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The Stanley Parable: A Game About Games
The new hd Collection Standard — Kingdom Hearts hd 1.5 Remix Review
Virtually Unstoppable — Saints Row IV Review
Miami hotline review
Violence, Children and Video Games

 

The servers are up, the game is wait­ing in store rooms around the coun­try in antic­i­pa­tion for the mid­night release, and the forums (Bungie.net and oth­ers) are fill­ing with excite­ment. Des­tiny launches at mid­night (though some ter­ri­to­ries already have it due to it being the 9th already, curse you Aussies and Kiwi) and the hype machine has hit max­i­mum over­load. This hybrid MMO/FPS/RPG/Kitchen sink, will be the first non-Halo title to come from Bungie since 2001 title Oni. Bungie fin­ished off their side of the Halo fran­chise with Halo: Reach (released in 2010), pass­ing the Halo torch to 343 Indus­tries. Since the depar­ture of Halo, Bungie has been focused with deliv­er­ing a new IP. I, per­son­ally, have not been this hyped for a game since Halo 3 (coin­ci­den­tally another Bungie title). I played the post E3 Alpha, and then in late July, played the Beta on three dif­fer­ent plat­forms (PS4, PS3, Xbox One), and even though much of the con­tent between those tri­als was the same, I could not be more hyped for this game. If you have not yet caught the Des­tiny bug, then I have sev­eral pieces of media, that will try its hard­est to entice you.

 

First up is three tracks from the beta, that I am more than cer­tain are in the final game. Just a note an offi­cial sound­track has not been released yet, but I am hop­ing that will change very shortly, since the sound­track is eas­ily becom­ing my favorite of the year. The sound­track was com­posed by Bungie’s res­i­dent crafts­men, Mar­tin O’Donnel (who unfor­tu­nately is no longer with Bungie) Michael Sal­va­tori, and spe­cial guest Sir Paul McCart­ney. The sound­track is robust, dynamic, and full of con­trast. Tak­ing the tribal drums, epic cho­ruses, rock, and elec­tronic ele­ments from Halo; they have crafted some­thing that feels fresh yet famil­iar. Below are three of my favorite tracks from the beta, I had a list of them to choose from, but these three stand above the crowd. Enjoy!

 

1. The Last Array

2. Deac­ti­vat­ing the Mesh

3. Sepiks Prime

 

 

 

Last, but not least, are two trail­ers. The first is the live action trailer that was directed by the helm of Tron Legacy, Joseph Kosin­ski. The trailer is all fun and fluff, try­ing to get the gen­eral pub­lic inter­ested and it does a fair job. The sec­ond trailer is the Game­play Launch trailer and does a much bet­ter job of hyp­ing the game. Enjoy!

 


 

 

For any­one that played the Alpha this is for you.….

 

 

I can’t wait to see every­one starside!

 

Over the years on this site, I have pub­lished sev­eral arti­cles fea­tur­ing the mind blow­ing remixes that stem from Over­Clocked Remix. The Video Game Remix­ing com­mu­nity has sup­ported user cre­ated remixes and video game sound­tracks as art for well over a decade. Over­Clocked is cur­rently hold­ing their yearly fundraiser on Patreon, a site that helps artist bring their dreams to real­ity, think Kick­starter but monthly dona­tions instead of one lump sum. OC Remix has been tak­ing Patreon dona­tions since June, so this news maybe a lit­tle old to some, but I just started donat­ing last month, and I finally received my first month dona­tion rewards; so I wanted to wait and judge my expe­ri­ence. There are tier dona­tions for your choosing:

$1 + nets you — “Gain access to our Patreon news feed with exclu­sive news updates and sneak peeks on upcom­ing albums, includ­ing works-in-progress and trailers!!”

$5 + nets you - “Not only do you get the exclu­sive patron updates, you also score a promo code for a select FREE dig­i­tal album from Over­Clocked Records EVERY MONTH!”

$100 + nets you — “OFFICIAL SPONSOR STATUS — You or your orga­ni­za­tion listed as an OFFICIAL SPONSOR on http://ocremix.org, all our mailouts, press releases, etc.

ASK US ANYTHING — Pri­or­i­tized Q&A responses, includ­ing dis­cus­sion of any top­ics you’re inter­ested on OCR Talk­back!
PRIZES — You’re entered in our monthly ran­dom draw­ing for super awe­some swag! A win­ner is (could be) you!”

