of my favorite franchises was in good hands and to see the Evil Dead legacy grow and know that its legend will live on.


I have talked to some people who were really disappointed by this film. I was confused thinking OK it was pretty violent I could see some people who don’t enjoy horror being turned off by this title. That wasn’t the case as it turns out they were huge fans of the original series, and I found out that there are others who shared in their disappointment of Evil Dead 2013. These fans actually left the film confused about what had happened in the movie. Apparently what some fans were hoping for was a shot for shot remake of the original movie just updated with new effects.


The shot for shot remake of a classic horror movie has been done before. The one that jumps to mind is the remake of Psycho. A cinematic legend. Anthony Perkins’ performance in the original Psycho film is legendary. The Vince Vaughn performance in the shot for shot remake of Psycho is infamous. Bruce Campbell and the Evil Dead franchise are iconic. Bruce Campbell as Ash Williams is iconic. Like in the Psycho remake no one could ever capture the performance of the original. A shot for shot updated remake of Evil Dead would be a terrible step backwards for the franchise because all anyone would do is compare Bruce’s Ash to whomever’s Ash.


Even if it was a good shot for shot remake of the original, nothing original would have been done. What a waste of time to re-shoot a classic film scene by scene when you could just watch the original anyway. Instead what we got was a new story in an updated universe of a legendary horror franchise, with plenty of nods to the past to give die hard fans something to cheer for.


Rumor has it that Sam Raimi and Bruce Campbell have three more Evil Dead titles in mind. One film will continue with the events of Evil Dead 2013, the second film will be a sequel to Army of Darkness with Campbell reprising his famous role of the chainsaw wielding deadite slayer Ash Williams, and the third film is intended to be a film where Ash Williams’ universe crosses over into the universe of the new series.


The Evil Dead 2013 did not give us an Ash Williams. However the film did give us a compelling story and interesting characters. There is plenty of gore and practical effects. Many events that occurred in the original series are homaged. Evil Dead 2013 is exhilarating, a refreshing new adventure in a beloved horror haunt. A thrilling tale that will keep you on the edge of your seat til the credits roll. I give it 4 and 1/2 stars out of five. If you have the stomach and like full on horror movies that hold nothing back I strongly recommend this film.


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EA and NCAA Parting Ways

It seems that EA and the NCAA football franchise will be parting ways as the NCAA has decided not to renew its contract with EA. The contract ends in the spring of next year. The NCAA stated that it was not in their best interests to continue their license with EA. EA will still continue to make college football games though and claim that this years iteration is a highly polished game.

Hopefully this means that other developers will throw their hats in the ring and try to take a chunk out of the college football video game market. It would be refreshing to have some diversity in the monopolized football video game market. Now we have to cross our fingers and hope like hell that EA and the NFL part ways. The split of the NFL and EA though somewhat doubtful (read my previous article) could very well bring a renaissance to football video gaming. No longer tied to Madden as your life line for NFL gaming, consumer choices could have a drastic effect on the Madden template, which lets face it has gotten kind of stale, and we could see innovations in the genre that just won’t ever happen if EA remains the only developer with the official NFL licensing.


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Football season is coming! In less than two months “America’s favorite pastime” will begin again. I myself am a big football fan, although my devoutness has suffered a bit in recent years due to my suspicion of a WWE like structure being instated behind the scenes and a general distrust of Roger Goodell, but that is a whole other story. The story at hand is video game related I swear.

With every new season of football comes a new iteration of the blockbuster football video game franchise Madden. This year in fact is the 25th anniversary of the first Madden. Honestly that is really commendable considering how hard it is for any franchise to grab hold with an audience, let alone still be relevant a quarter of a century after its original appearance. A new entry in the Madden franchise sells several million units every year. There is of course the dreaded Madden curse which seems to effect whichever NFL player graces the cover of the game each year, if you haven’t heard of it look it up its eery to see how many players have bad seasons the year they were on the cover of Madden.

There is something else though that is beginning to feel more and more like a curse, Electronic Arts’ deal with the NFL to have exclusive rights to make games with the NFL license.  I have grown up with the Madden franchise and once the NFL Blitz arcade style football game started to get stale Madden was the football video game me and my friends would play. Nowadays though I am really sick of the Madden franchise. The ongoing joke is that getting a new Madden game is just getting the old Madden game with a new coat of paint. I think the issue has become worse than that though. With new entry’s into the Madden franchise fans aren’t just getting a new coat of paint, they are getting “innovation.” Sometimes this works well enough, I personally enjoyed a few years back when QB vision was a feature in the game, but last years new physics engine was a mess. Players tripped and fell walking into each other or on invisible objects.

I will say this though, Madden 13 was the first Madden I had played in about five years I really enjoyed after I bought it. Yeah the players on the field looked goofy in between plays but during actual game play I had a good time. Madden was fun again. I could run a play and pass the ball and felt like the game was actually fair in all aspects, offense, defense and special teams. Everything felt balanced. Then like six weeks in there was an update to the game and all of the sudden the ghosts of Madden’s past came screaming back. Linebackers could suddenly jump ten yards again in all directions, receivers couldn’t catch a cold, the game felt broken. Which makes me think that there is a mentality at Electronic Arts, I am sure they would deny because they basically have to, that they don’t have to actually finish the Madden title they are working on because they can always finish it or “fix” the game with a patch down the line.

About a day or two after that first patch last year me and everyone, and I am not exaggerating, everyone I knew stopped playing Madden. We just felt burned again. Finally for the first time in years the game was fun again and just like that it was taken away and all the issues that I just listed in the last paragraph and that most people I have talked with about the Madden franchise, came flooding back. I for one am sick of it.

The exclusive rights deal that Madden and Electronic Arts have together expires this year. It seems most likely that they will simply renew the contract as both parties have done in previous years. I am sure there might be some minor alterations as far as money is concerned between the two but for everyone looking in everything will appear as it has been for what feels like the dawn of time. This isn’t intended to be a rant against the Madden franchise itself so much as it the fact that Madden is the only football video game that you can buy, that’s what sucks. I think that the Madden franchise should continue on, with one condition, Madden is no longer the only NFL licensed video game from here on out.

