12.21.2016

Marvel Future Fight: Thoughts on Netmarble, Kabam, and the Possibility of Mutants

      A couple days ago news broke of Korean game giant Netmarble is purchasing a majority of Canadian Kabam's assets- with it's extremely lucrative licensed ties to Marvel, Universal, and Warner Bros.  Though, the thing I'm particularly interested in here is how the Marvel games will be effected.



     It's estimated that 95% of Kabam's income (over 450 million since Dec. 2014) came from the IAP heavy Contest of Champions, a game I found to be decent but HIGHLY repetitive, so this might be a huge hit in their production budgets.  On the opposite end of this Netmarble's far superior game Marvel Future Fight might not make as much money (couldn't find comparative figures for this) it's a much better game in so many ways.  It's a much more action RPG type game with loads of multiplayer additions and things to do. Contest is a basic 2D fighter. 
     My intrigue with this business deal comes from the fact that Contest of Champions has a one singular thing I see as better than Future Fight- the mutant populace.

     It is doubtful that well be getting mutants any time soon in Future Fight, but this does offer a slight ray of hope for our x-gene friends of the X-Men universe.  It's also a bit concerning that Marvel is pushing the comics from the mutants more towards Inhuman, meaning we have even less of a chance at seeing the popular mutants arrive any time soon.  I mean look at the crap Marvel did with Squirrel Girl, a long-time mutant, was altered to be now a non-mutant, meaning Fox can't cash in on the very profitable film rights while Marvel now can make tons of money off her popularity.  Marvel tends not to like to share.  But I'll be keeping my fingers crossed that we may still someday see characters like Colossus, Storm, or Wolverine in Future Fight.

     Source [ Wall Street Journal ] via [ Venture Beat ]

12.17.2016

Marvel's Venom-ized Variant Covers

     Despite my waning interest in Marvel's comics' comic-book universe they still get me with a few things to keep me coming back.

     While I'm not really impressed with the new run of Venom, these recently released upcoming Venom-ized variant covers for all their monthly books are pretty damn cool.

     I mean, just Yasmine Putri's Gwenpool is downright superb.  It's a brilliant use of Symbiote as costume, with the Gwenpool flair of shorts.  The black, white, and pink color scheme works perfectly, and the whole image flows nicely.  Very awesome job to Yasmine Putri on this!
     The Ghost Rider is one great, Spider-Gwen's is a cool design, and the Squirrel Girl has the Symbiote on Tippy Toe.  It's nice they put it on the supporting character instead of the main, it gives a little bit of an added punch for interest.

     To see 23 of the 25 total covers head to:
          -Comic Book Resources [ CBR ]

12.16.2016

Pre-registrations for Star Wars: Force Arena Have Begun!

Pre-registrations for Netmarble's new free-to-play mobile MOBA Star Wars: Force Arena have begun just in time for the release of Star Wars: Rogue One.



With over 60 upgradeable characters, ranging from classic icons like Luke Skywalker to newer ones such as Ezra Bridger, Force Arena players must create a team of characters and lead them into real-time PvP battles with other players.

In competing for galactic dominance players have the option of either 1v1 or 2v2 matches.  They'll need to collect their favorite characters, decide whether they want to be a Rebel or Imperial, build customizable decks of controllable sub-units like Stormtroopers, and utilize strategic advantages such as pairing the legendary duo of Han Solo and Chewbacca to gain the upper hand in defeating opponents.

Players will be competing for special rewards, characters, and bonus items on a global leaderboards.

Did I mention that by pre-registering for Star Wars: Force Arena players can get up to 1,400 crystals and 10,000 credits free?

The fate of the galaxy is in our hands.

Pre-register via [ Google Play ] or [ Email ]

12.15.2016

STYX: Shards of Darkness: 2nd Gameplay Trailer

     Cyanide Studios' curmudgeonly amber-addicted goblin assassin Styx has gotten a whole new gameplay trailer for the highly anticipated sequel to Master of Shadows called Shards of Darkness.
     After the fall of the tower of Akenash, rumor of an impregnable diplomatic summit has lured Styx out of hiding.  Infiltrating the Dark Elf city of Korrangar, he sneaks his way in to find the event is just a deception...


     In Shards of Darkness, Styx's arsenal has been expanded greatly.  New weapons, such as a crossbow that can kill, tranquilize, and set off traps, and skills like a teleport to clone are fully at his disposal.  He's got new moves such as more fluid climbing abilities like zip-lining and rope-swinging.  There is also an awesome and useful new craftable item called the Acid Trap that can help dissolve armored enemies and eliminate those pesky hard-to-hide dead bodies.
     New bestiary, new enemies, and new side-missions to complete have also been included.  Probably the most notable new addition to the sequel is a co-operative mode, allowing players to join friend's games and play together.  And of course a lot of new story with actually animated cinematics.

     This looks to be a case of taking an awesome game and making a sequel better in every way possible.

     Styx: Shards of Darkness sneaks onto PS4, Xbox One, and PC in March 2017.

     For related posts click [ STYX ]

12.11.2016

The Mummy: Tom Cruise, Horror, and My Thoughts

     I'm not going to lie, when I first heard Universal wanted to reboot their monster movie franchises as a sort of group meetup like an Avengers-featuring horror icons like the Mummy, Invisible Man, Wolfman, and Dracula- I was a little excited.  You know, getting back to the roots of horror film classics and slowly bring them together into one grand story down the road.


     But of course, I should've known better.  After watching the trailer it should've been evident that Universal would completely disregard what made those old films classics by tossing out horror film tension for short-term action spectacle. and ignoring all the substance that made them the special timeless characters they are.  The Tom Cruise version of The Mummy. is a typical Cruise staple- action, running, absurd stunts, and the all too common world threatening events.  What happened to the small and intimate stories?  In the right hands a monster movie can be the simplest story of one hero and one villain and still maintain a tremendous amount of emotion and tension if done properly- it could be an unbelievably moving experience.

     It's getting really irritating that the studios keep putting big names* up as the leads in these films- it winds up shoehorning the story to fit certain molds.  We know Tom Cruise won't truly die.  We know his peril is only on the surface and he'll never be subject to some awful fate.  The trailer even features some of Cruise's most common activities- running from explosions, riding in crashing planes, and looking generally confused about a plot he hasn't figured out yet.  I mean look at the extremely amazing Edge of Tomorrow, it should've ended with him blowing the hell out of the creature at the end and dying- then it should've cut to a scene much later with the military digging through the rubble and piecing the story together and not that stupid forced love-story happy ending they went with.  The studios pull punches to tell a safe story, and not take the chance that the better tale will strike well with audiences.  I mean if they let pieces of shit like Dracula Untold, Hugh Jackman's Van Helsing, or Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters why can't they make more films like the original version of Let the Right One In (definitely not the American remake)?  Something extremely well done with great care, wonderful subtlety, and true horror tension behind it.

     We need something more films like Scorsese's Dracula  rather than Brendan Fraser's Mummy.  Mind you, I'm not saying the film will be bad, but I just have very little faith in it as a real horror film.  What we'll likely get is a typical Cruise action movie with the faces of horror plastered over it giving us in the end an entertaining yet hollow end product.  We could use a good dose of fear and terror on the big screen.  We want real dread.  We crave the terror.  We need the fright of things like the original Poltergeist, not the more recent wave of cheap jump-scare garbage and gore-porn crap that studios seem to be churning out and attempting to pass off as horror.  We want people who understand what makes things fundamentally scary first, and then add action later.

     Please studios, remedy this problem swiftly, audiences will appreciate the smart and tense films much more than the explosion-filled action pieces.

*A note on the big names- if they could get the right Director's to make the big names go with the roles without the actors holding sway over the stories they're in then I might have a different view.  Though I do think it's awesome that Sofia Boutella is playing the Mummy.  She's been quite good in her last few roles.

12.05.2016

Marvel Future Fight: Official Trailer for Asgard Update 2.7.0 (Update Arrives Wed. December 7th!)

