Official Star Wars: Episode VII: The Force Awakens Trailer!!!

     After long years of waiting we finally get to see some serious new Star Wars...

     It looks to have the patented Abrams direction of simple shots with crazy swirling ones, action, drama, and a Sith lightsaber complete with preposterous tiny bladed light-hilt.  I am not swayed off yet, it still looks much better than the Prequels, which did have a lot of merit despite the overall disappointment.  Then again, the first teaser for Episode One was damn amazing with the creatures coming out of the fog...


The Penguins of Madagascar Movie Review

Smile and Wave Boys

     With the first feature length film devoted to the best part of the Madagascar movies, the Penguins, we've been delivered a delightful treat.  The covert quartet of Skipper, Kowalski, Rico, and Private are on the job- and their job is to keep us entertained, and I must say, they do it stupendously.
     Penguins is fully-loaded with jokes and visual gags from the moment the film starts and keeps it running all the way through.  Even the celebrity name drops that usually come across as eye-roll inducing, were handled here in a way that is strangely fitting and curiously hilarious even though it shouldn't be.  They even managed to slip in a few nods to the Madagascar movies and a couple cameos.


Jurassic World: First Official Trailer

     After the delightful teaser a couple days ago, we get the full trailer for Jurassic World and it looks quite good.  Hopefully, we get a couple nice cameos though.

      It's never a good idea to make dangerous dinosaurs smarter and then keep them as essentially prisoners.  Never.  And a Sea World like place with, what was that, a liopleurodon?  A kronosaur?  A mosasaur?  A pliosaur?  I don't know, but it was huge.  And far too close to the spectators.  Maybe this film should be called Liability World, because it can only result in disaster for the owners of the park.  Especially since if someone can make velociraptors team up with humans, one would think they'd also be able to instill the ability to not kill people at all.  Something like a genetic version of the Three Laws of Robotics

     Is it too early to pre-order tickets?

Dark Souls II: Scholar of the First Sin: For PS3 & PS4 April 7th, 2015.

     It appears as if our wonderful friends at FromSoftware and Bandai Namco have been hard at work on a really nice project- bringing us an expanded Dark Souls 2 pack coming to both PS3 and PS4.

     "Dark Souls II: Scholar of the First Sin is coming to PS3 and PS4 next year! Not only that, but it will take advantage of the next generation capabilities of PS4, giving fans of the series and newcomers alike updated visuals, rebalanced gameplay, a higher maximum number of players for online play, new and deadlier enemies, a brand new NPC to discover, expanded lore, and new in-game events."

     What is even better is it also comes with the Crown of the Sunken King, Crown of the Old Iron King, and Crown of the Ivory King DLC all included.

     My only question is, if I upgrade from PS3 to PS4 will the game support transfer saves?

     Source [ PSN Blog ]


Escape Dead Island Review (PS3)

     When I began Escape Dead Island, I didn't want lean on the rumors about it.  The fact so many were talking about how terrible the game was doesn't always translate to I won't like it.  That is now a debatable subject now.  Heck, I actually enjoyed The Bureau.  I wanted to give this game the benefit of the doubt.  I really did.

Jurassic World Official Teaser Trailer

     This is both awesome and ridiculous- we are now getting trailers for our trailers.  Anyhow, Jurassic World is looking fairly good with all 10 seconds we get here.

     Of course it is starring Hollywood's current go-to guy Chris Pratt, and I wonder if he's playing an older version of Tim Murphy from the original Jurassic Park?  It is very doubtful, maybe he'll have no relation to any of the previous characters.  
     I just IMDB searched, and Pratt is playing a character named Owen, with no last name given, so maybe he's a son of one of the previous visitors to Isla Nublar...


Batman: Arkham City: NEW Easter Egg Found!!!

     After people searching for remaining Easter Eggs in Rocksteady Studio's masterpiece game Arkham City, a new one has been revealed.  This one involves the character of Calendar Man, who if you visited on specific days like Holidays had extra bits of dialogue giving people extra reason to swing through the game.  For players that didn't want to wait, they could set the console's clock backwards or forwards to trigger the same effect.

