PC, Nintendo 3DS, Xbox 360, Xbox One, PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, Wii U

June 24th, 2014

Edge Of Reality, Activision

 

With a new Transformers film just hitting theaters it makes sense that it’s also time to pump out another Transformers game. With the last few games in the Transformers game being well received for the most part does this new developer continue this chain or do they go back to the old trend of horrible tie in games?

Being a mix of attempting to tie the film in while being a sequel to the last Transformer game we get a story that makes little sense and leaves us not caring. We start off with the Autobots attempting to capture the Dark Spark, an object that would make one be able to practically command the universe, but as you can expect all does not go as planned and thus the story begins. It then jumps back in time to explain everything and why it’s important however. One fault with the game is that it constantly jumps from present to older times without warning and without reason. Now between the story they also have the building factions between Autobots and Decepticons without giving them any reason as to why certain characters are after each other. So between jumping through time you are also switching between good and evil until about half way through the game they completely drop the Decepticons side of the game play without warning.

This new game doesn’t even look as good as previous ones either. Cut scenes (that are now not able to be skipped) are sometimes blocky and look like early Xbox 360 graphics while the game play is a vast variety of gray. Gone are big wide open levels with a lot of the game taking places in smaller rooms and corridors. When not outside expect a barrage of rooms that look similar if not identical to each other. When you are given a change to do a larger outdoors level it feels recycled rehashes of bits from older games and color palates from their linear indoors level.

Thankfully the one saving grace of the game however is the shooting mechanic. They have kept the same scheme that works so well for the last few games in this which make it a very competent third person shooter. When controlling your Transformer as a robot the controls are mainly tight and responsive unless are you jumping for a ledge in which case I saw my character barely clip a wall and fall straight down from the technical glitch. You are also given a wide variety of weapons and abilities to use with some of them being a nice change of pace for a shooter. Though after an hour or two you quickly notice that you are just moving from room to room mowing down the same enemies without much challenge or creativity to keep you entertained. I also have to note that the checkpoints in this game are either too far and few between or just don’t work as I died a few times and was taken 30 + minutes of game play.

A new system has also been implemented for upgrading your character by killing enemies and completely challenges. By leveling up and doing challenges you are given Gear Boxes of different tiers which can contain new weapons, upgrades, new characters, skins, and boosters to use in game. Unfortunately right away I noticed that the Gear Boxes will constantly give you the same items which unless it’s a boost will just transform into a boost if you’ve already unlocked it. So I was continuously getting the same things unlocked and changed into boosters which I never used.  After unlocking a few Gear Boxes as well you’ll notice they are widely useless and just a hassle to have to sit through the screens while it slowly unlocks each box.

While this Transformers game didn’t hit the same grace as the last ones did it at least is a semi competent third person action game. You might not be playing this for long or paying attention to it’s story but for a few hours it is fun to take down waves of the same bland enemies. It may be worth a rent for a day if your bored.

 

Score :

 

3.5/10

Playstation Vita, Nintendo 3DS, Playstation 3, Xbox 360, Wii U, PC

April 1st, 2014

Armature Studio, Warner Brothers Interactive

 

Batman Arkham Origins Blackgate (Deluxe Edition) is a console version of the Arkham Origins Blackgate game that hit handheld devices late 2013. It should of stayed on the handhelds though.

Ignoring the main story (as I do in all First Impressions) I can at least say the cut scenes look good but stray in a completely opposite manner than the game play looks. The game itself looks like a smaller version of the consoles Arkham games while the cut scenes stray between looking like a mix of comics and cell-shaded graphics. Blackgate does look good though. It has that dark and gritty look like the main series games though this one being smaller and tighter does bring out the fact that a lot of the game features dark and bland colors.

Game play it really doesn’t work out well. The game focuses on being a 2.5D platformer mixed with beat em up moments with the combat from the Arkham series. None of those elements work though. The combat in the game fails heavily because of the 2.5D look. Batman will constantly target random enemies instead of the one that you want and since characters can stand next to each other often has you attacking the wrong guy while someone else is able to get hits on you. Same goes for the counter system that will have multiple people from different layers attacking you.

