This Blog Still Lives!

This Blog Still Lives!

You might have noticed that this site has been nothing more than a repository for microphone tests in the last couple of months.

Time for that to change!

I kept up my “new habit” of writing a weekly planning blog for exactly two weeks. In the quest to figure out what worked better on Medium vs. my personal site, I discovered that audience engagement went way up on Medium when I just wrote everything there.

So that’s what I’ve been doing for a while.

But I missed writing personal blog entries. So, starting right now, I’m going to try and use this place as a behind-the-scenes/personal scratchpad zone of sorts, giving additional insights into my reviews process and whatever I happen to be working on. If that’s not the sort of content that interests you, my “fully finished and polished” final pieces will still appear over on Medium, and I’ll try to remember to actually link them here too.

Here’s what I’m working on for the next week:

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Sennheiser HD25 Review

The Sennheiser HD25 is one of the few “iconic” studio headphones I’d never personally owned until this week. It has been…an experience so far. The headphone is small, light, and tremendously adjustable. When you combine my big head, my glasses, my lack of love for on-ear headphones, and the incredible level of adjustment in the HD25, the result is a unique nightmare where I find myself constantly readjusting the headphones. Sometimes the fit is wonderful and sometimes it’s everything I hate about on-ear models.

User-friendly it isn’t…but it was never really meant for that either. It was originally designed as a production/working model, and also for passengers on the Concorde to use for acoustic noise cancellation. The good of the HD25 far outweighs the bad, and once I figure out more exactly where that balance lies, I’ll write up my review. I already have most of the photographs taken.

If you’re the sort of person that likes to fiddle with things, or you’re a DJ, or you want to experience Sennheiser’s most exciting sound signature, then they’re a safe buy.

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Red Faction Guerrilla Remarstered Review

I missed out on Red Faction Guerrilla’s graphically-enhanced release when it came out last year on the two “Big” consoles and PC, even though I managed to snag a free copy of it on Steam thanks to owning the older version.

It hit Switch this week, and it’s totally awesome even on the mobile platform. It was developed by Kaiko games, a studio I’d never heard of. When I looked them up, I was impressed to find that they’re made up of industry veterans with expertise dating back to the beginning of the industry. Their coding chops certainly shine through in the Switch release of this classic game, and I’m super eager to check out as much of their other work as I can in the coming weeks.

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Super Mario Maker 2 Impressions

I wrote “impressions” instead of “review” there because I’m already bouncing off of this one a little bit. It’s no doubt an excellent game, and its creation suite will provide endless hours of fun for those that are into creating Mario levels. I never played the original game, and I’ve always personally found console-based creation interfaces to hamper my brain. I never got into Little Big Planet for similar reasons.

I know it’s extremely unlikely to ever hope for Nintendo to bring this sort of experience to the PC platform, but I’ve always associated mouse and keyboard more with “Creation” than a console controller or a touchscreen. I’m a player not a maker, at least when it comes to console video games.

I still ended up buying Mario Maker 2 because I really felt like I missed out on something special in the first game, but so far the sequel hasn’t quite connected with me personally in the way I wanted it to, even though I recognize it’s an awesome game.

Yes, this is really  actually  representative of what Blade II looks like on the Switch. If only it was finished!

Yes, this is really actually representative of what Blade II looks like on the Switch. If only it was finished!

Blade II: Return of Evil Review

Blade II, not to be confused with the Wesley Snipes film, is a Korean mobile game that’s now on the Switch. It’s janky, it’s grindy, and it’s kind of broken…but I love it.

I would have reviewed it by now, but I’ve been waiting to see if they’ll deploy a patch to totally squish the sound bugs out of it. It has a lot of weird audio glitches, which hamper the production and the presentation overall. Without the audio glitches, it would be one of the most technically-impressive Switch games. But the audio bugs reveal its rushed production time.

The Switch is such a wonderful platform for isometric Action RPGs, and yet the only one I’ve played so far which runs flawlessly is Diablo III. Titan Quest, Victor Vran, and now Blade II are all great games marred by weird technical hiccups that honestly have no place being there considering the relative power of the hardware. Here’s hoping that I don’t have to say the same about Torchlight II this fall.

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Random Musings About Torchlight

Torchlight II is getting a console port in a couple of months, and Torchlight Frontiers is supposed to come out sometime soon too.

I still haven’t made it into the Frontiers beta and I’m a little salty about that, haha.

I’m grateful that Torchlight II is getting a console release. It’s a great game, and its fast action is a perfect fit for console platforms. But here’s the thing…I enjoy the first game a little more, and I wish it was part of the package too.

The Xbox 360 version of Torchlight was an excellent conversion, with smart decisions made in the control and UI changes. I’d love to even see that version escape the confines of the Xbox One BC program and make its way to Switch and PS4.

It’s always a little frustrating to me when one old game is plucked, seemingly at random, out of its franchise and ported to new machines. Why do Torchlight II without the first? Why do only Saints Row the Third on Switch and not the first two games?

I know that development time is money, and I know that ports are not magical and easy to make. But the business/marketing sense that points companies to just bringing over one game in a series and then never doing the rest is…odd, to me personally. A complete collection would remove the FOMO from potential buyers and perhaps even merit a higher price.

Then again, a complete collection would also remove any speculative pieces like the one I’m writing from the market, and lower the presence of hype. Oh. I get it.

When I first started this site, Medium’s future seemed uncertain to me, and I realized that I needed a backup place just in case everything there melted down. I also wanted to be able to upload audio files for headset tests, since Medium doesn’t allow that and I don’t have the time to produce YouTube videos to the standards level I’ve set for myself.

Now though, Medium is a burgeoning platform, and I’ve got to remember this place exists and keep it updated. All of these articles will go up over at Medium within the next few days, and each will be accompanied by a bonus piece here offering a little more of my thought process. Thanks for reading!

Mario Maker is great...

Mario Maker is great...

SteelSeries Arctis 1 Mic Test