 

I started with some­thing sim­ple and afford­able, I donate $6 every month, and I am more than happy to give more in the future if my cir­cum­stances change. It was incred­i­bly easy to sign up with Patreon and have them take the monthly $6. I just received my first email yes­ter­day with my first month of being a patron, and it was filled with sev­eral pre­views of upcom­ing remixes that have yet to be posted to Over­Clocked Remix, and my free album code. The free albums are cho­sen by Over­Clocked Records, since the artist they pro­mote and sign are invited to label, I have no qualms with the selec­tion. I have been fol­low­ing Over­Clocked Remix since the early 2000’s and have amassed a vast library of their remixes and albums, and I am very happy to give back. As a pro­moter of the arts, and a strong pro­moter of the artis­tic merit in video games, I am very happy to be a spon­sor of such a cre­ative com­mu­nity that is full of tal­ent. If you would like to donate to Over­Clocked Remix and help pro­mote video game music, just click this link to Patreon.

 

If you are still unsure if you want to donate, here are a few of my recent favorites from Over­Clocked Remix. I have an addic­tion to the elec­tronic dance mixes that stem from the site, but there is remixes fea­tur­ing vastly dif­fer­ent styles and gen­res. Enjoy my most recent picks!

 

 

Track 1 — “Streets of Rave” — by Amphibi­ous — from Streets of Rage (Sega Genesis)

Track 2 — “Mys­ti­cal Mist” — by RJ Remixes — from Final Fan­tasy Mys­tic Quest (Super Nintendo)

Track 3 — “Courage ~ Fail­ure ~ Rose­bud” — by Drag­o­nAvenger and OA — fea­tured on the album Final Fan­tasy VI: Bal­ance and Ruin

Track 4 — “Let’s upset a Troid” — by AngleCity­Out­law and timaeus222 — from Metroid Prime (Nin­tendo GameCube)

 

Image Source: Battle.net

It only seemed like yes­ter­day that War­lords of Draenor was revealed at Bliz­zCon 2013 and now we have a launch date for this new expan­sion which was announced at gamescom 2014 in Cologne, the world’s largest games con­ven­tion. Get ready because the new expan­sion will be avail­able to play as of Novem­ber 13 2014 with a new level cap of 100; new tal­ents, dun­geons and raids; flex­i­ble scal­ing for raids and much more. If you are at gamescom this week, be sure to stop by the biggest Bliz­zard booth to date in Hall 7.1 (B051) and check out Blizzard’s lat­est offer­ings: War­lords of Draenor and Heroes of the Storm on PC, Hearth­stone on PC and iPad, and Dia­blo III: Ulti­mate Evil Edi­tion on PS4.

On Thurs­day at gamescom Bliz­zard unveiled both the War­lords of Draenor open­ing cin­e­matic and the first instal­ment of a new ani­mated lore mini-series, Lords of War, in a live-stream event. I know how impres­sive Blizzard’s cin­e­mat­ics are on the big screen, so if I’m feel­ing the awe­some power of the Draenor sto­ry­line here in the UK, the atmos­phere would have been elec­tric at the Koel­n­messe on Thurs­day — check out both of these below. Lore buffs can also get their teeth into the new lore mini-series over the weeks ahead at www.worldofwarcraft.com where Bliz­zard will release more episodes fol­low­ing ‘Lords of War: Part 1 — Kar­gath Blade­fist’, per­haps gen­er­at­ing more ques­tions than answers, but a must see for War­craft fans.

Don’t for­get that you can pre-order War­lords of Draenor now to pre­pare for the Novem­ber 13 launch, with that level 90 boost to get you right into the heart of the action. And if you upgrade to the Dig­i­tal Deluxe edi­tion and enhance your adven­tures in Draenor with epic in-game items includ­ing the Dread Raven mount, Star­Craft II por­traits of Grom­mash Hellscream and Black­hand and a Dia­blo III War­song Pennant.

Also in the news, Bliz­zard CM, Kaivax, reveals that “over the next few weeks, we’ll be test­ing a pre-expansion patch that will bring play­ers to the brink of great peril, as the Iron Horde begins to aggres­sively gain a foothold on Aze­roth. As part of this patch, play­ers will encounter fierce new oppo­nents and get their first chance to expe­ri­ence a num­ber of updates we’re mak­ing to the game. In addi­tion to changes to the skills and abil­i­ties for every class, this patch will intro­duce brand new fea­tures such as 20-player Mythic-difficulty Siege of Orgrim­mar, as well as sys­tems adjust­ments includ­ing stat squish and dimin­ish­ing returns on crowd con­trol”. Be pre­pared to see an advance party of Orcs com­ing through the Dark Por­tal and mak­ing their way to Black­rock Moun­tain. For a short time there will be a spe­cially re-vamped five-player ver­sion of Upper Black­rock Spire sets the stage for the com­ing coun­ter­strike against the Iron Horde.