The platforming as well feels sluggish. Since your character can’t jump you rely on using the grappling hook to get around. Though with corners that you can go around and times where you have to use it to get to a layer of the screen that appears as the background means you won’t always know where to go. Batman feels slow too. His running speed isn’t fast and climbing over ledges and walls takes too long. In a game so heavily focused on platforming you’d think they’d have made this a bit smoother.

Beware of glitches too. Several times I would repel up onto a ledge where it was clear something was suppose to be there and the game just hadn’t loaded it and wouldn’t allow you backtrack to try again. I noticed characters and in game cut scenes not load as well as the world around you just not appear.

Overall so far I can’t say I’d recommend this. Even after getting this on sale I regret it.

Telltale Games

Xbox 360, Playstation 3, PC, iOS

 

Episode 5 of Telltale Games’ epic fantasy neo-noir crime drama extravaganza “The Wolf Among Us” was released on Tuesday, July 8th and brought to an end one of the most tense, wonderfully acted, character driven adventure/mystery videogames that has ever been published. Though not without some faults, any shortcomings are easily overshadowed by just about everything else this game brings to the table – it’s not such a stretch to put it at least on the same level as the now-legendary Walking Dead episodic games.

The Wolf Among Us, based on DC Comics’ graphic novel series “Fables,” follows a colorful cast of mythical creatures that we all know and love re-imagined in a neo-noir, crime ridden, New York City setting; think Roman Polanski’s “Chinatown” with a cast from a Brothers Grimm tale. The player character is Bigby Wolf (Big B. Wolf. Get it?) who is charged as sheriff in Fabletown, a town hidden within downtown New York City where all the fairytale creatures from ages ago migrated to once their homelands were attacked. Because the story draws from classic folk and fairy tales from all sorts of backgrounds, the player can expect to run into familiar characters such as Snow White, Beauty & The Beast, and even a few personified urban legends. Many of the voice actors from The Walking Dead return for some looser, more freeform roles here, including Erin Yvette (Bonnie in TWD) as Snow White, Melissa Hutchison (Clementine) as Beauty, and Dave Fennoy (Lee) as Bluebeard. Maybe it’s because these characters aren’t rooted in reality, but the voice acting seems much richer and fuller than in The Walking Dead. Since the game takes place in an urban environment and mostly indoors, the scenery seems much more tailored to the cel-shaded graphic style Telltale is known for. It brings out the more unique player models for sure – one specific baddie in episodes 4 or 5 might be the most impressive character design Telltale has ever done.

Since the casual gamer probably only knows TellTale because of their Walking Dead series, and because they’re both similar in gameplay, it shouldn’t be a surprise to compare the two – however the differences between the two games are readily apparent. The main difference between the two series is that The Wolf Among Us is much more reliant on specific gameplay scenes and action sequences than its’ zombie-infested brother. Choices in The Wolf Among Us directly affect the outcome of the central mystery and the main conflict, whereas in The Walking Dead, the player’s choices seem to effect how other people respond to you and affect personal relationships. Conversations again play a pivotal role in discovering information and advancing the story, but unlike The Walking Dead, sometimes staying silent is a valid option – the game reminds you of this at the beginning of Episode 1 and only once or twice does the game really penalize you for staying silent instead of always saying something; a bit of a twist that was surprisingly effective. More so than any other game did I actually take time to consider my actions and my words and I really tried to read into what kind of character I wanted Bigby to be and tailored my actions and speech options towards that.

There is a good dose of healthy action in The Wolf Among Us. Multiple times during each episode, Bigby is forced to fight a character, resulting in many QTE’s involving the mouse and the keyboard that can and will punish the player for not reacting quick enough. Again, there are times in the game where inaction can actually work for the player – there is a part during the climax of Episode 5 where Bigby has the choice of killing a character: the QTE display comes up to attack the enemy, but it does not force Bigby to attack, effectively making two very different outcomes. It’s very surprising and very refreshing that Telltale thought through all those possibilities when creating the game. Speaking of in-depth attention to details, the plethora of discoverable goodies in The Wolf Among Us is staggering – everything from storybooks to certain conversations result in unlocks in the Book of Fables: a lexicon of characters, backgrounds, items and much more that covers the history of specific fables. More than one time I came across a character that I didn’t recognize their origin story, but once I read the Book of Fables it became clear.

