Friday, August 31, 2012

The Steamworks: Pete's Magical Playlist Issue #3

Hey Gang,

It's that time of week again. I know I do it a little too often, but again I'd like to apologize for my lack of posting actual articles. My life's been a little hectic right now, and between all the shit that's going on, I'm just finding it difficult to post. I'm sure I'll be posting more when school comes around because I'll have Study Hall where I can actually write posts. Anyway, Happy Friday and enjoy this weeks playlist.

1. Fade Into Darkness (Albin Myers Remix) by Avicci (Remixed by Albin Myers):

2. Colours by Grouplove:

3. Constant Conversations by Passion Pit:

4. Silhouettes by Avicii

5.Smells Like Teen Spirit by Nirvana:

Hope you all enjoyed that list. Per usual, credit for the videos goes out to the respective people on YouTube who made them. If you're wondering why I seem to be obsessed with Avicii this week, almost all the songs that American Eagle plays is Avicii, and at first I kinda hated it. But after a while it really grew on me and it got pretty catchy. Anyway, I like them. Have a good weekend y'all,

Peter, The SteamWorks

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

The Red Viking: background update #3

Hay guys, today's update is another themed one. This time its all about Watchmen! I'll give you a little history as to why this happened. Our fellow blogger shatter wanted me to make several comic covers into  wallpapers. I was able to do two then we turned to an image-mod thread for some harder ones that had actual drawing involved because some parts were cut-off (You will see what I mean). Anyway, here we go!!!

Up first is Rorschach.

Now Nite Owl (Yes that is spelled correctly).

Doctor Manhattan is next.

 Third is Hooded Justice

Ozymandias at #4

Silk Spectre

Last but not least The Comedian

A special thank-you to those anonymous people who helped us with these wallpapers. Hope to see you soon but until then checkout the rest of the blog's pages and our second podcast (My first time doing one) on iTunes.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Shatterblog!: Deadpool Kills the Marvel Universe 1-4 Review

Over the last 4 weeks, issues of a series interestingly titled Deadpool Kills the Marvel Universe were released. I was intrigued. As most Deadpool fans know, he's a very skilled mercenary with a very quick healing factor. These abilities would make him one of the most dangerous individuals in the Marvel universe, if it weren't for the fact that he spent most of his time being hilarious and really only killed people he was paid to. He's occasionally regarded as a threat, but generally nobody worries about what Deadpool is up to. In this series, that changes. Readers are familiar with the different voices in Deadpool's head, each indicated by a different colored text box. In Deadpool Kills Marvel #1, after a bit of minor trauma, a new voice develops. Now Deadpool wants to kill everyone. 
The story isn't bad. I'm sure I'm not the only Deadpool fan who has thought "he could be the biggest threat ever if he started trying harder". Seeing Deadpool on a huge killing spree is pretty awesome. However, as it's only 4 issues long the story feels way too short, and none of the battles that should have had entire issues devoted to them got only a page or two. Major heroes are killed quickly and without much action. The art and writing are both really good, and if this were a full length storyline, even just a "What-if" it could be the best Deadpool event ever. However, due to the crushed story and lack of long action scenes, it falls a bit flat. Still worth a read for sure, but not the amazing event I initially hoped. 7.5/10

The Steamworks: Pete's Magical Playlist Issue #2 AND Episode II of Podcast

Hey Gang,

I know it's been  while since I've done any actual posting. Work's been busy, and I haven't really had the time to post on the blog. For readers who actually care, I'm sorry, and I hope I'll be more available as the weeks progress. Before I get to the (pretty delayed) Playlist of the Week, I'd like to announce that the second episode of our podcast is up! Please subscribe to0 the podcast, give us some feedback, and drop us a review, for we'd be forever grateful. Just as a reminder, you can get to the iTunes page using the link in our pages section. Now, without further adieu, this week's playlist; as usual, credit for the YouTube videos goes out to the respective users that made them:

1. Blackout by Breathe Carolina:

2. Live Like You Were Dying by Tim McGraw:

3. Don't Say Oh Well by Grouplove:

4. Mr Brightside by The Killers:

5. Dashboard by Modest Mouse:

I'd also like to announce that our blog recently broke 7,000+ views! Thanks so much to everyone reading our blog out there; we really appreciate you guys taking the time out of your day to take a look at what we have to say. August has been the best month thus far in PBD history, so let's break that record next month. Again, thanks guys!