For the Horde or Alliance, it’s time for our forces to unite and push back the Iron Horde before Aze­roth falls.

Archive War­lords of Draenor sto­ries:

Bliz­zCon 2013: War­lords of Draenor Revealed
Pre-Purchase War­lords of Draenor Now and get a Level 90 Char­ac­ter Boost
WoW Lore Series: Draenor

 

Early this morn­ing, here in the States that is, Microsoft held their press event at Gamescom in Cologne, Ger­many. There were plenty of games on dis­play dur­ing the press event but one title stood out among the crowd and it may have been for dif­fer­ent rea­sons. Rise of the Tomb Raider, the sequel to the 2013 reboot of the fran­chise, is com­ing exclu­sively to the Xbox One in fall of 2015. This announce­ment was huge. The game sold well on the PC, Xbox 360, and PlaySta­tion 3. The Defin­i­tive Edi­tion came to the PlaySta­tion 4 and Xbox One this year and net­ted more sales for the reboot. This announce­ment was net­ted with pos­i­tive feed­back and plenty of neg­a­tive feed­back. Crys­tal Dynam­ics, the stu­dio behind Tomb Raider, posted a response on the their Tum­blr page . The Response is typ­i­cal PR, but is also cryptic.

Our friends at Microsoft have always seen huge poten­tial in Tomb Raider and have believed in our vision since our first unveil with them on their stage at E3 2011. We know they will get behind this game more than any sup­port we have had from them in the past — we believe this will be a step to really forg­ing the Tomb Raider brand as one of the biggest in gam­ing, with the help, belief and back­ing of a major part­ner like Microsoft.”

This is a quote taken from that Tum­blr response. What I see is pos­si­bly the same thing that hap­pened with Bay­o­netta. Tomb Raider sold well, but never met the lofty sales expec­ta­tions Square Enix set for the game until the Defin­i­tive Edi­tions were released. Could have this been a move by Microsoft to secure a Uncharted like exclu­sive? Could it have been a way to guar­an­tee a sequel to a game, that right­fully deserves one? There are more ques­tions than answers with this announce­ment; there is one thing for sure, Rise of the Tomb Raider will be out in 2015 on Xbox One.


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As the eighth gen­er­a­tion of con­soles are still rel­a­tively new, new games are hard to come by, and devel­op­ment can be delayed while learn­ing the ropes for these con­soles. As games that are next gen spe­cific like Bat­man: Arkham Knight are see­ing delays, we are see­ing a return of pre­vi­ous gen games that pushed the older hard­ware to their break­ing lim­its. This past Jan­u­ary we saw the re-release of Tomb Raider in the Defin­i­tive Edi­tion for PlaySta­tion 4 and Xbox One. At the end of this month we will see the re-release of The Last of Us in the Remas­tered Edi­tion for the PS4, and at some point this year Grand Theft Auto 5 will jump to the new hard­ware as well. While some may scream that this is sim­ply a money grab from com­pa­nies, I see this as an oppor­tu­nity for peo­ple to play gems that could have taken visual, per­for­mance, or even game­play hits from the aging sev­enth gen hard­ware. I pur­chased Tomb Raider: Defin­i­tive Edi­tion for the PS4 recently and I am sur­prised over how good the game looks and run on the fresh hard­ware. I still have my orig­i­nal 360 copy and that was by no means an ugly game, but their is a stark visual and per­for­mance con­trast. This maybe the con­tin­u­ing trend of HD releases we received dur­ing the last gen, which I was well on board with. Play­ing the game the past cou­ple of days has also given me a new respect for Jason Graves incred­i­ble score. Graves is also known for scor­ing the Dead Space fran­chise, Mur­dered: Soul Sus­pect, and Alpha Pro­to­col. Tomb Raider’s sound­track may have been some­thing I missed in the past ( with the amount of games I play and sound­tracks I lis­ten to, some­thing just get lost), but I am cor­rect­ing that today with a look at its fan­tas­tic score.

