Saturday, September 14, 2013

Grand Theft Audio

Something that I only realized this past week was the release date of Grand Theft Auto 5. For quite some time now I've been so busy with my work on YouTube, and trying to finish background projects, that this monolithic release nearly passed me by. I'm certainly glad I looked up from my work just in time to not miss anything.

The Grand Theft Auto series holds a special place for me for multiple reasons. I've been playing the games since the industry changing GTA3, and I subsequently played through the previous entries after discovering it back in 2001. Indeed I still follow the franchise because it plays well, and is all around a good game even with the quirks in each entry. The big reason I still come back to the series though has more to do with it's world design and the satirical media that fills the radio waves.

Ever since I first picked up the games something I fell in love with were the talk radio stations. Most of the content makes good and very humorous jabs at some of the dumbest things you see in society today. This stretches across the entire canvas with is each game too, all the advertising, brand names, venues, political banter, nothing is off limits but the radio is really where I find the best of the content lies. Between Chatterbox, VCPR, WCTR, WKTT, and a host of other stations and shows that play on the car radios across the GTA universe, there's just so much to listen to, and each bit of content is just so funny to me.

You see for me satire is some of the best comedy. Any day of the year I'll take persiflage that lampoons real events or principles over the purely fictional type you get in sitcoms and films. Never before have I seen any piece of entertainment that does this as well as GTA, after all they have to build their own word first and make it a fun and convincing place to run around before being able to properly use it to spoof anything.

The TLDR is that I love GTA for how Rockstar uses it to entertain you in ways other than shooting people and stealing cars.

And on that note maybe I'll make a few videos about the game after it comes out.
----Strife Out----

Sunday, September 08, 2013

About the Yogscast...

Many of you no doubt know about my interest in the Yogscast, and how I've made an official bid to join their ranks (if not watch the video Below). Likewise I feel that it's very likely several of you want a more through explanation as to why I've chosen to walk down this path.

Everything started back in late June of 2012 when the the two lead Yogs member, Lewis and Simon, began a series using the Mincraft Tekkit modpack. I was already addicted to MIneCraft, and knew of the Yogs, but had no interest in them and their work. As I watched their Tekkit series I was mesmerized by they way it expanded Minecraft. I also loved the humour of how the rag tag, and sometimes incompetent, band of Yogs ineffectively went about building a corporation. For six months I joyfully watched their antics, and followed the exploits of many members, exploring content from the extended Yogscast family. I passively watched, entirely content to consume their content and only be a viewer. That all began to change when holiday 2012 happened.

Those of you who are unaware the Yogscast put in large a amount of time during the winter holidays in the name of charity. They live streamed every day of the week, and the entire reason was to encourage the viewers to donate for a charitable cause. This was a real shock to me, as up to this point I had only worked with Machinima who's only concern was their bottom line. It really meant something when I saw this small group of Youtube talents, with a far smaller profit margin, putting in so much extra work for such a redeemable cause. And that's what got the gears turning in my head.

For the next five months I began to view the Yogscast more seriously, not as simple entertainers but as genuinely good people who love what they do. At the same time I began to take my work on Youtube more seriously, and not too long before May 2013, I finally decided to do something I was previously to demoralized to do. I cut ties with Machinima in order to Join up with Maker Studio (aka The Game Station now known as Polaris). The major factor that fuelled this action was my decision to at least try to join the Yogs who are also a part of Maker Studios.

I made my initial bid to get their attention in late May, and made increasingly visible displays to catch their eye. These attempts came to a head when I published my original Application video (which I had kept unpublished for about two months). When I made the video public a few of my subscribers saw it and took it to the Yogscast Reddit. This served as a turning point, and is the most recent event in my Yogscast related exploits.

I'm not willing to tell the rest of the story yet, but what I will say is that the Yogscast contacted me not long after the application vid was posted to their subreddit. Weather the message was a warm welcome or a cool refusal I won't say, but for those of you who care, let it be known that I have spoken directly with the yogscast.

----Strife Out----

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Kanji, Booker, Joel - Troy Baker

Wow has it really been so long since I last updated this blog? Sorry about that, I guess life has been much busier than I originally thought. Anyway on my subject of interest.