[ UPDATE: IS ALREADY LIVE!!! ]

     The new Marvel Future Fight update is arriving much swifter than I had anticipated, hitting this Wednesday with the pre-update server maintenance occurring on 12/6 16:00 ~ 12/7 01:00 (UTC+0) and 12/6 08:00 AM ~ 12/6 05:00 PM (PST).


     Firstly, we'll be getting 7 new characters, Odin, the Warriors Three (Fandral, Hogun, and Volstagg), Hela, Ulik, and lastly the Enchantress will finally be arriving in game after a leak from early 2015.  Sadly, Odin looks to be only obtainable after completing the new chapter 12 stage 8, and can only be leveled up with Black Anti-matter, other character biometrics for experience and Chaotic Norn Stones for mastery.  Enchantress is locked behind the 20 Biometrics Daily selector package, which really isn't terrible, and the rest will be through standard level biometrics in the new chapters.  I also noticed that Malekith bios will also be in the chapters, which is a nice change.
     Speaking of daily biometrics, each level will now offer 10, boosted from the previous 5, which of course used to only be a meager 3 each day per stage.

     In addition, Thor, Sif, and Silk are getting great new costumes.  As always, they'll be on sale for their initial arrival.  The new upgrade material is Uru (awesome), a new World Boss Invasion has been added, and the top S.H.I.E.L.D. player level is being raised to 70.  There's a ton of other little changes, but I'm just pumped for the major characters and costumes right now.  Seriously, check out the link below for all the details.  There is a huge amount of stuff in this update, which explains why it took longer than many of the previous ones.

     Netmarble has made another amazing update to the best Marvel mobile game around.

     For the full update info [ Marvel Future Fight ]

     Related Future Fight [ POSTS ]

12.03.2016

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2: First Full Trailer

     Of course there's no surprise, baby Groot steals every scene in the trailer.  The full trailer gives us a bunch of little hints, a big monster, and we finally see Mantis.  Awesome.


     Guardians of the Galaxy vol. 2 hits theaters May 2017.

The Last of Us 2: Official Trailer and Thoughts

     Naughty Dog has brought us back to the lives of Ellie and Joel with the highly anticipated announcement of The Last of Us part 2.  They have yet to disappoint with a game, and I'd expressed hope that any sequels to this series would leave both Ellie and Joel out and go with other stories in the same world, but this does have me intrigued despite that fact.


     Before the Left Behind DLC dropped, I had talked about the ending being quite clear- Joel wasn't just selfishly lying for himself, he was giving Ellie a choice, and I think that simple fact will tie directly into this sequel.  Honestly, Naughty Dog will have a lot to live up to, and perhaps they can find a way to balance the intense emotional journey with some of the irritating game mechanics of the first game.  A good shiv shouldn't break after 2 damn uses.  It's a damned annoying mechanic in every single survival game made.

     I also wonder, but very much doubt, if they'll give us a small PS Vita game tie in.  Maybe some other stories in the world of The Last of Us, but done in a manner as Uncharted: The Golden Abyss was.

     The Last of Us 2 has no release date, and is "still in early development."

12.02.2016

Marvel Future Fight: 2.7.0 Update: Interim Report 2 & Thoughts

     It really isn't any surprise that the character Netmarble teased for the 2.7.0 "Asgard" Update is the Unworthy Thor.  Most of us assumed it would be with a few oddballs thinking it might be Taskmaster- which doesn't make sense either for the Asgard part or for the cape color.


     There's two new locales, Asgard and Muspelheim, being probably chapters 11 and 12 due to the Black Bolt image displaying a chapter 12 mission in the upper left corner.  We are also getting a new material, and the typical new characters and costumes.
     Maybe we'll finally see the Enchantress who was datamined way back in July 2015.  I suppose we might see other new characters like the Warriors Three (Fandral, Hogun, and Volstagg), perhaps Beta Ray Bill, Valkyrie, Heimdall, Thunderstrike (lol), or maybe even Surtur (because of Muspelheim).  Though I doubt that we'll see him, but only because they left the dreaded Dormammu out of the Doctor Strange update, which seems completely ridiculous.  On the other hand we are almost certainly getting Odin, who the new teaser pic below could be.
     There's a decent chance we'll see new costumes for Angela, Destroyer, Jane Foster, Malekith, and Sif.  Jane and Sif really need some new looks as they each only have one.  Plus, I'm crossing my fingers we'll receive new costumes for some non-Asgard related characters, as we got a few extras with the Strange update.


     To read the full interim report [ Mobirum ]

     For Marvel Future Fight related [ POSTS ]

12.01.2016

Shakedown Hawaii: A 16-Bit Upgrade from Retro City Rampage: PSX 2016 Trailer

     It's been an entire year since the last bit of news about indie game developer Brian Provinciano's homage-fueled follow-up to the tremendous Retro City Rampage, called Shakedown: Hawaii, but low- yesterday we received the gloriously pixelated PSX 2016 trailer.


     This game evolves it mayhem from the 8-Bit world to that of the 16-Bit, moving from the era of NES to that of the Super NES.  The story follows "The Player," the same protagonist from Retro City Rampage, and moves him 30 years into his future.  He's become older, fatter, and balder as he steps out of his corporate empire's boardroom and on to the streets in an effort to destroy the rising competition.

     Shakedown: Hawaii will be coming to Nintendo, Steam, and Playstation in 2017.

11.28.2016

Space Farter: Review

     Polish indie developer Fastfinger Games have created what amounts to the most entertaining runner game possible with Space Farter.  In an attempt to avert the most embarrassing disaster a person can endure, players must race the clock to the toilet before their bowels let out.  Using farts to assist jumps, and belches to eliminate traps and enemies, players make their way through dangerous pathways to the restroom.  Through 30 hilarious levels, players aren't just racing an interstellar case of IBS, they are desperately collecting all the toilet paper and food they can to stave off a colonic catastrophe on that trek.

(Note: The farting sound effects are NOT in this trailer)

     Space Farter has a good control layout, with the stop and go button with the "attack" belch button on the left, and the jump and slide buttons on the right.  The jump also can be double-tapped and held for a floating flatulation ability, and the run/stop button can be held during a jump to drop straight down.  The controls aren't just simple and effective, they add levels of complexity to the game.  The level design offers more than a singular route in later stages meaning there's a surprising amount of challenge and depth behind what amounts to an interactive fart joke.
     Though, I did notice some unresponsiveness that was frustrating at times with the double-tap and hold to float not triggering properly.  That problem becomes a little bit more of an irritation because there are some areas in levels that require extremely quick movements, and even the slightest lag or unresponsiveness can result in an instant death.  It isn't terrible, and isn't too often, but it is there as a small annoyance.

     On the whole, Space Farter is a game that, at first glance, might be overlooked because its silly juvenile material, but as someone that typically doesn't enjoy runners, I can honestly tell you that Space Farter gave me more than enough to keep me well invested.  The levels offer quite a bit of challenge, the art style is very clean and stylized, and the music keeps a good tempo for making the mad dash to the bathroom.  It also helps that the sound effects provide plenty of humor and giggles.  Intestinal distress hasn't been this fun or engaging for a long time, and I definitely recommend giving Space Farter a go.

     Space Farter is 99 cents on [ iOS* ] or [ Android ]
*Due to the iTunes guidelines, the game will launch under the censored name- "Space Farther"

Review copy provided, Thank you!

11.22.2016

NVRLND: Issue 4 Review (451 Entertainment)

SEX, DUST, & ROCK-N-ROLL

     Writer/creator duo Stephanie Salyers and Dylan Mulick have taken their 451 Entertainment comic series NVRLND and made it something extraordinary.  It's the timeless classic of Peter Pan, the boy who refused to grow up, but it's been completely re-imagined and steeped in the underground music scene of the modern era.  There's the typical sex, drugs, and rock-n-roll, and then there's a considerable amount of murder, magic, and mystery to fill it out- what more could we want?

