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mysteryland-2015-stage-andrew-rauner-billboard-650 Of course, the main stage, which was outfitted with an impressive lighting system, lazers, confetti and an intriguing double horse design, was where most people congregated, especially at night, and thankfully, both Saturday and Sunday presented a strong lineup of talent, despite being very different. Saturday boasted Robin Schulz, Kygo, Empire of the Sun and Porter Robinson as its headliners, offering festival-goers a softer, more melodic night of dance music. While Robin Schulz and Kygo brought the feel-good tropical house vibes, which were easy to dance to and feel, they both played it pretty safe, presenting standard sets that didn't really throw too many curveballs. Empire of the Sun, meanwhile, had the most theatrical performance of the festival, but I'd be lying if I said that it didn't feel a bit out of place (though not more out of place than ILoveMakonnen was on Sunday). Porter Robinson, however, delivered an emotional and powerful live set, running through his Worlds album along with some of the older tracks that first put him on the map. It was all accompanied by a transfixing visual show on the screen behind him as he live mixed through his impressive catalogue of music and provided his own vocals for a number of the songs. It was by far the day's best set and while some of the other performances, notably Madeon (who I saw for the first time and was extremely impressed with), Claptone and Maya Jane Coles, among others, stood out to me, it was hard not to be blown away by what Porter did up on the main stage on Saturday. Sunday night presented an equally impressive lineup of artists and a main stage that closed out in a completely different fashion. Among the highlights on day 2 were the label tent, where Anna Lunoe and Klingande (gotta love that live sax) both threw down two fantastic sets, TJR really getting the party started on the boat, Mija once again proving why she's one of the hottest up and comers in EDM and Nicole Moudaber's hardcore techno closing set in the Beatport tent. Perhaps the best part of the night though was the back to back performances of Dillon Francis and Diplo, whose sets complimented each other perfectly and provided a healthy dose of mayhem, silliness and pure partying. Dillon delivered what was one of his best sets ever, in this writer's opinion, and had the crowd completely riled up for the whole hour. Dropping a lot of material from his upcoming moombahton EP, along with music from his recent Money Sucks, Friends Rule album, the DJ was a blast to watch on stage. He even brought out some of his older tracks, like "Without You" and "Masta Blasta," which the diehard fans in attendance went wild for. The energy he had up on stage permeated through the crowd and it was hands down one of the festival's best sets. Oh, and don't even get us started on when he went one deeper... Keeping the energy levels at 11 and the crowd in full party mode, Diplo then came out with an arsenal of music that spanned numerous genres and combined for a completely wild and unpredictable hour of music. While some of the people I spoke to felt that it was a bit too all over the place and lacked cohesion, I enjoyed how the superstar producer kept us on our toes throughout, delivering mash-ups, Major Lazer cuts, a lot of trap and of course, some Jack U material to keep the night exciting. mysteryland-2015-recap-a-mixed-bag-of-hippies-euro-club-culture-and-casual-racism-body-image-1432616638_0 Music aside, there are a few other things worth mentioning when it comes to this particular ID&T festival. For one, I'd be remiss if I didn't mention the camping situation. Last year, Mysteryland got a bit of a bad rep for being unprepared to deal with the harsh rainstorms that hit, destroying the camping, and festival site, and leaving the grounds extremely wet and muddy. While this year the weather was nearly perfect (except for two, very cold nights), I can't exactly say that the camping situation was that great. For one, the festival had a no re-entry rule, which is pretty common and usually not a big deal. In terms of the camping though, it was a serious nuisance. Once you entered the camping grounds, you couldn't return to your car. This meant that you had to take everything from your car in one trip. Normally, this wouldn't be an issue, as most festivals have a shuttle to transport you or have the parking lot located close to the camping site. Such was not the case at Mysteryland, though. The walk from the car to the camping grounds entrance was about 20 minutes, depending on how far back you parked and how much stuff you were trying to carry. Upon entering the grounds, it was an additional 5-15 minutes to get to your actual camp site, once again depending on how far or close to the entrance you were located. To say that it was a bit of a nightmare getting in and getting settled would be an understatement, and to be quite frank, it certainly got things started off on a sour note. There was also the problem of the distance between the camping grounds and the festival itself. The walk from where my tent was located to the festival entrance was about 15 minutes and consisted of steep hills going both up and down. Then, upon entering the gates, you were faced with another steep up hill to get to where all the stages and exhibits were. Add to this some intense heat and tired legs from dancing all weekend, and you had a lot of frustrated campers. Thankfully, the actual camp site itself was set up quite well. Showers and washrooms were located throughout, and the main area with all the food, drinks and lockers was conveniently located and easily accessible. Speaking of food, there was a surprisingly wide variety available throughout both the camping grounds and the festival site. While none of it was particularly good and all of it was over-priced, festival-goers certainly had options, as Mysteryland provided everything from Italian food to Asian food to healthy vegan options and much more. 37e3cf0d-a347-4a29-94f9-2f3e4a56ebd2 The good weather helped as well, as sunny, blue skies and warm temperatures kept people in high spirits all weekend and really brought the beautiful location to life. Being in a historic site such as Bethel Woods really did add to the overall atmosphere and vibe, as not only was it pretty neat to be standing where Woodstock took place, but it's also a gorgeous setting to host a festival, with lush green trees and seemingly never-ending forests surrounding you everywhere you look. With 50,000 people in attendance, the festival always felt busy but never full. Even for the closing sets on the main stage, it was never overly crowded and while I'm sure that might have hurt ticket sales, it was actually a nice change. We're all so used to being jam packed in front of a stage and being shoved every which way when we go to a festival, but at Mysteryland, you actually had room to breathe, move and dance, no matter where you were or which set you were watching. Don't get me wrong, it never felt empty, but that over-crowded feeling that plagues so many EDM festivals was nowhere to be found here. 2015's edition of Mysteryland USA was far from perfect, and ID&T certainly has room for improvement in the coming years, but I think that most people can agree that the second outing was a definite step up from the inaugural one. Holding the festival in Bethel Woods is an interesting move on the organizer's part and playing up that aspect of it is certainly smart. That, coupled with the wide variety of music, really does help the event stand out as unique and quite different from most other EDM festivals. Throw in some very fitting exhibits, decorations and design, and it all comes together to create a truly special experience. If ID&T can iron out a few of the hiccups, and make the camping part a bit smoother for 2016, they could have a serious contender for best Memorial Day Weekend EDM festival on their hands." ["post_title"]=> string(71) "Mysteryland USA 2015: Great Music And Good Vibes In A Historic Location" ["post_excerpt"]=> string(335) "After several successful outings in Europe, ID&T (the company behind Tomorrowland, Sensation and many other prominent EDM events/festivals), decided to bring Mysteryland to the US last year. Despite a strong effort by the organizers to capture the spirit of its European counterpart, it was ultimately met with a fair bit of criticism." ["post_status"]=> string(7) "publish" ["comment_status"]=> string(4) "open" ["ping_status"]=> string(4) "open" ["post_password"]=> string(0) "" ["post_name"]=> string(59) "mysteryland-usa-2015-holy-weekend-full-diversity-excitement" ["to_ping"]=> string(0) "" ["pinged"]=> string(0) "" ["post_modified"]=> string(19) "2015-05-27 22:24:21" ["post_modified_gmt"]=> string(19) "2015-05-28 03:24:21" ["post_content_filtered"]=> string(0) "" ["post_parent"]=> int(0) ["guid"]=> string(37) "http://wegotthiscovered.com/?p=430862" ["menu_order"]=> int(0) ["post_type"]=> string(4) "post" ["post_mime_type"]=> string(0) "" ["comment_count"]=> string(1) "0" ["filter"]=> string(3) "raw" } [1]=> object(WP_Post)#329 (24) { ["ID"]=> int(431391) ["post_author"]=> string(3) "161" ["post_date"]=> string(19) "2015-05-27 16:03:00" ["post_date_gmt"]=> string(19) "2015-05-27 21:03:00" ["post_content"]=> string(5316) "megacoinsquad-1 Mega Coin Squad has a premise that sounds simple to a fault: Run through randomly generated level sections, collect hundreds of coins without getting hit and losing them, and deposit a specific total of them in a giant piggy bank. With such a flimsy-sounding premise, I have to give props to developer Big Pixel Studios for making the final product surprisingly fun. While there are certainly some major issues that prevent the game from being a must-play, platformer fans looking for a unique challenge may still want to give this one a try. For the single-player campaign, players can pick from one of several preset characters with variations in standard stats like speed and attack power. After a brief cinematic explaining why each character is journeying to the island the game takes place on, a world map hosting levels in four differently themed levels (Grass, ice, desert, and fire) kicks the game off. Despite stat differences between characters, the controls generally work the same across all of them, with a jump, a projectile attack and charges up, down, and sideways initially available. The primary goal of each set of levels also stays the same, with several traditional coin-gathering areas that finish off with a survival mode of sorts that requires players to take out multiple waves of enemy drones. megacoinsquad-2 For levels that expect you to collect an increasingly higher amount of coins, each one's layout is rather compact. One of the other central gimmicks makes that aspect a lot easier to swallow, and that is the fact that each part of the level, generally a floating platform of some kind with coins, enemies, and powerups, will periodically disappear after a short while and have a differently designed part appear nearby. Not only does this encourage players to try and get as many coins from each part as fast as possible, but it keeps the level from feeling stale, though you'll still encounter some repetition when having to replay a level that's giving you a tough time. A tough time is a good way to sum up most of the later levels in general. Characters can only take three hits before having to restart a level, and it also doesn't help that if you're holding on to some coins that haven't been banked yet, many of them will go flying a la Sonic's rings. A determined gamer can still make it through the campaign with practice and a little luck, but completionists will have a lot more of an overall challenge, as the game has three side goals per level. Typically set to taking no hits, banking all the required coins in one go and finishing the level within a certain amount of time, each goal that's successfully met will award players with a gem that can be used on a roulette to unlock new powerups and permanent abilities like a double jump. Players can earn more of an advantage in the tougher levels through this mechanic, but even on the easier ones, getting these goals will take some practice. Lag can also be an issue, especially during the latter portion of the campaign. It pops up at random, and can cause you to move several inches without even meaning to. This makes earning all of the gems even more difficult. megacoinsquad-3 The core gameplay of Mega Coin Squad provides an overall enjoyable time, but it's a title that I'd only really recommend to those who both desire a good challenge and consider themselves completionists. Beating the campaign for one character will only take between 1 to 2 hours for most, but going for all the gems and beating the campaign with every character certainly extends the overall play time substantially. As far as components that stumble a bit, while there's a full-fledged multiplayer mode, it's local only. While I agree with the long-standing opinion that playing multiplayer on the couch with friends and family is always preferable to playing with strangers that might trash talk over a headset, I don't have a second Xbox One controller yet, and am unable to try the multiplayer as a result. Clips I've seen make it look like a fun and chaotic experience, but it's impossible to say what my actual thoughts would be without playing it firsthand. How much gamers will get out of Mega Coin Squad depends on how much of it they're willing to play. Players who can deal with some frustrating gameplay will have fun getting all of the gems and subsequent unlocks, but anyone who's ready to stop playing when the campaign's done might feel that the $14.99 the game is going for isn't entirely worth it. It's certainly a fun little experiment of a sidescroller, but not one that needs to be played immediately.

