Video Game Review: Metro: Exodus

4A Games brings an anticlimactic conclusion to their Metro trilogy. Artyom’s latest adventure was something I looked forward to; instead, I am beyond disappointed in what has been delivered. While the first title had its issues, it still managed to be a thrilling experience, Last Light launched itself into the sky with its massive improvements, and Exodus plummets into the ground, smashing its face as a mediocre game.

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A glimpse at the game’s photo mode

Artyom’s dream of heading out of the Metro, out of Moscow, and into the great beyond to find a place that he, his wife Anna, and his band of misfit survivors can live in peace away from radiation, monsters, and bandits. A ride of predictable twists and moments that should have made me cry, but I found myself rolling my eyes until I could move forward into the next chapter.

The series has always had Artyom as a silent protagonist, who worked in 2010 original and reasonably well in the 2013 sequel, but in 2019, I felt his tacky silence hindered interactions with the other characters and the overall drive of the narrative. Impactful moments feel awkward when people speak to Artyom and respond like he said something snarky or insightful.

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One of the many glitches

The writing and some of the voice acting treated me like I was dumb with its reveals and twists throughout the narrative. Characters being surprised over new issues despite the apparent foreshadowing that nobody in The Order, Artyom’s gang of survivors, could see coming. Either these people are dumb, or the game thinks its players will be too moronic to understand what is happening.

Survival gets revamped in the Metro series by including a customization system that allows for guns to not only be upgraded but to change their class like pistols transforming into sniper rifles. The mechanic allowed for plenty of freedom and made me feel stronger as I progressed through the story, especially when I found the items myself when exploring.

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Weapons have each unique qualities that shoot differently while needing some management to stay in perfect condition for the time to kill some bandits or creatures. Water, dust, and other elements in the scenery jam guns and decrease the stats. Having to clean guns only at specific workbenches adds to the survival experience. I felt worried plenty of times when trying to unjam a machine gun when enemies have swarmed me.

Exploration has plenty to offer for crafting supplies, upgrades, and diaries from strangers who had died. Each major area of the game has a dense open environment to explore for side quests and camps to raid; this is the first in the series that lets itself give the player some variety in gameplay. The freedom given in these segments feels more shallow than freeing with its lack of activity and lack of side quests. Those optional objectives are a waste of time by feeling more like an errand rather than an adventure.

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Each primary environment has unique qualities like dynamic weather, enemies, and vehicles to traverse the landscapes. Cars and boats were limited to a few but were enjoyable using rather than running everywhere like previous titles. The weather did make a significant impact on gameplay but served to make the world feel alive compared to its predecessors.

Some tacked on additions leave Exodus as an empty shell. A new resting mechanic to change the time of day and heal Artyom to full health never gets utilized. Changing the day sounds brilliant due to enemy behavior differs at night vs. day, but I never got many chances to utilize resting outside of the tutorial that introduced how it works.

The AI worked inconsistently with their strategies and intelligence. Bandits would stand still or out of nowhere become surprisingly intelligent. I never knew when the enemies would attack with a plan or with a death sentence on their mind.

Random occurrences were possible for surprise attacks or interesting interactions with various NPCs in the open sections. Like most of the game, too little was done, so these events happened rarely. The few times I did see something interesting, it was worthwhile with survivors having their own motives and goals.

Like everything in my time with the latest Metro, something was inconsistent or could have been done much better, in this case, it was the animations and graphics. Many times the forests or ruined cities looked incredible by their scale and beautiful attention to detail. Plenty of times, especially with interactions with people in this world, they appeared robotic by their poor facial features or the odd ways they would interact with the world.

Endings could differ from good or bad depending on moral decisions. Instead of impacting choices, the only option given is whether or not you killed surrendering enemies or innocent people. No interactions were allowed other than ignoring or killing them. Of course, I got the bad conclusion for being a psychopathic murderer which lead me to a satisfying ending, even if it was “bad.”

Exodus was one of my top anticipated games, and it will leave 2019 as one of the most disappointing — a dull narrative with braindead supporting characters with a silent protagonist with technical issues and flat additions. Despite the many glitches that occurred were minor, they happened too frequently that hurt my experience, especially the many failed launches and frame drops.

