Lowlander2's Profile - Destructoid

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I am an Australian journalism student, currently in his second year. There isn't much out of the ordinary about my upbringing. I'm just a guy wwho has been playing games for quite a while and enjoying them for the most part. My favourite genre is probably the rhythm game genre. Used to be RPGs, but I haven't really connected with any for a while.

I wouldn't consider myself a very theological or philosophical gamer, and I do tire of some of the devates that occure around games. STFUAJPG and all that. That doesn't mean I have nothing to say, just that I'm not the guy you come to for any sort of real opinion on serious gaming issues. My forte is the more spartan, critical stuff, like reviews and lists and what have you. Moost of my blogs have been reviews on game movies at this point, as a matter of fact.

Alright, here we go...

Retribution picks up exactly where the last one left off, which, after the continuity-breaking introductions of the last two films, is at least one good thing I can say about this film. Alice, Claire, Chris and a bunch of no-name Umbrella prisoners are getting ready to chart a new course for the world on their cargo ship when a brainwashed Jill and a bunch of Umbrella commandos storm the ship, knock out and kidnap Alice and...who knows what happened to the others? The no-names appeared to be either killed or captured, but did this happen to Claire and Chris? We won't find out in this film.

So Alice is taken to an underwater reseach facility in Russia. As Umbrella is known to do, I'm sure. After fumbling around a bit, Wesker (Wait. Isn't he dead? Again, we'll never know how he isn't) reveals over the monitors that he has assigned Ada and another strike group to rescue Alice. And that's basically how the rest of the film goes: Alice and the others need to escape the facility before the facility blows up and drowns them all.

Let's get the good stuff out of the way, because it's a short list. The first time Ada meets Alice is a scene ripped straight from Resi 4. You know, "try using your knife next time". That was a nice touch. Barry Burton is a part of the secondary strike team, and while he looks ten years too young, this is probably the only time bad acting has helped the films. The guy who plays Barry is almost as wooden and awkward as the Barry from the original game. He also has a very "I have THIS!" moment, which was nice-ish.

I believe Retribution also sets a new record for the amount of time it takes Michelle Rodriguez to die. And because of reasons I will explain in white spoiler text later, she dies several times throughout the film. We're taking it to the extreme!!

That's about where the good stuff ends. Retribution is possibly the worst of the series thus far, mostly due to the fact that there is a constant theme of zero payoff.

The action in this is set almost entirely in slow motion, much like Afterlife, and this robs action scenes of their gratuity and excitement. I might have been able to forgive that if the setpieces were decent, but the setups for the fight scenes in this film are hilariously disastrous.

Remember how Alice fought an Executioner Majini in the last film? Well, what's more dangerous than an Executioner Majini? TWO Executioner Majini! What's scarier than a licker? A GIANT licker! What's more terrifying than zombies? Zombies that have guns and look like the ones from Dead Snow! I am baffled at just how unoriginal and small in scale these fights are. And because Alice has lost her super powers, there isn't much to them but constant "blat blat". Tired and lame.

Not much to expect from the acting, but that's par for the course. Milla Jovovich continues her badass yet characterless Alice, Ada sounds the part but doesn't quite look it, Wesker still sounds like a British Agent Smith and the guy playing Leon looks and even sounds closer to Luis Sera, in my opinion. It's his beard, I think.

The big problem is the plot, though. Hooollleeeee crap, some of the nonsense they place in this plot puts the midway point of Apocalypse to shame. In terms of non-spoiler stuff, the facility's realism is an obvious contrivance, but one I could accept if the structure within was clear cut. The facility houses a number of huge testing chambers, resembling New York, Moscow, Toyko and a random suburbia, built for testing the effects of a viral outbreak. It's unclear at the beginning whether it's all holographic or not, and it causes some discrepancies in regards to environmental items (cars, weapons, etc.).

As stated before, we're not going to find out what happened to two of the "major" characters from the last film, and they don't even attempt to explain how Wesker survived. Not a throwaway line, not any fresh scars, nothing. He may as well not have died at all in the last film for all the difference it made here. Same with Luther, the non-descript minor character in Afterlife that just showed up alice and well on the mainland. He's now a part of the strike team. Why? How?