     Over three years since it released, there has still been hidden treats for us to find, and for this one, you must set the clock back to the date of Rocksteady Studio's founding, on December 13th 2004- almost a decade ago.  it gives a multi-layered meaning, and a hint towards the end of the Arkham trilogy with the release of Arkham Knight coming in June 2015.  Thanks to Batman Arkham Videos for this find/post.

     For other Dark Knight related posts [ Batman ]

     Easter Egg Humor [ Croc Blocked ]


Last Week Tonight: The Salmon Cannon

     If any of you readers out there know me, you know 95% of my news comes from The Daily Show, The Colbert Report, and Last Week Tonight.  Well, John Oliver proves once again he is a true master of satire and hilarity with his coverage of...  The Salmon Cannon.

     The sheer number of people he gets to go along with these skits is ludicrous.

Penguins of Madagascare: Official Trailer 3, The Cheezy Dibbles Room, and The Penguins Antarctic Documentary

     There's only a week and a few days until the release of The Penguins of Madagascar film hits theaters, so here is the 3rd trailer, a small clip of a glorious Cheezy Dibbles vending machine, and a small documentary.


Never Alone - Kisima Ingitchuna: Launch Trailer

      This game hasn't been getting the attention it deserves, so if you like what you see pick this up.  I'll be getting mine on this Tuesday.  Spread the word, this game looks wonderful.

     Built in partnership with the Alaska Native community, Never Alone is an atmospheric puzzle platformer that explores the harsh and vibrant world of Alaska Native stories. Delve deeply into the traditional lore of the IƱupiat people of the Arctic for a game experience like no other.
     Never Alone will be available Nov. 18th for PS4, Xbox One, and PC.

     For more information [ Never Alone Game ]

Far Cry 3: Vaas: Reason in Sanity

"Did I ever tell you the definition of SPOILERS?"

     Since Far Cry 4 is arriving in a couple days and I realized that I never posted a review of Far Cry 3, I thought I'd do something a little different.  A small reflection on the game.  A bit more specifically, a little reflection on the show stealing star of the game Vaas and his relationship to Jason Brody.

"Did I ever tell you the definition of insanity?"


Escape Dead Island: Official Launch Trailer

   Deep Silver has put up a launch trailer and a handful of screenshots for the release of Escape Dead Island next Tuesday, Nov. 18th.  In this installment we play in a cell-shaded 3rd person game, giving it a much more distinct and unique visual style, greatly separating it from the main Dead Island and Riptide.  For me, at least, I believe I might enjoy this far more than I did the original.

     "Escape Dead Island is a single-player spin off in the Dead Island series. It is a survival mystery, where you follow the story of Cliff Calo as he attempts to uncover the truth about the zombie virus."
     Escape Dead Island will be available for PS3, Xbox 360, and PC for $40.

     The next gen game Dead Island 2 is also in the works, and will be out sometime in 2015 for Playstation 4, Xbox One, and PC.

Tales from the Borderlands: First Trailer!

     After months of waiting we finally get a glimpse into Telltale Games' take on the Gearbox Borderlands franchise.  Tales from the Borderlands has now gotten a full trailer!

     You’ll play as Rhys, a Hyperion ‘suit’ with dreams of being the next Handsome Jack, and Fiona, a Pandoran con artist looking to score her biggest ever swindle. Thrown together as unwilling partners in an adventure to recover cash they both think is theirs, their journey will take you on a wild ride where gangsters, bandit lords, and Vault Hunters are just some of the obstacles you’ll encounter, in this new take on the award-winning universe created by Gearbox Software.

     Tales from the Borderlands will be available before the end of 2014.
          Available on Playstation 3, PS4, Xbox One, Xbox 360, Mac and PC.
          It will be available a bit later on Android and iOS devices as well.

     Playstation and Xbox users can get Episodes 1-5 for $4.99 each or $19.99 for season pass.
     PC and Mac users can only buy the season pass for $24.99.


Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel: Handsome Jack Doppelganger Trailer and Playing Him Thoughts

     Well, the first chunck of Pre-Sequel DLC has dropped in the form of a sexy new playable character.  First, here's the launch trailer:

     Play as everyone’s favorite maniacal tyrant-in-training…or at least his body double. With the Handsome Jack Doppelganger Pack for Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel, use the power of your good looks and charm to distract your enemies into submission. Or, just cut them down to size with your witty banter. Or just shoot them. That works too.
     I've made it to level 16 with Jack's Doppelganger and I have been enjoying it immensely.  For this first run through I'm sticking with "The Hero of this Story" tree and it's been fairly decent.  It's mainly just a placeholder to keep me alive while I plow through the main campaign into True Vault Hunter mode so I can start trying the other 2 trees.
     What I've actually enjoyed much more is all the creepy Handsome Jack hitting on his doppelganger lines.  Every time you hear from him it's his adoration of himself and it is super hilarious to listen to.  It's almost as hilarious as all Wilhelm's dialogue.
     Almost, but not quite.

     Here's my previous post about this DLC Pack [ Jack's Body Double ]

     For more of my Borderlands Posts [ Click Here ]


TMNT: Danger of the Ooze: PS3 Review

     A Preface to the Review
It starts with such a great homage to the original NES TMNT.
     It's been years since we've had a truly great Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles game.  The last one that made a lasting impact that I recall, and still play today, was TMNT the beat-em-up based on the 2007 movie with the same title on the Game Boy Advance (GBA).

     Recently we've gotten TMNT: Out of the Shadows, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles the Nickelodeon based show game, and the Michael Bay movie tie-in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles game for the Nintendo 3DS.  None of them were noteworthy in any way, and they were all pretty terrible.  The only decent one is the Bay TMNT tie-in on iOS and Android mobile devices.  Honestly, even these two Nickelodeon web-based games are better than the lot that we've gotten- Donnie Saves a Princess and Ninja Turtle Tactics.

     To me it seemed to be games to keep a licensed franchise going for the sake of it and nothing else.  Sadly even WayForward Games couldn't live up to their name in making Danger of the Ooze.  Wayforward has a history of really good 2D platforming action games such as the Ducktales: Remastered, the Shantae series, and Thor: God of Thunder for the DS.  I'll actually also mention all their Spongebob Squarepants games as well, because they are all quite good, at least the GBA ones.
     So when I heard Activision was partnering with WayForward I was excited.  Then when I heard the game was going to be a "metroidvania" game I was a bit skeptical, but still held hope.

     The Game Review

Looking for pizza, late for training!
     The story is nestled between season 2 and 3, and the Shredder has somehow gotten hold of Super Mutagen.  That is as much as you would need to know about the story, and it gains no extra depth by the end.  This whole plot could've been squashed into a 22 minute episode, but they've managed to stretch it into 4 or 5 hours of tedium.  Even the other characters like Casey Jones, April O'Neil, and Slash appear to serve as nothing more than cameos to bestow a new ability upon you seem like a contractually forced obligation.  It lacks everything that makes the Nickelodeon show so great.  There isn't any heart or soul behind it.

     Taking the metroidvania style of 2D exploration, one might think this to be an interesting take on the TMNT.  With the metroidvania style of unlocking new skills that allow you to progress into new areas of the map over the course of the game.  Unfortunately, this type of game is severely hindered by poor hit detection, boring combat and enemies, and platforming that always feels just out of reach.  Every bit f backtracking felt like a huge chore instead of something to look forward to.  Having to destroy the same 3 enemies ad nauseam becomes a genuinely good reason to stop playing a game and I really wonder how many kids will make it to the halfway point of the game because of it.
     On the flip side of this, with each new skill, such as shuriken tossing, double jumping, or a dash, makes the combat slightly less cumbersome.  Near the 60% mark I decided it was much swifter and easier just to run and bypass all the enemies possible.  It saved a lot of annoyance during the running back and forth time.

Typical 2D platforming time.
     The only good thing is the fact you may choose any of the 4 turtles at will and swap them in or out as you please.  One problem with this is all 4 play nearly identical and offer no real difference other than choosing who you want to waste a life bar with on a boss fight.

