Dead Island 2: Deep Silver Comments on its Disappearance from Steam

     Strange news arrives from the Banoi archipelago.  The day before we get the Dead Island Definitive Editions along with the added Retro Revenge beat  em up created for the collection, but then some more mysterious occurrences have surfaced.  Dead Island 2 has vanished from Steam.

     Luckily Deep Silver has already commented on it:
"Dead Island 2 is in development with Sumo Digital. Once we have new details to share, we will do so."
    It's been a couple years since it was first announced and then there's been turbulent times throughout production- leading to Yager Development's departure and Sumo Digital taking over.  Considering E3 2016 is only a few weeks away, this isn't the best news to be hearing.

     It seems all right that Deep Silver has commented that the game is still on the way, but it does give us pause with a long history of problems.  Even original Dead Island developer Techland had offered their services and to take over, but alas, Deep Silver went with Sumo Digital anyway.  Think of what Techland could be doing after their unbelievable Dying Light.  Well, we'll just have to wait and see what comes of our favorite zombie infested tropical paradise.

     Sources [ NeoGAF ] & [ Steam ] via [ Gamerant ]


Stephen King's Mr. Mercedes is Coming to Television

     A mere week or so before the third book in Stephen King's Bill Hodges trilogy, titled End of Watch, hits book store shelves on June 7th, a 10 episode television adaptation of the first book, Mr. Mercedes, has been announced.

     King's book is a pure hard-boiled detective novel:
In the gloomy pre-dawn hours of a distressed Midwestern city, hundreds of unemployed hopefuls are lined up for a job fair. Without warning, a merciless driver plows through the crowd in a roaring Mercedes. Eight people are killed; 15 are wounded. The killer escapes into the early-spring fog never to be seen from again. Until now... 
Detective Bill Hodges is a battle-hardened and streetwise crime fighter originally assigned to the Mercedes killings. Now retired, Hodges has lost his way in boredom and depression craving the thrills of taking down the region’s most notorious criminals. When a disturbing letter from the Mercedes Killer arrives at his door, Hodges soon finds himself uncontrollably drawn into a cat-n-mouse pursuit with stakes beyond comprehension.
     The part of retired detective Bill Hodges will be played by Brendan Gleeson, while the villain and IT tech worker and part time ice cream truck driver Brady Hartsfield will be played by Anton Yelchin.  Both of these actors are tremendously talented and the show sounds like it's off to a great start with just the cast.  I'm really curious as to who they'll get to play the roles of Jerome and Holly, as they are extremely important parts in the book, and subsequently the sequels.

     If this does even remotely as well as Hulu's adaptation of 11/22/63, it'll be an amazing show.  Many fans will be looking forward to seeing "The Happy Slapper" in action.  Honestly, I hope it does well enough to warrant making a second season for Finders Keepers, and then finish it off with the third book as the third season.

     Mr. Mercedes will premiere in 2018 on both DirecTV and AT&T Uverse.

     Source [ The Hollywood Reporter ]


The Last Guardian: Update from Ueda Interview in New Edge Magazine

     It's been a very, very long wait for all of Fumito Ueda's fans since the 2009 announcement of The Last Guardian until today's confirmation that yes, it will indeed hit Playstation 4 this year.  With only a month until E3, this has reinvigorated the hype for us.  Sadly, it isn't all great hype.
     In Edge Magazine's issue 294 issue, Ueda himself says, "Since this is the year we will see the game's release, I do have some worries, but I'm also very excited."

     What concerns me is this new mechanic that has been mentioned.  Their preview mentioned the human boy character using a mirrored shield while Trico (the bird-cat-beast) fires a beam of red lightning from its tail at what you aim the shield towards.  It's stated that it'll be used for puzzle solving mechanics, and presumably as an attack at some point.
     There's just something slightly off-putting about the tail beam.  I get the shield.  Previous games had magic swords, so having some kind of magically imbued shield would be plausible as well.  But the creatures shooting lightning from their tails is something that feels a bit too strange.  I won't judge it yet though, because with Ueda still on board, I'll wait to see how it's handled in game.

     What does keep me highly excited is Trico itself.  As Yorda from Ico was independant and would frustrate players as well as help, Trico has been modeled as its own being, with its own will and wants and desires.  Ueda goes on in the interview to say,
     This creature isn't like the cute pets that exist in other games, or an ally that's really useful. The role of the creature is ambiguous; that's something we wanted to express in the game, and it doesn't always do what you ask it to do. That's one of the themes of The Last Guardian. It's something that's difficult, and completely different. I want to create the next thing - an experience that people have never had before.
     I find it so amazing that we'll be getting a character that will be doing things for itself, and not just what we want it to do.  It'll follow its own nature and do what it wants, and that's a very refreshing take on companion characters.  That's also coming from someone that at times wanted to shove Yorda off a ledge for her stubborn refusal to follow where I needed her to go.  It was a chore just to even convince her to sit on a save couch so I could save the damn game.

     For my related posts [ The Last Guardian ] [ ICO ] [ Shadow of the Colossus ]

     Source [ EDGE Twitter ] & [ IB Times ] via [ Gematsu ]


Outcast: The Whole First Episode & A Short Review (Robert Kirkman & Cinemax)

     Cinemax has done a couple great things for their upcoming series Outcast.  First, they posted the first episode in its entirety for our viewing pleasure, and second, they've already renewed the show for another season before its televised debut.  Outcast is based on the comic book of the same name from Skybound/Image Comics created by the team of writer Robert Kirkman, of The Walking Dead fame, and artist Paul Azaceta*.

