Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Final Fantasy XIII-2 - Xbox 360

    Final Fantasy XIII-2 is a direct sequel to 2010's Final Fantasy XIII and is only the second time that developer/publisher Square Enix has released a direct sequel to a numbered Final Fantasy release. The game was released in 2012 on the Xbox 360 and Playstation 3. While XIII-2 keeps much of the same gamplay features that XIII had, new characters as well as some major changes keep the release from feeling as though the game is simply more of the same.

Monday, November 27, 2017

Wild Sour Series: Syncopathic Apricot - Destihl Brewery

    Wild Sour Series: Syncopathic Apricot is a Sour Ale brewed with Apricot and is dry hopped. The beer is brewed seasonally by DESTIHL Brewery in Bloomington, Illinois. From what I can tell, the "Syncopathic" sour series are named after their blending (or syncing) of flavors which may not normally go together. For example, Syncopathic Apricot combines the classic apricot sour ale with hops that are usually seen in Pale Ales.

    Syncopathic Apricot pours an orange-gold color with a massive, fluffy head that lingers. I wasn't expecting so many bubbles to hang around on top of the beer!

    The beer smells strongly of acidic tartness. I'm almost scared to taste it after that smell. Luckily there is also the pleasant, sweet aroma of apricots. It's almost like the smell of a candied apricot rather than the fresh fruit itself, and is very nice. There is also a slight scent of wheat behind these two strong aromas. I get the slightest hint of a weird metallic smell to the beer as well.

    The apricot sour sports a medium level of carbonation alongside a similarly medium body, making it quite smooth. This entry in the Wild Sour series comes in at an alcohol content of 6% ABV.

All the flavor of apricots, distilled into your beer!
    Oh wow. This beer is sour. Like, pucker-up, kind of burns your mouth, cloyingly sour. In fact, this flavor reminds me of the "extremely sour" candies coated in citric acid that I used to love as a child, and once burned the skin off of my tongue by eating too much of. Luckily the sweet and mildly earthy flavor of apricots is also present and balances out some of the acidic sour's assault on my mouth. Nice citrus and pine hops blend extremely well with the apricot, which convinces me further of the origin of this beer's name. Slight notes of bready malts lie underneath the apricot flavors as well. That weird metallic-ness from the aroma is also present in the beer's flavor. You know, those candies I used to love were all fruit flavored as well, but the star of the show was the citric acid. You would suffer through the sour layer and then be rewarded by the sweet but mild fruit flavors in the middle. It was cool to me as a kid, but I'm not such a fan of the same idea being used in beer. Syncopathic Apricot finishes dry, and luckily the cloying sourness doesn't stick around too long after you swallow.

    Wow, I wasn't expecting to be nearly blown out of the water by sourness on this one. Most of what I love about sour ales is the balance between tartness, funkiness, and malts or fruit flavors. This beer is definitely lacking in the balance department. It's really too bad as well - the apricot and hops flavors are delicious together! Maybe I'm just extra sensitive to sourness today, but I really feel that this beer is almost sour to the point of undrinkability - it's a sipper if anything, to be sure. I feel like DESTIHL mixed a really good flavor profile with a sour novelty in this one.

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Friday, November 17, 2017

Wolfenstein: The New Order - Xbox One

    The year is 1960. Nazi Germany controls most of the world, with just a few continents struggling to resist the ever-encroaching Nazi machine. Years of ethics-free research has provided the Nazis with a massive armament of high-tech weaponry and armor. Using their superior arms and numbers, Nazi forces have forcefully oppressed all local resistance into oblivion. Those resistance members who were not killed in battle are held captive in prison work camps in which they unwillingly help to strengthen the Nazi Empire even more. Rumors among those unhappy with Nazi rule speak of a resistance group operating in Berlin, the Heart of the Nazi Empire. Does this group have what it will take to topple the Nazi giant, inspire the rest of the world to rebel, and to survive?

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Costume Quest - Xbox 360 Arcade

    It's Halloween! Tonight, kids all over are dressing up as ghosts and ghouls in hopes of scaring up some candy from their neighbors. I have a lot of good memories of trick-or-treating as a child, and even more of chowing down on my bag of Halloween candy for the next two weeks! Costume Quest brings back these good memories, as well as some of the excitement I would feel as a kid when Halloween came around each year.

Monday, October 30, 2017

Dead Inside - Pipeworks Brewing Co. and Angry Chair Brewing

    Dead Inside is an IPA created collaboratively by Pipeworks Brewing Co. in Chicago, Illinois and Angry Chair Brewing in Tampa, Florida. The beer is brewed with experimental "Idaho 7" hops, for a unique flavor profile.

    Dead Inside pours a hazy, golden orange with around an inch and a half of off-white head with great retention.

    There is a lot going on in this beer's aroma! The sweet scents of apricot, papaya, citrus and other tropical fruits are extremely strong and very enticing. A very slight piney, resinous scent compliments the fruit smells nicely. The smell alone of the beer has my mouth watering.

     Pipeworks' and Angry Chair's collab brew is full bodied with a mid-level of carbonation. The beer feels creamy and slightly oily in a pleasant way as the flavors stick to your tongue. The IPA has an alcohol content of 8.5% ABV.

I'm dying to get into that party!
     Dead Inside's flavor is nothing of the sort. Luscious stone and tropical fruit flavors burst from the beer with each sip. There's a very subtle hint of pine resin in the flavor as well, and it works just as well with the fruit flavors as it did in the beer's aroma. Hoppy bitterness is balanced very well by malt and fruity sweetness. I'm blown away by the balance that has been struck between these two opposing flavors.

    I have to say, this label leaves me with so many questions. Is this goat-man feeling beaten down and hopeless in a fit of nihilism? Is this satyr a graduate student? Does he literally have dead things inside him? If so, did he eat that entire skeleton, or how did it come to be in there? Was the skeleton animated when he ate it? Wouldn't this beer be better named "Undead Inside" if that were the case? Will drinking this beer turn me into a goat-man? Why does he have shoulder pad-like hair and no other upper-torso hair? At some point I had to just shut up and drink the beer!

    Dead Inside was an extremely tasty surprise. It's rare for me to find and IPA that surprises me lately, but Pipeworks and Angry Chair pulled it off! Massive fruit flavors, an amazing bitter/sweet balance, and managing to keep some of the classic piney flavors of an IPA coming through all make this one of the more memorable IPAs I've had recently. I've never had any of Angry Chair's beers before, but after drinking this collaboration, I'm definitely going to seek them out!

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