     When I think about it, this game appears to have been aimed at kids, but the difficulty level seems much too high for them at times- notably the final boss fight.  Fighting the Shredder was challenging mainly because it takes a different form than anything else in the game.  You can only damage him indirectly when an extremely short prompt shows up once in a great while.  I had a 4 minute period where he just kept attacking and when the prompt finally came, he wasn't near only thing that could damage him, making me wait through the cycles again.  No explanation is given, there are no hints, nothing.  I actually feel bad for any kids that manage to make it here because it's preposterously hard compared to the rest of the game.

     What the game does right is a couple things.  Right away when you go to enter a name, Michelangelo steps up and gives you a random one.  A small, but nice touch.  Another thing I noticed was if you enter somewhere with a boss and the turtles speak, each turtle has different lines.  That is also nice, but it won't make me want to play any more than I have.  The animations are only OK, and the cutscenes have awful lip syncing issues.

The game was definitely a trap.
     Having said that, some of negative aspects of the game could've been overlooked had WayForward added more fan service and a lot more from the source material, but there wasn't.  While I applaud the fact WayForward took a chance in making a new type of TMNT game, it seems to empty.  Danger of the Ooze is not nearly the worst Turtles game around, but it isn't even remotely close to the best either.  I still look forward to a time when we get a game that takes the TMNT universe and gives us something 4 player, fun, and memorable.  As it is Danger of the Ooze is an empty shell and it feels like a simple cash grab.  Maybe if it was $15 instead of $40 it might not have felt like such a poor decision to buy.

     For more of my Turtles posts [ TMNT ]


Home: PS4: Game Review

     I'd heard about Home quite some time ago on the Playstation Blog, and it has finally arrived via the PSN.  I picked it up on a whim because it looked both interesting, and had the very reasonable price tag of $2.99 which includes cross buy so I can play it on my PS Vita.

A Definite Reference to Poe's A Cask of Amontillado
     Home claims to subtly change with your decisions throughout the game but after numerous plays the changes are fairly useless.  In this respect the ambiguity of storytelling is a hindrance, and the things hinted always led me to pretty much the same conclusion at the end.  But I must applaud the effort, and I really am curious if this concept can be made to work on a much larger scale for future games.

     Because of the game's brevity, taking only about an hour to make it through to the end of the game, I can't talk too much about what the plot is without possibly spoiling things.  It begins with a man waking up in a strange place, and him attempting to recall the series of events that led him to where he was.  He must pick up pieces and decide whether or not he picked something up or did he really do specific actions.  Each action you choose is how the character relates his story- "Did I pick up the gun?" or "Did I take the photo?"  The sum of your actions only really matter in a couple small changes at the end, and only one decision alters the meat of the story in any way.  One pivotal moment surrounded by a handful of fairly frivolous choices.

     I think my reason for not fully standing by Home as a revolutionary game is the fact that this is a murder mystery where you decide what to believe, so even if the evidence says one thing, you may choose to not believe it- and that can be a problem.  If all the signs point to one particular interpretation, you can still deny believing it, going contrary to all provided evidence.  To me it feels like the illusion of a shifting story.  There's a trail of bodies and a mystery, but if you are someone that truly explores there are enough hints to point you in the right direction.  Meaning the solution to this puzzle is interpreting it, not necessarily how the facts are shown.

     Because I don't want to be too harsh towards this game I must say that it's sound effects are great and add a tremendous layer to the atmosphere.  The simple pixelated graphics don't detract from the play at all, and it was a nice little experience, like playing an interactive version of the story that so clearly inspired Home, Edgar Allen Poe's A Cask of Amontillado.  This is a short and sweet game that can be played and enjoyed in one sitting.

     For a meager $3 Home is a decent game, and worth a playthrough.  Overall it is an interesting idea, it just wasn't executed as well as it could have been.  I still recommend giving this a try.  Put on some headphones and turn out the lights.  It's a neat little experience that might get you questioning what really happened.  With that being said, I genuinely believe both Lone Survivor and The Last Door have handled this type of game much better.  (Disclaimer, I played a free copy of The Last Door chapter 1, then donated/bought a full copy of the game.)

