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November 09, 2005 - Image 9

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The Michigan Daily, 2005-11-09

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ARTS

The Michigan I

Daily - Wednesday, November 9, 2005 - 9

Indie Rogue tries on
" a mainstream sound

'Conflict' shot down by gameplay

By Anthony Baber
Daily Arts Writer

By Chris Gaerig
Daily Arts Writer
In a mainstream currently flood-
ed by Death Cab for Cutie and Mod-
est Mouse, it's a wonder that Rogue
Wave hasn't broken through to larg-
er audiences. As the mastermind and

sole songwrit-
er/performer of
Rogue Wave Zach
Rogue polishes
his sound, and
seems to move
further away
from his previous

Rogue Wave
Descended
Like Vultures
Sub Pop

between the mainstream sound
and the indie power-pop. Many
of the tracks struggle balancing a
New Pornographeresque intensity
and optimism with an impersonal,
shiny finish. The album isn't catchy
enough for the former's notoriety or
the latter's success.
"10:1" - a track admittedly full
of tight melody and frequent mood
swings - employs the megaphone
distortion used on countless lo-fi
indie releases, but the soaring key-
boards and guitar spasms negate the
track's home-recorded feel. Unfor-
tunately Rogue attempts to revert
back to the under-produced sound as
the track ends with the typical noise
freak-out.
Even more intimate, acoustic
songs like "California" and "Sales-
man At the Day Of the Parade"
sound professionally finished. Sharp
melodies interrupt the razor-blade
sharp-acoustic guitar and provide
smooth breaks.
Rogue does manage to find a bal-
ance on several tracks. The instru-
mentation and vocals intertwine

glossy, happy-go-lucky style.
Rogue Wave's latest release,
Descended Like Vultures, continues
the group's trend of solid indie-pop
tracks that seem to have gone slight-
ly awry.
Rogue, riding the Sub Pop
machine, opts for highbrow produc-
tion on Descended Like Vultures.
The album's gilded sound creates
a strange and unfortunate tension

perfectly with the woozy bounce
of "Bird On a Wire" before burst-
ing into the powerfully restrained
chorus. The watery distortion of the
guitars on "Catform" lays the back-
drop for the acoustic guitar and key-
boards.
Descended Like Vultures could
be Rogue Wave's venture into the
mainstream but is essentially a mis-
guided mix of indie sensibilities and
big-time dreams. While there are no
especially shallow tracks, there are
also few, if any, standouts.
Rogue has proven that he can
write with the likes of Death Cab
and other crossover artists but is not
quite up to par with the indie-rock
frontrunners. If he can make up his
mind which scene he wants to be a
part of, Rogue Wave will probably
have a place waiting for them.

With images of the war in Iraq blaring across television
screens each day, the gaming industry has been produc-
ing an increasing number of war-based video games, from
Vietnam, WWII and even the current war on terrorism.
Some of these games are incredible
- so realistic that they require real
strategy and determination - but oth- Conflict:
ers like "Conflict Global Storm" are Global Storm
nothing more than a waste of time. Xbox, PS2
In "Conflict," players begin as indi- 2G
vidual Sgt. John Bradley and end up 2K Games
as Red Team, the world's finest rapid-
response counter-terrorism unit. Play-
ers go through training with a set of typical weapons:
Guns, grenades, mines, etc. Following the basic session is
advanced training, where more team members make their
debut: a demolitions expert, a tank specialist and a sniper.
In the team's first mission, the team parachutes to the
ground and is ambushed. Players have to re-assemble the
team and escape from the compound - alive. There's also
vulnerability to jungle warfare, close-quarter combat and
plain old run-and-gun-style fighting.
With these scenarios in place, "Conflict" should be a
good game, but it doesn't ever live up to its potential. The
worst thing about the game is the difficulty in maintain-
ing control of the visual field. It's close to impossible for
the player to turn the camera to face oncoming soldiers.
The camera also turns incredibly slowly. By the time

COURTESY OF 2K GAMES
"Yes, I am slightly constipated - and attacking you."
players turn around to fight back, they are already dead.
Although the rest of Red Team is there for back-up, its
aim is so atrocious that it makes no difference, and death
is still inevitable.
Certain death is guaranteed in other scenarios as well.
When riding in the Jeep - players are forced to drive
because no one else knows how. Tragically, this means
that in order to man the grenade launcher, players are
left to sit openly in a nonmoving vehicle. If gamers do
choose to take the wheel, the teammates have problems
even hitting the enemy tank - yet the enemy tank has
no difficulty hitting back and killing the entire team.
When survival is against such bad odds, players are hard
pressed to find a reason to continue on with the game
at all. And that hits at the game's biggest problem: It's
just not fun.

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