Our latest music reviews feature the bad old boys (Aerosmith)… and the good new boys (One Direction)—and it sounds like their albums couldn’t be more different from each other. The Avengers finally make it to the gaming table with some superhero moves, and NBA2K13 is bound to please those who are looking for action on the hardwood.
Take Me Home, One Direction (Columbia)
One Direction is certainly a phenomenon in the music world. This Simon Cowell-created boy band is so popular with its good looks and vibrant charisma that it’s already sold out some of next year’s concerts. I’m sure that with its growing fan base, One Direction didn’t have to try very hard for this album to be a success. Less than a year since the release of Up All Night, Take Me Home has a lot to offer but isn’t as solid as it could be. The 13 tracks have well-crafted pop appeal but lack depth and variety. Even so, it’s playful, harmless fun that will surely please the band’s teenage girl fan base. Check out “Live Like We’re Young,” “Heart Attack,” “Kiss You,” and “Rock Me.”—Uma N., grade 10, Floral Park (NY) Memorial High School
Music From Another Dimension, Aerosmith (Columbia)
The bad boy rock band Aerosmith, with its reputation of being a bit dysfunctional, has finally released a new album after almost 11 years. Music From Another Dimension is definitely worth listening to because it showcases the many musical styles that span their 40-year career and in doing so, please their enormous and diverse fan base. This album has what Aerosmith fans want: loud, brash yowling from lead singer Steven Tyler, the dueling guitars of Brad Whitford and Joe Perry, and awesome drumming by Joey Kramer, who keeps pace with bassist Tom Hamilton. The 15 tracks consist of power ballads and classic rock songs, as well as a jazzy blues vibe. Two pleasant surprises are the collaborations with Carrie Underwood on “Can’t Stop Loving You,” and Johnny Depp on “Freedom Fighter.” Tracks to check out are “Out Goes the Lights,” “Legendary Child,” “What Could Have Been Love,” and “Lover a Lot.”—Eugene K., grade 12, Floral Park (NY) Memorial High School
Avengers: Battle for Earth (Ubisoft)
The basic premise of the Avengers game follows the Secret Invasion plot from the comic-book world rather than the movie adaptation. In the game, shape-shifting alien Skrulls have infiltrated Earth’s Heroes undetected. Now, it’s up to the Marvel Avengers as well as other popular superheroes, like Spider-Man and Wolverine, to put things right. There are 20 different characters to choose from, and in each round, a pair of heroes squares off against a pair of villains. Like Kinect’s PowerUp Heroes, players are able to kick, punch, and swing their arms to mimic the superheroes’ moves. That way, the game lets you unleash fiery Phoenix blasts, gamma-ray punches, the Hulk uppercut, and the Iron Man Repulsor Beam. Voice commands are an added bonus. By screaming certain phrases during battle mode, you enhance the power of your moves. Of course, you have to win many battles to beat the game’s campaign mode, and at times things can get a little repetitious. The action and fighting are more enjoyable in the versus and co-op mode, which you can play with or against friends. This is a great way to become your favorite superhero for a few hours of pure fun. Rating: T for Teen. Platform: Xbox 360 and later Wii U.—Stephen E., grade 11, Floral Park (NY) Memorial High School
NBA 2K13 (2K Sports)
With the latest edition of NBA 2K, gamers are rewarded with new additions and improvements that prove what a great franchise this is. First off is My Team, a mode that allows you to build a team of NBA superstars by using your virtual currency (VC). The VC can also be used with other modes like My Career or Association, as well as when playing online against competitors. As you rack up VC, you’re able to buy booster packs, players, signature skills animations, and clothing, which make this game so much fun to play. Signature Skills is a new feature that assigns star players a variety of abilities that makes them special secret weapons in the game. Another new addition lets you control the dribbling, which is now right thumb-stick-based. While this feature takes some getting used to, it lets players control the gameplay better. Jay-Z, the executive producer of NBA 2K13, makes his presence known with his 24 songs for the game’s soundtrack, which features some of music’s best, including Coldplay, U2, Kanye West, Nas, and, of course, Jay-Z. NBA 2K13 provides hours of smooth, realistic gameplay along with an astounding presentation that make this a slam dunk in the world of basketball gaming. Rating: E for Everyone, Platform: Xbox 360, PlayStation.—Ryan A., grade 9, Floral Park (NY) Memorial High School
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