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If you need a survival experience, play the other Metro entries and ignore Exodus.

Score: 5/10

If you do want to buy the game, click the links below. Any purchase through these links, Exodus or not, some proceeds go towards supporting the blog.

Buy: Metro Exodus (Xbox One)

Buy: Metro Exodus (PS4)

All screenshots and videos taken on PC

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9 Best Women in the MCU (So Far)

Two weeks away from the debut of the new leader for the Avengers and someone who will help lead the charge to defeat Thanos, Carol Danvers/Captain Marvel. To celebrate the entry of the MCU’s most powerful hero by looking through the best women in the universe, whether they are superpowered or not.

#9: Colleen Wing (Iron Fist, The Defenders)

Colleen (Jessica Henwick) might fit inside of some of the worst shows on the TV side of the MCU, but she manages to make the lowest points of both shows much better. A character arc that goes into some unexpected directions to build up someone who outshines and sometimes punches out the protagonist, Iron Fist (Finn Jones).

 

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Image via Marvel Studios/Netflix

#8: Jessica Jones (Jessica Jones, The Defenders)

With an excellent first season, then the disappointing team up with her fellow heroes and a painfully atrocious second season, Jessica Jones (Krysten Ritter) manages to make the list due to some moving qualities that can pull your heartstrings as you watch her drink herself to sleep then witness put some thug into a coma.

Krysten’s portrayal of a character suffering from PTSD and alcoholism takes the MCU into a much more relatable and emotional state that works so well in the Netflix side of this world. Her line delivery stands as some of the best out of any actor or actress because while she does not say fuck due to Disney’s restriction on the word, she sure knows how to speak in an antagonizing tone to get that aggressive message that can only be done with the harshest of words.

 

 

 

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Image via Marvel Studios/Netflix

#7: Misty Knight (Luke Cage, The Defenders)

A badass cop who will do her job right, but will never be afraid to get some blood on her clothes after a fight. Plenty of cops enter the MCU and tend to get in the way of the heroes. Misty (Simone Missick) strikes a perfect balance between what has been done before while taking her into directions that makes her stand out amongst the massive roster of characters.

 

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Image via Marvel Studios/Netflix

#6: Shuri (Black Panther, Avengers: Infinity War)

T’Challa/Black Panther (Chadwick Boseman) might be the star of his solo flick, but his sister Shuri (Letitia Wright) stole the show. The genius princess with a great sense of humor can not only solve a major issue before Thanos’ (Josh Brolin) army swept in, but she can pack a punch with her various gadgets that will make any enemy tremble.

 

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Image via Marvel Studios

#5: Scarlet Witch (Age of Ultron, Civil War, Infinity War)

One of the universe’s most powerful heroes who can rip people apart if she wanted to with her mind or use psychological warfare by making people hallucinate. A widely underrated and underused hero who has plenty more potential. Depending on her future, I hope that Scarlet Witch (Elizabeth Olsen) gets some better moments or a standalone film.

 

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Image via Marvel Studios

 

#4: Karen Page (DaredevilThe PunisherThe Defenders)

She only ever fights once or twice, has a lot of emotional moments, has plenty of flaws, yet I still adore Karen (Deborah Ann Woll). That loyal friend that her friends can always depend on, but she will stick to her gut when she has to do the tough thing when her peers feel the opposite.

She goes down a long path full of pain, perseverance, and being torn about supporting difficult people like her blind friend/boss Matt Murdock/Daredevil (Charlie Cox). One of my favorite arcs seen from the Marvel and Netflix collaboration.

 

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Image via Marvel Studios/Netflix

#3: Gamora (Guardians of the Galaxy 1 and 2, Infinity War)

The voice of reason and intelligence of the Guardians. The group of misfits ties closer to anti-hero due to their criminal backgrounds, but Gamora (Zoe Saldana) holds them together with her logic while still packing a punch just as strong as the rest of them.

Her journey with Thanos makes her background story one of the most compelling, especially with the events of Infinity War and what could happen in the future when Endgame releases. She has the bronze and brains, while still having plenty of flaws due to this troubled past with her “father” that flesh her out as more than just a smart ass kicker.