This review is based on the Xbox One version, which was provided to us.

[ctv-1]" ["post_title"]=> string(22) "Mega Coin Squad Review" ["post_excerpt"]=> string(161) "Mega Coin Squad provides a challenging but engaging experience for platformer fans, but a short campaign and lack of online play bring the experience down a bit." ["post_status"]=> string(7) "publish" ["comment_status"]=> string(4) "open" ["ping_status"]=> string(4) "open" ["post_password"]=> string(0) "" ["post_name"]=> string(22) "mega-coin-squad-review" ["to_ping"]=> string(0) "" ["pinged"]=> string(0) "" ["post_modified"]=> string(19) "2015-05-27 21:03:47" ["post_modified_gmt"]=> string(19) "2015-05-28 02:03:47" ["post_content_filtered"]=> string(0) "" ["post_parent"]=> int(0) ["guid"]=> string(37) "http://wegotthiscovered.com/?p=431391" ["menu_order"]=> int(0) ["post_type"]=> string(4) "post" ["post_mime_type"]=> string(0) "" ["comment_count"]=> string(1) "0" ["filter"]=> string(3) "raw" } [2]=> object(WP_Post)#330 (24) { ["ID"]=> int(431113) ["post_author"]=> string(3) "385" ["post_date"]=> string(19) "2015-05-27 11:32:14" ["post_date_gmt"]=> string(19) "2015-05-27 16:32:14" ["post_content"]=> string(9252) "Destiny-House-of-Wolves-Story Destiny might not be quite the game that many people expected when Halo developer Bungie announced that they would be creating a loot-focused first-person shooter, but it has still managed to cultivate a dedicated fanbase who enjoy the game for what it is, rather than dismissing it for what it's not. Why do I enjoy the game for what it is? Well, a large part of why I'm still playing Destiny eight months after its release can be attributed to the game's competitive multiplayer, so in a departure from most reviews on the new House of Wolves that you you might see, I'm going to talk about mutliplayer first component of the newly released DLC first. Taking new weapons and gear into the crucible can be an addictive past time, and a nearly endless cycle of effort and reward. If you feel the same, you should know that House of Wolves provides PvP fans with several reasons to be happy about this latest DLC. These include three new competitive multiplayer maps -four if you're on Sony platforms - and a brand new game type that actually rewards skilled players for a change. The new mode is called The Trials of Osiris and it plays a little like a mixture of the existing game mode Skirmish and a one-life-only type game mode, such as Search and Destroy from the Call of Duty series. It's a three on three mode featuring two minute rounds and no respawning. If you're killed during a round, the only way to get back in the game is to have a teammate revive you. There's no matchmaking here so you have to be in a party with your two teammates. The first team to eliminate all three players on the opposing team wins. If the round isn't over by the time the two minute timer has expired, a capture point will appear in the center of the map and the first team to make the capture wins the round. The first team to win five rounds wins the match. After a win or loss, your team will be taken back to orbit to be matched with a new team. You can lose up to three matches before your team is eliminated and has to restart the competition. If you're not eliminated, you can win up to nine matches. Each win increases your chances of earning better rewards upon the completion of the competition, and winning enough matches will guarantee specific rewards. house-of-wolves-armor-perks The new maps are all pretty enjoyable, but I especially enjoyed Widows Court and The Timekeeper, the latter of which is the Sony exclusive map. Widows Court takes place in an unspecified area of Europe and features ruined castles, old-fashioned stone churches and other worn down looking structures. It's a pretty big change from the look of most Destiny maps but it's a joy to play. The Timekeeper is perhaps the smallest map in the game, but it's a lot of fun and still manages to have some longer lines of sight for you sniper and scout rifle fans. You can even shoot from A to C when you're trying to capture points in a game of Control. Bungie has also been kind enough to release the multiplayer maps from their first DLC add-on as free maps. This is good news for all Destiny players, as it will be one less way that the community base is segregated. Of course, this also means that if you mostly only play Destiny for competitive multiplayer, it's probably a better idea to completely ignore the first DLC/season pass and just pickup House of Wolves by itself. This is especially true if you have no desire to play the Dark Below's Crota raid. Speaking of raids, as I'm sure you've heard by now, House of Wolves doesn't include one. In a move that upset many, Bungie decided to release the second half of this season's additional content without including a six player activity. This might not have been much of an issue, if it were not for the fact that raids are the only way to play Destiny with more than three players, save for competitive multiplayer. In place of the usual raid, players have been provided The Prison of Elders, which is essentially Destiny's first arena mode. Throughout the event, players fight off waves of enemies as random modifiers, enemy types and bosses mix things up a bit. You can't simply fight from behind cover for the entire match, either, thanks to objectives that require players to disarm or destroy explosives before they cause you to start the round again. There are four standard rounds and then a fifth boss round. At the end of the event, players are given entry into a treasure room where they can use a special key to unlock a massive loot chest that can unlock all sorts of legendary and exotic weaponry and armor. It's kind of like golden keys in Borderlands, except Bungie actually provides keys to players through the game itself, rather than using them to gather E-Mail addresses or get people to follow their game on Twitter or Facebook. Then again, the vast majority of Destiny lore and story explanation can still only be found outside the game itself - thanks to Bungie's Grimoire system - so perhaps I shouldn't give Bungie too much credit when it comes to keeping their content in the game itself. That loot chest is no joke, though. Players can get their first key from completing the story and my first time opening the chest resulted in a legendary pulse rifle, a legendary shotgun and an exotic. Okay, the exotic was No Land Beyond, but at least I didn't have it yet. Exotic or not, the legendary weapons were even better. The pulse rifle I received puts Red Death to shame, aside from that exotic's health regeneration perk. It's important to note though that players should be at least level 28 to enter the lowest level version of The Prison of Elders and need to have completed the story first. Speaking of the story, it has a fairly interesting setup. The rift Queen - the same one seen in the original campaign - shows mercy to her defeated Fallen enemies in return for their sworn loyalty and she is thanked for her kindness by their betrayal. It's at this point that you repay your debit to her by hunting down the traitors. AA1-620x The few story missions included with The Dark Below DLC were easily the low point of that add-on, and while the same can be said with House of Wolves, the story missions here are much better than in the first expansion. There's still a large amount of content repeated from the standard game, but it's a bit less noticeable this time around. New enemy types are especially helpful, even if they are only variations of existing enemies, and there are several new areas to explore. A new strike and social area are also included with the House of Wolves and they're definitely two of the highlights. There's a lot of new content in the strike, where you'll be chasing your target throughout his ship until he finally confronts you in an area that's absolutely filled with enemies. The new social area is located in the reef and is home to several new characters offering brand new bounties, class items, emblems, shaders, ships, weapons and more. You can also now trade many forms of currency and upgrade materials, and the path to upgrade your weapons and armor to the new maximum is far less painful. It seems that Bungie took player complaints seriously about The Dark Below and the need to re-level gear and re-earn perks after upgrading your weapons and armor. Now you can simply earn a consumable called Etheric Light from end-game content and ascend your gear to the maximum level allowable in year one. You can also now "re-roll" your perks on any of the new House of Wolves exclusive legendary weapons, which is a nice addition for players who have experienced the annoyance of getting a good weapon with bad perks. All in all, while there's no raid here, by every other measure of quality, the effort put into House of Wolves clearly surpasses The Dark Below. As with that DLC, if you only care about the main campaign missions in Destiny, I wouldn't recommend picking up this add-on. Buying either DLC episode or the season pass simply isn't worth it for the story missions alone. However, if you continue to be swept up in the loot quest, or you're still having a blast with the competitive multiplayer, then Destiny's latest expansion is definitely worth checking out.

This review is based on the PS4 version of the game, which was provided to us for review purposes.