Competition is exactly what is needed. If Madden had to compete against other games with the NFL license maybe the ghosts of Madden’s past would finally be cured and they couldn’t come storming back with a patch because those bugs still exist within the main Madden code. It would be really refreshing to have a choice when it comes to buying a NFL licensed game. The consumer could finally hold Electronic Arts accountable if they made an inferior product. “This year’s Madden kind of sucks maybe the other franchise is better.” Even if you are a die hard Madden fan you know the game would be better if it was forced to compete with other football games instead of just doing whatever they feel like. I am sure argument can be made that the Madden franchise has innovated over time but I am forced to wonder how much more would have and still could be done if the Madden franchise had some healthy competition.

When researching this topic (I know right? I actually research my topics) I heard a similar argument pop up over and over. The argument basically goes like this. Every other football game with the NFL license has been out of production for almost ten years now even if 2K Sports, EA’s biggest competitor, were to get back the rights to make an official NFL licensed game it would be terrible because they just don’t have a team that is familiar with making a competitive NFL simulation style game anymore. 2K Sports would have to build a new engine from the ground up to make a new NFL licensed game. There is no way 2K Sports or any other game developer looking to make an NFL licensed game could compete with the Madden franchises yearly entries.

Tell you what, that is a great argument if you work for Electronic Arts or are one of their investors. For the rest of us that is some bold bullshit. If by some miracle the NFL, a money hungry billion dollar entity who loves to incessantly control its image and the people associated with said image, and EA, a money hungry billion dollar game developer who loves taking the NFL’s money, somehow fail to reach an agreement and the exclusivity deal between the two companies somehow falls through, (I seriously doubt it will) I can foresee an exciting new era of NFL games on home consoles. Especially now on the verge of a new generation of console gaming with the PS4 and the XBone coming out this fall.

Can you imagine a developer like 2K Sports finally allowed to make an officially licensed NFL game again? Developing a new NFL game from the ground up. Starting fresh. The prospect of a new entry to end the tyranny of the Madden-opoly seems not only liberating but a necessity. You can argue until your blue in the face about how great the Madden franchise currently is, and by no means am I saying its terrible, but there is no way you could possibly say it couldn’t be better. I understand that it would be quite a stretch for any developer to come out blazing with a new NFL licensed video game franchise to compete with Madden a year from now, what about the year after that? or the year after that?

The Madden franchise doesn’t need to go away it just needs a friendly dose of competition. Winning wouldn’t be so great if nobody lost. As long as the NFL and Electronic Arts are running hand and hand all the way to the bank everyone else loses. Is this exclusivity agreement even legal? Doesn’t making Electronic Arts the sole purveyor of an officially NFL licensed video game a monopoly? I am considering starting a petition against this agreement because as long as there is only one “choice” there really are no choices and well that just plain sucks. When it comes to something like games based on sports where there is a yearly entry I think it is paramount to have competition. As the old adage goes “when companies compete consumers win.” I want to win, don’t you?



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XBOX One vs. PS4

War On!


                                                     The battle of the console giants has begun! Sony Computer Entertainment Europe has recently made a statement addressing Sony’s line up for the Playstation 4 at the Electronic Entertainment Expo, better known as E3, a few weeks ago.Jim Ryan the head of SCEE addressed the seemingly thin games roster for the new PS4 shown at E3. He said that the president of Sony Worldwide Studios alone has 30 titles in development 12 of which are new IP’s  or intellectual properties and that 20 of those titles will be shipping within the first year of the PS4. Jim went on to say there is a lot going on at Sony but they had to keep some stuff back. Gamescom a large European gaming conference is in late August and Jim said that they are going to need something to show there as well.

                                                There will be a lot of games available for both the XBOX One and the PS4 consoles at launch,including games that were shown at E3 like Call of Duty with Dogs, Battlefield 4, Tom Clancy’s the Division and the next gen. game everyone seems to be talking about Watch Dogs. Sony did display some promising triple A exclusives for the PS4 including the family friendly Knack, the revamped fps Killzone Shadowfall, and the visually stunning driving game Drive Club, all of which are available day one of the PS4 launch. Even the PS Vita got some love with first party titles like Killzone Mercenary possibly the fps people have been dying for on the handheld, Batman: Arkham Origins Blackgate set after the events of Batman: Arkahm Origins and numerous 3rd party titles like Rayman Legends. Even a special Walking Dead bundle was announced for the Vita called 400 Days.

                                                Still comparatively to Microsoft’s showing at E3 there seemed to be more exclusives for the XBOX One. A new Halo was announced although no in-game footage was shown with a vague 2014 release window. Dead Rising 3 was shown as another XBOX One exclusive that will be available at the console launch and it looked considerably better than Dead Rising 2. The presentation was a lot less cartoony but more rugged and gritty however the developers promise there will still be lots of the customization and zany things to do that we are accustomed to in the Dead Rising series. The final exclusive shown at the very end of Microsoft’s E3 conference was the multiplayer game Titanfall a very good looking fps with giant mechs that fall from the sky that you can use to wreak havoc on your enemies. In the demo I even saw a giant mech pick up a player running through the map and threw him across the screen which was pretty awesome. Titanfall is getting some criticism as an XBOX One “exclusive” however due to the fact that the game will also be releasing on PC.

                                          What Jim Ryan the head of SCEE said about Gamescom is interesting. If Sony still has some games up its sleeve, does Microsoft have any? Due to the severe backlash and general ill will that Microsoft cultivated after the pitiful TV concentrated unveiling of the XBOX One back in May, there was a lot of pressure on Microsoft to show games for the new XBOX One at E3. They delivered in spades. If I remember correctly even the transitions between games had trailers for other games. Microsoft showed so many games, is it possible that they panicked and put all their cards on the table? It will be interesting to wait and see what happens next and to see if Microsoft will have any new games to show off before the console launches in November. Gamescom is in Germany this year and starts on August 21. The console wars are far from over. With the impending launch of two new consoles we have seen Microsoft make some disastrous decisions going forward into the next gen and we have seen Sony infamous for making blunders like trying to sell a new console for $600 dollars seemingly making all the right decisions, learning from their previous mistakes and actually listening to the people who make and play video games alike.

