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Published: Two’s Company

February 10, 2010

It’s been a busy few weeks at casa de Schiller, but that hasn’t stopped me from writing about a nice little pile o’ stuff. Two of everything this week, which means it’s probably been…wow, really? It’s been three weeks since I did a “Published” roundup? Maybe I’m getting lazier than I thought.

Here they are:

PopMatters Multimedia: Two reviews, bookending the weekend. On Friday, my review of Guitar Hero: Van Halen was posted, and I’m pretty sure it got the lowest score I’ve ever given a game over there (we’ll see if it’s the last piece of review copy I receive from Activision). Despite the low score, it’s not an awful game — in fact, it holds its own with Guitar Hero: Metallica. The problem is that Guitar Hero is a better game now — the strength of Guitar Hero 5 points out all the flaws of World Tour and its engine, so to have a new game come out using the World Tour engine after the release of Guitar Hero 5 is simply folly. I also reviewed Torchlight, ostensibly because it got a box release a couple of weeks ago. I don’t think I said anything new about it, but that may well be because there’s simply not much to say. Dungeons, hacks, slashes, quests, loot, hooray. And yet, I’m still playing it.

PopMatters Music: Perhaps my favorite bit of my own writing over the last three weeks is this writeup of The Album Leaf’s new album. Most of it was very much a “where have you been all my life” experience, but a couple of stray bombs at the end tripped it up. It’s still a lovely little bit of halfway-to-ambient relaxy stuff. I also did a short piece on something called Stories by someone called “InLove”. I’m usually a sucker for wispy voices and trip-hop sounds, but Stories just isn’t good. At all.

Raleigh News & Observer: Pretty excited about these two pieces, because I got to play with the format a bit. First up was a review of the new Army of Two game, where I spent 200 of my 300 words talking about the “moral choices” that the game offers, which, all told, are a fairly minor part of the overall experience. Still, they’re what I remembered most about the game, and not necessarily for a good reason. This past Friday was a rare 400-word piece, this time on a game I’ve spilled far more ink discussing than I ever thought I would: Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles: The Crystal Bearers. It’s the closest thing out there to a pure description of what I thought of the game, although a far more lengthy PopMatters review is on the way. Brief synopsis: It’s not as bad as advertised, even if it does insist on using the word “Crystal” twice in its full-length title.

Finally, as I was doing some Autechre-flavored research in advance of writing my review of their new album, I stumbled across this piece on Gescom’s Minidisc that I wrote a few years ago. I think it’s one of the best pieces of music writing I’ve ever done, despite its short length, so I just had to share. It’s gimmicky, sure, but the gimmick was appropriate for that particular release.

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