Friday, June 29, 2012

100th post? About fucking time...

No seriously, this is my 100th post.  And you want to know what the best part of it is?  I haven't posted since JANUARY!  Christ it seems like forever since you all heard about my precious little life (bonus points if you got that) so what better way to celebrate 100 TILT posts by boring you with a quick update on what's going on.

So where to start.  I'm single.  So there's that.  Umm...I've discovered I kind of like seltzer since we last you know...that's cool too...

Ok you know what? FUCK IT

I know what you all came here to see, so I'm setting aside my journalistic integrity and hopping on this Diablo 3 bandwagon.  Lets get going.

I'm going to preface this by saying I've only played about 20 hours of the campaign so far (and have since developed an irrational fear of the number 37.  No seriously, I got tingles up and down my spine just typing it there).  I have not beaten the game nor have I advanced to significantly higher difficulty levels  But I did get a feel for the game in the few hours I ground through last night.  And while this is only a preview of sorts (rather than a review, learn the damn difference), there are a few things that are making me...well...uneasy.

So for those of you unfamiliar with the franchise, the Diablo series has always been about dungeon delving, killing monsters and grabbing loot.  In the first game, you, a wandering, nameless adventurer of either fighter, rogue or mage persuasion, plumbed the depths of a church in the balmy, sunny, and CERTAINLY NOT DEMON INFESTED town of Tristram.  Little did you know the epic fucking shitstorm of hellions and ghouls that awaited you below.  Diablo 2 continues along much the same vein, except this time, you are chasing down the Dark Wanderer (read as dude from the first game cleverly retconned to ignore the fact that there were TWO ENTIRE OTHER CLASSES) as he attempts to free Diablo and his two demonic brothers, Mephisto and Baal.  You (this time playing as an adventurer of one of between 5 and 7 classes depending on whether or not you're a cheap bastard) follow the dark wanderer across many lands, cleaning up his messes and generally un-fucking people's shit up.

First off, the game feels streamlined.  Now you can take that as you wish.  Some of my friends have interpreted it as "no longer having to do annoying shit like clicking on gold to pick it up" or "managing a tome of Town portals".  Others have opted to interpret it as "dumbing the game down so stupid people can play too".  However you choose to interpret this point, veterans of the series will all likely feel the same way, that you're ultimately doing less clicking and pixel hunting than before.  That said though, there is still QUITE a lot of clicking to be done.

Gone too is the idea of a basic attack.  This concept took me, a D2 veteran, QUITE a while to adjust to.  Your left and right mouse buttons both almost immediately map to abilities that you accrue as you gain level.  Both of these abilities either add to or drain a reservoir of some sort (hatred for Demon Hunters, Mana for Mages etc, Focus for Monks etc.)  This ensures that each character has a unique feel without significantly altering gameplay between classes.  What this also means is that your shiny, badass weapon that you just pulled from the corpse of some grotesque hellspawn ultimately serves as little more than a fancy looking stat buff.  Yes yes yes there are differences between say a light crossbow and dual hand crossbows for the Demon hunter, but ultimately, the ability is going to look and sound almost identical.

Beyond your two main attack damage skills, you also have four active abilities (which range from utility spells like snares to damage dealing spells) that also add to or draw on whatever your class' assigned resource is.  You also have the option (read as requirement) to tweak all of the above skills with the inclusion of various runes that impart different unique abilities to each of your spells.  Also included in this package is a handful of passive abilities that you can pick and choose from, each altering a certain aspect of your character's play.

Graphically speaking, this game is fucking beautiful.  And I do mean fucking beautiful.  Granted my gaming supercomputer allows me to max out all the settings and runs everything perfectly without a single glitch, but even older computers who have to run the game on medium settings will still be able to enjoy the use of color and details that went into the design of each world.  With prior Diablo games (2 specifically), each new area of the world had its own feel, its own color palette and its own vibe.  The exemplary level design of Diablo 3 is no different.  (Despite the fact that the region progression feels fairly carbon copied from Diablo 2...Still I'm glad they didn't venture into the swamp/jungle level like D2 did, fuck that level...

One thing that bothers me the most right now is the inventory system.  All "large" items (weapons and armor) take up two inventory slots, all "small" items (gems, rings, etc.) take up one.  This is what many in the industry (or perhaps just me) call the Resident Evil 5 Inventory Syndrome.  You remember that game?  Where a massive RPG took up the same amount of room in your inventory as a tiny green herb?  Yeah...that's what the inventory system is like.  Sorry but to me, it feels like some of the "realism" (for as applicable as that term is for this particular game) is lost.  I'm sorry but there's no reason that a helmet should take up as much room in my inventory as an entire fucking halberd...(I mean I've got a big head...but it's not THAT big...)

All in all, this is a very good game that provides an easy entry point for people unfamiliar with the series.  The upgrades to from the prior iteration are noticeable (as one would expect for a goddamn 12 year development period...) and the entire game has been streamlined.  Everything has been overhauled and it's clear by the aggressive patching cycle that they are working very hard to ensure the game balance is optimized.  The story (from what I've seen) is fairly deep and the graphics are very good.  However, those of us who enjoy spending our time waxing poetic about the glory days (read as: Me), will likely find the game somewhat unsettling.  The game simply seems...too easy...The addition of automatic gold pick up, health orbs, automatic town portals and item identification...Sure it cuts out on a lot of extra bullshit, but at the same time, it was that bullshit that made the game more difficult.  Once all the "excess" has been cut out, I can't help but feel that what we're left with is little more than "baby's first Diablo".  Sure once you reach higher difficulty levels, the game gets ass-rapingly difficult, but I still can't help but feel as though there's quite a lot missing.