 

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Image via Marvel Studios

#2: Black Widow (Iron Man 2Avengers, Age of Ultron, Infinity War, Winter Soldier, Civil War)

Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) has always run up in front of the action as a major face in the MCU. While plenty of chemistry works well with each of the Avengers, her interactions both on and off the battlefield are some of the most enjoyable out of everyone that has been established so far. She has had her time as a potential lover of Bruce Banner (Mark Ruffalo) to helping Captain America (Chris Evans) take down the Hydra infested S.H.I.E.L.D.

Somehow the agent has not gotten her standalone adventure yet, but it is finally coming one of these days. Since the early days, she has had a strong presence but felt restricted due to her male counterparts. With the shift happening, hopefully, male and female heroes become just heroes.

 

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Image via Marvel Studios

#1: Claire Temple (Daredevil, Luke Cage, The Defenders, Jessica Jones)

While Claire (Rosario Dawson) is the unsung hero of the MCU by keeping alive the entirety of the Defenders. A nurse who lands into this world without wanting to decides to do the right thing to help these superpowered vigilantes.

Maybe if any TV crossover does happen, think of Claire first because our main heroes may need some medical attention after defeating Thanos.

 

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Image via Marvel Studios/Netflix

Who are some of your favorite ladies in the MCU?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Interview: Vaya

  1. How did the band come together?

Vaya: Step by step we met each other around the same passion for the music.

Raphael: I met  Vaya through a music store in Gland (CH), and she heard that I play the drums. One day, she called me to record the first drums of VAYA’s album. I’ve never left since. It was a big pleasure when Philippe joined us for the live shows. Playing with so talented and connected people is amazing.

Phil: The band started 2 years ago, with Raph’ and Vaya first, they recorded a studio album with other musicians and shortly after that, I joined them.

  1. What are some of your most memorable moments with the band?

Vaya: Every little thing I mean, we are sharing not only the stage but also life together. I bite less now because I moved in Toronto and the two others one are still actually in Switzerland, but I can’t wait to see them back here in Spring:D it’s always reconnection with friends or more family.

Raphael: During a day off in Europe we wanted to sleep in Bielorussia, but we had no visa to cross the border. We lost much time at the border to finally go back and find a last minute hostel during the night. Thanks a lot to our driver Albert who was good crazy to drive us during tour.

Phil: When we played at a bar called “The Dukes” the public was amazing, so full of joy, happiness and with a great energy just like us, probably the best concert we’ve ever done.

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  1. When going to one of your concerts, what should people expect?

Raphael: The powerful voices and rhythms are incredible. It wakes up the little native there is in all of us.

Phil: A very energetic music with a good dynamic, a great loud voice, a great rhythm section, a good contrast in the songs and a good sound.

Vaya: a real authentic powerful trip.

  1. Out of every band you have seen live, who are some of your favorites?

Raphael: Coldplay is one my favourite. They are so honest on stage, even when they are doing wrong. U2 in Glasgow (UK) has been a great memory too.

Phil: Oh I’ve seen many bands: My favorite band I’ve seen is “Extreme” cuz’ I really like the guitar player, he’s so amazing, he’s my idol, my guitar hero! I also really liked Joe Satriani when I saw him and other guitar players were very great too.

Vaya: Jack White in each project he does.

  1. What are some of your biggest influences that have shaped your music?

Vaya: Classical music mixed with Jim Morrison

Raphael: The energy of mother earth.

Phil: Lot of musicians specially guitar and bass players in many different kinds of music: Jazz, Blues, Funk, Rock, Hard-Rock and Heavy Metal.

  1. Have you met any of your favorite musicians and what were those experiences like? If you have not met anyone, then who do you want to meet the most?

Vaya: still Jack White:D

Raphael: I would love to meet Jack White in order to discuss about the music industry. He is so talented and has so much experience.

Phil: Yes I met one of my other guitar hero a few times! He’s a Rock-Jazz, Funk-Fusion guitar player called Mike Stern and I met him a few times after his show! First time I met him, I was so impressed, coz I was only 19 lol and I didn’t think I could go to him and talk to him! He was really nice I talked to him for a while and I asked him an autograph. I saw him a few times later and then, I bought his new album and he dedicated it to me!