TIME IS CHASING AFTER ALL OF US

     After the events of last issue, Peter and Hook have effectively switched places, they've swapped ages and power.  The once carefree, teen-aged rockstar Peter has become a weak and helpless shell of a person, while Hook has cranked up the confidence, taken action with newfound vigor, and cemented himself as a truly great villain.  Wendy, Peter, Tink, and all the rest have taken a back seat to Hook standing triumphant above everyone.  He has, without a doubt, become the shining star of the series.  Making this even better is the revelation about Peter and Hook's true relationship.  It was previously hinted at in issue 3, and it brings a dramatic change in the dynamic between the two, which will presumably be used in a future story.

TO DIE WOULD BE AN AWFULLY BIG ADVENTURE

    Hook's plan is still as ambiguous as ever, we have no real clue what he's after, or why.  He doesn't want to kill Peter, he wants him to see it all, and suffer the whole time.  We only know he's been peddling some black magic drugs, ruined club NVRLND, reclaimed the power of youth by stealing Peter's shadow, and has a some monumental plan to accomplish that involves crashing Tiger Lily's quinceanera.
     In addition, there was a brilliant misdirection during the battle between the gangs- The Lost Boys, the Pirates, and the Savages- revealing Hook's real target, and it was extremely well handled directly involving the crooked cop, and D.A. Darling's number one, Chief Lily.

SECOND STAR TO THE RIGHT & STRAIGHT ON 'TIL MORNING

     I really think the writing and story took a great turn, giving us some great action and interesting plot twists, but Leila Leiz's art feels a bit lacking from the last few issues.  Things aren't as neatly drawn, and Thomas Chu's color work is just a bit flatter than the previous issues.  Maybe there was a last minute rush to meet deadlines or something, I don't know.  It's not to say they are bad by any means, just that they were slightly off from the previous few issues.

     The NVRLND finale on the whole leaves us with a very abrupt cliffhanger, which is usually something that truly irritates me.  But here, it feels exactly like the end of a television season.  All the plot lines converge at Tiger Lily's coming of age party, and it gives us a proper turning point, as well as opening up vast potential for the future.
     As I've said before, NVRLND is a truly unique dark re-imagining that does something different and special with the idea of staying forever young.  It gives us the gritty reality behind the facade of the glamorous clubbing nightlife.  It shows us that if we look beyond the flashing neon lights and thumping music, things like magic aren't only found in that strangely enchanting place residing between waking and dream- and sometimes, that magic is black.

     NVRLND issue 4 hits stands tomorrow, Wed. Nov. 23, 2016.

     Reviews of NVRLND issues [ 1 ] [ 2 ] [ 3 ]

     Other [ 451 Reviews ]

     Link to 451 Entertainment's [ Comixology ]

     Official Sites [ 451 Entertainment ] [ Twitter ] [ Facebook ] [ Youtube ]

*Review copy provided, Thank you!

11.20.2016

Marvel's Inhumans: Thoughts on the Move from Film to TV (and in Video Games)

FILM/TELEVISION

     Just over a year ago, I expressed my extreme distaste for the rumor that Vin Diesel might play the role of Black Bolt in a film of Marvel's Inhumans.  Thankfully, in April of this year the film had been pushed back from its original July 12, 2019 release, and then completely cut from Marvel's film schedule.  Which is the good news.

" . . . "  - Black Bolt.
     The bad news, however, is that instead of getting a movie quality film featuring the royal Inhuman family, we'll be getting another ABC series.  The first 2 episodes will be shot on IMAX film and aired in IMAX theaters in early September 2017, prior to airing on ABC.
     I've made it well known that I think Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. is crap, it's quite terrible.  Even with all the headway the Robbie Reyes Ghost Rider has been making, the show is still not nearly as great as it should be.  It gets 2 steps ahead and makes 5 steps back.  They need better writers and better directors.  Seriously, the showrunners have lost the magic of what made Agent Coulson so appealing in the movies.  The same can be said about Agent Carter.  They need to go back and study what made these characters special in the movies and focus on replicating it on television.
     Skye/Daisy/Quake gained some powers and went from hacking-as-a-semi-superpower to master combatant.  It's absolutely preposterous.  Fitz and Simmons are in the same boat- everybody is now an action star, leaving no differentiation between characters.  That's very poor story telling.
     And that's exactly why I'm very worried about the Inhumans being handled by a team that relegates their characters to daytime soap opera status.  We want things at least to have the quality the Netflix shows have.  The interpersonal relationship drama and angst is far too abused in S.H.I.E.L.D., maybe they need to focus on small tasks and awesome Mission Impossible type subterfuge as opposed to all the damn overused world threatening crap.  For Inhumans, they should simply adapt the 12 issue Paul Jenkins and Jae Lee run.  Keep it simple and meaningful.   A tightly knight story with a huge payoff.

     As for Diesel in the main role- thank goodness at least Guardians of the Galaxy director James Gunn doesn't believe he'll do it.  Which is great.  He has all the emotive facial acting talent of a slab of beef.  They would be much better off hiring someone like Jason Isaacs, or Christopher Meloni.  Or both and have one of them play Blackagar Boltagon's brother Maximus.  Get talent that can give extremely expressive performances without needing words.

GAMES


     I've been playing Marvel Heroes for a couple years and we'll finally be getting Black Bolt in game soon.  It's super exciting and I hope they've got him done correctly.  I mean, he's super fun in Marvel Future Fight, so I can only imagine the larger game will have him slightly better.  Obviously a mobile game poses a lot more limitations than PC games, so they'll have more opportunity.
     I'm also hoping we'll eventually get his Earth X costume pictured below for both games.


     Source [ Marvel ]

11.11.2016

Ginger: Beyond the Crystal: Review

     Ginger: Beyond The Crystal is a new 3D platforming adventure game brought to us by Drakhar Studios, an indie game developer out of Spain.  The game hearkens back to a time when Super Mario 64, Banjo Kazooie, and Conker's Bad Fur Day reigned at the top of the charts.


     It's the story of Ginger, a small blue being tasked by a mysterious goddess with restoring a world beset by the destruction and corruption of the world's crystals by an unnamed menace.  The main game itself is broken into 3 major hub worlds that each contain 5 core side-scrolling levels and another 5 smaller red crystal platforming levels, as well as a bunch of miscellaneous fetch quests, some time trials, and so on that add some extra gameplay substance.

     To restore balance back to the world you must go from town to town clearing the map by not only purifying the red crystals into blue ones (via the platforming red crystal levels), but also by collecting the smaller blue crystals to be used as currency.  The first way this is done is spending them at each hub world town's giant main crystal to bring back the townspeople that had been transported to somewhere far away.  Upon their return however, they are less than pleased with things that've happened, which leads to the second way the small crystals are used- to buy vanity items for the people to use to increase their happiness.  A pair of Groucho glasses with their silly nose, moustache, and eyebrows can add quite a bit of joy to a waning public opinion.
     There's also a small additional building game where you slowly gather supplies through the other levels and tasks and use them to build structures of your choice throughout the towns. I haven't been able to discern exactly what they do other than take up space, but for city-building fans it may be a highlight.

     Ginger combines elements from multiple game genres such as platforming, collecting, and some city-building and then adds the Metroidvania staple of unlocking new abilities (via costumes that give extra skills) you can use to access more regions and items.  There's a mouse suit that lets you shrink through tiny areas, a lizard suit that spews fire, and a bard's outfit that opens a mini-game where you have to play back a button combination song on your instrument.  The exploration of the main hub worlds is extremely entertaining as there's always something you can do, and is probably the highlight of the game.

     The controls are very responsive and my only complaint about it is with the combat.  There's a lot of enemies that need to be dispatched and the normal attack is useless resulting in taking damage every time you deal damage.  The dash attack is tough to aim or land properly, and that leaves us with the only effective way to eliminate bad guys being the jump-and-stomp attack that gives out a shock wave you can see.  Sadly, that's the only attack I used because it was the only reliable one that didn't get me killed.