How many of you have played the games Persona 4, Final Fantasy XIII, Catherine, Batman Arkham City, Saint's Row 3, BioShock Infinite, The Last of Us, Arkham Origins, Metal Gear Solid 5, and Infamous Second Son? Ok, none of you could have played those last three at this time, but you may still see what all of these games have in common. Each one has a major character that's voiced by Troy Baker.

Troy Baker is what I would call an amazing voice actor for multiple reasons. The three largest though are one: He's been filling roles in mostly good games, two: No matter what role he's in he really fills it out with authentic and believable acting, and three: He can shift and change his voice with not only accurate accents, but also change pitch and tone to sound completely different.

Ever since I encountered his bang up job as playing Kanji Tatsumi in Persona 4, I was sold on his talents as an actor. What struck me so much about his portrayal of Kanji was how, despite the game's many slapstick scenarios and honestly melodramatic moments, he still managed to deliver his lines in a way that seemed believable and grounded given the character's background. However, I was ultimately surprised when I looked up his filmography and discovered that he voiced many recognizable characters I had already seen, and yet I never recognized him. Recently though he's landing bigger and bigger roles in high profile games including Booker DeWitt (BioShock Infinite), Joel (The Last of Us), the Joker (Arkham Origins), and Revolver Ocelot (Metal Gear Solid 5) to name a few.

I have to say I'm pretty happy to see his career taking off, as he certainly deserves it. I just hope he doesn’t end up doing the same thing as Steve Blum; Fill lots of extra roles and use one voice fore them all, so when I hear it I'm taken out of the experience.

That's enough for now. Hopefully I won't take so long to post on the blog again.
----Strife Out----

Monday, April 29, 2013

Something About Watch_Dogs

Not even a full year ago at E3 2012 Ubisoft did something unexpected, they completely stole the entire show by unveiling a game called Watch_Dogs. The title came entirely out of left field, no one really saw it coming and it was displayed so well that it even overshadowed the game I thought would be king of show, The last of Us.

Now today there's been another unexpected reveal, the release date for Watch_Dogs. As it turns out the game is due to land for everyone on November 19 this year. I've been completely caught off guard by this date, as I'm flat out surprised by the incredibly quick turnaround from reveal to release. Usually when this type of high fidelity, new IP game is shown off it takes some 2-3 years before you see it on store shelves. As a result I'm a little worried that Ubisoft might be rushing Watch_dogs to market.
The reason they would do this is clear though, the game received enormous positive reception at E3 last year and it's going to be a cross gen title. In other words it'll be on just about all available consoles (PS3, PS4, WiiU, 360, PC, and presumably the NextBox), meaning it has good chances to rake in cash better than many other titles out in the season.

I think the reason why so many people are attracted to Watch_Dogs is because it plays with some familiar concepts of both fiction and reality. The game deals with surveillance and how just about everyone has a digital footprint these days. Most important above everything are cellphones, just about everyone has one. Cellphones carry people's lives, being jam packed with loads of personal information, and many of them have GPS tracking features.

Now think about the traditional Cyber Punk story. In the future we live in a dystopia controlled by one or more conglomo-corp, we're heavily surveillance, and extensively controlled, yet we're lead to believe we still have freedom and make out own choices. Watch_Dogs is a combination of modern day technology and traditional story setup from you're typical dystopia cyberpunk.

I think that this is what makes it so appealing to so many people. Other than just looking like a really fucking fun game anyway!

----Strife Out----

Thursday, April 04, 2013

Stealthy Confessions

I feel that one of my favourite play styles is, and has been, making a comeback.

I've been playing games that focus on remaining hidden for over a decade. It all started with the original Metal Gear Solid on the first Playstation. I played that game to exhaustion, and subsequently did the same with it's sequel MGS2. Moreover though if I'm ever given a choice of playstyle I always default to being a thief, rogue, or assassin. This was reinforced by my discovery of the game Oblivion back in 2006, where I was simply blown away by the game's levelling system, where I actually got better at being a thief by being a thief!

Now today the stealth genre seems to be coming back into the light, with games like DeusEx and Skyrim having major mechanics that allow stealth, and more recently Dishonoured focusing on it entirely.
Now with the advent reboot to the thief franchise I think it's time I make a small confession.