Peter, The Steamworks

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Residen Troll: Sirius Black and the Secret Keeper Kickstarter

I'm a sucker for fanmade adaptions. MainStay Productions did two adaptations of the Hunger Games, one for Haymitch in the Second Quarter Quell and one about Annie and Finnick's love story. If we're asking, I prefer the Second Quarter Quell, just because. Well, I have a thing for violence. It's more fun than childhood  love. Hank Green of the Vlogbrothers created a modern adaptation of Pride and Prejudice called the Lizzie Bennet Diaries,  something I'm pretty much obsessed with. Today I stumbled upon Sirius Black and the Secret Keeper and... well, I just love that it's a thing.

There's only one episode out now, and it appears they can't produce more unless they get more funding for production. This is something that makes me sad, and maybe, hopefully, you too Project: Better Dolphin fans can help get it on it's feet. You can find the Kickstarter here.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Slightly Redder Red: Darksiders 2 Review

       Since we're not IGN, we don't get copies of games to review early, so it takes us a week or so to review games. Sorry about that. But seriously, if you had any doubts about Darksiders 2, now's my chance to get rid of them.


        The gameplay is great... if you're playing with a gamepad. The mouse and key controls are extremely lacking, but if you played the first Darksiders you'd know that already. That aside, the controls are tight and they feel great, it feels really natural to pull of combos and to move around the world. 
        The combat is just as brutal as the first game, except with less button prompts and a lot more agility in combat. War had a dash in the first game, but it wasn't as integral to combat as Death's rolls. Rolling feels great in this game, which isn't something I thought I would ever say about a video game. But the combat dodge looks well, flows well, and performs well, which is saying something about how avoiding attacks is just as important as delivering them in this title. Death delivers what he's named for with a lot of style and efficiency, the combos feel excellent and the hits you dish out really feel like you're hitting someone, not thin air.
        Moving around feels great. Death's running speed could be a little quicker, or I could just be impatient. The platforming segments are a nice way to navigate dungeons, as forced as they feel, but the "Death's Grip" gadget could be a bit more responsive. The Swingshot from Ratchet and Clank, a game from years before Darksiders, functions the exact same way, but responds and plays much nicer. Death's Grip just feels... trapped. The swinging is a scripted animation with little to no freedom, and for a game with a lot of platforming I'm surprised at that.
        The decision to add loot, a change from the first game, was a great decision. It allows a lot more freedom to play the game and play with your stats how you want to make them, something the first Darksiders didn't allow. 


        If there's anything to be said about the art style of Darksiders as a whole, I would say it's metal as shit. Giant eels pulling floating castles, skeletons breaking out of ice blocks to defend their dead kings, lava filled dungeons filled with constructs out to kill you, it's all very breathtaking. Screenshots don't do the game justice. I have no complaints about the art style or how the graphics look, but something I would have appreciated is a little PC support. Graphics options don't bother me that much, but it would satisfy me as a PC user to get some hi-res textures.
         If there's one complaint I have about the design of anything, it's that the warrior oriented gear doesn't look as good as the gear oriented towards magic wielding players. I want knight clothing, not barbaric clothing that shows off Death's pale chest.


        The story is great. Enough said. If you went in expecting Death to just make a futile attempt at saving his brother, prepare to see Death ride out his own story. There's a much wider cast of characters than in the first Darksiders, from Scottish giants to undead sparring trainers, and the voice acting is all excellent, especially Death's. Death is explored as a character a lot more than War was, and I liked that especially about the game. If they continue to give as much in depth coverage of the characterizations of the horsemen in the franchise, I'll be much happy. Maybe even go back and revisit War as a character, show me what he's really like when he's not just killing things and hunting his redemption. 
        Something I didn't like? There needed to be more Uriel.

Final Verdict:

Darksiders 2 gets a 9.5/10. I really enjoyed it, and I'm looking forward to multiple playthroughs. I highly recommend it to anyone who likes loot, dungeons, things that are extremely metal, and skeletons. There better be sequels.