A few times, the fixed camera angle coupled with using a mouse and keyboard for movement resulted in an awkward and, at times, frustrating experience when trying to explore certain environments. It wasn’t unusual to have to leave a certain area and re-enter it in a different way so when the camera switched, it was easier to maneuver around. It seems this is nary a problem when playing with a connected controller, which the game supports. Other than that, the game runs smoothly. There wasn’t any noticeable slowdown or lag, and the controls seemed very responsive. That, paired with the great soundtrack and voice acting, makes for a beautiful game to hear and see.

In the end, The Wolf Among Us may be Telltale’s crowning achievement thus far. An adventure game with more elements of action and mystery than character development makes for a welcome respite from typical adventure game tropes. An excellent first venture into adventure games and an amazing playthrough for veterans of the genre as well.

 

Score :
9/10

 

Digital Review Code Provided By Telltale Games

Review By Jackson May

 

Horror

Wild Eye Releasing

January 3rd, 2013

85 Minutes

 

 

After taking almost a year after being shot to be released Scream Park finally hit stands early last year and Wild Eye Releasing may have a hit on there hands with this one.

With a pretty standard story Scream Park may not have you glued to the end your seats with originality. It follows a old horror themed amusement park who with low profits has decided to shut down. On the final night however after closing the group of teenage workers talk the manager into allowing them to stay and party for one final time before it closes. With everyone getting together with their other half it seems however that someone has already disappeared without anyone knowing where he went. When going out to look for him Jennifer (who was hoping to spend the night with Blake who is missing) and her manager Marty stumble upon two masked men in the park. With no idea who they are they quickly soon to find out the masked men are killing everyone one by one with them on their list.

Not winning awards for it story Scream Park does look and feel the part of an old slasher film. The look of the film is dark at times and somewhat grainy similar to an remastered VHS film. They don’t go for technological advancements instead reverting back to old school tactics. Those same tactics are used for many of the kills in the film as well. On rare occasions the kill is shown on screen and can become quite bloody. Usually however the kill is done from an angle where it becomes less graphic.. During one scene however one of the masked men drag away a girl with the implication of rape occurring. That seems to have no effect on the film or what happens.

It isn’t all good though with their production as sometimes the audio seems to dip lower than other scenes. Also the VHS look to the film doesn’t always go on with a few scenes being of a much high filmed quality than most. You can also tell for some scenes where it has been photo shopped to add effects or to try and dim the quality of the shot.

Scream Park defiantly isn’t a film that has you caring about characters though. Very little development past “person x likes person y” is given. A few characters also have the tendency to vanish for periods only to show back up as if nothing has happened or changed. Interactions between characters can seem forced and generic not leading to anything between them. Thankfully a few actors however can save the day. Steve Rudzinski as Marty plays like your favortite creep from old horror films with a side people don’t know about. Ogre as well protrays the brooding silent killer type well. Wendy Wygant gets a mention as well for being the most believable one in the film playing a victim. Horror icon Doug Bradley is also in the film for a very brief moment as the owner of the theme park with the deadly plan though with most films like this it comes across as just having him for names sake.

Overall Scream Park may not be the most original film but it’s a whole lot of fun to watch. If you are a fan of 80′s slashers and horror films this is one you’ll enjoy. Scream Park brings back what we loved about those films while paying it’s dues. Well worth a watch.

 

Score :

7/10

 

Physical Review Copy Provided By Wild Eye Releasing

 

 

Hello, Mundies…

 

Today we would like to share the full trailer and release dates for ‘Cry Wolf,’ the season finale of the critically-acclaimed series ‘The Wolf Among Us,’ based on Bill Willingham’s award-winning comic book series ‘FABLES’ and licensed by Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment. 