                                     Microsoft dominated the last console generation for a long time, cheaper console at launch, supposedly stronger online experience, Call of Duty although available on both consoles was very popular on Xbox 360. Currently the PS3 has surpassed the XBOX 360 as the most sold console around the world this generation. Its really hard to forget that Microsoft tried to enforce martial law with the XBOX One, dictating to us when, where and how, we play video games in our own homes. Microsoft took it back but its the fact they tried it at all that just makes Microsoft appear pretty shady right now. Moving into the next generation of console gaming it looks like the tides could be changing. The prospect of new consoles have always been exciting for gamers and the way this console war has begun to unfold this war promises to be extra special. Both the PS4 and the XBOX One launch this fall, probably November-ish.

                                   The first shots were fired at E3 when Sony confirmed that they weren’t implementing any of the insanely restrictive policies Microsoft was with their new console. Lines have been drawn, and the gauntlet has been thrown. When competitors as gigantic as Sony and Microsoft battle the real winners are the consumers. I hope somebody gets their teeth knocked out!



Is Micro$oft’s change good?

(Image courtesy of Christopher Ott and London 1888)

Reaction to DRM Removal by Micro$oft


                                                   It is easy to say Microsoft’s removal of DRM or digital rights management from the XBOX One is a good thing. Essentially under the infrastructure that Microsoft was building or had built for the XBOX One people would only be renting games from them. For whatever reason if you could not have gotten an internet connection within the 24 hour check-in cycle the XBOX One as I have stated and many other sources have stated would become a cable box and you would not be able to play any of your games. I know that many of us have internet and we are moving into a more digital era every day.

                          Just the other day though my internet actually did go out. It was out for maybe an hour and a half tops. Not very long really I didn’t regress into some sort of fire worshiping cave man or anything like that but it got me thinking what if I had the XBOX One and that hour and a half was at the end of my 24 hour window? Most people have routines that they are committed to whether they like it or not, jobs, kids activities, AA meetings, and what have you, the point is most people game at similar times each day.Therefore the incident I recently had with the hour and a half of internet darkness is a relatively short time in the grand scheme of things but if I had to go to work the next day, maybe that was my window for gaming that day. It isn’t that uncommon for anyone’s internet to go down here or there and if you are gaming around the same time every day suddenly any hiccup in your service could be potentially fatal to your gaming schedule.  My point is this, with the busy lives we lead, an hour and a half of no internet could mean 24 hours of no gaming for even single player games. That is just plain unacceptable. Penalizing your customers because they can’t get internet is pretty harsh.

                           I totally understand that the online features of the XBOX One could have been, and still could be really cool but to treat your fans like common criminals is pretty unforgivable. Twenty four hour check-ins to make sure that no one is modding an XBOX or region locking the console to even further restrict consumers is not OK. Oh yeah and the XBOX One still comes with the Kinect which can monitor your heart beat in the dark and is you know, programmed to listen and watch you at all times! They say the Kinect now has a sleep function but its still listening for certain keywords to activate your XBOX One.

                            Lets reflect shall we? It is good that seemingly all the militant restrictions the new XBOX One were going to have are being removed. I find it hard though to trust anything Microsoft is doing right now. We all know the changes were made because pre-sales for the XBOX One were abysmal not because they cared what people were saying about the new XBOX One. Let’s be honest, the original version of the XBOX One might as well have been the puzzle-box from the Hellraiser movie and when you turned it on you were sucked inside to meet Pinhead and his Cenobyte friends and he just laughed as hooks attached to chains ripped your flesh while Pinhead said to you “Oh, the sights you will see!” Because the original version of the XBOX One sounded like an absolute nightmare. Don’t buy that line about Microsoft having to take away family sharing too because its not true. That’s Microsoft acting like the snobby rich kids they seem to be lately. It turned out the consumers were smarter than Microsoft anticipated and rejected their absurd proposal to actually buy their insanely restrictive machine, so Microsoft took everything away instead of just the things they should have removed.

                          At this time Micro$oft appears to be floating in the abyss. The fact that no one seemed able to adequately explain the purpose or function of any part of the XBOX One except of course for the Kinect and its eye of Sauron is wholly disheartening. How could no one really explain the functions of things like family sharing? Especially at E3! Where they promised to admonish any reservations people may have had about the infrastructure the XBOX One was going to have. The arrogance towards people who can’t get internet. Its just how? How I ask you? Can one company be so out of touch with the world around them? Did they really think people would want something that required 24 hour internet check-ins to work? Its like Microsoft completely ignored a good portion of the Earth with this internet policy, DRM and region locking the system. Both Germany and Australia have condemned the XBOX One as a monitoring device designed to spy on people.

                           Microsoft is an entity without a country right now and that is how it should be. A lot of bridges have been burned by sheer arrogance and ignorance. I don’t believe for a second that the people at Microsoft are stupid. You don’t become as big as Microsoft by being stupid. Too much of the XBOX One’s release was based on assumptions that clearly should have had more testing with the actual demographic. Their is a lot to prove now. The XBOX brand has been severely damaged  by this mess. Microsoft’s abandonment of DRM is good but the fact that they were willing to drop all the features the XBOX One was going to have raises a lot of questions. The explanations of the different XBOX One features by anyone from Microsoft were inept. For example family sharing still hasn’t been fully explained. How could no one from Microsoft who addressed the public be able to fully explain the functionality and reasoning for the XBOX One’s features? Basically, what was the point of making the XBOX One the way it was? A lot of research and development as well as millions of dollars had to go into developing the XBOX One. Now that Microsoft has flipped on a lot of the things they were implementing as integral to how the new system would operate, do they even have a plan? That is the big question.