  1. What are some long-term goals you have for the band?

Raphael: Performing all over the world to share our music and energy to the maximum audience.

Vaya: To conquer the all world?

Phil: Still play together, make concerts, go on tour all around the world and record new albums!

  1. What is the biggest accomplishment you have had so far?

Phil: To go on tour in many different countries!

Raphael: Release a double album with this beautiful welcome from the audience.

Vaya: I am actually on my way of it.

  1. What plans do you have for the rest of the year?

Vaya: A song really tripping online announcing the second album color. I will go to Japan for making the video clip of it in Spring. So a second album in process. And tours: USA (California) and South of America and of course Canada this spring

Phil: To go on tour to Canada on April, to The States on July, to Brazil at the end of the year and by the time record a new album!

Raphael: We are performing for the Bout Festival in Toronto on 13th April. After almost 40 shows in 8 countries between Europe and North America, we are planning a beautiful Canadian Tour in April 2019. We will be part of the Bout Festival in Toronto on 13th April, all, in order to promote the first double album. We will be in San Francisco from 14th July to perform at the Californian Women’s Music Festival. We should tour for a few weeks in California and Nevada then. We are also planning a tour in Brazil and South America for the end of the year.

You can follow Vaya through their Facebook and website.

Thanks to Rogue PR for setting up the interview. Images via Vaya

What We Know: Anthem

Bioware had their flop with the disastrous launch of Mass Effect: Andromeda but now the company goes all in on its latest project, Anthem.  A lot of hype and skepticism rides on this game’s shoulders, so before anyone spends their money, this is what needs to be known about this sci-fi adventure.

Gameplay

Besides the obsession with battle royal games, the other dominant genre that has risen are multiplayer “MMO-light” styled games like Destiny and The Division. A shared-world that can be played alone, with friends, or strangers, that focuses on significant loot findings, shooting giant monsters, completing quests, and completing other side activities like events.

A hub world called Fort Tarsis allows for players to accept missions and interact with both NPCs and other players in a safe zone away from all of the dangerous creatures.

Customization will ride in the front seat for Anthem. Everything about your character will have options to alter for your liking. Javelins, robotic suits similar to Iron Man, get piloted for traversal and combat. Each class has been designed to suit different play styles and strategies.

Combat will be solely PvE, battling against various creatures found in the world. As of launch, PvP will not be a feature. The main focus of the game is all about teamwork to complete raids and other activities.

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Javelin Classes

Ranger: Players wanting a smooth transition into this new experience might go with the Ranger. A balanced class that focuses on every aspect of a Javelin from far and close range combat to traversal.

Colossus: The tank of the group, meet the Colossus. A heavy duty exosuit that holds heavy weaponry and a shield to plow through enemies. Players who don’t mind slower movement and want to deal as much damage as possible will fall in love with this one.

Interceptor: Interceptor focuses on support, agility, and close combat. A faster-moving suit that will damage enemies while providing support and balance to the heavier classes.

Storm: A piece of gear that might be more susceptible to damage, but has a card up its sleeve. Elemental damage defines Storm, hence the name. Burning, electrifying, and other brutal ways to tear through enemies will leave this exosuit perfect for players looking for a challenge.

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Loot

Loot can make games like Anthem thrive or die an excruciating death. Thankfully the game appears to have systems in place to prepare for a user-friendly system. All gear earned maintains at your level, so no worry for getting a weapon that you have to carry around for 40 levels until you can use it. No matter what level the other three people in your party are at, they will not mess up your chance to get better equipment.

Another worry from plenty of games in the genre tends to stem from whether or not other players can steal loot, therefore everything is instanced.

The rarity of items ranges from common, uncommon, rare, epic, legendary, and masterwork.

Endgame

Similar to Destiny, completing the main story and hitting the level 30 cap does not mean the end of the game. Bioware plans to support Anthem for a decade, so they have plans for players in the endgame.

Not much has been announced, but typical activities such as dungeons (Strongholds) and contracts allow for challenging things to do once finishing the base game.