 

Secret of the Island Com­plete — Jason Graves — A very per­cus­sion heavy piece, laid with early Japanese/tribal feel; Secret of the Island is a great rep­re­sen­ta­tion of Yamatai, the island in which Tomb Raider takes place. When the strings enter you can feel the sense of dan­ger; the mys­te­ri­ous Storm Guard; the Sun Queen, Himiko; and the deranged cultist led by Math­ias. The per­cus­sion makes this piece, enjoy

 

SOS Tower Final In-game (unre­leased) — Jason Graves — This track was not on the offi­cial sound­track, but thanks to Sound­Cloud and Graves, we get to lis­ten to what is one of the more hap­pier moments in the game. The part of the game where this piece takes place is a huge step for Lara. Still shaky about her sur­round­ings, she is less than con­fi­dent to climb the dilap­i­dated radio tower. She does, and proves to her­self that she can do this, she can become the char­ac­ter we know. The sight from atop the tower is beau­ti­ful, and this piece cap­tures that won­der­ing beauty.

 

A Sur­vivor is Born — Jason Graves — The main theme from Tomb Raider, is sweep­ing, beau­ti­ful piece of pro­duc­tion. Lara’s theme that starts around the (1:25) mark is epic, encas­ing all that Lara has been through on Yamatai and becom­ing the strong pro­tag­o­nist she is meant to be. At the (2:02) mark, the Lara theme is played again but by a solo piano. I love how in the piece there is the same cen­tral theme, the same notes even, played three dif­fer­ent ways, at dif­fer­ent tem­pos; but yet it all fits together so per­fectly. I hope you Enjoy!

 

 

Nor­mally I only post a Gam­ing in Stereo once a week but this track from Over­Clocked Remix has been on repeat since yes­ter­day and I can’t get enough of it. “Tor­na­dosaurus­Rex” by Pro­to­type­R­ap­tor is a remix of Mega Man 9’s Tor­nado Man’s theme. It fea­tures a take on the theme from K-wix “Thun­der Tor­nado” and mashes it with a drum and bass beat sim­i­lar to one of my favorite bands Pen­du­lum. Funny how things come full cir­cle, I only found out about Pen­du­lum via a video game (Motorstorm) and now a video game remix is hark­ing back to Pen­du­lum. Pro­to­type­R­ap­tor did an excel­lent job of just mak­ing a fun track to jam to. It was a real sur­prise to hear lyrics near the end of the track, but I think was a very good fit. Enjoy the track and if you are inter­ested in down­load­ing it, it is free over at Over­Clocked Remix.

 

Assassin’s Creed is one series I never tire of. Some may argue that the yearly titles are start­ing to set in fran­chise fatigue, and to a point, I agree. But unlike other yearly releases, they are given ample devel­op­ment time, they are always try­ing new ideas and mechan­ics (some that stick and oth­ers that only appear once), and the sheer amount of con­tent you get can be stag­ger­ing. To me, they are like tak­ing a walk through a his­tory book, but with fun action doo­dles in the mar­gins. I am cur­rently work­ing through Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag, since I play these on the con­soles I waited till I was able to play the PlaySta­tion 4 ver­sion of the title to jump in. For a cross-generation title it is quite stun­ning. Black Flag has been a dream come true since I fin­ished Assassin’s Creed 3. One of the stand­out ele­ments from AC III was the naval bat­tles, which in Black Flag, take the fore­front. As a bonus we received one of the best pirate themed games of all time, some­thing Dis­ney (Pirates of the Caribbean) could never deliver. Jes­per Kyd has helmed most of the series as com­poser. Kyd com­posed the scores for Assassin’s Creed, II, Broth­er­hood, and shared duties on Rev­e­la­tions with Lorne Balfe. Balfe scored parts of rev­e­la­tions and Assassin’s Creed III. I have shared Balfe’s work on AC III on a pre­vi­ous Gam­ing in Stereo. Assassin’s Creed: Lib­er­a­tion, a spin off of AC III that landed on the PS Vita (later con­soles and PC) was scored By Winifred Phillips. Black Flag was scored by Brian Tyler, known for the excel­lent Far Cry 3 sound­track. Though some peo­ple, myself included, were a lit­tle dis­ap­pointed when Kyd didn’t return for Assassin’s Creed III, but I feel it was for the bet­ter. Kyd did a great job dif­fer­en­ti­at­ing the sound of AC and AC II, and I feel fresh com­posers did the same for the fol­low­ing titles. Today we are going to look at those dif­fer­ent sounds with some tracks from Black Flag and Assassin’s Creed II.

 

Jes­per Kyd — Ezio’s Fam­ily — Assassin’s Creed II

This track is sim­ply beau­ti­ful. With the piano, stings, and vocals it feels very fit­ting for renais­sance time period. Since the Assassin’s Creed series is a tale of two time peri­ods, one mod­ern and the other a his­tor­i­cal point in time, the track adds an elec­tric gui­tar ele­ment at the (2:44) mark. Eas­ily one of my favorite tunes from this series, enjoy!