  

The fifth episode of ‘The Wolf Among Us, ‘Cry Wolf,’ will be available starting Tuesday July 8th on PC/Mac as part of a season pass for $24.99 USD on the Telltale Online Store, Steam and other digital distribution services; and on PlayStation®Network for PlayStation 3 in North America (SCEA) individually for $4.99 USD, or as part of a season pass which includes access to all five episodes. 

 

On Wednesday July 9th, the episode will be available on PlayStation®Network for PlayStation 3 in Europe (SCEE) and on Xbox 360 via the Xbox Games Store worldwide for $4.99 USD or equivalent, or as part of a season pass upgrade. 

For iOS (iPhone and iPad), the episode will be available starting Thursday July 10th as an in-app purchase individually for $4.99 USD, or as part of the episodes 2-5 multi-pack for $14.99. Stay tuned to @telltalegames on Twitter for details on release dates for additional platforms as soon as they become available.

Following a bloody trail of murder and corruption, Bigby Wolf confronts a powerful enemy: a dark force that has been feeding on the desperation of Fabletown’s seedy underbelly. But when hidden truths are revealed, you must decide exactly what justice means in the gripping season finale of ‘The Wolf Among Us.’

PC Gamer previously lauded the series’ penultimate episode, ‘In Sheep’s Clothing,’ as “the tenderest, loneliest, and most gruesome so far.” Joystiq gave ‘In Sheep’s Clothing’ a 5 out of 5 perfect score, saying that the story “…drops its few crumbs of information with precision, giving just enough of an idea to create a dozen suggestions, only one of which can be fact.”

The penultimate installment in the season also received a score of 5 out of 5 from Digital Trends, who said it “…left us on the doorstep of what is sure to be a surprising and emotionally impactful concluding episode.”

The Wolf Among Us: Episode Five – ‘Cry Wolf’ is rated ‘M’ (Mature) for Intense Violence, Blood and Gore, Sexual Themes, Partial Nudity, Strong Language, and Use of Tobacco by the ESRB.

For more information on the game as it happens, visit the official website, Facebook, and follow Telltale Games on Twitter

Press Release Provided By Telltale Games

Comedy

Lakeshore Entertainment

May 2nd, 2014

95 Minutes

 

Walk Of Shame follows Meghan who while trying to get her dream job as a news anchor for a big station finds out that they are going with someone else instead. With the aid of her friends who are determined to go out to make her feel better a wild night ensues of drinking which leads to Meghan having a one night stand and ending up at someones apartment. When she awakes in the morning however she hears the message from her manager that they backed out of the other girl and if she can make it to her job on time they will be choosing her for the spot.

The premise for the film is about as old and worn out as they can be. Getting from point A to point B while wild shenanigans happen isn’t a new idea. However Walk Of Shame seems to know this and plays it off well by having something funny happen almost nonstop. I’ll give this film credit where it’s due with the humor, they really put it all into the writing for the film making it very raunchy with the humor but it works. With scenes going from dealing with some insane cops, to running from hookers, to a crack house each scene delivers.

At first I thought this film might be an hour and a half reason for Elizabeth Banks to show off just how incredibly hot she looks but she does great. Her humor really shows off here. The rest of the cast as well works great. Her one night stand and friends have great chemistry together featuring the likes of James Marsden, Gillian Jacobs, and Sarah Wright. The cops that are constantly after her are hysterical done by the likes of Ethan Suplee  and Bil Burr. What might stand out as the best roles however are the three loveable crackheads Scrilla, Pookie, and Hulk (Lawrence Gilliard Jr., Alphonso McAuley, and Da’Vone McDonald). These three steal the show when on screen with Elizabeth Banks.

Overall for a film with a generic premise Walk Of Shame shines with it’s humor and casting. I’d highly recommend this one if you are looking for a good laugh.

