The Witcher Battle Arena: Short Review

     CD Projekt Red and Fuero Games have brought us an interesting game- The Witcher Battle Arena, a portable MOBA (Multiplayer Online Battle Arena) game.  I got this free-to-play on my Android Note 3 and it runs decently (it's also available on iOS devices).  It holds enough entertainment value for me to jump on for a couple rounds every day, but not enough to warrant much more investment yet.  I bought a character and a skin, and earned all the rest of the loot through play.

     Due to the game being phone or tablet based, the limitations are very noticeable.  It is a game that consists of capturing and holding 3 checkpoints for longer than the enemies until whoever loses the 500 points each 3 person team starts with.  There aren't really large maps- of the 2 currently available one has nothing preventing open combat, and the other has small waterways that slow players down just a bit.  Killing the opposing team during the point captures and controlling multiple points aids the process and speeds the countdown, but this is the bare minimum of gameplay.  That is all there is to it- capture and kill.  Simple.  Effective.

     Right away, players begin with their choice of one of 3 characters (of 9 total) to play as rotating free characters that change each week. While you may play characters free right off the bat you can purchase them for either real money, or in game "crowns" that are earned in any of the game modes.  You begin with 750 crowns, so you can purchase any character you want immediately.  There is PVP, Co-Op team play against AI, and a Practice mode- all of them earn rewards in the form of crowns and/or loot, which can be broken down for crowns.  There are many options in the shop to buy extra weapons and skins for each character as well with in app purchases or crowns.
     With the inventory you have loot to expand upon skills and attributes for each of your characters with 5 equipment slots.  Arms, legs and torso along with two item slots for in game use, replenishable at the yellow circles on the map.  Once again, simple and effective.

     After playing for quite some time I can honestly say there is a huge imbalance with some of the characters like the Operator and Geralt being particularly overpowered.  This problem becomes very apparent on the higher difficulties with the AI.  Making this a much harder thing to deal with is there is no way to communicate with any team members.  I played many games where, as Eithne I was a ranged character that had nothing in the way of defense and couldn't call for help or line up team tactics.  I did, however find a really good balance of equipment and skills to give me a chance against a team of tanks (and liberal use of the free moving camera button in the bottom left corner- her ultimate skill can be a devastating surprise to enemies.  I even got a 3 person kill with a combination of Path of Thorns to hold them on a bridge then Piercing Arrow as I was backing away!)

     To remedy this to a small degree there are plenty of options that expand as you level each character up.  Skills can be adjusted for speed, damage, or even range extensions- all on a give and take slider- set by the player for their own play style.  You can sacrifice something to gain something else.  The higher the level, the higher the degree of change you can make.  I found it to be very helpful in creating the character I wanted to play.  I had to make someone that could survive alone, and then worry about supporting my silent teammates.
     The only bonus to this is that the characters all play distinctly, they all have varying abilities and strengths which is a great thing to begin with.  With a few tweaks, the balance may come and create a much more level playing field.

     Sadly, that's where the good ends.  The controls can have a lag which will result in quick deaths or the character doing something you had no intention of doing, there's currently only 2 maps, and the load times continually take a lengthier time than they rightfully should.  They should be much faster for the goal of mobile play- I've had matches that were shorter than the load times and that isn't right at all.  Connectivity is often problematic, and I've been dropped from many games.  I've had a few where I was frozen in place while the others could all continue freely.  Not terrible, but a little irritating.  There's been a couple times where I lost my best inventory items.
     There's also no friends list or invitation abilities, which is a huge mistake right now.  Many people want to play with friends and there isn't even an option for it.  Matchmaking could be a major benefit for this game- which might relieve some of the character imbalances as well.

     I do think with time and the promise of future expansion this game can be adjusted into something much better than it currently is- maybe bigger maps, more characters, matchmaking, or even different play modes.  There's a ton of room for growth here.  The Witcher Battle Arena isn't the greatest of games, but it's definitely not the worst- so I'd say check it out with the hopes it'll get better by the time The Witcher 3 hits the market, there is a lot of potential here.