The Red Viking: Tuesday Background Update #2

So this is a little different from the first background post I did but don't worry! Its not worse or anything but it just backgrounds that I made myself, so here it goes!

First up is 11 Borderlands wallpapers all from one trailer-

Now I give you Darksiders 2 gameplay wallpapers-

Thanks for viewing! I will be trying to do this every Tuesday so stay tuned!

Monday, August 20, 2012

Shatterblog!: The Expendables 2 Review

Today I went to see The Expendables 2 and decided to share my thoughts on it with all of you. If you've seen the first Expendables movie, you basically know what to expect. It's an adrenaline fueled action flick to the core, and sporting some really impressive names.
All the actors are obviously pretty high caliber stars, and as such the acting is generally solid. The dialogue can be a tiny bit cheesy at times, especially when making references (I counted several Terminator, a Die Hard, a Rambo, and even a Chuck Norris joke, delivered by the man himself). There was a cringe-worthy "I'll be back" bit, but those moments are few and fun enough not to take away from the movie. There are some solid one-liners and decent banter. Nothing side-splitting, but you definitely get the feel that these guys are all pretty close, as soldiers like them are bound to be.
The plot is just strong enough to hold together a whole lot of action sequences. The set up is good, although not particularly original. I won't spoil the particulars, although they telegraph what's going to happen at the beginning pretty thoroughly. There aren't any huge plot holes or glaring problems, although there are a few minor story elements that get a bit ignored. Particularly, the beginning of the movie talks about Statham's character and his fiance getting married, and then that falls away and doesn't get wrapped up in any kind of way. All the important plot points get covered, but as an action movie the story isn't that fantastic. The characters are all pretty well written. I particularly like Statham's "Mr. Christmas" and his many knives, although that may just be because he's my favorite actor in the movie (yes, even over Chuck Norris).
Most importantly of course, the action. There are some really fantastic action sequences befitting the summer blockbuster this is. Jet Li and Jason Statham both have really well choreographed fist fights, and seeing Statham and his throwing knives in action never loses its charm. Stallone has many good shooting and fist fighting scenes, as the main star of the show. However, when Bruce Willis and Arnold Schwartzenneger step into the action, they really steal the spotlight. The scene from the commercials with the SmartCar is pretty fantastic.
While far from a perfect movie, The Expendables 2 is an awesome action movie with good characters and no huge problems. I really enjoyed it from start to finish, even more than the original. However, if you want deep character motivations or an intricate plot, look elsewhere. All you'll find here are explosions and large men killing stuff (Fun fact I noticed in the credits: the same stunt double is used for Liam Hemsworth, an average sized fellow, and Arnold Schwartzenegger, who is enormous. What?). If you like action and enjoy any of the actors in this movie, I recommend it highly. 8.5/10.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Shatterblog!: RaiderZ Beta Impressions

I recently got into the beta for PerfectWorld's newest MMO, RaiderZ. Today I'll talk about what I think so far. 
Help! I wandered out of Final Fantasy VII and I can't get back
Right off the bat, the game looks great. With an impressive art style (although one that admittedly doesn't vary much from other PW or Japanese games) it's graphically fantastic, especially for the beta of a F2P MMO. The world I've explored so far is large and fairly detailed. The monsters look pretty awesome.
Combat is in the vein of recent action MMO's like TERA, Vindictus, and Guild Wars 2, but with a bit less depth. Left click is swing, right is block, you get some skills bound to 1-9. Unlike Vindictus, there is no combo system. Attacks chain in 3's with little to no variation. Different weapons have slightly different swing patterns, but a greatsword and greathammer feel almost the same when being used. Many of the skills feel difficult to connect with at times, but are generally well designed and really satisfying when they do land properly. The dodge system is fine, although it can be difficult to roll under larger enemies, a feat that is very easy in Vindictus and Darksiders II, which have similar dodging systems. Combat is pretty fun, but completely unchallenging, at least at low levels. I've leveled up to 7, pulled huge groups of monsters, and have literally never even worried about dying. Dodging is too easy, even when surrounded by enemies.
Quests are nothing special, with killing and fetch quests abound. There were bits and pieces of story, but it just felt like WoW style quests. I didn't read any quest text, unlike SWTOR in which each quest is an adventure for me. There were a couple quests I've done so far where I had to fight giant monsters and employ both help and a little strategy, but I'm not really feeling the "tactical MMO" vibe they're going for.
The game isn't ridiculously innovative, but the important thing is its FUN. I really enjoy RaiderZ. Its easier to pick out its specific failings, but overall the game is just really good. It's going to be completely free, and I haven't noticed any kind of pay to win system in place. It seems like you can buy special currency to buy pieces of gear that go into Costume slots, affecting you only cosmetically. It might be my favorite F2P MMO I've experienced. Vindictus has slightly better combat, but the limited number of Coins that you need to go do quests (this may have changed since I played) made it feel like they wanted to withhold content from non-paying players. RaiderZ is much better in terms of not feeling like a blatant attempt to screw over customers.
When this game comes out, I can't say I'll play it much, as Guild Wars 2 will be scratching my Action MMO itch. However, I highly recommend it to anyone who wants to try out a genuinely fun F2P experience.
Plus check out my character's awesome dance.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

