Matt’s Top 10 Non-Metal Things of 2012

2012-So-FarIn case any of you may be curious as to what we enjoy outside the realm of metal we decided to do a list of non-metal things that we highly enjoyed this year, like music other than metal/hard rock, movies, video games.  Me and Reggie will both be doing one, so you can get 20 great suggestions of some really neat things.  Last year I allowed myself to add things that I discovered that year, but this year I’m limiting myself to stuff released in 2012, with the exception of video games because a lot of 2011 games didn’t get time to get played by me until 2012.  Enjoy!  Peace Love and Metal!!!

#10 Maserati VII by Maserati

I’ve known about this band for a little while now and have enjoyed their unique brand of electronic infused groovy instrumental prog rock, but this year I found myself completely entranced with their latest album simply titled Maserati VII.  Each song is just overflowing with great beats (made with real drums) and Chris Farley-sized grooves (played with real bass and guitars).  Great music for just chilling out, popping in at a party, or cruising at high speeds in your, ummm, Maserati.

#9 Prometheus

PrometheusposterfixedThis movie got a lot of guff for a couple sloppy narrative and plot points and questionable characters, and while I can’t disagree with the arguments, none of them took away from my enjoyment of this Alien prequel.  If there was one thing that completely engaged me in this movie it was the amazing atmosphere Ridley Scott and his cinematographers and special effects team created.  Every scene was a thing of sci-fi beauty.  The pacing was nice and I liked seeing a movie set in the world of Alien that included many open spaces instead of narrow corridor after narrow corridor.  Noomi Rapace and Michael Fassbender really nailed their roles playing the new ‘Ripley type character’ and synthetic life form of questionable allegiance.  Trailer Here.

#8 Rochard

Rochard_CoverIn Rochard, you play as an overweight space miner who has been double crossed by his boss and uncovered ancient Native American secrets in outer space and he needs to use his mining tools such as a gun that can lift and toss heavy objects and control gravity as well as a rock busting gun to get to the bottom of the conspiracy.  With a perfect blend of 2D shooter action and puzzle solving this humorous game was a blast from beginning to end.  Trailer Here.

#7 Sine Mora

2360273-sine_mora_largeBullet-Hell Shooters.  You either love them or your controller as destroyed your tv/monitor after you launched it at it in frustration.  Well how about a bullet-hell shooter that is actually possible to play and beat without being ridiculously frustrating.  Sine Mora pulls a couple twists on the traditional mechanics of the genre and ends up delivering one hell of a great game.  While projectiles dash at you from every direction, the time control twist of the games narrative plays into the gameplay allowing you to slow time when in need as well as the clever time/hit system.  Instead of getting a game over from a single hit, you lose time on your timer.  When your timer reaches zero, then it’s game over, but you can add to your time by defeating enemies.  This nifty mechanic adds a nice level of strategy to the game opening up many different ways of playing.  The story is also sci-fi genius as 2 factions are at war and the war can never end because time travel is possible and they keep going back in time changing each others outcomes.  Seriously, someone needs to novelise this.  Also, one character is a legless bison hell bend on avenging his son’s death so he blackmails a leukemia ridden rape victim to do his bidding.  Man, I love sci-fi.  Oh, and the graphic design is simply amazing. Trailer Here.

#6 Shadows of the Damned

How do I explain this mindfuck of a game.  Think of a Robert Rodriguez movie, now change the setting to Hell.  Add in more dick and fart joke than the boys bathroom in a suburban middle school and Resident Evil 4 style gameplay.  You pretty much have Shadows of the Damned.  You play as demon hunter Garcia Fucking Hotspur (yes his middle name is actually Fucking) and he got into a battle with the leader of Hell about who has the bigger ‘endowment’.  His girlfriend is kidnapped and Garcia has to travel to Hell to save her with his reformed demon friend/shapeshifting weapon thing, Johnson, who transforms into guns like the standard ‘Boner’ and shotgun like ‘Skullcushioner’.  For all the toilet humor this game has, it’s surprisingly well written and many of the jokes and puns are pretty clever.  The game also has a lot of love for the Evil Dead films, so if you are a fan of those, be prepared for a deluge of in-joke references.  If you liked Resident Evil 4 you should definitely check this game out.  Tons of fun.

#5 Wrecking Ball by Bruce Springsteen

SPRINGSTEEN_WRECKING_BALL_7x7_site-500x500Even if my love of NJ makes me slightly bias towards The Boss, one cannot deny that his latest album contains some fine music.  After a few lackluster releases, Bruce is back in full effect with one of the best albums of his historic career.  Each song is emotionally charged and many are a damn good time.  For this outing Bruce brings back his much-loved E Street Band, and I feel that they are the ones that really make this record something special.  When Bruce has his band behind him, he’s unstoppable.  Highly recommended and a must own for any new or old fan of The Boss.  Review Here.