     I wrote quite a while back that the show's creators appear to, "have given great life to this tale of demonic possession and the toll it takes on those that deal with it for their whole lives."  So far, I think I was spot on with those words.  Patrick Fugit's Kyle Barnes is a man trying to hide from a world that fears him, attempting to live his days in an odd form of normalcy compared to those around him.  Fugit does a great job of playing the role of pariah.  You can see how tired he looks as he tries to bridge the gap between the life he had, and the one the one he's currently struggling with.  A history of demonic possession is a dark path to tread and Fugit presents it beautifully.  He is extremely believable in this role, and I can't wait to see what he'll do as the series progresses.

     There's also only a handful of people that are willing to aid Barnes, including Reverend Anderson (Philip Glenister), Kyle's adopted sister Megan Holter (Wrenn Schmidt), and Chief Giles (the always amazing Reg E. Cathey).  Each of them is distinct in their role and do a tremendous job of supporting Barnes.  As the series proceeds, they'll all get their chances to really shine.

     Cinemax has certainly gained me as a viewer.  The supernatural-horror genre has been relatively sparse on television lately, and what shows there are turn out pretty terrible.  Even Kirkman's The Walking Dead devolved from survival horror into something much less appealing.  I feel it's lost the grounded horror focus it started with.  It seems to have been missing the real psychological tension that hit audiences in the first season  That's coming from someone that read the first 100 issues.

     Anyways, I read the first two story arcs of Outcast as they hit the stands monthly about two years ago, and they absolutely nailed it for the show.  They captured the creepy atmosphere perfectly, and the tremendously eerie presentation of the possessed child in this episode is downright brilliant.  Seriously, that kid deserves an award for how disturbing he makes himself.
     This show has been handled extremely well so far, and now there's only 9 more episodes to go.  I'm now hopeful enough that I think the show will be far superior to the the source material.  That is definitely something I never thought I'd ever say.

     Outcast will possess us all beginning Friday June 3 at 10pm on Cinemax.

     *As a side note, I'd like to really, REALLY recommend some of Kirkman's other comic series' such as Invincible (the only series I've read monthly since it started!), Destroyer, and The Irredeemable Ant-Man.  As for the incredible Azaceta, I've been a fan of his since his art in the Grounded comic book series.  That's one that I would recommend to any longtime fans of superhero comics in general.

451 Media: Self Storage: Issue 5 Review

"If you found a zombie in a storage locker...  would you keep it?"

     That's the premise of Self Storage put forth by series creator Clay McLeod Chapman and artist Matt Timson.  With that beginning they've given us an every man with Chris Smith.  He's just a guy trying to get by in life by picking up what others left behind in their storage sheds.  Bidding on containers and hoping for some great treasures to pawn at a profit, he buys Unit 83.
     Instead of potential riches he finds a teenage zombie named Jessica.  Once he's purchased this container and finds what's inside he must now find out who put her in there and why.


     After finding the zombie Jessica some things go very, very wrong and people have died.  Chris had to leave the storage facility and he subsequently left a couple less-than-admirable redneck co-workers in charge, and leaving some dumbasses in charge is always a terrible idea.
     While Chris had been out trying to piece together the mystery behind Unit 83, his coworkers wanted to inject some hilarity into their day by putting the zombies to use.  Showing that things aren't all about work for these guys, they played some paintball games with their zombie cargo.  Or at least they tried to.  Things went sour during their fun and games through the labyrinthine hallways, leading to even more deaths, and a rapidly increasing number of the undead.  The sheds are filling up as quickly as the body count.


     Since leaving his idiotic co-workers in charge, Chris's mistakes have come forward and it's time to pay for them.  Last couple issues had some surprising deaths, cranked up the tension, and gave us more of the backstory of what led to Jessica being contained in Unit 83.  Self Storage 5 continues the series' tradition of ramping up of the stakes, allowing us a couple moments of levity and humor, then hits us with a high-cost loss of life.  And then this issue ends with someone returning to claim what is rightfully theirs from Unit 83.  A cliffhanger ending that definitely leaves us every bit as hungry for more as any one of the brain-eating monsters currently locked up in the storage facility.

     Self Storage is a brilliant handling of the all-consuming zombie genre.  It combines the culture of Storage Wars with the horror of The Walking Dead, and adds a dash of comedy right out of Shaun of the Dead.  The creators are proving that the undying genre is one that truly will not stay down when used in new and interesting ways.  Clay McLeod Chapman has found an ingenious way to provide a wonderfully entertaining commentary on our inability to let things go.  Both for those that have died, and for our material possessions- the whole reason public storage sheds were created in the first place.  It really makes me wonder, what is the true cost of not letting go?

     Self Storage 5 will be available May 25th.

     [ 451 Media Twitter ] [ Official Site ]

*Review copy provided by 451 Media, Thank You!

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutants in Manhattan Launches Today!

     Platinum Games' highly anticipated Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutants in Manhattan is out today, and they've put out a great launch trailer to go with it.

     Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutants in Manhattan has got to be a better game than TMNT: Out of the Shadows, and if Transformers: Devastation was any indication, it'll be fun as shell.  Here, we get an art style influenced greatly by the IDW comics series, and a whole lot of 4-player online co-op play.

     For more of my Turtles related posts [ TMNT ]


Black Tower Enigma: Short Review

     I came across this in late April when Ogre Pixel announced the game was free to play.  It was a genuine treat to find as it isn't like many games out there.  Black Tower Enigma is something very special in that it is a tightly knit puzzle game with a tremendous amount of story crammed into a tiny package.