     For the official site: [ The Witcher Battle Arena ]


Official FANTASTIC FOUR Trailer (Josh Trank)

     After waiting a very long time, and hearing about many problems from this (such as reshoots and the casting decisions), I think the official Fantastic Four trailer isn't to bad.  Sure, it's got the over-dramatic music and has some bland shots, but it's also got some really intriguing ones as well.  We'll have to wait and judge it later when we actually see it.

     So by the looks of it, they are sort of using the Ultimate Fantastic Four universe- maybe entering the Negative Zone to get their powers.  It looks interesting and I'll keep being hopeful for now.  Plenty of us recall seeing other Marvel properties that looked great as trailer, wind up as complete messes.  Hopefully, Trank has kept this on a smaller scale.  I don't want to see a global problem- just show us a tightly knit story about people saving a city, not the world.  In the larger sense they can, but keep it contained.  Keep it small.
     As for the cast, I think they are all pretty damn good.  Hell, Toby Kebbell should've gotten an award for his role in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, Michael B Jordan was great in Chronicle, Jamie Bell was amazing in The Eagle, and so on.  They are all great.


Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel 3rd DLC: Lady Aurelia Hammerlock Playable Character

     Gearbox has announced the 3rd official DLC, another character, for Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel at the PAX South 2015.  IGN has posted a video showing the neat team-active benefits of Aurelia pairing with another player including damage buffs and shield recharges.  With each player gaining something out of a contract made with a slap- distance and money between characters and enemies make for a curious way to play.  Focusing on cryo and sniping Lady Hammerlock looks to be an interesting new addition to the Vault Hunter gang.

     Here's a press release blurb:
     "Aurelia is the heir of the Hammerlock family fortune, but when she's not riding her hoverbike through the endless hallways of her orbital turbomansion, she's out hunting the latest and greatest game in the galaxy. If these expeditions should put her in conflict with her younger brother Alistair – aka Sir Hammerlock – all the better. The only thing more fun than shooting a rare animal Alistair intended to study is the look of abject horror and surprise on his face once Aurelia wears its carcass like a jaunty scarf."
     Lady Hammerlock will be available Jan 27th. Free for season pass holders, $9.99 otherwise.

     At the end of the IGN video (link below) they have a "can't talk about it" larger campaign add-on in the future works mentioned, which is much needed after 2 characters and a horde wave non-campaign DLC have all been released.

     Source [ IGN ]


Children of Morta: Kickstarter Begins

     Yesterday the Kickstarter for Children of Morta officially began.  Since the first time I saw it back in October 2014, it's been continually impressive and I can say I'll probably be backing the project.

     The Kickstarter Launch Trailer:

     Children of Morta is Dead Mage Studios's 2D pixelated hack-n-slasher and here's the official blurb:
Journey with a family of guardians that will stay together to fight the newfound evil corrupting their beautiful mountain and their lands. Be part of a world of fantasy and mysteries.
Children of Morta is a story-driven hack ‘n slash game incorporating the elements of the roguelike genre, where you will go on an adventure with the guardian family of Bergsons.
The family have lived on the outskirts of Mount Morta, guarding it for many generations. As a tragic event in Morta corrupts the roots of life deep in the mountain, all the creatures turn into furious, mindless monsters. Now the land’s only hope is for the Bergsons to find the seeds of life and use them to cleanse the corruption.
     The estimated release for Children of Morta is Oct. 2015 and will be available DRM Free on Steam as well as Windows, Mac, and Linux- with the potential to be expanded to Playstation, Xbox, and Nintendo's Wii U.
      For those that missed them, here's the Debut Trailer:

     and the Story Trailer:

     Source [ Kickstarter ]


The X-Files May be Reopened.

     In a bit of a surprise FOX's CEO/co-chairman team of Dana Walden and Gary Newman gave a little surprise for us during the Television Critics Association press tour.  In a list of things they're attempting to reinvigorate old properties, including The X-Files.

     This revival of the series that ended in 2002 is currently in discussion at FOX.  As yet there are no confirmed details or official announcements other than the fact that the process has begun.  So far they've contacted both main stars David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson as well as creator Chris Carter.  Walden has stated that there is a timing issue and that they won't move forward without Carter on board.  Still, though, that leaves fans with a little bit of that same hope Mulder always holds.  The truth is out there, and hopefully it lands right back on our televisions.
"We've had some conversations on X-Files and we're hopeful that we'll bring that back," Gary Newman.      
     In addition, Gillian Anderson had even told the Nerdist that she'd be "F***ing overjoyed" to reprise her role just a few days ago.  Things are looking good so far, even if it is only in the discussions phase.  Personally, I would very much like this to happen.  If they can get a good range of episodes including a couple like my favorites- "Clyde Bruckman's Final Repose" and "Jose Chung's 'From Outer Space'"- I too will be "f***ing overjoyed."

