Just when you thought the zombie wave was over, Microsoft releases a new version of Dead Rising, and our reviewer thinks it’s a winner. At generational odds, the soundtracks from Lleywn Davis and Frozen present listeners with stylistic options, from folk to emerging rock to pop.
Dead Rising 3 (Microsoft)
Those who have never played a Dead Rising game before will be in for a real treat with this new version. For those that have played you’re in for more of the same, but better. Playing as Nick Ramos, a mechanic and average Joe, the player’s mission is to get out of Los Perididos alive, which is overrun with zombies. This game’s focus is exploration and weapon-crafting. The open-world map has a variety of detailed locations to explore with homes, police stations, shops etc… with lots of roadblocks everywhere. This increases the challenge and level of intensity since getting anywhere is no easy task. Then of course there are the zombies—lots and lots of them. The over-the-top animations combined with 300 plus weapons, as well as an endless supply of the undead, allows for an awesome combat adventure.
The signature feature of the Dead Rising franchise is the awesome weapon combinations. Players can turn microwaves into laser beams and flashlights into light sabers, with character upgrades with options that are instantaneous. Vehicles can also be transformed while in combat allowing players to steamroller zombie hordes in a flash. Dead Rising 3 has a lot of nice new touches that keeps the combat entertaining with players continuously coming back for more. Rating: M for Mature. Platform: Xbox One. —Will P., grade 12, Floral Park (NY) Memorial High School
Inside Llewyn Davis: Original Soundtrack Recording (Nonesuch)
The movie soundtrack of the latest film by the Coen brothers, set in 1961 Greenwich Village, is an impressive mix of great songs by various artists. Co-produced by T-Bone Burnett along with some help from Marcus Mumford, Bob Dylan, and The Punch Brothers’s Chris Thile, the soundtrack reflects the rustic and down-to-earth feel of the Greenwich Village folk scene. Carey Mulligan, Stark Sands, Oscar Isaac, and Justin Timberlake are featured, whose performances on the album make this a win-win, along with the movie’s stars. Based on the movie’s setting one can expect a soundtrack that consists of mandolins, upright basses, acoustic guitars and lots of harmonies. Perfectly arranged, the tracks of the album can truly stand alone and be enjoyed without having any reference to the movie. Check out “Farewell,” “Please Mr. Kennedy,” “Fare Thee Well,” and “Five Hundred Miles.”— Claire H., grade 11, Floral Park (NY) Memorial High School
Frozen Original Soundtrack (Walt Disney Records)
The latest Disney film is adapted from the fairytale “The Snow Queen” and is accompanied by original songs by Robert Lopez and Kristen Anderson-Lopez. Certainly no small task, the duo, joined by Christophe Beck, delivers several memorable and beautiful scores. The track with the most buzz is the power ballad “Let It Go” performed by Idina Menzel. There is also a single version of the song by powerhouse Demi Lovato, which based on her personal history, puts a different spin on many of the themes in the song. While the first half of the album focuses on the movie’s themes, the latter half is all the orchestral score and here is where Beck hits the mark. Using various musical styles while staying true to the film’s Scandinavian setting and tone, the tracks perfectly capture the changing mood and action of the film. Frozen is available in a standard and deluxe edition and will provide hours of listening enjoyment. Check out “Frozen Heart,” “For the First Time in Forever,” “In Summer,” and of course “Let It Go.”—Amalie T., grade 9, Floral Park (NY) Memorial High School
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