     Players take on the role of Wigo, an orc whose wife had the misfortune of putting on a magic dress gifted to her by a mysterious fairy.  The dress caused her to be lifted high into the sky and towards the Black Tower.  So he journeys to the tower to free his stolen bride.

     Players must ascend the tower, floor by floor, by solving puzzles through the riddles contained in books strewn about the archives in each floor.  Reading the books provide both hints and clues to finding solutions to get to the next levels, and sometimes hints are left on previous floors (all read books are accessible in the pause menu).  In addition, the the books also give players plenty of back story with some history of Wigo's world.  There are tales of elves and dwarves, and the wizards inhabiting the land to add a surprising amount of depth to the small game making it feel much larger than it is.

     None of the puzzles are overly taxing for those with a keen interest in reading the clues, but they aren't too easy either.  They maintain that perfect middle ground of challenge, and keep players interested without frustration.  There's plenty of items to interact with, but finding the correct solution requires a specific answer to each floor's riddle, necessitating a certain order at times.  So each solution adds just a little extra satisfaction because it takes wits and not sheer guesswork to get to the next level.

     Black Tower Enigma is a tremendous little gem, and there aren't many games that are nearly as captivating as this is.  It's a short and ingenious tale loaded with tricky puzzles and a brilliant story that can be beaten in about an hour.  The story even ends with what could very well be a hint for a follow up game or sequel involving a dead giant.  Ogre Pixel's own blog hinted at a possible future installment with this little gem of a title, After Black Tower Enigma.  After playing through this, I would gladly buy a sequel.  Hopefully it'll be much lengthier, but honestly, with this level of quality, I wouldn't mind another short game.

     Black Tower Enigma is free on [ Google Play ] [ iOS ] [ PC, MAC, Linux ]

Terminator 2 Mobile MMORPG on the Way from Developer NetEase...

...But, sadly, it may not make it out of China and to western audiences.

     According to the video's description Terminator 2 is a "new sandbox post-apocalyptic mobile MMORPG that blends role playing, shooting, racing and action gameplay together."  It looks pretty decent.  Well, at least as fun as Terminator Genisys: Revolution.  Especially if it is actually a 3rd person shooter and not a mostly rail shooter with 3rd person elements.

     Terminator 2, formerly known as Project: The Wild, is being created with a "self-developed engine called NeoX and is meant to blend amazing graphics with a great storyline into one large cinematically-based, immersive world.

     No launch dates have been given yet.  I'm crossing my fingers that this'll make it's way over here for all of us western mobile gamers.

     Official site [ Terminator 2 MMORPG ]

     Source [ 2p ]


Techland: Dying Light 2, A New Fantasy IP, and Thoughts

     Techland's CEO Pawel Marchewka spoke with Eurogamer at the conference Digital Dragons and mentioned a couple juicy tidbits about two of their projects currently in the works.


     The first is that he mentioned a Dying Light sequel.  There was talk of Dead Island, but as Deep Silver owns that IP, they would focus on what's "more important to them," and that would be Dying Light 2.  That is a little sad as Dead Island could definitely use them for a new game, especially after the turbulent times that Dead Island 2 has been in over the last year and a half.  I'd really like to see what they could do with that series after the astounding work they put out with Dying Light.  And to be fair he didn't officially say that their Wroclaw Studio was working on this sequel, but had rather implied as much.
     The potential for future Dead Island games remains, though. as Techland is at least on working terms again with Deep Silver and are remastering Dead Island for The Definitive Edition which will release on May 31st.


     The second item however, has me even more excited.  Techland's new IP will be, "An open-world fantasy game with RPG elements- maybe in a slightly bigger sense than Dying Light ... it's RPG elements rather than RPG game."

     Although he made sure to say that the game is NOT Hellraid, which is still sitting "shelved" for them.  Marchewka says he's open to options, and maybe hoping that maybe there could be another trusted developer work with them on something for it and Techland could simply serve as publisher in a sort of collaboration.  The same goes for their Call of Juarez IP, the last game of which, Gunslinger, was absolutely amazing.  He's open to some options.


     As for the fantasy IP- this could be something really outstanding.  I mean, in reality, they could truly give Bethesda's The Elder Scrolls games a run for their money.  Especially if they got rid of their damn item degradation system that has annoyed me with their zombie games.  A crowbar isn't going to break after cracking 30 zombie skulls, that's just plain ridiculous.
     Even if it isn't Hellraid, think of how they've grown in the past year or so since it was shelved, and then think of what they can do with what they can do with what they believed was a better idea.  This is a tremendous opportunity to give fans a taste of the range they can create.  I will be eagerly awaiting the official announcement for this title and now have very high hopes.

     When it comes to Dying Light's sequel, well, who doesn't want to spend a little more time in that world they've created?  It's currently one of the handful of games I continually return to because it's so well done.

     Marchewka says both new games have been in progress for roughly a year, and should be ready in about 3.  Three years is a long time to wait... but, hey, look at how amazing they did with their last couple games.  I can wait.

     Source [ Eurogamer ]


Titan Quest Mobile: Available NOW! (For iOS)

     Mythological-based hack'n slash classic Titan Quest is now available for iOS devices!  Nordic Games and DotEmu have done a tremendous job if this launch trailer is to be believed.