But to discuss the broken plot more, I'll have to dip into spoiler territory. I'll be using tiny text for this section, so skip past it to the next segment of normal text if you wish. If not, highlight it and read on.

Barry's final moments are when he's playing hero, telling Luther and Leon to fall back to the elevator while he holds Umbrella off. They then bring out a captured Ada as collateral, but he heads out, gun in hand, deliberately gets shot, gets one more shot at an Umbrella guard before dying. I was guessing that he was trying to do this to buy Ada a distraction, but she doesn't do anything during this time, meaning Barry commits martyrdom for nothing.

One of the last fights is against a Las Plagas-ed Michelle Rodriguez on a frozen tundra. Alice eventually shoots the ice beneath here feet, she falls in and a ton of zombies...who can now breathe underwater, I guess, close in and kill her. The far shot of around a hundred zombies in the water piling on Rodriguez just looks so incredibly, unforgivably, implausibly silly and, oh yeah, why aren't they going up after Alice? And how can they fucking breathe down there!?

And then we get to the ending. Alice, the freed Jill, Ada, Luis/Leon and this film's Newt make it to the White House, which is being overrun by hordes of various nasties. Wesker...who is now President, I guess, gives Alice back her power...after previously taking it away. He then explains that the White House is the last bastion for humanity, and if they are wiped out there, the race will face extinction at the hands of the Red Queen, Umbrella's sentient AI.

It's unclear how much time passes between each of these films, but we went from Raccoon City being overrun to the T-Virus turning the world into a desert to everything being sorta alright but not really to holy shit, we are the last surviving people on the planet Earth. Inexplicable does not begin to describe it. Also, why does the Red Queen want to destroy all humans? Especially since she is happy using many of them as her army?

Throw in at least two instances of "dead" guys twitching on screen (nothing to do with zombification) and you have a nice fat pile of crap for a film.


That other big piece of RPG DLC out today, Dawnguard is the first expansion to Skyrim, with a premise centering around vampires and vampire hunters. How does it far? I couldn't tell you in whole, because I couldn't quite finish it just yet, but here's what I've experienced thus far.

Plot and premise (no spoilers): In other Elder Scrolls games, and the last two Fallout games, DLC quest usually began with a journal entry essentially prodding you into the direction of the quest. This time, it seems you need to head into a major town before someone will come up to you and say "Hey, we're vampire hunters. Want in?". This, of course, happened to me only after I bested a dragon roaming through town. So he'll send you off to Fort Dawnguard at the back end of Riften, where you'll get the crossbow (more on this later) and have to go investigate a dungeon filled with vampires who want something. And that something sets into motion a bloody feud between the hunters of Dawnguard and an ancient vampire clan.

It doesn't seem like a bad story, all up, but it doesn't go for the throat, either. I picked the Dawnguard side because I'm a traditionalist, and it felt like a straight mix between the Winterhold College quests and...whatever that warrior guild quest line was.. It keeps things moving but not to places very exciting.

It feels like the questline is trying to go for the same stakes as the main quest of Skyrim, but I feel Skyrim managed to adequately convey this through how aggressive the dragons were and how domineering their presence became, and I don't feel like the same has happened here. If you take the Dawnguard side, vampires will sporadically pop up in towns, assaulting the villagers much like dragons, but...they're only slightly more capable humans as opposed to the great forces of the dragons.

Gameplay: On the Dawnguard side at least, the majority of quests are straight dungeon runs, and are probably more combat based than the rest of the game. It's also worth noting that the dungeons seemed darker, so turn that brightness up or bring a torch or light spell. Aside from that, and a partner who will follow you for much of the proceedings, these dungeons seemed pretty run of the mill, albeit very long even by Skyrim standards. Not necessarily bad, but Skyrim didn't really lack for dungeons. Is there anything else to keep this expansion interesting? Well...

