C.O.D. Modern Warfare 3 Review

Having read reviews of MW3 and finding a few of them (and a lot of internet people) saying that it was shit because it’s no different than the others I decided I would check it out for myself and try to be objective about it (in so far as that’s possible for an opinionated gamer such as myself).

The first thing I have to say is, yes, it is no different from MW and MW2 and in a lot of ways no different from any other “AAA” FPS in the last 5 years. The story isn’t terribly immersive and the characters, while pithy, tend to spew over-used cliches. It works for the whole ‘action movie’ aspect of the Call of Duty series but it can be a bit grating at times. The other major thing I have to say is shame on Activision and Infinity Ward. The Gaming Liberty‘s review of MW3 says:

“The story is hardly inspiring, the characters are as transparent as ever and it’s just as throwaway as you think it is, but who cares?”

They then go on to give the game a score of 9/10. I’m sorry but the story and characters in a game are worth FAR more than a measly 10%. If the story and characters of a Legend of Zelda game or an Uncharted game or any other game worth spending hours and money on were worth that much then they would not be the great games they are. Story and characters are there to immerse you in the world, without that you are simply working some buttons and levers to achieve some random objective which may or may not be fun. Even cutesy, small-scale games like Patapon and Mad Blocker Alpha have the story and characters being far more than a measly 10% of the entire game as that pretty much IS the game.
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Some Favourites

I figure it’s time for another personal post so this one is just going to be a small group of my Top 5 Somethings.

This post will be my Top 5 Vocalists:
Randy Blythe – Lamb of God
Bjorn ‘Speed’ Strid – Soilwork
Rob Halford – Judas Priest
Mikael Åkerfeldt – Opeth
B. Dez Fafara – Devildriver

Bjorn Strid has to take the crown as his range is insane, from wailing heights to make any female gospel singer envious to the crisp, clean depths of utter death metal growling. And yet he never falls prey to the common traps of brutal death metal where everything is guttural and incomprehensible, his growls and screams are all pristine and quite often are paired with delicate and engaging melodies. If I could sing like anyone else it would have to be Bjorn Strid.

Randy Blythe is an extremely close second however as, while he can’t quite match Bjorn’s wide range, he more than makes up for that in fully developed sounds in his lower ranges. He can go from high, punchy throat-wrenching screams all the way down to deep and punishing growls that are drowning in rich bass tones. I’ll never quite reach the full range of Bjorn but I do a mean Randy and Lamb of God are one of my favourites bands to f**k s**t up to!

Rob Halford needs no real description as one of the founding members of the New Wave Of British Heavy Metal that brought us genre-defining greats such as Judas Priest and Iron Maiden which still to this day influence many, many metal bands. While Bjorn has an awesome range, Rob Halford owns hands down in that regard bringing high-pitched to all new heights while maintaining a powerful low-end that brings great flavour to Judas Priest’s palette of sounds. He’s also helped define the metal look of leather and motorbikes and doing all that while being super camp is something you truly have to respect. Something that all youngsters unsure of themselves can look to for support.

B. Dez Fafara is just plain awesome, every song he sings sounds so brutal that you can nearly imagine blood pouring from his tattered throat but he pulls it all off with such skill and colour that I personally listen to so-called “black metal” and come away shaking my head in confusion.

Last, but far from least we have the inimitable Mikael Åkerfeldt who like Bjorn, another Swede, manages to have an astounding range and depth to his voice that gives his clean vocals a passion and emotion that is not always as easy to find as one would imagine and yet his death metal vocals are truly deserving of their name. Treading a finer line between B. Dez and Randy Blythe at their most brutal, Mikael manages to give a classic death metal sound a refreshing upgrade.

So, that’s my Top 5 Vocalists. I know my choice is really limited to the world of metal but given my wide range of musical taste, I personally find that metal vocalists, when they know what they’re doing are truly some of the best vocalists in any genre. The level of skill needed to pull off the sounds that Bjorn, Rob and co. do is really high and it lends itself automatically to any other genre. This is why you end up with bands like Within Temptation, Nightwish and Epica who have highly trained vocalists, even if metal wasn’t where their training was focused.


The End of Desktop Computing…?

This article from Gizmodo (yes you may be noticing my trend of liking gawker sites) discusses the rise of Touch Computing, in the dominant form of the iPad, and it’s effects upon the heretofore dominance of Desktop Computing from the point of view of heavy content creation.

Lots of lucky people around the world understand the joy and the freedom afforded by tablets like the iPad when surfing the web, watching movies and flicking through photo albums but, equally, a large number of people are bridging the gap between Content Creation on a Desktop to doing the same on a touch-screen tablet. So, is the iPad the beginning of the end of Desktop Computing?

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Video Games, Books and Art

Having recently read many articles on the web, particularly on Kotaku, around the ideas of video games as art and how long single player first-person shooters should be I feel compelled to weigh in, in my own space as opposed to waging comment wars with other people on various different sites and forums.

This article speaks about the thorny issue of the length of single-player first person shooters, and the comments highlight some of the diverse opinions on the matter. While I know that, like many of these art-based discussions, ultimately most of this stuff boils down to subjective preference, I think it’s important to look at these topics, insofar as is possible, from objective standpoints.

Before we move ahead, I highly recommend you also check out this article tackling the “video games as art” discussion which touches on a lot of topics I’ll be bringing in also.
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On The Merits of Being Honestly Intellectual

[This post has been awarded the official badge of mediocrity]

Many people (myself included) will extol the virtues of being intellectually honest, however today I’d like to speak to the merits of being honestly intellectual i.e. being exactly as smart, intelligent and intellectual as you are at (almost) all times.

It’s a common experience both in the real world and in the virtual world of television and film media that there are certain people, generally at least one, in any given circle of friends who are if not actually more intelligent or intellectual than the others they certainly come across that way. Personally, in most of my various circles, that person tends to be me. I’m pedantic (I correct people all the time on spelling, grammar, logic etc…) and I like to use a wide-ranging swathe of my vocabulary most of the time. It speaks to this fact that the level of grammar and vocabulary that I use in this blog (which is generally similar to that which I tend towards in my verbal orations) ranks as “100% Intermediate” in Google’s search based on Reading Level, which would rate it at around a University level of reading but not quite the standard of a Scientific Journal or other academic media.
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eyePod – not so catchy

Well, unless it was a relevantly shaped camera, there’s something uniquely interesting, innovative, intelligent, but inevitably inane about using the lower ‘i’ as a prefix tacked on to a product name.

This article by BBC News discusses the phenomenon of the iPod, the iMac or anything that has an ‘i’ in front of it which somehow makes it hip and relevant.

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