[ctv-1]

" ["post_title"]=> string(35) "Destiny: House Of Wolves DLC Review" ["post_excerpt"]=> string(266) "If you're still playing Destiny on a regular basis, I don't think you'll be disappointed if you pick up House of Wolves. Between the new arena mode and the additional competitive multiplayer content there's a lot to do here and it should keep you busy for some time." ["post_status"]=> string(7) "publish" ["comment_status"]=> string(4) "open" ["ping_status"]=> string(4) "open" ["post_password"]=> string(0) "" ["post_name"]=> string(31) "destiny-house-wolves-dlc-review" ["to_ping"]=> string(0) "" ["pinged"]=> string(0) "" ["post_modified"]=> string(19) "2015-05-27 11:32:14" ["post_modified_gmt"]=> string(19) "2015-05-27 16:32:14" ["post_content_filtered"]=> string(0) "" ["post_parent"]=> int(0) ["guid"]=> string(37) "http://wegotthiscovered.com/?p=431113" ["menu_order"]=> int(0) ["post_type"]=> string(4) "post" ["post_mime_type"]=> string(0) "" ["comment_count"]=> string(1) "0" ["filter"]=> string(3) "raw" } [3]=> object(WP_Post)#331 (24) { ["ID"]=> int(431121) ["post_author"]=> string(3) "498" ["post_date"]=> string(19) "2015-05-27 09:00:39" ["post_date_gmt"]=> string(19) "2015-05-27 14:00:39" ["post_content"]=> string(10060) "splatoon3 I'll admit that when I first heard that Nintendo was developing an online shooter for the Wii U, I was more apprehensive than excited. It wasn't because a lack of confidence in the company's ability as a developer, but rather their track record and history with online games that worried me. Sure, Mario Kart 8 and Super Smash Bros. For Wii U provide some great online modes, but these are franchises and genres that the Big N has been tinkering with for decades, and they've had their fare share of mishaps along the way. Yet, after spending a couple of weeks with Splatoon, I'm pleasantly surprised to find myself in a position of, well, surprise. Granted, I think a lot of what makes Splatoon special is the fact that Nintendo decided to not borrow from existing franchises and series, and instead develop an entirely new IP in the process. Sure, Splatoon is (in many ways) reminiscent of a few games from the past, but it's undoubtedly the most unique (if not bizarre) experience to come out for a Nintendo system in a while. For the uninitiated, Splatoon is an online-focused, third-person shooter that tasks players not with exchanging gunfire against one another, but rather shoot ink around each stage. It's a fresh take on a classic formula, but one that manages to stretch its legs and provide some deep, meaningful gameplay for those who are looking for it. While you can eliminate your opponents by spraying them in ink, the main focus of each game mode is to cover as much area as you can with your own team's ink, all while trying to keep your opponents from doing the same. Whatever ink you spray isn't permanent, however, as an enemy can easily come along and re-paint an area in his/her own color. This tug-of-war style lends a lot of tension to the game, and entire matches can be decided in the last few seconds. [gallery link="file" ids="431257,431258,431259,431261,431263,431264,431265"] While there are plenty of offline modes to keep you distracted, online is where Splatoon shines brightest, and Nintendo has put a lot of care into it. Turf War, the game's most commonly advertised mode, tasks two teams of four with covering a stage with as much ink as they can in the span of three minutes, all while keeping their opponents at bay. While the three minute time limit might seem a little restrictive, it provides for some genuinely thrilling moments, with each second being crucial when it comes to winning. While it might seem simple at first, there is a lot of nuance to the game as a whole, though Nintendo does an excellent job at slowly introducing you to the more advanced techniques. Aside from territorial control, laying down ink provides a few benefits and abilities. Not only does it slow down and damage your opponents, but you can swim through the ink at an increased speed, allowing you to travel through grates and up walls, as well as refilling your ink supply. Switching back and forth between shooting ink and zipping across a stage is key to success, as you'll be able to cover a lot more ground than you would by just walking. Refilling your ink supply is also key, as all of your weapons and gadgets use ink as ammo. Speaking of which; weapons come in three basic forms, with each one focusing on a different style of gameplay. 'Shooters' are most similar to your standard gun or assault rifle, with higher rates of fire and medium ranges. For the more adventurous, chargers (which are essentially sniper rifles) shoot ink at longer ranges and in straight lines, but take some time to power up. My favorite, however are rollers, which are essentially giant paint roller that you run around with, painting the floor in front of you. While they might lack the range and versatility of your standard guns, they trump close-range combat, allowing you to roll over enemies with a one-hit kill. There are also a handful of sub-weapons and gadgets as well, which run the range from different types of ink grenades and bombs, to mines and disruptors, which slow down and hamper your opponents' abilities. WiiU_Splatoon_scrn05_E3 Unfortunately, there are a few key design decisions which noticeably detract from the online experience, though I always remain hopeful that Nintendo could alter some of these through future updates and patches. For starters, there is no way to play any of these online modes by yourself against AI opponents; a shame, considering most other Nintendo games offer similar options. The lack of voice chat, while unsurprising, is a bit of a misstep here as well. While I won't argue that voice chat does have its downsides when it comes to player behavior, it doesn't help the fact that it becomes nearly impossible to communicate with your teammates without resorting to communication methods (thank god for Skype). While it might not seem like a huge problem to a casual player, the issue is compounded further when you realize that you cannot switch your loadout in-game, requiring you to wait until a match is over and back out of matchmaking to pick a different loadout. During one match, all four members of my team picked chargers, and needless to say, we got completely dominated because of it. Loadouts are also a curiosity, seeing as how certain weapons are tied to specific sub-weapons and powerups, meaning you won't have free reign when it comes to picking what weapon and gadgets you want to outfit yourself with. Lastly, there is no option to set up any custom match, and the game filters maps in and out of rotation, with no vote system in place. For those who aren't that keen on playing online, Splatoon does feature a single-player "Hero Mode," which tasks you with defending your fellow Inklings (did I forget to mention you play as a humanoid squid?!) from the invading Octarians, who are resurrecting a long-dormant species war by stealing your town's power supply. Interestingly enough, Hero Mode borrows a lot of elements from the 3D Mario titles, most notably Super Mario Galaxy. While you won't find yourself blasting through space, levels are spaced throughout different hub worlds, which you unlock sequentially. Each level is comprised of a handful of self-contained, floating structures, which you launch yourself to. Rather than focusing on capturing territories, the single-player mode tasks you with moving forward through each level, eliminating enemies and collecting a lone Zapfish (that's the town's power supply I was talking about). It's a pretty straightforward affair that only lasts a few hours, but Splatoon constantly introduces new mechanics at a welcome pace, that sometimes only last a single level. It's a design philosophy that has pervaded many of Nintendo's recent titles (Super Mario 3D World comes to mind) and it's a welcome addition to Splatoon. For example, one level renders most of the environment invisible, forcing you to paint your way through the stage while making sure not to fall off any edge. Boss battles round out the single-player, and while I won't go out of my way to spoil any of them, let's just say that the Nintendo 'rule of three' is here to stay. splatoon-e3handson Still, I think my favorite part about Splatoon is just how wacky it all looks and sounds. In many ways, the game's visuals and soundtrack remind me of the Dreamcast classic Jet Grind Radio, with a focus on graffiti, color, music and fashion identity in full force. The game's central hub, dubbed Inkopolis, is brimming with flashing colors, advertisements and stores; exactly what you would expect from an in-game Shibuya. The handful of stores sell different pieces of clothing, which also double as passive perks when playing online. The minute news update that plays every time you boot the game lets you know what maps are currently in rotation, and the streets are littered with other Splatoon players showing off their online clout and outfits. It's visually impressive to say the least, and the game feels great in motion, with Nintendo prioritizing 60 frames per second both online and in Hero Mode. Oddly enough, when running around Inkopolis, the framerate takes a noticeable hit, though this is more of a curiosity than a nuisance. On the other hand, the soundtrack is still one aspect I still remain (somewhat) divided on. Filled with energetic rock and more subdued electronic/house tunes, it's a solid addition for the most part, though it does make use of high pitched, somewhat whining vocals from time to time, which is bound to get on your nerves at one point or another. While I'm more than happy to find myself proven wrong by Nintendo, I find myself focusing on Splatoon's few negatives as opposed to its many strengths, but for good reason. Because at the end of the day, I find myself completely hooked on Splatoon and its offbeat take on online shooters, though I'm always going to hold out for Nintendo to come along and fix its few faults. Not because I think the game needs it, but rather because I want to see Splatoon go from a great game to an outstanding one.

 This review is based on the Wii U exclusive version of the game, which we were provided with for review.

