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Red Dead Redemption (2010)
One of the greatest video game experiences ever
This is a superb game in every aspect. The presentation is fantastic, it's just like a Sergio Leone movie. The story is involving and nail biting, with some great twists and turns. The soundtrack is exceptional, and brings to mind Ennio Morricone, but with a modern twist.
The visuals are incredible, and you can spend hours just riding across the plains on your steed, looking at the gorgeous landscapes. There is a great variety of experiences contained within the game play, everything from cattle herding to poker playing, to showdowns with outlaw gangs. The game play is similar to Rockstar Games' GTA series, but I prefer the period setting and genre of this one.
This is a serious rival to a great Western movie. It's probably the closest you'll ever get to being Clint Eastwood as the Man With No Name. The attention to period detail, and the sheer love that went into this production is apparent from the get-go. If you love a great cinematic game, or are a fan of Western movies, please go and play this now. It is unmissable. You won't regret buying this.
Porcupine Tree: Anesthetize (2010)
It's official: this could very well be the best concert DVD (not to mention the greatest packaging and presentation) I have ever seen. The photo book is just lovely. Incredibly high quality snaps that are nearly as good (though not quite) as being there in the front row in person. Some of the pics seem to be from the Incident tour, rather than the Tour of a Blank Planet (i remember Steve wearing that t shirt with the screaming baby with 'LULU' written underneath, on their recent Aussie tour), but they're so lush, it really doesn't bother me. It almost makes up for me not being alive in the vinyl gatefold artwork days, having this extraordinarily well-thought-out packaging. PT give you the whole package. Not just the amazing music (that itself is worth the asking price alone), but the superlative visuals, and the stunning artwork, too.
The concert itself is pretty much flawless. Exquisite performances of many of my favourite PT songs, including Dark Matter, Sever, .3, Normal, Drown With Me, the list goes on and on. The setlist was perfect (although there's so much fantastic material in their catalogue that they could have played just about anything from their discography and I'd be happy), with the only disappointment being the omission of Stars Die . Even some songs which I didn't count as faves beforehand (Sleep Together, for one) sound so brilliant on this DVD. Wilson sings with a much more aggressive tone on this track than he does in the studio, and it really suits it. The harmonies between Wilson and Wesley are of course amazing. I loved John Wesley's version of the My Ashes chorus. Beautiful. I got goosebumps. And Half Light. Oh, Half Light. I had to hold back tears at that one.
Amazing DVD, and even better than Arriving Somewhere (itself a near flawless live DVD). Unfortunately, I have not watched the Bluray version yet (just the DVD on my laptop). I'll have to bung it into my PS3 and check that baby out.
My only letdowns in the entire set were minor issues. One of these being the 'outro' of Strip The Soul being lost. I love that ultra heavy part at the end. I love .3 as well, though, so can't complain too much. The other was the lack of Gavin's final drum fill at the end of Sleep Together.
Other moments were so perfect, though. Dark Matter, what more can be said? That solo was otherworldly. And the way Half Light segued straight into Sever... amazing. Overall, a five star DVD.