 

Score :

7/10

 

Horror

Anchor Bay Entertainment

Dec. 1st, 2012

103 Minutes

 

Sorority Party Massacre follows a cop on the edge of losing his job who is sent by his boss to go find his daughter at college on a remote island to find out hoe she is doing. From there though he quickly realizes that someone is picking the sorority girls off one by one and with the help of the towns two cops starts trying to find the killer before the killer finds everyone else. Now this sounds like a generic slasher but it surprisingly convoluted. From the opening of the film showing the girls in a very B movie / grind house appeal it then starts an almost downward slope where it attempts to turn into a murder mystery. Though the film constantly makes it where several people could be the killer until the third act where by that time they’ve tried pulling the curtains back so many times that most reveals aren’t shocking but instead tiresome.

Speaking of tiresome, the movie is way too long for it’s own good. You could cut a good 15-20 minutes of the film and not only not lose any detrimental scenes but it would also help the film. Most of those scenes only seem to confuse the viewer at times about what type of film they are going for as well. It can go from a scene acting like this is a serious horror film to a comedy. Add into that the films pacing is terrible with long chunks of film not really adding anything to the story.

There is however some decent acting with horror veteran Leslie Easterbrook standing out as the best one. Kevin Sorbo and Ron Jeremy have small roles almost just for the sake of having their names to promote. One major thing though is the production in this film goes from horrible to spotty. The beginning of the film is dark and has low volume almost to a point of ruining the film.

Overall Sorority Party Massacre falls into the category of straight to dvd films that just are mediocre. With a story that often times can’t figure out what it is or what it wants along with spotty kills. bland acting by most, and cheap production I wouldn’t recommend it to most. If you can get it off Netflix and are in the mood though for a cheap horror film to laugh at this would do though.

 

Score :

4/10

June 14th, 2014

Little Orbit Games, Torus Games

Xbox 360. Wii, Wii U, Playstation 3, Nintendo 3DS

 

How To Train Your Dragon 2 continues the run of movie based games and for some reason the trend of kids movie turned into mini game fueled games.

Instead of focusing on the main storyline of the film Little Orbit games instead makes this game about the mini-games. Don’t even count on a good amount of games since there is only 5 total. A target blaster, a color matching game, two flying ones where you have to go through rings, and one that just combines them into a tournament. The variety is slim as is the originality. If you don’t feel like doing the mini games you can openly fly around the small area getting collectables or doing hidden bonus objectives. Even that won’t keep your interest though.

What makes the game almost unplayable however are the controls. To start off you fly a dragon, a main feature of the game, yet it’s near impossible. The flying is stiff and hard to maneuver. Turning is a hassle so trying to navigate through sharp turns to fly through rings like playing the ever so famous Superman 64. Even something simple like shooting fireballs is hard because of the auto lock that doesn’t seem to work. Also just shooting fire itself seems to be a couple seconds late I noticed. You would think as well that a game that has you flying as well would have a good camera to do so. The camera most time will randomly focus on something that you aren’t directing it to. Other times it will spin out of control often turning to look at your characters face causing you to fly directly into a wall or object.

One shouldn’t expect a good looking game coming from something like this either but this is worse than expected. HTTYD2 looks like something that could of been an early launch game for the Xbox. The game is blocky and choppy amidst the somewhat bland world which makes it look ugly. The music thankfully is a little better having some good scores to it but then they add the character voice overs onto it to quickly ruin it. You’ll be hearing the same voices over and over again before you just mute the TV.

From my time spent with the game I just don’t see much of any reason why to play this. The mini-games aren’t fun and nothing about the game seems to be good or up to modern standards. If you want to play a movie game for kids just pick one of the Lego games or Toy Story 3.

 

Action, Adventure

Walt Disney Pictures

May 30th, 2014

Release Length : 97 Minutes

 

Maleficent is Disneys big hope for a summer blockbuster. Taking a twist on a previous film of theirs and changing it does Disney succeed in crafting something anew from it or instead is this one of summers early failures?