[ctv-1]

 " ["post_title"]=> string(15) "Splatoon Review" ["post_excerpt"]=> string(159) "A few design decisions aside, Splatoon stands not only as an excellent addition to the Wii U library, but one of the best online experiences in recent memory. " ["post_status"]=> string(7) "publish" ["comment_status"]=> string(4) "open" ["ping_status"]=> string(4) "open" ["post_password"]=> string(0) "" ["post_name"]=> string(15) "splatoon-review" ["to_ping"]=> string(0) "" ["pinged"]=> string(0) "" ["post_modified"]=> string(19) "2015-05-27 12:24:22" ["post_modified_gmt"]=> string(19) "2015-05-27 17:24:22" ["post_content_filtered"]=> string(0) "" ["post_parent"]=> int(0) ["guid"]=> string(37) "http://wegotthiscovered.com/?p=431121" ["menu_order"]=> int(0) ["post_type"]=> string(4) "post" ["post_mime_type"]=> string(0) "" ["comment_count"]=> string(1) "0" ["filter"]=> string(3) "raw" } [4]=> object(WP_Post)#332 (24) { ["ID"]=> int(431012) ["post_author"]=> string(3) "387" ["post_date"]=> string(19) "2015-05-26 20:20:50" ["post_date_gmt"]=> string(19) "2015-05-27 01:20:50" ["post_content"]=> string(6684) "la-et-st-tv-this-week-may-24-30-the-secret-life-of-marilyn-monroe-20150520 Marilyn Monroe was a study in contradictions. She was the giddy, cooing blonde who became one of America’s haughtiest sex symbols, as well as a woman haunted by a thorny relationship with her mentally ill mom and the pressures of fame. The Secret Life of Marilyn Monroe, a two-night mini-series on Lifetime, tries to peer into the woman behind the legend, opening up the scars that most viewers couldn’t see under the flash and sizzle of the big screen. However, the mini-series is too disjointed and melodramatic to completely work as a biopic. Nevertheless, Kelli Garner is masterful as Monroe, digging into the pain and vulnerability of a cultural icon without ever succumbing to mere impersonation. It’s a terrific performance, the magnetic core of an otherwise muddled misfire. Based on J. Randy Taraborrelli’s biography, The Secret Life of Marilyn Monroe aims to be an all-encompassing retelling of the actor’s life and times. As a young girl, Norma Jeane Mortenson hid behind curtains to retreat from her mother, Gladys (Susan Sarandon), who suffered from severe paranoid schizophrenia. When she spent time with aunt Ida (Gloria Gruber) and guardian Grace (a wasted Emily Watson), the young girl would cut pictures of movie stars out of magazines, and dream of attracting the same stares that Jean Harlow received. However, as Norma Jeane sprouted into a woman – and got assigned a new stage name – her mother continued to torment her. Upon getting a small wage to be a magazine cover girl, she showed these pictures to Gladys, who then tore up the issues, explaining that her modelling was far from what God intended. Regardless, the young Norma Jeane was destined to become Marilyn Monroe, as her playful flirtations at photo shoots and auditions soon found a steady group of admirers, including sleazy producers and casting agents. Laurie Collyer’s mini-series is at its most engaging during Monroe’s rise from a winking pin-up girl to one of Hollywood’s biggest (and highest paid) starlets. She uses her sunny charm to break into the business, but also had to flaunt her body for a variety of powerful men. The film doesn’t flinch when depicting the predatory sexism of the film industry. Considering the mini-series spends some time (in its second installment) dealing with the physical abuse of Monroe's husband, Joe DiMaggio (a near unrecognizable Jeffrey Dean Morgan), it is peculiar that the lewd attitudes toward Monroe during her ascent to fame barely seemed to trouble her. Susan_Sarandon_Secret_Life_of_Marilyn_Monroe A lot of this near three-hour mini-series feels haphazard as it stitches together various highlights (and low-lights) of an icon’s life. Thankfully, Garner is the cohesion that makes much of the film work beyond its flaws. As opposed to Michelle Williams, whose dazzle and exasperation seemed to be more of an imitation than a realized character in My Week with Marilyn, Garner plays around with the woman’s performativity. That flirtatious, giggling blonde she personified was an act for the cameras, and Garner tactfully approaches the role by moving back and forth between the Marilyn everyone wanted to see and the Norma Jean she hid away. Sarandon is also terrific as Gladys, a brittle woman often lost in a hundred-yard stare. Although the Oscar winner brings frankness and a smidgen of pathos to the part, she is too seldom used. Given the actor’s pedigree, one imagines there were some mother-daughter scenes that didn’t make the final cut. In her sessions with DeShields, Monroe's glow diminishes into trembling anxiety; here, Garner is eager to explore the common facets of the impenetrable icon. Even though the biopic is designed around un-peeling the layers behind Monroe's psychology, some insight is missing. As a young girl, she was ashamed by the promiscuous women she lived with, but then became a hopelessly libidinous sexual icon. The source material likely has more connection between her early woes and her later successes. Stephen Kronish's (The Kennedys) screenplay is also reluctant to explore Monroe's mental illness and increased suspicions of the people around her with much depth, as if it would do too much to shatter the persona. On the whole, the mini-series is too unevenly paced, hopping between tragic family scenes and moments on glitzy film sets without a clear connection outside of progressing the biography. Meanwhile, the decision to structure her life’s retelling through a session with a new psychiatrist, Dr. DeShields (Jack Noseworthy), is not very compelling. DeShields looks far too youthful to be much a renowned expert in any field – even though the actor is in his mid-forties, he has the glow of a grad student - and is less an expert on psychology than a figure who can ask questions to keep the biography moving along. The Secret Life Of Marilyn Monroe also bears its Lifetime roots a bit too proudly: many scenes end with an overwrought action, whether it be a slap or an angry toss of a pill bottle. Even worse, the first half of the two-night affair is filled with technical miscues. The arid, sepia-toned period details clash with obviously computer-generated backdrops, shiny and slick, which pointin to the artificiality and low budget of this production. (The unconvincing blue screen work also explains why so much of the biopic takes place indoors.) Monroe’s acting coach, Natasha Lytess (Embeth Davidtz), often gave the star stealthy acting advice. One kernel of wisdom espoused in the mini-series: “Know yourself, and transmit that knowledge through that character to the audience.” Unfortunately, The Secret Life of Marilyn Monroe is more successful as a biography of its subject than an exploration of that painful interior life. Garner does what she can to un-peel the layers behind one of popular culture’s most fascinating women, but the mini-series is ultimately more infatuated with the legend of Marilyn than the life of Norma Jeane." ["post_title"]=> string(40) "The Secret Life Of Marilyn Monroe Review" ["post_excerpt"]=> string(344) "The Secret Life of Marilyn Monroe is more successful as a biography of its subject than an exploration of that painful interior life. Garner does what she can to unpeel the layers behind one of popular culture’s most fascinating women. It’s a shame the mini-series is more infatuated with the legend of Marilyn than the life of Norma Jeane." ["post_status"]=> string(7) "publish" ["comment_status"]=> string(4) "open" ["ping_status"]=> string(4) "open" ["post_password"]=> string(0) "" ["post_name"]=> string(40) "the-secret-life-of-marilyn-monroe-review" ["to_ping"]=> string(0) "" ["pinged"]=> string(0) "" ["post_modified"]=> string(19) "2015-05-26 20:38:15" ["post_modified_gmt"]=> string(19) "2015-05-27 01:38:15" ["post_content_filtered"]=> string(0) "" ["post_parent"]=> int(0) ["guid"]=> string(37) "http://wegotthiscovered.com/?p=431012" ["menu_order"]=> int(0) ["post_type"]=> string(4) "post" ["post_mime_type"]=> string(0) "" ["comment_count"]=> string(1) "0" ["filter"]=> string(3) "raw" } [5]=> object(WP_Post)#333 (24) { ["ID"]=> int(416663) ["post_author"]=> string(3) "242" ["post_date"]=> string(19) "2015-05-26 13:46:01" ["post_date_gmt"]=> string(19) "2015-05-26 18:46:01" ["post_content"]=> string(3557) "Results This review originally ran during our coverage of the 2015 South By Southwest Film Festival. For most people, working out is about one thing. They'll say it's for health, or to have more energy, or to do some activity better, when in reality the reason is just to look good. Most romantic comedies follow the same pattern. They claim to be about relationships, or humor, or even love, when in reality they're usually just about trying to look good. Fortunately, for Results, this isn't the case. That isn't to say that Andrew Bujalski's film doesn't look good, as it's shot well and there are a lot of beautiful people in the cast, but the movie carries a depth that makes it more than your typical romcom. Trevor (Guy Pearce) is an ambitious gym owner who wants to build his brand but is more concerned with people than money. Kat (Cobie Smulders) is his top trainer whose intensity is loved by her clients until they get sick of all the work. If that happens, she has a major problem with them as she's a firm believer in treating others as they treat you. Then there's Danny (Kevin Corrigan), who has more money than he knows what to do with, but was much happier when he was without money and with his wife. As the three work through trying to find their way, they continually intersect and help/fall in love with each other. There aren't a lot of revolutionary points to the plot, but each major story beat is done very well, and that makes the majority of the film enjoyable. Still, sometimes Results feels a bit slow due to the predictability, but most of that is due to the inevitability of the tight story. Twists for the sake of twists are terrible, but it would've been nice for a bit more of the story to be surprising. Had the traditional points not been handled in such a deft way, the film could have quickly fallen into being a drag to sit through. But it's the heart that lies beneath the story that makes for a better-than-average romantic flick. From the start, the proper mix of comedy and drama is apparent. The best example is with Corrigan's Danny. A man's broken soul serves as the jumping off point for much of the humor, but it's never the joke itself, which is what takes this away from being a straight, and arguably less effective, comedy. We're shown moments that are very funny, but also extremely heartfelt revelations, and the contrast of the two leads to an interesting story as all the characters grow. You usually only think of coming of age stories as ones that are told about young people, but I'd say if you wanted to slap a subgenre on this movie, it'd be as much "coming of age" as anything else. You've got a trio of characters stuck in their ways, and while those ways aren't necessarily all terrible, stagnancy never leads to growth. The characters inspire the betterment of each other, and that's what drives the plot along, leading to an organic story. While not a perfect film by any means, the plot is light and enjoyable, the performances are tight and the conclusion is satisfying. All of that is far more than can be said for the vast majority of romantic comedies in recent years, so at the very least, Results should be commended for that. In the end, it's a quality watch, despite not breaking any new ground for stories in this vein." ["post_title"]=> string(14) "Results Review" ["post_excerpt"]=> string(355) "For most people, working out is about