Enemies: The vampire force in vanilla Skyrim seemed tossed aside in favour of werewolves, which would have been good if they weren't so overrated. The vampires in Dawnguard are quite a bit better. Relying on bloodborn abilities that can really inhibit their enemies, such as draining health and crippling their speed, and also having these bitching yellow eyes sometimes, the vampires are a decent foe, though not spectacular. They have a unique set of armour this time around as well. They will sometimes have pets known as Death Hounds; black dogs with red eyes and a metal collae which is worth a lot as loot. They're kind of easy, but they look cool.

Also added to the mix are gargoyles, which seem like really good enemies. They're surprisingly fast and can hit fairly hard. My warrior could go toe-to-toe with one, but even just one more meant trouble. They can burst out of their shells which blend into their surroundings, just like "real" gargoyles and work well with the psuedo-gothic atmosphere a lot of the expansion provides.

Elsewhere, there are skeletons which took me one hit each. So that was lame.

Vampire Lord: Obviously, I didn't go this route, but early on, you have the option to have the ability to turn into a vampire lord, which seems like a transformation akin to the werewolf ability. I can't say for sure, but if it is like the werewolf ability at all, I want nothing to do with it. Lycanthropy actually made my character a lot weaker, completely antithetical to what the ability was supposedly there for. It appears as if vampire lords are a lot more balanced, with the ability to switch between a magic type and melee type on the fly, and they do look really cool.

Vampirism itself seems like the norm: you contract the basest form from fighting vampires, you don't cure it before you go to sleep in a certain amount of time, you're a vampire. Again, I tried to keep out of this as much as possible because I wanted to be as traditional as possible, but the option is there. It doesn't seem as if sunlight or fire are the big enemies for vampires this time around, but then I could just be bitter that neither worked against them while I was fighting them.

Crossbows: After years of absence from the franchise, the crossbow finally makes its return to the game, and you can get one basically from the start of the expansion. I gather it ties into your archery stat, which wasn't very high for me or it would have done damage against those bandits I fought. But the mechanic appears fine, with the basic advantages and disadvantages versus a regular bow. Again, it uses bolts instead of arrows, so it feels like a return to Morrowind if only in a small department.

I have one issue, and that is the secondary attack it grants you. It's a melee bash, but it looks to do not much damage but drains as much stamina as a two-handed power attack. Um, why? Otherwise, it feels like a fine addition to the Skyrim arsenal, and a welcome returning ally from Morrowind.

Horse combat: Apparently. I don't know first hand. I never touch horses in Skyrim.

"Final verdict": I don't think it would be really fair of me to make any real suggestions when I couldn't even get through one questline, which I knew going into would be the less interesting of the two anyway. Still, if I were to weigh up everything at this point, I don't know if 1600 MSP is worth it. Shivering Isles and many of FO3's and NV's expansions cost less but gave you more. It's a tough one. Maybe I'll get back to you when I finish it, maybe not.

Still better than the Carrie Underwood DLC that came out for Rock Band today, though.

If my soundtrack review wasn't enough of an indication, I kind of like Skullgirls. So I decided to make them in WWE '12, because seemingly no one else has. Seriously, I couldn;t find them for download, but there are twenty different variants for Kane when he's already in the game.

Yes, I kind of screwed up Painwheel's dress, among other things. But overall, I'm okay with what I came up with. Questions? Comments? "You majorly fucked up!"s? I'll be happy to respond to any.

Yeah, I'm "borrowing" Magnalon's formula here. Hope you don't mind.

I feel like I'm starting to become jaded to videogames. Burnt out, exhausted. After putting in Red Faction: Armageddon and noticing just how bloody by-the-numbers it was, that was the moment I could too clearly see the struts behind the paint, so to speak. It was like listening to the extremely popular, and extremely simple, ballad, Glycerine. After hearing how four-chordy it was, everything just unravelled from there.

So yeah, the modern generation might be pissing me off. So perhaps it's time to take a step back for a while. I recently bought the Jak HD Trilogy on PS3 and thought to play through all the games in that franchise this year, obviously inspired by Magnalon's quests to conquer Zelda and Resident Evil. however, I later thought, due to Jak being kind of limited in the number of games, and the Ratchet & Clank HD Collection being pretty close to release, and feeling a need for a goal over the university break, I dcided to tackle all three mainstay PS2 platforming franchises.