                          Microsoft’s rescindment is a victory for the gamers. Getting a corporation to change their mind about anything is pretty impressive. Ultimately Microsoft’s success with the XBOX One is up to the gamers. It is hard to forget though that Microsoft was willing to unleash the XBOX One like Hellraiser’s puzzle box on its millions of fans. Sort of like if you caught Pinhead trying to pass off his puzzle box as the new XBOX One but you caught him so he was like, “OK you got me, here’s the real XBOX One instead. Don’t you want it? I swear its completely fine.” I don’t know about you but I am a bit sketched out that Microsoft would try to implement such harsh rules on its own fans. The people who built the XBOX brand. Its kind of hard to trust anyone who would try such a thing, especially with a device that will be used in your own home for the better half of the next decade.





XBOX 180

Micro$oft has performed a 180

                        News is popping up from many different sources including IGN and Kotaku that Microsoft has rescinded on basically all of its draconian policies. The XBOX One no longer turns into a brick that only plays TV now when you don’t check in online every 24 hours. The XBOX One will now allow offline video game playing, however you will still require an internet connection to initially set it up. DRM is supposedly dead for now on the XBOX One. Region locks have been removed. It seems for the moment anyway that Microsoft has removed all the extremely restrictive features from their newest creation. The Kinect however, still mandatory for the system to function.

Don Mattrick President of the Interactive Entertainment Business at Microsoft basically said this today, “Nobody wanted to buy our system,” (Look it up, a poll on Amazon yesterday had an overwhelming 95% stating they are buying a PS4 over an XBOX One) Don continues, “because no one wants to buy our system the way it is, which honestly may have had some really cool stuff on it but we acted like such arrogant douche bags about the whole thing we never even tried to tell gamers why we we’re implementing this new infrastructure for the XBOX One. We are going to go back on basically everything we said we were going to do. (KINECT STILL MANDATORY) Everyone seems to really, really, REALLY HATE the policies that we have with our new system and Sony isn’t going to do basically any of them. Given the fact that there is an overwhelming disdain for the XBOX One and I am literally sitting on what is and still potentially could be an XBOX One themed landfill. We here at Microsoft have decided instead of proceeding with what is at the moment a COLOSSAL FAILURE  in the eyes of millions and millions of wallets world wide,  me and my friends stand to lose a lot of cash, I mean ahem, the fans seemed not too fond of some of the XBOX One’s new features and we don’t want to let our fans down so we are going to end DRM”

In an YouTube interview on the Angry Joe Show a representative from Microsoft, “Major Nelson” arrogantly condescended to Joe as he politely asked honest questions about the restrictive nature of the XBOX One. Even going so far as to ask Joe “Don’t you want to come to the future with me Joe?”  Joe wasn’t allowed to finish his answer as the interview was cut short but he later said I do want to go to the future of gaming but I want to own my games not rent them from you.

There are so many things to think about now that Microsoft has rescinded on DRM and most of its other restrictive features. (EXCEPT FOR the always on KINECT which supposedly now has a “sleep mode but its still listening for “certain keywords”) For one thing if Microsoft was so sure that there business model for the XBOX One was the “future of gaming” then why not stick to your guns? Another thing to consider now is that even though it appears that Microsoft is rescinding on its policies we all now know what there real thoughts of the consumers are and where there true intentions lie. They don’t care about the gamers at all. What they wanted was a micro-transaction paradise filled with “free to play” titles, “the first one is always free.” A dystopian future where no one owns there games they simply rent them from Microsoft. “Hey I am not really crazy about this game I just got can I bring it back?” No, well that’s OK I will just give it to a friend. “Your not allowed to have friends unless Microsoft says its OK!” “Hey I am a soldier overseas and after a day full of getting shot at and protecting my homeland I like to come back to base and play some video games, its cool I don’t have any internet connection out here right? I just want to play some single player games anyway.” Fuck you! You want to play video games, buy an XBOX 360 the XBOX One is not for you!

Even though Microsoft has rescinded these absolutely despicable policies.  It is really hard to forget that Microsoft was willing to enforce such brutal restrictions on its loyal fans, the people who built the XBOX brand. The people without whom Microsoft wouldn’t even be here at this moment to release a third console! To top it off the non-existent effort made by Microsoft to politely explain the purpose of its policies, such as implementing DRM or a system that becomes useless if you don’t plug it in to the internet every twenty four hours, and not explaining these features in a way that is easily understandable to the average person is very unsettling. How can you trust them if they can not give you a straight answer? Instead Microsoft’s approach was very arrogant, very condescending. They acted like people should just “lie back and take it” as is so famously quoted now in there Killer Instinct stage demo during there E3 conference. Watch the interview with Don Mattrick and Geoff Keighley on the Gametrailers channel and also watch the interview that Angry Joe did with “Major Nelson” on YouTube they are pretty telling of the mindset at Microsoft upon releasing this abomination into the mass populace.

The only thing I could really think of when considering how Microsoft could be so disconnected from their core audience is that maybe they never actually polled their core audience. Maybe everyone who tested an XBOX One wasn’t primarily a console gamer but a PC gamer and that is why Microsoft actually thought designing the XBOX One the way they did was a good idea. PC gamers are used to DRM with online gaming however they still have a choice as to where to get there games. Ultimately I think Microsoft is not wrong in thinking that the future of gaming is digital. I do however think forcing it down our throats with a smug disposition really was not a great approach. Sony and the PS4 definitely seem like a better ship to be on these days if your a gamer. How will the console wars end up? That is a hard one to answer but its easy to see that Sony and the PS4 have a strong lead, and rightfully so with its gamer friendly culture it seems a much better place to be gaming right now.