Despite my love for stealth play, I've never actually played any of the Thief games. This is even more surprising considering I prefer to be a non-lethal thief over a deadly assassin or combat ready rogue.

My experience with the Thief series is limited to playing through about a quarter of Deadly Shadows. The game had stability issues on my machine, and it's story didn't really grab my attention, which is why I dropped it. However, with thief being rebooted I feel like I'm finally going to get a chance to experience a quality stealth game that doesn't focus on killing people. Dishonored was good, but I was disappointed by it's lack of shadowy corners to hide in. I also wasn't to impressed with how I had to keep hiding under tables to avoid detection.
I liked Dishonored for what it was, but I was more disappointed by what is was not.
Now, with the return of thief, I can't help but feel it might be what I wanted out of Dishonored.

----Strife Out----

Wednesday, April 03, 2013

BioShock Infinite and Bill Bower

So there's something that I'm just having a hard time wrapping my head around when it comes to these Bill Bower reviews. Why do so many people not like them? Then there's the bigger question, why are people bothering to watch the video if they know they don't like Bill Bower?

Weather or not people actually want me to do these reviews has never been the question. I'm doing them for myself, and to stretch the boundaries of my writing skills. The people who come and ask me to do a "normal review" just aren't gong to get what they want. I did "normal" reviews for Fallout New Vegas and RAGE, and I hated doing those. They were just the same as guides, but stuffed full of opinion and no factual substance. If I'm going to be opinionated then I prefer to be loud about what my thoughts are.

Ultimately I think most people just don't like the idea of me being mean, even when I'm delivering comments under a completely different persona. If I was to drop Bill Bower but still do reviews, I wouldn't change my writing style; And I don't think any of us want an angry, snide, and sarcastic William Strife, and I right?

----Strife Out----

Friday, March 29, 2013

Infinite Amazement

It's almost 4am and I just finished BioShock Infinite.
I can barely type I'm so amazed, but I'm going to try and get my thoughts out on this game.

I kept myself in an almost complete media blackout of this game after it's original announcement trailer. The reason was simple, I didn't want to have any expectations. Seeing as how the original BioShock is (or now maybe was) my favourite game, I wanted to go into Infinite with the same blind organic experience I had with the original.
I'm happy to say that it was a resounding success.

I won't dwell on details, but as I started this game I earnestly thought Ken Levine would be unable to trump the plot twist and it's strong tie to interactive story telling from the the first BiosShock.
I was half right.
The original BioShock truly made me feel I was the reason the Plot twist happened. The story was scripted, but it was still interactive storytelling at it's best. Infinite however took that interactive feeling of 'you pushed the story forward' down several notches. In trade though it gave me so many plot twists, so quickly, that made so much sense; that as I played the game's culmination it was like being sucker punched across the room by a man who's both the worlds strongest and top martial arts master.

I had intentions of playing through this game again almost immediately, but now I know I need some time to let my head stop spinning from BioShock Infinite's sheer level of awesome.

----Strife Out----

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Bill Bower - Dishonored

If you can't tell the idea of Bill Bower is to say inflammatory things about games no matter if they're good or bad. Things are looking good for this new review over Dishonored, because I'm seeing down votes on it already. You might call it malicious of me, but my goal isn't to piss people off. I'm just trying to light a fire under everyone so they engage with the video, no matter if they agree or rage over what is said.

If by chance you want to know my calm and collected opinion on the game, it's not to different from the second to last line in the vid. The gameplay in Dishonored is solid with very few faults, but I found it's story predictable and uncompelling.

Questions, Comments? I'd love to hear them!
----Strife Out----

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

A Slice With Strife

A Slice With Strife is a new series that I'm doing that will focus on a different game every time. It's all about either my impressions while playing a game the first time, or just me having fun in a game I love.
In this d├ębut episode I look at the game Lone Survivor, which is said to do Silent Hill better than Silent Hill did Silent Hill (if that makes sense).

Any game I play here has the chance to become it's own series. However, weather that happens or not is determined by feedback, and what you guys want to see me play more of.