one thing. They'll say it's for health, or to have more energy, or to do some activity better, when in reality the reason is just to look good. Most romantic comedies follow the same pattern. They claim to be about relationships, or humor, or even love, when in reality they're usually just about trying to look good." ["post_status"]=> string(7) "publish" ["comment_status"]=> string(4) "open" ["ping_status"]=> string(4) "open" ["post_password"]=> string(0) "" ["post_name"]=> string(14) "results-review" ["to_ping"]=> string(0) "" ["pinged"]=> string(0) "" ["post_modified"]=> string(19) "2015-05-26 14:48:13" ["post_modified_gmt"]=> string(19) "2015-05-26 19:48:13" ["post_content_filtered"]=> string(0) "" ["post_parent"]=> int(0) ["guid"]=> string(37) "http://wegotthiscovered.com/?p=416663" ["menu_order"]=> int(0) ["post_type"]=> string(4) "post" ["post_mime_type"]=> string(0) "" ["comment_count"]=> string(1) "0" ["filter"]=> string(3) "raw" } [6]=> object(WP_Post)#334 (24) { ["ID"]=> int(428206) ["post_author"]=> string(3) "387" ["post_date"]=> string(19) "2015-05-26 13:34:42" ["post_date_gmt"]=> string(19) "2015-05-26 18:34:42" ["post_content"]=> string(6188) "survivor1 During a more than 60-year acting career, Michael Caine has had a lot of highs and lows. One of his most embarrassing moments was a supporting role in the reviled sequel Jaws: The Revenge – a film that came out the same year he picked up an Academy Award for Hannah and Her Sisters. In one of the actor’s most enduring interview quotes, Caine said of the sequel that he had never seen the film. “By all accounts, it is terrible," he said. "However, I have seen the house that it built, and it is terrific.” Caine’s droll attempt at transparency routinely came back into this reviewer’s mind during Survivor, a film that is cluttered with action movie clichés and may be most fondly remembered by its principal cast for helping them renovate their homes. Despite the presence of director James McTeigue (V For Vendetta) and thriller author Philip Shelby providing his first feature script, the film is relentlessly dumb, filled with familiar plotting and laughable story contrivances. The thriller also feels suspiciously dated for a film dealing directly with the post-9/11 era. In the film, Milla Jovovich stars as Katherine Abbott, an American Foreign Service officer tasked to look into a possible security breach in London. It turns out that several nationals applying for Visas to the U.S. may be pawns from a chemical conglomerate that is entwined with staging a terror attack abroad. Katherine is determined to find these perpetrators, as she lost some of her close friends at the World Trade Center many years before. (Why someone working for the Foreign Services even needs an underlying motive to keep her country secure is mostly a screenwriting indulgence on Shelby’s part.) However, on her first day on the job, Katherine is witness to a large explosion, set up by a villain known as the Watchmaker (Pierce Brosnan). Shortly after evading this foe in a chase through the London alleyways, Katherine is framed for the murder of one of her department heads. This only adds another seemingly insurmountable obstacle to her counter-terrorist work, as she has to avoid being seen on surveillance cameras in a city as well equipped as London. Regardless, the screenwriter often relies on an ill-equipped police force to falter behind as Katherine runs to the next plot point. While she doesn’t even don a disguise until grabbing a pair of reading glasses late in the film – a prop that hardly alters her appearance yet manages to get her through heightened airport security – Katherine also dodges a couple of confrontations with the Watchman. These close calls routinely bring eye rolls; despite his focus and precise aim any other time he has to shoot at an object or person, the villain fails to take down Katherine. Sometimes, before he can fire, random heavy objects happen to fall on him. The delays that grant Katherine an escape are so silly that one almost expects him to slip on a banana peel at the film's climax. (For those wondering why the Watchman can so swiftly evade police capture? As Sam explains, “He had reconstructive surgery. No one knows what the hell he looks like!”) maxresdefault-5 As the Watchman, Brosnan doesn’t emote too much; nevertheless, given the character’s snarly growl and pun-filled quips that come straight from the action movie villain handbook, he doesn’t need to. The wooden performances extend to actors who will probably draw on Caine’s aforementioned excuse. Dylan McDermott is a blank slate as Katherine’s superior, Sam. Angela Bassett is a minor presence as a U.S. ambassador who tries to quell speculation that Katherine was one of her trusted proteges, and James D’Arcy is a local authority that mainly exists to arrive at the scene of a crime a few minutes after Katherine was there and explains the circumstances to Sam (and audience members who may have dozed off while watching the previous scene). McTeigue, who has showed a knack building propulsive rising action in his past action thrillers, keeps the pace quick but offers little of a directorial stamp. He doesn’t have much of an opportunity to show off, since Shelby’s screenplay is awash with tired conventions and contrivances. The incident that spurs the story forward, when Katherine kills a senior official, doesn’t work: that senior official is hunting her with a gun and approaches her, armed, at Hyde Park. Even though he fires at her in a crowded public spot – one that is full of security cameras – the only thing the authorities manage to realize in the aftermath of the scuffle is that he is dead and she has his weapon. If the authorities investigating this matter had only gone back in the security footage a minute earlier, a lot could have been cleared up. Survivor closes with disingenuous pre-credits text, explaining that law enforcement and other agencies have foiled 53 attacks on New York City since 9/11. The solemn statement clashes against the crazy, cliché-ridden action flick that precedes it. Meanwhile, the text is even more egregious considering how the only reason the protagonist from the film can continue on her journey to stop terrorists is due to the ineptitude of these same authorities. If the police and other officials depicted in the film had been slightly better at their jobs, the circumstances would have been different. It’s a wildly miscalculated way to end the film, trying to add gravitas to a story that lost any resemblance to authentic geopolitical intrigue in its first 15 minutes. Oh well, even if the actors emerge with a small stain on their resumes, at least they will have enough in their bank accounts to get those house renovations underway. [ctv-1]" ["post_title"]=> string(15) "Survivor Review" ["post_excerpt"]=> string(452) "Survivor closes with disingenuous pre-credits text, explaining that law enforcement and other agencies have foiled 53 attacks on New York City since 9/11. The solemn statement clashes against the crazy, cliché-ridden action flick that precedes it. Meanwhile, the text is even more egregious considering how the only reason the protagonist from the film can continue on her journey to stop terrorists is due to the ineptitude of these same authorities." ["post_status"]=> string(7) "publish" ["comment_status"]=> string(4) "open" ["ping_status"]=> string(4) "open" ["post_password"]=> string(0) "" ["post_name"]=> string(15) "survivor-review" ["to_ping"]=> string(0) "" ["pinged"]=> string(0) "" ["post_modified"]=> string(19) "2015-05-20 11:51:59" ["post_modified_gmt"]=> string(19) "2015-05-20 16:51:59" ["post_content_filtered"]=> string(0) "" ["post_parent"]=> int(0) ["guid"]=> string(37) "http://wegotthiscovered.com/?p=428206" ["menu_order"]=> int(0) ["post_type"]=> string(4) "post" ["post_mime_type"]=> string(0) "" ["comment_count"]=> string(1) "0" ["filter"]=> string(3) "raw" } [7]=> object(WP_Post)#335 (24) { ["ID"]=> int(430819) ["post_author"]=> string(3) "161" ["post_date"]=> string(19) "2015-05-25 22:18:05" ["post_date_gmt"]=> string(19) "2015-05-26 03:18:05" ["post_content"]=> string(4303) "schrodingerscat-2 Schrodinger's Cat and the Raiders of the Lost Quark is a game that, when described, sounds like a novel approach for a 2D platformer, and in some ways, it is. With heavily stylized graphics, a setting unexplored by mainstream games and a unique powerup system used to explore each level, it's a game that could have worked. Unfortunately, however, its core gameplay and level designs aren't inspired or terribly engaging, making for a mixed bag of a game that is difficult to completely recommend. The story takes place in a tiny zoo in the world of subatomic particles, where the creatures inside have gotten loose and are wreaking havoc. The titular cat is immediately summoned to the scene to set things right. From then on, players control the cat, explore numerous surreal levels and interact with some colorful characters. The game sticks to its initial promise of utilizing various subatomic ideas, including the concept of gluons as the primary enemies that players encounter, and more importantly, quarks, which are strewn throughout each level and serve as the primary means of getting through each level's obstacles. Quarks come in four different colors, which can be mixed into various combinations of three with the PS4's shoulder buttons, all of which offer unique abilities. Some are more offensive, like a bomb or a laser-like blast, while others, like helicopters and moving platforms, help the cat get to areas he can't otherwise reach. schrodingerscat-1 There's a good variety of quark-based abilities, and the game is nice enough to provide a chart showcasing possible combinations on the pause screen. The titular cat also thankfully controls well while being maneuvered through each sidescrolling level. Where things get a little less enticing are the levels themselves. While the characters have an appealing stylized look to them, the actual worlds that make up the game's tiny world fare worse. They simply don't look very appealing or organic, with a lot of repeated textures and often dull colors. Navigation can also feel monotonous at various points for multiple reasons. Levels can go on too long and checkpoint placement generally feels stretched out. There's also the important fact that your quark supply is finite, as you have to find individual ones scattered throughout each level. This isn't always that big a deal, but I encountered several points where I accidentally fell off a high point I'd previously used quarks to reach back to where I was before, and since they don't respawn, that meant going back even further to a previous checkpoint. schrodingerscat-3 While the voice acting between the cat and various denizens of this world is solid, the writing could have used some work. There are various nods to obscure scientific concepts that probably won't appeal to mainstream gamers, and conversations also go on longer than necessary. The numerous bits of dialog that go for humor aren't terrible, but they rarely hit bullseyes, and like many levels, these humorous exchanges can feel stretched out. Also, in terms of overall audio, the soundtrack is completely forgettable and the numerous cries quarks make when you pick them up get grating fast. Schrodinger's Cat and the Raiders of the Lost Quark has a great idea with the quark ability system, but the rest of the gameplay and a lot of the presentation undermines that element's potential. If the developer ever gets the chance to make a follow-up of some sort, maybe these problems could be addressed. As it stands, though, this isn't a game that I can fully recommend.

This review is based on the PlayStation 4 version, which we were provided with.