The Steamworks: Pete's Magical Playlist Issue #1

Hey Gang,

It's that time again! Are you ready for this week's issue of Pete's Magical Playlist? Here are the songs I have for you today. Per usual, the songs will be listed in no particular order and credit for the YouTube videos goes out to the users who made them respectively:

1. Hats Off to the Bull by Chevelle:

2. Little Lion Man by Mumford and Sons:

3. April Fool by Manchester Orchestra:

4. Time to Pretend by MGMT:

5. 1901 by Phoenix

Thanks for checking out my Magical Playlist! For the future I'm going to try to have one song per genere if that makes sense (i.e. one song for Pop, One song for Alt, One song for Rap, etc) just to give the playlist a little more variety. Either that or I'll just dedicate a playlist to one genre, I haven't quiet decided yet... anyway, enjoy!

Peter, The Steamworks

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

The Steamworks: The Oculus Revolution!

Hey Gang,

So you might recall Chazz's somewhat recent post about the OUYA Revolution. Well, while I was trolling the interwebs a few days ago, I found a strange Kickstarter for something called the "Oculus Rift". Naturally, being a frequent gamer and technology philanthropist (ok, so I'm more of an enthusiast than a philanthropist, but let me have my fun), I decided to do some research on the new Oculus Rift:

Because I didn't watch E3 (it kinda happened at the same time I was taking my break from technology), I missed the Oculus Rift actually being talked about, and apparently this was a minor highlight to most of my friends. Out of all of my friends that watched E3, none of them told me about this, so it kind of leads me to believe it wasn't really on the main air for TVs and such? Whatever the matter, my point is this VR device has been around for a decent chunk of time and I've been surprised to see that no one's really been talking about it. Lemme run down what exactly the Oculus Rift is:

The Oculus Rift is a headset used for gaming that is worn to experience a game as virtual reality. For people who have never heard of said term, virtual reality is defined as: a realistic simulation of an environment, including three-dimensional graphics, by a computer system using interactive software and hardware; so in lay-man's terms gaming made to seem basically realistic, as if you're right there in the game's environment. This type of gaming was actually proposed/introduced in the 1990s, but it was widely rejected simply because the technology at the time could not deliver the graphics needed for such gaming. Nowadays, virtual reality software does exists, but it is mostly limited for military and scientific research, and even if you managed to get your hands on one it'd cost roughly $5,000 to $20,000! The goal of the makers of the Oculus is to deliver an affordable virtual reality headset without sacrificing quality or customer satisfaction. It looks like (currently) the Oculus Rift will only be read by PCs, but the developers of the headset said they certainly wouldn't be against teaming up with companies like Microsoft or Sony to bring it to the Xbox and Playstation (I definitely see a potential path in this for both the Xbox 720 and the PS4).