Sony’s E3 Conference



                              The Sony conference last night started a little slow. It was reassuring to hear that support for the PS3 and PS Vita were still be very much a part of Sony’s future plans. Many new AAA titles are still appearing and going to appear on the PS3 for at least the foreseen future and not only are a lot of cool new titles are being developed for the Vita such as Batman Arkham Origins and Killzone Mercenary. A new Walking Dead PS Vita bundle will also be coming out soon, with the entire first season of Tell Tale’s Walking Dead video game series available on Vita, along with the second season just announced Walking Dead: 400 Days. Speculation is that with 5 playable characters you might spend 80 days apiece intertwining each characters individual story into one single larger story.  Sony has pledged its commitment that we will see full integration between the Vita and PS4 this next generation of console gaming. We will have to wait and see exactly what that means but it does sound promising.

                                 Next we were shown the actual PS4. Admittedly at first glance I thought it was similar to the XBOX One design and it does bare some resemblance. The PS4 is smaller than the XBOX One, and can lie flat or be stood up like a tower and the PS4 is also angled in the front, I assume to make it go faster. The overall finish is somewhat similar to the XBOX One only the PS4 doesn’t seem to have as many vents as the XBOX One.

                                The beginning of the press conference covered a lot of familiar games that were shown at the PS4 announcement conference back in February. We saw new parts of Killzone Shadowfall which I think is definitely shaping up to be an interesting departure from the original series. We also got to see more of Infamous Second Son, a game that I wasn’t that excited about upon its announcement but this second trailer seemed much more promising delving a bit more into the characters and the direction of the new iteration of the series. Second Son looks great with new graphics and honestly I never really got into the Infamous series but the new characters and the style of the gameplay shown really makes me want to give it a try.

                            Sony’s conference really picked up though when they talked about their commitment to the independent developers showcasing a lot of independent games and there creators. The bullet point on this announcement was the fact that independent developers will be allowed to self publish for the PS4. This is of note because Microsoft has made it clear that self publishing will not be allowed for the XBOX One.

                            Announcements were made for Kingdom Hearts 3 which sounds great and definitely is exciting new in the gaming community all we really saw was a trailer divulging very little about the actual game and what it might entail as far as story of if there even is one yet. Also a bit troubling was at the end of the Kingdom Hearts 3 trailer all was said is that the game is in development. Well the Last Guardian has been “in development” since 2009 and is now in hiatus so that announcement doesn’t sit so well with me now in retrospect. Also announced was that Final Fantasy XIV would be coming to PS4 along with the believed dead game Final Fantasy Vs which is now being re-branded as Final Fantasy XV which again is kind of exciting. Will we ever see it?

                            Sony’s announcement to pair with Gaikai is promising, more promising than the announcement of Kingdom Hearts and Final Fantasy because those are in the end just software. Two franchises that are equally beloved but without which I think that the PS4 would be able to survive just fine. Gaikai however will be integral to the infrastructure of the Playstation Network allowing for high speed streaming for the entire Sony ecosystem PS3, PS4, and Vita. Gaikai will allow for users to play games while they are downloading, high speed connections for online multi-player games. Gaikai will allow PS4 players to stream a large library of PS3 classics at ease. A promise I think Sony will make good on. Gaikai is not supposed to launch for Sony until 2014 but I think with the potential cloud gaming has to offer gamers, it will be well worth the wait. Playstation Plus will carry over to PS4 with an instant online game collection available to users on the PS4 and the Playstation Network will be full of bonuses as well but multiplayer online will now only be available to Plus users which will cost $5 a month. Drive Club a very impressive looking new car game emphasizing team building will be immediately available to PS Plus users upon purchase of the PS4.

                           The explosions started to happen after that with Sony’s Jack Tretton coming on stage to address the audience about used games. To summarize…”Ahem…You buy the game….YOU OWN THE GAME!!” Sony will not enforce any new policies on the treatment of used games. Once you buy a PS4 game it is YOUR GAME and you do not have to verify ownership online…..EVER!! The crowd, twitter everyone watching went nuts. By the end of this note in the conference you could hear people in the audience cheering PS4! PS4!

                        Then after Sony virtually curb-stomped Microsoft in front of the whole world,  they went on to show a demo for Destiny an impressive looking FPS (First Person Shooter for the uninitiated) MMO(Massive Multiplayer Online) game developed by Microsoft’s golden goose Bungie, the creators of HALO. Not only does Sony publicly lay down the gauntlet against Microsoft they finish off their conference showing off a game made by Bungie looking drop dead gorgeous on the new hardware.

                         Just when you think Sony has finished pummeling Microsoft’s lifeless body up and down the conference hall, they come out “oh yeah, by the way PS4….$399 this holiday season.” BOOM!!! after everything that Sony already did, they are also selling the PS4 a full hundred dollars cheaper than the XBOX One. MIC DROP! Sony just made a statement and that statement as of right now, the Playstation name was built by gamers and we built the Playstation 4, for gamers. The PS4 is the place to be for next generation GAMING.


Jason Lives!….Again?

Friday the 13th coming back soon?

                                                      According to an article on IGN, Warner Bros. who released the recent Christopher Nolan Batman trilogy has given Paramount its rights to co-finance a new Friday the 13th movie just to stay connected with Nolan on his new endeavor Interstellar. So to stay on board with Christopher Nolan’s next movie Interstellar and the right to co-finance the picture with Paramount, Warner Bros. has released its co-financing rights for the next Friday the 13th movie as well as the next South Park movie to Paramount. Both movie franchises have suffered from the many hurdles it takes to overcome when two of the biggest film distributors in the world have to agree on something. There is a catch however in that Warner Bros. has only relinquished its rights for five years giving Paramount a relatively small window to go into production on either of these franchises. The Friday the 13th series and the South Park series are both fairly lucrative but does that guarantee that we will be seeing the likes of Jason Voorhees or Eric Cartman on the silver screen anytime soon we will just have to wait and see.