[ctv-1]" ["post_title"]=> string(58) "Schrodinger's Cat And The Raiders Of The Lost Quark Review" ["post_excerpt"]=> string(138) "Schrodinger's Cat boasts a novel mechanic with its quark system, but clunky platforming and unappealing graphics undermines its potential." ["post_status"]=> string(7) "publish" ["comment_status"]=> string(4) "open" ["ping_status"]=> string(4) "open" ["post_password"]=> string(0) "" ["post_name"]=> string(42) "schrodingers-cat-raiders-lost-quark-review" ["to_ping"]=> string(0) "" ["pinged"]=> string(0) "" ["post_modified"]=> string(19) "2015-05-25 22:21:16" ["post_modified_gmt"]=> string(19) "2015-05-26 03:21:16" ["post_content_filtered"]=> string(0) "" ["post_parent"]=> int(0) ["guid"]=> string(37) "http://wegotthiscovered.com/?p=430819" ["menu_order"]=> int(0) ["post_type"]=> string(4) "post" ["post_mime_type"]=> string(0) "" ["comment_count"]=> string(1) "0" ["filter"]=> string(3) "raw" } [8]=> object(WP_Post)#336 (24) { ["ID"]=> int(430671) ["post_author"]=> string(3) "506" ["post_date"]=> string(19) "2015-05-25 12:15:42" ["post_date_gmt"]=> string(19) "2015-05-25 17:15:42" ["post_content"]=> string(4592) "Katherine Tyler for iHeartRadio We always like to be pleasantly surprised by the mainstream. Alesso’s career as a DJ/producer blossomed in the same general time frame as the worldwide explosion of EDM culture itself; by the time the movement had broken through to the mainstream his name was a ubiquitous part of the scene. We recently showed you the metamorphosis that his style has undergone over the past five years, and his new album, Forever, stand as evidence that he isn’t done evolving as an artist. Big room house has almost become a dirty word in recent years. As the umpteenth “Animals” clone demands an audience of thousands to jump up and down every time it ricochets around the festival circuit, dance music’s youngest generation of fans reaches an age at which they’d really rather just dance - and as a result, hard kicks and bass drops have become passé by most music fans’ standards. While an artist seeking to stay ahead of the curve might shamelessly take up future house, Alesso’s done the exact opposite. He’s taken the testosterone of big room house to a new height, managing to make it new and exciting again in the process. Don’t get us wrong, the entire album isn’t like that. Songs like “Sweet Escape” and “Heroes” feature the hallmarks of his more memorable releases: melodic synth leads, infectious vocals and invigorating bass drops. However, the two tracks that start the album almost sound like a hard rock band’s opening - but if it was performed with synthesizers instead of more traditional instruments. The first, “Profondo,” is little more than arbitrary chords and effects, as though a futuristic band tuned their instruments for a performance (incidentally, he opened his Ultra Music Festival 2015 set with it). It leads into “PAYDAY,” an adrenaline-fueled big room track that brims with more aggression than most EDM, and as a result, works quite well. “Tear The Roof Up” stands out as another example of this sound. The dark imagery of its music video made headlines at the time of its release, and further reinforces our claim that Alesso kind of makes rock music. It makes sense, after all; he often cites groups like Coldplay among his major influences and has likened the popularity of the EDM sound to that of the electric guitar, so it’s not a stretch to assert that his creative mental space could yield such a style. However, from the fifth track on the album consists mostly of formulaic progressive house anthems. These aren’t particularly lousy songs by any means, but they don’t push the envelope quite like the first handful of tracks do. Among all of them, his second collaboration with OneRepublic’s Ryan Tedder, “Scars,” stands out the most for its euphoric synth lead and genuine vocals. “Destinations” and “Immortale” are the only other departures from this trend; neither have any vocals, kicks or bass drops and serve to break up the flow of the album. Forever’s only real strike against it is that we would have liked more of that experimental big room sound which we’re convinced will become Alesso’s calling card. It hasn’t been done by anyone at his level of success, and we want to see how far he can take it. Fortunately, if his the trajectory of his career is any indicator, his first album won’t be his last and we’ll likely be hearing more of the same from him in the months to follow." ["post_title"]=> string(23) "Alesso - Forever Review" ["post_excerpt"]=> string(299) "Alesso's done a lot to hone the sound that's uniquely his. Drawing from his rock inspirations, he's breathed new life into big room house. While we would have liked to see more of that on this album, most of the tracks are still well executed for what they are and make for a memorable debut effort." ["post_status"]=> string(7) "publish" ["comment_status"]=> string(4) "open" ["ping_status"]=> string(4) "open" ["post_password"]=> string(0) "" ["post_name"]=> string(21) "alesso-forever-review" ["to_ping"]=> string(0) "" ["pinged"]=> string(57) " http://wegotthiscovered.com/music/6-alesso-tracks-heard/" ["post_modified"]=> string(19) "2015-05-25 12:18:02" ["post_modified_gmt"]=> string(19) "2015-05-25 17:18:02" ["post_content_filtered"]=> string(0) "" ["post_parent"]=> int(0) ["guid"]=> string(37) "http://wegotthiscovered.com/?p=430671" ["menu_order"]=> int(0) ["post_type"]=> string(4) "post" ["post_mime_type"]=> string(0) "" ["comment_count"]=> string(1) "0" ["filter"]=> string(3) "raw" } [9]=> object(WP_Post)#337 (24) { ["ID"]=> int(430186) ["post_author"]=> string(3) "238" ["post_date"]=> string(19) "2015-05-24 09:06:28" ["post_date_gmt"]=> string(19) "2015-05-24 14:06:28" ["post_content"]=> string(5476) "Viy_3D_still_-57-702x336 Break out the vodka (pronounced wad-ka) and start boiling the potatoes, because Russian director Oleg Stepchenko has a dark Russian fairytale he'd like to tell you. Loaded with witches, Slavic folklore, and mystical enchantments, Forbidden Empire provides a cultural spin on what would otherwise be a Brothers Grimm tale. Stepchenko keeps his influences in-country, using Nikolai Gogol's story Viy as a backstory for larger, more sinister(ish) adventures, but there's an (ish) added because Forbidden Empire feels like two separate films the entire time. It's like Stepchenko can't decide which audience he'd rather please more, as the film erratically jumps from childish bouts of jubilant frolicking to sudden bursts of ghoulish debauchery. Ugh, what a haunting tease. Jason Flemyng stars in Stepchenko's fable as an ambitious cartographer (Jonathan Green) who sets out to create detailed maps that show the true borders of countries. During his long and arduous journey, he stumbles upon a forgotten Ukranian land that's filled with villagers who fearfully believe in witchcraft. High atop the foggy settlement's highest peak sits a cursed church that holds the body of Pannochka (Olga Zaytseva), and this is where the source of all evil is thought to be contained. But with the arrival of Green, Pannochka's father finally sees an opportunity to honor his daughter with a proper burial. Green is a scientist, he doesn't believe in the unknown, but after being surrounded by so much superstition, he just might have a change of heart. There's a fantasy epic hidden somewhere amidst Forbidden Empire's morbid creatures and impish charm, but Stepchenko struggles to expand upon Green's story despite showcasing an astute visual eye. There are wondrous bouts of enchanted lore that burst from the screen, be it Pannochka's twisted ode to Raimi's infamous Evil Dead tree scene, or Green's mystical encounter with Viy himself, but coherency takes a backseat to these pleasing spectacles. Forbidden Empire is very reminiscent of most modern-day fairytale aesthetics, immediately calling Into The Woods to mind, and there's certainly no skimping on fantastical elements that transport us to imaginative lands built on crazed beliefs, undead spellcasters, and a multi-eyed beast who ensures certain death. But at what cost? Productions are only as strong as the tale they're telling, and Forbidden Empire is one of the more muddled beauties in recent memory. There's a vague yin and yang effect at play throughout Forbidden Empire, as Stepchenko attempts to balance lighthearted goofiness with dark conjurings from the bowels of Hell. In no way is this film to be considered "horror," not in the least, but two glaring moments tease a more vile watch than Green's joke-laced mapmaking quest, and they spark a hunger for more terror. When Stepchenko peddles scenes ripped from a child's bedtime story, there's a mundane notion of been-there-done-that filmmaking. The soundtrack dances about with woodwind whimsy and the townspeople over-accentuate terrible jokes, but then Stepchenko busts out these nightmarish creatures that act as a horrific energy boost. Headless goons, tiny winged bastards, legless torsos walking on cloven hooves - these are the moments where Stepchenko sells Forbidden Empire as a fantasy worth diving into. It's just a shame that he spends more time on jokes about gigantic wigs and vodka-swigging doofuses. The teetering balance between a dark that isn't dark enough and a light that's too bright translates into confused performances by most actors, and a horridly overdubbed soundtrack that accentuates every tonal trip-up. Jason Flemyng is the only actor you'll recognize in the sea of Russian-bred performers, and he does a better job downplaying his character's silly personality, but other townsfolk bumble about with an exuberance that's more fitting of a child's cartoon than a rip-roaring journey into the unknown. Flemyng's character is full of intrigue, from Green's elaborate carriage/traveling laboratory to the narrative letters he sends back home to a waiting wife, but he essentially finds himself surrounded by common jesters with each new encounter. Even the meanest thugs come off as harmless pests. If danger is what you seek, there are many other paths you should be following. For such a lavish fantasy, Forbidden Empire blandly just exists. That's the overarching problem. There's an obvious ambition that drives Stepchenko, but he struggles to remain clearly focused on the film he wants to make. The tale of Viy sounds much scarier than Jonathan Green's scientific detour - because apparently cartographers were the badasses of the 1700s. In any case, Forbidden Empire is a bit like a werewolf, where its beastly side only comes out briefly during a full moon. But when it does, damn do those fangs flash. Unfortunately, this scenario happens far too little, and we're left watching an unsure film that fights a losing battle to be truly epic. [ctv-1]" ["post_title"]=> string(23) "Forbidden Empire Review" ["post_excerpt"]=> string(121) "Forbidden Empire strives so hard to be a fantastical epic, but muddied storytelling can't be saved by the horrors of Viy." ["post_status"]=> string(7) "publish" ["comment_status"]=> string(4) "open" ["ping_status"]=> string(4) "open" ["post_password"]=> string(0) "" ["post_name"]=> string(23) "forbidden-empire-review" ["to_ping"]=> string(0) "" ["pinged"]=> string(0) "" ["post_modified"]=> string(19) "2015-05-25 22:15:59" ["post_modified_gmt"]=> string(19) "2015-05-26 03:15:59" ["post_content_filtered"]=> string(0) "" ["post_parent"]=> int(0) ["guid"]=> string(37) "http://wegotthiscovered.com/?p=430186" ["menu_order"]=> int(0) ["post_type"]=> string(4) "post" ["post_mime_type"]=> string(0) "" ["comment_count"]=> string(1) "0" ["filter"]=> string(3) "raw" } [10]=> object(WP_Post)#340 (24) { ["ID"]=> int(430627) ["post_author"]=> string(3) "387" ["post_date"]=> string(19) "2015-05-23 23:15:40" ["post_date_gmt"]=> string(19) "2015-05-24 04:15:40" ["post_content"]=> string(6977) "ows_143233161990606 The story of the Texas Revolution is certainly worth the scope of a five-night, 10-hour miniseries on the History Channel. However, Texas Rising, which debuts on Memorial Day, is a plodding, bloated chronicling of a potent time in American history. Its star-studded cast, with around two dozen main or featured performers, is impressive; however, the breadth of the ensemble, filled to the brim with great character actors, doesn’t allow for much depth with many of the