FFXIII

It's the tits. You'd think a final fantasy game would be massively over-hyped, it's a shame that the first Final Fantasy game deserving of such praise is released to the sound of mass yawning.

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Braid: Mixed emotions.

After so many glowing reviews, I couldn't put off this game any further. I'd already tried the demo and decided it wasn't worth what they were charging for it, but then I hear about it on the 1up show, on podcasts, on every message board known to man, and I knew I had to yield and see what the fuss was about beyond the first world. Well that was a stupid mistake, the game turns out to offer a mild challenge but it's about as interesting and compelling as dishwater. The mood and music of the game is totally off, and while the art direction is generally good the character designs, enemy designs and animation are truly horrible. When you finish the game you get some pseudo-intellectual fiction that reminds me of garbage I wrote when I was 15. I can't say I totally regret the purchase but it certainly wasn't the best £10 I ever spent.

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In New Music We What

I finally got around to getting back into music today. I know that's a strange sentence, but I've been neglecting the music scene for a good while. I got around to checking out the latest from Christ., The Roots, DJ Cam and Daedelus. Yeah guess what I'm going to write some words about them.

I don't know if you're familiar with 'Christ.', but the way I hear it he used to be one third of Board of Canada, which is mad exciting. I have a couple of his outings already and yes, there's a mad BoC vibe in there. He does a little less analogue fuzzed electronic sound-spaces and sticks a bit more strictly to downtempo electronic music but he keeps some Boards flavour in there, and handles his tunes with a certain mastery. He knows what he's doing and I'm buying what he's selling, sure. His latest EP is called 'Bike' and I've been enjoying it, it's a competent EP that helped bridge the gap between my absence from and return to audiophilia.

I guess you've heard of The Roots, and you probably have an opinion on their last album. They're still heading in that direction, more rap heavy and simpler beats, for better or for worse. Their latest album, 'Rising Down', is pretty good. I don't hate it, it keeps me complacent. It's chilled enough that I can't hold anything against it. I don't think it's going to be for everyone, though.

Have you heard of DJ Cam? It might sound familiar, because he's been around forever. He's been at the heart of the trip-hop scene for years, and he slipped out this release on the sly. It's called Lost & Found, it's a sample-heavy instrumental trip-hop feast, very cool. Of Course DJ Cam knows what he's doing, I have to question some of his arrangements but generally speaking it makes me happy. Yeah, check this one out, recommended if you'd like to hear something in-between Dr Rubberfunk and Bonobo.

So Daedelus, he's one of the most overlooked, underrated artists on the Ninja Tune. He's been making killer albums for years and you never knew it, he has a cool, jumbled sound. Kind of off-kilter, a little electronic, but at its heart very Ninja-Tune. The EP I have here is called Fair Weather Friends. I'm listening to it right now, it's got some good tunes. Great for the summer, simple beats with great drums and some electronic fuzz and organ. Electric beats. This might be my favourite of the lot.

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Playing just for trophies? Truth is, I already am.

I'm currently replaying Uncharted: Drake's fortune in light of the trophy update. I've been having a blast with it. Trophies are just like achievements, you should consider them challenges from the developer, and as you earn points and 'level up' your profile, that's like an online leaderboard. It's healthy to be competitive, and it can be the little push you need to play games through or to try certain weapons out. Trophies and achievements were a brilliant concept, and I will certainly use them as an excuse to replay games when the time is right.
Now, where are my MGS4 trophies..?


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Biggest Turn for the Worse: It's Sonic the Hedgehog. Sorry.

Not only is it one of the most extreme examples of a good franchise turning to garbage, but it has the added poignancy of mirroring the state of Sega as a whole.
I disagree with bomberman, only because Bomberman Live was redemptive enough for me. I also disagree with Megaman, because I don't think that series has turned bad, just decidedly average. Kind of like Doom and Quake.

Honorable mention: Phantasy Star Online. Episode 1 was amazing. Episode 2 was alright. Episode 3 was terrible and I like to pretend Universe never happened.

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How the hamburger saved my life.

It is often assumed that the hamburger is unhealthy. Often the portrait of obesity in western culture is painted by the media with beef paint on a sesame bun canvas, but no. These people are misguided, skewed and slanted, biased and dangerously so. It is true that in the hands of the evil, the hamburger can be a fatty food, but the real culprit here is not a man's lust for life, but rather his distaste for exercise afterward. With that established, let me tell you about the day the hamburger proved positively healthy for me. The day the dusty baps of life were so nearly harrowingly soggied
2005. Night time now, and it was raining. I was making the daunting journey from town to home via public transport, having just been to see a local band play in concert. My ears had been rendered useless under a loud drone from the show, and the rest of my senses were rendered wankered from the excessive alcohol. Poor form already, but my night was over and I was due some rest. The bus, the last of the daily service, delivered me to as near my destination as its path wished to lay and then it was gone into darkness. Except that it had not placed me where I had intended. In my weathered state, I had stepped out into some unknown place instead. Unsure, I began to walk.
It was there that I was assailed. To my horror, two beefy men had jumped me, two real greasers with meaty fists, quarter pounded me in the dark. I was in a terrifying pickle. "Where's your money? Your wallet? Give us your greens." they grilled me, saucily. My attempts to plead with these seedy characters did not cut the mustard, in fact they seemed to relish it, and they held a knife up to my throat. It was then that the darkness yielded a new, third figure. He appeared suddenly and exploded into action, throwing my assailants to the floor. I could not believe my eyes, this was no man before me. He had two parts bread, sesame seeds and patty, and he was enormous. Could it have been a costume? I assumed as much at first, but something kept me doubting. The smell. The air had become fragrant, and appetising. Why would his costume smell so real? And as I strained my eyes to see in the dark, where were his arms and legs? By this time, the muggers had been chased away. I turned to thank my saviour, but when I turned to face him he had disappeared. Confused and feeling the bite of the cold, salty night air, I found my way home.

So I say we demonise the hamburger no further, though certainly he moves in mysterious ways. He could do for you immeasurable favor one day.

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I think it smells pretty clean in here.

I'm hopeful that the popularity will balloon, because it's really going to be the userbase at the end of the day that defines the quality of giantbomb proper. As long as the bombcasts stay regular and the reviews maintain their wholesome goodness then I'll be a regular.

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