     DotEmu has been adapting the computer game's controls specifically for mobile touch screens and it looks amazing.  Alongside an HD graphical enhancement, they've added tons of extra features:
A huge, open world to explore
Full day/night cycle
80 different mythological creatures
1200+ items to discover
30 different character classes 
150 different character skills
Colossal playtime of more than 60 hours 
Scale-able difficulty modes: weapons and enemies match your skill level 
Dozens of unlockable achievements to discover
Cloud saving: start a game on your phone and continue on your iPad
No ads, no in-app purchases. Full Premium experience - Enjoy the full content for one price!
     This is one of the few games I'd instantly recommend to pretty much anyone.  It's been a decade since it first came out, and it still looks amazing.  So, go forth champions, and reclaim the ancient world from the escaped titans.

     Titan Quest is available now for [ iOS ] and "coming soon" for Android.


[ UPDATE ] The Elder Scrolls TRAVELS: Oblivion: A PSP Title That Could've Been

[ UPDATE ] The videos have been taken down due to a ZeniMax Media copyright claim.

     Way back when an Elder Scrolls game had been announced for the Sony PSP.  A portable spin-off game that had vanished without a trace.  No official word, no explanations, nothing.  It was just gone, just like my wallet after a pack of Khajiit thieves guild members have walked by.

     Now, courtesy of PtoPOnline, we get the first actual videos of the in game footage that might have been.  Think of what could have become a brilliant mobile game- The Elder Scrolls Travels: Oblivion.  It was supposed to follow the plot of Oblivion with over 180 quests.  Limitations of the mobile system would've been a bit of a pain, but it would've made great sales.

     In 2013, I had suggested that the failing PS Vita sales be boosted with some decent games, and I quote, "Hell, new and compact versions of an Elder Scrolls or Fallout could go a long way to boost sales."  It could've been used to bolster waning interest, but alas it was not.

     Dear Sony, it isn't too late for the Vita... make a deal.

     Dear Bethesda, think of what you could do with a mobile Elder Scrolls now.  Look at awesome mobile games like Aralon: Sword and ShadowRavensword: Shadowlands, or The Shadow Sun.  There's a lot of mobile shadow-related games apparently.  A game of this caliber can still be done and not be limited to a single platform like the PSP or Vita.  A mobile Elder Scrolls game would easily sell roughly a bazillion copies and likely break some records.  Please tell me your E3 conference this year will have a new Elder Scrolls game complete with a mobile tie-in.

     Source [ PtoPOnline ] via [ Pocket Gamer ]


451 Media: Sunflower: Issue 5 Review

     Ten years after CJ's husband was murdered and her daughter went missing, she received a postcard with a single word on it in her daughter's own handwriting- Sunflower.  Her beloved child's nickname.

     Now CJ is fueled by a determination known only to parents that have lost their children and she's desperately fought her way towards some answers.  She walked through a terrible desert and accepted the mark of Anubis as a full back tattoo and despite the locals warning her, she confronted the man that started this all a decade ago.  Upon meeting him, Rush Bridge confirmed that her daughter is alive, then had his crazed disciples beat her and leave her for dead.

     The penultimate issue takes CJ's pursuit, and the series itself, to a whole new level.  In the last issue she sacrificed her body to gain entrance into a cult and now she finds herself in the borderlands between life and death- she's found her way into the realm of ancient Egyptian deities.
     Given strength by the knowledge that her daughter is indeed alive, she pushes hard and will not stop until she's found her.  She comes face to face with those she left behind and becomes something much more as she fights the darkness that resides in every last one of us.  CJ has passed through the underworld and returned with the sole intent of getting her daughter back, no matter what the cost.  She has been reborn, ready to face Rush Bridge and take back what is hers.

     What writers Mark Mallouk and Andi Ewington have done here is take a kind of True Detective crime story and add an element of the supernatural to great effect.  They've given it a grounded feel that isn't absurd, but instead, quite believable.  It has done a wonderful job of making it fit into the mystery and make the story so much greater than it already was, without pushing the mythical aspects into implausibility.  We readers can now see why Rush's cult has so many followers.

     Lee Carter's art once again proves to be a brilliant handling of the material.  An image of Sunflower is seen in the cover, the face of Anubis can be seen in the water's current, and the goddess Nut stretches herself across the night sky to protect the Earth.  These things are fantastical in nature, but are given a type of visually convincing truth that fits perfectly into the life CJ is fighting through.

     Issue 5 may be a metaphysical journey, but it holds no less impact than the last four have.  It maintains every bit as much a compelling tale as each of the other issues have, propelling the story forward, and this issue cements CJ's will to survive and press on because she knows her daughter is within reach.  Sunflower's newest issue is another extraordinary step in an outstanding mystery/crime series and I absolutely cannot wait for the finale to arrive.

     Sunflower 5 hits the stands May 18th.

     451 Media on [ Comixology ]

     Official sites [ 4five1 ] [ 451 Youtube ] [ Twitter ]

*Review copy provided by 451 Media, Thank you!

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 2: Out of the Shadows: First Look at Krang

     The most recent tv spot for Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 2: Out of the Shadows finally reveals the Dimension X villain in all its creepy and disgusting pink gloriousness.  Krang has arrived.

     "Let me get this straight, we gotta robot samurai, two mutants, and whatever that thing is."

     This is the first we get to see Krang outside his humanoid suit, and he's every bit as creepy as expected.  I really like the suit's design as well, which we've seen in previous trailers and in toys.  Plus, the Technodrome itself looks pretty badass!

     Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 2: Out of the Shadows hits theaters June 3rd.