characters. The result is not just middling, but somewhat problematic, considering the flattened portrayals of the Mexican and Comanche armies, both trying to hold onto native territory. One surefire sign of the mini-series' lackluster quality comes in the opening minute, as several paragraphs of text float onto the screen to explain the backstory of how “Texas is in flames.” There is so much history compressed to the few paragraphs that it is a shame the writing scrolls upward so quickly. In the following scene, The Alamo has been reduced to ashes. Dust accumulates and flutters into a permanent white sky as the victors toss bodies into a fiery pit. A man, still clinging on to life, wrestles out from the sand, kills a couple of guards and retreats on foot. (His name is Lorca and he is played by Ray Liotta.) A black woman watches as Mexicans tie her brother up and shoot him. (Her name is Emily West, and she is played by Cynthia Addai-Robinson.) From these introductory moments, we begin to realize the uneven feel of this historical representation, which often shifts between rote exposition and visceral action. Much of the rest of the first six hours, screened for critics, is realizing how the former sets up the latter. We must wade through a lot of set-up to get to the big, rousing action sequences. Sometimes, writers Darrell Fetty and Leslie Greif (who also produce Texas Rising) will introduce us to bit soldiers or players and follow them in a few scenes before these characters find a dismal fate. With so many supporting players dying over the course of the first few episodes, it is bewildering that the writers decided to follow so many characters. To those who need a bit of a refresher on this chapter from history, Gen. Sam Houston (Bill Paxton) is leading a collective of volunteer soldiers fighting to stake their claim in the state. President Andrew Jackson (Kris Kristofferson) trusts in Houston to get the job done, although the men under his command are frustrated, believing the General should command instead of remain cautious of the nearby Mexican soldiers. As for the Mexicans, led by Gen. Santa Anna (Olivier Martinez), they seem to have the numbers, the supplies and the military might needed to triumph over their foes. Although their characters are the lead forces on both sides, Paxton and Martinez get awfully little screen time in the first six hours. The weathered Houston tries to wield control of his army yet is reluctant to move forward until well into the series, while Santa Anna spends most of his time relaxing – shaving, bathing, seducing Emily West – and showing off more in the way of sexual prowess than physical strength. Rounding out the principal past is Jeffrey Dean Morgan as the sick but courageous Texan Deaf Smith, Brendan Fraser as Billy Anderson, a Ranger with Comanche Indian ties, and Jeremy Davies as a sergeant trying to earn back the respect of his Texan comrades after he initially tries to desert the revolution. arts texas rising Olivier Martinez 1 Had Texas Rising limited its focus to the battle tactics of the two generals and spread out to a few subplots featuring some of these compelling real-life figures, it would have been enough. Instead of strive for quality drama, though, the mini-series goes for a large quantity of stories. The drama jumps around to so many areas in Texas and to the plights of so many secondary characters that we quickly begin to lose interest in how these stories connect to the main struggle. Furthermore, for a mini-series so intent on expanding story – originally, this 10-hour series was supposed to run for just six hours – there is pitifully little from the sides of the Mexicans and Comanche Indians hoping to keep control of their native territory. The former are brash and bloodthirsty, while the latter are reduced to an ululating mass. The essentialist, cartoon-like depictions of these groups would be unfortunate for a much shorter re-telling of this revolution; however, with so much airtime, that these sides barely get a voice or perspective is totally perplexing. Despite the presence of director Roland Joffé (The Killing Fields), the action set-pieces range from thrilling to incoherent. Saloon shoot-outs, done in a contained atmosphere with a more definite selection of angles and spaces, have a lot of energy. On the other hand, showdowns on vast plains are difficult to follow and often have continuity errors. In one scene, Mexican soldiers attack from behind bushes on flat land, but these leafy barriers are gone when we get a better look at the battlefield. The weather and rugged terrain seem to change constantly depending on whom we follow. (More disheartening, the settlers' savage attacks against Comanche Indians have a triumphant soundtrack playing over these murders.) Regardless, there are a collection of stand-out performances. Liotta, almost unrecognizable under a beard and coarse skin, gets his meatiest role in years as the cutthroat Lorca, scarred by the events at the Alamo and determined to overcome every obstacle in his path. Addai-Robinson, meanwhile, is the story’s emotional center, as a woman scouting out and sleeping with the enemy as a way to avenge her brother’s bloody death. Both of these actors find their tongues around some of the intense dialogue. “I’m burning alive in the fire of my own rage,” Addai-Robinson says during one of Emily's powerful prayers. “I don’t live, I survive, I exist.” That being said, Texas Rising is a glorious missed opportunity. Instead of telling a taut collection of fascinating stories from the many sides engaged in ruthless battle, the mini-series is mostly content to wander with the flatly drawn white male saviors. There are simply too many characters and stories to track, to the point that one wonders why seasoned actors like Crispin Glover and Thomas Jane signed on for such scant appearances. [ctv-1]" ["post_title"]=> string(19) "Texas Rising Review" ["post_excerpt"]=> string(249) "However, Texas Rising is a glorious missed opportunity. Instead of telling a taut collection of fascinating stories from the many sides engaged in ruthless battle, the mini-series is mostly content to wander with the flatly drawn white male saviors." ["post_status"]=> string(7) "publish" ["comment_status"]=> string(4) "open" ["ping_status"]=> string(4) "open" ["post_password"]=> string(0) "" ["post_name"]=> string(19) "texas-rising-review" ["to_ping"]=> string(0) "" ["pinged"]=> string(0) "" ["post_modified"]=> string(19) "2015-05-27 21:29:24" ["post_modified_gmt"]=> string(19) "2015-05-28 02:29:24" ["post_content_filtered"]=> string(0) "" ["post_parent"]=> int(0) ["guid"]=> string(37) "http://wegotthiscovered.com/?p=430627" ["menu_order"]=> int(0) ["post_type"]=> string(4) "post" ["post_mime_type"]=> string(0) "" ["comment_count"]=> string(1) "0" ["filter"]=> string(3) "raw" } [11]=> object(WP_Post)#341 (24) { ["ID"]=> int(430414) ["post_author"]=> string(3) "307" ["post_date"]=> string(19) "2015-05-22 00:45:20" ["post_date_gmt"]=> string(19) "2015-05-22 05:45:20" ["post_content"]=> string(5963) "Kennedi Clements in Poltergeist Though the calendar dawn of summer is still a month away, the 2015 summer movie season is already in full swing. So far, it’s off to a pretty strong start: whether you’re looking for a new tentpole release from Marvel, the thunderous return of a long-dormant franchise, or some brainy sci-fi, the multiplex has got you covered. All the same, it’ll take a number of other surprises and successes before 2015's blockbuster season earns the same hallowed reputation as 1982’s “Summer of Spielberg.” E.T., Star Trek II, and Rocky III all landed within a two-week span of one another, making for a summer slate so crowded that even the year’s 8th highest-grossing film, Poltergeist, could seem like an afterthought. More likely to end up as an actual historical footnote is Friday’s remake of the Tobe Hooper-directed, Steven Spielberg-produced/actually directed haunted house picture. A best-case scenario means that director Gil Kenan’s update will merely be ignored in the shadow of Ultron and Max Rockatansky, rather than branded with infamy by fans of the 1982 original. Like most remakes of classic spookfests, the new Poltergeist is a copy-paste rehash of the source material, just filtered through the humdrum mechanisms of contemporary fright flicks. But it speaks to the material’s lasting appeal that the playful spirit of the original Poltergeist still lingers in this new version. Swapping the California hills for a suspiciously Canadian-looking cul-de-sac in Anysuburb, USA, Poltergeist 2015’s setup is largely identical to ‘82’s. Eric (Sam Rockwell) and Amy Bowen (Rosemarie DeWitt) are parents of three kids: bratty Kendra (Saxon Sharbino), milksop Griffin (Kyle Catlett), and “gifted” Madison (Kennedi Clements). The family is introduced trading down in housing after Eric is laid off from his high-paying job. Their new property includes one seriously twisted tree, one child’s bedroom with ample closet space, and several dozen restless neighbours occupying a cemetery beneath the foundation. The more noticeable star power is one of the few modernizations that doesn’t spoil a proven formula. The economic uncertainty of the Bowens is a more generic timestamp for the film than the original’s sample of hippies-turned-homebodies, but DeWitt and Rockwell are effortlessly sympathetic and funny as the struggling but upbeat heads of the house. Early on, a mild but charming middle class dramedy seems like it’s going to burst out before any skeletal remains do. Sam Rockwell and Rosemarie Dewitt in Poltergeist But trouble comes with the scare-itory, and it doesn’t take long before flickering fixtures start to threaten both the Bowens, and a new generation of audience members at risk for epileptic fits. That’s kind of the problem: at 93 minutes, the new Poltergeist’s leaner, meaner approach cuts out most of the breathing room that the ’82 film reserved for having fun with its supernatural weirdness. A couple deep-cut references aside, the new film is focused mainly on getting to its own version of iconic scenes from the original as soon as possible. The quickened pace not only kills any opportunity for quirky downtime as memorable as an otherworldly setpiece, but makes getting through each of those setpieces feel like a checklist. In spite of, or just as often because of modern horror filmmaking techniques, Kenan’s attempts at replicating Hooper and Spielberg almost always pale by comparison. Where once was a single and singularly terrifying clown doll, there are now a half-dozen interchangeable ones; a tornado in a little girl’s tea party that held your attention for minutes in 1982 is just setup for a bad jump scare in 2015. Worse is when attempts to directly one-up the original are made, such as a CGI tour through the spirit world that looks far too much like the fake video game the film opens with. The upgrade in casting does pay further dividends later on, when Jared Harris’ reality TV exorcist is brought in to rescue an ethereally-abducted Madison. Again though, the oddities of the role Harris is meant to be filling have been mostly sanded off, but given even a moment’s release in tension, Poltergeist proves itself much defter as a paranormal character comedy than it does a proper ghost story. You’d hope improved technology and a seemingly decent budget would permit Kenan to shoot in less than 80% close-ups, or fill the house with detail worth properly lighting, but like the Bowen abode, Poltergeist may have been cursed from the get-go. It’s a shame: the cast is game, and Kenan does pull off a stunner or two. While a devilish bit with a power drill seems like it belongs in another movie entirely, an image like the light in Madison’s lamp pulling itself out of the bulb, then floating off like a tiny star, is pure magic. Spielberg’s Poltergeist blended horror, humor, and awe so spectacularly that the film’s competing tones seemed symbiotic. They’re still here in the new Poltergeist, but modern trappings bury much of the fun under a cheaply constructed haunted house ride. [ctv-1]" ["post_title"]=> string(18) "Poltergeist Review" ["post_excerpt"]=> string(122) "The new Poltergeist doesn't desecrate the familiar skeleton of the original, but it doesn't do a whole lot with it