Have you ever watched one of those TV shows where a couple of the main actors/actresses aren't signed for another season, but the characters are still integral to the plot so they sign a couple new actors to play those same characters?  And then everyone else in that universe is forced to continue on as if NOTHING happened, despite the fact that the quiet, blonde housewife has suddenly turned into a sassy, jive-talking black woman?  Yeah...that's kinda what Diablo 3 feels me anyways...

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

...Shitty music special...again...

Well 2012 is here and with a new year comes new, shitty fucking music. That's right ladies and gentlemen, the shitty music posts are back. And in keeping with the rigid standards that we keep here at TILT, this post is coming to you on a Wednesday rather than its normal monday, but quite frankly, I'm bored at work and this is too good to pass up.

I was inadvertently sent this video by College Humor (inadvertently meaning they posted it on facebook and, as they are one of the few non-personal pages that I haven't blocked, I saw it and am now taking some small sliver of credit for finding it). Just the title is cringe-worthy, but dig a little deeper and you realize the true nature of 2012's first Rebecca Black-ian horror. Coming to you live from the studio that her father paid for because she's a college educated generic white chick, I give you:

Pound on my muffin by Shira K

1) Music: This is just more generic garage-band looping. Uninteresting and doesn't push any envelopes to say the least. Boring boring boring. But then again, when you're dressed like the cheapest crackwhore on the wrong side of town, synth strings and class are probably outside of your budget. (Or so you would like us to think)

2) Vocals: Ok this is where things start to get interesting. We've heard some horrible vocals on here before. We've had screaming, we've had pitch problems that even autotune couldn't help, we've even had scenesters who thought they could rap. But I have to say that this is a real first for me. Her vocals can only be described as sounding like someone who thought that Ke$ha sounded far too classy and that what her style of crackwhore music needed was sounding MORE like a used up crackwhore. And don't get me wrong, I love Ke$ha (as I've stated several times in this blog alone) but there is such a thing as taking it too far, Kreayshawn was getting close but simply wound up in the realm of boring. Somehow Shira manages to do everything right and ended up making everyone else sound classy by comparison.

3) Lyrics: The fucking song starts with "I know you miss this muffin". I mean that right there...should pretty much sum up the lyrical quality of this video. To say that Shira is not a wordsmith is an insult to those who lack talent. I've heard better rhymes come from a 3rd grader because AT LEAST A THIRD GRADER KNOWS NOT TO RHYME A WORD WITH THE EXACT SAME FUCKING WORD. But I'm not that strict on it. What I take most offense to is the pairing of the lines "My shades are Versace and my drawers are secret" with "So sexy in my Victoria's secret". WE FUCKING GOT IT THE FIRST TIME. As an artist, this is the equivalent of saying "My boxer briefs say CK on them/oh by the way did I mention that I wear calvin klein underwear? Well I just wanted to clarify in case you didn't get it the first time." Also who the FUCK says "drawers" in this day and age? I'm guessing she's going to be talking about her designer petticoat in her next video. Between the failed attempts at sleazy ("I'm a very freaky girl/Don't give it up for nothin'"), pimp ("Hustlin' pushin' what I'm coppin', Chiefin' (sp?) for free on that bomb Hyptoniq"), and just plain weird (what does "Puffin' on his puffin" even FUCKING MEAN?) the lyrics to this song read like a handful of rap magnetic poetry words were shotgunned onto the face of a fridge and then read off by someone in the midst of a severe concussion.

4) Video: THOSE ARE FUCKING CUPCAKES YOU GODDAMNED WHORE. Seriously this looks like the ghetto version of Katy Perry's California Girls music video mashed up with still shots of some guy sleeping and girls shaking their asses in front of terrible green screening. Fuck everything about this video. Even the choreography sucks.

5) Summary: Perhaps I'm wrong to judge here, but fuck it, it's fun. This video, this song, everything about this is shit. Ever fiber of my being hopes this turns out to be a joke because it makes me unbelievably sad. For a change, I decided to look her up on twitter (because it was listed at the end of the video.) EVERY FUCKING USERNAME from twitter to facebook to youtube INVOLVES MUFFINS. And what's worse is that it's played on the radio apparently. If you needed ANY convincing that radio is nothing but trash, THIS FUCKING SONG MADE IT ON TO THE RADIO. Beyond that, her tweets involve things like "love me, hate me, ur still talkin bout my jam." I seriously hope that this is a joke because I don't want to live on this planet anymore if it's real.

Suggested Audience: If you liked Rebecca Black's Friday but thought that what it REALLY needed was a liberal handful or two of glitter, herpes and a crack addiction, this song would be for you.

PS: did anyone else notice her dad driving the fucking car at the end of the video? I'm sure he was super happy that her college education REALLY went to good use. She done Pittsburgh proud.