 

Brian Tyler — Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag Main Theme

Brian Tyler cap­tured the escapades of Edward Ken­way per­fectly with this theme. The drums and vio­lins give a sea shanty feel, breath­ing a sense of play­ful­ness in to the tune. The fran­tic drums at the (1:29) are the high­light, but like the game, this feels fun. You can feel in the music that Ken­way likes his “pri­va­teer” lifestyle, though the game does have its more seri­ous moments as well.

 

Bonus Track: Brian Tyler — On the Hori­zon

I am going to let the bonus track speak for itself. There are epic drum sec­tions later in the piece, so lis­ten for those. This does show a more seri­ous side to Black Flag, enjoy!

 

 

 

I know I have been away for some time, plan­ning a wed­ding, even hav­ing a year in advance, can be a dif­fi­cult time. The most dif­fi­cult of these choices has clearly been what song I wanted played while danc­ing with my mother. My mother has been the most influ­en­tial peo­ple in my life, push­ing me to always do bet­ter and always tak­ing an inter­est with the things I love. She is a con­stant reader on the site, always for­ward­ing me arti­cles on the good the gam­ing indus­try does, and when ever she vis­its, takes time to sit and watch me play. My love and appre­ci­a­tion for clas­si­cal music stems from her push­ing me in mid­dle and high school. I started learn­ing music when I was around 9 years old. I played the trum­pet from then till I grad­u­ated high school and I can still read sheet music to this day. There had been sev­eral times I wanted to quit, with the rea­son either being some of my friends or a teacher had annoyed me to the point of no return; but, because of her I stayed. Now, as an adult, I see that it was for the bet­ter and I can now hon­estly say, thank you. When choos­ing the song to dance with my mother, I wanted it to incor­po­rate all of the above. I wanted it to have emo­tion, be gam­ing related, and be an orches­trated piece with no lyrics what so ever. I am not a tra­di­tion­al­ist by any means. I feel there is more emo­tion in music with­out lyrics. Lyrics can be an empty shell, devoid of mean­ing, and can be crafted by any­one. Real com­po­si­tion takes an artist, and I looked to one of my favorite game com­posers, who I deeply respect as an artist and com­poser, Nobuo Uematsu for a com­po­si­tion. I chose “Zanarkand” from the Final Fan­tasy X sound­track. It is the ver­sion taken from Uematsu-sans “Dis­tant Worlds II: More Music from Final Fan­tasy” album, it has a full orches­tra play­ing the piece instead of the MIDI ver­sion from the game (the new HD Remas­ter has much bet­ter audio, Yay!). I wanted to say thank you for your hard work and ded­i­ca­tion to me for the past 29 years. I have grown into a young man that appre­ci­ates the arts and well crafted music because of you. I try to pass that love of music and games with each Gam­ing in Stereo arti­cle I write. Mom, if you read this before you leave, I love you and hope you enjoy the music! To every­one else, I will be depart­ing for a bit, but will return in force, with arti­cles pop­ping up, hope­fully next week. I may have to blog a bit while the misses is out shop­ping on our trip, and don’t think I would go on a hon­ey­moon and leave my handhelds!

 

 

 

I had a dif­fer­ent set of songs picked out for this arti­cle this week, then I came across this song and things changed. Hands down, one of the best remixes, and one of the best songs I have heard in quite a while. “Bub­ble Dragon: A Bub­ble Bob­ble Trib­ute” by 7Bit Hero is a remix of the “Bonus theme” and “Main Theme” from Bub­ble Bob­ble, a game that was released in arcades (one of the many cab­i­nets I have had the plea­sure of play­ing) in 1986. 7Bit Hero, out of Bris­bane, Aus­tralia, com­bines music with gam­ing to cre­ate some­thing com­pletely dif­fer­ent. The orig­i­nal tunes mar­ried well with lyrics, one of the few times this actu­ally works. The result is some­thing that feels like a pop tune from the 80’s that feels fresh. The song is free for down­load either at Over­Clocked Remix or 7Bit Hero’s site. The music video is below and is incred­i­bly well done as it is sad. I love the song so much I have added it to my wed­dings playlist. Enjoy this won­der­ful tune, and if you are inter­ested in more from 7bit Hero, they have a free inter­ac­tive app on Google Play and the Apple App Store as well as their albums “We Eat Loot” and “Hey You! a Flappy Bird Lament” are avail­able for purchase.

 

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