Most games in these franchises have lots of secrets to collect, but for the most part, I'm just going to stick to clearing the main story. I won't shy off collecting things, but I doubt I'll have the inclination, let alone the time, to do them all.

Jak and Daxter: The Precursor Legacy - PS2 (owned), PS3 (owned) - (Completed in May 2012)

The original game is a pretty big part of my childhood gaming memories. It was a game I got on my birthday after renting it a few times, and it's something that I've beaten so many times now. After grabbibg the collection, however, I endeavoured to grab that platinum trophy to settle the score once and for all. And so I did. And I still had a lot of fun along the way.

In my opinion, this deserves to sit up alongside Super Mario 64 and the like as a classic 3D platformer. It's a well-crafted, varied and, most importantly, fun as hell collect-'em-up. It's still pretty stunning how you can gaze upon the landscape and see worlds you know you'll get to visit. It creates a rare sense of wonderment and is arguably as much an eye-opening moment as the first steps out of the sewers in Oblivion.

Negatives? These days, there are visible design constraints, notably some silly invisible walls and slopes which will randomly slide you off. The humour is a bit corny and saccharine, although I feel Daxter managed to remain just about endearing even throughout the series. Your mileage may vary. Other than that, not really. Easily one of my favourite PS2 games of all time.

Jak 2: Renegade - PS2 (owned), PS3 (owned) - (Completed in June 2012)

Ah yes, the controversial one. At the time, and even now, I thought it was ballsy and sincere enough to be worth the change. Besides, I'm not terribly sure how far they could have gone with the original world, especially since no one ever bothered to elaborate on the mythology, which had the potential to be interesting. So yes, I support the drastic change in tone of Jak 2.

As for the rest of it...maybe it was really good once upon a time, but even when playing it way, waaay back when, I had a lot more issues with this game than I could have ever had with the first. Chief among them is the difficulty. Even today, this game is hard, and not in a completely fair way. You see, this game has guns, but it does not have a reliable shooting mechanic, due to how twitchy aiming is and the fact that there is no strafing. Progress can sometimes seem Sisyphian in nature, and it was a slog to play through once, let alone this second time.

I generally like the dark, industrial atmosphere even when interspersed with other random environments for other levels, and there's still a good degree of variety on offer, but Jak 2 is simply drawn out. It's one of the few games I would call too long. When it was finished, I didn't really feel proud, just glad it was over. If the game had any style, my senses were made numb to it by the repetition of playing certain stages over and over.

Jak 3 - PS2 (Owned), PS3 (Owned) - (Completed in June 2012)

Besides renting it for a night as soon as it came out, I didn't touch or even buy this one for a long time. Hell, my PS2 version was a preowned copy at a flea market. So what was the big deal? Why did I dodge this game for a long time? Honestly, I don't really know. Maybe Jak 2 did more damage than I thought. Playing it this time was pretty good, however.

The game tones down the difficulty to a reasonable level this time, and cuts down on the shooting and hovercar driving by a measurable amount. It is also perhaps one of the single most varied games ever, at least in terms of what the main missions expect you to do. One mission you'll be shooting on the foot, the next it's a race, and then a hanggliding mission, and then a turret sequence and so on. Pretty much each one of these missions types are polished as well, which is why it's baffling as to why most are only ever used once.

The variety actually hurts the game, mostly in the game's story, but also in the fact that power-ups and upgrades can seem like unnecessary gimmicks. The game gives you twelve different guns, whilst I only ever really used two.The first half also tries to input this light/dark eco dichotomy, but again, I only used Light Jak's healing power and, sometimes, Dark Jak's kill everything in the room move. Whilst the game itself isn't short (although it's notably shorter than Jak 2, thank God), the game feels a bit schizophrenic. It's still a very good game, though, and good enough for me to essentially keep playing through in one sitting.