     For more of my Turtles related posts [ TMNT ]


Uncharted 4 + Dark Souls 3 = Uncharted Souls

     Since I haven't done any stupid posts for a while, I decided it was about damn time.  After playing a few hours of Naughty Dog's amazing Uncharted 4: A Thief's End, I decided there were a lot of locations that reminded me of Dark Souls 3, and more so of The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, and I just wanted to have a little fun with that idea- so I made these!

Oh come on- I'm not even Embered!
     For the boss fog wall I wanted to make Sam look like he was a summon, but didn't have nearly enough time to do it.  But now the I think of it, I should've put in some summon signs on the floor too.  Oh well, maybe next time.

Good thing I summoned Sam. #PraiseTheSun
     I have a few more screenshots with some better ideas, but didn't have time.  I thought of tossing in some soul finds by combining the Dark Souls' items and Uncharted's notes systems into one.  There may be some crypts with Draugrs coming soon as well.

     Enjoy my stupidity.  [ For some of my old ones... ]



Titan Quest: 2nd Developer Diary Released

   As we near the release of DotEmu's (and Nordic Games) mobile version of the 2006 classic mythologically based hack n' slash Titan Quest the developers have released their 2nd developer diary.  We get some great information on the new controls and gameplay, as well as a neat new feature for the loot system.

     Titan Quest arrives on iOS on May 19th (and Android "shortly thereafter")

     Previous Titan Quest dev diary [ Here ]


[UPDATE] Agent Carter: A 3rd Season "Unlikely" but is Getting Fan Support


     ABC is in a tough spot here, as Agent Carter has been getting low ratings and Haley Atwell is being slated to star in another show for the channel called Conviction, so a third season has been deemed "unlikely."  Things are bleak following her story from the recent film Captain America: Civil War...  but on the good side of this is that executive producer Tara Butters has taken to Twitter  to hopefully get enough fans riled up to sway ABC's decision to renew it or not.  The decision will be happening in the next day or two, and fans have begun the hashtag #RenewAgentCarter.  If you can go voice your opinion.


     The first issue against renewal is Agent Carter herself, the odds of Atwell shooting two shows at the same time are slim.  It's not totally out of the question, depending on schedules and all that, but it does decrease the chances of outright renewal.  It doesn't bode well that ABC is pushing the procedural Conviction so hard either.  It might make for competition between two of ABCs own shows, which could be a little problematic.

     I can easily see the ratings dropping because Agent Carter's writing has slid downhill from season one and comes across in a very daytime television type of quality- which is to say- not very good.  The show began well, but swiftly lost ground with all the forced love stories.  ABC should take note of what Netflix has been doing with their Marvel properties like Jessica Jones and Daredevil.  They are spectacularly handled because it's about the characters, not situations.  Honestly, I feel the same about Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. as they have a hit or miss track record for their stories.
     Even the upcoming Marvel’s Most Wanted is looking less likely now.  The Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. spinoff show featuring Bobbi "Mockingbird" Morse and Lance Hunter might not actually happen, as sources tell Variety, "it isn’t quite a lock, but has a very good chance of going to series."

     The writers of these shows should rewatch the Marvel movies and recall what made Agent Carter and Agent Coulson so special in the first place, because the shows have lost touch with the characters that resonated so well with audiences.  My own fanboy interest has been waning quickly.  It's really hard for network television to break away from the safety of low key drama into the realms that cable or streaming tv can get to.  I think if ABC does keep their shows, it'll be a difficult path to take unless they take some real risks and push the storytelling to new levels.  If these shows want to start to compete with the consistently impressive shows from other outlets they'll definitely need to up their game.  Personally, I would like an abbreviated show done with the care and quality of a BBC Sherlock season.


     Alas, according to The Hollywood Reporter, Agent Carter has been officially cancelled, and Marvel's Most Wanted is not being pursued.

     Sources [ E! News ] [ ComicBookResources ]

Disney Infinity: Thoughts on the Cancellation

     This has not been a good year for Disney Infinity.  We originally started to see issues creeping in with the announcement that Marvel Battlegrounds play set would ship with a single figure, then we got the news that there wouldn't be a 4.0 release, but rather 3.0 would be getting updates to continue the Infinity line.  Later in March Disney Interactive said they'd be dropping out of this year's E3 without giving a reason.

     A journalist specializing in Disney, Ben Fritz of The Wall Street Journal, tweeted about the toys to life model costing the company $147 million and thus the decision to cut the Infinity line and focus on licensing.  This might be hugely surprising to some, but really, the model they followed with their particular line had some very large flaws.  I've long complained about the non-backwards compatibility which hampers future purchases- why would I want to keep buying them if I can't use my whole collection?!?  Plus their toys can only be "reset" twice ever, leaving you stuck with limited playstyle choices with some characters.  To be fair though the toys-to-life market has been said to be shrinking in 2016 (cite 1 & 2).

     Seriously, Disney owns both Marvel and Star Wars as properties.  They are a vast goldmine that truly got mishandled- and I'm saying that as a fan of Marvel, Star Wars, AND Disney Infinity.  There was so much focus on the toys, that the game content suffered horribly.  There simply was not enough game content.  It appeared that solid game content was sacrificed to fit many play sets on a singular disc to sell us a game and then force us to buy the costly toys to unlock the play.  If there was much more story content and a fun open world to play around in the problem wouldn't be too bad, but all the story modes were so damn short it was very hard not to complain.  I mean look at how huge the LEGO Marvel Superheroes' open world New York City is.  To make that example even better, the city is absolutely packed with stuff to do that is constantly occurring all over.