     As a very interesting side, the Official Home site has a place where you may post your thoughts and read others' posts about what they think really happened.  [ Home: What Happened ]
     Personally I think the story was made so vague that we could impose too much of anything we want over what was really going on.  There is enough to point fingers in a number of directions, and the more things you examine, the the closer to a concrete ending you can have, assuming you "choose" to believe it.
     When it comes down to it, I would very much like to see another game like this in a much larger production, and I hope Ben Rivers' next game, Alone With You, keeps up the good work.


Minions: Official Trailer (of Despicable Me)

     These guys have been the highlight of the Despicable Me films and it's about damn time they got their own film.  The fact the trailer sounds like a BBC Planet Earth or a National Geographic series makes it so much more hilarious.

     Coming Summer 2015.

     For more info check out [ minionsmovie.com ]

     And as a side note, this post I did about the Minion's Fart Blaster toy still gives me a chuckle.

          [ Best toy ever. ]


Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel: Handsome Jack Doppelganger DLC Pack

     This announcement is something I've been waiting for since at least Nov. 15, 2012.  Almost exactly two full years after my post about potential future additional playable DLC characters for Borderlands 2, we get one of the ones I've been wanting.

     So the first DLC pack for Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel, we get a Jack Doppelganger that summons two Digi-Jacks to back him up.  As the official Borderlands website states:
     Jack has stood by for far too long watching the Vault Hunters go on exciting adventures, so he’s decided to join in on the fun…sort of.  With the Handsome Jack Doppelganger Pack, you’ll be able to play as everyone’s favorite maniacal tyrant-in-training, “Jack” the Doppelganger. As “Jack,” you’ll be able to summon multiple Digi-Jacks, which will join you in battle to mow down enemies and earn you more sweet, sweet loot.
     Depending on how you spec out your Skill Trees, these Digi-Jacks can earn you bonuses or even get you a Second Wind in Fight For Your Life. “Jack” can also shoot enemies with wrist lasers, get buffs every time he picks up money (in typical CEO fashion), or even get upgrades for using guns made by specific manufacturers.
     Additionally, there will always be 2 Digi-Jacks on the field.  If one dies, another digi-structs next to you!

     Out of curiosity I wonder if this particular Doppelganger will be Timothy, the one we hear about in the ECHO log recordings from Jack's Office?  Since the one we killed in Opportunity in Borderlands 2 didn't have the surgery, he used the pocketwatch tech to digi-struct a holographic look of Jack around an engineer, it is more than likely not Timothy, so we could see more of him in Borderlands 2's sequel.  It's a possibility.  I mean with the fact there were multiple body doubles, there could be a few more Jack's still out there...

     The Handsome Jack Doppelganger DLC Pack will be available on Nov. 11.
          It will be released on PS3, Xbox 360, and PC. ($29.99 instead of $39.96- $10 off!)
          Price: Free for Season pass holders, $9.99 otherwise.

     Afterward notes.  From what I've read, the Pre-Sequel's DLC's are to be 2 characters (Jack's double, the Baroness, a level cap raise, and one campaign DLC.  This actually makes me a bit angry, I was looking for forward to a slew of small campaign add-ons, instead of two characters and a level cap boost.  Don't get me wrong, I will be playing all of it, but I just want more game.  Even if they are small like the Headhunter Packs it would be great to add more story.  I picked up the season pass under the impression we'd be getting more actual campaign material.

     Plus the fact that it's rumored that both bonus characters and the level cap were already on disc is a little bit aggravating.  (The data was data-mined on the disc by players.)  Granted, that could just be the base coding while they are fixing, patching, and prepping the stuff to add later.

     It just feels like a letdown that we aren't yet getting more story after the wealth of DLC Borderlands 2 got.  The official page above says "the current plans are to include another character, a level cap upgrade, a new campaign, and more!" so I shouldn't worry too much yet.  Perhaps we'll get more short DLC packs or a 2nd season pass.  Borderlands 2 had 4 campaign DLCs and then a ton extras, is it too much to hope for the same here?

     For more of my Borderlands posts [ Click Here ]