Jak X: Combat Racing - PS2 (Owned)

The opening theme to the game is QOTSA's ...Millionaire. That should be all you need to know to get an idea how far off the rails this game's tone is. The gameplay felt that way too, with the cars crashing way too much. It was like they tried to cram Burnout into Crash Team Racing, with the outright speed of one and the physics of the other. This is one I'll have to have an open mind on when revisiting, because that paragraph made it sound horrible, and it can't be that bad...can it?

Daxter - PSP (Owned), PS2

Well, technically, it's my sister that owns it, and I might just bite the bullet and buy this and The Lost Frontier on the PSN Store for the Vita; the thing needs more use. Aside from that tidbit, I know virtually nothing about this game. Different dev studio, and that's about it. I won't be expecting a lot, truth be told.

Jak and Daxter: The Lost Frontier - PSP (Owned), PS2

Again, might be using my sister's copy, or might just buy and play on the Vita. They said there was a very aeronautical theme to the game, and given one of Jak 3's last trials, that bears ill tidings. Other than that, pretty clean slate. I think my sister beat this one, but didn't tell me what she thought. Heh.

Sly Cooper and the Thievius Raccoonus - PS2, PS3 (Owned) - (Completed 2012)

One rental was all the experience I had with this game before the playthrough this year. It kind of felt sandwiched in between both of the other franchises, even if the dates may not have supported that, and I was worried that the whole thing would be a little...second-rate, so to speak. As it turns out, I was correct.

There isn't really anything wrong or bad about the game, but it just feels like a looser Crash Bandicoot game with some stealth elements thrown in. It wasn't exactly Splinter Cell, or even Metal Gear Solid, when it came out, and no amount of charm in the world can get me to really love this game. And there is charm to be found. I really liked the suave, smarmy character of Sly Cooper, and out of all three franchise's main characters, he'd probably be at the top. The game itself, however, feels too rote and by-the-numbers to be truly memorable. Good, but not great.

Sly 2: Band of Thieves - PS2, PS3 (Owned) - (Completed in June 2012)

I have played a fair bit of this and 3, but have yet to complete either, mostly due to progress being sporadically spread out across siblings' profiles. I'll just play through it on my own, of course. So far, the more open-world, freeform elements are appreciated, but neither really has the variety to be engaging for very long. I gather this one will be a slog to get through, even if the game turns out to be good.

Extended thoughts: Well, the game wasn't very good anyway, but it was certainly a slog. Barring a few moments of brilliance when the formula is turned on its head, each mission feels exactly the same. The game is incredibly drawn out, forcing you to do things multiple times to complete one task. It gets very aggravating. Never touching this one again.

Sly 3: Hono(u)r Among Thieves - PS2, PS3 (Owned)

This game's biggest drawcard is that it has more characters, which means more variety, which is what the Sly series desperately needs, but the gameplay still feels so similar to 2 that it's insane. I want to play through each of these games once more, not twice through!

Sly 4: Thieves In Time - PS3

Obviously, this one isn't out yet, but I will endeavour to grab it soon after it lands. Soon after, that is. I might be too burnt out to grab it straight away.

Ratchet and Clank - PS2, PS3 - (Completed in July 2012)

I remember renting this again and again and again but never really getting through it. I didn't lack for a memory card or anything like that, so I don't know why I was always starting again. Maybe enough time passed between each go round that I forgot what I was supposed to do. Either way, this is one of the biggest haunting nightmares in my personal pile of shame, and when the HD Collection comes out, it's payback time.

From what I remember of it's quality, it was damn good. It had a similar sort of feel to Jak and Daxter, with its slight Metroidvania touches and a colourful graphics set. The game was pretty tough, being perhaps a little too limiting on health for the amount of enemies you have to fight, but that might not be the case now that I can actually comprehend patience in games. Look forward to this one.

Extended thoughts: Aside from a slightly juvenile script and some clunky combat, it's great. Not Jak and Daxter 1 great, but great. The platforming is great and the flow is varied, so it accomplishes a lot in what you want in a 3D platformer. The combat leaves much to be desired, but it's still a very fun experience. Recommended.