     In series 1, the Pirates of the Caribbean playset was short of length, but really well designed and fun.  In series 2 the Marvel's Avengers and Spider-Man play sets were, once again, far too short- but still fun.  Particularly the Spider-Man Mysterio levels, they are downright brilliantly designed.  Then series 3 hit, and do you think the creators listened to the complaints of players?  Nope.  All the play set story modes arrived and were ridiculously short once more.
     Making this worse is the fact that it was announced they'd have no online multiplayer, only couch co-op, once Marvel Battlegrounds was released.  Are you fucking kidding me?!?  This was really a monstrous mistake on their part.  Think of the multiplayer market for EVERY OTHER GAME now- all online because not everyone can play together physically.

     Personally, I think Disney Infinity was a grand idea, very poorly handled.  They needed to build a huge open world, add online co-op, and maybe sell the toys-to-life as smaller objects.  Or even make the toy cheaper- as in simply make them all cards or discs to trade around.  Infinity had tremendous potential and it was squandered to sell more toys instead of focusing on the actual game they made.  The games are fun, but there's so little actual game content that it suffered.  As an avid fan, my purchases have been reduced because the price to game content is too damn small.  Perhaps if the game was sold only as digital, with IAPs for the individual characters the value would be much more appealing- but I doubt they'll do that.  Unless another company picks up the closing Avalanche Studio and attempts to keep the game side of things in production.  It would be EXTREMELY unlikely, but it's always a possibility- I mean it IS Disney Infinity- the possibilities are endless, right?

     At least the licensing side looks all right.  Electronic Arts is creating multiple Star Wars games (including a Battlefront sequel), a 3rd person game from Titanfall developer Respawn.  Even Dead Space developer Visceral is cooking something up for the Star Wars universe.  Although there doesn't seem to be any non-Star Wars related games on the horizon which is a bit sad.

     For my older posts [ Disney Infinity ]

     Sources [ Infinity Inquirer ] [ One Angry Gamer ]


Dead Island: Retro Revenge Trailer & Thoughts

     There's a few of us looking to relive days of fun in the sun alongside a horde of beach-bodied zombies again when the Dead Island: Definitive Collection releases later this month.  As a pre-order bonus a small additional game has been made, Dead Island: Retro Revenge.  Honestly, it looks like an unimpressive endless runner/brawler combo game.  The runner portion is something I hate.  The brawler side of it though may keep me ever-so-slightly interested.

     The trailer for Retro Revenge looks funny and a bit entertaining, but I've got to say, I really, REALLY hate runner games.  I wonder why they didn't just make a traditional, old school side-scrolling beat 'em up like Streets of Rage 2 or Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Turtles in Time.  To me it seems like a cheap little tie in to the larger series instead a small stand alone title as a bonus.  It's a disappointment because Dead Island: Epidemic was amazing before being shut down, and Escape Dead Island had immense potential, but lacked the proper execution.  As a hardcore Dead Island fan, I'll still give it a try, who knows, I may actually enjoy playing Retro Revenge.

     It'll be great to be able to go back to the lush island paradise of the Banoi archipelago with 3 other players while awaiting more news of the long-delayed sequel Dead Island 2.

     Dead Island: Definitive Collection releases on May 31 for PC, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One.

Uncharted: Fortune Hunter: Short Review

     With the last installment of Naughty Dog's tremendous Uncharted franchise hitting the shelves tomorrow, tie-ins were kind of an expected thing.

     The mobile tie-in game to Uncharted 4: A Thief's End is Uncharted: Fortune Hunter.  Unlike many other mobile tie-ins, such as Dark Souls' horrendous Slashy Souls, Uncharted: Fortune Hunter is actually really, really well done.

     It does away with the 3rd person action game that the main series and Uncharted: Golden Abyss used and instead goes with a stylized top-down puzzle-game akin to games such as Hitman GO and Lara Croft GO.

     As Nathan Drake, players must navigate a series of single-screen trapped puzzles to obtain various treasures.  Traps include rotating dart turrets, rising and falling pillars, and one-time use crumbling platforms.  If the puzzle is completed in few enough moves you earn a gold key for extra bonuses that can be transferred for in-game use in A Thief's End.  The same goes for all the gold you accumulate throughout the levels, they can be used to earn loot crates for extra goodies such as character outfits, weapon skins, boosters, and relics.  There's even an in game store to buy a few extra outfits for Drake himself in Fortune Hunter.

     The game starts simple enough but reaches some real challenge whilst adding extra traps and mechanics at a steady increase.  Difficulty ramps up a a decent pace and doesn't push too hard.  Hints can be purchased with stones and gems found in the game through a help system if a puzzle gives you too much trouble.  They are pretty low cost and shouldn't worry those having a tough time.  The whole game is brilliantly handled, and to make it even better, the witty dialogue between Drake and his long-time treasure-hunting companion Sully is top notch entertainment throughout the game.

     Uncharted: Fortune Hunter is a surprisingly deep puzzle game with a ton of content, currently at around 200 levels with the promise of more "coming soon."  It offers a wonderful new and interesting addition to the franchise on the go.  Sure, it's a nice way to earn extras for Uncharted 4, but it's fun and enjoyable as its own game as well.  It's got great graphics, great controls, and great sounds- it is an all-around great game- plain and simple.