either." ["post_status"]=> string(7) "publish" ["comment_status"]=> string(4) "open" ["ping_status"]=> string(4) "open" ["post_password"]=> string(0) "" ["post_name"]=> string(18) "poltergeist-review" ["to_ping"]=> string(0) "" ["pinged"]=> string(123) "http://wegotthiscovered.com/movies/avengers-age-ultron-review/ http://wegotthiscovered.com/movies/mad-max-fury-road-review/" ["post_modified"]=> string(19) "2015-05-22 12:04:35" ["post_modified_gmt"]=> string(19) "2015-05-22 17:04:35" ["post_content_filtered"]=> string(0) "" ["post_parent"]=> int(0) ["guid"]=> string(37) "http://wegotthiscovered.com/?p=430414" ["menu_order"]=> int(0) ["post_type"]=> string(4) "post" ["post_mime_type"]=> string(0) "" ["comment_count"]=> string(1) "0" ["filter"]=> string(3) "raw" } } ["post_count"]=> int(12) ["current_post"]=> int(-1) ["in_the_loop"]=> bool(false) ["post"]=> object(WP_Post)#325 (24) { ["ID"]=> int(430862) ["post_author"]=> string(1) "1" ["post_date"]=> string(19) "2015-05-27 22:00:17" ["post_date_gmt"]=> string(19) "2015-05-28 03:00:17" ["post_content"]=> string(11710) "After several successful outings in Europe, ID&T (the company behind Tomorrowland, Sensation and many other prominent EDM events/festivals), decided to bring Mysteryland to the US last year. Despite a strong effort by the organizers to capture the spirit of its European counterpart, it was ultimately met with a fair bit of criticism. Not one to be deterred, ID&T brought back Mysteryland USA once again in a new and improved state, hoping to give those in attendance an unforgettable Memorial Day Weekend. Competition was certainly tough, with Counterpoint, EDC New York, Movement Detroit and several other festivals also taking place during the same time. And while I can't speak to how those aforementioned events went, as I wasn't present, I can safely say that Mysteryland USA 2015 was, by almost all accounts, a success and is most definitely a weekend that I won't be forgetting anytime soon. Taking place in the legendary Bethel Woods, where Woodstock was held back in 1969, there was a palpable sense of hippie culture permeating through the festival all weekend, a fact that the organizers made no effort to hide. Mysteryland's connection to Woodstock is one of the things that makes it unique, and being on the same grounds where that iconic festival took place certainly adds to the overall atmosphere and vibe that you get when you step onto the picturesque location. Where a festival like Electric Daisy Carnival goes for a more fantastical feel and Tomorrowland strays to the more magical side of things, Mysteryland's decorations and design would fall into the artsy/bohemian category. Strewn throughout the festival grounds were odd, whimsical and inspired designs which added almost a mystical element to the whole thing. From a swinging chair made out of teddy bears to a bizarre mirror exhibit and even a full-sized fire dome that had flames coming out of its ceiling, there was no shortage of distractions lying around for those who wanted a breather from the music. Speaking of the music, the festival's eclectic lineup was a huge change of pace from last year, but most certainly a breath of fresh air amidst all the other summer festivals that pack their roster with main stage talent only. Whether you were craving tropical house, drum and bass, techno, future house or anything in between, you were able to find it across Mysteryland's six stages. Throughout the weekend, I made my way to almost every stage and for the most part, I left each one impressed. Whether it was the much talked about boat stage, which featured everything from a fantastic funky set with Griz to a hyper, bouncy and hard-hitting batch of music from TJR, or Adam Beyer and his Drumcode gang taking over the Beatport tent on the last night, there was a welcome and finely-tuned mix of music on display during both days. mysteryland-2015-stage-andrew-rauner-billboard-650 Of course, the main stage, which was outfitted with an impressive lighting system, lazers, confetti and an intriguing double horse design, was where most people congregated, especially at night, and thankfully, both Saturday and Sunday presented a strong lineup of talent, despite being very different. Saturday boasted Robin Schulz, Kygo, Empire of the Sun and Porter Robinson as its headliners, offering festival-goers a softer, more melodic night of dance music. While Robin Schulz and Kygo brought the feel-good tropical house vibes, which were easy to dance to and feel, they both played it pretty safe, presenting standard sets that didn't really throw too many curveballs. Empire of the Sun, meanwhile, had the most theatrical performance of the festival, but I'd be lying if I said that it didn't feel a bit out of place (though not more out of place than ILoveMakonnen was on Sunday). Porter Robinson, however, delivered an emotional and powerful live set, running through his Worlds album along with some of the older tracks that first put him on the map. It was all accompanied by a transfixing visual show on the screen behind him as he live mixed through his impressive catalogue of music and provided his own vocals for a number of the songs. It was by far the day's best set and while some of the other performances, notably Madeon (who I saw for the first time and was extremely impressed with), Claptone and Maya Jane Coles, among others, stood out to me, it was hard not to be blown away by what Porter did up on the main stage on Saturday. Sunday night presented an equally impressive lineup of artists and a main stage that closed out in a completely different fashion. Among the highlights on day 2 were the label tent, where Anna Lunoe and Klingande (gotta love that live sax) both threw down two fantastic sets, TJR really getting the party started on the boat, Mija once again proving why she's one of the hottest up and comers in EDM and Nicole Moudaber's hardcore techno closing set in the Beatport tent. Perhaps the best part of the night though was the back to back performances of Dillon Francis and Diplo, whose sets complimented each other perfectly and provided a healthy dose of mayhem, silliness and pure partying. Dillon delivered what was one of his best sets ever, in this writer's opinion, and had the crowd completely riled up for the whole hour. Dropping a lot of material from his upcoming moombahton EP, along with music from his recent Money Sucks, Friends Rule album, the DJ was a blast to watch on stage. He even brought out some of his older tracks, like "Without You" and "Masta Blasta," which the diehard fans in attendance went wild for. The energy he had up on stage permeated through the crowd and it was hands down one of the festival's best sets. Oh, and don't even get us started on when he went one deeper... Keeping the energy levels at 11 and the crowd in full party mode, Diplo then came out with an arsenal of music that spanned numerous genres and combined for a completely wild and unpredictable hour of music. While some of the people I spoke to felt that it was a bit too all over the place and lacked cohesion, I enjoyed how the superstar producer kept us on our toes throughout, delivering mash-ups, Major Lazer cuts, a lot of trap and of course, some Jack U material to keep the night exciting. mysteryland-2015-recap-a-mixed-bag-of-hippies-euro-club-culture-and-casual-racism-body-image-1432616638_0 Music aside, there are a few other things worth mentioning when it comes to this particular ID&T festival. For one, I'd be remiss if I didn't mention the camping situation. Last year, Mysteryland got a bit of a bad rep for being unprepared to deal with the harsh rainstorms that hit, destroying the camping, and festival site, and leaving the grounds extremely wet and muddy. While this year the weather was nearly perfect (except for two, very cold nights), I can't exactly say that the camping situation was that great. For one, the festival had a no re-entry rule, which is pretty common and usually not a big deal. In terms of the camping though, it was a serious nuisance. Once you entered the camping grounds, you couldn't return to your car. This meant that you had to take everything from your car in one trip. Normally, this wouldn't be an issue, as most festivals have a shuttle to transport you or have the parking lot located close to the camping site. Such was not the case at Mysteryland, though. The walk from the car to the camping grounds entrance was about 20 minutes, depending on how far back you parked and how much stuff you were trying to carry. Upon entering the grounds, it was an additional 5-15 minutes to get to your actual camp site, once again depending on how far or close to the entrance you were located. To say that it was a bit of a nightmare getting in and getting settled would be an understatement, and to be quite frank, it certainly got things started off on a sour note. There was also the problem of the distance between the camping grounds and the festival itself. The walk from where my tent was located to the festival entrance was about 15 minutes and consisted of steep hills going both up and down. Then, upon entering the gates, you were faced with another steep up hill to get to where all the stages and exhibits were. Add to this some intense heat and tired legs from dancing all weekend, and you had a lot of frustrated campers. Thankfully, the actual camp site itself was set up quite well. Showers and washrooms were located throughout, and the main area with all the food, drinks and lockers was conveniently located and easily accessible. Speaking of food, there was a surprisingly wide variety available throughout both the camping grounds and the festival site. While none of it was particularly good and all of it was over-priced, festival-goers certainly had options, as Mysteryland provided everything from Italian food to Asian food to healthy vegan options and much more. 37e3cf0d-a347-4a29-94f9-2f3e4a56ebd2 The good weather helped as well, as sunny, blue skies and warm temperatures kept people in high spirits all weekend and really brought the beautiful location to life. Being in a historic site such as Bethel Woods really did add to the overall atmosphere and vibe, as not only was it pretty neat to be standing where Woodstock took place, but it's also a gorgeous setting to host a festival, with lush green trees and seemingly never-ending forests surrounding you everywhere you look. With 50,000 people in attendance, the festival always felt busy but never full. Even for the closing sets on the main stage, it was never overly crowded and while I'm sure that might have hurt ticket sales, it was actually a nice change. We're all so used to being jam packed in front of a stage and being shoved every which way when we go to a festival, but at Mysteryland, you actually had room to breathe, move and dance, no matter where you were or which set you were watching. Don't get me wrong, it never felt empty, but that over-crowded feeling that plagues so many EDM festivals was nowhere to be found here. 2015's edition of Mysteryland USA was far from perfect, and ID&T certainly has room for improvement in the coming years, but I think that most people can agree that the second outing was a definite step up from the inaugural one. Holding the festival in Bethel Woods is an interesting move on the organizer's part and playing up that aspect of it is certainly smart. That, coupled with the wide variety of music, really does help the event stand out as unique and quite different from most other EDM festivals. Throw in some very fitting exhibits, decorations and design, and it all comes together to create a truly special experience. If ID&T can iron out a few of the hiccups, and make the camping part a bit smoother for 2016, they could have a serious contender for best Memorial Day Weekend EDM festival on their hands." ["post_title"]=> string(71) "Mysteryland USA 2015: Great Music And Good Vibes In A Historic Location" ["post_excerpt"]=> string(335) "After several successful outings in Europe, ID&T (the company behind Tomorrowland, Sensation and many other prominent EDM events/festivals), decided to bring Mysteryland to the US last year. Despite a strong effort by the organizers to capture the spirit of its European counterpart, it was ultimately met with a fair bit of criticism." 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