Ratchet and Clank 2: Locked and Loaded/Going Commando - PS2, PS3 - (Completed in July 2012)

I have played this for all of an hour, and that was when my cousin came over. Whenever he brought the PS2, we usually played Dynasty Warriors, so I suppose it was a nice surprise to get this one instead. I really don't have any opinions on this game as of yet.

Man, I haven't played as many of these games as I thought...

Extended thoughts: No doubt this is a great game, but something stopped me from completely getting into it. Maybe it was the difficulty. It was pretty easy up until the game asked you to buy armor. There is a sort of lack of variety too, but the genius weapon levelling system encourages variation in weapon use without being too grindy like R&C3. I like it, but it's not as good as the first game.

[b]Ratchet and Clank 3: Up Your Arsenal - PS2 (Owned), PS3

This, I have beaten. Many times over. It doesn't have the polish of the earliest titles from either Ratchet or Jak, but it made up for it with sheer gusto. The explosions in this game were so good. Like, better than the original Mercenaries good. I do really like this game, even if it drags on just a tad, but I'd need to play this just one more time to make sure.

Extended thoughts: It drags on for a bit and there is too much grinding for weapon and health upgrades. Aside from that, it's gold. The sheer scale of the firefights pretty much nullifies the relative lack of platforming in my eyes. Endlessly playable.

Ratchet: Gladiator/Deadlocked - PS2 (Owned)

I have also played this over at least three or times, but I couldn't tell you why. I certainly wasn't very impressed with the limited gameplay this time around. Unlike the other two sequels, you could tell this was cooked up in a mere year. It was fun on a basic carnal level, but it was short and uninspiring all round. Even the guns weren't that great from what I can recall. Again, I'll play it again just to make sure.

Ratchet and Clank: Size Matters - PSP (Owned), PS2

I played this at a friend's house for about ten minutes. My impressions? It's Ratchet and Clank on the PSP; no more, no less. I can't imagine that really changing when I sit down and play it for sure. Everything so far just seems to point to that conclusion.

Ratchet and Clank Future: Tools of Destruction - PS3 (Owned)

This is essentially the game version of The Empre Strikes Back for me: I have played every part of this game individually, but never really sat down to play it all in one myself. So far, it does seem like Ratchet and Clank was successfully brought to the PS3. It's not a revolutionary game, but weapons and environments look great and there is just enough new material to keep things interesting. Not sure how much that will actually change on a full playthrough, but we'll yet see.

Ratchet and Clank Future: Quest For Booty - PS3 (Owned)

Yeah, get rid of all your guns after ten minutes and leave you with none for pretty mcuh the rest of it. Maybe it was time for a real shake-up, and being a "download only" chapter, it has more leeway to be gimmicky and experimental, but the gameplay just looked too dry. Watching my mother play through this game just left me bored at the sight of it.

Ratchet and Clank Future: A Crack In Time - PS3 (Owned)

Watching my mother play through this one, A Crack In Time appeared to be the most ambitious title to date. An everpresent open-world element, lots of exploration and space shooting, and a higher focus on distracting Clank sections. It looks full to bursting of ideas, which is definitely a good thing. Unfortunately, it also appeared a bit monotonous and glitchy, but perhaps that was just because my mother's a completionist. I am not going to have the same strategy when playing these games myself.

Ratchet and Clank: All For One - PS3 (Owned)

Oh man, I was skeptical as hell when I heard about this game. 30 FPS with low grade textures? Four-player co-op? With Doctor Nefarious? I was worried. Playing it a little bit, however, it's pretty good. The change into a psuedo-top-down format works because it's relatively fresh and keeps enough of the R&C spirit and mechanics to be familiar enough. It does, however, seem like the kind of game that will get very boring over long play sessions, which will especially suck for me.

Excited to see my final impressions of these games? Couldn't care less? Sad I'm not doing Playstation Move Heroes? Have any strategies for the order I should do these games? Nothing at all? I'll be updating this each time I beat a game, with my final thoughts and maybe a little extra.