                               Anyone who saw the XBOX ONE reveal definitely has to wonder what Microsoft is thinking. They took a department of their team wholly created for the purpose of home gaming and turned there next big console into a glorified DVR with voice controls and MANDATORY kinect units. Watching the XBOX ONE reveal was like watching Microsoft slowly commit gaming suicide for an hour. Oh I know E3 will change everything. To be fair it is totally within the realm of possibility that Sony can still mess up at E3, but now with the confirmation that  XBOX ONE has to be connected to the internet once every 24 hours for your games to work and you can only lend a game to ONE of your friends, allowing of course that they have been your XBOX live friend for over thirty days makes the next generation of gaming look pretty grim.


Friday the 13th Remake Critique

 SPOILER ALERT! This is my abridged critique of the Friday the 13 Remake.

1.) Jason’s mother dies in the first 5 seconds of the film. This wasn’t an immediate deal breaker for me but killing her off so quickly made it hard to really comprehend her importance in the story line and it also made it hard to understand why someone would kill Mrs. Voorhees in such a violent way.  As a big fan of the original Friday the 13th series I wanted to like this movie pretty badly but this version just misses the nuances that made the original series (especially in the beginning of the original series) so iconic to me.

2.) One of the biggest most glaring omissions from this version to me is the fact that Jason NEVER KILLS ANY CAMP COUNSELORS! I mean doesn’t it make sense that the people Jason would most want to kill are camp counselors? They are the ones who left him for dead at the bottom of Crystal Lake and they are the ones who ultimately killed his mother, brutally decapitating her. So instead of wasting the first 20 minutes of the movie with the adventures of how stoner mcgee and generic victims 2 through 5 are brutally murdered by Jason (which are a footnote at best on his resume) wouldn’t it have been so much more fun to have seen what Jason did to Camp Crystal Lake for it to be shut down in the first place? Then we the audience would have a vivid understanding as to why the camp is so heavily revered by all the locals?

3.) The character design of Jason was ok. I thought that Derek Mears performed adequately as Jason but at the end of the day if felt more like a man in the woods pretending to be Jason the body language was just off. I thought putting more emphasis on Jason being a conscious hunter was an interesting concept but I really hated seeing Jason out and about during the day so much.  Specifically the scene where he finds the hockey mask was really painful for me. Obviously I love when Jason wears the hockey mask but the moment of him discovering it was really cheapened by the fact that he is just bumbling around a barn in the middle of the day. This last part is more my own personal taste but Jason is just so much more menacing at night.

4.) Why even bother giving any of the other characters names? The only two who stand out and bring anything to the table were the characters of Lawrence and Chewie who were funny and actually made me kind of care about their fates. Now don’t get me wrong Friday the 13th has always been about the gratuitous nudity and the high body counts as well and I totally appreciate and enjoy that aspect of the series but it was hard to care about anyone in this story line at all. I spent the movie praying for Jason to come back in hopes of not suffering more terrible dialogue from generic victim #2 or his friends.

5) They totally left out Jason’s signature moves, just completely ignored staples of Jason Voorhees’s character. There is always a moment in the original series where Jason is about to kill someone or he is stalking someone where something else catches his attention and he violently jerks his head in the direction of the distraction, the move is always accompanied by a sharp musical cue. In the old movies, even as dated as they are now, that was a moment that always gave me a chill and made me smile. The other omission that really bothered me was that in the first few movies there was always a scene towards the end where one of the last survivors would be all alone sneaking through a quiet darkened cabin and you weren’t sure if maybe they might actually have escaped Jason’s attention for the moment. The tension would grow as the character tip toed through the silent darkness when suddenly one of Jason’s previous victims would come crashing sideways through the elongated cabin windows on to the cabin floor right in front of the tip toeing character shattering any sense of false security to dust. In part four when Jason grabs a kid through a glass window, that was classic or the part in six or maybe it was seven where Jason jumps through a dining room window and the lights are dim and he is standing behind some birthday balloons is just terrifying. Later on in another scene when people walk through the same room again it was revealed that Jason was standing in the back of the room watching them the whole time when a quick flash of light subtly reveals him in the back of the room motionless. That sense like in the first Jaws movie like at any moment anywhere terror was lurking. What was a major part of what made Jaws so effective? The music! We all know the iconic Jaws theme, so then why? Why was Jason’s theme so completely minimalized? The Jason theme is iconic and when used properly does fathoms to increase the tension of the movie. These were part of the elements that made the original series so awesome to me. Also I don’t think we ever really see the camera from Jason’s perspective just stalking his victims. This is also a great technique from the old series.  We didn’t get any of that.

6) I will just say the final battle with the wood chipper just wasn’t very interesting or inspired. Not necessarily a terrible moment but for the grand finale of a reboot of such an iconic series that’s weak sauce man, it’s like you’re not even trying. Then of course the teaser where he pops out of the water,  “oh boy, I mean you uhh, you just did that and well we all saw you do that and you’re going to possibly do it again? huh that’s just, uhhh, that’s something.”

Anyway to summarize I think this movie would have made more sense as a continuation than a reboot because so much of Jason’s beginnings are vaguely touched upon or flat out ignored and as mentioned earlier just plain lacking that spark to reignite such a beloved franchise. In the end though, I think that I would rather remember this one as a sort of bizarro world Friday the 13th than part of the actual lore. Yes I know I completely ignored the whole Jason taking a hostage arc of the movie. I didn’t hate that part but I also didn’t really understand it. Why would Jason take a hostage? Even with her wearing the necklace that reminded him of his mother what was his end game? Was Jason going to keep that girl chained up forever? It just seemed uncharacteristic of Jason to do such a thing and I know they were trying to reboot the story and I am open to new avenues with the Friday the 13th series but I just found the hostage arc to be ultimately unrewarding. I get why it was included but it just lacked umph for me. The bottom line with that arc is you got to give me a reason to care for the characters if they are so integral to your story and they just never did that for me.

The bottom line: Not enough attention to detail and the overall integrity of the Friday the 13th series or the character of Jason Voorhees. The film ultimately feels hollow lacking the spirit of the original series.