#4 FEZ

Fez-Cover-e1334586185227What looks like a cute little 2D platformer on the outside is really a vicious demon filled with the most mind melting puzzles ever created.  Never has a game made me decipher a language and alphabets as well as search the internet researching Holy Geometry to help me understand and solve a puzzle.  It’s this outside of the box ethos that really makes FEZ shine.  Then there’s the surface elements like a simply gorgeous graphic aesthetic and excellent music.  I also love how themes of existential philosophy work their way into the game without ever pointing out they are there.  If you’re up for a challenge that will not make you feel stupid like many puzzle game do, but feel like a super-genius, you owe it to yourself to give FEZ a shot. Trailer Here.

#3 Hotline Miami

Insanely gratuitous violence in 8bit for doesn’t take anything away from the impact the insanely gratuitous violence this game has.  Pretty much the everything that made the movie Drive so awesome boiled down and put into a video game.  This game will make you feel sooo bad ass as you tear through rooms filled with people to kill as you crush, grind, slash, shoot, and dismember your way to your goal of killing everything in your path with no remorse.  And did you once stop to think about why you’re doing all this killing?  No, didn’t think so.  And the game will put that question in your head, then you go and do more killing.  Everything about this game is sublime from its high-octane tactical combat to the stellar soundtrack.  I cannot recommend Hotline Miami enough, you really just have to play it, trailers and watching someone doesn’t give enough justice.  You have to experience lodging a meat cleaver in someones head first hand. Review Here.

#2 The Cabin in the Woods

Seriously, hands down the best horror movie I have seen in years, probably since The Evil Dead even.  If you are a horror fan, or simply a fan of good movies, and haven’t seen this yet, go right now and watch.  To say anything of the plot would ruin the initial impact the movie has, but for as confused as you may be at the beginning of the movie, everything does come together in the end and what a mindfuck it is.  All you need to know going into the movie is a group of college kids go to spend a weekend in a cabin in the woods and bad stuff is going to happen.  There is also a good dose of humor mixed in the film and the horror scenes are quality and nerve-wracking.  Are you still reading this, go, now, watch.  Well, I guess after my #1 is ok, but then, go, and then tell me how much you loved it.

#1 Dark Souls

For oldschool gamers like myself, gaming doesn’t get much better than Dark Souls.  With a soul crushing difficulty and a complete lack of hand holding, From Software has crafted a masterpiece of video game masochism.  You venture a series of interconnecting areas working your way towards an end that isn’t totally clear.  Your only motive is survival, and survive is something that isn’t going to happen very often.  You will die, and die a lot, and each time you do you will dive right back in to give whatever demon it was the thrashing it deserves.  You will scour your environments for new weapons and armor to make not dieing a little more possible and spend more than enough time pondering which of them to use your precious upgrades on.  A wrong choice can be fatal, but the genius is, there is no wrong choice.  No matter your playstyle there is a way to win, all you have to do is stay on your toes at all moments and try many different approaches to any given battle situation.

On top of the wonderful gameplay, the atmospheres, levels, and sound and music are awe-inspiring.  And when you take the time to search for and delve into the lore of Dark Souls world, you will be greatly rewarded.  I have played through the game multiple times with the excellent New Game + modes which add a greater difficulty to the game, but at the same time let you keep what’s in your inventory to slightly help aleiviate the punishing difficulty.  Dark Souls isn’t for everyone and requires some time and dedication to get the most out of it.  But if you find yourself saying modern games are too easy and straight forward, look no further than Dark Souls as it bucks the trend.  By far the best game, and non-metal thing I have experienced this year. Review Here.

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About RiffRaff

Just takin' it easy for all you sinners.

Posted on December 20, 2012, in Best of 2012, News and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 10 Comments.

  1. I really enjoyed your opinion pieces on the various games and movies! My cousin Morley would be very interested in this particular blog post, as he looks similar to the main character in Rochard. He doesn’t play video games because he was born without thumbs. He does, however, love a good movie. The last movie he watched was Sand Sharks, starring the talented Corin Nemic, alongside the enigma we know as Brooke Hogan. He had nightmares after that one, but he still can’t stop talking about it.

    Thank you for blessing us with such a wonderful perspective on these entertaining titles!

    Sincerely,
    Seymour T Estes

    • Thanks for stopping by Mr. Estes! Your uncle sounds like a stand up act and now I am very interesting in viewing Sand Sharks myself. I mean, it has Brooke Hogan in it as well as Corin Nemic to boot. Instant classic!