We follow Maleficent, a beautiful child fairy at the time decides to become friends with a human boy even with there being troubles between the magical forest and it’s creatures and the humans. Over time though what Maleficent thinks is a blooming love relationship one day turns into a nightmare for her as while she is sleeping the boy cuts her wings off. Once she awakens to this she falls into such an anger and despair that she builds a wall between the humans land and the forest forever closing the gap between them. Fast forward into the future and that boy she once knew has completely grown up and become king. Maleficent soon however arrives and places a spell on the kings child that she will fall into a deep sleep only to woken by true loves kiss. The child is then moved into protection and while Maleficent watches over the child from afar she soon discovers that not only is the child not evil but could actually be the key to saving her.

Now one problem with Maleficent is that it’s just not a story anyone asked for. For the most part without looking into the almost blatantly obvious undertones the story is generic and plays out to that. Good girl turns evil, finds the sweetness in another girl, turns good again after taking down the true evil. Now for the “true evil” in the film, the male characters. This film 110% plays it off that not only are men evil but they will take away a woman’s uniqueness and make her plain. There isn’t a single male character in here that is good in the slightest, I can’t even say the character “Diaval” is because he is simply Maleficent’s slave. They even have a strong symbolism to rape in the film which even furthers portrays the men as evil.

Thankfully the film itself is gorgeous. The team that did the CGI will most likely win awards for it. Even in the films drastic differences between a lively bright and colorful world and dark dampened world its stunning to look at. Throw in some fantastic action scenes that rival some of the top fantasy films (which they also rip heavily off of) and the film thankfully has something to go off of.

If only the characters and acting were as good however. Angelina Jolie as Maleficent is easily the best role in the film, with that being said however she still isn’t great. She looks great and plays the role well but her cheekbones are disturbing almost. The dip in her face sometimes makes her look like a monster (and could technically get their own name in the credits as it’s own character). As I stated since any of the male characters who actually get lines are portrayed as evil and vial beings I took almost no notice to them for the most part. The three tiny CGI fairies that occupy some of the film are horrible to look at and hear as well.

Overall Maleficent succeeds at looking like a good movie but Disney took a far step that wasn’t needed with this one. Trying to re brand an old story with  a twist only to underline it with so many anti-male and rape undertones hurt the film more than it should. It also doesn’t help that the film itself is boring for anyone over the age of 12 I’d assume. The action scenes are too far apart to hold interest between. I just can’t recommend this one.

 

Score :

2/10

 

 

A BREACH OF SILENCE have released a new video clip for the song Blind, which is taken from their 2013 debut album Dead or Alive. The video consists of live footage and still photos taken of the band while on their recent Australian tours with Adept and Born of Osiris. The video clip may be viewed at this location.

A BREACH OF SILENCE are currently wrapping up final mixes and mastering of their sophomore album The Darkest Road. The band recorded at Acolyte Studios in Brisbane, Australia. Once again, they brought veteran Swedish producers Fredrik Nordstrom and Henrik Udd (Bring Me the Horizon, Architects, Opeth) to sit at the helm while recoding the new material. The album is currently being mastered at Studio Fredman in Sweden and will be released sometime this Fall of 2014.

A BREACH OF SILENCE released their debut full-length album entitled Dead or Alive, in October of 2013 through Eclipse Records (Mushroomhead, Bobaflex, Our Last Enemy). The album was produced by Fredrik Nordstrom and Henrik Udd, and the band just recently released their groundbreaking “first-person shooter music video” for the song Night Rider. The band is known for their unique mix of modern metalcore and power-metal vocal breakdowns which many of their fans refer to as ‘Powercore’.

 

A BREACH OF SILENCE is:
Mat Cosgrove (guitar), Blair Layt (bass/vocals), Rhys Flannery (vocals), Kerrod Dablestein (guitar), and Andrew Cotterell (drums).

For more information on A BREACH OF SILENCE, please visit these websites:
www.EclipseRecords.com/A-Breach-Of-Silence     www.Facebook.com/abreachofsilenceband     www.Twitter.com/breachofsilence 

 

 

Press Release Provided By Eclipse Records