     Source [ Comic Book Movie ]


Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 2 Update: Bebop & Rocksteady Plus Film Date

     During an interview with Collider about their new time travel movie Project Almanac producers Brad Fuller and Andrew Form the duo let out that Bebop & Rocksteady had both been designed for the last Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, but there were too many other characters already in the film.
     Here's what Form said, “We designed and we did lots of work on all of them and then only so many fit in the box and luckily we have another chance to make another one of these movies and some of those characters that got cut out of the first one can make it into the second one.”
     Form has also given us the time when the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles sequel will begin filming.
“We’re in prep right now.  We start shooting in New York in April.”
     That's decent news for the new TMNT franchise fans.

     Source [ Collider ]

     For more of my [ TMNT posts ]


Avengers: Age of Ultron: 2nd Trailer

     Here we go with some Age of Ultron hype.

     It looks like we'll be getting a lot more infighting before the heroes learn to work together once again to defeat Ultron.

     Avengers: Age of Ultron arrives in theaters May 1st.


Ant-Man: First Full Trailer and Thoughts

     We finally get the first full, non-ant-sized trailer and it looks pretty good.  I'm still a bit sad Wright left, but it will hold enough of his touch to be still notable.

     I had written in a post on 03.21.2013 this nice bit of goodness:
     Wright has a history of more lighthearted things like Shaun of the Dead, Spaced, Hot Fuzz, and most notably the wonderful handled video-game influenced Scott Pilgrim vs. the World.  Which makes me wonder why he wouldn't want to go with the more morally ambiguous Irredeemable Ant-Man, Eric O'Grady.  Considering he was made by Robert Kirkman creator of The Walking Dead.  It would seem to be a much more fitting character for Wright, as the "hero" is highly reluctant, but ends up thrust into situations where he at least tries to do some good, and mostly sucks at it.  O'Grady, a low level S.H.I.E.L.D. agent, gets the suit from his best friend that had it when he died, and he primarily uses it for voyeuristic business, and as such he would make an interesting Ant-Man to watch, as he repeatedly lies, steals, cheats, but then tries to fit in by renouncing his ways and attempting to be a hero.  He would be the type of guy that would stop a robber, then shrink to tiny size to steal candy bars from a vending machine.
     And in a post on 06.07.2014 I wrote:
 "Armed with the astonishing ability to shrink in scale but increase in strength, con-man Scott Lang (Paul Rudd) must embrace his inner-hero and help his mentor, Dr. Hank Pym (Michael Douglas), protect the secret behind his spectacular Ant-Man suit from a new generation of towering threats. Against seemingly insurmountable obstacles, Pym and Lang must plan and pull off a heist that will save the world."
     So they are going with the Robert Kirkman, of Invincible and The Walking Dead fame, written Ant-Man series- and that is what I'm most excited for- The Irredeemable Ant-Man.  A hero that uses his powers to spy on Ms. Marvel in the shower and punch old guys in the nuts, what more could we want?
     So while Rudd isn't playing O'Grady, and Edgar Wright left the project, he does seem to have some of the traits of The Irredeemable Ant-Man.  Enough to make him skirt the lines between hero and villain and make this almost a redemption story by what the trailer shows.  Marvel hasn't really produced any really bad movies- although Thor: The Dark World was less than optimal, Ant-Man is already looking to be great and will keep their cinematic universe held to a high standard.

     Ant-Man will arrive in theaters on July 17.

     PS- I still can't get over how ingenious the ant-sized trailer was.


Ant-Man: Marvel's First Ant-Sized Teaser Trailer Preview!

     OK, This is an absolutely brilliant teaser trailer to the real trailer for Ant-Man which will debut on Marvel's Agent Carter 2 hour series premiere Jan. 6th at 7pm CT on ABC.

     They've miniaturized the trailer to the size of an ant's movie screen.

     Whoever thought of this is an evil genius!