Microtransaction

While no loot boxes will be present, but cosmetic microtransactions will be available. Hard to know how the prices will look, but a $20 option was seen, but Bioware affirms players the prices will adjust at launch.

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Release

Anthem launches on Feb. 22 for Xbox One, PS4, and PC

Now that you know about Anthem, will you pick it up? Comment what you think of Bioware’s anticipated title. You can pre-order it and support the blog* below:

Pre-order and support the blog: Anthem – Xbox One

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*Any purchase through these links above will support the blog. Click it, browse Amazon, buy something, and I will get some money out of it to financially help the site.

All images via Bioware

5 Video Games That Show Diversity Correctly

With Apex Legends not only racking up 10 million players, but they have also announced two of their characters are in the LGBT+ community, it seems like the perfect time to look at how diverse video game characters have gotten. While plenty of progress needs to be made, there are still plenty of prime examples of the LGBT+ community, people of color, and other demographics that empower gamers who may feel outcasted.

#5: The Last of Us

I am talking about Ellie again, I have once before when discussing powerful women characters. Ellie is one of the centerpieces of the story, she has been developed into someone who feels believable. The reveal of her being a lesbian felt respectful and thoughtful.

The upcoming sequel will flesh her out even further into someone who is more than her sexuality. Ellie has a personality that has a far reach to resonate with players from her sexuality, strength, or her various interests that have been explored already.

#4: Wolfenstein

A Jewish man who slaughters every Nazi in his path, nothing beats that right there.

I never played much of the Wolfenstein games, but the latest rebooted series by MachineGames introduced me to the first character I could relate to due to his Jewish background. Now that he has twin daughters who will take over as the protagonists in Youngblood, I am beyond excited to jump into the shoes of more Jews who kill tons of Nazis.

Grace Walker stands as a strong African American woman whose presence steals every moment. Easily one of the most charismatic and toughest characters for both women and people of color.

Killing is not everything because everyone gets plenty of time to develop their motivations, quirks in their personalities, and time to show their flaws like any other person.

#3: Guacamelee!

The entirety of this Metroidvania platformer injects itself into Mexican culture. For a game developer from Canada, they nailed showing love to a group of people that often get ignored in gaming. Not only have DrinkBox Studios crushed it with an excellent adventure to deliver players, but they made an equally acclaimed sequel.

#2: Tomb Raider (2013-2018)

The latest reboot of Tomb Raider reworks Lara’s character into someone more sympathetic and less sexualized. Removing her oversized boobs for a better narrative created a brutal, fun, and compelling story for two of the three games. While I did not like Shadow of the Tomb Raider, the development of her character has been cemented into one of the best female personalities in gaming.

#1: Mass Effect series

Having choices to create a character’s race, gender, and sexuality always wins. While plenty of games do this, Assassin’s Creed: Odyssey as a strong example, but Mass Effect broke ground with its meaningful choices and allowing players to choose who their identity.

While the representation of other groups of people still needs work in the world of gaming, it has slowly gotten better. What games do you think that get representation and diversity right?

Interview: S. Peace Nistades

#1: Competition is rough in the music industry, what is your band doing to grow and continue to reach for success?

            Everything is about world building these days from Marvel/DC/Star Wars universes to how we perceive celebrities and the musicians and bands we love. We want to be a part of their world, to be a fly on their wall. But equally and perhaps more importantly, it’s what is at the core of their worlds that we respond to. Of course there is aesthetic and style and form but if there isn’t strong content, then ultimately there can be no longevity. Of course time will tell, and with that the change in cultural and societal moods. Having said this, there is of course one’s definition of success. For me, if I’m able to reach someone, to truly speak to one person with my music or my writing, then I’ve reached my goal. Of course, the more the better. In the end it’s all about communication. Why tell a story if you don’t wish to tell it to someone? To move them, or provoke them, or to make them laugh or cry. Telling stories, communicating is what keeps us connected as human beings. The same is of less verbally specific artforms like music or fine art. Of course I believe in the advice of writing only for oneself but again there’s a difference, albeit a thin fragile one, between self-indulgence and writing for oneself in the sense of being true to one’s thoughts and point of view; not writing to please another or to appeal to a group of people or the Billboard charts. That’s really about all one can do and that in itself is a mountain whose peak we never quite manage to see.

