Lifetap Volume 1.0, Issue #042 – Cupid Carries a Gun, Johnny Gat Carries an Armchair A Geddon
Today’s issue of Lifetap is being beamed to you live from an undisclosed location that bears an uncanny resemblance to an airport. That’s right folks, Sardu is heading to PAX South to kick ass, take names, and play some of the hottest upcoming games of 2015. In this offbeat “calm before the storm” issue of Lifetap, we’ll also look at Saints Row: Gat Out of Hell, with special musical guest Marilyn Manson.
This was a good week for consumers who prefer their entertainment a bit left of center. Along with the usual smattering of questionable cinematic bombs (not counting Lucy which is worth a watch) we were treated to a proper expansion for Saints Row IV and a new Marilyn Manson record. I’ve spent a solid chunk of time this week being a good American and consuming the hell out of both, so will be sharing my impressions while I wait for a plane to whisk me off to a far away land called San Antonio for the next stop on the Penny Arcade traveling road show, PAX South 2015.
We’ll be dropping coverage live from the event all weekend, and provided the stars align in my favor I’ll also be tossing up a preview of some of the bigger titles we’ll be checking out sometime later today. While the show is definitely dominated by loads of lesser known indie titles, that isn’t necessarily a bad thing. There are also a handful of heavy hitters like Gigantic, Shroud of the Avatar, and Star Citizen in the mix, and let’s not forget the expansion that is not an expansion announcement from Guild Wars 2 this coming Saturday.
More on the PAX South front to follow later in the day once I’ve set up the Ten Ton Hammer mobile command center.
Gat Out of Hell
I’m not ashamed to admit that I’ve spent an absurd amount of time playing the past few releases in the Saints Row franchise. While the first game held my attention for all of 45 minutes before I ejected the disc and never looked back, from the second game onward I’ve been completely hooked on the Saints.
There is something to be said about open world gameplay that doesn’t conform to expectations or enforce normal behavioral patterns, but rather rewards players for simply blowing crap up in the funniest ways possible. As a hardcore MMO gamer, I’ve been spoon fed far too much gameplay that is all about conformity, so Saints Row partially represents an escape from the predominant
checklist content-driven MMO normalcy.
Thus it was that I’ve been eagerly awaiting the arrival of Gat Out of Hell, and the chance to play as either Johnny Gat or my favorite Saint, Kinzie Kensington. A big deal was made out of the new flight system added in the expansion, and having played a fair amount this week, it’s easy to see why. Flight is basically a hybrid between a souped-up version of SR4’s Super Jump power and the standard vehicle-based flight.
With your spiffy new wings you’ll spend a heck of a lot of time in the air gathering collectibles and dodging missiles, almost to the point where you’ll forget all about how fun it is to drive in these games. Mind you, the assortment of vehicles in Hell is pretty abysmal, so you’re better off sprinting, flying, or using unlockable teleportation pads to traverse your new playground.
All told I’m enjoying what I’ve played of Gat Out of Hell so far, but there are a few bits and pieces that ultimately make it feel more like an extended DLC pack than a proper expansion. The story is pretty barebones for starters, and as a result most of the trademark Saints humor is hard to find. Sure, the new weapons are fun to mess around with, and a new map is great after having spent the past two games in variant versions of Steelport. But most of the gameplay feels copied and pasted from SR4 and given a fresh coat of paint.
Again, not necessarily a bad thing, but it did end up being far more pronounced given the lack of any customization options. Your only real option is whether to play as Johnny or Kinzie, but both are stuck in a stock outfit that will make you really start to miss the wacky assortment of costumes at Let’s Pretend from the previous games.
I’ll be offering up a more detailed analysis of Gat Out of Hell as time permits, but in the meantime…
The Pale Emperor
Shockingly enough, a new Marilyn Manson disc dropped this week as well. For all intents and purposes, you could almost consider The Pale Emperor to be more of a solo effort from Mr. Manson, though the album is born out of collaboration with Tyler Bates in much the same way Eat Me, Drink me is heavily influenced by the musical efforts of Tim Skold.
Perhaps the biggest surprise is that apparently Twiggy did not contribute on the new album, though he’s given an “extra special thanks” in the liner notes. Coming in at a close second in the surprise column is that – barring one or two tracks – this feels like Mason’s most cohesive effort in quite some time. The lead track, Killing Strangers, was an odd pick for an opener as it doesn’t do the rest of the album justice. However, things do begin to get far more interesting once you hit the previously released tracks Deep Six and Third Day of a Seven Day Binge.
The latter is a good benchmark for what you can expect to find on the following tracks which I consider to be a good thing. If you’re looking for a regurgitation of Manson’s earlier efforts, you won’t find it on Pale Emperor. Instead, what you’ll find is a solid record befitting a more mature and seemingly more focused Manson than we’ve seen in quite some time.
For your listening enjoyment, the audio promo for Cupid Carries a Gun can be found below. And on that note, I’m off to catch my plane to PAX South. Stay tuned for our event preview and loads more from the expo floor this weekend!
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