----Strife Out----

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Bill Bower - Tomb Raider

I've been needing to do something vastly different from what I normally do for a while. Months ago a thought sprung into my head. what if I express my completely irrational and unfounded discontent for games as a different person? Minutes Later Bill Bower was born, an angry British man (that sounds like an American doing a bad accent) who does nothing but bitch about games weather they be good or bad.

No doubt not everyone will like what I've done here. If that is the case, then in the words of Bill Bower let me say, FUCK OFF!!

----Strife Out----

Thursday, March 07, 2013

Retrun of a Past Age!

Roughly two months ago I was digging through my old collection of PC games and found a title that ate up hours of my life, Age of Empires II. Feeling extremely nostalgic I popped the game into my PC and installed it only find it wasn't compatible with windows 7. I eventually spent three hours total to find a proper, non-intrusive, fix to get the game running. Fast forward to two days ago and I was surprised to see the exact same game (that doesn't work on any modern OS) sitting on the shelf at Wal-Mart. This got me to thinking, why was AoE2 never published digitally or fixed to work with modern PCs? Then today I saw this.

I'm going to buy this, I'm going to enjoy it, and most importantly I won't have to dig up home-made patches for it. Well at least not for a few years I wont.

----Strife Out----

Saturday, March 02, 2013

Fallout 3 -04

At this point I really don't know when I'll stop doing this play, or how to conclude it. I'm a little troubled by how much some people are freaking out over the biweekly release schedule it has. I appreciate how so may people love the videos, but constant wining creates pressure and reduces my interest in even working on each episode. To be frank though, the thing that pisses me off the most are when people complain about it in the comments of my other videos that have nothing to do with this series. I'm pretty firm in my belief of "don't cross the streams", but I know I'm just being anal.

I'll persevere, after all I know better than to bite the hand that feeds me.
On a related note though, being asked every day to make a FONV DLC weapon guide is a major factor in why I've not been able to get myself to even build a gun list to write a script off of.

----Strife Out----

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Tari Tari

The anime Tari Tari isn't brand spanking new. However, just because a show is close to six months old doesn't mean it's not worth anyone's time.

I actually had the script for this review written months back, about five weeks after the show ended. I was just preoccupied with my more bread and butter content, which is obviously videogame related stuff.
Anyway I hope you enjoy the vid, and if you like go check out the show after you hear what I say.

----Strife Out----

Thursday, February 21, 2013

The First of the Next

Last night Sony had their PlayStation conference which, as everyone expected, was done specifically to officially announce the Playstation 4.
Lots of things were shown off such as games in the works, third party support, hardware specs, and the new overhauled controller. However, amongst all the news the show lacked what most would consider the centrepiece of everything, the physical console. The lack of actual hardware to look at is rather discouraging, but honestly if they showed the box now they wouldn't have much to unveil at E3.

Now there's also been some interesting stuff that has come to light the following day of the conference. The most noteworthy of everything though is how the PS4 has "No backwards compatibility", as stated by Sony Worldwide Studios president, Shuhei Yoshida.
I'm not surprised by this at all, after all the PS3 had a very strange processor architecture, which made it difficult to program for in the first place. I'm curious how this will affect their sales though, since undoubtedly fewer people will sell their PS3 to buy a new console that suffers the the initial launch period game drought.

---Strife Out---

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Out Sold

I'm both a little surprised and disappointed by this new bit of news.
It's come to light that, according to recent sales figures, the Kinect for the Xbox 360 has sold more units than the Nintendo Game Cube. As a long time supporter of Nintendo, their products, and IP, I can't help but feel a bit disturbed by this event. The fact that more people care about a gimmicky peripheral than a core gaming console simply bugs me.

Honestly I shouldn't be so surprised, after all Nintendo did rake in money by banking on a gimmicky and unreliable control scheme with the Wii. However, it doesn't change that I'm not a fan of Microsoft, their products, and the CoD schlock that so many people (especially 360 owners) clamour for every year.
I guess I'm just a bit disgruntled that a peripheral, that most owners get little use out of, has out sold a last gen console that gave me untold hours of enjoyment.