     In the essence of honesty I have to say that there were a few other annoyances as well.  Not being able to skip (or speed through text) was a big one.  It's very sluggish and having to sit for so long after reading each piece got irritating.  I also noticed that in the red crystal purification levels, there was a tendency to occasionally fall through the ground.  It didn't set me back too far, but it did bother me when it occurred seconds before the final crystal of the level.  Lastly is the camera.  Often, I found myself plagued by a camera that was obscured by objects in the way and trying to adjust it constantly was a pain.  Having things go consistently transparent so I could see would've been a massive benefit in those cases.  But, as I said, these were really just annoyances and not too awful in the bigger scheme of things.

     It may be a little glitchy at times, but falling through the floors and death never set you back more than a couple minutes and that fact is far outweighed by the sheer fun factor, which is all of what my younger self would want out of a game.  Ginger: Beyond the Crystal is a decent game with a lot of heart and charm to fill in where it lacks.  It should be clear this game may appear shallow and repetitive for adults, but the game's whole design is pretty clearly aimed at a younger audiences, and that's exactly where it shines.  The graphics and music are fitting, the world is designed with plenty of creativity, the characters are all uniquely made, and the world itself has a lot of options for exploration.
     Ginger: Beyond the Crystal is a game made purely for simple enjoyment, with many nods to its 3D platforming predecessors.  It's a delightful homage to the games of yesteryear, and it offers an imaginative world that is quite immersive and highly entertaining despite its few flaws.

*Review copy provided, Thank you!

11.08.2016

Megalo Polis: An Election Day 2016 Review

     After the entire last year of Presidential campaigns and their ridiculous shenanigans- we can make light of this extremely absurd election process with a wonderful satirical game called Megalo Polis.  The game tosses you into the role of one of this year's candidates with the seemingly simple goal of becoming the next President of the United States of America by going out on the political trail, and it becomes our job to convince the public to vote for us... by any means necessary.


     To start, you choose whether you want to run as a Republican or Democrat.  Each party gets a special bonus the other doesn't.  Republicans earn an extra $5,000 a minute while Democrats have a higher population conversion rate.
     Then you get to choose who to run as, and any character can run as either party.  For the playable characters there's the big two, Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, but there's also Bernie Sanders, Ted Cruz, and inexplicably, Obama himself, attempting to run for an impossible third term- and what better way to show support for your candidate than campaigning as them?  Each character receives their own pros and cons aiding or hindering the ability to sway certain social classes.  Trump has a harder time convincing the educated, but gains an extra aggressive bonus to the speed in which he can take over opponents' district, and Hillary has a tough time convincing people due to trust issues, but starts with a lot more funding.

     Players need to go from district to district, and state to state in a race to the White House gathering as many supporters as possible and locking them down.  The more districts loyal to you, the more money you make, and in turn the more you can spend on gaining even more followers.
     To help garner even more support players can complete challenges to earn cards that act as special abilities like jailing your opponent for a short time, developing a smear campaign, or creating a scandal to hinder other candidates.


     The caricatures of the candidates and their silly-voiced soundbites are a comedic treat, and the way developer Black Sheep Studios handled them all is fantastic.  Though the highly repetitive nature of the same handful of lines over and over does become a bit grating over time, the bright and colorful cartoonish visuals never get old.  They were just as good at the end of my playtime as they were at the beginning.

      Overall, Megalo Polis is a hilarious RTS strategy game that holds quite a bit more depth than I first gave it credit for.  Attempting to gather new followers and thwarting the opposition might be the surface game, but understanding all the types of classes and districts you need to influence really alters the game.  Add on top of that the fact that you can both interfere with others and they can impede your progress through all manner of small ways with the cards you collect- and the game does fill out with nice complexity.  I must also point out that there's also a lot that isn't spelled out in the tutorial that you must learn on the go, such as the fact that to receive money from your districts you need to walk back to them- it isn't automatically added to your campaign fund.
     Megalo Polis is definitely not something anyone might play for days on end, but it is a surprisingly great binge treat to waste a few hours playing while we await the election results.  Who knew it was so fun to play as a manipulative, corrupt, and patronizing politician trying to persuade the public I am the prime choice?

     Official site [ Megalo Polis ]

     Megalo Polis is available on [ STEAM ]

*Review copy provided, thank you!

10.31.2016

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: A 3rd Film Probably Won't Happen

     As a long time fan of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, I both like and dislike the newer Michael Bay produced films.  The 2014 TMNT made a whopping $493 million, while the sequel TMNT 2: Out of the Shadows only grossed $245 million.


     Steve Weintraub at Collider brought up the thoughts on the future of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movies from producers Andrew Form and Brad Fuller during an interview about their recently produced film Ouija: Origin of Evil.

     Form has some good thoughts on what didn't work.
"We were obviously surprised at the box office results. We loved the movie. We loved making the movie. From our first Super Bowl teaser to everything we launched, we felt so good about our material, and for some reason it did not find the audience that the first movie found.
It’s just one of those things where we feel like we made a great movie. We thought at the time that our release date was great, and we added all these new characters with Bebop and Rocksteady and Krang, and Baxter Stockman had a big role in the movie, and Casey Jones, and for some reason when it came to opening weekend… it just didn’t find an audience. We really don’t know why. 
I think one thing we did learn is you really need to give- you can’t just add characters to a movie and expect that to be what’s fresh. It’s a sequel. You have to give the audience something that’s really new and fresh. Maybe just adding characters from the canon- that wasn’t enough. 
We set out to make a poppy, colorful, fun- add all these fun characters that people had grown up with—and like you said, bring the cartoon to life.
I don’t think there’s [going to be a] Turtles 3, but I wouldn’t say there’s never going to be another Turtles movie."
     I like the idea that they tried to bring the old cartoon to life, but they missed the essential change that the 1990 feature film did- they made it real and meaningful, while maintaining the feel the old cartoon had.  I fully admit I do enjoy the new films, despite the many, many problems contained in them.  As for Out of the Shadows, they really did bring an episode of the 80's cartoon to life.  Everything from the humorous idiocy of Bebop and Rocksteady to the absurd nature of Krang.  It is something worthwhile to watch for those that might have some turtles nostalgia, and they did build off of what the first reboot did.

     It does make me a bit disappointed to know there may not be another film, but then again, there's always a chance they'd get even worse.  I mean you can tell the writers weren't the best, resorting to making everything about action and cheap laughs.  It completely lacks the depth of the 1990 film.  I really think the problem comes down to the writers, Josh Appelbaum and AndrĂ© Nemec just don't quite understand the characters.  It's all superficially written, with many of the characters sounding to similar.  They need some true distinctions between them all, they need more "show, don't tell" to really hammer home the differences.

     If a third film does get into production I can only hope that they find writers worthy of continuing the TMNT legacy.  Maybe they should get Bobby Herbeck and Todd W. Langen from the 1990 movie, or the unbelievably brilliant writers of the made-for-TV 25th Anniversary movie - Turtles Forever - Roy Burdine, Rob David, Matthew Dredk, and Lloyd Goldfine.  That is easily the most well-written Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles product of any sort I can think of.  The team had a fundamental understanding of not just the characters, but how they've evolved and changed over time, and getting them to work on a full film would be the most brilliant move that these producers could take.

     Related posts [ TMNT ]

     Source [ Collider ]

Stranger Things: Netflix's Series Now a Playable Point-N-Click Game

     What started as a nice little fan-fare has become a full fan-made point-and-click adventure game based on the tremendous Netflix series Stranger Things, by the Duffer Brothers.  It's a sci-fi horror show that is completely saturated in the 1980's aesthetic, and this gem follows suit.

"99 out of a hundred times, the missing kid is with a parent or relative. This is about that one other time." 
The disappearance of Will Byers has the town of Hawkins, Indiana - and Chief Jim Hopper - on edge. 
     The Stranger Things game takes place over primarily the first episode of the series, so there shouldn't be any spoilers for those of you that haven't seen the phenomenal show yet.  Fans of games such as the LucasArts Monkey Island series will be at home among the simple puzzles and textual dialogue options.