So you probably have all sorts of questions about this awesome piece of new gaming technology like "Well how much will it empty my wallet?", or "When can I buy one?", or maybe even "Well how does it work?" You can find all of this information on the Oculus Rift Kickstarter page (which, by the way, has already over-passed it's money goal by a decent sum of money). There's a very informative video on the front of the page that shows you pretty much everything and anything you need to know, PLUS all that information in solid text, and just in case they didn't answer your questions in the video OR in the description of the item (hey, it happens), then they have a plethora of FAQs that you can check out. If you STILL haven't found the answer to your question, you can send them a question and they'll answer it for you (I've actually had to resort to asking them a question, which I'll get to in practically the next sentence)!

So what are my personal thoughts on the Oculus Rift?

In case you couldn't figure it out already, I fully support the idea of an affordable yet high quality virtual gaming device (it should be noted here that the Oculus Rift is NOT a gaming console, but gaming hardware, much like a game controller). However, this is kind of a slippery slope they're riding on as far as my opinion is concerned. There are millions of ways the Oculus team could mess this up and make this a miserable experience for everyone. Need I explain them to you? Bad video quality, uncomfortable headset, nauseating efftects, overly-pricing the device... the list goes on. BUT, if they do it right (which I have a feeling they are because a lot of well know game developers have been talking it up), then this could completely revolutionize the industry of gaming. However, it could also turn into a Kinnect or Playstation Move; something every system has but yet not something people enjoy using all the time. The Oculus team, in my humble opinion, has to make this a device that gamers WANT to use when they game; like a gamer couldn't think of not using it when they play a game (similar to a controller or a mouse).

They'll also have to port some classic PC games (and eventually Xbox and Playstation games) to support the Oculus Rift as well. I mean, not that that's their job anyway, but they'll definitely have to talk companies like Valve or Gearbox or [Insert Game Developer of Good Classic Game Here] to go back and code their game to work on the Unreal Engine, which for some games is nearly impossible. Personally, I'd love to see Half Life 2 and Bioshock on the Oculus Rift, but I doubt it will never happen (at least, I know Half Life wouldn't because it runs on the Source Engine). I'm pretty sure Borderlands runs on the Unreal Engine though, so somehow making the Oculus Rift compatible with Borderlands would be just as awesome.

Another feature I'd like to see implemented somehow would be game design. Maybe I'm totally over-estimating the powers of the Oculus Rift and the technology that's currently available to make the device an affordable price, but if it's something that can be done that won't launch the price of the device through the roof, I'd love to see it made into a feature. I know the OUYA will be hosting a feature that allows owners of any OUYA to make and publish a game on their digital market, but then again that's an actual console, which makes me sort of second guess the actual possibility that my wish could even be granted. I know, however, that Oculus is giving out Developer kits via their Kickstarter for around a $250 backing, but I'm almost certain the game developing isn't through the Oculus Rift. If it's impossible to do I'd settle for all its current features (not that I'd have a choice to or anything), but it would make the Oculus Rift even that much better.

Anyway, I hope you enjoyed my little tidbit on the Oculus Rift! Go check out some more posts on the blog!

Peter, the Steamworks

The Red Viking: Top 5 Wallpapers

So since I am new here and you still don't know much about me I decided to do a post that would let you take a peek into my mind. ITS A WALLPAPER POST!!!!!. Some of us on the blog were talking about doing this but everyone involved has like fifty-million backgrounds and didn't feel like going through all of them and I only had like 10 so I decided to take on this duty and find some new ones. So this is what i found in no specific order:

This one is a reference do the "blackest night" trade. Personally i like the antique look it has with the stained background and the characters having the same texture.

This one is Deadpool..... I think I have said enough. But I'll say more. I love the simplicity of this and that it is just his face design but yet it looks so good because of that.

This is from the Dark Knight and almost everything that has to do with the Dark Knight is amazing. This one however stuck out from the rest. I think it's because they drew so much attention to the joker and if that wasn't enough they didn't just blur everything besides the joker they also made him a life-like painting (of-course it was digitally done though)

I have always found Japanese culture interesting and saw this background right after watching some Anime, so I was really in that sort of mood.

While on an image editing thread i asked for someone to touch up a picture that I made in paint (like the one on my bio page) and add a effect to the background and this is what the end results were. I am very in love with this picture, its kind of like my baby

And that concludes our wallpaper post.....for now. (I don't know how often I'll be doing these)