Skullgirls, the all-new 2D fighting game on the block, had its soundtrack released on iTunes and Amazon a while ago.

So let's review it!

Mostly a joint effort between Flower's Vincent Diamante and the Castlevania series' Michiru Yamune, Skullgirls is an attempt to lead a 50s infused game (well, somewhat) with a jazz tone, as well as some common tropes in fighting game soundtracks. Some of the tracks are exclusively one genre, some try to mix and match different elements and some are just there for kicks.

A lot of the songs are indeed straight up lounge jazz headed by Diamante (with some by Yamune and others), with bouncing bass and all the hi-hat and ride cymbals you can eat. These tracks occur during menus, segues, cutscenes and the credits. The first track on the album, Echoes, consists of a mere few trumpet blasts. It's the very first track in the game as well, and in both instances it's a good set-up for the tone of it.

Other “lounge jazz” exclusives include Pedestrian Crossing (the main menu music), an excellent investigatory, buzzing piece, In Rapid Succession, a fast drum beat mized with bongos to create some tension within its two minutes running time, and probably the most conventional song on the album, the credits theme, In A Moment's Time. It's a well-weathered vocally performed female soul/jazz piece with some “hilarious” lyrics and a pretty kvlt piano solo that inevitably leads into a beautiful orchestral outro. It's probably my favourite song on the album.

As far as jazz generally goes...I couldn't actually tell you how well it generally stacks up. I suppose some of this could have potentially gone into L.A. Noire if circumstances were different, at least in terms of overall tone. These songs are calming and chill, and are impossible to hate in any measure, but then jazz may not be for some.

You have some more eccentric and experimental tracks, mostly headed by Castlevania's Michiru Yamune. Castlevania's music has always been both atmospheric and memorable all its own, and Yamune's talent has not failed her here. She pretty much takes the mantle of all fighting stage music. Each one of these has its own motif to go with the visuals (obviously, this does little for the album itself), and each follows its own trade pretty well.

Moonlit Melee has the more jovial elements of jazz mixed with mysterious electro-orchestra that's just as much fun to listen to outside of the game. Skull Heart Arrhythmia, the boss battle theme, projects a great amount of scale and progression with great use of opera vocals to create en epic mood.

Other tracks of this sort fare less well. Learning One's Craft, the training mode stage, has nothing to call its own except this pseudo-industrial sound effect which just sounds terrible. The Lives We Left Behind is a bit too slow and generic for a fighting stage song, although it has its own very interesting elements buried within. All of these songs suffer from longevity issues, going for six minutes and having to repeat once or twice within that time, with The Fish Man's Dance arguably taking the worst hit.

In between these tracks, you have a smattering of assorted themes, like cutscene music and menu music, as well as a bonus Japanese rendition of In A Moment's Time, which is quite similar to the English one. No duh, right?

A lot of these bonus bits were built for specific characters and endings. You can tell, for example, that Shenanigans and Goings-Ons is Peacock's song with how jaunty and novel it is. It's not just the ordering or title that gives the organ-blasting Fugue of the Three Goddesses away, either. A lot of these tracks are perfectly fine in the game, but vary in how well they translate outside of it. This may be a good thing in the long run, as it shows that the Skullgirls soundtrack was built in and around the game instead of the composers simply trying to make good music.

I've heard rumblings that some songs from the game are missing in the soundtrack. I could not tell you for sure, but I have played Skullgirls quite a lot, and nothing appeared to be missing. Perhaps there is a Painwheel “theme tune” I'm skipping out on, as nothing on this album calls out to here like other characters' themes, but again, I cannot give a definite answer.

Skullgirls is a very decent 2D fighter, and the soundtrack on the whole follows suit. Giving the entire thing one listen isn't recommended due to how long some of the tracks can be without giving equal value in return, but it does appear to be one of the better videogame soundtracks of the year. It's currently running for $10 US on iTunes, and I'd wager it's worth the money if you're into this sort of thing.

We'll have to see how it can stack up against Lollipop Chainsaw later this year, though. The battle for best videogame music isn't always large, but it is a tenacious fight.