     Infamous Quests' Steven Alexander, Jon Taylor, and James Mulvale created this one-room point-and-click game as a "tribute to the series."  The game takes the same approach as the show in making players feel invested- it's short and sweet, nailing the atmosphere in both sound and visuals, and it definitely shows their appreciation.  While it doesn't offer anything new to add to the series, as it is just a fan made game, it does give us fans a little more Stranger Things to experience while we await the arrival of season two in 2017.

     Go to [ Infamous Quests on Itch.io ] to Download and Play

10.26.2016

Marvel Future Fight: Doctor Strange Update & Thoughts

     Yesterday the Marvel Future Fight 2.6 patch hit and added a ton of stuff.  The obligatory 8 new characters, 4 movie tie-in costumes, a film related mode, as well as one huge negative.


     Despite the amazing new character additions, the only one I wanted was Doctor Strange himself.  But in leveling him up (which can ONLY be done through the 46 "Epic Quest" missions) I found he's got one monstrously large problem- and it's one that definitely feels like a paywall.  In order to rank up and master the good Doctor fully, you HAVE to get Baron Mordo, Wong, Ancient One, and Kaecilius to 4 stars, and then get Clea, Satana, and Hellstorm to 5 stars.

     What makes this so awful is the extremely limited way to obtain the biometrics to unlock and rank up the new characters.  Wong, Baron Mordo, Ancient One, and Kaecilius are available through the Epic Quest's "Memory Missions" which only allow for 10 runs for each character a day- meaning a maximum of roughly 10 bios a day (occasionally it'll give you 2 on a run)- and you need 150 total to get to 4 stars.  Whereas Satana and Hellstorm are available in the Epic Quest's "Dark Dimension," and Clea can be found as a Shifter in the same area.  Because each of them need to make it to 5 stars we'd need 310 of each character's biometrics.  Making things even worse is that the only way to get Clea or Satana outside of the extremely limited biometric chances a day is only via the store's Monthly Selector because they will not be available with the regular selectors.  I also don't know if rank up tickets will work for them yet, so that may be a small relief.
     Considering the total number of biometrics rewarded through the Epic Quest is a meager 250, that means either an absurdly long farming task, or a bunch of purchases- making it seem like the trip to Strange is a multidimensional journey through the metaphysical paywalls of gaming.

     Now, don't get me wrong, I don't mind the need to purchase stuff- as I do for extra costumes (including Strange's film one) and characters, and as I did for both Gwenpool and Carnage.  It's just here, they've made Doctor Strange ridiculously difficult to get to his full potential because you need to get all the other new characters boosted.  I mean why couldn't I just buy his character and feed him surplus biometrics as is necessary for the Boss characters like Thanos?  Why force us to obtain and rank characters we may not want just to get the one we actually do want?

     Strange is coming out in a movie and will likely draw in a crowd of potential new players, and what they've essentially done is create a funneled paywall to the in-game store in order to play him.  It definitely appears to be a frustrating limitation for not just us long time players, but will very likely be a reason many new players may give up or quit.

     On a side note, where the hell is Dormammu?  One would think that great Doctor Strange staple villain and fiery-headed mystical arts user would be a wonderful addition to the game instead of the slightly more obscure Satana and Hellstorm.   And now that I think of it, what happened to Enchantress, Sandman, and the Netflix Daredevil costumes for the Punisher and Elektra?

     Related  posts [ Future Fight ]

     Source [ Marvel Future Fight Official ]

10.21.2016

Black Widow: A Scarlett Johansson Standalone Film & My Thoughts

     Last week Variety published an interview with Scarlett Johansson about her work with Planned Parenthood, some stuff about her political views on Donald Trump and Hilary Clinton, and a bit about her role in the Marvel Studios film franchises as Natasha "The Black Widow" Romanov.


THE INTERVIEW

   To begin here's the relevant portions of the interview:
Will there be a standalone Black Widow movie?
I would like for it to happen under the right circumstances. I think there’s a lot of opportunity to mine that story line. She’s got a really rich origins story. There’s a lot of places you can go — you can bring it back to Russia. You could explore the Widow program. There’s all kinds of stuff that you could do with it. You could really uncover the identity of who this person is, where she comes from and where she’s part of. 
So if it happens, will it be a prequel?
It’s a possibility. There’s plenty of back story. Or not. It could be something else. Where do the Avengers go? They are underground. What happens then? What happens after it all falls apart? There are so many ways you can go. I think it would just have to be very much like its own specific thing. It would have to have its own specific vibe. It would have been totally different than any of the other standalone films.
Are you still talking to Marvel about it?
Yeah, of course. I talked to them about it often. It would have to fit in the idea of where they want to go. I’m invested in that character. Marvel is greatly invested in that character. If I did it, I’d have to do it while I still actually want to wear a skin-tight catsuit. I don’t know how much longer that’s going to be. 
MY THOUGHTS

     I think it should be a film full of espionage, action, and intrigue.  Leave out the damn love triangle with Hulk/Banner that was so damned out of place in the Avengers: Age of Ultron.  Leave out the stupid sterility backstory.  Leave out the global destruction tales so many superhero movies lean too heavily upon.  Make it an intimate covert ops mission, a modern cold war narrative going on with lots of cloak and dagger.  It could easily be a political crime story with touches of her past and interactions with the Winter Soldier.  Or an entire secretive special ops sabotage mission taking place in a rogue state.

     There is immense potential for some truly great stories here.  Seriously, this is a case where I really want to see a Black Widow film with a high caliber take on the spy genre.  It's the same principle as when I wanted a Martin Scorsese movie featuring the Punisher.  It should be something handled by a creative team that would focus on perfecting the writing and directing above the cheap action thrills (that's not saying no action, just that it should be substance over spectacle).  Think of films like James Cameron's True Lies, Christopher McQuarrie's Mission Impossible or Jack Reacher, Doug Limon's The Bourne Identity or Edge of Tomorrow, or even the extremely underrated Guy Ritchie update of The Man from U.N.C.L.E.  

     In a long Q&A with Deadline, Marvel Studios' president Kevin Feige briefly discussed the possibility of this eventually happening.  They've currently got 9 more films lined up through the end of 2019, and 3 more currently untitled films planned in 2020, so there's definitely an opportunity for her to potentially get a film.
DEADLINE: You’ve got a bunch of characters in this movie from Falcon and War Machine and Black Widow and Hawkeye, who have so far guest starred in movies with another characters title above the fold. Is there one destined to get a solo movie down the line? 
FEIGE: Of the characters that you’ve just mentioned I would say certainly the one creatively and emotionally that we are most committing to doing is Black Widow.
     With Doctor Strange hitting theaters less than a month from now, Marvel will be opening the door for the metaphysical genre in their film universe, so why not continue on the path that Captain America: The Winter Soldier set and allow Black Widow to pave the way for a full-on spy film.  Scarlett Johansson is a tremendous actress, so give her something worthwhile to actually work with.  Marvel has a monstrous opportunity here to break into a genre that hasn't been done with superhero films- a true spy thriller.

     Source [ Variety ]

10.20.2016

Red Dead Redemption 2: First Trailer: A Return to Rockstar's Western Masterpiece

     Seven years after the initial release of Red Dead Redemption, the sequel will be coming to us in all it's harsh western glory.  It's beautiful, gritty, and dangerous- this will be a game that will more than likely influence an entire new generation of gamers.


     It's said that the world will be a vast as possible and offer an entirely new multiplayer experience.  But from Rockstar Games, what else would you expect except perfection?

     Red Dead Redemption 2 will be available in the fall of 2017.

Wolverine 3: Logan: First Trailer & Thoughts

     Following hot on the heels of the Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 teaser we get the first trailer for the 3rd Wolverine film.  It already looks to be far better than the last two movies, though to be fair the second film's trailers made it look much better than it really was.