Critiqued by:


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New England Metal and Hardcore Festival

                             I have to admit that I got schooled a bit at the NEHMHF. It was really great to see so many different genres and styles represented. From the 80’s hardcore scene to Folk Metal there was plenty to do and see in Worcester Mass. this year. The only sub genre of heavy music that I felt was missing was black metal. There really wasn’t any representation of black metal (except for maybe Opeth) which personally I really would have enjoyed to see especially because it seemed that pretty much all the other major sub-genres were represented in some form or fashion. I will gloss over the highlights of the weekend but before I do let me just say that the New England Heavy Metal and Hardcore Festival was a fucking blast and I think everyone who stayed for the whole three days were treated graciously by some very talented classic hardcore pioneers.

                                  Day-1) Day one was crazy to say the least just getting oriented with the all the action going on. Upstairs was the smaller stage where more of the hardcore bands played throughout the weekend. One of the best parts of this set up was that for a large portion of the day if you weren’t really into one band you could just go to the other stage and check out the band playing there, or if a band finished their set you didn’t have to wait for the next one to set up you could just go over to the opposite stage and check out some more heavy music. There were plenty of merch tables around selling the usual wares, T’s, hoodies, wristbands, but there was also a lots of cool stuff from labels and different companies associated with the heavy music culture that offered everything to skateboards to hard to find albums. (My friend found a sweet Early Graves CD that I really should have picked up as well)

                              OK so the first day ended with a lot of energy. Admittedly I did miss Munipal Waste’s set but there was just so much going on it was hard to see everything. One of the earlier draws was Holy Grail, a speedy power metal band with some intricate guitar work. The people I went with commented that Holy Grail had improved a lot since the last time they saw them. Black Breath was on of my personal highlights of the weekend.  Every Time I Die started off the end of the night and served as a prelude to the headliners coming up and they were good, admittedly not one of my faves but the crowd got into them and the chicks dig them. Then it was on to EXODUS and if you haven’t heard of them stop reading this immediately and go check them out the “Toxic Waltz” is one of there classics. EXODUS was great, high energy the band was really on. (Not that they ever really are off) The crowd surfing was on overdrive and the crowd was going nuts. However some crowd surfers are above the recommended size and you know who you are yet you insist anyway. I think that a Too Fat to Fly clause should be enforced at all shows. Anyway EXODUS raised the energy bar tenfold.

                          Up next was Hatebreed. I know they can be a divisive band in the metal and hardcore community, personally it took me a while but once I gave them a chance I really enjoyed what I heard and have been a fan for a long time now. Hatebreed really brought the brutality in spades. One of there best performances I have ever seen them put on, they started with one my favorite songs called “You’re Never Alone.” It was kind of interesting that for the rest of the weekend you would occasionally overhear someone saying something along the lines of “yeah I am not really a Hatebreed fan but that show was awesome!”

                         The last band to play on day one was Anthrax, again another band if you have never listened to stop, go listen now!, this will be hear when you get back. Anthrax was on the bill to play the entire “Among the Living” album, (A great place to start if you are new to Anthrax) and they did play most of the album I think they left out “A.D.I./ The Horror of it All.” Anthrax played a few covers including an AC/DC cover of “TNT”  teasing “Back in Black” at the end of it, which admittedly I would have liked to have seen. Scott Ian was his usual talkative self which I honestly find gives Anthrax a lot of its personality but I definitely heard someone near the front row yell at Scott for talking to long and to “shut up and play a fucking song!”  Anthrax is one of those bands I think can be taken for granted a little bit, especially in the sensory overload setting of the New England Metal and Hardcore Festival but then when it finally comes to see Anthrax with the back drops with there logos and Joey Belladonna takes the stage with the rest of the band and they all start to play its like a smack in the face, “Oh yeah ANTHRAX is playing!!! alright!” They are one of those bands that just seem larger than life when you see them.

                               Day-2)   Was a lot of fun because it was heavy with folk metal bands. I saw a guy playing the lute in a heavy metal band which is just an truly cool thing to see. Part of the charm of folk metal for me is that its very up beat for the most part and I find it makes me want to be in a great viking beer hall full of maidens singing songs of old while all stand and slam there mighty steins together. One of the early stand outs for me was Trollfest, a Norwegian folk metal band. They were unique and just a lot of fun to listen to. The lead singer was wearing a bumble bee suit and antennae. They had me saying ” beware the Brumblebassen” the rest of the weekend. Something to be noted is that the entire weekend everyone was really nice to each other, bands and concert goers alike, I saw very little hostile violence towards anyone the entire weekend.

                                    The moshing during the folk metal bands is one of the most polite I have ever seen. People were moshing in rhythm and singing together instead of slamming into each other, as much. That’s not to say that these pits weren’t high intensity by any means just a different style than the traditional slamming into each other most in the states are familiar with. Other highlights of the day included Battlecross, self described as “Blue Collar Thrash Metal” from Canton, Michigan  (One of my personal favorites of the whole weekend), and Goatwhore a death metal band from New Orleans. Ensiferum, Heidevolk, and Helsott were other folk metal bands that were fun to see. Tyr was really good and definitely worth checking out. The atmosphere that the folk metal bands cultivates is really cool. People dress as vikings wearing traditional garb, furs, giant boots, belts and war paint right out of Braveheart. I actually heard a guy complaining that they took his viking helmet with the big horns on it and his authentic animal viking war horn.

                                              Katatonia put on a good show, they have good stage presence. Then it was on to sort of the odd man out on this day Dillinger Escape Plan. Now admittedly I have never been a huge Dillinger fan but I know a lot of people who are. It definitely seemed a strange juxtaposition to place Dillinger in between Katatonia and the headliner Opeth who are both more melodic metal bands. If your not familiar with Dillinger I think it is safe to say they can be an acquired taste. To an outsider listening in its very high energy for the most part and the beats can be really sporadic at times which can be off putting for some who prefer more traditional styles of metal. This is how I will describe there set. Very high energy. The people in the pit were going nuts. The front man puts on a hell of a show……I have no idea what happened. Was it good? Bad? I can’t really tell you. What I can tell you is that I was there and it happened. What it means exactly I couldn’t really tell you. I felt kind of like Willem in Mallrats trying to decipher a magic eye poster, everyone else could see the sailboat but I just saw a lot of bright colors and heard a lot of loud sounds. What I will say though about Dillinger Escape Plan however is that they brought the energy in spades and towards the end of the second day of a three day weekend of non-stop metal I think high energy is what everybody needed to keep going.