---Strife Out---

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Bomb'N Updates

Nintendo has officially made clear their stance on the more hardcore games to come for the Wii U. During their Nintendo Direct event they covered a plethora of new Wii U features and games to come. Included in the line up was a new Yoshi title, a Fire Emblem Shin Megami Tensei crossover, and another Xeno game (presumably Xenoblade chronicles 2); But what seems to have most everyone bouncing off the walls was the announcement of a Wind Waker Remake.

To be clear Nintendo announced that they are indeed working on the next full Zelda title in earnest. However, due to the long development time they decided to re-create one of the series most prominent titles to help ease the wait. Wind Waker Reborn is a fully rebuilt and improved version of the original with new models, textures, and clearly made for HD beauty.
This is something that has completely caught me off guard, and I'll be looking forward to it when it arrives this coming holiday.

There was much more mentioned during Nintendo Direct though, check it all out here.

----Strife Out----

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

TESO Signup

Not a big surprise, but it's finally time to try for a position in the Elder Scrolls Online closed beta.

I've already submitted my application in full. Who knows how long applications will remain open. I suggest you hurry if you want a chance as well.

----Strife Out----

Monday, January 21, 2013

Returning to the Capitol Wasteland

Amidst the impending reality which is Fallout 4 I decided to do this. I hope you enjoy it, as It will be around three episodes long.

I may extend it but for now I think Three eps will be enough.

----CP Out----

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Infinite Power Needed

Bioshock Infinite is one of the few games I'm looking forward to this year, and more importantly it's the first game that will break the dry release calendar of the new year (at least for me anyway). Thus the recent announcement of the game's required and recommended PC specs is something I've been anticipating. Most of technical readout is what I would expect, but there one thing that blow me out of the water.

Amazingly the game requires a full 30gb of storage space to install! The reason why is that it has fully uncompressed textures! With the advent of this information I'm glad I've thus far held off on pre-purchasing the game on steam. Back when RAGE came out (which also has roughly a 30gb install) I specifically opted to get the title on hard-copy to avoid a huge download time. Now that I see infinite is going to have a similar install size, I know that HC is the way to go for the new Bioshock.

You can check out the system specs here if you want to see them.

----Strife Out----

Friday, January 11, 2013

First Sign of Fallout 4

Not that I ever doubted the possibility of another fallout game ever happening, but now we has our first pseudo official sign that it's production is real. Erik Todd Dellums, voice actor for the Falloout 3 radio DJ Three Dog, tweeted recently "To all my #Fallout3 and #ThreeDog fans: There may be more of the Dog coming! Fingers crossed!" and also followed up in a separate tweet saying, "How was that for a tease! I was given permission to release that tease, so fingers crossed."

Even though this is no official announcement for FO4, it seems a pretty good indicator that Bethesda is somehow looking at the future of the series. Here's to hoping that the next instalment will happen in the next year or two.

----Strife Out----

Tuesday, January 08, 2013

SteamBox for Real?

Among the great things coming out of CES this year, by far the greatest (IMO at least) is the tiny modular computer designed to run, amongst other things, the Steam client and it's big picture mode. The device is currently known as the "piston", which is backed by valve and made by the computer company Xi3. While nothing has been promised, such as it actually being the fabled steam box, it's very hard to imagine another reason why valve would back the creation of a hefty fist-sized PC.

Like I said, and how it was pointed out in the vid, they're not saying it's the steam box. However, the entire thing fits the bill, a tiny upgradeable computer that's clearly built for your TV, it's backed by valve, and it CAN run steam. If this isn't what we're all expecting it to be, I'll be very surprised.

----Strife Out----

Monday, January 07, 2013

Death of a Legend

Well raise your glasses and make a toast, the most most successful gaming console ever has been retired.
It was just announced today that the PlayStation 2 has ceased production worldwide, and is now discontinued. It was honestly the best system I ever bought, with far to many hours crammed into it's joysticks than I can count.

In all honesty though I think this is long overdue. For the PS2 to only be leaving the active gaming scene as it's successor is about to be replaced is a bit extreme. None the less though I'll raise my glass and say; Here's to the hours of fun, lost childhood, and broken joysticks that the good old Playstation 2 brought me!

----Strife Out----