     It's got mutants dying off or being hunted, Professor Xavier is somehow still alive long after he should've died (maybe there's some 6th Sense stuff going on?), and the introduction of Laura "X23" Kinney.  There's even a quick shot of what looks VERY much like her claws at the 1:29 mark.

     I'm a little more hopeful for this film than the last two.  It seems they're focusing on a smaller story and keeping it intimate.  I just wish they would've filmed it all to look as gritty as this first black and white image of Logan they released yesterday.  Can you imagine a Wolverine film shot like that?  Just that kind of visual would've set it apart as something extremely harrowing, presenting Logan's last film as something special.  But, as it is, I'll have to wait and see how the story goes before I start tearing it apart.

     [ UPDATE: The Red Band trailer looks better than the standard one above.  There's a few extra shots, and some violent deeds that already push the boundaries of what's been done in the series. ]

     Logan hits theaters March 3rd, 2017.

10.19.2016

GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY Vol. 2: First Teaser Trailer!!!

     Marvel Studios has released the first teaser for the Guardians of the Galaxy sequel, and it looks to be living up to all our hopes.


     We get humor, action, and a tiny, child Groot.

     Everything we could hope for in a sneak peek teaser.

     Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 hits theaters May 5th, 2017.

10.18.2016

Sunflower: Issue 6 Review (451 Entertainment)

     A decade after her husband's murder and the disappearance of her daughter, Tallulah, CJ received a mysterious postcard with her missing daughter's nickname- written the same exact way she used to write it- "Sunflower."

    This prompted CJ to abandon her life as a recluse and embarked on a journey to find her lost child, taking her on a difficult path.  Encountering cryptic clues, resistant police, townsfolk fearful of cult leader Rush Bridge, and even the ominous Egyptian gods the cult worships, she pushed on.  She wandered into the desert alone and faced her own demons, pressed on through the internal darkness, and finally found the cult- who then beat her and left to die- and still, she would not give up.  Absolutely nothing would stop her from finding answers.

     Now, after trekking through hell, CJ finds what she was looking for, but it is certainly not what she expected.  Neither she, nor Sunflower, are the same people they were a decade ago, and the final confrontation is a bit of a shock.  It's a genuine surprise in a very good way.  We see violent emotions expressed by those suffering greatly, feeling both compelling and authentic, and the bonds that family creates no matter what amount of time or distance comes between.  Frankly, it ends perfectly, leaving the door just open enough for the future, as one story's end is another's beginning.

    If you were a fan of HBO's True Detective, Sunflower is the closest a comic has come to that level of storytelling.  The team has created a masterful crime/mystery drama that few other comic books in the genre can hope to match.  Writers Mark Mallouk and Andi Ewington have presented this story with the heartbreakingly realistic grit and determination that any parent would go through for their children.
     Couple this with the tremendous illustrative talents Lee Carter, whose line work and panel layouts lead readers step by step toward something, giving us time to digest the situations instead of hastily pushing us towards the end.  It really allows for a proper slow-build of tension that truly cements the atmosphere that many similar books tend to fail at.

     It's a psychological horror story, it's a relentless tale of survival, it's about unwavering persistence in the face of loss, and it's all staggeringly well done. Seriously, this book is all-around amazing.  Sunflower is an awe-inspiring series that I'd give the highest recommendation to.

     Sunflower issue 6 hits stands Wed. October 19th.

     Official Sites [ 451 Entertainment ] [ Twitter ] [ Facebook ] [ Youtube ]

     Link to 451's [ Comixology ]

     More 451 comic reviews [ HERE ]

*Review copy provided by 451, Thank you!

10.16.2016

NVRLND: Issue 3 Review (451 Entertainment)

     In the first issue they gave us the foundations of the classic story of Peter Pan, the boy who wouldn't grow up, in a modern era completely saturated in the underground music scene of Hollywood High.  It's loaded with sex, drugs, and rock-and-roll- everything a truly good club nightlife story needs to fuel the raver club aesthetic.
     Then in the second issue they cranked up the danger and intrigue by adding some magical elements to the story.  Hook kidnapped Wendy, waged a war on The Lost Boys in their sanctuary at club NVRLND, and he even managed to steal Peter's shadow.

     The writer/creator duo of Stephanie Salyers and Dylan Mulick have ramped up NVRLND's 3rd issue to even greater heights.  Hook is gaining power through Peter's shadow and some black magic.  He's becoming overconfident and giving free reign to his dark appetites.  Peter is suffering greatly at the cost of losing his shadow.  Wendy is lost in her own world and looking for a real connection, while her father, L.A.'s District Attorney, is making progress into finding the source of all the mysterious teen deaths going on around the city as his own daughter is put into the spotlight.

     Secondary characters finally begin to make some headway in this issue as well.  Chief Lily's previous questionable actions become explained, Smee has a wonderfully hilarious moment dressed as a unicorn, and the mute Tinkerbell shows her absolute devotion to Peter despite all odds.  The characters are all becoming more fleshed out, adding a nice depth to the world.

     What makes NVRLND special is the fact that 451 Entertainment's newest series doesn't only focus on the glamour or the fantastical parts of the lavish nightclubbing lifestyle.  It delves equally into the grit and dark side of it as well.  The flashing lights and music of the club are offset by the grim and shady workings of corruption among the city.  They display the aftermath of drugs on peoples lives, the selfish nature of people, which is balanced by some of the small everyday magic in life that many don't notice.  Artist Leila Leiz (and colorist Thomas Chu) capture all these moments wonderfully- from the bright colors of NVRLND to the grimy auto-body shop of a former gang leader.

     This re-imagining of the love story between Peter and Wendy is becoming far better than I had first anticipated, and Hook's taking center stage is handled ingeniously.  He's become even cockier than Peter was, a sure sign of pride before the fall to come.  There's a lot of answers we still need to see, such as where is all the magic coming from and what are the consequences of using it?  Will D.A. Darling solve the homicides case?  Will Peter explain to Wendy what the hell is going on?  And I eagerly look forward to finding out what spawned Hook's vendetta for Peter.  NVRLND's finale can't come soon enough.

     NVRLND 3 is available now.

     Official Sites [ 451 Entertainment ] [ Twitter ] [ Facebook ] [ Youtube ]

     Link to 451's [ Comixology ]

     For more 451 comic reviews [ HERE ]

*Review copy provided by 451, Thank you!

10.13.2016

Dark Souls 3: Ashes of Ariandel: New PvP Trailer: Choose Your Allegiance

     As we inch towards the release date of the Dark Souls 3 DLC, Ashes of Ariandel, more hype should be expected.  Today we see the release of a trailer hinting to something that feels pretty broken in the core game- PvP.


     This take on the newest Souls' Painted World offers us the typical DLC fair of weapons, armor, bosses, and a new locale.  But this particular trailer focuses primarily on the PvP battle experience in what appears to be an arena devoted solely to destroying each other.  It sounds awesome.

     What might not sound so awesome, however, is the fact that this is the second to last Dark Souls release we may ever get.  To be fair, we do know they are working on another dark fantasy series, that Director Hidetaka Miyazaki hopes will surpass it.

     Dark Souls 3: Ashes of Ariandel will be available Oct. 25th.

10.11.2016

Dead Synchronicity: Tomorrow Comes Today: PS4 Review

     Dead Synchronicity: Tomorrow Comes Today is a great post-apocalyptic point-and-click adventure blending post-apocalyptic science fiction peppered with religious elements to tell a harrowing story.  This is the tale of Michael, an amnesiac man waking in a dystopian future after a cataclysm called the "Great Wave" has destroyed much of the populace of the world and left a scar across the sky.  What remains is a ruined society plagued by a sickness of a dying world.  With many of its inhabitants coming down with a disease that causes people to dissolve and those with power (such as guns or fuel) use it for dark intent.