X-Men: Apocalypse: Psylocke "Power Piece" Video & Thoughts

     With each new TV Spot and Featurette, I am actually getting more and more worried about the state of X-Men: Apocalypse.  I mentioned it previously, a couple times really, but it's becoming more evident that the film is looking less than spectacular.  Bryan Singer has never been a top tier director, and it seems like he's repeating the problems from X-Men 1 and 2.

     Psylocke's fight scenes from the first trailer looked kind of bland and poorly shot, and her newest "Power Piece" video actually makes things even worse.  Seriously, it looks like something off of daytime soap operas instead of the level of quality we'd expect from a major motion picture.  The shots look too campy and cheesey- most notably the one on top of the Blackbird jet and her slide down the building.  The shots visually look wrong.  The motion is off, and her hair isn't whipping nearly enough.  This looks like something from the Heroes tv show from 10 years ago, and not even from the good season one.
     Mind you this comes from a huge Psylocke fan.  In fact, I would appreciate seeing her in either her newer X-Force suit, or in the Lady Mandarin armor.  Those could be absolutely badass on film.  I mean, Munn hasn't been the greatest actress, but I've seen her in a few more roles recently and have an improved opinion of her potential.  I'm just worried about Bryan Singer's handling of things here.

     The same goes for Angel/Archangel's wings.  The look is wrong and it pulls the viewer out of a suspension of disbelief because it appears unnatural.  Each time Angel/Archangel flies it looks "off" and it's super distracting.  Same exact thing with the Quicksilver running scene from the trailers- his arms aren't pumping and it looks really strange- think about the last time you saw someone run- their arms are ALWAYS pumping- it's a physical occurrence that happens.  How wrong would a video appear if you saw a car driving, but the wheels weren't actually turning?  Just staying in place while the vehicle moves forwards.  It would look incorrect and it registers in a person's mind as such.
     Because of these things, this film looks cheap.  And to compound this issue, there's no atmosphere.  Nothing to really fill out the world and it makes the movie feel empty.  All Marvel's films have the look of a full world, with people, and things reacting in the background creating a visual depth.  Even if the battle scenes from the trailers are in a destroyed place, where's the bodies?  Where's all the cars and trees?

     This might turn out to be far less grand of a movie than X-Men: Days of Future Past, and I really wish they'd let someone else take the reigns.  Same thing I've been saying about the Wolverine franchise.  Give it to the creators that can handle it properly, like FOX did with Deadpool.  With the right material and the right cast it turned out unbelievably well.  Think of what Brad Bird might be able to do with the X-Men.  His Incredibles was great, and Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol were both amazingly well done.

     I mean, really, it could still turn out to be a great film, it's just my expectations are being lowered from these little things.  Fox has just been getting back on track with the X-Men films and this might be a step backwards, so here's me crossing my fingers that it'll be much better than I am currently anticipating.

     X-Men: Apocalypse hits theaters May 27th.


Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mega Bloks: Toy Review


     I came across these Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles toys a couple months ago and picked a few up on a whim.  They were small, and had really good packaging and design- so I thought, why not?  It turned out that it was a great idea, the blind bag Mega Bloks Ninja Turtles are a bit frustrating, because it's reduced to a marketing ploy to get parents to buy many of them in search of finding the ones their children might want.  But, regardless, these things are super awesome.  Especially the Classic TMNT ones that are in small boxes that allow you to see what you are getting.  Both the versions from the Nickelodeon television show and the ones based on the 80's cartoon are damned cool.  This is exactly the type of Ninja Turtle kind of toy I would've wanted as a kid.

     The toy designs are spectacular and the articulation for them is quite impressive for their tiny size.  For the Nickelodeon blind bags I got really lucky and found Michelangelo, Raphael, and a Foot Soldier.  Raph has a spray can and a "Mikey" graffiti tag across the back of his shell and hilarious angry eyes.  These things are amazing and I went searching for more.  I've found some pics of upcoming waves that include Slash and Splinter, but no release date information.  I'm also hoping for a Metal Head at some point soon.

     The TMNT Classic Mega Bloks toys are equally impressive.  Tons of articulation, well made weapons, and tremendous paint jobs, they are truly a small version of the classic toys.  In fact they are extremely close to the much larger NECA Classic Collection toys, which were inspired by the original Playmates toy line from the 80's.  Again, I went seraching for more pics of what toys are on the way, and Toy Ark has a ton of stuff.  Including an amazing Technodrome that I noticed has both a cool looking Classic Splinter as well as a bunch of Mousers!

     These have brought me back to action figure hunting.  I'll be searching for all the incoming waves like a druggie looking for the next hit.  I like these way more than the LEGO ones for certain.  I want them all!  Even the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 2: Out of the Shadows ones, as I think the Krang design is pretty neat.

     Official [ TMNT Nickelodeon
          [ TMNT Classic Mega Bloks
          [ Mega Bloks General Forums ]

     For other Turtles posts [ TMNT ]


Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 2 (2016): Out of the Shadows: NEW Trailer

     Another new trailer just dropped for the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 2: Out of the Shadows film and it features mostly a bunch of Michelangelo's humor and he gives a quick introduction to each of the TMNT themselves.

     It looks overly action oriented, but it'll probably have plenty of great moments shining through the absurdity.  I don't mind, I'll be seeing it and enjoying it regardless- and I'm really intrigued by the Kraang and Technodrome designs.  It is slightly more intriguing that Fred Armisen is voicing the Dimension X native.

     Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 2: Out of the Shadows hits theaters June 3rd.