      You may wish to introduce you uncle to the wonderful realm of PC gaming, as long as he has his remaining 8 digits, getting along on a mouse and keyboard should prove to be no problem.

  2. I’ve been wanting to try Dark Souls now for a long time, but I don’t really have alot of patience when it comes to try different things and I get pissed off if I die alot, haha. But at the same time I find most games pretty boring and stream-lined, things are too easy to figure out (many games tell you everything, you don’t even need to figure out stuff)..

    I wonder if I’d like it. Or give up after a couple of times trying.

    • Ya, you kinda need to have a certain level of patience to play Dark Souls. It’s not slow paced by any means, but you have to always be on your toes and it shows no mercy when you make the slightest fuck up. They handle the death thing well with a nice risk/reward system, but ya, you’re going to die a lot, no matter how good of a gamer you are. I still recommend it though.

  3. Hey man great picks and as usual you introduced me to some stuff I was not aware of…Rochard for example. I think my kids would like that too. I haven’t tried out Dark Souls, but it is that a game that can last an enormous amount of time? I have had a hard time getting into those games over the years with family, work, etc…just so little time for gaming exploration.

    The Cabin in the Woods was cool, I like their approach to horrie movie making i hope more stuff like that gets released or perhaps a part II, but I dont know how they would do that. Prometheus I found fascinating as you did and whatever it was the critics complained about surely did NOT take away from the movie…definitely spawned some conversation. If you want to see another cool movie try Argo…about the Iranian hostage thing back in the 80s…very well done.

    I am super excited to try The Walking Dead, but i have to wait to see what Santa brings…I think I had it on my list so I need to wait, but it will probably be the first post-holiday thing I buy…Borderlands 2 as well.

    Cool picks man. I see you like puzzle games. I remember when you introduced me to Portal 2. My kids and I had a great time with that…now I may have something else to show them although it looks like more than just a puzzle adventure.

    • Dark Souls should take about 40-50 hours for the first playthrough. There is a bit of exploring to do, but you will be in battle 90% of the time, so the pace is always fast. If you find it cheap (last time I was in the States my brother grabbed it at Gamestop for $20) I’d say give it a go if you’re up for a challenge. It is very rewarding when you get the hang of the game.

      I’ve been wanting to see Argo, I’ve been hearing good things about it. As soon as it hits video I’m on it.

      And The Walking Dead game is soooooo good. I just finished up episode 5 last night, and in retrospect it should have been #1 on this list, but because I hadn’t finished it when I made this list it was disqualified. I can’t recommend that game enough. IMO it surpasses both the TV show and comics. And as soon as you finish the game you will want to start the whole thing over to try some different decisions and see how things play out. It’s a true marvel in gaming, all the game of the year awards it’s winning are more then well deserved. And I’ve been hearing a lot of good things about Borderlands 2. The first one was great and I’ll grab the 2nd one sometime in the near future too.

      For puzzle games, I can recommend a ton of kid friendly ones. FEZ might be a bit to hard for the youngsters. The platforming part should be ok and you can get through the main game bypassing the more difficult puzzles, but you still have to do some hard stuff. The game is also very cryptic, for example if you don’t know the phrase “The grey fox jumps over the lazy dog.” you are going to have a real hard time. Then you need to know the game is trying to tell you to use that as a cipher and then figure out where to use it.

      Rochard is pretty kid friendly, a couple cuss words in there, but that’s about it. Crayon Physics is a real fun one if you have a tablet (I’m pretty sure its on Ipad, I have it for Android) and World of Goo (I think they will love that one if they like building stuff and playing with stuff like Legos) is a really fun one that’s on PC/Mac, Ipad/Android, and the Wii. You may also have fun with a puzzle adventure game called Trine 2 with them.

      If you want a great puzzle game for yourself, Space Chem is a great one that will rape your brain on both sides. You need to be very creative and logical at the same time to solve openended puzzles.

  4. Dark Souls is hands down, best game of the new millenium. A true masterpiece. Have you played the original? Demon’s Soul’s? If not, youre in for another truly amazing game.

    • I wouldn’t say best game of the new millenium, that goes to Portal 2 IMO 🙂 .
      I have a PC, Xbox 360, and Wii, but no PS3, so no Demon’s Souls for me. I really wish that they would do a PC port of it at least, I would buy it in a heart beat.

      I did just see that the trailer for Dark Souls 2 was just released. Super hyped up for when that hits. Day one purchase for me.

  5. Liking the Maserati cut – sorta reminds me of the kind of epic, beat-heavy psych rock that Porcupine Tree were doing circa Up The Downstair — Signify. Great stuff 8)

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