#2: If someone goes to one of your concerts, what do you think they should know going in?

            I’d hope that they won’t have to know too much and can go in without preconceptions but of course everything is very boxed into genres and categories these days and things are often quite segregated for easy mass consumption; in which case I would say this is not your typical electronic fare nor is it quite avant-garde in the sense of contemporary classical music. For me, with this album, I feel I’ve finally arrived at writing in the present, being grounded in my present, my perception of it as opposed to being lost in the nostalgia of the past.

#3: What is your dream tour or festival?

            I’ve never done a tour, my main work is in the studio and I’ve done a number of one-off performances in different places, but I would love to tour Europe one day. It’d be very interesting to me to see how the audience reacts especially with the musical history there being such a part of my own upbringing.

#4: If you could collaborate with any musician, who would you choose?

            Objekt.

#5: Out of every concert you have been to, who are the best live bands?

The Vienna Philharmonic. I saw them when I was in my mid-teens in Thailand. Amazing orchestra. I would love to see the Berlin Phil live as well.

#6: Who are some of your biggest influences?

A lot of my influences are literary, Samuel Beckett, Martin Amis, William S. Burroughs, Thomas De Quincey, Virginia Woolf, though I find inspiration from most artforms. To name a few, art: Turner, Caravaggio, Giacometti, film: Lars Von Trier, Michael Haneke, Luchino Visconti, musically everyone from Beethoven, Wagner, Mahler, Berg, Penderecki to Thom Yorke, Jonny Greenwood, Trent Reznor to electronic artists like Happa, Objekt and Stimming. What’s most interesting is always looking at them and their times and how they responded to their times, what provoked them, what they rebelled against. If you trace trends and styles back you can start to see lines and connections. That always fascinates me.

#7: When did you first start playing music and how did that come together to lead you to where you are today?

            I would count my first performance within music as playing the Prince in the Nutcracker when I was six though I of course was dancing and not playing music. However, that was the formative experience particularly in the merging of music and storytelling. A year later I started studying piano, though I must admit I never particularly wanted to, and that ended up leading to the opera choir at the Bangkok Opera and other performances in the classical music world in Thailand. Alongside that, one of my big dreams, which seemed oddly completely unreachable at the time, was to become a writer. I’d grown up with Dickens, Dumas, Wilde and Robert Louis Stevenson among others, and novels in particular were always of supreme importance to me growing up; that and film. The turning point was towards the end of high school when I decided I wanted to pursue the other love and moved to Los Angeles where I’ve worked in film music for most of these past ten years. But of course, as one grows and lives one generally struggles with finding out what one has to say and why (it all comes back to the question of purpose and meaning in life) and that came to a peak for me about three years ago when I decided, though it was a tough decision in many ways, to return to writing and began work on my novel set in Thailand following the 2014 military takeover. This was the first major step creatively and psychologically dealing with my exile from there ten years ago and without that I would have never been able to create this album, which is the most personal, autobiographical and raw of my musical work.

#8: What are your plans for the rest of the year for the band?

Going back to our first question and the idea of world-building, though it was not intentional, I do feel that within the forest dark of the album there is a world that encapsulates the past and present for me and I feel I’ve finally found the vocabulary to express in music, without the help of lyrics, what I haven’t been able to until now. So I have a few ideas and plans to explore this world a little further. In the meantime, I’m working on drafting a new solo piece so we’ll see where that goes and I’ve got a few feature films coming up that I’ll be scoring so it’ll be an exciting year ahead.

You can follow S. Peace Nistades on his website and Twitter

Thank you to Rogue PR for this interview and collaboration. You can find them on Facebook.

Video Game Review: Resident Evil 2 Remake

Capcom digs in deep to recreate the classic that brought the undead franchise to life, Resident Evil 2. I was too young to play the original, which made going into this reimagining of the iconic game gave me the Resident Evil experience I have always known while providing something refreshing compared to the previous games in the series I have been able to get my hands on. A must buy for both newcomers and veterans of the ’98 release.