Ghosts of Memories: Epilogue DLC: Elysium & Purgatory: Review

     I was quite impressed with Paplus International's Ghosts of Memories when it came out last fall, and I was genuinely surprised that it just got a free DLC expansion pack.  The initial game is a beautiful isometric puzzle game much like Monument Valley or Hitman GO, with a protagonist looking to solve a mystery between two ancient worlds.  The additional content is every bit as enchanting as the original game.

     In the "Epilogue" expansion players return as the traveler with a magical scepter to continue their journey past the original storyline's ending.  The arcane architecture we must roam is now between two completely new worlds- the heavenly blue-skied Elysium, and its polar opposite realm, the mist-enshrouded and under-worldly Purgatory.  Players are tasked with thwarting a being called "The Great Evil" from taking over and ruling the Universe.

     In terms of content it comes out to 6 new chapters of material to solve each split between the light and dark realms.  The puzzles themselves are more challenging than the main game's and they've gone a step further and added new mechanics to make them even trickier.  Some involve using (or avoiding) the fires of Purgatory to reveal new pathways, some are neat image sliding puzzles to make a specific glyph, and some involve calling on old, robot-like golems to activate pressure plates.

     After playing through these new levels, I have to say I was distinctly drawn in to the mythology of the world they've built.  It was a very welcome return.  I like the mystery of trying to call on old gods and trying to stop an ancient evil threatening the world.  The puzzles offer much more challenge, but not enough to frustrate, and each step once again unlocks a small bit more of the story itself.
     The only issue I can really think of is that some of the puzzles have no clear signs on what you need to do, and it results in some trial and error work to get things done.  It isn't anything terrible, and might be confusing for some, but then- what good puzzle game doesn't  do that?

     The voice work, sound effects, and music are all once more a sublime effort- helping make the world feel real.  The large stone blocks you manipulate around the environment sound weighty, giving the grinding of stone on stone.  Elysium sounds every bit like the serenity one would imagine a heaven would contain, with light and flowing music creating an airy sense of tranquility in long dormant temples, and the smokey fires of Purgatory crackle with grim purpose, dark and foreboding.  The dichotomy is purposeful and compelling- creating a fantastic atmosphere for each realm.

     Paplus has generated just a little more of their captivating multi-dimensional worlds of Ghosts of Memories and my biggest complaint is only that there isn't more of it.  Maybe much larger maps with checkpoints, more beings wandering, and much more story.  I would really like to see more of these worlds and what Paplus can do with them.  That's the miracle of working with a game taking place in multiple dimensions, it opens the path to infinite possibility.

     Ghosts of Memories is $2.99 on Google Play, the Apple Store, or via Amazon's App Store.
          The "Epilogue" DLC is Free.

     Also- Paplus International has released the soundtrack for free [ HERE ]

*Ghosts of Memories: Epilogue DLC review copy provided by Paplus, Thank you!

Hasbro's M.A.S.K. Getting a NEW Comic Series Before Film

"Masked crusaders, working overtime
     fighting crime, fighting crime!"

     That theme song is such a memorable one for many of us 80's kids, along with Silverhawks, GI Joe, and all the other oddball cartoons we were blessed with.  Ah, the sweet scent of nostalgia is in the air.

     IDW Comics announced today that in addition to the forthcoming Paramount Pictures/Hasbro film deal version of M.A.S.K., they'll be making a new comic series as well.  I am overjoyed at this because Brad Turner along with his mask Hocus Pocus and motorcycle/helicopter Condor have been a staple decoration on my main shelf for a nearly 3 decades.

     Not simply going with a mere re-hash the series will be getting a modern overhaul and update to match with the times.  Brandon Easton (writer) and Tony Vargas (artist) will be attempting to add a bit of a new spin on the book, creating something new and interesting out of the old ridiculous stuff.

     This new version of Mobile Armored Strike Kommand, and their nefarious counterparts of V.E.N.O.M. (Vicious Evil Network of Mayhem) will not be a bunch of bumbling dimwits, but they also won't be too grim and gritty, wither.  They're trying to find a good balance of tech and seriousness.
“This is a M.A.S.K. for the 21st century with a diverse team of specialists who are chosen for a top-secret program with a painful learning curve.  Ultimately, each participant will have to choose a side — and no matter which side they choose, the consequences will be great.” - Easton
     The new story has Matt Trakker as a person seeking a new path from his ways.  I am a bit weary of how they'll handle him as he's talked about as “an engineering genius and intellectual bad boy who has been in search of stability since the loss of his father at an early age.”  Really?  That sounds a bit too trope-y for me, but hell, I'll be picking them up anyways just for the way they handle some of the updated characters such as the badass villain Vanessa Warfield.
“Imagine if your car, motorcycle, SUV or yacht could change into a more powerful vehicle complete with state-of-the-art weapons systems and other cutting-edge technology.  The possibilities are as fun as they are disastrous.” - Easton
     What has currently sold me is this last quote by Easton, "The new M.A.S.K. on the whole speaks to the current zeitgeist of constant upgrades and need for immediate gratification."  It's a sure sign of the times when technology is crushing people's patience and the insane sense of immediacy that has become the state of things.  So I am very curious to how well they handle this.

     And lastly- I'm crossing my fingers that they'll make a new toy line to go with the new comic series and film.  I'd really like to see how they update Calhoun Burns and the Raven, Floyd Malloy and Vampire, or maybe the Jackhammer with Cliff Dagger.  Of course, I'd immediately buy a new Condor.  I know GI Joe issued a carded Matt Trakker toy a few years back in a wave, but I would like to see the good toys come back on their own.

     Source [ USA Today ]