THE BAD

     The puzzles of the game can be a bit frustrating at times, but for the most part they are decently balanced and the game has a kind of dual hint system.  One is by holding L2/R2 and anything interactable becomes marked, and the second is Michael will make a remark that assists players as to where they should go.  When I said some puzzles can be frustrating it's because they don't follow a logical pattern or the challenge is so absurd you'll rely on pure trial-and-error of using items on anything you can.  In one notable case you need to fix a machine with a piece of a tooth.  Of all the possible things you could fix it with, why a tooth?  Or another requires you shred a cloth for a bandage instead of just using the cloth.  No reason other than adding an additional step in the process.
     Though, this is a problem with many point-and-click games.  Often confusion takes first place in attempting to figure out what you are supposed to be doing.  Finding a good balance between difficulty and creativity is extremely difficult to manage and is really an issue of the genre and not the game.

THE GOOD

     What the game gets right, though, is the atmosphere.  They got it very right.  The sound design and score are extremely effective in evoking the dark tones of a gritty decaying world.  They compliment the distinctly comic-bookish art style perfectly and together act as a large redeeming factor for playing this game.  The visual art designs work hand in hand with the sound and music to create a suspenseful and grim ambiance.

     This world they've built is intriguing in that it gives you no happy endings.  Many characters in the game are given disturbing or unsettling story arcs.  There's a family torn apart by a sick child, a young woman forced into service, and an entire park overflowing with corpses.  Your choices and decisions don't alter the endings at all, each leads to the same bleak despair laden conclusions regardless of what you say or do.  The main thread itself comes to a very sudden end, which feels very rushed and out of nowhere- like there might be something extra, but there wasn't.  It is foreshadowed, but the way it's done could've been worked towards and not just dumped on us all at once.  The game could've used a bit more work on the end to make the journey really pack an emotional punch at the end.

THE VERDICT 

     Overall, Dead Synchronicity: Tomorrow Comes Today on Playstation 4 is a game that is both really good in many ways and has some serious flaws.  It has a very fitting and unique art style with fantastic world building, but that is offset by some of the confoundingly strange puzzle designs.  That being said, if you are a fan of point-and-click games, or of psychological post-apocalyptic horror stories, this is worth playing because despite its problems there's still a lot to appreciate.


*Review copy provided, thank you!

10.09.2016

Netflix's IRON FIST: Trailer & Thoughts


     A week after Danny Rand's bromance partner hit Netflix (Luke Cage), the trailer for Marvel's Iron Fist has arrived.  It's got quite a few nods for fans of both the comics and the Netflix-Marvel universe.
K'un-Lun saved him. 
Lei Kung trained him. 
And now, Danny Rand is back to fight for what's his. 
     Netflix's Marvel shows are great, but I really hope they don't over-saturate the televised superhero show market.  To be fair, the Netflix series' are far better than anything else comic book related on TV.  We already have DaredevilJessica Jones, and Luke Cage and they were all tremendous- culminating in a Defenders series coming next year, as well as adding a Punisher solo series.  We might be needing a break soon.

     Well, despite what I said above, I am still looking forward to this show.  We are now getting powers with true special effects, and they look pretty damn good.  And I seriously can't wait to see the blossoming of the Luke Cage and Danny Rand partnership.  It could to be as be as magical as Turk and J.D. from Scrubs or Shawn and Gus from Psych.

     Iron Fist premieres 17 March, 2017

10.07.2016

CRAP! I'm Broke! Out of Pocket: Review

     I always hear that art imitates life, and it's done with a spectacular cubist-inspired style in Arcane Circus' newest game Crap! I'm Broke: Out of Pocket.  The game labels itself a "Life management simulator" and does so with true brilliance and all the humor we might recognize in our daily lives.  In fact, it's a game that many of us will be able to really relate to, giving us a hilarious take on the struggle of running back and forth between jobs in order to make ends meet.


     Players are tasked with the true-to-life difficulty of finding a balance of earning versus spending money.  We have to contend with debt accruing at a constant rate, along with random surprises popping up such as a toilet clogging or a pipe bursting incurring extra costs to our monthly bills.  There's also a perpetually depleting hunger meter (along with a tiny reaper ghost that follows you around).  Not paying attention to the meters or mismanagement of funds will you either miss your bills or starve you lose the game.

     To earn money players need take jobs at places around town.  They are timed mini-games that consist of things such as washing dishes, flipping burgers, and sorting cans at a factory much like those silly little things that make up the Warioware series.  Making this process even better is if you can stay fed and keep the bills paid, you can slowly save up spare time for mini-mini-games.  Yes, that's 2 minis- making them micro-games.
     Players can do good deeds and earn good karma (there's also bad karma, so don't neglect your plant!), helping to receive gift money or the potential to find a winning lottery ticket and so on.  There's also the chance to purchase (with in game money) achievements to boost your income, that you may in turn, sell at a later time if the surprise events add too much to your monthly debt.
   

     Crap! I'm Broke: Out of Pocket is a magnificently minimalist game about the troubles plaguing our everyday lives.  The art style is beautifully striking, the music (by musician Kimono) is sublimely fitting, and the gameplay is both amusing and challenging.  Resources dwindle away before your eyes, jobs don't pay nearly enough, and sometimes you must quit jobs just to get home in time to pay bills or eat- yet the frustration of failure is offset by the absurd nature of the game.  It may seem like a futile effort to try and stave off the inevitable slide into eviction or starvation, but the stresses of financial stability haven't been this fun or engaging in a long time.  Arcane Circus has distilled the Sisyphean struggles of endlessly mounting debt into a hell of an entertaining satire.

     Crap! I’m Broke: Out of Pocket will be available on iOS and Android on Oct. 11th for $1.99
          (There are NO IAPs or additional DLCs)

     Developer's site [ Arcane Circus ]

     Official site [ Crap! I'm Broke ]

*Review copy provided, thank you!

Marvel Future Fight: Doctor Strange FINALLY Announced

     Almost a year and a half after originally hearing about Doctor Strange's appearance (via rumors spied through the Eye of Amagotto) in Marvel Future Fight, he's finally leaving the Astral Plane and coming to the game.  It does make sense to save it to tie-in to the film release, but it's been so damn long!


     In addition to the Sorcerer Supreme in the 2.6.0 update, we'll be getting a slew of other related characters.  By the looks of it we'll be receiving multiple costumes for Strange himself, Baron Mordo, what appears to be multiple versions of The Ancient One, Wong, Clea, and Kaecilius.

     Once again, Netmarble is adding a ton of great characters on top of an ever-expanding playable roster.  This game just keeps getting better and better, and is without a doubt the best mobile Marvel game available.

     Click for [ Related Posts ]

     Source [ Marvel Future Fight ]

10.06.2016

STYX: Shards of Darkness: Delayed Until Q1 2017

     Cyanide Studios' sequel to the 2014 stealth hit STYX: Master of Shadows is getting a delay.  The titular Amber-addicted goblin Styx will now be returning in the first quarter of 2017 in STYX: Shards of Darkness.


     This new gameplay trailer softens the blow just a little.  It does sound like a good idea to delay the game.  The move to a new engine and larger budget poses a few issues of adapting.
"With this new episode of Styx we updated our engine from Unreal 3 to Unreal 4. This update has brought so much to the Styx series, from graphical enhancements to new gameplay mechanics and features. The engine transition has required some time for our team to adapt to. We're dedicated to providing the best stealth experience possible for players, so in agreement with our publisher Focus, we are delaying the game until the first quarter of 2017."  
-Patrick Pligersdorffer, CEO Cyanide Studios
     Master of Shadows was really good despite a few flaws.  This delay will hopefully remedy some of the clunky stealth mechanics and make the game much smoother overall.  It'll be fun to return to our little green friend to see what he's been up to since the destruction of the Tower of Akenash, and how he handles his new adventure into the Dark Elven city of Korangar.

     STYX: Shards of Darkness will arrive in Q1 2017 on PS4, Xbox One, and PC.