Split between two narratives, Claire Redfield and Leon Kennedy go through Racoon City during a zombie outbreak to uncover the mystery and survive. Two separate campaigns that weave in and out of each other on a thrilling journey. Both had plenty of differences to give a fresh playthrough despite having to play the game multiple times. With the second runs and going through the game to get every goodie waiting to award players for completing various challenges, this is Resident Evil 2 at its finest with its storytelling.

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While both stories filled themselves with intensity and intriguing mysteries, some issues were present. A continuity problem occurred when zombies would die from one bullet to the head, but in gameplay, they die after many shots into their brains, it drove me insane despite being so small. The other, more significant, involved the few scenes with Leon and Claire. Awkward chemistry that felt misplaced making for some unnecessarily cringy moments.

Improved dialog and voice acting benefits both the main playthroughs and the B scenarios, however sometimes things fall flat. If you played any RE title then you know how goofy, campy, and odd it can get. Some of which works here, but not all of it with some dull line delivery and confusing dialog choices that the writers made. Most of the cast works consistently, but I found Edward Badaluta (Leon Kennedy) to give some weak lines, granted some of which were pretty painful lines.

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An engine change is not the only difference for old school players. Map layouts, voice acting, dialog, and content all bring a refreshing take while maintaining the main narrative beats and moments that fans remember fondly. While I cannot compare the two versions, but many of the alterations made for a perfect modernization that makes for one of the best remakes that have come out in this wave of recreating favorites from people’s childhoods.

Navigation remains an important facet that continues to be confusing in typical RE fashion, but a user-friendly user-interface makes for a tedious and fun experience. Along with key items displaying a checkmark to discard allows for easier inventory management while not losing the special aspect that organized people adore so much.

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Combat feels better than ever with plenty of weapons to utilize to fight off rotting zombies and mutated monsters. A balance of challenge makes the survival feel fair but gives those worrying emotions to save enough ammo to make it into the next area. Enemies, especially those shambling corpses, take plenty of hits to die, but each bullet landing does not get boring.

Battling bosses may seem like any other game in the franchise but continue their irresistible design. Nightmarish monsters with all of the puss and veins that I remember so fondly from other entries.

Plenty of options allow anyone to play the game they want, but being passive or aggressive has their pros and cons. Either running away to leave any unwanted threats to come back later or gunning down every flesh-eater will be enjoyable, but excruciating when that plan backfires. A blend that gives some freedom in a linear game.

Puzzles manage to not over complicate things while delivering a different taste of gameplay in the middle of all the chaos. Creative obstacles that blend trickiness and being clever.

So much detail got put in to make my head spin. The way zombies get shot or stabbed makes for the juiciest and disturbing body deterioration animations I have seen. Every nook and cranny has something to find to flesh out the world or find a new item to help survive against any creature lurking in the dark. Survival horror at its best should reward a player for taking the wrong route to stare down danger in the face and discover potential caches, a staple in the franchise that never gets old.

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New survival elements have been added to give a new challenge that needs some adapting towards. Knives used can fight enemies, but better yet, can help shove away anything off of you when grabbed. The life-saving blades deplete in quality before finally breaking, so use wisely. Adding up the organization of the inventory, boarding up windows, and wisely using ammo, makes for one of the best survival-horror games I have ever played.

Two timed minigames, 4th Survivor and Tofu Survivor, give the most elite players a challenge after completing Claire and Leon’s nightmare of an adventure. 4th Survivor puts the player in the shoes of a member of Umbrella’s security team who must go through the entire map as fast as possible to escape. A strenuous test of speed, inventory management, and navigation, the perfect minigame for the hardcore players. The tofu minigame parodies the other minigame by having knife-wielding oversized tofu. Both standing as excellent additions to the already compelling narrative.

While nothing groundbreaking gets done, Resident Evil 2 makes for the perfect love letter to any type of fan of the series in this stunningly beautiful remake that was built from the ground up. With different situations, heart pumping minigames, and plenty of unlockable gear and costumes, this is the definitive experience that anyone would want out of this series.  While any mode played can be completed in minutes to a few hours, Capcom crafted a flawless way to get me coming back for more in this faithful recreation.

Score: 9/10

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