                                  The second day headliner was Opeth and they are band I honestly knew about but never really heard anything by them and didn’t quite know what to expect. In my head I was honestly thinking sort of like a rock and roll cross-over type band. From what I saw at the show I would have to say that Opeth is a very talented band. They did everything from an acoustic version of a death metal song to actual death metal, complete with a healthy death metal scream. Actually I was impressed at how heavy Opeth actually got during some of their songs. I felt that the set that Opeth played was way too heavy on the acoustic and slower melodic stuff for a headliner at the NEMHCF. Like I said before it was the end of the day and it felt like the acoustic melodic stuff was lulling a lot of people to sleep, myself included. I am pretty sure that they played something like three acoustic songs in a row and Opeth songs are at least seven minutes long a piece. A reliable source told me that Opeth had basically played there exact set from their headlining tour which I think was slightly inappropriate for the festival. The stuff they played was sort of for the hardcore Opeth fan who wants to see all the facets the bands catalog has to offer. At NEMHCF I feel like most people want one thing and one thing only, to have there faces melted off with high energy performances. By no means is it my intention to bad mouth Opeth as they proved to be a very talented band and I enjoyed a lot of there songs. I just think that Opeth could have catered to the audience a little bit and given the crowd less acoustic and more heavy everything else. From what I am told there is plenty in Opeth’s catalog to accomplish this feat. To summarize Opeth good band, New England Metal and Hardcore Festival set could have used a little tweaking.

                                      Day-3) Admittedly I didn’t know very many of the bands that played on Sunday. I knew Suicidal Tendencies and I wanted to stay just to hear “Institutionalized.” One of the booths I really enjoyed at the festival was the Rock and Shock booth which was basically a booth selling cool horror movie stuff and promoting the Rock and Shock show that is held in Worcester, MA sometime in October. Basically a horror convention with some metal bands which sounds like a great time year round to me.

                                              Of the earlier bands I thought the hardcore band Warhound had a great stage presence and a lot of attitude. Dark Sermon a metal band from Tampa, FL put on an entertaining show. The lead singer could easily make  you believe that he was actually insane as in certain parts of songs he wouldn’t sing into his microphone at all and just screamed verses at the crowd. It was pretty fucking crazy and a lot of fun to watch. They are a solid band with catchy riffs I would like to see how they evolve. Texas in July sticks out in my mind mostly because they all wore big black rain gear and it looked really hot and uncomfortable to be wearing while trying to perform. I remember Brick by Brick putting on a good show. The rest is sort of a blur until Job for a Cowboy came on. Job for a Cowboy played a pretty good set. Miss May I had a pretty solid following but you could see the overall crowd thinning out by this time of the day.

                                       Then finally came the old-school hardcore trifecta. Starting off with D.R.I.(Dirty Rotten Imbeciles) They were a lot more melodic than expected. Great songs a lot of fun. It was cool to see the loyal fans come out, who have probably been going to shows for all three of the final bands for over thirty years, and watching them sing along to all the songs. Up next was Sick of it All and they were just awesome. The lead singer came out and told the crowd to expect Black Sabbath heavy style riffs not speed metal. The energy was impressive to say the least. Considering Sick of it All formed in the mid 80’s I have seen bands half their age struggle to keep the intensity they did. The lead guitarist was making me tired just watching him run around the stage. During the Sick of it All set the lead singer set up a wall of death claiming that it had started with hardcore and then metal culture took it for there own. What was great about this particular wall of death was that some guy showed up dressed in a black and white jumpsuit like an old-timey prisoner and the lead singer of Sick of it All pointed him out and said “hey look its the guy from the get out of jail free card” and the guy in the jumpsuit proudly walked out into the middle of the pit to show off I guess and as soon as the fake prisoner walked out there the lead singer of Sick of it All gave the signal for the wall of death to begin and closed it with that prisoner right in the middle. Sick of it All were a great show.

                        For the grand finale was Suicidal Tendencies and again I really didn’t know what to expect. I own there first album which was recorded back in 1981 and the lead singer is an angry teenager on it. Suicidal Tendencies was fucking awesome! I was so glad that I waited to the end to see them. The drummer was unbelievable. A friend compared him to Gene Hoglan. The band was just so much more diverse than I ever imagined and the songs and the atmosphere that S.T. creates is so much fun to lose yourself in. The lead singer was a really positive guy and he had some cool morality stories leading into a few of his songs. He said something along the lines of “through out your life you will meet people with there hand out, some you try to help and they will try to pull you down but others just need help getting back on their feet and when you help them they will always remember what you did for them and hopefully pay it forward.” For the last song Suicidal Tendencies invited everyone to come up on stage until the band was lost in a sea of fans and everyone joined in singing. It really was the perfect end to such an epic weekend. Seeing D.R.I., Sick of it All, and Suicidal Tendencies was a real treat to someone who really respects the history of music and it was really cool to see them kicking ass after all these years.

                             In conclusion the New England Metal and Hardcore festival is a must at least once for anyone into heavy music. I found the weekend educational actually, seeing all those bands for the whole weekend gave me a better understanding of the different sub-genres within metal and hardcore music. I also gained a better appreciation for the specific nuances that go into each sub-genre and I also saw a lot of cool bands I didn’t know very well and now I desperately have to improve my music library. Sometimes it can be easy to feel alienated as a fan of heavy metal and hardcore music and it really is nice to go to a place where your favorite style of music isn’t just accepted but celebrated. Consider the New England Metal and Hardcore festival a sort of Ellis Island for the uninitiated, a great place to be welcomed to the world that is heavy metal and hardcore music but ultimately only the tip of the iceberg.