mass effect

Strange Sunday – Sports

http://mango-addict.deviantart.com/art/Football-77744238

“Football” by Mango-addict

This is gonna be a short one, but it’s gonna be about something strange, and it’s still Sunday in my time zone. What will this be about? Sports, ladies and gentlemen, sports.

As you might have guessed by some of my posts on this blog, I like sports. I’m not some nut who watches every game of his favourite team every damn Sunday, but I like sports. However, I never liked sports games. No matter how often it will be released with a new year number on it, I will never, ever like FIFA. Or Pro Evo. Or even some more simulative games like Football Manager. However, given the amount of role-players out there who also like sports (trust me, there are more than you think), how come we never got a really good sports RPG? I mean, more than just number-juggling, but something with a bit of drama and real personalities. Where’s the game where I also see what troubles and travails my players have outside of the game, where I have to be the uniting coach who is the head of a rag-tag team of professionals with various backgrounds? When will Mass Effect and FIFA be merged into one game?

When, gaming industry, when?

Alright, I’m done. Strange Sunday has just become even stranger!

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A self-inflicted illusion of choice

deadpool options marvel choice

“Here are your options:” by FonteArt

Ladies and gentlemen, let us take a moment to ponder a rather philosophical topic, namely the one of free choice. I’m sure that many great minds have already written about this subject, and that since the dawn of mankind, humanity has asked itself: are my choices made by my free, unchained spirit, or is every road I take predestined by my experiences in this world, thus making me nothing more than the product of my environment? Well, I can’t provide you with an answer to this larger-than-life question, but I can tell you this: when it comes to games, choice is just an illusion.

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Characters can save every story

I think we can all agree that the Mass Effect games were just freaking awesome. Really, everything was neat: the graphics, the sound, the dialogue, combat (at least in part two and three), the ship…alright, not everything was awesome. Some lines were cheesy, some weapons redundant and the whole story was just so cliché and boring.

Wow, wow! Calm down! This is my blog, and on it I can say that the story of ME wasn’t that great. Really, don’t be so shocked and take a closer look at it. If you just look at the plot, it’s nothing special or new. It’s a typical tale of a hero who rises to the challenge of saving the galaxy, facing all kinds of really big threats (like over-enthusiastic fan boys). The narrative doesn’t do anything refreshing or daring, and is filled with material from a first-year college course on cinematography. So why do I praise these games then? Well, it’s because of the characters and how they make the story damn awesome!

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Three game soundtracks that are music to my ears

sephi sing

You know what really bothers me? Every time a new game hits the shelves, everyone talks about its awesome gameplay or awesome-o-saurus graphics, but I rarely hear people give their praise about the music of a game. Sure, there are some aficionados who mention it, but in general, music seems to be a second-class criterion when it comes to judging games. I want to set this wrong right, so today, I’ll give you my three favourite game soundtracks. Hook up your headphones and set your volume to eargasm, we’re gonna bring music to those ears!

Number 3: Mass Effect 2
As I have told you in previous posts, the Mass Effect trilogy is one of my all-time favourite gaming epics. It made me bond with several characters (shout-out to my homeboy Garrus), and had me actual care for the fate of the galaxy. One of the reasons for that was the sometimes bombastic, sometimes enchanting soundtrack. Out of the three games, the one soundtrack that really hit me in the feels was that of Mass Effect 2. With tracks like “The Normandy Reborn” and “End Run”, it still gives me the urge to step aboard that damn cool ship, listen to Joker’s puns and shoot up some Reapers.

On a sidenote, one track that makes me think of ME2 but that isn’t on the soundtrack, is the track used in this badass trailer of the game. It’s one of Two Steps From Hell’s masterpieces, which should also have more than the million fans they already have!

Number 2: Dragon Age: Origins
Yeah, sue me for giving the second spot to another BioWare title, but it’s not my fault their sound department makes epic music. Dragon Age: Origins is one ride of a fantasy RPG, and if you haven’t played it yet, you should be castigated for your sins and then play it. Before you do so, however, hear me out why the music of the game is so delightful.

When making epic music for an epic game, the mistake many composers make is to have it sound just too epic. I know, that sounds weird, but it’s hard to explain. It’s like the music loses its supportive, carrying function, drowning out the actual scene it is meant to make perfect on an acoustic level. Luckily, Inon Zur is one heroic composer, and the pieces he wrote for DA:O are marvelous. If you want to hear the (in my opinion) best ones, check out “Dragon Age: Origins” and “The Deep Roads”. 

Number 1: Final Fantasy VII
Oh geesh, bring on the goosebumps! It’s hard for me to give my feelings for this game and its divine music a suitable written form, but I will try anyway. Gosh, just thinking of this soundtrack gets me all hyped.

Next to making some of the greatest RPG’s that have ever been inserted into consoles, Square-Enix is also known for hiring the best composers and musicians alive. Their in-house musical genius is Nobuo Uematsu, who has been responsible for most of the music you hear in the Final Fantasy series. The peak of his talent shows in the soundtrack of Final Fantasy VII, a game that has left his mark on the genre and is still called one of the greatest games ever made. If you ask me, that is an understatement.

Next to being one of the greatest digital adventures I have ever experienced, FFVII is also a musical highlight. When the movie sequel Advent Children was released, a great part of the soundtrack was remade and reborn in an even greater way. While watching the movie and fanboying all over the place, my ears were almost unable to really comprehend the greatness of the music I was hearing. The new versions of masterpieces like “One-Winged Angel” and “Aerith’ Theme” made my skin shudder in delight, and my heart pound faster as I was re-united with the heroes from a game that had touched me so deeply.

Really, if you want to hear the perfect example of music not just supporting, but uplifting a game, play FFVII and listen carefully. Be careful though, you might be humming the “Victory Fanfare” after every success for the rest of your life if you’re like me.

So that’s my top three of epic gaming soundtracks. If you think I missed any great musical piece, or if you would like to share your opinion, hit me up in the comments. While you’re doing that, I have to clean the tears from my cheeks after being reminded of Aerith’ death…

My gaming 2012 and a look into the future

While the teenagers from my neighbourhood are busy blowing everything up with fireworks,  I sit inside my apartment and ponder about what a great year 2012 was. I achieved my bachelor’s degree, immediately found a job and met a totally fantastic girl. I’m physically healthier than ever before, and more confident than I was ever in my life. I don’t want to sound arrogant, but 2012 was pretty much my year.

Personal achievements were not the only thing that made 2012 glorious. From a gaming point of view, the past year has been freaking fantastic as well. In this post, I want to honour digital and tabletop titles that made my year.

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