Gravity Rush 2: Delayed into January 2017

     Gravity Rush 2 Director Keiichiro Toyama has announced a disappointing delay to the highly anticipated sequel to the PS Vita phenomena- BUT! - we get something wonderful as a courtesy.

"In exchange for the longer wait, we have decided to release the premium DLC planned for the title free of charge."
     That is a great trade off.  The first game's DLC gave us extra missions and costumes and provided a lot of fun additions to the main campaign.  I wouldn't expect any less for the sequel.

     Gravity Rush 2 is set to launch itself to the skies on Jan. 20th, 2017.  This not only allows for a little more work to be done on it, but gives it room for sales because it won't be competing against games like The Last Guardian.

     Source [ Playstation Blog ]

10.04.2016

Luke Cage: Netflix Season 1 Short Review

     Marvel's Luke Cage hit Netflix last Friday, and of course I binged it over the weekend.  After his debut in Jessica Jones we only wanted more of Mike Coulter as the titular hero, and now we get his origin story as well as his answering the call of being a hero.  Netflix's Marvel shows take a much better approach to the material than the generally rushed pace of the films- and here the slow burn works extremely well in Cage's favor.  It gives things time to grow.


     Luke Cage is back in Harlem trying to make ends meet working multiple jobs for cash just to get by with the backdrop of a large crime network making life tough for all the people around him.  Luke Cage is a very welcome portrait of a hero- he's just a guy trying to do right and avoid causing any harm that comes from being an indestructible man on the hero's journey.  A cliched tale done with a new perspective.

     The show starts beautifully with the first two villains.  They are brilliantly handled through the series.  Mariah Dillard and Cornell "Cottonmouth" Stokes are a great take on a crime family with extremely well thought out story arcs.  Stokes shines as a criminal mastermind with musical genius and history that could've led down a completely different path, and Dillard is the epitome of political corruption and ruthlessness.
     Sadly, the secondary major villain Diamondback feels like a letdown.  His story felt forced and he's relegated to a Bible-quote spouting psychotic with money, power, and inexplicable access to resources that seem far outside of his range.  He just feels flat after seeing how well crafted Stokes and Dillard were.  Even Diamondback's underlings Shades and Zip come across as much more interesting.

     As for the other heroes, Claire "The Night Nurse" Temple is good, and Cage himself feels a little wooden despite Coulter's charm and Oscar Statue looks, but the real star of the series is Simone Missick's Misty Knight.  She is a fully capable, smart, and active Detective through the whole show- keeping things moving every bit as much as Cage himself does.  There were even times I felt she carried it better, such as through the pseudoscience moments of Cage needing medical attention from Claire and the scientist.  There's just something about those episodes that didn't quite sit right for me, they felt just slightly out of place.

     Another thing I would like to mention is the sheer amount of thought they put into the soundtrack is phenomenal.  Each song is the ideal choice to add to the story being told, pushing the emotions of the moment- which is something the Marvel movies tend to lack.

     Netflix's Luke Cage is saturated in the Harlem feel, a top notch aesthetic for the show, from the music to the visuals and every actor- they were all not just deliberately chosen, but perfectly chosen as well.  It's a whole new aspect of the Marvel universe that was, for me at least, much better than Jessica Jones or Daredevil's, and I can't wait to see what they've got planned for next.  There were numerous little Easter Eggs, including one for the Luke's upcoming bromance partner's show Iron Fist, and the absolute best possible homage to Cage's hilarious 70's outfit possible.
     I've got to say, Luke Cage has cemented the fact for me that the Marvel's Netflix shows are the best of the Marvel cinematic universe, better than many of the films, just as Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. somehow manages to be one of the worst.  That's considering the fact the second half of the season's villain was relatively lackluster and nowhere near as well done as the first half's was.

     Luke Cage will return in 2017's The Defenders.

PS: Ron Cephas Jones' Bobby Fish is my 2nd favorite character next to Misty Knight.  He has so many great lines.  "I just fixed this place up all perfect and shit!"

10.02.2016

Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales: A Teaser Trailer has Arrived

     It's been well over a year since I last heard anything about this film, but Disney finally released a trailer for our enjoyment.  It's got just enough tease for all of us fans, and looks intriguing enough that it might actually be pretty good.


     They've come a long ways since 2003's first film with Curse of the Black Pearl, and only 4 years since the underrated On Stranger Tides so I'm genuinely curious to see if some of the mainstays might actually die.  We'll definitely be getting to see more of the ever entertaining Captain Barbossa in addition to the presumably still supernatural Will Turner (acting as Davy Jones) and perpetually drunken Jack Sparrow in the fight against the undead newcomer, Captain Salazar, when he escapes the Devil's Triangle.

     #APiratesDeathForMe

     Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales hits theaters in May 2017.

9.30.2016

Zenith: A Short Game Review

     Zenith is a sci-fi/fantasy action-RPG in the same vein as Final Fantasy, if it was run through a Terry Pratchett filter and then dunked in a thick coating of sarcasm creating a wonderful homage to the action-RPG's of yesteryear.  The game is presented as a parody, having the protagonist Argus attempting to stop a bunch of self proclaimed "chosen" heroes from inadvertently causing another apocalypse with their idiotic, angst-filled, teen-aged escapades.


THE BAD

     The very first thing I noticed was that the trailer has Argus speaking, but there's no actual spoken dialogue in the game.  It's a small disappointment, but one that nagged at the back of my mind.  Then there's some very curious uses of text in game- sometimes speaking happens in text boxes, and others they have brightly colored text appearing around the screen.  It makes a little sense in a way once you figure out how it's working, but putting those into specific color coding or colored text boxes may have helped the strange way it appears.

    Zenith's game mechanics have a ton of issues.  The combat is really imbalanced and made more troublesome due to clunky controls.  The melee combat leads to taking massive amounts of damage because enemies all hit way too hard and fast, the blocks and rolls are useless against constant hordes of enemies, and health potions have an extremely long refresh times for use.  
     The skill trees has some decent things such as adding a hit to a melee combo, small increases in elemental damages, and even a node to transform the roll into a fire dash.  The problem here is that the stats are all weighted towards whatever armors you have with the highest stats- meaning weapons and spells you get aren't given damage stats- the damage is determined by the kinds of armor you are wearing.

     The music has volume control issues with it randomly being way too loud, menus need to be opened multiple times in order to actually function at times, and even enemies being stuck in geometry requiring the game to be restarted from my last save point.  There's a plethora of bothersome issues, and honestly, a patch could easily balance this up and make the mechanics of the game less frustrating.

THE GOOD

     Though, with that said, I have to say I still really, really, REALLY liked the game.  The reason I say this is what Zenith does right is with wit and humor.  That's where the real enjoyment comes from.  It's the first game in a very long time that consistently made me laugh out loud.  All the gameplay problems aside- the writing is where Zenith absolutely shines.  It provides a commentary on the genre, little nods to other things, and funny new ways to view some of pop-cultures most popular series'.
     The game has a lot of flaws but I think the writing more than makes up for it.  The game is completely loaded with references to not just games like Skyrim, Bioshock, and Metal Gear, but also the communities and mods related to them.  I mean the sheer brilliance of the "celebrity testimonials" on the website in itself is absolutely hilarious.

     Zenith may not play the best, but it definitely offers a ton of laughs and an intriguing well put together story loaded to the brim with humor, sarcasm, wit, and a dash of charm.  It gives us a kind of poor man's version of The Bard's Tale, twisting the conventions of the genre into something new and entertaining.  I would very much like to see the developers make another game with the same characters in the same universe, but with a larger budget.  This is a game with a tons of potential and could definitely benefit from more time and money to make something even greater.
     If you appreciate funny fantasy games like Dragon Fantasy Book, Dink Smallwood, or The Secret of Monkey Island- I would highly recommend you give Zenith a chance- you'll be rewarded with a surprisingly great story and a whole lot of laughs.

     Zenith on [ PS4 ] [ Steam ] [ Xbox One ]

     Infinigon games on [ Youtube ]

*Review copy provided (played on Steam), thank you!